Tuesday

April Beauty Buys

Suddenly it’s the last week of April and I realised that what with the day job being (excitedly) hectic, the regular features on the blog have been a little neglected. This week I’ve escaped the Big Smoke in exchange for Dubai and whilst packing I put together April’s beauty post. I hope these posts help you work out what to invest in this summer, there are so many products being shoved in our faces at this time of year…
Last week I had a facial at the new Guinot spa at The Metropolitan in London. It’s the perfect “skin audit” as we go into Spring; my face felt really dusty and in need of good, deep cleanse which is exactly what I got from the treatment. I’ve worked with the brand for years now, and the girls reminded me about their Minceur Rapide. If you are planning on getting the legs out anytime soon, let this be part of your daily moisturizing routine. When they told me I’d feel firmer and less dimply in a fortnight I laughed out loud. But more fool me as the stuff really does work…

I’d never have thought I’d buy into the idea that your beauty regime has seasonal trends, but I’ve found myself leaning towards lighter, summery fragrances recently. I met with the Estee Lauder girls this month and thanks to them am huge fans of both TomFord’s Soleil Blanc (actually smells like holidays; suncream and sand) and Michael Kors’ Coral (grapefruits and elderflowers). 

Make up wise, summer continues as the theme. I was sent the new Tom Ford Soleil compacts to try, and really want to stress how good the Contouring Case is. As a complete and utter novice to the concept, I’ve found this great to very (very, very, very) easily shape your cheeks whilst giving a bronzed glow. Equally the Charlotte Tilbury 5Minute Box is the perfect “keep in your handbag” set. I only got mine a week ago and the brightening shadows are pretty worn down…

For my hair, I’ve been working really hard to keep mine in check. I’ve got a lot of new hair coming through following my treatment last year, and its all at a very awkward 2 inches long. Anything that’ll blend it in to the rest of my locks, or disguise it, is welcome. I’ve been swearing by treating my scalp to Philip Kingsley’sElasticiser this month (put it through your hair 10/15 minutes before showering) and the results are incredible. My usually fine-but-thick hair has turned much more bouncy, full, and feels much softer (without going all fly away). I’ve also used Josh Wood’s shampoo and conditioner to help blend in my natural colours with my blonde highlights as I haven’t had time to get them done – worked a treat! Lastly, I’ve been using Vita Coconut Oil on my ends to reduce splitting which has actually really worked.


Last but not least; sleeping. My patterns have gone a little bit haywire recently as I’ve been changing various medications and going through a bit of a stress period. Whenever I’m not 100%, my sleep is the first thing that takes a hit. The Net A Porter team sent me over a “sleep kit” with two genuinely life changing products. The first was This Works’ Deep Sleep Oil. I use a couple of pumps each evening and spread it across my forehead/temples and the soles of my feet. Bliss. Secondly; Skin’s sleepmask. I’ve never owned one before as I thought I’d feel claustrophobic, but no. Instead I find getting to sleep simpler and the silk fabric has had a notable impact on the softness of my own skin. I kid you not, treat yourself and try it here (would make a wonderful gift too).
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NW3

I have some news! We have a new home! It's going to take a while, but as of June 2016 the boy and I are residents of NW3, Hampstead. We'd been looking for ages, initially at Notting Hill, but an estate agent called us about one particular property and I knew it straight away! We went to see it last week (how we found the time given all we've got going on) and made an offer straight away. I can't wait to get in there, get furnishing and getting creative with the space.


On Sunday after a hospital appointment (not the greatest start to the day; having a drip in your arm putting burning hot solution into your body whilst sitting inside a machine...) we decided to make the most of the sunshine and explore our new area. I say "new," but actually I know Hampstead pretty well - my parents live close by and I had my first weekend job on the high street, smoked my first cigarette on the bench opposite my new home (weird) and went on my first date in the Carluccio's down the road (his parents also came...).


I wore a pair of shoes I got a couple of months ago, but until now it hadn't been warm enough to brave "bare" feet. They're from Reiss here, and are the perfect Spring shoe. I got them as I've got quite a few weddings this summer (two in Italy, sob) and they're perfect for wearing all day - not too high, block heel and comfortable. As a major plus they also look good with jeans and a t shirt, as I decided to do... Personally I think shoes like these are worth an investment but if cash is tight these ASOS ones are very similar...


My cargo jacket is an oldie but a goodie from Topshop, you can still buy it here. Always a good sign when stores have to repeat the same style. I had completely forgotten about it, but found it last week and have been living in it ever since. Another good place to track things like this down is Urban Outfitters, I love this and this. They're really good for this time of year as you can throw it on and not be too cold/hot...


The jeans have been around for a while too, from Paige Denim. I spotted them on a street style photo a couple of years ago and spent a good half day (whilst in full time work, oops) hunting them down. They were a limited edition but the brand have done similars here, or try these as cheaper options from Topshop (they have kept them going in shorts-form too here). The tee is from Reiss, as are most of my basics (that or James Perse) and you can find them here... 

Links to my outfit (disable your ad browser to view the carousel, or use the links below)

Oh and the bag. Having had an alert set on Vestiaire Collective for over a year, I was having a bit of a bad day over a fortnight ago when this popped up. Usually they cost around £500 on there, but this was just over £300 as it's got a teeny scratch on the inside (blink and you'd miss it). I've always wanted a Neverfull so am delighted with it... Find yours (or set up alerts for it) here.

Hope you guys are having a good week so far, mine is fast running away with me! And breeeeeathe...
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Sunday

Anything for some Aquazzura

brown suede espadrilles, aquazzura here / high street similars, River Island here

I'm house hunting at the moment and using it as a fantastic excuse to have one hell of a clear out. I don't want to take anything I don't really need into our new home. Having already done a "round" of editing, throwing out and selling at the beginning of the year (Vestiaire Collective account here) I knew I needed some extra help.  I always felt like I went as far as I could go without feeling disappointed I'd thrown something out... So, I took the advice of the masses and read Marie Kondo's Spark Joy

brown suede espadrilles, aquazzura here / high street similars, River Island here

I'm possibly the most cynical "it's just a fad" person in the universe, so if I say a book changed my perspective it's a very good sign. But it really has. The basic concept is that if something doesn't "spark joy" in your wardrobe, home or even your life then it needs to go. I took a big look at everything I owned and very happily parted with half of it (well, it's currently bagged up ready for a combination of the tip, charity shops and eBay/Vestiaire). It feels exhilarating. That said, Marie also teaches you to spot the gaps, and I realised I needed to invest in a pair of good espadrilles. 

image from Jules' blog post here / brown suede espadrilles, aquazzura here / high street similars, River Island here

The ones of the moment are without a doubt the Aquazzura Belgravia (here).  I don't own a pair (yet) so I've had to scour the internet for inspiration...  Having tried them on several times in several stores I really do think if you have a spare £300 to spend on a summer shoe then they should be your choice. They're sturdier than they look and they really are the perfect summer shoe. I'd go with a brown here or black here, although I really do love Pandora's multicolour ones here (paired with our friend's Pampelone dress, here) - part of me thinks I need to ditch all plans for neutral colours and be a bit more fun with my choices... 

image from Pandora's blog post here / Pampelone dress, here / Multicoloured Aquazzura pumps, here

Before I make an investment I've been searching for a high street equivalent so I can test how much I'd wear the style... The first pair I've found I am completely torn about, here. They're just so similar to the Aquazzura's I'm not sure if I agree with it. They're from River Island and are £24, I love everything about them but feel slightly guilty about them (they also have a similar copy-cat pair of Valentino laced espadrilles, here) - what do you think? ASOS have a style called the "Jessica" here too, which comes in multiple colours including multi here, yellow here, white here and leopard print here. Finally Topshop's entry is a strong one at £24 with these. I can't decide...

Here is a round up of all of the espadrille options (disable your ad blocker to see the carousel, or use the links underneath).
multicoloured, here / brown suede. here / black leather, here / yellow canvas, here / multicoloured, here / blue canvas, here

The great thing about having done the "stuff cleanse" is that I dont feel at all guilty about making new purchases, because I know I need them. And if I don't keep them forever, it's ok - it doesn't mean it was a waste of money or time. I may do an entirely separate post on the pieces I'm going to part with (let me know if that would be useful/appealing) and how Spark Joy helped me part with so much of my stuff. But in the meantime, I'm plotting what else to throw to raise funds for the shoe of dreams...
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