One Stop Christmas Shop: Etsy

etsy gifts
We know – biologically – that we are creates of habit but it is easy to forget to what degree this is true. Over the holiday season, many of us have habitual routines or traditions that provide us emotional security blankets.

It wasn’t until one of my closest friends decided to embark on an ‘Amazon-free Christmas’ that I realised these habits could be as much a hindrance as they are a help.

With that in mind, I thought I would create a few One Stop Christmas Shop gift guides for you, dear reader. The aim of these guides will be to inspire and excite your Christmas purchases, all while making sure you check off everyone on your list – mother, brother, father, lover and beyond – as conveniently as possible.

First up? Etsy.

Shop Etsy:
Vintage Steamer trunk
Cloud pendant necklace
Eye Coal
Whatever, I’m Late Anyway watch
Bow and owl dog sweater
Wooden easel dock for an iPhone 5
Rose gold wishbone necklace
Ombre measuring cups (the ‘new home’ gift of dreams!)
Should I Wash My Hair Today? Flowchart
Retro Star Wars art

In Review: Green People and milk_shake

green beauty review
Time for a bit of a ‘green beauty’ update, my loves. It is not often that I switch my products around (that is, at least since I hung up my Beauty Editor hat) but these two brands have tempted a few switcheroos.

First up is beauty brand Green People and two of their epic staple products: the Volumising Mascara and organic pressed mineral powder. As well as having a SPF of 15, the latter is incredibly finely milled feels like air on the skin. A simple, natural matte finish with no nasties? I’m not sure it gets much better. Alas, the mascara is just as impressive: a plethora of volumising bristles, conditioning vitamin E and plant oils, and a super strong pigment. All without mercury, formaldehyde, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates and synthetic colourants (you’d be surprised by the number of mascaras which do).

Next comes the hair story.

Having coloured so recently, the inevitable search for natural recovery products has led me to haircare brand milk_shake. To put it as simply as I can, these products work. Though they are SLS and paraben-free, the ‘color maintainer’ shampoo and conditioner combine milk proteins, apple juice, and ‘Integrity 41′ (sunflower extract) to create a natural and healthful cocktail for coloured manes.

The ‘conditioning whipped cream’, however, takes the proverbial cake. When used through damp hair, the simple foam acts as a weightless leave-in conditioner and well as an incredible fragrance (not its intention, I’m sure, but an intense plus). It is one of those products that you fall in love with while simultaneously developing anxiety about running out on a particularly frizzy morning.

Well deserving switcheroos, if I do say so myself.

green beauty review
green beauty review

Holiday Party Inspiration: Fashion and then some…

holiday party inspiration
Party Dresses:
– The Vivienne Westwood Mini Cocotte Dress is probably the sexiest dress in the world (we’re talking classy sexy, not ‘naked dress’ sexy). An investment piece, for sure – but don’t you deserve a Christmas present, too?
– Carven’s waist-tied printed silk dress is luxurious, comfortable, and features a perfectly autumnal print.
– Combining a number of trends (and getting away with it), River Island’s printed dress is the kind of garment you can wear with a simple pair of simple heels and still steal the show.

Dancing shoes:
– Pair the Liliana Black Cross boots with a slinky LDB and knock ‘em dead.
– These Menbur bow pumps are are definitive show stoppers for holiday parties and beyond.
– Want something even sparklier? Now is the time to whip out the bigguns. these platforms from Aldo are a prime example.

The Party Dress Alternative:
The holidays flood most retail stores with ‘party looks’ and, naturally, most shoppers follow suit. Despite my inclination towards shiny things and dresses, I get a bit of a nauseous sensation when I come across a group of skimpy sequinned sistas. For those wanting to break the mould, look towards designers like JW Anderson; mix-matched textures, rich colours, and a cosy take on couture.

The Mince Pie Concealers:
One of my fittest female friends spends quite a bit of money on quality ‘mince pie concealers’ at this time of year. She also ends up, regardless of the number of ‘shapewear’ brands she trials, singing the praises of Spanx. From their Boostie-Yay Corset (perfect for bodycon dresses) to their Uptown Blackout Tights (why not kill two birds with one stone?) to the Slimmer & Shine open bust bodysuit (which is both a box-ticker and incredibly sensual to the touch – my personal favourite), there is a solution for everyone.

The Afterparty:
The answer to all your post-party woes, my friends, is Fitflop. For Londoners in particular, heels never seem to look as haute when you have a twenty minute walk ahead of you. Pack a pair of FF2 ballerinas in your handbag and you’re golden. Literally. The new design is all the same pressure-diffusing technology covered in a metallic, leather-lined case. All while being feather light. You’ll thank me later.

Going Blonde at Gro London (+ Vlog!)

going blonde

I’ve gone blonde. Some would say from brunette to blonde, but realistically I’ve gone from ginger to blonde. With a bit of ginger left in. A blonde balayage, to be specific.

Though I hadn’t been blonde for a good number of years, scrolling the socially-shared images of Gro London instinctively dared me to make a colour change (you have to look at their rainbow hair work). On top of that their six salons are all situated in the suburbs of London – the Hamsptead location being a convenient walk around the corner from my best friend’s house in Finchley Road.

From the second I made my appointment with Serafina, I experienced a level of customer service that echoed through my entire visit. Before going in, we exchanged a few inspirational images (thank you, Pinterest) and discussed the current state of my hair so we both knew exactly what to expect when appointment day arrived.

And because looking at hair is so much more interesting than talking about it, I filmed the entire experience to share with you in the vlog below. As you’ll see from the video, the experience went perfectly from start to finish; from proper discussions and colour examples to complimentary lattes and the most welcoming environment you could expect, I wouldn’t change a thing. It also doesn’t hurt that the blonde balayage is bangin’.

From this point, I’ll probably go a little bit blonder once my hair recovers from the lightening process (though, to be fair, a mix of Oribe and coconut oil has left me with no breakage or problems since the first home wash).

Stay tuned for more Gro London adventures at The 02 Centre

The Dead Sea Salt Glow at Gina Conway

gina conway chelsea
Now that I’m a good two months into my crazy eye-bleeds-laser-surgery fiasco, I have become obsessed with everything sensual and tactile. Especially in regards to beauty treatments.

Having taken something of a visual vacation, I have become rather critical of my other senses and have found myself pursuing a range of physical experiences. The best of which has been the Dead Sea Salt Glow treatment at Gina Conway.

For a demure-looking Chelsea salon, their underground spa is an absolute haven. As soon as I descended the staircase and entered the dark, plush treatment room, every stress (and trace of city-smoked chaos) melted away.

Obviously, the Dead Sea Salt Glow didn’t hurt the cause, either.

After undressing, laying down, and inhaling a variety of flower and plant essences, I chose my preferred fragrance (to be mixed with Pure Dead Sea Salts) and allowed myself to be lulled into REM while the customised concoction was smoothed over my body.

While this is particularly good for exfoliation, hydration and circulation (see ya, cellulite!), the following shower and customised cream massage was the icing on the cake of my mini staycation from the real world.

5 stars.

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