I can’t believe it really but it’s been over a year since I was living in Rome. And whilst living there, Maria left a comment on this blog and told me about the Italian cosmetic brand, Kiko Milano. She lives in Russia and also has a blog. I picked up the Kiko product she recommended – the Soft Focus Compact Wet & Dry Foundation in 02 Peach Pink – and have been in love with it ever since.

Recently, I did a FOTD and mentioned that I was going to hit pan soon and joked that I needed a trip to Italy to replenish. Maria said she was off to Italy soon and she could pick up another compact for me. I didn’t really want her to go to any trouble, so we exchanged a few emails and I said that I would send her some New Zealand skincare in exchange.

My package is still on its way to Russia and I’m a bit nervous as there is a breakable object in the package. I won’t tell you just yet what is in the package as I want it to be a surprise for her. Tell you once it arrives. But her package arrived recently and it didn’t just contain the Kiko compact. It was chock full of great Russian organic skincare and a few memories of Russia.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned on this blog or not – but I have Russian ancestry (as well as Welsh and a touch of French) and visited the old Soviet Union, just before it crumbled and then again in 1991 or 1992. I learnt Russian at University for a couple of years too but my Russian is basically non-existent now as I have no Russian-speaking friends to practice with.

Maria sent a cinnamon and honey bath sugar from Russian brand, Organic Shop. I think the Organic Shop might be a bit like The Body Shop, Russian version. There were two packets of organic wet wipes plus a moisturiser from another Russian brand, Natura Siberica. At least I think it’s a moisturizer. There’s no English on the box and I’m struggling to read it. So Maria, if you read this – what is it exactly? I’m super keen to use this product as I think that Russian organic products will prove to be excellent.

And then the big surprise and, as this item came out of the box, I immediately recognised it. I confess, Dear Reader, that I’m somewhat of a chocoholic. Whatever country I’m in, a block of chocolate will soon be sampled by me. And I distinctly remember the Alyonka bar of chocolate from my time in the Soviet Union. I remember it because of the image on the chocolate wrapper – a young Russian girl wearing a traditional Russian head scarf. I saw them all over the place. I also seem to recall (and Maria help me here), a large chocolate factory in Moscow. Was it called Red October? A large building with the image of the young girl on the exterior. I suppose the Alyonka bar is made there. Needless to say, the block of chocolate that Maria included was all gone that night. I scoffed the lot! Yummo.

Also in the box were some fantastic postcards showing the beauty of Moscow and Russia. I visited many of the places depicted in those postcards. I can only imagine how Russia has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. I hope to go back one day. Meanwhile, it’s great to have made a friend in Russia and winging its way to her is a box of New Zealand goodies.

Two days after the Russian products arrived, a package of organic goodies arrived from Croatia. I’ll show you these in a future post.


Thank goodness! I won’t run out now.


Such a memory. The iconic Alyonka chocolate bar.


Can’t decipher this but I’m sure it will be a wonderful Russian product.

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