31 Jan 2014

The (second) best care package that ever was

Man, life is busy... So for once I'll share a snippet of it almost as it's happening! I came home an hour ago to the first care package of 2014! Getting a parcel is always super exciting in my house because my housemate Meg gets one practically every other day, and the rest of us only get bank statements.

I was very excited to open it since I dropped some extremely heavy hints to my mum over Christmas about the things I would love to see delivered on my doorstep. I was a bit upset she didn't get hold of Gosling to deliver my parcel, but what was inside was still pretty good... ;)

Here's a picture of my mum to cover my French address, and a picture of Dumbledore to cover mine because of reasons. And yes, once I unwrapped the incredibly resistant protection, it was a wine box. It's always a wine box.

And here we go!! My mum is the best! Homemade chocolate chip and cranberry & walnut cookies, 48 Kinder bars, a block of cheese, a King cake kit and the basket my cousin got me for Christmas. But like, homemade cookies!!! I cannot stress how happy I am right now. Thank you so much mum! You are da bomb.

And a little bonus: if you're feeling a lil' bit hungry after staring into these babies' eyes, here is the recipe and here is Google Translate (tested it and Google did good on the translation, you're safe to bake!)

22 Jan 2014

Pebble-painting entrepreneur

When I was a kid I would spend every summer the same way. Three weeks with my mum's parents, three weeks with my dad's parents, and three weeks with my mum and dad. It wasn't always the same order, but it was always lots of fun. With my mum's parents we'd pick mirabelles and watch The Young and the Restless. With my parents we'd enjoy being around our home and would spend some time by the seaside. I think what I have the most memories of, though, is holidays with my dad's parents. We always did so many things, visited parks and museums, went to the zoo or to climb trees, played video games and learned to bike.

I remember one summer... being really bored ­­­­­— sometimes the best ideas grow out of utter boredom!

That summer I managed the loveliest exploitation of my family has ever succumbed to. I set up my own little business. I cut up cards and painted them and stuck little sea shells on them. I picked up pebbles from our seaside walks that I painted too with what I remember were inspirational messages and sunshines. I even persuaded myself (and others) that "grating" the crumbly shiny rocks I found would make really valuable "gold powder."

Mostly, I sold all this to my family.

The little sweet pies, they bought pebbles off me. Free pebbles from the beach! Isn't that the greatest display of encouragement ever? Either that or they really pitied me, but I choose to pick the first interpretation.

These days being creative is different. Although I've moved on from painting pebbles, I now have glitter balls and painting my nails and a three-year-old blog and the occasional video blog and multiple cameras... But being creative now feels restricted. Changed; sometimes a bit wrong. Often a part of me thinks: "Hmm... Should you really be writing another blog post? Do you have time for that? Don't you have things to do? What use is this anyway? Painting your nails won't get you anywhere. Nor will a silly little Polaroid shot. And what about what this will cost you? Shouldn't you be saving for your Masters/first flat/hypothetical future mortgage?" Etc, etc.

I'm not a kid anymore, so being creative for fun seems like a long gone privilege. But when I let myself take a breather and do a little thing for my own pleasure and happiness, instead of dedicating all to my degree + future career, things are good. And I don't think it's only from being creative (although I do really love paint/glitter/fabric); there's also all the support that comes from it.

No one pays me for painted pebbles anymore, but I have encouragement. For reading my blog, for my little homemade tree decorations, for my painted bedside stool-table, and for the handmade hand warmers I proudly gave my family for Christmas, I get smiles and sounds of 'well done!' and 'you could sell these', Facebook likes and yes, even the odd blog comment.

I wouldn't be half the person I am if it weren't for the people who believe in my painted pebbles and keep believing in me every day. So here's a little thank you. Just because.

8 Jan 2014

Beauty Corner #1 | Top ten makeup products I couldn't live without

One thing I'm going to try in 2014 is introducing some more of my life loves to this blog. Surprisingly, my life isn't all food and Instagram, there are other occupations to my days, and no I don't just mean sleeping... There's one that takes a lot of my time (and money, too.) I'm not sure where it came from, I think it was YouTube? Basically, I caught a bug and just like that poof! beauty addict.

Yes yes, it's beauty bits and bobs I'm talking about! We're going to be chatting face masks and lipsticks, makeup brushes and dry shampoo and we'll attempt to find the best curl enhancer ever and maybe even paint our nails fun colours. I say 'we' to make it sound exciting, but really it's just me, all alone because really my mum has never been into beauty and doesn't understand how I fell into it, my friends don't spend their evenings comparing skincare products online, and I can't ask my sweet little man to do my makeup for fun every weekend (although on that one, I'll keep trying.)

You know me, don't expect a weekly post or any particular format, calling it Beauty Corner will do for me to keep organised. Introducing it like this makes it super official, but it's just one little thing more; I just thought it needed a little background since I have barely ever mentioned beauty tings on here before!

Note: I'll probably often mention (a) Sephora products as I am madly addicted. Sorry Brits! You can order from the French online store, though. Or hop on the Eurostar. (b) French products. Sorry again.

Ready?... To start this off here's my ultimate top ten makeup products I couldn't live without. Or only if I really had to. These ones I carry around all the time in my little makeup bag and will keep buying forever. It's real love.

Sephora 4 shadows and liner palette in Taupe model n°6
I'd just gotten into makeup and figured out that browns suit blue eyes when I bought this, and it is the basic palette to me. I use it at least every other day for a basic taupe smokey but it can be built on for a fancier night look. And it lasts ages.

Sephora 8hr matifying pressed powder in Clair 21 - petal
Fair enough, this isn't a revolutionary product. Still, I've used it for years and keep coming back to it. It does the job perfectly.

Sephora smudge & shadow brush
Yes, this is a brush for lazy bums. So what? I use this for all my basic eyes (mostly with the Taupe quad mentioned above) and even for my eyebrows (!) Careful, this isn't a brush for makeup artists and fancy people... But for those who want the job done well and quick. And ultimately, we all know it's not just about the brush... it's all in the wrist.

MAC lipstick in Viva Glam I
Every girl needs a real red. That's mine. Bought on a whim in le Marais, I don't wear it too often but when I do, it makes a hell of statement. Darkish bold red + matte = love. And a great colour for redheads as it's got blue undertones.

ck one shine lipstick in Tagged
Upon ending my internship at Company mag, I got given lots of beauty gems to try out... This was one of them. It didn't look like my style at all ("Glossy, shimmery and pink? Hell no," was pretty much my initial reaction) but it said Calvin Klein so I tried it — and loved it. It's really easy to apply,  forgiving even for badly defined lips and gives a really bright pop of colour. Thumbs up!

Gemey Maybelline The Rocket Volume Express mascara
Isn't 'finding the perfect mascara' in the ladies' top five life goals? (Along with 'finding the perfect sports bra' and 'snog George Clooney.') Well, long story short, I did it. I found the perfect mascara. When I started using this, people actually noticed a difference! The wand is great, the application easy, my lashes are long and voluminous, top marks.

Naked 2
I don't think I need to explain Naked... Or why it's fabulous... This palette has everything I need, the shadows are fantastic, richly pigmented and buildable + easy enough to use even for beginners. A dream.

Sephora Trio de Lune eyeshadow in Bermuda Triangle
I take this everywhere because (a) it's got shimmery gold and rust shadows which work really well with my Sephora quad when I don't have my Naked 2 and (b) the blue shadow works brilliantly as a liner when applied with a humid brush.

Cotton buds
It's time makeup lovers give cotton buds the credit they deserve. Cotton buds fix (practically) every mistake possible and I personally don't go a day without using them! Plus, they're handy to smudge...

Bioderma Créaline
The beauty vlogger sphere was so adamant about this product I went home curious and bought myself a bottle... I'm never going back. My skin is very dry and sensitive and most traditional makeup removers (even for sensitive eyes) used to leave me with rough patches under my eyes. Créaline is top notch. Not a single problem. Even my mum loves it!

4 Jan 2014

A little family promo

A little note to tell you I'm on my cousin's blog Folklore de Mode this week with some shots I took for her at Christmas. She has a fashion + illustration blog, a real gem! It's in French but really who doesn't use Google Translate these days? (Me. I don't. It's terrible.) Still, photos need no words so go check it out for bow ties and crazies. x

2 Jan 2014

happy 2014!

Welcome, welcome 2014. Time flies! It's already the third new year this little blog of mine sees.

This was an incredible year for me but it absolutely flew by. I only wrote forty blog posts but they make me feel like a proud mama! Not only was it incredible, it was also a very busy year and I'm glad I managed to save some time to post some little things from time to time. I'm conscious this only matters to me... Not many people end up on this little corner on the Internet and since I barely ever hear anyone's thoughts on it, I have no idea what pleases and what doesn't... but at least it pleases me!

Here's a thing I learnt in 2013: you can't always please everyone. Sometimes, you can't even please yourself. In 2014, I hope to learn to be okay with that. Baby steps. That's another biggie from 2013 for me — one step at a time. You can't have everything at once, or learn everything at once, or fix everything at once. It's a tough thing to accept, because it means being smart enough to not throw all your efforts blindly against a wall but rather knock little things off, one by one.

In 2014, take a step back and look at the big picture. That's my advice to myself, and to you. There's a  big chance that with a little distance, things won't be so bad, and you won't be so lost. Or if you are, you're not alone — and how lost can you be if everyone is as lost as you? Doesn't that mean that we're actually all in the right place?

Or maybe I'm going nuts from having had a month-long cold.

Anyway, one thing 2014 hasn't and probably won't change is how much I can talk to not say much. What can I say, writing's my thing! I read a tweet by Caitlin Moran yesterday that said something like "Job: find what you love doing, and figure out a way to be paid for doing it." I spent the past twenty years figuring out the former, hopefully 2014 will focus on the latter...

Happy new year you all. I hope 2014 brings you all of the joy and laughs in the world, patience, strength, love, health, and mostly lots of cheese.

ps. I'd promise I have lots of great things planned for AoF this year but truth is, as always I'll be taking it as it goes with this blog. I have a messy stressful year ahead. We'll see how it goes.

pps. this is totes a photo from nov 2012. shhht secret! x g