{sponsored video} favourite five :: eye makeup items

28 February 2015

This has been an idea playing on my mind for a while now, so I'm excited to launch a new series on WTW, titled "Favourite Five..." which is pretty self-explanatory. I'll be listing five of my favourite things from a random category every so often, just to share some of the things I love and recommend. They will cover all kinds of topics, from podcasts (coming up next!), beauty products, TV series, books, websites, instagrammers... the list goes on. 

Today, inspired by the new campaign by YSL for their new YSL Luxurious Mascara with the ever gorgeous Cara Delevigne,  I'll be chatting to you about five of my favourite eye makeup picks. An appropriate starting point for a beauty product junkie like myself.

It's actually been a long time since I've tried any high end mascaras, just because there are a few good ones in drugstores that do the job for me. However, I have picked up and played around with YSL mascaras multiple times in the past (namely in duty free...) and I've heard great things about their beautiful golden offerings. One of my friends has told me that their waterproof mascara literally does not budge, which I'm curious to try - she has her wedding coming up in the summer, so I'm putting my money on that one being her mascara of choice! 

Aside from a variety of eyeshadows (another FF post that will be featured soon), I tend to use these on a regular basis if I'm doing up my face:

I don't use eyeliner everyday, but this is my pencil eyeliner of choice. I struggled for years to find an eyeliner pencil that didn't give me the dreaded panda smudges one hour into the day, and thanks to a recommendation from my sister, I've been converted to this for a good while now. It's smudge-able without smudging, if that makes sense. The word smudge is starting to look strange now.

I'm not all that picky with mascaras, as long as they are waterproof (and actually are waterproof). I think that this one has been repurchased the most number of times in recent years, which means it must be doing its job. I also do like l'Oreal & Max Factor mascaras in general.

This is such an underrated liquid liner, in my opinion! I used to religiously use liquid liner everyday, but it's definitely more of a once-a-week occurrence now. I still love it though, and swear by this one that I've bought over and over. It's as black as black can get, and does not budge all day. The applicator tip is possibly not the easiest for beginners as it's a little softer, but I think it works really well.

4 :: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers
I never thought that high end eyelash curlers would be worth investing in, and didn't give in to the hype of these for so long. But I caved last year, and am so glad that I did! These will honestly convince you that curling your lashes does actually make a difference. (p.s. I just checked in the mirror to see how curled they were after doing my makeup at 6:30am this morning - it's 10:45pm now - and they are still very much upright.)

5 :: Anastasia Beverly Hill Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown
It's a bit of a weird concept, a kind of gel/cream thing for your brows, but I love this stuff. Again, I don't use this every single day (for my slap-on face I use an old Shu Uemura brow pencil, a hand-me-down from my mum), but if I want to go for a fairly polished look I go for this. You need to use it with a thin, angled brush, and you can fill your brows in quite naturally or go for a more bold look. I find it also helps to set the hair in place (kind of essential for rogue brows like mine).

And there we have it. I hope you enjoyed the first of this series, and let me know if there are any specific "Favourite Five" lists that you might be interested in!

disclaimer: this post is sponsored by YSL. all opinions are my own.

blogger spotlight :: setarra from quaintrelle

26 February 2015

I am so excited to introduce Setarra from Quaintrelle to you today, a gorgeous face from across the pond! Setarra lives near Washington D.C. (only one of the most iconic cities in the world!) with her husband, and is a fellow lover of food, travel, and living to the max. She's also an inspiring voice regarding confidence in women and fighting against the common pitfalls of social and cultural pressures that we are under, which is so important. 

Enough from me, get to know her with our little interview and go and say hello!


1 :: Give us a brief introduction to your lovely blog - what inspired you to start, and what do you like to write about?

I started Quaintrelle while I was in bed, recovering from knee surgery a little over 2 ½ years ago. I had injured myself dancing and felt frustrated about not having a creative outlet to express myself. At the time, I was living in NYC. So I decided that if I couldn’t dance then I could at least walk around and explore the many things to do in the city that I would’ve missed out on because I was always in a dance studio. I shared those adventures on my blog to keep my family and friends who lived afar in the loop and the rest is history. Fast forward to today, I now live right outside of D.C. in Northern Virginia but have the same agenda. 

A Quaintrelle is defined as a woman who emphasizes a life of passion through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm and cultivation of life’s pleasure. My blog serves as a liability partner in making sure I’m living life to the fullest. You can expect to find travel, food and life happening kind of moments on Quaintrelle with a few sprinkles of dance and style posts on the side.

2 :: It must be amazing to live in Virginia, and so close to Washington D.C.! For fellow locals and those who want to visit, what are your favourite things to do in the area? 

One of my favorite things to do in D.C. is go see a dance performance at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. I also really enjoy checking out new exhibits at the close to 100 museums we have in the city (many of which are free). I’m a huge fan of the Dupont Circle and U St. area which have a lot of cool bars and restaurants to eat at. There is so much more to D.C. than its politics. The arts and culture scene has grown so much in the past couple of years and I’m excited to watch it continue to evolve and build a name for itself.

3 :: But you also love to travel, and went on an epic European adventure last year! What are your 3 best memories from the trip? 

Ahh tough question. It’s so hard to choose just 3 memories but I’ll pick one moment from each city we visited: 1) Watching the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 2) Checking out the Red Light District in Amsterdam. 3) Tanning topless for the first time (ok, ok for about 5 seconds in reality– I punked out) at Icaria Beach in Barcelona

4 :: And just before that, you eloped! I was so excited when I read that post. Has your relationship changed or evolved in any way since getting married? What do you think makes your marriage a happy one?

One of the great things about the informality of eloping is that marriage (at least to me) feels as if nothing has changed. My husband, Charles, still feels like my boyfriend sometimes in the best way possible. But where I see the biggest change in our relationship is the type of discussions we have. Charles and I were together for 7 years before we tied the knot. During that time, we never really made plans for the future; we simply took it one day at a time. But now that we’re married, we are always talking plans and it feels great to be able to share our dreams with each other and work towards accomplishing those goals as a team.

I think a big part of what makes our marriage a happy one is that we always have fun no matter where we are or what we are doing. We’re stuck with each other for the rest of our lives now so we might as well have fun, right?

5 :: I love that you're a foodie. What would be your ideal 3 course meal? 

Hmmmm the monthly visitor is in residence at the moment so I’ll go with a comfort food inspired 3 course meal that would have to start off with a spinach and artichoke dip that is extra cheesy, garlicky and chunky. It would then be followed by an order of a medium rare steak and garlic mashed cauliflower on the side (I have a thing for garlic). As for dessert, it would be anything that is chocolate with lava inside and two scoops a la mode.

6 :: You are passionate about advocating confidence in women, which is something I also feel strongly about. How do you find confidence in yourself, when you're experiencing a dip in self-esteem?

I’m a huge believer in self-affirmations. Every morning, I stand in front of my mirror and repeat a few confidence boosting mantras to myself before I go out and take on the world. It’s so important to be your own cheerleader and to also surround yourself with people who will lift you up with integrity. Get rid of the debbie downers and negative nancys in your life as soon as humanely possible. I’m all about positive energy. If you put out positive energy, you will receive positive energy and vice versa.

7 :: Aside from blogging, what are your favourite hobbies and activities you enjoy during your free time?

I love to drink tea, read trashy romance novels, work on my photography skills, find new music to listen to and most importantly, I LOVE to dance. While I no longer pursue the field professionally, I’ve recently gotten back into the scene and have started taking dance classes again just for fun.

8 :: What are the best and the most difficult aspects of blogging for you?

The best part about blogging would have to be the community. Getting to know other bloggers and being able to meet them in person has been such a fulfilling experience. If I’m ever in London, you must promise me that we’ll meet up for food and drinks, pretty please! (Editor's note: definitely!)

As for the difficult aspects, I think the hardest part has to be the fact that blogging is like a full time part time job. Not a lot of people realize the amount of work that goes into making one single blog post. Sometimes I’m able to whip up a post in 30 minutes. Many other times, it takes me a couple of hours. Early on, I used to get burned out and would stop blogging for weeks at a time. But I’ve recently found a rhythm that works for me. I only post 2-3 times a week and try to follow the mantra of “live first and blog later”.

9 :: You used to live in NYC - something I'm sure lots people would envy! What do you feel are the differences between living in somewhere like NYC and where you live now, in Virginia?

The biggest difference between living in NYC and Virginia has to be the change of pace. Life is much slower now that I live in the Virginia 'burbs outside of DC. Sometimes I miss the non-stop energy of the Big Apple but I must admit that living in that environment 24/7 was a bit exhausting at times. Right now, the Virginia lifestyle suits me just fine but if I ever need a "re-up", NYC is only a 4 hour bus ride away. Charles and I have talked about moving back up to NYC once we're both done with grad school so who knows where the wind will blow us to in the future chapters of our lives :)

10 :: If someone asked you what your "life motto" was, what would it be? You have such a positive and bubbly presence, I know that your "words to live by" must be good ones!

 If someone were to ask me what my life motto was, it would be, “Phuck It. What do you have to lose?” 

This motto has helped me make some of the most difficult decisions in my life that I am so happy I made after all was said and done. A few examples of my motto in action: Go skydiving with a group of friends when I have a fear of heights? = “Phuck it. What do I have to lose?” Move up to New York for a job a couple weeks after I tore my ACL and start a long distance relationship with Charles? = “Phuck it. What do I have to lose?” Start a blog and actually share it with other people? = “Phuck it. What do I have to lose?”  You get the idea. :)


I had such a good time reading Setarra's answers, and it portrays her personality perfectly! Click over to Quaintrelle for more - I guarantee you that any post you read of hers will make you smile, think, laugh, or all of the above.

Setarra's links :: Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Bloglovin' // Pinterest // Tumblr

Would you like to feature in a "Blogger Spotlight" post on Wander to Wonder? You can have a look at the advertising options here.

forge & co.

24 February 2015

It's a known fact that East London is where the cool kids go, which basically means that I don't find myself there too often. But when an intriguing restaurant invites you over, you have to venture into unfamiliar territories for the sake of good food - and this is what I did.

Luckily, I took Shu along who definitely fits seamlessly into the coolness that is Shoreditch! It was great to finally meet after chatting in all corners of social media for about a year, so it was long overdue but worth the wait.

Forge & Co. calls themselves a "unique social space in the heart of Shoreditch" - and this is because it's not simply a restaurant, but a brasserie, lounge & workspace rolled into one. They have a large office space where you can work as a member, which is pretty ideal for freelancers and the like who are looking for an alternative to a full blown office.

We weren't there to work, though - only to eat. Story of my life.

The menu isn't huge but certainly varied, and we started with the Dublin Bay prawns with caper butter to start. These came as whole prawns which we got stuck into, and I liked the greens and seasoning - not a bad start.

The chef also snuck us in a couple of bites of Duck Rillettes, which made me such a happy clam as I do love rillettes - although I probably ate my life's worth of it in Bordeaux...

For mains, Shu went for the seared tuna and I chose the chicken with sweet potato (I'm a tad obsessed with sweet potatoes at the moment). It's actually not too often that I order chicken at restaurants - I can't help but feel like it's something I could make at home (though it's probably not true) - but I'm glad I chose this, because it was satisfying without being heavy, and was cooked very well. The whole dish had great flavour and I think Shu enjoyed her tuna too!

I should mention that we had a lovely bottle of Sauvignon to go with our food - boozy weekdays are the perks of adulthood.

Although we were comfortably full, we couldn't leave without dessert. Luckily, our friendly waiter told us that the chef was already preparing something for us, which meant we didn't have to go through the hardship of trying to be decisive - and in the end, he made us what I would have chosen from the menu anyway. Perfectly molten chocolate fondant.

I really enjoyed the vibe of Forge & Co., and found the service very good and the atmosphere cosy and relaxing. The place and food made for a lovely evening, combined with non-stop chatter with Shu about all sorts of things - my kind of dinner date!

You should definitely be aware that Forge & Co. do a Saturday brunch deal where you can buy bottomless Prosecco for £10. If that won't get you up on a weekend morning, what will?

You can see more details and the menu on Zomato.

disclaimer: I was invited for a complimentary meal and to write an honest review, by Forge & Co. and Zomato. All opinions are my own, as always.

cake decorating with konditor & cook

22 February 2015

If you gather together a group of bloggers where they get to chat with each other, sip on wine and get creative with delicious food, it'll pretty much be a guaranteed success. And our lovely evening at Konditor & Cook's Cake School (organised by Nuffnang) was perfect proof of that! 

Now, I may not be Star Baker at the Great British Bake Off anytime soon, but our masterclass was as educational as it was great fun. I learnt a few key things along the way about decorating with icing, and also got to finally meet bloggers that I'd "known" on the internet for a while which is always so nice.

Laure, our teacher, was so bubbly, friendly and full of contagious enthusiasm, which really lit up the class and made us all feel like we could tackle this! We were given professional aprons (got to dress the part), and started off by learning how to make piping bags out of parchment paper, which I never knew about. Once we got the hang of it, we made a good batch in minutes and had them ready with beautifully coloured icing, ready for the main event.

We started off slowly, practising on our boards first and learning a few tips and tricks. Let me tell you - this piping business is so much harder than it looks! When Laure was showing us hers, I thought, "Ok, that looks simple enough, I've got this." Not so much.

Once we'd had a good go on the boards, we moved on to biscuits - round, gingerbread & heart shaped biscuits. As I saw the others immediately start decorating and clearly knowing what they were doing, I stood with my mind completely blank at my bases. I'd made a good dent in my wine glass, so why weren't my creative juices flowing?!

In the end, I just went with whatever popped into my head - I made the gingerbread man into Heisenberg (only Breaking Bad fans would get this!), did some girly designs on the other biscuits and gave myself a pat on the back for trying. 

But then, we were presented with the pièce de résistance - the Konditor & Cook's signature cake, Curly Wurly Cake. 

Yet again, my mind was as white as the blank canvas icing, and I had no idea what to do. It didn't help that right next to me, Reema had somehow come up with a stunning design with a flamingo that looked ridiculously professional. What to do? I ended up doing a ribbon design that made the cake look like a present - my icing skills weren't exactly up to scratch, but you get the idea which is what I was after!

Also pictured below is the adorable bee cake by Lisa and the artistic Pollock design cake by Tea

We had such a fun evening getting our hands dirty and learning new skills, and with wonderful company too. I am really so lucky to be able to have experiences like these through blogging, and to meet and chat with like-minded people which is always the best part. 

On top of all of that, we were sent home not only with our biscuits and ginormous cakes, but also with a very generous goodie bag that included their cookbook and bags of brownies, meringues & lemon moons. Let's just say I was on a sugar high for the rest of the week.

K & C offer different set & bespoke packages for masterclasses like these, which I think are ideal for gifts, special occasions or just for a different and unique activity with friends and family. You can check out their website for their full menu.

Thank you so much to Konditor & Cook for hosting us, and to Nuffnang for inviting us! 

Fellow Cake School bloggers:
Emma :: Bloomzy
Ferren :: Artcream
Gloria :: Sweet Chilli
Jesse :: Hecticophilia
Tea :: Tea Was Here