Monday 31 August 2015

Graduation & Celebrating at the Kensington Rooftop Gardens

Life has been a little bit crazy of late and I touched on that in my Operation Be The Best Me post. I only went and graduated from the University of Westminster with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Photographic Arts and I can't quite believe it. This post is a little delayed (I actually graduated back in July) but I've been really busy with work and moving house and I kind of wanted to let it all settle in a bit and think about how massive of a change this actually is. University has been the entirety for the past three years of my life and it's really the only way I've ever known London. So to put it lightly, this is a pretty pivotal point in my life right now and graduating was a pretty big deal. 

I struggled with University, I can't say I had the best experience, but I always like to think that I wouldn't change a thing. I'll probably write a 'My University Experience' post or film a video at some point, but I think I need it to be a little further into my past before I go for that. I'm so happy that I managed to pull on through and actually get a blooming degree and all of that accumulated into one day and honestly, it was really overwhelming. I didn't know what to expect, but it was a massive day and I'm sure I'll remember that forever. If you want to see a little snippet into what I got up to then check out my weekly vlog as I filmed a little bit.

Deciding what to wear was probably one of the most stressful experiences. The amount of ASOS, Topshop and Misguided orders I made before I found the right one was on a whole other level. I had already decided on the shoes I wanted to wear as I had fallen in love with the Clarks x Orla Kiely Blanche Sandals* and so I just had to wear them, as they are such a special occasions shoe. A little more patterned than I usually go for and so I had to find the right dress to go with it. I actually ended up going with the Frock and Frill ASOS Cap Sleeve Embellished Playsuit as it went perfectly. I fell in love with the vintage vibes and it felt that bit more special than anything else I'd tried on - I knew it was meant to be and I'm still so in love with the whole outfit now. 

To celebrate though, we wanted to go to somewhere special and it was an experience that I just had to tell you about. We went to Babylon at the Kensington Rooftop Gardens and it honestly was just incredible, so beautiful and just the perfect way to celebrate the day. If you normally read my blog, then you'll know by now how much of a foodie I am and so celebrating with great food and cocktails was just perfect for me. The restaurant is the floor above the gardens and we sat out on the terrace for a few drinks before heading inside for our meal. We could see the Flamingos and I feel like I was too excited about that! 

Onto the food though, and for starters I'd recommend the Scallops, they were just incredible. Cooked beautifully and the flavour was insane. I've fallen in love with Scallops lately and these didn't disappoint. The dish almost looked to beautiful to eat... but of course, I did. For the meat eaters amongst you, I'd recommend the Ham and Egg dish. An even more beautiful dish, and I was told it was super tasty. 

For main I had the Cornish Crab Pasta with tomato foam and honestly this was incredible. Super filling, super rich but oh so tasty. The Saffron and Red Pepper risotto (pictured above) along with the Lamb came highly recommended. 

The meal was super filling and so tasty and a beautiful experience with a gorgeous view. I couldn't recommend the restaurant more! It's a total special occasion place and I'm sure it's made even more exciting if the gardens are open - not to worry though, you still get a great view of them! 

It was all so incredible and so overwhelming and I'm so happy I could celebrate it with my loved ones. 

Lorna x

Sunday 30 August 2015

How Not To Be Overwhelmed By Beauty

beauty products, makeup, skincare, hair care, foundation, eye shadow, charlotte tilbury, inkia, vichy, bourgeois, john frieda, NARS

With so many products on the market nowadays, how do you know where to start? How do you know which serum is right for you? Which Foundation matches your skin type? Or even who to listen to when it comes to reviews? 

The beauty market has become so saturated that if you're coming in from an outside angle, then I can see how it can be completely overwhelming. I mean, it can be for me to and I'm a beauty obsessive, beauty blogger and I work in beauty too. So don't worry if you ever feel like this... We ALL do. 

I mean, who can really tell the brightening, clarifying, softening, 'I-will-work-miracle' creams from each other. I honestly don't think it's down to this. Companies obviously say that their product will do xyz because at the end of the day, their end goal is to sell it to you and whether or not it will have the effect on you that it says it will is a different story. 

Beauty is so subjective, what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. It's all a bit trial and error unfortunately. For someone like me however, that eats, sleeps and breathes beauty - well that's just the fun of it. But perhaps for someone that finds it more of a must-do then I can imagine it can be a little tedious and I honestly don't blame people that find a product and stick to it for years. I totally understand that, and although I don't and won't ever do that in all areas of my beauty regime, there are some areas that I just can't see changing anytime soon - Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, I'm looking at you. 

So if you're looking at all of these products and are wondering where to start. I have one piece of advice for you and that's not to get sucked in and keep it simple. If you've got this far without all of the serums, primers, oils and every other beauty product under the sun, then I think you can wait a little while before you start adding them into your beauty routine. For skincare think about starting with a cleanser, toner and moisturiser with perhaps a scrub for a couple of times a week and then for makeup I'd keep it really simple too. You will know what you feel like you need. If you feel like your complexion needs in enhancing then a foundation and concealer will be your best friend. Perhaps pick up a do-it-all eyeshadow palette (my favourites are of course the Urban Decay Naked Palettes) and a kohl liner, mascara and brow pencil. Swatch a few lip products, pick your favourites. Maybe a blush. But keep it super simple and don't feel like you've got to own 50 red lipsticks just because the bloggers you follow might. It really is unnecessary, and I fully well know my beauty collection is more than a little out of hand. 

The drugstore and on the high street has so many great picks nowadays that you don't need to spend a bomb to find something that's good. Think about what type of skin you have and research into what could work for you. Go in store, have a swatch and you'll be able to work out what you like. If you do want to make an investment into some key pieces however, I would recommend putting that budget into your skincare. I say this all the time, so forgive me if you've heard me say it already but you have to work from the base upwards. If your not looking after your skin and you're having a bad time with it then no £50 foundation will make it look any better. Invest in skincare that will work for you, don't just buy it because so and so said it on their YouTube channel. They may well have a very different skin type to you and research will help you make sure you don't waste your money on something that just isn't right. 

So I'm just going to end this post by reiterating the fact that the only thing I can recommend to help not feeling overwhelmed with beauty is by just keeping it simple, your skin will thank you for it in the long run too... 

Lorna x

Thursday 20 August 2015

Operation Be The Best Me

Life has gone a little bit crazy lately. Everything has changed as I knew it and its just a little bit strange. I honestly don't really know what this post is going to be, I feel a little bit like I'm going to channel my inner Cady Heron and word vomit all up in here, but I feel like it's needed for the both of us. I've been a little MIA. I feel like I've been saying that a lot, but when everything gets hectic in life, the last thing I remember to do is sitting down to write for my little space on the internet. I actually always forget how much I love it. 

I recently graduated, I've started a new job, I've moved house to live with complete strangers all alongside a whole lot of other hectic life things that I can't really talk about. So as you can imagine, it's all a bit up in the air at the minute. But I want to take this as an opportunity and grab hold of this opportunity with as much grip as possible. 

I'm not saying I want to reinvent myself, I'm not saying I want to change, I just want to be able to give myself the best chance. It might feel a bit difficult right now, it's going to take a while to adjust but in the grand scheme of things I'm really excited about the possibilities. I just want to take a bit of a step back and think about what I want, and this probably is sounding like one of those 'I'm stopping blogging' posts and I assure you it's not... I mean it couldn't be further from the case actually. I'm trying to get to the point of the fact that I really want to blog more, I want to take that 'me time' to have a pamper and write content and make videos because essentially that is really what I love doing and I don't want to get lost in all of the hectic mess that life can be. 

So as I'm writing this, I'm thinking about what I want to do. What I want to do with my weekend. What I want to do with my (very near) future. And that's this. Although it's going to be bloody hard. Blogging full-time is what a lot of people do, it's what they do for their job and this is what I do alongside my job and I just need to get used to that. I also want to be able to give myself 'me time' in another sense. I want to be able to enjoy being by myself, I want to be able to have the time to give myself a good ol' pamper (that I have been completely neglecting as of late) and I want to be able to just enjoy being me. 

I didn't really know what to call this post, I mean I still don't really but I wanted it to be about how I want to give myself a chance to improve. Not for anyone, just for myself. I want to look after myself better, eat more healthily and do all of those kinds of things for me and I really have been making great steps towards that already and I feel like a great weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

Eating healthily and eating better is something I always strive to do but I've found that this time around it's working so much better and I think it's because I don't feel like I'm forcing myself. Hello courgetti obsession, I don't see you leaving me any time soon! 

I want to give myself a good pamper every now and again. I've got myself a fancy toothbrush, the Oral B Pro 6500 Black Smart Series toothbrush to be precise. Everyone always dreams about having gleaming white and shiny teeth and I'm making steps to make that a reality. I've also been thinking about getting invisible braces and an inman aligner is on my radar at the minute... but I guess that's something that will come later down the line. My fancy new toothbrush that connects with my phone via. bluetooth will just have to do! 

Remember when I talked about how I started epilating? Well I've also got back onto that bandwagon, I feel a little weird mentioning this here. I'm not saying this is what you need to do to feel better and go along with a big change, I'm just saying this is what I'm doing to make myself feel like I am making a conscious effort to better me. I've been using the Braun Silk-epil 9 SkinSpa Wet and Dry Epilator* and I've fallen in love. It's better than any I've ever tried before and it's so much easier. I'm going to write a post on this soon as it's a life changer but I just had to give it a mention in the mean time... 

I want to spend more time lighting my favourite candles and face masks and watching my favourite YouTube videos and making them myself. I want to sit in a fluffy dressing gown and my new Tommy Tou Sheepskin Mule Slippers* (which are blooming comfy and incredible quality by the way) and just feel super snug and super content. I want to be able to relax, and when I say relax I mean really relax. I want to actually feel like I've got not as much to worry about, not as much to think about. I want to go to more gigs (I've already started making steps towards this, hello Florence next month and Death Cab for Cutie in November).

Essentially, I just want to start doing more things for me. I think that way I'll be able to work out what I want to do with my life and be happy with that decision. I always say that I don't want to be that person that goes into work every single day hating their job and hating what they do. I mean I know every day at work isn't going to be all fine and dandy but I kind of mean a bit more than that. I want to want to be doing what I'm doing and I just know I'm heading in the right direction for that. 

I feel like this post could go on forever. I'm getting sleepy as I keep tapping away at my keyboard and I think that means it's probably time to sign off. I don't really know if I should hit the post button, but go on. What's a little word vomit between friends anyway? 

Lorna x

Sunday 16 August 2015

Eating in London: Vapiano

Quick, speedy and good food can be hard to come by in London - or just about anywhere. Vapiano* is perfect for that, it's definitely not Mayfair Pizza Company but it's pretty damn good and the prices are on point. There are a number around London, and it's perfect for dropping in after a busy day to refuel. 

I popped down to the branch just off Oxford Street with a couple of my friends to catch up. Vapiano isn't like other restaurants - there's no table service, so I wouldn't recommend going here if you want that sit down, catch up vibe - this really isn't the place for that. You go up to the respective station - pizza or pasta and order and they make it there and then, right in front of your eyes. This is great as they ask you what you want in it, and can alter it to your tastes - aka. no chilli, extra chilli... the list goes on. The stations are separate, so if you're going with someone who wants pasta and you want pizza you're unlikely to see them for a while... But that's okay as it means the food gets there quicker. 

We went for a couple of pasta dishes and a pizza. I opted for the Scampi E Spinachi with tagliatelle. A pasta dish filled with king prawns, basil pesto, spinach, onions, cherry tomatoes and cream - it was heaven and I'd eat this all over again in a heartbeat. My friend Alex, a Bolognese fiend opted for... Bolognese, of course. He went for it with tagliatelle too and extra parmesan. It disappeared and so it must have been great - a good bolognese on his scale! We mopped the pasta sauce up with their cheesy garlic bread which was delicious. On the pizza front, Michaela went for the Scampi E Rucola with tuna as recommended by the pizza chef- after a little mix up with the toppings and a little bit bit of a longer wait than expected - the pizza arrived. A good pizza, and so great for the price. 

Onto desert with another glass of wine in tow, we all opted for something different as we wanted to try too many. We went for the panna cotta, death by chocolate chocolate cake and the cioccolata foresta nera - layers of chocolate, with nutella, sponge fingers and cream. They were all great and a nice round off to the meal. 

Really quick and simple food that is incredible for the price. If you need a bite to eat and don't have loads to spend then I'd really recommend Vapiano, if you're looking to spend a bit more time enjoying your meal and want to have time to chat then probably not. It does what you'd expect and I can't fault that. 

Lorna x

Friday 14 August 2015

Hair Masks I'm Currently Using

Hair masks is something I've only recently got into. My hairs been feeling a bit dry since I had it dyed at Mowgli and after constant mentioning of how good the LUSH hair masks are by my friend Michaela, I decided it was about time I dipped into my stash and gave the ones I had a go. I always thought it was an extra step that I didn't need to do. I had super soft hair anyway so why would I want to make it any softer? It was already really difficult to work with and so I really didn't. 

My mind has swiftly been changed and that's down to the Windle and Moodie Intense Treatment Masque* and the Richard Ward Intense Argan Age-Proofing Hydrating Treatment*. You pop these on after washing your hair and leave for an extended amount of time. Sometimes I leave it on longer to make sure it really has time to work its magic, where as sometimes I'll use it for a shorter period as a quick fix. These are great for that - they hydrate my hair and honestly I really notice the difference. If you dye your hair and want to start getting back towards that pre-dyed super soft hair then trust me, these will help you along the way. It feels like a treat, they smell incredible and they really do make the difference. A necessary step in my pamper routine that I just can't see going anywhere. 

What are your favourite hair masks? 

Lorna x

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Eating in London: Mayfair Pizza Company

It's been a while... The foodies out there, especially the Londoner's may have been missing these posts. I know I certainly have. But life has been a little busy (post coming on this soon, I promise) and so all of this has had to take a bit of a back seat. I'll get it sorted soon, I swear. 

I am the biggest Pizza fan out there. I don't know where it came from... Probably from sampling some of the best Pizza joints in London including my favourites Pizza Pilgrims and Homeslice - there's pizza out there that isn't that greasy takeaway stuff that cures hangovers, there's pizza that actually tastes incredible - and that's just what did it. 

Mayfair Pizza Company* is the kind of pizza joint that you'd go on a date, or would take your friends and family to to make an evening of it if you know what I mean. I probably wouldn't even call it a pizza joint, pizza restaurant is probably more apt. The decor is fancy and hours could pass drinking wine, muching on pizza and enjoying the great service that I'd not hesitate to return if a good catch up is needed. Fancy pizza if you will. 

The bit you've all been waiting for... The food and what we actually ate. To start we got the Bruschetta and the Salt and Pepper Squid. Both absolutely incredible. Super simple, and things I virtually always opt for - you'll know about my squid obsession from previous Eating in London posts (the squid from my Eating in London: Shikumen post was to die for). We shared and devoured the lot.

Onto the main event - the pizzas. Now Mayfair Pizza Company don't actually just serve pizzas as the name suggests. They have a range of dishes and I just have to go back to try some of their pasta dishes including the Dorset Crab and Chilli Risotto and the Rigatoni Al Fungi - both sound incredible, but as a Pizza fan there really was no decision to be made. 

We were both struggling to pick, torn between two each and that was when we were told that we could have half and half pizzas. Something which isn't noted on the menus and something which makes this restaurant that bit more incredible. We both opted for a special with prawns and spinach - no tomato base, but this wasn't missed as it tasted incredible and the prawns were the best I've had in a long while. Hello flavour! On the other half, I opted for the Mayfair Pizza Co. Truffle and Porcini Mushroom pizza and this was an absolute stand out for me. I can't even describe how incredible this tasted - if you're a mushroom lover, you need to try this. Michaela went for the Fiorentina on the other half, covered in marscapone, spinach, soft boiled eggs, parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. Tasted amazing too and we wolfed it down. 

The main event though, and the best bit of the whole meal. Desert pizza. PIZZA FOR DESERT. I've never thought of having a sweet pizza before but it's literally the most genius thing I've ever seen. I don't usually have much of a sweet tooth but when something nutty and chocolate-y (aka Nutella) is involved that all changes. This is the Chocolate and Hazelnut pizza with ice cream and you need to try this. Stop what you're doing. Try it. Go and try it now. It's incredible! 

I was blown away by Mayfair Pizza Company this time and I honestly cannot recommend it enough. They went above and beyond to make our evening what it was (two flavoured pizza's I'm looking at you). If you fancy some 'fancy' pizza then you need to look no further.

Where's your favourite pizza joint? 

Lorna x

Thursday 6 August 2015

Love Me Beauty July 2015 & Giveaway

Love Me Beauty July 2015 Giveaway

Beauty products sent to your door monthly? What's not to love about that? It's the perfect idea for any beauty obsessive like me and it's probably something you've already jumped onto the bandwagon of. I remember signing up to Glossybox for its second ever box and subsequently signing up to a number of others as well. It's been a while, but beauty boxes have changed so much in the time that I've been gone from the scene and I think it's all so exciting and I'm very excited to see what is to come in the future too. 

Today I'm talking about Love Me Beauty and what they had to offer in July. Love Me Beauty works a little differently to how you know other beauty subscription box services to work as you get to choose the products you receive. Each month you are given six tokens allowing you to select the items from the Love Me Beauty Boutique that you want making sure that you don't get anything that doesn't suit you, and that you won't use. Once you've used your tokens to select the items in your box, you are then given the choice to keep shopping allowing you to select more items that are on offer at a highly discounted price - I'm talking Nails Inc nail polishes for £5 and so much more. No need to be jealous about what others receive as you pick what you want in your box. 

I'm blown away by the products as they are generally things that I've wanted to try before. I'm talking a selection of products that were on offer throughout July in the Love Me Beauty Boutique* - and if you haven't noticed the title already, I'm giving you the chance to win them too! 

First up, I've got the Nuxe Gentle Toning Lotion. I fell in love with the brand after hearing endless blogs talking about the ever hyped Nuxe Rev De Miel Lip Balm, I of course got my hands on it and have been obsessed with it ever since. The Gentle Toning Lotion is filled with rose petals to soothe and refresh skin. It really is gentle and I can vouch for that with my sensitive skin so if you find products can irritate your skin, then I'd recommend giving this a go. 

I've wanted to try the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-purpose Dry Oil for such a long time. It always pops up when the French Pharmacy and Nuxe is discussed and so of course I needed to try it. This dry oil is perfect for the summer, it hydrates the skin using plant oils without leaving the dreaded oily residue. It smells great too which is always a bonus! 

Onto hair and the Neal and Wolf Super Shine Spray was greatly welcomed. I'm always looking for products that can give my hair a glossy finish without weighing it down and this product does just that. It also helps to reduce frizz, smooth the hair and reduce static too. 

Makeup is always something that I love seeing in beauty boxes. It gives me a chance to perhaps try out brands I wouldn't usually try - I'm usually quite set in my ways with makeup, so don't venture too far from the brands I already know and love. 

The Mirabella Velvet Lip Pencil in Love is a red, though comes out a little more orange toned which doesn't suit me so well. I do however have a friend that does suit them and so this will be passed onto them! The texture is creamy and velvety and is infused with vitamins to help nourish your lips while adding a slick of colour. I love products like this as there's nothing worse than an uber matte lipstick that dries your lips out. 

Bella Pierre is a brand I've heard about a lot but isn't actually something I've tried before. The Bella Pierre Shimmer Powders in shades Champagne and Whesek were featured in the July Love Me Beauty Boutique and these are stunning. They are loose powders with amazing pigmentation and can obviously be a little messy as with all loose powders but as long as you're careful, these babies are well worth the extra effort. I think I may be in love! 

Last but not least I'm talking a couple of of products from the Love Me Beauty Collection. Alongside the beauty products in the boutique you also have the choice to select some of the beauty tools that Love Me Beauty have on offer. I think this is a great idea because I am forever forgetting to pick up a new pair of tweezers or an emery board so getting them in the box is genius. They are cute, super simple and a great addition. 

Most of these products are now sold out, though I do spy a few Nuxe and Bella Pierre products still in the boutique so if you do want to get your hands on them then I'd recommend picking it up asap as they will sell out very quickly. However, I'm already eyeing up the Love Me Beauty August Boutique as I can see there's products from Nails Inc, NUDE Skincare, ARK, ModelCo and more... Yes please! 

Sign up to Love Me Beauty and use the code lorna20 for 20% off. 

But the thing you've all been waiting for.... The giveaway. 

I'm giving you a chance to win this box with all of the products mentioned for yourself. Enter in the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck! 

Lorna x

Terms and Conditions: 
This giveaway is open to UK residents only and Love Me Beauty will be sending the prize to the winner. One winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter, and the winner will win a Love Me Beauty box containing the very same products as those I’ve featured within this post. Entrants under 18 must seek parental permission before entering this giveaway. All entries will be checked and verified, with any incomplete, false or duplicate entries being removed from the giveaway entirely. Love Me Beauty have provided the prize, and will be fulfilling the prize once the giveaway has ended. The winner be notified and will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, an alternative winner will be selected via Rafflecopter’s randomiser. This is not a sponsored giveaway.