Friday, 15 August 2014

A word on comments

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

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

Alpha-H TSV for QVC

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

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

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

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

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

The one where I fall in love with Lush

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original store at 29 High St, Poole.

The Head Office is amazing. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digression over - back to the product.

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

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

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

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

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

Bloody lovely.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The best Summer Fragrances part 24651 - Aerin Gardenia Rattan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Civil Wars made it Official

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

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

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

I miss them already.

The Vegan Kind

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

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

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

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

The boxes are £10.00 plus shipping. A steal.

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

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

JustBe Cleansed Cleansing Balm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highly recommended.

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

Lush Great Preservatives Debate

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

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

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

Hope to hear your questions tomorrow! 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Beauty Myth No. 9 - You can't use retinols with AHA's/during the daytime





Let's all take a cleansing breath shall we?

There you go. All better?

Let's keep it brief and separate some major JK Rowling fiction from the facts.

  • Retinol/Vitamin A is a proven anti-ager. We're all in agreement on this. The EU, the FDA, every brand, every dermatologist, every crazy blogger that uses GIFs of Kristen Wiig to make a point.
  • Retinol reverses the signs of ageing and encourages your skin to keep doing that whole cell-turnover thing that we so badly need as we age. It does this really, really, really well. REALLY well.
  • Retinols unclog and minimise the appearance of pores, boost collagen production, even out discolouration and smooth and soften the skin.  
  • Tretinoin/prescription strength retinoids are a different ballgame. You get these from a doctor, not a brand. They will come with very clear, medical instructions.
  • Brands would like you to think that over the counter is as strong, but they're not. Hence the 'Whoa there, this is really super strong - you need gloves and a mask to apply and for the love of GOD do not let your face out in sunshine!!!!' OK I'm exaggerating, but you see where I'm going...


  • Retinol makes you sensitive to the sun. PLEASE HOLD CALLER. No it doesn't. The ingredient itself can degrade in the sun in certain formulations, but it isn't going to melt your face. Summer is a good time to start using retinols as humidity in the air can actually help your skin and stop it drying out. 
  • Retinols and acids (AHA's and BHA's) both exfoliate and therefore are too strong for the skin when used together. STOP YOURSELF. They work on different levels of the skin.
    Acids take care of the top layers and get rid of all the old dusty skin, a bit like dusting your furniture. They exfoliate.
    Retinols work at a deeper layer - never the twain shall meet. The acid holds the door open for the retinols to pass by...Retinols are cell communicators. If you are flaking or peeling when using a vitamin a product - you may want to reconsider - it's possibly too strong for you.

  • Retinol must be avoided in pregnancy. NOPE. This stems from the fact that roaccutane - oral Vitamin A used as an acne treatment - absolutely 100% cannot be used when you are pregnant or hoping to conceive. Anyone prescribed roaccutane will know this and will have been given the facts upon receiving their prescription.
    There is a HUGE difference in taking a pill and ingesting it and using a cream topically on the skin. NOW - I'm not suggesting that you go crazy and use all the retinols when you are pregnant - what I AM saying is that if you've been using anti-ageing creams containing retinols and just found out you are pregnant - please do not worry. (You would be surprised at the amount of times I have come across this with clients.)
    There is not one recorded case of retinol in skin care causing birth defects in a baby. None.
    Doctors are just being extra cautious. And brands don't want to get sued. Simples. Follow the manufacturers advice, and be sensible. Don't have a heart attack if you've been using a night cream that has retinyl palmitate in it and you are 16 weeks pregnant. Please.
Please, please do not worry about using retinols during the day or after you've acid toned. It will be OK. They are the Number One anti-ageing ingredient. Proven. Done. Sealed deal. Game over. Modern formulations and technology can protect the vitamin a content in the formula. Check packaging on your favourite products and ask the brand directly if in doubt. And always, always use an SPF if you use any products containing retinols/high strength vitamin a - at any time.

Embrace the retinols - I can do a cheat sheet if there's a need - but they are your friend. 

The White Company Paper White Votive Candle (and Christmas preview)

Source - Quietude

A few weeks ago I gatecrashed attended The White Company Christmas Preview. To say it was the most spectacular Christmas display I've ever seen would be understating it - I'll post some pictures at the bottom of this post so that you can see I'm not, for once, hyperbolising.
This Paper White candle was in the gift bag and I am slightly in love with it. It's hyacinth, rose and lily with a woody undertone and if like me, you are a lover of white hyacinths, it's almost perfection.

The Votive Collection from The White Company are 90g in weight - they're slightly smaller than the standard candle size but much larger than a votive. I have no date for this candle's release but I will update as soon as I hear from them. Priced normally at £16.00 here.

And Christmas.....

HOW excited do I look?

An annex of white flowers and Christmas smells - my heaven

N.B. - In searching for a good hyacinth picture I came across Laura's blog - if you're looking for new blogs to follow - it's lovely. :)

N.N.B. - I didn't quite gatecrash - I did invite myself the day before :)

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