Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Autumn Pleasures (including a NEW BAG)

Hello, my lovelies! I am currently perched on my comfortable hotel bed in Sofia after a nice swim in the pool. It's actually really funny if you are a returning visitor to the same hotel in short intervals and notice small differences, such as a different layout of the breakfast buffet every time, or "upsell strategies", such as the lady at the spa reception reminding you to avail of their massage offers next time...
But I didn't want to talk about hotels. Last weekend I was in Carinthia, where the weather was as nice and warm as it was today in Sofia. Autum showed itself from its best side. Below is a picture of the walnut in my grandparents' garden, which they loved sitting underneath in the summer. Autum is not my favourite season and in fact I always get a bit annoyed that the clocks get switched back from daylight saving to "normal" time. If I had a say in this we would have DLS time all year round. I find it so depressing to get out of work in the dark and much rather would leave the house in the dark in the morning. I do love the colour explosion of autumn leaves, though:
The reason of my visit was my Dad's birthday and for weeks I had been looking forward to surprising him with what I thought was a really cool gift. He turned 69, so it wasn't actually a "round" birthday, as we call it in German, i.e. a significant number, I wanted to get him something as a "reward" for the first anniversary of being a non-smoker, which was a couple of weeks earlier. In general, I find it easier to find stuff for my Mum so I always feel Dad gets gifts that are both less valuable and less inspired. Well, this year, I got him an iPad mini (with case and camera adapter), a WiFi router and a book. Obviously, the iPad was the main attraction and since I am an advocate of the saying "it is more blessed to receive than to give" I couldn't wait for his face. Here are the wrapped goodies:
 ...and here is Dad getting started:
He is in fact quite tech savvy so it didn't take him long to get into the swing of things. Success!
Well, before you get worried that I got all altruistic only in my old age, let me confess that I got myself a rather generous gift of *gasp* a bag last week. Meet my new LV purchase:
Yes. This happened. For some reason (and I tried with 3 different ones) cameras seem to have big problems picking up the true colour of this bag, which is bright purple. The closest I could get to the real thing are those pictures I took in bright sunlight. If you want to check it out, it is the new Neverful MM in Epi leather in the colour "figue". So my train of thought was..."Hm, when you spent A LOT of money for furniture, why don't you treat yourself to an obscenely overpriced handbag on top?" Or something along those lines anyway. A few years ago, I would not even have considered such an extravagant purchase, but, hey, we get older and convince ourselves that it's time to invest in quality rather than quantity. Quality, this definitely is and since it comes with a little detachable pouch/mini clutch, it is actually TWO bags, read a steal!
Unlike my first LV purchase, my beloved Neverfull in Damier, this one is much easier to wear with the sides "tucked in" as the leather has more hold than the canvas:
I really love wearing it this way, too, whereas I only ever wear the original Neverfull open. Speaking of investments, since I bought that one 3 1/2 years ago (time flies!), the same bag now costs a hefty €200 more. Handbags are the new gold, in case you had any doubts...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Contradiction in Terms?

So I received these sheepskin lined flip-flops yesterday. Yes, flip-flops as in summer footwear with warm sheepskin. They were on sale  (the brown only) at Zalando, one of my favourite online shops (decent range, super-quick delivery). I often get vouchers for Zalando and they are of course burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to order these crazy mutants that I had previously laughed at and wondered who in their right mind would fork out money for. Weeelll. As wearing flipflops is good if -l ike me - you have an ugly hallux valgus these are the perfect compromise: orthopaedically friendly and still not causing frostbite in winter if you suffer from constantly icy feet. Win-win!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


As regular readers know, I have been in an advanced stage of addiction regarding beauty and fashion video consumption on YouTube for several years now. Some of my favourites in that category are "haul", "tip" and "monthly favourites" videos. A really popular type of video, that I personally find extremely boring (only to be beaten by "what's in my shower" videos. I'm not joking, just search for it on YT), is "my current skincare/haircare routine". I'm actually rather appalled at how many different (and in my opinion, superfluous) products those girls use, but I do like finding out about products in general and getting a review on how they work. So here are some of my current favourites from the realm of skincare and makeup:
After hearing Youtubers sing its praise for years, I caved and bought a Clarisonic (Mia) when I was in Paris in June. Having tested it for several months now, I must say that it really makes a noticeable difference and gives your skin that squeaky clean feeling. While mine is actually a travel size, I don't take it anywhere, giving my skin a break inbetween so it won't get too used to being spoilt. These devices are on the pricey side, but I would definitely recommend it. By default, the Mia comes with a brushhead for normal skin. I have now replaced it with one for delicate skin and like this even more. Thumbs up!
I got a sample of Biotherm's serum-in-oil ("night") from the Blue Therapy line in my September Glossybox and was instantly hooked. It feels a-ma-zing on the skin and I look forward to applying it every night. It's such a luxurious feeling and doesn't compare to anything I have tried before. As you can see below, I have since purchased the fullsize bottle. I love Biotherm in general as all their products have a nice scent. I know that some people have problem skin that gets irritated by scents, but I love face and body products that smell nice and Biotherm and Clarins really do well in that category.
Another product that I first tried in sample form is Lancome's "Rénergie" line. I tested it during summer and it almost felt a tad to heavy for the season, but it is perfect now that the weather is cooler and I went a little crazy and bought the day and night creams plus eye cream. Yep. Need I say more? When I run out of these little buggers, I'm planning to buy creams from Biotherm's "Blue Therapy" line, though. I bought everything either in Duty Free or with a discount, by the way.
Regarding makeup, I discovered something that was new to me: a cream pigment by Illamasqua. Previously, I only owned one Illamasqua product, an eyeshadow that is among my all-time favourites, "Slink", which I bought in their flagship store in Zagreb last year. I decided to buy this pigment in a colour I could use as a blush rather than eyeshadow and chose the shade "Androgen" pictured below:
It has the consistency of a very thick cream (like a cream blush) but dries to a powder. Straight from the container, the colour is very intense: 
When you buff it out either with your finger or a brush, the colour is a really gorgeous and very wearable coral that I have worn a lot over the past weeks and betrayed my beloved Nars "Orgasm" with:
 The reason that made me hop onto Illamasqua's website in the first place was my hunt for their "Complement" palette, which I had swatched in a Müller store in Ljubljana. It contains my favourite "Slink" (the champagne colour) together with 3 other gorgeous colours that are right up my alley. The brown has a creamy texture, the lighter plum is matte and the dark plum has a slight shimmer. I really love it and it has become my travel palette:

"Slink" doesn't really show up much in the swatch above, but believe me, it is THE perfect everyday colour.
What are your current favourites?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

On a Roll

At the moment, I'm really on a baking roll. I basically find it a comforting task and my small kitchen is one of the few spaces in my flat that's currently not chaotic and filled with stuff that doesn't belong there. Well, as of yesterday, my bedroom actually is pristine and freshly painted, minus the new furniture, which won't arrive until Mid-November (hopefully). My new bed, which I ordered separately is due to be delivered on October 31, yay! The lampshade is new as well, by the way:
So yesterday as I was working from home I decided to combat the paint smell with the lovely scent of two different varieties of muffins; standard-sized apple-cinnamon ones (yum!) and, to deflower my brand new mini-muffin-tray, tiny chocolate muffins, with a Halloween colour scheme, no matter that I don't celebrate this holiday. Any excuse...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekend Kaleidoscope X

It is over a year (!) ago that I last did one of these. Well, here we go again. I have to say I am feeling tired rather than recharged after this weekend, mainly due to the fact that I'm almost finished emptying my bedroom for the painter. My living room and study now are an obstacle course with almost all the floorspace covered (see picture 5). To relax, I did a bit of baking and enjoyed the beautiful autumn colours:
1. Afternoon tea with my lovely cousins on Saturday, the younger of whom has been a vegan for a year now. I made No-Bake Oreo Cookie Pie which I had tested before (note that this requires to be frozen so is not the recipe for a spontaneous tea party) and vegan cinnamon buns (I halved this recipe and still got 15), both of which turned out really nice even if I say so myself.
2. and 3.: Walk with Mademoiselle before treating ourselves to dessert at Café Florianihof on Sunday
4. Pumpkin Pie that is still cooling as I am writing this and will be brought to the office tomorrow. I bought a can of pureed pumpkin at the British supermarket in Vienna, but could not find pumpkin spice anywhere. Google is your friend: I found a super-easy recipe and it smells just like Starbucks's PSLs which I am currently addicted to (I always go for the skinny version, without whipped cream as I don't like cream in beverages).
5. A little sneak-peek at the chaos that is currently my living-room. I almost chucked that Invicta rucksack you see in the background out, but then held onto it for nostalgic reasons: it sums up my teenage years and the "Italophile phase" I was undergoing. All the cool Italians had Invicta rucksacks and so had my crush at school. It follows that I needed one myself...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Know, I Know...

Yes, I absolutely did not need this, but it was beckoning to me already when I last passed through Duty Free at the G gates of VIE airport.
I know that I own way too many bottles of nail polish already and so do you, but I could not resist this travel-sized (!) set of Dior (!!) polishes in an elegant travel pouch (!!!). Could not.
So fork out ze credit card I did and admired this baby in my chic hotel room last night, testing out the base and top coats and grey polish. Here's another shot if you want to join me in drooling over it:
You're welcome.
Speaking of my hotel room: I am writing this from Sense Hotel Sofia, where I got upgraded to the Deluxe room, which is actually a suite and is right opposite the rather impressive Austrian embassy building in case I get homesick or get involved in a diplomatic crisis:
If you look closely, you see the red-white-red flag next to the EU one fluttering in the wind. This morning at 7 local time, I already splashed around in the hotel pool. Not complaining!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Recently, I've been thinking a lot about friendship and the way it changes over years. The picture above shows me and A., my dearest childhood friend (in psychadelic 1980s colours) with whom I was pretty much inseparable between the ages of 1 and 18. We lived in the same apartment block (my family on the first floor, hers on the ground floor) in Klagenfurt for those 17 years. My parents then moved into a house, her parents first relocated to Budapest, then also moved out. We had a lot in common: she's less than 2 months older than me, we are both only children, both my parents and her father used to be teachers (all retired now) and our dads actually got to know each other when they had summer jobs with German Wagon Lits in the wild 1960s. A. and I never had a fall-out or notified each other that we would basically not communicate any more, but just grew apart despite the fact that we both studied in Vienna and both remained there after graduation. We don't even exchange birthday wishes or Christmas cards anymore, but when we bump into each other every few years, like at my granny's funeral or recently at my Mum's "gallery open house", we get on really well and chat like the old friends we were.
I guess that you have friendships that fit different stages in your life, some of the friends remain close to you for decades, other friendships undergo various cycles of "promotion" and "demotion" without them necessarily being synchronous for the parties involved.
So A. was my first friend and sister substitute, but we already started to grow apart when we attended different high schools. In that phase, I became friends e.g. with Frida and the Mermaid, the Pampered Princess and her sister, all of whom are still good friends of mine whom I see regularly.
In my first years of university, I made some friends with whom I have no contact whatsoever now. It was only in my last two years that I got to know Amica and the other book club girls better and later became friends with them.  I actually met Prefab Babe on my first day at university, but again, we lost sight of each other after graduation and only rekindled our friendship when she temporarily lived just across the road from me during the week.
At Coma HQ, I spent so much time with my colleagues, whom I liked a lot, that it was one of the reasons why I ended up staying there for 9 years. I seriously thought I would never get to work with such nice people again. Now, 6+ years later, it is actually Meticulous M, the colleague I least considered a friend among those colleagues, to be honest, who turned out to be the most loyal.
During the 11 years I went out with Mr. TD, I got on well with his friends as well and it hurt quite a bit that his best friend whom I liked a lot cut of off relations with me out of solidarity after our break-up.
Now at the Firm, I first found the Empress a scary robot and gave her a wide berth, but as regular readers know (love declaration here on the occasion of her imminent move to France) things changed and I have visited her 3 times already in Paris. In fact, visiting her in Paris reminds me a lot of visiting L'Italiana (a friend I made when on Erasmus in Dublin) when she still lived in London and just like with her, we might not have heard from each other for ages, but immediately click and it's as if we had not been apart. I joined a new team last year and again, I really get on well with all of them and the only other female team-member and. We share the same kind of humour and get on like a house on fire on business trips.
Recently, however, I've become a bit depressed with two of my besties "biting the dust", i.e. being pregnant and thus diminishing my already rather sad excuse for a social life even further. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy for them, but the selfish part of me knows from experience that gone are the days when I can count them in for any spontaneous social activities and they will choose to spend the little free time they have with me rather than with their (new-found) friends who have kids the same age. I would totally be the same in their shoes. It really got me thinking that my partner-less, childless stage might be one reason why most of the friendships I formed in recent years are with considerably younger people (well, colleagues, mostly). Not only do they share many of my juvenile interests, but they remain potential partners in crime for spur of the moment activities unlike my "settled" friends who need to coordinate their social calendar with partners and babysitters.
Speaking of depressed, I noticed that this blog has actually contributed to my lack of face-to-face interaction with people: When I originally started it back in 2005, none of my real-life friends knew about it. Nowadays, most do and about half of them claim to be regular readers. Some of the latter see it as a convenient way of finding out what I am up to and, moreover, where I currently am. A way of checking on me. This means that they don't need to talk to me to find out what's going on and I often find myself mentioning something and the other party interrupting me with "Yep, read that on your blog" as if I had told a boring joke again or had early-onset Alzheimer's. Please, dear friends of the World Out There, I don't know how often you stop by on this humble site of mine, but I do like talking to you in person. Just humour me and pretend you don't know where I have been and what I have bought in 1 out of 10 cases. Thank you.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Believe the Hype!

Last night, my Mum and I went to see the much-hyped film Rush, despite it not being our usual genre at all.  My Mum in particular is quite the film buff and definitely prefers arty-farty films. The fact that Peter Morgan wrote the screenplay was a kind of guarantee for quality, though. Neither of us has ever watched a Formula One race, even though we both think of it as the "soundtrack" of Sundays at my grandparents'. In my teens and twens, whenever we were over at my maternal grandparents' for Sunday lunch during F1 season, my granny would scold granddad for being anti-social by devoting 99% of his attention to the race. My Dad, and later also Mr. TD, would occasionally join him and us women would try to hold a conversation over the noise of squealing tires and overexcited running commentary of Heinz Prüller. A 20th century equivalent to gentlemen retiring into the cigar room while the women do household chores or crochet...
Be that as it may, the film's central character, Niki Lauda, is perhaps THE national hero for Austrians, affectionately called "Niki Nazionale" by the media, despite, or arguably because of, his "I don't give a shit" attitude. Every Austrian knowns him even if they were born well after his active career. In fact, I am too young to remember that he ever did NOT have scars and a disfigured right ear, or walked around without a red baseball cap. I have to admit that I did not even know who James Hunt was, nor the rivalry that is the plot of this film.
If you live in Austria, there's no escaping this film and both Niki Lauda and Daniel Brühl, who plays his part in the film are currently in all media to the point of OD. I was particularly curious how Brühl would have mastered Lauda's Viennese accent as in my experience Germans are horribly, embarrassingly BAD at any attempts of sounding like Austrians. They just put on what they think is a Bavarian accent and assume that we speak like that as well. Nope, we don't and there's no such thing as one Austrian accent. Well, Brühl really did pretty well (edit: I'm referring to his German, was less impressed by his English when I saw the trailers) and sounded almost eerily authentic and the whole film was so good and well-paced I was disappointed when the closing credits rolled. Alexandra Maria Lara, on whom I have had a major girl crush for years, plays Niki's first wife Marlene and their first car-ride and hitch-hiking experience is in fact my favourite scene of the film. Speaking of crushes, my Mum was quite smitten by James Hunt Chris Hemsworth...
So if you are on the fence whether to go see this film because it's not your kettle of fish, this lover of "depressing" French films and the like gives it a big (two) thumbs up. 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Just to Stop Your Salivating...

Well, hello! Sorry to make you salivate over the picture of my cupcakes for almost a week. I was full of good intentions to post at least once in the meantime, but, you know, life got in the way. Most of all, a mean b*** of a cold got in the way and I was busy having coughing fits. Yep, great fun it was. So, until my snotty braincells are fully restored to working order, let me show you some pictures I took last weekend on the short walk from Mörbisch to Fertőrákos (HU) with my Mum.  We also made a "cruise" on Lake Neusiedl and saw storks in Rust, where we stayed. Apparently, those 2 storks didn't migrate to Africa like the rest of the gang, they were healed in a kind of stork infirmary there and are going to hibernate in Rust.

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