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...


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