Discover more from The Rhubarb Society
Vol. 18 - 10 Hours In Paris
and the intern is back with his airport dad tips
Happy Sunday, everyone! It’s finally March, and I can already feel my spirits lifting now that we’ve left the shitshow that is February behind us. It also means we’re a little bit closer to Easter, spring flowers, and, most importantly, Taurus season. This week I paid a small fortune to the florists who will be dressing the table for my birthday, but in my mind, it’s money well spent. However, if it costs this much to dress a table for 20, then I hate to think how much people spend on flowers for weddings and other large events, and I only wish I could grow flowers as simply as I do on Animal Crossing. As most of you will know from either social media or last week’s newsletter, I spent a day in Paris, so I thought it might be fun to kick off with a little diary of the day. If you want to watch the full vlog, you can do so here!
TAMSIN IN PARIS
6:40am - Whilst walking to the tube, I uncover a new corporate ick that I wish I had while working in Finance. Seeing multiple grown men half sprinting down quiet roads to the station with rucksacks on their backs at this ungodly hour is a very humbling experience. The fact that I used to let these same people intimidate me and talk down to me in the office when they were looking like Dora the explorer on her first day of school has me SICK. I think about what snacks I can buy for the Eurostar as a distraction.
7:20am - It’s taken me all of 20 minutes to get through security and passport control, but yet I find myself spending 40 minutes queuing for pret because it’s the ONLY place for food and drink pre Eurotunnel. The line is longer than Peter crouch’s wingspan, but I don’t let that deter me from my morning ginger shot and sweet treat. I hear the call for my train over the speaker, but I’m too stubborn, tired and annoyed to leave. The girls behind me say they like my West London Yummy Mummy videos which makes me feel a bit better. I secure my ginger shot.
8:30am - This Eurostar is fucking packed, and everyone is eating things that shouldn’t be eaten at this time in the morning (myself included).
12:15pm - I arrive at the Sandro showroom slightly ahead of time and follow two modelesque looking men through a barrier to the back of the street where the actual HQ is. The guy in front of me gives his name and explains that the guy with him is his (nameless) +1. The woman on the door can’t find model no.1s name but lets him and +1 in any way because they look ‘fashion’. I mentally prepare for the scenario in which my name is also not on the door, but luckily it was (bar a few spelling errors). I walk into the showroom, which is buzzing with colours, people and a huge lunch spread; I pick up a ‘morning glory’ juice with Sandro branding and begin to look around before being approached by Darren, who is one of the reasons why I was invited in the first place. He is lovely (thank god, I never know with fashion people), and I feel a bit better about being there. Some of my favourite pieces from the upcoming collection are a pair of two-toned fuzzy jumpers, a huge shearling jacket, a pleated skirt (very Miu Miu) and an oversized houndstooth blazer that looks like I could have picked it out of my grandfathers’ wardrobe. The men’s collection is superb, and I find myself wondering how easy it would be to have the two pieces from their collab with Wrangler tailored to fit me. The thought is briefly interrupted by an influencer shoving me out of the way so that her photographer can take a picture of her eating a slice of cake amongst the menswear. I finally take a sip of my morning glory and head out into the sunshine.
1pm - After strolling to La Chaume to see what the oldest florist in Paris has to offer, I refer to the list of suggestions that everyone gave me on IG (I love you guys, but when I asked for recs in the 8th, 80% of you managed to give me recs for every other arrondissement). My first port of call was Le Mermoz (booked all day, of course, despite my best effort to charm the waitress into giving me a quick half-hour slot). After another two unsuccessful attempts elsewhere, I argue with myself about heading in the opposite direction to my original plans so that I can go to Buvette. I think, ‘what would Gwyneth do?’ And then remember that GOOP actually has a Paris city guide, split by arrondissements. Ten minutes later, I head to Chez Savy, an old cosy bistro that looks unassuming from the outside but has a tardis-like quality to it. The restaurant is buzzing with a mix of people tucked into soft leather booths. I’m sat in the centre, almost sharing a table with an old gentleman opposite me who has also decided to indulge in a solo lunch date, accompanied by only his newspaper. The menu is unabashedly french, in both cuisine and writing, with zero tolerance for English. I ask the waiter to recommend some plates for me, even down to the glass of wine to go with it. The table is already set with bread and a soft tuna-like paste hidden under Chez Savy paper. It is reminiscent of cat food but unbelievably tasty and moreish. My portion is hearty and tastes just like home cooking. I mop up the sauce with my mash and green beans (which I will discover is more expensive than my wine, Vive la France!).
2pm - I decide to walk off lunch by wandering aimlessly until I find something I like the look of. As it happens, I am just around the corner from the Petit-Palais, and even better, it’s free. Did you think the Taurus in me would pass up the opportunity to look at plants, flowers and art? I trot around for an hour before deciding to do something a little less cultural. I go in search of vintage designer stores and hit the jackpot when I come across one with battered LV and Goyard bags in the window. I find a gorgeous green LV briefcase in epi leather that I have zero use for, but I want. I text Henry and ask if he wants it, so I have an excuse to buy it, but he declines because it’s not in blue and would clash with his epi holdall. The briefcase is only 390 euros, but everything else in the store seems to be 1000+, which makes me suspicious as to whether any of it is actually real. This paranoia consumes my brain for some reason, and I continue my aimless wandering. After not too long, I find myself on the Rue Saint-Honore, and if I were religious, I would take this as a sign from God. I’m not religious, but who am I to deny the powers that be who so clearly want me to shop? I queue outside the small Goyard for 20 minutes before getting bored and crossing over the road to the large one. I’m looking for exactly three things, all of which the decidedly unhelpful Parisian sales assistant doesn’t have, nor does she seem too bothered to look for in an attempt to help me. She says I might find them in their store other side of the road (where I’ve just spent the last 20 minutes), but she’s not sure. At one point, I leave her to explore upstairs to find someone less Parisian in their service, but seconds later, she arrives by my side and tells me we should go back downstairs. I decide that ‘we’ are not going anywhere together, and I leave, heading straight to the safety that is Celine. I decide I want to look at a pair of hoop earrings I’ve seen online, and the staff are as friendly as ever, offering me drinks on a tray and complimenting my manicure. I feel safe here. I compliment the sales assistant’s shirt, and he thanks me before telling me, ‘It’s Celine’. I sip my coke, buy the earrings and leave. I head to Le Claireur, which houses the largest Fornasetti collection in the world (apparently). I look at everything in excruciating detail and ask the sales assistant if they have a box of matches. She shows me a very heavy, wooden one (with no matches inside) for 800 Euros. I politely decline and leave.
3:30pm - I have two short hours before I need to head to Gare du Nord to take the Eurostar home. I decide to walk as I have been, quickly and aimlessly. I pop into Galeries LaFayette, which is heaving. I look up at the magnificent ceiling and then decide to leave because the people traffic is too much. Shortly after, I stumble across Takumi, enticed by the woman flipping freshly baked cheesecakes in the window. I see a cabinet filled with cream puffs and buy three (an original, a Montblanc and a matcha), thinking they’d be a nice treat for Henry when I get home. I also see a large and perfectly formed pack of bread that I must have. The man serving me seems amused by this. I decide amusement is better than judgement as I take my baked goods and leave. I flaneur my way around the streets of Paris, stopping for a Croque Monsieur pre-Eurostar before tackling the last thing on my to-do list. A French Pharmacy. I find a relatively large one that offers no form of basket/bag/carrier anywhere in the store. I keep picking up various items with no English translation until I cannot carry anymore. The woman serving me rings me up, and I pay. There’s an awkward moment afterwards where she expects me to leave, and I rack my brain for the french translation of ‘do you expect me to carry this on my head?’. She eventually offers me a bag once she realises I’m not going anywhere. I love Parisian service.
6pm - I go through security (bread and all) and passport control at Gare du Nord, which takes all of 15 minutes and wonder why I ever bother getting anywhere early if it’s outside the UK. I remember to get my tax forms stamped and think this may kill a little time, but I discover that this is done by a machine, without a queue, and requires me to only scan one piece of paper. I buy a light salad dinner and a matcha for the Eurostar journey but immediately regret it when they give me a wooden fork. I know for a fact this fork wasn’t going to be able to pick anything, let alone the apple slices and walnuts in my bowl. My matcha resembles the colour of urine. I’m excited to get back to London.
So as we begin to close off the last month of Fashion Week, I thought it would be fun to A) talk about some of my favourite looks and B) find ways to recreate these looks for less. I will say the fashion scene isn’t really for me, and the idea of running around all over a city, trying to get to different shows, whilst looking the part and attempting to make friends with other various show-goers who are on a sliding scale of pleasant to entirely wanky, fills me with dread and anxiety, so I have respect for those who actually do it. Instead, I like to sit in the comfort of my own home with a hot drink and an outfit that allows me to bend in any direction and look at the shows online. I will break it up by city to keep it fair (otherwise, this whole list will only be PFW oriented because it has all of my favourite designers).
I love how clean and classic the Khaite show was, focusing on tailoring but adding textures such as furry shoes and trousers, leathers and chiffon. The below look is understated and sexy and very easy to recreate using different colour palettes. If you don’t like this shade of blue, an all-black or all-white look would work just as well.
If you don’t want to embrace the full furry shoe look, you can find some crazy faux fur heels in all colours on Etsy. If you value comfort, you have a shearling-covered Birkenstock (£190) or these shearling mules from Toms (£56) or Rag & Bone (£95). If you happen to have some cash to spare, there’s currently a sale on these Dries Van Noten shearling heels.
I love Roksanda for the bold colours, shapes and silhouettes that waft down the runway, but, in particular, I love the punchy colour blocking (accessories and all). The oversized blazer, with the dramatic cape and leather gloves? perfection. The best thing is that colour blocking is not only a quick way to look chic but also so easy to recreate.
Okay, so Milan had so many great looks, from MaxMara to Missoni, Tod’s, Prada and Gucci. I’m going to share a mix of my favourites, which are mainly made up of staples that can be easily recreated.
So most of the above (bar the Missoni) are so easy to recreate for less. All you need to do is secure the basics. From there, the key is not only to mix and match but layer effectively. Choose different lengths to keep everything looking effortlessly cool.
So as I’m writing this, Paris Fashion Week isn’t actually over. I know there will be lots of chic looks to come, but for now, I will share my favourites from the selection available. I’ve kept the above looks pretty clean and simple and easy to recreate, but for Paris, I’m going to include all of the crazy, magnificent outfits that I love.
A roundup of the little bits and pieces I’ve purchased in the last two weeks. Everything from the useful, pretty, unnecessary and entirely mundane.
T-balance Crystal Bracelets (£49) - I got one of these last year as part of a PR package and loved it, and I only recently got around to buying two more. I purchased the carnelian ‘Taurus’ bracelet and a personalised Fluorite one with a T and a heart.
Aesop Sanitiser (£9) - A chic addition to any handbag and very necessary for my trip to Paris as the last time I took the Eurostar, I was extremely ill for three days.
Arden Grange Liver Paste (3 for £11.79) - A local dog friend showed me this in the park the other day, and I thought it was a genius recall tool for Rhubarb. I’m sick of having loose treats and crumbs in all of my pockets and bags.
Thayers Rose Toner (£11.99) - If you read my last newsletter, you’ll know that I recently finished my bottle of Augustinus Bader Essence, and as much as I liked it, it wasn’t suitable for my current skin state, so I’ve switched back to good old Thayer’s.
Anatome Daily Multivitamins (£30) and Recovery Oil £38 - In an attempt to find a little more balance, both inside and out, I stopped by Anatome to have a peruse. I ended up buying a daily multivitamin which is tailored for women’s needs with hormone-balancing vitamins and minerals, as well as this oil which I use on both my skin and in baths. The lady also gave me a balance & stability rollerball sample to use on the go, which I’m loving.
Nyx Eyebrow Pencil (£8) - Everyone online says this is the best eyebrow pencil and the closest to hair strokes they’ve ever seen. I’ve used it once, and it’s okay, but I don’t get the hair stroke comparison - although I may have bought the wrong eyebrow product. Who knows.
A MUBI Membership - After using up my free trial and being a complete parasite (wink), I decided to finally buy a year’s subscription. Now I can force Henry to watch even more foreign films, hurrah!
2x Beauty Blenders (£9.50)- No matter how lovingly and frequently I wash my blenders, they never look or feel entirely clean, so I had to finally replace them. If anyone has any tips for thoroughly cleaning blenders, please let me know!
THE CLUB CORNER
This week I took to Instagram to ask you all what you wanted to see as part of this week’s segment. The results were certainly varied, with everything from dealing with toxic friendships and handling loneliness as an adult to the Hailey and Selena lore and ‘How to become a London socialite 101’. However, as this week’s newsletter is very fashion based and focused on the ‘external’ for lack of a better word, I’m going to try and answer, ‘How do you make yourself look and feel put together when you feel anything but?’ to the best of my ability.
If you’re a regular reader and follower, you’ll know how much my changing skin and semi declining health disrupted my usual joy de vivre for all of February (thankfully, both seem to be steadily improving). I can safely say I spent most of that month feeling unattractive and not remotely put together, so I’m attacking this with a fresh perspective and a clearer head as I’m beginning to come out the other side. The first thing to address is why you don’t feel ‘put together’? Is it purely external? Are you tired? Hungover? Is your skin breaking out? Your hair not cooperating? Do you not have a go-to outfit that makes you feel confident and put together? Or is it deeper than that? Is it a matter of how you look and how that makes you feel about yourself? (your weight, your features, your mind telling you that you’ll never look or be good enough, and just generally not being at peace with yourself). If it’s the latter, no amount of advice I could give you, no shopping sprees for expensive clothes and beauty products, or body-altering treatments will change that, I promise. As someone who has done the latter in an attempt to remedy the former, I can tell you that nothing changes. I will share my tips on how I try and pull it together when I’m feeling anything but, but please know that these are quick fixes for the odd occasion you feel this way, and these are in no way a remedy for anything deeper!
Accessories - I’m never far away from a pair of oversized black sunglasses, but I also find myself also gravitating to fun caps and large scarves when I’m feeling lacklustre. Luckily, the sporty chic look is now its own subgenre of fashion, and on days I felt unkempt and I couldn’t bare to spend a lot of time trying to cover my skin or think of a stylish outfit, I defaulted to a fun cap with oversized sunglasses, a puffer jacket and some workout leggings. I think there’s something to be said about how throwing your hair up and adding a pair of sunglasses and a hoop earring automatically makes you look a little cooler, even if you feel anything but. Maybe you ditch the cap and switch the fuzzy scarf for a silk one to wrap around your head? Or you choose a pair of punchy earrings to pair with your slicked-back hair and sunglasses? Find a combination of accessories that make you feel comfortable and confident (and can disguise the fact that you haven’t washed your hair or slept properly for days).
Don’t Let Your Clothes Wear You - I don’t doubt that you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s so true. People can wear expensive clothing that on paper should look ‘put together’, but instead, it ends up looking try hard or messy. You don’t need to always be in perfectly tailored and steamed formal attire to look like you have shit going for you. As a dog owner, I now spend most of my days in comfy shoes, baggy jeans, and ‘are my pockets big enough for treats and toys?’ jackets, but I personally think I look better and more put together than I did when I was wearing heels and shirts every day. Maybe it’s because I’ve changed my attitude towards myself and style in general, but I also think it’s because I now wear my clothes with a lived in confidence that I lacked before.
Have A Casual And A Dressy Uniform - Sometimes, the last thing you want to do when you feel like shit is worry about an outfit; therefore, it’s good to have a uniform in your arsenal. You want one for the day, casual enough to run errands, see friends for lunch, and enjoy life in, and one for the evening, something slightly more formal that makes you feel good and that requires minimal effort. For me, my daily uniform is simple. Blue jeans, a good quality white t-shirt, a pair of sunglasses and a Goyard tote. For the evening, an oversized blazer, a tailored waistcoat, trousers, and a big pair of heels. Having something to default to that you know you look good in and feel comfortable in is the best quick fix.
Raid The Beauty Cupboard - It’s going to be hard to not feel marginally better and more put together after raiding your beauty cabinet. Dry brush your body top to toe and jump in a hot shower. Wash your hair, apply a deep conditioning mask and scrub your body with something invigorating. Whilst your hair dries, use a sheet mask (or any face mask) and moisturise your body. If you have time, lightly massage your face, feel where the tension and puffiness is and spend a little extra time there. Most crucially, you want to add a few drops of fake tan to your moisturiser (I don’t know about you, but I’m 10x happier when my skin looks warm and glowy). Sip a herbal tea, put on a feel-good playlist and revel in the ritual of self-care. It’s important to spend a little longer on parts of your self-care routine that you usually neglect during times like this. Apply your bronzer to your eyelids and forehead for a sun-kissed look, apply your blusher across your nose and go for a glossy lip.
NOTES FROM THE INTERN
The excitement of embarking on a journey, be it to a tropical paradise or a bustling metropolis, is undeniable. But, being honest, the journey itself can sometimes be a daunting task. As Tamsin's trusty intern, I am here to offer my advice on how to travel with style and comfort - that being said, I’m also opening up the discussion to everyone’s travel tips and hacks in the comments section.
First and foremost, meticulous planning is essential. Google Maps is an excellent tool for mapping out your itinerary and identifying must-see destinations along the way. As this tool is my first point of call, and as I’m currently in road-trip-planning-mode for our upcoming dash to the continent, I’ve used it in the following way;
Not trying to be a google fanboy, ‘sheets’ also have a number of templates to pick from - some of which specifically relate to travel: check out their template gallery at the top of your page here.
I’ve been using this template and have found it really helpful for A) sharing my travel plans, B) trying to make the journey itself more interesting by finding towns/villages or good places to eat along the way and C) storing all of our booking confirmations (don’t worry Tamsin I have blocked these out).
Next, having travelled with The People’s Princess, Rhubarb, it’s imperative since Brexit that you know the rules, regulations and requirements for international travel. Alongside information from our local vet, helpful articles, and suggestions from friends, here’s the long and short of it:
If your dog holds a current EU Pet Passport, they can freely travel back and -forth from the UK to Europe without the need to visit a vet for a pre-departure health assessment. You do, however, still need to see a Vet before returning to the UK for a mandatory tapeworm treatment. “The treatment must be carried out not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before the pet is landed”. I won’t get into the logistics of flying out of and into the UK as I’d like to go into detail in another article specifying airlines that accept certain types of dogs, the requirements for entering the US, and other ‘methods’ people have used to get their pups back home. We’ve also been advised that we can try and have Rhu’s rabies booster vaccination administered in Europe. Since Brexit, GB vets are no longer permitted to record rabies vaccination details in any European Pet Passports.
Lastly, when it comes to dressing for travel, prioritising comfort is essential, but it does not mean sacrificing style. It seems fitting that with the Tamsin in Paris section above, our resident fashion expert can attest that there are numerous practical yet chic options available. Here are my top picks:
Jumper meets jacket (Herno Bomber, £386)
Top quality and versatile (Babar Rugby Shirt, £210)
Stretchy Bottoms (Uniqlo, £39.90)
Slip On/Off Shoes (Edward Green, £1,150)
Luggage (Mismo, Herringbone, £500)
And that’s all from the eighteenth issue of The Rhubarb Society! If you’re keen to get ahead of next week’s segment of ‘The Club Corner’, or if you have a podcast topic you’d like me to discuss, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below, via email or in my DMs. If there’s anyone you think would be an excellent fit for The Rhubarb Society, please do extend the invitation below.
Tamsin & Rhubarb