Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap...
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Monday, 22 December 2014

Clarins Double Fix’ Mascara – A Party Season Must-Have


It’s New Year’s Eve. You’re hot and sweaty at a party, and stood talking to a bunch of friends - or strangers perhaps! You suddenly feel the urge to go to the loo, so make your excuses and dash off. 

After doing the business, you catch your reflection in the mirror as you wash your hands. Horror of horrors! Your mascara has smudged!

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps yes, if you’re anything like me!
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Friday, 19 December 2014

NEW: NARS, Burberry, Aromatherapy Associates, Benefit

If you’re lucky enough to receive money this Christmas, here’s a line-up of brand new skincare and make-up products arriving early 2015 that may just tempt you to spend it! My pick of the week’s new launches comes from NARS, Burberry, Aromatherapy Associates and Benefit.
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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

My Top 10 Beauty Discoveries of 2014

With the year almost out and my blog soon to reach its first birthday, it seemed fitting that I should do a round-up of my top beauty discoveries of the past 12 months.

Honing down the list to just 10 was a struggle. I've been introduced to some truly fabulous brands and products this year. Some of these were new for 2014, others were discoveries rather than launches - products and brands that already existed but which had previously fallen below my radar.

Looking down at the list there's a lot skincare, but also bodycare and make-up. One glaring ommission is home devices! 2014 seemed short on these. Perhaps 2015 will be different? What's grabbed you this year? A particular new make-up launch, a skincare product that has delivered above and beyond, or something else entirely?

My Top 10 Discoveries (by order of post):

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Friday, 12 December 2014

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Philips Confirms Details of Alternative Skincare for ReAura Home Laser

Philips has just got in touch to confirm details of alternative skincare that can be used with its discontinued ReAura home laser (story).

This is welcome news for users, who’ve been concerned about ongoing support following  the company’s decision to stop manufacturing the device.
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Two New Free Gift with Purchase Offers – Latest In Beauty and MyPure

Have you still got some Christmas shopping left to do? Or have you not started yet? There're a couple of brilliant beauty offers online right now that might make present shopping and parting with your dosh a little bit sweeter.
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Monday, 8 December 2014

REVIEW: Nourish Radiance Rejuvenating Peptide Serum

Serums are becoming an increasingly important part of my skincare routine. They can be highly effective at transporting active ingredients into the skin, making them an ideal option for treating specific concerns, such as fine lines and pigmentation. 

It is these types of issues that often crop up once we pass the age of 30, which was pretty much the point at which I started adding a serum into my daily skincare regime.

On the down side, good serums are often expensive because of the high level of actives in them. A decent serum that is affordable can be tricky to find. But there are some around and at £20 the Radiance Rejuvenating Peptide Serum from Nourish is one of them.
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Friday, 5 December 2014

NEW: Givenchy, Lipstick Queen, Hand Chemistry

There are some beautiful new make-up collections heading our way early next year. I’ve got my eye in particular on Chantecaille’s Glacier Eye Shadow Trio - a charity product dropping February that features a stunning iceberg embellishment (post here).

I’m also coveting a couple of upcoming skincare launches, not least Benefit’s Puff Off, an ‘instant’ wrinkle busting cream due January. I’m rather intrigued too by REN’s Instant Firming Beauty Shot, a gel serum to smooth and plump skin arriving a month later. There’s a theme going on here - ‘instant results’ (or promises thereof)!

This week Givenchy and Lipstick Queen announced striking new 2015 make-up collections. On the skincare front it was Hand Chemistry grabbing my attention with its new Retin-based body oil – and some rather lofty claims! 

Givenchy – COLOreCreation Collection ( February)

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Latest In Beauty Gets the Party Started with New Beauty Box – It’s a Steal!


Latest In Beauty has just launched its latest beauty box and it’s a stunner! It’s also a total bargain!

Described as its biggest box yet, the latest Glamour mag edit contains 13 items to get you party-ready.

The line-up:

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Skin Analysis with the International Institute for Anti-Ageing

As much as I love a home facial, nothing quite beats the luxury of a therapist-led salon treatment. My monthly facial with my therapist Emma is an unmovable fixture.

Nothing bar illness or a major catastrophe would stop me from keeping my appointments at her Beauty Boutique in Frant, an oasis of calm in the beautiful Kent countryside. 

Except... I was feeling more than a touch wobbly about my last visit to her salon.  Emma had two reps from the International Institute for Anti-Ageing (iiAA) visiting, and they were bringing their Visia Complexion Skin Analysis Machine with them. Emma had invited me along for a skin probing session!
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Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals – Beauty Gadgets *New Deals Update*


The internet has been awash all week with posts on Black Friday/Cyber Monday beauty deals. No doubt it’ll be reaching saturation point by the end of today, with the promotion now having kicked off proper (I jest, but you get the gist).
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

ReAura Home Laser Discontinued – A New Cheaper Version Rumoured


ReAura RIP.

Rumours that Philips has stopped manufacturing the ReAura have been circulating for some weeks.  As a devoted owner and user of the home laser machine myself, I have subconsciously been putting the rumours to the back of my mind. 

That is very out of character for me – I would normally ‘bust a gut’ to get confirmation of such an important story. But I truly didn’t (and don’t) want to believe the stories! I love my ReAura (reviewed here and here)!

Yesterday though I contacted the Philips press office to find out what exactly is going on. They got back confirming the news.
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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Gym Kit - 5 Skincare Essentials

Finding the motivation to get myself to the gym each week has never been much of a challenge – where else can I listen to my iPod at full volume for a whole hour undisturbed? The bigger challenge has been editing down my post-workout skincare to a bunch of essentials that is small enough to squeeze inside my kit bag.

Generally, I’m not very economical when it comes to bag packing - I adopt the ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach (I’m terrified I’ll leave something important behind, so tend to over pack whenever I travel).

But as a seasoned gym goer – I’ve been pounding the treadmill for a good *cough* 20 years now – I like to think I’ve become pretty adept at knowing what skincare my face does (and doesn’t) need after a sweaty workout and a hot shower.

Here’s a peek inside my gym bag – my 5 skincare essentials:

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cannabis Skincare for 2015!

You read it right: topical cannabis launching 2015.

Bob Marley is perhaps not a name you would normally expect to read on a beauty blog. For that matter neither is cannabis. But if you picked up a national newspaper this week, the reason I mention both here may not be too surprising.
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Synergie EnLighten – Declaring War on Pigmentation (Review with Results Pics)

Skin pigmentation increases as we get older. That’s sun exposure for you, or more precisely, sun exposure without adequate SPF protection!

Most women over the age of 25 will have experienced pigmentation and in the vast majority of cases it is perfectly harmless. Nevertheless, an uneven tone bothers a lot of women and you don’t have to look hard to find a vast array of skin brightening products.

But treatment is a painstaking game. It can often takes months of dedicated daily use of a skin brightening formula to even out pigmentation. And even then it may not work. Sometimes pigmentation resides so deep within the skin that over the counter formulations simply won’t touch it. The problem then requires a stronger solution. Enter Synergie’s enLighten.
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Monday, 17 November 2014

5 Tips to Keep Skin Glowing this Winter

I feel the cold terribly. As soon as the chilly weather arrives, our boiler goes into overdrive. And when it gets really nippy outside the wood burner goes on too (our house is old and not well insulated). All this heat does a grand job of keeping me snug and toasty, but it wreaks havoc on my skin.

Stepping outside doesn’t help. All that cold air, with low humidity and biting wind, further saps moisture from our skin.  We can’t win! Except we can, provided that we take the right steps.

Here are my top 5 tips for making skin glow this Winter:
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Friday, 14 November 2014

Christmas Gifts with Deals

Christmas gift guides are arriving thick and fast. In the past two weeks the postman has delivered chez moi edits from Jo Malone, Liz Earle, L’Occitane and Space NK. Then there are catalogues I’ve picked up directly in-store, plus the masses of Christmas gifting emails that have landed in my inbox recently.  Drawing up lists for Santa is going to be exhausting work!

Whether you’re a bit pushed for time, or wish simply to compare notes, here’s my edit of the ‘Gifts for Her’ edits: 
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Nourish Argan Skin Renew – Winter Nourishment


There’s something I really like about the brand name Nourish. Nourishment is precisely what my skin craves right now, so perhaps therein lies the answer!

Argan Skin Renew is a rich moisturiser for dry and stressed skin. Winter isn’t even here yet but the weather has certainly turned colder, our central heating is now on auto pilot, and my skin is starting to feel dry. Oh dear, it’s that time of year again!
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Monday, 10 November 2014

November’s Fave Freebie – Nails Inc Polish (reviewed)

I have some good news: the dry spell is over! Before you start thinking I’ve gone bonkers and taken up rain dancing to invoke the recent inclement weather, I’d better explain that I’m not talking about the stuff that falls from the sky. I refer instead to the stuff that comes free with the monthly lifestyle mags – beauty freebies!

After 2 months of barely nothing, November is awash with them. Cosmo, Elle, InStyle, Bazaar, Red and Glamour – they all come with a free beauty product this month (there may be other titles too but these were the ones I spotted in my local WH Smith last Friday).
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Friday, 7 November 2014

Safety In Beauty: First Year Successes and Q&A With Founder Antonia Mariconda

If you follow Antonia Mariconda on Twitter (lots of us do - over 41,000 followers and counting!), you are probably aware of her ‘Safety In Beauty’ campaign.

The campaign was created to raise awareness of (and ultimately stop) unsafe practices in the beauty industry. It has just celebrated its first birthday.

To mark this milestone, Antonia and her team have put together the infogram below, showing highlights of the past 12 months. Successes have included getting injectable treatments banned at two major beauty events in 2014!
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Aromatherapy Associates Renewing Rose Massage & Body Oil

I’m a tad (OK, a lot) obsessed with Aromatherapy Associates Bath and Shower oils. The aromas are exquisite - there’s a blend for every state of mind, pretty much. And they pack such a punch! My miniature bottles last me ages as you need add just a few drops to your bath water to fill the whole room with fragrance.

Rarely am I happier than when soaking in a tub scented with Revive Evening, Inner Strength, or Support Lavender & Peppermint - to name but three of my favourite blends (reviewed).

Given the love it’s perhaps surprising that I have never before tried anything from Aromatherapy Associates’ bodycare collection. I have clearly been missing something!
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Monday, 3 November 2014

Charity Beauty – Raising Money for Good Causes


What tempts you to buy new beauty products? Is it a mega sale, a deluxe ‘gift with purchase’ goodie bag, a need to replace a favourite product – or a charity donation?
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Friday, 31 October 2014

Beauty Buzz: From Future 50 Beauty Awards to New Face of Rodial Make-Up





My pick of the week’s beauty stories from around the web…


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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Kevyn Aucoin The Primed Skin Developer – More Than Just a Primer



Such was the brilliance of Kevyn Aucoin that he continues to inspire today’s generation of top make-up artists, some 12 years after his untimely death. Last week Space NK honoured that legacy by staging the UK’s first ever retrospective of his life and work at its flagship Knightsbridge store.

I mention this as his genius permeates the Kevyn Aucoin Beauty brand that continues his legacy today. A few weeks ago I reviewed two shades from the fabulous The Eye Shadow Single range, here. Today is the turn of The Primed Skin Developer.
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Monday, 27 October 2014

Shiffa Healing Balm – Dry Skin SOS

It’s good to be prepared. As the nights draw in and we hurtle towards ever colder weather, I’m gathering together an arsenal of products that will see my skin through the challenging seasons ahead. Plummeting temperatures and dry winds can wreak havoc on our skin!

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Friday, 24 October 2014

New: Lancôme, label.m, Benefit, Feelunique.com, Birchbox

Warning: my pick of the week’s new product launches comes with a hearty dose of festive party season beauty. Yes, I know it’s still only October!
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Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Love Perfume Awards - and the Do's + Don’ts of Fragrance Buying

Last week The Perfume Shop held the 2014 Love Perfume Awards. Gongs handed out included Best Women’s Launch, Best Men’s Launch, Best Celebrity Launch and Best Bottle Design.

The event got me thinking about my own modest collection of fragrances and wondering whether it included any ‘The Perfume Shop’ winners. It doesn’t (more on the winners in a minute).
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Monday, 20 October 2014

5 Tools for Taking the Perfect Selfie

Pic credit, PaulRysz
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… social media is swamped with them. And traditional print media loves spinning a story around them. I am, of course, referring to the ubiquitous selfie.
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Friday, 17 October 2014

Kevyn Aucoin The Eye Shadow Single – Review and Swatches

There’s something deeply alluring about premium beauty product packaging. I have a sneaky feeling it has something to do with the way it makes me feel – glam and lavish. Who am I kidding? Of course that’s the reason!

So I was captivated from the start by Kevyn Aucoin’s The Eye Shadow Single.
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Thursday, 16 October 2014

The 2014 Body Confidence Awards - *Winners Update*


For every magazine article I read celebrating women of all shapes, sizes and looks, I spot dozens more featuring pictures of airbrushed models and celebrities, and other images of unrealistic beauty. No wonder low body confidence is a widespread problem!

Tonight in London, though, the spotlight will shine brightly on diversity and positive body image.
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Monday, 13 October 2014

Magnifibres Brush-On False Lashes – Review with Before and After Pics

The way we dress our eyes can make a massive difference to our overall look. Our eyes are the focal point of our face, the feature most people notice first. I spend more time experimenting with different eye shadows, mascaras and colour sticks than with any other makeup.

One quick and simple way to draw attention to our eyes is to extend the length of our lashes. Yes, mascara is wonderful at doing this, making our eyes look bigger than they are naturally, and there are some really fab mascaras – Benefit They’re Real is a particular favourite.  But there are ways of taking lash length and fullness a step further.
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Sunday, 12 October 2014

You Beauty Launches 2014 Advent Calendar

This is the BIG one, in my opinion. You Beauty has just launched its 2014 advent calendar. It looks totally amazing, as always. Brands include Liz Earle, Laura Mercier and Sisley! It costs £49.95 (+p&p) and is worth over an incredible £240. Available now here. It follows the launch of beauty advent calendars from Selfridges and Harvey Nichols (story here), amongst others. 
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Friday, 10 October 2014

Monday, 6 October 2014

October’s Fave Freebie – L’Occitane Hand Cream


It’s the second month running that magazine freebies have been a bit thin on the ground. I popped in to two newsagents (including a rather big WH Smith) at the end of last week, when the November issues were just in and I could see only a handful of cover-mounted beauty products.  I do hope this is not the start of a new trend?
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Friday, 3 October 2014

New: Temple Spa, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, L'Occitane, By Terry




There are fewer than 90 days until Christmas. Yikes! Given the plethora of Christmas beauty gifts launching just now, that shouldn't be all that surprising. Indeed, two new advent calendars feature in my pick of the best new product launches this week - it’s been a while since I last did one of these round-up posts! But I start with a new Temple Spa skincare range.
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Monday, 29 September 2014

Clarisonic Opal (Review) – It’s All About Eyes

If you use eye cream regularly, you’ll know the application drill: apply sparingly and tap gently in to the delicate skin around the eye area until fully absorbed.

No matter how many times I hear this, I can still be a bit heavy handed with my technique. I don’t mean that I rub and pull at my skin; it’s just that my patting can be a bit over zealous. Actually, sometimes it’s hardly patting/tapping at all, more like smoothing cream on with my index finger instead. Oh dear!

My rather sporadic (OK, I fess up, lazy) approach to applying eye cream is what first got me interested in the Clarisonic Opal. Yes, you heard me right, the Opal. If you’re a beauty device geek you will undoubtedly be familiar with the Clarisonic cleansing brush, and probably even own one (lots of us do!).  But the Opal has rather remained in its shadow – it’s not even that easy to spot on the Clarisonic website! Rumour has it Clarisonic is developing a new version, so perhaps that’s why?
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Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday Beauty Buzz – Win Beauty Worth £3000 (and more)

Emma Watson, pic credit: David Shankbone

Sitting in a café with a very large latte (or two!) and a newspaper is something I have always tried to make time for. I relish solitary moments like this, in which to enjoy a favourite drink and catch up on what’s been happening in the world.

These days, having swapped the manic London job for motherhood and home working, the reading material tends to be lifestyle magazines and blogs read on my tablet. Luckily, most days I still get time to snatch a half-hour or so in Nero, to indulge myself in a grande and other writers’ stories.

There’s always something thought-provoking to read and share. By share I mean 21st century sharing, ie re-posting across my Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages. It’s never really occurred to me to do a round-up post of my favourite stories on the blog too. Until now!

So, welcome to Friday Beauty Buzz, a précis of my favourite media stories from this week. Perhaps this will become a semi-regular feature, who knows?
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Monday, 22 September 2014

3 Of The Best Hot Cloth Cleansers – Liz Earle, Eve Lom, Espa

If you were asked to name a brand you associated most with cleansing, chances are you’d say either Liz Earle or Eve Lom. Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish and the Eve Lom Cleanser are multi-award winning classics, adored the world over.  

That both feature in my top rated may not be all that surprising. Less predictable perhaps is my third featured cleanser - Espa’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm. This one may not share the ‘cult’ status of Liz Earle or Eve Lom, but to me it is just as adorable.
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Monday, 15 September 2014

Synergie – Potent Grade Skincare On Test

You may recall that earlier this year I met with the creators of a brand new skincare concept that was set to launch in the UK. What was particularly exciting about it was the potency of the skincare.

An Australian brand called Synergie, the skincare included high doses of some of my favourite anti-ageing ingredients, plus a heap of actives I’d never heard of but which sounded incredible on paper (see launch story).  Also, I loved the brand’s formulation strategy  – combining cutting edge scientific breakthroughs with naturally derived ingredients, plus a commitment to ‘clean’ science (ie, no harmful or questionable ingredients).

Just before Summer I was sent samples of the Synergie range to try for myself. With my trial complete, and the Synergie concept now fully launched on our turf, it seems the perfect time to post my review.
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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Goodie Bag Bonanza as Space NK, Liberty, Balance Me, Launch Events

Fancy having a splurge on your favourite beauty products? If you do, and you have £150 to spare, then you may want to head out to Liberty London or your local Space NK next week.

Wednesday (17th September) sees Space NK holding its latest national event day and its goodie bag looks pretty amazing:
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Monday, 8 September 2014

September’s Fave Freebie – L’Occitane Hair Repair Duo

When I bought a copy of InStyle last Monday I was perhaps jumping the gun a little. The date was 1st September and most October issues had yet to hit newsagent shelves. But so cracking is this latest InStyle beauty freebie that I was pretty certain it would rank as my favourite this month. My hunch was correct, though in fairness there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of competition!
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Friday, 5 September 2014

Back to School!

Where did Summer go? I can’t believe it has been more than a month since my last blog post. It only seems a moment ago that I was waxing lyrical on my two favourite tan fakers (post here). Today is Friday 5th September and thoughts are turning to Autumn, no longer Summer.
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Friday, 1 August 2014

2 Outstandingly Good Tan Fakers

As this is probably the last post I’ll be doing before taking a blogging break for my summer hols, it seemed only fitting that I should do it on my two favourite tan fakers. I simply couldn’t survive summer without either of these.
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Monday, 28 July 2014

Quickest Way To Prep Skin For The Beach – Dry Brushing

We’re approaching peak holiday time and that means one thing: exposed flesh - and lots of it if we’re heading to the beach.

August is the month when body bits more usually hidden under t-shirts and skirts are suddenly set free to feel the breeze and soak up the sun. But while our heads are telling us we’re more than ready to hit the beach, is our skin?
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Friday, 25 July 2014

£5 Off Indeed Labs and Other Big Money Saving Offers


We all love a bargain, particularly if we’re feeling a little cash strapped. Saving some dosh now is good for our bank balance long term. Stands to reason, right? OK, perhaps not quite. But we all deserve to treat ourselves from time-to-time.
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Monday, 21 July 2014

Jeunvie Moisturising Candles – Salvation For Dry Skin

I like products with novelty. I also like products that work. I especially like products that tick both boxes. Hello, Jeunvie moisturising candles!
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Thursday, 17 July 2014

2 Funky Skin Gadgets You May Not Have Heard Of

I’m a real nerd when it comes to home beauty gadgets. I love them, love them, love them. From the high-tech wizardry of the Philips ReAura Fraxel laser, to the ‘no battery required’ Sarah Chapman Facialift massager, I own a fair few.

My thirst for discovering skin tools is such that I am constantly Googling for new launches.  I get particularly animated when I spot something space age looking and recently came across these two.  I don’t own either - yet! Do you? Perhaps you have spotted something snazzy yourself?
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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Molton Brown Baubles – It Can Only Mean One Thing…

…Christmas! I know, I do apologise for mentioning the ‘C’ word when we’re in the middle of July! But summer is traditionally the time when brands unveil their Xmas ranges and these do drop on counter in the autumn. Yesterday was the turn of Molton Brown. I went along to its festive showcase, its first for a number of years, to get a sneak peek of the gifts it has lined up.
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Monday, 14 July 2014

Orico London Streetwise Hydrating Make-Up Remover – A Multi-Tasker

A combined makeup remover for face and eyes is not something I would normally use. For every day I favour separates: a dedicated remover for the eyes (usually a liquid), and a cleanser for the face (usually a balm or foaming to use with my Clarisonic).

But for travel, especially airline with its 100ml hand luggage liquids limit, all-in-ones can’t be beat. They could even be a ‘life saver’ should your hold luggage go temporary walkabout with all your toiletries inside, as happened to my husband last summer hols (he’s not exactly big on skincare but he was without some essentials for 2 days!).
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