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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Bobbi's stocking thrillers

‘Tis the season of the make-up palette. Leading up to Christmas every colour imaginable is pored into a palette. Some not so good, others okay and some brilliant with tonal colours and textures thought out to the nth degree. Bobbi Brown’s Gift Giving Collection are palettes of perfection.

Expertly edited, Bobbi has ensured there’s no colour that goes unused in her palettes. The star player is her Twilight Pink Lip & Eye Palette, £59. A double decker compact that keeps lips and eyes looking glam and gorgeous all season long. Pick ‘n’ mix with 10 eye shades and four super pretty lip shades. Or, you could ditch the lips and chose the £37 Eye Shadow Palettes with an assortment of nude to rich shades in cool and warm tones.  For eyes that literally want to sparkle, check out the Sequin Shimmer Brick Eye Palette, £34.50. Flip it open to reveal 10 perfect non-crepey shimmery sjhades from silver to golden tones. Just beautiful. And, talking of shimmery, her seasonal limited edition Nude Glow Shimmer Brick, £35 gives skin a sheer dusting of luxury gold and bronze shades. Whether you gift or self-gift, there’s little doubt anyone will be left standing alone under the mistletoe! 

Bobbi Brown's Holiday Gift Giving Collection is in stores now or available from

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Candle love

Candles, cushions and chocolates makes ones home feel loved and special. If you’re anything like me, you indulge and surround yourself with all three at once!  My candle pick at the moment is Aromatherapy Associates Revive Candle with Grapefruit & Petitgrain. The scent is wonderfully uplifting – especially good at the end of a dead-on-your-feet kind of day, or if you’re burning the candles at both ends. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist that one! The combo of these sharp and zesty oils smells fresh and pure, giving you over 40 hours burn time. Made from the highest quality soy wax they don’t leave light walls smudged and smoky, and it goes without saying the aroma hasn’t got a whiff of the synthetic about it. The packaging is gorgeous too, so makes for a nice thinking about you gift.

Aromatherapy Associates Revive Candle costs £34

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Skincare goes urban

If you read my blog regularly, you will know I’m a bit of a skin-centric. I’m just a sucker for any formulations that professes to plump, perk and pamper. All of those three things can usually be found in a mask. And I collect skin masks like a squirrel hoards nuts. To me they are an instant rejuvenator, and unlike a moisturiser, you actually take time to apply it, which makes it feel more like a pampering treatment rather than a quick slap and tickle.

Sampar is probably a brand that doesn’t sound too familiar, and that’s because it’s just been launched in the UK via Paris. Known for its trouble shooting approach to urban skin, the pretty packaging belies its arsenal.  Take their So Much To Dew Midnight Mask at £34. In a ballerina pink tube complete with integral brush (nice touch) it has the power to dermoregulate the skin’s hydration levels thanks to its Smart Hydrating Complex and Hyaluronic Acid Capsules. Apply just before bed and keep on.  If skin is dehydrated, then it will sink in quickly – it’s actually very light and more like a moisturiser in texture than a mask, so there’s no risk of staining the pillow. It smells delicious too.  Sleep and rinse upon waking. Skin looks fresh and boosted. This mask is brilliant for transitional skin, just as it’s adjusting from autumn to winter and in need of some extra TLC.  C’est maqnifique!

The Sampur skincare line is available from and

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Box clever skin

Alpha-H is what I term an insider’s skincare brand. It’s not mass market, but if your skin IQ is sky scraper high, you will know that it’s a cosmeceutical skincare line that kicks some ass when needed. A QVC sellout and expert favourite, their Skin Loving Vitamins is a catch-all box created for middle-youth skin. Such a better phrase than mature don’t you think?!

Anyway, it’s not stop the press new in terms of containing the antioxidants vitamin of A C and E, but they come in a different guise - super surged serums. It’s also a top scoring introduction to topical vitamins which have the power to recharge, revive and replenish your complexion. Use everyday, or as and when your skin needs them. Here’s the alphabetical lowdown for ACE looking skin:

Vitamin A: A go-to-bed night time regenerating serum for skin that feels high and dry. Vitamin A is released to gradually increase cell renewal and up hydration levels. A smoother and firmer complexion can be yours upon waking.

Vitamin C: Powerful and intensive that also boasts the moisture magnet hyaluronic acid, and grape seed for pigmented skin. Regular use can improve the plight of age spots.

Vitamin E: The ‘ER’ of the serums which helps reduce inflammation as well as speeding up the healing process of post-acne scarring. Great for any skin trauma – excellent for the aftermath redness caused by the criminal act of squeezing a spot!


Alpha-H Skin Loving Vitamins costs £49.50

Tria on trial

I don’t do Botox. I don’t do fillers. But I have thought of laser. Quite a bit!  Why? Because my skin has banked quite a few summer holidays over the decades, and a few Jackson Pollock splodges have made an unwelcome appearance. And as for my collagen, everybody knows it starts losing its youthful bounce after the age of 25, and even more painfully a decade or two later. Why laser appeals is because it’s a non-invasive treatment. It uses a broad spectrum of pulsed light that penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate the cells beneath the surface. There’s no jabbing with syringes or penetration of toxins, plus  you don’t run the risk of pillow cheeks.  I’ve seen people that have had laser treatments and I’ve envied their seemingly fresh looking complexion.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to try Tria’s Skin Rejuvenating Laser at home, I said yes faster than the speed of light. This is how far technology has come. You can now be your own DIY dermatologist. At a price. It’s £450, so it’s not cheap, but to look at it another way, it works out at around the cost of four high-end facials, or a couple of Botox or filler treatments. And let’s face it, if results are reaped, great looking skin is priceless.

Easy to use, you simple charge, cleanse and dry your face in the evening and run the hand held appliance with the laser light flat onto the skin over your cheeks, chin and forehead. It’s foolproof. You receive an instructional DVD for those that can be bothered to read through the booklet and there’s an advice line to call if you need any reassurance. I called it; there was a lovely lady at the other end who had knew everything about the device. Oh, and you have to register it online or by phone so you can activate it.

This story is to be continued. I’ve been using for just a few days, on the lowest setting. Next week I will increase the level, but it’s advised you use it for 8 weeks nightly with the best results occurring a few weeks after the full course. You then give your skin a 4 week break to allow maximum cellular and collagen regeneration, and then you start again. Watch this space!

Visit online for more details

Sunday, 6 October 2013

A pot of dreams

A cream that you apply at night and wake up looking younger maybe wishful thinking, but formulations are becoming ever smarter. Take Darphin’s Ideal Resource Overnight Cream. It’s said to give a re-birth to skin during the twilight hours. Formulated with 80% natural ingredients, it gets to work by enhancing the skin’s own night time mechanisms to revive lost radiance and perfect skin texture.

As you prepare for bed mentally, so does your skin.  Darphin recognizes that day time skin works hard to protect itself from the daily attacks, but once the clock strikes mid-night – or thereabouts! It switches into recovery mode. In fact, night time skin’s regeneration process is three times faster than during the day. It’s more porous and therefore more receptive to the benefits of essentials oils and other powerful ingredients. So to skip a night cream would be foolhardy.

I’ve worn night creams in the past that have kept me awake. I kid you not. One was so strong in fragrance it kept me tossing and turning all night and my husband deemed it a passion killer it stunk that much! I can happily report this one has no such effect. It’s lightly scented with neroli essential oil, one of the creams key ingredients which is known for its calming benefits. For its radiance boosting appeal, salicylic acid and acetyglucosamine are used to help improve cell renewal by sloughing away dead cells. I’m not saying you way up looking 10 years younger – that would be a dream too far, but skin certainly looks fresher and ready to face the day.

Darphin Ideal Resource Overnight Cream is suitable for all skin and costs £52.
Available from November

Friday, 4 October 2013

The twist and shout about it mascara

If there is one thing outside Breaking Bad I’m obsessed with, it’s mascara.  I’m always searching for The Holy Grail.  I’m very, very fussy. The application has to be incredibly black and just the right side of normal. I don’t like clumpy, false looking lashes that appear to be creeping half-way down your cheekbone. Neither do I have patience with a mascara that does very little except tickle the lashes, giving no eye appeal.

A couple of years ago mascaras got a little OTT. They whizzed, they whirled, they vibrated and did the can-can (okay, I made that one up!) but you can see where I’m coming from, so when I was introduced to Bourjois Twist up the Volume, I thought, ‘just another gimmick.’ I was wrong – it’s fabulous. A 2-in-1 brush you twist up from the top of the lid into two positions. The first position gives lash-by-lash length. Mascara is evenly applied to lashes over their entire length and the separate bristles give eye popping definition. The second position is for volume. Twist and the brush becomes bigger. It coats the smallest of lashes and super sizes them without looking ridiculous. Intense and black, once wearing lashes look bewitching. I suggest you set your sights on one!

Bourjois Twist up the Volume Mascara available in classic and a 24 hour waterproof version.
Costs £10.99 and available from this month.