I've just spent an amazing four weeks in Europe with my mum, dad and little brother. I have left all of them behind in Greece to continue their holiday as I have had to return back to my Real Life as I have a 'Real Job'. Tough break, I know.
I will also just take a moment now to apologise to all work-related Facebook friends (and everyone else in general) who have had to endure my constant updates and countless album uploads. I'm not really, truly, genuinely sorry but I bet it sucked to see me calm, happy and totally at peace on postcard-perfect beaches sipping endless cocktails and frappes while you, you know, worked.
Don't think it was all turquoise crystal-clear water, endless delicious feasts, drop-dead gorgeous waiters providing free wine and dessert (hi Alecko!), marathon shopping expeditions, tear-jerking emotional family reunions and illuminating trips to world-renowned ancient sites though!
No, no, there was also blistering 40-degree heat in Rome that heightened my competing urges to either go out and explore every single day or hide in the sweet respite of air-conditioning and avoid the light; rude Italians who threw shopping bags at me as if asking for one in English insulted their very existence of bringing reading to the masses; weeping embarrassingly at Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios as I stood in the hallowed Great Hall and hid from scathing and judgmental English onlookers furiously wiping at my mascara, and of course the most tense, terrifying 40 minutes of my life as my entire family and I were stuck inside a tiny ancient wooden lift in Rome as our collective heart rates raced, our blood pressure skyrocketed, our breathing shortened as we gasped for godforsaken air, and the sweat poured off us in buckets, waiting for an unresponsive emergency crew and being saved only by the goodness of a total stranger in the building. He proceeded to assist us crazies to jump out of the lift (after a mind-numbing 20 minute-ordeal trying to unlatch the door from the wrong side) and fall a floor to our almost-deaths (slight exaggeration, but I still get clammy palms every time I enter a lift a now).
I am honestly still uncomfortable remembering this event. My knee is shaking and my eye is twitching and I'm struggling to type. It's clearly not funny yet.
Those were pretty much the only non-amazing parts of the trip though, and I really had to scrounge for them in the interests of balanced story-telling (and maybe trying to avoid making you hate me a little bit inside). I really am grateful though because it was incredible. I would go back and do it all again, even getting back into that damn lift. Meeting my family and swimming in the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen in my life and drinking consistently top-level frappe and visiting actual places that I've seen in movies has definitely sparked something inside me and I have to go back ASAP.
But enough about all the fabulous things that happened to me over the past month, I also learned a lot about myself and as holidays often allow us to do, I really streamlined my life. Relax, I'm not being mushy, I'm talking about my cosmetic discoveries and shortcuts. Take note, the below products are, dare I say it, the best things that will ever happen to you. Not an overstatement.
1. Face - NARS Illuminator in 'Laguna'
'Laguna' is the bronze-y one on the far right (I have "Orgasm", second from the left too and it's equally as fabulous) and even though I have owned a tube on and off for years, I've never actually used it much before replacing it. What an idiot. I was doing it ALL. WRONG. (I'm pretty good at other stuff though, don't judge me!)
What I started doing as I started, *gasp*, getting a little inadvertently tanned was trying to match my white, heavily-sunscreened face to the rest of my skin. So I mixed this baby in with my lightweight holiday foundation (Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide) on the back of my hand before applying, to darken it.
It worked a dang treat. My whole face had that 'holiday glowy sun-kissed' vibe thing happening even though it was anything but. I've continued to mix it in with my regular, full-coverage, everyday foundation and it is just as great. I have even tricked all my friends into giving me 'glowy holiday' compliments even though underneath I'm as pale as ever. Hah! Suckers!
2. Lips - Korres Lip Balm
I've talked about Korres lip butters and lipsticks and everything else Korres related for a shit-tonne long time and I have no intention of stopping now. Apparently in Australia we only have about 3 products of the entire collection because every pharmacy in Greece WAS STOCKED TO THE RAFTERS with every kind of product imaginable and I was in my own personal heaven. The pharmacy literally became my favourite place to visit and it became a routine part of my day to detour towards it and pop in 'for some essentials'.
These babies are a dream - super smooth and hydrating and gorgeous colours (I bought 3) and really good to wear on the beach. Even my mum converted and bought a couple. I don't actually know if we have them here but try and get your hands on them and smother me with gentle soft kisses once you have applied and felt the effects yourself.
3. Hair - Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Shampoo, Conditioner and Primer
I basically just wanted to talk about these, that's why I wrote the whole post. No lie. About 4 days in the trip I realised my hair was straight-up disgusting. It was stringy, and limp, and it refused to dry properly and basically it was gross. I attributed it to the flying but then I thought "HANG ON I JUST PAID HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS TO HAVE KERATIN APPLIED AND AVOID THIS WHOLE DEBACLE" And so I decided it had to be my dodgy sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner that I was using in order to prolong the bloody Keratin.
So off I went in search of a better sulfate-free solution (note: this is a difficult and somewhat painful process, so YOU'RE WELCOME that I did it for you) and I found these babies in Sephora. And holy crap, I can't even explain how soft, shiny, and nice-smelling my hair became. This handy little travel pack was cheap as chips and lasted me for the duration of my trip, plus one more wash when I got home. I was able to blow dry it in minutes, straighten it in a few more, and then go on my merry way to visit more hot waiters in greek tavernas. I was, in essence, living the dream.
On that happy note, I have to get back into it and start work again while somehow finding a way to avoid the lifts without taking the stairs…hmm...