I spy with my little eye... a little lingerie inspiration.

Whether you are single or in a couple, celebrating Valentines or not, doing it for yourself or for someone else, lingerie is always a good idea! I am not one for big gestures and demonstrating love once a year, I like little daily attentions. My father buys flowers for my mother every week... My brother in law surprises my sister by flying back home in the middle of a business trip... I like the idea of sprinkling a little bit of attention and kindness everyday, so i don't see why I should settle for once a year (yes I have been spoiled). 
So whether you are doing it for someone else or for yourself: take care of yourself. Each one of us has her own way of doing it: fitness, reading, cooking healthy, travelling, fashion, parenting etc... Lingerie is one of my guilty pleasures, how very French of me! This year I'm feeling cosy, so I am into nude tones. I loved this Powder Pink Miss Coquette Passionata ensemble; it reminded me of chilly mornings in Montmartre (yes that's Montmatre on this drawing, I used to live in the area in Paris so my father gave me this painting as a memory) when all you want is a warm latte and a friend to skype with. I would like to tell you that I used to curl up under a big blanket, with a tea and read a book back in Paris, looking glamourous but that would be a lie: I would curl up under a big blanket, with a latte (I like my caffeine,) and would skype for hours, because I am a chatty woman with friends and family all around the world.

An other piece that caught my eye is this Blossom bra from Passionata. How cute is this plumetis? It looks very virginal and reminded me of Fitzgerald naive character Daisy from The Great Gatsby: decadent, naive, pretty, effervescent. I love how much a simple piece of white lace can actually say so much about you or at least your mood.

Last but not least is this Satine Chantelle ensemble: who said nudes were boring? I am not huge on animal print, but when it's done in such an elegant and discrete way, I can see myself rocking it!

Now for the ladies in Dubai who want to surprise their special someone, there is one more thing I can recommend: a little Burlesque dance lesson with Kamilla at Pole Fit Dubai. She will make you feel at ease and she will teach you a little ladylike yet cheeky routine, that will boost your self-confidence. Here is a little inspiration...

I spy with my little eye... good resolutions

I am not one for good resolutions, I consider improvement a daily thing. I don't get dry January, and I do not intent to give up gluten, lactose, and sugar (you can have a look at my philosophy on diet here). I respect people who live by the paleo diet, vegetarians, vegans, people who have to change their ways because of health issues, and I am always looking for new, healthier recipes, but I don't smoke, or binge, or eat fast food, so please, respect my right to caffeine and cheese. That being said (as you can see, I feel very strongly about this), there is always space for improvement, you just have to choose your battles, and being healthier is not just about diet and fitness. I tend to keep my goals simple and attainable: no I will not start yoga this year (turns out I am not very good at this whole breathing thing), but I will floss more often (true story, this is one of my 2016 resolutions). An other thing I have been working on for a while now but is actually trying to get into a healthier skin routine. I cannot say that I only use natural products yet, but little by little I am changing things. 



This year I have decided to switch body and face lotion for virgin coconut oil. I actually started playing with it 6 months ago so I can tell you it works for me. Now this might not be a good fit for all skin types but I never had skin problems, apart from a couple of moles and freckles, I can't say that my skin is bugging me. What I like about coconut oil is that:  
- it melts very quickly in my hands so it is easy to apply
- the skin absorbs it within 10min, so it is pretty quick
- it leaves the skin hydrated but not oily
- it is cheap
- no chemicals
- I can use it to hydrate my face, body, hair, but I can also use it as a makeup remover, yes I can!
I use it rather in the evening because in the morning, especially in Dubai, I need SPF.

New routine with only 3 healthy and cheap ingredients: virgin coconut oil, honey and sugar:


An other little trick that recently made it to my skin routine is lipscrubbing. Because I like lipstick and because the AC in Dubai dries the life out of your skin, let's be honest, I've had dried lips for as long as I remember. But scrubbing sometimes when you're in the shower (remember I don't like to get out of my way) takes 2 seconds and can actually make a difference. I found two good ways to do it: either use an old toothbrush and gently rub it on your lips, or mix a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of sugar, keep it in a little container next to your bathtub and just use it once a week, it can last for a month.

It's the little things that count and I'm a firm believer in changing things constantly but one at the time.

I spy with my little eye... the Kings Cake.

The beginning of the year starts with Kings Cake in France: on the 6th of January, we usually celebrate the Epiphany with a "Galette des Rois". I have been in Dubai for 4 years now and I can't remember celebrating it ever, which is weird because Paul sells very nice Galettes, I just never got the occasion. So when my sister told me she made one in Beirut, I figured I should be able to manage too!
According to the tradition, there is a favour hidden in each Kings Cake, and the idea is that the person who finds it in his/her slice becomes king/queen. No special treatment here, but you get to choose your queen/king for the day (if only it was that easy in real life), and children usually love running around the house with a crown! Obviously the way you distribute the slices is strategic, so in order to avoid all cheating, you send the youngest of the crowd under the table, and he/she gets to decide which slice goes to whom. 
The main reason why I had never made a Kings Cake before is the filling: "frangipane" is a sort of marzipan which always seemed difficult to make (hello lack of self confidence!). Turns out is a simple mix of butter, eggs, grounded almond, sugar and vanilla; you just can't get it wrong. So this is what it looks like, and for the record, there were no leftovers!

And so here is the recipe: you will need 2 puff pastries, 3 eggs, 60g of butter, 200g of grounded almond, 125g of sugar, a hint of vanilla, a tablespoon of cold water, and a favour (if you cannot find a typical Galette ceramic favour, just wrap an almond in foil paper, that will do the trick).

Start by preheating and setting your oven on 180 celsius degrees.
Spread some butter in your baking tin.
Then lay your first puff pastry in the tin, and prick it with  fork, and set it aside.
Prepare your filling -"frangipane"- by simply mixing 2 eggs, the melted butter, the grounded almond, the sugar, and the vanilla.
Spread the "frangipane" on the puff pastry, starting from the centre, and leaving a 5cm empty strip all around so you can close the pie. Put the favour on the "frangipane" and lay the second puff pastry over the pastry. Use a fork to close the pie by squeezing the 2 pastries all around the tin.
Use a knife to design drawings on the top of the pie.
Mix the yolk of the last egg with a tablespoon of cold water, brush the mix generously over the pie.
Put in the oven for 45min.

Et voila!

I spy with my little eye... a talkative city and the New Year.

To begin with, let me start by saying that I am not one to cheer the New Year as if it was going to change the energies in my life and turn things around just like that. I don't think that a number can make it all better or worse, improvement is an everyday kind of work, and ups and downs are doomed to happen, whatever the year. But I will say that 2015 was an eventful year on every level, good and bad. After all, isn't that what you want from life: memories and stories to tell?
I got the chance to travel last year and the week I spent in Ethiopia in December was the perfect ending to 2015. Addis is a wonderful talkative city, asking questions and answering them as you can see:

 "Where to go?" was asking St Mary at Entoto.
"Come and receive light, go forth and shine." answered Bole.
Now I am not a believer of any sort, I am plenty of things but holistic isn't one of them, I am way to rational for that, but I did appreciate this little wink from Africa. I thought it was a brilliant way to start a New Year and to keep up the good work.

Addis Ababa and I are sending you all good vibes!

I spy with my little eye... pretty damaged countries.

I don't want to get into politics or militancy, HOB is not the place for that, but last week's events were heavy, and I agree with my compatriots' reaction to terrors: insisting on keeping a normal lifestyle. No fear is one of the biggest mottos that have been heard and read in Paris, it applies to France but also to Lebanon that was bombed on the same week-end and didn't get half of the attention Paris did. Whether it's Paris, Beirut, Bamako, Syria... there is no rule when it comes to reasoning with irrationality. The only thing we, as civilians, can do, is keep moving forward as peacefully as possible and keep remembering how beautiful our countries and values are.
So this post is my little contribution: this is (surprisingly) not about Paris but about the underdog, about Lebanon, where Lil'sis got married two month ago, I hadn't shared these pictures yet, and I think it is time to remind ourselves of the pretty things.

She welcomed us in Beirut with fresh pistachios and rose.
The morning of the wedding I got her a little present.
After a quick stop a the Embassy and we headed to Jbeil for an amazingly sunny and chilled afternoon. Lil'sis and her husband had insisted on a beach day, and we are all grateful they stood their ground.


Probably the only moment my mother chilled during this whole week-end... 








Lil'bro and cousin celebrate the happy bride.




And this is how why we keep swords around in Lebanon: to cut wedding cakes! What else?

I spy with my little eye... Pink October with Chantelle.

I am usually not one for email chains and for campaigns, but having lost young women on both sides of my family because of breast cancer, this cause has become very close to my heart. It is a difficult disease to prevent, so I encourage all the ladies out there to get checked and to pay attention to what is happening in their bras. Do it for you, and do it for your families.
Now I am not very skilled at tracking the changes in my body; if/when I notice something different, I usually just shrug my shoulders, and decide that it is nothing significant... until someone drags me to the doctor. But if you are a 30something woman who has a family history of breast cancer, you can't afford the luxury of acting like a child, got to find a way to be responsible. As unexpected as it may sound, on top of being a womanly pleasure, beautiful lingerie has become part of my strategy to keep an eye on my breasts.
And when it comes to lingerie, Chantelle is one my go-to brands. Here are my favourite pieces from the AW15 collection:

I love the soft pink colour and lace of the Idole set. Just a little bit of lace so get into Autumn slowly.



Black "plumetis" instantly put me in a Parisian mood: time for the androgynous look, a man white shirt, red lipstick, black pants and heels. Simple and efficient.



And since I am in a Parisian mood, I picked an other classic: the white Superbe set. I paired with my red Louboutins and The Little Black Jacket Chanel exhibition book. Black and white with a touch of colour and Chanel, could it be any more Parisian?

I spy with my little eye... a turban, 1930's style.

This is a long belated post... I met Alice from Brothers and Sisters a couple of months ago, it's our common love for hats that brought us together. She is a little ray of sunshine and I instantly loved her style. The only thing is: as much as I like hats, I consider turbans a special breed. They are very common in the Middle East because they work well with the "modest fashion" movement (a very stylish alternative to the veil), but we don't wear them as easily in Europe.
When she showed me her collections, the first thing that came to my mind was the 30's, so it was an evidence that I should pair it with my grandmother's 1930's lace dress... I just needed to locate it in my suitcases! And thanks to this first long week-end of the year, I finally did!

As fun as it was to shoot these 2 items together, I still feel pretty shy about the turban.  I think it comes naturally to the ladies in the region, when for me it is more of an effort: Ascia from The Hybrids and Dee from Street Style Savyy are 2 great examples. Give me a cloche or a bibi and I am instantly in my element, but a turban... I need to work at it, it's just out of my comfort zone (such profound reflexions, this post is the exact opposite to the last one, oh well, can't be serious all the time!).



Oh, and the black and white picture I am looking at on the above photo? My grandmother, the one who purchased and wore that sexy 1930's dress. Way to go Nina!


For more turban, have a look at Brothers and Sisters website: www.brothersandsisters.biz
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