So over the past year I have had to drive more and more. My husband goes away for exhibitions and we lives a few kms from the nearest shop. At first it was hairy, like really FREAKING scary. A geared car, the other side of the road,dirt tracks and roads only wide enough for one car at a time.
I’d make it to my destination,the cafe,the closest shop,the town and sometimes burst into tears. Or call my mum. Or do both. I’d get a sugary,fizzy drink and try to calm down.
Well today, I drove through the main street of my town. During the biggest fiesta of the year.There was a kind of un-official procession through town. So drunk-at-11 am pirates and Moors following marching bands.on the road,the footpath,the fountain on the only roundabout in town!
So I had to drive on the wrong side of the road, I stopped (!!) on the pedestrian crossing to chat to a friend. I parked close into town,no longer favouring the supermarket at the far end of town with the widely spaced car spaces. I still feel way more confident on our dusty,unpaved roads with the cliffs on one side and steep orchards on the other. My point is progress, I have changed my thoughts of ‘shit, what if I meet another car on the road only wide enough for a toothpick’ To ‘ I know where I call pull in and if not I’ll give them a smile and they’ll make the hard moves’
It took 3 (4) attempts to pass my Driver’s test in the UK, all those years ago. Funnily enough the tactics my driving instructor used when I was learning with him, help me now. If I start to panic,bang on the Beyoncé and sing your heart out, trust me it works!
I wish I’d taken this baby for a spin when I was in Italy but we just posed with it instead-next time!
Tell me about your driving life,are you a stick gal or automatic all the way.
Just a quick blog to show you what the ‘January Beauty Haul’ items look on my face.
Nothing like a little before and after photo-right?
I have added a few items that I didn’t purchase this month.
1.Blush/Bronzer. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Bronze. 45€
I applied this to my cheeks and a little smudged onto my eyelid with my finger.
2. Setting powder. Maybelline super stay 24 hour. In Ivory. 11€. Used very lightly as it does have a great coverage if you use the sponge applicator or a dense brush. I applied it on the red bits (chin,nose and a little on my cheeks)
3.Mascara. This was a budget buy as I had run out and wasn’t close to somewhere to pick up my favourite. Reminder to self: you always purchase a cheapie mascara and regret it.
I don’t totally regret this one but I much prefer Clinque or MAC. This one is from Lidl and doesn’t stay well and doesn’t feel very comfortable by the end of the day,but I’ll use it until I can replace with a decent one.
4.Lips. Velvet matte Lip pencil from NARS in Dolce Vita. 26.50€ and Christian Dior rose lip balm. 25€
Such an easy and pretty lip,quite different to my traditional Russian Red matte lipstick.
The pencil glides on,even for a matte. And the balm,well it’s pretty,plumping (apperently) and smells Devine. Also means if I kiss my little boy I won’t spend ages trying to get a big red kiss mark off his forehead!
An LL tip: Be brave! I think that you can purchase a cheaper version of nearly all make up products to have a go,then if you like it and more importantly feel confident to use it,then invest. For example, I’ve not used a coloured eye pencil for ages,so the Rimmel one is my ‘have a go’ purchase. If I like it I would then I would invest with a brand like Estée Lauder or Stila.
Now that my little bundle of joy is four months old, I feel I am able to leave the house in more than a puff of powder and a slick of lipbalm.
It also means that the budget for the ol’ beauty haul is severely diminished. (Who knew babies could cost so much?)
Whilst in our nearest big town today I decided to make some little additions to my very streamlined make up bag:
1. Hide the blemish concealer from Rimmel. In Ivory.€4.50.
I have actually been using this on and off for years. Great stand alone coverage,it can also be mixed with a little highlighter or eye cream for a more sheer coverage.
2. BB cream (BB for Beauty Balm) from H&M. In Porcelain. €7.99
With a soft touch finish its one of the better BB creams that I’ve used. Easy to apply and does even out a little redness and seems to blur any other imperfections. I do use a powder over the top if I feel I need more coverage.
3. Professional eyebrow pencil from Rimmel. €3.50. In Black brown.
Handy all in one. It’s enough these days to keep track of dummies and bibs so pencil and brush together is mummy perfection.
It stays all day and is easily removed in a quick face cleanse.
4. Soft kohl eye pencil in Jungle Green from Rimmel. €2.50. Black liquid eyeliner is normally my liner of choice to make my peepers pop.
However in the short,sharp Spanish winter, I thought I’d up the eye makeup game with some colour.
I’ve swatched the products in the same order to give you an idea of the colour/textures.
I finish the lot with my favourite Dolce Vita lip pencil from NARS and a dab of (my fav) of Christian Dior rose lip balm.
There you have it, a little cover,a little colour and all read to go in a couple of minutes,now where did I put that spew rag?
Th second trimester glow is waning,the spots may have returned and your hair has turned into a tinder box.
1 week out and no signs of appearing early,my little bun is sucking the life force out of my with an XL bubble tea straw.
This is good,this is good. That is the mantra I repeat as I feel the calcium seeping from my bones,the reservoir of sleep I’d planned on having is dipping fast,I’m waking at 5 after dropping off finally at 1 am.
My feet,if you only saw them, you’d think I’d never had a pedicure in my life,the heels cracked so badly. Prime looking candidates for a ‘before photo’ for Pediegg.
So I did what any self respecting pregnant lady would do, a self pamper.
P.S My mommy offered for me to have a professional pamper,however she had just bought the crib and a new vaccum cleaner not to mention all the other packages that keep arriving from a very excited soon to be grandma. So I politely declined.
Oh, and my hair, you may have read my blog I penned a few weeks ago about how I painfully weighed up dying my hair whilst pregnant. Only to find the colour leeched out quicker than thunder, I swear it’s lighter at the roots just now than it was before I dyed it.
So as I type, there is a colour in again,a self made foot scrub on and a gentle exfoliation for face,sloughing off those extra dead cells.
I love to pamper myself,but at the moment,even shaving my legs has become an exercise in contortion. Instead of deftly shaving daily in the shower, I now have found the perfect alternate use for a bidet!
A quick colour and pluck of the brows.
Oh hello there, you incubator of a very soon to be newborn, I see you in a vampy pink purple lipstick and powder. Yes,there she is, now off to paint my nails and enjoy a pomegranate juice…
Lesson learnt,keep up the routine of self care and love right to DDay and beyond for a happy,glowy mummy!
Love and Loquats
They sure love their paperwork here in Spain. From obtaining residencia, library cards to traffico.
There is pretty much not an aspect of the Spanish lifestyle that is touched by the paper trail!
My keys to success
1. It’s all about keeping calm,using the little Spanish you have
2. Making squillions of photocopies of every piece of paper you’ve ever obtained.
3. And a big smile.
This morning I had to renew my husbands NIE. The paper that the NIE is printed on is valid for three months. The numbers,information including the identification number do not change. Almost all institutions that require a copy are happy to take the paper originally given to you,even if it’s past the three month mark. Except of course the body of government that you are trying to sort anything out with at the time. For us this time was traffico.
No big deal,you just have to wait in line outside the police station. It’s guarded by a police man with a pump action shotgun. Until he says,you must wait go in.
Do not expect his door policy to follow any pattern. There are lawyers rushing a client,a lady with a baby. They may take precedence over you,or not,who knows.
Then you move into a loosely based line up system.
There are no forms on display. I’m not sure where you’d get them if you weren’t as ballsy/stupid as myself to barge up to the policewoman at her desk. I am sure she did understand what I needed and chose not to. Then ask in poco Espanol for the duplicato forms and fill them in.
Mr E then has to run to the Banco,pay the 7 euros for the paperwork fee and then wait for the loosely based line up system to give our paperwork to the paperwork goddesses, if only they looked like goddesses!
If you live here,I’d suggest you set aside whole mornings,most government bodies skip working in the afternoons.
You can’t pay at anything at the desk within the police station. I’m not really sure why,maybe they don’t trust the government officials.
Spain has so many wonderful contradictions. We have Full rights to same sex couples and Prius taxis then a completely archaic paper and registration system.
I think I’ll be needing one beautiful extra large filing cabinets to store all the copies and paperwork!
The hairdresser I visited this time last year in rural Spain was a little snip happy,and not the pleasurable experience Ive grown accustomed to. No wine,no long gossipy chats with my hairdresser. There was a Bonus of no sales pitch at the end but I was in such a daze with having been shawn like a sheep I’d don’t think I could have said yes to purchasing anything anyway.
The best haircut I ever had was Belgium when I was 16. I was feeling brave,went to a hairdressers,armed with not much more than bonjour.
It was mid afternoon so he washed and then cut my hair himself. The salon empty so it was heavenly. My hairdresser Bar had been set pretty high!
When I was little,My grandmother cut my hair occasionally. I once convinced her to perm it. (I have naturally curly hair)
When the perm was complete I asked my brother what he thought and in exchange for his very honest opinion he copped a lecture in tact from my parents!
I adore having my hair touched,brushed,in fact it’s always a good indication to Mr E that I’m having a rough day if I present him with my hairbrush,to brush my hair just for a few minutes. It has the most calming eﬀect on me. You know,for someone with no hair my husband does a lovely job.
So, in February I was treated to a lovely hairdresser by a friend whilst on a little trip to Hamburg. The hairdresser was very polite and although he said he was sorry for his English, I ended up with a beautiful,long lasting cut.
Again, my hair was washed and cut by the hairdresser,it’s a very relaxing experience as they can see what your hair is like. Dry/oily/ damaged . I think you get to see what kind of hairdresser they are like too. Keeping control of the water temperature,not getting soap in your eyes or my pet hate-water in your ears!
So although I had a great cut, it was now July and I am pregnant,which meant that my hair was growing at a speed I’ve never known. Time for a haircut. Living in Spain,I felt it rather decadent to ﬂy all the way back to Hamburg just for a haircut. Granted I could have spent a lovely few days,hanging out with friends,eating franzbrütchen,etc.
It was time to ﬁnd a new Spanish hairdresser.
I did the usual,feeling out with friends-try here,I like here etc. I took a card from one and called them up. I asked to see the man who spoke English,only he wasn’t available until Saturday. When I want to cut my hair,I want to cut my hair,it was Tuesday,too long to wait. So I said yes to an appointment oﬀered in the afternoon with a Spanish hairdresser.
I arrived early,sat and tried to relax into reading a Spanish Vogue. I was ushered to a basin and had the most wonderful hair wash. No wet ears,no
soap in my eyes. My hairdresser has hair similar to my own,but I showed her about 30 photos I’d saved of the style I wanted. We spoke our rudimentary versions of each other with questions and little statements,all whilst she snipped away.
I was then blow dried straight,no cheating here and when I saw what she had done-wow!
It was even better than I had hoped. Neat,cool,bouncy and even on both sides,perfect.
I think she’d was a tad embarrassed with my reaction but I was so pleased that I had a haircut I was pretty!
The hairdressers here,don’t tend to fuss or chat too much. No wine either but I suppose in my current condition I don’t really need a glass to relax me anyway.
Plus with the much cheaper cost of a haircut here, I can go to the posh supermarket downstairs and purchase a bottle of bubbles and still not feel guilty. That is once the baby is born.
Tell me about your worst/best haircuts,include photos if you have them.
Love and Lipstick
How does nature make you feel? A year and a half ago, every sound,bug,bee,spider was to be avoided. I can’t help it,it’s instinctual if you grow up in Australia. Dangerous animals are a way of life there. My brother who’s instinct for danger seemed much lower than mine was bitten by a mouse spider and given a hickey from a blue tongue lizard. You. Just. Leave. Nature. Alone.
The fear, installed from such a young age,you see takes a little time to shake it off.
Attending to the gardening without looking like this:
We used to walk to town everyday and as such,we pass orchards and bushes,hills and houses. There are rustles from every which direction. I’m reminded of a saying from my old driving instructor ‘ to keep my head on a swivel’
Which can actually be quite tiring, but all said and done, I now am at ease. The garden,originally set more for a holiday villa-low maintenance with lots of concrete. It now allows for all kinds of nature to survive and thrive.
I love going outside,just past dusk and watching the little mousebats careen through the sky. To hear the Industrious honeybees are a warm buzz. The lazy,fat sweet bumblebees are a joy to watch during morning tea. The spiders are small,pretty and harmless. The flowers we planted are insect friendly and laced with summer scents.
The loquat trees are growing new leaves vigorously. As if to warn the farm managers not to cut them down. This is the task of the month in the lifecycle of the loquat. The fruit of my villages’ main export. We are to be woken by chainsaws. The car covered in fine sawdust.
We may also be guilty of occasional pulling over of our car to slip a few abandoned tree limbs into the car for the coming winters fire.
This is my favourite view in my garden. I’ve spent a few days with a good book here,occasionally looking up at My beautiful grapevine, who knows how old it is. The grapes are just moments away from being perfectly ready. Anyone up for making some wine??
Nature here is harsh, the trees are brittle,the earth baked into useless clay. But she’s a beautiful beast,come winter and it feels like an eternal spring