Astrie's favourite neighbourhoods of London and Paris

Astrie, founder of Beauty Candy Apothecary – Roomorama blog

City guides: London and Paris


Astrie is the founder of Beauty Candy Apothecary and the co-founder of FP Juice. Not only is she an entrepreneur and a mother, she is also a dreamer. In 2013, Astrie and her husband started up a company called Dream A Little Dream Pte Ltd - which comprises of both Beauty Candy Apothecary and FP Juice.

How do you find and decide which brands you want to bring in to your store?


I find brands mostly through my travels but I also read a lot of fashion and beauty magazines and blogs. If I see something that catches my eyes, I usually do a bit or research about the history of the brands, try the products, see the packaging and last but not least, check if they are available in Singapore. That's key to me as I like to be the first to introduce the brands here!


What are some crazy travel stories you can share about your buying trips?


Almost getting mugged at the Paris-Gare de Lyon on my way to London last year was pretty scary! I was at a trade show in Paris and going to another one in London. To avoid flying, I decided to take the train. I had a couple of suitcases with me. When I got off at the station, I noticed two guys following me around. I got into an elevator and then they just jumped inside. Luckily my friend who dropped me off had seen me and just caught up with me in the elevator so nothing happened and the guys took off but it was very nerve racking.


Can you tell us how you came about with the concept of the Beauty Candy Apothecary?


I wanted to introduce beautiful brands that I personally love but can't find in Singapore. It's not only about beauty products but all things lifestyle related that are beautiful. Beauty Candy is a play on eye candy in that sense. I'm really excited because we have gotten to the point where Beauty Candy is not just a retailer, it is a platform for niche brands to enter the asian market. Brands we carry tend to get a lot of press coverage as many editors ask me for my picks to feature in their articles.


You have traveled to and spent quite some time in London and Paris. Can you share with us some of your favourite stores in each place?


London - Selfridges, Smythson Bond Street and not forgetting Caramel and Baby Chelsea Shop, which sells clothes for babies and children.

Paris - Merci Concept Store, which is located in a refurbished 19th century fabric factory, Bonpoint Flagship Store and BonMarche.

Selfridges Caramel and Baby Chelsea Shop

Pictured above: Selfridges (credit: Andrew Meredith), Caramel and Baby Chelsea Shop (credit: Mr Fox)


What are your "routines" in London and Paris?


London - Start off with a morning jog at Hyde Park then breakfast at The Wolseley. Walk to Selfridges via Bond Street. I also love going to Liberty Flower shop and walking around Covent Garden.

Paris - I walk everywhere in Paris and I never get tired looking at the views! Nothing is as romantic as Paris. A simple but delicious croissant in the morning sitting on the bench at Place des Vosges is priceless!

Liberty Flower Shop

Pictured above: Liberty Flower shop (credit: Jasmine)


What are your favourite places to eat in each place?


London - Lunch at Tom's Kitchen and dinner at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a Michelin starred restaurant.

Paris - Have breakfast at Cafe de Flore, a quaint little café perfect for people watching. After that, have lunch at Nanashi and dinner at L'entrecote.

Nanashi

Pictured above: Nanashi (credit: Sterling)


I'm also a dessert fiend - what are your favourite dessert places in each city?


Paris - where do I start? Head to Popelini for the best mini choux, Nanashi at Bonpoint St Germain for their Matcha Green Tea Cheesecake. Not forgetting Colette's Water Bar Cheesecake.

London - Peach Berry Crumble at The Wolseley, Ottolenghi for desserts and have an afternoon tea at The Berkeley Hotel.

Ottolenghi

Pictured above: Ottolenghi (credit: Wild Swans)


What are your favourite neighbourhoods in London, and what is there to see, eat, and do in those neighbourhoods?


Chelsea - Tom's Kitchen for lunch and shop at King's Road for high street brands.

Knightbridge - Lunch at my favorite Lebanese Restaurant Maroush and dinner at Mr Chow for Asian cuisine. Shop at Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

Piccadilly and Bond St - Breakfast at The Wolseley, Lunch at Cecconi's. I love to shop at Bond St, Selfridges and Liberty.

Tom's Kitchen Mr Chow Cecconi's

Pictured above: Tom's Kitchen (credit: The Vanderlust), Mr Chow (credit: Ben McCormack), Cecconi's (credit: Interiors By Color)


What are your favourite neighbourhoods in Paris, and what is there to see, eat, and do in those neighbourhoods?


St. Germain

Have breakfast at Cafe de Flore followed by Lunch at Poilane. Finish off with Dinner at Le Comptoir Du Relais, where they serve French cuisine.

For shopping, you can't miss out on Bon Marche! St. Germain has the best shops for local brands!

Marais

Have Breakfast at Merci Cafe. Followed by lunch at Nanashi or Rose Bakery. If you're feeling adventurous, have dinner at Les Enfants Rouges, which sells French bistro food with a Japanese touch.

For the best vintage stores, shop at the Merci Concept Store and Marais!

Cafe de Flore Poilane Merci Cafe

Pictured above: Cafe de Flore (credit: sergeymk), Poilane (credit: Shopikon), Merci Cafe (credit: Susan J. Smith)


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