Friday, 29 August 2014

Clinic update

Hi Everyone.

I've answered as many as I can in the last couple of hours. Have to get back to my long work to-do list now so I have published the questions that I still have to answer and will try and get these done this evening.

Thank you to everyone that asked a question and I'm sorry if yours didn't get published this week. Hopefully you'll find some guidance from the answers published.

See you next week!

What would you like the topic to be?

Friday Lunchtime Clinic - Topic - Acne - CLOSED

The Clinic is live. CLOSED!!!

Please leave your question in the comments. The comments are moderated so there is no need to repeat your question if it hasn't shown up. I will leave the comments open until there are a large selection of differing questions and will let you know as soon as it is closed so that you don't waste your time. Just a reminder...
  • I will answer 25 (or more depending on time) questions
  • I will only publish questions that I am answering so they are easy to find and read 
  • PLEASE make sure you have read both the acne and spots cheat sheets. This will save time and may answer your question.
  • As always, brief questions will work better for these online circumstances - if you need a more intensive reply it might be better to wait for the skin consults to open again. (Soon)

Thanks everyone!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Friday Lunchtime Clinic - 12pm. Topic - Acne.

Hi Everyone!

Just a heads-up that I will be holding a Friday Clinic tomorrow at 12pm. The topic this week is Acne.

  • I will answer 25 (or more depending on time) questions
  • I will only publish questions that I am answering so they are easy to find and read 
  • PLEASE make sure you have read both the acne and spots cheat sheets. This will save time and may answer your question.
  • As always, brief questions will work better for these online circumstances - if you need a more intensive reply it might be better to wait for the skin consults to open again. (Soon)
See you tomorrow at 12pm! :)

My Little Paris comes to the UK *does the Can-can*

Last week I visited the offices of My Little Paris - in Paris. Obvs. Luckily for us they are launching in the UK in September so a few of us went over to meet the founders and spend the day with them. My Little Paris is so much more than your bog standard beauty box - enough already *yawns* - they are a website, newsletters, magazines - think Time Out with a Parisian beauty/fashion/lifestyle twist. 

The offices give the best impression of what to expect.....

Rufus. Can you imagine? This is what she looks like on an 'off-duty' day. Cow.

The boxes contain everything from sets of brushes to scarves, full size beauty products, sunglasses, purses - it literally changes every month. There are no teeny sachet samples of moisturisers or nail polishes in colours that didn't sell here.

That's the view. I know. I hate them too.

Literally the office of my dreams.

Different themes every month

I'm just gonna leave this here LOL

My Little Box launches officially in September. If I was their rival 'bog standard' beauty boxes I would be very, very worried.

You can sign up and see more information here:

* We were all guests of MLP for the day - this is not a sponsored post. Just sharing the love.

Monday, 25 August 2014

10 DAYS?!? or: 'The one where a migraine got in the way of everything how RUDE'

I can't believe it's 10 days since I blogged. WTH? If any of you are still out there I appreciate your unbelievable patience. *tumbleweed*

Basically, I blogged on the Friday, had the weekend, worked the Monday and Tuesday thinking 'Oh I'll do a nice blog post about Paris on Wednesday night.', went to bed Tuesday evening, couldn't sleep A WINK, got up at 5am having had zero sleep, went to Paris with Ruth, Anna, Lily and Hayley - more of which later this week and then woke up Thursday morning vomiting with the migraine from hell. No: really, really, the migraine from hell. That floored me all day Thursday which meant on Friday I barely had enough energy to catch up with vital work emails and spent the day recovering. It was so beyond vile and horrible that the thought of it literally hurts my head again and makes me nauseous.

Before the migraine from hell driving around in an open-top Citroen 2cv in Paris with Rufus (actually the best fun):

During and after my migraine:

Every silver lining etc... It did however, lead me to this blog post. Migraines. What triggers them? What are the signs? What helps them?

I'm not telling, I'm asking! After I surfaced with the migraine hangover so many of you related your stories that I thought we could have an open space and hopefully some of us can pick up tips along the way..I know everyone is different but there are always things to learn!

What I've learned from my migraines...

  • lack of sleep - killer for me. Really early starts - especially after little or no sleep. Nope. Can't do it.
  • traveling - especially across time zones. Ugh.
  • lack of water/dehydration
  • too many painkillers (the ones I take for my back - I'm not just randomly ingesting tablets!)
  • some alcohol
  • some foods

  • vomiting - literally. The last 2 I've had have started with me thinking I have food poisoning. This time it was actually the Mr who sussed out it was a migraine, not a bug. The vomiting happened first thing, the head really kicked in (literally) mid-afternoon. And it was horrific.
  • sometimes I get that low, 'heavy eyebrow' pain over one eye but the flashing/aura is something I haven't had in a long while
  • diarrhoea (sorry if TMI) - that's why I thought it was a bug
That's literally it for me. How pleasant. Chunder ahoy, ooh here comes another hammer to the head. 

What helps (me)
in the following order:
  • cans of coke
  • migraine meds from the doctor
  • darkness
  • no noise - my poor family tiptoe around like there's a sleeping baby in the house
  • and sometimes - dark chocolate, magnesium tablets and a banana
What are your triggers? What do you do as soon as you know it's coming? Do you get the hangover from hell without the fun of touching alcohol? *ggrrrrrr* Let me know. If this post helps one person get through a migraine a little quicker I'll be thrilled.

Thank you again for your patience - kids are back to school next week, Autumn is upon us and I am sitting at the computer again! YAY!

Friday, 15 August 2014

A word on comments

I've had to make comments sign-in only on here because the amount of spam at the moment is literally insane.

I have left it to 'open ID' rather than 'Google account only' to try and make it as easy as possible - I hope it doesn't put you off commenting - I love reading them, but there are only so many penile enlargement offers one can take.

Alpha-H TSV for QVC

Next Tuesday 19th August, Alpha-H have a new TSV launching on QVC.  It contains 3 full sizes of:

Micro Cleanse - 100ml
Liquid Gold - 100ml
Protection Plus Daily SPF50+ - 50ml

While I can't tell you the price, I can tell you that it is the lowest price TSV that Alpha-H have ever done for QVC.

Tune in Tuesday at Midnight for the launch. More on Alpha-H here.

Any excuse to put Mr Ogden on the blog! :)

The one where I fall in love with Lush

'WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE??' the most asked question when I tweeted that I was touring Lush's factories last week.

The answer is 'Actually, very subtle'. Not like the stores at all. The feedback I had when I mentioned Lush swung wildly between stalker-worthy-obsessive fans and 'Ooh GOD that smell I can't bear it.'

I was pretty much on the shelf between the two. I shop in Lush regularly because Ava is a total addict but had never really given their skincare a detailed, clear try until recently. Well, as with Tom Ford, I need to find another hat to eat because I fell a little (a lot) in love with Lush.

I was originally invited to the Poole HQ in order to host a Live UStream with Lush discussing preservatives. The timings were quite late so I stayed over. Knowing what a crazy stalker fan she was, Lush also invited Miss Hirons on the trip.
We had a blast.

The factories are all surrounded with facts about the company.
Literally like Willy Wonka's Factory :)

The team at the Kitchen where we both made products.
My facial tray before we went in.

The original store at 29 High St, Poole.

The Head Office is amazing. 

If you would like to watch the debate it is available here: The Great Preservatives Debate. It was really interesting and the time flew. There is also an unexpected mini-rant about mineral oil around 28:00 - not started by me for a change. :)

It was very refreshing to speak to company owners that walk the walk and frankly, don't BS. And as an aside, I have been in the industry a long time, worked with a lot of people and been to a lot of head offices and factories - the litmus test for me is in the people, not the marketing spiel that brands sometimes front their companies with. I have never, ever seen such happy people as I did during my visit to Poole. The factories, the head office, the shop, the spa, everyone has a genuine love of the company and the job they are doing. So rare and so, so noticeable.

Thank you for having us, it was completely inspiring and our absolute pleasure.

*I was obviously paid to host the UStream event - but this slushy blog post was not part of the deal. Just sharing the love.

Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream Ultra Rich - don't be put off by that name

First things first: I am not a fan of the original Pro Collagen Marine Cream. I know I'm in the minority but it did absolutely nothing for me. Nowt. Nada. If you love it and it's the best thing you've ever used, marvellous - crack on.

This however, is a completely different ball game. I mean completely different. I love it. I do however, think Elemis have somewhat possibly shot themselves in the foot by calling it 'Ultra Rich'. That puts thoughts into my head of something really, thick and gloopy and something that doesn't absorb. This is the exact opposite of that.
It absorbs brilliantly, gives great glow and makes your skin look amazing. I'd have stuck with something like 'Pro-Collagen Marine Cream - Advanced' but what do I know?

Digression over - back to the product.

Who is it for?
Well it's aimed at people who have always used PCMC and who may now need something richer as their skin has aged. That makes perfect sense but I would say it's perfect for anyone with normal to dry skin OR someone with problematic skin for use maybe overnight to counteract dehydration.

What's in it?
Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Polyacrylate-13, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Stearic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Lauryl Laurate, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Polyisobutene, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Potassium Sorbate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Citric Acid, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Tocopherol, Chlorella Vulgaris Extract, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 20, Sorbitan Isostearate, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Extract, Acacia Decurrens (Mimosa) Flower Extract, Porphyridium Cruentum Extract, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Citronellol, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Cuminum Cyminum Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal. 

What's good about it?
The genius in this formulation is that Elemis haven't gone for the bog standard shea butter to give the 'richness'. The base oil is jojoba - the easiest for all skin types to absorb. The next oil is sunflower - cocoa butter doesn't make its appearance until way down the inci list. Good news for absorption rates and people prone to breakouts but still in need of something nourishing.

What's not so good about it?
The name has the potential to put off a large demographic and that is unfortunate because this would be fine for 80% of them.
It's £80.00 for 50ml. Not cheap but equally aimed at an age group that will spend that on their face before they spend it on a handbag. *waves* (If you would rather spend it on a handbag you crack on, it's your face love)

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream Ultra Rich (Advanced) :) - is £80.00 and available now - more information on the product can be found on

Bloody lovely.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The best Summer Fragrances part 24651 - Aerin Gardenia Rattan

Back at the end of July I was invited to a breakfast with Aerin Lauder. The PR very foolishly bravely kindly sat me next to her - and she was a delight. Completely normal, not stuffy and we discussed amongst other things, the joys of raising boys. Best we leave that conversation there.

The breakfast was to showcase the upcoming launch of both her new fragrances and the *wait for it* body creams to match. My favourite, Gardenia Rattan - I'm nothing if not predictable - now has an accompanying body cream and it is insane. Insane.

A body cream is always a more affordable way of enjoying fragrance if you are watching the pennies. They are nearly always much, much cheaper. This is £40.00 for a whopping 150ml. And if you only ever use it on your upper limbs and decollete as I do it will last you years. 

There are also two new fragrances joining the stable at the same time as the body creams.

Waterlily Sun and Iris Meadow bring the total collection to 7 and launch at the beginning of October in Aerin stockists nationwide.

More details can be found here - - do yourself a favour, don't look at the website if you have things to do. You'll be there for hours.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Civil Wars made it Official

Source Allister Ann 
A few years ago I posted about my obsession with TheCivil Wars. The duo that are now, no longer. They've been on 'hiatus' since their gig at The Roundhouse on 6th November last year and last week they announced that it's a permanent thing.

If you haven't heard any of their music do yourself a favour. Go check them out. I'll be the one in the corner playing them on a loop for the next 10 years until they decide to do a comeback tour.

For ridiculous synchronicity - watch how they fade out on this performance on Letterman. *sigh*

I miss them already.

The Vegan Kind

There are a lot - a LOT of monthly subscription boxes around at the moment. The one that I am always the most excited to receive is the one from The Vegan Kind. Now I am not vegan - I was vegetarian for a long time in my late teens (until pregnancy cravings got the better of me) and have leaned that way again recently, but no, I'm not vegan. 

This box however, is a joy for anyone with leanings toward a healthier lifestyle. Launched in November of last year, TVK are about to send out their 10th box and are growing rapidly.

The brainchild of Karris Mcculloch, a long term vegetarian who turned vegan after seeing horrifying video footage of the dairy industry (I've done the same recently, you will think twice about dairy and at the very least, go organic - I guarantee it).
As with a lot of the best business ideas, something stemming from genuine passion has flourished into a great success story.

If you're interested in signing up for The Vegan Kind, you can do so via the links below. They've introduced me to the best chocolate bar I've ever tasted and unlike a lot of the boxes around at the moment, this one has a real point of difference and I get genuinely excited when it arrives.

The boxes are £10.00 plus shipping. A steal.

I know it sounds like it - but I have absolutely no relationship with TVK. And this is not a sponsored post LOL.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

JustBe Cleansed Cleansing Balm

This review is shamefully overdue inasmuch as I have had the cleanser for a while and for some stoopid reason hadn't picked it up. Remedied!

JustBe is a brand from Scotland developed by Aromatherapist Gail Brydon and includes everything from cleansers to toners *dances jig* to body cushions for aching parts (bums in my case) and: WAITFORIT - CANDLES. There are even spa treatments. *books next flight to Edinburgh*

The cleansing balm easily and effortless removes all of my makeup and leaves no residue. Eye makeup is no problem. I've been double cleansing with this if I have a face full of makeup (obvs), but I would happily use this for both my morning cleanse and evening 'skin' cleanse. A little goes a long way.

Coconut Oil, Coconut Solid, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Coco Glucoside, Vitamin E, Geranium Oil and Petitgrain Oil

Suitable for all skin types and the essential oils are not in at a ridiculously high strength so you should be fine if you have sensitivities. The smell is extremely subtle.

This is one of the nicest cleansing balms I have ever used. I know you know how many cleansing balms I have used in my lifetime. It's that good. And it's not too expensive. It's 30 pounds* for 60ml. It comes with a muslin cloth but let's pass over that. :)

Highly recommended.

*my keyboard has stopped letting me use the pound sign. I am 2 steps away from throwing it out the window.

Lush Great Preservatives Debate

I'm heading off to Poole tomorrow to the Land of Lush Cosmetics. I'm taking my mini-me (Ava) for what looks to be a fun couple of days. Tomorrow evening at 6.30pm I'm hosting a debate about Preservatives with Mark Constantine, Helen Ambrosen and Jack Constantine. 
Are you worried about preservatives in your products?
Do you care about parabens? Or are you really not concerned?

Join us on Lush's live stream channel here: UStream/LushTV 

For more information on the debate and how to join in have a read here: Great Preservatives Debate

Hope to hear your questions tomorrow!