Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Kitsch Benefit...

Will the French ever be as in love with Kitsch as the Yankees and the Brits? It's questionable. This week, the Les Gobelins Brocante (flea market) had more antique mirrors and matching regal candlesticks than you could shake a stick at – and although very français, the whole market lacked the Kitsch factor of London’s Portabello Road or Ladbroke Grove market. Nonetheless I poodled around to see if I could better understand the French flea market mentality...

My French friends insist that for flea markets (Brocantes) people empty their cupboards and take to the streets in a car boot sale fashion to flog their unwanted collections of silverwear or fur coats. There were some beautiful ornate and intricate finds to be found- the jewellery was granny chic adorable and the French mirriors really were quite impressive. It was all very typically French, so much so that it was almost kitsch – but to be kitsch you have to know it!

Thankfully my San Fransico make up friends at Benefit Cosmetics are doing business in Paris and introducing the concept of kitsch to Sephoras nationwide in France. Soon kitsch will catch on – as soon as les français embrace the concept – that NAFF is CHIC and OTT is never enough!
Benefit are one of my favourite, very American, very Darrhhhling brands and their latest face powder is just fabulous. ‘One Hot Minute’ is a rose gold finishing powder that you sweep over your finished face to give your make up an extra sexy sparkly shimmer that instantly gives you a superstar glow of gorgeousness.
For the party season I recommend moisturising your arms and décolletage with a light body milk like French eco beauty brand Nuxe’s Rêve Miel, waiting for it to dry somewhat, then take 60 seconds to brush Benefits One Hot Minute along your décolletage, lightly dusting along your arms and shoulders, for a sexy party shimmer that’s ready to dominate the dance floor.
It costs £23.50 so it’s a reasonably priced present to self and as it suits all skin shades its perfect for sprinkling on your friends at home during pre party drinks! J’aime beaucoup!

And if you are feeling really playfully kitsch then why not indulge in a small bottle of one of Benefits new Crescent Row fragrances- you can chose from 3 appealing scents Lee Lee, Sofia or Gina – each one is housed in their little box which opens up to reveal the bottle in situe in the maison de Lee Lee, Sofia or Gina. My Poodle favourite is Something about Sofia – for its mango and vanilla tones and oriental blossom but also for the cringeworthly kitsch poem its marketed with:

She lives in a dream
More dazzling than fiction
Imaginary but real
She defies all prediction
An incredible girl
She draws you right in
To where the everyday ends
And magic begins...

Now who wouldn’t want to smell like that!!
Merci Benefit – for helping make Paris a more kitschfabulous place to be beautiful in!

Friday, 13 November 2009

The Best Bits of Budget Beautiful

The Paris Poodle loves a bargain – a budget buy is always a bit of a hit or miss. But when you buy a hair spray for 1 euro 10 and it actually delivers the same fab reliable results as your usual Elnett Laquer you feel so much more grateful for your little budget buy in its unfancy packaging with its dodgy smell, because it was so unassuming – it didn’t promise you the world it just delivered. Its a bit like finding that the godawful date you are wasting your time on suddenly turns into ‘the one’, which, granted doesn’t happen often but when it does it is a great day – in pocket, in love and a great hairstyle held dearly in place by your budget can of budget hairspray.
With the recession still grinding on, it’s always sensible to be sensible and what better way to be sensible than to buy sensible beauty and fashion products at sensible prices – I don’t think you could get more sensible than that!

The Paris Poodle has already done the research for you when it comes to saving the pennies this winter and has come up with a shortlist of the best budget ideas to be beautiful and branchée (trendy) throughout the winter months.

Bargain Boujois Beauty
Bourjois Mini’s – I love the Boujours mini collections – they are just too cute. Their lip gloss phone charms may be a little passé but the teensy crème blush compact is a real bargain at £2.69 and with a peachy array of colours to chose from you can buy a couple for a little over £5!

Designer Arm Candy
In Paris they love a label and the majority of the time this comes in the shape of an IT bag or IT pair of shoes. Unfortunately as a Paris Poodle of modest means I can’t constantly buy the latest designer arm armour –which is why I am so delighted to have discovered! This handbag hire site has a great collection of handbag rentals from classic totes and IT bags to more trendy, chic understatements from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Dior and Chloe. C’est genial. You can update your look, with a fabulous bag for as little as £10 a month. Plus they have great deals and voucher offers which are make extra special Christmas gifts for your Poodle pals!

Rimmel Kohl
Rimmel has just made it to Paris and although it is a lot more expensive over here, whenever I need a decent make up pick me up I know I can rely on this Brit teen essential for colourful nail varnish, golden bronzers or magnifying mascaras. One classic budget buy from the Rimmel range is their Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil in Black – you can use this on the inside of your eyes as well as the outside and it leaves dense dark colour making your eyes the centre of attention. For smokey sexy party eyes its a must – and from £1.99 you can’t complain!

Festive Red & utterly Sparkly! Are these the perfect Christmas shoes?!

Cinderella Me Shoes
A woman has a right to shoes! And that includes expensive, designer, red soled Christian Louboutins, Jimmy Choos and Gucci. And especially at this more festive time of year – if you cant wear Louboutins at Bon Marche in rue de Sèvres to do your Christmas shopping in then when can you? Cinderella-me shoes ( is a new company which launched earlier this year – they hire out designer heels to Bradshaw wannabes for a fraction of the price making designer shoe shopping completely guilt free for the first time! Each pair of shoes is only hired out for a maximum of 8 times and they are extremely tight on hygiene – this sure aint no bowling shoe hire! You can have killer heels with out killing yourself, designer footwear without the debt – Cinderella Me shoes is a Paris Poodle godsend – budget has never felt so indulgent!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Secret Maths of Bad French Taste

Whereas Carrie Bradshaw fell in Dior, I the Paris Poodle had Dior fall on me! You may think this is the better way round – a luxurious shower of quilted handbags and Diorette rings falling into my outstretched hands! But no. Dior, in my case, was a 6ft Amazonian check out worker at Monoprix who happened to trip up onto me in the cheese aisle.

The glamour of it. I know. With her stock of chevre (goats cheese) flying partout (everywhere) and my jus d’orange splattering colourfully on the floor this was one Paris moment this Poodle is keen to forget –how I felt for Carrie Bradshaw. Yet, at least when she fell over, her vintage clutch fell open like a Pandora’s box of lipsticks and credit cards; when Dior fell, her goats cheese smeared onto my coat in the process. I’m sure Carrie would have felt worse for me. I detest goats cheese.

It’s clear from this humiliating incident that:

Carrie Bradshaw + Fall in Dior x Credit Cards = Amusing albeit embarrassing anecdote


(Dior ÷ Monoprix checkout girl) + Goats Cheese x Paris Poodle = Messy supermarket disaster with no happy ending
This mortifying episode got the Poodle pondering, how ironically, the French who are soooo renowned for their good taste, elegance and plain smug sophistication can simultaneously do things in exceedingly bad taste. Like call their someone Dior as a prenom. Or even Chanel – another common mistake – I believe I also saw a vendeuse (shop assistant) called Fanta?! No joke.

At the end of all this I do feel worst for Dior (and especially poor Fanta too). After all, having a name such as Dior can only make one feel depressed if your circumstances are anything less than riches, finesse and fortune. Whilst I imagine being called Fanta can only be a negative equation.

Fanta = Lifelong hatred of parents

Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua’s are all named after designers in true tongue in cheek Paris fashion.

Chihuahua x Celebrity owner Paris Hilton + Prada = Cute puppy dog

However, actually being a person named Dior, living in Paris, and working at a Supermarket? That’s just not a kitsch combination.

Aside from such unfortunate names..the Poodle has noted other bad Paris choices which were presumably chosen with tasteful intentions, but how very wrong they were...

For example:

This week alone, I have encountered 3 women wearing real fur. I honestly don’t know how they get around. If this were London they would all 3 of them be beaten to a pulp by the Knightsbridge Harrods protestors. However, it seems that fur, here in Paris, where it isn’t even that cold, and where there is an infinite choice of shops, that fur is still acceptable. I mean! Uniqlo has just opened a branch here for goodness sake – even their awful Parkas are more tasteful!
I have also found that the scrunchie (cue Carrie Bradshaw/Burger argument) is also still an acceptable hair accessory here. Provocatively placed around pony tails and half pony tails, proudly wrapped around buns and semi chignons, I have been flabbergasted to see the scrunchie in shades of sparkling pink, velvet black and 90’s inspired floral print. I even saw one scrunchie teamed with a fur coat – that was TOO much! Je ne sais pas pourquoi the French have failed to throw out their scrunchies but they continue to exist. As soon as I find the offending shops that continue to sell these I will make a formal complaint!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Limited Edition Lust List

Although there are still 8 weeks til Christmas I have started to think about which gorgeous gifts my glam girlfriends might like to receive... for the Paris Poodle’s pals’ there is nothing better than a unique, thoughtful, original gift that is cutesy, glamorous and beautifying.
Here’s the top 3 of the Paris Poodle’s Limited Edition Lust List...

Bourjois Limited Edition Paris Collection
Perfect for gifting to Francophiles (it sounds like such a dirty word doesn’t it) these Bourjois Eye Shadows and blushers are part of the ‘Rendez-Vous A Paris’ collection where French artiste Nathalie Lete has decorated the packaging with the most cutesy images of Paris living. Just having these in your make up bag makes you instantly more chic! With the iridescent eyeshadows and cheek colours they are a quick route to looking ravishingly radiant! Available from in mid November...

Elizabeth Arden’s Limited Edition Eight Hour Cream
This fluro –fabulous limited edition 80’s inspired packaging is toooo hideous not to love! Its clashing neon colours are outrageously outlandish! It’s great to see Elizabeth Arden have some fun with their packaging – and this colourful recreation has taken its inspiration from Versace, Gucci and Marc Jacobs AW shows. The magic of the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream always works wonders in winter and with this new limited edition look you’ll find it hard not to make it to House of Fraser (from 16th November) to get yours before they go go go!
Liz Earle Limited Edition Cleanse & Polish
From one Liz to another....Paris Poodle Readers will know that I love a Liz Earle product or two and this Holiday season they have excelled themselves making THE most glamorous packaging for their multi purpose cream cleanser – Cleanse & Polish. With its winter wonderful white and silver swirling design, it’s new design ideas like these which make Christmas shopping all the more exciting. With 150ml’s of the worlds best make up remover/skin cleanser/miracle worker in a pump to be proud of, for only £16.00, this one’s a definitely a Poodle lust have!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Make it a nice November

Being November and all, I imagine lots of other Poodle pups are also feeling somewhat forlorn and depressed. The relentless Paris rain we had over the weekend meant I couldn’t even go walkies – that meant no lingerie lusting, hot chocolate sampling or jardin de plantes exploring. No ‘ing’s at all. I spent all weekend and most of this week just vegging which out of all the ‘ings’ is not really that exciting....

It’s a difficult month to get through – and inevitably November means you find yourself going into hibernation mode. For the Paris Poodle that means home comforts – endless cups of tea, cosy slippers and boxes of chocolates to pick your way through whilst reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In November you say no to going out and oui to staying in and watching French X Factor – (which really doesn’t have the right to use the X Factor name because it is SOOO pallid in comparison).

However, rather than having a typical November of retreating into comfort food and counting down til the Xmas lights go on, I have decided to turn November around – and you can too! It is a nothing month, and as the nights are so long, there is plenty of time to use the extra dark hours to your advantage. As far as poodling to perfection goes, it’s a great opportunity for some hibernation beautification.

With December the only month of the year where it’s bad form to be anything other than perfectly glamorous it’s November that counts – the beauty bother taken now, will all be worth it when you are the most radiant of them all throughout Decembers demanding social calendar.
So prepare for party season, treat yourself, relax at home with hair masks and intensive treatments, foot baths and brightening creams, lotions and potions, cosy and smug in the knowledge that your indulgent November pampering is the prerequisite for a partytastic, glamourgorgeous, mistletoemagical, snowsparkle perfect Christmas!

To begin this month of at home self petpampering I suggest....

Mizani H20 Intense Night Time Treat by L’Oreal
Perfect for proper Poodles with curly locks the Mizani H20 Intense Night Time Treat by L’Oreal (20 euros) is a very effective overnight treatment for hair that is course or rebellious. Although I would say this doesn’t describe my hair, I tried this in a small quantity to restrenghten the ends of my hair which were becoming a little wayward. After massaging the somewhat gloopy liquid through your hair you leave this on all night and by morning your hair will feel soft, smell divine and will look a lot less frazzled. It really is a miracle as your hair feels like liquid silk when you wash it out in the shower. It’s actually formulated for Afro hair but it happily works a treat on Caucasian hairs as well – an all round must have for extra beautiful, well conditioned hair. L’Oreal claim that the shea butter and vitamin rich formula with its ceramide hair strengthening technology can improve the strength of your hair- you can use this several times a week to tame your hair in party perfect condition.

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Extreme Foot Therapy Cream
I love Crabtree & Evelyn – their stores are just so full of intoxicating fragrances and smells and their many beauty sets are little oeuvres d’art – all matchy matchy in quintessentially English packaging (even if it is traditionally a US company, it’s English inspired creations are spot on). It’s a haven of sweet smelling creams, soaps and delicious room sprays, twee draw liners and candles – the perfect ingredients to create a cosy environment for your November pampreening!

Il faut aller – you must go – if it’s the one outing you have all November there are enough lovelies to buy in this one shop to last you all month – if nothing else make sure you buy their La Source Extreme Foot Therapy Cream to prepare your tootsies for your winter high heels. With its softening seaweed extract and its light matt texture your feet are left moisturised but not greasy, leaving them smooth and soft. Having your feet massaged is one of the best ways to bliss so idealement get someone to massage this in for you! And if you are in Crabtree & Evelyn buy their Organic English Country Lemon Curd at your own risk – it’s ADDICTIVE! I am also relying heavily upon their Earl Grey Tea Caddy and their English Breakfast Cookies whilst in Paris when the urge for a ‘nice cuppa’ exceeds the need for ‘cafe au lait’.

Montagne Jeuness Green Tea Peel Off Masque
This one use mask is 97p. So, its budget, but it does work! A cheap pick me up this mask is actually made with some good quality natural ingredients and as a BUAV and Peta Proggy Award Winner this one’s also very animal friendly – great news for the Paris Poodle! With green tea and root ginger extract and a refreshing squeeze of lemon this peel off mask deep cleanses and refreshes the skin leaving pores cleansed and your complexion feeling zingy, fresh and radiant. Plus the packaging is super kitsch – aka irresistible!!

Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment
I use this a lot during the winter – when my skin is drier than normal – this is a great one to whack on at home and get on with things (Telly watching, reading, learning the subjunctive) – its highly nourishing and hydrating and sinks right into your skin – you will need to wash this one off though but you can immediately see a difference – your skin is softer, any lines are less defined and you feel as though you have done your skin a good deed. With its natural formula of borage, shea butter and St John’s Wart extracts your sad winter skin will soon be smiling once again!