Monday, 30 September 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness


October is upon us. And I'm feeling very conflicted. 

On the one hand, I know of course, what the beauty industry has done for breast cancer awareness. I do, really. It's raised millions of dollars/pounds.

However, this last month, after the huge influx of press releases advising me of products donating '5% of profits' - for example - and especially after googling 'breast cancer awareness' and seeing a paid-for SEO ad for a very famous face cream, I'm just feeling a little - I don't even know - dubious? Hesitant?

Each to their own of course, but this year I've made a donation to Breast Cancer Care. I'd rather 100% of my money goes where its needed, not used to promote a brands CSR (at my most cynical moment).

I've experienced lumps - more than once, been to the Marsden, given the all-clear.
I've experienced my best friend's survival.
And this year all of Amica's friends and family experienced breast cancer at its worst.

If you collect the Limited Editions, feel its a great way to give, I'm not here to knock that - at all. Like I said, each to their own. I have plenty of friends that actively look forward to collecting all things 'pink'. 

It's just not for me this year.

What do you think? Am I really off-base? Am I wrong? Do you agree its a bit 'bandwagon' and not always for the right reasons? And on another note, has it completely cannibalised cancer 'giving'? 

I just don't know.

In the meantime, look at these brilliant ads for breast cancer awareness from around the world.

Oh and while I'm at it, can someone explain why boobs are perfectly appropriate in a national newspaper - but breast cancer adverts are still being banned? 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

FOUNTAIN - the Hyaluronic Molecule

First dibs for you here. Hyaluronic acid - something that regular readers of the blog will be more than aware of - is now, for the first time, available as an ingestible liquid form to hit the system quicker and more effectively.

Hyaluronic acid is omnipresent in skincare - primarily because although we produce hyaluronic acid in our bodies, our ability to hold on to it declines as we get older, resulting for example in dryer skin and aching joints (its not the sole reason, its a factor).

Think of hyaluronic acid as the cushion for your joints and along with collagen, as the support structure for your face. We need it.

Serving the theory of inside and out very well, Deciem's Fountain is a concentrate of hyaluronic acid and ginger extract and will be available from Boots from 2nd October.

It's a gel-like texture, which although strange to drink, doesn't taste bad at all - it has a light ginger taste - very gentle - not strong at all. I wash it down with bottled water but you can mix it with your favourite juice if you prefer.

For £27.99 for a 3 week supply, I'm trialing it with a view to using it as a treatment a fwe times a year.

You can see it yourself from next Wednesday at Boots - online and instores.

*PR Sample

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Beauty Myths No.1 - Your skin sleeps during the day.

Dear Readers. 

My day started with an email from someone requesting that I test their (revolutionary - obviously) cream at night - 'because the skin sleeps during the day'.

After my head exploded and I put it back together again, I decided on a lovely new series for the blog. 

'Beauty Myths' is born out of utter frustration with the casual jargon that mentioned often enough, becomes Bible. 

No. Your skin does not, will not and has never 'slept' during the day. The other argument for using differing products in the evening is that your skin 'may' relax a little whilst its not busy fighting off free radicals.

Funnily enough, free radicals are also not particularly conscious of time and are in fact, around us 24/7 - but that's apparently by the by for some marketing people. If you wanted to really annoy someone you could argue that as soon as you breathe out carbon dioxide, your face is surrounded in a cloud of free-radicals - but that's also apparently by the by.

You use different products at night because you don't need SPF - or thicker 'protecting' moisturisers - which means you can use lighter, more effective formulations - serums/oils etc - to target and treat your issues.

AM: Protect
PM: Treat

Your skin is your biggest organ. Replace the word 'skin' in this sentence with Heart, Brain, Lungs, Kidney, Liver and see how long you would be alive for.

'Your skin sleeps during the day'.

Right, well that's me dead then.

*head explodes, cannot even*

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

My kind of GWP's. Liberty and Space NK show the others how it's done.

Exhibit A

When you work on counters you rejoice at the term 'GWP' - for it means you are about to hit target and make some serious cash.

When you are a department/speciality store with all of those brands at your disposal - you can work wonders.

Exhibit A: Liberty's current GWP for all spends over £150 is worth over £300 and contains all of the above.

Exhibit B: Space NK's 'National Event' (GWP) is below and is also free with spends over £150.00.

Exhibit B

Liberty's GWP is while stocks last - and Space NK's is just for tomorrow and Thursday and you may need a ticket - check with your usual store for details.

Happy shopping peeps.


The Great Enabler

BALMOLOGY CLEANSE Neroli and Sweet Basil Cleansing Balm

I've had varying questions/reactions to previous balm reviews - a lot of concerns re fragrance - synthetic/too much/not enough - and texture - too runny/not thick enough/not a real 'balm'.

This cleansing balm should tick most of your boxes.

Unlike a lot of other balms - this one is completely water-free. It's a proper, get-some-on-your-skin and massage-it-to-oblivion balm.

What's in it?
Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) oil, Ricinus communis (castor) oil, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil, Cera alba (beeswax), Tocopherol, Citrus aurantium var. amara. (neroli), Citrus reticulata (mandarin), Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil). 

What's not in it?
Water, mineral oil, parabens, synthetic anything

Who is it for?
Pretty much anyone. There's nothing that should give any skin a hard time. I would say it is particularly excellent for a drier skin, but I'm more a combination and I'm fine. There is an entire FAQ's section on the website discussing the benefits of plant oils to a combination/oily skin. A woman after my own heart.

What's good about it?
  • Wonderful texture, solid, but completely melts when massaged
  • Quite possibly the best smelling balm you'll ever come across
  • 100% natural - it is extremely rare to find something that can claim to be 100% natural - as soon as you add water, it's not considered natural - ironic but true...- this is the real deal
  • Doesn't emulsify - if I wanted a balm to turn to milk - I'd buy a milk
  • A little goes a long way. Although be warned - its hard not to use too much - purely for greed reasons.
  • Made in Cheltenham (UK) by Catherine Lewis - I do like a homegrown start-up!
  • Not product related - but the website lists full ingredients - something that the big boys still have to get their lazy-arsed attitudes around to doing - bravo Catherine!

What's not so good about it?
  • Not much.
  • I wouldn't personally use for makeup removal, but only because I want it for the massage stage. I tend to loosen my make-up with a little Una Brennan pre-cleanse (for example) and then go in with this. For me, this is a second stage cleanser.
  • You cannot be lazy with this cleanser. If you don't remove properly with a washcloth/flannel you will have residue. There is no 'rinse away' with this. Any attempt to splash the face is met with the literal repelling of the water as it drips off your face. Excellent! 

How much is it?

£21.00 for 50g (same as 50ml).

This is a beautiful, 100% natural balm that leaves your skin smooth, soft, clean and smelling like a dream.

Highly recommended.

BALMOLOGY is available here.

* Purchase - a happy one at that. The Exotic Rose Beauty Oil is also divine - review coming.
   No affiliate link.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Cult Beauty Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Cult Beauty Giveaway is:

Julia Laidler

Thank you to everyone that entered and thank you Cult Beauty for your generosity.

Another appointment update

Firstly I want to apologise to those of you that are still waiting to hear from me.

I have over 200 people in my inbox that I have not yet responded to and it is really upsetting me to keep you waiting.

SO: I'm getting help (YAY!) - and I am not putting anymore dates live until each person has been contacted and offered an alternative appointment for later in the year. Basically I am giving those of you that haven't been contacted first dibs on the upcoming appointments.

Please accept my apologies - as with the online clinics, I appear to have underestimated the popularity of the appointments and was caught unawares. I will fix it and you will hear from me/us. Promise.

Thank you again for your support. I never take it for granted and appreciate each and every one of you that has contacted me. Will definitely be in touch!

P50. Going going gone.

Remember all the excitement when Liberty said they would be stocking P50? I know. Me too.

Liberty have just informed me that once their current stock has gone they will be getting no more in. The UK distributor will no longer sell the product into non-spa retail. Whether this is the brilliant idea of the distributor (so more people will have to buy directly from them thus earning them more money) or a direct order from Biologique Recherche themselves is unclear. 

As much as I would back any brand's right to sell wherever they want - it seems odd* to me that you would agree to retail, then renege on that once you realise how many thousands of pounds of sales you will gain if you keep it in-house. 

Not to worry, Pixi have tons of Glow Tonic in stock. 

*I say odd, I mean unethical.

David Kirsch Giveaway Winners


Way way way overdue. Apologies to those of you that entered the David Kirsch B12 spray giveaway months ago.

The winners chosen by David's office were:




Basia Biskupiak


Thank you to everyone who entered!

Winners please contact me via comments below or twitter!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Appointments update

Just a quick one for those of you waiting to hear from me. 

To say I have been slightly inundated and taken by surprise at the volume of the emails and queries I've received is an understatement.

I am roping in some help and am determined to get back to all of you as soon as physically possible. 

Thank you SO much for your patience and your support. You lovely people rock. I can't wait to meet you.


The Body Shop up their game. Camomile Cleansing Butter and Oil.

Last weekend I had my usual pre-September clear out and re-organised pretty much everything - including products for testing - which due to the school holidays had taken a back seat. No more! Back with a vengeance. 

These new cleansers from The Body Shop, whilst not perfect - are a step in the right direction.

First up: Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

This, for regular readers, is a dupe for Clinique TTDO Balm, which in turn is a dupe for something like Emma Hardie Moringa Balm. They all work, but the clues are in the ingredients.

There is no mineral oil in any of them, but there is a 'synthetic wax' in this version from the Body Shop - along with shea butter in an ethylhexyl palmitate* base making it a complete no-no for acne/combination skin. 
You could use it as a first cleanse if you were wearing really heavy makeup if you wanted to - but you would definitely need to go in with something more suitable for your skin as a second cleanse to make sure it was all off.
It should be ok for anyone with dry/really dry or sensitive skin though. 
  • takes makeup off effortlessly.
  • a little goes a long way
  • it says you can apply and then rinse off - I wouldn't dream of using something with this consistency without a facecloth - you're asking for trouble - even if you thoroughly tone afterwards
  • works out to £13.33 per 100ml, compared to Clinique £16.80 per 100ml, Emma Hardie £34.00 per 100ml and Eve Lom £55.00 per 100ml.

This is the nice surprise. I used this last night to remove makeup and again this morning to see how it performed on bare skin.
Top performing on both counts. 
  • removed mascara like it was a mere swipe of a pencil
  • no sticky residue
  • has a definite scent but it's not overpowering - and it doesn't (thank GOD) smell like camomile tea
  • once again they say rinse off- gag - get a flannel on your skin stat - these are oils - they are literally designed to leave residue - no matter how much they 'emulsify'.
  • left skin soft and smooth
  • £5.00 per 100ml (!!) compared with Shu Uemura £19.67 per 100ml
Both of these are great value, work well and recommended (used in the way I recommend - obvs).

As an aside:

I always get comments when I mention TBS - so I thought it was worth mentioning some things that always come up.
I often think The Body shop have set themselves up to disappoint some people by simply being ahead of their time. Anita Roddick was talking about Fair Trade, mineral oil (from the non-sustainable point of view) and animal testing almost from the brand's inception. 
The fact that L'Oreal are now the parent company has put off many who say that the brand can no longer be animal-friendly due to L'Oreal selling in China. I guess it's entirely up to you and your beliefs.
I say this: The Body Shop are still endorsed by Cruelty-Free International - and they know way more about these things than I do - I've seen them at work. They are hardcore. If they are happy, I'm happy.

Body Shop products are available on

*PR samples - but totally on the 'would purchase' list
*No affiliate links

*ethylhexyl palmitate is derived from palm oil - but everything I can find leads me to believe that TBS uses sustainable, responsibly-sourced palm oil sources

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Skin Consultation Appointments - NOW CLOSED

If you click over to the Appointments and Appearances page you'll see new dates added for September and the beginning of October.

Some FAQ's!
  • All appointments will be held in Notting Hill in W11. Further details will be given upon confirmation.
  • Appointments are £65.00 for approx 1 hour. This includes a follow-up email.
  • Appointment times are available at 10.30, 12.30, 2.30, 4.30 and 6.30pm. (there will be some exceptions to those times)
  • Appointments may be available outside of those times on those days - please email for further info.
  • Please allow 72 hours for us to come back to you.
  • All appointments will be given on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Waiting lists will be held for each particular day, offered in order of application.
  • If you want a one-off appointment outside of these dates please email for further details - these appointments will be priced at £75.00.

If you have any further Q's please leave them in the comments and I will add them to the post as I receive them - that way I am only answering once and saving us all time.

I'm looking forward to meeting you! :)

N.B. I've been offered the opportunity to hold these kind of days around the UK - please do let me know below if you would like a consultation and do not live in London!

Monday, 2 September 2013

That was Summer.....

Probably the best summer fragrance....

US shopping resulted in very few finds. Sorry girls! This one wasn't altogether heinous. 

The Promised Land

Real Techniques making an appearance in Grand Central - yes, I got stared at....

Fresh make-it-at-the-table guacamole 

Love New London Pharmacy in Chelsea

I love NYC.

Made this happy purchase....

C O Bigelow - bliss!

Lovely cleanser - unfortunately impossible to use - make a pump please!

Had the teeth whitened - and scared small children.

Tried to relax on hols. Tried.

Saved my face with Clarins....

And did the Perricone 3 Day Diet to kick-start healthier living after the summer excesses....
The face that says 'What? So I love ravioli - WHAT?'

Enjoying post-hols skin - while it lasted!

Beautiful new Jo Malone fragrance

A present from my brother. I love you too.

Assouline - my favourite bookstore.

The kids watching Nana put her make-up on... :)

Mum's 'regular' make-up. *eyebrow*

Stolen by Mum who was obsessed after one use.

My Mum is the only person I know that can grow grapes up North. 

Sorry I just had to. Source unknown - but I love it.

We said Happy Birthday to this chap....

We said Goodbye to Amica

We said Hello to a new addition in the family (she's not mine!)

And I went back to work - let the testing begin....

I hope you all had a wonderful Summer - I don't know about you but I'm looking forward to Autumn.