24/05/2017

♥ The Best Natural Hair Combo? ♥


Natural products with good results and a good price. What else?

It seems like my best finds in Boots are always unexpected! I picked up this shampoo and conditioner combo from Kind Natured without having heard of the brand before, and they are product I'm now recommending to everybody I know. They combine a natural formula, a pleasant, light scent, and immediate results.

Having curly and dry hair, I am used to struggling with knots when I wash my hair. It usually takes ages to detangle it, and a lot of hair is lost in the process... But the first time I ever used this shampoo and conditioner, I was so impressed! The shampoo on its own detangled my hair and left it silky and soft. Using the conditioner on top of it has made it even softer and clean. When I can tell a difference after the first use, it generally means that the product is a good one. 
You can tell that the shampoo is different from your usual drugstore shampoo - there's almost no foam, but the cleaning action is still there. Focus on the roots, which need more cleaning, and don't worry if it doesn't foam as you're used to. As for the conditioner, you only need a tiny amount to run through your hair. 

These two products give so much moisture to the hair, and leave it super soft when it dries. The range has different products depending on your hair type, so do go and have a look in your local Boots. These products might make you want to go for natural more often - at least that's what it's done to me!

Kind Natured, Love Curls Soothing Shampoo and Conditioner, £4.99 in Boots.

Do you use natural hair products? What are your recommendations?
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13/05/2017

♥ A Roman Holiday pt.1 ♥


The post where I show you why Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world.

During the Easter break, my friend Julie and I took a little trip to one of the most exciting cities in Europe, Rome. Why exciting, you may ask? Because of its culture, its History, its atmosphere, its people, its food. Everything. That goes for all of Italy of course, but Rome is such a unique place. It's also huge, spread on seven hills and there is so much to see and do that you'd need months to explore it completely. However we only had a few days in the city, so here is what we've managed to do in that time.
Let's start with my favourite things that we did...

STEPPING IN ANCIENT ROME WITH THE FORUM AND THE COLOSSEUM

In Rome, you'll find traces of the Ancient empire everywhere. At every corner, an old stone, an inscription, a column or even just a bit of pavement will remind you where you are. Of course, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum are a must-do. Be prepared: there are a lot of people. My advice would be to go early in the morning, before the opening, and grab tickets on the site. Don't book in advance, that is what we did and we ended up waiting just as long, if not longer, than the people who had not booked. The queue for booked tickets was much longer. If you don't know what you do when you arrive, the staff will be there to help. They are everywhere and ready to point you in the right direction, which is really helpful as I've rarely seen a touristic site more chaotic that the Colosseum.

As for the Forum, it is a vast area so you'll be able to walk around freely, and there are relatively less people in the queue. You can actually go to the Forum first and play a game called 'spot the Colosseum'...


Before getting to that beautiful view, you'll get the chance to walk along the old forum, explore and read about the antique buildings that still stand there proud and tall. Some of the ruins are amazingly preserved, my favourite being the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Temple of Vespasian. Ancient architecture is a wonder, and you can't help but feel impressed by the immensity of the buildings as you walk around, catching a glimpse of a life long gone. 




Take time to appreciate the details, look at each column and admire the fine carvings that remain. The buildings were added to the Forum over time, celebrating different emperors, different gods, and slowly spreading. After the fall of the Empire, some temples were used as churches, as the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, which is quite a peculiar temple. The typical Roman colonnade at the front is followed by a baroque church facade, blending in two different styles at time periods. 

Once you've walked around the grounds, climb up the stairs of at the end of the Via Sacra, and you'll find yourself observing the whole Forum from the top. I totally did not imagine that I was a Roman lady while capturing the view. Nope.


Now, it's time for the most famous building of Rome. The Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheatre, was built in 70 AD and even though some parts of it are missing today, it is still a beautiful, impressive building. You online have a sense of how imposing it is when you are near it. And once you get inside, the view is even better.



WALKING THE STREETS OF TRASTEVERE AND ALONG THE TIBER

On a sunny day, there's nothing more pleasant to discover a city than walking around its streets, discovering cute restaurants and cafés, beautiful buildings and, if you're a blogger and/or you have Instagram, take photos of doorways because that's what we do haha. Trastevere, in the west of the city on the other side of the Tiber, was my favourite area for hanging around. 


Get a waffle ice cream, take a break at the fountain of the Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Go inside the basilica to check out the beautiful medieval mosaics. On the facade of the portico, have a look at the marble inscriptions: most of them are Roman and you can see little doodles of birds, wine barrels... yes, Romans were already into street art.



I am not religious, but I love religious buildings for the architecture and beautiful artwork that men put in their construction. Whenever I go somewhere I like to visit the churches, because there's always gems to find: beautiful mosaics, colourful glass windows, relics and paintings... The smell of churches puts me in an undescribable state of mind and contemplation. I do not believe in God, nor do I worship sacred texts of figures, but religious buildings really are fascinating.

After your walk around Trastevere, cross the Tiber river and walk along the old bridges that link the two sides. In Rome, you'll always have your camera in hand: you never know when you'll get that perfect dreamy photograph.


Cross the Ponte San'Angelo, which overlooks the Castel San'Angelo, used as a fortress by Popes in time of political unrest (there is even an underground corridor that links the Castel to the Vatican. The building was originally the Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian in the second century. As many other Roman buildings, it has been used and reused over the centuries, which is one of the reasons why it still stands in such good condition today.



From the Sant'Angelo bridge, you'll be able to capture lovely views of the Tiber. Can you see Saint Peter's in the distance?


***
Rome is such a rich city that I can't possibly mention everything in a single post. However, there are some other bits I would love to talk about, so be prepared for a part two of the Roman holiday! Hopefully this makes you travel with me and discover all these wonderful places if you've never been there. If you haven't, you should go as soon as possible!

Have you ever been to Rome? If not, is it a destination that you'd like to see one day?
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03/05/2017

♥ Beauty Through the Ages: 1900s Photograph ♥


Because Edwardian actresses were literally #goals.

I love makeup, and I love History. The two make a good pair, as the history of makeup through the ages is so complex, interesting and enlightening. What would an 18th century duchess think of our heavy highlighters and matte lips? And how would we feel if we saw ourselves with powdered hair and mouches stuck on our face? Beauty has changed a lot over time, and in today's post I want to pay honour to one of my favourite time period in terms of beauty and fashion: the Edwardian Era.


The Edwardian Era starts at Queen Victoria's death, in 1901, and lasts until 1914 and World War One. Political and social matters aside, one of the main aspects we think about straight away when it comes to the Edwardian Era is its representation of women. Thin hourglass figures, large hats (with feathers for the most extravagant ones), tea gowns covered in intricate lace and ruffles, natural makeup. The ideals of beauty at the time are represented on postcards and photographs, where beautiful, young actresses posed, sometimes dressing up, sometimes showcasing fashionable outfits. I adore these photographs. My favourites are the pictures of Lily Elsie, a British stage actress who was known during her time for her beauty, and who was one of the most photographed women of the era. See the photos below and you'll understand why!


Isn't she absolute goals? Hairstyle, face, clothes, attitude. I'd take her over Kylie Jenner as a beauty inspiration anytime!
To celebrate this ideal of beauty, I have decided to recreate this type of 1900s photograph, with a makeup look appropriate for the time period. Bear in mind that makeup was still not common on a day-to-day basis for women, seeing as natural beauty was the regular standard. Makeup was worn by actresses though, so this is the type of look I decided to go for. 

I took inspiration from one particular photograph of Lily Elsie, and a couple of close-up makeup looks from other actresses, to create my makeup and hair. Here is my main inspiration:


And here is what I came up with: 


The unique grain of old photographs is really hard to get when you use an online photo editor. Let me tell you I've spent hours trying to get the best, most realistic finish but it's still not exactly right unfortunately. Nevertheless, here is how I interpreted the classic 1900s actress makeup look:

A CLEAR AND BRIGHT COMPLEXION

As you can see in the photos, Lily Elsie has a clear, porcelain skin. I did use foundation, but it is very light and natural, I skipped concealer in order to keep everything as sheer as possible.

I then added a very light coat of mascara, to curl my lashes a little. I didn't use any eye shadow on my lids, but I did apply a slight touch of black eye shadow on my brow bones, to give them definition and emphasise the crease on the sepia photos, which is a common feature in the photographs I took inspiration from.


foundation: Charlotte Tilbury, Magic Foundation
mascara: Benefit, Roller Lash
eye shadow: Urban Decay, Naked Palette 1 in the shadow "Creep"

ROSY CHEEKS AND ROSY LIPS

In these photos Lily Elsie doesn't seem to be wearing blusher, however I added a touch of pink to my cheeks to give that natural flush: I used the same lipstick as I used on my lips, just on the apples of my cheeks.
On my lips I used a hot pink shade by Chanel, which has a slight glossy finish but still good pigmentation. In some photos, actresses are seen with rather dark lipsticks, and in some others they seem to have a natural lip. Without colorised pictures, it is difficult to determine the shades they could be wearing, but I figured a simple pink shade would do. For this I took inspiration from colorised postcards from that era, where women's lips were sometimes colorised with pink.


lips & cheeks: Chanel, Rouge Allure lipstick in shade 165 Éblouissante

HAIR UP AND HIGH NECK

On photographs from that era, you see a variety of hairstyles: updos, hats, curls, hair down, flowers, tiaras... Because I have thin hair, I decided to go for an updo as it's difficult for me to get a lot of volume for bigger hairstyles. Updos were the most common hairstyles in everyday life, and women wore hats when they went out and often use head pieces or jewellery for dinner attire. 
Again inspired by the picture of Lily Elsie, I used a hairband with a bow to mimic her photograph. We'll agree that her hair looks ten times as lush and stylish than mine, but to my defence she must have had someone to pamper her and do her hair like all stars do on photoshoots today. Also, this was the last series I took before cutting my hair, so the last time for a while that I'd be able to create such a big, puffy updo...

As for my top, I am wearing a lace high-neck blouse from H&M. These lace blouses have been really popular recently, under the "victoriana trend" - which clearly is an anachronism, as these originally date from the Edwardian era, right after Queen Victoria's death. And if I was a tough self-critique, I would say that my collar should be a little higher on the neck. I'm planning on getting a real (and wearable) Edwardian blouse at some point, to fulfill my Edwardian fashion cravings haha.


So this is my take on the classic Edwardian actress look. I had a lot of fun recreating it, and I'm really considering doing another one of these soon. But which era to tackle? I love the 1940s and 1950s too, so that might be next on the list.

What do you think about Edwardian styles? Are you interested in the History of fashion?
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