Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Happy Hands

Don't hide your hands like Hepburn!

Since being in Paris, I wash up a lot more often. Not only because eating is such a ritual at any meal in France, and inevitably involves endless cutlery and crockery, but also because washing up is the nearest I can get to having a bubble bath. I only know a tiny handful of people who have the luxury of a proper bath. The Poodle dreams of laying in a Jo Malone Dark Amber scented bath, all warm and toasty until my skin is irresistibly soft and smooth.

All of this washing up, and with the cold winter air outside has somewhat made me develop a hand cream obsession. The slightest dryness or discomfort is enough to send me into a frenzy of moisturiser hunting! If I see one, I buy it, and if I don't buy it, I at least try it! And now I'm going to blog about it! But it's all for a good cause. If hands are the first thing to give away your age, then this Poodle is a good 10 years older according to mes mains!

So what can I recommend for perfect paws? I have recently developed a penchant for bergamot which is widely used in aromatherapy to relieve stress, insomnia and depression - the ideal uplifting ingredient for these dark and dreary January days. Any cream that contains this delicious ingredient is sure to get both me and my hands happy...

Liz Earle Hand Repair
This one is a good old favourite of mine - mostly because of its bergamot, neroli and lavender fragrance but also for its super skin friendly ingredients -beta carotene and a healthy dose of vitamin E - both rich in antioxidants - the magic ingredient for skin repairing - much needed at this time of year! From £8.25 for a 50ml tube, the ideal handbag size.

L'Occitane Bergamot Tea Hand Cream
This shea butter enriched hand cream from French Provence is £12.50 for 75ml and is delicately fragranced with Bergamot. Sinking in rapidly it instantly makes hands softer and smoother and also does wonders for your cuticles.

Neal's Yard Remedies - Garden Mint & Bergamot Hand Lotion
Harder to come by in Paris, but one of the most beautifully fragranced, natural hand creams known to ladies is Neal's Yard Garden Mint & Bergamot Hand Lotion which is in a 200ml pump - (and only £10.50 at that)! An added bonus is that you can keep this one in the kitchen in between rounds of washing up and pump natural goodness back into your skin as soon as the dishes are out of the sink. This light lotion also has jojoba, shea and evening primrose and leaves hands looking lovely and smelling delicious.

Ortigia Bergamot Hand Cream
This Sicilian brand has great taste in packaging and ingredients! Their Bergamot Hand Cream is very dense, rich and nourishing and is perfect for heavy duty washer uppers in Paris and beyond! With a fine uplifting fragrance, and of course plenty of olive oil (it is Sicilian after all) it is a reliable hand helper at 19€ although one word of advice is use a small amount because it can be a trifle greasy. Available from

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Golden Globes Glamouratti

Christina Hendricks drives Men Mad with her creamy curves

I may be in Paris, but everyone I know and everywhere I go, the beauties of the Golden Globes Glamouratti are being given their obligatory score marks, not for their acting abilities of course, but for their taste, grace and accessories to dress ratios. It's a testing time... but who came out on top for their gorgeousness or ghastliness?

If you're asking the Poodle, the results are clear:

Drew Barrymore stole the style stakes with her classy, sequined Atelier Versace number. The pale ivory of the dress really looks exquisite against Barrymore's own alabaster skin tones. I particularly love the quirky unexpected crystal embellishment at the shoulder and hip - this dress sums up Miss Barrymore perfectly- a natural beauty, classy but kooky! Bravo!
The award for the most emaciated of the evening de”thin”itely goes to Calista Lockhart who looks as though she may fall over any moment under the weight of her Alberta Ferretti dress! Please someone feed the poor thing! I don't care if Kate Moss thinks that 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels' - from the languid look on Miss Lockharts face, it doesn't really feel all that wonderful! The Poodle subscribes a healthy portion of pain au chocolat!

It's clear that nearly naked nude was THE colour to be wearing at the GG’s – and there really is something infinitely fascinating, alluring and daring about wearing nude. Just think what a stir Shakira caused in her kitsch-eriffic ‘She Wolf’ video! Nude remains one of those colours which you have to be stunningly beautiful and utterly svelte to pull off, which is probably why it featured so much on GG red carpet. I think you'll agree that Toni Collette, one of my favourite ladies from 'down under' looks sexily sublime in this sandy sparkle sprinkled dress from the talented Elie Saab.

The Glamaratti took to the red runway with minimal, lady like, startlingly classic make up and orderly up-do's with the odd rebellious strand tumbling away to flutter around their beautiful faces! For the Poodle, she who is the fairest of them all, has to be Kate Winslet - her make-up is impeccable and she has the Madonnesque dark eyebrows/blonde hair combination that I find absolutely naughty and irresistible! She is absolutely one of those women who look ever more beautiful over time! Qu-est qu'elle est belle!

Kate Winslet - Golden girl

Monday, 11 January 2010

Make away with the January Blues

The Paris Poodle has been fending off the January blues with whatever means possible. And if there's anything that is guaranteed to equal instant happy (minus severe purse pain), its make up shopping! Well - if you followed my plan to clear out the crap from your make up bag, then you'll naturally soon feel the need to replenish it with new wonderful cosmetics!

And although spring make up may be calling out for fresh faced nude lips and make up minimalism, seeing as MAC have just launched a French lace boudoir inspired collection of seductive mauves, cloud greys and startling white, as the Paris Poodle it would be rude not to check it out - purely for the purposes of pampering... check out this palette of pastels... I indulged in the mauve shimmering Hypnotizing shade! It's got Paris under its spell!

From searching in Sephora sales I have also picked up a gorgeous lippy (with 50% off) in the perfect shade of barely-there 'Purely Pearl' this one is subtle, feminine and a great choice to ensure my lips are on trend this spring! The only thing is, it doesn't stay on for that long - so it will probably only last me through the spring at the rate I'm reapplying!

Another lipstick which I am in love with is my recently discovered Guerlain 671 Maxi Shine in Baby Shine - a moisturising candy stripe pink! Not only does it make my lips feel incredibly soft, leave them sparkling with seductive shimmer, it also smells delicious; with its sweet violet tones, this lipstick plumps and smooths and seduces with its girlishly gorgeous candy floss gloss! C'est l'amour!

Its Guerlain gorgeous!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Forward thinking fashion...

Think fierce, flirty, feminine for Spring 2010.

So.... it's a new year - that means a new wardrobe! Get ahead and scan the Jan' sale rails and charity/vintage shops for pieces that echo the 2010 Spring trends that will see you through the seasons. The Poodle and her style spies recommend the following...

Look out for corseted, boned tops and dresses - although they suggest boudoir, the fashion authorities have spoken - underwear is set to be the new outer-wear for Spring - that means dainty lace, transparent fabric, sculpting whale bone corsets and bustier tops. Think Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour, but dumb the look down so you can pull it off on the street, without being mistaken for a streetwalker.
Other than sumptuous silks, lady like lace lace and lolita lingerie inspired dresses, Spring 2010 is calling for other wardrobe staples...for example, the baby doll dress like this one from Luella:

As for colours, if you come across ivory, black, nude and beige, then you should be bang on trend for Spring - the barely there palette of pastels is back with the odd exclaimation of black punctuation! Take Lagerfelds word for it at Chanel:

Cutesy, short, flirty and fun - that is what Spring dressing should all be about - and although it may be dark and cold outside, there's no time like the present to prepare for future fashions whilst foraging through the sales this month!

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Poodle's Steps to Sales Success

The Poodle apologises for the slight delay in posting – but if you were in Paris you will understand – les SOLDES have begun! And in France that’s headline news – on the metro newspapers at least! The French hold off for their sale fixes until the 6th January so since then the streets have been packed thanks to early morning opening has never been so serious!

Some boutiques have even been offering customers croissants and coffee – so chic, so fran├žais – it goes to show just how far the French will go for a January sales bargain – foregoing breakfast would never otherwise happen unless the shops were offering pastries on a plate!

With shopping fever reaching an all time haut (high) this Paris Poodle has been tempted, taunted and teased with shops offering 30%, 40%, 50% off... but as much as I’ve thrusted through the crowds, and lusted at the sale rail, I have stuck to some very important rules (after all in this country sale items are NON exchangeable – impulse buys have no get out clause)!

With promotions partout, and end of line stock slashed in price to a level of bulk buyability, it can get messy... allow me to share with you, the Paris Poodle rules to sale shopping success....

1. Dress accordingly. Simple, easy to enleve (take off) clothing is essential – think shift dress, tights and ballet pumps/boots for a quicker changing room turnaround.

2. Stay focused – sales shopping can be intimidating-ly chaotic – surtout a gay Paris where shopping isn’t just a nice thing to do with friends – it’s actually a way of life! The diehard sale shoppers will get to shops before opening hours to benefit (in theory) from first dibs on the bargain buckets. Don’t bother with buckets and head to the sale rails that have the most variety to choose from.

3. Think twice. Importantly, before buying any item, make sure that you like it – even if you can now afford to get it wrong (now there’s a 50% discount) there’s no point buying that pair of silk hot pants from Kookai just because you can – hold out for a better bargain that’s way more you!

4. Dedicate a day to sales shopping – or maybe 2– it’s a trial that we have to put ourselves through just for the peace of mind that we haven’t missed out – so you’ll need to take a full day to study the sales and get to grips with the discounts at every store.

5. If being selfish is one of your 2010 resolutions or even being more economical, buying pressies for oneself (and for others) during the sales, is the best way to make you feel great about yourself and your bank account – buying bargains now technically means saving loads of money to put towards those Jimmy Choos’ you’ve been fantasising over! It’s a win-win situation.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Make Up Management

As promised, Project January commences...! First things first, resolutions, rules and re-hauls are needed. Starting the year off in the best way possible can only pave the way for fabulous things ahead. So let's start with the face - and that mean's clearing out your make up bag!

The state of make up bags across Paris (and beyond) is shockingly unkempt - despite the Parisians addictions to designer make up brands galore there are half broken, over used, over stuffed make up bags crying to be cleared out! Especially so after Christmas, when you've recieved more MAC make up sets and lip glosses than can ever be used up by one girl -the sheer quantity of flawless foundations, lash longifiers and blush beautifiers is overwhelming!
Of course, it would be sinful to throw out your half used NARS lipstick or Urban Decay Eye Liner, but there is a way to manage your make up...
Here are the rules to getting sorted:
1. Throw out any mascara which no longer bears any writing on the packaging. Considering that mascaras should be replaced every 3-5 months, any packaging fade suggests you've been clinging onto your Boujours Club Mascara for way too long.

2. Sort through your eye shadows - are you really going to be wearing that shade of yellow eyeshadow now that the summer 2008 collections have truely been and gone? Ditch the dreary under used grey eye shadow with the dodgy won't-shut-completely-lid. Spring is on it's way and according to Paris Vogue, it's time to think fresh with nudes, rose and blossom colours.
Let's face it you're not going to recreate this look in 2010!
Rosey, Voguey - that's much better - this spring seasons' make up promises instant pretty!

3. Reject the ugly. That mean's get rid, chuck, throw out, expel from your make up bag any crumbled compacts, cracked bronzers or powder puffs that make an ugly mess all over your hands, dressing table, make up brushes, make up bag more than they beautify. It may be your favourite shade of Clinique powder foundation, but if its broken, you can't fix it. Move on.

Out with the old and in with the new!

These of course are the top 3 rules of make up management. However, suffice to say that to clear out your make up bag will make you feel more organised, and will help you to make up each day in a more organised, more co-ordinated way, which can only be more beautiful in every way!

One other pet hate of the Poodle, is ill matched foundations. Obviously with foundations being the base of all classy cosmetics, it's important to get this right. Make sure that your foundation matches your skin, being the general, most important rule, and if you're not sure, I can thoroughly reccommend Prescriptives for their bespoke blending of high quality make up especially their Flawless Skin foundation which covers imperfections in an instant!

Project January

First things first, the Paris Poodle would like to wish all fashionistas, francophiles, recessionistas and beauty addicts across the world a very Happy New Year! 2010 is the start of a whole new decade and that means a whole decade of fashion, beauty trends and trend history making to look forward to!
After a winter's worth of hoarding, feasting, gorging and general over indulgence even the most speedy model metabolismed of beings can feel lethargic and lack lustre at this time of year - its January for goodness sake -the longest, darkest, most penniless month of the year and everyone is reeling from the anti climax to Christmas! But never fear - the Paris Poodle vous proposes Project January...

This month I'll be positively posting so together we can collectively turn January around into a month of fabulousness - don't forget that January does have its upside - this is only the month where there are sales galore, it's also the only month of the year where it's socially acceptable to be anti-social and podgy -(everyone is forgiving after last month's excess)!

Personally, this Paris Poodle loves the beginning of the year where all is new and shiney and full of infinite possibilities - the New Year is a lot like a new LBD - who knows where it will end up throughout the course of the next 12 months?

Audrey's LBD took her to Tiffany's and beyond!

The brilliant beauty of a new year is just that - the beauty of possibility! It can be a brand new start to a brand new you so keep checking the 'Poodle for my Project January postings!