Summer Beauty

I don't like the thought of picking beauty products based on the season, but ultimately, they do change because of the weather. In the Summer, I like to keep things simple and fairly stripped back and in the Winter, I prefer a little heavier makeup but still simple. My overall year theme is to keep things simple, as my skin reacts best to that. This Summer, I've maxed out the glow & bronze factor already. 

Simple Skincare
This Summer I've kept my skincare routine the simplest it's ever been, mainly because I've found a fair few staples which will be around for a while. I've been using Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser day and night since purchasing it earlier this year, I'm already on my second bottle and have another bottle waiting to be opened. Believe the hype when people say it's the best cleanser ever, as hands down, it's my favourite cleanser ever. It properly cleans your skin, all while keeping the skin soft and conditioned. If I'm not wearing any makeup, I will cleanse using Avene Anti-Redness Cleansing Creme or alternatively use Garnier Micellar Water if I'm wearing lots of makeup to remove it all. I've been a fan of the Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray Toner for a while, which I like to spritz after cleansing to calm the skin. I'll usually go in with the Pixi Glow Tonic Pads which are the best option for on the go, as they are pre-soaked with the product. In the morning, I'm a fan of using Glossier Priming Moisturiser and in the evening, I have been reaching for either Elemis Marine Cream Ultra-Rich or Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Both in the AM and PM, I am an avid fan of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid, which I have been using every single day for months now and will preach forever for. As it's the Summer months, I have been reaching for the La Roche Posay Anti-Shine SPF 30 to apply after my morning moisturiser to ensure I'm protected against the UVA & UVB rays. I'm not a religious user of eye cream, however, I heard Alessandra Steinherr recently say on a panel that she only uses eye serums/gels. Based on how good her skin looks, I trust her opinion and have swapped to start using Clinique Smart Eye Serum
Aside from the usual daily routine, I like to add in The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid every other day and use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peel Solution on alternative weeks to ensure my skin is exfoliated. On the alternative weeks when I'm not using The Ordinary peel, I have been reaching for Glam Glow Super Mud, a super stronger version of Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque (which I still love to this day). 

Glowy Makeup
I have a constant need to look glowy and more tanned than I usually am. I've been switching between three different bases, YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, Glossier Skin Tint and Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tint, throughout the past few months and often mixing them together to get the best shade. As all of those bases are fairly light, with the exception of YSL, I have been reaching for a little more concealer in areas I need in the form of Glossier Stretch Concealer in Medium (when I'm not tanned, I will be switching back to Light), Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy Concealer and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I usually carry the Laura Mercier concealer around with me on a day-to-day basis as it's great for touch ups and I'm obsessed with using the Bare Minerals Spot Concealer as I find it does actually help with blemishes. Stretch Concealer is my most used concealer as it's the perfect lightweight moisturising concealer. Once the base is perfected, I've been piling on the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer to bronze up my skin to match my body as my face tan always fades first. For highlighter, I use Glossier Haloscope in Quartz every single day as I love it and have sometimes been adding Haloscope in Topaz on my temples for a little extra bronze highlight. 
Brows will always be a mixture of Eylure x Fleur De Force Brow Define (just out in stores and I love the dual ended pencil with two shades) and Glossier Boy Brow in Brown in terms of product. I have to shout out to Nails and Brows in Mayfair for perfecting my brow shape and finally making them even, so I only add in the product for a little further definition. One of my favourite things about Brows and Nails is their signature brow shape 'The Audrey', which naturally is inspired by Audrey Hepburn. Although there is no one brow shape fits all, each one is suited to your face and I couldn't be happier with mine. For my eyes, I have often been reaching for a little bronze to contour the lid or using the Tarte Tartelette Tease palette which I picked up in Sephora. I have been mainly using Crush, which is a taupe shimmer, across my lid and adding a little brown kohl above my lashes for more depth. In terms of mascara, I have fallen back in love with Too Faced Better Than Sex, which I actually started to dislike but somehow its made its way back into my everyday makeup. 
I haven't been feeling any lipstick for my lips and going for a more natural or subtle look. I carry Glossier Balm Dot Com in Original and Cherry in my bag every day, so I'll always use those throughout the day. For a little colour, I have been layering Cherry with Generation G Lipstick in Zip or for something neutral I have been going for Dior Lip Glow or Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Believer

Beachy Blonde
My hair had a summer makeover at the beginning of the summer at Live True London. I was a little nervous about going to a salon I hadn't heard too much about and letting someone new touch my colour, but wow, I was seriously impressed. I was in the safe hands of Marianna and after explaining that my ideal hair colour is 'champagne cool', she smashed it on go! She used the traditional balayage technique but with no foils as that always creates the most natural look. Over the course of the next few days, I have never received so many compliments on my hair colour before so that's how I knew she did such a good job. Plus I've certainly recommended a few people head over there for colour as it's so great to find somewhere local to me. Even better too, if you quote 'Blogger Offer' when booking your appointment at any salon, you will receive 25% off all hair services across all salons if you're a new client! 
At my hair appointment, I didn't cut too much off my length as I always prefer to keep it a little longer for my holidays, but I did make sure to have enough to keep it looking and feeling fresh. It was a few months ago since I was last there and with a holiday looming, I'm feeling the need for some more babylights to be added so I'll be making another appointment there soon.  Since my appointment, I've been using the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer or Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment weekly before washing with either Rahua Volumising Shampoo & Conditioner or Ouai Smooth Shampoo & Conditioner. When it comes to styling products, I don't tend to try new products as I use the Davines Definition Spray on dry hair and Nexxus Leave In Conditioner on wet hair, with a little of the Ouai Hair Oil every now and then. 

Introduction to The Ordinary

If you're a skincare fanatic, I am positive you will have heard about the hype of The Ordinary or more so, Deciem. I first read about it last October but you could only get it in the US or in it's home country, Canada. All major US beauty sites were writing about The Ordinary and I was dying to get my hands on their products. Come January this year, a work trip to Toronto allowed me to visit one of the Deciem stores in the city. Since that day, I have used at least one product from The Ordinary every single day. Yes, it is that good. 

Deciem is the umbrella company for many different brands, such as The Ordinary, Fountain, Niod and The Hand Chemistry. Started by Brandon Truaxe back in 2013, he has since created more than 10 brands, all with different price ranges which sit underneath the Deciem umbrella. You will now find stores across the globe, with the first opening in Spitafields, London earlier this year and a second due to open in Covent Garden very soon - The Ordinary will also have it's very own standalone store next to the Deciem store in Covent Garden! 

I could tell you all about the brand, but I urge you to go to one of their stores, as the store assistants are absolutely brilliant and have the best knowledge about the products. I, however, can tell you all about the products I have used from The Ordinary. The Ordinary is all about creating products with integrity, using the same technology we know from other brands, but at a more market friendly price. Basically, products which work at such a low price you'll be shocked. 

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5I believe everyone should be using a Hyaluronic Acid serum in their routine, as all skin can be dehydrated at times. I have used this product day & night since I purchased it and now am on my second bottle, with a third in back-up. It's a vegan, silicone-free water-based serum which glides onto the skin to boost the skin of hydration with its 2% combined concentration. Apply before a moisturiser both AM + PM and you can read the full ingredient list here
Price - £5.90

100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil Marula Oil is an antioxidant oil which can be used on all skin & hair, which is one of the main reasons I always travel with it. Marula Oil seems to be the latest oil which everyone is going crazy for, similar to coconut oil and argan oil. Except marula oil is actually 60% more packed full of antioxidants than argan oil is, which is one of the main reasons why I was drawn to it. Apply a few drops as the last step in your evening skincare routine or a few drops through the ends of damp hair. 
Price - £8.10

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution - I've only started to introduce acids into my routine properly in the past 6 months and this peel is not for any beginners/young skin. This peeling solution contains 30% Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (Lactic/Glycolic/Citric/Tartaric) and 2% Beta Hydroxyl Acid (Salicylic Acid), as well as Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5. The AHA will exfoliate the top layer of the skin for a brighter surface, while the BHA will exfoliate the skin to help clear pore congestion. To be used approx once a week (but no more than twice a week) and left on clean dry skin for no more than 10 minutes (although I definitely left it on for 20 mins once accidentally and my skin didn't react to it), before being washed off with water. This peeling solution leaves my skin looks brighter, radiant, clearer and feeling super soft - I would highly recommend it. 
Price - £6.30

Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% - The Ordinary offer both a 5% and 10% Lactic Acid and I choose to go with the 5% for a twice weekly use. The 5% Lactic Acid gently exfoliates the skin from a plant-based origin and the formula also contains a Tasmanian Pepperberry to help reduce any irritation which may occur from usage. I use this product in place of my hydrating serum twice a week, leaving it to sink in and allow the slightly tingly sensation to disappear before applying a moisturiser on top in the evening. 
Price - £5.50

Salicylic Acid 2% SolutionThis is a teeny 15ml Salicylic Acid which helps exfoliate the appearance of blemishes and will help achieve better clarity of skin-tone from regular use. It also contains Witch Hazel, which instantly helps blemishes as we know it's always a key ingredient in all anti-blemish products. I find that applying this product in particular areas where I am breaking out at the time post-toner, but pre-serum, helps work the most magic. 
Price - £3.90

The above are the best of the products which I have tried & loved, however, there are so many more products to check out. Next on my list - Serum Foundation, Coverage Foundation, Advanced Retinoid 2% and Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution. 

What To Do In Berlin?

I can promise you that you won't get bored in Berlin, unless you don't enjoy wandering around, eating or shopping, otherwise you're at the wrong place. Think of Berlin as a giant East London, as everyone was so much cooler than I will ever be and they serve really great coffee everywhere. In the short four days I was there, I feel as though I covered some distance and happened to find amazing places. Here is a short guide covering a few of my favourite places.

eat & drink
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SILO

Mix Australian breakfasts with Berlin coffee and you've got yourself a great mix there. Silo is an Australian cafe serving local coffee and absolutely delicious food. I had the Silo breakfast which consists of poached eggs, avocado, sourdough bread, bacon and feta - delicious! Situated in Friedrichshain, it's the perfect place for a wander too.

BRAMMIMBALS DOUGHNUTS

I love doughnuts, but who doesn't? I'm also not a vegan so I was pleasantly surprised to find that these doughnuts were both vegan and absolutely delicious. I went for a traditional cinnamon sugar doughnut and my friend went for a mango & goji doughtnut - both demolished in seconds. They have a cafe open Tuesday-Sunday but can also find them in Markethalle on Thursdays. Be sure to check out their website too, one of the most asthetically pleasing cafe websites I've seen. 

FRIEDL ROSTEREI

Roastery & cookies, perfect mid-morning pit stop! A tiny coffee shop near Schnohauser Allee station which roasts its own coffee & bakes its own cookies. Be sure to pick up some ground coffee to take home too as it's the good strong stuff, perfect for a weekend coffee at home. 

CAFE OLIV

Cafe Oliv is situated in Mitte is a great lunch stop. We headed over there at around 1pm and it was just before the lunchtime rush so we still managed to get a seat. With a selection of specials and an open kitchen, I loved being able to sit next to the chefs and watch them make my food. I went for a simple sandwich and juice, but the open sandwiches and the fresh quiche looked delicious too. 

MARKETHALLE

If you're in Berlin on a Thursday, you have to go to the street food market, Markethalle. I was so overwhelmed with the choice of food, just too many amazing things to eat and too little time. I will openly admit that I had around four courses that evening, as I simply wanted to eat everything. I started off with a delicious gorgonzola focaccia slice (to eat while deciding on everything else) and followed by a Bao bun the size of my head. I finished off the savoury dishes with a mini cheese board and had cookie & ice cream for dessert. I'm drooling thinking about the food again, so please visit on my behalf. 

things to do

 SHOPPING AT VOO STORE

For all the cool people, you will like this store. It's an extremely cool concept store full of amazing designers & handpicked items, with a coffee bar inside. I fell in love with a handful of Acne items inside and left empty handed or else my credit card would have taken a battering. 

VISIT THE EAST SIDE GALLERY : BERLIN WALL

You can't go to Berlin and not visit the Berlin Wall, mainly as it runs through the middle of the city, but the art is simply breathtaking. At the time of my visit, it was actually barracked off for some unknown reason, so I wasn't able to see the art up close. If you visit in the summer, take the time to walk all along the wall as it's such a beautiful walk, just not in the chilly conditions when I was there. 

VISIT THE BERLIN CATHEDRAL

I love visiting cathedrals, I find them so fascinating, but I think that's because I grew up in a town with a world heritage cathedral. So I happily dragged my friend up to the top of the Berlin cathedral, where we took in the amazing views and took a million selfies. It's a low price for entry, but worth it for the slow walk around to take everything in. 

VISIT : HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL

Two places I really wanted to visit was the Holocaust Memorial and Jewish Museum, which are both breathtaking and sad at the same time. I was there on a particular grey day, which made the whole experience even sadder, but you really feel something when there. In fact, I felt something about the city the whole time I was walking around. The Jewish Museum was my favourite and the whole museum has been designed to reflect all those people went through, it's a museum I will always remember & most likely return to in years to come. 

Beauty Notes - March

I think it's due time to talk about two of my new favourite brands - Glossier & The Ordinary. Aside from these two, there are many new products in my routine which haven't been mentioned on my blog and that's about to change. 

Glossier Boy Brow in Brown It's worth the hype and has beaten all other tinted brow gels I've used in the past, even Benefit Gimme Brow! It describes itself as a brow gel pomade, which is exactly correct as it's a little thicker than any other brow gel. A few swipes of this on both brows, brushing up the brows, is my go-to daily brow look!

Glossier Haloscope in QuartzAgain, completely worth the hype and I've reached for this highlighter most days since picking it up in NYC earlier this year. One swipe across the top of my cheekbones and brow bone, tapped in lightly with my ring finger and I am good to go. It has a solid oil core to add vitamin-rich moisturise to your skin - it's the perfect pearlescent highlight. The only downside about this product is that I wish it lasted all day without having to pile it on. 

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser : Hate to keep raving on about Glossier products, but they really are a dream and I have used at least one of their products every day since purchasing them. Milky Jelly Cleanser has been a fav of mine, for both a morning & evening cleanse. The name 'Milky Jelly' describes it perfect as it really is a milky jelly. It doesn't foam, it emulsifies a tiny bit once water is added and removes makeup, including stubborn mascara instantly. I'm already half way through the bottle and starting to worry about how to stock up on it next. 

The OrdinarySo have you heard the hype about The Ordinary, or more Deciem? If you haven't and you're a skincare fiend, then you must have been living underneath a rock. I first read about it before Christmas and then hunted down their store in Toronto in January before buying a few of their staple products. It has since launched in the UK with a store opening in Spitafields this month and I recommend everyone to head down. I have been using The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid serum daily, the AHA 5% serum weekly and the Marula Oil most evenings - I am obsessed. I am coming to the end of my bottle of Hyaluronic Acid and am already planning my next trip to the store to pick it up. 

Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate One of Kiehl's newer launches, the Daily Reviving Concentrate is the perfect dry oil for daytime to use. Throughout the colder months, I found myself reaching for this in the morning to go underneath a moisturiser or to mix with a moisturiser. I never thought to use a face oil in the morning, however, this is the perfect amount of hydration without being too oily. Perfect for fatigued or dehydrated skin! 

Caudalie Detox Face Mask : Until recently I have been fairly loyal to Aesop Parsley Seed Mask or Glossier Green Galaxy Clay Mask for a detox mask, but that was until I tried the Caudalie Detox Face Mask. This mask is going to suck all of the dirt out of your pores and leave you with baby fresh skin (well the nearest you may get to baby fresh skin). 

Kiehl's Smoothing Oil-Infused Conditioner : Kiehl's is not the first brand I think of when I think about haircare, so when I first tried this conditioner, I was pleasantly surprised. I have pretty dry/damaged hair and are always on the look-out for new products to prevent/stop that. This is a silicone and paraben free conditioner which is enriched with argan oil which helps to tame the frizz. Well loved & well used, to the point that I have completely ran out of it. At £19 for a 200ml bottle which would last me for around 2 months, I don't think that is too outrageous if it works well too! 

Estee Edit The Edgiest Kohl Shadowstick in GroundedI didn't believe the hype of Estee Edit until I actually tried their products and now I'm obsessed. Having only tried a handful of their products, the Edgiest Kohl, a pointed eyeshadow stick, stands out to me. Grounded is a warm-toned brown with a slight gold shimmer running through it and the pointed end makes it perfectly for roughly drawing along your lashline to then smudge out. I'm a big fan of eyeshadow sticks, such as the By Terry offering, but I have found myself reaching for these more than others. 

Chantecaille Mermaid Eye Colour in Seashell This is a random purchase last summer and not one I have regretted, although it was pricey for a single eyeshadow. Not having heard anyone speak about these shadows, they're a hidden gem as they're a richly pigmented loosely packed powder shadow. Seashell is a muted golden beige, a perfect colour to be packed all over the lid and can be applied both wet or dry.