Two things that I love are black on black on black (...on black) & magazine freebies, so this month's UK Glamour definitely delivered. Black nail polish has been a staple of mine since my ~witchy~ childhood, but as I've gotten older, I like to think of my propensity for noir more as an influence of parisienne street style, rather than the addams family/the craft-influenced dark days of my youth. I've gone through countless amount of bottles of the black stuff, starting out with 99 cent bottles of wet n wild, and eventually graduating onto Essie's licorice. When I saw this shade I knew I just had to have it. I've been super pleased with all the nails inc. shades I've used in the past (Motcomb Street is another shade I love - it's basically a navy that looks...black.) so I knew this would be no exception. It's everything I could ever want in a nail polish...dark, creamy, glossy, and opaque in one coat. I've only had it on for a day, but no sign of any chipping just yet. It's perfection and would make Morticia (or Fiona Goode) very proud.
From the City of Angels to the Big Smoke to the Emerald Isle, I am on the move yet again. I don't think I'm sad to leave London behind (I know I will return someday soon). My life has become somewhat nomadic and I think the gypsy lifestyle is rather becoming. Wanderlust has been the motivation behind all my recent life decisions, and I know my thirst for experience and knowledge will all contribute to my personal development. I am not lost. I am not in search of a place of belonging or a proverbial home. I'm beginning to recognize that home has nothing to do with latitude and longitude, but rather is a state of mind that I experience when I am at peace and in balance. I need to cultivate a sense of home and belonging within myself, and I have reached the conclusion that traveling is what I need. I'm so excited to see what the coming months will bring. I am determined to find my own sense of personal enlightenment, being a stranger in foreign cities and wandering unknown streets.
I've begun the long process of dissertation writing...something I should have probably started months ago, but c'est la vie. Now I can no longer deny the existence of it's impending due date. Thank heavens I've managed to come up with an idea that I find incredibly fascinating. I'll be writing about Fitzgerald's use of physical landscapes as social and political commentary in a selection of his novels and short stories...an idea that just hit me out of the blue and one that my supervisor seems to think is quite an 'excellent idea'. The roaring twenties, or the Jazz Age, as Fitzgerald liked to refer to it as, is one of my favorite time periods. The era has been a bit overexposed as of late thanks to the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby (which I still can't decide if I loved) but I have always been captivated by it. Fitzgerald is my all time favorite writer...he just has a magical way of capturing and immortalizing moments of beautiful melancholy and profundity through his lyrical and evocative words.
I don't even know what I'm trying to do. Those last few blog posts were so not me. I was trying to be someone and something that I'm not. Fuck that. It's 5 am, I haven't slept and my mind is not at peace. It's real time right now. My first instincts are to delete the last few posts...sure they reflect my opinions and what I've been up to, but they are not me, but I'll leave them there as a reminder to myself not to try be something I'm not. I don't even know what I want. I want to say that I don't know who I am, but the truth is, I'm not sure if that's true. I think I do know who I am, and I just don't like the answer. What I want, that's another thing altogether. I thought London was the answer. I told people that coming here was not an escape, but we all know it was. God knows what I expected from this place. It's beautiful and I hate it and it's ugly and I love it. I will never belong to this place and it will never belong to me. It will always have a place in my heart, but it will never be home. Home has never been home either and I think I've been predestined to a life of wandering, from one place to another. I don't possess the ability to form connections with people and maybe that's what I dislike about myself. I'm not unhappy, not depressed, yet I revel in my own melancholy. I find sadness beautiful and so I don't do anything about it. Silence is my softest, warmest blanket. Solitude is all I know and she's my best friend. All I can think of these days is Paris. It's my new London. When I was in LA, I convinced myself that London would change everything. It didn't and that's because I didn't let it. I tell myself that Paris will change everything but it won't. Because I don't want it to. I'm afraid I'll exhaust the list and run out of places to run to. No city is going to give me what I want. I'm reaching for the stars.
I've loved French culture - style, film, cuisine - for as long as I can remember, and some of my favorite courses in school were my French language classes, but as of late it's gotten a lot more intense. I am dying to visit the country sometime this summer and hopefully will be able to sooner rather than later. I'd love to go back to Paris, but I'm also wishing to explore more of Provence and the French countryside. I know that when I do, the visit will not be complete without an homage to a Pharmacie...I can't even begin to explain my love for French skincare. It's just the best and my skin has improved so much since I started using these products.The rest of the world has caught on and most brands are available in other countries, but I just would love to explore some of the lesser known brands and products. In the meantime, here's a few of my favorites!
(Side Note: I've just ordered an embarrassing amount of lifestyle books all with titles that promise to teach me how to be a French girl and I've come to the conclusion that Jambon Beurre may just be the perfect food.)
Clockwise, from Top Left
1. La Roche Posay Effaclar H - My favorite moisturizer. It's rich and hydrating, but because it's formulated for oily skin, it is not greasy. Amazing if your skin is oily, but also dehydrated!
2. Avene Cleanance High Protection Sunscreen SPF30 - The best SPF I've used. Just enough protection for day to day use, it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Plus its super water resistant. Perfect for those long and sweaty summer days.
3. L'Occitance Rose Hand Cream - not exactly from the pharmacie, but I love L'Occitance skin products in general, and this hand cream is so softening, and it absorbs in to the skin right away, providing long lasting moisture. And the smell is divineeee.
4. Caudalie Eau de Beaute - To be honest, I don't know if this has done anything interms of improving my skin, but I love the scent of it, and find the misting action so refreshing. Totally gives new life to makeup that isn't looking as fresh as you would like it to.
5. Bioderma Crealine h2O - I love this to remove all my makeup. It's not the best for waterproof mascara, but given how gentle and non-irritating this is, it does a pretty solid job.
6. La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - This is the absolute star here. I use this as night all over my face and it leaves my skin so soft and blemish free. I also use it during the day as a spot treatment if I do happen to get a spot, and this fixes the problem so quickly. I will never be without this!
7. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm - Hands down best lip balm I've ever used. The texture and scent are just to die for and it keeps my lips moisturized for HOURS. I have lips that have the tendency to dry out and get flaky, but that has not happened since I discovered this miracle product. I keep it by my bedside and apply morning and night. LOVE!
8. La Roche Posay Nutritic Lip Balm - I keep this in my handbag just for touch ups, which isn't really that often since the Nuxe is amazing. Still I like to carry this around with me just in case, since I find the stick more convenient and hygenic for on the go!
Next up on my wishlist is Klorane Hair Care! Any recommendations?
This weekend, I finally made the trip over to Brockley Market. I've been living in London for nearly 6 months, so there is no excuse for how long it took me to get over to there. I suppose the call of bigger, more well known markets such as Borough, Portobello and Brick Lane got the better of me. Brockley Market is much smaller than the aforementioned places, but what it lacks in size and popularity is certainly made up for in the quality of the goods on offer.
There were quite a few stalls that I was interested in trying out, but as I am trying to not be such a fatty, I had to force restraint...I use the term restraint loosely, because I still went all out. I just went all out for one meal rather than having multiple meals at once. The decision was tough, but I finally settled on a burger from Mother Flipper.
I present to you...The Double Candy Bacon Flipper. Isn't she a beauty?
Now, I must preface this by saying that I am a MASSIVE burger lover. I'm from California for goodness sake! I practically was raised on In-N-Out. So how does Britain's take on the humble burger rate? Pretty damn good. This is only the second burger I've had in London (the first was a random angus burger during Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park) and I am very impressed. It's simple enough, but that's pretty much how to best burgers are. Deliciously soft toasted brioche bun, lettuce, red onion, ketchup, and pickles accompany the American cheese (!), 2 perfectly seasoned beef patties, and the star of the show - candied bacon. Now that's kind of just a fancy way of saying smoked streaky bacon cooked in brown sugar, but the result is quite magical. Bacon is probably one of my favorite things about life in general, so you can put bacon on socks and I would probably enjoy it. I would have liked it if the bacon was a bit sweeter, just because I love the combination of sweet and savory, but even so, it was absolutely delicious. The flavours just worked so well together and I enjoyed every last bite of it.
They've got a new little beauty on their menu, The Mushroom Swiss Flipper, which I'm also very keen to sample. Apparently there is quite a burger movement going on here at the moment, so I'm definitely going to try some of the other burger joints I've been hearing about.
Even though I was thoroughly satisfied aprèsburger, I decided that it would be rude if I didn't have any dessert. After checking out what was on offer, I decided to go for the Dog Nuts (not too sure about the name. It's a cute play on 'donuts' but...) with Salted Caramel from Fish Dog. All I had to hear was salted caramel and I was sold.
I'm pleased to report that this was also a huge winner. The warm cinnamon sugar donuts were fried to perfection, and the sauce was just amazing. Usually salted caramel is never salted quite enough for me, but you could definitely taste the sea salt in this sauce. The saltiness balanced out the donut so well and prevented it from becoming sickly sweet.
I'm so pleased that I finally visited Brockley Market...it's so much more intimate and less-stressful than the bigger markets and the quality is superb. There are so many other stalls that I didn't get to sample, but I know it won't be long before I go back. Who knows, it might even become part of my Saturday morning ritual. I have my eye on the Mexican burrito truck and there is a Korean buttermilk chicken sandwich that sounds amazing. I have a feeling I will be going back very soon.
Brockley Market is in the Lewisham College parking lot every Saturday from 10-2.