Friday, 23 December 2016

Skin Laundry

I've waited a while to post about Skin Laundry. It's a 15 minute laser and light facial and I am in love with it.

I discovered it on my recent trip to NYC. My hotel (Parker Meredien) had a salon in the basement and I was duty-bound to give it a shot. The first treatment is free and after that it is £50 a facial but there are deals to make it cheaper.

You sign your life away and then they wipe your face (best to go with no make-up on) and then put a hairband on to stop your hair getting covered in gel. They then laser your face which doesn't hurt but feels slightly odd. You wonder what the smell is - oh, that's just the muck in your skin being vapourised. Then a layer of gel is applied and they apply IPL. Then the gel is scraped off, your skin is toned and they apply a moisturiser and you are on your way.

Read all about it here and don't ask me about the science. It's wonderfully fast, your skin looks fabulous afterwards and you can, if you choose, apply make up immediately.

Now the thing is, your skin really does look noticeably brighter and clear. My sister and I had them done together in NYC and spent the whole day obnoxiously looking in mirrors and admiring ourselves. I liked it so much, I had it done twice while I was there. That's the other thing, you can have this done every day should you be so inclined (and wealthy). They recommend once a week for a month and then once a month as maintenance. If you have troublesome skin, I reckon this would be a life saver. I have fairly well behaved skin and I love it, blackheads are gone and my skin looks even and glowy.

Today I had another one done at Liberty in London. Two days before Christmas. I must be mad. It was so busy in the shop and I was in a rather fractious mood. The treatment room I was led to was very nice and calm. The therapist was competent but lacking in any personality whatsoever. I am not being mean, honestly, she was like a robot. However, she did a good job and talked me into buying a package of five and then walked away in the middle of making my next appointment with no explanation or goodbye!

Liberty is the only place in the UK offering Skin Laundry but surely that will change since it's very popular and booked out weeks in advance. If you are in New York, it's worth investigating and the first one is free. You have nothing to lose!

Now excuse me while I go and gaze in a mirror.

Charlotte Tilbury lipstick

My name is Cover Girl and I have no willpower. But you knew that already. The other day I decided I must have this lipstick in Stoned Rose and so I ordered it online instead if buying it in Peter Jones hours earlier when it is was in my hands.

The online Charlotte Tilbury shopping experience is gold star fantastic. It arrived the next day, beautifully packaged and you get little samples you can choose yourself. I picked more of her perfume which I am fast becoming addicted to. P&P is also free.

I love this lipstick, it's really flattering, easy to wear and doesn't dry my lips out (yet - it's early days). I also like that the name isn't as stupid as her other lipsticks.

My lips are Christmas-ready!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas skin part 2

Yesterday I discussed cleansing, exfoliating, serums and moisturisers as part of your daily routine. Today I am going to discuss the extras that make beauty fun. I think they make it fun, your mileage may vary.

First up, sheet masks! Unpacking one of these babies makes me giggle. Everyone looks like something out of a horror film in them but that's part of the joy. I have a friend who sends me a selfie via What's App whenever she is wearing one and it never fails to amuse me. I love a sheet mask. They are pretty cheap and perfect for jet lag. I always pack one when I am flying to use at the hotel when I land. Slap one on cleansed skin and relax for 15-20 mins. You can relax for longer if you like, no harm will come to you. Then when you're ready gently remove it and massage in the residue. I also wipe the mask over my hands for a hit of moisture and because I can't bear waste.

I've been using these for years and my absolute favourite used to be Oil of Olay but they seem to have stopped making them. Never mind, the market is crowded. Sephora do a fabulous line (and they ship to the UK). My favourite is Rose.

You can find dozens more on their site.

I also like Tony Moly and have used the Rice one. Again, you can see plenty of others to suit your skin type on that site.

When I was in Rome, the hotel was so fancy that the toiletries included a sheet mask! I didn't have time to use it on the trip so it came home with me but A for effort.

I also like eye masks and the Skyn Iceland ones seem to act like scaffolds to eye bags. I often use these when I don't have time for the full face mask. They don't leave residue on your face but tighten and firm which is what we all want, right?

I'm also a fan of the Bliss Triple Oxygen eye masks although they are expensive. These get wheeled out when things are really bad.

Moving on from sheet masks to the old fashioned face masks. I adore these, there is something so satisfying about applying a cool layer of gunk to your face and praying the doorbell doesn't ring.

Sometimes you just want a clay mask and the best one for me is by Clarins. It's very gentle and doesn't sting or irritate and it leaves skin feeling very soft and clean.

Other times you want moisture. Sisley Black Rose is the Rolls Royce of masks. I bought mine with reward points. I can't imagine ever shelling out hard cash for this but if you happen to get a sample or ask someone nicely near your birthday, you won't be sorry.

To perk up tired skin, I still like Bliss Triple Oxygen Mask. It has the added bonus of being really easy to wash off.

I could go on and on. I have my eye on the Bobbi Brown masks. I have some mini Caudalie ones that I adore.

At this time of year, I recommend holing yourself up and treating your skin but a tip from me, don't apply a face mask and then sink into a hot bath. I have done this more than once (I never learn) and ended up with a bright red face that took three hours to calm down!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas skincare

Heating, cold air, too much sugar, too much everything, not enough sleep. It can all send your skin haywire and we don't want that do we? This year I have discovered proper hot cloth cleansing and it's a game changer. I also stopped washing my face with foaming face washes and that's made a difference too.

The fact is, look after your skin properly and everything else is easier. And life being easier is enough of a motivator for me.

Let's start with the cleanser. I love Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Cleanser. It's gentle and not overpowering and it is so soothing. I find many cream cleansers try too hard with a ton of active ingredients that irritate my (usually very well behaved) skin. This is the one I keep returning to. You can use it on your eyes too.

I understand that the idea of hot cloth cleansing in the morning may be a bit of an effort. I concur and that's when I use an oil cleanser. I am currently using the Parsley Seed Facial Oil by Aesop which is very nice but the packaging is annoying.

I have Clinique Take The Day Off Oil waiting in the wings. It's half the price and does just as good a job.

That's your clean skin. Now the fun bit. My biggest discovery this year has been exfoliating toners and why did I not know about these before? They slough off dead cells and make your skin ready for the moisture. I adore Zelens face pads and have stockpiled many in various 30% offers. They are expensive, I can't pretend they are not but my skin tone has massively improved since using them. I also like that they come ready to use without having to soak a cotton wool pad. Umm, yes I am really lazy.

If this is too rich for your blood, then the Alpha H Liquid Gold is also good.

Then you need a serum. My endless quest for the perfect and affordable serum continues. I adore Chanel but cannot justify it on a regular basis. I am currently using the Avene serum from Boots. I like this, it has the right texture. I cannot stand those serums that feel like plastic. This seems to be doing me good. I've tried countless others from French brands and Oil of Olay. All are ok but don't knock my socks off.

Now you can moisturise. I have to tell you that having spent a fortune on creams over the years, my current favourite by a country mile is L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Cream. It's utterly divine, it applies like a dream, soaks in instantly and actually leaves me glowing. Nothing else comes close. And it's £10! I spent a fortune on mine as I reported before but it was worth it. Yes, I am worth it!

Oh, you should add a SPF as well. I don't tend to in darkest winter when I literally seem to be outside for 10 minutes max but I feel duty bound to point it out.

On other moisture fronts, I like an oil for the evening. Clarins Blue Orchid Oil is still a firm favourite and smells heavenly.

My favourite is Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial. This is what you put on when you need heavy duty maintenance. Rolling into bed at 2am? You bring out this baby. I promise you, it turns back time. OK, no it doesn't but it's damn good.

I also throw in facials, face masks and my super duper favourite: sheet masks! More on all of those tomorrow because I have to go and get changed for a trip to Kings Rd and Peter Jones beauty hall followed by champagne with friends. Ciao beauties!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas shopping

If you've not completed your shopping yet or you want a treat for yourself (entirely understandable) then here are my thoughts.

First up, my beloved Bobbi Brown. Someone please buy a city palette. They are beyond divine. I want all of them but if forced to choose, I'd pick London:

I also have loved the Bobbi Luxe lipstick this year. One of the few lippies I've found that don't dry my lips.

Nail polish - always a winner. OPI has a new Breakfast at Tiffany's collection. I admit to not being a fan of the film but it's iconic, no arguments from me there. I especially like this colour: Can't Read Without My Lipstick:

I also want YSL Rouge Pop Art. I've said it before but I like to repeat myself, YSL nail varnish is the easiest to apply for a perfect home manicure.

New perfume? Yes, always. I am taken with Jo Loves in Pomelo. Gorgeous bottle and as delightful as you would expect it to be.

I also want to try the Byredo Unnamed. Exactly what it sounds like, it has no name, you make your own up.

I don't think anyone would be disappointed in a Charlotte Tilbury palette. The Rebel makes my heart race with those gorgeous greens.

After all the parties and family get togethers, there is nothing better than a bubble bath and there are no finer oils than Aromatherapy Associates. All of them are wonderful but Relax does the job. Expensive but a little goes a long way.

You'll need a scented candle too. I adore Diptyque, you can't go wrong with this brand and it's always a treat to receive a candle. The Menthe Verte is refreshing and clears the head.

I shall be back with a specific skin care Christmas guide soon.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Party make-up at Bobbi Brown

First of all, an update on my trip to Rome. I am pleased to report I ambled round duty-free and thought to myself, I need nothing. And I bought nada. Delighted with myself I was. Rome was Rome - work, work, pasta, work.

Last night we had our annual drinks shindig at home. As has become tradition (I have done it once before but I am making it a tradition) I visited the Bobbi Brown counter at House of Fraser Richmond and had a makeover. I thoroughly recommend this if you want to look extra special for a night. It costs £30 for a full face but of course, you want to buy something and it's redeemable against purchase.

The lovely Nicola looked after me and she was fabulous. Bobbi Brown counters have the best staff and that's all there is to it. She did my eyes first and then the rest of my face. My request was a green eye. She used this baby as a base.

The Long Wear Cream Shadow stick in Goldstone. This colour is amazing (no, it's not green) and it makes your eyes sparkle effortlessly. Then she put on two different green eyeshadows and the Black Ink gel eyeliner. I never wear black eyeliner considering it too harsh for me but it wasn't yesterday and I felt quite rock and roll. She used the Ivory eyeshadow up to my brow bone.  All of this took her about 90 seconds per eye. I popped on the Smokey Eye mascara as I can't stand having mascara applied by anyone but me. Party eyes = done.

She used the foundation stick as my base but used a brush. Now, this is important. If you have the Hourglass foundation stick I mentioned, you may be struggling with application. I was finding it a little cakey despite all my best efforts. Her advice is do not, under any circumstances, apply a foundation stick to your face. That is, don't stroke it on. Get a decent foundation brush and she literally softly ran it over the stick and buffed it on. It took her about 30 seconds and I was glowing. I replicated this today with my Hourglass and can confirm it is the secret to application. You also MUST have moisturised skin and the stick must be warmed up a bit. In shops, they are always warm which is why they work best there. It is easier than a liquid foundation if you follow these steps. She also used concealer under my eyes as they always do.

She then added blusher and a setting powder. Of course she used a bronzer and as always I was all, whatever about it. I don't find bronzers a must. But I loved the setting powder.

While I like my NARS one, it's a faff as it is loose and it goes everywhere. You swish your brush over this and you're done. Easy peasy.

She used a lipliner and then a nude pink lipstick. I sailed out feeling ultra glam. 

When I rolled into bed at 2am after several glasses of champagne I realised my eye make up was basically all over my face. I put this down to the mascara which was not a tubing one. I simply cannot wear mascara that doesn't tube, it ends up travelling. However, I also think a sign of a good party is having smudged eye make-up! I reread this and it makes it sound like I went to bed with my make-up on. NEVER.  I literally never do this. I'm never too wasted to not remove my make-up!

I bought the Goldstone eye shadow, the lip liner and the finishing powder. Happy days and my delight at myself for resisting duty-free on my way to Rome is somewhat reduced but hey ho.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm

As I am travelling so much, I am going to the airport a lot and as I have explained, I always feel the need to buy something. On my way to India a couple of weeks ago, I bought this after Sali Hughes recommended it. Sali Hughes is going to bankrupt me but at least I'll be glowing as I live under a bridge somewhere.

I am now at the point where there are multi layers going on my face and weirdly, it all seems to work. I start with a serum, I add a moisturiser, then this and then my base. Less dry skins could probably use this instead of a moisturiser. I don't need a primer with this thankfully.

It is wondrous and make up simply glides on over the top of it. It gives you maximum glowiness but not sparkly glowiness. Yes, I am a convert. At this time of year, with central heating blasting out, parties to go to, champagne to drink (darling) and less sleep than one would like, I really think this is a necessity. It's not cheap at £42 (although cheaper at the airport!) but it's damn good stuff.

I am off to Rome tomorrow and I honestly am going to try and resist the lure of duty-free but I doubt I will succeed. Wish me luck.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Bath & Body Works

I went through a phase about ten years ago of loving this brand for the shower gels. Whenever I was in the US, I'd buy loads of it. Then I forgot about it. One of my dear friends has a 12 year old daughter and she recently discovered it and asked me to go in there on my trip to NYC to pick her up a body lotion.

In the intervening years it has become a teenage brand. I would describe it as the Victoria's Secret of beauty which is not a compliment. I do feel a little sad about it. It is immensely artificial, covering in sparkle and has names like Moonlight Path. Anyway, I picked up her lotion and realised that if I bought three things, one would be free. I can never resist a bargain so I got her the shower gel to go with and picked this up.

This has survived the years and it was always my favourite. It used to be simply called Cotton I think but hey ho. It smells exactly the same and this week I had a bath with it and it was divine. It's like wallowing in freshly laundered clothes. There is nothing else I want at Bath & Body Works but this is worth investigating should it cross your path.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

A rhetorical question for you all: is it possible to have too many bases in your make-up collection? Ha! If you're reading this, I think your answer is the same as mine.

Sali Hughes raved about this in her Guardian column and obviously I had to investigate. An investigation turned into a purchase in Sephora in New York. It's cheaper over there. No, honestly, even with the crappy pound, it is a few pennies cheaper!

The lovely lady in Sephora colour matched me (vanilla). This stuff is really good for a lazier day. If you can't be bothered to blend in a liquid foundation, then pad a little of this on. It is highly pigmented so you don't need much and you can choose to put on a little for under eye circles or go the whole hog. I really like it and it's perfect for travelling. I do slightly prefer the glow of the Givenchy couture balm foundation but this is also excellent. I also bought a very dense foundation brush - not the Hourglass one because that is expensive and other brushes do the job as well. I went for a Sephora one.

I am liking it very much. It simply buffs the foundation into the skin and looks more polished. I apply with fingers first and then I buff at the end rather than applying it with a brush.

You can read more about the Hourglass foundation here. I would say most normal people don't need as many bases as I have but in my defence, I do use them all. It depends on season, my mood, my skin, how bothered I can be to make an effort. I have a feeling I will have this for a long time, it's not a big stick but you really hardly need any. Check it out!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Nail colour of the week

I return from lovely NYC with a box fresh manicure. It's a long time since someone did my nails for me and I had forgotten just how nice it is. While I am happy to do my own, it's good to have a professional shape them and sort the cuticles. I went to a great salon which was in the basement of the hotel I was staying in. It was one of the best manicures I've ever had.

The shop was a chain and brand I'd never heard over: ten over ten. On investigation I learn it was set up in Tribeca and is not 'trend-driven'. You can read more here if you're interested. For $25 the technician really laboured over my nails and took her time. I was very impressed.

I chose this colour which is called Carmine! Those who know me will know how amusing this is. It's described as a Hollywood red and it really is, I love it.

In other nail varnish news, I scoured Manhattan looking for OPI stockists since I had decided I wanted a particular colour. It's quite hard to find which surprised me. The trusty Duane Reade no longer have it. I eventually found it in Ricky's (which is beauty heaven, I adore that shop) and although they had hundreds, they didn't have the one I wanted. But, I discovered the Washington collection which is based on the TV show Scandal.

This shade is called Madam President but it is sold out everywhere. Oh, the irony. If only wearing the nail varnish is enough to make it happen. Because it was sold out, I wanted it even more. I ordered it yesterday from Amazon here in the UK.

I also picked up the colour I originally wanted (I'm Not Really A Waitress) at JFK.

I would describe this as Wizard of Oz red shoes, red. This picture does it no justice. Perfect for Christmas.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Beauty on the move

From September to Christmas this year, I have done/will do a fair bit of travel. I'm not complaining, I like to travel and I always enjoy it for work. I get bored going to the same office every day so a bit of travel breaks that up.

Also, let's be honest, travelling allows a whole new world of beauty shopping. There's the duty-free joy both at the airport and on the plane, the exploring different products in other countries and perhaps, the best part, collecting my favourite beauty treatments in dinky sizes. This is one of the reasons I am obsessed with beauty box offers because I can collect the little sizes for my travels. I also really enjoy trying new products in swish hotel rooms. I actively collect face masks, treatments, bath oils, deep moisturisers so I can create a spa in my room.

Let's talk about duty-free. I don't think it's possible to fly from London Heathrow and not buy something. Well, ok, it's possible but why? Where's the fun in that? I always allow 30 minutes or so to peruse the beauty counters. Terminal 5 is perfect for this but I like Terminal 3 too. You get a few quid off the products but for me, it's all about getting on the plane with new swag and playing with it. I love to get a new perfume when I go somewhere although I do this more for holidays than work trips. At a minimum I buy something like a new mascara or lip gloss. Nothing too bank-breaking but a treat. If I am meeting a colleague at the airport and need to chat in the lounge then I wait and buy something on the plane. I once bought four products on the way to LA because 12 hours is a long time and I was bored. I managed to convince everyone I was with to purchase too and we basically made like Frenchie's bedroom in Grease for the rest of the flight.

Not all airports are created equal. US airports are awful. For the country that leads our capitalist hearts to the till and invented Black Friday, I don't understand why they can't see what a great retail opportunity airports are. Instead they make their airports as unwelcoming and downright communist as possible. And don't even get me started on their airport lounges. Dubai is very good but enormous and I've now been lost twice there. And I've only been to the airport twice. Singapore is marvellously good as is Hong Kong.

Once at your destination, beauty shopping is a whole new world. The mothership of this is New York City. Sephora, Duane Reade, nail bars, Rickys and all the fabulous department stores, the list goes on and on. I need at least a day to do them justice. When I was living in New York, if I had a bad day, I would walk home via Sephora and life just felt better. Often I bought nothing (no, really) but going in and playing with make-up for 20 minutes soothed me. I also love a European pharmacy more than is healthy. The French brands are wonderful and so chic.

For make-up, when I travel, I like everything to be in a stick format as much as possible. Stick foundations, eyeshadows, blushers, lip glosses etc. If I don't need a brush, so much the better. My new favourite stick is this Chubby Stick from Clinique:

I got a baby version (still big and would take months to finish) with a Clinique offer. It's very good. It only comes in four colours which I find refreshing in a world of endless choices.

For my upcoming trip, I bought this from Caudalie:

Three different masks and all nice and small. I plan to take the moisturising one on the plane with me. The trend for doing facials on planes is a little exhibitionist for my liking but this I can just slap on and wait for it to absorb. I don't think anyone will notice.

I wouldn't sit with a sheet mask on the plane (although each to their own!) but I do always take one with me for arrival. I always get jet lag so when I wake up early the next morning, I slap a sheet mask on and feel like I am accomplishing something. I don't have a favourite, I will literally put any of them on.

However, I do adore this from Skyn Iceland:

Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels. Bliss in a pack. I've recommended these before and I continue to love them.

I could go on and on. I may do another post about travel beauty. Meanwhile, I am plotting what I plan to buy at Terminal 5 tomorrow...

Sunday, 30 October 2016

NUXE Huile Nourishing Dry Oil for Body & Hair

Oil, oil, oil. How we love oils. I don't know whether it's because I am getting older and drier but I am at the point where if a product says oil, I pounce on it. There was a small bottle of this in my M&S beauty box freebie. First of all, the scent. It's gorgeous. That's another thing about oils, they always seem to smell so good.

I applied this on my arid legs after my bath today and I swear they soaked it up and gleamed. It's £17 for 50ml and I think that's a bargain. It's top quality and non-greasy yet very moisturising. You can also use on your hair although I haven't yet. As we officially enter A/W (dark at 5pm today - sob) I think we all need this in our lives. Cosy up people, winter is coming.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Victoria Beckham Modern Mercury Highlighter

After posting that I wanted this, the usual happened. I became like a heat seeking missile about it and decided I must have it. Now.

I then had a brainwave and remembered I have loads of Amex points and you can cash them in for many things, including Net A Porter vouchers and this is on the NAP site. Ta da! Genius. No sooner had I thought this, I was logging in and making it happen. Ordered it and I've been wearing it every single day since and I love it. I adore it. DAMN!

The packaging is sublime. Solid, compact, reassuringly expensive. It's extremely finely milled and subtle. A little on cheekbones and it's incredible the difference it makes. I never 'got' highlighters before but this is knocking it out of the park.

This picture of VB best shows it in action.

You can clearly see she has some on her cheekbones and forehead. She probably has it on her legs and back as well but we're not all on photoshoots.

Yes, it's £48 and yes, that's a lot of money but it will last for ages and it's a thing of beauty on your dressing table.

It's the end of days, I am recommending VB products and posting a picture of her.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream

As a rule, I don't believe in eye creams. They are expensive and to my mind, you can moisturise round your eyes with your normal cream - job done. To sell you eye cream, beauty consultants will say it's a 'delicate area' and that normal moisturisers are 'too heavy and will drag the skin'. I call this utter nonsense. Are you applying lard to the rest of your face? No. Moisturisers don't drag for heaven's sake.

I've never bought an eye cream yet somehow I have ended up with little pots and tubes of samples which I've occasionally used and it's confirmed my above opinion. Waste of time.

However, rules are made to be broken. I decided to buy this months ago and I haven't blogged about it because I forgot. I bought this because I like the idea of soothing the skin around my eye area and I must have been caught on a very tired day when your eyes feel so exhausted that you can barely stand to open them. And I admit, I was a sucker for the name and packaging. Clinique do this so well.

I don't use it every day because I am quite lazy but I do believe this works. I've taken to applying it in the morning (before moisturiser - I read that this is important with eye creams otherwise you end up putting it on top of moisturiser and it can't work properly). I put quite a thick layer on and then go about my morning routine, then I come back and add my moisturiser and I find the thick layer seems to have always absorbed. The skin does feel plumper and the cream has a lovely soothing feel to it. Also, it's great for long flights when your eyes really do need some help.

I must face the fact that in my mid-40s perhaps I do need to pay more attention to my eyes. This is not massively expensive (£22.00) and you can usually get some sort of free gift from Clinique.

They've now introduced a whole range of pep-starts.

They look divine, the packaging is brilliant. However, on closer investigation it's all very lightweight and probably aimed at the younger crowd.

Friday, 21 October 2016

L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil Cream

I have a lot of beauty products, boxes of them. Moisturisers for every day of the week. How did I end up on my recent travels with a moisturiser deficit? I had my Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturiser which is all well and dandy but not enough for a hot and dry climate. I didn't have a good night cream on me. ROOKIE ERROR!

With every cloud comes a silver lining in the form of a shopping opportunity. I rocked up at Bangalore airport ready to buy some luxe moisturiser. Hmmmm, not all duty-free shops are created equal. I've been spoiled by Heathrow's shopping. Bangalore has a new airport and it has a lot of shops but weirdly it's all about perfume. It only had L'Oreal moisturisers and so I picked up this Extraordinary Oil Cream. You can see from my link it costs £10 in the UK. Yeah, I had to pay way more than that. I am blanking on how much because it was quite traumatising. Needs must and all that. You don't go to the desert of Oman with a light moisturiser.

The good news is I love it. It has a gorgeous velvety texture, it smells really nice, it glides on and makes you glow with good moisturising health without being sticky. It's a winner folks! I am continuing to use it at home which is a sign of how much I rate it. If you're looking for a good budget night cream (don't go to Bangalore to get it) then this is perfect. It's not marketed as a night cream but that's what I used it for.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder

I am typing this with a mouthful of humble pie. I've always found VB annoying and fairly mediocre. And I've been vocal in my opinion of her. However, as I get older and more Yoda-like, I find myself uncomfortable with being mean about women I've never met. Who I am to criticise VB, Charlotte Tilbury, Nicole Kidman (and many, many more I've vilified over the years)? I am not yet ready to be 100% kind about Kim Kardashian but I will hold my tongue more. We don't know the struggles these multi-millionaires go through every day, do we?! Sisterhood and all that.

I was intrigued by this collection. I much prefer VB as a fashion designer than a pop star and I am fully bought into the notion that she might know a thing or two about make-up. It took me a while to get my hands on this because it's not at all Estee Lauder counters. My flight back from Dubai this week provided me with the opportunity to check it out. What could be more perfect than shopping high-end make-up at Dubai airport? They had it all out to play with and nobody was hovering around me trying to help me. I also wasn't encumbered by TeenBoy (whose patience on such matters is not extensive) since he was buying smoked almonds (yum!)

There I was in my element playing with it all on the back of my hand. It is with regret that I have to report it's really bloody nice. I could have happily bought more than one thing except it's not cheap. It's Tom Ford prices and having just spent a small fortune on our holiday, I felt obliged to rein it in.

I purchased an eye foil in Burnt Anise. It has a lip gloss type applicator and it's all shiny (even after it dries). The texture is perfection. I must say it's not the easiest to master and just swiping it on from the applicator causes one to look like a clown. I use a brush to draw a line on and then smudge gently. I could do with more tips on how to work with it to be honest but I love the idea of it and am pleased I got it.

Today I explored the collection more in Selfridges and I can confirm I really badly want this.

The Modern Mercury highlighter. I've never been one for highlighters but this is good. Easy to apply without overdoing it and very subtle. Damn. It also seems to be sold out online and now I wish I'd got it in Dubai when it was all cheaper too. The eye foil is £40 and I got it for £30.

The lipsticks are lovely too - both very wearable colours. The eye metals (eyeshadows) are gorgeous. The Morning Aura illuminating cream is very silky and covetable but expensive for something I'd canter through.

I imagine VB in one of her many mansions with this whole collection at her dressing table and I seethe with envy. That's how nice it all is. My show of envy is to prove I've not gone totally soft. Fair play VB.


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