31 October 2015

Beauty | Paris - Sephora Haul

Whilst I managed to stay away from the French Pharmacies and their Aladdin's Cave of skincare, I couldn't resist a trip to Sephora. I was hoping to pick up some Anastasia Beverly Hills products but they haven't launched yet in the French Sephora so I set about picking up some other bits instead.

I could have gone seriously crazy with my purchases so I had to restrain myself and try to stick to items I can't purchase here in the UK.

I've heard such good things about the Sephora skincare that I couldn't resist picking up a few of their own brand face masks but I couldn't resist the GLAMGLOW cleaner, I absolutely adore their face masks so when I spotted this I got super excited and threw it straight into my basket. I haven't had time to try any yet so expect reviews in due course.

GLAMGLOW POWERCLEANSE Daily Dual Cleanser - €29.90
Sephora Pearl Sheet Face Mask - €3.95
Sephora Lotus Sheet Face Mask - €3.95
Sephora Pearl Sleeping Mask - €3.95
Sephora Honey Sleeping Mask - €3.95

Cosmetics wise, I didn't really have anything specific in mind. All I knew was that I wanted to pick up another mineral powder brush (you can read about my love for it here). I also picked up the Beauty Blender which I'm yet to try but after having my makeup done at Laura Mercier a few months ago I realised how much I love foundation applied with a sponge and so I thought it was time to try this cult product. Two mini lip liners and a beautiful lip balm later and I was done. 

Sephora Mineral Powder Brush - €17.95
Beauty Blender - €16.90
Sephora lip liner - €4.95 x 2
Sephora lip balm - €7.00

All in all I'm really pleased with my purchases and it really makes me wish that we had Sephora here in the UK!

What are your favourite things from Sephora? Have you tried anything I've purchased?

Vicky x

29 October 2015

Restaurant Review | Paris - Dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel

As soon as I found out I was going to Paris I wanted to book somewhere spectacular for my birthday dinner and after some research I discovered 58 Tour Eiffel on Level One of the Eiffel Tower. Sold.

Trying to get a table was, quite frankly, a nightmare. It's such a popular venue that they're often fully booked months in advance and I only managed to secure our reservation a week before we arrived due to a late cancellation. You select the type of "offer" you want when booking and pay in advance. I went for the Sensation offer which at €98 per head wasn't cheap but it was worth every last penny. I'd pay it twice over for the same meal. Included in the price is your lift ticket, champagne on arrival, a three course meal, two glasses of wine and coffee.

The restaurant covers two sittings per night and we went for the 9pm sitting which would ordinarily be pretty late for me but actually worked out quite well after walking around Paris for hours. You take the lift up at 8:30pm and they won't let you up any earlier which is actually quite annoying when you're surrounded by the people trying to forcefully sell you tat whilst you wait which actually spoils the beauty of your surroundings but eventually we made it into the lift which again, as someone who doesn't like heights, I hated and then came the waiting. In the cold. Whilst they prepared the tables. At the time I wasn't overly happy about this but we were seated on time and the rest of the experience more than made up for this, so much so I'd forgotten about it until it came to typing this.

We were super lucky to get a window seat looking into the centre of the tower and out across the city which was absolutely spectacular. Tables are allocated prior to arrival and the amount you pay apparently has no bearing so it really is just a case of luck but wherever you're seated you're in for a treat.

I was determined to try different foods in Paris, I'm not as fussy as I once was but when you're in a city renowned for being the pinnacle of haute cuisine I couldn't resit and so I opted for something incredibly out of character for me and I hope you don't judge me for it because I know it's less than ethical.

Duck foie gras with pear and cocoa balsamic vinegar and a toasted brioche
I'd never tried foie gras before but this was beyond exceptional, it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I struggled spreading it and first and actually uttered the words: "I can't seem to spread my foie gras on my brioche properly!" until I had a serious word with myself and vowed never to say something like that again! 

Lightly smoked salmon with dill and cucumber fromage frais, salmon eggs and a waffle
Everybody that knows me knows that I don't eat anything that lives in the sea. All fish and seafood are strictly off limits but my manager challenged me to try a piece of fish so when this arrived I managed to slice off a tiny piece to try before it was inhaled and wow - I've been missing out. I felt it tasted quite fishy (no surprise there) but it literally melted in my mouth. I'm not in any real hurry to try more fish but I'm glad that I did.

Herb stuffed chicken breast with salsifies and new potatoes, parmesan shavings and real jus 
I had no words for this meal at the time and I'm still struggling now - this was the best main course I have ever eaten. The chicken was cooked to absolute perfection, it was so tender and full of flavour and the vegetables were divine but the real winner for me was the cooked parmesan shavings. A real game changer. 

Bream fillet "a la plancha" with spelt risotto, sauteed Chinese artichoke and a purple mustard beurre blanc 
I wasn't feeling bold enough to try any more fish, not that I'd have had the chance as it was wolfed down because it was that good. The fish just flaked away and apart from the freshly caught fish in Australia, I've never seen such perfectly white fish. 

For dessert I had the profiterole with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, you'll note there isn't a picture of this because I practically swallowed the plate as soon as it arrived at the table. Incredible. The ice cream was vanilla bean ice cream and unlike any I've had before.

Service was exceptional, the location was incredible and the food was, over three courses, the best I've had in my life. I honestly cannot recommend this place enough, it left me speechless. 

Have you ever been to 58 Tour Eiffel? What is your favourite restaurant ever?

Vicky x

27 October 2015

Travel | Paris - The Best Birthday Ever

I turned 25 in September which would have been a pretty traumatic experience if I hadn't received a trip to Paris as a present! I'd never been to France before and despite never previously being very interested in going to Paris, I was incredibly excited to visit somewhere new and also incredibly grateful to receive such a generous and thoughtful gift.

We travelled on the Eurostar which was a surprisingly pleasant experience despite leaving at 5:40am and being stuck in a carriage with some ridiculously loud teenagers - seriously, who has that much to say at such an awful hour?! The journey took less than two and a half hours and I managed to sleep for a large part of it which helped.

As soon as we got to Paris we made our first rookie tourist mistake and headed to the place closest to the station for breakfast - a rock hard croissant and burnt coffee wasn't exactly the welcome to French cuisine I was expecting!

Our hotel was right near the Eiffel Tower so we needed a taxi to get there, I'm mentioning this because as you come out of the station there's a huge line of "taxis" ready to take you to your hotel, one guy stopped us as said he could take us for "just €80" or we could "go and wait for over an hour in the taxi rank queue" - I had a quick look at Uber because I thought the price sounded extortionate, bearing in mind I'm from London and I spend a small fortune on taxis, which it was because Uber helpfully pointed out the journey would be less than €20 so please, don't get sucked in by those guys!

We stayed at a beautiful recently refurbished boutique hotel Le Derby Alma which was a 30 second walk from the Eiffel Tower. The room was small but beautiful and stocked with Hermes bath products which pleased me no end, as did the waterfall sink - you can tell I'm in property, it's always the little things that excite me! The staff were super friendly and couldn't have been more helpful, we were even allowed to check in 6 hours early.

The weather was absolutely beautiful so we decided for the most part to walk everywhere which is my favourite way to see a new city, you get such a good feel for a place by walking around it and learning all of the little side streets that you may otherwise miss if you were travelling by metro or taxi.

One of my favourite things about Paris, along with the architecture, was the food. Oh my God, the food! Our hotel was really conveniently located for Rue Saint Dominique which had some of the nicest cafes and bistros so we headed there on our first day for lunch. Having spent the last 8 hours walking around we headed to a bistro on Rue Saint Dominique where I had the best pasta I've ever had in my life and that includes in Milan! Packed to the brim with ham, parmesan, truffle and mushroom it was absolute heaven - plain but exceptional.

On the subject of food, we had dinner on our first night inside the Eiffel Tower which was the most incredible experience ever and fully deserves a post of it's own so keep a look out for that going live in the next few days because it is one of the best things I've ever done and I fully recommend it to everyone.

I am so super excited to share my Christian Louboutin purchase with you all but that warrants it's own post, as does my Sephora haul, but I can honestly say they were a wonderful decision and I am so happy with them. 

If you've never been to Paris and you're a bit undecided on it as I was then you simply must go, I enjoy every place I visit but I absolutely fell in love with Paris and I can't wait to go back one day and try different restaurants and boutiques and just have an absolute ball again.

Have you ever been to Paris?

Vicky x

25 October 2015

Beauty | Discover Tarte: 7 piece collection*

A few weeks ago I came home to a very unexpected but very much appreciated gift from Tarte Cosmetics: their new limited edition 7 piece collection designed as an introduction to the brand.

The collection consists of 7 full sized products and has your full face covered (literally) with base, eyes, lips and cheeks all included in the collection which comes in a handy patent purple makeup bag which I haven't pictured.

Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation and Airbuki Bamboo Powder Foundation Brush 

This foundation was the stand-out product for me. I've never used a mineral foundation before and I tend not to enjoy powder foundation so I was a little concerned that I wouldn't like this but I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only does the product apply and blend like a dream, it provides such a flawless finish without looking cakey or unnatural. 

The product is dispensed through a flexible mesh which you press the brush into before tapping off any excess and buffing it on to your face in circular motions. The short and densely packed bristles are incredibly soft yet the flat top and dense packing of the bristles make sure the brush is sturdy and easy to use.

Amazonian Clay Eye and Cheek Palette and Double Ended Eye Shadow Brush

This limited edition eye and cheek palette is utterly divine. For such a makeup fiend I'm not actually the biggest fan of wearing eye shadow and as such I tend to only wear it for nights out but the six shades in this palette are perfect day time shades but can easily be blended and layered to create a bolder look for night time. My favourite colours were the mauve tones but the warmer shades are equally as beautiful. The eye shadows are designed to mattify oil which makes the eye shadows super long lasting.

The Amazonian Clay blushers are amongst my favourite blushers on the market so I was delighted to see one included in this kit because I simply can't get enough of them. They're perfectly pigmented and last for up to 12 hours on the skin. 

I really liked using the double ended eye shadow brush too, as with the airbuki brush, the bristles were exceptionally soft and made blending the eye shadows an absolute dream.

Silk Amazonian Clay Eyeliner

With a smudger and built-in sharper, this black brown eyeliner glides on like a dream and blends out to create the perfect base for a smokey eye. The deep brown shade works really well with blue eyes and is a lot less harsh than black making it ideal for day time wear as well.

Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara

This mascara is my favourite Tarte product I've ever tried and hands down one of the best mascaras I have ever used. I was fortunate enough to try this before and I've asked friends to bring it back from the US for me before so to have another one was an absolute joy. The mascara is infused with plant botanicals and waxes which make the mascara super moisturising and kind to your own lashes. 

Coconut Oil Lipstick

Putting this lipstick on was like running a knife through hot butter: incredible. It was so smooth and easy to apply with a high gloss finish and excellent pigmentation, this is going to be my go-to winter lip colour.

You can purchase this excellent set from QVC online for £51.00 - it would make an ideal Christmas present for the makeup lovers in your life.

Have you tried anything from Tarte? What are your favourite products?

Vicky x

* Item was sent by Tarte as a gift
© The Blogging Brunette. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig