Saturday, 27 August 2016

Instagram Update

Where does the time go? It's over a month since my last update and although it's been typically quiet in the beauty industry, I still have some lovely updates for those of you not on Insta. :)

I bought this from Amazon after seeing Trinny Woodall using it on her Facebook page. It's a slightly fancier version of the Body Shop roller.

This Jeunvie Balm was described as 'excellent, better than most I've used' by my eldest son, who has had severe eczema since he was born. He has tried everything on the market so that's a pretty solid claim. Outside of sunshine and salty sea water, this is one of the few things that seems to have genuinely helped.
Availabel from

My current lifeline supplement-wise. Folate and Zinc from Solgar and Spatone to boost my iron levels. I'm a long-term anaemic and thus far, this is working better than Floradix and prescription folic acid. Thank you to those of you that recommended the changes.  

Alyson Walsh is the blogger behind the brilliant That's Not My Age - a site for over 40s who refuse to be told how to dress just because they (we) are not 20. Style Forever is a great read and available from Amazon.

Out next week are new additions to Estee Lauder's Re-Nutriv line, including Ultimate Lift Regenerating Youth Serum and Regenerating Youth Creme. Thus far: lush.

I found myself using these almost exclusively over the last few weeks. (The other lip products I used on holiday will be up later this week). Still available on for £18.00.

Cornwall skincare was low-key:

I took Chanel's La Solution 10 but it was empty after three pumps. GGRR. Next time I'll check the weight before I pack!

Maria Tash opened in Liberty and I've already been in twice. Addictive.

Saw my Mrs at the Gleam Summer Party, where the young'uns partied all night in hot tubs (really) and we drank tea/hot chocolate in the corner talking about what we'd been watching on telly. Much more fun. :)

I bought this hardback of Estee Lauder's 1985 book, A Success Story from a third party on Amazon, and it turned up autographed!! Thrilled doesn't come close. I got it from this seller who still has some left. When I emailed them to ask if they had anymore with signatures inside, they offered me a full refund in case I was 'unhappy that it was inscribed'! No matey, I was very happy. 

So summer is coming to a close, I'm shopping for school uniforms and planning Christmas. Before you know it I'll be watching Elf and wrapping presents.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Happy Birthday Glossybox!

I cannot believe it's five years since Glossybox launched in the UK. There are now multiple monthly box subscriptions, but back in the day, Glossybox were the first out of the gate. Since they launched they've had some great limited editions, including collaborations with brands such as NARS.

To celebrate the 5 year aniversary, this month Glossybox have joined forces with Rae Feather, the 'monogram' brand. There are still some available, so if, like me, you have a monogram addiction, or your initials happen to be 'GB' and you are interested, you can sign up here:

If you're interested in monogramming the bejesus out of things, more info on Rae Feather is here:

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Hall of Fame - Skincando - the products you didn't know you needed

Back in January when I was in LA, I went to meet May Lindstrom in her LA office. There was a pot of Combat-Ready Balm in the bathroom and I picked it up. Obviously. In my defence, it was out in the open, I don't go snooping in people's bathrooms. (No really I don't.)
May's team were very complimentary about the brand so I of course had to get some. (Another reason I love May, she and her team spread the love.)

After I Instagrammed the above photo, the founder of skincando, Sara Damelio, reached out to me and sent me a travel/gift pack.

To say I have been blown away is an understatement. I love this brand. I do not foresee a time when I will not have Combat-Ready Balm in my house. I've used it on my face (spots), my body, the kids, the husband, everywhere. The Mr. burnt a small patch of the back of his neck while we were away (his fault) and I applied this directly on it for a couple of days. It both soothed it and prevented it blistering. 

I've used the lip balms non-stop since I got my hands on them. I am obsessed. The Combat-Ready Lip Balm and the Brew Lip Balm are honestly brilliant.  

The Bug Repellant spray, while it does actually work to repel bugs, actually smells so nice that I randomly spray it in the house to wake me up. Think Caudalie Beauty Elixir for mosquitos. :) Unlike a lot of repellents, the spray is child, animal and earth-friendly. 

There are three different sections to the brand, Combat-Ready, Luxe and Kids. Sara also offers a vegan version of her Miracle Cream, knowing that not everyone wants to use beeswax. Each product is made by hand in small batches to keep it fresh.

There is a lovely back story to the Combat-Ready balm involving a soldier sending a letter asking for more of the 'magic balm' to soothe his skin in Iraq. This led to Sara starting Operation Sand Flea. A brilliant initiative where customers can shop online for the troops overseas and skincando will cover the shipping and donate extra products in each parcel. How great is that?

skincando is available from and they ship worldwide for free. 

For a limited time, Sara will include one free Travel Miracle Cream per order over $50.00 exclusively for you lovely readers. 

More information on Operation Sand Flea is here:

Finding brands like this are my absolute favourite part of my job - the smaller start-ups get me the most excited. 
For the gorgeousness of the products, the affordability and the ethos of the brand, skincando, in its entirety, is going in the Hall Of Fame.

*Not sponsored in any way. No affiliate links.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

SPF: the post-holiday breakdown

After the recent City SPF video I had quite a few questions about what products I would use to actually sit on a beach/go on a sunny holiday, so just before we left for the airport, I fired off these pictures of our lineup.

A few notes on my experience/surroundings:
  • We went to Greece for one week. Me, the Mr, Ava and Max. Four people of varying sizes and skin gradings on the Fitzpatrick scale. I would say Jim is a 3, Max is between a 3 and 4, Ava is a 4 and although I would identify as a 4, I tan like a 5 due to my background.
For your reference
  • I reapplied at least every hour, on myself and Max. Ava took care of herself and reapplied more often as she was in water 90% of the time.
  • The temperature was between 26 and 30 degrees daily (85 fahrenheit approx)

Left to right:

Vichy Ideal Soleil SPF 50 (spray) - this was Ava's favourite by far for the body. It was empty by around Day 4. Very good. She's extremely sporty and wanted a spray for ease. I supervised the first few applications to make sure she wasn't cutting corners and after that she was fine. She didn't burn on her body and I would definitely repurchase/recommend.
Available from and

Sisley Super Soin Solaire Facial Sun Care SPF 30 - rather excruciatingly, this was Ava's favourite for face. In the spirit of fully disclosing, Sisley sent this to me for review, and although it is absolutely beautiful, I winced at the price tag. If you can afford it, it's lovely, if you can't, don't sweat it. (See what I did there?)
Absolutely no burn, no sting and great texture.

Available from Liberty and John Lewis

Clarins has been my choice of SPF for nearly 20 years. The smell of it alone reminds me of holidays and puts me in a good mood. I used the 50 spray on top of the 30 cream in some hard-to-reach areas and we all used the SPF50 (not pictured) for face for the first few days (we used it up) and then moved to the 30 around Day 4. The body products were similarly good, the spray being very handy for the kids and Jim and I both found it helpful for backs of legs, feet etc. The 50 spray was mainly used on Max, who had no complaints and did not burn at all.

Available from John Lewis and Nordstrom

Clinique make brilliant SPF products that are also fragrance-free. We had an issue with the packaging though. The lids on the larger body bottles kept popping open in transit. Luckily I am anal and pack SPF in ziplock bags so when we arrived to find one had opened and spilled out, it was just a case of cleaning the other bottles, not all our clothes. It did it again in our bags when we were out in the town, meaning we ended up only using it poolside because it couldn't be trusted.

Having said that, the SPF in the bottles is so good that I would still recommend. Jim would only use the 'little white one' on his face and we had three body, which all got used. Brilliant, brilliant SPF with packaging that you need to sellotape. :)

Available in the UK from and then for other countries. The new mineral sunscreens that we used seem to be sold out in a lot of places - you may have to hunt around for them.

Hair-wise, I've used Phtyo Plage since I was first trained in it in SpaceNK twenty years ago. Some old habits die hard. :) I gave Ava the one on the left, I used the one for ultra dry hair. Sprayed on hair liberally, although I generally only reapplied once more during the day, usually after lunch.

Available from Sephora and

I found the next three in Greece. I've loved Hei Poa ever since I first found it in Paris years ago, but this was the first time I bought the SPF. I loved it. The smell, the texture, not too oily, absorbs nicely and is not extortionate. Available on Amazon so probably in most countries.

You can't talk about SPF without mentioning Lancaster. Lancaster has an almost iconic status in SPF land (certainly in Europe), but their distribution in the UK has never been organised very well and between pulling out of the country altogether years ago and then coming back far too quietly (I'd have been screaming it to the press), they have kind of slipped off the radar. Not in Europe however, every pharmacy in Paris carries pretty much the whole range and in super sizes (how rude).
The Dry Touch Gel SPF20 won 'Best Packaging' hands down on this trip. Soft touch tube, pump dispenser, no mess anywhere, and not runny. Excellent product, excellent packaging. The SPF15 Silky Milk Sublime Tan was used the last couple of days on holiday and although great as an SPF, it's incredibly runny and the opening at the top is too large for the texture of the formula, leading to a lot of (entertaining) incidents with Mr Hirons swearing and asking us if we needed anymore SPF as he had half the contents of his bottle in his hand. Great product, annoying packaging.

Available on Amazon

After Sun:
Mixed results and reactions with these. The Clarins Creams were more popular than the Gel, and the Clinique Rescue Balm was easiest the nicest one to use. Calming, soothing and hydrating. The Clarins Facial After Sun stung at the end of the day so we switched to La Roche Posay Toleraine which I had luckily thrown into the case at the last minute.
The Toleraine was pretty much the perfect after sun. Used in the evenings before bed, the skin was left hydrated and nourished with no spots the next day. Also obviously a brilliant moisturiser for dry skins...

Clarins After Suns are available from John Lewis and Nordstrom
La Roche Posay Toleraine Ultra Nuit is available from Look Fantastic

*For those of you already asking - it all went in Max's suitcase. He's small, he only packs shorts and vests and even WITH the sun creams his case was 8kg. :))

I sometimes (not always) use affiliate links. If you are happy to click on the link and support this blog in that way, thank you very much. If you would prefer not to, just google the brand and the item, it's all cool. :)
I do not use affiliate links on products belonging to brands that I work with on a professional basis.
See my full disclaimer here:

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.

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