10 THINGS I MISS ABOUT LONDON WHEN I LEAVE

If you get me started on my love for New York, well... you probs just shouldn't because oh my god grab a cuppa and a bacon sarnie and let's chat for a good 5hours. If you get me started on travel, gal pal's gonna have you booking a plane ticket to an amazing destination in seconds because I can pretty much convince the most stubborn of people that travel is the most amazing, enriching thing you can do.

But here's the thing, despite all of this, I am the biggest homebody. I adore home, I adore my family, I adore spending time with the people I love more than any incredible destination, and you know what, I actually adore London. Yeah... so there's shit rubbish everywhere, most people won't smile at you and will just walk by, a lot of people are rude, house prices make you wanna drown yourself in McDonalds fries and potentially jump off of Tower Bridge.

But as a born and bred Londoner of 23 years, it's home. So whilst I'm away - if you didn't gauge from my annoying af instagram and snapchat [theellenextdoor] spam, I'm away for 2weeks in Italy and New York - I thought I'd put together a little list of things that I miss about London when I leave.

The Sounds
Don't christen me a crackpot/loonytune but there's just something comforting about so much noise, the constant buzz and the lively atmosphere of London that makes me crave car horns, london accents and all of those things that you usually can't stand, when I'm gone. Yes, beautiful peaceful villages are stunningly quiet and most likely an Instagram dream, but sometimes you just need to hear someone screaming "get off the road w**ker" don't you?

Oh, you don't and that's just me being weird af? Oh, well that's awkward...

The Culture
The culture, and cultures. I love that we have so many cultures under one roof, so many completely different people and so many stories to hear/tell. But mostly I love London culture. I love that it's totally OK to midweek drink, that not demolishing a roast dinner every sunday is abnormal and the silly little things that you don't think about until you don't have them. The pub gardens, the stunning parks, the architecture. Corner shops. Gotta love a handy little corner shop.


Transport
Don't get me wrong, I am the first person to throw a bitch fit over the northern line but you gotta admit, it's just so damn easy and simple to get anywhere in London thanks to our transport system. Despite the tube being a sweaty, smelly cesspit, it also allows me to get from meeting to meeting and 5 times over in one day as quickly as possible. When it's all running on time of course, when it's not it's the most frustrating piece of shiz known to mankind. 

Primark, Starbucks (apart from when I'm in New York and there's one on every corner), supermarkets where I actually know what and where everything is. Seeing Tower Bridge, the gherkin etc. pretty much from my window. Just generally the things I take for granted until I'm in Italy like "just ripped my dress, where's my god damn Primarni at?"


The sense of humour
Soz people of the world but us Londoners/generally English people have the best sense of humour. Sorry not sorry. I am pretty much sarcasm in person form so that dry, quick wit is something that I really miss in other countries. It's also mega lols being self deprecating and sarcastic in America to be met with the blankest of faces #IKnowYouDontUnderstandAWordImSaying



English TV
Let me just put it out there that I genuinely thinking watching Coronation street, Emmerdale, Eastenders etc. is the worse than watching paint dry but there's just something a little comforting about it. It's such a nostalgic thing for me, and then there's the complete and utter tripe like Big Brother/TOWIE/[insert your own form of trashy TV show that I've probably worked on at some point or the other. Soz. Lol!] that is completely awful but sometimes slightly compelling. It's just the knowing that there will be something easy and slightly mind numbing to watch that takes you away from daily life.


The mindless chatter
I can't bear awkward silences so I am without a doubt the worst person for mindless chatter [insert cry laughter/"no, but seriously" emoji here]. Talk to me about the weather, talk to me about football, just talk to me because gal pal cannot handle the silence. 

I mean, preferably don't talk to me about football but just make conversation.

But Londoners are great at this, when they're not ignoring you, they're most likely commenting on the miserable weather and impending bout of rain. Yay!

More little things
Constant repeats of Harry Potter, Pork scratchings (lol, I definitely originally put this in more as a generic/joke option and realised that I am all about pork scratchings), endless supplies of Galaxy ripples/Dairy milk/[insert your own choice of chocolate porn here]. Nuff said!

The Yuppie twat things
Knowing that you can get amazing avocado on toast very close by. I wanna say SorryNotSorry but I'm kinda a little bit sorry for getting my priorities so wrong. But OH MY GOD IT'S JUST SO GOOD. Froyo, sushi, basically anything that makes you feel a little bit sassy being so readily available is something I miss.

Sue me.

Family and friends
I'm a born and bred Londoner - if anyone has heard my cockney drawl then you won't be surprised by this - the vast majority of my family are here and we are all ridiculously close. I mean, I've been away for 2days as I'm writing this and I've facetime'd my Mum 3 times already. So yeah, leaving London always means leaving them and a tiny part of me always breaks a little inside no matter how excited I am for whatever journey I am about to go on. 

So that brings this post to an end. As I'm writing this, I'm sat on my veranda on a cruise ship making it's way to St Tropez from Italy and it's making me feel a little bit silly for missing London a bit. I genuinely wouldn't give up my travels for the world, but I do think it's good to throw a bit of love London's way too. After all, it will always, always, be home.

What kind of things do you miss about London when you leave? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

As always, thanks so much reading!

xx

P.S posts will be a little sparse around here as the wifi is slower than a snail and I'm also jetting off to NYC straight after but hopefully it'll be worth sticking around, I cannot wait to show you where I am right now!

MY CURRENT FAVOURITE MAKEUP

I have always been one of those massive losers people that's longed for holy grail items. Like, I want to be that sassy 80 year old that's used the same fragrance, foundation etc. for the last 60 years but the problem is... I'm thickle AF.

Oh, and also there are so many babein products out there that omg how am I meant to stick to just one?

So I've come to the conclusion that whilst I won't be a chic AF granny bathing in only Chanel No5, I will be a 20 something girl that tries - and loves - a lot of products, and that's absolutely OK. 

So I thought I'd put together a post of all of my favourite makeup items that I have on rotation, and all the things that take my face from a 0/10 to a solid 4/10 [insert hands up/hallelujah emoji here].
Up until quite recently, I never really got primers. They were just an extra step - ain't nobody got time for that - that I never found totally necessary. However I then tried a few major babes that completely changed that opinion. The first is the Loreal lumi magique primer and it is all kinds of unicorn/ethereal/magical goodness. It's very pearlescent and glowy which means it gives you the most stunning "I've been drinking 20litres of water and got all my greens in, boo" glow and basically makes me look 10x healthier than I am. Makeup applies flawlessly over the top and it does make it last those few hours extra too. Such a fab, affordable product. On the more high end side, I have been absolutely loving the Laura Mercier blemish-less primer. It is the most perfect base for makeup and works amazingly well on all skin types but particularly well on my combination oily skin and is the little hero that I crack out every time my skin is having a bitch fit and decided to mimic a pizza. It really does help to clear up the skin whilst also allowing you to wear makeup at the same time. A gorgeous primer! And then we have the Bobbi Brown instant confidence stick which isn't necessarily a primer but it absolutely needs to be included in this post because it's frickin incredible. A super light product that instantly blurs any fine lines and basically makes your entire face look 10x smoother and more flawless. I use this prior to make and to touch up throughout the day to matte out any shine or get rid of pesky creases. The most insane product.
Up until semi recently, I'd been using the Bourjois healthy mix foundation for years and years and literally nothing came close to knocking it off of the top of my bae favourite foundation list. And then... I kinda got a lot of new things and I kinda loved a lot of new things and all of a sudden I've got a whole army of new foundations that I can't imagine life without.

Lol. Gotta love a good bit of exaggeration.

The first foundation that pushes BHM (bourjois healthy mix, we can abbreviate cause' obvs we're bessie mates) is the SUQQU Extra rich cream foundation (released September 2016). Now, this actually reminds me a lot of BHM but I would say that it's slightly thicker, has slightly better coverage and makes everything look a little more flawless. It kinda makes my skin look a bit photoshopped without completely caking it in makeup and looking too obvious. Skin-like, but frickin good skin. It's ridiculously nourishing and always keeps any dry patches at bay and generally just gives me that boost of confidence that my skin looks sassy as hell and I also don't look like a drag queen/like I've shovelled on a litre of foundation. Then we have the Laura Mercier Candleglow foundation and this is completely different to the SUQQU foundation. I would say that this has light to medium coverage and my god it gives so much frickin "I woke up like this and yes I'm actually flawless [insert sassy woman emoji here]" glow. This is healthy skin in a bottle and my favourite for when I need a really natural, quick look. This doesn't last quite as long on my skin and if you have some blemishes/dark circles then you'll definitely need a good concealer but I couldn't not include it because it seriously is such a babe. The Clarins BB Fluid is the product that finally made me get BB creams. It's the most stunning glowy, reasonably thick foundation that looks light but completely flawless, allowing your skin to shine through. It has an SPF of 25 which I adore and is a product that I know will see me through the rest of the summer. 
Concealer wise, there really has been no big or fancy changes for me. I've been using the IT cosmetics Bye bye undereye for months now as it just does the best of covering dark circles and imperfections whilst also lasting all day and not creasing. It really just does the job. A less expensive - but very similar - alternative would be the Collection lasting perfection concealer which is the biggest drugstore bae of all the baes.

I seriously hate myself for that last comment. [insert shotgun emoji here]

When it comes to eyes, despite being ridiculously thickle with products, the overall look is always the same. Smokey, neutral golds/bronzes/taupes/champagnes tones, you get the gist... but despite my serious lack of experimentation, I have some seriously beautiful products that are all so different. Starting with The Body Shop down to earth quad. I actually used this in my drugstore makeup video and I absolutely adore it. For an affordable palette, the pigmentation and formulation is stunning. The colours are completely wearable for all seasons and blend perfectly together, it's one of those products perfect for travel because it just kinda does everything. Then I have a totally different product in the form of the RMS eye polish in Solar and oh my sweet baby jesus this might be one of the prettiest eyeshadows I own. A gorgeous cream that almost looks 3D and... molton-like. You know, those cream eyeshadows that are so metallic that they almost look wet, I bloody love those bad boys. This one is in the shade Solar and is the prettiest goldy/bronze shade and I kinda feel like this is my perfect colour shadow. #CanIstartAnAppreciationClubForThisPlease
Mascaras are something that I can usually give or take - as in, I'll just use any ole one, not that I could ever go without one - until the Clarins Supra volume mascara came into my life and completely changed the game. This gives me length, volume, curl and this one in particular comes in the most gorgeous rich brown shade which I adore for daytime as it makes your look look a little more natural and effortless. It doesn't flake or budge and stays in place all blimmin day. Plus with the Clarins double fix over the top - i.e the biggest life saver of all time - it's completely waterproof too! Then on the more budget side, I recently discovered the Loreal Miss Hippie mascara which reminds me so much of the former Clarins option. It gives gorgeous, fluttery volume which is always what I look for in a mascara and doesn't do a bad of lengthening either. Stays all day, doesn't budge - are you gauging that I'm really lazy/clumsy and need products that are longwearing and idiot proof? - and for £7.99 is such a winner.
I am a self confessed blush whore. Like, gimme all the colour on the cheeks because otherwise I look dead please and thank you?! But seriously, blush is one of my favourite makeup items and because of this, it takes a lot to knock my favourites off of their top spots but this month I've managed to find a few absolute gems that I can't get off of my face! Firstly, this is one that really makes me feel sassy AF and it's the Suqqu Urushibi pure colour blush. The two tone/ombre of this powder is an Instagram dream waiting to happen but the colour itself is just perfection. At first I thought this would be best in Autumn, a gorgeous, almost plummy, dusky pink but actually, swirled together it gives such a perfect pinky, healthy glow that I seriously can't stop wearing it. It goes with any makeup look and just gives a "I've just done loads of exercise but lol not really because this is me after all" flush that I can't get enough of. When I'm not blush-crushing (see what I did there, see what I did there) over the Suqqu goddess, it's the Clinique cheek pop in Melon pop which has absolutely been hitting the spot. A stunning bright orange peach which just gives the most beautiful warmth to the skin, sometimes I use this and shun bronzer when I don't have much time and it still creates enough warmth to keep me looking so much healthier than I actually am (unless Pizza's all of a sudden become a superfood in which case I'm a frickin health god). It's also a stunning formula which blends seamlessly on the skin!
We're nearly there guys. I've been keeping it really simple with my lips because I'm a basic bitch and basically only ever wear nude lips. Sorry not sorry. A product that I've loved since the first time of using them is the Clarins instant lip perfectors. They're glossy, extremely nourishing, taste like caramel and have a whole range of really beautiful colours. All of them are really subtle and don't pack a huge pigmentation punch but I absolutely have to have one in my bag at all times because they really are that good. My all time favourite is Shade 1 however this Autumn Clarins have pulled the biggest babes out of the bag in the form of shade 10 and 12. The former being a really beautiful pinky coral which is perfect for brightening the face and adding a little more colour to a neutral look. The latter is one that I love because it's almost like a red lip for beginners. Sheer, glossy, completely wearable but a little extra somethin somethin. Then I have a new discovery - also in my drugstore makeup look - which deserves all the heart eye'd emoji's in the world. The Loreal infallible sexy balms remind me a lot of the Clarins instant light balms, beautifully balmy and nourishing but these also pack a really beautiful amount of pigmentation too. They last well on the lips but they're also really easily topped up too. Oh, and did I mention that Sheer gossip might be the most perfect peachy nude ever made? Well there, said it. Finally, the Burts Bee's lip crayon which may be my favourite formulation for a lipstick ever. I'm not sure I've ever been so pleasantly surprised by a product, they're the creamiest, waxiest most nourishing crayons that are so incredibly pigmented. They last for hours but they also leave your lips in such good condition that you can reapply without having to sort out any dry patches. The colours are stunning - Carolina Coast, Sedona Sands and Hawaiian smoulder being my favourite - and I honestly don't think there will ever come a time where I don't crack these out on a weekly basis. Perfection!
Finally for makeup items that I've been fangirling over so much that I needed to write about them here, the Bobbi Brown retouching face pencil... and let me tell you gal pals, this is a little bit life changing. In short, it's a creamy matte pencil that lightens shadows, covers blemishes and redness and basically diminishes any imperfections. They come in all different shades and my one just happens to have the slightest shimmer in it so obviously I wouldn't go too crazy on the blemishes as I don't want to highlight those bad boys, but they are absolutely incredible. What I love most about this though is that it's so perfect for on the go, I literally slip this into my bag and any time my face needs perking up (i.e all day ehhr day) if my highlights fades or my circles are screaming out to be covered, this bad boy comes out and covers it right up. I just really feel like Bobbi Brown, as well as having stunning longwear eyeshadows, beautiful lipsticks etc. have just really nailed the "genius products" market. [insert hand clapping emoji here].


And that brings my mammoth "yo ladies, here's some makeup I love go try it" post. I really hope you enjoyed it because it took me hours and hours to write lol as always, I would love to know what your current favourite makeup items are? Anything that I need to go out and purchase right this second?

As always, thanks so much for reading!

xx


AUBAINE SUMMER EN PROVENCE MENU (SPOILER, IT'S DREAMY)

Aubaine Summer menu
My last post was one of those slightly annoying "soz gal pals but perfect does exist and I just had a pretty frickin perfect day, don't hate me" kinda posts involving babein food, babein wine, babein facials.

It was a bit babein, if you couldn't already tell!

Annnnnd I'm kinda back to talk about another day but stop right now before you christen me the worst human being ever, this time didn't involve indulgent facials and spas, it was just a meal - that just happened to be ridiculously delicious - but it was with my Dad, one of my favourite people in the world, and it was in Kensington, one of our favourite places in the world (hello Harrods and Harvey Nics and all the fancy things) and it was just bloody lovely.

It made me realise that as much as I'm lucky enough to be blessed with seriously amazing opportunities, nothing quite beats good food, good wine and good people.

I mean, they do say simple things please simple minds and I am 100% not even sorry about that.

So yeah, lemme take ya to Kensington for a virtual sample of Aubaine's Summer en provence menu and some serious Interior/decor goals.
Aubaine is the chain restaurant that doesn't feel like a chain. It has that cool and chic boutiquey vibe that transports you to a summer's day in Paris - and then you hear sirens and shouting and realise that you're actually in London [insert cry face emoji here] - and the decor and atmosphere that's immediately calming. I'd quite happily pop into Aubaine for a - slightly indulgent - coffee and cake catch up, but I'd also really happily spend hours on end over steak and mash and a bottle (or 5) of wine.

Basically it's a pretty damn beautiful place, an Instagrammer's dream and also home to a lot of babein food.

Said babein food...
First of all, every staff member at Aubaine, High street Kensington branch, was absolutely lovely and went to great lengths to find out what was gluten free on the menu. They popped out with some bread - which sadly wasn't gluten free but My Dad said it was lovely (and was probably secretly happy as his dustbin daughter usually gobbles up 99% of the food on the table, lol!) - we then went on to order starters. I opted for the La Faisselle, cherry tomatoes, basil cress and pansies which, in English/more basic terms, was a soft cheese and tomato salad and despite sounding all kinds of basic was absolutely delicious!! The cheese was really rich and worked beautifully with the sweet tomatoes and basil cress. I've got no idea what the sauce was but it was actually dreamy and I was so happy that I picked this.

My Dad went for the Cod brandade, spring leaves and lemon oil and despite the fact that I couldn't actually try it as it wasn't gluten free, I could tell immediately that it was a winner. From what I gather it was pretty much a cod/mash mixture with some kind of crisp bread and a sauce and Dad absolutely loved it. He said it was rich but not overpowering and full of flavour.

He actually said this about 4 times because he's the best blogger Dad and always makes sure I know exactly what he thinks and that I have a good 5/6 action shots of him cutting food [insert cry laughter/"oh god you're so cute" emoji here]. 
The mains was where things got seriously good, that might be because I ordered steak (because omg steak is life) or it might be because it included creamy mash (and omg carbs are life) but either way my main was seriously good. I went for the 6oz sirloin which usually comes with frites however they wasn't gluten free so we switched it for the mash and I'm so glad that we did because it was creamy, fluffy heaven. The steak itself was seriously stunning, cooked perfectly* with a beautiful provencal sauce.

*At this point I always feel the need to pop in and say soz for sounding like a pompous tit, I'm not a food critic and definitely have no idea how to cook things perfectly but you know, I have taste buds and they were pretty bloody happy after this meal.

My Dad opted for the Roasted corn fed chicken with green olives & rosemary and toasted fregola. He loved this, no seriously, he really bloody loved it. He said the sauce was so rich and thick absolutely packed full of flavour, the chicken cooked really well and the toasted fregola - which is apparently some kind of pasta, who the blimmin hell knew? - was a really unusual but tasty addition. I have to say, I was pretty jealous that this wasn't gluten free as it sounded right up my street.

In happier news, we washed this all down with the dreamiest Pinot grigio and put the world to rights. Or, you know, discussed Eastenders or something...
Finally it was time for dessert, and I have to say, after an absolutely dreamy meal so far, this was slightly disappointing for the coeliacs of the world. There was no gluten free option on the Summer provence menu or the main menu so I ended up with fruit. Now, I actually love fruit so it didn't bother me too much but I do think for such a lovely restaurant it just seemed such a shame that lack of option let it down.

My Dad had the menton lemon tart and begrudgingly - because he's the type of babe that felt guilty watching me tuck into fruit while he had a dreamy dessert - said it was stunning. A very tart tart that was such a fresh and light way to finish the meal. 

We obvs finished the whole thing with coffee because, life...

And that was it for our extravaganza into the Aubaine Summer en provence menu, overall, I have to say that it was stunning. Everything was absolutely delicious, set in the cutest location with really lovely staff to boot. My only criticism would be lack of gluten free desserts but it was absolutely worth it for that steak, chicken etc.


I would love to know if you've been to Aubaine? Have you tried out their summer menu? And most importantly, did you swoon over the decor as much as I did? ;)

As always, thanks so much for reading!

xx


© the Elle next door

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