FASHION | The Camera Bag with Monnier Freres

That moment when you make an amazing deal in the sales and you feel as proud as if you'd just run a marathon or something.

Camera bags are a popular item at the moment, mostly due to bloggers and vloggers turning cameras into a must-have accessory. Although I don't vlog or take my camera with me all the time, I find that camera bags are really useful when you only need the essentials (phone, wallet, keys) and don't want to carry around a bigger bag. The classic YSL camera bag is for example one that I could see myself wear and use a lot - if only it was more in my budget!

Luckily, as I was browsing the sales section of the Monnier Frères website, I found this gorgeous little camera bag by Karl Lagerfeld and fell in love with it. It is now mine!

It is the K/ikonik Pearl camera bag by Karl Lagerfeld. Admittedly, I am not a fan of the designer himself (he can be quite controversial) but because I am weak, I loved the bag and decided to get it anyways. I've been loving the pearl trend at the moment (still looking for the perfect pearl-adorned jumper for spring) and this bag has it all: double texture effect, pearls, gold detailing. And even better, it was in the sale!

I got it from Monnier Freres, a French luxury retail website recommended to me by a friend. It was 50% off, but here's a tip for you if you find something you fancy on the website: subscribe to their newsletter and you'll get 20% off more, which also works on the items on sale. Thanks to that coupon code, I got the bag for £108 (RRP £255)!

Luxury items are not something I collect and I would never buy anything expensive lightly. It's important to take the right decision when it comes to investing in higher end accessories, and I could would always recommend to wait for the sales and buy reduced items only. Because let's be honest, luxury items are never actually worth the original price tag - you pay for the brand and (sometimes) the manufacturing, but ain't nobody got money for full price Dior bags. Unless you're quite lucky.

I will get a lot of use out of this bag. I'll try to include it in outfit photos in the future too. It is very versatile and although pearls are very much a trend now, the design is rather timeless and I see myself using it in the years to come even when the trend dies out. 
If you're interested, you can still find the bag in the sale here, and there's also a nude version. Monnier Freres is an amazing website, free delivery and shipping was really fast so I am pleased with their customer service and would happily recommend them.

Do you buy luxury or higher end items? What are your views on them?


LIFESTYLE | On Long-Distance Relationships

Why the hell did I have to get myself a boyfriend who lives in America?!

Some of you may know that I am in a long-distance relationship. I have been for over a year now, and in this time I have been able to reflect on it and what it involves. I've wanted to speak up about it in a blog post for a while now, as I am sure there are more people in a long-distance relationship that we'd think. So if you are in one, or ever have been, do read on and let me know if you can relate!

Breaking news: no, it's not easy

I won't lie, being in a long-distance relationship is hard, especially when you're very far away. I live in England and my boyfriend lives in California, so we obviously can't visit every other weekend. When we started dating, we knew this was coming and the risk of not knowing when we'd see each other again was there from the start. However, because we're two crazy individuals, we still gave it a go and I will never regret it.  
We last saw each other in July, when I went spent the month in California. Since then, it's been messages, calls and Skype. These indirect means of communication are a poor alternative to seeing each other regularly, and I can't count the times we've said 'I miss you.' But truth is there's no way around it, so being resilient and relying on each other is key. (See my post On Resilience & What I Learned in 2017) But yes, it gets hard and you might also cry a lot. I know I do. Not any groundbreaking info here, but it had to be said!

People will pity you

Alright, 'pity' might not be the word, but I do sometimes feel like that, causing 'ooows' and 'oh noooos' whenever I mention our relationship. As much as I appreciate the concern and the fact that people empathise with how rubbish the whole long-distance situation is, I don't understand some of the reactions I get. How many times have I heard 'It must be so hard!' or 'How do you do?!' when I happened to mention that we were thousands of kilometers apart? I have lost count, and now I'm always expecting that kind of response. 
So yes, long distance is hard, yes we hate it, but with these people I want to share the positive: the constant communication, the support we get from each other, the little messages that make each other smile, when he stays up incredibly late (hello eight-hour time difference) so we can call... All these little things is what I want people to think about. Because yes it's is a pitiful situation, but in a way it does make the relationship ever so special and unique.

Trust is key

One of the strangest questions I go asked t when I talked about our relationship to someone was: 'So are you allowed to see other people in the meantime?' It took me a few seconds to gather my thoughts on that one! Although we are far apart most of the time, my boyfriend and I are not in an open relationship, and never even thought about it simply because this is not our vision of things. 
This anecdote leads me onto a major point: trust. To make a long-distance relationship work, you have to trust your partner. Not in the sense of trusting them to be faithful (that comes without saying), but rather trusting their vision of the relationship, their involvement, and the effort they will put to make it work. And so should they trust you. Long-distance relationships involve trusting that both of the partners want the same thing and have the same expectations from each other. If this trust isn't there, if you are unsure about what your partner wants or thinks about the relationship and what it involves, chances are that misunderstandings could arise. Be clear from the start, be trust-worthy and supportive, and expect the same of your partner to make it work. And it will!

Engaging in a long-distance relationship isn't for everyone. That much is true. However there are ways to make it work, and the good always outweighs the bad, by far. As I tell all the people that wonder how on earth we manage it, there is so much happiness in it, and I count my blessings for being in such a supportive and loving relationship - no matter how far apart we are.

Have you ever been on a long-distance relationship? What are your thoughts about it?


BEAUTY | Makeup First Impressions

Putting 'em to the test.

I haven't done a beauty review in ages, the main reason being that I buy very little makeup. I only really buy when something runs out, or if I desperately want a product. I have decided to do a little run-through of my current makeup routine using a few new products but also a couple of rediscoveries. 
Let's start straight away with the look.

Primer: Make Up Forever, Step 1 Skin Equalizer 
Foundation: Charlotte Tilbury, Magic Foundation
Mascara: Covergirl, Lashblast Fusion
Eye pencil: Urban Decay, 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in 'Stash'
Blusher: Benefit, Sugarbomb
Highlighter: Becca, Shimmering Skin Perfector in 'Opal'
Lips: Kat von D, Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in 'Lolita'

Recently I've been all about the khaki eye makeup. I have no idea why, but these past months I've set my mind on getting a khaki eye pencil. This colour really compliments brown eyes, and it a very appropriate shade for winter too. For my lips, I've been loving neutral shades and this Kat von D liquid lipstick has been my favourite for months now, although I haven't given you a proper review yet. Here are the products I have been testing out recently with a score out of five to measure their quality.

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer [2/5]

I am not a primer person. My makeup routine tends to be very simple, and I skip any step I can get away with. However I have been gifted a Make Up For Ever kit which included a mini version of the Skin Equalizer primer. It contains no oil, and in terms of texture is a lot nicer to apply on the skin than thicker primers (which most likely include lots of silicone.) However in terms of blurring the pores, I haven't seen that much of a difference, bearing in mind that I don't have issues with visible pores at all. However I do feel like the primer helps the makeup to last longer on the skin. 
Overall, I will happily use the primer (when I can be bothered!) but would no purchase it myself.

Benefit Sugarbomb Blusher [4/5]

This blusher is not new, I had it for Christmas a few years ago but because it is part of a set, I ended up rarely using it. However I picked it up a few weeks ago now, and have been using it almost every single day since. It is composed of four shades, all very light: an orange, a purple, a coral pink and a lighter pink. I usually mix all the colours together, which gives a beautiful coral shade with gold shimmer. It is a very subtle blusher, especially on 'darker' skins like mine, and gives a natural yet healthy look. The only downside is that because the colour is so light, I have found that it seems to fade a little throughout the day - the shimmer stays put, but the colour itself tends to disappear a little. That would be my only concern. It's a really good blusher overall and I would recommend it for light to medium skins - but not to dark skins!

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil, in the shade 'Stash' [4/5]

This is my second 24/7 eye pencil, and I have to see I really like this range and Urban Decay is a safe brand when it comes to the quality of products. The shade is a deep khaki with subtle gold hues, and it just looks amazing applied as eyeliner. It's such a quick and easy look, which I've been wearing a lot these past few weeks.
In terms of quality, the colour is really vibrant and pigmented, and stays on forever. The only reason I haven't given this pencil 5/5 is because I have noticed that the product can run a little in the lines under the eyes towards the end of the day, which is strange because my other 24/7 pencil doesn't do that at all. However I'd still totally recommend this range if you're looking for good eye pencils, mine have definitely become staples in my collection!

Covergirl Lashblast Fusion Mascara [3/5]

Back when I started getting into makeup, I remember that Covergirl mascaras were all the rage. All the French YouTubers I followed raved about these mascaras, but it's an American brand I never got the chance to try out. So when I went to the US last year, I decided to get one just to form my own opinion! Although I am not as impressed as I thought I would be, this is still a good drugstore mascara. It gives volume and separate the lashes nicely, but in terms of length it doesn't do as much. The wand is huge though, and I have a bit of trouble getting used to it although I'll still be adding it to my current routine.

Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, in the shade 'Lolita' [5/5]

You might not learn anything you with this one, as everybody has already been talking about how great the Kat von D liquid lipsticks are. The formula is amazing: pigmented shade, applies very easily on the lips, not too liquid nor too thick, doesn't feel uncomfortable and stays on for hours even when you eat.
This is the best liquid lipstick I've ever tried! I've used it so much throughout autumn and winter, so I'm looking into expanding my collection with a couple new shades. If you want a fuss-free liquid lipstick that you won't have to reapply three times a day and that feels very lightweight, this range is the one you're looking for!

What makeup products are you currently trying out?