April 30, 2017

April Books

This month I've started many books but finished only two. I'm actually satisfied with this result because I managed to read those two books despite being busy and restless all the time (I am unable to stop, whenever I have free time from work I feel like I need to 'do' stuff and so I end up cleaning, walking, exploring, cooking, doing ten things at a time, and I never just sit down and read).

The first book I have read is Giovanna Fletcher' Happy Mum, Happy Baby. I am not a mum, as you might have guessed, so I waited before buying/reading this book because I felt like it might not be something for me, even though I love babies and I like to learn stuff about them. One day though I was at Waterstones and I ended up in the pregnancy/motherhood section (as you do) and spotted the book. I browsed quickly through it for the first tme and noticed how many beautiful pictures of Gi and her family were there, so I decided to buy it. I knew I would love it despite not being a mum already because, as I said, I love babies/pregnancy/motherhood stories and lovelovelove the Fletchers, and Giovanna's writing style. 

I started reading it straightaway, and I was immediately caught by it. I loved every single page and now I feel like I know Gi and her family a little better, and that makes me happy because the Fletchers (all of them, Carrie included) are my main role models, if I am allowed to say so.

Now I'm waiting for Gi's next novel and for Izzy Judd's first book, Dare to Dream.

The other book I read is Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet. I have read some Sherlock Holmes when I was younger but never got round to reading all of the stories, so I have decided to start, as I want to read more classics this year.

I found the first one very interesting, and I appreciated the excursus about Jefferson Hope's past. The fact that the book explained why and how the 'bad guy' ended up killing the men he killed makes the story deeper and makes you question who's the real bad guy of the story. I've now moved onto The Sign of the Four, but I'll update you on that (and hopefully other books) by the end of May.

Have you read anything nice recently?

Book Challenge 2017:
Happy Mum, Happy Baby: a book written by someone you admire
A Study in Scarlet: the first book of in a series you haven't read before 
Martina x

April 28, 2017

My Month in Pictures

I've had a severe case of writer's block lately. I was looking through the pictures I've taken with my phone for inspiration when I realised I could just post said pictures. So here I am, with my quick and easy fix to catch up on the number of posts I was supposed to reach this month.


A wonderful book, a gift for a friend and an author suggested by a colleague.

Martina is attracted by cute stationery and packaging + Martina fixed the oven

Easter food.

I had to stop myself from buying 5 mugs that day. We already have more than we need.

New clothes (from Primark obviously).

You know where to find us.

Day out with a friend.


Celebrating payday.

I take pictures of books I want to read or buy.

1. Clever intro for that book.
2. How cute is that pigeon?

This just looks extra cute.

Martina x

April 26, 2017

Greenwich and Holland Park with S.

Today my dear friend S. was here. She came all the way from Italy just to see me (not really, she also wanted to visit London, of course). I had a day off, so we managed to spend some time together and visit some places we both had never seen.

We started from Greenwich. Around 10 AM we arrived there and paid a visit to the National Maritime Museum, which was far more interesting and beautiful than I expected, considering that I am completely ignorant about the topic. Then we walked in the park for a while, and reached the Royal Observatory. Unfortunately we couldn't see the Greenwich meridian, as you need to buy a ticket to go there and we had decided we didn't want to spend any money except for our food today.

We walked around Greenwich for a while, next to the Cutty Sark, the University of Greenwich and through the beautiful residential streets, then we got the DLR + tube and went to Oxford Circus. There we ate something at Pret, while chatching up with everything that is going on in our lives (and our friends' lives, because we are nosey and curious), and we visited Hamleys and Primark (typical tourist attractions, hahah). We also went to Foyles and walked down Charing Cross Road, which is one of my favourite places because of many reasons. 

We reached Trafalgar Square, soaked in the sun for a bit (it was not raining in that moment, unlike most of the day), quickly walked through the National Museum (as it was closing) and then took the tube to Holland Park (where I found the Poems on the Underground leaflet that you can see in the pictures here). I don't know why I'd never been to Holland Park before, as it's wonderful and full of cool plants and birds. We spotted two peacocks *heart-eyes* and some huge koi fish (they scared me) and then went to Bella Italia for dinner.

I loved hanging out with my friend and I really hope my other friends come here soon. I know it's selfish to say so, and it's expensive for them to travel to the UK, but I miss them and I would love to play the tourist again along with them.

Martina x

April 19, 2017

The Dior Trilogy, Part One

Hey! Lately I've been posting way too many beauty posts for my standards, and despite that I already know that more will come in the near future. The reason, as you might know, is that I have suddenly increased my beauty collection thanks to the gift cards I won. I hope you won't mind too much about this sudden change (that probably won't last long anyway, because I love beauty products and makeup but I don't want to turn my blog into a beauty-only thing).

Anyway, let's start from the first makeup product I picked up: the Diorskin Nude Air foundation.

I entered Boots that day knowing that I would end up buying a foundation, be it expensive or cheap, because I have never had a proper one before (scandalous, I know) and I wanted to take advantage of the situation to have my skin colour matched to my foundation shade.

As I just said, I have never had a proper foundation before, only a BB cream (that I gifted to a friend at some point because I didn't like it) and a powder foundation from Sephora that didn't really cover much. I have never really felt the need to cover my skin, mainly because I can't stand the feeling of something spread on my face, but also because I am quite lucky and my skin is not that bad. Sometimes though I happen to think that I would like to be able to add a little coverage to my face, just to give my makeup a much more flawless finish.

On the day of the meet & greet I asked to all the Boots and EcoTools ladies what brand they'd recommend, and they all said Dior. Even Niomi said that she would have picked either Estee Lauder or Dior, so I thought it was only right to test some of the Dior ones.

Although I love powder products and I much prefer them to liquid ones, I decided to follow everyone's suggestion and try some of the liquid foundations. I swatched a couple of them (there are so many!) on my hand and immediately thought that Diorskin Nude Air was the one that felt nicer. Then I asked the Dior lady to apply the Diorskin Forever Perfect Cushion on one side of my face and the Nude Air on the other, as Niomi suggested the Cushion one (and I was intrigued by the packaging) and the lady suggested the second one.

The colour and sensation on my skin left by the Nude Air definitely won for me, so I ended up buying that one (in the shade 010 Ivory), after a long conversation with the Dior lady, who also suggested me the lip product I'm going to talk about in the next Dior Trilogy post.

Since then, I have already applied the foundation at home, with the help of my brand new EcoTools sponges, and I must say I really love the result. I expected it to feel "heavy" on my face as I am not used to wear foundation, and I was worried I'd end up leaving pinkish streaks on everything that came in contact with my face, but that didn't happen at all (well, with the exclusion of tissues, thank you hayfever), and my skin felt nice and soft all day. The coverage with this product is slightly buildable, so it's perfect for my needs, as I want some coverage but not an excessive amount of it.

All in all I am really happy I have splurged on this product and I hope I will get to wear it often.

What's your favourite foundation?

Martina x

April 16, 2017

Saturday Night Surprise

Yesterday I had a day off work, so I went out with my boyfriend. We spent the afternoon out, as the day was beautiful and we had a couple of things to look for. When we got back from our trip, we found out that some letters had come. One was for me and had a weird shape, so we immediately opened it, both curious to find out what that was.

The envelope contained a Burt's Bees lipstick from their new, natural range. This surprise got me super excited, because I didn't expect to receive a free Burt's Bees lipstick, and even more because I had heard about their range and had already set my eyes on some of the shades.

The one that they kindly sent me is called Nile Nude and looks absolutely gorgeous. I tried it on straight after taking the pictures, and it suited me quite well, if I can say so. It also felt really moisturizing, as I expected after reading the letter attached to it. I would say it seems also quite long lasting (for a product of this kind), though I haven't tested it enough yet.

I am really grateful for this little gift I was sent and I am happy because they guessed my perfect shade better than I probably would have done if I had to pick one from the range.

Have you tried any Burt's Bees product?

Martina x

April 12, 2017

My New (Eco)Tools

As you know, I have recently added a few new brushes to my makeup drawer. Before buying these three new brushes + two sponges, my collection only counted 13 brushes from three different brands: Real Techniques, Neve Cosmetics and Kiko. I am not a big fan of Kiko brushes but I absolutely love Neve's and RT's, because they are super soft and easy to wash. 

I had heard about EcoTools in the past but never got around to trying their products, so as soon as I won the competition I knew I would fill my basket with EcoTools brushes, not just as a way to say thank you but also because I really needed them. I don't apply a full face of makeup everyday, but when I do I always feel like I'm missing something, maybe a makeup sponge or a buffer brush for the crease of the eyes. 

I managed to find a few of the tools that I was looking for at the EcoTool stand in Boots, so I picked them up to try them. The first thing I chose was the Ultimate Shade Duo because, as I said, I was looking for some new eyeshadow brushes. Then I chose the Full Powder Brush because I have a soft spot for big brushes and the EcoTools team told me that one was really good and super soft. The third and last thing I picked up was the Sponge Duo, because I have been curious to try a sponge for a while but never got around doing so, and also because the ladies told me that EcoTools's sponges are made with 70% plant based material, and I like the sound of that, even though the products I apply with my brushes and sponges are not always as natural and good unfortunately. 

The first things I tested out were the sponges. I soaked them in water and dried them up a little before using them to apply my foundation and concealer. I really liked the coverage they gave me and I had fun while using them. I don't even think they soaked up too much makeup, as I found them to look quite clean when I brought them back to the sink to wash them again. I squeezed the water out and let them dry naturally inside an open plastic box. The only downside I noticed so far is that the bigger one of the two has cracked a little, but it's okay because it only happened in a corner and not in the big, round half.

Another day I tried the eyeshadow brushes and the powder one, and I found them really really soft. I am still not ready to compare them to my usual Real Techniques ones, but I feel like they might be on the same level of appreciation for me. My Neve Cosmetics brushes might still be my favourites for now, but the Full Powder Brush might be up to share the first place with them.

One thing that definitely makes me love my EcoTools brushes is the fact that I had the possibility to engrave my name on them (I could do that for free, but Boots in Piccadilly Circus can do that to any brush/product for only £3 anyway). That makes them look really cool and personal.

Have you ever tried any EcoTools brush? I think I might just buy more pretty soon, so if you have tried any just leave me suggestions in the comments below.

Martina x