I have just returned from a lovely weekend break at one of the worlds most fashionable cities – Paris. If you follow me on Instagram (or if you don’t, would be great if you do, link is here and I’m always looking for new people to follow!) you will have seen my little pictures highlighting my Parisian adventure, from shopping trips, to tourist attractions, to food, and of course, to drink. As I try to incorporate a travel piece into the blog every now and again, I wanted to produce a Paris round up for you incase any of you have a trip planned to this city too. So here we go, a whatemmadid.com version of what to see and where to visit in Paris…
Firstly, I am touching on Montmartre as this is the place where I stayed. I tried to locate a hotel in a decent area for tourists, which is also close to the center, with good transport links, has a very busy vibe yet safe at the same time. Montmartre fell into all these categories, and we stayed in the Best Western Montmartre Alize hotel. It was right in the hustle and bustle yet seemed very quiet at night so we managed a good night sleep! Breakfast was included and it wasn’t a little ‘crappy’ one either – although a fairly small buffet style, the breakfast offered cereal, croissants, pain au chocolate, toast, meats, eggs, cheeses, yoghurts, coffees, teas and juices. Perfect to set you up for the morning.
We found our days were fairly long during our weekend in Paris, and we wasn’t returning to our hotel until around 7.30-8pm in the evening, therefore we tended to nip into Montmartre for our evening meal. To say it’s a very Parisian and typically French place, there were actually a number of Italian themed eateries, and we went out for pizza and spaghetti bolognaise for our Friday and Saturday evening meals! However, they rrestaurants catered to the French way of life – seats outside all facing the road, filled with smokers and Parisian’s just watching the world go by. We ate at two restaurants close by to Place de Clichy underground, but really in MontMartre you can’t go wrong for restaurants as they are everywhere!
Being in Montmartre means that after dinner, you can have a stroll down to see The Moulin Rouge all lit up at night, a beautiful tourist attraction. Shows can be fairly pricey so maybe book in advance if you have your heart set on actually going inside and spending an evening watching the entertainment.
Montmartre has a lot of little bars down many small side streets which seems to be very narrow and filled with locals rather than tourists. However, they offer happy hour from the hours of 7-9 and this applies to cocktails too which are very extravagant and tasty! We found ourselves in a little bar behind the Best Western Montmatre Alize for two evenings, and as we were ‘on holiday’ we over indulged in creamy cocktails – and wow – the French know how to make a lovely White Russian! 4.50 euros for one is a really good price when in happy hour too, so do try and go out drinking around this time too.
How adorable is the way they serve an Amaretto and Diet Coke? A sweet little jug for the coke so you can pour to your preffered portion. Very cute!
Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysee’s and The Louvre
After exploring our ‘local’ area, it was then onto the typical tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysees and The Louvre. I have visited these before but it was a good ten years ago, so I was more than happy to take my sister to see these typical French attractions. As the weather is going colder in October, I popped on a thick black fedora hat and snuggly Tory Twist Seam Check jumper from Missguided to embrace a day of walking around in the cold…
When visiting a lot of tourists attractions in one day, consider asking at the underground information desks for an all day ticket. We managed to get them for 7 euros for two of us which seemed ridiculously cheap, however they worked and we travelled around the central zones all day with them, so it’s worth asking rather than using the machines.
From the Eiffel Tower (where we managed to witness a marriage proposal – was expecting that!) we walked all the way to Saint Germain and then into The Latin Quarter. What a beautiful part of Paris! If your into designer shopping, quaint cafes, crepes and cakes, markets and unique stalls, then you are in the right place. This is a part of Paris filled with locals which oozes style and sophistication. You have huge standalone Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton stores, along with the very first Diptique store, as well as independant Parisian designer boutiques retailing exclusive collections. We even passed a live brass band on the street, followed by rows of market stalls selling the prettiest of gifts – embroidered slippers, clothes bags and garments, and handmade soups smelling of every scent possible. Oh and I almost forgot, this is where I lost myself to Sephora hell – yes that’s right, put me into this cosmetic genius store and I won’t appear for hours! If your a cosmetic junkie like myself then you will have to visit this store if you head to Paris. Why they haven’t launched into the UK yet is beyond me.
Oh and did I mention how amazing the patisseries over there are? My sweet tooth was crying out in joy…
If you have a love and genuine interest for art, design and arcitechture, then it is worth spending a few hours visiting The Louvre. The building is iconic in itself, with its beautiful glass pyramid. There are so many different types of exhibitions and displays to check out – ancient history from all parts of the world being one of the main focal points- that you could easily get lost in The Louvre!
If you have time, do try to visit the legendary Laduree for it’s world famous macarons. Laduree on the Champs Elysee has queues that literally lap the building, so maybe avoid that one unless you have time on your side. Not only do they do small standard sized macarons, they also do giant ones that look like mini sandwiches! Amazing!
I have to include this as it is really quite funny… if your feet are killing after hours of going up and down the Champs Elysee for a spot of shopping like what we did, beware of the cafe prices! We treated ourselves like mini queens with a cappucino, glass of chablis and a selection of nibbles including cakes, olives and nuts but were hit with a very high bill! A glass of Chablis cost 18 euros, and my coffee alone was 12 euros… they tasted great… but so they should for that price. Ouch.
A place that is worth paying a visit to on a Sunday is Le Marais. Note that shops are all generally closed on a Sunday so don’t leave your shopping until the last minute, or else you’ll be slightly unhappy to see rows of closed stores. Le Marais however, is bustling on a Sunday. The shops are more boutique style, but it’s all about the dining experience – it seems to be very popular for falafel eating and outdoor crepe stalls, and lots of cute coffee shops! The streets are cobbled and the locals are out in force. It’s a real beautiful insight to Paris and a place I wished I had more time to explore.
I visited Paris as a congratulations weekend away for my twin sister, and was really happy with all the places we visited and the hotel I chose to stay in. If your planning a trip to this fashion capital anytime soon, do feel free to drop me an email or tweet to ask about anything in more detail, and I’ll happily help!
When it comes to skincare and beauty treatments, the furthest I had ever gone before was Microdermabrasion. For those not too sure what that is – it is basically a procedure where tiny crystals are swept over the face to a certain degree of pressure which deeply exfoliates off the top layers of your skin to reveal fresher, clearer and a more glowing complexion. I have always suffered from the occasional break out, therefore without make-up I have red marks and little reminders of past spots. As much as microdermabrasion gives my skin a real radiant feel and smoother texture, it is only really a nice short term pick me up for my skin, not an ideal procedure to tackle the texture of my skin and marks from previous blemishes.
I spent a lot of time last year looking into a procedure called Dermaroller, which is a much more intensive treatment that delivers permanent results and really tackles sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars and stretchmarks. For me, this seemed to be the procedure I needed to undergo next, in particular as I had spent 8 months in Australia and the sun damage to my skin only made my skin colour and texture look worse. Some people would maybe disagree, but you know your skin yourself better than anyone, and I knew that Microdermabrasion was only merely touching the sides for me, and a more intense treatment was worth giving a go.
I used to live in Castlefield in Manchester, therefore had seen the SkinViva clinic open it’s doors a while ago, making it the first place I inquired to when I saw the long list of treatments on offer.
SkinViva have a philosophy that looking good isn’t about looking young- it’s about restoring inner confidence whilst enhancing external appearance. They specialise in anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers, dermaroller treatments, hyperhidrosis and thread vein treatments, botox, eyelash enhancement, semi permanent make-up, tear troughs, non surgical brow-lifts, temple hollows and non surgical rhinoplasty.
I arrived for my dermaroller treatment 3 weeks ago. The reason I left it a number of weeks before blogging about my experience is that I thought it would be more beneficial to report on the improvements I have seen since having the procedure. The first step is for a numbing cream to be applied to your entire face and left to ‘work its magic’ for around 45 minutes. This is a really strange feeling if you have never had this done before (like I hadn’t), a little bit went onto my lip and the weird feeling or not being able to feel your lips is un-describable! The even stranger feeling is going into the procedure room and having the cream all wiped off (it sits quite thick above the skin) – it’s someone removing something you can’t feel! However, this cream is so beneficial for the dermaroller treatment, it basically acts as a numbing barrier so that you are more tolerant to the pain, meaning that the procedure can be carried out effectively.
The actual dermaroller is a mini roller with thousands of needle columns that are rolled across the face in lots of mini ‘union jack’ patterns to stimulate the skins natural healing response and the production of collagen and elastin is increased, thus plumping the skin. This is why it is recommended for anyone like me with marks and scars from old breakouts. It is technically causing damage to your own skin so that your skins natural healing process can kick into action and produce new skin which in time will reveal fresher, plumper and smoother skin.
The main question you will all want to know – does it hurt? At first no, you can feel tiny pricks but the roller moves so fast that it doesn’t cause any feelings of pain. It is only after the roller has been roller over the same area for a while that it can start to feel a little sore, in which I just told my Doctor, and then he moved onto another area.
The procedure lasts about 25 minutes, and a soothing, calming cream to help encourage healing is applied straight after. Yes, you have a red face afterwards resembling that of about 30 minutes on the sunbed, and it does feel extremely tight with a slight sting. Don’t expect to look ‘normal’ approaching the evening after having this procedure -although the good thing about this is that the downtime is very very minimal, you will have a red face for approx 2-3 days after the treatment. It is strongly advised to treat your skin like a babys for the 7 days following, so that means no make-up for 48 hours and keep applying a healing/soothing gel to protect your skin post dermaroller as best you can. The below photo’s are not the best quality and I am definitely not a big fan of posting these up on here, but I wanted you to see the redness and blotchiness that comes out following the dermaroller, which really isn’t bad given it’s an effective treatment. The photos don’t show a clear viewing, but you can see redness and blotches if you look close…
Here are my results from 3 weeks after. Bear in mind, you don’t see or feel the most results until 6 weeks after, and that 3 treatments of dermaroller are usually recommended for visible results.
Week 1: Skin was red and felt tight. Felt very dry with slight flaking.
Week 2: No more redness, no more tight skin, no more dryness or flaking. Skin feels really smooth and half way through the second week, my face had a nice glow and appeared more fresher.
Week 3: Today is 3 weeks since I had the treatment, and my skin feels smooth and clearer, with an obvious glow and clarity improvement. I can’t tell yet about the texture and scarring, I should be able to report on that at week 6. Red marks from previous breakouts have faded much quicker than ever before, and all in all, I am very happy with how my skin is looking at just week 3!
I have booked in for my second treatment which takes place in 4 weeks time (you must always leave it 6 weeks before each treatment) so I look forward to updating you then about the improvements.
A huge thank you to Dr Tim Pearce who carried out my procedure, who is a UK qualified doctor and SkinViva’s clinical director. He specialises in non-surgical aesthetic rejuvenation. He has over 7 years experience in cosmetic medicine, and has performed thousands of treatments. Dr Tim also is a trainer of botox and dermal filler injection techniques to fellow clinicians entering the aesthetics industry from the UK and internationally. He carried out my treatment really effectively and made me feel at ease, and I look forward to him carrying out procedure number two next month!
If you are looking for any skin rejuvenation treatments, and live in the North West, take a look at SkinViva and their team of professional doctors. I found the prices extremely reasonable and the professionalism is highly recommended. There is more information available here, but do feel free to tweet me or email me any questions regarding SkinViva!
The other week, I was invited to attend the grand opening of fashion store Outfit, which took place on Friday 17th October at Denton’s Crown Point, to celebrate the latest Arcadia shopping paradise! Those of you in the ‘fashion-know’ will understand that Arcadia is the company that houses Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Burton and Evans, and I have often visited the Outfit store in Manchester’s Cheetham Hill(Manchester Fort) a number of times to get my Arcadia fix. So the news that another Outfit store was opening in my city was an absolute joy to a shopaholics ears!
One of the best bits about this Friday evening launch was that with an October new store launch, it means glitz, glamour and all round girlyness to embrace the A/W’14 party season!
The new store is beautiful, with different brands sitting in all corners, focusing on ladieswear on ground level and mens on the first floor. Launching in time for the thick of Autumn/Winter ’14, all brands were kitted out with sparkly attire and wintery coats, with autumnal shades of wines, browns, greens, creams, blacks and burgundy’s dominating the colour palette. I spied so many beautiful Christmas party inspired dresses, and also lots of faux leather and faux fur which is huge again this season, that I actually made about 3 different trips to the fitting rooms! Arms loaded with too many beautiful garments…
I managed to reign in my need for so many pretty party pieces and put my sensible shopper head on instead, meaning I managed to do a little shop consisting of some basic jumpers for work, a roll neck grey fitted top, a simple black cropped top for evenings out, and a pair of burgundy culottes from Topshop (seeing as they are the ‘trousers of the season’ at present!). I was a little unsure about culottes when they first ‘made a comeback’ this season – sometimes I either like my legs to be fully covered and warm with full length trousers, or all on show in a pair of shorts or skirts, whit anything sitting inbetween not always appealing to me. However, this time around I am actually loving them – team a pair up with a little top and heels and you have a sensible, sophisticated outfit.
The new Outfit store is situated in a retail park heading towards the North East of Manchester, therefore is set outside of the city and probably best advised to drive there for a shopping spree. I actually got there via public transport as my car wasn’t with me when I finished work, and I found it a really quick and easy route, but it would be an ideal place to take a Saturday shopping trip to in the car as it’s free parking, surrounded by lots of other stores and food places, making it a nice weekend/after work visit.
I am a real Arcadia girl – I have always been a sucker for Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins in particular for as long as I can remember, as a 15 year old girl trying to get into fashion- therefore Outfit stores are a god send to me. Retailing catwalk inspired trends and basics, along with extensive beauty, shoes and accessories collections, these brands are fantastic for the young, savvy fashionista. If your looking for particular fashion – i.e plus size, petites or classic styles, you’ll find Evans and Wallis do the job very well for this too, meaning at Outfit there is literally something for everyone.
I’ll be coming back here when I can finally embrace the Christmas count down and it’s officially time for me to get my party dresses!
I recently attended an event with a difference, and wanted to share with you the fun and games that was created from it which made it quite a unique evening. Hosted at the Renaissance hotel in Manchester, myself and approx 40 bloggers headed to our own suite to indulge in an evening of murder mysteries, 3 course meals, wine, and a mind boggling session of ‘Whodunnit?’…
To celebrate the launch of BGO’s new murder mystery game (which you can read on the BGO blog here) us bloggers were greeted with some fizz on arrival, before taking to our tables to watch a ‘Who Killed His Lordship’ murder mystery played out by a great team of actors. The murder mystery was incredibly interactive, encouraging everyone on the tables to work as a team to assess the clues we picked up along the way, fill out paperwork, get the papers ‘checked’ by the detectives and Police… a really good way of socialising yet brain busting too!
I have to confess – I am useless at games. However, the cleverly planned out sets of fingerprint tests, lists of suspects and evidence packs given to us throughout made it more fun for everyone and we all had an amazing time trying to figure out the mystery and work with the clues. Even myself who kept getting wrapped up with meeting new bloggers and indulging in the food!
We were treated to a lovely 3 course meal – which included a chocolate cake desert to die for – and the night rounded up with one of the tables being announced as the winner. Unfortunately it wasn’t us, however, we all had a fun time trying!
I can’t tell you ‘whodunnit’ as that would ruin the surprise in case any of you decide to venture out to one of these events yourselves. A Murder Mystery evening is a much more fun and exciting evening than you may think, so definitely look into it if your looking at gathering friends together to participate in an evening with a difference. A big thank you to The Murder Mystery Company and JoesBloggers for including me in the evening! I wore a simple navy blue H&M dress for the event, and a chunky monochrome necklace from Primark. How statement is this collar? I absolutely love it, purchased it last month and I’m sure it was only £7!
Exciting news today – I’m off to the fashion capital that is PARIS! For the next 3 days I’ll be acting like a typical a tourist in the beautiful French city, possibly consuming more than my body weight in pastries and coffee, spending money I don’t have on chic Parisian fashion, and trekking around the city camera in tow!
So as the blog will be quiet for the next three days, I wanted to thank you all for your support lately as the site has been growing again, and offer an exclusive October fashion and beauty themed giveaway. There is an eclectic mix of products and brands all bundled into this fantastic competition for a lucky reader to win…
x2 pairs of crystal drop earrings, false eyelashes, x2 Collection bright eye shadows, Collection silver and grey eye palette, x2 eyelash and eye jewel sets, BYS Candy and lilacs eyeshadows, Lee Stafford frizz control spray, Rimmel eyeshadows, Rimmel mascara, x2 metallic Rimmel nail polishes, Aromotherapy Shampoo and Conditioner, x2 Colour Extreme colour hair sprays, BB Cream, Skin Primer, Models Own eyeshadows, moisturiser, Grey Goose silver bird cocktail stirrers and lots of sweet treats!
Just RT & Follow @what_emma_did_ on Twitter! Winner announced in a week!
As most of you may know, October is a month where lots of support goes into Breast Cancer prevention and raising awareness. It’s not just people like you and me that get together and try to encourage support- it’s also a fantastic range of well known brands, companies and organisations who also put effort in to support. So today’s post is a little one to let you know that natural beauty brand Balance Me are supporting by providing 10% of every Rose Otto product sold to go towards Brest Cancer Care. These funds will go towards raising money for those living with breast cancer.
So if you are looking for a way of contributing to the good cause, and chose to do this through a more fashion and beauty themed way, then take a look at the luscious Rose Otto range, with products such as hand cream, body wash, body cream, body oil and body balms starting from £9.
Balance me is proud to be taking part in the Breast Cancer Care Moving Forward campaign – so take a look here for more details. For everyone who has been supporting so far -great news!
The other week, I was introduced to new clothing brand – Your Dreamcatcher. I’m a big lover of loungewear and love to wear comfy vest tops or slouchy jumpers, so the product range from this brand is a lovely addition for my wardrobe. More so, because of its logo and graphic prints focus – I love to wear loungewear that features edgy logos or printed graphics that appear bold and neat (I despise novelty prints as you all know.)
The collection has a colour palette mostly made up of white, black and grey, which is again a very typical ‘Emma’ colour scheme. I find it makes the collection look fresh, modern and clean, and I also love the fact that this is a good quality clothing brand that’s really affordable!
If you’re into the whole whimsical, dreamy themed lifestyle, you’ll probably also be a fan of this brand too. You should check out the range of Stirling Silver jewellery as well, which again is all dreamcatcher inspired for pretty, feminine styling inspiration.
So on Friday, I’m off to Paris! Another popular fashion capital on this planet. I haven’t been to Paris since I was 19, which is almost 10 years ago, so I’m really looking forward to visiting again. When I last roamed the city, I was a second year Fashion Marketing and Journalism student, working part time in retail with this huge appetite and drive to work in the fashion world. I will feel quite nostalgic returning almost a decade later, being able to say I have achieved all of my dreams (well not all… there’s never enough dreams you can have!)
I recently did a bit of a jumper shop as I’m aware how cold it will be there towards the end of October, and I’m also aware how fashionable the city is so I need a number of designer pieces to prepare me! I’m a big fan of luxury designer fashion site Avenue 32, don’t get me wrong I don’t earn designer wages, but if there’s a designer hero piece I need to save up for or pop on a wish list for a present, it’s a reliable place for me to visit. Take a look at this stylish yet snugly jumper from J W Anderson.
I love the simplicity and chic styling of J W Anderson, and I think the sweater us going to be my splash out, staple winter wear item! I’m also hunting down a fabulous faux fur coat for my trip – how amazing are these styles below from Shrimps?
A little more in my price range, I’m seeking a new stylish bag to take with me for my Parisian adventure so of course I would check out the beautiful collections of Lulu Guinness. I’m not usually a fan of anything slightly ‘novelty’ but this designer collection is my exception to all rules. The cute 3 D lips and quirky lipsticks that make the main features on Lulu Guinness bags are utterly cute – the sweetest addition to an evening outfit.
Anyone got any Paris tips for me, or recommendations of super stylish places to visit? Paris – I’m on my way!
A quick flash post today to highlight two of my favourite eye products which give your really amazing, pop-out eyes! I won’t bore you for long about the first one, as it’s a product I have used for ages and have featured on the blog twice before. Yes… time to big it up again… MAC eyebrow pencil in ‘lingering’ really is the best. Like, seriously gives you so much precision when penciling in your eyebrows. As I often point out on here, my eyebrows are naturally black which has been the bain of my life being a natural fair-blonde girl. So I don’t really need to darken my brows, but just to shape them slightly.
If you want a fail safe, easy to use, fantastic eyebrow pencil, then look no further. MAC in lingering- I won’t mention it again for a while I promise!
And in terms of lashes, I have found a new favorite! Available at Boots and online at FalseLashes.co.uk, these Eye Candy lashes in 005 are perfect. They cost around £4.50 and are the most impressive lashes I have used for a while at that value. Don’t get me wrong – I love Eyelure and MAC lashes too, but I don’t always have the money to spend on them as I’m very careless with my false eyelashes (yeah, I’m the girl that parties in them, falls asleep with them on, and wake up with scraggy, messy lashes that I pull off and throw in the bin).
These stuck on my natural lash line really well and gave added volume and length, without looking too drastic. Natural, but with a touch of party glam. Love love love them. I just happened to spot them in Boots and picked them up as a last minute purchase. Ignore the signs of glue on the below photos, I took these snaps as soon as I applied the lashes therefore the glue wasn’t 100% dry.
If your a lover of all things classy, ladylike and pretty, then you would have loved the event that was held at Manchester’s swanky Manchester House the other week. Hosted by Little Black Dress, it was a celebration of the new Little Black Dress collection – the brands first debut collection. The event brought together bloggers, press, models and celebrities to sip champagne and nibble on canapes all under one uber-modern roof in Spinningfields. I have had worst week nights…
Celebrating iconic style, the collection is beautiful and entirely tailored to something I would shop – I love classic and timeless pieces, and even in the Summer months I’m strutting around in black dresses when I should be embracing colours.
The collection is designed for the modern fashionista, fusing together the classic heritage of the LBD with contemporary features, sumptuous fabrics and unexpected detailing. The addition I loved the most though with this breath taking collection is that the range is all inspired by icons – and we all have them – you know when you lust after a stylish woman’s fashion sense and the way she steps out in a dress that takes her into fashion history?
With inspiration from some of today’s most stylish women, and some of histories never forgotten fashionista’s such as Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana, the 20 piece collections features a dress to suit everyone’s tastes. Whether it;s short and sassy or sleek and sophisticated, the dresses scream beauty. There were so many I loved, but I did have a top 5 of course. If you take a look at the collection online at the Little Black Dress website, I personally love The Rita Dress, The Jessica Dress, The Gemma Dress, The Jennifer Dress and The Kate Dress.
It was also such a fantastic evening to mingle with some of Manchester’s finest fashion and beauty blogging ladies, like the girls below… (As you can tell I wasn’t equipped with my highest pair of heels..)
Following up from the event, I ordered the beautiful Gemma dress, which has also been worn by MIC star Lucy Watson. With its fitted bodycon shape, low back and long sleeves, I feel like it’s been designed especially for me!
If your looking for some LBD inspiration, or simply seeking a dress for this season’s Christmas parties that won’t date quickly in this fast fashion world, then take a look at the collection here!