LIFESTYLE | How To Get Into the Festive Spirit

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Can you hear Michael Buble's voice now? Because his songs have been stuck in my head for the past two weeks. As soon as November arrived, everything turned into a Christmas wonderland - the shops, the lights in town, the festive drinks, the presents and the warm jumpers... All this have made me so excited for December and the Christmas festivities. I have thus decided to share with you a post about one of the things that makes me really happy at the moment - how to get into the Christmas spirit!

Going for a festive coffee in your favourite chain

Now I am aware that we should always support independent cafés, but I can't help it - festive drinks in chains like Costa or Caffe Nero are my jam. I'm always excited to discover the new flavours that brands come up with each year. So far I have only tried the roasted hazelnut latte from Caffe Nero, and it's yummy!
These drinks are more expensive than the regular ones (and to be fair, they're often too expensive no matter how good they taste!) but once or twice up 'til December, going for a festive coffee or hot chocolate with a friend is the perfect way to enjoy a cosy winter afternoon after an intense Christmas shopping session.

Getting cards for your loved ones

Giving cards is still a great tradition in the UK, and I'm so glad because I think getting cards to your friends and family, but even co-workers, is a lovely attention at this time of year. There are many stores where you can find pretty cards, Clintons being one of my favourite. You can leave a personal note as well, and sometimes thoughtful words are more worthy than the biggest presents!
You could spend ages in the shops looking at all the different card designs - minimalist, sparkly, cute, sassy, traditional, with Santas, reindeer and Christmas trees... This year I bought a pack of cards from WH Smith, but I am also going to make my own cards for the most special people in my life. I'll share the DIY on the blog so stay tuned for that!

Decorating your home

Some might say November is still too early for decorations, but I strongly disagree (as you might have guessed!) To keep feeling festive even when you don't see the lights in the streets and the displays in the shops, you only have to make your home a little Christmassy to start with! 
I'm not suggesting getting a tree just yet, but putting up little fairly lights, a couple baubles or ornaments, and lighting a warm scented candle will make you feel like it's December already. I always recommend TK Maxx for great candles at a really good price, mine this year is a Spicy Cinnamon candle from the brand DW Home and it smells divine!

On your screens: Christmas music & films

One could say that it's totally acceptable to watch Love, Actually in June, but to me watching this film in the weeks leading up to Christmas has become a tradition I would never break! Everybody has their favourite film: The Holiday, Elf, The Grinch... It's the best opportunity to invite a couple friends or your significant other over for a Christmas film with biscuits and a good hot chocolate. Alternatively, you could organise a festive dinner to show off your best winter cooking skills, singing along to classics such as Last Christmas or All I Want For Christmas Is You. Yes, this is pretty much the only acceptable time for you to make your friends listen to Mariah Carey.

What are your favourite Christmas-related things to do as soon as the season arrives?


BEAUTY | My Autumnal Makeup Look 2017

My favourite time of year for makeup has arrived!

Every year, I've been posting a new autumn makeup on the blog. It's a little tradition that I like to keep, because it helps me keep track of what makeup I enjoy wearing at the same time each year. You can click here to see the previous looks I've done: my 2016 warm corals look and the 2015 dark lips look.

This year, I have brought back dark lips again - but they are matte this time! - with a quick and easy look that I enjoy wearing on the weekends. I tend to wear very minimal makeup during the week and avoid dark shades for professional reasons, so when the weekend comes, I love looking as autumnal as possible with brown shades under my eyes and dark red on my lips.

On my face, I used the Magic Foundation by Charlotte Tilbury to even out the skin - always good in the autumn, because the cold can easily cause redness here and there. This foundation is amazing (you can find a full review here) and gives you great coverage without being too obvious. To cover any extra imperfections, I use the NYX HD Studio Photogenic concealer, which is amazing. It reminds me of the Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer in terms of texture and coverage, but for a fraction of the price. 
I set the foundation with the Stay Matte powder by Rimmel, which has been my go-to powder for years now.

Instead of using eyeshadow as I've done for the past couple years, this time I went for a classic look with eyeliner. I used to wear liner a lot a few years ago, but I've started to wear it less and less, however it's still a look I like to go for sometimes. I used my Kiko Precision Liner and drew a sharp wing as I always do.
On the bottom lash line, I used the Naked 1 Palette by Urban Decay to add a touch of autumn shades, creating a gradient with the shades Smog in the middle of the eye and Hustle in the outer part. To add even more glitter I used a Nocibé bronzy gold eyeshadow in the centre of the water line.

I then added some shimmery eyeshadow in the inner corner of my eyes and on my brow bone, using an individual Sephora shadow in the shade 72 Movie Popcorn. I added two good coats of mascara with the Bourgeois Volume Glamour mascara which is great for lengthening the lashes and separating them. Here is what the final eye look is like:

I'm all about the highlighter at the moment, I can never go without it. I've been using the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector almost every single day. I've got the shade Opal and it's a beautiful gold shade, a lot more gold than the classic Champagne Pop. As for blusher, I'm using my old UK Beauty coral blusher which is almost running out - I like this coral shade with tiny gold sparkles.

For the lips, I'm going for a matte liquid lipstick (even though the finish doesn't look matte in these photos, it really is a lovely soft matte shade.) I'm using the NYX Liquid Suede in the shade n.12 Vintage - I'm guessing in reference to the films noirs of the 1930s and the beautiful dark lips women wore in these productions. The application is easy but because the shade is so dark, you have to make sure you apply the colour evenly. It's such a pretty shade for autumn because it's more of a muted burgundy, rather tricky to describe and very unique. 

And that's about it for my autumnal look this year. It's far more minimal than last year's look, because I've been drawn to quicker, easier looks to create - but still with that autumn touch of gold and brown that I really like at this time of year.

What's your go-to autumn look? Do you enjoy wearing dark lipstick at this time of year?


TRAVEL | England's Smallest City

Tiny place, big cathedral.

Wells really is a tiny city. It got its title of City because it is home to a beautiful cathedral, but in truth it is the perfect size for a little weekend day out in the country. Let me show you in this post why Wells is worth a trip if you're around Somerset!

Of course, Wells Cathedral is the main attraction. Its square shape and flat top is very curious and unlike any other cathedral I've seen in England so far, but the facade is beautiful. The area is very peaceful as well, you won't see crowds of people flocking around like you would in Winchester for example. All the better to admire the building and its intricacies.

The Cathedral was built between the 12th and the end of the 15th century. The style is mainly Gothic, and the interior is particularly beautiful. It has been taken care of so well, that the building seems brand new. Unlike other cathedrals and churches which are often purposely very dark, Wells cathedral fills up with light, which makes it a warm and welcoming building to step into.

The arches of St Andrew's Cross in the far end of the nave are beautiful, and so it the ceiling in the Lady Chapel (last picture above.) The curves and arches all around the cathedral make it such a stunning structure to look at. I am a sucker for good symmetry and find it so aesthetically pleasing. Is it just me?
Right outside the Cathedral, you'll find Vicar's Close. An iconic little side-street, the oldest permanently inhabited street in Europe. And you'd probably want to live there too.

My friend Julie and I organised an impromptu photoshoot in Vicar's Close, because where could we find a cutest, more autumnal background for these photos?
I'm wearing my new midi skirt from New Look. I got it in the sales and it's the perfect autumn shade. Because it's such a statement piece I decided to wear with with a plain back top and my favourite jacket from H&M. A girl recently told me "you look like you're going hunting" as I was wearing this jacket, and yep I totally own this countryside look. (the hunting not so much though!)

For lunch, we went to a lovely pub in town called the City Arms. First of all: it is pink and very cute.

Inside, a whole part was dedicated to the restaurant and it was really cosy, with cushions and wooden tables. I went for lasagna, served with garlic bread (yum!) and a salad. It was really good and so filling that I didn't want anything for dinner that day.

The pubs and restaurants around Wells didn't seem very busy. It was lovely to spend time in a place that's not crowded, as opposed to Bath where the whole city centre is full of people most of the time. We had a really fun day out in Wells, saw a beautiful cathedral, and had a quiet pub lunch. Isn't that exactly how Brits do days out?

Have you ever heard of Wells? Do you enjoy visiting historical buildings?