This week I got to escape the gloom of Brussels for the bright lights of Paris! It was just one day, but boy did I make the most of it. After the business part of my trip was over, I popped straight onto the metro and headed straight for nirvana (aka Sephora) on the Champs-Élysées.
Oh Sephora, Sephora, wherefore art thou? And WHYfore art thou not in Belgium?? Thou art in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece etc.... but not in this Godforsaken country. Why?????
I had a plan for my pilgrimage to cosmetic paradise. I would systematically work my way through the brands that don't exist here in Brussels, and then treat myself to a few bits and pieces from said brands, WITHOUT going over the top (Mr P reads this, don't you know :))
The plan failed. I headed through the massive store front, the red sloping carpeted entrance drew me in like a moth to a flame and I was blinded by the sparkle of thousands of perfume bottles which lined the entrance and paved the way to Xanadu. I was lost. Where did I begin? I picked up a little basket and walked down through the centre of the store. Beautiful girls with perfectly painted lips dressed in sleek black outfits delicately asked me if I needed assistance. I looked at them with big, wide eyes. "Don't worry about me, I'm ok. I was in Brussels, but now I'm here... here in Paradise. I'm just fine" They would give me a knowing look, which I translated as meaning that they understood my plight. Or they may have thought I was nutter with bad grammar. Either way, they conveyed their expressions with charm and elegance. I felt loved.
The Sephora brand of make-up was my first calling point seeing as I couldn't get that in Brussels, or London come to think of it. Why they ceased operations in London is a mystery and a CRIME.
There were so many eyeshadows, palettes, nail polishes, lipsticks.... all laid out over 4 counters, like a sweetie pick & mix. I began swatching. The pigmentation was great and the texture smooth and soft. But the prices had increased 3 fold since the last time I had been there (a good 10 years ago now). I had to be selective. In the end I picked up a soft pink eye crayon which I thought would be useful for a quick Blossoms and Brownies look and some more brushes, specifically a bronzer brush and a short bristled flat brush for eye definition (I'm a complete brush fiend). The eye palettes were gorgeous, with superb colour combinations but my problem was that I just couldn't choose which ones to get. I could have easily popped them all into the basket but I had to restrain myself. At €16 a pop they weren't exactly the budget option either.
The other brands I was excited to find were Make Up For Ever, Urban Decay and Too Faced. I've been so excited to try the Make Up For Ever HD foundation but for some reason I hesitated this time. A quick glance in a mirror showed me that my make-up had held up incredibly well the whole day, and I actually felt no need to have it all wiped off. In fact, my skin was glowing (it was either the highlighter or the sheer happiness of being there... or both.)
As I lingered about the store, touching, sniffing, swatching, I realised just how restrained I had become. I had envisaged myself filling my basket to the brim with goodies, but in fact my basket was looking extremely modest. There were two products I would have bought on the spot if they had been in stock. MAC's Cream Colour Base in Virgin Isle, which has been sold out for ages, and Urban Decay's Naked eyeshadow palette which I've lusted after for almost a year now and never managed to find. Alas, t'was not to be. I contented myself with some inexpensive treats from the Sephora bath and body range, including a lemon meringue shower gel which smelt so good I could have stood there eating it out of the tube. My one big splurge was on a Chanel Coco Mademoiselle body spray.
At the cash desk I was cheerfully asked if I would like a bath to go with my shower products. I thought I had misunderstood and the cashier switched to English and told me that I would in fact receive a free "bath" as I had purchased 3 Sephora bath products. She brought out the cutest ever mini silver bath tub in which she placed my bottles of shampoo and shower gel and I was most delighted.
I smiled all the way to the station, clutching my black and white striped bag with my little silver bathtub filled with lemon meringue shower gel, coconut shampoo, mint shampoo, make-up brushes, eye crayon, foundation samples and Chanel body spray. As I was passing through the metro station there was an old man selling beautiful bunches of fresh mimosa. I stood there for a moment, transfixed by the cheeriness of the fluffy yellow buds. He smiled at me, and I bought bunch to take back to Brussels. This is my Parisian take on throwing a coin in Rome's Trevi fountain. I'm determined I will be back to Paris soon, and back to Sephora with a plan. Next time I buy Chanel in Paris, it will be Spring and I will honour that by picking up the new Chanel varnish....
In "Mimosa" :)
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