dimanche 23 juin 2013

Summer is back...some natural ways to soothe sunburn.

Hi guys!

I don't know what the weather is like with you, but here in Morocco it has been lovely and sunny for the last month or so. Some days were even a bit too hot!

Time to get the bikinis and surf boards out and hit the beach!!
Hermes, our adorable Argentine dogo, is 1 years old now! He's getting big (I'm wearing 10cm heals on the photo, so you can imagine what a beast he is becoming!), but he's still a real cutie!

I love the summer season. Great weather. I love the sun and the heat. I love the beach, the warm sand and cool breeze. Plus I love the waves. I can spend hours in the water surfing or bodyboarding.

But the summer sun over here does have some bad sides... Sunburn.
The sun is vicious over here in africa. 
Of course it's the same sun as all around the world, the same sun as where I used to live in england or france, but it just seems more 'powerful'. 
Being and english girl I must say that I am lucky that I don't have very pale white skin that burns quickly. After day under the sun my skin turns to a nice golden color. I think the last time I got sunburnt in France was when I was about 9 or 10 years old.
The sun in Morocco is a whole different thing. It scorches your skin. It kind of feels like you're being roasted on the spot! Even covered in 50+ sunscreen and staying in the shade, it still manages to get you.

Last week I got burn by the sun. Bad sunburn on my shoulders. Not at the beach, but following the guys around a golf course. I had put sun screen on, but as I said sunscreen cannot beat the sun here! We played golf from 10am till 2pm. 4 hours under the red hot sun. There was no shade on the course. 

That evening my shoulders were red. Bright red. 
At home I had no 'after sun relieve' (or whatever you call them) lotions. I'm not used to getting burnt!

Luckily I have a book with loads of natural remedies for all different types of problems.
For sunburn it advised potato or yogurt. One of the two you surely have in your kitchen! (Aloe gel is also great if you have it!).

For the yogurt remedy: applie the yogurt to your burnt skin, let it dry, then rinse it all off gently in the shower.

For the potatoes remedy : cut a potatoe in half and rub gently all over where you have sunburn. You can also make a sort of paste out of poatoes, but I didn't find it necessary.

For me, the potatoes were the best. They really soothed my burnt skin, plus it just felt so fresh and cool.

And belive it or not, that potatoes thing worked! 

The next day no pain, no blisters or peeling. 

(BTW , if you do start peeling after being sunburnt, or even if you just have really dry skin, Shea butter is a must! I use it all the time! On my skin and hair! It's really nourishing! It smells kind of weird but I have never found any other product that can work the same kind of miracles as it does)

So there's a couple of natural tips to sooth sunburn! 
Of course it's best not to get burnt to begin with, always use sunscreen and stay out of the sun when it's really hot (between 11am and 2pm) ... easier said than done, if you're like me, you love the warm weather and outdoor sports and activities!

You know you can also help your skin get ready for the sunny days! 
You must have heard about all those different pills you can take, that are supposed to prepare your skin for the sun, and let you get a nice tan without getting burnt. 
Well, I did try some of those pills. They did not work, well for me anyway. They were damn expensive and I did not see or feel a difference on my skin.

One thing that does help my skin get a natural tan is carrot juice.

Researches have found fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids give a tan-like glow. Carotenoids are antioxidants that help soak up damaging compounds by the stresses and strains of everyday living. It's responsible for the red colorizing in fruit and veggies such as carrots or tomatoes...

So, carotenoids are good for your skin. And the vegetable that has the most is the carrot (carrot - carotednoid... sounds similar!)

Only problem is, I don't like the taste of carrots... yep,I'm not often picky on foods (I mean I eat snails and other wierd stuff), but i just don't like eating or drinking carrots. 

So I came up with a tasty mixture! 
I steam cook (or boil) the carrots to get them soft, then put them in the mixer, pour some freshly squeezed orange juice in, plus a bit of vanilla yogurt, mix them all together to make a sort of purée...and there you go! 

I haven't given precise quantities of each product because you can put what you want in depending on your likes. For example, I put hardly any yogurt in because dairy products have bad side effects on me, hehe! ;)

So now I'm back in Europe. Terrible weather, rain and wind all day long! 
So these littles tips arn't much good as there is no sun... 
So too cheer things up, and add a bit of color against the dark grey sky, I've dyed my hair...dyed it some very bright colors...but that's another subject for another blog post!

Take care!

lundi 10 juin 2013

The Jeep freak buys another Jeep ... Let me introduce the Grand Jeep Cherokee!

Hi lovelies!

Well 'Jeep' and 4x4 adventure posts are coming back to this blog for the meantime, I have really not enough time to keep 2 blogs running....

Being the Jeep freak lover that I am I just had to introduce my new car to you guys!
The Wrangler back in France, with a desert driver pal :)
You probably remember my other Jeep, the Wrangler ' Desert Frog'...the car that has taken me several times around the Moroccan desert...
Well I still have my cute little green amphibian Jeep, but not in Morocco at the moment...

If you have read my previous posts on 4x4 driving you may remember that I had a bad accident with the Frog (i.e.: photo above and below, a bridge that wasn't finished).
We knew that the front axle was dead, and got it changed...but more bad news arrived later...

The whole chassis was bent. 
The chassis is like the car's skeleton. 
My 4x4 garage in Spain, Sahara 4x4 , put a new front axle in for me said that there was a 8cm difference between the left side of the car and the right...bad news...very bad news... To get a chassis put straight you have to strip the car naked to be able to get the job done. That takes a lot of work, so is very expensive.

So the 'Frog' is now back in France at our insurance's garage...up to them to decide the future of the Desert Frog. If the repairs cost more than what the 'Frog' is worth they will send it to the crushing yard for scrap metal... 

I'm crossing fingers at the moment that she will be repaired... I put a lot of money into this car (new shocks, springs, lift kit, snorkel...and loads more) to be able to participate in  humanitarian   desert raids...I really hope they can make her 'road safe' again.
Fingers crossed!!

As the Wrangler is in 'intensive care' we were left car-less.
 I still have the Ford XR3I in France... but that's a really low sport's car... Here you need a four wheel drive (the roads are really bad).

Before the introduction, here's a quick fun video I made using Jeep ads and my own videos! 
Just to show how fun Jeeps are!

So we decided to buy another car. Another Jeep. 
All four wheels drives (old ones) are cheap in France because petrol has become so bl**dy expensive. Here in Morocco it is half the price ( only 0,7€ the litre of diesel)

Here is our new (old) car. A Grand Jeep Cherokee 3.2l TD from 2000. A great price, and she looks great on the outside ...
Well one thing I learnt is never let your boyfriend or husband buy a car, especially when he knows nothing about cars (but pretends he does).

I'm one of those strange girls who knows loads about cars and engines. I don't know why, cars have always been a sort of passion/hobby for me.  I have had many different second hand cars in the last 8 years, and I know what to look for when buying one. You can get a great deal like you can get a piece of sh*t.

I could do a whole post telling you guys what to watch out for on cars, how to ell if it's a good buy or not, if it's really what the seller is saying it is. For example, on old cars most people knew about the 'skew-driver' technique for rewinding the km counter (meter). Well on new cars you can do that too. After the accident with the 'Frog' I had to take out a fuse because with the axle being bent the ESP kept coming on. Well, without that fuse not only did the ESP and ABS not work, but also the speed meter and counter. I could drive for kms and kms with the clock stuck on 110 000. So watch out if you're buying a second hand car!

So this Jeep was a bad buy. A real piece of sh*t. Franck not knowing what to look at just brought it because 'it looked good'. I was the one that had to pick it up one week later and drive 300km back home....
Sure she looks like a pretty smart car... and she kind of is. A real 4 wheel drive full of fancy potions ( heated electric leather seats, cruise control, and lots of other cool stuff...)

He should have been weary straight away : the car is from Italy, and was sold by a Portuguese guy... sounds like fishy business!

Sat in the driver seat it felt pretty good...until you started her up....

I turned the key and that Jeep shook the living daylight out of me!!
I still decided to drive it home. on the highway I didn't dare drive at 130km/h ( the normal speed in France). I couldn't control it. I was actually scared. I haven't often been scarred in a car, but this one was evil. Really bad.It wouldn't steer properly and wouldn't break properly. For the first time in my life I thought to myself on that lonely highway : 'damn, this car really wants to kill me!!'

Back home safe and sound I noticed that she was leaking oil. Once having crawled underneath we found out that there were in fact several oil leaks... plus a water leak...

Because off all these leaks this Jeep already has a name. I had called her Dragon, but my 4x4 pals decided otherwise. All I said on Facebook was that she liked to 'mark her territory'. Well from then on the guys decided on another name for this Jeep. As they nicknamed the Wrangler 'the Desert Frog' they decided to call this one  'the Dirty Toad'. Doesn't sound very glamorous hey? So I call her the 'Dirty Dragon', but everybody else says the 'Toad'.

This naming cars thing sounds kind of goofy...especially when a friend yells in a restaurant : 'Hey Bel! Did you bring the Dirty Toad this evening?'...weird and embarrassing. But it does actually have a reason. When we go on rallies of course some people have the same cars. Mainly Toyota's, Nissan's and Jeep's. When you talk on radio you have to be short and precise. If a car has a problem it's easier to use it's code name. And then you just get used to talking like that...
So anyway, off she went to the garage.

Once up in the air, where we could be a better look, the outcome was worst than I would have ever imagined...
The brakes and brake discs were dead, so were all the silent-blocs (that's why she was shaking). The 2 front tires needed changing (on a permanent 4 wheel drive all your tires must be in the same state). The worst thing was that the radiator had completely ripped apart... 
Then I found out that the car hadn't passed it's MOT (you normally have to pass the MOT to sell a car in France...)

It took a lot of time and work to get her repaired.

So fed up with the car, I decided to make a hula hoop stage out of it ;)

Once repaired it was time to drive the 1600km down to morocco with it. 
All went well.
But the weather down south is not the same as up north.
In France we had the heating on. 
Once in southern Spain the weather and temperature changed... It got hot...

It was only at this point that we realised that the AC didn't work either!!! 
We drove though Spain in what seemed like a sauna! 
Damn leather seats, when wearing shorts you literally 'stick' to them!

Anyway, we did get back to Morocco with no major problems.

We also got to try her out in '4x4' driving last weekend (wanted to go to the beach, but because of all the rain the track has collapsed in certain places, leaving giant cracks and holes next to the cliff. Only 4WD and 'donkeys and carts' can get down to the beach now; pretty cool, you have the whole beach to yourself!)
The 'Toad' did pretty well! (better than I had expected).
So there you go, that's our new Jeep. Turned out ok in the end. 
Just beware of second hand cars!!
Take care!

mardi 4 juin 2013

I'm back! Here comes the excuses for not blogging lately...

Long time no blogging... I'm really sorry guys. I was kidnapped by mini dragons and taken to a far away land where internet does not exisit ...
Ok, to be honest, that is not the real reason...

I was actually back in France for the last month and have had some serious computer and internet problems. 
As we don't live there anymore we cancelled our phone and internet line ages ago. The first few days I managed to hack into one of our neighbour's wifi...but he soon found out and cut off his wifi (apparently his internet was 'slower' when I was connected with my computer...). Only way to get other free wifi was going to McDonald's...but their internet is really slow, plus I got fed up drinking bad McDo coffee and eating Mcmuffins every morning... so I gave up internet. I was on a internet detox for nearly a month!

Second problem, my Macbook. 
It was murdered. 
My beloved Macbook Pro died.

Alcoholic coma.

A full glass of champagne was all that it needed.
So now I have a couple of rules:
Number 1, do not get your laptop out during a party, find some other way to listen to music;
Rule number 2, do not let your friends, very generous friends, give a glass of champagne to a laptop. Laptops, especially MacBooks, do not react well with alcohol, however good the beverage is...
And rule number 3, make sure your friend has a good insurance that will cover the costs of replacing a rather expensive computer.

When the disaster happened I intimately picked up the macbook, and the champagne just poured out of it...it was drowned. 

It was dead. I cried. I had just finished some very long and laborious video editing and hadn't saved it on my external hard drive...
And that leads us to rule number 4 : always know a really good competent computer guy. He managed to recover everything on my hard drive. Plus the extra RAM I had added was saved. Thanks mate!! Computer guy was my best friend at that moment ;)

So now I'm back in Morocco, with internet. I'm back with a new (exactly the same as the old) Macbook...plus another toy...
A Fujitsu, quad core, processor intel xeon E5-1620, 16 GO DDR3 ECC 1600 mhz. When I re-read that it sounds kind of geeky...In short terms it is a monster PC. A really freaking beast of a computer. It's not really a computer, it's more of a server. Plus I've linked it up on my big Philips ambilight flat screen. Rather impressive! I'm really starting to understand why people think I'm a geek... 

You're probably thinking why on earth would Bel buy that kind of computer? For gaming you don't need anything half as powerful as that...

Well guys, here is the news : I'm going back to school. 
At 26 years old I've decided to go back to school for 2 years. 
It's not like I stopped school too early in the past. I have a bachelor's degree in wine and spirits...a great degree when you live in France... but in Morocco working with alcohol is difficult because of religion. 
So I've decided to study something that I've always loved. Something that I actually spend hours doing... video editing. 
I'm going to do a 2 year course on 3D production (special effects, video games, animation...). The school is linked with some bad ass companies like Ubisoft, so it should be pretty awesome :)
The course starts in October... So until then I'll be making the most of the summer holidays!!

Plus I will continue blogging!! Here are the upcoming posts :

- Summer has arrived : some useful natural tips to sooth sunburn (the Moroccan sun is wicked, one day at the beach, even with good sunscreen, you still can get badly burnt)

- New Jeep : The Dirty Dragon (yep, I'm a Jeep freak. A Jeep full of problems...

- L'Oreal Steampod: a real blessing for your hair!!! (especially if you have really frizzy damaged hair like me)

Sorry again for not being around for a while.
Take care!