Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What's in my beauty bag - Travel edition

It is Christmas and I am back in my native Spain for a week to spend the holiday season with my family and friends. These trips are what my friends in the UK call a holiday, and in reality they are a balancing act of a very busy schedule seeing all my relatives (and it is a BIG family) and finding some time to unwind and recharge the batteries. The truth is that although this isn't a holiday like going away to the Caribbean, there is nothing like walking into your family home to make you feel like a child again, in the best way possible.

I like to pack as light as possible, and as an ex-pat, the numerous trips back home have turned me into a pro when it comes down to packing. Having said that, I always struggle to trim down the contents of my beauty bag. I like to have a little bit of variety and to bring a couple of treats. Here is what I brought with me this time:

If you had a few masks and a sunscreen this is what I use at home. I try to save travel sizes, especially moisturisers, but this time I only had one lying around.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

New Year Resolutions: embrace creativity

We are fast approaching the end of 2014, and having some time off work over Christmas gives us the perfect opportunity to look back at the year we are saying goodbye to, taking stock of what we have done over the past twelve months, and to dream of what we want 2015 to be.

For me, 2014 has had some fantastic moments. It all started with a house move in January. After years of commuting for 3 hours a day and living away from many friends, I decided something needed to change, so I put my house on the market and waited for months on end for an offer to come through. It eventually did and last January I finally made the move. It has brought so much happiness to my life! I am within walking distance of my office and my friends, and because of being nearby, I have been able to socialise more, therefore widening my circle of friends and meeting some fantastic people. That same month I got a new job in the same company. It is in an area I'd been interested in for some time, and it hasn't disappointed.

Another highlight of the past year was a week long trip to Southern California to visit a friend. I had such a blast! Our friend Phil, who was hosting, was incredible and organised such a variety of activities. We went sailing, hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, went to see Jimmy Kimmel Live the day he was interviewing Pharrell Williams, had a crazy night out in West Hollywood and even appeared as extras in a friend's film! I have to pinch myself to believe I really experienced all this.

However, whilst the year couldn't have started better, it took a turn for the worse during the second half, when a dear friend passed away. It wasn't a surprise, but it has been deeply painful nevertheless. She was far too young, and her loss was a reminder of how precious our lives and our health are. When you are confronted with something like this, cliches suddenly have a genuine meaning, and you realise that you truly don't know what is around the corner.

Although I haven't been able to articulate this until a few days ago, I have been (and to a certain extent still am) a bit lost for the past few months. My heart is full of hope and vitality, of thirst to do lots of things, but it is also full of sadness. Something I have found to help during this time is doing yoga, exercising and eating healthily, which I intend to make a priority in the New Year. 

Moving to a bigger house gave me the opportunity to be creative and my Pinterest is now bursting at the seams with photos of bedrooms, mirrors, gallery walls, DIY projects,.... Reflecting as I like to do, I realised that I have always had a bit of a dormant creative side which I have always been scared to tap into, for fear of not being good enough. 

I was trawling through Pinterest and came across this quote from Henri Matisse. It caught my eye because I love this style of illustration, with the handwritten font and bright cheerful colours, but also because of what it said. Creativity does indeed take courage, it requires to take a leap of faith in none other than yourself (why is it sometimes so much harder than having faith in others?) and put your creations in front of others, whether it is a handmade cushion, a room layout, a make up look or a blog post. 

This year I am going to take that leap of faith and believe in myself, be ready to make mistakes and embrace my creative side. Writing this blog is only one small part, although perhaps one of the scariest. I have written other blogs in the past, but always kept them anonymous, hiding behind a pseudonym, trying to erase any details that would help anyone work out it was me, and ended up having something that I couldn't be proud of. This time will be different. I have not set myself with a specific topic, or at least not to begin with. I plan to write about what I am genuinely interested about, about the things that help me be happier, and see where that takes me! 

If you have ever wished you could be better at something, give it a go this year! All you need is a bit of courage and an open mind. Who knows, there is every chance that you will be great at it. 

See you soon,
Inma x

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