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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dining in London: The Ivy Kensington Brasserie

I have been lucky enough to have visited the Ivy a number of times now - having been to the ones in Covent Garden, Chelsea and Kensington. However I think the Kensington restaurant swings it for me in terms of atmosphere and service. One misconception about the Ivy is that it is a highly expensive restaurant where predominantly celebrities hang out, but in fact it’s quite the opposite and the menu actually boasts quite affordable dishes. 

The most expensive dish doesn’t exceed £25, (and that’s probably the steak) so really it’s on par price wise with many other London restaurants. I do love the Ivy as it always has a fabulous atmosphere and offers the most amazing array of cocktails and fresh fruit juices, I do love their green juice which comes out like a piece of art with a spiral of apple decorating the rim of the glass.

One of my favorite dishes is their Shepherd’s pie, which has recently been raved about on many news sites for its utterly delicious and rich flavor. I must admit, I was quite hungover when I went to the Ivy the day I had this, and was really hankering for something big and hearty, so when a measly shepherd’s pie came out I was a little taken aback – however it is so rich and the flavor is so lovely that you really don’t need too much of it.

The ivy also boasts some wonderful surroundings, from the pictures you can see that the décor is really quite stylish and glamorous. The staff are also really friendly and they really are skilled with the cocktail making – there’s nothing worse than ordering a cocktail and the bar tender scratching his head over ingredients.

Overall this place is wonderful for an evening or lazy afternoon out, the perfect surroundings to celebrate a birthday or to go with a group of friends – if you are in the area I do suggest heading to the Kensington brassiere on Kensington High st.

Friday, 13 October 2017

5 dreamy places I'd rather be this weekend

I get these questions a lot; 'so are you done with travelling now?' , 'Have you got it out of your system?' or my fave (mainly coming from my mum) 'why don't you find a nice man instead?' - but the truth is that I'm definitely, 100% not done with travelling, and I think once you've experienced travelling alone, not knowing where you will be or what you will be doing each week - it never really leaves your system. There are still SO many places I want to go and things I want to see before I hit the grand old age of 30 and have to start thinking about 'settling down' (as my dad says), buying a flat and having kids.... (ewww) 

But for now here are 5 dreammmmy places I would LOVE to be this weekend as oppose to old Laaandan town.

1. Bora Bora
I mean I feel like this utterly dreamy picture does the talking for this one -- but Bora Bora is definitely on my list for places to visit, perhaps when i'm nearing my late twenties and want a break from work and to just chill out. 

2. New York
Its always been a dream of mine to take a long weekend to New York, or visit over the Christmas period when its all festive and people are skating in central park. I wouldn't mind a bit of shopping in Bloomingdale's either.

3. Maldives
I want to be lying on this beach so badly. The Maldives has always been on my bucket list for its sandy white beaches, great food and friendly locals (according to my pap). 

Iceland is such a popular place to visit at the minute and I can definitely see why. It just seems to offer so many incredible landscapes and amazing natural wonders that I can barely get my head around how diverse it is.

Ah Rome, the city of Love (and pasta/pizza). Italy in general is at the top of my travel list and I really want to try and inter-rail around the country next year for about a month on my own. Aswell as Rome, I would also love to visit Sicily, Lake Garda, Florence and the Amalfi coast. I'm not so bothered about Venice - apparently it just stinks of eggs according to my mum!

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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

10 things I learnt in my first month in PR

So you’ve graduated University, taken on relevant work placements and bossed those round of interviews which now means your heading into the big wide world of PR. I’m not going to sugar coat it, PR really isn’t for the faint-hearted, and your first job can seem mega scary, especially when it means actual responsibility rather than just scouring newspapers and making tea. Having recently endeavored into my first proper PR job where I have the responsibility of working on multiple accounts, I thought I would share with you my 10 tips to ready you for those first slightly grueling two weeks – based on my own experiences.

1       1)   Don’t expect results straight away
When I first started my PR job, I remember waltzing in thinking it would be easy to get coverage. Oh how naive I was, what you will learn quickly with PR, much like any profession, is that everyone has to start somewhere, and whilst your boss may have pages and pages of contacts, chances are its because they have been doing it a lot longer than you, do not fear. I started my job with 0 contacts and pretty much 0 experience, I wasn’t even sure how to approach a journalist, but you soon learn. The best thing to do is once you’ve got to know the clients you’re working on, send out some tailored emails to the relevant journalists and introduce yourselves to them, once you have built up a bit of a relationship, they will trust you and what your selling in, meaning they may feature your client, it’s all about building on relationships and gaining the Journalists trust, once you have that down its smooth sailing. 

         2)   Listen and learn
As a newbie, and having survived my first two months in the Industry, one of the greatest pieces of advice I can give is to listen to the guidance that is given to you and learn from it, as it will prove super valuable to you in the long term. I remember my boss going through pitches, telling me exactly what to say – but looking back it really helped as I was able to grasp what worked when pitching to Editors.

          3)  Ring rounds may be tedious but they are important
Ring rounds may not be the most thrilling of tasks, you’re literally sat with a phone, a notebook and a long list of contacts. What fun. But the truth is, whilst it may seem slightly tedious, getting on the phone and actually speaking to Journalists is invaluable and lets them know that you are human, and that you are confident to pitch your ideas down the phone. Some journalists can be a little short at first, but remember this is down the fact that they are controlled by tight deadlines and ongoing pressure, it’s not you!

             4)   Go with your gut
I find with PR it’s not all about what you know, or what skills you learnt at University, but more about learning to go with your gut and being bold. Many times I may think a content idea is a pile of crap, only for it to be picked up by multiple journalists. Or perhaps you’re not sure whether to send that balsy yet to the point email to that high powered editor, but chances are she will admire your boldness and in turn put you on her radar of PR's to keep in touch with. Sometimes being brave and learning to just go with it and believe in your work makes you much more prone to success.

          5) Don’t Lie
I can’t stress this point enough. You know the drill. Somethings gone wrong somewhere and you know deep down it was you’re doing but are scared of the consequences, so you ignore the problem only for it to blow up in your face and you are, understandably the bad guy. If you’ve made a mistake or done something wrong its best to own up to it straight away, chances are your boss will see that you’re an honest person, and as a human being him/herself, will understand that we all make mistakes and learn from them. If you try and cover up your mistakes they will only come back and bite you on the ass.

          6)   Bigger is better
It may seem obvious, but I just wanted to stress the importance of targeting the right Publications and editors. In my first few weeks as a PR I was reaching out to many magazines and blogs which are pretty unheard of, I thought I was the bees knees when I got multiple coverage, only to find out that whilst this was ok, these weren’t the publications we were looking to reach. So whatever you’re pitching, always aim for the larger publications as well as the small, as these have a wider circulation and reach.

           7)    Kill em with kindness
In PR, chances are you will have to deal with a very rude editor, most likely a Fashion Editor who likens herself to Anna Wintour (lol please) and as much as you may want to lay into her and tell her that she aint all that, this is not the way to win them round. My motto is 'kill em with kindness', or 'fake it till you make it', if you’re a high volatile character, and find it hard to hold your tongue, then you will need to learn to just put on an act and be as nice and as helpful as you can until they can’t help but want to work with you.

           8) Get on Social Media
If you want to do well in PR, then you have to be on social media, notably Twitter. I swear to god 99% of Journos, editors and bloggers have a twitter account, which A) makes it much easier to reach them and B) means you can see what they are up to and what they are working on. Be as social as you can, follow them, interact with them (but don’t go psycho) and chances are when you next email them they will recognize your profile from the site and trust you a lot more. Also one great tool to use for finding stories is using the hashtag #JournoRequest, it’s basically a really useful hashtag which means us PR's can see what people are working on, and if our clients can help.

9) Always follow up
When you’re sending out multiple pitches a day, and receiving many emails in return, it can be really easy to forget where you are. I’ve had one occasion where I forgot to follow up with a journalist, and missed the opportunity for my client to be featured on a national publication. It wasn’t great, but it helped me realise that you must always make sure you follow up on pitches, as chances are that Journalist didn’t see your email the first time round as they may have been busy, so ALWAYS follow up.

          10)  Be yourself
And my last piece of advice, is to be yourself! No matter if you are pretty whacky; character is everything. No Journo wants a boring, robotic pitch sent their way. Be human and friendly, talk to them as if you would your friends, keep the emails informal – add a kiss at the end if you want! As ultimately you want your pitch to stand out, so the more it’s like you (and your client) the better. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Digital Detox: 5 tips for switching off and refreshing your mind this Autumn

In this increasingly fast paced and digitally influenced world, it’s difficult to find the time to switch off and get away from it all. With so many of us busy with work and checking our phones on a daily basis, it can sometimes seem a little daunting when someone mentions having a ‘digital detox’.

Many of us would jump at the chance to leave our phones at home and go on a long weekend away or head out with friends without the temptation to check our feeds, but for others it can be incredibly difficult. It isn’t surprising that giving yourself a break from the perils of Instagram comparison, or twitter feeds is incredibly beneficial for your mental health, yet it’s learning to switch off that people have trouble with. Here are 5 tips I find help me switch off and revitalize ready for a new week ahead.

1.       Log off
The problem with social media, emails and news feeds is that they are so easily accessible, and with the touch of a button we are immediately submerged into this digital world, which is almost suffocating with its sheer amount of content. The best thing to do to kick start a detox is by logging out of all of your apps such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, this way when it comes to you going back onto your phone, it will be much more difficult as you will have to sign back in, and with us millennials having a much shorter attention span you will find you won’t want to spend the time logging back in.

2.       Make real life plans
One of the best ways to really switch off is by making real plans with friends and family. Forget a quick phone call or skype session, this is about human contact and the fantastic feeling you get after meeting with good friends and not looking at your phone once. It is best to keep your schedule outside of work busy so you’re not tempted to lounge around on your phone, perhaps visit the cinema with a friend, this way you will have no choice but to detatch yourself from the outside world.

3.       Don’t set unachievable goals
The worst way to do a long digital detox is by banning yourself altogether from any contact with your phone, this won’t work and will only increase your chances of boiling over and heading back to your phone. Its best to allow yourself to check your apps, but to give yourself timed sessions, so perhaps you can give yourself a 15 minute block at the end of the working day where you check everything once- but don’t linger. This will mean you will feel more relaxed as you will have seen what’s going on online, but that you don’t have to continue scrolling needlessly for hours.

4.       Leave the gadgets at home
If you really are serious about the detox then it may be best to leave your digital items at home altogether, be it your phone, laptop or iPad, if you leave them behind then you will have no choice but to exempt yourself from the online world, it may be slightly frustrating at first, but soon you won’t notice and will learn to live without.

5. Don’t be tempted
It will be ever so tempting to say that you’re going to have a quick scroll through your feeds, but more often than not you will suddenly be there for hours checking each app and attaching yourself once again to the digital world you wanted to take a break from. Try and make yourself aware of your actions, many of us don’t even realise when we’re picking up our phones, but when you feel you want to check your feed, remind yourself that there won’t be anything new or worthwhile to view, and that your only hindering your chances of having a real detox by going on the apps.
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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

My 5 favourite products from the Ordinary Skincare

Unless you've been living under a rock these past few months, you will have heard about the phenomenon that is the Ordinary Skincare. The Ordinary has (and excuse my language here) quite literally, shat all over any other skincare brand on the market at the moment, purely for its offering of groundbreaking, clinical-like products, with skin-changing ingredients at ridiculously affordable prices.

I have to actually give my friend the credit for this one, as she introduced me to the line long before it stormed the beauty & blogging industry, and on her recommendation (and a big old google search on the each of the products) I made my first pretty hefty order. See below

A bit more about the brand:

The Ordinary is an evolving collection of treatments offering familiar, effective clinical technologies positioned to raise pricing and communication integrity in skincare. The brand was created to celebrate integrity in its most humble and true form. Its offering is pioneering, not in the familiar technologies it uses, but in its honesty and integrity. The Ordinary is born to disallow commodity to be disguised as ingenuity. The Ordinary is "Clinical formulations with integrity".

The Ordinary is a brand from DECIEM. We are an umbrella of brands focused on advanced functional beauty. Our team is specialized in materials chemistry and biochemistry, and we have brought pioneering innovation in skincare through our core brands, Hylamide and NIOD.

DECIEM does not test on animals and does not pay others to do so. For this reason, none of our brands are sold in mainland China since such sales require animal testing for registration purposes.

My 5 Faves:

1. Natural moisturisng factors & HA

What is it & what does it do?
Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) are elements that keep the outer layer of the skin protected and well-hydrated. NMF are made up of multiple amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid and many other compounds that are naturally present in the skin. This formula offers non-greasy hydration that acts as a direct topical supplement of impaired NMF components. It offers immediate hydration and lasting results with continued use.

My thoughts:
This moisturiser doesn’t have any flashiness to it, it doesn’t anti-age or minimize pores, but it does what it’s supposed to do REALLY well – and that’s moisturise. It has a thicker consistency, yet goes onto the skin really nicely and doesn’t feel sticky at all. It’s also a great base for makeup as I find it gives your skin a lovely dewy and healthy look and doesn’t feel tight or dry at all.

2.  AHA 30% & BHA 2% Peeling solution

What is it & what does it do?
With 30% Alpha Hydroxyl Acid, the AHA peel exfoliate the skin's topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance. This combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use. 

My thoughts: 
This product is bloody amazing, as an acidic facial peel it is not for the faint-hearted (or those with sensitive skin) It goes on like actual blood, and tingles a little once first applied, but I like that as you can feel it working. Once taken off your skin looks and feels squeaky clean and it really does feel as though it’s taken a layer of your dead skin cells off.

3. Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

What is it & what does it do?
Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxyl acid that exfoliates the skin. This 2% treatment solution helps exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use. 

My thoughts: 
This product is supposed to target problem skin such as clogged pores and acne, and it is probably one of the only products I've ever found that actually does this. I know many others that swear by this genius product also, you should use it sparingly as it is quite a strong acid, so I tend to mainly dot it on my problem areas of an evening a few times a week when I feel I need it.

4. Hyaluronic acid

What is it & what does it do?
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water. The molecular size of HA determines its depth of delivery in the skin. This formulation combines low-, medium- and high-molecular weight HA, as well as a next-generation HA crosspolymer at a combined concentration of 2% for multi-depth hydration. This formula uses three forms of HA with varying molecular weights, as well as an HA crosspolymer, to offer multi-depth hydration and visible plumping without drawing water out of the skin solely to improve temporary surface hydration.

My thoughts: 
I absolutely swear by this product. With Hyaluronic acid being everywhere ATM it was no surprise that I jumped on the bandwagon, it really just hydrates and leaves your skin feeling and looking so supple and plump – and for the price its an absolute gem of a product.

5. 100% Cold pressed rose-hip oil 

What is it & what does it do?
This formulation uses 100% pure Rosehip Seed Oil that is both cold-pressed and organic. Rosehip Seed Oil is rich in linoleic acid, linolenic acid and pro-vitamin A, all of which degrade when the oil extraction process involves heat. While cold-pressed extraction is complex, it preserves all of the quality of this important oil which has been shown to reduce signs of photo-ageing and many other skin conditions. 

My thoughts:
Rose-hip oil is something I’ve always used on my skin for the last few years – its just a really great way to naturally re-hydrate the skin and target ageing. Using an oil on your skin at night every now and again really just gives it the nutrients it needs to remain youthful and glowing. This stuff is probably the best and cheapest I’ve used so far, and the fact its 100% pressed is so amazing.

You can order The Ordinary products here

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Pixi Glow Tonic: Worth the hype?

PIXI by Petra is a skincare brand that is fairly new to the UK beauty industry, but over the past few months has taken it by storm. I think the first time I properly heard about them and grew my knowledge on the brand was when they launched their double cleanse cleanser in collaboration with the highly successful skincare blogger Caroline Hiron’s (I did actually give into the hype and buy this product, but I’ll save that review for another post) PIXI by Petra sets itself apart from other luxury skincare brands for having this sweet, almost quite millennial trademark feel to it, the packaging for one (which uses mainly a gold and pastel green palette) seems a little simple and drugstore- but I think that’s what makes it work. With its ethos being based around using natural ingredients, and giving its customers a ‘healthy and glowing’ complexion, proving quite similar to the likes of other natural skincare brands such as Liz Earle and Pai, its palpable that PIXI is just another breakthrough brand making full use of the ‘vegan and organic’ marketing angle.

Created over 10 years ago and launched in Soho, London, PIXI has a loyal worldwide following thanks to its pure, awakening & skin-loving products that create a naturally radiant "just had a good night's sleep" look. Passionate about skincare, Petra creates innovative formulations that are infused with botanicals and beneficial ingredients. Petra has real-world experience as a busy working mother of four, therefore PIXI is truly about multitasking, flaw-fixing, youth-enhancing products for women on-the-go with no time to spare.

It’s no secret that this youthful, ‘less is more’ look which is sweeping the runways and beauty industry is becoming more popular with everyday working women, thus skincare has become a vital step in one’s beauty regime. I for one much prefer spending my well-earned pennies investing in some high-end skincare as oppose to overpriced makeup. Just look at the likes of Models Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, both are known for their glowing complexions and barely there makeup- which is seemingly why women are taking much more of an interest in their skin health – which is bloody fantastic if you ask me.

PIXI glow tonic is one of the brands best-selling products, so it was no big shock when I decided to invest in a tube after stumbling across their Carnaby street store ( If you haven’t visited- you must, its true skincare store heaven) this glow-giver brightens, tones and conditions your skin after cleansing. Enriched with 5% glycolic acid – a natural derivative of sugar cane, and member of the alpha-hydroxy acid family – this gentle, exfoliating formula dissolves the bonds binding dulling dead cells to skin’s surface, to reveal the ‘new’ healthy skin cells underneath. Victoria Secret model, Jordan Dunn is also apparently a huge fan of the product.

After about a week of use now, I must say I do quite enjoy sweeping the refreshing substance on my skin of a morning and evening, it has this incredible yet almost overpowering rose fragrance to it, and you really do feel that it is purifying your skin as well as giving your complexion an immediate glow.

It was actually this morning, when I parked myself down in front of my vanity mirror having just awoken and still a bit perplexed, I noticed my complexion. I was glowing. Now I understand that this could be down to all manner of things: the fact that I’m drinking 3 litres of water a day, exercising 4 times a week, or maybe it’s that green smoothie I had a few days prior, but it just seemed that this morning my imperfections and redness were less so, my wrinkles were diminished, and I just had a bit more of a youthful look about me.

I know many of you may be reading this and thinking this is utter rubbish, but I wouldn’t be writing it if it wasn’t true. It may not be down to the glow tonic, but I have a sneaky feeling, if this product is as good as they say, it might be. For £18.00 I rather think it’s quite a bargain, especially for the amount you receive. I can honestly say that I think this will become a strong contender in my toner cupboard, alongside my beloved LA Roche Posay clarifying toner and my Clinique toning lotion. I will definitely be checking out the rest of the PIXI products in the near future, not only do they seem to do what they say on the tin, but they also look fabulous on my vanity table.

Click here to buy the glow tonic. 
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