My Year Abroad Diary: Chilled days and a visit to Ghent!

After such a crazy few weeks, it’s been nice to just relax a bit this week. I’ve mostly been doing things with the kids, and in my free time running, catching up on Pretty Little Liars (I FINALLY KNOW WHO A IS!) and catching up with friends that in the hecticness of the past little while I haven’t spoken to much.

A couple of highlights of the week  have been a couple of trips to the local park with the kids. It’s so nice to get out of the house with them and they love having the chance to play games that they can’t at home. There’s a lot of sand in the park too, so I’ve become quite the sand castle building pro! I also realised that I probably seem really old to kids now when a kid asked Oscar, who is 6, if I was his mum… Do I really look old enough to be a parent?!

On Thursday I had the day off so I decided to visit Gent. I find it slightly crazy how close everything is in Belgium. Within less than 2 hours you can get pretty much anywhere you want!

I took it easy in the morning, washing my hair and putting on makeup properly for the first time in nearly a month. At just before 12pm I got to the bus stop and took the bus and train to Gent. Once there I walked into the “historical centre”, buying a baguette on my way to stop and eat. I wandered around the centre for quite a while.

  
  
  
  
It was such a gorgeous city to wander around, and I even did a bit of window shopping too. Just the day before a new Primark was opened, only the second one in Belgium, and people have been going crazy for it. The amount of Primark paper bags I saw whilst walking around was overwhelming!

The coolest part about Gent however has to be suddenly turning a corner to find… A CASTLE!

I wonder if people from Ghent realise that it’s not normal to have a castle in the middle of the city.

And finally Friday was spent looking up where I’m going in Germany and just general relaxing. My au pair family were out all day so I had the chance to discover a bit more about where I’m going! Whilst I have over a month till I move to Germany to start teaching English, lots of my friends are leaving the country to go before I’m even back. After returning from uni, I only had a week and a half before going to Belgium and I didn’t get to see everyone I would have liked to, so I’m very glad to have some free in England.

I’m flying back to England this week, so if you would like to pray for me, please pray for peace as I pack up and prepare to leave Belgium, but also that in the midst of getting ready to leave I would make the most of the time I have here and would be able to be a blessing to the family.

Lots of Love, Tip Tuesday: Iron-free Ironing

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15 of my Favourite Feelings

One of my closest friends posted a a list of 15 of her favourite feelings on Facebook the other day. She got inspired to write it because of a youtube video she watched, and she then tagged me to do the same. I really loved reading her status, so I thought I’d give it a shot blogpost style.

  1. Meeting up with a friend and have a really great catch up where you talk about everything. Bonus points if there’s coffee involved.
  2. Successfully order or buy something abroad in another language and they don’t look at me like “what on earth could you possibly mean?!”
  3. That first sip of a Vanilla Iced Caffé Latte when you’re hot and craving coffee. Sidenote – Had this feeling in Starbucks yesterday. It was beautiful – until I choked…
  4. When you find the perfect present for a friend and you know that they genuinely love it.
  5. When you’ve been on your feet all day and finally get the chance to sit down.
  6. When you wear a new item of clothing and feel totally stylish.
  7. Being safe inside, preferably snuggled up with a blanket and a hot chocolate, listening to the rain outside.
  8. Listening to worship music or a sermon or reading something from the bible that really encourages you.
  9. Feeling dead after a run. If you don’t know what I mean, go running.
  10. Realising that all your handwork on something has paid off.
  11. Spending time with friends or family, actually doing something not just sitting in the same room!
  12. Experiencing a view that takes your breath away. When I saw the lights on the Eiffel Tower turn on I genuinely cried.
  13. Laughing so much that you begin to cry.
  14. Finishing an exam or a big assignment.
  15. Feeling super motivated or inspired to do something or be productive.

I have loved writing this blog post. I started writing this thinking, “hey, it could be a bit of fun”, but whilst writing it, I was reminded of how amazingly blessed I am to be living the life I do and experiencing all these amazing feelings. Now I challenge you, whether it’s on your blog, on Facebook or simply on a piece of paper to write down 15 of your favourite feelings and remind yourself how incredible this life we live is!

Lots of love,0ef24-abisignoff-white

Just a bit of e.l.f. hauling…

When I first got into makeup and more specifically the online beauty community, one of the big brand names going around was elf, otherwise know as eyes lips face. Known for good quality, affordable products, I had an online shopping basket tab full of their products open for quite a long time. However since I’m not very into online shopping, I never bit the bullet and actually bought any of their products.

So imagine my surprise when wandering around Aix-en-Provence I found an e.l.f. store. One of about 5, my nearest being in Cardiff, it felt totally strange to just happen upon one, especially when I was craving some makeup after my makeup less backpacking trip around Europe!

Elf

Thomas said this was my reaction…

Going into the shop, I limited myself to 4 products, and came out having only spent about €15 in total, steal!

Here’s what I bought…

 
First of all, this 32 colour eyeshadow palette because I wanted ALL THE COLOURS. Obviously.

I haven’t really been able to pass much judgement on the palette itself really because I have no brushes with me. Ladies who are able to use the little shadow applicators that come with palettes, I salute you. My only comment so far would be that opening it, it smelt slightly like the cheap Claire’s makeup I bought as a pre-teen. But the colour payoff on the shadows seemed pretty good.


I also bought an eyeshadow stick in a pinky champagne colour and the verdict so far is that I like the dewy/sparkly appearance that it gives to my eyelids. I can’t notice much colour but that’s probably because it’s such a light colour anyway.

 
Next up, their eyebrow duo. I have to admit that I’m a matte eyeshadow and angled liner brush girl when it comes to my brows usually, but this product has so far impressed me. I like the gel’s consistency, it’s not too thick or heavy, but it holds my scraggly eyebrows in place well, and the shadow with it is great for a bit of extra staying power. My only negative would be that I don’t really like the little brush with it, but I’m more than happy to just use my own.

 
And last but not least, a trio of summery nail polishes. Thomas actually chose this trio for me but I think it was probably my favourite too, I was just too indecisive to make my mind up! So far, I’m a big fan of these nail polishes. They’re less expensive than other polishes I’ve bought and a relatively similar quality to my more expensive ones too. They’re a big thumbs up from me.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my purchases! Have you tried any of their products?

Tip Tuesday: Iron-free Ironing