Monday, 5 December 2011

BEST of the Christmas gift sets!

Well it's now December, so about time for the round-up of the very most tempting beauty gift ideas...

As always beauty enthusiasts are spoilt for choice. The best thing is, often these limited edition sets offer great value and mean you can try a range of products in one fell swoop.

I have recently reviewed one of Bare Escentuals' holiday sets, Brush With Fame brush set (£39.) It comes in a spectacular gold bag, with 5 short handled gold brushes: Full Coverage Kabuki Brush, Buffing Eye Brush, Long Tapered Crease Defining Brush, Soft Focus Tapered Liner Brush, and Soft Sweep Cheek Brush. They have two other sets: a £14 set, Flawless and Fearless, which contains a mini Flawless mascara and a mini Pretty Amazing Lip colour -

And, the best set ever, for £49, you get 9 pieces... And Away We Glow is next on my hitlist and I'll be picking it up this week for just under £40 thanks to the Fenwicks/Daily Telegraph evening. It has, Prime Time Primer Shadow in Dove Gray (a perfect taupe shade); Eyecolor in a shimmering moonlight sparkle shade (highlight shade for eyes); New "Round the Clock™ Waterproof Eyeliner in Midnight smoothes on creamy waterproof, long-wearing color loaded with antioxidant vitamin E for a sleek, stay-put line in the perfect midnight black shade"; Turn On Multi-Tasking Highlighter (amazing face highlighter!) "adds a touch of brightness and definition to cheeks, eyes and lips"; New Luxury Blusher "adds a pop of warm coral color to cheeks"; Flawless Definition Mascara in black; New Pretty Amazing™ Lipgloss in Flair (a lovely peachy nude.) And, a Wet/Dry Shadow Brush and Contour Blush Brush.

Murad have some excellent gift sets out called 'Celebrate You!' which offer a great way to save. My favourite is the Embrace Balance, £39.50 (worth £78.50) - this is pink and silver and contains: Energizing Pomegranate Cleanser 50ml, T Zone PoreRefining Gel 60ml (full size), Energizing Pomegranate Moisturiser SPF 15 30ml,Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask 2x 7.5ml.

There's also Get Glowing, £49.50 (worth £84) - this is green and silver and contains: Renewing Cleansing Cream 45ml, Age Diffusing Serum30ml (full size), Sheer Lustre Day Moisture SPF 15 7.5ml, Hydro DynamicUltimate Moisture 7.5ml.

Finally, Renew Radiance, £59.50 (worth £133) - this is orange and silver and contains: Essential-C Cleanser 45ml, Active Radiance Serum 30ml,Essential-C Day Moisture SPF 30 21ml, Hydro Dynamic Ultimate Moisture 7.5ml.

Origins have various skincare gift sets too, but most tempting is this Harrods exclusive Ginger Essence fragrance. It has been given some extra sparkle this year – the bottle is adorned with a mini crystal Christmas Tree Charm made with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. "Exclusive to Harrods this limited edition bottle makes the perfect stocking filler for a loved one or friend. The Christmas Tree Charm is made with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS – the finest crystal elements manufactured by Swarovski and has been designed in an array of festive colours – Red, Green and Gold." This scent sounds fantastic and certainly looks the part. With top notes including Bergamot, Lemon, Lime, Orange and Grapefruit, middle notes including Ginger, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Clove Bud and Coriander and floral notes of Violet Leaves and Jasmine including Vanilla, Amber and Sandalwood, this sounds ideal for wearing on a cold Christmas Day. £39 for 100ml.

Next up, probably the most innovative and beautiful of all - trust Jo Malone if you need a gift to make a great impression. I recently received the famous Pomegranate Noir candle... it lives up to the hype!

I have often thought Jo Malone looks oddly intellectual, almost like legal briefs - but that is exactly what makes it so ideal to give to your most sober friend or relative. Having said that. Jo Malone has unveiled an unexpected frivolous side with this brilliant Christmas Cracker (£28) which contains a mini Grapefruit Cologne 9ml, a Lime Basil & Mandarin Body & Hand Wash 15ml and a Pomegranate Noir Body Crème 15ml.

Another great fail-safe choice is the Cologne Collection which contains Grapefruit Cologne, Pomegranate Noir Cologne, Wild Bluebell Cologne, Red Roses Cologne, Vanilla & Anise Cologne (9ml each) £62. These sets also break away from the cream theme by featuring a festive red background.

There's also a Travel candle collection (Pomegranate Noir Travel Candle, Roasted Chestnut Travel Candle, Pine & Eucalyptus Travel Candle, 60g each, £60); a pampering collection (Red Roses Bath Oil 30ml, Pomegranate Noir Scatter Candle 30g, English Pear & Freesia Body Crème 15ml. £38), or the popular Roasted Chestnut candle (400g, £80) - and even a 2.5kg Pine and Eucalyptus candle, £260. Jo Malone candles burn very evenly and really do scent a home - it might be a wise investment!? To check out all the products see this link or check out your local Jo Malone counter.

Another perfume which is worth checking out is Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude. I reviewed it here, but now there is a new Body Veil too. If you visit your local Estee Lauder counter, you can sample the scent via a ver innovative Sensuous Nude Tattoo! Simply press it on to release the scent. The perfume is £34 (30ml) and the Body Veil is £31 (200ml.) You simply peel it off to real a charming heart shape. An excellent idea and a lot more fun than a spritz, right?

MAC have their usual Holiday Sets but I am more taken by the Gareth Pugh collection. The packaging looks so modern and confident, yet still very sleek as opposed to brash. The eyelashes in the collection would be a perfect gift for a confident makeup fan. But otherwise, anything from the range is sure to hit the right note.

I will be keeping a keen eye out for any other Christmas treats, do share below if you have seen any...!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Origins Plantscription Anti-aging eye treatment: REVIEW!

I have been using this since it launched and I must say, it actually seems to be working! I had noticed with some alarm that my crow's feet were getting somewhat visible. Although I do not yet suffer from deep ingrained wrinkles, I did not like seeing the fine lines. I began to religiously apply this morning and night, and I now feel my skin is softer and the lines have plumped out to be vitually invisble. It costs £35 for 15ml so it is more than I would like to spend, but like their witches remedy/dragon tears marvel that is the tiny Spot Remover (have included it in my still accurate HG list here) I feel like now I will be relying on it. The only single reservation I would have is that I'd prefer a squeeze tube, but that is mainly down to the fear that with time and air exposure it might lose its potency...

After using it over a month now, this is what remains:


Origins have tested Plantscription Anti-aging eye treatment and claim in 8 weeks, people see clear results -

87% of panelists saw a reduction in the appearance of lines and wrinkles

83% of panelists saw an improvement in the appearance of firmness

83% of panelists saw a reduction in the appearance of under eye cross hatching

83% of panelists saw a reduction in the appearance of under eye troughs

It is formulated with Anogeissus Tree Bark as well as Kombucha (fermented Black Tea) and helps repair the appearance of lines and wrinkles, crepey lids, under eye cross hatching and saggy eye area skin while offering strong collagen-boosting benefits. This potent combination of ingredients helps restore elasticity to the age-hollowed, eye area for more youthful, looking skin.

Kombucha (fermented black tea)

Helps repair the appearance of saggy lids and cross hatching in skin around eye area.


Helps improve skin tone.


Potent anti-irritant that helps reduce the appearance of dark circles.



Mandarin Orange, with its high Vitamin C content, is native to southeast Asia and the Philippines. It is thought to have descended from oranges that grew in northeast India 3,000 years ago.

Star Anise

Known for its antioxidant benefits, Star Anise is grown almost exclusively in Asia. This star shaped fruit is harvested before ripening, then dried and used as a spice.

Pink Rose

Ancient Romans discovered Pink Rose’s ability to help soothe and calm skin; today it is proven as a topical anti-irritant. It takes approximately 60,000 petals to produce one ounce of its precious oil.


Lavender’s use has been documented for over 2,500 years as an herb known for its soothing, relaxing qualities and for being a potent anti-irritant.


Native to Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, Geranium oil is known to have anti-irritant properties.

This is packed full of ingredients, I had no idea how complex it was. What I like about it is it is very light and cooling, and I actually feel a tangible 'tightening' as it sets on my skin. Although I didn't take an official 'before' picture, this recent shot from my Illamasqua review made me pause. And here is the current, I think smoothed and softened, 'nude' shot:

...What do you think?

Origins Plantscription Anti aging eye treatment is available from all Origins counters or online at (£35 for 15ml.)

GlossyBox: REVIEW!

When I was very young, I remember I was subscribed to a monthly 'Tinkerbell' package; each package would be filled with delightful trinkets and always had a special letter, once it was written backwards and had to be read in the mirror. I loved those, and would hurry downstairs eager to seize my package. "When you grow up you'll dread the post," my father predicted, "It'll all be bills and Inland Revenue." When my subscription was cancelled he consoled me, "It's two fat men behind a desk."

Well, who knew that all these years later, the same thrill could be re-ignited! Imagine, your doorstep is host to a pile of bills... and then THIS:

I was very kindly sent the October and November GlossyBoxes and the very best thing about these is the immaculate presentation - it instantly brightens up your day. The concept is simple, each month you receive 5 samples, enough to try out a product and decide if you'll invest in the full size. Some months (you can check the archive here) feature amazing full size products, other months are heavily dominated by one brand (e.g my October box had 3 out of 5 products Dermalogica samples) but the general idea is that you are paying £12.95 a month for a surprise selection of 5 novel treats. The October box had a bonus 6th item to celebrate 6 months of GlossyBox but sadly this didn't mean they'd add one every month indefinitely! I am confident that in any given month, you will always get your £12.95 value back - and some months hopefully you will get a spectacular windfall. The boxes are sent Tracked, but you don't need to be in to sign for them, so the idea is that it'll be there waiting for you.

So, let's have a look at my October GlossyBox,

And now the November GlossyBox,

The Arbonne FC5 hand cream (£19 for the full size) is incredible stuff. That is a good example of a product I would never have even looked at, because I use any old hand cream and £19 is precious makeup money. But now I must buy it. And there's the rub... (so to speak) these GlossyBoxes, for us makeup and beauty addicts, are DANGEROUS! I also loved the Dermalogica lip complex (the extra product in October GlossyBox) but it's £22.50 for 1.75ml?! So, if I were to hestitate on my own personal subscription, it would be for fear that if I invite all this temptation into my life, it would be inevitable that I succumb. Of course this is where the brands' advantage lies, this is afterall a fantastic marketing strategy. I am sure that is no secret. In fact it's peculiar no one thought of it before - it seems to be taking off now though! The boxes each come with a card detailing your samples, and if you use your phone app it will take you to the brand website. I would suggest that it would be brilliant if these linked up directly to the product, and if there could always be a little discount to make it all the more appealing. There are often some products with a discount (the fantastic Dead Sea Magik Bath Salts is currently on offer with a code for 25% off, there's 15% off Nail Rock Wraps with a code, and 20% off Philip Kingsley with a code) but ideally it would be the standard and part of the incentive to sign up.

But these are minor gripes and all in all I would confidently recommend GlossyBox. I think it should be marketed to husbands as a painless way to get their wives to remember to treat themselves - you know the women who are so flustered that they have forgotten what it feels like to pamper themselves... I think it is a very good gift idea. Talking of husbands and men in general, GlossyBox for Men has just launched this month. It will be quarterly (i.e every 3 months) and will include 7 samples. With metrosexuals now the standard, I think this is a genius idea.

There are various ways to earn points, GlossyDots, once you are a subscriber - e.g, writing reviews or referring a friend. For every friend you refer you'll be awarded 200 GlossyDots, which go towards your 1000 needed to earn yourself a free GlossyBox.

There are subscription bundles available for 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months. As a Christmas present, it would be a very nice idea to perk up someone's day every month like that. Check out the GlossyBox website, YouTube, Twitter and blog for all the gloss. (squirm, did I really make that pun.)

...Let me know if you have tried GlossyBox?

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Ugly bite of truth

I once mused about Keats' poem which ends, 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty...' I don't know why, but it has always been so perplexing to me, what he meant. In my post I argued perhaps it was the transparency of truth which was beautiful. Or the mastery we feel by the orderliness of knowing what is what and all is in its place. I am old enough to remember the very first series of Big Brother. I hadn't watched a single episode, but for some reason I caught the very last moments of the final. It was Craig (I think? erm, the one who pledged to give it all away to a sick child, anyway.) Watching the moment a 'nobody' becomes a 'somebody' - the 'nobody' cocooned inside a house like a mole, then with a bolt, emerging to a deafening applause; tears, money, fame - who could fail to be moved? Of course as this was the very first series and Big Brother was an unknown concept, this was a genuine evolution which one might argue has been lost since. Reality TV has now become a fixture on our TV schedules, and it is this sense of going on a journey with our protagonist which gives such joy. However, albeit that this concept has long been uncovered and subsequently manipulated, don't let the audience know that! The anger at being duped and taken advantage of is unparalleled, and the very opposite of "truth, beauty."

I wanted to touch on two programmes in the light of this: 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians', and 'The Only Way is Essex'. Both place great store in glamour and offset this with the license which gives them carte blanche: a close family and friends consciousness. I have only caught the odd episode of Keeping Up... but I get the impression that if you've seen one, you've seen them all. The pattern seems to be, some minor disaster (invariably relating to looks or object) followed by making up and realising family comes first (as long as said car/ dress/ hair/ event has been restored in the interim.) The Only Way... is more lighthearted - in that for legal reasons, the introduction clarifies, 'Some scenes have been set up purely for your entertainment.' It subsequently amounts to little more than a badly-acted soap at times, but that is its charm. The appeal of these programmes is to watch as 'nobodies', representing us the everyman, transform and develop into famous 'characters'. But with a meritocracy, the bad side is all the more bitter. At least in a caste system one knows one's place and can blame fate; in a meritocracy, jealousy becomes uncontrollable and failing becomes personal. Hence reality TV will always fall in harm's way.

Recently two of the characters from The Only Way... were attacked. The attack happened in the middle of a season, therefore the attackers became a part of the plot. The characters were featured nursing their wounds, and showed their battered backs to magazines, shared their experience in interviews, and went on to hire minders for future outings. Thus the attackers by proxy were able to indulge in some infamy for themselves.

And Keeping Up... has now been unmasked as a potentially very cynical business. Perez Hilton, the ultimate blogger, tweeted that as a gay man the fact that the sanctity of marriage was so callously thrown aside, was an insult to those who were banned from marriage. Kim Kardashian's 72 day marriage, which obviously represented a huge episode and driving theme for many other episodes, looked like nothing more than a charade. Fans who had wept (yes apparently) to think of their Kim finding her prince (yes really) felt violated. The emotions invested were scattered and the 'cast' have now found themselves defending the reality of their reality show. As this article explains, "People can deal with the wedding being over the top, but to do that and get divorced 72 days later, that is hard to swallow in this economy. When people are struggling to pay bills and rent, it doesn't make average people feel much compassion."

In summary, is this a variation of schadenfreude? You can look beautiful and go to great parties, as long as I can have a hand in ripping you down just at the point when you feel invincible. For reputation, even in this media-controlled age, as the Leveson Inquiry is proving, is sacred. The media wield so much power, and every 'reality' TV 'character', even a subject from the news already suffering untold sorrow, is enslaved by it. Reputation cannot easily be bought, and once lost it is impossible to ever fully restore. As the quote goes, "O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial." However, in an age where making a sex-tape is the starting point from which your fame springs, does the quality of your fame/ notoriety matter at all? "I thought you had received some bodily wound; there is more offence in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving: you have lost no reputation at all..."

The Happy Birthday that would have been...

It's always tremendously sad when a 'lost' birthday comes around. Today would have been Sophie Lancaster's 25th Birthday. I have already blogged about this horrible attack. I applaud Illamasqua's attachment to the cause, and the ironic belligerence of their message: "Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere" (S.O.P.H.I.E) will be a never-ending project, but with enough awareness perhaps it just might work. Find out more about Illamasqua's involvement by watching this film.

You can also win a selection of Sophie-inspired pieces, which if she had still even been in her goth phase, she would have surely loved! You'll get the S.OP.H.I.E black pencil, Pure Pigment in Zeitgeist, Intense Lipgoss in Repulse, Nail Varnish in Unnatural, False Eye Lashes in no. 21, and the S.O.P.H.I.E Wristband (as pictured above.) Click here to enter. Winner will be announced on 28th November.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Murad Hybrids Makeup: Review and Swatches

Murad, one of my favourite skincare lines, has finally now branched into makeup. Starting with primers and undereye concealers, Jeff Murad assured me at a recent launch event that next in the works will be a melanin activating bronzer, various blushers, an acne/oil controlling tinted primer, and a fully developed makeup line.

I have been testing the two available primers for months now so here is my review. The main reason it took so long is that I like to test skincare for longer, just to be sure. These 'Skin Perfecting Primers' currently come in two variations, 'Dewy' finish or ''Matte' finish. They retail at £27 (30ml) and here are some of the claims:
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores while balancing oil production
  • Adaptive Shade Technology creates a perfect skin tone match
  • Improves skin grain by tightening dilated pores
  • Soothes and reduces inflammation
  • Protects against UV induced free radicals to preserve and improve skin elasticity, firmness and tone.

I would agree, shockingly, with the promise that one shade fits all. At the launch event, it really did seem to work on every skin tone. The coverage is sheer and not designed to be buildable; however if you have virtually flawless skin, this will very visibly even out your skintone (but not conceal any major darkness or redness.) I had the feeling the Matte was fractionally darker and more neutral toned than the possibly lighter and warmer toned Dewy, but perhaps that is due to it being somewhat more dense. I tried one on each side of my face and they both blended in without trace. Both are pleasantly lightweight and very easy to apply. They also lent my face a luminosity.

Sadly I found neither could cope with my natural 'shine.' It did not extend the wear of my foundation, however it did work brilliantly underneath mineral loose foundations to make them adhere better to the skin. With my normal liquid foundations (I'm currently using Youngblood liquid mineral foundation) it did not change the wear, although it did sometimes mean I used less foundation. I am looking forward to the 'Acne and Shine Control' version, as I feel that would probably worst best with my oily skin and benefit me far more. Incidentally, both the Matte and the Dewy versions are oil free, so I had no problems with either, and they blend effortlessly into the skin. Here they are just prior to blending:

above: Matte

above: Dewy

above: L-R Matte, Dewy, Eye Lift Perfector, Eye Lift Illuminator

as above, spread

as above, the dry-down

The other two products are for under eyes. Firstly, the Eye Lift Perfector. (£25) This is the more concealing of the two, but it is very lightweight. The tips on these are anti-bacterial and are soft rubberised feel. They are clearly designed with sensitive eyes in mind. You twist to release product, so be careful not to turn it more than needed.

The claims on this are:

  • Increase skin firmness by 50% in 15 minutes
  • Minimize the appearance of dark circles

I did find this very comforting first thing in the morning, and refreshing. But, it does not offer enough coverage, so I have had to use it as a layering product. I think for young skin or those who prefer natural looking makeup this will be ideal but for anyone past their teens seeking true coverage this will need to be used more as skincare than as makeup (at least for me.) I am hoping in time it might help lessen my dark shadows so I'll keep you posted...

The final makeup product I have been using is the Eye Lift Illuminator. (£25) This is a very subtle and sheer lilac which I was advised is best used on the outer portion of the eye to lift it and act as a highlighter. Again, this promises to increase skin firmness by 50% in 15 minutes. I have been using it as a highlighter and it's extremely comforting to use in the morning, very cool on the skin and it does give some energy back to my eyes, however I noticed this product does not like to be mixed with any other makeup - as soon as I put my foundation on top, it began flaking. Again, possibly this is best for those who wear less makeup than I do, and prefer a more imperceptible lift.

I am so pleased that one of the most reliable skincare brands are branching into makeup, I always like the thought that my makeup is actively helping my skin. I will continue to incorporate these products into my routine, and especially if they can come up with one with serious shine control!

I have also tested a sample of their new moisturiser, Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, £59, (50ml) - "the most hydrating moisturiser Murad has ever offered."

It promises,

  • Ultra-concentrated, silky moisturizing cream offers immediate and long lasting hydration providing positively radiant skin
  • Avocado, Sunflower and Olive Fruit Oils enhance skin’s ability to retain maximum levels of hydration
  • Retinyl Palmitate and Shea Butter improve texture and while restoring natural smoothness and softness
  • Collagen Support Complex boosts skin’s resilience and plumps dehydrated skin
  • Locks in moisture for 8 hours

Of course, this was far richer than my usual moisturiser, but I used it at night. Despite its oil content I did not feel it was greasy, and actually I rather liked it used very sparingly. I will continue to use this, although I suspect that sadly it will not replace my very favourite, Active Radiance Serum. (£95)

I must finally thank Murad for such a fantastic event, I was treated to a glycolic peel which made my skin instantly a thousand times better! Dr Murad and his son Jeff are wonderful and the brand is one that has truly been crafted from a real knowledge of how skin responds to treatment. If you have never tried Murad I suggest you start with a cleanser, you'll soon be hooked. (My current favourite is the Essential- C Cleanser.)

Murad products are available from Harrods and leading salons and spas nationwide including the May Fair Hotel Spa. For stockists call 0844 472 7050 or visit

The last taboo?

It is so hard to shock nowadays... Sexual product names? yawn. Swear words or anagrams? Not amusing even the first time, double yawn. S&M? So commercial! Androgny? Well now we've finally had male to female, that's exhausted. Drug use? Yes, it'll get the ad banned, but so 90s. Wait - what's this, pedophilia?

The new Marc Jacobs fragrance, 'Oh, Lola!' apparently takes its cue from his own so creative use of a perfume bottle as codpiece. But here it is 17 year old Dakota Fanning, prizing the tall bottle between her dress. Subtlety is a wasted art to Marc Jacobs it seems.

What did you think, should the ad have been banned or is 17 too old to be considered a 'child'? What is the last taboo? Would an ad campaign actually make you boycott the product if you disagreed on moral grounds?

Evelyn Lauder : August 12, 1936 – November 12, 2011

Evelyn Lauder has died, aged 75, from complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer.

Despite having been such a staunch and visible advocate of Breast Cancer Awareness, Evelyn Lauder never referred to the fact that she herself had been a cancer survivor, surviving both early-stage breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It was not until an interview in 2009 with WWD that she even acknowledged any association at all, and even then she discounted her case as merely “a scare.” At the recent Breast Cancer Awareness event I went to, we were told that Evelyn Lauder's classic response, when asked by journalists whether she had a personal link to the disease, was: ' What difference would it make if I had?'

The Estee Lauder brand, despite being a huge orchestrated body of various other household names, still retained its family heritage and human face thanks to Evelyn Lauder's regular personal appearances with Elizabeth Hurley, and her eponymous BCA lipstick editions. At the October event, we were also told that at its inception, the very idea of mentioning the word 'breast' so openly was anathema. The pink ribbon was largely Evelyn Lauder's creation, and is now instantly recognised as a symbol of breast cancer.

Her belief that one day breast cancer would be eliminated, or at least managed, fuelled her passion to raise awareness. She also opened a breast cancer centre,

“I wanted to have the mall of medicine,” Lauder told WWD as the Center was opening in October 2009. “I wanted everything under one roof. I was on the board at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and at the time, the doctor who was in charge of the hospital said they were building a breast center. And I said, ‘Oh, this is fabulous. What are you going to have in the breast center?’ So he said, ‘We’re going to have oncology and we’re going to have mammography. I said, ‘Is that it?’ He says, ‘Well, what else do you want?’ And I said, ‘Well, I would want physical therapy, psychological counseling, an education center so that we could pick up information in either leaflets or online, nutritional counseling, a pharmacy so you don’t have to go running around the city to get everything, a boutique that might sell all the needs of a woman while she’s waiting for reconstruction to get the right bra and do whatever is necessary — bathing suits, you know?’” The 150,000-square-foot facility is a bricks-and-mortar testament to her vision.

It is arguable that Evelyn Lauder was the first to get a deep-rooted partnership between the beauty industry, and charity; the very idea that by treating yourself to luxury you can simultaneously give money and publicity to an important cause. And it never seemed to have any ulterior motive, any hint of scoring points, or of marketing acumen - though of course, Evelyn Lauder had plenty of that - she launched many now ubiquitous perfumes, handpicked brand ambassadors and scouted out Bumble & Bumble. Her legacy is undeniable, and I feel so sad at her passing. This article gives an intimate view of the person behind the brand, and is very much worth a read.

Friday, 21 October 2011

John Carne Knightsbridge1st Anniversary Drinks evening - You're invited!

Do you remember my fabulous hair makeover?

The John Carne hair boutique in Knightsbridge are now celebrating their One Year anniversary. Congratulations!

This Wednesday 26th, from 6pm they'll be holding a drinks and canapes evening - so if you are in the area, please come along! (I am definitely going to try and make it if I can.)

Ellie and Sean are so adorable and really know their art. If you get an appointment you'll get the full luxury treatment guaranteed.

How to prove your concealer is the best...

Yes Kat Von D thought of it first, but Zombie Boy's conceptual tattoo really has become his very identity. Dermablend have shot a promotional video which seems to literally erase everything. It almost looks too convincing; a makeup remover - let alone the makeup itself - that wipes off in one go like that?! But apparently it's true.

This is a great advert, it certainly makes me want to try Dermablend again. I tried the concealer years ago but don't remember what I thought. (The fact I never re-bought it seems to hint I found some fault; nevertheless, this demo makes me want to give it a second chance pronto.) Poor Rick Genest, it looks like a very uncomfortable makeover/ makeunder. He did a great job and I think his natural charisma helps any brand.

Dermablend's rather hackneyed "Go beyond the cover / How do you judge a book?" tagline doesn't really break new ground, and seeing Zombie Boy's little scrawny physique undermines his awesome image, just a tad... But, I still say this is a Great Advert.

What is the best way to prove a concealer's performance? I suppose covering a tattoo is more palatable than a graphic demo of covering up acne scars and port wine stains...? Does it convince you, or would you rather see genuine skin complaints erased?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Illamasqua Debut Fragrance sounds interesting....

"I am bottled Midnight," promises the advert.

The bottle sits on its side and has a sweet silver snail perched on top. There are lots of octopuses in the Alex Box artwork. It's a unisex fragrance (these are usually my fave) and it's an EDP! It's £59 for 75ml. Out from 20th October in time for Halloween, it's already available to pre-order online. To celebrate the imminent launch, you could win tickets to the Masked Halloween Ball organised by The Last Tuesday Society which is now sold out! It looks so much fun, I'm jealous. You get 2 tickets, £200 spending money, and a dance lesson on the night! To enter this competition and be in with a chance of winning a place on the guestlist to the decadent party, simply visit

But HURRY! Competition closes online at 11.59pm GMT Wednesday 19th October 2011. Winner to be drawn at random and notified on Thursday 20th October 2011. This competition is open internationally.

TOP NOTES: Black Davana, Opium Flower and Belladonna bewitch the senses into uncontrollable lust and passion.

HEART NOTES: Poison Hemlock, Datura and Queen of the Night blossom, caress and kiss.

BASE NOTES: Aromas of Frankincense, Oud and Myrrh, addictively mesmerises and captures the senses.

Flitting playfully from floral to a woody balsamic, the rich and exotic opening notes of Black Davana casts a magical spell of desire across the senses. This compelling burnt orange bloom base is highly prized the world over for its ability to enhance the wearer's natural perfume. The subtle mustiness of Poison Hemlock haunts the background tone of Freak, adding alluring depths of mystery. Datura, the Moonflower, an intoxicating scent that has long been used as a heady aphrodisiac. The exquisitely rare Queen of the Night blooms fleetingly for a single night each year, and completes this daringly provocative concoction with its warm, soft floral scent touched with sweetness.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Great new haircare finds! (For mangled highlighted hair)

I have been experiencing the novelty of smooth, shiny hair... And in addition to my treasured Schwarzkopf BC Silver shampoo and the divine smelling Seah Blossom Wrap Conditioning Lotion, I think I've found another couple of wonder products. One is a professional product and comes in neat capsules that dare I say looks appetising?!

Firstly, those capsules:

This is a new haircare range by Indola, called Innova and these are the Repair Capsules. The range pitches itself as 'Think Smart. Think Indola' and aims for the young, trendy and discerning. You get 30 capsules, 1ml each. [£10.99] I used 1 capsule on my short hair - so thick or long hair might need more than one. As soon as I put it in (damp hair) it became instantly manageable. Blow drying it straight was a breeze. I love Clynol Look At Me Centre Stage Smoothing Styling Cream for that purpose - but these capsules are a rich, intense version for me right now. Top marks. I adore them and especially enjoy twisting their little tails off to release the oil!

Next is the much-advertised L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 60 Second Saviour [£4.99, 200ml.] I was skeptical, having confined myself to exclusively salon-grade ranges. But I must say, from the very first use, it works. It seems to really nourish my hair, and for the low price point, this is a solid buy for anyone. And it really does work within 60 seconds!

Now my other Indola Innova recommendations are the Non Aerosol Spray [£7.70 for 300ml] which is part of their 'Finish' range. The collection is divided and colour coded accordingly. There's 'Colour', 'Repair', 'Hydrate', 'Specialists', 'Setting', 'Texture', and 'Finish.'

I like this because it delivers a good hold without harming the environment! For some reason I feel inordinately guilty about using aerosol spray cans! And now I can heartily recommend you switch too. It still smells reassuringly like hairspray and although it squirts out the product, it dries instantly and never gave me a heavy or lacklustre result. My favourite is still the Clynol Look at Me Delicious Boosting Hairspray, but I am going to try and just use this one now!

And, from the 'Setting' range I decided to try the Thermal Protector

[£7.70 for 300ml]

I always blowdry my hair with my divine most treasured possession (the hallowed Parlux 3200) and thought it might be wise to protect my hair for once. This contains moisturising silk extracts and wheat protein, and hopefully it did help...

So finally, I might give you a quick and hazy shot of my new hair.

I just had it coloured with bleached highlights and permanent hair dye. It was actually done using a base colour from Schwarzkopf Igora, so I will be interested to see how that lasts - I'm usually used to Wella Koleston. It's darker than it was, now it's a rather ashy brown with a few cool toned blonde streaks... I'm not sure if I like it all that much as yet... But, at least it looks shiny and surprisingly smooth at all times, thanks to my latest finds.

Let me know if you try any! Or any other hair saviours....?

(For more information about Indola, visit or call 01296 314 000 for stockists.)