Monday, 21 September 2015


I went a bit quiet this year. In fact, I haven't blogged at all since February. Which is a bit crazy really. Life is a bit crazy like that. I could write an entire post about why I wasn't writing, or how my job took off and gave me lots of creativity, how I wasn't feeling very confident going out photographing or being in photos, or how I got a bit obsessed with pageviews and data and chasing the dream of this blog making it big. Or, I could tell you about how I've given myself a good shake and got back to writing about what I love, for myself! 

It's all been good. It's all been exciting. I have become one of those permanently busy people. London is as beautiful and chaotic as ever, and I'm seeing and getting to know more of it all the time.  And at the moment it's hitting Autumn. My favourite season of all.

Autumn is back to school for everyone in London. The Mums and Dads who took time off during the school holidays are back on the tube and it's packed. Businesses start planning for the year ahead. The printers pack up from printing budget spreadsheets and strategy presentations. This year, it's all intertwined with pumpkin spice lattes and decorated cups. It's a hive of activity..with the best reward. 

Home time in London in Autumn. Cosy pjs, big socks, closed curtains and the latest Netflix series. It's the city of twinkling lights. London in the summer is fabulous, if you can get outside. In flatshares and concrete streets with glass reflective buildings it's boiling. The latest trendy rooftop bar can't cope. But Autumn? The great British pub comes to life. The city bars dim the lights. And we revel in the fact that we are much less extreme in our weather than New York. put a controversial opinion out there..I'm delighted the monstrosity of the 24 hour tube has not started. It means we have a curfew. The late night shopping, the christmas parties, the after work drinks are all cut short. We have to go home. We have to catch 'the last tube'. We go back home to our flatshares..tiny hidden windows in higgildy-piggildy victorian buildings and shut the curtains. We bed down in in our overpriced rooms with our friends, loved ones, randomers and flatmates, and turn on Netflix. Get some lasagne in our winter trousers and basically never move.

London in Autumn is rainy, horrible, and sweaty on the tube. The tourists hate it. But for's a delicious combination of 'back to school' spirit and feeling less guilty for not 'doing more things' in favour of the sofa.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

From Kensington Palace to Portobello Road...

Anytime you're in London and not in a rush you should travel by bus. The tube is only occasionally fun when you're showing tourists that it's a 'great way to travel'. Other than that it's a love-hate relationship depending on your day. And you definitely don't get to see anything cool. You should come upstairs and see London by bus. You get to see how everything links together, you get some of the best views, and buses are significantly cheaper. This weekend I decided I wanted to go and check out Portobello I started by getting the bus to Kensington Palace. Which is something else, by the way. I loved it...if you're into more traditional architecture you probably won't but for me something about the sheer front and all the red brick made me go 'wow'.

We walked through Palace Green- where you aren't allowed to take photos as you are surrounded by huge, gated, toweing embassies all around you..with the outbuildings and beautiful flats with sculpted lawns. It's all very house of cards. We got to Notting Hill..and wandered through beautiful white buildings to get to Portobello Road.
It's a real mishmash of antiques, junk, crepe stands and art. It's a little overpriced and apparently not the rummagers paradise it once was, but it's amazing to wander and soak up the atmosphere. We disagreed on what we thought of it...I was expecting it to be grittier..more Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Mary Poppins with a real cockney undercurrant..and actually found it a bit chi-chi. Like a place for posh people to feel like they're part of something 'urban' without being urban at all. The Mr thought it was actually not as posh as he expected.. I think expecting because we were in Notting Hill it would all be entirely posh. I think we still need to see more of the posh bit!
Looking through all the different things was really good fun. Although we didn't buy anything, it's always lovely to have a look around at things like this. The restuarants and cafes are really quirky too. You can carry on all the way down Portobello Road to the arches of Ladbroke Grove where there's a distinctly afro-carribean vibe with street music.
At the end of our wander, we went to Blanche Eatery for some coffee and arancini before heading off to find some dinner. All in all it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The girls above were taking selfies against the cool wall pattern! Here's a random question inspired by their creativity..does anyone feel like the photos on this blog are too big? I do...I think I want to increase the margin white space a little bit and reduce the photo size. I never use portrait photos because they come out just so huge!! Would love your thoughts!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Which Naked Palette?

Christmas 2013 I received my very first Naked palette (Naked 2) and made the decision to never go back to cheap eyeshadow again. The colours are so gorgeous, versatile and pigmented, and everytime I've worn make up since I've reached for it. You can find lots of tutorials on youtube and on pinterest showing you how to layer the colours to create lots of different looks. Add a good mascara, eyeliner and a proper blending brush and that's all the eye make up you will ever need. 

This Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive the other two..and now I'm absolutely obsessed with all of them. I will use the same one throughout the week and then at the weekend I swap the palette over to a different one for the following week to encourage me to keep trying different things.

In this post I'll compare each of the palettes and talk you through the colours, and make a decision of which one I would buy if it had to be *sob* only one. They are £37 instead of yet another review I thought I'd give you some advice on which one to save up for.

The first Naked palette comes in a dark brown velvet case with a magnetic fastening and a (too small) mirror on the inside cover.They all come with a brush that is big and fluffy on one side and dense and thin on the other for placing shadow in your crease before blending. It has two matte brown shades and 10 shimmer shades. For every day I use the far left (virgin) on my whole eyelid up to my brows, then 'naked' on my lids and 'buck' or 'darkhorse' to add some definition. Overall the palette is focused on warm neutrals and I think these are some of the most pigmented to swatch. The gold shade in the middle, 'half baked' is absolutely beautiful and very lovely for autumn and christmas time.

The Naked 2 palette changed the design to a metal snap shut casing which is better and safer for travel in my opinion. The overall theme of the palette is much cooler, taupe based neutrals. The gorgeous 'half-baked' makes a reappearance (second from left) and a pure black is added. The right hand side of the palette is very blue and silvery..and because I'm a bit afraid of cool-toned eyeshadow- too many flashbacks to wearing blue in the 90s...I don't use those shades as much. I tend to use 'foxy' and 'tease' for everyday. 

The Naked 3 palette is rose gold. The packaging is beautiful, it's my favourite, but it is very, very girly. I wore this the other day and I got tons of compliments on how my make up looked 'classy' and more expensive..I was going for a very specific look wearing some of my more classic clothes and it definitely suited it from that perspective. The tones are flattering on almost all skin tones, and 'blackheart', the one on the far right, is one of my favourite shades. A black with flecks of reddish pink that is gorgeous on a night out.

When it comes to choosing just one, it really depends on your style and skintone. Warm toned, yellow skinned girls such as myself, with hazel or green eyes will suit the warm browns of the Naked 1. Cool toned girls with grey or blue eyes will suit the Naked 2. The Naked 3 suits almost anyone but it's less versatile and a very specific look. It's classy and elegant and girly with a lot of rose gold and pinks. Having said that, you could definitely create a good smokey eye with all three of the palettes.

This is a virtually impossible task..I'd really recommend going to swatch all three...but if you're into your trends, I'd go for 1 or 2 depending on your skin tone because of their versatility. If you're more classic, I'd go for the Naked 3. For me...much as it's killing me, If I could only have one of them I think it'd be the original Naked palette, the Naked 1. Much as I think the others are absolutely beautiful and the packaging is better, I feel I could create any look with the Naked 1 and almost all of the colours suit my yellow toned skin and green eyes. I'm glad the Naked 3 showed me how to be classy, though!

There. I did it!! That was very hard. Go and swatch them, fall in love with them, and honestly, if you can stretch to the price or your birthday is coming up invest in one.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

Lunchtime Safari

One of the many traits I've inherited from my Dad is insatiable curiosity. "Forever remain curious, refuse to remain unremarkable". London is full of hidden corners, eclectic streets and endless possibilities..that mean whenever I have a chance I just have to explore. One of my colleagues has a great little blog on Shoreditch eateries, and coined the term 'Lunchtime Safaris' for when you go on a ramble to explore in your lunch. The last few weeks I've been feeling sort of 'blah'..and as the saying goes, if you're tired of London, you're tired of life. So I decided it was about time I got back to rambling.
I took a wander with no particular plan, from the office towards Shoreditch- where I discovered the Jealous Gallery had a 'Love' themed exhibition on. I particularly love the little one below in the corner, which sums up a blogger's life... 'I just want to be liked and followed'!
The gallery was small but perfectly formed and the exhibition was made up of bright, street-art style colour pops. It was really really cold so it was good to get inside and appreciate the art. Timeout did a feature edition all about London's art recently and I really want to go and see some more of it considering I live in the art capital of the world! I'm trying to unleash a bit more of my creative side too and create some of my own- even if it's just doodles for now.
After I'd finished looking around the gallery I decided to carry on my safari to look what new street art had popped up around the area and spot little details. That's one of my favourite things about London...every time you see something from a different angle, look up or look down you spot something you hadn't before and fall in love with the city all over again.
The whole thing, including stopping at a street food stall to bring back a Turkish salad wrap to the office, only took 45 minutes. I definitely think that everyone who works in London should try and grab just a short lunch break when they can and take advantage of exploring the city on a 'Lunchtime Safari'. Hell, whichever city you live in, just try and get out and see a little bit more of it.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Cinnamon Chilling

I think Sunday mornings are one of my favourite times of the week. You can't beat a long lazy brunch (I've recently tried Rosie's baconcakes), and snuggling up on the sofa in front of Netflix or with a good book. This week I made some cinnamon swirls- you can get the easy kits in a tube in the pastry section in the supermarket.

Recently I've been really getting into series..It started with Breaking Bad, and since then I've watched Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Homeland and Orphan Black (amazing!). I also watch Girls when I'm on my own and have dabbled in a bit of Dexter and Luther. I love the fact you can binge watch the whole thing in one go...I'm not the most patient of people and once I'm hooked on something, I'm hooked! Next I think I'm going to watch The Wire because it's been recommended to me so many times.

An integral part of lazy Sunday is a good blanket, pyjamas and an endless bucket of warm drinks to go with the baking. I tried out pact recently after so many bloggers raved about it. The coffee is lovely, don't get me wrong, but the customer service is awful. So be warned! I'm going through an americano phase at the moment. I use a stovetop to make espresso and then just top it up with hot water.

I spent a good part of the weekend doing ended up with ordering noodle soup from Mama Lans (the cutest chinese street food place in Clapham) and watching 'Into the Wild'. Be warned, it's an emotional one!

What does your perfect lazy weekend day entail?


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Benefit Crescent Row Minis Perfume Set

For Christmas this year I was really lucky- and some of my presents were real surprises and not something I would buy for myself. This perfume set from Benefit (currently only available in full size) was one of them- and it's really lovely! The crescent row minis perfume set is based on different personalities all living on the same street- and each scent is distinctly different. It comes with lots of packaging..which is very cute but initially put me off in case it was one of those things that was more gimmick than product.

Over the last month when I've had these out and on my shelf, however, I take my initial reservation back. They are absolutely gorgeous. There are a couple of things that have made me fall in love with this set. Firstly, as the scents are so, so different, you really do feel like you're matching your perfume to the situation and your mood.

The black one, 'Your place or mine Gina', is, as the name suggests, sexy, musky and sweet, perfect for a night out. 'Ring my Bella', the purple, is very, very girly- it might not be to everyone's taste. It's sweet and floral, and reminds me of the perfumes I wore as a teenager. I actually like it for evoking that feeling of girliness. If you like the Britney Spears perfumes you'll like this.

'Under my spell Noelle' is woody and rich- it's very autumnal and one of the stronger ones. I haven't worn this one as much so far primarily because I prefer lighter more citrus-y/floral scents for work and I've been wearing the 'My place or yours Gina' for nights out. But it's probably the most sophisticated of the four and I'll be wearing it the next time I go out for dinner. 'Laugh with me Lee-Lee' is the lightest of the four and the one I've been wearing a lot during the day. It's fruity, refreshing and easy to wear. Because I work in central London, I don't like wearing anything strong because I feel like I spend my time dodging cigarette and food smells and cramped on the tube so this feels like refreshing relief instead of increasing the intensity? I don't know if that makes sense but that's why I feel I tend to lean towards these during the day.

I also love the tiny size of them. I can throw them in my handbag, take them in hand luggage, and put them in my make up bag, which is much more convenient for being on the go than full perfume bottles. The only thing is because they're so small they aren't spritz bottles- but that's ok. The best thing about them is that they're real perfume, so they're much stronger than you expect and last a very long time. They don't need topping up all day and I really like the way they wear.

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