Can you believe it's almost the end of February? I know it's a short month, but JEEZ, this seems absolutely unheard of. I thought I'd take a second amidst all the craziness to say hey, check in, give you a round up of how my world is looking. I have to confess, I really love my friend Tenneil's 'Life Lately' posts, and I wanted to write something in tribute to those - so here goes! Everything that has been going on in my head...

Ah man, the 'gram. Can we all agree that this platform is so freaking confusing?! The ups, the downs, the growth without rhyme or reason, the algorithm, the albums now?! I feel like Insta is even more fickle than Facebook and for someone that spends 90% of her working life monitoring a Facebook page, that statement is a lot. I've been listening, during my workdays, to the lovely Hashtag Authentic podcast created by Sara of Me and Orla fame. This has just been the best - so inspiring, relatable, no-nonsense and I find Sara's voice hugely relaxing to listen to - every episode is a joy. I really, really enjoyed this latest one with Dominique of @allthatisshe fame. Inspired and eager as always, I've been putting a lot of extra time and thought into my Instagram - if you guys would mosey on over, that'd mean the world. Particularly loving taking pictures of old buildings and food - go figure! I'll be documenting my recent trip to Bristol, which segways me nicely on to...

Oh man - I love me some Brizzle. Even in the horrendous Storm Doris-ness of this week, Bristol was absolutely lovely for a city break. We were there to go see Ricky Gervais' Humanity stand up tour, which was incredible. I now have a pretty mammoth crush on Doc Brown. He did a rap about the Cotswolds and it just sent. me. over. the edge. I didn't take my blogging camera as this was a Christmas present to James, and I didn't feel right shoving a DSLR in his face while he was trying to eat dinner (!!) but I will say - if you're in the mood for a burger and bourbon, hit up Chomp. Two of my fave things. We also really loved the St. Nicholas Markets and the Bristol Cathedral, College Green area and Park Street is awesome too. Not to be missed - Bluebird Tea Company - I'm so sad they don't have a shop nearer to Oxford! I'm already planning a trip back!

I've had to say goodbye and good luck to a dear friend at work this month, and send her on her way to NYC (tiny heartbreak of sadness and immense jealousy), but I also found out that I'd be saying goodbye to my childhood home when I head to Dubai later this year, too. This also comes at the same time that my man and I are looking at the potential of leaving Oxford soon. It's a strange thing, moving on and 'letting go' so to speak, but I'm trying to focus on gratitude for what I have rather than pout about what I might perceive that I'm 'losing'. It's another reminder that all things are transitory, and happiness isn't tied to a 'place' or a particular time, but rather something you can foster within yourself. 31 days of yoga in January helped a lot with this, and I've been thinking now would be a great time to get back into that habit!

I had a teeny meltdown at the beginning of the month on the phone to my mum - it was the second week of February, I had broken my 'meat free month' and stopped yoga, I felt at a bit of a loose end with my goals and was feeling in a slump. It didn't take long for my gorgeous ma, in her perfect 'mum' way, to say: 'Tami, it's 8 days into February. Calm down.' I got a hold of myself, got focused, and moved on. I'm still not 100% where I'd like to be in terms of staying on track, but I'm learning to accept my shortcomings as not the end of the world.

That being said - I did manage to have a huge closet and dressing table clear out (post upcoming!) and have listed some things in my Depop shop - do go have a visit and let me know if there's anything you're interested in.

I hope February has treated you well and you're all as ready for Spring as I am - I've never been so excited for trench coat season!

Having a signature scent is something that I think is talked about a lot in the beauty community, conjuring up images of old glamour, dressing tables and perfume atomisers. I love the power of fragrance, the ability of a scent to recall memories, and my little collection of perfumes is something I've explored before here on the blog. But I have a little confession: I've become a very specific perfume hoarder. 

The collection of scents from Elizabeth and James (aka Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's line for those hibernating) SHOULD have been a 'sniff and select' process. Four scents, each distinct and quite different, I was certain that I couldn't love them all. One of them was called Rose for Gods sake, and I had sworn off all things rose-y a long time ago.

I started my collection with Nirvana White. This sophisticated, light and slightly sweet scent struck a chord with me instantly. It smelled like summer, but not crudely of sea salt and Tommy Girl, this was much more refined - grown up, I guess - peony, muguet and musk make up the fragrance. I bought the rollerball 3 years ago and it's just about still hanging on.

Then, Nirvana Black joined the family. I'll be honest, when I first smelt this, it didn't work for me. The scent is heady, sexy, sweet - it reminded me of cloying Arabic sandalwood-based perfumes that I had been trapped in lifts with in Dubai one time too many. But it really, really grew on me. This is a fragrance for dates, for when you want to feel sexy and sensual. Powerfully connected to your femininity, notes of violet and vanilla make it womanly without being girly. I adore it now.

Nirvana Bourbon was never going to be a misfire for me. Bourbon is my drink of choice and the sweet, spicy taste of the whiskey perfectly translates to scent. There's a hint of oakwood and tuberose in there too, which gives this a gorgeous depth. I love wearing this to work, it's almost like day drinking!

So when the option to buy all of the fragrances in miniature in a Sephora value set (aptly coined 'Find Your Nirvana') came along, unable to buy them here in the U.K. and with willing beauty mule en route to NYC (thanks Nicole!), I thought screw it, I'll take the chance on Rose. Here's where it gets weird...

This is a HEAVY rose scent. This isn't Rose lite or some dainty fashion editor take on Rose, this goes hard on the floral. And when I first sniffed it, I predictably hated it. However, I decided to see how it settled on the skin and, to my surprise, it dried down to a really feminine, soft scent that was sweet without being overpowering. There's also something quite Eastern about it, I guess the notes of vetiver, which I don't mind at all. Its subtlety is best appreciated when warmed on the skin.

So there you have it - I'm totally in love. Unfortunately the value set is no longer available on, but I think you can still try in store if you have one near you! My only problem now is - you can't get these perfumes in the UK!!! Still, something tells me I might have JUST enough to keep me going for now...

Oh yes... It's a YouTube tag just made for me - a tag video dedicated entirely to skincare. When I saw this pop up on Ashley and Sandra's channels earlier this week, I just knew it was the video I wanted to film for you guys! So grab a cuppa and get settled in for this chatty look around my absolute favourite skincare products, ingredients, my skincare set up and the items that have been on my wishlist for TOO freaking long - I'm looking at you Glossier.

Hope you guys are having a lovely weekend and that you enjoy the video! Please do subscribe to my YT channel if you aren't already - I put up new videos (most) Sundays, and I'm really enjoying it right now! Let me know if there's anything you guys would like to see.

For the whole month of January, I ate vegetarian - mainly to prove I could to myself, but also because ethically and personally I have trouble with how much meat gets consumed in my household. My boyfriend is huge compared to me - taller, more muscular, and basically runs on protein from animal meat. I, however, used to be more or less veggie at uni and was eager to see if I felt a big change going back to my old habits for a while.

So I guess I should start there - did I feel a change, and the answer? Yes. Hugely. In short and more flattering words, my digestive system took a while to... adjust. I was suffering with tummy aches and, for want of a more pleasant expression, trapped wind, for the first two weeks of eating no meat. Some days, this would get quite painful, and the tummy gurgling? DNW!

Having said that, I did feel a lot less lethargic, and a lot more HUNGRY. I was absolutely ravenous at mealtimes and this led to me eating more carbs and fats than I probably would have if it wasn't the depths of winter. 3 Cheese pasta and kale, anyone?

Another thing that struck me was how lonely it was, and I say that as a part of a couple and also considering social outings too - basically, if you're the only veggie at the table during a mealtime with more than one person, it can be weirdly alienating. I didn't think this would still be the case in 2017, but the question I got asked the most throughout the month was: 'Why?' - as though I were putting myself through a hardship! That was sometimes irritating, and I know that not being able to share meals as we usually would was a hard adjustment for my partner.

All things considered - would I do it again? Yes, absolutely, I would. The pros outweighed the cons and, as much as I missed meat towards the end, it definitely made me want to cut my intake down to once or twice a week max. So I've put some helpful hints together if you're thinking about going for it yourself - and good luck!

1. IF YOU'RE A LAZY MEAT EATER, YOU'LL BE A LAZY VEGGIE - basically, preparation is key. If you're not a meal planner, it might be time to build that life skill as a habit, because being a lazy vegetarian can get same-y and quite fattening - fast. Bread, pasta, cheese and potatoes can form the base of a lot of convenience veggie meals, so if you're eating out or picking up ready meals a lot, it can be a quick way to gain weight, or get bored. 

2. DO YOUR RESEARCH - if you don't have a solid reason or passion for going veggie, chances are it won't stick. Because even now, even in 2017, it can be hard finding vegetarian options. For example, did you know that some cheeses, like Parmesan, aren't veggie? Which then also rules out a lot of pesto, which is traditionally made with Parmesan. Gelatine is also not veggie, and is included in a lot of desserts. Get passionate and informed about your choice to go veggie and then do the homework on exactly how much this is going to impact your life. 

3. DRAW ON YOUR RESOURCES - chances are you know a vegetarian or vegan friend who probably have an arsenal of good recipes to draw from, or you follow Minimalist Baker, or you've got a pristine copy of Deliciously Ella. There's no need to go out and buy a spiraliser and raid Amazon cookbooks with the word 'Glow' in the title - just ask around, do a little browsing of blogs and Pinterest and you'll have plenty of inspiration to get you started.

4. BABY STEPS - I went a little H.A.M going 0-100 for a whole 31 days with no prior prep. Realistically, if I wanted this to be a longer term change, I should have eased myself into veggie living by slowly cutting down my meat intake in stages. This also probably would have helped out with the whole, uh, gut transition.

5. GET ADVENTUROUS - Here it is - stuffed mushrooms and peppers and mushroom burgers (wtf is that by the way - don't charge me full price for a burger when the 'patty' is just a large mushroom?!) get old. If you're not willing to embrace some more diverse greens, try a chickpea, eat the fried cauliflower - this is going to be a sad ride for you. I loved trying different combinations my friends would recommend and going for things I wouldn't usually - sometimes it failed catastrophically, but mostly I realised how yummy falafel was. Yes, being veggie made me a better Arab.

And that's your lot! Hopefully you find this helpful. Are any of you considering going veggie?

January was a busy month for me that saw me away from home quite a bit for work trips and so on, and whilst exciting trips away help to keep things interesting, the skin on my face definitely is the first place to show fatigue and general travel-associated weariness. As a rule, I try to stick to a morning and evening cleansing routine, even when I'm busiest, every day in winter - the cold and central heating tend to wreak havoc on my skin and dry it out a treat. So when considering what routine to employ and which treatments to carry while I'm away, I want hydrating multi-taskers that are perfectly pocket-sized. Very often space is super limited, so I managed to streamline everything down to these five key products for day and night, which all fit into a handbag just as easily as a rucksack.

First up - my travel-sized cleanser is the Eve Lom cleansing balm - a cleanser which melts down to an oil and really agrees with my parched winter skin. It's deeply hydrating, emulsifies well and doesn't leave any residue on the face. I use it for a daytime or nighttime cleanse - it's the business and my skin is always much softer and plumper after use.

Until my dreams of picking up a travel-sized Pixi Glow Tonic are fulfilled, I'm using this Hydrating Floral Essence from Tata Harper which is light, smells like walking into a really relaxing spa, and doesn't sit awkwardly on the face after spritzing. The write up on this describes it as a moisturiser in itself - I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely soothing to parched winter skin needing a drink.

My daytime routine concludes here, with REN Evercalm Global Protect Day Cream. This moisturiser is light, but still creamy and luxurious enough to be very hydrating - it leaves my skin plump and glowy and I have 0 problems with that. I gave some to my friend who also suffers with sensitive skin and it worked a treat for her too - if you have skin concerns, this could be a great option for your new daily moisturiser.

On to my evening routine, and my favourite pick of the bunch (and the most well-worn in the picture above) is the Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream - the texture of this might seem a little weird to the touch, but don't let it alarm you. As someone who suffers from itchy, dry eyes (damn you central heating!) in winter, this is the perfect, soothing balm to comfort them. This helps with dark circles under my eyes, cools them down if they're feeling irritated, and helps to repair and heal any broken skin in this delicate area. For those with dry or eczema-prone skin - look this up. It's a pocket-sized saviour.

In lieu of day cream, I use this teeny tiny (and completely adorable) sample size of the Clarins Blue Lotus treatment oil, which really agrees with my skin. It's hydrating, sinks in very quickly and doesn't pool on the skin like some treatments do. In fact, it sinks in so quickly that those who like to really massage oils into the skin might find it a little irritating - my skin just drinks this up! I love it as an overnight treatment and wouldn't hesitate to buy the full size - it really lends a dewy, glowy look to the skin without it just looking artificial.

So there you have it! What makes the cut when you go travelling? Are there any genius pea-sized products I'm missing out on?
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