How to Wear Sunscreen Properly…

Did you know that wearing sunscreen is almost an art?  There are so many rules and so much information out there on how to apply them correctly that it is probably much easier to grab a bottle of your favourite protector, slather it on your skin and hope that you’re doing it right.  Does this sound like you?  If so, fear not!  I am going to distill everything I’ve learned (and I am still learning!) into as few words as possible to keep things simple and easy to remember.

What is SPF, and is the highest grade the best?

SPF = sun protection factor.  SPF 30 doesn’t mean that it’s twice as powerful as an SPF 15, it simply means that you will be able to have a longer amount of time in the sun before burning and having to reapply sunscreen.  Thus, if it takes about 10 minutes for your skin to burn without sunscreen, and you apply an SPF of 15, you will be able to stay out in the sun for 150 minutes before burning (that’s 300 minutes for SPF 30).  So you could say it provides twice the time, but not the blockage power.  The blockage power does improve a bit in the higher grades, but it is more effective and important that you apply the proper amount, and reapply it as needed.

Which SPF grade should I use then?

Most dermatologists recommend SPF 30 for everyday use and SPF 50+ for outdoor activities.  Make sure that the sunscreen is labelled broad-spectrum –this means it blocks out most UVA rays.  No matter how high the SPF in your cream is, you must apply it every two hours if you are under the sun all day, because sunscreen will get rubbed, washed or sweated off.

How long does a sunscreen protect you from burning (if applied correctly)?

Minutes it takes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number of your sunscreen = maximum sun exposure time  *Note that most people apply less than the needed amount of sunscreen, and that this will affect the time it takes for your skin to burn.

It’s an overcast day, why do I need to still apply sunscreen?

Two types of sun rays reach the earth: UVB, and UVA.  UVB causes immediate damage to the skin, aka burning/tanning.  UVA rays age your skin and up to 80% can pass through clouds, smog, and glass.  Save yourself the trouble and expense of age-reversing creams later on, and slather on that concoction that most of us think is only for the hot sunny weather.

What’s the difference between a chemical sunscreen and a physical sunscreen, and how does this fit into my beauty routine; do I put it on before or after moisturising/makeup?

Chemical sunscreens have active ingredients that need time to bind to the skin in order to activate.  So if you use chemical sunscreens with UV filters such as mexoryl, oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene, make sure you apply sunscreen before your moisturiser/makeup routine.  Otherwise, you are preventing the chemical reaction and the sunscreen from working the way they should.  Reapplication of sunscreen during the day should not be affected too much, as the moisturiser will have had time to sink in or wear off.

Physical sunscreens contain titanimum dioxide and zinc oxide.  These minerals form a shield on your skin so that the sun’s rays will be deflected from your skin.  This means that they don’t need to be applied in advance, and they don’t necessarily need to be applied before your moisturiser.  Keep in mind that your moisturiser(s)/foundation/etc. may have ingredients that will dilute your sunscreen and make it less effective.  In my opinion, it is always best to apply sunscreen first, and after applying your skincare routine, to make touch-ups with your sunscreen.

The order of application for skincare products is usually from thinnest to thickest.  I happen to use two natural sunscreens from Josie Maran and tarte that are less thick in consistency than the standard sunscreen.  Therefore, I would apply them first before any other skincare products.  The type of sunscreen you use, and its consistency in relation to your skincare routine should dictate which should be applied first.

How much sunscreen is the proper amount?

The technical answer is about two milligrams for every square centimeter of skin, and half a teaspoon for the face.  If you use a lotion, a quarter-sized dollop on every single body part should suffice.  For sticks, two passes back and forth or four layers total.  With a spray, the can should be held an inch or so away and sprayed until the skin glistens; then, rub it in.

You don’t have to apply sunscreen in the areas that are covered by clothing, right?

Short answer — yes, you do.  Hold the garment(s) in question up to the light.  If you can see through the fabric even the teeniest, tiniest bit, it’s not protecting you.  Rub that sunscreen in!

Done, done, and done.  I’m ready to deflect those rays!

Not. So. Fast.  Sunscreen is an important part of your arsenal, but you shouldn’t rely on it alone.  Wear hats, use parasols (I have done this!), and walk on the shadier side of the street.  And of course, the Mexicans were onto something with their siestas.  The midday sun’s rays are the most intense.


In 2012, I came across Josie Maran’s SPF 30+ argan sunscreen and fell in love. It lasted me for four wonderful years mostly because I used to be pretty bad at applying sunscreen every day.  By the time I learned how to make it a regular thing, an eighth of the bottle was left and starting to … errm, congeal and lose its texture and consistency.  I finally decided to hop onto Sephora’s website (it was never available in Canadian stores) and buy another bottle, but they no longer sold it.  Neither did Josie Maran’s website.  I panicked.  Panicking is proper procedure when you lose a beauty staple, is it not?  I finally decided to try out another product from Josie Maran, and one by tarte cosmetics.  In the picture, you will see that the Josie Maran argan sunscreen’s texture looks dodgy — see this post for its original, glorious consistency.
Natural Sunscreens 2016

After using my two new sunscreens, I can honestly say that I won’t miss my old standby too much.  Here are my thoughts:

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturiser SPF 47

Does not have:

– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

Consistency is incredibly liquid.  The light formula rubs in easily and is not greasy.  Has a pleasant, soft, natural smell and does not have the heavy, white look of the original Josie Maran sunscreen.  It is also a moisturiser which rather takes out the dilemma of applying moisturiser/sunscreen first.  Skin feels hydrated, and I cannot tell that I have sunscreen on.  This is a bonus in my man’s eyes, because the previous formulation on my legs meant that my seat in the car became chalky white every summer.

tarte’s tarteguard 30 sunscreen lotion SPF 30

Does not have:

– Parabens
– Phthalates

Also a moisturising lotion, its consistency is firmer, but still liquid.  Blends into skin easily, isn’t greasy, and does not leave a visual trace.  However, when I run my hand over the skin, it feels stickier than the one that has Josie Maran’s formula on.  Has a soft, sweet floral scent that may make some people feel queasy.  The bottle is very heavy, and it is hard to tell whether there is more packaging than there is sunscreen.

The competition is fierce but close between these two, and Josie Maran’s has the slight edge for me because the packaging is clearer in terms of showing how much product is left, the formula seems lighter, the SPF is higher, and the scent is less obtrusive.  In terms of price, Josie Maran also wins.  A 2 oz. bottle costs $32, whereas tarte’s 1.7 oz. bottle costs $38.

I recommend these two, especially if you are in the market for sunscreens with natural ingredients, but my top pick is absolutely Josie Maran’s.

Keep cool, covered (in sunscreen) and enjoy your sunny days!

Miss Cathie Reviews [Beauty]: Feather & Bone Face Gems…

Alright, readers.  Time for a review — Feather & Bone’s Face Gems!  The amazing people behind this company kindly sent along a few samples for me to try, so I’m here to share my thoughts with the obligatory face shots that such products usually entail, so I do ask that you be kind.  😉

Feather and Bone Face Gems are face cleansers based on natural ingredients, and are meant to be an all-in-one skincare routine, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise, all in one tiny tablet.  Sounds impressive right?
Note to tablet:  There’s a lot resting on your shoulders, little one.

Trying out my @feather.bone face gems this morning! Love it. #natural #face #beauty #Ayurveda #skincare

A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on


They come in these little ‘popsicle stick’ blister packages.  You pop the tablet out, mix a bit of water, and apply the paste in massaging motions to your face.  (Proper instructions will follow below!)  I’m not sure why the packaging is what it is, though.  It’s not like I would scoop the paste up with the packaging afterwards –that’s not very hygienic or gentle on the face!  I think it would be more environmentally friendly and make more sense for the one stick to simply hold, say, five tablets altogether, and you just pop what you need.  Packaging aside, I had fun mixing water with the tablet and turning it into a spreadable paste.  There was an element of mud-pie making there, definitely.  The echoes of my two-year-old self were glorying in squishing around the tablet until it turned into ‘dirt’, and I was applying the mixture onto my face with un-adult-like glee.  Who knew being natural could be so enjoyable… please tell me it’s not just me!

All gem-ified with @feather.bone! #naturalskincare #face #beauty #Ayurveda A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on


 My adult side resurfaced just before I applied the paste to my face.  I sniffed the paste delicately, because it needs to smell nice if it’s going on my face!  The face gem smelled slightly herbal, spicy, and earthy.  The ingredients are sandalwood (cleanser), Fuller’s earth (exfoliator), and starch (moisturiser)… simple, natural, and fresh-smelling.  It came off easily when I rinsed my face, and behold you see me in my post-face gem ‘glory’ below:

I noticed that my face seemed moisturised after rinsing — as if I had taken a few drops of argan oil and worked it into my skin –a very nice feeling.  I’m blessed in that my facial skin is smooth, but I did notice a slight improvement as well.  Overall, I felt clean and fresh afterwards.  So far, I believe it does exactly what it says it will!  Well done, Feather & Bone.  🙂

I think this concept and packaging would come incredibly handy if you were travelling and wanted to freshen up.  Especially when on a plane, what better way to pamper and revitalise your face after hours of canned air than to use one of these little beauties!  I can’t wait to see what else Feather & Bone come up with, and I definitely will be using the rest of my face gems.


Proper Instructions:

1: pop one tablet and place in the palm of your hand

2: using your hand add 5-10 drops of water as needed and apply pressure on tablet to break to form a paste

3: scoop paste from palm to massage/apply on full face and wash face

Feather & Bone is an inventive, fresh and unique personal care company.  We are dedicated to the creation of fresh product solutions.  Uniquely for YOU.  At Feather & Bone, our mantra is INDIVIDUALITY and AUTHENTICITY.

At Feather & Bone our goal and mission is for men and women to feel empowered by who they are as individuals and embrace their inner weirdness and authenticity.

Authenticity – it’s your inner core, your gravity, it’s the intangible and everything else is noise and constantly changing.  How you look from child to old age will change.  You change yourself through make-up and clothing to fit in, but in reality your inner core, values and authenticity are static.  Feather & Bone believes that the best way to fit in is to be you.


Reviews from customers:
“It was easy to dissolve with just a few drops of water in the palm of my hand.  It was odorless so that was good.  Skin felt soft after using.”

          – Sandy Cataldo, VP of Marketing & PD at Batallure

“It felt different. I got that clean feeling I don’t normally get with other face washes. My skin was glowing. It was easy to use.”

– Cheryl James, WholeBody manager at the Needham WF

“Feather & Bone Face Gems is by far one of the most amazing face wash brands I’ve ever tried. Great ingredients and immediate effect! I absolutely loved it!”

– Wad Taweel, Analyst at Palestine Investment Fund

“Feather & Bone Face Gems is certainly a revolutionary face wash. I had never experienced such a soft yet reviving feeling on my skin prior to using Face Gems Most importantly, I know that this great feeling on my skin will last the entire day. Women develop a strong loyalty towards products that change and improve little things in their routine, and this is what Face Gems is to me; it is such an easy-to-use product yet very different and exciting. This face wash is truly incomparable to anything that is currently on the market. Feather & Bone is the difference women have been waiting for.”

– Michele Lessard, Student


Find Feather & Bone across the web:

Facebook: Feather & Bone

Twitter: @feathernbone

Instagram: @feather.bone



— Cathie

Nautical Lounging Outfit 2015 + Thoughts on Threading…

Hello everyone!  Just a super quick first outfit post of the year!!  *throws confetti*

I’m busy sending out more job applications as well as working on a few creative endeavours on the side.  I don’t really have to go outside today, so I’m sporting a laid-back luxe look.  On top, I decided to go nautical with a striped shirt with light french blue and white stripes.  I love the button details, and the fact that it’s not your same old black and white stripes!  For the bottom, I’m wearing a navy wool/cotton blend tweed skirt that’s really warm, cute and ladylike.  It helps keep the outfit look more pulled together, and less like I am going to be spending my day on the sofa.  Which I’m actually not, whatever this photo says.  😉

Cathie Maud - Nautical Lounging Outfit 2015

 Top:  Tommy Hilfiger long sleeved multi-stripe knit top with buttons in French Blue/White (2012)

Skirt:  Rebecca Taylor tweed flounce skirt in Navy (2013)

I also decided to put my hair up –something I rarely do because my locks are not the obedient sort.  This of course, means that when I put my hair up and it actually works, I have no idea how I managed it.  It’s a lot of trial, and a lot of error(s).  I’ve gotten a few hair tutorial requests and can’t oblige for that very reason.  Please, you honestly have the wrong person!  Youtube is your friend, as is Pinterest.  I… wish to be, but cannot.  😉

Cathie Maud - Helix ThreadeasePutting my hair up came in handy though when this baby came in the mail today.  It’s the Helix ThreadEase hair removal system.  Basically, for us ladies who are looking to try fixing our brows at home while achieving salon-quality results, this kit promises to help you get just that!

A video posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on

Being rather timid on my first attempt, I’ve decided to stick to gently shaping my brows.  You can still see a difference in the video above –my left brow shows more shape while my right brow is still untouched.  With a bit more practise under my belt, I hope to be back in a week or so to share more of my thoughts with you!  Thanks so much to the Helix team for kindly sending me this complimentary kit.  ♥

In the meantime, it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, and the snow is finally melting which means that Spring is just around the corner!

Have a cheery Monday!


— Cathie

Survive THAT Week, Naturally…

Well ladies,

It is a fact of life.  There are certain days in the month when a girl just sees red, feels weepy, and wants —needs— to stay under downy covers and watch a good movie (romantic comedies for me!) while nursing certain aches and pains.

Here are a few tips that I’ve found help me through this not-quite-awesome time:

  • Pamper yourself, and take it easy as much as you can.
  • Drink lots of hot water and tea.  Above all, avoid the salt cravings.  They never help.
  • Do simple stretching exercises.  The last thing you might want to do is exercise, but something light actually helps you channel your energy and focus on something besides your pains.  You will feel better after; I promise!  I recommend Mary Helen Bower’s Ballet Beautiful program.
  • Make a point of dressing up.  You will feel far more confident and beautiful than your condition would have you believe possible.  Flowing tops, a-line skirts and a trench coat are amazing for hiding and flattering your figure at the same time!


On a related note, I wanted to share that I have made the switch over to reusable pads!  I felt so awful for just tossing so many un-recyclable pads in the rubbish. The guilt and the numbers certainly add up during a woman’s lifetime; that’s a really huge pile sitting in a landfill!

Cathie Maud - Lunapads in Cocoa Kaleidoscope

There are plenty of amazing companies to choose from, but the one I bought my intro kit is from Vancouver based Lunapads.  Not only is it great for the environment, and better for your skin with natural, non-scratchy fabrics, but it’s a fantastic way to save money as well.  Plus they have a One4Her incentive: For every eligible Lunapad purchased, a girl in need will receive a Ugandan-made AFRIpad pad to support her school attendance.  And ladies, they work.  Seriously, not to be TMI, but I have a heavy flow and this kit has not failed me for the three months I’ve used it.  Last  but not least, they have some fun colours and patterns to choose from.  My favourites are Cosmic Dancer and Cocoa Kaleidoscope.

How wicked is that?  Colour me impressed!!  I highly recommend them.

In case you’re interested, here’s what the intro kit includes:

Cathie Maud - Lunapads - Cocoa Kaleidoscope

Cleaning them is also quite easy, so don’t be daunted by the prospect!  If you’re like me, you may be used to shutting your eyes, ripping pads off, rolling them up and tossing them into the trash, end of story.  There are a few extra steps involved with reusable pads, but nothing incredibly complicated.  Lunapads recommends pre-soaking –change water daily if you go that route– or rinsing in cold water, but that isn’t always necessary.  For example, I worked through my last period.  When it was time to change, I folded the pad up and secured it with the snap buttons, and threw it into a Ziploc bag in my purse.  Double the bags up if you buy the flimsy no-name brands!  (Lunapads does sell bags to store and soak used/new pads in, but it’s not in my budget at the moment.)  When I got home, I simply un-fastened the snaps, threw it in with dark laundry on the cold water setting, and ran a load.  The pad came out unstained, too!  If you can’t wash it right away, you’ll definitely want to pre-soak or rinse it, just so nothing gets too ‘set’ in.  I usually try to air dry them so that the fibers last longer, but since I only have a starter kit, that’s usually not possible if frequent changes are needed.  Dry on low if you must.  🙂  (Thanks Katie for the wonderful question!!)

How do you beat feeling blue and seeing red during THAT week?


– Cathie



I was informed… that some… were dreaming and wished to return. –Zebulon Pike

Lately, I haven’t been sleeping much at all…  noises from people puttering around, thoughts, worries and plans just seem to fill the hours spent lying in the dark with eyes tightly shut.  So it is that I’ve found myself with dark-rimmed eyes and wistfully remembering days when I slept as soundly as a log that has fallen and lain for centuries in the middle of a heavily wooded forest.  To further taunt myself, –or perhaps dream of dreaming? here is a list of slumber-related pretties that I’ve found during late night browsing sessions.

Juicy Couture Velour Heart RobeJuicy Couture has the softest robes… and I’m eyeing this one which has a cute ruffle hem detail and heart-shaped pockets!  Wrap up after a bath, and snuggle up in bed with a good book (or lover!)  Find this one at Shopbop here.
Mistral Almond Milk French Soap

Mae West, once said “When in doubt, take a bath.”… I like following such sage advice with nice smelling soaps and bathing salts.  This one by Mistral is organic and relatively inexpensive at $8.00.  I think Almond Milk a very pleasant and soothingly simple scent to have wafting from one’s skin at night, but they have a long line of other scented soap bars if you have a personal favourite.  Don’t forget candles; they set such a wonderful mood for heavy lids.  (But please use tea lights and place them in a secure area, for safety’s sake!)
Cathie Maud - Bedtime ReadingOne must have reading material to crack open and delve into before bed.  For me, that’s either a Georgette Heyer, L.M. Montgomery, or Jane Austen novel.  But if it’s pictures that I want to stare at… the Romantic Homes and Victoria magazines have the prettiest, idyllic photo spreads –especially of bedrooms with ‘sink-into-me’ beds, and soft, ethereal surroundings.  How could you not fall asleep drooling?  You know you’re going to do it anyway.  OK, maybe that wasn’t the classiest joke to tell… *cough*

**Other ideas:

♡ Use all-natural pillow sprays to provide calming aromatherapy in bed.

♡ Silk or cotton pillowcases and bedding make all the difference.  Really!

♡ Be fanciful and follow Marilyn Monroe’s lead and wear your favourite perfume to bed.  Mine happens to be L’Occitane‘s ‘Cherry Blossom‘ eau de toilette.  You may want to refrain from using this idea along with that of the lavender pillow spray at the same time!
Lounging and LingerieToo much of a good thing is wonderful. –Mae West

I wish you all deep sleeps and happy dreams!


Sun-Kissed {Tips for Beautiful Summer Hair & Skin}…

Hello readers,

Todays’ post comes from the lovely Michelle, who is the manager of award-winning Skaná Spa at the Turning Stone Resort in upstate New York –which looks so gorgeous and relaxing from the pictures, that I hope I will stay there someday!!

When she emailed me with the idea of sharing some easy, all-natural treatments to combat our beloved sun’s sometimes harsh effects on both hair and skin, I knew I wanted to learn more –and I’m sure you do too!  We are all aware of using sunscreen, hats and parasols, (Ok, so no one uses them anymore unless they’re at fancy events and weddings, except yours truly, but who cares?!) but taking it one step further ensures that not only do we pamper ourselves, but all the extra TLC that we give ourselves now means healthier, enviable hair, and more resilient, youthful skin as we age gracefully.  🙂



Although summer is one of the best seasons of the year to show off your fabulous hair when having fun in the sun, it can also be the most damaging. Between days spent in the heat and use of flat irons and curlers, hair can easily become dry and brittle in the warmer seasons if not protected. It’s important to maintain the luster and shine of your mane with a few practices that will guarantee nourished and beautiful hair all season long.
Summer Braid...With excessive use of chemicals and hair products on your luscious locks, it can cause build up to occur, affecting the degree of volume and shine. Free your hair of damaging chemicals and products by using 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 3 cups of water. Lavish the mixture into the hair and rinse out entirely to ensure the hair is cleaner and feels lighter.

Just as the body needs vitamins, hair does as well. Infuse your lovely locks with protein to increase its strength and prevent future breakage or damage. Simply mix a packet of dry gelatin into hot water until it dissolves, then massaging it in hair for 30 minutes, which will provide enough time for it to be infused with amino acids and glycine. The process is not only quick, but affordable.

The humidity often increases with rising temperatures in the summer, most commonly one of hair’s worst enemies. All volume and shape can quickly become lost, making it difficult to stay confident and feel beautiful. Use flat beer to liven up your locks and add a generous amount to allow it to sit for 15 minutes. The yeast, barley, and hops in the beverage will make them strong again. Another alternative is mixing half of a cup of flat beer, a raw egg, and a tablespoon of sunflower oil while allowing it to sit and soak in for 15 minutes. Simply rinse and you’ll notice that your hair will become more powerful against the heat without falling flat.

For those with fine or thinning hair, give it a boost with some natural ingredients that are free of chemicals or toxins. Use a moisturizing mask with a few household products that include a banana, egg, and some oils to restore the hair back to its original condition and infuse it with plenty of vitamins and nutrients.

Fight back against the summer heat by taking care of your hair to ensure that it remains full, thick, and complete with shine. Use natural hair masks and moisturizers with simple household products to ensure your hair is treated its absolute best.

Niagara Falls Garden

1.) Chill out: . A cool shower after excess sweating can help keep the skin calm, decreasing acne breakouts.  This can also help prevent further drying out of skin.
2.)  During the summer months, use a scrub on dry skin before you shower.  Pay special attention to knees and elbows. And finish with a thick body cream.
3.) Cantaloupe is the melon of choice for beautiful summer skin.  They are rich in antioxidants and delivers a unique hydration to the skin.
4.) Power of Strawberries:  Cut a large strawberry in half, take a fork and poke at the flesh to awaken the juices, then swipe it across your face in small circles. Leave it on for about two minutes, then rinse off. This can brighten and help even skin tone.
5.) Quick Yogurt Mask: The lactic acid in plain yogurts impact the skin with calming and soothing benefits. Leave it on for 30 minutes as a mask before taking a cool shower and patting dry.
Whether you like having golden-toasted skin, or you are fighting desperately to keep your paler tones unsuccessfully (aka me), enjoy the sun safely and beautifully!
— Miss Cathie

L’Occitane and The Scarlet Pimpernel…

It is almost Bastille Day –“the ever-glorious fourteenth of July,” to quote a certain Marguerite Blakeney (1934 movie).  Oh yes, m’dears… there is a Scarlet Pimpernel geek-nerd in your midst!  (For those not familiar with him, he is an English nobleman who rescues innocent French aristocrats from the dreaded fate of Madame Guillotine!)
Scarlet Pimpernel Collage - by Cathie Maud
In short, Bastille Day coincides with the day when the people of Paris stormed the prison on July 14th, 1789, but was chosen to commemorate the Fête de la Fédération instead –the short-lived establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France –and what was supposedly the ‘happy ending’ of the French Revolution.

History lesson aside, L’Occitane is celebrating this day with an offer of a free gift and one of their famed treatments, if you show them this email (I’m showing you the picture that was in the email), but I’m sure there are other specials –perhaps the very same ones– to be had even if you haven’t signed up for their newsletter yet!
Bastille at L'Occitane!I’ll admit to having had a bit of a ‘moral dilemma’.  I had just come out of reading Eldorado when this popped into my inbox, and I sat there wondering, “Well, would Sir Percy go?  After what they did to little Louis Capet?”… I told you I was a bit of an obsessive about the Scarlet Pimpernel!  😛

I almost decided that I hated the holiday, until I remembered that both sides suffered in the Revolution, and of course, Baroness Orczy had her biases when telling those wonderful swashbuckling tales.  So in honour of both aristos and commoners who did not deserve whatever unhappy fates they met, I wish every Frenchman a very happy and peaceful Bastille Day, and Vive la France!!

All that said, I am going to try and catch this event on its last day tomorrow, and add A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens to my reading list.  It’s a novel that is set before and during the Revolution, but as seen through the eyes of the peasantry and middle-class people.  I’ve always wanted to read it, and I think now is a good idea, since I sorely need some balance and perspective in my views!

Happy Bastille Day!!!


— Miss Cathie


P.S. Update: I did go! And here is the loot.  My favourite are the soap bars, the ultra rich shower cream, and the Verveine eau de toilette… is it ever a fresh scent!!

Bastille Day 2013 at L'Occitane

A Valentine’s Beach Walk…

“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.”  ~Edward Gibbon

Yesterday, A and I took a walk on the beach as a belated Valentine’s activity.  I am crazy about experiential activities, and this was the best!  I know for some, a beach means hot sun, warm sand, and glassy Mediterranean-blue waters, but I almost feel that grey sand, tiny walls of washed-up seaweed, and splashing silver-grey waves are just as lovely.
Valentine's Beach WalkI’m quite positive that if I could find that point where sea meets earth and sky, I would find perfect beauty and harmony, and unlock the secrets of the world.  I’m not sure what the nature of those secrets are, but they’re sure to be something grand.
Valentine Beach-Walking Outfit

Jacket:  A Wear hooded puff ball parka via ASOS

Sweater:  Simons Twik bustier sweater in pink

Jeans:  Denim by Victoria Beckham

Shoes:  Keds ‘Skimmer’ canvas flats

I couldn’t resist wearing some pink –and what’s this?  I’m wearing jeans!!  Being über practical, don’t mind me…  And I know that ballet flats aren’t the most practical footwear for standing in water… but these are washable.  I wasn’t going to put on my leather ‘granny’ shoes, because there would be some real impracticality then in being so carefree/silly in the water.  At any rate, here I am, standing where earth and ocean are touching.  It was wonderful.  (Any further out, and I would have sunk in the soft sand… do not ask me how I know this.  *ahem*)
Valentine's Beach Walk -- Sand ArtDid I mention that we even made some artwork in the sand?  I thought it would be a masterpiece, (I privately still think it is!) but it might have been more of an impact visually if I’d shaded it all in, instead of simply outlining.  Still.  Doesn’t this seem like some abstract, sandy form of Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’?

Valentine's Beach Walk -- Where Ocean Meets EarthHope you all have a fantastic Monday!


— Miss Cathie

Happy Valentine’s Day & the World of Make-Believe…

Dear Readers,

Almost every other blogger has been writing about Valentine’s outfits, wishlists, their happy/sad stories and memories, etc.  While some of them are interesting, I am feeling a bit over-exposed to the holiday, so I’m going to spare you from any on mine.

I do wish you a very lovely one, though… and sincerely hope that you won’t let those dastardly marketers ruin a holiday for you.

While Valentine’s Day is primarily about celebrating romantic love, it is also about celebrating love itself, in all its many wonderful forms. I’m sure we are all experiencing one form or another, be it from family, friends, a lover, or a puppy –so we can all be grateful and have warm, squishy feelings no matter our ‘couple’ status.

At any rate, enough… because I don’t want to wax on (and on and on…) and because I want to share this quote which is quite simply, one of my very favourites from one of my favourite authors, C.S. Lewis.Dreams

Have the most beautiful day!  ♥


— Miss Cathie

The ‘Art’ of Lounging…

In moderate doses (just enough to keep you longing for the next time, but not too much that it’s considered Unadulterated Procrastination), there’s nothing more fun than being all languid and lazy in the morning when there’s nothing that needs accomplishing outside of the house.  I’ve written articles, made phone calls (not always the social kind), read books, pampered and primped myself –all at a leisurely pace during that glorious time of the morning considered to be quite proper for lounging.

The hours for morning lounging aren’t set in stone, but are usually between 5:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. for me.  However, there are days when I’ll wake up at 4:00 a.m. just to catch the sunrise… (But this doesn’t happen in the middle of winter, of course!)
Lounging in Juicy Couture

​”A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars…” — Victorian Proverb​

Here are some ideas on how to indulge:

♡ Find or make a refuge of your own… either a favourite armchair or a bed will do.

♡ Put a pretty nightie or robe on to swan around in.  Shabby, common-place pyjamas will not do!  However, there’s no need for every little detail of one’s appearance to be perfect.  One simply has to find the fine line between being insouciant and being careless.

♡ Make a pot of tea, and bring it back with you to your refuge.  A cup of it is a lovely thing to hold, inhale and drink.  (My current favourite is DavidsTea‘s Sweet Strawberry)

♡ While you’re at it, take the phone with you as well… answer calls all morning in comfort and luxury!

♡ If it’s still dark out, forgo the electricity and light some tea-light candles.  Snuggle deeper into the blankets and drowse peacefully.  (Place the candles someplace safe!)

♡ Read a novel, a cookbook, anything!  (I’m reading an entertaining guide, ‘Celebrate‘ by Pippa Middleton at the moment –a review coming up later!)

♡ Now is also a good time to write in your journal.  If you’re anything like me, you have hastily scribbled notes on scraps of paper about things you want to talk about later crammed into the first few pages.  (Psst!  I call my journal ‘Kitty’.  Do you name your things?)

♡ Put some music on, or revel in the silence.  When I’m in the mood for music, something by Vivaldi or anything classical is heavenly.  Perhaps Haydn’s ‘The Clock‘ Symphony No. 101, Mov.2/4 –very appropriate, wouldn’t you agree?  It is also one of my all-time favourite musical compositions.

♡ Daydream.

♡ Watch a movie, preferably a light-hearted one with a happy ending.

♡ “Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”  ~Elbert Hubbard

♡ Do absolutely. nothing.

I’m pretty sure I made all these little ‘guidelines’ up just to elevate my laziness to a form of ‘art’, but whatever the reason, they are very important!  It’s what makes lounging in the morning such a treat.  🙂

Velour, Ruffles, Cherry Blossoms

Morning Robe:  Juicy Couture velour robe in ‘Angel’ ($90.00 down to $75.30, & then one final price adjustment to $45.19 –it is possible to be pretty on a budget!)

Headband:  Tai via Liv by Au Lit, now Au Lit Fine Linens

Bralette:  Wilfred ‘Mystérieux’ silk charmeuse bralette in ‘delicate petale’  (not worn, but shown because it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day, and because I am now officially obsessed with pretty lingerie…)

Lounging and LingerieHow do you enjoy your ‘nothing-to-do’ mornings?


— Miss Cathie