October, 2012

Oct 12

YSL Beauty Christmas 2012: Boréal Palette Arctic Night

The limited edition YSL Boréal Palette Arctic Night make up palette was inspired by the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. The Creative Director at Yves Saint Laurent Beauty said they moved him to “create this collection of intense colours, shot through with violet and midnight blue and sprinkled with slivers of pearl, like a star-filled night.”

YSL beauty

As you’d expect from YSL, the packaging is beautiful and even the pouch the eye shadow palette comes with is just too nice to languish in your make up bag. It was inspired by vintage YSL dresses!

The colours work perfectly with brown skins and they can be applied wet for a more intense look. I wore them dry for a special occasion and they had great staying power. As I don’t usually wear such vibrant colours they garnered me a lot of ‘don’t your eyes look pretty’ type comments.

YSL Beauty

Lloyd Simmonds, Creative Director at Yves Saint Laurent Beauty says “there are many ways to use the Boréal Palette Arctic Night: create a smoky plum halo around the eyes with a touch of frosty blue at the inner corners, or apply the midnight blue in a smoky line along the upper lash line and sculpt a shadow in the hollows under the brow bone.”

These aren’t colours I would wear every day but for a special occasion they are perfect and they feel lovely against the skin. Get the palette as a gift for yourself or for a special someone in your life. She will love you forever for it!

YSL Pure Chromatics Collector – Christmas 2012 – £39.50

Oct 12

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

If like me, you are mother to one or more little ones, you quite possibly feel like you are always washing something. A food covered face, a grazed knee or the endless supply of IKEA plastic bowls and cutlery they seem to get through.

As a result, your nail varnish rarely lasts more than a couple of days and your hands are often looking dry.

I’ve tried lots of hand creams in my time but have recently come across a skincare winner: L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream for dry skin. It contains a whopping 20% shea butter as well as honey, almond extracts and coconut oil which combine to make the most moisturising yet non greasy hand cream I have ever come across. It has a very light fragrance so won’t mask your perfume or leave an overpowering smell behind.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

I keep a tube of the award winning cream next to the kitchen sink so it’s on hand (pardon the pun) each time I wash the dishes, rinse a fruit or decontaminate a little pair of hands.

Its neat size (75ml) means it is travel friendly and so it can help combat the aeroplane’s moisture sapping atmosphere. I think it would also make a great gift.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream – £18.50/75 ml.

Oct 12

Beauty Finds Of The Week: S5, Terre D’Oc & this works

I’ve been feeling rather holistic this week and wanted to treat myself to some new natural beauty products.

S5 Purity Serum – £44 30ml
This 100% natural skincare serum is meant for those with blemish prone skin (me unfortunately). Blemishes are generally a sign that the skin out of balance and this serum tries to restore its equilibrium. I’ve been using it day and night (2-3 drops at a time) after cleansing and toning and it has a very light feel on the skin; almost weightless. After 7 days my complexion feels and looks brighter.

Terre D’Oc Massage & Care Body Oil – £22.95 100ml
This multi purpose oil can be used on the skin and/or hair or added to your bath water if your skin is in need of some extra moisturising. Among the oil’s ingredients is baobab oil. Baobab oil contains vitamins A, E, D and F which helps to rejuvenate dry and tired skin. I used the oil after a bath and although it sounds like it should be heavy, it was very light and surprisingly non greasy. It sinks into the skin quickly and easily and is good for those with skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

this works clean skin 5-in-1 water – £21 200ml
I’ll be honest; I was rather sceptical about this cleansing water. The premise is that you don’t need to use a separate cleanser, toner or eye make up remover; just gently wipe everything away with this one product – no water required. I find cleansing wipes a tad drying and don’t like the tight feeling my skin has afterwards but that wasn’t the case with this works clean skin 5 in 1. It really does remove everything and your skin feels great afterwards. I think it is perfect to throw in your case when your other half whisks you off on a romantic getaway (hint hint Mr 32 Boroughs), or if you can’t be bothered with your usual skincare routine. It too is made up of 100% natural ingredients.

Will you be giving any of these a try?

Oct 12

Fashion Find Of The Week: Accessorize Pansy and Lace Clutch

This gorgeous clutch is very much high street (Accessorize – £32) but I think it has a definite fashion designer style to it. I’m having visions of Alexander McQueen.


Accessorize – £32


Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2012

It’s definitely only for special occasions as it doesn’t really hold much more than your phone, debit card and lip gloss but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. The large embroidered flowers make a real style statement and I’ve been using it to jazz up my LBD (little black dress) or to add a bit of glam to jeans, heels and an lace top.

What do you think of my latest find?

Oct 12

Beauty Finds Of The Week: YSL, Clarins & Toni & Guy

This week I tried YSL’s new foundation, a natural eye palette from Clarins and a curling tong from TONI&GUY.

YSL Le Tient Touche Éclat - £28
Much has been written about YSL’s new foundation and I was curious to see if it lived up to the hype, especially for brown skins. It does! There’s a science behind Le Tient Touche Éclat: ordinary foundation usually contains opaque powders to give a diffused reflection but, especially on darker skins, they can result in the skin looking grey.

Le Tient Touche Éclat has replaced the opaque powder with a soft focus gel which smoothes away imperfections without masking the skin and helps to maintain skin colour purity. Wearing this foundation, my skin looked luminous, glowy, dewy – all those buzz words people use when describing good foundation.

The range is made up of 22 shades so you are sure to find a colour to suit you. Most YSL beauty counters will give you a free sample so you can try before you buy but you’ll be hard pressed to find a foundation that gives you such young, fresh and radiant looking skin.

Clarins Limited Edition Odyssey Eye Quarter Mineral Palette – £30
As you may have gathered, I’m a bit of a fan of eye shadow palettes. I find them cheaper than individual pots and the colours have usually been paced together because they are complimentary to each other.

This limited edition palette from Clarins has Xmas gift written all over it but I think it’s perfect now for those who like a more neutral look. The brown, beige and taupe bronze can be worn individually or blended together and one of the applicators has a sponge end which you can wet for a more intense look. This is a perfect addition to my day to day beauty routine.

Toni & Guy Reverse Conical Wand – £30
For laid back and natural looking waves, try the new TONI&GUY Reverse Conical Wand. The cone shaped barrel ranges from 13mm to 23mm in size, so you can create loose curls that are tight at the top and wide at the bottom. The wand is made with ceramic tourmaline which is something I always look for in hair tools as they are gentler on fragile afro hair. My hair is just below my shoulders and the curls are loose enough for my hair not to resemble a poodle.

Oct 12

Beauty Banter: Celebrity Stylist Beagy Zielinski

Beagy Zielinski is a stylist that has worked on a myriad of publications including Greek and Spanish ELLE, German Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar China & Thailand. Her celebrity clients include Tyra Banks, Pharrell Williams, Alan Cumming, Kelly Rowland and Toni Braxton.

Beagy Zielinski with Andre Leon Talley

We caught up with her to discuss all things wardrobe:

What essential items should every woman own?
A great pair of heels! A really great pair of heels can upgrade any outfit.

What should be in our capsule wardrobe?
A few things everyone should have in their closet are:

The perfect fitting jean
A blazer that has been tailored to fit correctly
The perfect party dress that shows off your best assets
A pair of statement shoes, to add the wow factor to any look, day or night.

How can we incorporate key Autumn/Winter trends into our wardrobes?
I always tell clients not to be as concerned with following trends as really focusing on getting pieces that work for your body type. Once you have figured out what silhouettes work well for you, you can sprinkle trends in with accessories or colours.

It can be a difficult item to get a good fit when it comes to jeans; what should we consider before purchasing?
Once you find a brand or two that fit you well, stick with them! And of course the obvious tried and true rules apply:

  • If you have short legs, don’t buy cropped low rise jeans. A higher rise and long skinny leg with a heel will elongate your legs.
  • If you have a larger hip, you should stay away from bell bottoms. Smaller, highly placed back pockets will make your bum look smaller.
  • A square pocket that is angled more straight up and down is better suited for women who are pear shaped or who are looking to camouflage their round bum.

What items should we splash out on? And on what shouldn’t we?
I always say splurge on bags, jackets and shoes. Never overspend on novelty items like white shirts or t-shirts or even jeans. You can find good quality and great fitting jeans at stores like H&M or Zara. Use the money you saved to spend a little extra on a well tailored jacket that will make your entire outfit look like a million bucks!

For more information on Beagy Zielinski, check out her website – www.beagystyle.com – and follow her on Twitter @BeagyStyle.

Oct 12

The Best Cupcakes in London

Cupcakes. No longer a craze or a phase, there are times when a soft sweet, sponge and a light, whipped frosting are the only things that can get you through the afternoon.

I am in no way claiming to be an expert and I know this is a divisive topic but after eating way too much cake, here, in my humble opinion, is the best of the bunch:

Hummingbird Bakery – Unless you’ve been in solitary confinement for the past few years, you will have heard of this popular chain of cupcake shops. Famous for their genius daily specials like the chocolate bar inspired Crunchie, Topic and Double Decker cupcakes, they nail the cake in cupcake completely. Always light, not overly sweet and perfect with all their wonderful toppings.

Bake-a-Boo – Given a Bake-a-Boo cupcake and told to judge it against any other you’d be hard pressed to find anything out of the ordinary. But when you consider that they specialise in wheat-free, gluten-free and dairy-free cake, you understand why this fabulous West Hampstead haunt is on my list. Cake shouldn’t discriminate and all should have the right to eat cake as they see fit without having allergic reactions. They also do a vegan range. It’s hard to get a good icing without dairy products but Bake-a-Boo have nailed it.

Bea’s of Bloomsbury – I believe in saving the best for last and Bea’s is the best of the bunch; by a country mile. With four stores across London this, in my opinion, is the mecca for cupcakes. The secret here boils down to three words: Italian buttercream icing. So light, so sweet, so perfect – this elevates the cake to heavenly levels. Find your nearest shop, take a seat and wait to be overcome by the joy of cake.

All that cake wouldn’t be right without some coffee and I’ve been savouring it with One Love organic medium roast ground coffee from Marley Coffee – the gourmet coffee company founded by Bob Marley’s son, Rohan. The blend I tried was unmistakeably Jamaican with a rich earthy flavour. Prices start at £5.99 and the range can be found in Selfridges, all good delis or online at Amazon.

Who do you think does the best cupcakes in London?

Oct 12

Beauty Finds Of The Week: Bobbi Brown and Nuxe

This week I’ve been concentrating on skincare. I sat in on a live web cast with make up maestro Bobbi Brown this week where the importance of a good base was really stressed. If your skin is bad, how can your make up possibly look good?

With that in mind, I’ve used the following products in an effort to get my skin in the best condition possible.

Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains for Face – £26
Exfoliating the skin is vital for a good complexion as it removes dead skin cells and deep cleans your face. This little pot, of what looks like rice grains and powder, has been called microdermabrasion in a jar and with good reason. You need to tip the smallest amount into your hand, add your usual cleanser and gently massage over your face for a very thorough exfoliating treatment. I stress gently, these little grains are powerful! After use, my skin felt much smoother and looked flushed and healthy.

Nuxe Crème Fraiche de Beaute Moisturiser – £25
Anyone who knows me will know I’ve a not-so-secret desire to be French partly because I love the language and partly because all French women seem to be effortlessly chic and beautiful. I feel I am on my way there with the discovery of this amazing face cream from French brand Nuxe Paris. The cream is 90% natural, contains no parabens and while it isn’t the most uplifting smell in the world, the results are almost too good to be true. After two days of use, my skin looked healthier and dare I say it, glowed! I originally intended to only use it as a day cream as I prefer a heavier cream at night but I’ve been using it day and night for a week and I can honestly say my skin has never, ever looked better. This is one of those products you pray they never discontinue.

Oct 12

Fashion Find of the Week: Zara Lace Tuxedo

My fashion find of the week comes from Zara. As always, their pieces are so fabulously on trend. Everything is right about this blazer: it is so many things all wrapped up in one garment.

Let me count the ways:

It’s black
It’s lace
It’s a little bit tuxedo (hello menswear) with the satin lapel
On a cool evening it can be worn as outerwear

It’s just the right length as it covers a generous hip and bottom but isn’t so long you drown in it. It’s the perfect black blazer and I’ve been looking for one for ages.

All that for £89.99.

I’ve been wearing it with oxblood skinny jeans, a cream silk shirt and statement heels. It could equally work with a white vest and a feather or sequin mini skirt.

Burberry Brit jeans – £225
Jaegar silk blouse – £140
Valentino studded calf hair pumps – £700

With black all over the catwalks at the Spring/Summer 2013 shows, it’s a piece that will see me well into next year.

Are you a fan of Zara’s blazer?

Oct 12

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Every year 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, that’s equivalent to one person every ten minutes. This month, around 4,000 people will receive the devastating news they have breast cancer.

Do your bit to help fund a cure during Breast Cancer Awareness Month: a percentage of the following product sales will be donated to cancer charities.

Organic Seed and Bean, the ethical chocolate company, will donate 10% of the sale price of their special, dedicated rich milk chocolate(£2.29) to Andi’s Fund for Breast Cancer Campaign.

Aveda’s limited edition Pink Ribbon Hand Relief (£19) is 20% larger than usual with £2 of the purchase price given to support cruelty-free research through The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

From October to December, 25% of profits from the sale of CURE SEXY (£49.99) exfoliating mud mask will be donated to the Pink Ribbon Foundation.

The Elemis Think Pink Beauty Kit (£32.50) contains three of their best selling products – Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust ‘Boob Tube’, Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and Quiet Mind Relaxing Bath Elixir – with the company pledging a lump sum of £10,000 to Breast Cancer Care.

Macadamia has launched a limited edition, pink No Tangle brush which comes in a pink organza gift bag with 30ml Healing Oil Treatment and 15ml Deep repair masque (£19.95). 10% of sale proceeds is given to Cancer Research UK.

This kitsch apron from Red or Dead costs £15 with all profit going to Cancer Research UK. Available at www.shoptobeatcancer.org.uk and in Cancer Research UK stores nationwide.

PROPERCORN is made with 100% wholegrain, wheat free, high fibre and less than 100 calories a serving. 10p from each pack sold is donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. (Available from Waitrose rrp 80p)

Estée Lauder Spokesperson and Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Ambassador Elizabeth Hurley, will make a special appearance at Selfridges, Oxford Street, London on Monday October 8 from 1 pm and at Selfridges Trafford Centre on Thursday October 11, fundraising for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and signing purchases from the 2012 Evelyn Lauder Dream Collection. A percentage of all sales will be given to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Guilt free shopping at its best.

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