BEAUTY | The Most Festive Shower Gel

Because Santa also needs to shower once in a while.

I love Lush. They always come up with the greatest products and formulas. And their Christmas ranges are usually my favourite every year. Thus, I have thought about treating myself to some Lush products recently, when my boyfriend made me the sweetest surprise. He knows I love Lush and Christmas, so he got me the Santa's Christmas shower gel! Incidentally, two days after I opened the parcel I ran out of my regular shower gel... coincidence? I think not.

Santa's Christmas is a foamless shower gel, which has a gel texture that cleans the skin beautifully without drying it out at all. The texture can be surprising at first, but it's actually really fun to use and feels really soft. The scent is just as awesome - it smells like old school cola bottle sweets, and reminds me of my childhood - these sweets were my absolute favourite!
You don't need much product for every use, and even though it doesn't foam up, a little goes a long way. If you treat yourself to this shower gel now, you'll probably have enough of it until spring comes!
Another fun thing about this shower gel is its colour - as you can tell it is red, but in fact it looks just as bright and cheerful on your skin. As you massage it into the skin it stays as vibrant as it is in the bottle, but don't you worry - it doesn't actually stain the skin and just disappears under the water. It's just another little fun touch that makes this shower gel special and definitely a great one for the festive season!

Have you ever tried Lush shower gels and soaps?


LIFESTYLE | Christmas in London

I told myself I would not go to Oxford Street this Christmas. And yet...

Every year, London becomes a flashing, sparkling feast around Christmas. We all know it gets super crowded. You can barely walk in the streets, you have to push your way through, you can't make two steps into a shop - so forget your actual Christmas shopping... But yes, we come back anyways because it just looks freaking amazing. 

So this late November, my friend Julie and I took a day trip to the capital, to visit a few places we like there. And guess who we bumped into?

Paddington Brown! The second cutest bear after Winnie the Pooh.
From what I have understood, there are a few 'Paddington Books' featuring this cutie around London. We saw one in Paddington station (of course) and this one here was in front of St Paul's Cathedral. If you've seen Paddington 2 - which I highly recommend, it is hilarious and will put a big smile on your face - you'll know that these curious books are actually a reference to the plot of the film. I wish we had time to go around London and find all the books. Gotta catch'em all!

The area around St Paul's and the City is always lovely to have a wander around - granted it's not the most Christmassy, but Julie and I often end up there anyways. It's a shame they haven't decorated the Christmas tree.

When you're there, make sure to talk around from the Millenium Bridge to the Globe, the Anchor and all the way to Borough Market - I had the best (and biggest) brownie ever there. I can't remember the name of the seller, but it's a little red stand in the middle of the market that sells lots of cheesecakes. I know, that's not exactly helpful. But do go to Borough Market and find the cheesecake stand. Then try their brownies. Yummy!

In the late afternoon, we made our way back to Central London and Oxford Street, to get our fix of Christmas lights. The streets were as crowded as ever, but we were so excited for the Christmas stuff that it didn't even bother us that much. Is that what we call the magic of Christmas?

If you're around there, do check out Selfridges. They've turned the whole shop into a golden disco ball and it just looks amazing. Also while you're in that street, have a look at the John Lewis windows. They feature Moz the Monster, which is the star of their Christmas ad this year, and I have to say they are the cutest windows I've seen so far

After we had a walk around Regent Street and its beautiful angel displays, and went to Liberty's Christmas shop, it was pitch black outside and that's the time we chose to head to Carnaby Street. And it was probably the best time to go there and see the street lights in their full glory.

The theme is Christmas Carnival, and it is a real feast for the eyes. Multi-coloured lights, giant parrots and exotic birds, flashing bunting and colour-changing lightbulbs... They really went all out this year. And this has proven quite popular: we could barely make our way through the crowds, but to be honest I was too busy looking up to see where I was going...
If there's one shop to check out there, it has to be the Irregular Choice shop. Amazing stairway, crazy shoe displays – I mean, the Santa heel shoes... – and the sales assistants look just as mad and colourful. A real curiosity!

After this mad rush around Carnaby, we went back to Paddington station to catch our train. I'll leave you with these amazing displays and hope that you're feeling super Christmassy now. And that your eyes are not hurting because of all these lights. (... Sorry about that.)

Have you ever been to London for Christmas?


LIFESTYLE | How To Get Into the Festive Spirit

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Can you hear Michael Buble's voice now? Because his songs have been stuck in my head for the past two weeks. As soon as November arrived, everything turned into a Christmas wonderland - the shops, the lights in town, the festive drinks, the presents and the warm jumpers... All this have made me so excited for December and the Christmas festivities. I have thus decided to share with you a post about one of the things that makes me really happy at the moment - how to get into the Christmas spirit!

Going for a festive coffee in your favourite chain

Now I am aware that we should always support independent cafés, but I can't help it - festive drinks in chains like Costa or Caffe Nero are my jam. I'm always excited to discover the new flavours that brands come up with each year. So far I have only tried the roasted hazelnut latte from Caffe Nero, and it's yummy!
These drinks are more expensive than the regular ones (and to be fair, they're often too expensive no matter how good they taste!) but once or twice up 'til December, going for a festive coffee or hot chocolate with a friend is the perfect way to enjoy a cosy winter afternoon after an intense Christmas shopping session.

Getting cards for your loved ones

Giving cards is still a great tradition in the UK, and I'm so glad because I think getting cards to your friends and family, but even co-workers, is a lovely attention at this time of year. There are many stores where you can find pretty cards, Clintons being one of my favourite. You can leave a personal note as well, and sometimes thoughtful words are more worthy than the biggest presents!
You could spend ages in the shops looking at all the different card designs - minimalist, sparkly, cute, sassy, traditional, with Santas, reindeer and Christmas trees... This year I bought a pack of cards from WH Smith, but I am also going to make my own cards for the most special people in my life. I'll share the DIY on the blog so stay tuned for that!

Decorating your home

Some might say November is still too early for decorations, but I strongly disagree (as you might have guessed!) To keep feeling festive even when you don't see the lights in the streets and the displays in the shops, you only have to make your home a little Christmassy to start with! 
I'm not suggesting getting a tree just yet, but putting up little fairly lights, a couple baubles or ornaments, and lighting a warm scented candle will make you feel like it's December already. I always recommend TK Maxx for great candles at a really good price, mine this year is a Spicy Cinnamon candle from the brand DW Home and it smells divine!

On your screens: Christmas music & films

One could say that it's totally acceptable to watch Love, Actually in June, but to me watching this film in the weeks leading up to Christmas has become a tradition I would never break! Everybody has their favourite film: The Holiday, Elf, The Grinch... It's the best opportunity to invite a couple friends or your significant other over for a Christmas film with biscuits and a good hot chocolate. Alternatively, you could organise a festive dinner to show off your best winter cooking skills, singing along to classics such as Last Christmas or All I Want For Christmas Is You. Yes, this is pretty much the only acceptable time for you to make your friends listen to Mariah Carey.

What are your favourite Christmas-related things to do as soon as the season arrives?


BEAUTY | My Autumnal Makeup Look 2017

My favourite time of year for makeup has arrived!

Every year, I've been posting a new autumn makeup on the blog. It's a little tradition that I like to keep, because it helps me keep track of what makeup I enjoy wearing at the same time each year. You can click here to see the previous looks I've done: my 2016 warm corals look and the 2015 dark lips look.

This year, I have brought back dark lips again - but they are matte this time! - with a quick and easy look that I enjoy wearing on the weekends. I tend to wear very minimal makeup during the week and avoid dark shades for professional reasons, so when the weekend comes, I love looking as autumnal as possible with brown shades under my eyes and dark red on my lips.

On my face, I used the Magic Foundation by Charlotte Tilbury to even out the skin - always good in the autumn, because the cold can easily cause redness here and there. This foundation is amazing (you can find a full review here) and gives you great coverage without being too obvious. To cover any extra imperfections, I use the NYX HD Studio Photogenic concealer, which is amazing. It reminds me of the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer in terms of texture and coverage, but for a fraction of the price. 
I set the foundation with the Stay Matte powder by Rimmel, which has been my go-to powder for years now.

Instead of using eyeshadow as I've done for the past couple years, this time I went for a classic look with eyeliner. I used to wear liner a lot a few years ago, but I've started to wear it less and less, however it's still a look I like to go for sometimes. I used my Kiko Precision Liner and drew a sharp wing as I always do.
On the bottom lash line, I used the Naked 1 Palette by Urban Decay to add a touch of autumn shades, creating a gradient with the shades Smog in the middle of the eye and Hustle in the outer part. To add even more glitter I used a Nocibé bronzy gold eyeshadow in the centre of the water line.

I then added some shimmery eyeshadow in the inner corner of my eyes and on my brow bone, using an individual Sephora shadow in the shade 72 Movie Popcorn. I added two good coats of mascara with the Bourgeois Volume Glamour mascara which is great for lengthening the lashes and separating them. Here is what the final eye look is like:

I'm all about the highlighter at the moment, I can never go without it. I've been using the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector almost every single day. I've got the shade Opal and it's a beautiful gold shade, a lot more gold than the classic Champagne Pop. As for blusher, I'm using my old UK Beauty coral blusher which is almost running out - I like this coral shade with tiny gold sparkles.

For the lips, I'm going for a matte liquid lipstick (even though the finish doesn't look matte in these photos, it really is a lovely soft matte shade.) I'm using the NYX Liquid Suede in the shade n.12 Vintage - I'm guessing in reference to the films noirs of the 1930s and the beautiful dark lips women wore in these productions. The application is easy but because the shade is so dark, you have to make sure you apply the colour evenly. It's such a pretty shade for autumn because it's more of a muted burgundy, rather tricky to describe and very unique. 

And that's about it for my autumnal look this year. It's far more minimal than last year's look, because I've been drawn to quicker, easier looks to create - but still with that autumn touch of gold and brown that I really like at this time of year.

What's your go-to autumn look? Do you enjoy wearing dark lipstick at this time of year?


TRAVEL | England's Smallest City

Tiny place, big cathedral.

Wells really is a tiny city. It got its title of City because it is home to a beautiful cathedral, but in truth it is the perfect size for a little weekend day out in the country. Let me show you in this post why Wells is worth a trip if you're around Somerset!

Of course, Wells Cathedral is the main attraction. Its square shape and flat top is very curious and unlike any other cathedral I've seen in England so far, but the facade is beautiful. The area is very peaceful as well, you won't see crowds of people flocking around like you would in Winchester for example. All the better to admire the building and its intricacies.

The Cathedral was built between the 12th and the end of the 15th century. The style is mainly Gothic, and the interior is particularly beautiful. It has been taken care of so well, that the building seems brand new. Unlike other cathedrals and churches which are often purposely very dark, Wells cathedral fills up with light, which makes it a warm and welcoming building to step into.

The arches of St Andrew's Cross in the far end of the nave are beautiful, and so it the ceiling in the Lady Chapel (last picture above.) The curves and arches all around the cathedral make it such a stunning structure to look at. I am a sucker for good symmetry and find it so aesthetically pleasing. Is it just me?
Right outside the Cathedral, you'll find Vicar's Close. An iconic little side-street, the oldest permanently inhabited street in Europe. And you'd probably want to live there too.

My friend Julie and I organised an impromptu photoshoot in Vicar's Close, because where could we find a cutest, more autumnal background for these photos?
I'm wearing my new midi skirt from New Look. I got it in the sales and it's the perfect autumn shade. Because it's such a statement piece I decided to wear with with a plain back top and my favourite jacket from H&M. A girl recently told me "you look like you're going hunting" as I was wearing this jacket, and yep I totally own this countryside look. (the hunting not so much though!)

For lunch, we went to a lovely pub in town called the City Arms. First of all: it is pink and very cute.

Inside, a whole part was dedicated to the restaurant and it was really cosy, with cushions and wooden tables. I went for lasagna, served with garlic bread (yum!) and a salad. It was really good and so filling that I didn't want anything for dinner that day.

The pubs and restaurants around Wells didn't seem very busy. It was lovely to spend time in a place that's not crowded, as opposed to Bath where the whole city centre is full of people most of the time. We had a really fun day out in Wells, saw a beautiful cathedral, and had a quiet pub lunch. Isn't that exactly how Brits do days out?

Have you ever heard of Wells? Do you enjoy visiting historical buildings?