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Over 30 makeup tips

I’m a makeup addict, everyone that knows me knows that. My mum always says that whenever I enter a drugstore, beauty department or duty free I’m like a child in a toy store. And it’s absolutely true. My love for makeup started when I was in highschool. I used to play with eye liner and bright coloured eyeshadows. Oh the 90s… Since then my makeup routine has changed a lot. Now I can do my makeup in five minutes, I know what suits me and, inevitably, I have adapted the products I use and the way I apply them to my age. Because years pass, people, and my face shows that. I have this little ritual every morning: I spend ten minutes doing my makeup. It sets my mood for the day, it relaxes me and while I’m blending, tapping and blending a little bit more, I have time to think about what I have to do at the office, I go over the grocery list and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I even stop thinking. It’s my meditation time.

The biggest change in my makeup routine is that now I focus on my complexion. As I mentioned before, I used to spend a fair amount of time on doing the fiercest eye liner or blending colouful, intricate eyeshadow designs and I couldn’t care less about foundation. In fact I used to avoid it because it made me feel greasy and uncomfortable. But now that my 40s are close, I mainly work on my foundation. While lines don’t bother me that much, ugly pores, overall grey/green-ish tone, (lack of) glow and (lots of) redness do. Oh and dry patches are (sadly) my jam as well.

So I prep my skin with my face cream (plus three drops of Clarins Booster Repair every three to five days) and try to use moisturising yet light foundations and creamy formulas that look like skin. Last month I discovered the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Cushion Foundation (I use shade 30 – Almond) and it has become my favourite makeup product ever. It has a light coverage but that’s precisely why I love it. You can build up or just apply a sheer layer that will make your skin glowy and juicy. It blends beautifully and does just what I want: my skin is my skin, but better. Then I apply a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of Clarins Instant Concealer (02) under my eyes and around my usually red nose. A little goes a long way so with just a teeny bit and your finger (tap, tap, tap!), you will do wonders. And since my skin doesn’t see the sun for months (the joys of Northern European weather!) I rely on Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze and Glow to look healthier and avoid the Morticia Addams look. A look that, by the way, I loved when I was 16 and I had cheekbones. I always try to apply the bronzer lightly and add a tad of the highlighter in inner corner of my eyes to make them look a little bit bigger under my glasses.

Finally I add a touch of blush because everyone knows that’s the trick to look 5 months younger, fresh, awake and just back from a revitalizing run (which I never am because I hate running). I love the Hervana blush by Benefit. I know it’s not as famous as its cousins Galifornia or Benetint, but I swear by it and if you have fair skin I know you will love it too. It’s very subtle, which is perfect because at this age you don’t want to look like Heidi (and I don’t mean Heidi Klum, obviously. I mean this Heidi).

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And now, onto everything else. Brows are important because they lift the face and if you are over 30 and have tried to take a pic with your phone but suddenly the wrong camera has turned on and you have seen your face looking down, you know that lifting is good. But you have to be careful! Cara Delevigne’s brows are beautiful on her, but maybe are not the best option for someone over 30 with fine brows. Filling your brows is great and a process that I truly enjoy (look for IG videos about brows if you are streessed, they are hypnotizing and extremely relaxing!) but be gentle and subtle. Yes, subtleness is the key for everything. I use this Bobbi Brown powder, but I’ve tried this drugstore option and it’s pretty nice as well.

And talking about subtleness, no more colourful eyeshadows for me. I’m all about forgiving neutrals. The best colours are those that are barely there. And matte preferably. If you have greasy eyelids, use this primer. Otherwise your eyeshadow can end up in a fine, sticky line in the middle of your eyelid. The Dior Montaigne palette is my absolute favourite since I saw it on Paule. I can apply it and blend it upwards with my fingers. It takes no time and looks very nice and effortless (mostly because it truly is effortles). And if you don’t want to use eyeshadows, try to apply a little bit of bronzer in the outer corner of your eyes and blend, blend, blend. Beautiful and simple.

Sadly, drawing a fierce eyeliner is not possible anymore. My eyelids are not the ones they used to be. I used to look a little bit Japanese with tight upper eyelids, which I loved. Now my eyelids are more sad Saint Bernard kind of looking. So I just draw tiny spots between the roots of my lashes with the amazing Kat von D Tattoo Liner and create the illusion of fuller lashes while having the thinnest eyeliner. I finish mimicking my longest outer eyelash instead of trying to draw a cat eye flick that will never be even in both eyes (I know that now). Oh, and I use the shade Mad Max Brown, because black eye liner can be too harsh now. Subtleness again. Last but not least, two layers of mascara to open the eyes. Careful, though: spider eyelashes aren’t what you are looking for. I’m currently using this mascara by L’oreal because I think volume is what I need now, not length.

And just two more things: lipstick and nails. Lipstick is problematic now. While I used to love experimenting with all kinds of formulas, I try to avoid most of my lipsticks these days because they start following the lines around my lips and end up in my chin, nose and, sometimes, cheeks. Lovely. Even more if I am wearing a bright colour shade and I realize that while I was discussing things with my boss in that important meeting, my lipstick decided to go for a stroll around my face. Really proffesional. The priority is, more than ever, finding a lipstick that stays in place. So I look for lip stains. I really like the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. The price is ridiculous and once they are set, they are set. You don’t have to worry about them. My favourite shades are Ibiza, Sao Paolo, Antwerp and Stockholm.

If you have read so far, thank you. You must be over 30 and tired of makeup fails. Join the club! I have just a last tip for you: while chipped nails were really trendy in the grunge era (paired with flannel shirts and a gloomy attitude), when you are over 30 they just look terrible. So you have three options: don’t paint your nails, get a manicure every week or try the gel couture line by Essie. Whether you like preppy red nails or classic French Manicures, you will forget your nails for about two weeks. The shade in the picture is Fairy Tailor.

To sum up: be subtle and blend, blend, blend. Invest in a good foundation, wear a nice light blush to look fresh, mascara to look awake… and be careful not to have lipstick in your teeth. That’s all you have to bear in mind. You will be fine.

The most beautiful villages in Lake Como

During the next weeks, we will share with you the most beautiful destinations around Lake Como. From glamorous, dolce vita settings to the most authentic Italian towns, there’s a destination for everyone.

Our first installment is dedicated to Menaggio and Varenna, two of the most charming villages located in the heart of the lake. They offer a different atmosphere: Menaggio is perfect for family vacations, while Varenna is the destination for those who want a bohemian experience.

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This village is authentic. It reminded me of the little town in the Veneto region where I spent most of my Summers as a kid. It’s the quintessential Italian feeling: women dressed up to go to church, a main street full of small but well curated shops, a delightful square overlooking the lake with colourful terraces to stop for an aperitivo and a long promenade perfect to stroll at sunset, ice cream in hand.

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Once you get off the boat, Menaggio doesn’t strike as a picturesque village. It even disappoints a little bit, but as soon as you get closer to the lively town center you realize that this is the kind of place that every kid dreams about as a Summer destination. The one you remember with nostalgia when you grow up. Menaggio is more open and flat than other villages around the lake, so there’s more space to ride bicycles, run and play. Easier to navigate, there aren’t as many stairs and slopes as you will find in most of the villages. If you are looking for a family trip in lake Como, this would be a perfect destination to establish your headquarters.

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Full of little alleys with traditional grocery shops and dotted with impressive villas and pastel coloured houses, Menaggio offers the perfect balance between the distinctive majestic atmosphere of the lake and the homey and warm feeling of a family vacation. This is a place to visit if you want to live like a local, experience the popular culture and relax.

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VARENNA

This tiny village stole our hearts from the moment we saw its delightful profile as the boat approached the port. Varenna is more rustic, it’s full of stone and stairs. It’s rough but it’s incredibly charming. The architecture is simple, not many villas are located in this area. Instead you will find lovely pink, crimson and ochre houses and hidden, unpolished corners.  Varenna seems reluctant to lose its essence, it’s obvious that it doesn’t want to be open to mass tourism and apart from a tiny harbour with a couple of cafés and restaurants, the streets and slopes are almost empty, raw. Lake Como - Varenna_1

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Varenna was a fishing village and it’s simplicity is the key to its charm. It’s not prepared to welcome thousands of visitors, so if you want to enjoy its beautiful alleys, you better choose low season to visit. Sipping a ristretto in one of its local, tiny cafes overlooking the lake while enjoying the timid Spring sunshine is exactly what our travel philosophy is about: enjoying the simple things and the understated luxury.

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Varenna is the destination for those who want to admire the lake from the distance, enjoy nature and simple life, for those who look for a nice, calm experience… and for those who have strong legs. Those stairs and slopes are not for the faint-hearted!

PS: next week we will publish the second installment of these series and it would be dedicated to the wonderful town of Bellagio. Stay tuned!

Salmon and egg wraps

Last week was quite difficult because after a wonderful long weekend in Lake Como (we will publish lots of post about the most beautiful villages of Lake Como in the next days!) we weren’t prepared to come back to dreadful weather and inboxes full of angry E-mails. But the weekend finally arrived and, miraculously, on Sunday the sun shined, the temperature was perfect and we didn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a very long walk in the park. Sadly, we didn’t have our picnic basket prepared but it made us think about picnic season!

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When we came back home after 3 glorious hours under the sun surrounded by beautiful nature, we wanted something light, fresh but delicious. And quick! So we prepared our favourite salmon and egg wraps. These could be a great picnic basket option, but they are a fantastic quick lunch or light dinner too. In fact, whenever we are very lazy to cook after a long day at work, we tend to prepare these salmon and egg wraps for dinner.

You will need (serves 2):
2 wraps or tortillas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
75 gr smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
A handful of baby green leaves

Boil the eggs for about 6 to 7 minutes. You want the yolk to be creamy and runny. In the meantime mix the mayonnaise and the Worcestershire sauce.
Peel the eggs and mash them up with the sauce.

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Now, heat your wraps or tortillas on a grill pan over a minute. Turn, and cook the other side another minute. You want them a little bit burnt but still soft.

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To assemble, spread a layer of the egg salad over each wrap, add a generous helping to green baby leaves and the smoked salmon. Roll up and there you go: a flavourful, light and tasty dinner/lunch/ picnic snack. We can assure you that once you taste that creamy egg salad you will want to add it to all the sandwiches you prepare! It’s amazing!

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PS: we’ve discovered that one of our favourite food bloggers, a person who we thought was honest and really creative, published a recipe on her blog and social media as hers, when we know for a fact it wasn’t. And we know it because that recipe has appeared in this blog as well, but as we always do, we credited its author, which happens to be a very famous cook. When this person’s followers praised her for her creativity, she even said it was a classic in her kitchen. Wait, what? It was shocking for us because we never thought she would do something like that. Now we doubt everything she publishes! So, if you have a blog or a social media channel, please credit the authors when needed. It’s ok to prepare your own take on other’s recipes, we all do it! But do not steal other people’s work please!

Filario Hotel, Lezzeno

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We arrived at Filario hotel after a 4 a.m. wake up call, two planes and a quite bumpy car ride that lasted forever. The minute we crossed the hotel’s door, our suitcases disappeared, we were guided to a little, lovely terrace and suddenly the Lake Como was sparkling in front of us in all its splendor. Everything was blue, fresh and smelled like camellias and sunshine. From that moment on, there was nothing but relaxation, excitement and the feeling of being in another world, a better one.

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There’s something you have to know about Filario hotel, member of Design Hotels: it will make you forget everything else. It exudes serenity, it makes you slow down and we are pretty sure that somehow Filario hotel makes time stop. It could be the magnificent views, the silence just broken by birds and bells in the distance, the light breeze, the unique scent of the hotel… In some way your senses awake yet you feel motionless, lost into the beauty of the lake and the calmness of the atmosphere.

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The hotel had opened the night before and we noticed that all the staff was absolutely happy about the season that had started. There was this vibrant feeling of new beginnings. From the reception to the restaurant, the service was exquisite in the friendliest way. We were given the best advice to explore the lake: plans were printed, calls were made and taxis booked so that our stay, not only in the hotel but in the area, could be as fantastic as possible. This is a hotel where you don’t feel afraid to ask, quite the opposite.

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To be honest, our favourite part of the days we spent in the lake was the couple of hours that we would spent every day in our terrace, overlooking the lake. After a whole day exploring we would go back to the hotel, have a shower, put on the white, fluffy bath robes and sit in our terrace to enjoy the perfect weather and the breathtaking views.  I would try to write my travel diary and she would try to read, but we both would be so captivated by the landscape that we just stared. We would stare at the profile of Lezzeno to our right: charming sorbet coloured houses, a bell tower and the mountains. And we would stare at the silky, calm water in front of us, the green and ochre opposite shore of the lake, the evergreen Isola Comacina and the incredibly beautiful Villa del Balbianello. That terrace felt like a sanctuary: protected from the wind and rain (we witnessed a terrible storm one night) and safe. The perfect vantage point to see the lake waking up to Spring after a dark Winter.

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And since that terrace was too perfect to miss, our best tip when booking your stay at Filario hotel would be to choose one of the Deluxe Rooms with terrace. They have the most breathtaking views over the lake, they are huge (from 45 to 55 m2), beautifully decorated with dark wood and touches of the softest mint colour and the bathroom has the most perfect rainfall shower. We even had a walk-in closet in our room, perfectly designed to organize your things and feel tidy and prepared for your stay. The only thing we can point out as not absolutely perfect is the lighting. In an attempt to continue with the relaxing vibes and cosy atmosphere, the lightning was very dim and subtle. We could have used a brighter lighting… but please note that we are both shot-sighted!

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And, of course, we have to talk about our dining experiences. We dined twice at the charming hotel’s bistró that doubles as breakfast room in the mornings. We had a little table on the terrace (this hotel is always emphasising it’s privileged position over the lake) where we would have delicious Italian dinners at night and power breakfasts in the morning. The staff would always book the same table for us and that felt very good, like we were regulars and appreciated. Make sure you are hungry before dinner at Filario because the portions are generous! We ordered the most amazing cold meats and cheese plate as a starter one night and it could have easily been our whole dinner! A stunning assortment of local produce, where the salami and smoked Scamorza cheese where our favourites. We also had flavorful pasta dishes, of course, but we have to recommend choosing fish based dishes over anything else because they were beyond incredible: fresh, delicate and rich at the same time. And make sure you wash everything down with the local chardonnay! One night we had the most amazing zuppa inglese dessert, with delicious chewy yet crunchy meringue. A special mention to the amuse bouche courtesy of the chef: outstanding every time!

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And since we are slow-paced breakfasts lovers, we absolutely loved our breakfasts in the bistró terrace. We specially loved one morning, when it started raining and the air was a tad chilly, but we were so warm and felt so relaxed watching the lake and the mountains come to live while we sipped our strong, foamy capuccini. The atmosphere was a little bit melancholic, but the scent of the flowers was intense, the sun was struggling to come out behind the clouds and we had fruit plates, brown bread toasts, ham and the most fragrant extra virgin olive oil in front of us. A simple breakfast that highlighted the quality of the produce. Just what we love. However, if you have a sweet tooth you can’t miss the homemade apple cake and the tiny, flaky croissants. And for those who love heartier breakfasts, the bistró offers eggs and omelettes to order.

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Our experience in Filario hotel couldn’t have been better, honestly. Well, maybe if the weather had been nicer we could have enjoyed its beautiful pool and little shingle beach! When we booked our stay we were a bit worried that such a modern hotel would miss the sense of place that we always look for when choosing our accommodation. But the hotel just looks at the lake, emphasises it, embraces it and literally turns its back on the rest of the world. Here the sense of place is not given by decor, colours or architecture. The sense of place is given by nature itself. And in addition to this sense of place, there is this inherent sense of space, difficult to explain: these beautiful, open spots to sit down and admire the surroundings, lots of space in the rooms, no unnecessary nonsenses… Somehow you have everything you can wish for, but you don’t see it at first and you don’t even need it. Everything is subtle. And, again, there is this feeling of calmness and the tremendous beauty of the lake. Time seems slower but it’s actually filled with lots of sensations, feelings and things to do, just like the lake seems motionless but it’s full of life.

Women empowerment books

Maybe it ‘s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because my eyes are more open, maybe it’s because the situation has gotten so bad that I just can’t help but notice that we, women, have to fight all day, every day, if we want to achieve our goals. Harder than men, that is.  Am I stating the obvious? Of course, but I wanted to emphasize the fact that I never felt truly discriminated as a woman until a few years back, when I realized how many things were different for me when compared to my male coworkers. Nor did I perceive how many times I was letting myself down by being sexist. Me? Yes! Here, as in every aspect of our lives, it’s in the little things… I was allowing and encouraging some absurd behaviors and I think I’m not the only one that has done this. But somehow it comes a time in every woman’s life when she just opens her eyes and from that moment on there’s no way back.

I’ve always consider myself a feminist. When I was a kid and all my cousins would be eating together my grandmother (a very liberal and tolerant woman, but a woman of her time all in all) would tell me to bring dessert/ another spoon / whatever to my male cousins so that they don’t have to get up. I would push my glasses up my nose, complain, get up… and bring dessert for myself and told them to grab theirs if they wanted it. I obviously didn’t realized that was sexist, but somehow I knew it was wrong. The little things, see? A lot of years later, I got a job promotion after passing a couple of quite hard tests and a male colleague asked me who I slept with to get the job. He was kidding… but was he? So from one innocent incident to a very malicious remark, it’s always been there. And it’s always been hurtful. (Side note: I’ve always been privileged, with access to a good education, health care and a strong support network. I can’t imagine how this affects women in diffucult circumstances)

But pain turned into rage. And I answered the best way I know how to: reading. And just as I realized how I’ve always been aware of discrimination, I recognized that my shelves were always full of women empowerment books. It all started with Marian Keyes. The way I see it, her books are all about woman empowerment. Her books have helped me in different stressful moments of my life. They are funny, emotional and they make you feel hopeful and capable of changing your life, therefore, powerful.

I’ve been collecting and reading all kinds of books written by women. From graphic novels like Persépolis to novels like The invention of Wings. All levels, all backgrounds. You might have read or at least heard about the books pictured above. They have taken over the internet at some point, they have been the target of many critics and praises. In my opinion, what’s really important is that there are lots of women brave enough to give us all a voice. Sometimes we might not agree with them or even feel that they represent us, but surely we will identify with some chapters or ideas. Most of the times, we’ve been struggling with the same problems.

One of my favorite women empowerment books is Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. I can’t recommend it enough. After reading this book you will have more self-confidence to face the workplace as a woman. Guaranteed. It talks about her own experience in the corporate world and addresses most of the disadvantages and problematic situations that women encounter in the average working environment. But most importantly, she gives honest advice and proactive solutions. If you are a woman and you work, you have to read this book.

So, little but little, these books are making their way to the bestsellers lists, and that’s fantastic. I hope lots of women keep writing and lots of women keep reading. And now it’s your turn: any recommendations?

EDIT: one or our follwers, The Armchair Parisian, has left two recommendations in our Instagram feed: Big Magic, by Elisabeth Gilbert, and Playing Big, by Tara Mohr.

Spicy chicken burger

We love preparing our own burgers from scratch, using the best quality products we can afford. Elevated fast food, if you will. That’s why we have a couple of cookbooks dedicated to burgers, being this one our favourite. This recipe is our take on an Indian inspired burger recipe that we discovered in that book. It’s delicious, it admits lots of variations, though we like to keep things simple.

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You’ll need (serves 2):
200 gr ground chicken
1 tablespoon of seasoning blend (more on that later)
A pinch ground cinnamon
Salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon of cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoon of mint leaves, finely chopped
A handful of baby leaves
1 tomato, sliced
Ideally,grilled naan bread. But you can use buns, or toasties or whatever you want.

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First, make your very own fresh, fragrant seasoning blend: mix 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 pinch of ground cinnamon and 1 pinch ground cardamom. The result is amazingly fresh and quite lemony.

Now, let’s prepare the patties: in a bowl combine the chicken with the seasoning blend and the pinch of cinnamon. Season with salt and mix. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions and form them into patties slightly thinner at the center than at the edges. This will help having a flat surface once the patties are cooked.

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Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook the burgers 10 to 12 minutes, flipping just once.

In the meantime stir together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro and mint. This can also double as your sauce for this delicious recipe so if you have leftovers, you know how to use them.

Now place the burgers on the bread, top with the yogurt sauce, baby leaves and tomato. And there you have it:  a fresh, delicious, light burger that won’t leave you feeling stuffed. If Spring decides to come, this recipe can make any barbacue happy and a little bit different! Now, let’s cross our fingers… In the meantime, we will eat this burger while it rains outisde. Sigh!

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My work bag collection

For the last six years I’ve been thinking about buying a beautiful pale blue Loewe Amazona bag although lately I’ve really been into the classic and cute Louis Vuitton Pochette Métis bag. Will I ever buy any of those bags? I doubt it. I just don’t feel like spending that much money in one bag when, for the same price, I can book a plane ticket and a nice boutique hotel stay. #Priorities. However, I do love bags and I try to get a decent cost per wear ratio when buying a new one. So if I were to invest in a luxury bag, it would definitely be a work bag. I’m working most of the time, so I might as well have a nice bag to do so…

I’m very happy with my work bag collection, though. It’s a normal working girl collection. It’s not high-street but it’s not luxury. I have all the neutral shades cover, I have a bag for fancy meetings and a bag for casual Fridays, I have an “all you can transport” bag for the days I have French lessons after work (mais oui!) and a cool day visiting galleries or theaters kind of bag. But most importantly, I can fit my lunch box in all of them. Because I do take my lunch with me. I work in an average office and I eat there, between E-mails and lousy coworkers. I also walk to work so all I want is taking just one bag with me so that my 20 minute stroll is as light as possible. I need free hands to snap all the pretty Altbremer Häuser that make our Instagram feed nice and fancy!

The quality of all these bags is outstanding and I can’t recommend them enough. Let’s begin with the black bag because a black work bag is to your wardrobe what olive oil is to your kitchen: essential. My mum got me this Michael Kors bag about three years ago and I’ve used it A LOT. I love how structured it is so it looks nicely put together even when you fill it with all the bits and bobs you need for a long day at work (yes, even the lunch box). The shoulder strap makes it extra comfortable to run around and the leather is really smooth but firm. This bag is sadly discontinued but this one is very similar.

Then we have THE BAG. I don’t know if you remember this post, but go read it now. There’s all you need to know about it. I still love it that much.

My last purchase has been the nude Lancaster Adèle tote bag. Since I love THE BAG so much, I figured I should give this brand another opportunity to shine and I’m so glad I did. When I saw it in our favourite shop in Cortina d’Ampezzo during our latest stay in December I had to buy it. I think Lancaster bags are extraordinary. The design is beautiful, the leather is gorgeous and forgiving and the price tag is very reasonable. So reasonable that sometimes I think they should ask for more money than they do because they feel like bargains! I don’t need any more work bags, but this amazing dark blue tote bag would be a great addition to my collection.

And last, but not least, the cute light green casual Friday bag. This bag screams: “It’s the weekend! But I still have to do some Emails duh!”. It’s from a Spanish brand called Hakei and the leather is like butter, so, so soft. This bag has almost five years but I think has aged very well. It’s wrinkly and softer and kind of hipstery-like. I love it.

Writing this post I’ve realized that I’ve bought less than a work bag per year during the last four years. I think it’s a pretty reasonable expense. This takes me to conscious shopping, capsule-wardrobing and my latest experiment: I’m buying just one item of clothing /accessory per month (if I do buy one). It’s going pretty well, I might do a post about it soon. I guess my motto is: buy good quality so your pieces stand the test of time (and multiple usage) and buy just what you need.

And one last thing: all this bags have a bonus… they all double as perfect travel bags!

 

The slow-paced weekend guides

During the last few months we’ve been updating our slow-paced weekend guides. These guides want to be your go-to resource when planning your next European weekend getaway. Here you won’t find museums, sights or your average tourist routes. In these slow-paced guides we just share with you our favourite places to eat, drink a nice cup of coffee and go for a carefree walk. Our goal is to encourage an alternative way of travel: we want you to admire the architecture by exploring all the side streets, we want you to stop and have a nice drink in that cute café and pretend you are a local, we want you to indulge in a lovely meal without stressing about what’s next on your to do list.

We also include a few hotels recommendations, because for us choosing the right accommodation is key to enjoy our trips. We uncover the most charming boutique hotels where you will find a unique hospitality, a sense of place and a extremely comfortable bed to enjoy room service because… why not?

In the main menu of the blog you will find a direct link to our weekend guides. Just click and we will take you to London, Copenhagen, Cortina d’Ampezzo and Edinburgh. The slow-paced way, of course. They are really easy to navigate, simple and straight to the point. We hope you enjoy them because we have selected our favourite spots: the best breakfasts in Copenhagen, the most charming corners in the jewel of the Dolomites, great walks and shopping in Edinburgh and the most wonderful markets in London, among other things.

And stay tuned because there are two Summery slow-paced weekend guides coming soon featuring two of the most coveted European destinations: Ibiza and Lake Como!

Hummus

Picture this: Tuesday night. It seems that the week started three years ago and you still have to suffer four meetings, two spinning classes and three rainy days until your weekend begins. What do you prepare for dinner? This hummus. It’s comforting, utterly delicious and so very easy to prepare. The perfect dinner if you are tired and in need of a flavourful push to continue with your week. Because is there anything better than a great dinner in the sofa watching your favourite TV show? Yes, great hair, but we talked about it on Monday.

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The best thing about hummus is that it’s packed with protein, since chickpeas are a fantastic protein source and, therefore, a basic ingredient for plant based diets. We do eat meat, but we have been trying to reduce our meat intake, so that’s another reason why we’ve been having this hummus for dinner a lot. The main reason being that it’s delicious, though.

There are thousands of hummus recipes, this is ours. It’s not very conservative, let’s say that we have adapted it to our taste. We don’t use tahini, for instance, because we don’t like its noticeable earthy flavour. Instead we use toasted sesame seeds, which also give the recipe a little bit of a crunch.

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Ingredients (serves 2):
30 g toasted sesame seeds
35 g extra virgin olive oil
60 g water
30 g lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
250 g  canned chickpeas
1 g salt

Before serving: ground cumin, sweet paprika and extra virgin olive oil to taste
Pita bread

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Rinse the chickpeas in cold water. Then boil the chickpeas 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse them again afterwards and rub them, so that the skin peels off easily. This is the secret to silky, smooth hummus!

The next step can’t be easier: put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Taste and adjust your seasoning. Maybe you need more lemon juice, olive oil, salt…

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Serve in a  bowl, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and finally add the ground cumin and sweet paprika. And there you have it!  A delicious, creamy hummus. Now put on your pyjamas, crawl into in your sofa, turn on your favourite TV show or film and enjoy your comforting yet healthy dinner. We can’t think of a better way to finish your day!

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My hair journey. Seriously.

So in this post I’m going to share with you my hair journey and my latest hair tragedy. Because, honestly: is there anything more important than beautiful hair? I don’t think so.

I have to admit that I’m really obsessed with hair. I have a thing for smooth, caramel coloured manes. I know people that go crazy for pointy brows, shiny mani pedis or flawless skin. But hair is my jam. It might be because my hair has a history of looking like a mop, being curly when I wanted it straight, and straight when I wanted it curly. Humidity is to my hair what the sinister creatures inside the paralell world are to Eleven. It scares me like hell, but it also makes me fight back. And what do I use to fight back? Everything! No weapon is enough!  I will win this war! (Insert hair flip, obviously)

It all started thousands of years ago, when I was a teenager and the world worked without Internet. Just as inexplicably, my hair somehow worked without straighteners. However, I used to look like a mushroom most of the time, but… you know, the 90’s were difficult and humanity in general (except Cindy Crawford) looked quite poorly.  But time passed by and I met a wonderful hairdresser that did my hair beautifully. She was so very modern, she had been in Japan a few times and she even got married in Las Vegas. The definition of cool. During those years I reluctantly tried the most subtle highlights to cover my first grey hairs, went from cute short hair à la Amélie to a beautiful cut in gorgeous layers and lived happily working with what I got: slightly frizzy hair but still manageable. Then the real struggle began. When I moved to the perennial mix betweeen freezer and washing maschine that is Germany my hair basically went on strike. The poor thing was depressed because we had to leave our wonderful hairdresser in Madrid, my Vitamin D levels plummeted and all the worries made it almost completely grey. Drama.

I suffered from a severe case of Idon’tfindtherighthairdresserohGodhelpme. Then I went from fried blonde to shitty brunette, without forgetting a terrible carrot orange phase. Every time I went back to Spain I used to have this Keratin treatment done that was amazing… until it turned out hazardous for the hairdresser that applied it and just like that, my hair was sad and messy again. Hopeless.

Bear in mind that during all this time my hair was Pocahontas long because a couple of hairdressers in Germany told me that my face was so, so fat that shorter hair will never suit me. Happy times. But one day, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, I mean, hair salon. A really petite woman  was substituting my always angry hairdresser. She was very nice to me, she talked a lot (something quite strange in Germany compared to the usual chatterbox that a hairdresser in Spain is, something I love and miss terribly) and she suggested highlights, a nice shade of bronde and face contouring. Was I dreaming? Was this a Huda Beauty surprise Instagram video? I shily asked if I could try shorter hair…. and I left the salon with the most adorable bob!

She also recommended me Olaplex. And this is when my hair journey gets interesting, fun and smooth as silk. Oh, Olaplex. You beauty. This treatment has made my hair look less like a mop and more like a smooth, golden curtain. If you have damaged hair, frizzy hair or just coloured hair and you care about the health of your mane you have to try this treatment. It will make your life better, because nice hair makes everything better. Just like red lips or chocolate.

And talking about health… Vitamin D, guys. There’s nothing like Vitamin D to go from Cindy Lauper ‘s Girls just wanna have fun and no split ends to Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman without a wig. I started taking my Vitamin D and even my amazing hairdresser noticed the change. Because even though two liters of water and 8 hours of sleep do wonders for it girls, I need medical help.

Last but not least: Moroccan Oil. I started applying a little bit to the midsection and specially the ends of my towel dry hair. Then I style it and then it swishes everythime I turn around to fall in slow motion afterwards. I feel like a Pantene girl. I can’t recommed this great oil enough. It was very famous a few years ago, but now nobody talks about it. I don’t know why because it’s amazing.

So now that my hair journey has turned from backpacking in Europe to vacations in the Maldives mode… My hairdresser gets pregnant. And she will be a whole year in medical leave. I got her flowers and all, but… a whole year without her???? Tragedy. So here I am, looking at my (at least for now) gorgeous mane (if I may say so myself) and wondering what will happen. Will I look like a mushroom again? After all, 90’s trends are back, aren’t they? Will my hair turn orange, purple or even blue? And before you ask, leaving my grey hairs au naturel is not an option. Even my hairdresser has told me not to do so: Apparently it looks fantastic in those young girls that want to look edgy, but if your hair is naturally grey, you are over 35 and your bone structure is average(ly chubby), chances are you will look like Mrs. Doubtfire.

I still have my lightsabers: my straighteners and my curling wand. I have stocked up on Moroccan Oil, I have Vitamin D prescriptions to last until June and I know where to find Olaplex. I think I’m prepared. But boy will I miss my hairdresser this next year. I have my last appointment with her in a couple of weeks. From that moment on, it will be a bumpy ride again. But I have experience now. I might not be able to let my grey hairs show, but the wisdom is within me! No more frizz! No more tyrant hairdressers that make me go Pocahontas again! The journey continues but this time, I’ll be driving!

Images via our Pinterest moodboard dedicated to hair. Follow along if hair is your jam too!