Are you ready for anything?

With a New Year, comes new goals- bet you haven't heard that one yet (ahem)! So far I've not been great at getting my full 8 hours (who has time when there's books to read and series' to catch up on)? Have fallen victim to eating far too much banana bread- and haven't gotten overly fit (or, erm, fit at all). But- hear me out, I'm still willing to give anything a go! So, after being introduced to Clinique’s pretty amazing and refreshing new eye cream (which aims to hydrate, moisturise, cool and brighten tired peepers), and appropriately goes under the name 'Pep Start' (with the tagline 'are you ready for anything')- my gal Carrie and I were invited to take part in one of three Clinique challenges, showing we were ready for anything and getting all independent woman #ImIn all up in here!



With a big day ahead and after trialing (and loving) Pep Start in the lead up to our challenge, Carrie and I were surprised in West London with a day of cookie icing in one of my favourite London boutiques, Biscuiteers. Although it certainly wasn't the most grueling of tasks (there's certainly something quite therapeutic about icing cookies and giggling away with a pal)- being unprepared is always a little daunting, so with the help of Pep Start (there's something about 6am starts that just don't cut it- but this gal thankfully had fresh eyes)- we were ready to settle in and try our hand at icing (clue: we certainly weren't experts).

Now, the product. Although I’ve chatted a little about it above, after using it each morning before make up (it’s a great fix for tired morning eyes first thing) it’s undoubtedly grown to become something I struggle to start the day without (much like my trusty bowl of porridge). The charm is, however, that it can be applied throughout the day above make up (without moving anything) to keep your eyes hydrated, puff-free and bright (plus, it’s nice and light so doesn’t need hours to absorb), which is a winner in my eyes (pardon the pun)!



Now, the fun part! Clinique are asking all you lovely readers to join in, tag your friends and share your very own #ImIn challenge to be in with a chance to win your own amazing experience. Tag any tweets, Instagrams with the #ImIn hashtag, and you could be in with the chance of winning a make-up session with Clinique’s Global Colour Pro- Florrie White, a day husky sledging with a friend or hot air balloon ride with a friend. Terms and conditions apply, see full details here. Not bad for a cheeky tweet and snap, right?

You can also check out my 'Day In The Life' video to see more of what we got up to below!


Post in collaboration with Clinique, but love of looking perky, biscuits and hanging out with friends all my own. Tweet Clinique here, check out their Instagram here and follow along with their #ImIn hashtag here.


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The Ready-For Anything Beauty Go-To


It's that time again! I had such a lot of fun putting this together last month, that I was keen to keep this (little) ball a' rollin onto the next. This month has been an extremely mixed month for music, with the devastating passing of Mr Bowie (which encouraged me to unearth some absolute gems, so although sad, really made me appreciate how much he truly gave) and the final release of a TLSP track (absolutely not like I've waited 7 years or anything chaps). I also headed to the instore launch of Hinds' debut, Leave Me Alone, which I haven't stopped listening too- so I absolutely recommend you checking that out too. I've also popped in a Spotify playlist upon request of a few people, so you can listen and follow along a little easier too! I'm also hugely keen to hear any recommendations you have. I checked out a band called The Orielles last week (thank you Lucie)- who are amazing, so you can check them out below too! Bon appétit!

January '16

1. Hinds - Garden
2. The Last Shadow Puppets - Bad Habits
3. Palma Violets - Danger In The Club
4. Warpaint - Ashes To Ashes
5. David Bowie - Kooks
6. Twin Peaks - Making Breakfast
7. Beach Baby - Limousine
8. Black Honey - Madonna
9. Spector - Decade Of Decay
10. Hinds - San Diego
11. Daughter - Numbers
12. Hooton Tennis Club - Kathleen Sat On The Arm Of Her Favourite Chair
13. Whinnie Williams - Too Strong
14. The Beatles - All My Loving
15. Tobias Jesso Jr. - Hollywood
16. Slaves - Shutdown
17. The Orielles - Space Doubt



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The Monthly Playlist: January

If you caught this post earlier this month, you'll know I'm currently working alongside Amazon Video, as part of their #AmazonVideoClub- essentially a book club style online club, but for TV shows and series'- i.e the perfect motivation for me to keep up to date with all of the latest must-watches. As you may have heard, I'm not the most efficient when it comes to keeping up with T.V (and I bet you've never seen a guide as to 'how to watch more TV'), but over the course of this club, I've managed to secure a few tips and tricks as to how to essentially 'make time for TV', and finally be able to look at a screen without it being totally work related...

So, how to make time for that series...

Start Multi-tasking!
...and by multi-tasking I don't mean checking your phone when you watch ; )! When I can catch up on an episode of something whilst getting ready I absolutely will. The same goes for odd housework jobs, or doing the washing up (#glam); it's the perfect time to make that half an hour or so a little more enjoyable (especially when the day-to-day task won't divert your attention too much) and means I can slowly tackle a series without even realising.

Watch it with someone!
Whenever I watch something with Joe (or another person)- I'm almost 99% more likely to keep watching it afterwards. Ideally it's great to be able to watch things together (and then gasp, giggle or scream in sync)- but if you can't, having someone (or, ahem, Twitter) to talk about everything afterwards with, makes things so much more enjoyable- just make them promise they won't race ahead!

Don't watch when you're tired!
This kind of goes without saying- when I tune in last thing at night, I can almost guarantee I won't watch more than ten minutes before nodding off- meaning I'm usually stuck watching the same ten minutes for days on end, before I finally see sense, doh!

Make the time, and stick to it!
When something is airing on TV, it's easy to have to make the time to tune in, but when it's solely online, it can definitely be harder to commit. Aim to stick to a scheduled time and try and keep to it if you can- it'll mean you'll end up switching off earlier and staying committed (like TV is a deep, meaningful relationship).

...and if you can, download the app!
When I have wifi, and am out and about, the Amazon Video app is another great way of tuning in and catching up when I'm on the go. It's a recent discovery of mine, but it's so handy to have- and I can also download episodes to watch offline which I'm sure is a teeny bit of genius right there.


This week I'm hosting the final #AmazonVideoClub chat with the awesome Transparent! If you want to join in, there's still time to tune in, and of course use the hashtag to chat too! I'd love to know what you think- I'm pretty sure it's one of my favourites of the club!

Post in collaboration with Amazon Video UK, but successful attempt at watching series', love of the screen and the internets all my own. Paid subscription of £39 starts automatically after trial unless cancelled. Terms and conditions apply: http://amzn.to/1Pj7ch7 Sponsored by Amazon.


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The Art Of Making Time


The Ivy Cafe Marylebone:

I remember for my 18th birthday going to The Ivy and thinking how much of a special treat it was. I'd never visited anywhere like it before, and remember feeling completely spoilt and lucky to be eating somewhere so special. Fast forward a few years and The Ivy have branched out across London, making things a little more attainable for impromptu lunch visits- but without losing that special feeling- great, right? Joe and I recently paid a visit to their gorgeous Marylebone Cafe, and couldn't have fallen in love more. Visiting on a Saturday night, we arrived when it was quiet (around 6:30), but it soon filled up, to create a subtle unpretentious buzz and the feeling you were at a special dinner party (fancy, indeed)! Opting for lamb, steak and the most delicious pud, the service was rapid and the time flew so quickly we couldn't believe we'd spent over two hours nattering away. A must visit if you're in the area, be it for a cup of tea, light salad of full on three course! Just don't tell anyone I told you...

96 Marylebone Ln, London W1U 2QA

Cutter and Squidge:

D'ya know when you just stumble across somewhere, and think 'HOW HAVE I MISSED THIS?!' That's how I felt upon discovering Cutter and Squidge. A corner cake shop tucked away in Soho (along the same street LFW will take place, so I have a feeling it won't be a secret for long)- this little place modestly boasts some of the most gorgeous cakes I've ever set my sights on, as well as their famous 'biskies' (a mix of biscuit/cookie and cake). They have an amazing, airy eat in section where I'm sure you could also while away some serious laptop time too!

20 Brewer street, Soho, London, W1F 0SJ

Lantana Cafe:

Ever wondered where in London does some of the best avocado on toast? Well, wonder no more- Lantana is the place! Offering the favourite dish with halloumi, a poached egg, roasted tomatoes, courgette salad and chilli jam- its possibly one of my favourite lunch spots (I've just realised they have branches in Camden and Shoreditch too), and spots to catch up with pals (Suzie, I'm looking at you)! On top of that, they also do french toast- which makes it an all round must visit. Go, go, go!

13 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1SN

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3 Places To Eat In London


I'm pretty sure one of the great wonders of the world is, unbeknown to many, the cinnamon bun. It's what I crave after a rubbish morning (see this Instagram)- and it's the thing I can barely resist when spotted on a bakery shelf. BUT Y SO HARD TO MAKE. Often with things like buns and breads, I lose patience when it comes to the 'yeast rising part' (y'know, that integral part)- so when I spotted this no-rise-time cinnamon bun recipe in the amazing Violet Bakery cookbook I couldn't not share. Claire Ptak is a GENIUS. Sharing is caring, right? (Especially when buns are involed)...

You will need:
FILLING:
- 75g unsalted butter
- 250g light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

BUNS:
- 560g plain flour (plus some for rolling)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 240g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 300g cold milk
- Caster sugar for dipping
- Butter for greasing the tin

I tweaked a couple of tiny details with mine (I used 1 teaspoon of salt instead of two, and a little less cardamom, but added everything as per the recipe above)!


1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan) and butter a 12-cup muffin tray.

2. Prepare your filling! Melt the butter and leave it in a warm place so that it remains liquid. Mix together your sugar and cinnamon and set to one side.



3. Dough time! In an electric mixer, combine all the dry ingredients with your cubes of butter. Then slowly pour in your cold milk whilst the mixer is running, until the dough forms a ball and starts to come away from the bowl. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and leave to rest for a few minutes. Fold the dough gently over itself once or twice to pull it all together, and let it rest for a second time for about 10 minutes.

4. Clear a large surface, and dust lightly with some more flour. Roll the dough into a large rectangle until about 5mm thick. Brush the dough with the melted butter, and then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top until there's a nice thick layer!



5. Starting with the long side, roll the dough up away from you- keeping it tight and rolling it into a spiral (gently tugging it towards you every now and again to keep things neat). Once it's rolled up, squeeze the roll to ensure it's the same thickness throughout, and use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 12 even slices.

6. Taking a slice of the cinnamon roll, peel back about 5cm of the loose end of the pastry and fold it in back under the roll to loosely cover the bottom. Place in the muffin tray, flap-side down and repeat until all are done! Bake the buns for 25 minutes and once out, dip into a bowl of caster sugar and serve!

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Simple Cinnamon Buns

(Jumper: Topshop, Jacket: Oh My Love, Skirt: ASOS, Bag: Cambridge Satchel Company, Brogues: Russell & Bromley)

Snapping on a ridiculously cold afternoon last week, Joe and I pulled up to a little street we always seem to stumble across near Charlotte Place for some 'lets-get-this-done-really-quickly' photos whilst trying to beat the chill. I'd tried to dress in something that would be appropriate for the day I had of meetings to evening events- and although everyone at the event wore black (and looked ridiculously sassy and sophisticated), I think this was a nice balance of smart and playful (although let's face it, I could have done with a thermal vest or two)...

Now, if there's one thing I've learnt this winter (apart from the fact my phone seems to turn off at about 30% battery when it gets really cold)- it's that double coat layering is a thing, and it's great (meaning I can simply whip off a layer and get 'all mod' in minutes- huzzah)! I've also tried to be a little more savvy when it comes to transitioning pieces in my wardrobe from late last summer until now- and finally trying to combat the 'white dress/black tights' fear I seem to have- and prove that yes, you can in fact wear something light with darker tights and it's absolutely a-ok (and doesn't look too sixties-fancy-dress either)!



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Little Suede Mini


So, after having a little redesign last year and a pretty swanky London map added in to the blog- I have been really set on doing a more intensive dot-to-dot of my favourite areas of London- making things easier to discover based on whereabouts you are in the city! I've started with Chelsea, but would love to know which places you'd like to see recommendations for! Of course- let me know if you pay anywhere a visit too!

Staying: My Chelsea

'But it's really pretty!' is not usually a valid enough excuse for me to ever warrant staying in a hotel- but put the hotel in the heart of Chelsea, fill it with two delicious restaurants and some uber friendly staff; and things are a little justifiable. I'm always someone to try and dig out the little treasures in cities, and My Chelsea is definitely one of them. With a variety of rooms in sorbet shades (that'll give you serious inspiration for Pinterest and a breakfast menu that offers blueberry pancakes to start your morning- if you're looking for a great hotel in the heart of London, this is your bet.

35 Ixworth Pl, London SW3 3QX

Shopping: The Kings Road

I know it doesn't take a genius, or true Londoner to suggest going shopping on the Kings Road- but hear me out! If I'm ever in need of visiting some quiet versions of my favourite retailers, I'll head here. With an Anthropologie, Brandy Melville, Orla Kiely, & Other Stories and Claudie Pierlot- to name but a few, these branches are often far quieter than their more central London counterparts (even on a Saturday)- so if you want some leisurely shopping, I seriously recommend this iconic street.

Kings Road, London

The Shop at Bluebird:

If I was thinking of buying a special gift, indulging in a luxury item- or coveting a new designer, this, The Shop at Bluebird, is one of the handful of places I would definitely pay a visit to. With every iconic brand from Burberry, Chloe, Acne, Bella Freud and Mary Katranzou stocked here, there's a stunning selection of high end pieces to browse from- and even a lifestyle section- with gorgeous furniture pieces and coffee table books a plenty- dreamy!

350 King's Rd, London SW3 5UU

The Conran Shop:

Another interiors favourite, The Conran Shop is a 3 floor department store located in the stunning old Michelin building on Fulham Road, and oozes everything from vintage home ware, independent contemporary design pieces, gifts and kitchenware all under one roof- and somewhere I could gladly while away an hour or two (minus any impromptu naps on their gorgeous beds)!

55 Marylebone High St, London W1U 5HS

Eating: Tanya's Cafe

Tanya's is tucked inside MyHotel and is the epitome of clean eating. With it's wooden white washed tables dotted with terrariums and menu oozing all things raw, vegan and completely natural- it's a complete dream for anyone after a burst of super foods and total nourishment- be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or delicious cocktails!

35 Ixworth Pl, London SW3 3QX

Good Life Eatery:

Another hideout fuelled by clean eating- The Good Life is a one stop shop for avocado lovers and acai bowl worshippers. Although it can feel a tiny bit intimidating with the cool yoga goers, everyone is so welcoming and lovely- plus their marble cake (and naughty treats) are one of my favourite things- refined sugar or not (not)!

59 Sloane Ave, London SW3 3DH

Made In Italy:

Now, could I really do an area guide without an Italian? Of course not! Made in Italy is one of my favourite places in Chelsea, and does exactly what it says on the tin. Whether you're after a delicious pasta, authentic wood fired pizza or even a stop-by foccacia for lunch- I recommend swinging by (possibly by way of a visit to Orla Kiely too)!

249 King's Rd, London SW3 5EL

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Little London Guide To: Chelsea

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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