9 April 2019

Tried & Tested: Mascaras

Tried & Tested: Mascaras

Caution Extreme Lash, Hourglass
Brand description: Defy gravity with the Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara, an all-in-one mascara that delivers incredible length, volume and lift for lashes that will dazzle.

Tube & Wand: The brush totally sold this mascara to me — two single brushes, twisting together to form one, thick brush. I found the tube itself to be a little to chunky and therefore difficult to hold.

Verdict: After giving it a whirl for a couple of weeks, this has to be the least favourite of all the ones I’ve tried out. I found the formula dried up very quickly, and it was very flaky, which meant that by the end of the day, some of it had transferred to under my eyes. Not a fan of this one, clearly!

Available at: Space NK


Little Black Primer, Estee Lauder
Brand description: Think of it as the little black dress for lashes. Unlike traditional lash primers that are white, this primer is tinted black, so you can use it on its own. Colours and lifts bare lashes so they stay silky black throughout the day and even overnight. As a primer, it's the optimal mascara base for volume, lift and length. No well-dressed lashes should be without it

Tube &Wand: Pretty standard when it comes to the tube. The brush is classic, not a silicone one. It’s quite thin and curved and it really grips the eyelash roots to curl and lift them.

Verdict: This product is one that I apply before mascara, but you can also use it on its own, giving a subtle definition. The formula is light, non-moving and has become an instant addition to my everyday makeup bag. 

Available at: John Lewis (and most department stores)


Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils The Curler , YSL Beauty
Brand Description: YSL’s new mascara with our 2-in-1 wand offers stunning curl and beautifully defined volume. Curl: The black rounded fibre wand to curl lashes. Define: The pink elastomer comb to add a look of instant lift and definition. Get a curl for a new signature eye look. A mascara that matches wand technology with a curl formula, offering a breath taking lash curling effect that lifts and volumises lashes.

Tube &Wand: The tube is a soft, metallic pink exterior - very pretty! The hot pink wand made of silicone and fibres weaved together. It's curled (to help curl the lashes—duh) but has a flat side that adds lift and definition. The brush itself is brilliant, helping you catch each and every lash—you'll have heard that before, but this really delivers on that promise.

Plus, it’s not a bitch to remove at the end of the day, unlike some of the other YSL mascaras I’ve tried in the past!

Verdict: As someone who has straight, short lashes, you can imagine that I was very quickly sold on the name of this mascara. I’ve used YSL mascaras in the past, and they’ve always been great so I was excited to try this one out.

Long story short, I love it! 

Available at: Selfridges (and many other department stores)


KUSH Mascara, Milk
Brand Description: According to Milk Makeup’s website, Kush High Volume Mascara uses "conditioning hemp-derived, CBD-infused cannabis oil that fuses heart-shaped fibers to lashes for thickness without the fallout.” Like its name, the mascara formula is supposed to give you high volume, while still managing to hydrate your lashes (they won’t dry you out).

Tube &Wand: This is, by far, the heaviest mascara I’ve ever held! It’s stainless steel tube feels so solid to hold and the wand has a good amount of balance in the hand, without feeling weirdly heavy. The brush is a tapered, tree-shaped brush with criss-cross bristles coats and lifts every single lash from root to tip for a defined, clump-free effect. 

Verdict: CBD….anyone bored of hearing about it yet?! It is everywhere at the moment, from food products, skincare, tampons, you name it! I was a little bit skeptical when reading the packaging in Sephora, but after trying it out, it actually seems to work! It definitely gave my lashes length, and there was no smudging or flaking plus, my lashes did feel quite nourished even after removing the mascara at the end of the day.

Available at Cult Beauty


High Impact Mascara, Clinique
Brand Description: High Impact Mascara is a multi-benefit mascara that adds maximum volume with definition and length. Specially developed brush and formula work together to dramatically thicken lashes while separating.

Tube &Wand: Standard tube and wand - standard wand. None of this spiky ball or rubbery wand nonsense. Just a good ol’ mascara wand. It isn’t big like the Diorshow wand, but I like that, because I use it on my top and bottom lashes, so it gives me control at the bottom lashes since the wand is smaller.

Verdict: This became an everyday mascara for me. Easy to apply, super buildable, gave my lashes enough definition. What’s not to like?

Available at Boots (and most department stores)


Lash Slick, Glossier
Brand Description: The perfect everyday mascara. Lash Slick curls and sculpts as it lengthens, enhancing the look of your natural lashes instead of clumping them together or spackling them in product. Teeny-tiny fibers coat lashes from root to tip to create a lengthened baby-extension, while flexible film-forming polymers lift and lock each fiber into place. And it’s water-resistant (not waterproof), so Lash Slick washes off easy with warm water at the end of your day.

Tube &Wand: Standard, lightweight pink tube. The brush is a tapered comb brush, given you an even and natural-looking application.

Verdict: Now, this probably isn't the mascara for you if you're looking for something that practically cakes your lashes in product. For me, it's the mascara I'll reach for when I want just a little something-something to perk up my face. 


Available at: Glossier.com



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5 April 2019

The Avery, Georgetown, Washington D.C

Boutique Hotel Washington
Whilst in D.C, I stayed in not one, not two, but THREE hotels! That may sound a tad extreme, but one was for work, and the other two had both been on my radar since I knew I was heading to the city, so we decided to stay in both - one night in each, as we wanted to explore both of the areas they were located in. 

The Avery is set in the Georgetown area of Washington, 700 metres from The Capitol. It is the perfect place to stay if you want to be close to everything, yet have a homely, cosy feel. The inn is nestled on a cute, quiet residential street, moments away from Georgetown’s restaurants, shops and attractions. We used it as our base for our first night and day of exploring, and after I’d already been in the city for 6 nights, it was a great place to stay after a full on work trip. 
Boutique Hotel Washington
Boutique hotel in Georgetown, Washington
Boutique hotel, Washington D.C
The Avery offers 15 guest rooms and suites, with huge, comfortable beds - the perfect antidote to rest in after a busy day soaking up the city. You’ll find complimentary toiletries by L’Occitane, complimentary bottled water, soft drinks and snacks in the mini-fridge and there’s even complimentary happy hour (beer and wine) in the hotel bar/lobby area, and a continental breakfast each morning. 
Boutique hotel in Georgetown
Boutique hotel in Washington D.C
The perfect home away from home, and a great start to our two-day adventure in Washington. 

The Avery Georgetown
2616 P St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA
+1 202-827-4390


2 April 2019

Beauty empties and what I've repurchased

Beauty Empties
Finishing a product is always a bit of an achievement for me. Over the last year I would say, I’ve really got to know what my favourite products are, what works well for my skin in terms of skincare, and what makeup I use the most. My beauty drawers had a huge clearout at the end of last year - it was all getting a bit too ridiculous in terms of how many products I had and hardly used. You may have seen my recent Sephora spree on here, but I am trying my hardest to use up as much of my beauty stash as possible this year so everything can be a bit more streamline in terms of everyday products.  

I thought I’d share my empty products from the last 6-8 months, and if I’ve repurchased or not.
Beauty empties
Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water (travel size 100ml)
I packed this every time I was going on a work trip so I had something to take my makeup off with at the end of the day. At home, I use the Bioderma Micellar Cleansing Water - I have done for years! But, I can never be bothered to decant, or hunt down a travel-sized version of it. This one from Caudalie works just as well.

Repurchased? No - I’ve actually found a travel sized version of my Bioderma one, so I’ll stick with that. 
Beauty empties
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream
We all know by know I love the Drunk Elephant brand and their products. HOWEVER, I’m going to have a little moan, and this doesn’t just apply to them! 
A lot of beauty products come in packaging that doesn’t make it clear when you’re about to run out of it, so you only find out when it’s too late, and if like me you don’t tend to buy backups beforehand, then it can screw you over a little bit…

That’s exactly what happened here - I went to pump the tub, and only a little bit came out - it had basically run out! Bit of a nightmare on a Wednesday morning when you’re trying to get yourself ready for the day, but I got over it pretty quickly! 

Repurchased? I haven’t repurchased this (yet) as I bought a new moisturiser in Sephora that I want to try out, but I loved this product, so I’m sure I will when I need a new one.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
As above - I was gutted when I went to put this on, and realised it had run out! I use this daily, and so I felt quite lost without it! 

Repurchased? Hell yes, and on my way to work that same morning!
Beauty empties
Eve Lom Cleansing Balm
I get through pots of this stuff, and have been using it for a good few years. The one in the photo is the travel-sized version, which I finished on my recent trip to the states. I have a large version sitting in my bathroom, which is nearly finished.

Repurchased? WELL. I actually made the decision to purchase a new and different cleansing balm whilst in Sephora. I’ve decided to try a new one out, and the one I bought (Farmacy Green Clean, FYI) felt so good on my face when I had my facial with it, that I can’t wait for my large Eve Lom balm to run out so I can have a play with this one. 

Youth To The People Maqui + Acai Prickly Pear Goji Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil
I absolutely love this oil. I use it twice a day, everyday and I have literally just finished the bottle even though I bought it last Summer when I was in the US - a little really does go a long way with this product.

Repurchased? Yep! It was the first thing to go in my shopping basket when I was in Sephora last month. 

Glossier boy Brow in Brown
I use this daily, and whilst I’m starting to think that I may try a new brow product, I still love this one. It does its job, and has been a permanent fixture in my makeup bag since I was introduced to it about 2.5 years ago!

Repurchased? It was rude not to when I visited their store in New York last month!
Beauty empties
NARS Climax Mascara
I have a mascara post planned for WLDN, so won’t got into this one too much here. But, for someone who struggles with short, straight lashes, this mascara did work for me. 

Repurchased? No, but I would consider doing so once I need a new mascara. 

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer (Porcelain) and Corrector (Light Bisque)
Not the first time I’ve used this dynamic duo - I tend to use them in the Winter months more than Summer, when I need that little bit more coverage under the eyes, etc. 

Repurchased? No. I have another concealer-style product I’m using at the moment, which I’m becoming a huge fan of (watch this space on that!)
Beauty empties
Jo Malone Cologne - English Pear and Freesia / Blackberry & Bay / Peony & Blush Suede
My three go-to fragrances, all ran out within a month of each other! I love all these scents, but for me, the English Pear and Freesia will always be my favourite of all - I wore it on my wedding day!

Repurchased? Yes - I picked up a bottle of the English Pear and Freesia at the airport, along with one of their new ones from the Wild Flowers and Weeds collection

There you have it! If you have any questions on any of the products above, feel free to DM me on Instagram. 

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18 March 2019

Sephora US Haul

Sephora US Haul
I can be really restrained when it comes to buying beauty products these days — Boots doesn’t really do it for me, and I try to avoid Space NK or Cult Beauty unless I need to top up on my Drunk Elephant skincare. Last year I had a huge clear out of my beauty drawers, and found myself becoming a little more mindful on what I actually needed over what I thought looked pretty. 

Of course this all goes to poop whenever I’m away and in beauty stores that aren’t so readily available in the U.K. Take me to a Sephora and I can ramp up my V.I.B status in 5 minutes flat — a skill that even a couple of lovely American ladies I drunkenly made friends with on my recent trip to New York were impressed by — they aren’t even V.I.B’s and they have access to Sephora every day! I was quite proud of myself...

I used to stock up on my US beauty favourites, Drunk Elephant, Milk Makeup, etc whenever I visited a Sephora, but now they’re readily available in the UK, I didn’t think I would actually get too spendy in the store. Something I now realise was delusional of me. 

OK, so there were a few items I needed to stock up on that you can’t get here in the UK, as I was running a tad low, but then I went a bit crazy around the aisles, and of course the miniatures at checkout got me massively. 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 and I totally recommend doing. 
Sephora US Haul
Let's start with the products that you CAN’T purchase in the UK; First on the list was the new Summer Fridays R+R Mask. This was released by the brand earlier this year, and is yet to reach Cult Beauty in the UK (although it is coming!) I use their Jet Lag and Overtime masks weekly and love them, so this had to go straight in the basket. I stocked up on the Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial — I’m scared that the bottle I already have is going to run out soon, so that was the perfect reason for this to go in the basket. 
Sephora US Haul
Another repurchase was the Superberry Hydrate and Glow Oil by Youth To The People. I use this daily and love it. Whilst browsing the rest of their products, I picked up the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream, which I was recommended by one of the in-store skincare consultants. I ran out of my DE Protini Moisturiser before my US trip, so was in the market for a new moisturiser, and thought I’d give this one a go. 

I also picked one of Drunk Elephant’s ‘mini tubes’ these house a couple of their products but in travel sized forms — I’m not sure if Cult Beauty or Space NK actually do these, but I tend to pick these up in Sephora as they are super handy for travelling. Their ‘Out of Office’ one has a mini version of their D-Bronzi Anti-pollution Sunshine Serum, which I love. Finally, and I know you can sort of get the brand here (but not fully) I picked up a Pat McGrath mini lipstick trio. I love her lipsticks — super pigmented and long-lasting too, and I hear her full collection will be launching in Selfridges very soon, hurrah!
Sephora US Haul
Sephora US Haul
Next up were a couple of purchases from brands that you can pick up easily over here. I’ve been in the market for a new cleanser for a while — I use the Eve Lom cleansing balm, and whilst I love it, I feel like I want to try a new one, so I picked up the Farmacy Green Clean cleansing balm. I tried this in-store (I had a facial with Sephora) and it felt so nice on my face, I decided to make the purchase...and pick up a travel sized one too. The lady who did my facial recommended a jade roller — something I’ve seen a lot of over the last few months, and I’ve heard only good things, so I picked the Herbivore one up. I stocked up on the Milk Makeup Flex Concealer in Vanilla — Cult Beauty keep selling out, and whilst at their counter, I grabbed one of their travel-sized lip + cheek tint sticks in one of their new shades. The last thing to throw in my basket was another travel-sized product (I told you their checkout area is where all the naughty shopping happens!) in the form of the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser.

All in all, I think I did pretty well (understatement of the year) and I will not be buying any beauty products for a while!

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15 February 2019

12 hours in...Bangkok

24 hours in...Bangkok Travel Guide
My last work trip of 2018 took me to Bangkok. I had never set foot in Thailand before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. 

As I was out there for work, I obviously didn’t see as much as you would if you’re there for fun but, I knew I’d have a little downtime. If you’re on a tight timeline like I was, I would say your best mode of transport is by air train, tuk tuk or river boats — we were lucky enough to have a guide and driver (very fancy, I know, but very reasonably priced) but, I have to admit some of the free time we had to explore, was spent stuck in traffic! Traffic in Bangkok is like none other, and I thought New York and Paris was bad... Bangkok is insane, and seems to be 24/7, so avoid where possible!
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
We had roughly 12 hours, split over a couple of days to explore what we could of the city. This amount of time does give you a totally doable agenda in Bangkok, but I would highly recommend prioritising a few key things to see, do and experience. Keep in mind that Bangkok is very humid, something I thought I’d already experienced back home in the Summer, but left me sweating in places I didn’t think you could, plus add in a little jetlag and it can definitely take it out of you.

The Grand Palace is a must see when in Bangkok. Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. The buildings within the grounds are totally mind-blowing, adorned in gold, sparkling gems and tiles that give you total bathroom floor goals. 
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
We also visited Wat Pho — home of the reclining Buddha (46 m long!) and the birthplace of the Thai massage, which you can have during your visit for the price of a coffee here in the UK. 

On our last day, we jumped in a tuk tuk to Wat Traimit, home of the Golden Buddha — a solid gold Buddha that has a crazy story behind it, followed by a few hours walking round MBK, a shopping mall with hundreds of stalls and stores in selling everything and anything you can think of — it has so much to offer, as well as a food hall selling very cheap, delicious Thai food — more authentic than the designer handbags and shoes on sale downstairs, plus air conditioning, so a nice break from the humidity outside.
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
Another thing to experience are the night markets in Bangkok. Our hotel was around a 15-minute walk from one of the big, popular ones, and so we were able to spend a couple of nights walking round picking up some shopping, and sampling some Thai street food and drinks, which was honestly my favourite thing I experienced whilst out there. 
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
Bangkok was an experience in itself, and honestly I was surprised at how much I liked the city. The locals were so welcoming, the food was amazing and the sightseeing was breathtaking. The traffic and humidity totally blew my mind, but all in all, Bangkok was a city I look forward to visiting again one day, and exploring more.

23 January 2019

The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
I love a good hotel, and I’m lucky enough to stay in a fair few on my work trips and adventures. One of my favourite hotel brands is The Hoxton. I’ve stayed at both of their London sites several times, and can never fault my visits - the rooms, the staff, the food, and the beds - still to this day, the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in, and there have been a lot (I mean that in a non-lady-of-the-night way).

Until a few years ago, The Hoxton only had two sites, both in London. Their first international site opened up in Amsterdam (which, I am still yet to visit) and then, the fourth opened in Paris.

Located in the 2nd arrondissement, Sentier, The Hoxton Paris is the largest addition to the Hoxton brand, and is walking distance to iconic sights such as Pompidou Centre, Jardin Tuileries, Musee du Louvre and the Palais Royal. The hotel itself is set over six buildings originating from the 18th century, and once residence of Etienne RiviĆ©, adviser to Louis XV. 
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The light, airy and downright chic lobby and lounge areas are perfect to grab a drink from the bar, catch up on emails and just relax and people watch. The restaurant onsite, RiviĆ© offers all-day French-inspired dishes with local ingredients, and of course, some Hoxton classics added into the mix, and you have to visit the beaut of a bar, Jacques for a little nightcap in the form of one of their cocktails - traditional or off menu, they’ll happily whip you something up. 
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The bedroom concepts of The Hoxton stay the same in Paris as they are in their other hotels. If you're not familiar, it's pretty simple; There are four different sizes of bedrooms: Shoebox (smallest), Cosy (standard), Roomy (bigger) and Biggy (largest). I always book the size of the room depending on the length of my stay - for example, if it's for 1 night, the Shoebox will be perfect, 2-3 nights, Cosy, 4+ nights Roomy or Biggy. Simples.

All of the bedrooms have the chicest bathrooms, with walk in showers and toiletries from Pen & Ink. There are minibars containing complimentary milk and water, and there's a kettle with proper mugs (that’s a big thing for me!) for tea and coffee. 

There's also a few other little touches - a curated bookshelf in each room, all with different books chosen by local creatives. There's a cute wireless radio, TV and also breakfast bags for you to hang on the outside of your hotel room door ready for the morning - think of it like hanging up a stocking on Christmas Eve ready for Father Christmas to fill, but this is for the Hoxton Hotel Elves to fill with a bottle of OJ, Granola and Yoghurt and a piece of fruit - the perfect on-the-go breakfast fuel if you're eager to head out into the city for a little adventure. 
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton have very recently opened their first two across the pond - one in Portland, Oregon and one in Williamsburg, New York. 2019 sees three further Hoxton’s open up in Los Angeles, South London and, one of my favourite cities in the world - Chicago! 

New York is my special place, and until last year, I had barely explored outside of Manhattan, spending only a couple of hours in Williamsburg and Brooklyn, so I can’t wait to stay at The Hoxton Hotel Williamsburg and explore the hotel and area.

30-32 Rue du Sentier, 75002 Paris, France
+33 1 85 65 75 

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