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Friday, 13 May 2011

number crunching

A name popped up on my Facebook page this week that I recognised from way back when. Curious, I clicked on her profile to see what she was up to. Now, when I knew her she was always a year older than myself. But miraculously over the decades she had become six years younger! How did that happen? Did she accidentally find Dr Who’s Tardis and transport herself back in time?

Being an age deceiver is hard. I know she would be celebrating a life worthy birthday soon, so how is she going to hide that from her work colleagues and friends that didn’t know her twenty years ago? If an age dodger, before you know it you’re wrapping yourself up in a whole load of fiction – or to put it more bluntly, you become a liar.  Why would she knock six years off anyway? Does she think she acts younger, looks younger or because she works in a creative industry her real age would prejudice against her? Or does she think she will come across as worldly for her age? After all she has banked additional life experience and using it whilst masquerading under a lower number.

It’s no big shock when actresses or TV personalities are caught fibbing about their age, as it’s more-or-less expected. But when a ‘normal’ person is caught juggling around with numbers, it can quickly become an embarrassment if you’re rumbled. And credibility is lost. After all, you must surely think, what else are they fibbing about?

The losing of youth is sometimes hard to face, but that’s life. Time ticks on and your age with it, unless of course you’re Benjamin Button. But seriously why not work your birth date with confidence, and when over 35 why not say it with aplomb, rather than with shame. You’d be surprised how much energy you free up. Really, isn’t it time to grow up about age?

Monday, 9 May 2011

bathing pleasures

My beauty affair with Korres was a holiday romance. Finding myself short on sun protection factor a few years back in Greece I picked up some of their sunscreen in a local pharmacy. It’s not an over statement to say it was love at first application. Since, their sunscreen has become one of my luxury vacation staples, and the minute I smell the fragrance it reminds me of happy times. One of the successes to a beauty product I feel.

So, with my loyalty points banked, I’m happy to tell you about two new products from the brand. The first is their Gentle Cleansing Soap Collection. I’m a sucker for a beautiful soap and these tick all my boxes. With their roots in homeopathy, I’m not surprised they contain no harsh chemicals and have a 95.9% natural content. Believing no one soap fits all, there are four to choose from. Pomegranate for oily skin (astringent properties); Chamomile softening soap (anti-inflammatory); Wheat face soap (contains B vitamins to promote health skin) and Milk for stressed skin (excellent moisturising properties). They can all be used for both the face and body without leaving the skin feeling high and dry after rinsing.

Next up is their Mango Shower Gel. Perfect for summer, the minute you flip open the top, the smell of sweet and succulent mangos takes hold. Teeming with wheat proteins, helping the skin to lock down much need moisture, it’s a gel that turns a quick shower into something altogether more exotic. Go buy!

Soaps cost £5 each and Mango Shower Gel, £7.50. For stockists call: 0870 850 3868

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

a scent worth cherry picking

There’s always a quickening of the heart whenever a package is delivered from Jo Malone HQ as I know I’m in for a beauty treat. This season’s fragrant offering doesn’t disappoint.
Sakura Cherry Blossom Cologne is a limited edition for spring and is inspired by the full bloom of the cherry tree. Indigenous to many East Asian states, every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency along with the public track the cherry blossom. The blossoming starts in Okinawa at the beginning of the year, reaching Kyoto and Tokyo at the end of March. From there it creeps into areas at higher altitudes and northward, arriving in Hokkaido a few weeks later.  The Japanese keep a watchful eye on these forecasts and cluster in large numbers at parks, shrines and temples to hold flower viewing parties.

After finding out a little more about this sacred blossom, I was eager to try Christine Nagel’s (Master Perfumer) interpretation of the flower. It’s floral and powdery, most certainly, but yet not too sweet or overpowering, thanks to the olfactory taming of bergamot and mandarin. It’s unquestionably a romantic fragrance, but creative enough to be sophisticated.  Soft and warm when worn on the skin, the fragrance lingers throughout the day, wrapping you up in notes of happiness.

Sakura Cherry Blossom Cologne is available this month and costs £34 for 30ml and £68 for 100ml.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

...just add a sprinkling of skin sparkle

When it comes to getting fresher and youthful looking skin the shortcut lays in exfoliation. Played out in its simplest form, it’s an act that will quickly remove dead cells on the skin’s surface to improve texture and give luminosity. The downside? You can over do it by mixing a smorgasbord of fix-it all ingredients and clinical inspired treatments, making the skin more fragile than a one ply tissue.

Catching up with Tom Ogden, brand manager of the cosmeceutical skincare company, Alpha-H, it’s easy to see why exfoliation can have the reserve effect of the radiant complexion you so desire. Just a quick word on Tom here: he is every beauty aficionados dream interview as a) he doesn’t stop talking – always a good sign when wanting information, b) he knows how to string a sentence together and gives great sound bites – another big  tick and c) he’s also a scriptwriter on the TV series Doctors! But getting back to the subject in hand, Tom reveals you can literally polish to infection. “Exfoliation is the cornerstone of any good skincare regime,” explains Tom, “but when people initially see the results, it can quickly turn addictive.” And it seems some people will try anything for that elusive glow. Tom recalls one woman he saw who had been cleansing with a nail brush. Not a good look! “Skin is a resilient organ,” says Tom, “but if you are consistently ‘wounding’ it with aggressive behaviour you are putting it at risk by breaking down the acid mantel. This is the oily film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier against bacteria. If upset, you leave skin vulnerable to the threat of irritation and inflammation.” Every night your skin has to repair itself which it cannot do efficiently if the barrier has thinned from being ‘sandblasted’ away. Before long, your complexion looks injured rather than irresistible.

The newest offering from Alpha-H is their Gentle Daily Exfoliant which as the more observant amongst you will notice says you use every day. Only exfoliating two or three times a week, I was dubious. My skin being of a sensitive nature, I was worried it would appear over processed and prone to dryness. But not a bit of it! Let me tell you, it’s a quick way of getting rid of a groggy looking morning face. And the best thing, it’s doesn’t even feel like you’re scrubbing as there’s zero scratchiness. Why? Because it boasts a fruit enzyme formula (FYI unripe green papaya and the skin and leaves of pineapple) that’s water activated. This means you mix with water and it goes on like a smooth paste – so confident have I become, I now mingle two doses of powder in with my cleanser for a super boost and wash it off all in one go. Tom even suggests leaving it on for a few minutes to work as a drawing mask. With hand on heart, I can honestly say it brings a wake-me-up-before-you-go-go brightness to my skin and leaves it not a tad dry, flaky or red. Daily skin genius indeed.

Gentle Daily Exfoliant costs £32.50 and is available from this month from,, and QVC.