Thursday, 31 July 2014

Packing hints, tips and cheats

I am mega excited at the moment, as I am packing for my exciting trip to Thailand with the Boy, my best friend and her boyfriend! I also get to see my parents, which I am secretly excited about as I haven’t seen my dear old mum since the wedding last August!!!
I am lucky enough to have travelled quite a bit in my time so packing is nothing new to me, although it does seem to take me ages as I am bit of a perfectionist. Over the years I have learnt some great tips for packing which I wanted to share with you today!

Use cotton wool to protect make up

There is nothing more irritating, upsetting almost, when you arrive at your destination and you find that your make up smashed in transit. Dam those heavy handed luggage handlers. To prevent bronzers, blushes and eye make compacts from cracking and crumbling, place a cotton wool page in the compact to act as a cushion. Simple but very clever. 

protect your make up 

Protect bottles with arm bands

Ok so a little confession…I am quickly approaching 28 and I still wear arm bands. But apart from protecting me from drowning when I can’t tread water for more than 30 seconds, they also come in handing if you want to bring bottles home. Simply slip the bottle into a blown up arm band for the perfect protection for your bottle.

saving lives... and bottles! 

Roll up silk 

Silk is a beautiful material, one that glides over your skin. But it doesn’t travel well thanks to the light material easily creasing.  The solution to this is to roll your silk item in your towel rather than folding it and lining other items on top.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Botanics cleansing foam (face) wash: review

I am not a fan of face wipes, for me, I have to get the daily grunge and make up off with the classic face wash and water. It’s the only way I feel truly clean! My latest discovery is “botanics cleansing foam wash” which gently cleanses and brightens skin. I have tried many face washes in the past and this is by far my favourite! 

the power of plants...

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Orwell's "1984" theatre production at The Playhouse

Tuesday night I dabbled in being a little more sophisticated and refined that what I usually am, and along with my lovely friend Frenchy, we headed to the Playhouse Theatre on Northumberland Avenue to watch an adaptation of George Orwell's 1984

The Playhouse 

In all honesty, I hadn't really read that much into the reviews, nor what the play was about, but I love Orwell's book so I just booked it. I had assumed that it was going to be the book on stage, chapter by chapter and no deviation from the plot but I was pleasantly surprised. If you don't want to know then you might want to stop reading this blog post for today! 

ticket for 1984 

The play does follow the story line of 1984, following the lives of Winston and Julia but cleverly flips from 1984 to 100 years in the future, where a small book club are discussing the meaning behind 1984, yet Winston in there in the future too, confused as to where he is as he can still hear Big Brother. 

The scenes dramatically flip from 1984 to the future book club, with an amazing use of lighting, white noise and the cast's incredible ability to stand like statues, portraying a sense of stopping in time. The production also makes a very clever use of video cameras, something I haven't really seen on stage before. It really added to the sense that "Big Brother is watching you" as if you were spying on Winston and Julia through a tv screen. 

The only part I wasn't so keen on was I found that Winston's acting was sometimes a tad monotone and wooden, but I suppose that could have been deliberate for the character?! Also, if you go to this play without having read the book, I think in all honesty it'll will lose you from the start, so only fans or readers of 1984 should go really. 

our view of the stage 

I also loved the way the actors were so suggestive that you didn't even have to see what was going on to see it or feel it, for example, the room 101 scenes at the end didn't depict any violence, but by that point in the play, you were so engrossed that event the actor's suggestion of it, had me wincing. 

With the strobe lighting, eerie atmosphere and scary noises, this is quite possibly one of the most frightening things I have ever watched, even more so that The Woman in Black (which I saw last year). It was so clever (with a cast of just 8 people), this play was and chilling and nothing like I was expecting. 

If you get the chance, see it! 

X x X 

Friday, 25 July 2014

What is "Mindful Eating" (guest blogger)

You might have heard the term 'mindfulness' banded about in the past year? Mindfulness it seems is having its own moment with everyone speaking about its merits from Oprah to Arianna Huffington in her latest book, Thrive.
In fact you'll be hard pushed to not see daily articles that discuss mindfulness as an antidote to burnout. Practicing mindfulness regularly has been shown to reduce stress, treat depression as well as help workers to become more efficient and focused.
But what is it?
A quick google will tell you that "Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique."

Emma has been embarking on mindfulness 

Too much of our time is focused on what happened in the past or what we hope - or dread - will happen in the future.
After reading the numerous articles on the subject I decided I needed to try my hand with an introductory session somewhere. A quick look on Twitter and Google told me The Mindfulness Project based on Fitzrovia Square in central London would be a good place to start.
The Mindfulness Project has been set up by founders Autumn Totten and Alexandra Frey (below) with the mission to create a platform for teaching mindfulness as a life skill to as many Londoners as possible. The two lovely ladies have cherry-picked London's best mindfulness teachers and invited lecturers from around the globe to help people hone their mindfulness skills with the hope of improving their every-day lives.
Totten and Frey 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Home-made sugar body scrub recipe

I love bathing products and I have recently been using the most delicious body scrub from soap and glory (one of my favourite beauty brands) which I have absolutely loved using. I would highly recommend it. The scrub was made from main ingredients of brown sugar, lime, almond oil, and macadamia grains. Available from Boots, Superdrug and the like, about £9 for a massive tub.

Unfortunately for me, delicious products don’t tend to last very long, if anything, I use them more quickly! So whilst the massive pot lasted me ages, the pot is now well and truly empty.

using my homemade sugar body scrub 

You have probably noticed that the list of ingredients of this scrub are all pretty edible! Which might have you thinking... what have I got in the kitchen cupboard that I could use to make a new scrub?

Whilst I love a professional beauty buy I am also partial to making my own, and it is so easy! If you have a quick google, there are loads of “recipes” out there, all natural, so no fear of allergic reactions or break outs, and all very cheap to make!

My favourite one that is my fail safe option for years, is this sugar scrub made with sugar, olive oil* and lemon juice. It is simple and effective. 

making a body scrub with everyday ingredients! 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

L'Oreal 3 in 1 purifying micellar water: review

I love make up. 
And if it wasn’t clear from seeing my face, it certainly is when you see the cotton wool pad after I have taken off my make up!

Whilst I love a full face of makeup, it is so important to take it off at the end of the day! I have got on the micellar water band wagon and am impressed since using the one from L’Oreal.

looks like water...but it not

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Swift, bar and kitchen, Putney, London

At the weekend, me and a few friends went for a late lunch at The Swift, just near Putney Bridge, which was an absolute find as we loved it there and ended up staying for a drink or two after. We had actually intended to go to the Brown Cow in Fulham (somewhere I have been meaning to go to for ages) but when we turned up at 4pm, we were dissapointed to find that the kitchen didn't actually open until 6pm! Practically starved (I hadn't eaten since 1pm!!!), there was no way I was waiting two hours so we initiated plan B. 

a late lunch at The Swift 
what cute bunting! 

Falling true to "I don't know what I am having so I will copy the first order", we all sampled the organic Samuel Smith apricot beer (although Frenchy branched out and had the strawberry) which as a non beer drinker, I surprised myself in really liking! I would definitely recommend and have it again! 

apricot and strawberry Samuel Smith beer 

For my late lunch, I opted for the salt beef sandwich with pickles and Swiss cheese on proper thick cut bread, accompanied by a side of the most amazing parmesan coated chips! I am salivating thinking about those chips as I write this! 

can't beat a proper sandwich and chips for lunch!

the pickles compliment the salt beef perfectly

these cheesy chips were the best! 

If you are into your craft beers and gins, then this place is for you, even if you're not here for the tasty food. There is a whole menu dedicated to just beers, ales and ciders that are locally sourced, international, organic or that a little different. My friend Frenchy was particularly excited by their extensive list of award winning gins on offer, which are served in a huuuge goblet like glass.

this is just for the gin list! 

this is as large as my head! And I have a fat head! 

I certainly will be returning back to here in the near future. 

mismatched furniture for a country kind of feel 

Love the granny chic chairs 

The vibe at The Swift is perfect for a lazy weekend of drinking, dining and catching up with friends. The staff are lovely, the atmosphere is relaxed and the area is cosy without being stuffy or dark. I also adore the mismatched decor and vintage feel, with artifacts and accessories adorning the place such as an old type writer, grandma worthy chair and bunting. I loved it! 

X x X

Maybelline colour show nail vanish in "mauve kiss": review

I love painted nails, quite frankly when I don't have my finger or toe nails painted, I feel a little naked almost and can't help that think my toes look weird without a pop of colour. It's like have a roast dinner without gravy or going on holiday and not having an ice-cream. It's acceptable but just not right. 

Anyway, I have had this colour quite a while now but have recently started wearing it again after a little break from it. 

an understated colour for nails 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Oil absorbing sheets - be gone shine!

Generally I have good skin but every now and then I'll break out in spots around my mouth and chin (but hey, but who doesn't like a spot beard?!) and I'll have "greasy" patches around my face. Obviously this is a look that I am after really but I have a secret weapon! These oil absorbing sheets from Skin Clear. 

oil absorbing sheets 

These are a simple, genius idea - each sheet absorbs all the excess oil on the surface of the skin, eliminates shine and helps mattes skin. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Chocolate chip mocha and peanut butter swirl cake

This week I engaged in a spot of baking for a charity bake sale at work. One of the recipes I made was a chocolate chip mocha and peanut butter swirl cake. It got a few compliments so I thought I best share the recipe with you!

enjoy with a cuppa!

Bit of a mouthful by name and by nature! This is quite a dense cake thanks to the peanut butter, but with the added mocha icing moistens it back again. I am bit of an icing fanatic so made quite a lot for this recipe but feel free to make less if you want, or just do one layer.

It is a sweet, cake but not overly sickly sweet, like a chocolate fudge cake.

Enjoy with an afternoon tea and a well deserved rest!

Here is what you need:

Monday, 14 July 2014

Chanel "healthy glow sheer powder" bronzer: review

I have made no attempt to hide the fact that I am a little bit obsessed with bronzers and had my fair share over the year, but hey, there are worst things to be addicted to like chocolate, alcohol or crack I argue.

When I was at the airport coming back from Dubrovnik, I saw a great offer for a bronzer I had been drooling over for some time… Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder.

my new "investment" 
healthy glow sheer powder

My latest "investment" is this one from Chanel. 
Beautifully packaged in an ivory compact slipped into a velvet sleeve, it’s what you’d expect from a fashion house such as Chanel.

With it being summer and being slightly tanned, I have gone for shade #70, but they have a whole host of colours to suit including lighter shades.

love the classic packaging 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

48 hours in Dubrovnik city, Croatia

It’s not every day that we have a good idea, but when we were booking out tickets to Hideout festival we decided that it would be worth us stopping off in Dubrovnik on the way back for a few days...great idea as we loved it there!

the entrance to Dubrovnik, through the walls 
view from the walls

Dubrovnik is in the very southernmost tip of Croatia, a good 5-6 hours drive from where we were in Pag for the festival so arriving in the pretty city was a warm welcome. Plus the drive along the coast from Pag, through Split and Bosnia (it is no longer a war-torn country as we all worried) is stunning. A back drop of mountains and lush blue sea below. Gorgeous. 

view from the car window of the drive 

our coastal drive

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The most amazing hair brush - the tangle teezer

A hairbrush isn’t something I would normally blog about I love this bad boy so much, I have to!

I love my new tnagle teezer! 

When we were in Croatia last week, the combination of the sea  + sand + me forgetting to take out my hair piece before sleeping, resulted in a tangled mess than resembled a wrecked birds nest. Luckily, the gorgeous Brooke came to the rescue with her tangleteezer

I had read reviews about these things before but thought they were all hype and a bit pricey for £12. However a quick sweep of this and my birds nest was transformed into hair again!

soft plastic bristles 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition 2014: guest blogger

The English summer has arrived, and Wimbledon has already come and gone. However, the other bigger event of the summer has just opened it's doors...

The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition 2014 is is the world’s largest open entry exhibition. Held without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition is open to all artists. The works are selected and hung by Royal Academicians, and in 2014, nearly 70% of the exhibits were by emerging artists.  
Most of the paintings and other art work on display are available for sale and some can be purchased for as little as £100.

Inside this years Summer Exhibition 
(Royal Academy of Arts)

The Summer Exhibition always has something for everybody. As well as an eclectic collection of paintings there are also a wide-range of sculptures, architectural models and other art work.

The Architecture Room  (BBC)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bioré deep cleansing nose pore strips: review

Hands up, who likes blackheads?!

Yea, thought not.

no I haven't busted my nose...I am busting the blackheads! 

Generally my skin is quite clear but my skin bug bear is large pores and in particular blackheads around the nose. Not surprising, did you know you have about 200,000 pores on your face?!  I know you shouldn’t but sometimes I try to give them a squeeze but this doesn’t work. It could also make the issue worse as it can damage skin and further block pores so I try to refrain.

What does work though is this stuff… Bioré’s Deep CleansingPore Strips!  

rid blackheads with this! 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

chocolate and mint oaty snack slice - raw and vegan! (makes a tasty dessert too!)

One of my resolutions for 2014 was to cut down on naughty sugary snacks such as chocolate bars, biscuits and cakes. But as hard as I try, sometimes there are times where I am craving something SWEET! And sometimes that sweet HAS to be chocolate!!!

mint and chocolate is a great combo 

To curb this I have been trying to make my own homemade sweet recipes, such as protein balls. However a few weeks ago I bought a packet of raw cocoa powder and have since had a little hallelujah moment as I have now been experimenting and making delicious dessert recipes using this little wonder product. The result – satisfying my chocolate sweet tooth without damaging myself with sugar.

So today I am sharing with you my delicious recipe for chocolate and mint oaty bars!

And as they are raw and no bake, it means that they are super healthy (we have all heard that a raw diet is good for you) and so easy to make.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Make Yourself Youthful” in SPF 50, Soap and Glory: review

Today I am off to Croatia and it is my first time visiting. Actually, there are 9 of us and it is all of our first time. I don’t really know what to expect but do now that the weather is going to be great, with temperatures up to 28*c so that means plenty of sun cream for us!

With your body, sun cream is pretty difficult to get wrong, but when it comes to your face, it becomes a little more tricky – different skin types means that skin on your face might react differently to that of your body.

SPF for the face 

For me, I often find that sun cream leaves my skin oily, greasy and spotty. Not usually the look I am going for on holiday.

Luckily I have recently discovered “Make Yourself Youthful SunshieldSuperfluid” in SPF 50, from Soap and Glory (which has always been one of my absolute favourite beauty brands). The sun cream is lightweight but offers good coverage, and even in Dubai in May, I only needed one application to stop me burning.

velvety soft texture 

Even if you aren’t on holiday though, it pays to use sun cream on your face as it is one of the main causes of wrinkles and aging!!!

It has a lovely velvety texture to it, which means you aren’t left with a sticky residue like most sun creams for the face, and therefore leaves a nice even smoothness if you want to put make up on top.

don't forget to use SPF for the face even in England! 

This has to be the best sun cream for you face that I have used so far!

X x X

Ps, don’t forget the tops of your ears when applying your Make yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid