Monday, 26 December 2016

Reading goals for 2017

Much of the time, I have great ambitions to read loads on a myriad of topics that interest me (a few that come to mind are the Great Plague, North Korea and perfume - there's a jumble if ever I saw one), yet when it comes to selecting the next book to read, I am often stumped and end up reaching for the first thing that comes to mind. My Goodreads account and my many "TBR" shelves have helped me greatly in this respect, but I still wanted to create some goals for myself here in a more systematic manner - not unlike a list of New Year's resolutions - for what I'd like to read in the coming year. In turn, I'd love to hear about what you're hoping to read more of, be it different authors, genres, settings, topics, or simply whatever tickles your fancy.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Zimtsterne - German Christmas biscuits

Christmas is not Christmas without baking, and I love adopting recipes from other cultures into my culinary repertoire. Having started learning German this year, I thought it only fitting that I should try some of their traditional festive fare, and Zimtsterne (or "cinnamon stars") seemed like the perfect place to start. They are made traditionally for Christmas, as well as for the breaking of the fast for Yom Kippur where they are called Erstesternen, meaning "first stars".

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Some books I've read lately

Entirely inspired by my new Goodreads account (if you missed it, you can find me here), I've been on a bit of a reading kick of late. I'd considered myself to be somewhat well read, but having compared my "read" list to that of my friends and other Goodreads users, I realised I had some catching up to do. Of course, it's not just about numbers and statistics - I've also been motivated to branch out, and discover genres and authors I might not otherwise have.

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Monday, 12 December 2016

November Favourites

Since I was in late high school until now, November is always a crazy month as I've always had my end of year exams, this month being no exception. There are always dozens of markets and street festivals taking place each weekend, everyone starts talking about Christmas, and I dream of being able to get started on festive baking and crafting - yet I've always been in a study-induced, stressed-out daze. That being said, I've just sat my last lot of university exams ever, and I'm ecstatic (albeit somewhat sad) about finishing my studies. So I thought I'd roundup a few things that have been getting me through the exam/final essay period that have become firm favourites.

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The nail polishes I've been wearing on rotation of late

Perhaps without even thinking about it, I've been reaching for the same three nail polish colours for the last couple of months since the early autumn. I'm pretty indecisive when it comes to my nail colours and like to change them pretty frequently, so this is saying something. It's only fair these three got a mention today on the blog.

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Monday, 26 September 2016

A few recent favourites

Hello! After a bit of an unintended hiatus, I'm back, and keen to get back to my little corner of the internet. I've been trying to carve out a bit of time to write down a few of the many favourite things I have whizzing about in my head for the past few months - a bit of a mishmash of beauty and other bits and pieces.

I've properly fallen head over heels in love with So Much Fawn from Sally Hansen, a slightly orange-y rose colour. To be honest, it's a bit of a chameleonic colour and looks different depending on the day and light, so I'm never quite sure as what shade it really is. My next post is on a couple of nail polishes I've been wearing on rotation of late and I'll go into a bit more there, but in the meantime I recommend you check it out (the formula is unbeatable, too).

I set myself up a Goodreads account and it's fantastic - I wonder why I took so long to do so! For those who are unfamiliar, it's a social network for book lovers, where you can record and review books you've read, see what your friends are reading, and get excellent personalised recommendations. It's satisfying to nosy through the libraries of your friends and I have built up a solid list of books 'to read', which saves me having to rack my brains every time I need a new read. If you're interested, add me as a friend here.

Another 'techy' favourite (I'm a complete Luddite so anything involving a screen is very high-tech to me) is the Mighty Timer app. I'd been interested in buying one of those fancy tea timers for a while, but happened to stumble across this app and I think it's infinitely superior (and it's free!). You plug in the times and temperatures required for your favourite teas (although the app has some basic ones already in-built), and then you set off the timer so you get a perfect brew for your particular tea. It's a bit nerdy, granted, but I love it, and it makes me feel like A Proper Tea Connoisseur.

2016 is the year I really got into perfume, thanks in no small part to Victoria's beautiful blog, Bois de Jasmin. I intend to write about my favourites soon, but I have to quickly mention my newest acquisition, Serge Lutens's Feminité du Bois. It's a variation of a discontinued classic of the same name by Shiseido, which revolutionised perfumery by creating the first cedarwood intended for women. It's warm and a bit spicy - definitely a scent I'll be reserving for colder days, which we've been having quite a bit of in the last weeks of winter/early spring.

What have your recent favourites been? I'm always interested so please feel free to share.


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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

My favourite Kusmi teas of the moment

For those of you who have read this blog for a while, you'll know I drink quite a bit of tea - and one of my favourite tea brands is Kusmi. I was introduced to the brand two or three years ago by my boyfriend's mother while I was in France, but quickly discovered that it was also available in Australia (David Jones has a small but solid range of their teas). Although they're French, Kusmi is renowned for their Russian-style black teas and tisanes, although I really enjoy their green tea selection, too. I thought I'd share my favourite teas I've discovered so far from them, but please also share your picks as well - I'm always up for trying more!

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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Another little blog update...

A few weeks, I promised that I'd start posting three times a week on my blog and even start producing videos, as I'd have ample time to work on my blog once university finished for the semester. Well, it appears I was somewhat over ambitious - I was given an opportunity for work experience at very short notice, and so have been unable to dedicate as much time as I had desired to the blog.

So for the next two weeks or so, I'll only be updating once a week - and then, I promise, I'll be 100% fully back into the blogging game as I have so many exciting ideas.

See you soon!
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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Beauty in five minutes or less

Somedays I'm all for spending an hour putting on three consecutive face masks, deep conditioning my hair, then meticulously tending to my nails - but most days I don't have the time or energy to do more than a simple skincare routine. I realised however that I regularly undertake a few beauty tasks that take anywhere from a few seconds to a five minutes - far more manageable in my mind, and I still getting something out the way. If you've got a few minutes to spare, maybe think of trying out one of these quickly accomplished tasks?

(Also, I'm conscious that it ought to be "five minutes or fewer" but at the risk of sounding pedantic, I've opted for the more common turn of phrase. :P)

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Thursday, 30 June 2016

My top three cleansers of the moment

You know you're in a good place skincare-wise when you consistently reach for the same few products without batting an eyelid, and the whole process becomes second nature. I've experimented with loads of different products in the past but I've gotten into a reliable and fairly fuss-free routine of late with these three cleansers. All very good, not too stripping - they get the job done, but each accomplishes slightly different things. I thought I'd give you an overview of my current cleansing routine as well as a rundown of how I personally like to use each of these cleansers on an everyday basis. 

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Two beautiful bodycare products from Clarins

It's funny how we associate certain brands with particular specialities and overlook the rest of their range, despite it being perfectly good and worth investigating. For me, Clarins is where I go for excellent facial skincare - a good day of my beauty cabinet is made up of their cleansers, toners, oils and treatment products. But I'd like to recommend some of their bodycare products to you today, which have really impressed me lately. Coming from Clarins, I wasn't expecting to be anything but pleased; but I'm certainly more interested in checking out some of their non-skincare offerings.

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Saturday, 25 June 2016

My new rosy lips favourite

I recently resolved that my ideal lip colour is something a little pinky, just a touch darker than my natural lip colour. I've got relatively dark lips and very pale skin, so going for anything lighter than my complexion makes me look off. While I adore my pinky, beigey lipsticks for everyday wear (here's my compilation of my favourite products), I feel prettiest wearing rose colours.

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

How I've learned to spend an evening computer free

A colleague recently asked me what I did with my free time in the evenings. Alarmingly, no answer immediately came to mind; but when I reflected on what occupied my time once I got home for the day, it was all a blur of scrolling through my Bloglovin' feed (sneaky plug, but do follow me here) watching dog videos on Facebook, and random Googling. In the past week I've schooled myself up on the King of Ruritania and the history of Polish-Australians - thanks Wikipedia! I had all this time I could have been pouring into more fulfilling activities, and I was whiling it away mindlessly on the web. After reading these articles from Lucy-Claire's blog about social media and internet use, I was inspired to rethink how much time I was devoting to my computer and decided to detox my evenings of internet use. I thought I'd share a few things I've been doing in lieu of sitting in front of a device, and I hope it gives you some ideas -but keep on reading, don't log off just yet.

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Ballet Beautiful: workouts fit for a ballerina

While I once was a regular gym-goer, I've lost my enthusiasm for having to go elsewhere to get my exercise in. I then turned to running, which, although being free and not requiring me to go anywhere but out my front door, was a bit too repetitive for my liking.

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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Shopping My Stash

It's all too easy to get wrapped up in all that is shiny and new and forget about the gems that lay dormant in our expansive beauty collections. For this reason I've always appreciated the whole "shop my stash" thing - it encourages you to consider what you already have before going and buying more products that are much the same. I thought it was high time I fish out a few neglected products that I'm glad to have found again and to share them with you, in the hope that you might do the same (and also because I really, really like my rediscoveries).

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Is the Beauty Blender worth the hype?

Only a few years ago they seemed like such a novelty, yet today the Beauty Blender seems to be a staple in makeup bags across the world. Having first written it off as a bit of a fad, I finally cracked and purchased one mid-last year, hoping it would provide the flawless base it is renowned for. In the ten or so months I've had it, I can fairly say that it edged itself into my everyday makeup routine. That said, I wanted to run through its pros and its cons, should you be looking to buy a makeup sponge in the future.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

My favourite brownie recipe ever

I'm a keen baker, and on average I whip up one lot of sweet treats per week. Until recently, however, there has been one recipe that has eluded me - the perfect brownie. Not that my previous attempts weren't delicious -  the ingredients of any brownie recipe are too inherently good that you'd really have to make an effort for a batch to be anything less than yummy. But too often, they would turn out overly dry or excessively sticky, and as texture is so key for a good brownie, this just was not good enough. After trialling a bunch of recipes, I'm pleased to tell you I've stumbled upon the best brownies I've ever made - delicious, moreish, and ridiculously easy to create. 

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

A little blog update

I don't usually post on Saturdays, so this is a bit novel! But I've got some blog news to share this morning about some updates I'm making to this little blog of mine. Nothing too major, just a handful of exciting changes - and I hope that you're looking forward to them, too.

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

5 beauty products you don't need

Do you ever get that sneaking feeling that many of the products in your beauty cabinets are doing essentially the same job? While I can be satisfying to have a specific product for each concern, I've discovered that one product can serve a myriad of purposes in your beauty regimen, and that some items are entirely redundant all together. If you're looking to save money and space, I recommend that you take the following products off your shopping list.

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The mask to sooth sensitive skin

As any beauty lover would know, it's wise to have a variety of face masks on hand at all times. A basic "mask wardrobe" should at least include an exfoliating, a deep cleansing and a hydrating product (some masks can do more than just one job, in which case, all the better!). But I've recently become convinced you need another sort of mask - that is, one that can calm down your face when it's gone a bit off-kiler. May I suggest Antipodes' Aura Manuka Honey Mask?

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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Why you should start your mornings with lemon water

I'm sure you've come across many a magazine interview where a model or actress professes her love of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning, claiming it's responsible in large part for their health and beauty. I certainly had, but I'd never seriously tried to adopt the habit until about a month ago. We are lucky enough to have a rather prolific Meyer lemon tree, and recently it's been producing a glut of fruit - much more than we know what to do with. Instead of making up as many batches of curd and lemon meringue pie as I could physically muster (my usual solution) it seemed like the right time to add this apparently miraculous tonic to my morning routine. While I'm unconvinced that lemon water will instantly transform you into a supermodel, but I've definitely seen some benefits over the past few weeks.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

May Favourites

Another month, another favourites post. I'm seriously considering doing my next month favourites (that is, my June roundup) as a video as I think it'd be a more logical format. That said, I'm quite terrified of filming YouTube videos - I tried my hand before and found it less easy than simply writing - so any encouragement/tips would be greatly appreciated.


So, let's get started on my top rated picks from the past month.

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Dior Nail Glow: the secret to perfect natural nails

My approach to beauty is, quite simply, to embellish and perfect my features to make myself look nicer; I think I've watched most of the "no-makeup makeup" tutorials YouTube has to offer. My style of makeup, give or take a few liquid cat flicks and occasional red lips, is very au naturel. So when a product proposes to make me prettier all while looking 100% natural, I am immediately interested. Such is what is promised by Dior's Nail Glow - a little pot of transparent, rosy polish - and it has so far lived up to my expectations.

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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Winter style staple: Equipment turtleneck

A black turtleneck sweater is an absolute wardrobe staple - it's so chic and can be worn in a myriad of ways. I was therefore over the moon to finally get my hands on the turtleneck of my dreams late last year, after lusting after it for months. The item in question is the Atticus turtleneck from Equipment, a cool French brand who make some of the loveliest shirts and jumpers on the market.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Queen of SPF

If you've read this blog a while, you'll know I wear sunscreen daily and I have tried a fair few different products in my quest for the perfect SPF. I'm currently finishing a rather posh sunscreen, one I had had many high hopes for, but as I'm reaching the last dregs I feel rather relieved I can return to my beloved Anthelios XL fluid by La Roche-Posay.

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Thursday, 12 May 2016

3 ways to up your skincare game this winter

The change of seasons is the perfect time to create routines and break old habits - I like to monopolise on this state of flux to introduce new things into my life. Given that those of us in the Southern Hemisphere are just days away from winter, it seemed like the perfect occasion for me to share some new, easy tips - nothing too tricky or fiddly - that you could integrate into your skincare regimen to take it up a notch. Although these ideas are aimed at caring for your skin during the colder months, they are more broadly just excellent habits to get into year-round. Start now, and your skin will thank you for it come summertime.

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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The best-smelling products in my beauty cabinet

Of course, a good scent does not a great product make, but I strongly believe it is an essential part of an enjoyable beauty routine. I seek out scents in every part of my daily life; I am obsessed with perfume, tea and cooking, which all allow provide me much olfactory pleasure. It's only natural that this interest should extend to my beauty cabinet.

There are many people who are fervently against perfume in skincare products, or who are allergic or sensitive to it, which I do understand; however, fragrance-free products tend to leave me cold. Whenever I'm at a beauty counter, I'm often swayed by the best-smelling products, although this is obviously not my primary consideration. I was recently told that our skin reacts best to products with scents we like, and I cannot think of an example to disprove this (although I'm certain this isn't universally true; I just find it to be a charming idea). There is something so luxurious in using a product that works and smells beautifully - the following products are brilliant in their own right, with the added bonus of all smelling divine.

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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Lavender products for calm and comfort

Is there a scent more comforting than lavender? Perhaps rosemary, or freshly-baked bread, but I find it difficult to think of much else to rival it. I've always loved lavender, both for its fragrance and its aesthetics; whenever I come across a bush, it's hard for me to resist picking a twig to put behind my ear or crushing the fragrant petals in my hand. Naturally, I gravitate towards lavender-scented beauty products, my favourites being those that are authentic to the flower's natural perfume to the point of photorealism. And while I favour fruit and citrus scents in the morning, lavender products are perfect for winding down the day.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

April favourites

Some months I discover many new and exciting products, while in others I quietly appreciate the tried and true stalwarts that never disappoint. This month largely fits into the latter category, and in compiling this list of favourites I realised I wasn't giving enough airtime on this blog to some of the best products in my beauty cupboard and makeup bag. It only seemed fair this month to highlight these three unceasingly excellent products.

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Thursday, 28 April 2016

A month without hair tools

A little while ago, I told you that I'd endeavour to not go shopping for a month, in an effort to curb my "window shopping" habit. For the most part, it was a successful experiment. Whenever I was tempted to go out to the shops to keep myself occupied, I tried instead to do something more productive and fulfilling, be it going for a walk, cooking a new recipe, or tidying and organising (which I secretly relish). I appreciate much more my trips to the shops now, as I'm better at getting my errands done quickly and not be faffing about the place for hours.

My next challenge is a beauty-related one - to go a month without using heated hair tools, including straighteners, blowdryers and curlers.

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

My neutral lipstick wardrobe

Most of the time, I'm wearing what I'd call a neutral lip colour - not a "nude" per se, but a subtle variation of the natural colour of my lips, making them prettier and rosier. While I'm satisfied with my couple of red lipstick variations (a glossy, orange formulation and a matte, pillar box red shade), I get immense joy in searching for and expanding my collection of pinky-nude lip products.

They may all be indiscernible to some, but to me, they are each uniquely beautiful and suited to a particular mood or occasion. I'd like to share with you some of my favourites I use on an everyday basis, that are effortless yet can't help but make you look more polished.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Little joys

I spend a lot of time here talking about beautifully-scented creams, gorgeous pots of nail polish and posh tea. Lovely things, of course - but they require a trip to the department store and money to attain. So I wanted to dedicate some space on my blog to celebrating three things that don't cost a thing that bring me pleasure on a daily basis.

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Herman the German friendship cake recipe

I wanted to tell you about a delightful little phenomenon that was shared with me recently. I mentioned a little while ago that my friend Nicole gifted me with the beginnings of a Herman the German friendship cake. For those of you who have never heard of it, it's a sourdough starter - and what makes sourdough bread different to regular bread is that it takes a few days to prepare the yeast and to let the dough rise, resulting in a stronger, sweeter taste. This particular starter is not intended for making bread, though - it's instead used to make a delicious apple cake.

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

My desk and stationery essentials

For those who are not aware, I am a university student in my final year of a law/arts degree. Consequently, I spend a lot of time behind my desk, drafting essays, practicing German verb conjugations and, of course, tinkering away on my little blog. After six (!) years at university, I feel I've got a desk setup that is conducive to getting things done, so I thought I'd share some of my essentials with you today.


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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Two tips for healthier nails

Late last year, my nails were in a sorry state. I'd applied polish without giving my bare nails a breather  one too many times, and found myself with flaky, yellowing nails that chipped easily - not very chic. I've since spent more energy properly looking after my nails and discovered two steps in my routine that are indispensable to a perfect manicure.


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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Teas for autumn

Autumn is prime tea drinking season - after a long summer, I dream of cold, dark mornings and many cups of warming tea! I predominantly drink green and herbal teas, but since discovering (and becoming obsessed with) the tea column on Bois de Jasmin, I've been inspired to experiment more with different teas.

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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

March favourites

March has been a bit of a whirlwind - the first month back at university is always busy, but I've enjoyed settling back into my studies for another year. The relentless heat has abated and I'm looking forward to the properly cooler weather. In terms of favourites, I've been mostly enjoying items that I've had for years (if you're not aware, I'm attempting to not shop 'recreationally' for one month).

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

A chic (and easy) ponytail

Today, I have a simple yet elegant hair idea for you. I find many of the hairstyle ideas across the Internet over complicated for everyday wear or too 'out there' for my tastes - I can say wholeheartedly that I do not look good with fishtail plaits, for example. So I thought I'd share a hairstyle today that is simple, taking only seconds to complete, yet looking very clever and pretty. It's certainly a little trick I've added to my usual hair repertoire.

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Nail polish classic: Chanel's Holiday

If you're looking for a classic, show-stopping red nail polish to add to your collection, I would advise you look no further than Chanel's Holiday.

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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A month without shopping

I am quite a busy person - between full-time university, part-time work, family, friends and a dog, I tend to have a lot going on. While bemoaning that I can't dedicate more of my time to pursuing hobbies, I noticed that a decent portion of my free time was being taken up shopping. And when I say "shopping", I actually mean aimlessly wandering around looking at items, but often not buying a thing.
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Thursday, 3 March 2016

February favourites

Happy March! The beginning of Autumn is one of my most favourite times of the year - the plane trees near where I live are their most beautiful when they start to turn brown, and it's a relief to have the weather cool down after months of heatwaves. Here are my favourites of the past month.

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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Happy birthday, Oscar!

I apologise for my absence from the blog the past 10 days - I was in Melbourne, which was lovely, and then full-on "back to university" mode (read: lots of printing and scheduling). But I'm back today to wish my dog Oscar a happy 1st birthday!

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Bedtime luxury: The Holistic Silk Lavender Eye Mask

Sometimes I stumble across an item that is so exquisitely beautiful that I cannot help but yield, which is exactly what happened with the Holistic Silk Lavender Eye Mask. I use eye masks nightly to block out light and the Holistic Silk mask is perfect for me, both aesthetically and functionally.

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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Thoughts on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

I realised just how popular Marie Kondo's book was when I asked nonchalantly for "that book about tidying" at my local bookstore, and I was given it within seconds by a teenaged shop assistant who couldn't have been more unlike Martha Stewart if he tried. It seems everyone has been seduced by Kondo's message of paring back one's possessions to only what 'sparks joy'. Today, I won't be rehashing the whole book (that has been done at length by many, many people), but instead I'll share three thoughts I took away from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Jo Malone Cologne and Body Creme Duo

For this past Christmas, my boyfriend gave me a most beautiful gift from Jo Malone: a Peony & Blush Suede Cologne, paired with a jar of Wood Sage and Sea Salt Body Crème. It sat for a few weeks, taunting me from under the tree, so I was overjoyed to be able to finally use it come Christmas morning.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

January favourites

I've decided to bring back monthly favourites on the blog, highlighting a few of the things that I loved the most in January. Get excited.

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

In praise of brown eyeliner

When I first started wearing makeup in my teens, I gravitated towards products that gave the most impact - think bold red lips, green eyeshadow and thick black liquid liner. Which I imagine is a common scenario for many young girls who, upon first discovering the myriad of products available, find it easiest to stick with those that give the most immediate and obvious impact.

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My relaxing evening skincare routine

There are few things I look forward to more than to take my makeup off and nourish my skin after a long day. Pampering rituals like my skincare routine are a vital part of helping me calm down and preparing myself for bed. As I mentioned before in my morning skincare routine, I've been in a skincare frenzy of late and have made some nice new additions to my bathroom cabinet. 


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Thursday, 21 January 2016

My morning routine for great skin

My obsession with skincare has reached new extremes of late. I've been doing my research (reading dermatological articles, beauty reviews and digging through the archives of various beauty blogs) and have curated a skincare 'wardrobe' of sorts - a streamlined routine for glowing, clear skin. This is vital for me as I feel that it's only once I have a solid routine in place that I can get the absolutely most out of my makeup.

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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

New Year refresh

I love Christmas as much as the next person (arguably much more) and as I got particularly festive these past holidays,  I consequently suffered a more severe bout of "Christmas fatigue" - that is, feeling queasy at the sight of leftover decorations and food past early January. To combat this, the past fortnight has been dedicated to a refresh to herald in 2016 and to put myself in good stead for the year ahead.

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Thursday, 14 January 2016

Cult Beauty goodies

In late November, Cult Beauty arranged their annual Goody Bag, a gift with purchase worth £180 and full of generous samples of their 'hero' products. Logically, I felt like this was the ideal time to finally buy a few items that had been lingering in my Cult Beauty basket.

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

My new dressing table

I had always dreamt of having a luxurious dressing table, where I could artfully arrange candles, flowers and perfume bottles. Having moved house recently to a space with a tiny bathroom but a roomier bedroom, this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to realise this dream.

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