Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A year in beauty

It's nearly the end of 2015 and I enter the Christmas period with no kitchen but hey, I do have two (yes, I got another one yesterday - Hot Rose) new Bobbi Brown lipsticks so life is good.

This year for me has been about hot cloth cleansing. I always used foaming facial cleansers but I have reached the age where I have to admit it's too harsh on my skin.  My favourite cleanser is Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cleanser. It's lovely and cooling and works a treat. M&S stock this so you can often get 20% off it.

Throw away the muslin cloths and bulk buy some proper flannels. Essential. And wash them after each use. No, it's not ok to use them twice in a row.

I also embraced foundation. I will always love a tinted moisturiser but nothing looks as polished as foundation. I love my Chanel one and the purchase of a foundation brush has also been life-changing. I use it to buff my skin after application and it's fab. I use this Real Techniques one.

I am definitely spending more on skincare rather than make-up these days. Oils, cleansers, face masks, treatments. The list is endless. I still adore make-up and will never stop looking at it and playing with it but nothing gets my heart racing more than a great face mask! Or, indeed, an eye mask. Yet another gem from Skyn.

Pack these in your case and use on a weekend away. Bliss.

I've posted less this year, it's been very busy with work and house renovations. But I shall continue to post in 2016 because there is always that wonder product just around the corner. 

Thank you for reading and happy 2016!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Nail colour of the week

Opi's My Gondola Or Yours. This is a very dark and chic grey. I adore it. On each ring finger I have a layer of Luxe effects by Essie in silver sparkles. It's my one and only nod to Christmas.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Colour

My make-up weakness: eyes. Eyeliners, shadows, mascara, gel liners. You name it, I buy it. Lipstick has never been my weakness. Not to say I don't have lots of lipsticks but I don't have dozens. Most days I wear lip balm.

Then this caught my eye. Gold tube. Luscious, creamy, gorgeous. A perfect storm happened. I was in Sephora, home of points and joy. I was tired. I wanted a treat. So I bought this in Pink Cloud. It's lovely. Glides on like a dream, beautifully solid in my hand and long-lasting.

I didn't need it but I wanted it. And really, that's the same thing.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sarah Chapman facial

I am very grateful that I work with some beauty obsessives. One of them is getting married next year and decided she needed to splash out on some serious facials. Research was undertaken and Sarah Chapman was chosen. She came back from her first visit glowing. Her skin looked amazing. Smooth and gently pink.

At the same time, my boss, decided to gift me a Sarah Chapman facial. I decided not to dig too deeply into her reasoning (did my skin look bad? was I that tired looking?) and accepted the gift with much thanks.

Then I went to Chicago for work and had to fly home a day early. We won't linger too long on the details (a poorly husband, premium economy instead of business, snowstorms, delays, security from hell, no sleep). My facial was booked in for a day after this trauma and I felt every second of my age as I trudged off to Sloane Square, where the salon is.

The moment I walked in, life got better. This is a seriously swish salon. The therapist tucked me into a heated bed and got to work. There was no annoying chat. She just started applying who knows what to my face. Everything smelt divine. She extracted with ruthless efficiency. There was lots of pummelling and massage. Then there was an LED light for ten minutes. The 90 minutes flew by and I honestly could have just stayed the night there in a blissed out sleep. Alas, I had to get up and sit on the district line.

This is a facial for people who are very serious about their facials. It's very expensive (£170) and it feels vaguely medicinal. My skin has never looked better. I spent the next day just looking at myself in the mirror and stroking my smooth skin. I dream about a life where this facial happens for me once a month. But at £170 I couldn't possibly justify it!

If you're looking for a treat, if you know someone generous enough to gift you this for Christmas, if you are getting married or if you're just jet-lagged, exhausted, stressed and currently without a kitchen (all true for me) then I highly recommend this.

In the meantime, there is an overnight facial that Sarah makes that is raved about.

It's £46 but there is 15% off here today. I am seriously tempted.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

New Charlotte Tilbury eyeliner

Once upon a time I bought the best eyeliner ever. It was by SmashBox and it was an olive gold. I forget the name of it now but I adored it and wore it every day. Then it broke. It just fell out of the pencil. Heart. Broken. They've long since stopped making it.

Last week I was browsing and saw this by Charlotte Tilbury. It's called Gold Digger (great name) and it's limited edition.
Snapped it up I did and hooray. I am happy once more.

The moral of this story is there is always something round the corner to replace your beloved discontinued make-up. I am coming round to Charlotte. More on that soon.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash

A very lovely work friend gave me this for my birthday and I realise I never told you all about it. It's an exfoliating hand wash and it's excellent. Yes, it's ridiculous to spend so much on a hand wash but that's what gifts are for. It looks very nice in the bathroom. I do like bottles that make your bathroom look like a spa. If you are looking to indulge, then this is a splendid treat.

I love Aesop. I want everything they make.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Palette love

A beautiful make-up palette is an item of joy. They are not that practical because you never use everything in one but they are so pretty. 

Here are three that I covet. The YSL one is just beyond fabulous, look at those kisses!

First up, Bobbi Brown.

 YSL heaven.
NARS eyes.

They are an indulgence so therefore perfect to add to your Christmas list I'd say. It's eleven weeks away...

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser

Let's get the bad news out of the way, this costs £60. It's like ripping off a plaster, say it quickly and move on.

I ordered this about a month ago after reading rave reviews online. It is in a glass bottle which is annoying, it feels like an accident waiting to happen. So far it's all in one piece but every day I feel like I am playing with fire in my bathroom.

Is it worth it? It smells lovely, it is a creamy texture that you massage in to your dry skin. You then add a little water and massage a bit more and then you rinse it off. It leaves your skin feeling very cleansed. I like it very much but £60? It's a lot for 125ml. I am not convinced I will buy it again, I don't think it's significantly better than cheaper cleansers.

You can read more about it here.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Saturday Chanel

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I've been trying to stay away from cosmetic counters to channel funds into the kitchen project. However, this morning I woke up and thought 'sod that' and went to my nearest Chanel counter. I was in the market for a new foundation for Autumn. Aren't we all? Summer is great for tinted moisturisers, fake tan and a general carefree look. There is no doubt that it's getting chilly though and to make myself feel better about it all, I decided I needed to buy some treats.

I decided on this foundation. A very helpful French girl helped me. She was impossibly chic and I felt extremely unkempt as she expertly applied this medium coverage foundation. It's all dewy and glowy and very lightweight. Once she applied it, I needed a blusher so she went and chose one and naturally I bought that too. It's from the new collection and so delightful. It comes in this compact and then in a velvet case. I don't know how anyone resists Chanel, I mean look at it.

And I bought the serum of joy because I've been ruined for life. She gave me some samples (as well she might) and put it all in a Chanel bag and I sailed out feeling so much better about life.

Chanel makes everything better.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Nail colour of the week

I declare Autumn open. I have this lovely deep red on my fingernails and everything seems right with the world. Be gone neons, see you in the Spring!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Some important shower gel updates

My obsession with shower gels has not gone away. I still can't resist trying new ones. The right shower gel in the morning sets me up for the day. So I make no excuse. Remember, I do this so you don't have to. Except you do need these two beauties.

First up, Energy Bank shower gel from This Works.

It's gorgeous, it has proper essential oils (geranium and rosemary among others) in it because it transforms my shower into a zesty fest. Perfect for sluggish mornings, this will make you look forward to getting out of bed.

Kiehls is having a moment for me. There is a branch at Waterloo station which is dangerous. If I have to wait for a train, I find myself in there. Last week I got this.

Nashi Blossom and Pink Grapefruit liquid body cleanser. I've been using this in the bath because it's a lovely, gentle scent so for me it's more relaxing. It's absolutely lovely. I always love grapefruit and it has ginger in it too. Divine. It also comes as a perfume. Uh oh.

Both are around £17 which is a lot, I know, but you hardly need any as they are concentrated.  And can you really put a price on precious bathroom time? OK, I think we all know I don't and if you're reading this, you're probably the same!

Saturday, 18 July 2015


When life hands you lemons, in Mallorca, hit the Chanel counter. I didn't win the lottery but I came into a little bit of cash so I spent it like any right-minded girl would. On Chanel. I had a splurge and honestly, I am loving ALL of it.

I had to buy this nail colour - look at the name! I am sporting it on my hands right now and I love it. Chanel does colours so well and despite their reputation for chipping, I am on day four with this and not a chip in sight.

I tried with other serums but once you've had Chanel, it's hard to go back. I tried cheap and mid-range serums but none come close to the level of comfort this serum gives. It's like you can feel it plumping up your skin.

Love the Olay one but love this one more. The most natural looking tan ever and it genuinely smells nice.

I've been wanting to try this for a while. It's a powder to whip out and look glam with. Divine in all respects.
No 5 joy. Parfum not toilette. Heavenly decadent.

Chanel really does make the world a better place.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Prepping for the yacht

Darlings, tomorrow I fly off to the Med to spend a week on a yacht. You have no idea how much I love typing that sentence. We are sailing round Ibiza, lounging, drinking cocktails and sunbathing. I cannot wait.

A serious sunning holiday requires prep to avoid the first day, oh my god my skin is white, scaly and scary, blues. I have been prepping for about a month now. Truth be told, I never stop prepping for summer. I adore summer, it's totally my season. I don't ever want to feel caught out by it. So I exfoliate all year round, I have pedicures throughout winter on the basis that it's grim enough and my feet may as well look pretty to me as I bathe, and I moisturise religiously.

But that's not enough when the prospect of wearing swimwear is staring down the barrel at you. So I bought this:

It's a Korean Magic Peeling mitt. Read about it (and then buy one) here. No messy scrubs necessary, just scrub away with this in the shower and smooth skin is yours. It is actually magic. I love it and it's £4. It was sold out for weeks so when it finally came back in stock I bought two. I am considering buying more (they don't last forever) so I am stocked up.

I've been laying on the Kiehls Creme De Corps which is the best body moisturiser I've ever used. And I have been applying my trusty Clarins self tan gel every other day.

I really rate this. Of all the self tans, it's the easiest to use, it gives a very natural colour and it only slightly smells. I invested in a St Tropez tanning mitt which has been the best fiver I've spent for some time. Why I didn't get one of these years ago, I shall never know.

Last week I bought Olay's Everyday Sunshine after Sali Hughes recommended it and I now have a light glow on my face. This is a bargain product, non-greasy, no biscuit smell and very subtle.

Today I has a Shellac manicure in a neon orange which I am very pleased with. It's all shiny and fabulous. I had a pedicure in the week in my new YSL colour I told you about.

I am exhausted, I totally need this holiday. It's hard work being fabulous isn't it? My husband has simply packed 11 t-shirts, two pairs of shorts, trunks and a fishing rod. I am definitely coming back as a man in my next life.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume Treatment

India Knight recommended this a while ago in her Sunday Times beauty column. It was sold out for ages in the various Boots I went into which intrigued me. When it finally was back in stock, I bought a bottle.

Now then, I don't have fine hair but I figured, neither does India. Her father is Indian and (sweeping generalisation coming up) Indians have sumptuous hair. Thick and lustrous. She raved about this saying it just made her hair better. Who doesn't want better hair?

I've held back from sharing my thoughts on this as I wanted to give it a good go. So three applications in (you're only meant to use it every 3-4 washes) and my verdict is ready. It works. It's a bit strange, it feels odd when you put it on, a bit like plastic. You leave it in for 3-5 mins (which is a bore when you are in the shower but I use that time to exfoliate properly) and then rinse out. When you first blow dry your hair, you see no difference whatsoever. But the next day, I definitely saw a more volume. It somehow makes my hair easier to manage while adding subtle volume.

It's £9.99 surely it's worth a shot at that price? It's not going to change your life like a Parlux hairdryer but I plan to keep using it.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Saturday shop

I met an old friend for a spot of lunch and shopping yesterday. She loves make-up counters almost as much as I do. We had a very pleasant time in Richmond House of Fraser and I treated myself to two new pretties.

There is always the perfect eyeliner out there and I may have found it. Dior Pro Liner. Look at the shape of it. It glides on like a dream (on the back of my hand) and it's the perfect green. I tried to resist, I really did but I wanted it.

I did my nails on Friday with one of my YSL colours and remembered why I like it so much. It's such a doddle to apply. Summer is here and a new bright colour is important to survival, I am sure you'll all agree, so I splashed out on this lovely coral.

I managed to resist a new Diptyque candle in SpaceNK so actually I saved money.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Soap & Glory Ultimelt cleanser

The flannel cleansing method is sweeping the nation and with good reason. It removes make-up, exfoliates gently and is immensely satisfying. Our grandmothers were right about flannels! All this muslin cloth nonsense that Eve Lom and Liz Earle recommend is very annoying. I bought a job lot of white flannels from Amazon and bob is my uncle.

It's with sadness I report that Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish is not 100% right for me. I adore the scent but I have noticed it makes me a little red. It has a lot of essential oil in it. Much dejected, I spotted this in Boots and thought I'd try it. It's £10 and it's really rather marvellous. No discernible scent, incredibly gentle and pleasingly effective. I am impressed. I've been using it for about two weeks now and I think it's a winner. And what a bargain price. Recommended.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sanctuary Cooling Shower Drench

I am an optimistic soul. I am of the belief that we must be due a hot summer and so as I was browsing Boots, waiting for my train at Waterloo station last week, this caught me eye. Cooling shower drench with watermelon and cucumber extract. It's like summer in a shower and only £7 so naturally I bought it and guess what? Today has been hot and sunny. You're welcome.

What's it like? Cooling, fresh and perfectly lovely for a morning shower to wake you up in the summer months. Delightful.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

More Charlotte Tilbury

I decided to try some Charlotte make-up. I bought two products. Firstly, this blusher.

Cheek to Chic in Love Glow. I am disappointed, it's ok but it's quite hard to be subtle with this, it's full on PINK! I feel somewhat of a clown in it. And this is the thing about Charlotte Tilbury, she's like the antithesis of Bobbi Brown. She doesn't do subtle. It's more put your make-up on with a trowel. I read an interview in this month's Red magazine where she said her husband had never seen her without make-up on. That's just sad.

On a brighter note, I also got this:

A 'colour morphing eye shadow pencil' in Amber Haze. This is very nice, easy to work with, a pleasing colour and good lasting power. However, I think there are other eye pencils out there as good and don't cost £19. Sephora do a whole range of them in every colour you can imagine and they are about $12.

So I am underwhelmed. However, as I have said before, she has her marketing nailed. I bought the eye pencil in Leeds and had a lot of fun playing with everything. Her counters are really well thought out.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask

How many masks does a person need? What a ridiculous question and thankfully one I would never ask. I have a new mask love. And it's from a woman who I frankly have very little time for, Charlotte Tilbury*. When CT launched her make-up range the beauty internet world went crazy. Credit to her, she has great PR because she was everywhere, in every magazine. I dropped by the Selfridges counter at the time and came away distinctly underwhelmed. It was a zoo, the staff were doing their best but they were unable to cope with the demand and the packaging was so Avon calling.

Anyway, time moves on. Minds can be changed. I read an article about this mask on the pool which is becoming one of my favourite sites. A mask to tackle hangover face is the name of the article. I think you'll agree that I had to check it out. Yesterday, I was in London town having a delightful shop and went to Fenwicks where they have basically handed the entire front of shop over to CT. I was astounded. I've never seen such a huge real estate for beauty other than a standalone shop. It's full of art deco mirrors, studded lights and is completely over the top. It was not busy, the staff were very helpful (although yakked on to much and had SO much eye make-up on) and I bought myself a tube of this. £45. Not cheap.

I applied it last night and it is annoyingly, rather wonderful. Thin layer on cleansed skin, I relaxed in my bath, 10 minutes later, I massaged it in (which is what they tell you to do) and then rinsed it off. Poof! Younger, brighter, insanely soft skin was revealed. Plump! Fresh! Bright! Yep, I'm sold. It also smells lovely and does not require chiselling off your face.

I applied Kiehls Midnight Oil and woke up this morning expecting to look like my 12 year old niece. That didn't happen. Oh well.

*the hair, I can't get over her mane of hair. I don't know why it annoys me so much but it does.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Kiehls Line Reducing Concentrate

I was sent this from Kiehls. No, I have not reached the heights of being picked up by brands to review their products despite seven years of blogging. My dear friend and personal stylist Hayley was sent two sets of this along with the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. She sent one to me, bless her. Full size too. Oh yes.

This is basically polyfilla for your face, it's amazing stuff and feels like velvet. I am already addicted to it. You use it before your moisturiser. Is it a serum though? One is rather confused. How many layers of products can I pile on my face and who has the time? All questions that wiser people than me can answer. Nonetheless, I am loving this. I can only describe it as liquid velvet, soothing your skin and filling in lines. It's sadly only a temporary fix but it very much feels like it's doing good work.

A review of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate will be forthcoming.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Get your nails ready for Summer

I am so excited about this warmer weather we've had. Ok, it's colder today but last week I had sunglasses on and toes out! It was beyond thrilling.

Being a child of the 80s, I can't let go of my neon love and I treated myself to two Essie nail varnishes in bright (and I mean bright) neon colours.

The pink one is called Bottle Service and I am sporting it on my toes and fingers. It's so fresh and lovely and, yes, bright. And the orange is called Saturday Disco Fever so I don't think an explanation is required. Dark reds be gone until September. Wooooo!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate

In January I talked about serums. Since then, I've become somewhat obsessed which is not unusual. I bought a Sephora own brand serum in New York which was ok but nothing special. Then I read an online review of this and decided to buy it last week.

Eucerin is not a sexy fun brand. It's a 'get the job done' brand. What I have discovered is I like serums that feel like they are hydrating the desert, not ones that sit like a plastic film on your skin. Separating these is not an easy task and required some dedicated research. Fortunately Sali Hughes beauty forum is full of women with opinions and they're not afraid to speak up, they've tried everything. This gets a lot of love and I can see why. It's excellent, it soothes as you apply it like it's actually filling up your skin's fine lines. I don't know why it comes in six dispensers instead of one big bottle but it makes me feel like I am in a laboratory. Read more about it here.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Clinique Even Better Foundation

I said I'd report back on this so here I am. For years I've avoided foundation, finding them too cakey, too heavy, too much like hard work, too try hard if you will. No more! I am loving this so much. I feel all Mad Men Joan, elegant, sophisticated, a proper lady. I'm not saying I am abandoning my beloved tinted moisturisers but this is a serious contender.

First of all, there is no getting away from the fact that this requires more effort to get right. You can't just slap it on in a half-sleepy zombie fashion and hope it will look ok. You have to use a primer (I am still adoring Dior Maximiser) and you have to delicately dab dots of it round your face and blend properly. It probably takes twice as long as a tinted moisturiser to apply but even then, we're still only talking about a minute or so of your time. I then use a foundation brush to give it a more flawless finish which is an extra 10 seconds work.

As someone who has also avoided powders for years, a foundation does require some powder around the nose area. The lightest of dustings does the job. Basically, years of habit are being thrown out of the window as a new routine comes home to roost.

It's worth it though because the result is glowy, even skin. A divine base for blusher and again, a change for me. I've always preferred cream blushers but somehow this look requires powder blusher so I am rediscovering long-lost loves. I am currently enjoying a Bobbi Brown favourite I bought a few years ago. It all looks far more polished. Better still, after 10 hours in the office, it's all still on my face. This is a revelation and worth the extra effort in the morning.

If you've not tried foundation for a while, I urge you to revisit. I think the formulas have improved no end and I am very much loving the result. This Clinique one is £26 which although isn't cheap, it's by no means expensive and it's very impressive.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Face masks

It's nearly April and tonight the clocks spring forward. I adore Spring. The flowers, the longer evenings and light mornings, throwing off the heavy duvet, drinking coffee in the garden. It's all joyous. It's also a time to take a close look at your skin. After months of winter, dare I suggest it might look a little tired and grey? I am not being rude, I am looking in the mirror. Face masks are the way forward.

I've just come back from New York where I went into Sephora four times. Three of those times I took in colleagues who looked wide-eyed as they filled their basket with goodies. One of them recommended this face mask to me.

One minute facial. You can see how I couldn't resist despite having many face masks at my disposal. It's truly fabulous. It's slightly gritty and a strange green colour. You smooth it on, wait 60 seconds, splash on water and rinse it off. The whole thing is effortless and it makes a huge difference. Skin is all fresh and bright. It's my new favourite face mask.

I discovered the Sephora face masks in France last year. $6 each.

They have a whole range. Perfect for travelling and treating jet-lagged skin. Also perfect for amusing your partner as you wear it. Mine laughed for about 10 minutes as I lay on the bed with mine on.

I also still love the Bliss eye masks.

These pep up tired eyes a treat.

I highly recommend all of these. The Sephora masks are a steal.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Armani Eye Tint

Did I need this? No. Did I want it badly? Yes. Especially after testing all of them on my hand at Terminal 5 and deciding I needed a treat.

You can use these as a wash or you can build up to dense colour. The colours are gorgeous. It's like eye make-up nirvana. They are not the easiest to put on but I am not exactly dextrous when it comes to anything other than a pencil when it comes to eyes. I need to experiment more with it but I honestly wanted all the colours. Check them out.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Spring, Spring, Spring!

Welcome to March. We made it! I am so excited that January and February are over. They are tough months and I am bored of being cold and wrapping up warm. I know March can be the cruellest month but psychologically I feel better.

Thoughts turn to new beauty treats to play with. We all deserve a treat for surviving the winter. Here are some delights that have caught my eye.

If I needed another perfume (which I resolutely don't, nope, no way), then these are To Die For.

Oh so pretty. I saw these in Peter Jones last week and had a good sniff of them all and they are divine. Look at those bottles. Tell me you don't want one on your dressing table. They are part of Estee Lauder and they are gorgeous. I am lusting hard. Read more here.

Hello Lancome.

I think I've learned my lesson with make up palettes and then one comes along that throws all logic out of the window. I don't use all the colours, therefore they are not good value but look. Look at it. It's just so pretty, frivolous and girlie. It's made for Spring. It's made for bouncing through Paris in a tutu. And at £42, is it really that expensive?

Another obsession that is growing by the minute is candles. Making my home smell like a spa is important because I live near a sewage works. That's my excuse for buying Diptique candles like there is about to be a worldwide ban. I admit I did pick up a couple in the post Christmas sales which required ninja-like skills. They are £40 each and yes, that is expensive but there is just nothing as good as Diptique. And believe me in candle world, £40 is often the entry price point. I think I've fully explained myself. Let's look at the joy

Do I need to explain Eucalyptus? It's one of my favourite smells and perfect for Spring.

I love Rose and I love Geranium. So this is a no brainer.

Moss. Named after me! "all the fresh scents of the forest floor after rain" they say. Also, pretty colour.

This is one I picked up in the sale (half price!) and it's minty. It's lovely and fresh.

And I got this one in the Selfridges sale (half price!). It isn't on the Diptique site. The description of it is ridiculous but it does smell heavenly.

And finally my friend bought me this for Christmas. There is a reason she is my friend.

Jo Malone has new perfume out. My Jo Malone obsession isn't as strong as it once was but Sali Hughes reviewed this yesterday in The Guardian and now I want to investigate more. Birch and Black Pepper sounds intriguing.

I just happen to be going to Terminal 5 next week so I shall do us all a favour and check them out. Happy March!


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