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Monday, 31 October 2011

ORTIGIA's Roll-on Fragrance Oils


I gave a little ‘ooh’ when I saw how these ORTIGIA’s roll-on perfume oils were presented and wrapped. So desirable! Highly concentrated, they smell delicious without being too overwhelming on the nose. Non-drying on the skin, the oil is a mix of moisturising palm and coconut oil. Pop into your purse or handbag and roll onto pulse points during the day to lighten your mood and enliven the senses. Choose from seven of their most popular scents created from the plants and flowers of Sicily. My favourites are Sicilian Lime and Orange Blossom. I like the palm motif on the bottle too – I don’t why, it just makes me feel happy! And happiness in a bottle is what fragrance should transport. Perfect for Christmas stocking fillers, a thank you gift, or just a treat for yourself.

ORTIGIA perfume oils are £10. Shops are at 55 Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AX and 23 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4PF. Or buy online at

Sunday, 30 October 2011

All I want for Christmas is a Flat Tummy

Yep, it’s that time of year where magazines and lifestyle pages in newspapers are filled with The LBD Diet. You know the one, sidestep bread and carbs in general, eat high protein, drink plenty of water, suck on grapes… yada, yada, yada. We all want to look svelte under the mistletoe and wow in our little sparkly numbers, but the truth is, on average we put on between 5-8lbs over the festive period, as funny enough it is a time to enjoy yourself and put away some mince pies and drink some sherry.

Personally, I’m not one to indulge in misery diets, but as a former health and fitness writer for more than a decade, I put my hands up to writing an LBD diet or something masquerading as for magazines and papers. The reason? Women want to lose weight and look fab for Christmas, as they do in their bikini for the summer. Earlier this year I co-wrote an Ebook along with global fitness coach, Sarah Maxwell. Our priority was to get women a flat, or flatter stomach (one of the most moaned bits about our bodies) in a do-able fashion, without deprivation and starvation. You do have to put in some work, there are exercises to be done, but the feedback has been great from ‘real’ women who have confirmed that if you stick with our healthy eating guidelines and expert tips, along with the exercises your stomach slowly starts to shrink and tone up. We've had some great coverage too in Hello! Red and Grazia.

My philosophy is: if you put the hard work in now leading up to the party season, then not only will you be body confident in your LBD or even LRD (little red dress), you can also afford to raid the Quality Street tin.

The Little Exercise Book for a Flatter Tummy is available to download at £4.99 from

Friday, 28 October 2011

Vaseline Lip Therapy does Sugar Lips

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Vaseline Lip Therapy is a make-up bag staple that comes to the rescue of lips in need of a slick of comfort.
Yesterday saw the launch of the new limited edition inspired by the tasty dessert Crème Brulee. I have to confess I haven’t tried it, so can’t reveal if it’s true to taste (so if you have, please let me know), but the idea of having something so delicious on the lips with nothing going on the hips is very appealing!
Available at Selfridges Beauty Hall London and Manchester Exchange, hurry on down, as for the next week they are offering a pout makeover. After lips are prettily primed, you can then pucker up in their photo booth. Images are then printed out for you to keep or upload onto your Facebook page.
With Selfridges’s reporting Lip Therapy fans buying up to 30 tins at a time, looks like you'll be forming an orderly queue ladies.

And for those goggled eyed at the Theo Fennell silver Lip Therapy holder, this too is a limited edition available exclusively from Selfridges online. The price? An eye watering, £260. Put it on your Christmas list, Santa maybe generous!
Limited Edition Crème Brulee Lip Therapy, £2.99 available in store at Selfridges and

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Steamcream gets Spooky

Just had to do a quick posting on Steamcream’s brilliant Halloween tins. Far from bloodcurdling, they have a very smiley and friendly looking ghost on, and the colour combos are great!
Steamcream devotees will know that skin nightmares are swapped for a beauty dream of a cream that’s highly moisturising, and can be used on the face and body. Spellbinding!

£10.50 available from

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Elizabeth Arden's Lip Bling

Every beauty busybody will know about the iconic Eight Hour Cream from Elizabeth Arden, so loved by every model/actress/make-up artist on the planet, but I would like to bring your attention, not to its multi-tasking benefits, but to their dazzling Swarvoski Limited Edition.

For a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it time over the festive season, Arden is bringing champagne cheer with their all starring Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant. Making a starry entrance, it’s decorated with hand-applied clear crystals and has a shimmery 8 perched brightly on the lid. Putting the spark into sparkle, it makes for a real stocking – if not make-up bag thriller. Go buy before they vanish like a magic genie.

Limited Edition Swarovski Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant is £19 and is available from Harrods from the 1st November.

Scented Pleasure

I’ve written about Korres before in this blog, and I don’t apologise for mentioning it again. I slathered myself with their sun factors over the summer, and apart from being well protected, my nose never tired of the lingering fragrance for weeks on end.

So, imagine my delight when I receive a news on the beauty grapevine telling me they are introducing a fresh new scent. An oriental floral namely Vanilla, Freesia and Lychee Eau de Toilette. Untraditional in it’s packaging – there’s no fancy bottle and it’s literally wrapped up in a sturdy, but decorative cardboard box that unfolds. With the clue in the name, the box poetically tells you about the three aromatic ingredients: ‘the vanilla pod is believed to induce dreams of love’, ‘the freesia lasts for days and springs to mind carefree feelings’ and lychee is penned as ‘yesteryear’s delicacy for ancient China’s artistocracy’. But more impressively, it’s a fragrance that has side stepped synethetic non-biodegradable compounds that are widely used and known to cause irritation. 

The ones they avoid are Nitro-Musks and Polycyclic-musks (PCM). These are synthetic aromatic compounds used to ‘mask’ undesirable odours of the formula base, and moreover, linked to a number of skin irritations and bioaccumulation (accumulation of toxic substances). These compounds are also non-biodegradable. The fragrance is also Phthalate free – these are part of a chemical family that has been accused of being highly irritating. They can be absorbed by the skin, giving rise to allergic reactions. For these very reasons I would suggest spritzing with abandonment!

Vanilla Freesia Lychee Eau de Toilette is £24 for 50ml. For stockists call:
0870 850 3868

Friday, 21 October 2011

Elemis's Cocoon Cream

I’m very fussy about body cream. Just like hand cream I want it nourishing, no tacky after feel and smelling delightful or not at all. There’s nothing worse than your body clinging onto a fragrance that gives you a headache. It’s amazing how many just don’t cut the mustard. One that does is Elemis’s Pro-collagen Body Cream. Simple in it’s packaging, it belies the luxury of the cream.

Dubbed an ‘anti-ageing’ treatment cream, it literally cocoons the skin with caring loveliness. Like all of Elemis’s products it has a bit of the exotic about it. Babassu, Castanha and Bilberry oils along with marine extracts are jostling for attention alongside their ground breaking Micro-Lattice Technology to create a ‘body stocking’ effect. I don’t know if my body has been hoisted up, but it certainly makes it look softer, smoother and feel loved and caressed under layers. A winter wonder buy in my beauty book.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Body Cream, £49

Thursday, 20 October 2011

All Eyes on Lauder

Wowser! Estee Lauder is looking bright eyed and bushy tailed this season.
Ahead of the curve when it comes to formulations, I was really excited to dab and play with their Pure Color Gelee Powder Cyber Eyes. Penned as texturally graphic shadows that drench lids in drama, it’s a statement that doesn’t disappoint. You have to touch the shadows to really appreciate their futuristic formulation, but let’s just say, when pressed they feel like a well sprung gym floor! The ‘tribrid’ system is an all-in-one liquid, powder and gel that colour washes the lid effortlessly. Can be used wet or dry (although I prefer to dampen a brush and dip into colour for intensity) and is non-fading, non-flaking, non-creasing and no-nonsense in its application.

Next up is their Sumptuous Extreme Mascara with new, limited edition shades – and boy do they pop! The shades in question are teal, violet and copper. A super sized brush, which far from coating lashes clumsily, applies with the definition of a comb, decorates lashes with a splash of colour. To make shades utterly wearable apply as a second coat over black mascara to give a hint of disco.

Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadow available in six shades at £19 each
Sumptuous Extreme Mascara, £22
Both previewing at Harrods from 31st October and available nationwide from 31st October

Tired and worn looking eyes whether caused by too many late or sleepless nights don’t look good. They can add years to your age and have you grabbing for teaspoons to pop in the fridge to help shrink away puffiness. Lauder’s Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator is genius in its innovation. Drum roll please: it’s a cosmetic industry first thanks to its cooling ceramic tip applicator. I liken the sensation to hot feet walking over a tiled floor. Eyes instantly feel woken up and the next generation Triple Optic Technology makes dark circles brighten up. A great buy for the sleepy eyed.

Idealist Eye Cooling Illuminator is available in light/medium and medium/deep and costs £40


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

does nanoblur work?

That’s what we want to know, right? Much buzz and hype has been surrounding this ‘miracle’ cream that boldly claims you can look up to 10 years younger in 40 seconds. Now, that’s some buy-me-now seduction!

Nanoblur is not marketed as skincare, but as a high technology cosmetic product that gives the appearance of airbrushed skin. It was originally developed to help stars look camera perfect in high definition. An unforgiving medium if ever there was one.

What’s the secret formula?, the Canadian manufacturers of the product sum it up as the suspension of millions and millions (is that zillions?) of particles that reflect light perfectly in billions of directions. This helps make the skin’s surface appear flawless. To be honest, this silicon based technology is nothing new – it’s been harboured in other products, but the marketing is spot on. Using ‘disruptive’ packaging it certainly assaults the eye and begs to be talked about.

So, does the product blur or is it a load of beauty baloney? Fragrance free, light and with a little slip to the fingers, it’s easy to apply, but I can’t say it made me look up to 10 years younger in 40 seconds. On the packaging it reports to immediately reduce the appearance of skin ageing including sagginess, which I would say is a claim too far,  but what I will say is, it did appear to soften the lines on my forehead – nothing miraculously, but certainly noticeable. Apply after make-up as your final prep step.

Nanoblur has a good price point at £19.99 and is available from Boots.

Monday, 17 October 2011

online and on message

It’s always a joy when you come across a website that talks your language, treating you like a well cared for consumer rather than just a credit card number. is one of those joys. An online beauty boutique that specialises in the natural and organic, it describes itself as a beauty destination. And believe me, once you check in and arrive, it’s a place you want to kick off your heels and hang out. With products that run from A to Z – some brands you would have heard of, and others you won’t (it’s always a good sign when sites take time to source more than the familiar), it’s well designed and easy to navigate. But what sets it apart from the rest? Well, for starters, it’s been developed in conjunction with the most experienced and largest nutritional product supplier, The Nutri Centre. And secondly, it tests the efficacy of all its brands, cherry picking ones that are considerately green.

Holly Hope Harper (I’m loving those trio of H’s!), Creative Manager says, “Beauty products that come online at Nutribeauty need to be organic, natural, ethical and chemical free, but all of these things are irrelevant if the product doesn’t actually work. We're happy to only take on one product from a range if the rest of the range has unfriendly chemicals in it or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.” Furthermore, Holly says what really gets her going about a brand will be their ethics. “If they actively try and reduce their carbon footprint, package their products using recyclable and recycled materials, and have a give back scheme worked out with a charity of choice, I end up falling head over heels in love with them – can’t help it!”
Two brands I have never rubbed shoulders with, but am loving the products are Viridian – their Ultimate Beauty Oil, £34 is a balanced source of essential fatty acids you can dress salads with, pop into a smoothie or simply just take from the spoon. And Suti Rejuvenate Organic Facial Oil, £28 smells delicious, sinks into the skin something wonderful to help promote skin cell growth, and call me shallow, but looks gorgeous.

One last thing: check out ‘ask the experts’ page where there are cutesy illustrations introducing their beauty diva, fashionista, nutritionist and fitness guru. Just simply email them a question and they’ll get back to you. Beauty, wellbeing and good advice all from the click of a mouse.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

gloss and grin with bourjois


Teeth whitening seems to have become an intrinsic part of our beauty grooming regime along with eyebrow threading and regular facials. But professional teeth whitening can be timely, costly and in some cases make your toothy pegs sensitive. Those clever and beauty obsessed people at Bourjois have the answer.

Their innovative new Smile Enhancing Gloss is double ended, whereby one end works as a gel, giving a zingy immediate tooth brightening effect and on the other, a lip gloss that is formulated to enhance the brightness of your teeth. Tasting not unlike minty toothpaste, the gel is painted onto the teeth – it’s kind on enamel, and is loaded with brightening agents for instant smile power. The gloss is formulated with white focus pigments to enhance tooth whiteness. The great thing about this handy handbag number is your smile looks natural. We’ve all seen celebrities whose teeth are unnaturally white which has the habit of overshadowing the glow from the complexion. With a double slick of this little baby your smile will look naturally and camera pretty.

Smile Enhancing Gloss available in six shades. £8.99 each

fragrant fancies


I love the romance of fragrance – from the promises the juice holds channelled through luxury advertising campaigns, through to the creatively designed bottles. There’s little doubt that fragrance can take you on a personal journey – who doesn’t remember their first perfume? But when it comes to conveying the seduction of scent through words, it can be tricky. Like watching Masterchef, John and Gregg have to string as many adjectives together as possible, along with making yummy looking faces to try and communicate the true culinary skills they are experiencing. It’s the same with fragrance. Without scratch and sniff computers, describing a scent can come across as incredibly flowery and fey. Really, the only way to decide whether you like it is seek it and spray it, which is why I’m more interested in the back story of the fragrance when writing about it.


The two fragrances that have recently landed on my desk certainly have a history or two to tell. Firstly, there’s new Angel Eau de Toilette. Now, the ‘old’ Angel was launched in 1992 and introduced a new olfactory trend. With a combination of praline and chocolate sweetness it was hailed as the first oriental gourmand. You either loved it or hated it. Nearly 20 years on and Eva Mendes fronts the new Angel. A friend of mine, who adores the old Angel, describes this fragrance as altogether quieter. “It’s less of a statement,” she says, “but certainly prettier and fresher.” And she’s right. It’s certainly more carefree in flavour with the aroma of pink fruits nestling softly on the skin. As the original Angel summed up the go-getting spirit of the 90’s, Angel’s new fragrant awakening is a karmic and sexy smelling scent that wraps up the mood of today.  
Angel Eau de Toilette Refillable Spray 40ml, £46

Clink, clink as we tap virtual champagne flutes. The second fragrance is the limited edition Aromatics Elixir Perfumer’s Reserve which celebrates its 40th anniversary – and middle youth has never smelt so good! Firstly, the bottle is beautiful. A chic, embossed amber tinted, brown glass flacon with a decanter style stopper. A true dressing table desirable. Launched in 1971 – the era of the feminist, it’s been described as the scent of a woman with the world at her feet. Olfactory empowerment indeed! Although rarely advertised since its launch – and possibly for that reason, it’s become a cult fragrance, and over the past 10 years alone over 19 million flacons have been sold globally. Uncompromising in its delivery, it’s a delicate fragrance with a masculine underbelly. Top notes of verbena and chamomile mingle with base notes of sandalwood and oakmoss. In today’s modern beauty world of flighty celebrity fragrances, it really is wonderful to have a vintage fragrance that stands the spritz of time.
Aromatics Elixir Perfume’s Reserve, 25ml, £80. And Aromatics Elixir Perfume Spray, 100ml, £60.    

Friday, 7 October 2011

Dolce&Gabbana's sensuous sparkle

When it comes to luxe and sparkle who are designers that spring to mind? Well, I’m guessing Dolce&Gabbana would be on your list. The more than fabulous duo that make high glamour look easy peasy. Not many of us could argue we need more make-up, but somehow, with the introduction of their Precious Stones Collection, you’ll find yourself compelled to buy.

For too long it seemed make-up was poles apart from what was actually happening on the catwalk, but these days, cosmetics giants are increasingly stepping up to and complementing what’s on-trend in terms of textures and colours. Designers are increasingly putting themselves forward as the whole top-to-toe package, including having designs on your maquillage.

Dolce&Gabbana’s signature style is decadent and voluptuous, so you wouldn’t expect any less from their cosmetics. In collaboration with the influential British make-up artist Pat McGrath – who has been quoted as saying she’s inspired by fabrics she sees, along with colours in catwalk collections, it’s a collection that’s rich with jewel shades, capturing the passion of the designers’ Sicilian roots. “Imagine a girl gazing into a jewellery box and the reflected glow of all those gem stones and precious metals, the way they cast light, bringing luminosity to the skin,” says Pat. “Well, that’s exactly what we’re doing with the make-up.”

Once you get past the seduction of the packaging, my two favourites – or jewels in the crown, from the collection is the Eyeshadow Quad in Jewels, £36.50. These are incredibly wearable colours, which can be applied as lightly as desired, or layered or dampened to build up on the intensity. The highlighter expertly catches the light if applied just under the brow, or in the corner of the eye. And the classic cream lipstick in Purple Pearl, £22 is just bewitching. Softer than a red, but just as punchy, it looks striking if the rest of the face is left almost bare.

Dolce&Gabbana Make Up Holiday Collection is available exclusively at Harrods and

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

eyes most dramatic

Although personally not a great dabbler with eyeshadows, I do appreciate the skill of a well made over eye, and for that reason I love these five new cutesy Blingtone shades from myface.cosmetics. They’re just so pretty. I like to think of them as cosmetics answer to Laudree’s macaroons!
Smudgy, sheeny eyes are hot, hot, hot and their eye math really works: a crushed pearl formula, mixed with on-message colours that mingle together and give a sexy wet-looking shine. Kay Montano, superlative make-up artist and myface.cosmetics creative director reveals that no one else has a formula like this. “The balance of pearl and pigment is unparalleled,” she says. After sweeping across my lids, I can vouch that they’re easy breezy to wear and gorgeous to apply. They also don’t crease into the eye socket as the day wears on.
Here Kay gives some of her secret eye recipes to give your make-up a new edge.
·        Conceal first in the cove of the eye, and then the outer edge using an upwards tick motion - this lifts the eyes and stops them from appearing 'heavy' when applying shadow.
·        Always apply metallic shadow with your fingertips as the particles will lie more flat and become more light reflective.
·        Build your colour gradually. Blingtones are made using a special binding oil meaning that it has an amazing wet look effect over the lid. To create more intensity, apply a darker shade like black ice onto the outer corners of the eyes and into the lash line.
Blingtone eyeshadows, £9.99 each available at Boots and