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Friday, 28 September 2012

Eau de Fashionista

I have a girl crush on Stella McCartney. She hangs out with the cool crowd.  She has a sense of humour – did anyone catch her on the Olympic sofa talking to Gary Linekar about designing Tom Daley’s micro swimming trunks? She designs great clothes and effortlessly works her brand without looking like a walking clothes horse. Her designs are out of my budget I’m afraid, although I do own a pair of her knickers! So, the next best thing for me has to be her fashionista Eau de Parfums.

Stella's Print Collection really does put the fashion into fragrance - lets call it the FFROW (fragrance front row!) The vintage inspired designs consist of three very collectable 30ml bottles that fit snugly into the palm of your hand. Each one wears a striking geometric print from the Stella McCartney 2012 Summer Collection. In fact, it’s hard to single one out as a favourite, they’re all so lovely.

The juice is just as captivating as the designs. Stella is a lover of rose, so each scent bottles its delicate essence along with mandarin, peony and amber. I love the fact you can just throw them in your handbag, much like a lipstick and spritz when you feel in need of a beauty bounce back!

Stella Print Collection available nationwide at £38 each for 30ml  

Monday, 24 September 2012

Anna Sui's Fairy Dance

Although Anna Sui’s Fairy Dance  launched in August, I think it’s a great fragrance to earmark as a gift for the Christmas build-up. Yes, it may only be September, but as mince pies are already in my supermarket, my guess is that festivity lists are being made!

Anna Sui has a strong hold in the fragrance market, this American fashion designer who has been named as one of the top 5 fashion icons of the decade, first launched her fragrance and cosmetic line in 1999. Since then she’s been building a solid reputation for her collectable off-beat packaging and design. 

In keeping with her adorable kookiness, Fairy Dance whisks your senses off into a fantasy garden with sparkling and sweet notes of tangerine, mango and pink pepper. At its heart is the rose, one of Anna’s favourite blooms which is balanced by peony and bamboo. The whole experience is one of scented joy from the all-shades-of-pink pretty packaging to the fairy perching on the bottle’s stopper. A real dressing table desirable, it just begs you to find your inner Tinkerbell.

Fairy Dance Eau de Toilette start from £26 for 30ml available exclusively from Debenhams.    

Clinique's new Chubby Sticks


Just thought I’d give all you Chubby Stick Chasers – of which there are many, the heads up on their new Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms.  Chubby Sticks have become the make-up bag must-have since  launching, but to make lips ever more licious, Clinique have created a fuller coverage formula. Clever them!

These all-performing lip crayons now offer the benefits of a moisturising lip balm using a blend of decadent butters, oils and antioxidants. Shea butter, mango seed butter and jojoba seed oil all party together to deliver your best ever slick to lips. With on-the-hop quick application, stay-true colour and strong, buildable coverage, the formulation conspires to make eyes focus on full and kissable lips. What’s not to love?


The newest lip recruits come in eight new shades too including Curviest Caramel, Plushest Punch and Grandest Grape.  Oh, and I love the names – just too tempting to scoop them all!

Clinique’s Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms are £16 each and launch nationwide from mid November.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bourjois flirt with falsies

Can false lashes get any funkier? Going out without your falsies these days is equivalent to to wearing no knickers. You just feel naked! Eyes feel anything but naked with the new high-rolling Faux & Fabulous range from Bourjois.

Aligned with the new season’s trends, their first wave of lash-licious styles are suitably called Rock Chic, Smoky Eyes, Lady in Black, More Volume and Miss Couture. Idiot proof to apply and reusable, precise and quick application turns you into a lash professional with their Faux and Fabulous 2-in-1 Tweezers. The wide and curved shape at the end offers a strong grip to securely hold the lash, and at the opposite end it’s a soft angled tip so you can gently press the lash along your lash line.


My favourite lash – as fittingly fluttered by Rachael is Miss Couture.  For this style Bourjois have collaborated with Paperself – the world’s leading wearable paper art lashes brand to create a fashionista lace design.  Surely the term eye opener must have been made for this striking effect.


Faux & Fabulous lashes start from £5.99 with Miss Couture retailing at £10.99.
2-in-1 Tweezers are £3.49.
Available from Boots, Superdrug and

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Skin's vital saviour


Short nights + busy days = fatigued skin. Does the math sound familiar? Much like your body, when skin is tired it looks pooped before the party has even started. In otherwords it lacks energy levels, meaning your glow factor is sufficiently dimmed. To up your skin wattage, Darphin have introduced Vitalskin. Much like sending your complexion to bootcamp, it helps combat the skin’s recovery rate and maintain a high level of skin energy.

The Darphin skin boffin have been busy in their R&D department, harnessing botanical complexes that act as veritable energy activators to support that much eluded skin state called vitality. There are two products in the range – an Anti-fatigue and Hydrating Serum and an Energizing and Hydrating Emulsion. I have only tried the emulsion and very pleasing it is too! Infused with notes of mandarin, rose and jasmine it peps up the senses before it even reaches the skin – always a good thing, and the texture is lightweight and easily absorbed. After regular and daily use, my skin definitely looked more pinky and perky.

Results speak for themselves too. Darphin recruited ‘very tired’ women between the ages of 25 to 45 with 81% of women saying their skin lacked vitality. After only seven days, with use of both products, 63% felt their skin was full of vitality. After 28 days, an impressive 96% felt their skin was full of vitality. Now, we just need that bottled top-to-toe!

Vitalskin Anti-fatigue and Hydrating Serum, £49
Vitalskin Energizing and Hydrating Emulsion, £39

It's the braid-y bunch!

The plait or braid has grown-up. No longer just for the school yard, the braid is having a very big fashion moment. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Cat Deeley and Scarlet Johansson are spearheading the trend, literally giving their hair a whole new twist.

FOUR London have caught onto this hair movement and opened up their brand new Braid Bar. Your style need never hang loose again! Whether it’s vintage twists or flared out plaits, Neha and Amy are your go-to girls at the salon for hair that wants to do a twirl. A youth inducing style without looking overly cute, there’s a braid style for all hair types, and if length dictates otherwise, then they can fake it for you. For visual inspiration you can view their image library on before making an appointment.

The FOUR London Braid Bar offers two services:
Express Service for those who want a lunch time braid. You should come with clean hair and no conditioner or product applied. £35-£45.    
Full Braiding Service that incudes wash, blow-dry and braiding. £55-£70.

FOUR London, 62 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 3GBT
Tel: 020 7297 9600

Friday, 14 September 2012

Smash(box). Bang. Make-up wallop!

For those in the make-up know, the cult Californian brand Smashbox will be part of your beauty vocabulary. Now snapped up and living under the Estee Lauder umbrella, for those who don’t know, trust me, it will be a word mouthed on your glossy lips very soon thanks to its UK re-launch.

There’s nothing like a brand with a back story. One with an energetic thread and inspirational beginnings. This one kick-starts with Smashbox Studios being founded in 1990 by Dean and Davis Factor, the great grandsons of Hollywood make-up supremo Max Factor. Fast turning into a modern day image factory, it was a hub of creativity, spotlighting exciting new talent in both photographers and their starlet subjects. Riding on the coat-tails of the studio, in 1996 Smashbox Cosmetics was founded. The sell behind it was to create a range that solved the same problems at home that were solved in the studio. “If it works in the crazy demanding studio environment, it will work in the real word,” said Davis.

Smashbox Cosmetics was a success. Obviously! Professional make-up artists loved it – these ingenious products are now ever more relevant with high definition television and film picking up every misbehaved pore, and the fact we can apply this perfection at home makes them no-brainer beauty buys.

Hero products hailed by the good and the glamorous are their Photo Finish Foundation Primers (from £25) that work as your skin’s perfect canvas, the O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Colour (£21) – this is one of my personal favourites too. A clear gel, it reacts with your skin chemistry turning cheeks the colour you blush when you’ve been up to something naughty! And Photoset Finishing Powder (£29) – white in colour, this oil mopping powder goes on smooth to set a flawless complexion. Paps, train your lenses as we’re ready for our up-close photo moment!

Smashbox Cosmetics is now available on and

A slick of hair love

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I’m always banging on about oils, whether they are for face, nails or feet. Quite simply I believe these molecules of transformation cut to the chase, penetrating deeper to areas that need attention for unmatched results.
My recent new discovery on the oil front is for the hair. I’m not new to  hair oils, I reviewed Jo Hansford’s one the other week, but this one looked rather special. It’s called rare blend oil Total Hair Therapy and comes from the Ojon stable whose products I am rather partial to. Their main buzz is their unique and hard-working ingredients. This new introduction manages some major juggling of seven natural oils. The Super Seven are all reparative oils sourced globally to help turn fatigued hair into something fabulous. From Ojon’s signature oil through to Tahitin Monoi oil that instantly reveals shine, Marula oil from the drought resistant Manula tree in south-western Africa and the unheard-of-unless-you-know-it Ximenia oil used by South African women to condition their hair and skin, they all work synergistically to enliven, invigorate and nurture hair.

Smelling delicious and exotic, shake and use as a daily treatment on damp hair as a protective treatment or on dry as a finishing product. You can double-up as long as you don’t overdose on application. It really is Ojon’s crowning glory.

Ojon Total Hair Therapy costs £29 and is available from QVC in September and Harrods, John Lewis and Fenwick from October.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Givenchy's fleur fatale

Captivating. Sensual. Dangerous. Givenchy’s new fragrance can be described as all of these things in both spirit and smell.  The first juice developed under Riccardo Tisci their creative director for womenswear and haute couture, it’s set to make its olfactory mark.

As one of fashion’s most feted designers, Riccardo’s imagination knows no limits, and like most creatives is only reigned in to fall in line with commerciality. This priceless commodity was delved into by Givenchy's chosen nose to achieve a fantasized fragrance.  Dahlia Noir is an imaginary blossom, which in the mind of Riccardo becomes ink black, onyx black, recalling black velvet or black chiffon. Known for his fascination for Gothic touches through his designs, it's positioned both in its advertising and its combining of tough with soft notes - including rose, iris, patchouli and tonka bean to a ‘fragile strength.’ I see this fragrance as a akin to wearing a pretty floral dress with biker boots. Feminine, very modern but with a mysterious edge. A woman that knows her own mind.

With its sleek and strong bottle wrapped up in sorbet pink outer packaging it’s a fragrance that could be said to be the dark side of angelic. Go try.

Givenchy’s Dahlia Noir starts from £42 for 30m.
STOCKIST NUMBER: 01932 233 824

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bobbi's brand new girl



This week I tweeted that Katie Holmes has been announced as the new face of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, so I thought I’d follow it up with the full blown beauty story.

Fresh out of a highly publicised divorce – I needn’t say who with, the big question was, ‘What Katie will do next?’ We now have the answer. Collaborating with Bobbi Brown as the brand’s first-ever celebrity face, it could be seen as a case of a break-over make-over! Here’s a short interview with Bobbi on her smart decision making if the press picture is anything to go by. Who wouldn’t want to emulate Katie’s fresh, confident and timeless look?

What is the reason you decided to sign a celebrity face to represent Bobbi Brown Cosmetics now?
I look at this a bit differently. I never set out to find a celebrity face, I hired a woman who just so happens to be a celebrity.  Katie and I met through a mutual friend and instantly clicked.  We’re both girls from the Midwest, entrepreneurs, and mothers who live multidimensional lives.  It was nice to find out that we had so much in common.  We started to talk about ways to work together on her upcoming show, and that is when it clicked and I thought she would be the perfect person to represent my brand.  Katie reminds me of a modern day Ali McGraw, who I admired growing up. She is a classic beauty with a sparkle in her eye and a smile that lights up a room. She is beautiful without trying to be.    


What about Katie Holmes made her a good fit for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics?
One of my favorite beauty icons of all time is Ali McGraw who is beautiful without trying to be.  When I met Katie Holmes she instantly reminded me of Ali – a natural beauty that I can relate to.  She embodies the modern Bobbi Brown Cosmetics woman: confident, down to earth, positive spirit, beautiful inside and out.  I love how Katie Holmes is a real woman –who juggles a career, supports her community through her charity “Dizzy Feet” and is a doting mother. 

How do you see your relationship with Katie Holmes evolving over the next year?
Next week, I look forward to working together on creating the beauty looks for her Spring 2013 fashion show for her and stylist Jeanne Yang’s “Holmes & Yang” line.  I’ve been a fan of the brand for its simple, clean lines that enhance a woman’s shape.  Next, we will be shooting the brand’s spring ad campaign with Katie Holmes in New York City. 





Friday, 7 September 2012

Shop until you beauty drop


Shopping for beauty should be an exciting experience, never feeling like a chore or mundane, which is why concepts such as Space NK which launched back in 1993 has been such a bounding success.


Walking into the new shopping space that is BeautyMART on the third floor of Harvey Nichols brings on a very excitable feeling. It brings the feeling of discovering a new product that will somersault your life – or at least your beauty routine. The beauty brainchild of Millie Kendall and Anna-Marie Solowij, these are two women with impeccable beauty pedigrees. Millie introduced Shu Uemura into the UK back-in-the-day along with creating her own brand, Ruby & Millie and Anna-Marie is the former beauty director of British Vogue. A passion for everything beauty combined with business savvy is a pretty dangerous weapon to behold!

Looking around this retail space it’s easy to get carried away. Colours are riotous with stations for lips and nails, eyes and face that are adorned with products that just beg to be played with. Shelves are stacked with old school classics such as Anne French jostling for space alongside Paul & Joe make-up, Astalift skincare and Tangle Teezer hairbrushes. There are also brands you have probably never heard of but you know are just part of the cool and the good.


“There’s no school to tell you about cosmetics,” says Millie, “we both went on gut instincts when it came to editing and what we thought people would like.” With 101 brands and near to 6,000 products this is some expert edit. They don’t put anything on their shelves they don’t believe in and there’s no price snobbery here. Mass market names such as Bourjois and Revlon show-pony, although not complete lines. Just the hero products for these beauty two-some. In fact, the whole philosophy is very much like cherry picking from the pages of a magazine. The concept is arresting and different, “I’ve been developing brands for 15 years but it’s nice to finally put products that I love in an environment that’s my vision. I’m a shop girl at heart having (Millie was actually filling shelves as I was interviewing her) launched Shu Uemura at Harvey Nichols and it feels like coming home,” says Millie. With well edited stock, relaxed browsing and insider staff, I’m sure a lot of beauty junkies will be making it their second home anytime soon.

 BeautyMART is now open in Harvey Nichols.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Life's beautiful with Lancome

As mentioned many times on this blog, it’s hard to translate a fragrance into words. Yes, you can list the top, heart and base notes to try and give an olfactory imprint, but it’s the spirit of a fragrance that comes across better on a page and in visuals.

Lancôme understands the scent psychology with their new fragrance La vie est belle – or Life is beautiful. They reveal that fragrance is more than a scent, a bottle, or a dream, it represents a conviction. Their new fragrance is giving the olfactory message of empowerment, allowing women to break free of imposed standards of possessions and homogenised appearances, and in turn, encouraging us to be ourselves by filling our life with beauty on our terms. And who better to play this strong emotional role than Julia Roberts. Chosen for her mega-watt and genuine looking smile, she symbolizes the freedom to choose our own path leading to happiness. To give a cinematic impression of the fragrance have a peak at the behind-the-scenes shoot journal. It captures chandeliers, pink roses, along with a stunning, wish-making dress worn by Ms Roberts. I won’t explain the thread of the story – I’m sure you can work it out for yourselves here:
As for the juice itself, three masters of French perfumery combined their talents to compose a fragrance that contains almost half natural ingredients. Described as ‘shadow and light’ you really have to spritz to appreciate this multi-layered rich, sparkly and feminine fragrance.

La vie est belle is available to buy from this week and costs £56 for 50ml

Lee's electric!



When you’re invited to spend time with a leading hairstylist to get the heads up (excuse the pun!) on their latest range, it’s either at their salon or a fancy pants hotel for chat and canapés. Not so for hairdressing’s very own rock ‘n’ roller, Lee Stafford. It was a meet and greet at his crib in Soho. That’s what I like about Lee Stafford, his personal touch and the confidence to invite people into his inner sanctum.  What you see is what you get with Lee - friendly, cheeky and hands-on with his brand.  Upon knocking on his apartment door, he opened it himself with plenty of fashion kisses and catch-up chat. Lee then promptly sat me down alongside a small gathering of beauty journalists to tell us about his new Electricals Range over freshly cooked bacon and sausage sandwiches. Beats a canapé any day!
Having wielded blow-driers, straighteners and everything in-between  for the last 25 years, Lee knows a thing or two about serious hair management. Nobody wakes up with gorgeous looking hair – it has to be mastered and manipulated! With 20 haircare products all with a hot pink gloss finish (what else?) to tempt, Lee’s mission is to find a solution to our everyday hair styling problems, as well as introducing new techniques to give your style some serious up-swing.


The Chopstick Styler, £29.99 is one go-get appliance that got us girls in a tizzy! Giving a Donna Summer 70’s disco vibe, it allows you to create wild corkscrew curls. Lee demonstrated on a doll’s head and it looked easy peasy. Simply take sections of hair and wind around the ceramic coated barrel. Lee reveals it would take about 45 minutes to do a full head with the effect lasting for a good few days. Another one of his hero must-tries is My Big Fat Root Boosting Brush, £34.99. Selling as a hands-free brush, it’s his secret weapon to helping you create a salon quality blow-dry at home. The large 50mm brush delivers volume and shape, whilst the boar bristles help to impart shine.  As for me, I’m always searching for the perfect straighteners and I think I’ve found them in Poker Straight Digital Irons, £79.99. Ultra light to hold, the ceramic plates leave hair looking silky instead of fried, furthermore I have control with the digital temperate control. Automatically shutting off after an hour for safety – I can be a bit scattered brain about switching these darn things off, my only grumble would be the cord could be longer for flexibility. But whether you want to crimp, curl, twirl, twist, lift or flick there’s not a thing these hot new electrical babies can’t do!

The Lee Stafford Electricals range is available from major high street retailers including Argos, Comet and Superdrug nationwide.