14/04/2018

LIFESTYLE | Why You Should Do Things NOW


No more excuses.

Procrastinating is so easy, especially when the weather is crap in early spring days. We'd all like to snuggle in bed with a hot drink and a film instead of working or completing the projects we've been postponing for ages. We're all guilty of doing that aren't we? However today, I'm going to talk you through all the reasons why you should be doing stuff right now. Close Netflix, get yourself at your desk and think about these...

WORK NOW, ENJOY LATER
Working can be tiresome and feel like a chore sometimes, even when you love your job. As much as I love teaching, sometimes creating Powerpoints and planning lessons is the last thing in the world that I want to do. But will putting off the work make it disappear? Nope, it'll still be there in a couple hours, which I'll have spent mentally complaining and vegetating. A lot of time lost, not much accomplished. 
If you do the work as soon as you can, you can tick it off your list and not think about it again. It'll make you feel satisfied and you'll enjoy even more your time afterwards, because you'll feel like you've well deserved it! At the weekend, don't postpone a task until the late afternoon. If you do it in the morning, you'll enjoy cups of tea in front of YouTube videos for as long as you want once you're done. Find the little things in your daily routine that would be a reward - it may be a normal part of your day, but it'll feel ten times better if you do it after you cross the tasks off your to-do list!

TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR MIND
What is preventing your from doing things, if not yourself? Procrastination is a big psychological process, and I think everything that happens in your mind can be solved by you and only you. It just takes a little motivation to accomplish the things you have and want to do.
Stop thinking about that project you've been wanting to do for ages. Get your head together and do it! You can always improve it and change it later. Once you've started, it'll feel a lot less daunting and you'll finally enjoy it. How many times have we told ourselves "I should have done this earlier!"? I bet we've all said that to ourselves more or less recently. 
One of my big projects to accomplish this year is to complete a novel I have started writing a couple years ago. To motivate myself on days where I feel like procrastinating, I think about my goal, the outcome of all the work I am putting in the novel, and this fuels my mind to give me the motivation I need - saying that yes, I can do it and it'll be an awesome accomplishment. It all starts in your mind!

« Do it now. Sometimes 'later' becomes 'never'. »

STAND UP FOR WHAT YOU ACHIEVE
It is important to take pride in what you do, even the smallest things. If you push yourself, find the motivation when it seems impossible, and do instead of saying 'I wish I'd do this', you will show yourself and the world what you can do. The quicker you start, the more you can do and the best you can become. Whether it's work, a sport, your blog, your health, writing a book, starting your business, changing something in your life that you're not satisfied with - it all comes from you, and all the results you'll get will be thanks to your determination, power and your own making. The best motivation to accomplish something should always be yourself, and the pride you will take in accomplishing these challenges, no matter how big or small they are.
Don't wait for other people to do it for you, take the reins and show yourself what you're capable of!

What is the one thing you have to do right now that you've been avoiding? Go and do it now!
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04/04/2018

BEAUTY | The £2 Hair Routine That Works


Sounds suspicious? It's not. Read on.

I have a very simple hair routine: shampoo, conditioner, oil mask once a week. I've been trying a lot of products over the years, and never really found a magic combo that would make me want to ditch everything else. On my quest for good hair products, I sometimes found myself in Poundland - UK readers will know - because they have Dove shampoos and I like those.
One day, I decided to try out a shampoo and conditioner duo that were new to me from the Xpel Argan Oil range. One pound each, you can't do cheaper than that! And although I wasn't expecting much of either of them, I was actually really pleasantly surprised. These are rather good products!


First off, they contain 300mL which would last you quite a while. Second thing: they smell amazing. It's a clear, 'professional' scent which reminds me of hairdresser products. I always use the two products together, and they make my hair really smooth. When my hair dries, it is soft and untangled, and my curls look really defined and not frizzy at all. Needless to say I've been quite impressed by Argan Oil and I've repurchased them recently. Now I am not saying they are the best product in the world of shampoos and conditioners, but they do an amazing job for their price - I could be paying £8 in Boots for a shampoo that would give me the same result, which, we'll agree, is unnecessary - if you can find a good bargain, just go for it!
Anyway if you spot these in Boots, give them a try - you might enjoy them as much as I do, and if they don't work as well on you, at least you wouldn't have spent a fortune!

What's the best and cheapest hair products you've tried?
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21/03/2018

FASHION | The Jumper That Makes Me Happy


Multicoloured and sparkly? Oh yes.

I have been seeing colourful jumpers a lot on Instagram recently, and although I'm not a fan of rainbows and flashy looks in general, I've grown to like these jumpers a lot. And then, I went into Gap and saw this one. I fell in love.


This type of jumper is great if you want to give a little colour to your winter outfits. The material isn't the softest I have to say, but it's great for those days when it's not too cold. Personally, the colours make me so happy that I don't even care that much about the material. It's a great statement piece to have, because you only need minimal effort to accessorise it. I would always keep it simple for the rest of the outfit.

Jumper : Gap
Denim shorts: Primark
Tights: Primark
Boots: ?? (old)

What is the one piece of clothing that makes you happy whenever you wear it?
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10/03/2018

TRAVEL | A Week in San Diego, California


The week that made me realise I actually quite enjoy the US.

In February I flew from England to California to spend a week with my boyfriend at his home in San Diego. Bearing in mind that we had last seen each other in July of last year, it was a pretty important trip for us. And I was incredibly excited to go again. 
Having only six full days together, this was a much more relaxed trip and I wanted to make the most of the time I had with him. We revisited a few of our favourite places, and make sure to scroll down for a few tips if you ever go to San Diego!
Even though Los Angeles attracts everybody and gets all the spotlight, San Diego also has some amazing sights, beaches, city spots and museums - without the masses of tourists that you will find in LA. If you want to visit the sunny west coast but hate the crowds, you'll find that San Diego is a great compromise. Here are some of the things I would advise you to do there:

VISIT THE GARDENS AND MUSEUMS OF BALBOA PARK


Balboa Park has been - and still is - one of my favourite places I've been in San Diego. It's an area that gathers many museums, gardens and beautiful sights where the architecture very much reminds of Spain and Italy. You can see Balboa in more detail in this post from last summer. We went to the Botanical garden again, which is my favourite, with its exotic and colourful flowers. The trees around Balboa were already blossoming, full of white flowers that looked like fluffy snow.
My boyfriend took my to the Spanish Village Art Center, a side of Balboa he discovered recently - think colourful mosaic floors, little huts and houses where various artists sell their work, and wonderful little corners.


Although it was raining, the colours all around just make you so happy. Balboa is a real gem in San Diego, and no matter what you like - art, botanics, museums - there will be something for you.

SEE THE SUNSET ON THE BEACH
San Diego is on the coast, so going to the oceanside is a must. There are many lovely beach areas with different vibes, Torrey Pines being my favourite (see this post from last summer) - other places like Carlsbad and Del Mar are lovely as well. This time, my boyfriend and I headed to Sunset Cliffs - because as the name suggests, sunsets are pretty awesome there. We went on Valentine's day, and although the clouds were heavy in the sky, the sunset we witnessed was still beautiful, turning from yellow to red and purple.
If you're into surfing (because that's what people do in California, right?) the coast of San Diego is also a great place to be. There were some people surfing in the sunset when we were there, and it must be a rather special moment for it!


DO SOME ANIMAL SPOTTING AT THE ZOO
I know zoos are quite controversial places. I tend to not like seeing animals in fences, but there are some zoos that do take care of the animals and their well-being. The San Diego zoo is forever expanding, creating partnerships with other countries to protect animals and raise awareness of the importance of protecting species, especially endangered ones. I have been to the zoo a few times already and it has so much variety, but also a staff who knows what they are talking about and are happy to answer questions about the animals. Definitely a fun destination, where you can easily spend the whole day.


Some of the areas that are really worth checking out are: the new Africa Rocks area, with its dunes of sand and cacti, the penguin aquarium, the polar bears, and the pandas. Also the okapis. Okapis are cute.
The zoo has some amazing parts that take you high up over the palm trees, where you can see everything from above. Take the cable car for beautiful views of Balboa Park (which is right next to the zoo) and walk on the bridge over the Panda Canyon, where you can stop for a break at a little cafe.


TRY OUT A VARIETY OF FOODS
San Diego is a huge city, where you can find pretty much every type of food you want. We tried some of my boyfriend's favourites, and one place I particularly like is the Havana Kitchen, in Old Town Temecula - a Cuban coffee place where you can get both lunch and dinner, coffee and sangria, and the atmosphere is very relaxed - you could go there for a coffee date in the afternoon but also for a nice Cuban dinner in the evening. I always get their Cubano sandwich, which I discovered thanks to my boyfriend, and their signature Sal-Latte is amazing (latte with a pinch of Kosher salt - yummy!)
We also went to the Athens Market Cafe which is a Greek restaurant in Carmel Mountain, and I had the best falafels of my life - beating the amazing ones I usually get in Paris, which is saying something!


Another place I'd recommend is the Original Pancake House - if you're into pancakes, that's the place to go. Their menu is impressive, and the buttermilk pancakes I had were super fluffy and filled with crispy bacon. My boyfriend went for the strawberry waffle which looked just as good. The portions are generous too, so this is a great place to go for brunch.


***
This is just a few of the things we've done in the seven days I was in San Diego, but there is so much more to see and do there. I hope I'll get to go back and show you more of the awesome things the city has to offer!

Have you ever heard of San Diego? Where in California would you like to visit?
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28/02/2018

BEAUTY | Winter Moisturisers


My secret to soft skin.

Moisturising is a big step in my beauty routine. In fact, I can never have a shower without using a body moisturiser afterwards. It just feels wrong. And let me tell you, my skin is super soft. My boyfriend's still impressed. 
Thus today I thought it would be helpful to share with you the different moisturisers (body, face, and so on) that I am using this winter to protect my skin from the cold.

FOR THE BODY: BATH & BODY WORKS, SUPER SMOOTH BODY LOTION in MOONLIGHT PATH [link]

I got to (finally) discover Bath & Body Works last summer, and I have been using their body lotion ever since! They have an amazing variety of scents, and Moonlight Path caught my attention - it is a very clean scent that I find great for this time of year. I am on my second bottle now, and I don't seem to get tired of it! Although it's a body lotion, it is thicker than your usual lotion and leaves the skin super soft and hydrated. It sinks into the skin quite well too and doesn't feel heavy or sticky at all.
Of course there are quite a few nice body lotions in Boots, like Garnier which is one of my favourites, but the scent range really makes me go for this brand so if you ever get the chance, check out Bath & Body Works. It's not just about the candles!


FOR THE FACE: NUXE, CREME PRODIGIEUSE ANTI-FATIGUE AND MOISTURISING CREAM [link]

Now this cream has been a firm favourite of mine for years now, and it has probably already been featured on my blog a few times. Nuxe is an amazing skincare brand and you can never go wrong with their products, and I have found that this face cream works amazingly on my combination skin. It is soft and you don't need a lot of product to cover your whole face, which is great because it will last you months and months. The Crème Prodigieuse moisturises the skin and leaves it super soft, and if you have little dry patches (I often have some on my nose or forehead) apply just a little more cream on there and they will disappear. I am not in a hurry to try another day moisturiser any time soon as this is still the best to me.

AT NIGHT: PIXI, ROSE OILD BLEND [link]

The Rose Oil Blend has also been my go-to night moisturiser for months now, and I have mentioned it before on the blog. Pixi products are generally quite good, and this is one that has really caught my attention because it moisturises the skin beautifully and whenever I stop using it for a few days, I instantly notice that my skin gets a little drier. Thus this product is a lifesaver!
Although it is quite oily when you first apply it and it will make you shine (I don't recommend using it before makeup for example), if you use it at night the product will sink into the skin and you'll wake up with hydrated skin.


FOR THE LIPS: AVENE, CARE FOR SENSITIVE LIPS [find on Amazon]

My mum gave me this lipbalm because I was desperately looking for one at home, and I ended up really enjoying it. I had stopped using stick lipbalms after falling in love with the Nuxe Rêve de Miel lipbalm in the glass jar version, so I was a bit snobbish thinking that a stick balm would not do much for my lips. Avène is a really good skincare brand though and I have been loving this lipbalm, it is very moisturising and does a great job. I use it day and night, and also under any lipstick and it works wonders. I already have another stick waiting for when this one runs out!

FOR THE HANDS: NUXE, REVE DE MIEL HAND AND NAIL CREAM [link]

Back to Nuxe again! The Rêve de Miel range is one that I could never recommend enough, all the products are amazing - and the hand cream is just as good! First of all it smells amazing, and the texture is not too thick nor too greasy (I hate greasy hand creams.) It sinks into the skin when you massage it in nicely, and leaves the hands soooo soft. So soft. It has prevented my hands from suffering this winter and is now an essential in my handbag!

What are your favourite winter moisturisers?
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17/02/2018

FASHION | The Camera Bag with Monnier Freres


That moment when you make an amazing deal in the sales and you feel as proud as if you'd just run a marathon or something.

Camera bags are a popular item at the moment, mostly due to bloggers and vloggers turning cameras into a must-have accessory. Although I don't vlog or take my camera with me all the time, I find that camera bags are really useful when you only need the essentials (phone, wallet, keys) and don't want to carry around a bigger bag. The classic YSL camera bag is for example one that I could see myself wear and use a lot - if only it was more in my budget!

Luckily, as I was browsing the sales section of the Monnier Frères website, I found this gorgeous little camera bag by Karl Lagerfeld and fell in love with it. It is now mine!


It is the K/ikonik Pearl camera bag by Karl Lagerfeld. Admittedly, I am not a fan of the designer himself (he can be quite controversial) but because I am weak, I loved the bag and decided to get it anyways. I've been loving the pearl trend at the moment (still looking for the perfect pearl-adorned jumper for spring) and this bag has it all: double texture effect, pearls, gold detailing. And even better, it was in the sale!

I got it from Monnier Freres, a French luxury retail website recommended to me by a friend. It was 50% off, but here's a tip for you if you find something you fancy on the website: subscribe to their newsletter and you'll get 20% off more, which also works on the items on sale. Thanks to that coupon code, I got the bag for £108 (RRP £255)!

Luxury items are not something I collect and I would never buy anything expensive lightly. It's important to take the right decision when it comes to investing in higher end accessories, and I could would always recommend to wait for the sales and buy reduced items only. Because let's be honest, luxury items are never actually worth the original price tag - you pay for the brand and (sometimes) the manufacturing, but ain't nobody got money for full price Dior bags. Unless you're quite lucky.


I will get a lot of use out of this bag. I'll try to include it in outfit photos in the future too. It is very versatile and although pearls are very much a trend now, the design is rather timeless and I see myself using it in the years to come even when the trend dies out. 
If you're interested, you can still find the bag in the sale here, and there's also a nude version. Monnier Freres is an amazing website, free delivery and shipping was really fast so I am pleased with their customer service and would happily recommend them.

Do you buy luxury or higher end items? What are your views on them?
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05/02/2018

LIFESTYLE | On Long-Distance Relationships


Why the hell did I have to get myself a boyfriend who lives in America?!

Some of you may know that I am in a long-distance relationship. I have been for over a year now, and in this time I have been able to reflect on it and what it involves. I've wanted to speak up about it in a blog post for a while now, as I am sure there are more people in a long-distance relationship that we'd think. So if you are in one, or ever have been, do read on and let me know if you can relate!

Breaking news: no, it's not easy

I won't lie, being in a long-distance relationship is hard, especially when you're very far away. I live in England and my boyfriend lives in California, so we obviously can't visit every other weekend. When we started dating, we knew this was coming and the risk of not knowing when we'd see each other again was there from the start. However, because we're two crazy individuals, we still gave it a go and I will never regret it.  
We last saw each other in July, when I went spent the month in California. Since then, it's been messages, calls and Skype. These indirect means of communication are a poor alternative to seeing each other regularly, and I can't count the times we've said 'I miss you.' But truth is there's no way around it, so being resilient and relying on each other is key. (See my post On Resilience & What I Learned in 2017) But yes, it gets hard and you might also cry a lot. I know I do. Not any groundbreaking info here, but it had to be said!

People will pity you

Alright, 'pity' might not be the word, but I do sometimes feel like that, causing 'ooows' and 'oh noooos' whenever I mention our relationship. As much as I appreciate the concern and the fact that people empathise with how rubbish the whole long-distance situation is, I don't understand some of the reactions I get. How many times have I heard 'It must be so hard!' or 'How do you do?!' when I happened to mention that we were thousands of kilometers apart? I have lost count, and now I'm always expecting that kind of response. 
So yes, long distance is hard, yes we hate it, but with these people I want to share the positive: the constant communication, the support we get from each other, the little messages that make each other smile, when he stays up incredibly late (hello eight-hour time difference) so we can call... All these little things is what I want people to think about. Because yes it's is a pitiful situation, but in a way it does make the relationship ever so special and unique.

Trust is key

One of the strangest questions I go asked t when I talked about our relationship to someone was: 'So are you allowed to see other people in the meantime?' It took me a few seconds to gather my thoughts on that one! Although we are far apart most of the time, my boyfriend and I are not in an open relationship, and never even thought about it simply because this is not our vision of things. 
This anecdote leads me onto a major point: trust. To make a long-distance relationship work, you have to trust your partner. Not in the sense of trusting them to be faithful (that comes without saying), but rather trusting their vision of the relationship, their involvement, and the effort they will put to make it work. And so should they trust you. Long-distance relationships involve trusting that both of the partners want the same thing and have the same expectations from each other. If this trust isn't there, if you are unsure about what your partner wants or thinks about the relationship and what it involves, chances are that misunderstandings could arise. Be clear from the start, be trust-worthy and supportive, and expect the same of your partner to make it work. And it will!

*
Engaging in a long-distance relationship isn't for everyone. That much is true. However there are ways to make it work, and the good always outweighs the bad, by far. As I tell all the people that wonder how on earth we manage it, there is so much happiness in it, and I count my blessings for being in such a supportive and loving relationship - no matter how far apart we are.

Have you ever been on a long-distance relationship? What are your thoughts about it?
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27/01/2018

BEAUTY | Makeup First Impressions


Putting 'em to the test.

I haven't done a beauty review in ages, the main reason being that I buy very little makeup. I only really buy when something runs out, or if I desperately want a product. I have decided to do a little run-through of my current makeup routine using a few new products but also a couple of rediscoveries. 
Let's start straight away with the look.

Primer: Make Up Forever, Step 1 Skin Equalizer 
Foundation: Charlotte Tilbury, Magic Foundation
Mascara: Covergirl, Lashblast Fusion
Eye pencil: Urban Decay, 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in 'Stash'
Blusher: Benefit, Sugarbomb
Highlighter: Becca, Shimmering Skin Perfector in 'Opal'
Lips: Kat von D, Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in 'Lolita'


Recently I've been all about the khaki eye makeup. I have no idea why, but these past months I've set my mind on getting a khaki eye pencil. This colour really compliments brown eyes, and it a very appropriate shade for winter too. For my lips, I've been loving neutral shades and this Kat von D liquid lipstick has been my favourite for months now, although I haven't given you a proper review yet. Here are the products I have been testing out recently with a score out of five to measure their quality.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer [2/5]

I am not a primer person. My makeup routine tends to be very simple, and I skip any step I can get away with. However I have been gifted a Make Up For Ever kit which included a mini version of the Skin Equalizer primer. It contains no oil, and in terms of texture is a lot nicer to apply on the skin than thicker primers (which most likely include lots of silicone.) However in terms of blurring the pores, I haven't seen that much of a difference, bearing in mind that I don't have issues with visible pores at all. However I do feel like the primer helps the makeup to last longer on the skin. 
Overall, I will happily use the primer (when I can be bothered!) but would no purchase it myself.

Benefit Sugarbomb Blusher [4/5]

This blusher is not new, I had it for Christmas a few years ago but because it is part of a set, I ended up rarely using it. However I picked it up a few weeks ago now, and have been using it almost every single day since. It is composed of four shades, all very light: an orange, a purple, a coral pink and a lighter pink. I usually mix all the colours together, which gives a beautiful coral shade with gold shimmer. It is a very subtle blusher, especially on 'darker' skins like mine, and gives a natural yet healthy look. The only downside is that because the colour is so light, I have found that it seems to fade a little throughout the day - the shimmer stays put, but the colour itself tends to disappear a little. That would be my only concern. It's a really good blusher overall and I would recommend it for light to medium skins - but not to dark skins!


Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil, in the shade 'Stash' [4/5]

This is my second 24/7 eye pencil, and I have to see I really like this range and Urban Decay is a safe brand when it comes to the quality of products. The shade is a deep khaki with subtle gold hues, and it just looks amazing applied as eyeliner. It's such a quick and easy look, which I've been wearing a lot these past few weeks.
In terms of quality, the colour is really vibrant and pigmented, and stays on forever. The only reason I haven't given this pencil 5/5 is because I have noticed that the product can run a little in the lines under the eyes towards the end of the day, which is strange because my other 24/7 pencil doesn't do that at all. However I'd still totally recommend this range if you're looking for good eye pencils, mine have definitely become staples in my collection!

Covergirl Lashblast Fusion Mascara [3/5]

Back when I started getting into makeup, I remember that Covergirl mascaras were all the rage. All the French YouTubers I followed raved about these mascaras, but it's an American brand I never got the chance to try out. So when I went to the US last year, I decided to get one just to form my own opinion! Although I am not as impressed as I thought I would be, this is still a good drugstore mascara. It gives volume and separate the lashes nicely, but in terms of length it doesn't do as much. The wand is huge though, and I have a bit of trouble getting used to it although I'll still be adding it to my current routine.


Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, in the shade 'Lolita' [5/5]

You might not learn anything you with this one, as everybody has already been talking about how great the Kat von D liquid lipsticks are. The formula is amazing: pigmented shade, applies very easily on the lips, not too liquid nor too thick, doesn't feel uncomfortable and stays on for hours even when you eat.
This is the best liquid lipstick I've ever tried! I've used it so much throughout autumn and winter, so I'm looking into expanding my collection with a couple new shades. If you want a fuss-free liquid lipstick that you won't have to reapply three times a day and that feels very lightweight, this range is the one you're looking for!


What makeup products are you currently trying out?
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