Sunday, 28 July 2013

LIFESTYLE: The Fast Diet Recipe Book

First things first, I'd like to stress how much I love food. Past food-related posts wouldn't leave you in much doubt of that! I look forward to my supper each night enormously and am pretty put out if it doesn't cut the mustard. I have a good, healthy, balanced diet, but I think every now and then my portion sizes can be a tad on the generous side or I allow myself seconds where it is entirely unnecessary. Given it's that bikini time of year once again, I tend to pay a little more attention to the shape of my middle than I otherwise would. I'm also still keen to shed the few kgs that were put on during my university days.

BUT. I do not like diets. I simply cannot live like that, I enjoy meals too much to replace them with a dry cracker, a scraping of marge if I'm lucky. I'm sure the end result would be me looking pale, unhappy and not very healthy. That's just not how I roll. I also know it isn't something I could sustain long term, so it would be a fairly short-lived quick fix. My preferred plan is therefore to up the exercise and watch what I'm eating a bit more closely, keeping calories slightly down and not allowing myself too many treats in the week. 

That said, after reading about the Fast Diet in this month's Red magazine (which I love so very much), I was very keen to look into the diet a bit more. In her article, Mimi Spencer describes it as a diet for foodies (you can see now why it appeals...). You eat how you normally would 5 days a week, and fast on two days by allowing yourself only 500 calories (600 for men). I think this sounds like it would be pretty do-able for a lot of people, and something you could keep up without truck loads of willpower. 
However, what intrigued me even more was the idea of having a recipe book of low calorie, yet tasty, breakfasts, lunches and suppers to turn to when I want to bring my calorie intake down a notch. I don't need to shed oodles of weight, so don't feel I need to turn to the diet in its full form at the moment.  I also think it is incredibly useful to have a resource like this at home, because rather frequently one can think they're eating something very virtuous and later be horrified when it comes to doing the calorie sums at the end of the day. This is why the Fast Diet Recipe Book is now rubbing shoulders with Jamie, Nigella et al on my recipe book shelf. It enables me to plan low calorie meals on a day-to-day basis and, when combined with the My Fitness Pal App, I can keep track of how I'm doing day-to-day. Whilst on the topic of the aforementioned app, it is pretty invaluable. It is so surprising how easily we can convince ourselves we've had a healthy day and have thus earned crisps/dessert/more dessert, when in actual fact you've done no such thing. It certainly made me realise I could not allow myself an afternoon hot cross bun back in Easter and then have crisps and olives pre-supper on the same day. A useful realisation I'm sure you'll agree!
For my first foray, I used one of the book's breakfast ideas for lunch, doubling it up and giving myself two medium soft boiled eggs (rather than one) alongside some steamed asparagus: 180 calories. I'd definitely recommend it!


Wednesday, 17 July 2013


I'm a huuuuge fan of Lipstick Queen by Poppy King. My favourite all-time every day lipstick is without a doubt Jean Queen. I left it in Devon this weekend following my visit home, and I miss it dreadfully. Whilst I wait to be reunited with my One, I'm happy to be distracted by the new Endless Summer collection which is made up of 3 great shades: nude, hot pink and coral. I plumped for the coral 'Stoked' shade in the end, though it was a close run thing with Perfect Wave (the pink).
I also picked up the Chinatown Glossy Pencil in Cameo. I was after a very subtle nude, something to add a polished gloss to lips that is a step above a simple slick of balm. And this delivers! The only thing I'd say is it does veer ever so ever so slightly towards that chalky quality some nude shades have IF applied to poorly prepped lips. Lips need to be moisturised and nicely exfoliated before application. I wasn't able to satisfactorily capture the shade on film, because it is subtle, but I'd definitely recommend it. 
As you can see, I did attempt to photograph the Stoked lipstick in action, and it was harder than I thought!! I'd say in reality the colour is just a little brighter. 
 I know what one looks for in a lipstick is different for everyone, but I personally always look for a sheer, glossy, lightweight lipstick. Because of this I'm drawn to the Clinique Chubby Sticks and the like. If that's the kind of lipstick that floats your boat, I think you'll definitely find your dream lipstick amongst Lipstick Queen's offerings. 


Thursday, 11 July 2013


Untitled #24

I wanted to take some time to share some products I've discovered recently that I now would not be without. I try new things quite often, but over the past few months, these fellows have really stood out and are definite buy-again-ers. 

I bought the Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque and Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream after watching Lisa Eldridge's video about her in flight beauty routine. If you have a long-haul, or even a shorter flight coming up, I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to run straight over to her website and watch it for yourself. My boyfriend found my little plastic bag bursting with beauty products for the flight most amusing, but I am not exaggerating when I say I stepped off the flight to New York (and the return flight too) with better skin that when I climbed aboard. This will be my trusted routine for all flights from now on, it's really that good
Given this sparkling review, I'd be mad not to incorporate two of the products into my regular beauty routine. The Dermalogica mask is a true hero product. On a flight, Lisa recommends applying it twice, and taking it off with Bioderma 45mins before landing. It works like a dream. I would therefore now apply it before bed and wash my face the following morning. 
Phyto 7 Day Cream is exactly what it says on the tube, a day cream for your locks. I love how it smells (sort of very subtly nutty) and it leaves my hair soft and more manageable. Of course there is still dryness - I dye my hair, blowdry it and use heated tools on it - but this cream adds a certain silkiness and ups the manageability big time. Again, I noticed this most after getting off my flight after having applied it to dry hair to protect it from the brutal air con on board. On a day-to-day basis however, I apply it to towel-dried hair pre-blowdrying. 

Whilst we're nattering about hair, I bought Oribe's Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray from Space NK in an attempt to combat the humidity in New York and Washington DC. IT ACTUALLY WORKED! There were days were a a tiny touch of fluffiness crept in, but this works reliably better than any other anti-humidity product I've tried. I read recently how important it is to follow instructions on products like this - we all too often spray vaguely and hope for the best. I followed Oribe's instructions to the letter: spray all over post-styling, flip head over and spray all over again. 

In the make-up stakes there are two products hugely deserving of a mention. By Terry's Rose de Rose (which I first heard about again via Lisa Eldridge's website) and Lipstick Queen's Jean Queen. As Lisa points out, Rose de Rose is not for all over face application as By Terry seem to suggest. I use it as you would a blusher and it gives such a beautiful glow. When you first dispense it you might be a tad fearful - it looks VERY pink. But as you apply it, your fears will fade away. I'm rather on the pale side, so use shade 1 (Fresh Rose), and half a pump is plenty.
I bought Lipstick Queen Jean Queen a little while ago, but it has become the lipstick I turn to everyday. It is the perfect everyday shade for 9-5, and to add a polished, pretty look for evening. 

Are there any new beauty products you've tried recently that have become firm favourites?


Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Clockwise: J.Crew tee with Topshop leather leggings and J.Crew clutch, Whistles sculpted top with J.Crew shorts, J.Crew clutch, shorts and tee, Selected Femme top with J.Crew navy shorts
As Instagram followers might have noticed, I spent quite a significant proportion of my time in America seeking out the closest J.Crew store and working my way through the rails therein. 
I love the selection of prints that are used in outfits as one would use a neutral and the beautiful costume-esque crystal jewellery. What's more, the service was impeccable, making the whole shopping experience so enjoyable. The staff were so smiley, helpful (whipping out an iPad to convert the cost of my haul into sterling to ensure I hadn't spent ridiculous amounts!) and friendly - you're on first name terms from the off. 
I had to be selective due to a rapidly diminishing pile of dollars, but it would have been a breeze to add nearly everything to my wardrobe. In reality, I chose a few classic items that I know will earn their place in no time at all. Or at least tide me over until J.Crew arrives on our shores in November... 

I bought: 
3" Chino shorts in sea horse print and plain navy
Crystal earrings (similar here)
Invitation cork clutch
Grey knit cocoon sweater 


Monday, 8 July 2013


I'm just back from a jaunt to America and wanted to share a few of my favourite things from the Big Apple. First up: food of course!
We went to Pastis twice, and wished we could have gone again and again. It was literally just around the corner (and a wobble across the cobbles) from our apartment in the Meatpacking District. Whilst it is famed for being the best vantage point for people watching, it was the intimate low lighting, atmosphere and incredible food that won me over. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, DO NOT miss out on the sea scallops to start. Perfection. 
Cafe Cluny
Before even arriving in the City, I reserved us a table at Cafe Cluny for brunch the morning after our very late arrival. It was exactly what the jet lag ordered. This is such a cool, quirky, pretty little cafe nestled in the West Village. The waiters all wear Saint James Breton tops, which I enjoyed. I ordered tea, French toast and chose from their delicious fresh juices of the day (and didn't notice the huge insect on the ceiling until my second visit).
 Cafe Gitane at The Jane
We went to Cafe Gitane on our first evening in New York, and it was a lovely setting - a beautiful place beside the Hudson to while away an evening. I wouldn't say the food blew my socks off, but still well worth a visit.
Oh Arturo's pizza. Incred. If the food and wine wasn't brilliant enough on its own, they have live jazz most evenings at Arturo's. We felt ridiculously New York and loved every minute.