I’ve been watching: Matrioshki. I spent most of Sunday with Mr BBB glued to this gritty Belgian drama and we got through 8 episodes! Eek. I found it randomly on the Sky Arts channel. I’ll warn you though, the subject matter is not pleasant (it follows the story of Thai and Eastern European women sold into the sex industry) and it’s very gory in parts but totally addictive. It’s also a complete eye-opening education. I knew it happened but I didn’t know how or just how bad it is. By way of balance, I’m also addicted to Sky Arts Landscape Artist of The Year which is the most peaceful and relaxing watch of the week.
I’ve been baking: Blackberry, Apple and Almond Cake. This is just the perfect winter cake. I use Nigella’s recipe (HERE) and add in the blackberries because it makes it even nicer. It’s quite a big cake so you might want to halve the recipe (I do the whole thing and freeze half) but you can serve with cream, greek yoghurt or custard and it makes a pudding or a cake. I love it! Give it a bit longer than the stated time and cover the top with tin-foil to stop it burning.
I’ve been taking: Tea at The Wolseley. I’ve been many times to the Wolseley on Piccadilly, but rarely have cakes. I’m using Wednesday Diary to record the most delicious Chocolate Éclair I’ve ever had in my life and kicking myself for not taking a picture of it. It was over a week ago and I haven’t forgotten about it! If you go, have it.
I’ve been to: The CEW Annual Achiever’s Dinner. If you’ve never heard of CEW, it’s Cosmetic Executive Woman, founded over 60 years ago to support and encourage women in the cosmetic industry. Over the past few years, CEW has included men but for a long time it was women only and the bulk of the membership is still women. It’s not escaping anyone’s notice – especially if you work in the beauty industry – that there’s a glass ceiling. Women only go so far. I remember being at one event with a very well-known skin care and makeup brand where all the chief executives were flying in from the USA. Lo and behold, they were all, to the last, men. On arrival they had the ‘girls’ ordering them cabs, hanging up their coats and being all round unable to do a thing for themselves. It was my true wake-up moment when I realised that while we’re presented with a woman-facing beauty industry (PRs in beauty are almost always women, counter staff are predominantly female), nine times out of ten top of the tree sits a suit. So, things like this are important to maintain a strong voice within the industry. I was very happy to see Ruth (above) from AModelRecommends pick up a social media award. Terry de Gunzberg (above), Ian & Gail from Benefit and Alison Young (QVC) were also among the award winners. A lovely touch was a speech and tribute video from Philip Kingsley’s daughter. Philip died earlier this year. It’s always a fun night and a chance to catch up with people that you rarely see but always want to see more of.
I’ve been buying: Me & Em Sweater. I couldn’t help it.. a beautiful black cashmere/wool, loose fit polo neck from Me & Em. I’m not at all sorry. It’s HERE.
I’ve been Christmas Shopping: I accidentally started my Christmas shopping in earnest when I went into my local area to the post office. I stopped by TKMaxx and found these gorgeous little Paul Costello leather purses – exactly my kind of thing and because they’re reduced by 66% (yes really) to £12.99. I’ll put some makeup inside when I wrap them as gifts – either a mascara or a lipstick or a book token. They’re HERE but hurry. I also spotted some similar Lulu Guinness pouches HERE at £34.99 instead of £65.
I’m one of the only people I know who doesn’t use a proper purse as such but use this kind of little bag all the time instead. I am not organised enough to have a special place for my travel card! I also found an amazing present for my sister but she occasionally reads my blog so I cannot say what it is!
Finally – if you haven’t joined me on FB Live yet (HERE), I’m trying to do Mondays and Fridays regularly to chat beauty, behind the scenes stuff and products. The thing with a live broadcast (you can sign up for notifications so you’ll be told when I’m live by pressing the 3 dots at the top of the page and going to Notifications) is that if you fail (see above making the most rubbish Christmas bauble ever) there’s nowhere to hide! But I have some regular people who join now and they always make it fun and interesting. You can still add in your comments (I read all of them) whether you watch live or on replay.