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Summer Hair Survival

Where is summer?

Ergh. It’s raining, its June, it sucks! It really is a Poodle hair ‘mare trying to keep your locks under control in temperamental weather conditions. My mane has been going through a whole spectrum of disasters in recent days, from sun frazzled to rain frizzed to wind beaten lank! I’ve had enough, and have decided to sniff out the products that will get me through an undependable summer… hopefully these will also bring you some hair happiness too!

First things first, what summer hair requires is control. I like to slick my hair back for work days to keep smart and groomed but to ensure hair style endurance you will need L’Oreal’s Elnett which you can get online via Boots at a reduced bargain price of £4.89. This is the ultimate in hair sprays and it doesn’t have such a good press for nothing! It is simply one of the most reliable, firm holding, easy to brush out, overall amazing hair miracles.

Another good one is Aussie’s Dual Personality Hairspray – Hi Shine +Hi Hold, which is good value and adds brilliant shine whilst holding your locks in place for a good few hours – see it online at http://www.aussiehair.com/.

Next up, is conditioner, as hair in good condition will be easier to manage, maintain and will undoubtedly behave itself much better! Which conditioner is best for your hair will depend on a few factors… your hair type, its current condition and if you have coloured your hair at all. A brilliant all rounder that works wonders on flat hair is Charles Worthington’s Full Volume Conditioner from £4.55, whilst curly hair will ring with health after this daily conditioner for curls from John Frieda – Curl Around, promises to help protect hair from frizz producing weather conditions, with its magical silicone formula Frieda promises you soft, smooth, defined curls – check it out here http://www.johnfrieda.co.uk/products_frizz_ease_condition_curl.asp.

Finally, a summer shearing is always a good idea. I’m soon booking in for a new relooking as the French say. A trim off the ends will make your hair feel and look a thousand times more healthy and will take some of the weight off that can make your hair look flat, dull and lifeless. Whenever I get my locks lopped in Paris, I head for Camille Albane where the staff are always polite and the cuts are always just right http://www.camillealbane.com/, but if you’re Thames-side, I thoroughly recommend celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton’s own salon in Covent Garden’s Henrietta Street http://www.andrewbarton.tv/ . I believe that Chanel once said that a woman who has a hair cut is about to make important changes in her life. So whether those important changes relate to your shampoo and conditioner or your career or even your love life, a little snippy snippy can make a whole lot of life changing wow!

With love from

The Poodle

Posted in Andrew Barton, Charles Worthington, Hair care, John Frieda | Leave a comment

Sex and The City 2

So, I guess it’s time to talk honestly about Sex and the City 2. The ultimate chick flick movie we have been counting down to. The hype grew to epic proportions with the sneak preview pics of Miranda’s 80’s hair nightmare, the shots of Carrie not wearing a wedding ring, the scenes caused by Samantha as she walked around NYC in a wedding dress (gasp!)?! The storyline speculation went through the roof!!! So… I braved the cinema, with sky high heels, a tribute-to-Carrie crop top, tight and light demin jeans and my very own name necklace and sat in the cinema bar with cocktails, friends and let the hysteria take over!!!
Not a good look for Miranda
The excitement caused by the ritual of going to see SATC2 was probably more exciting that the film overall. Although it was utterly fabulous in terms of fashion, the story line forgot that the film was supposed to be about the series Sex and the City and the friendships, hardships and female issues our famous four face together. As soon as the girls left the sanity of New York for the sun of Abu Dhari, the characters and the plot seemed to loose it in the heat of the Middle East. The script barely had time to squeeze in conversations between Miranda and Charlotte on the trials of parenting, and Samantha’s menopause mania made her into a caricature that didn’t look too convincing or empowering…Yam paste on face? Hmmm. Not a good look. Or message.

The SATC girls – in the story line desert…
Ultimately the girls or women as they now are, were all on form in terms of trend, harem pants, maxi dresses, statement shoulders and tropical textiles, but the story line lacked the depth to keep its fans animated. We didn’t really feel that convinced by the Aiden kiss- as Samantha says, ‘it was just a kiss’ it wasn’t important. Yes Carrie felt bored, yes she had a kiss, felt bad, cried, had a moment of realization, but it did feel like they were just avoiding the real issue in all of our heads… Are Big and Carrie going to have babies??? Where was the pregnancy scare?
Where was Charlotte’s parenting break down?
Why didn’t they cause a scene with the braless nanny?

Where was Miranda’s cynicism?

What happened to Samantha and Smith?
Why the hell wasn’t there more of (topless) Smith Gerrard altogether?

So… the SATC fans are a demanding bunch. We want fashion, drama, tears, tantrums, disasters and most of all, happy endings. But in this film there was monogamy and monotony, cack-handed dealings with muslim traditions and Samantha’s bag of condoms. I still love the girls and I take my Poodle hat off to them for their devotion to style, but we wanted more than a fashion show, and a luxury holiday to SATC land, we wanted a taste of their reality and the real issues facing women in their 40’s; not Irish boob fluff and yam paste.

As the movie drew to a close, I couldn’t help but wonder if SATC should have stuck to the small screen….?

What do you think? The Poodle wants your thoughts???


Images from www.usatoday.net www.content9.flixster.com www.static.decaturdaily.com www.culch.ie

Posted in Sex and the City | 5 Comments

T Shirt Talk

This is the Poodle reporting for Blogger duty. Being in England at the moment has its problems when it comes to blogging about Paris… or so I thought it would when I boarded the eurostar. However, all across England it seems that Paris has been splashed across T-shirts and magazines, as far as the eye can see. Every shop I go into welcomes me with a ‘Paris je t’aime’ slogan emblazoned across the chest, or a ‘Je suis la plus belle’ written in swirly letters. Some keep it simple and state PARIS next to an Eiffel Tower image that is decorated with glitzy gemstones. Its so English. Of course, I get it, it is trying to be French, but in the most English, insanely obvious, LOOK AT ME fashion, that is the trend this side of the channel. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the British eccentricity and outlandish approach to dressing, its just even more apparent when trying to be chic involves screaming ‘J’adore Paris’ across handbags, dresses, tops and jewellery. And that is the difference between us Brits and ze French. I think subtle is the key word here.

The Poodle’s super quick, tres vite guide to identifying the English and ze French is as follows:

French Style: Typified by classy, subtle interpretations of the cat walk and pret a porter collections


New Look £14.00 say it loud and clear
Of course, even the Poodle has indulged herself in the odd statement T shirt in the past. These include the following:

– Love, Peace & Lipgloss (turns out, it’s not suitable for an office environment)

– Love Surf since 1985 (not strictly true as I hadn’t been created then)

– Femme Fatale (as if the hot pink of the Tshirt didn’t give it away)

– J’adore (I clearly couldn’t afford the J’adore Dior version)

So out of these, two statements are french, and it seems that splashing the French language across our chests is once again all the rage. And why, not, it is a beautiful language. Just don’t expect anyone French to be wearing one!

But the English love a bargain and if it mean’s buying a piece of Paris for £6.00 then we anglophones are all ears! Thank Britain for Asos!

Ce n’est pas tres cher, mais quand meme, c’est chic!
Posted in Asos, Fashion, Gay Paris | 2 Comments

An Education

The Poodle is back in the UK at present and in order to continue to feel Parisian in Blighty, last night I settled down to watch a DVD I had been meaning to see for a while – An Education. Starring Carey Mulligan and Olivia Williams and Peter Sarsgaard, it is mostly set in Twickenham, Oxford and London’s West End, so I was a little disappointed. I had been expecting more scenes of 60’s Paris. Nonetheless, the dialogue had the occasional French mot, chanson or phrase, and of course included a short lived romantic weekend away in gay Paris.

The story line was sold to me as a romantic poignant story of first love and coming of age. Which it was. It was also the age old story of “nice young girl gives nasty smarmy older man benefit of the doubt along with her virginity, only to regret not studying harder”.

Jenny is a vulnerable, albeit clever 16 year schoolgirl who has hopes of attending Oxford (if only she can pass her Latin classes) who is seduced by an older, dishonest, disconcertingly charming man with a sports car and a large wallet (David). Naive, she is taken in by his flashy lifestyle and Pre-Raphaelite loving friends. Nonetheless, she soon realizes that her older man is in fact a serial bastard, with a wife, child and a history of illicit affairs. Quelle tragedie! By this point she has lost her ‘innocence’ but luckily, is not in the ‘family way’ as one might say in the 1960’s.

During their brief doomed affair they visit the Poodle’s spiritual home and enjoy a Seine side snog with a bottle of red, and wander through its charming cobbled streets. I couldn’t help but notice that today’s Paris doesn’t look all that different from the chic and sleek Paris of yester year.

The 1960’s Paris presented in An Education could have been from yesterday, as ladies are still wearing coiffured chignons, cinched waisted dresses and classic stilettos. It made me wonder if Paris is actually stuck in a timeless time warp?? In some ways perhaps it is – the buildings are traditional, there are no Gherkin’s, Millennium Wheels or Oxo Towers to be seen, and the fashion is elegant, classic… there’s a je ne sais quoi about the place. That is Paris magic! It offers time travel without the butterfly effect and who doesn’t want to go back in time?!

In terms of what Paris has given the Poodle as far as ‘education’ goes, it is without doubt the perfect location to learn, think, reflect and debate. And also the best place to get a quality French manicure, along with the world’s finest fragrances. (Chanel’ Coco Mademoiselle)!

To conclude my musings on the film in question, I would say that this is definitely worth a look, if only to remark upon how lovely and smart school girls in the 60’s used to be, and the gorgeous vintage cars, dresses and impossibly perfect hairstyles that all used to be an everyday 60’s occurrence. The moral of the film is of course, to try harder with your Latin homework.

Posted in chanel, Films | Leave a comment

Here comes the sun – so lighten up!

With summer creeping around the corner and blue skies becoming more of a regular feature, everyone around me seems to be right on cue, brightening up their hair with sunshine loving highlights.

The best thing about summer is that for blonds, it really is their season to come into the spot light and work that sunkissed beauty look aka Brigitte Bardot. In Paris, blond femmes are seen strutting importantly with pastel Furla handbags, and beige Phobe Philo skirts, with a waterfall of silky natural looking blond, shimmering over their designer clad backs.
Over here, if your highlights aren’t well maintained, and at least somewhat natural looking, it truly is a cardinal sin. Especially so now that Toni & Guy are in the neighbourhood; no one is going to forgive you for brassy highlights, haystack ends or chunky roots. Of course, in Paris, traditionalist as ever, the blond is still seen as something to be approached with caution. They are associated with all the usual blond stereotypes: the man-eater, air head, or femme fatale. Because of this, French blonds take extra care to emulate classy light haired lovelies such as Vanessa Paradis and Gwynth Paltrow. Subtle is the buzz word.
Fortunately, in Paris, the blond brigade are offered a lot of extra caring products to keep the bleached to death look at bay. The Poodle may not be blond, but according to my fair headed friends, and hairdressers in the know, the best things to use to protect your summer barnet are as follows:
Shampooing Blond Lumière Dessange

This blonding shampoo uses light reflective mother of pearl extract to give blond locks more lustre and shine, whilst the secret formula of nutritional agents helps to ensure hair is kept soft, and the colour fresh looking. Dessange are a reliable French brand who excel in affordable hair care- a 250ml bottle is only 4,93 euros.
Voile Nuit Kérastase Noctogenist
An intensive night time treatment should be used on coloured blond hair once a week to stop it from drying out. Night Veil by Kerastase is deeply nourishing and can be a great pick me up treatment for holiday frazzled hair too. Rich in vitamin E, after a night time together, your hair will be shiny, soft and satisfied. 32,50 € for 100 ml.
Frizz-Ease 100% Shine Glossing Mist

On a day to day basis, finish styling your goldilocks with a small dose of shine enhancing Frizz-Ease 100% Shine Glossing Mist. This way your hair can glisten with health and flyaway ends are kept under control.

With these key three products, you have everything you need to avoid looking like Cousin It! Blondettes from London to Paris can get ready to have the thick summer lovin’, shiny locks they dream of! Even the Poodle is thinking it could be time to lighten up!

What are your blond perfecting must haves?
Posted in Blond, John Frieda | Leave a comment

Vote for a brighter future! For the country – and your skin!

The Poodle must make an important decision.

There’s an election on, and all across England men and women are talking about what they believe in, which policies they agree with and who they’ll be voting for. Little known parties have started posting leaflets through letterboxes with programs and manifestos whilst the men in white shirts all promise results that will change the face of the country.

Call me hopeless, but as I have been researching the different policies and listening to the various election arguments, I couldn’t help but draw a similarity between this, and the way in which women choose their cosmetics.

Each beauty brand has a different perspective and philosophy whether it is a dedication to ethical, animal friendly products (Body Shop), a dislike of all things preservative (The Organic Pharmacy) or a passion for science (Skinceuticals). Each one promises radical results and change (Botox), or promises to make you feel differently (Aromatherapy Associates). They are all campaigning against each other, promoting their ingredients policies as the most failsafe (Liz Earle) or their figures the most reliable (Boots Protect and Perfect anyone?). But who are we to believe when it comes to the state of our skin?

There are so many conflicting points of view, whether you believe in the power of plant oils, or prefer results proven formulas developed in the lab. Whether you prefer your skincare to be straightforward or fancy or expensive or cheap. Some women believe that, like the 3 main parties in England, that all the skincare creams and brands are practically the same thing, just in different packaging. It’s no wonder we spend so long trying to figure out what makes one bottle of serum better than another. They all promise to fight against the signs of aging, free radicals and fine lines (which are probably all caused by high taxes, pollution and not enough holidays), and equip themselves with the tools required for the job – antioxidants, dermatologist jargon and celebrity supporters.

Of course, the only way to find out what works best, is to try. Which is where choosing a skincare system becomes a lot easier. Unlike political elections, when you choose a certain skincare brand over another, you don’t run the risk of having to commit to it for 5 years to see if anything will really change. You can simply keep trying different products until you find your winner who you can stand behind with confidence, knowing that your chosen brand perfectly delivers the results you are looking for. Here’s a hint – it’s probably Botox!

As for the Poodle, I am still looking for my perfect match in skincare, but aside from that, I know who I’m voting for come May 6th. Do you?

Who would you vote for when it comes to your skin? Tell the Poodle!

Posted in Elections, liz earle, Skincare, Skinceuticals, The Body Shop, The Organic Pharmacy | 1 Comment

The Power of a (French) Woman

It seems that there are two types of French women: those who groom their hair and those who just let it grow, the latter forming the majority. Of course, there exists the hairy arm-pitted stereotype of a French girl, who despite her waify figure, hazel eyes and seductive lingerie, unfortunately has hair sprouting from beneath her arms, making her instantly unattractive to red blooded men across the Channel. But in France, men don’t seem to mind their women highly sexual even if they do have secret hairs in the intimate caverns of their armpits…
Perhaps it is the fact that French women are already so utterly seductive with the way their lips have to move to pronounce and annunciate each musical word of the French language, or the way that they insist on wearing stockings as part of usual underwear protocol? French women ooze sexiness. They eat well, they drink well, they think well. They are petite powerful dominatrices who speak with unquestionable self assurance. Some even have very dark expressive eyebrows that can silence any man with the roar of their silent thunder, whereas others have several pairs of stilettos which have the sole purpose of intimidating men whilst simultaneously turning them into quivering horn dogs.

Like this one:

Even those French ladies with pinched sharp noses, slick pony tails and obnoxious oversized handbags share the same secret with those same French women with fuzzy moustaches and frizzy manes of untameable curls…that unmentioned secret that French women are the ones who really hold the cards. At least, when it comes to hair management, it is the women who make the final decision on what has to go.

Yes, the French woman is a very powerful force to be reckoned with. French men get what they are given, their opinions on armpit hair are not given so much as a nanoseconds’ thought. My friend encapsulated it perfectly the other day when I asked her about it, “I shave if I want to shave, if I don’t want to, then tough. My decision.”
Can you smell the poison with which that sentence was laced? I could! That is the subtle scare factor of French women. You can see it in Sarkozy’s eyes when he looks up at Carla Bruni – her smile may be sweet, but like all French women, she knows she has the power.

She’s already wearing flat shoes for you Sarkozy – you have no right to ask her to shave!

Despite being a Paris Poodle, I am of course, still undeniably English. And for that I have never allowed myself to see my armpit hairs, as I employ the Daily Shave Prevention Measure. Nonetheless, with my musings on the power that armpit hair has given to French women, I am for the first time tempted to grow wild and free and try to cultivate the advantages of the French Ladies Power Pit…

So here’s the question – to shave or not to shave…?

Images from: http://www.eatfrenchbread.com/underarm-hair/

Posted in Armpit hair, French Women | 4 Comments

Eggstra Special Easter

Painted to perfection!

The Poodle has survived a Paris Pacques! Thank God Cadburys doesnt exist over here- every time it’s Easter in England I can’t help but eat multiple mini eggs, cream eggs and all sorts of chocolate rabbits until I feel like vomiting. Luckily in Paris, greed and chocolate don’t go together – it’s a much more classy affair, where chocolate eggs in all their french finery are purchased to be enjoyed visually. The egg is a work of art and you have to admire the chocolate egg for much longer than this Poodle is used to…It’s almost used as a dining table center piece, except that my dining table is a coffee table and that due to the ongoing Paris space shortage the egg was promoted to sitting on top of the television.

Nonetheless my magnificent easter egg from Maison Boissier which I was lucky enough to be bought by the Lapin de Pacques – that’s Easter Bunny to you and I, was so beautiful that destroying it for chocolately consumption didn’t even enter my head for a good couple of hours! Of course temptation took over when my cup of tea needed a sweet companion and by the time I thought to photograph it for my blog, there really wasnt enough left to picture! However, these French chocolate easter bells resound with the echo of my chocolate Boissier egg!

As much as I love to hate eating delicious chocolate Easter eggs for a good 2 or 3 days solid, without them it really wouldn’t be Easter and along with many other fabulous things in life (champagne, wine, brie) we also have the French to thank for the delicacy that is the Easter egg- it was their idea orginally to use egg shells as moulds and fill them with chocolate, probably completely unaware of how popular they would become! So today, I would like to say, merci, la France, for another of life’s little pleasures! Vive la France!
Posted in Chocolate, Easter eggs, Vive la France | 5 Comments

Top 3 Paris novels!

It’s time for another top 3 Poodle list and this time, I’m recommending my top 3 Paris books! Whilst on holiday I had plenty of time for that traditional holiday past time – sunbathing and reading! There’s nothing that illuminates and animates the city around you more than reading literature which has been set in the very streets that you walk through every day.

I discovered the Paris of the 1870’s, the 1920’s and the secret Paris stories of today, via the following 3 novels which I lapped up with the enthusiasm that is exclusive to Paris lovers everywhere. So although I may have been in Sri Lanka, I was still there in Paris with Henry James and Hemmingway having a wonderful winey, thinky, writey time through the books I was reading.

I can thoroughly recommend the following 3 novels but do tell me which Paris books get it right for you?

1. Ernest Hemmingway – The Moveable Feast

This short read details Hemmingways life as a young struggling writer in Paris in the 1920’s and his days and nights socialising with the literary greats of the last century, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis to name but a few. The wonderful thing about this book is the attention to detail. Writing in his wry, dry and simplistic style, Hemmingway effortlessly transports you into his every day life of the 1920’s. I have to visit a fair few bars now where he used to put pen to paper, starting with Cafe des Amateurs.

2. Henry James – The American

I found a battered ancient Penguin copy of this book hidden amongst the Sri Lanka guides at one of the guest houses I was staying in and what a find it was! Henry James’ protagonist Christopher Newman is a rich new money-ed American on a tour of Europe, with the side project to find the perfect wife. He comes across an aristocratic widow, Claire de Cintre who he courts and eventually becomes engaged to. I won’t ruin the rest of the story for those who want to read it, but let’s just say that the Poodle made short work of the 450 pages! It’s also really insightful into the Paris of old, the little streets and beautiful facaded apartments with high ceilings, the beautiful Parisian ladies and the lazy days spent looking around the Louvre, doesn’t sound all so different from the Paris of today. But that is the beautiful thing about this city, it is utterly timeless and hopelessly romantic!

3. Muriel Barbery – The Elegance of the Hedgehog

This award winning best seller is both philosophical and profound yet easy to read. Renee Michel – a 54 year old concierge who is a secret culture whore, and more intelligent than she herself even likes to admit, and Paloma Josse – a 12 year old genius who is plotting arson on her family home and eventual suicide on her 13th birthday, are more similar than they might have thought. Living in the same building, each with their own personal projects to enrich their cultural landscape and find meaning in life, these two ladies lives become mirror reflections of the other. Along with a platonic love story and an index of books to read and films to watch, the novel is exceptionally well written and achieves the authors aim to make philosophy applicable in the every day – a typically French preoccupation. Totally deserving of its multiple awards, the Poodle urges Paris lovers and Francophiles, concierges and all those who appreciate Japanese culture to buy this book immediately and get deep.
What are your favourite Paris stories? Tell the Poodle!
Posted in Books | 1 Comment