28 February 2015

My Little Frenchie Box reveiw



Have you ever heard of My Little Box? It's a monthly subscription service that delivers a box of goodies right to your door. It originated in France but recently hopped across the channel, much to the delight of Paris lovers like myself. 

What's in the box?


Each box has it's own theme. February's edition, My Little Frenchie box, included:
  • By Terry kohl eyeliner 
  • DHC blotting paper
  • My Little Beauty complexion enhancer
  • L'Oreal eyebrow shaper pencil
  • My Little World magazine
  • Illustration card
  • Phone case
  • A bottle of messages


Beauty products


I need to start by mentioning the packaging: the beauty products came in a cute printed drawstring bag - which will be useful for something, I'm sure. I was really impressed with the effort and attention to detail they paid to the presentation of everything.  And from what I've heard, their boxes don't usually include this many make-up products, so I got pretty lucky!

By Terry eyeliner: this was the product I was most impressed to receive, as it retails at a whopping £23! Already I felt I'd got my money's worth, and a kohl liner is universally useful. I received the shade 'bronze generation', a black with a slightly sparkly tint, which I loved!

Complexion enhancer: this is from My Little Box's own beauty brand, My Little Beauty. The complexion enhancer is essentially a tinted moisturiser, which it great for days where you fancy forgoing the foundation. Hopefully by summer, I'll be able to do that!

DHC blotting paper: I've never used blotting paper before, but me and my combination complexion are pretty intrigued about testing it. It's not the most glamorous sounding product, so luckily, the packaging is lovely!

L'Oreal eyebrow shaper: I'd been meaning to buy an eyebrow pencil for ages, what a lucky coincidence! The pencil comes with a small brush on the lid and a clear wax to keep your brows in place. I received a dark brown shade, which should be okay for me - but could be disappointing for lighter haired ladies! I've no idea whether everyone gets the same shade, or if it's a sort of colour-match roulette?




Lifestyle products


Les petits mots d'ines: As I've mentioned once or twice before, I'm pretty bad at French; so it took me a while to translate this. But I think this means 'little words of Ines', 'Ines', I later found out, refers to Ines Fressange, who was sort of like the French Cara Delevinge of the 1980's. The corked bottle includes 28 little quotes from Ines, who also features in the magazine and card illustration. They're a really sweet idea - and again, amazingly presented - each message was rolled up and kept in place with a tiny gold metal band. Whoever got that job... I am so sorry. 

My Little Smartphone Case: I had no idea what could be in the smart-looking red box (more points for presentation), but I was happy to find a pretty fabric phone case inside. I'd imagine this fits all smartphones - with the exception of those mini-tablet sized ones, of course! It's a perfect phone case for travelling too, as it keeps your phone (or in my case, hand extension) utterly snug and secure. And there's a handy leather pouch for earphones, or tickets, or whatever!

My Little World magazine: Confession - normally when little magazines come with my purchases, I throw them away (but then, they're usually just catalogues in the guise of a mag, aren't they?). But I was very pleasantly surprised when I skimmed through this, as it was full of beautiful snaps, interesting pieces and handy tips! It's a keeper! There was also a pretty illustration of Ines on a card. I'm keeping that safe for when I get the white shelf of my dreams. 



The verdict


I was approaching this month's box as a tester: if I like it, I'll continue the subscription; if I don't, I won't. And the verdict? I really liked it. I must admit, I love the idea of being surprised each month with a box of French-themed goodies. And for £11 a month, it seems pretty good value to me - especially when each box easily adds up to over £60 worth of products. I'm already excited for March! 

If you're tempted by My Little Box, or you'd like to find out more, you can visit their website. You can also see all the things they've put in their previous boxes to see whether this is the right subscription for you!

NB: This isn't a paid collaborative post or anything, I just really like getting post and French things. x
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27 February 2015

Paris 2014

Throwback Thursday? Not any more.

It was a cause of alarm when I realised my beloved Paris snaps were lurking on my old blog instead of here. So, I thought I'd do a little throwback post to share some of my favourite pictures and adventures from June 2014. Enjoy!

Paris by day








I had the classic Paris experience: macarons at Ladurée, window shopping in Champs-Élysées and strolling around museums (for the record, La Petit Palais is excellent). Admittedly, it was set against the less chic background of wilting under the relentless thirty degree heat, but you can't have everything. 

 Everything looks beautiful. There's delicious food everywhere. And aside from the pickpockets (common sense will protect you from those), Paris is a super safe city, full of really lovely, kind people. Cheers to the lady who told me my pants were on display (backpacks and mini-skirts are just the worst combination). You'd only get pointing and laughing in London.

I fell a bit in love with the city on this trip. Hopefully you'll see why... 


The Eiffel Tower







 No trip to Paris is complete without a trip to la tour Eiffel. Look at me trying to be all sassy. Here’s a few tips for a successful trip:
  • Go when it’s quiet – week days and early in the morning are usually to be the best times to visit
  • Be prepared to queue, regardless! Even when I arrived very early on Monday morning, I queued for 40 minutes (still beats the couple of hours you might have to wait otherwise!)
  • If you can, buy your tickets online so you can join the fast-track queue. They sell them in specific time slots, but don’t release many – so be quick!
It’s worth the queues for the amazing views – and I’d recommend visiting all three floors to make the most of it! I’m lucky as, of all my fears, heights is not one of them! I loved the top floor – a small platform close to the very top! At 896ft up, you can see for miles and miles and miles! Even if you’re a bit scared of heights, I’d recommend pushing past your fears for this – you won’t regret it.

Paris by night







If you thought Paris by day was beautiful, wait until you see it by night. Picture stunning white buildings set against a dusky pink and blue sky, the faint sound of jazz music escaping the buzzing bistros and the smell of delicious food in the air. As darkness falls, you'll get to see Paris live up to it's reputation as "the City of Light". Trust me, it's well deserved. Strolling through Paris at midnight was one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. No wonder Woody Allen dedicated a film to such a spectacular combination.

...and the Eiffel Tower makes a reappearance





Yep. My nightly stroll around Paris had to include a trip to the Eiffel Tower. At night it's lit up and looks amazing. Take a look at the video I've posted here to see it in action.

The Palace of Versailles







There are two things you need to know about the Palace of Versailles. The first is that it's a vast expanse (67km, to be exact) of flawless architecture, perfectly pruned greenery and general jaw-dropping beauty. And the second? The queues to get into the Palace itself are flippin' massive. But luckily, the grounds are just as stunning.

Fun fact: Louis XIV, who was behind the big expansion of the Palace of Versailles, was a bit of a character – as all Kings tend to be – and thought he was a God on earth – as all Kings of the time tended to do. That's why Versailles' gardens are so bizarrely perfect - he wanted to show that he was more powerful than nature itself - I can’t help but wonder how many gardeners he had to employ. When you look around, you’ll notice quite a few references to Apollo, the Greek/Roman God of the Sun. This was because King Louis modelled himself on the Sun God, having played him once in a play. Which sounds weird, but if you think about it, it's probably no weirder than fifteen year old girls modelling themselves on Kim Kardashian.

Montmartre: Sacré-Cœur






Our first port of call on day two was Montmartre, located in Paris’ Latin quarter. If you were a Bohemian in the late 1800s, this was the place to go – think Van Gogh, Toulous-Lautrec and the rest of the artisan crowd. As you can imagine, this is now a pretty big tourist spot- everyone wants to catch a bit of that Moulin Rouge sparkle; taking in a show, slugging coffee with local artists and taking in the amazing views from the Sacré-Cœur. As it was 10am, I did the latter. 

Need a confidence boost? Behind the Sacré-Cœur you'll find handfuls of street artists, desperate to draw your portrait. So desperate, in fact, that they will absolutely shower you with compliments to persuade you to part with €15 for their charcoal masterpieces. They are actually excellent artists, so it's not bad value for money if you have time to hang around. If you fancy an ego boost, take a stroll down artists alley. I stuck out like a sore thumb, the luminously pale 23 year old with too-bright red lipstick and flowers in her hair. Their targets were locked and loaded. “You’re beautiful! May I draw you?” “You look like a Princess!” “Please, the artist wants what he wants!”. I am not sure compliments really count as compliments when the prospect of money is involved, but hey, when in Montmartre. I feel like they don't mention this enough in the guidebooks... 

Watch it for yourself



I made a little video of my few days in Paris - take a look!

I hope you enjoyed my little Francophile-fuelled blog post. There'll be more Parisian delights on the blog this weekend - stay tuned! x
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22 February 2015

A capsule wardrobe for work

A while ago, a friend suggested I write a post about work clothes. Choosing work-friendly outfits can be tricky - really, for me, doing anything at 7am is a challenge! But I've committed myself to never looking boring - and although I don't always get it right - I think I've done okay so far. Except when I over-estimate the length of my skirts. Frankly that has always been a bit of a problem area for me.

But I loved the idea of creating something to help with the task of selecting work clothes - and I've decided to team this with another love of mine: capsule wardrobes. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a capsule wardrobe, it's basically this: a few key pieces that you can mix and match to create endless combinations. So, today I made one that encapsulates (see what I did there?) work clothes, a hint of vintage style and a sprinkling of Spring.

The Pieces


So here are our pieces: two pairs of trousers, a skirt, a dress, two blouses, a jumper and a cardigan. Plus two pairs of shoes and two bags. As it's Spring (nearly), I threw in some pretty pastel colours - but substitute these for whatever you like wearing. Just make sure the colours are complimentary.

And now, the magic trick: I'll turn these pieces into fifteen different outfits. That's a different work ensemble everyday for three whole weeks!

Abracadabra...


 So, whaddaya think? Is a mix'n'match capsule wardrobe a worthy investment? If any of these pieces have caught your eye, you can find them here.

Saying mix'n'match this much has made me hungry for some pick'n'mix. Talk soon and happy shopping!
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14 February 2015

Valentine's Day special: Ten reasons to celebrate the single life


If you're upset that you're single on Valentine's Day, don't be.

This is no different to any other day. There's just more flowers, chocolates and commercialist-fuelled guilt than usual.

But this isn't a 'bitter about being single' post (I promise!). Part of me still thinks V-day is a little bit cute. I'm just a tad confused about how singleness on February 14th became a fate worse than death.

It's certainly far better to wait to meet someone amazing than it is to start seeing someone who's only alright, just to kill time. Who knows what you might be missing out on?

Whilst it's true that singleness comes with it's own set of problems: avoiding Tinder, awkward dates and nosy relatives, it comes with a whole host of positives!

1. You get the whole bed to yourself (unless you're sharing it with a clowder of cats)
You don't have to pick a side, you can hog the duvet and you can starfish your way to a good night's sleep. You don't have to listen to anyone else snoring. And there's a spare pillow to prop up your true love: Netflix.

2. You don't have to compromise on dinner plans
What do you feel like eating? Have that. It's all so simple! Oh, and you can eat as much as you like without judgement - in fact, I'd say it's encouraged. A giant burger, with extra fries, please.

3. There's no fighting over what to watch
That Netflix queue? It's all yours. If you want to spend the night watching rom-coms, you go girl. No judgement here. And if you're watching a brand new series, you can binge-watch episodes - no need to wait for anyone to catch up!

4. The weekend is wide-open 
I hear a lot of singletons complain about not having enough to do - but guys, the options are endless and the choice is all yours. Of course, you do plenty of fun things as a couple - but take the opportunity to be completely self indulgent now. 

5. You'll save money 
I can pretty much guarantee somewhere there will be a man reading this and shaking his head. Dear Man, I have two words for you and the second one is "off". The fewer date nights mean we can *ahem* re-invest in our favourite beauty products. Assuming you've not used your singledom to let personal grooming slide a little. That's also totally understandable.


6. You get to see your friends more often 
It's a sad fact of life that you see your loved-up friends a little bit less. We're totally happy for them, but if we're both single, let's hang out as much as possible.  

7. First date buzz
The excitement of getting to know someone new can be pretty incomparable. There will be good dates - and awful dates (but they make the best stories). And you never know, the perfect person for you could be just around the corner... 

8. No-one can tell you off for being messy
See that floordrobe situation you've got going on? No-one's judging. And if you're a neat-freak, then there's no-one to mess up your perfectly organised living space. 

9. You're the boss
You know that whatever important life decisions you make (and in your Twenties, there are plenty) they're yours and yours alone. As you develop and mature into a quasi-adult, you'll be doing that under your own steam, without being influenced by someone else.

10. And most importantly...
If Ryan Gosling ever asks if you're single and invites you for coffee/to recreate the Dirty Dancing lift in his glass house, you can say yes.

Image courtesy of: theplatformyt

Disclaimer: If you've found someone who puts up with your annoying bed habits, still gives you that first date excited feeling and brings out the very best in you, never let them go! I reckon if you can share a Netflix account, a pizza and a weekend, you've got a pretty stable foundation.*

A HUGE thank you so much to Emma Perry for creating these wonderful illustrations! This lady genuinely makes me more excited about blogging. 

Whether you're alone or with somebody today, enjoy yourself. You deserve it. x

*I'm now inspired to base all romantic decisions on how much people enjoy a) Meateor pizzas and b) the filmography of Tom Hanks. 
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11 February 2015

Check it out

Who else reads those 'what to wear for your body shape' posts? According to mine, I should be wearing wrap dresses, bootcut jeans and single breasted jackets. Unfortunately, I'm not a business woman in her mid-thirties, so I won't be following that advice, thank you.

I think we can all agree that those guidelines are pretty silly, so last weekend, I tried something totally out of my comfort zone. I never ever thought I'd don a polo neck ("avoid high necked items" and I usually avoided body-con ("do not draw attention to your middle"). But after my last post about body image, and seeing the similarly busty Marilyn Monroe wearing the hell out of her black polo neck, I thought I'd give it a go!

Whipping my newly bobbed hair into a beehive (so relieved I can still do that!) and grabbing my vintage-looking pink cocoon coat, I headed to Ashley Cross to shoot a few snaps, inspired by my favourite Fifties and Sixties ladies.





Check mate

And the result? I rather like it! I mean, to me, this outfit highlights that I have one of the (proportionally) shortest torsos ever. But I can't change that, so I solemnly vow to stop caring about it. The most important thing is that I'm enjoying wearing the clothes. My body image board on Pinterest has certainly done wonders in this respect. I no longer expect to see flat stomachs and washboard abs on a) myself and b) on anyone else. And I'm not even bothered about the "winter weight" - it's the only thing standing between me and hypothermia in this chilly weather. So now I can concentrate on more important things, like whether or not my beehive has deflated. 

During the photo session, my confidence was instantly boosted by a hippy-looking man walking past, who shouted "work those angles, girl!" - before muttering "yeah, looks nice!" to his friend - which I like to think was a comment regarding my outfit rather than me. I think the picture below captured my awkward reaction.






You might have noticed a few changes in the photo style and quality here - that's because my camera died after a few shots so I had to resort to my iPhone - oops! I'll certainly be making sure I have extra batteries next time! #Blogger101 
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8 February 2015

Collaboration with Emma Perry: SS15 Trends

I've been wanting to collaborate with my friend Emma for the longest time. She's an awesome illustrator - and I had my fingers crossed she'd create a few drawings for one of my posts. You must all be bored of seeing my mug, right? Well, luckily for me, Emma agreed to illustrate my Spring/Summer trend report! We've cherry picked our very favourite SS15 trends for you - enjoy!

Feelin' Blue?

L-R: Elie Saab, Bibhu Mohapatra, Elie Saab

Although I don't believe in saying "this is the colour of the season", as every season comes with a handful of diverse colour palettes you can pick and choose from, blue does reign supreme this Spring. It's absolutely everywhere! 

Whether you're into power dressing with a cobalt, playing Princess in dainty baby blue, donning a utilitarian denim or a being quirky in cutesy aqua, I can guarantee it'll work its way into your wardrobe. But hey, who doesn't like blue?

 I love Elie Saab's glitzy navy playsuit and the stunning ice-blue Bibhu Mohapatra dress - I wish I was a Hollywood A-lister, purely so I could wear this to the Oscars. 

Floral Display


L-R: Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Kate Spade

As Miranda Priestly once said: "Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking". But this season, pay attention, because there are two floral tribes battling for your affections. 

 In one corner we have Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Victoria Beckham splashing around large floral motifs - all with a very bright, retro feel to them. In the other corner, Oscar de la Renta, Delpozo, Marchesa and Chanel have been creating dresses fit for fairytale Princesses; gorgeous gowns embellished with tiny pastel flowers and jewels. Utterly dreamy! 

Although I am slightly more excited by the idea of looking like a flowery Princess, I won't be splitting hairs. I'll be donning splashy floral two pieces and flower studded gowns. Just to be on the safe side! 

 Seventies Sweetheart

L-R: Tommy Hilfiger, Maison Margiela, Elie Saab

The Seventies was a major theme this season. If I'm honest, I used to see this decade as a bit of a barren wasteland for fashion - peppered with the Farrah Fawcett hair flick, jumpsuits and bell-bottoms. A quiet time before the scary shoulder pads and perms of Eighties took over. But when I discovered a few Seventies babes like Debbie Harry, Faye Dunaway and Jane Fonda, I changed my mind. 

 I'm clearly not alone. This season, designers have hand-picked a few key pieces from this decade that will have everyone channelling their inner Seventies Goddess. The must-have piece this season comes courtesy of the 70s- the denim shirt-dress! It's uber versatile and you can channel Ms Alexa Chung herself (always a plus in my book). I love the oversized Maison Margiela one Emmy drew. Obviously when I comes to buying, it'll be a New Look or Miss Selfridge creation for me!

 Floaty dresses, playsuits, flared jeans, floppy hats, sheer fabrics and muted colour palettes will certainly be everywhere in a couple of months. Embrace your inner hippy chic now!  

 Forget Minis, We Love Midis!

L-R: Timo Weiland, Donna Karan, Michael Kors 

Forget the mini skirt, SS15 is all about the midi skirt. Personally I'm pretty excited about this - any excuse to recreate the classic beauty of my favourite Fifties sirens! This season will be all about feminine, a-line shapes, sprinkled with beautiful florals and nipped in with pretty belts.

 I'm drooling over the slightly sheer, floral, blue Michael Kors midi (far right picture), which was worn over a crisp white t-shirt with a thick belt. It's giving me serious Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday/ Grace Kelly vibes. Delicious. 

There's more...


This is just four trends of many. We haven't even started on gingham, wide legged trousers, utility chic, suede, layers, tulle, leather, off the shoulder tops, Roman sandals... but we'll leave it here for now. Let's just say, SS15 should be pretty exciting! 

 A huge thanks to the wonderful Emma for her gorgeous illustrations. You can check out more of her work on Emma Perry Illustrations. I'm crossing my fingers you'll see more of her on here in the future!  

Have a brilliant week! x

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