Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beauty review: Labello hydro care lip balm

During and after my pregnancy I did cope with a big problem: very dried lips. Besides the aesthetical considerations, it gave me an annoying feeling and discomfort, especially after waking up. I tried various hydo care lip balms and to drink more water too, but once in a while the phenomenon was back. 
Then, completely randomly I found in my messy closet the Labello hydro care lip balm that I forgot I ever bought - it happens, isn't it?. I applied in on my lips by default but without too many expectations and went busy with my daily chores. After a little while, I discovered that I feel so unexplainable good in my skin. The reason was the disparition of my dry lips. In the evening, I applied once again and it worked. Apparently, all my dry lips problems were about to disappear for good with only one trace of hydro care.
Made of ingredients like aloe vera and pure water, Labello hydro care lip balm does not give any shine or colour to the lips. It also offers protection against UVA and UVB rays. Applied on the lips it gives a couple of minutes the sensation of fat, but it disappears fast. Upon applying a big layer of labello on lips, wait a couple of hours and you will see the results. 
The small tube can be carrier everywhere. Or lost very easily as I did more than once. It has a nice, pleasant to the eyes design. I did usually apply twice the day. The tube may last more than one month. One piece costs around 2.50 EUR, available at the Rossmann and DM stores in Berlin. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book review: How to make money on eBay, by Sarah Goldberg

I do have an ebay account, but the only time I wanted to sell something - some old but expensive German high-school handbooks - I failed so I just took it as a personal business failure. I also tried to buy once something for my bf, but somehow, the transaction did not go through. However, I know or heard about many people that are really successful, especially at selling various products, sometimes with a good income.
My curiosity to read this book was the result of my failure but also the interest to find out how to use ebay correctly, just in case that I want to successfully sell things or just to start my own business. Written in a simple yet systematic way, this book offers a lot of pratical tips about how to use eBay either you want to sell or to buy. As an online market place where you can buy and sell almost everything, eBay has a huge potential, with over 300 million users with a ratio of around 2 million new users every day, if used wisely it can give you the chance to make money from home with little effort. 
Being reliable as a seller and gathering as many positive reviews as possible is one way to achieve success. This success lasts also through a wise knowledge about your product and inclusion in the correct category and listing. You also have to write a proper description of your item(s) accompanied by relevant photo. Fast answering will increase the credibility of the seller but also the chances to sell fast.
If you plan to start a business on ebay, as in the case of any such project, it is recommended to start with a plan where to write down what you will sell, evaluate the market for the prices and the current trends. Well written, SEO-rich descriptions are the easiest way to reach efficiently your potential target. The book has also a rich section dedicated to various resources that may be helpful for a successful ebay experience.    

Beauty review: Hydra Active 3 Skin Perfection by L'Oreal Paris

I love the hydration products and I always feel safe when I have at least one into my beauty closet. After going deep into my 30s, I decided to use intensively extra hydration, with the same care I take care to clean my face every day, regardless if I use make-up or not or if I went out of the house or not. I want to keep the skin clean.
This Hydra Active 3 Skin Perfection by L'Oreal Paris is available in the Rossmann stores in Berlin for less than 2 Eur. It is available in a 200 ml. bottle that may last more than one month, used twice the day, in the morning and in the evening. For the evening, I cleaned my face with Balea wet napkins. To apply, I used the big ISANA pads who had the advantage of offering a better coverage of the skin and absorbs more liquid. 
It works for every skin type, and must be applied on the face, neck and decollete. It is parabene free and contains, among others: water, glycerine, fragrance and hydrogenated castor oil. 
After the first 2 days, my skin started to look cleaner, velvet-like by touch, but also a bit too greasy for my taste. The liquid is oily and does have a smell which I do not necessarily fancy to skin products. I did not develop any allergic reaction, but upon applying it does itch a bit as it happends in the case of products with a bit of alcohol - and its derivatives - content. 
What I really find annoying is the impractical system of pouring the liquid. There is no possibility to portion the quantity of liquid on the pad which can lead often to unexpected drops of oily liquid spread where you expect less. 
Otherwise is a recommended purchase ut do not expect wonders unless you use other skin care products. 

Book Review: Eliminate Negativity in Your Life

I consider myself a very positive thinking person, despite what life reserved me once in a while. However, sometimes you just are not ready to cope with so many difficulties and problems that seem to invade your life one after the other. I started to read this book when I was in one of these overwhelming moments, not necessarily looking for a solution, but to focus my mind elsewhere. 
I connected with this book after the first pages, when I found the advice that although it is not possible to have positive thoughts when you feel terrible, you can change your situation when invaded by joy and inward peace.
The everyday peace may come when we shift our brain - 'what controls your brain controls your life' the author said - from judging and examining people to perceptions and positive convinctions about yourself and the world. Having positive convinctions and trying not to change people, avoid images and representations that can create envy, do not focus on pas, especially on the negative encounters, staying away from conflicts of will are some of the advices the author gives for a joyful and positive oriented life. I especially found useful to remember how important it is to be focus on the moment, not on the past - that cannot be changed anyway - or planning the future. If in case of the past, I am tempted to refer to as a succeesful struggle - an advice of the book too - the future made me a lot of problems. My source of pain is when I have some careful planning ahead that ends up obsolute. What annoys me is the time spent in planning and even though the mantra 'it is all for the good helps me' I continue to be very sensitive when it comes to such failures. 
Other advices I did found useful are: celebrate your triumph over past struggles, feel and breathe your happiness and success, become a good Samaritan, create a vibrant, positive environment. 
The book can be read within an hour, is simply written and does not require complicate thinking. It belongs to the category of general self-help books that you can life without it but it help you to have some reflection when you need to see the half-full glass. Do not expect anything spectacular, just some kind reminders to live your life. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

24-hour Kindergarten, who is in?

Sweden introduced recently the 24-hour kindergarten. Aimed to help parents with night and late afternoon shifts, it is offers the usual food and accommodation and educational programs to children as in the case of the usual kindergarten program, except that it is done during the night. The fees go around 150 Euro per month and a place is guaranteed within 4 months. 
Thus, instead of paying a babysitter to stay with the kid for the night or to use the help of the grandparents or relatives, parents with special jobs can rely on the state support for continuing their career while their little ones are in safe hands and taken care of.
Maybe at the first sighz, sending your little kid to spend the night outside the home may sound unusual and not the kind of decision aimed to create a warm house to your child. Waking up in your bed in your room, and taking breakfast together with your family are the symbols of a normal family ambiance. However, what can you do when you need to get a living for your family and you need to that your kid is properly taken care of? This kindergarten is rather created to accommodate complicated schedules and answers the working requirements of special jobs, like that of pilot for example. Especially for single parents, it may be an excellent solution. 
The Swedish solution was discussed in the German media, but the advantages offered for parents in terms of money, flexible working time and maternity - or paternity - leave, may make such an opportunity unuseful at least for now. The kindergarten system in Germany is controlled by the state who is paying money to the kitas for every child. The average amount is of 1,400-1,100 EUR. Kitas are not allowed to make profit, an aspect that has disadvantages too. For instance, the low - state subsidized - payment of the educators and the subsequent lack of personnel. Especially in Berlin, the kitas are overbooked and you are adviced to register your kid for a place since birth - for a 3-year waiting time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cheap or expensive? What products are the best for you?

Before I am planning what I have to write for the week, I am trying to include various beauty products, including creams, perfumes or make-up. In most cases, I purchase these products from the local DM and Rossmann store in Berlin, which always offer various temptations at a very good price. 
The products that I stuck in my closet vary, from high-end expensive ones to affordable investments for the daily care. For instance, I am using right now make-up removal wet napkins from Balea for less than 1 Euro. As I used for a long time various creams, I may say that I am very happy with the results of the wet napkins because not only clean the traces of make up but also offer a proper hydration to my skin. 
For a long time, I used to think that only expensive products are good for the skin. When it comes to make it, it actually works in many cases, but when it comes to skin care, nowadays there are many quality affordable options, at least when it comes to the German market. As I am very careful about my skin, before I buy a product I reading the ingredients and the description in order to be sure that it is worth to try it. My experience with both categories of products is that it happens to invest in very expensive products that disappointed me greatly while small investments brought me a lot of advantages. As a rule, I prefer to use known brands, with a well established reputation, including in the field of medical and scientific research.
On this blog, I will always keep posting product recommendations and reviews of products that I tested and used myself, regardless of their price. Proved quality is what matters for me. As I only occasionally do luxury reviews, most of the products introduced on this blog usually belong to the medium priced category. As usual, I am always curious to discover new brands and products but be sure that the review will always reflect my direct experience.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Product review: Clearasil Daily Clear. Hydra blast Peeling

After giving birth, I am looking for new reliable skin products that can be used fast with maximum efficiency. After the weekly masks, the cleaning products are the most sought during my frequent visits to Rossmann or DM stores in Berlin. 
Clearasil Daily Clear - Hydra blast peeling, exfoliant, is my newest beauty discovery. It has aloe vera and cucumber extract - one of my favourite ingredients in creams and not only for the smell - and Vitamin 3, praised for its qualities as good skin moisturizer, bringing skin softness, suppleness and hydration. Especially for a skin that it is no longer in the early 20s, this Vitamin helps improving the appearance. 
I started to use the product twice the day, in the morning and in the evening. In the evening, I took care to have a make-up free face. The moisturized cream mixed in the hand is applied in all directions on the wet skin. Wait around 2 minutes than rinse with warm water. Preparing and applying takes around 5 minutes from your time, a total of 10 minutes the day for your skin only. Not bad, isn't it?
As for the results, my skin looks back velvet-like. A did encounter some mild irritation that did not last. It has a pleasant smell, fresh, for sure given by the high concentration of cucumber. 
The 150 ml tube is a new formula and may last around 1 month. It can be purchased from the Rossmann store for less than 3 euro. Besides Germany, and France where it is produced, it can be found in North America, Japan, Russia, UAE and South Africa. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book review: Overcoming Acne, by Lucy von Mallon

As a teenager, I never suffered of acne and my interest for this book was rather of pure curiosity. However, after reading that you can develop it even in your 30s, 40s or even 50s, I took everything more serious and read the book with a pen in my hand. 
As a general impression, there are many valuable information and specific details, but the structure of the book is rather chaotic and many parts to not always make sense. For instance, it starts with a FAQ, with the definition of acne given only couple of chapters later followed again by a section where some of the issues addressed in the FAQ section are repeated. The language is sometimes clumsy and once in a while you can find assertions of the kind: 'Individuals that take multivitamins daily live longer'. 
Besides these shortcomings, the reader can find many information helpful for understanding acne before going to a dermatologist - which is always recommended as the books are for information not for self medication.

How do deal with acne

There are many things not know about acne yet and once manifested it is not possible to end this medical chapter for ever. It can be controlled or avoided, but never cured it seems, according to the author. But it is not contagious, and even though heredity plays an important role in its apparition,it is not an automatic link.It manifests on the face, back or neck. 
Eating foods rich in sugar can be problematic for health in general, but it is not a clinical proof of a direct connection between it and the acne. Drinking water is a good advice for a healthy skin not only in extreme cases as acne, but for the overall wellness of the skin in general. Stress can make the acne worse and too much exercise may increase the production of sebum, the oil whose excess can bring about acne. 
The usual treatment include antibiotics, but in order to avoid situations when resistance is developped, it is recommended to use them on a rotational basis. Salicylic acid can help to clean up blemishes. The same can be said about tea tree oil products or products from the Clearasil family.
Acne in general increases the risk of social alienation, but in the case of the cystic type, it also leaves marks. Thus, the author recommends skin resurfacing therapy and daily peeling preferably with products with a rich content of aloe vera and Vitamin E. Wearing sunscreen, especially when you have open scars is another advice of the author. The usual health treatment lasts at least one year. For the social issues manifested among teenagers, following a proper therapy is very important.

Acne as an adult

Although in the case of teenagers, 85% - regardless of the gender - are experiencing various types of acne, for adults the causes are even more mysterious. One reason can be the hormonal imbalance. The author also mentions the coffee as an element encouraging the production of the stress hormone that thereafter produces sebum, but after reading in the last years so many pros and cons the coffee, I prefer to put aside this argument. I am also an avid coffee drinker and thus, I prefer to be in denial. Smoking is considered in general a negative influence for the skin, especially in the case of acne, and it may take 10 years more of youth from your skin. 
In conclusion, the book is worth a try especially if you are looking for information about this issue. As in many other medical cases, the last word should belong to the specialist though. 

Disclaimer: I reviewed the free downloadable version available on Amazon.

Month 4 with the baby

Here we are: our beautiful sweet baby is 4-month old. Compared to the first two months of his life, it seems that there were not too many nothworthy events taking place lately. Well, this is because I am looking from outside, from the height of my age and experience. But I am more than sure that for the baby boy every new day and new discovery mean a fantastic improvement. 
We already set a routine, with a specific hour to go to sleep and a long trip, usually before 13 and 15 o'clock. Unfortunatelly, given the cold days when the outside temperatures reached around -13C, we were forced to spend the day at home. Which was not necessarily a bad idea. The boy started to play more and thanks to some special toys we bought - review coming up soon - made of different materials which utter various captivating sounds, he can even play with himself for couple of good minutes. 
His degree of receptivity increased significantly in the last weeks: he is able to follow with his eyes us or a moving toy, to play with his hands and suck it in the mouth. For the last aspect, we were told by a specialist that it is a good thing and a sign of a normal development. 
The sleeping is not always regular, with some nights when he sleeps for around 10 hours and some when he wakes every three hours. The screaming is also more intense and lasts longer. As we made together the first overseas trip this month, he was able to scream for the duration of 5 months of the flight. Hope we will never meet again any of the annoyed passengers. But as a compensation, he smiles even more and with an open mouth and this is enough to forget all the hard noisy hours.
Health wise, we did again the requested vaccination and things went well. We need to deal though with a flat head issue that apparently can be fixed through weekly therapy. The German medicine is focused on prevention and one may need to get used with the many checkings and second opinions which does not mean necessarily that you have a problem, only that you have to work out for avoiding any problems.  
In order to keep him fit, we do some small gymnastics in the morning, and he enjoys it a lot. We continue also with the intensive music program and other relaxing activities.
From now on, we are entering the 5 month, with many new challenges ahead, the most important being the change of the food plan and introduction of solid foods. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Understading the words: What is paleo, raw food, gluten free, ketogenic or pescatarian?

I do have many cookbooks on my Kindle and I regularly read about food and recipes, but sometimes the diversity of styles overwhelms me. It is not only the variety of spices and cultural approaches to food, but it is equally about the more and more specialized terminology used to describe meals and eating choices. Just a couple of years ago, the big split was between vegetarian and non-vegetarian, but nowadays we are talking about vegan, pescatarian, raw, gluten free, ketogenic or paleo.
Part of a wider effort of understanding all of them, I did a little bit of research for some short definition of these words.

- Paleo - You guessed it right, it is a shortening for paleontology and refers to a return to ancestral food list. I did not find too many sources about the daily meals in the very very old times but I've heard that also due to the alimentation, very limited at the time, they did not live too long. The accepted list of ingredients includes grass produlced meat, eggs, fruits and veggies, fish (including sea food), nuts and seeds and oils (olivel, avocado or coconut). The followers of such a foodie style do not eat grains, legumes, potatoes, refined sugar, salts and processed foods. The choice of paleo food style is supposedly leading to a better auto-immune system, weight loss and can prevent the apparition of Alzheimer.

- Gluten free - Aimed to offer healthy alternatives to people suffering from celiac disease, it involves the elimination of protein gluten and derivative products (such as wheat, barley or rye) from the kitchen ingredients. The cellliac disease is associated with the inflammation in the small intestines, produced by wheat. The accepted foods for this eating style include beans, fresh egg, fruits and vegetables.

- Ketogenic - Ketosis is necessary for a normal metabolic process and it was medically discovered in 1924 as an important element to treat epilepsy. The ketogenic diet is high in fats and low in carbohydrates, requiring a lot of specific calculations.

- Vegan - It refers to a food lifestyle that excludes meat, fish, fowl or any food based on products delivered from animals, such as eggs.

- Pescatarian - Similarly with the vegan, it excludes any kind of  poultry, beef ad pork from the diet, but includes fish and various seafoods.

- Raw - A couple of years ago, a friend of mine decided to switch to raw, part of her plan to solve some dermatological issues. Her eating lifestyle eliminates the cooking process, as all the food served are natural. My friend also shared some interesting cake version so it seems there is a place for culinary creativity on these menues as well. 

Book review: Die Kinderkrankmacher

Although it is one of the most developed countries in Europe and in the world when it comes to medical services and pharmacology, Germany is equally the country where a significant amount of people prefer to use alternative homeopathic medicine (also a German creation). The book publised in March 2015 by Beate Frenkel and Astrid Randerath deals extensively with the use of medicine in treating various behavior irregularities by children, such as ADHD. Based on interviews and discussions with both medical experts and parents of childrenl patients, the authors outline the social tendency towards uniformity and refuse of taking the children "the way they are". Medicine seems to be the easiest way to cope with these relatively common problems among children and teenagers, with dramatic medium and long-term negative effects. 
I also noticed during my various interaction with the German educational system and society in general that there is a strong pressure towards uniformity, particularly when it comes to educational establishments. There is also a high tendency to label various temperamental differences under big medical labels such as ADHD. After all, I remember myself and many of the children I met during various school interaction as being very active at the disturbance limit without anyone took as to the psychologist and started to be on medication for various behavioral problems.
The downside of the book though is of repeating over and over again the same sentence in various contexts: the (German) society wants to create standard children and it offers permanent customers for the great medical concerns. The truth is always, in between. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

5 Things I enjoyed during pregnancy

My pregnancy went unexpectedly well, although I am no more in my early 20s. Except some swollen feet, things were smoothly and I was able to work and create till a couple of hours before giving birth. Out of many things I enjoyed during pregnancy, here are the most important five that made my life of mommy-in-the-making very beautiful. 

1. No more headaches! I was fighting with chronic headaches for almost two years. Sometimes, the pains were so serious that I was hardly able to get out of the bad for one full day. After every such painful experience I was feeling as a new born and at least once I felt like it will no be tomorrow. My pregnancy got it out of my life, probably due to the hormonal balance created during those months. Fortunatelly, the ugly pains did not come back into my life and I wish they will never return.

2. Sleep, a lot of sleep! I know that many women are complaining that they sleep way too much during pregnancy,  but someone like me who hardly sleeps more than 4-5 hours the night, a normal 8 hours sleep was a secret pleasure that I did not enjoy for a long time. Given that after the baby is born there is hardly time for serios sleep, this is something to really appreciate, even you are not fighting with the same sleep disorder as me.

3.Slow down! For someone like me, always very active and busy and set to achieve too many things during the days, my pregnancy was a time of reflection and summing up my priorities. Exactly what you need before te big change brought up into your life by the baby.

4. Glowing face and hair! I am regularly using various beauty products for hair and face, but during the pregnancy just did not need to do too much. My hair was glowing, my face was always looking fresh without too many masks and make up. Call it hormonal blessing!

5. Healthy eating! I know that many women are complaining about eating too much or very unhealthy, with a lot of oil and heavy fats, but things operated differently in my case. Besides keeping strictly kosher for the entire period, withthout dreams about forbidden foods, I added into my daily menu many fruits and vegetables and milk. Products that apparently are again out of my table. l

Any of my readers went through the same experience? Anything interesting about pregancy to share? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

From HiPP, for Daniel

When I was about the leave the hospital and searching for a reliable baby milk solution, the hospital recommended me to use the Hipp. One week after baby D. was born, I started to feed him with the ready made formula and he tolerated it very well. Later on, our children doctor recommended to use it too and one of my doctor friends, a long-time resident in the German speaking realm, also mentioned it. We started to faithfully use it and nothing changed the first good impression (except that very often we cannot find it in the Rossmann or DM stores, as we were explained that there is a high demand of the product from China).
When you grew up in a different land, with different children products, it is not easy to get to know the customs in terms of children nutrition. I knew about Milupa and Humana, so Hipp sounded a bit new for me, also in terms of brand reliability. But it seems it was only my fault for not knowing more about it. In fact, the first Hipp products were produced in 1899, and the company bearing this name was created in 1932, being since then a family business located in Pfarffenhofen, in the South of Germany, close to Munich. Since 1956, it is pioneering the ecological agriculture, offering a variety of milk powder products - based on various nutrition requirements, such as additional to breasfeeding, for allergies and different eating sensibilities, as well as bottle products to be introduced in the children food after the 4th month of life. The products are used on many markets outside Germany, such as Benelux, Bulgaria, Scandinavian countries, France, China or Vietnam.
Shortly after the baby was born, I decided to send a coupon to the company requesting some more details. After more than 2 months when almost forgot about, my bf called me that baby D. has a special package from Hipp. When I saw the personalized box and a sticker with his name, I understood the reasons for the delayed answer. Everyone was busy to deliver something really special. 
The box included a pacifier - we are already using it and he got used with, a milk bottle, similar with other 2+ bottles we are using, and a small package of wet napkins for ultra sensitive skin which we took with us on the road and very satisfied with the results. Another plus of Hipp is the quality customer service with whom I got already in touch several times, much better compared to many other companies in Germany. Their website is also well designed and informative.
As we are growing up now and the food needs are changing, we are looking forward to new and much diversified food experiences. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Recipe of the week: Moroccan orange cake

I did not achieve too many foodie successes lately and the baby took most of my energy and creativity. For the meals, I kept doing the same recipes over and over again every Shabbat. But at least I kept reading about tasty recipes and once in a while I introduced some new meals on the menu.
For instance, the orange Moroccan cake, which is very easy to make, using simple ingredients and can match various meals. It is parve and can be done in around 45 minutes, out of which the baking lasts 30 minutes. 

It serves around 10 people


4 big eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 spoon vanilla sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups floor
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of fresh orange juice - if you want it more spongy


Mix the eggs and the sugar and vanilla sugar
Add the oil and keep mixing
Mix in the flour with the baking powder, followed by the salt and orange juice.
Heat the oven at 180C
Let the mixture in the oven for 30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Perfume review: Green tea, by Elizabeth Arden

Usually, when I am out of perfume inspiration, in 90% of cases, chosing a fragrance by Elizabeth Arden helps. For a long time I used by default 5th Avenue and did not wish anything else. It was a perfume good for any occassion and made me feel unique, special and very elegant.
The last year, I found myself in a difficult styling self definition and besides many small details, finding a new perfume to define me, how I am today, come into question. At the airport shop, I started to smell differentl fragrances, but none made me happy. Then, out of nowhere, Green tea by Elizabeth Arden crossed my path. Love at first sight, also because the main ingredient is supposed to be the one and only green tea. 


I am regularly using right now the eau de toilette and the body lotion. The bottle is simple with an elegant green leaf on one side. The body lotion is a very simple white plastic recipient. Overall nothing particular about the design. However, both have the right side for sliding them anywhere making them a convenient item for the travel time.
After a couple of days of using, I was a bit disappointed that the smell was not exactly the strong green tea smell I was expecting. It is a bit too sparkling and with a citrus fragrance. But it smells very fresh on skin and makes you feel free and green. The body lotion I prefer during the summer wrapping the body in a fresh layer regardless how many degrees are outside.
I prefer to use it especially for the daily/morning outings, and it suits both a sport and regular working outfit. 
I am not sure if after the bottle will finish will buy a new one, but I can try my hand with a new product by Elizabeth Arden. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The wonders of argan oil

There are probably few natural products that I trust as much as the argan oil. Especially after the changes taking place with my skin and hair after pregnancy, this wonderful oil helped me to successfully go over many difficult issues.

Moroccan tradition for shining hair and skin

Extracted from the kernels of the argan tree from Morocco, the oil is rich in nutrients, especially fatty acids and vitamin E, which are a real blessing for the hair and skin. Used regularly, it soften the skin and brings a natural boost to the body. Against the name reputation, it is not greasy and also not irritating, helping even people with sensitive skin as mine to use it without significant problems. Although you can find it as part of various cosmetic products, it is the best when undiluted and unmixed.
Used as a hair conditioner, it makes the hair soft and silkier and shiner. Also, it can treat split ends and can work as an efficient styling agent, taming the hair frizz. 
The rich content in Vitamin E helps to increase the skin elasticity and operates efficiently against damaged, irritated skin. It is also often used as an anti-aging product, the regular application of argan oil or creams based on it fighting efficiently against the wrinkles. Forget about dried hands and feet, 

My experience

I was told repeatedly about the greatness about the argan oil by a friend fascinated about Northen African cultures. At the beginning, I took it like a simple cultural stereotype. After I bought some Balea products based on Argan oil, for the hair and hands protection, things changed for the good for my skin, till becoming addictive. 
Especially after the pregnancy, argan oil helped me to bring back the glow on my hair which suffered seriously after the birth. Although during the nine months the hair was always shining and happy looking, shortly after my baby was delivered to the world, it started to look very tired and regardless of the shampoo used, it kept being very dry. A bit desperate, I remember about the argan oil and purchased from the Rossmann next door a Swiss-o-Par conditioner. A very cheap investment for a great result as immediately after I washed my hair I was able to see the result: glowing hair with a healthy look. Should I add how easy is to feel self confident again with just one touch of the mask?
Another success of the argan oil to my body was to restore the velvet touch of my hands after I returned from the hospital with the baby. During my stay there I constantly used some very strong disinfectant based on pure alcohol which almost destroyed my skin. For weeks after my hands were dried and only the Balea Sheabutter and Argan Oil helped me to be back to normality. It also helped my nails to a healthy and good looking aspect, a problem I was fighting unsuccessfully for a very long time. 
Right now, I do not need no additional consulting to know that sometimes all I need in my beauty life is a healthy drop of argan oil. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Interior design inspiration in Lüneburg

Lüneburg is a beautiful city with an interesting history, but also with interesting food and interior design products. The last summer, I spent one full day here, taking the chance to visit some shops with home ideas. Out of them, two really invited me to spend more time exploring their products. Both of them are situated close to the shopping area, hosted in typical red bricked houses. One is Wohnzutaten - translated as 'Home ingredients'.
The space is small and the products are often stucked one near the others. If the mess near the entrance might not be inspiring for everyone, some corners exhibit interesting matches. 
It seems that the various turquoise based combinations are the favourites and it helps a bit to focus in the sea of so many objects.
From various pieces of furniture, for the living room or the garden, to diverse small designed objects, it is hard to leave this store without buying a little or big souvenir. The small copper pots on the white shelves are my temptation no. 1.
Even I feel like swimming among various objects, I really want to see everything. Wish there is a better space management though...
From bedroom mirrors to bathroom soap boxes or towels or pillow covers, there are enough things for every budget. The prices are mostly moderated, but the customer service did not impress me.
The second shop was more focused, better organised and even harder to leave: Froken Dina, offering samples of Danish interior design.
The Teddy bears are just lovely and I can hardly keep my promise of not buying anything before the baby is delivered to the world.
The white furniture makes me think at a dolls' house. Everything can be fit into a small space either for a boy or a girl.
White is the predominant colour of furniture a choice that I do not always fancy. At work, for instance, my very white IKEA desk should be very often cleaned because it keeps the memory of every single meal I have there. Especially for small children, white is not recommended at all.
 The style reminded me of country houses, especially the lamps.
There are a lot of kitschy small decorations, that can bring some warm in a kid's room. At least until he or she figures out that a modern change is needed.
Some beautiful teddy bears and a colourful lamp can be enough though. The prices are affordable and the customer service was ready to help with suggestions and recommendations.
As in the case of the previous shop, the space is cramped with too many things and you need a lot of time to figure out where can you find what you are looking for. 
But again, take your time and don't forget to think twice before leaving without one of the lovely stuffed animals.
The summer is over now and a new visit to Lüneburg is out of question for now on. However, it was a lovely opportunity to get to know not only the history and museums, but also some inspiring interior design shops. 

The summer of smoothies

This summer was hot in Berlin and with a very active professional life and an advanced pregnancy I had to offer myself the best mixture of vitamins and hydration, prepared with a limited budget and in just a couple of minutes. Yes, I know, I always want too much from life! I started with the easiest smoothie ever: strawberries. 
All I had to do was to clean them and add water and a bit of brown sugar. My juice was ready in just a couple of minutes. If I was not thirsty enough, I kept it in the fridge for one hour and had a very refreshing treat. 
Another frequent combination for my early morning involed several fruits: blueberries and bananas, to whom I added once in a while one avocado or some kiwis too. When I had kiwis and blueberries, the liquid base was always water. In the case of bananas and avocado, I preferred at least once the week to add some milk. The sugar was not necessary for the bananas combinations. In all cases, I preferred brown sugar. Avocado can stand alone, as it is creamy and tasty enough for providing the energy offered by a rich breakfast. With some ice cubes,  it tastes even better. A pinch of cinnamon or Muscat added to simple avocado or banana shakes makes the taste richer and very perfumed.
As for now, I stayed away of too complex recipes, with spinach or vegetables, but the time has come to improve my skills and get more vitamins and energy into my life.