Guest Post by Rosa Lyster: Celebrity Encounters

Celebrity encounters

Rosa Lyster writes these really great essays once a week and puts them up on her website I am a huge fan of her writing and asked her to guest post on the blog today. She very kindly said yes. Here is her essay on the encounters she has had (or thought she had) with celebs.

Rosa lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.


1. I thought I saw Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) out the corner of my eye. This kind of tallish handsome-ish lanky man wearing nice pants wandered into my peripheral vision, and the celebrity-registering part of my brain lit up. Fireworks. Explosions. Someone shooting a gun into the air. This happens to me a lot. People in Cape Town are generally very good at keeping their shit together around celebrities – they affect a cool disinterestedness, like oh check it out there’s Sean Penn, and I am going to pretend that I don’t care at all. I am going to act like I have never ever heard of Sean Penn, or, alternatively, that I HAVE heard of him and I hate him. I am going to make Sean Penn think that I am his enemy. I do not play this game very well. I lose my mind at even the prospect of seeing a celebrity. They know that they are famous, I know that they are famous, and why are we all pretending like this is normal. WHY. It’s a problem that some people have. A friend of mine once saw Emma Watson in a bar in Oxford, and stared at her so hard that she had to leave. It turned out that the guy with the cool pants wasn’t Yasiin Bey at all. He was just a totally regular man. Didn’t matter. The celebrity-registering part of my brain had been activated, and I was jittery for the rest of the evening.

2. I saw Sophie Ellis Bextor walking down the street in Hackney. This wasn’t like the Mos Def thing – it was definitely, definitely her. She had this nice yellow dress on, and sweet sunglasses, and she was walking down the street towards me. Fireworks. Explosions. Someone shooting a gun into the air.

3. My friend Rom and I saw Cillian Murphy at a Beach House concert in Hyde Park. I wrote about in on my old blog, which not one single person ever read, so really it was more like my diary. This is what I said: him and his wife (who was wearing a sort of Cheesecloth purple jumpsuit, actually, but despite this she managed to come across as very nice and someone you wouldn’t mind being stuck in a lift with) were sitting at the same set of tables and chairs that we were for most of the day. they borrowed our sunscreen. the wife made a nice joke about eating some of our ice cream. things i noticed about cillian murphy:

A) his head is much bigger from the side than from the front

B) he seems all right, really.

I recognised him straight away and I could feel my eyes go all bobbly and stupid. I don’t even like him! He does not at all feature in my life! I don’t think I have ever had a conversation about him with anyone except maybe Emma! but still I was so DUMB about it. still it was all I could do to stop myself from leaning over to him and going, “Look, you and I both know that you were in that movie called 28 Days Later, so can we stop pretending please.”they were sort of next to us when we watched beach house as well. they weren’t nearly as into beach house as they were into this sort of ska band that played earlier. obviously this minused them a million points, not just cos beach house was SO GREAT, but because ska is SO HORRIBLE.

4. Rufus Sewell, in a Starbucks in Oxford. This was a bad one. I got the same feeling I did when I saw Sophie Ellis Bextor. The feeling is called Fuck fuck fuck what if I wave, or smile in a weird way or fuuuuuuuuck what if I say something to them. This is what I wrote about in my old blog/diary: The thing I am bad at is famous people. I’m the most uncool about it ever in the world. But I can’t HELP it. It feels like a LIE. He knows that he is famous. I know that he is famous. It feels like some kind of riddle, to which the solution is, apparently, look at him out the corner of my eye so much that my head starts hurting, and then get up all in a rush cos he saw me STARING, and forget my wallet and the flowers at the table, and have to run back and get them and then drop the wallet and make an extremely, extremely loud rustling noise with the cellophane around the flowers as I walk out the door BACKWARDS. Like a CREEP. Like someone’s terrible servant in a PLAY.

5. My friend Caitie reminded me that once I thought I saw a famous man at university, but it turned out to be just my politics lecturer. I followed him around for a bit because I thought he had recently starred in a movie with Denzel Washington. I did my signature move of looking at the suspected celebrity very hard, and it was only after about five minutes of gazing intently at him that I realised who he was. It’s because I didn’t go to very many lectures.

6. Upon reflection, my old blog is just jam-packed with long updates on the time I thought I saw someone famous. Here is what I wrote about someone who I don’t even think has an IMDB page: I saw him and went oh oh there is a famous man where is he from where is he from where is he from. He was walking round the exhibition with someone he obviously didn’t know very well. For example: he didn’t know that she spoke Spanish, or that she had a brother, or that she had never been to Florence. I know this because I was SPYING. I wouldn’t definitely say they were on a date, but they probably were. An exhibition seems like an extraordinarily High Pressure environment to choose for like a first or second date. The worst is having to stand in front of paintings and say things. It’s even terrible when it’s with someone you know well. The potential for being either incredibly bored or incredibly boring is generally too high.


I stared and stared at him and wondered where he was from, and convinced myself that he was extremely famous, and went on about it for ages, and then on the train home I realised that he was the actor who played Brooke Shields’s husband on that show called Lipstick Jungle. I can’t BELIEVE I remembered that. I can’t BELIEVE I worked that out. I can’t BELIEVE that some probably very crucial information was turfed out of my brain in order to make room for that.

7. My amazing mum, the best person in the whole wide world, has the exact opposite approach to famous people. This is because she is very cool. She once saw Larry King in New York and said that she experienced a flash of fond recognition, like the feeling you get when you unexpectedly bump into one of your really good pals in the supermarket. This feeling was so strong that she raised her arm in greeting and said HI! It was only after he looked at her blankly that she realised he was not one of her best friends.

8. I have actually also done this. I was walking into a restaurant on Park Street, and some guy who I vaguely recognised was walking out. I said HI and then I realised that it was James Corden. Again, upon reflection, it was probably not James Corden at all. Has he ever even been to Cape Town? It almost definitely wasn’t him.

Some Paris gift ideas

Paris gift ideas

I have a lot of friends who visit Paris. At the end of their respective trips, there is inevitably a mad rush to buy gifts for loved ones back home and I have been privy to not a few purchases of a flashing Eiffel tower key chain.

In an effort to get people out of the garish souvenir shops of Montmartre and the Rue de Rivoli, and in the hopes of giving you some ideas for gifts from Paris which are not a “Paris je t’aime” t-shirt that will immediately be relegated to the status of pyjama top and subsequently never worn, I have compiled a list of gifts that you could get that people might actually want.

Paris souvenir ideas:

  1. Sabé Masson is a Parisian soft perfume label which sells beautifully scented solid perfumes in great packaging.
  2. I have already talked about my love for Evian facial sprays in this post and a small Evian facial spray bottle is a nice mini-gift to go along with something else. I have it on good authority that many other countries don’t sell this product and have seen a few people come to Paris and stock up!
  3. The Musée d’Orsay is currently doing an exhibition on the Douanier Rousseau and his artwork. You can buy a coffee table book of the exhibition in the museum’s shop, which is accessible even if you don’t have tickets to the museum.
  4.  A box of calissons, a French sweet made with candied melon, ground almonds and topped with royal icing. What I love about the Roy René brand is that they sell baby calissons and offer a range of unconventional flavours and colours. They are also far less expensive than macarons.
  5. A Giverny gardens tea holder. If you happen to visit Monet’s gardens while you’re in Paris, they sell these super cute tea holders. I have one for builder’s tea and one for posh tea.
  6. Le Bon Marché offers a range of Paris tote bags and they often bring out new ones. I have a couple which I use all the time to carry books or yoga things around.
  7. Colour-in map of Paris. If this isn’t the coolest thing, I don’t know what is.
  8. A box of classic Pierre Hermé macarons. Standard but pricy. (My favourite macaron from the Pierre Hermé collection is definitely the Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit)

You can also find some great ideas for gifts and souvenirs on



My modern talismans


When I was around twelve years old, a lot of objects that could be bought at the shop seemed to have magical powers. I knew that owning a blow-up bubble back pack, platform Spice Girl shoes and a lava lamp would improve my life dramatically. Putting on lipgloss 400 times a day from one of four fruit-flavoured tubes housed in my school pencil case seemed to add glamour to algebra and the study of dicotyledonous plants.

Now that I’m all grown, I no longer have a lava lamp (thankfully) but there are still a few things that I buy that act like modern day talismans and bring that feeling when I wear them that I’m ready to conquer the world.

Here they are:

Nars lipgloss
Nars Dolce Vita Lipgloss

Nars Dolce Vita lipgloss is the one up (or maybe the ten up) from my rollerball pineapple gloss of yester year. The colour is subtle but really brightens up the face and the gloss is long-wearing so 400 applications a day is no longer necessary.




Reebok Gingham yoga pants

When I go running or do yoga, I tend to wear black leggings because most of the other options for sports tights feature overt neon designs. These Reebok gingham yoga pants, designed by Tara Stiles, are more playful than the all-black version and somehow motivate me to run, even in the rain.



Calvin Klein underwear
Calvin Klein underwear

When I was in New York back in September last year, my friend Karin, went to Macy’s and bought us a pair of these Calvin Klein underwear each. They are, really, I hate to admit it, the best. It’s not because I want to be like Justin Bieber, I promise.




Dolce&Gabbana perfume
“Dolce” by Dolce&Gabbana

Around Christmas last year, I was wondering around the airport waiting for a flight when a very beautiful elf beckoned me into a Sephora and told me the man behind the counter would be able to guess the right perfume for me. The man was not particularly impressed with being given this task but he begrudgingly walked me to the D&G stand and sprayed me with Dolce. and it was perfect. So that’s what I got for Christmas.



Penny loafers
Penny loafers

Up until recently, I never knew why a penny loafer was called a penny loafer. One day, at my mom’s house, I put my loafers on to leave and found that my mom had tucked away five cent coins into the tops of the shoes. That was when the penny dropped (hahahahaha). I have no idea why but I love having coins stuck in my shoes and when I travel, I change my coins to the local currency. You can find similar loafers to mine here.


Illustrations by Arabella June Designs


What’s on my dresser

My dresser

I’ve always loved to see what sorts of things people keep in their houses, on their coffee tables, on their bedside tables, on any table really. I tend to inexplicably pick up each object presented on a given surface, feel the weight of it and then put it down again. No real reason.

Here’s a look at what I keep on my dresser.

  1. A little metal box that my housemate bought for me in Morocco. I empty my coins out into it every couple of days and then grab the change on the weekends to buy croissants and pains au chocolat from the bakery. It also holds some bobby pins and a couple of hair ties.
  2. This Habitat ‘cotton and neroli’ candle has a fresh and light fragrance, perfect for spring. I hate anything that’s too overpowering so I think this one is perfect.
  3. A crumpled ‘paper’ vase (which can be found here) filled with dried hydrangeas. You cannot beat a dried hydrangea.
  4. Bio oil is one of those things, like vaseline or coconut oil (or pawpaw ointment for Australians), which act as some people’s cure all. I use Bio oil as a massage oil, skin moisturiser, make up remover, general illuminator… It arrived on the French market last year and is marketed as Bi-oil which I find hilarious.
  5. Essie’s ‘Help me grow‘ base coat, ‘Good to go‘ top coat and Allure nail polish. Keeping nails on point.
  6. Evian facial spray. My French grandma always used to have this in her bathroom. It delivers a soft spray of water onto the skin which creates that elusive glowy look, wakes me up a bit and for some reason, makes me feel that little bit more sparkly. I keep a big can of it on my dresser and a baby can in my handbag.
  7. Le petit marseillais hand cream. In the warmer months, my hands start to get really dry so I have hand cream on hand (ha).

I’d love to know, what do you keep on your dresser?

Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

My dresser

My dresser

Asha’s top six desserts in Paris


My friend Asha has an Instagram account called which she uses to document all the places she eats out in Paris. I go on her account whenever I am called on to make a suggestion on where to go for dinner because she has some brilliant addresses. I also go on it Sundays to check that she is still alive after the night before. If she is, she will almost certainly have posted a photo of brunch.

I asked her if she would let us in on her favourite places to go for dessert in the Capital and she has given me a list of her top six. Thank you Asha!

Here they are:

1.The moelleux au chocolat at Marcel.

Molten chocolate cake in Paris is a standard in French bistrots but they are not all created equal and we’re always looking out for a better one. I’m pretty sure Asha was swayed by the whipped cream when she said that this is the best moelleux au chocolat she’s found but she has assured me that it also had the perfect goo to cake ratio.

2. Pavlova aux fruits Rouges at Café RUC

Meringue, cream and red berries piled up on top of each other, this dessert is perfect for the summer months coming up.

3. Pain perdu au caramel beurre salé at Chez Julien

This dessert could double up as a (very) indulgent breakfast and features French toast, made with a thick slice of brioche, slathered with salted butter caramel. (another one of Asha’s weaknesses)

4. Chocolate tart with caramel and hazelnuts, served warm at Pamela Popo

A crisp pastry shell filled with a rich, dark chocolate filling that comes oozing out as soon as it’s hit with a spoon.

5. La Joconde at Angelina’s (La Joconde means the Mona Lisa in French. Personally I think this dessert looks nothing like her)

Part of the Autumn/Winter collection of the house’s desserts (because everything is a fashion show in Paris), this purple tower creation can not, unfortunately, be found in the summer months. I would personally go for their new take on the Mont Blanc which is available this spring.

6. A super creamy and decadent chocolate cake in a pool of raspberry coulis and crème anglaise at Le Plomb du Cantal, situated 3 Rue de la Gaité, 75014 Paris.

This restaurant offers cuisine from the Auvergne region of France and comes highly recommended. Most mains are likely to combine potato, melted cheese and charcuterie.

You can follow Asha on



Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

You know that advice, “If you go home with someone and they haven’t got any books, don’t go to bed with them?”

I imagine that saying used to  be helpful to people. Now, however, not so much.

What if a guy has no bookshelves but he has a Kindle? Are you allowed to ask him if you can peruse his e-reader before making an informed decision about whether to stay the night?

What if he reads books on his phone? He could also just say he read books on his phone (which, given the circumstances, is to be expected).

Although you and I will most likely never share a duvet, I thought I would still show you that I have books on my shelf (this is no euphemism) because I don’t want you to have to worry about that.

My books are mostly in English or in French. I have two books in Afrikaans but they are from my school days and I only read them when it is raining in Paris and I am feeling nostalgic for Cape Town and its blustery storms.

A breakdown:

  1. A rather thin selection of recipe books, mostly on different ideas for salads. My favourite one at the moment is “Another week in the Kitchen” by Karen Dudley, a South African chef who runs a very popular deli in Cape Town.
  2.  Some coffee table art books for when I one day own a coffee table. (This is an aspirational blog). Art books are for days when I need to escape reality (and the internet) but my head is all over the place so I can only really look at pictures. I should really have more of them.
  3. My classics and best friends
  4. Children’s books. Part of the reason I have a children’s books section is because as a child I swore to myself that, as an adult I would never have a house that was boring to children. I also just like reading children’s books. Roald Dahl is still my favourite.
  5. Back issues of Bon Appétit and Elle à Table culinary magazines mixed in with a few Paris Vogues. You would think that this would be the reason for my lack of recipe books (mentioned in point one) but I doubt I have ever made any of the recipes out of any of the magazines. Reasons to have a blog.
  6. Books I have recently read and may need to read again straight away because I hardly ever like books the first time round.
  7. My French collection, including many books by Françoise Sagan and one of my favourite books in French “L’élégance du hérisson” by Muriel Barbéry.
  8. Paint, for learning about colours and hopefully one day, for painting actual images.
  9. My non-fiction section mostly with adventure stories about various expeditions and popular science books explaining astronomy to the layman which I still don’t understand. I’m currently reading the ‘Voyage of the Beagle’ by Charles Darwin which is the book he wrote before ‘The Origin of Species’. It’s great and has lead to an uncanny number of conversations on marine iguana. These conversations are usually very short.
  10. The last cubicle is all books about French and English grammar. I am quite obsessed with both my languages.

What’s on your shelf? Send me a #shelfie?