10 things that make me happy: 07│2017

Time in Norway goes by very slowly and time in Greece goes by very fast. It’s already August and I’m in Argostoli, in Kefalonia. Today I’m feeling like I want to start a fight, which I may have already done. Maybe it’s the heat wave or the fact that I have to walk a long (in the heat) way to get me a nice cup of iced coffee or the sun or that it’s too warm for any physical activity apart from swimming (and that includes sex, I don’t want to keep you wondering what I mean). In other news, there’s an open air film festival these days at the beach. The scenery is unbelievable. You can see the stars and the moon, you can hear the sea and dip your toes in the sand while watching a movie. I only wish that the short films that were presented were not that amateur.*

In other news, August is my main vacation month and I have some nice plans. I hope it’s a good month. If I don’t pop-up often on the blog, then rest assured that I’m having a good time and if you’re wondering about the whats and hows, follow me on Instagram, where I’m joining Marianthi on her 365 photography project. The first month flew by so fast and now I got the hang of it. I pick up the camera every day and take many photos. I hope you like them! You can find the collection here, as well as on my Instagram account. Follow me and follow along. And if you do, don’t forget to say something so I can follow you back.

Have an unbelievably amazing August!

Oh, before I leave for the beach, here’s my happy list for July.

– The fact that I insured my new iPhone so that I get a replacement for free now that I broke the screen

– Freddo cappuccino by the sea (an all-time classic), by the pool, in the center

– Sandals and summer dresses (the same few)

– Sweaty summer and underwater cuddles

– Salty kisses

– Semi-permanent manicures and pedicures

A photography seminar Marianthi and I attended last week** (.)

– Meet sweet sweet sweet Marianthi 🙂

– The fact that Instagram is full of flamingo floats, while I haven’t seen one in real life

– Walk barefoot

What are your plans for August? What is on your mind lately? And finally, what’s in your happy list at the moment?

* I can’t say one good thing these days, can I? Do I have to, though? Food for thought on positivity… Are we being too nicey-nice on each other in the name of positivity? What happened to opinion, honesty and creative criticism?
** Do you want to know what I learned? Should I write more about that? It was quite interesting.

ps. One last thing before I leave. I run a Giveaway on the blog in the beginning of the month and the winner was announced on the Giveaway post on Instagram. If that’s not you, do not worry, there’s more to come this fall.

Stavanger road trip: Jæren National Tourist Route

When I visited Stavanger in May, my local friends took us on a Stavanger road trip to another one of the most famous routes in Norway. Norway isn’t short of things to see and Jæren national tourist route is one of them. The drive will set you back 2 hours, both ways, but you’ll want to save some time to take photos, get a coffee and eat a waffle. How can you go on a road trip without waffles?

There are plenty to see along the way. The landscape of this area is completely different to everything else I’ve seen in Norway, so unique and rocky!

Hå Old Vicarage

The endpoint of our road trip was the Hå Old Vicarage, an art and culture center with very old history. The place is close to the sea with great views to the shore.

There’s even a very old cemetery from the late iron age nearby.

There’s also a very cool cafe where you can grab a bite or drink a coffee. A perfect place to grab a lunch made from locally sourced ingredients.

Kåre Wiig nursery

Last, but not least, on the way to the Old Vicarage, you may want to pay a visit to the biggest producer of tomatoes in Norway. Apart from tomatoes, you’ll find all sorts of plants for reasonable prices.

Now I know, where people from Stavanger buy all these colorful pretty flowers that you see all over the city.

That was my Stavanger road trip! Last week, I posted all about my latest road trip in Norway, the beautiful Atlantic road and I hope that with this week’s post I sparked your curiosity about Norway. Have you been on a road trip recently?

ps. I have some more things to share about my trip to Stavanger. They’re coming soon.

World’s best roadtrip: The Atlantic Road

Last week, I checked one more part of Norway off my travel list: The Atlantic Road. It’s 230 km southwest of Trondheim and a nice day trip. If you decide to get there, you’ll be driving by fjords, lakes and rivers. The whole trip is a must.

I’ll begin by sharing our itinerary. The round trip is around 8 hours of driving. Including stops for food and photos, it’ll really take you a full 12 hours. Our first stop was Kristiansund, a fishing town by the coast. The best and prettiest way to get there is through E6 from Trondheim to Orkanger and E39 from Orkanger to Kristiansund.

On the way to Kristiansund, you may need to stretch your feet a bit. Valsøytunet is a pretty place to do that. It’s a camping site with a small restaurant and beautiful views.

Get an ice cream and a coffee and move on your way. There’s still a long way to go.

When you reach Halsa, you’ll have to get a ferry-boat to get to Kanestraum. The ride takes 20 minutes and it’s so pretty. It’s also very cheap.

Kristiansund is a very short ride from Kanestraum. However, keep in mind there a 5km underwater tunnel, in case you don’t like the feeling.

Arriving in Kristiansund, you’ll be very hungry. And that’s a good thing, because this small town has very nice food, especially when it comes to fish.

After a short ride around Kristiansund, we decided on what the locals suggested: Smia restaurant. Located near the small boat port in an old building, Smia offers a selection of fish dishes. From whale to baccalao and salmon, we tried everything and were quite satisfied. Prices are very Norwegian, so don’t expect it to be super cheap.

After our pit stop, we were quickly on our way to the Atlantic road, Atlanterhavsveien in Norwegian. The road connects a series of small islands and driving through it is a unique experience. There are lots of places you’ll want to stop to get photos.

We stopped almost on every island.

It was a lovely sunny summer day, not particularly warm, but not windy. I loved it.

After talking all the beauty in, it was time to head back. The way back was easy: back to the Halsa-Kanestraum ferry, E39 and then E6. Fortunately, there is no night in Norway in July. We were back home at 3 in the morning and a day of adventures was over.

This trip had been on my list since I moved to Norway and I’m so happy to cross it off. If you have one more day to spend you can go further to Geiranger, before heading back to Trondheim. It’ll be a trip, you’ll remember. Let me know if you ever want to organize a trip in the area. I’ll be very happy to help. I hope I convinced you to put Atlantic road on you travel list. Did I?

Let’s talk skincare:
Reviewing everything I own from Kiehl’s

This was going to be an Instagram post, but I’ve actually tried too many Kiehl’s products and I have a lot to say. In this post you’ll find reviews on Kiehl’s products I’ve been using for at least a few months. Products below are grouped by the collection they’re part of or their type. I hope you find this review helpful. Feel free to share your own favorites! Is there anything I should try?

Kiehl's

Skin >> Ultra Facial

Ultra Facial Cream

Won’t repurchase

I’m on my second tube of this basic moisturising cream. There is no SPF and no claims of added-benefits for this products. I buy the large tube, which lasts me around 5 months. It doesn’t break me out and lays beautifully under makeup. However, I recently realised that it contains silicone, which I don’t like in my skin care. Does anyone knows a non-cosmedogenic moisturising cream for normal to oily sensitive skin without silicone? I’d love to hear your recommendations.

Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm

Won’t repurchase, sample

This balm is a much heavier version of the ultra facial cream targeted at dry skin. While I have a normal to combination skin, I may suffer extreme dryness during winter. On these days, I used a tiny bit of this balm. While this is a sample, I don’t think I’ll be over it any time soon. It’s extremely moisturising and will save your very dry skin. It didn’t break me out, but I don’t see myself buying the full size, as I rarely need that much moisture.

Ultra Facial Cleanser

Will repurchase, sample, not shown

This is a basic cleanser (as all the other items from this line I’ve tried). I cleans properly, but doesn’t strip the skin from moisture. It has no smell I could detect and doesn’t break me out. That’s about what I require from a cleanser. So I like and I will buy the full size soon.

Ultra Facial Toner

Won’t repurchase, sample, not shown

I’m not sure how to judge a toner. I didn’t feel any difference while using this (I had a sample that lasted me for a month) and to me it’s a bit excessive having that many products in a routine. This wasn’t a bad product, but I won’t be repurchasing, because I didn’t feel any difference in my skin.

Note: I would like to try the oil-free version of these products as it seems to be more targeted to combination/oily skin. However the cream in that line still contains silicone which is so frustrating.

Skin >> Rare earth

Rare earth deep pore cleansing masque

Will repurchase

This basic clay mask can be used twice a week. This mask leaves my pores feeling smooth and my skin soft. I really like that this effect lasts me a couple of days. I’ve noticed a slightly clearer skin and smaller pores after consistent use for a month. I will be certainly repurchasing a new tube of this when I’m out.

Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Won’t repurchase, sample, not shown

This cleanser is a very gentle scrub, that doesn’t irritate the skin. I won’t be repurchasing, because I don’t like the feeling of scrubs on my skin, but it’s a very effective cleanser that doesn’t leave the skin overly dry. I’d rather use the ultra facial cleanser instead.

Skin >> Facial serum

Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Will repurchase

This night serum smells delightfully. Apart from the nice smell, it is very lightweight, absorbs very fast in my skin and feels very luxurious. It hasn’t broken me out. I haven’t seen any huge difference in my skin, but I will consider repurchasing in the future.

Daily Reviving Concentrate

Will repurchase, not shown

Just as the midnight concentrate, this serum smells amazing, feels luxurious and hasn’t broken me out. It makes my skin look instantly healthier. I’ve read that you could mix it in with your foundation, but my water based foundations don’t play that well with it. It layers beautifully if you give it few minutes to absorb. This serum is also in my repurchase list.

Hair >> Argan

Superbly Smoothing Argan Hair Pak

Won’t repurchase (

I use hair mask every time I wash my hair, because it seems that the use of (any) mask every time I wash my hair makes a huge difference on my extremely dry and thin hair. This mask is nice, but nothing exceptional. One issue I have with it is that it doesn’t wash off easily. On the plus side, it’s silicone-free (surprisingly difficult to find smoothing hair products not containing silicone) and paraben-free. After I’m done with this tub, I’m going back to my trusty Kerastase.

Have you tried anything from Kiehl’s? What are your thoughts on their products?

Note 1: Don’t throw away your empty tubes. Kiehl’s (at least in Greece) takes them back and you get free products in return.

Note 2: This is an honest review and Kiehl’s hasn’t sponsored this post.

 

10 things that make me happy: 06│2017

June is Trondheim was a cold month. Then yesterday we woke up to some strangely warm weather, a beautiful sun that sets a bit before midnight and the clearest blue weather. Suddenly, I wasn’t envious of people in Greece anymore, of swimsuits and happy girls by the pool. Today I couldn’t resist the urge to move my office outdoors and work from a sunny patio, summer dress on, shoes off and iced latte on hand. Before I get back to work, I’ll leave you with my happy list. Here’s what made the cut this month…

happy list

– Sunny summer days

– When I edit the last photo from a trip (next one please?)

– Cats that puurrr and every norwegian forrest cat

– The silence of infinite spaces

– Plan a trip to a place I haven’t been to before

– When my favorite song is on the radio

– The moment I put hydrating cream on my face

– The smell of jasmine

– Show my city to people I love

– That KLM refunded me for the delay of my last flight with a generous amount that made the whole trip free (they may have the worst customer service, but at least I got my refund request through quickly and without any issues)

What’s in your happy list for June?

GIVEAWAY

To be honest, I’ll have to add another two things in my list. These would be my birthday and my 5 year anniversary of moving to Trondheim. I’ve loved every moment of these past 5 years. I’ve evolved so much and I’m so thankful for that. This blog has been a companion, a place to share some thoughts, a way to share my photography journey, my travels, my life. I’ve met so many amazing people through the blog and it keeps blowing my mind how Internet brings people closer if you choose to use it this way. I wanted to thank you for reading this blog my doing a giveaway on my Instagram account so head over there for the rest. I hope you have an amazing day.

For more, follow me on Instagram.

ps. Last month I finished a 30-day lipstick challenge. I own exactly 30 lipsticks, which is crazy excessive, but I love them all and can’t make myself declutter any of them. As Mary Kondo would say, they bring me joy. Here’s all 30 of them.

A modern map art print

This post is in collaboration with Modern Map Art. They kindly provided with a map art print of my choice to review. All opinions shared are my own.

It’s been a while since I changed anything in my house and when Modern Map Art contacted me about reviewing one of their prints, I though decor update. I was always drawn to map art and more graphic prints (that one still lives with my parents in Greece, until I move back to my own house), so I jumped at the opportunity to finally hang some map art on my walls.

map art print

Choosing a map art print

Checking their website, I admit I was blown away by all the different of options. You can find almost all big cities. I couldn’t find Trondheim in the list, which would have been my first choice, but then I looked for other big cities I want to go back to, like Singapore, Paris, London and New York. I was also looking at all the ski art, which I thought would look awesome too. In the end, I went for New York, because of its famous grid street plan, that I think looks really nice in print. I went for the biggest size (24 x 36 inches) in green.

Shipping

I live in Norway, so I’m always a bit more aware of international shipping. Let’s say I’ve learned my lesson. It took a month from ordering to get the print to my house, which is a reasonable time for Trondheim. The print arrived well protected in a tube. It’s made from a museum quality matte paper and ultrachrome ink.

map art print

The fun part

I haven’t bought a frame yet, since I plan to move the print to Greece (which you’ll see later this summer) and frame it there. I will definitely do that, since it’ll ensure that the colors of the print last long. I’m thinking of starting a gallery wall in my office in Greece and this print will be a great starting piece. For now, I used the easier method to hang it on  my wall just to take some photos of it for this post.

 

map art print

Isn’t it strange how art can change the space and our mood at the same time? What type of prints do you buy (that is if you buy)? have you ever bought map art print? Let me know in the comments!

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