Mar 13, 2012

Nude Magique and PG Tips in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, East London.

I'm blaming the dregs of my jet lag for that risque and long winded title.  I've been home now for just over 24 hours.  The novelty of driving my car in Sydney traffic, operating the front loader and sorting my mail is beginning to wear off already.  Do you mind if we go back to London on the blog for a bit longer?

Was I really only away for 10 days?  Did I really condense all those sights and sounds as well as all that shopping into such a brief period of time?  It was tiring and I'm tired now but I am so glad that I went and that London was such a gracious host.  Every day was a new adventure yet I feel that I've only scratched the surface of what this dynamic, very old yet very new and at times cryptic city is willing to share with me.  I think we are already great friends, London and I.  Which means that as a friend, I should do the right thing and immediately begin planning my next visit.

I've written endlessly about the city and the standard touristy sights (and even that isn't enough, brace yourselves for more later) but have neglected Canary Wharf, where Mr SSG and I stayed for a few days before coming home.  So, to keep everyone awake, I'm going to take a break from the Soho and surrounds memories and take you on the DLR with me to the Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London.  You could take the less reliable Jubilee line if you prefer.  I'll leave the decision with you.

Canary Wharf is a major financial district and it certainly looks the part.  I felt as if I'd left history behind in the tube and entered London's future via the DLR.  Everywhere I looked were gleaming sky scrapers, futuristic domes and lots of dark suited people scurrying from one to the other.  The rebirth of the area began in the early 1990s when the first office blocks began soaring toward the heavens.

Whereas gold, wrought iron and sandstone detailed the relatively low rising, centuries old buildings of the London I first knew, Canary Wharf is a soaring and precise landscape of glass, steel and dark marble.

However, if you look closely enough, the quirkiness of London cannot be completely suppressed.  Reading between the symmetrical lines of the architecture rewards you with some unexpected pieces of art.

This 8 ball egg in Canada square.

A sculpted head, reclining on its side, as you exit the revolving door of an office block.

'What about the shops?', I hear you ask.  It turns out that most of the office towers around the square have shopping centres taking up the lower levels of the building.  They are all interconnected through underground walk ways and also by the DLR and tube stations.  As a reflection of the largely corporate local population, the nix of retail outlets is a carefully edited selection of high street and designer suiting stores.  Think next, Top Shop, Jaeger and TM Lewin with a Tiffany & Co thrown in for good measure.

Given my assault of Bond Street and its surrounds earlier in the piece, I thought it best for my suitcase to leave the Canary Wharf high street well alone and turn my attention to Waitrose for the London instalment of my 'walking tour of foreign supermarkets' series.

I had my Nigella Lawson moment early on in the piece when I found the muscovado sugar she often uses for desserts.  Brown sugar may well be a reasonable substitute in terms of taste and colour but 'muscovado' rolls off the tongue better than 'brown'.  In the interests of getting through customs quickly, I will just have to make do with CSR dark brown sugar from Coles.

Further along in the dairy goods aisle was the clotted cream which was going to travel to Australia even less successfully than the sugar so I left that where it was as well.

Then I spotted a wide range of coffee pods.  Right there in the supermarket.  And then I remembered my solemn vow to never buy a Nespresso machine.  These won't be coming home with me either, then.

What I did find and take home with me were tea bags.  Yes, tea bags.  Bog standard PG Tips and Yorkshire Gold tea  bags.

Tea bags for hard water?  Ingenious.  My haul of UK tea bags taking pride of place in the SSG Manor home grocery store wall unit.
Mission accomplished, it was time to find lunch before confronting the myriad ways you can pay for your shopping including to a human being, to a self scan pay point or to a human via a receipt obtained from a scanner (don't quite get the logic of that final option).

As well as my obligatory exotic sandwich (a peking duck wrap), I also picked up a packet of apple slices with a guava dipping sauce.  Two more reasons I will miss British supermarkets....

Twitter friends, you must be getting twitchy because the two things I tweeted about ad nauseum today still haven't turned up in this post.  I hear you.

First up are my initial thoughts on L'Oreal's take on blemish balm (BB) that I hear will be in Australia this April.  This official photo from the UK website should link you to the product information found there.

BB Cream Medium Skin Tone

This is a photo of my tube of Nude Magique after safely flying home in my suitcase.

Nude Magique retails for just under 10 GBP, but I suppose there will be significant mark up on its arrival to Australia, as with almost everything make up related.  There are two shades available, one for fairer skin tones and the other for medium skin tones.

Unlike other BBs  I've used (Garnier's for example), Nude Magique comes out of the tube a frosty fluorescent white.  Not to worry though because it's a dream to apply.  It blends in very easily and aims to 'recreate the texture and glow of perfect nude looking skin'.  Which is actually does, like erm... magique?  I've been wearing it over moisturizer and have noticed that my face looks brighter (radiant would be pushing it) rather than made up.  It also made my skin feel smoother too.  Nude Magique has an SPF of 12.  Because of its light texture, it sits well on my face and it has lasted a full day of work too.

Skirt and arm candy - Marni at H+M, T - Emerson at Big W.

I shouldn't whinge too much about coming home.  I don't think I'd ever be able to get about in short sleeves and bare legs in London at this time of the year.  In celebration of the early autumn sun, I wore some of Marni at H+M things - the cotton skirt and a bracelet (which was an arm party all on its own) and couldn't resist a smile as the sun hit my arms in the car as I drove.


  1. How fabulous is Waitrose.  I miss my weekly delivery enormously. Really great to hear you had a wonderful time, especially on Bond Street.  Fifi

  2. Mummaducka's KaosMarch 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    I used to be able to buy muscavado sugar, both light and dark in my local rural woolies or coles, but I haven't seen in for years. I bought the organic ones and they were fantastic, but would set like cement if you let them just sit. I am sure that you could find some in the city.
    I can't wait to try the l'oreal bb cream.

  3. Welcome home :) Going to look for the BB cream when it comes here. Did you get in OK with the tea? I've always wanted to bring some home but have been too chicken after watching lots of Border Security!

  4. I miss Waitrose. It's our go to store in London Town. I can - and do - spend hours in foreign supermarkets. They are awesome.

    If you find clotted cream locally please let me know. Our local Harris Farm used to carry it but alas, no more. Probably a good thing. I've read you can make it yourself.

    BB creams confuse me. I am so far behind the make up curve. The Marni skirt looks fab on you.

    K xx

  5. Love the little Marni sneak peek! I also buy tea bags from foreign countries - why do they taste better?? Probably just the fun in remembering where they come from! L xx

  6. Love your outfit! Nice wrap up of London can't believe you are back already!

  7. No problem at all with the tea bags, Sam!

    SSG xxx

  8. I know. Too soon.  If I were away any longer though, I don't know if I'd find it in me to get on the plane back home...

    SSG xxx

  9. Great minds!


  10. I think we should campaign to bring Waitrose here!

    SSG xxx

  11. Thanks for the tip.  Will have a look around for Muscovado when next I'm in town.

    SSG xxx

  12. Thank you, Fifi!

    SSG xxx

  13. The lovely skirt you are wearing, and I think you also bought a dress, were both featured in the fashion pages of the Sunday Telegraph last week. Mila Jovovich & another actress were looking stylish in them. Made me think of you!

  14. Oo, oo!  If you head over to the fish markets deli for your clotted cream fix, wander up Miller St to Pyrmont IGA for they stock Muscovado sugar in the baking aisle.  :) 

  15. I'm liking the outfit, it's really youthful. I imagine your hair being down and a little past shoulder length? 

    Apple slices with a guava dipping sauce is rather ingenious. A double fruit serving.I wonder what makes the tea suited for hard water...

  16. Tracy
    Yes, the hair has grown.  Now just at the shoulders.  Well spotted.

    Will feedback re the hard water tea.

    SSG xxx

  17. Loving your London posts. Great inspiration for my upcoming trip. Can't wait. PG tips!! Gosh I haven't had them for so long. Going to have track them down again. 

  18. Your blog inspires me every time I visit here.


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