tea, maybe

lifestyle, cacti and unrequited opinions

Image Slider

(EN) BEAUTY △ Biologique Recherche — 10% off!

| On
Monday, July 04, 2016
(A versão portuguesa do post pode ler-se aqui.) 

A while back, I was invited by a friend, who is a beauty technician, to head on over to her salon. We agreed it could be fun and interesting for both if I wrote about my experience with Biologique Recherche, the brand with which she works with. Ana Teresa is my best friend's mother (and very much like a second mom to me, when mine's away...), and of course I was ecstatic with the idea of working with her.

Okay, so let me introduce the brand to you in case you haven't heard of it before, because honestly, even though I had, I didn't know exactly what made it stand out from the rest.

Using the definition on the website:

...the Biologique Recherche Methodology has a reputation for astounding effectiveness based on a clinical approach to beauty care using intentionally pure, concentrated, raw ingredients, as well as innovative and meticulous protocols and procedures.

BR stands out for using products with a high concentration of active principles (AP). While most cosmetic brands have a percentage of AP that ranges from 0-point-something to 5%, Biologique's creams contain from 20 to 23% — and the serums can go up to 61%. This is one of the reasons why you can't just buy a lotion, take it home, and use it without proper instruction, or without being advised by a technician first. Just like you wouldn't self-medicate with drugs that require a doctor's prescription. Makes sense?

Sounds a little scary? Don't be. Let's go over a few aspects.

  • Cruelty-Free: Biologique does NOT test on animals. However, it is NOT a vegan brand, as some of the products may contain ingredients from animal origin. 
  • Paraben and perfume free. Which makes it great for sensitive skins.
  • Their creams are serum-based. Let me explain this one further.
Your skin does not absorb oil, therefore, any oil-based products you use will only work on the outer layers of the skin instead of treating a problem from within. BR's products, because they are water-based, are made up of extremely tiny little molecules that your skin eats right up — the product penetrates the skin. 

The thing about oil is that... it's a little tricky. It provides comfort and it relaxes the tissue but overtime it can cause sagging. 

One thing I was particularly fascinated by was the fact that the products are very little manipulated. They will smell like the ingredients that are in them, they will acquire the colour of such ingredients as well. Below is an example of the same exact product, from two different batches. This can be simply explained by, for example, the sun exposure a certain flower received during this year, and how that affected its hue or vibrancy. The same happens with wine.

Why invest in your skin's health (if you still need reasons...)

The skin is our largest organ of elimination.

Like the lungs, the kidneys, the liver, and the intestines, your skin has a role that is just as important in the process of detoxifying your body. Whatever is going on inside your body will inevitably reflect on your skin. Besides, do not forget that your skin is literally the largest organ in your body — so if you weren't taking care of it, reconsider.


Unlike what happens when you go to a spa or a regular salon and ask for a standardised treatment, you won't find that here. Bring your concerns, know what you ultimately wish to attain, but let the professional choose what is best for you. Again, this is a little bit like when you go to the doctor — they perform a diagnosis first to determine what you need. This diagnosis is given by the technician themselves — BR actually has a whole device that measures several aspects of your skin and determines which treatments and products are recommended for you. (Don't worry, this is painless and takes about thirty minutes. No needles or blood required.)

  • This test must be performed on clean skin. It is advised you do not wear makeup or any type of skin product before you arrive. 


Your session will be done in a private room. Nothing but relaxing scents and the most comfortable robes. You are asked to remove your jewellery, top clothes and change into the robe, then ring the bell when you are ready to start. The bed is heated up to further help your muscles relax, and so the treatment begins. (Heaven on earth, let me tell you...)

After the diagnosis is done, the technician will proceed to cleanse and tone your skin. Then a massage comes into play right after. You must be thinking — but isn't the massage supposed to come at the end? Well, normally, that's how it is done. However, if you think about it, the massage aims to relax you and the tissue, make it more receptive and ready for the treatment itself. Think of it like foreplay in sex. Yes, that's the best metaphor I could come up with.

Everyone's skin has different needs. Even your own skin, on your face, which is a fairly small expanse of tissue, can vary the needs from, say, your nose to your cheeks. Oily nose but dry cheeks, anyone? So the treatment you receive is personalised to the T, making sure you benefit the most from it.

The treatments vary in duration, but all end with a couple more minutes of pure relaxation. The one I got was the Restructuring and Soothing.

As with every treatment developed by Biologique Recherche Laboratories, this facial begins with a preparatory phase: cleansing of the face and neck with the oxygenating milk Lait Oxygénant VIP02 and exfoliation/moisturization by the application of Lotion P50 with gentle pressure. The rebalanced skin is then ready for the application of the Complexe Restructurant et Lissant, which is completed by a modulating massage. Your skin is refreshed, smoothed and toned. Providing instant radiance and long-lasting moisturization.
And when it was over? Nobody touch me, I am glowing. I thought this kind of skin was only seen in Korean dramas, man. My skin had never, literally, felt so good. I was over the moon.

I don't have any post-treatment photos because sometimes I don't use my head. This was one of the moments. 

But how much does it cost?

A complete treatment can go from 50 to 120€. This in no way dictates that the cheaper treatments are less effective than the more expensive ones — it just means they are different. They cater to different skin needs, some take longer than others, and obviously the products used may cost less or more.

Now you ask, but can I continue the treatment at home? Yes, of course you can. At the end of the session, the technician will prescribe you a routine and a list of products that will work for your specific situation — very much like an old-school pharmacist.

Of course you don't have to bring all of them home — or any, even, but if you want to, you have that possibility. The prices vary greatly, from 27 to 200€. Remember, these are high-end cosmetics that you cannot get without a 'prescription'. If you do get them, you will be absolutely sure they are tailored to fit your skin.

I strongly recommend the experience, whether you feel the need to give your skin a little extra care, or just to exercise the right to pamper yourself.

Ana Teresa is offering my readers a free diagnosis and 10% off your first treatment.

To do so, all you have to do is use the code below when you schedule your appointment:


The diagnosis takes approximately 30 minutes and must be scheduled beforehand. The discount is valid until September 2016!

The address and contacts are available on her website — the salon is right in the heart of Porto, and it is extremely simple to get there, be it by car or public transportation. 

To my foreign readers, if you're planning on coming to Portugal on vacation, do consider paying her a visit!

(PT) BELEZA △ Biologique Recherche — 10% desconto!

| On
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
(The English version of this post can be read here.)

Há algum tempo atrás, a mãe de uma amiga de longa data (que minha amiga é, bem como uma mãe, quando a minha tira folga...) convidou-me a ir até ao seu gabinete de estética. Concordámos que seria um projecto interessante se eu escrevesse sobre a minha experiência no gabinete com a Biologique Recherche, a marca com que trabalha.

Bem, deixem-me começar por introduzir a marca caso ainda não tenham ouvido falar dela, porque na verdade, apesar de eu ter, também não sabia aquilo que a tornava tão diferente das outras.

Usando a definição que aparece no site
É a combinação de uma abordagem clínica do cuidado estético, produtos puros, concentrados, quase brutos, e protocolos originais e rigorosos que derretem a reputação de eficácia surpreendente da Metodologia Biologique Recherche. 
A BR distingue-se por formular produtos com uma grande concentração de princípios activos (PA). Enquanto que a maioria das marcas de cosméticos têm concentrações de PA desde os 0-ponto-qualquer-coisa aos 5%, os cremes da Biologique contêm desde 20 a 23% — e os séruns podem chegar aos 61%. Esta é uma das razões pelas quais não podemos simplesmente comprar um creme da marca e usá-lo sem ouvirmos os concelhos de um(a) profissional primeiro. Tal como não devemos auto medicar-nos com medicamentos que requerem receita médica. Faz sentido?

Não é para brincar, mas também não é preciso ter medo. Vejamos alguns pontos.
  • ·      Livre de crueldade. A Biologique NÃO testa em animais. Contudo, NÃO é uma marca vegan, pelo que alguns produtos podem conter ingredientes de origem animal.
  • ·      Sem perfumes nem parabenos. Óptima para peles sensíveis.
  • ·      Cremes são feitos à base de séruns. Deixem-me explicar.

A nossa pele não absorve o óleo, logo, produtos à base do mesmo apenas actuam nas camadas superficiais em vez de tratarem em profundidade. As fórmulas da Biologique, por serem à base de séruns, são constituídas por partículas muito, muito pequeninas que a nossa pele absorve instantaneamente — estas penetram a pele.

Os produtos à base de gorduras oferecem conforto e ajudam a relaxar, mas ao longo do tempo causam flacidez. (Mesma lógica da “Comfort food”.)

Uma das coisas que me surpreendeu bastante foi o facto dos produtos serem muito pouco manipulados. Eles cheiram aos ingredientes que os constituem, devem a sua cor aos mesmos. Em baixo, eis um exemplo do mesmo produto, mas de diferentes lotes. Isto é facilmente explicado, por exemplo, pela exposição solar que determinada planta recebeu durante o ano. O mesmo acontece com o vinho.

Mesmo sérum, diferentes tonalidades: azul e verde.
Porquê investir na saúde da nossa pele (se ainda precisam de razões...)
A pele é o nosso maior órgão de eliminação.
Tal como os pulmões, os rins, o fígado e os intestinos, a nossa pele tem um papel fundamental no processo de desintoxicação do corpo. O que quer que se passe dentro do nosso corpo vai-se reflectir na nossa pele. Ainda por cima, não se esqueçam que a pele é o nosso maior órgão — por isso, se não lhe estavam a prestar atenção, reconsiderem.


Ao contrário do que acontece quando se vai a um Spa para um tratamento estandardizado, aqui as coisas processam-se de maneira diferente. Tragam as vossas preocupações, expectativas e objectivos que gostariam de atingir com o tratamento, mas deixem a/o profissional decidir aquilo que é melhor para nós. Isto é um bocadinho como quando vamos ao médico —ela/ele é que determina o diagnóstico antes de nos receitar uma terapia. Este diagnóstico é-nos dado pela/pelo esteticista — a Biologique tem mesmo um aparelho para este fim, que mede vários parâmetros da nossa pele e aconselha automaticamente que tipo de produtos e tratamentos seriam mais adequados para nós. (Não se preocupem, o diagnóstico demora uns 30 minutos, sem agulhas nem sangue sacrificado.)

  •    Este teste tem de ser feito em pele limpa. Aconselha-se que a/o cliente não use qualquer tipo de maquilhagem ou cosmético antes de chegar ao gabinete. 


A sessão vai decorrer num quarto individual. Cheirinhos relaxantes, música zen, robes maravilhosos. Pedem-nos para tirarmos qualquer joias ou adereços e a roupa da cintura para cima, para vestirmos o robe. A marquesa é aquecida para promover o relaxamento muscular ainda mais. (Céu na terra, digo-vos...)

Depois de feito o diagnóstico, a/o esteticista começa por limpar e tonificar a nossa pele. Logo depois, uma massagem. Devem estar a pensar — mas a massagem não costuma vir no final? Sim, normalmente, sim. Mas se pensarmos um bocadinho, o objectivo da massagem é de nos relaxar a nós e à nossa pele, tornando-a mais receptiva ao tratamento. Um pouco como os preliminares antes do sexo. Sim, foi a melhor metáfora que me ocorreu.

Todas as peles têm necessidades diferentes. Mesmo a nossa própria pele difere em áreas tão pequenas como a da nossa cara: nariz oleoso mas bochechas secas, por exemplo. O tratamento é, assim, personalizado ao máximo, em vez de ser um padrão igual para toda a gente.

Os tratamentos variam em duração, e terminam com mais uns minutinhos de relaxamento. Aquele que me foi aplicado foi o Reestruturante e Alisante.

O ritual começa por uma fase de iniciação: limpeza do rosto e do pescoço com Lait Oxigenant VIP O2 e esfoliação/hidratação com aplicação por pressão da Lotion P50. A pele é equilibrada e assim preparada para a aplicação do Complexe Restructurant et Lissant. O tratamento é completado por uma massagem de modelagem. A pele é refrescada, alisada e tonificada. Golpe de hidratação duradoura.

E quando acabou? Ninguém me toque, eu estou radiante. Pensei que este tipo de pele só conseguia ver em dramas Coreanos. Nunca senti a pele tão saudável, nunca esteve tão bonita. Simplesmente adorei.

Não tenho fotografias pós-tratamento porque às vezes não uso a cabeça. Este foi um desses momentos. Fica para uma próxima.
Mas afinal quanto custa?

Um tratamento pode ir dos 50 aos 120€. Isto em nenhuma maneira indica que os tratamentos mais baratos são menos eficientes que os outros — apenas que são diferentes. Eles abordam questões diferentes, variam em duração, e os produtos usados podem custar menos ou mais.

E agora perguntam, mas posso continuar o tratamento em casa? Claro que sim. No final da sessão, a/o esteticista prescreve-nos uma rotina e uma lista de produtos adequados à nossa situação específica — muito como um boticário no tempo deles.

Claro que não temos de traze-los a todos, ou mesmo nenhum, mas se assim o quisermos, temos essa possibilidade. Os preços variam bastante, deste 27 a 200€. Relembro que estes são cosméticos de “alta-costura” que não conseguimos obter sem uma “prescrição”.

Aconselho vivamente a experimentarem, quer sintam necessidade de ter um cuidado extra com a vossa pele, ou apenas pelo direito de nos mimarmos a nós próprias(os).

Tal como não podia deixar de ser, a Ana Teresa está a oferecer às/aos leitoras(es) do meu blogue um diagnóstico gratuito e ainda 10% de desconto num tratamento. 

Para tal, basta indicarem que vão da minha parte utilizando o seguinte código quando fizerem a marcação:


O diagnóstico demora aproximadamente 30 minutos e deve ser marcado com antecedência. Este desconto é válido até setembro de 2016!

A morada e os contactos estão disponíveis no site da Ana Teresa — o gabinete situa-se mesmo no centro do Porto, e é extremamente simples de lá chegar, seja de carro ou transportes públicos.

HAUL △ Kiko Milano

| On
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
You probably already know how much I really like Kiko.

Kiko is an Italian brand of makeup and cosmetics that, I believe, has only recently made its debut in the US. Kiko does not test their products on animals, and you can find a wide range of them which are also paraben-free. They have a big variety of products for all skin tones and types, and they're, surprise surprise, very affordable.

I decided to compile a list of things I got during November-December last year, most of these were also my birthday gift to myself, making use of the birthday discount you get if you register on their website and place an order online.

▻ starting with the face 

CC Cream Cushion System with SPF 25 in WB15 — For those of you that don't know, the CC cream is the evolution of the very famous BB cream, though they're not meant to have the same job. BB stands for beauty balm and CC stands for colour/complexion correcting. I have tried a few Korean BB Creams, but this is the first CC Cream I'm actually trying out so I can't really explain all the differences to you since my experience is limited. But if you wanna know more about it, just quickly skim through this article. Now back to what matters. I have mixed feelings about this product. I find that sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn't. I love the packaging, the mirror is great, the texture is thin and buildable. Now, I do have predominantly dry skin, and that is why I can't love this product. It sticks like nobody's business to dry patches. It's not that easy to blend once it's on your face, but I think that might also be the little sponge it comes with's fault. However, if your skin is smooth or even a little bit on the oily side, I think it works really well. It stays on a long time, doesn't get cake-y and it doesn't dry out your skin either.

I only did one swipe when swatching... I probably should have done more. Left to Right: powder, blush, bronzer.
Soft Light Powder in 01 — The product with this name and packaging has been discontinued, but I do believe it's exactly the same as their Radiant Fusion Baked Powder, which I think is the newer version. This is a finishing/setting powder with light coverage and a silky touch. It very subtly illuminates the skin, so I find that it's perfect to set the concealer, brow bone, chin and other areas you might want to draw attention to without overdoing it with shimmers. I use a Real Techniques Setting Brush with it.

Soft Touch Blush in 107 Tomato — That's a funny name for a blush but don't worry, this isn't a tomato-red kind of shade. It's an aged, peachy red hue and I find that it looks stunning on brunettes especially. This one is extremely pigmented so be careful unless you're going for that sunburnt look.

Flawless Fusion Bronzer Powder in 01 Natural Tan — You don't know how happy I was to find this one. Their old line of bronzers was nice, but they were all way too dark for a ghost-skin like me and I don't exactly have the lightest hand when it comes to applying makeup... so don't give me anything too pigmented, I'm not that skilled. Their Flawless Fusion line bronzers are matte, buildable and look incredibly natural, so they're great for contouring. Again, I'm really loving this metallic packaging, it looks super clean and high-end.

▻ moving on to lips

Automatic Precision Lip Liner in 500 Natural Rose — Nude shade for lighter lipsticks. Super creamy, glides on beautifully. Comes with a sharpener and an applicator to smudge out the line or create a gradient effect.

Double Match Lipstick & Lipliner in 03 Strawberry Pop — This two-in-one product is from their Campus Idol collection, so it is a limited edition. I got it because I wanted to try out something from the collection and because I don't have any other colour that is as bright as this one (in case you haven't noticed, I tend to go for either blood reds, mauves, peaches or dark hues). The formula is pretty similar to the other Kiko lip products — creamy, great colour payoff, has an even application... what else can I say.

Luscious Cream Lipstick in 505 Dark Tea Rose and 520 Mauve — This is it. These are my two shades, I can't emphasise how much I love them. I've spoken all about the formula so I don't want to repeat myself too much. The only thing I don't like in these is the packaging. It looks nice, but if you keep it in your purse or something the holographic paint (?) will start flaking off. One of the first things to disappear was the number of the lipstick, so I had to write it down with a permanent marker. But hey, for 6,90€ (actually, they're down to 2€ now!!!) you can't have it all.

Left to Right: Automatic Precision lipliner in 500, Double Match lipstick and lipliner in 03, Luscious Cream lipstick in 520 and 505.

▻ then, the eyes 

Because I'm dumb, I forgot to take a picture to show you the packaging of these products. I got two eyeliners — one liquid and one pencil — and one mascara.

Super Colour Eyeliner in 100 Pearly White — If you've seen this picture of me on Instagram, that is what I have on above my black eyeliner. This is such a pretty colour and I love how well it goes with the traditional cat-eye. Don't forget to shake the package before using it, or the glitter will naturally settle on the bottom of it.

Kajal Khôl Pencil — I don't know why I got this one... well, I do, I wanted a black eyeliner, but I should have gone for the Automatic Precision Eyeliner instead of the pencil version, because I absolutely hate having to sharpen makeup items. So much product goes to waste and it rarely ever returns to how it used to be; either the end keeps breaking or it doesn't sharpen evenly all around... it's a mess and it annoys me greatly. This one is very soft and easy to work with if you're going for a smokey look. Although it says it is meant to be used on your waterline, I don't find that it lasts there at all, so if that's what you're looking for, consider investing in something else.

Top: Super Colour eyeliner ; Bottom: Kajal Khôl pencil
Luxurious Lashes Maxi Brush Mascara — The effect on your lashes is definitely not as dramatic as the size of the applicator, but it's still pretty good. It doesn't clump or glue your eyelashes together, the brush combs the product through them beautifully. Although it isn't waterproof, I've had no major problems with fall-outs up to 8h so I think that's great! Overall, it gives you a very natural but refined look.

The applicator is wider than my eye. It's insane, but I love it.
Try not to poke an eye out with this thing.

▻ lastly, nails

I only got one nail polish this time (I know, how well-behaved of me), and I intended to use it during Christmas... but the package didn't come in time for that. 

Nail Lacquer in 493 Vino Perlato — My obsession with Kiko started precisely because of their nail polishes, way before I even got into wearing makeup on a daily basis. They have every colour you can imagine at a ridiculously low price. And just look at this one, look at how much dimension it has. I'm planning on doing a look with it soon-ish, so keep an eye out on my Instagram.  

That's it, friends. Tell me if you have any Kiko or other makeup product you'd like me to review/try out! 

2016 △ New Year jumpstart

| On
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Oh yes, I am alive. I'm aware that I've been missing for almost a month now, and I apologise for it. You see, it seems like either the stars didn't align for me in the beginning of this year, or I have some shitty planet casting shade on my luck, because I've just had all sorts of situations happen to me. If I were to list them all down, it would probably be a Lemony Snicket 2.0. I'm half-expecting to be run over by a truck or for the ceiling to come crashing down or to find myself infected with rabies by now. Literally anything is possible.

But enough of misfortunate events. I've done my mourning, I've kicked and revolted against life all I possibly could, and now that all that pent-up energy and frustration is mostly gone (it feels like a hangnail now; better leave it be), let's focus back on this little hut.

I am aware that the title of this post is very ironic, especially with all that I've just told you, but I hope it doesn't come too late. The fact is that I had this idea planned out for a long time and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I hope at least someone finds anything in this relevant to them.

So here it is, a list of things I've compiled as both winter essentials and to help you keep those New Year resolutions without, hopefully, losing your motivation halfway through.

▻ keep a planner

That wasn't hard to guess, was it. Truth is, I've never ever kept a planner throughout an entire year. With school, I just scribbled test dates and essay deadlines on the back of the notebook or on my phone. Needless to say, I often had to go around and ask when this or that was due, and I often went into class not knowing a test was going to happen that day... let's say I wasn't the most exemplar student.

This year, however, I decided to change things around. I'm no longer a student and I'm officially an (now unemployed again) adult, so I have to keep track of my life. I can't miss out doctor's appointments and I need to take my car to checkups and highlight the days my friends and I can finally meet — I need to do adult things. But, very much like a non-adult, I probably wouldn't have gotten a planner if I hadn't ran into this cacti print one by a lovely Portuguese shop called Rosa Com Canela.

If you're following me on Instagram (if you're not, go do it because I said so), you probably already know I have a serious obsession with cacti. Hence why this particular agenda just stole my heart. I do believe they ship internationally and they just have a panoply of cute stationary stuff (and more!) so definitely check them out. They are very much all about little details — their planners have anti-stress colouring pages that seem to be all the rage nowadays.

▻ make memories (and keep them)

I believe I got this little baby back in 2011 from Amazon, but I don't remember the seller. This is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 25. If you're unfamiliar with these cameras, they are called instant cameras, popularised by the great Polaroid. Some people hate them, others, like me, adore them.

There's just something about the instant gratification of seeing your photograph materialised, of being able to keep it in your wallet or hang it or give it to someone as a gift. Something about the fact that every single photo is individual, just like every moment in life. There's no SD card, so everything you have is on film. And every single film is unique, so treasure them.

I realised that I didn't use it at all throughout the year of 2015 when I picking it up to record Christmas and the batteries were dead and the film had yellowed. I definitely don't want it to happen again. The Golden Age Work Play Life album is from yesstyle. I got it at the same time I got the camera so you probably can't find it anymore, but they do have plenty of nice ones in their website.

▻ exfoliate those layers

I don't mean just the dead skin; exfoliate all the sticky, unnecessary, troublesome, burdensome aspects of your life. But yes, let's start with your skin. During winter, we tend to dry up like prunes. First it's the weather, then it's the water you're not drinking because it's too cold and you're not as thirsty... if you really want to hydrate your skin successfully, you can't be lathering lotion on skin that seems to have a crust on it — that way you'll be moisturising the dead layers, the debris, and just caking yourself up.

Scrub away. (But gently.)

I actually don't have a face exfoliant that has won me over after I started making my own, but I have two for the body that I adore.

— ObeyYourBody's Soothing Body Scrub in Kiwi is a salt and oil-based scrub that's supposedly recommended for every day use. Now, I don't feel the need to exfoliate every day, and the product really is a bit on the expensive side... but it does smell amazing and leaves your skin feeling like heaven.

— Beauticology's Shower Scrub in Pink Grapefruit & Raspberry also smells insanely good. It has a gel-like consistency and the grains are very gentle on your skin. To be completely honest, I don't feel like this is exfoliant at all, it's more like... a regular shower gel with a tickle. I know that sounded completely wrong but I'm not sorry. I still quite like it.

Kiko's mask, followed by the OYB's scrub and the Beauticology's.
Face masks are always a great idea to pamper yourself throughout the year and keep your skin from parching in the winter. Kiko has some very nice, affordable ones. The one I'm showing is the Purifying Mask: it works best on combined and oily skin types, but it also acts as an exfoliant. It dries like a clay mask on your skin but when you rub it off, those little bits you see on the swatch on my wrist will help scrub away any dead skin.

▻ nourish 

Serums are traditionally the products in a brand that have the highest concentration of active ingredients per ounce of product, hence why they also tend to be the most expensive. You put them on after the toner and before the moisturiser. They are absorbed quickly and are generally used with a specific aim — to treat something. Spots, wrinkles, lack of elasticity, discolouration, you name it. There's a serum for every condition out there.

One of my resolutions for this year is definitely to take my skincare game up a notch. I'm chronically lazy when it comes to it, but I do want to be better at it. I'll go into more detail on an upcoming post!

The Seacret's Balancing Facial Serum is the one I am currently using. It costs about as much as one of my kidneys, probably, but I did get a reasonable discount at the time I purchased it. I cannot stress how much I adore this product. It smells very faintly like the sea — it's a surprisingly fresh smell, and it feels absolutely amazing on the skin. I use one pump twice a day, and it's enough to cover my face and neck area. I've struggled with dry patches on my face for the longest time now, and this stuff just... wow. I sincerely believe it is what helped to even my skin out.

All of these products are paraben free and cruelty free. Have a look at my last post to understand why this is so important to me. 

▻ don't neglect ; moisturise  

A while ago I ordered a kilo of organic beeswax and coconut oil because I had some DIY projects in mind. This is the very first baby that came out of it. It's a lip and cuticle balm made with beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil, cocoa butter and Vitamin E. It's completely organic, has no conservatives or perfumes, and I made a very small batch just to see how it would come out. Maybe I'm biased because I made it, but I'm so proud of how it turned out. I carry it everywhere with me. 

You know how your nostrils get really dry and raw when you have a cold and you have to blow your nose so many times? I've had two colds since the beginning of the year (I know, I'm on a roll) and this stuff is seriously the only thing that I could tolerate and helped my skin to heal. Because it has no alcohol or harsh chemicals on it, it won't burn like probably your daily moisturiser will. On top of that, it's just loaded with good stuff.

I gave one out to my good friend Marta at Aesthetic Chic after she so kindly allowed me to do her nails, so here's to hoping she enjoys it.

But my point is, keep, at the very least, lip balm and hand cream in your bag so you can touch up during the day. You already probably use your hands as tools, so don't neglect them, show them love, appreciate them.

▻ keep out the cold 

Let me tell you the sad story about my permanently cold feet. And hands. And nose. As ironic as it is, it's harder for me to keep at least my feet warm when I'm at home then when I'm out and about, since I'm usually being a good ol' sloth when inside the house and not moving. Aside from the warm socks (these are from H&M), blankets and more blankets, there's one big holy grail that's pretty much the equivalent to my teddy bear — my hot water bottle.

It's dressed in a Cath Kidston case, but it has others. This water bottle has been with me for seriously over a decade now (probably two?!) and not only does it keep the cold out, it also has other properties as well. It helps me out when I have a stomach ache or period cramps, when I can't sleep or feel mildly anxious about something. If you've never experienced the wonders of one of these, then I seriously suggest you get your hand on one (or five).

I'm certainly not the only one who enjoys it.

Cookie, our rescue dog

▻ back to backpacks

To some of you, the idea of wearing a backpack like you did as a kid is probably inconceivable. But to those who are still in school or generally travel a lot back and forth, especially on public transports, you know comfort has to come first. And when you're juggling with thick jackets, umbrellas, fighting the rain and the wind's wrath, the last thing you want to do is compromise your notes, books, or whatever equipment you are carrying.

I have a problem. Not only do I already look like a 12-year-old whenever I wear a backpack, I also tend to go for those with more... let's put it this way, those with cute prints. I already had one with kittens, which followed me all throughout university life, and then I received this Puppy Backpack for Christmas.

This one is especially great for winter. It's water-resistant, has padded straps and compartments (if you want to carry your laptop), lots of room, and have you seen the Frenchies all over it, I mean... I know. I have a problem.

That's it. 

This post takes a few turns from beginning to end, so congratulations to you if you're still with me. I'm glad to be back and I'll try to be around more frequently from now on. Also try to not write posts all over the place. But who am I kidding.

Have a jolly good day,

Filipa ♡

LIFE CHANGES △ cruelty-free

| On
Monday, January 11, 2016

I've been gearing up to make this transition since the first time I was introduced to the topic, on my second year of high school. This English teacher we had at the time showed us a video called the The Meatrix. You can see that the video is already almost 10 years old, but sadly, the reality you see in the video hasn't changed much.

The Meatrix is a simple animation that tells the story of how the meat industry actually works. It's meant to be shown to kids, so of course it keeps things fairly PG, but if you are of age and think you can stomach it, I deeply suggest that you look more into it and seek real footage. Paul McCartney has this incredible video that sums up the reality of the industry and emphasises this idea,
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian." 
There are a lot of reasons as to why I wasn't able to make the change back then. I did stop consuming fast food (like McDonalds) right away, and I was able to convince the people here at home that if we had to eat meat and eggs, that they should at least be organic. But the number one reason is that I was not the one buying the groceries or making an income, and I was not the only one being fed at home. Underage and without a saying, I stuck to eating the least animal-based products I could and underlining the idea of going organic to everyone around me.

But I am now twenty-two years of age, and I am finally starting to make an income. It's not much, but it is something, and it's definitely enough for me to make a statement.
So this is me, pledging to fully become a vegetarian by the end of 2016, and that any animal products I consume such as eggs, cheese, yogurt or honey are all organic and ethically harvested and treated. 
Leading a full-on green lifestyle is extremely hard. We as humans exploit other animals in unimaginable ways. It's not just about going vegan and not wearing fur: what about the wool in your socks, the down in your jackets, the leather skirt? What about animal testing and zoos and circuses and puppy mills? Sometimes you can't avoid it. Sometimes you don't even know what you have just helped, what your money is fuelling... but this age is ruled by the Internet, and if there is anything that the Internet can do well is to open your eyes.

We all have AT LEAST one obligation in this world, and that is to be the best fucking human we can be. So please, don't be indifferent. Seek information, consider a change.

As a consequence of this, I can happily inform you that,
From now on, I will not be purchasing, reviewing or raving about any cosmetics whose companies actively perform tests on animals. 
I will not be throwing away the products I currently have and that I unknowingly bought thinking they were cruelty-free (coughs Benefit coughs), but I will not be repurchasing them. This is actually a tricky one, because I knew animal testing had been banned in Europe in 2013. So I thought, if a product said it was made in the EU, that it was automatically exempt of guilt — this is not always true.

To sum it up, if a product is sold in mainland China, that is usually a warning sign. You can read more about it here. That includes most brands you're so used to seeing everyday, everywhere: L'Oreal, Lâncome, Clinique, YSL, Mac... the list goes on. If you go to their websites, you'll usually find this under their animal-testing policy:
"Our brand does not test on animals except in countries where it is required by law."
Or some shit like that. That's downright fucking outrageous.

To do some explanatory reading on the matter and check out cruelty-free brands, have a look at Cruelty Free Kitty. If you want to get information on a particular brand, you can check PETA's website or Leaping Bunny's. If you are out shopping and need information ASAP, have a look at these free apps that allow you to search up a company's name and make sure they are indeed clean.

That is it. I'm sorry this post is long, no pretty pictures or unicorns peeking through my words, but it is an announcement I needed to make. I sincerely hope that you all, if not now then whenever you can, consider making a change. At the very least, be conscious.

All the love to you and a wonderful 2016,

Filipa ♡

UPDATE △ December Blues

| On
Friday, December 25, 2015
I'm not used to having so much happening in such a short amount of time in my life. These past two months have been a whirlwind of emotions, progress, surprises - both good and bad. 

Christmas Polaroids
As I've mentioned, I haven't been able to post because I've been busy at work (which I am thoroughly enjoying), but mostly because I just suck at time management. Whenever I have some free time, I am either sleeping, walking the dog, or working on Christmas preparations.

I started off the month feeling awfully festive, even making my own Christmas decorations. But as days went by and situations changed the circumstances and the general mood here at home, the festiveness was extinguished. I had, at most, a glimpse of holiday spirit today while putting on my makeup and cable knit jumper, even though I didn't bother changing out of my sweatpants for the evening. 

It hasn't been easy. 

I feel like it's another year and another person is gone and I'm just struggling to be the glue when in fact I've dried up and can no longer hold on or keep us together. So much for the word 'family'. And in the process of reinventing my expectations for the holidays and accepting reality I couldn't manage to decide what to write about. Sure, I have product reviews and other projects coming up, but December is such a dear month to me, and it's going by so fast, that I have decided to reminisce over it.

I turned twenty-two this month.

By sheer coincidence, I had the day off, so I was able to schedule it according to my mood. It was lovely. I slept late, cuddled up with the pup. I had lunch with two of the most important people in my life. I drank orange juice. I baked my own birthday cake, iced it with lilac buttercream frosting, which oddly comes out greyish in the pictures. I wore my favourite sweater. I tried out glitter eyeliner. I went to the movies, to watch The Suffragettes. As a strident feminist, it felt most appropriate, most accomplishing, most rewarding. I pampered myself. I didn't allow anyone to ruin my day.

For years I had been nagged at because I shied away from parties and gatherings. Because I didn't want to commemorate my birthday with large groups or be with people who don't really matter to me. It is my choice. I am an introvert, I like my people. My time. It's a special day for me, let me spend it however I wish to do it. Let me spend every other day however I wish to do it. 

I like the team at work. I don't feel like I belong, but I feel like I am a part of it. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense... what I mean is, I feel as though I am on the sidelines, away from the core, but I still feel useful. I receive smiles every day. People help each other. There is no discrimination against self-expression there. No discrimination against your gender, your size, the colour of your skin, how many tattoos you have or how old or young you are. Every one is worth something. I'm happy when I am working. 

And today... today was good. I may not have felt the giddiness I usually feel around Christmas, but it was still a good day. Tomorrow shall be too.

I don't know whether I can post before the New Year but if not... well, Happy Holidays. May you see a wonderful end to this year, and may the new one be kinder to you.

Wallace Claus, everyone. 


| On
Monday, December 14, 2015
Please ignore the fact that half of December has gone by already, thank you very mucho. I've only now had time to put together the pictures and edit this post, even if it has been written for quite a while. The thing is-- I am employed. At least until the end of December. And it's been hella hectic but I'm enjoying it a lot minus the fact that it sucks my energy dry and when I come home it's just impossible to work on the blog.

- end of rant -

Here is a list I've put together of products that have made me very happy this past November. Some of these can also be gift ideas for Christmas! December is going to be a very busy month for me, so I might not post as often as I want to. I wish you all good luck on your finals, if you are going to have them soon and Happy Holidays if you have already started them! Lucky you!

(If you are going through your finals, check out my post on things I have learned in university.)

RUSK Colour Protecting Grapefruit & Honey Shampoo - I know a lot of people don't like sulfate-free shampoos because they normally don't lather easily. Honestly, this was my first time using one and yes, it's true. You're not going to get as many suds from it as you will from a regular shampoo. However, I also find that this only happens the first time I shampoo my hair...? Because the second time I do it, it lathers just fine. I'm not quite sure why this happens, but it doesn't really bother me. In fact, this is on my favourite list for a reason, right. It has kept my colour just fine and it smells. so. good.

Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey Cologne - ...are you starting to see a pattern here, because I am. This is probably my favourite scent of all time. I cannot tell you how mad I am about the smell of peaches and apricots and this fragrance just... embodies it all. I love perfumes like this, that are very organic, very primal? Describing scents and colours is so hard, please bear with me.

Bobble Hat - I don't know if this is cheating but... I knitted this one. It is perhaps the first hat that I have made that I am completely happy with, and I love it so much that I'm not going to put it up on my Etsy shop. However I might end up making others and sharing the joy. When I'm less clogged with work. (cue sobbing)

Benefit FakeUp Concealer in Light - I wrote a review on this, yes I did, yes I did. My word stands, I love it.

Sony Headphones in Pink - Let's face it, Sony has some massive, great quality headphones -- which are also a lot more expensive. The sound in these is good, it blocks out the noise decently but what I really love about them is that they are super comfortable (don't give me headaches or make my ears burn), they're very affordable, and they're downright adorable -- and practical! The ear thingies fold in and it becomes flat and easy to store, say, in a backpack.

Kiko Double Touch Lipstick in 112 and 114 - I talked about this one on a post on Instagram the other day (if you're not following me, what are you waiting for??? just kidding) and yesterday I went to Kiko to get some goodies and some presents and another one of these babies was offered to me, so I picked a different shade. Liquid lipsticks are all the rage right now and you probably know just how much I love Kiko by now so... of course this had to be included on this list.

Coconut Oil - It's no breakthrough announcement that this stuff has been the holy grail of many other bloggers and vloggers out there. It has so many health benefits and it's a great, organic alternative for some things you might be storing in your bathroom. I've been using it as a hair mask for about a month now, and I do it once a week. My primary goal was to stimulate the growth when I started using it and I've really noticed quite a difference! My hair also feels a lot softer and looks healthier, less dry. Because the cold seasons dry out the hair and skin, make sure to pamper them nicely.

Rituals Candle in Tea Time - Rituals's candles are pretty expensive, so I understand if that repels you right away-- but just listen to me, alright. I've had this one for the longest time. I seriously think I bought it in the beginning of the year. Now, I don't burn it every day, nor do I do it for a long time, so that is probably why it's still going. This one smells amazing and you get a whiff of it pretty quickly. I wouldn't suggest leaving it on and then forgetting about it since the smell can get very intense. I hate it when you buy a candle that smells nice but when it burns it literally smells like nothing smeared on nothing with a sprinkle of nothing. (Sadly, I think the Tea Time scent has been discontinued.)

Cheap Monday Sweater in Mint Melange - I have to shut up about this already.

last but not least...

Costa's Gingerbread Latte - How basic of me. Nothing gets me excited for the cold season like this little beverage. So much joy in a cup. ♡

That is all! What are some of the things that made you happy this past November? Or that you are currently enjoying right now, even!