L’Occitane Summer Grooming

L'occitane summer grooming

I’m the first person to admit that I fulfil most British stereotypes, not least the inability to control my love of a good moan. This is especially the case when it comes to weather. I hate being cold, get very cold and spend the majority of the winter months somewhere on the spectrum of mild-to-hopping-mad rage, railing against my purple extremities and goose pimples to anyone who’ll listen. Then when summer finally arrives and we’re treated to a heatwave I can’t cope with that either and start getting stroppy about being sweaty in the city. Even last week in glorious Sotogrande when all I had to do was lounge by a pool and the horrors of the Piccadilly Line were far, far away I still managed to fit in a whinge or two about the heat between insagramming shots of my pedicure and inspecting my tan lines. One particularly iffy issue when it’s hot, hot, hot is how to keep yourself looking polished when you feel like you’re melting. Whether you’re in the city, trying to look presentable while navigating scorching pavements and possibly even public transport or on your hols, hoping to look like a poolside glamazon, keeping groomed in the height of summer can be tricky. With the mercury set to continue to rise and August being prime holiday time, I thought now might be a good moment to share some of the luscious L’Occitane En Provence products I’ve been using to stop myself looking like a bedraggled mess (I hope) both in London and on the beach.

Beating the heat with Frisson de Verveine

L'Occitane

Frisson de Verveine Eau de Toilette, £42, click here to buy

L'Occitane summer grooming

Left: Frisson de Verveine Refreshing Body Mist, £12, click here to buy. Right: Frisson de Verveine Ice Gel for Legs & Feet, £20, click here to buy.

L'Occitane

Frisson de Verveine Body Care Duo, reduced from £34 to £28, click here to buy

While I remain highly dubious about body spray in general – anyone else remember the impulse scented air of teenage discos? – everything else about L’Occitane En Provence’s Frisson de Verveine collection is excellent. The scent is utterly delicious and so freaking fresh I quite want to drink it every time I put it on. Also when it’s seriously hot, more traditional perfumes can be a bit heavy, even really lovely ones. The same goes for the shower gel and body lotion. The ice gel for hands and feet was a bit of a surprise as the idea of putting gel on your body when you’re hot and sweaty isn’t so nice in theory but in practice, it does the job and doesn’t leave you with your toes stuck together. It’s also enabled me to continue cramming my feet into footwear that could double as torture instruments as it reduces heat swelling. For the past few weeks I’ve been using the lot when I get back from a morning run and, in my mind at least, the whole routine transports me from red faced, panting mess to a state of laid back, lemon scented loveliness. I did give the body mist a go and it was actually rather nice, but I still kind of object to it on principle.

Pre Holiday Preparations

L'Occitane summer

Left: Almond Tonic Body Oil, £35, click here to buy. Right: Almond Delicious Paste, £29, click here to buy.

I’ve never read a beauty feature that didn’t advise lots and lots of pre holiday exfoliation. No guide to prepping your beach body will ever advocate anything other than scouring away those dead skin cells and vanquishing all signs of cellulite with a good, grainy scrub. This is of course because it’s true. Back in the day I used to be the most religious skin scrubber of them all, devoting vast amounts of time to my extensive exfoliation-followed-by-moisturisation routine but now I’m rather too busy to spend hours in my bathroom merrily buffing my bod. That, my friends, is where this particular potion is rather handy. It’s a moisturiser/exfoliator hybrid in the form of a blended almond butter and oil paste that you just apply all over, as you would a regular lotion in the weeks leading up to your hols. It won’t of course transform you into a Victoria’s Secret angel (always a bummer) but it does make your skin soft, fresh and ready to get it’s tan on. Smell nice too, obvs. I’ve also been slapping on a bit of the almond tonic body oil whenever I remember to. It’s made from a combination of 5 essential oils – immortelle, palmarosa, mint, carrot, cypress and pink pepper – and meant to give skin a “refined and toned appearance.” I think a big misconception, or in some cases outright lie, with products like this is that it’s tempting to think that they will help tone your limbs in a more muscular sense, like some sort of magical gym in a bottle which obviously would be awesome if it existed. What the almond tonic body oil is designed to do is tone and smooth the skin itself, not what’s underneath it. For that purpose, L’Occitane’s oil works well and leaves you feeling all silky and fragrant with less blotches and bumps.

Beach Please

L'Occitane summer

Left: Angelica UV Shield SPF40, £27, click here to buy. Right: Revitalising Fresh Detangling Spray, £18, click here to buy. 

While I’m categorising these under the “use while on holiday” section of this post it’s also totally advisable to use them when back home during the summer, especially the face cream with factor 40 UV protection. I’m sure you guys are all much better about this than me but I always forget to wear UV protective face cream, sometimes even when actually on holiday which is terrible. I’m usually worried that wearing such creams on my face day to day is going to clog my pores, mess with my skin, cause makeup coagulation and generally feel a bit icky. I decided this summer to be less of an idiot about protecting my pasty face from the sun’s rays and gave this a whirl, then continued using it as it didn’t cause any of the aforementioned horrors. Full disclosure, I don’t use it everyday as I’m addicted to Kiehls classic 3 step skincare products but when I was in Sotogrande or if it’s particularly sunny here in blighty I swap it for L’Occitane’s Angelica UV shield. When I was away it was a huge relief to know that even if I fell asleep or got to engrossed in The Wrong Knickers (SUCH a funny book, definitely recommended reading) and didn’t reapply my suncream enough, my face at least was still protected. As a result I’m burnt in multiple other places but at least my nose doesn’t look like a tomato. I’m very, very hesitant to ever use any products at all on my hair as it’s super fine and the slightest smidge of mousse leaves me looking like Gollum. That said, sun, sea and chlorine gives my usually limp barnet the ability, or at least the desire, to transform itself into a very tangled ‘fro so I experimented with this spray when I was on holiday and I’d definitely recommend it.

Happy holidays everyone!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Beauty Leave a comment

ITS Competition 2014: Trieste Part II

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Regardless of how short a time I spend on a trip, I always seem to write at least two travel posts about it. Four years of blogging doesn’t seem to have curbed the tendency to ramble that drove my teachers insane. In the case of this particular excursion however, we really were there for a while and fitted a LOT in so it seems justified. Trieste day two involved both a full on morning of back to back interviews with the competition judges, and afternoon at the seaside as well as the competition final, fashion show, dinner, party and after party, perhaps not surprising I lay comatose in my obscenely comfortable bed until ten minutes before we had to check out the following morning. I know I keep banging on about that bloody bed but but seriously, it was like sleeping inside a giant hug, magical. On the morning of day two however I was forced to drag myself from its featherweight confines as I needed to get myself suitably spruced to meet some very important people. After a totally failed attempt to go for a run along the shore – i.e ten minutes of jog-walk-jog-give-up – I was ready to hit up the Grand Hotel Duchi‘s unsurprisingly divine breakfast before making the quick stroll round the corner to the Hotel Savoia Excelsior.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

I wore… Hobbs NW3 blouse (available here), shorts (available here) & sandals (available here) with Michael Kors Selma tote (available here) and Kite sunglasses (similar here)

The next few hours were fascinating, albeit fascinating in a very intense sort of way. In a truly gobsmacking feat of organisational excellence, several hundred journalists would interview the judging panel, current and past finalists through a series of tightly times 15 minute one-on-one’s, not dissimilar to speed dating. My interviewees were recently appointed CEO of the Italian Fashion Council, Jane Reeve; Senior Editor of Vogue Italia, Sara Maino; Editor-in-Chief of JOYCE Magazine, Maria Eugenia Alberti; legendary editor, innovator and gallerist, Carla Sozzani and Nicola Formichetti who’s current creative roles are simply to numerous to list. It was an absolute privilege to interview such incredibly inspiring, pioneering and established names in the industry and the insights they shared were invaluable. I will be sharing them with you too over the next few weeks and months but to try to edit them down to soundbites for this post would be to do my subjects, and you dear readers, a disservice. For now just trust me when I tell you, they were amazing. Once the interview session wrapped Laura, Alya and I joined the rest of the Diesel team, their guests and Livin’Cool founder Emanuele D’Angelo who was on the terrace for a much needed drink (I mean, it was midday after all) before heading into the hotel ballroom for lunch.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

From left: Emanuele, Alya, Laura & Me

Sufficiently stuffed with Italian fare we pondered our next move. With a long, free afternoon stretching before us there really seemed only one sensible option: get into our bikinis and hit the beach. Well, not “beach” exactly but the beauty of the Hotel Riviera‘s panoramic coastal views and elegant lounging facilities more than made up for a lack of actual sand. The Hotel itself was an utterly gorgeous cornflower yellow building adorned with white washed window boxes boasting fuchsia blooms and perched atop the cliffs, overlooking the surreally blue ocean. A journey down in a lift encased within a round tower took us to the waterfront where smart red and yellow sun loungers awaited. Me, Laura, Alya, Emanuele, Diesel’s incredible gorgeous stateside PR, Simone and Style.Com editor, Katharine Zarella – incidentally, the most fabulous human being I’ve met in my life who I’d very much like to be when I grown up – spent an utterly blissful afternoon dipping in and out of the water, drinking Prosecco, eating pizza, chatting and generally having a very good time. The fact that this could technically be called “work” only added to the surreal awesomeness of the whole situation.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

I wore… Diesel top (available here), J.Crew shorts (available here), A.P.C bag (similar here), Kite sunglasses (similar here) and L.K. Bennett sandals (available here)

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Eventually it was time to go and do some actual work – if a waterfront dinner and cocktail party followed by a fashion show followed by an after party can be thought of as such – so we peeled ourselves off our loungers and headed back to the Grand Hotel Duchi which by this point I’d start to wishfully think of as “home”. One very quick outfit change and a slightly less quick fannying about on Facebook session later we were on our way back to the ITS Venue where the cocktails were already flowing, guests mingling and another feast had been laid out ready for munching.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

I wore… Diesel Black Gold dress, Hobbs clutch (available here), Karen Millen ankle boots (available here) & MAC “Lady Danger” lipstick (available here)

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

The joy of eating and drinking outside by the water almost began to make me yearn to swap city life for an altogether more laid back existence, but the fashion frenzy that ensued once we we’d taken our seats and the finalists show began soon put paid to that. Through a show that lasted several hours we were treated to a visual spectacle of fearless design as each of the fashion finalists collections took to the catwalk, allowing my seatmate, A Magazine’s Dan Thawley and I to thoroughly enjoy ourselves analysing the creations before us and guessing who might win what. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but a fair few of our predictions turned out to be correct. And so without further ado, the fashion award winners for ITS 2014 were as follows…

Fashion Collection of the Year Award:
€ 15,000 towards the development of a new collection to be presented at ITS
2015 competition

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Katherine Roberts-Wood, Great Britain.

Diesel Award:
€25,000 plus a 6-month internship with Diesel’s Creative Team

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Zoe Waters, Great Britain.

Fashion Special Prize:
€5,000 funding

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Anita Hirlekar, Iceland.

Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana Award:
€2,500 plus a 6-month internship at Trussardi

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Natalija Mencej, Slovenia

Vogue Talents Award:
Publication on Vogue.it of a photo shoot and interview as well as a dedicated feature in the
supplement to Vogue Italia released in September

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Katherine Roberts-Wood, Great Britain.

SHOWstudio.com Prize
Creation of a fashion film with SHOWstudio

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Yasuto Kimura, Japan.

Modateca Award
€3,000 to the most interesting knitwear collection

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Anna Bornhold, Germany. 

There were of course equally prestigious awards and worthy recipients for the jewellery, accessories, artwork and Samsung GALAXY Award categories but listing all of them all would go on forever. If you want to know exactly who won what, you can fin out on the ITS Competition website here. Attending the show was wonderful for many reasons, not least because seeing the young talents who’s skills were on show are the future of the industry we so adore. It was also a very heartening experience that, for me at least, really conveyed both the beauty and the duality of fashion. As we all know, there’s a lot of superficiality and, for want of a better word, bullshit involved in it all but the genuine support, love and creativity demonstrated at ITS 2014 was really quite moving. When the award winners got up to collect their prizes, many in tears of joy and disbelief, to be hugged and congratulated by their mentors and judges I had to try very heard not to cry myself! Finally the show drew to a close and we all filed out of the venue… Or at least, we tried to. For the first time in at least a decade, the ITS Competition final in Trieste coincided with the kind of rainstorm that leaves even us Brits unable to venture outside. Sadly this rather put paid to the planned after party but, shocker, we still all managed to have a very good time. The hours that followed involved a lot of dashing around in the rain with our formerly glamourous frocks getting drenched, an impromptu soiree at the Hotel Savoia hosted by Renzo Rosso and a possibly ill advised four man after party in my hotel room. All in all, attending the ITS Competition 2014 final was utterly fantastic, fabulous and fun and I very much hope to get the chance to do it all again. Diesel, I cannot thank you enough for taking me as your guest and being the most generous hosts.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Travel Leave a comment

Look Du Jour: Seaside Calling

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

What: J.Crew striped t-shirt (similar here) & shorts (available here), Club Monaco red leather biker jacket (c/o) (similar here), Lulu Guinness tote bag (c/o) (available here), Russell & Bromley loafers (c/o) (similar here) and Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace.

Where: Meetings in London… This month, then maybe the seaside.

You know the saying “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life?” Well, replace “man” with “Ella” and “London” with “nautical stuff” and you’ve got my personal equivalent. I don’t know what it is about Breton stripes and the perennially chic colour combination that is red, white and blue that never ceases to get me reaching for my poor, worn out credit card, but I’ve always been powerless to resist. I even happen to have once acquired a nautically themed tattoo in Barcelona but that, my friends, is a tale for another post.  The second I spied these crisp chino shorts during a trip to J.Crew, ostensibly made for research purposes, I just knew that they had to be mine. Immaculately tailored, go-with-everything white and super comfy to boot… When would I not wear them? Unlike many other purchases I’ve justified with similar reasoning, I actually have worn these babies non stop since they joined the ever expanding hoarder’s paradise that is my wardrobe. It turns out, white really does go with everything. It doesn’t, however disguise coffee stains in the helpful way that a punchy print does so these puppies have been through the wash more times in the last month than I’ve had Starbucks iced lattes (i.e. a LOT). They’re also the absolute dream for anyone with a penchant for all things nautical. Whether paired with glossy red leather accoutrements for a city spin on things or a heavy ribbed knit and appropriate footwear if you’re actually going to be anywhere near the beach, they just scream “seaside”. Personally I’m not actually that huge a fan of the seaside, preferring a pavement, park or poolside area with heavy cocktail involvement, but I may have to change my tune considering how often I embrace the allure of nautical styling. Plus, I’ll be going to Norfolk – for non British readers this is a very lovely but usually very rainy area of the English coast where we go sailing, look at seals and picnic on the beach while pretending not to be freezing our t*ts off – with the family next month so perhaps a few variations on this ensemble can help to distract from those soggy sandwiches.

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Ella Catliff La Petite Anglaise Seaside J.Crew

Will you be rocking the nautical look on any seaside holidays this summer?

Love Ella. X

Images by Holly McGlynn

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Look Du Jour Leave a comment

ITS Competition 2014: Weekend in Trieste

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

As you cannot have possibly missed thanks to the million Instagram snaps I posted – unless of course you don’t follow me, a situation which can be amended here – a couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Trieste for the ITS Competition final as a guest of Diesel. If you did spot those ‘grams then you’ll already know it was pretty awesome. Before I tell you ALL about the trip (#sorrynotsorry) let’s kick things of with a bit of background about ITS. For thirteen years, the International Talent Support platform has been enabling young creatives from all over the world to share their talent, build their businesses and reinvigorate the creative industries with their fresh ideas, skills and individual brands. That sounds a bit sweeping, not to mention pompous, but I don’t really know how else to summarise the magnitude of what the platform does for both the designers themselves and the professional fields into which they go. Virtually every previous ITS Award winner currently holds a role at the likes of Dior, Givenchy, Lanvin and McQueen. Those that don’t are making waves with their own lines; think Peter Pilotto, Michael Van der Ham, Mark Fast and Aitor Throup. The prizes are big ones and besides providing cash, also offer mentorship, ongoing support and exposure in publications such as Vogue Italia and Dazed & Confused. It was truly an honour to be given the opportunity to attend this year’s final, see the work of the new talents who will be our industry’s future and meet many of the inspiring and esteemed judges too. I’ll be sharing the winners and my thoughts on the catwalk show shortly but first, night one.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

I wore… AllSaints leather jacket, J.Crew floral top (available here) and skirt, Prada clutch & Karen Millen ankle boots (available here)

The first thing that struck me as I arrived in Trieste, rather later than planned, was how incredibly beautiful it is and also, how old fashioned. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s just absolutely your quintessential, old school Italian coastal town, all semi dilapidated but gorgeous buildings, tiny locally run shops and traditonal gelato parlours. Of course, even Trieste can’t escape the influx of new visitors and new money so this slightly run down charm is juxtaposed by mega buck yachts in the port and a smattering of incredible grand hotels, the most wonderful of which was ours. I fell hard for the Grand Hotel Duchi D’Aosta the second I walked in the door. After seeing my room that infatuation hit new levels. Despite being rather big and very grand, the place has a boutique-y, intimate feel thanks to personal touches – think charmingly mismatches antiqued in every room, quirky vintage chandeliers and a bed that was both one of the most magnificent and most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. It was heaven.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

I didn’t have a great deal of time to revel in my surroundings that evening as I checked in with precisely 4 minutes until we were meant to leave for the first evening’s celebrations. Queue panic and world’s fastest outfit change and the worst lipstick application of all time. The Diesel team and their respective guests were all outside Harry’s Grill – the Duchi’s divine restaurant overlooking the Piazza Unità d’Italia. We were of course running on Italian time which allowed enough for me to knock back a much needed vino and Instagram the hell out of my surroundings. Eventually someone decided that it might actually not be a bad idea to make a move and so Laura, Alya Mooro – my fellow London guest of Diesel; journalist, blogger and all round babe – and I commenced the short totter along the seafront to the ITS Location; a vast, warehouse esque building opening out onto the water.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Me & Laura

That evening the venue was playing host to the Vernissage of ITS 2014′s accessories, artwork and jewellery and Samsung GALAXY Award finalists, each consisting of 10 finalists from at least 6 different countries. This year’s theme was “Lucid Dream” and the fantastical, varied and original creations the finalists created in response to it left me genuinely speechless, no mean feat as I suspect I don’t need to tell you. A couple of my favourites were Katharina Bauer, Ryota and Chiaki Murakami and Noriko Nakazato but they were all enormously impressive. This standard is perhaps unsurprising when you consider that the judging panel included Carla Sozzani, Nicola Formichetti, Nick Knight, Manish Arora, Consuelo Castiglioni and Susie Lau. Suitably awestruck, we wandered out onto the waterfront terrace which was bedecked with white umbrella topped seating areas and a buffet that was frankly the stuff of gluttonous dreams. We’re talking the kind of limitless, Mediterranean cuisine feast that runs a very real risk of ending in calamari induced food coma if not approached with the utmost caution (caution I did not exercise and suffered the consequences). There was also, of course, a never ending supply of very fine Italian wine which is never a bad thing. Being very much a global competition there were press, guests, judges and sponsors from all over the show in attendance with a pretty strong London contingent. I ran into lovely Laura Martin who styled my Ibiza shoot for Company Magazine back in June as well as fellow blogger and my Athens travel pal, Reem Kanj. All in all, it was a wonderful start to what would be a very memorable weekend. After hearing what some of the others got up to until the wee hours I rather regretted making a midnight return to my bed but good God it was comfortable.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

By Katharina Bauer

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

By Ryota & Chiaki Murakami

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

By Noriko Nakazato

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

Me & Laura Martin

FYI, the Trieste street shots below were actually taken on day 3 but I’ve included them here, partially to show you how lovely the place is but mainly because I’m not going to write a whole separate post about alternating between nursing a hangover of epic proportions, attempting to work and walking around taking photographs of random stuff I thought looked nice, which is how I spent that particular afternoon. We also had a very delicious lunch at Harry’s Grill during which I drove the waiters mad by customising the menu like the irritating customer I am.

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel
Me & Alya at Harry’s Bar

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

ITS Competition 2014 Trieste Diesel

More on ITS Competition 2014 coming soon!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Travel Leave a comment

Monthly Must Haves: July 2014

Monthly Must Haves July 2014

1) Topshop lace trim crop top, 28, click here to buy
2) Whistles Limited Edition stretch-knit skater skirt, 115, click here to buy
3) LK Bennett Aisha kid leather sandals, 225, click here to buy
4) Chloe Baylee Medium Leather Tote, 1325, click here to buy
5) Edie Parker Jean Toucan box clutch, 1050, click here to buy
6) PRISM Capri cat eye acetate sunglasses, 255, click here to buy
7) J.Crew Showater reversible bandeau bikini top, 50, click here to buy
8_ J.Crew Showater reversible bikini briefs, 45, click here to buy
9) Tory Buch Calita dress, REDUCED from 285 to 142.50, click here to buy
10) ASOS Madhouse pointed shoes, 35, click here to buy

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Shopping 2 Comments
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