October, 2013

Oct 13

The Beauty Edit: Eve Snow, Liz Earle for Men & The Body Shop

Liz Earle for Men
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish is something of a cult favourite for women and now men can get in on the action with a new range just for them. Especially formulated to meet the needs of male skin, the new Cleanse & Polish, Sensitive Shave Cream and After-Shaving Moisturiser contain ingredients like eucalyptus, rosemary and cocoa butter to keep skin smooth and protected during winter. Prices start at £11.50.


Eve Snow Nail Polish – £14
Last month saw the launch of a new Eve Snow collection including Fenwick Bond Street, selected by Mia Fenwick herself. The Autumn/Winter range has four new colours, Bittersweet, Wanderlust, Real B*tiches love Rih (inspired by Rihanna) and Midnight Hour. The range contains vitamin E, argan oil and gingko biloba to nourish nails. Celebrity fans include J Lo, Rihanna, Alexa Chung, Rita Ora and Lana del Rey.


The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose – £16/60ml
White Musk Smoky Rose is the new cruelty range from The Body Shop. Cruelty-Free Musk The White Musk range first launched at The Body Shop in 1981 and represented a landmark in the fragrance industry as it was one of the first man-made, cruelty-free musk fragrances to arrive on the market place in replacement of real musk, which is extracted from the civet deer via cruel and painful methods. White Musk Smoky Rose is a fusion of bergamot, pink pepper and blackcurrant and perfect for those who like their scents heady and sensuous.


Oct 13

The Body Edit: The Body Shop and SenSpa Body Therapy Range

An oldie but a goodie, at one point I’m sure we’ve all purchased a tub of The Body Shop Body Butter.

Cocoa Butter is a brown girl’s fave so I wanted to say congratulations to Body Shop on 21 years since they first brought out this original body butter. Nothing has changed (if ain’t broke, don’t fix it) it still has Community Fair Trade cocoa butter from Ghana which gives 50,000 small-scale farmers a fair wage and a guaranteed regular income.

the body shop body butter

The Body Shop Cocoa Butter Body Butter – £13/200ml

The SenSpa Body Therapy Range launched exclusively in Waitrose earlier this month. The range is made up of 12 products, each of which is 97% natural with no parabens, mineral oils, SLS or artificial fragrances. There has been no animal testing or animal ingredients and the preservatives used are of the highest-grade preservative systems. When it comes to the kids; I try and use as natural as possible so I’ve been slathering these all over them for soft, natural delicious smelling skin.


SenSpa Body Therapy Range – prices start at £5.50

Oct 13

Dolce&Gabbana Autumn/Winter Make Up Collection

I have made no secret of my admiration for Pat McGrath, make up maestro and Dolce&Gabbana Make Up creative advisor. This season it’s all about the classic and sexy smoky eye/nude lip combo and if we can’t rely on an Italian brand to get that right, all is lost!

The muse for the collection is eternal beauty Monica Belluci who designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana say ‘will always be the original Dolce& Gabbana woman; naturally, timelessly beautiful with an unwavering strength of character on the inside.”

The classic look works on practically every skin tone and, as it’s a trend that never goes out of fashion, it’s worth getting the best quality you can afford as you know you’ll get a good wear out of it.

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To create the perfect smoky eye, world renowned makeup artist, Pat McGrath advises: “The Smooth Eye Colour Quad in Smoky is the perfect palette of light and hazy shades that can be layered to achieve a classic smoky eye. Apply the lighter ‘toned down’ shade for the day time but in the evening you can use the darkest shade and apply above the lash line which will add depth to the eyes and sockets to create a more noticeable definition. Next use a velvety soft kohl pencil like Graphite to add intensity. To complement the eyes and create a natural look that harmonises perfectly together, use the Voluptuous Lipstick in Nude Monica to achieve an extremely wearable lip with a sensual texture and look. Finally to finish, apply the stunning Nail Lacquer in Gentle which is incredibly feminine, and its damask rose shade creates a luxurious feel.”

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Lips are key to the collection’s look and each Monica lipstick is encased in gold packaging featuring Monica’s name written in red on the case’s profile. There are three new natural shades:

Nude Monica, a refined buff
True Monica, a natural fleshy pink
Gentle Monica, a soft pale rose

The lipsticks’ smooth and creamy formula has skin conditioning ingredients to leave the lips feeling soft and looking plump. Each shade contains the signature Dolce&Gabbana lipstick scent of powdery rose. Complementing the lipsticks are lip liners in corresponding shades of Nude, Soft and Cashmere.

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“Monica’s signature look works on many skin tones,” Pat continues. “To get the lips looking extra full, fill them in with lip liner first and then apply lipstick, Nude Monica suits darker skin, while pink-based Gentle Monica suits porcelain skin tones.”

I can’t promise you Belluci beauty but I can say the range will make you look and feel pretty darn sexy.

Prices start at £16.50 for an eye crayon.
Available from Harrods and harrods.com

Oct 13

The Beauty Edit: Mariah Carey x OPI, Givenchy and The Body Shop

It’s approaching the time of year when thoughts turns to shimmer and sparkle and we can’t do much better than my picks for this week:

Givenchy Ondulations D’or – £38.50
You expect couture type make up from Givenchy and this new palette from their Xmas collection does not disappoint. The comfortable texture of this powder adapts to the delicate skin around the eyes as they were heated and pressed for longer yet lighter wear. The talc-free colours (in beautuiful packaging) can be worn in a varietu of ways. Blend the black and gold into a deep, dense bronze. They can also create contrast, one playing off the precious waves of the other.The golden hue will brighten up the upper lid. Applied beneath the eye or along the lash line, the black shade will amplify the vibrancy of the eyes.

givenchy eye makeup

Mariah Carey x OPI – £11.50
Mariah Carey by OPI is back for Xmas with 18 new sparkly and shimmery shades. The shades here are Baby Please Come Home and Kiss Me At Midnight and both contain new liquid sand technology for a textured matte finished, infused with reflective sparkle. It’s a completely new formula that gives a unique look with a pebbled finish that lightly shimmers with fibre glitter particles. With no need for a top cat, Mariah was inspired by Xmas sparkle when creating her collection that ranges from frosted pink to sparkling graphite.


The Body Shop Radiance Range
As the summer holiday tan fades, it’s tme to fake health and wellbeing with The Body Shop’s radiance range. The colours have been formulated to suit those a range of skin types, including those darker skin tones. Simply follow these steps to conceal, illuminate and sculpt your complexion with a luminous glow:

Conceal with Lightening Touch Universal Highlighter- £14
Use this unique universal shade to illuminate eyes, cheekbones and brow bones with sheer and pearly iridescence. It’s the magic wand to add light to any look and any skin tone.

Illuminate with Brush On – £14.
Sweep Brush On all over your face to illuminate with a sheer shimmering finish. It comes in three shades to suit every complexion: Brush On ‘Sunlight’ is perfect for medium skin tones. Try ‘Radiance’ for light skin tones and ‘Bronze’ for dark skin tones.

Sculpt with Shimmer Waves, RRP £16.
This compact of five shimmering shades is to give dimension to your face. Shimmer Waves Coral best suits medium skin tones. Shimmer Waves Blush is for lighter skin tones and Shimmer Waves Bronze for dark skin tones. Create shadow by using the darkest shades on the lower part of the cheeks and contour. Bring light by applying the lightest shades on the cheekbones and forehead.

Oct 13

Noble Isle Rhubarb Rhubarb! Gift Set

As we trundle toward December, thoughts turn to Xmas and I love this offering from Noble Isle.

All Noble Isle products are made in the UK and inspired by the natural and cultural riches of the British Isles. All their washes, lotions, candles and diffusers have extracts sourced from some of the most celebrated local producers, including rhubarb from England, sea oak from Ireland, barley from Scotland and beetroot from Wales.


The Rhubarb! gift set contains 250ml Hand Wash and Hand Lotion 250ml as well as a Fine Fragrance Reed Diffuser. Rhubarb contains vitamin C and calcium, and is known for its invigorating and cleansing properties. This gift set leaves your hands and, thanks to the diffuser, your house smelling warm and inviting. Brad Pitt is a Noble Isle fan too!

Noble Isle Rhubarb Rhubarb! Gift Set – £65

Oct 13

COR Silver Soap

Cult skincare brand COR has launched its Silver Series range in the Harrods in-store pharmacy.

The brand is a favourite of Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Hendricks and Tyra Banks and sells out almost as quickly as it’s re-stocked.

COR silver series

I tried COR’s most popular product, The Silver Soap. The ball’s most active ingredient is particle-sized silver-silica compound, which supports healthy skin by getting to the core of skin problems like acne, pigmentation, scarring and sunspots. It also reduces inflammation and itching in eczema-prone skin.

The soap’s active ingredients remain on the face long after rinsing, with sericin helping to regulate moisture content, tighten the skin and erase wrinkles upon drying. Sericin also creates a light scattering effect, which protects the skin against harmful environmental influences.

Another ingredient is chitosan, a natural fibre that acts to even out skin tone. Chitosan also has moisture-retaining properties which, when combined with the bar’s avocado and jojoba oils, leaves skin feeling silky smooth to the touch.

The COR range also includes The Silver Anytime Moisturiser, The Silver Eye Cream and The Silver Wrinkle Serum.

The Silver Soap – £35/30g

Oct 13

The Beauty Edit: Dolce & Gabbana, Bumble, The Body Shop and Yves Rocher

My picks of the week:

Dolce & Gabbana PassionEyes Mascara – £25
This new mascara contains natural and naturally derived ingredients to create lightweights formula with a flexible hold. No hard as rock, dusty lashes here. The formula contains tapioca polymers to help hold lashes in place, while long wear polymers improve resistance. It also contains beeswax for enhanced natural flexibility structure and body when dry, and Glycerin, which helps condition lashes and create that good curl. I tried Nero (black) but the range also comes in Terra (dark brown) and new for Dolce & Gabbana Blu; a deep blue. Trust Dolce to get sexy eyes right.


Yves Rocher Neroli Perfume – £26.40
It takes a ton of Neroli flowers to produce a kilo of essential oil and this new fragrance from Yves Rocher has masterfully blended neroli with orange and mandarin to create a fruity, light, musky scent.


The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth – £27/new 50ml size 
Enriched with plant stem cells, Drops of Youth helps to optimise your skin’s youthful beauty by helping to enhance surface skin renewal, the skin’s natural process of replacing the uppermost dead skin cells with new ones beneath. Used every day, it helps skin look smoother and firmer in as little as five days! 98% of the ingredients used in Drops of Youth are of natural origin. The concentrate is enriched with plant stem cells from criste-marine which is known for its ability to thrive in harsh, dry conditions by absorbing nutrients from the air around it. Imagine the good it can do to your skin.

Bumble & Bumble Gel – £21.50 
With summer well and truly over and rain falling most days, it’s hard to get your hair to behave. When all else fails, slick your hair with this alcohol free gel. You can use it to sculpt or smooth and it won’t make your hair feel hard or crispy.

Oct 13

The Beauty Edit: Bumble & Nivea

Central heating is playing havoc with my hair so I’m trying out these new products from Bumble in an effort to bring some life back to my tresses:

Bb Quenching Masque – £30
This bad boy is not for those with limp or fine hair; it packs a serious hydrating/conditioning punch! Use it once a week, leaving on for ten minutes, to help restore natural moisture and bring softness and strength back.

Bb Shine – £22
One of InStyle magazines Best Beauty Buys 2013, this lightweight finishing spray addd sheen and shine without weighting your hair down or makingit look greasy. It’s great for finishing off a blow dry/straighten but I like to use it between washes when my hair is looking a little dull.

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I’m changing tack a bit here and mentioning the new cleansing mousses from Nivea. I’ve been using the product for normal/combination skin to cleanse my skin without stripping away any of the essential natural oils. Nivea Daily Essentials Cleansing Mousse contains almond oil for dry and sensitive skin and Vitamin E for normal/combination skin to help protect against environmental pollution and UV damage. And they are a pocket friendly £4.99.

Oct 13

A Weekend of Culture at The Feathers Hotel, Woodstock, Oxfordshire

I have to confess that this is my first trip to Oxford. Neanderthal I know. I’ve been to Bicester Village but that doesn’t count so I was delighted when offered the chance to experience The Culture Package at the Feathers Hotel in Woodstock.

Woodstock (the birth place of Winston Churchill) is a charming historic town, 20 miles from Oxford and Bicester, or one hour by train from London Paddington.

The Feathers

The Culture Package includes two tickets to Flesh & Bone, the Francis Bacon and Henry Moore Exhibition held at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology (England’s oldest public museum) at the University of Oxford. A large collection of works by Bacon and Moore were selected for the exhibition to bring out the similarities and differences in their art. You can’t come to Oxford without doing something to challenge your grey matter!

The package also includes a one night stay for two at Feathers, a three-course dinner in the hotel restaurant followed by a complimentary Gin & Tonic and breakfast the following morning.

The Feathers reception

The Feathers Hotel is off a quaint street; littered with lovely shops and only a 20-minute taxi ride from Oxford train station. The hotel has 21 recently refurbished bedrooms; five suites and a four star AA rating. The restaurant has two AA rosettes and serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (from 3pm – 5pm) and dinner.

Feathers has been a Sanatorium (in the 18th century) a Literary Institute (19th century) a Drapers and a Butchers (20th century) and got its current name from one of the previous owner’s love of stuffed birds. The hotel is an intriguing maze of corridors and staircases and it’s easy to get lost through the twisting, winding halls (we did, on the way back from dinner)!

Bedroom (1) at The Feathers

We stayed in the Falcon Suite which was ridiculously large – it was like staying in a studio apartment! The suite had a large dining table, a mini bathroom, a living area with a TV, a bedroom with another TV and a large family sized bathroom. The hotel has free Wi-Fi available in every room which is a deal breaker for me. The décor is traditionally old English and perfectly suited to its location.

Food is a big part of the Feathers experience and we enjoyed a delicious, sumptuous three-course meal. I am gluten and lactose intolerant and the Chef did a great job adapting the menu to my dietary requirements. The waiting staff were friendly and attentive and made us feel relaxed and at home. I had the sesame crusted tuna with compressed cucumber with apple wasabi to start, halibut with butternut squash for a main (duck fat chips on the side – amazing!) and scorched bananas and lime and kaffir leaf sorbet; the perfect end to a fantastic meal. Attention was paid to presentation and flavour; this wasn’t food just placed nicely on a plate, every ingredient had been carefully chosen and cooked to perfection. This was one of the best meals of my life!

Bedroom (2) at The Feathers

The hotel is famous for its dedicated ‘Gin Bar’ and has the largest collection of gins (181 according to the Guinness World Record.) The sommelier explained the best kind of gin to complement our meal; an orange and saffron infusion from the Dijon region of France. It was pretty strong but fresh and zingy.

I think Feathers is perfect for a romantic weekend away or, like I did, a mini break for you and a friend. The hotel has friendly staff, plush interiors and delicious food and absolutely worth the train tide from London; I will definitely be returning.

The Culture Package costs £125 per person and is available now until 18 January 2014.

The Feathers
Market Street
OX20 1SX
Tel – 01993 812291

Oct 13

The Express Treatment from Creme de la Mer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about Creme de la Mer. You’ll know that it’s a celebrity favourite; fans of the brand include Kate Moss, Jennifer Garner, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. You’ll also know that a 30ml pot costs £105. That’s not a typo.

Armed with these facts, I needed to know if it was worth it so I went along to the launch of their latest service; the Express Treatment, to give the Creme de la Mer range a once over.


The new Express Treatment lasts 30 minutes and starts with a bespoke skincare consultation. You get to test the five moisturising textures within the Creme de la Mer range, each of which contains their famous Miracle Broth™ (which took over 12 years and 6,000 formulations to develop) to help soothe and replenish skin.

Each Creme de la Mer formulation is suitable for every skin type; it’s more about the kind of finish you prefer although I would say that the original formulation is very rich, leaves a dewy/glowy finish and you can certainly ‘feel’ it on your skin. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s more about the kind of moisturising finish you like.

During the thirty minute treatment, the therapist uses advanced massage techniques and customised skincare tools to target each of your skincare needs and concerns and encourage refreshed and rejuvenated looking skin.

In this line of work, I’ve had more than a few facials and tried lots of moisturising creams but, not only did I almost fall asleep during the treatment (the eye massage was out of this world amazing) my skin looked the best it ever has. Ever! It was radiant, glowing even; my pores were smaller, my eyes brighter – my skin had never looked so good!

The good news is the 30-minute treatment costs £50 but it is redeemable against any Creme de la Mer purchase made at the appointment. When you look at it that way; you’re paying £50 for the treatment and then another £55 for a 30 ml Creme de la Mer moisturiser of your choice.

I have combination skin and after trying all five moisturisers, asked the therapist to use (and took home) the Moisturising Gel Cream for a slightly lighter finish. Each time I use it – and it’s only been a few days – I am in love with how my skin looks. Devotees of the product say that after a few weeks use, they need less concealer and foundation.

The product is expensive but when bought after having The Express Treatment it doesn’t feel like such a purse killer. Each pot comes with a small applicator spoon so you don’t waste any on your hands and you use such a small amount each time that the pot should last quite a while. I’m a fan.

The Express Treatment – 30 minutes £50 (redeemable against any Creme de la Mer purchase made at the appointment). Visit www.cremedelamer.co.uk to locate your nearest beauty room.

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