Monthly Archives: January 2012

Comfy and Colourful %

When I was in Holland two weeks ago I came across this cute little shop in the suburbs of my hometown called Luna Azul. The lovely owner, Antionette, imports a varied selection of clothes from countries like Italy, France, Spain, Ibiza and Bali. The people in the shop were so nice, they even offered me a cup of tea while I was in the dressing room; now that’s what I call customer service!
While browsing the racks my attention was immediately drawn to a cardigan/vest in my favourite colour….CORAL :) I just couldn’t not buy this gorgeous comfy and colourful long cardigan! 
♥ Coral long cardigan/vest from VILA
♥ Dark skinny jeans from River Island (as seen here)
♥ Black leather over the knee high boots (as seen here)
♥ White t-shirt by ZARA
♥ Watch by Michael Kors
You can tie the vest various ways or just have hanging lose, which makes it really versatile.
I just adore the bright colour of this cardi and the stripe detailing gives it that little bit extra!
The cold has finally come to London this week (brrrr) but two weeks ago I was able to wear this cardi, throw on my leather jacket and new RayBan sunnies and I was ready to hit the streets :) xoxo

My tan truth for wintertime…

In the cold winter months I hate looking white and pasty so my secret to getting some ‘sun’ during these months is using a daily gradual tan moisturiser. I have tried a few brands over time with some of my favourites being He-Shi, St Tropez and Garnier Summer Body.

Recently I got introduced to a brand called TanTruth  which have a lovely daily Gradual Tan called Secret Sun!

“Secret Sun is a luxurious body moisturiser containing just a hint of their dual tanning agents. Applied daily, it enhances your natural skin colour to leave a gorgeous sun kissed glow that can be achieve all year round. Enriched with Avocado and Shea butter, Secret Sun leaves skin soft, moisturised and hydrated. Excellent for daily use or after a holiday to help prolong your natural tan. Be gorgeous and glow all year round.”

Secret Sun is £5.19 per bottle (250ml) and can be purchased online here .

If I compare it to other daily gradual tan moisturisers I have used I found that the colour develops a bit deeper and stronger with Secret Sun but without looking a (dreaded) orange shade. The smell is very light and refreshing (not that horrible biscuity smelt that some fake tans can have!) and it actually is great as a moisturiser leaving your skin soft, hydrated and glowing.

The last few months I have just applied this lotion in the morning after my shower mainly to my chest, neck, arms and legs to give me a nice sun-kissed glow opposed to white vampire skin! Definitely liking this product :)

Do you use a gradual tan moisturiser in winter to get some ‘Secret Sun’; and if so, what products do you recommend? xoxo

Weekend Brunches: The Providores and Tapa Room

As you know I love my brunches and this weekend I found another gem in London that will definitely become a regular I think! Let me introduce you to ‘The Providores and Tapa Room’ in Marylebone.

‘The Providores’ had been on my list-to-go-to for a while because it’s run by co-owners Peter Gordon and Michael McGrath. Peter Gordon is a well-known New Zealand, but UK based, chef that is known for his electic style of cuisine, called Fusion. Back in NZ I loved his Auckand restaurants Dine & Bellota and in London I am a big fan of his funky fusion restaurant Kopapa in Soho. So it’s fair to say I had pretty high expectations of the Providores.

I’d been told by friends to either show up and wait for a table in the Tapa Room downstairs (as it was bound to be busy!) or make a booking for upstairs, which is a slightly more formal setting. In the end I went for a booking upstairs as I was probably going to be hungry and not wanting to wait hehe.  Once we received the menu we were spoiled for choice; so many delicious options to choose from! So over a pot of fresh mint tea we pondered….

In the end I chose the Changa Turkish Eggs (£6.50), a bowl of two perfectly poached eggs, silky yoghurt, and hot chilli butter served with slices of granary bread. When it arrived I was definitely not disappointed, how tasty does this look?!!

You might think yoghurt and eggs, what a strange combination but that’s fusion cooking for you and trust me the two flavours (especially with the added chilli butter) complement each other perfectly. This dish was unbelievably incredible!

My friend had the grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso has, with a soft boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut pralin (£9.50) which was also super delicious! Next time I think I might have to try the French toast stuffed with banana and pecans with grilled smoky bacon and vanilla verjus syrup….doesn’t that just sound scrumptious?

The service at the Providores & Tapa room is friendly and efficient and they apparently serve a great cup of coffee, using beans from the Monmouth Coffee company which is well known for their flavoursome blend. Brunch at the Providores is definitely worth every penny because the food is excellent and so unlike what you might cook up at home!

The Providores and Tapa Room
109 Marylebone High Street
W1U 4RX, London
Telephone +44 (0) 20 7935 6175

FYF Cosmetics Review

For a while now I have been using a few products by a relatively unknown cosmetics brand called Flawless you Forever. Ever since I got the products have been using them all the time because I love them so much but just hadn’t found the time to properly review them! For example some looks where I used FYF Cosmetics products can be found herehere and here!

Flawless You Forever (FYF) offers a “range of core and mineral make-up, skincare and spa products specially designed to keep you looking the way you should. Gorgeous! Launched by the prestigious ONYX label, FYF Cosmetics is more than a brand name. It’s a mantra.

Created using a perfectly balanced blend of minerals and pigments, every FYF product comes with a promise of flawlessness. Not just for your outer appearance but your innner well being as well. The fine crystals are silky to the touch and overlap seamlessly on your skin, allowing it to breathe freely.

FYF Cosmetics products are also long-lasting, water resistant and well suited to all climates, giving you the freedom to go through even the most hectic day without and touch-ups. Truly, FYF is the last word in beauty and luxury. And it’s yours to enjoy… Forever!”

So now onto these lovely products, here is a recent Fawless You Forever look;

Products used: Mineral Loose Powder ‘Impeccable’ // Floral Blush in the shade ‘Romance’ // Mineral Couture Pout Lipstick in ‘Michelle’

Mineral Loose Impeccable Powder in the shade Medium (link) $30/£19.40.
Medium; for light to medium skin with medium undertones (available in 8 shades)

FYF Impeccable Mineral Loose powder is ideal for all skin types and suitable for sensitive and skins prone to breakouts because it is talc-free and very gentle. It offers the coverage of a foundation in a natural and weightless powder form. It brings your complexion alive and creates a healthy look, along with providing sun protection (SPF18). I love using this powder mineral foundation, it gives me a wonderful glow!

Floral Blush in the shade ‘Romance’ $35/£23 (link)

This compact is just so pretty but luckily it doesn’t just look pretty in the compact, it also looks lovely on your cheeks :) The FYF Blossom glides on smoothly and offers a semi-matte finish which is long lasting. It gives you the option of using countless hues in one single blush. Use with a blush brush and apply on the apples of your cheeks for a natural blush.

Mineral Couture Pout Lipstick in ‘Michelle’ (link) $20/£13

This is one of my favourite work lipsticks at the moment. The shade is a gorgeous rosy pink nude. The formula is super creamy, rich and very long lasting. Formulated with shea butter and lip conditioners like avocado and jojoba oil, they hydrate your lips and keep them soft and supple.

Price wise I think all these products are pretty good value for money. FYF Cosmetics is a US company and their make-up is sold online from their website Flawless You Forever but they ship internationally!

What do you think – do you like the look of any of these products?
Had you heard of FYF Cosmetics before and if so let me know what you’ve tried!

Argan Oil aka Liquid Gold for your hair!

One of the biggest hypes in 2011 in the hair-care world seemed to be Moroccan & Argan Oil. The hype was kicked off by the brand moroccanoil, who did some brilliant marketing that led to a frenzy sell out of their products and got many salons and beauty professionals raving about this miracle-working ingredient. After the initial hype calmed down a little I noticed that other hair care brands and salons also started incorporating this oil; often dubbed ‘liquid gold’ for your hair into their products.

What is it? Basically Moroccan Oil hair styling products contain Argan oil which has been a beauty secret for hundreds of years. The oil is extracted from kernels of Argan fruit that comes from, you guessed it, the Argan tree that grow in the desert of South West Morocco

Some of the stated benefits of Argan/Moroccan oil for hair are:

  • Hydrates the hair naturally
  • Penetrates into the hair pores or shafts and enhances the elasticity of hair
  • Very nourishing for the growth of hair
  • Adds shine, gives hair a silky soft feel making it more manageable
  • Fights the frizz, lightweight, absorbs instantly, no oily feel
  • Contains vitamin E which is a fabulous agent for hair treatment, protecing your hair from flat irons & other heat-styling tools.
  • Cures the brittle hair and increases the life of color treated hair.
  • With rich content of unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3, it will strengthen the protein bonding structures in hair thereby improving strength of hair and healing the split ends of hair.

After hearing so many positive feedback about the results of using Moroccan/Argan oil I was definitely keen to give it a go but just hadn’t gotten round to it yet! Then Gielly Green, a chic London boutique salon, produced Argan Rescue and asked me if I wanted to give this product a try…now how could I say no to that? ;)

Argan Rescue is just one of the hair care products they have launched as part of their ‘Boutique Collection’, a range based on the world’s finest natural substances. This is an intense oil that, although is predominantly Argan, combined with Neem oil (great for brittleness and dandruff) and Sea Buckthorn (protects hair from sun rays and promotes tissue regeneration) becomes even more impressive. It effectively smoothes out frizz, revives dull hair and leaves a noticeable non greasy shine.

After I have washed and towel dried my hair, I apply a small drop of the oil to my hand, rub my hands together to spread and slightly warm the product and smooth it throughout my hair. Then just brush it though and style as usual.

I have been using Argan Rescue for almost two month now and I am completely hooked on the stuff!!

Why? Simple:
1) it smells A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Very fresh, actually it smells a bit like cucumbers. And yum I love cuc’s ;)
2) even though I was concerned about putting an oil in my hair for the fear of it looking greasy, the Argan rescue oil absorbs instantly and gives my hair a lovely natural shine without turning my hair into a greasy mess! and 3) it manages to transforms my dull, boring hair into lusciously soft locks whilst protecting and conditioning it at the same time! So what’s not to love! :)

Gielly Green – Moroccan Argan Oil Rescue is available online here for £19.50
Have you tried any of the Moroccon or Argan oil products yet?

My love of quotes…

I have been a huge fan of quotes and sayings ever since I can remember. I love how quotes can capture a thought or feeling so perfectly, that I completely identify with it or can look to them as an inspiration to lead my life. I am one of those people that if I read or see a quote that I like; I will write it down, save it or take a photo of it – just to ensure I don’t forget it. People always ask me, where do you get all your ‘Happy Hump Day’ images and quotes from? Well they pretty much just come from my continually growing collection that I have assembled over time and then on Hump Day I look for one that fits my mood or feelings at the time.

This last weekend I went home to the Netherlands for one of my very best friends’ Bachelorette party. She is marrying her lovely American fiancé in September this year and as much as I am extremely happy for her, the downside for me is that this means she will be moving to the USA in 5 weeks’ time. When my friend (Lulu) and I met we were both 17 years old, starting the same university degree in Utrecht. We always laugh and say ‘You had me at Hello’ (as famously said by Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire) because we just clicked instantly and have had a strong friendship for the last 10 years, even though we lived worlds apart with me in NZ and her in Europe.

We both shared a love for quotes and so at 17 we decided to create our own ‘religion/way to life your life’ calling it Lulu-dism which was made up of a list of amendments out of our favourite quotes. We typed it up and took it to a photocopy place to get two big (ugly) posters printed that we each hung in our rooms to remind us and support us through life in good and bad times. Over the years we each sadly lost these posters but when I was packing up my life in New Zealand I all of a sudden found this list of quotes!!! For Lulu’s leaving gift I wanted to give her something really special that summed up our friendship and bond that we will hopefully have for the rest of our lives (no matter where we live) so I decided to get a brand spanking new poster made of our Lulu-dism quotes that she could hang in her new house in America. I wanted it to look amazing and tried my hand at designing something but being the perfectionist that I am, I just felt it needed to look more professional. So to help me I got in touch with a friend of mine who does graphic design and she created this amazing poster for me!

I seriously love the end result and so did Lulu I think because when I gave it to her this weekend…well let’s just say it produced a lot of tears! It’s hard for me to pick a favourite on this poster because I just LOVE all these quotes ♥ I am definitely going to get one printed and framed for my house too :)

For more awesome posters check out my friends Etsy Shop where she sells prints and personalised poster gifts. If you spot something you fancy then she’s offering my lovely readers FREE (UK only) shipping! All you need to do is enter the coupon code DUTCHESS01 when checking out.

Here also two pictures of the fun-filled Bachelorette Party weekend in Amsterdam.
Quite the contrast between the two haha!
A FAB Burlesque Work Shop at Paleis van de Weemoed in Amsterdam.
What happens in the Red Light District, stays in the Red Light District ;)

….and a hilarious Group photo shoot in Dutch Traditional Costume in Volendam.
Most Dutch people would not actually do anything like this (more touristy thing to do) but what amazing memorabilia to have!

Definitely had a fantastic weekend and will cherish these memories for ever….
‘A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you, when you have forgotten the words’ Happy Hump Day!! xoxo

Best & Worst of the Golden Globes 2012

On Sunday night annual Golden Globe Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California. As the 2012 award season gets underway, the Golden Globes is the first chance for Hollywood’s elite to set the red carpet trends for the upcoming year. Big winners ‘The Descendants’ and ‘The Artist’ took home multiple statues, but the awards for Best & Worst dressed are a whole other story. Take a look at my Golden Globes 2012 night’s style winners and losers …

The ever stunning Charlize Theron chose a slit-up-to-there Christian Dior Couture gown with an elegant bow in the front! // Nicole Richie sparkled in a glittering column gown by Julien Macdonald and matched it with a clutch by her own label, House of Harlow // Love Heidi Klum’s simple (but with sexy open back) nude Calvin Klein dress. She accessorised it perfectly with beautiful turquoise jewellery to saves her Calvin Klein gown from being a washout! // Angelina Jolie looked very elegant. The Atelier Versace dress could not have fit her better, and the red splash across the top made it stand out from other white and off-white gowns on the carpet // Salma Hayek oozed sex appeal in a strapless Gucci gown..

Keeping her style simple, yet utterly elegant, Kate Beckinsale wowed in a stunning blush Roberto Cavalli chiffon and lace gown // Best Actress in a Television Drama winner Claire Danes looked amazing in this black and white J. Mendel gown. An interestingly constructed dress plus the low-cut back made it an absolute winner in my books! // Evan Rachel Wood looked glamorous in sequined Gucci dress with real feathers on the bottom of the skirt. She looks a bit like a cross between a mermaid and a bird…but in a good way ;) It’s probably not something I would wear but it perfectly suits Evan Rachel Wood’s Hollywood glamour/gothic style // Emma Stone showed off a modern way to wear red; with her maroon and fuchsia pleated Lanvin gown matched with a funky jewelled eagle belt buckle. I think she looked like a fashion superhero!

I’m not a fan of Amanda’s tiered Marc Jacobs dress; too much ruffle and it looks a bit like the dress was made out of her grandma’s curtains // Natalie Portman seems to be channelling Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen prefer blondes here haha. I love the colours of the Lanvin gown but perhaps after you’ve recently lost a ton of baby weight this isn’t the most flattering of outfits // Kelly Osbourne doesn’t shine for me in this ill-fitting, pointy-shouldered Zac Posen dress. Wonder if she’ll make her own ‘Fashion Police’ show’s Worst Dressed List? // Sarah Michelle Gellar said that her two-year-old daughter Charlotte picked out her tie-dye-style Monique Lhuillier gown. Just too much…I think the look would have been far more successful with a plain fabric!

Jessica Biel in a long sleeve Ellie Saab dress. This gown looks a bit like it could be her grandmother’s wedding dress from 1934? Jessica is so beautiful and I think something more modern and striking would have been more age appropriate :) // Michelle Williams looks cute and quirky in this Jason Wu gown but for me the blue velvet dress is a bit too matronly and slightly boring..(Sorry I know lots of people loved this dress!) // ‘Glee’ star Lea Michelle in an embroidered Marchesa illusion dress. Again she was on a lot of people’s best dressed list but it just didn’t do it for me! // Giuliana Rancic arrived in a floor-length grey and black Monique Collignon gown which is simply unflattering. Nuf-said ;) // Madonna disappointed in a cluttered green and pewter Reem Acra ballgown.

See below the full list of award winners at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards; I really want to see the movies “The Descendants” and “The Artist”!

– Picture, Drama: “The Descendants.”
– Picture, Musical or Comedy: “The Artist.”
– Actor, Drama: George Clooney, “The Descendants.”
– Actress, Drama: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady.”
– Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo.”
– Actor, Musical or Comedy: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist.”
– Actress, Musical or Comedy: Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn.”
– Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners.”
– Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help.”
– Foreign Language: “A Separation.”
– Animated Film: “The Adventures of Tintin.”
– Screenplay: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris.”
– Original Score: Ludovic Bource, “The Artist.”
– Original Song: “Masterpiece” (music and lyrics by Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry), “W.E.”

– Series, Drama: “Homeland,” Showtime.
– Series, Musical or Comedy: “Modern Family,” ABC.
– Actor, Drama: Kelsey Grammer, “Boss.”
– Actress, Drama: Claire Danes, “Homeland.”
– Actress, Musical or Comedy: Laura Dern, “Enlightened.”
– Actor, Musical or Comedy: Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes.”
– Miniseries or Movie: “Downton Abbey (Masterpiece),” PBS.
– Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce.”
– Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Idris Elba, “Luther.”
– Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story.”
– Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones.”

So this were my picks for the 2012 Golden Globes Fashion hit and misses; do you agree or disagree? :)