Monday, 16 July 2012

For Me Paris Was Always A Spectator Sport

It was my babe Fiona's 24th birthday recently, and when she told us she wanted to celebrate in true style - in Paris - everyone proclaimed a loud "OH OUI!"

Fiona and The Gang flew from Glasgow and I joined them via London at Charles De Gaulle airport, escaping the miserable London 'summer' in favour of some Parisian vibes. 

I think the best thing you can do in Paris (much like any great city) is to just walk. Walk everywhere and anywhere. We explored our pretty little area around Bastille, where there were many authentic patisseries and wine bars, cafes and beautiful little independent shops all with local people going around their usual business - naturally looking tres cool whilst doing so.

We headed south of the river for some dinner, in a place which reminded me of East London but where the hipsters were replaced by laid back French kids. Way better. The place we wanted to eat at was a recommendation by a friend, so away from all the usual tourist-y places - but still just as popular. We waited around 3 hours before a table was free for us! But the wait was enjoyable - we made like the cool cats on the street and joined them in drinking cheap but amazing sangria while the sun went down. In the restaurant itself, the staff were so friendly, giving us complimentary shots and joining in with us whilst we celebrated our gal Fee's bon anniversaire til the early hours.

Any hangover felt the next day was promptly dispelled by excitement. Last time I had been to Paris I was about 6 years old, and only really wanted to go to Disneyland. 18 years later, and back to Disneyland we go! Only this time I am actually tall enough to go on rides other than the tea-cups (though who doesn't love the tea-cups?!)

Finally, for any of you planning a city break to the most stylish place on earth, here are some of my recommendations.

As our last day was a lot more chilled, me and fellow blogger Fee made everyone stop off at this amazing traditional French pharmacy, where we stocked up on French goodies from cult brands Caudalie and Nuxe! There are plenty around, I'd say about one on each street, so the choice is vast. Stick to independent ones rather than big chains for the best selections.

I'd also recommend the hotel we stayed at - Mercure Bastille - for a lovely room and great deal with a rooftop garden overlooking the beautiful city. If you fancy a museum but have done the Louvre et al then hit Palais de Tokyo for some seriously cool modern art. It also has the photo booth as featured in film fave Amelie, where you can make your Paris memories last forever on a strip of 4 black and white photos. How very French indeed.

 Au revoir Paris, til next time!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

miniature mix-up

It is a bit sad perhaps, that I get almost equally as excited when preparing for my holiday by buying miniature versions of all my favourites as I do for the actual holiday. Well, even so I have decided to share some of my key miniature must haves with you. Here is what I packed on my recent trip to Paris. It was a weekend away, and I never claimed to pack lightly.

Top L-R: Benefit High Beam (miniature freebie in a magazine), Aveda duo shampoo and conditioner (trial sizes), Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturiser (trial size), Philosophy Grace perfume (sample), Miller Harris Body Lotion (miniature), Nuxe Body Oil (miniature), Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish (miniature freebie in a magazine).

Bottom L-R: Oral- B pro expert (trial size), Sure deoderant (miniature), Soap and Glory bubble bath (miniature), Superdrug's own, Dry Shampoo (miniature), Sanez Zero % shower gel (miniature), Soap and Glory Hand Maid hand sanitiser (miniature), Charles Worthington hair serum (miniature), Pantene shampoo (trial sachet), Original Source shower gel (trial sachet), Jurlique Balancing cleanser (trial sample).

I usually save any freebies in magazines or trial sachets you get (some brands online will send you trial size versions for free if it is a new product) in a box and leave it well be until the glorious time of holiday packing approaches and I take the box and pick out exactly what I need!

As you can see it just about fits in the required clear bag...  I once had two of those bags (I wasn't aware of the insane rule that you are only allowed one per person) so I had to ask the man behind me in the security check queue at the airport to claim one of them as his - to which he did get a few funny looks as he handed over a bag full of beautifying products! What a gent though.

Stay posted for my Paris Diary coming up soon! In the meantime, what are your favourite miniatures to pack? Or am I the only one who loves them?!

Monday, 2 July 2012

DIY nails!

Nail art is BIG at the moment and so far I haven't seen anyone do it better than DIY Nails. I featured the gorgeous Tammy who runs it in an interview for Barefaced and then promptly purchased myself a set which I am now reppin'!

You order your chosen design online and get the 'nail mail' sent straight to your home. What a cute parcel to receive! The designs are really unique, but there is definitely something for everyone on the site. And if you have a specific design in mind, Tammy will do it for you as a special unique set!

I went for this green and sparkly gradient set, £8. You get the nails, glue, and emery board in the set and it's pretty straightforward from there..

My final nails! I didn't file them down at all as I'm loving super long Lana Del Rey length nails at the moment. Are you loving falsies too?

Friday, 15 June 2012

hey cupcake

It had been ages since I'd last stepped into Lush. I really like their products as a treat - and I think their anti-animal testing ethos is great - but it isn't a usual place I shop in as they are quite expensive.

However when I got off the bus at Regent Street and smelled that familiar smell of soapy, floral-y, yummy-ness it was my nose that guided me back to the shop of all things bath-time-treats.

I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a browser - I go into shops without needing anything, just to 'look' and this was no exception. After getting a sniff of their newest bath-bomb delights, massage bars (a fave of mine) and new skin-tint bars, I was drawn down the stairs to the lower level where they have a sort of fresh face station set up going on. Intrigued by all the fresh ingredients that sounded good enough to eat, a sales girl explained to me that these face-masks are in fact more nourishing to your skin than your insides. She recommended 'Cupcake' for me - a vegan chocolate face mask that looks and smells like the sugary treat, to keep your skin clear and mattified. Sold. (at £5.75).

Later that evening, me and my flatmate had a bit of a pamper night with facials and movies -  the horror film Catacombs was our somewhat debatable choice of viewing... Hannah and I shared the face-mask as it comes in an ample size pot (which is kept fresh in the fridge) and because we both have a bit of stressed-skin going on.  Applying it felt a bit wierd I must admit - the texture is a little, erm, lumpy and what with the colour of it...well you get the idea.

Hannah's verdict was that the overall result was satisfactory - her skin felt smooth and supple and she didn't even have to moisturise after!  My skin clearly thought different as it felt incredibly dry and tight, even after applying a thick layer of moisturiser afterwards - and the next day I had flaky dry bits around my cheek area. I think I will use the rest of the mask I have left on my t-zone only, and avoid my cheek area as it was just too drying. I'll also only leave it on for the minimum 5 minutes.

Have you tried any Lush products for your face? How did you get on?

Monday, 11 June 2012

wild wild rose

I recently got handed this Neal's Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm sample while I was on my way somewhere via Carnaby Street in London. I love getting samples of things I haven't ever heard of and even more so when it's a product I've been dying to try! If you follow me on Twitter (@lyl0ts) you may know I was on the hunt for a rose hip oil product to help with my skins texture and mild scarring from blemishes, but didn't want to splash out on one without doing some research first as they are quite pricey. As you can imagine I was keen to give this sample a shot as it contains rose hip oil - hip hip hooray! 

I did like this Neal's Yard offering to begin with, but it wasn't for me in the end. It applied a lot like Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream which I love, so at first I thought it would sink beautifully into my skin - which is so dry ATM that it would drink anything up. But in fact it left my skin feeling a little greasy so I could only use this at night time, and even then it didn't seem to nourish my skin enough for my needs. Saying this, my skin is PARCHED at the moment so it would take a lot for it to feel completely nourished and satisfied by any product, so I am quite a tough critic right now.

All in all I'm a huge fan of Neal's Yard, their natural products are right up my street, but everyone's skin is different and reacts differently to different products. So alas, I am still on the hunt for the perfect rose-hip oil product. Can you recommend any?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

swim until you can't see land

I recently helped out on the most amazing shoot in Richmond Park, which I mentioned in an earlier post here. The garments you see in the above pics are all designed, created and made by Holly Eloise Jenkins, a superbly talented LCF student in her final year.

I have styled other shoots before but none are even on a par with the creativity flowing through this one. It started off a little shaky - London being London, the tubes were off! So after a delayed start and the uncertainty looming over us whether or not we would finish on time, the model Michaela, photographer Joanna and make-up artist Pace all pulled it out the bag with these stunning shots, seen above, to prove it!

Here are a few behind the scene snaps I took in-between outfit and location changes.

I hope to be a part of something just as exciting again soon - regardless how tired everyone was at the end of day, the results make all the effort SO worth it!