A good skincare routine, I've come to realise, is one of my 'I'm doing OK' markers.

When I'm taking care of my skin, I'm taking care of myself. I feel like I'm adulting, like I've got my stuff together, and I can take on whatever gets thrown at me. It might seem superficial, but for me? How I start and end my day, doing something totally for myself - that's one of the most basic and most accessible forms of self care I have. So I wanted to put together a list of my 'entry level' basics - go tos because they work, tried and tested, and they fit all kinds of budgets.

CLEANSER: The first step, and the thing which made the most difference to my skin straight off the bat. I started cleansing with the Emma Hardie balm, which I appreciate isn't the cheapest! This did totally change the texture of my skin and keep it plump and hydrated, and I'd still recommend it now. However, a great starter cleanser at a more affordable price is the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish at £15. Liz Earle is an all-natural, cruelty-free brand, and is cult for good reason - and savvy ladies should know that often there are great deals on their products through Groupon. There's always a good bundle going and the free muslin cloth that comes with their Hot Cloth Cleanser is a great one!

Glossier also offer a great entry-level cleanser in the Milky Jelly Cleanser, which is wonderful for normal to oily skins, however dry-skinned ladies beware, this could cause some patchy dryness for very dehydrated skins. Also if you don't like rose scents, this might not be the one for you.

TONER: I'll be honest - the first toner I had was a super astringent, probably-could've-cleaned-kitchen-sides with it Clearasil one, but I've come to learn that toner doesn't have to feel like it's sucking the life out of your pores. A good exfoliating toner should gently remove the top layer of dead skin on your face, and restore some plumpness and glow to your face. One of my favourites, and the one I'd recommend to anyone starting out, is the Pixi Glow Tonic. It's priced at £18 and my bottle lasted me a whole year! A word to the wise - if you're using this in the AM, *always* make sure to use an SPF after you've finished your full routine.

MOISTURISER: My favourite moisturiser and one of the first few I ever used was the Origins Gin Zing! which plumps my skin and leaves it plenty hydrated without it ever feeling greasy. It also sinks in super quickly and absorbs like a dream, leaving my skin primed and ready for make up. If you're looking for a slightly cheaper option, the Boots Botanics Day Cream is a really nice, simple formula, which gives glow and definitely gently hydrates the skin, although it is a creamier texture so takes a little while longer to sink in.

And those are the back bones of a good routine! However, if you're feeling a little #treatyoself, here are some optional add-ons I would say have really helped my skin out...

EYE CREAM: A good eye cream isn't so much a concern for most in their early 20s, but as 80s and early 90s kids like myself get ever closer to the big 3-0... it's all about hydrating, plumping, and gently tending to that delicate skin! Eyebags are not a cute look and I suffer with allergies, so I like to use quite a rich and cooling treatment that really treats the skin under my eyes that is often so dry and irritated. That's why the Kiehl's Avocado Eye Treatment gets a big thumbs-up from me, and has been my go-to for about 3 years now!

SERUM: This is usually a step I reserve for my night-time routine, when I have a little more time to spend on getting my skin prepped for bed. It's kind of like a booster for your moisturiser! I really love the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, but for a cheaper option, I've heard great things about Glossier's Bounce Serum.

A GOOD HYDRATING MASK: I absolutely love a good hydrating masks - I use them on flights, before I get in the bath, and sometimes even in place of moisturiser in the evenings, to sleep in! There's nothing like giving your skin a big dose of food, and that is how I think of these bad boys. I'm all about Origins Drink-Up Intensive and always will be, but another great option is Glossier's Moon Mask, or try out Liz Earle's Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask.

*This post contains a paid-for affiliate link.

In the 12 months I've had my job as brand manager for a global publishing company, I've learnt a hell of a lot.

In the 2 months I've had a mentor at one of the biggest branding consultancies in the world, I've learnt a hell of a lot more.

You might've heard a lot about the importance of mentors in your career, but often with the attached mystery of Yoda-esque inherent wisdom. Everyone needs a mentor! You won't progress without one! But how to go about getting one? How do you even know where to start? Should they be in your field, or from a different discipline? There's a whole lot that can fall under that umbrella term of a 'mentor'. I like to think of it like this - whether formalised relationships or not, after a certain period of working people will emerge who you turn to regularly for advice and who help to shape your approach to the work that you do. That can be the beginning of forming a mentoring relationship - it's that simple.

From experience, I can say it's good to formally ask and set up some kind of framework - how often you'll meet, and whether you'd like to bring issues or questions to them to discuss, or whether you'll just have a more general 'check in'. Think about what you want to get from the relationship - is it specific advice on how to progress in your field? Or more general career guidance - a lot of women at the beginning of their careers find it particularly useful to speak to a woman in leadership in any discipline, if that's a particular aspiration, for example. No one form of relationship is more useful than the other. And no one mentorship should be for life - it's most useful to set short term goals, and check in at regular intervals to make sure you're both still getting a lot out of talking to one another.

So why do these relationships matter? Here are some of the tangible benefits I've felt since working with a mentor...

1. A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE: Reporting into your manager is a very specific type of relationship, based on task assignment and completion, and a shared view of what you're both working towards. Your mentor doesn't have the same amount riding on what you do, so will be able to give you some much-needed perspective on your work and your processes. I've found that when I talk things through during a mentoring session, we'll frequently 'trim the fat' around what I've been doing, and purely him coming at my work from a different angle and a different perspective forces me to get to the heart of what I mean much more quickly.

2. CHOICE: It might sound strange, but watching someone work, when you're not trying to get something done yourself - it's pretty fascinating. You'll find as you go through your career that you curate a lot of different viewpoints and tastes and perspectives as you go, which helps form your approach and your opinions in what you do. It's perfectly normal to be influenced in this way. Having a mentor, particularly if you have one in a different discipline to your own, gives you more exposure to different ways of working, of approaching problem solving, and strategic thinking. Just like the more you read can help broaden your vocabulary and make you a better writer, the more you work with different types of people, the more you can bring to the table when working on your next project.

3. RECOMMENDATIONS: Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and we've never seen that so prominently as in this age of social and digital. I'd say wait until you have a more familiar relationship with your mentor before you go adding them on LinkedIn, but these connections are powerful ones that will probably stay with you throughout your career - even if only in the form of a quick written endorsement.

4. TIME AWAY FROM YOUR DESK: I'm so grateful to have a scheme at work that allows me to see a mentor offsite, away from where I work every day. I'd suggest if you can, even if your mentor works in the same company as you, suggest going for coffee in the 'outside world'. The time away from the four walls you're usually in during work-time can do amazing things for your creativity and inspiration. If you have a commute to your mentor - even better. Use your train or bus ride to and from to do some reflecting and thinking time, and really process what you want to get out of your session, and what your key takeaways are, respectively.

5. THE HONEST TRUTH: A mentor will not be invested in whether you stay in the role you're currently in or not. They shouldn't be tied in any way to your successes or choices in what you do. And therefore, they'll be able to advise you objectively and help you to plan and make moves for you - based on what is both realistic and the right amount of ambitious. It shouldn't happen (but does, frequently) that your manager would stifle your growth or progress to keep you around and avoid the upheaval of rehiring. A mentor is a great sounding board for when you feel like it might be time to move on, move up, ask for more money, or renegotiate your job spec, and can give you solid, practical advice from experience on how to do this. 

By the time May comes around every year, I’m usually willing on the summer months, hoping for heatwaves and planning out my bank holiday activities - I can’t get enough. I don’t know if it was the winter that wouldn’t end, or if it’s simply how much I’ve got on right now, but I’m finding myself thinking ‘SLOW DOWN, I’M NOT READY!!!’ More and more often. 
Which is apt really, because more often than not, while I’m thinking about how much I’m not ready, I’m out here coping. Sometimes even doing really well. I’m doing things that would’ve terrified me a year ago, I’m managing to keep myself and those I love happy. There are tiny and quite massive, whale-sized wins happening all over the place. 

So until I learn to slow time or my thoughts, I’m going to have to just make do with letting go and trusting more. We’ve all got this and we can all find a way through the stress and pace and responsibilities, somehow. And for the times we can’t - it’s ALMOST warm enough for ice cream again.

SEE: I am so incredibly late to the party, but The Sopranos has been taking up every evening of my life pretty much since Easter weekend. What an incredible show! I’m also really into the short but sweet new series of Travel Man (Richard Ayoade makes me giggle like no other) and I am GAGGING at the new season of Drag Race. Last Sunday I was coming up empty and Netflix provided in the form of The First Monday in May - what a great documentary. It made me think back to going to see Savage Beauty at the V&A, and everything I loved about The Met, and working in magazines. Lots of inspiration to be had here.

LISTEN: APRIL HAS BEEN MAJOR FOR NEW RELEASES. So Dirty Computer came out and is phenomenal, as did my very own Anne Marie’s Speak Your Mind, which you should obviously all go get. Ari is back with a solid banger in the form of 'No Tears Left to Cry' and Tove Styrke has released some real earworms that I can’t get rid of. Lykke Li released deep end and hard rain which have me so excited for 'so sad, so sexy'.  There’s so much exciting shit happening in music right now!

GO: remember those two blissful days of heat we got? Well, the Boyf and I spent one of them on a little Cotswolds tour and damn, Chipping Norton is beautiful, isn’t it? I haven’t made enough time to Cotswolds explore but I’m hoping to rectify that this month between the two bank holidays. Coffee and cake at a little eatery or a drink in a pub is calling my name in the not too distant future...

EAT: April was a great food and drink month. I started it in Brighton, and Mum and I were lucky enough to spend some time pottering about there and enjoying all the fun sights. One stop we made was in La Cave au Fromage, where we picked up deli sandwiches to take back to our hotel room for a feast and MAN ALIVE were they good! I had a soft cream cheese and salami sub that legit changed my perspective on a lot of things.

DRINK: A friend at work went on a little gin tasting evening and mentioned that Sipsmith do a Lemon Drizzle gin - hello, ideal. Consider me sold.

WEAR: My mindset is well and truly focused on warmer weather days now, as well as some summer events that’ll require a few occasionwear bits. This maxi dress from Reiss has really caught my eye, as well as this beauty from Ganni.

READ: I’m longing to have enough time to sit down and start some new fiction - something along the lines of Little Fires Everywhere, which I've wanted to read for aaaages now!

THINK: Cyclical. I want to welcome good things in to my life, my body, my day to day, so that I can get good things out. There’s a lot of big things happening at work and personally for me this month, so it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of needing to give 110% to those demanding actions. 

In case you haven't noticed/don't live in the realms of Instagram - statement jewellery is back. With a vengeance.

This ain't ya mama's brocade brooches from the 80s, either. These opulent adornments range from tasselled, Versace-esque brightly coloured earrings to layer upon layer of delicate charm necklaces - self-expression through these little details is key. Since I've started experimenting more with these pieces, I've found how much they can really pull together an outfit - so I'm hoping that signposting some of my favourite offerings out there will help inspire you to get a little more adventurous yourselves!

Missoma - Dreamysigh. The one that started the obsession and took my love of white gold and turned it... well. Yellow gold. I am still deeply in love with my Mini Rope Coin necklace from the Lucy Williams x Missoma collection, which my boyfriend kindly gifted me for Christmas. I keep having to hold myself back from adding some mini hoops to join it. Everything on this site is so covetable and I always find myself scouring for a sale or any hint of discount because quality don't come cheap y'all. I've been wearing that necklace almost every day since December and it still looks just as shiny, beautiful and new as when I first got it. Highly recommended.

Rock N' Rose - Sitting more comfortably in my budget now, this lifestyle shop has got it going on at the moment. From straw bags to silk scarves, there's plenty to finish an outfit and give yourself that little 'je ne sais quoi'. I'm in love with the iconography collections on this site, in particular the Magdalene medal and cross double pendant. Think Sienna Miller in the early 00s boho vibes.

& Other Stories - My love for them knows no bounds. I used to shop for very delicate, tiny pieces here, like studs and stacking rings, but lately they've really been nailing the bold jewels. Those chunky hoops pictured are from Stories, and I'm quite frankly in love with these leaf charm earrings, too. They just seem to knock it out of the park with trend pieces at fair quality, that my wallet won't hate me forever for.

Zara - Zara do well with accessories - we've known for years that their footwear and handbag selection is the best place to get high street versions of couture trends - there are about 3 different styles of *that* Cult Gaia bag from last summer. While I wouldn't say the quality was going to last you forever, how does one say no to something this beaut?

Mango - Mango really didn't come to play for the last couple of seasons. I don't know if they've appointed a new design director or what, but their pieces have been some of the most exciting on the high street for a little while now. Their earring selection right now is outrageously beautiful but I am super excited by this simple, but impactful, metal chain necklace.

Oliver Bonas - These guys were on statement jewels before it was a thing, and they haven't let me down in terms of the individual taste level of their selection, and the amazing quality and affordability of the pieces. OB is my favourite on the high street for good reason - I love how they can mix a real wearable art feel with such simplicity and effortlessness - like this necklace.

What jewellers are exciting you right now? I'd really love to find some more independent makers!

Something quite strange happened with this post.

I wasn't going to write it. I actually am consciously choosing not to make content right now, until the internet (or I) decides to even out in terms of content creation and consumption. Right now, perhaps fuelled by a very poignant Hannah Gale post (you'll notice the date of my last blog post and her post coincide) and by more exciting and instantly gratifying options to create on Insta, I've been doing some serious reconsidering about what noise I want to add to this already overcrowded space we have here. What do I want to say, and is it important enough to take up your time?

Then today, I took a photo of some bright spring colours because they were making me happy. Then I sat down to type this because I wanted a place to write down what's been going on in my head. I put on some music that I've been loving lately, and here I am, Easter Monday, taking this as it comes. I might not post every day. I might not post ever again. But if and when I do, I can promise you whatever you find here will be coming from a place of excitement to create, because that is what I feel has been missing for me. I'm hoping that learning how to channel that in a way that makes sense for both me the author, and you the reader, will mean a better experience for all of us - but until then, thank you for your patience and thank you for your precious time.

SEE: There's so much good stuff I've discovered lately, but I feel I'd be totally lying to myself if I didn't share Big Little Lies with you. This has eaten up a good portion of my Easter weekend because it's just so bloody moreish and engulfing - and two words for you? Nicole. Kidman. Jheeeeze, that woman can act. All three women (Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley included) in this drama are mesmerising, but wow. I don't want to say any more about it or ruin it, but you will NOT regret the 9 hours of your life you give to this programme, trust. I'm also off to see Isle of Dogs tonight and I'm so bloody excited. Wes Anderson is one of my absolute favourite directors, the cast list for this is incredible and I just love getting lost in his worlds.

LISTEN: I've really been loving listening to Why Don't You by Cleo Sol, a new discovery for me. The Weeknd also did a bit of a surprise and dropped an EP (it would seem purely for the facilitation of dragging Selena Gomez), and Wasted Times is probably my favourite from it - I think mainly because I am on Bella Hadid's side in this fictitious world where I understand their relationship drama.

GO: Weirdly, the boyf and I have been enjoying settling down with a cuppa and an episode of River Cottage lately, and we've both decided we'd quite like to go to River Cottage HQ in Devon - mostly for the amazing fare, but also to see the beautiful countryside and make a little bit of a roadtrip out of it! They've got a fair on during the late May Bank Holiday and I think we might plan to go!

EAT: I paid a visit to Doughnut Time in Notting Hill last month and I have to say, those were some pretty freaking delicious doughnuts. Soft and gooey dough on the inside, a nice bready flavour but nothing too strong, and seeeriously dangerous toppings. We went for 'Sia Later' and 'Houston, We Have Biscoff' and split them - both were vegan, both were SERIOUSLY indulgent and both were great.

DRINK: Opposite end of the spectrum, a girlfriend and I also visited Jusu Brothers in Notting Hill (granted it was a different day, different mood), and I ended up getting a Kiyomi Queen - cucumber, lemon and pineapple juice - just gorgeous! I highly recommend this place if you're in the area.

WEAR: Slowly slowly all the spring collections are creeping in, and yet nothing is speaking to my soul more right now than this kimono with pom poms from Zara, and this two piece suit from River Island.

READ: For the few days I was in London on business last month, I could not get away from this book. I don't know if they're giving them out for free as a public service or what, but for it to have THAT kind of coverage, I maybe need to look into bagging myself a copy!

THINK: Rekindle. I'm feeling a little burnt out and disconnected from myself, so it's time to do a little downtime work, spend some time offline and with family and fill the tank back up, ready to go in again on all of these creative projects I want to get done!

Powered by Blogger.