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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

bourjois blush crush

I can't resist but do a very short but extra sweet posting on Bourjois's Limited Edition Paris themed blush. This high performance powder is just the perk-up sunshine starved cheeks need.

Available in six shades, £7.49 each. Hurry they're only exclusive to Boots and and until the end of March.

text book skin

For all you beauty bibliophiles this is a posting for you. An avid reader myself, I love a look good book that introduces me to new philosophies and puts a spin on my thinking. Two books that I’ve come across that do just that are by leading skin experts. Dr Nicholas Perricone and Dr Howard Murad. Here is a bookworm overview of both:

Forever Young, £17.99 (available from is scripted by Dr Perricone who believes we are no longer at the mercy of our genetic blueprint when it comes to ageing, and introduces us to the emerging science of Nutrigenomics. Sounding something from a sci-fi movie, it’s the study of how specific foods can switch on protective genes and switch off genes that have a negative effect on our health. It’s not a light read, but for those who are interested in taking control of how their skin looks and performs – the books promises glowing, wrinkle free skin at every age, Perricone says, “I will demonstrate how you can actually change the way genes are expressed and how that information is transmitted, simply by manipulating different aspects of your diet and lifestyle.”  Now, that’s a powerful thought.

The Water Secret, £12.99 published by Wiley is from Dr Murad who I’ve written about previously on this blog, and is one of the most advanced dermatologists I’ve come across. Highlighted as the cellular breakthrough to look and feel 10 years younger (and who wouldn’t unless you’re 25?) Murad advocates that the key to good skin from the inside out lies in maintaining strong cells that can retain water the way younger cells do. Furthermore, Murad explains that contrary to popular belief, once out of your dewy early 20’s, you’re not 75 to 80 percent water – ageing has damaged your cells and weakened their ability to retain water, but a half full 50 percent. A sobering thought! Rewriting skin wisdom, Murad reveals that hydration should be defined by the water you keep, not the water your drink. Literally a refreshing read.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

flat out and fabulous abs

Jelly belly. Muffin top. Mummy tummy. Whatever you call that annoying settling of excess fat around your midriff it can rock your body image and self confidence. I’ve had belly fat in the past, and I bet many of you have too; the secret is getting rid of it. And once you have, boy, are you happier! Jeans wriggle on better, you look great in a bikini and more importantly you feel healthier and sexier.

I first teamed up with Sarah Maxwell, an uber personal trainer, global fitness expert for NIVEA International and now an Xbox avatar over 10 years ago when we used to work on fitness features together for leading magazines and papers. Clicking straight away by having the same life philosophy (we're passionate about fitness but we agree it has to be fun) we have now written our first ebook together called, drum roll please….The Little Exercise Book for a Flat Tummy. And it’s cute, even if I do say so myself! Understanding no belly is immune from exercise, but also knowing the non sit-up reasons for having tummy flab, this book covers lifestyle issues and healthy eating along with a great tummy toning plan where all exercises are photographed. In essence, it’s a book that gives you the motivation and the insights to get your stomach’s mojo back. So, if you want to start shaping up for an itsy-bitsy polka dot bikini, this is your fat busting pre-summer read.

The Little Exercise Book for a Flat Tummy costs £4.99 and is downloadable from:

Friday, 4 February 2011

aveda's smoothie salon secrets

Michael Lendon
When it comes to the playing the drying game, I know the benefits of a great blow-out can bless hair with texture, body and shine. But when it comes to getting to grips with a dryer, section clips and a brush it’s a different story, and I resort to the lazy way of styling my hair - with straightening irons. But I’ve finally pulled the plug on them and learned how to blow-dry like a pro thanks to a masterclass from Michael Lendon, Aveda’s Creative Director. So, spending almost an hour in the chair what did I learn? For starters, there’s no short-cut. “You have to set aside at least 15 minutes with the brush and dryer to get a salon inspired result,” explains Michael. And for the rest, read on for the ultimate tips on mastering a fashionable blow-dry.

  • “Find the right products and you’re half way to a high performing style,” says Michael. The ultimate prep product for all hair types is their Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother, £18. “It temporarily resurfaces the hair and fights humidity, the number one spoiler for a smoothie style,” reveals Michael. Apply 2 pumps for medium length hair and massage into damp hair.
  • Next, let the hair air-dry for a few minutes. “Put on the Prep and have breakfast,” says Michael. “You never want to take soaking wet hair straight to the dryer. Wait until it’s around 70 percent dry before subjecting hair to styling.
  • Arm yourself with a good hairdryer – not one with a pathetic puff. “You want one with at least a speed of 200 watts,” reveals Michael, “and with a removable nozzle that concentrates the heat and you can adjust. That’s essential.”
  • To begin, section off the hair (they do great clips in Muji) with sections no wider than the brush you’re working with. “Creating tension is your biggest secret to a smoother style,” reveals Michael. “With your fingers pulling the hair start drying off.” Surprised by how straight strands were already, Michael then armed me with a paddle brush. This pleased me enormously, as in the past I’ve always found a barrel brush hard to twirl and dry without entangling my hair.
  • With dryer on hot and speed on medium high, sandwich sectioned hair between the bristles of the brush with the nozzle angled down the shaft. Keep the hair taut. “Dry so you feel comfortable,” says Michael. If your hands feel awkward adjust them. For me, I preferred holding the body of the dryer rather than the handle for better control.
  • Dry each section until no longer damp. “Don’t be afraid to bring the nozzle right up to the brush,” says Michael, “and keep the brush and the dryer moving down the hair shaft simultaneously.”
  • “Spend most of your time on the top section of the hair,” says Michael. “The more attention you pay to it, the sleeker your style will look.”
  • Finally, use cool air to set. “Hot air softens the hair, whereas a cool blast seals the cuticles and stop hair fluffing up. This finishing technique will also give the hair more shine and make your style last,” concludes Michael.

The Aveda Smooth Infusion Blow Dry Masterclass costs £45 at the Aveda Institute, 174 High Holborn WC1 (020 7759 7355). The Aveda Smooth Infusion Blow Dry is available at participating Aveda Salons nationwide where stylists will send you away with plenty of head turning tips.