October 20, 2017

Let's Talk About Rings

And no, I do not mean onion rings, even though you could easily expect that from me since I am passionate about food. Here I am talking about jewellery. (And by the way, I don't like onions, just in case you wanted to know that.)

I have never owned many rings, in fact I only have two proper rings and a couple of cheap rings. I don't wear them everyday either. But I've always been into dainty rings and pearls and always been looking forward to the day I'll be able to wear an engagement ring or wedding ring (call me what you want, but I love traditions).

In February this year I discovered Maraismara on Instagram. I instantly fell in love with her creations and her ethic and I have set myself some goals, I want to buy a few of her pieces and also spread the word about her brand, as reading about her adventures opened my eyes on topics I had never thought of.


I have always wanted a knot ring. In fact, I have a tiny heart knot ring from Oviesse (think of a pretzel, it looks pretty much like that), but it was made of some cheap material and it looks really old and dirty despite the fact I've only worn it a few times. I really like Maraismara's Nodo Stretto Classico - both in gold and silver - and I think I'm going to buy the silver version for myself soon, either for Christmas or my birthday, as it's definitely affordable (it only costs €50).


Another Ring I really like is her Filo d'Oro con Luce. I believe this would be a perfect engagement ring for people like me, who don't like big, bulky, in-your-face rings and prefer tiny, dainty, everyday options. Her ring comes with a choice of moissanite (lab-made diamond) or natural Australian diamond (I would personally opt for this one as I like the idea of it being natural and Australian, sounds like a perfect combination), so it could really work as an engagement ring, as well as an everyday ring for anyone who likes diamonds and certified, fairtrade jewels.


I am not going to talk about all of her rings here, otherwise this post would seem endless (although there are more jewels handmade by Mara that I really like, for example the Intrecciato a Mano Diverso pictured here), but I recommend you check out her website and take a look at all her creations. I really respect the woman behind the brand and I think she deserves to be known more.

Beside Maraismara's rings, another thing that I really like are vintage, secondhand, hand-me-down jewels. One of the rings that I own belonged to my great-grandma, and that's the reason that makes it so special to me, no matter the price. 


I also really like pearls, as they have stunning colours and always make me think of queens and princesses, and I like twisted rings, so when I spotted the twisted pearl ring pictured above I just had to save the link to my favourites, although I doubt I'll ever buy it (it's from Etsy by the way).

You might be wondering where I'm going with this conversation, and the answere is nowhere. I just wanted to talk about rings, as I am trying to make up my mind on whether to buy the knot ring for Christmas or not, so I decided to share my thoughts with you.

Do you like rings? Do you wear them? Let me know in the comments.

Martina x

October 15, 2017

Alex Britti: Una su un milione

When I was in primary school I was friend with my neighbours' daughter. Our parents actually knew each other, so we would hang out a lot and travel to and from school together. Whenever her father would pick us up with his car for the school run he would play an album from Alex Britti, a quite famous italian artist, and we loved to sing and dance to a song called La vasca (The bathtub). It was a simple, silly, very Italian song, and just mentioning it brings back a lot of memories.

I haven't listened to Alex Britti much after those school mornings, but there is a song that I have kept on my mp3 player as I grew up, and it's called Una su un milione (One in a million). It's a really nice love song and I still like it nowadays. It reminds me a little of a lullaby and the lyrics are really sweet. It also makes me laugh a little bit because some lines are extremely Italian (at some point he says something along the line of "love is like tomato sauce on pasta").

I recommend you listen to it and maybe also watch the official video. I tried to translate it but it lost most of its magic, so I will only leave a few translated lines down here.
Accept me and you'll see, we'll grow up together
We'll grow a few metres tall and touch the sky
We'll be taller than giants, and stronger than Godzilla
We will travel on a yellow cruise ship
The destination is an island that looks like a painting
With huge colours and a parade-like sea
As far as I am concerned, I already have a ticket
Please don't leave yours next to a dream in a drawer
A "dream in the drawer" (sogno in un cassetto) is a typical Italian phrase. It refers to something that someone deeply loves and cares about and wishes that was real but might actually never turn into reality, most of the times because the person is too scared to pursue it and not because it is actually impossible. In my case, for example, it is singing and acting in a musical. In the case of the song, he probably refers to his dream of leaving for a journey/being in a relationship with the person the song is dedicated to.

Had you ever heard this song? Do you like it?

Martina x

October 13, 2017

20 Random Facts About Me


  1. I would like to drink some tea (and I am going to put the kettle on as soon as I finish this list)
  2. I am currently reading two books
  3. This week I am off work on Sunday and Monday
  4. I am 150cm tall (short)
  5. I don't have a middle name
  6. My old friends call me Emma
  7. I am proud of my surname but I wish I had my granma's because it sounds posh
  8. I love boxes, more specifically tin boxes of any shape and size
  9. I wish Rhiannon Ashlee and I were friends
  10. This year I am going to participate to my very first Secret Santa
  11. Also I have already planned out my friends' Christmas presents
  12. I love board games
  13. I love amusement parks and rollercoasters and I physically crave them
  14. I love Matt Sewell's and Nina Stajner's illustrations
  15. I wish I had a small dog
  16. I have never had a pet
  17. I got distracted like five times before finishing this list
  18. I should be washing the dishes right now
  19. And maybe have a shower
  20. Also my neighbour is noisy

October 07, 2017

Lush Shopping Cart

Last night I went out for dinner with my friend V. We were supposed to attend Cara Delevingne's WHSmith book launch but the event was suddenly cancelled, so we just ended up eating dumplings and chatting about our lives.

My friend is a bit of a Lush expert (she says she isn't but in my eyes she is) and since she'd been there in the afternoon I asked a few recommendations. I had already set my eyes on some products and wanted to visit Lush soon but was curious to hear her opinion first. 


After dinner I decided to stop at Lush before heading home. I took a look at all the shelves and sniffed all the shampoos (as you do), then asked one of the assistants some questions. I ended up buying three products that I had already seen online or heard of.

As I was looking for something to hydrate my scalp, I started from Superbalm. It's not the cheapest hair product but I have heard really good things about it and right now I definitely need something for my scalp. 

Then, following the kind lady's recommendation, I picked up American Cream for the length of the hair (I'd just emptied my beloved Davines OI Conditioner and was in need of a new product) and Ultrabland as a makeup remover (I have heard mixed reviews about this, I hope I won't regret it).

A few weeks ago I also bought Enchanted Eye Cream and I am currently loving it, although I find that the pump tends to get too much product out and I wish there was a way to change that.

I'm starting to collect a good amount of Lush products now. I've been into Lush for years but never really got around testing so many different products before. Apart from the ones mentioned, I am currently using a face cream called Celestial and sometimes I scrub my lips with my endless pot of Mint Julips lips scrub.

I'll let you know in a future post if my shopping spree will classify as successful.

Do you have any favourite Lush product?

Martina x

October 05, 2017

Nonna's Apple Cake

My holiday home back in Italy has an apple tree. When we were little, the apple produced by that tree were of a rare variety and were truly delicious. I still remember their sour, juicy flavour. A few years back that tree got sick and my grandma had another apple tree attached to it before it died completely (gardener's sorcery, don't ask), so now we still get some lovely fruits every year. The problem is, the new variety doesn't taste just as good, and we often end up surrounded by wishy-washy apples. To make up for that, my grandma has become the fastest apple cake maker ever, and she just bakes cake after cake until the apple season is over. She kind of makes up the recipe every time, as she is a goddess in the kitchen, but my mum has managed to write down her guidelines, and now I'm going to write them down on here, just in case you were looking for a simple but great apple cake recipe.
Ingredients:
4 apples (more or less 800gr)
6 spoonfuls of sugar (more or less 100gr)
250gr flour
2 eggs
50/70gr melted butter
1 glass of milk
Baking powder
Lemon zest
Heat up the oven to 180°. Mix butter and sugar, then add in the following order: flour, eggs, milk, lemon zest, baking powder, apples. Keep mixing everything well as you add each ingredient. Then butter a cake tin and cover the butter in flour, scoop the batter in the cake tin, add some butter on top (I've seen her adding some sugar as well at this point) and put the tin in the oven for 40 minutes.

I followed this recipe yesterday but adapted it to the ingredients I had at home (no eggs, cashew milk instead of cow milk) and the result has been incredible, I couldn't believe my tastebuds. I am so out of practice with baking but still managed to get this right. Apple magic.

I believe apples taste really good when baked or cooked. Now that I think of it, I should probably eat more baked apples this Autumn. They feel like an autumnal dessert and are probably healthier than half of the desserts I usually dream of at night.

Do you know any great recipe with apples? Please let me know!

Martina x

September 30, 2017

Books and Feelings

The only book I managed to finish this month is Carrie Hope Flethcher's newest novel, All That She Can See. 

I pre-ordered it as soon as it became available online, collected it from Waterstones as soon as they delivered it, and then kept it in my wardrobe - studio flat problems, I miss a proper bookcase - for weeks before picking it up. I didn't do that for any particular reason, I was simply reading other things, but now I am glad I finally found some time for it. 


The story took some pages before finally catching me, but I found that the more I read the more I was intrigued by the plot, and now that I have finished it I really hope Carrie will write a sequel at some point, because I need to know what happens to the main characters.

The style is on the same line of her previous novel, which I loved, and some bits reminded me a little bit of Pixar's Inside Out, which is one of the best films I've seen in the past couple of years.

I don't want to give away too much about the story, the characters or the themes, so I'm going to keep this post short, but if you like Carrie's other books, or Carrie in general, or even just Inside Out and cakes, then I recommend you read All That She Can See as well.

Fun fact: whenever I think of this book I see in my mind a specific area of Camden, because the day I read one of the major plot revelations (the existence of the Feelers, in case you know what I am talking about) I was sitting at the entrance of the Roundhouse waiting for my boyfriend, so my brain has started playing back the memories from that day and link them to the book. How cool is that?

If you've read this book, please let me know what you think! I love to share thoughts and ideas.

Reading Challenge 2017:
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you: All That She Can See
Martina x

September 27, 2017

September Favourites

I've decided that I want to start a monthly post thingy on my current favourites, as I really like to read other people's favourites and I also think it's one of those posts that it's fun to look back at after a few months (or years).

Let's start with the most important topic: food. My food favourite this month are the Nakd bars, especially the one called Berry Delight. They are tasty, healthy, not sickly sweet and the price is not too bad either if you buy the box that contains four of them (especially since they've been reduced to £2 all month at Sainsbury's).

Favourite flavour: cinnamon. I love cinnamon all year round, but this month I've found myself eating more of it, at home and on the go. I guess it's weather apppropriate right now, since it's starting to look a lot like autumn.

My favourite item of clothing has been hands down my fleecy tights from Primark. They are extremely comfortable and look very nice. They are also super cheap, which reminds me I actually need to stock up before the great cold begins.

I have used my beloved Naked 3 palette pretty much every day off I had and I love love love the colours. I always manage to do something that looks cool on my eyes, and I am usually terrible at eyeshadow (I believe I used to be better, but I am so out of practice now).

I haven't watched too many films or series lately, but I have loved the latest season of BoJack Horseman, and that's saying something, considering that I am not the biggest fan of cartoons for adults. BoJack is actually the first one I properly like and look forward to watching again. I love the characters, the plot, the topics they talk about and the way they convey them. I think I loved this season even more than the previous. The episode about BoJack's mum's past is equally as good and touching as the episode set on the bottom of the ocean at the end of the previous season, and I loved some little details like the way they voiced BoJack's mind in one episode by doodling a little horse and making him mimic everything that BoJack was thinking about himself. And I believe there are a lot of deep/quotable sentences. I still love this one from the previous season: 

Nobody completes anybody. That’s not a real thing. If you’re lucky enough to find someone you can halfway tolerate, you sink your nails in and don’t let go no matter what.

Book-wise I have been focusing on Chernow's Hamilton biography, which I am absolutely loving, but I'm not going to review here because I have other plans for it (and I haven't finished it yet).

One more thing before I go. The first week of August I bought the most beautiful Disney x Cath Kidston backpack and I have been using it pretty much everyday. I wanted to write a super long post about it but haven't managed to take the right pictures yet, so expect that at some point next month (hopefully). I just believe it was worth mentioning it here because I've been loving that backpack since June, when I first set my eyes on it, and I still do.

Martina x

September 25, 2017

Autumn Wishlist

I'm on the hunt for a few things this month. I need to update my wardrobe before the weather gets too chilly.

Picture taken from Oliver Bonas' website

In the place where I work I have a designated outfit that I am supposed to wear, but I am allowed to layer stuff under that as long as it's black. For this reason I bought an extra black cotton long-sleeved top (I already had two) and a pair of fleece tights from Primark (I am in love and I will stock up very soon). I also bought two thermal vests and I must say they are very comfy, I am sure I will use them so much I will end up wearing them out this winter. The things I might need now are one or more thin yet warm black sweaters and some fluffy black socks. I might also need to buy some new shoes later on, I am still unsure whether to get a new pair of Doctor Martens or some Chelsea boots or something entirely different. The most important thing is that they are water resistant (hi London winter, I am looking at you). I have spotted some lovely boots on the F-Troupe website but I guess they are a bit out of my budget and maybe not as versatile as other shoes.

Picture taken from F Troupe's website

Outfit wise, there are a few other things I would like to get. One is a new pinafore, as I bought a really summery one last month and used it almost everyday, and the second is a cashmere sweater (keep dreaming girl).

Aside from clothing, I would like to get a perfume, sort out my makeup storage (I'm in love with an Oliver Bonas makeup bag but I'm not sure it would be the comfiest storage option) and get the Liberty x Emma Bridgewater mug (so expensive yet so beautiful). 

Picture taken from Liberty's website

What's on your wishlist?

Martina x

September 22, 2017

Primark Haul

One day I decided I wanted to visit Primark in Tottenham Court Road inside out, just making sure I'd seen everything that was on the shelves. 

I took advantage of a morning off work on September 8th and went there just before lunch. I started from the Harry Potter section, which is brilliant. I really wanted to pick up something from this area but wasn't sure on what I might need more, so I opted for some glittery short Hogwarts jammies for £6. My favourite item was probably the Hedwig pillow, but at the moment I really wouldn't now where to keep it, so I sadly had to abandon it.

I was mainly on the hunt for sweaters and long sleeved stuff, but didn't really meet something that satisfied my needs, so I picked up a few useful bits instead. I got a makeup brush cleaner (the pink silicone glove-thing) for £1.50, eight pairs of bikini-shaped underwear (I finally found a type of underwear that feels comfortable, it took ages) for £9 and a black thermal top for work at £3.50. 

I was tempted to buy a new pair of slippers and a nightgown, but decided that I will pick them up later this year, and just bought the cutest jammies ever for only £8. They are one of those wintery cotton numbers, with buttons down the front and a nice blouse-like collar, and the print is a mix of all my favourite woodland animals. Bunnies, deers, squirrels, you name it. I've been wearing them non stop since I bought them. 

The last thing I picked up was a cotton sweater for Lorenzo, as he had tried it before and liked it but he didn't want to buy it for himself.

Before entering Primark I had told myself I would try to spend a maximum of £50, and I ended up spending £40 for 13 items, so I class this shopping spree as a success. Now I just have to avoid repeating this too often, hahah.

Martina x

September 12, 2017

Who, me?

Raise your hands if you promised yourself you would post once a day in September and ended up posting once in the first half of the month *raises one hand and facepalms with the other*

Soo, this month I had a lot of ideas for blogposts but ended up just postponing them day by day. I think that the main reason might be that I didn't have any time to take pictures. I tend to feel more motivated if I know I already have pictures for my posts.

Anyway. Today's been a long day. I've been to work, went to Primark and Sainsbury's afterwards, went back home and cooked and cleaned, and now I'm here. Tomorrow was supposed to be my day off but my managers asked if I could move it to Friday, so I won't be going to Oxford to see my friend that just moved here.

Tonight I've been listening to John Mayer's The Search for Everything. I really love most of the songs, find them really deep and at the same time relaxing, and John always reminds me of my boyfriend, so I just listen to him when Lorenzo's not home.

Lately I've had John Mayer, Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran playing a lot in my mind while at work, and also The Girls Musical's soundtrack (One more year in Yorkshire anyone?). About that, I would love to see that show again, I'm so sad that it's not in the West End anymore. The cast was incredible and I absolutely love the soundtrack, plus it's the most British show I've ever seen. It's brilliant.

For tonight I think I've finished with my ramblings. I'll try to update you tomorrow. Toodle pip!

Martina x


September 01, 2017

Happy Anniversary!

September first marks the fourth anniversary of me and Lorenzo being together. I am proud of us, four years might not seem like much if you compare it to other people’s relationships but it's still quite a long time. We have already been through a few difficult situations too, and we managed to get through them together. Yay us!


This year we couldn’t book a short holiday for our anniversary, as we did in the past years, because we both had to work, so we decided to just go out for dinner. We opted for Bella Italia since we have collected many special memories there already. 

The dinner was a bit of a fail though, as we didn’t love our main dishes and spent more money than expected - but I am sure we will go out somewhere else on a different day and just make up for that. 

Lorenzo got me a little present as well. The thing he chose shows how much he knows me. It’s a fill-the-gaps journal made by an illustrator we really like called Philippa Rice. The activities inside the book are really sweet and funny and I love the design of every page. Moreover, everything is red, white and black, which is a combination I absolutely love.


I did not know Philippa Rice had published any books before, now that I know that I really need to get all of them, hahah. I also accidentally found out that Sarah Anderson published books as well (I always see Philippa and Sarah's illustrations on Facebook but never realised they were published authors, silly me). Seriously, I need everything now.

Martina x

August 31, 2017

Does This Count?

In August I have sadly only read one book. I had three and a half in my mind but I probably didn't focus on this goal enough. Anyway, I managed to upload 18 posts including this, which is a good number, I believe. I am going to continue with my writing-every-day project in September, we will see if I get to upload more or maybe just better content. 

The book I read this month was kindly gifted by my boyfriend's mum. When his parents visited London she insisted that she wanted to get a present of us both, and when we popped into Foyles she spotted a book about Ed Sheeran and just bought it for me. I find this gesture really nice and lovely from her, and I also appreciate her choice. She didn't wait for me to say which book I wanted - she knew I wouldn't pick one - so she just went for something she knew I would enjoy, since I'm a big Ed Sheeran fan.


The book itself is really interesting. It describes Ed's life and career so far and quotes interviews, videos and official statements made by Ed and his family and friends, so even though it's not written in collaboration with Ed himself the content sounds quite legit.

I knew most of his story already, but it was interesting to find out a bit more about all the hard work he put into making his way up to the top. I also read the names of numerous artists that influenced Ed's music or wrote and worked with him and that I might check out on YouTube at some point.

The only thing I didn't like too much were the comments to the songs that the author of the book deliberately made, especially because he criticised some of my favourites, like Wake Me Up - that song is a masterpiece, don't you dare saying anything bad about it.

I've started reading another book and you will definitely find out what it is at the end of September, so stay tuned!

Book Challenge 2017:
Ed Sheeran - Divide and Conquer: a book involving a mythical creature*

Martina x

*Is this cheating? Does this count? Ed is definitely a mythical creature, isn't he?

August 27, 2017

Blues Brothers and Burgers

Yesterday I spent a great day with my boyfriend. Our plans were to take a walk somewhere new, to eat some sushi and to go to the Hippodrome Casino to see The Blues Brothers Summer Special.


Walk-wise, we started from Covent Garden (Lorenzo had to go to the Apple Store) and ended up near Blackfriars. We walked along the side of the Thames that we had never properly explored before. It was really nice and quiet, compared to the madness that we found in Covent Garden.

Around six we decided it was time to get something for dinner and then walk to the show's venue. We wanted to stop at Itsu along the way but I misjudged how long it would take for us to walk all the way from where we were to Leicester Square, so we ended up giving a miss to our sushi in order to get to the Hippodrome Casino in time. 

Once we got there, and walked inside the casino, we wandered around a little before understanding where the entrance for the show's room would be. Then Lorenzo ordered a beer and we sat straight outside the doors, waiting for them to open. Once inside the Matcham Room we choose our seats (third row, straight in front of the stage/the guitar's amp - boyfriend's professional bias) and had some time to look around before the show began.

I really loved the Matcham Room. It's small and cosy and every detail is well cared for. The colours, seats, carpets, all go together nicely, and the acoustic of the room is spot on. From where I was sitting I could see the whole stage and hear everything without getting a headache or having my view blocked by the people sitting in the first two rows.

The show lived up to my expectations and probably even outdid them. For some reason I expected it to be shorter and less cohesive, but thankfully that was not the case. Every single member of the cast and band was amazing, and the audience was really involved in the show, which is something that doesn't always happen. I even stood up and danced, which is something that I never ever do, as I always feel awkward and silly whenever I try. 

The character of Jake was brilliantly interpreted by Dave, Sophie/itsSophieBelle's fiancé, whom you might know from the channel Sophie and Dave (and if you don't, please check them out, as their vlogs are great and they truly seem to be the loveliest people on Earth). When I bought the tickets I tweeted him and he very kindly tweeted back, also adding that Sophie might be going to the show on the same date I did.

Before the show started I looked around to see if I could spot her in the crowd, still not sure if I would have the courage to actually talk to her, but I couldn't find her. During the break, however, I noticed a person that could look like her, and my idea was confirmed when I saw her filming during the show.

After the show I walked out of the room with my boyfriend and just assumed she had already left, as I couldn't see her in the room anymore. However, a minute later I turned and just saw her sitting at a table on her own. I was still unsure whether to say hi or run away and call it a day, when she turned and looked at me. In that moment I just walked there - probably wearing a really surprised/scared/silly expression on my face - and asked, "Are you Sophie?" (best way to start a conversation, am I right?).

I was a bit concerned because I've met other people from the Internet before and, although no one ever treated me badly or really disappointed my expectations, I knew that meeting someone you only know from Youtube is not always as smooth as you have imagined it in your head. However, Sophie seemed exactly as I had imagined her. We only talked for a bit (I was worried I was wasting her time or making her feel uncomfortable) but she seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me a little bit and didn't refuse to hug me (which for me is a really huge proof of trust in another person - I personally really value hugs and only ever hug people when I mean it).

As corny as it might sound, ever since I started watching her videos a couple of years back I always thought (or rather wished) we could be friends in real life, as she seemed like the kind of person I can get along with very well. Yesterday night we didn't become friends on the spot, obviously, but talking to her and seeing how lovely she seemed really made me feel like I was right about her.

Anyway, after saying goodbye and telling her to congratulate Dave and the cast for the brilliant performance, Lorenzo and I left the building and went out looking for food. We walked past T.G.I. Friday and I was just starting to tell him that Sophie and Dave love that place when he suggested we could eat there. I had only eaten there once in LA, so was buzzing to try some of their dishes. We both opted for a Jack Daniel's Chicken Burger but I also ordered a Birthday Cake Shake - it was definitely not my birthday but I had not eaten at T.G.I. Friday for over five years so why not. The food was delicious, the service impeccable, so we left really happy and with our bellies full.

I don't know how to put into words how happy I felt yesterday, it has been a truly special day and one of those days I'm grateful the most for living in London. There are so many things that can happen here and that can make me so happy. I really do believe I could never get tired of this place.

Martina x

August 25, 2017

Try Again

Quick update just to say that I've started following the We Heart Living x Danielle Peazer 12-Week Body Plan again, this time I hope I'll manage to stick to it for longer. So far I am on my second day of exercising, tomorrow morning I'm going to do my third session, and this way I'll also complete the first week. I'm looking forward tomorrow's routine because it's more of a dance thing and I remember I really enjoyed it when I first did it.

I'll try to be strong and stick to my schedule but I already know it's going to be hard, because I prefer to spend my free time differently and also because my job is quite physically demanding itself (I stand and walk a lot, lift weights and run up and down the stairs all day), so adding the two things is quite stressful, but it might also be useful for burning more calories and keeping the muscles active all the time. We shall see.


On a more positive note, tomorrow I'm going to see The Blues Brothers Summer Special and I am really looking forward to it.

See you tomorrow,

Martina x

August 21, 2017

I Met Rose

I am talking about my new razor, not Jane the Virgin's Rose, thankfully. I probably wouldn't be here to tell the story otherwise.

Hey, you can see me in the reflection!

Remember that post about my shaving issues? Well, my boyfriend checked out my razors and said that the reason I got cut so often was that they only had two blades, and they were really basic, not flexible and all of that. Following his suggestion, I started checking out razors on Boots' website, but all of them seemed quite pricey, and then I remembered seeing a picture of something called Friction Free Shaving. 


Friction Free Shaving is a subscriptions that allows people to receive four new blades every month, and the prices for the subscription go from 5 to 9 pounds a month. In the first box you get the razor handle and four blades, and the following months you just get the blades (at least that's what I have understood). You can also add a shaving cream to the subscription for an extra 6 pounds.

Now my legs will be less scratched than my boyfriend's desk

The two razors that they offer are the three-bladed Frankie and the six-bladed Rose. I obviously went for the second one because it's prettier because of the six blades and I added the shaving cream for good measure.

I ordered it about a week ago and it landed on my doorstep this morning, just in time for my weekly shaving session.

Let's start by saying that I love the packaging, the colours and the creativity that went into the creation of this product. Second, I really really appreciate the material and weight of the razor handle. It feels expensive and long-lasting. The cream looks pretty as well, and despite containing manuka honey, shea butter and coconut oil its perfume reminds me of peaches, which I love.


I tried everything straightaway (well, right after taking some pictures) and I can say it lived up to the expectations. Shaving proved to be quick and easy, and I didn't even cut myself. The blades cut the hair really close to the skin, so the result should last for a little longer than my previous razors, but the simple fact that I didn't cut myself is enough to make me say I love this combo and I will definitely not cancel my subscription soon.

I will update you at some point, in the meantime, I have got a referral code to share with you in case you decide to #meetRose as well. With this code (K4O1IU) you can get 25% discount on your first order. You are welcome.

Look at all those little blades

Martina x

August 19, 2017

They Melted My Heart

Quick update just to tell you something that happened at work today.

I was sorting out the shelves in the shop where I spend half of my working hours when I overheard a conversation between a little girl and her mum. The little girl wanted to buy some ink and a quill but wasn't sure wether she should buy them there or at the Harry Potter shop in King's Cross. I noticed that the parents didn't really know what to say and they didn't seem too keen on the quill, so I walked there and told her, "I believe you should buy that at the Harry Potter shop, it's more magical there" - partly because I truly believe that and I would want to buy my quill there and partly because I wanted to help the parents. She didn't seem too convinced at first, but after a few minutes came back and said, "Thank you for your advice" which sounded so grown-up from her, it truly melted my heart.

After I gave her my advice though, her brother (could have been eight or nine years old, not older) came up to me and asked, "Excuse me, do you work here? You know, the thing that you just said to my sister is not helpful for your business. You shouldn't tell people to buy things elsewhere." Then he went on saying that he had checked the prices of ink and quills on Amazon and that he might actually buy them from there, and that everything in our shop is a bit overpriced. Bless him. I asked how did he know so many things at such young age, and he answered, "I don't know, I just know that."

The older brother then came up to me with an item in his hands asking me, "Sorry madam, I don't remember where I found this, can you point the shelf to me so I can bring it back?" which, if you have ever worked in a shop, you might know that is something that no one does, ever. Everyone just abandons everything in random places, so the average day on an employee feels like an endless game of hide-and-seek. I was moved but still told him to leave that to me, that I would take care of that.

I honestly wonder how their parents managed to bring up such well-mannered and clever children, although this kind of personality has probably more to do with the child himself than the parents. Still, if they wrote a book about parenting I would definitely read it.

Unfortunately they left and I didn't have time to ask them to adopt me congratulate for their smart children.

This event is definitely the highlight of my working month. Do you have any story to share?

Martina x

August 17, 2017

Firsts

Today I visited Westfield White City for the first time. I really appreciated the building, though I found it to be a bit of a maze, but was quite disappointed by the lack of a bookshop (though maybe they do have one and I just couldn't find it). After walking through Westfield without buying anything I travelled to Foyles Charing Cross, where Lorenzo bought me Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton biography (#boyfriendgoals, right?).

Six years ago as of today I was flying buisness class to New York. Can you believe it? It was my first time in the US and my holiday extended to Annapolis, Washington DC and Orlando. Best family holiday ever. I've been wanting to talk about my US experiences for a while, so I might pick up this topic a little better in another post. 



In 2011 I visited the UK, the US, Belgium and Germany. Wish all my years could be like that. But I am not complaining, as right now I live in London and this has always been one of my major life goals.

See you soon,

Martina x

August 16, 2017

Favourite Major Food Chain?

Pret.

Pret a Manger is definitely my favourite food chain. I discovered it in London a few years back, as we don't have one in Italy, and since then I've started appreciating it more and more. Not only the food is good, various, healthy and with a good price, but the company is also all into charity and treating their employees well (or so I've heard), making it an ethically correct place. I also love their design - from the chairs and tables to the prints on the walls - and their theme colours - that red/bordeaux is really up my street.

I have a few favourite bits from them and I have already spread my passion with my boyfriend, friends and family. I can proudly say that everyone of them has tried the Brie, Avocado & Tomato Toastie - my absolute favourite - and loved it (well done Pret, now please don't discontinue that toastie or you might not see me again).

Their coffee is not the best, more often than not it tastes like it's been burned (and you can still feel that in drinks that contain a lot of sugar and milk) but since I'm not a huge fan of coffee and I don't drink it that often, this doesn't bother me too much.

I visit Pret almost everyday (the fact that my workplace is right next to one of their shops doesn't help). If I had to eat at Pret for a whole day, this is what I would get.

Breakfast

I would pick up a small Orange Juice and order a Chocolate & Hazelnut Croissant at the till. I might also get a Soya Latte, if I feel like I need a little caffeine or something to warm myself up.

Lunch

I would usually go for my favourite toastie - the Brie, Avocado & Tomato Toastie. If that's not available or if I prefer something cold I would opt for a Free-Range Egg Mayo or a Classic Super Club, and if I'm not extremely hungry I would choose the Mozzarella & Tomato Croissant, that - along with the Toastie - is on top of my favourites' list. As a drink I would either get Still Water or the Green Tea & Peach drink.

Snack

In the afternoon I would either order a Victoria Sponge and sit down to eat it or get one of their bars and eat it on the go. My favourite bars are the Choc Bar, Popcorn Bar and Chocolate Brownie Bar. For a drink, depending on the weather, I would either opt for a Soya Hot Chocolate or a Berry Blast. 

Dinner

For dinner I would pick up a bottle of Still Water and eat some Macaroni Cheese Kale & Cauli (that's actually what I had today) or some Chicken, Broccoli & Brown Rice Soup. I usually get the smaller one and pair it up with some focaccia or a fruit or dessert.

I generally tend to avoid eating out this much, mainly to save some money, but if I really had to eat out all day long I would probably really just go to Pret multiple times. In my opinion, Pret is one of the best food places where you can find a balance between a decent price and a healthy meal, plus unlike many other places there are many different things to choose from, even numerous vegetarian and vegan options, so even eating out everyday wouldn't be too boring, in comparison to most cafés.

What about you? What's your favourite food place?

Martina x

August 14, 2017

Six Years Ago - What?

Right now I feel like I've just come back from a weird dream. I was looking through the pictures I took the first time I visited the UK, back in 2011. For a moment I just lived in those memories. I was still in London (not only there though, I'll explain later), but in the London of six years ago. King's Cross was being renewed, the Shard was being built, the Olympics were yet to happen, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 was in the cinema. 

In July/August 2011 I spent two weeks in Stafford for a Summer school. During that time I also visited Liverpool and Stratford-upon-Avon, and on the last weekend before flying back to Milan we went to London. 

The whole experience has been fantastic, and it's something I would recommend to any student. During that time I also made many new friends (one ended up becoming one of my best friends - I'm talking about you Vava) and deepened my friendship with the people I already knew.

Here are some pictures. Welcome to my personal memory lane.

The campus where we were staying was really beautiful

The weather in Liverpool was magical - we had such a great day

As you can see I was already into artsy pictures

Stratford-upon-Avon looks like it came straight out of a fairytale
 

Finally in London! I had been waiting for all my life, I am not joking


 

The British Museum's building is stunning



I was so proud of this picture, I even had it printed professionally and kept it in my room

PS. I am so sad for my beloved Big Ben - they're going to keep him hidden for four years, that's such a shame, I will miss him so much.

Martina x

August 13, 2017

Today I Don't Feel Like Doing Anything

Soo, today I've got nothing majorly exciting to tell. I woke up feeling poorly (again), so I just decided to stay in bed all morning. I watched all of the Rhiannon Ashlee videos I still had to watch (I just love Rhiannon, her videos, her taste in colours/brands/items and her flat so much, and she has the kind of lifestyle I would like to have - work-from-home mum sort of thing, except she has a proper job and I wouldn't know where to start). In the afternoon I did the laundry, cleaned up a little bit, had a shower. After that my boyfriend came back home, so I spent some time with him. Now he's asleep next to me and I have just completed a couple applications and sent them to my hypotetical new workplaces (I wrote a great cover letter for one of them, so I hope it will bring me luck). 

This morning my managers called me to ask if I was available to work tomorrow instead of having a day off - a nightmare! Luckily they said they didn't need me specifically and they would have tried to contact someone else. Phew.

Now I think I'm going to prepare some tea and Nutella on toast - which is probably not the best option for me right now, considering I'm feeling meh, but I'm a tad bit hungry and today I haven't eaten much because I was nauseated, so I feel like the fact I'm craving Nutella might be a good sign. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel better and I will go somewhere with Lorenzo. We will see.

Have a lovely evening guys,
Martina x

August 12, 2017

To See the Beauty

Hello!

It's finally Saturday, and after five intense days of work my day off is approaching. Actually, I just found out I am going to have two days off in a row, which in this season is a treat that not everyone gets at my workplace (I work at a tourist attraction, so summertime means crazy long days and weeks that feel endless).

I have been feeling increasingly ill in the past few days. Without going into details, I'll say that I feel like I have zero energy and even the simplest things, like standing up or moving my head left and right, feel like an effort. Today I reached the lowest point so far, and after a few hours I contemplated the idea of asking my managers to let me go home early. 

Despite that I resisted, and after we closed down the office I decided to go for a walk. From an external point of view that might not sound like a great idea, considering my lack of energy and my other symptoms, but after spending a day in the same couple of rooms I really needed to see something different, I needed to see the beauty that surrounds me all the time since I moved here (I still can't believe that I can reach every corner of London that I love in just a matter of minutes).

I decided to travel to Piccadilly Circus and walk down Piccadilly towards Green Park. I really love that area (in fact I love pretty much every place I have visited so far, so you will hear me saying that of many and many places around London, but oh well). During my trip I stopped at Boots, Waterstones, Hatchards (I had never been there before) and Cath Kidston. When I finally reached Green Park, the sky was looking wonderful and I spent a few minutes looking at it before leaving to go home.

When I got home I was in pieces, so I spent the rest of the evening in my bed (I am still there, yay) but I am really, really happy for the short walk that I took after work. It helped emptying my mind from the past week's stress and worries and reminding me of how lucky I am. I am really proud of myself for all I have achieved in the past six months and I am always truly grateful for being in this wonderful city.

Martina x

August 11, 2017

I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot

I have become one of those people that can hold a full conversation by quoting Hamilton songs, and I am proud of it. 

I don't have many friends that are interested in Hamilton though, so most of the times I actually just quote said songs in my head and high-five myself or just smile.

Since English is not my native language, I naturally tend to learn and re-use sentences from books, films or songs in my day to day life. It's a learning strategy. This way sometimes I end up quoting Hamilton (or other musicals) without even noticing.

Lately I realised that I have started using the idea of "not throwing away my shot" quite a lot. It has almost become my daily life motto. I have always believed in the importance of doing whatever I am doing well and putting 100% of myself in what I am doing, especially if it's something that can really make a difference. In Italian there is a way of phrasing this, le cose o le fai bene o non le fai, which can be translated to do it well or not at all. I have used that sentence quite often when talking to myself in the past, but I feel like that way of phrasing the idea doesn't describe myself or my attitude towards what I have to do all the times, because while it's true that generally speaking I try to do my best even when I'm doing the simplest things - like cleaning or cooking or texting - it's also true that sometimes I sort of lose my patience or hope (like with this blog, or with diets and sports). I have started noticing that the idea of not throwing away my shot describes my views better, because it creates a distinction inside my head between things that really matter in one specific moment and things that can be abandoned halfway.

I am not throwing away my shot, so I am going to write a great cover letter to grant me an interview for my next job. If I just write a half-hearted cover letter I halve the chances of getting a new job.

I am not throwing away my shot, so if  I am going to write a post on something I really care about I will wait until I have time to write it well and have pictures to add to it. On the other hand, if I don't upload a great post tomorrow the world is not going to end.

As I type I can already see some loopholes here and there in what I am saying, I can hear voices in my head saying that if I just phrased things differently I could get a different meaning out of them and blah blah blah. Right now I don't care too much about explaining my point of view better than I just did - for once I am not asking for your opinion (ha), I am just typing down things as they run through my head.

It's quite late and I am tired and I still have to finish that damn cover letter so I will say goodbye here.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant, 
M. Can 

August 08, 2017

Benefit Gimme Brow

When the upgraded brows collection by Benefit Cosmetics came out last year, for a moment I was honestly tempted to buy all the products, mainly because they look so good when they are displayed all together. I love the attention that Benefit puts into its design, I find that I am more inclined to pick up a makeup product from my drawer if its packaging makes me happy as much as its content. Last year I ended up buying a pencil by Neve Cosmetics instead, and I didn't regret it, as it worked perfectly with my brows (and, believe me, finding the right colour for my eyebrows has proven to be a huge challenge).

Back in March, as you might or might not know, I won an EcoTools x Boots giveaway. As soon as I entered Boots that day I thought that I might end up spending all my money on Benefit Cosmetics products, since I like their design and colours so much. At first I didn't get anything though. I already had my ultimate Benefit product (the Cheekathon Palette) and I didn't want to buy something I didn't need.

A few weeks after I decided that I needed to change my eyebrows routine a little, especially because my brows sometimes tend to be a little unruly and curl up in the wrong direction. I visited Boots with the thought of getting some invisible wax or gel to keep them in place, but ended up buying a Benefit product instead.

The lady at the counter recommended me to try Gimme Brow in 03. She tested that on me and I decided to get it. 


I have been using it ever since, every time I am doing a full face of makeup, and I really like it. It completes the look without being too "in your face". It's also easy to use, it can be built up and it usually looks very natural, while at the same time keeping brows brushed in the right direction. Sometimes I pair it with my faithful Neve Cosmetics Manga Brows, while other times I just use it on its own. I still believe that it's quite expensive for the amount of product that you get and that there are some cheaper products that work just as well but, for a Benefit fangirl like me, knowing that it's a Benefit product and being able to appreciate the packaging are details that add value to the product, so in the end I consider it a good investment.

Have you ever tried any product from Benefit's brows collection?

Martina x

August 07, 2017

Negramaro: L'Immenso

This week I've had a couple of Italian songs in my head - Ti ho voluto bene veramente by Marco Mengoni and L'Immenso by Negramaro. I have already posted about the first one (you can read about it here) but I haven't talked about the other yet.

Negramaro is a famous Italian band. I have never been a big fan and I don't know that much about them, but they have written a few songs that used to be on the radio or TV all the time and that I really like.

My favourite, and the only Negramaro song I used to have on my iPod, is called L'Immenso. It was released in 2007. I find the lyrics really deep and the combination of music and words quite powerful.

If I could rewind the world
I would certainly bring you back
For a deep, eternal moment
In which everything seems to be real but nothing really is
I would keep the world tightly in my pocket
And one day maybe give it back to you
To you, who are not part of the infinite
It's the infinite that is just a part of you

You can listen to the song (and watch the video) here.

I don't know exactly what the authors meant to say when they wrote this song, so my interpretation might be all wrong, but the video always made me think that they were dedicating it to someone they really cared about that had passed away. I find the lyrics full of love and, somehow, hope, instead of the typical desperation linked to this kind of events, and I really like this way of seeing things.

Had you ever heard this one before? What is your interpretation?

Martina x

August 05, 2017

Another Side of Beauty

Today’s post is beauty related, but it’s not your typical beauty post. I’m going to talk about the hair removal techniques I have tried recently, as I have been struggling a bit with keeping up with my hair growth (of course I’m only talking about body hair, not hair-hair, that is just doing fine lately).

Anyway, I’ve always been an epilator kind of girl. I don’t find it particularly painful and I think it is a low cost, long lasting technique to keep body hair at bay.

However, since I moved to London I’ve found it quite uncomfortable to epilate, as there is no way to do it in the bathroom (as I’m used to) and there’s not enough natural light in my room to do it properly there. Epilating also takes a long time and most days I don’t have that time – or I don’t want to waste my time off work epilating. I have to add here that my skin is really sensitive, I am prone to cuts and bruises and broken capillaries (thanks mum), so while testing products I also had to keep that in mind.

I was looking for something easier and possibly quicker, so I decided to experiment with different hair removal techniques, to see if I could find something that could suit my new life better.

In the past few months I have therefore bought disposable razors, wax strips, a waxing kit and a bottle of hair removal cream.

The wax strips felt quite useless on me, although I know that a lot of people swear by them. I guess my hair just doesn’t want to come off easily. I decided to try with the wax, which was a more expensive option but supposedly stronger than the strips, but in order to make it work I still had to insist on the same spot for a long time, which is not good for capillaries and bruises. So I moved on to razors, but I just kept accidentally cutting myself - which is not fun, especially on the long run, when the number of cuts keeps increasing.

I have finally settled for a mix of hair removal cream and razors (trying to use them less often and really carefully) but I am still not a hundred percent convinced by this. I still have to try a few shaving creams or gels, to see if they can make a difference when paired with razors, and the shower hair removal cream (which looks expensive but might save me from the hassle of dropping cream everywhere around the room).

What is your go-to hair removal technique? Do you have any tips and tricks?

Martina x

August 04, 2017

West End Shows

Tonight I don't have much time to write because I'm looking for job opportunities and sending applications around London. However, my plan was to talk about the shows I've seen lately, so I will post about something that has to do with theatre anyway.

Soo, here's a list of the West End shows I’ve seen so far (plus one show I’ve seen in Milan) so I can remember them as time goes by. Consider this a preview of some of my future posts, because I'm definitely going to talk a bit more about some of these shows.

2013
  • Les Misérables
  • Wicked 
2015 
  • Les Misérables 
  • The Addams Family (in Milan) 
2016 
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 
2017 
  • Matilda 
  • An American in London 
  • Wicked 
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time 
  • Half a Sixpence 
  • The Girls 
  • Kinky Boots 
  • 42nd Street
I feel like I might have skipped something, maybe I'll add some more shows later.

Anyway, you can write your recommendations in the comments if you have any. I’m always open to suggestions and so far I have liked all the shows I’ve seen, so I'm eager to see more. High up on my list right now I have The Lion King, Aladdin and The Book of Mormon.

See you soon!
Martina x 

August 03, 2017

Books I Read in July

Hello world! Today I am presenting you the four books that I have read in July. I really liked them all and I am really happy that I found enough time to read all of them. Reading relaxes me and makes me feel accomplished, so it’s something I’m always trying to add to my daily life, even when it’s just a few minutes on the tube.

Without further ado, let's introduce the first one.


Wilde Like Me 
by Louise Pentland

As soon as I found out that Louise was publishing a novel, I had to pre-order it. Especially as I found that out through Giovanna Fletcher's Instagram, and I trust Gi's opinion on books.

I didn't know exactly what to expect from Wilde Like Me, but I can assure you that I absolutely loved it. It made me laugh out loud, which is something that doesn't happen all the times with books. I love Louise's style of writing and her humour, and I found the plot quite original and different from any other girlish book I have ever read. My life is definitely different from the life of the main character, but that didn't prevent me from empathising and also learning something and seeing something of myself in her. 

If you are unsure whether you want to read this or not, I encourage you to pick it up. Personally, I am ready to read any other novel that Louise will publish in the future.



Dare to Dream
by Izzy Judd

This book might seem like an odd choice, since I am not a mother and I am not trying to get pregnant yet. The fact is that I love the McFamily (?) and I am always keen on learning new things about pregnancy, motherhood and fertility, as these topics really fascinate me.

Oddly enough, this book actually helped me sorting out a few things in my brain. I found it well written, complete, organised and useful for learning new things about said topics. Moreover, I got to know Izzy a little bit better, and I learned a few things from her that might come in handy soon, like the part where she talks about mindfulness, and the fact that anxiety can aggravate infertility, which is always useful to know.

I really hope that Izzy will publish something else, maybe about her experiences as a mother, because I would love to hear more from her. In the meantime, I wish all the best and all the happiness to the Judds.


Perdersi a Londra

My best friend G. sent me this little booklet as a surprise. It's really tiny and it looks a bit old. It contains two stories by Charles Dickens - Gone Astray and Night Walks. I really appreciated them, as they talk about two characters walking around Victorian London, and they made me want to find out more about the history of some places and also to read more stories by Dickens (I am really ignorant and I think I might have read only one of his books, but I am sure I can make it up easily). I always appreciate this kind of presents, and she knows it well.


Lullabies
by Lang Leav

I bought this one in Brighton in May, it was a total cover buy (plus I really wanted to add more poetry to my book collection). I was actually looking for a Walt Whitman (I keep hearing his name everywhere and I have never read any of his collections) book when I spotted this one.

I took my time to read it well and appreciate its content, and I must say I probably liked it even more than Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur. By that I don't mean to judge its quality but more the number of poems that spoke to me. I bookmarked a lot of them with some yellow sticky notes and I might take a few pictures of them sooner or later, so you might hear about this book again.

I really want to read more poetry books, I really really enjoy the feelings they make me feel.

Book Challenge 2017:
Wilde Like Me: a book about an interesting woman
Dare to Dream: a book that's published in 2017
Perdersi a Londra: a book recommended by a librarian
Lullabies:a book you bought on a trip
Have you read anything worth mentioning in July?

Martina x