Life

The first 3 things to do when coming back from holidays 

My summer vacation came to an end last Tuesday. I woke up in the morning in my family’s summer house, went for a swim, had lunch prepared by my mom, took a car, a bus, a taxi, a plane and then another car and 10 hours later I was back home.

These two pictures are from the beach Mylopotamos, on Mountain Pelion in Greece. This is where my dad;s family originally comes from and we still visit the family house every summer for a few days in August. I don’t think there is a more beautiful place on this planet and my dream is to one day go back at the village (Tsagkarada) and open my own Bed & Breakfast.

It’s always a very difficult process mentally to come back from holidays – at least for me. I’m also always very sad for leaving my family and friends back. However, I’m also happy for the new season that starts, especially in September I have this “back to school” feeling that always gets me excited and keeps me up at nights.

Getting a job after finishing university meant getting into a kind of routine that can be very difficult to break. But I’ve found that setting new goals and keeping my mind busy can help to this direction. So here are three things I’ve decided to do to keep myself busy in the next few days/months:

1.Go on a diet:

I’ve been on a diet very few times in my life and I think the biggest success was to lose 2-3 kg. However, I do believe that a good detox is called for after 3 weeks of non-stop Greek food (yep, you’ve read that right, I think I had pasta like once and that was my only experience with international cuisine…). Since I’m not your typical diet person, I’ve stuck with the one diet that had really paid off for me throughout the years – I did for the first time while a student at university and I re-visit it every couple of years when I feel I get out of order. It promises a loss of 8 kilos in 2 months, which is more or less accurate and a healthy option may I add. I’ll share the diet with you, but please keep in mind that this works for me, but might not work for other people. I also ALWAYS make sure that I don’t feel hungry during the day – if I do feel hungry, I eat a piece of fruit, or a couple of crackers with low-fat cheese.

2.Decide on new activities

I will improve my French and will also sign up at the gym. These two are really radical steps for me! I’ve never tried to improve my French before (it’s been almost 15 years since the last time I took a lesson in French…yes, young children DO NOT need to take French lessons mom!) and I’ve only been to a gym before once but only did a few classes of pilates in the course of a year. This time I’ve decided to actually go the full way and try the instruments, with the ultimate goal of toning my arms and butt, but also strengthen my back a little bit…As for my French, my goal is to be able to have an intelligent fluent conversation with my French colleague by Christmas (I don’t know why I think an intelligent conversation will happen by default…)

3.Adopt a post-summer beauty routine

Again, this is linked to goals: keep summer on me for as long as possible and try to create a new make up process for my newly cut short hair. (Yes, I decided to cut my hair into a lob, i debated for several months with friends, family and boyfriend and despite everyone’s advice to the opposite, I decided to cut it! I’ve never had it this short, but couldn’t be happier with the result!!)

First thing to do is treat my skin after this extensive two-week exposure to the sun. A few years ago I had a terrible experience, when I stepped out in the strong sun right after waxing my upper lip and without any sun cream on. As a result, I developed sun marks (my skin complexion is fair and I have freckles, however I’m tanning nicely in the summer. However, living in Belgium for all these years has deprived me for all the vitamin D I had accumulated in Greece…as a result it has become significantly more difficult for me to get a decent tan in less than 10 days…) Since that horrible event, I’ve started applying sun cream religiously especially to the damaged area of my upper lip. Even like that, every summer the marks make their reappearance and make me miserable. This year however, I found something close to a solution: Lancome’s Visionnaire.

It’s a bit on the pricey side, but I’ve been using it for a little over a week now and I can say the results are already visible. My skin feels firm and hydrated and my sun marks get paler with the day. I also feel it’s done good to an area of my face where I have acne marks from a very bad break out 10 years ago.

The next thing is to devise a good way to maintain my tan. And yes, I’m talking about using a self-tanning product. I know that most people tend to use them before they go on holiday, exactly to not stand out like a fly in a glass of milk (favourite Greek saying), however I find them much more useful and easy to use once I’m back from holidays. Why? Because this way, we can apply the product without getting this weird feeling of your legs looking more orange than your arms, or accidentally forgetting to apply it on your foot, which makes you look like you’re wearing super weird tights! My product of choice this year was Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Natural Bronzer. It was the first time I used it, and I’m really happy about it, although I’m still torn between cream ones and sprays…I guess this is a dilemma to be solved next year!

Lastly, as I extensively mentioned in this post, I cut my hair short, which immediately made me want to highlight the features of my face to make me look a bit less like a tomboy or a 15-year old French girl. What I’m doing every day now is a “half” cat eye and a red lip, but with a lip pencil. I know a lot of people find a cat eye a bit “too much” for morning activities, that’s why I keep to it a half design, I always do it with a pencil instead of an eye liner and the pencil is always brown (so is my mascara). This way I avoid the too harsh image of a smokey at 9am at work.

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