Apologies for the lack of posts - my body appears to have given in to the non-stop round of germs brought in to the house by the children and I am officially full of a horrible cold and fever. I'm getting as much work done as possible but any other time is spent in bed - I have no extra energy for blogging.
I'll be back asap with some extremely exciting news re: availability of appointments for skincare consultations etc
Starting with $700 in 1980, Paul Mitchell and John Paul DeJoria launched 4 products under the brand name Paul Mitchell. 32 years later they are sold in over 80 countries and have over 100 products in their stable.
From the beginning, they took the decision to test their products on humans, not animals. In 2010, after being on sale for many years in China, the Chinese government changed their policy on imported cosmetic goods, demanding that they be tested on animals before being allowed to retail in their country.
Paul Mitchell's response? The company ceased trading immediately and pulled out of China. In an industry where ethics are dispensed of as quickly as the cheque can be cashed, this for me, deserves to be roundly applauded and shouted from the rooftops.
Paul Mitchell have now joined forces with Cruelty Free International and are the only professional hair care brand to be awarded the Leaping Bunny - the most rigorous international no-animal-testing certification.
'Since Paul Mitchell was founded in 1980, we have been cruelty-free. We do not conduct or condone animal testing on our products, and we will not attempt to market our products in China until alternatives to animal testing methods have been accepted by the government. Paul Mitchell always has been and always will be cruelty-free!' says DeJoria.
To their credit Paul Mitchell have no problem with the Chinese people. They kept their offices in China and are working with the Government and regulators there to bring about change:
'They're not bad people - they're just doing what they think is right because of what they have been told. We can change their thinking.'
I asked John Paul if he had any advice to other brands thinking of insisting on no animal testing for their brands:
'Do it now and tell your customers you are doing it. Do it immediately! If you believe in something you better walk that walk. We are totally committed. Money is not the issue.'
How refreshing. People putting ethics before the dollar.
Here in all its glory is the most searched for item on this blog. There were over 100 searches for it in December alone so I thought I'd best get to reviewing it.
This is automatically in my Top 10 Toners.
A few things to say up front: it does contain alcohol - which I am always asked about - but it counteracts it nicely with glycerin. If I hadn't seen the inci list I wouldn't have known there was alcohol present. There is absolutely NO feeling of dryness after use.
It also contains glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acid - in much smaller amounts than P50 and Pixi Glow Tonic - there is only the teeniest sting on open skin (after extractions) so this in essence is a lovely toner that will really gently exfoliate the surface of the skin without really over-working it and thus the danger of thinning it out..however, it isn't the gentlest with the hindsight of longevity. I would absolutely keep this as one of your go-to exfoliating toners, but it's not suitable for 2 x day every day. Mix it up. Alternate with other exfoliating toners.
You'll find that the bigger beauty houses steer away from using products that are too active - and always, always, protect themselves with very safe usage directions. It's not their fault - they answer to lawyers and shareholders and have to avoid any costly lawsuits.
So this says to use 1 or 2 times a week and to avoid the eyes. I purposely used it across my eyelids and undereyes (as I always do with toner) and this is absolutely fine. On me. I'm not suggesting you pour it all over your face - just giving you reassurance that for my eyes - which are actually quite sensitive - this was fine.
It also has the must-have legal requirement labelling about sunburn and AHA usage - saying to avoid the sun for a week after use. This is bog standard EU inci legislation that has to be applied to anything containing AHA's.
Ridiculous when you consider that glycolic acid is the only one of the AHA's that actually makes you sun sensitive. Do read the packaging but don't be put off.
So yes, protect your skin and patch test on a Clarins counter if you are concerned, but this is a beautiful, softening, exfoliating, brightening, hydrating toner that should be in everyone's arsenal.
This just dropped in to my inbox and is too cute. Mother - the Lancôme addict - will be beside herself.
'La Maison Lancôme is pleased to announce a unique collaboration with one of the most acclaimed names in fashion: Alber Elbaz.
"Alber Elbaz is probably one of the creators of the most influential in the world. But more than that, this is the most talented, says Youcef Nabi, President of Lancôme. His sense of luxury, his gaze on femininity and a touch of impertinence resonate perfectly with the new values of the Maison Lancôme. We are extremely proud and happy that transposes with us for the first time, his world into the world of makeup. "
Lancôme collection x Alber Elbaz will be unveiled around the world June 15, 2013.
Never quite getting the recognition she so deserves - Michelle Roques O'Neil has been an industry stalwart for over 30 years. Cited as one of the Top 10 aromatherapists in the world by Vogue, she has worked as an industry consultant for many names you will have on your beauty shelves. Michelle is one of my Top 3 for 'Best Hands' I've ever had in a treatment - and she is easily the best for body.
Michelle's latest project is her own range, three years in the making - called Therapie.
Combining all of her hands-on experience gained from her clients with her technical know-how - Therapie is designed to heal and restore - inside and out.
Taking every part of the body into consideration, Therapie launched with shower and hair products, an aura spray, skin and hair oil and the beyond amazing Himalayan Detox Bath Salts.
I asked Michelle for her Top Tips on how to relax, restore and cope with the everyday stresses of modern-day life, starting with what not to do...
Emotions can be powerful but also draining-we get stuck in
reactions based on history, rather than perspective - our emotions are sticky,
impede one's judgement and clarity creating anxiety which can deplete internal
reserves - take a step away, rather than talking from the ‘I am’ perspective-
look at it from a more detached perspective " there is".
We have been conditioned to take action at any cost, to the
detriment of diet, sleep and our personal life. How can you understand what is
fully needed when there is so little time to be reflective?
People constantly forfeit passion and wonder why they are
depressed or low. A lack of play and inspiration restricts creativity and
Fear is a very
paralysing belief in many areas - it can have such a limiting and harmful
So in a world when no-one switches off (I know I'm not the only one who turns off the computer to get into bed and immediately open up twitter/facebook/email) and the pressure is on - how can you relax your mind and restore your sanity?!
Juicing is one of the best ways to kick start your days, often
when you’restressed, your body can find it difficult to breakdown
and absorb supplements so this is an energy packed way to get your daily five -
experiment with combination.
A healthy liver has a miraculous effect on both mind and
body, liver congestion can not only make you physically hyper sensitive but
emotionally volatile - if you find yourself snapping at people and angry, have skin
sensitivity or nausea - it's generally a sign,- limit coffee, dairy, alcohol and rich fatty foods.
Your gut normally reflects your emotional state as it is one
big processing plant, constipation can reflect emotionally as restricting flow
or holding on to things that need to be released. Equally lack of tone can mean
that there is lack of energy and inspiration. Flaxseeds are great for reducing
inflammation. Grind them and sprinkle over food. Water flows, it also helps
your internal body to flow, a cup of hot water in the morning the perfect start
to the day.
Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body; try to find moments in your day to decompress, whether it's ten deep breaths, a catnap, or mini meditation. Supplements that support hectic lifestyles include B complex, CoQ10 and flaxseed oil.
Words of wisdom from a woman in the know. If you are in need of a massage that will blow your mind - go see Michelle. More info is available here.
If you don't have the time or don't live nearby - create your own haven at home:
Therapie is available from Cult Beauty - prices start at £18.00.
So DKNY have a new addition to their 'pure' line. A Drop of Rose follows A Drop of Vanilla and A Drop of Verbena.
And it has a lovely back story about the amount of rose petals picked to make the oil and how they are picked pre-dawn etc etc..
But I stopped reading that when I smelt it. It's the closest I've come across yet to the now impossible-to-find-deleted-from-range-we-all-cried-when-it-went Chantecaille Darby Rose.
By far the best Rose fragrance I've ever used - this went out of circulation around 10 years ago (?? was it REALLY that long? *cries*) and left a lot of users bereft.
This is not exactly like it - the DKNY rose is Turkish for starters, not from Grasse - but to the average non-expert whiffer (it SO is a word) - its a good close second. So much so that I'm putting it away and saving it for Spring when I will bring out my very last teeny tiny pot of the Darby Rose body cream.
Just a quick note to say if you have emailed me recently I will be doing my best to respond to you over the course of the weekend. Work is (thankfully) crazy busy at the moment and I'm sure you can understand my responses take time to compose.
If you follow me on twitter or Instagram you'll have already seen pictures like this - this is my morning routine of the moment. I thought I'd try and put some up here more regularly as I am always asked for further details on the products. (If you see one of these pics on twitter or Instagram and want more info just give me a kick - not literally - rude.)
Left to right are:
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser - really enjoying this. I use it in the mornings if I'm feeling grubby. It's like a runny clay and just cleanses and refreshes without drying. It doesn't in any way foam - ignore the description on the link.
P50 - I'm back to this at the moment - my post-Christmas skin needed the exfoliation and there's nothing quite like it.
La Roche Posay Serozinc - as this is unbelievably not available in the UK (sort it out LRP), the gorgeous Amelia brought me enough back from Europe to survive Armageddon (THANK YOU!). Spraying zinc on top of your exfoliating toner stage gives you a little hydration before Hydraluron but more importantly for me its great for preventing breakouts. I toyed with the idea of linking to a picture saying 'WHY ISN'T THIS ON SALE IN THE UK YOU MUPPETS?' but thought it would be rude. Oh. My bad. Also sidebar: the LRP has to be one of the most confusing/long websites out there. Please also fix that. Alrighty then.
Eysilix - still using this too. It's so easy, perfect texture, great packaging and helps my dark circles - which hardly any other eye cream does.
Hydraluron - I'm changing this to 'Hironsluron' - still using it most days. Twice a day unless I'm going for an oil or balm in the evening.
Kate Somerville Deep Tissue Repair - I think this and the Goat Cream are the Holy Grail of KS's range. This takes 10 years off of my skin upon application. It is designed as a moisturiser but I use it as a serum underneath...
Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturiser - I treat this as an overcoat. It goes on last on days I am dehydrated - which in this weather and after recovering from drinking alcohol (even a little) on a daily basis over Christmas - I am.
The Kate Somerville range is still unavailable in the UK. RUDE. Please also sort that.
I'm clearly feeling very bossy today.
*the above is a mixture or PR samples, purchases and gifts. All are fabulous.
2012 was an amazing year for me. For the first time in my life I made a list of things I was determined to achieve by the end of the year. It had 5 major things on it. I completed 4 of them before the Autumn and number 5 is in progress as we speak.
I finally get the old saying 'Fail to plan, plan to fail.'
So I'm doing it again this year. I'm not making resolutions, I'm making plans.
I'm not exactly superstitious - but I am (surprisingly I know) intensely private. When I passed my driving test last May only my Husband and Mum knew what I was up to. I didn't even tell my kids. Nearly everyone I know said 'Bloody hell you kept THAT quiet.' I do. I keep the big things under my belt. This year's list has another 5 big things on it. I'll report back in a year.
What I don't mind talking about are the plans for healthier living.
I'm pretty huge on the anti-inflammatory diet these days - I have a predisposition towards inflammatory diseases on my Mother's side and with every passing year I'm more aware of the importance of taking care of myself. Not just for me, but for my family. If I don't function at my best, my family don't function at their best. That's the reality.
I've already made quite a few changes progressively in the past few years:
When I do drink, I only drink red wine - and have done for years. I wouldn't dream of drinking beer (bloat city and sugar = inflammation and fat) and spirits are over-rated.
No fizzy drinks. I may, once a month (you know!) have a can of fat coke - and enjoy it. But that's it.
No chocolate. This one is easy - I'm not a big lover anyway so don't miss it. Ditto biscuits. Meh.
So the changes I'm implementing/adding this year to my current lifestyle are: *deep breath*
No alcohol. I did this last year from Jan-Apr and didn't miss it. It's surprisingly easy. I drank at the end of April for my son's 18th birthday - he's 19 this year - I figure it's not a 'big one' so I'll be fine to carry on! I'm not sure how hard and fast I'll be - maybe until my holiday in July, maybe until the Summer gig season in June (Bon Jovi AND Bruce touring?!) maybe I won't fancy it at all - who knows? But drinking as par for the course during the week/weekends? No.
Ditto Champagne at events. Goes down easy, hits the head and stomach hard. No.
Also - a nice trick your body plays on you the older you get - that second glass of wine? Up. All. Night. I'm not kidding. I need my sleep.
Even less sugar. I'm already doing quite well but I'm going to be even more vigilant about it. Sugar = inflammation.
To continue drinking shedloads of water. I already do this. Consciously. I'm going to continue to do so.
Eat even less white foods. I'm doing ok cutting out pasta and now only have whole grain rice - but bread - I am still partial to hot buttered toast on occasion. Working on it.
The big one for me? Crisps. Wave a Ready Salted Kettle Chip in my direction and I'm up quicker than Westlife in a key change (2.19 into it). They are my crack and have to go completely. I can't just have one. Impossible. Complete and utter salt addict and they are the one thing I can mindlessly pick at while watching tv/blogging/chatting. My name is Caroline and I am a crisp addict.
No. They have to go.
Supplements. The big ones. I'm always asked what I take so:
Fish oil - I already take a minimum of 3000mg a day. I try and take anything up to 10,000mg a day. Working on maximising it as often as possible.
Zinc - I take 15mg a day.
Vitamin D - I am a sun girl and undoubtedly suffer when it disappears - like now. I take 2000 iu units a day.
Others to be thrown in when I feel I need them:
Floradix - I'm anaemic, so when I have a noticeable slump, I step it up.
Magnesium - in the evenings to help me relax and sleep.
B12 spray - I use this a LOT. I've escaped any winter cold thus far - coincidence? Maybe. I'm not taking any chances.
(Make sure you've done your research for what suits and won't suit you if you want to start taking supplements)
And there you have it. (Some) of my New Year's Day rambling/plan/list.
Wherever you are celebrating New Year's Day I wish you the best of health and hope your plans come to fruition in 2013.
Oh! I forgot one last one.
Wear sparkly, nicer shoes. I am a comfortable size 9 (11 US) and I live in trainers. Sod it. Bring on the nice shoes (sometimes).
Earlier in December I found myself at the top of the Gherkin tower in the City of London for the launch of Jimmy Choo's new fragrance Flash.
Being Jimmy Choo it wasn't exactly a low-key affair - and neither is this fragrance. After giving the original Jimmy Choo scent the biggest launch ever (officially) - they are pulling out all the stops for Flash.
Featuring a campaign shot by Steven Meisel and a beautiful bottle inspired by the flash of a paparazzi bulb, the fragrance itself is a white floral. QUELLE SURPRISE!! Look at me loving a white floral. I know. Anyway: this one has top notes of pink pepper and strawberry, middle notes of tuberose, jasmine and white lily and a base of heliotrope and white woods.
Flash by Jimmy Choo launches 14th January
Fragrance and handbags. Two things from Jimmy Choo that fit me! Yay!