Thursday, 22 June 2017

How to Turn your Surface Pro Instantly into a Desktop for Home and Travel

Microsoft Surface Pro

I’ve  had a Surface Pro 3 for a while now,  and thanks to the unexpected demise of my over heavy laptop I’ve started using it everywhere, home and away.

I’ve never liked the keyboard cover that you can buy with the Surface Pro.  I like a keyboard that I can type on at speed with highly responsive keys, and a separate mouse.

Joyaccess Compact Full Size Keyboard and wireless Mouse

The Surface Pro isn’t inundated with USB ports – just one on the tablet itself, and one, mainly for charging devices – in the power block, but this is such a fast and powerful device in its own right you really don’t need much more.  You can if you want invest in a separate power block with two fast USB ports, but as the Surface of course has Bluetooth I’m not sure why you would want to.

Everyone I spoke to, when I mentioned buying a new, lighter laptop, told me I was mad when I admitted my investment in the Surface Pro and now I agree with them.  Just add a seriously good keyboard that has all the keys, is stable, has low profile rubber pads and is excellent for fast typing plus a small highly responsive mouse and you’re away.

I’ll admit I have never heard of the keyboard brand before but having used it non stop for the past couple of weeks I’m in love.  And of course you can use it with anything, not just a Surface Pro.  At the current price of £26.99 this is a very good option.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Desigual and 12 Perfectly Summer Ready Dresses–On Sale

Desigual is one of those brands that doesn’t always immediately come to mind, but it should, particularly in the summer.  Based in Barcelona, Desigual is famous for it’s bright, colourful, summery sometimes quirky prints, and its affiliations with Christian Lacroix and Cirque du Soleil.
Desigual Fresita DressDesigual Valkyria DressDesigual Mayo DressDesigual blue double layer dressCoral maxi dress with shorter liningDesigual Ari DressDesigual printed dressDesigual Soleado Dress

As someone who normally eschews bright colours for neutrals I’m not normally drawn to brightly coloured clothes, but after spending a week in Paris with sunny temperatures every day reaching up into the 90s it’s hard not want to brighten up. 
Desigual Maxi DressDesigual black double layer dressDesigual white printed slightly a line dressDesigual stretch shift dress with low back

Desigual has a collection of dresses just perfectly designed for when it’s very hot and you want clothes that are easy to wear, not too fitted, flattering and pretty – some more city orientated and others for weekends, holidays and eating alfresco anywhere.

Happily now most of these are on sale –  so there’s no better time to invest in something pretty, summery and reasonably priced and if Desigual is a brand you haven’t tried before again this is the perfect time.

Remember that the models in the pictures are normally quite tall, at least 5’8” so the dresses may not be quite as mini as they appear in the picture.   Sizing is pretty standard although I found that you could go a size down if the dress you pick is not too fitted and has elastane in the fabric mix.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Paris Restaurants La Luna and Brasserie Thoumieux–Eating out in Paris off the Beaten Track

If you spend any time at all in Paris, from a city break weekend to a longer stay you need to know about these two restaurants, neither of which will break the bank and both of which are not on the beaten track - well known to some, and unknown to many, particularly visitors.

La Luna RestaurantLa Luna is one of my all time favourite fish restaurants, where the quality of the fish and the cooking is always excellent.  If you’re a seafood lover you have to visit here.  Just a 15 minute stroll from the centre up the Rue Miromesnil and tucked away on the Rue Rocher you can spend as much as you want here, or you can take the three course menu at 50 Euros which for such a great meal is a very good deal.La Luna Trio of Tartares

Last night from the menu I had shrimp, followed by ‘Carrelet’ with grilled seasonal vegetables – carrelet is plaice in the UK, but not as you and I know it, and the vegetables were superbly prepared.  I did, I have to admit, eye one of my party’s trio of tartares – which was so beautifully presented it was a shame to touch the plate.  That was delicious as well……..

Happily this restaurant is now being discovered by more and more and so don’t think of coming unless you’ve booked.  But put it into your ‘must visit in Paris restaurant list’, you won’t regret it.

Reviews and booking information to be found on La Fourchette – the French restaurant booking app I’ve written about previously.

Brasserie Thoumieux
Another not to be missed restaurant for traditional and healthy French Brasserie cooking is Brasserie Thoumieux,  on the Rue St Dominique and attached to the Boutique Hotel Thoumieux and two star Michelin restaurant Sylvestre the Brasserie is one of my favourites in Thoumieux kale saladParis.  Not to be missed if you like healthy eating is their kale salad with quinoa, avocado and pomegranate seeds.  Also not to be Brasserie Thoumieux fritesmissed are some of the best frites in Paris, thin, crispy and utterly irresistible (don’t order unless you’re ready to eat the lot) and superb burgers.

Click straight through to La Fourchette to book Brasserie Thoumieux and find out more.  And again put it on your list of Paris restaurants.  Slightly further from the centre of Paris than La Luna and a good walk – depending on where you’re staying of course – across the river to the Left Bank.  No hills involved…..

Thursday, 15 June 2017

10 of the Best Concealers with SPF that Protect as well as Conceal

That tiny pot of concealer may just be one of the single most important beauty items in your arsenal, but how often, particularly at this time of year, do you think to check that it contains protection against the sun.? You may well do so with your moisturiser, primer and foundation, many of which nowadays contain an every-day level of SPF, but your concealer rarely.  Well here are 10 that do, and are well worth considering adding to your collection.

Perricone MD No Concealer Concealer SPF35Bare Minerals Correcting Concealer SPF 20Chantecaille Bio Lift Concealer SPF 10Lancome Long Stay Concealer SPF30Vichy Dermablend Concealer SPF 30
It’s quite surprising that more concealers don’t contain SPF – how often do you go out on a sunny day and take off your sunglasses while outside?  You probably wouldn’t think about not protecting your face and body, but while your eyes have the most sensitive skin – this is not just about covering up dark circles or reducing puffiness but actual protection where you most need it. 
Diego alla Palma Concealer SPF10Avon Age Transforming Concealer SPF15MAC Studio finish concealer SPF 35Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place ConcealerBare Minerals Loose Concealer SPF20
My new favourite concealer is Bare Minerals correcting concealer.  It’s not one of the most expensive and goes on like a dream from a tiny pot, whether you use your finger or a brush to apply.  Whichever you choose it’s time to take cover from the sun’s rays so ditch the concealer that doesn’t offer protection at least in the summer months but preferably all year round.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

20 Unmissable Finds in the Net-a-Porter Sale

If there’s a time of year when you should make yourself a cup of coffee, have several hours to spare and preferably quite a lot of spare cash it’s the time when Net-a-Porter launches their sale – because frankly, if it’s fashion we’re talking about, there is no better place to shop – and there are some irresistible things to buy.

Michael Michael Kors Black Bucket BagKarl Largerfeld Black Slouchy Leather Tote BagMichael Michael Kors Convertible Leather BackpackClare V Striped Cotton clutchMichael Michael Kors Pale Grey Textured Leather Tote

I have only touched the surface with my 20 finds, but I’m a great believer that if you’re going to buy in the fashion sales resist tat at all costs – you’ll only want to bin it later, and choose something you’re going to want to wear/use for a long time by a label you like.  This is a time when your investment should be seriously good value for money.

Oscar de la Renta gold plated clip earringsChan Luu gold plated wrap braceletPamela Love gold tone lapis lazuli earringsKaterina Makriyianni gold plated earringsMonica Vinader Skinny curve diamond and gold necklace

The Net-a-Porter Sale has only recently launched – for some items there’s a very small range of sizes but for others there’s unexpected choice….. for now.

Marchesa Notte Red Lace DressTopshop Unique Printed Midi DressDiane von Furstenberg Panelled Bodycon Lace DressMSGM floral print silk midi dressBroderie Anglaise Michael Michael Kors Dress

A couple of words of advice.  Buy your size.  Don’t be tempted by that little black dress you’re going to have to diet yourself into – you may not, and then it’s a waste.  Buy the size you know you are right now and choose something you can wear out to dinner tomorrow.

Aquazurra silver leather sandalsCastaner Woven Canvas Wedge EspadrillesSam Edelman Nude Suede Ankle Strap SandalsSophia Webster Bow Embellished Black Suede SlingbacksCommon Projects Metallic Leather Sneakers

Finally choose colours and styles you already love and wear – experimenting with designer brands, unless you only buy designer brands, can be another expensive mistake.

Finally 2 – If what you order doesn’t suit or you don’t think you’ll wear it for months then send it back immediately.  Buying in the sales is instant gratification, granted, but it’s so much better if it’s also instantly wearable gratification.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Swimwear for Curvy Girls–21 of This Season’s Figure Flattering One Piece Swimsuits

Stella McCartney Lacing Swimsuit
You may have already gathered that the main trend this summer is for the one-piece swimsuit which is a big plus for people like me who don’t like bikinis anyway.  It’s also a plus as there are so many gorgeous one piece swimsuits around, from Stella McCartney’s lace up front number to the brilliant blue (or black) underwired swimsuit from Hush.

Seafolly Navy Ruched MaillotMaryan Melhorn Jardin Underwired One PieceJets Ink One Piece Swimsuit with side cut-outs and shelf braRoidal Spring Valley Cross Front One PieceKarla Colletto cut out underwired swimsuit - burgundy also
Happily as this is this summers on trend swimwear shape there’s loads of choice for all shapes and sizes offering soft cup support, underwiring, ruching across the front, wrap fronts and more.

Hush One Piece Underwired Swimsuit - Black AlsoKarla Colletto New Wave Applique SwimsuitSeafolly Indigo Ruched Halterneck SwimsuitSeafolly Riviera Stripe SwimsuitSeaspray Plunge Halterneck Ruched Swimsuit
Be aware that brands specialising in curve flattering swimwear will sell out of larger sizes first so if you find something you really like, grab it fast. 
M&S Secret Slimming Lace-up SwimsuitSeafolly Modern Geometry SwimsuitJets Halterneck SwimsuitHeidi Klein Palm Springs SwimsuitFantasie Underwired Twist Control Swimsuit
If you’re in a hurry and you want a one piece swimsuit specifically designed to flatter all areas then take a look at Fantasie, Seafolly and Seaspray.
Fantasie floral print twist front swimsuitFantasie Sarasota Bandeau Control SwimsuitFantasie Beqa Underwired Control SwimsuitM&S Secret Slimming Foulard Print SwimsuitMelissa Odabash Black Halterneck One Piece Swimsuit

Hush One Piece Underwired Swimsuit - Black Also