My Little Black Book of Beauty…

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I’ve written loads about where I go to get my hair done in previous posts (see here, and here), but I realized I’ve never shared where I go for the beauty side of things.

I’ve known Christina ‘Kiki’ Moscu since I was sixteen, and I’ve been a loyal client of hers ever since. She’s the only person I will ever let touch my eyebrows now – I moved away from her gorgeous boutique salon in South London for two brief years and I’m still paying for the consequences of not seeing her during that time! Never trust a £3 eyebrow wax people.

Since coming back to the fold of South London three years ago (YAY), she’s patiently helped me re-grow my eyebrows back. They’re still a long way off perfect but her advice (castor oil every night, sit in the sunshine with it on to help growth) has really worked. She’s also the fastest, and therefore least painful, waxer in the west. TMI maybe, but any girl knows a fast waxer is like gold dust.

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I actually met Kiki first through my mum. My mum is blessed with great skin genes, which I’m hoping I’ve inherited, but she’s not one to get complacent. My mum always taught me that a facial is a one of those necessary indulgences that act as great insurance (skin-surance?) for the future. A facial with Kiki is a heavenly hour or so where she takes a long look at your skin and prescribes the perfect facial to match. I always walk out of her Herne Hill salon glowing and feeling completely relaxed.

I’m probably going to regret telling the Internet when I can’t get an appointment with her, but Kiki is really just too good not to shout about.

You can find her salon just a 10 minute walk away from Herne Hill station here:

Kiki Hair & Beauty Salon

274 Rosendale Road

London,

SE21 9DL

www.kikihairandbeauty.co.uk 

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My Dream Luxury Lifestyle…

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I was recently contacted by VanDutch yachts, who are running a competition to win dinner at the amazing Aqua Shard restaurant up on the 31st floor of the Shard. Being the ultimate in luxury, VanDutch have asked me to describe my ideal luxury lifestyle to be in with a chance of winning. My mother always said I had delusions of grandeur so this was completely up my avenue!

On our recent trip to the Amalfi Coast, a private boat trip around the island of Capri was something my boyfriend and I dreamed of doing. But, as we only had a day in the gorgeous town of Positano, it didn’t leave much time for daytripping around the islands, much to my disappointment.

If I was to dream of my ideal luxury lifestyle, it would definitely include a holiday of island hopping around the picturesque Amalfi coast in a gorgeous yacht – very much in the style of Beyoncé who was staying on Capri whilst we were there. (The locals even pointed our her helicopter to us!)

My dream day would include sailing around the Li Galli islands, browsing the Missoni boutique in Positano, and picnicking on a private beach in Capri – sipping flutes of prosecco and indulging in shots of delicious icy cold limoncello. We’d stay overnight at the jaw-droppingly gorgeous JK Hotel on Capri, with a stunning view out across Vesuvius.

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All this luxury living would have to be in done in style naturally. By day, I’d rock this gorgeous fifties style bikini by (who else in Italy) Dolce and Gabbana. I’m kinda in love with the matching towel as well! I’d wear my bikini under this white crochet maxi dress by Melissa Odabash to cover up.

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And of course every girl with aspirations knows heels are murder on a yacht so I’d wear these gladiator sandals by Valentino.

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For a night-time outfit, I’ve fallen in love with this dress from Lanvin, naturally accompanied by this truly fabulous necklace from Susan Foster. Well, as Mae West put it, “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”

I’ve also opted for a pair of Jimmy Choos because, well, a girl can dream! Suitably stylish for a dream dinner in Capri. 

Check out VanDutch yachts here, and if my dream luxury day sounds like a winner to you, don’t forget to like my post or leave me a comment below!

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What to Wear to a Greek Island Wedding?

On Friday I’m heading to the Greek island of Santorini. One of my boyfriend’s oldest friends from school is getting married, and they’re opting for an early October wedding to make the most of the late summer sun.

Having had a quick gander at the weather (26 degrees!) I suddenly panicked as I realised I had nothing warm weather appropriate. I’ve never attended an overseas wedding before, and certainly not in anything approaching 26 degrees.

With only two days before the wedding and with no time to go shopping, I did the online equivalent of a trolley dash around ASOS and came up with three beauties as options. Whilst I won’t keep all of them I might opt to keep two so I have one as a back up – just in case!

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The hard part will be picking which dress to send back! The first option is a stunning bandeau ASOS maxi dress. I opted for burgundy as nude dresses tend to wash me out and I felt navy was a little too wintery for 25 degrees and sunshine. I can add a lace kimono over the top to keep it church appropriate, and I would probably team it with nude heels for ease.

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The next option is this gorgeous ASOS Wedding tea dress. I love the neckline on this dress and think it’s really flattering, and the fluttery sleeves look really flattering. I think this will probably be the most comfortable option too. Perfect for a long day of dancing, dinner and drinks!

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The final option is a bit of a show stopper: this amazing maxi dress in red. With a fishtail hem, and cut close to the body, this is probably the most glamorous of the three. It might not be 100% comfortable for a full day in the Greek sun (and with a meal!), but I could seriously see myself wearing this for the family & friends dinner the happy couple are hosting the night before the wedding. If I can get away with not wearing heels I could see these Aldo sandals or these lovely woven tan ballet flats pairing beautifully with this dress.

Choices, choices. Let me know your favorites in the comments!

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#BigHairDo with Myla & Davis

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Last Thursday I was invited down to the East Dulwich branch of Myla & Davis for their version of the #BigHairDo event. In association with LayeredOnline, 100 salons around the country took part in an evening of celebrating all things hair.

You know I’m already a Myla & Davis fan, having written about my journey from brown to blonde with them here, and I was really looking forward to see what they had planned for the evening.

With a Smashbox make-up artist on hand to offer make-overs, and hair stylists fresh off the London Fashion Week circuit demonstrating styles, the salon was absolutely buzzing with bloggers, regular customers, and a photographer getting suitably snap happy.

After enjoying the sushi canapes and a glass of raspberry studded prosecco, I chatted with Ellie as she deftly twisted my hair into a gorgeous milkmaid braid style. She even gave me some tips on how to recreate this at home – although as she quickly saw, I’m all fingers and thumbs when it comes to braiding so think this may just be a salon only style for now…

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I then enjoyed a Smashbox smoky eye make-over, courtesy of the lovely make-up artist. She gave me an amazing tip for adding definition to a smoky eye: after priming your eyelid with a primer and a neutral base, dust a little matt bronzer in the crease of your eye socket to add definition before following on with your smoky tones. I honestly saw a big difference to the finish of the make-up, and it made my eyes really stand out.

The Myla & Davis team put on an amazing night, and even gave away a lovely Bumble & Bumble giftbag with minis of some of my favourite products including the Thickening spray and the Don’t Blow It product.

Such a great way to spend a Thursday evening, and the Myla & Davis team were all lovely as ever. Definitely a fun reminder that I need to pop back soon to sort out my roots (any old excuse…)!

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Haircare hero: Charles Worthington Moisture Seal Hair Healer Leave in Conditioner

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My hair has been through a lot this past year. My flirtation with ombre back in January led me to go full on blonde for my birthday in May, which I’ve kept up with a half head of highlights ever since. I’m now thinking of going back to ombre, with a root stretch and a slightly darker blonde on my ends to keep it a bit more manageable for winter. With all these color changes it’s especially important to take care of my hair – particularly now as I’m growing out my lob (long bob Mum).

So, enter my new favourite addition to my daily hair care routine, and it’s a drugstore dream. It’s from the Moisture Seal range by Charles Worthington – I also purchased the shampoo but that’s nothing to write home about – and the Hair Healer leave in conditioner is just perfect if you have bleached or damaged hair. I found it detangles my hair post-shower perfectly, and I’ve really noticed a big improvement in how soft my hair feels.

The consistency is a little odd though. Halfway between a cream and a gel, it feels a little bit strange on your fingers but disappears really well into the hair once it’s been applied. I find it also helps with frizz if the weather outside is, well, typical English weather…

I like to apply it after shampooing my hair and conditioning as usual. I use quite a lightweight conditioner anyway so if I’m looking to give my hair extra protection from heat or the elements I opt for this as an extra step. It works best on towel-dried or damp hair, and I usually take a 10p sized piece of the product and work it into the lengths of my hair. Then carry on and style your hair as you would normally – the product should disappear into your hair without leaving any sticky bits behind.

You can grab this and the rest of the Charles Worthington range in Boots – like I said, the shampoo was nothing to write home about personally, but the entire range is really affordable so if you’re looking to give your hair a little bit of extra TLC I think it’s well worth it.

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Buongiorno Roma

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After spending three gorgeously sunny days on the Amalfi Coast, and one slightly cloudy day mostly spent eating in Naples, we made our way back to Naples Central station and onto one of the superfast, clean TrenItalia trains going back up to Rome. I may make it sound like I’m sponsored by TrenItalia but I promise I’m not, I just really appreciate a good train. NERD ALERT.

Anyway. We arrived in Rome quite early and our hotel wasn’t quite ready for us yet but given the blazing sunshine that wasn’t a problem. We decided to kill a couple of hours on a bus tour whilst we waited for our rooms to be ready.

Whilst in Rome, we stayed at the lovely Welcom Piram hotel which is a stone’s throw away from Termini station, the Baths of Diocletian and Via Cavour, which is a 15 minute walk away from the Colosseum. Location-wise, it was perfect. The hotel itself was very nice, well-priced and spotlessly clean. I’ve stayed in Rome quite a few times and this hotel impressed me. The staff were also lovely and could prepare a gorgeous Bellini too.

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The winning attribute for me was the fact they had a lovely roof terrace where you could enjoy your nicely mixed Bellini or Martini Royale Bianco looking out across Rome.

I have a separate post coming up later in the week on the food in Rome (trust me, it’ll be worth it) as that deserves its own space on this blog, so in this post I want to talk about the highlights from the sights we saw.

If you’ve never been to Rome before and if you only have a few days, then you naturally have to see the top sights. You might manage to see the Colosseum, the Forum and the Vatican (the museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s).

But for me it was my fourth trip back, and so we were able to see a little bit more of my favourites. I have a very easy-going boyfriend whose priorities were mainly around pasta so he was quite happy to follow my lead.

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Highlights for me were a night-time walk past the Pantheon, exploring the Palatine hill and of course, the Scavi tour.

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I’ve talked about the Scavi tour before on this blog. It’s a tour underneath St. Peter’s which takes you down to the original Roman necropolis and shows you the tombs which have been amazingly preserved including, the Vatican believes, the original tour of St. Peter, with the bone fragments from his skeleton on display.

Going on the tour gave us a sense of superiority as we looked over the crowds queuing for hours around St. Peter’s square. We waved off hopeful tour guide operators with the words “We have the Scavi tour”, which they couldn’t really argue with given it takes three months to book!

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[World’s most comfortable jumpsuit from H&M]

Going on the Scavi tour means you get to go ‘behind the scenes’ of the Vatican. We had our tickets and bags checked by the police and by the Swiss Guard before being ushered to wait outside Ufficio di Scavi. We were then met by a representative from the office who took us on the tour.

[Heads up: you aren’t allowed to take photos of the necropolis for obvious reasons so the photos below are from the Ufficio Di Scavi’s website.]

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The map above shows you where you go on the tour – the top layer is the ‘modern-day St. Peter’s (completed in 1590), the second layer which is where the crypt is now is where the Old St. Peter’s was built by the Emperor Constantine between 319-333 AD. And the final layer is the Roman Necropolis where St. Peter was believed to have been buried in the year 64 AD.

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After the tour as you’re in the Vatican already you are free to explore St. Peter’s Basilica at your leisure, which we hadn’t realized so that was a lovely bonus!

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You have to email the Vatican (scavi@fsp.va) at least a few months before you want to go, telling them your dates that you’ll be in Rome, how many people are in your group, and what language you’ll need on the tour.

They only let 250 people down a day so it really is the tour of a lifetime. The Vatican are surprisingly quick at confirming your booking, and for €13 euros each I would completely recommend it.

My next Roma post will be all about the food we ate, and how I’ve immediately purchased a pasta machine upon returning to the UK…

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Highlights of the Amalfi Coast: Sorrento & Positano

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After our travels from Rome, we finally arrived late on Sunday evening at the gorgeous seaside town of Sorrento. We used Sorrento as our base to explore the sights around the Amalfi coast, and despite only being there for three days, we managed to see quite a lot!

Our first few hours in Sorrento were spent washing off the grime from our travels, and hunting in search of a perfect cocktail with a view.

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Sorrento is typical of many towns you can find along the Amalfi coast – perched high up on rocks, with a staggered layout with tiny narrow roads winding down to the beach or the harbour.

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We found dinner and drinks in a restaurant with a wonderful view across the bay of Naples, and with Vesuvius looming ominously in the background. You can see the clouds rolling in across the bay – there was a brief but brilliant thunderstorm which happened whilst we were eating dinner. An incredible experience!

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The next day we awoke early to beautiful sunshine and the sound of many Vespas and Fiat 500 cars beeping at each other on the tiny, crazy roads. We decided on our first full day to visit Positano which ended up being one of my highlights from the entire trip.IMG_1217-2positanoIMG_1210

Positano is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Just like Sorrento, it’s laid out in a staggered approach from high up in the rocks, but with the houses and buildings painted in gorgeous pastel colours.

The winding roads all lead down to a sparkling sea. We bought flutes of prosecco, negronis and a sunbed for half a day, and spent the afternoon alternating between jumping into the sea and drying out underneath the sunshine.IMG_1215-2

Walking through the promenade back up to catch our bus back to Sorrento, I spotted this chap capturing the scene perfectly.

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I was sorely tempted to take a picture back with us! Sadly Ryanair’s luggage restrictions are a little too harsh for this trip…

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