Bonjour Chiara - A Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog from Middle East
Bonjour Chiara is a virtual space where to brings readers into Chiara’s whimsy world creating colorful and delightfully chic contents about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Bonjour Chiara represents the sophisticated and stylish girl of her generation.
After been disappeared from all my social channels for the last three months, I thought it was time to give some explanations. And I guess this is the best one that I could have ever shared.
We are happy beyond the moon for this little human being we expect to join the family on February 2019.
Now that the BIG NEWS is out, let me share some updates regarding my pregnancy.
I’m now 20 weeks pregnant, probably by the time I’ll publish the article, I’ll be almost 21 weeks.
I found out that I was pregnant on May 30th and it was the biggest shock of my life. I’m going to dedicate a proper post to explain why this pregnancy has been such a big surprise. But obviously, it was the BEST surprise ever. By the time I discovered I was expecting I was almost 5 weeks. I immediately booked an appointment with a gyno who confirmed my pregnancy.
The first trimester was a real rollercoaster. So many emotions. The biggest feeling was actually the fear to lose the baby.
I didn’t have any nausea, vomit or problem with food and smells. I simply wanted to eat super healthy because I wanted to give to the baby everything she/he needed. And I stopped eating sweets because I only wanted savoury food. Give me pasta instead of chocolate!
But I felt constantly small pains everywhere. Little cramps, very similar to the ones I normally experience with my period. So this made me always feel scared. Was it an alarm for something bad? Probably not, it was just my body adjusting to the new condition. But I was constantly worried.
After the first ten days spent on the sofa because I was too afraid to move around, I finally decided to take little steps and I went for short walks (in malls since it was June and it’s crazy hot in Dubai) and I also decided to go swimming.
8 WEEKS: SOMETHING HAPPENED
Everything was going great. Massimo and I were planning how to give the big announcement to our families. We were supposed to go back to Italy on June 29th so we planned to tell them on that day. We watched so many announcement’s videos on You Tube and we always cried all the tears out because we were just too happy and too emotional. The only thought to share the news with parents and family made us cry like babies.
But our plans didn’t go really well because on June 24th I started bleeding. It was the worst day ever. It was fresh red blood which in my mind meant only one thing: miscarriage. I was 8 weeks so still in the dangerous first trimester. We rushed to the ER and I remember waiting to get a scan, thinking that everything was already over. But our little bean was still there, stronger than ever! The bleeding lasted for few hours. They gave me an extra shot of progesterone, telling me that it might be normal to experience bleeding during the first three months and it doesn’t always mean that you are having a miscarriage.
We went home, still scared but at least with our baby with us.
The next day I started bleeding again and it was stronger than the day before. I was less worried this time ( I mean still worried but the fact the 24 hours before I heard my baby’s heartbeat made me think positive). Again we run to the ER, we checked the baby who was totally fine. But doctors talked for the first time of a risk of miscarriage and they put me in total rest for at least a week.
At that moment we decided to call our families and to tell what was going on. Especially because we needed help. Moral support first as we were experiencing all these emotions by ourselves and physical support since Massimo took some days off but then he had to go back to work and I couldn’t stay at home alone. My mom immediately jumped on a plane as well as my mother in law. Having someone with us for the following month was really important. Being able to talk with my mom about what was happening and what I was feeling made me already feel better.
In those moments you understand how expat life is hard. Everything is different when you have your family close by.
Anyway, we spent another month in Dubai and then on July 27th, after finally hitting twelve weeks, we went back to Italy.
I don’t know if it was the thought that the first trimester was over, or the atmosphere of joy for the news or the fact that we were at home but at the 13th week I started feeling great. I spent one month in Italy, eating amazing food, meeting friends, relaxing and with a growing baby bump.
On August 29th I came back to Dubai and since then I must admit that I’m still feeling well. Recently I started to experience some back pain, but I guess it’s because of the size of my belly which is now showing. I haven’t put a lot of weight so far although I’m always hungry! I’m probably eating 4-5 meals per day lol.
NEW CHAPTER FOR BONJOUR CHIARA
I’m sure many of you are asking how this pregnancy is going to affect Bonjour Chiara. I wish I could tell you that nothing is going to change, that I will still talk about my personal style, shopping tips and beauty reviews. But truth is that I have no idea how this baby will change the blog. For sure there will be changes.
My life has already changed so much.
Buying tiny socks are making me happier than a designer bag!!
I’m struggling to find a way to dress my bump. As I said I haven’t put a lot of weight so far, I still fit in some of my clothes. But clearly the image that I see in the mirror is so different now. Sometimes I have an idea of outfit in my mind but when I try the items on is a total disaster. Maybe that outfit was cool on the old Chiara, but at the moment I have different curves to dress up!
The only shopping that I’m doing at the moment is for the nursery of my little baby. And the only fashion I’m interested in is fashion for kids.
So yes, a lot has changed in my life and since Bonjour Chiara has always been my personal space I’m sure it will reflect this new chapter. But I’m happy with that. Very happy!! And maybe I will still be able to help women to find inspiration for them and their little ones.
In the last year or so I’ve started developing a love for suits. I wore a suit in many formal occasions and I must admit that everytime my look left impressed a lot of people. A suit is just a not-ordinary way to dress up. The fact that it’s now easy to find colourful suits helped me a lot to invest in this mania of mine.
When temperatures started to approach 35 degrees I began to pack all my suits. Long pants and heavy fabrics don’t match with summer season! But a month ago, I spotted this yellow linen suit at MANGO and I felt in love at the first sight. I actually ordered it online. I tried the sizes in store first and then I used the Mango e-commerce that works also in UAE. I was even able to choose the option “cash at the delivery”.
The e-shop is definitely a good thing. Most of the time the size I need is already out of stock in store, but still available online. However, I didn’t know that the warehouse is based in Spain, also for Dubai. My order took around 8/9 days to arrive. Quite a lot honestly. Probably because I’m now used to the perfect delivery service offered by Net-A-Porter. In two days I have the order at my front door!
By the way, what matter is that once I got the linen suit, I never stopped wearing it.
Last Friday, on our way to have lunch, Massimo and I stopped the car and we finally documented the linen suit in a serie of shots.
My favourite way to style it is adding the simplest white T-shirt. I normally wear the linen suit with flat sandals, more practical in summer. But I also wore it with a pair of midi heels for date night with Massimo. In this month I also had the chance to wear the two pieces separately. The linen shorts are the perfect choice against the hot weather. The jacket is so light and fresh that I usually take with me when I go to Malls (I suffer the A/C a lot).
An outfit is never completed without the right accessories. I wanted to keep the look quite causal, but at the same time chic. So what better occasion to bring out my new python mini bag? It’s from the brand Jira, specialised in exotic leathers. I absolutely adore this python bag. And yes, it’s black. I know that seeing me with a black bag is totally unusual, but as soon as I spotted this gem on the e-shop, I thought “That is the one!“.
And I’m happy that I followed my guts because I’m surprisingly wearing the black bag with so many of my looks!
To keep everything on the tones of gold, I wore my new watch from D1Milano. You can’t really see from the image but it’s super thin. I like unisex watches, but sometimes they are quite heavy for my wrist. This watch is the right compromise.
Last mention goes for these shell earrings that are part of a limited edition released by MANGO. They are adorable! You can check them better here.
Self Portrait dress via Moda Operandi (c/o) | Dance Lente bag via Moda Operandi (c/o) | Jimmy Choo (c/o) | Sophia Webster heels
It’s wedding season, and if like me, you got a couple of wedding invitations, you know that it’s never too soon to start looking for the perfect wedding guest dress.
I rarely buy a dress for a specific situation. I might decide to buy something because of the upcoming situation, but I always make sure that I can wear the new purchase in many other occasions. Otherwise, it would be a total waste of money.
Fortunately, it’s not really difficult to find the perfect wedding guest dress in Summer. Stores are full of colourful maxi and midi dresses to pick from. Unless the invitation calls for a specific dress code, you are pretty free to play around your wedding guest dress.
The only challenge that you might face is that Summer can be hot. Very hot! For this reason I personally avoid to wear anything that is too tight. I opt for something airy, that makes me breath – especially in the armpit area.
One of my favorite brands for beautiful dresses is Self Portrait. Its dresses are perfect for formal occasion. They are super feminine and elegant. At the same time they are easy to dress down. I wear Self Portrait daily, like to go out with Massimo, to meet friends, for a meeting. Self Portrait is perfect for any occasion.
So if there is one brand that I always check first is Self Portrait.
In fact, I found this maxi floral dress which is absolutely perfect for a Summer wedding. It was sold out almost everywhere, but I got luck and I found it on Moda Operandi. It’s maxi, airy and it has a beautiful cut out detail on the shoulders. It’s light so it’s gonna be perfect even on a hot day. The size S was sold out, so I got it in size M which is slightly big for me, but the waist area is adjustable so I made it work. In case I want to emphasise the waist even more, I can always wear a belt.
The bag that I decided to pair with the dress is a recent discovery from Moda Operandi. This emergent brand is called Danse Lente and it’s getting really popular for its bold, geometrical and unique lines. It’s more masculine, completely in contrast with the femininity of the dress. And I like the match exactly for this reason!
Further Danse Lente bag is not too big but even too small. It’s perfect for a wedding in case you need to fit in a scarf or even a pair of ballerinas if you plan to dance all the night!
H&M high waist pants | & Other Stories cropped top | Sophia Webster slingback shoes |
Dolce & Gabbana bag via The Luxury Closet
I haven’t been very active lately, neither on the blog or on my social media. But I spent the last week between bed and sofa completely sick. Thanks dear A/C! However if my blog hasn’t been updated, my knowledge on Netflix has. I’m now an expert of all TV series!
Anyway, flu or not flu, today I feel good enough to share one of my favorite looks of last month.
I’m such a big fan of high waist pants, but they are not the easiest style to wear. It’s hard to find flattering pants that enhance your curves instead of make them look bigger.
However, a while ago, on what I call my lucky day, I found these trousers at H&M which have the most perfect fit. I never owned a pair of trousers more flattering than this one. In fact I bought them in two colors: black and cream (worn here).
I paid these H&M trousers with a top that I bought in Italy from & Other Stories, a while ago, but I never had the chance to wear. I felt in love with this top at the first sight for the 50’s vibes, for those little ruffles placed on the shoulders and for the perfect sleeves’ length, not too long but neither too short.
To complete this sort of “modern Pin-up” look I added a pair of stilettos from Sophia Webster heels and cat-eye sunglasses.
By this time I think you already know that I rarely wear black, so to make this look closer to my style I had a pop of color with this yellow Dolce & Gabbana raffia bag spotted on The Luxury Closet. It’s the perfect bag for a summer spent in the city. It’s a bit different from all the straw bags that you see everywhere and it doesn’t scream “beach” too much. At the same time, it’s big enough to carry around all the things you need, included your laptop in case of meetings.
Some of the most reviewed face cleansing brushes on the website are those from the FOREO Family. I always see these little cute brushes featured in beauty blogs or websites and the comments are always very positive. So I finally decided to try LUNA mini 2 by myself to see if the hype is just marketing strategy or if the product is really that good.
As most of you know I’ve been living in Doha and Dubai for the last 5 years. Both these cities are very sandy and polluted. I won’t deny the fact that my skin took a lot of time to adjust to this new weather. I had rash on my face, pimples etc.. I still get them once in a while although I follow a good skincare regime and I always clean my face twice a day. But I guess using traditional ways like water + cleanser + hands is not enough.
LUNA mini 2 by FOREO
If you never heard about LUNA mini 2, it’s a cleansing tool with gentle silicone brushes that helps you to rid of all blemish that are not good for the skin (dead skin cells, makeup residue, soil caused by pollution). It’s smaller than your hand, very easy to use or to carry around if you travel. It doesn’t take a lot of room. It works with T-Sonic pulsations that remove up to 99.5% of dirt and oil.
It’s USB-rechargeable, waterproof and it comes in different colours.
This is basically the technical profile of LUNA mini 2 (2 because it’s already the second generation). Now let’s move on a personal level and let’s talk about my experience.
My experience with LUNA mini 2
I got LUNA mini 2 almost three weeks ago and since then I’ve been using diligently twice a day. Morning and evening. And I’m seeing the results!
LUNA mini 2 is very easy to use. In the morning, I simply apply a small amount of cleanser all over my face. I wet LUNA mini 2, I switch on and I start cleansing around. First my cheeks, for about 15 seconds each, then the forehead and the chin. Last 15 seconds are for the small areas like around the nose and the lips. All the procedure takes 1 minute, which is the time suggested by FOREO. The cleanser tool stops for a micro second every 15 seconds to tell you to move on to the next area of your face. After 1 minute LUNA mini 2 doesn’t stop working but the base light switches on so you track the time easily.
After all these steps, I rinse my face in warm water and apply my daily skincare regime.
In the evening I follow exactly the same steps, but if I wore makeup during the day, I remove it using cotton pad and oil cleanser as much as possible.
My thoughts about LUNA mini 2 by FOREO
The first thing you feel are definitely the pulsations. It looks like you haven’t simply washed your face but you actually have exercised the skin! After two weeks of LUNA mini 2 my skin looks tightened, energised and with a better appearance.
The second thing that seriously impressed me it’s how gentle LUNA mini 2 is on the skin. When I first used it I thought it couldn’t really work because in my mind a cleanser brush had to be strong on the skin. It took me few sessions to understand that LUNA mini 2 works and it works in the most gentle way, without harassing your skin.
Another thumb up is for the silicone brushes. In general, replace the brush can be expensive and it might cause breakouts. But LUNA mini 2 has brushes in silicone which you don’t need to replace. Keeping them clean requires zero stress. You simply pass them under the water. LUNA mini 2 is waterproof, just be sure that it’s completely dry when you recharge it.
So, to answer the first question “is LUNA mini 2 cleansing brush worth the hype?” the answer is YES!
LUNA mini 2 is available on FOREO website and if you want to try the product, FOREO gave me this discount for you CHIARAFAM20 to get 20% off, valid until June 14th, 2018
*Thanks FOREO for partnering with Bonjour Chiara. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is the last week of May and I thought to round up the main highs and lows that happened this month.
Farfetch launched in Arabia. I’m still shocked and overwhelmed that I took part of the whole adventure as one of their bloggers. Definitely an HIGH of the year, more than the month.
The discovery of Tania’s Tea House, an adorable cafe located in Jumeirah Road where all the things are pink, girly and darling.
Grilled giant prawn from Blue Blanc restaurant at Reinassence Downtown Hotel.
Massimo and I had a short escape and we went to Italy to visit family for four days.
I finally managed to watch SAFE on Netflix. Initially I watched it distractedly, in fact I had to reply the first two episodes at least twice. But then I got hooked and I watched the entire season in one morning.
In about two months I’m going to turn 35, a little milestone to celebrate before to hit the big 40.
If I look back at my 25 years old self I see a completely different person. It’s true that getting old makes you wiser. There are many things that I was so worried about ten years ago that now I simply don’t care anymore.
One of these is how I see my body in the mirror.
I finally learned to love myself, accepting my body – all the flaws included.
I think it’s really important to take care of your body. We have only one and it carries us around for our entire life. Taking care of yourself is a form of respect. But this doesn’t mean that you have to persist on unrealistic results. Perfection doesn’t exist (despite what social media tell us daily).
My younger self would have spent so much energy on fighting cellulite, following a diet 24/7, counting all the calories, checking daily for new wrinkles and white hair. Fortunately my older self doesn’t have all this time to waste.
At the age of 35, I probably hate my wrinkles and white hair more than ever. But the wise woman who is in me fortunately reminds me that I should be proud of these wrinkles.
They show the laughs and the cries that I had in the past that contributed to create the person I am today. Yes, I don’t like my wrinkles but I honestly prefer to follow a good skincare regime which keeps my skin healthy rather than to try Botox.
I don’t have nothing against those who decide to use Botox. Everyone is totally free to make their own choices. But truth is that Botox never never looks natural. Neither if you use a tiny amount once a year. The simply fact that you don’t have wrinkles at the age of 35 shows how unnatural it is!
I probably hate my cellulite every time I try on a mini skirt or a pair of shorts (those damned lights in changing rooms!). And if I could erase it under the shower I’d do without having a second thoughts. But I can’t. So I try to walk or to exercise few times a week. And I use a scrub every time I take a shower. It’s not a magic formula but it helps me to keep my legs toned up.
And then to that cellulite that loves to stay and to come to the beach with me I say “fine, you win, definitely I don’t want to get crazy for you”.
To all the women out there who struggle to accept their body I tell, no one is perfect. Work on your strengths, make laugh of your weakness and you will shine as any other beautiful star!
Ramadan has started and the happy atmosphere of the Holy Month is really contagious. Despite being a Muslim or not, Ramadan is a moment of joy, love and charity. It’s common to break the fast gathering together with family and or friends.
This is my fifth Ramadan in Middle East and I love sharing Iftar with friends. None of us fast, but we love taking part of the tradition participating to Iftar and Sohour.
We usually eat out, but there is something special and intimate in inviting people to come over to your place.
Last week we tried something different. We had two chef from SCAFA at our home where they put together a special Iftar for us, cooking international recipes using food provided by Al Islami, to celebrate the Flavours of Ramadan campaign.
Thanks to SCAFA and Al Islami for this delightful experience!
Manoush top | Cos cream denim culottes | Zara kitten heels | Staud bucket bag (c/o)
Despite the political situation and despite the fact that these two cities couldn’t look any more different, Doha and Dubai have something in common. They are both mainly made by expat communities.
You can find almost all the nationalities in these cities. And I think this is what makes Doha and Dubai so special.
The connection that people from all around the world creates together and how much you learn from cultures so different from yours it’s something that I’m so grateful to experience.
Unfortunately, with so many nationalities under the same “roof” a lot of stereotypes see the light. The question “where are you from?” get so different meanings. It can be genuine – and probably most of the time is – but it can also has the purpose to remind you that you have less rights because of the country written on your passport.
It’s such a sad thing. But it happens. It happens a lot of time.
I consider myself lucky since I never experienced to feel inadequate for the silly reason that I’m from a certain country. However, two weekends ago something happened that made me think.
Massimo and I were hanging out with friends. We had brunch at Aji at Vista Mare Club, on the Palm and then we moved to Barasti Beach Bar where we stayed till sunset. Few minutes before leaving, my husband just came close to me and he gave me first a kiss on cheek and then a super quick kiss on my lips.
Even faster than what my kiss was, a security guard rushed on us and not in the most polite way he said “No kisses here”.
If the episode would have ended like this I wouldn’t have thought to write a post. I would have understood. Theorically you can’t kiss in public in Dubai (same in Doha). But I thought that being in a place where people are almost naked in their teeny-tiny bikinis, where they serve alcohol and it’s full of drunken people, an innocent kiss between husband and wife was totally fine.
But what made me feel bad was the fact that the security guard asked us where we were from.
Exactly how our nationalities was relevant to the fact the kisses were not allowed? Why did he need to know where we were from? We said Italy and he walked away. But would it have made any difference if we had said a different country?