Once upon a time L’Occitane

Tuesday, after English class I had an interesting conversation with my friend Gabriela. She is from Venezuela (South America) and has been living in Adelaide for 3 years.

Somehow we started to talk about beauty products (ah girls….) and she told me that she was in love with a famous French brand called: L’Occitane

Actually when I was living in London, my friend Joyce (from Brazil) told me exactly the same thing! Each time she had an opportunity to travel to France, she would buy L’Occitane beauty products! I mean they ship worldwide but it is way cheaper to buy the products locally! Although I would not say either that these beauty products are what I would call “cheap” in France.

Anyway, I thought since this brand seems to be pretty successful abroad, let’s write about it!

In my opinion L’Occitane is a good brand and their products have a wonderful fragrance and a good quality.

Now close your eyes and imagine the Lavender fields in Provence in the South of France! Try to picture the local Mediterranean culture, artisanal bakeries,  purple eggplants, ripe tomatoes, grapevines, lavender perfume in the air… Now you start getting a taste of the beautiful Provence in France… L’Occitane beauty products are all made there and also in Corsica (also a beautiful area)! They believe in the art of healing through plants and they use natural ingredients.

My favorite products from this brand are:

  • Aromachologie repairing shampoo: I just love this shampoo, it smells amazing, it makes your hair very shiny and beautiful! Frankly all their shampoos are the best and I always get compliments when using them! I have tested other brands but so far these are my favorites and my hair is very demanding.
  • Shea butter hand cream: again, it smells so good and will leave your hands as soft as a baby skin! This product is so successful it is said that they are selling this hand cream every 3 seconds around the world! For the record, it is so good that when I was living and working in Paris in finance, I was sharing my office with a man. Guess what, he had this shea butter hand cream on his desk (a present from his wife)! Sometimes his male colleagues would have a chat with him at his desk and use the cream too while talking to each other… it was hilarious to see these “macho men” having a little chat while hydrating their hands! Actually it was like watching an episode of ‘Sex and the City” except that in this situation Carrie Bradshaw was a French man named Philippe wearing big black shoes!

In my mind, all their products smell divine and a lot of my French friends like this brand too. It is quite common in France to offer these beauty products for Christmas or a birthday or any occasion actually… like I said it is popular, it is a good brand and it makes a perfect gift!

Now you are starting to get curious?! Hopefully there are many L’Occitane shops around the world so you don’t have to buy a flight ticket to go to France:  http://www.loccitane.com

What about you? What is your beauty routine? Do you have many L’Occitane products in your bathroom?

As for me, in my twenties I used to be a huge fan of their products and owned many of them (facial care, body care, soap, candles)… Now I only buy their shampoos and hand/foot creams.

Don’t get me wrong I still like them! But now I am getting older, I favour other wonderful natural beauty products to pamper my face, my body and my soul… but this is another story… coming soon 😉

 

 Stay bold and fearless!

Traveling and living overseas has definitively become a part of who I am. I wouldn’t say that I am a new person now but I feel different for sure!

In order to embrace my new lifestyle I had to adapt, to learn, to compromise! Sometimes it was not easy but each victory, even smalls onces have helped me to grow in a beautiful way. Today I feel confident about my future, determined to be happy and above all bold and fearless!

I mean if you can get over of moving to another country far from your family and friends, leave your comfort zone, learn a new language, deal with the uncertainty… you can get over (nearly) anything!

It takes courage, patience and motivation to build a new life but it is also very enriching and so rewarding! Each day is a challenge with a situation to overcome. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail. It does not matter because the most important is to keep trying! You gain strength, confidence and suddently you start to do things you would never have considered before: Yoga, Chinese  class, creative writing workshops with native people, a blog in English, driving lessons… and this is a wonderful feeling!

For those who are sharing the same lifestyle, I am sure you agree on the fact that living abroad has pushed you to experiment new things to have new perspectives, to have new projects and also to deal with your fears…

Speaking of that, on Sunday I was invited for a walk in Morialta conservation Park (an amazing place 20 minutes away from Adelaide). I was really thrilled because I love the “Australian wild” the kangaroos, the koalas… I was already picturing myself walking in the rocks, gazing at the trees and the flowers, listening to the birds, crossing a river… dancing with the butterflies!

DSC_0002

It turned out that I was completely wrong! I was not invited for a walk in the rocks but for rock climbing instead! At least I got the word “rock” right… I knew I was not going to go shopping in Adelaide CBD for sure haha! This is the thing when you are learning a language, sometimes you think you understand and you say “Yes, sure, count me in” and the minute after you realise you made a huge mistake and you feel a little bit silly!

But like I said, the whole point of this experience is also to try new things and as I said now I am bold and fearless… So guess what, I did it! I have never done it before but somehow I have managed to climb this gigantic rock… of course I was scared and not really relaxed but I succeeded! I was really proud of me and really glad I did not give up. And it was not easy because I was not wearing the right shoes… my Converse trainers are pretty but they are not ideal for this sport!

In conclusion, it was a lovely day, it was challenging and fun! I have learnt some climbing techniques, how to use my body , how to use the rope… it was very interesting. Furthermore Morialta park is absolutely gorgeous with splendid waterfalls, the scenery is amazing and there are a lof of wild animals (I have seen a kangaroo). I would be happy to come back for a nice and long walk next time!

I have really enjoyed this new adventure, I would not call myself a Lara Croft (yet) but I am glad I did not let my fear decide my fate!

DSC_0037

 http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/Morialta_Conservation_Park

Pavlova, the ballet dessert!

Pavlova seems to be a dessert the australians enjoy during summer time… A lot of people around me (natives essentially) have mentioned it many times saying that they had this dessert for christmas… I was really curious about it and I was wondering what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like… Is it good? refreshing? Sweet?

Today, for the first time since I arrived in Australia, I had the chance to taste this popular dessert! Colleen our English teacher cooked one for us. I was thrilled to get to know more about my new country and its cuisine!

Actually Pavlova is a meringue cake, it has a crisp crust on the outside and it is soft like a cloud in the inside. It is topped with whipped cream and fruits such as strawberries, berries… Colleen has put bananas inside to add a special taste. She told to our class that it was quite easy to cook! I think the hardest part is to get the meringue right. You can buy ready made meringue but I think it does not feel the same.

This dessert is a traditional and festive dish that australians enjoy a lot. It is believed to have been created in honor of the beautiful and famous Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova when she visited Australia. The texture and the white colour is supposed to remind you of a beautiful and elegant ballet tutu. Poetic isn’t it?

It tasted very sweet and each bites were litterary melting in my mouth. I really liked it and I hope I will have other opportunities to savour this typical Aussie dessert 🙂

As for those who are not living in Australia and curious to taste a Pavlova, here is a recipe that will make you want to practise your arabesque!

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-pavlova/

Whether you favour sweet or savoury, Bali is the key!

« People who love to eat are always the best people.» Julia Child

Bali is a beautiful country full of colours and smiling faces, and somehow you manage to find all these ingredients in their authentic and unique cuisine. Balinese cuisine is generous and each plate is a symphony of flavors where the rice is the key note.

As my first time in Bali, I had the chance to live in a villa and to experience Ketut’s wonderful cooking. She cooked for us amazing and traditionnal dishes that I really recommend you to try when in Bali :

  • Nasi Goreng: basically fried rice mixed with spices, vegetables, eggs and sweet soy sauce. I really liked it.
  • Satay : Spices marinated meat barbecued… yummy!
  • Gado Gado : vegetable salad covered with peanut sauce. It was really good!
  • Pepes Ikan Tongkol : Languan fish and spices wrapped in banana leaf and grilled. This cooking technique gives a lovely taste to the fish.
  • Nasi Kuning Bali : actually balinese yellow rice. The best rice I have ever tasted in my life!

Overall everything was absolutely delicious!

I have also asked Ketut what her favorite meal was since she is a local and I was curious to know about it ! She told me she likes “babi Guling”. It is a kind of dish made with a whole suckling pig and the inside is stuffed with spices and vegetables… then it is grilled and rolled over a charcoal. I have not tried it but I feel next time I go to Bali, I will give it a try because the way she was describing it I could tell this was something amazing!

I have also fallen in love with two restaurants in Bali that I am sure you will fancy too ❤

My favorite one is pretty popular and called the « Betelnut Cafe » and it is in Canggu facing a beautiful rice paddy (actually very closed from Echo Beach). The place looks great, nice decoration and the staff is really friendly. Everything is fresh, very healthy and it tastes marvellous! I recommend the balinese salad with a fruit dragon smoothie… Just perfect !

I also like a famous organic restaurant and shop called « Bali Buda ». There are 4 of them in Bali and you can easily locate them in Sanur, Ubud, Keroban and Bukit. Everything is homemade everyday and tastes great. They bake bread each morning before the sun rises and it has nothing to envy to French bakeries. If you feel overwhelmed by the menu, you should give a try to the yellow curry and the mud chocolate cake… I have to confess I am still dreaming of it when I have a craving for chocolate…

What can I say, Bali makes my heart dreamy, my soul shiny and my belly happy 🙂

 

Betelnut Cafe
Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No. 60
Canggu, Kuta,
Bali, Indonesia
Tel : 62 821-4680-7233
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Betelnut-Cafe/289844997715255

 

Bali Buda Ubud
Jl Jembawan #1
(across from the Ubud Post Office)
Ubud, Mas, Gianyar 80571
Bali, Indonesia
Tel. (0361) 976324 / 978963
http://www.balibuda.com