Girl from North London

31 May 2020

An SPF Guide | How To Protect Your Skin

sunscreen, beauty, sun cream, fashion blogger, summer, style
Marrakech, Morocco

I will not be the first person to tell you that you need to protect your skin from the sun. The harmful UV light from the sun can not only lead to skin cancer (which should be enough to motivate you) but also ageing which includes wrinkling, sun spots and pigmentation.

While I regret lying in the sun as a schoolgirl to make my limbs more golden (as I'm sure many of us did), my obsession with SPF has been going for a good 5 years now, so I've put together a clear guide on buying SPF (as it can be very confusing!) and shared some of my favourite products.

Your SPF needs to protect from both UVA (ageing) and UVB (burning) radiation. This is sometimes known as "broad spectrum" SPF. 

UVA protection is rated either by stars (up to 5) or PA rating shown by the number of "+" (up to 4). The higher the number of stars/+, the better protection.

The level of UVB protection is indicated by sun protection factor (SPF). You should opt for at least factor 30.

I tackle my face and body separately for SPF, especially when wearing makeup. 

For face, I use Bioré UV Perfect Milk SPF50+* after my moisturiser, before applying makeup. I picked up the Bioré Perfect Milk last time I was in Japan, and I love how it sits well under makeup, isn't oily, and has good UVB & UVA protection. Before leaving, I spritz my face with Bioderma Hydrabio Eau de Soin SPF30* which can be used over makeup. I take this in my handbag, so I can top up during the day. I love how quick and easy it is to use.

For body, I use Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect SPF50*. I like a transparent protection spray as I hate white streaky marks getting on clothing, but use with caution as it is easier to miss areas when spraying clear liquid. I carefully apply a good layer of this before leaving the house, and I take it with me if I know I will be in the sun all day so I can reapply. 

Key points:
- Reapply SPF every 90 minutes when you are in the sun
- Remember to reapply after swimming - this includes water resistant SPF
- Always double cleanse when using SPF on your face
- Check the expiry date of your SPF. On UK products, you're likely to find this by checking the period-after-opening symbol which states the number of months it can be used for once opened (e.g. 12M).

biore UV perfect face milk, bioderma hydrabio eau de soin, garnier ambre solaire
            Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk*                           Bioderma Hydrabio Eau de Soin*                     Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect*

Applying SPF is important to protect your skin but you should also:
- Choose shade over sun - the NHS advises to spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm in the UK
- Wear sunglasses and a hat and cover your shoulders with clothing to protect your skin in strong sun
- It goes without saying that sunbeds are dangerous and illegal to use under 18 in the UK. Read the NHS advice on this here

Refinery 29 Top Dermatologists Answer All Your Questions About Sunscreen -

This post contains affiliate links, denoted by an asterisk (*). For more information, please refer to the disclaimer on my About page.


28 May 2020

My Go-To Healthy Summer Salads

Girl from North London, food, blogger, lifestyle, lunch ideas

The key to my ideal summer lunch is something healthy with a crunch (ideally raw veg), light enough to prevent a post-lunch slump but satisfying enough to keep me going until dinner. But most importantly, quick and easy to throw together the night before work or when ravenous at 1pm. In today's post, I share with you two salads that fulfil this brief and are also vegetarian, protein-rich and tasty. Perfect for eating at home as a quick lunch, packed in tupperware for a picnic or the office or as part of a summer buffet spread when entertaining (when all of these things are possible again).

(pictured above)
Serves one

- Half a cup of quinoa or quinoa & bulgur wheat mix
- 8 baby plum tomatoes
- 2 inch piece of cucumber
- Handful of rocket
- Handful of olives
- 40g of Feta
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp of white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Generous grind of salt & pepper

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, pour into the mixing bowl and leave to cool.

While the quinoa is cooling, chop up the tomatoes and cucumber and slice the olives in half. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jug.

Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, rocket and dressing to the quinoa and mix to combine. Taste and add extra seasoning or vinegar if needed. Finish by crumbling the feta over the top of the salad.

- Any salad vegetables that you have lying around can be added to this - try baby spinach, shredded baby gem lettuce or spring onion.
- Swap the feta for grilled halloumi. Tear the halloumi into bite-sized pieces and throw over the salad whilst still warm
- Roasted or grilled veg, such as red pepper, is a great addition. In the picture above, I've added courgette, aubergine and red pepper that have been barbecued and marinated in advance. If you are interested in the recipe for the marinated veg, let me know in the comments below as they are damn good on bread too.

lunch ideas, food blogger, girl from north london, lifestyle

Serves two

- 400g tin of 3 bean salad mix (I like this one
- 16 cherry or baby plum tomatoes
- 4 inch piece of cucumber
- Handful of rocket
- Generous handful of olives
- 60g of Feta

For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp of white wine vinegar
- 1 spring onion, finely sliced
- Generous grind of salt & pepper

Drain the beans, then stir with the dressing in a bowl.

Chop the cucumber, tomato and feta. Add to the bean mixture, along with the olives and rocket and stir well.

Taste to check the seasoning and add more salt or pepper if required.

- The beans can be drained and dressed up to a day or two in advance. I'll often dress the beans, eat one half in today's salad and pop the other half in a tupperware to use in tomorrow's salad.
- For vegans, swap the cubes of Feta for chunks of avocado.
- Carrot ribbons are a great crunchy addition to this salad - use a peeler to carve long ribbons of raw carrot and add to the salad.
- Sundried tomatoes (the type in oil in a jar) are a lovely addition as they add a bit of texture and sweetness

Leave a comment below if you try any of the recipes! I'd love to know your take on my favourite salads.


25 May 2020

Pictures from Lockdown #2

girl from north london, peonies, flowers, decay

We are now starting week 10 in lockdown here in the UK, and the rules have been loosened slightly since my last post. Infinite outdoor exercise is now allowed; you can drive for exercise; and you are allowed to meet one person from outside your household at a 2 metre distance - which includes golf and tennis. In London, the atmosphere does seem to have changed - people seem less tense, more relaxed - although as I write this on a sunny bank holiday Monday, I am aware that our parks are filling up and social distancing isn't always followed.

But it's not all doom and gloom! In this series of images, I share with you:

1) More flowers! I love the way that the peonies change colour and throw out their petals out dramatically as they decay. And I have discovered stocks! I love how sweet these humble flowers are.
2) Japanese cooking - I used to take this for granted but my parents are great cooks - feast your eyes upon the best miso soup ever (mum), delectable vegetable side dishes (dad) and sōmen - cold noodles in a tsuyu dip that we eat in hot weather.
3) The great outdoors - with the new rules stating that we can now drive further for exercise, we treated ourselves with a trip to Trent Park on the outskirts of London and it was beautiful. We also went on a social-distanced walk around our local golf club and marvelled at the empty mown grass as far as the eye can see
4) Me in my natural habitat - reading in the garden, coffee to hand with my trusty Adidas cap keeping the sun off my face. 

girl from north london, japanese food, miso soup, blogger
girl from north london, lifestyle blogger, outdoors, golf club
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japanese food, lifestyle blogger, somen, cold noodles, tofu, girl from north london
Girl From North London, fashion blogger, book, reading, lifestyle, Girl, Woman, Other
japanese food, cooking, lifestyle blogger, spinach, girl from north londonTrent Park, outdoors, woods, Girl from North London, lifestyle blogger, walk


18 May 2020

What I've Been Wearing At Home

OOTD, outfit, fashion, style, blogger, jumper dress

What we're all wearing at home has been a huge topic of discussion during lockdown. From The Pillow Challenge that has been circulating Instagram, to the debate on jeans - are we trying too hard for donning a pair? Or is it about time that we climb out of sweats and into something more structured?

I've never really worn trackie bottoms, so they weren't really an option for me. However, I did spend several days in various pyjama bottoms during a bout of tonsillitis at the beginning of lockdown, after which I was desperate to wear actual outfits. Whilst my use of make-up has been infrequent, I've made a small effort by accessorising with jewellery or a watch. I've collated three lockdown outfits in this post - all which fulfil my brief of: a) comfort b) warmth c) I would wear them out of the house. 

fashion, OOTD, outfit, style, blogger, jumper dress
OOTD, outfit, jumper dress, blogger, fashion, lockdown
jumper dress, OOTD, outfit, style, blogger
Missguided Jumper Dress (similar*) | ASOS Hoops (similar*)

blogger, OOTD, mirror selfie, fashion, style, outfit, lockdown, jeans, denim, ysl polo
OOTD, style, lockdown, fashion, jeans, denim, blogger
blogger, lockdown, fashion, style, lockdown, OOTD, YSL polo, choker
YSL Polo (similar*) | Monki Jeans* | Olivia Burton Necklace | Olivia Burton Watch

fashion blogger, OOTD, mirror selfie, style
outfit, style, fashion, blogger, lockdown, OOTD, mirror selfie
Monki Jumper (similar*) | Zara Trousers (similar) | Olivia Burton Necklace | Olivia Burton Watch

What have you been wearing at home during lockdown?

This post contains affiliate links, denoted by an asterisk (*). For more information, please refer to the disclaimer on my About page.

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