May, 2013


31
May 13

Neom Organics Limited Edition Enchantment Home Fragrance

I should start by saying that the limited edition Neom Organics Enchantment range will fill your house with the scent of lavender, rose and bluebell and make you feel like you are sitting in a summer’s meadow.

neom-organics-enchantment (2)

After just ten minutes, my entire downstairs smelled amazing. Maybe it’s because the candle is on the large side or perhaps it’s due to the three wicks in the candle helping to spread the scent but I was seriously impressed by the speed in which the smell of my house was transformed.

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The Enchantment range includes:

• A limited edition candle which comes in limited edition white glass with a wooden cap. Hand-poured in the UK from a blend of 100% natural vegetable waxes and pure essential oils, it contains no paraffin wax, no synthetic scents and no artificial chemicals.
• A limited edition reed diffuser with a limited edition wooden cap, natural reed sticks and pure essential oils which are gently diffused into the room.

neom-organics-enchantment (1)

For every Enchantment Home Candle or Reed Diffuser sold, Neom will donate £1 to the Woodland Trust, to improve the landscape of Britain by planting more trees and protecting our national heritage of precious ancient woodland. The Team also spent a day planting trees with the Woodland Trust at Heartwood Forest to help them reach their goal of creating England’s largest newly planted native forest. You can watch the charming video here.

Enchantment Reed Diffuser – £37.00/100ml (lasts up to 8 weeks)
Enchantment Home Candle – £42.00/380g (up to 50 hours burn time)
Both are available from www.neomorganics.com


28
May 13

Elizabeth Arden New York in Bloom Colour Collection

When I think of Elizabeth Arden the first thing that comes to mind is their famous Eight Hour Cream.

They aren’t a brand that we probably turn to when looking for a new nail polish or lippie but they are innovating with their Spring 2013 New York in Bloom Colour Collection.

My favourite product is the Limited Edition Nail Lacquer Duo in Teal Blossom. It’s a warm bluey-green that applies nicely and is dense enough for you to get away with just one coat. It comes in a dual ended bottle; polish in one and a gel like top coat in the other which gives great shine.

teal nail duo

I also tried the Limited Edition Radiant Bronzing Powder in Warm. I’ve got to confess that I never thought women of colour should/could wear bronzer but a light sweep across the apple of the cheeks adds a very slight shimmer to the face and helps to warm the complexion.

bronzing powder

Continuing with the teal theme, take a look at the Limited Edition Bold Eye Pencil in Iridescent Teal. Brown eyes can get away with bold colours so a swish of this above the lash line along with some mascara is enough to bring a little pop to the face.

teal eye pencil

Although not part of the NY in Bloom Collection I couldn’t talk about Elizabeth Arden without mentioning the amazing Prevage Clinical Lash + Brow Enhancing Serum. I have been using it on my lashes day and night for the past four weeks and it is amazing! I had serious doubts that it would work but I can absolutely see the difference in my lashes.

prevage

Apparently it’s all down to an exclusive triple peptide complex that supports lashes own natural life cycle so lashes and brows appear lush, healthy and revitalized; protects and revitalizes eye lashes for a healthy appearance; conditions lashes and promotes lash flexibility and durability and helps minimize breakage as lash conditioners fortify to help protect, revitalize and recover from environmental, chemical and physical damage.

The end result is longer stronger lashes. It’s not cheap at £85 but if your lashes/brows have been damaged though old age/medical treatment etc; you should give Prevage Clinical Lash + Brow Enhancing Serum a try.

Limited Edition Nail Lacquer Duo in Teal Blossom – £14
Limited Edition Radiant Bronzing Powder in Warm - £26
Limited Edition Bold Eye Pencil in Iridescent Teal – £16
Prevage Clinical Lash + Brow Enhancing Serum – £85


24
May 13

Argan Oil Bodycare

We all know the benefits to using argan oil on our hair but have you ever thought of using it on your skin too?

Argan oil is so much more than hair oil; it offers valuable healing and protecting qualities due to its active substances triterpenoids (I had to Google it!) which work to heal the skin tissue, cool and soothe inflammation whilst nourishing and protecting the skin.

With twice as much vitamin E as olive oil and containing essential fatty acids, argan oil hydrates, helps in the healing of skin ailments and protects against premature aging caused by oxidation.

I tried the Argan Oil Bodycare Replenishing Body Butter and Emulsifying Body Dry Oil from Sally Express. The range is 100% natural, organic and chemical free so gentle enough to use on even the youngest skins. Both have a slight fruity fragrance so don’t worry, you won’t go around smelling like hair!

argan oil (1)

The Body Butter is thick and creamy but completely non greasy so it absorbs into the skin well and leaves your skin looking and feeling hydrated. The Emulsifying Body Dry Oil contains Moroccan Argan Oil, jojoba oil and rosemary extracts to help restore skin’s moisture and improve elasticity. It too is non-greasy and quickly absorbed into the skin. After bathing simply spray onto damp skin and rub in.

That said, I couldn’t talk about argan oil without talking about hair. I’ve started using Argan Secret Oil from Marrakesh in between washes if my hair is looking a bit dull.

argan-hair

The benefits for hair are well known but I’ll list them again:

  • Adds shine
  • Prepares hair for heat-straightening
  • Protects hair from heat styling tools
  • Speeds up drying and styling time
  • Helps to soften the hair and reduce frizz
  • Helps to protect from sun and wind damage

As these are natural and organic I’ll be using them on my children too but they are perfect for anyone who likes soft, smooth, hydrating products.

The Argan Oil Bodycare collection is available from Sally stores nationwide and www.sallyexpress.com.

Argan Oil Bodycare Replenishing Body Butter – £12.98/226g
Argan Oil Bodycare Emulsifying Body Dry Oil – £14.99/177ml
Argan Secret Oil from Marrakesh – £14.99/60ml

 


23
May 13

Aveda Makeup @ New York Fashion Week

Aveda was the makeup brand used at the William Okpo NYFW Fall/Winter 2013 show earlier this year and I spoke to Janell Geason, Global Artistic Director, Aveda Makeup, on the beauty looks featured.

She said: “The look at William Okpo is heavily influenced by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo – think bohemian and nomadic. She is the girl who is not afraid to be her natural self. The brow is super strong, yet imperfect. It’s forward-thinking and a bit ‘out there.’ This is distinctive, refined beauty, not at all about being too polished or pristine.”

william-okpo2

Here’s how you can get the look at home:

1. To create a smooth and even complexion, apply Aveda Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 15. Add Aveda Inner Light Concealer where needed. To set, apply a light dusting of Inner Light™ Mineral Loose Powder with the Aveda Uruku Bronzing Brush.

2. Fill in the brows with Petal Essence Eye Definer in Cacao or Black Orchid to create a Frida-inspired look.

3. Use Aveda Petal Essence Single Eye Colour in Antique Gold from the lash line to brow, creating a beautiful wash of colour. For darker complexions, choose Aveda Petal Essence Single Eye Colour in Ginger Root.

4. Finish eyes with a coat of Aveda Mosscara in Black Forest.

5. Swirl Aveda Uruku Bronzing Brush in Petal Essence Face Accent in Peach Lights and blush cheeks to add contour.

6. Prep lips with Aveda Nourish-Mint Renewing Lip Treatment. Then colour the lips with a blend of Nourish-Mint Smoothing Lip Colour in Cana and Melochia Bloom.

william-okpo3

The colours are earthy but vibrant and will work beautifully with most skin tones.


19
May 13

A Weekend at K West Hotel & Spa

I love living in London – the diversity, the noise, the culture; I couldn’t swap it for anywhere else. In fact I’m one of those Londoners who know very little about anything outside the M25 (shame on me).

To that end I’m making more of an effort to visit the many different neighbourhoods in London. First on my whistle-stop tour was Shepherds Bush in West London.

K West Hotel & Spa is a short hop, skip and jump away from Westfield London shopping centre and the perfect location for Mr 32 Boroughs and I to engage in a little retail therapy.

K West Hotel & Spa - Front Entrance

The hotel itself is a refurbished BBC building and the long narrow corridors are slightly reminiscent of office space. The difference ends there though; our room was large, plush and with one of the biggest beds I have ever seen. In fact I think all four members of my family could have quite comfortably fit in it!

bedroom

Our Junior Executive room had a Bose surround sound entertainment system, a 42” plasma screen television and a very comfy sofa and coffee table which contained the latest edition of In Style and Harper’s Bazaar.

We had a good old nose around the hotel; there’s K Lounge on the ground floor which is home to a bar and DJ (on Friday and Saturday nights from 10) where it’s not uncommon to find bands and celebrities from the nearby Shepherds Bush Empire.

One floor up is Kanteen; a restaurant serving modern British cuisine throughout the day. It is also where you can have breakfast and goodness the breakfast was good. Being pescatarian and gluten and dairy intolerant means eating out is often a chore but Kanteen not only had a lovely veggie option, they also had soya milk and gluten free bread available which trust me, isn’t often the case.

breakfast

After checking in at 3:00 pm, we settled in then went over to Westfield for an afternoon of shopping. We ended the evening with dinner at Meat & Wine Co which was lovely and ridiculously filling. Didn’t stop me from stuffing my face at breakfast the next morning though!

Even though there’s a buzzing lounge at K West Hotel & Spa; you can’t hear anything from your room and we were typical parents and had an early night!

After waddling back from breakfast, I went to the Spa floor of the hotel for a Russie Blanche Caviar Body Polish (divine). After being covered in mineral rich Russian salts, I had an invigorating body scrub, shower and then a massage with Russie Blanche detoxing body oil. My therapist Lyudmila concentrated on my crunchy neck and shoulders and although it hurt (in a good way) I felt amazing and refreshed at the end. The hotel has a relaxation room you can visit post treatment where you can lie down with a fashion mag and drink complimentary water or tea and/or eat fruit in a low lit room. You’re lying on a padded treatment bed so don’t be surprised if you find yourself nodding off.

k-west-spa

The Spa at K West Hotel was named ‘Best UK Luxury Hotel Spa’ at the World Luxury Hotel & Spa Awards in 2011 and for good reason; they offer a variety of unique treatments. Take the ‘Snow Paradise’ (a London first) where you stand on frozen ice and are in the middle of a light snow shower. I must warn you; visit Snow Paradise after the sauna (to aid cooling down) and not before!

You can also visit the ‘Sun Meadow’ for specialist light therapy to treat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The spa has a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, dry flotation tank, aromatic herbal steam room and fully equipped gymnasium (Mr 32 Boroughs woke up at 8 and had a workout. I didn’t.)

We loved our mini break at K West Hotel & Spa and thoroughly recommend it for couples looking to get away from it all (work, kids, life etc).

K West Hotel & Spa (prices start at £125 per room per night)
Richmond Way
London
W14 0AX
www.k-west.co.uk


17
May 13

Family Fun With Ribena Plus

During the last week of half term the kids and I went along to an event held by Ribena Plus. I have fond memories of Ribena; when I was little I wasn’t allowed tea or coffee (obviously) so to feel grown up, I was given a little teacup filled with hot Ribena. it’s funny, I make the exact same drink for my daughter now.

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The event was to launch some new Ribena flavours; Ribena Plus for Immunity Support with vitamins A, C and E and no added sugar in blackcurrant apple and peach, new red apple or new summer fruits and Ribena Plus for Healthy Bones with added calcium and no added sugar in Raspberry and Apple. They also presented their latest research that showed it only takes 12 minutes of quality time for parents to reconnect with their children after being separated while parents are at work and children are at school.

All the children present had access to workstations where they were given 12 minutes to perform tasks like making a fun T-shirt, indoor bowling or making musical instruments out of plastic cups and dried beans. It was a little like organised chaos at some points but all the kids present had a great time and the Ribena Plus team were totally unfazed by all the noise and mess.

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This thing I took away from the event was to use open ended questions with my daughter. Instead of saying ‘How was your day?’ which always gets a ‘Fine’ the makers of Ribena Plus advised asking the question ‘Tell me what the best bit of your day was’ as it guarantees an answer more than one word long.

If you are a working parent you will appreciate the difficulty in juggling all your work and home responsibilities and looking after your children; it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything well. While I hope I spend more than 12 minutes of quality time a day with my children; the suggestions the Ribena Plus team gave were really helpful and will make for some great activities during the next half term. For example with children aged 3 to 4 they said ask questions like: What are the names of the toys you played with today? Who is taller mummy or your teacher? Tell me about the best game you played today.

Although it feels like 100 years ago I do still remember being a teenager and my poor mother trying to get information out of me. Conversation tips from the Ribena Plus team for this age group include:

Tell me some school gossip I am all ears
Where are you off to with your friends this week
What project are you doing at the moment and can I help you with it?

I think these are brilliant!

They also gave out of a handy manual containing 30 activities parents can do with their child. The book was made by parents for parents and is meant to help us reconnect with our children while learning about their day. We are going to work through it for the next 30 days. You can download your copy at www.ribena.co.uk.


14
May 13

The Beauty Edit: May

These beauties are at the front of my dressing table this month:

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Compact Foundation – £32
I have to admit this is my second time using a compact foundation. My very first foundation was MAC Studio Fix and I stuck with that for years before moving over to liquid. Now I’m a firm liquid user I couldn’t see myself going back to a compact. Bobbi Brown has convinced me though. I have the Long Wear liquid and the compact version of the foundation is perfect for applying makeup on the go with its sponge applicator and mirror. Walnut is a perfect colour match to my skin and it looks smooth and natural as it covers imperfections without looking cakey or masky.

bobbi-brown-compact-foundation

MUA Cosmetics Spring Collection – £4
You might think ‘do I really need another nude make up palette?’ but when it’s only £4.00 yes, yes you do! The MUA Cosmetics Spring Collection comprises a primer, fix mists and concealers but most were too light for my skin tone. The Undressed Me Too eye shadow palette contains 12 warm, classic shades that should suit everyone. Shades Naked, Devotion and Shy are perfect for highlighting the eyes, while the shimmery tones of Fiery, Lavish and Dreamy help give a more sultry effect. Use Tranquil, Exposed and Wink to contour and transform your day look into a sexy smoky eye. I keep Undressed Me Too in my bag so I have something on hand that I can use to update or totally refresh my look.

MUA

Good Things Total Wipe Out Cleansing Wipes – £3.49
Talking of refreshing my look; I love a good cleansing wipe. When I get home in the evening the first thing I do is use one to get all my makeup off. I need a wipe that gets all the makeup and London grime off my face without stripping my skin clean and leaving it taut and dry. Each Good Things Total Wipe Out Cleansing Wipe has aloe vera, vitamin E and Raspberry and cranberry extracts which makes it suitable for sensitive skins and it cleans and refreshing while hydrating the skin. They are also biodegradable (perfect for festivals) and free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils and animal-tested ingredients.

wipes

Models Own Artistic Duo Polish – £6
Plain nails seem to be a thing of the past so it makes sense to sell the base and top coats together. Models Own have coordinated their bestselling colour polish and the most popular nail effects and created eight different colour combinations. I tried Jade Flakes – Jade Stone and Snowflakes; a jade green base coat with a silvery glitter top coat. It’s a lovely colour that really stands out against brown skins and I received quite a few compliments wearing it.

models-own

WEN by Chaz Dean 5-in-1 Cleansing Conditioner - Kit from £57
If you read this blog regularly you’ll know I’m somewhat obsessed with conditioner and hair treatments. My hair is thirsty; there’s no such thing as too much conditioner when it comes to my tresses. My latest find is from US stylist Chaz Dean. I love a good co-wash but with this cleansing conditioner, I use one product to get the benefits of five. The cleansing conditioner is crammed with a blend of herbs, botanicals and pro-vitamin B and is designed to replace your shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, detangler and intensive conditioner. Saving time and money, it doesn’t lather (it’s SLS free) but creates a smooth foam and gives your hair a good clean without being too harsh. The cleansing conditioner is part of the Sweet Almond Mint kit which has been specially formulated for dry, damaged and frizzy hair.

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12
May 13

Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pak‏

For hair that smalls of apricot, flowers and sunshine, try Kiehl’s Sunflower Colour Preserving Deep Recovery Pak‏.

Now my hair is coloured I have to pay extra special attention and care to treating it well. As my hair isn’t relaxed, my struggle isn’t too hard but I’m always on the lookout for conditioning treatments that can nourish my hair as well as preserve my colour.

kiehls-sunflower-colour-preserving-pak

 

Kiehl’s Sunflower Colour Preserving Deep Recovery Pak is a paraben and silicone-free conditioning treatment for coloured hair. It works particularly well in repairing chemically processed hair so would work well for those whose tresses are relaxed.

Key ingredients include:

Sunflower Seed Oil which helps to nurture and condition dry or damaged hair, Apricot Kernel Oil, an ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties and Vitamins B3, 5 and 6 to provide condition and shine while protecting hair fibers from oxidative damage.

For the best results use it every time you wash your hair which in my case is once a week. After shampooing, apply a generous amount all over your hair, concentrating on the areas that need TLC. In my case that’s the ombré ends. Leave on for as long as you wish (I left it on all day) and then rinse out for silky soft and nourished hair. It’s important you rinse properly as any leftover treatment will make your hair sticky and hard to style.

I pretty much drenched my hair in the Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pak and I’d hardly made a dent in the tub so it should last ages. I love the smell and the condition if leaves my hair in. If your hair is coloured, and especially if it’s relaxed, this is a conditioning treatment you should try.

Kiehl’s Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pak – £25/250ml


10
May 13

Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner

I am a huge fan of Ojon as their products work so well on curly and Afro hair.

When I read about the new Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner I knew it was something I had to get my hands or should I say hair on. Anyone with Afro hair, but especially those who have treated it with colour or chemicals needs to use this product.

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The conditioner contains three butters and seven oils which are known for their nourishing and shine enhancing properties. I like to know what I’m putting on my hair and if you do to, take these ingredients in:

  • Ojon Oil penetrates the hair shaft to repair and seal the cuticle and helps to build up hair’s natural resistance to future damage.
  • Indian Kokum is rich in essential lipids, is known for its nourishing properties and is traditionally used to hydrate skin and condition hair.
  • Brazil Murumuru Butter contains oleic acid that helps retain moisture in skin and hair and gives a healthy shine to damaged or over-processed hair.
  • African Shea Butter is high in vitamins A and E and provides essential nutrients that help strengthen and hydrate hair.
  • Rouge Oleifera helps protect while reducing flyaways and adding shine and manageability.
  • Tahitian Monoi Oil adds shine and protects hair from both heat and environmental factors.

The conditioner itself looks a bit like Cadburys Creme Egg filling; it is a two colour product – the ivory colour is to soften the hair and the amber colour is to nourish, repair and condition.

You can use it daily but I like to use it as a deep conditioning treatment. When I had my hair coloured at Daniel Galvin, the colourist told me there is no such thing as too much conditioner for coloured hair. With that in mind I applied the Rare Blend Deep Conditioner in the morning and washed it out in the evening.

My hair felt amazing afterwards. My tangle teezer glided through my hair with ease and my hair looked, felt and smelled wonderful. I love this product, as anyone with curly or Afro hair knows; shampoo we can be flexible on but when it comes to conditioner we need the good stuff. Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner is the good stuff.

In clinical studies the conditioner reduced friction force and improved ease of combing by 98%. Curly girls will love that statistic!

Ojon Rare Blend Deep Conditioner – £29/150ml


5
May 13

Label M Advanced Pro 28mm Tongs

I’ve long envied those girls with their loosely waved and perfectly styled hair and wondered if it was a look that could work on my hair.

My friends always say that long hair is wasted on me as I usually wear it off my face and up in a ponytail. Now I’ve added colour to it I am making a conscious effort to wear it down more so I thought I’d try about the new Label M Advanced Pro 28mm Tongs to add some movement and body to my hair.

labelm Advanced Pro Curling Tong 38mm LMELCT38

The tongs features include:

Tourmaline and Ceramic Technology for 100% static free results
LCD digital display indicator and ready light
Built-in microcomputer
Fast heat up & heat restoration
Adjustable temperature control from 80-210°C (I use it at 180)
Safety stand and cool tip
Rubber coated soft touch handle

I started by parting my hair from side to side in four sections to make it easier to work on. I then took each section and parted it down the middle so each side had 2 sections of hair. I then divided those 2 again and curled each area away from my face. This is the size of the curl the tong gives.

daniel-galvin-finger-painting (2)

I looked like a poodle afterwards (not the look I was going for) so once I’d let them cool I raked through them with my hands and this is what it looked like.

Label M Advanced Pro 28mm Tongs

It’s big but not too big and my hair has that swingy TV bounce. My hair holds a style pretty well so save from a couple of sprays of my Elnett Heat Protection Spray it should stay like this for at least a week.

I’ve tried barrel tongs before but I find the lack of a clamp means the curls just don’t look right (or maybe I’m just not very good!) I like the size of the curl the Label M Advanced Pro 28mm Tongs give and think its perfect for those with short to medium length hair.

Label M Advanced Pro 28mm Tongs – £44.95

 

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