My Current Skincare Routine

I thought it has been a while since I updated my skincare routine on my blog, so I thought I would share my current skincare routine, featuring all the products I have been using recently:

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For Anti-Ageing:

Retinol is supposed to be great for anti-ageing, however it is a very strong product so avoid using every night, and make sure you start with the smallest dosage and work your way up. The Ordinary products are great for this, as they are set in squalene, so you can start to build up a tolerance gradually. Also be aware to always wear SPF after you put it on, as the sun can directly damage your skin when exposed to retinol. I apply this product before bed 3-4 nights  a week.

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For Eye cream:

As I recently turned 27, I have noticed a puffiness under my eyes that is really starting to irritate me. I came across this product by chance at a train station in NYC, but had heard great things about the brand, and so far have been loving the product. It comes in a larger container, but I’d advise trying the small one (below) first to make sure you like it. I apply this in the morning or evenings whenever I am feeling tired or think my skin is looking puffy.

 

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For SPF:

This is one of my favourite skincare products as it is so light and smoothing on the skin. A little also goes a long way with this product so it tends to last a very long time.

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As an alternative I also love La Roche Posay 50+

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For Serums:

I tend to suffer from dry, rather than oily skin, so I love serums that are super hydrating! I now never use a regular face moisturiser, as I don’t find them affective enough for hydration – serums are definitely the way to go. The two I have been loving are:

 

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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

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For Cleansers:

I always switch back and forth between 2 cleansers, one being a slightly more affordable option than the other. My 2 current favourites are IMAGE at the higher price point and Liz Earle at the more affordable price point. Both of these cleansers are very gentle on your skin and help to clean your skin without being overly invasive.

 

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For Face Tanning

For facial tanning, I have been loving the TanOrganic face product. It gives a really natural glow and with natural ingredients, I don’t feel like I am doing excess harm to my skin.

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For Dry Lips

Dry lips during Winter are an endless battle, but this product I swear by, because it actually works! It’s super cheap and you can get it in Boots and definitely beats using Vaseline or Carmex.

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Exfoliant:

This product is a 3-in-1 micro exfoliant with 3% glycolic acid and salicylic acid to refine, brighten + renew your skin. Glycolic Fix Scrub works deep into pores to cleanse, polish + reduce blemishes and can help reduce signs of ageing. It’s also very affordable and available in Boots.

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London: My January Restaurant Picks

 

Petersham Nurseries

So this is technically not a restaurant, but the food was so delicious and the atmosphoere so beautiful, I simply had to include it! Hidden away beside Richmond Park is the stunning Petersham Nurseries. An idyllic setting for lunch, tea and cake, this place is not to be missed if you are in the Richmond area or out for a weekend walk!

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BURNT TOAST (BRIXTON)

In the heart of Brixton Market is Burnt Toast, a low key but delicious spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The food is delicious but be prepared to queue!

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MARGOT

Okay so this is definitely one of my more ‘fancy’ restaurants that I tried this month. Don’t be mislead by the name, the food is not French, but actually Italian, and absolutely divine! Excellent service and in the heart of Covent Garden, this spot is perfect for an intimate and more upmarket evening, or even a great place to entertain guests or clients.

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THE JOINT (TOOTING MARKET)

Broadway Market is only just down the road from me, and it forever baffles me why I do not go down there more often. Between Broadway and Tooting Market, there is the most incredible array of restaurants and bars, with foods of all different types, from all over the world. My most recent visit was to The Joint – a meat lovers heaven! I was walking by this cosy spot and once I spotted the delicious looking burgers, I simply couldnt say no! Cheap, cheerful and casual, the food is absolutely delicious!

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MAMMA MIA PASTA (BROADWAY MARKET)

Right opposite The Joint is Mamma Mia pasta, a great spot for authentic, Italian pasta. The menu allows you to create and mix and match your choice of dish, from a variety of different sauces, cheeses and pastas. Cheap & Cheerful!

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Seven at Brixton

Seven at Brixton is a tapas and cocktail bar located in Brixton Market. They are open every day serving breakfast, brunch and coffees and also do bottomless brunch!

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GENESIS (Vegan food)

Located in Spitalfields is the delicious GENESIS. Similar to that of a diner, the menu is entirely vegan with a fast food twist, offering everything from burgers, to milkshakes to mac n cheese. It is definitely on the more casual side, but perfect for a mid-week feed, without the normal fast food guilt!

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Cattivo

A sister restaurant to Canova Hall in Brixton, I went to Cattivo for a bottomless brunch and would definitely recommend it going forward! A large, spacious venue, great food and service and endless prosecco, this spot is worth a visit if you are looking for a lively, bottomless brunch!

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Quick & Easy Porridge Bread

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It’s January, and just like every year, everyone is trying to cut back and eat healthy. This healthy, porridge bread recipe is super quick and easy to make and is a great alternative to normal, supermarket breads!

 

Recipe:
  1. 1 Tub of Natural Yogurt (500g)
  2. Porridge Oats – Use Gluten Free Oats for a gluten free option.
  3. Bicarbonate of Soda
  4. Mixed Seeds (topping)

 

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C and line a bread tin with parchment paper. I just use a regular loaf tin.

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Pour the full tub of natural yogurt into a mixing bowl. From there, add 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and mix thoroughly. Use the same empty tub of natural yogurt and fill it to the top with porridge oats, and add to the mixture. Repeat the same action with a second tub of oats. Mix thoroughly.

Then add the mixture to the baking tin and press down with a spoon, so that the mixture binds together. Add mixed seeds on top (optional) and press them lightly into the top of the mixture.

Cook for about 30-35 minutes, and check the mixture with a sharp knife. The knife should come out clean when the bread is fully cooked.

Serve with butter, jam, or a personal favourite almond butter and sliced banana. I recommend serving it toasted – enjoy!

 

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Dublin Food Picks

Whilst being home over Christmas, I had the opportunity to try new food places/restaurants in Dublin. Here are my top picks I would recommend:

 

Gertrude

New to Pearse Street, Gertrude restaurant is described as the perfect spot for all day dining. Suitable for small plates or a three course meal, the coffee is supplied through 3FE and the bread comes from Bread 41 across the road.

According to allthefood.ie,  ‘The menu is a mixture of semi-typical diner fare, Asian influenced dishes and the best Irish produce, with dishes like friend chicken and buttermilk pancakes, duck buns and game pie, as well as scrambled eggs with crab and hot sauce, snacks, sides and sweets.’

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Host

Host in Ranelagh has been in the village for a few months now, but since being in the UK I hadn’t had the chance to pay this spot a visit. The menu is essentially wine and small plates, with the main dishes changing on a regular basis, depending on the chef’s pick. The food is delicious and perfect for sharing, although it is on the pricier side. For a cool and trendy spot though, Host is the place to visit and I would definitely recommend it to those who like to branch out on their restaurant choices.

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Bread 41

Another spot on Pearse Street is Bread 41. A bread and pastry heaven, this place is perfect for breakfast, lunch or coffee, if you are in the city centre. This organic bakery actually has a flour mill on site and produces delicious, authentic sourdough as well as Danish pastries and cronuts. A takeaway pizza menu is also available from 5pm to 10pm, served through a hatch opening onto Pearse Street. Bread 41 has also launched a series of bread making classes, where you can learn the art yourself- click here for more details. At only €80, this is definitely a bargain.

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House

I had only ever been to House before for drinks, but had heard the place also serves great food. Whilst browsing somewhere to go to for Afternoon Tea, I came across their Afternoon Tea Menu as one to try. With so many hotels being so busy during the Christmas period, House seemed like the perfect, alternative option.

A table right beside the open fire and Christmas Tree, fantastic service and a delicious array of cakes and sandwiches, I would definitely recommend House Afternoon Tea to anyone in the Dublin area.

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Winter Haul

ZARA SOFT-TOUCH OVERSIZED SWEATER DETAILS
£29.99 

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H&M Cable-knit polo-neck jumper
£34.99

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H&M Wrapover top
£17.99 **Also comes in Red

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H&M Balloon-sleeved blouse
£34.99

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COS DOUBLE-BREASTED WOOL COAT £190

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TOPSHOP Scallop Wrap Top £32.00 (Black & Red)

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TOPSHOP Stretch PU Trousers
£36.00

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WAREHOUSE STAR EMBELLISHED CUFF JUMPSUIT
 £75.00

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WAREHOUSE PLEAT WRAP WIDE LEG JUMPSUIT
WAS £52.00 NOW £39.00

 

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M&S COLLECTION Patent Stiletto Heel Ankle Boots
Price £45

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London at Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, and the festive season officially underway, here are a few fun and Christmasy things to do in London over the coming weeks:

Ice skating at Somerset House:Every year Somerset House turns it’s main square into an ice rink. Tickets can be bought in advance (which I would recommend) or on the day. The setting is absolutely beautiful and I would definitely recommend popping into The Savoy Hotel after, for a drink/cocktail.

Ice skating at Natural History museum: Another beautiful ice rink in London is at the Natural History Museum. The building itself is spectacular and when you add the ice rink and Christmas trees, its simply magical. I would recommend booking tickets in advance for this, as demand is high. Click herehere to book.

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Kew Gardens: See these famous gardens light up, for the annual after-dark festive trail of lights. Click here to purchase your tickets.

Hogwarts in the Snow: Until Sunday 27th January, you can visit Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Brothers studios, where the studio is completely transformed into a winter wonderland. Buy tickets here.

Christmas at Leicester Square is a mini winters grotto with traditional Christmas markets, delicious food and drinks, a Santa’s Grotto, and a number of great shows in the beautiful surroundings of a tradtional 1920s spiegeltent.

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Coppa club: Famous for its beautiful and decorated igloos, Coppa Club at Tower Bridge is definitely worth paying a vist for a festive drink/meal. There is also a Christmas market beside Tower Bridge if you fancied a bit of pre-dinner shopping!

Kensington Palace: Experience Christmas as it would have been in Victorian times with a host of 19th-century decorations and activities to enjoy at Kensington Palace. Click here for prices and opening times.

Carol Service: Attend a carol service at St Pauls Cathedral or the Royal Albert Hall, or sing carols at Trafalgar Sqaure.

Parision rooftop at the Queen of Hoxton: This East London Rooftop has been transformed into a Seductive Parisian Speakeasy For The Winter period. Definitely one to check out for a drink one evening.

Coq d’Argent: This hidden gem is located at the top of an elevator at tube Bank station. Similar to Coppa Club, Coq d’Argent transports you to a winter wonderland. Food is expensive but definitely check it out mid week for a glass of mulled wine

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Winterville: Located in Clapham Common, expect live DJs, comedy, ice skating, roller disco,Street Feast food, Backyard Cinema’s Christmas and more at Winterville. Tickets for this can be bought online here and it is open until December 23rd, so if you are living South-West definitely check it out.

Go to the theatre: Why not check out whats on in the theatre or in the West End,and go and see a pantomine or musical? Tickets can be pre-bought online or bought last minute on the day for reduced prices.

Sloane Square: At the weekends, Sloane Square is the perfect festive spot for food, shopping and a mulled wine at the Duke of York Square and Kings Road. With their weekend food market and plenty of breakfast and brunch spots nearby, Chelsea is lit up with Christmas lights and is a great spot for shopping and enjoying good food/wine. Definitely be sure to checkout the Saatchi Gallery too, as there might be an interesting exhibition worth attending.

Southbank Centre Winter Market:  With markets, family shows, artisan gifts and global street food, craft beers & cocktails, the Southbank Centre Winter Market is the perfect spot to eat, drink and enjoy the festive season. Not to mention it is located right on the River Thames, boasting great views of the city of London. Southbank Centre will also host additonal events including Christmas Carols on the 8th December, so be sure to check out tickets for that.

Festive afternoon tea: Afternoon Tea is definitely a traditional, British event, and so many of the cities top spots go all out decorating for the Chrstimas Season. My suggestions are as follows: The Landmark London at their Iconic Winter Garden, Fortnum and Mason, The Savoy, The Kensington (Beauty & the Beast themed) , The Connaught, The Langharm x Liberty, Claridges and The Ritz.

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^^^ Fortnum & Mason ^^^

Santacon: Kicking off on December 8th is the annual Santacon event. It is essentially a convention of santas (groups of men and women dressed like Santa.) It is basically a Santa themed pub crawl in the centre of London. Checkout santacon.info for more information

Backyard Cinema Christmas Labyrinth: Watch a movie at the beautiful Christmas Labyrinth. Walk the enchanted tunnels to the indoor cinema, set in a festive woodland, in the heart of the Winterville Festival. Watch the film under a blanket and on your own giant beanbag, with a mulled wine and a mince pie.

Breakfast at Dalloway Terrace

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Pub Roast: Try a Sunday roast in one of London’s great pubs.

Winter Wonderland: Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland includes ice skating, show, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars and live music. Buy your tickets here.

Shopping: for festive shopping I would recommend Covent Garden or Oxford Street, but be prepared for crowds, particualrly with the latter location.

 

A Guide to Hong Kong

I recently visited the amazing city of Hong Kong. The perfect balance of East meets West, this city has both the skyscrapers of a modern city, as well as the history and culture of a traditional Asian country.

How to get there:
The airport runs a fantastc train serice directly from the airport to Kowloon. From Kowloon station, I would then recommend getting a taxi to the place you are staying at.

When you are returning to the airport to go back home, you can actually check in your luggage at Kowloon train station, meaning you are luggage free, before you even get to the airport. Tickets can be pre-bought online, or at the station itself.

 

Things to do:

The wonderful thing about Hong Kong, is that everything is easily accessaible and no more than 30-40 minutes away. You can be in a modern rooftop bar, influenced by Western society, then you can hop on a bus and be at the beach or at a Buddhist monestry. If planned well, Hong Kong is definitely a place where you can squeeze in a lot of activities in a short period of time.

 

1.The Peak:

This brings you up to the highest hill in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak, where you can see spectacular views of the whole city. If you ar eplanning to get the tram up the hill, I would recommend getting there early in the morning to avoid long queues later on  in the day. Alternatively, it is possible to also hike the peak.

TIP: try to go on a day with clear skies or minimal fog so you can get great views of the city.

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2. Hike the Dragons back:

Unfortunately due to timing, we didnt get a chance to do this, but it is recommended across the board as something to do when in Hong Kong. The Dragon’s Back is a ridge in southeastern Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, between Wan Cham Shan and Shek O Peak. The hike is about 4 hours in total so bare that in mind when planning, allowing additional time to get to and from the location.

 

3.The Big Buddha/ Po Lin Monastery:

The Tian Tan Buddha is definitely worth a visit, but bare in mind vicious queues. My recommendation is to get to the gondala early in the morning and also to get the Crystal package as it means you can skip queues when coming down from the mountain. If it is foggy when you are vistiing the Buddha, dont be put off by this, as you will still be able to see all the attractions once you get up there.

You can also check out the beautiful Po Lin Monastery once you are up there.

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4. Repulse Bay:

A 12 minute taxi from central Hong Kong is Repulse Bay, a beautiful beach off the coast of Hong Kong. With fantastic restaurants and bars along the coast and right on the waterfront, its hard to believe that this place is so near the skyscrapers of central Hong Kong.

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We went to a beautiful resturant called Classified, which serves Western food and is the perfect spot to relax, eat and enjoy a glass of wine/rose.

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5. Star Ferry:

This is a boat service that brings you across the water from Kowloon to central HK. It is definitely worth doing, so you can see how many of the locals commute everytday. From memory,  it is the equivalent to about £1 each way, and you get a great view of both sides of HK.

6. Rooftop bars:

Rooftop bars really are the hidden gems of Hong Kong. It was only by meeting someone who lived and worked in Hong kong that I was able to gain insight into the best rooftop spots in the area. These bars are normally at the top of residential or office buildings, making it impossible to know that they even exist.

Here are my favourite spots:

  • Eye Bar Hong Kong
  • SEVVA
  • Wooloomooloo
  • Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton ”The Hightest Bar in the World”

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^^OZONE BAR

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^^ SEVVA

7. Ladies Market:

For anyone who loves cheap designer knock offs, the Ladies Market is the place to go. Be willing to haggle as you can definitely get prices down, you just need to push.

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Where to eat?

When it comes to food, Hong Kong has both traditional Asian restaurants, as well as modern, Western cuisine. We chose to do breakfast/brunch in more Western places, whilst trying more traditional Asian cuisine in the evening times.

 

Commissionary (Traditional Western Brunch Spot, Central HK)

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Chom Chom

Chom Chom was our first restaurant in Hong Kong, and definitely set the standard for the days to follow. This tiny resturant can be heard from the streets outside, with its queues out the door and blaring music. The food is Vietnamese and absolutely delicious – not to mention they also do incredible cocktails! We had to wait for a table when we arrived, but the staff are very helpful and ask you to grab a drink whilst they try arrange a table for you. This spot is definitely full if expats, so it is more western-infused. The food is not cheap but I definitely think it is worth the visit, particualrly on weekends.

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Bars to checkout nearby: The Woods & The Old Man

 

Tim Ho Wan

So while I was reseraching restuarants in Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan kept coming up as a recommendation. This is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world and is famous for its traditional Dim Sum.

However, I am going to be honest, once I actually tried the food, I realised it was not for me. The texture is quite slimey and one of the traditional dishes is chicken feet, which quickly sent me running out of the place!

I don’t have any regrets though! When you travel so far away, I think it is important to try local and traditional food, even if you don’t end up liking it!

 

Missy Ho’s

On my final night of exploring Hong Kong, we went to the ‘up and coming’ area of Kennedy town. Missy Ho’s had come up as a recommendation quite a few times for great cocktails and a quirky atmosphere. The food was simply stunning! Mainly Japanese/sushi, the plates are smaller in size and perfect for sharing between 2 or more people. Like Chom Chom, this place is not cheap, but you definitely get value for your money.

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Supabowl

For a healthy breakfast on the go, I would recommend Supabowl. This is a tiny Acai Bowl café in Wan Chai. There is no seating, so bare that in mind if you intend to go there. However the bowl is delicious and definitely worth it, if you like that kind of food.

Sabah Malaysian Cuisine

For something a bit more local, you can try a curry house such as Sabah Malaysian Cuisine in Wan Chai. This restaurant is always busy, so be prepared to queue. The food is local and delicious, but expect heavy currys.

 

TIPS:
  • Download Citymapper so that you can get around Hong Kong. It is free to use and will give you the best and fastest routes to get around Hong Kong.
  • Pre order your Hong Kong dollars before you leave, or get a Revolut card. However I would recommend having both card and cash on hand at all times just in case.
  • Taxis:  taxis are quite cheap but only take card. UBER is actually more expensive so I would recommend taking local taxis. Taxi drivers also do not speak English, so if you can translate your location in advance using Google translate then definitely do so.
  • Public transport: public transport is really cheap in Hong Kong, and pretty easy to navigate. Given the Western influences, all the signs in Hong Kong are translated into English. If you are there for a significant period of time, I would recommend getting an Octapus card which you can top up as you go.
  • Forward plan as best you can: Hong Kong is unusual in that the country is split across water, so when you are researching things to do, try and divide it by location so that you are not hopping back and forth all the time.

 

Enjoy xxx