Friday, July 30, 2010

Engagement story

We got engaged in New York. He was there on business and I'd joined him there for the weekend. Whilst he was in meetings, I was busy popping into all the expensive jewellery stores on Fifth Avenue, looking for the ring (I wasn't going to let him choose!). That was so much fun.

I knew it was going to be Tiffany's, though. Walking into their flagship store was an experience in itself and upstairs where all the engagement rings are (or were, at least), I even saw (a) Holly Golightly! Seriously.

I chose two rings and 'reserved' them. The sales assistant was polite but not super friendly or anything. He did ask for my boyfriend / fiancé's name before I left.

And the next day, we walked in. He recognised me, then looked at my fiancé. He suddenly became the most charming person ever. With a big smile, he walked over to meet us and addressed my fiancé by name. Maybe I should have been offended by this transformation but I was too amazed and impressed!

Another funny thing I remember is that every time we wanted to look at a ring by the big window (different lighting), the sales assistant had to 'inform' the bodyguard. Yes, there was a bodyguard standing by the window! Did they think we were going to jump out of the window with the ring?! 

Now tell me your story! Did you know he was going to propose? Did you choose the ring with him? 
Or how do you want it to be?
1, 2, 3

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Say cheese!

I am seriously addicted to Parmesan!

I can't seem to live without it these days. I use it in salads, soups, pasta and risotto dishes obviously, and fish for (I think) the first time last night (it was a Jamie Oliver recipe). The official website says Parmesan is perfect as a starter, main and dessert! (See their serving suggestions here.)

Dessert? Yes, apparently you can have parmesan with fruit. Have you tried it? I'm not too sure about this.

But what I'm even more unsure about is parmesan ice cream. What do you think?!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beauty sleep is not a myth

Now I have another good reason to dislike those people from last week: not only did they damage my new car, they robbed me of my beauty sleep!

"Beauty sleep is not a myth and sleep does lessen the severity of wrinkles in the face and neck, at least temporarily. This period of deep sleep... contributes to what people call "beauty sleep" as secretion of growth hormone helps repair and rebuild body tissues like muscle and bone. It is not just lack of sleep that negatively affects body fat percentage and the risk of chronic disease—poor sleep quality does as well.(source

I've talked about the Sleep Cycle app on my iPhone before (here and here). I looked back at my sleeping patterns following the accident (story here) and sure enough, I've been sleeping poorly.

To set the scene: the night before, I slept like a baby. Perfect beauty sleep.

Then the incident. I was really upset and couldn't sleep.

Next night: exhausted. I went to bed just after 9pm. I thought I slept ok. But I seem to have spent quite a few of those hours 'awake'.

After that: even worse. Not much (deep) sleep at all.

I hope you are getting enough beauty sleep!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The French Riviera

I'm going to the south of France in August!

A friend of mine has a house there and she has invited me over! I am only going for a few days because I have other commitments but it doesn't matter. I'm taking my son with me (my poor husband has to work!) so we'll probably spend lots of time doing nothing by the pool. I can't wait!

Have you ever been to the Côte d'Azur?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Shadow art

What does this look like to you?

It's supposed to be a dog. It's a bit of hand shadow art... created with my hands, I'm proud to add. Well, at least I thought it was pretty good until I saw...

These by a professional duo:

And these - made with rubbish! Incredible!

How talented a shadow artist are you?! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fancy Italian

We go to a lot of good Italian restaurants but few are really fancy like the one we went to recently.

It started with the raw vegetables that were brought to our table as soon as we sat down. Cooled with ice cubes - that was a nice touch - and served with a delicious mayonnaise-garlic-chili dip. And I was so thrilled to see 'Bellini' on the drinks menu that I ended up ordering two.

The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente. It was with truffles, bacon and peas (also perfect, not mushy!). I had fish soup (actually a starter) for my main course (I often do this because I can't eat huge portions) and my husband had fish.

As if that weren't enough, the dessert was out of this world. It was a liquid dessert: sorbet with prosecco and vodka! Boy was I feeling rather *happy* by the end of this meal, if you know what I mean...

I liked the restaurant's modern decor, as well. Especially the tables that had special slits along the edges to tuck in the tablecloth.

Planning on going out to any restaurants this weekend? 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank you everyone and L'Oréal

Dearest friends: thank you so much for your support and for sharing your stories (for those of you who missed the news, an incompetent female idiot reversed into my new car this week). Your kind words made me feel so much better; I didn't feel like I was alone and I really can't thank you enough! So here are some pretty flowers for all of you... 

Oh and if anybody knows any voodoo or how to channel fury and do harm from a distance, let me know asap!

* * *

I also want to thank L'Oréal. I was wearing a new mascara that day called Volume Million Lashes that did not make me look like a panda / witch in my moments of distress.

It has the kind of hard plastic brush that I like. The application is quite smooth and it doesn't clump.

But the real test was the 'accident' and the buckets of tears that I shed afterwards and:
1. the mascara did not sting (unlike my past experience with other L'Oréal mascaras, read about it here)
2. it did not budge too much and it kept my eyelashes separate, and
3. I still looked like I was wearing mascara at the end of each crying session.

All of this was without rubbing my eyes, of course. You know that when the eyes are wet - whether from rain or tears - it's best not to touch them.

Now I'm coming around to your blogs to say hello... 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crashing a brand new car

It's been one happy week since I got my new Mini! I have been having so much fun driving around in it and I am thankful for the air conditioning! I was going to post pictures of it but it looks exactly like the one I posted here and right now I am not in the mood.

Why am I shaking and crying as I write this? Well, some stupid woman backed into my brand new car today. I was not injured in any way but my poor car!

We were both stopped before a busy road (no lights), waiting for a chance to drive onto it. I was a good distance away from the car in front. But suddenly the car reverses! It didn't just roll gently, she backed, foot on the accelerator... obviously without looking!

I was really alarmed, hardly believing what I was seeing, and I honked the horn but to no avail. Bang! What on earth?!

The 'explanation': she had suddenly realised the car was on the cycle lane and wanted to make space for a cyclist coming our way.

Actually, she did not speak. Her husband was sitting in the passenger seat and he did all the talking. Anyway, we didn't get on very well, he called me arrogant and rude (because I was on the phone with my husband asking what I should do!), so we called the police. Oh, he also said, "What's the big deal? Things like this happen all the time."

My beautiful car has little but ugly black scratches on the front and the number plate is slightly crumpled. I have two witnesses - they were so nice, thank you - so getting the insurance sorted out should not be a problem. Just a hassle.

I'm so sad.
I don't think I'll be able to do the usual commenting rounds today. Sorry, everyone, please understand.

Chanel cashmere

When Chanel launched the Rouge Coco earlier this year, Peter Philips’, Global Creative Director of Chanel Makeup, said: "I like the idea that women from the gloss generation, who are afraid of lipstick, can return to this essentially feminine beauty step with Rouge Coco.”

(What is it about this ad with Vanessa Paradis? It's so alluring.
Do we call it the "Je ne sais quoi"?)

I have done exactly what he wanted. I used to be a gloss girl. Now, I wear lipstick. I feel more grown-up, French and chic wearing not just any lipstick but... a Chanel Rouge Coco.

Of course I had to get Mademoiselle first. It's the colour that Vanessa Paradis is wearing in the ad.

My latest is Cashmere. A beautiful beige tone that I can really recommend. It looks very natural on my lips.

And whilst we're talking Chanel: I got three more 'liquid lipsticks' from the Rouge Allure Laque line that I love so much. (Read about it here.)

74 Dynastie, 76 Ming, 78 Phoenix

Did this Vanessa Paradis ad make you change your mind about lip gloss, too? (Please tell me I wasn't the only one to fall for the marketing!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fast and dangerous bikes

Isn't this a great bike?! This high-wheel bicycle seems to be from the 1870s and back then it was apparently more for adventurous young men because it was fast but dangerous.

Just over the weekend we were trying to remember life before the internet. What did we used to do when we wanted to check the weather or opening times of a shop?

We've come such a long way already but I wonder what life will be like in another 100, 200 years?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Looking after your handbags

This little red clutch used to belong to my mother. Cute, isn't it?

But look inside and you'll see that it's falling apart: the leather is now peeling! Like confetti. 

Isn't that sad? Don't let this happen to any of yours.

What the experts say:
"Stuff the inside of the bag with acid-free tissue."
"The best way to store handbags is to hang them from S-shaped hooks on a rod in your closet or lined up on a shelf. Be careful not to hang them too close together, or they may get damaged or entangled."

From this book by Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, mentioned first in my luxury wardrobes post.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How vain are you?

Corn on the cob - yummy, right?

The question is, do you eat it when you are at a party?

I don't. It's not very attractive, having corn stuck between the teeth. I'm too vain.

And you?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Save the environment with poo poo paper?!

Did you know that: 
"We can make about 25 large sheets of paper from a single piece (or turd) of elephant poo poo!!! That translates into about 10 standard sized journals including the front and back covers!" 

They have greetings cards...

... journals

... noteboxes

... and more, all environmentally friendly and well, different! A portion of the profits from each item goes to elephant welfare and conservation programmes, too. Read about their purpose here.

Important: they claim that the paper does not smell! 

Would you consider buying these?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Let Frankenstein be your guide

Or a shopping trolley? Or a slice of pizza? My son would love the fire engine.

Click here for more.

I'm talking about navigation systems for the car...

I decided to get a portable one that is Mini-compatible (no wires!) for several reasons. Starting with the display: it is much easier to 'read' than the integrated version which is too 'dark' for my liking:

It's also a touch screen, costs about a tenth of the price and the look of it can be personalised. So instead of having an arrow to tell you which way to drive, you can replace it with one of those funny characters / objects.

Of course, I'll be downloading a Mini.

Speaking of which... today is the big day! I can't believe it. I get my Mini this afternoon! Yayyyyyyy!
1, 2, 3

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Thai weekend in Europe

I often wish I could fly to Asia for the weekend - think of the great food - but unfortunately it's too far.

This weekend I actually felt like I was on holiday in Thailand. Not only was it sweltering (like a real Thai summer!), I got to enjoy some Thai food that seemed pretty authentic to me.

The papaya salad, for example, was mixed together using this huge wooden pestle and mortar. I admit that I went twice this weekend and the first time I ordered just a 'normal' papaya salad, which was so spicy I started to sweat profusely, my nose became runny and my tongue and lips were on fire! The second time I was quite the wimp and asked for one without extra chillies.

I like the way they used banana leaves as bowls.

I also made the mistake of drinking a cocktail too many in the heat. I collapsed when I got home!

The hot papaya salad made me wonder if Thai children can handle the spiciness. I'm thinking they were probably fed spicy breast milk...!

Can you eat spicy food? Is that because you ate it as a child?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Affordable Armani

I am really into bright nails this summer. I recently picked up these two colours from Armani. The one on the left is pink (#45), the one on the right is coral (#46).  

I wanted to wear both colours, so starting from the top: coral, pink, coral, pink... I felt rather immature but cool doing this :-) It's not very noticeable, though (unfortunately?).

Still, I'm happy to own two "Armanis" now and the quality is good: not streaky and nicely pigmented (could perhaps get away with just one coat; I applied two). And I got some samples... yay!

As you've seen, I don't have nice nails. For over a year I went to a nail salon every 2-3 weeks for gel nails. But my own nails became paper thin and started to hurt so I had to stop. Have you ever had this experience?