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I have always loved the idea of makeup. I’ve grown up watching old films and subsequently adored the classic old “Hollywood glamour” . I would watch in admiration stars such as Tippi Hedren, Grace Kelly (my mother was a Hitchcock fanatic) and Eleanor Parker who played the Baroness in The Sound of Music grace the screens with their long lashes and deep red lips.

My mum has always been a fervent tomboy and feminist and has had a real reluctance to any kind of beauty products outside of face creams. I don’t think I have ever seen her wear makeup or shave her armpits and she proudly will show anyone her lack of leg hair which she believes is a consequence of never shaving (I daren’t point out to her that she is fair haired). Consequently,  I was certainly never taught by my mum how to wear lipstick and everything I do wear is all self taught. Of course these days you can google a YouTube video on how to apply almost anything for any look you want, but for me growing up I generally relied on friends or cool older women to really show me how to apply makeup.

Over the years I have tried dozens of products, some which have worked and some which have not. In school I would always carry round a pot of Maybelline’s Dream Matte Mousse (remember that?) which quite literally made my whole face this matte tan colour and  my foundation looked about an inch thick. Match that with a wonky fringe and some clumpy eyelashes and you pretty much summed up my 15 year old self.  Well I thought I looked great.  I have had smudgy mascaras, eyelash curlers that chop of your eyelashes and bronzer suited which was much more of an “oranger”. Here is my bag of makeup essentials, products tried and tested by yours truly.

The Lipstick- Bobbi Brown Harlow Red £21.50 Lipstick is something I like to invest in, otherwise it doesn’t last or goes flaky. I have very dry lips and most lipsticks so the art stick from Bobbi Brown gets my vote. It hydrates, has a great colour and it lasts for ages! Also, as I am still not 100% sure I am applying my lipstick correctly (I don’t use a lip pencil and just kind of shove it on and hope no one notices) I found the application of it pretty easy. For a budget version, I would go for the NYX Velvet Matte in Blood Love (pictured above) which is £7.00 but isn’t quite as long-lasting but for me a little more drying.

The Lip balm- I normally have about 3 lip balms on me due to my overly dry lips but Burt’s Bees with Pomegranate gets my vote. It is 100% natural and smells delicious.

L’Occitane Almond Oil – I have used the L’Occitane almond range for years and I love it. This stuff is amazing! I got it as part of a Loccitane Christmas and it has been a permanent fixture in my makeup bag ever since. I have oily- combination skin and I use this as a moisturiser/primer and I love it. You only need a little bit and it is such a handy size.

Laura Geller Bronze & Brighten Bronzer– I use this little baby on both my eyelids and my face. Mineral oil free and paraben free, with skin loving antioxidants centella asiatica and white tea extracts. It is pretty pricey (around £20 for 9g) but it has lasted me ages, and I love it as a little eyeshadow/bronzer combo.

The Body Shop Concealer all-in-one  It’s always a good idea to carry a concealer with you as I always get a party spot just before a big day. Adding two upside down triangles underneath your eyes on top of your foundation and blending really helps to brighten up your whole face. This cruelty-free concealer contains vitamin E and community trade marula oil, and I find it really easy to blend with good coverage.

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Beguile-  If you haven’t heard of this company before, they are definitely worth checking out. They have extremely strong values and principles (as part of their ongoing campaign for diversity they urged any supporters of Trump not to shop on their websites, they have always been 100% cruelty free) and even better makeup. A little bit of this pigment goes a long way so I add a little to my brow bone and the corners of my eyes, particularly for those oh my God I need a drink let’s go to the pub after work days hen you want to transition from a computer slug into an illuminated party goddess.

Lorac Eyeliner-  Another great product for the day to night transition.

Concept Eyes Super Slim Eyeliner –I am always on the search for a good pen eyeliner. The nib is super thin and  is smudge-proof which is great as I need all the help I can get for the winged eyeliner look.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Stick in Taupe – Eyeshadow haters rejoice! If you are anything like me and have a fear of eyeshadow because there is apparently a special technique which every other woman in the world seems to know and no one told you, then relax. I got this as a free sample with my Bobbi Brown order and I will definitely be repurchasing. You just roll this onto your eye and go. It lasts for AGES.

I thought I carried around a lot less makeup, so I may try to downsize even more, particularly as whilst writing this my makeup bag had an explosion and everything has been covered in primer. Which are your beauty essentials? Also can you recommend a good (small-ish) makeup bag?

 

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If there is one thing I love it is coffee.

If there is one thing  I hate it is a shit tonne of plastics ending up on landfill when they can be avoided.

As the child of a single parent, I have always been brought up to make everything last. I was encouraged to  eat as much of the fruit or vegetable as possible , cut that bit of mould off the cheese and eat the tangy fruit. (I am not saying we need to go that far, my mother would sometimes be in full denial and would try to convince me that a yoghurt that  had a fluffy coating was just condensation).

Since entering the “real” world I can’t help but notice how prevalent food and packaging waste is, despite the most of us  being very aware of all of the statistics. I won’t get all Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall on you, but according to Environmental Innovation (April 2000), each paper cup manufactured is responsible for 0.24 lbs of CO2 emissions. That’s a hell of a lot.

Most people I work with will only drink bottled water ( FYI PEOPLE TAP WATER IS ABSOLUTELY FINE, I HAVE BEEN DRINKING TAP WATER FOR OVER TWENTY-FOUR YEARS AND I AM ONE OF THE HEALTHIEST PEOPLE I KNOW.  STOP BEING A DIVA AND RUINING OUR PLANET!) and the  mindless disposal continues  despite numerous warnings, information and education. I can currently see four empty plastic water bottles lying on one desk in my office that I am hoping will make it into the recycling bin that  I had organised, but I’m doubtful. Each of these water bottles will  take up to 400 years to be broken down!

Whilst recycling is great, if you really think about it, all of the energy has already been used to create this cup already so it is a lot better to actually have a reusable option.

Enter Keep Cup!

This leading brand of reusable cups is the world’s first barista standard reusable cup. There are lots of reusable cups out there but  I can’t recommend their product enough. They have waged a war on disposable cups and work hard to try to reduce the amount that end up on landfill. It all started with a solution for restaurant packaging and now they are taking over the world, and making it a better place one reusable cup at a time. Whilst the  difficult to measure they have calculated that they have removed 1,449,104 disposable cups from circulation. Which is pretty darned impressive. The cups are really reasonable and some coffee shops will even give you a discount if you bring your own mug.

If you are feeling really benevolent you get yourself a reusable water bottle. I tend to use glass ones as I try to avoid plastics and I save so much money with this! I have a Full Circle DayTripper water bottle which I found in the Urban Outfitters sale but there are all sorts of different ones, some even have a compartment to put cucumber should you so wish for your water to have an essence of greenery. Just try, as hard as possible and be aware of where your water bottle/food/coffee cup is going to end up and the process that has happened to make that product.

Go Green, Save Money and Save the Planet!tea_rose_12oz

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Kale and Pineapple smoothie

I am actually pretty disciplined when it comes to making smoothies. I tend to make one at least every other morning before I go to work, and  I really notice the benefits. I feel much more energized and gives you a great start for the rest of the day. Plus 2 of your 5 a day are included! You can make this the night before if you feel like you don’t have much time, just give it a good shake before consuming. Smoothies are one of those things that are SO much cheaper to make yourself. If you buy  a good smoothie anywhere in London, you’ll probably end up spending around a fiver a pop. One ingredient I really recommend investing in are Chia seeds. These are fantastic for acting as an antioxidant, they’re a great source of fibre and Omega 3 AND they don’t taste of anything! You can add them to smoothies and porridge and you only need a teaspoon or so to make a difference. A 250g bag will probably cost you around £4, you may be able to find them cheaper on the internet- but I always add these to my juices/smoothies and they help to really fill me up as well as being a great source of nutrients.

Here is my pineapple and kale smoothie:

You will need:

1 teaspoon of Chia seeds

½ small pineapple, cut into chunks

¼ pint of water or coconut water – more if desired

1 x handful of kale – more if desired.

Blend this all up together until you get a smooth green drink and enjoy straight away. You can save any leftovers in the fridge for around 24 hours in an airtight container.

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Dr Bronner

When it comes to organic beauty, that is my bag. My skills in beauty are pretty much nil.  Ombre lips? No idea. Contouring? Not a clue. But throw me into the beauty aisles at Planet Organic or Infinity Foods  and I am as happy as Larry. I love the smells,the  packaging and feel of the shampoos and creams  that adorn the shelves.

We don’t think enough about what goes onto our skin and what is in the products we use. The  more natural and organic the product usually the more expensive the product is which can usually put us off. However, there  are certain products which I think are definitely worth investing in and this is one of them.

I received  Dr Bronner’s Almond Liquid Soap for my birthday after much deliberation about the price. It supposedly has 18 in 1 uses, everything from washing your hair to using as toothpaste to helping with congestion. I kid you not. I haven’t tried everything, but after using it as a face and body wash I am already converted.  You only need a few drops, as they leave the glycerine ( a great moisturiser) in meaning the formula is really concentrated. This means it is much better value than I initially thought.  The soaps leave you feeling cleansed, moisturised and smell incredible! As a greasy face sufferer I love it as a face wash.

If that wasn’t enough, their packaging is from 100% recycled materials, they dedicate  company profits to local and global causes and they use traceable fair trade and organic ingredients. They are also a certified B-Corp.

I have listed the ingredients below:

Ingredients:

Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Palm Kernel Oil*, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Natural Almond Fragrance, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
*CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap & glycerin.

Dr Bronners Liquid Soap costs approximately £8- £10 for 472 ml bottle and is available in Planet Organic, Amazon and Cult Beauty.

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London is a haven for food from all corners of the Earth.

In fact, I find that outside of Oxford Street it is pretty hard to find a terrible restaurant in London. I find that the best eateries in London are always the unpretentious little finds tucked away far from the madding crowd that you hope no one else finds out about. The ones you almost don’t want to tell anyone about in the fear that the next time you come it might be a 2 hour wait for the next table.

Like Morito.

Morito, the little sister of Moro, is one of my favourite restaurants in London. Moro and Morito are based in Exmouth Market, which if you are ever around that area (about a 20 minute walk from Kings Cross) is definitely worth a visit.

The food is a fusion of North African and Spanish, which makes for a real treat indeed. If, like me, you have quite an intense and almost unhealthy love for aubergines ( I have a jumper with aubergines on it), make sure you try  the crispy aubergine, whipped feta & date molasses (pictured above). The aubergine, cut like thick chips, goes all gooey yet crispy on the outside and the feta and the salty taste of the feta with the sweet molasses makes you  want to marry the dish and take it home to meet your parents.

Anyway, it’s a great little restaurant as it’s also pretty reasonable for London. Each dish is on average around £6 or £7 and you could probably get away with four dishes between two people as the sizes are quite generous for tapas. The vegetarian food is just as good as the meaty treats if not better. The whole place has a relaxed, raw cantina feel and the staff are great. I especially enjoyed the Spanish style glasses they serve with your wine that look a little like tumblers and make the delicious Spanish wine go down all too easily.

You can book at lunchtimes but not in the evenings, but if you do need a table the lovely people of Morito  will take your number and call you once your table is ready (so you can have a swift one in one of the neighboring bars or pubs).

Buen provecho!

 

 

 

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