English summer, life discoveries and a well needed reset.

So, I took a break. What do you mean you hadn’t noticed it?

I know. I did not really think about it, I just took it which is good in a way, right? Holidays started with a long week-end around la Loire, followed by family events, then I went to London for about 10 days, came back and was basically in denial that summer was, in fact, going to end. Bring on autumn though, it’s by far my favorite season, but I have to say, I have loved this summer. It’s been crazy hot, I wore dresses every single day which you know was a new thing for me this year, I finished a book and started two new ones, I spent time with friends and family, it’s been NICE.

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To ease myself back into blogging I thought I’d share with you a few things I’ve learned and discovered over the past two months.

  • You’re on proper holidays when you have no idea what day it is. You’ve heard it before, but isn’t it so true? From my mother in law’s garden in the North of France to the crazy busy and hot Northern Line in London to my godmother’s vegetable’s garden in the middle of nowhere (I kind of had a connection with nature this summer, how insufferable of me!), I somehow managed to forget about days and time. It took me a few days of course but It had not happened in a few years, so I’m glad I was able to actually enjoy moments and not project myself in the past or the future. Oh you know what helps? Leave your phone away, don’t bring it everywhere with you, you will be fine.
  • Wine on the Eurostar is perfection. I mean I don’t even have anything else to say. Standard Premier was cheaper than normal tickets for some reason. Therefore, coming back home from London a little drunk because we had some free wine on the Eurostar was simply heaven.
  • Chemical exfoliation is not for me. I got super enthusiastic about being on holidays in London (I lived there for a year, that’s why I can’t shut up about it, I love it), and when in Liberty… bought myself the cult P50 by Biologique Recherche. Now, my skin has reacted quite badly to Liquid Gold by Alpha H in the past, not every time but a few too many, yet I really wanted to give a try to P50, and I could not retain myself when I saw the bottle on a (very lovely because Liberty’s a treasure for your eyes) shelf. Well, I applied it straight away when we came back home, and had an allergic reaction the next morning, that lasted 10 days! So I’ll stay away from chemical exfoliation for now.
  • Downsizing the number of people I follow on Instagram means I don’t have that many people to compare myself to. I took this decision after our holidays where I did not check my Instagram that much at all and consequently felt so much better about myself. I needed a bit of a reset. Of course I tried to find an app that’d help me to unfollow massive amount of people but I could not find anything that actually worked. They don’t make it easy for you, do they? So it did take quite some time but it was definitely worth it. Just be prepared if you’re thinking about it, might take an hour or so! I now only follow people who inspire me, and make me feel good. Easy peasy. I also have a personal Insta account with my friends etc, that I don’t use that much but it does allow me to separate the blog feed and the more personal stuff. I even got an Insta notification last week telling me “You’re all caught up. You’ve seen all new posts from the past 2 days”. Mad.

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  • Cerave hydrating cleanser if the perfect cleanser if you’re on a budget and have extremely sensitive skin. Extremely gentle, I don’t know about the hydrating claim because I leave it on for one minute but it does not strip the skin. I got it in Boots, but also found it in my local french pharmacy. Honestly, so good.
  • Real Techniques mini travel brush duo is cute and brilliant. Perfect size if you’re going away and of course, like all Real Techniques brushes, affordable and effective. Got them in Monoprix in my hometown, but you can get them in Boots of course, and online.
  • I need to start eating breakfast. I’ve never been a “morning person”, I mean, what even is that? (We’ll talk about that in more details in a different piece soon by the way.) I usually never, I mean ne-ver, have breakfast. It’s been like that since I was a kid. While on holidays, in my family and in London, I did have breakfast (i.e bread and butter) almost everyday and it made a big difference to my day to day life. So I’m willing to give it a go, I just don’t seem to find the motivation at 7am in my flat but I will make an effort. Might be life-changing for all I know, and everybody’s been banging on about it for decades so you know, thought It might be time I’ll think about it!
  • Now THAT, is a good show. We have been watching Treme the HBO TV series by David Simon who also is responsible for The Wire, probably my favorite TV show of all time. My friend really sold it to me and she was right : It’s brilliant, revolting, smart, moving, funny, best summer discovery.

That’s all for now! Hope you all had a lovely summer. Do share your highlights if you have any, I’d be interested!

I’ll be back, not in two months, no no, like, this week? This week!

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Why Should Our Eyelashes Be Dark And Long And Our Body Hair Non-existent?

The other day, I was having my legs waxed, and because I find it boring and painful, I started a conversation with the beautician, and the subject was, as it often is, the tyranny of hairless legs. She said, “that’s very true, men don’t have to go through it. I wonder why, it’s so unfair. But I have to say it looks prettier and certainly feels cleaner when your legs are waxed.” I raised an eyebrow. I think I get to hear this sentence every single time I go to the beautician. No it’s not cleaner and why would we look better without it? Isn’t it the most natural state of the body? Also, why the fuck should we always smile and be pretty?

Now, I’m not blaming my beautician. I’m not blaming anyone really. It just makes me really angry to think that female body hair are so stigmatized. Also, to be contradictory because hey, I’m human, I wax and shave and epilate. All of these. And I hate it. But I do like how it looks. So you won’t find any definitive statement about body hair here, just a reflexion on this very summery subject, that I’m forced to face, only wanting to wear dresses and skirts because of the heatwave we’ve been having.

My mum doesn’t have any body hair really, and is a little bit proud about it, which really did not help when as a teen, I had to use Jolen cream on my mustache to dye it blond.

Today, I read a great article on Man Repeller written by Haley Nahman, the piece is titled, “4 Women on Loving and Growing Their Body Hair“. It’s a brilliant conversation, and definitely made me think, yet again, about how absurd having to shave/wax/epilate all the hair on our bodies is. One of the women being interviewed said something that stuck with me, “Your hair is who you come from, just like your eyes, lips and teeth. I love that. When I think about my bush, I think of bodies in the wilderness; we grow a natural blanket of protection.

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This really added a new perspective on my morning which I’ve spent exfoliating and shaving because I’m going away this weekend. Truth be told, when I read the article and scrolled down to see the pictures of hairy women, I was like ” hum, that’s a bit intense isn’t it? Oh wow, that’s how some women look with hair on their legs“. Because you know what? I’ve only, once in my lifetime, seen a woman sporting hair on her legs. I was in SF for a work trip, and this lady on the bus had a gorgeous dress and super long dark legs hair. Isn’t it crazy that it was the first time I’d seen hair on a woman’s legs?

My mum doesn’t have any body hair really, and is a little bit proud about it, which really did not help when as a teen, I had to use Jolen cream on my mustache to dye it blond. I was so envious of her and so self-conscious about my body hair. Though to be fair, she did tried her best to help me out you know, with dealing with those unwanted hair. I think I first got my legs waxed at 13 because she did not want me to shave, and told me that if I kept on waxing, I’d have way less hair as an adult. Of course, one summer, tired of having to watch my hair grow enough so I could get them waxed, I got my first razor, and the rest is history.

Boys definitely did not help with the body hair and stache situation. I grew up in the 90’s, I don’t think it got better, and have no idea how kids deal with it nowadays. But back in the days, it was very painful, and it has ruined the “already-not-that-high” self confidence I had. I’m actually so thankful for beauty bloggers who speak out about how they get rid of their body hair, and also thankful for this article on Man Repeller. You do you, for sure. I believe it’s brave in a way to let your hair go au naturel. I certainly don’t feel like I could do it anytime soon. Yet this article really made me think about the endless conversations about body hair with my beautician, my sisters, my friends… And after reading it, and reminiscing all the hair removal questions that I had when I was a kid, and all the shaming there is around body hair, I kept thinking : “Why should our eyelashes be dark and long and our body hair non-existent?

On that topic, I’d recommend you read Haley Nahman’s article, and read Man Repeller all together because it’s a super smart website. Nadine Baggott and Emma Guns did a good video about hair removal if you feel like you need advice in that department, oh and this conversation on, you guessed it, Man Repeller, is super interesting as well.

Anyway, no real answers but a lot of questions, thank me later right? I’d love to know what you think about this topic though!

I Feel So Reckless When I Rock My Midi Dress

The other day my partner told me, I like it when you wear dresses, because you look like you’re feeling free. “Isn’t that interesting”, I thought. I thanked him because I was a bit moved by his comment, and then started to think about how true this sentence was. I did feel more free. The air playing with my legs, how floaty and fuss-free linen feels, how flattering the right shape can make you feel… Yet, this is an extremely new feeling for me. I used to HATE dresses. They’d be like a complete no-no. Of course, when I was younger I made a statement out of my deep hatred towards dresses. Do you remember the time when everything you did, said, thought was a statement by the way? I feel you. I so not miss my teenage years. So, yeah, I’d be the girl who wears jeans and boots, because I do whatever I want and F**** off if you don’t get it. Sounds familiar?

Last summer, Mango went all out with the summer dresses and released some pretty good items that made me dream of an Italian summer I’d never even experienced.

Years went by, and the last few years I started to feel conflicted. Like I was missing out on something. I could see other women who seem to enjoy wearings dresses, skirts, shorts and there I was, with my jeans on, an angry look on my face, and sweaty legs. I don’t have the best legs. They’re sturdy and keep me moving, they’re not the strongest but I can definitely count on them. They just don’t look great. My veins are really visible and though I try and apply moisturizer, they don’t look smooth. But I do love fashion.

 

Last summer, Mango went all out with the summer dresses and released some pretty good items that made me dream of an Italian summer I’d never even experienced. I started to imagine myself in those dresses, and I could see I’d be relatively happy in them. So I bought a few, and never looked back. Oh I think it’s fair to mention I completely freaked out after my purchase and immediately bought myself some Saint Tropez self tanner because every little helps! And it wasn’t that bad. It took me a few days to ease into it of course. But it definitely made me feel good, because super comfortable which is not something I had thought about. For some reason, I was convinced any clothing item showing my legs would be a nightmare to wear. I was so wrong. Comfort really played a big part in this process. I mean, You didn’t think I was going to wear something without having the comfort factor in mind first, did you? Still, that’s what makes the biggest difference. Fashionable? Sure. Uncomfortable? no way!

I’m now the proud owner of three dresses. And I’m not mad about it! All by Mango because they really do make the best summer dresses out there in my opinion. Pictured above is the last one I got. I love it. It’s 100% linen and has a great shape. I like my dresses to be cinched in at the waist, made out of only one fabric if possible meaning all linen or cotton for example, and midi length. I find it’s the most flattering shape for me and also the most comfortable.  I don’t think I’ll ever wear a mini dress or even an above the knee one, but honestly, I don’t even care, I feel so reckless when I rock my Givenchy midi dress!

Oh also, I do feel free.

Summer Style, Superga Sneakers and Self-doubt

When I was 20, I lived in London for a year. I absolutely loved it but that’s an other subject. Living there really helped my style, which I guess is no surprise as the Brits are known to have great, daring style. More than that, I can only speak for London but, people seem to simply not care about your appearance and that, is so liberating! Before London, I would wear jeans and boots in the winter, and well… jeans and boots in the summer. It was not comfortable, but I was not confident enough to wear skirts or dresses, let alone sandals. I’ve always prioritized comfort so that was a good excuse. The truth is I did not want to expose myself, I did not like myself enough to give it a try. I did eventually bought a dress because fashion was just too good that summer, and I decided to wear it one day to the park in Clapham. Now, because nobody really looks at you in London, I truly remember that day : I felt amazing and more importantly a tiny bit more free. But guess what? With the dress I wore boots.

Then, after I’d left London, sneakers were everywhere. You’d see girls wearing them on an every day basis on fashion websites and Instagram. To me, it was a little revolution. “Wearing sneakers on a Friday to go out for drinks, with a pair of jeans, and looking chic? Deal!” Quickly enough, this trend came to stores, and to the streets of London, Paris, etc.

When I wear my Superga, I kind of believe I could potentially look like a tennis player, which I’m definitely not, but I like the idea you know?

The next summer, after having spend a year back in France, I came back to London. On a shopping spree with my friends, I came across the Superga Store on Carnaby Street. It’s possible that I’d seen these before, either on Alexa Chung, or on the brilliant Man Repeller website. Anyway, got in, tried them on, bought them, never looked back.

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I love them (the style is 2750 Cotu) because they’re extremely simple, which basically instantly makes me think Chic. Also, when I wear my Superga I kind of believe I could potentially look like a tennis player, which I’m definitely not, but I like the idea you know? These sneakers go with absolutely everything. I have them in white, and beige which sums me up… I’m not really daring with my style, and I’ve come to terms with it. And to be honest, it was daring enough for me at the time to wear sneakers with a dress so that’s that.

I would not say they last forever, mine stay in shape approximately 2 to 3 summers, but it’s good enough I think, considering I wear them 5 to 6 months straight, from May to September. The main difference to me is, since I’ve been wearing them, I feel like I’m playing the summer game. With boots on, I’d get annoying questions all the time “aren’t you hot? Why would you wear these in summer? Don’t you have sandals?” Now, I do own sandals, but I’m sorry to say, they’re not that comfortable! Whereas these sneakers are light enough I’m not boiling, basic (in the best possible way) enough it suits my style, and comfortable enough I can walk miles in them. Win!

Like I said before, I find Spring/Summer season is tricky style wise. When thinking about this subject I realized how, buying these Superga one summer in London has actually, completely, changed the way I envision summer clothes. Something in me clicked, and since then, every summer I free myself a bit more. On that note, next week there will be a post about a clothing item I used to hate and now feel wonderful in! Summer style is an endless conversation, don’t you think?

Spring struggle and a game changer

I’m not British but boy have I been talking about the weather recently! I think it’s something to do with having to use social media for the blog, those Instagram captions aren’t gonna write themselves right?  Also I’ve recently realized how much everyone talks about it online as well, which I find quite nice actually. I know when it’s snowing in NYC and raining in London, when the sky’s crazy in Paris, when it’s grey in Santorini…

I like Spring, I prefer autumn if I’m honest though. I prefer the fashion in autumn/winter, the smell in the air, the colors, the general mood basically. Spring is always a bit of a struggle. Because I’ve been hiding myself under big jumpers, coats and scarves. Because I have to find clothes that are comfortable and stylish which is not my forte. Because I forget how my legs actually look. Because I never find cute summer shoes. Because my makeup’s sliding off my face after a couple of hours. YET, I have found something that really helps. It’s fragrance, light as air, fresh as flowers, just a gorgeous concoction making me feel better when I struggle with Spring.

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Clarins Eau Dynamisante is a treatment fragrance. It is meant to hydrate and tone the skin, and work, as Clarins says, in accordance with the principles of aromatherapy and phytotherapy. I believe my mum used to wear it, probably my aunts as well, the smell always makes me feel nostalgic but that’s not why I like it. I LOVE the smell because it doesn’t get fresher than that. It smells like clean laundry (but actual clean laundry, not like all those perfume that pretend they do and actually smell sweet and full of alcohol). Imagine, a few hours after sunrise, standing in a field of flowers, there’s a little bit of wind but nothing crazy you know, just the right amount. You’re wearing a linen dress but did not bother with shoes. You’re feeling great, peaceful. Well, that’s what this perfume does to me! I also enjoy Eau des Jardins which is part of the same range, a bit sweeter, lovely as well, not as iconic but it has quite a warm and rich smell if you’re more into that kind of fragrance!

What I also find interesting with this product is that it doesn’t only make you smell good, it does, weirdly, gives a sense of vitality to the skin. It’s something you could potentially spray all over your body because it’s non-photosensitizing. So there you have it. Summer, I’m ready sort of for you!