Friday, 29 June 2012

Pop-up Clinic! - WOAH! The Clinic is Closed!!!

Hi Everyone,

Clinic is open for the first 20 questions.

Have at it!


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Incomparable Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron died yesterday. In a world where celebrity is chased and  mediocrity endorsed, she was fiercely intelligent, hysterically, pee-your pants-hold-your-sides funny and always, always, up for breaking the rules.
She was an advocate for women every time she opened her mouth.

She wrote women like no other. Better known for When Harry Met Sally, Heartburn, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia and Silkwood, her books, essays and blog posts are what I will miss the most.

I Feel Bad About My Neck is one of my favourite books of all time - and simply a must-read.

'When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.'

At her infamous commencement speech at Wellesley's Class of '96 she said:

'The Wonderbra is not a step forward for women. Nothing that hurts that much is a step forward for women.'


'Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a Lady. I hope that you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.'

Obituaries on Nora are here and here.

Her books are here. 

Dive in.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Clinic. Is open! CLOSED!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

For the first 20 questions. Shoot! :)

Monday, 18 June 2012

We're away.

Hi Everyone,

I'm travelling for the next three days - *waves to Edinburgh, Warrington and Manchester* - so I'm delaying the Clinic until the end of the week as we are still replying and finishing queries from last weeks - plus - I'll be away so will be delayed getting back to you anyway.

See you Friday!

Spirit of Beauty Orchid and Mandarin Facial Cleansing Gel - Review

I first came across this brand at an 'Intro to NutriBeauty' event.
Clare Harvey, the woman behind the range is an internationally recognized expert in flower essences and a healer with years of experience behind her. She has written several books on the subject and currently practices out of Harley Street.
What's in it? (from NutriBeauty website)
Glycerin [vegetable], Isopropyl Myristate [moisturising emollient], Cera Alba (Beeswax),Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil,Coco-Glucoside, Parfum (Natural Fragrance), Rosa Damascena (Rose) Oil,Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) Oil, Pelgonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil,Litsea Cubeba (Litsea) Oil, Cinnammomum Camphora ( Ho Leaf) Oil,Citral [lemon-grass oil derv], Citronellol [citronella derv], Geraniol[rose oil], Limonene ,[lemon origins] Linalool[essential oils fragrance], Alcohol [Flower Essences], Epidendrum Chioneum (Sun Orchid) Citrus Limonum (Lemon Blossom]

What's not in it?
Free from petrochemicals, phosphates, mineral oil, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances. Not tested on animals. Paraben preservative free. No propylene glycol or sodium lauryl sulphate. Contains organic ingredients with no unnecessary or genetically modified ingredients.

What's good about it?
This cleanser has a lovely texture - calling it a gel is a bit of a stretch to be honest - it feels more like runny honey to me. It also smells a little of honey - it does contain beeswax so no surprises there.
I tend to use it as a second cleanse or a quick cleanse in the morning if my skin is a little dry/deflated (you know what I mean by deflated - just 'meh'). It gives the skin a really lovely glow and leaves it amazingly soft.
I use first cleanse stage as makeup/grime removal and for the second cleanse I use products that contain ingredients that I want nearer my skin - i.e. clay, mud, good oils - almost like a treatment cleanser - this is a second stage cleanser for me.
The Spirit of Beauty range is nice and contained. Cleanser, spritz's and moisturisers. No products for the sake of having products.
It's affordable. £19.95 for 50ml. Eve Lom is £40.00 for the same size.
What's bad about it?
Personally, I wouldn't use this for makeup removal. The consistency doesn't afford itself to it and I would get through a LOT of it if I did.
The pot, as you can see from the visual, narrows at the top. Makes it a little difficult to remove the cleanser if you have big hands (moi).
It comes with a little brush similar to the ones that Jo Malone used to sell to spread the product/massage it in. I binned it. But that's just me.
Not suitable for vegans.
I would prefer it in a pot twice the size even if it doubles the price.
Packaging - 3/5
Texture - 3/5
Performance - 4/5
After effects on the skin - 5/5

Little sidebar: two eagle-eyed readers mention below that this is not as natural as it would seem. I HAVE had a few breakouts recently whilst finishing this pot but put it down to food/hormones. Worth bearing in mind if you have problematic skin.
And thank you to the two commentators below!

Orchid and Mandarin Facial Cleansing Gel is available from NutriBeauty at a very reasonable £19.95.

Friday, 15 June 2012

A Live Clinic!

Tomorrow (Saturday) I am giving the first ever Live Clinics at the TOWIB - The Only Way Is Blogging - Event in Central London. I am also taking part in a Blogger Q & A.

I look forward to meeting some of you in real life and ranting about the importance of skincare! :)

For details of TOWIB.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Salmon - and hidden studies

So I was talking to someone in the industry this week who mentioned that they used to work for one of the big cosmetic companies. The company shall remain nameless but their NPD team (new product development) commissioned a lab study with a view to developing the best anti-ageing cream available.
This is a major player - found in every high end department store - you will have something of this range in your house - guaranteed.

The lab were instructed to take a selection of best selling high-end anti-ageing creams from all the big brands and test them on two groups.
One group would be given the creams to use for a specified period and the other group were instructed to eat salmon 3 x day for the same period.
Salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner in any form they chose.

The aim was to find out what creams actually worked, replicate that themselves and have 'clinically proven to' written all over the packaging.


Houston we have a problem.

Not one cream matched the effects of the salmon on the skin in the time frame given.

Not one.

The study was locked away and the product was shelved.

Take your fish oil people.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Dr.Jart+ Beauty Balms

So the big news this week is the launch of the Dr.Jart+ BB creams to the UK. I've made my reluctance to BB creams known in the past - generally sub-standard and loved by people who 'can't be bothered' to use the traditional serums/moisturisers/spf etc. I've always thought of them as the height of laziness.

However, two things:
I am asked almost daily to review certain BB creams by you lovely readers - and Dr.Jart+ brings to the table a different approach - they are launching four different creams to address dryness, excess sebum, dullness and ageing. What you do if you are 3/4 of those I haven't yet ascertained!

Firstly, a word on the packaging. It lists Boots as the registered address. I mean literally on the actual packaging. With that in mind I doubt you'll ever find this anywhere else. Boots seem to have thought wisely and said 'if you can't beat'em, buy'em'.

Although Boots are distributing it - it is still made in Korea - and the attention to detail shows on the pack. Boxed, heavy, substantial tubes, double wrapped, foiled and foil sealed. The Far East are obsessive about hygiene and it shows in this extremely pristine packaging.

I love it. Yeah fine. I said it. But I do. Especially this one:
Predictably my favourite is the one for over 30's. The ageing version. And I blind tested all four before I read up on them.
The textures of all four feels agreeable, not sticky, not too heavy and definitely not too ashen/chalky with SPF.

However, there is definitely an issue with colour for darker skins. I'm not talking about Afro-Caribbean or even Asian skins. I am very definitely olive skinned, with Cherokee Indian in the family - and I picked up colour on the two days of Summer we had last week. You remember - when you went out and didn't need your umbrella?

My point being - these are absolutely perfect if you are any type of traditional white, British (and American obvs) pale pink to slightly tanned complexion. Emanating from the Far East, they are very definitely aimed at that kind of skin colour.
At the moment they are too pale for me - but - *breathes* I like the textures and so will try them out - on the school run and over my usual moisturisers - I'm not going bareback with these suckers - no-one and nothing is making me give up my Chantecaille - and will report back.

In short, if you like BB's - and I know a lot of you do, you will love these. In fact, if all foundations came in this packaging I would be a very happy lady.
If however, you have skin tone similar to or darker than mine - you're still waiting my friend.

So far?

Packaging - 6/5 - adore
Texture - 5/5 - lovely
Colour selection - 2/5 - poor
Availability - 5/5 

Dr.Jarta+ is available on the Boots website right now priced from £18.00  - although it says awaiting stock -  and in Boots stores nationwide.

*very obviously PR samples - you know - on account of them not being on sale yet? :)

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Clinic is Open - CLINIC CLOSED.

Morning All!

Apologies for the recent disappearance of the Clinic. The last few weeks have been really busy and I simply had no time.

Please feel free to leave your questions below - I'm travelling a lot this week so should have enough time in airports etc to keep up with you and not keep you waiting!

Thanks for your patience - its always appreciated.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

OSKIA Signature Glow Facial & Skin Smoothing Massage Candle - Review

I didn't go into the beauty business expecting to be paid for reviewing and trialling facials and treatments. It just organically happened. In a really wonderful way. Sometimes it's not fun - when the therapist or the products just don't 'work', I cannot wait to get off the bed.

And sometimes you have a treatment with the perfect product, in the perfect spot, with the perfect pair of hands. Step forward OSKIA and Abigail James.

Set in Covent Garden, the OSKIA rooms are above yoga studios, which immediately sets the tone in a really calm, peaceful manner (removing your shoes to climb the stairs seems appropriate, not over the top).

Not me. Obvs.
What's good about it?

The OSKIA products lend themselves wonderfully to treatments and the routine is along these lines:

  • Double cleanse with hot towels (amen)
  • Exfoliate using the Micro Exfoliating Balm reviewed recently here 
  • Hot oil massage (see below)
  • Steam/extraction - if appropriate/requested
  • Tissue massage
  • Renaissance mask
  • Exfoliate and massage arms and hands
  • Finishing with sitting up, leaning forward and hot compresses and work on the back (you will groan at this point - not in a 50 Shades way - but you will groan - in a stress being pushed out of your body thank-you-very-much way)
The mixture of Abigail's experience and these glorious products is amazing. Abigail has been added to my list of 'great hands' and I'll be going back for more treatments. She's the kind of therapist, that as a therapist (me), makes you strive to keep learning and be a better therapist.

While all of the products used were beautiful - and I will be reviewing the ones that I haven't already in the near future, I need to take a minute to talk about this:

There is no run-of-the-mill massage oil used in this treatment - OSKIA's massage oil comes from freshly melted candle wax scented with Rose de Mai and is as close to perfection as you will get for massage. I have always warmed oils before using them during treatments - no point in putting them on cold - not tactile, not pleasurable and takes longer to really get the massage going. I smelt this on Abigail's hands as they hovered above my face and as soon as she made contact shouted 'WHAT is THAT??!!!' I think I made her jump. Poor love.

Ironically, given my known dislike of mineral oil - one of the best things during a facial is a bloody good oil under a paraffin wax mask. The heat seals in the oil and your skin is nothing short of remarkable afterwards when the mask is peeled away. Amanda Lacey does this brilliantly in her treatments.
This candle gives you the ability to do something similar - at home - in the comfort of your own surroundings. There is no paraffin here - hence its ability to be used as the massage element rather than the overall mask. Its a mixture of soybean, beeswax and coconut oils. It's also scented with Rose de Mai - swimming with happy Chantecaille memories for me.
Utter bliss.

What's bad about it?

It's not widely available in the UK. You need to come to London. Honestly, that's about it.

OSKIA Signature Glow Facial - 4/5 - purely for limited distribution reasons
Skin Smoothing Massage Candle - 5/5

More information about the OSKIA Boutique Beauty Rooms can be found here and Abigail James here.

More information about the amazing to-die-for candle can be found here

I was a guest of OSKIA. A very grateful one.
No affiliate links.

Friday, 8 June 2012

REN Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser - Review

I came across this a couple of months ago and thought it might be suitable for those days where my skin just doesn't know what it wants to do with itself. I always find clay a great neutraliser.

It's a little like restarting the computer for your skin.

I've started using it a few times a week as a second cleanse in the evenings and as a quick refresh cleanse in the mornings and am becoming addicted to it.

What's in it?

Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Water, Kaolin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Benzyl Alcohol, Oryzanol, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Zinc Gluconate, Bisabolol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Dehydroacetic Acid, Crataegus Oxyacantha Stem Extract, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Tocopherol

I have to say from the off that I'm not obsessive about ingredients. My priority is that it functions as it advertises.

REN is genius marketing - the brand is based around being 'clean' - i.e.

and they were doing it long before most. But I will only judge it by its merits. It's all good and well being 'clean' - but it needs to work.

What's good about it?
It works.
The clay content is very evident - which I love. It feels substantial in the palm and on the face. It's more like a creamy clay mask than a milk cleanser.
Clay is the second ingredient - after camomile water. So its calming and substantial at the same time.
It contains sage and lactic acid - ingredients I love.
It kills off the surface bacteria, absorbs oil and tones pores. I love that it says 'tones' pores - rather than the usual BS of 'closing' pores - like they are doors.
Being REN, you can see when you are running out - always helpful.

It's affordable - £18.00 - for 150ml. Massive in comparison to most of its competition. Amazing value for money.

What's bad about it?
Honestly? I haven't found anything yet. And you KNOW I try.

(As an aside, I think the range is getting a little too big. It's like they've said 'ooh we're making money - let's make tons more products!! Now!!' Not necessary. No brand needs 8 cleansers. Get a grip.)
*back to the review*

Although it is aimed at blemish prone skin, I would happily recommend this to any skin type. It would make a really good weekly treatment for someone with really dry skin that was afraid of heavier clay exfoliation.

Love it. 5/5.

Available here.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee NutriBeauty Giveaway Winner

Morning everyone!

Thank you so much for all your entries - the winner as chosen by is.....

True Random Number Generator  3Powered by RANDOM.ORG


Congratulations Sinead - I'll be in touch for your details!

Stay tuned for more giveaways - and a massive thank you to NutriBeauty for their generosity!!

*as per usual -'s widget isn't showing that I entered that correct number of entries - which I did! I have a screen grab for verification purposes.

May in the life of the blog.


Me, Mouldy Fruit and Priya Sonn hanging out with Kim K. Why? Because we could.

Kourtney and Khloe on their way to the launch. Why? Because we could. Muahahahahahaaa


We were sodding freezing.

All that 'oh it was an amazing experience'...No. It wasn't. It nearly killed us. Next year I'm writing a fat cheque.

Where I spent nearly two hours after the Moonwalk.

Hardcore if you're feeling oily/congested. Like a cross between a cleanser and a clay mask.

Sorting. As always.

Fixing a bad reaction to a product.

LOVING the footie.

Adoring the animals. (Can't remember the source of this - sorry!)

Mental cat.


Breakfast with Jo Malone.

Ah one of my babies meeting Mr Sheeran.

Loving the reminder of the Fun Lovin Criminals.


Loving Nars Easy Lover.

Brilliant DKNY marketing.

The boy.

The girl.

The cat. All enjoying the sun.

Feet in Kew. You know - when we had Summer for 4 days.

A rather ridiculously large tree.
The walkway. Utterly terrifying.

MORE skincare likes.