Savoia Excelsior Palace Trieste, Italy – the morning after…

Although currently in Macau for the Golden Week holidays, missing Europe quite a bit so had to do a post on Italy…

Overnight essentials – Tarte blush and Shape Tape concealer, Chanel brow gel, GA foundation, Guerlain bronzer and the brushes (MAC/ABH)
THE view, Illy espresso and the loved one!
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Piazza Unità d’Italia – the perfect spot for another shot of coffee!
Illy coffee machine and the Handy mobile – quite common in Asian cities, apparently becoming a thing in Europe as well.

Self-explanatory.
Pizza at Bianco’s! A must try!

Lush hotels: Savoia Excelsior Palace (Trieste, Italy)

As the hotel’s website proudly says: “The Savoia Excelsior Palace is a luxury hotel of timeless charm that immediately evokes all the Mitteleuropean’s splendor. It is not a coincidence that, when it opened in 1911, it was billed as “the most important and luxurious hotel in the Austro-Hungarian Empire”.

More than a hundred years later, it is still a magnificent beauty, so much one can forgive a few little mishaps (room not ready on time, no chairs on the balcony…). The breakfast is probably one of the best we have ever had, definitely worth waiting for – since their restaurant is on the small side it gets quite crowded in the morning, hence the wait. Oh yes, I almost forgot – check the absolutely stunning library on the ground floor.

It’s no wonder we picked this hotel for our 5th wedding anniversary, it is one of those charming romantic places that are really worth every penny (or, in this case, 199 euros/night for a deluxe double room with balcony and breakfast). Booking on the hotel’s website is usually the best option especially if signing up for their “I am star” program as well (up to 30 per cent off).

TIP No1: For a bit more budget friendly meal head to Pizzeria Bianco, a few minutes walk from the hotel. Excellent pizzas and really big salads to balance it out 🙂

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The Library 🙂

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THE view!

What is your favourite hotel?

Xoxo,

M.

Clinique Smart Custom Repair Eye Treatment

I sometimes wonder about my friends’ sex lives. Kind of a child’s curiosity I’d say… Similarly I feel rather curious about other people’s beauty routines, especially those that are not so visible – meaning skin care products over makeup. I’m guilty of opening bathroom cabinets and taking a quick peek while feeling a bit ashamed. Still, I do it since I was a child, just about anywhere I go. Hopefully not many of my friends read this as I might become quite lonely! 😀  A question for my readers, do you ever do it?

Recently I realised that I haven’t changed my skin care routine for almost a decade, since I was living in a cloudy yet rather charming Windermere in the Lake District, England. Come to think about it, neither have I changed my partner and I’m very happy with it ;). Still, I’m not getting any younger and while still mostly wrinkle-free, certain tiny lines are getting more prominent in the eye area. That’s where Clinique comes in the picture!

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Official info:

Our Smart Eye Treatment targets your concerns as needed, where needed. Smart Eye Treatment improves skin’s appearance; smooths wrinkles, evens skin tone, lifts and brightens.

 

SNM Verdict:

+ I tend to agree with the official info this time, if you need a good eye cream, this is it!

+ skin looks plumper, fine lines less visible

+ very light and non greasy

+ sinks right in as a perfect base for makeup

– amazingly, can not find any downsides 😉

 

Would I repurchase: YES!

 

Where/How much? I got a 5 ml sample (Ebay) for a fraction of the price as I like to try the product before buying full-sized/priced version. 15ml is 40 euros on allbeauty.

 

Overall rating: 5/5

Next: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Review

REAL TECHNIQUES MIRACLE COMPLEXION SPONGE

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Real Techniques is a well known, moderately priced beauty tools brand. If you want a good quality brush without a hefty price tag, opting for Real Techniques is likely a good idea. I bought a couple of their brushes and, no, they are not M.A.C. or the like, but they are not too far away either. However, this review is not for the brushes but for the Sponge… Before revealing more I should say that I found many raving review on this one, so it might be I got a faulty one or simply didn’t use it properly. More on my experience after the usual official info:

 
This versatile beauty tool was designed with a revolutionary foam technology to evenly blend makeup for a smooth, enhanced finish. Use damp for a dewy glow or dry for a full coverage.

  • rounded sides blend large areas of the face with a dabbing motion
  • precision tip covers blemishes and imperfections
  • flat edge for contouring around the eyes and nose
  • ideal for liquid foundation
  • latex-free

 

 

SNM verdict:

+ decently priced, especially from Iherb

– didn’t blend easily, left marks on the face and the majority of product on the sponge!

– the sponge itself had cracks during the first week :/

 

 

Would I repurchase: I’m afraid not.

 

Where/ How much? Iherb for 5.10 $. If you plan on purchasing from Iherb feel free to use my discount code http://www.iherb.com/tr/cb?pcodes=MLI-00952&rcode=TFZ002 for a 10% off everything.

 

Overall rating: 1.5/5

Do you use sponges to apply foundation? What is your experience with those?

 

Next:

Clinique Smart Custom Repair Eye Treatment

March Wishlist

This month I’m lusting after:

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  1. DIOR DIORSHOW OVERCURL WATERPROOF

I loved my lash extensions…until I experienced an allergic reaction. So now I’m searching for a good mascara, again.

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  1. EUCERIN HYALURON FILLER NIGHT CREAM

I’m loyal to Olay and C-vit serum for a decade now. However, I’m 34 so I reckon it’s about time I started using anti-age moisturizers. Although my skin seems to be my best asset I guess I shouldn’t push my luck :). Moreover, I like medicinal brands such as Eucerin so this one shall be my first!

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  1. DIOR ADDICT LIP GLOW POMADE

I’ve been eyeing this one for months now!

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  1. CHANEL BEIGE QUILTED BALLERINA FLATS

Simply gorgeous!

  1. FANCY RESTAURANTS

I realise this blog has less and less sex-related content, despite the name…perhaps I should rename it ”food and makeup diaries”, given my recent obsession with upscale restaurants. Thank God neither my waistline nor my bank account allow for more than a monthly visit to one of those! I shall be posting some foodporn photos from this month’s pick 😉

Tomorrow: REAL TECHNIQUES MIRACLE COMPLEXION SPONGE

What’s on your wishlist this month?

Dry skin solution: A-derma Exomega

Do you know that feeling of dry, itchy skin after taking a shower on cold winter mornings? Yup, so do I. I’ve been investing in more or less expensive lotions for years, trying to avoid scratching myself like crazy for hours…until my baby had a similar problem, atopic eczema. Her pediatrician recommended A-derma Exomega and it worked like a charm instantly, for both of us. 😉 Yes, I’m already guilty of stealing my child’s cosmetics, and she is only 10 months old! 😀

So, what A-derma says:

SOOTHES ATOPIC AND VERY DRY SKIN AND CALMS IRRITATION

EXOMEGA is the specialist for atopic and very dry skin and the first product range to profit from the soothing and immunoregulating qualities of Rhealba® Oat Plantlets. Its formulas also contain Filaxerine®, a complexe of active ingredients exclusive to the A-DERMA Laboratories, to restore the skin barrier.

What SMN says:

It does precisely what is claims in the official info above. And more! It saves time as you can skip applying lotion as its Cleansing oil doesn’t dry out the skin, not in the slightest. You might want to moisturize afterwards, especially if your skin is very dry. Emollient balm (or cream) is perfect for that purpose, even if you’re prone to acne – the tube is completely sterile.

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Highly recommended for everyone with eczema or dry skin, from newborns to adults!

Would I repurchase: YES!

Price: Balm/cream: 23.95 euros for 400ml (currently on sale for 17.95 on Lookfantastic – click to see the offer; btw I’m not affiliated with anyone, I just like getting discounts 😉 ). Cleansing oil is around 15 euros for 200 ml.

Lancôme Miracle Air de Teint

Ok, so it’s been a while, I’m fully aware. Even the baby is no good excuse. Normally I’m not into making (let alone sticking to!) New Year’s resolutions but if I had to make one this year it would most certainly be a blog related one… What good is a makeup obsession if you don’t get to share it with anyone, right? 🙂

One of the products that I’ve fallen in love with since posting last year is Lancôme’s Miracle Air de Teint. I’ve been searching for a foundation that is so light it can not be felt nor seen. I headed to the store and tried virtually every high-end brand on the back of my hand and this was the one that felt the lightest. No residue, nothing. Just airbrushed, blurred skin. I chose 010 Beige Porcelaine. Of course, a foundation this light can not provide much coverage, so if you need medium to full coverage, look further.

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What Lancôme says (official info HERE):

Miracle Air de Teint is Lancôme’s 1st perfecting fluid foundation that feels as light as air, for the ultimate ‘no makeup’ look.

For the first time, Lancôme has incorporated powder and blurring technology into its foundation to create a new, incredibly lightweight formula. 100% of women forget they are wearing it*.

*Self evaluation by 60 women.

What I say:

+ The most lightweight foundation to date!

+ Very easy to apply with fingertips, blends perfectly

+ Keeps skin matte for hours, retouch-free

+ Comes in 11 shades

– The bottle. People, make a pump version!

-Too light to provide heavier coverage

-The smell which is quite ”chemical”

I bought it from Feelunique for 38.40 euros. They often have sales and promotions going on, so check their site for decent offers!

Would I repurchase? Definitely!

What’s your fav foundation and which site(s) do you get it from?

xoxo, SNM

Tatcha Discovery Kit

I wrote about Tatcha and how I became acquainted with this uber-posh American based beauty brand with Japanese inspiration here. I was so happy to get their package, beautifully wrapped and personalized! Ritual Discovery Kit for Sensitive skin* (click for a direct link to their US site and webshop), in Tatcha’s words is ”a two-week introduction to your essential four-step ritual. The Cleansing Oil removes makeup and melts away the day, while the Enzyme Powder exfoliates to reveal polished skin. The Brightening Serum evens complexion. Calm, comfort, and restore skin’s natural resiliency with our Soothing Triple Recovery Cream”.

First of all, I have been using Japanese Oil  Cleansers for years, usually Shu Uemura’s. I love the convenience without having to give up on the luxurious ritual! It dissolves even the most waterproof makeup in seconds without leaving the skin in a desperate need for a moisturizer. I still moisturize afterwards, but even if I didn’t, for instance in the humidest part of summer my skin wouldn’t feel dry at all. Moreover, using a toner is a thing of the past, especially in the evening. So when I got a chance to try a highly reviewed One Step Camelia Cleansing Oil I had to jump at a chance! The travel size is perfect for, well, travelling. :blonde moment:

Official info:

What it is:
A beautiful blend of Camellia and Rice Bran oils. A gentle, two-in-one makeup remover and cleanser that melts away even waterproof makeup, leaving behind purified, silky soft skin.

Why it’s different:
Nutrient-rich Camellia and Rice Bran oils combine to beautify skin, emulsifying completely with no residue. The first step in our signature Kyoto Cleanse.

Who it’s for:
All skin types. Non-comedogenic. Non-irritating. Non-sensitizing. Dermatologist tested.

Basically there is no need for my usual pro-and-con approach as there are virtually no cons. It does whatever it claims it shall do and beyond! Travel size (25 ml / 0.8 fl.oz.) is 12 $. Also, it has a 5 star rating by 69 customers to this day and 4.1 out of 5 on MakeupAlley, which is pretty high too. I can not recommend this enough!

As you can probably guess, the Oil is my fav product from the Discovery Kit. 🙂 There are also two products from their Indigo range, INDIGO Soothing Rice Enzyme Powder Travel Size and INDIGO Soothing Triple Recovery Cream Travel Size . The Enzime Powder made my skin really smooth and taut and as it’s rather gentle on the skin it might be quite good for problematic skin. The cream is also extremely gentle while moisturizing enough. Also – it’s bright blue :D.

I liked LUMINOUS Deep Hydration Firming Serum Travel Size as well. It’s very light and sinks right in while providing enough hydration. I can’t really speak for the firming claim as two weeks is too short to notice anything of a sort… Although, I’m so happy with my homemade C/E vitamin serum which costs next to nothing that I don’t see changing the routine any time soon…I’ll be posting the recipe soon 🙂

Have a look at gorgeous Tatcha:DSCF3071DSCF3072DSCF3075DSCF3076DSCF3081DSCF3084DSCF3078

Sensitive Skin Ritual Discovery Kit retails at 59 $ (value 90 $). Try this brand if you haven’t already – this goes especially to my students of Japanese 😉

What is your evening skincare ritual?  Which products do you use?

xoxo

*PR sample/gift

Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Suncreen review

I was quite excited a few months ago when I received Tatcha samples for a review! I believe that is a special moment for every beauty blogger – when you are contacted by a certain brand :). If the brand is of a luxurious kind, even better! Everything about Tatcha screamed luxury – from great communication to little hand-written notes on posh Japanese paper! Japan is like my second childhood home as I spent a part of my childhood in Sakai-shi, Osaka  and I’m quite into their skincare routine (oil cleansing is the best and quickest there is- little heads up if you still haven’t tried it!). A little more about Tatcha philosphy:

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This little pamphlet came with the Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35*. This is what Tatcha claims it does:

What it is:
Inspired by the geisha’s iconic makeup, we created this invisible, lightweight sunscreen to perfect and protect skin, making it an elegant, everyday essential.

Why it’s different:
Provides broad spectrum protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays. Non-greasy formula tightens pores, perfect as a primer for makeup.

Who it’s for:
All skin-types. Non-comedogenic. Does not contain mineral oil, aminobenzoic acid, homosalate, oxybenzone or octinoxate.

SNM pros and cons:

+ the packaging. OMG, probably the nicest I have ever seen – and mind you, my experience with posh makeup is vast! It’s top-notch, both in terms of great materials and a detailed, careful approach. Have a look for yourself:

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+ it really is very lightweight, especially for what essentially is a sunscreen which normally tend to be on a much heavier side!

+ a little goes a long way – which is again rather unusual for a sunscreen. A 60 ml/2 fl. oz. tube should last a good warm summer with every day use.

+ it makes for a decent foundation primer, skin looks dewy in a non-greasy way

I couldn’t see any pore-tightening activity going on, but, hey, the size of your pores along with the size of many other body parts are decided by genes so I didn’t expect much in this department anyway

price tag – 68 $. I believe there is one thing that drives me towards high-end products every single time – the experience. I know some of my friends think I’m crazy for splurging on Chanel, Dior and the likes but, for me, the experience is well worth the money. In my opinion, life is too short for second best – be it your job, partner, hobby or little guilty pleasures such as expensive bottles! Of course, as with everything in life, in moderation and with common sense while indulging ;).

So, would I repurchase?

Maybe not the sunscreen as I don’t spend that much time outside these days, newborn and all…<3 However,  One Step Camelia Cleansing Oil is on my HG list so stay tuned for the second Tatcha post, I have four more of their goodies! 🙂

How about you – have you ever tried oil cleansers? What’s your favourite makeup removing ritual? Please write below so I don’t feel so lonely here! 🙂

*PR sample/gift

 

 

 

 

 

Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique

If you’re one of those lucky bastards people with thick, healthy, shiny hair please skip this one…this post is for those less fortunate. So, if you’re not blessed with a gorgeous mane and tend to worsen the situation with heated appliances there are a few things you could do to protect your hair. Obviously the best and only completely safe thing to do would be to ditch the whole styling thing altogether…funny how similar to sex everything beauty related can be! (OMG this sounds a bit off…You’ll have to forgive me for my broken language this days. I had a little girl recently and the lack of sleep doesn’t help with this).

So, in my constant search for better hair I couldn’t skip Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique, probably one of the most popular hair products around.

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Kérastase says:

Resurfacing and strengthening, anti-breakage blow-dry milk for damaged hair.

  • Strengthens the feel of damaged, brittle hair.
  • Thermo-seal glazing smoothes the hair and adds shine.
  • Makes hair easier to style.
  • Offers heat protection*
  • Suitable for colour-treated hair.

Yours truly claims:

  1. hair feels much smoother and somewhat stronger
  2. seems to reduce heat damage long-term
  3. nice, subtle scent
  4. doesn’t make hair (too) oily

I’d say give it a go if your hair is fine to medium with signs of heat damage. It might become your hair saver like it did for many people on MUA. I can’t say I’m completely in love with this but it was worth the money (which is around 20 quid).

Would I repurchase? Only if I don’t find anything better.

Overall: 3.5/5

Next: Tatcha – a brand worth trying?