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

1. Micellar Water

I’ve heard of micellar (in French, pronounced “me-sellaire”) water for a while now, but (I don’t know why), I’ve only just tried it this month. “MODELS swear by them, every make-up artist has one in his or her kit and with their no-rinse, three-in-one formulas they’re perfect for travelling and late nights.” (Vogue). So what exactly is micellar water? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a soap free product that removes make-up and cleanses the skin without the need for rinsing, and also tones and moisturises it. It gets its name from micelles, that is, tiny balls of molecules that are made of fatty acid esters, which according to Bioderma, “are similar to the phospholipids of the skin cell membranes and naturally help rebuild the skin’s hydrolipidic film.” Sounds complicated, I know. I suppose, what’s important is that, I gave it a try and I absolutely love it. It’s very gentle yet very efficient in everything it claims it can do. It’s also really easy to use – I just have to soak a cotton pad with it and sweep it across my whole face, that’s it; I don’t have to rinse it off with water, I don’t have to tone my face after – perfect for lazy old me. Okay, I won’t replace my main cleanser with it; I still like to properly cleanse my face (especially at night) with my natural and organic product, but I use it most mornings and as a second cleanser (in place of toner) to wipe away any residue / dirt / make-up left by my first cleanser. So yeah, it’s definitely a product that I will continue using. I’m using Bioderma – a celebrity favourite and one of the first companies that came up with micellar water, but there are plenty of other brands out there you can try.

2. Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser

This was one of the samples I received from my Love Lula January 2015 Beauty Box. I was (still am) really glad that I got this – it’s definitely one of the best cleansers I’ve tried so far. It’s 81% organic, which is a good start, and I absolutely love the smell – it’s very fresh – and the way my skin feels after using it. I like the fact that it’s multitasking – you can use it as a gentle cleanser, a daily exfoliating mask or a weekly revitalising facial mask. I’ve tried them all and I love them all, but I particularly like using it in the morning because, as I’ve said before, it’s very refreshing.

3. James Read Sleep Mask Tan

I first saw this product on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines and I thought… hmm… that’s interesting – tan whilst you sleep and wake up to a golden glow in the morning. I almost bought it but a few things stopped me: (1) I was worried that it would have a strong smell (from my personal experience, self tan products can have an overpowering smell); (2) I was worried that it would stain my linen; and (3) I was worried that it would clogged my pores (I mean, we all know that skin cells do their repair work most effectively at night, and so I really don’t want to load my face with chemical-laden cream before going to sleep). However, on their website, they say that the formula is infused with skincare essentials, like aloe vera, cucumber, hyaluronic acid, red algae, etc. Sounds comforting enough. They then go on to say that you can also apply it in the morning to build a healthy glow throughout the day. Now that might actually sway me towards buying the product.

4. Priv: The On-Call Beauty and Wellness Professionals

Elle calls it “the beauty app equivalent of the taxi service Uber.” It’s an app that allows you to bring a trained professionals of your choice (be it hairdresser, make-up artists, masseuse, manicurist, etc) to wherever you are. I’ve downloaded the app but haven’t tried it out yet, or rather, I couldn’t, because there isn’t a single registered trained professionals within my area. I suppose the success of this app will depend on how many trained professionals they can recruit, but it’s still early days, so let’s see what happens. Priv is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.

5. Daisy Chakra Bracelet

Again, I saw this bracelet on board British Airways in one of their duty free magazines. It’s designed by London jewellery label Daisy and it’s worn by a number of celebrities, including Katy Perry, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Kanye West, etc. According to Daisy, “the Chakras are the manifestations of spiritual energies on the physical level, responsible for well-being and a happy, healthy life.”; and “The Chakra bracelets are designed to balance your Chakras and ensure your life force and vital energy.” Well, that’s lovely, but for me, I just think it’s pretty, and if it really balances my Chakras, then that’s a plus. Regardless, I’d love to have one.

6. Nutribullet

Of course, the superfood extractor! Which my husband and I received as a gift from a very good friend this month. I love it, we love it, and we highly recommend it! Enough said. I wrote a review here if you’re interested.

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

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