Monday, December 30, 2013

Selection of Christmas Scenes in London, Christmas 2013

There's nothing like Christmas in London Town. Each area in London tends to get into the festivities by decorating and lighting up the streets at a different time, rather than all at the same time.  This allows the locals to visit and enjoy the events at different locations if they want to, and usually they do. It is said that the feel for Christmas begin when Fortnum and Mason reveals their windows. With this in mind, I thought it might be nice to provide you with some photos of how a variety of areas within London decorated for Christmas 2013. I hope you enjoy them.

Fortnum and Mason's building
A window at Fortnum and Mason
Window at Fortnum and Mason
A window at Fortnum and Mason showing a selection of foodstuff available for sale

John Lewis's Christmas story this year was based on a bear and hare.  Below are a couple of shots of their innovative window displays in which they used every day articles to create the animals.



An owl

Old Bond Street
Lights in Old Bond Street

 The D&G window

Arcades on Piccadilly

Piccadilly Arcade

Burlington Arcade

Wimbledon held a Winter Wonderland at the beginning of December which was aimed at getting the families out with their little ones. Thus the photos reflect this aim.

The bouncy castle -  a large Christmas pudding

The Ritz

Covent Garden

Duke of York (Chelsea)

St James's (Pall Mall)

St James's

Of course there are many Christmas Carol concerts held in a variety of Churches and other venues.  Here's a taste of what the Royal Albert looked like for one such carol concert.

Royal Albert Hall

Carols by Candlelight set in period costumes


A nativity scene in Westminster

Merry Christmas (it is still Christmastide) and a very Happy New Year to all.

Photos courtesy: Tracy Gravesande

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Age of the $30 Lip Gloss.. really?! How much are you willing to pay?


I visited Sephora a few weeks ago and during my perusal around the store, I tested some of the lip products, glosses, from different brands. Then, I started checking prices , I was horrified....$30:00, $34:00 ..... Ladies, what happened to the cost of Lip Gloss !?
Lip Gloss lasts all of 30 minutes if you take a sip of water and zero minutes if you kiss someone on the lips. $30:00 ?!

Sephora Lip Gloss Product Range

The brands which fall into this category are some of my favorites YSL, Marc Jacobs, Laura Mercier my eternal favorite, rings in at gasppppp!! $38.00 dollars!  Bobbi Brown, Jeanne Lobell of Stila,  Laura Mercier  started the fresh face, nude lip gloss look years ago and the cost of lip gloss has grown steadily ever since. My personal favorite is Hourglass because it stays for a while and actually moisturizes your lips without peeling. But even Hourglass rings in at $28.00! Bobbi Brown has actually kept her prices in control in the mid twenties and Stila, which is another favorite is still in the lower teens to twenties price range. Bare Minerals has a gloss for $18.00.
I am think Lip Smackers may have to make a comeback in my makeup bag very soon!

What are you using? How much are you willing to pay for ......Lip Gloss.
I would love your thoughts!!

Thanks Fashionmom!

Image courtesy of IStock Images. 

Macaron VS Macaron - Laduree and Macaron Cafe NYC


Macaron Cafe, NYC

Happy Holidays everyone!

I put my favorite brand of Macarons from Laduree to a taste test this weekend, after a dear friend who lives in New York City suggested I try the Macarons from Macaron Cafe NYC . He liked Laduree but felt that they lose a bit of freshness after the long daily flight from Paris.
I have long been a Laduree fan but they only deliver within New York City in order to preserve the freshness of the Macarons.  I have had to settle for a bite or two once or twice a year during visits to New York.

Macaron Cafe... had an advantage over Laduree,  because they ship anywhere within the United States.
I ordered a box online with mixed flavors, with a few of my Laduree favorites, Rose, Violette and Lavender along with the standards Vanilla and Pistachio for husband and daughter.
The macarons arrived as stated this past Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. The instructions were to keep them refrigerated and everyone knows that Macarons are best eaten at room temperature.

 Macaron Cafe- NYC 

Taste Test - On Thanksgiving day just before lunch everyone choose their two favorite flavors from the box and we set them out for the the room temperature moment of truth.

MC macarons are larger in size that LD, but the colors are beautiful, rich and vibrant. The fillings were creamy and delicious. Since I did not have LD to compare on the spot, I had to recall my memories of LD over the years.
It took about two days of ruminating but the main differences are :

LD's outer shell is thinner, delicate and soft.
LD's inner filling packs a deadly and potent punch especially with flavors like Rose and Lavender, you can really taste all Rose or all Lavender.
MC's outer shell gives you more Macaron for your money and it is delicious. My husband liked MCs macarons better. The outer shell has some heft to it.
MC's fillings are delicious and they have more flavor varities that LD which is always nice.

I guess we have the best of both if you like a delicate outer shell, LD is the one for you,  for something more substantial, MC is for you.
 Either way we are winners!
 And if you live in NYC you have the best of both worlds, now if we can just get Pierre Herme to starting selling and deliver in the US......Heaven!

Thanksgiving Cocktail to match the Macarons, something very refreshing  -  Limonello ( 1 oz), Gilbey's London Dry Gin ( 1 oz), Loads of Ice, Club Soda and a touch of Bitter Lemon. Serve!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mascara of The Week - Dolce and Gabanna ..What is your favorite?

I have written countless posts over the years about mascaras and my love for mascaras. I currently have about 20 mascaras in my makeup box in rotation. I have decided that I was going to play with one each week for the next couple of weeks. Some days, my old standbys are not so great when applied and I decide to try something else for a few days.

 If a new mascara hits the stores, I will head out to at least give it a test at Sephora. Many of my friends often tell me that my favorite pastime is shopping ( It makes me sound hollow and shallow). I am a very curious, smart and creative person with a talent for retaining anything to do with retail and fashion after hearing about it only once. I spent years working in an industry, called retail.  I take my career seriously, I do tons of homework, I read constantly to stay current and I want to know about new products and new things. I am going to embrace my "shopping" label with gusto and it does not mean that I shop every time I go to the store!!

So here goes....

This week it's The Boys from Milan Stephano and Domenico
and my test is
Volumized Lashes - My Test

The finished look is clean, not super volumized, classy and defined, no clumping. If you have tried it , send your thoughts and
 it is time to try their new one New! - Passion Eyes Duo from D&G.

What is your favorite mascara?  How many do you have in rotation?

Best Wishes!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Favorite- Burt's Bees Natural Body Wash For Men....and the entire family.

This Body Wash is for men but it is one of the best washes on the market for the entire family. I love and covet it because the light citrus scent is heavenly, not too feminine, not too masculine, it's perfect.  And thanks to Coconut, Sunflower, Cypress,Citrus and Fir Oils, it is super gentle yet invigorating, extremely moisturizing, and generates amazing suds during and after your shower.
Then the big pluses:

Sulfate Free
Paraben Free
Phthalate Free
Which somehow makes me feel I am contributing something important to the world by using this product. :)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FashionMom: Quenchers - Moisturizers for Parched skin

FashionMom: Quenchers - Moisturizers for Parched skin: Winter temperatures have hit us in Atlanta this week.   The fashionable ladies around town are wearing boots now, and down vests and...

Tabitha Simmons for Toms

For a great cause and oh so stylish.....
Every time you buy a pair of Toms shoes a second pair is donated to a child in need. A fashionable collaboration for a great cause.

Buy Now

Tabitha Simmons

Buy Now

Definitely on my wish list.

Happy Shopping! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Quenchers - Moisturizers for Parched skin

Winter temperatures have arrived... 
The fashionable ladies around town are wearing boots now, down vests and cashmere are on display during the school morning run.  It is time to call in the big guns, to help me make it through the winter months. These products below are relentless on winter skin leaving no dry patches or itchy skin. Quenchers. 


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Corfu - caught my imagination because of Gerald Durrell

Dispatch from London! 

From the moment I read My Family and Other Animals, Corfu was put on my list of places, "I had to visit". Reading the other two books, which continued to bring the island to life, cemented my slight obsession with the island.

This year I was finally able to make good on my promise to visit it one day.  Disappointed I was not!

A truly wonderful place with a history that includes occupation by the Romans, the Venetians (for some 500 years or so), the British (for about 50 years) which means that the layout of the towns is a splendid mixture of cobbled streets and narrow alleys to architecture that is Venetian and Byzantine, not to mention Parisienne in Corfu Old Town.

It is home to over 4 million Olive Trees which were the primary industry for the islanders for most of their past, and to this day practically every single family still relies on the olive tree for their income when the tourist season closes.

If you're wondering what there is to do in Corfu, the truth is that you're limited only by your imagination.  In addition to being a paradise for those who simply want to relax on a beach since there are so many from which to choose, it is also a haven for the more adventurous and active with a plethora of activities - from horseback riding, hiking, diving and snorkelling to sailing around the island and to other islands in the vicinity.

                                             Monastery of the Virgin of Vlachema, Corfu Town

Accommodation comes in all forms, from private rental apartments to all-inclusive deals all over the island, which is quite large.  There is definitely a north / south and east / west divide.  Staying in the extreme north of the island, which looks out to Albania, was a one-hour bus journey to the capital, Corfu Town.

Getting around the island is easy by public transportation. One simply needs to keep the bus timetables handy and be open to them running about 10 mins or so late. It does not appear as if there is a public transportation system for the south of the island. Renting a car is, of course, another way of traversing the island.

The Corfiots are friendly, welcoming people and were always happy to chat and talk about their island.

Sights and Sites

There are way too many sights and sites to talk about, however, here are a few of my favourites.

Looking at Albania from the North Coast of Corfu

Kalami Bay
Seeing this was a must because this is where Gerald Durrell and his family lived in the 1930s and actually where they still have a home.

Located in the North West of the island, travelling from the bottom to the top of this area on the narrow, winding road has to be experienced. To put into into perspective, this is the road on which the car chase in For Your Eyes Only was filmed.  Despite the hair-raising experience, the views are incredible. The photo below is a view looking down into one of the bays in the area.

Paxi and AntiPaxi
Taking a cruise to one or some of the many islands in the area is a must.  Here's some of the scenery along the way to Paxi and AntiPaxi.

Port of Paxi

Corfu Town
To visit Corfu and not spend some time in the capital, Corfu Town which is comprised of the Old Town and the New Town, would not do justice to your visit to the island.  There is much to see in do in the capital despite its size.  There are two fortresses, Byzantine cathedrals, Neo-Classical Palaces (well one), Roman ruins of cities, museums, excellent shopping...and the list goes on.

New Fortress against the new town

The Old Fortress

There is so much more to experience on this verdantly green island, from admiring the scenery inland and out to sea (the Ionian and the Adriatic seas border it), to eating wonderfully fresh food (seafood, vegetables,meats, pastries and cakes), not to mention the abundant flowers and plants everywhere, being able to sit in a local taverna and wander through sleepy towns and villages, it's impossible to fully describe the experience in one blog.

Suffice it to say, a trip to Corfu would definitely not go amiss for anyone, whether couples or families.  It's definitely a different world.

Inside Aphrodite's Cave

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