Trying Beauty Trends – Oval Brushes

Gone are the days where you put your make up on with your hands (I leave that for quick touch ups in public bathrooms). Now there are lots of things to apply foundation, concealer and contour.

I used to have a brush but when rushing in the morning I found I had brush marks, especially around my nose. After a few recommendations I went on to a Real Techniques sponge for my base and a range of Morphe brushes for my cheeks, brows and eyes.  However, I see oval brushes everywhere with a pretty high price tag for something I am not too sure about. I went for a wander around Primark and browsed through the beauty section. Surprisingly there are lots of great products. The one thing my eyes fell on were their oval brushes. I picked a small one up for £2.50 to see what all the hype was about.

I put a little of my foundation on my hand to massage into the brush. To be honest, I felt like it all disappeared. I used it across my cheeks and saw not much coverage. I was worried I would use too much product so I continued applying my foundation with my Real Techniques Miracle Sponge. Once it got to applying my concealer, I decided to try the oval brush again.
The feel of the brush is soft and not bristly. Despite not using it for the application, it was good for blending across your eyes ad nose. Was it worth the £2.50? Probably. Would I buy more oval brushes? Perhaps, but for now I am sticking to my Morphe brushes and my Miracle Sponge.

 

Weekend Lunch At Monty’s Deli – Hoxton Street

Monty’s Deli has been talked about for years when it was at it’s original spot near Maltby Street Market. I never had a chance to try it so we decided to try out their brand new home on Hoxton Street.


First things first, the decor is AMAZING. I love retro furniture and Monty’s did not disappoint. There was dar wooden chairs, tables and a big old fashioned bar in the middle. The whole place had a feel of what a jewish deli in the 60’s might have been like.


The lunch menu was simple, there were a few brunch items but I went for the main event – the sandwich. I had the Mensch with salt beef on rye bread and my boyfriend Andrew had the Reuben Special with salt beef, pastrami with cheese and sauerkraut. We shared a portion of fries too. The salt beef was so tender and melted in my mouth! The fries were cut thin with some skin still left on which made them crisp and tasty.


There was a takeaway section on the side of the restaurant which meant you could get a sandwich or bagel filled with delicious beef or salmon to take away. They also had plain bagels to buy in the bakery along with other things. One of my favourite sweet treats is Babka, the twisted dough with cinnammon or chocolate. The Good Egg in Stoke Newington does a really good babka, as does Bernstein’s on Chatsworth Road. However, Monty’s Deli does the best babka I have tried in London. If that isn’t reason to go alone, I don’t know what is!

Pixi + Caroline Hirons – Double Cleanse

I have had so many cleansers and creams to take my make up off in the past. Miscellar water or gel from Garnier was what I used the most as well as the dreaded make up wipe. I never found anything that managed to take full coverage make up off fully. I wanted something that could become a great addition to my skincare routine.

I use Pixi Glow Tonic on days my face needs brightening but i hadn’t looked at the other skincare until the Pixi Pretties collection came out. I am a follower of Caroline Hirons blog and Instagram and was so intrigued to try the Double Cleanse.
It comes in a huge circular pot that is sectioned into two halves – cleansing balm on the one side and cream on the other. I use a small amount of the balm and work it into my skin slightly with my hands. I then get the Real Techniques Miracle Cleansing Sponge, dampen it and rub the balm into my skin. The difference is incredible. It feels like it melts my make up off. I then do the same when adding a small amount of cream. The cream takes any of the excess make up left on my face.

I am honestly so impressed with the Double Cleanse. I recently had an allergic reaction to a new setting spray so I wanted to take make up off as soon as I got home from work. It was a nice way to Cleanse and I am still taking off my make up as soon as I get home as it’s made my skin feel vibrant, clean and soft.
On a side note, I highly recommend using the Real Techniques Miracle Cleansing Sponge. It’s great to use when cleansing and it’s really easy to clean and squeeze all of the make up out of it after each time you use it.
I’d really recommend the Double Cleanse as it’s made it a joy to do the boring task of taking my make up off.

Mary’s Milk Bar – Edinburgh

One of my favourite pit stops in Edinburgh was Mary’s Milk Bar. After looking it up online, I was excited to try some ice cream.


The exterior looked quaint with it’s stone brick work and its pastel retro sign. Once inside, it was a dream! Just like a parlour in the 1950s, there was lots of little quirks. The lights were ice cream cones, the colours were all pastel and ice cream colours. The furniture was kitsch and kooky.


The flavours were a little different to the usual that you would expect. I went for rose and dark chocolate. The taste was intense and delicious. I loved the feel and the atmosphere of the place. You also had a pretty special view of Edinburgh Castle.

There were bits to buy too. We picked up a carefully packaged bar of caramel chocolate. You could also get tote bags, jars of salted caramel and bags of chocolate shards.


Whatever the weather, if you are in Edinburgh you should definitely make a trip to Mary’s Milk Bar. I will definitely be back again!

Bank Holidays In Edinburgh

The Easter weekend is always a good one. Who doesn’t love a 4 day weekend? I made that a 6 day weekend and flew up to Edinburgh for two days before going to Newcastle to see some family and friends.


I had never been to Edinburgh before so I was excited to explore. We stayed in Tune Hotel at Haymarket. Although basic, it was everything we needed for two days and didn’t break the bank.

The castle was beautiful as the sun set on our first day. It wasn’t until the following day we went to look at it properly.


On Thursday night we headed to Malones, the pop up Irish bar that opened for the 6 Nations. It is still open and you can se why. Beer, a great outdoor setting but the highlight was the food. Pizza Geeks was serving up wood fired pizzas. There was even one with haggis on!

We also headed to some really interesting bars. Hoot The Redeemer was a small cavern of a bar full of arcade games and bright lights. There was even a vending machine for alcoholic ice creams! The best part of Hoot The Redeemer was the door, which was a Fortune Telling Game from a funfair. Just like Big!

Another bar we loved was Panda and Sons. You walked through what looked like a Barber shop window to get in, went down the stairs and opened a door that was disguised as a bookshelf. Inside was a basement bar full of tables and references to hairdressing and barbers everywhere.

Overall, I loved Edinburgh. I definitely want to go back and explore. We walked past lots of good looking places for food and beers. Every building looks unasuming but they are incredible when you get inside. Nomad coffee shop had a beautiful interior as well as a few others scattered in-between.

 

Networking At Cosmo’s Self Made Summit

When you think of Cosmopolitan magazine you might still think of pages full of sex tips and advice on “How To Please Your Man” but that is a thing of the past. Gone are the racy pages and you’ll see more about issues that are relatable. This would be things that you feel are really aimed at you. With the main audience being 29 or younger (amongst others), jobs and careers will be a popular factor. With cracking a career that is right for you in the current climate, they hit the nail of the head with their Self Made Summit. I headed to County Hall last Saturday.


The day started with registration and breakfast. We then had an introduction to the day by Farrah Storr, the editor of Cosmo. The first keynote speaker was Olivia Palermo, who you might recognise from reality show The City but she is a key influencer in fashion. She spoke about how she works, how much detail goes into her website, social media etc and gave out advice.


There were 3 sessions for everyone at the summit. The first I went to was “Make Me Famous: The Power Of Social Media To Launch a brand. The speakers were Hugo Taylor, Made In Chelsea Star turned business owner of Taylor Morris London, Alice Liveing founder of Clean Eating Alice, Youtuber, blogger and writer Louise Pentland and Jess Ronan, the Head Of Small Business at Instagram. It was interesting to see how people started and how they control their social channels. It was really interesting to hear from someone who worked for Instagram as it is seen as one of the most powerful social media channels.


The second session I went to was From Blog To Brand. The speakers were Rosie Fortescue from Made In Chelsea and owns her own jewellery line, Sam Chapman from Pixiwoo who you will recognise from Youtube and as an owner of Real Techniques brushes, Vlogger Fleur De Force and Sedge Beswick, the managing director of SeenConnects. Sam, Fleur and Rosie have used their blogs and websites to launch a career, build a brand and assist with social media and content. There was a mix of planning and those who post when they have something to post.


Lunch was such a pleasant surprise! I was expecting sandwiches and nibbles but instead got a bento box with lemon chicken, salmon, spiralised veg, potato cakes with haloumi and olives. It was all delicious, light and helped make the day feel special. If you wanted to feel even more special, there was lots going on to pamper you. There were hair stylists on hand, you could get HD Brows, get a manicure, get your make up done and more! If you wanted a decent headshot you could get some for free! There was even an option to get a monogrammed leather purse from Mon Purse!

The second keynote of the day was Katherine Ryan. She spoke of the struggle she had when first starting out and how she worked hard to get to where she was.


The third session of the day was “Turning Your Hobby Into Your Dream Job” with Alfie Deyes. You might know him as PointlessBlog and boyfriend of fellow YouTuber Zoe Sugg (Zoella). I myself am a big fan of PointlessBlog and other YouTubers so I was excited to hear him talk. He spoke about how he started and how he copes with the work, the fame and how to handle it. I may have shamelessly gone and asked for a selfie at the end but I truly admire someone who puts their life out there so publicly.


The overall thoughts of the day was positive. I met some great people, made friends and networked. I got to hear from some people I really admired. The speakers that made my day were Sam Chapman and Louise Pentland. They were down to earth and came across as so friendly and lovely. Louise is a massive inspiration to me, working hard, keeping a work/life balance and writing a book. Ultimately that would be my aim.


I am so happy I went to the Self Made Summit and I would urge people to check out Cosmo events. As well as all the amenities, the great goody bag and food – I met fabulous people and got a lot of it. THAT is how you host an event!

Steak In Warsaw – Butchery & Wine

Warsaw was a great trip for food and drink. We headed to a few bars that were full of vodka. We then headed over to Butchery & Wine which was near our hotel.

When looking at steak restaurants in London, the price tag is pretty hefty. After a trip to MASH a few years ago, I found it was overpriced and unseasoned. It put me off a little.

Butchery & Wine was not like that at all. The setting felt a little fancy yet reserved. The dim lighting and cut back decor made it romantic and perfect for a date night.

I started with short rib croquettes with a harissa sauce. Andrew had the steak tartare. Both great pieces of meat and tasted delicious.

As Warsaw was so cheap, it meant we tried what we might not have one in London. A chateaubriand was really good value and I was so glad we had it. Pink in the middle, crisp on the outside.

The great thing about going out in a couple means sharing food is a lot more acceptable. A chocolate fondant between the pair of us meant we had a bitterly sweet dessert without being taken over by the rich flavour.

Poland is perfect for when you want to go somewhere and not spend too much. With wine, two starters, a chateaubriand, sides, sauces, a shared dessert and service, you would expect it to be quite expensive. Not this time around! All of that at Butchery & Wine was about £90! I would definitely recommend but see if you can book beforehand, just incase.

Ramen In Warsaw – MOD

I love a city break. It usually means I can throw a couple of holidays into the year. I had been to Krakow when I was younger but we were excited to go and explore Warsaw. After looking up places to eat and drink we came across MOD. It was a doughnut shop by day and a ramen place by night – what could be better?


Fusion food might seem a little over the top but some go so well with Asian foods and flavours. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the flavours that came out.

I started with beef bourginion dumplings. It was full of flavour and had cheese sprinkled all over them. The taste was really good but part of you got confused thinking it was going to be full of soy and saltiness.

My boyfriend Andrew loves ramen. I reckon he would have it every day if he was allowed. Mod had high standards to reach and they did not disappoint! My ramen dish was duck. It was rich and full of flavour. Andrew had a lot more spice with his minced chicken.

To finish it all of we shared a chocolate tart with miso cream. Again, rich, lots of depth with flavours mixed together.


The decor was pink, marble, dark wood and potted plants everywhere so it felt very East London. It felt warm, welcoming and we left feeling full and happy. It was amazing value for money too. As a lot of Warsaw was so cheap; for starters, mains, a shared dessert, wine and service, we spent around £20 a head!

If you are in Warsaw then you should definitely head to MOD. We didn’t get a chance to go in the day time for doughnuts but they look a little like Crosstown Doughnuts.

Being A Tourist In My Own City – London

I have a love/hate relationship with London. Being from the outskirts, I am used to the tube, the sights and everything in between.

Working in Soho means I usually steer clear of central on a weekend all together. If possible, I try and stay in Hackney, going as far as Liverpool Street.

When we have family visiting, it’s usually a time that we can see a few sights. This weekend was no exception.

We did the classics; Borough Market, Tower Bridge, The Southbank, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden. Sounds like a lot for one day but not all that far from one another.

It was nice to see London through a tourists eye. To be honest, I can walk through these places so quickly because I have seen it all before. London really is beautiful and it’s so easy to take it for granted.

The Southbank is one of my favourite places in London. It may be touristy but it feels laid back. There’s kids running around, tourists taking pictures, music playing and incredible views.

When you are next in the city, take a second to look up at some of the great buildings and architecture. It’s the true heart of London that can take your breath away!