12 August 2018



Mum wanted any discussion of cancer and its effects to be talked about openly and with everyone, as you are about to find out below. It is personal to everyone in one sense, but some of it should also be public, as we were/are convinced that helps people in it and who might encounter it.

She fought every inch of the way until Saturday 7th July 2018. It is 3 years, almost, since mum’s diagnosis. But, from the first, mum, was determined that she would tell the cancer what to do, not the other way round. She made the top 2% of survival time from diagnosis to (hard to say this, but it is the word) death. 


There are really no words to describe my closeness with my mother. I know this because the slow, agonizing decline of cancer forces even the most optimistic and hopeful to think about and plan for this day. And as such, you start thinking about what you might say during a time like this. And after unsuccessfully putting pen to paper several times, I realized that there really are no words.

There are only feelings, indescribable feelings. Feelings that make my heart burst and my whole being melt. Because my mother was my insides. She is my insides. My guts. My confidence. My bravery and my strength. My sensitivity, my compassion, my loyalty and even my laughter.
She was everything. 

How incredibly strong was she? Did I know anyone stronger? She never gave up; she put her entire being into raising my brother and I, staying strong, positive and gave as good as she could when life challenges came at her full-speed. It can’t of been easy for her. 

And this is why, when mum was sick and most concerned about how her willingness to fight would impact Daniel, Alex and I, we tried several times to convince her that those lessons had already been taught, the wisdom imparted. But she continued to worry and concern herself mostly with how we would handle this—how we would move forward after this devastating loss. The toll it would take and the tears we would cry….

If I had to conjure up a couple of life lessons that she would want me to carry for the rest of my life, they are these: Never be afraid to fight for your rights, and don't let anybody tell you can't achieve what you want. She believed in me, and was always there along the way.

Mum was my best friend. I probably never fully appreciated this until I went into my twenties, and then thirties. I took her friendship for granted at times, and when I was a teenager, I don’t think I made her life that easy! However she was always in my corner, even when she wasn’t sure if she agreed on the decisions I was making. She always had time for my wonderful friends, putting up with our taste in music, girly squeals and drunken antics, and then, as we got older, she would always be on hand to dish out any life advice that was needed. She welcomed them in to our home with open arms and a shoulder to lean on whenever they were around, and in particular my best friend, Katie who I know she saw as a second daughter and who she loved dearly. 

Her love for my brother and I was unbreakable. We were the three musketeers, taking on what life threw at her, and protecting us from the challenges as much as she could. When the wonderful Alex came into her life, it’s safe to say she’d found her soulmate. Their love is unconditional, and is something I’ve been so inspired by in my relationships with friends and my husband, James over the years. 

And then, almost 3 years ago the worst news we could all receive, and although it was totally devastating to us, mums strength, determination and positive attitude shone through. What she endured when my brother and I were growing up, definitely made her the superwoman she was. She never once complained in those 3 years, getting on with life and keeping an eye on Daniel, Alex and I whilst we kept an eye on her. The day before she passed away, she had replaced the house number outside, and painted around it, showing it off to my nan. She never gave up on daily admin such as housecleaning, even though Alex would try to make her slow down! I’ll always remember calling her one afternoon, when she was around halfway through a set of chemo, for her to answer the phone and say “I can’t talk right now, I’m just behind the wardrobe giving the wall a wash and paint” my mother everyone, an unstoppable force! And on the day she passed away, she was literally fighting to the end, her grip as we held her hands strong as ever. Something I’ll never forget. A total legend.

Speaking of legends, throughout this time, the wonderful Alex has been a hero. Looking after mum (or as much as mum would let him look after her!) every single day. Picking my brother and I off the ground and onto our feet whenever we had a little ‘wobble’. Being there for us, and most importantly mum, his queen. My husband James is another hero, and was there by my side when mum passed away, gripping her hand at times to reassure her I’d be looked after. 

I also want to give a HUGE HUGE shout out to all the consultants, nurses, radiographers, Doctors, Junior Doctors and Macmillan staff who have been totally awesome throughout the whole process - I count our blessing each day that we have such an amazing NHS. They have been totally amazing, and really helped my mum. 

Mum, thank you for everything you have done for the family and me. I know that you struggled with your health, but you were the victor. You fought cancer and were so determined throughout. You were a great example for all of us. Even though you hurt inside mentally and physically, you put on a brave front and showed by example how to stay strong. I am proud of you. I am always proud to call you my Mum.

In closing, I would like to leave you with these words that a very dear friend sent me. The origin is unknown and is not important. The message is:

“Your Mum is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She’s the smell of certain foods that you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the cool hand on your head when you are not feeling well. She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow. Your Mum lives inside your laughter and behind your smile. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on Earth can separate you. Not time, not space... not even death.”


I hate asking for money, however we've had so many people ask if there's any way they can help, and there is a way...

We've set up a Just Giving Page for The Sussex Cancer Fund. The Sussex Cancer Fund was established in 1981 to work with the NHS to create new and improved facilities providing the best possible cancer care for Sussex. Since then, £3 million has been raised to make the Sussex Cancer Centre more attractive, comfortable and effective.

Unlike many charities, costs are exceptionally low with only a very small percentage spent on administration, almost all money donated can be spent directly to benefit the patients.

SCF have a wishlist filled with items that are needed everyday for people undergoing treatment. Denise used a number of these items each week during her chemotherapy. We would like to raise as much money as possible for them to purchase items, and other things that will help patients through their treatment. It astounds us that in this day and age that charities are still having to fundraise for items like these. 

1 July 2018

The US Beauty Haul - Ulta, Glossier and Sephora

Sephora haul
Ever since I knew I was heading back to the US for another work trip, my Sephora wish list started. Tagging on a holiday to the end of this work trip was a genius idea. Not only because I was getting the chance to totally switch off and relax, but also because it meant I could totally justify taking another suitcase. 

Over here in the UK, I tend to be quite mindful when it comes to beauty shopping, only stocking up on items I’ve previously used and loved, and even then, that’s usually when I make a trip to London and can get to the Selfridges beauty hall — Boots does nothing for me, and Space NK is maybe a once-a-year trip. 

That all goes out the window pretty fast when I have access to beauty stores that aren’t available in the UK — in the last 6 months, I’m managed to ramp up my V.I.B status in Sephora, which may seem like nothing, but when you don’t live anywhere near a Sephora branch, it’s quite a skill.

I was pretty restrained in Chicago, but as soon as I was off the plane and checked in to my hotel in New York, well...you can see for yourself below….
Ulta Haul
This was the first time I’d ever stepped inside an Ulta Beauty, and it was very hectic! I was trying to restrain myself before NYC, so I picked up a couple of sheet masks, the Length and Volume Mascara by e.l.f (never tried anything from this brand before, so I was intrigued as it’s so cheap!) and I stumbled across their it Cosmetics counter, and found a new product I’d never seen or heard of before — the Bye Bye Foundation Weightless Moisturiser. So, for research purposes, I just *had* to purchase, and so far, I like it — watch this space....
Glossier haul
As Glossier launched in the UK several months ago now, I didn’t really need anything as it’s so easy to get my hands on their products now. However, not paying a visit to their gorgeous showroom when you’re in New York would actually be a crime, so most of my haul consisted of stocking-up buys. Boy Brow in Brown (my favourite product they sell) and their Cloud paint in my every-day shade, Dusk. I also picked up one of their Lidstars in Slip and Wowder (their finishing powder I’ve heard VERY good things about) and at the last minute I decided to grab the Wowder brush. 
Sephora haul
Now this was a completely different story! OK, so there were a few items I needed to stock up on, as I was running a tad low, but then I went a bit crazy around the aisles. I visited one of their stores really early in the morning, and so I pretty much had the whole store to myself, which was heavenly. 

First on the list, was the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser (I ended up purchasing the largest size as well), the travel sized Drunk Elephant Night Serum and Virgin Marula Oil, a few of the Sephora-own eye masks (they were on offer) and a new Beauty Blender. 
Sephora haul
 I knew I wanted to try the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream, and new skincare brand, Youth to the People’s Superberry Hydrate and glow Oil. But then I found the Pat McGrath Labs counter, so one of her LuxeTrance lipsticks went in the basket and the Milk Make-up counter had their Flex Concealer in my shade, as well as their new Kush Mascara in stock, so in they went too. Sephora haul
Queuing up to pay, a few other items happened to stumble into my basket; Micellar Cleansing Water by Caudalie (travel size), some make-up brush cleaner, the IGK Down & Out Dirty Spray AND Swipe up No-Frizz Smoothing Hair Wipes, and finally, the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliate Treatment (travel size).

I left vowing NOT to buy any more beauty and skincare products for the rest of the year…

We’ll see how that goes!

14 June 2018

Book Worm (part 1)

Books for your Summer holiday
I’ve been saving this post for a few weeks whilst I get through a couple of books, as once again, we’ve reached that time of year when everyone is starting to jet off on their spring/summer vacations. I’m not much of a beach holiday girl - I’m all about city breaks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good book 

However, I find it hard to stay focused, so reading can be a little tricky sometimes. I'm trying to get out of the habit of having my phone glued to my right hand in the evenings, giving my thumbs a break from all the scrolling, and stepping away from the Net-a-Porter and Topshop apps in the hope I'll stop spending. 

If I score a right page turner I can read a book in a weekend, and that's exactly what’s been happening recently. I have ploughed through a lot of books since the beginning of the year, so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case you have a holiday coming up and need some recommendations (there are a lot below)....

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
If you haven’t heard of this book — where have you been? I read this over the space of four days last month, and I couldn’t put it down. It made me cry, and laugh out loud all on the same bus journey to work. 

I didn’t want it to end — honestly, I found it difficult to start a new book after reading this one! It’s a seriously good read, and I know a lot of people have been talking about it, so don’t be put off by the surrounding hype. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I’m going to put my hands up high here, and say I have a slight obsession with Reese Witherspoon! She is one talented lady, and after buying the rights to the book, Big Little Lies, and then turning it into one of the best TV series I’ve ever watched (seriously, if you haven’t watched it yet, go now!) I’ve decided this woman can do no wrong. So, when I saw on her Instagram that she was doing the same with Little Fires Everywhere AND teaming up with the equally talented Kerri Washington, I was straight on Amazon adding the book to my basket.

This book is brilliant, and focuses on motherhood, and the relationships between mother and daughter. I didn’t want it to end, and I can’t wait to see the Television adaptation of this. 

The Boy on The Bridge by M.R. Carey
M.R. Carey’s book, The Girl With All The Gifts was a revelation. It’s the kind of book that’s best read with absolutely no knowledge of what’s going on, because of the way it drops readers into a future world where nothing can be assumed, and every new reveal comes as a surprise. So it’s only natural that the prequel novel, The Boy On The Bridge, can’t build the same sense of engagement and discovery. Don’t get me wrong — I enjoyed reading this, but I loved The Girl With All The Gifts a lot more. 

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
This is a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew, following Kate Battista, a pre-school assistant who still lives at home with her eccentric scientist father and Queen Bee younger sister. Kate’s quiet, uneventful life gets interrupted when the visa of her father’s research assistant runs out and Dr Battista comes up with a creative solution to the problem: Kate should marry Pyotr to save him from being deported.

It’s not the best book I’ve read this year, but it is engaging and very easy to read. 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I put off reading When Breath Becomes Air for a long time, because I didn’t think I could handle the heartbreak, as it’s all a little ‘real-life’ for my family and I.

Kalanithi was in his final year of neurosurgical residency when, at 36, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His stunning memoir was published posthumously, and attempts to answer the question: What makes a life worth living?

I did find I struggled with this - mainly because I felt I could relate in some way to his story, and it made it hard to read at times. His writing is so beautiful and emotive. The final chapter is written by his wife, Lucy as he sadly passed away before he could finish writing. 

That’s it for now! I’m about to crack on with a new book, and I went a bit crazy round the shelves of Waterstones yesterday, so I have a few to get through. I will of course share them on here once I’ve got through all of them! 

Do you have any book recommendations? I may have a few on my shelves to get through, but always love to hear what everyone else is reading — so feel free to send me yours! 

6 June 2018

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Review
Over the last six months, my skincare obsession has rocketed. I’m still very wary of what goes on my skin (as you should be) but, I have been branching out and trying new products, with some good and some bad results. 

One of my skincare products I bought back in February when on a 20-minute binge shop in Sephora, was the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser

ExfoliKate Cleanser isn’t your typical cleanser. It’s a little dry and has a very fine, grit-like texture with a very faint green tint (sounds appealing, non?). 

Here’s a little low-down;

Product Ingredients
ExfoliKate cleanser has the super duo of alpha hydroxy acids (Glycolic and Lactic), combined with Pineapple, Pumpkin and Papaya Enzymes, 

No more than pea size amount is needed. Apply it on damp face then massage to create a foam and keep doing that for about 30 seconds. Rinse with water and pat dry. 

When I use it
I usually use it in the morning as a first cleanse, and in the evening as my second cleanse with my trusty Eve Lom Cleansing Balm.

After using it
It leaves my skin feeling so clean and refreshed. My complexion is noticeably even, and I can’t get over how baby soft my skin feels, and all without over-drying — bonus!

I’m on my second travel-sized tube (which I bought a month after the first one!) and, it has become a firm favourite, and part of my daily skincare routine. Over the last few months of consistently using the product, I’ve noticed the little under-skin spots on my the side of my face have visibly reduced — some have gone completely! 

The other good news is...it’s available in the UK! Cult Beauty stock it and Kate Somerville have recently launched a transactional website for us Brits too. So if you can’t get to a Sephora, you’re in luck!

1 June 2018

Tips on dealing with Travel Anxiety

Tips on dealing with Travel Anxiety
As someone who travels a lot for her job, and also has an endless stream of wanderlust, I refuse to let my anxiety stop me from doing what I love most: travelling!

Travel anxiety can come in so many ways. But despite how different your experience may be with it, anyone will know that anxiety when travelling can be exhausting, mentally and physically. 

I’ve always been open about my anxiety — it actually helps me to talk about it, so I thought I’d share my ways of getting through anxiety when I travel. Because of these, I’ve been able to not let anxiety take my lovely adventures away from me. 

Do your research
For me, anxiety creeps in like a super ninja when I start to feel like I’m not in control. So, before I head away on one of my trips, I spend some time researching my destination, just, so I know what to expect. I also like to try to plan a few things to see and do, and the distance from my hotel to these places. I also look at the airport I’m flying into and how long it’s going to roughly take to get from airport to hotel. Having this sort of information stored in my brain really helps me ease my mind. 

Be Preeeeeeeeepared (sang in the voice of scar from The Lion King)
Mentally and physically. If you can acknowledge the fact that you’ll experience some anxiety during your trip, then you should be able to take control over your thoughts, and in turn, be able to feel much calmer quickly. 

Preparing yourself physically — this is where organisation skills come in handy. Keep all your travel documents together — having everything in the same place will help fill the gaps with uncertainty. I always take a carry on with me, and pack a few essentials just in case my checked baggage decides to go on a little adventure of its own. I would highly advise not to have a to do list for the day you travel — get everything sorted the day before. That way you can have a stress-free sleep the night before. 

The Music Sounds Better With You
When it comes to coping with anxiety, I’ve found listening to music really helps. Plugging headphones in, and listening to one of my playlists. For me, I always hit play on the playlist I made for our wedding, as it brings so many happy memories, which can really wash away my negative and stressful thoughts.

Remember to take care of yourself. Travelling and exploring new countries and cities is extremely exciting, but you are stretching your comfort zone. If you start to feel the anxiety creeping in, that’s OK. Just remind yourself you are making new memories and adventures, and you should be proud of yourself.

Please know you are not alone. While it will take some time (and patience), know that you can confront those overwhelming thoughts and continue doing what you love.

13 May 2018

Sunday Best: Dressing for the Heatwave

Trainers: Superga | Hoops: & Other Stories | Skirt: Topshop | T-shirt: Ganni
Bag: Danse Lente | Jacket: Zara

Summer, is that you?! After the very brief heatwave a couple of weeks ago, and the last few days of gorgeous weather, I think we may be able to breathe a sigh of relief that Summer seems to be well on it's way.

Dressing for the hot weather can be a little tricky, especially when it's still cold in the evenings. Wearing layers is key and slipping a leather (or suede in this case) jacket is perfect for this.

This outfit would easily take you from a day in the office, to after-work drinks alfresco-style.  Pair some gold hoops and a cute bag, and you're good to go.

30 April 2018

NARS x Erdem Collection Review

NARS x Erdem Collection
Erdem is known for dressing some of the most famous women out there, from Kate Middleton to Kate Bosworth, and hot on the heels of his H&M collaboration, Erdem has joined forces with French beauty brand Nars to create a 13-piece collection that will have you swooning. 

Launching nationwide this week (with Selfridges having the exclusivity to the collection since April 15th) this is a collection that is perfect for Summer, with flowery colors and romantic whimsical packaging, "The color collection is a custom designed palette of demure and daring shades for eyes, lips, and cheeks," according to the press release for the collection.

I grabbed a couple of pieces on launch day in Selfridges, as I was already on a little beauty hall binge session in there, so I’ve had a couple of weeks to test them out and give you my thoughts.
NARS x Erdem Collection
NARS x Erdem Collection
I picked up two items. When browsing the collection, I thought the lipsticks were a bit ‘out there’ shade-wise. However, on application the finishes make them really wearable - think sheer, fresh and florally. I went for the shade Moon Orchid, a rich and moisturising sheer lipstick that when applies, is a delicate pink colour. 

I chose the blusher Loves Me Not, a super subtle pale pink. At first I thought the shade was going to be a little...dull, but once applied to the apple of my cheeks, I was surprised at the natural-looking pink and healthy glow it gave me; perfect for spring and summer. It's a really buildable shade, so you can work it up for a full glam look or just sweep it on lightly for those no-makeup makeup days.

As you would expect from Nars blushes, they are both pretty pigmented which can be a little hard when applying this shade - there have been a couple of times, in my ‘I’m-in-a-rush-for-work’ state that I have slapped a little too much on. 
NARS x Erdem Collection

Other items in the collection:

6 Lipsticks (Bloodflower, Moon Orchid, Larkspur, Voodoo Lily, Wildflower, Carnal Carnation) – £22 each
2 Eyeshadow Palettes (Fleur Fatale, Night Garden) – £35 each
1 Lip Palette (Poison Rose) – £35
2 Blushes (Loves Me, Loves Me Not) – £24 each
1 Universal Highlighting Pencil (White Phox) – £21
Blotting Powder – £15

01 Bloodflower – bright cherry red
02 Moon Orchid – sheer light pink
03 Larkspur – sheer orchid
04 Voodoo Lily – sheer muted lavender
05 Wildflower – deep plum purple
06 Carnal Carnation – sheer raspberry red

Love Me – strawberry pink with golden shimmer
Loves Me Not – soft lavender pink

This limited edition collection is all about nostalgic romance with a stunning floral theme. There’s something for everyone with a range of muted and bold tones for eyes, lips and cheeks.

It sold out pretty quick when Selfridges launched the collection (although, there are now a few pieces back in stock here), and I reckon it will do exactly the same when it launches tomorrow nationwide in Space NK and other high streets stores, so get there quick! 

8 April 2018

Sunday Best: April Showers Approved Outfit

Pink trench coat
Jeans: Whistles | Jumper: Boden | Leather Trench Coat: Topshop | Shoes: Topshop | Bag: Gucci

Early spring weather poses a serious sartorial problem: how to dress in a way that's fashionable and functional. April showers are definitely a thing, and I can’t count how many times I’ve been caught out, but when an umbrella don’t fit in your Gucci handbag, what’s a gal to do?

Trench coats are an April staple; this pink leather trench was love at first sight - although, the price tag is very hefty for the high street, it is a good investment, plus it brings a pop of colour to a grey, wet day. Team with a pair of jeans and a fine-knit jumper. Classic dressing at it’s finest.

29 March 2018

Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot Face Mask

Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot Face Mask
I love face masks to the point where I have a borderline obsession with them. Whilst in the US, getting my fix in Sephora, I stumbled across the creepiest looking face mask - it obviously had to be purchased without thinking about what it did! I’d heard of the skincare brand before, and already had one of their hero products in my basket, so in the face mask slipped without hesitation. Packaged in a soda-style cup, these may not be something everyone likes the look of at first sight, as the lid is a tiny, creepy face of a rubberized baby.  

Yes, really. 
Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot Face Mask
Skincare brand, Dr Jart+ has just launched its Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot masks, a collection of four ‘do-it-yourself’ rubber masks. 

If you can get past the terrifying (or funny - depending on how you look at it) baby faced packaging, the rubber face masks work really well. Dr Jart+ has made the masks very user-friendly and less messy, thanks to the cup packaging. The cups ‘straw’ is actually a spatula used to mix the mask’s base, with the liquid ampule. 
Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot Face Mask
The Science bit...
Rubber and gel masks apparently penetrate skin more deeply than sheet masks which is what these from Dr Jart + promise. Preparing the mask is really simple, and involves combining the two packs of ingredients, shaking it all up in the cup, and using a spatula to spread the mask all over your face. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, and during that time, the consistency of the liquid mask turns rubbery, allowing you to peel the whole thing off in one go - or in my case, 3 goes!
Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot Face Mask
The Shake & Shot mask comes in four different varieties: Soothing, Brightening, Hydro, and Firming. The Hydro Mask (the one I used) gives skin a shot of emollient, moisturizing vitamin B5 and a Dr. Jart+ special, called "expert moist complex," which is rich in amino acids and said to strengthen the skin barrier. 

Formulas include:
Shake & hot Rubber Hydro Mask (hydrates and helps retain moisture)
Shake & Shot Rubber Soothing Mask (calms sensitive, irritated skin)
Shake & Shot Rubber Brightening Mask (brightens dull skin)
Shake & Shot Rubber Firming Mask (Improves skin elasticity while firming)

I have to say, that when testing this rubber face mask out, I found it slightly tricky to apply, but pretty comfortable once on your face. The peeling is a bit creepy, but the results are great, leaving me with super hydrated skin, and a lovely glow. Needless to say, I totally believe this new (and easy to use) rubber mask is worth the hype.

You can purchase Dr Jart+ Shake & Shot Rubber Face Masks instore and online at Selfridges (UK followers) and instore and online at Sephora.

25 March 2018

Sunday Best: Adding colour to your spring wardrobe

Adding colour to your spring wardrobe
Boots: & Other Stories | Peanuts Sweatshirt: Essential Antwerp | Hoops: & Other Stories
Jeans: COS

Dare I say it — Is Spring on the horizon?! After the pretty grey, and surprisingly white Winter we’ve had, I know I’m not the only one who is ready for Spring...and a new wardrobe refresh. As much as I’m a Winter Wardrobe gal over Summer, I feel like my life has turned into a version of Groundhog Day as I find myself reaching for the same jeans - trainer - jumper combo for the 4,567 time this season. YAWN. 

If like me you find yourself still reaching for darker colours, then the items above will get you in the mood for Spring. Wearing a splash of colour can lift your mood as well as your outfit, and with the weather being as miserable as it has been then take yourself shopping — either online or on the high street, as brands have been dropping their Spring collections for weeks now and, if that ain't an excuse to add colour to your wardrobe, then I don’t know what is.

16 March 2018

Sephora Haul - San Diego Edition

Sephora US Haul
Whenever I have a trip to the US, a visit to Sephora is always on the cards — heck, it’s one of the first things I put into google maps, so I can find the nearest one to the hotel I’m staying at. 

I always, without fail go with a mental list, so I can plan my budget and not have to worry about getting a call from my bank asking me about abnormal activity on my account. Yes, it’s happened before and I don’t want to have to repeat that again. Try telling a guy back home, calling from your bank that, yes, that was me spending over $150 on skincare. 

As I hadn’t visited the US for nearly a year, my mental wishlist was a little on the large side.

I managed to visit my nearest store less than 24 hours after arriving (pretty impressive, right?) and as I had two colleagues with me, who had never set foot in a Sephora, I was pretty conscious that their first time may be a tad...daunting!

That and a mix of jet-lag led to a very frenzied, supermarket-sweep style, done-in-20-minutes shop.

I managed to get most of the things I wanted, plus a few more bits I certainly didn’t need (damn Sephora and their travel products at their tills whilst you wait to pay). 

So, without further ado, I give you my Sephora haul from San Diego Sephora US Haul
The majority of my haul is skincare. I'm OBSESSED with skincare products at the moment. Most of what I picked up can now be found over here. Although saying that, they're still quite difficult to find. For example Ceramidin by Dr Jart+ sells out in Selfridges as soon as it hits the shelves, and the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask can be found on Cult Beauty - I got the travel size version as I thought it would be a good one to use on long-haul flights. FYI, it smells AMAZING. 

Also on Cult Beauty is Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate (see what she did there) Cleanser. I’ve tried this out since being back, and I’m already thinking about ordering another one. More on that in a separate post though. 

Another product from Dr Jart+ is the item in the photo above that looks a tad...creepy. In all honesty, I blame the jetlag for this purchase. The Dr Jart+ Shake and Shot Rubber Mask...yep, we’ll see what this is like once I feel brave enough to try it out. 

Next up is skincare brand Drunk Elephant. Beauty editors and, most importantly, skincare queen, Caroline Hirons have said how much they love the products. Good news for us UK peeps is that it will be launching in Space NK stores sometime in the summer. The slightly bad news is that it’s bloody expensive, hence the Drunk Elephant travel sized products I picked up as I want to try them to see what the fuss is about. 
Sephora US Haul
Next up, and last in this haul, is the 30,000 Feet Volume Shampoo and Conditioner by IGK. This haircare brand has just launched over here in the UK at Space NK (in stores and online FYI) but it does work out a little cheaper in the US. I've been using the travel sized versions of these for the last few of weeks - review incoming...

So as you can see, I shopped hard in Sephora - all in 20 minutes as well. That's got to be some sort of record, right?

12 March 2018

24 Hours in...San Diego

San Diego City Guide
If you don’t follow me on Instagram, or the algorithm is truly living up to its total shiteness, then you may not know that I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago for a work trip. 

It was my first time on the West Coast of the US, and after a long-ass journey (via Seattle) I landed, went straight to the hotel, and face planted on one of the beds in my hotel room. 

The next day, I was greeted by this view
The Westin San Diego
Sunshine, water, palm trees and heat that was basically the same as we get in the Summer here in the UK — hello California, if this is the weather you get in FEBRUARY, then I’m moving here straight away.

We had a day to explore, and whilst we were jet lagged up to our eyes, we weren’t going to stay in bed all day. 

So, without further ado, I bring to you my 24 hours in San Diego….
San Diego Palm trees
At The Westin San Diego - it’s downtown so really near to the harbour and Gaslamp Quarter. Plus, the beds are a dream! 
San Diego City Guide
Spike's San Diego
San Diego is full of great places to eat. As they’re right on the border of Mexico, you can’t visit without having mexican food. We ate at La Puerta, which is in the Gaslamp Quarter and one lunchtime visited Spike’s, a fresh fish bar. 

We also had takeout from a variety of places (hotel room service gets boring after a day) and I can highly recommend GrabbaGreen, Sushi 2 (some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten - also a restaurant too) and Tender Greens. 
San Diego Harbour
24 Hours in...San Diego
24 Hours in...San Diego

There’s a lot to do and see in the city, and although I only managed to venture down to the harbour and walk along the bay to Seaport Village, some of the girls managed to visit La Jolla, which is about a 15 minute drive away and has the most gorgeous beaches. There’s also Petco Park, home to baseball team, The Padres and Balboa Park, which has the Natural History Museum, San Diego Air & Space Museum, and the San Diego Zoo. 
24 Hours in...San Diego

21 February 2018

Glossier You

Glossier You perfume
Ah, Glossier. When it comes to this beauty brand, chances are I’ve tried it, and love it. Ever since they launched in the UK last October, my love affair with the brand has got even bigger — no more long distance relationship between Brighton and New York, this brand is my no.1, ride or die beauty bae. 

When Glossier launched their first fragrance, I was intrigued. Make up and skincare are the focused products for the brand, and launching a fragrance is somewhat...brave, as it’s a real personal thing (in my opinion). It was also not what I was expecting when I first smelt it thanks to a sample they sent prior to it being released. It’s actually pretty classic — subtle, creamy, spicy, and it’s designed to enhance your own natural scent. 
Glossier You perfume
I’ve been using it since it launched in late 2017, and at first I was on the fence. Now, it’s my daily fragrance and has something about it that makes it so wearable and perfect for any occasion. With a base of ambrette, ambrox and musk, combined with the woody top notes of iris root and a drop of spicy pink pepper — it’s not overpowering, but inviting — I've had a fair few compliments on it, too. 

Trust me, you’re going to want to add this to your Glossier basket — get clicking now

19 February 2018

Traveling abroad with work & how to make the most out of it

Traveling abroad with work
Travelling abroad plays a big part of my job as an Event Manager, sounding exciting (and glamorous) which it generally is, but sometimes it can be a whirlwind of stress and craziness. For me, I travel abroad with work for conferences and meetings that we have produced for clients, so being prepared and organised is essential in my line of work.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite frequently with my work - mainly in Europe, but occasionally further. I’ve only been working in my current job for just over a year, but I’ve been able to really master my work travel routine making the whole process stress free and managing to find ways to mix hard work with a little fun too, exploring the cities I visit when a free moment arises otherwise, if I didn’t manage the trip well, all I’d see is the inside of the hotel I’m staying in, and the city flash past me as I head to and from the airport in a taxi. 

Today I wanted to share a few of my top tips for nailing that work trip abroad. If you travel with work, or even if you like to book several city breaks over the year, hopefully you’ll find them helpful.
Traveling abroad with work
Halfway through this year, I decided to invest in a high quality cabin-sized suitcase. I wanted something reliable, easy to transport around and sturdy. I use The Carry On Suitcase from Away - it was a big investment for me, but I have no regrets (I’m actually thinking of buying one of the larger-sized suitcases now). 

Yes, they’re on the expensive side, however it’s really improved my travel process as not only is it lightweight, and wheels around the airport like a dream but it has some pretty darn amazing features - including a compression pad for one compartment to help clear up free space and - the most important of all - a removable battery with built in USB sockets to charge your devices on the go. This has been a real life-saver when my flights have been delayed. 

The Essentials
If there’s one thing I’ve well and truly nailed when it comes to traveling, it’s my travel essentials kit. Aside from the obvious travel essential (Passport) this comes second and saves me time having to make a panicked last minute trip to Boots at the airport (giving me extra time to look at ALL the beauty products in duty free!). 

Purchase a transparent travel toiletries bag and fill it with your essential travel toiletries and keep them in there at all times (I store mine in my luggage when I’m not traveling). This pre-packed bag is then ready to go, leaving you more time to pack and fully prepared for airport security. I also have a separate bag / pouch that I keep in my luggage, with all my travel adaptors and cables I need for my trips. It makes things a lot smoother when it comes to organising what you need to pack. 
Traveling abroad with work

City recommendations
When traveling abroad for work, I tend to stay in the same hotel where the meetings are held. This means it can be easy to end up not venturing outside and therefore not seeing the city I’m in. Therefore, if I don’t have any evening commitments, I always force myself to eat outside of the hotel, even if the temptation of room service in my PJ’s is real. 

I try to seek out recommendations for restaurants prior to traveling and, if possible, book a table. When traveling with other colleagues this can be a great thing to do, as it means you’re out of the ‘work zone’ for a couple of hours, leaving you to relax and enjoy what the city has to offer.  I also grab recommendations for things to do and see in the city incase I have some free time, or I’ve extended my stay. 

Making the most of your ‘free time’
Free time is pretty rare when travelling with work - I tend to only be in the city for 48 - 72 hours tops, and when I’m not working I’m sleeping! However, I always try to get out and explore the city I’m in if I get the opportunity. Even if it’s only for an hour before I need to head back to the airport, I try and get out and see something.  

16 February 2018

The 13-Hour Flight Beauty Routine

The 13-Hour Flight Beauty Routine
Greetings from San Diego! It took me a total of 13 hours to get here - most of that was up in the air, which is an extremely long time. I did have to connect, which meant getting off a plane, walking through an airport, sitting in the lounge, and then getting on another plane. Which breaks up the journey but also means that my skin would be freaking out if I hadn’t done my usual in-flight beauty regime.

Getting my face on
My pre-flight make-up is kept simple so that it's prepped and ready to go for the inevitable sheet mask assault I’m going to unleash after boarding my flight. As I had a layover in Seattle, I did want to look a little decent for the next flight, so after giving my face a deep cleanse and moisturise before heading to the airport, I slapped on the it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in light and the Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk - easy to apply and remove whilst travelling. 
The 13-Hour Flight Beauty Routine
Up in the air
Once I boarded the plane and settled in for the first, and longest part of my journey, I took off my make-up with my Bioderma micellar cleansing water and applied some Glossier Priming Moisturiser. After a couple of hours into my flight, I whipped out the Instant Renewal Concentrate sheet mask by Kiehl’s, which I picked up in duty-free before my flight to hydrate my skin. This is something I have never worn before on a flight, but no one seemed phased by me wearing one whilst watching films - the air stewardess even asked where it was from, as she could see how glowing my skin looked after I’d taken it off. I left it on until it started to dry out, and then I locked everything in with the Glossier Super Bounce Serum, which I reapplied whenever my skin started to feel dry. 

Another product I always take with me, is the Resurrection rinse-free hand wash by Aesop. It’s the poshest of hand sanitisers I’ve ever owned, and makes flying that little more luxurious!

Layover ready
As my plane started its descent into Seattle, I applied my Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, some Glossier Priming Moisturiser and Stretch Concealer, leaving me feeling refreshed and ready to take on the airport layover. As it happens, this is a great way to look and feel when you end up getting lost in Seattle airport and panicking you’re going to miss your connecting flight. Unfortunately, there is no sort of beauty product to help with that situation, but looking good was fine. 
The 13-Hour Flight Beauty Routine
For my 3-hour flight from Seattle to San Diego, I slapped on some more Moisturiser, and an eye mask and let them do one last flight hydration task whilst I read my way through the magazines I picked up in Seattle. Then, it was time to slap on some it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in light (the travel size is the best invention ever!) and Glossier Cloud Paint and get ready to disembark the plane as I’d FINALLY made in to San Diego!
The 13-Hour Flight Beauty Routine
A little hotel room pamper
Whilst it may seem I went a bit crazy with my skincare routine throughout my flight, I wasn’t finished yet. After checking in to the hotel, and going for a quick explore it was time to order room service and have a pamper session in my room before hitting the sack for an early night. I always wash my hair after a long flight, and then double cleanse, followed by a Nip + Fab face mask and a long soak in the tub. 

I then whacked on a Spacemask - these bad boys help you sleep like a baby - they are self-heating, relieving tiredness and eye strain, and they actually work!  

That's it! Seem crazy, but it keeps you amused when you're not watching in-flight films!

In the post

13 February 2018

Pre Long-Haul Flight Prep: The body & Skincare Edition

Pre Long-Haul Flight Prep: The body & Skincare Edition
I’m off to San Diego tomorrow, and whilst I’ve nearly finished packing, I’m also prepping my body for the journey. 

Flying is one of the most dehydrating things you can do to your body. So preparing yourself for a long-haul flight isn’t just about what to take in your carry-on (although, more on that in another post soon) it’s about giving your body that little extra TLC than you normally do. 

As a frequent flyer, and more so this year, I’m pretty hot on keeping my skin hydrated when flying, but it’s also good to be preventative ahead of your flight — Who knew preparing yourself for your long flight wasn’t just about packing?! Although it does mean you have a little more time in-flight to catch up on some films (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, FTW).

The night before
I do my normal cleansing routine, followed by the Origins Retexturizing Mask. Whilst this is on, I apply an eye mask and leave both of them on for around 20 minutes to do their thing, before removing them with warm water and a flannel 

I then slap on some Glossier Super Bounce serum, followed by my Clinique Pep-Start Hydrorush moisturiser. I leave these on, and just apply a little more before climbing into bed. 
Pre Long-Haul Flight Prep: The body & Skincare Edition
Scrub a dub dub
Post-shower and shave, I slap on a load of products that I tend to only use when I’m having a pamper sesh at home - I’m talking body scrubs (Rituals The Ritual Of Sakura) and your favourite smelling body wash, followed by moisturiser - I use Glossier’s Body Hero Duo. They smell divine AND seem to do some sort of beauty witchcraft to your body (in a good way).

Luscious Locks
My hair has a life of its own - it has taken me 32 years to realise that, so when it comes to flying, I give it a good wash, and slap on a conditioning hair mask. My hair then stays in a bun on the day of my flight, with occasional shakeouts and reapplication.

That’s it - it may seem like a hassle the night before, but your body and skin will love you for it. 

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