Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Berlin & A Few Star Products

We arrived back from Berlin on Monday night and because the bathroom is still undergoing a total revamp, the apartment is still a disaster zone.  There is a thick layer of dust EVERYWHERE and it's driving me crazy!  I just want to start cleaning it all but there's no point even trying until the workmen have finished the job tomorrow night.  The bathroom is looking great so I'm looking forward to seeing the finished result.  I took before pics so I will show you guys the transformation when it's all done...exciting!

So, as promised, here are some photos from our trip to Berlin.  The weather wasn't great for the first couple of days and the drizzly rain got on our nerves.  However, the weather did clear up in time for us to enjoy a couple of sunny days exploring the city.  We did most of the cultural stuff and main attractions so we spent most of the holiday walking long distances which made me feel a little less guilty about all the rich food and beer I was consuming along the way!

I was really impressed by the museums because they have a vast amount of Roman and ancient Greek artifacts.  I was trying to channel a serious look in some of the pics, like the one at the Brandenburg Gate, but Chris ruined it by saying stupid things to me to make me laugh.  Hence why I'm smirking or laughing in all of the photos!

I thought this sculpture below was particularly powerful, it's a memorial to all victims of war and violence.  I liked the fact that there was a shaft of light shining down on it to suggest that there is still a 'ray' of hope for the human race and for the victims in particular.  There are alot of places in Berlin that are very poignant and sometimes it hits you head on when you think about all the things that have happened.  I think it's also important not to dwell on that side of the city too much as they are working hard to show people that Berlin is about more than just those awful memories. 

We went to the Berlin zoo and although I am sometimes a bit wary of zoos, this one was actually one of the better ones I have visited.  I didn't see any signs of distress from the animals and, for the most part, the enclosures were very spacious and varied.   I'm always in two minds about zoos...I totally support the breeding programmes for endangered species and rescue of orphaned animals BUT sometimes zoos can be exploitative and even cruel.  There were some people who were taking photos of the Orangutans right up in their faces, through the glass, and the flashes were blinding.  I had to stop them and tell them to think about the animals.  It can't be nice for them to camera flashes in their faces every 5 seconds!

I actually heard that the Polar Bear at Berlin Zoo, Knut, died the day after we visited.  We didn't see the Polar Bear so I assume it must have been ill at that point.  Apparently, Knut was born in Berlin Zoo in December 2006 but was rejected by his mother so he was put in an incubator and brought up by humans.  There has been alot of controversy about whether he died prematurately as a direct result of his care from humans at the zoo.  There's a more detailed article here if you want to read more about this.  I always think that is a difficult problem because some animals are disappearing from the wild and if we don't breed them in captivity, then we may lose them altogether.  However, I'm not sure being born into captivity is the best thing for endangered species as they might not be able to form the skills required to be released into the wild.  It's a difficult one really.

The photo above is a sculpture we saw in a crypt in the Berlin Cathedral.  I just thought it was a beautiful work of art.  Below is a picture of the night we went to 'Weekend', a club on the 13th floor of a skyscraper.  We got chatting to a lovely Norwegian girl (whose name I couldn't even pronounce) and the funny thing was, she didn't believe I was Scottish!  She couldn't get her head around the fact that Scottish people could be blonde.ha ha.  We always seem to get chatting to random people when we go out or on holiday.  It's always a fun way to get a feel for the city and find out where you should go.

I won't bore you guys with all of our photos because we did take quite alot!

I also wanted to post about some great products that I really enjoyed using while I was away.  The first two are conditioners from Aussie and Dove.  I have fine hair so I'm always on the look out for conditioners that won't weigh my hair down or may it all static and frizzy.  The Aussie Lusciously Light range is fantastic to use every day without getting product build up in your hair.  I took the Lusciously Light Mega Instant Conditioner away with me and it did a great job of making my hair super light but also silky soft, shiny and smooth.  Sometimes conditioners that are designed to be light weight can be lacking when it comes to making your hair FEEL conditioned.  However, this one from Aussie really does the job brilliantly and I LOVE the smell of it!

The Dove Heat Defense Therapy Conditioner is fantastic for those times when you feel like your hair needs a real moisture boost.  I can't use this one every day as it can weigh my hair down and make the roots feel a bit greasy.  I only ever use it on the mid-lengths to ends of my hair to avoid the heavy feeling at the roots.  It would be a great conditioner to take on holiday if you are going somewhere hot because it will prevent your hair from drying out.  This conditioner makes my hair incredibly shiny (I assume that is die to the 'serum' in it).  I love finding affordable hair care that really works!

I have always loved Xen Tan and have used the Mousse Intense product for a couple of years now.  Together with St Tropez, it's one of the best self tan ranges around because the colour has more of an olive base to it.  This ensures that your tan never looks orangey.  I had heard loads of raves about the Xen Tan Face Tanner Luxe and I was keen to try it out because I love to maintain a healthy glow.  I'm not a fan of being super dark because I think it can be really ageing but I do like to have a nice golden colour all year round.  The Face Tanner Luxe is a brilliant product for the face and neck because it feel lightweight, it has a slight sheer tint so you can see where you have applied it and it gives a really natural colour with no patchiness or streaks.  You only need a really small amount and your skin feels really soft and smooth when you wake up (I only ever apply it before bed).  I have been using this product for the past 10 days and it hasn't broken me out whatsoever.  You will often find that tanning products designed for the face are lighter in texture so as not to block the sensitive pores on your face.  I was really impressed at how long the colour lasted once applied.  My tan lasted for a good 5-6 days before I felt like I had to re-apply.  If you are a fake tan addict then this is a must have!

I have experimented with a couple of different lash enhancing products (Loreal Lash Renewal Serum and Revitalash).  I'm always looking for ways to make my eyelashes look fuller and more luscious, as I have found that applying false lashes can be a bit of a faff and I don't do it every day.  So using these product seems like a good way of making the most of what god gave me!  This product, Blinc Long Lash, works in the same way as most other lash enhancing products and is applied like an eyeliner with a small brush.  This product didn't irritate my eye or change the colour of my eye (a strange phenomenon that some people have reported from using these kinds of products).  I have been using Blinc Long Lash for around 3 weeks now and noticed results very quickly (after around 7 days).  My lashes were noticeably longer and I kept getting asked if I was wearing false lashes.  So it definitely achieved the results I expected!  I would say that the product adds more length than it does volume so I will carry on using Loreal Lash Renewal Serum on an alternate basis to get the best results possible.  The great thing about this product is that it is alot cheaper than some of the other lash enhancing products on the market.  It's priced at only £34.95 with free delivery here at FeelUnique. 

I was loving this Origins Quick, Hide! Concealer while I was on holiday.  It's the perfect product to seal my Bobbi Brown Corrector under my eyes.   The 02 Light/Medium shade has a peachy undertone to it which makes it perfect for hiding any dark shadows.  It's quite liquid in consistency (think Mac Select Cover Up Concealer) and it dries quite quickly.  I love how it lasts all day and doesn't crease whatsoever so you're just left with really bright eyes.  It's heat and sweat resistant and also oil-free so it's great for use all over the face.  It's very similar to the Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer but it's only £12.00 instead of £18.50 for the EL one.

I have spoken about this Chantecaille blusher in Joy once before on my blog and I'm still obsessed with it.  It has great pigmentation, looks so natural and it really brightens the complexion.  It's a gorgeous colour for Spring because it's a lovely baby pink with ever so slight tones of peach.  The cute little compact is SO handy for travelling too.  The colour lasts all day without fading and it's the perfect shade for a healthy glow.

My nails weren't looking the best before I went away on holiday which I attributed to wearing too much nail varnish and not giving my nails time to breathe.  The skin around my nails had become quite dry and even started peeling...yeuch!  So I whipped out my OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go and after one application, my nails looked a million times better! After three days of application, once a day, my nails looked super healthy and the skin around them is now soft and smooth.  I am quite meticulous about caring for my hands and nails because I hate seeing raggy nails, chipped nail polish and bitten skin around the nails.  I don't feel properly groomed unless my nails are all spick and span!

So are there any products you have been relying heavily on lately? Have you been to Berlin? What did you think of the city?

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