April, 2013

Apr 13

Hay Fever Relief From The Organic Pharmacy

I recently read that Professor Kennedy of the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit has predicted the worst conditions for hay fever as a sudden pollen surge is expected in the next few weeks.

Because of the late spring/summer this year; conditions are ripe for a terrible summer for those of us that suffer with hay fever.

My daughter has hay fever and I usually just take a swig of the generic Piriton she gets on prescription but this year I’m going to be more proactive and treat myself to the Hay fever Kit from The Organic Pharmacy.

Organic Pharmacy Hayfever

The Kit contains:

Sneeze-away Tincture – a soothing combination of Chamomile, Elderberry and Nettles (add drops to water and drink)

Hay fever Pills – a natural homeopathic combination treatment of Euphrasia, Allium Cepa, Nat Mur, Arsen Alb and Histamine working together to combat hay fever and ease itchy eyes, nose and throat, streaming eyes, running nose and sneezing (suck one three times a day or one every 15 minutes during a hay fever attack)

Quercetin & Vitamin C Complex – a hi-tech formulated complex pill which reduces the symptoms of hay fever (3 a day before meals)

Mixed Pollens & Grasses Pills – A chemical-free formula that desensitises pollen and grass allergies during the worst months (suck one three times a day)

I like the idea of treating myself naturally this ‘summer’ – my Mum did it last year and although her symptoms are usually worse than mine, she found these products very effective. If you are a fellow sufferer, give yourself a natural remedy this season.

Hay fever Relief Kit – £37.96

Apr 13

Imagine Spa at Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5

There are few things in life I like as much as a spa day, so I was very happy to go and try out the Imagine Spa at the Hilton Hotel in Heathrow Terminal 5.

It takes less than an hour to get there on the tube from central London and once you’re there you won’t care how long the journey took, you will just relax and let the stresses and strains of life slip away from you.

I went with my sister-in-law who is seven months pregnant and we both planned to do nothing more than relax. She went for the Mum-to-Be massage and a Prescriptive Facial. If you have ever been pregnant you will appreciate that sometimes, mum to be massage can consist of little more than gentle stroking which really is not what you need. My sister-in-law had doubts about whether this massage would be any good but thankfully she loved it. It was firm but not too firm and she felt loose and limber afterwards. The highlight for her was the prescriptive facial. It was so good she fell asleep during it. She said they really paid attention to her changing skin and treated her face accordingly.

Treatment room

Treatment room

I had a Deep Tissue back massage and a body exfoliation. When they say deep tissue they mean deep tissue! My therapist, who couldn’t have been any more than a size 8, worked and pummelled me like I’ve never been pummelled before. I had so much tension and so many knots in my back but she worked and worked and got rid of them. I was very impressed. The body exfoliation involved her massaging scented salts into my body, showering them off, and then massaging me with oils until I was smooth and lubricated. It took all my strength not to fall asleep on her treatment table.

After our treatments we had a brief rest in the relaxation area before heading to the kitchen for lunch. Being a spa, everything was healthy and delicious. We both had smoked salmon salad for lunch and fresh fruit with beautiful lemon sorbet for dessert. There is free water, tea and coffee on hand throughout the day which we certainly took advantage of.

Relaxation area

Relaxation area

After eating we headed down to the wet and thermal area and spent some time in the spa, steam room, mineral water, and hydrotherapy pool. To our surprise we spent almost 2 hours in this area. Time flies when you are relaxing. After almost 5 hours in the spa, we begrudgingly peeled ourselves away and headed back into London.

Wet area

Wet area

The wet area of the spa is small but perfectly formed and the therapists are very knowledgeable and on hand for whatever you may need.

I think the Imagine Spa at Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 is perfect for couples or friends looking for a day of relaxation.


Apr 13

Top Five Beauty Products: April

I’ve got these products in heavy rotation this month:

Yves Rocher Pure Light Foundation – £20/30ml
I have to confess that Yves Rocher was not a name I was familiar with. Speaking to an older friend, I found out that they’re a venerated French brand that have been around for ages; a testimony to their lasting appeal. After taking a look at their beauty range (lipsticks, polishes and more) I was more than pleased to discover they have an extensive foundation collection.


Yves Rocher Pure Light Foundation reminds me of YSL Le Tient Touche Éclat in a way; it leaves the skin with light and luminous medium coverage and is best kept for good skin days. The foundation contains rice extract which is rich in botanical inositol which helps to improve the skin’s radiance.

Guerlain Cils d’Enfer – Maxi Lash mascara – £22/8.5ml
I love mascara; if there’s one product I can’t live without it’s mascara. Even on my laziest day, I will still apply at least one coat. As you can imagine I get through a lot and am always on the search for next best thing. Cils d’Enfer – Maxi Lash mascara is my first try of a Guerlain product and I’m sold. Not only does it smell lovely (unusual for a mascara, no?) it lengthens, thickens, separates, curls and volumises all without clumping and feathering. For a luxury brand, I think it is rather reasonably priced too.

guerlain mascara

YSL Beauty Top Secrets Flash Radiance Skincare Brush – £38
I’ve made no secret of my love affair with YSL Beauty, their products are simply divine. This Top Secrets primer is no exception. It’s novel in that you squeeze the bottle and the primer trickles down into the brush which is a more uniform and hygienic way of applying the product. It’s non-drying and it does a fantastic job at not only keeping your make up in place all day, it also helps minimise the oil which normally gathers in my T zone by the days end. Does YSL Beauty make any products that aren’t amazing? I know it’s gushy but their stuff really is that good!

YSL primer

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Primer for Concealer and Eye shadow – £20.50/10ml
Until I got this product, I didn’t know primer for concealer or eye shadow was even a thing! The primer comes in two shades: light/medium and medium/deep. I tried medium/deep which I thought was going to be too light but because you only dab a tiny amount under your eye and over your eyelid it actually does suit darker skins and when it’s rubbed in, it’s virtually invisible. I don’t wear concealer under my eyes so I can’t comment on its efficacy there but it does do a good job in holding eye shadow in place. Other than lipstick I don’t reapply my makeup throughout the day; once it’s gone it’s gone. Most days I wear my Benefit Glamorous Nudes eye shadow and using the Stay Don’t Stray Primer meant the shadow stayed colour fast a lot longer.

benefit stay don't stray primer

Anna Sui Fairy Dance – £36/50ml
These Anna Sui collectable tin houses come replete with one of each of her bestselling fragrances; Secret Wish, Flight of Fancy, and Fairy Dance. The tins are so cute and have hooks inside to transform into a collectable jewellery box. I’ve got the Fairy Dance fragrance and tin and get comments not only on the scent but also on the tin as it’s so eyecatching. Collect all three to make your own little village or snap one up for a friend (one you really like so you aren’t tempted to keep the tin and its contents for yourself).


What’s new in your beauty bag this month?

Apr 13

Freezeframe Instant Lash Brush On Extensions

As much as I try I just can’t seem to get to grips with false lashes so I was excited to try out Freezeframe Instant Lash Brush On Extensions.

They are all the rage in Australia and won Glosscars Best New Lashes, were winners of the ‘Lashes Face Off’ Road Test (beating all other major global brands) and are the number 1 selling lash product in Australia.

Freezeframe Instant Lash Brush On Extensions

Freezeframe Instant Lash Brush On Extensions are different from other lash extensions in that you simply brush them on. Although it looks like mascara, it isn’t. The tube contains lots and lots of tiny lash extensions and you gently brush on (to the tips only) and wait until they bond to the ends of your lashes. Keep brushing them on until have your desired lash length.

As you apply the extensions, they attach to your natural lashes, then to the tiny extensions you’ve added and so on and so on. You can add up to 4 – 8 mm this way. As you’re only applying to the ends of your lashes (I repeat, not the roots) it helps to use an eyelash curler first so the tips of your lashes are very visible.

Wait a few seconds then apply your favourite mascara. As you can hopefully see in the photo below, the lash extensions are a decent length so while they definitely extend your lashes, it still looks very natural.

photo (3)

The difference is immediately visible; in fact my extended lashes were almost touching my eyelid that’s how long and curled they were.

I am a huge mascara fan; I’m constantly on the lookout for products to elongate, volumise and curl my lashes and the Freezeframe Instant Lash Brush On Extensions certainly deliver on this front.

Freezeframe Instant Lash Brush On Extensions – £29

Apr 13

Skweez Couture from Jill Zarin

Unless you are a size 0-2 supermodel, we can all benefit from the help provided by a support garment. Especially if you’re wearing a figure hugging dress. Or having a fat day.

I met both those criteria last Saturday so tried out the new Skweez Thigh N Mighty Shaping Thigh Short from Jill Zarin. I’ve never seen an episode of The Real Housewives of New York City but apparently she is/was on it.


Skweez Couture is her range of shape wear that comes in three control levels:

Tight skweez – for everyday wear
Tighter skweez – Comfortable extra control for where you need it most. Targeted slimming and trimming
Tightest skweez – Firm control contours your body and gives maximum compression

The range includes control briefs, slips, shorts, tights and camisoles and is available from sizes S (bust 34 – 35, waist 26.5 – 27.5 and hips 36.5 – 37.5) to 2x (bust 47.5 – 49.5, waist 41 – 43 and hips 49.5 – 51.5).


The Thigh Shaping Short is meant to smooth the tummy and sides, trim and slim thighs and hips and smooth and lift the rear. If you’re smaller than a UK 8 you probably won’t need it as I found the S a perfect fit and it didn’t crush or squeeze the life out of me. I wore them under a rather slim fitting skirt but they did a great job of holding me in in all the right places and I particularly like that they go from mid-thigh to right under the bust so you’re getting full scale coverage here. They don’t roll down when you sit and seem to make you sit up straighter which is a plus. You can wear the shorts under a dress or trousers which is why I prefer them to camisoles or slips.

They are the standard price for (good) shape wear but are currently on offer on QVC so act quickly!

Apr 13

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque

With the British weather continuing to persecute my skin, it was a pleasure to try out the new Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Hydrating Overnight Masque.

The masque contains Hyaluronic Acid, a substance that is naturally present in the human body which is able to hold more water than any other natural substance. Combined with ingredients that help replenish skin’s water reserves, just one night of wearing this left me with hydrated and fresh feeling skin in the morning.

The masque is thin and watery; not too dissimilar to egg whites. To use, apply a generous layer of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque on to your clean skin. Leave it on for ten minutes and wipe away any excess with a tissue. Don’t remove it all though; you want it to work its magic while you sleep.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque


Overnight, the intensive moisturizing treatment helps boost skin’s ability to retain water, which leaves your skin feeling hydrated and looking healthier. Fresh and dewy is usually associated with youth and while it won’t knock ten years off you, it does leave your skin looking and feeling bright

I find the masque quite rich so I recommend you only use it once a week unless your skin is feeling particularly parched when I’d use it twice max.

It has light scent and is gentle enough for even those with sensitive skins. A definite addition to my weekly skincare routine.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Hydrating Overnight Masque – £28/125ml

Apr 13

Illamasqua Speckled Nail Polish

I’d read a lot about Illamasqua’s speckled polish; beauty bloggers and editors are falling head over heels for it.

illamasqua speckled nail polish

Vogue even called the range: “The most innovative artistic nail varnish.” I don’t quite understand the science behind it, all I know is that it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Most textured nail polish calls for a coat of colour and usually a top coat to give the textured effect. Not so with Illamasqua Speckled Nail Polish; one bottle of polish does the job nicely.

I tried Freckle, a nude, and Scarce, a candy pink.

I think Freckle is the perfect nude for brown skins. The key to a good nude is finding one two shades lighter than your skin tone and up until now they’ve all been a tad too light or a tad too pink. Freckle is exactly the right shade. And why have a plain nude when you can have one that looks like mini chocolate eggs?

illamasqua speckled nails

Scarce is a candy pink which I didn’t think would suit me (hence it only being on one finger) but it’s a thick creamy pink which I think looks really good too. In fact these two colours are so universal I imagine they’ll complement everyone.

They’re not too expensive at £14.50 a bottle but they look so good I think they’re more than worth it.

Illamasqua Speckled Nail Polish – £14.50/15ml

Apr 13

Finger Painting at Daniel Galvin Salon, London

I last got my hair coloured in November and the ombre was beginning to fade so I was so excited to be invited for a touch up at the Daniel Galvin Salon near Bond Street.

The salon itself is everything you’d expect from an establishment in Bond Street; it’s gorgeous! Light, airy, plush and grand and filled with white flowers, you feel like a celebrity from the moment you walk through the heavy doors. The staff are completely non pretentious and friendly. My coat was taken, I was given a gown and it was downstairs for a consultation with Georgia (stylist) and Chelsey (colourist).


I took a picture of Keke Palmer with me as my hair inspiration but they advised against getting the tips made that light as it would involve the use of bleach which would be very damaging to my hair. It was my decision but they wanted to make sure I understood the risk. I didn’t want to sacrifice the health of my hair so decided to go just one tone lighter than I already was.


My inspiration

We then went upstairs for the finger painting technique. Instead of using a brush to apply the colour, Chelsey twisted the hair and massaged the colour in with her hands; hence the moniker finger painting. More colour was applied to the very ends of my hair so they would have a more solid colour and it would look more natural, like I had really grown the colour of out my hair. Painting the colour on with your hands means the colour picks up differently on different parts of the hair for a more natural look.

The colour was left on for about half an hour before I had a shampoo and a deep conditioning treatment and colour gloss applied. It was then downstairs for a blow dry. Before blow drying Georgia used Kerastase Oleo Relax Slim (smoothing cream) and Kerastase Elixir (for a smooth shine) all over the hair and combed through with one of my essential items for anyone with curly hair; a Tangle Teezer.

The blow dry itself took close to 45 minutes (I have a lot of hair) so to prevent detangling and to hydrate the sections that were starting to dry, Georgia’s apprentice periodically misted Davines Dede leave in mist/conditioner. Dede is like ordinary misting water except it contains grape extract and other vitamins and minerals to nourish and add shine while it moistens the hair.

And this is the end result!

daniel-galvin-finger-painting (2)

To keep my hair in tip top condition, I was advised to use deep conditioning treatments as often as possible, to minimise the use of heat and to use oils and serums to prevent the coloured ends from drying out.

I specifically asked about their comfort factor in working with different hair types and was told they have no problems working with mixed race or afro hair.

Daniel Galvin is my third trip down colour lane (see one here and two here) and of all my experiences; I love this colour the most. Daniel Galvin is well known for his pioneering use of colour and finger painting is definitely my new favourite way of having ombre done. It might not look exactly like Keke Palmer but I think it suits me perfectly.

Daniel Galvin
58-60 George Street
London W1U 7ET

PS. And I had my hair washed sitting next to Patsy Kensit!

Apr 13

Get the Look: Rihanna At Her River Island Launch

Rihanna could have been mistaken for one of the models at the Rihanna for River Island launch in London in March.


We got the low down from her long time make-up artist Mylah Morales on how to recreate her glamorous look. Mylah is a fan of Per-fekt Beauty products which she regularly uses on Rihanna as a base and/or primer before applying makeup.

She said: “The per-fekt beauty products are unique in that they act as a modern multi-use alternative to traditional foundations and powder bronzers and blushes, creating a healthy and youthful look to boost your natural skin colour. Also formulated with Niacin to boost skin circulation, antioxidants and Vitamins A and E, the products protect against premature ageing of the skin.’

At the London leg of the Rihanna for River Island launch, Mylah used Per-fekt Beauty Lip Perfection Gel in ‘Vine’, Body Perfection Gel in ‘Exotic’ and Skin Perfection Gel in ‘Decadent’.


Per-fekt Beauty Lip Perfection Gel in ‘Vine’  is a signature colour for Rihanna. It includes alpha lipoic acid Vitamins A & E, hyaluronic microspheres, peptides and jojoba. It enhances the appearance of lips offering a modern alternative to lipstick and lip gloss as well as offering a lip treatment and plumper. You have to really pile it on to get the same depth of colour as Rihanna but it looks really good against all skin tones.

Body Perfection Gel in ‘Exotic’ gives the honey toned Rihanna a silky smooth glimmer. The gel contains hyaluronic filling spheres, ceramides and shea butter which enhance the appearance of the skin offering a traditional alternative to bronzer, self-tanner and the sun. It also firms, tones and tightens the skin.


Rihanna and Mylah swear by Skin Perfection Gel in ‘Decadent’ to prime her face before applying makeup. It has Smartcolor Technology, alpha lipoic acid and Vitamins A & E to enhance the appearance of the skin for a flawless look whilst colour correcting. Think of it as an alternative to traditional powder, primer and concealer. It looks light in the tube but it when on it is invisible and really does give your face an airbrushed finish.

Apr 13

Mother & Baby Beauty Essentials

2013 is officially the year of the baby. With the two Ks (Kate and Kim), Jessica Simpson and Cat Deely (to name but a few) there’s never been a better time to be pregnant. In fact you won’t be able to escape babies this year!


When you’re a first time mum to be it can be hard to separate the wood from the trees and this year it will be even harder as babies will be everywhere we look.

As someone who’s done it (twice) I’m going to share what I consider the essential skincare items. Everyone’s essentials are different and a lot of what I thought I absolutely needed the first time round is still sitting in its box.

Mama Mio is something of a celebrity favourite; fans include Kourtney Kardashian who said ‘’Mama Mio products saved me through my last pregnancy! So excited to use them again!” and Claudia Schiffer who called Mama Mio’s Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil, “a thick, buttery cream which is amazing”.

Some of my friends who have never been pregnant use Mama Mio products for stretch mark prevention and to firm their breasts!

I recommend Boot Camp For Tummies (£67), Goodbye Stretch Marks (£45) and OMega Body Oil (£23).


OMega Body Oil contains Argan, Safflower, Sweet Almond and Jojoba oils and is a perfect non oily oil. I’m a firm believer in massage during pregnancy (and labour) and this is the perfect oil to use for that purpose.

As soon as possible after giving birth you should start working on your pelvic and abdominal muscles. Boot Camp for Tummies contains Skin Tight Toning Serum, Get Waisted Body Shaper and a four minute daily exercise programme (not as easy to find as you might think with a newborn). Find the time though, your future self will thank you for it.

Last but not least, you must try Goodbye Stretch Marks. Whether your marks are old or new, even if you don’t have any yet (mine appeared during the last seven days of pregnancy) this cream is a wonder. It reduces the appearance of stretch marks full stop.

Enough for you; what about the baby?

I use natural and organic products as much as possible on my children (even now they’re older) and you can’t get much better than natural supermarket biggreensmile.com. They sell all the big brands – Baby Bee from Burt’s Bees, Weleda, Green Baby and a whole host of brands you’ve never heard of but will come to love. I swear by Baby Bee Nappy Ointment and Weleda Calendula bath care, lotions and sun protection.


John Lewis is another must visit for muslins (£12.95) and a Medela Breast Pump (£129.99). In my opinion, Bugaboo (from £729) prams are everywhere so set yourself apart with a Stokke Xplory (from £800 and as seen on Charlotte in the Sex and the City movie) stroller. They’re so easy to manoeuvre, your baby will love being high off the ground and they’re a godsend when you’re in a restaurant as they fit nicely around the table which means s/he can stay in there as you eat. They are sturdy and small enough for a new born yet big enough for a toddler; my son is 3 and on lazy days he still gets pushed around in his!


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