LIFESTYLE | Do What Makes You Happy

Don't waste more time.

With the popularity of self-care, personal growth and positivity movements, there is a consensus (and you'll probably agree with me) that to be happy, you should do what makes you so, no matter what others say. Of course, it is not as easy as it sounds, otherwise there wouldn't be a bazillion other posts like this one on the Internet. The truth is, social pressure is a real thing and it can hold you back in ways you would not even think about in your everyday life. Thus, it is why today I am here to tell you that you should always, always just do what you want. And fight for it!

Nothing lets your personality shine through more than doing what you like. Whether it is by doing a job you are passionate about and feel like it is worth getting up in the morning for, or finding the hobby that helps you unwind and makes you proud when you talk about it. Blogging is a particularly relevant activity for this: even though it is getting more and more common out there, blogging can still be stigmatised by some people, seen as stupid, useless, narcissistic, and so on. From raised eyebrows to comments on how superficial this whole hobby is, we've heard it all. How many bloggers like me have often decided to keep it a secret? I used to be very reluctant to talk about my blog and what I blogged about, mainly because of the negative ideas held by others who did not happen to enjoy blogging themselves. Well, thanks Karen, but I'm not a fan of aquabiking. Let me blog all I want. To each their own. 

There are many social situations where we restrain ourselves from expressing what we really want to say or do. The first instinct, when you get into a group, is often to 'go with the flow' and adapt to the people you are interacting with. This can lead to a lot of frustration, especially if you would very much to express something about yourself that you think wouldn't fit in at that moment. As an introvert, I have lived this too many times: not talking about something I love because it seems like it isn't to the others' taste, diminishing myself or giggling out of embarrassment when someone makes a comment that I do not agree with... Preventing myself from being me, basically.

Now, I think this is wrong. I should never be made to feel like I should not share about what makes me happy and what I love doing. I should surround myself with people who love me for all that makes me, me. People who understand and support me along the way. This is what friends and (valuable) family are for. 
Because nothing will make you happier than doing what you want, no matter how silly other people may think it is. And for me, it sometimes mean posing for pictures in public places. People will look, people may think it's weird, but it makes me happy, confident and fuels my creativity, so I will keep doing it as long as I want to. The most important thing is to keep yourself happy, fulfilled and let that fire burn. Listen to yourself, be bold, and do the things that makes you smile.

What is the one thing you love and will do no matter what?


BEAUTY | The Best Tips for Curly Hair

It takes a while to master curly hair, so let us share our ancestral knowledge. 

Every time someone with straight hair tells me 'I wish I had curly hair like you!' I am of course flattered, but most of all, I remind them what a hassle it is to take care of curly hair. It gets frizzy, it gets dry, it is more often than not impossible to style properly and you can easily look like a mad scientist if you don't pay too much attention. 
However, curly hair does look amazing when it's taken care of, and over the years of having curly hair in different lengths and more or less healthy, I have gathered a few pieces of advice I would give to anybody with curly hair. Here is what the years taught me...

Keeping your hair moisturised is the first thing I would advise to anybody with any type of hairr, really. But this gets even more important with curly hair, because if your hair is super dry, the curls won't hold. It needs some moisture to curl up properly and form those pretty round, shiny locks that we like. 
Now, I don't have any particular products to recommend. What I would say is that you don't need to use products specifically designed for curly hair. Go for dry hair ranges. I really like Dove hair products, as well as L'Oréal. Typically, I wash my hair three times a week, roughly every two days - mainly because the roots get oily. I use shampoo and conditioner, and I will also do an oil mask once a week. The more moisture, the better.

As for leave-in conditioner, mousse, spray and all that jazz, I will only say that less is more. I find that it's easy to put in too much product and end up with cardboard hair, or very artificial-looking curls. Too much product also causes hair to get oily quicker. I usually only stick to curly hair mousse, which I apply both on wet hair straight after I've washed it, and then a couple more times throughout the drying process (I let my hair dry naturally). On second day hair, I will also run a handful of mousse to style it after I slept on the curls. I find that mousse helps give structure to the curls and running your fingers through your hair to style it is the easiest way to have a nice, natural finish.
However, since I have now cut my hair quite short I will try and not use any mousse at all. Time will tell if that makes a difference or not! One thing with curly hair is that you keep experimenting over and over again no matter what.

One thing I got from my mum is to wash my hair with my head upside down in the bathtub. That means I never really wash my hair at the same time as I do my body, but it's a routine I've gotten used to and that I love because it gives a lot of volume to your hair. I find that when I wash my hair standing in the shower, all the water weighs down the hair a lot and once it dries, my hair looks a lot flatter than when I wash it with my head upside down.
I also always put my head upside down and run my fingers through the hair during the drying process, because it helps separate the locks and, again, gives better volume. Same when applying mousse. Try it out and see if it makes a difference!

I used to think the most important in creating your curls was the washing and the products you use, but over the years I've found out that actually, it is how you style them that makes the most difference. Curly hair is easy to shape and, both with a little hair product and with your fingers, you can change up how it looks in a few seconds. Arrange the locks, pin a few sections here and there, untangle some areas with your fingers, and you will be able to make the hair fall differently. Of course it won't necessarily stay put throughout the day, but this is another thing you have to accept with curly hair - it won't look the same when it is freshly washed after a few hours outside in the wind. You can still make it fall as you want it to and touch it up during the day. Or even better - embrace the wild look and the frizz!

Do you have curly hair? What are your best tips to keep your hair healthy?


FASHION | Furla Merletto Bag

The cutest bag you ever did see.

I am not a bag person - I would rather get myself a pretty dress rather than a bag, anytime. In fact, I am not a shoe person either. Accessories are just not what matters the most to me. However, I do like to invest in good staples; in this case, bags that I will wear time and time again and that will last me years. How to invest in a quality bag without breaking the bank (and your heart as you look at your account)? Always - and only - buy during the sales. 
This Furla bag is my third hig-end bag purchase that I have made during sales over the last couple years, and although I do know that it is still a luxury for me to be able to do that, it saved me a lot of money each time. I got the bag from the Galeries Lafayette website a couple weeks ago, and it was 30% off - making me save 90€.

I wanted a pastel pink bag as I love this shade (obviously) but also because it is a light colour that I can wear with a lot of different outfits in the spring and summer. The scalloped edges are a little twist on the classic square shape of the bag. Needless to say, I always go for timeless models as I want the bag to last me through the years no matter what the current trends are.
The leather is super soft, so has to be taken care of (you can't throw it around or hit people with it) and of course light leather can get stained easily, even with a slight touch, so basically you would have to cherish it like your first born child. Other than that, the details are beautiful, the stitches on the scallops are super neat and the laser-cut Furla sign at the front is neat and clear as well. I know I will be wearing this bag a lot and I've had loads of compliments on it already, so definitely worth browsing a few dozen pages of the sale section!

Do you invest in key items during the sales?


LIFESTYLE | How To Focus and Concentrate in a Digital World

Because getting our minds off the internet is a skill in itself.

Some time ago, I realised that my attention span has decreased a lot in the last few years. I used to be an avid reader, as well as someone who could watch films every day for entertainment. Today, I find that the only source of entertainment I always come back to is instant, short, snappy content: Instagram pictures and Stories, YouTube videos, or blog posts. I seem to have lost the ability to focus for a long time, and even when I'm working, the temptation to scroll through my phone is often distracting me from my goals.
Ultimately, I think this is a symptom of our time: we are drawn to our little screens, we want very visual content which brings us an instant reaction and satisfaction. Our attention span reduces because we don't need to pay attention anymore. Everything is thrown at us and we just absorb it, to forget it straight after and make space for the new content we'll see next.

In this context, I think it's important that we don't focus the ability to focus properly. This is a big deal especially when it comes to mindfulness and relaxation, as well as switching off from the buzzing world around us to take time for self-care. So here are some tips I have been using to work on being more focussed:

It may sound like simple and basic advice, but we should never overlook the fact that we probably don't read as much as we should, and most likely not as much as we used to when we were younger - and didn't have that many screen distractions. Truth is, reading is a great stress-reliever, and good exercise for the brain: we have to focus on the words, on the plot, and I find that prolonged reading sessions (i.e. at least a good twenty minutes) make you work on your concentration levels. So whether it be a novel, poems, the newspaper, graphic novels - take the time, every single day, to read at least twenty to thirty minutes. I have been doing that every morning for the past month, reading a few chapters when I wake up and it really makes me feel relaxed to start off the day.

If you are used to face screens for hours on end, you need some down time during the day to rest your eyes and brain. Giving your eyes a break gives you time for other things, and this could be as simple as taking a five-minute nap, reading a (paper) magazine, preparing yourself a little snack or having a workout session. It might be the smaller day-to-day activity, but when you're addicted to your phone screen (like I am, although it pains me to admit it..!) every little thing that you willingly do to take a break from screens will make you feel good about yourself. It may seem silly, but every effort you put towards making this digital 'detox' happen will be rewarding and motivate you to do even more!

This is the part that I would like to self-care and mindfulness the most: taking some time, as often as possible, to sit in silence and let your thoughts and ideas unfold. If you enjoy it, you might also practice yoga or meditation, but since it is not something I do, I keep my advice mainly to what works for me - but meditation is definitely a way to focus on the moment and get rid of information overload. Silence helps you center yourself and feel more aware of every stream of thought that goes into your brain. Light a candle or play some white noise in the background if it helps, and take the time to just do nothing. You may find, if you are used to a busy lifestyle, that staying there doing nothing can be very difficult, but plan this time into your routine and schedule and you will very quickly see the benefits of this little silence break in your everyday life.

What do you do to focus when you've had a digital overload?


BEAUTY | High-End Makeup: My Honest Thoughts

Can a foundation ever be worth £40? You have two hours.

The topic of high-end makeup is a controversial one: some people swear by luxury brands, others don't think the price is justified. Sure, there are some things worth investing your money on that are far more important than makeup, but these products are here for a reason and recently I've been thinking about my own views on the matter. 
Granted, I don't own a lot of high-end makeup: my holy grail foundation, the odd lipstick and quite a few nail polishes from my nail-mania craze a couple years ago. My knowledge of these products is much more limited than other bloggers, however in that sense, I feel more relatable than bloggers who own (whether they buy it or are sent it as PR) drawers full of high-end makeup. 

I think that you do not have to invest in luxury brands to have good quality makeup. There are a lot of brands, like Kiko, NYX, L'Oréal (although their prices seem to be going up little by little!) or even Sleek and Revolution, which make really good makeup for good prices. A good thing about the beauty industry getting bigger and bigger through Internet and social media is that it allows more brands to be in the market, and give their buyers good products for competitive prices. 

However, there is also this inevitable attraction that lures us into luxury brands. It is true for makeup as it is true for fashion, homeware, cars or even food. (Waitrose vs. Lidl, where do you place your bets?) Luxury is (generally) seen as a sign of good taste, good quality. It makes you feel fancy and good about yourself. Look at that shiny Chanel lipstick... and that sleek Dior nail polish... The both combined are probably worth a full week of shopping from Waitrose, now that we speak of it. So are they really worth spending your pennies on?

Personally, I invest in luxury products that I know I will love and make the most of. The few high-end items that I have, I cherish and always feel happy using. Is the quality always outstanding? Not really. Those two nail polishes above could have easily been replaced by Barry M or Kiko nail polishes. Like any other nail polish, they chip. They don't last five days on your nails without chipping, in fact. But because I love the texture, the brushes, the shades and the brands themselves (#proudtobeFrench) I do not regret at all spending my money on them.
Some other products, like the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, are a real godsend. You know where your £30 go. You could save £20 and buy a Kiko foundation for a tenner, but find that actually, the finish is not that great, or you could part with your hard-earned money and get a foundation that will give you exactly what you were expecting from it, and make you feel confident every time you wear it. Of course, it is a privilege to be able to afford either of those products, and makeup is not, in my eyes, a necessity, and will never be. 

And just because of that, because affording makeup is a privilege, when some girls and women cannot even afford period protection, I think that knowing the worth of what you are buying is very important when making a high-end purchase. The worth can be calculated in many ways, but quality is not always one of them. I find that it is not about how the product is, but how it makes you feel. And it is something to keep in mind maybe when you are undecided about whether to buy that YSL mascara: are you doing it for yourself, because everybody else owns it too, or just because, well, you have the money right there so why not? 
If you ask me, I am sure there will be a pretty good dupe of that mascara in the shelves of Boots or Superdrug. We all know it. But we all crave that little bit of luxury in one way or another. And to be honest, that mascara will always be cheaper than a Louis Vuitton bag...

What are your thoughts on high-end makeup? Do you invest in a lot of luxury products?


FASHION | The Lace Midi

Goal: to look like a princess. Every day.

I love midi dresses. They make me feel like a special butterfly, like a princess, like I'm in a Audrey Hepburn film - you name it. It is great that the midi dress trend is still going strong a few years after we started seeing the first of those dresses in shops. You can dress them up, dress them down, and there are a lot of different styles you can go with a midi dress, from streetwear (with a good pair of trainers) to fancy dinner in London. For me, the fancy look always wins!
It was only right, then, to wear my favourite midi dress to one of my favourite dream-come-true places: the Palace of Versailles. Or most specifically, it's gardens. I went early in July with my boyfriend, and we avoided the castle (there was a queue of at least two million people to go in...) and headed straight to the gardens. It was a beautiful summer day, and all we could see was colourful flowers, beautiful marble statues shining in the sun, and bushes trimmed to perfection.

Every summer, the gardens come to life as the fountains are lit every hour or so and baroque music is played along the main paths - making you really feel like you are stepping back in time, and as though you could almost stumble upon Louis XIV and his court during your wander. Every spot is carefully planned, and shows how much work has gone in the displays, the geometry of each square of flowers, of each bush, each statue. The gardens of Versailles truly are a work of Art.
My boyfriend nicely took so many photos of me, at every corner, because every single view is worth capturing. My outfit just made me feel like I was blending in with the surroundings and, if I can say so myself, I am really happy with how all the photos turned out.

This dress is from Zara, and the quality is wonderful - thick material but very floaty, the lace is strong and I know won't get damaged in the wash. A little extra for every day outfits, but life is too short to not wear the pretty dress if you want to!

Another place I didn't want to miss was Marie Antoinette's Hamlet. It is a ten-fifteen minute walk from the Grand Canal, and well worth the aching feet at the end of the day. There, you can meander around the Temples, the amazingly well-preserved cottages and of course pet goats and donkeys at the Queen's farm. Simply delightful!

Going to Versailles means that wearing flats is the best option. I never wear heels anyway (only when I am in a very good mood and I know that I am going to spend most of my time sat down...) but I would recommend you avoid heels if you decide to go to the gardens for the day. You will end up walking so much, comfort is the way to go. I am wearing my brown flat sandals which I love because they literally go with any outfit I have.
No need for heels anyway - the dress was just enough to make me feel like the new Marie Antoinette lost in her comforting nest of a garden... Well, with my head still very much attached to my neck, thankfully.

What are your thoughts on midi dresses?


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?