The Cannes Adventure, The One About The Red Carpet And The Professional Makeup Tips

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal


in collaboration with L’Oréal Paris

This is one for the records. Being allowed to experience the Cannes Film Festival, the grand circus – up close. Yet still from a distance, seeing as I still was a very small piece in a giant game of Monopoly, in which some just were more important than others!

As part of my collaboration with L’Oréal Paris I was invited to spend 36 hours at the festival, and rather than flying back and forth for ‘so little,’ we decided to extend our holiday and drive to Cannes instead. Thus, it turned into a big family trip, and with a few nights’ warmup in Nice beforehand, we slipped right into the French feeling. I was excited; the programme sounded intense, and now we’d been in holiday mode for almost three weeks. How would Eddie take it? How would I take it?

Quite excellent, I’ll reveal. Early Friday morning, we rolled into Cannes, into Hotel Martinez (which is seriously stunning – and their little ‘welcome’ gift for Eddie was a Bonpoint teddy bear! That’s how they roll), which no doubt is the centre of attention that week. A snow white giant hotel on the edge of the Mediterranean, with columns and window frames matching the azure blue ocean.

We’re in Côte d’Azur, the French riviera, which is a league of its COMPLETELY own, compared to the Italian riviera around Genova, from which we just arrived. With cars more expensive than our combined income, and there we came, in our Fiat stationcar, with a thousand bags, unloading it all on two polished concierges; and I’m on a French roll right from the start; ‘Bonjouuur! Ça va, Monsieur?’ and ‘Merci de votre patience’ as we keep on pulling bags out of the boot. Carrier, diaper bag, beach bag, one and two and three and four suitcases thrown up on the silver rack, which they push in front of them towards the reception, while a valet dude grabs our car keys and disappears in the family ride. I spot another silver rack full of Dior bags on top of Dior bags in four layers – this is the perfect venue for product placement, and there are enough stars around to place them on. I stick to the rack with the carrier and Eddie’s packed food, however.

The standard of this place is at a completely different level than anything we’ve experienced on the trip so far. Our bathroom has a tub and shower, a glass wall leading into the two-metre broad bed and blue wall-to-wall carpet and fine shampoo bottles, little slippers and a housecoat behind the door. On the bed, I find a small greeting from the L’Oréal-girls, whom I’m actually meeting right away.

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

We dive right in, even though it’s just 8:15am. I’ve been asked to appear with styled hair and no makeup (I’ve been curling my hair since 5:30am in Nice). They’ve been sending me schedules, but I actually stopped paying attention and decided to just take the day as it comes, and I’ve requested breastfeeding breaks to the extent that it makes sense.

First things first: makeup. L’Oréal is one of the main sponsors of the Film Festival, and they’ve got a giant setup on the beach with film studios, makeup chairs and spot light, just a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean. We’ve got the most incredible view from here, and as it’s quite early, there’s only a slight buzz around.

They give us a wonderful makeup – mine is a classic Cannes look; glorious skin, golden eyes and red lips (Rouge Signature, ‘I’m Worth It’ – my favourite red, which, according to L’Oréal’s Global Makeup Director, Val Garland, matches all skin tones). The French feeling seeps under my skin (and on it as well), with the ‘black coffee’ breath of my makeup artist, as she’s practicing her English in the thickest, loveliest French accent. She makes me très chic, and I quickly forget the worst night ever with Eddie (as though he could sense what was in store – first day of separation).

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

The first of 4-5 shoots is over, and it went pretty well, apart from the little detail of me telling the photographer that I speak a little French (which I do, with emphasis on little), why he insists on doing the entire shoot with me in French (which may be taking it a bit too far), forcing me to give it all I’ve got and interpret his body language when he asks me to change poses. I generally find myself feeling quite comfortable in my skin, but when I’m suddenly measured by photographers, asked to ‘give more sex’ or less or ‘pas de sourire,’ I turn rigid like a piece of wood. But it’s all good.

The rest of the day is full of photo shoots, and when I ask what for, the answer is that it’s actually just for me! So, hello, gorgeous new profile photos, hehe! Such a luxury. At one point we’re sitting in a dark and stale corridor waiting for a photographer, right next to two big security guards – watching the jewelry suite, where stylists come to borrow jewellery for the stars, when, on our right, Eva Longoria trots by, wearing hotel slippers and a robe, looking like a million. I think that we are a little alike down here, seeing as I’ve got a little boy with me as well as she does, but that’s where the similarities stop, I think, between me and one of the most beautiful Latinas in the world.

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

I ask every makeup artist that I meet for a tip:

*Have your setting mix (for instance, ‘Shake and Glow’) in a bucket with ice, while you’re doing your makeup – this way you can remove all swellings and increase blood circulation. Val Garland, whose tip it is, ends up telling that she puts virtually all of her products in an ice bucket before use.

*Make sure to wash your makeup brushes regularly in a bit of hair shampoo. Just a small dollop in the palm of your hand, swirl the brushes around, wash through, and finally let your brushes dry horizontally so you avoid dissolving the glue that keep the hairs fixed.

*Use your clean fingers for applying makeup – this allows you, quite literally, to be in touch with the makeup, while the heat from your skin makes the makeup melt into the skin. Lots of sponges soak up a lot of product, which is waste.

*Apply your rouge under your foundation for a really natural look, which makes it look as if the glow comes from within and is totally natural.

*Those totally crappy paper napkins, which they have in ice cream parlours in the southern hemisphere, which are useless for wiping fingers? Perfect as blotting paper, for removing shine from your forehead and chin.

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal


Friday night is the big night. We’ve been invited to walk on the red carpet, and for the premiere of a French film. I’m ready in my room at 4pm, as hair and makeup artists are supposed to stop by to style me. But 4pm turns to 4:30pm turns to 5pm turns to 5:30pm before they appear with their suitcases. A hair stylist at first, totally out of breath and soaking wet from the rain – we agree on a look, and then the next hair artist knocks on the door. Total confusion as the first one had picked the wrong room. And now there’s a third knock – a makeup artist. At 5:45pm they get started, and I’m short on time, as I’m supposed to be in the lobby at 6pm for pre-film drinks with everybody else who’s been invited.

The hair is done. Totally tight and beautiful, like a ballerina’s. The makeup artist takes her time, and she is so sweet that I don’t like to rush her, although she is familiar with the schedule. It’s now past cocktail hour and nearly 6:30pm when the cortège leaves the hotel and drives towards the red carpet. I’ll tell you that it’s not as if you just stroll over to that carpet. You arrive in numbered cars with drivers, who drive with headsets and get a go-time, which he has to adhere to. At 6:28, I hop in my good old H&M dress, which I’d worn earlier in the day as well. And 6:31, I run down the marble staircase with my shoes in my hand without really having finished breastfeeding Eddie. Totally sweaty, slightly upset and under quite a lot of pressure. ‘Excusez moi’ at Helen Mirren, who’s blocking the exit, as she’s waiting for an escort with an umbrella, as it’s pouring in that Mediterranean way. But I make it! Into the car, and then the dress needs to be closed. The girls try their best, pulling and pulling. And it’s not as if you’re at your smallest when sitting down. And this is where the zipper breaks – in the middle, you know, where it starts opening on both sides. God damn it! ‘Can’t you just hold your purse up in front of it?’ It’s so open in front, though, that you’d be able to tickle my breasts. The car gets its go, and I make a quick decision to jump out. I don’t have the courage to face the red carpet with an open dress (as I’d even be nervous with a properly closed dress), and in this second, the humiliation is just too big. Being too late, bare feet and with a dress that’s too tight to close, and three girls trying to force it. Not having said a proper goodbye to Eddie and Adam, etc. I just want to go home. Back to the hotel, where I start crying. I’ve also just worked up myself for this night, the first time not tucking in Eddie. All of those emotions.

I have to cut open the dress, and then I jump into a black knit. Full makeup and lacquered hair and knit. Order spaghetti bolognese, a burger and a tiramisu for the room and a glass of bubbles to share. Damn tired of the situation, but honestly also a tiny bit relieved that I’ll be able to tuck in Eddie after all. And then I’ll have a story to tell, which is better suited for the records than if it had gone totally as planned, even if it was a once in a lifetime experience.

The day after, the other girls tell me that the red carpet mainly was for the stars. They’d been shooed quickly across the carpet, and if people don’t know who you are, no one takes your photograph.

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal


The day after, we’re introduced to a big campaign, which will launch this autumn, and I really hope I’ll be able to share it with you, as it’s really cool and brave – and totally unrelated to products. We spend an hour and a half in a French woman’s company, leaving me feeling really inspired and empowered. An important core of L’Oréals strategy, boosting our strength in being who we are. Something really cool and important appears.

And then we meet the queen, Val Garland. A grand ole lady in the world of makeup. She’s made up virtually everybody (and she compliments my skin, which makes me blush). She introduces the themes we see in makeup today.

The rule is that there are no rules. You may apply colour to your lashes, lips, eyelids – simultaneously. Clear references to the ’80s and ’90s, with emphasis on the very clear colours on the eyelids! They’re launching a pretty delicious eyeshadow with 30% oil, Color Queen, which is hyper pigmented. And a rather wild mascara, Bambi (something, I didn’t have time to note down), which curls the lashes using a single magic spell. And then there’s the mascara with glitter. The wet eyeliner in pure metallic red, out at Christmas. Makeup should be fun! And almost nothing is right or wrong. I ask about her favourites, Gerland, and she says, Infalliable concealer (‘This is the best concealer I’ve come across!’) and the Unlimited mascara (she always ends up without hers, as she tends to give it away to everyone on set). And True Match-foundation… Yes, she actually has a hard time stopping herself.. But she says that it never has been more fun to do what she does. These days, makeup is of such high quality and so much more potent than when she first started out. All options are available, and everything is allowed.

I’m totally wasted come Saturday afternoon. Such a huge experience. Star hysteria, impossible not to get carried away with – Adam and I are wondering who’s who at the breakfast buffet. Or when we walk by the Bottega Veneta shop, and two mounted policemen are blocking the entrance. Someone’s on a shopping spree.

Red carpet or no red carpet, this trip makes me feel as part of the L’Oréal family, and I’ve got enough memories to see me through the year.

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

Jeg er fuldstændig kørt over, da vi når lørdag eftermiddag. Sådan en kæmpe oplevelse. Kendishysteri, som man alligvel også selv bliver lidt bidt af – Adam og jeg spekulerer i, hvem der er hvem til morgenmadsbuffeten. Eller da vi går forbi Bottega Veneta-butikken og to betjente til hest blokerer åbningen. Nogen er på shopping spree.

Rød løber eller ej, denne her tur får mig til at føle mig som en i L’Oréal-familien, og jeg har minder nok til resten af året.

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,, Cannes Film Festival, L'oréal

GUIDE: Florence

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze

We ended up returning to Florence three times (and we were there briefly a few years ago) – the perfect blend of big city, capable of delivering a proper, third-wave kind of coffee, which isn’t something Italians generally practice (they like it black, burnt and bitter). Yet, still small enough to face you with siesta as soon as you venture more than three metres outside the city centre. Charming (and slightly annoying), in some ways, this stubborn upholding of the siesta concept, also in big cities.

Florence is genuinely wonderful and has lots to offer. You can easily spend a long weekend in the city, and the food scene is SO incredible.

If you arrive by car, I’ll suggest finding a parking spot down along the river. Remember that the yellow spots are for locals, while the blue ones are for tourists.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze


Florence is full of old hotels, expensive hotels, Airbnb’s, etc. And why not take a night in the midst of it all? One of you (and I’m sorry; I forgot your name) recommended an Airbnb at the centre of Ponte Vecchio (find it HERE) – that’s almost as special as it gets.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze


^^^All’Antico (Via dei Neri, 74r)

If you’re looking for lunch and aren’t meat-appalled, you must get a sandwich to go from All’Antico. We shared a classic with mortadella, cheese cream (almost felt like spreadable stracciatella (the cheese, that is)) and a bit of aubergine and rocket. Super delicious (even if the cheese amount was a bit overwhelming). It gets crowded, but the queue moves quickly – and notice how they almost have 4-5 shops including a butcher in the same street.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze

^^^Gustapizza (Via Maggio 46r)

This is THE pizza, friends. You MUST swing by Gusta – top 2 of pizzas on our journey. Brace yourselves for the queue to get seated – but if you order to go, the wait is considerably shorter, and then you can find somewhere to sit further down the street on the stairs leading to the church. And do promise me to order a margherita – here you really taste the quality of the cheese and tomato sauce.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze

^^^Malborghetta (Via dell’Agnolo 22)

A small local pizza parlour, where the pizzas come in three sizes, which means you can try out different types. Really good for the simple, quick bite in an, incidentally, charming area.

Che ti Garba (Borgo la Croce 85r)

Here you can sit and stare directly into the pizza oven – and thus observe your pizza go into the heat and out again in less than three minutes. Just as it should be in a real pizza bakery. Really good-quality produce – especially the cheese, mm…


Ditta Artigianale (Via dei Neri 32r)

A small franchise (they’ve got two outlets) à la Riccos in Copenhagen. Pretty conceptual spot, which is designed to have a local and vintage (I’d call it shabby, hehe) look – but the coffee is good (even if it’s on the stronger side), as is their golden latte. The street is quite lovely as well, actually, running parallel to the river.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze
Coffee Mantra (Borgo la Croce, 71r)

This might be the best coffee we had in Florence – and the barista was a proper geek. He very reluctantly let us take the coffee to go, out of fear that Adam’s cortado would grow cold too quickly. He told us about the coffee type, why they’d picked it, etc. A true pleasure!

Caffeteria Piansa (Via Vicenzo Gioberti 51/red)

Again, not super ‘tight’ decor-wise, everything is just a bit, well, off. But don’t be fooled. The coffee is good here as well (for me, better than Artigianale), and the street and area has a more local and non-touristy feel to it than what we experienced elsewhere. It also houses Naturgenia, which stocks a range of organic baby basics. Diapers, baby wipes etc without perfume.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze


^^^Leonardo (Via Dei Macci 65/r)

If you want to taste real biscotti and buy some to take home for your family, then this is where to find them. They’ve got various kinds, and rather than being dry and dull as we know them in Denmark, they are soft and tasty.

La Strega Nocciola (Via Ricasoli 16r)

The best ice cream we had on the holiday – perhaps because we stumbled upon it by chance and were surprised? They don’t carry a lot of varieties, but good classics and a few slightly more curious ones. The gentleman who shapes the scoops is sweet and kind, and the location is pretty neat, right by the big cathedral.

Sbrino (Via dei Serragli 32r)

Here you get real gelato, in the sense that they model the gelato only to then smear it on the cone – it looks pretty wicked and tastes like a piece of heaven.

Rosalia Salad Gourmet (Via dei Servi 37)

If you’re in need of a healthy break from the pizzas or need a lunch to go, this is a pretty good salad bar with a finger on the pulse in terms of selection – I mean, they offer much more than the classic pizza parlour salads on tomatoes and lettuce. Rosalia might as well have been located in Copenhagen, and also offers breakfast bowls, etc.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze


Boutique Nadine (Lungarno Acciaiuoli 22r)

Cute little shop, which carries newly produced goods as well a small curated selection of vintage goods. They have Louis Vuitton bags, small handmade hair bands (this is where I found my red one) and no name dresses with adorable laces. Quite gorgeous shop – but not cheap-cheap vintage.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze

Street Doing Vintage Couture (Via dei Servi 88)

Pretty sizeable vintage shop with items virtually hanging in layers – male as well as female. Ample time is required for entering this shop, but it’s very likely to be well spent on some wonderful purchases. Sunglasses, shoes, silk nighties, Moschino-outfits and Chanel bags.

Celeste Vintage (Piazza San Felice 1r)

This one was my favourite vintage boutique – and they have two outlets, but this is definitely the more interesting one. And their pricing is fair as well! It’s a clear but pretty big selection, and they’ve got so much good stuff – branded and unbranded.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze


Ponte Vecchio

The most iconic bridge in Florence, stacked full of small buildings – it’s really unique and adorable. Arguably the centre of attention in Florence.

Piazza del Duomo

The cathedral occupies most of the space, built in 1436, but only finished in the 19th century. It’s the wildest, most detailed piece of architecture I’ve ever experienced. It could seem, though, that they’ve spent all of their money on the exterior, what with the relative unadorned interior.

Boboli Gardens

Quite expansive and gorgeous gardens, offering peace and calm and a safe space for the kids to roam around freely, without the fear of fast scooters, etc. Really lovely spot for a little picnic – perhaps a sandwich from Antico.

View and sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo

This may give you the best view of the red roofs of Florence – a pretty good tip from one of you, which we unfortunately didn’t get to, but I do want to include it!

Uffizi Gallery

Incredibly beautiful museum, stunning art pieces in equally stunning spaces, with an excellent view of Ponte Vecchio.

rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand, rockpapertravel, Guide til Firenze


rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand
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rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand,
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rockpaperdresses, Cathrine Widunok Wichmand
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