FASHION | The Red Summer Dress

This post features two of my favourite summer fashion staples. I'm excited.

A lot of people don't like dressing in the summer. Too hot, can't be bothered to wear anything at all, annoyed at the idea of sweating in your pretty clothes every time you move your little finger... I get all that. However, I do find that dressing in the summer is so easy: a pair of shorts and a top, or a floaty dress, and I'm good to go. May not be the most stylish combo ever, but it works.
Take this dress for example: I love wearing it and would do so every day if it was hygienically acceptable. It is a little New Look number, red with little white and black flowers on it. I got it a month or so ago, but you can find similar dresses in a variety of shops.

In the summer, going for light and floaty materials is the key to keeping cool. Dresses are particularly easy, but you could also do with a cute shorts and top coord, which we see a lot of at the moment.
Another easy piece to have in your wardrobe is a good pair of trainers. A few years ago I would swear that I would never wear trainers, and yet here I am, reaching for them most days - especially my trusty old pair of Adidas Stan Smiths... But recently I got these Lacoste beauties. There are all white, with the famous embroidered crocodile logo on each side. They are super comfy and can be worn with literally anything - my only worry is that they won't stay that white forever... Any tips for keeping trainers white? I'll take any ideas!

Because my boyfriend recently arrived from California, I've been out and about in Bath a lot, exploring new paths and places. Every adventure makes me love this city a little more... I will have to leave it soon but I already know that one day, I'll be back. 

What is your go-to outfit in the summer?


LIFESTYLE | How To Get Your Life Together

It is never too late to start again.

Sometimes in life, you reach a stage when everyday life becomes a chore. Your motivation levels are low, you are bored of doing the same things over and over again, you are unsatisfied with yourself... This can only mean one thing: you need to start again. To find purpose in a new, exciting mindset. You need to put everything on the table and light your fire. Blow on those little weak sparks and turn them into growing flames. 
Take it from someone who has been there, done that. I have sat down, thought about what I could do to improve my static mood, static routine and static life, and here is my advice. Read this post, think about it, then get up and go kick butt to restart the exciting life you deserve to be living. Because ain't nobody got time to spend a boring time on the planet.

Step 1: Pin Down The Problem

To know where to start, you have to put into words what is wrong with your current situation. Do you feel that your everyday routine is not satisfying anymore? Do you want to inject more creativity in your life? Start new projects? Change up an unhealthy lifestyle? Redirect your professional career? Sit down, grab a pen, and think hard about what is wrong with where you currently are. What is the thing (or the things) in your life that don't give use the happiness and drive that you used to have. Write it down, big and clear, so you can put into words the ideas that, in your brain, must feel like a big bag of confusing thoughts. Writing in town really makes a difference, because brain-dumping will allow you to get those ideas off your mind and allow you to breathe a little.
Once you've written down the problem(s), don't feel stuck. It will be resolved if you give it time. Which leads on to our second step...

Step 2: 'What Do I Really Want?': Figure Out What You Want To Do

Once you have figured out the issue, think about what would make it better. Now, this can be a bit daunting as if you feel really lost and uninspired, you may not have a straight answer for that. For this reason, don't put too much pressure on yourself and just think about this: what, right now, is making you really happy? What activity do you still really enjoy doing even with your low levels of motivation? What is the one thing that keeps you going? Who are the three people you'd text right this moment, because you feel drawn to reaching out to them? If you could do one thing there and now, no matter how unattainable, what would it be?
Think about your answer to these questions. Write them down, take a step back, and think about what this is saying about you. It could be a hobby that you love, it could be a friend you haven't talked to in ages but feel like connecting with again, it could be a professional path you've had in the back of your mind for ages but left it behind because of life circumstances, but which is now creeping back at the forefront of your thoughts... This will be your goal. You could have a big goal, or a few smaller goals that altogether would make you change your life for the better.
Write them down in big, bold red letters. Your goal has to be short, concise and correspond to what you exactly want.

Taking my hobby to the next step.
Switching careers and start a professional course.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle.
Letting go of negativity in my life.

Your goal will be your motto. Stick it on your wall, on the desk. Put it as the wallpaper of your laptop. Keep reminders that you will be strong and keep to it until you achieve. Set your mindset ready for success!

Step 3: The Everyday Plan (find a plan to improve something every day)

No matter how big or small your target is, to make it achievable and successful you need to break it down in smaller chunks. Think about something you can do every single day to reach towards your goal. It may be doing a little of a new hobby every day, or teaching yourself a new skill for work at the weekend, or creating yourself a meal plan or a workout calendar if your aim is to switch up your lifestyle. One step, two step, three steps; achievable, realistic, motivating. Make it things that you will enjoy doing, that will bring you joy, positivity and pride the journey you're undertaking.
I would advise you to have some sort of planner or diary where you can trace, day by day or week by week, the new little things you are bringing into your life to make it take the right turn.When you've got those things down in your planner, stick to them. Every day, take a tiny step forward. Celebrate each new accomplishment that gets you on your way to your goal. Keep track of your progress and work your butt off to see the changes you are making in your own life. As I said, and I will say again: this is a journey.

Step 4: Find Support and Inspiration

Even though this is a personal journey, do not feel like you have to do it on your own! In fact, embarking your family and/or friends on this will only make the whole process richer. Talk to your loved ones, seek advice, create memories along the way, and know who you want to have by your side to start on this new path you're taking. It may be that your fresh start has to do with getting rid of some toxic people in your life, or going through a breakup (whether for love or friendship,) or taking your distances with a work environment where the people have made you lose your flame. People are important, they can support you in the changes you are making in your life. They can inspire you, if they have felt the same things as you, done the same things as you - trust me, you are not the only one who's ever felt that way. Reach out, connect with people and speak up about what you are doing. You could in turn be helping out others more that you'd think...

Step 5: Keep Reminders Of Your Goals

Even if your goal seems scary, too big for your little shoulders, fear not: you can do it. You can't give up before you start, and no matter how far you go, every step will bring you something new, and you should be proud to even just have started your journey. It is not about how long it takes, or how other people compare to you, it is about yourself. Sometimes, we have to be selfish and put ourselves first.

Have you ever felt the need to start everything again? What do you do to refresh your life?


TRAVEL | Summer in Bath, UK

Showing you around two of my favourite spots in Bath.

Although it is not really noticeable on my blog, I currently live in Bath, England - aka one of the cutest cities in the UK. I love it there, and every time that I walk around the centre I count my blessings for living in such a beautiful little place. I wanted to dedicate a blog post to my favourite areas of Bath that I have been exploring this spring - the city has turned into a wonderful blooming garden, which I could not wait to share with you all! So if you're around Bath in the upcoming weeks or summer months, here are the two top places to go to enjoy a relaxing sunny afternoon...

Sydney Gardens, the hidden gem
The Sydney Gardens are often overshadowed by the Royal Crescent, but they are my favourite place to go for a lie in in the sun. On Pulteney Bridge, turn right and walk all the way through possibly the longest street in Bath. On Laura Place, admire the symmetry that's in front of you... And make your way through the beautiful Georgian street until you reach the beautiful Palladian building of the Holborne Museum. The houses of Great Pulteney streets lead the way to the museum, and you will find yourself looking through the windows to satisfy the curiosity of seeing what the interiors are like – or is it only me?

Although I have been to the Horborne Museum some time ago, I do not have the clearest memory of what I saw, so I will leave it aside and move on straight to the Sydney Gardens, behind the museum. The gardens were designed for pleasant walks and on your way, you will spot a few beautiful gems, from the antique temple facade to the bridges overlooking the canal.

In the spring, the trees bloom in white and pink fluffy blossoms, and the ground gets covered in a pastel blanket of flower petals. The park is rarely crowded, and you will always find a good spot in the sun for a bit of reading or a joyful picnic with friends. The perfect area if you want some piece and quiet. I even spotted some lilac there - my favourite!

Around the Royal Crescent and the Georgian Garden
Although the Royal Crescent is always crowded when the nice weather and longer days come, it is always worth having a look around. In that area are some of the prettiest back streets. After a visit at the Fashion Museum, wander around and you will find the perfect photo opportunities.

I took these photos at the beginning of wisteria season, and finding these blooms at the Royal Crescent almost made my day. There was a wedding on the Crescent, for a lucky (and probably rich) couple who definitely picked the right place to celebrate such a special day. 
You could easily spend hours at the Crescent, watching the world go by and petting the numerous dogs who are taken out for walk there, but follow me on the little paths behind the Crescent to find the tiny, curious and peaceful Georgian Garden. Walk along the side-paths to see those typical Bath buildings, which are as pretty from the back as they are from the front...

The Georgian Garden is located behind one of these impressive houses, and you have to go through the garden door and climb a few stairs to arrive in the cute haven which will take you back in time. It is the perfect place for a little break away from the bustle of the city. Sit on the pretty garden bench and let the world go by... 

My list of places around Bath could go on and on - it is such a lovely city, full of spirit, History and life, and there is always something going on. I keep discovering new places and will keep sharing my favourites, which I plan on doing more often on the blog!
I also post a lot of photos of Bath on Instagram, so make sure to follow me over there!

What is your favourite place to be in the spring time?


BEAUTY | The Makeup Products That Never Fail Me

We all have products we would use 'til the end of time. Here are mine.

I used to be a makeup hoarder, but since being more reasonable with my money, I have been creating a small makeup collection and using only products that I love. Out of all my products though, there are a few, that I incessantly go back to and that you'll see me use all the time. I've decided to gather these little gems in one post, to hopefully give you inspiration as to what you should try out.

NYX, HD Studio Photogenic Concealer [buy here]

I have mentioned this product time and time again these past few months, as it has been the only concealer I've used! NYX is such a good brand - both quality and price are amazing. The HD concealer is a medium coverage concealer, but you can built up the coverage really nicely. It looks very natural on the skin, and stays put quite well throughout the day. It hides most of my blemishes and scars, apart from the really red blemishes maybe. But add powder on top and gives you a lovely finish. I've compared it to the Naked Skin Concealer, I think they are quite similar - but the price makes all the difference!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder [buy here] & Real Techniques Powder Brush 1401 [buy here]

Again the Stay Matte Powder is a product I've been using for years, and I'm still perfectly happy with it. At £3.99, it's the best drugstore powder I've ever had - I am yet to reach for high end powders, but now is not the time for it. I'm not very familiar with Rimmel in general, however I would definitely recommend this powder. It is a pressed powder, which you can get either translucent or in your shade. Unfortunately, the shade range is not great (I don't remember there being any shades for black skins...) however because it's so thin, you can get away with not having a perfect match. It doesn't look cakey at all and is really light, even though it is labelled as a powder foundation - it doesn't have the coverage of an actual foundation. I usually use it with liquid foundation underneath, or just my NYX HD concealer for quick, everyday makeup looks.
I apply the powder with the Real Techniques Powder Brush 1401. It's big, fluffy and soft, and although I've used it for years and washed it lots, it doesn't lose any of its bristles and still looks brands new. I would say Real Techniques is a great brand for all makeup brushes, and still more affordable than brands like MAC or Make Up For Ever.

MAC Fast Play lipstick [buy here] & Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita [buy here]

These two shades are my go-to lip colours, I wear either of them every single day when I want a simple, neutral lip for work and I could not see myself without them in my collection!
Fast Play is a mauvy pink shade, in the Amplified finish - my favourite finish in MAC lipsticks. I've had it for a couple years now and I love it just as much as I did before. It stays on the lips for hours too, although you do have to reapply a thin layer after you eat - overall it stays put for a good amount of time! I have steered away from MAC now and will probably not purchase from them again since they are not cruelty-free. I've been more sensitive to the cause these past few months, and although I do have a lot of non-cruelty-free products in my collection (I was not informed back then) and I still use and love these products, I am trying to make smarter purchases and turn to cruelty-free brands only.

The Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks had been quite hyped up the past few years, and for good reason - they are amazing! This is my favourite liquid lipstick, it's super easy to apply, the texture is not too liquid nor too thick, and it stays on all. day. long. Even after you eat. This product is a blessing, especially since I work in a school - so I've got no time for frivolities like touching-up my makeup during the lunch break! Lolita is a nude, beige shade leaning on brown. It's a beautiful every day shade throughout the year - especially in the autumn and the summer I would say! It really makes me want to try other Kat Von D products - although, and I have to say, I am not a fan of the packaging, a bit to Avril Lavigne-esque for me..!

Urban Decay, Naked Palette 1 [buy here]

Do I even need to write anything about the Naked palette? Probably not. But I still want to share my love of it, because this is a product that will never get old! To be honest, I should probably throw this palette away - I've had it since I was in high school, and it's about seven years old. Oops. However I haven't had any bad reactions to it, so I'll keep using it until I die. And probably be buried with it too.
I'm really happy about the quality of the eye shadows still, although you do have some fallouts on the cheeks, especially with the more sparkly shades, the pigmentation is beautiful, and the palette is very versatile, I use it for all sorts of looks. The shades I use the most as those swatched below, in order: Sin, Sidecar, Half-Baked, Smog, Toasted and Hustle. I love to use Sidecar and Half-Baked in little touches in the inner corners or on top of other shades, to add that touch of glitter that I love. 

In short, you probably have this palette too, or have already used it in your life, and don't need another post about it - but it really is a product that never fails me, even though it probably is past its expiry date. Gotta love your classics!

What are the makeup products that never fail you?


LIFESTYLE | Four Steps to a Healthy Life

I'm not exactly a fitness guru, but being healthy is definitely easier than you think.

In January 2017, I decided to be healthier. This decision came after the realisation that I was making the wrong choices when it came to my lifestyle: before then, I had stopped working out, didn't do any exercise at all since I went to work by car, I ate whatever I wanted without being sensible, I went to bed really late and was dead tired by 3pm the next day - not to mention the number of hours I wasted on the weekends by waking up at 11am. One could say I was losing control, and that reflected a lot on my general health and the way I saw myself.

Came the New Year, I decided to make improvements, step by step, and thanks to motivation and the positive effects I started seeing, I have turned these improvements into habits and I can happily say more than one year later that I feel healthier than ever and would never go back. 
There are so many positive outcomes in embracing a healthier lifestyle in an easy, achievable way - I'm not advising you to lift weights every day and live on coconut water and avocado, far from it! I just thought I would share with you the tips and tricks that work for me and make me feel the difference. 

On this one, I will be very blunt: when I say exercise, I don't mean take the stairs instead of the lift or go for a twenty-minute walk every day. I mean put some music on, find some fitness exercises that are achievable at your own level and put the effort in. If you want to feel the change, you have to sweat it out. I used to hate sports and avoided PE at school at all costs, but I find that fitness has really made my mindset improve and I have become much stronger physically as well as mentally. It's one of those things that shows that making effort and pushing yourself really does make a difference and changes you for the better. 
I would advise to work out three times a week - cardio, yoga, weights, pilates, kickboxing, dance classes... do what you feel the most comfortable with. However stick to a routine, add your workouts to your to-do list, and you'll quickly form a habit that you'll look forward to every time. Fitness is also such a stress-reliever, and you can see the progress on your body as well - I have never felt stronger, and I feel it doing simple things like lifting heavy bags or walking up a hill. Every physical effort has become much easier, and all thanks to working out. I couldn't recommend it more.

I do really believe that we are what we eat. The better our diet, the better our health gets. Make easy changes like limiting fried and processed food, but also snacks that have no nutritional value (as much as I love crisps, they really don't fuel the body!) as well as fizzy/sugary drinks and alcohol. Easy changes, and again once you create a habit, you will never look back. 
My favourite tip would be to think about macros when you cook or plan meals. In short, macros are how much carbs, protein and fats there are in what you eat. Also have a look at the amount of sugar you are consuming. You don't need to measure these macros, nor do you need to count the calories or look at the scale; just think about whether a dish balances out all these elements to figure if it's healthy or not. Of course always go for lots of fruit and vegetables, but make sure you get enough protein too - especially if you work out. 

Some of my favourite foods to have as part of my diet are: peanut butter (don't be afraid of healthy fats), broccoli, grapes, nuts, wholemeal bread, eggs, tomatoes, rice, chicken and turkey... Whole, natural products are the best but you can also find some helpful alternatives like frozen veggies or ready-made vegetarian burgers and so on. Mindful eating does not equal restriction - I eat peanut butter every single day and will never feel guilty for it! It has just become a healthier, more natural swap for plain, dairy butter. Also, always look at the ingredients list when you buy something. You never know what crap industrials can put in what seems like the most inoffensive foods!

There are hundreds of fitness/healthy lifestyle inspiration accounts on all platforms: YouTube, blogs, Instagram and so on. I find that finding inspiration in other people's journeys and mindsets is important, because it shows you that you are not alone and other people are doing the same thing, going through the same thought process and they will maybe give you ideas for recipes, workouts and tips. I mainly go on Instagram to find women who promote healthy lifestyles, my favourite is Louise from My Better Self - she posts in English (and French!) to motivate you to make changes and embrace the lifestyle that will make you feel healthier and happier. However, and this ties in with my next point: she keeps it real and speaks up about issues that you might encounter in the world of healthy living: body image, the pressure of social media, being too hard on yourself, and so on. She also gives yummy meal ideas and shows that healthy living doesn't mean eating salad all day every day.
Keeping it real is very important: the pictures you see online are made to fool you. Even the healthiest person on earth can have cellulite, looks bloated after a meal, has dark circles and eats fast food once in a while. I feel like there is an "all or nothing" mindset online that always pushes you to be perfect in all you do. Truth is, nobody is perfect and no matter how perfect people look on their pictures, their stomach's aren't flat all the time, and they probably have a few stretch marks. Their thighs do the annoying spread thing just like all of us random people, and when they're in a hurry mid-week their plates look like they've just thrown a bunch of veggies and chicken together. Because real life is not what you see on Instagram. But finding like-minded people can definitely help and motivate you.

Making these changes shouldn't be a chore. If you dread the thought of working out at the end of the day, then this workout is not for you - try out something else and see what works. If you hate carrots, don't force yourself to eat carrots. Have something else instead. If you're not ready to wake up earlier on the weekends because having a lie-in is your favourite thing to do, then it's okay to stay in bed until 10am. Find your rhythm, turn my advice into your own thing so maybe you can share about your experience too. And bear in mind that changes in health can take time - every little step you make now will be rewarding as you go, and you will probably notice it only when you look back. 
Is there a trend at the moment about being healthy and working out? Yes. But does healthy living have benefits? Also yes. Sometimes, trends can actually be meaningful if you take them to your advantage and use them to grow as a person. A healthy mind and a healthy body can never be out of style, right?

Are there any healthy tips or advice that you apply to your everyday life?


TRAVEL | A Travel Guide to Naples and Pompeii, Italy

This is a long one, but if you ever visit Naples, you need to be prepared. Trust me.

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know I love Italy and I go there whenever I have a chance. Some weeks ago I shared with you my daytrip to Positano. Today, let me share about my experience in Naples, which was our base during the trip. I went to there with two of my very good friends - we've travelled around together before, and went to Sicily a couple years ago which we loved.

This year, we settled for Naples, a historic city south of Rome, with plans of visiting the infamous Pompeii and its volcano, the Vesuvius. This post will be a long one since there's a lot to say and I've gathered so much advice to share.
Before I start with my tips and tricks, I need to write a little disclaimer: Naples is a messy city. It's chaotic, raw, loud, there is smoke in the air and motorcycles will probably almost knock you over if you're not careful. Naples is not a destination for everyone - in fact, I think it's actually a destination that only very few people would thoroughly enjoy. Personally, I felt very unsafe on the first day we arrived, but after having a couple days to adapt, I felt much better and more comfortable walking around the city. At any rate though, if you plan a visit to Naples, make sure you don't take valuable belongings with you and try to avoid the 'tourist look' - in some parts of town, Neapolitans will single you out straight away and you will get looks and stares.

The main thing I was excited for about going to Naples was visiting Pompeii, which I already went to seven years ago (time flies!) and absolutely loved. 

Do I even need to introduce Pompeii? The vast, impressive Roman settlement was frozen in time following the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AD, and left to us are the remains of beautiful, complex buildings, mosaics, paintings, statues - and of course corpses - that give us a glimpse into the lives that the people of Pompeii, rich and poor, led. I strongly advise that if you are in the area, you visit Pompeii - if you're not familiar with its history, you should 100% get an audio guide or a guide who will talk you through the most important points to know about the city. The site is incredibly large, so make sure to arrive early and you will probably spend the day there. You can take food with you, but there is a restaurant on site and a lot of public fountains with drinking water available. 
When you get there, your map in hand, the ancient town is yours to explore... Always with the terrible Vesuvius in sight.

Since Pompeii is such a big space - and is composed of a lot of bricks and semi-destroyed walls, I've put together a little list of the most interesting sights there, for those of you who want to go straight to the point and avoid random walking around:
- the Cave Canem ("beware of the dog") mosaic,
- examples of termopolia, which are basically antique fast food shops. Spot them by the counters in which round crates are built in - that's where the takeaway food was preserved for people to come in a buy. See, we haven't invented anything - name something, the Romans made it!
- the House of the Faun, with its beautiful impluvium and gardens,
- the Villa of the Mysteries, famous for its beautiful and intriguing painting which depicts a mysterious ritual,
- the House of the Vettii, for its wonderful, bright paintings,
- the House of the Small Fountain (Casa della Fontana Piccola), which as the name says houses a beautiful fountain covered in well-preserved, colourful mosaics.
I could go on forever about what to see in Pompeii, but my biggest advice would be to go there for yourself and spend time exploring the ruins, which seem surprisingly familiar and let History speak for itself.

How to get there: take the Circumvesuviana train line from the Garibaldi station, to the stop Pompeii - Villa dei Misteri. 
Tickets: 15€, half price if you are a EU national under 25 years old. Make sure to buy the tickets on site, don't get them through other ticket offices around the station.

Naples feels very overwhelming, and its historic centre is full of narrow streets, churches which you're not too sure you can visit or not, but it also has its fair share of museums and interesting sights. Do not miss the Archaeological museum, which contains one of the most beautiful antique collections I've ever seen, from breathtaking statues to all the beautiful mosaics found in Pompeii, and preserved from rain and decay at the museum. There's also flying penises, if that's what you're into. Crazy how the Romans liked penises. (Never thought I'd ever write that sentence on my blog, but there you go!) I won't include any pictures of that though, and just leave that to your imagination...

The Palazzo Reale is also a beautiful palace to explore. It faces the stunning Piazza del Plebiscito, which is really worth exploring. The Palazzo contains the most beautiful hall and staircase I've ever seen. Even just for that, you should definitely go there.

If you fancy doing some shopping, walk along the Via Toledo, where you'll find Victoria's Secret, H&M, Zara, Lush and all the mainstream shops. While you're there, stop at Casa Infante and get gelato with their signature hazelnut and white chocolate or salted caramel sauce... Best ice cream I've ever had, and ridiculously cheap at 2,50€ for a medium cup. Also look out for the street of love, with its cute messages that will instantly make you smile.

Finally, for those beautiful views of the bay of Naples and the Vesuvius, head to Lungomare, on the west side of the city. It is a beautiful walk near the port, where you'll find lots of restaurants specialised in sea food, and amazing panoramic views on the bay. I would suggest you avoid the bars on the seafront - we had a really bad experience at Rosso Pommodoro, where we got served ridiculous (and disgusting) cocktails after waiting for thirty minutes even though the place wasn't crowded. Restaurants aren't the best feature of Naples I have to say - it is hard to find anything apart from pizza, so do venture into the little streets to find the right place.

From this trip to Naples, I come back with contradictory feelings: I have enjoyed the place, how authentic and raw it is, the glimpse into the real life of the inhabitants. But I would say that if you would like a laid back, safe and stress-free holiday, chaotic Naples is not for you. Let not the bad things prevent you from visiting though - there are some amazing sights and places to discover, and although I might not be going back any time soon, I do not regret stepping into this crazy whirlwind of a city.

Would you visit Naples? Do you want to see Pompeii one day?