Friday, 29 May 2015

Lifestyle: 7 delicious foody places to visit in central London

Now I know I’m normally all about the beauty on this blog but for those of you who know me (or just follow me on Pinterest), I really, really like food. London has so many amazing food places dotted around the capital so I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of my favourites (all around the central W1 area). Whether you’re a veggie, staunch meat eater or just a massive cake lover, I’m hoping you’ll like something from the list below. It was originally meant to be a ‘top 5’ but two more snuck in. Ahem.
7 delicious foody place to visit in london
Ethos – this all vegetarian buffet style restaurant is one of my favourite places to go for lunch. You help yourself to a massive array of hot and cold dishes and pay at the counter by weight. It’s great if you like to have a bit of everything on your plate, as you can try lots of different things all at once. There’s a good mix of veggie and vegan dishes and I promise, that even meat lovers like myself won’t feel like they’re missing out!

Bobo Social – tucked away at the quieter end of Charlotte Street, Bobo Social is a relatively new place that serves a mix of burgers and small plates of tapas style dishes. The sweet potato fries are possibly the best I’ve ever had and look out for the monthly burger specials which change regularly. This month featured the Marmite burger, which combined rare breed beef, aged cheddar and Marmite and was insanely delicious.

Pizza Pilgrims – a good pizza isn’t hard to find in London but trust me when I say that these are really exceptional. They have a lovely thick outer crust with nice thin dough towards the middle and the truffled mushroom pizza is basically a mouth orgasm waiting to happen. Try their new Carnaby branch or head to the original one on Dean Street in Soho.

Charlotte Street Hotel afternoon tea – as somewhat of a cake obsessive, I’ve tried a lot of afternoon teas in London and can honestly say the Charlotte Street Hotel is one of the best for quality of food and general ambience. They have 2 different types of tea – a more traditional offering and a ‘Bloomsbury tea’ which is features some more adventurous sandwich choices and ‘posher’ looking cakes and is completely divine. Save room for the scones – these babies are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. Pile them high with cream and jam and enjoy! They’re also great if you’re attending on a special occasion – I took my mum as a 60th birthday treat and although we vaguely mentioned it was a birthday when we sat down I hadn’t asked for any special treatment. Despite that, they brought her out a little birthday cupcake with a ‘Happy Birthday’ message on which was a lovely touch.

Meat Liquor – I couldn’t resist including another burger place on this list as Meal Liquor really is about as far removed from Bobo Social as you can get! Don’t be put off by the dim lighting (you’ll need a flash to Instagram your burger!) and slaughterhouse inspired graffiti, their burgers can only be described as messy, but drool-worthy. There are no napkins here – just rolls of kitchen roll to mop up any burger related messes. Make sure you grab sides of onion rings and deep fried pickles. Oh. My. God. The cocktails are also fab.

Lantana – this is a tiny little cafĂ© tucked away down a side street in Fitzrovia, but it’s well worth discovering for its delicious, fresh food that all has an Aussie influence. My top picks from the menu has to be the corn fritters with bacon, avocado and spinach, which is THE best brunch and also their maple French toast. *drools a little*

Wild Game Co. – for venison that makes your mouth water, make sure you head to the Wild Game Co. They do a mix of burgers and the most delicious venison steak frites, all of which you can feel guilt-free about as venison is actually lower in fat than a skinless chicken breast. Bonus. If you have veggie friends, you might have to leave them behind as this is a meat lover's paradise, but don’t feel too bad about it. These guys are currently only open at lunch times, but are moving to a new location in a few weeks and will be back open for lunch and dinner very soon.

Have you tried any of these places before? What’s your favourite place to eat in London?
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Neve Cosmetics Elegantissimi nude shadow palette review

A girl can never have too many nude shadow palettes, right? And today's new addition to my collection is from a fantastic Italian brand - Neve Cosmetics.

The Elegantissimi palette features ten highly wearable shades of taupes, browns and beige shadows. There are a lot of matte or satin finish shades here - perfect if you don't always want a shimmery finish to your shadows. Imagine if someone stuck the best bits of the Naked 2 Basics palette and mixed it in with a few shimmery shades - this would be the end result.

Neve cosmetics Eleganitssimi palette review
Neve cosmetics Eleganitssimi palette review swatchesNeve cosmetics Eleganitssimi palette review swatches
I've been really impressed with the pigmentation of these shadows; you only need a small amount on the brush to get a decent level of coverage on the lid, even with the lighter shades. They blend like a dream and don't leave masses of fallout during application. They also wear well throughout the day - I get about 8-10 hours before any fading starts to occur. 

When the palette first arrived, I was quite shocked at how big the actual shadows were (3g each) - maybe I'm too used to my Naked palettes, but these are massive! That's not a bad thing of course, as when a palette is this wearable, you're going to get a LOT of use out of it. It just makes it seem incredible value given the £21.95 price tag. 

All of Neve's shadows are completely cruelty free and vegan and contain no parabens, silicones or mineral oils. They're also easy to pop out of the pan and rearrange if you like - the palette itself is magnetic, so if you buy several of their shadow palettes and fancy mixing and matching the shades within them, then it's really easy to do so.

I love using the bottom row to create a bronze smokey eye, or using some of the lighter top row shades for day time looks or to highlight the inner corner or my lids.

I can't honestly think of a bad thing to say about this palette, in fact, I'm already planning to purchase another one of their palettes in slightly bolder shades as I think the formula is amazing!

You can find the Elegantissimi palette online from cutecosmetics.co.uk.

Have you tried anything from Neve cosmetics before? What do you think of this palette?

*PR sample
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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt Cologne review

Jo Malone is one of those brands that I absolutely adore. A trip to one of their shops is usually met with a seriously long wish list and if I’m lucky, a new scent to add to my collection. 

The latest in my Jo Malone lineup is the Wood Sage and Sea Salt cologne*. I was initially a little confused by the name of this one – after all, sea salt doesn’t really have a ‘smell’, but once I tried it, it quickly went to the top of my summer perfumes list. 

Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt cologne review
Wood Sage and Sea Salt is a light, fresh fragrance that mixes ambrette seeds as a top note, sea salt as a heart note and earthy sage as its base note. Together, these create something quite unusual – it’s light and airy, but without the usual citrus overtones you get from fresher fragrances. Imagine taking a walk along a beach with the sea in front of you and a delicate herb garden behind you and you’ll be sort of on the right path (I hope I’m not putting you off with that slightly odd description!). 

Like all Jo Malone fragrances, this one can be worn on its own or layered up with others to create your own custom scent. It falls into their ‘woody’ category, so it might work nicely with a ‘light floral’ such as French Lime Blossom or maybe even the more citrusy Earl Grey and Cucumber. I’d definitely recommend having a spritzing session at one of their counters to see which combination is your favourite. 

Wood Sage and Sea Salt comes in both 30ml and 100ml bottles (£40 and £82 respectively) plus selected products in their matching bath and body ranges. There’s also a scented candle in this fragrance which is going straight to the top of my ‘oh my god I need this’ list – I have a feeling this scent will work amazingly well as a home fragrance. 

You can find Jo Malone products at their standalone boutiques, as well as stockists such as House of Fraser, Harrods, Selfridges and John Lewis. 

Are you a fan of Jo Malone Colognes? Which one is your favourite?

*PR sample


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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Latest in Beauty - Heart Beauty Essentials box review

Latest in Beauty’s newest beauty box is an absolute cracker. They’ve teamed up with Heart Radio to put together a box of their favourite beauty essentials from a range of high street and high end brands.

Like all LIB boxes, there are no surprises with the contents – you know exactly what you’re getting before you order, so it’s great if you’ve felt the surprise element of other beauty boxes isn’t really for you.

Inside this box are 13 products from the likes of Philosophy, Nails Inc, Dove and Green People, with a combined value of over £70. The box itself is just £15 plus postage, so a fantastic saving. There are a few full-sized products in the box along with some decent travel sizes and I think it’s a box that pretty much all ages will love.

Latest in Beauty Heart Beauty essentials box contents

Box contents:
Dove Youthful Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner
Philosophy Purity Cleanser
Vichy Idealia Life Serum
Kneipp Devil's Claw Herbal Bath
Nails Inc Gel Effect nail polish in Hyde Park Place
Balance Me Radiance Face Mask
Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue
Heart shaped face cloth
Green People SPF15 with tan accelerator
Wild About Beauty eye shadow
Le Couvent des Minimes Cloisters hand cream
Amie Hydrating Daily Moisturiser
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

My top pick from the box has to be the full-sized Nails Inc Gel Effect polish in Hyde Park Place, which is a lovely neutral grey shade that should suit almost everyone. The formula of these are super glossy and while they don’t last as long as a real gel manicure, they give a fantastic dupe effect.

Another great item is the Amie Morning Light Daily Hydrating Moisturiser (again, another full size product), which is perfect for oilier skins or those who don’t like to use a heavy moisturiser in the warmer months. It’s also a bit of a bargain at £4.99, so if you find yourself falling in love with it, it won’t break the bank if you need to repurchase.

Makeup wise, the Wild About Beauty eye shadows are really soft in terms of formula and blend amazingly well. I received the shade Jody which is a deeper grey but I believe there are a selection of different shades included within the box so you might receive an alternative. These usually retail at £13 - I told you this box was a bargain!

All in all I think this is a fantastic box and well worth the £15! The only disappointing inclusion for me is a small sachet of Bare Minerals new Complexion Rescue - this is a great lightweight base product but the tiny sachet and limited shade selection means it’s more of a single use product (or no use if you don’t colour match with one of the two shades included).

You can purchase the Heart Beauty Essentials Box from the Latest in Beauty website, while stocks last.

Do you like the look of this box?

*PR sample
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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

3 to try: cleansers

Cleansing is one of the most important parts of a good skincare regime – not only does it remove your daily make up and grime from the skin but it helps prepare it to receive all those lovely serums and moisturisers we like to slap on afterwards.

I’ve picked out three of my current favourite cleansers that I think will work for almost any type of skin and any length of routine. So whatever your cleansing habits, there’s no excuse for not doing it! (and throw out those face wipes while you’re at it!)

RMK cleansing balm* – cleansing balms are my favourite way to cleanse at night. I normally take the majority of my makeup off with a swipe of micellar water and a cotton pad and then get in there with a cleansing balm for a seriously good clean. RMK’s balm is lovely and soft in texture and almost melts into the skin as you use it. It’s really great if you wanted to avoid anything too heavily scented – it uses Damascus Rose Oil so has a light rose scent and hydrates skin while it works. A little bit goes a long way, so take a small amount and massage into dry skin. Then add a little water to ‘emulsify’ the product – this turns it into a milk-type texture which can then be rinsed away or removed with a warm, wet flannel. £29 100ml

Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser – this gel texture cleanser has been a staple in my bathroom for a few years now. It’s super mild, but incredibly effective, making it suitable for even really sensitive skins. It’s easy to use both morning and night and is really refreshing in the summer when a heavier, oil-based cleanser might overload the skin. Apply a little to dry skin, massage in and remove with a warm flannel. You could also wipe away with a cotton pad if you’re in a rush, but this won’t be quite as effective! £27.20

Institut Esthederm Deep Pore Cleanser* – I normally avoid ‘deep cleansers’ like the plague as they have a habit of stripping skin of all signs of moisture, but this one from Institut Esthederm manages to give a fantastically good cleanse and leave you with soft, supple skin at the same time. The brand believes that skin is an ecosystem and works with it in order to get the best results over time. To use the Deep Pore Cleanser, apply a little in dabs across dry skin and massage in until you feel the product change in texture (it will go thick and stop being easy to massage) then rinse well. What I love about this is that depending on your skin type, they suggest a different level of useage – around 1-2 times per month for sensitive skins, once a week for normal skin and up to 2 times a week for oily or blemish prone skins. £26.50

Have you tried any of these cleansers before? What’s your favourite?

*PR samples
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Friday, 22 May 2015

Introducing: Prismologie

Next time you're browsing the shelves of Space NK, make sure you have a look at the new bath and body brand on the block: Prismologie.

Prismologie* is a luxury bath and body brand that have literally just launched in the UK. It's all based around the idea of colour therapy, and how we can use colour to complement our daily lives to uplift, enhance and inspire.

The products all focus on colour and link to how you want to feel at that particular moment. For example, the Green Epoch collection is designed to create serenity, equilibruim and a balanced mind, with notes of vetiver, whereas The Red Hour is aimed more at giving a boost of go-getting energy and uses scent of cedarwood to do so. Each colour range has also been infused with a specific crystal which is said to have complementary properties to both the colour and the scent of the products. There are six different colours in total, which can carry you through from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. 

I love the concept behind this brand - very often you're confronted by products that seem to slot you into one particular range - enlivening for example - whereas Prismologie recognises thst we all want to feel different ways throughout the day and throughout the seasons, so you can pick and mix the products best suited to you at any point. They've also steered clear of creating the same products for each colour range - each colour has a unique set of products that blends well with the feelings they're trying to invoke.

My current favourites from the range are the White Hour Rich Body Cream and the Indigo Interlude Foot Cream. I love to use the White Hour body cream in the evenings after a shower as it's super hydrating and the fresh scent is absolutely divine. I was a bit wary of the Indigo Interlude Foot Cream initially as I'm not the world's biggest fan of touching my feet, but it really is fab at preparing them ready for summer sandals and the oud scent makes the whole process feel incredibly pampering. 

I think they've done a great job at creating a luxury range that really delivers both in terms of performance and look and feel.

The products range from £30 to £55 so are at the higher end of the spectrum but they would make a fab pamper gift to yourself or a special someone. The products are all pretty unisex too which is great, although that does mean I'll have to hide mine from my boyfriend to stop him slathering on my White Hour body cream!

You can find Prismologie exclusively in Space NK stores and via their website.

Do you like the sound of this new range?

*PR sample
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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Debate: are you ever too old to be a beauty blogger?

I was asked the other day if there was going to be a point when I decided I was too old to carry on with beauty blogging. After my initial outrage calmed down a little, I started to wonder whether they had a valid point - is there an age that beauty bloggers stop being relevant?

Ageing is one of those things that no matter how hard you try, it's impossible to escape. Billions are spent on anti-ageing products and treatments every year, but at the crux of it, none of these will ever truly hold back the clock. But just because we age on the outside, does it really mean that inside we become different people?

For me it's really important that there are bloggers to represent all ages - you don't suddenly stop being interested in beauty products just because you pass a certain birthday. My 85 year old Nan still likes to make sure her hair looks nice and gets it styled once a week despite having dementia, so if that doesn't stop her I don't think anything will!

We need honest reviews on products that are aimed at all ages - not just on the latest lip colours and body products, but tips on how to use them whatever your age. My mum often steers clear of certain things because she feels they no longer work for her as she’s become more mature (shimmery eye shadows for one) and it’s those types of things I think it’d be great to have more of a focus on, as well as more reviews on skincare products for more mature skins.

I've been blogging for about 3 years now and over that period, I've been asked about my age several times. There was even a comment made on a gossip site about how old I looked in my photos (sad times) – I’m not sure what people expect but I'm 31. I have a few wrinkles. I don’t pretend that I don’t, but I don’t think for one minute that stops me having an opinion on how well a certain eye liner performs.

20-something bloggers will always have their place, but we all need bloggers we can relate to, whether you're 21 or 61. I think it's really important that as we grow older we don't stop blogging - after all, our audiences are getting older with us, so where would that leave them if there was suddenly no one left for them to identify with?

How do you feel about blogging and ageing? Is it a big deal?
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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick trio - World Duty Free exclusive

A trip to World Duty Free is one of my favourite things about planning a holiday. 1. Because it means you’re in the airport and your holiday is about to start and 2. Because of the amazing exclusives they have that you can’t find anywhere else (the tax free part is also a nice bonus!). I’ve got a few of their summer exclusives to show you over the next few weeks, but I had to get started with this fantastic trio of lipsticks from YSL.


YSL lippies always scream luxury purchase to me and their cult Rouge Pur Couture formula is creamy, highly pigmented and easy to wear all day. This travel set puts together three of the most popular bright shades: No.1 Le Rouge (a blue-based red), No.13 Le Orange (orangey coral red), and No.27 Fuchsia Innocent a blue-based hot pink. Now, just because it’s a travel exclusive doesn’t mean you’re getting a smaller product – these are full-sized lipsticks, each of which is individually packaged within the outer box. This might make it a great gift if you’re planning on treating a friend from duty free – one for her, one for you and oh wait, another one for you…

Until now, I’d always stuck to the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Lip Stain formulas as I thought they’d be more wearable but I absolutely love these! I can easily see myself using No.27 on a regular basis as I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with hot pink lipsticks and No.1 is such a classic red shade that should work with pretty much all skin tones.

These normally retail for £26 each, but the travel set is £59.35, making it a really good saving. If you don’t have any of these shades in your lipstick collection but want to start with the classics, then this is definitely the way to go.

Sadly it’s only available from World Duty Free shops, but it’s a good excuse to plan a little trip, or add it to your summer holiday shopping list!

What do you normally stock up on at World Duty Free?

*PR sample
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