When nature matches humans’ built.
Stow-on-the-Wold – 2017
French women are famous for their natural beauty. There seems to be a myth where people assume that we just roll out of bed looking fresh and polished.
What is true is that less is always more when it comes to beauty in France. Extreme contour, thick foundation, glittery eye shadows or sophisticated nail art design are just not really a thing in France. Our ultimate objective when it comes to beauty is to look like the best version of ourselves.
The reality however is that it takes a lot of work to look naturally healthy, mainly with the use of efficient skin care products. We like our fancy French pharmacy cosmetics. This is also why French women can then get away with less makeup. We invest in a good canvas so we can use less paint.
So what makeup will you find in most French girls bag?
Forget about foundation, it’s just too much work! Commonly us french girls will only cover what needs to be hidden. A pimple, redness, dark circles, etc. Whatever doesn’t need to be hidden, we don’t cover it! If your skin is good why bothering spending time applying a cream of the exact same colour on top of it?
I personally even go as far as using my concealer as a foundation if I have an event that requires to have a full face of makeup. In 30 plus years, I have never ever bought a foundation.
My favourite concealer at the moment is Nars Soft Matte Complete concealer. It gives good coverage and doesn’t crease. I have it both in Vanilla and Custard so I can adapt the colour to the different area of my face.
That’s how we get the glow! A good bronzer is the secret for the healthy ‘I just woke up like this’ look. A lot of my French friends (including me) use bronzer only and don’t even bother with blush.
My favourite is the Guerlain Terracotta! I have been using it for years. Unfortunately though it slipped off my hand the other day and crashed to the ground in tiny pieces. So at the moment I am using The Body Shop Honey Bronze powder, which is good as completely matte.
This one is only used by the women who, like me, are on the shinier side. If you are French and have beautiful matte skin, chances are you don’t even have one of these. Unfortunately, my forehead easily goes from dewy to greasy so a powder is a must in my bag!
My favourite at the moment is the Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot powder. It does the job without any powdery white cast.
French women like classic looks when it comes to make up, a small eyeliner wing a bit of red lipstick, boom! Done! That’s why most of us go-to look involve a good eyeliner.
Being lazy with make-up, I need an eyeliner that will last all day as I will very rarely bother to reapply anything. I love MAC Liquidlast liner, once set it is like a tatoo on your eyelid and will not smudge. It is a little difficult to apply though and takes a bit of practice. The other eyeliner absolutely I love is a gem I found in Japan, Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner is a little bit easier to apply and will stay put until the evening.
As I mentioned earlier, the less is more look is the ultimate goal, therefore a few natural toned eyeshadows are all a French woman need. Shades of browns and greys are usually our go-to. And forget about blending colours, the easier the better! That is why I love the Kiko Long Lasting stick eyeshadow, they require minimum work and last all day.
Not too volumising or thickening, a good mascara needs to simply lengthen and separate lashes. Funnily enough, my favourite mascara cannot even be found in France! Maybelline Full ‘N Soft mascara is simple, lengthening, black and doesn’t smudge.
Most days that is all I wear on my lips, I cannot really be bother with applying lipstick. It’s too much work! So once my makeup is on and my teeth are brushed, I swipe a bit of Dior Addict Lip Glow, it very hydrating and gives a subtle rosy glow.
When I need to look a little bit more put together for a work meeting or date, my go-to lip product is an almost nude colour. In my case the actual ‘nudy’ nudes just don’t flatter me at all, so my favourite shades are usually the very subtle pink or mauve lipsticks. My all time favourite is Revlon ColourBurst Balm Stain in Honey, it’s a cool shade of mauvy pink and is super simple to apply.
Last but not least, the main and only statement makeup item most French women have is a red lipstick. Some of my friends wear it every day, some keep it for special occasion, all have one. I usually use the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red as it just doesn’t move. You can eat and drink with it and be confident that your face won’t look like Pennywise the Clown by the end of the meal.
As you can see below, it only takes 6 products to go from bed head to natural French look. All I applied was concelear, bronzer, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and a bit of lip balm.
All in all my makeup routine using this products takes about 10 minutes. This is why French women can just roll out of bed and be ready a cup of coffee later.
The Cotswold is one of the prettiest areas of England I have ever been to. Rolling hills, green valleys, quaint villages, everywhere you look is out of a postcard.
We woke up bright and early to made the most of the 2 days we had in the region. On the first day, we visited Blockley, Kingham, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower Slaughter and Bourton-on-the-Water. It seems like a lot but some villages are teeny tiny so you will only need an hour or so there. On the Sunday, we explored Painswick, Miserden and Bibury, before heading back to London.
Now to help you plan your trip to the Cotswolds, I listed all the villages below with a few recommendations here and there. Also keep scrolling if you like pictures of quaint houses and autumnal foliage. Bundle up and let’s go!
Blockley was just waking up when we arrived on Saturday morning. It is a very small village so you won’t need long to explore it. Take a moment to appreciate the local architecture. All house are built with the local sand colour Cotswold stone.
Walk to the top of the hill for glimpses of the countryside.
There you will find picturesque church, and you will see that even cemeteries are pretty in the Cotswolds.
Our next stop was another very small, yet very pretty, village. Kingham is on flat land, the exact opposite of Blockley.
It is all in the details in Kingham, the front porches are all ridiculously quaint.
Walk around the main green and wander toward the church.
And if you happen to be in Kingham at lunch time, make sure to try The Wild Rabbit, we didn’t eat there on this trip but I heard great things about it!
For lunch we headed to Stow-on-the-Wold, a bigger town and the perfect spot if you are looking for a busier atmosphere and an opportunity to shop!
The place has a lot of local products shops and antics boutiques. Make sure to explore some to find little treasures or souvenir!
If you happen to be there around lunch time, make sure to grab a bite at The Hive, I cannot recommend it enough!
Explore the city centre, everything is so pretty you will feel like you are in a Jane Austen era movie.
Finally make sure to pay attention when driving out of Stow-on-the-Wold, there are some amazing view points which worth stopping at for a picture our 20 (you should see my memory card).
Lower Slaughter is famous for its network of small canals. The village’s streets follow the path of the water to create the most charming atmosphere.
Walk along the canal and head to the old mill, there you will be able to make friend with the ducks and see the hikers splashing around in the water to wash their muddy boots.
We then headed to the church and happened to run into a bride and a groom, freshly married, who were taking their wedding pictures in the village. I have to say, with that weather and the golden Autumn colours, their pictures will be extremely Pinterest-able.
Our last stop on Saturday was also the busiest place we visited. Bourton-on-the-Water is full of tourists so be warned.
It is absolutely beautiful though so it still worth merging into the crowd to walk along the water.
It is nicknamed the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ and rightly so. It’s all about crossing bridges, feeding the ducks and grabbing a sweet afternoon treat there!
On the Sunday, we started our day at Painswick. It is a very small village but it has a very noticeable cemetery (Again! I told you cemeteries worth a visit in the Cotswolds). The trees leading to the village’s church are all shaped like mushrooms. This makes for great pictures…
…and ‘avant-garde’ head pieces (I am a very funny person indeed).
The village is also a hub for the serious hikers, so much so that you may struggle finding a free parking spot, even on Sundays.
Miserden was one of the prettiest, if not THE prettiest, villages we visited. Teeny tiny but really worth stopping by!
The views of the valley are beautiful, mostly in the Autumn.
The village is very peaceful, the locals friendly, the chickens walk freely in the streets, and honesty boxes are the common way to shop there. A little peace of heaven.
Also make sure to grab a little something at The Nursery on Miserden Estate, a nice spot for a cup of coffee and something sweet.
Our last stop was Bibury. This place is probably the closest I will ever get to feel like I am in the Lord of the Ring. Look at the houses! Hobbits could easily live there!
The place is charming and therefore very popular with tourists.
It isn’t very big either, so once you are done walking around, head to The Swan for a warming drink or a Sunday roast (we went for the later).
The Cotswolds are the perfect Autumnal destination, and it was the perfect weekend away with the great weather we had! We came home rested and with (maybe) a bit of a tan.
Today’s address is a real gem hidden in the middle of the British countryside!
A couple of weeks ago we headed to the Cotswolds for a weekend away from the big smoke. We were blessed with amazing autumnal weather and spent the Saturday and Sunday exploring the little Cotswolds villages.
On Saturday, we happened to be in Stow-on-the-Wold around lunch time. Our plan was to find a cosy pub to grab a bite, but it all changed when we walked passed The Hive.
From the outside it looks like a conventional little tea shop. We looked at the menu which seemed appetising and thought ‘why not?’.
The big BIG highlight when eating at The Hive is the staff, ‘nice’ is an understatement. Everybody at The Hive is absolutely lovely! The waiters and the owners are all very polite, very friendly and, most of all, super attentive – by the end of our lunch I wanted to hug them goodbye!
Now let’s talk about the food, simple yet delicious is the best way I would describe it! The menu mainly offers simple lunch options like soup and sandwiches. The quantities are generous though and we left very full and in need of a digestive walk.
Andrew went for the egg and mayo sandwich. A generous melting filling sandwiched between two slices of ‘crispy on the outside and soft on the inside’ sourdough bread. What else can you ask for?
I picked the soup of the day which was sweet potato, coconut milk and spices.
On the side, I had the option to choose either white sourdough bread, brown bread or a cheese scone. I went for the cheese scone, obviously!
The soup was creamy and flavoursome, the cheese scone had the perfect consistency and cheesiness, and I was happy.
With still a little bit of space for something sweet, we decided to share a huge slice of the lemon and pistachio cake. Pure sweetness bliss…
So if you are wandering in the Cotswolds hills and looking for a place to have lunch, head to Stow-on-the-Wold!