Behind every great skin, there is a great routine! I don’t know about you but I can really see the difference when I stick to a solid skin care regimen with efficient products. Sometimes though I slip out of the routine (we are only human right?), that is when I reach out to some of my favourite face masks. They are a great way to bring back some balance to my skin and get rid of the unwanted signs that come with falling off the wagon.
So meet my skincare super-heroes, here to help when I am having a bad skin day!
I started using REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask as part of my bridal skin care routine. This is the mask I reach out to when my face is uneven and dull, it exfoliates deeply and gets rid of all the dead skin. Use it at night and follow with the best moisturiser for your skin type and you will wake up glowing.
I mentioned several times that my T-zone can get quite oily and I used to have some mild acne as a teenager, so my skin is prone to breakouts. When my forehead is having a bad week I make sure to apply Cattier Organic Mint Green Clay mask for a good 20 to 30 minutes. It helps reduce the inflammation and the size of any spot I may have. It also feels very refreshing which is pleasant after a day out and about in London’s pollution.
This mask already featured in my French pharmacy guide and for good reasons – it is brilliant! Avene Soothing Moisture mask is suitable for all skin types and even my sometime-oily face welcome the moisture it gives, mostly in winter. I usually apply it once a week on clean skin and leave it on overnight. It is light enough that it won’t break me out, yet moisturising enough that even the drier of skins will enjoy it.
Your face is uneven and not the softest? Dreaming of baby soft skin? Aurelia Refine & Polish Miracle balm is here to help! This balm will gently exfoliate your skin and the probiotics will restore balance and softness. The only downside of it is its price. It is very expensive but if you can afford it I highly recommend it! It is not called ‘Miracle’ for nothing.
Unfortunately, this mask is a little tricky to get a hold of if you are not in Japan. But if you can get it make sure to pack it for any long-haul flight. My skin never suffered too much on the plane, at least that is what I thought until I used a Kose Collagen and Royal Jelly mask on our flight back from Barbados. What a difference it made! My skin was perfectly balanced, neither dry or oily, for the following 24 hours!
It doesn’t happen often but sometimes looking for free wifi and clean toilets can lead to great things. It was the case for me recently while looking for a decent spot to work from, around London Bridge, before a dinner with my friends at Padella.
I was walking down the streets hoping to find a warm place with good coffee which was not a chain. I eventually saw a warehouse-like door opened with people coming and going and some music playing. I had time to lose so I thought I would check it out. One of the best decision I have made within the past 10 days (my life is not that exciting). This is how I discovered Flat Iron Square.
Nested under some of the London Bridge train tracks, Flat Iron Square is an indoor/outdoor food market. It opened in 2016 so it is still fairly new and not too crowded. Part of me considered not sharing this address with you so it would remain fairly low key, but sharing is caring and I couldn’t let you miss out on this place!
Flat Iron Square is part of London’s Low Line project aiming to open South London railway arches to local businesses.
The first time I visited I took a sit indoor and grabbed a coffee and one delicious cinnamon roll at Burnt Lemon Bakery. Their sandwiches also looked amazing and I would definitely go back there for some flavoursome bread and tasty pastries!
I actually liked Flat Iron Square so much that I went back with my friends Hemma and Camille for a drink (alcohol is on the pricey side there) and Andrew for a Sunday lunch.
The day we went with Andrew was absolutely freezing so we both opted for a warming ramen from Tatami Ramen. The ramen was decent, not as good as the ones served in Japan, but it did the job of keeping us warm and full.
Be warned Flat Iron Square, I will be back! My plan is to try all the eateries under the arches, and by the time I am done maybe London will be warmer and maybe we will be able to sit outside.
Just a stone’s throw away from London Bridge you will find Padella. Weirdly, I had never heard of this place before. I say weirdly because when we got there the queue was wrapped all around the building and the next table for 3 was available an hour and forty-five minutes later. So clearly Padella is a popular place!
After a nice girly catch-up and a few drinks at a close by venue, we finally took a seat around the bar with a prime view into the kitchen, where all the magic happens.
And it is not any magic happening at Padella – it is delicious Italian-pasta-magic!
Being a girly catch-up dinner, we all ordered wine of course and we decided to share two starters – the burrata and the salame. Both were delicious and between three people the perfect amount of food to save our appetite for the pasta!
The burrata was creamy and filling and the salame had the flavour of real well-made charcuterie (for a few bites I felt like I was back in France).
A special mention to the staff, one of my friends doesn’t like parmesan ( I know, weird, but we are still friends). The staff went above and beyond to make sure she enjoyed her main and that there would be minimal traces of parmesan on her plate (rather challenging in an Italian restaurant).
We all went for a different dish but all tried each others’ so I can comment on all! It is also good to note that Padella is very affordable. A meal without drinks will only set you back a tenner!
Hemma went for the spinach and ricotta ravioli. These were excellent and so creamy!
Camille went for Padella signature dish Pici cacio & pepe, a very satisfying and simple cheesy plate of pasta! Comfort food at its best!
I went for something a little different, the tagliarini with chilli, anchovies and capers. I felt adventurous and wanted to try something new. It was really good, neither too fishy nor too sour. All the flavours were subtle yet noticeable and it wasn’t too spicy either!
So is Padella worth staying in the queue for? Absolutely! And while you are waiting, make sure to go explore and have a drink at Flat Iron Square, another nice discovery I made that same day (I can smell another blog post)!
On our first evening out of Lisbon, we headed north-west to the Atlantic coast and decided to spend a few days in the Torres Vedras region. The owner of Vila Louro recommended we grab dinner at Restaurante Noah in Santa Cruz which was only a 10-minutes drive from where we were staying.
Unfortunately, it was already dark when we arrived at Restaurante Noah. The restaurant is on the beach and I assume that the view during the day must be amazing.
Not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised by the very modern and nicely decorated venue. The place looks like if a beach-hut had a baby with a very sleek Scandinavian house. And you know me, I love good interior design!
After a long day on the road, we immediately ordered some bread while waiting for our drinks. It was good but a tasty mistake we would regret later. Don’t worry I will explain why.
Our glasses of wine arrived, which made me very happy and we placed our order. After almost half a loaf of bread, we decided to share a starter and have a main each.
That is when we discovered that the first serving of bread had been a mistake… It was delicious BUT imagine our faces when we realised that the starter we had chosen, a local sausage, was served with another loaf of bread. We ended up full before our mains even arrived! So one tip for you: avoid the bread if you are planning to have a starter, a main and a dessert. The sausage was delicious though and we polished off the plate nicely.
Our mains arrived, squid ink linguine for Andrew and octopus for me (as usual). Both dishes were really good! The pastas had all the flavours of the sea (in a nice way). The octopus serving was very generous and had the right balance between the meatiness of the polpo and lightness of the vegetables and hazelnuts.
Our only disappointment was to not have room for any dessert, both of us were completely stuff!
I also want to give one bonus point to Restaurante Noah for the bill. When it arrives in such a creative container you are almost happy to take your card out!
Some places are so unique that it hard to describe them! This is the case for Lx Factory, in Lisbon. Lx Factory is not a restaurant, not a food market, not a bar, not a shop or an art gallery… Lx Factory is all of the above!
Nested under the 25 de Abril bridge, Lx Factory used to be an old manufacturing complex which has been transformed into a trendy art and food district. The 23.000 m2 industrial site is now home to some creative companies, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries. From breakfast to the last drink of the day, Lx Factory will keep you entertained.
We arrived there around lunchtime, after exploring the neighbourhood of Belem in the morning. On the hunt for a light bite to eat, we settled on LXeeseCake which had the most appetising salads on the menu. There are plenty of food options and you will find something for everyone’s’ taste.
Andrew went for a chicken salad, I went for a cheese and berries one. Both delicious and very welcome after days of eating fish, beans, rice and Pasteis de Nata.
We ended our lunch with some delicious yet slightly less healthy deserts. It is all about balance, right? I am not a cheesecake fan (I know, I know, how is that even possible?) but even I enjoyed it!
We went for a digestive walk and explored all the small alleyways of LxFactory.
The street art scene is amazing in Lisbon, the locals fully embrace it and LxFactory really reflect this!
We visited all the shops! Some very trendy some… A lot more quirky!
We ended our visit on the south side and hopped on a train from Alcantara-Mar station back to Lisbon city centre.
Lx Factory is definitely one of the trendiest spots in Lisbon and could easily compete with the very hype Shoreditch or Brooklyn. So make sure to add it to your Lisbon itinerary!