Monday, 20 November 2017

How to get your beauty fundamentals prepared from Christmas party season


There are 5 weeks until Christmas. 5! I’m quite impressed with myself that I have bought one present, as usually I’m that mad woman running down Oxford Street on Christmas Eve trying frantically to think of ideas. However one thing I always plan for in plenty of time is the Christmas parties. Working both as a blogger and in a “normal” nine to five job means I get invited to lots of parties, which is awesome. Like most people I’ll have my outfits sorted in advance, and a fresh set of makeup looks all ready to go, however one thing I’m huge on is what I call the foundations for getting ready. You how the fundamentals; brushing your teeth, cleansing and hydrating your skin. Whilst pretty much every person does this, I’ve always been a stickler for making sure this is top notch. Without getting the fundamentals right, you’ll never feel 100% with your Christmas party outfit, as no matter how on point your highlighter is, if your skin is dull and lifeless, you’ll still see that. 

This last month has been pretty hectic and stressful for me, so I’ve really been upping the TLC factor when it comes to my beauty regime, so here my secret weapons to get the perfect base ready for those Christmas parties.

Deep Skin Cleansing

Keeping your skin clean, healthy and hydrated should be your number one beauty priority. A buildup of dirt, bacteria, pollution and makeup cause skin to dry up, look dull and lifeless and can speed up fine lines and wrinkles. I don’t know about you but trying to get everything off at the end of the day feels like such a chore. I feel like I sometimes have to double cleanse just to feel squeaky clean. Which is why I think there's been lots of talk about electronic cleansing tools this last year as getting everyday grime off if a universal problem and one people seem to be realising more. I think they are a great way to take your skin care to the next level. It’s almost like bringing some of that salon quality cleaning to your own bathroom. 

I’ve chosen the Philips VisaPure Advanced 2-in-1 device as the cleansing brush attachment has these super soft bristles which means that it doesn't scratch the skin as it cleans.

Actually by using it for 1 minute it is 10 times more effective at cleansing than cleaning by hand*.

Using the brush to really get everything cleaned off after removing makeup actually ensures that you are getting the best results out of your creams and serums, as it improves the absorption rate into the skin. Think about it, if there's traces of makeup still left on your skin, then thats a barrier against your serums. You use the brush with your favourite cleanser- I’m loving the Simple oil cleaner as it’s doesn’t irritate my skin and the oil base feels like it just strips away the grime. 

But what I love about this product, is that it has a second massage attachment for revitalising based on Japanese facial massage technique, Petrissage. This increases blood circulation and relaxes the muscles, which help reduce puffiness and the look of tired skin. I mean who doesn't love a massage? I actually sit on the sofa and use it to de-stress after work!

Black Friday is coming up this Friday which is always a fun time to get all those beauty products, electricals and clothes ahead of Christmas. Philips are having a huge Black Friday sale and the VisaPure Advanced 2-in-1 is on sale. It normally retails for RRP £187.99 but this Black Friday weekend you can get it on the Philips website during the sale for £112, saving you 40% here. I’d even say at that discount it would make a great Christmas present.

*Study conducted by Philips

However of course you can’t use it over your eyes, so I finish my cleanse by using a gentle eye cleanser and cotton pads. I can’t get enough of La Prairie Cellular cleansing water for eyes and face. I love it as makes my skin feel so soft and helps to improve its water-retention, which means my skin naturally retains moisture, staying more hydrated.


Finally I layer up my serums. After a deep cleanse I like to make sure my skin feels recovered and soothed, so I’ve been using Natural Spa Factory’s Skin Soother with Chilean Rosehip Oil. It honestly is so silky and thick, that it just soaks straight in. Also if you put it in the fridge before applying, boy does it make your skin feel alive! I’ve really felt like my skin is much softer since using it. But not only that, I use their new Eye Contour Serum with Hyaluronic Acid. This is actually from their new Christmas party range as it is designed to reduce visible puffiness and have a lifting effect on the eyes, which is just what you need after one too many late nights! Oh and it’s got gold glitter in it so that's always a winner with me.

Perfect Dental Care

But skin care isn’t the only thing I prep for when getting ready for parties. Teeth are a huge visual aspect of facial appearance and with all the photos that get taken I’m super conscious of how they look. I recently visited my Dentist for a check up and whilst my teeth are all in good order, he did say that I do brush too hard and that I should really think about swapping to an electric brush to avoid doing that. So I’ve upgraded to the new Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Deep Clean electric brush. It has an AdaptiveClean brush head which removes up to 10 times more plaque in those hard to reach areas vs my old manual toothbrush.

My teeth are coming out so much more cleaner, and whiter than before.

But you know what I love? That there are 5 different modes to choose from depending on what your goals or needs are: 

1) Clean – for a great every day clean 

2) White – removes surface stains to whiten teeth and personally a great one for Christmas party season

3) Sensitive – extra gentle mode for sensitive teeth

4) Gum care – gently stimulates and massages gums

5) DeepClean – three minute mode for an effortless deep clean- maybe helping remove all that extra red wine stains for Christmas dinner?

And you know what else? It holds it’s charge up to 3 weeks which is pretty darn good, as I personally hate faffing around with chargers. 

Oh and guess what, this is also in the Philips Black Friday Sale. The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Deep Clean is available at Philips.co.uk for £299 but today it's now down to £105 so I’d go grab it now.


But you know what else my dentist is really big on? Flossing. He raves and raves about it. But I hate it. I have always cut my gums and it hurts like hell. I hate floss. If you are like me, then oh boy do I need to tell you about my secret to round that! Say hello to the Philips AirFloss Pro. It’s flossing but without the horrible thread. You use either mouthwash or water and it shoots a powerful but fine jet between your teeth, getting rid of plaque and bacteria that brushing can't reach.

It’s also great for everyday before work as it only takes 60 seconds to complete.

I’ve never been keen on the idea of whitening my teeth as I’m so scared to damage them, so personally I think using the right tools is the best thing you can do to make your teeth beautiful and white. 

But need any more reasons? This amazing tool is also in the sale! Can we call it Black Fri-Yay sales? It was £165.00 but is will be available for £99 on Tuesday 21st November for one day only, saving you 40%. 

Christmas party season can be an expensive time with all the new clothes and beauty products, so I’d definitely recommend checking out the black friday sales on the Philips electricals as money saved there is extra money at the party bar!

This post was sponsored by Philips but all ideas, views and words are my own
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Thursday, 16 November 2017

24 Hours In Melaka, Malaysia


Malaysia was one of those countries that I obviously new about, but never thought about. In my mind it just sort of existed and I didn’t really have much desire to go to. Vague notions of KL, the Petronas Towers and a huge mall are what sprung to mind. Yet I found myself suddenly going to Malaysia for a day. Yes, I went to Malaysia for 24 hours.

Would I recommend doing that? Not at all. 24 hours to fly into a country and back out again is nothing, and it leaves practically no time to actually experience anything, but that’s a story for another day really.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

The Churchill Bar's Winter Terrace

The Churchill bar winter terrace, London

I'm someone who is forever changing my mind between whether I love winter or not. Walking to work in the morning when its barely above freezing, and I'm wearing a midi dress and courts is not exactly my favourite thing to do, yet when I get to sit with a hot chocolate, a hot water bottle and warming comfort food, I begin to like this season. Forgetting the first, the latter is what I want to talk about, as I've got the perfect winter terrace for you to head to this winter for all your warming comforts; The Churchill Bar's Winter Terrace

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Monday, 6 November 2017

OUTFIT: Not All Heroes Wear Capes ... Caffeine

Not All Heroes Wear Capes ... Caffeine Sweater

Gosh, it feels like I haven't done an outfit post in absolutely ages. I will admit I fell out of love a little with doing outfit posts for a while, as I didn't really like the whole fashion blogging movement. It started to feel really competitive and a little false, with it all being about designer wears and poses that looked like something out of mean girls "you can't sit with us". However lately I feel like I've found my flow again, and I get the vibe there is a turn towards more fun back into fashion blogging. 

So after a few late night online shopping sessions, I thought I'd show you my new favorite casual outfit I'm loving this autumn.
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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Shangri-La Doha Review

Shangri-La Doha Hotel Lobby

When it comes to choosing a destination to visit, the hotel is quite important to me. Not the be all and end all, as I’m definitely not someone who stays in the hotel all trip and never leaves, but I do want somewhere where I can relax, have some peace and yes, sometimes where I can have a good drink at the end of the day. When in Doha, the Shangri-La ticked those boxes for me.

The Shangri-La brand is synonymous with luxury, although you’d be hard pressed to find a hotel in Doha that wasn’t luxury, seeing as it’s one of the richest nations in the world. 

If you are one of the many people not convinced by this oil rich nation as a travel destination, you can read all about my week trip to doha here. But if you are already intrigued, here's an idea of where to stay...

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Qatar Travel Video: A Weekend In Doha

Qatar Travel Video: A Weekend In Doha

Qatar is very much an up and coming travel destination. Still mostly known for being a stop over airport, it is however on the rise. Being one of the richest nations in the world, it's a place quite like no other, and deserves to be seen in all the glory of color, sound and movement. That's why I've put together a video of my weekend in Doha so you can see exactly what it is like. 
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Friday, 20 October 2017

Doha, Qatar: Where Luxury Meets Culture

Breakfast On The Helipad Of The Shangri-La Doha

Qatar. Is it the first place you think of to take a holiday? It’s probably more likely the place you think of as your stop over on the way to your holiday. However in recent years, Qatar, and especially in the capital Doha, has spent billions on infrastructure to turn it into a tourist destination. 

I’ll be completely honest from the start. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. When you think of Doha, comparisons are always going to be made to Dubai, and Dubai is somewhere I’ve always avoided. I mean I like luxury, this blog is filled with top restaurants, beautiful spa’s and a fair few pricey cocktails, but Dubai’s “luxury” is on another level. It’s excessive to point it’s sickening and the city seems so void of any culture that isn’t about shopping, that I just get turned off. So worried I was that Doha would be this.

Spoiler alert. It’s not. But it is a luxury country, so first, on my weekend in Doha, I will take you to somewhere rather fabulous, as well, when in Rome....

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sir Adam Hotel, Amsterdam

The Butcher, Sir Adam Hotel, Amsterdam

Getting the other half to come away with me is something of a mission. However I have recently discovered the one way he will come- if it’s for work. There was a cyber security conference on in Amsterdam, so with a bit of poking, I got him to extend his stay to cover the weekend too. We were having our long over due mini break together. Hurrah. Only problem was I had just over a week to book a hotel, and well, turns out September in Amsterdam is rather busy.
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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

5 Quirky Places To Eat In Amsterdam

When it comes to eating out in Amsterdam, can often feel like a bit of a challenge. There are rows upon rows of restaurants, but with a mass of tourists coming each and everyday. How do you find something really special hidden amongst all those traps? 

I recently went and found 5 totally cool and quirky places to eat that you have to add on your Amsterdam Bucket List. Forget the normal, these will make your social media friends go wow.

Quirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

I Scream Waffle

I think the photo for starters says more than words could, but I'll waffle on anyways. Pun always intended. 

I Scream Waffle is a food stand inside FoodHallen, a hawker centre style food hall. The totally Instagram worthy treat is made from an egg waffle that the Chinese call bubble waffles, which is then filled with cream and toppings. I went for the Unicorn, because if I was going to go to, I might as well go all out. 

Quirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

FoodHallen

Speaking of FoodHallen, the marker is inside the De Hallen Amsterdam- a newly renovated tram depot which plays host to independent boutiques and traders. Inspired by the Hawker Centres, and our very own Borough Market, FoodHallen is buzzing with every type of cuisine you can think of. Theres sushi, Mexican, Moroccan and even a gin bar. I went for the mezze platter to share which was fanatic, but it's as much about the atmosphere as it is the food.

Quirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

Corner Bakery

This little cafe has got something of an Instagram reputation, as they serve the craziest freakshakes. Yes that is a milkshake with a donut on top. You'll be glad to know though that the menu is actually evenly split between indulgent such as pancakes and French toast, and then healthy grain salads and avocado on toast. 

The interior is also really cute too, making it a great place to grab a coffee, although at a weekend during peak times, be prepared to queue. 

Quirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

Aardbei Amsterdam - All Strawberry Everything

Such a cute little cafe, that is about as quirky as it gets. Aardbei or All Strawberry Everything as it's also known, is a cafe that only sells strawberry related products. Be that ice cream, cake, drinks. Everything is strawberry flavoured. I found it by complete accident as I was walking back to my hotel and had to pop in. Ok, tell a lie, they do (non flavoured) coffee. So pull up a chair, grab a slice of their really good bake cheesecake and people watch the world away. 

Quirky Places to eat in AmsterdamQuirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

The Butcher

The Butcher is actually across the canal behind Amsterdam Centraal station, however there is a free ferry every 5 minutes that takes all of 2 minutes to cross. It's actually a quite fun way to travel. Located in the Amsterdam Tower or Adam Toren as it's known, The Butcher occupies the ground floor with a very social vibe. The food is BBQ and Burgers and the drinks are strong which are very good but it's the vibe that makes it. There are sofas,  pinball machines and other retro arcade games, and on a Friday and Saturday there is live music. When I went it was more swing based music, which got people up and dancing around the bar. 

Quirky Places to eat in Amsterdam

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

OCCO at The Dylan, Amsterdam



Arriving in Amsterdam it was already dark. The weather had started to turn and we fancied something warm and inviting for dinner on a Friday night. 

When I was searching for hotels, I came across The Dylan, and whilst I didn't book it, I did book dinner in their Brasserie OCCO.  
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Palm Springs Spa At Four Seasons Ten Trinity


September was something of an anomaly for me. I took 9 plane journeys and visited 5 countries, and no I’m not a full time travel blogger. So can I get a #GirlBoss ? I’ve loved every moment of zipping around from country to country, exploring new places and soaking up the culture (and a fair few cocktails along the way), so keen to keep up the travel, I headed to the Four Seasons Ten Trinity as Palm Springs were hosting a spa evening to learn more about the gloriously sunny Florida destination.

I’ve been to the Four Seasons Ten Trinity before and raved about it. Everything from the d├ęcor, to the music, right down to the food and drink is exceptional. However I hadn’t managed to see the spa until now.


Whilst it may be located in the basement, don’t expect it to be dark and forgotten. Oh no. In fact they’ve pulled out the stops even more. From the reception area, bathed in gold, right through to the hugely spacious changing rooms.


It is however the pool area that draws a few gasps. It has to be one of the most stunning spa pools I’ve ever come across. Sadly as I was coming after work, I didn’t have time before my treatment to use it… excuse to come back right?


There’s eight treatment rooms at the Four Seasons spa, the pool, a sauna, a steam room and a couples treatment room. I’d opted for a salt scrub and massage that lasted 60 minutes. I’ve said it a dozen times ow on this blog, that I adore scrubs. This one contained Apricot Seed Kernels, Spearmint and Aloe Vera, and let me tell you, my skin was so soft afterwards, and even for about a week later, I could noticeably feel my skin was smoother. Even my boyfriend commented, which is a huge rarity, so take that as a sign it must be extra good.


I’ve never been to Florida so I was really keen to find out more information about this exclusive destination.  Palm Springs is famed for its shopping, amazing restaurants and of course spa’s. It’s the place to be seen, and spend a little cash on yourself. October is the month of wellness in Palm Springs, and so there will be some amazing offers available for you to book for spa and R&R holidays.


Settling down to dinner in the Rotunda Lounge to talk more about our favorite treatments and travels, the sound of an amazing live band started to play. They were fantastic and took any requests you through at them. 


Of course I had to start the evening with an Espresso Martini. I sometimes think I should branch out once in a while, it's getting a little out of hand now.


But not too worry, as food appeared. I went for the Burrata with tomato salad. Ohhh boy was it good. There is something so special about burrata, and the sweetness of the tomatos was an excellent accompaniment, 


There were many light dishes on the menu, but I was feeling the need for something just that little heavier. Yes a steak. Cooked in it's own skillet, it was charred but still pink in the middle just how I like it. 



However the main was slightly over shadowed by my discovery of an ice cream cart. Like a small child I lept up and asked for the biggest sundae they did. I asked our waiter if it was popular "Yes. With children..."



Let me hear a hell yeah for the best looking dessert of the evening. It was all my sugary dreams come true. Even if I did slip into some kind of food coma in the taxi home. I think I'm going to have to book a wellness break just to get over all this food!
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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Exploring Galle: What To Do In Galle, Sri Lanka


Galle is a southern, coastal city of Sri Lanka, and one of the largest cities in the country. Built up by the Portuguese in the 16th century after they came to make it their trade port for the countries spices. It was later developed further, in the 17th century by the Dutch who added fortification, most famously the Galle Fort. 

As part of my Asian travels a few weeks ago, I stayed in Galle for 3 days. As well as being known for it’s beautiful beaches and excellent surfing, it also has plenty of cultural points of interest and sites of exploration. Keen to experience a little bit of all of the above, I headed out to see what Galle’s must must do's were.

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Galle

The Japanese Peace Pagoda

A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa which is a monument with the intention of bringing world peace to all races and religions. Most peace pagodas were built following the atrocities of world war 2, with dozens being built around the world. The one in Galle is one of two in Sri Lanka and was used as a symbol of hope following the 2004 tsunami. 

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Galle

The pagoda also offers spectacular views across the bay.

Japanese Peace Pagoda, Galle
Galle Fort

Galle Fort

Galle Fort was built in 1588 by the Portuguese as part of their trade route, before being fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. Galle Fort is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites but actually is home to over 112,000 people.

Because of this, the fort is excellent for shopping for local goods, dinning and has some small luxury hotels, including the famous Gallery Fort Hotel.
 
Galle Fort Hotel
Galle Fort
Galle Fort

Because of the Dutch settlers, there are many Anglican style buildings and the church in the fort is Christian. As well as standing for hundreds of years since the Portuguese, Galle Fort also survived the 2004 tsunami.

Whale Watching in Galle

Whale Watching

If you are willing to get up at the crack of dawn, you can head out onto the (choppy) waters in search of whales. The coast of Galle is home to around 10 varieties of whale, although the most common seen is the blue whale.

The tours range from a couple of hours to a whole day which includes breakfast and lunch. Whilst whale sightings are common, it is usually glimpses of tails and tops of backs rather than spectacular Free Willie jumping style sights.

Also maybe take a sea sickness tablet or two depending on your stomach- the waters do get a little rough further out.

Whale Watching in Galle
Jungle Beach, Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is a "Secret" beach just a short drive away from the main town. I say secret like that as it was pretty busy, however, it was only locals there so its secret from the mass of tourists like other beaches in Sri Lanka. 

The beach gets its name from a steep winding path from the road, through the jungle. But what waits at the bottom is pretty awesome. Soft sandy beaches, and even a fully stocked beach bar serving (very strong) cocktails and the catch of the day.

The beach is actually on the way back from the Japanese Peace Pagoda- hence the full cover up attire- so kill two birds with one stone and make an afternoon of it. 

Jungle Beach, Galle, Sri Lanka
Jungle Beach, Galle, Sri Lanka

Roti in Galle Fort

Local Restaurants

Sri Lankan food is delicious if you didn't already know. From Roti to Hoppers, it has spice, sweet and everything in between.

I'm all about leaving the hotel complex and exploring the local restaurants. I'd say look up some reviews online first though as you'll want to check cleanliness ratings and definitely don't drink the tap water (or eat things like salad which could have been washed in tap water).

My personal recommendations are Galle Things Roti, a small cafe that has a set Roti menu. You pick your type of Roti, your filling and then your side of sambol.  Then there is The Shack Beach Cafe which is as you guest it, right on the beach and also doubles as a surf school. It doesn't serve traditional Sri Lankan food, but if you are looking for French toast or burgers in a hippie surfer vibe, it's definitely a winner.

The Shack Beach Cafe, Galle
The Shack Beach Cafe, Galle

Galle has some amazing offerings, and is rich in cultural heritage as well as opportunities to just relax and lazy on the beach. Whatever your preference, Galle, Sri Lanka has something for everyone.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Galle? Read my review of Amari Galle Hotel.
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