Tuesday, 17 October 2017

7 Classy Halloween Decor Ideas

Halloween is my second favourite holiday - closely following Christmas. I love the chance to dress up and decorate and, having grown up with all the brilliant Halloween films of the nineties (hello, Practical Magic), it's definitely a time of nostalgia for me.

However, I'm not into all plastic mock-horror tat that we buy at the pound store and throw away the next day - I love to really make an effort. And I know some of you who read this blog share my love of (for lack of a better word) 'classy' Halloween decor, so here are a few ideas I've collected from the wonderful world of home decor websites and put together just for you. All images are credited with a source, so please go check them out for more ideas!

1. Floral Skull Centerpiece

Honestly Yum has put together this fantastic DIY using a model skull and fresh flowers. It looks like something that belongs in a Vanitas painting - morbid but beautiful.

2. Gilded Insect Plaques

Don't worry - these aren't real insects. You can recreate this DIY from The Gathered Home by using giant plastic insects, liquid gold leaf and wooden plaques for a classy creepy crawley wall display that will trump any boring old painting.

3. Mantel Bunting

What's a party without bunting? If you're having a Halloween get-together this year, try making some super easy no-sew bunting with alternating orange, black and white shades with this tutorial from Staying Close To Home.

4. Dead Porch Trees

Got a porch? Then this foolproof decor idea is for you. Simply take a couple of long branches, remove any leaves, then prop them up against the side of your house. Find some faux ravens á la Create Craft Love, and finally decorate with some pumpkins!

5. Halloween wreath

Wreaths aren't just for Christmas. They look positively enchanting with a Halloween theme. Etsy shop SignsStuffnThings has some amazing wreaths for this time of year, inlcuding the one above.

6. Nature inspired bottles

Artist Laura Zindel creates white bottles featuring beautiful nature-themed illustrations, reminding me of 'wet specimins' (insects in fluid solutions) in an old abandoned laboratory. The ones with the spiders on the front are my favourites.

7. Alternative pumpkins

You really can't go wrong with a pumpkin (unless you're this person). They epitomise Halloween, and look fun as they are, or with an interesting carving - OR painted gold with ribbons around the stem, like these ones from Decor & Style.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Best Thing About Autumn? My Birthday...

There's always a little bit of excitement in the air for me when October comes around. Yes, it's truly autumn (and if you're a regular reader you'll know that it's my favourite season), Halloween merch has hit the stores, and - most importantly - it's my birthday month.

I could write about what I received for my birthday, but hey, I've got to have some secrets, haven't I? So instead I'm going to talk about my favourite part of the day: breakfast.

When it's your birthday, you don't want to wake up and eat a bowl of bran flakes. You want a delicious tray of yumminess that will set you up for the most fabulous day of your year. Eat what your heart desires - you want pancakes? Eat pancakes? Hell, throw some ice cream and syrup on that. Your birthday is all about you, and your birthday breakfast should reflect that!

If you've been following my Instagram stories, you'll know that it was my birthday yesterday. My partner and I went out for a late brunch, but we had a little bit of breakfast beforehand...

Because I knew I was in for a day of treats (cake, of course - plus my birthday tradition of super cheesy vegetarian lasagne), I decided to keep it fresh and healthy with tomato and avocado on toast, with a cup of strawberries and a delicious mug of English Breakfast tea* from the English Tea Shop.

My partner cut my toast up into heart-shaped slices (is that a collective 'ahh' I hear?), and I drizzled a tiny bit of olive oil onto my avocado and tomato, along with a sprinkle of black pepper. I ate my strawberries plain as we had bought them that morning and they were sweet with just a little tartness - the ideal treat to have with English Breakfast tea.

My tea was made to the specifications of the English Tea Shop's Master Blender, Sampath Amarasena, whose guidelines indicated to boil filtered water in a kettle and pour it over the tea bag in a mug, then leave the tea bag to steep for 3-5 minutes. I left my tea bag in for 4 1/2 minutes, then added a fair amount of milk (which I've been told ALWAYS goes in second), and left the tea to brew for 5 minutes before drinking.

A great way to start my day.

Whilst I was getting ready, I put on the kettle for a cup of Earl Grey*. Somehow I feel like Earl Grey makes me feel more relaxed, which makes it perfect for a morning brew if you know you've got a busy day ahead of you. It's super fragrant - this comes from the blend of Ceylon black tea with fresh bergamot - and tastes so delicate.

Sometimes I like to go against the grain and have this with milk and sugar. Today, however, I went for a teaspoonful of honey, and a slice of lemon. If you've never tried it, do. The combo brings out a totally different flavour and you'll probably be hooked.

Both the English Breakfast tea and Earl Grey are great for when the dark mornings and early evenings start to roll in (which is round about now, I guess). So stick on a hot water bottle and get cosy with a cuppa.

Find out where to buy English Tea Shop teas here.


*Gifted for review

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Pam Hogg SS18 | London Fashion Week

Pam Hogg SS18 London Fashion Week - Pink

Fashion month is coming to an end for yet another season, and SS18's catwalks have definitely given us something to talk about until next February. This month's shows nodded to several trends seen this spring/summer, including ruffles, sheer layers and the colour pink (it's not backing down, guys).

However, there were some notable trends that presented themselves in a new light. Paneling was shown by Peter Pilotto, Gucci and Marni, and there was an abundance of cartoon and pop art prints from Versace, Moschino (of course) and Prada. You may have also noticed that volume is back with a vengeance, with puffball skirts from Mary Katrantzou, all-over frothy meringue silhouettes from Simone Rocha, oversized-to-the-max blazers from Marc Jacobs and billowy sleeves from Prabal Gurung and Emilia Wickstead - all things that I, being 5'4", wish would go away for fear of looking like one of those toilet roll dolls that your mum kept in the bathroom in the 90s.

Pam Hogg SS18 London Fashion Week - Yellow

Pam Hogg was her usual rule-breaking self this season, distancing her designs from the categorisation of the SS18 trend report with a mood-boosting colour palette of bright blues, greens, yellows and pinks.

The colour-loving designer reinvented her signature jumpsuit for the lighter seasons with sheer mesh and PVC, with the added pleasure of tulle in tights pleats that spanned the entirety of the outfits' lengths.

My favourite outfits in the collection featured shiny trenchcoats, which were designed in three options: black, white and dusky pink. With huge lapels, front pockets and tie waists, these stunning coats brought a mix of utility and sexiness that showed us yet another facet of the designer's fascinating creative mind.

The finale consisted of a bright pink sheer jumpsuit with tulle ruffles, marbled platform boots and a two foot tall leather mask with matching tulle embellishments. This was soon followed by Pam and longtime muse Alice Dellal, in shiny trenches and matching yellow and black polka dot neck scarves.

Pam Hogg SS18 London Fashion Week - Black
Images c/o Pop PR

Monday, 11 September 2017

Get cosy for the autumn equinox

The astronomical calendar, which determines the seasons based on celestial events, says that autumn starts on September 22nd. But, let's face it, it's got just that little bit colder - too cold for summer dresses and outfits sans coats - and if you like to go by the meteorological calendar (which is used by the MET Office in all their officialness), then autumn has already begun.

I welcome the season. Call me weird, call me basic. I don't care. I dislike hot weather and autumn brings a welcome break were I can cover up my chub that I've accumulated over summer (because who wants a 'bikini body' anyway?) with light jackets and tights.

Plus, Halloween is on the way. And that's my second favourite holiday. Christmas is first. Obvs. Throw in the beautiful reddening foliage, an abundance of cosy boots in the shops, and delicious seasonal produce, and you've got all the reasons why I love autumn.

So whether you've already bought your pumpkin, or you're holding off for as long as possible, below is a list of a few lovely things to get you in the mood for fall.

1. Union Hand Roasted Coffee Equinox Seasonal Blend, from £5.75

This seasonal blend from Union hand Roasted Coffee changes two to three times a year to give you the freshest flavours from Finca Santuario in Columbia and Huadquina in Peru.

Try this on crisp autumn mornings as an espresso, and enjoy the taste of candied orange, dark chocolate and caremelised peanut.

2. Camel Coat, £129, Zara

Camel earned its place last year as the colour of the autumn runway with Michael Kors, Max Mara and Calvin Klein all showing the hue in their shows.

This one from Zara is not only fashionable, but practical, with deep pockets and double buttons to keep the wind out.
3. Office Alabama Boots, £88 at House of Fraser

Team these hard wearing buckle boots with tights and a dark floral day dress for style goals.
4. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips in Dangerous Liaison, £24 at Cult Beauty

If you didn't see Charlotte Tilbury's new product drop earlier this summer, where were you?

The Hollywood Lips lipstick in Dangerous Liaisons is a stunning muted red shade - your new autumn lippy?

5. Felt Pumpkins, £7.84 at Etsy

One word: adorable.

6. Aisha Alpaca Jumper, €550, Acne

So this is a little extreme - but then, if you can't in autumn, when can you? This super snuggly knit from Acne looks to good to pass up on when paired with black jeans. No need for a scarf.
7. Moss-knit Blanket, £39.99, H&M

Invest in this comfy knitted blanket - the stunning emerald green colour will see you through to winter and appear very stylish in the process. Pair with as many fluffy cushions as your sofa will allow.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Drink coffee, help the environment

For me, there's nothing selfish in the act of drinking coffee. In fact, you could say it's completely unselfish - when I drink a cup of coffee, I'm more alert and more likely to listen to what you're saying, I'm chirpy so I'll probably put you in a good mood, and I've had a little bit of an indulgence so I'm generally calm and relaxed (a good time to tell me that something's gone wrong, so I can deal with it without breaking down...)

But wouldn't it be great if that cup of coffee was just a little more 'unselfish', say, if you were helping out a community, its inhabitants and even the environment by drinking it? I think a lot of us would feel warmer inside if that were the case (and not just because we've got hot coffee in our tummies).

As you might know, the human race is using up resources like there's no tomorrow. Just last month, it was revealed that we have consumed more natural resources than can be reproduced this year - so we're now eating into 2018's allowance. If we go on this way, there will be no more earth for us to live off - and I'm not one of those people that fancies jetting off to some 'earth-like' planet in a cryo-chamber - so we need to find more ways to sustain what we already have.

Union Hand-Roasted Coffee have done just that. Their Yayu Wild Forest coffeesupports the Yayu Forest Reserve, one of the last and most important remaining places for the preservation of wild Arabica coffee. However, it's not just coffee that grows there - the reserve is also home to numerous rare plants and animals, and hosts Important Bird Areas of international significance.

Despite coffee farming generating up to 70% of incomes for over 90% of the population at Yayu, farmers still struggle to make a sufficient income. This causes farmers to turn to non-forest crops, which results in deforestation and biodiversity loss. It's Union Hand-Roasted Coffee's aim to increase the income of these farmers, in turn maintaining the forest, and to work out how to protect this unique environment against climate change.

If this sounds like your cup of coffee, I'll just add that the Yayu Wild Forest Coffee also happens to taste good, too. It's perfect for a morning bevvie, with its instant citrus zing to wake you up. Following that, you'll find a syrupy body, notes of marzipan and dark chocolate, and a bourbon biscuit aftertaste.

I drink mine with a bit of almond milk, but it's also great as an espresso.

Find out more about Union Roasted's Yayu Forest coffees here.

*Gifted for review

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Neal & Wolf's new collection has me hooked

While working as a beauty journalist, I developed an unhealthy obsession with luxury and salon professional products (and by 'salon professional', I don't mean TRESemmé *shudder* - I mean brands that are actually used in salons like Oribé, Unite and R+Co). This is by no means an affordable habit, and once you go back to high street hair care, it just doesn't feel the same.

First world problems. I know. Don't hate me.

There's just something about the formulas in luxury haircare that just. Delivers. Every. Time.

I'm guessing it's the absence of cheap and nasty chemicals, used to fill the void, bulk up the product and make it last longer, whilst doing more bad to your hair than good. The vast majority of luxury hair products that I've come across are free from SLS, parabens and surfactants - cheap ingredients which strip your hair of its natural goodness and which do God knows what over an extended period of time.

'But hair is dead!' I hear you cry.

Yes. But for a bunch of dead cells, hair is really quite impressive. For example, did you know that a strand of hair can stretch up to 30% of its length and absorb its weight in water? That's healthy hair, I might add. And luxury haircare products are designed to keep your hair as healthy as possible by feeding it the right ingredients.

Luckily, my obsession with luxury haircare combined with my significant lack of money has led me to Neal & Wolf, a brand which offers all the benefits of salon professional products, without the eye-watering price tag. I'm not saying these are dirt cheap - the 'Awaken Amplify Volume Shampoo & Conditioner Duo' photographed above is £20.70 - but it's less strain on the wallet than, say, Oribé, where my favourite Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner are £46 and £48 respectively.

Now, I take my hair pretty seriously. I could say that it's possibly the only thing I really love about my appearance. So I don't just put any old product on it. And when a friend gave me the Awaken duo to try out, I was initially sceptical because I hadn't heard of the brand. The packaging is pretty - a pleasant shade of mauve with a matte finish - and the formula smells amazing - floral and lightly summery. On a whim, I decided to give it a go and, my, was I impressed.

I usually lather, rinse and repeat with my shampoo, which is exactly hat I did with this, and it worked wonders. It removed any product residue easily, and cleared my roots of excess oil without feeling like I was stripping my hair of moisture. Next up, the conditioner felt like it was straight at work as soon as I applied it to my hair. It was soft, creamy and it delivered a concentrated shot of moisture to my parched ends.

The real verdict was decided when I was brushing and blow-drying my hair, which is usually a big task. Although I had a few knots which needed to be carefully eased apart, my hair was ultimately very easy to brush through, and felt Tony-the-Tiger-GRRREAT after blow-drying.

If you're a luxury/professional haircare addict like me, and fancy trying something new and a little more affordable, I highly recommend Neal & Wolf. And, before I finish, this is 100% not a sponsored post - us bloggers can still write about what we genuinely love, right?


Saturday, 29 July 2017

How to land a job in beauty journalism

I have to admit, I'm one of those smug people that loves their job. I'm actually excited to go into work every day (yup, even Mondays), and although I might need a little trip to Costa to give me a kick of energy before I start, I can firmly say that I enjoy what I do.

And that's why I'm on this career path. I don't want to go into work everyday dreading what's around the corner, or come home stressed AF just so that I can put food on the table. I work in beauty journalism because I love it and it makes me happy. I know it's not that easy for everyone, and I'm very lucky to live in a country where careers like journalism are accessible, but if you can find a job that brings you joy then I urge you to stick with it - it might not be the most lucrative but you never know where it may lead.

Now, I like to think that I'm a generous person, so I'm going to give you a few tips on how to land that beauty journalism job before you can say BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector. There are plenty of jobs in the journalism industry, so don't let anyone tell you that you won't make it - because you might! Before I graduated, some guy asked me what I wanted to be, and I said 'an Editor at a magazine'. He said, 'so does everyone'. That's stayed with me for the past few years, because he was implying that I was just like everyone else, so why should I have that job? Well, it's because I'm determined - and if you're determined, then you can definitely land your dream beauty journalism job. Which leads me to my first tip:

Be determined

It's unlikely that you'll just 'fall into' beauty journalism. In fact, you'll probably have to put in a lot of work before you even start applying for jobs. How do you get prepped? Think about starting a beauty blog; try writing about your favourite beauty products so that you build confidence in giving your opinions. Read a shit tonne of magazines and websites; Allure and Stylist are popular titles which cover a broad range of topics but have dedicated beauty tabs, whilst Professional Beauty is good for strengthening your industry insider knowledge and staying ahead of consumers. In this industry, knowledge is key.

You'll probably be asked at your interview, 'What's your favourite beauty brand?' or, 'Which brands do you think are up and coming right now?', which is why you need to constantly research the market. Look at social media for hints, and keep an eye on advertising campaigns in magazines, and on websites, TV and billboards.


Journalism isn't for everyone. I know some people who've interned at magazines, before getting a job in a field such as PR (they interlink, by the way, and many journalists often find themselves doing a little bit of PR over the course of their careers and vice versa), or something completely different. Interning is a good way to find out if this is the job for you, to see if you can put up with the work load, process and people. 

I interned for six months before I started in journalism. Unfortunately, it was unpaid, but it led to a job at the end of the term, which grew into a career.

When you're interning, make sure you're doing work that you would be doing if it were a full-time, permanent role. You're not there to get coffee or neaten up the beauty cupboard (ESPECIALLY IF IT'S UNPAID - but that's a whole different post). You're there to learn about the world of beauty journalism. If you feel like you're not learning anything, ask to shadow someone, or move to a different department.

Tip: Try not to intern somewhere like Vogue; it's nothing like the rest of the magazine world.

Work on your digital skills

SEO and social media are your two best friends. Get to know them, because they will be essential for your career. The publishing world is moving rapidly into digital media, and it's very unlikely that smaller print magazines will stick around for much longer (I've already worked at two which have since closed down). Learning these two skills will put you ahead of the game, and make you stand out from other journalists.

You can easily find tutorials for both these skills on YouTube, so get watching. When you're looking for tutorials on SEO, it's all about keywords. In terms of social media, just having a Twitter account isn't going to cut it. You need to know about analytics, engagement, demographics, niche hashtags, and lots, lots more.

Take a course

It's not essential, but having 'Course in Digital Writing' on your CV will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. I took a course in Features Writing whilst at my current job; I learned a lot about how to keep a reader engaged, and I can keep it on my CV. Try the Press Association - they have so many courses available for all areas of journalism. Some may be expensive, but it's up to you how much you want to invest in your career.

Be friendly AF

Being mean will get you nowhere in this industry. People remember you for being friendly, loyal and dependable. If a PR from, say, Dior Beauty met you and found out that you're rude, it causes a bad relationship between not just you and the PR, but the PR and the magazine, and also you and A LOT of other PRs. People talk, and you don't want them to be saying bad things about you, so be nice. 

However, try not to be fake. People can detect fakeness from a mile away. Basically if you're a rude, mean, grumpy person, prone to being fake just to get a leg up in your career, this industry isn't for you.

Which brings me to my last point...

It's 80% 'who you know'

Sure, you can probably get by with doing your research, nailing interviews and having a great work ethic, but in my opinion that can only get you so far. If you don't get into the world and meet people, you might find that it's harder to progress - because everyone knows someone, and that someone could be looking for a beauty journalist at a very well-known magazine.

For all you introverts screaming inside - it's not that hard. I'm very much an introverted person. When I first started out in journalism, meeting lots of new people really took it out of me and I'd have to take time out afterwards because my anxiety was so high. It takes me a while to come out of my shell, and I find it hard to 'let my hair down' around people I don't know. I'll never be the charming, charismatic girl that people instantly warm to. I know that. But it doesn't stop me from being nice, making quiet conversation, and hopefully leaving a good impression. 

Don't know anyone yet? Join groups on Facebook, participate in hashtags on Twitter, find forums, follow people, comment on people's blogs. The internet is a huge contact book - USE IT.

Tip: If you meet someone you like at a press event, party or conference, whip out your phone and ask for their Twitter/Instagram handle, then follow them then and there. It's the modern day exchanging of business cards, except unlike ten years ago, where your business card would most likely end up at the bottom of their desk draw, your follow will end up at the top of their notifications list and they'll hopefully follow you back. If you're really organised, put them in a Twitter list of journalists, then you'll know to regularly check the list and interact with people to keep your name fresh in their minds.



Sunday, 23 July 2017

Beauty products to help you survive summer

I have an unpopular opinion. I don't like summer. It's actually my least favourite season (yup, I like winter more than I like summer). Why? I guess the thing that bugs me the most is the heat - I'm definitely not a hot person. My boyfriend recently asked me, 'if you could live anywhere in the world apart from the UK, where would you live?' My answer: Iceland. I'm that bad. 

Luckily, where I live, it tends to keep fairly cool. Sure, I still have to chuck the duvet on the floor in the middle of the night, and I may break into a sweat while walking up a flight of stairs, but it's nothing compared to the intense heat of London. Just last week, I was on the tube and I could barely breathe because the air was so thick (London-based readers, how do you cope?).

What I DO like about summer are the new releases in the beauty world - the products that help you get through the season and make your life that little bit easier. I've rounded up five beauty products that are currently helping me survive this summer, from haircare, to teeth whitening, to makeup products. Read on, and I hope these inspire you to try something new!

Colab Original Dry Shampoo, £3.49

Available at Superdrug, Colab was created by blogger Ruth Crilley (A Model Recommends). These very Instagrammable dry shampoos come in different styles, but my favourite is the 'Original', which features a handwritten black font on a light pink background - so cute.

The fragrance features bergamot and rose, which isn't too overpowering, and the formula doesn't leave a huge white mark. This is ideal for summer, as your scalp is likely to produce excess oil and sebum in the heat, leaving your hair looking a little bit less fresh than normal. I tend to use this on third day hair, with a few sprays in the morning and then just after lunch if needed.

Natural Teeth Whitening Co Charcoal Powder, £14.99*

I was always a bit sceptical about charcoal teeth whitening powder. Ever since I saw the trend appear on Instagram, I've always wondered whether it worked or people were being paid to say so. However, I was curious to try it for myself, seeing as my teeth aren't the whitest thanks to years of drinking tea.

I received a sample from the Natural Teeth Whitening Co, which uses natural, vegan ingredients. I'm always up for supporting vegan products, so I was happy to give this a go. The powder is a little messy, as you would expect, but if you're using this over a sink this shouldn't be too much of a problem. 

The charcoal is finely ground and non-abrasive, and it's also food grade so it won't matter if you happen to swallow some. You use this by placing a pinch of the powder in the palm of your hand, dipping your toothpasted brush into the powder, then brushing for two minutes. Rinse, then brush with water to remover any extra residue. 

Over the course of 16 days, using the powder twice per day, you should see a gradually whitening smile. I saw results in less than a week, which totally changed my mind about these products. Plus, you can use this whenever you feel as if your smile needs a boost, as it doesn't contain nasty chemicals.

Panasonic IPL Machine, £349.99

This is a little on the expensive side, but it's a great tool for those of you who hate other forms of hair removal. It's painless (unlike waxing or epilating), doesn't cause ingrown hairs (unlike shaving), and doesn't smell (unlike hair removal cream).

Is intense pulsed light (IPL) safe? Home IPL systems such as the Panasonic machine are far lower in strength than the IPL treatments you'll find in a clinic. The only thing I've found is that when you're using the machine for a long time - say, to do both legs - it gets a little hot towards the end, but this is definitely nowhere near painful.

I've been using this sporadically over the past few months, but it's best when you use it weekly on a higher setting (3 or 4 is best). Since I've been using it, my hairs have become finer, and they're looking naturally less hairy. 

Dead Sea Spa Magik BB Cream, £13.95

I don't wear a lot of makeup in summer - I prefer to work on my skincare routine and get my skin in tip top condition so that I don't feel like I have to wear it. However, on the days where my skin could use a little pick-me-up, I apply this really light BB cream from Dead Sea Spa Magik.

It's light coverage, so it doesn't feel heavy and it gives a nice dewy finish. I like that my freckles come through when I'm wearing this, but red blemishes and dark under-eye circles are covered up by the colour correcting formula. The only problem I have with this is that it only comes in one shade, which is perfect for me in summer when my skin is darker, but not so great in winter.

Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel, £20*

It took me a few tries to get used to this product - but now I'm hooked. I'm very meticulous about my eyebrows; if they're not quite right, my entire face doesn't feel right, so as you'd expect I'm picky when it comes to the products I use.

Benefit's Gimme Brow has a tiny brush which distributes the eyebrow-thickening formula evenly, giving you fuller eyebrows in just a few strokes. I apply this after my BB cream, sweeping in an upward direction with the brush, before finishing off with a tiny bit of brow powder to make my brows just a little bit bolder. This formula makes my eyebrows stand out, but in a natural way - which is perfect for summer makeup looks.


*Gifted for review

Thursday, 20 July 2017

5 Tips for the Perfect Summer Road Trip

If the words 'road trip' can't get you pumped for summer, then I don't know what will. To me, there's nothing more exciting than an adventure to pass the time during the long, lazy days of June through to August. Add to the mixture some stunning views, a well-curated playlist and my girls in the passenger seats, and I'm sold.

However, whilst I love the thought of driving off into the distance without a care in the world, I'm also a meticulous planner. I plan for the worst, so that the worst doesn't happen. That includes making sure myself and everyone else is safe, checking that my car is in perfect working order, and helping to supply enough provisions in case of emergency.

If you're heading on a road trip this summer, make sure safety is a priority, and tick these following points off your list.

1. Route

I used to love riding along on 'mystery tours' with my parents when I was little, but these days I prefer to know exactly where I'm going so that I don't get lost, or panic when I accidentally take a wrong turn.

Routes are easy to plan with a sat-nav - or, if you can't afford one, simply mount your smartphone to your dash using a phone cradle (you can find these really cheap on Amazon or eBay) and program your journey into your phone's sat-nav system. 

I tend to look up my route on Google Maps, and zoom into Street View on any tricky bits so that I'm prepared.

2. Tyres

Did you know that tyres can explode whilst you're driving? If your tyres are wearing, or they're set at the wrong pressure, the heat can increase the chance of the tyre exploding - which could be fatal if you're traveling at high speeds.

Before you set out, make sure that your tyres are set at the correct pressure (you'll usually find the pressures stamped into the side of the driver's side door or written in the vehicle handbook). Make sure to take into account extra weight from people or luggage in the car.

If you haven't replaced your tyres in a while, it would be a good idea to get this rectified before you set off. Point S has the option that lets you book tyres online - simply tap in your registration number or tyre size to see what's available.

3. Breakdown cover

My first car used to overheat when it got too hot. Yes, really. I'd have to either park in the shade, or risk being stranded for hours (which has happened). 

Because of this, it was essential for me to have breakdown cover. It was super easy to sign up with The AA - and not too expensive, considering the amount of money and stress it would save you if something did go wrong.

4. Food and drink

In summer, it's important to drink plenty of water, even when you're sitting in an air-conditioned car. Bring several bottles of water on your trip, and stash them in the cubby holes throughout your car so that you or your passengers can reach for one if needed.

I love taking snacks along on a road trip - my favourites are non-messy, bitesize nibbles such as Pringles, finger sandwiches and Maltesers.

5. Hay fever (yes!)

Did you know that if you sneeze whilst driving at 70mph, you could lose your vision for up to 100 metres? Unfortunately, some of us can't help sneezing, but if you have hay fever it might be a good idea to seek advice on the best, non-drowsy medication to use.

You could also help to alleviate your symptoms by wearing sunglasses and closing vents and windows to avoid contact with pollen.

*This is a sponsored post


Monday, 10 July 2017

Pretty in Pink

Weddings, no matter the season, are the perfect chance to amplify your favourite makeup look. How? Building on the pigment until you achieve a stand-out pop of colour. It's an easy way to enhance your favourite facial feature, without experimenting too much. As we all know, a little bit of experimentation can quickly lead to complete failure (*inner makeup artist voice* 'go on, just extend that liner flick a little further... oh, no, not that far. Oh God. Just st- ahh, too late'), but trying out a bolder version of a proven success is a no brainer.

My current summer go-to makeup look is a mix of pink and coral eye shadows on a golden, dewy, slightly shimmering base with natural-looking lips. I know it works, I can recreate it without too much thought, and I'm confident enough to mix it up if I need to. As such, I would definitely wear this for a summer wedding, with an enhanced pigment on the eyes to give the look some purpose - and a beautiful floral headband from Johnny Loves Rosie*.

Here's what I did:


Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil
Black Up Radiance Concealer in NCOS 01
Dead Sea Spa Magik Beauty Balm
Lord & Berry Luminizer in Moon
Pur Minerals Soul Mattes Eye Shadow Palette
Makeup Revolution Fortune Favours the Brave Palette
Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara
Benefit Gimme Brow
Soap & Glory Archery

1. Apply two to three drops of Trilogy Rosehip Oil by patting it onto your skin. If it's going to be a hot day, stick to maximum of one drop so that you still get the dewy look, but also so that the makeup doesn't melt off your face. If it's going to be extremely hot, skip this part and use a dewy setting spray at the end.

2. Cover up any dark under eye circles or blemishes with your concealer. I'm using Black up at the moment because I'm more tanned than usual, and the yellow pigment in the concealer works wonders for my purple under eye circles.

3. Apply a light-to-medium coverage BB cream or foundation. I definitely prefer a BB cream in summer, but use whatever you prefer depending on your skin type.

4. Add a few swipes of Lord & Berry's Luminizer to the highest point of your cheeks, the centre of your nose, and your cupid's bow. Work in with a buffing brush until you reach a soft glow rather than a shimmer.

5. Sweep a primer of your choice over your eyes, then apply the lightest cream shade from the Pur Minerals Soul Mattes Eye Shadow Palette all over the lid with a blending brush.

6. With the same brush, blend the lighter minky pink shade over the outer two thirds of the eye, and slightly over the crease. Work this shade under the eye with a clean smaller brush. Pick a slightly darker shade from the palette and, using the smaller brush, work it into the outer corner of the top lid and bring it under the eye.

7. Using a flat shadow brush, take the shimmering coral shade from the Makeup Revolution Fortune Favours the Brave and pat it onto the lid. Build this up until the shade becomes opaque and you can see a visible shimmer.

8. I used Soap & Glory's Archery to fill in my brows to a soft but defined shape, and held them in place with Benefit's Gimme Brow (my go-to brow product right now).

9. Curl your lashes, and finish with a few coats of Perricone MD's No Mascara Mascara.

Tell me what you think of this look, and whether you tried to recreate it!
What are your go-to wedding makeup looks? Tell me on social media:

*Gifted for review

Sunday, 9 July 2017

National Pina Colada Day got me like...

I'm not usually a huge fan of creamy alcohol (Baileys? Eurgh... and don't get me started on espresso martinis), but my one exception is the Pina Colada. 

I had my first taste of this coconutty, pineapply cocktail when I was fourteen on the deck of a cruise ship with my mum and sister. All I can remember is thinking, 'if this is what alcohol tastes like, I can see why some adults become addicted'. Unfortunately, not all alcohol is quite as delicious - and people definitely don't get addicted to alcohol because of the taste.

Since then - and I think this is the case for a lot of folk - I've associated Pina Coladas with holiday. In fact, it doesn't feel like a holiday until I've had my first satisfying sip. I tend not to have Pina Coladas at home, just in case my brain gets confused and goes into vacation mode. But if you're just a little bit crazy, here's a delicious recipe to celebrate National Pina Colada Day (just stick on Love Island, grab a blow-up flamingo pool float and pretend that you're on the east coast of Majorca):


50ml Malibu rum
50ml pineapple juice
30ml coconut cream 
Wedge of pineapple


1.Pour all the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with some ice, and shake well.
2.Strain the mixture into a chilled glass.
3.Slide the wedge of pineapple onto the rim of the glass, then finish off with a tiny umbrella.


If you're a fan of all things tropical, and National Pina Colada Day has inspired you to do a cheeky bit of shopping, I've put together a wishlist of my favourite tropical themed homeware, beauty and fashion. Nail the vibe with palm prints, gold hardware and the odd splash of hot pink.

1. Leaf Cushion, £56.99 - Wayfair
2. Hoola Quickie Contour Stick, £23.50 - Benefit
3. Palm Print Shorts, £12 - Boohoo
4. By Terry Sun Designer Palette, £65 - Cult Beauty
5. Tropical Print Skirt, £24 - Dorothy Perkins
6. Pineapple Jewellery Tray, £4.99 - New Look
7. Pinita Colada Body Wash, £3.50 - The Body Shop
8. Palm Print Playsuit, £49 - Topshop
9. ghd V Gold Amber Sunshine Styler, £119 - Very


Friday, 2 June 2017

Going to Glastonbury? Stop by GlastonBrow

First they brought out their iconic vending machines, and now they're getting us all excited again with a 'drive-thru'. No, this isn't another fast food venture - this is Benefit's latest way to bring you beauty essentials in style. Launching during this year's Glastonbury festival, the outlet will be giving away FREE Benefit goodies, brow waxes and festival essentials (yes, you heard that right!).

If you're attending Glasto this year, you'll find GlastonBrow on the main road to the festival, and its bright pink exterior will definitely be hard to miss. While you're waiting in the notoriously bad traffic jams, Benefit will get the party started with exclusive DJ sets from Zara Martin, Anna Prior from Metronomy and many more.

Swing by the drive-thru and you'll be treated to a beauty experience like no other (seriously, I've never seen anything like this!). Choose from a menu of brow-inspired gift options and drive-thru to the collection window where a Benebabe will deliver the free goodies. In addition, Benefit will also be giving away all of the necessary festival essentials for a weekend of glitter, flower crowns and music!

As if it couldn't get any better, customers can hit up social media with a photo of their freshly acquired Bene-swag and the hashtag '#BenefitBrows' to be in with the chance of winning a year's supply of Benefit's cult brow products. 

See you there?

Benefit has been transforming brows since 1976, during which time it has opened more than 1,500 brow bars across the globe. Having launched a 13 piece brow collection in 2016, the brand understands the importance of ‘wow brows’ and how they can truly transform someone’s appearance.

Benefit’s head makeup artist and brow expert, Lisa Potter-Dixon explains: “Brows have the power to give you an instant eye lift and can totally transform your look. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had years of over-plucking or are struggling with unruly and thick brows, our team can magically transform them into beautifully groomed arches. We’re taking our signature technique and beloved brow experts to Somerset for all festival-goers to rock a statement brow to match their feathers and glitter – it’ll be sure to get them into the festival spirit!”


Thursday, 1 June 2017

How to accessorise your phone in style

I was chatting with one of my friends today, who told me that she carries around an organiser to keep all of her important notes and dates safe. Birthday party coming up? Boom. Into the organiser it goes. She takes it to work with her everyday and it helps her stay up to date with both her office and social diary.

Me? I like to jam-pack everything into my phone. My little Samsung is my life. It's sad to think it, but it's true. My calendar, contacts, emails, notes - it's all there (God forbid I lose it), and I keep it close by at all times. Some might say I have nomophobia, but I just love the fact that I can store everything in a pocket-sized gadget. No paper needed.

Because I'm always interacting with my phone, I like to dress it up a little bit with a new case every now and then. There are so many different designs out there, which makes it hard for me to choose which one best suits my style, but currently Richmond & Finch have some beautiful, sophisticated and simplistic designs which are perfect for my 'aesthetic'!

As I mentioned, my phone is a Samsung, but Richmond & Finch also cater for iPhones, from the iPhone 5 to the 7 Plus. The designs vary depending on which phone you have, but there are beautiful patterns available for each phone and most cases are around €43. This price includes a one-year warranty on the cases, which feature a trademarked gold ring and band border displaying the Richmond & Finch logo - a classy touch, I think.

© Jen Lou Meredith | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig