A shimmer with style

This years spring range from Clarins is special in fact I'd go as far as to say its the best seasons collection for a long time. It offers depth, variety and a dose of innovation that Clarins has lacked for a while. The proof is the  curious but captivating little clear tube, complete with the trade mark light gold top and compulsory 'C', that is masquerading as an Instant Light Blush. Available in 2 shades, these tantalising vial's are offered in a beautiful Pink or Coral liquid that glide over your cheeks, giving a high definition yet natural colour to your face. Perfect for the fresh first hint of the summer warmth that spring offers.
 
Using the doe foot applicator you are in control of how much blush you apply. Each dot gives an even and precise application that once gently rubbed over the cheek area leaves a healthy duo-chrome effect, with the offer of slight purple lights from the Vitamin Pink and a fine silver shimmer from the Coral Tonic - don’t panic, the shimmer wont highlight imperfections, but will give you a warm radiant glow creating the illusion of a sun kissed complexion. At no point did I experience the shimmer ganging up on me and hiding in small natural lines on my face! Instead it  delivered a healthy radiance that said more hint and tint than a fully loaded shimmering blush.
Both colours worked well me me and will work perfectly with this seasons Spring colours and look, when less is more and natural is the look we all want. It applies like a cream, smooths like a fluid and finishes like a fine powder to deliver a transparent blush all day and well into the evening. 
All of this said I did have to reapply a couple of times as the day and evening progressed just to keep the fresh look I'd loved on its first application. This I must point out is not a bad thing  as it gave me chance to admire its perfectly formed bottle and secretly apply before popping it back neatly into the smallest of evening bags ready to accept yet more compliments on how wonderful my skin looked. The down side is the price at £19 for a 7ml bottle, that has an applicator I'm certain will not reach further than half way, could be classed as slightly on the expensive side or is it just one of life’s luxuries we just live with because we cant live without? - I'll let you decide.

I cordially invite you to step into Spring

Nestling in the classic rouge box, a velvet pouch teases you with glimpse of the light gold case that offers you the promise of an ultra-fine powder with the hint of beige, peach and rose. Its silky soft consistency glides over your face to create the perfect matt finish this years spring is demanding.
Opening the classic Clarins case and you are greeted by a pin-wheel of beautiful colour tastful and inviting, offering a delicate base with a subtle shimmer. The pin-wheel flowers present an opportunity for choice between individual colouring or the excitement of combining all three, for a perfectly balanced breath of fresh air. Either choice gives you that perfectly natural 'me, but better' look.
This magical powder is just one part of the full Colour Breeze range. A range that offers Gloss Prodigy Lip Gloss, Instant Light Blush a unique, truly amazing cream Blush, Eye Quartet Mineral Palette use wet or dry it is long lasting and has an iridescent quality I love, Joli Rouge Lipstick, Wonder Length Mascara and Instant Smooth Line Correcting Concentrate. There is no reason why we all won't look truly amazing this Spring and perhaps even into Summer.
If you buy a face blush this spring make sure it is this one -retailing at £30 I'm certain every Clarins counter the length and breath of the UK will be busy selling this jewel in a crown of new and exciting products. Each one perfeclty balanced to offer colour and design to enhance your spring wardrobe. 
Girl we will all look amazing thanks to great genes and Clarins!

10 miracles for your hair

Imagine warn nights, long summer drinks and the distinct smell of holiday – welcome to a spray of Argan Secret Miracle ‘10’. The hair dryer provides the warm air, the glass of wine; the long summer drink and leave the rest to your own imagination – oh I’m such a dreamer!

This is one of many leave-in spray treatments I have over the years tried. Many are too heavy, too greasy, too leave –in – you get the picture. This however of defiantly different. Apart from the wonderful smell – which lasts just long enough for you to enjoy and then disappears into the night like the toned and tanned edonus you saw earlier at the bar! It leaves your hair feeling light, fresh and beautiful.

It’s called Miracle ‘10’ – that’s a big word miracle. However it does back up this statement by telling you what it will do – so lets examine the claims.

  • ·      Moisturises all hair types – some would say its hard not to with the list of nourishing ingredients
  • ·      Protects hair during thermal styling – I’m guessing that means blow drying and in my world the              compulsory straighteners
  • ·      Gives brilliant shine – my hair has never had such a gloss that lasts all day
  • ·      Detangles – I spent a couple of days on a very windy, salty aired beech the other weekend and my          hair unusually was pretty tangle free
  • ·      Controls frizziness – ticked for me the same weekend as the detangles
  • ·      Seals in hair colour – is this a polite way of saying it wont fade the dyed bits?
  • ·      Strengthens hair – can only e a plus
  • ·      Prevents split ends – so far no visible sign of a split end since my last cut a couple of weeks ago
  • ·      Shields hair from sun and wind damage – is this the same as 4 & 5
  • ·      Absorbs quickly with out greasiness – yes

 All in all I’d award it 9/10. I’d minus the 1 point for application. You spray it on your hair and its quite a wide spray that if missed has a tendency to mark your wall. It does fade, but on mine has left a small dot pattern to the left of the mirror. I now spray in the bathroom – problem solved.

There are some may things listed as ingredients, but most do read as reasonably natural. There are plenty of fruit extracts and nut extracts along with water, hemp and fennel.

It retails around £14.00 for a 118ml plastic bottle, so great for taking on holiday to apply on dry or wet hair to get all the benefits listed about and you never know the tanned adonus may just stick around the bar!

Its cool and cutting edge with a hint of sex appeal

VOI Jeans eau de toilette has so many tones and notes it practically plays a tune. It’s warm and inviting, with the pungent smell of floral and spices that seem to changes as the scent develops and the wearer grows into the fragrance.

First impressions count – and this fragrance will not disappoint in style and presentation. The box is oh so very VOI – designed to look like the back pocket of a pair of jeans – certainly one to stand out in any collection and it just gets better when you see the retro style followed through to the bottle – wrapped in a denim sleeve complete with pocket detail and again the signature V and zip fly detail on the reveres – all very cool, stylish and appealing to its target market of young trendy pant showing men. 

This is a complicated fragrance that offers something for everyone and will appeal to men and girls alike – its not a universal fragrance; but I can see young girls borrowing a splash to remind them of their man!

The initial burst of lemon is unmistakable, quickly followed by a sutle hint of spearmint and bergamot. It then seems to temper it’s delivery for a second or to before delivering an undercurrent of fig and plum, giving it a sweet tone, mixed with vanilla and a slightly spicy cumin scent. As I said something for everyone and a fragrance to be worn by the confident late teens and early 20’s we all see driving their cars around town eyeing up all the pretty girls passing by.

Available at the Fragrance Store it retails for £25.00 for a 100ml bottle. A great birthday present or Christmas present, as this scent will appeal to so many of its audience both for it’s strong and confidant smell through to its stylish and slightly fun bottle. I can defiantly see this being dropped in the guy’s glove box for an extra boost when the right pretty girl walks past.

Good luck boys – the girls will be putty in your hands!

To scrub or not to scrub?

Its the time of year when we either have a fabulous tan and are doing everything we can to keep it or we are about to get our fabulous tan in which case we are doing everything in our power to make sure it’s a good one. Which ever of these applies to you then ARK invigorating body scrub is an essential tool in the fight against flaky skin with a hint of cellulite.

It comes in a very smart looking 200ml tube in light cream with brown text – this makes it sounds as inspiring as a beige sock left in the bottom of the washing basket. Its not, its stylish, proud and a definite product to be left on display in the bathroom. One you wont mind any of your girl friends knowing you use!

I’d not been aware of ARK products before, but now I’m telling all my favorite girl friends about it. Available from House of Fraser stores and I’m sure a few more exclusive stores in and around our capital, ARK is one of my new best friends for delivering something that little bit special. It’s also the kind of product you would safely buy as a gift or receive if you were lucky enough.

It smells faintly of mint with a warm smell I cant quite put my finger on. I do know it contains Loofah – one of the world’s oldest and most natural exfoliating products known to man. When applied it gives a creamy texture not often found in exfoliating scrubs – they tend to be packed full of hard grit like particles that once they have ripped all your skin cells away leave a layer of gravel in the bottom of your shower that doubles as a foot scrapper for anyone who follows you in – unless of course you remember to rinse and scrub before creeping out of the bathroom! After the initial creamy texture, you start to feel the Loofah particles gently but forceful removing the dead skin cells, leaving a polished, fresh, smooth and energised arm or leg or whatever! You feel great and your skin does too. No stripping off your natural tan you slaved over for 2 weeks and a great preparation if the tan of 2011 is still to be taken. 

There’s a whole range of products available from ARK. I’m certain although have not tried it, that if you followed the scrub with their nourishing body lotion the results would be amazing. I do have the Skin Response Serum to try, but you’ll have to wait for that review – I’m still thoroughly enjoying the testing phase!

For now, if like me you have not every really been a BIG fan of body scrubs, but used them because you know they are good for the skin, then go and buy yourself the ARK invigorating body scrub. Take it gently and watch as your skin takes on a healthier glow. This is well worth the £25.00 you’ll pay for it. But lets keep it a little bit of a secret – we only want our best girl friends learning about this little gem.

 

 

Get a tan with out looking like you Gran!

Only tanatomicals would dare to call a body tanning lotion by this name – but I love it. I’ve tried a few things now by the anatomical guys and girls – some have been more successful than others granted, but they never fail to amuse me.

This time I’m sent a bright orange box that tells me my gran would have said moderation was the order of the day and she’d have had 18 children! My gran never believed in moderation and one child was more than enough for her! Inside the colour theme is followed through to the bright copper coloured 125ml tube with more wish words about your gran and the effects of the sun.

This is not a build up lightly fake tan, this is a - I look like gravy browning and I give you a good honest colour that lasts all day and night and doesn’t rub off on your clothes or even the bed sheets” fake tan.

It has a holiday smell so when your applying it you can imagine relaxing on a golden beach turning over every 30 minutes to get that ever so even rich colour. Warning – you need to be in striking distance of a sink with the tap already turned on and ideally someone waiting to drop a blob of soap in the palm of your hands. When I say its like gravy browning I mean the thick treacle variety of gravy browning. When I was a little girl we had a white dog – I wanted a brown one, so one day after his bath I took a packed of gravy powder and shook it all over him and then cried because he didn’t look like Sammy any more! I was 4, but when I first looked at this tanatomicals on my hands I was transported back 1972 and the horror on my mothers face when she realized what I’d done!

What I really like about this tan in a bottle is that it’s so easy to apply and you really don’t need hours of preparation that involves sanding machines and body scrubs. You just need to make sure you have nice smooth skin and apply it in 2 thin layers. 1 works, but I think a second application about 5 minutes after the first just gives you a really even good colour.  It also moisturises your skin and leaves a very fait fruity smell rather than a chemically one I often find with other fake tans.

I’ve used it mostly on my legs and arms. I have tried it on my chest and tummy – both worked but for me it’s about the bits that are on show to the world. The rest I’m happy to be a last year’s faint hint of a tan colour, knowing I still have my holiday of 2011 to come.

There is a definite trend with the anatomical range – their products offer great value for money, they do as they say they will and they never over promises but always deliver. I’ve found my fake tan sole mate.

 

 

 

Is it a case of now you see it now you don’t?

I like the idea of Fade Out Nourishing Night Cream. I’ve used the eye version now for a few months and if you read my articles you’ll know that I liked it and it worked for me. So I was excited when I was asked to try the night cream version.

It works in a similar way, by reducing the transfer of melanin into the upper layers of your skin. Us girls can be prone to developing small darker patches on our skin, especially our faces, its just another one of those things we have to put up with – a bit like stray eye brows and big pants! Well Fade Out have decided those days are over and released their night wonder cream.

Packaged with the typical clinical feeling that seems to be popular at the moment. The white and shades of blue deliver the message that this is a no nonsense product that demands to be taken seriously.

As some of you will know I have freckles. As I’ve got older they have faded, but somehow grown. I should clarify they are all as they should be and the sun I do expose them to has not caused any nasty effects. It’s just the way my freckles have changed as my skin and age have progressed through life.

I should also add that I have a bit of a phobia about really thick, sticky creams on my face. I don’t care if it promises the earth and I’ll look like Kyle in the morning – if its thick and gooey it’s not going on my face. So imagine how horrified I was when I open the 50ml pot to reveal the purest of white, odorless, thick looking cream. I braced myself and stuck my finger in. It was ok, it felt as light as a feather, it absorbed into the back of my hand as thought I’d added water, but left behind a clear smooth feeling that wasn’t sticky or heavy or well anything. It had gone, disappeared into my skin. So feeling brave I applied a generous amount to my face and neck – remember girls it’s our neck after the backs of our hands gives our ages away! It went on well, smoothly covering the skin and feeling as though it was being absorbed as I massaged it in. So far so good – or not. That’s when it started to have a heavy almost cloggy feeling. I felt as though I’d but a tone of old fashioned cold cream on my face. But then all of a sudden that seemed to pass and I was left with smooth skin and freshly made bed to jump into. Strange, but fleeting so manageable.

The following morning my skin felt lovely. All soft and hydrated. My eyes felt a little puffy so I think I may have applied the cream slightly too close to my eye contour area, but apart from that I was impressed. No over night eruptions of spots, no sticky, hot skin and no signs of faded freckles or other small imperfections being reduced. It was the first night maybe I’d expected a little too much?!

So for about 3 weeks now I’ve applied as instructed and the results are pretty good. The freckles seem to be standing the test of time, but all the other little skin discolorations I have are fading and I do think my skin looks fresher and brighter.

The clever bit is all about the active natural ingredients such as mulberry and liquorice and how the cream penetrates into the deep layers of your skin repairing, correcting and defending for the future or is that defending against the future? Either way this one works. I’m not getting bogged down in why, just take it from me its good and Boots I’m sure will tell you its selling like hot cakes and for £8.00 I’m not surprised.

I never knew the French for leg was La Jambe

I also never knew I liked sushi or the solution to dry skin on my legs - That is until NIP + FAB wowed me again. Last time it was with their Frown Fix and this time with their Dry Leg Fix. 

Lets start with the negative (the only negative) – Big box hides medium sized tube! I’m not sure the green message is quite being heard at N+P HQ. Look inside and the 100ml tube sits comfortably in half the box, they even add an extra piece of cardboard running down the length of the box so that the tube doesn’t rattle around! Anyway that aside I truly can’t find a single fault with the actual product.

Housed in a trendy white and line green tube this intensive formula gives you 24-hour hydration and a slight shine to your legs that I think enhances your natural/out of a bottle tan. It has a smell of summer, mixed with a hint of gooseberry fool! – Or is that my imagination? It’s quickly absorbed leaving a silky smooth finish that lasts all day. The addition of Shea Butter makes it really easy to apply – it doesn’t have that thickness about it that means it takes an age to work in. Also the added glycerin helps to build renewed skin cells that are intensely hydrated in turn helping to reduce small lines and imperfections.

To buy it’s a few pence over £10.00 from Boots the Chemists, so about middle pricing for a high street body moisturiser. It should be £100.00 a tube it really is that good. I recommended buying two of their Frown Fix, this time buy three of their Dry Leg Fix. No legs should venture outside with out this tender loving care being applied. 

You wont be disappointed girls – I promise.

 

 

A look of style and sophistication

There is something about how the colour of the packaging can instantly tell you or make you believe that a product is going to be a certain way and Filorga Serum anti-age absolute is no exception. It looks stylish, sophisticated and expensive. It has that air of ‘spa’ about it, that feeling of not having to tell you how much it is! 

It retails at around £55.00 for a 30ml very smart looking bottle/pump. Cast away the dark brown/black and white box to reveal a white and pearl pump with an interesting way of opening, which eventually reveals the actual pump. I can see it tucked inside the neck but I can’t get at it! I pull, push and finally twist before it pops up like a jack-in-a-box at a children’s party.

I pump the top and nothing happens apart from the inner tube of pearl rises inside the clear outer casing, leaving you with no mistaking how much you are using or how little you have left. Eventually after a number of pumps and a good cm of pearl inner tube later and the pure white gentle looking cream is dispensed. All very spa in an - at home kind of way! 

Designed for the mid to late 40 something’s market; it offers an alternative to more invasive surgery or surgical like treatments. The ant-age range delivers an innovative and reliable alternative in the form of an aesthetic medicine and cosmetic surgery rolled into a light cream that provides a tingling sensation when applied to the skin.

I think we must all remember that ageing is a process of nature and I’m not convinced there really is anything, we can use at home, that will really stop the ageing process or it signs. However I do believe this product is capable of temporarily reducing the signs. It might even provide a longer term solution if you’re lucky and if you’ve been lucky enough to nip - pun not intended, things in the bud at the first signs.  I missed this boat – I think it passed quickly in the night and I woke with the signs comfortable sitting on my face! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look bad for 40 something, its just I think my neck that gives me away. So, I’ve religiously been applying this serum everyday on my neck and I can see definite results. When I first put it on it gives a slight tightening sensation - perhaps this is the 55 unique ingredients working or just me standing and waiting to see if I can feel anything. Who knows, what I do know is that over the first 10-15 minutes the skin on my neck defiantly changes in appearance and once absorbed it makes applying any other cream easier and gives me an overall feeling of temporarily cheating mother nature – we all like to get one up on her don’t we girls!

I have to say I think this is a product that offers a real outcome to an aging problem. I’m not going to go as far as to say this will stop the signs of ageing – I don’t even think that’s what’s its designed to do- but it will reduce the signs and make your skin appear and feel smoother, tighter and have a more positive look about it. The packaging tells me the whole skin reveals a brand new energy – a slightly ambiguous statement to make, but if its saying that your skin will look tighter and brighter then its right, it will and if like me it makes you feel better, walk taller and maybe even catch the eye of a younger looking man then its doing what it says it will do and maybe even going that extra mile!

The purest of the pure?

This product is all about the natural balance of your skin and enhancing the inner and outer beauty. Produced by The Purest Company from Australia it is designed to be pure, safe and highly effective with the use of holistic products to mimic the way the skin behaves naturally to bring you optimum results.

In a nutshell The Purest Company is one of the good guys – all ingredients are suitable for vegans and 100% natural botanical aromatherapy. The range is also formulated without parabens, sulfates, ethoxylated and petrochemical cleansers, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA and artificial colours, animal ingredients and animal testing free. See told you they are one of the good guys.

A'kin Sandalwood & Sweet Orange Invigorating Body Scrub with Panama Bark & Vitamin B5 is a gel based body scrub that just happens to smell good. I’m being careful not to get too flowery about all its great properties. Lets not forget just because they tell us it’s the best, most natural and environmentally friendly product, doesn’t mean its nice or even good to use.

I’m not a great lover of exfoliating body scrubs. In my experience they are like taking sandpaper to your skin, they rub off your tan and leave the bath looking like you’ve emptied the toaster into it. This one however is a little bit different.

To start with it smells good – a light orange smell that wont over power any other smells you add to your shower routine. The ultra-fine beads of diatomaceous earth – look that up if you dare and see if you get a reference to pet food, pest control and naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock – interesting! Anyway they are designed to very gently scrub away dead skin cells, absorb toxic impurities and excess oils from your skin. They do make your skin feel smooth and soft and your everyday body moisturiser just absorbs so much more easily. I even found that any small dark patches I had on my knees from my fake tan have disappeared.

It does still leave a definite gravelly effect in the bottom of the bath. But this washes away easily and doesn’t require harsh cleaning fluids and a scrubbing brush!

I like this product, it leaves my skin fresh and silky smooth with a feeling of gentleness that has a faint smell of oranges and sandalwood. A good buy for £15.00 for a 200ml tube as I think it’s a product that used once a week would really benefit your skin and you only need a small amount of the gel formula for it to work its magic. 

The A’Kin range is available from Holland & Barrett, Bentalls, John Bell & Croydon, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, www.lookfantatsic.com and www.eco-essentials.co.uk. 

The magic of Mosaique

Thank you Clarins for a beautiful Summer Bronzing Compact. It’s about the size of the palm of my hand, if not slightly bigger – perhaps on the large size for dropping in the bottom of your handbag? Having said that I’d happily buy a bigger bag!

Once you take it out of the classic red Clarins box it reveals itself as a caramel/golden red compact with the beautiful mosaic motif embossed in the lid and shinning through like Grecian jewel. Open the lid and it further reveals itself with a useable mirror and the soft scent of Clarins Eau Sunshine – just adding to the glamorous summer feel of this product. 

The compact has the beautiful mosaic pattern laid out before you, revealing the multi toned bronzing powder that glides effortlessly over your face, neck and chest to offer a super sheen finish that lasts all day and well into the night. Applied with the chunkiest brush you own it gives a natural, even and lightly tanned healthy glow to your skin – that all over sun kissed look we love all year round. I truly believe it’s a bronzer that can be used in the winter months as well with out looking unnatural.

With the addition of natural minerals it provides UV protection with SPF10, helping to protect you from the suns harmful rays.

A summer, spring, autumn and I think winter must have for £26.00 that will only leave you with one question to answer – is it to beautiful to actually use?

Goodies from Candy

Eye Candy has very kindly sent me their new false nails to try. I should at this point confess that I didn’t actually test the nails. A friend of mine kindly did the honors - so Natasha this is your moment!

Loved the packaging, it’s cool, trendy and eye catching. Almost has a High School prom look about it, very Glee or for the slightly more mature ladies – I think she means me – Greece!

Inside you get a collection of nails in a variety of different sizes, a small tube of pink glue and easy to follow instructions. Once you’ve sorted out the right sizes and done a little bit of prep on your own nails (not in the instructions but I thought a sensible thing to do) removing old polish, pushing my cuticles back and generally giving them a quick file and buff, its time to pop them on. So glue in one hand with the nails spread out in front of me, I start to work my way from little finger to my thumb.  With the first hand complete and all nails stuck on the ends of my fingers and not to the table or each other I begin the second hand. This second hand went on well, a little slow at first as I think I was frightened of knocking the other hand off, but eventually I got there in a total of around 20 minutes. I conclude they looked great, are a really nice colour, shape and fit. 

I should tell you I have a small child at this point and do spend a lot of time picking up toys, washing up and generally pottering all day long. The first one popped off after 2 days - I think I might have been hovering. I went and got the box, another blob of glue and the replacement was intact. The next day whilst trying to get ice out of the tray I pinged another one off – replacement quickly added and life carried on. All then went great for another 5 days and then in the shower and I managed to loose two more. If I’m honest this was the point that I decided to remove the others. I still had spare ones so I could easily have stuff more back on but after 5/6 days I was beginning to get a little bored of having to carry the glue around with me.

In a nutshell they looked fantastic, felt great, are easy to put on and easy to pop off. For a night out or weekend away they are perfect. For being a full time mummy I would need a bigger tube of glue!

 

 

Rich, faithful and smooth

You know when something just does what its supposed to do? And you get that satisfied feeling, almost quite smug. Well that’s what I felt when I started using Skin Doctors supermoist spf30+ accelerator cream. As is my experience with all their products it has a prescriptive feeling about it. Like its never not going to do what it says! Skin doctors use the word “Cosmeceuticals” when I looked this up Wikapedia said, “Cosmeceuticals refers to the combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products with biologically active ingredients purporting to have medical or drug-like benefits”. I then looked up purporting (just in case!) - Appear or claim to be or do something. English Language lesson over I can concentrate on telling you just how lovely this product really is to use.

Over the years I’ve tried many super rich, super moisturising, super anti aging creams and most have been heavy, greasy, brought me out in spots and all have had a strange oily smell disguised with an over powering floral perfume. This one is definitely different. Its very rich to touch, almost silky in look and feel, it glides on your skin as if its part of you, absorbs quickly and leaves no residual at all. Oh and it smells of nothing, not a waft of floral or oil or green grass cuttings with a hint of meadow chamomile! Nothing. 

The packaging is not the girliest and it’s certainly more Swedish clinical bathroom than French boudoir dressing table, but that aside it’s functional and delivers the small 50ml glass jar to you in one piece.

Inside the jar contains the supermoist cream I’ve just raved about. It works great as a base for your foundation and with light reflecting particles it just gives your skin a healthy glowing look and dare I say a younger look too! On a serious note it has an SP factor of 30+, so it’s essential for helping you to protect your skin against harmful UV rays and the ageing effects of the sun. 

SKIN Doctors is getting a cult following – Demi Moore is said to use nothing else and it’s even reported that Tom Jones is a fan! – Praise indeed 

John Lewis, Debenhams and Boots are the high street stores were you could pick up your own jar or visit www.skindoctors.co.uk to see the full range of SKIN DOCTORS products. Oh I forgot; it costs £24.95 a small price to pay for something so lovely.

 

 

1964 anyone?

The sixties saw them on every fashionable face and 2011 seems to be a repeat of this. I guess the fashion for the hippy long dresses or maxi dress as we call them now or the super short mini skirt, have all come round full circle again and the desire by us girlies to have super long thick, dark lashes is no exception. With the look being pioneered by Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham and of course the original queen of the false lashes Twiggy - Eye Candy kindly sent me a set of their naturalise 001 false eyelashes. False eyelashes that are designed to give me long, elegant and natural looking lashes that are twice the length of any natural lashes I’ve ever seen 

The first problem I uncounted was actually putting them on. I wear glasses and with out them my eyesight it’s good at all. So there I was in the bathroom, lashes on the end of the tweezers, trying to position them on the edge of my eyelids with out my glasses - I was in fits of laughter. At one point they actually got stuck to my eyebrows! 

All joking apart I did find them quite difficult to apply. But once on they are fabulous. My eyes look amazing. Bigger, more awake and dare I say even sexy. I’m sure as with so many things, the more you wear them the easier it is to apply them and take them off. When I was taking them off one of the bits of glue had stuck to one of my own eyelashes and it pulled it out - be warned girls the glue is good and strong. 

I decided not to apply additional mascara, although I understand you can and it comes off easily with eye make up remover. I just wasn’t sure the look would work for me and I’m more of a natural looking girl.

I then discovered that once they were on I couldn’t wear my glasses as the lashes caught on the lenses and didn’t move easily as I blinked. So I spent the evening with a lovely group of my friends – just not sure who was actually there! Perhaps the perfect time to have revisited wearing contact lenses again.

All that said I’d definitely wear them again. They would look great for a day in the office or a night out for dinner or drinks with friends – I just need to opt for my lenses! To wear they are so light; look great and just made me feel like a 60’s style icon. They come in a variety of ‘looks’ from the natural that I tried to the well big, big and bigger variety.

If you’ve never tried them or if this is second time round for you then go and grab yourself a set – I’m certain you will be a fan or become one again. They can be bought from Boots stores nationwide, Boots.com, Gordon’s Chemists and justbeautifully.co.uk and retail for around £4.50 per pair.

This is one accessory that I’ll perfect the putting on off. I was too young the first time round, but this time I’m not letting the opportunity to add another cm to my lashes go by with out reaping the benefits - what ever they may turn out to be!

Who knew washing your hands could be such a treat?

I picked my first strawberry this morning from the garden, the sun is shining and Wimbledon has started. What better time to tell you about Molton Browns new fine liquid hand wash and soothing hand lotion. 

Inspired by the English summer, Molton Brown has launched a true English classic with their pettigree dew collection. With the smell of a summer meadow it graces any bathroom or kitchen and leaves your hands smelling adorable and feeling soft and nourished.

Presented in classic pump bottles with images of pretty orange, cornflower blue and very pale green wild flowers with the iconic silver neckband, embossed with Molton Brown, it denotes a hand wash and lotion of style and elegance. Both are priced at £15.00 per bottle. Some would argue this puts them out of every day use, but when you smell the sweet smell and feel it luxurious texture it soon becomes apparent it offers so much more. Some times we all just need to buy ourselves a little something, maybe to cheer ourselves up, or finish off a look we have spent the morning creating when we decided to remerchandise the bathroom or maybe we just feel like a little treat. Well if any of these apply to you then girls go to your nearest Molton Brown store and spend £30. Always buy both, that’s my motto!

At this point you could well be asking the same question I was - What is Pettigree? Well its English Butchers Broom – an evergreen shrub with stiff prickle tipped flat green stems that used to be used to make brooms – hence its name. Both the hand wash and lotion also contain rosemary and lentisque twigs. All designed to capture the essence of an English dew-scented garden on an early summer morning. I’m not entirely sure this would be my first thought when I smelt it, but either way it smells wonderful and does conjure images of an English summer meadow 

The hand wash is kind and soft on your skin, helping to cleanse and give anti-oxidant protection, while the hand lotion sooths and comforts over worked hands, both leaving your skin feeling and smelling of summer. 

I think Molton Brown have captured a moment in time, a dream of the English countryside that we all have tucked in our memory banks. A big thank you goes to the MB team for making such an everyday items into bottles of loveliness.

 

Banish Dark Circles

We all have days when we wake up, look in the mirror and sigh! Why do we still look tired with dark circles and puffy eyes after a nights sleep? It all just makes me crave a duvet day!

Well I’ve discovered First Aid Beauty, Detox Eye Roller and I’m proud to say it works. Lets put that into perspective. Nothing will ever give us the look of 15 hours sleep after 6, but the difference after a simply roll over the eye area is truly amazing. In the States it’s being voted by many as their miracle beauty eye buy”. Its even been featured on the Tyra Banks Show.  In fact, following one TV show the company sold over 8,000 units in an hour creating a growing list for this highly effective product. Only in America!

So let’s look more closely at the four magical ingredients inside this little bottle and lets not forget the Caffeine that helps diminish visible skin redness by shrinking blood vessels!

1.    Sodium hyaluronate and advanced peptides recapture lost volume and increase collagen production, reducing fine lines.

2.    Infused with FAB’s powerful Antioxidant Booster to combat free radicals.

3.    Witch Hazel and Menthyl Lactate to tone and soothe skin

4.    Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide and Sodium Hyaluronate to reduce fine lines

The bottle is 8.5ml big and cost £18.00 from Boots the Chemist through out the UK. When you consider that it does actually work I think it represents £18 well spent. It’s also very easy to apply, no gentle patting the eye area, which if your like me makes you feel a bit odd and I always wonder if I’m being to heavy handed! With this it a simple case of removing the lid, a gentle shake and then using the metal roller ball to glide gently over the eye area 2 or 3 times. With in a couple of minutes you can see the difference and if you need to, as the day progresses you can have a second application to keep the feeling of fresh, revitalized and smooth eyes all day long.

A treatment that can be used by the whole family and one I know Stuart is secretly using!

 

 

SPF 35 on a stick

Clinique have launched their latest SPF 35 Targeted Protection Stick. It’s a stick of sunshine, packed in a bright yellow oversized lip balm stick that’s perfectly sized for your handbag and perfectly coloured for finding it at those required moments.

Lets put this into perspective – we all know that the sun makes us feel alive and excited about the day ahead, but it also has some pretty horrible effects if we’re not careful. I don’t want to do the whole doom and gloom speech but we all have to be prepared. The British summer can be spontaneous – raining one minute and glorious sunshine the next. What better to have to hand than a high protection stick that can be used on all those delicate areas exposed to the sun that we can easily forget to put sun cream on? I once burnt my forehead - I’d just got my first convertible and decided the hazy sunshine was the perfect time to drop the roof and travel from London back home to Cheltenham along the M4. It was beautiful, the sun was shining and I looked cool! Unfortunately my forehead looked like a red traffic light stuck on stop – and wow did it hurt. 

Lets be honest we’ve all done something similar – I could recount numerous times I’ve not been prepared for the sun that appears out of the blue (or grey). This protection stick is ideal for dropping in your handbag and using on those delicate areas around your face that we often burn with out realising until it’s too late. The eyes are a particular favorite, along with the tops of ears, nose and even you lips. 

It's for sale on all Clinique counters across the UK and cost £15.50 – well worth the small investment that can always be to hand and just help protect us from the sun we all love but all know isn’t as good for us as we like to think. Thank you Clinique for sending me this to test and adding another thing I have added to my must have list to carry around with me all day!

 

Isn’t it What’s Inside That Counts?

They taste and smell of cherry. A true British Summer smell and one that for me just sums up life if I was Laura and living in Larkrise! I’m not, but it still smells lovely and tastes ok too.

With 8 shades this Colour Quenching Lip Balm offers a choice to suit everyone, every outfit and every fashion statement of 2011.

01 Pink Marshmallow

02 Peach Nectar

03 Candy Pink

04 Raspberry Smoothie

05 Delicious Plum

06 Sweet Papaya

07 Strawberry Sorbet

08 Sweet Fig

I tried Peach Nectar, Raspberry Smoothie and Sweet Fig. All great shades that offered a really nice dollop of lip quenching care, transparency and fruity luminous colour. I know I’ve just contradicted myself, but trust me you get colour and transparency. I have no idea how; you just do and I guess because of this it works really well as an over gloss for your normal cream lipsticks. It just adds a little more dimension and great gloss. Out of the three my favorite is Raspberry Smoothie, it works well for my colouring and gives me a hint of colour and glossy luscious lips that are great for the day through to the evening. I also quite like a thin layer of Sweet fig with a layer of Raspberry Smoothie over the top. It’s a bit like a two ball ice cream when you can’t decide which two to have!

 This Lip Balm comes in a tube and for me it’s quite a big design/packaging floor. They are great for cheap as chips glosses that you drop in the bottom of your handbag, use for a few weeks and then throw away when they’ve gone sticky. Not in my opinion for a £15.00 Lip Balm. They just get sticky around the top and I find I’m forever having to wipe the top and clean out the lid. Why Clarins do you insist on putting a superb Lip Balm in a cheap tube? Just because it’s got a gold coloured top and Clarins written on the side doesn’t make it bad design proof.

 

Inside the dodgy tube are some really nice lip moisturizing ingredients such as Shea Butter, Wild Mango and Olive perhydrosqualene that will soften and Vitamin A and E to repair your lips. 

Overall I like this Lip Balm, I’d like it more if it wasn’t in a tube, but for a summer Lip Balm that keeps my lip soft and helps to repair them it’s a good addition to anyone’s makeup bag.

It’s All About the Tubing

At last we have mascara on the market that doesn’t run, flake, smudge or smear, which for someone like me that has a habit of rubbing my eyes is a godsend. I always get really excited when Clinique release a new product or re release an old favourite. This one I think is a combination of new and old – the idea of Clinique offering smudge proof mascara isn’t new, but the introduction of tubing mascara is. 

For those of us that have never heard of tubing mascara; let me assure you it has nothing to do with the activity of riding on water or snow whilst hanging on for grim death to an oversized inflated inner tube. It does however refer to the casing that it puts around each individual eyelash to create a natural look that I’ve not experienced with any other mascara.

It’s available in two colours, Black Onyx and Dark Chocolate. I tried the Dark Chocolate and just found it gave me a really nice natural colour. I’m not sure I’d chose it for a night out – black works so much better in the evening, but for a day colour its perfect. If your blessed with amazing, long and dark lashes I’m sure it would look fabulous any time, but for those of us that were blessed with other assets, we may want to use a building mascara to create those lushes lashes. It does work well over the top though to help keep the building mascara on your lashes and not making its way down your face as the evening progresses! It is a must for your bottom lashes any time - the brush is so beautifully small and delicate it makes applying your mascara to those little small lashes easy - no more trying to weild your large brush towards those delicate little ones.

One of the advantages, apart from the lack of smudging is the ease at which this mascara comes off – allegedly. I’ve always used an eye make up remover wipe that over the years has successfully removed my eye makeup I've asked it to. Not any more. With this mascara it does nothing, not a smudge, not a peel not even a flake or a smear, nothing. It appears you use warm water and in my case a flannel. Now it does remove it, but I think it requires slightly too much rubbing and I’m not sure this is entirely good for the delicate skin around your eyes. 

Lets talk money – it comes in two sizes, 6g for £15 and 10g for £25. I think this is an average price for a good quality mascara and as with most things it’s cheaper to buy the bigger one in the long run.

Clinique I think have brought a really nice day wear mascara to the market that does what it says on the tin. I’m not certain it’ll replace my trusted old mascara, but I’m impressed enough that for holidays it’ll be the only one I’ll take.

Recommended by Lady GaGa and the Sequel to Angel

I have to start by saying that the bottle of Womanity is one of the most interesting bottles of perfume I’ve had on my dressing table to date. Its tall, slender and graceful bottle with the subtle pink coloured perfume, topped with a strong and symbolic top making this perfume stand out from the crowd.  With the addition of a chain that attaches the top/cuff to the neck of the bottle it offers a mix of subservience and dominance reflecting the tones of Womanity: the playfulness of spontaneous youth meets the experience of the wise past. 

It looks amazing; unfortunately for me the smell doesn’t mirror its style or intention. As with all Thiery Mugler perfumes it’s about making a statement and the Womanity statement is based on a harmony of paradoxes. This fragrance is as ambitious as his previous creations, with the idea of a perfume as a link between all women, as "a positive energy flowing through all types of femininity."

With 3 distinctive tones of sweet ripe fig, the savory tone of black caviar and fig tree wood to create a smooth base. All build to offer a distinct sweet-savory composition that creates two distinctive camps – those that love Womanity and those that don’t.

It has a masculine smell that overpowers, in my opinion, all of it's femininity.  Firstly you get over powering sweetness that I could almost taste in the back of my throat, followed by a slightly earthy smell that thankfully passes quickly to leave a musty fig smell, that keeps creeping up and wafting under my nose at the most unexpected moments.

I asked a friend of mine to try it, as her favorite smell is fig. Her reaction was to acknowledge how it does satisfy her desire to smell tones of fig in her perfume, but not to be slapped around the face with it every time she moves her head!

For those of you who have tried it and love it I’m sorry. For those of you that have bought it, especially the full 80ml refillable spray for £61.27, I’m also sorry (especially if your verdict is the same as mine) and for those of you that are thinking about buying it – ask for a sample!