The things that have caught my attention this month | December discoveries

Every now and then I discovered something new… something about me… something around me… be it interesting facts, places I’ve never been before, brands I’ve never heard of or tried… And I thought it’d be nice to record those discoveries – to have a kind of journal of the past and planner or to do list for the future – and share it with you every month. Today is the second last day of December (and 2014), so here I am, sharing the things that have caught my attention this month…

1. Daniel Wellington Watches

“When Swedish Filip Tysander met British gent Daniel Wellington…”

I first saw Daniel Wellington’s watches in Vogue and I immediately like what I saw. The brand was launched in April 2011 and since then it has received many great reviews from top fashion magazines and bloggers. And I totally can see why. The watches are simple, classy, well-designed and more importantly, affordable. They’re also very practical and versatile – all the straps are interchangeable, so you can change the whole appearance of your watch instantly to suit every occasion (or just for fun). It’s definitely a brand to look out for.

2. Labellov.com

A new online retailer based in Antwerpen, Belgium, which specialises in selling and buying luxury and high end vintage bags and accessories. Authenticity of items sold is guaranteed and they ship (with insurance) worldwide. I suppose, I don’t have to explain any further…

3. India Mahon

India Mahon is an independent British jeweller with a boutique in Cotswold where she designs and handmade her jewellery with ethically sourced materials. I’ve never actually visited her store before; I got to know her from Vogue (yes, again), but I’ve looked at her collections on her website and I think her designs are beautiful. I personally like the Carnelian bracelet, the Blue Peruvian Opal necklace and the Ivory Pearl and White Topaz necklace. She does bespoke jewellery as well (if you want something more personal).

4. Cécile et Jeanne Paris

Still on the topic of handmade jewellery, I recently discovered the Cécile and Jeanne brand (by accident) during my recent trip to Paris. I’ve mentioned it in one of my previous posts – my husband and I was just walking along the street when their beautiful jewellery displayed in the store window attracted my attention. They have a workshop in Paris where they design and handmade all their jewellery and accessories. They don’t have a store in the UK but you can buy their products online. My favourites are the Musthaves long necklace, the Sautoir Maitika necklace, the Cuff Paris and the Cuff Thousand and One Nights. Like India Mahon, they do bespoke jewellery as well.

5. Neal’s Yard Remedies

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m obsessed with aromatherapy, natural and organic products and I’ve heard of Neal’s Yard Remedies for a while now. But I don’t know why, I just never got around to actually trying it… until now, that is. I guess it’s because I’ve always associated organic products with a hefty price tag, but then the products that I usually buy are not cheap either. So I’m slowly changing my beauty regime and trying to incorporate more natural products into my life – it’s one of my new year’s resolutions! I bought the Almond moisturiser and the Beauty Sleep Concentrate from Neal’s Yard recently, and I’ve got some samples with my purchase (as you can see). So far, I’m very happy with them. I’m going to use them for another week or so and then I’ll post a review on my blog.

6. Lisa Hoffmann Fragrance Jewellery (exclusive to Scent City)

Eco friendly scented accessories… fragrance jewellery… fragrance + fashion… it’s a girl’s dream! Launched by Lisa Hoffmann, exclusive to Scent City and introduced to me by Vogue! I want!

What I got for Christmas 2014

All over the internet, people have been sharing pictures of the gifts they received for Christmas. I think it’s lovely. They’re obviously happy and I don’t see why they can’t share a little bit of that happiness with the world. So in the spirit of sharing that joyful vibe, I’ve decided to also share what I got for Christmas this year. I’m lucky, I know, and I’m extremely grateful to be surrounded by so many lovely people who obviously thought of me when they planned their Christmas. I’m not going to be able to post everything here (at some point between Christmas and now, I’ve used or eaten some of my gifts!)… but, here are some of the things I got:

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Aren’t they lovely?

I particularly like this perfume and vintage Parisian necklace which I got from my sister in law – they’re just so French and so beautiful:

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And of course, everything that my husband bought me: a Tiffany’s necklace, a Burberry wallet and a Burberry bag – needless to say, they’re my favourite!

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I’m purring with happiness!! Can you blame me? xx

Christmas in Paris

This year, I spent Christmas in Paris – something that I do every couple of years or so. My husband and I drove there on Christmas Eve and we came back to London last Saturday. Yes, it’s not a long trip, but still, it’s magical. As much as I like spending Christmas on my own, I was pleased to be able to spend it with my husband’s family this year, and of course, it’s always lovely to visit Paris.

We woke up at 5am on the 24th and made our way to Dover. We were supposed to board the 8.45am ferry to Calais, but we got there early, so they let us board an earlier one. Lucky us! The sea was a bit rough though – I got sick! But that’s probably because I’m more prone to motion sickness than others. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. We reached France at around 10am and then we just took our time and arrived in Paris with plenty of time to get ready for dinner, which was delicious by the way.

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Just look at all that food! And I didn’t even take pictures of our main course and dessert!

We didn’t get a chance to breakaway from the family and visit Paris until the 26th. Not that I’m complaining – going to Paris is like going home; we don’t really do all those touristy things people do when they go for holiday. But still, it’s nice to go for a walk, just because it’s really romantic and Paris is beautiful at this time of the year. So that’s what we did on Boxing day (even if there’s no such thing in Paris).

We started our day with a typical petit déjeuner parisian (gosh, I like the sound of that) – we had some parisian brioche and parisian hot chocolate at the famous Place des Voges. They were lovely – a bit expensive, but hey, we don’t do this everyday, and it’s Christmas.

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After breakfast, we went for a stroll in the city. We did a bit of sightseeing, a bit shopping, discovered new shops… I love shopping; there’s no doubt about that. Besides, I believe that when you’re in Paris, you should fully embrace the local culture… yes, yes, like going to the museums, of course (Paris is full of them), but Paris also is famous for its couture houses and luxury fashions: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Louboutin, etc, etc. One of the best in the world really. Interestingly, when I talk about them, some people still roll their eyes (even French people) and I just don’t get it. If I were French, I would be very proud to have all those designers commanding the world’s attention. I mean, it’s what made Paris famous for being chic, elegant and glamorous. I can’t afford most of the things they sell, but it doesn’t stop me from admiring them (and wanting them) – hey, I love beautiful things. Anyway, here are some more pictures from that day (if you’re interested):

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The art installations in front of Centre Pompidou and musée du Louvre never fail to captivate… We didn’t go in to le Louvre this time, but if you haven’t seen the infamous Mona Lisa, you really should!

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Cécile and Jeanne are Parisian jewellery and accessories designers. They’ve got a workshop in Paris where they design and handmade all their products. I actually discovered this place by chance; my husband and I was just walking along the street when I was attracted by the beautiful jewellery displayed in the window and so I went in. They’re not cheap but I don’t expect them to be – they’re beautiful and very French. I didn’t buy any, but I just might very soon. They don’t have a store in the UK, but you can the products online.

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Don’t you just love Paris. Even at Ladurée, they’ve got super chic shopping bags! I always think their macaroons are a bit overpriced (they’re selling it for 5 euros per piece here), but still, I love those bags!

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This was the best cafe frappe I’ve ever tasted! Seriously! It’s so smooth, refreshing and not too sweet. I was in a desperate need of a cold caffeine that afternoon, and this frappe was just perfect.

After our afternoon coffee break, we decided to go see some Christmas decorations at Paris’s most fabulous places – where else… Galeries Lafayette, PrintempsChamps Elysees and Avenue Montaigne (of course).

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Look at all those lights…

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And that Louis Vuitton store on Avenue Montaigne!

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And of course… it’s Dior, darling!

… which was our last stop of the day. We had dinner with my husband’s family that evening and came back to London the next day. There was an hour delay at Calais due to the weather – they had to suspend all ferry services in the morning, but luckily, ours was in the late afternoon, so it was okay. I got sick again and it was worse than the first time. I’m definitely taking the Euro Tunnel next time! Anyway, we had an amazing time in Paris (as you can probably see), and in a few days time, we’ll be off to Tenerife for some sun! Yay!

Christmas trip to Paris by car: what’s in my bag

2 days until Christmas! How exciting! My husband is from Paris, so we’re driving down there tomorrow to spend Christmas with his family. I like travelling by car – I like the fact that we don’t have to rush and that we don’t have to worry about baggage allowance. Don’t get me wrong, I like travelling light, but let’s be honest, it’s not really possible to do that at this time of the year – what with all the gifts, etc. We have a large box dedicated just for them! Moreover, I’m pregnant! So, it’s probably better to just take the car. Personally, I’m still travelling light though – here’s what I’ll be carrying and wearing everyday: my new Burberry bag (Christmas gift from my husband), my trusted Ugg boots to keep me warm, a snood or a scarf (both from New Look), and a pair of legging (from Littlewoods) or bamboo tights (I love bamboo tights – they’re so soft and so lightweight; they keep you cool when it’s warm and keep you warm when it’s cold) from Boots.

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And here’s what I’ll be wearing them with: my favourite Sweaty Betty jumper over a tank top, which I’ll wear with the legging (I think it’s perfect for car travel – really comfy), Mango jersey dresses (which I’ll wear with the bamboo tights), a Zara top and a cardigan from Asos (which I’ll again wear with the legging). I’m in my third trimester now and I’m still really tiny, so I haven’t bought any maternity wear yet. I hope I don’t have to. So far, these styles work for me, and they’re all in my normal size 8. I suppose, dress smart (read: ditch the jeans, skirts, and anything tight for a while) and you don’t have to spend money on something that you’ll only wear for a few months or so.

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Oh, and the parka, of course. I bought this last year from Tesco F&F. It looks really good and is of surprisingly good quality for Tesco. In fact, it’s as good as the more expensive ones. I wear it all the time and with literally anything. Definitely my favourite winter coat!

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Anyway, enough with fashion. Moving on to beauty stuff now. I mean, it’s Christmas, and that means Christmas eve dinner and Christmas day brunch, and spending Christmas in Paris means… well, taking a romantic walk in the city and do what Parisians do (whatever that is). My point is, I need to look good, and so, it’s obviously important to pack the right beauty products and make-up. I’m sure you’ll agree. Here’s what I’ve decided to bring with me:

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1. Bare Minerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum; 2. Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate and Almond Moisturiser; 3. Electric Hair Hydrate Shampoo (sample from Birchbox); 4. Organic Sweet Almond Oil from Naissance; 5. Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm; 6. Pure Tea Tree Oil; 7. Organic Oatmeal; 8. Kats Kalma Geranium Water; 9. Avene eye cream

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1. Jean Paul Gaultier Perfume; 2. Waitrose Cucumber Facial Wipes; 3. MAC Lipstick; 5. Benefit Beautiful Eyes, High Beam and Ultra Plush Lip Gloss; 6. Bare Minerals Foundation, Warmth, Mineral Veil and Primer; 7. Lancome Mascara; 8. Eyeko Fat Eye Stick (sample from Birchbox); 9. Max Factor Eyebrow Pencil and Eye Liner

I did mention that I’m travelling light, right? Well, it’s true. It looks like I’m bringing a lot of stuff, but honestly, they all fit in my Cath Kidston ‘weekend bag’ – see:

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Finally, as you know, we’re travelling by car. That means, we have to cross the English Channel with a ferry, which takes around 1 and 1/2 hour; and it also means spending hours and hours on the road. Obviously, I need to keep myself entertained and what better way to do that than with the latest edition of Vogue and food, which go into what I called my ‘food bag’ from Cath Kidston:

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That’s it! I better go catch some beauty sleep and I’ll tweet from Paris tomorrow! xx

Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; it does, however, contain affiliate links.

Birchbox December 2014 Review

I’m new to subscription boxes. I decided to give them a try because I like the concept. How do they work? Well, basically, you pay a monthly subscription fee and then each month you receive a box filled with sample and full size beauty and lifestyle products. You can’t choose what goes into the box, but certain companies let you take a ‘style quiz’ and send you products that best fit your profile. I think they’re great – they let you discover new products and different brands, which you might not have known otherwise, and they give you an opportunity to try the products out before deciding whether they’re really for you. Besides, who doesn’t like receiving a box filled it with beauty goodies? But with so many subscription boxes out there, the question becomes, which one should you sign up for? I’m going to try a few over the next few months or so, and hopefully, at the end of it all, I’ll be able to find one or two that’s worth sticking up to (and of course, I’ll keep you in the loop). This month, I subscribed to Birchbox and I’ve received my box – so let’s see what’s inside:

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Price: £10.00 + £2.95 P+P

Got my December box for: £7.95 (with £5 discount using the code: 5OFF)

First impression: I like it (not love) – I think they could have have done a better job with the design of the box, but hey, it’s just a box. I’m slightly disappointed with the samples I got – don’t get me wrong, I think they’re good value (I’ve got 2 full size products worth £21), but I’m just not very keen in trying half of them out. I think they don’t really fit my profile. To be fair though, I haven’t actually completed my ‘beauty profile’ yet, so maybe that’s why the contents of the box are not ‘tailored’ enough.

What’s in the box:

1. Benefit High Beam, sample size

I love Benefit’s products and I’ve been wanting to try the High Beam for a while, so I’m glad I got this. And just in time for Christmas too.

2. Electric Hair Hydrate Shampoo, sample size

I’ve never heard of Electric Hair before, but it’s got good reviews, so why not – I’ll give it a try.

3. English Laundry Signature For Her EDP Spray For Women, sample size

This smells nice, but the thing is, I’m not very keen on trying out a new fragrance. I’ve got my favourite perfumes and I’m quite particular about the scents I use. This ended up being my bedroom spray…

4. Eyeko Fat Eye Stick Trio, full size, £16.00

I haven’t actually tried this out yet, but why not. I guess I’ll be experimenting with smoky eyes for my Christmas dinner.

5. Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, sample size

This scrub is enriched with papaya, professional microcrystals and aloe and claims to work like professional microdermabrasion, which delivers that soft, smooth and radiant skin. I’ve only used it twice and already I’m falling in love – the texture, the smell, the way it makes my skin feels after – it’s just amazing. The full size product costs £26; I think it’s a bit pricey, but it’s 99% natural and according to the label, it lasts 6 months. So, who knows, I might just get it. If it were slightly cheaper, I’d definitely buy it.

6. Models Own Velvet Goth, full size, £5.00

It’s a nail varnish and I rarely polish my nails and I don’t like the colour they gave – so there you go. But I’ll give it a try anyway.