December, 2012

Dec 12

Fashion Find Of The Week: Kiniki Astro Sparks Leggings

If you’re looking for something to wear to a NYE party, I’ve got you covered.

These Astro Spark leggings from Kiniki have ‘celebration’ written all over them, almost literally!

L – front, R – back

At first glance you might think ‘patterned leggings = chunky legs’ but these patterns have been oh so strategically placed meaning the right bits are highlighted and the bits we want to downplay, are downplayed.

I’m a firm believer that leggings should always be worn with heeled footwear (unless you’re at the gym) so I’ll be teaming these with a chunky boot, a black cashmere blend jumper and a leather biker jacket.

Kiniki Astro Sparks Leggings – £44
Michael Kors boots – £195
DKNY Cashmere blend sweater – £192.32
All Saints biker jacket – £343.86
Isabel Marant ring – £60

Dec 12

Toni & Guy New Classic Smoothing Lotion‏

Although my hair is (super) curly, I wear is straight 90% of the time so I’m always on the look out for new products to help protect my tresses as I apply heat without weighing it down or making it look lifeless.

Simply wash and condition your hair as normal and apply a walnut sized amount of Toni & Guy New Classic Smoothing Lotion‏ to towel dried hair. If you have very long or thick hair, use a touch more. Section your hair and blow dry as usual.


It left my hair smooth, frizz free and very glossy. Thankfully it is quite lightweight so doesn’t sit heavily on the hair and weigh it down. If you’re going to use straightners, apply a 5p size amount to the ends for extra protection.

At only £6.99 for 100ml it’s an affordable addition to your hair care routine.

Toni & Guy New Classic Smoothing Lotion – £7.19/100 ml

Dec 12

Original Sugar Manicure at Harrods, Knightsbridge

Nail art is great way to add some temporary jazz to your otherwise ordinary nail polish.

I’m always keen to try a new trend so I was happy to be invited up to Harrods department store in Knightsbridge to try out the new Original Sugar manicure. The manicure took place in the Urban Retreat Nail Loft on the fifth floor which, once I could find it (better signs please!) was a lovely space, reserved purely for mani and pedi treatments.


Harrods Nail Loft

After a mani and hand massage from my very sweet beauty therapist Ellie, I was asked to choose a colour – I went for Leighton Denny ‘Embellish Me’ and a nail art design. Original Sugar have recently brought out a range of new colours and designs – velveteen, bullionaire, gold leaf and Swarovski crystals to name just a few.

Original Sugar Bullionaire

Original Sugar Bullionaire

Unable to decide between the bullionaire and the velveteen I decided to have both. ‘Tis the season! After my nails had been painted and two coats of top coat applied, Ellie poured the bullion and velvet on the respective nails, shook of the excess and left them to dry. Another layer of top coat was applied to seal the bullionaire nail art while the velveteen was left to its own devices. Here is the finished product.


Now I’ve had it done I wish I had got the velveteen treatment on all my nails as it is such a cool, modern, matte look. Next time. Not all Original Sugar nail art is meant to last ages; after a couple of days the velveteen is starting to wear off although the bullionaire is still going strong.


Original Sugar Velveteen

You can buy kits to get these effects at home (prices start at £4.95) but if you’re in London, I recommend a visit to the Nail Loft at Harrods for that real first class experience.

Dec 12

Champneys Distant Shores Body Scrub

A visit to the Champneys spa is on my wish list but until then I will attempt to recreate the experience at home.

I recently tried their Distant Shores Body Scrub and it immediately reminded me of my summer holiday earlier in the year to St Lucia. The smells of grapefruit, lemon, mango and passion fruit immediately took me back to lazy days by the beach, too much good food and the hot Caribbean sun beating down on me.

Champneys Distant Shores Body Scrub

I tend to have mixed feelings about body scrubs as I can’t bear finding grains of sand/rice and other exfoliating substances on me the next morning. The Distant Shores Body Scrub isn’t too grainy, gives your skin a gentle polish while leaving behind a pleasant scent. The orange and lemon peel oils moisturise your skin so you don’t feel all taut once you’ve dried off.

If you’re looking for a luxurious bath time treat, give this scrub a try.

Champneys Distant Shores Body Scrub – £10/200g

Dec 12

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Simply Shine Mousse

It’s a common misconception that those with curly or afro hair want nothing more than to supress and flatten their hair.

While I do like to wear my hair straight, I don’t want it to look limp, flat and stuck to my head. When my hair was relaxed this was a particular concern and now it’s natural, I still prefer the volumised bouncy look. Since I’ve had my hair coloured, I’ve discovered it holds heat well, a little too well! As a result when I straighten it, it can look a little lifeless.

While looking in my bathroom cabinet I came across a bottle of John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Simply Shine Mousse. I’d previously bought the John Frieda Brilliant Brunette shampoo and conditioner from Boots (love that 3 for 2) and was pleased so was happy to give the mousse a go.

I washed and conditioned my hair as usual and before blow drying added a golf ball amount of mousse, paying particular attention to the roots. I blow dried and straightened my hair as usual and could tell it already felt more volumised. The roots were no longer lying flat against my scalp; there was a definite lift and my hair had much more body.

If you have curly hair of any kind but you like to wear it straight, this mousse is great for adding shine, life and lift to your straight hair. It is now a regular feature in my hair care routine.

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Simply Shine Mousse – £5.19/200 ml

Dec 12

Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Bright Correcting Serum

Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Bright skin tone correcting serum has been receiving rave reviews so I decided to try it out and see if it lived up to the hype.

Dr Andrew Weil is something of a holistic health/New Age guru. A Harvard educated Doctor; he believes we should marry Western medicines with alternative therapies.

Origins Mega Bright skin tone correcting serum contains Rosa Roxburghii to help change the appearance of discolouration. The darker your skin the more likely you are to have pigmentation marks. If you had bad skin in your youth and you weren’t virtuous enough to never pick, you might be left with a few darker brown spots on your face. The Mega Bright serum works by correcting the appearance of that discolouration and any uneven skin tone.


Having tried the Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Bright skin tone correcting serum, I will say you need patience. A few days in I was wondering what all the fuss is about. But I decided to persevere for a few weeks (three to be precise) and I did begin to notice my skin looked brighter.

While all the hyper-pigmentation hasn’t disappeared, my skin does appear more even. In fact Mr 32 Boroughs said my skin was glowing!

Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Bright skin tone correcting serum isn’t a quick fix and it isn’t a skin whitener but if you apply it day and night religiously, in time you should start to see a visible difference in your skin.

Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Bright skin tone correcting serum – £46/30 ml

Dec 12

Estée Lauder New Collection of Reds

As much as I love nail art, sometimes I just want a classic pure red nail.

Enter Estée Lauder Pure Colour Nail Lacquer. They’ve recently expanded their range of colours and I’m in love with the reds. With names like Love Bite, Le Smoking and Fallen Angel there’s a shade of red to suit every skin tone.

(l-r)  Beautiful Liar, Le Smoking and Love Bite

Love Bite is a slightly pinky red, Le Smoking a classic bright red, Fallen Angel (seen below) a blood red and Beautiful Liar a less intense version of Le Smoking. To help the colour last, I started with Cosmetics a la Carte Ridge Filler and Base Coat (£15)  – aka foundation for nails – applied two coats of Fallen Angel followed by Barry M All in One basecoat, topcoat and nail hardener (£2.99).

Three days in, there are no chips or cracks. That’s quite a feat considering how often my hands are in water.

If you’re after a good selection of reds, I recommend Estée Lauder Pure Colour Nail Lacquer.

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Nail Lacquer – £14.50/9ml

Dec 12

Beauty Gift Guide 2012: Men’s Grooming

Buying anything for a man is notoriously hard so I asked Mr 32 Boroughs for some advice on this one. Here’s what we came up with.

111 Skin Range – from £35

Nothing says luxury skincare more than a range designed by a Dr of plastic surgery and available for sale exclusively in Harley Street and Harrods. The 111SKIN Range has been designed by Dr Yannis Alexandrides and using age defying ingredients tested on astronauts and deep sea divers. It’s time to ditch the soap on a rope and start cleansing, toning and moisturising. We’ve trialled this all week and our face feels notably softer, smoother and even in tone.

Noix de Tubéreuse Gift Set – £49 (was £62)


We were excited to try out Noix de Tubéreuse, one of the three new Miller Harris seasonal gift sets. The London Perfumer’s appeal comes in the expertise in their field of fragrance. They know what works and what works well. The luxurious and masculine smells of tuberose, amber and violet really help to set this apart from the plethora of high end (and low end!) designer fragrances. With a flagship store in Noting Hill and branches in Mayfair and Covent Garden, the scent of a man just got easier to track down. With 20% off selected stock for a limited time, it just got a whole lot cheaper too.

BaByliss for Men Super Clipper – £20


The BaByliss for Men Super Clipper is not your run of the mill hair clipper. This is the kind of clipper you take to your barbers and let him pay you to use it to cut your hair! It is labelled as a professional grade clipper and we certainly believe it. It’s reassuringly weighty and precise, the Japanese cut steel blades making for a rapid even finish. We especially like the charge; 3 hours to get to max power with a cutting time of around 50 minutes resulting in no real loss in performance. More than enough time for a short back and sides.

Clinique Happy Gift Set – £50

Clinique Happy for Men has long been a staple in our fragrance collection since its launch in 1999. The citrus based collection is uplifting, vibrant and positive so much so that Clinique don’t need to push sales with big budget marketing and ad campaigns. Coupled with the aftershave balm this is a gift that will get heavy usage. With base notes of cedar and top notes including lime and mandarin it may even count as one of your 5 a day.

iPad – from £399

Now we’ve got an iPad we can’t imagine life without one (is that sad?) and although it’s not something we think anyone really needs, it’s a really great expensive toy. If you have kids it’s a great way to ensure a stress free long journey (it was a lifesaver for us on 9 hour long haul flight) and there really is an app for everything so the whole family will enjoy playing with it. If they can get their hands on it!

Dec 12

Beauty Gift Guide 2012: Part 3

I’ve done a gift guide for the girl in her late teens/early 20s, one for the more mature lady in her 50s (hi Mum) and my penultimate one is for the giant age range in between. As this is my age range I’ve had a lot of fun putting this one together and I really hope you find my suggestions useful:

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - £36

If she likes make up she will love this palette from Urban Decay. Containing the most flattering shades we’ve ever seen, if you only buy her one cosmetic gift, make it this one. The colours can be used for day to day neutral wear or jazzed up to create a sexy smoky eye.

Return to Glory Mobile Beauty Therapists – £89 

There’s something rather indulgent about having your beauty therapist come to you; I had a deluxe mani and pedi in my living room one rainy Sunday morning so no wearing flip flops in the cold journey home to avoid smudging the pedicure and no using the pads of my fingers to get my oyster card out to prevent damaging the manicure. Instead, I was able to relax in the comfort of my own home while my hands and feet were treated to an hour and a half of luxury. Book online for extra discount.

Bare Minerals Pure Transformation Night Treatment – £45

I love this; it like a license to wear make up to bed! This mineral treatments looks like a foundation (comes in 4 shades and doesn’t transfer onto the pillow) and helps reduce the appearance of pores and deliver faster cell turnover for younger-looking, radiant skin all while you sleep.

Label. M Shampoo and Conditioner – from £10.50

If she’s just coloured her hair (like I have) then she can’t get enough of colour protecting shampoo and conditioner. This brand often works backstage at London Fashion Week. Buy any three label m products and receive this free limited edition large Giles cosmetics bag.

Bianca Jones Sabre Ring – £190

If she likes jewellery she will love up and coming designer Bianca Jones. Her pieces are one offs, poles apart from the kind of stuff you find on the high street. This ‘Sabre’ ring (in sterling silver) is everything I wanted in a bar that floats across the hand and it comes in the most adorable packaging (which to me is part of the pleasure).

Pretty Idle ‘Blissed Off’ Candle – £36

A heady mix of geranium, frankincense and vetiver, this candle has been hand-poured using essential oils and natural soy wax. It has been designed to smell like happiness which I think is great. They call it Mother Nature’s version of Valium!

Smythson iPhone 5 cover – from £95

It has been reported that every day, more iPhones are sold than people are born so chances are she has, or wants, the new iPhone 5. Set her phone apart from the rest with this lux calf leather cover from Smythson.

Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman – £12.99

I had my doubts about this book from uber-popular blogger Emily Schuman but it really is sweet and endearing. It is ‘a guide for defining your style, reinventing your space and entertaining with ease’ and it contains useful tips like how to take the perfect photograph, how to get the smoky eye look right, how to transition your wardrobe from spring to summer and even advice on how to make the perfect pastry. With beautiful illustrations throughout and written in a friendly, non preachy tone, it’s easy to see why Emily has collaborated with brands like Estee Lauder and Coach and had her work featured in publications like Teen Vogue and Glamour.

Go forth and shop!

Dec 12

Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Shampoo & Scalp Toner

Unfortunately I’ve suffered with a flaky and itchy scalp for as long as I can remember so I was very happy to give the Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Shampoo and Scalp Toner a try.

I washed my hair as normal and paid particular attention to gently rubbing the scalp to try and lift the flakes. After just one use, the difference was immediately noticeable! There were significantly less flakes and my scalp felt tingly fresh.


The real hero product for me is the Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Scalp Toner. After washing and conditioning, part the hair into 3 inch sections and use the nozzle on the bottle to apply the toner all over the scalp. The toner has anti-bacterial and anti-flaking properties and delivers on its promise to provide long lasting relief from irritation. You can also use it between washes if the flakes and/or itching returns.


In this line of work, I get sent a lot of beauty products to try but the Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Shampoo and Scalp Toner is something I will buy when the supply I have runs out. It is an essential beauty product for those of us cursed with a flaky, dry and itchy scalp.

Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Shampoo – £20/250 ml
Philip Kingsley Flaky Itchy Scalp Toner – £17.90/250 ml

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