Going To Paris? Read This First

By Elle.

 

I’ve been obsessed with Paris ever since my first visit at the age of about 12. I don’t know if everyone ‘has a place’ like this, or if I’m just a weirdo, but something pulls me back time and time again. I imagine the way I feel about Paris is how other people feel about Disneyland – I spend the whole time wide-eyed with wonder, in a magical bubble, certain it’s the best place on earth.

I’ve just returned from my 8th visit, so I felt it was about time I summed up the must-sees, gotta-eats, and definitely-don’ts of my favourite city. This won’t be an uber-cool definitive guide by any means. Soz – I’m not one for scouring Instagram for the newest restaurants, or going on mad bicycle tours. But if you like chilled city breaks, which involve quite a lot of wine and cheese, do read on…

Get an Air Bnb
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I’ve now experienced staying in several areas of the city, in both hotels and self-catering apartments. Unless you’re minted, hotels are usually cramped and a bit disappointing – fine if you’re one to spend all day and night out exploring (LOL not me ever), but Air BnBs mean you can chill in a nice environment, save money on meals and drink (the bottle of fizz pictured was 5 Euros and the best I’ve ever had) if you need to, and let you pretend you live there.

Stay in Le Marais
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I can’t believe it took me till my 7th visit to properly discover this incredible area. I completely fell in love with it – as did my gbf and my boyfriend, so I feel it has universal appeal. It’s stylish without being stuck-up, almost has a village feel, and is full of gorgeous boutiques and restaurants. It’s also within walking distance to most major attractions. Now that I think about it, I hardly saw any tourists there other than extremely cool Japanese girls.

Don’t bother with the Eiffel Tower
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I’ve never been up it, and just don’t see the appeal. I love its design and would rather have photos of it amongst the skyline, than looking out from it. I also hate heights. For the best views, go to Sacre Couer – the views are stunning from the top (as shown in pic), and you’ll see the whole city (including the Eiffel Tower). You have to climb hundreds of tiny stairs, and I thought I was definitely going to die, but the view is so worth it – and I say this as an unfit claustrophobic. If you do get really anxious in small spaces, I’d maybe give it a miss – you can’t really turn round and go back as you climb up, which adds to the ‘going to die’ feeling. It’s still worth a visit due to being situated in Montmartre – my second-favourite area.

Eat lots of duck
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The duck confit I ate in Paris was the best meal of my life. Served with crispy skin, tender meat, and on a bed of potatoes cooked in the fat; I have to eat it at least twice while there. Please try snails too – they’re delicious, I swear. If you hate them, you can dredge crusty bread through their pools of garlic butter instead. Other things you should definitely consume lots of: all and any wine, baked camembert, coffee and cigarettes. I don’t smoke but everyone looks so fucking cool doing it there, that I defy you not to.

Don’t worry about the French being rude
They can be, but once you get over it and realise it’s not personal, you won’t even notice. Having a few words of French helps – but I think this is a courtesy you should extend wherever you go, to be honest. Even though they’ll immediately revert to English upon hearing your shit accent, they’ll appreciate it. We also found that waiters who hadn’t been particularly warm were positively delightful when we returned a second time. Service charges are usually included in the bill/cost of food, so giving a few extra Euros also went down really well. I can’t help but love the French for the same reasons I do cats – they know they owe you nothing, are quite happy on their own thanks, and are nonchalantly chic at all times.

Walk everywhere
By far the best way to see the city is on foot. The metro is handy for longer journeys, but where possible I recommend donning your most stylish trainers and walking. It’s definitely a big part of why Parisians stay skinny and why I came home a few pounds lighter despite drinking liquid camembert most nights. It’s such a gorgeous city, and pretty easy to navigate if you follow the river and google-map the rest.

Skip the queue for Le Louvre
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Even if you’re not a huge art buff, you have to visit the Louvre at least once. It’s huge, and pretty overwhelming to navigate but an incredible place to tick off your bucket list. Set aside a few hours, go as early as possible, and avoid entering through the Pyramid, which is always insanely busy. I found a great tip on TripAdvisor – google-map the Carousel du Louvre shopping centre and use their entrance instead. We only had to wait about 15 minutes despite it being 1pm. I also really recommend Musée d’Orsay (see pic)  – it’s smaller and far easier to navigate but still has some incredible paintings and sculptures. The building itself is an old railway station and really beautiful.

I could rattle on for many more hours, but this post has already surpassed peak engaging-content word count, so I won’t. If you’re on your way to Paris – bon voyage! If you’ve never been – GO, GO GO!

7 Ways To Make Memories in Venice in Winter*

*That are absolutely in no way good photo opportunities for the gram…

By Emilie

So, why visit Venice in winter? Well, if you’re feeling pragmatic, then the best reasons to visit at this time of year are because 1) it’s actually pretty budget friendly and 2) it’s much, much quieter than during the peak season. Ta ta, annoying cruise liner crowds, hello, much shorter queues for all of the key attractions.

Aside from all of that, though, and channelling the more subjective side of my brain, is that fact that Venice really suits the winter. The colour palette is gorgeous, all moody blues and greys, and it’s also often shrouded in mist, which just adds to the charm.

You might not be able to sit in St Mark’s Square and eat gelato with the sun beating down on your skin, but you can wrap up and walk the length and breadth of the city, stopping off at the occasional pub for fresh pasta and a glass of red to warm up. And we still got gelato, freezing cold or not.

Here’s our list of things to see and do in Venice…

1) Walk around. The best thing to do in Venice is just walk, because it’s so bloody gorgeous without even trying. It’s faded grandeur at its most charming, with flaking paint, tiny alleyways and endlessly beautiful canals.

2) Visit the Rialto Bridge, the most well-known bridge in Venice. Take a selfie. Better still, make friends with the other hundred or so tourists there jostling around trying to get a perfect shot minus the double chin/up the nostril/weird not-looking-at-the-camera standard selfie pose, and take photos of each other. Voila!

3) Go to the Bridge of Sighs, otherwise known as the second busiest/second most well-known bridge in Venice. Fun fact; the Bridge of Sighs of is so-called because it would be the last part of Venice prisoners would see before they were consigned to their fate in the cells. Now it gets its name because you have to wait for about twenty minutes for all the other tourists to get out the way so you can take a selfie.

4) Get flavoured tiramisu from I Tre Mercanti. As someone who inhales tiramisu whenever I’m in Italy, it would have been rude not to make a visit to the place that’s rumoured to be the “best tiramisu in Venice’”, wouldn’t it? They serve it in a variety of different flavours which change on a daily basis, so I got an Amaretto flavoured version, and my other half got a chestnut and vanilla version. Both were gorgeous, so nice in fact that I actually really wish we came back for another one…

5) Go to the oldest coffee shop in Venice, known as Caffe Florian. For heaven’s sake, don’t for a moment consider actually ordering food – certainly not an actual meal – because that would obliterate half your budget. No, it’s famous for its traditional hot chocolate, which is thick, molten chocolate in a teacup, and is practically a meal in itself. Don’t put your umbrella on the table, as I did, as this will ruin with the ambience of the experience and will be swiftly moved by the waiter.

6) Take the Murano, Burano, Torcello boat trip, where you’ll visit these three beautiful islands in one day. They’re all rather lovely – Murano is famous for its glass-blowing, and Torcello has a lovely Cathedral, as well as a very nice Italian lady selling sandwiches and ice cream outside it. But the stand out is Burano, which is famous for its gorgeous rainbow coloured fishermen’s houses that look like something out of a dream. No pressure at all to get a great shot for the gram. At. All.

7) Take a gondola trip. Actually, fake news alert – we didn’t take a gondola trip at all. I know right, but hear me out. Unless you want to part with 80 euros for a half hour experience (100 if you add in a serenade) it wasn’t that difficult to pass up. Maybe in summer it would have been more difficult, but not in freezing cold November. Instead, I’d recommend the Peggy Guggenheim museum, which features stunning modern art pieces from her own personal collection, such as the below…

So that was what we got up to. What about you? I got the tips about Caffe Florian and the flavoured tirimisu from another blog, so I’d love to hear your tips…

Why I’m Bird Boxing My Way Through 2019

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By Rachael.

My year hasn’t got off to the best start, so I’m considering Bird Boxing the shit out of the next 343 days. I’m not looking anymore. If it’s not within reaching distance, it’s not relevant to me. If I can’t see it, it can’t kill me.

I can already hear an angry mob of bullet journalers planning my demise. Overly-efficient (while masking some sort of disturbing personality disorder/drug habit… probably) lifestyle bloggers with book deals will curse my name. Marie Kondo will get wasted one night and slip into my DMs to troll me, damning me to a life void of joy and full of the messy chaos I’ve brought upon myself. But y’know what? Having it all figured out ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. Sure, I can see the value in setting goals and working towards them, but could there be even more value in letting go and just… seeing what happens?

Think of every bad thing that happened to you this past year; would you have wanted to see that coming? The sociopaths among us may say yes (welcome, sociopaths – here at Jaded we do not judge), but most would agree that we wouldn’t. Now think of every good thing that happened — would they have sparked as much happiness had you been given prior notice? There’s something exciting about the unknown — something our generation has lost in a fog of anxiety. Between upload schedules and gym classes and ‘ladies night’ and working hours and ‘me time’ and long term goals and short term goals and bucket lists — we’re leaving very little time to just live. Live with no agenda or expectation, or with any vulnerability. Take Bird Box as a concept. Something about it kept us all hooked to our TVs as we watched, let’s be real, strangers walking around blindfolded for two hours. No more, no less. Is the inability to know what’s in front of us – until the very moment it actually is – really that terrifying?

Last year, life threw me a curveball, a curvebrick, and a curve-fucking-steam train. But this isn’t a pity party — it’s a reminder to roll with the punches. Trust chance. Trust yourself to navigate through life one moment, one day at a time. I’m finishing this post with a Dalai Lama quote, cos I’m deep as fuck and ready for my #journey:

“An eye for an eye….we are all blind”

I have no idea what it means but… seemed fitting? Blindfold up, bitches! Let’s do this.

Our Make-up Products of the Year

By Elle.

I love make-up. I buy far too much of it, yet I also don’t have hundreds of pounds to spend on it. What this means for you is that I’m a discerning expert on the stuff – everything I mention here has been thoroughly tested, and most-likely repurchased again and again. I’ll list my favourites in the order I apply them – and hope this doesn’t cause too much consternation. So if you’re one of those weirdos people that applies concealer before foundation, please leave now apologies.

PRIMER – MAC STROBE CREAM, £25

I have dry skin and am forever fighting a battle against it sucking up my foundation, leaving it patchy and dull. So I’m not interested in mattifying/pore-filling primers, but those that will leave me glowy and radiant all day. This product does just that – it’s not cheap, but a tube lasts AGES, or you can purchase the mini (£12.50) first to see if you like it. I’ve always used the original shade, but it now comes in several others, which I’m keen to try. Ultimately, it’s not even really make-up – more skincare – so the colour doesn’t matter too much. I mainly use it under foundation, but you can also press it on top like a highlighter.

FOUNDATION – REVOLUTION FAST BASE STICK FOUNDATION, £5

I can’t express how delighted I am that my favourite foundation ever costs A FIVER. I’m really hard to please when it comes to base, as those with dry skin will appreciate – you just can’t slap any old drugstore one on. This comes in 18 varied shades with great undertones – I use F6, and has a high-coverage formula that still manages to look like skin. The stick design makes it so quick and easy to apply – I just swipe it on then blend out with a sponge. It’s creamy, glowy and comfortable. If you have oily skin, this might not work for you – but at a fiver, you can always try it with powder and see how you get on. I wear it every day and go through one stick every 2 months or so.

CONCEALER – REVOLUTION PRO FULL COVER CAMOUFLAGE CONCEALER, £5

My love affair with Revolution Beauty continues. If you want affordable products that perform like luxury ones, you can’t go wrong with this brand. I tend to find that Fast Base offers more than enough coverage for me, so I’m more likely to use this to spot conceal on days where I’m not actually wearing foundation. It’s thick but creamy and a little goes a long way.

BROWS – REVOLUTION BROW POMADE, £6

This is my favourite brow product of all time. I’d imagine it’s an excellent dupe for the Anastasia one, but I wouldn’t know as I’m too tight to try it (£19!). It lasts AGES. Probably a year. I use a small angled brush to fill in my over-plucked brows and it doesn’t budge all day. The shades are great – mine is Medium Brown, a perfect cool tone that looks natural.

BROWS – MAYBELLINE BROW PRECISE FIBRE FILLER, £7.99

I complete my brows by brushing this through it – it has little fibres that bulk them out, and sets my own hair in place. Another product that really does last ages – I use it daily and have only had to repurchase once in 2 years of use.

EYESHADOW – URBAN DECAY NAKED PETITE HEAT, £26

This is the first Urban Decay palette I’ve owned and I totally get the hype. The shadows are pigmented and smooth, and last well. This is the perfect size for travelling and you can easily create everyday or more amped up looks. Worth the money.

MASCARA – BENEFIT ROLLER LASH, £22

You absolutely do not need to spend this much on a mascara, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the best one I’ve ever used. I’ve tried to find a cheap dupe, but have yet to be successful. There’s something about this brush that separates and lengthens, but gives thick volume at the roots of the lashes. It’s also the only mascara that I’d be happy to use without lash curlers beforehand. Like, if I forgot my lash curlers and had no choice.

BRONZER – MISS LYN BEACH PLEASE! £7.50

This new-to-me brand really surprised me with this bronzer. I was expecting a bit of a poor imitation of Benefit Hoola, but it’s genuinely great. It has just the right amount of pigmentation – strong but not so strong that you spend 10 minutes trying to un-apply it and ruin your foundation. The powder isn’t drying, and the shade I use (Vitamin Sea) is perfect – not too warm, but not so ashy that it looks grey.

BLUSHER – MAX FACTOR MIRACLE TOUCH CREAMER BLUSHER, £6.99

This tiny pot with a cracked lid and all its writing rubbed off is my favourite blusher ever. I use the shade Soft Copper, which is more of a bronzer – I’m not really into blusher as such. The cream formula keeps things glowy and fresh – it’s gorgeous on holiday skin.

LIPS – SMASHBOX ALWAYS ON MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK IN STEPPING OUT, £19

I actually just own a sample size of this, but I’ll definitely be purchasing the full-size in this shade – it’s the perfect tawny nude. It’s not just the shade that I love, though – I’ve tried so many liquid lipsticks and this is by far the best formula; not drying at all, lasts all day, doesn’t flake off, super-comfortable.

LIPS – NARS LIPSTICK IN SCHIAP, £22

I had a voucher for SpaceNK to use, otherwise, I don’t think I’d spend so much on a pink lipstick. HOWEVER. I’ve very glad I did and think this is worth every penny. It’s a gorgeous hot pink that I honestly think would make anyone look amazing. For me, it makes my brown eyes richer and brighter. Shocking pink is a great alternative to red – go and buy yourself a cheap one first if you’re unsure.

LIPS – B. Cassie Lomas Liquid Lipstick in The 90s, £6.99

Oh God, I just went to add the link to this and I think it’s been discontinued. It’s the most vivid, orange-red and I love it. It looks like there’s a really nice hot pink similar to Nars Schiap though (Lulu), so all is not lost.

ALL-ROUNDER – CHARLOTTE TILBURY INSTANT LOOK IN A PALETTE IN BEAUTY GLOW, £49

Let’s finish on a high with another thing that’s also sold out, shall we? Sorry. But it might come back, and if it does, I highly recommend it. This was something else I spent some vouchers on, hence the high cost, but it’s such a great, multi-use item that justifies its price. Great colours, fantastic formulas, and perfect for travel. Let me also point you in the direction of a very similar one from Beauty Pie – here. Wait. It’s also out of stock. I’m done. Bye.

Why Happiness Doesn’t Exist

By Elle.

It’s taken me 31 years, but I can confidently say I no longer believe that true happiness is attainable. And the irony is, once you realise this too, you’ll instantly feel more content by default. ‘Content’ – that’s the key word here. My brain keeps reading as ‘CONtent’ because that’s all we ever think about now. As in, is this gin-in-a-tin I’m drinking on the train right now good Instagram content or nah. But no, I’m talking about contentedness – ‘being in a state of peaceful happiness’.

So, what’s the difference? For me, I can feel when I’m content – it’s a far more tangible emotion that happiness. It’s sitting on the bus listening to a new album you haven’t had time to listen to till now. It’s a glass of wine on Friday evening, drunk standing at the kitchen worktop while chopping veg. It’s the feeling of the sun on your face after days of frizz-inducing grey rain.

No-one craves contentedness, but we’re all forever hungrily chasing happiness. Working our way down a list, ticking things off that we believe are bringing us closer to ‘happy’. If social media is to be believed, that list looks something like; go on holiday. Buy a new car. Drink lots of fancy cocktails. Get a house. Get married. Have a baby. Have another baby.  The danger is that when you get to the end of the list and feel no different, panic sets in.

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My own list-fear set in about a year ago. My boyfriend and I decided it was time to move up the property ladder and sell our flat so we could get a house. A proper house! With loads of rooms to decorate! And a garden – I could finally get a chimnea and one of those outdoor corner sofas! And while I know I’m fortunate to be able to have a nice house, it was quite shock to realise it didn’t automatically make me feel settled or like I was suddenly ready to start popping out babies. Perhaps I’d subconciously subscribed myself to the life to-do list I’m always slagging off… It also made me realise that I’d never been happier than in our old flat – suddenly it dawned on me; hindsight is the only real way one can know true happiness.

So, now we’ve collectively shattered all our illusions about the meaning of life (no biggie), where do we go from here? I’ll be honest – for a while my happiness ‘epiphany’ left me treading water in a ‘well-what’s-the-point-of-anything-then’ kind of headspace. Combined with a lot of shit things happening to several people I care about, the timing of my new mindset wasn’t ideal. And then came clarity.

All I could do was take things a day at a time; a cliche I’ve always loathed. There really is something in all that ‘living in the moment’ shit everyone keeps going on about. I realised I was so guilty of trying to plan eternity in my mind – it’s when you hold yourself to a lifetime of uninterrupted bliss that things will never measure up. But in small moments, you can be happy – everyone can, even in the darkest of times. I believe that Yin and Yang is an actual thing, so when said dark times feel unsurmountable, it can only mean a peak is to follow. So indulge in the little things – when you add them up, they’re worth so much more than a vanilla life unpunctuated by highs or lows.

 

 

 

3 Things We Googled This Week

By Riley.

Aside from our 5 Things We Talked About This Week post, I figured it was time to expose the humiliating reality that is our browsing history with 3 Things We Googled This Week. The internet is a black hole of information for better or for worse and let’s be honest — we look up weird shit. Sometimes we’re looking for answers to life’s biggest questions, sometimes we’re looking for inspiration… sometimes we’re just looking for advice on whether the three-day old pakora we’ve reheated is about to kill us.

Does translucent powder work as dry shampoo?
I’m not ashamed to say that dry shampoo has become an emotional aid in recent months. When you’ve got a lot of shit going on, the thought of having to wash and dry thick hair is enough to pull a Britney ’07 (Disclaimer: Just googled ‘When did Britney shave her head’ to fact check). Needless to say as soon as I have the week from hell, I run out of dry shampoo and life as I know it crumbles around me. Panicked, I google.

Answer: Yes, it bloody does! Takes a bit more grafting to get rid of the powdery residue, and stings a little to rub £30-a-tub powder into your scalp just to avoid the £3-a-bottle shampoo, but works a treat if you’re a mess like me.

Why is there mould in my plant soil?
OK, I’m curious. How and when do people just suddenly know how to live in harmony alongside plants? If there’s one thing that screams functioning adult, it’s maintaining house plants — and judging by my recent search, I’m obviously still in a transitional period.

Answer: Too much water or too little sunlight. I’m basically over-compensating and neglecting, simultaneously. STORY OF MY LIFE. Apparently you can scrape off the top layer of decay and act like nothing ever happened (STORY OF MY LIFE, PART 2).

Can you get period pains when you’re pregnant?
Having recently broken up with ingesting unnecessary hormones, we’ve binned the pill — and as a thank you, our body has hurled every symptom imaginable at us with force.

Answer: Scrolling four pages deep on mumsnet to a thread from 2008, we can confirm that while you could suffer an array of symptoms likened to the menstrual joys we feel each month, it’s highly unlikely we’d be pregnant while we have a period. Yes, it took us the best part of two hours to be absolutely sure of basic biology. Yes, we’ll check again next month.

It’s Over…ish.

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I won’t drunk text you for a shag. Pinky promise.

By Riley.

Well, shit. One day you’re in a relationship and the next you’re not. I tried to think of a clever, wittier way to open this post but to be honest, what’s the point? Time to be real here hun, you’re going through a break up. Grab a cuppa. Download Tinder. Let’s do this shit. Except, you don’t want to do this shit. You want to do that other shit – texting eachother about picking up bread, saying goodnight, Sunday afternoon delight. You want your normal back.

Breakups can entice a change in behaviour that’s as cliché as they come. Yet it knocks the wind out of you, as if you haven’t heard it a million times before in some doomed love song. You lose weight. You can’t sleep. Hermitic tendencies ensue, wrapping you in a forcefield of self-preservation. Friends quickly learn when to force entry armed with coconut milk lattes and when to sit on the sidelines. The words ‘order confirmation’ become synonymous with ‘break up’. Appetites — for food, for socializing, for life — are suppressed by something entirely different that fills your gut. While you could be tempted to find comfort in your banging break up bod, the quiet moments are there to remind you that you’re not out of the woods yet. Not even close.

Having spent years coaching my own friends through their messy breakups, I had no idea where to begin with my own. One thing I’d never accounted for when imparting my wisdom onto other broken hearts was the obvious — the searing pain felt when a heart has been broken. Not just an organ that pumps blood around the body, it becomes a vessel that holds a piece of someone else in everything it does. Without warning, mine had broken down and signed a DNR without my consent.

You start changing things. Recklessly, with no real plan. New clothes become new hobbies become new paint on the walls. You find yourself walking down the street looking at any man that passes thinking, what is my type? The thought of dating is about as painful as the break up itself. Then there’s the aftershock. What happens when you start to tell yourself that you’ll be fine without him, that maybe this was meant to be… then he asks you to lunch one day and he looks terrible, and before you know it you’re flirting via text and his toothbrush is back in your bathroom…or, our bathroom? What do you call a break up that never fully broke?

There comes a point (spoiler alert: it’s about 8 weeks later, sorry) where you see yourself differently. You’re not the girlfriend, or the breakup. You’re something entirely separate that you were the whole time. A person. Who is mind, body and soul entirely on her own. And whether this crazy thing called love works out or not, you can find comfort in knowing that there’s a best friend in there who’s got your back through all of it.