Baby Preparations: Going BRONDE!

With about five weeks to go until the bundle of joy will join our household, I decided to make a change in my appearance that hopefully will make both my life and D‘s life easier in terms of leaving the house. I strongly believe that everyone on this planet has a soft spot for long blonde locks and I make no exception from that rule. That said, having blonde hair – even though mine is not the lightest shade, I’m more of a 9A lover – is a pain in the ass as you need to re-do your roots every four weeks tops otherwise you just look terrible no matter what your natural hair colour is. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that today dark roots are ok, however, not grown-in dark roots but rather perfectly calculated darker roots.

img_7060

My hair before the colour process

With a new baby on the way, I’ve come to the conclusion that going religiously to the salon every four weeks for root touch-ups will be impossible in the beginning at least until we get into a routine, so I decided to try the much-coveted bronde-colour melt hair colour. This is kinda the compromise between having long blonde locks, bun not really having to go to the salon quicker than six-eight weeks (for me at least). My good friend and colour-guru, Maria and I decided on 7A roots because that matches my natural colour almost perfectly and that means that if I manage to squeeze in another colour appointment until the baby comes, the colour will actually catch on nicely – note: on chemically processed blonde, darker colours tend to require more than one try for the shade to actually last.

Tools used in the process

This whole bronde trend is quite lovely in a sense that it allows blonde-lovers like myself to still have lovely light locks while also having naturally coloured roots and therefore if you are a low-maintainance kinda gal and hate going to the salon monthly for about two-three hours for you colour service this is the way to go! I must admit that at first I was very skeptical as I am a blonde-all-the-way kinda gal and I was afraid that going darker plus being hormonal will result in a catastrophe, but, to be completely honest with you, I have never left Maria’s Hair Studio sad or unsatisfied. Plus, I do love a change from time to time! Here’s what my colour-master used to get this amazing, natural, trendy colour:

Technique

Now, do not ask me how much of each she put into the magic mix that got me this amazing colour, all I can say is that she used nothing on the tips and only blended the colouring cream for about a minute before rinsing it all out. Not really touching the tips is one of my obsessions as I try and protect them as much as possible. And no, pregnancy has not helped with my hair nor with my skin and as I’ve stated in an earlier post I am not complaining as I have not experimented the bad side of pregnancy either. The process has a bit out of the box in my opinion as she knew she did not necessarily need to colour my tips in order to get this perfect bronde shade so she used foil for this natural sun kissed-highlights effect which I must confess I had serious doubts at the beginning.

img_7084

The result

I now regret all those moments of doubt as I am way beyond in love with my new hair colour and if you really want to try this or any other colour trend with minimal damage to your hair you have to visit Maria’s Hair Studio as Maria’s first concern always is for the health of your natural hair and trying to do as little damage as possible while still giving you the desired result. The reason I am writing about this is because I was simply stunned yet again at how she managed to protect my natural fine hair while still giving me the desired result that most hairstylists give you with a full-length chemical colour. She amazes me and my hair with every single visit! I hope you love the end-result as much as I do!

L.

 

Madrid Overall – Curly Part

The third (photo documented) day came and I decided to undo my braids and go for a curly fun look. I owe having the courage to heat-process my hair to the Olaplex system and the incredibly delicate BaByliss Curl Secret and there was no sign of damage to my hair whatsoever.

IMG_1234

Since the weather was very nice and warm, we decided on yet another park. This time our walking marathon started at Templo de Debod where we snapped lots of pics (for yet another fashion post to come). Since there’s lots of info online about all the places we’ve been to, there’s no point in me trying write it down here, I’ll just do my best with the direct links for all of them. After we’ve finished our part tourist, part fashion photoshoot at the temple, we realised that we were in one of those great, non-touristic green areas (aside from the temple) thanks to a viewpoint at one end of the temple. Since we had absolutely no time to prepare for this vacation, we took things as they came, and decided to continue our Madrid marathon in that area. First place we encountered was the Garden of La Rosaleda, where, as per usual, lots of photos were taken. We quickly realised that Madrid is a city where there’s always something happening as there was a triathlon undergoing in the area, the cycling part to be more specific. As I was concentrating on posing for D, I realised that my favourite photographer had left me to look as stupid as possible and ran off to catch the cyclists on camera.The Garden of Rosaleda is a vast rose-garden with hundreds of rose species on display, but, unfortunately for us, this was’t their blooming period. None the less, it was lovely spending some time there even without a strong rose fragrance. 

As we went further, we discovered the Parque del Oeste, which is a place nobody should miss while in Madrid. If I was under the impression that Retiro Park was the best park Madrid had to offer, well this one definitely changed my mind for good. This is a beautiful area, with lush vegetation and beautifully landscaped alleys. Since this was a Sunday, I was really surprised to see that we were alone most of the time spent there and that allowed us to really discover some beautiful hidden corners of the park. That again, was the thing that got us hooked on Madrid – the lack of tourists. One of the wonderful corners I was talking about was the fully bloomed lilac arch we found at some point along our walk. The fragrance we felt in the area was amazing and this was a place that was completely out of  the way of any main alley of the park, so this park really needs a full day for discovering. After we started feeling the repercussions of walking so much (translation: our feet were hurting like hell), we made our way towards the Moncloa metro station, to start our way towards the centre part as we did need to eat our dinner and we wanted to explore the streets some more after that.

We stopped at Puerta de Alcala and made our way towards the Calle de Cerrano, which is Madrid’s high-end shopping area. When D told me where we were ending our Ester day, I was beyond ecstatic and started making lists in my head with what statement pieces I needed for summer. Fortunately for our bank accounts, since it was a Sunday, all the shops were closed, to my disappointment. We continued our evening walk down Calle de Maria de Molina, a walk that I personally recommend as the boulevard is very peaceful and nice with wide pedestrian areas and lots of things to see on the way. We then finally and fortunately (for our feet) reached Avenida de America where our hotel was located.

On the next day, I had my mind set on visiting the Botanical Gardens, thinking that being a Monday it should be quite empty. We started walking through Buen Retiro Park again as D spotted the Crystal Palace the night before online, and since we were there anyway we thought why not make the most of our park adventures, plus it seemed like a lovely place to snap pics. The area around the palace was way more beautiful than any of the pics we’ve seen online or in any travel guide, so this one really deserves the trip. After about 100 photos snapped there we started for our destination, the Botanical Garden. Since the entrance is not clearly specified on the map we were using, we went down Cuesta de Moyano, and as usual a book fair was going on there, with lots and lots of old books, magazines and postal cards for sale.

IMG_1251

When we finally reached Plaza Murillo, where the entrance for the Botanical Garden was located, we realised there was no way whatsoever that we were going to see the garden as the queue was two-hours long, so we decided to explore the area surrounding it. We made our way towards Plaza Mayor by way of Calle de Huertas and then we continued our walking-marathon towards Puerta del Sol as we realised that we had not yet bought presents for our families and friends back home. We, however, changed direction at some point, on Calle de Augusto Figueroa because D spotted some lovely side streets and we can’t resist small streets. Lucky we id that, as we found Mercado de San Anton where we ate one of the best meals while in Madrid, but more details on that in the food post.

IMG_1254

Our last full day in Madrid was all about tennis. Being sports freaks, we enjoy watching tennis as well and we absolutely love going to live tennis events, as, just like with any other Open, the atmosphere is incredible. We were very fortunate to catch a very eventful third day, with matches played and won by Simona Halep, Rafael Nadal and Any Murray, but since we had quite an early flight the next day, we couldn’t stay and see Murray as well. None the less, our day was perfect with just two important matches, especially, as we know by now, Halep won the Open. If you’re ever in Madrid while Mutua Madrid Open is happening, make sure you won’t miss it, as everything from location to the people coming there is absolutely a must-see.

IMG_1258

IMG_1265

Since we had a lot of packing to do, we started our way towards out lovely hotel, but we did stop at Paseo de Eduardo Dato, which is a location we saw on our first day, because I had my mind set on taking a few pictures there as well. Naturally, when we got back to our hotel, none of us could stand on our feet anymore and the whole packing experience was time-consuming and horrendous.

IMG_1271

Overall, Madrid is a wonderful city to visit and I personally think that it’s way underrated as a tourist destination because of Barcelona and Valencia. Trust me when I say that it’s a must see and this is coming from someone who’s seen Barcelona (twice) and Valencia (once). Though we thought we’d come back way fatter than we left, thanks to our walking marathons I think that after 2 weeks of serious gym and diet time, we’ll bounce back into our original shape. Until then, loose clothes and comfortable shoes for us! I really am very excited to do the food post because, to be honest, by comparison with Valencia and Barcelona, in Madrid we’ve found the best food options.

I honestly hope that you enjoyed our text/photo tour of Madrid and stay tuned as more posts on our vacation will come with lots more photos. And by the way, our next vacation is in Milan, so if anyone knows any good places to eat and see there, please leave a comment either here or on our Facebook page!

L.

 

olaplex

As you’ve probably noticed, my hair is a lot lighter and greyer…Well, I did it! I’ve tried the product that’s causing a lot of rave online and offline! I’ve tried Olaplex and lived (well my hair lived) to tell the story. The thing is, I’ve always wanted sandy, greyish hair, but my natural undertone is orange, so I’ve never really had the courage to fulfil my dream until now. After reading tons and tons of reviews online about this little miracle worker, I decided to take the plunge and go for it. The only reason I’ve kept steer of the bleaching powder is because, to be quite honest, a few years back I had some highlights done with it and it completely ruined my hair. Yes, my hair is very fine and fragile! But, again, seeing all the rave this product gets, I decided to brave-up and go for a lighter whitish-grey for the summer.

IMG_1899

I decided together with my stylist to get a balayage and then tone everything with a lavender toner. Fingers crossed, I took a seat on the chair and hoped that I wouldn’t leave with a pixie cut, cos God knows a pixie is the worst thing that could happen to me hair-wise! The first step was to put my regular colour (Joico) on my roots and go for a bleach on the ends. This entire first step was combined with the miraculous step 1 from the Olaplex system. At first I did feel a bit of a tingeling at the roots and I know that was due to the Olaplex solution as I never felt that before and we used the exact same combo of hair dye for them. That all passed in 5 minutes, and 20minutes later I could breathe again when my stylist told me that I still had hair on my head. I have to tell you that knowing for 20 minutes that I have used bleach on all of my hair except for the roots kept my heart from beating properly. I mean, will I still have any hair left at the end? Or will I have to start buying hair gel to style my new and unwanted pixie? Which one will it be? Thankfully, I still had some hair left.

The BEFORE photos

On to the next step of this system. This one consists in toning my hair with a beautiful lavender toner  from Wella called Instamatic that is supposed to get all the orange undertones neutralised and leave me with a beautiful grey colour. After another 20 minutes of hard breathing, as this was the second chemical process my hair was going through, I was greeted with good news again. Still had my hair on, and not a chance of getting the feared pixie. Yet!

During the process

We still had to apply the last in-salon step of the Olaplex system. After the hairstylist dried my hair with a towel, she applied the second part of the system and I spent another ten minutes while she applied heat waves onto it. She then rinsed it all out and dried my hair.

The result:

The colour was fabulous. It was everything I ever wanted, but I did however had to cut about 2 cm off my hair because as good as the Olaplex system was, it still wasn’t able to fully protect my hair. Like I said in the beginning, my hair is really sensitive and I was really in awe that this product managed to protect it for more than 90% of the length. As you can see in the before and after photos, there is a very big change in the tonality of the colour and even though through the years I’ve tried everything, that obnoxious orange undertone just wouldn’t go away. Now, thanks to Olaplex, I can finally have the grey undertone I’ve always wanted.

What it looks like on a very sunny day

Of course I bought the third step of the system and I plan to sleep with it on once a week as I’ve read that it is truly a miracle maker. I will not lie to you and tell you that my hair looks amazing after bleach and toning in the same day, but it surely looks and feels a lot better than it would’ve looked had I not used the Olaplex system. As a price point, this treatment will almost double your regular price per colour, but it is totally worth it and I don’t ever plan to colour my hair without it ever again.

IMG_1900

I will keep you updated throughout the month and again after my next colour and I sincerely hope that I will never have to worry about a pixie ever in my life. D was really happy with the result, but he too says that my hair was a bit softer before the bleach. Maybe that will sort itself out after I sleep with the third step on for a whole night.

L.