Frozen Avocado

Posted by Carole

Pictures of avocado toasts have invaded Instagram and for a good reason. Avocado is one of the most affordable super food you can find out there and it tastes delicious! Win-win situation!

And because it is Oh-so-trendy, I won’t tell you more about the benefits of avocado in this blog or what you can make with it – smoothie, toast, salad, guacamole etc. I’m sure you’ve heard it all already!

However, there is one thing I’ve learnt while doing some researches on the benefits of freezing food that I never suspected and it is that you can actually freeze avocados! What a delightful news, right?!

To me, it means:

  1. You can say good-bye to food waste as, if you’re like me, you have to throw away your avocados as soon they are a bit too ripe and take on that brownish mushy texture that makes me shiver!
  2. It is the perfect way to easily incorporate avocados to your early-morning smoothies without leaving a green mess on your chopping board, which you know will be waiting for you all day for a good scrubbing session. Lovely!

So without further ado, let’s get started and learn how to freeze avocados!

Option 1 – Frozen avocado puree

Most foodies say puree is the best way to freeze avocados so here’s how to proceed:

  1. Choose ripe avocados and wash them with clear water or soap and water.
  2. Cut each avocado in half around the seed and twist gently to open. Lift out the seed using your fingers or a teaspoon then peel off the skin.
  3. Cut the avocados in large chunks then blend with a food processor or use a fork to smash the chunks into a smooth paste. Add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for each avocado to avoid the paste turning brown.
  4. Place the puree into zipper-style freezer bags or freezer containers then freeze!

Tip: You can also freeze your avocado puree in ice cube trays to create cubes that can be easily added to your morning smoothies.

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Option 2 – Frozen avocado chunks

You can also freeze your avocados as chunks or slices:

  1. Choose ripe avocados and wash them with clear water or soap and water.
  2. Cut each avocado in half around the seed and twist gently to open. Lift out the seed using your fingers or a teaspoon then peel off the skin.
  3. Slice the avocados in chunks, line them on a tray and sprinkle with lemon or lime juice then place into the freezer.
  4. When the chunks are frozen, place tem into  zipper-style freezer bags or freezer containers then freeze!

To thaw frozen avocado, place freezer bags or containers in cold water for a couple of hours or thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Use frozen avocado puree or chunks within four months for the tastiest result!

Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own cooking tips with the Frinnies community!

Your New Shower Routine

Posted by Carole

What is more comforting than a hot shower in the morning to help you wake up gently and start your day on the bright side? A cold shower!

Yes, you read me well and you might hate me for saying this but cold showers should be part of your daily morning routine. I’ll explain…

Taking a cold shower is way more beneficial for our body and mood than a hot shower.

  • A cold shower stimulates and reinforces the immune system.
  • It helps maintain hydrated and glowing skin & hair but also the elasticity of the skin, which plays a big part in fighting orange peel skin.
  • It activates blood circulation and helps reduce heavy legs syndrome as well as the appearance of varicose veins.
  • It has a detoxifying effect provoked by the contraction of blood and lymph vessels.
  • It stimulates weight loss.
  • It eases stress and relieves depression symptoms thanks to cold receptors on the skin’s surface, which send an incredible amount of electrical impulses to the brain when they are in contact with cold water.

These benefits are impressive and talk for themselves but let’s be honest, who has the courage to face a cold shower early and bright in the day?!

I tried it a few times but it was just too aggressive and soul crushing for me so I adapted it to a routine a little more acceptable and today I’ll give you my tips to ease into it slowly and gently but still benefit from the positive effects.

  1. You should always shower at warm temperature and keep the cold stream for the end, when you’re clean and ready to jump in your towel!
  1. For the first few weeks (two to four weeks depending on how you react) you can finish your daily shower with a stream of cold water directed at your feet and legs up to your knees. Gradually decrease the temperature of the water if you think you won’t like the “cold effect” surprise and keep the timing short (not too short though, two seconds don’t count!) You should notice results very quickly if not immediately as your feet and legs will feel a lot lighter than usual.
  1. After a few weeks, when you feel at ease with this routine and are convinced cold showers are actually worth the effort, you can follow the same process as above but this time wet your thighs and bottom too and don’t decrease the water temperature too slowly to benefit from an invigorating whiplash effect! You can also stay under the water a little longer, up to a minute should suffice as you don’t want to freeze to death either. You’ll notice that your thighs will turn a nice pink colour, proof that you’ve just boosted your blood circulation and are giving this bloody cellulite a hard time. You’ll also notice a spectacular change in your skin texture that will be a lot smoother and tighter than usual as if you had just exfoliated.
  1. Continue with the “feet to booty” routine for another couple of weeks before taking it further up to your belly then wait another couple of weeks before moving up to your arms and boobies! Yes, boobies! I know the idea hurts but c’mon, who doesn’t want perky boobies? We all do so what you need to do is start your cold shower routine with your feet and legs then up to your bottom and belly then bend forward a little and direct the water stream to your arm up to your shoulder bone, carefully do one arm at a time so you don’t shower past your shoulder onto your clavicle, chest and back. You’ll see that it’s not as painful as it sounds and it actually feels quite good after the first few seconds, just like when you finally get into sea water on your holiday and feel strangely exhilarated.

Now for the gutsy ones, you can direct the cold stream to your chest as in boobies and up to your collar bones but don’t go above onto your neck and face. I mean you’re welcome to try but I find it unnecessarily painful and prefer to focus my efforts on the chest. Keep it short as a few seconds suffice to refine your pores and boost circulation then direct the water stream back to your legs and feet to finish.

Note that I don’t cold shower my hair as they look shiny enough to me and I find it makes them all tangled but if I were to do it I would use the bend forward approach here as well to target the length and tips only!

This step by step cold shower is less aggressive and more bearable than the harsh full body version but you’ll be able to notice the numerous long lasting benefits very quickly and distinctly, from a smoother & tighter skin to an uplifting effect on your mood.

I’ve personally become addicted to my cold shower routine and don’t feel ready to face the day without it, plus it kind of gives me a feeling of accomplishment and resilience early in the morning which, according to psychologists, is excellent for self-esteem!

Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own health tips with the Frinnies community!

Funky & Affordable Art… Everywhere!

Posted by Carole

Ha London! I’ve lived in London for eight years and I loved it so much but I have to admit there is one thing I hated about London and it was renting. Like most young and single professionals, I had my fair share of crappy accommodations from disastrous flatshare to living in a shoebox with a drunk neighbour having the annoying habit of yelling and banging against the wall at 3am.

This meant I had to move again and again in my pursuit of a more suitable place to live but because each flat was, in a way or another, a disappointment I always considered theses houses temporary solution and never invested too much time nor money into decoration.

But things have changed now that my boyfriend and I have moved in our new apartment in Bern in Switzerland and I can proudly say that I am in love with my flat! Yes, proud and in love – never imagine I could say that!

This, of course, means that I’m much more into decoration that I used to be (maybe because I’m growing older too but shhh!) and I now love scrolling through pages and pages of wall art, armchairs, fancy cushions and pop to the garden aisle of the supermarket to find that cute little plant that will fit in so well in our kitchen.

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This is how I came across JUNIQE, an online wall art, home accessories & fashion brand that have one very specific vision “Make exciting and affordable art a part of people’s everyday lives: Art. Everywhere.” and indeed JUNIQE aim to inject creativity into every household across Europe by bringing to life the designs of international artists on prints, fashion, home textiles and many other products.

Click here if you want to know more about JUNIQE’s mantra as they explain it all on their website. 

I loved the concept so much I had to share my discovery with you (please don’t judge me if you already know about JUNIQE, I’m truly enthusiast about it!)

I don’t know where to start because JUNIQE sell so many cool things including wall art, T-shirt, onesies, cushions, bed linen, shower curtains, stationary, smart phone cases and so on… The list is long and their selection is huge, too huge maybe! Each item is cooler than the other and it actually makes it nearly impossible to pick one product so prepare to spend some time scrolling through their Oh-so-arty products!

Another reason to visit JUNIQE is their prices, as promised by the brand they are very reasonable especially if you are looking for cool & funky wall art pieces to embellish your home. Items like shower curtains may seem a bit more pricey but I guarantee that you won’t find shower curtains this cool in Ikea!

If you’re not convinced yet, here’s a little selection of the articles that made it to my wish list… I still can’t make up my mind!

BED LINEN

Juniqe bed linen

SHOWER CURTAINS

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SMART PHONE CASES

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Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your top shopping addresses with the Frinnies community!

Healthy & Easy Brekkie of the Month!

Posted by Corine

Getting out of the door on time in the morning is a real struggle for me… and I am sure for many of you too! You see, I love my sleep and I can happily snooze for 10 hours every single night so when the alarm goes off in the morning I press the reset button over and over again… when I finally manage to make it to the bathroom, shower, get dressed and I am done with tarting myself up… then I am already late and there is no time left for breakfast whatsoever! Of course I end up feeling terrible all morning and my only option to function until lunchtime is to eat nasty sugary biscuits on the tube or at my desk…Well that’s how I used to be until my skin started breaking out like mad! It was the wake-up call I needed to make time for breakfast as I had to cut down on sugar. Remembering my parents telling me as a kid that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I managed to get out of bed on time and it was well worth the effort : less pimples, massive boost of energy and generally more healthy all year around!

Indeed Carole and I thought it would be a good idea to share every month our quick (time is always of the essence!) and healthy breakfasts with you. I am starting this first one with a true British breakfast favourite: porridge! A warm bowl of porridge is a great way to start your day as it is packed with nutrients that will keep you going all morning and it also contains beta-glucan and antioxidants which can help lower blood sugar, cholesterol levels, help digestion and prevent skin irritation. However its thickness and blandness are not to everyone’s liking and I must admit that I struggled a little when I first tried it. However by following a few simple tricks, porridge is now one of my favourite brekkie!

porridge-scotts1 – Find your porridge! There are many different brands out there so try to shop around a little to see which one you like the best. It took me and my husband a few months to elect our ‘household porridge’… and the winner is the very basic and cheap Scott’s Porage Oats Original. It has a really light texture once cooked and a 1KG box lasts us a while!

2 – Ditch the dairy as there is no need to cook your porridge with cow milk! So keep it low-fat and avoid an upset hyper-sensitive tummy by replacing cow milk with unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew milk. They will all add a great flavour to your porridge and also give it a light creamy texture!

3 – Balance the bland taste with berries! Unless you want to make that heavy duty porridge even more thick and plain (and boring), please do not add a freaking banana to it! Instead generously sprinkle blueberries and raspberries. The acidity of the fruits will make your gluey porridge much more bearable, especially at 7:00 in the morning!

4 – Add crunchiness! By simply adding a few walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds to the mixture, it will feel like you are eating an adult meal… and not baby food!

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5 – Keep your sweet tooth under control and do not pour gallons of syrup or honey on your porridge! A small spoon of Manuka honey can be added now and then to boost your immunity but try not to overdo it as your bowl of porridge is already packed with nutrients and some sugars if you have it with fruits. Instead try adding a pinch of cinnamon for a sweet flavour without any sugar!

Did you knowInstant porridge is fine as long as you stay well away from the flavoured and sweetened options – they are packed with nasty and unnecessary added sugars. Of course they are convenient for a quick fix but please remember that it is absolutely fine to microwave your regular porridge to save time or if you do not have a stove at hand. If you invest in a £4.99 Sistema Microwave Noodle Bowl (with lid) you can poor some porridge, coconut milk, fruits and nuts before you rush through the door in the morning, get to work, microwave it and you can enjoy a nice healthy brekkie at your desk… and you will be ready to rock the day!sistema

Leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own quick & healthy brekkie tips!

Spring Eye Care

Posted by Carole

Spring is here and it feels so good! Like you I couldn’t wait to go out without a heavy coat in the morning and just wander the streets of Bern in that cute top I was tired of hiding under a jumper.

But spring comes with its own burden for people who suffer from hay fever or strange sensitive eyes condition like me. Yes, I’m sad to admit it but my eyes seem to be irritated by many things from dust to pollution or pretty much anything for that matter… And this means that spring and the trillions of pollen particles floating around in the air can become a real ordeal for my eyes making them dry, red and itchy and aggravating the condition I’m suffering with – I’ll tell you more about it soon when I give you tips to survive without make-up, a lesson I’ve learned the hard way when my ophthalmologist simply forbad me from applying make-up on my eyes for a couple of months!

Beyond the traditional medications available such as antihistamines, corticosteroids or immunotherapy for the more troublesome cases (talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out what is best for you!) there are a few things you can do to alleviate the symptoms… and your misery.

So today I present you the eyelid cleansing wipes!

These are sterile, hypoallergenic and non-irritated pre-moistened wipes that you should use daily as part of your beauty routine to gently remove make-up from your eyes but also debris stuck in your eyelashes, such as pollen or pollution particles, which cause irritation and inflammation.

Contrary to traditional wipes or make-up removers, the liquid contained in these wipes can be safely applied on the eye and in contact with it without causing any burning sensation or irritation so it allows you to thoroughly clean your eyelashes and remove all the nasties accumulated during the day to give your eyes a chance to recover overnight. Indeed, many people don’t realize that eyelashes gather an awful lot of debris and particles throughout the day (it’s actually their job besides making us look pretty!) and traditional make-up removers are often too irritating to be used safely.

The texture of this product also plays an important role as it is foamy and therefore allows the product to penetrate deep between your eyelashes for a thorough clean.

There are different brands available on the market but here’s the one recommended to me by my ophthalmologist:

SYSTANE® Lid Wipes, which are available at Boostsystane_desktop_product_large_wipes

Other brands like Lumecare Eyelid Wipes or Blink Lid-Clean Cleansing Eye-Lid Wipes are available in most pharmacies and drugstores.

Tip to save money: Personally, I start my cleaning routine by washing my face with a gentle face wash such as Laroche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser or Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser that are both gentle on the skin and remove most of the make-up from my eyelids. That way I only use a single lid wipe daily and only change side for the second eye as my ophthalmologist instructed me to do so. However, you should always use a brand new wipe if one of your eye is infected in order not to spread the infection to your other eye!

Obviously lid wipes are not a miracle solution against allergies and don’t come as the cheapest make-up remover option however they are worth a try as they did make a difference for me and helped alleviate my symptoms after a couple of weeks.

Give it a try and tell me about it!

Make sure to leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own tips and top products for fighting hay fever & allergies!

Find Your Yoga

Posted by Carole

As some of you may know, I’ve recently moved to Bern in Switzerland to follow my partner who has been offered a job there. This means that I had to quit my job in advertising and while I await a work visa, I have some time on my hands. First I was worried it would get a bit boring and lonely not having a day job but I manage to fill my days with lots of activities and actually feel like the day is going way too fast and that I could do with a few more hours to go through my to do list.

I won’t bore you with the flat moving, visa and admin details here, which take a lot of time but are not that much fun. Nope, today I want to tell you about the good stuff and being off work means I finally have the opportunity to try out new activities I’ve been contemplating for a long time.

However, by moving to Bern, I faced a few obstacles:

  1. In Bern, people speak Swiss German and I don’t. I actually don’t even speak German and only know a few words like Kartofeln (potatoes) or schümtzig (dirty), which are not very useful on a day to day basis as you can imagine.
  2. Life in Switzerland is super expensive but like very very very expensive. I’ve lived in London for eight years and thought it was very pricey but Hey! come and visit Switzerland and you’ll cry each time you have to buy the simplest item from coffee to olive oil, meat and toilet paper too! Even McDonald’s is scaring off tourists with a basic Big Mac menu at about £10… Yeah! Do you feel my pain now?
  3. I’ve just arrived in Bern and don’t know anyone here so I wasn’t sure were to go to get recommendations on activities or else.

This is why I decided to investigate the wonderful world of mobile apps to find activities I could do on a daily basis from the safe haven of my flat – no Swiss German or cash splashing involved!

And such a great idea it was! I’ve started many new activities since roaming my Apple Store and one of them is… Yoga inspired Fitness.

Nothing extraordinary I know but for me it was a big deal. You see, I’ve never been a yoga person (well at least I thought I wasn’t until recently) and the first yoga class I attended put me off completely. I remember so vividly how I found it impossible to bend and roll and put my feet over my head the way the teacher instructed me to and how I felt totally left out and discouraged for the entire session as I could see my classmates yoga-ing like pros and giving me judgmental looks since I was just lying flat on my mat, incapable of doing most of the poses.

Another thing that put me off was the sight of all these bottoms up in the air pointing dangerously towards me and especially this guy’s, who was wearing a legging way too tight… but that’s another story and one I probably shouldn’t mention.

So after doing some researches, I came across an app called Asana Rebel claiming to be the “only Yoga Inspired Fitness app in the world” and thought that might do the trick for me as I was looking to gain in flexibility, strength and serenity but alsolarge_asana_rebel_logo for a good cardio workout.

I downloaded the app and was invited to take part in a beginner session entitled “Your first yoga workout” that lasted only 6 minutes but got me hooked straight away. Without hesitation I subscribed to a one-year plan at about £38 and have been using the app daily since (well almost daily…) with great results both physically and mentally!

But before I tell you more about the changes I’ve noticed, here’s what I like most about the app:

  • It is beautifully crafted and the user experience is very good
  • I love the look & feel, which is smart and sexy but also the soothing voice of the English speaking instructor (you can choose from different languages) and the music too (again you can choose from a list of six tracks to accompany your workout)
  • The teacher’s instructions are clear and the exercises suggested are a blend of fitness moves and yoga poses that are actually do-able even if you’re lousy at yoga like I was (!), which allows you to slowly get into it, giving you a chance to progress rather than abandon altogether.
  • Combining fitness moves to a yoga routine makes it an efficient way to burn fat at a fast rate and having tested it myself, I can guarantee that you’ll be in a sweat and your heart will be pumping fast by the end of a session.
  • The app features single workout sessions of 10 to 30 minutes all having their own purpose from fat burn, detox, relaxation to flexibility and even exercises for better sex (yeah!) but also full coaching programs lasting from 4 to 8 weeks and again they are all targeting a specific goal you might have like body toning, weight loss, strong back, bikini body, busy mum time and lots more.

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Now here are the very positive changes I’ve noticed since I started using the app:

  • I can feel my body stronger and a lot more flexible than before, which is something I notice on a daily basis as I do gain more flexibility with each session.
  • I could see results after a couple of weeks only, especially my shoulders and back that are stronger and look more toned as well as my abs that are getting more apparent with each workout.
  • I feel a lot better in my body and a lot more mindful of it too. I now enjoy being conscious of my entire body, which is something that didn’t happen to me before (yes, I know it sounds weird but that is what yoga does to you!)
  • After each workout, I feel good and relaxed but also sexier and more beautiful and this makes me happy with my body. Even though there are still things that I want to improve, I just feel that I love my body more after a session with Asana Rebel.

Of course, there are a myriad of Yoga and Fitness apps out there which are great but Asana Rebel did make a difference for me as it’s the first time I actually stick to an app coaching program and I now enjoy yoga-ing. And that, my Frinnies, is a biggie!

Convinced? Give it a try and tell me about it!

As for me, I’ll make sure to keep you updated of my progress with before & after blogs coming soon so keep reading!

Visit asanarebel.com for more information or your Apple store or Google Play to download the app.

Note that if you’re not fully convinced the app gives you the possibility to subscribe to a one-month plan at about £23 so you can test and enjoy all the app has to offer before committing to a one-year plan.

Make sure to like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own fitness & yoga tips!

Easy & Dreamy Cheese Omelette

Posted by Carole

I know it’s easy to heat that ‘ready in 2 minutes’ meal from the supermarket or grab a take-away at your fav Thai restaurant when you come home late from work and can’t be bothered… And actually it’s perfectly okay to indulge in a take-away from time to time but ready-meals? Really? Nope!

Ready-meals are the absolute NO GO as they are full of dirty and harmful ingredients and let’s face it, they’re not even tasty!

The good news is that you can easily cook yourself super yummy meals that are good for your body and your soul (let’s face it, we all feel guilty and gross when we finish that greasy ready-meal that wasn’t even good) and Foodie Tuesday is the day when the Twinnie and I give you recipes and tricks to achieve this, starting today!

One of your best allies to achieve that “cooking from scratch policy” I keep blabbering about is… the egg! You can cook so many things with eggs that they are one of the key ingredients you should always have in your kitchen and today I’m giving you the recipe for a creamy cheese omelette ready in less than 10 minutes and low in calories too (less than 200 calories, depending on the amount of cheese you use of course!)

On top of being very easy and quick to cook, omelette is also a very versatile recipe that you can marry with any kind of ingredients of your liking such as cheese of course but also vegetables, mushrooms, meat and even tuna and it can also be seasoned with many aromatic herbs and powders.

So let’s go and make yourself a scrumptious cheese omelette and here’s what you need – not much you’ll see!

Ingredients for one portion

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 small knob of butter
  • A dash of milk
  • 1 small handful of grated Cheddar cheese
  • Salt, pepper and nutmeg

And here’s how to proceed to make that creamy omelette

  1. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the milk, a pinch of salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Stir well with a fork or whip so the preparation becomes smooth and airy.
  2. Heat a small knob of butter in a small frying pan on a low heat. Once the butter is bubbling and sizzling, make sure the entire surface of the pan is butter coated and add your preparation, tilt the pan to spread it out evenly.
  3. When the eggs begin to firm up, use a spatula to gently spread the mixture away from the edges and into the middle.
  4. Let settle for another minute until the eggs are cooked but still a bit runny in the middle and sprinkle over the cheese. Note that you can also add the cheese in your egg mixture during step 1 for a slightly different way to enjoy this cheesy delight.
  5. Tilt the pan to one side and use the spatula to fold your omelette over in half. When it turns a nice golden colour, remove your pan from the heat and tilt it to slide your omelette on to a plate.

And you’re done! Your omelette shoud be golden on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Tip: You can serve it with a green salad to add some crunch and freshness.

Not too bad, right? It only takes 10 minutes max. and I can guarantee that you will feel a lot prouder and good about yourself when you sit down to enjoy that “merveille” rather than eating suspiciously orange microwaved lasagna.

Make sure to leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own recipes and cooking tips!

My Moroccan Experience

Posted by Corine

As some of you may have already gathered from some of my Instagram posts, I recently spent a few days in Marrakesh. Visiting Morocco has always been on my bucket list so what a better way to start but to visit the former Berber imperial city of Marrakesh which mixes traditional and modern living in such a majestic way. The constant buzz and animation of the city leave you no choice but to be alert of what is around you at all times and I must say it was wonderful and refreshing to swith-off from that London autopilot mode and get out of my comfort zone. I also wish I could have stayed longer to explore the Red City even further, spend more time in the paradisiac Majorelle Garden, hike the Atlas Mountains, spend a day by the sea or sleep under the stars in the desert … there is so much to do in and around Marrakesh that I am already thinking about my next visit! And to tell you the truth I am also missing its sweet sunshine and way of life! If you are tempted to visit this beautiful and fascinating part of the world, please read on as I share with you some essential tips to make the most of your first time in Marrakesh.

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If you want to enjoy your stay come with the right frame of mind! Indeed unless you want to spend your entire stay in your Westernised hotel or resort (and that would be a great shame) do not get frustrated with the hassle you receive when walking through the souks from vendors, story tellers, snake charmers, food stalls owners, unwanted guides, etc. as it is part of the culture and just how business is done with tourists. It can of course get annoying and spoil the fun and enjoyment of strolling through the Medina but just remember that it is OK to say no and walk away. Having said that some vendors are more insistent than others so do not be afraid to be firm! As far as I am concerned the jewellery and henna ladies would not let go of me and would start tattooing my hand without consent and touch my stomach so me and my husband would be blessed with a healthy boy and girl in the future which was a bit annoying but also quite amusing! I must say that I am quite fond of these women as I have a lot of respect for them seeing how hard they work to provide for their families so I did end up buying some jewellery from some of them… knowing that I was getting ripped-off! Indeed do not forget that the standard of life is not as high as ours and most vendors earn very small wages so be happy to pay them a fair price as in the end of the day it will not make a dent in your pocket… but you will definitely help them! Maybe try not to visit the souks on your first day in Marrakesh so you have time to get the hang of things and get a feel for the culture before you head to the Medina.

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My second tip is to make sure that you carry some change with you from the moment you step foot in the country otherwise do not be surprised if your cab driver do not have change himself and you will be left with no other option but to hand him with a massive tip! Same goes for your visit to the souks, make sure you have plenty of change in your pocket (ideally coins) and do not let the vendors see that wad of notes you have in your wallet as the price of those pretty babush you had your eyes on will suddenly triple!

IMG-20170404-WA048Pick the products you buy carefully! Sadly most of the spices, teas and beauty products (such as the famous argan oil) you will find in the souks near Jemaa el-Fnaa are poor quality or even fake products which is a real shame considering the amazing craftsmanship Moroccans artisans possess. After paying way too much money for fake argan oil and mint tea in the Medina, we ended up buying quality and very reasonably priced products in our local supermarket in the Hivernage area and I highly recommend you to do the same as a little money goes a long way there, the prices are fixed and the items you buy will be produced in Morocco (and not imported from China!). If you wish to witness the true Moroccan’s craftsmanship and buy some hand made products at a fair and fixed price, head to the ‘Ensemble Artisanal’ in the Mohammed V avenue, just down the road from the Jemaa el-Fnaa square.

Last but not least, soak up in the atmosphere and the lifestyle of the city! In today’s context North African countries such as Morocco may seem unsafe and intimidating to some but it is pure nonsense as we know all too well terrorism can hit any one of us anywhere and the risk remains overall quite low. So make sure to get out and mingle with the locals who form a friendly, helpful, happy and welcoming community. My husband and I only took taxis to and from the airport as walking the streets of Marrakesh was a new experience for us in itself! We truly enjoyed the beautiful weather and interacting with the friendly and very respectful Marrakshis. You also do not want to miss out on the buzz that comes to life at night when everyone – and I mean everyone – is out on the streets with friends and family. It is so enjoyable and the best way to get a feel for that heart warming southern vibe! Of course make sure to eat the local food as there is no better way to discover a country and its traditions… plus the food is to die for! The highlight for me was our dinner at The Red House, from the decor to the food, the traditional lute player and the kindness of our waiters, I felt like a Berber queen for a night! Do not forget to grab a bite and a fresh orange juice from one of the food stalls in Jemaa el-Fnaa for dinner – enjoying a tasty kebab surrounded by the fascinating buzz of the square at night makes for a truly exotic and unforgettable holiday!

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Please leave a comment if you enjoyed reading this article and do not hesitate to share your own travelling tips and experiences with us! 

Top 5 Tips to turn your bathroom into a relaxing sanctuary!

Posted by Corine

I don’t know about you but I spend an awful lot of time in my bathroom… and I love it! Indeed my bathroom is the place dedicated to my well-being where I love to relax and take care of myself. To create that pleasant feel good atmosphere here is a short list of items and tips that every woman should seriously consider!

1. If you want to feel a million bucks after a pampering session in your bathroom, make sure to invest in a few fancy items! I know we do not all have the luxury to spend our hard-earned cash on expensive products but if you focus on buying items that last a while it is well worth the money. Get yourself or receive as a gift a fancy scented candle, body lotion or bath & shower oils, etc. You can use these products once a week for a pampering session on a lazy Sunday morning and I guarantee you that they will add a little extra to the entire experience and lift your mood as, let’s be honest, there is something really satisfactory in indulging in a bit of (affordable) luxury! If I had to pick one brand over another, I would definitely recommend Jo Malone. Their scented candles and bath & shower oils are out of this world and will turn your bathroom into a luxury spa in an instant! My all-time favourite is the Blackberry & Bay Bath Oil. The smell relaxes me as soon as I pour it into the water and it leaves my skin smooth and protected all day long. Pure relaxation! It is not cheap (£42 for 250ml) but it will last months if you only use it once a week. You can always go for a cheaper (but delightful) alternative by turning to the Sanctuary Spa range of products. I personally can’t live without their Gentle Polish Body Scrub (£5.50 for 200ml) – a good price that is most welcome in our household as it is a big favourite of my husband who uses it on a daily basis to scrub his armpits..

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2. Proudly display your best beauty products on the shelves of your bathroom! I can assure you that it will make it look chic, cosy, very feminine and most importantly your own! Maybe it is just me but I love visiting friends and family and see their best products on display, it is fun and interesting to see what other people are using! Of course just look – don’t touch – and do not open their cupboards or drawers as it would be considered to be very rude! Another good reason to display your favourite beauty products is that it will make you use them! Indeed, how easy is it not to be bothered to use or forget about that body lotion you bought a few months ago? Well if it is here right in front of you, you are less likely to ignore it! Same goes for your perfumes, make sure to have them all out to please the eye! Also check-out Domu.co.uk, they do a really cute and convenient beauty caddy for £18.99 – the perfect item to keep your bathroom looking glam and tidy!

3. Now, have you ever seen a spa with mismatched towels made in synthetic fibres? No, I do not think so! Well there is a good reason for that, a lovely and good quality set of towels will make your bathroom look chic and tidy without effort. Most importantly, gentle materials like Egyptian cotton will be kinder on your skin and provide you with that lovely soothing feeling every time you get out of the bath/shower. Of course, the density of one’s towel is a matter of taste and there are many options out there in shops or online to please everyone. My go-to store is most definitely The White Company. They have beautiful high quality products offered at decent prices plus they seem to offer 30% online every other weekend! For more affordable options make sure to check Matalan or H&M Home. They both have fun and lovely designed products for the bathroom and always offer a “luxury” range at a very good price. Matalan has a cute Geo Patterned Bath Towel 100% cotton for £7. Also why not push the luxury to a crazy extent and grab yourself a matching bath mat? Every bathroom should have one and there is no better feeling than rubbing your feet on a brand new or freshly washed fluffy bath mat!

poo pourri 24. Make sure no one spoils the magical atmosphere by dropping some nasty odors in your sanctuary… I am looking at you husbands, partners, flatmates, guests with bad manners or yourself for that matter! Well let me introduce you to Poo~Pourri, the “before you go” toilet spray that virtually eliminates bathroom odours. I was a bit sceptical when I first heard about it but honestly it works wonder! Just spritz the bowl before you go, do what you have to do and the secret blend of essential oils magically trap the nastiness under the water surface and all you are left with is a delicate fruity scent. So wait no longer and grab yourself a bottle (it is also available on Amazon). They have many different scents and my favourites are Original Citrus (lemon + bergamot + lemongrass), Royal Flush (eucalyptus + spearmint) and Potty Potion (rosemary + tea tree + lavender). The packaging is very smart and pretty and looks super chic on top of your toilet. They also do fun gift sets and a miniature spray that fits just right in a handbag! Also make sure to check their ads on YouTube, they are refreshing and hilarious… just like their products!

5. Last but not least, the best advice to keep your bathroom a comforting and relaxing sanctuary is to keep it clean! There are now a tons of “green” bathroom cleaners on the market if you don’t like the effects harsh chemicals have on your health or simply care about the environment. I personally like the Ecover products which are very effective whilst having a minimum effect on the environment. They are also reasonably priced and available in large supermarkets across the UK. Check their website for their full range of products and leave a comment below if you know of a kick-ass eco bathroom cleaner! If you are still not convinced and want to save a few pounds why not make your own natural bathroom cleaner? There are a myriad of tutorials and recipes online to help you get started and the recurring ingredients are kitchen essentials like baking soda, white vinegar, salt and water.

Now, go and enjoy some well-deserved me time in that lovely bathroom of yours!

Make sure to leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own tips and top products!

Our Beauty Spirit…

Fashion and Beauty are wonderful everyday tools and we absolutely adore talking about them! May you be a firm believer that “less is more” or a YouTube make-up tutorials addict, we hope you will enjoy reading about our tips, favourite products and best ways to achieve the most beautiful of looks…. self-confidence! 

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colours so do not try to be a copycat and hide who you are or how you look like because beauty is subjective and a small aspect of life… let’s remind ourselves that there is so much more than looks in this big wide world! Indeed we much prefer to embrace who we are and hope our beauty and fashion weekly posts will inspire you to do the same.