Apart from playing dress-up with my mom’s lipstick when I was little, I have never been a lipstick girl. I tried lip gloss when I was in college, but I could never figure out how to keep my hair from getting stuck in my lips, especially in windy Chicago! (Is there a trick I’m not aware of?) And I’ve always felt that a bold coloured lipstick made my lips look even bigger, making me look a bit clown-like.
So when my friend Joanna from A Cup of Jo asked me to test out some lipsticks for a beauty tutorial on her blog, I laughed her off and told her I don’t look good in lipstick. But she persuaded me to try, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I tested them out. There is something about lipstick that makes you feel flirty and fun and can make you look instantly more put-together, even with messy hair and sleepy eyes. : )
The lipstick feature is up on A Cup of Jo. We tested out three different orangey colours. Which one is your favourite? Do you have others to recommend? (I still haven’t bought a lipstick yet so any suggestions you have are welcomed!)
p.s. How pretty is this dress by Ace & Jig?! The dress definitely steals the show.
We’ve known the talented French designer Virginie Dreyer for a while now. She has set up a few wonderful creative initiatives, for instance the charity project Tiny-Us, where you can download a selection of darling stationary. Virginie’s newest adventure is her most ambitious and wonderful to date : Tiny-Om, a gorgeous and meaningful line of precious jewellery.
Virginie’s unique designs, available in 18 carat rose or white gold, are all designed around her love for yoga. In her first Tiny-Om collection, she’s interpreting the lotus flower, which represents the seven chakras (the energy points within each person), aiming to create a link between worldly matters and the poetry of the soul. This results in a collection of fine designs, ranging from necklaces to earrings, in which each piece is provided with a protective nature.
The collection is made by hand with the utmost detail and care in the workshops of one of the most famous and celebrated jewellers of the Middle East, the Al Zain jewellery house in Virginie’s adoptive country, Bahrain. The level of craftsmanship of the pieces is remarkable — Virginie very kindly sent me a necklace to see by myself and I can witness — it is just so beautifully made. The level of detail is impressive! The presentation of the necklace is also admirable — it came in a specially made wooden box, amazing!
With Tiny-Om, Virginie is again giving a helping hand to ‘Présence’, a French charity helping handicapped adults and children, with varying degrees of developmental disabilities.
I have been travelling a lot lately in planes, trains and automobiles… which has been a lot of fun, but the one thing that has suffered a little bit is my hair. Waking up in the early hours and getting my girls ready and out of the door to catch a train does not leave much time for styling and by the end of the day my hair looked distinctly lacklustre.
I read about Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo on a Cup of Jo a while ago and decided to give it a go without much conviction, but, seriously, it works! Now, my hair did not feel any cleaner, but it looked great, clean and with a bit of a bounce. This, in turn, made me feel a little bit less travel weary!
If you are in France you can pick up the dry shampoo in most Pharmacies, but you can also order it off Amazon.
Marlow still fits in our laundry room deep sink and it’s my favourite way to bathe her. No crouching over, no wasting water, and having her up at my level makes it easier to wash and rinse her. (I think it’s her favourite way to be bathed too – she always points at the sink asking to get in it!)
We have recently discovered the Baby Bear Shop range of organic bath products and love the Wishy Wash baby wash/shampoo and the natural Baby Bird bar soap. It has a very delicate, natural smell and a gentle sudsy-ness. Perfect for sensitive baby skin. I also love their gorgeous packaging (made from recycled paper!) and that they plant a tree with every order placed.
The lovely Maggie from Chic Little Baby recently asked me over to her blog for a little interview as part of her Chic Mum series. We spoke about beauty and fashion (for kids and for mamas!) and I share my very few beauty and health tips. Hop on over to her blog to read my answers!
Also, I shared some photos from this past summer, and it made me so nostalgic looking at them all. Oooh how I already miss those sunny, lazy days, the green green grass, and the tanned barefoot little kiddos! I hope you don’t mind me sharing them with you here (sorry for the photo overload!). (Photos were taken by Sara Welch when we were in the Seattle area this summer. )
I’ve been on the lookout for good organic cosmetic products for a while now and up to this day I have found quite a few great ones which is not really easy to do to be quite honest. Most of them just don’t do anything for me. But what I noticed is the older I get the pickier I am and I also want it to come in nice containers. There is nothing nicer than a bunch of pretty bottles on the bathroom shelf, don’t you think? Of course the content is what counts the most but it doesn’t hurt if it also looks nice.
So I recently got to try out a few products from Susanne Kaufmann, a holistic natural organic line of products for the whole body. I love the fact they produce everything in their own manufacturing facility in Bregenzer Forest in the Austrian Alps and they actually even fill, seal and pack every single product by hand in glass jars – the pretty kinds.
I have tried this Skin Smoothing Concentrate and it is absolutely amazing – I have never tried anything like it before, pure liquid gold I tell you. I have also tried the Eye Cream, Day and Night Cream from the Anti-Aging Line and loved them all. I am also currently using their Arnica Oil with vitamin E on my growing tummy in order to avoid getting stretch marks (fingers crossed) and you can only guess my thoughts on it. The thing I love the most about it is its fragrance – you can smell there’s nothing artificial about it, only good old mix of plants.
I’ve already shared this recipe on my blog but it’s so amazing I just have to post it here as well. I’ve tested it during the hot summer days and it works like a charm. It’s natural, organic and like I said – it’s a recipe but it’s not food, in fact it’s deodorant! Yes, organic and home made from things you probably already have at home and it really, trully works. That’s something I had problems finding – a natural deodorant that actually does its job.
But if you’re skeptical you can simply try the baking soda first, since coconut oil is an ingredient that only makes it easier to apply and to help moisturize the skin and the essential oil is optional and you can easily skip it – it only makes it smell nicer.
About two empty deodorant containers or small glass jars
6 tbs coconut oil
4 tbs baking soda
4 tbs of arrowroot or cornstarch?a few drops of essential oil (if you’d like to add a little fragrance)
Melt the coconut oil on a small fire and add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, wait so it cools down a bit pour into jars or containers and wait for it to cool down completely (you can put them into a fridge).
Voilà! That is all!
These Glisten Up! glitter tattoos have been a huge success in our house lately. We got them for Pim’s recent disco party, and the entire family — grandmothers included! — now is adorned with these glitter designs. They work a bit different than the usual tattoos: first you transfer the sticky design on to the skin, then brush on the glitter (three colours are provided) with the brush that comes in the package. It’s very, very easy to do, and the results are super cool!
Available through Amazon (UK or US).
I had never done yoga before… until I found myself at 32 weeks pregnant with a breech baby. A good friend (and fellow pregnant mama) recommended I try yoga, both for the physical benefit as well as to calm my mind and find a sense of peace with my pregnancy and baby. I figured I would give it a go… if, for nothing else, just to have the quiet time to myself and to dedicate a small portion of my busy day to the baby inside me.
Anyone who’s ever taken a pregnancy yoga class at Triyoga will, no doubt, be familiar with Nadia Narain. Her name is practically synonymous with yoga. I can’t tell you how many people recommended Nadia’s pregnancy yoga classes to me before I even took my first step into her class. ‘You want yoga? Oh you must speak to Nadia’.
One pregnancy yoga class with Nadia and I was a changed woman. I felt so empowered by her words, so comforted by her support, and, for the first time in my life, so prepared for my impending labour. I really believe it is thanks to her (and this book !) that I was able to achieve the labour and delivery I had always wished for. I still remember hearing her words in my head as I entered the final stages of labour. ‘Relax your body, relax your mouth, slow down your breathing…’.
It is a subject I almost find difficult to write about. You know the feeling where you have so much to say, you don’t know where to begin? Where your thoughts get so jumbled up in a rush to be spoken?! I feel this way when I think about the transformation that took place in the final weeks before Marlow was born. I just want to stand on a big soapbox and preach the benefits of yoga, to sing the praises of Nadia, and to tell every pregnant woman to read this book .
Instead, I will simply say that if you live in London, you should definitely take one of Nadia’s classes. If you don’t live in London, you can buy her pregnancy yoga CD which is awesome (and nearly as good as the real deal!) as well as her gorgeous aromatherapy candles… so that, no matter where you live or how busy you are, you can still benefit from her yoga and her teachings.
Jumping down from my soapbox now. : )
One of the exciting new discoveries we made at Playtime last weekend, is the Parisian jewellery brand Titlee (for adults) and Little Titlee (for kids). We instantly fell in love with the simple and fun designs! The strong graphics combined with the delicate chains result in very cool, contemporary and urban pieces, which are great for adults and children alike. I really love everything in the collection, and am tempted, sooo tempted…
Emilie introduced me to this all-in-one cleansing lotion from Nuxe, a fixed staple in her beauty routine, and I’ve become a fan too. In one single step, this alcohol-free cleansing water cleanses your face AND removes make-up, leaving your face all clean and fresh. And it smells nice too! I love doing more in less time, so this product is definitely a winner. Available through Amazon UK or US , or at French pharmacies.
The Australian skincare company, Aesop, seems to be taking over the world! There are now six Aesop stores in London, not counting the numerous stockists across the city… and I was just in Paris a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but stumble into several of their gorgeous stores. I am certainly hooked, and so it seems is the rest of the world. (I remember when Sara blogged about Aesop years ago… and how it seemed, at the time, like a small Australian novelty. Not so anymore!)
I have recently picked up their hand soap and hand cream, along with the facial cleansing masque and exfoliant paste. I am so happy with everything — I have to keep myself from going back anytime soon for fear of spending all our savings on everything in store!
ps – I wonder if/when they’ll launch a baby & children’s line? It must be only a matter of time…
1. Zenology Sycamore Fig — discovered recently in a hotel and love the entire collection.
2. Company de Provence Savon de Marseille Extra Pur Figue — I love Marseille soap, I love fig, so this combination is hard to resist. The hand soap is a fixed staple in our house.
3. Diptyque scented candle — Very rarely I splurge on a Diptyque candle. Figuier is one of my favourite scents (I love Pomander too).
4. l’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier — a beautiful perfume, that I’ve never owned but always run to in shops.
5. Rituals Under a Fig Tree fragrance sticks — the best fragrance sticks, I think.
There’s something incredibly luxurious about the Seascape products — I just love the gentle smell and stylish packaging of them. All products are created with ingredients sourced from the Jersey shores (a little island which is part of Great Britain but located close to France). Lavender, beeswax and milk come from decennia old, local family run businesses who all share in the success of the company. So romantic! There’s a lovely maternity range and some beautiful products for children too — all paraben, silicone, petroleum and sulphate free and without artificial colours or fragrances. Just lovely!
I’m hoping I have a few years yet before my daughter is interested in nail polish (out of curiosity, when does this happen?!)… but when the time comes, I’ll be buying her the Little BU non-toxic polishes. The nail polishes are water-based, odour-less, quick drying, completely non-toxic and free of all the nasty chemicals normally found in nail polish. They’re perfectly safe for little girls (and pregnant mamas!) and come in loads of great colours. You can buy them directly from the Little BU shop or from Harrods in London.
PS – Speaking of nail polish… don’t you just love this pair of peep-toe shoes, and that all her toenails are painted a different colour?! (Image found on the lovely Pinterest, which I have become completely obsessed about! You can find all of our pins here.)
I need to preference this post: I am not big on products anymore. There was a time during which I had the false hope that a new pot of eye shadow would revolutionize my look — it never did. But sometimes I do discover something that makes my life a little easier. I am always tying to find an easy, simple and effective make-up routine — mornings can be hectic at our place. I sometimes find myself trying to apply mascara, while pouring milk into cereal bowls (proof that women are really good at multi-tasking).
Anyway, I recently discovered a new powder from MAC that works as a light foundation and powder all-in-one. Seriously great, a couple of brush strokes and I don’t look like a goth anymore! Just apply with a brush for a light cover or a sponge for a more intense cover. It also prevents you from having those horrible streaks around your jaw line, which turn up when you are applying foundation in a rush.
I am not saying I look as put together as Claudia Schiffer on a school run when I walk out the door, but maybe one day, they will invent a miracle make up to achieve just that!
Last week on the beach, my kids and I spent quite a while looking for shells (I don’t know who enjoyed it more, the kids or I — it’s just so relaxing!!). And yesterday we made some fun, summery necklaces out of them. Look for the shells with a little hole in them, and use whatever you have around the house (wooden beads look good I find). A double knot after each shell keeps them tightly in place!
I am a total French pharmacy groupie. And I really thought that I knew every product available and then, recently, I stumbled upon yet another French wonder product! Linement Oleo Calcaire (I guess this translates to oil and calcium ointment) consists of only two ingredients: olive oil and calcium. The most common use for it is cleaning babies bottoms with it — instead of wipes. It cleans fantastically well and leaves a film of oil to stop irritations. Lots of people over here use it at home instead of wipes — so much cheaper and better for the baby and the environment — a no brainer!
And there is more: it’s also good to wash dry skin or skin prone to ecxma, massage, use on sunburns and minor burns and also as a make-up remover. It must be the most multi-functional product in the world! You can buy the ointment ready made at most pharmacies in France or the pharmacist should be able to mix up a bottle for you. Alternatively you can get it online here in France and here in the UK and the USA.
Oh, I’m in love with the cute packaging of the BabyBearShop products. So adorable! This line of organic products is maybe not extensive but it is absolutely enough for what I need. Loving the cheeky baby butter that I’m using for Ava! The lip balms are delicious too (and they come in the cutest packaging), and how cute is the soap with the bird (and again, how beautiful is the packaging with the nest drawn on it and the little holes in egg shape). All available through BabyBearShop.
If only my daughter still let me dress her! Isn’t this little jumpsuit totally gorgeous? It is by sweet Aussie brand fabric from a shop called TinyPeople . Tiny People is in the eclectic town of Byron Bay on the far north coast of NSW. Byron Bay is quite a hippie little town. Think ‘bohemian cool’ … locals wearing tie-dye sarongs, frangipani sandals and wooden beads, organic produce markets every Thursday, and tempeh, veggie and chickpea burgers — a Byron Bay fast food staple. Unfortunately, I don’t get to visit Byron as often as I’d like to (it is a good 2 hour plane trip from Melbourne), but when I am there I always pop into this very cool little store. Not only do they carry some of my favourite local brands like Little Horn, Munster, Coco & Ginger, Paper Wings, Gaia, Polka and mamapapa… they also carry a small but well edited selection of imports — Wovenplay, Pop Up Shop and Mini Rodini just to name a few — lovely hand-made one-off objects and a beautiful selection of books and toys. Definitely worth a visit if you are anywhere in the vicinity! And if not, Tiny People have a great website with worldwide shipping available. (more…)