30 June 2014


Well! what a hectic month June was...and seeing that I spent half of it on my hols overseas
June has just flown by.
My monthly "faves" this month comprise of more "foodie" items than anything else.

A dip into my Sunday Sample jar this past month exposed me to 
Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Masque


This was a delicious Strawberry Tart from a Patisserie in 
Brantome in France....The French make the best! 
I can still taste this one.
13 euros (approx R190)


This was a delicious French White Onion Soup that I had in Paris.
This is another yummy food I can still taste


Another "Foodie" fave for June were these Magnum After Dinner 
and they were a perfect After Dinner size.
These I found in France, so not sure if we have them yet in SA.


29 June 2014


Whilst I am religious when it comes to my weekly exfoliating routine from top to toe, 
I am a little erratic when it comes to the use of a face mask. 
There are so many face masks out there for every skin type and condition, including sensitive skins and Dermalogica have six face masks across their product range.
I always gravitate towards a "non drying" cream type mask that aims to improve hydration and give my skin a boost when it's stressed or tired, 
so this sample of Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating masque was perfect, especially after my hectic recent three week trip overseas, my skin was begging me for some TLC.

As I have mentioned on a previous post Back2Basics the most beneficial time to use a face mask is after you have exfoliated your skin , so in order to give this product a fair review I used my regular exfoliator prior to applying this mask on my cleaned skin.

This non drying mask has a creamy gel consistency and is easy to apply, with a little going a long way.

Apply a smooth film to clean face and throat. 
Allow the masque to absorb for 7 to 10 minutes. 
(What I really enjoyed is that you can also use this mask around the eye area, which is where I find my skin shows stress) 
Rinse with tepid water. 
Use once or twice a week or as prescribed.

Product Claims:
A refreshing, moisturising masque to remedy dry, stressed skin. Use after cleansing to help reduce the appearance of fine lines. Unique cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid traps moisture to deliver time-released hydration for lasting suppleness. Help stimulate skin’s Natural Moisturising Factor while lycopene-rich Tomato Seed lipids help restore skin’s protective barrier, enhancing moisture levels for healthier, smoother skin. 


Helps restore suppleness while minimizing fine lines.

Provides increased hydration and improved elasticity.

Provides in-depth moisturization.

My Experience:
I found this mask to be refreshing, comfortable on my skin and the gel consistency left no oily residue behind. It was quickly absorbed, which was maybe an indicator of how stressed my skin was after my overseas trip. The moisturisation level of my skin did feel improved and I was impressed with the minimising of fine lines especially around my eye area, thanks to the inclusion of Hyaluronic Acid. After only the one use of the Skin Hydrating Masque I was impressed, so I can imagine with "on going" weekly use this mask would be a "must have" for any dry,stressed skins.
Formulated without artificial fragrances and colours.

R590.00 (29/06/14)

For more info and stockists

27 June 2014


I have just realized that it has been some weeks since I did a "Friday Finds" post, so a trip to my local Rain store at Gateway was needed. With being away for the past few weeks it's been a while since I checked out what was new or "newish" in one of my favourite stores. 
Below are some of a few things that caught my eye...
Don't forget you can order online if a trip to a rain shop is not possible, but I can highly recommend the service and all round shopping experience at the Gateway branch.

These banana glycerine soaps on a rope 
are so sweet and fun and make a perfect gift 

These handmade natural bristle body brushes
 (great for stimulating circulation) caught my eye 

As you know I am a sucker for all things bubbles and bath and I couldn't believe 
this Aloe & Avocado Foam Bath had escaped my beady eye! 
The packaging is so different and this is going to be 
my next purchase, so a review will follow.

This quilted slipper set is a new edition to the rain collection 
and the quality felt good.

25 June 2014


Paris is one of the easiest city's in the world to work around, it's well signposted and above all mostly flat...It's also very hectic and busy around the tourist attractions, but as usual I love to walk off the main streets and boulevards to discover the real heart of a city.
Paris is without doubt one of the most historical capitols and its architecture and beauty is at times breathtaking, so be ready for a sensory overload wherever you go.
 Paris is not a city you can cover in a couple of days, but if that's all the time you have then my advice would be to invest in a two day ticket on an open top "Hop On Hop Off" bus of which there are many, this enables you to save your legs and be driven around the city viewing all the major sights from a great "up top" vantage point.
However My Paris on foot is all about going down the smaller side streets and basically discovering the non touristy shops and cafés.
My advice to anyone that wants to walk around Paris is to ensure that:

  • You are fit, as Paris is not for the weak... 
  • You wear very comfy trainers or walking shoes and forget the heels...Paris is hard on the feet as many streets are cobbled and uneven. 
  • Carry a small backpack to accommodate your camera,cell phone, rain Mac (trust me it can pour down in Paris) and don't forget the important bottle of water. 
  • You always take a map with, so you can get back on track after you have wandered off down a side street. 
  • You check out which areas are to be avoided for safety reasons with the hotel before you set off.
As I have said before some of the best eating places can be found off the beaten track and a sit down for a 2 hour lunch is a great way to take in the atmosphere and to boost the energy levels for the afternoons walking session. On my recent trip my sister we set off at 9am and returned to our hotel at 6.30pm and even though I haven't yet calculated how many kilometres we walked, I estimate it was around 20 Kms and every step was filled with a feast for the eyes and wonderful memories.
Another piece of advice at the end of the day is to have a long hot soak in a relaxing foam bath and give yourself a good leg and foot massage with a specific "tired legs" cream or balm, as I guarantee your legs will be sore and tired.
These photos are just a few of things that I discovered on our wanderings, 
so Enjoy!

Beautiful Biscuit Shop

Pretty Bistrot

Locals playing Petanque in a park

Le Marais District

"Have small car will find a parking"

Space is at a premium so be creative on the street

Expect the unexpected

A problem with pesky rodents then visit this shop

Canal Saint Martin

Mushroom stall on many of the street markets

Beautiful flowers

Flower boxes everywhere


23 June 2014


Due to my holiday...the Sunday Sample postings have taken a back seat,but it's back this coming Sunday and I shall be reviewing this dermaogica skin hydrating masque, just what my skin needs after my hectic hols and especially following all that air travel, which is so dehydrating on the skin.
Review will be up on my blog on Sunday!

21 June 2014


Every Beauty Blogger and beauty addict alike will know of the French brand and chain SEPHORA, but did you know that SEPHORA has been around since 1970, as that's when it opened its first store in Paris and I was lucky enough to visit it last week. Behind this rather insignificant shop front and entrance on the Champs Elysee lies an Aladdin's cave of fragrances,make-up, skincare and all beauty products imaginable. 

Champs Elysee SEPHORA

A walk down the red carpet

As you enter the store and walk down the red carpet, all of your senses are literally bombarded at once...I found my eyes flitting everywhere trying to visually take in as much as possible, I could hear people talking in every conceivable language and the air was filled with a heady mix of so many of the newly launched fragrances..I thought I had entered beauty heaven.....but was it my beauty heaven?
My initial excitement and frenzied state soon settled as I began to realise that this was not the "heaven" as I had first thought. I have been to the SEPHORA in Times Square New York and several around Europe, but this was most definitely the largest and busiest for me and sometimes "busy" and "large" are not always the best! 

A small part of the nail section

You will find all of the well known International brands and to us here in South Africa many of the not so well known. Departments have been created for nails, hair, tanning, just name it and you will find it in its section, so navigating the store was easy. I found the consultants very helpful and knowledgeable about their brand and products and everywhere you turned make-overs, mini-manis and layering events were happening on counter. Fragrance promoters were in abundance and with every few steps I took deeper into the store I was approached by another "cheery well groomed" consultant, asking me to try yet another new fragrance, so be warned , as it does become irritating and distracting after about the twentieth approach...
and I am not joking! 

A beautiful display of J'adore on the Dior counter

A large light box advertising the Dior Addict Fluid Stick

Whilst the cosmetic counters and displays are amazing, the selection of brands is unbelievable and you truly are spoilt for choice, I came away non the wiser about anything new. It was too overwhelming and hectic to gather your thoughts and process any new information and I sincerely doubt its a conducive environment for you to make decisions with regards to expensive skincare and make-up purchases. I would recommend that if you are in Paris and have lots of time and money, as you will need both, then pop in. Sadly I was left feeling like my beauty heaven was not all that it initially seemed and a lot has to be said for the quieter cosmetic stores back in South Africa where you can leisurely buy your products!

P.S For your info.. I was accosted by the security several times for taking photos inside the store, so apologies for so few and the poor quality!

19 June 2014


As you may be aware I worked with Guerlain products many years ago and it has a
special little place in my heart...
On my recent trip to Paris I popped into their revamped flagship store on the Champs Elysee and I had to share with you just how beautiful this store was.
I have posted a virtual tour of the store, but nothing beats wandering around for real.
The entrance to the store was draped in floral garlands and it was truly breathtaking.
Apologies now for the poor photographs,but it was really difficult to take as there were so many people passing by and many of the shops do not allow photographs, so these were sneaky stolen ones.


The Skin Care Section

Make Up section with a stunning mosaic backdrop

Click on the Virtual Tour below to see more of this stunning boutique

In 1914, the House of Guerlain opened at 68 Champs-Elysées, in the centre of this avenue that had just been inaugurated and was to become the most beautiful in the world.
On 2013, November 23rd, after months of work, the architect Peter Marino, who has created some of the most beautiful boutiques in the world, was tasked by Guerlain with bringing his eye to bear on the antique section of the boutique and imagining the continuation of the story, in newly fitted premises to sweep the clientele into a luxurious dream world. 
A magical journey of discovery through the world of fragrance and beauty, at the heart of Guerlain’s roots.

18 June 2014


L'Occitane products hail from Provence in the south of France and is a household name throughout the country and even though we can buy our own little piece of Provence in South Africa it somehow seems more special to buy in France, obviously when you can and on this trip I "could", so I "did".
I love all things Lavender, but to be honest only the L'Occitane Lavender products, as they use the highest quality essential oils extracted from Lavender grown in Provence, so you could call me a Lavender "snob".
 L'Occitane's humble market beginnings in Provence nearly 40 years ago began with Lavender and today it still remains a core range within this now Worldwide and much loved French brand. 
This little French haul consisted of my following favourites and all of which are available in South Africa, albeit at a higher price, like most imported products.

I do have a little confession...
this Lavender Foam Bath is my most favourite in the whole wide world and I have never done a review, so expect one soon!

15 June 2014


Tomorrow is Youth Day in South Africa and commemorates the Soweto Uprising in the country. The day is celebrated on June 16 every year. The day is celebrated in order to recognize the role of youth in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime.
The grounds of the movement lay in a 1974 official order which made Afrikaans compulsory in schools. The order stated that Afrikaans be used in conjunction with English for teaching in schools. Certain subjects like social studies, mathematics and algebra were required to be taught in Afrikaans while others like home science and general science were required to be taught in English. The use of local languages was prohibited was these subjects citing a provision in constitution which laid down Afrikaans and English as the official languages of the country.
Afrikaans was largely seen by people as the “language of the oppressor” and it resulted in growing resentment in teachers as well as students. It was on April 30, 1976 when the resentment crossed all thresholds and the students of Orlando West Junior High School refused to go to school. On the morning of June 16, 1976, thousands of black students went on a protest rally from their schools to Orlando Stadium.
Although the rally was intended to be a peace protest, things soon got out of control and riots were seen all over the place. Hundreds of students were killed during the protest. Although this youth revolution did not see the taking back of the language order immediately, it did see a turning point in South Africa’s liberation campaign which ultimately saw the downfall of the apartheid government there.
The Youth Day in South Africa is celebrated in memory of all the youngsters who lost their lives during the protest. The day is celebrated with musical concerts around the country in order to celebrate the energy of youth. The day also sees various educational discussions being organized by school and college students around the country. Various youth oriented non- profit organizations also organize awareness campaigns on this day to make the youth of the country aware of the challenges in the current environment of the country. It was the Soweto Uprising which laid the grounds for the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of the Apartheid regime in the country.
So however you choose to celebrate...Just Enjoy!

9 June 2014


France is the capitol with regards to Markets and they can be found weekly or bi-weekly in most towns and villages around France and are a "Must Do" on any visit.
 These vibey colourful markets are steeped in tradition, as often several generations of the same families have
 sold their produce at the same market. 
Fresh produce is key in French cooking, whether it's just home cooking or fine dining.
The French take pride in displaying the fruits of their labour come rain or shine.
 I must make mention that the market is also a meeting place for the villagers and a great place to catch upon the local news and gossip.

The freshest Fruit and Veg from the region.

No market is complete with the Fromage stall selling dozens of local and national cheeses.

Not sure what you call this musical box, but the gentleman was very enthusiastic.

Olives of every description and to suit all tastes

Local fish including Eel.

Most rural markets have ducks and chickens for sale.

These were two pot bellied pigs, not for sale!


France is bursting with pretty villages and towns and the chocolate box village of Brantôme is no exception.
Brantôme is a commune in the Dordogne department in southwestern France, which retains its picturesque atmosphere and is situated along the river Dronne. The backdrop of the village is the Benedictine Abbey of Brantôme, which was founded in 769. 
I have been to Brantôme before and would highly recommend a visit if you are touring in this area.
I will let the photos do the talking...

River Dronne

Beautiful river frontage gardens

An easy to walk around village

The Benedictine Abbey

Boat rides on the river

A beautiful backdrop that dates back to 769

Friday morning is Market Day

So peaceful

Canoes can be hired

The Crepe Lady

A cute little 3 wheeler van

Le Moulin de l'Abbaye Hotel, so pretty

Nuts for France


Garlic, Shallots and Onions

Duck of the region

Lavender anyone?