Travel Bag Treats

I have very fond memories of shopping for holiday toiletries in boots. The ultimate "chancer", I would fill my mother's basket with products for all eventualities- mountains of magicool, scores of suncare products- before trying my luck in the cosmetics section. "Muuuum of course I need another lipgloss - and, look, this one has SPF, do you WANT me to have burnt lips?!". On reflection, I sound a total brat, but hey, think of those advantage card points.

I have always been very good at spending other people's money, less so my own. As I have grown older (and started paying for my own sunscreen, plasters and travel toothbrushes) I have become rather frugal in my pre-holiday spending. Sure, there are some products necessary for the summer months - sunscreen and Autan- but who delights in buying those? Instead, I prefer to spend my money on the products I want, rather than need.

I am referring to my travel bag treats; the luxuries that prove you needn't abandon your beauty regime just because weight restrictions apply. Here are this year's picks.


One Dress, Two Ways: A Slip of a Thing

I am awful at packing for summer holidays. I am terribly indecisive, and therefore always end up with about ten dresses too many. This year, for example, my Amalfi coast kit consists of fifteen dresses, even after two meticulous edits. 

That being said, I am learning to be a smart summertime shopper, buying pieces that will work both home and away. Sure, I love a sweeping grecian gown as much as the next girl, but try wearing said maxi in Victoria station during rush hour. You may fall down the stairs, lose a stud on your sandals and split your toenail. Not speaking from experience or anything...

A smarter option this summer is the slip dress; a foolproof summer staple. Classic, elegant and comfortable, my pick is this Whistles Nell style in silky french navy. Falling just on the knee ('cause I'm classy like that), the spaghetti strap dress skims the hips with a slightly dipped hem, making it particularly flattering for boyish frames. The colour is a welcome change from black, and the simplicity of the dress makes it perfect for work or play. 


Up, Up and Away: Flying Fantastic Review

I have a confession to make: for a health and fitness writer, I am actually pretty unfit. Sure, I go through spells of obsessive running, gymming, HIIT-ing and yoga-ing, but I soon straight fall back into lazy cycles of wining, dining and watching Orange is the New Black. However, with my long-awaited summer holiday a matter of days away, it is high time for me to get back into the swing of things, for that teeny tiny bikini of yesteryear is calling.

I hate to talk about "bikini bodies", for it feels so passé and somewhat derogatory. There is no right or wrong bikini body, and as long as you are happy in yourself, then nothing else matters. Otherwise I have a groundbreaking, life changing tip: to get a bikini body, buy a bikini and put it on your body.

Joking aside, if you would like to tone up a little before your summer holidays, then I have just the thing to get you off to a flying start. Fun, exhilarating and undeniably challenging, aerial fitness is best way to kick your body up a gear, working muscles from top to toe. Based in Battersea's Wilditch Centre, with a couple of weekly classes at Gymbox in Farringdon, Flying Fantastic is London's first aerial fitness initiative for all levels.


Isn't He Marvelous?

Father's Day is just around the corner, so if you're looking for a fabulous gift for your number one man, then look no further than Byredo's charming Mister Marvelous eau de parfum.

Byredo is my preferred perfume house of the moment, for I am obsessed with the vibrant Flowerhead scent of wild jasmine blossoms and angelica seeds. I like to find an unusual scent, and Byredo's complex blends fit the bill. Based in Stockholm, Byredo was founded by Ben Gorham in 2006 and the line can now be found in Liberty.

The earthy Gypsy Water scent, perhaps the most popular, is unisex, but Mister Marvelous is just pour hommes.  Mister Marvelous is inspired by hairstylist Christiaan Houtenbos, the man who Ben Gorham sees to embody the Byredo brand. The scent is fresh at first with notes of mandarin leaf and neroli bloom, a heart of bamboo and lavender, and an inviting base of black amber and cedarwood.

Encased in the signature Byredo bottle, the scent makes for an elegant father's day gift for all manner of marvelous misters.

The eau de parfum is £130 for 100ml, available here.


Wine a Bit

I must admit that I am hardly a wine expert, but I do have a heartfelt appreciation for the stuff, particularly that fancy one with the bubbles. My parents have always been very interested in wine, and they have instilled this in me from a young age. I am far from a wine snob, but I have vino running through my veins (not from excessive consumption, I might add).

Naturally, my first taste of red wine went something like this. Ten years down the line I am texting my dad to tell him that I actually like red. His response? "Great. How much is that going to cost me?".

In my view, wine is about relaxing and unwinding, and there is something joyous about a glass of crisp white in the summer sunshine. On that note, London Wine Week kicks off tomorrow, the capital's first celebration of wines from the world over.

At the heart of LWW is the pop-up Riedel Hub on the first floor of Kingly Court which will be home to all manner of tasting flights and events during the course of the week. It will also be serving as a rather charming city centre wine bar with an extensive selection of wine by the Riedel glass. The hub is also one of the collection points for the LWW wristband, which offers discounted wines at partnering venues across the city, detailed here.

So whether you are a budding sommelier, or simply like a glass now and again, there is certain to be something to your tastes. Here are my picks for the week:

Riedel Hub, 1st floor Kingly Court; Monday-Saturday 12PM – 9PM; Sunday 12PM – 5PM.
Buy your London Wine Week band here.
A full list of London Wine Week events can be found here.


A Pretty Plateful

There is much more to healthy eating than crudites and cold pressed juicing. While working on my final major project, a magazine combining health and fashion content, I have come to appreciate how exciting and diverse healthy eating can be. It is not just for budding Gwyneths or yummy mummies, nor is it just for those with pockets deep enough to splurge on 'superfood' powders and organic veg. It also isn't as London-centric as most would think.

Healthy eating is actually very easy to do, regardless of your age, location and occupation. It is just about making clever choices and allowing yourself enough time to prepare lighter meals at home. I  look to the Deliciously Ella app for balanced tasty meals, but I am also rather smitten with The Detox Kitchen.

Lily Simpson founded The Detox Kitchen in order to design and deliver meals that are as delicious as they are nutritious. Lily started off by working with chefs and nutritionists to create a range of calorie-controlled meal plans to deliver directly to her clients across London. Reacting to the restrictive nature of traditional "diets" or "cleanses", the daily packages are not ridiculously low calorie and are far more manageable than juice cleanses. They also taste great.


Round the Block

During the winter months I am rarely seen without a heeled ankle boot. From where I am sitting I can see eight pairs of black, almond-toe leather ankle boots, and that is but a sample of my expansive  collection. I have, however, reached a seasonal turning point: it's hot, hot, hot in London, and there really is no place for boots when it is above 20ºc. Also, nothing looks more confused than a sunshine yellow chiffon dress with black Chelsea boots.

I love ankle boots as they are versatile, practical and flattering. Heels are simultaneously powerful and feminine, but they must always be comfortable, for no one wants throbbing feet by lunchtime.

Behold, my spring/summer 2014 solution: the block heeled sandal. When in Barcelona for a friend's 21st earlier this year, I visited the ZARA mothership and treated myself to these tan leather strappies. Often ZARA shoes can cut feet up, but these are crafted from soft leather, making them comfy enough for everyday wear. The tan shade is totally versatile, not as harsh as black but not too girlish like nude.

My next purchase will be a black version. Though I am dreaming of the Whistles Gia style, I think I may opt for these H&M leather strappies with gold buckle detailing. Wear with structured midi skirts for an elegant city chic look.

1. ZARA tan buckled sandals in leather, £79.99 here
2. H&M imitation leather sandals with statement buckle, £24.99 here
3. H&M leather sandals with glossy heel, also available in nude with tortoiseshell heel, £39.99 here
4. Whistles Gia leather sandals in white, also in black and silver, £185 here


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