Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Blog

How To Create The Perfect Metallic Moment

All that glitters isn't gold. Sometimes, it's eyeliner.

I usually associate metallic makeup looks with festivals, dressing up and overly glam evening makeup. Although I am partial to the odd bit of shimmer, I'm not exactly what you'd call a glitter-holic, especially when it comes to everyday makeup. So, when I was introduced to the new Eye Of Horus Liquid Metal Eyeliners, I didn't immediately think that they'd be something I'd use on a day-to-day basis. But I've had a change of heart.

Eye Of Horus creates makeup that draws on inspiration from the Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Using  sacred ingredients from the Ancient world, including organic moringa oil, they strive to awaken the Goddess in all women with beauty products that contain illuminating mineral pigments. Think gloriously glowing gold, precious pewter and bewitching bronze....

Available in Alchemy Gold, Imperial Bronze, Ancient Pewter and Copper Sphinx, their new Liquid Metal Eyeliner range is something to be desired. With a precision, felt-tip applicator, each liner delivers an illuminating metallic mineral pigment that effortlessly highlights the eyes. Smudge-free and long-lasting, they're perfect for adding gorgeous and sophisticated splashes of colour to your much-loved makeup looks. (To get the best effect, it's recommended that you shake the eyeliner before use incase any of that precious pigment has sunk to the bottom.)

Below, I've created three looks using all four of the Liquid Metal Eyeliners that will hopefully inspire you to work some metallic magic into your makeup. 

For my first look, I've given the smokey eye a metallic makeover and added a line of Imperial Bronze Liquid Metallic Liner above my upper lashes. To create a really deep smokey eye, I applied a thin line of Rimmel GlamEyes Liquid Liner in black first, then another thin line in Imperial Bronze Liquid Metallic Liner to make the eye 'pop'. I finished my eyelashes with Diorshow Blackout Mascara and defined my brows using No7 Beautiful Eyebrow Sculpting Pencil in brown.

For my second look, I created a subtle daytime look using the Ancient Pewter Liquid Metal Liner. I used a soft nude / silver colour on the base of my eyelids and lined my eyes using Rimmel GlamEyes Liquid Liner in black. Then, I applied a thin line of the Ancient Pewter Liquid Metal Liner above the black eyeliner and finished my eyelashes with a sweep of Diorshow Blackout Mascara. I complemented the eye with a dusty pink lipstick.

My third look uses two of the Liquid Metal Liners: Alchemy Gold and Sphinx CopperFirst, I created a soft smokey eye with gold and light brown eyeshadows then applied the Sphinx Copper Liquid Metal Liner to my upper eyelid. After lining my lower lashes with No7 Stay Perfect Amazing Eyes eyeliner in black, I applied Alchemy Gold underneath and dusted a gold eyeshadow on top to blend. As the eyes are the focus of this look, I chose a nude matte lipstick to finish it off.

Are you a fan of metallic makeup?

Beauty And The Burger

Today is not your average Thursday: it's National Burger Day

It doesn't matter how often we eat them, there's something very satisfying about getting down and dirty with a burger. Regardless of how sophisticated our tastebuds get, we still crave comfort from our favourite feel-good food. 

To us, eating a burger will always be a familiar, hands-on experience, every bite reinforcing the fact that no matter what happens, burgers are our friends. And in the past few years, burgers have left behind their frumpy, fattening, plain Jane image and got a little bit sexy.

They're no longer the same old boring beef patty-in-a-bun (with cheese if we're feeling adventurous). Now, they're dressed to kill - with exciting flavours, textures and delicious toppings that keep us wanting more. The fire in our bellies is well and truly burning with desire and there is no sign of it going out.

So, to spread the love for our old friend, I'm sharing with you my favourite homemade vegetarian burger: my delicious Falafel and Halloumi burger. They're super easy to make, full of flavour and they're nowhere near as naughty as a traditional beef burger so you don't have to feel guilty about over-indulging. 

Falafel and Halloumi Burgers

Ingredients  (makes 2-3 falafel patties)
1 400g can of chickpeas
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 egg beaten
Fresh parsley
Plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Sunflower or vegetable oil
Brioche bun

1.  Complete steps 1 to 4 of my falafel recipe.
2. Add a beaten egg to the mixture and mould into 3 patties (approximately the size of the palm of your hand).
3. Freeze the patties for 15 minutes to retain their shape.
4. Prepare the brioche bun by spreading it with houmous and laying rocket on the base of the bun.
5. Heat some sunflower/vegetable oil and fry the falafel burgers on a low heat for 4 minutes each side until golden brown.
6. Place on a plate and blot the excess oil with kitchen roll.
7. Fry 2 slices of halloumi until light brown and blot the excess oil with kitchen roll.
8. Place the falafel burger on top of the rocket followed by the halloumi and finish the burger with the brioche bun topper.
9. Serve and enjoy!

How do you like your burger?

My Top 5 Tips For Ultimate Beach #BodyConfidence

When we think of hitting the beach, the idyllic scenery and relaxed vibes are not usually the first things that come to mind. Instead, we obsess about whether or not we deem ourselves to be 'beach body ready' until the time comes for us to actually take our bodies to the beach. 

For many of us, the thought of wearing nothing but a skimpy Lyrca two-piece in front of strangers can be rather daunting. So, here are my top 5 tips for instilling ultimate beach #bodyconfidence and helping you feel positively fierce with everything on display.

1. Invest in the right bikini for you.

We're all 'beach body ready', regardless what the media might tell us, but that doesn't make baring all on the beach any easier. Many of us harbour insecurities about the way we look, whether we wish we had longer legs, flatter stomachs, bigger boobs, smaller waists or bigger bums - the grass always seems to be greener. But instead of focusing on what we haven't got, it's time we make peace with ourselves and start loving what we have got. For me, feeling #bodyconfident starts with finding the perfect bikini so be true to your body shape and wear a bikini that works for you because if you feel comfortable, you'll feel confident.

2. Have a kaftan at hand. 

For those moments when your inner Sasha Fierce is sleeping and you need a bit of support in your semi-naked state, drape a gorgeous kaftan over your shoulders and watch your confidence soar. Our insecurities get the better of us at the most inconvenient times but it's about being prepared when emotions run high. With so many different styles on the high street, you're guaranteed to find one that makes you feel like a Middle Eastern princess. I always look for sheer kaftans that have beautiful patterns as they'll keep you cool in the heat but offer enough coverage to make you feel #bodyconfident. And let's be honest - sheer is sexy.

3. Fake it before you make it.

Some people may hate the idea of getting a fake tan (the biscuit smell, the orange hands, the unwanted streaks) but I feel a million times better about getting my kit off with bronzed skin. Despite my Spanish heritage, I was blessed with a very pink English Rose complexion that I've never been very fond of. It just doesn't work for me. So, rather than putting my skin under any unnecessary strain, I choose to fake it. Done properly, self tan is a great way to get that saught-after, sun-kissed glow and I highly recommend St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse in medium (£4 from Boots). After exfoliating, apply it all over with a tanning mitt and wash off after 6-8hrs.

4. Embrace your bare-faced beauty.

There is no place for a full face of makeup and glamorous hair when hitting the beach; it's all about bare-faced beauty (but that doesn't mean you can't give yourself a little helping hand to perfect your low-maintenance, barely-there look). One thing that accentuates a naturally beautiful face is naturally beautiful hair, so create envious beach hair by keeping it in tip-top condition. Like skin, hair can become damaged in the heat so to make sure it looks fabulous all day long, keep it hydrated with oil-based products. I've used Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment (£29.95 for 125ml) and Macadamia Healing Oil Spray (£24.80 for 125ml) for years and I absolutely love them. Not only do they both smell amazing, they provide natural UV protection, intense nourishment and a frizz-free finish so no need to avoid the sea.

5. Be a mountain.

The way we hold ourselves says a lot about the way we feel about ourselves. If we're feeling low, we naturally withdraw, meaning that we slouch and create barriers with our bodies as a form of protection. So in our minds, standing tall instantly creates the sense that we're confident in ourselves - even if we're not. As well as having a positive effect on our confidence, practising the Mountain Pose (as it's called in yoga) instantly makes your body look more streamlined while promoting feelings of calm and increasing strength so never underestimate the power of good posture.

What makes you feel #bodyconfident?

My Life On A Plate: Falafel

Food: one syllable that offers a whole world of edible experiences. Hot, cold, sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth, spicy, safe... Whatever your tastebuds desire, there's something to satisfy every palate. But for me, it's not just about eating. Of course, I love nothing more than to stuff my face but I find the process of preparing food strangely therapeutic. Chopping, peeling, whisking, melting, mashing, kneading - it's all so rhythmically beautiful.

Since I decided to try life the pescatarian way, I've found meal times to be much more exciting. Although I spent a lot of time in the kitchen pre-prescatarianism,  I'd often play it safe and cook things I've cooked a million and one times. Now, I'm experimenting with ingredients that wouldn't have ordinarily been in my cupboards 3 months ago, finding colourful and interesting ways to adapt recipes in order to fit in with my new lifestyle - and absolutely loving it.

With my passion for cooking seeing a new lease of life, I thought I'd try my luck at making something I've never made before but I actually really love: falafel. Falafel are a traditional vegetarian Middle Eastern street food that hit all the right notes for me. There are so many different ways to make them, so my advice is to just find which way works best for you. For this recipe, I used tinned chickpeas but you can substitute them for dry chickpeas or fava beans.

Happy falafel making!

Ingredients (makes 6-7 falafel)
1 400g can of chickpeas
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 egg beaten
Fresh parsley
Plain flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Sunflower or vegetable oil

1. Finely chop the onion and the garlic, drain the chickpeas and leave to one side.
2.  Heat the sunflower/vegetable oil in a pan then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes until softened.
3. Transfer the onion and garlic into a mixing bowl then add the chickpeas, cumin, coriander, paprika, chilli flakes and two heaped tablespoons of flour, then mash together with a fork or potato masher. (I prefer a chunky consistency but if you like a smoother paste, use a blender.)
4. Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Add the beaten egg and mould the mixture with your hands into small balls. If the mixture is too wet, roll each ball into more flour as it will mould easier.
6. Freeze for 15 minutes to retain shape.
7. Heat some more sunflower/vegetable oil and fry the falafels on a low heat for 3 minutes each side until golden brown.
8. Place on a plate and blot the excess oil with kitchen roll.
9. Serve hot or cold with couscous, pitta bread, salad, or in a wrap. Eat and enjoy!

What are your favourite vegetarian snacks?

Adventures In Wonderland: Glazebrook House, Devon

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”  Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

When life hands you lemons, leave London behind and head for the countryside for some respite... 
Then make lemonade.

In the heart of Dartmoor National Park in South Brent, set in beautifully secluded grounds, you will find a luxury boutique hotel like no other. Inspired by the stories of Alice in Wonderland, Glazebrook House offers guests a truly unique experience bursting with style, sophistication and oodles of personality. With 8 themed bedrooms including the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, Glazebrook House breathes life into the characters of Lewis Carroll through exquisite design and gorgeous detailing. 

Through the grand stone entrance illuminated by magnificent chandeliers is where you enter Glazebrook's Wonderland; a warm, enchanting environment filled with delightful surprises. At the heart of the house, the large, open reception area creates a remarkable first impression: quirky wall art lives in harmony with cozy leather sofas, while an aeroplane wing resides as the reception desk and a flamingo statue stands proudly as the doorman. But beyond the eccentric interior, there's an overwhelming feeling of comfort and familiarity that is wholly befitting.

Ascending the staircase to our room, we couldn't help but become lost in wonderment. Eyes wide like children, we unlocked the door to the White Rabbit and stepped into a room that only dreams are made of.

With sun beaming through the double windows, the king-sized bed lined entirely with sheepskin takes centre stage. Above the headboard, two giant playing cards smile pleasantly over towards the doorway. Opposite the bed hanging above an gorgeous fireplace is an ultra-modern 3D TV with two plush armchairs, perfectly positioned for ultimate couch-potato comfort. Next to the window is a beautiful contemporary desk worthy of Lewis Carroll himself, which cradles an in-room iPad (and of course, WiFi is available in all rooms). Inside the giant oak wardrobe to the left of the bed is a vast amount of storage space for all your fabulous fashion, a hairdryer, two deluxe robes and a selection of complimentary drinks and snacks.

Next to the wardrobe is the bathroom, complete with a free-standing bath tub, a spacious walk-in shower, underfloor heating and matching marble sinks topped with The White Company toiletries. Complementing the contemporary bathroom design, the Wonderland theming continues with giant letters hanging pride of place above a marble table where a message-in-a-bottle-style ornament sits thoughtfully. 

Although style is prevalent in every corner of the White Rabbit, there is no sense of superiority - just  of good ol' fashioned fun executed to the highest level of sophistication and solely for the enjoyment of those over the age of 16.

After indulging in the luxury interiors, we headed downstairs to the bar in search of some alcoholic accompaniments. An intimate lounge dotted with more cozy leather sofas, the bar is the ideal environment to get acquainted with the drinks menu while enjoying the beautiful gardens. An extensive variety of wines, champagnes, beers, spirits and cocktails are available to please all palates. Being a gin fiend, I ordered the Apple Blossom cocktail -  a light, refreshing mix of gin, elderflower and apple juice - while Tom ordered a beer (typical man) before heading into the restaurant.

With a menu designed by Master Chef winner Anton Piotrowski and his talented team, we couldn't wait to taste the culinary delights. Glazebrook House offers two menus; à la carte and an 8-course tasting menu. Opting for the à la carte menu, our feast began with amuse bouches, I nibbled on fish bonbons while Tom devoured the beef and mustard croquettes. Palettes awakened by these modest mouthfuls of heaven, we awaited our starters.

I chose the native lobster with Marie Rose bavarois, red pepper ketchup and tomato gel while Tom tucked into the courgette soup. Served in a martini glass, my lobster dish looked every bit as fabulous as it tasted. 

After two delectable dishes, our hopes were tremendously high for our main courses. I was served my seaweed baked stone bass with shellfish, lemon gnocchi and sauce vierge while Tom dined on a trio of pork with sage hash brown, chorizo jam and curried apple. With lots of elements and complementing flavours, the stone bass was flaky and cooked to perfection while the lemon gnocchi stole my heart. A very impressive fish dish perfect for a fish lover like me.

With bursting bellies, we perused dessert menu but my decision was made immediately. The waitress kindly waited for our mains to settle before the salted caramel fondant with peanut brittle ice-cream was delivered to our table. Quite honestly, it was one of the best desserts that I've ever had the pleasure of tasting (although I am slightly biased towards salted caramel). Unfortunately for him, Tom could only manage a latte but being a dedicated foodie, I soldiered on through my dessert until it was an ambrosial memory then plodded back upstairs to the White Rabbit with an enormous, satisfied smile on my face.

Feeling refreshed after a blissful night's sleep, we made our way downstairs for breakfast. With coffee and green tea on order, I wandered over to the continental buffet where I prepared a bowl of fresh berries topped with greek yoghurt and choose to admire (rather than gorge) on the the pastries.

Soon, our hot breakfasts arrived; smoked salmon and scrambled egg on a homemade bellini for me and eggs Benedict for Tom. Within minutes, our plates were clean. The smoked salmon dish was so perfect, I could've eaten two! Soft, buttery scrambled egg accompanied the finest smoked salmon while the bellini base made it all the more interesting. Fat, dumb and happy, we bimbled back upstairs to gather our belongings and check out. 

Reflecting on our evening of pure unadulterated pleasure, we said goodbye to Glazebrook House. The wonderful ambience, the faultless service, the creature comforts, the distinct personality and the mouth-watering food are simply a few of the reasons to visit this impressive establishment. Our experience was infallible and much more muchier than we could ever have imagined and we can't wait to return to Wonderland. 

Where is your next trip taking you?

Tried And Tested: Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick

Matte lips have made quite an impact on the beauty industry in recent years and we just can't seem to get enough of them. They're bold, bright, sophisticated and - gasp - not sticky! So we can kiss away the days when long hair and lipstick collide and carry on pouting. The battle is over.

When it comes to choosing a lipstick, it's about more than just the colour. We've all experienced its magical power, how it instantly lifts our mood, how it awakens our confidence, how it transforms our personas. So this week, I wholeheartedly swatched myself within an inch of my life, on a mission to find a new matte favourite. After some painstaking deliberation, I chose two of Maybelline's Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks (because one is never enough).

The first of my new purchases was Nude Thrill. I'm a sucker for good nude lipstick and as I have a pink / fair complexion, I'm always on the lookout for shades that enhance my skin tone. With infinite skin tone and lip colour combinations, it can be quite a challenge to find the perfect match but an understated lip looks gorgeous when done right; it's youthful yet glamorous and it's one of my favourite makeup looks at the moment. 

My second purchase was Possessed Plum. Over the past few months, I've embraced the gothic romance trend and I can't get enough of a dark, mysterious lip. Vampy, dramatic and drop-dead gorgeous, plum lipsticks are definitely worn to let your lips do the talking. (Top tip: darker colours cling to flaky skin so I'd recommend exfoliating to make sure that you have a smooth canvas before you apply colour).  

The Verdict: 4 /5

Available in 8 intense shades, Maybelline's Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lipsticks come in a creamy liquid formula that gives a lovely velvety finish in one swipe. One of my pet peeves about matte lipsticks is they can dry out my lips but Maybelline's Liquid Lipsticks are rich and hydrating, making them very easy to wear. Unlike a lot of matte formulas, the Liquid Lipsticks don't have amazing staying power (especially Nude Thrill) but at £6.99 they're affordable, comfortable to wear and the colours are gorgeous so they definitely deserve a place in my makeup bag. 

What are your favourite matte lipsticks?

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