My Makeup Forever Experience

For those of you who don’t know, the globally recognized brand also owns a successful academy where they impart knowledge and techniques to the makeup moguls of the next generation.

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These students, however, need a canvas to dabble on and so, through some lucky and unlikely connections, I was introduced to the receptionist of the Makeup Forever Academy.

As someone who has lent her face to numerous makeup artists and hair stylists in the past, you could say I am used to being prodded and poked around with sponges, brushes, curling irons and the like. In those days, I did it for money and was absolutely blessed to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best in Taipei. Now as a retired veteran, I decided to take this “job” purely for fun and out of curiosity.

The student who had picked me was a lovely Bangladeshi who lives in Thailand and was here, in Paris, for the five day course. This particular class was called “the Asian bride”; a natural glam look where the skin was supposed to be luminous and minimum coverage. That’s where many struggled because in the West, we tend to opt for a more full coverage foundation as opposed to the natural, glowy skin you get often in Korean makeup.

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I sat there, my skin stinging from the hydrating primer while this lady reapplied the foundation a second time because the first time, it came out patchy. Luckily, the rest of the makeup went on smoothly with the eye look being my favourite. She finished it off with a dusting of glitter and voilà! We were done.

The teacher came round to do a final assessment and I was on my way back to the reception desk to pick out a makeup kit comprised of two products worth 50 euros in total. You pick from a list of five kits and as I needed brow products, I went for the brow gel with the brown liquid lip in 107!

 

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Current Skincare Products

My skin has never really been troublesome and has never wreaked havoc but it has taken me a couple years to discover amazing skincare products that truly work for me! Of course, there are many other products I would love to try but here is my current skincare routine:

Cleanser – Avène Cleanance Gel Cleanser ♥
Before we apply any products to our face, we clean. Obviously. This soap-less, thermal water based cleanser removes all dirt and is perfect for sensitive skin. Although the label says it is for “oily, blemish prone skin”, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry and flaky at all.

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Toner – Caudalie Eau de Beauté ♥
I feel like this one needs no introduction but just in case you’re not familiar with it, imagine a product that’s refreshing, tightens pores and smooths fine lines. You can even set your makeup with it! The only downside is that if you’re sensitive to strong scents, the eau de beauté can be quite overpowering but don’t worry! All ingredients are 100% natural.

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Moisturizer – Avène Ysthéal Anti-Wrinkle Emulsion
Let’s be real. I don’t really have any visible fine lines let alone deep wrinkles but expert dermatologists have said that it’s never too early to start the anti-ageing process. This emulsion is perfect for younger skin and reduces early signs of ageing.
One ingredient in this product that truly caught my eye was retinaldehyde. We hear a lot about retinal, retin-A and retinoic acid but they all tend to be harsh on the skin. Retinaldehyde is gentler and perfect for sensitive skin but equally as effective! It is meant to improve skin texture and brighten the skin.
I have been using this product for about a week so far and my skin definitely feels smoother. Sadly, I feel like it isn’t hydrating enough – I took the emulsion for oily/combination skin – so I’ll probably be purchasing for dry skin next time but will also grab a hydrating moisturiser for the time being.

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Sunscreen – Nuxe 50 SPF Sunblock
Before I continue, I must touch on one thing that I cannot stress enough. To effectively protect your skin from premature lines and wrinkles, PLEASE USE SUNSCREEN. Even on cloudy days when the sun doesn’t make an appearance, those UV rays are out there ready to strike. Sunscreen is your best friend and is your most effective anti-ageing product.
This one is hydrating but a tad too oily and am looking for something a bit more lightweight and suitable for application to the face.

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Body Oil – Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse ♥
This numerous award-winning oil has my heart. I usually apply it before bed and my skin drinks it up. I’ve even used it to remove eye make up and it does the trick each time. This French pharmacy staple is meant to be multi-purpose so apply generously.

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Must Have Holy Grail – The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil ♥
For the occasional pimple, the tea tree oil does wonders. Its really no surprise that this is one of their best selling skin care lines. Just buy it.

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Masks
The Body Shop Tea Tree Clay Mask
The clay mask balances the skin and prevents possible breakouts but I feel like it really does nothing for my blackheads. I once tried the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing mask and was expecting similar results. How silly I was to have the same expectations. Then again, the tea tree clay mask does exactly what it’s meant to do and has said nothing about cleansing out dirty pores but still…
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Dr. Morita Face Masks ♥
The Dr. Morita Face Masks on the other hand have been a firm favourite of mine since I was living in Taipei and are a STAPLE. I usually buy their hydrating masks as hydrated skin can then be treated. If you are trying to brighten/smooth/even out the skin tone of dry skin, forget it.

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Et voilà, voilà! If you are looking to try new products, hopefully this has helped a little. Quick note: products marked with a ♥ are staples. This means that I have repurchased these products and they have a special place in my drawer.

 

Your Shakshuka Fix – Café Méricourt

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They say Café Méricourt has the best shakshuka in town and it shows: the line was a good 20-30 minutes long on that Sunday morning. However, as I approached the café, I saw a queue that was shorter than I had imagined. Little did I know, it had ‘potential’. Wink*

It was freezing and the sudden drop in temperature had taken us all by surprise. We were shivering and shaking as we greeted each other and quickly caught up over the events of the past week.

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Finally we were ushered in and shown to a table for three. The ambiance was warm and cosy, the slightly rustic but also bright and simple décor contributing to the overall feel of the restaurant. The menus were placed in front of us and we were given ample time before the waiter came around to take our orders.

Truth be told, the service was rather slow and not particularly friendly but as it was a busy morning, I can understand. However, in my mind, no matter how slow you are in serving the coffee, they should all be served at the same time. Not two first and the last ten minutes later but perhaps that’s just me being picky. The food was served at the same time though.

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We had all ordered the small shakshuka which was more than sufficient. The dish was served in a mini pan with a portion of yoghurt littered with nuts that was a delicious and light counterpart to the shakshuka that was heavy in spices and flavour. In addition, the bread was EXCEPTIONALLY good and this deserves a special mention of its own.

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In conclusion, does Café Méricourt deserve its title as one of the best brunches in Paris? I would say yes! For the ridiculously affordable price point (10 euros for a shakshuka + 4 euros for the coffee), it makes my list and I will definitely be returning to try its other equally well-known dish: the breakfast roll at only 8,50 euros!

See you soon~!

Address: 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris
To learn more about Café Méricourt:
Official Website (check out the menu here!)
’21 Totally Unmissable Brunches in Paris’ – Timeout Paris

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Afternoon Retreat – Caudalie Spa

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It is hard to imagine that less than an hour outside of Paris, you could find such peace and quiet.

Situated between this magical French capital and Versailles, is the Caudalie Spa that I should’ve written about many weeks ago but as a professional procrastinator…I have put it off until now.

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What is there more to say though? This gorgeous little retreat is tucked away neatly inside a 4 star hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant next to a pond where many take their afternoon walks.

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The service is friendly and professional, as you would expect from Caudalie and you get a bag of goodies along with your bathrobe and slippers. It contains:

  • a 15ml Moisturizing Sorbet
  • 5ml Clear Skin Purifying Toner
  • 2ml Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid
  • 1ml Energizing and Smoothing Eye Cream
  • 7ml Nourishing Body Lotion

Strangely, I have a feeling that these are the products that sell the least and as a “two birds one stone” strategy, they’ve given testers out to clients who visit the spa. None of the products that I really want to purchase (and that sell well) have made it into this goodie bag. Right now, I have my keen eye on the VinActiv line, mainly the serum and detox oil.

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Regardless, we spent a good amount of time in the jacuzzi and hammam, alternating between the two and taking a wine break in their gardens which were bathed in warm, golden sunlight – the kind you get only in Autumn…

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For more information, visit their website!

 

 

 

The Sephora Gold Party

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25% off on ALL your purchases, on EVERY brand!

Sounds crazy?

It was.

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Sephora is usually crowded but never had I seen it THAT crowded. Benefit had their girls in vintage outfits, Killian whipped out a gambling table and Makeup Forever had a moving sushi conveyor belt!
Instead of sushi, of course, they had different makeup looks and products in each plate! The sales associates were busy chattering away and throwing out pearls of wisdom here and there while customers were milling around, their baskets full of goodies.

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Those who had received an invitation got a gold badge at the entrance. This gives them the right to a 25% reduction on their purchases, free champagne and free hors d’oeuvres! In addition to the red carpet that they rolled out and the long queues at the registers, I’d say it was a pretty successful event!

I’m not a huge hauler so I only stocked up on some essentials I was low in stock on:

  1. The Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear concealer in camouflage lin
  2. A mini Becca highlighter in moonstone
  3. The Andrea clear adhesive lash glue

The concealer has become a new holy grail with its formula that’s hydrating yet full coverage and the highlighter is now a firm favourite as I don’t have one that this natural!

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Mucha – King of Art Nouveau

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One summer at the age of 16, I fell in love with the delicate lines and romanticism of Alphonse Mucha’s works. It was the summer I volunteered at the National Palace Museum and this was their temporary exhibition.

Imagine my contentment when I saw the first few posters for the Mucha expo at Musée du Luxembourg popping up all over Paris! Imagine my excitement when I was offered the tickets!

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Alphonse Mucha was a Czech painter and lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau era. He rose to fame with his first ever poster of Sarah Bernhardt (a famous Parisian actress/comedian) and later became known as “the greatest decorative artist in the world”. From posters, he extended his talents to designing covers of menus, biscuit boxes, even jewellery and the interior of a jewellery shop!

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In 1894, Mucha would meet the Swedish author August Swindberg who was deeply interested in the occult and mysticism. This led Mucha to join the Freemasons which advocated “the improvement of humanity”. He would then give up his signature style, the Mucha style, to create art driven by a social and philosophical vision of unity.

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Sadly, the Mucha style is my personal favourite. I much prefer the gaiety of the colours and figures in his posters to the sombre depictions of suffering shown in his later works. It is also the Mucha style that drove him to fame and fortune. All the same, I do admire the man for believing in something more than the superficiality of mankind.

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Unfortunately, as a well-known figure and a Freemason, Mucha was one of the first to be arrested by the Gestapo during World War II and died 10 days after his 79th birthday…

Regardless, the beauty and grace of Mucha’s art lives on and is much appreciated by fans such as myself.

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Angelina Café next to Musée du Luxembourg
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Cake designed for the Mucha expo – sadly, it didn’t last under the heat!

For more information on the exhibition at Musée du Luxembourg, feel free to visit their website. However, I have included some useful information below.

Dates: 12 September 2018 – 27 January 2019

Opening times: Everyday from 10:30 – 19:00 (until 22:00 every Friday)
The museum will also be open for extra night shifts every Monday from the 12th of November until the 17th of December.
The museum will be open ’til 18:00 on the 24th and 31st of December and will be closed on Christmas (25th December).

Tickets: 13 euros full price

 

Street Bangkok Local Food – Imaginez…Bangkok…Ses rues électriques…

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Paris has never experienced a shortage of exotic cuisines and flavours and Street Bangkok is a perfect example of why.

Its simple, trendy and hip decor topped off with the typical tables, chairs and utensils that one would usually find at a food stand in Thailand complete the whole vibe.

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However, what truly brings the place together is still, of course, the food.

The richness of the spicy curry sauce, the aroma of the white rice with its condiments of coriander and cucumber, the affordable price point and its generous portions.

Sadly, they no longer offer khao man gai which is the most common street food one could have in the alleys of Bangkok. Another point worth noting is that the poulet grill on their “hot” menu is not a typical Thai dish and is never served with rice. Instead it is a BBQ starter (chicken satay with peanut sauce) to be enjoyed with a cold beer. Regardless, this momentary lapse of authenticity doesn’t take away from the taste.

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If you have a moment and a craving for Thai food, and if you are conveniently around Canal St. Martin, Bastille or metro Etienne Marcel, make sure you go in for a tasty experience that will transport you to the tropics of Thailand.

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Street Bangkok Local Food
Official website: www.streetbangkok.fr
Canal St. Martin address: 3 Rue Eugène Varlin, 75010 Paris
Bastille address: 13 Rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris
Etienne address: 112 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris