Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hervana blush by Benefit

This is really cute. I came across this blusher by Benefit earlier this year in John Lewis. You swirl your brush around and around and apply to the apples for a beautiful rosy flush that also works well with any bronzer you may have going on at the same time.

Hervana blusher gives a matte finish, for a magpie girl like me who is obsessed with shimmer (especially in blusher) it was a tough call to take the plunge but I'm glad that this is now a part of my makeup bag.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Garnier Body Intensive 7 Days Body Lotion: Mango

Summer's here! And it's time for me to find ways to make every morning feel like a day at the beach lies ahead, even if I'm heading to the office.

Garnier have a new body lotion on the market in a range of 5 fragrances. The promise is this gives your skin an intensive hit of moisture for 7 days, the small print is you must apply this twice a day for four weeks before you can really benefit from the magic '7 days.'

Thanks Garnier, I mean, seriously? Do you expect us all to be so disciplined that we would apply body lotion twice a day, every day for 4 weeks? I don't know about you but I just don't have the time for such a rigorous, twice daily, full body moisturising regime. I imagine if I did this, by body would be so saturated with product I would need a week to get it out of my system. I understand they are after a level of loyalty from their customers but in my opinion it's a bit of an ask.

I'm not saying this is a bad product, in fact it's quite the opposite. I have chosen their mango offering as I value the fatty acid content that this could bring. On first application post morning shower I found the consistency very light but really nourishing as it sunk into my skin within a few short minutes. It smells great too (mango just yells summertime) and half way through the day my whole body still feels plumped and well hydrated. I have fairly dry skin and don't foresee the need to apply more later in the day but I see this as a good thing...

I'm definately going to bump this into my summer rotaion of lotions as I think it's a little cracker. I was also really surprised at the cost too as prices start at £3.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Crussh Fat Burner Smoothie

This is my second Fat Burner smoothie of the week.

I instantly recoil from anything that promises to burn fat as I think its usually a bit faddy but in this fresh wind of summer weather I was drawn to the content of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, banana, apple juice *pauses for breath* probiotic yogurt and a 'fat burner booster' (a little shot of something extra with natural supplements to help metabolise fats and convert them into energy including guarana, green tea and inositol).

I just had to Google inositol as I have no idea, I think it's an 'unnoffical' member of the vitamin B family. Not too sure how effective this is going to be but I'm sure its doing me no harm.

Anyway, science aside, this is an absolute fruit fest, tastes great and is an excellent energy booster for super active people like me (I'm in marathon training!).

One word or warning is to keep a small bottle of water handy to swill around your mouth after use as it is riddled with berry pips!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Chin chin!

Not sure whether it's because the Diamond Jubilee weekend is just a couple of corners away, or whether it's a Sunday and I have no hangover. I don't think it really matters because I have decided that today, for no good reason, it's a day to crack open the prosecco and sip the bubbles from my favourite Babycham glass.

After a dull day in Asda (stocking up on prosecco) this makes me feel like Joan Collins.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

BaByliss Thermo Ceramic Rollers

Like a lot of girls out there, I have a bit of an obsession with Kate Middleton and her beautiful, glossy, thoroughbred mane. Over the last 18 months I have seen my hairstyle choices migrate from poker straight right angles to the root boosted, bouncy look I'm currently sporting today. So it's out with the straighteners and in with the wide barrelled tongs and heated rollers.

BaByliss seems to have become the official styling partner for all of my Middleton-esque needs, due to their affordability, easy access from most Boots stores and excellent reviews online I now have around five different styling appliances. This post is an homage to the Thermo Ceramic heated rollers.

As a novice to heated rollers I found them an excellent companion; they are very easy to use and I can usually wrap up all of my (long, thick, unruly) hair within 10 minutes. For this picture I simply blow-dried my hair (head upside-down for maximum volume) before applying and left in for just 20 minutes. 

I usually need a LOT of hairspray to set the curls in place for any length of time but this is mainly due to the thickness and weight of my hair, however the excitement I get when unwinding the rollers to find glamorous, unsinged, naturally bouncy waves is akin to finding all you ever wanted for Christmas at the bottom of your tree.


Saturday, 12 May 2012

Beautiful Lavender

Inspired by a feature on Serna Linley in the June issue of Tatler I have been driven to distraction by the idea of lavender:

"My home smells of lavender; we grow masses of the stuff in France, so it's everywhere - under our pillows, in the bath, on the fire... You can even flavour ice-cream with it."

As a young girl, my sister and I would be packed off to our grandparents to spend the summer holidays, both gardens boasting huge lavender hedges which I adored. I loved the way the bright flowers would attract bees and would be so happy to sit by them reading my books. My first ever fragrance was a sprig of lavender rubbed on my wrists and behind my ears, so throughout my life this scent holds a very powerful nostalgic attachment.

Recently I have been frustrated by the musty, vintage smell on clothes and scarves that have been packed away in my wardrobe and not aired for more than a few weeks and was distraught to find my cashmere cardigan has been nibbled at my moths. So this afternoon I have decided to take action.

While I don't have a field in Provence handy, I do have ample window box and balcony space in my little Wapping flat, so it's goodbye useless geraniums and hello lovely lavender. I'm planning to harvest bunches of it to fragrance my wardrobe and knicker draw, sprinkle some in my bath and generally marvel at the wonderful colours.

Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream

Even for me, a dry skinned lady, I find the consistency of Benefit's Total Moisture Facial Cream very thick. Too thick for during the day but as a night cream, Benefit really gives results

Last summer I got chatting to one of the ladies on the Benefit counter in Selfridges just as the range was being launched. She kindly gave a me quick demo of some of the key products (including this one) which was great to try out before making any purchase decisions. I ended up buying everything she tested on me, especially this cream as it was the last one in stock.

What is great about this cream is that even though it provides amazing moisture, it is also very gentle and contains no anti-aging ingredients which makes it suitable for young skin. 

I alternate night creams throughout the week; at the moment it's Benefit about twice a week and Simple every other night. I do this because I find the plumped up effect this cream provides the morning after diminishes a little if used every day, if used the night before a party or big day, this cream really lays the foundations of a well nourished, hydrated complexion.

Sanctuary Spa Therapist's Secret Facial Oil

I stock up on this facial oil so much (Sanctuary products are often 3for2 at Boots stores) that I forget how many bottles I actually have. While rooting through some boxes in my bedroom cabinet this morning I found 2 unopened bottles I had no idea were there. Bonus!

I was initially drawn to this oil by the scent when applied to the back of my hand in the shop. It's very rich and bares that signature fragrance that Sanctuary products are known for.

It's part of their youth boosting range and aims to offer super-charged plumping effect. I apply it after cleansing and often use in tandem with a moisturiser. What I like about this product the most is the way it shines through my makeup which leaves highlighting brands redundant. It locks in moisture throughout the day and works well to prevent my foundation from caking and exposing expression lines. It is also gentle enough to apply around the eye area which is great because crows feet are instantly diminished. It really does feel like I'm having a facial at home and I love it. It is very easy however to use up a bottle in just a couple of weeks so I have had to ration the amount I use but this is a great facial oil; I've been using it regularly for just over a year and have noticed long term effects in better levels of skin hydration and a more evened tone.

Tiger Balm; a busy girl's best friend

The smell of Tiger Balm always reminds me of airports. As a nervous flyer, a dab of balm on my temples calms me down better than anything else I've tried, including alcohol so it's always by my side prior to take off.

I've had tiger balm in my makeup bag for longer than I can remember. A plucky little devil when combatting headaches and stress, a great decongestant and super on stressed muscles. I do a lot of running outdoors which often means very sore legs so when applied to tired areas it really helps with my movement and the scent is much more discrete than Deep Heat.

Today it is earning its keep by freezing out my post prosecco headache. Ahhhh...

First Aid Beauty: Gentle Body Wash

This morning's Saturday morning shower is accompanied by a cute body wash by First Aid Beauty. I received this reduced size from Glossybox a couple of months ago and thought I would give it a try today.

The design of this bottle screams gentle, sensitive, good for you, fragrance free, safe, etc etc. To be honest I rarely get excited about a shower experience that promises nothing in the lines of intoxicating herbal vapors, I don't think something like this would compel me to make a purchase, in fact the only interesting thing about this body wash is the retro design and of course the words "antioxidant booster."

This is however, a very capable and hydrating cleanser and for those with sensitive skin it is most definitely a product that is worthy of a place on your bathroom shelf. The consistency this much like a facial cleanser, a pale cream that doesn't lather up but glides onto the skin effortlessly. There was absolutely no irritation to the skin on my legs while shaving either, plus it hydrated my skin enough to skip lotion after.

I will be using the rest of my bottle for post-gym showers as I think my skin will appreciate this most when it has been overworked and stressed with perspiration.

Orange and Carrot Juice

This morning I'm kicking off the weekend (and banishing my hangover) with some super juice from M&S.

If consumed regularly, carrot juice will enrich your system with glorious Vitamin A and it's great for your skin.

Personally I think the best places to get hold of carrot juice are those that can make it fresh, on-site like Pret or Crussh but this little bottle of Orange and Carrot will do me just fine- AND this will give me 2 of my highly coveted 5 a day. Being healthy is easy peasy.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Rituals: Foaming Shower Gel

It's with a heavy heart I retire this can of shower gel by Rituals to the recycle bin today after squeezing the last bit of life out of it this morning*sniff, sniff.* 

Just imagine for a minute your bathroom steaming up nicely in the warmth of your hot shower, well adding a small amount to the palm of your shower gloves before rubbing your hands together to lather up creates the most invigorating sensation. 

The gel puffs up instantly like shave foam and the heady scent of rosemary and eucalyptus transported me back to the heavenly steam rooms at the Thermae Bath Spa, even after you're done the scent lingers on in your bathroom for hours.

Other than the unique, spa-like smell I find it an all round good shower gel; the foam retains itself very well and you only really need an amount the size of a 10p piece to cleanse your whole body, so this 200ml can goes a long way, also a good companion for shaving.  

My Current Skincare Favourites

Bank holiday spring clean of the bathroom; if a product makes it to my bathroom shelf you know you have made it! 

Accessorize Blusher: Sensation

Just a very quick post to throw a little appreciation in the way of Accessorize for their excellent range in blusher. I absolutely love a good pink blush; on pale skin like mine I find a flash of rose across the apples of my cheeks livens up my whole face.

The one I have pictured is called Sensation, it's a very soft, water colour shade with a faint lacing of gold shimmer which provides a great highlighting effect (perhaps steer clear if you're a matte girl).

This was an impulse buy to start with, to be honest I didn't really hold very much faith that a company specializing in bags and accessories would produce good quality cosmetics but this blusher really packs a punch, the simplicity of this product has made it my current every day favourite. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hangover Battles

Oh, that terrible feeling when you finally open your eyes with vague memories of getting home and a realization that you have the hangover the size of Kent and it needs dealing with immediately. That was (or perhaps, still is) me today.

So, it was a friend's housewarming party in Bethnal Green, I drank prosecco before leaving the house (makes getting ready sooo much more fun) and then progressed onto pear cider- until 5:30am when my boyfriend and I finally called time and left for home.

Raging hangovers can often be a great opportunity to take the time throughout the day to really relax, detox and recharge making you ready and energised for the week ahead.

First things first; for you to battle your hangover effectively it is very important that you anticipate it's actually going to happen; before you leave for a party or night out with friends plan ahead; have a large bottle of water, ibuprofen, cleanser and tiger balm by your bed so that the minute you wake up you can re-hydrate, remove all traces of makeup and blast that headache before the moaning and wailing begins. Rub some tiger balm on your temples and inhale the relaxing vapors for a super soothing, natural remedy.

Then it's all about flushing out the toxins and putting some moisture back into your system so I try to avoid caffeine and go for antioxidant rich redbush tea instead and aim for about 2-3 liters of water.

Next up is beetroot, raw, peeled and chopped. Beetroot is actually a highly effective hangover aid as its jam packed with beta cyanin- this is important because it speeds up the detoxification process in your liver, so its basically like giving your toxins from the night before an express ticket out of your system in super fast time. You only need to munch on something the size of a small apple too so it's quick and easy.

Make sure you keep hold of the redbush tea bags after use; soak them in some icy cold water (as pictured) and rest them over your eyes (like you would do with cucumber slices) for about 5 minutes and get an instant brightening effect. I've been doing this for years and I am yet to find an eye gel that does a better job.

Today I have done all the above and while I am still cursing pear cider and making no sudden movements, I am feeling much more relaxed and fresher than if I was to just reach for the leftover pizza and after a good nights sleep I know I'll be full of life and productivity tomorrow morning.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Simple Skincare by Simple

A work colleague of mine were having a natter the other day while having a cheeky cigarette (sshhh, please don't tell anyone!) and talk progressed (as usual) to beauty regimes.

Her mother had a bit of a nip and tuck a few months ago and when she consulted the advice of her top Harley Street skin specialist he replied with a simple recommendation; Simple!

That alone to me was valuable information; what a scoop! I thought to myself. You may already know from comments in previous posts that while I've never had problem skin I do find at times I suffer from season changing break outs and tend to opt for industrial strength cleansers to keep spots at bay so I've dismissed Simple as I thought their products wouldn't be strong enough to take me on.

Well, my work friend's mother has been waxing lyrical about these £3 bottles of cleansers and moisturisers and so naturally I caved and hot footed it down to my local chemist to stock up. I've plumped for a regenerating cleanser and a night cream; applied last night I found the cleanser removed all of my makeup (including heavy mascara) and city grime without any fuss, so no need for muslin cloths or eye makeup remover gel. The night cream felt comforting and soothing which was a lovely feeling just before bedtime, woke up with smooth, plump skin. Not sure if this is a fluke so I've decided to exclusively use Simple products for a whole month to really se if it can punch their weight with the big boys.

Needless to say any beauty trial I undertake makes me giddy with glee!

Will of course give a full review when I'm done.

BB Cream: Miracle Skin Perfector

I'm a bit late to the BB Balm party but yesterday evening I finally got around to adding Garnier's Skin Perfector to my makeup bag. I'm someone who needs a fair bit of coverage on my face (the perils of pale, Celtic skin) so I'm using this under my normal foundation as a primer.

I've only used a small amount as I don't want to clog my face with too much product and I am pleased to report that I'm very impressed!

I can see a natural, fresh sheen to my complexion and tone has evened out nicely without the need of concealer. It also skims over my expression lines effortlessly.

For £7:50, this product is a no-brainer for me and as only a small amount was needed I can see this lasting quite a while.

Thank you Garnier!

Diamond Jubilee Fever

I've been enjoying Tatler's Diamond Jubilee June edition so much today I have selected the most regal piece of jewellery I could find for a party tonight.

They're really heavy (and bloody hurt!) but what the hell? For costume sparkle I always like to type in the most elaborate phrase in eBay followed by "Jewellery" and fantastic results come up. I found these a few months ago and paid less than £5!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Belle du Soir fragrance by Le Labo

I have always been a fan of heavy woodiness in fragrances. The soundtrack to my misspent youth has been peppered with the scents of Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir and in more recent years Tom Ford's Black Orchid.

When it comes to skincare and makeup I'm an absolute brand hopping hussy but with fragrance I'm fairly loyal, a lesson learned from my grandmother who was quite the glamourous head turner in the 50's. A fragrance is your signature; it clings to your clothes and decorates the air around you, it's an invisible piece of fine jewellery so for me, a fragrance choice should be carefully made and consistent.

On a recent visit to the Anthropologie store in west London I met a bottle of Belle du Soir and found my values fall like a pack of cards.

Belle du Soir is a musky and rich scent of neroli, water lily and gardenia placed on a background of sandalwood and patchouli.

I love the way it is presented in an amber coloured bottle, inspired by vintage pharmacy vials (60ml) while tin boxes containing solid fragrances are designed like measuring weights from the last century (5g).

I purchased a bottle, doused myself immediately and fell in love. Check out Anthropology stores for opportunities to find out for yourself!

Tatler's Diamond Jubilee June Collector's Edition

Yes, yes, yes, this summer the City of London is awash with anticipation of Olympic dreams, but for me the real event of 2012 will be our dear Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This weekend I will be diving into this month's issue of Tatler and paying specific attention to their on-theme beauty pages, including a feature on the Royal Warrant Holders who are responsible for keeping the Queen looking fabulous. Now, I have no idea what a Royal Warrant Holder is but I'm guessing I'll want one for myself by the time I have read this month's issue from cover to cover.

Ciate's Caviar Manicure now in Stock!

I'm so very excited about the new (or rather, ONLY) way to adorn your nails in 2012. 

Put your pots of crackly nail effects to one side and make room on your dressing table for Ciate's Caviar Pearls. Next week they will be launching their products in Selfridges and I simply cannot wait, actually considering camping outside the Oxford Street store  and causing a frenzy that would rival the latest iPad launch at the Apple shop. 

For those who simply cannot wait visit to order yours now. The black and multi coloured pots are £18 back in stock!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Fig and Rouge Balm

Well, hello you. So you're Fig and Rouge Balm? Very pleased to meet you, I'm Dorothy.

I have discovered this new balm for the first time today and it has become a bit of a gem in my makeup bag already. Yes, I know it has only been a day but I'm fickle and an utter sucker for a good balm.

I love the creamy texture and the unmistakably fresh feeling of tea tree and peppermint, it's going to be a great summertime companion.

Crussh Super Juice

Crussh is a great resource to have in London, with around 20 outlets in the city I'm hard pressed to walk past one without popping in for freshly made juices or smoothies.

In this post I'm going to talk about their Super Juice which offers 100% organic carrot, spinach, beetroot and cucumber. They themselves warn newcomers its not for the faint hearted and they'd be right if you're expecting the usual mix of sweetly crafted berries but in all honesty, I find their Super Juice has a very mild taste. Fans of carrot juice will see the appeal instantly as it is the dominant ingredient do it bypasses any of the bitterness that spinach or beetroot can bring.

If you do have the stomach for it you'll be rewarded with a very comprehensive injection of vegetable goodness, it's also very low in sugars and with a calorie count of 136 per 100g it's a fantastic, guilt free way to add some nutrients into your diet.