12/11/2017

BEAUTY | My Autumnal Makeup Look 2017


My favourite time of year for makeup has arrived!

Every year, I've been posting a new autumn makeup on the blog. It's a little tradition that I like to keep, because it helps me keep track of what makeup I enjoy wearing at the same time each year. You can click here to see the previous looks I've done: my 2016 warm corals look and the 2015 dark lips look.

This year, I have brought back dark lips again - but they are matte this time! - with a quick and easy look that I enjoy wearing on the weekends. I tend to wear very minimal makeup during the week and avoid dark shades for professional reasons, so when the weekend comes, I love looking as autumnal as possible with brown shades under my eyes and dark red on my lips.


FACE PREP: LIGHT AND NATURAL
On my face, I used the Magic Foundation by Charlotte Tilbury to even out the skin - always good in the autumn, because the cold can easily cause redness here and there. This foundation is amazing (you can find a full review here) and gives you great coverage without being too obvious. To cover any extra imperfections, I use the NYX HD Studio Photogenic concealer, which is amazing. It reminds me of the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer in terms of texture and coverage, but for a fraction of the price. 
I set the foundation with the Stay Matte powder by Rimmel, which has been my go-to powder for years now.


EYES: A TWIST ON THE LINER LOOK
Instead of using eyeshadow as I've done for the past couple years, this time I went for a classic look with eyeliner. I used to wear liner a lot a few years ago, but I've started to wear it less and less, however it's still a look I like to go for sometimes. I used my Kiko Precision Liner and drew a sharp wing as I always do.
On the bottom lash line, I used the Naked 1 Palette by Urban Decay to add a touch of autumn shades, creating a gradient with the shades Smog in the middle of the eye and Hustle in the outer part. To add even more glitter I used a Nocibé bronzy gold eyeshadow in the centre of the water line.


I then added some shimmery eyeshadow in the inner corner of my eyes and on my brow bone, using an individual Sephora shadow in the shade 72 Movie Popcorn. I added two good coats of mascara with the Bourgeois Volume Glamour mascara which is great for lengthening the lashes and separating them. Here is what the final eye look is like:


ADDING SPARKLES: BLUSHER AND HIGHLIGHTER
I'm all about the highlighter at the moment, I can never go without it. I've been using the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector almost every single day. I've got the shade Opal and it's a beautiful gold shade, a lot more gold than the classic Champagne Pop. As for blusher, I'm using my old UK Beauty coral blusher which is almost running out - I like this coral shade with tiny gold sparkles.


DARK LIPS WITH NYX
For the lips, I'm going for a matte liquid lipstick (even though the finish doesn't look matte in these photos, it really is a lovely soft matte shade.) I'm using the NYX Liquid Suede in the shade n.12 Vintage - I'm guessing in reference to the films noirs of the 1930s and the beautiful dark lips women wore in these productions. The application is easy but because the shade is so dark, you have to make sure you apply the colour evenly. It's such a pretty shade for autumn because it's more of a muted burgundy, rather tricky to describe and very unique. 


And that's about it for my autumnal look this year. It's far more minimal than last year's look, because I've been drawn to quicker, easier looks to create - but still with that autumn touch of gold and brown that I really like at this time of year.


What's your go-to autumn look? Do you enjoy wearing dark lipstick at this time of year?
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01/11/2017

TRAVEL | England's Smallest City


Tiny place, big cathedral.

Wells really is a tiny city. It got its title of City because it is home to a beautiful cathedral, but in truth it is the perfect size for a little weekend day out in the country. Let me show you in this post why Wells is worth a trip if you're around Somerset!

Of course, Wells Cathedral is the main attraction. Its square shape and flat top is very curious and unlike any other cathedral I've seen in England so far, but the facade is beautiful. The area is very peaceful as well, you won't see crowds of people flocking around like you would in Winchester for example. All the better to admire the building and its intricacies.


The Cathedral was built between the 12th and the end of the 15th century. The style is mainly Gothic, and the interior is particularly beautiful. It has been taken care of so well, that the building seems brand new. Unlike other cathedrals and churches which are often purposely very dark, Wells cathedral fills up with light, which makes it a warm and welcoming building to step into.


The arches of St Andrew's Cross in the far end of the nave are beautiful, and so it the ceiling in the Lady Chapel (last picture above.) The curves and arches all around the cathedral make it such a stunning structure to look at. I am a sucker for good symmetry and find it so aesthetically pleasing. Is it just me?
Right outside the Cathedral, you'll find Vicar's Close. An iconic little side-street, the oldest permanently inhabited street in Europe. And you'd probably want to live there too.


My friend Julie and I organised an impromptu photoshoot in Vicar's Close, because where could we find a cutest, more autumnal background for these photos?
I'm wearing my new midi skirt from New Look. I got it in the sales and it's the perfect autumn shade. Because it's such a statement piece I decided to wear with with a plain back top and my favourite jacket from H&M. A girl recently told me "you look like you're going hunting" as I was wearing this jacket, and yep I totally own this countryside look. (the hunting not so much though!)


For lunch, we went to a lovely pub in town called the City Arms. First of all: it is pink and very cute.


Inside, a whole part was dedicated to the restaurant and it was really cosy, with cushions and wooden tables. I went for lasagna, served with garlic bread (yum!) and a salad. It was really good and so filling that I didn't want anything for dinner that day.


The pubs and restaurants around Wells didn't seem very busy. It was lovely to spend time in a place that's not crowded, as opposed to Bath where the whole city centre is full of people most of the time. We had a really fun day out in Wells, saw a beautiful cathedral, and had a quiet pub lunch. Isn't that exactly how Brits do days out?

Have you ever heard of Wells? Do you enjoy visiting historical buildings?
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21/10/2017

LIFESTYLE | Why I Am Buying Less

Am I a reponsible adult yet?

Over the last year or two, there's been a big change in my way of seeing fashion, beauty and shopping. I've come to a stage where I rarely buy anything, don't jump on the trends and focus on what I need, not what I lust after. 
There hasn't been a big epiphany to come to this stage, no life-changing moment, it just happened over time. Yeah, I became more responsible and aware. I thought it would be interesting to address this in a blog post, and see if any of you could relate. 
Here are some of the things I've come to realise since I started buying less...

Breaking news: I am not in desperate need for anything

Sounds silly, but really this is the key thing to remember. I have stopped buying nail polishes every month or clothes that I wasn't even sure I'd ever wear. I have stopped buying while telling myself 'I'll get it, it was only £10' and ending up never using the said item. I don't restrict myself, I just know how to stop from buying unnecessary things. And happily, I'm doing just as well as I did when I bought three nail polishes in Boots just because they were on offer! 
All the things I bought were all extras I splurged on because I could afford it, and because it feels great to buy new stuff. It really does! I get super excited when I buy new makeup. But all the makeup I bought on a whim, I barely use now. I didn't need it, so it's there, taking up space. I could have done without it... and I think that's the most important thing to understand - buying less doesn't mean restricting yourself or being frustrated. Once you realise that you'll be fine buying only what you need - remembering that these are things you do want as well of course - you'll start thinking about the way you buy.

I appreciate my new purchases more

Because I buy mostly things I need, I always look forward to the purchase. Most of my shopping lists are thought through: I'll note down that I need a new scarf, and look for the perfect one. Needless to say, when I do find the scarf I want, I'm super excited and I want to wear it until the end of time. I feel more responsible towards my possessions, I care more about what I own and it makes me feel more aware of what I have. When I fall in love on an item, I don't buy it straight away - I wait for a bit and see if I still want it as much. If I do, awesome, I'll get it! If I've forgotten about it, it means that I can probably do without it. Wouldn't it be cool to absolutely love everything you have?

Quality over quantity

This is an obvious one, but buying less means that I have more money to spend - well, once I've paid the rent! I'd rather spend that money on quality items, that will last me a while and that I won't throw away six months later. Because these are often items I need, I want them to be top quality so I enjoy using or wearing them all the way. Last January, I needed a new foundation and got the Magic Foundation by Charlotte Tilbury. It was expensive, but it's the only foundation I used all winter and spring - and it is bloody great. Last December, I wanted a new winter bag and got a burgundy Coach bag. It was the most expensive bag I'd ever bought, but I've used it a lot, taken it in trains and at school where I worked, and it still looks brand new - the leather is perfect, nothing fell apart, no scratches anywhere, the gold details haven't lost their colour... Best investment ever. A few years ago, I would have gone through three Primark bags in six months instead. 
Although I do still buy from Primark and the like, I've been drawn to sturdier materials for accessories and clothes. Have you ever noticed how the quality of some of the clothes in Topshop or River Island is awful? Is it really worth that price tag? Going on less shopping sprees could potentially allow you to access items that are a little bit more expensive, but a lot better quality-wise.


Are you a compulsive buyer or do you think through your purchases?
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11/10/2017

TRAVEL | A Guide to Visiting Sintra, Portugal


Two words: be prepared.

When you visit Lisbon, going to Sintra is almost a mandatory step. We've all heard about or seen photos of the green mountains and the bright Palace of Pena, and all the other historical landmarks that make up Sintra and look straight out of a fairytale. I've had the opportunity to visit Sintra during what is probably the busiest time of the year, so here is my little guide if you want to plan a trip there in the future - which I highly recommend!

What is Sintra?

Sintra is a town (and in fact a whole municipio) near Lisbon, surrounded by the mountains and by the ocean on the coast. It concentrates several major sites of cultural importance for Portugal. Castle after castle, garden after garden, Sintra is a real gem and deserves to be seen. It is a very popular area with thousands of visitors each year, and you'll soon understand why. I will talk you through the places I saw there, and hopefully make you want to see it for yourself! Let's start with the most eccentric palace around...

Monserrate Palace, the exotic dream

Built in the mid-19th century, Monserrate was originally a summer residence. Its style is called eclectism, which basically means that the architecture is of mixed inspirations: Neo-Gothic, Oriental, and of course Romantic - almost all the palaces around Sintra have that particular Romantic style to them which is really difficult to describe because of its multiple influences, but very recognisable. Architecturally, this is the palace that caught my eye the most. I mean, could you do more extravagant than that?


The palace is so ornate and beautiful, the Indian and oriental inspirations for the carvings and ceilings are unlike anything I've ever seen before. The interiors are unfurnished, but the beauty of the building itself makes up for it. 
I also highly encourage you to wander around the gardens, which are divided in several areas with ponds, ruins and exotic plants of all kinds. These gardens are a bit wild, but definitely fit in with the unruly atmosphere of Monserrate.

Quinta da Regaleira and its fairytale gardens

Another dreamy location, and gardens that seem straight out of the darkest fairytales. This was probably my favourite, it is easy access from the centre of Sintra - meaning the closest landmark you can get to by foot - and the buildings, as well as the gardens, really mesmerised me. Just as Monserrate, the Quinta was built and modified over time, to materialise the architectural dreams of its owner at the time. The Palace is heavily influenced by the Manueline style proper to Portuguese architecture and dating back to the 16th century. One can only imagine the architects sketching and getting inspiration from the past to build this whimsical structure.


The inside of the palace and of the chapel (the last picture above) are as beautiful as the outside. Once you've done a little tour of these buildings, you can walk around the gardens. My top tip for the gardens of the Quinta is to take a map at the entrance, because otherwise you'll get lost. Trust me, we even got a little lost with the map. The gardens are a beautiful maze, inspired by Romantic ideals - you'll see plenty of turrets, fountains, sculptures... You should allow around two hours if you want to have a pleasant walk around without rushing. The crowds gather around the main attractions of the gardens pretty quickly, so you might need to wait in turn to get that pretty photo.


Truly, these gardens were rather impressive. It felt like being sent back in time, in a medieval, almost mystical atmosphere. One of my favourite parts of Sintra, surely the one I'd like to see again the most!

The National Palace of Pena, aka where the controversy comes in

Now, this part of the post is where I get a bit more critical... Because unfortunately, the visit of Pena didn't meet my expectations. To tell you the truth, I was so disappointed that I was almost angry and swore I'd never go there again. Dramatic I know, but I still stand by that statement today - Pena hasn't made me want to give it a second chance.
This is the most popular landmark of Sintra, the one we see a lot online and in ads. And that is for a reason: the architecture of the palace is like no other, with its bright colours and incredible towers. Admiring it from afar, it does feel like a promising place to see.


The creativity displayed here is so unique, and you can't help but look at every little detail, every turret, every mosaic, exclaming 'ooohs' and 'aaaahs' as you turn your head around. As you walk around the walls of the castle, the view gets absolutely breathtaking. The castle is so high up that the temperature drops a little and the wind seems ready to blow you away!


The negative part however, comes when you step into the grounds of the castle. Crowds everywhere, noise, queues to enter the caste itself... I was very disappointed with how we visitors were managed. As beautiful as it is, the castle wasn't made to receive such a number of people at the same time - understandably. But nothing has been done to improve that. Even when queuing to buy the tickets, the wait was neverending and very uncomfortable, especially in the summer heat. 
I have to say the interiors of the castle were very disappointing as well. The route to follow from room to room was very narrow, so we ended up queuing all the way. The decor itself was rather poor, I was particularly disappointed with the walls, which were covered in trompe l'oeil wallpaper all the way through. There was no richness nor depth to the art, just a series of spiritless, meaningless rooms. I couldn't wait to get back outside and admire the view instead.

Now of course this is just a personal opinion and some might adore Pena, but if you have a particular inclination for castles and palaces like I do, it's easy to spot these little things. For me, the standards promised by all I'd read online before visiting were not met. The castle should definitely be made more visitor-friendly, because presently, I find it a very unpleasant experience.


My Tips to Visit Sintra


Book in advance the places you want to visit. Sintra has become a very popular destination recently, so try and save as much time as you can before getting there. Buying your tickets online will allow you to only queue at the entrance of each palace. 

If you want to visit all of Sintra (or at least as much as you can), you should do it over two days. We only spent one day there and ended up rushing a lot to see all we wanted, which was properly exhausting. If you really want to enjoy the different sights, arrange for a two-day visit. There are plenty of places to stay overnight around Sintra, the easiest being Lisbon, which is only a short train ride away.

Transportation to and from the different landmarks is really bad. There are buses that link the different sites but they're always really crowed, with queues waiting to go in and very unpredictable timetables. The best thing is to either go by car if you can drive, or use tuk-tuks - a bit unusual I know, but there are lots around so it's easy to catch one, and it'll get you where you want to go quickly!

In terms of food and drinks, there are cafés in all the main palaces, but I'd advise you to take some snacks and drinks with you - a much cheaper and probably better quality option.

Wear good walking shoes, and do not go there if you're not in a state to walk. Sintra is literally a mountain. Lots of steep paths, ups and downs, and the gardens of each palace are so extensive that if you want to see it all, you'll be walking all day. So heels aren't the best option to go for!

Have you heard about Sintra? Which of these three palaces would be your favourite?
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