You may remember my May's Mini Goals: I'm super proud to say I'm keeping faith to all my promises: as you may see I went back to watercolor painting and I'm really enjoying it, I also started reading Game of Thrones, I'm sticking to my routine about everyday, and I also had the opportunity to visit new places. A only trip into nature wasn't what I was thinking, but I unfortunately have to shift my plans to next month. Last week though, when I still was able to walk properly and wasn't bounded to bed with a bandaged foot, me and my boyfriend had a lovely day exploring a new natural place we both found super lovely.
We passed the afternoon in this cute place where three rivers meet, walking down little tree-lined paths surrounded by nature, flowers, water's and little animals sounds and we even found a little place where to start our project of creating our own Relationship Photo Album. It was so refreshing eating some delicious and all natural Yu! Just Fruit Chews in Strawberry* while immersed in the nature and during such a warm sunny spring day. We walked on a super tight shaky footbridge over the biggest river - which was a bit scary but the view was beautiful, and I found a new little friend over my shoulder: a cute ladybug. When it was time for icecream we simply went for it as the weather was warm enough and we were pretty hungry: chocolate and sour black cherries is always been my favorite flavor (do you remember?).
I'm so happy and enthusiast about this wonderful place that I really want to come back in the upcoming future, but I have a lot of other plans for next month! But this is the proof you don't have to go far to find a breathtaking natural place where to spend a healthy afternoon, and I promise I won't forget about this place when we won't know where to pass our afternoons in summertime.
Did you visit any natural places around you recently?
It all started with me gitfing some polaroid instagram pictures to my boyfriend for his birthday and then again for Christmas last year, and since then I was thinking of creating a sort of photo diary of our relationship. I know nowadays you can pay someone to print your photo diary for you, but we thought to do it the old classic way and print our pictures, buy a cute photo album, and together stick all our pictures we made together in a cronological order to always have some illustrated memories at our fingertips.
We hadn't a lot of actual big good quality pictures together but we saved some on our phones and I decided to print them in a cute polaroid shape last year, and for this purpose Polagram came so useful. It's a super handy iPhone app (also available on Android) that make you choose between your phone's pictures and actually print them for only a few pounds. They send them to your home within only a few days in a super cute pink envelope which is adorable, however there's also Printic which is a very similar app with slightly different prices. They both allow you to choose between different sizes and styles and always have super convenient discounts if you're subscribed to their newsletters.
Back in March though, we went for a trip to London, our first trip together on our very own, and brought a proper camera with us and took a lot of good quality pictures. We recently decided to print them together with our pictures we started taking with a proper camera since then, and we chose a bigger format for our good quality pictures. Photobox came in our help when it was all about printing up to 80 pictures all together for a reasonable price, and I'm so happy with all of them! They are big and look beautiful and fit perfectly with the style we decided to go for our photo album.
Talking about photo albums, I just fell in love with the Paperchase Kraft Scrap Book With Ribbon (£8.50) as soon as I saw it on ASOS and simply had to get it so I did. It such a good quality album and even if it's not an actual photo album, it's perfect for this purpose and we managed to make it look super simple and elegant on the inside as it is on the outside. I love the black ribbon and the rusty feeling it has, such a simple and neutral style with just a little feminine touch which is perfect for our little project.
Creating something together is super nice and fun, we had a really good time choosing our pictures, looking and laughing at them, finding a little cute natural place where to start sticking them to our album and doing the actual hard work was really nice and relaxing as everything else when made with your better half on your side. We decided together to go for some Transparent Photo Corners instead of tape to make it look more put together and avoid to stick anything on our pictures. They are a bit of a pain when it comes to apply them to your photos, but the final result is beautiful and the best part of it is that we can move our pictures where we want anytime. We aren't even halfway through the 100 pages of our album and we can't wait for having other pictures to be printed in the upcoming future! I can't suggest a nicer craft project to do with your better half - and let me tell you, even boys can actually enjoy something like this as it's the best way to go back through all your memories together and re-live them all, storing them in a safe, cute and forever yours little place.
Do you like the idea of a relationship memories album?
I'm having a really tough time recently trying so hard to avoid dairy food as I'm almost sure cheese is not well accepted by my own body. I never drink cow milk since a year or so and this was a big step, but cheese is my little weakness and removing it completely from my diet is too hard. I'm trying to eat it the least I can though, and one big step I've made is to stop including it in all the recipes I try even if they don't really need its presence. On the other hand I love tofu and I've always eaten tofu vegetarian meatballs with a lot of parmesan cheese included in the mixture, but recently I adapted my original recipe to my temporary non-dairy diet and they come out pretty good, so I wanted to share them with you...
For 5 tofu balls you'll need:
- 180g Tofu
- 1 medium egg
- 4 tablespoons chopped zucchini
- 2 + 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon + a pinch of salt
First thing I always do is chopping the tofu into little squares and throwing it into the mixer until it's all super finely chopped. I then move it into a big bowl and add an egg to the mixture, this will make it more sticky and it will be easier to build together our tofu balls in the end. I then added 4 tablespoons of chopped zucchini to enrich the taste, but here you can add whatever vegetable you'd like, I sometimes go for some lightly stir-fried leek or onion, but I also love them with some chopped eggplant, tomatoes or peppers. I then added two tablespoons of bread crumbs to make my mixture a bit thicker and lastly 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I mixed all together and then started shaping five medium balls out of it, rolled them in two (or so) tablespoons of bread crumbs and then fried them in a pan on both sides until they were golden brown. Lastly I dusted a pinch of salt on top.
If you don't like how tofu taste but want to add it to your diet for any kind of reason, this is the perfect recipe for you - it's so good and tasty, and you can spice it up as you desire to make it better to your own taste. These are so delicious, completely vegetarian, not too heavy but a complete meal and can be pared with a good old rich salad or just eaten on their own, they can also be stored and eaten a few hours later, maybe at work, just lightly reheated in a microwave. This little, super quick and easy recipe is now a staple of my vegetarian diet and I couldn't live without my super yummy tofu balls, so hopefully you can enjoy them as well!
Will you try this recipe?
For many years of my life I lived passively and never really came across something I was very passionate about and that catched my attention and made me enjoy what I was doing. Recently though, as every spring or even more this year, I'm opening my windows and letting some fresh air to come in my life and as a result of this, even though I haven't even started catching up with my biggest dreams and plans, I and my soul definitely feel a lot better and I can definitely see how embracing life and what it has to bring without regrets and not being trapped in a commitment I don't like is changing my general mood and my own way to approach a lot of different situations. You know that feeling of a breath of fresh air when spring comes and you just feel like winter is over and it's time to be productive and creative - this is exactly how I'm feeling right now that my life is changing so fast but in a super sweet kind of way. I feel productive and creative, I always have a lot of new ideas and projects in mind and I simply love that feeling when, like opening a window after a long winter, you have to think that it's all changing towards a better direction. Having goals in life is the best way to live, having big and little goals to follow is what makes you go on strongly and helps you grow, so I finally came up with this new big goal of stopping myself of not having big goals and dreams in life anymore.
You may already know I'm a combination skin girl and having combination skin isn't as easy as it sounds when it comes to pick up some skincare products as depending on your own skin you may need some hydrating products as well as a few spot treatments. I have a little selection of products that work wonders on me and I wanted to share them, but even though I call them "combination skin heroes" please always remember your skin is surely different from mine and some of them may don't work for you as they do on me.
Although when I remove my makeup I often go for something on the oily side (oily products are the best in removing waterproof makeup), there's nothing better than the feeling of a bit of Bioderma Sebium H2O (£9.99) which is very similar to the original Bioderma micellar water but for oily or combination skins. This isn't as good in removing my eye makeup as the original Bioderma and it's slightly fragranced, but is very soothing and leave my skin always feeling cleaner but not dehydrated. It's thought to help in getting rid of impurities and in giving a smooth skin's texture. Something to use on a daily basis is the Aveeno Cream (£6.99) which is for me the perfect day face moisturizer: containing oatmeal it aims to hydrate dry and sensitive skin, but I think this is great for combination skin as well as it sinks in super easly, hydrates but not too much and is very light on the skin so that it can be applied under your makeup as well.
I have acne prone skin and I always want to keep cystic acne and spot at bay, and my most loyal ally against breakouts are BHAs which make the world of good for my skin and really works in avoiding spots and keeping my acne at bay. I love the Effaclar range from La Roche-Posay and my skin can't be more thankful to both the Astringent Micro-Exfoliant Lotion (£10.20) and the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (£13.15). Both contains BHAs to help gently exfoliate over clogged pores, control shine and avoid the appearance of blemishes, but the former comes in a toner shape which I use after cleansing my skin, and the latter is a lovely and light serum to be applied before your usual moisturizer which truely makes wonders in keeping acne at bay. Another amazing product for acne prone skins is the Decleor Prolagene Lift Peeling Gel* (£46.50) which contains AHAs instead and is a chemical exfoliator to be used once or twice a week when you feel your skin need a detoxifying treatment. This acts in only 5 minutes and it's super easy to use and rinse off, but it really works wonders in exfoliating your skin and leaving a smoother complexion.
For dull skin days or a weekend treat I love having a face mask session and the best in suiting my skin are the Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask (£21.50) and the Soap & Glory No Clogs Allowed Detox Mask (£11.50). The former is super nice for combination skin as it brings the right amount of hydration while having also antibacterical properties and for that reason is also perfect for avoiding blemishes to appear. I also use this as overnight treatment on any blemish or spot I want to get rid of, and when comes the morning I always see a huge improvement. The latter is perfect for who has a combination to oily skin and need a little detox treatment now and again as this blue mask really helps to purify pores and avoiding shine.
Do you have any combination skin hero?
I have those periods when I love and find time to have a good reading session and those when I really can't catch up with all my favorite blogs contents. Luckly I'm in a very creative and active period right now and I love scrolling through my Bloglovin's feed and discover plenty of good reading material. I thought I could share some love to my favorite blogs and share with you some handpicked contents from them that I really loved reading recently, and this can hopefully became a periodic thing to do here on this blog.
- Mango Salad With Rhubarb Ginger Dressing + Chili Almonds | this really made me crave some mango and make me realize I can actually eat it in a lot of different ways from what I'm used to, but in general it was a really pleasant read.
- The Little Things | I always love this kind of posts and seeing what makes people happy on their daily basis, not even mentioning that Little Winter is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite blogs to read.
- London's Hidden Gems | I wish this post was written a few months ago so that I could had took advantage of those recommendations during my trip to London two months ago, but this will come useful for sure sooner or later when me and my boyfriend will keep faith to our promise to visit London again (and again).
- Reasons To Meditate | this was such a relaxing post that really made me want to take some time for myself a little more ofen and try to meditate as well. Being that stressed person I am, this can't make nothing than a lot of good to me.
- Falling Back In Love With Blogging | Jen's blog has always been one of my favorite and on my daily to-read list, and this post of hers really reflects what I went through with my blog only a month ago and made me remember how monotonous and boring I felt my blog was becoming, and made me realize once more that a little change torwards a more personal front can make you fall back in love with your little online space.
- Magazines We Should All Be Reading | I'm generally not a huge magazine fan but as I said I'm everyday more into finding new reading material and this post made me discover some new magazine with fascinating concepts which I should really give a read sometimes soon.
- Non-Dairy Chocolate Pudding | what can I say? I'm a huge guacamole fan and I couldn't think of a different way to use avocado when I'm cooking, but this lovely recipe really opened my mind and now that I just bought an avocado I do know what I'm going to do with it.
What are you enjoy reading recently?
Food is my weakness and one of the thing I love most doing in life is cooking and baking, so of course I have some food apps to check on my iPhone's screen. They come super handy when you don't know what to cook for lunch and what to serve for something different, or when you simply want to discover new recipes. There are lots of good food apps out there, but these four are my all time favorites and I thought I could share them with you today.
1. Primerose Bakery (£2,49) - founded by the owners of a London's phisical cupcake shop, this is a collection of the most delicious and beautiful dessert recipes out there. This is one of the first apps I ever downloaded and bought years ago, and they only recently added a few more recipes and gave it a little makeover and now it has the prettiest inferface and it's super easy to navigate through and find your favorite recipes. I'm so picky with non-free apps but I can't deny I didn't hesitate a single minute before buying this and I can't recommend it enough. My favorite recipes are their classic chocolate brownies (which are the best!) and their afghan biscuits which are such a breakfast staple of mine.
2. Yummly (free) - this is a super smart app that allows you to browse through some of the best recipes on the internet which you can save and "yum" in one of their category to have them all very organized and sorted through breakfast, dinner, appetizer, dessert... It also features a very clever shopping list which I never use, but which could actually come pretty handy, but the thing I love the most is how easy it is to find something interesting within the recipes recommended to you according to your previous "yums".
3. Gojee (free) - it's a beautiful collection of handpicked recipes with beautiful photos which make you crave food so badly everytime. This is very similar to Yummly with their engine which selects the recipes you could love for you, but here you can like your favorites but above all browse through their lovely named categories and some of my favorites are Tofu For You, with a tun of yummy tofu recipes, Nutell-icious!, because I love Nutella, Blondies & Brownies, featuring very innovative and creative blondies and brownies recipes, and Sweet Sunday!, with some super delicious weekend dessert recipes.
4. Filibaba Smoothies (free) - with its motto "pick, blend, drink" this app was thought and created by a group of Swedish lovely people to share their passion for smoothies and vegetarian and vegan food. I love the vast selection of flavors and ideas and this is such an inspiring and well done app to have on your phone if you love fruit and smoothies. I love that you can select the metric and how every recipe has its own description and reason to be there. They're all very easy and quick recipes but they all looks so good and I can't wait to try them all. This app inspired my beloved Healthy antiox smoothie which is absolutely delicious and one of my favorite things at the moment.
Which are your favorite food apps?
Springtime makes me think of nature, my own garden filled of flowering trees and seeds and potting soil and vases and gardening. If you were planning to have your little herb garden, whether in a vase or in the ground, spring is definitely the best time to start and even though I'm no expert at all here are a few tricks and tips I've learned...
Depending on what kind of little garden you want to build, you can buy seeds from your local grocery store or your most loved florist and if you plan to make it in a big vase, remember you need some potting soil too. Although you definitely can keep the seeds from the fruit you actually eat and leave them dry and dehydrate in the sun, you can only plant them the next year. Some great example are tomatoes, melons, eggplants and zucchini. For making things easier you can buy and transplant some little buds which is what my mum does with tomatoes and peppers. You'll need to really take care of them and watering them very often.
Also even though spring is definitely the best time to start your little garden, you should always keep in mind all the seeds have to be planted in particular and different times of the year and they will take different timings to go bigger depending on their features: leek, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, salad need to be planted during spring and the majority of them will grow fast within a few months, but strawberries, grape, melons all have different timing for being planted and growing and the better way to know all these informations is always directly ask to your florist or read the seeds packaging.
Having a little herb garden is something that can come pretty handy as you won't need to buy any herb anymore for you cooking and you can use what grows in your little kitchen garden. Something on a longer term prospective is planting a little fruit tree, which could be an issue if you don't have a garden, but I love seeing them flowering during springtime and eating some freshly harvested fruits is one of the most satisfactory and healthier feelings.
Having my little own garden is pretty satisfactory as a hobby and pretty healthy as well as you know exactly what you're eating and it really is a good feeling going out in your garden to harvest some of your own vegetables instead of going out and buying them already done from the grocery store. Also you'll notice your vegetables and herbs will all have a different flavor and if you love cooking like I do, having your own rosemary, basil or sage can really make the difference in your dishes.
Do you have your own kitchen garden? Any tips?
You may already know I had considered the purchase of a Tangle Teezer for a really long time and I finally went for it as soon as I saw it live for the first time ever a few months ago. My doubts were lots as I didn't really know if I'll ever need something like a good detangling brush as my hair isn't difficult or too painful to comb. I was pretty intrigued though by the reviews online and I have to admit I was pretty incouraged by the loss of too many locks of mine.
The Tangle Teezer should be a pretty innovative hair brush to help you detangle your hair painless and easier. It aims to be more gentle than every other hair brush and perfect for every hair type, suitable even for vulnerable and color treated hair. What really pushed me to buy it was that being thought to suit every hair needs as well as to be super gentle, I thought it could really make the difference in avoiding my hair loss.
So, is it worth? I don't think so. This is a very expensive hair brush in my opinion, and that's an amount of money I wasn't sure about spending on a brush, but being that everyone describes it as a phenomenal tool, I thought it could really be worth. I have really thick, oily and straight hair and rarely I have problems with tangles, and if you have a similar hair type to mine and are considering buying a Tangle Teezer yourself, I would say save your money for something better and keep using your usual hair brush (or buy a cheaper one) because on me the results are pretty much the same. Yes, you have a little cute tool to expose in your bathroom and it sometimes can avoid some painful processes (but for me it happens really rarely) - but nothing more than that really. I can't understand the hype and I wish I never changed my mind about avoiding this purchase. I can see this can be the magic answer to some hair types issue especially who has hair prone to tangle easly, but I'm really not that impressed at all. As regards the hair loss I found a good green shampoo helps a lot and gives the best results even if not paired with a similar tool.
Any other who doesn't love the Tangle Teezer out there?
Weekends are baking time for me and this time I decided to experiment with a new recipe for some delicious chocolate lava cakes and served it for breakfast - everyone was so enthusiast and being that this could actually be one of my favorite desserts to bake (& eat of course) I thought I could share my recipe with you. This can be a lovely dessert idea to serve to your better half after a special meal or for a romantic breakfast in bed and it's not a case this recipe makes the perfect amount of mixture to serve two super yummy chocolate lava cakes...
For two chocolate lava cakes you'll need:
- 125g dark chocolate
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 15g white flour
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of coffee powder
- icing sugar & strawberries for serving
Once baked you can remove them from the oven and leave them cool for a few minutes or until the ramekins can be handled and then reverse it on a cute little plate. Using the icing sugar and the strawberries try to embellish your dessert - I cut a strawberry in half and placed it around my little lava cake and sprinkled a bit of icing sugar on top. When you'll cut it with a spoon, it will reveal a soft and delicious chocolate heart which will supply the perfect amount of sweetness in your weekend. This dessert is super delicious and can be served in special occasions to friends, family or lover to leave them all super impressed even if it's just the easiest and quickest dessert to prepare and bake!
Will you try my lava cake's recipe?
I'm one of those persons who really needs to have some goals in life to actually feel like I'm getting something done, and this rule applies to big things as well as to little daily or monthly plans, so I thought I could start sharing some mini goals I'm trying to set myself every month or so - maybe just because it will feel so good ticking them all off at the end of the month.
Watercolor painting - In April I started my little business and refreshed my blog as well, and as any fresh new start or new thing to come, they brought to me a breath of fresh air and are really keeping my creativity alive, so that I'm everyday more into playing around with Photoshop and tech stuffs, but I'm actually planning to go back to watercolor painting and trying making something beautiful by hands and brushes.
Visiting new places - Everytime I visit new places I always keep wondering why I do it so rarely, and I'm planning to spend a lot more time visiting beautiful natural spots we are surrounded by. Also visiting new places is always so inspiring, brings back memories and feels so nice and refreshing. I should definitely do it a lot more often.
Sticking to my routine - Working from home is something lovely but sometimes can be so stressful especially if you tend to overdo and don't stick to a routine or to your own pre-estabilished working hours. And I always do that. I need to remember a lot more I have a life too and I can do something different but always creative even away from my computer, but mainly to stick to my working hours and don't continue working even late in the evening as this really makes my mood worst.
Reading - back in the days I loved reading and being captured by a book completely was one of my favourite things as it really brought me in other worlds and stimulated my fantasy, but nowadays is very rare I find time to read a book, or better, when I have free time I always prefer doing something different. I miss reading though, and I think this is the time I should come back to books and have some good reading sessions during the week. First on my to read list is Game of Thrones.
I thought to keep these mini goals pretty easy and not go too deep, as I know the little things can make my days better as well and I don't want to dream too big. So hopefully I'll be able to stick to them and make my month of May a little bit better and more creative.
What about your May's mini goals?
Being that I'm trying to make this blog more personal and have a really fresh contents that shows my personality a lot more, I thought I should embrace lifestyle posts a lot more and what better way to keep you updated than a weekly (or so) 'Life Snippets' kind of posts where I can show you I was up to that past week?
Spring is finally here but we are having a strange weather at the moment here in Italy and the sun comes out only occasionally, but I love when it shines in the sky and so do my cats who are always super happy to run in my garden or have a nap outside when the weather is good. There's nothing cuter than seeing how a bit of sunshine can change their mood!
On Tuesday I headed to Milan as I had to bring some uni books back and I took advantage of the free time and the warm weather to wander around and do some deserved shopping. It's passed a long time since the last time I had a little moment on my own in Milan and I love discovering new places where to shop or eat, so after a little Sephora treat, I walked to Eataly to get some Clipper Tea - which I never tried - and a little present for Mother's Day.
It's been a while since I decided I had to visit California Bakery and passing by it and their beautiful brownies wasn't helpful, so now I have to force my boyfriend to come there with me when we have a nice afternoon in Milan. Also I love walking down the streets alone and passing by a multitude of flower shops - it always makes me in a better mood!
On Thursday my boyfriend and I had some lovely gnocchi au gratin for lunch which were absolutely delicious, and an even better chocolate salami for dessert which brought me back some childhood memories of me and my mum putting together this super yummy dessert.
You know those days when you start craving some chocolate so badly? This was my Friday this week and so I went for a super sweet butter croissant which I filled with plenty of Nutella spoons and a super cute little Kinder egg which my boyfriend gave me and which was adorable!
I feel like I had more wrong foundation or concealer shades than the actual right match for my skin, and there's nothing more annoying than buying a super expensive foundation and getting the wrong shade. I know in USA you can bring your beauty products back to the shop if they don't work for you, but here we are not allowed to do that and once you try a product you have to keep it. Only recently I finally realize asking for beauty sample is my right as customer, as being that I can only try it in the shop and not testing it on my own in different occasions and under different lights, it's becoming so easy getting the wrong shade.
I'm not only talking about foundations and concealers, I think it's a customer's right asking for any beauty sample, as also skincare is pretty subjective and you really need to try a product at least for a few days to see if your skin is going to react badly to it or if it actually could love it. It's our right until we actually go beyond the bounds of decency, and of course asking for beauty sample is ok if you really need to try a product and doesn't mean you can go back and ask multiple samples of the same product until you actually get a full size. I also know it's difficult to get samples of drugstore products and that sometimes the shop assistants aren't too keen in helping you and giving a sample, but I wrote down a little list of suggestions and tips to use to ask and obtain a foundation, concealer (or beauty in general) sample to test at home by your own and with your own light.
- Always keep a little empty pot or jar in your handbag when you go out of beauty shopping, so that you can use it if the shop assistant say they don't have sample pots
- Ask politely to try the product in the shop, on your hands or face, to see the color or the consistency and talk about what you think (this can be super useful because the shop assistant could actually help you understand if this is the product for you without even trying it)
- Try to always look like you actually want to buy the product and you're very interested in it (which should come natural as you are meant to be interested if you're asking for a sample)
- Ask politely if it's possible to have a little sample of the product to try at home - usually they will agree, but if they don't, try asking if you can only have one pump from the tester in your little jar
- Always remember to don't be rude in the slightest because the shop assistant could have had a bad day and be rude with you as well (this happened to me so many times)
- Explain why you want to try the product at home (for me for example I've just asked for a Chanel foundation sample, and besides the color issue, I wanted to try it a few times before buying a full size since I read it's pretty highly fragranced and having sensitive skin this could be a problem)
- Always say thanks before going once obtained the sample - I know it was your right to ask, but a lot of shop assistants could actually have said no, so be thankful
- Don't ever be afraid to ask - sometimes shop assistants will come in your help spontaneously, but if not, don't be afraid, it's your own right to ask and its their work to answer every of your questions.
I know that to understand a product and figure out if it works for you and your skin more than a few applications are required, but having a little sample is always worth as you can actually really test it a few days and have it in your home, test the lasting power, the shade, the consistency, how your skin reacts, and consider if it's really worth buying a full size. So this were the tips I've learned recently and hopefully these could come helpful to someone of you who may needs a sample and don't know how to ask, or who always gets the wrong shade.
Do you have any tip for asking beauty samples?