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Wedding dress shopping at David’s Bridal

Since getting engaged, I’ve thrown myself into wedding planning. Our wedding is in May next year, so while there’s plenty of time to organise all the details, some bridal shops advise placing an order 9 months (!) before the wedding to allow time for the dress to be made, delivered, and altered, so as much as it pains me to make such a big decision so soon, I do have to start thinking seriously about my dress. With this in mind, I took a trip to Westfield Stratford City to visit David’s Bridal and try my first few dresses…

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You Can Take The Girl Out Of The Country…

I’ve lived in London for almost twelve years, but I actually grew up in a rural village, surrounded by countryside. I never really appreciated it when I was there – country walks were just something my dad made me do when I could have been shopping – but I’ve grown to learn how lucky I was that I spent my formative years adopting hedgehogs in the garden, sledging on the common in Winter and attempting to rollerblade through fields in Spring. I’ve been on my fair share of camping trips, played epic games of hide and seek in the grounds of the village castle (really) and can still identify most common birds and butterflies, despite rarely seeing them in Clapham…

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Adventures (and Proposals) In Thailand

Following our trip to China for my brother’s wedding, we took a detour via Thailand on the way home. It seemed such a shame to go so far and only visit one country, and since we’d used our holiday fund to pay for the trip, it made sense to add a holiday on the end.

So, with many thanks to an amazing travel agent who managed to get us everything we wanted at a price even her colleagues couldn’t believe, our next stop was Phuket…

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My East-Meets-West Adventure in China

My older brother moved to China in 2013. Wanderlust is one of the rare things we have in common, though my trips tend to involve meticulous travel arrangements (including my legendary laminated currency converters), good shopping, incredible beaches and the passing chance that someone might speak a bit of English, while he is the kind of confident sort who will throw himself into the most challenging travel situations without the slightest thought. The thing is – and I hope he won’t mind me saying this – he’s also a bit of a jammy git. He has natural charm that usually helps him through these situations, and China was no exception. He ended up falling in love with more than just the country, and a few weeks ago 14 family and friends flew to the far east to join 240-odd Chinese people to watch my brother tie the knot…

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The Sweet Scent of the Maldives

Usually I give blog competitions a miss, but sometimes the lure of an incredible prize and a fun challenge is too hard to ignore, and that is definitely the case with Kuoni’s incredible Scents of Adventure competition.

They’re asking people to get their thinking cap on and come up with the signature scent of a country to add the finishing touch to a poster that will hand in the Bluewater store. The rest of the countries are already completed (coffee for Brazil, apple pie for the USA and so on) which leaves one last island nation to get its representation; the Maldives. The prize, of course, is a trip there to experience the sights, sounds and smells for yourself. How could I resist?

What to buy from Sephora now they ship to the UK

What To Buy From Sephora Now There’s UK Shipping!

Sephora is finally available in the UK again! I first discovered the French beauty mecca on school exchange trips to Caen, and briefly enjoyed a time when there were some branches in the UK in shopping centres like Merry Hill and Brent Cross. Alas, the world wasn’t ready for a high end beauty shop back then, and Sephora pulled out of the UK in the mid-2000s. Since then, most of us have come to know the brand for its incredible US stores, full of brands we can rarely find (or afford) in the UK. Even with today’s rubbish exchange rate, it’s still cheaper to buy a lot of brands in the USA, so when I discovered that the US site is now shipping to the UK I couldn’t wait to share the news! When I did so on twitter, Selena asked me if I’d share my tips on what to buy, and of course I couldn’t be happier to ramble on about the beauty products I love and covet! So scroll down for my tips on the best brands to grab from Sephora while you can.

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If You’re Going To San Francisco…

One of the perks of my job is that I’ve been lucky enough to visit head office in San Francisco a couple of times. It’s such a great part of the job, not just because it means I get to put faces to the names I speak to so often by email and phone, but also because it’s such a wonderful city.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places over the last 30 years, but there are only two cities other than my beloved London I’ve visited and thought “I could live here”. One is Melbourne (which one of my best friends did move to, only adding to this feeling) and the other is San Francisco. The general vibe, the various cultural neighbourhoods, and the thriving tech / media industry all feel very familiar, but you could never say it’s like London. California and England are separated by so much, not just the weather…

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The Perfect NYE Party Dress by Bastyan

For me, half of the fun of party season is in the getting ready, so when Bastyan offered me the chance to style up one of their party dresses, I couldn’t resist. Their dresses put modern spins on classic formal shapes, from cutouts at the waist to sheer panels and embroidered details. I wasn’t so sure on the styles that flashed the flesh and I knew I wouldn’t get much wear out of one of the more formal maxi dresses, so the dress I chose was the Sophia, a fitted black pencil dress with a gathered section, sheer 3/4 length sleeves and a curved plunge neckline. It’s one of those dresses that looks quite innocuous until you put it on. Then you realise what a difference a clever cut can make…