6 Autumn Beauty Essentials

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Unsurprisingly, my birthday season is in my opinion one of the best times of year. What more could you ask for than pumpkin flavoured everything, orange leaves all over the ground and new hats and scarves! This does also mean that my skin gets very dry, very quickly. With dots of eczema here and there, I also have to be pretty careful with what I use, so I’ve gathered up my favourites so that hopefully you find a couple new favourites too!

  • La Roche-Posay Ultra Fine Scrub
    • One to use sparingly, this lovely little tub of scrub is great for sensitive skin. Most scrubs are quite harsh on my skin but this one is just soft enough that I feel like my face has been thoroughly cleansed but I haven’t scratched off an entire layer of skin…

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  • Neal’s Yard Almond Oil
    • Now i know I’ve mentioned this one a few times on this blog already but it’s only because this is my skin saviour year on year. It’s the only thing that can manage my eczema and goes on perfectly after something like the scrub above.

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  • Lush BIG Shampoo
    • A must have if you’re a fan of scented shampoos. I switch between this and more moisturising shampoos as I find this slightly dries out my hair (not always a bad thing) but the texture is so nice, with salt flakes that foam up. I also cannot begin to explain how good this smells – and you can really smell it even after having dried your hair, and the day after. No joke. I love this.

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  • Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion
    • I got this as a gift from my aunt and didn’t use it for a while as I was getting through a big tub of Neutrogena that I was determined to finish up. I now wish I had switched to this ages ago. Although on the pricier side, this moisturiser is thick but not too thick, smells good but not too strong, sinks into the skin but not too much… You get the idea.

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  • OGX Argan Oil shampoo
    • Like I was saying with the Lush shampoo, this is what I use when I feel my hair needs that extra little bit of love. I notice stronger and softer hair right after washing and I feel this really gives my hair the refresh that it needs when the weather keeps changing so much.

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  • Origins Drink Up mask
    • Although I’m always tempted by that gorgeous gold Origins mask that peels off, I can’t help but reach for this one every time. After being sick for a few days recently I was completely dehydrated and overnight my skin dried out. Using this once before the shower and following it with a thin coat of my trusty E45 – good as gold.

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Let me know what your top autumn picks are and please do check out my first autumn vlog below🙂

Guy Fawkes in Sussex! [Vlog]

As you probably know, I’ve been trying to get more creative recently (mid-year resolution). Having already worked on my sketching and gardening, this month I decided to pick up my dad’s camera and make little videos/vlogs of recent weekend trips.

Hopefully you’ve already seen last week’s Brighton vlog (click here if you haven’t) but this weekend my family and I joined up at my grandmother’s house in Sussex to visit the Littlehampton bonefire and parade along the beach! An amazing bonfire too… Hope you enjoy!

Terre à Terre, Brighton | Restaurant Review

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During our recent day trip to Brighton, I was very excited to head back to my favourite vegetarian restaurant, Terre à Terre.  Although quite pricey for Brighton standards, I have great memories of coming here with friends during uni and having the sharing platter as an entire meal – both because that was all we could afford and because it was plenty of food!

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It’s a bit of a shame that they’re renovating the outside as I completely walked past the restaurant twice without spotting it, but once we finally walked in, I was immediately making Christmas lists from their wall of local honeys, oils and jams.

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In order to not break tradition, we started with the sharing plate of baba ganoush, rice balls, fried tofu, kale, polenta fries… The list goes on. It was absolutely amazing but a rookie’s mistake as we were both completely full after this alone.

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This was swiftly followed by a main of gluten free Thai rice balls on a peanut and kohl rabi salad which I still managed to finish somehow. Boyfriend on the other hand, went for the battered halloumi which was not amazing. It was nice how they made it look like fish & chips but it was very heavy and quite plain, especially compared to the dish that I ordered.

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Overall, the meal as a whole did not disappoint. I wouldn’t recommend going for the battered halloumi but everything we saw on other tables looked amazing too. Friendly staff, organic beers, delicious wine, delicious food… We’ll be back soon🙂

Check out my video on the whole day here:

4 lessons from turning 24

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Last weekend I celebrated by 24th birthday at home in Belgium, and it was the first year that I felt a touch of nerves at not being able to avoid being an adult anymore. This has been the most fast-paced year I’ve had and although there have been a few tough moments, I feel like I’ve jumped from 15 to 24 and learnt an incredible amount along the way. Which is why I’ve listed below some of the things I wish I had known this time last year:

There’s no need to be perfect

Something I’ve been struggling with for way too long. I’ve learnt that I have created a very perfect person that I expect myself to be, and yet know that it’s impossible to achieve. At the end of the day, the people around you like you for who you are…. And the ones who don’t are probably just fighting their own demons and are welcome to go do that far away from you.

Don’t stress over things that haven’t happened yet

Because they honestly might not. My parents always told me this quote that went “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened” and I’ve never related to it more. I’ve had entire weeks ruined because I’m stressed about something that might potentially go wrong at work. And whether it’s a future argument between colleagues or a project you really don’t want to work on – don’t waste your energy stressing on the would/should/coulds

You come first

Working full time in a busy (slightly crazy) environment has really taken its toll on me. At first, I took things at work so personally that every challenge felt like it was live or die, and if I couldn’t get something done well enough or on time, I was a failure. Luckily I noticed just in time that I was getting close to insanity, and with the help of my family I took the time to step back and reconsider where I was and what I was doing. Conclusion: my health, both mental and physical, is my priority – and at the end of the day the world will not stop turning if I’m not the hardest working employee that ever lived.

Nothing comes before family

Not really a new one, but a golden rule. I think that having moved around as kids really solidified my relationship with my brothers and my parents because we were all we had in strange new places. Living a country away from my parents now, I recognise more than ever that they’re my biggest fans.

Here’s to the next year of trying to follow these tips, I’ll let you know if I manage…!

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A Trip to Café Monico, Shaftesbury Avenue

Another new favourite of mine in central London – Café Monico is a new brasserie by Soho House that is just in the centre of Shaftesbury Avenue. Recommended to me by a colleague, I couldn’t say no after scrolling through their menu.

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Having arrived early (as usual), I started the evening waiting for my boyfriend at the bar downstairs with a glass of wine and just loved the people watching – the atmosphere was buzzing with business men and women standing around with plates of charcuterie and cocktails.

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We were seated upstairs on the rounded balcony where a waiter asked us of any allergies. I mentioned I was gluten-free but said that I was used to picking the right things from menus so not to worry. When my steak tartare arrived, the man kindly brought over some gluten-free toast with it! It’s little things like that which make me very happy🙂

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As a main course, we both had the moules frites which, as you can see, went down very quickly. The garlic and wine sauce was one of the best I’ve had. At this point, you could tell that the plays in the area were ending as the place filled up and the waiters were getting more and more difficult to reach. However, it was a lovely evening with lovely food and lovely wine and I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

Sleeping Like a Pro

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Completely out of the blue, I recently went through a bout of sleepless nights. And I don’t mean tossing and turning for a couple hours, but the whole shebang: awake all night, counting sheep, trying to bore myself to sleep with philosophy books… Until I got so angry that I gave up on sleep as a concept.

Note: counting sheep does not work.

I think that the reason behind it all was stress, but I found a few things along the way that really helped me get back into the rhythm of regular sleeping. I found that a bedtime routine is the best trick, so here are a couple of my tips for getting ready for a good night’s sleep.

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  • Camomile tea

The first thing I do when getting ready for bed, particularly when I’m not feeling very tired is to make myself a hot cup of tea; either good old camomile or Clipper Snore & Peace. Particularly when it’s getting cold outside, I find this is the cosiest way to tell my brain that I’m winding down for the night. (tip: this Anthro mug is on sale right now!)

  • Candles

Yes, it’s an addiction. At this point I have about four candles that I alternate depending on my mood, and unsurprisingly, the one that works before bed is the This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly candle. This one has the perfect mix of camomile and lavender scents that help with the zoning out process.

  • A good book

Although not exactly relaxing, I’m currently reading a Peter James thriller. It’s a page turner and I look forward to reading it every night so it works for me, and I’m desperately trying not to watch TV in bed so I find thrillers do the trick.

  • Pillow Spray

Anther This Works product, the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray has become an absolute favourite. No idea how it works but I really do notice that it helps me fall asleep. It also has a slightly different scent to the candle so I often use them together.

  • Sleeping pills

Last resort: take a pill. Going to bed after a few restless nights is a horrible feeling, and sometimes the stress of desperately wanting to fall asleep can keep you awake itself. When I get into this kind of rut, I tend to take the herbal version of Nytol. It was recommended to me by a friend and although I’m sure the non-herbal one works better, those always make me a bit nervous so I try to stay away.

One last note: it’s not currently in my daily routine but if you’re struggling with sleep I could not recommend meditation enough. It can be unbelievably difficult to switch off from your thoughts, but forcing yourself to do it for short moments through mindfulness makes a really big difference. Check out the Headspace app for an easy intro into how to make it a routine.

Try these out and let me know if you have any more recommendations🙂

Sleep well!

Two Weeks in Sicily

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Villa Elena was an absolute dream. Up at the top of a hill in the middle of rural Sicily – the villa had views over all of southern Sicily, and the pizza oven was definitely a plus too.

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Arriving to my brothers swimming in the pool and my dad cooking pasta made it feel like we were definitely in Italy, and the jetlag (from waking up for a 5:00 flight) suddenly disappeared.

Days on end at the pool were so great, but I would have to say that the highlight of the trip was a day at the Masseria del Feudo vineyard – filled with endless food, wine and wine…!

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To no surprise the food was definitey the highlight of the trip, and although I felt horrible from the sheer amounts of food that I ate on some days, I have to say that the gluten free pasta from a brand called Barilla was really the best pasta I’ve had in years – tastes like normal pasta.. Who would have thought?? (FYI: sunglasses are the RollRights from Taylor Morris)

img_20160910_191440Although September was pretty late for a summer holiday, it made for perfect pool weather, tanning on our golden swan, and tanning weather for a pale kid like me :)There was also a stunning daily sunset that turned all of the views into a dark orange!
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Home Comforts

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There’s nothing better than a bundle of home comforts after a bad day at work. I’ve collated my most needed, most used and most loved for those times where you feel like you’d rather hide under the blankets and take a break from the world!

Capri Blue Aloha Orchid Candle:

One of  my favourite things to do when I walk in the door after a long day is to turn on the TV and light some candles. My favourite one this summer has no doubt been Aloha Orchid  from Anthropologie. It brings me straight back to lovely childhood memories of being on holiday, and makes my whole living room smell fresh and homey.

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Nespresso:

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a slight coffee addict… My bright red Nespresso machine gets turned on first thing every morning, and is always the first step to a cosy moment at home.

Sketching:

The perfect way to zone out – turn Netflix on and get the sketchbook out. Pinterest usually works for some inspiration and I then go from there. I’m not particularly good at this but I like doing it and just hide all the really bad ones into my booklet🙂

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Gardening:

A bit of a new obsession since moving into a flat with a balcony, gardening is now my happy time🙂 I started by growing a few little lavender and strawberry plants, and now I’m on to chilis, tomatoes, sunflowers… You get the picture.

Headspace:

Dealing with pretty regular and random bouts of anxiety can make me feel pretty horrible at times. Something that definitely helps manage my daily stress levels in particular is an app called Headspace. It’s free to download and has a 10 step guild to meditation (made easy). They’re each only 10 minutes so it’s not too difficult to dedicate the time. I usually do it just before leaving for work to help my overall frame of mind.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on🙂

Slow Cooked Lamb with Kale & Leek Salad

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If you haven’t yet heard of the Hemsley sisters, you’re missing out. After they created a complete spiraliser craze a couple years back, I was one of the first to pick up their cook book ‘The Art of Eating Well’ and it’s become my new food bible. Most of their recipes are low carb and gluten free, and they talk you through fresh ingredients and the best produce you can use for each dish.

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This Sunday was the perfect day (aka TV & laundry day) to test out their slow cooked lamb and we enjoyed it so much and I thought it would be rude not to share…

The recipe is pretty simple: add garlic, anchovies and thyme to lamb and leave it covered in the over for 3 hours.

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The kale & leek salad needs to be done at least an hour or two before serving, as you mix it with olive oil, mint and lemon, which helps soften the kale over time.

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Try this out and let me know what you think – if you like it I’d also recommend their ragu or curry with coconut rice recipes, or my cucumber salad that was inspired by this book.Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 20.31.09

Bon appetit🙂