Currently coveting

24 Dec 2017

The Colour That Transcends All Seasons

Rust, tobacco, tan, brown... you name it, it's probably what I mean (even if the search tab when I'm online shopping doesn't). It's the creme de la creme of hues and it's not just one for Autumn, despite what the leaves may tell you. Trends come and go, but this shade has shape-shifted it's way through dresses to jumpers this year, and it's not one that I intend to change anytime soon . To me, it's the shade I turn to when I'm in stuck in rut of wearing black day-in, day-out (I need it for the wardrobe diversity, alone), and brings some life to monochrome-me, particularly in the winter. From coats and hats, to silk party wear that makes high-street looks expensive (I'd say swimwear too but even the thought makes me shiver in these sub-zero temperatures), it's a colour that I can't get enough; being understandably timeless and simultaneously letting me breathe a little easier knowing that I won't get sick of it half as fast as the rest of my clothes. Another important factor in it's favour, it works effortlessly with gold jewellery; particularly layered necklaces and oversized earrings. 

Most recently, I picked up this Mango silk, tie-back crop which had me like a blackbird to silver. I got lucky and picked up one of the last in stores (it's now sold out online, sorrrrry). It looks as good at the back as it does at the front, and crosses that middle point between being laid back, casual event attire to full-on black tie, it sits neatly between the two and it's subtly elegant without trying too hard. 

The high-street does this shade well, and without further ado, these are the ones that have caught my eye (and the jeans are now almost half price...!): 


20 Dec 2017

Postcards from Stockholm | Travel Guide

The city that made me sad to leave before I'd even got there. It's been a long time coming that I've wanted to visit Sweden and finally jetted off last month to Stockholm. Naturally, the desirability of the Scandi culture and effortlessly on-point style has played a part, of course, in its lure, but it's also films like The Danish Girl and a whole list of crime thrillers (aka Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) that makes Scandinavian so intriguing and count for my obsession with the place. Safe to say it didn't disappoint on any level...

It's a city to soak up culture (there's copious museums, exhibitions and galleries), or simply a place to act out your alter-ego life as a chic, got-it-together Scandinavian resident (we opted for the latter); there is a piece of the city for all. The spacious streets, grand buildings and architecture makes it a calm but grand place to explore (the contrast against London traffic is jaw-dropping), and what they say is true, the people in Sweden are beautiful. There really must be something in the water. There's definitely no shortage of over-sized coats, designer clothes or the blonde-haired elite there. It's also not a place to go unless you're prepared to forget the value of money and pretend you're not paying just shy of ten pounds for a single glass of wine (yep, it's a pretty expensive place to lavish in)... As you'd expect with a Scandanavian winter, hours of light were scarce and come 3pm it felt like bedtime (especially combined with a 6am flight), so making the most of the sun was what finally got us up in the mornings. Getting over the initial more-than-early start took a lot of concealer and caffeine to get over (read my travel-beauty saviours post here), but it only got better. With only a couple of days to get into the Scandi spirit, these are some of the things we did and places we went that made the trip as good as it was. 

To eat:
Meatballs for the People | The classic Swedish meatballs in the heart of Södermalm; a hip and laid back lunchtime spot to fuel up before shopping around the area. 
Tavern Brillo | We stumbled upon this Italian goldmine. Vibrant, glamorous and delicious food, it's definitely one for an occasion and to turn to when you've overdone it on the meatballs...
Hermans | A vegetarian/vegan buffet on the harbour that could keep anyone happy. Cosy, familiar and does half price student discount (which makes all the difference in Scandanavia...). Vegetarian food options were hard to come by so this is a hidden gem. 
Riche | A frivolous, lively and hip bistro (the equivalent of Chelsea's The Bluebird) that's right for either coffee or cocktails; a people-watching hotspot. It's one to book in advance for food. 

To do: 

Fotograzia | There are a lot of museums and exhibitions to visit in the city, and this one is a photography exhibition that gets you thinking, something different and makes you want to bring out the camera just a little bit more (oh, and the gift shop is amazing from prints to postcards, but you can only pay on card in there). 
Charity shopping in Södermalm | Not only is it the coolest of areas for cafes, a portion of the undeniably strong fashion etiquette in Stockholm finds its way into charity shops along the streets of Södermalm. *cue scrambling for Acne jeans* 
Södermalm | Wandering around the Södermalm district is an activity in itself and the best places to find are the ones you just stumble upon (pottery barns, clothes boutiques, health stores...)

To drink:
The Grand | A sophisticated caffeine-fix to break up walking around the city is a coffee in The Grand (pretending you're a guest). The bathrooms are literally bigger than my entire house. 
Nobis Hotel | Late night cocktails and an old-school ambience, ending with a nightcap in the lounge of the Nobis is the right way to do it. 

To stay:
Story Hotel Riddargatan | If you're not sold by the mosaic sinks alone, the hotel itself ticks pretty much every box you could want from a city break stay. L:A Brucket amenities, quirky room decor (our headboard was an old door turned on its side) and placed just behind the Ostermalm district with most parts of the city just a walk away, it's one of those hotels that you really want to make the most of. Dark mornings and comfy beds made time-off-work lie ins give you that rested feel, and an atmospheric, socialite vibe come evening. 

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3 Dec 2017

Carry On Make-Up

There's nothing like a hand-luggage-only trip to rattle down the things you actually can't live without when it comes to beauty. A last minute escapade to Stockholm last week prompted that familiar feeling of what make-up should I bring out of this necessarily huge stash of products, but for once it was actually easy to cherry pick the favourites thanks to recent discoveries and die-hard make-up saviours. Things like foundation, mascara; the staples in make-up routines, are easily enough chosen, but it's things like eye-shadows and lipsticks that make it through the survival of the fittest and only the best, most versatile make it into that zip-lock bag come flight day. Not one for light packing, but similarly not the kind either to buy excess luggage for the sake of a few extra bottles (for extortinate amounts), here's what made it in: 

Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde | New to my make-up bag after visiting the Glossier pop-up in Marylebone this month; now a can't-live-without product (I still use the L'Oreal Paris Super Liner Brow Artist underneath) but it works wonders for (natural-looking) brow thickness.
The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in Bali Vanilla | Longstanding foundation favourite for dewy, fresh (as it claims) skin; not drying so post-flight skin friendly and keeps skin looking like skin...!
Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick in Ivory | Doubles up as a touch-up concealer that you can take around with you and has really buildable coverage. I have a shade slightly lighter than my foundation so it brightens, too.
Kiehls Ultra Facial Toner | Not make-up per-se, but a pre make-up essential nonetheless and a range I've recently gone back to because my skin seems to get on with it. 
Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser | As above. Refreshing, deeply cleansing and suitable for all skin types. 
Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Telluride | My most-worn colour and winter-party friendly (but works just as well in the daytime, too. Most importantly, a hydrating formula that doesn't dry out your lips.  
Trish McEvoy Eye Base | Instant eye-brightening when you need it and doubles up as a primer for eyeshadow and eyeliner (since I've been using this my eyeliner has become much more obedient).
REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist | City-break essential for protecting against dirty air and it sets your make-up . So refreshing on a flight and the smell is very reviving after sitting in stale air for hours. 
Bobbi Brown Bronzer | Bringing some colour back into my winter skin and as subtle, or striking, as you want to build it up. I also use the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecting Highlighter in Moonlight on my cheekbones. 
Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara | Petite in size but does the job better than most; this has become an everyday essential recently and I am very fussy with mascaras. 

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21 Nov 2017

When Foundation Means Business

Who doesn't have a love-hate relationship with foundation. On the one hand, I know that it's going to make my skin look evenly toned(er), dewy and generally more concealed, but on the other, the reality of working in skincare is that I know full well that it's not particularly good for my skin, especially wearing it day-in, day-out (underneath all the pollution that's bombarding it everyday). Not just the wearing it, but investing in a new foundation is daunting in itself; the likelihood is that something won't be right.. whether it's the colour match, coverage or even smell might make you regret swaying from your regular and wasting a tonne of money in the crossfire (keeping the receipt is crucial; to think how much money I could have saved doing this...). Alas, change is not always a bad thing, and really, formulations in make-up and skincare are advancing all the time, so not trying out what's on offer might mean you miss out on the next best thing. 

Sisley's new foundation, Sisleya Le Teinte*, is a game-changer when it comes to new foundations. They call it a fluid foundation, which is accurate for the texture and consistency, making it really blendable and perfect for those days you want less (but can build it up, too, if you need). The best bit is it's formulated with active ingredients (those of which I won't pretend to know the science behind), but namely Persian Acacia, Chlorella and Red Vine. These grace the ingredients list; those of which you'd expect to see in a face cream formulation, rather than make-up, and that's what makes this one so special. For something that's going to sit on your skin all day, better that it contains some goodness, than nothing at all. Being so high-tech in it's formula and ticking all the other foundation-shaped boxes, it's quite costly so I'd more than recommend sampling this first at your nearest Sisley counter. 

You can shop Sisleya Le Teinte here


15 Nov 2017

Ideas To Start Your Christmas Shopping

Although internet shopping is considerably more hassle-free, and yes it obliterates queue irritation, achy legs and sore feet, doesn't it slightly lose the magic of 'Christmas shopping' if you do all of it from your sofa? The impulsive buyer in me is often grateful for internet shopping and the damage control it can bring, but sometimes it's the experience of gift buying that can be magical in itself. Maybe it's just me, but going into decorated stores, perusing the beautiful displays and taking the time to choose the gifts is pretty lovely. Going out with friends or family to wander round the shops (with an abundance of coffee breaks, naturally) is a part of this time of year that I love. Granted, that's an idealised perspective on shopping and doesn't account for the annoyances that department stores and shopping centres can merrily bring on, but it's all part of the fun, right? 

I'm a longstanding believer that the best gifts to give are the ones that people wouldn't usually buy themselves; those thoughtful but unexpected ones that are a little outside the box (to me, a disposable camera is a fail-safe one for this and especially great if you're on a budget i.e. office secret santa). And in this realm usually comes gifts that are that little bit more indulgent and not necessarily things you need, but things you might just want (like that's just restricted to Christmas...). From Jack Wills gift cards to inspiring travel-magazine subscriptions, here's what's on my radar this season..


For the fragrance-phile
Now it's officially the 'cosy' season, no bedroom feng shui is quite complete without a lit candle (or five) in there to really get that Autumn nights feeling (warm drinks and blankets also essential). There are almost too many utterly drop-down gorgeous brands out there offering the most desirable of heaven-scented candles; you've got Byredo, Diptyque and Bella Freud (the list really does go on) releasing their Christmas offerings this time of year - and obviously their candles in general - they are the ultimate luxury. 

For the one who needs more 'me-time'
The benefits of bathing is underrated. Yes, they're relaxing. But they're also so effective at relieving tension, whether it's in your mind or muscles. When it comes to bath oil gift-giving, I think Susanne Kaufmann's Essential Bath Oil For The Senses is pretty glorious. Similarly, the Aromatherapy Associates bath oil selections are extensive and meet basically any need you could have. It's really good for getting an even more personal gift.

For the comfort-seeker
It's this time of year that I crave buying things like cable knit socks, jumpers and generally things that will induce cosiness, and probably the thing I make a beeline for come Boxing Day sales. Jack Wills is somewhere I'd head to meet all those needs, so a Jack Wills Gift Card is a pretty perfect gift-option this time of year (also great for NYE outfit options). 

For the one who likes their beauty sleep
The past year I've discovered the wonder that is eye masks (admittedly late to the party), and all the goodness they can bring to your life. Seems like quite timely, too, given the technology that brands are using to make them not only helpful to not-so-good sleepers like myself, but actually have anti-ageing benefits. For the indulgence, Slip Eye Masks are unequivocally gorgeous, whereas Iluminage have the got the technology in tact to wind back the years as you sleep. 

For the modern bookworm
As I've got older, I've actually started to appreciate magazines in a way that's more than just flicking through, looking at the pictures. For years, Vogue subscriptions were a novelty and a dressing-table necessity, blissfully bypassing the actual written content - looking back this was a scandalous waste of money but hey ho. Magazine subscriptions now are something that always grace my Christmas list. Recently, it's been Porter (cover to cover gold, can't recommend this more), and Lonely Planet (for all your wanderlust and holiday-planning needs). Really, a lot of the value in this comes from wanting some post these days that isn't a bill or card statement, but something you can actually look forward to. It's the gift that keeps on giving (for six months, anyway).  


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This post was created in collaboration with Jack Wills.

11 Nov 2017

Everything I Never Told You

Long has it been since I've eased as seamlessly into a book as I did this one. Celeste Ng's first novel, Everything I Never Told You, recounts the story of the Lee family, starting in 1977. After being reported as missing, the favourite daughter, Lydia, is found at the bottom of a nearby lake by the police. The Lees are a Chinese-American family; Marilyn and James Lee are parents to Lydia, Nath and Hannah. The family descend into emotional turmoil when Lydia is found dead, resurrecting the past and so it starts to unravel that the cracks were beginning to show long before. 

I liked how the book distracted me completely from what I expected it to be. I started reading this thinking it was going to be from the who-dun-it crime or thriller-type, but it was far from it. Yes, you naturally want to know what happened to Lydia, but there's so much more that captures your attention that you start to forget (pretty quickly) that you still don't know the story behind what happened to her, even right towards the end. It doesn't unravel the same way that a crime novel would; you don't find yourself getting closer to the truth, but navigating your way around the family instead. Each family member has their own (rather bleak) story to tell, which is in turn sculpted by how they have been raised, and by who; it's an interesting depiction of how much our character is informed by our parents, and the trials and tribulations in their lives.

Lydia is an essentially an embodiment of James and Marilyn's projected dreams, ambitions and lost futures; they channel into her what they lacked from their own lives, for Marilyn it is the opportunity to become a doctor (when female doctors were few and far between), and for James it is his desire to feel as though he belonged. This article by The Guardian raises an interesting point; the 70's setting allows for a disappearance that's relatively untraceable. Does that even exist nowadays? With social media, GPS and god knows what else that we're blissfully unaware is tracking our every move, it would be near on impossible to disappear in the same sense. She's able to disguise her lacking popularity from her father, essentially because he can't check her follower count, comments or Facebook friends because they simply don't exist yet. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad comment on today's society vs. back then, but it sure would have been easier to see the signs of an unhappy child.

The novel switches from past to present erratically, and it's only really from the characters that you can ground yourself in the time (from back in my linguistics seminars at uni, this is called finding the 'deictic centre', letting it point you to the time or place with the words they use...geek). The novel is a struggle, a depiction of the simultaneous power and destructive nature that silence has. I found the last pages so evocative, and emotionally charged with sadness and desperation for Lydia. Compressed by the wants, desires and lost lives of her parents, in desperation to be everything they wanted she lost herself. The sadness starts in James' story, his isolation in coming to America. I found Hannah's story the most difficult to read. Ironically, she's the child that's been holding the family together before she was even born (given Marilyn only returned from her estrangement when she found out she was pregnant with her), yet she has a ghost-like presence in the household. She spends most of her time curled under a table, listening to her family argue; her words are sparing and her desire for love and attention from her family is tangiable. 

Beautifully written and the most fluid prose that lures you into the story from the offset, but really quite desperately sad, it delves into important and poignant things that aren't spoken about enough. Ng's second novel is out in hardback now, Little Fires Everywhere, and it's already on my list. 

You can buy Everything I Never Told You here.

Wild About Green Rose


You can't get much more comforting than a cup of tea, so you can imagine the atmosphere when surrounded by shelves and shelves of it in the T2 Regent Street store-come-otherworldly grotto of every single blend you can think of, complete with tea cups, mugs, flasks and pretty much any tea paraphernalia in existence. It's not a place for the indecisive, having a frankly astonishing amount of tea assortments all laid out for you to peruse, smell and even drink before you buy. For someone like me who's shopping thrills more than often come from buying homeware (mugs and plates in particular), it is a four-walled nirvana and every house should have a tea-room like this simply for the sheer joy it brings. So, it's not a surprise that T2's new Christmas collection, just launched, is aptly named Joy to the Wild, inspired by nature and all it's offerings (hence the plant decor), and is pretty spectacular for tea-lovers. 


In the store, I was gifted my own choice of one of the Christmas collection sets, and to no surprise to those who know my penchant for green tea, I chose the Wild About Green Rose set. Beautifully designed (it's got that Christmas feel without being overtly festive), it contains a box of their Green Rose tea, a cup and saucer, AND a mesh ball infuser - something I've been after for so long for all my loose tea leaf needs. There's something just a bit more special about that than a box of tea bags in my opinion; making it more special.


Gifted by T2 Tea. You can browse the full range here


29 Oct 2017

Everyday Make-Up Saviours

I've always been quite au natural when it comes to make-up given that I'm pretty impatient when it comes to getting ready. Quickly learning at university that fake eyelashes do not suit me, nor does heavy eyeliner or anything overpowering (thanks to those post-night-out photos of dreaded spider eyes), I've always opted for things with the less-is-more results; the no make-up make-up to play it safe. I'm no expert and always learning when it comes to beauty, and things like foundation are very subjective to the kind of results you want to achieve with your make-up, but these are some of the things that have been working for me recently. 

First things first, a primer to make sure everything does what it's told. REN's Perfect Canvas is a skincare slash make-up hybrid that works with the skin to give you the long-term benefits of an improved skin architecture, whilst being a silicone-free, hardworking primer that actually makes my make-up stay where it's supposed to be (even through a very long day). The formula is lightweight, but works to smooth over the skin and make applying make-up a lot easier, and it doubles up as a night-serum too, to lock in your moisturiser.   

Probably like most, it has taken me years to find a foundation or tinted moisturiser that I would re-purchase. Colour-matching, matte or dewy finish, thick or just barely there, there are so many boxes to tick for a good foundation to be really good, and to actually stand out from the rest. I've tried high-end, budget and most in between, and think I've finally sussed the ones that work for me. Perhaps an unexpected one, Algenist's Repairing Tint and Blur Moisturiser* is probably my favourite right now. Medium coverage, a really dewy finish and containing ingredients that work with your skin, it brightens up my complexion and corrects everything that I think needs correcting. I really can't recommend this enough for those that want a glowy finish and it makes sense to me to have a foundation - that sits on your skin all day every day, to be formulated with ingredients that help the skin at the same time. Another one I'd repurchase is The Body Shop's Fresh Nude Foundation. In comparison to Algenist, the coverage is slightly better and still has that dewy, naturally illuminated finish (and so good if you're on a budget). 

Now we're fully in the season of minimal Vitamin-D, bronzer has yet again become my new best friend in the hope of giving back my skin some vitality as it becomes duller and duller. On my way to Corfu last week, I picked up the Bobbi Brown bronzer (in the shade Medium 2) at duty free after being recommended by a lot of my friends that it's a gooden. A firmly brown, definitely-not-orange shade, it's one for all year round and buildable depending on what kind of bronzing you're after. 

Rather than a kohl pencil or using eyeshadow, I've always been one for liquid eyeliner. It's the only thing I really trust to stay in its place and last all day. Right now, I'm using Rimmel's Wonder Wing in Black to give my eye some definition, and lengthen it out with flicks at the end come the evening if I'm going out. I'm not particularly loyal to a specific brand for this, Collection's Fast Stroke Eyeliner is the cheap as chips go-to for when the budget requires (really pigmented, really affordable), and in my experience, high street options have been better than luxe. 

If I'm not going to be using eyeshadow (which is pretty likely throughout the week with minimal time not on my side), I've been using Trish McEvoy's Eye Base. It's essentially a concealer for the eyelid, and so effective in brightening the eye area. It's the kind of product that you don't think is necessary until you try it (and now I'm obsessed with it). If time permits, a weekday eye shadow I used to wear by is the shade Toast in Tanya Burr's Birthday Suit eyeshadow palette; a really lovely nude shade that I'm yet to find an equivalent that's as good for my colouring. 

One of  the things I can't stand with make-up is the ever-lurking, dark, smudgy line of unruly mascara that builds up through the day if you're not wearing the right one. Frankly, I'd rather be wearing no make-up than have that happen, so I've been using the Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara which gives the all-clear on that panda eyes faux pas. I'm also a longstanding fan of the Rodial Glamolash Mascara (sounds extra, but I love everything about it and it never smudged under my eyes, a really thick brush and only took one coat).

Probably my last priority before work, but if I'm going to go all out and put something on my lips, it will be a nude shade that I know won't matter if it smudges or starts to wear off. My favourite right now is Marc Jacob's New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel in the shade Moody Margot. It goes on like a dream, has a your-lips-but-better tone and is effortlessly chic. Oh, and the magnetic packaging is probably the most satisfying thing in the world. A lipstick I'd recommend for the working day to evening transition is the Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour in Telluride*, a beautiful browny-red that is the epitome an autumn make-up shade.

What make-up works best for you during the week?


24 Oct 2017

Down To The Beach | Corfu Part One

Greece has always been somewhere I've been wanting to visit, if only for the crystal-clear waters, white-washed island living and my new-found love for Greek food (if you're based in London, try out Suvlaki and you'll see what I mean). Every island seems to have it's individual charm and own qualities, making choosing which one to visit first quite the conundrum. Corfu has been on my radar for a while as being one of the beautiful, yet affordable, regions of the country, and it was the idyllic choice for some Autumn sunshine. Travelling out of season had it's challenges, like the difficulty in ordering things that were actually available on menus (it's actually easier to find Moussaka in East London than in Corfu right now it seems), and the towns had that slightly lifeless feel, but one of the undeniable advantages was the more or less deserted beaches at our doorstep. Heading down to the beach post-breakfast quickly became routine and one of the highlights of the trip. For someone that's renowned for opting for the hotel pool over swimming in the sea, for once I actually did a lot of the latter and none of the former. Cold, yes, but refreshing, liberating and mind-clearing; the water is so clear and blue it borders on surreal. The temperatures were around twenty to twenty five, which proved to be pretty perfect; cool enough to walk around in the mid-day sun without being overwhelmed by the heat, but warm enough to feel like you're soaking up the vitamin-D and holding onto summer that little bit longer. A lot of hours were spent here in front of the glittering horizon, book in hand, feeling more chilled out than I have done in months. 

The closest beach was a five-minute walk from our hotel (we stayed at the Hotel Pantokrator in Barbati) down a series of white-washed, picturesque but, don't be fooled, very steep and aerobically-challenging steps. Describing the region as 'hilly' would be an understatement; with mountains surrounding you from all angles, it's no wonder that even getting up to our room was a strenuous version of 'leg-day' each time and not a trek for the faint-hearted. The steep inclined climbs are worth it for the views, though. Small but perfectly formed, Barbati has a mile-long pebbled beach, complete with crystal-clear waters, that cast-away style rustic look and hidden coves to explore. I imagine that the small size of the region would mean it's quite busy during peak season, so coming after the crowds have disappeared definitely pays off. We were recommended to visit Paleokastritsa by our taxi driver, but without a car and time being of the essence, it's one saved for next time. If you're staying in or near Northern Corfu, it's one to note, a secluded wonder that is reminiscent of a beach in Thailand. 

All photos taken by myself on iPhone 6S. 

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