Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday Instagram Catch-up

I know a lot of you don't use Instagram so I thought a catch-up would be good. I spend more time over on Instagam than I do any other form of social media. I love photography and there are SO many brilliant, inspirational accounts to follow. You really should check it out.

However, thinking primarily of my Mum, who doesn't do social media in any way, shape or form, here is what I've been up to...  :)

Stella McCartney's Green Carpet Challenge - blog post coming

Pummeling faces. Lovely.

Pretty standard day in the life of.....


Had an appt with Dr Barbara Sturm at the Dorchester to discuss her skincare line.


Tacos anyone?
Recoup and relax with these.....




Spoke at the M&S Beauty Conference. God help them.



Received some lovely personalised goodies from Soap & Glory

And Lush - this cracked me up.


Tatcha's beautiful travel kit arrived just in time for Paris Fashion Week



Celebrated Sali's book launch.

Celebrated Zoe's new beauty line with Ruth and the gang.


Photobombed literally every photo taken on the evening including this one of Zoe and Tyler. *wears flats in future*

And bumped into Nicky - a friend I have known for 29 years and literally never see. JOY.
Have a great week everyone.

Friday, 26 September 2014

An Evening with The Body Shop - See Life through younger-looking eyes

On Thursday October 9th I will be holding an evening event at The Body Shop dedicated to all things eyes.


Come down to Oxford Street between 6.30 and 8.30pm for mini-makeovers, pampering and closed-door shopping time (love that!).


To win tickets you can apply here: thebodyshop.com/tickets




Where: The Body Shop, Oxford St.
Date: October 9th
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Beauty Myths No.10 - Waiting lists


Right. Happy Friday everyone! WHOOP. Down to business. Waiting lists. You know the things. Those long lists of 'literally thousands' of people 'eagerly awaiting!'. See the Daily Fail (link warning) most days for the latest one.

Here's the thing. They don't exist. At least not in the way that they are portrayed. Nowhere is there a list with thousands of names of people eagerly awaiting whatever product that marketing company is being paid to push that week.

In the case of something like the iPhone 6, with 10 million sold in the first weekend of sales, the majority on pre-order, i.e. already bought and paid for; that's a legitimate claim. It's fact.

A 'waiting list' for beauty products simply doesn't exist in the way that some marketing departments - or brands - would have you believe. It's all hype to make you want the product more and keep up with the Jones'.

If the product is really as 'wanted' as that, release it to market, let it genuinely sell out everywhere and spread via word of mouth. Stop this nonsense. It's Friday. We're all over here just trying to chill.





Thursday, 25 September 2014

Sali Hughes Pretty Honest out today


OK I'll make this quick. If you are female and have skin you need this book
Sali Hughes (to the very few uninitiated) is a brilliant, straight-forward-talking, no-nonsense beauty writer that talks to you like she's that friend. You know the one. The one who says 'You know I love you but you look a right dog and frankly that chin needs a pluck.'


Pretty Honest combines the beauty of a coffee table book with the actual content of a reference book. It is  full of fun, useful information and observations, not fluff.
With sections on skin types, skincare, foundation, public grooming, perfume, teens, acne, red lipstick, beauty and motherhood among many, many others, the one that tells you what you need to know about Sali is 'how to pay and receive compliments'. I always judge a woman (sorry not sorry) by the amount of female friends she has*. And Sali is surrounded by women. All of whom are fiercely loyal and vocally so. Sali is a woman's woman. If you don't have that friend to tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear, Pretty Honest will be even more of a revelation to you.


Pretty Honest is out now and available at all good booksellers including ones that pay their taxes in the UK like www.waterstones.com.

Highly, joyously recommended.








* Right. A few people have asked me to 'explain myself' regarding my comment about judging a woman by the amount of female friends she has (see comments) - here's the thing *sigh*.
  • I am talking about the woman who only has male friends and is actively negative towards her female sisters.
  • I am talking about a woman who will throw her female counterparts under a bus (figuratively speaking) to impress a man.
  • I am talking about the woman who finds it impossible to offer up a compliment or say anything nice to a woman because she feels threatened.
  • I am not talking about a woman who has no/few female friends through circumstances or her own choice.
  • I am actually incredibly non-judgmental. Do what you like. When you like. (OK - within reason) That's the point. My tone is frequently ironic. As am I.
And on a side-note. I think part of the popularity of this blog is that I talk as if I am talking to a friend, not scripting a page on a blog - or cut and pasting a press release. I am talking as if we were having a chat over a cup of tea. I don't want to have to start explaining my every comment or move. Then it becomes scripted and 'too thought out' and frankly, fake. If there is one thing I'm not, it's fake. See beneath the comment for the intention. My regular readers will know me, know that my intention is always, always, to help, chat, enlighten (skin-wise I mean, I'm not the Dalai Lama), entertain and hopefully just offer a good read. The rest is up to you. Thanks for reading. And go buy Sali's book. It really is very good.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Experts. Louise Westra from ESPA Life in Gleneagles.

So I may have mentioned how I fell in love with Gleneagles in my last post. I was there to experience the ESPA Life well-being spa. Whilst there, I met Louise Westra, a naturopath leading the team at Gleneagles. Louise was so passionate and insightful about her work that I asked her to provide some top tips for a healthy life.

When it comes to 'natural' medicine I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I take a balanced approach. I took the opportunity to immerse myself in it fully when I was at Gleneagles, which was brilliant and entirely appropriate, but my children are vaccinated, I take pain medication for my back and would not try to heal cancer with acupuncture (OK I'm exaggerating, but you get my drift). Whichever side of the coin you land on, a restful break focusing solely on you and your desire to regenerate is never a bad thing. 


Top 10 ‘tips’ for the creation of real health

1. Eat proper food NOT man-made chemical compounds masquerading as food. Obviously fruit & veg should be the foundation but if you want a doughnut (or something similar) once in a while then eat one made of flour, sugar, milk, butter & eggs & NOT a hideously pro-inflammatory cocktail of 35 different ingredients (I kid you not!).
2. Ladies, if you have symptoms you have to ‘manage’ around your hormones this is your body telling you it needs help to rebalance itself & often things can be improved quite easily with the right support from a CAM* practitioner (like me). A good example is a client who consulted me in Feb this year after 10 years of ‘menopausal insomnia’ & a longer history of common hormonal issues. By the end of May she was sleeping ‘really, really well’ (her words not mine), as well as having seen improvements in her mood & digestive function.
3. Gorgeous pregnant ladies, you should be ‘glowing’ with the miracle your body is in the process of performing.  Swollen ankles, cramping legs, blood sugar issues, indigestion, constipation, nausea, itchiness, haemorrhoids are all often entirely avoidable & certainly eminently treatable with food based supplements from a qualified CAM* practitioner.
4. Look after your channels of elimination: skin, lungs, kidneys, bowel & their best friends the liver & lymph. Use (non-exhaustive list!) dry skin brushing, saunas, lymphacising (possibly not a real word but basically trampolining for grown-ups), colon hydrotherapy, keep hydrated & breathe….
5. Nourish your body with specific therapeutic foods. People used to take measures through the year to support their organs, for instance, after the deprivations of Winter, herbs such as Nettles would be collected & consumed for their nutritional density. Use real herbal teas & let them steep right down so the organic compounds enrich the water & then you.
6. In the event of a cold or cough do NOT suppress mucous. Yes, I know it’s gross but ‘better out than in’ definitely applies. Please don’t confuse this to think that I am saying you shouldn't be as comfortable as possible throughout this process and this can be achieved using a recipe such as my ‘Kick-a-germ juice’ which includes the culinary heroes garlic, chilli, ginger & fenugreek.  (Happy to provide to anyone who wants it).  For more stubborn &/or colourful phlegm nutrients such as N-Acetyl Cysteine, Potassium chloride & sulphate as well as selected herbs often ease symptoms & facilitate the removal process.
7. It’s not glamorous or sexy (come to think of it, none of these suggestions are!) but as Naturopaths we’re taught that great health starts with great digestion. So chew, chew, chew & then chew some more because the ‘stomach has no teeth’.
8. In the spirit of mutual humanity be mindful of what you say to & about others. Apply the ‘3 sieve policy before repeating anything you hear: Is it true?  Is it kind? Is it necessary?  Don’t be a gossip…it hurts you too.
9. We’re all so busy striving to ‘have it all’, break through glass ceilings (possibly dangerous & certainly painful), juggling the balance between  all the myriad aspects of life that sometimes we just need to STOP & take time to be consciously grateful for everything we do have rather than focusing on the things we want. Gratitude journals are great for this. If you haven’t done this before just literally stop & think about what you are grateful for…simples.
10. To my knowledge there has been no scientific research to-date on how much laughter is actually beneficial for us. However in this case I would say the more the merrier (unlike the doughnuts I mentioned at the beginning). No, really…Laugh it up, big time.

*Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Huge thanks to Louise and the team at Gleneagles. For more information on the ESPA Life experience look here: www.gleneagles.com/spa/espa-life



I was a guest of Gleneagles and ESPA, but I would SO go back. I'm thinking wedding anniversary in December. *hint hint Mr H*

Monday, 22 September 2014

Mumsnet Blogfest 2014



Just a quick one. I'm speaking at Mumsnet's Blogfest this year. If you're going along please do come and say hello. Sali Hughes and I are discussing the how to's and the ins and outs of beauty blogging. 


It's always an action-packed day complete with great food and good women.

For tickets look here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/mumsnet-blogfest

ESPA Life at Gleneagles


This is literally the most overdue blog post that ever was. The reason being that I was at Gleneagles when my Grandmother died back in January. So, even though it was beyond spectacular and the team were just completely beautiful and wonderful and lovely, I underestimated how traumatised I was at the time and have been putting it off ever since.
No more! *gets a grip of self*

Here's what you need to know: if there is a place that can be called Heaven on Earth, Gleneagles is it. From the location, to the building, to the facilities, to the amazing team at ESPA Life, if you need any ideas for a break, you need to experience Gleneagles. Oh yeah and if you're into golf there's that as well (not my thing *snores*). No need to worry about being a golfing widow though, you can take yourself off to the spa, go for walks, pretend you're in a James bond film, get lost in the hotel, basically disappear for days on end.


None of these pictures have been photo-shopped. That's basically the view.




I am doing a separate post about ESPA Life (immediately after this) as it is a long one, but suffice to say the team at Gleneagles are among the best trained therapists/complementary and alternative medicine practitioners that I have come across in the industry.



Go get yours.

www.gleneagles.com




Type 1 Diabetes, Mr Hirons and a bridge too far (for Mrs Hirons)

Yeah yeah, laugh away. It WAS the 80's you know. Yes that's a perm (on me, his is natural. The swine.)

Regular readers of the blog will have seen a few of these photographs before, so I apologise in advance but they are necessary to set the scene so please bear with. :)

Mr Hirons and I met in 1989. That whole 'when you know, you know' thing? Tis true. 

The tanned and thin years. 

We were two kids in to our final tally of four when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It came out of nowhere. There was no history in the family, it appeared he was just unlucky. 
That was 15 years ago. 

The care Jim received from the NHS was second to none (#savetheNHS) - and a lot of that was made possible by campaigning from Diabetes UK.

This November Jim and our boys are taking part in the London Bridges Challenge to raise funds for Diabetes UK.
Nine miles and twelve bridges. (After my Moonwalk experience I'll be providing tea, emotional support and donating on this occasion!)

If you have can spare a few pounds and are feeling generous, Jim's JustGiving page is listed below.

It would mean a great deal to our family and the funds raised will make a great difference to the lives of sufferers of Diabetes. And they do suffer, it's a relentless day-in-day-out pain in the arse (literally).

Thank you for reading and allowing me the indulgence of basically hitting you all up for cash.





Friday, 19 September 2014

Your Hormone Doctor and a 3 month supply of YOUTH


Listen up. If you are a lady of a certain age. I.E. over 40 (and 'king fabulous) - the ever-gorgeous and always glam Susie Rogers (also my ex office landlady for those of you that came for skin consults!) has written a must-have book with Leah Hardy and the Doc Daniel Sister just for you (and me).

If you feel like you've lost your 'oomph' or even that it is just taking a little break - or that it went on sabbatical and has never returned, have a read.

Regular readers will also recognise the YOUTH supplements from the blog...


I know I am due an updated supplement post but suffice to say I take these twice a day and notice a considerable dip in my energy levels when I don't. Susie has very kindly offered a lucky reader the chance to read the book and a 3 month supply of YOUTH, together worth over £180.00.

To enter simply use Rafflecopter below....

Good luck everyone - and this one is Open Internationally!

For more info on YOUTH: http://www.beautyworkswest.com/YOUTH

And to order the book: HERE.



T&C's:
  • Open Internationally
  • One winner
  • No cash alternative will be offered
  • CH (that's me) cannot be held responsible for the goods not arriving
  • Proof of Postage will be provided

Not a sponsored post, no affiliates. She's a mate. :)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ethical blogging

Working in the beauty industry and blogging about it puts me in the position of seeing the coin from both sides (as it were).
I see strange goings-on and usually dismiss them as a 'nothing to do with me', roll my eyes and just put my head down and get on with it. I've seen blogger (blagger) shopping lists and I've seen blogger demands.
In this day and age, when bloggers are still compared unfavourably to journalists (who also send shopping lists btw), I think it's more important than ever that we hold ourselves to a higher standard that that.

Today however, one of my brands received an email that was so unethical, inappropriate and with the potential to be fraudulent that I thought it may be worth a quick post to keep everyone's head in the game. The real game.

There has been a lot of talk about stats recently and I really feel for PR's and brands who are trying to decipher bloggers from blaggers and influence from paid-for stats.

We all know that stats can be bought. Twitter followers that jump to 60k in a week, Instagram, Facebook likes, we're used to that. All can be bought. I don't think a lot of PR's and brands - and more importantly - readers - realise that hits to your site can also be purchased quicker than topping up your Oyster.
I was going to demonstrate with a before and after picture of my own stats after I purchased a few hundred thousand unique hits, but as I carry ads on my blog, that would be tantamount to fraud. I am unsure if my ad agency have the software to detect such goings-on, I would assume so, but I have no intention of finding out. I take what I do seriously, this is not a game to me.

The tool that retailers use to gauge how often a product is searched for on Google - i.e. to see if there is a real demand for it and thus stock it, has thus far evaded being 'bought hits for' by this particular blog.

Google Trends can give you bang up to date knowledge of how many times a product, brand or blog has been searched for on Google. Now I don't know about other bloggers, but at least 50% of my readers come straight from Google. You lovely people just open Google, type in 'Caroline Hirons' and hit 'Search' ( and I thank you for it!) Every time that happens Google keeps a tab.

So, until that is unreliable - and it's bound to happen at some point, I would urge any PR or brand to simply do a Google Trends search if they are in doubt about a blog, the influence of a blog or even the effectiveness of their own press launch. Watching PR's compare their launches to their competition's is always entertaining. ;)

Feel free to use me in your analysis. I am an open book about getting between 100,000 and 200,000 uniques a month, depending on how often I blog and what the topics are. That equates to between 2 and 4 million page views a month for me (on a good month) because thankfully, my readers are engaged and will often read 5 or more pages/posts per visit.
Those figures will give you a baseline of where others will sit. I promise you this is no ego trip for me, you only have to search Zoella, Tanya Burr, Pixiwoo or Lisa Eldridge alongside me to give me a slap-down. And that's fine with me. Those ladies have worked long and hard to get where they are, as have a lot of us.

Interaction, influence and relationships remain the cornerstone of ethical blogging for me. I respect my readers, they respect me (for the most part) :)  and more importantly, a lot of you buy my recommendations. That is always at the forefront of my mind when I blog and I would never put that in jeopardy.

There is a world of difference between influence and hits. Some of the smaller blogs that I read have a huge influence on their readers. They are engaging and have built up really loyal followers who they interact with on a daily basis. For me, and feel free to jump in on the comments, a blog that has comments, interaction with their readers and has a definite knock-on effect in sales (where appropriate) is one that I want my brands working with. Maybe that's not for everyone, but I'm happy where I am. I sleep easy.

So if you fancy a bit of fun:

Search here; https://www.google.com/trends

All you do is click 'Add term' - you can keep going and compare 4/5 different things at a time, which is very interesting and I warn you now, completely addictive. Have fun.

It is not my intention to bring anyone down or upset the apple cart, but when I am directly involved via my day job, I feel it is appropriate to respond in kind and get a message out there. It's simply not fair. Good blogging and great blogs should, to my mind, come from the heart, not a credit card.

If you are a brand or PR that received an email in recent days from a blog claiming to be the biggest beauty blog in the UK, feel free to search for that blog alongside mine or anyone else's.
And maybe just bear the result in mind the next time someone demands an exclusive or First Class.

Just sayin'.



Now if you'll excuse me I'm just off to put the kettle on and get back to cleansers before this taste stays in my mouth.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Limited Edition Space NK In Peace EDP and the huge Beauty Anthology event


As the collaboration between SpaceNK and Women for Women International enters its second year, a Limited Edition has been commissioned that celebrates the colours, arts and patterns from the countries supported by the initiative. I never normally lift directly from a press release but it's important to get the facts straight with charitable products.

Created by Azzi Glasser, a world renowned perfumer, IN PEACE eau de parfume is designed to promote peace, and drive sponsorships for Women for Women International programmes.  The new limited edition design, ‘Eden’ by Lo Cole, which has been created to celebrate International Peace Day has been inspired by the colours, art and patterns from the eight countries in which Women for Women International operate - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Nigeria, Rwanda Afghanistan and Iraq - and is a celebration of life, light and peace.

IN PEACE opens with top notes of Pimento and Divine French Iris, soft Mimosa and creamy Suede notes follow to reveal the passionate heart of the fragrance. Finally White Musk Sandalwood and Tonka Bean infuse your senses, leaving a very feminine, lasting impression.


 Ten per cent of net profits from the sale of each bottle will go directly to Women for Women’s sponsorship programme, which supports women survivors of war to enable them to rebuild their lives and promote peaceful communities. It is also hoped that women purchasing the perfume, feel inspired by this charitable partnership and go on to become a Women for Women International sponsor themselves. 

If you fancy picking up a bottle, you may want to do so on either Wednesday or Thursday this week when Space NK hold their Beauty Anthology event...


For every purchase over £150 you will receive the above goody bag containing 28 deluxe sample sizes of their pick of their brands. 

For more details on how to get your tickets for the event look 

The Limited Edition In Peace fragrance is available now. For more details go here: www.spacenk.com/inpeace


Jo Malone London Wood Sage and Sea Salt


Jo Malone continues to go from strength to strength. The latest offering, Wood Sage and Sea Salt is perfect for this time of year. Think 'blankets on a windy beach' and you're halfway there.


As per usual, my preference is the candle, which is crisp, salty and warm and fills the gap between white floral summer and cinnamon/eucalyptus/pine Christmas perfectly.



As a brilliant touch, you can send a postcard - either e-card or paper - via the Jo Malone website.
Taking marketing and service to another level. 

The Wood Sage and Sea Salt range starts at £28.00. The exquisite candle is £40.00.

Available from all Jo Malone stockists and online at JoMalone.co.uk

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