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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Musings from Cannes and Pomp in Paris

Yet again I have naughtily neglected my beautiful blog after jetting off to Paris and Cannes for a spot of shopping, sunbathing, art ogling, schmoozing and celeb-spotting. 

Paris was very much a family affair. Along with my parents and witty brother Martin (aka Brother Mart), I took in the Parisian sights with glee and feasted on fine cheeses and bloody organic meats, marveling at the magnificent architecture and masses of historical statues at every turn. Seriously. I had never seen so many statues in my life. They were everywhere.

Embarrassingly, this was my first trip to Paris (I hang my head in shame), and although I adore my city and all of its Londoney splendor, I must confess to falling in love with this historical, truly beautiful part of the globe.

I even spent a day larking about at the Lourve, where I gazed mesmerized and awe-struck at iconic paintings and sculptures, before deciding to pose for some shamelessly silly photos with the aid of my reluctant photographer Brother Mart.

I'm an arty one me.

Apologies to my lovely vegan readers
We then all made our way to Meze - a quaint, although slightly dull seaside village in a random part of the South of France (nowhere near the glam side. Oh no). Yes, this place was easy on the eye and relaxing, which is all very well for those in search of lonesome scenic solitude, but for us convenience-loving city folk, it was a tad boring.

Wary locals would eye us suspiciously, shops would shut at 5 pm sharp, whilst local eateries would close their doors on a whim, leaving us last-minute foodie foragers in deep despair, clutching our grumbling tums as we pondered our next feast-finding move.

When we finally found the food it was good though. Oh yeeeeah....

DO I?!
In all fairness to Meze, Sunday perked up tremendously, when the harbour suddenly filled with a mass of excitable people surrounding a hub of mysterious musical activity. Brother Mart and I approached the hub with stiffed curiosity. Was it a band? Was it a beret-donning dance troupe? No. It was a random child holding a red flag. Whilst being sung at. Badly.

Anyway, enough with my pretentious London pomp. There was a refreshing beauty in the way these mellow folk lived a calm, drama-free existence, and I admit that I felt slightly envious. Us Londoner's are so addicted to the fast pace of urban living, reveling in a whirlwind of social occasions and excitement-induced exhaustion, that we forget the joy to be found in the simple pleasures of life.

A-meze-ing (sorry)

...And forget the simple pleasures we did, as brother Mart and I decided to swiftly shun Meze and embark on a fabulously frivolous last minute trip to Cannes, after being invited to stay with our talented composer friend Tandis Jenhudson - who was there to network at the film festival. Ok, we may have invited ourselves with excessive hinting, but it all worked out in the end and we made a happy team, aptly attending glamorous parties suitably filled with gloriously egotistical actors and film directors in search of that make or break contact.

Tandis has composed the music for numerous acclaimed features including the thought provoking 'Statue of Liberty' and 'The March' - a BAFTA nominated documentary narrated by sexpot (do people still use that word?) Denzel Washington, chronicling the events leading up to Martin Luther King's iconic 'I have a dream' speech.

You can check out his impressive showreel here

Talented Tandis and I
During the film festival, Cannes transforms into a truly mesmerizing place. Gorgeous girls mince about in stunning floor length dresses, the flash of numerous cameras cause temporary blindness, drinks are poured in a generous manner, blagging skills are enhanced - and you learn the very fine art of head tilting combined with copious amounts of nodding and smiling.

Me? Posing? Nooooo
Being a self-confessed beauty addict, I still maintained an impeccable skincare routine during my sun-drenched time away. Admittedly, there were a few days of dark clouds, rain and an actual rampant storm in Meze (you're killing me Meze!), but Cannes was gleaming from head to toe in sunny goodness - so the right skin-protecting products were merrily unpacked from my massive fluorescent pink suitcase (travelling light is not how I roll).

Before I left London, I applied a hearty dose of Jane Iredale's Self Tanner and Bronzer, Tantasia all over to avoid pasty beach frolics. This zesty-fragranced lotion is tinted with a deep bronze hue for an instant effect and can be applied daily until you reach your desired intensity of colour. I smoothed this on after a hefty bout of exfoliation and topped up the colour everyday for a week, so by the time I got off the Eurostar, I was a luscious shade of brown.

I am also addicted to the brand's Lash Extender and Conditioner, which doubles the length and thickness of your lashes when used under mascara. Perfect for that fluttery bambi-eyed look (without the aid of scary TOWIE-style falsies). I get mine from my favourite online beauty store, Feel Unique.

During my holiday, I cleansed with the deliriously rich, Tatler award-winning Purifying Cleansing Oil by renowned skincare range Su-Man (recently launched in Selfridges), which contains wintergreen, antioxidant-rich rosehip oil and dragon's blood extract - a revitalizing ingredient derived from plants (not from a scary ass dragon as the name misleadingly suggests) and said to regenerate skin cells, reinforcing the skin's natural barrier against the elements.

I cannot stress enough how important antioxidant-rich products are during the summer months. As well as a good (mineral) SPF, it is essential to protect against free radical damage, which is what antioxidants do if used correctly.

This is why my next summer skincare step was to apply the truly amazing Super C15 serum by my favourite cosmeceutical brand - SkinPep. This non-oily, antioxidant-abundant liquid is a powerhouse of UV-protecting, anti-ageing, hydrating ingredients, including vitamin C to inhibit UVA/UVB damage and promote collagen synthesis, hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and vitamin E to protect from naughty free radical damage. It provides 8 times the skin's natural photoageing protection and a 96% reduction of sunburn cells in UV irradiated skin. It's the perfect pre-SPF holiday serum in my opinion.

Next I would slather on an ample amount of SkinPep's Hydra-Sun Defence SPF 30 - a moisture-boosting sunscreen made with protective zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, vitamin E and extracts of green tea and grape seed - for an extra boost of antioxidants. This is by far my most beloved SPF product as it's easily absorbed and doesn't leave a ridiculously chalky-white mask.

After lengthy sunbathing sessions at the sultry La Gold Plage on the Croisette, I would retreat to the cool marble floors of the apartment and soothe my sun-parched skin with organic beauty brand Primavera's Rose Sallow Thorn Body Oil whilst my skin was still damp after showering. I would then layer this product with the restoring Rose Sallow Thorn Body Lotion to lock in the moisture. These divinely-scented products are 100% natural and have been formulated with nourishing organic rose oil and equally organic sallow thorn oil, which has restorative qualities to help prevent wrinkles and sun damage.

My hair usually turns into a mournful heap of hay after sun-drenched beach wallowing, so I made sure I adequately moisturized my mane with the gloriously rich, tress-transforming Masque Quintessence by Parisian natural hair brand Leonor Grey - who were responsible for styling many a finely-coiffed actress and model at numerous Cannes film premieres.

Hair nourishing creamy goodness? DO I?!

Our final evening in this fantastical adult playground was a lavish combination of laughter, blagging, helping Tandis network, beachside afterparties, sushi and celebrities. Our night of (respectable) debauchery ended at the infamous Carlton Hotel at 5am, where sozzled film folk lounged about on the open air terrace, pleading with exhausted waiters to re-open the pitifully closed bar.

I noticed a ludicrously dashing Ryan Gosling at the table next to ours, sitting with Doctor Who actor Matt Smith and felt a (slightly brazen) urge to approach him in hope of a cheeky photo. Like many smug Londoners, I usually make the effort to appear unfazed by famous people, even going as far as to pretend I don't know who they are. But this was Ryan Gosling people. I felt obliged to make the walk of potential embarrassment for the whole of womankind. I felt it was my duty.

I ignored the desperate pleas of exasperated Brother Mart to not 'embarrass myself for goodness sake' and started to hover off my seat, turning towards the direction of this ridiculously suave man, before noticing that an iPhone-clutching blond had beaten me to it.

Quite unfortunately, suave Ryan awkwardly shook his head at the heavily bejeweled girl's simple request, bearing a cringeworthy look of mock sadness on his face before the girl skulked away, sporting a slightly pained expression.

I was suddenly relieved that I had not made my move, yet felt a secret admiration for the sparkly-clothed girl who took a chance.

Well, 'If you don't ask, you don't get', that's my motto.

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