London

Vinegar Yard London Bridge

December 2, 2019
Vinegar Yard London Bridge

These photos were also taken by Noe on the same Sunday we took photos around Maltby Street Market. Afterwards we wandered down to Vinegar Yard which is a massive outdoor space with lots of quirky stalls.

Vinegar Yard is on St Thomas Street and just across the road from London Bridge station. I love the bright exterior, it really contrasts with the grey sky and the buildings in the background.

At Vinegar Yard there is a vintage market which is held over the weekend, pop up food stalls and a massive garden with views of the Shard. There is also a bar which serves craft beers and in the summer people enjoy their food and drink in the garden. The vintage market is covered so I didn’t get rained on, as is part of the seating area.

Vinegar Yard London Bridge

Vinegar Yard is open daily from 12pm – 10:30 / 11pm and it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours after work or at the weekend. I think people who work in the area probably grab something for lunch from one of the pop up food stalls.

Vinegar Yard London Bridge

I even made friends with the resident cat!

Vinegar Yard London Bridge

Have you ever visited Vinegar Yard in London? Is there anything similar where you live?

Just a quick note. I wasn’t sure if I was going to mention it. RIP to the two victims of last Friday’s terror attack. My thoughts go out to all the others who were affected. I also hope those who were injured make a speedy recovery. I’ve been reading about the two victims who sadly died and they made the world a better place whilst they were in it. I also want to commend the bravery of the police and the public who apprehended the terrorist. My thanks also goes out to the emergency services.

Beauty

The Ordinary Skincare Haul

November 29, 2019

The Ordinary Skincare l-r Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, – buy | Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% – buy | Lactic Acid 5% – buy | Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – buy

I’ve only bought one product from The Ordinary before but it worked well for me. I really like the company’s ethos of cutting out all the fancy packaging and marketing and focussing mainly on the quality of the products. Afterall, word-of-mouth recommendations can be the best marketing tool. The Ordinary have 23% off until the end of November so I recommend trying some products if you can! I’ve started using the products but not for that long so far, so I will review them separately.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – buy

Over the winter by skin often gets drier. Hyaluronic Acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water. Usually the molecule size is too large to penetrate all layers of the skin, but The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 combines three forms to penetrate all levels. I’m hoping this combined with a moisturiser will banish winter dryness!

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% – buy

I’ve been using The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid for the longest amount of time. It promises to brighten skin and improve its texture. I usually apply it in the evening and when I wake up my skin is plumper. I suffer from redness and I am hoping over a longer period that will improve, but I shall keep you updated.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% – buy

The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid which acts as an exfoliant. It’s gentle to the skin and contains Tasmanian pepperberry to combat any irritation caused through exfoliating. I find in the winter my skin is drier and a manual exfoliant is often too abrasive and leaves my skin feeling sore. At the same time, it gets more flakey so I definitely need to exfoliate. I’m hoping The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid is the gentle exfoliant my skin needs!

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – buy

The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% acts to reduce the signs of blemishes and regulate the skin’s sebum production. I don’t really get that spotty but I find around my period my skin looks more congested. I usually use something to dry it out a little but as I said, in the winter I get drier skin and it’s just painful to use something that dries out spots. I’m hoping regular use of The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% will keep my skin under control.

The Ordinary’s products are not tested on animals and most of them are vegan, nut-free, silicone-free and oil-free. Most of their products range between £4 – £10 and for that price people can access skincare with ingredients not usually available at that price point.

Have you ever used anything from The Ordinary?

Beauty

My NARS Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Collection

November 28, 2019
NARS Red Velvet Matte Lip Pencils Consuming Red Cruella Dragon Girl

l-r NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in Consuming Red, Cruella and Dragon Girl

I have a few NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils in various red shades so I thought I’d do a little round up. To be exact, I have three. I have the lip pencils in the shades: Consuming Red, Cruella and Dragon Girl. I thought it’d be interesting to compare them though and do a quick little round up.

Whilst having three red lip pencils might seem excessive to some, they’re the only red lip products I own. I really like the formula and the fact it comes in pencil form. It applies precisely and I feel with bold colours that’s really important, especially as I don’t always have the time to line my lips first.

All NARS lip pencils retail for £22.

So here is my post comparing NARS Consuming Red vs Cruella vs Dragon Girl. I included a brief overview and swatches, but I provided links to each individual review which is longer and has more pictures including what they look like on the lips.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red

Buy it here

Firstly is the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red. Consuming Red is an ever so slightly warm-toned dark red. It’s so vampy and perfect for a Christmas party. It sits well on the lips and although has a matte finish, it’s not at all drying. It lasts around six hours on the lips. Read my full review of the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella

Buy it here

Next up we have the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella. It’s a bit brighter than Consuming Red and leans more blue-based (although only slightly) so it makes the teeth look whiter. I definitely find this one easier to wear during the day time as it’s not as dark. Cruella is definitely the one for anyone wanting a classic red. Read my full review of the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl

Buy it here

I remember blind buying NARS Dragon Girl as I had some vouchers for an online store and wanted to try it. When I first applied it I was a bit disappointed. It’s very much a pinky-red and not the red-red I was after. But to be honest, it has really grown on me. The pink base makes it really wearable, and it’s a real warm weather summer colour, you know? It fades evenly to a really nice pink too! To find out more about NARS Dragon Girl in more depth, you can read my full review of the NARS lip pencil in Dragon Girl.

Do you own any lip pencils by NARS? What do you think of these ones?

London

Maltby Street Market London

November 26, 2019
Maltby Street Market London

Maltby Street Market in London is one of my absolute favourites. It opened in 2010 in the Bermondsey area (so local to me). It’s under the railway arches which really adds to the urban atmosphere, and it sells all kinds of food to line your stomach with before moving on to the Beer Mile!

Maltby Street Market - Ropewalk London

Maltby Street Market is on Ropewalk and the nearest underground stations are either London Bridge or Bermondsey.

I went on a rather rainy Sunday morning (typical for London). But it didn’t dampen my spirits. Maltby Street Market is the place to go if you are into your food. It’s a foodie paradise. I wanted more pictures of myself for my blog so I asked Noe to take them. I’m so self conscious in front of the camera but she’s lovely and made me feel comfortable. She also took the photos of all the food in this post. The food was absolutely delicious and I think you’ll agree, she did a great job of capturing that.

Anyway, more on Maltby Street Market, London. Maltby Street is lined with food stalls, and there are also some wine bars and restaurants onsite for those wanting to shelter from the rain.

Bad Brownie Maltby Street Market London

I so recommend trying some brownies from Bad Brownie if you can. I adore their peanut butter brownie!

Maltby Street Market London

The dessert in the top picture looks like eggs in an egg box, with scoops of jam and icing smothered on the top right? Surprise! It’s actually a waffle with handmade sauces.

Maltby Street Market London

The market stall trader let me try a sample, so I willingly obliged! I had the salted caramel sauce and it was really tasty.

Maltby Street Market London
Waffles Maltby Street Market London

Maltby Street Market does not just sell desserts for those with a sweet tooth though. You can find all sorts of foods here, from scotch eggs to hot dogs.

Hot Dog Maltby Street Market London
Maltby Street Market London

There’s even a fruit stall for those wanting to pick up some healthy snacks…

Apple Maltby Street Market London
Maltby Street Market London

As it is right by the Bermondsey Beer Mile (I’ll sure do a post on that at some point), some of the local breweries actually sell their beer at Maltby Street Market. Here’s a few bottles and cans from Brew By Numbers.

Brew By Numbers Maltby Street Market
Maltby Street Market Ropewalk London

Getting to Maltby Street Market – Ropewalk, London

As I said before, the nearest underground stations to Maltby Street Market – Ropewalk, London is either London Bridge or Bermondsey.

Maltby Street Market Opening Times

Maltby Street Market is open from 12pm – 2:30pm Friday, 10am – 5pm on Saturday and 11am – 4pm on Sunday. It’s best for foodies, those looking to grab something to eat before or after the beer mile, or those looking to meet up with friends for a lunchtime glass of wine.

Maltby Street Market London

Don’t mind me. Just gazing lovingly at the railway arches. I mean, I’ll definitely come again. Do you have any markets like this where you live?

As mentioned, my photographs were shot by the very talented Noe Solange, you can see more of her work here.

Books

On My Bookshelf – December Reads

November 25, 2019

In case you haven’t guessed already. I like to read a lot. A few weeks ago I read three books in one week. I like picking a cosy coffee shop or pub at the weekend and spend a few hours (or more) reading. Sometimes I read on my lunch break or before bed too. These are a few books I have on my bookshelf to last me for the rest of the year.

Zadie Smith – On Beauty

I’ve wanted to read some of Zadie Smith’s books for a while. On Beauty is about a pair of feuding families. It explores what life does to love. I’m guessing it also talks about family life.

Jean Hannah Edelstein – This Really Isn’t About You

This is a memoir about the author’s decision to return home after she receives news of her father’s terminal illness. I can imagine this one is going to be really quite heartbreaking. If it’s a tearjerker it’s probably not one I will read in public!

Kevin Kwan – Crazy Rich Asians

I know a film has come out about this book but I’ve not seen that yet. This is a romantic comedy novel loosely based on Kwan’s own experiences. I think this’ll be a nice read over the festive period to get all the feels.

Holly Bourne – The Places I’ve Cried In Public

After reading and loving How Do You Like Me Now? I thought I’d pick up another book by Holly Bourne. This one is more a teenage fiction book about toxic relationships. I’m hoping I’ll still enjoy it, even though I’m a little bit over the intended age range.

Click to read my review of Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me Now?

Emilie Pine – Notes to Self

I’ve had this sitting on my wish list for ages and finally decided to take the plunge. This brings together six essays reflecting aspects of being a woman today. It’s taken from the author’s own experiences and talks about family relationships and her own infertility. So excited to read this.

Tayari Jones – An American Marriage

This is another that has been sitting on my wish list. This explores the effects of a miscarriage of justice on a young African-American’s marriage. It’s narrated by Celestial and Roy and their close friend Andre, and I think this writing style coupled with the story line will make for a really interesting read.

Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think of them?

Books

Review of Holly Bourne – How Do You Like Me Now?

November 22, 2019
Holly Bourne How Do You Like Me Now

How Do You Like Me Now – Holly Bourne – Click to Buy

I bought Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me Now? about a fortnight ago and absolutely devoured it in a few days. I guess that should give you a little insight as to how the review will go.

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’

Tori Bailey – How Do You Like Me Now?

How Do You Like Me Now? follows the story of Tori Bailey; a successful author whose self-help book “Who The F*ck Am I?” inspired women do follow their own intuitions. On the face of it, she lives a perfect life. She has a success career and jets around the world giving talks, a home in London and a good relationship – and she’s only 31! However, Tori often feels she does not reflect her character in her self-help book. She thinks there are a lot of things in her life she needs to fix.

I think everyone can relate to Tori in some way. She’s not always likeable but she’s always authentic. In the story at one point she acknowledges her jealously of her best friend, and on other occasions she gets too drunk and says things she probably shouldn’t. Haven’t we all? Throughout the story and her interactions with other characters, things start to unravel and you realise her life is not as happy as it appears on the surface. Especially with her relationship. She needs to face her problems head on, but somehow finds an excuse not to. Throughout the story you’re wondering whether she eventually will.

This book explores issues many of us in the modern age will face, especially reaching milestone birthdays and entering your 30s! It explores relationships, both romantic and evolving friendships when your friends get boyfriends / families and their priorities change. It also covers how social media can portray a lifestyle that’s not necessarily the whole picture, mental health, relationships with food and self image.

Holly Bourne – How Do You Like Me Now? My Verdict

To me, as I could relate quite a lot to it, it felt quite raw. It’s not always to read but I found it inspiring. It even gave me strength to re-evaluate things I thought made me happy. How Do You Like Me Now? instantly sucked me in. It’s one of those books I was able to read so easily. It’s well paced and the characters and relationships are well-developed and believable.

Definitely one of my favourite reads of 2019. I recommend it to any young woman in their late 20s or early thirties.

Have you read How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne? What did you think of it? You can pick up a copy here!

Beauty

Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash Review

November 21, 2019
Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash

Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash suitability – all skin types | shop it here

For winter I wanted a gentler evening facial wash. I don’t really have many issues with my skin but sometimes it gets a little bit dry in the colder weather.

I picked up the Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash from Boots on whim a few weeks ago. It comes in a clear squeeze-top plastic tube that has a pinkish tint. It’s a gel formula infused with bursting beads of moisturising jojoba & almond oil so it doesn’t leave skin too stripped. It is also microbead free so it’s not at all abrasive on the skin.

Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash Overview

The Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash has a floral scent. I get hints of rose and also citrus. This could be because of the ingredient Geraniol which emits a floral-rose scent and enhances citrus ones. It’s rather strong and I could imagine those sensitive to smells could be put off by it. It doesn’t bother me too much as once removed I no longer notice it. In fact, I find the scent somewhat soothing. It’s worth noting that the Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash is naturally fragranced by essential oils. These often have therapeutic qualities so that’s probably why.

I use the cleanser in the evenings after showering. I squeeze a small amount onto my fingertips and massage into my skin. Then I wash off with warm water and pat my face dry with a fresh towel. I find the Sanctuary Spa facial wash to be a bit too gentle to remove heavy make up, so I usually double-cleanse. Also I have to focus on avoiding my eye area, so heavy eye make up is also removed separately.

Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash – My Verdict

I found the Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash to be a really gentle cleanser. It cleans well without leaving my skin feeling stripped, and adds a little moisture. I personally really like the scent too and find it really soothing – probably because of the essential oils.

At £8 for 100ml, I think it’s good value for money. It can be found cheaper online too, on Amazon it is currently £5.99. I think it’s a good all-round cleanser for anyone who has no specific issues they want their cleanser to target. I don’t think it’s going to clear acne or calm rosacea, but I don’t think it’ll aggravate those issues.

Sanctuary Spa are also against animal testing so it’s a suitable cleanser for vegans. It’s also paraben free and as mentioned before, microbead free. It is recommended for all skin types.

Have you tried the Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash, or anything else from Sanctuary Spa? You can pick up a tube here if you wanted to try it out.

Sanctuary Spa Moisture Burst Facial Wash Ingredients list

Aqua (Water/Eau), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trideceth-9, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Gluconate, Propylene Glycol, Quaternium-80, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzophenone-4, Citronellol, Geraniol, Linalool, Pentylene Glycol, Agar, Polyquaternium-11, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Mica, Tin Oxide, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 73360 (Red 30).

Beauty

Winter Perfumes – My Top 3 Picks

November 20, 2019
Top Three Winter Perfumes Caudalie Parfum Divin Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Dolce and Gabbana The One

l – r Dolce and Gabbana – The One | Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium | Caudalie – Parfum Divin

As we move into winter I find my perfume tastes changing. In the spring and summer I gravitate towards light, floral scents. In the winter it’s something a little heavier and warming. These perfumes are my absolute favourite for winter. Wearing them is like being enveloped in a rich scent.

I have been wearing the below three perfumes for a few years now. Each tick various boxes that I want from a winter perfume. Woody – check, rich – check, musky – check.

Do your perfume preferences change with the seasons?

Dolce and Gabbana – The One

The luxurious gold packaging gives this one away a bit, I think. (Although don’t get it wet, as I have found out). It’s a rich scent with good projection. Perhaps this is more of an evening perfume though, it’s quite musky and I prefer to wear something lighter in the office. Dolce and Gabbana The One is quite sweet and I really get the amber and vanilla scents coming through. It’s a really oriential scent with a warm woody base that is perfect for the winter – link. It is £54 for 30ml, so quite pricey but I find it lasts a long time, especially on clothes.

You can buy Dolce and Gabbana – The One here

Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium

I’ve never tried the original Opium by Yves Saint Laurent, but I love Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. I might even write a review in the coming month. To me this smells like sweet, forest fruits. Imagine removing a freshly baked forest fruit strudel from the oven on a cold winter’s night. To me it’s quite sweet and fruity and I get a hint of pink pepper and coffee coming through. Those notes keep it from being too powdery and give it a bit of a kick to emulate its glam rock style bottle.

You can buy Yves Saint Laurent – Black Opium here. It is £54 for 30ml again.

Caudalie – Parfum Divin

I did write a review of Caudalie Parfum Divin here, which you can check out for a more in-depth review. I’d say this is the least sweet and woodiest scent on the list. I think it’s probably also the least well-known. At £39 for 50ml it’s the least expensive on my list too. It smells like a luxurious, rich oil and definitely one you could imagine seeing and smelling at a spa.

You can buy Caudalie’s Parfum Divin here.

What perfumes do you gravitate towards in the winter? Or do you wear the same signature scent all year round?

Beauty

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil – Consuming Red Review

November 19, 2019
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red

I picked up my NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red months ago for some glamorous party. I think it’s one of those shades suited to a posh event.

The NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are packaged in matte black and the NARS logo is transcribed on the side. The end of the pencil matches the shade inside. The only downside is that the packaging seems to get so dirty easily. I threw it in my handbag one day and when I took it out the lid was all scuffed. NARS seem to brand themselves on their rubberised / matte packaging which attracts so much dirt! NARS Consuming Red is a slightly warm-toned dark red. I wanted something ever so slightly vampy and I gravitated towards Consuming Red. I think it fits that bill perfectly.

The good thing about the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils is that they can be applied directly to the lips. They act as a lipstick and a liner in one, so it’s not necessary to line the lips beforehand. Each one I have tried has been very pigmented so precise application is appreciated. Consuming Red is no different, it’s very pigmented and full coverage can be achieved with two layers.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red Swatch

Sorry for the blur! It’s so difficult to get a sharp image when holding the camera in one hand. This swatch is pretty accurate to real life I think. It’s a really rich red.

Actual wear time is around 6 hours and afterwards a slight stain is left. I found NARS Consuming Red comfortable to wear even for a matte lipstick.

NARS Consuming Red on Fair Skin

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Consuming Red – My Verdict

The long-wear time and pigmentation of Consuming Red means that I only use very little per wear. I can’t see myself finishing the tube any time soon! It’s a rich red colour which is perfect for the colder upcoming months and the pencil shape ensures precise application. Even for me, and I’m rubbish at applying lipstick. I think it would suit most skin tones, in fact if you own it I’d be interested to see what it looks like on you so leave a link!

The only downside is that it is expensive. At £22 these hardly suit all budgets. Also they’re an awkward size so you have to buy the NARS pencil sharpener to go with them. But if you’re on the lookout for that perfect winter time red, this could be it.

What do you think of NARS Consuming Red? You can buy NARS Consuming Red here