Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lunch with Johnny Loves Rosie

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

This week, jewellery and accessories brand Johnny Loves Rosie invited me for an afternoon tea at York & Albany, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Camden. Myself and seven other bloggers were given a preview of the new SS17 collection, which included pretty pastel-coloured gems (obligatory spring wear!) and faux fur pom poms.

One of my favourite pieces is this headband (below), which immediately brought to mind Dolce Gabbana's Spring runway collection. Its gold hardware and black band, combined with blue and red gems and pearlesque beads, definitely appears to be a nod to decadent, sophisticated Italian style.

We each received a monogrammed clutch bag in a beautiful mink shade - which, coincidentally, I had previously been eyeing up on their website. Each bag comes with a double set of foil lettering, which you can apply to the bag at home, spelling out your initials, name, or a phrase. The bag itself can easily fit an iPad, phone, diary and card holder inside without compromising the structure, and it comes with a slinky gold shoulder strap. Tip: add one of Johnny Loves Rosie's keyrings to the bag for extra personalisation!

I was also given a floral corsage, which can be worn on the wrist, upper arm or even as a choker, and a necklace with my initial on a gold-coloured chain.

As always, one of the best parts of any event is meeting new people. Lucy and Charlotte from the Johnny Loves Rosie team were super friendly and happy to introduce all of us to each other. As I mentioned earlier, there were seven other amazing bloggers in attendance, who were all so lovely to talk to over afternoon tea - here are their links:


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Korean skincare has arrived at Boots

Rejoice! The long-awaited arrival of Korean skincare products on the UK high street is finally here! Boots is now stocking South Korean beauty brands Oh K!, Skinfood and Caolion - major players in the Asian beauty market that have taken the entire world by storm.

If you're not familiar with Korean beauty products, where have you been? The face (excuse the pun) of skincare, in particular, has changed completely, and these products are fast becoming one of Korea's biggest exports. According to The Cut, the total export value of Korean beauty products to the U.S. in 2015 was $52 million, a 60 percent increase from the previous year. That's a staggering rise in demand. And it's more than just a phase. The Korean beauty market is now so huge that new products are emerging just as fast as Western brands can churn them out - and they're so innovative that many have gone viral. You must have seen those Instagram shots of transparent lipsticks with flowers centered in the 'stick', or Kim Kardashian looking like Leatherface with a sheet mask over her skin? Yup, all Korean.

So here's a run down on the three Korean brands that have just launched in Boots, what they offer, and why they're so in-demand:

Image via Boots Beauty Finds

Oh K! (£2.50 to £15)

Inspired by the buzzing metropolis of Seoul, Oh K! makes a range of super cute sheet masks, beauty sponges and other skin and haircare accessories. Each product is characterised by an adorable animal such as pandas and bunny rabbits, with different Korean-inspired fragrances - and they state that they are cruelty-free.

Image via Boots Beauty Finds

Caolion (£4 to £30)

A little more 'grown up', Caolian focuses on one particular area of skincare that many of us consider a major concern - pores. Its series of duo pots work together to open the pores, cleanse impurities, then close and tighten the pores, leaving you with clean and smooth skin. Its Pore Blackhead O2 Sparkling Soap is completely natural and water soluble, featuring charcoal, sparkling water and essential oils to help cleanse and nourish your skin.

Image via Boots Beauty Finds

Skinfood (£13 to £25)

This brand places heavy emphasis on natural skincare, promoting its powerful plant-based formulas designed to beautify the skin. Each product under the brand name showcases a 'hero' ingredient; Boots are retailing the Black Sugar range, a three-part routine which features a cleansing cream, scrub and a wash-off mask.

I'm so excited to get my hands on these products, and I'm so glad that Korean beauty is finally making its mark on the UK high street. If you've tried any of these products, let me know what you think in the comment box below.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A Fashionista's Guide to Becoming Vegetarian

I've been a vegetarian for nearly a year now, and making that commitment has been one of the things I'm most proud of doing. However, it's not just food that I've had to give up on. A lot of people ask me whether I still wear things like leather, suede or other animal skins. As I became a vegetarian because of my compassion towards animals, the answer to that question is 'no'. I do not buy or promote any slaughter by-product, which includes animal skins.

Because of this, shopping for clothing and accessories seemed slightly limiting at first. As we all know, a leather bag or shoes will last a lot longer than its synthetic counterpart, which is a downside; however, synthetic products are usually far cheaper (although this may cost the same or more in the long run due to the lifespan of the product). If you are committed to eliminating animal skins from your wardrobe, then a little research is all you need to look fabulous! And I've done the work for you, covering low, mid AND high end budgets for UK-based fashionistas.


Common non-vegetarian fabrics:

  • Fur
  • Leather
  • Sheepskin/lambskin
  • Mohair
  • Ponyskin/horsehair
  • Shagreen
  • Suede
  • Snakeskin
  • Crocodile skin

Vegetarian fabric alternatives:

  • Acrylic
  • Aertex
  • Canvas
  • Cotton
  • Denim
  • Elastic
  • Flanelette
  • Fleece
  • Leatherette/Pleather
  • Linen
  • Muslin
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Sateen
  • Spandex
  • Velour




Black Score - Men's and women's t-shirts
Chiaralascura (Italy based) - Men's and women's t-shirts and accessories
Uncaptive - Men's, women's and children's t-shirts


Thought Clothing - Men's and women's clothing
Skunkfunk - Women's clothing
People Tree - Men's and women's clothing
Bourgeois Boheme - Footwear for men and women
Matt & Nat - Handbags and footwear
Free People (Vegan Section) - Women's clothing, shoes and accessories
The Third Estate - Men's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories
Wilby - Women's accessories (handbag heaven!)
Will's Vegan Shoes - Men's and women's shoes
Luva Huva - Women's lingerie
Beyond Skin - Men's and women's shoes
Nancy Dee - Women's clothing
Tragwert - Women's accessories


Stella McCartney - Men's, women's and children's clothing, shoes and accessories
Shrimps - Women's clothing and accessories
Vaute Couture (USA based) - Men's and women's clothing and accessories
Dr Martens (Vegan Section) - Men's and women's shoes
Noah (Italy based) - Men's and women's shoes and accessories
Helen Moore - Men's, women's and childrens clothing, shoes and accessories (AND HOMEWARE!!)
L&E London - Women's accessories

If you know of any more vegetarian, vegan and cruelty-free brands to add to this list, please let me know in the comments section!


Saturday, 11 February 2017

5 of the Best Lipsticks for Valentine's Day

I wanted to call this list '5 of the Best Red Lipsticks for Valentine's Day', but I know that red lipstick isn't for everyone. I hardly wear red lipstick, myself, as I find that it makes me look older, it's too easy for me to get the shade wrong, and not to mention embarrassing red-stained teeth - so I've included just two of my favourite red lipsticks on this list. The rest are for those of you (of which I'm sure there are many) who prefer a pink or nude/brown lip!


theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Adoring, £15

The first red shade on this list, theBalm's Meet Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipstick is the perfect red wine tone - perfect for a vampy look. The minty vanilla flavour leaves a little bit of a tingling sensation when applied on the lips, and the texture doesn't dry out the skin. Although this is described as a 'long lasting' lipstick, I wouldn't say it's kiss-proof; so if you're planning on doing a lot of lip-locking this Valentine's Day, maybe give this one a miss.

bareMinerals GEN NUDE Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Smooch, £17

This delicate light pink shade is emphasised with a chalky matte texture which stays on throughout the day, and comes off with an oil-based makeup remover. You'll need to apply this twice for full opacity, but thanks to its lightweight formula it doesn't feel all cakey on your lips. This lipstick has a really subtle vanilla scent, and a non-tacky texture!

Lime Crime Matte Velvetine in Buffy, £15.98

Inspired by rose petals, the vegan and cruelty-free Velvetine lipsticks feature a matte, velvety texture. This is a little heavier than the bareMinerals lipstick, but you only need one application as the opacity is already very high. Buffy is a toffee brown shade, for those who love a mid-brown lip - it's not too dark, and it's warm enough to avoid making you look 'dead'.

Lord & Berry Timess Liquid Lipstick in Bazaar, £15

Another matte liquid lipstick, this nourishes lips rather than drying them out, with three different oils keeping lips nice and moist. I found that this is super easy to apply, as it has an angled tip, and the colour is super intense. Bazaar is an absolutely beautiful deep pink shade - combined with the chalky matte texture of this lipstick, this has to be one of my all time favourites.

Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Wildfire, $22

The second red shade on this list, Buxom's Big & Sexy Lipstick is nothing short of amazing. Although it has a flat top, and thus needs a lipliner to trace the outline of the lips prior to application, the extra fuss is definitely worth it. I only needed one layer to get the full richness of this formula - and the colour, described as an orange red on the website (although compared to my other orange reds this came out as more of a true red on me), this shade is truly showstopping. Expect some head-turns when you're wearing this!

Monday, 6 February 2017

What Happened When I Went for a Dermalogica Face Mapping

Everybody has their own issues when it comes to their skin: perhaps it's too oily, or prone to breakouts, or dull or uneven in tone. My issue has always been that my skin is super dry.

It started when I was in high school; my skin would be so dry and flaky that other kids would tease me, saying it looked like I had salt on my face. I know, kids can be cruel, and when you're that age all you care about is how you look - so it's hard feeling less than perfect. As I got older, the condition improved slightly thanks to my hormones re-balancing. But it's still a nuisance at the best of times, and embarrassing at the worst.

I have dry skin all over my body, but my face is the one part of me that is seen all the time, so I decided to start there. I was offered by the opportunity to go for a Dermalogica Face Mapping skin analysis, something I'd heard of before but never experienced myself. It's a service which allows a Dermalogica professional to analyse your skin, before providing you with a prescription advising you on which Dermalogica products to use where, in order to achieve optimum skin health.

I went to my local Dermalogica salon, where I received a Face Mapping service, along with a relaxing facial so that I could get the full benefit of the products. First off, I was given a detailed questionnaire to fill out, which asked me about my skincare concerns, whether I had any recent microdermabrasion or IPL treatments, and whether I was on or due for my period, etc. After that, I was taken to a cosy, warm room and laid down on a massage table under some covers, just as I would with any regular spa facial treatment.

The treatment began with a cleanse to remove any traces of makeup or other residue on the skin; this was followed by a skin moisture analysis carried out with a handheld device which, when pressed lightly on my skin, revealed the level of hydration. We discovered that my forehead was far drier than any other area of my face, with my cheeks next and my neck last.

My therapist then moved onto the Face Mapping segment of the treatment, which she carried out with a magnifying glass and lamp, as well as using touch to determine the texture of my skin. She told me that the face is sectioned into 14 different areas: 1 and 3 comprise the forehead, 2 is the space between the eyes, 4 and 5 are the right ear and cheek, and so on. Each section can be completely different from the last. For example, I had blocked pores in section 7 (my nose) but clear skin in sections 5 and 9 (cheeks).

Overall, my skin was in quite good condition - no signs of wrinkles here! - but I was in need of some brightening skincare to help my acne scarring and also some hydrating products to inject some moisture. My therapist also recommended some eye treatments as a preventative measure, as you can never start the anti-ageing process too early!

I would recommend to anyone receiving a Face Mapping service to also book a facial afterwards, as your therapist will tell you how and where to apply your recommended Dermalogica products. Plus, facials are always the perfect way to de-stress. 

After my facial, I was given my Dermalogica prescription, which told me what products were best suited to my skin, which sections to apply the products to, and when to do so (AM or PM). This was super useful, and I still refer to it now when I'm going through my skincare routine.

Following my experience, Dermalogic sent me four products from my prescription to try out:

precleanse 150ml, £34.45 - a pre-cleansing treatment containing olive, apricot and kukui nut oils
skin smoothing cream 50ml, £33.90 - a mid-weight moisturiser containing lecithin, aloe gel, mallow, cucumber, arnica and grape seed extract
gentle cream exfoliant 75ml, £39.20 - a non-abrasive formula containing lactic acid and hydroxy acid
intensive eye repair 15ml, £38.90 - an eye cream containing wild yam extract and grape seed extract

I've been using these products for around a week now, and I can see that they've made a visible difference even in this short amount of time. I use the skin smoothing cream and intensive eye repair in the morning, then all four products at night - and when I wake up in the morning, my skin feels smooth, hydrated, cleaner and brighter. I'm more confident when it comes to going out without makeup, and I love the ritual of applying products that I know are getting to work as soon as they touch my skin.

One of the best things about these products is that they smell amazing. Not that sickly, perfumed smell that you get with some other products, but a natural, gentle scent that wakes you up in the morning and soothes you in the evening.

Also, Dermalogica are cruelty-free! All of their products are made in Southern California without the use of animal testing, and are not sold in China (where animal testing is compulsory for cosmetics). This was a very important requirement for me, as a vegetarian - so I'm pleased to say that my skin care routine is completely cruelty-free!


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Time to Talk: why talking about mental illness matters

As most of you will know, mental illness ranges from anxiety, to full blown depression, to Alzheimer's. It's a scale of vast proportions that affects a huge amount of people (it's estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week have experienced a mental health problem) yet there are those that still believe the words 'mental illness' refer to someone who is 'insane'. This is one reason why, now more than ever, we need to talk, educate and stop letting people suffer in silence.

My mental health story

When I was a teenager, my emotions were very unstable. You could put this down to hormones, but nobody else around me seemed to experience the kind of highs and lows that I did (or, they never told me, anyway). Personally, I put this down to my relationship with my parents, which was far from perfect. I worried intensely that they didn't love me. I would sit in my room in the dark for hours, asking myself if my parents would have been happier if I were never born, and this became a recurring activity for around four years. My mind would be plagued with thoughts of committing suicide, or having never been born in the first place, and it would last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days. But then I would have ridiculous highs, where I was so elated that those thoughts seemed like a distant memory. I would tell myself I was silly for thinking them, and that things would only get better - but, of course, they didn't. And pretty soon I would be back in the dark, literally and figuratively.

At that time, I didn't have anyone to talk to. My dad was brought up with a 'stiff upper lip' attitude, and treated emotion like a foreign concept. My mum would think I was being over-dramatic, and an attention seeker. As I didn't want to let anyone else in, I had to live in silence with my illness until I started seeing my partner, who (despite not truly understanding how it feels to be mentally ill (and I'm incredibly thankful he's never had to feel like that)) has helped me to no end. Just having someone there to listen is a relief.

It saddens me that that's all I needed to get better. Why couldn't I have had that back when I was a teenager? Because, back then, the world's understanding of mental health was still very primitive; it was almost a taboo topic. If you had a mental illness back then, you were laughed at, or met with a confused stare, or even accused of lying. Now, with all the help we have available, it is a lot easier to find someone to talk to, whether that's a counselor provided by the NHS, a private therapist, an expert sourced through your office's Employee Assistance Scheme or an in-house counselor at your university. If I could have been offered one of these options growing up, I may now be able to look back at my high school years with happiness, rather than melancholy. So if you know anyone who is suffering from mental illness, or if you are suffering yourself, I urge you to speak to someone - don't waste precious time letting it consume you, or someone you love.

Facts about mental health from Time to Change, the UK-based institution aiming to end mental health discrimination

- 45% of people with mental health problems have been victims of a crime in the past year
- 26% of young people with a mental illness say the stigma they face has made them want to give up on life
- 90% of people with mental health problems experience stigma
- 17% of people will experience suicidal thoughts within their lifetime
- Two thirds of people with mental health problems believe that workplace stress contributed to their illness
- 60% of people with a mental illness wait over a year before telling their closest friends or family
- Around 1% of the population will experience obsessive compulsive disorder

Celebrities who have voiced their support for Time to Change

Actor, writer and presenter Stephen Fry -“I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of mental illness that most people know little about.”

Singer, songwriter and actress Mel C“Mental health issues are just part of life and people can and do recover to lead full and successful lives. I’m pledging my support to help end mental health prejudice. When will you?”

DJ and presenter Trevor Nelson"I would like to pledge my support for ending prejudice and the stigma attached to people with mental health problems. I have met and been friends with many people over the years who, through some trauma in their lives, have never fully recovered and find it difficult to cope. I honestly believe having mental health issues is often misunderstood, that’s why I try not to desert these people."

Journalist, broadcaster and presenter Fiona Phillips“I pledge to help end mental health prejudice, because people with mental-health problems need love, understanding and support - not to be told to 'pull yourself together.'  It's our outdated attitudes that need to snap out of it - any one of us could be affected, so we should all learn more and talk more about mental health.”  

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