Neutrals

If you'd asked me about a year or so ago how I felt about wearing neutrals I would have said "Boring.  Give me some colour!" but now I can't get enough of classic, wearable looks. I don't know whether it's my style maturing or my want for creating the perfect wardrobe full of staple pieces I can constantly rotate but neutrals are taking our my daily outfits in a big way.

Here are some of my favourite ways to wear neutrals and some of my favourite neutral pieces out there at the moment.




ASOS
Topshop
Target

Do you wear a lot of neutrals?

Lauren xx

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The Winter Makeup Menu

As I've mentioned a thousand times before, I have dry skin and in the winter this dry skin gets even worse and so I sometimes struggle with what makeup to wear in order to not accentuate any dry patches but also will not dry my skin out more as I find some makeup can do that.


Base

For a base I always always apply moisturiser before my foundation in order to stop it drying out and I also skip the primer.  I don't know whether this is bad or not but it works for me with my dry skin.  I then like to go for a slighter higher coverage foundation such as Makeup Forever's Ultra HD or Maybelline's Fit Me.  I know a lot of people like matte foundations but they don't work for me unless I add in a tinted moisturiser.

I try not to go too mad on concealer if I have a heavier foundation and also don't feel the need to highlight too much as my skin is generally looking quite pale during the winter anyway.




Eyes

For the daytime I don't do much different and just add a brow gel through my eyebrows and a mascara to my lashes.  For evenings I like a brown smokey eye or a winged eyeliner.

Cheeks

A little bit of bronzer to make my pale complexion slightly more healthy looking but nothing heavy.  Instead I like a heavy blush as I think it's looks gorgeous with pale skin, like a natural flush from the cold.

Lips

Winter lips are all about dark, bold colours.  Around Christmas time I like to wear a classic red lip especially with winged eyeliner.  My favourite reds at the moment are Nyx Indie Flick and Mac's Ruby Woo.

What's on your winter makeup menu?

Lauren xx

Orlando City Guide

Did you know Orlando is the most visited city in the USA?  Set in the Sunshine State of Florida, with some of the best theme parks the world has to offer, amazing shops and outlet malls and beautiful beaches and rivers perfect for outdoor activity, it's easy to see the appeal.

I've been to Orlando 3 times now and have probably seen every part of the city (not just the tourist spots!) so I've put together a city guide of the places I enjoyed the most in case anyone was thinking of travelling there.


Where to Stay

If you're visiting for the first time I would say the best place to stay is on International Drive (I-Drive).  This is where I stayed and it's pretty much in the middle of everything you want to get to.  Also, if you're travelling by public transport you can pick up buses along this road then go to most tourist spots.

Another good place to stay is Downtown Orlando.  This still has lots to offer without being too touristy so if you've visited before or you want to avoid the tourist traps this is a nice area.

Lastly there is Disney which is great if you're a Disney freak or just love the theme parks.  But even if you're not a huge Disney fan their properties are always amazing, you get brilliant service and will never been disappointed with what they have to offer.


Sunset over Disney Springs


What to Do

Obviously there's the theme parks; Disney has 6 and there is Universal, Wet n Wild, and Sea World.  I've been to Universal and Disney Hollywood Studios.  I'm not a massive Disney fan myself but I do love a good theme park ride.  They also have lots of simulator rides especially in Universal which is good fun.

If you have a car and want to get out of Orlando you can join the Florida Turnpike and drive all the way down to West Palm Beach, Miami or The Keys.  We drove to Miami and it took just over 3 hours.

Orlando (very late to the game) decided to get their own Orlando Eye which offers sights of the whole of the city.  Even if you don't want to ride it there's still lots to do around the area.

If you don't want to fork out for the theme park tickets but still want to see a bit of Disney you can visit Disney Springs free of charge.  There's lots of souvenir stores and eateries around here, Disney Themed of course.  Oh and a beach!

As I mentioned above, Florida has lots of beaches and rivers where you can enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and wakeboarding.  We did kayaking at Wekiva Springs.




If you want some down time from the madness of tourist spots then visit Baldwin Park which is a fancy residential estate that have their own supermarket and a huge lake to walk around.

Similar to Baldwin Park you have Celebration which is the same sort of thing but owned by Disney so a whole lot fancier!

If you have rented a car and want to get out of Orlando for the day you can visit Tampa or St Pete.  We went to St Pete and onto the island off of it called Clearwater which as it's name suggests has the clearest water around.  This place has amazing sea food and great for skate/long boarding.  In Tampa you will find a historic Cuban city called Ybor City which has lots of Spanish influences.

Finally I couldn't leave America without visiting a rodeo so we drove up to Kissimmee which is about an hour from Orlando and went to the rodeo here.  It's $25 to get in or $15 for Florida residents and the show lasts about 2 hours with an interval for food including cheese fries!

If you want clubs and bars then head to Downtown and specifically Church Street.


Obligatory bathroom selfie at Tanquerays Bar, Downtown Orlando


Where to Eat

If you're looking for good coffee I really like Wawa (which is a petrol/gas station) and Panera Bread.

Auntie Anne's do pretty good pretzels with a choice of dipping sauces.

They have an abundance of good sushi places so if you like sushi you won't be disappointed.  My favourite is Bayridge Sushi.

Being a vegetarian I always find it slightly harder to eat in the US although they are improving from a few years back.  This time I found an amazing vegan place called The Dandelion and I could literally eat there everyday!

If you like a good farmer's market you're going to love the farmer's markets in Orlando.  Most of them open on a Sunday and offer typical America and Spanish cuisine all freshly made in front of you.  I tried my first funnel cake here and wasn't disappointed!

Steak and Shake do the best milkshakes around.  I can't comment on the steak being veggie but Oh My Word the shakes!  I had a caramel pretzel one for my sins.




In addition to the farmer's markets, if you're not a morning person then you may prefer the food truck festivals that take place weekly.  We visited one in the Milk District called Tasty Tuesdays where I had truffle fries and a crepe!

If you love a good America style breakfast then you have to visit Denny's.  It's a chain restaurant that's been around for yonks but it serves the typical America style food; pancakes, grits, milkshake.  Yum!

If you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory then you probably would have heard of The Cheesecake Factory.  They legit do a whole menu dedicated to cheesecake and I was hooked.  I think I honestly visited there about 4 times!  Their food is okay but I like going to the cheesecake bar and getting a takeaway slice.  My favourites being the Oreo Extreme and the Red Velvet.

Peach Valley Cafe is another great American style breakfast joint as is the Maitland Breakfast Club.

If you want to experience a taste of the South (Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma etc) then Cracker Barrel is a cool place to visit.  It's a restaurant with a shop at the front and outside they have a row of wooden rocking chairs to sit in whilst you wait.  Here you'll find grits, biscuits (different to ours) and lots of eggs.


Breakfast at Cracker Barrel


Where to Shop

The Mall at Millenia is probably my favourite mall.  This is where you go to visit all your favourite makeup stores, cloth shops and techy stuff (I bought my Macbook Pro here).

If you're looking for a bargain (and we all love a bargain!) then make sure to hit up the outlet malls.  I believe there are two but they pretty much have the same stores and the discounts are HUGE!

If you want to stock up on American makeup brands then the shops I would recommend are CVS, Sephora, Ulta and Walgreens.  You can see what I bought here.

Another great store for pretty much everything is Target.  I love the sports clothes and bikinis they do here and it's all super affordable.


Scarf from Target


Have you visited Orlando?  Did I miss anything?

Lauren xx

Outfits Of The Week - Florida, Week 1

Jumper - H&M
Jeans - Victoria Beckham

Dress worn as top - Missguided
Shorts - Debenhams
Boots - Dagenham Market

Hat - Peacocks
Tee - River Island
Pinafore - Pretty Little Thing
Trainers - Adidas Stan Smiths

Lace blouse - Next
Pinafore - Forever21
Boots - ASOS
Necklace - New Look

Jumper - H&M
Skirt - Topshop
Bag - Chloe
Shoes - Chanel

Cardigan - Primark
Jumpsuit - Topshop
Bag - Chloe
Trainers - Adidas Stan Smiths

Sunglasses - Rayban
Dress and boots - ASOS

Lauren xx

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My Current Fitness Routine

I like to swap up my fitness routine every 6 months or so as I feel it's important to keep challenging your body and working your muscles in new ways so that they don't get use to a certain exercise and then you don't reap the benefits.

You can see my last fitness routine here but currently it goes something like this.


Monday

REST DAY  
I'm always so tired on a Monday and I don't know why.  It's not like I even party at the weekends anymore I just like to use Monday as my 'leaving work on time and going to bed early' day.




Tuesday

PiYo.  
LOVING this new fitness class.  You can read my full review on it here.

Wednesday

KETTLEBELLS
I've been doing kettlebell classes for nearly a year now and I can definitely see improvement.  I was always scared of doing weights but just a little session once a week is good for you!




Thursday

INSANITY
This class is a killer and even though I've been doing it for over a year now it still brings such a challenge which is why I'll never give it up!

Friday

CHEAT DAY
Do I need to explain?




Saturday

AEROBICS
I've probably been doing aerobics classes on a Saturday morning for about 11 years but they'll always differ depending on the gym I'm at and the instructor.  Gotta love an old school aerobics class!

Sunday

BODY BALANCE
This is kind of like tai chi or pilates and I still really like it.  It's nice to do something easy on a Sunday morning that relaxes the body as well as the mind.




What's your fitness routine like?

Lauren xx

My Morning Routine

Happy Hump Day ya'll!  Today I thought I'd share with you my morning routine.  I like to think it's quite a simple one that I have just got into the habit of doing and is quick and easy for me to get out the door on time.





7am

Alarm goes off.  It's a radio alarm so I like to listen to it for about 15 minutes before I actually get out of bed.  Oh and it's Radio 1 which I've listened to every morning since I was 12!

7.15am

Get out of bed.  First stop bathroom to try and wake myself up a bit then I go into the kitchen and start on last night's washing up.  I always do it the morning after so that it can dry during the day.  Then I make my breakfast and lunch and feed my bunny.

7.30am

Eat breakfast whilst checking social media and e-mails.  For breakfast I'll generally have porridge or peanut butter on toast because it's quick.  I like to wash it down with a glass of juice or almond milk or a cup of green tea.

7.45am

Figure out what to wear.  I always decide on the day depending on the weather.  Then I do my hair and makeup and pack my gym bag if I'm going straight from work.

8am

Out the door after doing the final checks.  I then walk to the train station to catch my train into London where I work as a trainee lawyer.





So yes pretty simple but I've had the same routine for about 4 years now and it just works for me.

Please share any links for your morning routine, would love to read them!

Lauren xx

Wynwood Walls, Miami

When I visited Miami for Christmas I made it my number 1 priority to see Wynwood Walls.  I'd seen so many other amazing photos on Instagram showing these coloured walls by talented artists that I wanted to see it for myself.




It's a weird sort of place that's hidden and then suddenly you stumble across it and there's just these huge walls with crazy designs around every corner.  Fortunately for me my boyfriend grew up in Miami so he knew the area well.




We parked up our motorbike and walked around in the Miami heat just in awe of these walls.  I didn't know where to look first and then when I looked down there were designs on the pavements too.  My favourites were the quotes people had spray painted on.


There were lots of other people around taking photos as were we because it really is such a cool, different place.  The closest place I can describe it to in London is perhaps Shoreditch except it's bigger.




Wynwood is fast becoming the art district of Miami and perhaps even Florida because of all the art work displayed on the walls.  They have also now opened small art galleries showing local artist's work that are free for people to go in and look around.




If you find yourself in Miami or even Miami Beach I would definitely recommend taking a stroll around Wynwood and looking at these amazing walls.  Don't forget to take your camera!






Have you been to Wynwood?  Can you recommend anywhere else like this?

Lauren xx

My Skincare Commandments

I'm never been the best at keeping a regimented skincare routine but I've always been interested in having one.. if that makes sense?  Slowly approaching 30 has really got me thinking about my skin and learning the importance of keeping it healthy.

To give you a background to my skin I would say it's dry to normal.  Luckily I've never suffered with outbursts of acne but I do wish my skin was a little more on the oily side as getting older I know it will help keep the wrinkles at bay!

In order to keep my skin looking it's best here are my skincare rules I try to follow:






Always take your makeup off before you go to bed

I know people say this all the time but it's soooo true.  Not only does sleeping in your makeup cause breakouts but it also settles into your fine lines creating wrinkles.  I'm definitely guilty of doing this more than I'd like to admit and my skin always feels so rubbish the next day.

Double Cleanse

I've always been a face wipe girl.  I've heard they're not good for your skin but they work for me as long as I go in with a cleanser afterwards to remove the excess dirt and makeup.  I love the Body Shop's camomile silky cleansing oil and the YesTo Grapefruit wipes which you can see a full review of here.

Exfoliate

Exfoliating is one of my favourite parts of my skincare routine as it makes me feel the cleaniest.  Having dry skin I really feel like it gets off all the flaky bits and my skin feels smooth and renewed.  I only exfoliate 2-3 times per week as it's too harsh on my skin for every day.  I'm currently using the St. Ives Apricot scrub.




Don't be afraid of facial oils

I used to think putting oil on my face was the most disgusting thing every.  Surely that would create more breakouts?!  Wrong.  A light amount of oil massaged into the skin will leaving feel soft, smooth and more plump looking.  I always use it before I go to bed.  The one I currently have is Josie Maran 100% pure argon oil which I reviewed here.

Moisturise before applying makeup

This was another thing that I couldn't understand.  I thought it would make my makeup slide and greasy looking but it actually helps to hold the makeup better as you're eliminating the dry patches for it to cling to.  I'm currently using First Aid Beauty's ultra repair cream which I reviewed here.

Use an eye cream

Your eyes are the place you are most likely to get wrinkles and probably the first place you will get them too so you are never too young to start using a good eye cream.  Prevention is better than cure as they say so I'm currently using the Simple soothing eye balm.




What are your skincare commandments?

Lauren xx

My Favourite Food Blogs

Over the past year I've completed changed my diet; listening to my body and incorporating more protein.  I'm still a vegetarian but I am trying to cook more plant based foods at home.  So today I wanted to share with you my favourite food blogs that I follow and get inspiration from.  Most of them aren't vegetarian but that's okay with me because I swap up the ingredients for alternatives or quorn substitutes.



I recently discovered this blog and it's quickly become one of my faves.  I think what I love about this blog is that there is a real mixture of recipes; healthy, naughty, veggie, meat, fish, it's all here!  She also seems to put a spin on traditional recipes that you would never have thought of yourself.


This is much more of a plant based vegan food blog which is where I get a lot of my plant based recipes from which I love because there seems to be a vegan version for just about anything including Nutella hot chocolate!  I believe she has a book out now too which I want to get.


This is another vegan food blog but she doesn't post so much recipes but more places (mainly New York) that serve plant based food.  She also posts lots of other vegan articles such as cruelty free fashion and vegan cooking classes.  My favourite posts are her weekly menu articles.

Photo via tedisarah.com


This is a food blog for everyone, especially if you are feeling naughty!  She shows you how to make classics at home including sauces and dips in easy to follow steps.  She has great food photography that gets me hungry every time.

Photo via damndelicious.net


I love this food blog because it has lots of quick and easy recipes such as 2 ingredients or 20 minutes so good for working girls that don't have a lot of time in the evenings.  She also features some of the best cookies and brownie recipes I've seen!

Photo via thefoodcharlatan.com


I've followed this blog for a while now and I can't get enough.  She makes healthy, low fat recipes that just look so yummy.  She also includes nutritional facts at the end of the recipe which is great if you're on a strict diet.

Do you follow any of these food blogs?  Do you have any you can recommend to me?

Lauren xx

American Beauty Haul

I'm finally back from my trip to the States!  So sad, but if there's one thing I do love about being home it's getting to sleep in my own bed.  Nothing beats it hey!

I was out there for 3 weeks so obviously I couldn't resist a little shopping whilst I was there.  CVS, Sephora and Ulta were all at the top of my hit list.

CVS and Walgreens (drugstore)

I love the drugstores in the US, they're so much better than the ones we have in the UK as they seem to have more?  They also have new products that haven't reached the UK yet and offer slightly cheaper prices.



I've always heard really good things about this product and it's so cheap at $3!  It's not too pigmented which I prefer in a bronzer.

I'm not normally a fan of Revlon but I can't seem to resist a liquid lipstick at the moment so when I noticed these and yes I was a sucker for their packaging, I had to pick one up.

These also seem to be new to the drusgtore so I thought I would try one out.  They have quite a lot of colours to choose from and it took me ages to try and pick one of a colour I don't have!



Sephora (high end)


I'm so sad we no longer have a Sephora in the UK, why they would get rid of it I'll never know.  This shop is like the mothership for all things beauty.  What I also love about Sephora is they sell a lot of mini/travel versions of the iconic products so great for travelling or just testing out products.






I have really dry skin, especially in the winter months so I was looking for a new facial moisturiser that would really hydrate.  This one is really good for dry skin.

If you're signed up to Sephora's Beauty Insider where you collect points, they'll give you a free gift during your birthday month.  Luckily my birthday month was the same time I was visiting the States so I was able to pick up my gift which was two mini Nars lip crayons and I love them, especially the red!


I just had to pick this up because Jaclyn Hill is my favourite beauty blogger and I've watched her videos for years now.  If there's one thing she does well it's highlighter and I was not disappointed with this collaboration.

I'd heard so much hype about this foundation I really wanted to get my hands on it.  I've only worn it once on New Year's Eve as it's quite pricey so I don't want to use it for an every day foundation.  It looked really good on the skin and is not too high coverage but buildable.  It also looks great in photos.

This product I discovered from Jaclyn Hill as like me she has really dry skin and swears by it.  I'd actually run out of my other facial oil which I now love to use so hopefully this will work just as well.


Ulta (drugstore and high end)

Ulta is probably my favourite place to shop for beauty in the US because it has both drugstore and high end so I can spend hours and a lot of dollors here!  It's also a great place to buy Nyx makeup which I'm currently coveting over.




Perfect to wear with or without a lip colour underneath

I'd bought a Covergirl foundation on my last trip and it's now become one of my favourites so I couldn't wait to try out this new luminous one.

I'd heard this was quite an iconic colour and as I love wearing nude I picked it up.  It's a great colour that will go with any outfit or eye look.

I'd heard a lot of good things about Covergirl's mascaras and as I was in need of a new one I thought I would try this out.  At the moment I'm not really loving it as it doesn't seem to be as thick as some others and you need to keep putting the brush back in the tube but it does seperate well.

Anastasia Beverley Hills eye shawdow palette in Self Made (not available online)
I saw this online just before I left and knew I had to have it.  It had sold out everywhere in the UK so I was lucky to grab one in the States.  It's such a beautiful palette which a nice mix of colours.  The shades are also really pigmented, creamy and blend well.

I run out of face wipes whilst I was there so I thought I would pick these up.  The grapefruit ones are for dull and tired skin and promise to brighten and refresh!  They are also 95% organic.

Ingrid Nilsen named this as one of her favourite lipsticks of 2015 so for me it was a done deal.  I wore it on my last night and it went so well with my dark hair and outfit as it's a bright red colour.  It matte but still feels creamy on the lips, perfect.

And I think that's pretty much everything!  Can safely say I definitely don't need to do any makeup shopping for a while..

Have you tried any of these products?

Lauren xx