Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas cards signed by Princess Diana

My fridge is bursting with food, the bottles of champagne are cold, the Christmas tree is decorated and the presents are wrapped. There is one thing I have not done this year, however, and I hang my head in shame: I have not made or sent a single Christmas card. Not even a Christmas email! Have you? I expect you have. Sigh. Oh dear. I think I might have to send out Happy New Year emails, instead.

I think what put me off was not knowing what to write on the cards... because I like the idea of writing a personalised note on each one. But the truth is, that's a hassle and you end up not sending any. So next year when I do send out Christmas cards, I am sticking to one of these standard (but boring) phrases and just writing "to" and "from". I mean, the royals do it... see below.

Christmas cards signed by Diana and Charles


... and ones signed by Diana only.


And now my turn.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kate Middleton's gorgeous hair

Who doesn't want Kate's gorgeous hair? Unfortunately mine is not long enough yet but I am growing it out.

If you are in London you might be interested to know that she has her hair done at the Richard Ward salon. The salon has confirmed that James styled her hair for the engagement press day.


"Richard, Hellen and the Richard Ward team would like to send their sincere congratulations to Prince William & Kate Middleton on the announcement of their engagement.
It has been widely speculated in the press that Kate and the Middleton family have been loyal salon clients for many years; we would like to confirm this.
Our relationship with the Middleton’s has been built on discretion and trust, Richard and his team intend to maintain this relationship whilst respecting Kate’s on-going privacy.
We can confirm our stylist, James Pryce, did a fantastic job in enhancing Kate’s look for the engagement press day and we would like to extend our best wishes to the happy couple for the future."

Here is a collection of photos (in no particular order) that show her glossy locks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Philosophy's (non) miracle worker

Back in September I got really curious about Philosophy. I got loads of good recommendations and meant to try out an exfoliator but came home with an anti-ageing product, instead (not sure how that happened). Well, I don't have any wrinkles yet but one age spot on the side of my face so I sort of shrugged and thought, why not...


The miracle worker and I didn't get off to a good start... because despite all the writing on the box (where else do you see so much text on a skincare product?), there were no instructions on how to use the product. I mean, yes maybe it's obvious that you are supposed to pour the liquid onto the pads but I wanted to be sure, seeing as I'd spent so much money on it. And was I supposed to use it once or twice a day or week? I mean, this is surely a bit more complicated than the usual face creams that do come with the most banal instructions to "apply day and night", for example.


So I had to go to their website (what a hassle) for instructions.
And I poured the entire bottle over the pads.


Voila, the soaked pads.


Each pad has a smooth side and a rough side. I quite liked scrubbing my face with the rough side (it felt like it was doing something). The liquid felt peculiar, like a dry oil, but it didn't cause any problems. No break-outs.

In fact, nothing. I used this every night for 60 days, and I didn't see any difference. The age spot on my face is still there. No compliments on glowing skin, either.

I don't believe in miracles anymore... (I'll try again when I'm fifty.) 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kate Middleton's official engagement photos!

What gorgeous photos! Kate looks beautiful.


Especially in the second photo (below) you can really see how perfect her hair is and her make-up was obviously done professionally here, for a change. Not that it was ever bad (no, not at all!) but the eyes look 'softly smokey' (and not just the usual black eyeliner). She is also wearing a white dress and that gets my seal of approval! (you know how I love white!)


These photos were taken by Mario Testino.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Maybe Miu Miu?

So I have been popping into all the boutiques to look at the latest handbags. My first stop this time was Prada but I couldn't find any of the ones I wanted (here). They had similar ones, though, so I got a good idea of how big the bigger ones are. Is there such a thing as a perfect size? I usually carry larger bags, then put too much in and get shoulder aches. So I switch to a smaller one, then curse that I can't fit anything other than the essentials in. Sigh.

At Miu Miu I did find something that I liked. The bow bag (vitello lux satchel): this has been around for two years or so already, which I always think is a good sign because I don't want highly recognisable 'it' bags that go out of style quickly. It comes in two sizes and I like the smaller one. It has adorable bows on the sides! It has a zip closure, which is usually a must for me (but I'll forgive the Hermes Birkin for not having one, just because.), and it folds over.


It does not open very wide so it's not the most practical bag but it is roomier than it looks and I can fit all my essentials (+ room for a bit more) in.


It comes in various colours. But as I need a brown bag (first), the dark grey-brown shade called argilla (a new colour) is what I should get. The lighter brown / dark camel is also gorgeous....


What do you think?

I don't own any Miu Miu yet so I am unfamiliar with the quality. I have read one horror story about a letter falling off but I am thinking (hoping) this is an exception. Does anyone have any experience with Miu Mius?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Next: Prada?

I love designer handbags, you know that, and when I got my classic Chanel bag (which I will show you soon) I swore to myself that I would only buy Chanel bags from then on. But then I fell in love with a red Dior (see it here). And once I had that, I felt I had enough handbags (I have more than just these two) and I should start saving up for an Hermes Birkin. And I have kept my word... for a year.

But I am starting to realise that maybe this is not such a good idea. Because even if I argue that the Hermes is the ultimate bag and I would never need another, the truth - I think - is that I get bored. So I would probably sleep with the Hermes for a year (literally, probably), then start flirting around with other bags again... and at some point the Hermes would just become 'another' handbag in my collection.

I've sort of decided that I desperately need a brown bag and I like this one from Prada more than I would like to admit.

Large Cervo Satchel

But... and this is where I start to lose sight of that "I need a brown bag" argument (didn't take long, did it?)... I do like this grey one, too.


Vitello Daino Half Moon Hobo

And these are not what I had in mind at all but I like them, anyway. I'm already trying to decide between the big one or the small one...

Soft Calf Framed Satchel

Which one do you like best? Should I even go for Prada at all?!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Asian with a twist of French

I haven't done a food post in ages... so I thought I'd show you one of my all-time favourites: Vietnamese cuisine! Ahhhh... when I was pregnant I couldn't get enough of their curries! This is a restaurant I usually go to for dinner but this time it was lunch with a friend.

Jasmine tea... lots of it.


I usually prefer summer rolls but on the lunch menu they were only offering vegetable spring rolls. They were good, too. 


Then the 'usual' chicken curry with rice. Oh, see the carrot in the corner? Do you think that is supposed to be a butterfly? 


Vietnamese coffee. I don't even drink coffee normally so it's a bit strange that I like this: a double espresso with lots of condensed milk. I like to pour it over crushed ice. It's very sweet... this was basically dessert. My friend had never seen this before and she was quite fascinated! 


I need to branch out, though, and order something other than chicken curry next time. What are your favourite Vietnamese dishes?

P.S. When I think of Vietnam, what comes to mind is L'Amant (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras, the story of a young French girl and her Chinese lover... It is one of my favourite books.


Maybe you are familiar with the film...? 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How about some (Lulu) Guinness?

I don't drink beer but there is a kind of Guinness that I do like...


Ever heard of Lulu Guinness? I've always liked her designs. Especially the lips. The Union Jack lips in particular (it's a clutch, in case you're wondering).


Obviously this last one isn't for sale... but I just found it in her visual archive: "Mini kissed by Lulu Guinness"... you know I'm a Mini fan so this makes me like her even more! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Princess wears white

White is simply elegant. Look at the future Princess of Monaco in this photo shoot for Tatler, looking comfortably chic in white. It reminds me of this other wonderful white outfit worn by Princess Victoria of Sweden here.


It would be easy to copy her look. The silk trousers are surprisingly affordable: only 150 pounds. I think the tricky part for us 'normal' people is: how to keep the white... white?!


She'll be marrying Prince Albert II on 2 July 2011. Her official title will be Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rae Morris: Makeup, The Ultimate Guide - see inside


If you're interested in make-up books, you've almost certainly come across this one. It contains some amazing pictures. I was actually asked to do a review of this and let you have a look inside... so this post is picture heavy.


Just like every other make-up book on the market, this one also covers the basics: the essentials, brushes, prepping. Nothing new here.


I like the section on eyelashes. Using the same model and make-up, she applies different eyelashes (natural, lux, high impact) to show you how they can change your eyes. In fact, a lot of the looks in this book rely on eyelashes for that extra wow factor.


Many of the looks are dramatic. She uses pigments, glitter, sticky tape, diamond dust, liquid eye paint, gold leaves... items that a beginner or a "normal" person does not usually have in their make-up kit, so beware.

The good thing is, it does have step-by-step guides on how to achieve each of the looks.


 Cleopatra eyes: this is one of my favourite looks.


How to contour: this is a very detailed and interesting chapter. She uses a cream foundation four shades darker than the model's natural skin tone to contour. But as she explains herself, "this technique is advanced".


Highlighting: this is also a great chapter.


Typical Rae Morris... red lips with a twist: purple added to the top, gold on the bottom.


Some of the more natural looks....


Overall, I would say that the book is inspiring and a lot of these looks would be perfect for a photo shoot. If you want to be ultra creative and experimental with your make-up, this is probably for you.

But for beginners, I think there are 'friendlier' books out there that concentrate on more down-to-earth looks (that you can't go wrong with!). Like Jemma Kidd's Make-up Masterclass or any of Bobbi Brown's books.