Today has been a day of happy little discoveries. Firstly, I came across a single copy of the new issue of Pretty Nostalgic Magazine which I snapped up with glee. I love Pretty Nostalgic. I love everything from the matte paper which has a lovely scent (yes, I am sad enough that I sniff magazines as well as old books!) and a beautiful slightly muted colour palette, to the fact that they have kept their integrity by releasing it bi-monthly rather than monthly. I would much rather read a really good magazine less often, than read a padded, diluted magazine more frequently.
So, new magazine in bag, I decided to take myself into Marks and Spencer for a pot of tea. Sometimes on my lunch hour, I just like to take myself away from work, and decompress. A pot of tea in Marks and Spencer's cafe is actually a surprisingly nice way to do it. Although it is always bubbling with noise and people, it tends to be a happy noise. Your pot of tea comes with a tiny biscuit on the side, and the milk comes in a tiny china jug. I love to sip and read a book or magazine, or just people watch. Today I was struck by how many of the customers were ladies. There were older ladies who had clearly been friends for years, sitting and lunching and chatting. There were young Mums bouncing babies on their knees, and everyone just seemed happy.
It was on my way to the cafe that I made a particularly nice discovery though - our Marks has a new mini beauty hall. I can't put my finger on why, but something about it reminded me of a French Department Store. Perhaps it is that I have just finished reading 'Miracle on Regent Street' which is set in an old-fashioned department store, and also several books by Jamie Cat Callan, which are about capturing that French Woman magic for yourself. Perhaps it was just that there were several French brands on the shelves. Whatever it was, I was soon entranced by the shelves of products on display.
The perfumerie intrigued me with the elegant bottles. I spritzed on some violet scent from the most beautiful atomiser bottle - and although I love violets, it was rather too many pennies for my purse today. And in any case, my eye was then drawn to the botanical designs on the perfume bottles by Fragonard - in particular Vetiver, which I may treat myself to next pay day. It smells almost masculine to me, and reminds me of cedar and bergamot and musk, but also quite feminine at the same time.
The hair care products include some of the Philip Kingsley range. I have always wanted to try his legendary hair elasticizer, but I remember when I was going to order a sample from his website, the postage and packing was almost as much as the product. So not only did I not have to pay p&p, I discovered a trial sized set of elasticizer, shampoo and conditioner for only 50p more than the elasticizer on its own!
There were some shelves of makeup - I didn't recognise the brands, so want to do a little research before I think too much about them, but they looked nice. Several of the skincare lines were French, and again, I want to do a bit of research before trying any of them out.
The whole area seems really well chosen and curated - the kind of products that you don't see just anywhere a good range of prices, and somehow they have created an aura of prestige without making it intimidating.
My plan for this evening is to do the washing up, settle down with a pot of Ceylon tea, and read Pretty Nostalgic magazine while watching the sun slowly fade into the gloaming of evening. Wherever you are, I hope your evening is blissful too.