Shopping My Stash: The Spring Edition

Shop my stash – The Spring EditionFor a girl who doesn’t wear that much make-up, I sure seem to have accumulated quite a bit of it in recent years. Part of that is almost certainly down to reading beauty blogs but part of it is that I’m a magpie with a hoarder complex – I love shopping and I hate to throw anything away.

Obviously make-up and skincare items have a certain shelf life, but that hasn’t stopped me amassing a drawer full of lipsticks, blushers and the like. That’s why I wanted to borrow from the ‘shop my stash’ beauty blogger mantra and unearth some old favourites rather than rush out to buy new make-up that I don’t need.

And since it’s March, it’s now basically spring (hurrah!) so what better way to shop my stash than for a springtime look? Here’s what will be on my face this season…

Shopping My Stash – The Spring EditionBenefit That Gal Brightening Face Primer

I’ve been working my way through several of Benefit’s POREfessional samples recently and completely forgot all about their other primer, That Gal. It doesn’t have the same coverage as POREfessional but the flip-side is that it gives a gentle glow to the skin. I prefer to wear this on its own or mixed with a little foundation rather than underneath foundation though.

Benefit Eye Bright Pencil

Another forgotten gem from Benefit – this pale pink eye pencil is great for applying at the inner corners of the eyes and also along the waterline to give the appearance of slightly larger peepers.

MAC Pigment Pot in ‘Naked’

I’m not really an eyeshadow kind of girl but it’s something I want to experiment with more. I thought I needed to go out and by a palette or some starter shades when I remembered the MAC gift set I was given a few years ago, which I don’t think *gasp* I’ve ever used. ‘Naked’ is a neutral beige colour with a hint of shimmer, so it’s not only perfect for a subtle spring look but also for helping to ease me in to wearing eyeshadow again.

Tory Birch Beauty Lip & Cheek Tint in ‘Cat’s Meow’

I tend to stick to powder blushes so in the past I’ve mostly used this tint on my lips, but I figured since I’m going for a dewy, radiant look I should dip my toes back in the water that is cream blush. This is a tint though, so the colour pigmentation isn’t quite as strong, however it’s perfect for offering a subtle flush and negates the need for a separate highlighter.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in ‘Sex Machine’

A pinkish nude with a hint of mauve, I bought this shade last year as part of NARS’ Guy Bourdin Promiscuous Lip Pencil Coffret, a set I’ve been neglecting a little since I got my hands on the follow-up Digital World lip pencil collection last month.

Have you ever tried shopping your make-up stash? What are your forgotten favourites?

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Peachy Keen Clothes Swappin’ Shirt

Peachy keen clothes swap shirtPrepare for another love it or hate it outfit choice from yours truly. When I first clocked this vintage, over-sized peach blouse at November’s blogger clothes swap, I made a beeline for it and couldn’t put it down. The colour, the neckline and the embroidered back panel were (and are) so unique, like nothing else I own. Just like the chain print shirt that recently appeared on the blog, I have Emily to thank for bringing this shirt to trade.

We took our books to the park at the weekend and it was warm enough that I could just about get away with pairing this blouse with my favourite denim shorts. Despite what my Instagram feed might suggest, the weather here does fluctuate quite a lot, so like a true Brit, I’m the first to get my legs out when the opportunity arises.

Golden Gate Park is dotted with lots attractions, one of which is the Conservatory of Flowers, where these photos were taken. One day I’ll have to venture inside, but, as beautiful as it is, an oversized greenhouse wasn’t the place to be on a sweltering weekend afternoon! I definitely want to go back though, as the building itself is beautiful and reminds me of London’s Kew Gardens.

With the glitter and tan ankle boots this outfit is almost borderline country ‘n’ western for me, even a little bit LA, which is handy as we’re going there at the weekend for a few days. I haven’t been in years, so do any of you have any recommendations for what to see and do while we’re there?

Peach blouse –  clothes swap / Stonewashed ‘boyfriend’ shorts  – c/o New Look, Cabot Circus / Brown canvas backpack and brown leather belt – both H&M (menswear) / Tan and gold ankle boots – New Look

Conservatory of Flowers San FranciscoLace detail on peach shirtPosing outside the Coservatory of FlowersPalm trees in the parkPeach 80s shirt and denim shortsPeach coloured poppiesPeach clothes swap shirt and denim shortsGold glitter ankle bootsBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Girl vs Food: MvF San Francisco Edition

Man vs Food San Francisco resturantsA few years ago Man vs Food used to be my guilty TV pleasure. I wasn’t so much a fan of the challenges at the end of the programme – they always seemed grotesquely extravagant – but I loved seeing all the mini reviews of each American city’s best ‘pig out’ spots. Not exactly high brow I know, but what can I say? Seeing a slice of pizza the size of small child makes my mouth water.

Naturally, when I found out that we were moving here, I may have TiVo’d the Man vs Food San Francisco episode and watched it once or twice, not to mention scribbled the address of each participating establishment in our SF guidebook.

Blogging is about nothing if not documentation so I figured it was my duty to road-test each MvF eatery in the Bay Area. Here’s a mini review of San Francisco’s ‘best pig out’ spots, according to Adam Richman…

Ike’s Place / Sandwiches

The holy grail of sandwiches, I remember the queue snaking around the block for this unassuming sandwich shop on the show, and IRL it was exactly the same, both times we visited. The 10 minute wait was so worth it though – Ike and his crew know what makes a good sandwich. Both our sandwiches were epic in size and flavour and Ike’s has become one of our favourite lunch spots if we’re in the Castro. A word to the wise; make sure you’re really hungry before visiting – the portion sizes are huge!

Ike’s Place, 3489 16th St, Castro

Taqueria La Cumbre / Mexican

I was really looking forward to trying this mexican Mission joint, known for it’s supersize burritos, and although friends had said it had gone downhill a bit since the show aired, I was still eager as ever to try a (regular sized) burrito. Unfortunately the veggie burrito I plumped for (with refried beans, rice, salsa, cheese and guacamole) was distinctly average and nowhere near as nice as some of the other mexican delights I’ve had in the city. For want of a better word it was sloppy and lacking in flavour, so unfortunately Taqueria La Cumbre gets a thumbs down from me.

Taqueria La Cumbre, 515 Valencia Street, Mission

The San Francisco Creamery / Ice Cream

Technically in Walnut Creek, the home of the ‘kitchen sink’ challenge is east of the Bay, about an hour away from San Francisco. We stopped here after spending the day hiking up Mount Diablo so two huge scoops of ice cream (with hot fudge sauce and cookie dough pieces) felt like a very worthy treat indeed. While there I actually saw several sweet-toothed customers attempting the challenge MvF’s Adam took part in, and not one came close. I wish the SF Creamery was closer to the city as the ice cream selection is huge, there’s a great atmosphere in the restaurant (which serves savoury foodstuffs, too) and the staff were so friendly and helpful – letting us dithering Brits try as many flavours as we wanted from the ice cream bar.

San Francisco Creamery Co, 1370 Locust Street, Walnut Creek 

Please tell me I’m not the only one with a thing for Man vs Food? We’re off to New York next month so I may have to revisit the MvF New York episodes…

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The Only Two Pieces of Kit You Need to Start Running

It’s been a month since I wrote about some of my fitness goals for the year ahead and a big one that I’ve been struggling with this month is running, thanks to a painful blister that’s taken ages to heal. I’m going running tonight for the first time in two weeks and so I wanted today’s fitness post to be about this love/hate pastime of mine, more specifically the only two items you need to start running.

Sometimes it can feel like there are huge barriers in the way to make us think we can’t do X,Y,Z workout. I’m all for looking and feeling great in your fitness gear but having a pretty pair of leggings isn’t an essential requirement of exercising. One of the best parts of running is that it can be done anywhere, for free – no gym membership required.

I often think that the hardest part of running is self motivation, and just lacing up your trainers and heading out the front door. It really is about that mental attitude and telling yourself that you’ll feel better for a run and trust me, you will. Even if it’s just around the block and back.

So, attitude aside, forget the slogan t-shirts or thinking that you don’t have enough time in the day – here are the only two pieces of kit that you really need to start running.

Running trainersA well fitting pair of trainers

The right footwear can make all the difference when it comes to making it outside for that second run. If your feet aren’t comfortable and properly cared for during your run, you won’t enjoy it, simple as that. Unless you favour barefoot running, the key to finding a good pair of trainers is gait analysis.

This is something that measures how and where the feet fall when you run – it’s about your hips, alignment and posture as much as it is about your feet. Most running shops offer gait analysis, where a qualified member of staff will watch you run on a treadmill, ask you to stand in certain stances and check the position of your arches to determine what type of running trainer you need.

This can be intimidating, but a good running shop will make you feel at ease and make sure you have the right level of support for your needs.

Shock Absorber Run BraA well fitting sports bra

Are you sensing a theme with the whole ‘well fitting’ thing? I cannot emphasise enough how important a correctly fitting sports bra is, regardless of your cup size. Strange but true, I once fitted bras like this for a living, and it pains me when I see a woman running who clearly isn’t wearing the right level of support.

I’d always recommend getting yourself fitted for a sports bra (my personal favourite is the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra) but here are some pointers if you’re shopping for one solo:

Two regular bras do not equal one sports bra – yes, this doubling up technique does exist and no, it isn’t as effective has one properly fitting sports bra
The waistband should be super tight – you should be able to fit no more than two fingers between your back and the bra
Experiment with size – it’s essential that you’re not wobbling around in there, so even though you might be a 32C in La Senza, your sports bra might be a 30D.
Start on the loosest hooks – as with any bra, your new sports bra should be tightest when it’s on the outer hooks, so that you can tighten it as it wears through washing and exercise.
Have a little jump in the changing room – no one will judge you and it will help if you’re in any doubt that your sports bra doesn’t fit properly.

The Sweaty Betty tank tops and Lululemon race shorts can come later – if you have your sports bra and trainers sorted, plus that self-motivation we talked about, there shouldn’t be any barriers to hitting the pavement.

Do you enjoy running? What are your tips for first-timers?

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5 Bad-Ass Feminist TED Talks

5 Bad-Ass Feminist TED TalksThere’s nothing quite like an empowering, inspiring TED Talk to start the day, am I right? I used to watch or listen to one every weekday morning while eating breakfast and generally preparing my brain for the working day and it felt great to start each day informed and educated on a topic that I might previously never have heard of.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, TED is a nonprofit organisation that organises conferences across the world. It started as a way to spread ideas about technology, entertainment and design, and now covers everything from gender politics to Nintendo Wii hacks. Talks are given by scientists, professors, celebrities and activists, and are usually around 10-20 minutes in length.

Over the time I’ve been watching TED Talks, there are several that have stuck in my memory as fantastic, pro-feminist talks. The theme of these talks might not be feminism itself, but each is delivered by a strong, intelligent woman with an inspirational message. Here are five of my favourite bad-ass feminist talks…

Diana Nyad – Never, ever give up

I cannot think of a more inspirational sportswoman than Diana. If her talk about her repeated attempts to swim 100 miles from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64 don’t inspire and enthral you, then you then her documentary, The Other Shore, will. Warning: will make you feel the urge to run a marathon or similar after watching.

Cameron Russell – Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model

Model and activist Cameron Russell tells of how she won ‘the genetic lottery’ to make it to the covers of Vogue, ELLE and Harpers Bazaar, but also the importance of seeing fashion images for what they are – a construction designed to sell and not reality.

Amy Cuddy – Your body language shapes who you are

Possibly my favourite TED Talk of all time, Amy’s story and the simple tips she provides could have a huge effect on empowering men and women alike. This talk is a great example of what TED is all about – it’s educational, informative and emotive, with a strong message at the core. You’re guaranteed to practice a ‘power pose’ or two after watching this.

Manal al-Sharif – A Saudi woman who dared to drive

I can’t imagine living in a world where women are condemned for the simple everyday things I take for granted, like wearing trousers or driving a car, but it’s what Manal and her female friends face everyday in Saudi Arabia. In this talk Manal describes the fallout after she posted a video of herself driving on YouTube. This may not sound like much but it sparked a long-silenced push for women’s rights in the country and will leave you with both gratitude for your freedom and a desire to support activists like Manal.

Tracey Spicer – The lady stripped bare

Australian television journalist Tracey’s talk on being beholden to society’s beauty ideals as a woman is both funny and so on point. Her comment on what we could all be doing with our time if we weren’t spending hundreds of hours a year partaking in beauty rituals and they way she deconstructs the process she went through to prepare for her TED talk are food for thought.

Are you a fan of TED Talks? Let me know your favourite one in the comments.

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