Tuesday, 5 August 2014


Recently I made a trip to Paris. I don't know how I've got this far in my life without ever visiting Paris before, in fact until last year I'd never visited France. Getting there was incredibly straightforward on the Eurostar, again, how have I never used it before?! Now I have, I will certainly make future trips to other destinations.

I was in  Paris for 3 days and took a tonne of photos but I've managed to condense down to a few for the blog which I think sum up my experience there. The highlights for me were:
  • Seeing the Eiffel tower lit up at night time and people having a moonlit picnic beneath it.
  • A trip on a boat along the Canal St. Martin. There are plenty of boat tours in Paris, and most will give you a whistle stop tour of all the main sights of the city, but I chose the Canauxrama because it showed you more of the Parisian's Paris. It departed from Bastille which is where I was staying, and headed North along the canals. It was very relaxed and a great way to spend the first day.
  • The day spent around Montmartre. A lot of people go here to see the Sacre Coeur, then leave to go back to the main city. I spent a day just milling around the village and it was great to experience this different more tranquil side to the city.
  • The apartment where I stayed. First of all, it was in a fantastic location, the Bastille area is a popular neighbourhood and I feel like for 3 days I was living like a Parisian, albeit with a toddlers handle of the French language. This was my first experience of using Air bnb and I have nothing but good things to say about my experience using the site.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Ciaté Very Colourfoil Nail Manicure

I have finally been introduced to Ciaté paint pots. After reading numerous blog posts raving about the quality and seeing the wide range of colours, I've waited for the day to try Ciaté. Even in London though, I've not found this brand too easy to come by. Anyway, that day has finally come, albeit in the form of Ciaté Very Colourfoil Nail Manicure, thanks to TK Maxx and their random selection of nail kits. 

I've only ever bought a manicure kit once before in my life. It was by Maybelline and contained various pieces you would need for a French manicure: a natural shade, a white tip and some stickers that you use to block the colour when applying the white tips. I find these kits very useful for somebody like me, in other words, pretty clueless about manicures, (I have never had a professional manicure of any description!) because you don't need any extras and they usually even contain a step by step guide to help you. Foolproof! 

Here is a visual so you can see what you're getting in this kit.
I wasn't really sure why they put the nail wheel in there to be honest. I'm not going to waste the foils experimenting on it, but I think this will come in useful for showing nail swatches in the future so I'm not complaining. 

More usefully in the kit, you get a 13.5ml bottle of Ciaté paint pot, in this case, a shade called Cream Soda. This applies like a dream and is worthy of a blog post in it's own right but I'll spare you the details and assure you Ciaté paint pots are worth the hype. 

 Along with the paint pot there's a pot of "foil fix" or glue as I call it, and of course, the colour foils. There are 6 of each colour, and 6 colours in total, all with suitably suggestive names such as Fling and Feisty. They look pretty awesome to be honest. This kit had a range of gold and silver, including a couple of holographic, and a plain green and pink.

The instructions tell you to spot the glue wherever you like on the nail and then allow to go clear and tacky before placing the foil (face side up over the nail, pressing firmly down and then peeling off to reveal the foil effect. What I like about this kit, is there isn't a prescribed where of doing this so there is room for creativity; (as well as error!) you can allow each coating of foil to dry and apply two or even three or more different colours over it. Originally I applied two coats of different colour foil on each nail on top of the original paint pot. This had incredible staying power and I had not so much as a chip until day 4 of wearing this.

I've since taken this foil manicure along a festive route and used the green and gold on top of a red nail polish to create this. Admittedly, looking up close at it, it's pretty messy, and I could've done a better job. But when I'm not staring closely at my nails, I quite like catching a glimpse of my uber sparkly, seasonally appropriate nails. I'm on holiday from work at the moment, and let's be honest, this won't be quite as relevant come January. 
There are 3 different versions of this kit, Wonderland (this one), Carnival Couture and Kaleidoscopic Klash, the latter two being much bolder and brighter than the one I've shown here.

This certainly isn't one for everyday and at full price £18 at RRP, I think is a bit of a rip off. However, buy from somewhere like TK Maxx and this will cost you £9.99 which considering a full size bottle of Ciaté will cost you £9, this works out a good deal.

Overall, I'm happy with this as a purchase and for a spot of creative decorating on my nails.

I hope everyone is enjoying the festive period. I'm enjoying the rest, and spending quality time with loved ones. Tomorrow I'm catching up with an old friend who I've known for 16 years, but haven't seen for the last 2! Then I'm heading back to London at the weekend for NYE. I'm probably going to go into town to see the fireworks because in all the years I've lived there or have travelled down there, I've never been to see.

What are your new year's plans?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Winter coat 2013/2014 - Marvin Browne

I had been on the hunt for a new winter coat ever since the first bite of winter's wind. I am all about being thrifty and finding a good deal, but some things I feel the quality should not be compromised on; that is boots and coats. These are staple items that you put with the rest of your outfits and hence why I have a comprehensive set of boxes to be ticked before I buy!

I had given up on my hunt because none of the coats I had seen checked all of my said boxes. They were either too long, too short, sleeves too long, wrong material/colour, too expensive. I will accept that I am a fussy coat consumer.

Anywho, pottering around Spitalfields market, East London, fruitlessly looking for anything that could make a Christmas present for my loved ones, I stumbled upon a little coat stall. Now usually I do not associate market stall clothing with good quality but on closer inspection of Marvin Browne's coats I could tell something was different. This is exactly what I love about London markets, the wade through the numerous stalls of tat before finding those gems of good quality products that you just wouldn't get on the high street. I noticed the Marvin Browne coats hanging on a very unobtrusive rail and did what I can only describe as "copping a feel" as a I walked by. I had no intention of stopping and observing closer, as I said, I'd given up the coat hunt. But something made me go "ooh!" and I had to stop and find out a little more about these coats. I think you know you're on to something when the feel alone grabs your attention.

The coat I had fondled was a wool and cashmere blend, extremely soft and happened to be in the exact colour I was looking for, camel. It was, alas, a little too tight under all my many layers, but the very helpful assistant advised me that the pure wool versions of the coat tend to come a little bigger because they are made from a thicker material. She also told me that all of the coats I could see were cut from the exact same pattern, the only thing that differed were the materials and patterns. I knew I was going to buy one of these coats from that moment. There were quite a few different varieties to choose from, but knowing I loved the classic shape of the coat and that I only had to choose a material and colour meant this would be as easy as picking out a pot of Dulux.

As I mentioned, a coat is an investment, a staple item, and I wanted one that I could wear with or without my winter warming layers, so I opted for the pure wool version which fit perfectly. The camel equivalent came a little darker in the pure wool and I wasn't as keen on this colour, but I did however find this dark military green very appealing. I also want to add at this point that what I found helpful from the assistant was her honesty...I'd tried on the bigger size in the cashmere, and she told me instantly, it was no good, you can't seen the darting detail like you could in the smaller size. Honesty is definitely the best policy as far as I'm concerned, I'm not shopping for validity from others, I want something that fits and actually looks good! So kudos to her.

So, this coat had so far checked all of my boxes, perfect length, perfect shape (what's not to love about a classic?) and the sleeves weren't too long! The only thing I needed to know was the price. For the cashmere/wool blend, a coat would cost you £95, for a pure wool version: £80. Now there was the thrifty part of me shouting "No that's too expensive." I paid £20 for this wool coat in the sales two winters ago...

 but then there was the realistic side of me that knew this is exactly what I would have paid in the high street. Yet here I would be buying a coat that I was unlikely to encounter somebody else wearing (I'll brush over the fact that I kept bumping into a woman who had just 5 minutes before me purchased the exact same coat). Not only this, but this is a British designed, British made coat which also means it ticks all my ethical consumer boxes. When you weigh it all up, this is a darn good buy, and deservedly, in the 10-15 minutes I was at the stall, at least another 5 coats had been sold.

You can find out more about Marvin Browne coats via http://www.oldspitalfieldsmarket.com/stalls/marvin-browne

Monday, 23 December 2013

MAC Margin Blush

Hardly an unsung hero in the makeup community, I'm sure everyone has heard of Margin. Beauty bloggers and celebrities alike admire and endorse this blush, and for good reason. I've had this on my wishlist for a long time, and am pleased to be able to finally cross it off. MAC describe this blush as a peach with golden shimmer.

The peach colour is universally flattering, suiting a range of skin tones. I'm pretty pasty this time of year but the blusher suits my skin tone with a tan or it's natural winter hue. The blusher has a frost finish which means the golden shimmer has an almost metallic finish, but this is subtle enough to look pretty and not make you too shiny faced like some frosty finished blushers I've used previously.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of this wonderful blusher applied on my face so you can see the understated effect you get. It gives the perfect "natural glow" look  which will complete any natural make-up look you want to create as well as when you're feeling like going heavier on the eyes or lips and you want to keep the cheeks natural looking.

I hope this has helped you if you're looking for a new blusher. It's definitely one I will be repurchasing when I've used it up, which at the rate I'm using it will be sooner than I think! 

On another note...I cannot actually believe it's Christmas in two days!!! I've managed to escape London and am back visiting my parents which is just lovely having meals cooked for me and being looked after, and of course, lots of love from Layla.

Monday, 29 July 2013

A little update

I always feel a little sheepish when I return to blogging after the longest time not blogging. Life has just been a little bit mental over the last few months, you know how it gets... I am going to make more of an effort to be part of the blogging community over summer though. Whenever I'm not a part of it, I do really miss it!

I took the inevitable plunge of buying a DSLR which I'm absolutely loving. It's keeping me busy lately, expect lots of snaps around London to follow soon!

Yesterday I went for brunch at a place called Pimlico Fresh. They serve very delicious, if a little pricey breakfasts and lunches. I was looking for an alternative to The Breakfast Club for a place to get fresh, tasty food, with quirky decor and an eclectic mix of people. Pimlico Fresh is definitely all of these. I particularly liked the communal benches inside the cafe. I can't find a website for it, but you can read more reviews here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pimlico-fresh/279204625442028
What I didn't enjoy about the place was the lack of toilet facilities! But this turned out to be a good thing it seemed, because it led me to a very extensive second hand sale in Pimlico academy (on the search for said toilet facility.) What a hidden gem it was. So many good finds there, I saw a girl pick up a vintage type writer for under £20 which I know she would have paid a lot more for anywhere else. Granted there was a lot of rubbish there to sift through too, but on a lazy Sunday, I had plenty of time to peruse the mountains of treasure! I came across this top which a lovely lady used to own.

She bought it from Whistles on the King's Road in the 1980s, back when she was working in John Lewis and in her words "spent all of her wages on clothes". We can all relate can't we?! Even without the label and the story behind the top (there's something really appealing to me about owning something that has a bit of history to it!), I still would've bought this top, I love the dusky pink colour and the feel of this top which I obviously can't convey in a photograph and quite smugly I paid £3 for this.

I also bought this rather cute little cami from Topshop. Bit pricier than my second hand Whistles purchase at £22 but I think I got caught up by the heatwave we've been enjoying and decided I needed something bright and summery. Maybe the heatwave is dwindling, but if nothing else I will love wearing this on holiday.
Jewellery wise, this chain on rope necklace is from Topshop priced around £16 if I remember correctly.

The ring is a recycled fork which I purchased from a very cool shop inside Greenwich market. I can't remember the name, but their whole ethos is about upcycling old things so there's some very interesting things to be found in there.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

OOTD 02.11.2012

I've been in a bit of a jeans rut for a while. I'm a jeans girl, I can't help it. But I'm trying to break this habit. I love dresses, and although it took me until I was well out of my teens to realise that I could wear dresses, that there was a dress to suit everybody, I am now a bona fide dress-wearer. Lately I'm enjoying the skater dress. There are lots of variations of this dress on the high street, and places like Boohoo at the minute, but the fitted top and floaty bottom make for a timeless dress that I'm sure I will be getting a lot of wear out of.
I found this version in Primark for just £13, I also bought a black and white stripy equivalent. I seek out this shade of navy blue and the berry red and forest/racing car green equivalent for this time of year. It beats always wearing neutrals when I feel like an injection of colour, and brights just don't do it for me in Autumn/Winter. The material is thicker than you would find on a summer dress, and I'm actually finding this quite a warm outfit when paired with thick, opaque tights and boots. I wasn't a massive fan of the belt that came with it so I whipped it off and put this leather plaited belt through the loops instead for a very simple, yet suitably autumnal ensemble.
Have you found yourself any Autumn dresses?

Happy Friday everybody.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why do you wear make-up?

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered some food for thought by a four year old when they asked me the question: What is that on your eyes? When I explained it was make-up, it was followed by the question "Why do you wear it?" I should have seen this coming, children are naturally curious, but I found this a difficult question to answer to someone so young. I don't often think about why I wear make-up, but if I had to break it down and tell you why I wear make-up I could. 
  1.  To look better. Pretty simple really, make-up is a man-made miracle. It improves our appearance, and how far you want to go with this is up to you, whether you want to completely transform your appearance or just enhance what you have naturally. Sometimes the make-up I sport is purely functional – to smooth out my skin, hide blemishes, make my seemingly non-existent eyelashes visible, that kind of thing..
  2. To feel better. Which leads on from point 1. If I look better, I feel a bit better about myself. I realise this is superficial, but I doubt there’s a female out there who doesn’t feel the same about make-up. Would we be wearing it if it made us feel bad about ourselves?!
  3.  I enjoy make-up. Yes, it has become habit, one that’s hard to break and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself and my extra time in the morning if I took my make-up application out of the routine, but I enjoy the process of doing my make-up. I’m a creative person, so I enjoy creating different looks and experimenting with colour and techniques.

I think what’s important to clarify here is that these are personal reasons, reasons that affect me. I’m not wearing it because I worry about how others perceive me. I wear make-up for myself. But, when you feel good about yourself, this gives you a sense of confidence which then affects how you present yourself with other people. There are times when I leave the house without my make-up, when it’s not necessary to wear it. I’m not thinking what are people wondering about me because I’m probably doing something where I really couldn’t care what I look like, such as jogging! So wearing make-up for me is not a case of hiding behind it, but enhancing what I have and choosing the way I want to present myself to the world, much in the same way that people choose their sense of style in clothes.

It’s easy for me to write this as a blog post and I’m sure those of you reading this have similar reasons for wearing make-up. But to explain this to the younger generation just seemed a somewhat difficult feat, to be able to articulate it in the same way I just have. Because the simple answer to why I wear make-up is to look and feel better. But to someone younger this could be misconstrued to mean you’re not good enough if you don’t wear make-up. Definitely not the message I would want to put out to an easily influenced young mind. I was well into my teens before I got interested in make-up, I’d guess around 16, but never felt pressured to wearing it, but I think things are changing and there is much more pressure much earlier on for young girls.
Anyway, the purpose of this post was, I suppose, to explain why I wear make-up, and to think of reasons why other people might. I think whether you wear it to conceal or reveal is entirely your decision. As I’ve said, I’m a mixture of the two, but what I find sad is there might be people who depend on make-up. I’m pretty much a beauty fanatic, but would not label myself in the category of dependent upon it. 

So, readers of the blogosphere, why do you wear make-up?
Blog Widget by LinkWithin