Thursday, 7 June 2012

Summer’s Best Accessory…

…is a beautiful smile, of course! There’s nothing like great-looking pearly whites to brighten up any occasion, not even the real, oyster-based types. Obviously, this goes for any time of year, but getting a spectacular smile might be even more pressing in summer, perhaps because of the amount of white we wear (if your teeth aren’t sparkling, you know what colour they’re going to look, right? Here’s a hint: it’s a primary and it’s not red or blue), or perhaps because of the amount of smiling we do (sunny summer holidays are great for beating SAD). Whatever your motivation, here’s how to get your best smile ever. FAKE IT… (I never leave home without this. It's bronzer from Alima Pure. Think Belize in a bottle. Except in a tub.) Cosmetics can be a great help in granting you the bright smile you dream of. Pick lip colours with blue-based undertones to make your smile appear whiter and brighter, and remember that the more tan your skin appears, the brighter and whiter your teeth will appear. If a trip to the Costa Smeralda isn’t on the cards, don’t fret – you can always use a gradual tanner or, for the commitment-phobes, a great bronzer. Talking of the Sardinian HNI heaven, for a really glamorous way to get a brighter smile (what? Those photos you tweet from the superyacht aren’t going to be Photoshopped, y’know), consider diamonds. Yes, that’s right, diamonds. The sparkle of clear diamond (or, fine, CZ, if you must) earrings can bring out your sparklers beautifully. …...TIL YOU MAKE IT Perhaps your smile requires a little more than cosmetic aid. Whatever your concern, whether whiteness, straightness, or something more serious, you can correct it. Ah, the wonders of modern science. For a genuinely white smile, I highly recommend the Crest 3D White Intensive Professional Effects Whitestrips. I’ve used them myself and can tell you that they give INCREDIBLE results (so incredible they’re comparable to a $500 professional treatment, in fact) that last six to twelve months with minimum sensitivity. If it’s straightness that’s the problem, treatments like Invisalign are god’s gift to those of us with crooked gnashers. Just think: no social awkwardness or embarrassment, headgear, eating restrictions or lack of kiss-ability while getting a straight, stunning smile. Of course, a qualified professional is the only one who can determine the treatment that’s most suitable for you. Don’t trust just anyone, though. You want the St Tropez of dentists, not the Ibiza equivalent. Go to to find a reputable professional near you, and get ready to say hello to your beautiful new smile!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Man, I Feel Like A Woman

............................................................................................................................................................... As any committed Anglophile will know, we Brits enjoyed a four-day holiday from the 2nd to 4th of June in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. And it seems it’s not just the nationals celebrating: style editorials inspired by HRH have been popping up on sites all over the American web (and yes, before you ask, they’re reputable. Even Net-a-Porter’s joined the fray). At first, I was a little baffled. The Queen is many things, but a style icon? I’m not so sure, old chap. I dismissed it at first, thinking it a quaint extension of the seemingly ever-pervasive American affection for all things English. But the more email subscriptions from high-end retailers I opened, the more high-fashion sites I surfed, the more prestigious magazines I read – the more it became apparent that for whatever reason, this obsession with regal style was becoming, in fact, more a trend than a passing fancy. ..................................................................................................................................................... It took me a little while to ‘get it’, but an illuminating article in Harper’s Bazaar UK soon gave me a hint as to the reason for Liz’s new street cred. The Queen’s manner of dress, while perhaps not the haute blend of S&M and living art installation commanded by the likes of Carine Roitfeld, is indeed ladylike and elegant, the ‘poster style’, if you will, for a woman who is unafraid to be feminine. An extension of the sweetly girlish and somewhat saccharine styles seen bubbling down the spring/summer runways, it might seem a turn-off to today’s powerful, successful, ruler-of-her-own-kingdom woman, but on the contrary, this is not the look for Disney Princess 2.0, but for a strong woman possessed of her own power. In fact, this may be the only character able to get away with white lace pencil skirts and strings of pearls. Irony – that elusive blend of bad taste and laissez faire hauteur – and its inherent contrast are the true markers of great personal style – as Diana Vreeland said, “Too much good taste can be boring”. Bad taste is what’s interesting. Only the woman who is so in command of her world and assured of her own assets can take the reign(s), pun intended, of this style and make it fly. A perfect fit when augmented with longer and faster growing hair - possible with the purest of sulfate-free hair growth shampoos such as Nisim's line. ........................................................................................................................................................... Of course, twinsets and pearls and mid-height block heels all together are never going to look modern (that’s too much bad taste. Your spicy Bloody Mary shouldn’t be a microdermabrasion treatment for your throat). It’s all about the twist – elegance with an edge. Preppy or sophisticated elements should always be paired with something more ‘street’: Upper East Side lady-who-lunches meets Carine. It is neither a street style extravaganza nor a simply preppy, ‘classic’ style, but altogether something more mysterious and far more intriguing; infinitely refined. For example: a pair of cropped orange-popsicle pants paired with a short, structured white silk tee and a navy, white and gold costume-gem necklace as at home in the Hamptons as at a black tie event – and a gold handcuff bracelet and bondage heels. Or a second-skin black top with sheer panels and chiffon draping, offset by peg-leg peony-print trousers in pale blues. Complete either visage with another expected element, like deep burgundy lips, and Muffy, you’ve got yourself an upgrade.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Prepping for summer

Breaking news: summer is coming, look busy. Or, better yet, get busy – I don’t know about you, but at least in my case there’s a lot of prep to done before I can feel beach-ready and body-confident for the fast-approaching summer months ahead. Below, a won’t-waste-your-time (you’ll need that for waxing, sugaring, tanning, sweating…you get the idea) guide to prepping for summer.

First off: fitness. Come on, you knew that was coming, right? Those thighs ain’t gonna tone themselves. There’s a fine line between looking good and looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, and we intend to cross it. In general, it’s a great idea to focus equally on strength and cardio, but it can help to lean more towards strength if you want to tone up, and cardio if you’re looking to lose weight. For girls like me, who bulk at the even the sight of one-pound hand weights (or anybody who wants long, lean muscles like a dancer’s or willowy Pilates devotee’s), I recommend Pure Barre for strength, and Tracy Anderson’s treadmill workout (find it, in Parts One and Two, on YouTube) for cardio. Pure Barre is a great, incredibly challenging alternative to traditional weight training and incorporates Pilates-inspired isometric movements, using your own body weight, and yoga-themed stretches to build strength, not bulk, while chiseling long, dancer-like muscles. Anderson’s cardio workout is challenging on all levels (it keeps your heart rate around peak levels for the duration of the workout, and tests your balance, coordination, and proprioception), so you know you’re getting an amazing workout, while making time fly and being crazy-fun all at the same time.

Now, let’s say you want to be in great shape this summer, but squeezing a Pilates ball between your inner thighs or pounding the pavement just isn’t going to cut it. Perhaps you’re not ashamed of your curves, but your joints won’t take the strain of exercise and/or you know you need to get healthy, and you’ve been considering lipo as a kickstart to a healthier lifestyle. Or perhaps you’re already an avid exerciser but there are certain small, pesky areas that no amount of working out or dieting will touch, and your friend, who has been singing the praises of CoolSculpting, has got you curious (I myself am pretty interested in this). Or maybe you’d like to look a bit more like a Victoria’s Secret model in, well, the most important area. Head on over to It’s a great, informative website that covers everything you need to know about all of the above concerns, and can also help you find a great surgeon or specialist in your area, should you decide to take the plunge. Of particular note is their interesting article on CoolSculpting versus laser lipo, which you can find here.

Alright, now you’ve got your smokin’ bod – get ready to flaunt it! We all know the waxing drill: full legs, underarms, maybe a Brazilian if you’re feeling fruity (and brave). But we all know that, much like a dental drill, this procedure can cause a lot of, well, let’s be frank – AGONY. Take it down a notch and actually enjoy your appointments with sugaring. Essentially waxing with a sticky sugar paste instead of, y’know, wax, sugaring reduces pain by eliminating hot wax burns and by adhering to the hair, but not your skin. And sugaring can do everything waxing can: legs, underarms, and yes, even those Brazilians.

And there you have it: how to be a real-life VS model, in three easy steps. Helloooo, Adam.

Photos: Pinterest, Kangaroo Promotions, & Listal.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Milli Millu > personal assistant

Ah, the hazards of Fashion Month: composing a street style blog-worthy getup (or five) everyday, getting to shows on time (Ethan Hunt, meet your nemesis), remaining sane through the sleep deprivation (a Guantanamo Bay-certified form of torture), getting up sparkling reviews and spectacular photos (good luck actually getting those) on your site faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100m... Not a pretty picture.

For a better outlook, see above. The Milli Millu Zurich bag might not help with the sleep deprivation (in fact, in the spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit that it might actually aggravate the situation: such a chic accessory will get you noticed, and maybe even invited to those sleep-swallowing after-parties), but it'll certainly solve all your other problems. Tommy Ton? Eat your heart out. Gisele sauntering down the runway in the next cover-hogging star buy? Whip out your super-DSLR from the incredibly spacious bag and get snapping. Readers chomping at the bit and pageviews contingent on timely updates? No worries - get thee to a Starbucks and withdraw your MacBook Air from the special pocket in your Zurich (and your notes on the show that you just made from another specially designated compartment) and get going.

All in all, a great investment, and cheaper than a personal assitant. Probably chicer, too. Hey, this isn't Devil Wears Prada.

For my original feature and other editors' must-buy pieces, check out the JNSQ piece.


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Have yourself a spiritual little Christmas...

Well, I can deny it no longer: the holidays are here. Christmas, in particular, is fast approaching, and bringing with it the sensation of impending doom and the Nightmare Before Christmas: credit card hell. “With a look at bank statements and a sense of great alarm, I have seen grown men give out a shriek. With a wave of my hand and a feather, understandably, I have swept the very bravest off their feet.”

While it is extremely difficult to divorce ourselves from this mindset at this time of year, I think it is particularly important to in our day and age. Times are hard enough, in my mind, without poisoning what has the potential to be a truly beautiful time of the year. It is now that we should be forgetting, or at least trying to see beyond, our earthly troubles, focusing instead on the enduring qualities of friendship, love and family.

So, in the true spirit of the holidays, I am putting together a slightly more ‘spiritual’ post than usual. I proudly present to you my Christmas wishlist. Here’s to friendship, love and family. I’ll raise a glass of eggnog to that!

Francesca de Grandis is…a mystic. A comedienne. An enlightened soul. A non-dogmatic, non-evangelical, all-loving, most-everything-knowing, down-to-earth, hilarious spiritualist. Her writings are never dogmatic, do not talk down to the reader or dare to presume to, gasp, tell you what to do. Instead, they encourage, uplift, spark curiosity, inspire, and just make downright sense. Her newest book, Share My Insanity, is perhaps the most approachable, especially for those who do not identify with any one religion, or the concept of religion, per say. The words within the pages do not speak so much to faith or belief, let alone declare-your-allegiance-or-become-subject-to-Dante’s-inferno. Instead, they focus on, true to the book’s subtitle, knowing your beauty, being free, and fulfilling your fantasies. Talk about a holiday trio! Buy the book on Amazon.

VK Lillie is a design duo made up of mother and daughter Vanessa and Kira Lillie. Vanessa, the inspiration, has been making medicine bags since Kira can remember. Now Kira has taken the concept to a whole new level, producing the bags in vintage glove leather, fringing them with crystals and stringing them on gold or silver chains, creating exquisite and unique necklaces. But here’s the kicker: the necklaces aren’t just pretty, they’re spiritually practical as well: each medicine bag, which is hand-crafted and utterly unique, comes equipped with seven semi-precious crystals designed to remedy the ills of everyday life. I’ll take them all, please. Check out the collection at

Photos:, and

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Winner winner chicken dinner

Yes, I know, I have dropped off the face of the planet recently - sorry about that. But, I am happy to announce that the giveaway has officially closed and a winner has been selected... Congratulations to Carolynne S!!! I will be emailing you pronto to get your new bag to you ASAP. Thank you so much to everyone who took part - and don't worry if you didn't win this time. We have an equally glamorous new giveaway lined up soon, so watch this space...

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

LV giveaway - UPDATE

Well, because Mother Teresa has nothing on me, the giveaway is officially EXTENDED! Like a family involving uncles with tendencies towards pedophilia. Without the desire to wear overly baggy loungewear at Thanksgiving. And all you have to do now is follow me via Google Friend Connect and Bloglovin! Now that, that is just like marshmallow sweet potatoes. (The best part of the whole thing, if you were wondering.)