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brush
From £15.60
Bobbi Brown
brushcleanser
£9
Pro make up shop
brushguard
£6.50
The Brush Guard
beautyblender
£16
Beauty Blender
charlottetilbury
£125
Charlotte Tilbury
brushholder
£14
Labour & Wait
My brushes are from: Bobbi Brown, Inglot, and Laura Mercier.

If you’re anything like me, your make-up brushes are hobos and could do with a good shower. If you’re anything like me, you also suffer from chronic laziness and will wish for a never-dirty brush set , like Legolas’ never-empty quiver. Given that it’s a fresh new year and I’ve decided to be captain cliché (I’ve joined a ‘gym’ too, more on that later), I’ve given all my make-up brushes a good clean, and while I’m at it thought I’d share how I like to go about it. Now, there are many different ways to clean a brush, as Dr. Google will advise, and while I usually opt for the glob of olive oil + glob of antibacterial hand-soap option simply because the two ‘tools’ are readily available, my brushes are nevertheless drunken hobos because both olive oil and hand-soap are routinely called back into to the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind. My trick, if you want to even call it that, is using the oil cleanser that’s already sitting by the bathroom sink, the one that you trust on your skin type, and use daily. Just one glob of that should take care of three small brushes, or one big brush – the dirt lathers out, while keeping essential oils within the brush hair (another reason I tend to avoid the baby shampoo option). When it comes to calculating cost vs. use, depending on how many brushes you own, it’ll be like washing your face two-ish more times a month. Which, let’s be honest, balances out the number of times you fall asleep in full clothing/make-up clutching a kebab in one hand every month. Or is that just me. Anyway, here’s a few more tips to get you going:

  • A foundation brush/sponge, especially if you use liquid foundation, should be cleaned once a week if not daily, and for brushes used to apply powder make-up, once a month.
  • My personal favourite is the DHC oil cleanser that’s made of olive oil, but that’s not available where you live, Shu Uemura cleansing oil is a great alternative (for face cleansing!) albeit slightly more expensive.
  • Swirl the brush in your palm to let the dirt lather out , then rinse until water runs clear.
  • Use warm water to rinse, never hot as it can ruin the brush hair and loosen the glue that holds the brush together.
  • NEVER dry a wet brush with the hair pointing upwards, the water will leak into the stem and loosen the glue, destroying the brush. Use a brush guard, or a paintbrush holder from an art store and dry upside down.

Happy cleaning!

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Forte Village Resort, Sardinia; Part 2

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Dress – Zara. Hat – Claire’s

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Gordon Ramsey’s

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White lace dress, Lace inset (blue/yellow) dress  – MGSM. Bag, floral dress (green & pink)- RED Valentino (all via Donne Concept Store at Forte Village).

The sound of rain and wind pelting against the windows on a drab Monday morning makes weaving together of this second part of my trip to Sardinia back in July a much, much easier task. Again, I don’t know what brand of hormone pills London’s been taking lately, but given its perpetual state of up, down and sometimes pickles + ice cream (i.e sun and hail within the same post code. WAHT IS DIS), I have to assume this time it’s actually three-months pregnant. Baby shower! Wait, no baby shower. Baby sun please. So do excuse me if I prefer resorting* to the ever-sunny European sibling to kick-start the week. Today I dream of Forte Village, the rustle of Oleander bushes in the mild morning breeze, bare-feet walk to breakfast, floating by way of seven sea-salt pools of the Thalassotherapy spa and rising higher with Gordon Ramsay’s exquisite dishes by the sea. Slumping back to earth completely, of course, with giddy midnight snacks on the terrace: pain au chocolats and toffee puddings stolen from breakfast. AH, would you look at this, the sun just came out here between the sheets of rain, looks like somebody’s jealous. Or craving toffee puddings. Oh heck, let it be the former.

* Resorting. Get it? get it? I am SOoohohoho funny.

A belated thank you to Forte Village Resort again for the stay. Part 1 here.

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Bag – Furla

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Coat – Zara. Knit – Goodnight Macaroon. Jeans – James Jeans. Sneakers – New Balance. Bag – Furla. Sunglasses – Celine. Watch – Daniel Wellington.

I’ve gone and dug my own grave this past holiday, I think. I played in the same chair I sit to work in, for like, ten whole days straight. We’re in a fresh new year on self-declared clean slate and all I can smell is 2013 wafting from the leather of the wheely desk chair because as we all know the entire year was peanut butter cookies and pizza, in a nutshell. Especially the last few days during which I successfully transformed my workstation into a food-smeared playstation. I got up early on the first working day of the year, got dressed, hosed down the chair with a febreeze and sat down, ready to do an honest day’s work and found myself clicking on the Call of Duty icon without thinking, then proceeded to tour Mother Russia in a tank to defeat the Nazis. Hooray for stupid. Well, to start with, it took several attempts to get dressed because I kept putting shoes on before any pants, and had to Youtube how to tie shoelaces. It’s like when you sit on your hand for too long and it goes so numb it forgets how to be a hand. Except I haven’t set a foot outside the house for the past two weeks and have forgotten how to human. Anyway, back to the grind, shoelaces flailing and all.

Speaking of cookies, I baked a whole new batch last night for some reason. Screw the new year, I’m staying in 2013 until they’re gone.

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For when is there a better time than the first working day of the new year to introduce more ways to heartlessly abandon diets and money saving resolutions… Here’s my five favourites from the East/North corner, stay tuned for more as I valiantly invade other post codes! Also, for other food/drink recommendations in the city, I’ve pinned them in a fail-safe map here.

1/ The Diner
21 Essex Rd, London N1 2SA | ££

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Nevermind the general disneyfied approach to American dining, if you’re craving fluffy, syrupy, stacked pancakes with blueberry garnishing that border on jam, try The Diner. Shuffle into a booth, order a plate of pancakes and a mug of filter coffee, gobble it all up – chunk by chunk, pay, shuffle out the booth, and leave. Don’t expect much ambiance, and for sure don’t make it a first date spot, but DO consider the lush milkshake menu, and do try that thing where you semi-yell at the waitress for a refill. Like in the movies, yes.

2/ Bistroteque
23-27 Wadeson St, London E2 9DR | £££

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Perched on the first floor of a nondescript, East London warehouse building, the only hint that Bistroteque is, in fact, there, is the sound of cutlery clinking over a soft piano tune leaking out from the top windows. The interior is bright, by way of white ‘subway’ tiles, and painted brick that spans one massive room – with an oval bar by the entrance where walk-ins are seated. (read: book for table if bringing motley crew) The brunch menu offering is classic and simple, European portions, pancakes on the fluffier-than-normal side… but if you’re anything like me skip out on all that and go straight for a virgin Bloody Mary. Or not virgin, whatever you like. It fills you up (considering the price, it had better), and you’re set for a couple of hours before actual lunch. Do sit at the bar and watch the bartenders bustle around making drinks, especially the one that looks like Johnny Depp.

3/ Hoi Polloi
Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JQ | £££

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One of my new favourites in the East, this is American dining with ambiance and character. Technically a brasserie, and technically not even American – although being housed in Ace Hotel doesn’t help shake facts off – the eating experience is pleasant with swift service by friendly staff. I personally love the fact that they walk around with two jugs of coffee, one filter and the other decaf, although given that this is England I should suspect it could be tea… The menu is printed on newspaper in beautiful typography, which I also adore. Ask for the booth next to the window of Hattie Fox’s florist, which is in fact the official entrance of the restaurant, it casts a rather lovely, soft glowing light. For breakfast, I recommend the Hot set breakfast if not very tight on budget, if not, the Eggy bread with berries and Mascarpone. The balance of wet and dry is perfect on that one.

4/ Ivy’s Mess Hall
129 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB | ££

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If there’s one manky old onion in my fridge for three weeks in a row Ivy’s Mess Hall is one of the reasons why. It being a local cafe/restaurant that Charlie and I frequent on the weekends, and also the fact that it’s 10 minutes closer to home than the closest supermarket means every weekend I am sidetracked to slip into Ivy’s and order a scrambled eggs on toast with three extra sides (roasted baby tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, bacon). I come home with crumbs on my sweater and hubby yells NOT AGAIN. It’s now a weekly routine. The atmosphere is homey, (I guess I’m now officially a hipster to consider stripped walls and bare-bulb lighting as ‘homey’) and in the summer eating under a canopy on the most Turkish part of Kingsland Road proves to be quite an interesting experience.

5/ Homa
71-73 Stoke Newington Church St, London N16 0AS | £££

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A lot more up-market for a casual brekkie, but one that definitely falls under ‘treats’. The floor tiles and the sole lemon tree at the entrance, for one, but the Lee Valley Mushrooms on Toast with Melted Taleggio & Mixed Leaves (not pictured) makes for a great hearty start to a day. A bit mumsy too (clean interiors, a whole wall of wine, buggy-friendly table spacing), as the general fate of Church Street is seemingly heading, and the prices reflect on this. But like I said, falls under ‘treat’, especially after a power-walk with ice-cream in Clissold park.