Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas haul

Is there anything nicer than a Christmas full of cosmetic, bathroom wonder? Obviously my answer would be no.

So seeing as my friends and family know me very well, I had an excellent result in the pampering department this Christmas.

Firstly Retro Lush. If, like me, you miss all the stuff Lush used to do so well before it descended into pink fluffiness, then Retro Lush is for you. I made a list because Lush you don't like is worse than any other brand you don't like.

And I got a massive bottle of Flying Saucers - the best bubble bath ever. And one called Smaragadine which smells very green and fresh. I used some last night. I also got some Absolute Delights - the best ballistic Lush ever made - pure rose gorgeousness. Some Silent Whites, the second best ballistic they ever made which covers the water in fluffy white snowfall. And some Hollywood bubble bath slices which are also divine. All these things have in common is no bits of leaf and flower petals and no glitter. Just beautifully scented bathing magic.

In other news, I got some Guerlain perfume from the mister. He was directed to Guerlain and did very well considering I gave him no further instructions. He even took a photo of the perfume I currently have from Guerlain. However, he was palmed off with their newest scent - Idyll. It's nice but I do believe Guerlain's older scents are far superior to anything new they can do so I shall be swapping it. Not sure what for yet.

My friend got me a very nice bath oil. I've not had time to try it yet but it smells lovely and subtle and I can tell I am going to like it.

And I got a Kiehls pack from my sister which had their lipbalm - one of the best in the business, some of their body cream (ditto), a moisturiser which is fab as I use it and this is travel sized and some life-changing handcream which has managed to transform my hands from shrivelled dry sad things to soft and pretty!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A love affair with Guerlain

I thought it would just stop at the perfume. But no. No, they had to give me a sample of one of their moisturisers when I bought Nahema. And of course, it's fantastic. It smells of roses.

Super Aqua day cream. It sinks in and is so perfect for this time of year. My skin has not been looking great as the central heating just sucks all moisture out of it. I went Christmas shopping yesterday. First rule of Christmas shopping - buy something for yourself. So I did. I am not going to tell you how much it was.

It's divine. I don't care. I'm worth it, right?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Nahema perfume

A similarly perfume obsessed friend told me she wanted to try this. It's described as the perfect rose scent and so when I read about it, I also had to try it. And my word, it is rose in a bottle but so much more complex than that. It's just heavenly divine. Perfumes - The Guide, describes it thus:
Nahema is without equal among perfumery roses, and so awe inspiring that nobody even tries.

It's my new favourite and check out the bottle! Bling-tastic!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Follow-up

The nail polish arrived. I did my nails in Midnight Cami today and it's perfect. Shimmery dark blue. I love it. Quite tricky to apply because it's so dark and mistakes stand out but I won through.

And the Kiehls peely thing? Am LOVING it. 10 years younger? No. But glowing? Yes, I'd say so. It's a keeper. And it's so low maintenance. No scrubbing and effort required. Put it on, go to sleep, wake up looking better. Marvellous.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Winter nail polish

I know I'm obsessed with nail polish. I make no excuses for it. I think painted nails look better than non-painted nails. I try not to buy nail polish as I get my nails done weekly at work by a lovely person who comes in - link on the right of my blog.

But this week, I decided I needed some. I bought two bottles online. Both Essie. The best nail polish in my - much researched - opinion. I got Damsel in a Dress which I know I love as I have had my nails done in it a few times. It's a beautiful purple without being obviously purple rain. It's quite deep and looks delicious in the winter.

The other one is called Midnight Cami. Described as a twilight blue on the site. It's not though because twilight blue is surely quite pale? Being as it's not dark yet. And this is very dark. So that's stupid isn't it? Or am I reading too much into it?

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Follow-up post about the Dermalogica sun cream

Before I went to France, I blogged about the Dermalogica sun cream. I've just realised I never reported back and I promised Foreigner I would. Foreigner lives in a hot climate all year round. Yeah, I'm jealous too.

Anyway, I loved it. It's not greasy at all and it worked a treat. The first week was really hot and not so much as a red nose for me. I highly recommend it.

Kiehl's Overnight Biological Peel

Last week I was reading the beauty pages of something. I couldn't tell you what as I read dozens of magazines, newspapers and supplements. Anyway, they were talking about salon treatments you could buy and do yourself at home. One that caught my eye was this little baby - Kiehl's Overnight Biological Peel. It gave it a rave review and said it was totally safe.

Is it just me that is a little freaked out by the word 'peel' in beauty? It makes it sound like your skin will literally peel off and you'll be left with sore, red patches. Like when Bill is in full sun trying to rescue Sookie in True Blood. Only maybe not that bad.

But I've always had time for Kiehl's and I figured it's been ages since I bought anything new to try. So I hot-footed it to the Kiehl's counter in House of Fraser, Westfield, where a very nice man demoed it. I was impressed as I couldn't remember anything about the product when I asked about it. I said, "I read about it last week, it makes you look 10 years younger overnight, do you have it?" And he knew immediately what I meant.

You put it on in place of your moisturiser before you go to bed. And you wake up 10 years younger. To be fair, he did say that was unlikely.

I put it on last night. You don't need much which is good news as it's expensive - £38.17 to be exact. Although of course much cheaper in the US. I woke up this morning, rushed to the mirror and...

Ummmmmm. Not 10 years younger but definitely smoother of skin and brighter of complexion. Which has nothing to do with my 9 hours sleep I had. Oh no. It's all down to this!

You mustn't use it more than three times a week. I'll report back in a few weeks an let you know if I think it's worth the expenditure.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The nights are drawing in...

I quite like this time of year. I know the getting dark at 4pm is fairly grim but let's look on the bright side, you can get away with shaving your legs once a week or less. You don't have to have pedicured toes all the time (although I do because it makes me feel less depressed about winter).

And you can have more baths. At this time of year I crave comforting scents and I am currently loving good old Dove bubble bath. It smells like Granny should smell and I like it. And it's cheap too which is a bonus.

Lush has also come up with some lovely A/W ballistics. They call it the Christmas range but I prefer my title. I've had a So White and it was gorgeous. It creates a snowy froth on the top of your bath. And I have a Cinders ready to use but am put off by reports that it stains the bath. Cleaning the bath after you've got out of it is no fun.

And I am loving Moringa bubble bath by The Body Shop. It's a pretty floral and nice for when you've had a tough day at work and just want to feel girlie.

Talking of The Body Shop, they've totally copied Lush and have a Retro thing going on. They've brought back some old favourites! I bought some of the Passionfruit Cleanser because I used to love it. I can report it still smells exactly the same and is a very good cleanser. Only £3.99. Bargain. They also have the banana shampoo which I also used to love. Find out more here.

Friday, 2 October 2009

The last day of summer

Back from France and been a bit busy and had no time to update the blog.

Terminal 5, Heathrow. Mecca. I bought some holiday perfume. Always nice to have a perfume new for holidays so that when you wear it you are reminded of happy days. As you know, I didn't really need a perfume but that's never stopped me. But guilt crept in as I really do have LOTS of perfume. I compromised and bought a perfume that only cost £17. A Guerlain one at that. Who'd have thunk?

I got one from the Aqua Allegoria range - very light and summery and in the most beautiful bottles. It's all sparkly and orange and it was perfect for the south of France. However now I am back in Autumnal London, I think it's going to have to have a rest as I want spicy warmth now.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Current loves

A little round up of what I am currently loving or lusting after.

I blogged about Mario Badescu summer shine lotion the other week. I would like to report that I love this stuff and can't wait to use it in proper sunshine. It smells lovely and it's so subtle.

Serge Lutens perfume. I am in love. Gorgeous, beautiful, sexy perfume. They pretty much all smell gorgeous. I've not bought any but my lovely friend gave me three samples and I am enjoying them a lot.

I can't get enough of the blu my mind OPI nail varnish. It's such a deep fantastic blue. Like the Mediterranean on a perfect summer's day. The best toe colour you can wear in the summer.

Urban Decay eyeliners. I am getting quite a collection now. With the Urban decay primer, these are just fantastic and they stay on all day long. No smudging, nothing. Worth every penny - they are about £11 which is great value. My latest purchase is 1999 - a lovely soft grapey purple.

I said in my last post that I was on the look out for my sun protection. The wonders of having a blog. Another lovely friend read it and gave me a full bottle of Piz Buin 1 Day Long lotion, factor 30, you only need to apply it once a day. She's just come back from Greece and said not a red mark on her. So job done there.

The Olay Aqua Physics night cream is also impressing me. Very nice consistency and no greasiness. I can recommend it.

Lest you think I spend stupid amounts on everything, I am really liking Superdrug's Coconut and Shea butter bubble bath. Lots of bubbles and a nice coconutty scent. You have to like your coconut but really, how could you not?

And finally, I had my eyelashes tinted yesterday for the first time in years. What a result. Maybe I will give up on my quest to find the perfect mascara and go for this from now on!

Friday, 21 August 2009

The St Tropez holiday shop

Alright, let's get one thing straight first. I am not actually going to St Tropez but I will be near it and I plan to visit it and it sounds so delightfully decadent and cool.

I started my toiletries shop early because I am excited and it's fun. I might need extra baggage allowance for my toiletries alone. I placed an order with hqhair. A dangerous site if you have a weakness for fab products.

I ordered Dermalogica super sensitive sun block. Anyone who doesn't put sun block on their face in the south of France is insane and asking for wrinkles. I've not used this before but now I am pushing 40, I think I need something a little more serious than No7.

I also got Mario Badescu summer shine lotion. This looks cheap compared to the Dermalogica products! It's just arrived and I can report that it smells delicious. I can only describe it as smelling of summer. And it's very subtle - no OTT glitter. I think this is going to be a winner. I firmly believe everyone's legs need a little help in the shimmer department.

And I got two Korres shower gels. Basil & Lime and Fig. Yummy. If you've not tried these, they are great and are very good value I think.

So that was my HQ shop. I also zipped into Selfridges yesterday and got waylaid by the nail varnish. Because, you know, I don't have enough of that. I bought Blue My Mind by OPI and a little packet of 4 in mini sizes - one is called flamingo pink and so clearly I had to have that. My toes will be deep blue on holiday.

I have stocked up on the VO5 shampoo and conditioner that I recommended earlier this week. 2 for 1 at Boots.

And I popped into Superdrug and got some Jergen body lotion. And they had a special offer on the Olay products - the one that odious Fiona Phillips is advertising. I got the aqua physics night cream. I think this wins as the stupidest name for skincare ever. Anyway, it was only £4.95 so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

So that's what I have bought so far. Don't have the body sun protection yet - am still scouting the options. What do you mean just buy Nivea? Where's the fun in that?

I have also booked in a range of treatments before I hit France. I swear it's expensive looking as fabulous as me. I shall post more about them soon.

Monday, 17 August 2009

A new (and cheap) product that I am loving

I bought a new shampoo and conditioner at the weekend. VO5 colour protect I believe it is called. From Boots. It's fantastic. It works really well, smells lovely and I swear my hair looks shinier and glossier thanks to it.

So this is a very small post to say I highly recommend it.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Penhaligon's Bluebell review

As promised, here is the first of my reviews from my Penhaligon's taster set. Bluebell. This used to be Kate Moss's favourite before she started making her own of course. I fear she may have had to give up a bit of a classic to advertise her own stink. It's tough being a supermodel I know.

Anyway, I just had a bath and put a little bit of this on. I am familiar with this scent as I bought a bottle for my sister a few years ago. I like it. It's earthy, yet green and redolent of bluebell woods. Or is it? Am I just seduced by the name? Has ever there been a lovelier name for a perfume than Bluebell. Who doesn't love bluebells?

The Penhaligon's website says it's the most British of their scents. I like it but I am not sure I would want a whole bottle of it. It doesn't seem to be a stayer. It's light and easy to wear and would be great as a holiday perfume.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Birthday beauty haul

It was my birthday two weeks ago. It was hard to miss if you are vaguely acquainted with me. I like to announce my birthday and give everyone plenty of notice to go shopping. I did very well on the beauty haul this year. My lovely sister knows me so well. She got me a tub of Molton Brown bath soak. Which is really very yummy. It turns the water a beautiful blue and it has a subtle, clean scent. I just had a bath with it and feel very relaxed. Which it promised me. And it looks pretty in the bathroom.

She also got me Ren Rose body scrub. Oh me, oh my. Regular readers will know my love of the rose scent. I've not used it yet but I cannot wait to break into it this weekend in the shower.

And she got me (I know, I am lucky) some blue nail varnish. Now how could she have thought I wanted that? Hmmmmmm. Essie, Mesmerize which is a very pretty denim blue. My toes are twinkling in it.

So special thank you to the best sister a girl could have. Another very sweet friend got me a Penhaligons taster set. It comes in a dinky tin and has several scents in it - like a cool chemistry set.

So I am delighted to report that I shall be smelling fabulous over the next few months.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

A scrub that smells so good, you want it to be a perfume

I got a small pot of a scrub from Bliss in my Christmas stocking. At this time of year, I always try and use up things and this morning I decided to use up what I had left of this. Sundays are for full on body scrubbing action and my skin was feeling very dull.

Anyway, this really is a lovely scrub. The grains are just the right consistency - fine but not too fine. And it smells heavenly. I wasn't expecting it to smell so nice after it had all rinsed off but I am sitting here sniffing my arm and realising I smell fabulous! And I am smooth as a shiny conker!

The scent is vanilla and bergamot. I usually am not a fan of vanilla but the bergamot stops it being sickly.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Lipstick - the holy grail

I don't wear lipstick. Not because I don't like it but because I find it becomes a mess very easily. It doesn't stay put, you leave lipstick marks on coffee cups. This may provide inspiration for great Take That songs but it's annoying in real life.

Every now and then I buy a lipstick and then remember why I don't wear them. Today I was in Boots browsing the make up and was buttonholed by an OFL*. She told me all about the new Revlon colourstay lipsticks. I had read about these and thought they sounded worthy of investigation. The usual promise - this lipstick lasts all day. So she let me test some and I must say, it glided on beautifully. And they had a £2 off offer on and I am a soft touch. So I bought one in 'nude'. I got home after a hard few hours' shopping and can confirm the lipstick was still there. It did feel a tad drying though. Is there anything worse than scuffy lips? Urgh. It didn't give me scuffy lips but I felt it could be in danger of doing so in the winter.

I shall report back on how I get on with it. I also looked hard for Opi nail varnish but no joy. Apart from Selfridges, where else sells it? Not online, a real shop. Anyone?

*OFL = Orange Faced Lady

Friday, 10 July 2009

Nail varnish

Continuing my summer theme. It's important to have sunny colours for this time of year. Deep reds have no place on summer feet (or hands).

Here are my top colours for the sunshine.

Jam n Jelly - Essie - gorgeous bright pink. This is a funky, slightly shimmery pink. I am wearing it on my hands at the moment.

Clam Bake
- Essie - I can't wear corals but if you can, this is gorgeous. Perfect on tanned feet.

Footloose - Essie - named after a classic Summer film, how can it not deliver? A perfect purple.

Blue nail varnish can look fabulous on toes. I think this only works if you have tanned feet or you run the risk of looking dead. Opi do a great blue. Add a bikini and a cocktail and you're laughing.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Summer scents

Having discussed coping in the summer, I think it's only right to talk about summer perfume a little bit more. So, in no order of preference, here are some I love.

Mitsouko - Guerlain.
Some would disagree that this is summery but I think it is a very 'green' scent and find it strangely refreshing. It's not a typical refreshing scent but I am not wild about light and airy fragrances which disappear in about 10 mins. This is a grown up, sexy yet subdued, beautiful perfume.

Lime, Basil and Mandarin - Jo Malone
No list would be complete without this. I used to love this very much but in the last year or so I've gone off it rapidly. I can't explain why. Maybe I am just over familiar with it. There is no denying that it's summer in a bottle though. Very zesty but with something to make it a little more interesting.

Grapefruit - Jo Malone
I love this. I understand grapefruit is a difficult scent to reproduce and that it never lasts. It's true this doesn't last long but layer it with Jo Malone Red Roses and it's heavenly. I know that sounds like a weird combination but trust me, it works. I use this combination when I need waking up in the morning before I head off to work.

Colonia - Acqua di Palma
I don't own this (let's face it, I have enough perfume) but it is divine. A classic. If you don't know it, you should. Italy in a bottle.

Eau Dynamisante - Clarins
Another classic. I love this and always turn to it like an old friend. Another one that doesn't last long but I love it after a cool bath at the end of the day. Gorgeous.

Laughter - SpaceNK
I have a friend who wears this and it smells wonderful on her. I got a free bottle of this about 6 months ago. It smells horrible on me. All screechy and shrill. Awful. But if it suits you, it's lovely. I guess I should give her my bottle...

Tell me what you wear in the summer.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Coping in the Summer

Ahhhhh summer days. Wimbledon, long cold drinks, ice creams on the terrace, lounging on the beach, Jazzy Jeff...

Love it. I do love summer and I don't mind being hot since it only ever lasts for about a week if we are lucky. However, when you live in the city and have to dress smartly for work, summer can be a challenge. One always strives to look fabulous and hot days can be a menace.

Here are some of my current tips for surviving summer looking cool as a cucumber.

1) Get comfy shoes. I am all for suffering for fashion but not when it comes to my feet. My feet swell at the mere whiff of sunshine and heels are an impossibility for me. Fortunately I have dozens of pairs of shoes that live at work. So give your feet a treat, wear flat comfy shoes to get to work and then slip into the elegant ones when you get there. While you're at it, invest in some cooling foot spray for your desk drawer too. Your colleagues will thank you.

2) Ditch the tights. Come on, let's be honest, tights and heat are a nightmare combination. Invest in a decent razor and fake tan and get your legs out for the summer. My current fake tan is St Tropez - the gradual tanner that you apply daily. It's the best I've found and a million times better than Holiday Skin which, I think, stinks. It's £12 from Boots but it lasts ages.

3) Get a pedicure. And repeat. Get your feet out for the summer but please do make them presentable first. Get a decent pedicure where they will tend all of your foot, not just the toes. It will leave you walking on air. And put some decent colour on the toes. No pinky frost! I have a gorgeous metallic purple on mine at the moment and they were freshly done today. *wiggles toes* And don't think you only need one pedicure to last you the whole summer.

4) If you've not yet realised primers are the best thing ever, now is your final chance. My Urban Decay eye primer is doing sterling work for me at the moment. Eyeliner stays in place all day. No running, no smudging. It's a miracle. Also, a primer for your face is fab too - it really keeps your skin matt. And also, Pores No More - GET IT! It's amazing.

5) Get a zingy shower gel. I am currently loving the Naked range from Boots. They do a minty one that is so zingy. It really helps you stay cool or cools you down at the end of a hot day.

6) Anti-perspirant - Mitchum. That's all.

7) Get a summer perfume. This is no time for heavy scents. I made that mistake today and spent all day wondering what I could smell. And not in a good way. Get a green, fresh scent and top up during the day to keep you feeling daisy fresh.

8) Get a funky hat. This is not necessarily for your commute but hey, I won't judge. But please wear a hat on your sunny holiday or in the garden at weekends. It protects your hair colour and keeps you from fainting and needing the smelling salts.

And spend anytime not at work outside. All too soon it will be cold and grey once more. So stop moaning that you are hot.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

American drugstores

I just went to New Jersey for work. There was no time to shop but I did spot a giant Walmart within walking distance of my hotel and found 30 mins to make the journey.

For those unfamiliar, there is nothing more satisfying to a beauty junkie than an American drugstore. They are always huge, they have them everywhere and they sell a vast range of products from biscuits (in a pharmacy, yes) to nail polish to ped eggs (waste of time by the way) to 50,000 types of body lotion. And they are cheap, cheap, cheap. And of course they sell drugs - Tylenol cold and flu, Advil etc all in giant packs of pain relief heaven.

Walmart is, of course, much more than a drugstore but it was all I had available to me so I hot footed there. It's not quite as good as a dedicated drugstore but it provided me with Maybelline Great Lash mascara in a better range of colours than you can get in the UK. Here it's hard to find anything other than blackest black. There I bought some brownish black and soft black. Less than $4 each. And I got a whole load of travel sized toothpastes, cotton buds etc. I got a pack of three Carmex lip salves with SPF 15 which was the princely sum of $2.

Altogether I spent $52 and $25 of that was on a bottle of antihistamines (so much cheaper than over here). I would have bought loads more but I had very limited luggage space as I wasn't checking my luggage in.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dr Nick Lowe

Do you know of Dr Lowe? He is dermatologist to the stars and has a practice on Harley Street. He is often quoted in magazines on anti-ageing etc. He launched his skin care range about two years ago. The day cream is wonderful. It sinks in like a dream, has SPF 15 and does not make your skin greasy. I thoroughly recommend it. Get it in Boots and use your advantage card to stack up points as it's about £16.

I was so impressed with the day cream that I bought the cleanser. Which is very average and not that great. I also got the night cream which was nice enough but not wow factor. So I didn't bother trying anything else.

Glam boss went to see Dr Lowe for a minor procedure (NOT a face lift or botox or anything!) and Sophie Dahl was there. She said Sophie looked radiant and was buying lots of Lowe products...

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Another day, another mascara

As you know, the search never ends. I bought Maybelline's new stiletto mascara the other week.

Pros:
Good brush
Easy to apply - no clogging

Cons:
You have to put quite a bit on
Slight smudging

Overall verdict:
Nothing special and I wouldn't recommend it. It's alright.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Having an Urban Decay moment

Having had such success with their eye primer, I decided to give some Urban Decay eyeliners a spin. I bought two yesterday. Covet (a peacock green) and Dime (a shimmery silver). I am thinking I can wear them both together to complete the clown look.

I was planning to wear one or both today but I have a cold so am skipping make up for the day. However, early signs of putting the testers on the back of my hand bodes well. They are very soft and long lasting - I had to scrub with soap to remove it.

Having looked at the site, I also want Ransom and Stash. I am of the belief that you can never have too much eyeliner in your life.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Eye primer

As the weather hots up, primers come into their own. I invested in a new eye primer last week after hearing very good things about the Urban Decay one.

This stuff is brilliant. It's much better than my Laura Mercier one. You don't need much but eye shadow/liner just stays put all day long and no smudging. No matter what. I am really impressed. It's also cheaper than the LM one.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Spring has sprung...

... and I am embracing colour. I recently bought red shoes, a green mac and a cardigan of many colours. And beauty wise, today I chose Essie bachelorette bash for my nails. Which, by the way, look great next to the green mac. It's a hot pink.

I love this time of year with fresh new colours and I am feeling like I never want to wear black again. Obviously I will because I cannot live completely without black.

I now want some really vibrant eyeliner. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 5 April 2009

New hair


Last week I woke up and hated my hair. I am sure you know how that goes. So I called my hairdresser for an emergency appointment for later that day. Luckily she could fit me in.

Why was I hating it? Well, I desperately needed a colour and it just felt really heavy and blah. I had a rare moment where I said to my hairdresser - do what you like!

And she did, she cut loads of layers in, gave me a slight side fringe and made it a darker colour. I felt like a new woman. And being as good at her job as she is, she sold me two new products. A new hairstyle means new products. Always. It's the law.

Kerastase - the daddy of hair products. So I got a cream you put on after shampoo and conditioner to make it super soft. It is lovely and works very well and is designed to protect your hair when you blow dry it. It's very rich so I don't put much on but it smells very yummy and sinks in perfectly.

And I also got a texturising waxy cream thing. I am not really one for styling products at all but I felt chunky layers needed a little help. I am very pleased with them both. But boy, very expensive stuff. Good thing you don't need much!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The art of bathing

I take my baths very seriously. I usually have a bath everyday. I know that sounds indulgent but you know, some people drink wine, I take baths.

So having a daily bath habit means I have done research into lots of bubble bath products. Because a naked bath is a wasted opportunity. There is nothing nicer than sinking into a deep hot bubble bath after a day's work or a day's hard cosmetic shopping. I am sure you all agree. If you don't, you are mad or insane or both.

Now I am not a big fan of bath oils for a few reasons. They often mean you have to clean the bath afterwards which is a big no no. All that oily debris - yuk. And I know they are called bath oils but I do find them a bit oily. Having said that, I make an exception for Rose bath oil. The Ren one is fantastic and the Jo Malone one is also very nice. For a truly divine bath experience, mix one of these rose bath oils with an Absolute Delight bath ballistic from Lush. You can't get them from Lush shops anymore but you can buy them online.

I like bubbles - not so many that you can't see the water but a good amount. So, what do I recommend? Well, I have to start with Lush. Here is a company that understands bathing. Their bubble bath slices are really gorgeous - you crumble a bit in (not the whole bar unless you have Victoria Beckham's budget) and you get bubbles galore. And their products do smell very natural - nothing artificial and nasty. I am a fan of French Kiss and Amandopondo. As so often with Lush, their best products are a thing of the past. Marzibain is gorgeously almondy.

Lush also do ballistics. These don't give you bubbles but it's quite exciting to watch them fizz. My biggest beef with Lush is their propensity to add load of jetsam and flotsam to their products and nowhere is this worse than in their ballistics. So unless you enjoy fishing out petals, bits of bark, star anise and sodding glitter from your tub, stick to the pure ballistics. The all time classic was Absolute Delight but Avobath is perfectly acceptable. Although it says it has glitter in it, it's so subtle, I don't notice it.

Of course buying ballistics and bubble bath slices gets expensive and these are not for your everyday bath. Unless you are rich. I often squirt in a bit of shower gel from Lush. It gives you a nice bubbly bath without breaking the bank. In the Summer, there is nothing better than a bit of Freeze shower gel in a cool bath.

Enough about Lush. Other people make bubble bath too. I am currently enjoying Moringa bubble bath from The Body Shop. It's a pleasantly Spring-like floral. It's not going to win any awards but it's enjoyable enough. I am otherwise underwhelmed by The Body Shop's bubble baths - all too fruity for my taste. I don't wish to smell of a fruit bowl.

A company I do like is Bath & Body Works. Naturally you cannot buy this in the UK but if you are going to the US, drop in. The Sea Cotton range is totally yummy in a clean, fresh scented linen way.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Kiehls

Apologies for my tardiness in posting. I said I would talk about other beauty products I bought in Hong Kong so here we go.

Kiehls is a brand I try to really love but I only seem to quite like it. I love the shops, the layout, the naturalness of the products, the packaging. But I am generally underwhelmed by the products given the price. However, there are exceptions.

I'd love to tell you that I fly first class regularly. The truth is I've never even flown business class, let alone first class. It's a bit of a sore point so we won't linger. Anyway, a dear friend's significant other works for BA and therefore she has had the pleasure of first class and she gave me the bag they give you. Yes, she's a great friend.

It's full of Kiehls products. Full size lip balm (also very good incidentally) and the face moisturiser. A whole bottle of it! Mind you, given the cost of first class, it's the least they can give you. It's lovely. It sinks in but isn't at all greasy and you can really feel it plumping up your skin.

So at Hong Kong airport, I had some dollars burning a hole and it wasn't worth changing them back so I decided to buy a bottle of this. And I am pleased I did as it is perfect as the weather gets a bit warmer.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Combatting airplane skin

Let me give you some advice. Never ever sit through a long flight and not bother moisturising your skin regularly. The air is drier than a desert (as beauty editors always make a point of telling us). If you don't follow my advice, your skin will flake once you hit the ground and if you are going to sunbathe, the results won't be pretty. Also, never fly without lip balm - I did that once accidentally and my lips were disgusting at the end of the flight. I use my trusty 8 hour cream.

It won't surprise you to know I have researched and tested various moisturisers while flying. You know, long flights are boring, it gives me something to do. It's the ideal time to use up those little samples of really intense moisturisers you get from beauty counters that you would never use on the ground. Plus, you can't take on board anything too big cos of the stupid rule about 100ml of liquid. Madness. I always use that as an excuse to buy some moisturiser at duty-free but that might be just me.

This time, I decided to try Simple Serum wipes. I can't find a picture but they are quite small and come in packs of 25. About £4. And I can report that they are fantastic. I would never bother using these back down on earth but up in the air, they feel amazing and so quick.

Next time you fly, give them a go as I was really impressed.

A small update

Heathrow airport does indeed stock Missoni perfume but they hide it on a shelf near the bottom while promoting middle of the road boring stuff by Sarah Jessica Parker and that Marc Jacobs Daisy. Anyway, having hunted it down, I felt obliged to purchase it. Also, buying 100ml was so much better value than 50ml so 100ml it was. I am very happy with it and was the best smelling person on the plane!

On my travels I looked at a few other things. I checked out the Sisley handcream as they had it at Hong Kong airport with a big tube to sample. I sampled about £2's worth. Yes, it's a great handcream but am still reeling at the price tag. I checked out the Dior mascara but didn't like the applicator. I looked at the Bobbi Brown foundation stick but it didn't look amazing enough to have.

I think we can all agree I was quite restrained all things considered. I did get a few other things at Hong Kong airport but that's for another post.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Pedicures

To match my Manicures post. You can't have one and neglect the other after all. I just had a lovely pedicure at the little place at the end of my road. Now I know you can do this yourself but it's never the same is it? I always seem to splodge the paint around and make a bit of a mess of it. And I can never get rid of all the hard skin like the professionals can.

In an effort to try and save money (no laughing at the back please) I've not had a professional pedicure since way before Christmas. That's a long time for me! My feet were sadly neglected. I had a dilemma - did I get them done here or in Hong Kong (where I am going on Thursday)? In the end I decided here as it is hot in HK and I want to wear sandals the minute I get there.

A little extravagant I know as all beauty treatments are a fraction of the price in Asia but my experience is they are good at the scraping part but not so good at the painting part. Also, handy hint, always take your own nail polish as they rarely have the good stuff.

When I last went, my friend and I had a Shanghai pedicure which I didn't know doesn't involve any paint. We sat in those wonderful massage chairs and they put boiling water in the basin by your feet. Putting your feet in that water is a bit of a test as I kid you not, it is scalding. I think I must be a wimp as my friend gamely plunged her feet in - and she was pregnant. Yes, I am a wimp.

Anyway, they leave you like that for a good half hour. Then they moved us to beds and wrapped us up in blankets (it was cold) and those heated wheat things were put around our necks. It was bliss. And they spend 45 minutes scraping all the hard skin off, buffing and moisturising my feet. It was heaven on earth and my feet had never been so soft...

Until my treatment in Indonesia last November. If you've not had paraffin wax poured on your feet, you've not lived. Seriously.

I love having my feet pampered. Happy feet = happy people.

You can of course buy one of those foot buffers and try to recreate the experience at home. If you do this, enlist a friend to do the painting bit. A good friend. And wash your feet thoroughly first. And then repay the favour.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Hot off the press...

The Missoni perfume comes with a little bit of Missoni material round the neck of the bottle.

See?

Now I want it even more if such a thing is possible. I hope they have it at duty-free next week. Anyone know if Heathrow airport has Missoni?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Another day, another perfume

Once upon a time I wore this perfume (Dune, Dior) all the time and I loved it. The Book describes it as a fresh oriental, gives it five stars and a rave review. So this was one of the samples I got from Perfumed Court the other week. I decided it was time to revisit my old favourite.

I am not sure why I stopped wearing it. I expect something else came along to take its place in my affections but I did wear this for a good few years so it was a long-term relationship. And seriously, having got it again, I am really confused as to why I ever broke up with it. It's unique. I honestly cannot think of a perfume that smells anything like it. I won't try and describe it but The Book describes it as unsmiling from top to bottom. It isn't a perfume that you immediately warm to but it develops beautifully. And it lasts. No fading after 10 minutes for this one.

I used to be wary of revisiting old favourite perfumes as I think it almost makes you regress as scent is such a strong sense. But I think I will make an exception for this and put it on the waiting list. Missoni first though.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

What do I want to try?

As promised (and I know you've been on the edge of your seats) here are some products I would like to try from the In Style Top 100 list. If you've tried any of these, please do comment. I'd love to know what you think.

Anything with an * is something I actually will buy and try at some point. The rest are in the wishful thinking category.


Best Wash off cleanser
Precision Mousse Douceur - Chanel £23.50

Best to start as I mean to go on with an expensive Chanel product. This does sound lovely. I won't type out the blurb but it is for oily/combination skins. I have combo skin. £23.50 though. How good can it be? Does it perform miracles?

Best eye de-puffer
Nutritionist Caffeine Eye Roll-On, Garnier - £9.99

Silliest name award goes to this one. I've had my eye on this baby for a while and at a tenner, it almost feels like a bargain. I don't have puffy eyes so it's going to work a treat on me isn't it?!

Best radiance mask
Radiant glow express mask, Sisley, £69.50
OK, Sisley is really expensive. This sounds like my kind of mask, all flushing out toxins and opening up pores. But £70? That's half a Missoni scarf you know.

Best stick foundation
Foundation stick, Bobbi Brown, £24
*
Now, I am not a foundation kind of girl but this does sound worth a try. It's been voted for 8 years in a row. I like the simplicity of it. I think I might seriously buy this.

Best mascara
Diorshow Mascara, Dior, £18.50
*
It's a mascara, I'll try it. It's apparently a 'dream come true'. We'll see.

Best red lipstick
Lipstick in Ruby Woo, MAC, £11
*
It's time I had a red lipstick and they say it suits all skin tones.

Best lip balm
Nutritive Lip Balm, Sisley, £32.50

Sisley again. Charging £32 for a lip balm. It would have to be amazing.

Best bronzer
Terracotta Bronzing Powder, Guerlain, £27.50

I am suspicious of bronzers but this does sound fantastic. The advice is not to go two shades darker than your skin tone. I am tempted.

Best self tan for face
Liquid bronze self tanning, Clarins, £15.50*
For a soft sun-kissed glow by morning. Yes please.

Best foot file
The Conquerer, Diamancel at Bliss, £29

£29 for a foot file? But baby soft feet - it's worth it. I'm a bit obsessed with feet. Maybe cos I have a tattoo on mine so I feel my feet should be soft at all times. They never are but maybe they could be. PS: don't get a ped egg - waste of time.

Best hand cream
Global anti-age hand care SPF 10, Sisley, £77

Yes, you read that right. Sisley strikes again. £77 on hand cream? That's the other half of your Missoni scarf.

Right that's it. I have entered the competition to actually win all these products. Wish me luck.

Monday, 16 February 2009

In Style 100 Best Beauty Buys

I don't buy In Style magazine regularly as it's fairly rubbish. But anything with 100 best beauty lists gets my attention. So I got this month's and I thought it would be fun to see what I already have (or have tried and dismissed) from this year's list.

Best Night Cream Issima Midnight Secret - Guerlain £51
Oh yes indeed. If you've not tried this and are a party animal, you have to get some. It's magical. You put it on, roll into bed at 4am, wake up at 6.30 to get to work and it will look like you've had eight hours sleep. I don't know how it does it - I guess that's why it is called secret. The bad news is it's expensive. And it doesn't last long. My sister bought me some one year and I guarded it with my life and only used it for big nights out - in my life, not that many of them - and I still nearly wept when it was finished. The only drawback is the scent - it's very heavy and made me a feel a bit nauseous.

Best moisturiser with an SPF Daywear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Cream SPF 15 - Estee Lauder £21.50
What a mouthful - does it really need to have such a long name? This is the day cream I am currently using. I do like Estee Lauder skincare. For me this is a winter day cream, it's too heavy in the summer. It's lovely, sinks in, gives a good base for make-up and feels like it is doing you good.

Best serum
Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex - Estee Lauder - £34
I have a very small bottle of this that I got as a GWP (Gift with Purchase - do keep up). People rave about this. It's alright. I don't feel the need to go and buy a bottle, put it that way.

Best cleansing wipes
Cleansing facial wipes - Simple £2.99

Sometimes you need a cleansing wipe in your life. Camping (not that I would know), airplanes, after drunken nights out when you know you need to remove your make up but standing by a sink is too much effort... I love these ones. Does the job, no fuss and cheap.

Best under-eye concealer
Touche Eclat - YSL £22.50

OK, I don't get this product. But I don't use concealers. I bought this years ago because everyone said how amazing it was and I saw no difference.


Best inexpensive mascara
Masterpiece, Max Factor £7.95
This used to be my mascara of choice and then I moved on to Great Lash. This is good but I find it flakes a bit.

Best powder eyeshadow
MAC £10

Yes. No arguments from me. Once you have used MAC eyeshadow, there is no going back.


Best tweezers Tweezerman £16
Is there any point buying any others? These change your life in a small but significant way.


Best Blusher Blush in Orgasm - Nars £18.50
They are reviewing the powder blush and I have the Multiple (multiple orgasm - tee hee). But it's the same colour and you put it on your cheeks. I've blogged about this before. It's fantastic. Get some.

Best Body exfoliator
Smoothing body scrub for a new skin - Clarins £23.50
This is very good but I don't think it's substantially better than the cheaper alternatives. If someone gives you this as a gift, it's nice treat but you'd be fine with the scrub from Soap & Glory too. I don't think it is worth spending lots of money on body scrubs.

Best shower gel
Morrocan Rose Otto Body Wash - REN £16
Do I need to tell you again? It's heaven in the shower. Put it on your wishlist and then before your birthday, make sure everyone knows. You can't have too much of it.

Best body moisturiser
Creme de Corps - Kiehls £14.50

I have used this in the past and it is nice but as I find with all Kiehls products, never quite as good as you hope.

Best inexpensive body moisturiser
Rich Care Body Moisturiser - Nivea £4.45

Does the job. You have to like the Nivea scent though.

Best moisturiser with self tan
Holiday Skin Body Lotion - Johnson's £4.99

They all smell. And it's a horrible smell. But yes, this works if you can get past that.

Best inexpensive suncare line
Soltan - Boots

The one they do for the face is really, really good and I always buy it. I don't have a favourite sun tan lotion - yet.

Best top coat
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat - Seche £8.95

This is The Business. I've recently discovered it and was going to blog about it anyway. It dries nail rock hard in seconds. Worth every penny.

Best inexpensive hand cream
Norwegian formula - Neutrogena £3.39

This is great for winter hands. Not greasy but very smooth. I'd agree with this.

Best sun haircare range
Soleil - Kerastase - from £14

My hairdresser told me to get this as my colour fades in the sun. It does work when you can be bothered to spray it on before you head out. I do have to wonder how many suncare ranges for hair there are though...

Best hairspray
Elnett Satin, L'Oreal £1.99

Why on earth would you use anything else? This stuff is legendary. I don't use hairspray much but I always have a can of this in the bathroom - it's fab.

So, that's it. My next post will be some of the products that won that I want to try. Bet you can't wait!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Manicures

It's taken me a long time to post about nails. Not sure why. Anyone who knows anything about me knows how much I love nail polish. It's always been this way. I used to bite my nails terribly when I was a kid. What made me stop was wanting to paint them. So when I finally achieved the impossible, I became somewhat obsessed with nail varnish and to this day, the fascination continues.

I think it's because no matter what kind of fugly day you are having, you can always paint your nails (toes or fingers) and it makes you feel better. So, I have an enormous nail varnish collection despite a huge throw out a few years ago. Wasn't sure I still needed that No7 pinkydink from 1987. It did inspire an online name for me though.

The irony is that I no longer use them. I am fortunate enough to work at a very forward thinking office where they have a manicurist in once a week. And I go and see her and get my nails done every Monday. Darling, the decadence! I know. But she is so good. Before Karen, I never really did deep shades because I am so particular and despite being good at applying varnish, I think you need to be professional to apply the darks. She does them perfectly. I am typing this with Damsel in a Dress on my nails. (a gorgeous purple). If you also work at a forward thinking workplace in London, check out her site. And persuade your company to look after their people.

So I don't buy nail varnish much these days but I like to dabble. I can't resist! And what's the best brand these days? Essie. Hands down (no pun intended). The best colours, the best names (a job I've always wanted - nail varnish namer) and the most staying power.

My current faves: berry hard (gorgeous deep red), Damsel in a Dress (see above) and Wicked (an even deeper black/red).

Always use a base coat and a top coat. Makes all the difference.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Shower gels

It won't surprise anyone to know that I am fussy about shower gels. They have to be just right - beautifully fragrant, not drying, nice lather-up effect but not a snowstorm, easy to rinse off. But the main feature I look for is a natural scent. So many smell artificial.

I've done the research for you. I am so kind. I can tell you, without hesitation, that Lush make the best shower gels. This is why it was so scandalous when they discontinued them all a few years back and bought out shower jellies. The stupidest invention ever. Who has room in the shower for plastic cases of jelly? And who wants ugly plastic cases in the shower? I could rant for some time but let's focus on what Lush does well.

Yes, the shower gels are really very nice. All essential oils and whatnot so they pass the fragrance test. My favourites are The Olive Branch - a lovely orange scent but with an olive note. Lush blend essential oils very well and I really do think their shower gels are great value as they pack in the oils. I also like Taai Taai but you can only get this in the Westfield branch. It's spicy and orangey. My all-time favourite was Freeze - a peppermint, zingy gel that would get your bits tingling off a morning. Perfect for hot Summer days - remember them? Me neither. You can now buy this in the Retro section of the Lush site but it annoys me it isn't in the shops. They do one called Sonic Death Monkey (great name) which is chocolate scented. I draw the line at chocolate shower gel - I find it a bit icky.

If you feeling rich, then the most perfect shower gel is Moroccan Rose by Ren. I've already talked about my love of this.

I would also say that you don't need much of either the Ren or Lush gels. So although they are more expensive than Imperial Leather/Palmolive/Radox etc, they do last longer.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

More perfume

More musing on perfume I'm afraid. Another sample I got from Perfumed Court was Missoni. I love Missoni scarves so I figured the perfume would be nice! Another 5 star review from The Book where it is described as a kaleidescopic floral and one of the most accomplished fragrances in years. You can see why I had to have it in my repertoire.

It arrived today - a few days after the others for some reason. It was worth the wait. It's completely gorgeous. I am sitting her sniffing my wrists. I am in love. It is so much more complex than simply floral. Much younger than Joy. The Book says it dries down to a minty scent and that's spot on. It's almost refreshing. I suspect I might have to have a bottle of this as it really is something special.

Monday, 2 February 2009

One of the most famous perfumes

I am talking about Joy by Jean Patou. A perfume that used to be the most expensive in the world. I am sure something has usurped it. Maybe Intimately Beckham?

Anyway The Book gives it five stars and describes it as symphonic floral. The time had come for me to properly sample it. Thanks to Perfumed Court - a nice little US site where you can buy samples of perfume instead of shelling out on a whole bottle - I finally had some in my sweaty mitts this weekend. Obviously I didn't pay US P&P for one teeny sample but I'll tell you about the others another day. Suffice to say I am chanelling 1987 and 1993 respectively.

So what's Joy like? It's certainly floral. Boy or boy. It's like an explosion of flowers on your wrist. It smells like every very expensive hotel lobby in the world. I never knew that Joy is what I was smelling. Because you know, I frequent 5 star hotels all the time...

Do I like it? Ummmmm. I appreciate it as being a lovely fragrance but it smells like stuck up women who shop at Harrods. I don't like the associations. It's definitely a perfume for the older woman and I am not in that category. Yet.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Eve Lom - am I worth it?

It was only a matter of time before I posted about Eve Lom; the Rolls Royce of skincare with a Rolls Royce price tag. I've never bought into the Eve Lom dream as spending hundreds of pounds on skincare is, to me, madness.

However, when life hands you Eve Lom testers, it would be churlish to not take them out for a spin. And that's what happened. My extremely glamorous boss (no, she doesn't read this blog but it is true) had an Eve Lom facial just before Christmas. With Eve Lom herself. Imagine that? No, I can't either. Her husband bought her this present and let's just reflect on how well trained he is for a moment...

Anyway, she had the facial and said it was unlike any other facial she'd had. Well, you would hope so wouldn't you? Apparentely Eve spent a long time talking to her and asking her about her life before she started on the facial. And she analysed her diet and told her she was eating too much wheat and blah blah blah. I am so cynical about this whole intolerance nonsense. Still, she eventually did the facial and gave her a stack of samples. I saw her the day after the facial and I must say, she did look radiant.

Back to the samples. They ended up with me! So far I've only tried the cream for very dry skin. It's called TLC. And I was having an exceptionally dry skin week. So I put this on before bed. It is very thick and almost sticky. Yes, I know that sounds horrendous. But it did wonders. I used it the day I had been blowing my nose all day and had that dreaded red nose look. It cleared it up overnight. It's £46.98 for 50ml which isn't as eye watering as some of her products. Would I buy it? Probably not because you hardly needed any for one application and I have three sachets of it! I'll see if it becomes a must-have but it's a pricey must-have.

I also have 3 sachets of the day cream but I've not tried that yet. Looking on the SpaceNK site, none of the products are 3 figures but I am convinced that Eve Lom does do some very expensive skin care too so I'm a bit confused. Anyone know?

Thursday, 29 January 2009

I think I may have found it

Yes, the quest for the eye make up remover continues unabated. Back in October I posted about the Botanics one I was using. It was ok but still leaving black bits around the eyes - hmmm, attractive.

Anyway, I bought the Simple one as it was on offer. It's looking good for us so far. I think we might get on. Lovely and fresh, no oiliness, it seems to do the job. I am cautiously optimistic...

Saturday, 24 January 2009

A little update

Here we are, 24 January. What are my staples and loves at the moment?

First up, perfume. More specifically Mitsouko. Never mind that this was Margaret Thatcher's favourite perfume. Let's skip over that and assume she had taste in some areas (as one of my friends pointed out to me when I wailed about it). It comes in exactly the same bottle and packaging as L'Heure Bleue so I have to check which one I am putting on. It is gorgeous. I can't stop sniffing my wrist when I wear it (which is almost everyday).

Other beauty products I am currently enjoying are Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair serum I found a little tester of this in my vast collection of testers and samples. I can see why this is a cult product. It feels good for you as you put it on. Skin drinks it up. But no stickiness. Very nice.

I am also enjoying a Lush shower gel I got in the Westfield branch. Apparently this is only available in that branch. It's called Taai Taai and is full of ginger and cinammon. Very warming for a cold January morning.

Finally, I wouldn't be without my Clinique Quick Eyes. I now have 4. I bought a new one to the party today. A gorgeous green I've wanted for ages so naturally I had to have it. They last ALL DAY! How? I dunno but it's a miracle.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Revealing the rosy you - yes, even in January

Post Christmas I was looking a little less than my best. One expects the extra weight but I was looking very grey. Usually I would use the fabulous Elemis mask that I have already discussed.

But something stronger was called for. Since I had spent £90 on perfume, I decided to root through products I already had. And found this little baby. Estee Lauder Idealist MicroD. It's some sort of thermal scrub. Basically you apply it to damp skin, rub it around gently while it warms the skin and rinse off.

Well. It was a bit more powerful than I remembered! I was very pink afterwards. But so smooth. It genuinely did reveal the glowing me just waiting to burst out. And this week I've not needed my tinted moisturiser (usually a must in grey winter).

So, two lessons here. Remember to look at what you already own. And it is possible to have good skin in January!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

New Year, New Products

I don't hold with this notion that one should deprive oneself in January. It's the most depressing month of the year (well, apart from February) and why would you actively make yourself MORE miserable?

Not for me. I don't do deprivation. I have plenty of new things to talk about. I am going to begin with my reawakening of love of perfume. In the sale I bought a book called Perfumes - The Guide. It is a wonderful book. It reviews thousands of perfumes giving ratings from 1 star to 5 and explains the history, the notes etc. It was not good for my bank balance to buy this because I immediately wanted about 10 new perfumes. Why did I not have a Guerlain perfume in my life? It had to be remedied and soon. So I went to the Harrods beauty hall and had a lovely half hour with the chic French Guerlain lady.

I bought l'Heure Bleue. Some will tell you this is an old woman's scent. I couldn't disagree more. Plus, I think old women know about scent! It's simply divine and just gets better the longer you wear it. It isn't my usual sort of perfume but what's the point buying the sort of thing you always buy?

Anyway, that wasn't enough to satisfy me so a few days later I went to Peter Jones and bought Mitsouko. Classic chypre it says in my bible. Also gorgeous. So now I am wafting around smelling satisfyingly expensive and gorgeous.

I really believe that with perfume, it's good to visit the old favourites. There is lots more I can say about perfume so I will revisit the topic in the future.

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