Fall-ing for London

So last weekend my best friend and her boyfriend came to London for some early birthday celebrations, thankfully my birthday wishes were granted and I woke up without a hangover! Despite the lack of hangover the boyfriend and I both felt we were in need of a good dose of fresh air and with the clocks having just turned back we knew our chances of a sunny autumn afternoon were getting fewer and fewer. So we headed to one of my favourite spots in London for my dose of countryside green, Hyde Park, and stopped off at Regent Street on the way for some window shopping and Christmas light admiring. Something about autumn sunshine just makes everything glow and I absolutely love it, crisp, cold, sunny days like this are my favourite.

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Although we didn’t shop we both made a mental note to come back once the lights had been switched on so we could see them in their glory, Regent Street currently looks like someone let Spiderman loose! Give it a few weeks…

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Fun fact I only learnt to ride a bike when I was about 17, but the first time my boyfriend and I came to London together we decided (after a few glasses of prosecco) to get bikes and ride home instead of getting the tube, and even though we’re both still pretty rubbish cyclists we’ve made some kind of tradition out of going on the bikes together.

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Once I’d made the decision to move to London, something I’d dreamed of and talked about since I was so young, all my day dreams consisted of seeing the Oxford street Christmas lights, weekend morning brunches, walks along the thames and bike rides through the park, I remember stopping to take this photo because I wanted to remember how content and happy I felt to finally be where I’d day dreamed of for so long.

and as you can see, London was showing off for the occasion, golden hour in Hyde Park, even more beautiful in person

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anyone would think my boyfriend was competitive? All I said was ready, set, go?

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with cold noses and sore legs, we stopped for a hot chocolate before we made the journey home, in all the grey of London it’s nice to know there’s still a little green around to soothe the soul and remind me of home. We’ve been in London just over a month now, but it’s already starting to feel like home

Birthday weekend | Turning 23

So a few weeks late, but I’ve just been enjoying being in London, soaking up everything going on and finding my feet. I’ve been enjoying writing more diary style posts, if only from a selfish point of view I love looking back on them for memories sake, and just over ten days ago my best friend Jazz and her boyfriend Kai came to London to stay and celebrate.

The Saturday morning before they arrived was spend cleaning and doing last minute bits of unpacking before they arrived, but we also nipped out to get photos for a blog post on this amazing midi wrap dress and by going in hunt of somewhere to take photos we found the nicest square park just a few minutes walk from our flat. A gem. We were so lucky with the weather that day because it wasn't so cold that I needed to wear my coat for photos but still had an autumnal chill.

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After our guests arrived we decided to go out for a bit of window shopping to Marylebone high street, something I still haven’t gotten used to is the amount of new shops in London, so exciting to have so many fresh places to wander. With rumbly tummies we went to Le Pain Quotidien for some lunch, we had open toasties with some really nice strong coffee and hid from the cold (which feels bizarre now because it’s been so warm this week)

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My outfit was - denim skirt from asos, long sleeved Breton striped top from whistles, loafers from office and this amazing fuzzy teddy bear jacket from new look

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For dinner we went for Wahaca, which I’ve not been to since it was just a food truck on Southbank about 4 years ago, but now they're everywhere and a firm Londoner favourite. Drink of choice was passionfruit margaritas and food choice was, well everything! The best way to describe Wahaca is Mexican tapas. Best shared and grazed upon, and absolutely delicious. We also ordered the corn bread with goats cheese spread which was incredible, but next time I’d stick to the tacos. My favourites were the steak and the fish, both so full of flavour and just spicy enough. We’ll definitely be revisiting very soon and it’s such a fun atmosphere for a night out! Gather your besties and book out at least 2/3 hours of your evening…although we were all so so full after so much food that the walk to central soho was very welcomed.

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Not many other photos to share (proof of a fun night!) but we ended up in a busy pub in soho, chatting over a few more drinks before heading home. Blame the margaritas but we decided to all bundle into a rickshaw instead of walking to Tottenham Court Road and it was sooo much fun! Although the photo above won’t win any awards, I love it purely for the smiles on our faces, says it all. I’m definitely more of a quality than quantity person, so celebrating with a few close friends was a perfect way to celebrate turning 23!

Definitely going to put a post together on how I feel about turning 23 very soon…watch this space.

The £25 wonder dress

With so much change happening these last few months, I’ve really been loving coming back to the blog as something that feels familiar. Something I don’t want to feel too familiar though is my content. Writing about beauty is something I’ve always loved to do but with my new job featuring a lot of fashion related content I’m trying to immerse myself more in not only the fashion industry but I’m having fun playing with my own style as well. A little background on me is that I have a fear of dressing older than I am, I’m only 23 but prefer to buy and wear clothes that are more classic tailoring rather than seasonal trends, and that can sometimes leave me feeling a little boring and its something I juggle all the time. This dress fit right into my grey area of something I wasn’t sure wether it would look really flattering or leave me feeling a bit frumpy but when I brought it home, I popped it on with some boots and tights I knew it would be a keeper. An unusual fabric it’s comfy and stretchy like cotton but has the feeling of something much silkier, it doesn’t bunch up in places it shouldn’t and considering the winter we’ve been told is coming I feel like investing in outfits with a little more fabric than usual is something I’ll thank myself for very soon.

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This beauty is from H&M and was £25 on the dot. Considering how versatile this is I think it’s a steal and the animal print keeps it perfect for this season. I can’t see myself wearing this with flats just because of the length I think its so much more flattering with a little more height, so a heeled ankle boot is perfect. A great option for a big meeting at work, or a Christmas party with the family. Even pop on a cropped black jumper and some layered necklaces for a more casual weekend look.

I wore this with a silk cami underneath to keep things work appropriate but I think this could beautifully be styled with bare legs and heeled sandals without the cami underneath for a date night look once the weather warms up in spring. For now I love how this looks with black tights and if/when we get snow I’ll swap the tights out for a thicker legging to keep warm.

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Something that has always been a non negotiable for me if I’m going to wear an outfit to work is that it’s ‘secure’ I mean this in a, will I have to worry about wriggling my skirt down in meetings, or does this shirt have a rouge button that comes undone on its own. Personally I think there is absolutely no point wearing a dress to work just because it looks good if it means you spend half your day stressing about it and don’t actually do your job, not worth the stress. So this dress I know I can trust, its not see through anywhere or too low cut or too short, but its professional, looks like I’ve made more of an effort than I have and because of the print it still manages to show a little personality. The beauty of this being monochrome is that it’s still understated and I’d consider it a neutral, wearing a midi length actual leopard print dress is a little too loud for my usual style.

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So there we have it, an entire outfit for work that’s super versatile and it’s only £25. This may only last me this winter/spring but for that price I’m kind of ok with that, perfect dressed up with heels and a wool coat or dressed down with trainers and a cropped jumper, either way a great piece for 2018 and something I can see myself reaching for as the festive season approaches.

Letting go of "how things should be"

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Today’s blog post is pretty self indulgent, its not a diary post and it’s not really a life update. This is just going to be a rambly narrative of a string of thoughts I had in my head and wanted to get down on paper (or screen). Since this blog started as a place for me to share my thoughts and feelings I figured this is not really that out of place.

So here goes.

Ever since I was a young child make believe is never something I’ve struggled with, playing games turned into drama lessons and performance rehearsals. And believing that if I wanted something enough and I worked hard enough for it that I could achieve anything was instilled in me my whole childhood.

So it’ll come to no surprise when I tell you I’m not a realist, I’m a dreamer by nature. When I was applying for university I had my sights set on one of the top 5 in the country, because in my head I’d romantised the idea of studying in ivy covered castles and wearing capes to lectures. When I realised there was no way I was going to get the grades I needed to get it, I took it as a reflection on my own self worth, but what I realise now is that although I ended up going to a different university, I wouldn't have made the life long friends that I have, or have met my boyfriend if I’d have gone anywhere else. I wouldn't have been able to visit home as often as a I did, I loved my university experience from start to finish and now I wouldn’t change it for the world.

This issue for me started when I was a teenager, I’ve always been a dreamer and I’ve thankfully been taught to dream big. So when I grew up the ideals in my head started to prove harder and harder to achieve and when I didn’t achieve them it felt like my world was falling apart. If I didn’t achieve a certain grade in an exam, or if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight by a certain party, or get a certain role in a play then it felt like I’d failed.

Something I’ve definitely started to come to terms with is that, the idea in my head of how things should be isn’t always what’s best for me.

So for instance, earlier this year I decided to move to London with my boyfriend and we decided to move in together for the first time. In my head, we’d both start on September the 1st and would have found and moved into our flat a good 4/5 days before that so we could settle in. In my head it was an entire flat to ourselves, it was in South-West London and I was going to be working for an agency. Another thing is that my imagination is vivid and that’s putting it lightly, when I say the flat was in south west London, what I mean is that I could tell you what colours the walls would be and what the view would be like out of the windows, I day dream a lot and there’s rarely something I haven’t dreamt up at some point.

Well fast forward to now and the reality is that my boyfriend did start his job on September 1st but I started my new job, not in an agency but in-house at an events company and a month later than him on the 2nd of October, and so far I’m absolutely loving it and can see myself in this company for a really long time. Our flat situation is that yesterday (October 20th) we moved into the master en suite room of a three bed flat in east london that we share with two other people.

Now none of that is how I imagined it would be.

It’s not how I planned it in my head.

But I’ve honestly not felt this genuinely happy in years.

I’ve started more and more to believe that the universe delivers us what we need if we put our faith in it. So no, I did not think I would be sharing a flat when we moved, but I also didn’t think we’d be able to book a holiday anytime soon but thanks to the amount of money we’ll have saved each month on rent, we can. I didn't think we’d have to spend three weeks living in an airbnb waiting for our flat to be ready, and although it’s been expensive and not ideal, its given us a chance to see some new parts of London and we’ve found a room twice the size of anything else we looked at.

So I think the thing I’m getting to is that, although I’m always going to be a dreamer, from now on I’m going to try not to fill in the details. I’m not saying I’m going to lower my expectations, I’m just going to try and make my expectations less detailed, more negotiable with myself.

I’ll still dream up the big picture, draw the lines but let life fill in the colours.

Summer to Autumn Transitional Skincare

Ok so carrying on as part of my autumn series, today is all about skincare products that can help you transition your skin with the weather so its more prepared when we’re hit with full on winter in a few months. Personally when the weather changes so suddenly like it always does this time of year I find I get really broken out, my lips are cracked and so dry and generally my skin is less happy in general. I wrote a full post last week on how to use makeup to maintain your summer glow, but today is all about different changes you can put into your routine to improve your skin and stop it becoming irritated and dehydrated. Some of these products are once a week treats, some are daily staples, but hopefully there’s something here for everyone.

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Cleansers

Starting with makeup removal, this Sunday Riley blue moon cleansing balm is a new one for me. A truly luxury product this is full of conditioning plant oils and essences thats going to remove all your makeup without irritating or drying out your skin. I found this to have a slightly gritty texture and its definitely less oily than other cleansing balms I’ve used but this is a balm to milk formula that did a very impressive job of taking off every scrap of my makeup. The camomile extract is so soothing on your skin and smells lovely, but the core of this product is a cocoa and mooring butter base which is why its so nourishing and feeds your skin so well. For me this did leave a slight residue on my skin but considering this is a first step cleanse I was expecting that and I didn’t mind it so much, but this isn’t a makeup off and go type product but has amazing benefits when used as part of your routine. One of the best ways to help your skin is to find a routine and stick to it, it can take up to 6 weeks for you to see the benefits of using a product, mixing up what you use is only going to confuse your skin and leave it unbalanced. Definitely something I’m trying to work on this autumn is sticking to a routine, both morning and night with my skincare, makeup and haircare, just to simplify things a little more.

Another cleanser that I’ve been using all through the summer and I know it’s going to be able to take me through the winter is the radiant skin foaming cleanser from Julique. It has a whipped, almost marshmallowy type texture and when applied to wet skin it froths up and creates a beautiful exfoliating mousse, gentle enough to use in the morning without fear of redness or irritation but it’s strong enough to buff away any dull skin and keeps my skin heavenly soft. This is one of those products I was talking about when I said consistency is key, Jurlique are known for their natural skincare and wholesome ingredients so you can forget about any artificial nasties, just lots of clarifying rose extract and glow giving willow bark.

I hate to sound like a broken record and if you’ve read any of my other skincare related blog posts this year then you’ll have heard me talk about these products before. Yep thats right, Dermalogica and their magical powder exfoliators, I started the year using their charcoal daily superfoliant which was great for breakouts and oily skin, but now I’ve switched over to the pollution fighting, ultra sensitive Daily Microfoliant and I’m equally as obsessed. The magic behind this is that its a powder you pour into wet hands and apply to a wet face, when the powder comes into contact with water it turns into a foam/paste consistency and feels amazing! I love that this product starts off gritty on your face but then lathers into an amazing foam that buffs away dead skin cells, cleanses deep into your pours to leave your skin balanced and refreshed. I’ve found this has worked wonders on my pigmentation left over from acne years ago. After using these powder exfoliators all year I can honestly say I’ll never go back to a super gritty harsh exfoliator ever again.

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Treatments

Another newbie into my skincare routine has been the ever loved Pixi glow tonic, I’d never used it before and am honestly now kicking myself I didn’t start on it sooner. I’ve religiously used my Clinique anti blemish tonic for about 10 years so I had very high standards of how good this needed to be and surprisingly enough I not disappointed. This is made up of 5% glycolic acid and ginseng which are both going to help boost circulation in your face and brighten your complexion. This kind of glow boosting product is perfect for autumn when everything starts to look quite grey. I’ve been using this twice daily and am really happy with the results, because its a chemical exfoliant its fine to use everyday, although if you find its quite strong and it makes your face red after you’ve used it, which happened to me, then maybe slowly introduce it into your routine, using it 3/4 times a week and build up your skins tolerance to it. Another glow-getter from Pixi are these overnight glow gel drops, I was very confused as to how these worked and wasn’t loving the consistency at first as it felt a little sticky on the face, but after I saw the results I got over the stickiness! Apply a 10p sized amount all over your face and down your neck and leave on overnight, once its sunk in feel free to apply a moisturiser over the top for maximum moisture.

The reason skin loses its luminosity is because the cells get dehydrated and die and unless they’re buffed away they’ll sit on the surface of your skin. Gross I know. However the best way to combat this is to keep your skin as hydrated as you can, one of my favourite boosts is this mask from Peter Thomas Roth. This gel formula is sits on the skin and is pretty thick but is intensely hydrating, great for a mid bath pamper or a Sunday night treat.

When it comes to keeping my lips crack free there’s nothing but lanolips for me at the moment, this apple scented one has been my go to and although don’t use it during the day because I find the oils makes my makeup around my lips and chin slip off, as soon as I’m home and the makeup is off I slather this all over and in the morning I have plump and soft lips. The original formula is also amazing fyi but the apple one smells so good, they also have a peach and strawberry version if that’s more your style.

Another great treatment to add to your bathroom cupboard is this shower oil from BioDerma, you may have seen in my pamper post that it’s around this time of year I reach for shower oil or cream instead of a gel because I find them more nourishing and they don’t leave my skin as dry #everylittlehelps, this one is really lovely because its unscented, is thicker than most so it doesn’t just run down the plug hole and is great for shaving! It provides 24 hours of moisture and often I don’t have to put an additional lotion on if I’ve used this and in the winter mornings I’ll take every spare second of sleep I can get.

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Serums and Moisturisers

Hopefully serums and moisturiser are already a part of your routine so this won’t be anything new, but I’ve found some amazing products for if your skin just isn’t packing the punch it needs to. Something I haven’t mentioned is SPF, very important all year round but in autumn we can forget that the sun can be quite strong still so using a sunscreen is just as important now as it is in the summer. I’ve been using a tinted SPF from BioDerma as part of my morning makeup routine to prep my skin, help keep my skin looking young (no unnecessary sun damage over here thank you very much) and it helps add a little coverage which is never a bad thing in my book. Ok back to the skincare…

Rose extract is an amazing ingredient for this time of year because it’s so intensely hydrating but is also good at tackling impurities in your skin leaving you with a healthier and clearer overall complexion. My two go-to rose products are as always this rose moisturising lotion from Jurlique that can be used a day cream in the morning or layered with an oil for an overnight moisture fix. I love this Jurlique lotion because it feels really light on my skin and the glass bottle keeps something as ordinary as morning moisturiser feeling a little more glamorous. The other rose lotion is this Rose Ceramide Cream from Pixi, the rose oil is what is going to deliver optimum hydration but the inclusion of ceramics means it’ll be slow releasing and help your skin absorb more over time, the metal tin packaging feels very old school and the formula is a light cream that I can tell has oil extract in because it applies so smoothly. An amazing night cream that’ll combat even the driest of skin.

Last but not least is this serum/moisturiser duo from BioDerma, both from their HydraBio range which is designed to combat the effects of weather, stress and pollution which stops skin from retaining water and moisture. These products are designed to rebalance the skin and kick start your skins natural hydration process. What I love about BioDerma is the no-frills attitude, I know that all the ingredients are 100% necessary and it’s designed purely with its purpose in mind, so there’s going to be nothing to irritate my skin. The serum is lovely and glides onto my skin and sinks in evenly, the moisturiser isn’t as thick as I normally reach for this time of year but with the ingredients and benefits I’m going to keep using it as my morning moisturiser and see if the benefits ring true.

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Phew, for those of you still reading - Congratulations! Potentially my longest skincare post yet, hopefully some of that was helpful in navigating this tricky time of year. My advice overall is to find a routine thats hydrating with a gentle exfoliation minimum twice a week and drink as much water as you can! I’ll be doing a winter version of this series in the coming months where there’ll be a lot more oils and balms so stick around for that and if there’s any specific skincare questions you’d like answers to please give me a shout on instagram! x

My best chocolate cake recipe

With September comes one of my favourite programmes of the entire year, bake off! I got into the habit of each week on a Tuesday I’d bake something fun for my family and I to eat whilst watching bake-off. The first week I baked cookies - I blogged about those a few weeks ago, and week two I attempted a three-layer chocolate mocha cake. It was a complete disaster and basically I’d converted the ingredients wrong from cups to grams so the recipe was completely out of whack. Not to be put off of baking chocolate cake I gave it another go, this time using a chocolate fudge cake recipe from Olive magazine. It looked super simple, all the ingredients were listed in grams and the image looked so delicious I couldn’t help but give it a go. I was thoroughly chuffed with how well it turned out and my family agreed it was very moreish, light but moist and they told me I’d be a shoe-in for star baker in my own bake-off of me vs me.

The difference in this recipe is that the sponge is made with dark muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar which is what gives it that fudge taste, really delicious and the chocolate icing recipe is one I’m going to keep up my sleeve because its so simple but came out really well!

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Ingredients

  • self-raising flour 150g

  • cocoa 30g

  • baking powder 1 tsp

  • muscovado sugar 175g

  • butter 175g, softened

  • eggs 3

  • vanilla extract 1 tsp

  • dark chocolate 50g, melted

Fudge Icing

  • butter 200g, softened

  • icing sugar 200g

  • dark chocolate 200g, melted


Method

  • STEP 1

    Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Line and butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins.

  • STEP 2

    Put all cake ingredients into your bowl or processor and mix until smooth. If the mix is a little stiff, add 1-2 tbsp water and blend again, I like to add just a dribble of cold black coffee to the mix, it really brings out the flavours in the chocolate. I don’t know where or when I heard this tip but I’ve always done it with chocolate cake and they've always tasted really good. Make sure though that the coffee is completely cold before you put it into the mixture other wise it’ll start to cook the eggs and your mixture will curdle.

  • STEP 3

    Divide between tins, level and bake for 30 minutes or until springy. Leave for 5 minutes then cool on a rack.

  • STEP 4

    With a clean bowl combine the butter and icing sugar, add the melted chocolate, mix until completely smooth. If the icing is looking a little runny, which mine was, then I just add a table spoon of icing sugar and repeat until it comes together. Also letting it sit in the bowl is a good way to let it firm up, otherwise the butter is just getting hotter and hotter and it’ll only get runnier.

  • STEP 5

    Place the bottom layer of the cake onto a plate, allow a generous dollop of icing to be spread across the middle, add the other sponge and put the remaining icing on top. I chose to decorate with melted white chocolate and magic stars but at this point you can decorate with anything. Worth noting that this icing is thick enough that you could crumb coat the entire cake if you wanted to, I’d like add an extra third onto the icing recipe for this.

And Voila! Seemingly simple chocolate cake but its a classic for a reason, I’m definitely going to be breaking this recipe out again a lot in the future and it’s the perfect base for mixing it up, you could very easily add white chocolate to the icing instead of dark or add dried rose petals to the top. Another decadent option would be to take fresh cherries and sugar into a saucepan and cook down until it forms a thick sauce, sandwich in the middle and drizzle on top for a sour kick.

Let me know if you try this recipe! Once I’m settled into my new flat I plan on baking a lot more so expect more baking posts as the weeks get cooler - Enjoy! x

Holding on to the summer glow | Makeup Edit

Ok so as I stepped outside this morning it was very obvious summer is long gone and Autumn is well and truly here! Personally I’m thrilled because Autumn is my favourite season (and not just because it’s my birthday) but with Autumn days come chillier, harsher weather and a fading tan is replaced with dry sensitive skin with a serious need of some glow injection. Luckily I’ve discovered some power players to up the anti on your daily glow without looking oily. For me, having combination skin I tend to get very oily by lunchtime and personally prefer a more satin finish to my foundation but that wont leave me looking like I’m desperate to find some sun.

Of course glow starts from within, the best way to get a glow that lasts is to pile those greens sky high on your plate, avoid alcohol if you can and make sure you’re drinking enough water (sadly coffee and juice do not count towards your daily intake so stick to the simple stuff) I also like to take a vitamin to help my overall health in the winter but if it contains vitamin B that going to help give your skin and nails a really good boost! I’ve got a separate post coming all about autumnal skincare and how to help your skin in the transitional weather but today is all about our war paint. When I’m working I like to use as few products as possible, just to keep things quick and simple and also for my skins benefit because I hate overloading it with product.

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Ok so from the top I like to start with a pollution barrier primer that’s going to protect my skin, and the best primer I’ve ever used is this one from dermalogica. It’s the skin perfect primer and although it feels like a silicon based product which can be really clogging on the pores, this has got so many good nutrients in that turn my skin to velvet I can’t help but love it and it has a slight tint that means you could wear it on its own. I like to focus this only on the necessary areas like my t-zone, chin and forehead because I find thats where my skin needs the most help and my makeup rubs off the quickest.

Onto foundation, if I know I’m going to have a really long day and I need something high coverage thats going to last then I always use the revlon colour stay foundation for combination skin because this has such a healthy colour but does not budge. Seriously this foundation is spin class proof and I love it. When it comes to day to day foundation I try not to spend too much money just because I get through it so quickly I don’t find I get the value from a really expensive foundation. The other foundation I love for maximum glow without the shine is the L’Oreal match perfection foundation, it comes in dozens of colours and if you put the bottle to the light you’ll notice that there is a slightly holographic, glittery type sheen running through it and it did concern me at first but once its applied all it does is look super healthy and bright in a good way.

Another Autumn favourite is the Bare Minerals Complexion rescue, I wouldn’t necessarily class this as a foundation but more of a tinted moisturiser but it is so light on your face and without a doubt the most hydrating base I’ve ever used. I tend to reach for this at the weekends when I want a little something without going full coverage foundation. I will say the more you blend this the less coverage you’ll have so I tend to use a beauty blender or a flat top brush and pat it into my face rather than buffing as I find I just end up looking a little greasy if I work it in too much. Great for a hungover Sunday face or if you just fancy something extra hydrating and dewy.

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This palette from Pixi is the perfect all in one product, I use a big fluffy brush to run some of the bronzer though my cheek bones and over my forehead to warm up my face and then mix the two blush colours (I think the colour on the far end is supposed to be a highlight but because I’m naturally quite pale this acts as a blush on me) and for me my favourite way to get the glow in Autumn and winter is blush. I love the look of flushed cheeks and like to concentrate the products on the apples of my cheeks and sweep it slightly in towards my nose for the most natural look. If you’ve read my last makeup post you’ll know this summer I fell in love with my Dior rosy glow blush but now that I’m not as tanned I like to switch things up and my go-to winter blush hasn’t changed for the past two years and its the hourglass ambient lighting blush in mood exposure. I remember wanting one of these blushes for so long and they are very expensive, but I’ve used mine almost daily for two years and have only just hit the bottom, I’ll definitely go back for another one of these because this colour especially is just stunning! It’s almost got a lilac undertone to it but it brings so much life to my face and looks great on everyone, my best friend Jazz also uses these and she’s a chocolatey brunette, so if it can work on both of us you know its winner! Once I’ve used this up I may try another colour just to switch things up, theres a shade for everyone.

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I’m not fussy on what powders I use and normally just take a dense powder brush and pat powder under my eyes, along my jaw bone and down my nose, leaving my freshly blushed cheeks and forehead alone. Purely for keeping my makeup in place, I really do notice a difference when I wear a decent powder, I like to wear translucent so it doesn’t interfere with my foundation. That’s all I change for a golden hour inspired glow, add a swipe of my well loved petal tinted lip balm from fresh beauty and I’m out the door! The skincare version of this post is coming up soon so keep your eyes peeled! x

Exploring Notting Hill

So I found myself with a Monday to spare in central London and decided to explore the neighbourhoods around my job, having never really been to Notting Hill before (and with a rumbling tummy crying out for scrambled eggs) it seemed like the perfect fit! Being the first of October the weather was unusually cold, giving me an excuse to break out my new teddy bear bomber jacket which I was thrilled about and I took a wander through the streets of Westminster towards Notting Hill, no need for a map - once I was there, I knew! Beautiful florists and cafes everywhere and the trademark townhouses lined the side streets. With the Autumn light peeping through the trees and very few other people out and about it did feel like I’d stumbled into some kind of old English village in the middle of London.

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I was under strict instructions that if I was in Notting Hill and wanted eggs and coffee there was only one place to go, so after a wandering lap around the block (secretly I just didn’t want to turn off my playlist) I found myself outside Granger & Co, which was unsurprisingly busy for a Monday morning. Having been so captivated by how beautiful the area looked in the sunlight, I zipped up my teddy coat and braved a table outside, much calmer than the hubbub of inside and a great spot for people watching!

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Ok so we need to discuss the eggs. The finest eggs I’ve ever had outside of my parents kitchen, so silky and buttery I would have eaten an entire platter full of them, and the sourdough toast was just the icing on the cake. Paired with a coffee it was exactly what I was after when I woke up that morning hungry for eggs. I did spot the ricotta pancakes on the menu and will definitely be returning to try those! I can’t rave about the eggs enough they were that good, I am planning on calling the friend that recommended it and asking why we have not been sooner! A gem of a breakfast place. Expect queues, come for the reputation of infamous Granger & Co but stay for those eggs! I’ve pencilled this is for many a brunch to come and the beauty of it is that I think it’d be perfect for visiting parents or a brunch with friends to cure the night before.

I didn’t realise until it was over but other than to take these photos, my phone spent nearly a good hour, tucked away in my bag! I can’t remember the last time I ate a meal without either someone to chat to or a phone to scroll through and it was so therapeutic to just enjoy my breakfast alone with my thoughts and the passers by and I’d highly recommend it for the next time you’re feeling burnt out or stressed.

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After breakfast, and wrapped in my new favourite teddy fur jacket feeling suitably stuffed (excuse the pun) I decided to walk through Kensington Palace garden heading back towards the rush of regent street and it felt like a very special way to spend my first ‘proper’ day in London. I’ve always wanted to run the London Parks Half Marathon and seeing so many cyclists and runners out and about was definitely motivating, however at least for now I think I’ll stick to walking through the parks in a breakfast coma instead. x

ps. if you’re looking to add a teddy coat to your autumn wardrobe (and if not, why not?) then this is the one I have

She loved three things...

One of my favorite quotes from W. Somerset Maugham is the perfect way to describe our anniversary.

She loved three things..a joke, a glass of wine and a handsome man

Having been with my boyfriend for 4 years last weekend we decided to do something fun to celebrate, and since we’re moving to London (well technically it’s just me left to move he’s already there) we thought where better than central London on a Friday night to celebrate!

As the quote suggests, we went to the early show at the Comedy Store, an absolutely hysterical experience. I was pleasantly surprised at how small the venue was, but it was packed and we were there for the best of standup show and let me tell you we were not disappointed! Six amazing comedians all with their own style and topics. Walking out my cheeks genuinely ached from laughing so much. We made a pact then and there that if either of us ever had a really rubbish week at work that we’d come back to the Comedy Store to heal a grumpy mood (or two)

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Then we wandered around the corner to Burger and Lobster for some dinner, I’ve heard about the food for years and have always wanted to try it, but with so many independent restaurants in London I always try and steer clear of chains if I can. This was my boyfriends choice, I told him I’d been craving a proper burger for weeks and he dealt with the rest. In his own words “ I went for burgers, because ya know classic me but then I thought I better class it up a bit since it’s our anniversary - so lobster” It was delicious! He had the lobster burger, which is a burger and then topped with lobster meat and I had the burger and lobster combo (ambitious I know) but all I wanted was their classic burger so we decided I’d get the combo and we’d share the lobster. Needless to say, that was such a good call because there was an absolute mountain of food! Add in a side of piping hot super salty skinny fries and a salad topped with dressing and parmesan and I was left craving something with an elasticated waistband by the end of it!

Now something I love about my boyfriend is that he never does things by halves, so the fact that this restaurant was preparing to bring him so much food that they felt they needed to give him a bib was very exciting news, and when we discovered that their cocktails could be ordered in a goblet for sharing rather than in a normal glass he couldnt order quick enough! All our food was so delicious I would go back there again in a heartbeat!

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After walking off our food we found ourselves right in front of the most brightly lit ice cream shop I’ve ever seen (funny how that happened isnt it) I ordered a mint choc chip and salted caramel ice cream cone and the boyfriend had their speciality, two freshly baked cookies smooshed on either side of a scoop of ice cream of your choice. I don’t know how he ate that after our feast at dinner but as always he continues to surprise me! At this point I had very sore feet and had sworn I’d never wear those shoes again, we perched on a bench and watched the Leicester Square madness happen around us (we counted 3 hen parties, two what we thought were first dates and one very embarrassed looking stag dressed as Minnie Mouse!

We’ve been to London together quite a few times over the years and feel like we’ve ticked off most of the typical London things to do, so we sat chatting about the kinds of restaurants and things we want to explore once we’re settled in. With no plans to leave London anytime in the next 7-8 years we’re both excited to be working in the same city for the first time ever! First stop, finding a good Thai restaurant (recommendations welcome) and I’m keen to invest in a good picnic blanket asap so we can make the most of Londons parks. After we’d finished putting the world to rights we decided to make our way home and in true non-londoner style decided to walk to a tube station that “didn’t look that far” LIES especially in the previously mentioned painful heels, will definitely not be doing that again! All part of the fun of learning to live and love in a new city.

We had the lovliest evening, just laughing and enjoying delicious food and treats much like we’ve done for the past four years, and it made it all the more special to be in London together to celebrate before we prepare to start our next big adventure in the city together. x

The truth behind instagram

Ok so this post has been a long time coming, with instagram changing so much in 2018 the way we all use the platform naturally is going to change as well. There’s been lots of new bloggers pop onto the scene and some truly incredible breakthroughs made by some seasoned blogger pros. I wanted to put my thoughts to paper, to explain my thoughts on instagram, the way we’re all using it and how I use it as a blogger.

I’m hoping for this to be brutally honest and shed some light on the instagram game from a bloggers perspective. Firstly I’ll explain that I used to just have a personal instagram account that I had on private with just my friends and family, as my blog grew I decided to start using instagram as a marketing platform to spread the word about my blog, over the past few I’ve built up a following of nearly 10,000 people which is mad to me. I’ve definitely gone through phases with it where I’m either not bothered and won’t post for weeks or I’m posting 2/3 times a day, bribing my boyfriend with baked goods so he’ll stand in the street and take photos of me in the freezing cold. I wanted to put pen to paper - or fingers to keys, to share my thought process behind instagram, how I use it and how I’ve found a bit of peace with a platform thats gotten so much hate this year. I should say that I work in social media for a living, so I spend a lot of time reading and learning about how the platforms work and shockingly enough, algorithm isnt a dirty word to me.

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Yes instagram bloggers can take things to the extreme and there have been cases of people being accused of photoshopping and overly editing photos but in my opinion isnt that what instagram was made for? It’s photos that are beautiful to you, that you’ve either taken or are in that you like and you want to share with the people who follow you. I like to look at photos like these the same way I view a film or a fashion ad campaign, it’s real life, but not really. It’s normal everyday life, with glitter on top. I can honestly say I’ve never sat in the bath with a 2 foot wide bouquet of roses overlooking the Swiss mountains, but I love the idea that someone out there does, or did! Instagram isnt fake, photos like these aren’t fake *minus the use of photoshop of course because someone actually had to do that to get that shot. Instagram to me is finding aspirational, beautiful snapshots of everyday life, it’s using your imagination. To think ok so we’re going on holiday to a beautiful country where there’s a massive Disney style castle right next to our hotel, why can’t you put on a princess worthy dress and pose in front of it, creating a fairytale? Whats so wrong with that? I promise you it’s very rare that you’ll find a beauty blogger who finished getting ready and her makeup just happened to have scattered like that across her dressing table and those roses? Just a coincidence they got in the shot. It’s all real life, thats her real makeup and her actual dressing table but the way they’re arranged and the roses and the lighting? Thats just the glitter thrown on top.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the power of the law of attraction and I think theres a lot to be said for “fake it till you make it” if thats the kind of life you aspire to have, then why not recreate the way you want things to be in your head? All that does it put yourself one step closer to where you want to be, do I want to be a morning person who runs 10k on the weekends and is permanently surrounded by flowers and puppies, Yes! Yes I do! and if creating beautiful photography puts me one step closer or at least helps me feel one step closer then what could be so wrong. I think the line stops when people forget that that’s not reality, or when people live their lives purely for instagram opportunities. It’s all in moderation, no one wakes up with peachy pink cheeks thick black lashes and a grey smokey eye but no ones calling me out for putting on makeup everyday? It’s the same thing, I think if people, bloggers, celebs whoever wants to pose and filter their photos then who are we to tell them its wrong?

When I hear articles and worst of all - other bloggers - calling each other out for being fake and being overly posed or filtered or edited I honestly think - so what! If that person gets joy out of creating their content and it’s not hurting anyone and we can all remember to take it with a pinch of salt then why not let instagram become what Pinterest and Tumblr have always been! Outlets for creativity and originality! The politics behind social media in my opinion really do not need to be as intense as they are. Short and sweet post but something I wanted to talk about as I’ve been seeing more and more negativity lately.

Pamper Routine

With the days getting colder and shorter that can only mean one thing, winter is coming (please read in a GOT style), and I don’t know about you but in the summer my pamper routine is not as detailed. There’s just something about coming in from the cold and getting into a hot bubble bath that is a whole new level of relaxing. I’ve found some amazing new pamper products recently and I thought it was the perfect time of year to update my pamper routine and share with you some great products worth adding to your bathroom cabinet.

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Ok so first things first, gotta get the foundations right, I love a super hot bubble bath, the water as hot as I can handle, and then I use a teaspoon to scoop out some bubble bath so I don’t get through it too fast or more importantly overflow my bath with bubbles and have to scoop armfuls of bubbles into the shower (true story). One of my favorite bubble baths was the body shop honey bath melt which I used for years, sadly they’ve discontinued it now but the body shop makes a great range of bath treats that are reasonably affordable.

At the moment though I’ve been loving using the Champneys products particularly this heavenly day relaxing bubble bath which smells kind of floral but also it’s got lots of lavender scents which is great if you’re having a night time bath. I know a lot of people like to read in the bath or watch tv but personally, I prefer just to put on a nice playlist, I listen to this app that has beach noises or there’s a really lovely fire crackling noise that I love. I try to switch off and not think about anything, just let myself relax and unwind. 

Once I’ve had a good soak and I’ve relaxed then I’ll go in with my favourite sister and co body scrubs which are made from the most amazing all natural ingredients, like this matcha powder one which is really invigorating on the skin. One of my favorite ones has pumpkin oil which is amazing at this time of year and smells incredible. They leave my skin feeling really really soft and what I quite like is that because they’re oil based they leave your skin with this beautiful oil on top that you can either massage in or I use it to when I shave my legs which makes them so smooth.

No pamper night would be complete without a face mask and one of the best face masks I’ve ever used is the Peter Thomas Roth blue marine algae nourishing face mask. It’s a gel consistency that is quite thick on your face, I like to leave it on whilst I’m in the bath and after once I’m putting on my lotions then I will wash it off with a warm flannel. It is quite pricey but considering I’ve used this at least half a dozen times and I can't even notice a dent I’d say this will last me a really long time and is worth paying that bit more for such amazing ingredients, it’s really gooey on your face but it’s so nourishing that I find my skin feels so much plumper and smoother after I’ve used this. After I’ve washed off the face mask I sometimes will skip the rest of my skincare routine for that night to let the mask really work its magic, I’ll just follow up with a face mist like this herbivore style one I picked up in TK Maxx, completely didn’t realise this was a herbivore dupe until I got home but any hydrating mist will help lock in your skin's moisture and you’ll wake up looking glowing!

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After I’m out of the bath I like to going to pat myself dry and then use a body butter or a body oil to leave my skin feeling supersoft before I go to bed. This one from J R Watkins is an all natural coconut milk and honey body oil that I bought in America last year. sadly I don’t think I can find it in the UK yet but any kind of body oil will work. It’s great that this is a mist, it makes it so much easier to apply and is less messy. I’ve only started using body oils in the past year or two and can’t believe I didnt start sooner, they make such a difference. Another great body oil is the unscented Vitamin E oil from Previse Skincare, such a good unscented alternative that I find is actually less greasy than this one and sinks in so fast. I got through an entire bottle of it this summer it’s just that good!

Another long-term favourite is of course the soap and glory righteous butter, I dread to think how many tubs I’ve gotten through over the years as I’ve been using it since I was in my early teens so well over 10 years ago now! It’s a staple at Christmas for my mum, my sister and I to buy each other, the smell is so nostalgic, it feels very pampering and the body butter formula itself is probably the richest butter I’ve ever used that doesn’t leave my skin feeling super greasy, a must have in the winter!

Having spent so long in the bath we all know how prune like your hands can get, so I like to use a super rich hand cream after I get out to get some moisture back in my hands and nails. This lemon butter balm for Lanoilips is my new favourite, such a subtle sweet lemon smell and my hands are so soft having used this every few hours for the past couple of weeks. The packaging doesn’t lie it’s very intense but not greasy, I have no problem applying this and then carrying on with whatever I’m doing because it sinks in so quickly. Very excited to have this in my life as the weather continues to get colder.

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Another favorite face mask is this rice oil brightening mask from barefaced beauty, what I love about barefaced beauty is that you can get their products on Amazon which if you don’t drive like me it’s great to have such high-quality beauty products able to deliver a very next day. I’ve noticed this is such a delicate mask with a light cream/lotion texture, it looks like a white color on your face but I find that my skin really soaks it all up very quickly and leaves it feeling very soft and very well moisturized. Great if you’re looking for a slightly cheaper easier to get hold of an alternative to the Peter Thomas Roth mask.

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If I’m having a daytime bath and I don’t feel like I need to wind down quite as much then sometimes I’ll take it a nice hot coffee and a book like this one “A Simple Favour” by Darcey Bell that if you didn’t catch my review of this last week I’ll link the post at the bottom as it’s such a gripping read and with the film coming out very soon it’s definitely a book to pick up before you see the film

So that’s everything I do for a full pamper, nice and quick if its on a weekday but if you’re having a Sunday night bath (one of my favourites) then I hope this has given you some inspiration and some new product recommendations.

Brand Focus | No7 Skincare

One of the most popular skincare brands on the highstreet, undoubtedly the best "own brand' skincare out there and we've all probably used it at some point. Today's post is all about No7 Skincare, the highs, the lows and all the bits in between. When I was 17 I worked part time on the No7 counter and so learnt quite a lot about the products and there are some real gems in their ranges that for me anyway outperform any high end alternative. 

No7 as I mentioned are owned by Boots and you can only find their products exclusively in a Boots store. The way the brand is organised is that there are different ranges for different ages and skin types. I think this is such a clever way to allow customers to navigate the many different product types that come under the umbrella "skincare", by sorting products by range it's easier to pick which products are most suitable for your skin type and you won't end up wasting money on products that are completely unsuitable for you. I've tried so many different No7 products and thought today I'd give you a quick mini-review of some of my stand out winning products. 

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Cleansing Balm 

Fun fact, this was the first product I ever went back to repurchase. This oil/gel based cleanser is amazing at removing makeup, I apply it to a dry face massaging into all my makeup (yes including my eyes) and then when you add water you get a love milky cleansing lotion. Perfect as a first step cleanse, I've gone through too many of these to count and can rely on it as a fail safe product if I just want to get my makeup off in a hurry without having to faff with micellar waters and cotton pads. 

Cleansing Oil 

This is exactly what it says on the tin. It's a one step cleanser, again I use it on top of makeup to remove everything, only difference with this is that it does leave behind some residue (not a bad thing, leaves my face clean and nicely prepped for second cleanse) and naturally being an oil it's a lot messier than the balm. I don't use this product on my eyes because I do think it stings once mixed with water, but if you've never tried a cleaning oil before and want. a fairly basic, inexpensive product to dip your toe into the world of cleansing oils then you can't go too far wrong. I nearly always have a bottle of this on the go in my bathroom cupboard and kind of don't see the point in paying for something more expensive when this one does the job so brilliantly. 

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Deep Hydration Mask 

I have a love hate relationship with this product but I think the hate part is down to my own skin rather than the product which is why it's been included. You can faintly see in the photo above that the product is made up of two components that swirl in the bottle and come out together as a almost foam/gel consistency. Very cooling on the face this mask has a whipped texture once applied, the first few months of using this I was obsessed and it left my skin feeling so soft and glowy I couldn't get enough. Then once the weather got warmer I think my skin obviously changed some how and when I applied this I instantly had a tingling/burning sensation and removed it straight away. It was really strange and I've used it with caution ever since, BUT considering I know lots of other people who know and love this, I'd put that down to my own personal experience rather than the product itself. Apply a thick layer and if you want you can rub the mask between your fingers to mix the two parts before applying to your face, I wouldn't recommend sleeping in this one because I found it doesn't sink all the way in so it can get a little messy. 

Pore Purifying Cleanser 

I won't lie I bought this product because I liked the idea of the built in brush component, but the actual cleanser was the part that surprised me. Its just a simple gel formula that doesn't foam at all, but it's actually does tingle on your skin. The same feeling that toothpaste gives your teeth that's what this cleanser does for your face (it's a strange analogy I know but go with it) The cleanse does't do anything out of the ordinary but my skin definitely feels cleaner after using it. The built in brush is a bit tough on the skin so I'd recommend using quite a bit of the cleanser and being gentle, a little goes a long way here. 

Overnight Radiance Boost Serum 

I'm including this last because it comes with a small disclaimer that the last time I checked this serum wasn't available anymore, but I think you may still be able to find it online. I wanted to include it anyway in case No7 re-release it, this is a rich serum that packs a punch. I did get through it quite fast but the results were great, my skin looked brighter and felt softer within a couple of days of using this. I only used this at night and stuck to just moisturiser during the day but I bought a backup of this online just in case they never bring it back because it's a great product that's not packed with dozens of unnecessary ingredients but that definitely brings results. 

 

 

Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Bake off is back on our screens and its re-ignited my love of baking! Last week I attempted a show stopper cake and needless to say it didn’t quite go to plan, however this week I went with something a little more predictable and made these incredible chocolate chunk cookies from Tanya Burr’s blog. These cookies are meant to be super gooey and extra decadent which I figured was perfect for a rainy, September Tuesday night in front of the TV. The beauty of this recipe is it doesn’t use traditional chocolate chips, even though you definitely could, but you can add chunks of whatever chocolate you’ve got in the house. I went for Cadbury milk chocolate buttons and chunks of dark chocolate. Read on for the full recipe...

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Ingredients

200g butter

300g caster sugar

1 large egg

275g self-raising flour

75g cocoa powder

a little splash of milk (if needed)

As much chocolate as you need for the chunks


Method

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  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and prep your baking trays with a sheet of baking paper. Good tip for getting the paper to stick is to put a tiny bit of butter in each corner to act as a glue.

  2. Take the butter and caster sugar and beat them together until light and fluffy, should resemble icing at this point (because thats essentially what it is)

  3. At this point add the egg and mix until the mixture goes slightly runnier

  4. Mix the cocoa powder and flour together in a bowl and add to the liquid mixture bit by bit, I like to add in a third at a time.

  5. The mixture should now start to come together, if it looks a little dry or if there’s bits crumbing then add a splash of milk. I’d recommend going with less milk than you think at first because it’s hard to balance the mixture out if you add too much.

  6. Now grad whatever chunks of chocolate you have that you want to add, this is a chance to spice up the recipe. I added Cadbury buttons and dark chocolate but you could add mint aero, or crunchy or milky bar for a hit of white chocolate.

  7. Roll the dough into balls just smaller than the palm of your hand, these are supposed to be decent sized cookies and their size is what helps then retain their gooey texture. So this mixture made about 10-12 cookies, I placed them on a baking tray, being sure not to squish the balls down too much otherwise they’ll spread out too much.

  8. This is quite important, you need to cook them for 11-12 minutes and then take them out of the oven, they won’t look like they’re done but I promise you don’t want to put them back into the oven. Leave them on the baking tray on the side to cool for about half an hour and they’ll be perfect for serving and enjoying with a cup of tea.


So there we have it! Perfectly gooey cookies, what I love about this recipe is that the basis of this is so flexible and can be transformed to include so many flavours, and they were so quick to make! About 10 minutes to combine all the ingredients and 11 minutes in the oven, by the time I got them out to cool I’d already tidied up the kitchen and had only been baking for about 20 minutes! Great if you’re looking to whip up something for a party or a housewarming, and I think they’d make a great Christmas gift if you tied batch up in a pretty box in your friends favourite flavour!

Let me know if you make these and if you’re following along with bake off! Enjoy x

What I read this summer | Book Reviews

There are so many good bits of summer its hard to count, and this summer for the first time in years and I do mean like 5 years I've actually had some proper downtime between jobs to actually relax! One of my New Years resolutions for the past few years has been to get back into reading, I used to be such a book worm when I was younger, but as soon as my school work stepped up (and my iPhone came into my life) I've been reading less and less. It got to the point where I'd buy a book and I wouldn't open it for a year or I'd literally take months to read one book or just give up and not read at all. You may have seen from my earlier post that we spent a long weekend in Cornwall, I decided I'd buy a new book and try and put a dent in it, which considering we had a 14 hour return journey to get there I didn't think I'd have an issue with that. Well...I was shocked to find how hard I was finding it to stay focused on my book! I'd find myself reaching for my phone every other page and taking breaks where I'd just stare out the window with my book in my hand, lacking focus in a big way. I took this as a sign that my phone had done some serious damage to my attention span, so reading needed to get back on the cards and quick, this lack of attention must be effecting me in other parts of my life as well. So although I only made it a third of the way through my book, I came home with determination to get back into reading and since then have raced through more books in the last month than I've read in the last year!! 

Something that's really helped me is the Good Reads app, since I do a lot of reading on my kindle I like that it keeps track of which books I've read and which books I've marked as 'to read'. Also having the yearly reading challenge has kept me motivated to keep reading, I love a challenge. At the moment I'm aiming for 20 books this year and I've read 5! (oops) but since there's 16 weeks left of 2018 I think I have a good chance at making it! If you have any recommendations for me I'd love to hear them, and please feel free to follow me on Good Reads! 

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Truly, Madly, Guilty - Liane Moriarty 

480 pages 

From the amazing writer of Big Little Lies, if you saw the TV show you'll know this writer is brilliant at writing strong female characters with a storyline that does their complex personas justice. I won't lie this is a big read for me and it took be a good 100 pages to properly get into this but when the tension started building and I couldn't stop! This story is set around the events of one evenings BBQ, there's a lot of build up before you actually find out what happens but I promise it's worth it, every line of back story just makes what happened that much more real and I personally was desperate for more pages so I could find out what happens next. A good summer read and long enough to keep you going for a full beach week (or like me a few days if you do nothing else but read and once you're into this that's probably what'll happen) 

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A Simple Favour - Darcey Bell 

384 Pages 

So one evening I fell down the black hole that is the marketing material for upcoming movie, A Simple Favour. Starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, both actresses I love and as sometimes happens I get completely sucked into a movies marketing, I watch all the trailers and read all the interviews and then I found out that the film wasn't coming out for a few months! So I went straight on to amazon and bought the book and read it in 3 days which considering I wasn't on holiday these were just three normal days that's lightning fast for me! What I enjoyed about this book is that having watched the trailer for the film I already had an image of the characters and what their homes and setting looked like, the storyline is gripping to say the least! I think the review on the cover got it spot on 'a delicious poisoned cupcake of a story' it's glamorous and decadent but has such a detailed an gripping story that you know you shouldn't be spectating the worst but you can't help it! Imagine Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl (anything were Blake Lively plays someone even remotely glamorous and I get Serena Van Der Woodsen vibes) its spooky, thrilling and the ending is perfection! If you can't wait for the movie I suggest you pick this up immediately 

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Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

400 pages 

This book was everywhere this summer! Felt like everyone was reading it, this is the one I mentioned I downloaded before my trip to Cornwall and despite getting through the first third pretty quick I said to my family that the storyline was building but I found myself waiting for the twist to drop and it just wasn't happening. Anyway I picked this up again in Greece and polished it off pretty quick, being able to understand the characters is key to the whole plot. A baby is abandoned at a fire station and is allowed to be taken in by a well off couple who have wanted baby for years, the birth mother although single, with little money or stability is campaigning to get her baby back. A court case that shakes a normally very polite well to do town and the impact on one particular family runs deeper than expected. Beautiful storyline, again the ending made up for the fact that I found it a little slow. This title was picked as part of Reece Witherspoons book club and has got thousands of glowing reviews online. 

Year of Yes - Shonda Rhimes 

352 pages 

Ok so I've posted about this book a lot, and that's because I've been reading it on and off since January! Yes shamefully its taken me nearly 9 months to read this book, however, I will say that I don't think this kind of book is meant to be read all in one go. The life lessons Shonda talks about are topics that need to be digested and mulled over to truly get the benefit from them. Year of Yes is a kind of diary, as Shonda takes on the year long challenge of saying yes to everything that scares her and seeing where the year will lead. I think it's no surprise that we all as a generation suffer with a whole new kind of imposter syndrome, one that says 'I'm not the kind of person who does things like that' it can be taken in a positive way 'I'm not the kind of person to shut out my friends and family when I'm stressed' or it can be 'I'm not the kind of person who gives a speech to hundreds of people, even when I've been invited to' and I'll go into this more in another post later this week but I think it's a lot of to do with social media, and Shonda manages to talk about very real, very common issues make them funny without sounding like she's preaching, and if you're a fan of any of her tv shows then you should definitely read this because the stories she tells from working on Greys and Scandal are hilarious! 

So that's everything that I've read, I would say this summer but it's more like this month! Right now I'm reading "Everything I never told you" which is another novel from Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere. I'll definitely be sure to check in again in a month or two and let you know how I'm getting on with my reading challenge! Again if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them! x

Late Summer Beauty Essentials | feat. Fresh Beauty & Jurlique

Although I know a lot of people (partly me included) are holding on to the last few weeks of summer before we all turn into pumpkin spiced latte drinking, roll neck jumper wearing, autumn fiends, but having had such amazing weather I wanted to share a few gems I've been reaching for these past few weeks. I've been keeping my beauty routines pretty minimal and letting my skin breathe in the heat this summer, however discovered a few absolute gems that I know will be in my routine well into Autumn and Winter so I thought I'd put together a quick blog post to share them with you. 

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Julique Radiant Skin Foaming Cleanser 

A new release from one of my favourite brands Jurlique in August, they released a whole new range of cleansers, from oils to cream there is one for every skin type. Jurlique only use the most amazing ingredients so when I received this I was so excited, it's very simular in texture to the Lancome mousse cleanser. A whipped velvety texture foams so beautifully on the skin and has a light exfoliating quality that leaves my skin glowing and soft but since I've got a tan from my holiday I've been trying to minimise how often I'm exfoliating to keep my tan as long as possible and since this cleanser is quite gentle it's been perfect for doing just that. The willow tree extract in this is what's going to lift all the dirt and impurities from your skin, lemon balm and liquorice are what's going to strengthen your skin against pollutants so you retain your glow. Lastly of course Jurlique to me are the best at harnessing the power of rose in all forms and this cleansers cherry on top is the rose Gallic flower extract which is going to deeply hydrate the skin leaving it feeling balanced and restored. This range of new cleansers from Jurlique will have something for everyone so definitely have a good read of all their beautiful active ingredients to find the one that's perfect for you. 

Dior Rosy Glow Blush 

So this is a pricey piece I picked up back in June has potential to be my favourite summer beauty product.. This colour adjusting blush has been on my Wishlist for so long and I am so glad I finally took the plunge because it's stunning, Also I'm quite glad I waited to buy it because they've redone the packaging and I much prefer it now. Although this blush looks really bright and overwhelming in the pan it's such a pretty natural colour on your face, it's designed to work for all skin types to give that 'I've just finished a light jog' kinda glow and I'm all about it. When applying I like to take a big fluffy brush and bring it down my cheekbones and into the centre apples of my cheeks. In summer I've been taking my blush further in towards my nose for a beachy, sun kissed complexion - a little trick I picked up from watching the being the scenes videos of the makeup artists doing the Victorias Secret angels makeup ( I can't be the only one desperate to replicate that glow) Definitely a splurge product but I don't mind spending money on powder products like a blush or an eye shadow palette because they last so much longer and I have a feeling this is going to continue to be a firm favourite well into the winter. 

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L'Oreal Extatic Paradise Mascara

A very recent favourite I packed with me to try on holiday last week, I've pretty much exclusively been a Maybelline Falsies fan for the past few years (other than the Marc Jacobs mascara which I love but was too pricey for an everyday purchase) So I ordered this from amazon of all places and have been seriously impressed, I think this is going to be one of those formulas I like more as it dries out a little but the brush is so nice! It's a thick, reasonably large brush with bristles, gives amazing length and definition to my lashes. Only thing its missing is a little more volume, so if you have little lashes this may be one to avoid. Overall though I'm really impressed, but considering the hype I knew this would be a keeper.

Fresh Beauty Lip Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment

The best till last, this balm is out of this world amazing. Seriously. I'm not often a fan of tinted balms because I find they slip and leave my chin feeling greasy or they just don't give the right amount of colour. This amazing lip treatment from Fresh is a complete game changer! The first thing I noticed about this balm is the texture, it's so rich and nourishing it truly is a balm in the way we know a cleansing balm to be, rather than your standard lip balm - super rich, very smooth feeling and it doesn't slip off my lips which is one of the main reasons I love this so much. The other reason being that the colour of this is my perfect 'my lips but better' colour, pink enough to brighten up my face but still nude enough to look very polished and put together, it's the perfect combination of a lip butter and a lipstick. It is on the pricier side for a lip balm, but the metal packaging is so luxe feeling and the actual product formula itself is so special I have already looked into the other.colours to add to my makeup bag. These balms would make a gorgeous gift for the beauty lover, because although its small looking, they'll no doubt find it's one of those products you reach for everyday. I can't wait to see how this tackles the end of September weather change that always makes my lips unbearably chapped. Fingers crossed! 

The Haircare Edit | The Basics

I've had a rollercoaster relationship with my hair over the years, it tends to follow a pattern of me loving my hair super long and growing it out as much as I can before it turns and goes very dead on the ends until I end up chopping about 5/6 inches off and having it collarbone length and repeating the cycle pretty much yearly. I used to be much worse at getting my hair cut but now I like to try and go two to three times per year, I've never coloured my hair and although I toy with the idea I know my hair is much healthier and less maintenance because I stick to my natural colour. 

I've picked up lots of little habits for caring for my hair over the years but its not something I've ever really blogged about before so I thought I'd put together a haircare edit all about the kinds of products I like to use, tips for styling and caring for my hair as well as some bad hair day tips and a few science-y haircare bits to bare in mind as well. I'll do more focused haircare edits for how to grow your hair, risks to take, ways to control curls ect. I always love getting feedback on my posts so if there's something you'd like to know more about I'm happy to put my thoughts together in a post. For today however lets just jump into the basics. 

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As I've mentioned my hair type is pretty long, very thick, and it has a natural curl/wave to it. If I don't blow dry my hair I do get quite unruly curls and some frizz which I'm not a fan of so although I know its naughty I am a big fan of my hairdryer and don't see myself embracing my natural hair anytime soon. With my hair being as thick as it is I pretty much always get layers cut in to get rid of some of the weight but I also think it gives my hair some nice shape at the back and it works with my natural curls/waves really well. I try and stick to the same haircare routine for a few months at a time, or change it up as the seasons change just to try and give my hair time to feel the benefit. 

Some of my haircare product basics include...

  • Shampoo and Conditioner - I tend to spend a little more money on my shampoo and conditioner, purely because I am a fan of washing my hair almost daily so if I'm going to be using these products that regularly then it's worth investing in something thats going to be better for my hair. In terms of product type I like a volumising or shine formula and I always buy matching shampoo and conditioner, I feel like they were developed to work best together so why not use them as they were intended. Another bonus of buying products in a bigger size is that they often come with pumps that dispense the perfect amount of product so you don't need to worry about going through product too quickly or wasting any, when I started using the pumps I was surprised as how little shampoo I actually needed, try halving the amount you use and see how your hair feels and I think you'll be surprised. 
  • Post wash styling product - A huge mistake often made is thinking your hair can take multiple hair products and they'll work as they're meant to. There's only so much your hair can take before it'll just look greasy and weighed down. When I'm out the shower and my hair is wet that's when I use a smoothing cream or a shine balm to lock in moisture, focusing on an oil or cream based product and where I can I like to buy styling products that have built in heat protection so I don't have to use another separate product. If I'm going on a night out and I plan on curling my hair then I'll use a volumising mousse but this is on very rare occasions . In the summer if I'm trying to keep my routine low maintenance I love a spray in conditioning spray, the Aussie one in particular is a long term favourite. 
  • Post blow dry - Again keeping it quite simple so my hair doesn't feel crunchy or greasy, the most I'll ever use is a texture spray or a shine mist to hold my hairs texture. However day to day I normally just wash and go for ease. 

Day to Day haircare tips...

  • Don't be afraid to really work your shampoo right down to the root of your scalp to make sure you get a lifted clean feeling. With long hair I never condition any higher than my ears to make sure my hair feels cleaner for longer. 
  • If you're going to use dry shampoo I recommend applying it the night before, don't brush it through but sleep with your hair in a low bun or a plait to maximise on natural looking texture. This just means the product will have longer to soak up any excess oil in your hair and it'll mean you're fresh and ready to go when you wake up the next morning. 
  • When blowdrying your own hair point the air from scalp to tip for a glossier smoother finish, this makes sure all your follicles on each hair are smoothed in the right direction.
  • However a good tip if you're planning to curl your hair or if you just want maximum texture and volume is to either blow dry your hair with your head upside down or turning the hairdryer the other way round so the air is pointing up from tip to root, this will mean your hair follicles don't dry as smooth and each strand will have more surface area to *grip* the curl and it'll hold for longer. Again, this tip isn't good for your hairs condition long term but for big nights out and events it's a handy way to hold style without having to use a tonne of product. 
  • After blowdrying your hair, when the hair is ideally still warm, twist your hair at the nape of your neck until it twists in on itself to form a bun. Wear it like this until you get wherever you're going and then let it down, you'll be left with natural waves and it's a quick way to look like you've spent ages curling your hair. 
  • A hairbrush with vents through it will let your hair dry much quicker. 
  • If you're going to towel dry your hair before you blow dry it then to keep your hair as strong as possible, try squeezing the water out rather than rough drying it, and if you can help it don't twist your hair up into a towel either. When your hair is wet it's at it's weakest so it needs to be treated with care to avoid breakage and split ends. Always reach for a wide toothed comb instead of a brush when your hair is wet, it'll do the same job with knots but your hair will thank you for less breakage. 
  • If you've got any fly aways or baby hairs you want to smooth, try spraying hairspray on an un-used tooth brush and smoothing the hairs down, spraying directly will leave your hair crunchy. 
  • The best hairspray (and I know this from YEARS of dance exams and dance concerts) is L'Oreal Elnett, it brushes right out after you're done and holds hair like nothing else. The smell for me is so nostalgic of when I was younger because it's all my mum would use on us for all our performances and it always held though hours of sweat. 
  • I rarely bother with shop bought hair masks, purely because I've yet to find one that isnt just a pot of conditioner with double the price tag, for a moisture hit I'd recommend coconut oil or another hair oil like Argan Oil or Morrocan Oil on your ends only or putting conditioner through your hair and leaving it overnight before you wash your hair in the morning. 
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Haircare ingredients to look out for 

  • Keratin - Keratin is the very fibrous protein that our hair is made out of, so when you see products marketed with Keratin you can expect stronger and healthier hair benefits. By adding Keratin to your haircare routine you'll be reinforcing your hairs natural protein structure which will help combat signs of damage from everyday pollution and heat styling. You don't need to spend a lot of money to get the benefits of Keratin, brands like Tresemme and Garnier have shampoo and conditioner ranges with added Keratin. 
  • Zinc - This is an ingredient to look for to combat certain hair concerns like hair loss or an irritated scalp, the benefits are that it balances the effect of hormones on your hair, keeps your scalp calm and healthy and nourishes hair root to tip. Again the best way of adding this into your routine if you think you need it is through your shampoo and conditioner. 
  • Sea Salt - Might seem random and completely counteractive but having raw rock salt or sea salt in your shampoo is a gentle and natural way of clarifying your hair and giving amazing lift at the root. The 'BIG' shampoo from Lush is a great example of this, I wouldn't recommend this as part of your everyday routine but I like to use it as a pre-night out treat or if I'm in need of a good hair day, it leaves my hair feeling lighter and super clean but with amazing volume, if you have long, thick hair like mine you'll know thats quite a hard result to get. 
  • Biotin or Vitamin H/B - These ingredients are absolutely essential if you're trying to grow out your hair. When your hair is getting enough biotin it will immediately stimulate growth. We know our hair is made up of Keratin, but our hair protein is also made up of amino acids which are the product of the cell enzyme in your hair and biotin! Another great way of getting Vitamin H/B into your routine is to take a daily supplement or vitamin, I take a daily all-in-one vitamin from Centrum that has my daily allowance of everything we need including Vitamin H and B! 
  • Sulphates - Ok so if you've watched Queer Eye (and if you haven't then drop everything and go do that right now!) then you'll know how much Hair Queen Jonathon Van Ness preaches about going sulphate free with your shampoo, I'll explain why. Sulphates are the detergent in your shampoo that makes it lather and bubble, but sulphates are also found in household cleaning products *I know*. Sulphates dry out your hair and scalp, they dramatically increase colour fading and hair loss. Personally I've tried non-sulphate shampoos and I just can't go without the lather, but if you haven't tried going sulphate free then I'd 100% recommend you give it a go! However if like me you can't get along with it then make sure you're maximising your haircare routine to counteract the effects of sulphates, maybe add a Keratin rich hair mask to your routine once a week, or cut down on heat styling or maybe look into adding an oil or leaving in conditioner to make sure your hair stays in top condition. 
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Travel Diary | Zakynthos, Greece

If you've been following my instagram stories for the past week you may have noticed a little change in scenery, my family and I have been on our summer holiday to the gorgeous island of Zakynthos (also known as Zante) in beautiful Greece! Having had such a gorgeous summer weather wise it wasn't so much the weather we were craving but the uninterrupted down time. With all of us always being so busy this is the first full week all of us have had free in a very long time, so we had to make the most of it! I've got a few snaps to share and I hope you enjoy them, we stayed in an amazing traditional Greek villa in the mountains and spent our days catching up by the pool, swimming in the sea and exploring the many coastal restaurant locations Zakynthos had to offer. The highlight of the trip for me had to be the boat trip we took on our last day. My family love water so much and have always gravitated towards the sea, we felt very at home taking a boat out to explore the coastline, the Kiri caves as well as turtle island, the water was like nothing I've ever seen and despite being quite apprenhensive, jumping straight off the boat into the ocean turned into one of my most treasured memories of the week.

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My sister and I's rooms had a shared terrace with the most amazing view over the mountains, watching the sun rise and set from here was one of the most relaxing moments of the whole week. 

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I always tend to read more on holiday anyone else get that? In one week I managed to read all of Truly, Madly, Guilty. I finished 'Little fires everywhere' and 'Year of Yes' a little under 1000 pages. Accompanied with a glass of rose it was the perfect pool side companion, second only to catching up with my family. With everything being so busy at home it's nice to just sit and chat and reconnect 

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One of the views we had from dinner right on the beach, the island in the background is Kefalonia and if you look further to the right you'll see another of the gorgeous islands in the background, it's easy to see how people go island hopping and never come back

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Exploring the Old Zante Town for dinner was one of our favourites that we kept coming back to, the square in the middle is full of children playing whilst parents graze on food and chat, I love how in traditional Mediterranean towns like this everyone, even the children, stay up so late and come out once its cool. 

The lunch on the right was my standard order for most of the week, pork, chicken or lamb gyros with a greek salad for the table. If you're ordering for dinner expect it to come on a plate in a DIY style, just as delicious. 

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This was our view heading out of the bay in our boat, so beautiful to see all the villas up on the hill with families out on their terraces. This particular day was scorchingly hot so even the locals stayed under shade. 

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The photo above is what I meant when I said the water was like nothing I'd ever seen, tie dyed colours of bright blue and deep teal made the water seem bottomless and in the sunshine the colours came to life like something out of a jewellers window. Although we've been to this coastline about ten years ago, something about the water I just couldn't look away. 

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We found a gorgeous cove to anchor in, and after a motivational speech from both my mum and sister (if you've seen my instagram recently you'll know I've been trying to be #10percentbraver) I took the plunge and dove in off the side of the boat *for future reference I'd recommend keeping your mouth closed* but this water was so clear I could see all the way to the bottom, and it was beautifully warm, we all happily paddled around for hours. I've never seen water so clear so to swim in it with the mountains above was completely breath taking. 

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I can think of worse ways to spend a Thursday afternoon, we lay in the sun trying to decide which one of us had been braver for jumping in and listened to the waves. So peaceful and actually quite uplifting to realise how un-scary jumping in had turned out to be

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We spent the rest of the day exploring the caves, chatting and checking out the turtle nest sanctuary. We even saw a turtle on our way back to the bay which was an expected surprise

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Not a bad view for a scoop of ice cream to wash the taste of salt from a day on the boat..

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This final photo is probably my favourite, we were flying home on the Friday lunchtime and mum and I had made plans to get a few hours by the pool before we left, and weirdly without an alarm I woke up at 6:55am (not a habit of the week I can assure you) just in time to watch the most amazing sunrise from the terrace outside my room, absolutely breathtaking and such a calming way to end the week. 

I'm hoping to get the boyfriend on a plane before the end of the year but I've still got lots of travel snaps to share so I'll still be posting travel diaries far into the winter! Any destination recommendations please let me know!

Travel Diary | LA & Huntingdon Beach, California

Another travel diary today and after years of sharing holiday snaps I'm writing about my happy place, my favourite place on earth and somewhere I recommend to people constantly, you'll have already seen the title but today's post is all about Huntingdon Beach and Central LA/Hollywood. I've been to California twice for 2/3 week per trip and can honestly say some of my happiest memories are in California, we've stayed at the same hotel during both trips and it's the most beautiful place. 

Central LA is definitely a bucket list place, not the most relaxing place on earth but the history there is amazing and you can't help feeling like every corner you turn and street you stand on was once a part of film history. I'm a huge film fan so exploring the museums and landmarks you do get a sense of movie magic. I've got another few travel diary's coming up covering Newport Beach and San Diego but today we're exploring the beautiful Huntingdon Beach, the surfers paradise, but if you're more beach than board I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

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The hotel we stayed at is the Hyatt Regency Huntingdon Beach, you may recognise it from the 90210 TV series, but it's without a doubt the most stunning hotel I've ever stayed in and the setting could not be more idyllic. There's a private beach owned by the hotel with a bridge that leads directly over to the shorefront. This hotel feels like a little coastal village, its huge in size, has a surf shop, a few restaurants for whatever you're in the mood for, and a coffee shop. My favourite part of this hotel is the fire pits, you pick up a smokes pack from the coffee shop and spend the evening watching the sunset and toasting marshmallows in these huge comfy armchairs. Just thinking about the hours my family have spent together there gives me the warm fuzzies. The hotel is a luxury but family friendly resort and I hope to go back one day...to be continued


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The attention to detail around the hotel is what makes the biggest difference, little touches like fun fruit water in reception, to the hand-painted signs outside. One of my favourite memories is all my family hiring bikes one morning and cycling up the coastline. Fun fact but I didn't learn to ride a bike till my teens and although I'm definitely not the best or most confident cyclist, riding a bike down the beach paths felt so exciting, it did help that the bikes were all gorgeous colours and came complete with a basket 

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Such a gorgeous sunset, completely unfiltered. The California coast is known for it's gorgeous views and Huntingdon Beach does not disappoint. The street through Huntingdon Beach are full of independent restaurants and in the evenings the streets are lined with musicians, artists and performers. There's such a relaxed vibe around the whole area, there's no need for full faces of makeup or fancy dresses which is why I love it so much, it's such a relaxing part of the world. 


Central LA traffic is no joke, it has a reputation for a reason. However because of the size of LA I'd highly recommend getting a car for your trip, unless you plan on staying in one area the whole time, and with a car comes the traffic. So get yourself a decent playlist and try and enjoy the ride.

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Hollywood is such a fun and busy part of LA, along just one road you can tick off so many must see sights, the Dolby Theatre (home of the oscars), the Hollywood sign, the walk of fame and the Disney El Capitan Theatre. As a tourist you've got to be careful around central Hollywood because it's a hotbed for pic-pockets, but it's got such a buzzy atmosphere it's 100% worth the trip. 

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If you're a Disney fan you've got to go to the El Capitan theatre, it's such a hidden part of Disney's history. This historic cinema/theatre is where every Disney film is premiered worldwide, you can see all new releases here before anywhere else! We went to see Zootopia when we went and the theatre itself is gorgeous. If you're near the El Capitan make sure to visit the ghirardelli ice cream shop next door, it's also owned by Disney as part of the theatre but I promise you you've never seen an ice cream shop with so many flavours. 

As for other things to do in Central LA, it goes without saying that doing a movie lot tour is a must! Go behind the scenes at Warner Brothers studios or Sony and walk into the sets of some of the best tv shows and films of all time, we saw the sound stage where they recorded the soundtrack for jaws, The Wizard of Oz, James Bond and Finding Nemo. I'll also never forget the collective gasp from my family when we walked into a pretty plain looking building at Warner Brothers and straight into the coffee shop set from Friends, as a film and tv fan the studio tours should be your first stop. They really make the movies come to life and offer some truly special memories. 

A family favourite when we're in LA is to go to the baseball! Warning the games are very very long but it's good fun and the atmosphere is well worth it. 

Ok so I think that's part one done for now, I'll be back with more Central LA recommendations soon because there's just so many and we've not even touched on food yet! If any of you are heading to LA in the near future and want some more specific recommendations pop me a message on social media and I'll happily help 

 

Product Review | PMD Clean Review

If you've been reading my skincare blog posts for a while you'll know the history I've had with acne and how important it is to me to be super efficient when I'm cleansing. There are some truly incredible cleansers on the market but sometimes they need a little help, and that's where facial  brushes like the PMD Clean comes in. I've used traditional facial brushes before, the ones with the brush heads that look like giant toothbrushes? When I had severe acne they really worked for me to make sure all traces of makeup were removed and my skin was super clean. 

A little bit more about PMD, they started with the original PMD device (or personal microderm device) is known world wide as an at-home alternative to a professional Microderm treatment, its helped thousands of people worldwide combat common skincare issues such as ageing, acne and hyper pigmentation. Since then they've developed two additional products, the PMD Clean and the PMD Kiss. What I love about this brand is that they focus on what your skincare results will do for you, they really help you focus on having brilliant confidence from your skin rather than just improving your skin which I think is a much healthier way to look at it. 

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Starting with how I use it, personally for me I use this device as part of my second cleanse. Once I've removed all my makeup (first cleanse) I'll then take a gel or foaming cleanser directly onto the brush and apply to wet skin. There's no timer here but since the bristles are so soft you can time your cleanse based on your own face, with previous brushes I found it annoying when it shut off because I hadn't finished. I like to start on my forehead, focusing on big circular motions. I like to use this in the shower and when I do the micro-bristles mean I can get right up into my hairline and get those areas that are normally missed with a manual cleanse.

I focus on 4 key zones on my face, forehead, each cheek and then my nose, upper lip area and chin. I find doing each section one by one helps to focus the cleaning power and I get the best results. Once I've cleansed my face I like to take the brush up my neck in big sweeping motions, making sure to always work product up the neck towards the face to help promote your skins natural elasticity. Personally I know I'm guilty of sweeping makeup down my neck and then not cleansing it off properly at night so this has really helped me get in a good habit that I'm sure my skin will thank me for. 

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The kinds of cleansers that work best with this I find are cleansers that have a bit of a foam to them, my current favourite cleanser from Jurlique is gorgeous with this but I also noticed great results with a cream cleansing lotion although I apply those to a dry face so the brush doesn't glide over the skin as nicely as when you use it with water. 

I bought my first face brush as a gift to myself when I was 15 or 16 and it was £50 which is a considerable investment, these PMD brushes are slightly more expensive coming in at the £80-90 mark however, I will say that I think this is going to last better than my previous brush, it's a million times more hygienic because it's made of silicone, you can use it in the shower and overall I've been blown away by the results of this compared to my last brush. Definitely something to ask for as a gift, but I'd say if you can afford it it'd make a really great "to me, love me" gift and would be a great investment. 

Travel Diary | Port Issac, Cornwall

This past week you may have seen on Instagram stories that my family and I booked a last minute trip to Cornwall! As a family we've always loved it there and my parents have been making more and more frequent visits this year and we've discovered so many new-to-us places along the coast that we've loved exploring. As you can also probably tell I've been loving playing with the huji app and although I wasn't sure on it at first, there's something about the way it captured the Cornish coastline that I'm obsessed with. We were primarily staying in Port Issac, but we ventured out everyday to find the best beaches and tastiest fresh food that Cornwall had to offer. If you've got any recommendations of places to visit in Cornwall or restaurants you love then my family and I would love to hear all about it! For now though, here are my snaps from our trip. 

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Beautiful Rock Beach, overlooking Padstow - As well as having some of the fluffiest sand we saw in Cornwall, it provided the best viewing point for watching the dozens of dogs making the most of the waves. We chatted for hours, ate Davidstowe cheddar sandwiches and were thankful for the view in the photo above for making the climb back up the stairs in the heat worth it. 

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Home for the week - Port Issac, home to TV show Dr Marten, has all the Cornish highlights you'd expect. Falling asleep to the waves crashing and waking up to the sound of seagulls and a view of the bay, although the village seems small it's got enough restaurants to feast yourself on, and with the fish barely travelling 50 metres from boat to bowl it's as fresh and you'll find anywhere. 

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I'm about half-way through this book but sadly didn't get into it as quickly as I hoped I would, but because of all the amazing reviews I'm going to stick with it - as if Port Issac wasn't escapism enough. 

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A family favourite - Watergate Bay is one of my parents favourite places to visit in Cornwall and it's not hard to understand why. With amazing waves it's a surfers paradise and perfect for dogs and families, for us though? You'll find us at our happiest, in our deck chairs pimms in hand, nibbling at salt and vinegar crisps chatting away about adventures old and new. 

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Lunch with a view @ Watergate Bay - Chicken and avocado burger for me, Spicy noodle salad for Dad, Crab Linguine for Mum and Beef Burger for my sister - fries all round and a view that's perfect for people-watching. 

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We had the best day on Watergate Beach, it's hard to imagine since we were there in August but my parents were telling us about mornings they'd had on this beach in winter when they were the only people here. I don't know about you, but I think I love the English seaside just as much in the winter when it's cold and rainy as I do in the summer.

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Ice cream just tastes better by the sea - Probably because the sea air tires you out but I slept like a baby the whole trip, we ticked all the foodie favourites off our list (Cornish pasty, Mr Whippy Ice Cream, Fish and Chips, anything with crab in) and had a lovely break just being away from our phones and away from the reality of work and just catch up with each other. 

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We went for dinner at one of the restaurants in Port Issac called The Mote and had the tastiest meal! My sister had steak, my Dad had the fish pie, Moulles Marinere for Mum and I had the spicy crab linguine which was absolutely delicious. We were all starving from our day on the beach so naturally food was the main topic of conversation, as well as a lot of passing around mouthfuls so everyone could try a bit of everything.  

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If you're heading to Cornwall it's hard to resist popping into Padstow for a wander through the lanes. If you've never been before you can expect some beautiful galleries and gift shops, lots of independent bakeries and clothes shops - oh and a lot of Rick Stein! We spent an afternoon wandering in and out of galleries looking at beautiful fish murals and Cornwall inspired watercolour prints.

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This photo below was the view my sister and I had from our bedroom window and it's one of my favourites from the whole trip, I love how blue and clear the water was in Port Issac you could have mistaken it for a Mediterranean island, and watching the fog roll in over the tops of the houses became a morning ritual. It'd been years since I'd been to Cornwall and this week has well and truly restored my love for it, looking forward to venturing back again soon x