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24 Jun 2015

Summer Brights with Fatface

When I was approached by Fatface to style a look from their South Coast Brights collection, I was so pleased.  I love their relaxed chic look, it is so easy to wear and I have always found the quality to be excellent.  I used to be into the surf scene when I was growing up in a English Seaside Town, hence the wave tattoo I have around my right hand ring finger.  Fatface was, and still is, a store I go and have a look through for holiday clothes each year.

Cardigan - Annie by Fatface, Cropped Chinos by Fatface, Striped Top by H&M,  Navy Vest by La Redoute,  Lets not talk about the shoes.
I opted for some classic navy chinos and a pretty corla cardigan to set the look off.

I need to mention how happy I am with the Navy Crop Chinos.  They are gorgeous, the fabric feels so soft.  I got them one size up from my usual size (so a 16 instead of my usual 14) as I read they can come in a little small, and I wanted a more slouchy look. The fabric is excellent quality, it is a super soft cotton twill and the colour is a lovely deep navy (take note Very, they is what navy should be!)  These will be perfect for plane journeys, where you want to look tidy but still be comfy.  They will also allow me to not freeze whilst I get to the airport here, nor boil when I get to my destination.

The trousers have 2 side pockets which manage to do the impossible and be functional without adding bulk.  The cut is very flattering for those of us with big hips and smaller waist ,as the tailoring is spot-on and the waist fits beautifully (thank you, who ever designed these,  I won't need a belt for once)

The general advice for those of us with large hips is to not wear cropped trousers, as they can make you look wider by cutting off your legs half way down.  I have to add a caveat to this, which is if you are tall and have long legs and a short body, then it can help lengthen your torso which is a good thing.  I need to wear a top of a similar colour or one that finish past my widest point or they really do like me look very pear shaped, but overall, I find capri's to be a much safer option than shorts, which could not look worse on me ( I still have nightmares about wearing them in PE.)


I love the Neon trend but my skin is a little too pink to be able to wear very warm pinks. The Annie Cardigan in Corabelle is a pretty bright coral which bizarrely is a cool coral and so suits those of us with pink undertones. It is so pretty, and a great way to add some femininity and a pop of colour to your look. I like the pointelle detail (apparently that is what the patterns of holes is called) as it stops it from being just another cardie and makes it more delicate.  It's 100% cotton so ideal on hot summer days when you want to hide your arms but not get too hot and sticky.  Another point I must note is that the v-neck is well designed to not expose to much or make you feel too grandmotherly.

I paired the outfit with a pair of seriously old tan wedges that frankly have seen better days.  I am finding it such a struggle to find a pair of tan wedges in my size that aren't too high so I can wear them on a daily basis.  I painted my nails in a very unwise navy nail polish with a gold tips, this will be a real pain to remove as glitter polish is always hard and dark blue will stain. Anyway enough of the bad,  I think coral, navy and gold is such a classic colour combination and I will be wearing a lot more of it.

Navy Top by La Redoute, Navy Chinos by Fatface, Nail varnish Betty Blues by No7 & Revlon Sequins

I will get so much wear out of both these pieces.  The cardie can be worn with an all black outfit to give it a lift or with a white sun dress. The crop chinos are such a summer staple that I will probably wear them far more than is judicious.

I am really happy with both of these items and will definitely be making a stop in Fatface at Gatwick on my next holiday to check out some more of their items.  If you, like me, live quite far from the nearest shop here is their new arrivals page.

N.B. I must mention that writing this post make me laugh as I have notoriously chubby cheeks and so the irony of doing a post for Fatface is not lost on me :)

*Sample provided by Fatface for review purposes

15 Jun 2015

What to Buy the Man Who Has Everything

I really detest shopping for my Husband.  He is super picky but more importantly, if there is something he wants, he goes and buys it it, which leaves little for me to get him. Thanks!

Luckily, everyone likes a treat, something they wouldn't usually buy for themselves, a luxury that's hard to justify.

I have put together a few items that I know most men would be pleased to get, some I have got for my Husband for this year's Father's Day (shhhh don't tell) and some that are such complete hits that I would rebuy them in a flash if they ever got lost.

Stylish Going Out Shirt- Kenneth Cole £65*

I started with a top quality formal shirt from House of Fraser for evenings out.  He already has a sea of plain white slim fit shirts and who wants a work shirt for Father's Day?  This one is classic enough that he could wear with a suit to the office and then just remove the tie for a night out.  Kenneth Cole really know how to cut shirts well so they flatter. They are not so tight as to be restrictive but close enough to give a nice shape.  I love this shirt and can't wait to see it on. House of Fraser have some great formal shirts and accessories when you want something a bit more special.  I also love this white hidden placket one and even better it's on sale, but as I said no more white shirts allowed!

Serious Spirits - Pisco £27

I also got my Husband his current favourite drink, with an unfortunate name:/  If you haven't heard of Pisco before, now is the time to get yourself acquainted.  It is a bit like tequila, but from either Peru or Chile.  It is the drink de rigeur at the moment and a royal pain in the arse to buy, as so few shops stock it.  Amazon have luckily started selling it.  It's not cheap at £27 a bottle, but worth every penny.  We drink it as a Pisco Sour which has fresh lime, Pisco and egg white and sugar syrup.  You shake it vigorously and the egg white and sugar syrup combine to make a silky meringue-like topping with a sour kick from the lime and a bitter depth from the Pisco.  It's gorgeous, trust me! Here's the recipe from The Telegraph

Manbag £38+

A sure-fire hit was this messenger bag (Manbag) that I got for my Husband primarily because I was sick of carrying everything for the whole family when abroad.  It is great for days out and doesn't look in anyway feminine.  Paul uses it when he want to take the big camera or when we are out for the day and he wants his iPad.  The one pictured here is no longer in the shops but similar are available here (Howick Leather £75) and here (non leather £38.)

Tech Geek - Bluetooth Speaker £50

I have to mention the JBL Flip 2.  I adore this thing.  This was a birthday present and Paul loves it, it so sleek and well made.  I have also taken a shine to it and use it to take around the house with me whilst I'm cleaning, as I can move it from room to room without any issues.  I'm a bit of a podcast and Audible fan so I spend most of every day with something playing.  It's Bluetooth ready and connect in seconds so no messy wires, and it's also rechargeable so it doesn't cost a fortune to run.  The protective carry case it comes with is really sturdy and it just feels quality.  The best bit though is the sound.  This sounds as good as most top end docks. (Bose etc..)  I can't believe it's only £50 (down from £110.)

Practical (for you too) - Razor Sharpener £15

Now if your looking for something cheaper and that can save you money, whilst ensuring your man looks sharp, then I fully recommend the Razorpit. Not for purveyors of beards!  I first saw these on an Infomercial and straight away I was convinced.  After a long trawl though reviews online I took the plunge and got one.  I have to report that these are genius, not only do your razors last up to 10 times longer (they really do) the shave you get is so smooth.  I can't believe I waited so long. I now happily buy expensive razors knowing that they will last me months instead of weeks.

Bargain add on - Tablet Stand £2

This was a stocking filler as it was only £2.  They are such a good design because every brand of tablet can use it.  We have 4 different brands of tablet in our house, so this is ideal.  Paul uses it primarily to watch films in the bath (stood on the Vanity, the tablet, not him!) I use it on my dressing table to watch Youtube make up tutorials whilst getting ready.  The kids even steal it. Absolute bargain, see here.

Hopefully I have given you some ideas for things your husband might actually want for Fathers day, rather than a soap on a rope (does anyone remember them?)

Whatever you choose to get, make sure you get them the best gift of all, a bit of child free time with you :)

*Sample Provided by House of Fraser for Review

11 Jun 2015

Rimmel - What Sucks and What Rocks

I know this is going to be a contentious post, there is such a lot of love out there for at least a couple of Rimmel’s most terrible products, but I am going to stand firm and say these products don’t deserve the hype, but their PR team deserve some kind of award.

Pants Products

I love a good whinge.  So here are the worst products of the last 6 months, all these beauties found their way to my bin for a variety of reasons and should burn in the pits of hell.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I can only assume they had a whopper of a PR budget because this foundation is chalky, short wearing and has an orange bottle! The only plus point for me is the pump dispenser which is mounted on a glass bottle, this gives it some gravitas at least, but with an orange pump, even that leaves a lot to be desired.  I give this 1/5 and that is purely for the packaging. Pooparama.

Rimmel Brow This Way

This is obviously a copy of Benefit’s Gimme Brow which incidentally I have not tried.  The aim is that you brush the mascara-like wand through your brows to give you a effortlessly groomed finish. The reality is, with just one stroke, overly dark clumpy looking, scary brows.  This is very dark for a colour labelled Medium Blonde (I have brown eyebrows and blonde hair so I err on the side of light usually) it is also clumpy which is not my ideal when searching for products to leave me looking more finished.

Rimmel Apocalips

These lip lacquers were given the biggest of warm welcomes ever in the beauty blogging world, so I rushed out and treated myself to one.  I was hoping to have the longevity of a stain with the gloss of a, em gloss.  However I got the gloop of a nail varnish with the longevity of a packet of haribo in my 3 children's hands. Major fail and seriously hideous colours, to top it off these are £6.50 a go!  These are categorically not for me. If however you really like these horrid things then you can grab them for a bargain over on Ebay (£3 each here) because obviously they aren’t half as popular as the press and blogs make out.

Rimmel Kate Sacandaleyes Eyeshadow Stick

First off I am not sure why Kate Moss is fronting a makeup brand, she may have effortlessly cool style choices but when it comes to makeup I can’t remember a single time I have thought, I love that makeup look on her. Rant over, kind of.  This sounded ideal, I was thinking it would be similar to the L’Oreal Colour Tattoos which have really lovely sheen and can make any eyeshadow applied on top last longer.  Unfortunately it was just your bog standard old-school greasy eyeshadow stick with an insipid orangey pink hue which made your eyes look slightly irritated.  

Perfect Products

Now Rimmel is not all all cheap, nasty ill conceived tat, it has some really lovely products too, these are my favourites

Rimmel Stay Matte

Everyone loves this, what more is there to say.  Granted it is not as good as Soap & Glory’s One Heck of a Blot but it is a damn site cheaper and comes in many more colors for when you have a tan.

Rimmel Glam Eyes Liner

You rarely hear anything about this liner and I don’t know why.  If you like your liner to just add definition and to be a fine line, then this might be the one for you.  It has a brush tip and so the end bends when you apply pressure which means you can just lightly pull it across the top of your lash line and easy peasy lemon squeezey, you have a line of eye liner.  It is also works well to smudge out if you catch whilst still wet, so you can achieve a smoky eye.  I think this was about £5 and I have had it at least 1 year (note to Donna buy new liner before I give myself an eye infection) I like that it doesn’t dry out and it lasts well on your lids. 

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liners

There has been a massive surge in lip liners post Kylie Jenner and her literally unbelievalble makeup trips with lip liner.  Both East End Snob, which is quite pinky and Addiction which is more brown and akin to Mac Spice, are great lip liners.  I don’t think they last particularly long when applied with gloss on top, but then they are not designed to.  These are super affordable and they apply so easily with barely any drag.  I particularly like that they don’t require sharpening, you just dial up the bottom and hey presto! More lip liner.  

Rimmel Stay Glossy

Llip gloss seems to have fallen out of favour recently, being replaced by balms and liners.  But in my world there is always room for a lip gloss particularly one that isn’t sticky and doesn’t catch my hair like a fly trap every time I open the car window.  This golss is really moisturising and feels really nice on, it isn’t a glass like finish, more of a sheen.  The colour though is neutral enough for most people to be able to wear it.  I use it on top of liners or stains to give them a fresh finish.  Again this is under £6, whats not to like.

Before anyone says it, I know these products may work for you but for me they were ill conceived money stealers. What are your favourites from the brand or major disappointments?

21 Mar 2015

Giveaway - Anthelios from La Roche Posay #Skinchecker

Hello Lovelies,

Spring is most definitely upon us and so it is time to start thinking about SPF again.  You know I'm a massive fan of La Roche Posay, they make some of the best skincare on the market and I like that you can buy it in Boots on their 3 for 2's as well.  It was nice to learn that 60% of dermatologists also  recommend La Roche Posay to their clients, I can see why, I have nothing but praise for everything I have ever tried from their range.


I attended the new Anthelios Launch last night and they have just brought out a new addition to their much loved range that now contains Baicalin, I have some of last year's SPF and this new formula is very similar but with the addition of extra anti-ageing protection from UVA rays

I was lucky enough to receive a few full size samples and so I thought I would share the love.  The RRP of these 3 items is £40 so it's well worth winning as it should keep you in facial sunscreen all Spring, Summer and Autumn long.

The launch also featured the new video for their #Skinchecker campaign.  They aim to encourage everyone to check, not just their own skin, but their loved ones too.  If 90% of melanomas can be cured when spotted early, then it really could be a lifesaver. The dalmation theme is really sweet, and I'm not really a cute animal pics kind of girl. I also got a spotty manicure to match!

The prize includes;

  • Full Size Anthelios XL BB Tinted Cream SPF 50+ 
  • Full Size Anthelios XL Cream - no white marks SPF 50+  
  • Thermal Spring Water Mist 150g 

It is open to all UK entrants - sorry my international readers but I cannot post aerosols overseas :(

To enter just use the Rafflecopter tool below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck and Happy Skin Checking.

26 Feb 2015

SS15 Double Denim Menswear Trend Lookbook

It's starting to feel like Spring, the days have gotten warmer (I even went out without a coat yesterday, but then I am Northern) I have already ordered a few bits to update my wardrobe for spring, Hello new bag and possible blazer!

If your Husband is anything like mine, then his wardrobe is a chaotic mix of things he has bought himself on a whim, and then the rest of the useful workhorse items that I buy (or badger him into buying) so that the disparate parts can come together.  I think we had both agreed it was time for a few new additions to spice things up.


Looking at the Spring/Summer Catwalk collection the double denim look seems to be very much the look of the season.  Some of the looks are almost wearable, amazing, I know! Prada, Ralph Lauren and the design god that is Tom Ford, all sent models down the catwalk doused in serious does of denim.

Tom Ford's super wearable biker cool inspired SS15 collection

In an attempt to reinvigorate my beloved wardrobe we looked to House of Fraser as they are always a good choice for fashion led pieces that can actually be worn in real life.  One of the in-house brands they stock is Barbour, who not only create the eponymous waxed jackets, they also create a range of biker clothes.  

This thick cotton blue/grey shirt* is inspired by Steve McQueen, AKA The King of Effortless Cool. It is ridiculously versatile . It can worn with a jumper and peacoat while the weather is still cold and then swapped into a daytime city break look for Spring and also as a going out shirt in Summer.  It gives the double denim look but for those who are less adventurous than others.

Shirt - Barbour £70
T-shirt - boring plain one

Paul works in the city so classic good taste is pretty much expected, it's hardly fashion forward in London's Square Mile. He turned 40 last year so quality and wearability are very important to his style. I think the general aim is "Stealth Wealth" though the actual result varies greatly :)

Shirt - Barbour £70
Coat - Penguin - similar here £210
Jumper - Blend - similar here £28
Jacket - Gieves & Hawkes £595
Jeans - Firetrap down to £50 from £90

City Break - This is the kind of outfit he would wear when we get the occasional break away.

Shirt - Barbour £70
Bag - Storm £40
Jacket - Gieves & Hawkes £595
Watch - Omega De Ville (more money than sense)

I like the city break look the best, I'm so pleased the shirt goes with his man bag as I encouraged him to buy after getting sick of being stuck with the heavy camera in my handbag every time we went out for the day.  Overall this is a great shirt, that I am hoping Paul will make use of this weekend when we go out for my Birthday. The fabric of the shirt is fantastic, it's cotton, but quite thick so it's very flattering and the cut is great too, it's slim around the waist and tighter on the arms.  

What do you think, what looks would you like to see on your man? Keep it clean Ladies.

*Provided by House of Fraser for review purposes.

10 Feb 2015

Lets Get Organised!

Every New Year, I  embark on a programme of mass organisation.  I spend hours writing out lists, labelling things and categorising, to create the ULTIMATE organisation tool.  A bit like the perfect handbag, the perfect organisational set up is a myth, but one I will keep on chasing!

Inspired by this great post  I decided to rekindle my love of Filofaxes (Filofaxi??) with this patent pink beauty.


I have collected together all these bits and bobs to make a bag for all my "work' needs.  In total it cost a jot under £40 which I think is pretty good value for money.

  • Cute gold striped diary from M&S in the January Sales, it was only £3.  
  • Quote notepad by Eccolo - TK Maxx (it actually has a slight smudge on the cover and so I negotiated it down to £5 from £6.99).  
  • Filofax from Paperchase £23
  • Pencil case from Amazon 88p!!! I know!
  • Cute matching pen from Paperchase -£2
  • Washi Tape from here £4.50 for 3 - used to customise the tabs
  • The bag I have had for years and has been holding homework related books on the back of my office doors, I think it was from New Look.  

The front insert, was just something I quickly created on Word.



I am really happy with this, as I can take the Filofax out and about with me due to it's small size.  The bag I use to transport all this from Office, to lounge, to bedroom.  It's like a portable office!

I have a separate diary to the one from my Filofax because this is regularly laid out on the kitchen counter as it is the main family diary.  All the children's school events and clubs are in it along with my Husband and my social goings on (whoever writes their night out in the diary first, forgoes having to pay for the babysitter if we have 2 events on at the same time)


When it comes to workflow, I can't recommend this book by Dave Allen enough, I have a had a copy on my desk for over 10 years and he really nails it when it comes to helping us all tame the information overload.  I also recommend Leo Babatua great productivity posts on his Zen Habits blog.

Links for organisation nerds like me;

Simply Organised for some serious organisation porn.
Strange & Charmed - for Filofax enthusiasts

I know this is a bit of a change from my usual beauty ramblings but I wanted to share my love of stationary with you as I am not just about beauty products and food.

To get regular updates feel free to sign up with Bloglovin here or if you prefer good old email there is a link at the top of the sidebar.

5 Feb 2015

Anti Ageing Skincare Routine Cheat Sheet - Over 30's

Do you know what I love more than Caroline Hirons site and her amazing advice?  I love infographics.   I have spent an age on Caroline's site trying to make sense of all the endless skincare advice on there and the one thing I wish it had is a nice easy printable guide.   So here its is, my version of her crazily good advice with a few changes to make it more achievable for us mere mortals.  You can print this off to keep in your dresser and get you in the habit or as a rough shopping guide.

click to enlarge

I spent days pouring over Mrs Hirons site, the lovely Paula Begoun's site, Makeup Alley reviews and numerous skincare awards lists and came up with this.  It's what I reckon is the best of both guru's skincare advice along with products that are widely well received in the industry.

I found Caroline's 7 step morning routine far to excessive for me and my hectic attempts at herding children out of the house, so I have eliminated everything I felt was optional, and stuck with the core idea of her routines.  I then researched which products she recommends, cross referenced them with Paula Begoun's suggestions and my own experience to leave me with an achievable routine that can work at different price points.  I really wanted to include the magical P50 lotion in here but seen as it is nearly impossible to track down, I figured it was pointless to add it to the list.

I have written this as a guide for over 30's as girls in their twenties would require some changes to the routine (mainly in the serum/treatment area.)

Now I know that the total of all the products is expensive but, stay with me here, seen as it is best to only switch in one new skincare items per month to determine if you are having any detrimental reactions to it, then you could just buy just 1 new skincare treat per month and go from there. I have tried to include some lower priced alternatives in there for those who prefer to keep their money for something more high minded than smeary stuff for your face.

 An important point to note is that I do slightly disagree with Caroline about her hatred of foaming cleansers.  The reasoning behind her dislike is that (most) foaming cleanser are alkali and when you wash your face with them it makes your skins PH move further away from the acid zone that helps it fight blemishes.

I'll let Dermalogica put it more lucidly -
"On a scale from 1 to 14, a neutral pH is 7. The skin's normal pH level is between a 4 and a 5 (acidic). The majority of soaps are made from lye or potassium hydroxide: alkaline ingredients that can reach in the opposite direction, all the way up to 14 on the pH scale. Using soaps that are high in alkalinity take skin from an acidic state to an alkaline state and strip natural lipids from our skin. This accounts for the tight, pulled feeling you may have experienced after cleansing with soap. While you may interpret this feeling as "cleanliness," it is actually your skin suffering from a loss of lipids!"
The reasons I disagree with Madame Hirons are three-fold;

  • You follow your cleanse with an acid toner and therefore the toner puts your skin straight back in balance, just seconds after you have washed it.  
  • Water has a neutral PH and so would upset the balance anyway.  
  • A lot of foaming washes are PH neutral or with an acid base now.

Here are just a few of the best PH balanced foaming cleansers for those of you who still love to foam.

Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser £7
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil Free Facial Wash £5
REN Rosa Centrifolia Foaming Cleanser £14

I also found this handy guide to facial cleansers and their PH's on this Reddit thread, very few of them are actually alkali.

I have included balm cleansers too in the evening part of the routine, as they are definitely superior when it comes to removing makeup and SPF, but as the good ones are usually pretty pricey too, I feel that they are unnecessary on a morning when your skin should only have a light sheen from last nights sleep and the remnants of the evenings skincare products.

One last point regarding Treatments.  I use retinol creams every night see here for my favourites, but some people would prefer to spend their sleeping hours having a mild peel or luxuriating in facial oils, so I have left this section pretty open as all our skins have differing needs from week to week and so different night treatments are normally needed to combat whatever is causing you a skincare headache.

I hope this is of help to anyone else struggling to put all the great advice out there in to a realistic routine.  Feel free to pin it and if you want to receive more of my waffling sign up via Bloglovin here

21 Jan 2015

Packing Beauty Products for Travel

I am an obsessive organiser, there is nothing I like better than a good re-organise, which is lucky as I have a whole load of c*** that usually needs it.



Last weekend I set about sorting out my ever-expanding travel wash bag.  It started quite small but as always has grown out of all recognition.  I needed something that would work when I staying away from home and had versions of all my favourites products that are easily accessible.  The problem with my old set-up was that I would have to take the whole wash bag into the bathroom to have a shower and then dig around in it just to find the showering essentials, I would then have to bring it back out again to start on my skincare and makeup.  Hardly the end of the world, I know, but still less than ideal.

I re-purposed this vanity case which is sadly no longer available, it has a carry handle and a strap if I want to go hands-free (more likely hold a child's hand).  Inside I have 5 separate pouches that hold each main subgroup of my beauty products (how sad that I have sub-grouped my beauty paraphernalia)

  1. Shower/Bath - this is the home of all the "wet products" so shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, toothbrush etc..
  2. Skincare - contains miniatures of all my AM & PM beauty routine essentials.
  3. Hair care - This is post-wash, so volumiser, hair oil, hairspray etc...
  4. Emergency - needle and thread, ear plugs, ibuprofen and lady products
  5. Nail Care - obvious really, polish, files, remover

Bath/Shower - the B-Refined face wash is dire by the way.

Skincare - travel size-tastic!

Haircare - The polish tin actually has bobbles and clips in it.


Nailcare - I always leave nails to the last minute!

I have another gold makeup pouch that I take too, but the contents of this are in constant flux and so I opted against taking a photo of it.  It doesn't always reside in my travel case anyway as I often keep it in my handbag so technically it would have been classified incorrectly!

There are also a couple of bits that don't fit well in the pods and live in the bottom of the bag, they are; deodorant, perfume, a paddle brush and a fold up mirror.


I like this system because I can see at a glance what I ned to stock up on, I can put different "pods" in different places around where I am staying, and it keeps neatly together for travelling and storing.  The pouches are from Asda and the slim ones are just clear pencil cases.

Anyone else out there with such an OTT travel bag for the loves of their life?

8 Jan 2015

7 Products I Used More Than Anything Else in 2014

These are the products that kept finding there way back to the top of my makeup drawer.  I have 3 to 4 versions of each product (say lip glosses or face washes) and these are the one I keep repurchasing and using regardless of new fads and trends.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Eye & Lip Cream - £26 
Surprise find of 2014, I got this in a beauty box and immediately fell in love.  It is light yet deeply moisturising.  You only need a little for it to work and it helps to keep fine lines at bay and keep your lips in top condition.  I have had zero crapped lips this winter (so far) and I think this is the main reason why.  I have mentioned before (here) that this has Matrixyl 3000 in which is a very high end ingredient usually only found in £50+ Eye creams.  It costs £30 for 15 ml which would last me, with daily use, around 6-9 months.  I get mine from the Caudalie site as you can collect points towards future freebies, and you get a little sample set each time you shop which I think is genius as you can try out other items and have handy travel sizes for your wash bag.


La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - £15
LOVE this lightweight skin clearing moisturiser, this is perfection for helping keep oily skin clear and soft without being greasy or not moisturising enough.  It costs £15ish for 40 ml which usually lasts me 3-4 months  which I think is pretty good value, particularly if you buy it on Boots 3 for 2's.

OPI Private Jet - £7
New for 2014, but it became my go-to nail varnish for whenever I was going out.  It is such a versatile colour that it can be worn with most everything and is appropriate for all but the most formal of occasions ( I wouldn't necessarily wear it to a wedding.)  I looks good on short or long nails so can be worn no matter where you are in your nail growing cycle.  I always top coat with Seche Vite for added shine, but then I top coat everything ever.

Botanics Face Wash - £1.99 at the moment!
I know Caroline Hirons would kill me for this, but I am going to stick my neck out there and say, "Caroline you are wrong" there I did it.  The idea that foaming facial washes are a bad thing is widely banded about the blogosphere with the rationale that all foaming solutions are alkali which strips the acid mantle of your skin and upsets the balance which can aggravate acne.  Now thinking of basic chemistry I am certain that water is PH 7 which is neutral and no where near acidic and as we all use water on our faces to no ill effects, I cannot see how this theory can stand up.  In addition I always follow with an acid toner which resets the ph balance anyway and therefore I much prefer the ease of cleaning with facial washes.

Now enough about acid v alkali and onto this particular brand,  I like that the ingredient list isn't a list of poly whats-its-names and ethyl-thing-ummy-bobs.  It has a sprinkling of real ingredients which always please me.  But most importantly it doesn't feel stripping yet leaves my skin feel super clean afterwards.  I love that you can regularly pick this little beauty up for just £2 so I can have stashes of it everywhere (bath, sink, shower, kids bathroom, travel bag) which stops me having an excuse for not washing my makeup off before bed.

Real Techniques Face Brush - £9.99
I wasn't sure if I would get on with this when I first ordered it, as I like the stippling brush by RT but I don't love it (in fact I now only use it about once a month.)  This however is a completely different creature.  It has tightly packed super soft bristles that are excellent for buffing foundation into the skin creating a pore free look.  I also love that the size is just right for contouring too, I have their contour brush which I find better as a under eye powder brush (specific much)  I can also use this to apply powder to the t-zone and blusher of needs be, it is all amazing at applying mineral foundation instead of the old kabuki style brushes.  It is really a brush that gives a lot.  I wish I had another of these but I can't justify any more brush purchases for about 7 years so I will have to make do with what I have.

From L-R - Buffing Brush, Stippling Brush, Top Blusher Brush, Bottom Expert Face Brush, Contour Brush

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On-and-On Bronze- £4.99
How much do I love thee, let me count the ways...  If there are ever a decree made that all eyeshadows except one were to be discontinued, then this would have to be my keeper.  It is such a subtle colour with just one sweep that it is my everyday goto shade, yet for nights out you can layer this thick and get a truly metallic look that works great with hazel eyes.  I like how easy it is too apply it calends a dream and I can even use my fingers if I have no clean brushes.  I often smoke this up with the aid of Urban Decay's dark horse.  It is super cheap too at just £5 so when it starts to dry out (take about a year) it is no big drama to replace. Below I have swatted it next to Urban Decay Smog from the Naked I palette for reference as it is a good dupe with better staying power and a nicer sheen. Last thing, I promise, the same formula in "Permanent Taupe" is great for eyebrows if you have darkish hair.

L- Colour Tattoo on-and-on bronze R- Urban Decay Smog

Benefit Browzings - £22 
I believe this was one of the first brow kits on the market and I have had this for years.  It just keep on going and does such a good job.  I have it in the colour medium and I love that you can use the wax to shape and the powder to fill or, as I do, add both to the brush nd get a double effect.  I use my own brush for application rather than the twitchy one that comes with it, but if I'm away then it more than does the job.  This isn't cheap but considering I ahem had this at least 5 years then it works out as a bragin.  There is no need to worry about bacteria either as powders are a poor host for bacteria as are waxes.The packaging is also great as it is really tough yet sleek enough for bathroom touch ups. It also has a handy mirror.

17 Dec 2014

Serozinc comes to the UK!

If you read even just a few beauty blogs you will have heard of Serozinc.  It is the must-have bloggers skincare secret.  Once upon a time everyone went crazy for La Roche Posay's Effaclar Duo, which I still use to this day, but then word got out from our continental friends that there was another cult La Roche Posay (LRP) product that we couldn't get! Cue endless trips to French Pharmacies to get our mitts on this most elusive of skincare items.


Well no more, Serozinc has arrived in the UK.  It will be sold exclusively by Escentual initially, you can join the waiting list here, which may be wise as I reckon this will sell out fast. I was incredibly lucky to receive a free sample in my goody bag at the LRP Bloggers Christmas Party (which was at the beautiful Magazine Restaurant at the Serpentine Gallery) and it really lives up to the hype.


What Does Serozinc Do?

Serozinc helps with combination or acne prone skin and helps control oil production.  This is not something that can be used by everyone, as if you have dry skin it would be disastrous, but for those of us not blessed with matte skin, this is a god send.  I have been using it for just over a week now and I can report that my skin is much less prone too oily outbreaks and I am even having to up the amount of moisturiser I am using!!!

How Do You Use Serozinc

It is a toner and like all toners it follows a thorough cleanse but before moisturiser.  The application is a dream as the aerosol can just lets you do a quick spray over your face (I like to rub it in at this point) then you just carry on your skincare routine as normal.  I apply Effaclar Duo on top as my moisturiser.  It can also be used to refresh your skin makeup throughout the day.

How Much Does It Cost?

It will be sold for £8.50 as a standard price but is 15% off at Escentual at the moment so it's only £7.22  Over the water in France it is just €5 which means it is still worth stocking up when you go on a Continental trip but for those who have built this in to their daily routine, we can now just stock up as needed.


Has anyone else tried this yet? I'd love to know how it works on other peoples skin.

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