An August look, Riga haul and Crete haul

Hello, happy end of September and another quarter! Only three more months to go and year 2014 is through. Sounds unbelievable? Well, better believe it and get used to the harsh fact (okay, I admit in my head 2014 just started...). But want to know what's already over?

That has to be our week-long September vacation, unfortunately. It ticked away without any warning while we were relaxing in a spa, renewing our old and overtired sauna, visiting E's grandparents and aunt who live 200 km away, kicking off the reorganization of our office/gym and (once again) the wardrobe, working in the garden, producing some tasty tomato and onion preserves for winter... yeah, we actually did a lot during that ephemeral week! And I of course have photos, heaps of photos. But those must wait because right now I want to share three other things with you: an ancient outfit from August 24, my even more ancient Crete haul and the teeny-tiny Riga haul I also promised to showcase.

So, for starters this simple early-autumn outfit from the end of August. I remember it was a mildly chilly Sunday with a deceptively warm evening. We drove to Tartu, purchased a new sauna stove and later on I suddenly caught a nasty cold. Oh the memories!

By the way, the dress from River Flower is new too, it's Polish and I actually bought it from a thrift store but with tags still on. And the white leather bracelet embellished with tiny studs is from Guess. You will see it again below among my teeny-tiny Riga haul. Which is seriously modest: only those adorable heart sponges and a brilliant vintage camera shape photo album from Tiger (find your nearest Tiger store here), the above mentioned bracelet and classically a few cute souvenirs, mostly from the zoo. And that's that. Two topics down, only one to go.

thrifted sunnies | (thrifted) River Flower dress | Reflex cardigan | Jeffrey Campbell Bad Alice flats | Guess leather bracelet.

More than four long months ago (May 10-18) took place our wonderful trip to the largest Greek island Crete and today you can finally peek what we brought home with us when we left that beautiful place. So, collage number 1 presents the sweets, including cinnamon caramels, traditional Hershey's and local classics like baklava and kataifi which were oh so delicious.

But it also presents three herbal teas, spices and herbs like cinnamon, oregano, burger mix, potato mix and tzatziki mix. We just really love those proper Cretan flavours! Oh and did I already tell you how much I miss Crete? No? Well, the correct answer would be - like crazy! And luckily E wants to go back to Ag Nik in 2016 so the situation is not that hopeless actually.

Anyway, collage number 2 shows the liquid stuff like red and white wine and olive oil, two saporous cookbooks, cute Cretan blue souvenirs and the succulents. And for your information we actually bought the layered one in front, those other figures were like weed in its pot. They were almost atomic back then but you should see them today! The photo in my collage was taken on July 13 and today they have multiplied in both, height and abundance! I will show you an update if you're interested in it. Are you? :)

And last but certainly not least - collage number 3 which again uncovers the beautiful authentic souvenirs and a decent bunch of beauty products in addition. Most of the beauty goodies are from Bodyfarm, a Greek brand I first discovered in 2011 (see the blog post and my first Bodyfarm product here).

A travel kit consisting of mango shower gel, sandalwood body milk, chamomile shampoo and vanilla milk conditioner and an olive oil gift set containing a shampoo, a conditioner and a soap are still untouched, ready for trying out. And you should definitely check out Bodyfarm's website here in order to discover their sweet and wide product range. I myself love their simple and sleek packages, natural scents and of course the fact they're free of parabens, mineral oil, colorants and other trouble.

But so is the hair mask from a Cretan natural cosmetics' brand Olivaloe (see their website here). It contains organic olive oil, organic aloe vera, provitamin B5, ginseng extract, keratin derivatives and wheat protein. Only I'm yet too stingy to open it but maybe when our sauna renovation ends and I can make steam again I will do it together with Bodyfarm and Olivaloe. At least it sounds like a plan.

Oh, and a product I am using right now is Maybelline's Baby Lips lip balm in shade peach kiss. I love that thingy. It's decently moisturizing and enough smoothing, smells pleasantly, looks natural on my lips, cute in my bag and on my desk.

Anyhow, if you happen to have any questions about some of those products (or actually about anything), go ahead and shoot. I sure hope you enjoyed this miscellaneous post and mixed photographs. Oh and I wanted to say thank you to the ones who noticed (and of course liked, haha) the changes and modifications here in my blog. It's not finished yet, for example I have a plan to create a blog roll or reading list, change the header and more. But still, thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it a lot! And see you in the next post!

ps. If some of you have missed the stories about our recent trip to Crete you can catch up through the six links below or by using the Crete 2014 label.


Riga ZOO

Hey! It's time for another travel post! And this time (or actually already on August 20...) I and my fiancé visited the metropolis of Latvia together with my parents. Our trip took place in the middle of a regular work week because it was the Day of Restoration of Independence here in Estonia and therefore a much-needed day off from work. Oh and as you could probably draw an obvious conclusion from the title of today's post our prime destination was the Riga Zoo, conjointly my fourth European zoo after the ones in Czech Republic, Estonia and Finland.

Emporio Armani sunnies | Seppälä Woman dress | thrifted belt| Guess bag | Pink Woman espadrilles | thrifted Kenzo kimono cardigan*.
*can be briefly seen below

So, the zoo is located in Mežaparks, one of the world's first garden cities and also one of the wealthiest areas in Riga. It was opened on October 14 in 1912 which means the zoo will shortly be entirely 102 years old (our native Tallinn Zoo is 75 years old for example). And according to almighty Wikipedia Riga Zoo houses 3 270 animals of 486 species on 16.4 hectares of land.

In fact it's a very compact zoo: not too big, not too small and very wisely structured. And in the same way as always when in zoo, I was childishly ecstatic in front of every animal because they all somehow spoke to me with their infinitely expressive eyes, peculiar looks and flawless gestures.

All in all I find the animal world nothing but astonishing. For example the contrasty black and white stripes of a zebra, the immaculate brown and yellow markings on giraffes, the luxurious coat of an African wild cat called serval... And of course the well-known suricates - can you believe how adorable those little guys are? And did you know a group of suricates (or meerkats) is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan" and a meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats but some super-families have 50 or more members? Okay okay, like I said I get overly ecstatic when it comes to the animal kingdom but they're definitely all worth the attention.

Oh and one more important thing about the zoo. They have the coolest Aquarium, Terrarium and the Tropical House which accommodate 20% of all the animals in the Riga Zoo (=animals of about 75 species). And those pale green waxy monkey leaf frogs below were my biggest favourites from the Tropical House.

And another thing - the beautiful birds of Riga Zoo. Bright American and lighter Greater flamingos were both absolutely beautiful, even out of this world kind of delicate. Just look at them, and each and every other individual I've shared with you today, and I'm sure you will understand my enthusiasm. And on top of everything I already brought out Riga Zoo is also a very cosy place and even though the animals and birds live in captivity they at least seem content and happy there. I hope they truly are, as much as possible.

Now, after leaving the zoo we visited a couple of shopping centres like Stockmann, Alfa and Depo but shopping hasn't quite been my goal lately (with the exception of thrift shopping, of course!). Therefore my haul was seriously minimal and I will probably add those few bits and pieces to my Crete haul post when it's time.

Anyway, mom's big wish was to visit the beautiful town of Sigulda before going home and there we went. But the weather turned strongly showery, it was late and chilly and while passing through the area we just glanced at the sights and put together our future go-to list. So it now includes entirely three castles (Sigulda, Krimulda and Turaida), the incredibly lovely Walking-stick park and Serpentine road in Sigulda. And that's only the minimum strategy of course, it's a piece of cake to upgrade the list!

By the way, my plan was to make a rather ephemeral post today but I guess it turned out like it always does so I hope you guys enjoyed it because I sure enjoyed putting it together. Always share your thoughts with me and see you again next time!


Crete diaries: the last chapter and an extra day on the island

Hey ya! Remember that forever awesome Outkast song released on September 9, 2003? Can you believe it's almost 11 years old?! I was a huge fan back then, by the way. Which, I know, is a completely irrelevant fact so now a few revelations concerning our imminent September vacation because I remember several of you have been curious about our plans.

We will nicely start off with a pampering spa visit by the sea and there are a red wine extract body treatment, a moisturizing facial care and a warm paraffin wax hand treatment in store for both of us. But the rest of our spare week will probably mean going with the flow, mostly doing what we have want to do at home. So a few more weeks and it's vacation time, woo hoo! But I should seriously hold my horses here because the Crete diaries from distant May (!!!) are still waiting for their proper closure...

Emporio Armani sunnies | Nike (kiddies') tee | Lindex belt | thrifted Diesel suspender skirt.

So, May 17 was our official last day, the day we were supposed to leave the beautiful Island of Crete. We knew we will be home soon, already made some instant gardening plans for May 18, nostalgically said goodbye to our sweet seaview suite and the pool. Simply enjoyed our last hour at scenic Sensimar Minos Palace and of course took our last photos there to illustrate all those warm Cretan memories. Just look at the first bunch of idyllic photos to see what kind of paradise we were saying goodbye to.

Emporio Armani sunnies | Nike (kiddies') tee | Fishbone Sister (New Yorker) sweatpants | thrifted Pony sneakers.

Anyway, then (between 2 and 3 p.m., right on time) came the bus to take us to the Heraklion Airport. But then, in the middle of stuffing the big bus with other Estonians from other hotels arrived a sudden announcement that the aircraft which should have taken off from Estonia in order to pick us up from Crete was broken, not moving. Allegedly they were fixing the plane but it was already obvious our flight was postponed until some adequate information appeared.

The initial message declared we were going to leave Crete in the middle of the night instead of the official 6:55 p.m. which is why the travel agent had to arrange our group a temporary place to be. And that place happened to be Marilena Hotel in Amoudara, 11 km from the airport. Our travel agent claimed it was a 4* hotel but there's no way in hell that was true. It more likely was something bearable between 2* and 3*. I mean our room was quite decent: already tired but still decent. And I did like the raspberry red flowery fabric our curtains and furniture were partially made of, if that counts.

But the shady suburb location, non-existent view from our scranny balcony, those smeary vagrant cats behind the windows of the restaurant and in particular their miserable food were all far from decent. Briefly - I didn't like it there and I wanted to go home already... or just back to sweet Minos Palace in Ag Nik. "What a spoilt princess," you may think but when you have lived in true paradise and then someone tells you to settle in weak mediocrity you just have nothing to enjoy there, you only want to leave and never come back.

Besides, when it comes to Marilena's food it was tasteless, mostly drippingly greasy, unattractive. The staff didn't know what they were serving (logical much?), the assortment was narrow and only local Alfa beer tasted great. Although nothing can taste completely great in a dirty restaurant (leftovers and dirty stains on the tablecloth, anyone?). By the way, those numerous vagrant cats loved the restaurant's wieners which tasted slightly rotten to us. Oh and them cats had a real hierarchy going on there: a couple of them were the bosses, a few were the underdogs and the rest - just the regular crowd. It was like their own state of cats in the backyard of Marilena.

Anyhow, we somehow spent the evening/night of May 17 there because as said before, our new departure time was in the middle of the night. Everyone was highly hopeful and ready to finally go home. But then, while we were more or less sleeping arrived another message which ceremonially stated the plane was still broken in Estonia and our new departure time was now unclear. Pretty much everyone was in denial at that moment and through our thin door we heard people still dragging their suitcases and heading downstairs to leave (I think those were the Russians who couldn't read the Estonian messages we got...).

So, during breakfast (or maybe it was already lunch...) on May 18 we finally received some fantastic news from the travel agent who said a replacement plane was found and we will be leaving with that around 6.30 p.m. Our time at Marilena was actually folding up and God we were happy!

But out of nowhere another drama escalated when we had to place ourselves in the buses that were sent to pick us up. Some pointlessly stuck-up Estonian families/fellowships were demanding their own personal bus to be able to all sit together, just like in good old nursery school. Nice, huh? How stupid can a creature be? I could see how everyone else wanted to leave those twerps behind and just go. Would have been fair I think because those arrogant figures were worse than Marilena's food and that's a harsh reference.

Despite all we of course eventually made it to the airport and were now counting on a painless check-in. Which obviously didn't happen: we had to wait and wait and wait before anything check-in-like even started. But all right, at least we were standing at the beginning of the line and got through shortly after the opening of the check-in. We quickly visited the duty free shop, bought some classical bits and pieces and then proceeded to our presumable gate. But it turned out all the tickets had a wrong gate number printed on them so we had to run to another gate.

And then the airport bus took us, already decently tattered Estonians to an aircraft, everyone already started to board and then, oopsie daisy! - it was the wrong plane, going to Spain or something, haha. Anyway, we got back on our buses to drove along and that was it, we finally got to the right plane. Though the first steward on board was a young Italian dude who didn't even speak English and couldn't answer if we were going to Estonia or not. Promising, right? Oh and the airport staff had removed seat numbers from the tickets so noone actually knew where their seats were. Gosh it felt good when we finally took off after all those crazy incidents! I love Crete but being stuck somewhere is not my cup of tea, especially when the next day is a working day and you can't be sure if you're going to make it to your own country in time or not. Have you guys also experienced something like that during your trips and travels? Do share!

Chicnova sweatshirt c/o (link) | thrifted Complement fringe bag | thrifted maxi skirt | Nikos Shoes sandals from Ag Nik, Crete.

When I now look back on everything that happened I'm of course pleased we had an unforgettable vacation, a hundred-percent adventure and a chance to see and experience how incredibly different can hotels, towns, people, even the atmosphere around us be. I'm sure it was not our last time in Crete because every time I go there I have this homelike familiar feeling. I just love it there.

By the way, I have also photographed most of the stuff we purchased in Crete and I'm curious - are you interested in seeing those goodies (a few beauty products + home related bits and pieces)? If yes then I will share everything in a future haul post. Just let me know. But for the time being I hope you enjoyed this mammoth-size story of mine and all the photos too! The ones who took time to actually read it - respect! you're truly awesome! And as always, see you in the next post!