Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Message In A Bottle

How cute is this??  This is the 'Trovare Necklace' from All Saints.  It has two small glass bottle pendants attached with a tiny message in each and comes on three black oxidised chains.

 'Trovare' is an Italian word.  According to it means 'to find, come upon/across; meet (with); think, believe; catch, discover', such as discovering a message in a bottle on a deserted beach.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a larger picture of the two bottle pendants but for a close look just click here.   

This necklace currently retails at £30 at All Saints and they are currently offering an extra 25% off all purchases but I am not sure when this offer ends.  

Get the message? 

Main image sourced from 

Friday, 19 November 2010

A Thing Of Beauty Is Definitely A Joy Forever

What you see here ladies and gents is a limited edition NARS Bento Box containing two highly pigmented shades of lipstick; the red - Kabuki (like the dramatic Japanese dance) and the pink - Sakura (the Japanese word for Cherry Blossom which is a flower often found in East Asia).  Included is a Kabuki lip brush made from Wisteria, for precise application.

Sold exclusively at London's Selfridges at £95 a pop (yes you read right!), I fear I shall never get my frost bitten mitts on this object of desire!  Unless of course, I rob a bank which would be completely unsuccessful since adrenalin and I definitely do not mix.  My other option could be to hang out at the Selfridges NARS counter like a bad smell until they give me one and have me escorted off the premises, which would also be a bad idea because after pulling a stunt like that they may put a life long ban on my butt!

*sigh* One can but dream

... till next time ...

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday 2010

As I sit here writing my blog for the week, the coverage of 'Remembrance Sunday at The Cenotaph' plays live on the television.

Remembrance Sunday is a day that the UK remembers the victims of The First  and The Second World War.  A service takes place on the 11th of November in Whitehall at The Cenotaph.

The Festival of Remembrance, held annually since 1927, came about because of the release of thousands of scarlet poppy petals from the roof of the Albert Hall as a representation of those who have died in combat.

The Queen and The Royal Family attend the service, as well as members of Parliament and a number of veterans who march past The Cenotaph to music played by a military band.  It is a grand but emotional affair.

During the First World War, countless people died in the fields of France and Belgium.  The fields in Flanders turned red because hundreds of Poppies that appeared there. 

The Canadian poet John McCrae wrote a poem called 'In Flanders Fields' which drew people's attention to the poppies.

The widows of dead soldiers decided to raise money by selling paper Poppies for a donation every year around the beginning of November.  The money raised by the collection was used to help families affected because of service in all wars - not just the World Wars.  This tradition still stands and Poppies are generally worn annually until Remebrance Day on 11th November.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Love At First Bite

I've heard nothing but good about the tempting treats that make The Hummingbird Bakery so popular but I've never had the opportunity to witness the beauty with my own eyes.  That is until my bonne amie generously decided to buy me two of my very own cupcakes.

Maybe I should just brief you in on what The Hummingbird Bakery is all about - it first opened on Portobello Road in 2004 making American cupcakes and pies. Since then, they have opened two more stores in South Kensington and Soho and there's even a Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.

Anyway, where were we? Ahh yes, cupcakes. When I saw the white paper bag stamped with baby pink hummingbirds my eyes grew wide with interest. Pour moi? Really all for me? Nobody had ever bought me cupcakes before and the fact that they were from this popular bakery was a bonus!

I carefully slid a knife along the pretty sticker seal and was greeted by two perfectly presented Black Bottom Cupcakes - made up of a dark chocolate sponge, a cheesecake centre and a cream cheese frosting.

Now people who know me well know that I have a particular dislike to sweet treats that contain cheese - thus ruling out cheesecake and cream cheese frosting. However, completely unaware of the ingredients, I sliced the cupcake into two to share with my sister and...I was in Hummingbird heaven. The frosting was as smooth as silk and the sponge as soft as cotton candy. It was absolutely delicious! After devouring every last crumb, I started to get a slight aftertaste of cheese and asked my sister if she could taste the same. True enough the frosting was cream cheese and the sponge had a cheesecake filling - I never thought I'd say it but honestly it was scrumptious!!!

My bonne amie may have achieved something nobody else ever has - she might very well have converted me into a cheesecake/cream cheese frosting lover - only time will tell. But my opinion on the Hummingbird Bakery's Black Bottom Cupcake? It was love at first bite!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Sleeping With The Fishes

A few months ago I signed up to be a member of livingsocial - an organisation that notifies you of daily deals within your chosen city, via your email. A limited amount of deals ranging from spas to cookery, are available to members at a discounted rate and for a short period only.

I had been receiving deals in my inbox for relaxing massages to indoor rock climbing and as interesting as they may be nothing really caught my eye. That was, until last Wednesday the subject header read Zoola Fish Pedicure. Intrigued, I clicked on the message and found I was pleasantly surprised.  I'd heard about this therapy in Malaysia and some of my friends there had experienced this treatment before. I should probably explain the concept of 'fish pedicures' before I continue because it really is much better than it sounds.

Garra Rufa fish also known as Doctor Fish feed on dead skin cells, allowing healthy skin cells to grow whilst leaving your feet feeling as soft as a baby's bottom. The treatment originates from spas in Turkey where it is common for sufferers of psoriasis to immerse affected areas into the tank allowing the fish to 'fin'ish (sorry I couldn't help myself) the skin cells off.

Three vouchers at £27 for half an hour of fishy fun instead of the usual price of £54? Bargain! Whats more, there's a free livingsocial itouch app so forget a paper print out of your purchase. Make yourself feel all warm and fuzzy inside by doing your bit for the environment and use your itouch application instead; what a stroke of genius.

So yesterday, I setup a date with my two best friends nicknamed 'Husbies' (don't ask). We met up in Camden (which was as usual, full of interesting individuals sporting bright pink hair and platform boots) and according to the itouch app there were two possible locations for our Zoola fish pedicure, both in Camden. The first location turned out to be slightly misleading so we gave up and decided to try the other site which was located in Stables Market. The stall numbers above each business in the market was in no particular order at all and after 20 minutes of circling the vicinity like vultures, we found it.

When we got there two ladies were already sitting in one of the tanks together looking as if they were having a good laugh. We shot a look at each other nervously and giggled like a bunch of teenagers. The friendly attendant handed each of us a clean white hot flannel to wipe our feet with before immersing them into the tank of hungry little fishes.

To be quite frank I was a little reluctant, judging by the way they were darting around I feared I might leave 30 minutes later missing a toe or two. As we sat on the edge preparing to dip our feet in schools of little fishes began to swim towards the surface in a flurry of excitement. I felt a little like Wendy from Peter Pan, walking the plank above a sea of ravenous crocodiles. Having said that the experience was nowhere near as terrifying.

The water was tepid understandably for the benefit of the fish, as I imagine warmer temperatures would do more damage than good. As soon as we immersed our feet ankle deep, the fish got to work sucking away as only they knew how. Dead skin cells had absolutely no chance against these little swimmers.

The sensation was somewhat bizarre. It felt a little like tiny bubbles but I could definitely feel a sucking sensation, not to mention the fact that it was rather tickly.  It took me at least 10 minutes to get used to the feeling as generally I am quite ticklish and so I had to bite the bullet and just deal with it. After all, I wanted to get my V.F.M and I wanted to see how effective the treatment was. The Husbies seemed to be feeling the same as me but they got over the initial sensation much faster than I did.  Though once we got carried away with the latest gossip, the tickly feeling became quite subtle.  After the session was over we were given a towel to pat our feet dry. 

It wasn't until I got home later that evening that I had a chance to determine how effective the treatment was. I was quite literally stunned. My feet were as smooth as a baby's bottom - just as they had guaranteed on their website.

I am fish-hooked (sorry haha)! On a scale (okay that's the last joke, I promise) of 1 to 10, I give my overall experience an 8. I'm almost certain I'll be going back for more and I definitely recommend it. I'd love to hear of your experiences.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Zumba Zumba Zumba!!!

It's been a while since I've posted a blog and I can only apologise, but rest assured I haven't decided to write it off my to do list completely!! I have just been swamped with so many other things over the past few months that I just couldn't find the time.

I thought it might be good to write a short post about a craze that has taken London by storm.

Last week I attended my first 'Zumba' class after hearing so many positive things about it from friends that had experienced it themselves.

Zumba is basically a form of exercise that involves fast paced dancing to Latin rhythms. It's a little intense but is pretty easy to pick up once you get the hang of it and it is so much fun. There are classes across the U.K and is suitable for all levels. There's a website that details all the information you might need (Official Zumba website)

I went in to the class a complete beginner with a basic knowledge of the craze but didn't really know what I was signing myself up for and if I am being completely honest, I was a little nervous. There's always a beginner in the class that makes a complete fool of themselves because they don't know what they are doing and I feared that might be me. Having said that, after the first 10 minutes I found myself fitting in perfectly and it was great fun!! The music was loud and upbeat. The kind you would expect to hear in a Brazilian carnival! Just my cup of tea!! 

I left the class feeling as though I had definitely got my V.F.M (Value For Money), not to mention the fact that I felt like I had run a marathon and looked like I'd run one too!!! Needless to say, I'm almost certain I am going to go back for more this week!

If you love Latin music and fast paced exercise then this is definitely one not to be missed!! Don't worry about being a beginner because the teacher usually goes through the steps before starting the music so that you know what you are doing.

My only advice is bring a large bottle of water with you and a hand towel to wipe your face during the breaks that you'll long for in between song changes!!


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Laduree vs. Paul

Whilst shopping in Central London last week I passed a Paul French bakery and spotted a tier of macaroons in the window. I couldn't resist and after some thought I decided on a large pistachio macaroon.

Tucked away in a signature paper bag lay my tasty treat. I saved it until I got home only to discover that an oily stain had transferred on to the bag which rang alarm bells to me. Eagerly, I took a bite expecting the usual soft, creamy texture I was used to when devouring Laduree macaroons.

Unfortunately, this was not the case. The texture was smooth and creamy to some extent but it was rather oily too which explained the stain on the paper bag. I simply couldn't enjoy this treat although I really tried. 

Results? Laduree 1 - Paul's 0!!

More than Marvellous

Ok guys, I cannot apologise enough for the lack of posts lately!! I have a fully charged 'Duracell Bunny' son who is hilariously charismatic but equally exhausting.

Anyway with that said, this post is about the new Kiehls Marvellous Mineral Mascara that was recently launched in London at the beginning of this month.

I have been gradually trying to change all the products I use to those that are not harmful to the skin, so when I heard about Kiehls new mascara which claimed to be 'paraben-free', I almost couldn't believe my luck!

I didn't even have to wait until the official launch date, because it was made available a few days earlier - an advantage exclusive to Selfridges customers. Of course, I didn't even give it a second thought and immediately purchased two - one for my sister and a treat for me which came to a total of £30.00.

The wand has a soft tug-free brush that delivers fine, clump-free coats of mascara with each application and contains ingredients such as Acacia, which thickens lashes.

The shade of the product is a really deep, dark black which is something that I particularly look for in a mascara. It also enhances my lashes naturally and the tug-free brush does exactly what it is supposed to without any clumping.

What I do find is that the mascara isn't waterproof and although I haven't yet experienced any problems such as smudging, I would prefer it nonetheless. One thing my sister mentioned was that the brush held on to a little too much mascara and she didn't want to waste any product by wiping the brush on a tissue. Apart from that she seemed to be fond of it too.

Overall, its a good product and pretty good value for money, considering its paraben-free claim. I'd buy it again but would still prefer it to be waterproof.

The picture below shows my lashes before and after use of the mascara. Judge for yourself and feel free to give me feedback on how marvellous your lashes look with this product.

Friday, 23 April 2010

AnOther Powerful Performance

Dear World,

Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I have been terribly busy with matters of much importance (such as shopping .. just kidding) and before I knew it, a month has flown by.

Anyway, moving on. I stumbled across a preview of the forthcoming issue of high fashion publication AnOther Magazine after browsing through a number of fashion blogs. I couldnt believe my eyes! Marion Cotillard graced the front cover and she looked absolutely amazing. I was stunned by her make up. The lipstick - red as blood, the eyes - smoky grey, and the glossy appearance? A work of art!

Parisienne, Cotillard won Best Actress for her stunning portrayal of Édith Piaf in "La Mome (La Vie En Rose)" and is the first French actress to win Best Leading Actress at BAFTA Film Awards since the integration of Best British Actress and Best Foreign Actress in 2007.

I bought a copy of AnOther magazine as soon as it hit the stands and I wasn't disappointed. There was a two page interview with the Oscar winning actress as well as 6 extra glorious images of her posing in the name of fashion.

I love the whole spread but if I had to choose a favourite it would have to be this one...

I can't really tell you why I love this one in particular but I can tell you that I adore Mademoiselle Cotillard, as an actress and a model.

The AnOther Magazine website features an excellent video clip of Cotillard's performance during the shoot that is well worth checking out, not to mention the images used in the feature.

I'd love to know what you think.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A One Way Ticket To My Heart

Last December, my Grande Soeur and her partner Hans paid a visit to the city that never sleeps, New York. The reason for their trip? Hans was attending the NY launch of his book Utopia or Auschwitz (well done bro). Nevertheless, knowing the Big Apple very well they were intent on discovering pastures new and decided on a snowy jaunt to the Catskill Mountains.

On the way, they happened upon a little gingerbread town called Rhinebeck where Grande Soeur said she came across a pretty little shop called Paper Trails. According to her description it was filled with all things quaint and quirky. Pretty paper and labels aplenty, ribbons and threads, jewellery, glitters, imaginative gifts and more. Amongst the abundance of eye candy was a little gem that caught her eye as a stocking filler for me.

Come Christmas Day she presented me with a little gift, wrapped and tied with curling ribbon. I opened it with my eyes tightly shut (as always ... it seems to enhance the excitement). At first I wasn't sure what it was. It appeared to be a roll of tickets with a pretty red silk ribbon and a paper tag. On closer inspection I discovered it was actually a roll of 100 ticket stubs - the kind they used to give you when you went to the cinema in the old days. Each ticket had the word "WISH" imprinted upon it and a little sticker saying '100 wishes' sealed the roll neatly in place. The paper tag, dotted with hole punched stars, read:

"If I had a hundred wishes I would give them all to you"

If I could describe my feelings in two words, it would have to be 'overwhelmingly touched'. Well, being the sentimental old fool that I am I cried of course. But to be fair, even those who'd had their tear ducts removed would have shed a tear upon receiving such a gift. I had been having a particularly troublesome couple of months and this was just the beacon of light I needed to help renew my hope.

Thanks to Grande Soeur I am officially the owner of 100 Wishes and my first wish is to grant my beloved sister 100 wishes back!

Friday, 19 March 2010


If there's one thing everyone knows about me it's my obsession with Ladurée. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon that is Ladurée it is a Parisian tea salon & patisserie famed for its delectable 'double-decker' macaroons.

I will never forget my first encounter: Paris. St Germain to be precise. It was my first ever trip to the City of Lights. The sun was shining. My sister led me down a cobbled street toward a pretty celadon green shop front. As I peered curiously through the window she just smiled, "Trust me" she said. She was absolutely right – it was true love. My first was a perfectly formed pistachio macaroon, crisp on the outside and smooth as silk on the inside. To quote Mary Poppins, "...practically perfect in every way... ". I left clutching a signature lilac & gold gift box. Nestled within were eight jewel-coloured macaroons – and thus an obsession was born.

With thirteen flavours, plus seasonal variations, it's hard to recommend a favorite. But at a push I'd have to say the Pistachio, the Caramel with Salted Butter and my newest fixation the Orange Blossom. 

Ladurée opened its first salon de thé on the Rue Royale in 1862. I was heartened to read on the official website that it was in fact one of the first tea salons in Paris, and one that freely allowed ladies to socialise and drink tea together in public. Hardly trailblazing nowadays I know, but up until then Parisian cafés were a strictly all male affair.  I could not help but think what my friend the Tea Queen would make of this over at her blog Afternoon Tea Total.

So you may be misled by this blog post into believing that the macaroons are the only thing of note at Ladurée. Au contrair, mon ami. So many things so little time…how about the exquisite loose leaf teas they serve in silver teapots? The artisan chocolates? The pretty notebooks? The candles and cakes and the charms, oh my!

Oh my stars, I could go on but I won't other than to suggest you just go and take a look, and at the very least press your nose up against the glass display case and admire row upon row of macaroons.

Not lucky enough to be swinging by Paris anytime soon? Then hopefully you might have a chance to pop into one of the branches in Monaco, Switzerland, Tokyo or London. I would love to hear about what you think of Ladurée. Love or hate.

Disclaimer: Ladurée macaroons may be seriously addictive! Enjoy at your own risk.

Middle image: Courtesy of Ladurée