Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel - La Roche-Posay

Clarins has been my favourite skin care brand since my teens... yes, I know you’ve heard the whole shebang already... However, sometimes, you get a sample and you try it and after you see and feel the benefits and you say “this is my lucky day”, because you found a gem product. Well, you know what? Put the blame on my beautician for my infidelity to Clarins.

If memory serves me right, I have been using this cleansing foaming gel for five years. It is soft, pleasant, efficient and cheap.

I am no beauty expert, so I set out below the essential details to explain the product.

Recommended for what type of skin?
Normal to combination intolerant, sensitive skin.

What are its properties?
Enriched in hard water-neutralising and moisturizing glycerine.
Strict formula charter to minimise the risk of intolerance. Soap-free, preservative-free, fragrance-free, pH 5.5.

How do we apply?
Form a foam in the hand with warm water. Massage gently into the face. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

What’s this?
This is a rich, gentle gel for safe cleansing and make-up removal with water.
Its gel texture develops a rich foam that rinses easily and gently removes impurities and traces of makeup.

What package?
150 ml tube, price CHF 19.00

Actually, I use it in conjunction with the Clinique Sonic System purifying cleansing brush which has a Sonic movement that offers deep yet gentle cleansing and allows the skin to regenerate better by removing makeup, impurities, sebum and pollution. This reduces clogged pores, spots and imperfections. It optimises the efficiency of any treatments that are applied afterwards (see April 2016 blog post).

Et voilà ladies, a beauty item to start the spring in style. I hope you like it.

This post, like all my blog posts, is not sponsored.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Welcome Dear and Lovely Spring

Welcome everyone!

I would like to apologise for your recent lack of access to my site. I received a lot of emails and a few comments pointing out to me that you were blocked from accessing my blog.

Indeed, I blocked my blog, in the evenings only, because I have had visits by robot servers and I thought that by doing this it would stop. Unfortunately, that is not the case...

So, if you know how to solve this, I thank you for telling me, because, as you know, I am a zero when it comes to blogging technology…

In addition, I wish you a wonderful spring with lots of fun projects and great walks in the sun in your beautiful cities. For my part, I have planned trips that I am looking forward to so much that you cannot imagine.

Thank you so much for your interest and for being here.

Lots of Love

Downtown Street Art Murals

I have always thought (wrongly) that murals were hidden away in gloomy and grey places in the city.

Well, very early one Monday morning, I chose a different route to go downtown and passed by Uni Mail (the University).  I saw a lot of vivid bright colours from a distance and, on getting closer, I was blown away by these murals.

So, I took my companion, Mr Samsung, out of my handbag and put him to work to capture these magnificent wall paintings. I am particularly fond of the cheeky baby wearing sunglasses next to the dog...

Afterwards, I continued on my way to start my day. These murals are located in Plainpalais, just in front of the Uni Mail buildings and a 7 minute walk to the banking district. Rothschild Bank is there and Victoria Hall is not far away and downtown is reachable in only 15 minutes.

I followed my path to my final destination, our magnificent Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). The day had just begun and the sun was trying to break through the clouds which made a particularly beautiful sky.

I wish you a lovely week ahead.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Favourite teas

As you all probably know by now, I’m a massive lover of tea!! I love it in the morning, afternoon and evening. I love it in both warm and chilly weather. I love homemade Chai Tea and loose tea. I love drinking it on its own or with a slice of cake (to my mind, the perfect pairing).

Here is a roundup of my favourite teas that I have been really enjoying these past months!

WHITTARD CHELSEA 1886 - Spice Imperial
This is a black tea with spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange and vanilla). This is a rich exotic blend with fabulous aromas. It’s probably the one that I can’t get enough of! I bought it at Whittard in London, quite costly, but worth every penny!

WHITTARD CHELSEA 1886 - Mango and Bergamot
This is a delicious blend of green sencha tea, petals and fruit flavouring. It’s a perfect combination of petals with mango, lulo and bergamot which produces a sophisticated aromatic blend. This was a gift from my dearest friend O. It’s become my favourite green tea.

KUSMI TEA - Prince Vladimir
This is a blend of Earl Grey from China flavoured with citrus fruit, vanilla, and spices. Prince Vladimir is a unique blend that was created in 1888 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Christianisation of Russia by Vladimir the Great.

KUSMI TEA - Russian Morning
This is a breakfast tea with a well-balanced combination of three classic teas: a Chinese black tea, a Ceylon black tea, with a subtle chocolate flavour, and a black tea from India, full-bodied and strong.

This post, like all my blog posts, is not sponsored.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

That Special Cake - Blueberry Yogurt Cake

I love homemade cakes: delicious, beautiful and simple cakes made by us for Mum’s birthday party, for a friend, for Easter, for Valentine’s Day, served on a nice cake plate because these little details make a difference!

Today, in the various cake shops available to us, we can choose dream cakes which perfectly brighten up our table. But, sometimes, we also want to make ourselves a special, tasty cake without that wow effect.

So, here’s a gorgeous cake recipe that will make a difference for your guests! I already posted this recipe in 2015 but I have decided to publish it again. This time the decoration is different and the taste is slightly different too. I made it with blueberries instead of the wild fruits (strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants) I used previously. I made this cake in early February for no particular reason other than to give us a special treat because that day I had received good news that made me very happy…

Blueberry Yogurt Cake

4 eggs
1 blueberry yogurt with fruit pieces
2 yogurt pots of sugar (or 3 if you like very sweet cakes)
1 yogurt pot of oil (sunflower)
3 yogurt pots of self-raising flour
100 g blueberries

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
2 - Add the eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil and flour to a large bowl.
3 - Mix well.
4 - Add the blueberries towards the end and don’t mix much after doing so.
5 - Place in a greased mould that has been sprinkled with flour.
6 - Bake in the oven for about 40 mins.
7 - Allow to cool in the mould.

250 ml cream
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
200g blueberries
Mint leaves to taste

Whip the cream with a little sugar. When ready, pour over the cake and decorate with the blueberries and mint.

Monday, 13 March 2017

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (2007)

It is July 1962. Edward and Florence, young innocents married that morning, arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their private fears of the wedding night to come…

Author: Ian McEwan is an English novelist, born in Aldershot, Hampshire, on 21 June 1948. His father was a working-class Scotsman who had worked his way up through the army to the rank of major. He spent much of his childhood in East Asia, Germany and North Africa, where his father was posted. His family returned to England when he was twelve. He was educated at Woolverstone Hall School, the University of Sussex, receiving his degree in English literature in 1970 and the University of East Anglia, where he undertook a master’s degree in literature. The Times featured him on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”, and in 2008, The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in their list of “The 100 most powerful people in British culture”

My thoughts: I read this book at the end of January (it had been on my shelf for a decade). I read it in four days. It’s a small book of 166 pages. The keyword of this novel is nostalgia: it is an irresistible mixture of innocence and sensuality. I loved the effective use of flashbacks throughout the disastrous wedding night to show both of the key characters’ different upbringings. I liked the insightful development of the two characters, which I found touching.

This is the story of an unexpected encounter of two very young people (both 22 years old). Edward Mayhew earned a degree in History and comes from a modest family. Florence Ponting comes from a wealthy family, she’s beautiful, and is the principal player in a string quartet - she intends to pursue her classical music career.
After their splendid wedding in July 1962, they drive to a hotel on the Dorset coast to spend their honeymoon. On their wedding night Florence, although deeply in love with Edward, apprehends having sexual intercourse with him. She needs to overcome some issues to make this marriage work. Walking out on Chesil Beach, Dorset, they are about to find out things concerning each other that the stifling society of 1962 has prevented them from learning before. Now, is their honeymoon night to be a total disaster and ruin their marriage?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

100% Natural Hair Mask

My hair is curly or, rather, wavy, I would say. The curls disappear the second day after washing and make way for a wave.

My hair is very thin and not voluminous. This makes blow-drying fast (10 minutes for almost dry hair). However, it is delicate: the roots are oily and the ends are dry. I have to take extra precautions with pool/sea water to ensure that it remains silky and shiny.

Twice a year, with the change of season from summer to autumn and winter to spring, I am subject to hair loss. Unfortunately, I do not have a strong hair type, therefore I have to be extra cautious. Thus, this 100% natural homemade hair care is what I find most effective. Last year I tried a nice alternative, but I still prefer this one. Here is the recipe!!

Mask for dry and brittle hair (apply this mask once a week)

1 avocado
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons liquid honey
1 egg yolk

Mix all the ingredients with a blender until you obtain a smooth paste, without lumps.

Dampen your hair with hot water, having previously untangled it.

Apply the mask with your fingers. Then cover your hair with a plastic wrap or a warm towel (this allows the mask to be more effective).  Leave it on your hair for 2 hours at least. Then wash and dry.

Note: The avocado may be replaced by bananas.

Step 1 - Crush the avocado

Step 2 - Add the egg yolk

Step 3 - Add honey

Step 4 - Add the olive oil

Step 5 - Mix with the blender to make a creamy texture

Monday, 6 March 2017

A girls’ night out at Floor Two Bar - Kempinski Hotel

A few weeks ago, I concocted a night out with a good friend of mine. That Thursday, it was particularly beautiful and warm: it felt like spring had arrived in town.

Geneva is such a beautiful city and to wander into town on a sunny day is superb. So, I walked along the banks of Lake Geneva to the oh so chic Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva.

The Grand Hotel Kempinski Geneva is a majestic five-star hotel situated beside Lake Geneva. It is a very cosmopolitan place with remarkable views overlooking the lake and the Jet d’Eau.

Upon arrival, I settled in the lounge and contemplated the hotel’s design, its fireplace and the pretty floral arrangements. The décor is exquisitely beautiful, with tall ceilings and a perfectly symmetrical layout: I was in interior heaven. This hotel is the embodiment of refinement and discreet luxury.

I did a little window shopping in the stunning shops inside the hotel while waiting for my girlfriend B. As soon as she arrived, we took the external glass walled elevator to take us to the second floor where the Floor Two Bar is located, together with the hotel’s restaurants, spa, conference room, etc.

The Floor Two Bar is a large bar with a long terrace and a trendy and lively lounge atmosphere. We decided to sit by the large windows and enjoy the end of day city lights...

We were only a few customers, about a dozen. Most guests arrive after 20:00 and from 23:00 onwards the venue is in full swing, according to our charming waitresses.

Once installed near the large windows overlooking the terrace and the lake, we stole a furtive look at the menu. B. started with a delicious glass of Limoncello and a sparkling Valser (water). For my part I wanted a Kamikaze to start. It was a little glass of blue heaven.

Our waitresses brought over some treats. Olives, various nuts and aperitif snacks which tasted just divine. We liked them so much that our waitresses brought over more: simple things of excellent quality and the perfect accompaniment to drinks.

With B., I updated our chat and planned a few upcoming evenings out. We also chatted a little with the super nice and super friendly waitresses, who suggested that I try their signature cocktail Passion Maï Taï. I was curious to try the Maï Taï, a cocktail with a pronounced taste of fruits, passion fruit and pineapple, orgeat syrup, Cointreau, white rum with spices (the rum is macerated for a very long time in a mixture of spices of which only they have the secret). So, when you go to the Floor Two Bar, try this cocktail which is a great success.

B. and I made a night of it and stayed there till dinner time. There’s nothing I love more than spoiling myself and, frankly, who doesn’t love elegant cocktails and champagne in a spectacular place?

I highly recommend that you visit the Floor Two Bar this spring and that you take someone who deserves a good spoiling with you. I can’t think of a better way to start the season than viewing this beautiful cosmopolitan city and admiring the scenery from the large terrace. You can see the iconic Jet d’Eau, the Mont Blanc and the stunning sunset...and if you like watching the world go by, this is a great spot.

Floor Two Bar
Le Grand Hôtel Kempinski
Quai du Mont-Blanc 19
1201 Genève
Tél: +41 22 908 9226
Bar opening hours
Mon - Sun 17:00 - 1:00