Glossybox - The Red Editor's Choice and Special Discount Code

It's been a while since my last beauty box review but September's limited edition Glossybox in collaboration with Red Magazine deserves a special mention:
Beauty director Annabel Meggesan has put together a selection of her favourite products and each and every single one is so well chosen. September is often seen as a new start so I was particularly excited to try the Hydro Face Mask and bonus sample of the new Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal purifying glow mask. After a few months of sunshine and pollution my skin was definitely in need some TLC and the 2 sachets made for a lovely pampering Sunday evening. 

As we move into Autumn our make up typically gets heavier and as someone who loved the original Too Faced better than sex mascara I'm really excited to see how the new waterproof version will perform. The formula is enriched with collagen to thicken and lengthen and as the original was one of my all time favourites for volume and drama I've a feeling this one will become just as much of an everyday staple. Also included is a Rodial smokey eye pen as a nod to the 90s kohled waterline which is making a comeback this season. 

Another favourite is the Philosophy amazing grace firming body lotion. I could smell this as soon as I opened the box and loved the delicate blend of light floral and powdery notes. Finally there's a bottle of Revlon gel envy diamond top coat. Gel nails have been such a trend this year and although I've yet to try them out for myself this promises to transform any regular nail polish by giving it a more salon like shine and longer staying power.

Usually with beauty boxes there's at least one item that I don't like but I think Glossybox and Red Magazine have chosen so well and I'm genuinely excited to try each and every single product this month.

Glossybox have also sent across a special discount code so if you'd like to try September's The Red Editor's Choice simply use 'RED40UK' online for 40% off your first box.

Are you also a Glossybox subscriber? Which products are you most excited to try?

Blogging on the go with Samsung TabPro S

Blogging and technology go hand in hand, so when Samsung invited me down to Boxpark for the launch of their limited edition TabPro S device I was really intrigued to find out more:

Day to day most of my work and blogging is done on a laptop but increasing I find myself working away from home and relying on a tablet and my mobile. And it turns out I'm not alone, as research by Samsung suggests we're a nation of 'funtrepreneurs', with one in ten of us leaving our job to turn our passion into a career, with a further 24% of millennials planning on doing the same. No longer confined to a traditional office we're increasingly relying on technology, with 59% saying that a laptop and tablet would be fundamental to starting a business, while 52% cited Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity as key.

The limited edition Samsung TabPro S, with the 
packaging specially designed by Luke Edward Hall

Having recently made a big career change myself I found the stats from Samsung really interesting. Of those that leave to pursue their passions, 84% are expected to have better job satisfaction, with technology (7%), retail (5%) and blogging and vlogging (4%) topping the list of industries that us Brits are moving into.

Not surprising then that Samsung have designed the new TabPro S to be flexible with entrepreneurs in mind. On the day they also teamed up with columnist Jack Monroe, journalist Rachel Arthur, designer Luke Edward Hall and Pizza Pilgrims founders Thom & James Elliot to offer a pre-installed top tips and insights package for budding entrepreneurs, with advice on topics such as social media, branding and networking.

At the Boxpark pop up we were able to have a good play with the device and after chatting to the Samsung team I have to say I was particularly impressed with how it combines the sleekness and portability of a tablet with the Windows 10 operating system of a laptop. With a tablet I've always struggled with certain apps and websites not working properly on mobile so it's great to have a device that offers the best of both worlds. It's fully touchscreen with improved colour accuracy, fast charging and offers up to 10.5 hours of usage. Plus it syncs to mobile and comes with a detachable keyboard cover which makes it so much more user friendly and easier to work on the go.

Safe to say the Samsung TabPro S is now at the top of my Christmas wishlist and if you're also looking to invest in a new laptop or tablet then this device is definitely worth considering! 

Samsung TabPro S, RRP £849, available now online.

Did you get a chance to visit the pop up in Boxpark? What are your top tips for blogging on the go?

*Sponsored post 

Life - July and August round up

Hi guys, long time no speak! Life has well and truly got in the way of blogging recently and it's probably been the longest I've ever gone without posting. So to ease my way back in I thought I'd do a quick round up of July and August:

Probably the biggest news is that I've got a new job and as a result a major career change. It's something I've been wanting to do for years and after taking some time out I've so pleased to have found an alternative. Going from healthcare to an office job it's been a big change but I'm enjoying it so far and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the future holds. 

Speaking of jobs our office took park in the Great City Race in July. It was my first organised 5K run and surprisingly my fastest ever speed too. It was great atmosphere and I found it really encouraging running with other people and all the crowds cheering you on. Definitely need to sign up for a 10K soon!

Working near Bank I've really enjoyed discovering the area and trying somewhere new for lunch everyday. So far City Caphe is the favourite as they offer a great selection of Vietnamese dishes, all absolutely delicious and authentically flavoured. I'd highly recommend the spring rolls with rice, beef pho and the chargrilled banh mi which is a fresh and vibrant take on the sandwich. There's space to eat in, but with the warm weather recently I've loved sitting outside and soaking up some much needed vitamin D.

July always is always an exciting time in the blogging world as brands showcase their Christmas gift sets. Both The Body Shop and QVC have some great launches coming up, including personalised Body Butters and some gorgeous gift sets from Tarte and It cosmetics.

Every summer I seem to find a new rooftop bar and this year it's all about the roof garden at John Lewis. Located on the 6th floor it offers some great views of the City and Oxford Street and I love the botanical garden inspired decor. Think grass lawns, herb gardens and pretty flowers galore. Drink prices are pretty reasonable and there's everything from beers to fruity cocktails and of course the classic Pimms & lemonade. Every month they rotate the restaurant too so there's always something new and tasty to try.

August saw the wedding of 2 of our close friends and we had the nicest mini staycation at Parklands in Essex. A really beautiful venue and it was so nice to get out of London for the weekend and catch up with everyone again. 

With the recent sunshine and heatwave running has taken a bit of a back seat but I was invited for an Ibiza inspired workout with Virgin Active which was surprisingly fun. The class consisted of a mixture of strength and cardio, all in short intervals and although it didn't seem too hard at the time my muscles definitely felt it the next day! On a little side note, the Virgin Active gym at Cannon Street is seriously swanky with it's own mini spa, and with it being round the corner from my office I'm very tempted to sign up for Autumn/Winter.

How was your July/August? Are there any places you'd recommend trying out in the City? 

Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley Hotel with FarFetch

Since finding out about the amazing fashion inspired Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel it's been top of my list of places to visit. Combined with a visit to the spa and you've pretty much got my idea of a perfect afternoon:

Farfetch invited a small group of bloggers down for the afternoon and what better way to start than a relaxing back massage followed by a calming tea by the rooftop pool. In the summer the roof actually comes down and it was great chat with the other girls and find out more about the brand. I had no idea they stocked so many designers and with competitive prices and free delivery it's definitely been saved for my next shopping spree! 

Considering that The Berkeley Hotel is right in the middle of Knightsbridge it felt so peaceful and as I sat by the pool I couldn't help but think how perfect the spa would be for a hen do or birthday party.

Soon it was time for afternoon tea and we were led to the beautiful Collins Room. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the decor and I loved the relaxed luxurious feel with it's soft grey walls, plush velvet sofas and blossoming pink peonies.

Believe it or not sandwiches are one of my favourite parts of afternoon tea and The Berkeley Hotel didn't disappoint. With flavours such as smoked salmon and chicken it was a delicious way to start the meal and definitely more filling than usual.

There are no scones on the Prêt-à-Portea menu but the addition of ceviche, red pepper soup and cream cheese muffins were a nice surprise, especially for a savoury girl like myself.

The desserts though were without doubt the star of the entire tea. Each piece is inspired by the themes and colours of the fashion world and the menu changes every 6 months to reflect the current season. For SS16 there are runway favourites from Prada, Stella McCartney, Manolo Blahnik to name but a few.

I particularly enjoyed the Nicholas Kirkwood pink fraises de bois and blueberry crémeux with white and dark chocolate garnish and The Emilia Wichstead light dolce and white chocolate mousse with hazelnut sable and zig zag meringue detailing. The red velvet Prada handbag with a real favourite around the table and I loved the contrast of the soft rich sponge with the crunch of the chocolate coating.

There's even a gorgeous marble counter with champagne and extra desserts on offer!

All in all a really lovely afternoon - it's always so nice to meet other bloggers and the team at Farfetch, and the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea was a real treat. A great mix of the traditional elements with a fun twist, and if you're looking for somewhere new to try then I would definitely recommend giving The Berkeley Hotel a go! 

Have you ever tried The Berkeley Hotel Prêt-à-Portea? Where are your favourite places for afternoon tea in London?

OPI Having a Big Head Day

As much as I like to experiment with colour, sometimes you can't beat a classic. For a recent manicure I was immediately drawn to OPI Having a Big Head Day and it's reminded me just how much I love a glossy red nail:

OPI Having a Big Head Day, Monica Vinader small stacking ring

Part of the new limited edition Alice Through the Looking Glass collection, OPI Having a Big Head Day is a classic true red with a gorgeous creme formula. Two coats is enough for a glossy even finish and it's one of those shades that looks super sophisticated and goes with everything. With an OPI top coat the nail polish was seriously long lasting and when I had to remove it for an interview 8 days later there was only very minimal tip wear.

On a little side note how gorgeous is the Monica Vinader small stacking ring? It comes in a few stone and metal combinations but I couldn't resist the classic rose quartz with a rose gold band. It's simple but pretty and I always seem to get compliments whenever I wear it. Definitely one of my favourite jewellery pieces this summer and I've already got my eye on some their rose gold bracelets and earrings for my next purchase. 

Have you tried any of the OPI Alice Through the Looking Glass collection? What are your favourite jewellery pieces?

Three new cleansers to try

Over the years I've learnt to really invest in skincare. A good moisturiser is essential but make up removal is just as important and recently I've been loving these three cleansers:

Clinique, Antipodes, Garnier, Clinique take the day off towlettes, Garnier micellar cleansing water, Antipodes grapeseed butter cleanser, Review,
Three new cleansers to try - Clinique, Garnier and Antipodes

Antipodes grapeseed butter cleanser, Antipodes, Review

As soon as I get home I like to take my eye make up off and Garnier micellar cleansing water is the closest dupe I've found to the cult classic Bioderma (currently £3.33 here). A clear unperfumed liquid, I simply apply onto a cotton pad and it works like a magnet to attract any dirt or make up. I find it super gentle yet effective and within a minute all my mascara and eyeshadow is cleansed off. There's no need for any rubbing and it leaves my skin feeling comfortable and hydrated.

On days when I'm wearing particularly heavy make up or before exercise I like to use Clinique take the day off micellar cleansing towlettes (£16 here). Each cloth is soaked in the gentle cleansing liquid and it does a good job of removing any foundation or eye make up prior to my evening routine. Compared to a lot of the other cleansing wipes I find this to be kinder on the skin and resealable packaging makes it nice and convenient to throw into my gym bag. 

Finally I always like to end the day with a thorough balm cleanse. Antipodes grapefruit butter cleanser has small seeds to gently exfoliate and melts into the most beautifully scented oil (currently £22.49 here). I like to really work the balm into the skin and you can almost feel the make up melting off. Unlike a lot of balm cleansers it doesn't emulsify so takes longer to wash off with a flannel but the upside is that my skin is more thoroughly cleansed and it always feels soft and nourished afterwards. 

Have you tried any of these three cleansers? What are your summer skincare essentials?

Indian Accent, New Delhi - Restaurant review

After an incredible 10 days in India it seemed only right to end the trip with an equally amazing meal at the award winning Indian Accent in New Delhi:

Indian accent, New Delhi
 Gongura masala prawns, butter popcorn upma, crispy curry leaves

To start with we were treated to a few amuse bouche and although rather simple to look at both dishes were absolutely bursting with flavour. The cheese puffs were a real delight with melted salty blue cheese encased in the most delicious doughy naan. The soups were equally as moreish and I could have happily eaten an entire bowl for starters.

Ghee roast mutton boti, roomali roti pancake, chutneys 

Chicken tikka quesadilla, swiss gruyere and pink peppercorn raita

There was so much choice on the menu and after much deliberation we went for the chicken tikka quesadilla and ghee roast mutton boti for starters. The quesadilla was a fun modern take on Indian cuisine but the real star of the show was the mutton pancakes. Inspired by one of my favourites, the Chinese duck pancake, the mutton was so tender and melt in your mouth and we all loved assembling our own with it's selection of toppings and sauces.

After the starters came another surprise, a light and delicately flavoured fruit ice lolly served in a mini sauce pan. This was the perfect palate cleanser and allowed for a quick catch up before the arrival of the mains.

Stuffed tandoori paneer, sarson saag barley

My only complaint was that service could be a little slow and cocktails didn't arrive until after our mains. It was worth the wait though as they had some delicious concoctions and we went for a mixture of traditional favourites and more exotic Indian flavours. All very refreshing and a lovely way to toast the evening.

Chettinad chicken keema, curry leaf lemon seviyan, sago puffs

With two branches in New Delhi and New York, Indian Accent aims to take you on an unique culinary journey with ingredients from all over the world. Where possible seasonal and organic ingredients are used and everything is modern but with enough traditional flavours and techniques to remind us of old favourites. Everything is designed to be shared and we all really enjoyed our selection of mains, with the rich chicken keema being a real favourite around the table.

A special shout out to the bread which had a real bite to it and was so chewy and delicious. Perfect for tearing up and scooping up all the flavoursome sauce. Authentic Indian naan breads are much thinner than the ones we typically get here in the UK supermarkets and are baked in a tandoori oven for the best flavour. I've since found a good restaurant in London that does something similar and needless to say I'm now obsessed!

Walnut chocolate brownie, salted chikki, boondi cheesecake

Dessert was chocolate brownie and it tasted as good as it looked. A thin layer of creamy cheesecake sandwiched between 2 moist layers of sponge, garnished with caramel sauce and sticky little bites of honeycomb. A rich and decadent end to the meal.

And our final surprise of the night. After dessert we were presented with this colourful tray of petit fours, featuring a four Indian sweets. I wasn't such a fan of the tamarind sweets or the black aniseed balls but the fruity jelly and mini rose and nut crunch bars were super moreish and it wasn't long before they were both polished off.

Overall a really lovely evening and the perfect way to end our holiday. India thank you for being such an incredible country and I really hope to visit again in the future!
Have you ever been to India? What are your favourite Indian restaurants in the UK?

Clarins instant light lip comfort oil review

Since discovering the benefit of oils they've taken over my skincare routine, from cleansers to moisturisers and now my latest obsession, the Clarins instant light lip comfort oil in Raspberry:
Clarins instant light lip comfort oil in Raspberry, Review, Swatches

In cold weather especially I tend to suffer from dry lips and the Clarins instant light lip comfort oil has been such a lifesaver. It comes in 3 shades - honey, raspberry and a limited edition red berry for summer. They are all very sheer but I preferred the fruitier scent and slight pink tint of the raspberry oil. The formula feels instantly soothing and is a clever blend of mirabelle plum, jojoba and hazelnut oil to help plump, nourish and add a subtle shine to the lips. 

I've always favoured lip glosses and Clarins instant light lip comfort oil combines the ease of a gloss with the extra skincare benefits of an oil. It comes with a sponge doe foot applicator which deposits just the right amount of product and I don't find it to be too sticky. If anything it's similar to a balm and just feels very comfortable and moisturising on the lips. I tend to use Clarins instant light lip comfort oil alone but it can also be layered over a lipliner or lipstick for extra shine and nourishment.

Overall I think the Clarins instant light lip comfort oil is a great make up/skincare hybrid. Considering how much I love skincare oils it makes sense to use one on the lips too and the gloss style packaging makes so convenient to carry in my handbag and touch up during the day.

Have you tried Clarins instant light lip comfort oil? What are your favourite lip products for summer?

Visiting the Taj Mahal and my top tips

When we were planning our visit to India the first place on my list was Taj Mahal. One of the most famous buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife and it's even more impressive and beautiful in person than in photos:

 Visiting the Taj Mahal

We arrived around midday and if you're anything like me and love wandering around and taking photos then I would definitely recommend getting lunch first. There's nowhere to buy food inside and it was easily 6pm by the time we left. 

Entry is 530 rupees foreigners and 40 for locals. With the ticket you also get a bottle of water and a pair of shoe covers for the tomb. There are separate security lines for men and women so if you're going as a couple or group I would recommend standing somewhere obvious after or arrange a meeting point beforehand. 

The monument is surrounded by 4 gates and is completely hidden from the outside. We went through the Great gate and as you enter you're treated to the most beautiful view of the Taj Mahal standing proud in the sunshine perfectly framed by the arches of the mosque.

The Taj Mahal is cleaned every few years with clay to keep the marble white and at the time of our visit 3 of the towers were undergoing works, hence all the scaffolding. There are also acres of gardens to walk around and the the lawns directly in front are so beautifully manicured and felt surprisingly peaceful despite all the crowds.

We had a tour guide as part of our package and it was fascinating to learn all about the history and architecture as we walked around. The Taj Mahal is often said to be the ultimate symbol for love as the emperor built it as an monument to his wife who died during childbirth and the entire building took 22 years to complete.

Both the emperor and his wife are buried in the Taj Mahal and as part of the visit you can go inside and see a mock up of the tombs (the actual tombs are underground). Be aware though that it's a complete contrast to the beauty of the build outside. It's very dark and crowded and I found it quite claustrophobic with guards constantly blowing their whistles and pigeons flying around - my least favourite part of the day.

The entire Taj Mahal is made of marble with different semi precious stones filled down and over layed to make a beautiful pattern. The marble is actually stained with henna then delicately handcarved before the stones are placed in and cleaned. The art of this has been passed down directly through the generations and there are only a few handful of craftsmen in Agra. As part of our tour we were taken to a local workshop and it was fascinating to see how this was done but beware they are very pushy about you buying a souvenir. 

For our visit to the Taj Mahal we made a day trip from Delhi where there are plenty of trains available throughout the day. Because of timings in the end we opted for a private car which costs about £70 and I would definitely recommend as they pick you up and drop you off at the hotel so it's a lot more convenient and comfortable. It's around 4 hours each way though so be prepared to spend a lot of time in the car.

Overall I'm so glad we made the trip to Agra to visit Taj Mahal. As beautiful as the photos are it really doesn't do the monument justice and there's nothing like standing there taking in all, seeing the marble sparkle in the sunshine and soaking up the atmosphere. Without a doubt the highlight of my entire trip!

Have you ever been to India? What trips are you looking forward to this year?

Revlon SS16 new launches

Spring/summer is always one of my favourite times of the year. The sun starts to shine, holidays are just around the corner and make up brands launch all their exciting new season colours. For SS16 Revlon have brought out a range of make up brushes and a new compact, as well as extending the colours of some of their most popular lip products:

Revlon, Revlon SS16, Revlon colorstay, Revlon brushes, Revlon balm stain

Revlon, Revlon SS16, Revlon balm stain

Starting with the new line of make up brushes - there are 7 in total and they range from dense face brushes to a spoolie and comb for defined brows. They have a rather interesting geometric plastic handle which is designed to stop the brush rolling around and being so lightweight they're a great option for travel. My top 3 picks would be the fluffy powder brush, soft blush brush and the smokey eye brush which also comes in rather handy for eyebrows. 

ColorStay fans will be glad to hear that the liquid foundation now comes with a pump and there's also a new 2 in 1 compact make up and concealer, which being a cream formula is ideal for travel or for touching up during the day. I've yet to try the compact as the shade to too dark for me but the liquid foundation is a great option for everyday wear. I'd say it's medium to thick coverage, dries to a semi-matte finish and lasts well throughout the day with only a few powder touch ups needed to stop the shine in my t-zone. 

Finally the 3 products that I'm most excited about. Revlon were one of the first high street brands to bring out lip pencils and I loved the balm stains for their ease of use and subtle colour. For SS16 there are 2 new shades, Lovable a really gorgeous peachy pink and Irresistible a more natural nude. There are also a few new lipliners and I think the Blush shade will be especially popular for the current on trend Kylie Jenner look. You can also see some of their other lip colours on my Instagram page.

Have you tried any of the new Revlon SS16 launches? Did any of the products catch your eye?

Life lately - May round up

Another month over and I can't believe we're nearly halfway through the year already! May passed in a blur of blogging, events and interview prep and ended with the most incredible four day trip to Berlin. I'll be blogging more about the trip soon but for now a look back over the rest of the month:

Berlin - May 2016

The weather finally got warmer in May and we were able to enjoy some lovely drinks and cocktails outside. Aspall kindly sent over some of their new Waddlegoose cyder and I invited a few friends over to try them out. The boys very much favoured the classic slightly tart apple cyder but I preferred the three berry version. With a blend of blueberry, blackcurrant and raspberry it's fruity, light and very refreshing, perfect for a lazy summer afternoon or for an evening BBQ.

 A new blog design

I've been wanting to make over Peonies and lilies for a while now and after months of indecision finally settled on a new design from Pipdig. It's completlely different to what I had before but I'm loving the sleeker magazine like design and it's really helped to motivate me again. I'd love to know what you think of the new look too!

Once a week I usually meet the boyfriend for lunch in Central London and Pho just off Oxford Circus is my new favourite. There's a huge variety of noodles and salads to choose from, everything is freshly prepared and full of flavour. It's hard to find something relatively healthy around central but both our dishes were packed full of vegetables and I loved the light delicate sauce that came with my Bun noodles and pork spring rolls. Service is quick and prices are very reasonable so I would definitely if you're looking for somewhere new to try.

The perfume bar

Towards the end of the month a rather exciting email landed in my inbox. The Perfume Shop had set up a Perfume Bar at Mahiki and I was invited down to discover their fragrances over a cocktail and some sweet treats. I went for a Thierry Mugler Angel inspired colada which was seriously yummy and the chocolate covered coffee beans are surprising moreish. Perfume wise I've always been a fan of DKNY so it was no surprise that my favourite is the new Be Delicious Electric Citrus Pulse, a fruitier take on the original with notes of blackcurrant, passionfruit and jasmine.

10k Hyde Park run

After a few blips earlier this year I feel like I've finally got back into running again and recently have managed to do 10k around Hyde Park every weekend. It's not always easy to motivate myself but I feel so much better afterwards and I've managed to achieve a few personal bests too. Next on my target is to keep the speed up and maybe do an organised race too.

How was your May? Did you get up to anything exciting?
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