Thursday, 31 July 2014

HAIR | Current Haircare Routine

I've been talking about doing a haircare routine post for far too long now. While I still switch back and forth between products now and then, this has been my constant routine for several months. I had to adapt the products I used when I cut my hair at the beginning of the year and I think I've finally figured out what works for me. 

Full disclosure: I have difficult hair. My hair type is dry, curly/wavy, and frizzy. It's thick and, when left to its natural texture, pretty coarse and unruly. I can put a lot of products in my hair without worrying about it becoming greasy. I also only wash my hair every 4-5 days. My main aim is to combat frizz and keep my hair moisturised so if you have fine hair, these may not be the products for you.

I switch back and forth between various shampoos and conditioners a lot. At the moment, I've gone back to this range. I used them a while back and remember really enjoying them. I like that they're sulphate and silicone free and leave my hair feeling moisturised. I also feel like this range helps stop my colour from fading for longer - which is always a concern for those of us with colour treated hair.

I've sworn by this serum since I was around 14. I am never without it. I apply 2 pumps to soaking wet hair and comb it through with my fingertips. It helps stop my hair from frizzing while it dries and keeps the texture more manageable. They've changed the packaging recently though and I can't stand it. It's hideous and I'm almost tempted to branch out and try a new serum.

Another product I use to tame my frizz and put moisture back into my hair. I comb 3 pumps of this through my damp hair and scrunch it to maintain the curl. You can just spritz it straight from the bottle but I find it distributes quite unevenly and doesn't have the desired effect if used that way. 

I've mentioned this product in a previous Recent Favourites post. I spritz it liberally on my damp hair, after using the It's a 10 spray, and scrunch even more. Scrunching is kind of key when you have curly hair. I'll also use a few sprays of this on dry hair if it's looking a bit limp and lifeless, to add back a bit of texture.

This is kind of an emergency haircare product I keep around for days when my copious serums, spritzes, and leave-in treatments still haven't managed to stop my hair feeling drier than the sahara. I put a really small amount into my palm and rub it into the ends of my hair. It adds a lovely shine back to my hair when it's looking especially dull.

My final, and most essential, haircare tip to leave you with is this: don't dry your hair with a towel. I use an old t-shirt instead. It makes your hair so much less frizzy. I twist my hair up in an old shirt, leave it for 5-10 minutes to dry a little bit, and then let it down and begin using the rest of my products. I also never use any heat on my hair. Letting it air dry does take quite a while, but my curls turn out so much nicer and is much less damaging to my hair.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

OUTFIT | #231

top: Zara; skirt: Miss Guided; boots: Topshop; necklace: gift; watch: Casio

Graduating last week involved seeing lots of friends, lots of nights in the pub or local bars catching up, and dinners out. I wore this out on a little date night before things go too hectic. I'll spare you any details but it involved a bit of restaurant hopping and a rather pleasant 40% discount off our wining and dining. I popped a leather jacket over the top of my outfit but probably could have worn something heavier as it was pretty cold in the evening. Investing in a proper moto style jacket is top of my clothing wish list.

I decided to keep it pretty simple. I love this pink skirt from Miss Guided. Pink isn't a colour I would ever really wear in a top or a dress but I do enjoy a jazzy little skirt from time to time. I haven't been able to wear it lately while I've been working so I pulled it out for this occasion. I also wore some Topshop boots I'd almost forgotten I owned. I have so many shoes and not enough space to store them so sometimes a few pairs get overlooked in their dusty hiding spots.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

OUTFIT | #230

dress: Topshop; shoes: H&M; bag: Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C.

Guess who's a graduate? That would be me. I crossed the stage ('strutted' according to those watching) and collected my certificate on Wednesday. It's been a strange week since. Too many goodbyes, a lot of sunshine, and not much sleep. While I would have loved to have wandered about campus drinking champagne all day in my cap and gown, it was far too hot and I cast them off as soon as the group photo was taken. I still don't 100% know how I feel about it all but I'm mostly looking forward to some grad life adventures - whatever the heck they will be.

I wore a white dress from Topshop for the ceremony. White isn't a colour I ever thought I could pull off but with a tan and some encouragement from friends, I felt pretty great. My robes were salmon and navy. Not the world's easiest colours to pair things with. So white was perfect, although difficult to photograph. I paired it with my beloved turquoise H&M heels. I get so many compliments every time I wear these shoes. Mothers were coming up to me saying how lovely they were all day.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

OUTFIT | #229

top: MissGuided; skirt: American Apparel; sandals: River Island; watch: Casio

No more work for a week means I get to bring my short skirts and crop tops out again. Thank goodness. Dressing incredibly conservatively on a limited wardrobe means you run out of options pretty fast. I'll be glad when I have some money to buy some more office appropriate clothing. For now, it's my graduation week and I'm spending it with family and friends, not in front of a computer. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

Keeping up the ol' tennis fashion vibes here with the addition of a fairly sporty-looking white top. I bought this ages ago and never wore it for some reason. It looks good with this skirt though. Anyone would think I had some natural sporting ability or even a vague interest in it, but you would be wrong. I was the kid in PE that refused to run or catch a ball or do anything (Everyone hated me. Understandably.) I don't watch any sports, I don't know the rules to anything, and the only time I break a sweat is if I run for a bus. Such an imposter. But I look pretty cute, so I guess that makes up for it.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


I've had an interesting summer so far. The first half was spent enjoying my last few weeks of undergrad life with friends before everyone moved back home, followed by a month of travelling. Now I'm working in an office 9-5 for the rest of the summer so it's been a real mixture. In my travels, and since I've been back, a couple of products I've been using have really stuck out from the rest though.

This might seem like a bit of an odd one. No, it's not a beauty product. In 2014, I became a tea drinker. I never liked tea before one day, at my friend Zoe's house, she made me a cup of this. And I loved it. I drink my tea black, sometimes with a little bit of honey for some extra antibacterial properties. I'm happy to drink any tea now but this remains my absolute favourite. Since I've been working,  I've been up a lot earlier and as I'm trying not to drink too much coffee, this has been my caffeine kick of choice lately.

I mentioned this product a long time in my skincare routine post. Generally, I am incredibly lucky with my skin. It's the first thing people compliment me on. However, with travelling a lot and going in and out of planes and buildings with air conditioning and not always keeping up my skincare regimen, came some skin issues this month. My skin was not happy with my mistreatment of it and I had a few (tiny, but irritating to me) break outs to contend with. This restored my skin back to normal in no time at all.

It has been really hot here in the UK. And it was also incredibly hot while I was travelling around. Which is not always great if you're wearing a full face of make up. This product has especially been my saviour for long days at work (or for long nights in sweaty clubs, when I was in Berlin). I spritz it on over my make up and it helps keep things in place all day, no matter how absurdly warm it is outside.

I tried to stay away from this mascara for as long as I possibly could. I knew as soon as I tried it I would love it, and I was right. It has completely replaced my former favourite mascara, the now sadly discontinued Maybelline One by One, in my make up routine. I will be the first to admit: It is ridiculously priced. I bought several tubes in the US as it's a bit cheaper over there. But I have yet to find a mascara I love as much and, for a girl with fairly short, sparse eyelashes, it does wonders so I really hate to be without it.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

OUTFIT | #228

shirt: GAP; skirt: J. Crew; shoes: Clarks; watch: Casio

Just because I'm working 9-5 in an office for the majority of the next 3 months doesn't mean I can't keep up the blog posts. I may not have a ton of office appropriate clothing currently. That's probably something I'll have to gradually buy more of eventually. But I do have a few outfits up my sleeve. And I'm having fun trying out new combinations. I do love a business-y look. If I could shop solely at J. Crew, I think I'd be a pretty happy girl. I even iron my shirts now. Such a grown up.

This was a fairly colourful effort on my behalf. This skirt is one of my faves so I paired it with a super soft and comfortable shirt I got on sale at the GAP a while back for my first day. Wore my little grandpa slipper shoes to finish it all off. Not a bad effort for a newbie, I think. Keep an eye out for some more office efforts over the coming weeks. Although I haven't laid down my crop tops and miniskirts forever - they're just reserved for weekends and weeknights now. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

OUTFIT | #227

dress: Zara; top: ASOS; shoes: River Island

This is kind of a remixed take on an old outfit I used to wear a lot, back in the day. The dress by itself has always been a little bit too low-cut for my preferences. I'm more of a legs gal than a boobs gal. So I always wore a little top under it. Despite being the middle of July, it was actually really cold here the other day so I pulled this combination out with a new twist: the turtleneck. I own over five pretty similar, but slightly different, black turtlenecks. Most of them cropped. It makes getting ready a challenge when you're trying to find a particular one but I love them for layering.

To complete the wintry vibe, I went with a super dark red lipstick. Here I'm wearing MAC 'Diva' - you can it better in my MAC lipstick collection post. I know it's still early days and summer is barely halfway through, but I'm already missing winter layers and darker colours. I even wore this outfit out for the evening by switching out the sandals for black heeled boots when I went to a few bars with some friends. P.S. My hair dried weird so I straightened it and I was really feeling it. Until I got rained on and it went back to being a frizzy mess.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

OUTFIT | #226

top: Topshop; skirt: ASOS; shoes: Converse; watch: Casio

Another outfit from Berlin. A quick shout out to my camerawoman and travel companion Bridie for putting up with my picture-taking demands. You the best, girl. I'd have taken even more outfit pictures if the 3rd day hadn't been spent incredibly hungover and looking a little worse for wear after a heavy night in one of the biggest clubs in Berlin. They aren't lying when they say that Berlin does nightlife in a big way. You're better off spared pictures of my sorry self from the day after the night before.

This skirt has been my most successful purchase for a while. I throw it on with nearly every thing and haven't gone more than a few days without wearing it this summer. Not shown here are the neon yellow socks I wore with this outfit. I quickly bought some emergency socks before I went on holiday and they were the most ridiculous array of patterns and neon colours. I got some odd looks. Also not pictured is my trusty Fjallraven Kanken, which I wore all over Berlin and served me very well. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

TRAVEL | Berlin

Berlin has been one of my favourite cities ever since I was 17 and went on there on a school History trip. Despite the unforgiving summer temperatures and humidity, the miles I was made to trek around the city, and countless early mornings, I left sure I would come back as soon as possible. 4 years later and I finally made it happen. I only spent a long weekend this time but it was still as fantastic as I remembered. If you're thinking about going to Berlin, my advice is: Go! Climb the Reichstag dome, visit the Jewish Museum, eat currywurst, drink beer by the stein, brave the hordes of tourists at the East Side Gallery, debate whether it's disrepectful to climb over the Jewish Memorial, visit the odd little town of Oranienburg if you feel you can stomach seeing Sachsenhausen, see Berlin from every angle in the TV Tower, get a falafel from the surprising amount of Mediterranean food stalls, navigate the wonderfully efficient public transport, dance until 5am in sweaty clubs. I couldn't recommend it any more highly.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

OUTFIT | #225

top, socks: Topshop; skirt: American Apparel; sandals: River Island; watch: Casio

I just got back from a long weekend in Berlin. While that sentence makes me sound like a bit of a wanker who jets off to Europe all the time, sadly this was the last of my summer excursions for a while. I start working 9-5 on Monday. This last jaunt to Berlin did not disappoint, however. I'll have a post up with some pictures of what I got up to soon enough. My feet are still sore from all the walking but Berlin is one of my absolute favourite cities. I was last there 4 years ago on a school trip and it was so good to be back. There were so many streets I walked down and felt like no time had passed at all.

The sore feet explains the socks. It's not really my favourite look but my poor toes were killing me so socks were a necessary evil. I feel like this look is half schoolgirl, half grandpa. I bought this skirt while I was in America after wanting a tennis skirt for the past few months. Special tennis fashion inspiration lately is coming from the Rich White Ladies' music video for 'Wimbledon'. I can't get over how good they look. Berlin was absurdly hot so I took it as an opportunity to wear some of my shortest skirts, since they'll definitely go into retirement for some weeks while I'm at work. Forever the opportunist.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

DAYS OUT | Canteen & New Blood

celebrating finding out we both received 2:1s in our degrees
free slushies and some student graphic design at New Blood

I've been staying with my friend Bridie for a couple of days and we headed out for a day of fun in London last week. We'd intended to go for brunch at The Breakfast Club, one of our favourite spots, but the one in Spitalfields was tricky to find. Once we discovered it, time was getting on and the queue was far too long. So we went to Canteen instead. I'd never been before but would definitely recommend it. We'd also just found out we'd both received 2:1s in our degrees so it was a pretty good way to celebrate. Sunshine, good company, and a pint. Afterwards, we popped into the New Blood Exhibition to look at some of the work on display. It was a really lovely day, in one of my favourite cities, and the weather stayed on our side all day. You can't really ask for more than that.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

TRAVEL | June in New Jersey

I spent the last half of June visiting my family in New Jersey. I tried to take more snaps while I was away but it completely skipped my mind most of the time. I mostly spent my days hanging out reading in the garden, playing with my little brother, and spending time on the water with my dad. He recently got a second kayak so we tried to fit in trips out to the lake as many mornings as possible. I wish I could have brought my camera along for that. It was ridiculously beautiful. It was good to get away for a while and unwind, take the opportunity not to think about my impending graduation and other scary things.