Saturday, 31 December 2011

Best of 2011 - Hairspray

Finishing off my Best of 2011? I know. Hairspray? Really? Well, yes frankly. I use it every single day and am a bit obsessive so why not?

So without further ado:

Sorry I couldn't resist sticking them together. 

Fat Hair is one of those products that does what it says on the tin. This is definitely a 'going out' hairspray. It's also a gem for 'hair in a bun' days. This would withstand a tornado. Word of caution - being sticky/strong the nozzle tends to clog - 2 secs under a hot tap sorts it out perfectly though. And it's so worth it.
It was my hairspray of choice for the infamous Def Leppard/Motley Crue gig. Say no more.

Aveda Control Force is my hairspray of choice for a normal workday. I.E. hair down, loose - nothing special going on. Except frizz - which this prevents nicely. It's a lovely hairspray. Yes, I'm using the word 'lovely' to describe a hairspray. What of it?

I'm all up for suggestions for other hairsprays. Bring. It. On. Just no mention of Cheryl Cole please.

Best of 2011 - The Best Reds

I've never been someone to do things by halves. So when I rediscovered my love of lipstick earlier this year  (having been a gloss chick for like..ever) there was only one shade on my list.
All manner of glorious reds.
I blogged about Nars and Daniel Sandler back in November - these three below I have picked up since and am currently all manner of obsessed.

My favourite red of 2011 is YSL Rouge Pur Couture in No.1 - Le Rouge. It's a true deep red, ridiculously long-lasting, non-drying and every single time I wear it I get compliments.

The middle lipstick is Make Up For Ever's Moulin Rouge. Slightly darker than the YSL this is a true 'Slut Lips' red. Again long-lasting and non-drying.
And lastly, Bourjois Sweet Kiss No. 56 Rouge Pur Mesure is more tomato red and perfect for those minimal make-up, hair in a chignon days. The colour pops brilliantly. Not quite as long-lasting as the others but that is obviously reflected in the price.

And to keep them all in place for longer? Make Up For Ever's Aqua Lip in 08C - Red.

A great shade for all red lipsticks, non-drying, helps stop any bleeding and lasts ages.

Feel free to leave me a list of your favourite reds - my bank manager won't thank you but I surely will.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Best of 2011 - Mascara

Although I have not yet been tempted to stray from my usual choice of Chantecaille Faux Cils - frankly one of the best mascaras on the planet, on a permanent basis - I did come across the below this year and not only is it nearly as good as Chantecaille - it's significantly cheaper. Around £28.00 cheaper...

Maybelline 'The Falsies Volume Express' is not only a good, affordable mascara, it's easily better than some of the really well known, really expensive ones.

Sorry about the large picture of the wand but it's so you can see the formula is wet, which sounds really silly, but in the world of mascaras is becoming increasingly rare - in my experience. The brush is curved, but not too curved or too rigid - it lets you build and layer to get the effect you desire.


Available at the usual stockists - for around £5.00. Bargain.

Best of 2011 - Fragrance

Pretty clear winner for me this year. Guerlain's Shalimar Initial is a gorgeous take on the original. Lighter, fresher and cleaner. A wonderful modern version of a true classic.

An easy winner.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Best of 2011 - Facial

Kicking off the 'Best of' series of posts for 2011 is Best Facial.

I know facials. You can usually get a really good facial or really good value for money. It's hard to find something that combines the two. Especially in the London area. So I was thrilled to find Suti this year.

The Suti Core Facial is £65.00 and worth every penny. It's on the relaxing/pampering side of facials so is perfect for you if you haven't had a facial before, are planning for a big event or just need downtime while someone fixes your skin.

For me, it was plumping, smoothing and hydrating and the effects lasted around a week.  

Suti is a very small company on the brink of the big time. Owned by sister-in-laws Suzannah and Tina, Suti is a small capsule collection of everything I love about skincare. Balms, oils and tonics that are soothing, healing, nourishing and predominantly organically derived.

Suzannah works out of Barnes and the other practitioners are also based in the South East. The good news is that Suti are looking for salons and spas with a similar ethos to take on their treatments throughout the UK so that could change soon.

Suti products are priced between £18.00 and £26.00 and are available from Nutribeauty.
For more information on Suti including their facials or how to become a stockist email them here

*The Suti Facial I had was complimentary - but I will be going back and happily handing over my own ££.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a very joyful, safe and peaceful Christmas.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Last minute Christmas loveliness (and a totally gratuitous picture of bloggers)

Let's cut to the chase: time is certainly now of the essence.

If you need help with your Christmas makeup get thee to John Lewis in Oxford St, Brent Cross, Kingston, Peter Jones or Stratford. Shiseido are doing free (FREE) 20 minute one-to-one classes on how to do either a pared-down Christmas look - or full on glamour using looks created by Artistic Director Dick Page.

If you're a fan of Donna Karan's gorgeous Cashmere Mist you'll love this.  A Limited Edition adorned with Swarovski crystals - it's priced £84.50 and is available from Harrods (obviously). 

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Swarovski

Fans of Michael Kors' original fragrance will find this hard to resist. To celebrate 30 years of his fashion line he has released a sheer version of Gold - his beautiful tubereuse based fragrance now updated with lighter notes of freesia and magnolia. Nom.

Being Michael Kors, he roped in Mario Testino to photograph Karmen Pedaru - MK's muse, to showcase 'the Michael Kors woman, the epitome of effortless beauty and relaxed sophistication'. No need really - he could have just used this lovely visual of your favourite bloggers showcasing their love for Michael Kors watches.

I'd have done him a deal.

If you ARE a fan of the fragrance - get it from Harrods and they'll throw in this beeyoudifull Weekender bag for free.

And if my husband is reading this - I need that watch.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Happy Friday and a Merry Christmas from Harvey Nichols!

This video is exactly why I love Harvey Nichols. NO other department store would do this.

It's been a long time since I did a Walk of Shame - but when I did? - boy were they good ones....

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

This little blog named one of 4beauty's Best Skin Care Blogs

Very chuffed to receive an email from the lovely peeps at 4beauty today letting me know we've has been named one of their Best Skin Care Blogs.

So I highly suggest you pop over and have a look - underneath the picture of my Nana there is a list of some most excellent blogs - I'm in great company and mightily chuffed.

Thank you Channel 4, 4beauty and Hattie from Maverick. And a special shout out to 4beauty's in-house makeup expert Lauren Dunn who I know introduced BM to them.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Eye Creams - Reviews and Recommendations

Following on from the Cheat Sheet the below are just a few of my favourites. If you have any specific questions about a particular cream feel free to comment.

Best for travelling/tired eyes
Lierac Diopti Calm - £17.50 - Selfridges and good chemists
This is my go-to whenever I'm getting on a plane/just got off a plane/doing long distance rail/road travel. It's moisturising, cooling and hydrating - which is what you want taken care of in those circumstances. Great after a long hard day's work.

Good for dryness/moderate wrinkles
Origins Plantscription - £35.00 - all Origins stockists and online
Origins newest eye cream is a lovely light texture, absorbs really well and is really good under makeup. Good for dark circles. One gripe - I would like it in a tube or pump dispenser please. The texture is such that it can be accommodated thus, so a pot seems unnecessary in 2011. Good, affordable cream though - so don't be put off.

Best for baggy/puffy eyelids
Perricone MD Acyl-Glutathione Eye Lid Serum - £95 - Harrods and Selfridges from January 2012
If you are a 'woman of a certain age' (me) and have noticed that along with everything else - your eyelids are rapidly heading south (me) this new serum from Perricone is brilliant. It instantaneously tightens the lid area - I noticed a difference across the lid within around 25 seconds. The only area it did not affect was the fatty deposits in the outside folds of the lid (I know - gross) but the only thing that can treat those is a knife. And I'm not quite ready for that yet.

Best Value for Money and Packaging
Monu Collagen Eye Cream - £22.50 - Monu
This is joint first for packaging. Light, controllable pump, small enough for travel and handbag - perfect. I would recommend this as a good cream for someone in their mid 20's/30's. Contains arnica, marine extracts and evening primrose oil - great feel on the skin - this is my 'I don't really have any one major concern today' cream.

Best for older, wrinkled, dried up eyes - The 'I'm older, more wrinkled and can afford it' cream
Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Eye Cream - £230 - SpaceNK
OK - firstly - yes it's £230. No I did not buy it. I had a handful of samples. But let me tell you this: if you can afford it, and you are older and suffer from a typical crêpey, ageing, dry eye - then this should be your first port of call. This feels like luxury on the skin - you do not need this is if you are under 35/40 (younger if you smoke) - but if you are my age or older this is divine. Absolutely divine. Contains gold particles and is massively anti-inflammatory and healing - when I put this on my eyes literally go 'aaaahhhhhhhhhh'. Bliss. If you can afford it.

Best Feel on the skin and Joint Best Packaging
Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair Cream - £123.00 - SpaceNK
This is my current favourite. Perfect packaging - including a window on the side to see when you are running out - which by the way - is one of the MOST requested things from customers on the shop floor - why more brands don't offer this I do not know - controllable dispenser and airtight. I look forward to cleansing so that I can apply this. Makes my eyes glow, gets rid of my lines and visibly reduces puffiness. Again - it's not cheap - but if you are in your 40's and your eyes show it - this is really wonderful. A joy to use.

Lancome Renergie Eye - £44.50 - all Lancome stockists
Mum's favourite. In her words - 'Amazing - If I can see a difference then it bloody well works miracles! Makes my eyes smoother, calmer and the concealer helps my dark circles.' Mum may not look it but she's in her 60's and suffers from a chronic illness so this is pretty much the word of Jesus. Recommended and much loved.

A couple of points worth mentioning:
  • Most reputable brands provide samples - in the case of Chantecaille and Somerville, Harrods, Fenwick, Liberty and SpaceNK have samples - if you are spending that much - try it first!
  • If no samples are available and you are at the counter - squeeze some out and put it on your eyes over makeup - at least you'll know if you are allergic before you buy...
  • Once again - stay away from mineral oil. Makes your eyes puffy and congests the area. If you are prescribed a heavy cream for dermatitis/eczema that contains a lanolin that is different - but it's too heavy in normal circumstances
  • Don't forget the previous advice about bismuth oxychloride - avoid if you are prone to allergies
And a final word on the cost of skincare products in general. I'm constantly asked for recommendations for 'something cheaper' by some readers. I don't generally blog about cheaper products (for facial skincare) because I don't really use them.
I read some of the same people on twitter saying they have bought a new dress/pair of shoes from New Look (for example) and saying 'it was only £25.00!' Why won't you spend that on your face?

Here's my theory: Spend on your skincare what you would spend on a good pair of shoes or a good handbag and you'll be ok. People tend to have shoes and handbags relevant to their financial situation.
Clothes and accessories come and go but you only get one face.

The above is a mixture of products bought by me, available over-the-counter samples and PR samples