All Posts By



Estée Lauder Pink Perfection Color Collection

To mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Estée Lauder has created a stunning new eye, cheek and lip palette.  Estée Lauder Pink Perfection Color Collection is a dreamy combination of shades that complement all complexions.

Everything is packed neatly inside a stylish hot pink textured case adorned with the signature breast cancer ribbon charm on the zip.  It’s really luxurious and smart and can be reused once the palette is finished.

Estée Lauder Pink Perfection Colour Collection

I love the eye colour quad, as it gets you from day to night – perfect for travelling.  Provocative Petal 3 is a lightly shimmered rose-mink base shade, while the two colours from the Ivory Power collection include a flattering champagne highlighter and a matte, smokey dark brown liner.  Untamed Teal 3 is the clever one that can transform your look – it’s a bold silver metallic that can be used for a bit of subtle sparkle or high-octane glamour at night.

Estée Lauder Pink Perfection Colour Collection

Pink Ingenue blusher gives a healthy rosy glow without too much shimmer and the Pure Color Envy Lipstick in Powerful is a creamy, glossy vivid pink.  It’s a striking party shade but can be toned down for daytime wear with a more neutral lip gloss.

The Estée Lauder Pink Perfection Colour Collection is a lovely, uplifting palette and the gorgeous pink case makes it highly covetable.  It’s definitely one that you should add to your collection – and for a good cause, too.

Estée Lauder Pink Perfection Colour Collection

20% of the retail price is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) and it’s available to buy in-store and online until June 2017.

Photos by Chérie City



London Film Festival 2016: La La Land

If there’s one film you’ll fall in love with this year, it’s sure to be La La Land.  Oh, and it’s a musical set in Los Angeles…still reading?

Whiplash director Damien Chazelle’s modern musical feels fresh and relevant with two unbelievably talented leads, memorable songs and a dash of irony.  It simply bursts with sunshine and uplifting numbers, however like any great musical, there are a few bittersweet moments.

La La Land film

The film opens amid the greyness of Los Angeles rush hour traffic, but soon even such a dreary highway scene transforms into a Technicolor song and dance extravaganza.  Aspiring actress/barista Mia (Emma Stone) is stuck in her car in the queue and is rudely beeped to move forward by impatient jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) – not exactly love at first sight.

They later spot each other at a Hollywood event – Mia and her housemates are there to network and meet screenwriters who might give them their big break while Sebastian plays in a cheesy 80s bands to make ends meet.  Romance isn’t on the cards – in fact they seem to find each other stubborn and irritating – that is, until they share a song and dance at an LA viewpoint and start to warm to each other.

La La Land film

Sebastian comes to see Mia on her break at the coffee shop and he takes her to the cinema as research for one of her acting parts.  A budding relationship begins and they support each other to realise their dreams – hers is to become an actress while he want to open his own jazz club.

One night when Sebastian is out performing, an old friend called Keith (John Legend) offers him a job playing keyboard on tour with his band.  Their new style of popular jazz fails to excite purist Sebastian, but he accepts just to hold down a steady, well-paid job and get closer to his dream of opening the club.

Meanwhile, Mia throws herself into staging her own ill-fated ‘one woman’ play.  With Sebastian’s long absences on the road and their glaringly unequal levels of success, their relationship hits the rocks.  Missing the opening night of Mia’s play for a band photo shoot is the final nail in the coffin and she flees LA, abandoning any hope of an acting career.

However, when a casting agent calls for Mia after being one of the few people to see her play, Sebastian drives the long distance to Mia’s parents’ house to persuade her to take one last shot and go to the audition.  Flash forward a few years later and life is rosy for both of them, having fulfilled their dreams, albeit separately.  A final chance meeting, as Mia stumbles upon his jazz club Seb’s, reminds them of how entwined their lives were and how they owe part of their successes to each other.  It’s a poignant moment, seeing how far they’ve come, but also how things could have been if they’d stayed together.

La La Land film

La La Land is a real feel-good movie with stunning cinematography and stellar performances from both stars.  It’s a love letter to Los Angeles and showbiz, and while it lacks depth in places, you can’t help feeling charmed and a little bit giddy (aka the Gosling effect).

La La Land is showing on Sunday 16th October at Curzon Mayfair Cinema as part of BFI London Film Festival 2016.


London Film Festival 2016: American Honey

Teen ‘coming of age’ films don’t come much cooler and sexier than American Honey.  In fact, I don’t think I was the only one who left the screening searching for the soundtrack to delve back into that sunkissed, Instagram-filtered, hormone-crazy world.

British director Andrea Arnold presents a curious phenomenon as the film’s subject – youngsters working as travelling magazine salespeople (‘only in America’, you might say).  She immersed herself in this nomadic world, examining the often troubled backgrounds of the workers and as such, cast mostly unknown kids with no acting experience but tons of appeal.

American Honey Sasha Lane

Newcomer Sasha Lane was discovered by Arnold on Panama City Beach, Florida, and takes the lead as rebellious ingenue Star.  Her life in Texas is poverty-stricken and hopeless, caring for her unruly siblings and trying to fend off the advances of her grabby step-father while her absent mother is out line-dancing.  At a supermarket, set to Rihanna’s We Found Love, her eyes meet with Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and he asks her to join his crew on the road to Kansas City.

American Honey

Star then becomes the new girl on a minibus full of grungy stoner kids shouting along to hip hop who turn out to be an unlikely-looking magazine sales crew.  Top dog of this pyramid scheme is Krystal (Riley Keough), a formidable, gorgeous yet trashy ice queen suspicious of new recruits.  She takes the lion’s share of their earnings, handling logistics like picking lucrative destinations and sorting out cheap motel each night, but rides separately in a convertible with her ‘top seller’ Jake.

American Honey film

Star is expected to pull her weight from day one and shadows Jake on his doorstep sales pitches in a suburban middle-class neighbourhood.  She’s sassy and far from a natural, sabotaging one of his sales, as she disagrees with his lying methods.  However, a flirty and teasing relationship develops and Jake gives her little presents to keep her onside.

In one town, Star goes rogue and accompanies a group of rich old white guys to their remote house with an outdoor swimming pool for mezcal and barbecued meat.  Despite a whiff of impending danger, the men are simply friendly towards Star and buy some of her magazine subscriptions.  Unaware, Jake storms the house with a gun, threatening the guys, and Star begins to see the darker side of his involvement with the group.

American Honey

They have hot sex in fields and cars, but Jake warns her that their relationship can’t be public for fear of vexing Krystal or causing drama in the group.  As they move from town to town, Star becomes more reckless and agrees to meet an oil field worker after-hours for $1000.  It’s not exactly the night of his life and likely made him feel more lonely than before, but it blurs the boundaries of what she’s willing to do for cash.

Jake sees her coming back to the group’s temporary house after the encounter and goes nuts, accuses her of sleeping with the guy.  After a dressing down from Krystal, who gives her some home truths about Jake, Star is awkwardly relegated to just another girl on the bus and is replaced with fresh new meat.

The travelling lifestyle has taken its toll on Star and her friend Pagan and it begins to feel repetitive and still far from her dream of country life with a home and family.  The ending is pretty open-ended, but it feels like a rebirth for Star, as though change is on the horizon.

American Honey

American Honey is a euphoric journey through America’s heartland that may leave you feeling nostalgic for your teenage years when anything felt possible and the future felt so far-off.  There are echoes of Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Gus Van Sant’s early films in its depiction of hard-partying, nihilistic youth. With the tension and disillusionment in the world right now, you can’t blame them for taking to the road and rejecting a conventional life, even if their dysfunctional pack comes with its own problems.

American Honey is showing on Tuesday 11th October at Odeon Leicester Square as part of BFI London Film Festival 2016.


London Film Festival 2016: The Handmaiden

Renowned Korean director Park Chan-wook’s erotic thriller The Handmaiden is a stylish film that grabs you right from the start and keeps you captivated throughout.

Set in 1930s Korea under Japanese rule, conman Count Fujiwara (Jung-woo Ha) enlists pickpocket Sookee (Kim Tae-ri) to help him defraud a beautiful, vulnerable Japanese heiress, Lady Hideko (Min-hee Kim).  They plot to coax her into falling in love the with the Count, who will then marry her, declare her insane, have her locked up in a mental asylum and then pocket her vast wealth and give Sookee her generous cut.  His offer is too tempting to resist and streetwise Sookee travels to the countryside to work as Hideko’s handmaiden.

The Handmaiden London Film Festival

Hideko is instantly trusting of her new aide and the Count makes numerous visit to woo her through painting lessons and cosy dinners, even winning over her seemingly bookish and secretly perverted Uncle Kouzuki (Jin-woong Jo).  Despite reservations of not being in love with the Count, Hideko agrees to marry him and they go to elope in remote Japan with Sookee in tow.  After almost a week of cabin fever in the forest, Hideko is taken to a mental asylum to be sectioned and betrayed by the two conspirators, but all doesn’t go according to plan.

The Handmaiden London Film Festival

This is where the film takes a dark twist and reveals the layers of duplicity in the story.  At first it’s a simple story set almost entirely in the creepy old manor house with beautifully-shot scenes, exquisite costumes and sexual tension that is only slightly released.  In the second and third part, it becomes much more sinister and a different side of the characters is revealed.  Cue an intense, electrifying (though rather gratuitous and eventually laboured) lesbian sex scene, ultra-violence and lashings of sadism for this extreme development of the story.

The relationship between the two women, from companionship to sexual desire and romance, is the lasting impression from the film.  The Count’s brash male dominance and egotistical advances are futile against the two women’s deep connection and loyalty.  In fact, the Count and Uncle become powerless as the women liberate themselves from their tyranny.

The Handmaiden London Film Festival

The Handmaiden is a sensory feast with stunning cinematography, a perfectly-crafted score and memorable performances from the mesmerising Min-hee Kim and rising star Kim Tae-ri.  There are a few moments of unnecessary repetition in an already lengthy film, but overall it packs a punch and is sure to thrill.  Just don’t expect a polite Korean period drama, it’s a whole lot weirder than that!

The Handmaiden is showing on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October at Embankment Gardens as part of BFI London Film Festival 2016.

Cafes, London

Dominique Ansel Bakery London

The world-famous New York Cronut® finally arrived in London this week with the opening of Dominique Ansel Bakery in Belgravia.  I couldn’t resist popping along on its launch day and as expected, the mania had already begun.

Dominique Ansel Bakery London

The Cronut® queue at Dominique Ansel’s Spring Street bakery became legendary, with the exclusive croissant-doughnut hybrid usually selling out by mid-morning, and it looks set to be the same here.  The waiting time (lined up outside, rain or shine) in London was at least two hours long and once a new batch was ready, it was a maximum of two Cronuts per person for fairness.  If you have the time and patience, you will be rewarded and can tick it off your foodie bucket list.

Dominique Ansel Bakery London Cronut

I arrived hungry and soon realised the queue was for the Cronut® and not for the bakery itself, so I happily waltzed right in.  Really, I was more excited about the selection of beautiful cakes and baked goods than just the Cronut®.

Dominique Ansel Bakery London

Dominique Ansel Bakery London

The Elizabeth Street bakery is just lovely with an open kitchen, a big display counter and a relaxed seating area with a cute courtyard.  Its design is much better than the two cramped and oddly-shaped New York outposts and there’s plenty of room to procrastinate over which cake to choose.

Dominique Ansel Bakery London

While the pastries are the most talked-about, it’s worth visiting for lunch or an early supper as the menu is so very tempting.  There are modern interpretations of French classics such as Smoked duck salad with lentils and Croque Monsieur, as well as a hearty Chicken pork belly pot pie, Oxtail tea consommé and a healthy Autumn grain bowl.

I went for the Avocado toast with an Earl Grey tea and my goodness, it was incredible!  A thick slice of sourdough was loaded with smashed avocado, cool home-made ricotta, thinly-sliced radish, slivers of pickled pink onions and sliced avocado perfectly shaped like a rose (not forgetting the lightly-dressed frisée salad).  Every mouthful was a joy and I loved the contrasting creamy, peppery and tart flavours with plenty of seasoning and a hint of caraway.

Dominique Ansel Avocado Toast

To follow, I was drawn to the After the Rain mousse cake, a glossy dome filled with a fragrant jasmine mousse, pear and ginger gelée and a crisp praliné feuilletine base.  It was so delicate with harmonious fruity and aromatic flavours – a real treat without being overwhelming.

Dominique Ansel After the Rain mousse cake

I found the Camellia’s Tea House Earl Grey tea a little too perfumed and would next time opt for a matcha latte or a fresh lemonade.

One important tip if you’re ‘eating in’ is to order all of your food in one go, or risk a daunting queue and/or lose your seat.  To get my cake, I queued for what felt like almost an hour during a peak time.  It seemed partly due to opening day kinks and the sheer amount of baked goods being ordered, but the super-friendly staff kept me smiling.  They even came round the queues with freshly-baked mini Madeleines to keep our spirits up.

I also spotted Dominique Ansel himself milling around, meeting customers and overseeing operations with his partner Amy Ma (pictured below).

Dominique Ansel Bakery London

Of course, I couldn’t go home empty-handed (neither should anyone, really) and brought back a heavenly, molten-centred Flourless chocolate and pecan cookie and a light yet decadent Chocolate brownie.  On the list for my next visit is the Chocolate chip cookie shot with cold-infused Tahitian vanilla milk (available after 3pm), Frozen S’mores and the Dosa millefeuille – perhaps even a Cronut®, if I’m in luck.

Dominique Ansel Bakery is much more than its hype, in fact, it’s one of the most innovative high end bakeries I’ve ever visited.  Prices are spot on for Belgravia and the superior quality, plus everything is well-presented and appetising.  I can’t wait to go back for more!

For more information, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Hotels, Paris

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe was top of my list for my recent trip to Paris with my mum.  We both fell in love with the Sofitel brand following our stay at the ultra-chic Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg and after all, our mamans deserve nothing but the best!

While Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg is all about fashion and rose-scented decadence, Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe is a sleek and minimalist affair.

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

The sophisticated five star hotel is located in an elegant Haussmann-style building on the corner of upscale rue Beaujon just a few steps from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées.  It’s also within walking distance of the Seine, the Tuileries Garden and the art instutions of the 8th arrondissement – Palais de Tokyo, Paris Museum of Modern Art and the Palais Galliera.

The open-plan lobby is buzzing yet calm with a stylish all-day bar that offers light bites and exquisite pastries during the day and inventive cocktails at night.  On the other side of the lobby is a relaxed guest lounge designed in electric blue with comfy sofas.

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe Le Bar

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

Check-in was warm and friendly and we were personally shown to our Luxury Room on the fifth floor.  Designed by Studio Putman, our room was so zen and tranquil with a simple, cool palette of white, soft grey and beige.  The minimalist style was complemented by high end touches such as a tactile suede headboard, plush carpet and a high tech mood lighting system (which admittedly took me a little while to master).

Sofitel Arc de Triomphe Paris

A perk of staying at Sofitel is the signature MyBed, and it was just as cosy and heavenly and I remembered with crisp linen and fabulous pillows – like floating on a cloud.

Sofitel MyBed

Other room features included a Nespresso coffee machine and separate kettle with Dammann Frères teas and complimentary bottles of Evian.  There was also handily-placed room service menu for the hotel’s restaurant Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe by Michelin starred chef Christian Constant.  The restaurant has a unique ‘kitchen to table’ concept with rustic, comforting dishes served in little cast iron pots and the design is contemporary yet nostalgic.

It’s hard not to be tempted by its offering of an authentic French onion soup, rotisserie roasted chicken or a trio of gourmet Croque Monsieurs.  I actually wish we’d dined there that evening, as our meal at a terrace cafe was very average and clouded in Friday night smoke.  However, our lunch at Le Frank at the nearby Fondation Louis Vuitton was truly memorable, so it was still a successful foodie day.

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

One of Andrée Putman’s design philosophies is that the bathroom is the most important room in a home or hotel room, so of course our bathroom was quite the destination.  It could be accessed by two sliding doors on each side (Carrie Bradshaw would approve) and designed in glossy white with tiny blue and grey mosaic tiles.

Sofitel Arc de Triomphe Paris bathroom

It features a walk-in shower, a pristine Corian sink, silver stool, magnifying mirror, thick towels, a full set of Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte bathroom products and best of all, a snuggly Sofitel bathrobe and branded slippers.

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

Just before the evening turndown, we were very kindly welcomed with a sweet gift of macarons, apricot pâte de fruit and fresh apricots.  Another lovely surprise was a stunning 14 rue Beaujon candle each, designed exclusively for the hotel by perfumer Rami Mekdachi – the nose behind scents for Chloé, Roger Vivier, Costes, Colette and some of the best hotels in the world.  These candles can be bought in the lobby, as well as cute Paris-themed handbags by designer Barbara Rihl, as a luxurious souvenir of your stay.

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe macarons

In the morning, we had the chance to discover Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe over a sumptuous breakfast.  After we were shown to our table by the lovely morning staff, a shot of healthy fruit juice and a basket of flaky pastries swiftly arrived with our hot drinks.

Copyright Phototèque ACCOR. Photo Gilles TRILLARD.

Sofitel hotels are known for their superior breakfasts and this one was a real delight, so be sure to leave plenty of time to really indulge.  There is a generous selection of hot dishes, fresh baguette, yoghurt, crêpes, cake, mini financiers and brownies and an impressive choice of gluten-free baked items.

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe breakfast

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe is a smart yet relaxed place to stay where you will feel really looked after.  It’s a particularly good choice for first-time visitors to Paris who will benefit from its central location close to famous landmarks and an international approach to service.

For more information and booking, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

Photos by Chérie City and Sofitel (Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe by Gilles Trillard).

Hotels, Paris

Hotel Square Louvois, Paris

It’s a rare joy to discover a hotel that makes you feel truly at home with the comforts that you miss when travelling.  Hotel Square Louvois in the centre of Paris has only been open since August, but it’s already a slick operation with super-friendly staff, thoughtful amenities and seriously covetable interiors by designer Leslie Gauthier.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris

Hotel Square Louvois Paris

This four-star contemporary design hotel overlooks the peaceful, leafy Square Louvois and is conveniently close to the Palais Royal, Louvre and Opera.  I thought I knew central Paris pretty well, but Square Louvois was a new discovery – apparently its elegant residences hosted the cream of Parisian high society in the 19th century.

Square Louvois Paris

Arriving at Hotel Square Louvois, my mum and I were warmly welcomed and offered a seat to check in via an iPad (I liked that we were the first guests to try the new digital system).  The open-plan lobby is a cool lifestyle space with bookshelves laden with paperpack folio editions of classic French novels, two Apple iMacs and a cosy nook with headphones and magazine.

The lobby has a Parisian-meets-Scandinavian style that feels very hip and ‘now’ but the atmosphere is relaxed, fuss-free and unpretentious.  It’s also pet-friendly, so you may spot the occasional pampered pooch trotting around.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris lobby

Guests can also kick back with complimentary refreshments – there’s a Nespresso machine, chilled bottles of Evian and a glass jar filled with Madeleines.  There’s also a daily ‘gouter’ afternoon snack served between 4pm and 6pm in the dining room, but we unfortunately we didn’t hear about it in time to indulge.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris lobby

Our Deluxe Room on the second floor was so calming and chic, designed in a palette of petrol blue, inky grey and soft gold with highlights of dark wood, copper and tan leather.  There are so many gorgeous details such as the black and white photographs of French writers, a cool houndstooth chair and a luxurious geometric-patterned rug covering the parquet floor.  I couldn’t help imagining that if I had a dream Paris apartment, it would look exactly like this.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris

The complimentary amenities continue to the guest rooms with Nespresso coffee and tea facilities, speculoos biscuits and bottles of Evian, as well as free movies on the large LCD TV.  We had an unexpectedly late night following dinner at nearby Cafe Ruc, staying up to watch The Intern in bed.

Our twin beds were incredibly comfortable and covered with superior quality linen (possibly Frette) and indigo denim-style cushions.  Also worth a mention is the powerful and completely noiseless air-conditioning, which made all the difference for a blissful night’s sleep.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris Deluxe Room

The pristine bathroom is an adequate size with a powerful shower and bath and proper hairdryer, but it’s the small touches that make it more fun – luxurious bathrobes and slippers, stunning patterned mosaic tiles and a full set of L’Occitane bathroom products in a cute denim blue felted pouch.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris bathroom

Hotel Square Louvois Paris bathroom products

In the morning, a delightful buffet breakfast is served from a rustic-luxe French kitchen and pantry.  There are hot options like scrambled eggs and bacon as well as delicious mini pastries, ready-to-slice baguette, French cheeses, charcuterie, cereal, fruit juices, apple compote and lots of different kinds of yoghurt.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris breakfast

Perhaps the addition of a few surprising items like crêpes, waffles or a healthy chia pudding might give the Parisian breakfast an edge, but everything was very high quality and served perfectly.  I also liked the accompaniments of posh French butter, miniature Bonne Maman jams and Dammann Frères tea.

The spacious breakfast room was so pleasant and relaxed that we enjoyed a second cup while planning our day ahead.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris breakfast

The real jewel in the crown of Hotel Square Louvois is its fabulous lower ground Wellness area with a sleek yoga studio, relaxation room and swimming pool.  In fact, calling it a swimming pool is an understatement, as its powerful hydromassage jets along one side make it an enormous jacuzzi at the push of a button.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris pool

It was such a treat to unwind after a day of walking around the city and it really added to the vibe of a chilled out urban resort.

Hotel Square Louvois Paris relaxation room

Hotel Square Louvois is the kind of hotel that you can’t help falling in love with and a stay there is sure to be memorable.  If you appreciate cool design, a central location and plenty of thoughtful extras, this is the place that you should make your home in Paris.

For more information and booking, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Hotel Square Louvois

All photos by Chérie City



Roger&Gallet Aura Mirabilis Skincare

French heritage beauty brand Roger&Gallet has had quite a revamp since I saw it last.  I thought I knew all about this classic 150 year-old brand (best known for its fragranced soaps), but at the recent launch of its first skincare range, Aura Mirabilis, I was surprised at how desirable it has become.

Roger et Gallet Aura Mirabilis

Roger&Gallet was founded on Paris’ prestigious rue Saint-Honoré in 1862 and became a supplier to France’s royal court, creating an eau de cologne for Napoleon 1st.  Today, it tempts with its contemporary packaging and elegant scents such as Gingembre Rouge, Bois d’Orange and Rose Imaginaire, created by master perfumers including Francis Kurkdjian, Alberto Morillas and Dominique Ropion.

Its first skincare range Aura Mirabilis is big news for the fragrance house and it takes inspiration from a natural elixir (aqua mirabilis) first made over 300 years ago by monks using powerful plants found in a ‘Garden of Simples’.  It later became the recipe for Napoleon’s eau de Cologne.

Roger & Gallet Aura Mirabilis

The collection of four products contains 18 distilled botanicals known for their healing and rejuvenating properties, including damask rose, bergamot, sweet orange, thyme, neroli and sandalwood.  The packaging is also pretty and luxurious with touches of gold and an ethereal, watery green tint.

The Cleansing Mask has a glossy gel consistency and quickly transforms into a light oil, which glides easily across the skin.  It works very well to cleanse the pores and remove debris, all with a pleasant botanical scent. When emulsified with water it turns into a purifying milk and leaves the skin feeling fresh and clean without leaving any oily residue once washed off.  I tend to use it as a luxurious cleanser, but it can also be used as gel mask to effectively draw out impurities – just leave on for five minutes and massage before removing.

Roger & Gallet Aura Mirabilis

Another great product in the range is the Beauty Vinegar, which tones, clarifies and gently exfoliates the skin.  Inspired by vinegar-based formulas of the 18th century, the biphasic formula contains a concentrate of 18 plants in the green-hued essence phase and fruit vinegar in the watery phase.  I find the Beauty Vinegar really refreshes my skin and preps it for the next moisturising step, plus it actually feels suitable for all skin types.

Also in the collection is the potent Double Extract serum and the Legendary Cream – a gel-creme moisturiser with white lily extract to even and illuminate.

Roger&Gallet Aura Mirabilis is such a lovely, natural range that brings back a historic, tried-and-tested approach to beauty with a modern twist.  Some of the products have already become part of my daily routine and I love that floral, zesty aroma of cologne to really wake up my skin.

Roger&Gallet Aura Mirabilis is priced from £15 to £40 and is available now at Marks & Spencer.

All photos by Chérie City


Art, Paris, Restaurants

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Top of the list for my recent Paris trip was visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton.  Not only is it one of the city’s most striking new buildings, but it boasts some fabulous views of Paris and a great restaurant.

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

The LVMH-supported art museum and cultural centre was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and opened just two years ago.  It occupies a prime spot in the perfectly-manicured Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne (where Gehry sat and designed the building from a sketch) and is on the edge of Paris’ posh Neuilly suburb.

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

We visited in a quiet period between exhibitions, however there was still plenty to see.  Most prominent was French conceptual artist Daniel Buren’s ‘Observatory of Light’ work in situ.  He is best known for the monochrome striped columns in the Palais Royal and the Red Arc at the Guggenheim Bilbao.

Buren has transformed the Fondation’s twelve glass ‘sails’ with coloured filters and white stripes to create a new vision.  The usual appearance, though remarkable, is more sober with clear glass, so the flashes of colour really enhance the form of the building.

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

The lower-ground pond with its crystal clear reflection and multiple mirrors is also a really cool architectural feature, as is the dramatic exterior waterfall that cascades towards the building.

Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris

While there weren’t any major exhibitions on, we still got our art fix from The Collection dedicated to Chinese art.  Xu Zhen’s large-scale sculpture Giant no. 3 brings together two Chinese heritage emblems – Buddha and the Victory of Samothrace and is made entirely from animal hides.

There’s also a surreal, dream-like video piece by Yang Fudong that expresses the anxiety of age in modern China and contemplative works by Ai Weiwei, Huang Yong Ping and Zhang Huan.

Fondation Louis Vuitton Xu Zhen

Of course, one cannot survive on art alone and Le Frank restaurant is hard to resist.  Headed up by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Louis Nomicos (La Grand Cascade, Lasserre and Les Tablettes Jean-Louis Nomicos), Le Frank is everything that a museum restaurant should be – stylish, exciting and innovative yet relaxing.

Le Frank Fondation Louis Vuitton

The restaurant is bright and airy with floor to ceiling windows, a floating art installation and vintage Louis Vuitton trunks mounted on the wall.  There’s a chic terrace overlooking the Jardin d’Acclimatation, but we chose a window seat inside to keep cool on that hot day.

Le Frank Fondation Louis Vuitton

We were tempted by the Garden Composition (€28) – a set lunch menu that includes a selection of signature dishes, dessert, a large bottle of mineral water and tea or coffee.

These tasters came beautifully presented on a wooden board and they worked harmoniously together. Poached egg, potato and saffron and Parmesan cream was actually quite light and not overly rich, while the chilled Tomato veloute with ginger lemon jelly was smooth, fragrant and very refreshing.


Tomatoes and mozzarella with basil was simple yet high quality with a clean and fresh taste and Tabbouleh was summery and aromatic with a fluffy texture and a subtle touch of mint.

The dessert of Vanilla-coconut Japanese pearls, madeleines and sweet gazpacho was an absolute delight.  The Japanese pearls melted in the mouth and I loved the velvety salted caramel topping with baked Madeleines fresh from the oven, finished with a zingy iced strawberry and tomato soup that acted as a palate cleanser.

The sweet course was accompanied by a Nespresso Macchiato for my mum while I enjoyed a Palais des Thés Blue of London Earl Grey tea served in a heavy iron teapot.


Our lunch was exquisite and excellent value and we were really well looked after by the charming staff.  I’d happily stay for a bite to eat on every visit, whether it’s for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea and cake.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a truly inspiring space and I’m dying to go back and see the new autumn exhibitions.  Even in between shows, it’s worth paying the reasonable nine Euros entry fee just to experience the building and view the art collections.

For more information, visit: and

All photos by Chérie City

Events, London

Japanese Rice with Chef Hideki Hiwatashi

Today, I spent an afternoon learning how to cook Japanese rice at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2016 in Olympia, London.  It’s the first time I’ve been to this gourmet trade fair and I was wowed by the range of delectable food products from around the world.  It’s definitely the place for foodies to come and try some international bites and discover new cooking techniques from top chefs.

Japan Pavilion

Throughout the fair, the Japan Rice and Rice Industry Export Promotion Association (JRE) is hosting a daily programme of interesting talks and presentations to highlight the benefits of Japanese rice.  During my visit, I was particularly excited to watch a live demonstration from Hideki Hiwatashi, Executive Chef at Hakkasan Group’s Sake no Hana – I’ve had some great meals there and was keen to learn from the very best.

Executive Chef Hideki Hiwatashi

The first lesson was how to make perfect Japanese rice at home.  Rice is a staple of Persian food too, so I’ve had plenty of practice making pilau rice, but Japanese rice is quite different in texture and taste.  I’ve experimented with making Japanese rice at home before (usually accompanied by a yummy chicken katsu curry) and it’s not too difficult, but you need to follow the rules carefully and be patient – treat it like a ritual.

Executive Chef Hideki Hiwatashi Sake no Hana

Japanese rice has a high level of starch and should be sweet and sticky yet also light and fluffy.  Executive Chef Hideki Hiwatashi achieves this by rinsing, washing, soaking, cooking and steaming the rice.  I was surprised to learn that he first rinses the rice in soft water – mineral water, in fact – as London’s hard water doesn’t suit the rice so well.

Japanese cooking demonstration

To prepare the rice, pour water in the rice, mix it and drain it two times.  Then wash it for 10 seconds three times and leave to soak for 30 minutes (the rice should absorb most of the water).  Drain and add to a heavy pot with a lid and add equal parts of water.  Boil the rice on a high heat, then turn down the heat to low for 10 minutes and finally turn the heat off and steam it.  The rice will then be light, springy and ready to serve.

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2016

Of course, you need something tasty to go with that exemplary rice and what better than Teriyaki seafood?  I’ve always assumed that Teriyaki sauce would be hard to make, but it only takes three store-cupboard ingredients.  Simply blend one part soya sauce, one part cooking Sake and two parts mirin.

Japanese sake

You can use most kinds of meat or fish for Teriyaki, but Chef Hideki Hiwatashi demonstrated with eel tail and fresh scallop.  Lightly coat each scallop, including the coral, and small pieces of eel in flour and pan-fry in a very hot pan until throughly cooked.  Then pour in the Teriyaki sauce and sautée until the fish and seafood are covered in the sticky, rich glaze and lightly caramelised.  Serve with freshly-made Japanese rice and drizzle over some remaining Teriyaki sauce.

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2016

We had a chance to try the dish and it was absolutely delicious – the fish and seafood were ever so tender, the rice was sweet and satisfying and the sauce was full of flavour.  Chef Hideki Hiwatashi told us that this is his favourite dish to cook at home, accompanied by some miso soup and Japanese pickles, as it’s comforting and healthy.

Teriyaki seafood

Following the demonstration, I browsed the stalls in the Japanese Pavilion and tasted authentic products made in Japan such as premium Sake, ceremonial grade matcha green tea, sencha, yuzu sauce, miso and umami seasoning.

Japanese tea

Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2016

One of my favourite discoveries was the adorable, exotic Japanese baby peach.  ‘Thinned out’ green peaches were previously thrown away in favour of white peaches, but due to the Japanese tradition of not being wasteful, they now they are now served as speciality fruit.  They’re so luscious and sweet and can be enjoyed on their own or in a dessert or even an Asian-inspired cocktail.  I can’t help seeing a trend coming and predict they’ll soon become the new kumquats!

Japanese baby peach

Executive Chef Hideki Hiwatashi’s helpful tips have definitely inspired me to create some delicious Japanese rice dishes at home.  The Sake no Hana gold standard may take time and skill to achieve, but now we have the Chef’s secrets…

Speciality Food Fair is open to trade guests until 6th September at Kensington Olympia.  Be sure to visit the Japanese Pavilion and learn how to make perfect Japanese rice, courtesy of the Japan Rice and Rice Industry Export Promotion Association (JRE).

Sponsored post


Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Palette

When travelling, every bit of space is vital and streamlining the makeup bag is a must.  Palettes are perfect for this, with a little bit of everything you need in one place, and one of my new favourites has to be the Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Palette.

Bobbi Brown palette

Bobbi Brown always aces natural beauty and brings out the most covetable makeup collections.  This palette has everything you need for an everyday nude eye (or a glam evening look with bold eyeliner), lightly-flushed pink cheeks, volumised lashes and polished, hydrated lips.  It also comes with a high quality dual-ended eye shadow/eye liner brush, although it doesn’t actually retract to fit inside the palette.

Every shade is a winner (no crazy colours here) and I tend to use all of them to create a complete look.  Naked is a lovely matte beige base shadow while metallic Dusty Plum lifts with a subtle shimmer, Cream brightens and highlights around the eye area and Rich Smoke is intense and highly-pigmented for precision lining.

Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Collection

French Pink blush is flirty, vibrant and totally matte, so be sure to apply it carefully.  I found the Black smokey eye mascara good for lengthening and curling, but it can be a little bit drying.  Finally, a slick of creamy Pink Mauve lip colour really uplifts the lips.  The easy-to-wear deep pink shade has a touch of purple coolness and is sure to complement most complexions.

I’ve always found Bobbi Brown makeup really long-lasting and the colours in this palette definitely stand up well to a full day out and about.  Best of all, the palette is petite and light-weight, so it should save you room in your suitcase for important things like an extra pair of shoes!

Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Collection

Do you love Bobbi Brown makeup?  What are your space-saving travel beauty tips?

All photos by Chérie City


Beauty, Shopping

Jo Malone London Just Because Gifting

What is it about Jo Malone London that makes my heart beat faster?  Maybe it’s a combination of divine fragrances, the iconic cream and black packaging and welcoming stores that just make you want to move in.

I was so excited to receive a surprise gift from Jo Malone London as a post-wedding treat!  The British beauty brand’s exquisite gifting service, Just Because, made it look and feel even more dreamy.

Jo Malone just because gift

These specially-wrapped parcels comes with the just because card with a personalised message (mine made me just melt), hot pink sticker and grosgrain striped and polka dot ribbon.  It was so pretty, I almost didn’t dare open the box…almost!

Jo Malone London just because gift

Inside was a beautiful presentation box containing a Fragrance Layering Collection.  Seriously, this gift has everything you need to smell heavenly.  First, bathe with the earthy and seductive Wood Sage & Sea Salt Body & Hand Wash, inspired by wind-swept shores and rugged cliffs.  The aroma is powerful and leaves a light scent on your skin.

Then, massage in the deeply hydrating Blackberry & Bay Body Creme.  The fragrance is ever so subtle with notes of sticky blackberry juice with verdant bay and brambly woods.  The finishing touch is the signature English Pear & Freesia Cologne, which is just so Jo Malone.  It’s clean and fresh, bursting with luscious pear, elegant white freesias and warm amber and patchouli.  It works perfectly in harmony with the other scents and makes you feel enveloped in pure luxury.

Jo Malone London gift box

Each product in the Fragrance Layering Collection is handily 100ml or under, so you can easily make it part of your travel ritual, to feel more at home when away.  I’m tempted to take mine to Paris next month for the ultimate hotel room pampering night.

Do you love Jo Malone London?  Which fragrance is your favourite?  For more information and gifting ideas, visit:

Photos by Chérie City

Gift courtesy of Jo Malone London