Thursday, 28 May 2015

Finding motivation when you work from home

If you work in an office you will probably feel jealous of those who work from home. The ability to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home, the lack of a commute, which often means you can sleep in, being able to work in your pjs... All those can be true, but depending on your personality, working from home can often be lonely, and the flexibility can work against your productivity at times. People who work from home regularly know and appreciate the perks of it, but they will also admit that there are days when motivation is hard to come by.

During the past year I have transitioned from a job that required me to be in the office every day to one where I work from home one to two days a week. Past the honeymoon period of rolling out of bed at 8.30am to have breakfast and start work without having even brushed my hair, I've picked up a few tricks that keep me motivated and productive on my home days.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

5 very special fragrances

Last weekend I went home to Valencia for a family celebration. It was brilliant to be able to pop home for three days, soak some sunshine, go to the beach and see the people I love most, my mum and brother. Both their birthdays are in May, and when I asked my brother a while ago what he wanted as a gift from me, I wasn't surprised he asked for a fragrance. In recent years he has developed a bit of an obsession with perfumes (or aftershaves, I am never sure what word to use!), including a few that are very niche and difficult to get hold of. This isn't about buying a nice perfume that you wear every day or for special occasions, but more of an interest and hobby. He is often reading up about them online and is even part of an online community where they discuss them and swap impressions. I guess it's no different from the beauty or lifestyle blogging community. It is huge.

I love listening to him talk about them and handing over a sample bottle to smell them. Some of them I really don't like because they're too strong, but some are beautiful, like nothing you've smelled before. Some are obnoxiously expensive and some not at all. One thing that surprised me is that quite a few of these niche fragrances are unisex, and I liked that, mostly because it means I can sneak into my brother's bathroom and spritz myself with one of his treasures!

Last weekend I asked him to tell me what his top 5 were, and he reeled them off without stopping to think for a second, so I thought I would share them here. Fragrances are notoriously difficult to describe, so I did a bit of research into the different components to avoid talking about fruity, sweet or floral scents, and in the process I learnt all about top, middle and base notes. The first are what you instantly notice when you spray it, the middle notes are revealed after 10 minutes or so, and then they both fade (but don't disappear), leaving you with the base notes.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Warm potato and green bean salad with chorizo

It has been a little while since I posted a recipe here, but now the evenings are lighter and longer I have been spending more time cooking. I know it doesn’t sound related at all, but when it’s dark and cold all I want to do is cuddle up under my blanket, whereas as soon as it gets warm and light I have so much more energy when I finish work!

My cooking style is a bit slap dash. There is a very small number of dishes that I make again and again in exactly the same way (like this vegetable tagine with couscous from my favourite food post), some recipes that I try out by following the exact instructions (lately they have been mostly from Deliciously Ella’s book), but the bulk of what I cook depends on what is in the fridge or cupboard and, let’s be honest, what is about to go off. This dish is one of those. The basis of it are the new potatoes and green beans, but everything else is negotiable. I cooked it last night and added olives, tomatoes, capers and tuna. Sometimes I add anchovies, cucumber, red onion, bread croutons,...

The version I am sharing with you is one I tried for the first time a month ago and which I really enjoyed. I hope you do too.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

All you need to know about hyperpigmentation

I have had hyperpigmentation since my late twenties. It all started with a tiny patch between by brows that has been getting larger and more noticeable over the years. To most people it is not noticeable, but it is the first thing I see when I look at myself in the mirror or in photos, and it makes me very self conscious.

Over the course of the past decade I have tried to find all the information I could about it, as well as tried a long list of products that claim will reduce the discoloration. The problem I have found is that the information out there is either incredibly scientific or marketing led. You are often bamboozled with names of ingredients, with some sites telling you they will help and others telling you they can have terrible side effects. Otherwise, big brands are trying to tell you their latest serum that targets dark spots and will even out your skin tone. However, I haven't found a place that explains the basics in simple terms and has unbiased advice about products, so a few months ago I set out to write a blog post that did exactly that.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

15 things I love about Britain

Those of you who live in the UK will know that there is a general election tomorrow. You may in fact be gathering your thoughts before going to vote. I am so very jealous of you! Despite having lived in the UK for over 11 years and voting in local and county elections, as a foreign national I am not allowed to vote tomorrow. This has been the case ever since I've lived here, but for some reason, this year it has really bothered me and I feel very left out.

This is vastly because, as much as I love my country of birth and how Spanish I still feel, I see Britain as my adoptive country, somewhere where I feel completely at home. So I thought I would try and turn my grumpiness about not being able to vote into something more positive and share with you some of the things I love about Britain. Here they go!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

April favourites

This post will be the last favourites post I write for a little while, and I must admit I am quite glad! When I had the idea of the all time favourite series it made so much sense! I love writing about the things I like the most, they are reasonably easy posts to write and I had a month worth of blog posts drafted within two hours. Bingo. However, as the month progressed, it all started feeling a little bit self indulgent. Who would care what my granny cooked me on a Saturday or what films have left an impression on me? On the flip side, it’s been nice to go through my memories and revisit some things that I’d really enjoyed in the past but no longer use, like Dr Hauschka products. I used to own so many of their products a few years ago and I slowly started experimenting with other things, but I've never found a body oil as good as theirs.

Whilst this month has been all about looking back in the blog, I’ve been looking forward in my life, making plans for the summer and making new habits. Since the year started I’ve been reducing the amount of things I consume and been having a good clearout (you may have read my blog post about my make up clearout). As a consequence my list of favourites this month is a little light, especially on  the beauty front. It has been a great month though, so I hope that you like it.

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