Author: Sam Growdon

Must-have beauty products for your make-up bag

Written by Andrea Thorne As you’ll soon find out that I love trying out new products so here are seven of my latest favourites that I’ve tried and tested and are inside my back-to-work-after-the-summer make-up bag (it’s a thing!) #backtoworkaftersummermakeupbag Read on … Let’s start with Foundation, and usually this comes with commitment. It means surety on colour, texture, application, season, finish and never mind the whole ‘do I apply with a brush, sponge or finger tips’ debate’. All of these decisions can leave some of us feeling a little apprehensive to try out a new one each season. I, on the other hand, have been a foundation slut for the better part of 15 years, and like a lot of woman, I’m still out to find the holy grail. (But I’ll leave that to an entirely dedicated post!) For now, I can safely say my all-season but specifically for summer favourite has to be … Drum roll … Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturiser, oil free with SPF 20. It has an silky texture and is super …

Here comes the sun

Doesn’t summer just make us happy? Sunshine, green grass, blue skies, pineapples and one of my favourite places to hangout in – the Luxembourg Gardens (yes… I may have mentioned this before!) And even though the Parisians have a bad reputation for saying ‘non‘ to most things – along with the famous shoulder shrug and ‘bof‘ – it’s trés hard to say ‘non‘ to beautiful summer days in Paris. By now you may have noticed that I’m a huge fan of the “jean-pant”! and even in mid-summer I can’t let go of my denims fetish, so a pineapple, a visor (the best sun blocker!) and a bright yellow pouch and voilá, hello summer! Oh and the little ditty ‘here comes the sun’ playing in my head. P.S I have to add that since moving to Hong Kong I realise that the visor it’s a Chinese mid-summer staple and not just a fleeting fashion trend, so I am absolutely embracing the visor – I’ll be the blonde on the beach under the black visor, find me on Instagram! Leave your comments, share …

We’ll always have Paris

It’s been 6 weeks since my husband, two boys and I left Paris and made a new home in Hong Kong. This weekend I saw a Facebook post from an ex-colleague who was visiting Paris and she’d attached a funny image of a quintessentially French moment – a baguette neatly tucked into a briefcase after the ‘statutory’ visit to the local boulangerie. This photo, and its Parisian symbolism made me nostalgic for the city we’ve called ‘home’ for the last three years, flooding my head with many fun, amazing, colourful and romantic memories and knowing that we’ll always have Paris. The thing about this life is that nothing is permanent and change is inevitable in one form or another, the Buddhist notion of impermanence reminds me that, without exception, everything we know in this world is transient and all we can do to make it last longer is to stay as present, in this moment, as possible to soak up each and every minute – and that includes eating as much baguette and pastries when …

Beauty Tips : Summer tanning sorted

Hey La Belles,  This post was written by my oldest and proudly beauty-obsessed friend, Andrea Thorn. Ms Thorne was wearing lipstick before I even knew what lip balm was and she has her well-manicured figure tips on all the cutting edge products and how-to’s in the beauty industy (in fact, by day she even works in the beauty world, SO glam!) Lucky for us – she’ll be a regular on La Belle Crush, so look out for her posts!) Mid-summer is here! It’s the season we’ve all been counting down to, summer sun, longer evenings, rose wine and of course stripping off the layers that winter demands for shorter hemlines and some bikini time! But if you’re anything like me, the lily whites are seriously unsightly and the unexposed flesh really requires some hard-core prepping. And when you go from 12 degrees one day to 24 the next, you need quick solutions. Nothing too demanding or too time consuming and has instant results – a good exfoliator and some self bronzing and you’ll be ready to show …

Love, Loss, Letting go and life in Lagos : Nicole Mansour

In South Africa she’s known as Nicole Fox, however, 7 years ago the vivacious and much-loved radio presenter and ‘it’ girl left her home country and everything she knew to followed her heart further north on the African continent to Lagos. Now wife to Ramzi and mom to Deen, Nicole Mansour explains how giving it all up has helped define who she really is. If you met Nicole 7 years ago she was a self-confessed career woman firmly entrenched in her (very successful) profession as a journalist in entertainment media. As with many of us, she was defined by what she did, juggling a full-time radio presenting career as well as freelance television presenting, voice over artist gigs, corporate MC-ing and Club DJ-ing. She describes her past job as incredible and says she loved every second of her career. She was able to travel the world interviewing movie stars and traveled her home country a few times over doing work in a field that she was absolutely passionate about, and giving her the opportunity to meet so many …

On the Lust-have List ❤ Lace-up flats!

I’m all tangled up over lace-up ballet flats! I know they’ve been around since Spring when Michael Kors paraded his Kallie leather lace-up flats in a perfect monochrome look, but I was far too wrapped up in airing my toetsies and the lace-up open-toed cousin to give these beauties a glance – well I’m looking with great wide eyes now! While the classic ballet pump is a staple in most well-curated footwear collections, this season’s version are a fun and chic upgrade with their lace-up detail and a contemporary addition that can be worn with dresses, skirts, shorts and denims – erm, most thing really. Plus, they are the perfect shoes to continue the walk into a new season, even more reason to get them right? The most popular of the season seem to be the Aquazzura, (seen on pretty much every blog and intagram account as well as Hollywood’s elite – which must say something) but if you’re looking at a little less of an investment, then there are loads of high-street and online options too. Check …

Reflecting white

Just before heading east to Hong Kong, I managed a few more shoots in the beautiful city of Paris. With the backdrop of such an architecturally rich city it inspires one to “up ones game” and look chic even if in a pair of denims (did I mention how much I love a pair of denims?) I also love this summer’s all-white trend and I’ve longingly looked at the white denims in store and lusted after a pair, but each time I’ve slipped them on, they just don’t look right on me. So, instead I’ve found myself a light grey pair that I’m more comfortable in and works with summer’s lights ‘n whites – with the added help of these voguish Spartan sandals from IRO of course (totally obsessed with them). I’ve been able to mix and match these denims with almost everything and cheat on the all-white look too. So, if like me, you love the idea of summer whites but can’t bring yourself to wear an actual pair of white denims, then go for the …

Forcing a W’robe Detox

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you may have seen that I’ve moved. Yup, across the globe. I’ve changed apartment, city, country, continent, culture and time zone and now officially call Hong Kong home! As a family, this is our third move in under 5 years, and with each move I find myself detoxing my wardrobe! There is obviously a lot of other stuff that goes with moving half way across the world, but this seems like the most relevant for me today, as I sit in the same pair of denims I’ve been wearing for the last 3 weeks already (they have been in the laundry in between of course!) I am really surviving on a super-edited “Capsule Wardrobe”. At the end of every season I do find myself purging my closet. It’s an opportunity to reinvent your fashion-self, get out of a style-rut and reassess the clothes you own so that you show off your best parts – plus it’s extremely therapeutic and strangely cathartic. (and I ALSO have IKEA catalogue images stuck …

On the Lust-have List ❤ Summer Sunnies!

The sun is out and I need a large sunglass draw – one that opens up and displays all your sunglasses neatly in rows, so that I’d be able to clearly see which ones I should be wearing with each day’s outfit! Instead, my sunnies are dropped into their boxes and dumped in a draw with a whole lot of other accessories that I have to riffle through to find the pair that I want! All those dreams of my perfect wardrobe, sigh. In the meantime I’m extending that dream to fit all of these new pairs of delicious shades (this dream is getting more and more grand ain’t it?!) It doesn’t take too much to zing up a seemingly bland outfit, and yes, I definitely have many of these days. I like to jazz it up with a pair of sunglasses (in fact I’m a sucker for a new pair!). Sunglasses + an accessory or two + a favourite handbag et voila can anyone say celebrity style?! Have a little fun with this season’s …

5 things to do in Palma, Mallorca

Last month my 2 boys and husband spent a few days in Mallorca enjoying the sun, beaches and Spanish way of life. We stayed on the beachy, resort-filled side of the Island but drove south to Palma de Mallorca for one day to see what the capital has to offer. I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful, sophisticated and stylish coastal city bustling with tourists and locals alike. The city sits on the edge of the Mediterranean and overlooks its sparkling azure waters with palm trees dotted all over and is as picture-perfect as what I’d seen in internet photos before arriving. It reminded me a little of Barcelona with it’s dusty coloured walls, colossal Cathedral (although this one is actually finished!) and narrow intimate lanes of the old city and there is the exciting fusion of relaxed beach life mixed with energetic city life as in Barcelona. An assortment of Havaianas and heels, a hustle and bustle of the employed alongside cafes brimming with holiday-makers wiling away the time sipping on cocktails in …