After my awful blog problems this year, I’ve decided to group up my October/November/December favourites into a more general Autumn favourites. These past few months have had their ups and downs – but you could say that it was all eclipsed by the moment when I visited my first Luxembourgish Christmas market, mulled wine in hand, standing in front of a fire, when it started snowing. It was glorious.
- LUSH LUSH LUSH, everything LUSH. It’s fast becoming my favourite brand in every way imaginable. Their products are so unique and fresh and GOOD. I can’t get enough, and with every purchase I realise what good value the products are (OK, maybe apart from the bath bombs! But still 100% worth it.). Recent favourites include: Beautiful shower gel, Santa’s Belly shower jelly, Celebrate body lotion, Gold fun, Rose Jam shower gel, Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar, R&B hair moisturiser, Let the Good Times Roll facial cleanser, and T’eo solid deodorant.
- Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist by Nick Middleton – my boyfriend’s gift for our 6-year anniversary. It’s perfect.
- Accessorize Christmas pudding beanie – I can’t find this online, but my bestie Annelise gave this to me one Christmas, and it’s beautiful and festive and keeps my head oh-so-toasty and warm.
- Primark purse (I call it a wallet, but apparently it’s not an accurate name for a purse like this…) – this was super cheap but looks lush and expensive. It’s the perfect size for me – space for some cards and cash, and that’s it.
Some other favourites:
Hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas.
My blog was going through a bit of a wonky phase this summer/autumn (from a technical point of view) – links weren’t showing up properly on Facebook, things were going terribly wrong, and it was just an overall bad time for the site.
BUT I had compiled a September favourites, and I don’t want it to go to waste. So here it is. In December.
Anyway, September was an interesting month. Autumn started to ease its way in here in Luxembourg, and I had a delightful visit to Malta where I helped my best friend pack up and leave for a year in London, attended a gorgeous wedding, and just had some good old time with the Mediterranean Sea.
Hope everyone had a good September (and October… and November…) :)
August has been nice and quiet, and quite a mixed bag. I’m feeling great though, so I’m very optimistic about September and all it’s going to bring (mostly workworkwork, a trip to Latvia and a trip to Malta).
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – I’ve only just started reading this book, but it’s beautiful (both inside and out). It’s a promising one.
- The Mindfulness Colouring Book by Emma Farrarons – This is the latest craze, I know. But it’s been nice to colour like a three-year-old while watching something, as opposed to playing the latest levels of Candy Crush.
- A Move Abroad by Ian McEwan – I’m trying to read everything every published by Ian McEwan, and since I’ve read all the novels and the short story collections, I’m getting through some of the… other stuff now, like this book, which actually included a fascinating discussion on the Cold War and weapons of mass destruction. This book includes words for an oratorio (very strange, but occasionally beautiful) and a screenplay (odd, not his best, but readable).
- Please Note notepad from A Beautiful Mess Happy Mail – I’ve been loving the Happy Mail packages each month, and this notepad has been pretty and handy.
- Cards from my best friends – I received a couple of cards from my best friends in Malta in August, and they’ve absolutely brightened up my LIFE.
- The Great British Bake Off – TV GOLD. That is all.
- Best friend support – Some friendships are just… out-of-this-world amazing.
- My new My Favourite Feelings blog post series – STILL RECEIVING SO MUCH LOVELY FEEDBACK. <3
- Letting myself write the way I write and speak the way I speak, and feeling comfortable with this, because I keep sensing that people see the way I communicate sometimes as being a little too informal or “not fulfilling my potential” blah blah blah. Screw that. I can communicate in a million and one ways, and can choose to communicate in whichever way I want.
- Awesome, awesome, awesome proofreading clients
- My framed map present
- August in Luxembourg – it’s strange, because most places have been shut, but it’s strangely calm and nice.
Let’s make September a great month. Fingers crossed.
A to-do list for you: eat something “special”, and wear something that makes you feel super-good. ASAP.
Favourites time! I spent such a beautifully-large chunk of July in Malta, so I could just shorten this month’s favourites post to “Malta”, and we could be done. But let’s elaborate a bit more, shall we…
- Giant corgi plushie – this was an online purchase I made during a bit of a down day, and it was possibly one of the best things I’ve ever bought. LOOK AT HIM. <333
- Fujifilm Instax wide 210 camera – possibly my favourite purchase of the year. I originally bought this camera for a bridal shower I was organising… but then I quickly became addicted. It’s not as adorable as the little instax cameras, but the photos are so much larger and more beautiful (and the camera was actually a little cheaper than the more “pretty” instax cameras).
- Me, as a maid of honour, in doll form! – one of the bride’s aunts made dolls of the bride, the groom, and me, and the bride and groom gave me the doll of me as a gift. It’s so beautifully made, and makes me happy and emotional every time I look at it (it’s now on my desk, resting on my Maltese-English dictionaries). <3
- Benefit Coralista blusher – a classic favourite blusher for me, and I’ve just hit pan on it too, so I’m suddenly all worried about its life-span. I’ve used it for absolute months (probably over a year) on a very regular basis, though, so it’s definitely been more than worth its price tag. I would say it’s the perfect shimmery glowy blusher shade.
- Benefit Roller Lash mascara – I sneakily pawed through the bottom drawers of a Sephora store in Luxembourg and found one of these (it’s been sold out everywhere for such a long time!), and it’s been a wonderful lifting mascara. I wish it was more volumising, but it’s still a firm favourite.
- Malta – have I mentioned that I simply adore my home country?
- Food at Sammy’s – this restaurant is AMAZING. Go there if you haven’t been there yet. And ask for a tasting menu. Oh. My. They also very easily cater for vegan and vegetarian diets. Although I was like: please feed me anything and everything.
- Attending a cycling confidence course – I can’t wait to put my bike together (it’s still in a box after shipping it from Malta) and hitting the cycle paths of Luxembourg.
- A family wedding and being a maid of honour – and organising the bridal shower, of course. It was an overwhelming, absolutely beautiful wedding week. Everything was so much fun and such a great success.
- Work has (thankfully) been slower over the past month, after the non-stop months of April, May and June, but it’s slowly picking up again, and I’m very excited to be dabbling in some more corporate stuff than usual (although proofreading theses will always be my favourite).
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – not pictured, because I’ve lent it to my boyfriend’s mother, but this has gone into my favourite books ever list. And Adichie is competing with McEwan (my favourite author) for the favourite author ever position. Ooh er. (Which means that I need to read the rest of her books to make an informed decision.)
Hope everyone had a great July, and that August will be relaxing and beautiful.
These monthly favourites are a little later than usual – but they’re here! I’ve been very busy with music festivals, and I’m a little addicted to live music now. The list of absolutely excellent bands and artists that I have seen over the past few days is endless, and my most recent Google search was “music festivals in Germany”, because I just want to go on another music festival this summer. June was full of travel and quite a bit of work, and July has already kicked off with a disastrous heatwave in Luxembourg (it’s awful when you don’t have air-conditioning or a fan).
- The Martian by Andy Weir – I finished this book in June and while I was NOT a fan of the protagonist, I did thoroughly enjoy the story, because space is one of my favourite settings in films and books.
- Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie – I read this between acts at Rock Werchter, and it was the perfect book for a festival, with each short chapter dealing with a different case.
- Notebook – I bought this from the Pompidou in Metz, and it’s sturdy and colourful and lined.
- Acqua di Parma (Gelsomino Nobile) – I bought this perfume for myself when I got my notarial warrant. It’s the best.
- Barry M Gelly Hi Shine nail polish – A lovely nail polish which withstands a lot.
- The new Venture magazine at the Departures Lounge at the Malta International Airport – I write an article each edition about the food available in the outlets in the lounge, and it’s been so much fun to discover all the delicious food and drink, and to meet all the lovely people who work there. If you’re ever in the departures lounge, do pick up a copy (and my top food tip from my last trip there would be the Costa Coffee caramel shortbread – it doesn’t look too impressive, but it seriously melts.in.your.mouth.).
- The best weekend home in Malta
- Rock Werchter (and SO many artists/bands)
- Rock-a-Field (Kate Tempest! Bastille! Alt-J! MUSE.)
- National Day in Luxembourg
- New friends
- Going on an audition and doing well (and meeting wonderful people)
- My two best friends who seriously keep me sane, even thousands of kilometres away
- A giant impulse buy
Hope everyone has a lovely July.
May! It’s been a very, very busy month, but full of fun and adventure. A German friend visited, and we went on a couple of day trips in the Luxembourgish countryside, we went on a long-weekend trip to Antwerp (in Belgium), and we visited a lovely local market too. Work has been absolutely non-stop hectic, but I’ve had a lot of fun with a variety of super-super-interesting stuff.
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – I’m still halfway through this book, but hoping to finish it soon. It’s a great read – a flowing thriller. I hope its ending is good.
- Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – an AMAZING book. It was a birthday present from my best friend Annelise, and it opened my MIND and was just a fascinating read. So beautiful.
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I read this teensy book on a 15-minute bus ride (this was a present from my other best friend, Anna) and it’s clearly required reading for everyone. I wish I could set out my thoughts and arguments as clearly as this woman.
- Nux nut spreads (cashew dream) – I bought a 4-pack of these amazing nut spreads at a local market a week ago, but the absolute highlight was the cashew nut version. I would like a 1kg version of it, ASAP. (It’s actually sold out right now, which causes me a lot of sadness.)
- Shu Uemura eyelash curlers – game.changers. I’ve always used an eyelash curler, but I’ve been using the same ones for about 10 years (ick, I know – although I used to change the refillable pads, at least). Now I have shiny new ones, and they’re amazing. I’m wide-eyed and happy.
- Promod handbag – I desperately needed a little handbag to carry essentials. It has tassels and goes with everything. I love it.
June will include quite a bit of travelling, and more proofreading (although work should die down a little after being hectic-hectic-hectic for a couple of months). I’m off to Malta for a wedding, and then off to Rock Werchter(!!) – can’t wait.
Hope everyone has a splendid June! Get yourself to the beach while it’s still refreshing ;)
April has been absolutely jam-packed and fantastic. I spent most of it in Malta, and a long weekend in Alghero (Sardinia), so I’ve also had my fair share of sun, sea and fun this month. Work has been manic, though, which is good/bad, since I’ve often had to cancel all plans to buckle down and get things done, but I’m so proud of how my business is doing and how hardworking my clients are.
- Crooked House (Agatha Christie) – Agatha has done it again (hah). I absorbed this book in a few hours – mostly while on a plane/car-ride to Luxembourg this week. Such a satisfying little mystery.
- Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Extreme Plump lip gloss – this tingles like there’s no tomorrow, and looks gorgeous on my lips, so A++++ from me. (It was a very kind and excellent birthday present from my bestie, Anna.)
- Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Exfoliating Lip Salvation – another wonderful birthday present from Anna. (Basically, just give me lip products as presents and I will be 100% happy.) This is a smoothing (giant) tub of lip balm which smells and feels amazing.
- Springfield dress (currently half-price on their website!!) – I bought this while on a stay in Gozo, and love how it fits me. The sleeves are also great for windy Spring evenings (and Luxembourg in general).
- Clinique chubby stick – the wonderful Valentina gave me my first Clinique chubby stick for my birthday, and it was supposed to be a pictured favourite but I think I’ve left it in Malta! I wore it so much while in Malta, and it was perfect at a Spring wedding. I get the awesome hype around this product.
- Being featured in an article in a Luxembourgish newspaper(!!)
- Work – it’s been a little overwhelming to be a full-time proofreader this month (FULL-full-time), since it’s totally deadline season right now, but I’m always grateful for being able to do this job so happily and so well (at least, my clients are always so happy – that’s the best part). And I get to read about some of the latest research in such a variety of fields, first-hand, so that’s just the best perk.
- Gozo – best Gozo trip, ever
- Wine – so much wine. Especially at Tal-Massar.
- Palazzo Parisio – the perfect afternoon spot to celebrate a special occasion
- My cousins’ perfect little new baby
- Gellish nails – I tried them last month while in Malta, and they are AMAZING. I literally went to a field and picked potatoes, and they were still 100% intact for weeks.
- Alghero, Sardinia – I really hope to find time to put up a little post about our early-April weekend on this gorgeous island. It was such a surprisingly beautiful place, and we had some of the best food ever here too. (And you know I’m aaaaall about the food.)
Hope everyone has an excellent May! Deadline season is still very much upon us, but at least things will start to slow down a little, and I can’t wait for our beautiful German friend to visit us for a few days tomorrow.
March has gone by in a flash, but it was a very fun month – particularly because it was my birthday. I had a fantastic day, full of surprises and amazing food.
Pictured favourites of the month:
- New bits from IKEA – I’m perfectly okay with hauling IKEA furniture up two flights of stairs to our apartment, as long as I know that I’ve also managed to purchase a bunch of little IKEA things (which are always so pretty). The little cactus in the tiny purple pot – ugh, so cute. And the two bowls are on my new desk, holding things like washi tape, a USB cable, and other office things.
- Washi tape – So cute, so fun, and so easy to find in Luxembourg. It’s especially great to stick things to the wall (since they don’t leave any residue or peel off paint). I need a million other patterns.
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed – I finished this at the beginning of the month, and really enjoyed it – plenty of moments in the author’s journey kept resonating with me after I read about them, and when a book stays with me in that way, I know it’s a good one.
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling – This book is SO GOOD. Such a surprise, because I know very little about Mindy Kaling, but this book had me smiling and thinking throughout. There is a little chapter about how she thinks men are supposed to treat women, which had me wincing a little, but otherwise, it’s a 5 out of 5 stars.
- Sephora hand cream (Vanilla) – I picked this up because I’ve been wanting a hand cream back in my life for a few weeks now, and it was the cheapest thing I picked up one afternoon… and, oh my, it’s like you’ve just been kneading cake batter that’s doused in vanilla – so yummy.
- LUSH Pearl massage bar – I’ve been loving massage bars since moving to Luxembourg, and this rose-scented one is quite magical. Leaves your skin feeling super soft, and smells delightful.
- Galeries Lafayettes figuier candle – Smells amazing, burns nicely, and is much cheaper than super-fancy candles like the ones from Diptyque.
Some other favourites:
- My new office – I have a big room now as my office, and it’s bright and airy and I’m in love with it.
- Fresh flowers – my parents sent me a giant bunch of flowers for my birthday, and I love how they look in my office (and, let’s face it, how they make me feel).
- Melted milk chocolate – I bought some cheap supermarket-brand milk chocolate last week, I heated it up a little in the microwave until it melted, and have been mixing it with wonderful things like cornflakes (the best), cranberries and sea salt (and letting it harden again to make a new and improved chocolate bar), or just leaving it melted in a bowl and eating it with a spoon. Mmhhmmmhmmmm.
- Proofreading – it’s been a particularly satisfying month for my little proofreading business. I’ve had the pleasure of proofreading some really special pieces of text, and April and May are going to be CRAZY-BUSY.
- My birthday – it was possibly the best one ever, and since I was so far away from my friends and family, it means I’ll just get to celebrate it again in a few weeks’ time(!!!!) :)
- Our new mattress – this is making me want to never leave my bed again.
- Watching some amazing live acts, including The Subways, Postmodern Jukebox, and ENNIO MORRICONE. (That final one was truly special.)
- The Luxembourg City Film Festival, which I reviewed (at length) here.
- Lunch with the wonderful Angele – can’t wait to do that again!
April is going to be totally wonderful, I can already feel it. So much is planned: we’re off for an Easter break in Sardinia, Italy, then I’m spending two and a half weeks in Malta (can’t wait!), and I have a TONNE of proofreading work lined up. I just can’t wait to see my parents, friends, cat, and home country! I haven’t really had too much of a problem with homesickness, but now that this long trip is booked, I’m just itching to get back to my favourite splodge of land ever.
Hope everyone has a fantastic April.
February has been a strange, quiet little month. I was sick for about a week, and I’ve spent most of it indoors, quietly working on proofreading jobs and other things. My boyfriend’s birthday weekend was an absolute highlight, and we ate so much good food and visited such pretty places.
Quite a few pictured favourites this month:
- Eucerin lip balm – this came out a little out of focus in the photo, but it’s been the real star of the month, particularly when I was all sick and cooped up indoors with the heating cranked up. It’s actually my boyfriend’s, but I’ve definitely “borrowed” it almost every day this month. So soothing, especially after using the lip scrub mentioned below.
- Milka Cranchito – I found this at Auchan to eat as a snack on the bus ride home. It’s seriously MIND-BLOWING. It’s like savoury bacon-crisps (no bacon in it though, I think) coated in Milka chocolate. I would like a bucket of these, please.
- A HEMA notebook and pen – these have been my trusty sidekicks every day while I scribble in to-do lists and do sums and write notes while doing Coursera courses
- LUSH Popcorn lip scrub – absolutely heavenly smell and taste, and just the best scrub for parched lips in the middle of winter
- LUSH Ocean Salt scrub – I’ve used a whole tub of this before, but I got a little tester pot a few weeks ago, and I’ve fallen back in love. How can vodka and sea salt make my skin feel so soft? <3
- LUSH Prince Charming shower gel – this is just perfect for February – marshmallow, vanilla, pomegranate goodness
- LUSH Cupid’s Love soap – I am over-the-top obsessed with this soap, and have been using it as a hand soap about a million times a day
- LUSH Kalamazoo beard and facial wash – I had bought this for Dave, my boyfriend, but after seeing it in the shower I decided to give it a go, and it is such a heavenly facial cleanser, mmm
- The Body Shop Vanilla Brulee body polish – this was a ‘welcome to Luxembourg’ present from a very sweet friend, and I’ve been loving how moisturising it is and how amazing in smells
- Glov make-up remover – this has been a fantastic little discovery over the past few weeks – a magical glove which removes make-up super-easily without having to use any actual make-up remover. I kind of want to buy everyone one.
March promises to be a little more exciting, what with the beginning of spring, and my birthday! See you on the other side. :)
Wow. I’ve almost hit ONE MONTH IN LUXEMBOURG. Capital letters are necessary, people. It’s quite a daunting fact that I’ve moved away from Malta and lived in a totally new country for four weeks now, and I still need to adjust and settle a bit more, but, mostly, everything is fantastic. I’m ridiculously happy when it snows, I’m overwhelmed by the warm welcome I’ve received, and I went to a LUSH bloggers’ event this week. (Come on, people.)
Pictured favourites of the month!
- The snow! – I LOVE IT. (Not when it’s like a slushie, though.)
- A feminist T-shirt – I had mentioned in my Christmas wishlist that I really wanted a feminism-related T-shirt, and my wonderful friend Anke sent me one for Christmas! I love it.
- A Diptyque candle (Feu de Bois) – I bought this for myself as a reward for getting through a particularly gruelling day. It’s so expensive but so divine. I love candles and have had one burning almost constantly throughout January.
- A New Look dress (similar) – this was a Christmas present from my (excellent) friend Anna. I love how comfortable it is, but I feel like the shape of it is really smart and flattering. It was the perfect Christmas present, Anna-face! <3
- LUSH Full of Grace serum – the loveliest LUSH employee recommended this a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been adoring it. I apply it every morning to my bare face and it hydrates and softens my skin so much – I sometimes even skip my moisturiser after using this.
- LUSH Peace massage bar – this melts in your hand and has the most luxurious, delicate scent. I rub it against my bumpy bits and it starts to melt when it feels your body heat. Lovely.
- Nutella – we’ve consumed jars of Nutella this month. So much so that we had to buy a particularly big one last time we popped into a supermarket. I
- Delhaize microwave popcorn – this is a bit of a random one, but I went shopping on an empty stomach a few days ago (bad, I know), and I got a huge craving for microwave popcorn. I got the cheapest store-brand variety, and it was SO GOOD to eat while watching Suits this week. There were only a few unpopped kernels, and the popcorn itself was delicious and not too salty.
I could go on and on forever listing all the little things that I’ve been loving about Luxembourg. I’ll put up another first impressions/first month update post soon.
February is usually my least favourite month of the year (awkward, cold, slow), but I’m guessing it will be an exciting one this year. Hope everyone is having a marvellous weekend.