How To Spend: A Weekend In Paris

7 June 2018

Oh Paris, Audrey Hepburn really did say it best - you're always a good idea! And an extremely good idea that my boyfriend had late last year was to whisk me off to France's capital City Of Lights for my birthday as a surprise... such a keeper! The Airbnb he'd booked fell through which meant that our trip was rearranged for December, and visiting in the most festive month of the year was truly magical!

We had such a wonderful, whirlwind time and I wanted to share some highlights with you in case you're planning on visiting one of the most romantic cities in the world for a few days.

First up, props to the Eurostar service from London St Pancras to the Gard du Nord for being the most easy and seamless transition from England to France ever - it's actually quicker than the journey from my house to Will's, would you believe! Upon arrival at midday we jumped in an Uber and headed straight to our Airbnb which was the most perfect 'base camp' for a weekend's stay - unfortunately I don't have the details but I remember that the address was Rue Chénier (I just checked that and my little yellow Google Maps street view guy was plonked right outside of our red front door, so that's definitely it!) and it had everything we needed as well as the most minimalistic Instagram-worthy decor.

We added another layer of clothing on under our coats to go for a stroll and ended up on a gorgeous parade of shops, bars and cafés. One of the things I love most about Paris and something that you should definitely experience whilst you're there is their café culture - all of the chairs face outwards from the buildings which makes for total people-watching heaven and everywhere has outdoor heating, so even though the air was frosty we were completely toasty and happy to sit for a while enjoying a coffee and a plate of French fries.

After having a little mosey around some antique furniture and clothing shops we started walking home to our apartment, and Will suggested that we stop to pick up some food (he has this brilliant ability to make a cooked breakfast every morning no matter where we're staying in the world, I once woke up in an Airbnb in Budapest that had an empty fridge and cupboards the night before to a complete breakfast buffet!) so we stopped off at the local boulangerie to pick up some freshly baked ciabatta. The haul continued in another little shop where we got some essentials: eggs, tomatoes and spinach to go on top of our toast for breakfast, and garlic and chilled stuffed olives, tapenade and red wine for the evenings.

Back at the apartment we had a little mini-feast (you can't go wrong with the old trusty classic of crusty bread dipped in oil with garlicky olives on side and a couple of glasses of vino, so good) whilst we got ready for the evening. I must mention that we discovered that there was a new series of one of our favourite tv shows 'People Just Do Nothing', but we couldn't watch it on BBC iPlayer as we were out of the country! Instead we put the Baby Driver soundtrack through the speakers whilst we drank and danced to American soul, which looking back was way, WAY more romantic than Kurupt FM - sorry, MC Grindah.

With an Instagram DM inbox packed to the brim with Paris suggestions (thanks guys, we really appreciated it!) we decided to head to Popolare which is a very trendy pizzeria, but they may want to change that 'o' to a 'u' and get rid of that 'e' as this restaurant was POPULAR, all caps! The queue of young people waiting to get in seemingly snaked around the whole city and wasn't moving anywhere fast, so we dove into a warm and welcoming wine bar next door for a drink whilst we chatted and planned our next move. We were intrigued by Popolare but didn't fancy waiting, and therefore found ourselves walking along the parade we'd discovered earlier in the day. Not feeling too hungry thanks to our mini-feast earlier, we enjoyed simply strolling around and being spoilt for restaurant choices. 

Every place we passed looked super inviting, but the menu outside Little Italy Caffe caught our eye and as soon as we opened the door we were hit with this real palpable buzz. It's not a spacious restaurant by any means, but that only added to the charm and we were more than happy to wait by the bar 'cheers'-ing with a glass of wine until a table (that you need to be physically 'tucked into' because of the narrowness of the building, no joke!) became available. Will did that classic thing where you see someone else in the restaurant being served something that looks amazing and you have a 'I'll have what he's having!' moment so he had a seafood pasta dish, and I had 'pappardelle al porcini' which was delicious. I'm a spicy food fiend and have copious amount of chilli flakes on everything, and we discovered that night that chilli in French is 'chili'... good to know!

If you're a serious pasta person then Little Italy Caffe is well worth a visit - it's reasonably priced, the portions were very generous without lacking in flavour (quantity and quality, not always easy to find!) and the staff did a beautiful job of navigating the restaurant and making the smaller space seem cosy rather than cramped. You really feel like you're in an authentic Italian family restaurant!

The following day we decided to do some sightseeing so we bundled up in lots of warm layers and called an Uber to the Louvre. We saw the Eiffel Tower and thought about going up, but a famous French singer named Johnny Hallyday had sadly passed away and we'd been advised by my viewers to avoid some of the larger Paris monuments as lots of people would be paying tribute.

It was one of those 'heaven help you if you forget a hat and gloves' types of days and it was beginning to rain, so we got in the queue for the Louvre which moved fairly quickly. Entry was free as we're within the 18-25 year old EU resident bracket, and once inside that glorious pyramid we set off exploring. As you can imagine there's an endless amount of history to be seen and you can get lost for hours looking at whatever takes your fancy, and of course there's Da Vinci's Mona Lisa - a lot of people comment that it's far smaller than you might expect, but I don't think that detracts from the pleasure and honour of seeing the real thing in real life (albeit over the heads of lots of people and their selfie sticks!)

After getting our fill of art for the day, we left the Louvre and walked along the Seine, passing a sign that read "we serve beer colder than your ex's heart!" which made us laugh enough that we wanted to investigate further. At first I couldn't see where this quirky place was, but we realised that the sign was pointing down some stone steps where a lovely little bistro called Maison Maison sat on the river's edge. It seemed closed, but it turns out that the door just needs a very large and firm push! My immediate thoughts were that it was a sweet and humble establishment - there was a metal bucket underneath a leak in the roof towards the far end of the restaurant and fresh flowers on every table. We were greeted by a lovely lady called Deborah who spoke fantastic English, which was really helpful as despite the menu being small I would've needed to Google Translate almost everything!

Will and I both had oricchiette with 'courge et trévise' which is pumpkin and radicchio (the dish also came with sardines which they were able to take out for me as I'm a vegetarian) and I kid you not - this was one of the best meals of my whole entire life! Every bite was to die for; the pasta was fresh, the chicory was cooked to absolute perfection and the sauce was so exquisitely creamy yet delicate and downright heavenly that I savoured each mouthful. It was, quite honestly, heaven on a plate. The location couldn't be more perfect either, as you look out of the window and the Seine is eye-level which just made me want to break out into a rendition 'Audition (The Fools Who Dream)' from La La Land - it's truly magical. Maison Maison will be one of the sole reasons I return to Paris, and Will can confirm that the beer was icy cold!

Full and happy, we climbed the stone steps again feeling extremely thankful that we'd discovered such a hidden gem and crossed the bridge, stopping to look at all of the 'love locks' on our way. Our afternoon was one of wandering - we took some photos for my Instagram, had lemon and sugar crêpes with mulled wine and saw Notre Dame before Uber-ing back to our cosy base camp to shower and go to town on the bread and olives.

The lovely waitress Deborah from Maison Maison had been really friendly and chatted to us about our evening plans, which were to head across Paris to see if we could find a rooftop restaurant so we could have a nice romantic meal, ideally with views of the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Cœre. She wrote us a little list of her favourite places that weren't too far from our Airbnb, one of which was called Benichat. The walk was longer than we'd anticipated and we arrived ready to shrug off our coats and tuck into some hot food. We were expecting a restaurant and instead found a very small bar, so maybe they only serve food early - always Google before you go, kids! - but seeing as we'd walked all that way we decided to stay for a drink that turned into two, three, four...

The guy behind the bar at Benichat served us a generous bowl of olives whilst we sampled their gin selection, our favourite being Monkey 47. It was the perfect place to chill and chat with a proper G&T and we spent most of our evening there, before realising that it had gone 11.30pm and the chance of a proper meal might've passed us by. Undeterred (and with our gin jackets on) we left the bar in search of a late-night food joint that might offer up a burger or a wrap with chips - hopeful, but safe in the knowledge that we had enough 'nibbly bits' back at our Airbnb to make a banging antipasti board.

Paris was kind to us on this night as we stumbled upon an Irish pub, which I'm pretty sure was called Corcoran's. We were greeted by the smiliest host who ushered us in and told us, to our absolute delight, that the kitchen was still fully open and we could have what we liked. After a quick glance over the menu (we were ravenous by this point) we both swiftly chose pizzas which were kind of average, but when it's bordering on midnight and you thought you'd be having a tapenade toastie for dinner - who's complaining?

On our final day in Paris the heavens opened, but it didn't stop us from having the best day ever! After packing and locking up our trusty, faithful Airbnb and telling it "its been real", we wheeled our suitcases along in the drizzle until we found a cute café (it doesn't take long in Paris, let's face it!) for petit déjeuner as there's nothing like good coffee and good croissants to get you ready for the day ahead.

Montmartre was the last stop of our trip, and driving through the winding hill of the 18th arrondissement is a pleasure in itself. Amélie, one of my all-time favourite films, was set in Montmartre so it was a dream come true to walk around and spot different landmarks from the movie. It really is like something out of a film there - the smell of homemade French onion soup wafts out of the blue painted wooden shutters of rustic restaurants, elderly men walk the streets with paintbrush in hand and the view both inside the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœre and outside it are completely idyllic. Even the blustery winds couldn't dampen our spirits as we simply ducked into a family-run place to sample some of that French onion soup we'd been craving, and once the rain had died down we continued our stroll again.

Will spotted a sign for a Salvador Dalí exhibition and in the spirit of enjoying our final day, being spontaneous and adding a little more culture to our trip, we bought two tickets and went to the exhibition. I can't tell you how fascinating it was! I was unfamiliar with Dalí's work before (I recognised the melting clocks, but that was it) and I really did fall in love with his imagination - he was a true genius and both of us were totally absorbed in his work. Barely ten minutes went by where Will or I didn't hurry to find each other and show them this-piece-they-absolutely-HAD-to-see, and I'm so glad we went. It was run by Espace Dalí and I couldn't recommend it more - I've always been way more into literature than art and sometimes feel as though things go over my head, but this exhibition was perfectly accessible and I left feeling like I could talk about the experience all day.

Whilst looking for somewhere nice to enjoy our last meal we found Roberta, and boy were we glad we did! The staff were all smiles and the decor was really modern with a relaxed feel. We ordered a Negroni each which were delicious, these pack a punch but are perfect for sipping on whilst you chat and peruse the menu. We asked to order but were a couple of hours early for the dinner service, so instead we helped ourselves to the deli counter which had every cheese, meat and pickle you could possibly wish for!

Our original idea was to sip our cocktails and carry on nibbling until dinnertime, but as the clock ticked we agreed it was best to head to the Gard du Nord and eat somewhere closer by, as there's nothing worse than being far away from the airport/station etc when your travel time is approaching. If anything happens like your meal takes ages to arrive or there are no taxis, you can't even enjoy your food or remaining time with the panic of possibly missing your journey home looming - it's best to get to where you need to be first.

A quick trip to the toilets in Roberta was necessary but tinged with sadness as we had to walk past their fresh pasta section - we were practically drooling over the homemade gnocchi, but knew it was more sensible to head off so we paid our bill and jumped in an Uber. We ate at Le Zinc Du Nord which was exactly what we needed, our food arrived promptly (Will had a burger and fries, I had risotto) and we didn't have to rush as we were already opposite the Gard du Nord with plenty of time before our Eurostar back to London. It was the perfect place to clink one final G&T and cheers to such a wonderful trip!

Big thanks to Will for organising this, he made it such a special birthday for me and planned everything beautifully. I hope this post gives you some ideas if you're visiting Paris, and please feel free to leave recommendations below in the comments for others. Au revoir!

Exploring The Ancient Neighbourhood Of Trastevere, Rome

3 June 2018

My only experience of Rome in my 24 years is summed up in one word: rushed. Will and I stay an hour and a half west at our good friend's family home in Cassino every year and Rome, to us, has always been a flying stop en route. 

It's a bustling airport where we weigh up getting the train or forking out for one of the many minivan services. It's a hectic terminal where we once saw Ed Sheeran. A vast car park in which we can't find our rental vehicle at 2am. A restaurant at Termini where we ordered bruschetta that took 45 minutes to make, tasted of nothing and costed us €14 (as well as almost missing our flight) for the privilege. 

We knew this wasn't 'the real Rome' (that's like saying that Waterloo is London in a nutshell) so we made 2018 the year that we saw more, starting with riverside district, Trastevere.

Landing at midday, the first stop was our bed and breakfast Il Boom - I've written a full review here - and the host, Angelo, suggested that we explore the ancient neighbourhood. Keen for some authentic Italian pizza (I had a serious craving!), we set off and quickly learnt that Trastevere is the prettiest place to stroll around. With crumbling houses, cobbled streets and charm by the bucketload, it manages to feel both old and new at the same time. It's a perfect 'let's see where our feet take us' place, and on this occasion we ended up in popular Piazza de Santa Maria - you'll find the Basilica di Santa Maria here (one of the oldest churches in Rome with the most stunning mosaics), and the fountain is a glorious people-watching spot. The nightlife is meant to be fabulous in this spot, too!

With the image of a proper pizza floating around in my head like a cartoon and making my mouth water, a late lunch was next on the list. Trastevere is full of cosy trattorias (informal and casual Italian eateries with a focus on family-style cooking) so enjoy ambling around to see which ivy-covered establishment takes your fancy. A looming dark cloud sped up our choice and we nipped into what I thought was called Popi Popi, however, my Google search to find their website has just informed me that we actually ate next door at Alle Fratte di Trastevere - less fun to say, but a very good choice all the same! Our simple but delicious order of Merlot, Peroni, olives and a classic Margherita to share was made even more enjoyable by a gorgeous table in the wide-open doors of the restaurant. It was like eating al fresco yet still being sheltered from the rain, and the staff were very friendly.

With the need for pizza satisfied, we headed to the stone footbridge Ponte Sisto over the River Tiber. Again, we saw where our feet took us with the soundtrack of various buskers playing electric guitar before heading back to our adorable base-camp of Il Boom. Angelo explained that he had a restaurant a short walk away called Meridonale, so after a glass of red and a chat about our day on the glorious roof terrace we made our way there.

The exterior of Meridonale is stunning (all pretty trees adorned with lots of twinkling fairy lights!), the interior has a huge wall of vintage coffee makers and you're given free Prosecco and nibbles when you're seated. Angelo had given us a 10% off voucher so I told the waiter we were staying at Il Boom, which received a shake of the head and a "not affiliated" so I think it was a 'lost in translation' situation. Will ordered the carbonara and I the cacio e pepe (spaghetti with cheese and pepper) - his was delicious but mine was terribly salty. "Way too much salt" is a recurring comment on Trip Advisor, but they're very highly rated (#265 out of over 10,000 restaurants in Rome) so it's clearly loved by many. If you're a guest at Il Boom make sure you show your voucher at the beginning of the meal, we showed ours at the end and were rather rudely told that the discount wouldn't be applied - a younger waiter came over to apologise and offered us a free drink/dessert!

Not quite wanting our first evening in Trastevere to end - and Will with a hankering for gelato akin to my pizza one earlier - we walked in the hopes of finding a gelateria and it didn't take long before we stumbled across one (we had coffee, obvs). One of the most enchanting things about Trastevere is the palpable buzz - there always seems to be something 'happening' and, wanting to experience more of this atmosphere, we headed to a bar (we had Negronis, obvs) before wandering home for an episode of Atlanta in bed. Bliss.

Trip Advisor Wasn't Wrong: A Uniquely Vintage Bed & Breakfast In Rome

After deciding that we needed to see more of Rome than its airport, Will and I sat in bed one weekday evening with a laptop between us and the shared goal of finding a great place to stay for a night or two before travelling to Cassino for our annual holiday with friends.

Our search led us to Trip Advisor where we quickly found a bed and breakfast with absolutely glowing reviews (we're talking 82% excellent, 18% very good and absolutely no average, poor or terrible ratings whatsoever) called Il Boom. We were immediately interested as it's not often that you come across places so highly praised, and after getting in touch we were very kindly offered a complimentary two-night stay*.

When you arrive at Rome Fuimicino, as with many airports, there are lots of minivan services waiting. We've always had a kind friend to pick us up or we've gotten straight on the train to Cassino, but this time around we put our faith in a suave, smoking Italian man named Gino. He had four other passengers waiting with two more needed and was charging €15 from the airport to the door of our B&B: the train is usually at least €10 anyway, we'd been up since 4am and when you've only got a couple of days somewhere it's nicer to spend your limited time actually exploring rather than travelling. Other than unknowingly flicking burning ash onto my foot when he shut the car door, Gino did good by us and we were promptly dropped off half an hour later outside Il Boom.

Located in the Trastevere district of Rome around an eight-minute walk from the centre, Il Boom sits on a slight hill in Via Dandolo with an unassuming exterior. After being buzzed in, we entered a spacious marble hallway which offered a crisp respite from the Italian sunshine. The host Angelo (who gets an absolutely stellar mention in pretty much every Trip Advisor review, what a guy) was there to greet us, and we immediately felt the warm embrace of Il Boom. You're quite literally walking into someone's home - a home in which you are completely and utterly welcome to treat as your own.

The first thing I was struck by was the decor - Angelo explained that they've collected various items over the years (you'll find retro jukeboxes, record players and pinball machines to name a few) and the walls are adorned with movie posters from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Basically, you're not likely to turn a corner without encountering Monroe, Presley or Hepburn! Everywhere you look there's something quirky, interesting and fun.

The B&B is located on the second floor of the building with an internal third floor where you'll find the terraces, kitchen and living room. Will and I stayed in a room on this third floor that's not actually open to the public (it actually used to be Angelo's sons - what a beautiful place to grow up!) and it was lovely. With more than enough space for two, a double bed, ensuite bathroom and beautifully decorated to encompass the vintage feel of the B&B, it served as the loveliest 'base camp' for our Rome trip. The rooms that are available to book (all of which are named after icons of Italian cinema) are here.

Angelo is the dream host; very friendly, non-intrusive and respectful of your privacy as well as always being there to draw up a quick map or help with a local recommendation. The family live downstairs and you have your own key to the building which gives an easygoing 'come and go as you please' feel, especially as Il Boom states that there are no time constraints. Obviously be polite and mindful of other guests when you're returning home after a Negroni or three, but it's nice and chilled that there's no 'curfew' as such.

The facilities in general were superb - absolutely no complaints! I was particularly impressed by the Internet speed which was much faster than my own WiFi at home, and you've got all your usual comforts: daily cleaning (by the maid Dorota - any Gossip Girl fans will be screaming right now!), air conditioning, TV etc and, perhaps the best of all, full use of the glorious kitchen. I know I've already raved about the decor but it really is something special, and amidst all of the vintage heaven you'll find a table groaning with breakfast every morning (the full continental works) as well as snacks throughout the day.

The kitchen opens onto the terrace which quite simply took my breath away. Clearly very well looked after, it's filled with various plants and flowers as well as plenty of pretty ornate furniture where you can relax and watch the world go by. Offering stunning views of Rome as far as the Castelli Romani, it became our favourite area of the B&B. In the mornings we'd make ourselves coffee in the perculator and put together a plate of breakfast before heading out to soak up some AM sunshine, and in the evenings we'd pour ourselves a glass of red wine and climb the winding steps to the other terrace (yep, you heard that correctly - there's another sun-drenched terrace for your enjoyment!) where we'd sit in deckchairs and chat about our day. Blissful.

Whilst we're on the topic of the terrace, this post wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of the B&B's furry (and scaly) pals, as Il Boom is home to three cats and various tortoises. I'm a true cat lady so the trio of kitties were a highlight of my stay - I always miss my own cats when I travel so I found it very comforting and homely. All of the animals are extremely friendly and if you're not a pet person then don't fear, they're not allowed inside and only join you if you call them over for a scratch behind the ear!

Here is how you get to Il Boom, and in terms of location it's pretty ideal as you're in a very quiet residential area but need only step outside to begin exploring the city. After a 15-minute walk you'll reach the River Tiber, and once you cross that you're in close proximity of many of the most famous and beautiful places in Rome (e.g. 25 minutes to the Trevi Fountain or 30 minutes to the Colosseum). The ancient yet refreshingly modern neighbourhood of Trastevere itself is really special also - described as "funky and bohemian", it's full of life and you'll never be short of authentic pizzerias, buzzing bars or pretty cobbled streets lined with centuries-old houses.

There are also great transport links if you prefer, so do ask Angelo as he's a mine of information and has some really useful tips. He recommended that we buy day travel tickets (you can pick these up from any local tobacco shop) and they were brilliant - we travelled around Rome from early morning to late evening on buses and trams for only €7 each. Do make sure you download Citymapper from the App Store also, we waited an hour for the 75 bus at the stop near Il Boom when they're meant to come every 20 minutes so you might find the app more reliable than the bus timetables.

If you're looking for an easygoing, welcoming place to stay during your time in Italy's capital city then Il Boom is definitely one to check out, especially if you like places with extra personality and charm. It was the loveliest place to begin and end our days in Rome, and we checked out with very fond memories of the B&B and all it has to offer.

*I'm a full-time blogger who's offered free stays from time to time. Transparency is of the highest importance to me, so I just wanted to highlight that whilst our stay was complimentary, this coverage is completely off my own back and all opinions are 100% honest and my own. We loved our time at Il Boom so much that I wanted to share the experience, just like how we'll recommend it to our family and friends.

bareMinerals BAREPRO Performance Wear Liquid Foundation

9 May 2018

Ten To Try (February) #6:
bareMinerals BAREPRO Performance Wear Liquid Foundation

Described as
"a natural looking full-coverage foundation that is heat, humidity, water and sweat resistant and provides SPF20 sun protection"

At the start of the month, Meg says...
When I first started this Ten To Try series (why am I talking like it was over a decade in the past, it was like last week) I knew that I wanted to try a new foundation. It can be such a tricky part of makeup to get right and to recommend as everyone is different, and I've always been one of those people who, when asked in a department store what kind of finish they prefer, answers with a resounding "ummmm?" I don't know, okay! Sometimes I like a sheer, dewy base and on oilier days I want more coverage and less glow. One thing I do know is that I always want it to look natural, so let's see how BAREPRO fares...

It's not the best for travelling, but unless you're on the go a lot it won't be an issue - I usually do my makeup in the morning and my foundation stays safely at home on my dressing table, so the weighty glass bottle gets a thumbs up from me. Make that two thumbs up, actually, as it comes with a pump (thank you, bareMinerals!) and a well-made lid that doesn't fall off in your makeup bag either.

'Creamy' is the word that immediately springs to mind, as does 'thick'... we're talking more double cream than single here! It's the kind of foundation that holds its own when you put it on the back of your hand and won't run all over the place, and it's very matte from the get-go - there's no waiting for it to 'dry down' and lose its sheen. You can see this in the third image, as the few seconds that it took between me swatching the foundation on my hand and snapping a quick photo was all the time it needed to start drying around the edges, almost like it's 'locking' onto the skin which I'm guessing is the waterproof aspect.

When I try a foundation for the first time I like to use my trusty Look Good Feel Better Multi-Tasking Brush initially as I know exactly where I stand with it, and I used one pump to begin with. The first thing I noticed was that it's not particularly easy to work with - I dot my foundation all over my face then start to buff, but I quickly learnt that it's better to work on one area before moving on as you don't get much 'play time' due to how quickly the foundation starts to set on the skin. I found that it didn't glide over any dry patches quite how I would've liked it to and I was having to work quite hard to try and make it look like my actual skin rather than product sitting on top of it, especially around my upper lip for some reason! I genuinely wanted to wash it all off and start again.

I then tried it on another occasion with a damp Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and much preferred the application. The finish was still full-coverage but looked a lot more natural and skin-like, and although I found that it looked slightly clumpy in certain areas (e.g. around my brows) that was quickly sorted out with a spoolie and the end result was matte, slightly luminous and almost flawless.


I have the shade 'Champagne 03' which is a pretty good match for me, even in February with my pale winter skin, although it leaned a little too yellow and I found that it oxidised throughout the day which didn't help with the whole 'looks like makeup not skin' thing.

Despite the amazing coverage, the end result I was left with after applying was overall an unsatisfactory one - I think I'm used to sheerer formulations these days and therefore found the finish a little cakey, dry-looking and in need of a good hydrating mist.


The bottom line
Not for me, in a nutshell! I can imagine that for some people this is the dream foundation - if you love Instagram makeup (or even just a high coverage) that doesn't budge and your skin's on the oilier side, definitely try a sample of this next time you're passing a bareMinerals counter. For me personally it's just too much effort to get it to work, I didn't find it easy to work with and was never entirely happy with the results, so I'll be passing this onto a friend and sticking to my trusty Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream - it's like BAREPRO's lighter, moisturising little sister!