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Delving into the Magical World of Gemstones

Here's a fun fact about me - I have always been fascinated by gemstones and crystals and when I was younger I used to like reading about birthstones and what they represent. I love the different colours and forms that gemstones come in, with opal (my birthstone), amethyst and rose quartz being my favourites but I have never used gemstones and crystals as talismans of protection and healing. 

Over the last few weeks, I have been re-introduced to this magical world thanks to Gemstones Malta. I have been wearing this moonstone pendant almost every day for the past few weeks and I always get compliments on it so here I am sharing some information about this beautiful, intriguing stone with you all.


Meaning & Properties

Moonstone is associated with the inner goddess - a symbol of fertility and sensuality. In fact, the stone is believed to be the perfect expression of yin (feminine energy) and the soothing energy of the moon (hence the name). Consequently, it is a stone of calm and relief from emotional stress. Moonstone is also a stone of protection, especially during childbirth, pregnancy, and travel at sea. Because of its connection to the moon, this stone rocks at soothing emotions during that time of the month. and it is the best stone for balancing hormones and providing support during periods of hormonal change such as puberty or menopause. Here's another fun fact; Moonstone has been designated as the Florida State Gemstone in 1970 to commemorate the moon landings which took off from the Kennedy Space Centre!


History

Moonstone is prized for its adularescence, an optical phenomenon that creates the appearance of billowy clouds of blue to white light with a moonlight sheen. Moonstone has been used in jewellery for thousands of years with Romans believing the stones originated from solidified rays of the moon while during the Art Nouveau period, jewellery incorporating moonstone was popularized by French goldsmith René Lalique among others.



Healing Properties

Now on this subject, the scientist in me is a bit skeptical about the healing properties of crystals but I do know that there are religions and people who believe in their healing powers so I've done some research on the subject and apparently, moonstone is used to restore hormonal cycles in line with nature's rhythms, thus making it especially beneficial for women. Some claim it even helps the digestive system and in balancing emotions.

How I Wear It

Being white in colour with a subtle blue sheen and a small black mark, this moonstone pendant is easy to incorporate with my outfits on a daily basis. It is set in silver, which helps bring out the blueish sheen and it easily goes with everything. Furthermore, when I am not wearing it, I like to carry it around in my bag. Who knows, maybe I get to experience the balancing attributes this gemstone is said to carry!


Moonstone is a great stone for healthcare workers, which I am, and it is also associated with my astrological sign, Libra. I am happy to know that unknowingly I chose a stone that is actually in-tune
with my life already :)

Check out Gemstones Malta on Facebook and Etsy shop to view their vast jewellery collection and more!

Necklace was given to me by Gemstones Malta as a gift. 
Gemstones cannot replace medicinal treatment and doctors' advice to cure ailments. 
Moonstone facts sourced from internet research.

Teeth Whitening at Home? HiSmile Teeth Whitening Kit Review

Those of you who know me, know how conscious I am of my teeth not being as white as I'd like them to be, hence the reason why I rarely expose them in photos. I had tried a teeth whitening session at a local med-aesthetic clinic a while back and while it did yield results, the process was a little uncomfortable for me and I have to say it is quite costly.

I am not one to lose heart easily, so, thousands of Facebook ads and loads of pictures on Instagram later, I decided to go ahead and try HiSmile. I went for the Teeth Whitening Kit which costs €54.99 and was delivered in less than 3 weeks.


Everything you need comes in a neat white box which has the HiSmile logo on the front, while information on contents and ingredients can be found at the back. The Teeth Whitening Kit consists of 3 HiSmile gels, 1 LED light with batteries, 1 mouth tray, 1 instruction manual and 1 results chart. First off, I really like how clean it looks and secondly, having the gel in a clear 'colour' somehow makes me think that there are not a lot of unnatural ingredients. In actual fact, if you look at the ingredients list, there are only 12 listed and they are all things which you can find in cosmetics and household items we use on a daily basis. Oh and HiSmile is vegan-friendly too!



The gel comes in syringes, each of which has a replaceable cap and holds enough gel for 2 uses thus the kit is good for 6 uses. The syringes are clearly marked in quarters for easy monitoring of how much product you're using. You will need a quarter for the top teeth and another quarter for the bottom teeth for any given treatment session.



Next, we have the LED light which requires 2 flat Lithium-Ion batteries (included in the kit) to function and a clear silicone mouth tray which attaches to the LED light. Everything is so easy to assemble and operate which makes this kit perfect for home use. The instructions are clearly explained in words and pictures.



Time for the fun part! I have been using HiSmile for the past 6 days of course to see if it actually works and if it lives up to the claim that it whitens teeth by up to 8 shades in less than a week. The LED light comes with a built-in timer for 10 minutes, during which you can practically do anything - chill, put away your laundry, read a magazine, watch a YouTube video...practically anything and when the time is up, your LED switches off and the device makes a beeping sound so you know you're done.





Here's what I do. I first check where my teeth stand against the colour chart, then apply the gel to the upper and lower faces of the mouth tray, pop the device in my mouth and push the 'on' button to switch the light on. It's is better if you apply gentle pressure on the mouth tray to make sure it really is up and against your teeth, thereby get maximum benefits. After the 10 minutes are up, I just rinse my teeth with warm water and see where they stand against the colour chart again. These are my results from the past 6 days.

Before starting HiSmile
My teeth stand somewhere between shade 5 & 6 on the chart

After the first try
My teeth are now closer to shade 5

Half way through at Day 3
My teeth are now between shades 4 and 5

Day 6
My teeth are now a solid shade 4

There was a difference in how white my teeth look after using HiSmile but it didn't go up the number of shades promised. Thus although this has worked and whitened my teeth, I think I would resort to having teeth whitening professionally done at my dentist as our wedding approaches next year. Having said that, HiSmile is still a great alternative for people with sensitive teeth as it whitens teeth without causing sensitivity reactions and it is designed for people with busy lifestyles who want to whiten their teeth as they go about their daily schedules.

What are your views on teeth whitening? Would you splurge on a professional treatment or do it at home at a fraction of the price?




LEGACY | Fashion Film from Couture by Gaetano ahead of MFWA 2018

Couture by Gaetano needs no introduction in the local fashion scene with the young designer being catapulted to fame after winning the New Designer Award in the 2015 edition of the Malta Fashion Awards and he hasn't looked back since.

I've had the pleasure of working with Gaetano last year and I to say I was ecstatic when he asked me to take part in his fashion film to launch this year's collection, is an understatement! I immediately agreed because it is an honour to work with such a humble individual who keeps his feet planted firmly on the ground amidst all his success. And besides, I have yet to find a creation of his that I don't like! 

Fast forward to last Saturday and along with 4 other local bloggers and friends, a whole team of models, singers and influencers, the fashion video for Gaetano's LEGACY collection started taking shape at the stunning Casa Asti in Valletta.



The Charming Casa Asti in Valletta

I headed to the makeup and hair room where I had my makeup impeccably done by Kay Grech Coldman and my hair blow-dried by Marilyn Mizzi before I got changed into a stunning gown designed by Gaetano himself, then proceeded to the filming area to get briefed about what we had to do.

Designer Gaetano and myself before filming

I am really looking forward to seeing the end result when Gaetano launches his collection during Malta Fashion Week on Monday 28th May at the majestic Fort St.Elmo in Valletta. In the meantime, here are more behind the scenes photos and clips :)








Location: Casa Asti

Lead Singers: Claudia Faniello and Marilena Gauci
Lead Actress: Taryn Mamo Cefai

Bloggers: Dorianne at Ask Dorianne, Blog by Grazielle, Diva Inside and Denis Aljush

Extra Singers: Janice Mangion, La Barokka, Franklin Calleja, Pet ra, Anthea Bezzina, Sebastian Calleja and Daniel Muscat
Models: Daniela Bezzina, Samuela Bugeja, Naomi Hammet, Jess Gherxi, Elenia Cauchi, Neil Scerri, Marvin Scerri, Melvin Micallef, Justin Axiak, Clyde Caruana, Iven Mercica, Dylan Camilleri, Bernard Gellel and Rosario Pace

Make up for filming (Marlene Vassallo‘s team): Gordon Sultana, Kay Grech Coldman and Rodianne Caruana, Bernard Gellel
Make up for Claudia and Marilena: Justin Brincat
Makeup for Taryn: Karl Zammit Nash

Hair for filming: Marilyn Mizzi
Hair for Taryn: Dean Gera Salons
Hair for Marilena: Prive’
Hair for Claudia: Marilyn Mizzi

Photographer: Alana Bondin

Suits for male models: Reno’s Tailoring – Hamrun

Production: Blend by Marley Lagana

Assistant to filming: Sarah Gatt

Event | L'Occitaine en Provence Aqua Réotier Launch

A couple of weeks ago, an e-invitation from one of my favourite brands, found its way to my inbox - it was to do with the launch of the newest skin-care range from L'Occitaine, Aqua Réotier and the dress code for the 'do was yoga wear.


I panicked a little as I really do not own anything that is anywhere near to being classified as gym attire except for the pair of H&M leggings I ended up wearing. Nonetheless, I made my way to Sanya Spa within the Hilltop Gardens Residence in Naxxar to see what the event was all about.



The Event

As soon as I reached the venue, I took my time to take in the tranquil surroundings while I walked towards the spa to meet the other bloggers and influencers who were attending. After exchanging friendly greetings with the organizers and L'Occitaine brand manager, I was offered a refreshing glass of cucumber-infused water which I must say was a very welcome refresher.


Bloggers & influencers in attendance
L to R: Dorianne, Natalya, Marie-Claire, Taryn, moi, Jade

The event started with the Sanya Spa staff offering us a glass of Kombucha - a fermented sweetened black tea drink that is intended to benefit our digestive system. The tea is fermented by a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts which includes 'saccharomyces' (yeasts that break down sugar) and bacterial components which oxidise yeast produced alcohols to acids. I found it to have a very different yet intriguing taste to what I am used to - I thought it smells of hot sauce(!) and to be honest, it did have a tingling after-taste, yet I couldn't stop drinking it!


Next, we moved to our mini yoga session with Yaz from Yogibeans. I had done Pilates in the past but never yoga so I was curious to see what it involves. I could feel my body relaxing through the poses Yaz was instructing us to do with her soothing and calming voice. It was what my body and mind were craving to relax actually and I'm so glad I got to participate in the class.

Video by Marie Claire Fashion Blog


Subsequently, it was time for the range launch from L'Occitaine en Provence. Tamara Burr was invited to give us a live demonstration of the Aqua Réotier skin care routine and along the way she also gave us really helpful hints as to how to take better care of our skin (more on this further down).


After the demonstration, we got to participate in a flat-lay competition which Marie-Claire and Taryn won and we also got to taste some heavenly vegan delights and macarons.

Flat-lay created by yours truly




About the Aqua Réotier range

L'Occitaine en Provence Aqua Réotier product range
photo from uk.loccitaine.com

L'Occitaine's Aqua Réotier range is tailored to promote moisture and hydration to the skin and consists of 5 products:
- Water Gel Cleanser
- Moisture Prep Essence
- Fresh Moisturizing Mist
- Ultra Thirst Quenching Gel
- Ultra Thirst Quenching Cream
all of which contain water from the Réotier Spring in Provence, the brand's 'hometown'. The water from this spring is 10 times richer in calcium than other thermal springs in France. This high level of calcium is key for the skin to maintain its natural barrier function and to retain moisture and hydration. Along with Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin, the water from the Réotier Spring ensures your skin gets adequate hydration all day long.

Réotier Spring in Provence
photo from uk.loccitaine.com

The regime is fairly simple - cleanse, prep, intense hydration and refresh. Tamara recommends double cleansing if you're wearing full makeup to ensure the skin is really clean. Thus, start with a makeup remover to remove all traces of makeup. Next, wet hands and pour a little of the gel cleanser and work into a light lather, massaging the emulsion in upwards circular motions avoiding the eyes. next comes the essence to prep the skin (this acts as a toner) followed by the cream or gel depending on your skin type and then finish off with the face mist which can be re-applied as often as you'd like throughout the day as it is a refreshing thermal water.


I got the Water Gel Cleanser and Ultra Thirst Quenching Cream in my gift pack which I am already using and I can already see a big difference in the parts where my skin tends to be dehydrated - my skin already looks plumper and hydrated!



#BeThirstyFor Campaign

Together with their new skin-care range, L'Occitaine have launched the #BeThirstyFor campaign which aims to push individuals to pursue something they have always wanted to do.

Thank you L'Occitaine for having me, I look forward to having more hydrated skin with Aqua Réotier!

The event was organised by Infiltrend in collaboration with L'Occitaine en Provence.

Beauty Trend | Metallic Lips

A huge trend that we're seeing all over Instagram right now is metallic lip looks - be it ones dripping gold liquid lipstick, a subtle hint of metallic in the centre of the lips or a full-on metallic lip colour, this trend has taken the beauty world by storm! I personally like the full-on metallic lip look and have garnered a couple of products in my collection at different price points which I will be sharing with you today.

Strapped for cash

Essence Metal Shock Lip Paint 02 Hemlock - this is the cheapest out of all the products I own (I think I bought it for €2.49). It is more of a lipgloss with a metallic finish rather than a liquid lipstick and you have to be careful when applying it as it does tend to go on a bit patchy which is a bit of a surprise for a product with such good pigmentation. It doesn't dry and doesn't last long.


Catrice Liquid Lip Powder 030 Jenny From The Bronze & 050 Let's Mauve To San Francisco* - these are unique in my collection as they 'dry' to a matte metal finish. They are pigmented just enough but you'll need to reapply as they don't last more than a couple of hours. Nonetheless, they are a great buy if you're still unsure about the whole metallic lips trend and would like to ease yourself into it.

It's pay-day!

3INA The Longwear Lipstick 510 (€7.95)* - This is the best liquid lipstick out of the budget brands in my collection - goes on in a uniform colour, dries to a nice metallic finish and lasts ages! Definitely one to try!


The Body Shop Metal Lip Liquid Plum Titanium 018 & Pink Nickel 025* - These are hands down my favourite metallic lip products. Once dry, they don't budge. I particularly like the red one for it has awesome pigmentation and it is the perfect red.

Feeling flash

Urban Decay Vice Naked Heat Lipstick Scorched (€18.60) - I also own a couple of metallic finish lipsticks, and this one is my favourite. It doesn't last as long as a liquid lipstick but it certainly does perform exceptionally well.


MAC Cosmetics Lipsticks in Frost Finish (€19) - MAC's frost finish lipsticks can be classified as metallic lip products. I think they offer a soft alternative to the bolder looks. Of course they come at a price but I think they are well worth it for they last long on the lips and they come in a whole myriad of colours.

MAC Cosmetics Frost lipsticks L to R:
Model Behaviour*, Fabby, Odyssey, Ramblin' Rose

If I had to choose my favourite out of these, I would go for 3INA and The Body Shop for they come at a fair price point, offer a great selection of colours and have excellent pigmentation and staying power!

Are you a fan of the metallic lips trend? What are your favourite products to achieve the look?

Products marked with * were gifted to me for PR purposes