Friday, 30 August 2013

My Cult Beauty Top 10, a chance to win some of them and 10% off!

I know from your emails and comments that Cult Beauty is a shopping mecca for some of you - they recently asked me to collate my Top 10 skincare choices from their edited selection of top beauty finds from around the globe.

A sneak preview of some that made the cut...

Cult Beauty are offering one lucky reader the chance to win 5 of my Top 10 - simply email with your chosen 5 and one winner will be chosen at random after the closing date....

Also: upon entering, ALL entries will be sent an email from Cult Beauty with a specific 10% discount code just for them - just for entering.....

You can find my Cult Beauty Top 10 here.

My T&C's/Disclosure:
  • Entries are to be emailed to - any comments left below will not be eligible for entry.
  • I have received no payment for this competition
  • I have no personal affiliation with Cult Beauty
  • No affiliate links used
  • Sunday Riley is one of my clients - but I don't work with bad product :) and I was not asked to participate in this by Sunday Riley
  • I cannot be held responsible for any products being unavailable at the time of sending 

Cult Beauty T&C's:
  • By entering the prize draw you agree to these terms and conditions. 
  • You will be entered into Cult Beauty’s free prize draw with the chance to win your choice of 5 of Caroline's Top 10 Skin Care products as stated in her blog. 
  • Customers may only sign up once. 
  • One winner will be drawn at random by an independent person. The winner will be notified in writing no later than one week after the prize draw has closed – Midnight Monday 9th September 2013
  • Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and non-negotiable. There is no cash alternative. 
  • Plus all entries will be emailed a 10% discount code to spend on their first order from after competition has closed. 
  • By entering, you agree that your email address will be used to keep you informed about Cult Beauty news, products and promotions, you can easily unsubscribe from this with one click on the unsubscribe buttom at the bottom of any of our communications. 
  • Cult Beauty reserves the right to (i) cancel ‘Prize Draw’, (ii) refuse any individual’s entry and (iii) amend the terms and conditions. Promoter: Cult Beauty Limited: Registered office: 38 – 39, St. John’s Lane, London. EC1M 4BJ

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Happy Birthday Max.

Happy Birthday my sweet Babyboy. Love you.

Mummy x

Skin consultations - when?

I'll be doing more skin consults from September onwards. Just  quick question really - what day of the week works best for everyone? They will be held in London.

I have some days in mind but just wanted to open it up to you lovely people....

Let me know - and info will be going up by tomorrow hopefully....

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Michael Kors Beauty #SportySexyGlam

Yesterday I had possibly the best personal intro to a new range since I started the blog. Over lunch, with gorgeous company - *waves* - I was taken through the new Michael Kors Beauty range. 

Those of you that know me IRL will understand my love for The Kors. I don't generally go in for the whole designer 'thing'. Oh but I love Michael Kors. Love him. If he was a singer he'd be SLB*. If he was a guitarist he'd be Jimmy Page. You see my point...
He's larger than life, throw-it-all-out-there and doesn't take himself too seriously. And this collection is a reflection of him. It's fun, glamorous, sexy and gorgeous all in one.



Predictably my favourites from the Collection are the bronzing powders (£34). Huge, gorgeous pigment - no glitter.

#Glam - Beam - The deepest golden bronze.

#Sporty - Glow - barely any shimmer - traditional bronzer - if you use NARS Laguna? This one is for you.

#Sexy - Flush - I think this is my favourite - it has a divine pinky/coral tint that literally looks like a 'flush'.

The above is all three lined up together to show the difference - and the below is my beloved NARS Sin blusher - for scale - see? HUGE.

Lip Lacquers £23.00

Lip Luster £21.00

Six shades of Nail Lacquer - £15.00 each.

And as if that wasn't enough...guess who he's used for the ad campaign?

And he's a Leo.

*snaps fingers in a Z formation*

Michael Kors Beauty is available in Macy's in the US and launches in selected House of Fraser stores in the UK on 18th September. It's beautiful. Go get yours.

Next week: the Fragrance and Body Collection

*Simon Le Bon - obvs.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Kate Somerville now shipping to the UK

Finally - FINALLY - Kate Somerville is shipping her amazingness to our very shores. I'm always asked for specific recommendations - but in all honesty its kind of hard to go wrong with this range. (Before it comes up - the KS range has 'foaming' cleansers - the Gentle one is SLS-free)

Some of my favourites:

Line Release Eye Cream - beautiful, beautiful, beautiful product. Over 30/35? This is for you.

Deep Tissue Repair - plumps, rehydrates, smooths wrinkles - lush.

Oil Free Moisturiser - water-based, brilliant hydrating - the Gold Standard of moisturiser for the truly oily skins.

1.7 oz

Nourish Daily Moisturiser - pretty much a perfect 'go-to' staple for everyone. And another great thing about the KS brand? They make Luxury (salon) sizes available to the public like this:

5 oz
..with a proper value saving.

And finally:

When in doubt 'go Goat'. This is listed as for dry/sensitive but is also brilliant for acne. Everyone I recommend this to loves it. Literally.

As an aside - I am frequently asked for book recommendations on skin (blog post coming) etc - this one is very good:

It'll cost you less than £20 - stick it in your basket before you checkout.

Welcome back!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Blog Housekeeping - or 'Things I say time and time again Part 2'

Some Blog Housekeeping whilst I'm at it.

Just to clarify some key points that I think sometimes get lost on the blog:
  • I am not a dermatologist - I am happy to recommend one - always.
  • I am a qualified facialist  - My advice is built on experience, training, knowledge, trial and error and client interaction and feedback. I trained at Steiner in Wardour Street (now moved to North London) with the terrifyingly thorough Josephine Wackett as Principal. 
  • I will always, always mention if I am working with a brand that I am writing about - so there is no need to ask me in the comments - rest assured I will always disclose. And no, I don't work for Clinique. :) I sincerely doubt they would have me.
  • I have never been paid to post a review. I've never done sponsored posts either but I'm talking about the insinuation that I get a backhander from the industry - I don't. Ever.
  • I DO buy product. I don't only post about freebies.
  • Brands: If a reader has asked me about your product and you respond - the odds are I won't publish it. They're asking me for an unbiased opinion - they'll hardly get that from you - however lovely you may be.
  • I very rarely recommend something I haven't tried. If I trust the brand and the inci looks good then I probably would - but I always say 'I haven't tried it'.
  • Cleansing is by far the most important part of your skincare routine. But: you don't have to have 3 cleansers on rotation. It's just nice if you have two - one for MU/SPF removal and one for a 2nd cleanse. Therapists have been doing this in treatments since the land of donkeys and carts. Your face will not fall off if you use the same cleanser for both. 
  • If something is working for you - please don't change it just because it didn't work for me or I don't particularly recommend it. All skin is different. Except for peach kernels. Stop that nonsense immediately. Regardless. 
  • I didn't get on with the Clarisonic. This does not mean that I harm small animals. Thousands of you do. Excellent. Carry on. With the Clarisonic I mean, not harming small animals.
  • I've never said I don't like Jurlique. Randomness? The odd product in the line maybe - but I like the range as a whole.
  • I go back and adjust archived blog posts or update them where necessary and link to an updated review - Estee Lauder ANR for example. I've adjusted the Paula's Choice blog post and see no reason to add anything. It's self-explanatory. There is a postscript AND a second update at the head of the original post. I dig that Paula has such loyal fans - I do. Which leads me to....
  • Mineral oil. Ah mineral oil. If you are using a product with MO in it - and you love it - please don't stop on my account. It won't kill you. There are better ingredients to use as a base for products - in my opinion - that is and has always been my point - but it won't kill you!

Housekeeping and The Faith Brothers

So many things popped into my head while I was on holiday that left me thinking 'ooh I must mention that on the blog!'

I thought a weekly (or more often) housekeeping post would help my brain put everything into one place - responses to some comments, newness, what I've been doing - and just general news.

First up:

Thank you for your lovely responses to yesterday's post. I'm so encouraged that you got where I was coming from and grateful for the support. Let us make no more mention of 'them' and move on to nicer people. :)
Some of you had recognised Amica and couldn't quite place where - she was one of QVC's longest-serving models - but to us she was much more. A longtime friend and neighbour - our kids go to the same schools and we we've witnessed her journey with cancer first hand. When I turned up to do my first on-air QVC show Amica was coincidentally booked as the model. Seeing her face in the Green Room immediately put me at ease to the point where Aly said on air: 'You two are like old friends!' - to which we both replied 'We ARE!'. She was a kind, generous, loving woman and will be greatly missed by us all.


I used to travel a lot for work. Everywhere - the US, the Far East - but I have never been so jetlagged as I have been this week after getting back from our hols. Last night was the first time I've begun to sleep normally in a week. What is THAT about?


Why don't kids get jetlag like adults? Ugh. Mine are like Duracell batteries while the Mister and I are sofa-bound sloths.

IBS (possible TMI for those of you that prefer to skip ahead to the next topic).

Unfortunately the food was not great while we were away and it triggered the worst bout of IBS I've had in years. Literally. I've managed IBS with diet for the last few years and had forgotten just how bad the cramps etc are. So many of you mentioned you suffer too - feel free to leave me any sworn-by remedies in the comments - I can do without that again!


All quiet on the retail front. It's August. The world is either away - or pretending they are away.

Everyone in beauty retail.

Let the September pre-Christmas madness begin!

One more before I go.

Many years ago (almost 30 - WHAT?!?!) - my girlfriends and I followed a band called The Faith Brothers. *waves to Cheryl, Heather, Michelle, Nicky, Jo and the Faith's gang*

Ah how we rocked a crimper.

Formed by Billy Franks and Lee Hirons (check the surname) they are ultimately how I met Jim.

Their first album has just been remastered by my very clever brother-in-law and has been released as a special deluxe edition. What kind of a platform is this if I can't plug family?

*throws hands in the air - shouts 'GRIP-PERRRRR!!!!!'*

The Faith Brothers music is available on iTunes, Amazon and through Cherry Red Records.
More info on Billy and Lee.
Fath Brothers FB page.

Thanks for letting me shamelessly plug the fam.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Trolls - and what actually matters.

Last night I was reading some comments below posts where I had been mentioned on other sites. There were a couple of not-so-nice comments which gave me about 5 minutes of 'How very dare they?' mini-rage. *flounce*

When I woke up this morning I had a long discussion with one of my best girlfriends about the funeral arrangements for Amica. Not to come over all melodramatic but there's nothing like a death to give you perspective.

So, my feelings on (and last discussion on this blog re) trolls:

To give you (trolls), however few of you, a platform on my blog - my space - where I spend hours, literally, trying to help people with their skin/health - in however a small way possible, seems to me to be disrespectful to the literally hundreds of people who very kindly contact me via all social channels (and in toilets) to let me know how much this blog has helped them. I have no intention of giving you more attention than them. This is my platform. And theirs. If you have constructive criticism I will always reply. If you just want to be negative about me, my appearance, my age - and especially my readers - there is no room for you here.

You are not important. To me. Or my readers. I hope you are important to someone else and treat them with the kindness, because I wish you nothing but kindness. But there is no room for you here. 

So, I will leave you instead with a picture of our beautiful friend - who will remind me daily of what is important.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Empties continued. Clarins and Hampton Sun.

Unexpected bonus of having small children and their luggage allowance: we literally took 20/25 bottles of suncream/sun products with us on holiday. I figured 'now's a good a time as any to trial everything' - and we did. 

However, predictably there were some stand-alone winners.


When your teenage son says 'Mum where's that yellow face stuff?' you know you're on to a winner. The entire family used this day in day out. It lasted almost the full 2 weeks being used on 6 faces. 4 big people, 2 little people. I should have taken 2.

Kids - Body:

Full disclosure: Hampton Sun were one of my first clients. I love them like I love SLB* (well, almost). 
One day over lunch in NYC with the founders Grant and Sal (this is about as name-droppy as I get, stay tuned), I said 'I really LOVE using the 55 on the kids. It's so easy. Ooh! I know what you should do - you should make one JUST for kids. Literally whack the SPF to a 70 or something and write 'for kids' on the front. It'll be a sellout. Trust in the Hirons.'
And that dear readers leads us to the easiest SPF to use and with a whacking high SPF to boot.
If you've never been a fan of the thick, white, gloopy kids SPF's - this could be up your street. 
Trying to apply sunscreen to small, mobile people is like trying to herd cats. This is perfect. You just chase them down, say 'Make like Jesus on the cross' (apologies for the potentially offensive, politically incorrect instruction), and spray them back and forth, across the body and up and down. 'Turn around'. Repeat the action and the best part if you have boys, you can spray the entirety of their neck and the tops of their ears - the most forgotten about part on people's bodies. No need to rub in. You can literally spray them as they are trying to run away from you.
Perfect, genius. We used all of ours up the first week. I should've taken more.

Then the kids moved on to the same as their brothers and Dad:

Exactly the same concept, continuous mist, no CFC's (thus no ozone problems) - and comes in 15/35/55 so you can adjust downwards if you wish. 

The grown-ups moved down to the more traditional SPF30 in a lotion form by week 2 (the kids stayed with sprays):

And we finished up with the aloe mist - perfect for post-sunbathing instantaneous cooling off and the traditional after sun. Both lush.

All were used up, all were binned before we came home.

Moral of the story? 
Take more than you think you need.
Leave it behind, forcing you to buy fresh each trip. SPF degrades.
Reapply regularly - especially on small, very active children that are in and out of water. At least once an hour for us.
Don't forget the ears!

*SLB is Simon Le Bon. Obvs.

Clarins SPF30 is £18.00 and available on and all Clarins counters.

Hampton Sun prices start at £30.00 and it is available at SpaceNK, Beauty Works West, and Net-a-Porter in the UK and Sephora,, Space NK, Net-a-Porter and Blue Mercury in the USA.

Clarins was a PR sample (this year, but I've used it for the last 20 years).
Hampton Sun, as mentioned, are friends - but I wouldn't recommend them (much less work with them) if they didn't work. Honest. Bible. No payment made for the post and no affiliate links.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Post Holiday Empties - things that actually worked.

So we're back. And rather than doing posts about 'What to take away with you' - I thought it made sense to mention what I took and what actually got used up - by both myself and the family.

First up: Suncare

Edited July 2015:
I do not recommend this brand. I used it on myself in 2013 and yes, got a deep, brown, long-lasting tan. Since then I have spent too much time talking to people that have suffered melanoma and dermatologists that are openly aghast at the claims that Institut Esthederm make. I am dark olive-skinned genetically. I dread to think of Type 1 (fair, red-headed, freckled etc) people using this as their only protection from the sun.
It would have been easy for me to leave this post as it was and pretend it was fine, but I would rather say 'Actually, I've changed my thinking and won't use it.' The fact that I had no intention of using it on my children should have been a big enough clue to me that it wasn't safe, but I went ahead and used it. Yes I tanned, but my thinking is now 'A tan is a sign of DNA damage.'
I only use Broad Spectrum SPF. 

I'd been asked about Esthederm a lot on the blog - and hadn't used it before this holiday. Seeing as I had a rather large testing panel to hand I figured this was as good a time as any.

I used the tanning cream above - and the aftersuns below...
Institut Esthederm works differently from other sun products in that while it does contain titanium dioxide, it does not have a traditional SPF rating. There is definitely a differing opinion amongst dermatologists/skin experts about its efficacy. 

Edited July 2015 - I have not managed to speak to one dermatologist that recommends this brand. 

I've been thinking a lot about SPF and skin cancer lately.

I recently tweeted a lot of facts about melanoma including:
  • In the 1920's your chances of contracting skin cancer was around 1 in 1500. In 2013 its closer to 1 in 50. We had no SPF in the 1920's - and every availability of SPF in the 21st Century. 
  • 6 people a day die from malignant melanoma in the UK.
  • You are more at risk from melanoma if you have a close relative who has suffered from it (My Mum is a skin cancer survivor).
My take? SPF can definitely give you a false sense of security. I'm half-American - my Grandfather never sunbathed in Mississippi. EVER. If it was hot, he sat on the porch or went inside. He used to laugh at me when I got excited about being tanned. Thought I was insane. No SPF used. Ever.
These days we apply a 'once-a-day' SPF and think we're good to go. And our cancer rates have quadrupled in the last 30 years. Quadrupled.

Knowing that info made me think about what SPF to use while on holiday - on me - I'm not using my kids as guinea pigs just yet.

The result?


I would not recommend IE for children - my kids were covered in SPF 70/55 from top-to-toe and I reapplied it every time they walked past me. It may seem hypocritical but they have virgin skin - I wasn't willing to risk anything at this stage.

Tomorrow. The rest of the family and Hampton Sun.

*Purchases. No affiliate links.