Feet, feet, feet!

When there is one of my body parts I am in particular difficult about then it is my feet. I hate it when they are too cold. I hate it when they are to warm. Actually there is just a small temperature interval which does not drive me crazy. Also scratchy feet are horrible. So yes, I invest some time into my feet. Unfortunately I also stick them from time to times into high heels which they usually pay me back by hurting badly and swelling up.
There is several things I do to keep my feet in working condition. First of all, I use a scrub when I shower. At the moment I am trying the Balea foot scrub “Lovely” which smells amazing and seems to have a very good effect on my skin. It contains mint oil and blood orange extract which gives it a wonderful fresh and fruity smell.

After I leave the shower I usually also use a foot file to scrub my feet were necessary. I bought a rather cheap one at the drugstore and it works perfectly well for me and I can replace it very often. After every use I wash it with hot water for hygiene reasons. Skin particles are bacteria favourite foot (yeee yucky but as a microbiologist I feel I have to mention this  :P)

Really seldom I allow myself a pricey pedicure and they usually use a scalpel for this job. While I really appreciate that treatment, there is no way I am trying it myself, I still need my feet and I am not the most non clumsy person in the world (euphemism anyone ? ;).
After that I will apply the balea foot lotion. It actively reduces the amount of dead and cracked skin on your feet. . I really did not think it would do much but decided to give it a shot anyway. I started to use it and never looked back. Surprise; it really does do something. Since I am using it regular, my feet are so much softer, it is unbelievable. I first tried the alverde creme with orange and sage but I disliked the smell at first and after using it several times it started to become repulsive to me. My mom loves it though, so I think it’s a matter of taste and they both work very well.

In the evening I use usually a bit more of the lotion and then slap on a pair of my comfy cuddly socks. I have extra socks for at home which are extra fluffy and have those plastic nobs under it which prevents you from slipping. I used to have those when I was a kid and these days they just give me the most comfy feeling. To be honest I have been known to take those socks with me in the handbag for the moments where my feet are so cold that I stopped to give a damn and just got my socks out (also nice at places where people like you to take your shoes off). By the way, nobody sees your feet while sitting in the cinema (just saying :P)

And then at the side of my bed I always have the Yves Rocher Foot gel with lavender. It wonderfully cools swollen feet or refreshes them in those hot summer nights when I cannot sleep because of hot feet. Any of you so particular about their feet or am i just weird? What products are you guys using? Let me know.

esmara-damen-abs-socken

 

 

The Lush butter ball, my favourite kind of butter

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Lush Butterball bath bomb

So while I was in Antwerp I used the opportunity and dropped into the Lush store. The prices are a bit higher than in Germany or the UK but I could not resist to reward myself for a week full of work with a bath bomb. Now several bloggers have raved on about Lushs most inexpensive bath bomb, the “Butter ball”. While i found so far that all Lush bath bombs made my skin silky soft, this one was supposed to be especially replenishing for my skin. So perfect for a little pamper evening after week of negligence of my skin.

So on friday evening my wonderful hubby drew me a bath and when I arrived I hopped right in and dropped the butter ball into the bath. As far as effects go; the butter ball is the least eventful bath bomb I had so far, but okay i was not expecting that either. It is slightly smaller than the average bath bombs, but it was more than sufficient in my king sized bath tub. Upon dissolving it left several small brown oil droplets swimming in my bath water. The smell was amazing and not too overwhelming. Even my cat seemed to have a hard time to resist.

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The bath was indeed feeling amazing and I felt it was even great for my hair and my scalp. Just on leaving the bathtub I was a bit worried that I would slip because my skin was very oily. So I think this bath bomb would not be the right choice right before leaving the house. However, the plan was a pamper evening and so it was perfect. I watched some netflix on my iPad while relaxing in the bath tub , got into my PJs, went to bed and fell asap asleep. Its been now 3 days and I have the feeling that my skin is still soft and silky from using the butter ball.

So as a summary, I think I will definitely repurchase this bath bomb. It is perfect for a pamper evening and very rehydrating.

Antwerp

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from top to bottom and left to right: Antwerp station, Antwerp station at night; de Meir shopping street; the station seen from the Meir, De Meir shopping street

 

Hello my lovely readers. Unfortunately i have not been able to write a lot recently since I have been involved in organising an international PhD conference. However, on the train rides to Antwerp and back i have been thinking about what else to write and walking past the wonderful shops in Antwerp, I thought, loving city trips as much as I do, I love to read about other people experience visiting a city. So here we go, my small review of Antwerp:

Antwerp is a beautiful Flemish city in Belgium with a rich history (which i don’t know nearly enough about) and beautiful old buildings! Above you can see some of the pictures i took during the limited free time i had at the conference. Since the airport is in Brussels and parking in Antwerp is a nightmare, most people arrive in Antwerp via the station. Its one of the most beautiful stations in the world with a stunning architecture. One thing which fascinated me, was that trains arrive on several levels opposed to all on one ground level and that you can see all the levels when you stand in the middle of the station. Maybe it is common in other places but that was new and interesting to me. Right in the station, you will also find one of the very few Starbucks in Belgium. It’s just been recently that some of the bigger international chains found their way to Belgium. So when I am there I love to drop in for a hot tea or a cappuccino on the go. If you are interested in the famous Antwerp train station you can find more info here:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g188636-d241213-r175491230-Central_Station-Antwerp_Antwerp_Province.html

If you leave the station you are basically standing in front of Antwerpen Zoo. It is a beautiful old-fashioned Zoo which I loved to visit. However, being the animal lover I am, I would prefer a bit more spacey places for the animals.

Directly out of the station you find also the famous diamond district. However, since I do not own that kind of money, I have not been around there a lot yet 🙂

A bit more in my price range, you will find de Meir close to the station. A long beautiful shopping street (see picture) with historic buildings and all your favourite chains like Zara, the body shop, Yves Rocher, ici paris and more. Here you also find one of the two Lush stores in Belgium, so you can imagine where I went when I had half an hour to spare during the conferences lunch break. Prices are not very low in Belgium, so prices are okay but not a bargain, however, for us Belgian residents it is one of the few possibilities to shop in those stores without leaving the country. Beside that there is a palace, in the middle of the shopping street. Can you imagine? In previous times guests like Napoleon Bonaparte, Willem I of the Netherlands and the Belgian royals used to reside here. Now however, everybody can visit it, have lunch and enjoy some Belgian pralines.

http://www.paleisopdemeir.be/

Antwerp is a true fashion city with the royal academy and the fashion districts, housing all the big names and up and coming designers. I love to do some window shopping there (which is all i can afford in this district really).

So if you find yourself in Belgium with time to spare, Antwerp is truly worth a visit.

If you should pop by, do not forget to buy a box of hands. Yes, hands! The name of the city “Antwerpen” is derived from the two dutch words “hand” and “werpen” meaning “hand”(pretty obvious) and throwing. There is several stories how Antwerp got its name. My favourite involves a giant called Antigoon. He demanded a toll to be paid to him when a ship wanted to pass the river streaming through Antwerp. If the sailors weren’t able to pay or refused to, he cut their hands of and threw them into the river. This was until young roman named Silivius Brabo defeated the giant, cut of his hand and through it in the river. Because of that story, the Antwerp hands were invented. Little cookies in hand shapes. And to be honest i love to eat a few when i come because i just love such stories.

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Any of you have been to Antwerp. You have favourite places in Antwerp? Let me know in the comments!

My skin care routine

A great piece of art requires a great canvas!

Now I hardly want to call my face a great piece of art, but what is true, that I try to have the best possible canvas when I do my make up. Another additional bonus to having a great canvas (or as normal people call it : skin!), is that your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend wont run away screaming when you take your make up off.

So how do you achieve a good skin? Well, mainly by following the three do’s and 3 don’ts for having a great skin:

DO’S

– cleanse your skin every morning and every evening, especially when you wear make up

– eat well and do your exercise, sleep enough (in general stay healthy)

– moisturize (and also drink, while you are at it 😉 )

Don’ts

– sleeping with your makeup on

– going into the sun with to less SPF or excessive tanning

– smoking

Now some of these points are debatable. For example, there is by far no real study which proofs the context between nutrition and drinking and skin condition. However, I do notice that when I cut back my sugar and snacks and eat better and especially drink more, that my skin seems to clear right up and becomes more rosy. anecdotes do not equal evidence, so this is no proof that there is a connection, however, it works for me. If it’s a placebo effect, then I just run with it.

However, cleansing and moisturizing do help the skin. Now there is no one solution for everybody. So it is important to find out which products work for you and to be honest, I found there is just one way, test test test and do not believe every face science hype cream which they try to sell you for waaay too much money.

One step on the quest to better skin is to find out which type of skin you have. In general, there are 4 types defined:

1) dry skin

2) normal skin

3) combination skin

4) oily skin

And to make things easier (NOOOT) most of us are somewhere in between those.

I am somewhere between the last three, depending on my hormones, season, stress level. I also have a rather sensitive skin, so I have to watch out what I smear on my face or I will have to deal with a break out. So to get to the products I am using now, I tried a lot of samples. I actually went to both drugstores and pharmacies. Pharmacies I feel are sometimes really underrated when it comes to skin advice. Plus my favourite pharmacy will always stock me up with loads of samples, so I can try a product before I spend money on it, just to throw it out afterwards, because it’s not for me.

So here is my skin routine, and the products I am using currently:

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from left to right: Eau Thermale Avène Micellar Lotion (sample size); Balea Soft & Clear Washpeeling; La Roche posay Effaclar Purifying foaming gel; bebe more melt away cleansing mouse

I usually start by cleansing my face, if I am wearing make up, especially eye make up, I will first remove that one with a special eye make up remover. Then I will wash my face with either the bebe more cleansing mouse or the effaclair purifying foaming gel. I will use afterwards the micellar water from avene to remove rests of make up, I did not catch the first time or. About three times per week, I will use a peeling. At the moment I am trying the balea soft and clear washpeeling and I am rather happy with it. If I use a peeling, I do not use the micellar water afterwards, as I find that it dries my skin too much. The goal is to have a soft and clean skin, not a dry, red burning tomato face. I wash simply by making my skin slightly wet, applying the product and washing it off again with tap water. I tried sponges and wash cloth in between but found that it irritated my skin and really did not get my skin a lot cleaner. So well, back to easy peasy it is.

If you have rather dry skin, you can use a milk to cleanse. However, since I have a rather oily skin, I find that it leaves my skin to fatty, so I rather go with a fat-free wash gel or foam. To be honest, I have fallen rather in love with the bebe more one, since I love the smell and the silky feeling on the skin. The effaclar is very effective and I just love La Roche posay products. So at this point I am not sure if I will stick with one of them or just keep on alternating both (It’s a hard life 😉 ). Price wise, the bebe more is for sure cheaper. You can see in the photo that the pharmacy products (Avène and La Roche Possay) are sample sized and this is due to my lovely favourite pharmacy which supplies me with samples which I prefer to use up before I purchase the full (rather pricey) product. But I can assure you that I will do so with those two. I think I might keep the micellar water sample bottle though and refill it since it strikes me as perfect for travelling.

By the by, for the people not familiar with bebe more. I purchase the non pharmacy products in Germany (since they are soooo much cheaper there than in Belgium) and so far I have not seen this brand outside of Germany (let me know if you have). bebe (as the name might hint) used to make products for baby’s. They then came out with a line for teenagers (bebe young care) which I loved as a teenager. Now since a few years, they brought out bebe more which is targeted to people who safely left puberty. I daresay to satisfy customers like me, who used to love their products but might feel that the line is getting a bit young for them. So well, if you would say that i might be biased when it comes to those products, you might be on to something. However, I have purchased this products as gifts for non german friends and they all loved it and asked me several times to bring them more, so there is that… But okay, done with the fan-girling over bebe and on with the post…

The second and already last step is moisturizing.

lotions final
from left to right: Avène Cicalfate repair creme; bebe more, bedtime beauty, night creme; La Roche Posay, Effaclar MAT, sebo-regulating moisturizer; Yves Rocher, Active Sensitive, calming moisturizer

Now here again I have different products I used recently. For daytime I use Yves Rocher, Active Sensitive moisturizer. It is a decent moisturizer for sensitive skin and leaves my skin soft and well prepared for make up. I recently purchased also the La Roche Posay Effaclar Mat moisturizer after trying a sample. Especially during times when my skin seems to be especially oily, it really helps to keep the shine out of my face while still keeping my skin well hydrated.

Now, there is a thing to be said about night cremes. Actually, you do not need them. Your skin has no special need during the night which it does not have during the day. However, if I feel my skin does need some extra fats, I usually do it overnight because I then do not have to deal with an oily face to put make up on. However, when my skin is anyway already oily, I stay away from this and just stick to my day time moisturizers. But well for the occasions that I do use it, I use the bebe, bed time beauty moisturizer (I also use it because it smells amazing and makes me feel all ready for bed).

The Avène Cicalfate repair cream I use when I either had a break out and want to help the skin to heal, or when I have for some reason a dry patch on my skin. It is an amazing moisturizer and a little wonder when it comes to wound healing or healing irritated skin. I daresay, if you have dry skin, I can just recommend to use that even more often, I would if I would have less oily skin.

The last thing I use is my little wonder weapon against break outs:

anti imperfection final
La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ Corrective Unclogging Care anti-imperfections

It is the La Roche Possay, Effaclar DUO+ anti imperfections lotion. You can use this one either directly on the break out or you can even use it on larger areas of the skin if necessary. I discovered this a while ago (also via a sample) and I do not want to be without it anymore.

If you should go out into the sun and you are not planning to wear make up. You should still add a sun lotion or you should use a moisturizer which contains sun protectant. However, I am using a foundation which has an SPF and I also am indoors most of the day due to my job. If i go into the sun however, I will always apply a sun screen.

So well, this is my skin care routine. Even though I have found nice products which work for me, I will go on testing new products since you never knew if something better is still out there. At the moment I am exited to try the dermatologica daily microfoliant which I also received as a sample. I will report back on how this one is working for me.

This was a rather long post since I am way to passionate about these sort of products. How is your skin care routine? Which products work for you? Any secret tricks I do not know about? I am looking forward to read your comments!

Am i being good enough?

Dear you all,

I just read a post on one of my favorite blogs “sprinkle of glitter” and while i left a comment on her post, i feel i have more to say, therefore i am writing this blog post.

There were many reasons why i wanted to become a scientist. I am fascinated by the complexity of life and the world which surrounds us. On the danger of becoming all star treky on you, to go where no (wo)man has gone before, to get to know what nobody has known before. Along with the curiosity, came the wish to make a difference; to find solutions, to find new pathway and, ultimately, to help humanity to progress.
So there you are at the start of your first own lab project, dreaming of making all the difference and then after the first few years, you realize: Probably nobody will ever read or be interested in the things i am doing. Things in science might be developing at a fast pace, but i can ensure you, here at my bench they are going incredibly slow, when they are moving at all.

Combine that with the typical thirtyish slump and you get your existential crisis. After a dear family member passed away  beginning of last year, i found myself standing at his funeral and thinking: what makes a life significant? What will you be remembered for?

Obviously there are people which are big names in world history. However, how big was their contribution really? How much of their achievements was based on people who’s name we do not remember? And what do i really want to be remembered for. A lot of this famous people where really lonely people. Being famous does not equal happiness.

At this point i realized one thing, the chances that i will win the Nobel prize or that i will get into the history books is relatively slim and i am also not so much into sex tapes to become famous (;. So well, my way of making a difference is to be there for other people.  To make people smile. To add a tiny bit to their happiness. In my function as a scientist i want to support other scientist and i want to be part of a team to achieve greater things. In my function of being me, i want to do make people feel valued and important. I want to inspire people and help them to achieve their dreams and i want to spread the happiness that i was blessed with.

Therefore my hope is that, with this blog post, maybe i just reach one person out there in the wide vast internet universe and make their day a tiny bit better. And when i achieve that, then what i do, is good enough.

PS: and if you still feel you are not good enough, look at my cat, who has all the attitude while mainly sleeping, eating and chasing dreams (in form of fluffy balls)

eddy

How to: Hot Red Lips

Red Lips should be kissed, because kissing is what they are made for…….

Okay admittedly that is a pretty clumsy translation of a german song.

However, I recently really learned to embrace red lipstick. I have a pretty pale complexion and therefore always thought that strong lipsticks would make me look even paler. Then looking at there like of Zoey Deschanel, Dita von Teese etc. i noticed that this can actually be a plus for wearing strong lipstick. For me make up is not just something to slap on my face to not look awful but also something which I feel can underline my personality. And well my personality might be called a lot of things but boring is not one of them. My red lipstick gives my face that extra kick and to be honest also my self-confidence gets a swift little kick in the butt. My red lipstick also taught me to embrace my pale complexion. These days I do not look jealous at the tanned faces but just embrace my classic look.

Now one thing is really important when you wear bright-colored lipstick: It needs to be well applied. Since it makes your lips the focal point, you also draw attention to smudges and uneven application. So I will share with you my lip coloring routine:

1) Before I start my make up routine, I usually add some carmex lip balm to my lips and then continue to do foundation, powder etc. I find that until i am finished with the rest of my make up, my lips are usually already a bit softer. Carmex has been a revelation to me. If you haven’t tried it so far, rush to the store and buy one. You will thank me later. I will add a more detailed review soon.

2) Apply a lip liner. I use the Mac lip pencil “Dervish”. It nicely defines my lips without looking to painted and to be honest on some days and to work functions which require a bit less of “Hello!!!! Here I am!” I sometimes just color my full lip with it. It is a beautiful natural tone. As well when I still plan to add lipstick, I do not just draw a line but try to color a bit more of the lip since i find it makes the lipstick last longer.

3)I apply the lipstick. At the moment my favourite lipstick is the Mac Viva Glam Rihanna Lipstick Frost . Make sure to color your full mouth. Move your mouth a bit to see if you colored everything.

4) Enjoy your sexy lips! I am not sure if it’s the carmex base or the Mac lipstick but i also find that with this routine, the lipstick last quite long without drying out my lips. Even after eating, a subtle reapplying of the main lipstick suffices to get back to the full sexy lips.

products i used
products I use: from left to right: Mac Lip Pencil Dervish, Carmex Lip balm, Viva Glam Rhianna Frost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS: The money Mac earns from this lipstick goes to a charity which supports people infected with HIV! Always nice to support a charity. You go Mac!  For more information on the charity, check out this link: http://www.macaidsfund.org/

I will add a detailed review of the products soon.

If you want information from someone more pro than me, you can always check out one of my favourite blogs, sprinkle of glitters Louise

http://sprinkleofglitter.blogspot.be/2011/07/how-to-vixen-red-lips.html