Monday, 15 October 2018

12 Pairs of New Season’s Sneakers to Snap up Right Now - City Smart Athleisure

Having spent the past three weeks walking the streets of London, Paris, Rome and Florence I know only too well that the only footwear that keeps you sane is a great pair of sneakers.  They combine style and comfort, safeguard your back when you’re walking for miles and look great as well.  Truly fitness and style combined.

Nike Cortez Leather SneakersGucci Ace Heart TrainersDune Leopard Print Trainers SneakersAdidas Original Suede SneakersGolden Goose Leopard Print SneakersVega V-10 Leather SneakersDolce & Gabbana Leopard Print SneakersDune Embellished Leather SneakersAdidas Platform TrainersGeox Lace Up fur trimmed platform sneakersSaucony Jazz Vintage SneakersGeox Zip Detail High Top Sneakers

So forget your gym trainers when you’re walking the city streets – in emergency? Yes, but for choice no, and look for something that’s going to cope with everything from rain slick sidewalks to cobbles which make walking in heels so difficult and look good as well.

I’ve found that for spring and summer I want a pair in shades of white, grey and metallics, and in autumn and winter black and animal prints hold their own.  This season leopard print, studs, stars, stripes and embellishments are available everywhere.  These are my favourites.

If you travel a lot and/or you’re planning a city break these are the shoes you’ll be wearing the most.  And if, like me, you (excuses excuses) divide the amount of money you spend by the number of times you wear something you’ll find investing in a designer pair such as Dolce and Gabbana’s leopard print sneakers worth every penny.  You’ll never want to take them off.

Friday, 12 October 2018

5 Italian Wines Tasted in Paris and Rome and Where to Buy Where You Are

One of the lovely things about travelling is that you get to try wines you might not come across at your local wine store or supermarket.  We do get excellent recommendations from the wine experts in newspapers such as the Financial Times (Jancis Robinson) and The Telegraph and if you’re really interested in wine you’re probably already reading Hugh Johnson, Jane Macquitty at The Times and Decanter…..phew.
But sometimes when you’re away you come across a wine that is so delicious you want to take some home with you, and then decide you’d rather order it and receive it when you get back.  If you’re subscribed to the pro version of wine-searcher.com you’ll have everything you need to find the wine you want wherever you are and read my post about my other favourite wine apps.  Snap the label, look it up, and you’re there.

Here are five of the wines I’ve discovered recently, one in Paris in four in Rome, how I found them and where you can order them in the UK and US.  Over to you.
Barolo
Discovered in Rome, a simply delicious Barolo from Marchesi di Barolo.  This wine from Nebbiolo grapes just has to be one of my absolute favourites.   Very fruity with black cherries, plums and a peppery note.  Drink it with lamb or on its own.

You'll find the 2013 vintage at https://www.wine.com rated 92 by Wine Spectator and 91 by Robert Parker.  The 2014 vintage at https://www.tannico.co.uk.  Not as inexpensive as some Barolos you can find, but good value for what you’re getting.

fiano

Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano Di Avellino 2016 - this was a lovely bright Fiano tasted in Rome at restaurant Il Piccolo Mondo. A balanced white wine, fruity and mineral with citrus overtones. Happily, as many of the easy drinking wines from Italy don't seem to make it across any pond, you can find this one.
Find this wine at Strictly Wines in the UK, https://www.strictlywine.co.uk who are currently charging approx £17 (6 bottles minimum with free delivery, and in the US several places including https://www.wine.com who are currently charging approximately $19.99. .
Rated 92 by Robert Parker Wine Advocate for the 2016 vintage. Loved this wine. Fabulous with fish.
Vietti
This Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo 2015 is a lovely and full bodied red wine for a very  reasonable price.  It's excellent with red meat and aged cheese.  You'll find it at https://www.winedirect.co.uk in the UK who say 'A baby Barolo. Made from Nebbiolo grapes only from Barolo designated vineyards and vinified and aged to be more approachable in its youth, this is an affordable Barolo style wine. Offers up generous fruit along with menthol, spices and hard candy, showing notable intensity while retaining an essentially mid-weight style. Round, suave tannins add to the long and refined finish'.

Also to be found at many wine stores in the USA and elsewhere - use https://www.wine-searcher.com -  88 Aggregated Critic Score.

Soave
I had Suavia Monte Carbonare 2016 from Veneto Italy at Le George Restaurant in Paris, part of the George V Hotel. A delicious easy drinking wine from the Gargagna grape with citrus, herbs and traces of minerality. Excellent with shellfish, smoked and grilled fish. Develops in the glass so allow a little time for drinking. Track it if you use https://www.wine-searcher.com. In the US at www.wine.com and at https://www.hailshamcellars.com in the UK (different bottle, same wine).  Also at http://finks.co.uk.  It currently retails for around £19 so it’s excellent value for a really lovely wine.
Monte Carbonare has one of the top locations in Soave and produces one of the best wines. The ground is black with volcanic soil which characterises the minerality of Monte Carbonare. The 2015 vintage was rated 95 by James Suckling and 92 by Robert Parker Wine Advocate. Great value for a lovely wine.
Mastroberadino Greco di Tufo
Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo was tasted at Rome restaurant Angolo dell'Aurora.  Not one of your typical tourist restaurants.  This was a refreshing and tasty white wine from Mastroberardino with flavours of apricot, apple and citrus fruits and mineral notes.  Excellent with spaghetti alla vongole. You can find it in the US at https://www.wine.com and in the UK at https://www.tannico.co.uk or use https://www.wine-searcher.com.  It has an aggregated critic score of 89.

Greco di Tufo is a DOCG of the Campania wine region in southern Italy. It is responsible for what is probably the region's most prestigious white wine, made predominantly from the grape variety that shares its name. 

There are many wines in Italy that you can’t find in your local bricks and mortar or online store.  Here are just five you can. 























Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Beauty Review - Why I'm in love with Temple Spa Eye Truffle

Temple Spa Eye TruffleAnyone who travels a lot, or has late nights, or too little sleep knows that feeling of just wishing there was a product that could immediately make your eyes feel fresher and more wide awake in an instant.

Temple Spa’s Eye Truffle is supposed to ‘target all signs of aging’, to treat dark circles, reduce puffiness and brighten the whole eye area.  Having read that this was the winner in the GH eye cream test, and because I was about to go off on a long trip, I decided to invest.  And I am so happy I did.

I love the way this eye cream goes on and immediately sinks into the skin around your eyes and you do instantly feel refreshed.  I can’t say too much about the long term benefits as I’ve only been trying this for about 10 days but I definitely see some improvement overall.

Temple Spa Eye Truffle is not that inexpensive – currently £65 for 15ml in a beautifully packaged pot (and I’m a sucker for great packaging) but this one is going to be going everywhere with me from now on.  I’m totally hooked.  Give it a try if you’re looking for a new eye cream.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

How to make travel by train or plane easier than ever

Travelon wheeled Underseat Carry on with Smart Sleeve
Planning for a trip that involved multiple ways of getting from one place to another including planes and long train journeys left me thinking.  I had two medium sized wheelie cases that were fine for train journeys as my tote sits on the top, but once checked in for a flight left me hauling my laptop, iPad and various other bits and pieces around the airport using the shoulder strap.

Samsonite Rolling Tote with Smart Sleeve

After some searching I found the perfect answer – a small wheeled tote that would sit on top of my larger case and be the perfect stand alone bag once my big bags were checked in.  This was not as simple as you  might think.  There aren’t that many around that are a) small enough but roomy enough, b) have a ‘smart sleeve’- that strap that holds them on top of your suitcase and most importantly c) have wheels.

Delsey Underseat Rolling Tote with Smart Sleeve

I found several of these ‘underseat bags’ that were just the wrong size for my laptop, so when you’re buying one make sure you do the calculations.  The bottom one here, by Delsey, is only available from Amazon in the US, so you will have to pay extra but it has consistently high ratings.  My preference would be the Travelon Underseat Rolling Tote which comes in different colours.

If you, like me, do a lot of travelling and don’t want to have to be physically carrying anything more than your handbag, then this is the bag for you.   There are lots more options in the US, hopefully more will make their way over here soon……..

Friday, 5 October 2018

3 of the Best French Pharmacy Beauty Products - Beauty for Less


Most of us have now heard about French Pharmacy beauty products, many of which offer exceptional performance for a price so much less than the major beauty brands that it sometimes seems a bit unreal.  But it's not.

What is difficult is to know what to buy, because there are so many brands, including Avene, Bioderma, Lierac, La Roche Posay and Filorga, and they all seem to offer a solution for everything.

My favourite for skincare has always been Lierac, which I was introduced to some time ago, and in particular - I know, I'm going off the main subject - their Mesolift Anti Fatigue moisturiser which is hard to find in the UK. 

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinaffid=32306&awinmid=2991&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.escentual.com%2Fbioderma%2Fsensibio%2Fbioderma077%2F

A recent addition to the French skincare stable which is now happily available in the UK from Escentual is Bioderma Sensibio H20 make-up removing wipes.  Try these and you'll probably never want to use another brand.  They take the day off and wake up your complexion with ease, and of course they're so much better than a bottle or tube of cleanser for travel.

Then here are a couple of new discoveries.  Unable to find the body scrub I usually buy in Paris, I've started to use Nuxe Body Melting Body Scrub.  This is made from 95% natural ingredients.  They say, 'blended with almond, orange http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinaffid=32306&awinmid=2082&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lookfantastic.com%2Fnuxe-fondant-body-scrub-200ml%2F10556097.html%3Freview%3Dsuccess%26reviewId%3D1239573petal flowers and botanical exfoliants'.  I say, another excellent product from the Nuxe range which does exactly what it says 'on the tin' and leaves you with seriously smooth skin. You can again order this from the UK from Look Fantastic.
https://www.cocooncenter.com/avene-trixera-nutrition-lait-nutri-fluide-200-ml/28991.html
Finally if you suffer from dry skin you're going to love this hard to find face and body lotion from Avene.  This is specifically designed for dry and sensitive skin (and little ones).  It's non sticky and one of the best body lotions I've found.  You can buy it in 200ml and 400ml from Cocooncentre who are happy to sent it to you in the UK for not much more than you'd pay for a UK store delivery.  At time of writing delivery is free if you spend £86.


Thursday, 4 October 2018

Les Climats Michelin Star Restaurant in Paris–Worth the Journey just for the Wines

Les Climats 5A restaurant restored from a former Post Office in Paris on the Rue de Lille, Les Climats is famous not only for the excellent food but also an extraordinary wine listLes climats 2, which is offered in the form of a tome entitled Vins de Bourgogne – which has unsurprisingly won them the Wine Spectator Grand Award for Excellence 2017 – 2018.

Les Climats 1This book, which is presented to you as you arrive at your table and has 261 pages of wines, just from Burgundy, is full of incredible wines, some reasonably priced at around 50 Euros, and then right on up to well over 1000.  Here’s the link to the Burgundy wine book of Les Climats to you can see for yourself….

The wine list may be enormous, but the menu is small with four Les Climts 3choices for each course, and the option – of course – of a wine pairing menu.  With its Michelin Star and high regard you need to book well in advance, but if you love food and you’re interested in wine every moment spent is worth it.  Needless to say your bank manager may not agree…….

Les Climats 4Be careful if there are some foods that you don’t eat or are allergic to, this is probably not the place for you.  The cooking is definitely delicious but typically Burgundian with much use of butter, cream and foie gras.  If you have special needs they will try, but you may feel it’s a struggle.

If you have no allergies and you just love great food and great wines then definitely pay this restaurant a visit, and save a tiny bit of room for the macadamia ice cream at the end.  It’s superb………..

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

12 Pairs of Tall Boots designed with both Style and Comfort in Mind

Ok it’s boot time again, and here I am in Paris with no fewer than three pairs sitting in the wardrobe, because boots are not just modern, stylish and good looking (most of them) you can actually walk in them, well some of them.

Gabor Block Heel Knee High BootGeox Breathable High Heel BootCarvela Comfort Over the Knee BootGeox Annya Knee high boot - black also

I always look for boots designed to be comfortable. That means a rubber sole, cushioned insole and heel height that I can walk in.  That doesn’t mean totally flat, but it does mean a not ridiculous heel that you could only wear out to the taxi and into the restaurant.

Carvela Comfort Suede High heel BootsGabor Wide Fit Knee High BootsGabor Slim fit Knee High BootsGeox Felicity over the knee bootgabor slim block heel bootGeox Buckle Knee High boot - brown alsoGeox elastic back knee high bootGabor Medium Calf Cone Heel Ruched Knee High Boot
The three brands I’ve included here make boots (and other footwear) technically designed to help you to be comfortable.  They are Gabor, Geox and Carvela Comfort.  Most of my boots are by Gabor because they feature three calf widths and exceptionally comfortable insoles.   Geox too use specialist technology to keep you light and happy on your feet.

Expect to pay between £150 and £200 for a pair of knee high boots by one of these brands, unless it’s sale time, but most of these boots don’t hang around for long.  Good looking and comfortable?  What’s not to love.