Thursday, 28 March 2013

Happy Easter!


I'm taking my bra off for 4 days. See you Tuesday.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

elemental herbology Purify & Soothe Facial Cleansing Balm - Review

Continuing recent cleanser reviews - I've been using this off and on in recent weeks. 

The jury is out to be honest. It's a perfectly lovely balm, very thick and hard to squeeze out of the tube - although to be honest, it's extremely cold at the moment added to which my bathroom is in the basement and when the heating if off, possibly the coldest room in the house - enough to make any balm like rock.

It's aimed at 'mature' skin - there we go again with the mature word - and contains various extracts of...:

Lipactive Inca Inchi® WO, containing the richest natural source of Omega 3 and 6 in any plant oil improves hydration, leaving skin feeling softer and more supple.
Fresh Cells™ Strawberry rich in minerals helps to gently cleanse and purify the skin.
Biovera Oil and Marshmallow Extract are ideal for sensitive skin and help to soothe and soften.
Cocoa Butter moisturises and nourishes.
Bitter Orange Peel helps to gently stimulate cell turnover to brighten the complexion.
Argan and Sesame Oils nourish the skin with Essential Fatty Acids and improve its barrier function, helping to protect against wind, cold and dry air.
Chamomile Essential Oil helps to soothe sensitive skin.

That has been lifted directly from the elemental website - which surprisingly to me from this brand, does not list their ingredients in their entirety. Come on guys, sort it out.

I digress.

I use this as a second cleanse or as a quick cleanse in the morning - I wouldn't use it for makeup removal. Well, maybe in the summer when the formulation softens?

Alas something for me, is missing. It's good. It's not great. It's not £28.00 for 75ml great.

I'm not disappointed - I'm just not bowled over.

elemental herbology is by and large - a good mid-priced range - and is available from  

*I actually think this was a gift, not a sample. Either way - sorry! 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser - Review

I recently posted about Aurelia's launch and the great promise it seemed to hold for those of us that like clear labeling and conscientious ethics.

Well so far, by and large, the products haven't disappointed. The Miracle Cleanser is the easiest to jump in and use. I know - it's a cleanser - it would be.

It contains probiotic proteins - which is their USP and what the range is built around, coconut derived cleansing agents, fatty acids, shea butter, cocoa butter, kigelia and baobab extracts, Ubuntu Mongongo oil (I have NO idea but I haven't stopped singing the Um Bongo ads since I read it) and a blend of eucalyptus, rosemary, bergamot and chamomile essential oils - which are quite strong, so whilst I love them - if you have problems with essential oils, sample first. Although it contains shea, I haven't experienced any breakouts as a result - the formulation is good.

Full inci list:

Aqua (purified water), Dicapryly carbonate (coconut-derived cleanser & emollient), Cetearyl alcohol (vegetable based thickener), Glycerin (vegetable glycerine), Cocoglycerides (emollient from coconut oil), Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Glyceryl stearate (natural glycerides & thickener), Cetearyl glucoside (corn sugar emulsifier), Rhus verniciflua peel wax (berry wax), Theobroma cacoa (cocoa butter), Kigelia Africana fruit extract (Botanical Kigelia Africana ), Hibiscus sabdariffa flower extract (Hibiscus flower), Adansonia digitata fruit extract (Botanical Baobab),Lactose (probiotic bifidoculture milk extract), Lactis proteinum – (probiotic protein), Bifida ferment lysate (probiotic culture), Schinziophyton Rautanenii kernel oil (Botanical Ubuntu Mongongo oil), Panthenol ( Pro-vitamin B5), Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C), Rosmarinus officinalis leaf oil (Rosemary essential oil), Citrus aurantium bergamia peel oil (Bergamot essential oil), Anthemis nobilis oil (Chamomile essential oil), Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil (Eucalyptus essential oil), Xanthan gum (natural based stabilizer), Sodium stearoyl glutamate (naturally derived emulsifier), Tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E), Benzyl alcohol (preservative), Dehydroacetic acid (preservative), Citric acid (fruit derived pH regulator), Limonene, Linalool

The nearest comparison texture and scent-wise is Cleanse & Polish - but the comparisons end there. This being Aurelia it contains none of the following:

Synthetic fragrances, parabens, mineral oils, silicones, sulphates, propylene glycol, phthalates, GMO, PEGs, TEA and DEA.

This is a creamier formulation and stays that way once applied. Removes all makeup no problem (not sure about waterproof as I don't wear it) and skin feels soft and smooth afterwards. If you are uncomfortable with balm cleansers this could be just the thing you are looking for. I, predictably I know, like it as a second cleanse in the evenings and its lovely for a refreshing quick cleanse in the morning. I'm sorry but I don't trust any brand that says you don't need to cleanse in the mornings. Nonsense. And also this: filth.

It's £34.00 for 120ml compared to £34.00 for Emma Hardie's 100ml. (I'm trying to give broad comparisons about products I regularly recommend as I am always asked for more details after I post!) I would estimate you use the same amount of both cleansers - which is a 'finger scoop'.

A good, strong product from a good, strong, British brand who list their FULL INGREDIENTS on their website. 

*waves Union Jack*


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Alpha-H Age Delay Cleansing Oil

It was only when uploading this photograph that I actually READ the small print. 'For mature, dehydrated and delicate skin.'

How rude.

OK fine I KNOW I'm mature and dehydrated but rub it in why doncha?!?!

Good job it's a bloody lovely cleanser. This is no oil. It's a balm. This has a richer consistency than Emma Hardie so I tend to keep this for my 2nd cleanse or 1st cleanse if I'm not wearing eye makeup. When the ingredients feel this nice I want it for massage stage - not gloopy-mess-getting-makeup-off-stage.

It contains beeswax, grape seed, sea buckthorn, coconut oil, vitamin E, lavender, rosehip, chamomile, and tangerine peel which means it smells delicious and feels luxurious.

Best for drier skins, older skins and great for facial massage. As per usual I don't emulsify. I apply to dry skin, massage - a lot - then go straight in with the flannel. 

Alpha-H Age Delay Cleansing Oil (balm) is £25.95 for 100ml and available on .

Full inci: 
Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Cera Alba, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Bis Stearyl Ethylenediamine/Neo-Pentyl Glycol/Stearyl Hydrogenated Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer, Silica, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Reticulata Peel Oil, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil, Rosa Moschata Oil, Tocopherol, Hippoaerhamnoides Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Bisabolol, Linalool, Limonene, Geranoil, Citronellol, Eugenol.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Clarins Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream

As promised I'm trying to review as many of my favourite (and not-so-favourite) cleansers pretty much consecutively.

First up is Clarins Extra-Comfort. I've probably been using this on and off for nearly 20 years. It's a go-to staple in my collection and the first one I pick up if I'm feeling unsure about my skin or just - you know - tired and unable to make a decision. You know what I mean - when you go to wash your face and think 'urghhumpf'. This is that cleanser.

It comes in a big fat pot which I love. It's listed as being for dry/sensitive and whilst it IS great for sensitivity - its perfectly acceptable for normal/oily skins. It contains shea butter so although normally I would advise steering clear if you are acne prone, this is a cream consistency - it's not rich - not a balm and not thick - if you wash it off correctly with a flannel it shouldn't cause you any problems at all. If anything, it will calm the redness that comes with spots et al...

Suitable for 1st or 2nd cleanse - takes makeup off no problem.

Also contains jojoba, soapwort and palm oil. Pretty perfect to be honest.

Available from  and is £19.00 for 100ml. The Eve Lom equivalent is £55.00. *rests case*

*Purchase. No affiliate.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Where has this year gone? The year so far in pictures. Picture Heavy post..

Honestly this year has gone so quickly that I don't know where to start. After the success of the events in Liberty last week and the equaled success of my real 'day job', it seems a natural progression that the blog includes more of my day-to-day activities alongside the usual rants reviews and industry natterings. As I work in the industry, I figured it should still be of interest one way or another...!

Major shoe envy on the tube.

Aerin Kabuki brush. Loveliness.

Liberty's new self select area.

Finally got to see Sinead do 'Jackie' 26 years after the fact..

Girls Night In courtesy of Gillette Venus. Everything in the picture was stolen by Ava before I took my coat off.

Interviewing Poppy King at QVC.

Birchbox. The first time I've used everything in a monthly sub box.

Mum and Nana circa 1950

John Bell & Croyden's reception area. Anyone would think they were the Queen's pharmacy. Oh.

Ava in her element. In M&S.
CEW Demo Evening. Manic as always.

Setting up.

Ava's perfume collection. Thieving wench.

Goodwood Forest. Gorgeous.

The best salmon starter at Goodwood.

Bob Bob Ricard. Sadly unused button.

This month's indulgent purchase.

Rehydration in seconds.

Oh Good Lord.

It's Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

La Bella Donna foundation - brilliant - and Lancome Hypnose. Standard.

My desk on a typical day. Flowers, lip gloss and too many pens. That's not even my main pencil case.

Ottolenghi's Friday madness.

Camelia Gardenia!!!!! - in HOMEBASE!

My gorgeous Mama.

Muji storage.

Happy Mother's Day to me!

Can't stop looking at it!

Cleanser line-up. Reviews coming.

Standard day. Lushness.

Brilliant product.

Sprays face to death.

The big week at Liberty!!!

Setting up the workshops in Liberty.

A bag. Can't really see who it's by though?

Friday, 15 March 2013

What a week!

I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone that came to Liberty this week for either the workshops or the one-to-one appointments. We had sunshine, sleet, rain and snow and everyone turned up!

Thank you to everyone who tweeted, RT'd and emailed me - for your support and kind words.

It was hugely successful and I'm sure we'll be doing something again in the near future. 

Meeting so many of you in the flesh was brilliant and it's made me think a lot about the future of the blog, my work, everything.

And finally a HUGE thank you to Liberty - who had the balls and open mind to give an opinionated-no-nonsense woman the opportunity to talk to a lot of their customers about absolutely everything to do with the industry - with no restraints. Not many retailers would take that risk - and I think it paid off hugely for all concerned.

So, I'm taking the weekend off completely to regroup - and say hello to my children!

See you next week.

Friday, 8 March 2013

La Bella Donna Ultimate Pure Perfection Liquid Mineral Foundation

I'm not saying this foundation is amazing but if this were a beer commercial - it would be Heineken Carlsberg (thanks BBB :)).

Probably the best foundation I've ever tried - and I've tried EV. E. RY. THING.

I had a photo shoot this week. You may notice I'm not big on having my photo taken. I am the Chandler Bing of blogging. I think I look good, I smile - and then I see the results and want to throw myself out of the window - and throw the camera at someone's head. I'm just not photogenic. End of.

After the shoot I resolved to admit defeat and beef up my current base to an ACTUAL foundation. I've personally always hated the feel of foundation - you know when you apply it and you can feel it sitting there? Ugh.

This La Bella Donna base is SO gorgeous that I'm tempted to keep it to myself and pretend that my glowing skin is just that - my skin. Meh. My gift to you this rainy Friday?: La Bella Donna.

The official blimph - with the odd usual helpful comment on the side from yours truly:

'Ultimate Pure Perfection an aqueous texture with unrivaled qualities that respects the skin.
  • Visibly corrects and lifts the skin so your face appears healthy, smooth, luminous and radiant - HELL YES
  • Contains moisturizing agents to provide hydration and comfort, due to marine extracts that boost cell energy to enhance natural radiance - HELL YES
  • Botanical extracts stimulate cell activity and regeneration wile maintaining anti-inflammatory properties to nourish the skin - FEELS LUSH
Focus ingredients and the benefits:
  • Sodium Hyaluronate: tissue repair, contributes to tissue hydrodynamics, movement and proliferation of cells and participates in a number of cell surface interactions - SCORE!
  • Aloe Barbeadensis Leaf Extract: reduces the appearance of dry or damaged skin and restores suppleness - WHO DOESN'T WANT TO BE SUPPLE?
  • Ficus Crica(Fig)Extract: calms redness, a superior antioxidant - DEFINITELY CALMS REDNESS
  • Squalene: gives a soft smooth appearance, a natural component of human sebum
  • Thymus Valaris (Thyme) Extract: moisturizes a boosts skin tone. Stimulates cell activity and regeneration, assists in regulating hydration
  • Cicumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract: moisture binding, soothing, tightening, anti-inflammatory properties, nourishes and softens the skin
  • Rosa Canina Fruit Oil: excellent tissue regeneration, reduces scars(trauma and surgical), reduces wrinkles
  • Sambucus Nigra Flower Extract: calms redness, anti-inflammatory, stimulates circulation, promotes healing of all skin challenges
  • Jaminum Officinale (Jasmine Oil): moisturizing, soothing
  • Hedera Helix (Ivy) Leaf/Stem Extract: antimicrobial, excellent for any skin issues, soothing, calming benefits'

There are other items in the range - the Mineral Eraser (concealer) is also the dog's bollocks - and I cannot wait to try the rest. Apparently its predominantly sold in the US in dermatologists offices and spas etc so that women who have had invasive treatments can cover up straight away afterwards without risking irritating their skin. I totally get that.

My skin feels better wearing it than it does without it - and I have NEVER said that before.

La Bella Donna is sold exclusively at Beauty Works West. Prices start at £15.00 and the foundation in question is £44.00. And worth every penny.

*no affiliate link

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Linda Evangelista for Loewe

Loewe have just announced that Linda Evangelista is their new face for their fragrance launching in September. I have no idea what it will smell like but isn't it nice to have on of the original Supermodels as a face instead of a 20 year old?

Just a thought.....

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Cruelty Free Collection by Leona Lewis and The Body Shop

As mentioned last week - a further look at the Leona Lewis Cruelty Free Collection from The Body Shop....

White Musk Libertine EDP and EDT from £10.00

Lip Glosses in Bronze, Coral, Petal and Fuchsia £7.00

Blusher Brush £14.00

Shimmer Palette in Blush and Bronze £16.00

The range launches on 26th March in selected stores only and 100% vegetarian and 100% cruelty free - as are all of Body Shop products.

*press samples - all now in Ava's bedroom - quelle surprise.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month - MARCH

Whilst I obviously applaud the way that the beauty industry got behind breast cancer and the huge event that is Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, I do rather feel that it has also had the disadvantage of completely overshadowing other cancers. For example, twice as many women die annually from lung cancer than breast cancer.

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. How I wish for a sea of teal blue products on sale in beauty halls up and down the country - sadly I think that is a long way off - gynecological cancers are not 'pretty' causes. Does the fact that we are de-sensitised to breasts have anything to do with it? I don't know - all I know is that there are other cancers out there. And we need to be aware of the facts. And the symptoms:
  • Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in women and accounts for more UK deaths than all of the other gynaecological cancers put together
  • Over 6,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK and 4,400 will die.

The good news is that if diagnosed at an early stage, the outcome is good. However, because some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to those seen in more common conditions, it can be difficult to diagnose. Most women are not diagnosed until the disease has spread, which is why it is important that women know about the symptoms, so that they can seek advice as early as possible.
The key early signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
  • persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
  • increased abdominal size/persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes
  • difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
  • urinary symptoms - needing to pass water more often than usual

It is most likely that these symptoms are not ovarian cancer but may be present in some women with the disease.
Ovacome has teamed with HealthUnlocked and Macmillan Cancer Support to create a unique way of raising awareness of the early signs of ovarian cancer. It's worth a few minutes of your time.
For further info and to give support try these:

Perricone MD Blue Plasma - Review

My love affair with Perricone MD products is well-known. I've never met a product made by Dr Perricone that I didn't like. Until now. *sad face*

Regular readers will know that I generally only post about things I really like - I don't tend to blog about disappointments - but I very excitedly posted a picture of this on Instagram when I received it and have been asked constantly for the review - so here it is.

What is it?

A 'non-acidic daily peel designed to deliver all the benefits of a traditional peel without redness or irritation'.

What's in it?

Salmon Egg Enzyme - peeling agent that tackles only dead skin cells
L-Carnitine - Extracts, unclogs and promotes cell-turnover
Pterostilbene - Antioxidant, brightening
Honokiol & Magnolol - Anti-inflammatory, soothing
Copper - Helps skin repair

What's good about it?

It's non-acidic for those skins that cannot tolerate glycolic or lactic etc

What's bad about it?

Well it comes with a dropper, so I assume you apply it with your hands - I prefer cotton. It feels like your wasting most of it on your fingers.
It may be that I am doing something wrong, it may be that I already exfoliate with acids on a daily basis to a degree that I do not need this product - but this dehydrated my skin to the point that it looked as bad as I have seen it look recently. Like raisin-dehydrated. So I only used it for 2 days. I'm going to pass it on to someone who doesn't go to the lengths I do re: daily topical exfoliation (P50/Clarins Exfoliating Toner/Pixi Glow etc) and see if they get a better result. But for me?

Its a big fat 0/10.

I'm sorry Dr P.