Trip to Spain 2016!

Hello everyone!!

I have been MIA for a while in the blogging world since I was out on holiday 🙂 This year we headed over to Spain and spent 10 days travelling around the country. Spain has been on my to do list for a really long time and I was really happy to finally set foot there this November. We spent time in Madrid, Seville and Barcelona and did day trips to Cordoba and Toledo.

Out of all the places we visited, I think Madrid was my least favorite, primarily due to the weather. It was cold and wet which is not the best weather to be out and about exploring a city.We still managed to see the things we wanted like the royal palace, the mercat , the Prado museum, Retiro Park etc. We also managed to catch up with friends in Madrid which was so much fun 🙂

The best part about Spain was of course the food and drinks 😉

Churros and Chocolate anyone? :)

Churros and Chocolate anyone? 🙂

Seville was a charming city in the south of Spain with lovely weather. The sun was out and the temperature was just nice! We did go visit the Seville Cathedral which is huge ( it is the 2nd largest cathedral in the world) and quite frankly a bit overwhelming! The other star attraction we thoroughly enjoyed viewing was the Real Alcazar. Now, if you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you have pretty much stepped into the water gardens of Dorne 😀

A part of the Real Alcazar gardens

A part of the Real Alcazar gardens

We also spent a day and a night in Granada to visit the UNESCO world heritage site, the Alhambra Palace.  The architecture and the level of detail in the designs in the Nasrid Palace (inside the Alhambra) is quite something! I do recommend that you book your tickets online and a month or 2 in advance since they sell out real fast!

Intricate ceiling inside the Nasrid Palace

Intricate ceiling inside the Nasrid Palace

Our final stop was Barcelona and I loved the vibe of the city! The weather was amazing and we had awesome fresh seafood during our entire stay. We generally enjoyed strolling around the gothic quarter, checking out the Gaudi buildings and checked out the famous La Boqueria. We did enjoy our self guided audio tour of the Sagrada Familia which is synonymous with Barcelona.

La Boqueria- so colorful !

La Boqueria- so colorful !

Overall, our trip was fantastic! I hope to go back to Spain again sometime to savor more of the Tapas and drink all the Sherry and Sangaria I can!!

I did do some damage to my wallet while in Spain, especially in Barcelona :D…so stay tuned for a haul post coming soon!!! Until next time…ciao!

Quick trip to Delhi, India !

Hello folks!

Apologies for the lack of posts! It has been a very busy 2 weeks with travelling home, battling flu situations in the house and then a quick trip to Delhi! I was in Delhi, India for 4 days total..which is a shame since the place has so much to see, do and of course eat! I had accompanied the husband on a business trip and because he was so caught up with what he was in Delhi for, we barely saw anything 😦 Plus he was still recovering from the flu and he was tired after work related activities everyday so we did not explore areas too far way from where we stayed.

I tried to make the best use of my time there and did manage to go shopping 😉 and explore the local food scene. We stayed at a really nice part of the city at a guest house/hotel at The India Habitat Centre. The Lodhi Gardens which is a public park was walking distance from where we stayed and so I did spend a good amount of time there. The park houses the tombs of the Lodhi dynasty kings who ruled much before the Mughals.

The structures which house the tombs are quite impressive and the place was teeming with couples taking wedding photo shoots! The first structure that greets you upon entering the gardens is the Bara Gumbad.

The Bara Gumbad

The Bara Gumbad pictured above is a mosque and not a tomb. The facade inside the dome has largely worn off however some regions of the structure notably the area to the left with the smaller domes still has intricate inscriptions.

Inside the Mosque (Bara Gumbad)

Walking further into the gardens , there is a water canal with an ancient bridge build by Akbar the great (a Mughal ruler). The tomb of one of the Lodhi kings overlooks this water body. The structure housing his tomb was decorated with intricate tile work, traces of which you can still see.

Other places I saw include the India Gate and the city in general while commuting from one point to another. I did manage to do a teeny tiny bit of shopping at this place called Khan Market where I was thrilled to see an Innisfree shop! I will post my mini haul soon 🙂 Stay tuned for that!!

Overall, I enjoyed my really short stay in Delhi..hopefully the next time I travel to the city I will have more time to explore the older parts of the city!

Until next time, ciao!!

 

 

Around the World via Beauty Products~ Himalaya Herbals from India!

Hello folks! As I mentioned in my last week’s blog post, I am currently chilling out at my parent’s place. They are currently based in Oman, a lovely quiet country in the middle east. You can find all the global brands here and also some interesting new items in the local beauty stores 🙂 I got a chance to try out a body moisturizer from the brand Himalaya Herbals which I picked up from the local drugstore. The cream is made in the Dubai but the original brand is from India, so I thought I should include this in the around the world via beauty products section of the blog!

Himalaya Herbals Nourishing Skin Cream

Himalaya Herbals Nourishing Skin Cream

The body cream comes packed in a tub, and with no outer box. The packaging is okay, nothing fabulous. A little online search reveals that the company Himalaya Herbals products are based on the ancient Indian system of Ayurveda, where they use plant and herb extracts in their products. This moisturizer has extracts of Aloe Vera and Winter Cherry according to the label, however there is no comprehensive ingredient list so I do not know the other ingredients in this moisturizer. This is the only major issue I have with this moisturizer.

The moisturizer has a lovely whipped light texture which is absorbed quickly and does not leave a greasy after feel, making this a pretty good moisturizer for the summer months! The best part about this moisturizer is the smell…I love it! It is a very fresh, light scent which is not too fruity nor is it too floral. It is a nice blend of fruity floral which is very spring summer appropriate in my opinion 🙂

Overall, I am enjoying this moisturizer although the lack of a comprehensive ingredient list is a bit of a let down. I would love to try their face products but again the lack of an actual ingredient list is making me really hesitant to try them.

Have you tried anything from Himalaya Herbals? Let me know what you think of them if you have 🙂

Until next time..ciao from sunny Oman!!!

Beauty Haul from Turkey ! Part 2

Hello everyone!!

In case, you did not catch my previous post which was basically Part 1 of my haul (HERE) , I decided to split the makeup and skincare purchases since the haul post was getting too long! So, today I will share with you some skincare items I picked up from Turkey. A few of these items are available on Amazon so if something catches your fancy, you probably don’t need to buy a ticket to Turkey to get your hands on it 😉

Skincare haul from Turkey!

Skincare haul from Turkey!

1. Dalan d’Olive Moisturizing Cream for Hand and Body

Dalan d’Olive is a brand I saw in almost every big store. It is a Turkish brand whose products are olive oil based. They have a wide range of products, from soaps to shampoos to moisturizers. I have yet to try this out and will get back to you guys on how it performs. I did see this on amazon, so in case you are intrigued by it do check it out there!

2. Rosense Rose Water

This was one of the products I had on my list and I was really happy to find it in a local pharmacy there! It is much loved by European beauty bloggers (especially the Germans!) and I saw that they have a UK based website where you can order it online. The product is basically 100% pure distilled rose water with no alcohol and additives. Rose water is supposed to be extremely beneficial for the skin and functions as a natural toner. I can’t wait to try this out 🙂

3. Agiva soft Sweet Almond Oil

I love to use almond oil for my skin and hair as well, so when I saw 100% pure sweet almond oil on sale I picked it up 😀 . I am currently using up some almond oil , so it will be a while before I bust this guy out!

4. Hand made natural soap

Hand made soaps were all over the place in Turkey!  Some of them, like the one I picked up come in cute tins with Turkish tile designs and make good gifts. I picked up a couple of them for friends and family. I plan to keep one for myself 😉 though. I picked up olive oil, argan oil and goat milk soaps. I like the smell of the goat milk and argan oil soaps the best!!

5. Bebak Bademli Cream

This is an almond oil based body cream which I picked up in the travel size. I really like the smell of it and I did use it while in Turkey and found it be be a really good moisturizer. I think the brand Bebak is a very old Turkish Brand known for Almond oil based products. I kind of wish I picked up the full size though!

6. Hamam body scrubber

I actually forgot to include this in the picture! It is basically the scrub mitten they use for scrubbing your body during a Turkish bath. I bought mine from the hamam where I went for the Turkish bath. It is made of coarse cotton I think and is very effective at removing dead skin. After the hamam, my skin was baby soft!!

Hope you all enjoyed this post! If any of you have visited Turkey, do let me know what beauty items (or even non beauty items)  you picked up from there!

Until next time…ciao!!

Back after an awesome vacation in Turkey ! :D

Hello everyone!

I know it has been ages since I last posted on my blog (2 -3 weeks I guess) and that was because I was having an awesome time in Turkey with le husband! It was a much deserved break for both of us after a lot of ups and downs during the first half of this year.

Turkey is such an amazing country and in the 8 days we were there I guess we saw and experienced maybe 10% of what it has to offer. We loved the food, people and culture so much I can see us visiting the country again real soon! We spend our time in Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Ephesus.

Lets talk about Istanbul! It is one of the most vibrant cities I have ever visited! It is a charming city with the modern world existing with the remnants of a glorious past. It is huge and I loved every bit of the the small part of it that I was exposed to. We stayed in the European side where your surrounded by history wherever you go. Both of us are history and museum junkies and therefore we loved exploring the Blue mosque, the Ottoman Topkapi palace, the Hagia Sofia, the Basilica Cistern, the Chora church and the museums around these historic sites.

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

We also explored the modern parts of the city and had a ball of a time at Taskim Square where you have a huge shopping street and lots of small eateries tucked away in small side lanes! In Istanbul we also went to a Hamami for a traditional turkish bath and that was quite an experience 😀 If your planning to go to Turkey do try it out!

Cappadocia was our second stop in Turkey. The place is known for its rock formations which were formed as a result of volcanic eruptions. Here we both had our first hot air balloon ride which was spectacular! The ride took off shortly after sunrise and the view of the unique terrain of Cappadocia from up top was fantastic! If you love photography you might land up with a ton of snaps in the 1 hour that your up in the air 😉

Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

Our 3rd stop in Turkey was Pamukkale which is famous for its hot springs and unique rock deposits. The water and mud here have been used for therapeutic purposes since Greek times and infact the area around the site is home to the ruins of the city of Hierapolis (built by the Greeks and later taken over by the Romans). We had a nice tour of the ruins and later took a dip in the pools of Pamukkale. As you can see from the picture below, the rock deposits look like snow! Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish and you can see why!

Pamukkale

Pamukkale

Our last stop in Turkey was Ephesus. Being history junkies we were in history heaven when we visited the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus! The ancient city is so large that our guide said huge portions have yet to be excavated! The most imposing ruins in the city are that of the Celsius Library (pictured below). Being a Mediterranean town, I wasn’t surprised to see farmers markets where they were selling juicy peaches, oranges and the most fresh looking veggies I’ve ever seen!

The Celsius Library

The Celsius Library

Overall we had a fantastic time! In fact there is so much to write about I found it hard to just give you guys the highlights of my trip! I can go on and on about what all we saw, learnt and ate! 😉

Tune in later this week to see a mini beauty haul from Turkey!! I found some really interesting local brands and products while in Turkey and can’t wait to share them with you’ll 😀

Until next time…ciao!!

 

 

Around the world via beauty products; Kissed by Maui lipsticks from Hawaii!

Hey there everyone!

I have been running this series on the blog for a while now and I am excited to bring you a brand which is from the home country 🙂 I have not been to Hawaii, but hope to visit at some point..but for the time being I am absolutely enjoying some lipsticks made by hand in Hawaii by the cruelty free brand Kissed by Maui.

Kissed by Maui lipsticks

Kissed by Maui lipsticks

First off, lets take a moment to admire the packaging! I love the sturdy bamboo tube with the brand name and logo engraved on the wood. They come with a pink ribbon around the lid along with the list of ingredients (which is an awesome ingredient list in my opinion..jojoba oil and shea butter are my favorite moisturizing agents). The 2 shades that I got are Paradise Pink and Haleakala Nights.

Paradise Pink is your everyday blue toned pink lipstick which I feel might be one of their popular colors. It is the perfect shade for spring and summer!

Kissed by Maui lipstick in Paradise Pink

Kissed by Maui lipstick in Paradise Pink

The second shade is not your average lipstick shade 😀 Take a look at Haleakala Nights!

Kissed by Maui lipstick in Haleakala Nights

Kissed by Maui lipstick in Haleakala Nights

In the tube, this shade looks like a mix of brown,black and red with some blue-green duo chrome action going on. I was quite surprised with the swatch since I did not expect the shade to turn out so …mild looking :D! I was expecting vampy goth red black! Although it looks brown in the swatch and on my lips, this is actually a nice complex shade with the light picking up the blue green sheen very subtly. My lips are naturally quite pigmented so this might come off looking really dark on paler lips. I am currently loving this shade, its a nude dark shade which can work as your fall time nude lip 🙂

I really can’t think of any cons about these lipsticks. They apply beautifully and last 5 -6 hours with light eating and drinking. They have a creamy finish with a sheen (neither glossy nor matte) and do not dry my lips. In fact, I did wear Haleakala Lights without a lip balm underneath a couple of times and it was very comfortable! The date of manufacture is also listed underneath the tube of lipstick and I feel that is helpful when you want to keep a check on the expiry of your lip products (esp when you have plenty!!).

If your one of those who love to support small local business this holiday season, I think these lipsticks make fabulous stocking stuffers! I am thinking of picking some up for friends since they are packaged well and the product is fantastic too! I believe they are currently available only through their website : www.kissedbymaui.com

Hope your having a great day! Until next time ciao!!

 

*PR Sample. Opinions expressed here are my own (no affiliate links)

Around the world via beauty products: Sante Naturkosmetik from Germany !

Hello everyone!

Welcome to another installment of Around the world via beauty products! Today we travel to Germany and the brand transporting us there is Sante Naturkosmetik. The brand and its mother brand (Logona) are often mentioned by green beauty bloggers since they are committed to using natural organic raw materials like essential oils and botanical extracts in all their products. After testing out some products from them, I have to say I am impressed and might go back to check out their other offerings!

Sante Naturkosmetik

Sante Naturkosmetik

I tried out a face powder and lipstick from the brand. I also got the mascara to try out but currently I have too many open tubes of mascara around the house so I thought I’d wait till I am done with a few of them before cracking this one open. A detailed review on the mascara is coming your way soon! With that being said, lets take a look at the face powder and lipstick shall we? 🙂

Pressed powder light sand 02

Their pressed powder is available in 4 shades so I am not sure if the fairest of the fair and deepest of the deep of skintones can find a match. The shade light sand 02 works very well for my NC25-30 skintone. I was a bit concerned if the powder would work for me initially, since it looked like it had  pink undertones in the pan, however on the face this powder gives you a translucent soft focus finish which is nice! The powder is meant to be more of a finishing powder than foundation, but it was still able to even out my skintone when used alone. yay!

Pressed powder shade 02

Sante Naturkosmetik Pressed powder shade 02

The powder comes packaged in a sturdy white case which has a nice big mirror too. I like the overall presentation of the product including the name embossing on the powder (which is beginning to fade with use boohoo!). Coming back to functionality, this powder does a decent job at keeping oil at bay. I have dry skin and so I don’t get too oily anyway to begin with, so I guess this will work for dry and combo skin. The powder is not a flat out matte one, it contains some really tiny specks of shimmer which is not captured on camera nor is it detectable on the face. I think this is why it can give that soft focus yet natural look on the face 🙂

The only thing I don’t like about this powder is the smell. It has a strong Chamomile smell which fades away almost immediately after application but you do get an ample whiff of it when you first apply it on your face. As you can see from the ingredient list, there are quite a few interesting oils and extracts in addition to the standard mineral makeup ingredients in this powder. Usually I am weary of face products with too many essential oils and botanical extracts because they can irritate the skin but I am happy to report that this powder did not irritate or dry out my skin 🙂

Lipstick in Poppy Red (No 23)

I really like this lipstick! Its a lovely raspberry red shade! Their lipsticks are formulated with no synthetic colors, fragrances and preservatives..cool right!? The lipstick glides on really smoothly and has a shine after application. It looks creamy matte after the initial shine wears off and is non drying.

Sante Naturkosmetik Lipstick in no 23

Sante Naturkosmetik Lipstick in no 23

The wear time for this lipstick is average..I would say maybe 5 hours with light eating and drinking. Overall, I like the lipstick since it does not bleed, is comfortable on the lips, has no smell and has a decent lasting power.

As promised at the beginning of this post, I will review the mascara once I try it out 🙂 I like the products I tried out and in case your wondering if they are sold in the US…yup they are! Check out their website http://www.logocos.us/sante/index.aspx to see what else they have to offer.

Hope you guys are having a great day and until next time…ciao!!

 

*PR Sample. Opinions expressed here are my own. (No affiliate links)