Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Stil Salon: Upgrading My Balayage



My blonde balayage has finally had an upgrade and I'm so excited to say it was at the beautiful STIL Salon in Notting Hill. 

I am very low maintenance when it comes to my hair. My hair is long and I love having bit of colour through it to give it some texture. I have never dyed my whole head of hair, because I'm not sure I could deal with the upkeep but an ombre or balayage gives me that something something I need. If you've followed my blog for a while you might just know a bit about my hair history. I used to dye my hair at home with that classic L'Oreal Wild Ombre box dye that everyone used to use, then I finally ventured out to a salon to upgrade the ombre into something a little more natural - the balayage. 

I have kept this up for a few years now, but I have to say my experience at STIL Salon has blown my mind. From the super friendly team, to the interior of the salon and the serious skill to get the finished look and of course not forgetting the cute pup Bertie - I think I may have just found a new favourite salon as they seriously hit the nail on the head with the colour and cut I was going for this time around as everything is personalised. 

Trying something (and somewhere!) new with your hair can be a little daunting, but if you come along to STIL, I promise you you'll be in safe hands. 

The Consultation 



I first visited the salon a few weeks ago to meet Craig Clark, my colourist (the INCREDIBLE Colour Director at STIL Salon) to talk through what I wanted and get a patch test. 

I arrived and was greeted by the Front of House Manager, Andrew - who I have to say makes the experience SO much better. Every salon should have an Andrew. He is so attentive, so kind and genuinely cares for everyone. 

Craig then talked me through the current trends and the type of blonde he recommended for my balayage, matching the colour and tone to my skin and eye colour. This is so clever and makes so much sense to me - and as the customer it's so nice understanding the thought process behind this and really trust that the colour is going to suit you personally which makes the whole experience so much more relaxing. 

We decided on their Lumiere Lights service (similar to balayage but it's a freehand, grading colouring technique designed by STIL to lighten the hair effortlessly and naturally) with some Contouring to enhance my facial features. 

After the patch test, I headed home excited to return in a few days to get my colour on. 

The Colour



I actually ended up getting my cut and colour done separately due to terrible time management on my side (but Andrew helped to organise this with no problem). Craig talked me through our thoughts on the colour again to ensure I was comfortable with the tone and to confirm what we were going for today. 

The experience was super comfortable and oh boy, the finished look was even better than I could have imagined. Craig used the TIGI Copyright Custom Care Repair range to wash out all of the dye and toner while repairing and hydrating my hair at the same time ensuring it's condition is still great post-colour. 

The blend was perfect, as was the tone, it matches my skin tone perfectly and I am so happy with the results. Forget dreaming about how much you're going to like it when it 'grows out a bit', I was just so incredibly happy with it from the get go. 

Craig seriously knows what he's talking about with colour and if you go to visit him at STIL, I 100% recommend that you put your hair faith in his hands. I took his opinion and I am so pleased with the results. Hair colour genius! I'm even tempted to go a little lighter and maybe a bit higher like he suggested next time... 

The Cut



A few days later, I headed back into STIL to finish the look and have my hair cut by Federico Bufanio, one of their Senior Stylists. I have been loving my long locks of late so I wanted to keep the length as much as possible while still giving my hair the refresh it needs. I mean, it had been a year or so since my last trim, oopsie... 

I had a chat with Federico about what I was after and he suggested the best way to get there and how to make it suit me and I'm so pleased I went with what he suggested. I had a little bit of shape put in at the front while still keeping a lot of the length. We got rid of all of the split ends and gave my locks the refresh it needed. In fact, my hair feels so soft I've been stroking it since. 

The Review



Okay, okay - you've kind of got the gist of how much I loved my cut and colour at STIL Salon but I really wanted to let you know why it was so great. They ensure that each cut and colour is tailored to you - and that you know about it - meaning you come out with a new look that truly suits you. It's such a clever technique and seriously ensures you're happy with your look day after day. In fact, I think I'm a little bit hooked on STIL and I just know where I'll be returning when my hair needs it's next upgrade - and of course, I'll make sure to tell you about it. 

From the instagram-able Scandi design, to the skilled handiwork of the stylists and colourists, to the friendly welcome with Andrew and the cutie dog, Bertie. Salon Founder and Creative Director, Christel Lundqvist has really hit the nail on the head with this salon space. If you're looking for a hair upgrade, I seriously can't recommend STIL enough. I am blown away by it all. 

Book your appointment/consultation here now. 

Lorna x
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Sunday, 29 July 2018

New York City Guide: What To Do In The Big Apple




If you follow my Instagram (shameless plug, right this way...) you'll probably have seen the endless stream of pictures that have come from my trip to New York earlier in the year. It was my first trip there, in fact it was a trip I've dreamed about endlessly for years and since I've had so many people asking for tips that I just had to write this post. 

My boyfriend and I visited New York for around 9-10 days at the end of April and it was glorious. I took the time to properly switch off from work and relax, which is actually crazy for a city break as I usually try to squeeze as much in as I possibly can. I'm talking lots of leisurely brunches, strolls around the streets of NYC and so much fun. 

I am going to include the places we went to, but also a few spots we didn't make it to as well, because it's so blooming big I want to make sure you've got all of the options like we did. 

Get ready for the longest blog post EVER... 

What to do before you go to New York

I actually did quite a lot of prep before we went to New York. I knew we had a lot of time there, and I really didn't want to come away realising there were things I'd desperately wanted to do but had forgotten about. 

I spent a lot of time reading blogs and watching vlogs to really get a feel of what I wanted to do and actually Joe did the same. If you're heading away with someone, I'd really recommend downloading the app Wunderlist, and starting a few shared lists with them to keep all of your ideas about what to do and where to go in one place. We separated it into categories ie. things to do, where to eat/drink, shops etc. and kept adding to it in the run up of the trip.

Just before we went, I found the app Pinbox, which I swear has changed my life travelling. It is essentially a map app, where you can create different maps for different trips. You drop pins on specific places and it's a great tool to see on a map where you want to visit. I colour coded each type of destination ie. bars, restaurants, shops, museums etc. and saved them all to look at when we were there. The best bit is that once you're in a location, the map shows you where you are and you can see what pinned spots are nearby. This is great if you don't want to have a 'schedule' but you can see what is where in relation to where you're going. Perfect if you end up hangry but don't want to just end up anywhere. There's no point in missing out on that Instagram opportunity, eh! 

Now you've got your plan sorted, onto what to do when you get there... 

Where to stay in New York


There are so many different parts of New York so it's definitely worth doing a bit of research into the right place for you. We chose to stay in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and I couldn't be more happy with that decision. It's full of super cool bars, shops and restaurants and is the perfect place to wake up every morning as getting into the city is so easy via the subway. 

There's no doubt that staying in New York is incredibly expensive, so we opted for an Airbnb. We found a cute little flat in Williamsburg, near Bedford Ave (linked here). It was a lot more affordable than most hotels we found and we loved having our own little space in the city. Whether we wanted to have a lie in, make dinner ourselves or get a takeout with a movie, this little apartment had everything we needed. And I adored the decor (see the purple wall - hello Friends vibes!). 

Getting around in New York


Transport is super easy in New York - there's lots of options. 

We got a cab from the airport to our Airbnb, but for the rest of the trip we spent most of the time walking or on the Subway - see my cheesy grin on my daily commute above - (you can pick up a ticket that will last you the entire week you're there, we did this and it was so much more affordable than individual tickets). For ease in some places, we did get Ubers but you can absolutely get away with not doing this. 

What to do in New York

Well, this is quite a big point, there's so much you can do in New York. Here's our hit list and a few extras we didn't make it to this time but definitely will do in the future. 

Museums and Galleries


Museum of Modern Art 




I adored the MoMA. In fact, it's been a dream of mine to go for so many years. I studied art for years and we always talked about it but it felt like such a faraway dream back then. It's filled with so many incredible pieces and I always think it's great to go to a few galleries in the city you're visiting and I highly recommend this one for some modern pieces. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art




The Met is one of the largest fine art museums in the world and is a must visit whether your into art or are a massive Gossip Girl fan. Yep, these are the steps. Stroll around all of the exhibitions and just take it in. 

Guggenheim




I had heard from many people that the Guggenheim in NYC was actually a little disappointing. I actually couldn't agree less. This was one of our favourites of the trip. From the beautiful architecture to the incredible modern pieces inside. This one was so worth a visit. It's not as big as the others so great if you've got a little bit of spare time. 

Brooklyn Museum




The most surprising visit of the trip. We weren't actually planning on coming to the Brooklyn Museum but someone mentioned it was worth visiting so we popped in on our last day. The David Bowie exhibition was on show there when they went so definitely have a look to see what is on when you're going, otherwise have a stroll around the permanent exhibitions while you're there. So worth it and the building is beautiful. People definitely don't talk about this enough. 

Places to visit


The High Line




The High Line is a public part built on a historic rail line and is perfect for a dry/sunny day. The most perfect for a mid-morning stroll. It blew me away, it's super calming and is well worth a visit. 


Chelsea Market


Chelsea Market is a gorgeous indoor food market. Go here hungry - there's so many great foodie options. If you're planning on walking the High Line, you can take a detour and head to Chelsea Market as it passes through. 

Times Square


You can't go to New York and not visit Times Square right?! There's a little Strand Bookstore stand that sells postcards and stamps super affordably - highly recommend doing this and sending one home to a loved one! Such a cute little idea. 

Grand Central Station



Again another classic. We weren't actually planning on visiting, but it's very near a lot of the tourist hot spots so we made a detour for a quick stop in. It's also great if you're a bit peckish as there's a food court downstairs (we popped into Shake Shack, because you just have to). 

Top of the Rock




If you're looking for great views of NYC, the Top of the Rock is the perfect location. Everyone talks about going up the Empire State Building but by going up the Top of the Rock, the view includes the Empire State Building which is so incredible. Try going up on a day with clear skies and book ahead if you can to save a bit of queuing (though, do expect some queuing as this is tourist central). 

Central Park 




Potentially one of my most favourite parts of the trip. Central Park blew my mind. It is so big! We strolled the park on a couple of occasions because we loved it so much. It's super touristy but go on the row boats on the lake. It was just amazing. Stroll through the park and grab a pretzel or hot dog. Take a picnic, and just soak it all in. 

Central Park Zoo




While we were in Central Park, we popped into the zoo they have there. It's a tiny little space but if you love zoo's like we do, it's definitely worth popping in. And try to go during feeding time, because it was just incredible. The seals and the snow leopards were the highlight. 

Flat Iron Building


If you're in the area, definitely pop along to have a look. I've never seen a building like it!

The Cinema


One of our highlights was going to an American cinema. We were there on the day the latest Avengers film was released so booked into the Williamsburg Cinema to see it. It was an amazing experience and so different to the cinema over here in the UK. From the incredible butter popcorn and cinema snacks to the interactive experience of cheering when certain actors come on the screen, it was so much fun and I'd highly recommend it. 

Dumbo




For a beautiful view of Brooklyn Bridge, I highly recommend stopping by Dumbo. If you're planning on going to the Brooklyn Flea Market, go on a Sunday as it's in Dumbo and have a look at the view while you're there too. 

Brooklyn Bridge


Walking across the bridge for the incredible views is so worth doing. So many great photo ops and such a classic New York thing to do. 

9/11 Memorial




This is 100% worth a visit while you're in the city. It's so moving and such a great memorial to see. Truly beautiful. 

The Places We Didn't Make It To... 



Shopping in New York


When planning a trip to the Big Apple, make sure you save some cash to spend shopping while you're there. Trust me, there are some INCREDIBLE stores and you'll truly miss out if you don't. 

Brooklyn Flea Market


This was a surprise highlight of the trip and is well worth a visit if you can fit it in. It's filled with lots of vintage furniture, clothes, books and ornaments etc. . A perfect opportunity to pick up some memories for your trip! I bought the most adorable Heinz pickle pin from the 40's and Joe bought some vintage books. Very nice. 

Sephora


Duh. I really don't need to go into this because you will just know. Beauty heaven in one place. Make sure you pick up some of the Sephora own brand eye masks while you're there. Mind blowingly good and super affordable. 

Glossier




Oh yes, you have to stop into the Glossier Showroom while you're there. Joe came along with me to the Glossier Showroom, which I've dreamed about visiting for as long as it's been around and I stocked up on my all time favourite Boy Brow, swatched everything and picked up a few new favourites. I had to restrain myself from buying it all. Joe chilled on the seats they have at the side (well done Glossier, seats and mags for the boys is a GREAT idea). Boyfriend goals right there. He even said he spotted a couple of people taking a pic of him. 

Bath and Body Works


I have actually dreamed of visiting Bath and Body Works for so many years. I rememeber watching Zoella hauls (and basically every other YouTuber) back in the day reeling off all of their new buys from the store and it's actually been ingrained in me ever since with a massive desire to shop in there. I actually was quite restrained when in there, but I'd definitely recommend picking up a few candles, hand soaps and anti-bac hand gels while you're there. Seriously great and I'm wishing there was a way for me to get more while I'm back home! 

Bulletin 


This female forward store is well worth a visit. Super pink, super instagrammable, Bulletin is the perfect spot to buy some gifts for your gal pals. Highly recommend. 

Rough Trade


If you're into your music, then you have to go to Rough Trade. The perfect place to stock up on your Vinyl and pick up a classic piece of NYC Rough Trade merch while you're there. 

Century 21 


Prepare yourself if you're planning on popping to Century 21. It's essentially a better version of TK Maxx but I used it to pick up a tonne of Calvin Klein underwear as it was so affordable - so if you're into this too, it's definitely worth a look. 

Catbird


Beautiful and delicate jewellery store in Brooklyn. I didn't pick anything up from Catbird but I can see why everyone does and raves about it. 

Artist & Fleas


There's a lot of Artist & Fleas around the city with lots of little local stores inside. I fell in love with all of the little jewellery stores and picked up a couple of bits but my absolute favourite find was Min & Mon. I am seriously obsessed. It's a NYC bag and accessory brand with super cool designs. I picked up a key chain and my dream purse. Currently dreaming of getting my hands on a bag...

In God We Trust


A super cool store filled with fashion and jewellery. Highly recommend popping in if you see one of these. You might just find some gems. 

The Places We Didn't Make It To... 



Eating and Drinking in New York


Potentially the best bit? There are so many food and drink options in NYC that we didn't even touch the sides but here's where we made it to and a few extras I've heard are great (you may spot a lot of Brunch in here, we had a lot of lie-ins and when isn't Brunch a great idea!). 

Breakfast / Brunch / Lunch


Egg Shop




Egg Shop actually was our first food stop of the trip and I was so excited to start on a high. A beautiful Instagram brunch/breakfast spot. If you're into eggs, you need to make a visit here. We went to the one in Willamsburg but there are a few around the city, so definitely go to the one nearest to where you're staying. There was a tiny queue but we got seated quickly, well worth the wait. 

We ordered the Avo & Egg (a classic avo on toast, but with delicious additions like Watermelon Radish, Harissa and Tahini), the Fish Out Of Water (a smoked salmon with egg, cucumber, dill and mustard), a side of hash browns and lots of coffee, highly recommend! 

Sweet Chick


Sweet Chick wasn't actually on our brunch hit list, but it was nearby our apartment in Williamsburg and the queues outside each day got us interested. Plus the menu looked incredible. Sweet Chick is known for their chicken and waffles - and the best bit? They do a veggie option with veggie chicken and OMG the excitement for this was incredible. The chicken was made with Seitan and I adored it. It was a little heavy though so probably only made my way through half, but I was very excited to try this combo. Joe loved the meat version too! 

Jack's Wife Freda




Oh boy, this place was incredible. Not only is Jack's Wife Freda Instagram heaven, the food is blooming great too. There's a couple of locations in NYC so worth looking to see which suits you best. We went for a late brunch and both opted for a tonne of coffee and their Green Shakshuka (2 baked eggs in a green tomatillo shakshuka served with challah toast) and holy moly this was incredible. If I could go back soon, I'd be there in a heart beat. 

The Rabbithole


A local spot in Williamsburg, Rabbithole is great one if you've been to all of the ones on your hit list already. I wouldn't rush back here, but for a great simple brunch it was good, especially if you're hungry as the portions were a great size. We had an omelette and the eggs florentine which were pretty good, but I adored the decor. Perfect for a chilled brunch. 

Sunday in Brooklyn




My absolute favourite brunch of the trip. Sunday in Brooklyn , in Williamsburg does the most beautifully flavourful food. If you have a super sweet tooth you must go for the Malted Pancakes with Hazelnut Maple Praline and Brown Butter. It's delicious but enormous so if there's a few of you, maybe get these for dessert and get something a little more savoury to start. I went for the fried eggs on a spiced scramble on top of a beautiful flat bread. This was seriously incredible, and I would actually potentially say it was the best brunch I have EVER had. The lunch and dinner menu also looks great here so I'd definitely return for this on my next trip. 

Cafe Mogador 


Another seriously great brunch/lunch spot if you're looking for flavour. Cafe Mogador is a Morrocan-inspired restaurant in Williamsburg and we were really impressed. After a week of, we must admit, being a little on the unhealthy side, this is a great way to get a bit of vegetables back into your diet. I had the Halloumi Eggs which was roasted tomato, halloumi, greens and zahatar pitta with eggs. Joe went for the Middle Eastern Eggs which was hummus, tabouli, arabic salad and zahatar pitta with eggs. Seriously delicious and well worth a trip. 

Le Barricou




If you've got a super sweet tooth and want to try a different, less classic, pancake then Le Barricou in Brooklyn is definitely worth a trip. The Pancakes here are baked to order and are more of a cake consistency but are seriously delicious if this is your kind of thing. I went for the Florentine and it came with fries which is always a thumbs up in my book. If you're in a rush, I'd skip this as it's a bit of a wait for the pancakes and the service is quite slow but the food was pretty good. 

Sweatshop


Great coffee, pretty good avo toast and super speedy service. I adored the chilled vibe of this Australian Coffee Shop, Sweatshop in Willamsburg and LOVED that they had merch everywhere. 

12 Chairs Cafe


12 Chairs Cafe was delicious and the perfect spot for a leisurely brunch in the sun. The cuisine is Israeli inspired and I adored trying something new out. We went for an Isreali Breakfast which included two eggs served with chopped Israeli salad, assorted cheeses and dips and some classic American Style Blueberry Pancakes. We adored this spot and would definitely return.

Shake Shack


Shake Shack does the best veggie burger in my book. Mushroom and lots of cheese made this spot a must visit when we got super hangry one lunch time. Joe went for the chicken burger and it was great. It's quick and super tasty and a seriously New York thing to do. Get the cheese fries - massive thumbs up from me. 

The Places We Didn't Make It To... 



Dinner


The Meatball Shop


Oh boy, The Meatball Shop was seriously cool. We came here quite late after a trip to the cinema and was perfect for a late night spot of food and a cocktail or two. I adore choice when it comes to eating out and this place is perfect for that. You mix and match your choice of meatball (pork, veggie, chicken, etc), choice of sauce (tomato, parmesan creme, gravy, pesto, etc), and how you'd like it (with mash, on pasta, salad, veggies, in a sandwich etc) there are so many options and it was so lovely. Perfect fun date night spot or for seriously cool vibes with friends. 

Juliette Restaurant




One of my favourite finds of the trip, this was in Brookyln and was a little place we stumbled upon. Juliette is a French Bistro and we loved it so much we visited twice. I'm going to talk about our dinner there in this section, but read on to find out about our delicious drinks and nibbles further on. 

If you're into your French cuisine then this is a must-visit. It was a very romantic location and without the need to queue to get a table, this was even better. Go for a full starter, main, dessert meal here. The Moules Frittes were incredible as was the Chicken (Joe recommends!). I have such fond memories of this trip.  

Lighthouse


Now my trip to Lighthouse was my absolute favourite of the trip. If you are staying in Williamsburg or fancy a trip to Brooklyn for the evening (which you must, must, must do) you should absolutely try to get a booking here for dinner. If you go anywhere on this list, make it here. 

Lighthouse is a healthy (ish) Farm-to-Table restaurant. There's a mix of small and large plates but I'd definitely recommend sharing everything and trying out a few things. Must try's are their Home Made Sourdough Bread, the Pickle Plate to eat while you decide, and finish with a Pa Pie - this was the best dessert we have ever tried. It's essentially a brown sugar pie, but it truly was incredible. So good that we seriously pondered over getting another slice. If only we had the room. Seriously dream of visiting here again. One of my favourite meals out ever. 

The Places We Didn't Make It To... 


  • Grimaldis, Brooklyn, Pizza restaurant(supposedly the best)
  • Roberta's Pizza, Brooklyn / Manhattan, Pizza restaurant
  • Empire Diner, Chelsea, Classic American Diner with an up-market, contemporary feel 
  • Vandal, Lower East Side, Fusion restaurant with downstairs nightclub
  • Macbar, Nolita, Mac 'n Cheese restaurant
  • Il Buco, East Village, Italian-Mediterranian restaurant
  • Horchata, West Village, Mexican Restaurant
  • Pietro NoLita, Nolita, that pink Italian restaurant you've seen all over the gram
  • The Mercer Kitchen, Soho, gorgeous restaurant in The Mercer hotel
  • ABC Kitchen, Flat Iron, Organic American restaurant

Bars


Videology




A quirky bar for film fanatics in Williamsburg. Videology is super cool. We popped in for the film quiz they have on but have a look online as they have a small screening room in the back and show films and have events in there so you might just get lucky.  

Juliette 


Like I mentioned before, we visited Juliette a couple of times. Once for dinner, but the first time we popped in for a couple of drinks and some nibbles. We sat at the bar of this beautiful French bistro and it was so chill. The food was delicious, we had a cheese board and some fried peppers, as was the wine. One of my favourite spots. 

Barcade


If you are looking for a super fun date night spot or somewhere fun to go with friends, I highly recommend Barcade in Brooklyn. This was on our list but we ended up visiting here literally just before our flight home one afternoon as it was near to where we dropped off our bags to kill a bit of time. I actually wish we went without our bags as it would have been super fun to have a few more drinks and explore all of the old arcade games they have here. So much fun and such a great idea. 

The Wythe Hotel

The bar on the hotel of the Wythe Hotel has incredible views. If you're in the area and the sky is clear, definitely pop in. The drinks are expensive but if the sky is clear it's worth the view. If not though, don't bother as it's a little bit run down and the prices leave a little to be desired. 

The Places We Didn't Make It To... 



Snacks


Dough




Seriously dough-not (sorry, I couldn't resist) miss this spot. 100% it's the best doughnut I've ever had. Dough is perfect for a quick sugar fix if you're nearby, but well worth making the trip too. There's a few spots around the city, so have a look online to work out the best spot for you. But get yourself a doughnut, I adore the Dulce De Leche with Almonds, it's blooming incredible. 

Cupcake ATM at Sprinkles




Yup, you've seen it all over Instagram. Sprinkles Cupcake ATM is a must-visit and not only for the experience. I expected a dry-ish cupcake, but I was seriously impressed. We went for Red Velvet and I recommend you do too - yum. 

Flour Shop




I'm sorry, did I say INSTAGRAM HEAVEN. If you are looking for a place to get a colourful shot for the gram, then Flour Shop a must-visit. Pick up some of their delicious cake truffles while you're there. You won't regret it.

Joe's Pizza




If you are a Pizza fiend like me, then Joe's Pizza is a must-visit. There's lots around the city so plenty of chances to get your pizza slice fix.

You can buy pizza by the slice in a tonne of different flavours but the classic Margherita was always my first choice. We stopped here a few times, it's perfect for lunch or an afternoon or late night snack. Crikey, the things I'd do for another slice of this right now. Incredibly tasty and perfect if you're on a budget. 

Milk Bar




Possibly one of the most instagrammed food items in New York and there are multiple places around the city to get your Milk Bar fix.  I'm sure you've seen this ice cream all over your Instagram feed, so naturally I had to take a trip to see what all of the fuss is about. Everyone raves about the cereal milk flavoured ice cream, I went for it with sprinkles and crunch but after I got the beautiful snaps, I have to say the taste left a lot to be desired... I'm sure it's an acquired taste and that maybe it wasn't just for me. But yuck. Though I hate to be that person, I was very glad to have gone even just for the lols and the Instagram snaps. Yep, that's me. 

The Places We Didn't Make It To... 



Okay - that's this guide to New York done. I added in a lot of the hot spots we went to, and the ones we didn't fit in but do let me know in the comments where you love to go in New York!

New York was one of my absolute favourite trips I've been on yet - from our trip to the Central Park Zoo in the sun, to all of the many brunches in Brooklyn, finding our favourite dessert ever at Lighthouse and strolling round some incredible art exhibitions, it was seriously a trip to be remembered. New York is one of the food capitals of the world and we can TOTALLY see why. 

Lorna x
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Monday, 14 May 2018

Reading Material: How To Find Time To Read & The Books I've Read Recently


I actually really never thought I'd get back into reading regularly but it's something I'm so glad I've found time for and would encourage everyone to do the same. In this digital age it is so important to take time away from the screen and the only time I find that I step away from a screen is when I'm reading.  

If you're like I was and didn't really think I had time for it, give it a go. Find the time in your day and make a routine of it. This is key. Perhaps that's in the morning when you're having your breakfast, try reading a book instead of turning on your TV. Maybe it's when your on your way to work, try reading instead of listening to music. Or on your lunch break - take time away from your desk and have a little read. Maybe before you go to bed? This is when I read every day. Go to bed 20 mins earlier or so and take that time to get your nose in the latest novel. Just take some time, whenever you can, and add that into your routine. I haven't looked back since... 

For me, I find it helps with so many things. It helps to calm me down after a busy day and take my mind off of daily stresses. These books transport me to another world, and I adore that part of my day as it really helps me to relax - and because of when I read, get ready for sleep. 

Okay, okay. So I've persuaded you to find the time and pick up your next book - but what should you read? 

Below I've listed a few books I've finished recently (and one I'm still reading!) to get you started... 

Final Girls by Riley Sager

If you're into crime shows or murder mystery's - this is a must read. A total page turner and if I remember right, I read this pretty quickly as I just had to know what happened. 

Blurb below: 

FIRST THERE WERE THREE
The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.
THEN THERE WERE TWO
But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or...
CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE?
All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.

Available here.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I adored this book, and the fact that it's being talked about everywhere at the moment, shows that I am not the only one. It was heart wrenching but so incredible, and you see familiarities to her world from the beginning. 

Blurb below: 


Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Available here


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


If you've read or seen Big Little Lies and liked it, this is by the same author so I would 100% recommend it. I actually gave this a go about a year ago but didn't get very far, I gave it another go recently so I'd say persevere with it and once you get into it, it's an easy read. 

Blurb below: 

Alice can't remember the last ten years of her life. She doesn't recognise her children, her husband, herself . . .
Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. She's newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.
There's just one problem. All of that was ten years ago . . .
Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she's a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her. This is her life but not as she knows it.
Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade?
Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

Available here.


How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

This is actually the book I'm reading at the moment but I am enjoying it so much, I just had to include it. This book takes you through time, but through a really interesting storyline. I won't say any spoilers so I'd just recommend reading the blurb below and seeing what you think. But I'm about half way and so far, so good.

Blurb below:

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. 
Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love.

Available here.

Hot Mess by Lucy Vine


This was probably the book I read the furthest of time ago, but I loved it so much it has stuck out in my memory and is a must mention for this book. An easy read, this chick lit is relatable to the T. It's a hilarious coming-of-age story that I'm sure you will relate to.

Blurb below:

Hot Mess [n.] - someone attractive, who is often in disarray.
Have you ever shown up to Sunday brunch still smelling of Saturday night?
Chosen bed, Netflix and pizza over human contact?
Stayed in your mould-ridden flat because it's cheap?
Meet your spirit animal, Ellie Knight.
Her life isn't turning out exactly as she planned.
She hates her job, her friends are coupling up and settling down, and her flatmates are just plain weird.
Some people might say she's a hot mess but who really has their sh*t together anyway?

Available here

I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk 

I have been reading Lindsey Kelk's 'I Heart' series for years. This is the latest book in the series, so if you haven't read the rest, make a b-line and head to the first in the series, I Heart New York. If you are looking for a super girly, easy-to-read number that makes you giggle, give this series a go. 

Blurb below: 

The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground. So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely? And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and winking at your new boss in the lift isn’t that bad, is it? Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, and Manhattan switches on its Christmas lights, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.


Available here

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne 


If you are looking for something a little different from your standard novel, I couldn't recommend this book enough. It's a lifestyle book that takes you through the Swedish lifestyle, Lagom and I found it incredibly inspiring. It's comfortable, it's cosy and I adored it as a pre-bedtime read. 

Blurb below:

Step aside Hygge. Lagom is the new Scandi lifestyle trend taking the world by storm. This delightfully illustrated book gives you the lowdown on this transformative approach to life and examines how the lagom ethos has helped boost Sweden to the No.10 ranking in 2017's World Happiness Report.
Lagom (pronounced 'lah-gom') has no equivalent in the English language but is loosely translated as 'not too little, not too much, just right'. It is widely believed that the word comes from the Viking term 'laget om', for when a mug of mead was passed around a circle and there was just enough for everyone to get a sip. But while the anecdote may hit the nail on the head, the true etymology of the word points to an old form of the word 'lag', which means 'law'. 
Far from restrictive, lagom is a liberating concept, praising the idea that anything more than 'just enough' is a waste of time. Crucially it also comes with a selflessness and core belief of responsibility and common good.

Available here

When do you fit reading into your day and what have you been reading lately? Let me know! 

Lorna x
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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Scent-scational Candles


My name is Lorna and I'm addicted to candles. 

As I'm writing this, my living room is covered with them - and I'm not talking about the beautifully placed ones I've got out that I'm currently burning. I have a cupboard full - for safe keeping, to replenish the one's I'm currently burning and just because (that's enough justification right?) and they are all over the floor to help me narrow down my choices for this post. It was a toughie. 

If like me, you're a candle addict or are just looking to add a new one into your home, read on for the current favourites in my stash... 


To burn everyday 


My go-to fragrance every day is always something fresh and clean. I like my home smelling as clean as possible and the Liz Earle Eucalyptus and Rosemary Candle, £36 is perfect for that. It's fresh, it's clean, it's calming but uplifting at the same time and for that reason it's my choice for an every day home fragrance favourite. I have burnt through one of these before so I'm savouring this one in my stash but having it out has made me realise, I need to start burning this baby. If you have room in your bathroom for a candle, choose this one too as it's perfect for that. I also adore the signature Liz Earle blue packaging - crikey, that brand can literally do no wrong in my eyes. Always incredible. 

To burn in the evening


If you are looking for a candle to relax with in the evening, the Aurelia Skincare Peacefulness Candle, £55 is perfect for this. If you've had a stressful day, are feeling anxious, this candle is perfect to help clear your mind and calm yourself down. Notes include top notes of lavender and lemongrass, rose geranium, neroli and ylang ylang in the heart and clove and cedar wood at the base. I adore the simple ceramic jar - one definitely to keep after the natural candle has burnt down. Super luxurious and when you purchase this you get a beautiful candle snuffer too. Bonus!


To burn before you to to sleep


The This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle, £25 is my go-to for when I'm reading before bed. I've used the Deep Sleep range from This Works for a while now and that gorgeous scent instantly signifies to my brain that it's time to go to sleep. I use the pillow mists and the candles regularly, and am already eyeing up other products in the range - the bath soak and shower gel has got my name written ALL over it. With notes of lavender and chamomile, it's perfect to help you drift off to sleep every night... Zzzzzz..... 


To burn because you love your fragrance so damn much 


Matching your home fragrance to your actual fragrance isn't something I ever thought I would do, but I fell hook, line and sinker for the Jo Malone English Oak and Redcurrant fragrance so much that I had to get the matching candle too. The Jo Malone English Oak and Redcurrant Home Candle, £45 is stunning from the inside out. I adore the Jo Malone packaging and the quality of the burn is second to none - and for that reason Jo Malone Candles are always saved for a special occasion in my house. Though, I'm kind of getting to that realisation of when is actually a special occasion - just burn that candle girl! With notes of redcurrant, mandarin, rose, white musk and roasted oak. It's Autumn in a candle for me, though I would 100% burn this all year round. 



To burn with a cup of tea


Cup of tea in hand, TV on or book in hand (whatever you fancy), candle burning - is there anything greater?  The Orla Kiely Earl Grey Candle, £25 is the perfect candle just for this moment (or you know, all the time) as it is exactly what it says on the tin. Earl Grey scented. If like me, you're not an Earl Grey Tea drinker, don't let that deter you as this seriously smells incredible. It's fresh and fruity and instantly calms me down as it makes me think of that moment, just as your about to take a sip of your tea. Notes of bergamot, clary sage and orange peeled are entwined with a smokey black tea to create this gorgeous fragrance. I may just have to burn this as we speak... It's that great. 

To burn when you've got your friends round


I am all about burning candles 24/7 and the Mini Moderns Pavilion Candle in Gin Fizz, £24 is the perfect one for when you're hosting. If the prosecco (or gin!) is flowing, crack this candle out for a party-friendly mood booster. It's fresh, it's fruity and with notes of lemon, juniper berry and fresh geranium it's the perfect scent to suit your evening with a drink or two in hand. 

To burn when you need a mood boost


If I am looking for a scent for a specific mood, Neom is always the brand I go to. I've burnt many of their candles before so can definitely vouch for the quality. The Neom Feel Refreshed Candle, £30 is perfect for a mood boost. This is actually one of my favourite scents to burn in the kitchen as the notes included are most definitely kitchen friendly. Notes include lemon and fresh basil for the ultimate mind and body pick-me-up. 

What are your favourite candles right now? 

Lorna x
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Sunday, 1 April 2018

Cream Cleansers For Every Budget


Cream cleansers are a staple in my skincare routine. In fact, I always have several on the go and I finish them up so regularly (hence that some of my favourites from this post aren't actually pictured, if I still did empties, they would all 100% be included). 

My skin is dry/dehydrated and sometimes on the sensitive side and each of these have been perfect for it, though I have recommended each of these to people of all skin types and they have been great too. 

Just as a heads up, I usually use the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, £4.99 to take off all of my makeup first and then I go in with one of these, though they are super effective at removing makeup too - so use this post however it would naturally fit into your routine. 

Whatever your budget, whatever your skin type, you need to give one of these a go... 

If you're on a budget


The Sanctuary Spa Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser, £10 is actually one that came into my life very recently. I have loved Sanctuary Spa products for years but hadn't really dipped my toe into their pool of skincare products. As the most budget friendly product of the post, this one definitely doesn't disappoint. A gentle cleanser using beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut and jojoba oil and soothing camomile - and it comes with a handy muslin cloth to buff everything away. 

The mid-range & one to try first


The Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, £16 (for the starter pack) was the product that got me obsessed with this type of cleanser. In fact, if you go back to 2012 (when I first started this blog!) this cleanser was actually my second ever review (head here to see it) and it has featured on here regularly since. 

It's a beautiful gentle cleanser that removes dirt and makeup, hydrates the skin subtly and leaves skin feeling clean but not stripped. The starter pack comes with a 100ml pump bottle of the cleanser and two muslin cloths. This is always the set I pick up as their cloths are my all-time-favourite. In fact, I have just ran out if yet another bottle of this hence why it isn't pictured. I think a trip to Boots may just been in order as writing about this, makes me miss it. If you buy any of these, buy this one first - it'll change your cleansing life. 

A little more luxurious & the one for sensitive skin


Again, this is a cleanser that has featured in my skincare routine for a long time. My skin can be on the sensitive side and although I generally find all of these to be fine for that, this is the one I go to if I'm having a sensitive flare up. The Pai Skincare Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, £28 works in the same way as the previous cleansers mentioned but I find if my skin is feeling sensitive then this helps to calm it down. It's gentle but still cleanses my skin as needed, and it's perfect for removing makeup too. I always like to make sure I've got a back up of this, just in case (you never know when your skin is going to need it!) 

The most luxurious & the one filled with BioOrganic ingredients


I remember the first time I tried this. I had always heard incredible things about Aurelia Skincare but had feared spending the money and being disappointed, but if anything I was blown away and completely understood the expenditure. The Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser, £42 has been one of my favourites since I first tried it. It is incredibly luxurious, from the pretty packaging (which gets me every time) to the way the product feels on the skin. It works similarly to the other products in the feature as it's applied and buffed away by one of their gorgeous muslin cloths - but this one really makes my skin glow. Although it is formulated for sensitive skin, I usually opt for the Pai cleanser as it;s a little more gentle, but if my skin needs a pick-me-up this is the one I go for. 

Aurelia is all about using BioIngredients sourced from around the word and ensure to only use the ingredients necessary to get the results meaning they are free from all of the nasties including sulphates, parabens, mineral oils and MI to name a few. They don't contain live bacteria or work on the skin’s surface micro biome as they believe there's a better way. I just adore their ethos and branding, it really makes you feel as though you're doing good for your skin. I just need to get my hands on their deluxe size, because I adore pump. Definitely on the shopping list... 


Have you tried any cream cleansers? Let me know your favourites!

Lorna x
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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Soak Stars: The Ultimate Bathing Blend



Bath time has always been a favourite of mine. In fact, growing up I generally used to always opt for a bath over a shower any day. It's that time in the day when you have to have a bit of 'me time' and I adore that. 

I am a bath product hoarder and forever love trying something new (if you have any bathing favourites, please holla - I'm always looking for the next best thing to try!) and to create the ultimate bath, I love to mix a few bits together for the ultimate relaxation. 

Generally this can change up depending on what I've got on the go at the time, but in general there are three phases that are always involved - and I like the bath water as hot as I can get it. 

Read on to find out what makes the perfect bathing blend in my books... 


Bubble Bath or Bath Milk 


Okay, sometimes I actually use both depending on how extravagant I'm feeling but as a general rule it's usually one or the other. I LOVE getting into a bath full of bubbles - there's just something that makes a bath that bit better, but if I'm looking for something more soothing a bath milk is usually what I go for. 

For bubbles, at the moment I'm using the Sanctuary Spa Luxury Bath Float, £12. This uses the classic Sanctuary scent that I adore and creates a huge amount of bubbles - the packaging update with the gorgeous rose gold top is a massive thumbs up in my books too as it looks great on the side of my tub. 

On the bath milk side of the spectrum, my current favourite is the Crabtree & Evelyn 
Goat Milk & Oat Soothing Body Milk, £28. This feels so luxurious and anything that has soothing in the name makes me want to try it. From the scent, to the texture of the product and even to the gorgeously simple packaging (in a gorgeous muted blue - one of my favourite shades at the moment), everything about it just emphasises relaxation to me. 


Bath Salts


Now I don't add these in every time I have a bath, but when I feel like I need a little extra I'll sprinkle a few in. I adore the Westlab Super Salt Himalayan Bathing Salts, £7.99 at the moment. I use one of the others from their Super Salt range too, but I'm saving that one for another post - so keep your eyes peeled for that soon. The Super Salt Himalayan Bathing Salts from Westlab work to cleanse the body. They detoxify, rebalance and revitalise the body and mind and leave the skin feeling radiant. I adore using these if I'm looking for something a little more restorative. 


Bath Oil or Bath Bomb


Now again, sometimes I'll use both of these together but for the two products I'm talking about today, generally I would keep them apart as it could end up a little too OTT on the hydration front. Bath Oils are a staple in my bathroom beauty collection  - in fact I could talk to you about them all day, but for this post I'm talking my current favourite the Aromatherapy Associates Revive Evening Bath and Shower Oil, £49. In fact, I adore ALL of their bath and shower oils, but this is the one I've currently got on the go. It is incredibly hydrating on the skin and the scent relaxes me like no other. The Revive Evening scent is my favourite if I've had a long day at work and I need a little pick-me-up in the evening, but not so much that I won't be able to get to sleep as it works to relax you at the same time. 

On the bath bomb front, another bath time staple in my eyes (most likely from my Lush obsession when I was younger - I mean, did you even have a bath if you didn't use a Lush bath bomb and instagram it?!). If I'm using a bath bomb I usually opt for the Lush Butter Ball Bath Ballistic, £2.95. I'm currently using the Christmas version, the Lush Butter Bear Bath Ballistic as I still have a little stash from the January sales but they essentially are the same minus the shape. These bath bombs not only smell incredible, but they soothe and hydrate the skin. The bath bomb is filled with small cocoa butter pieces that once melted leave your skin with a soft to the touch, buttery film that smells incredible. No body cream needed after using this! Not one I opt for all the time, but a great one to have in your stash. Plus - who doesn't LOVE putting a bath bomb in the bath? Not me!


I have so many other products I use, but this at the moment is my favourite bathing concoction. A mixture of these goodies and you'll be ready to drift away next time you're in the tub.

1,2,3, relax... 

Lorna x
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