Too bloody blonde

I like to think that I am pretty clever.

I mean, I find my way around new situations quite easily, changed my field of profession without problems and even taught myself some new skills like basic coding and (even more basic) photography.


Reading recently
Reading recently


There are some days though when I feel as if this fridge magnet perfectly describes me:


So Bloody Blonde


Trying to find a solution for annoyances in daily life, building complicated ways around something while completely ignoring the obvious and easy way any sane person would take.

Case in point? Reading.

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Avenue22 Makeup Sponge – A Beauty Blender with a handle?

These days I rarely use a brush to apply my makeup. Since purchasing my Beauty Blender one and a half years ago, this is what I have reached for.
Unless I used my fingers, which happens with Tinted Moisturizers or BB-Creams a lot, for I am a lazy girl and hate cleaning brushes or sponges.

Avenue22 Makeup Sponge on the left, (stained) Beauty Blender on the right

But one and a half years of regular use have taken their toll on my Beauty Blender, and while I was still contemplating whether to rebuy or go for one of the countless dupes out there, Premium Beauty Supplies got in contact, looking for bloggers to test their Avenue22 MakeUp Sponge.
Of course I jumped at the opportunity.

What Premium Beauty Supplies claim:
These makeup sponges are for applying your foundation or contouring your makeup.

At the moment, the sponges are 10 pound, P&P included. For comparison, the Beauty Blender retails for around 16 pound without shipping.
They are smaller than the Beauty Blender (BB), but still big enough to cover your face quickly and just like the BB they expand when soaked in water.

The handle is made from ecofriendly wood (as the company told me), and didn’t scratch during my testing period.
The golden metal part is nicely cut, there are no sharp edges, and the sponge is fitting in well.
I pulled at it with medium strength (all for research purposes, you know) and it stayed put.

Avenue22 Makeup Sponge

The application is similar to the BB, but needs a little more blending effort.
The BB is a no-brainer for me, I just dab dab dab and put it away.
With the Avenue22 makeup sponge I had to go back in at a few places, but the final result was the same.

The sponge texture is very giving, so you don’t pull at the skin when using it in strokes, something you are tempted to do, because it just feels like you are holding a brush.
To be completely honest, I ended up holding the sponge directly instead of the handle most of the times. I just felt that gave me more control.
And I like holding a sponge for some reason.

Does it live up to its claims?
I can’t vouch for the contouring part, as I use powder contour most of the times. But it does a good job at applying your makeup. I like the flat part for distributing the product, then flipping the sponge to buff it in.

Would I (re)buy?
Probably not. It is a decent product, but the main advantage is the handle, and I prefer my sponges without them. I will happily use it as long as it lasts, but afterwards the Real Techniques version is on my to-try list.

Who would I recommend it to?
If you don’t like getting your fingers damp and dirty, you will prefer these over the original BB.
They are cheaper, so may be a great alternative when you are on a budget, although I can’t tell you about the longevity yet.

Have you heard of this brand before?
Do you use the original Beauty Blender or a dupe?
Or is it brushes all the way?



Growing up and getting faster – the nail polish issue

To me, there is nothing that says: “I am a sophisticated grown up woman that knows how to handle her life” quite like perfectly done nails in a dark color.

Sadly this is a goal I haven’t met yet.

At first, I was intimidated by the dark colors.
They were so noticeable, looked like you had actually painted your nails! Quite unlike the sheer pinks or barely there glitters you get as a freebie when buying Wendy.
I case you wondered, Wendy is a magazine about horses, aimed at twelve year old girls. I think it is Germany only, but I reckon there are similar magazines everywhere on this planet.

Then, when I finally overcame my fear of looking like I had put makeup on, the “perfectly done” part was the deal breaker.

As I mentioned before, I am not the most patient girl, and there is always something left to do.
So waiting for the polish to dry is a punishment, leading to chipping and smudging because I just couldn’t wait five more minutes.

Essence nail art express dry drops

But there is hope, brought to me by essence Instant Dry Drops.
Dark months, dark lips, dark nails, this is how I felt for those past few months.
And even if I am not quite sure whether I would call myself a “sophisticated grown up women that knows how to handle her life” quite yet, I may have looked like one.

The nail polishes that helped me achieve this look were:

1. Essie “Sole Mate”
A deep rich plum with a cream finish. Retails for 7,95 € here.
Essie nail polishes last around five days without chipping on me, and this one is no exception. For reference, other nail polish chips after two days, so five days is good!
Opaque in two coats.

Essie Sole Mate

2. Essie “For the twill of it”
A green/purple duo chrome with a metallic finish. It was part of the 2013 fall collection, but you can still get it at 9,24 € here.
The longevity is again five days and it is opaque in one coat, although I prefer two.

Essie For the twill of it

3. P2 “Rich & Royal”
This is the first nail polish I bought after I started to get into reading beauty blogs, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
It is a taupe-grey with a little hint of violet and a dupe for Chanels Particulière. Wearing a nail polish that could have been Chanel made me feel uber-stylish.
Opaque in one coat and with a great longevity.
Much to my dismay you can’t get hold of it anymore, so I dread the day I will run out of it.
Mr. Loca, seldom commenting on anything beauty or makeup related, calls that color the “Hit your thumb with a hammer”-polish…

P2 Rich and Royal

And to ease my impatient soul, I recently introduced the “Nail Art Express Dry Drops” by essence into my routine.
They claim to dry your nails within 60 seconds while nourishing nail and cuticle with Vitamin E and almond oil.
Although I am not a big fan of the oily part (I have to get up and wash my hands, as it feels that greasy), my nails are dry in an instant.
Retailing at 1,99 € here, they are a bargain.

What are your polish picks for the season?
And your secrets to keeping your polish put and shiny?


Reactivating the youth of my skin? Lancomes Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate

As I am quite into serums (if you couldn’t tell already from my previous raves here and here), I was delighted when I got a generous sample size of Lancomes Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate with a recent purchase.

I mean, “Youth Activating”, I didn’t have to read any further to start daydreaming about my 35 year old self, asked for the ID while buying booze.
Not that I buy alcohol almost ever, but maybe I would if I got asked my age more frequently.
It is the little things sometimes.

Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate

But pointless dreams aside, the 5 ml included in the sample lasted me four weeks, which is the minimal amount of time I need to review skincare. Usually I stick to six weeks, to make sure my skin went through all its hormonal ups and downs as well as my common attempts (and fails) to cut out sugar and rely on the superfoods only.

What does Lancome claim?
“Inspired by groundbreaking discoveries in genetic research, Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate acts on ten signs defining a youthful appearance. After just seven days, your skin will look and feel youthful and supple, fine lines will be diminished and the skin tone will be evened out.”

There are two sizes, 30 and 50 ml. 30ml retail for 79,50 € here.
5ml lasted me for about a month, so I am sure you can do the maths yourself.
I used one drop and applied it with my fingertips every morning after toning and before my moisturizer.
There was no smell and no sticky residue.

One drop of fluid

Active Ingredients:
– Bifida ferment Lysate: a yeast. I will go into more detail below.
– Glycerin: hydrating
– Ascorbyl Glucoside: Vitamin C; brightening, antioxidant
– Sodium Hyaluronate: hydrating
– Yeast Extract: a yeast. I will go into more detail below
– Xanthin Gum: smoothes

The yeast are the ingredients that are referred to in the “groundbreaking discoveries in genetic research”-part.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to get further information which groundbreaking discoveries exactly Lancome means, as there have been quite a few, but I found some research done on a yeast ferment extract (not Bifida, but a different yeast) working as an antioxidant.
The only research on Bifida I was able to dig up was made regarding stomach issues and digestion after drinking it.

As downside, there is a quite large amount of alcohol (third place on the ingredient list) included.
The other (in my opinion) unfavorable substance is Castor Oil.
I don’t know if you followed the debate whether or not mineral oil should be included in skincare, so let me just summarize the key points for you:
Some people claim that Mineral Oil breaks them out by “clogging the pores”. That may be true for some, I never had an issue with it.
The more important drawback is how Mineral Oil works: It creates a layer on the surface, leaving the skin feeling smooth and hydrated. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if this layer wasn’t that dense that thing you put on top will be able to penetrate the skin.

Does it live up to its claims?
I didn’t notice any difference at all in my skins appearance, neither after seven days as claimed nor after the full four weeks. In fact, my face felt a little bit tight after applying it, maybe due to the alcohol. There were, however, no adverse effects, breakouts or worsening.

Will I (re)buy?
I personally wouldn’t put anything containing Mineral Oil on my skin as part of my skincare regime. I believe it prevents the good stuff I apply afterwards from working. But this is still controversial.

Who would I recommend it to?
If you don’t mind the Mineral Oil and the alcohol, you may give it a go. But to be completely honest, this is quite expensive, and there are cheaper alternatives out there which are just as good or way better.

Have you tried this before?
And how do you think about Mineral Oil?
Are you as tempted as I am if you read “Scientific Research”?


Favorite Face of December

If you are not familiar with the “Favorite Face of …” series, click here for a little introduction. Short story even shorter, it is the makeup that I wore most during that month, featuring the favorite (as in most used) makeup products.

Favorite Face of December

While browsing through the world wide web in late November, checking out beauty blogs, just killing time, I stumbled upon a beautiful purple eyeshadow palette and suddenly had that “I need this in my life ASAP”-feeling a lot of you will know.
But before an impulse purchase was made, some higher brain regions stepped in, telling me: You already own those shades!

I guess you can imagine the struggle that were the next five minutes, but I managed to get up and check my collection before clicking “buy”.

And there they were: Beautiful purple and grey shades, soft, easy to blend, tucked away in the corner of my eyeshadow drawer.
Out on my vanity they went, and have been sitting there all month.

Eye makeup close up

Here are the products I used:

Products used

1. MAC Concealer Palette in “Light” as corrector on my dark circles and as concealer on blemishes
2. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free in “Nude”: great product, review here
3. Maybelline Mattemaker Powder in “Light Beige”: really mattifies, I will have a review up someday
4. MAC Powder Blush in “Fleet Fast”: peachy-coral to counteract the cool tones
5. MAC Paintpot in “Painterly”: great eyeshadow base
6. MAC Eyeshadow “All races” (matte) all over the lid (in the picture on the left)
7. MAC Eyeshadow in “Dames Desire” (frost) in crease and outer corner (in the picture on the right)
8. L´Oréal Super Liner in Intense Black Gloss: my go-to eyeliner, review coming someday
9. L´Oréal False Lash Effect Butterfly Mascara: okay, not great, review here
10. Maybelline “Fit Me” Concealer in 15: on top of the corrector and as highlight, great product
11. Alverde Eyebrow Duo Kit in “Blonde”: works alright, nothing special
12. Maybelline Color Elixier Lip Laquer in “Raspberry Rhapsody”: love it, review here.

What have you been wearing the most last month?
And isn’t this lip color gorgeous?





Christmas Time

When it comes to christmas, it has always been a family thing.
During the past 35 years, it rarely happened that I spend Christmas Eve anywhere else than at my parents house, and if I did, it was because I had to work.

The only exception was last year, which I spend at my in-laws for several reasons.
As much as I enjoyed it, they are a lovely people, it made me realize how much we rely on family traditions to really feel the christmas spirit.

Happy holidays everyone!

This year, I will be taking the Little Bean to my parents house for her first ever Christmas and I figured, I would take you along, show you my outfit and makeup and tell you what Christmas Eve is like where I live.

Most important question answered first: Yes, we do have a real tree.
It used to be huge, as the ceiling is very high, but lately we decided to go for a smaller tree, placed on a little table. You still get the look of a giant tree, but it is less likely that either the cats or my sisters dog (or maybe even the Little Bean) are going to knock it down.
The tree is put up just a few days before Christmas and decorated on Christmas Eve, usually by us “children” (the youngest being 31).

When we were younger, we were allowed to watch tv while my parents did the preparations. It was a big deal, as watching tv wasn’t something we would do regularly.
Our favorite movies were “Drei Nüsse für Aschenbrödel”, a Czech fable, and “Little Lord Fauntleroy”.
And even though we have had our own tv for quite some time now, watching one of those movies with my sisters still is a thing on Christmas Eve.

During the day, everything is pretty laid back, but we dress up for the evening, even though it is just family and food. The trick is to find something chic, but comfortable. I usually wear a dress, loosely fit, to allow me a second (or even third) helping.
Here is what I will wear this year:

Akward posing…

The dress is H+M, bought two years ago, and is the closest thing to a christmas jumper I own. The empire waistline hides the food baby quite nicely, and worn with tights and a long sleeve it is warm enough for indoors and perfect for crawling around the floor with the Little Bean.
To be completely honest, I will change out of the overknee heels into my slippers at first chance.

For makeup, golden eyeshadow, black liner, mascara and a red lip are my go to look, and today will be no exception.

Close up of the eye makeup

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude (read full review here)
Maybelline Mattemaker Mattifying Powder
MAC Concealer Palette in Light
Bobby Brown Shimmer Bricks in Beige as highlighter
MAC “Harmony” blush for contour

MAC “Painterly” Paintpot
MAC “Manila Paper” es all over the lid (LE, but still available in a quad)
MAC “Crosscultural” es in the crease (LE)
L´Oréal Super Liner in Extra Black Gloss

Sephora Matte Cream Lip Stain in 02 Always Red (read full review here)

Manila Paper is the one in the upper right corner of the quad, Crosscultural is the one on the palette

Unlike other countries, the presents in Germany are given at Christmas Eve instead of December 25th, so when it gets dark (at around 6 pm), my parents will light the candles (yes, we have real candles, but only on Christmas Eve) and we will gather around the tree.
Everyones presents are in separate places, and we will take turns, getting one thing from our “pile”, opening it up, and then the person who got it will tell what it is for and why she decided to gift it.

This will take some time, and after everything is unwrapped, it is time for the food.
On Christmas Eve, it is chicken salad in different variations, potatoe salad with sausages and seafood salad, bread, cheese and lychees for dessert.
The traditional roast goose is served on one of the following days, when we meet aunties, uncles and cousins, or, in my case the in-laws.

The rest of Christmas Eve will be spent talking, snacking on cookies and enjoying some family time. When we were smaller, my parents would get a board game as a family present, but since we all moved out, that stopped.
And even though I might be the only person in the whole wide world feeling that way: I am glad, because I majorly dislike board games!

With this looking forward to, I will leave you to your own preparations and hope you enjoyed that little peek into my life.
What are your favorite family traditions? I would love to hear!

Happy holidays!


Save some space with this beauty

Whenever I traveled by plane, fees for overpacking my suitcase were inevitable.

Books were the one thing, heavy but absolutely necessary for holidays. As I am a fast reader, I usually took about 5-6 books for a two weeks getaway. And by books I mean a 1000 page historical novels or something like this.
So before our 4 weeks road trip to Chile, Mr. Loca got me an iPad, and I have never traveled without it since.
The other thing is skincare and makeup. 
Just three outfits? No problem. 
Two pair of shoes? I am okay with that.
But two weeks without my toners, serums, face and body moisturizer, hair mask, face mask, cleansers, makeup remover, …? Unthinkable. 
Limiting myself to just two lipsticks? Four eyeshadows? One blush? Horrible!
MAXFACTOR Creamy Blush in “Soft Cardinal” (Picture credit: MAXFACTOR website)
With our trip to New Zealand rapidly approaching, I had to realize that I just couldn’t clutter half of our camper van with makeup, especially when accompanied by a one-year old, needing diapers, toys, wipes and all that.
So I went on the hunt for multi-use products.

One that I had in my stash for quite some time now, but only ever used for its designated purpose, was the MaxFactor Creamy Blush in “Soft Cardinal”. 
I admit, when I bought it, it was by mistake.
I wanted to grab its famous sister, “Soft Pink”, hyped all over YouTube, but somehow picked up the wrong color.
Lucky me, because “Soft Pink” might just be too light to use it as I do with “Soft Cardinal”.
In the end of September, I spent some time with Mr. Loca and the Little Bean at my parents house in France. We decided that driving 12 hours would be too much for the baby, so I went there by plane with Little Bean and only Carry-on luggage, while Mr. Loca drove on his own, bringing the suitcases. 
Brilliant plan, but there I was, trying to pack everything we would need for the next two days into a bag, limited to the size of 55x40x20 cm.
Diapers, wipes and baby food for the duration of the flight included!

Of course, there was the possibility of going bare-faced, but “Soft Cardinal” came to my rescue.
This is the makeup I wore until Mr. Loca arrived:

All pink on eyes, lips and cheeks.

Products used:

L´Oréal Super Liner in Extra Black Gloss
L´Oréal False Lash Effect Mascara
MAC Concealer Palette in “Light”
MaxFactor Cream Blush in “Soft Cardinal” as eyeshadow, lipstick and blush.

Of course, the longevity isn’t the best, especially on the lips, but it is easy to throw in your purse and touch up for the day.
I would always recommend lining at least your upper waterline and use mascara to create a barrier between the reddish-pink and your eyes. Otherwise you might look like you cried a little too much.

A word of warning though: 
This product is a blush, so it is not recommended to use it around your eyes. I did it without experiencing any negative effects, and will continue to do so, but this is just me being a total makeup rebel…

What are your favorite multi-function products? Fill me in!


Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II

Estee Lauder wasn’t a brand I would name one of my favorites.
Somehow I thought of it as outdated, something my grandmother would have used, something I was way to young to put on my bathroom shelf.

You see, I know that my beloved MAC Cosmetics belong to Estee Lauder, but there is a difference between knowing and knowing sometimes.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

But as I have gotten more and more into serums, turned 35 and remembered my grandmas gorgeous skin, I decided it was time to eliminate my prejudice and buy one of the most well-known serums on the market:
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II.

What Estee Lauder claims:
“ANR adresses the appearance of all key signs of visible aging… It helps promote the natural synchronization of skin´s night-time renewal process so that it renews its appearance at exactly the right time … supports purification process. Helps protect … against environmental damage, helps reduce the look of past damage … Hyaluronic acid locks in moisture.”

There are three sizes available, 30 ml, 50 ml and 75 ml. I went for the 30 ml size, which retails for 74,95 € here.
For reference, I started using it at the end of September and still got about half of the product left.

Active ingredients are:
1. Squalane: lipid
2. Sodium Hyaluronate: moisturizing
3. Retinyl Palmitate: Vitamin A; reduces wrinkles, fades dark spots
4. Tocopheryl Acetate: Vitamin E; neutralizes free radicals, moisturizing
5. Bisabolol: antiinflammatory
6. Lecithin: smoothing, moisturizing
7. Xanthan Gum: smoothing

I use one drop of product and press it into my skin, starting at the center and working my way down to my neck and up to my hairline. There is no noticeable smell, and it sinks in quickly without feeling sticky.

I love using pipettes!

Does it live up to its claims?
I know you can read everywhere that the skin repairs and renews itself during the night, which is why this is the time to pack on the good stuff. But trust me, this is complete and utter bullshit.
Your skin is constantly repairing and renewing itself, no matter what the time or the position of the sun.
The reason we should use different products is simply that we need to focus on protection (read sunscreen) during the day, while we should skip that at nighttime. Also, some ingredients like Vitamin A make the skin more susceptible to sun damage, so it is safer to put them on when you are not exposed to UV-rays.
That said, there is no “renewal at exactly the right time”, but the other claims are true.
My skin feels soft and smooth, it is moisturized and supple and I think it looks more radiant since I started using that serum.

Will I rebuy?
And I think I will go for the bigger size, to save some money.

Who would I recommend it to?
As it is on the pricey side and focuses on repairing damage and reducing wrinkles, I think it would be suitable for people in their mid-twenties and upwards. Of course there is nothing wrong with starting earlier, and it isn’t that rich, so it would totally work, but remembering my days at uni, I simply wouldn’t have had the money.
I agree with it being suitable for all skin types, it is light enough for oily skin, but will work totally fine on dry skin if followed by a good moisturizer.

Have you tried this one?
And don’t you just love it when products come with a pipette? Hygienic and making you feel all scientific!


Inspired by … Dior Golden Schock Collection, Holiday 2014

If you are new to the “Inspired by…” series, click here for part one. Long story short, I try to recreate looks that I liked using the products I already own.

As Christmas and New Year are approaching at lightning speed, I went for a festive, full-on makeup look, something I would wear for a big event.

Dior Golden Shock Collection, Holiday 2014

I even try to recreate the pose!

First of all, I love the shape of the eye makeup. In contrast to the rounded eyeshadow application I did last time, the shadow is smoked out, elongating the eyes.

Sometimes I wish I used Photoshop. Picture taken by Mr. Loca

Despite the name of the collection, I didn’t spot any full on golden color on the model, more of a bronze, brown mixture of shades with a hint of grey and silver in the inner corner.
The lipstick looked very glossy, so I dabbed some eyeshadow on my lower lip to recreate that finish (and trying to make them look fuller. Didn’t work).

Close up of the eyes. Picture taken by Mr. Loca.

The products used:

Painterly Paintpot as base
MAC “Crosscultural” es (matte) in the outer third of the lid, smoked out
MAC “Showstopper” es (matte) to deepen the outer part even more
MAC “Bamboo” es (matte) as transition and blending color
MAC “Random glittery grey/silver eyeshadow, I just can’t find the name anywhere” on the inner third
MAC “Flip” es (frost) in the inner corner
L´Oréal Super Liner in “Extra Black Gloss” as liner (obviously)
L´Oréal False Lash Effect Butterfly mascara in black

Eyeshadows in order as mentioned above, Flip is in the upper left corner of the quad

MAC Matchmaster Foundation Shade 1.5
MAC “Harmony” blush for contouring
MAC Concealer palette in “light” for concealing and highlighting
Maybelline Mattemaker powder in “light beige”

Astor Soft Sensation Lipcolor Butter in “VaVaVoum”
MAC “Flip” es as highlight

Face and lips

One thing I still have to adjust to is how much flash photography changes the makeup. After I finished, I feared I had totally gone overboard with the eyes and the contour, but looking at the pictures, I should have done even more. Especially the eyes look much lighter in the pictures than they were in person.

This is a look I would totally wear on a night out.

How about you, do you prefer rounded or cat eye?
And what are you going to wear for the holidays?
Let me know in the comments below.


It is the time for giving

December is the time for giving, not only to friends and family, but also to charity.
There are numerous good causes out there, and I am sure everyone has something that is very dear to his heart.
I wanted to take he opportunity to share with you the two that our family is going to support this year:

In the UK there is one day in december called “Christmas Jumper Day”, where millions of people go out wearing their hand-knitted Christmas Jumpers to show their support for a (pre-defined) good cause.
This year, the organization “Save the Children”, teaming up with the magazine “Brigitte”, decided to take this event to Germany.
As Christmas Jumpers aren´t a thing here, they decided to go for a scarf, called “Ein Schal fürs Leben” (“A scarf for life”).
It was designed by Lala Berlin, well- known for elegant, feminine clothes with a twist, and the wool and instructions are available in store and online.
The good cause this is aimed at are the Syrian refugees, especially the children. “Save the children” works in the famine shelters, trying to establish some kind of stability and giving the children the opportunity to learn, play and talk about the things they had to experience.
Read more here (article in german)

The wool and the finished product (Source:

My mother, who is an excellent knitters, bought right away and I am hoping to receive one of the finished pieces as christmas gift!
Today is the awareness day, so share the love and support by tweeting #schalfuersleben and if you haven’t found a charity to donate to yet, consider “Save the children” .
Below a picture of my mother, featuring said scarf.
She asked me to add that this picture was just taken for blog purpose, as she would never ride her bike without wearing a helmet!

My mother, wearing the finished scarf. Photo credit: my father.

If you are more into beauty products than fashion pieces, the next one might spark your interest.
One of the founders is a family friend who decided after visiting Mali to support an organization making formal education possible for girls by selling organic karité-butter produced there.
The Body Butter is 100% organic, produced by Annemarie Börlind – Natural Beauty and called “Malibelle”.
So if you are still looking for a stocking filler, just click here.

Malibelle Karité-Körperbutter (Source:

I hope you haven an awesome day.