My unlikely obsession with this niche Canadian paint brand came about thanks to a 10€ buggy. I know right? Total steal. I saw it advertised on a local Facebook selling site and snapped it up. So off I toddled with my trusty sat nav into deepest darkest Charente in search of Sue and her bargain buggy. Not only did I get a fab 3-wheeler, it turns out Sue is the French retailer for both Annie Sloan chalk paint from the UK and Fusion mineral paint in her converted stable block near Poitiers. And so the obsession was born.
I had dabbled with chalk paint in the UK, but I find it hard to apply, the waxing is laborious and we’re not really going for that ‘shabby chic’ look that chalk paint is so good for.
Enter stage left, Fusion. I was immediately drawn to their sludgy earthy tones and, I’ll be honest, by the fact that it paints onto pretty much any surface without need for primer, or top coat. It’s a one-stop shop. Varnished wood, metal, even fabric. It’s quite a thin consistency but covers a-mazingly and is ‘self levelling’, which in reality means if you’re a slap-dash painter like me you can slosh it on (it doesn’t drag like chalk paint), and voila – no brush marks. Drips can be a problem but you really need less paint on your brush than you think. They sell special brushes designed to be used with their paints, which I thought was a load of rubbish to begin with but after roadtesting them they really do help minimise paint wastage and get a better finish.
Here’s a couple of junk-shop pieces that I’ve painted in their ‘Sterling’ grey (my favourite hue):
I painted the hideous yellow bathroom cabinets in their amazing putty coloured ‘Algonquin’ for a quick fix till we renovate the bathrooms, and this bargain 10€ mirror for my dressing table:
They do have waxes and ‘finishers’, so you can create different effects with them but I love the low sheen, high pigment finish it gives straight from the pot.
We haven’t just used it for renovating furniture, we’ve done a lot of our woodwork in it too as it’s so hard-wearing. I love the original door furniture next to ‘Bedford’:
I will keep you posted over the summer months as I will be back in France smothering any solid surface in more beautiful hues – the house has its own instagram page: @laretraite_fr if you want to see more shots of how it’s coming along.
I’m off this afternoon to get my hair done for the first time in forever. Only mums will truly appreciate what a ‘fist pump’ moment this is. 2 WHOLE hours without someone attached to my boob, wiping anyone’s bum or being asked 1829 questions about volcanoes and pyraclastic flow.
My hair is just coming out of that new mum funk; it fell out in clumps after having my second and no amount of backcombing would give it any oomph. I now have that downy, fluffy regrowth and thanks to the amazing John Frieda volume range, a bit more swish going on.
So, here’s the image I’m taking with me to show my stylist.
Okay, so there is pretty much nothing I don’t want in this pic. The brows, bee-stung lips, that coat’s quite nice too…. but let’s just focus on the hair – the perfect mum cut.
I love the darker roots and lighter whispers around the face, like a good instagram filter it surrounds you with a warming halo, so even if your skin is dog-tired, your hair gives it that back-lit glow. The blunt cut is great if like me you need to add the appearance of volume back to new-mum hair and having a heavy fringe helps me look like I’ve got some semblance of style, even if my hair is 90% dry shampoo and it’s 8am on the school run. See? The perfect mum hair.
Before then, I’ve got a bathroom to paint and to start packing for our France trip next week… just me, the boys and a 15-hour journey. Gulp.
I walked into Space NK in Bristol on Saturday for a quick nose around and walked out 10 minutes later with this glorious new velvety matte lippie from the Lipstick Queen. It comes in a midnight blue velvet box, then a rather glamorous gold casing. The bullet itself has a really silky, mousse-y texture, it’s really lightweight and although it is matte, it goes on smoothly and doesn’t dry out (it does have a rather off-putting minty, tingly smell/feel that I’m not that fond of, would have rathered a rose/floral scent to go with the old-school Hollywood glamour feel). When I swatched it on my hand in the shop it left pigment on my hand for the rest of the day and I’ve been wearing it since 8am this morning and it’s nearly lunch and it’s stayed pretty well I think:
Because of the texture it does have a tendency to bleed slightly (Lipstick Queen does a great invisible lip liner to fix this) and I have found the best way to apply is either with my finger, just blotting it into my lips for more of a ‘wash’, or in a dabbing motion to build up the colour gradually.
It is a classic pretty raspberry, but not too cold. I have been wearing Tom Ford’s corally ‘Ginger Fawn’ and pillar box ‘Smoke Red’ pretty consistently this winter, along with my beloved Laura Mercier palette but I think this is going to be my staple spring lippie this year.
I picked these two up in Escentual.com’s current ‘French Pharmacy Brand Sale’ this week. I’ve been using Bioderma’s Crealine H20 micellar water (the original pink one, for sensitive skin) for aaaggges, picking up triple packs in bulk when across the channel. This time though, I took advantage of the generous 1/3 off discount (on till the end of June I think) to try out the ‘Sebium H20’ version – for combination/blemish-prone skin.
For those unfamiliar with the micellar texture/formula: it is a water solution, infused with teeny tiny oil droplets, that emulsify the dirt/grease/make-up on your skin and clean it away is a really light, non-clogging but super efficient way. There is nothing better after a day in the city: soak 2-3 cotton pads in micellar water straight from the fridge, thoroughly cleanse the face and throat and watch the daily dirt disappear. You face is left super soft, not squeaky or dry.
In general, the French pharmacy brands do this formula best – the Roche Posay one is great, as is the Caudalie one. The Sebium H2O one has been great for regulating my oily t-zone which seems to go haywire in the heat and isn’t astringent like other ‘oily skin’ cleansers seem to be.
I was running low on my beloved Invisible Zinc Jet Set spray tan, so picked up Bioderma’s Autobronzant with a 1/3 off, too.
I didn’t even know Bioderma did fake tan, but this formula is goooooood. The spray is a light mist that gives continual coverage even when held upside down, so you can spritz away and get an even coverage (I always use my trusty St. Tropez mitt though, to buff away any streaks/runs). Straight away you get a sheeny, glow and after 3-5 hours a super natural, non-orange colour develops. I would say a couple of consecutive day’s application would be needed to get some real colour, but that to me is a good thing, meaning you can layer it up when you want a deeper tan. The smell just reminds me of expensive sun cream, after the tan has developed there was zero whiff of DHA. My find of the summer I reckon.
How stunning are these bejewelled peepers at Dior SS13? For a big event with a sleek pony (a la Dior) and a vintage floor-length black gown, this would look IN-CREDIBLE. It has a feeling of Black Swan about it. Well, Black Swan’s happier sister perhaps.
Less ‘out there’ is the full-lid wash of metallics, as seen at Chanel SS13:
I love it twinned with the graphic black liner – Estee Lauder have just launched their Pure Colour Stay-On Shadow Paint which are perfect for getting this look. The mousse eyeshadow gives crease-less coverage in molten metallic shades. I love the midnight blue, too.
And the one that I didn’t expect to love: orange:
This is a MAC SS13 colour (here for TCN at Barcelona Fashion Week), doesn’t it make her eyes pop? I would use this MAC pigment wet, applied with a liner brush, to get the intensity of colour.
This season I’m really loving paring neon brights with my mainly monochromatic wardrobe, and this could be a great addition. Worn with dewy pared-down skin and a slick of mascara I think it could be a great easy-to-wear trend. What do you think?
There is a whole board of inspiration over on Pinterest, I’d love to hear what colours you’re trying this season…