July, 2013

Jul 13

Tommy Guns Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner

If your hair is coloured you know that it needs extra special care to help restore strength and to keep the colour true and fast. Although coloured hair looks good it does mean that your hair has been structurally damaged and so it needs gentle cleansing and protective conditioning to seal colour into the hair shaft and to hydrate and treat your hair.


The new Tommy Guns Colour Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner contains ingredients that coloured hair will love: Bergamot, Manuka honey, Clary sage, orange, Cardamom, nutmeg and UV filters all help to keep hair clean, protected and in good condition.

Bergamot & Inula Shampoo – £5.50
Bergamot, Inula & Manuka honey conditioner – £5.50

Jul 13

Moisturising with A’Kin, Clinique & Eucerin, Nails from SensatioNail & Tea from Twinings!

Farewell dry skin!

Eucerin Dry Skin Range – from £9
I am a huge fan of Eucerin products; the packaging is plain and simple but what’s inside packs a real punch! I find London water extremely hard on my skin and hair (and even more so on my children) so I’m always trying to add extra moisture with creams and cleansing products. My latest finds are the Eucerin Bath & Shower Cream with 20% Omega oils and their Intensive Moisturising Lotion. Skin feels soft and smooth after the first shower or bath (thanks to the omega oils) and when you add the moisturising lotion you’re left with soothed, hydrated skin. The bottle says it’s suitable for extremely dry skin but I think it’s fine for anyone who likes moisturised, non-greasy skin.


Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+ – £17 (available July 12)
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion was the first dermatologist developed moisturiser and the number one selling women’s skincare product in the UK in 2012. It’s taken 3 dermatologists, 53 researchers, 100 formula trials and customer feedback and usage from 1,600 women of different ethnicities across 5 countries to get the new Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+ formula just right. The new formulation contains sunflower seed cake, barley and cucumber extract to strengthen the skin’s barrier (to keep moisture in), improve hydration, leave you with a healthy glow and help skin look younger. It has a very neutral smell (so won’t compete with perfume) absorbs very quickly and leaves the skin looking and feeling very moisturised.

A’kin Lavender & Geranium Body Moisturiser – £15.00

The Purist Company is an Australian skincare brand that creates natural skincare and hair care products. I tried the A’kin Lavender & Geranium Body Moisturiser which contains Echium oil – a rich source of Omegas 3, 6 and 9 – and moisturising Shea butter, Vitamin B5, Australian cold pressed Jojoba oil and Australian cold pressed certified organic Avocado and Lavender oils. It leaves the skin deeply hydrated and silky soft and as it contains no parabens, sulfates, ethoxylated and petrochemicals cleansers, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA, artificial colours or animal ingredients it’s perfect for even very young skins.


SensatioNail by Nailene Starter Kit – £69.99

The SensatioNail Starter Kit includes everything you need for 10 applications of salon like gel nails! You get the Pro 3060 LED Lamp (to cure your Gel Polish and seal in the colour) all the base and top coats, one bottle of gel nail polish plus wipes, lint free cloth and a cuticle stick. It is a faff to apply and you have to cure almost every coat but after 5 minutes, you’re left with rock hard, super shiny nails that went chip free for just over a week. The initial outlay might seem high but think of the money you’ll save on nail polish/manis!


Twinings Everyday Extras Range – £2.29
It’s not often I write about food/drink but as an avid tea drinker, I feel these teas have earned their right to website space! Quite simply, it’s tea as we know it blended with redbush, Echinacea, green tea or mint and as they look and taste like regular tea, you can still add milk and sugar which I know is what puts a lot of people off herbal tea. Besides, they taste really nice! Available from most supermarkets.


Jul 13

Five Minutes With: Teri Hatcher at Disney’s ‘Planes’ Screening

I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher at a press screening of her new Disney animated film ‘Planes’. The film is out next month and the screening was a bit of a celeb fest; I also spied Pauline Quirke and family, Claire Richards from Steps and Mark Wright from TOWIE.

Dottie, far right

Dottie, middle

From above the world of Cars, Disney’s Planes is an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure about Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane whose high-flying dream gives a spellbound world the inspiration to soar. Teri voices his car friend ‘Dottie’.

I asked her about Planes, being a working mother and her favourite Disney movie:

What drew you to the role of Dottie in Planes?
Well they asked! (laughs) I have always been a fan of Disney movies and I like the idea of being part of projects that are going to entertain families, that will be around for a long time and are something I can be proud of.

What is your favourite Disney movie?
If I had to pick one it would probably be the classic Aristocats but there are many more.

Any tips for mothers out there trying to do it all?
I’d share the advice someone gave me once that really stuck; parenting is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You can’t beat yourself up every little moment, you have to know that it’s longevity, consistency, love and that’s the goal. Moments can be hard, each day offers a different challenge and just try and bring joy and love to those.

How did you balance work, motherhood and a personal life?
It’s difficult; I don’t think any woman should say that it isn’t because that makes it sound like it’s easy. I think there are sacrifices you have to make. My personal sacrifice was that I wasn’t able to put in a personal life. There was enough time to be a mother and there was enough time to work but there wasn’t really time for relationships and that’s something I’m looking forward to! (laughs)

Teri Hatcher

Can we have some beauty tips; how do you manage to always look so good?!
I don’t have that favourite product that I’ve used forever and ever but I do try to take good care of my skin. I think eating right, drinking a lot of water and getting a decent amount of sleep all makes a difference.

Teri was gracious and friendly at the screening; she complimented me on my Zara statement necklace and seemed genuinely excited to watch the film with us.


Disney Planes is in cinemas on August 16.

Jul 13

Rahua Treatment at Urban Retreat, Harrods

Journeying to Harrods is always a bitter sweet experience; I love having a gorgeous treatment in beautiful surroundings but I’m not too proud to admit feeling pangs of jealousy when I see tourists from the Far and Middle East snapping up Chanel/Celine/Saint Laurent bags with wild abandon. And that’s just the ground floor!

I was in Harrods to visit the Urban Retreat spa for the new Rahua treatment.


Rahua is a salon-only chemical free treatment that repairs even the most damaging hair. The 100% natural, organic, vegan and gluten free treatment contains omega -9- rich ungurahua oil, grown and sourced directly from the Amazon rainforest, which helps flush out toxins that build up around hair follicles while its lipids strengthen hair roots. The treatment aids hair regeneration, resolves dryness, dandruff and excessive hair loss.

It’s always refreshing when a stylist is completely unfazed by my hair. I reason that if you can deal with mixed/Afro hair you can deal anything. Habit makes me check with the PR that they had someone comfortable working with Afro hair and was told of course they do. In fact she was almost surprised I was asking the question. What a refreshing change!

The treatment involves:

Shampooing hair twice with Rahua Shampoo
Combing through damp hair with Rahua Omega 9 Pro Hair Mask mixed with 7-10 drops of Rahua Elixir, paying special attention to ends
Stimulating the scalp with massage for five minutes; leaving treatment in hair for 10-15 minutes followed by another scalp massage for five more minutes.
Rinsing with warm water, finishing with a short cool rinse to close the hair cuticle and seal treatment.

Before blow drying James applied Rahua Finishing Treatment and a few drops of Moroccanoil to protect and hydrate my hair. As heat from styling tools enhances treatment results, he blow dried with a round brush and created loose waves with hair irons, pinning them as he went.


I was left with the best looking and feeling hair I’ve ever had. It was shiny, silky, strong – I was one of those annoying girls that checks their reflection in car and shop windows. It looked that good.

The Rahua treatment is perfect for all dry and distressed hair types but particularly Afro hair that’s relaxed, coloured or chemically treated. It’s like a spa weekend break for your hair.

Rahua Omega 9 Pro Treatment is available at Urban Retreat, Harrods
Price: £30 (does not include blow-dry)

Jul 13

Get to Know: Pop Chips

Have you heard of them yet? If not, you’ve been missing out! They’re like crisps without the guilt factor.

I would take savoury over sweet any day of the week. Give me a bag of nuts or crisps rather than a bar of chocolate. While my teeth thank me; sweet and savoury can be equally as damaging to the waistline and there’s only so much homemade popcorn I can eat!

Pop chips are my new favourite snack as they contain not only half the fat of normal fried crisps, but each bag is only 100 calories, has zero cholesterol and trans fat and has no artificial ingredients whatsoever. They’re delicious, crunchy, gluten free (yay!) and as they aren’t fried or baked, there’s zero oil residue so need to find a napkin after eating them. They are made from potato (plus a little rice flour and seasonings) and somehow they add heat and pressure and pop! You have a yummy circular disc of savoury goodness.


As you can tell I’m a huge fan; it’s not often I find a gluten free (and some are dairy free too) low calorie snack that actually tastes nice! Unless you’re forced to eat gluten and dairy free too, you may not appreciate how rare and special this is!

I love that my trial box came with a giant Pop chip branded paperclip; as if I would open a bag and not finish it! As there’s a Starbucks on every corner now, if you’re London based they are your best place to pick some up. Otherwise they’re available from Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Boots (perfect for lunch) and other retailers.

Pop chips come in five flavours: original potato (my favourite), BBQ, sour cream and chive, salt and pepper and sea salt and vinegar and they have a RRP of £1.15 a bag.

Get some; you’ll thank me.


Jul 13

Dolce & Gabbana Love in Taormina Collection

Ever since I discovered that A – Pat McGrath is Creative Advisor at Dolce & Gabbana make up and B – they do a great line of foundations for women of all colours, I’ve been all over their range.

One of my favourite products is a black kohl eye pencil; if anyone is going to get a sexy eye pencil right it’s going to be an Italian brand!

Their Love in Taormina nail lacquer collection contains colour pop bright hues inspired by the Spring/Summer 2013 catwalk. The lacquers have been named after Italian flowers: Bouganville a rich fuchsia with a touch of purple, Ibisco a dark pink with coral undertones, Oleandro a soft pearlescent pink, Iris a deep violet and Camelia a fluorescent coral.

I tried the high shine and matte top coats and the lacquers in Iris (my fave), Bouganville, Oleandro and Camelia (all £19).


l – r: Matte top coat, Iris, Bouganville, Oleandro, Camelia, High Shine top coat

They’ve outdone themselves top coat wise as you can choose between a high shine gel like finish or my favourite, a seriously sexy matte. High Shine top lacquer contains diamond powder to infuse strength into the nails and achieve a mirror-like shine, maintaining the colour and lengthening the wear of your favourite lacquer shade; while the Matte top lacquer dries to a velvety matte effect, to simultaneously preserve the colour and wear.

Creative Advisor, Pat McGrath says: “I like to use colours that really pop for maximum impact, such as Iris on the base of the nail and then the tip in Ibisco. Then, play with texture by applying first the matte top coat and then the high shine top coat on the fuchsia tip.”

We bow to your wisdom Ms McGrath!

All lacquers £19. Available from Harrods (in store and online).

Jul 13

Face Care From Elemis, Eucerin, Body Shop and Nivea

Skincare solutions for the old and the young:

Elemis White Flowers Eye and Lip Make Up Remover – £19
Every Elemis product I’ve tried has been amazing and this lip and eye makeup remover is no exception. Its bi-phase formula (part water, part oil) contains white peony extract to hydrate and cooling white tea to soothe and refresh. Modern lip stains (which I love) can be a pain to remove but them and waterproof mascara is nothing for this remover, one swipe with a wet cotton pad and they’re gone. The oil/water hybrid is gentle on the eyes/lashes so is suitable for sensitive skins and contact lens wearers.

Eucerin Dermo Purifier Hydrating Day Cream – £9.18
Eucerin products are simple but effective; they don’t waste time with fancy packaging and such yet every product I’ve tried (the Even Brighter range is amazing) has really impressed me. Their latest range is Dermo Purifier and has been especially formulated for acne prone skin. The day cream contains Gluco-Glycerol to give skin that is being treated for acne extra hydration. Most topical acne prescription creams work by drying out the excess sebum that causes spots but this can leave the skin looking and feeling parched. The new Eucerin Dermo Purifier range contains SPF30 to protect sun-sensitive skin, licorice extract to soothe and calm and carnitine to help balance sebum production. Teenagers need to invest in this range!


The Body Shop Seaweed Range – from £8 
Combination skin like mine tends to get oily quickly but that can be diminished thanks to seaweed. Who knew? This marine wonder plant absorbs all the richness from the sea, making it packed with high concentrations of vitamins and minerals that help reduce sebum and rebalance the skin’s moisture levels. The Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream (£10.00) is an oil-free, gel-like cream that penetrates the skin easily, giving moisture to dry areas as well as balancing excess sebum for a shine-free complexion. The Seaweed Pore Protector (£11.00) is a lightweight gel that helps minimise the appearance of pores for cleaner, clearer looking skin. The range also includes Seaweed Clarifying Toner (£8.00) and Seaweed Pore-Cleansing Facial Exfoliator (£9.00).

Nivea Vital Multi Active Anti-Age Serum – £12.99 
Especially for those aged 55 and above (I’m giving mine to Mother dearest) the hero product in the new Nivea Vital range is soy extract. Not just for making into milk and yoghurt, soy extract is one of the five holy plants in China and is known for its nourishing and anti-ageing benefits. Apparently Soy helps support cell renewal and boosts the skin’s own collagen production. This new anti-age serum helps reduce the appearance of age spots, discolouration, fine lines and wrinkles, plumps and smooth the skin thanks to the wonder that is Hyaluronic Acid. Not bad for less than £20.

Jul 13

Lancome Teint Visionnaire Foundation

I think I have found the foundation equivalent of my soul mate. Say hello to Lancome Teint Visionnaire Foundation.

Although my skin hyperpigmentation has improved greatly, the dark spots are still there and Lancôme Teint Visionnaire was formulated with skin issues like this in mind.


In 11 Muscade

It contains vitamin CG which is recognised for its anti- dark spot effectiveness. Lancôme Teint Visionnaire is a two part foundation; along with the liquid foundation you also get a high coverage concealer (they call it a precision corrector) and for me, this is what sets it apart from the myriad of foundations out there.

It also contains 2% of some of the ingredients in the Visionnaire skincare range which means it is good for the skin and helps with the long term treatment of dark spots, wrinkles and enlarged pores. I wear 11 Muscade and there are four shades darker so most skin tones should be catered for.

After applying primer (do it ladies; it helps your make up stay on longer) mix some of the concealer on the back of your hand and then use your finger or a concealer brush to cover any redness or dark circles/spots. I was amazed at not only the perfect colour match but also the way the dark spots seemed to disappear. Loving it so far.

Next, take your foundation brush and apply the sheer perfecting foundation. I’d say it gives a light to medium coverage but when you’ve got any imperfections covered with the wonderful concealer, you don’t need anything more than that. If however your pigmentation is quite severe, lightly apply a touch more concealer on any dark spots.

All foundations say this but Lancôme Teint Visionnaire really does give a flawless natural looking result. There’s no ‘mask’ effect and once it had settled into my skin, I was very impressed at how creamy, even toned and radiant my skin looked.

I didn’t think anything could separate me from YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat but Lancôme Teint Visionnaire has done it. It is my favourite foundation this far and definitely my go to when I want a flawless but natural looking complexion. And that’s pretty much every day.

Lancome Teint Visionnaire Foundation – £36

Jul 13

Travel Beauty Essentials

If you’re lucky enough to be going away this summer, try not to stuff your beauty bag. Pack smart with these goodies:

This works clean skin 5-in-1 Water – £13
Ideal for summer travel, hassle free cleansing is easy with this works clean skin 5-in-1 water. It is a multitasking rosewater cleanser that effectively removes make-up decongests and brightens the skin. I use it at home and away.

Dr Hauschka Daily Escapes Travel Set – £21
This travel set contains small versions of bestselling Dr H products – cleansing milk, cleansing cream and facial toner. It is perfect for taking on holiday to help maintain a naturally radiant complexion when on the go.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Refresh Dry Shampoo – £5.89
This is not one for those with natural hair but if you have braids, weave or relaxed hair this will work fine for you. Simply spray on to absorb oil and sweat between shampoos. It also helps transform fine, flat hair and gives you a volume boost.


ESPA Mandarin Lip balm – £10
A 100% natural formulation, this new ESPA Lip balm is enriched with mandarin essential oil for a beautiful orange scent, wild mango butter to soften and condition, pomegranate to increase hydration and rosemary to protect against environmental damage. The packaging is lovely too.


Chanel L’Ete Papillion de Chanel – from £18
Chanel can do no wrong in my makeup book (I’m talking Chanel, not Karl Lagerfeld) and their summer collection was designed to be worn on holiday. Certainly not one for the colour shy, the bright hues will look perfect against sun kissed skin. My favourite product is the nail colour Bel Argus; it applies wonderfully and is as thick, creamy and expensive looking and feeling as you want it to be.


These two I like because they are small enough (in size and volume – they are not over 100ml) to fit in your hand luggage so you can keep your skin on point en route!

skyn ICELAND Arctic Hydrating Balm – £25
A deeply reparative moisturising skin replenisher, the Arctic Hydrating Balm harnesses cryogenic technology from the Arctic and Antarctic to soothe and repair super dry, sensitive skin. Apply generously on long haul flights to hydrate your skin.


Orico Rush Hour Dry Body Oil – £19
This rapidly absorbed, ultra-nourishing organic body oil restores and revitalises dry skin to its sheer, radiant and glowing best – a perfect post sun treat.


Bonne vacances!

Jul 13

John Frieda Full Repair Range

Heat styling (guilty), sun damage and regular hair colouring (guilty) can all end up in vicious cycle of dry, damaged and dehydrated hair.

I rarely meet a conditioner I don’t like so was more than happy to try out the new Full Repair range from John Frieda. The range (shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, repairing oil and flyaway tamer) has been designed to nourish, smooth and strengthen the hair and help break the cycle of damage. It contains Inca Inchi, an Amazonian lightweight micro-oil rich in Omega-3, to soothe coarse, damaged over-styled hair.


I’ve been using the conditioner as a co-wash (conditioner wash) and it leaves my hair smooth, soft and nourished. If I am going to straighten my hair I’ll use the Hydrate + Rescue Deep Conditioner first to nourish my hair before I heat style and to help reduce the risk of breakage.

My favourite product is the Repairing Oil Elixir. It is infused with substantial levels of omega 3 and Inca Inchi Oil, which is 47 times more than that of Argan oil. It helps to reduce breakage and repair, smooth and leave you with more manageable hair without weighing it down. It also contains highly unsaturated fatty acids which create a smooth and flexible film, wrapping broken stands to strengthen and replenish creating a natural barrier to heat damage. I use it on wet and dry hair.

The Flyaway Tamer is such a good idea; it’s a gel/oil formula that you apply to flyaways with a large mascara brush to smooth and add shine. It too contains Inca Inchi Oil.

If you’ve been unkind to your hair recently (too much sun/colour/heat etc) make friends again with the John Frieda Full Repair range.

John Frieda Full Repair range – from £5.99

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