Without meaning to be the 'Oh, isn't this year going SO fast' guy- isn't is surreal that we're already in April?! This year seems to be flying by, and to think that we're nearly at the end of Spring is a little mind blowing- either way I'm more than ready to start parading around bare legged and my definite favourite of this month has without-a-doubt been the temperature increase- dork Liv to your service. But back to why we are here! In terms of beauty, this month has definitely been a balance of discovering new favourites and rediscovering the old.

Monthly Favourites April
(1. Lush Bubble Bar Carrots, Rimmel Exaggerate Liner, 3. Soap and Glory Glow All Out, 4. Kadalys Banana Balm, 5. Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial, 6. Essie Polish in Ballet Slippers, 7. La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, 8. Marc Jacobs Honey, 9. Sephora Lip Stain in 01)

For example, the Rimmel Liner, Marc Jacobs Honey (summeriest scent ever) and Sephora lip stain have been three long time beauty staples- and well, never really left my make up bag, just came to the forefront again (which all sounds far more dramatic than it should). I also branched into the world of highlighters, with this Soap & Glory number giving my pale face a Twilight esque glow, which was certainly aided by having clearer than normal skin thanks to the they-say-it's-amazing-and-it-really-is Effaclar Duo- which has kept my spots at bay (and then banished them when they actually made an appearance). Also in terms of skin care, I've been head-over-heels for the Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial- which, considering my nose has been extremely dry due to excess nose blowing (glam, I know), has cleared up any dry coldy skin and helped me on my baby-smooth way again- with the Kadalys Banana Balm sorting out any dry lip situs too. Last but not least need I even justify the Bubble Bar Carrots? Adorable. Easter. Bubble. Bath. Makers. Amazing.

Monthly Favourites April
(1. Violet Magazine, 2. Boomf Marshmallows, 3. Ray Ban Glasses, 4. ASOS Magazine, 5. Easter Eggs, 6. Gino's Pasta, 7. J Crew shirt, 8. Everyday Sexism)

In terms of more 'general' likes this month, it seems reading material has made a bit of a spectacle of itself- with Leith Clarks 'Violet' being my new MUST-buy the second I'd heard it had arrived at newsstands (and it's as beautiful as you'd imagine too), ASOS magazine featuring an exciting little trip I had to Ireland with them (post coming this week), Gino's Pasta supplying two of my new favourite dinner time dishes (does this really surprise anyone? Really?) and Laura Bates' Everyday Sexism being one of the books I'm most excited to read over the next couple of weeks (it just warranted being in this post as I'm such a huge fan of the Twitter account). On top of that I have also become an official glasses wearer, meaning a proper pair of specs was a totally viable purchase IMO- along with erm, the coolest printed shirt to wear them with (just look at it)! Finally, would an April favourites be complete without Easter egg mentions? Probably not- so they get one too ; )

What have you been loving this month? Let me know!

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What Olivia Loved in April 2014...

Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography
(Dress: C/O Coast, Shoes: Topshop, Headpiece: Makeshift via Amber (this girl has all of the skills)

I haven't got many dresses in my wardrobe that make my feel like a Princess. Not just 'ah you know, this would be alright for a night out' Princess (anyone know what I mean? Nope me neither)- but 'my goodness I FEEL LIKE K MIDDY' dresses, until this Coast number arrived. It's the kind of dress, that for a split second makes you wonder whether it's totally unnecessary to go ahead and purchase a set as bridesmaids dresses for the wedding you aren't having (don't worry, I definitely didn't do this) and the kind of thing you're happy to display on your wardrobe door all year round because, well just look. Dress-gushing over.

So- where better to shoot the dress of my dreams than outside one of the pawwwsheest places to dine in our fine city- The Ritz (oooerr indeed). I remember going here when I was very little and feeling quite overwhelmed by the grandeur and sparkle of this magical place- but have only ever walked past in admiration since (probably on the way to an on-the-go M&S)- maybe again one day! Either way, if a dress can make someone walk past and say 'Oh, that's that actress isn't it?' then I'll happily take it- because it definitely isn't every day I'll be looking this fancy...
Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography Coast Dress The Ritz Amber Rose Photography
Photos by the fantabulous Amber Rose Photography


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Afternoon at the Ritz

Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill One of my favourite things about living in a city as big as London, is that you can spend pretty much every day in the city- and always come across something new- and certainly never see it all. I also think, being a born and bred city dweller, it's easy to become a little competent during days off- and easy to find yourself curled up on the sofa reading about Time Out's potential ways of spending a sunny weekend in April and then opting for a Game of Thrones marathon instead (saying that, I still need to catch up, so that's kind of ok- but you get the jist).

So, a couple of weeks ago Joe and I paid a visit to Notting Hill's Biscuiteers Boutique tucked away on the beautiful Kensington Park Road (the walk from the tube is worth it alone, if you're a Kirsty Allsopp I-love-looking-at-pretty-houses kind of person) for an icing cafe session! I'd heard of Biscuiteers in the past from various press-release designed biscuits (a sure fire way of impressing me) but didn't realise there were opportunities to actually (in the most Art Attack way possible)- 'try it yourself!' Okay, so it's safe to say we're no natural icers (even my A Level in art didn't assist me here), but learning about the process, picking up a few techniques, and ahem, eating the biccies afterwards was certainly something I could get used to- and without a doubt the perfect way to while away a sunny afternoon in the city! Plus, keep a peeper out for the Charlotte Olympia inspired biscuits- I have never been so excited!
Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill Biscuiteers Boutique Notting Hill
Get your icing socks on at Biscuiteers Boutique, 194 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2ES!


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Things to do in London: Get Icing!

Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots
(Hat: H&M, Top: Brandy Melville, Kimono: MINKPINK, Jeans: Whistles, Boots: C/O Swedish Hasbeens, Bracelet: Accessorize)

If there's one thing I often forget- it's how close I am to the beautiful Kent countryside. Living on the edge of London, it's easy to become consumed in the hustle and bustle of the city, when really the crisp fresh air and rolling green hills are only a stones throw, or train ride away. On this particular (and slightly chilly) morning, the beautiful Hanna and I paid a visit to the stunning Knole park- famous for its wild deer (we spotted one whilst on our travels and got a little bit excited) and beautiful vast scenery (there were certainly times it could've passed for the outskirts of an impressive Game of Thrones kingdom, ahem).

For the little adventure I opted for this new MINKPINK kimono and flowy (technical term guys) t-shirt- for a billowing (yet wee bit dishevelled) Kate Bush Wuthering Heights look (this version) as I struggled up the hills in some awesome (but equally inappropriate) footwear- you can take a girl out of the city...
Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots Hanna Kristina Photography MINKPINK kimono H&M hat Swedish Hasbeens Boots
and here's what I wore...


Photos by the wonderful Hanna Kristina Photography
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Walk in the (Knole) park

Easter Macaron Recipe Chocolate Nests Easter Macaron Recipe Chocolate Nests There's no doubt that if you live in the UK (or anywhere for that matter), enjoy any shreddable cereal mixed with chocolate and celebrating Easter- you'd have spotted these easy-as-pie (easier, if I say so myself) nests floating about, well, just about anywhere. They're the easiest way of eating chocolate en masse without looking too guilty- and paired with these pretty straight forward 'chick' macarons they look pretty impressive- and super cute at that!

You will need:
- 4 Shredded Wheat
- 1 big bar of chocolate of your choice (melted)
- Mini eggs
- Cupcake cases
- 2 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 60g caster sugar
- 65g ground almonds
- 80g icing sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 300g icing sugar (for the macaron filling)
- Vanilla essence
- A few drops of yellow food colouring
- Coloured icing pens/gels for decorating...

...and breathe!

1. I started with the nests as they are so easy- and once they're all done they have some chilling time too! Simply break up your shredded wheat bars, pop them in a bowl and mix them in with the melted chocolate! Spoon this mixture into your cupcake cases to give them some shape and pop in the fridge for an hour or so- see, I told you it was easy!

2. For the macarons, pop your egg whites and salt into a bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks (so they flop over), before whisking in the sugar one tablespoon at a time until the peaks become stiff, and stand up on their own.
Macaron Recipe Easter 3. Sieve in the almonds, 80g of icing sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a few drops of food colouring (until you get your desired colour) into the mix and gently fold everything together (but make sure you do this gently, as to not lose the air in the mixture)- until everything is combined!

4. Now for the oven part! I used this silicone mould from Lakeland to bake my macarons in, to keep the shape perfect- but you can also draw identical circles on some baking paper to use as a template! Either way, dollop your mixture onto your sheet/tray with a teaspoon and leave to stand for half an hour so the macarons form a 'skin'.
Macaron Recipe Easter 5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and then pop the macarons in for 15-20 minutes, and leave until cooled. In the meantime, whisk your butter until soft, before gradually mixing in your icing sugar, flavouring and food colouring- until you have your desired sweetness and colour!

6. Once cool, sandwich the buttercream between two macarons, and get icing your treats into cute Easter themed animals ; )- take your nests out of the fridge, take them out of the cases and pop some mini eggs inside for your chick to take care off- Happy Easter!
Easter Macaron Recipe Chocolate Nests
If you give these a go yourself don't forget to use the hashtag #bakewithliv so I can see! Also, let me know if there's any recipes you'd like to see!


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What Olivia Cooked: Easter Macarons & Nests

Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Paris
(Dress: Zara, Bag: Accessorize, Shoes: Charlotte Olympia)

Sitting on the Eurostar first thing on a Wednesday morning surrounded by lively Chelsea fans heading to the latest PSG game (it's safe to say I didn't quite fit in there- y'know being an Arsenal fan and all ; ), it was easy to forget that the city of romance, cheese and perfect pastries was less than a few hours away- and on this occasion I was pretty excited to pay a little visit.

Now, before this whistle-stop trip to Paris I wasn't overly familiar with flash sales site ventee-privee- the reason behind this little trip! The site is home to hundreds of discount online sales, and on this occasion infamous French perfume house, L'Artsian Parfumeur (sister brand to our much loved Penhaligon's) was planning their sale (live tomorrow), and invited myself and the gorgeous Reem along to learn a little about them...
Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Charlotte Olympia Shoes Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Pink Zara Tie Back Dress Outfit Accessorize Bag Charlotte Olympia Shoes After getting to know a wee bit more about the brands signature fragrances, the inspiration behind them from top perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (from exotic trips to far out coasts and bustling markets) and a little about the process that goes in to each one- we were sat down and given the opportunity to try to create our own. In short- the breakdown of each fragrance is build up of hundreds of different scent notes and droplets- from sweet, to fruity, to fresh and woody- it's just finding the balance that helps create the things we really like. Crazy, huh?
L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris Hundreds of droplets later (and a little bit of messy handiwork)- I was finally left with a fragrance that I was pretty happy with! It's certainly not as floral and light as my normal go-to's (read: Daisy) and won't be hitting Boots anytime soon (I ain't no Britney) but is a little bit more 'grown-up' if you like- and certainly something I enjoyed getting to learn a little more about! Who knew there was so much to it?! Until next time Paris!
L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris Bertrand Duchaufour L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris L'Artisan Parfumeur Paris To shop the sale in the morning head over here, there's some pretty good bargains to be had!

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Whistle-stop to Paris

Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Accessorize Daisy Bag White Blossom
(Hat: American Apparel, Shirt: Whistles, Dress: C/O Jarlo, Bag: Accessorize, Shoes: Topshop)

It seems my posts have taken a turn for the Spring-like this week- with big floppy hats and pretty blooms and blossom pretty much being the stars of the show- but come on, who can blame me when everywhere looks so pretty? Wearing a hat that can only be described as my 'American Hustle one' (although I'm still feeling a little more Christian Bale than Amy Adams in it) and a pinafore which indefinitely matches the scenery around me (extreme coordination seems to be my forte)- I've definitely made the next-season wardrobe change-over- just waiting to whip out the denim shorts now (but first to cut down on the sponge and pizza)...!

On top of that, after paying a very exciting and proud visit to St James' Park this weekend to watch Papa P run the marathon (thank you so so much to those who donated, he raised a pretty blooming awesome amount and it couldn't be done without you) it truly felt like Spring had arrived, and even inspired me to potentially think about attempting it next year (I truly mean it this time)- the perfect way to spend a Spring Sunday- now to find where I left my running trainers...
Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Jarlo White Floral Pinafore Look Floppy Hat Spring Style Topshop Geek Loafers

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Florals for Spring

MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 23 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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