Sunday, 19 July 2015

Holiday packing: Beauty essentials

Eve Lom Cleanser (50ml)| Bruzz nail brushDermalogica intensive moisture mask (sample size) | Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre| PH Advantage anti-aging cream| Nars Pure Radiant tinted moisturiser SPF 30| Proactiv solution daily oil control| Pure Potions Intensive Moisturising Ointment| Vaseline lip therapy (cocoa Butter)

When it comes to holiday packing, knowing what  beauty essentials to take can be an indecisive long process. There were times I wished I could take the kitchen sink with me, especially when you include things like perfume and bathing products. On top of that, the under 100ml makes it even more difficult to take everything you need so my secret is finding  multi- tasking products that do more than one job.  My beauty needs when I travel are all about exfoliating, hydrating, sun protection and ensuring my skin doesn't get clogged up or spotty. 

A bit of sun is fine but can also do more damage than good to your skin if the relevant products aren't used. For me sun protection is a must regardless of skin colour. There is an assumption that you don't need sun protection when you have darker skin and though fairer skin is more prone to sunburn, it doesn't mean dark skin won't get burnt. I swear by my NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturiser as it has 30 SPF protection while giving me a natural glow. I hate wearing makeup in the daytime on holiday, especially on the beach so the tinted moisturiser works as a great in between product. To exfoliate, I've been using the PH advantage anti-aging cream which has glycolic acid to remove dead skin cells. This cream really does the trick but it's so important to wear it with  a SPF product to protect your skin. 

In terms of make-up remover, I still swear by my Eve Lom cleanser and the 30ml size means I can take it to travel. It's so easy to remove all the layers of make up, sand and dirt so is perfect for holiday. Embryolisse lait creme is an amazing multi-task product as I use it to prime my skin, moisturise and soothe any sunburn  or dry skin. It's the perfect travel companion because it has so many uses. 
The only trouble I get with summer skin is that it tends to get greasier in the heat.  Proactive's Daily Oil control is great product to prep your skin before applying make-up, as it keeps everything matte and stops grease building in prone areas which in my case is my forehead. Another beauty trick is taking sample face masks like the Dermalogica intensive moisture mask which is really useful for just before you get on the flight home to hydrate your skin after all the travelling.

Vaseline is a no brainer for my lips and eyebrows but I've also discovered Pure Potions intensive moisturising ointment which is good for extremely dry areas like my elbows and knees. 

My final new find is a quirky new nail brush called Bruzz which is perfect for getting all the sand out of your nails as well as make-up dirt. The way it's designed means you can clean the top, underside and tip of your nails in one action and the removable bristles make it easy to clean after use. I love it! What are you beauty holiday must-have's?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Blue and Green should always be seen

One of the things I love about Summer is having the chance to play around with bright colours. I don't know where the 'blue and green should never be seen' fashion rule came from but personally, I love the combination. Obviously both colours are bright and bold so I tend to wear them subtly like I did a few days ago with my signature  jeans and a blazer ensemble. The jeans are my trusted ones I bought from Pull and Bear last year which I matched with an old  (Like over 10 years old) H&M Summer top. My recently new purchase is this lovely emerald green blazer from Zara which I'm loving and wearing a lot of at the moment.The look was finished with my t-bar studded sandals and Mulberry Del Ray bag. Do you think blue and green together is a good combination? 

Monday, 22 June 2015

What to pack for a long weekend: Ibiza Essentials

What to pack for a long weekend away
1) Ray-ban sunglasses| 2) Accessorize trilby hat| 3) ACEVOG beach dress| 4) Boohoo Pom playsuit 5) Norma Kamali plunge swimsuit| 6) Opal denim shorts |  7) Havaianas flip flops|  8) Coast sequin top 9) Accessorize thong sandals 10) Butterfly beach scarf|

I'm very excited to be heading off to Ibiza in a a few days and I can't believe I haven't been for nearly 5 years! It's fair to say that I am (or was) an Ibiza veteran, going every year for well over a decade. Perhaps I won't be doing the every year thing now, but it is certainly a destination that feels like a home away from home. Now I'm only going for long weekends, I'm getting better at packing light to get away from checking in a bag as it's an extra cost and I also worry about suitcases going missing or being left behind which for me, would be a disaster! Knowing what to pack can be a pain so I thought I'd do a post on packing essentials to get through the weekend:

Sunglasses- Obviously the hero accessory. I always take one cheap pair and my ray-bans as I'm so scared I'll break/lose the bans if I over wear them
The sun hat- I normally go for a cowboy shaped or trilby style but the sun hat is great to protect your hair and face as well as add to your beach day style. I always have one by the beach or pool unless I use a scarf 
The beach cover up - For me, this is the absolute holiday must have. I have spent quite a bit of money on beach cover ups but they are worth the investment because I seem to spend more time in them than I do in evening wear.  I also find that a decent beach dress, kimono or jumpsuit make great day to night wear if you can't be bothered to change for the evening 
The playsuit - I'm a playsuit kind of girl, especially in the summer. They are easy to throw on and make an ideal holiday outfit as they are small and light to pack
The one piece swimsuit- I am yet to find one that fits me well but the one piece swimsuit has made a huge comeback the last few years.Some are designed to be more of a cutout one piece but those don't do anything for me. I'm looking for a good one piece that doesn't cut off my body and flatters my shape
Denim shorts- You can never go wrong with a good pair of denim shorts that fit nicely. They are great to dress up in the evening with heels and a cute top but also work for daytime
The havaianas- Nothing needs to be said here really. Uber comfortable flip flops that you can live in the entire holiday
The evening top (or two)- Even if you can't be bothered to get super glammed up, a couple of dressy tops work great for nights out. Ibiza style is very eclectic and people pretty much wear what they want so if you don't want to bring 100 dresses or find taking too many outfits a pain, denim shorts or jeans with a cute top can go a long way 
Dressy flat shoes- I'm still a heels kinda heel but dressy flats are a great alternative and comfortable.. especially for Ibiza!
The beach scarf/sarong/throw- Great beach essential or on the plane if it gets cold 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Hotel Review: Lupaia heaven in Tuscany

I'm still reminiscing about the wonderful time I had in Tuscany a month or so ago and was lucky enough to stay in not one wonderful hotel but two. After spending the night at the exquisite Hotel Banfi, we headed to the hills of Val d'Orcia to find Hotelito Lupaia. While Banfi Hotel gave me castle and countryside, Lupaia gave me enchanted whimsical fairytale! Each room has a unique personality,  and theme while the outside grounds made you feel as if you were on the set of a Hansel and Gretel movie.

We stayed in the characterful cottage Bosco, a beautiful room depicted as an 18th century Tuscan farmhouse, overlooking the stunning Italian countrysides. Decorated with antique furniture, handpainted walls and a rustic decor, the room was simply breathtaking with its vibrant emerald green theme that made you feel like royalty. 

Breakfast the next morning after a lovely night's sleep was an event in itself. There was an open kitchen where we could see the chef preparing whatever the guests wanted, along with a huge buffet of freshly baked breads and pastries, homemade jams, cheeses and fresh fruit. I love the fact that most of the food they serve is sourced from a nearby farm and I instantly noticed the difference in taste and quality (especially the delicious organic eggs). 

The stunning infinity pool overlooking the Tuscan hills had to be hands down my favourite hotel feature. The breathtaking views,  peace and quiet, and gentle breeze has made it one of my top poolside experiences ever. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Hotel Lupaia and would recommend staying there whether you are a couple wanting a romantic getaway, family wanting to relax or small group celebrating a birthday or other special occasion. I would definitely visit again :-)  

Monday, 1 June 2015

It's all about Balenciaga

Every now and then, I like to treat myself on erm.. nice leather goods. In my defence, it’s never an impulse buy and I’m usually lusting over it for a while before I make the final purchase.  I have been a fan of Balenciaga ever since I lived in LA a few years ago. Yes.. I know Cristóbal Balenciaga is Spanish but there is something very Californian girl about their city range; the grainy worn leather, the metallic studs and the tasselled finishes. I’m usually more of a classic, structured handbag type of girl but LA influenced me with its understated, casual, rock chick style . I bought a black giant city bag (similar here) nearly 7 years ago, and it continues to be one of my most loved  bags and prized possessions.
I have been after a decent wallet for a while and though I considered the Saint Laurent Monogramme  and the Valentino rockstud Balenciaga was still always front of mind. Maybe it was the sentimental attachment I’ve got with my city, I feel we've had great times and been to many places, so I'm hoping the wallet will do the same (as well as bring some good luck to my finances).
I wasn’t expecting to buy it on this day, but I was randomly browsing in Selfridges Birmingham ( work trip) when I overheard the word ‘sale’.  And there it was.. the beautiful Giant Continental Zip around leather wallet in black and purple (sold out but similar here). 
No joke of a lie, the purchase was made in 15 minutes. I had been thinking about it for a while, it was a beautiful colour and the discount made it impossible for me to walk away!

I always go for this size but I wanted to try the zip around style as I always have trouble with coins falling into my bag. The calf leather is really soft and the fabric and leather lining gives it a lovely finish.  I also love the front slit pocket at the front which is great for train tickets or anything I need to grab quickly,  while the 12 card is basically sorting out my life!  A wallet is a wallet at the end of the day but I know this one is an investment that will last me a while, and I won’t have to worry about replacing it in a couple of years.  It’s already starting to gain sentimental value and I’m hoping it does bring me abundance. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it ��

Monday, 25 May 2015

Hotel Review: Castles and Countrysides at the CASTELLO BANFI IL BORGO

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Tuscany, one of the most beautiful regions in central Italy. I thought I was a travel junkie but my friend Reena takes it to the next level, constantly on the move all around the world. When she asked me to join on her Tuscany trip, I jumped at the chance, as it’s always been one of the places I've wanted to visit. We were blessed with great weather the whole weekend and the views from the Rome to Tuscany drive were stunning.
One of our nights were spent at the Castello Banfi Il Borgo , an exquisite boutique hotel set on a hilltop just over 6 miles of Montalcino's biggest wine estates. I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever stayed in, and the views on the grounds make it even more spectacular. There is no exaggeration in the title that it is in fact a castle. With its rustic medieval origins,7100 acre estate, an attached winery, two restaurants and heated pool overlooking the vineyards, you certainly feel like you're getting the royal treatment.
Our suite (one of 14 luxurious rooms), was spacious with a large bedroom, bathroom and living room. All the rooms have distinctive individual designs, embellished and decorated by hand using premium fabrics. The en-suite bathrooms have large rain showers while some also have bathtubs, heated towels and luxurious bath products. We were made to feel very welcome in our room finding a well-stocked complimentary mini-bar with a selection of complimentary wines, a flat screen Satellite TVs and of course WiFi!
Breakfast the next morning was wonderful.  With a choice of continental fruits, pastries and juices followed by a fresh cooked breakfast, it’s fair to say a few extra pounds were gained after this trip.
The thing I loved most about this castle is the unbelievable peace and serenity of the Tuscan countryside, the amazing way the staff treated and looked after us and the views. Oh the views! Would definitely go again xx

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Fashion led fitness:It's all about LIJA!

LIJA activewear UK
As I'm  getting into the swing of my fitness regime, I was delighted when asked to review apparel from activewear brand LIJA. One of the reasons I'm not the biggest fan of being in a gym environment is being extremely body conscious and self-aware. I may not be the make-up wearing, immaculate hair type of girl but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to caring about what I wear when I work out. Of course you're never going to look amazing while training and it’s obviously not the most important thing, but wearing something that looks and feels good is a great confidence boost. 
LIJA is totally on the money when it comes to this concept and I am really impressed with my kit. As a style driven sportswear brand, I can really see the fusion between fashion and fitness, which ties in nicely with the popular sports luxe trend. The pieces use a clever technique of gathering to flatter your shape while using soft breathable fabrics to give you comfort. Here are my thoughts on the kit I was sent:

LIJA activewear UK
Gathered tank top:(UK similar here)
I really like the gathered ruched style of this top as well as the pretty feminine neckline. I also love the fact that it has a built in bra, quick drying and moisture wicking fabric to reduce inevitable sweat marks.
Capri pant (similar here)
These capri pants are flattering, fitted and oh so supportive! They act as a wonder bra for my thighs and bum while being snug and comfortable because of stretch they have . I also love the grey panelling on the sides.

LIJA capri pants UK

Apex vest: This vest is really handy layering item, especially for outdoor activities. It's feather light, water and wind resistant with secure pockets to keep things like your phone and cash. The fabric is also really soft and comfortable and I find myself wearing it not just for sports but for popping out to run errands, especially during the Spring weather.

Overall, I'm really impressed with this range and collection. Comfortable, flattering, fitted as well as doing the activewear job! See for yourself on their Facebook page and latest collections. It's a thumbs up from me!