Tuesday, 28 August 2012

MAX

When you have your first child, you worry that you will never be able to love subsequent children in the same way - with that all-encompassing, overwhelming intensity.

We lucked out. We got to experience that love four times.

The fourth time was with Max.



Proof that you can love as much as the first time, all day, every day, forever.

Happy Birthday Little Man.

Mummy and Daddy adore you.



Monday, 20 August 2012

Favourite Non-Beauty Websites and Blogs

I LOVE finding new websites and blogs - and I read a lot of sites that have nothing to do with beauty.

Below are a few of my long-term faves alongside some newer finds that I would recommend if you're at all interested in that kind of thing... and please do leave some recommendations of your personal favourites in the comments. 

In no particular order they are...

Foodie

Aran, a mother of two living in the USA makes the simplest foods look like they were sent from the Gods. Exquisite photography and beautiful food.

More beautiful pictures of gorgeous food - this one is a bit more how-to.

A new find - Polly is a two-time cancer survivor with a wealth of information on healthy living.

The complete antithesis to the sites above. For hardcore meat lovers only - vegetarians enter at your peril.


Photography

A bit of an obsession of mine - photography sites keep me engrossed for hours. 

Julie is a wedding and society photographer based in the States. Beautiful images caught with Julie's eye for detail. Warning: once you look at the slide shows in the side bar you'll be there all day.

Carlton is based in the North West and does portraits and weddings, having a particular gift for capturing children in the best possible way. He's also one of my oldest friends - we grew up together - no bias here though. Go see for yourself.

Fashion
Ok for the most part I just don't 'do' fashion. Never have. Partly because none of the clothes fit me (5"11 with a long body/short leg ratio and a real sized bottom) and partly because most of the people I have met 'in fashion' are either up themselves, dull, on coke, or all three. 
Now that I've blown any chance of that Banana Republic deal with that sweeping generalisation - on to 4 sites that are none of the above.

Jaime and I met when we both spoke at the last TOWIB event and he is utterly charming. The politest person in the room, he gave a talk on photography and when you see his site you'll see why. A mixture of boys, girls and places - its eye-catching, never dull and certainly not up itself. :)

Tory has that Park Avenue Princess look down to a T - but her blog is a nice mixture of travel recommendations, style and entertaining.

I love Kate Spade. Our affair started with her stationary when I came across it years ago in NYC. Quirky and stylish, her blog - along with her Instagram - is always fun.

I love Garance's site. A mixture of beautiful pictures, illustrations and observations - it's easy on the eye and inspiring.

What are your faves??

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Daily Makeup


A few posts ago I did a July round-up and one of the pictures featured was this (very rough!) picture snapped one morning of my Daily Face.

I've been asked a few times to list what was in the product so a quick run-down from base to lips is below:

The only foundation I wear. It's sold as a tinted moisturiser but is perfectly adequate coverage if you don't want to look too made up but do want your even skin tone back.
If you are over 'a certain age' you see the benefits of this on your face immediately. In a league of its own. 

Laura is the Queen of concealing - and this is the no-brainer concealer - comes in a pan with two different colours so you can blend accordingly with the area you want to conceal. You need to use with a brush though - just fyi.

Loving this - I don't wear eyeshadow - I just can't be fussed and my eyelid bags are more like suitcases so why make them MORE noticeable? Anyway - this little beauty does a great job of 'lifting' the area (without the use of glitter - don't get me started) and just perfectly brightens the eyes so that you look alive. Love it.

Easy to use - the right texture - I don't have the patience for powders etc. I just whack this on and blend out the ends if necessary.

The best bronzer (for my face) ever - I've hit the pan on this twice. I use it every single day without fail across the top of my forehead and just 'around' my face. Have tried other colours, other brands, every single bronzer on the market - this is the best. No competition.

I can't remember the last time I used a blusher that wasn't NARS. When you hit 40 (and upwards) you really do lose the colour in your cheeks - this - like the new CID - makes me look alive. I have about 6 other colours - this is the most used. 

I've been using this for about a month and I LOVE it. Double ended - one end for the top lashes - one for the bottom in a contrasting colour to make the eyes 'pop'. I wear the black and brown. Highly recommend.

I picked this up in Harvey Nichols and totally blame Cesar - Armani's top dude - and an old friend from my counter days. He's a total enabler. He's also a genius so if you ever need your makeup doing/new look etc - call Harvey Nics and ask when he's in. I digress. 
This is the colour used in the lipstick ad with Megan Fox. Needless to say once applied, you too will look like Miss Fox. Kinda. Not really. But it IS a perfect, divine red.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture in Rouge Laque - The perfect stays-put gloss to stick on top of your lipstick to give extra oomph or just to use on its own to give you instant red, shiny, glamorous lips. Stains a little so great for long wear coverage.

That's it. Swift, easy, long-lasting. I change the blusher and lip products regularly but the rest of it is pretty much set in stone.




La Prairie Award for Innovation in Marine Protection and the launch of Advanced Marine Biology Collection



Back in April I was invited to the press launch of the La Prairie Award for Innovation in Marine Protection in Monaco. Timed to coincide with the launch of their Advanced Marine Biology Collection, the event was held at the Oceanographic Museum - in a nod to both HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco - whose foundation is supporting the Award in conjunction with La Prairie and the heritage of La Prairie's Special Ambassador for the AMB Collection, Celine Cousteau. 
Celine's grandfather, the legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau was at one time the director of the OI.

Oceanographic Institute - Monaco








I don't normally cover 'blanket launches' but this one is different for two reasons - firstly, La Prairie have pioneered aquaculture technology - the controlled cultivation of algae, kelp and other sea plants in a protected, land-based environment. Basically - instead of pilfering the oceans and sea beds, they are growing it in labs - thus leaving no impact on the ecological system. Score.

Secondly, in conjunction with the launch, they have introduced the Award for Innovation in Marine Protection and are offering 3 prizes worth between $10,000 and $100,000 to the winner of the most votes on their Facebook page.

The three finalists are:
Marine Sanctuary Project - protecting the Mediterranean Monk Seals - one of the most critically endangered mammals.
Kalabia - a floating classroom that educates children on the importance of protecting the Coral Reef.
Toliara Reef - aims to protect the largest coral reef in the world, just off the coast of Madagascar. 

The winner will be announced in London on 12th October. La Prairie will continue to follow all three projects closely and offer support in terms of exposure of their efforts.

The Advanced Marine Biology Collection is available now and consists of five products:

Foaming Mousse Cleanser - £40 
Revitalizing Emulsion - £86 

Eye Gel - £66
Day Cream SPF20 - £86
Tonic (my favourite) - £64 

Further information on the range can be found on LaPrairieAdvancedMarineBiology.com

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A mini-break

Hi All,

Firstly thank you so much for your responses to the poll.  We had a resounding YES to a Live Clinic so I am looking in to that for the Autumn.

Also - I have finally answered all of the Clinic questions that were submitted before the cut-off point. Those of you that posted afterwards - I WILL answer your Q's - but it will be in a few days.

I have a multitude of reviews/posts/updates that I am behind on but have been so busy with work that I just haven't had the time. To the brands and pr's that are waiting patiently - thank you - I will sort it out. Promise.

But - not till the weekend. I'm heading off for a couple of days with the family for a much needed mini-break.

There won't be much relaxation as its a Theme Park - but at least I'll be able to scream my lungs off and make it 'therapeutic'. :)

I'll be back at the weekend - so will the posts!



*To any would-be home invaders - my cat sitter is scarier than me. I really wouldn't bother.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Shiseido celebrates 140 years

Shiseido have their 140th anniversary this year and to celebrate they are bringing out a host of new releases....

Radiant Lifting Foundation
Camellia Compact

Lacquer Rouge

...Limited Editions and previously unavailable in the UK - their very first cosmetic product - Eudermine.


Originally created in 1897, Eudermine - known as the 'red water', is loaded with a bio-hyaluronic hyper complex and amino acids, allowing it to penetrate deeply into the skin and keep it soft and hydrated. It is derived from Greek meaning literally 'good' and 'derma' and was originally developed to protect the skin of Japanese women from lead poisoning - as they used makeup based on white lead. (!)

Used at the toner stage, it thrills me that this is now in the UK - I've long been shouting that toners have moved far past the stage of just being an extra step in cleansing. They are the first step post-cleansing - and I have a wardrobe of about 30 that I use on a rotating basis.
If the above bottle design looks familiar its because it was designed by Serge Lutens - image creator for Shiseido since 1980.


To celebrate their 140 years, Eudermine is also being released as a Limited Edition in a ruby red bottle inspired by its original packaging.

The Serge Lutens bottle is exclusive to Harrods.

The Limited Edition is available at Shiseido stockists nationwide - both are priced £49.00.










Friday, 10 August 2012

A Live Clinic?

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick question before the weekend!

I am testing the water about the possibility of organising a Live Clinic in the Autumn. It would be held in Central London (if they are successful I will definitely visit other areas) and would probably be in October/Early November.

It will hopefully be much more than just me - with my favourite brands represented and other experts on hand for you to talk to.

It would be really helpful to gauge interest at this stage when we are looking at venues.

Would you mind showing your interest in the poll at the top of the right hand column ------>
so we know what we are dealing with? 
I.e. Whether we need a conference room or a cupboard in Starbucks? 

:)

Thank you everyone!!

Maybe I'll see you in real life soon?!


Monday, 6 August 2012

Hall of Fame - Hydraluron


Well I'm clearly a fussy cow. I haven't done a Hall of Fame in 9 months.

I've been using this for 3 days. THREE DAYS - and it's in the Hall of Fame. I think that's a bit of a world record. Even for me.

Ethos:
Manufactured by Indeed Labs whose objective is to 'eliminate all marketing hype and costs and deliver real results cost effectively'.

  • World's first hyaluronic acid that is 100% free of animal derived raw materials and organic solvent remnants
  • Paraben free
  • Propylene glycol free
  • Fragrance free
  • Suitable for all skin types

The science:
Hyaluronic acid is found in the body and is responsible for maintaining a 'reservoir of water' in the top layers of the skin. We produce it ourselves but as we age our ability to do so decreases dramatically - one of the reasons we naturally lean towards dryer, baggier skin as we get older (swine). 
Hyaluronic Acid is capable of absorbing up to 1000 times its weight in water. Basically it acts like a magnet to anything you put on top of it - so you apply this, put your moisturiser on - and it stays there - the water in your moisturiser takes longer to evaporate off the surface of the skin. 
It has a whole host of benefits throughout the body - but more importantly for me personally, a lack of hyaluronic acid in the skin leads to a slower healing time and a higher risk of bacteria on the surface of the skin - which for me, means acne. 
Acne that scars and won't heal (swine).

What's in it?
It being sold exclusively at Boots - the ingredients are obviously not listed on their website - something I've complained bitterly about for a long time.

As the print is fairly small I've re-typed below. (As usual, thanks for nothing Boots - you muppets.)

Water, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ahnfeltia Concinna extract, Carbomer, Butylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol

What's good about it?
Everything. 
  • Not dressed up as some fancy ridiculously expensive serum
  • Not full of crap
  • Does what it says on the box
  • Makes no fancy claims such as 'this is all you need' - they actually recommend using underneath your usual products
  • Gives instantaneous feeling of moisture
  • Plumps skin
  • Makes skin super-soft
  • Gives the skin a healthy glow
  • Makes your other products last much longer as you use less of them

What's bad about it?
I want a bigger size and I'd like my picture on the tube with a big thumbs up like a geek.

That's about it.

Really.

Verdict:
Everyone should own this product. Everyone except pre-teens with that perfect baby bouncy skin.
Judging from the comments in my Clinic alone, 95% of you are dehydrated at some point or another.
Get one and keep it for when you need an extra boost. Post-partying, post-travel, post-illness - or in my case every day, twice a day, until you die.
People who:
  • Are on medication and can't use much on their skin
  • Use incorrect products (without knowing)
  • Fly
  • Use any kind of public transport
  • Sit in an office with either air conditioning or heating
  • Are stressed
  • Don't have the perfect diet
  • Have the audacity to enjoy alcohol
Teens/20+
Younger skins that are dehydrated through overuse of harsh foaming products, apricot kernels *god forbid*, partying, boozing, smoking *slaps you*, anything that puts stress on your skin - you need this in your emergency go-to stash. (What do you mean you don't have one? Go get one. Now.)
30+
Skin starting to look a little drab on occasion? Makeup sinking in to your skin? A little Hydraluron under your moisturiser will fix all that.
40+++
Welcome to my world. I have no doubt your skin will be improved from using this product - unless... erm... unless you have a perfect diet, no stress at all in your life and have a facial every week. Not Gwyneth Paltrow? Buy it. (No offence Gwynnie but you get my drift)
I had a teeny tingle on the first use - lasted about 3 seconds and hasn't been back since.

I look forward to taking my makeup off just to get it on my skin.

You only need a little - it goes a long way. Use it where you feel dehydrated/dry/makeup usually fades the quickest - for me that's cheeks, entire nose area, jawline and lower brow line. 

Packaging - 5/5 - plenty of info on the box, nice soft poly tubing and a glorious pink
Texture - 5/5 - not sticky at all - which really surprised me. If it's sticky - you're using too much.
Performance - 5/5 - instant gratification, stays hydrated throughout the day
After effects on the skin - soft, smooth to the touch, visibly plumped (thus hydrated), looks healthier after one use

Hydraluron is £24.99 and is available from Boots. I've seen testers in store so you don't have to take my word for it. Go smear it all over your face. Tell them I sent you. And while you're at it - ask why they don't list ingredients on their website please?



*PR Sample - but I will be repurchasing. Again and again. I have no business affiliations with Hydraluron whatsoever. 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

July. A Visual Diary. (very picture heavy!)



R.I.P. NORA. 

The genius of Roja Dove.


Various newness to come.


Standard.

The boy. Tired.

Possibly the best tomato and red onion salad - ever.

My hydrangeas. Serious pride. Percy Thrower pride.

Webchat for Gransnet.


The Sun makes an appearance. Finally.

Birthday flowers.

Genius gifting!

Birthday shoes! And pedicure by Mercedez. 

Maggie Jones, Kensington

Smoked Chicken and Avocado Salad - one of the best things I have EVER tasted.


Stationary porn.

Good News on Berwick Street. THE magazine shop.

The Diner with Ava.

CRAZY weather.

Molton Brown Christmas in July.

Fortnum's Christmas. Sigh.

Choccywoccydoodah in Soho.

Possible the best bed pillow ever?


I see a pattern...
Cute jewellery via Smooch blog.

Gorgeous.

Time to self - JOY.

More birthday loveliness.

Daily face.

Courgette flowers from NOPI.

Lamb. Serious lamb.

NARS Foreplay Palette.

The Kirschmeister.

Wondrous chrysanths.

Frederic Malle and Fudge. Both immense. For different reasons.

A stick of chubbiness from Clinique and Victoria's Secret lands in the UK.

Daily skincare.

More amazingness from Ottolenghi.

Donna. Rules the World.

Soho.

The boy enjoying the first week of Summer hols.

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