Thursday, 30 May 2013

SkinCeuticals Giveaway (GWP)

For the month of June SkinCeuticals are giving away a full size Ultra Facial Defense SPF50 with any purchase of either Phloretin CF or C E Ferulic.

Worth £26.00

Retails at £129.00

Retails at £142.50

Both are best sellers and it's the first time SkinCeuticals have offered a giveaway of any sort. If you've always wanted to try SkinCeuticals but it wasn't affordable this could be a time to dip your toe in the water.

For stockists search here.

Skin Consultations - 11th June in Fortnum & Mason

Hi Everyone. I'm setting up shop in Fortnum & Mason on 11th June for a day of skin consultations. Appointments are being given on a first come, first serve basis. If you are interested in an appointment details are below. Don't worry if you can't make this date - I'm sure I'll be giving more dates soon. 

I look forward to seeing you! :)

Date: Tuesday 11th June
Place: Fortnum & Mason
Appointment times: 10am to 8.15pm
Price: £60.00

Your appointment will be confirmed when payment is received.

For appointments and further information please email

Please note: It may not be possible to reply to everyone immediately - but I will! And please give me at least 24 hours to reply to you. Thank you! 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Chris James Q & A and Giveaway.

Chris James is a yoga, health and well-being expert based in London although he travels extensively and is in demand internationally. I recently grabbed him (a not altogether unpleasant experience as you can imagine) to ask him for his top tips for health - and what we can be doing better for ourselves...

What are the 3 worst things you can do to your body?

1. Sitting for extended periods 
We are a nation of sloths: Nearly seven in ten of us spend 20 hours a day seated or lying in bed.
People who are on their rear ends for more than four hours a day are at greater risk from hip replacements to chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. 
While just over half of Britons believe they lead active lives, a recent report suggests that going to the gym or running up hills during the four hours you are not sitting or sleeping may not be enough to keep you healthy.
With many people in the West now spending at least half the time sitting, a significant shift in behaviour is required to make demonstrable improvements in life expectancy.
The message is clear – move more and sit less.  Spend more time standing if you want to live longer! 

2. Drink carbonated drinks
The fact is ALL carbonated soft drinks are bad for you.  Science and medical research have found that the health effects of soda include everything from tooth decay, to hyperactivity, and diabetes to obesity.  
Soda makes you age faster - All soda contains phosphates or phosphoric acid.  This common food additive enhances shelf life, but according to new research accelerates signs of ageing, severe muscle and skin atrophy, and other age related problems.
Soda makes you fat - A 2011 study by the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Centre San Antonio found that artificial sweeteners have neuroexcitotoxic properties which will impact the hypothalamus of your brain.  When the receptors on the hypothalamus are deregulated your body will perceive a state of famine and make you hungrier, slow your metabolism and store fat rather than burn fat!
Soda contributes to acidosis of the blood stream - Human beings have the same PH levels as sea water Ph7.3 / 7.4.  
When we imbibe ‘acid bomb’ carbonated drinks (typically Ph2.2) the human body tries to rebalance itself and borrows from the most abundant source of alkalinity in the human body, which is found guess where?  Exactly, you’ve guessed it – it’s  the human skeleton!  Maintaining acidic blood PH will have dire consequences for your health!

3. Smoke
Today there are few people who do not know that smoking leads to a host of diseases, many of them fatal.

Ok so bearing all of that in mind - What are the 3 best things you can do to fix it/for maintenance?

1. Practice yoga
Yoga has proven powers to boost your energy and increase your flexibility, which helps prevent injury. Yoga also has an amazing ability to put you in a zen-like mood. Studies have shown it decreases your body's levels of cortisol, which is the stress-producing hormone that causes you to gain weight around your middle.

2. Consume vegetable juice and plenty of water
Consuming 300 / 600 mls of raw vegetable juice every day will maintain healthy and slightly alkaline levels in the bloodstream, promote health, boost immune function and make you live at your optimum levels of health and vitality.  Drink at least two litres of water.
Raw Juice contains almost immediately accessible fuel for your body and is the best way to cleanse the body. Most people will absorb far more nutrients from juice than from eating foods, even raw foods, since you do not rely on your digestive system being in optimum condition (which typically it is not….).  

3. Cleanse / Detox twice a year.  
A cleanse ( allows you to press the reset button on your health, and allows you to step back from your normal diet for a few days, to cleanse your palate and get back on the healthy eating track. 
Typically you will find that by feeding yourself with juices for a short time instead of refined sugar and processed foods you will actually stop craving these foods. You will also become more aware of what you are putting into your body and attentive to which foods truly make you feel good rather than relying on food stimulants. This all means that healthier eating becomes easier when you finish your cleanse.  
By the end of your juice Cleanse, you would have simply ditched the unhealthy old you!

Are there any particular foods that you recommend to optimise health?

Absolutely - my favourite superfoods are:

1. Asparagus 
A half-cup supplies 50% of your daily bone-building vitamin K and a third of your day’s folate, it’s a natural diuretic so it banishes bloating, too.  Plus, they are in season right now!

2. Avocados
Lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and less likely to suffer from arthritis.
Recipe idea
Altruistic Avocados – a personal favourite here!  But just not too many.  Their healthy fat keeps you satisfied and helps you absorb other nutrients. 
For a new twist, brush a halved avocado (pit removed) with olive oil and grill 1 minute. Serve with red onion, sliced grapefruit and balsamic vinegar. 

3. Seaweed
Seaweed could be the most underrated vegetable in the Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace minerals.

And there's no point in talking to one of the best yoga teachers in the world without asking:

3 best yoga poses for stress relief?

One of the quintessential resting poses of any yoga practice, Child's Pose -- which involves sitting on the knees and bending forward with arms forward or by your side -- can be very comforting and self-soothing. 

Corpse Pose (Savasana)
At the end of your practice -- or anytime you're feeling overwhelmed -- try lying down flat on your back, with your arms at your sides, and simply focusing on the breath for one to 10 minutes.

Corpse is the ultimate in terms of relaxation -- it really allows the body to sink down into the ground, and it's easier to tune into the breath when you're lying on the back and watching the belly rise up and down.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Forward bends are excellent for calming our nervous system, according to Brower. The posture provides a release of the upper body and soothes the mind through gentle inversion either when practiced on its own or between poses. 

If you feel like giving your body a kick-start before the summer (assuming we are actually going to GET a summer) Chris James has offered one lucky reader a Mind & Body Cleanse set worth £120.00.

To enter simply like Chris's Facebook page here and leave your name below with a twitter handle or email where we can contact you. Giveaway closes Sunday 2nd June.

More information on Chris James Yoga and his Mind & Body Cleanse can be found on the links.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Instagram catch-up. Picture Heavy Post.

In the QVC canteen with Keeley from Elemis and Dr Lens from Zelens. And a funny moment caught on camera in the middle.

Not cheap but SO good.

My amazonian green tree frog.

Their usual brilliant selves.

Seriously what is prettier than flowering magnolia?

Lovely new perfumes from Shay & Blue.

Ava and I worked our way through this like a hot knife through butter.

Love this.


Haven't stopped using these.

A box of balms makes Lady Hirons a happy Lady.

Bottle number 2.

Chantecaille peonies. Gorgeous.

Seriously the best desert I have ever tasted. Jamie's - Westfield. Trifle with rhubarb and glazed meringue. Should be illegal.

French pharmacy bargains.

Knock-out bath.

Sunday Riley Makeup - love working with great brands.

Place setting at dinner with Ole Henriksen.

Ree working a fabulous pose, Ole and my cheeks. Well - at least that's all I see.

3 cleanser action. Standard.

The working toner shelf.

Remember that ONE day of sun we had? Used this afterwards.

My most 'liked' picture on Instagram ever. Beat Kardashian by a mile. LOL - you pen freaks!

Have no idea how I missed this immensely beautiful statue on Hyde Park Corner but seek it out.  For the Jubilee last year.

Loving so far.

Tache action for Bliss' #fuzzoff launch.

Weekend kit from Aromatherapy Associates. Coming with me to Mum's this weekend.

This is not a sponsored post by Zara Home. But it could be. I 'may' have gone overboard. My husband is somewhere under the pillows.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Neotantric Fragrances - (I am) a Sex Goddess

OK let's be clear. I am clearly not a Sex Goddess. That much is obvious. 
However, I do love this fragrance from Neotantric Fragrances.

Neotantric is a Swedish brand and each fragrance has been composed in Grasse and created by a different parfumier, whose ‘noses’ have created parfum’s for many well known global brands - along a similar vein to Frederic Malle albeit with a quirky edge.

This particular one is created by Christian Vermorel and comes in a 100ml EDT - which means I tend to spray it on my clothing to make it last longer. There are no descriptions on the bottles - you're supposed to just blind smell and pick the one you are attracted to. 
Once I saw the breakdown though it was blatantly obvious why I love it:

It's pretty much one of my favourites at each layer - fresh, then floral, then slightly deeper with warmth. Pretty perfect for those days when you can't decide what to wear - be it clothing or fragrance. Gives you a lovely whisper of a beautiful smell that doesn't overpower your mood, clothing or attitude.

I love it. I'm still not a Sex Goddess though.

More info on Neotantric Fragrances can be found here and it can be purchased at Beauty Works West - prices from £65.00

*pr sample, no affiliates

Zelens Giveaway Winners

My apologies for the delay in getting this done! I've now had the list of winners from the Zelens office and they are:

Penny Alwyn 
Maginda Gomes
Alison Hodges

Congratulations all!

You have until Monday to claim your prize. Please email with your full posting address.

Thanks to everyone who entered. And don't worry if you didn't win this time - there are plenty more Giveaways to come.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Beauty Trends Conference - September 2013

Just a quick one for industry bods. I'm speaking at the Beauty Trends and Innovation Conference this September. It looks like being a really good day if you fancy joining us?

Beauty Trends and Innovations Conference 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Thank you Pixiwoo.

So its been a couple of weeks since I did the video with Sam and Nic for BodyTalk Daily.

I was then unexpectedly mentioned in this Summer Makeup Favourites video from the girls at the weekend.

I wanted to do this catch-up post to say two things:

1. Sam and Nic rock. The better side of the industry personified - talented, sweet, so very generous and the ultimate professionals.

2. The effect of being mentioned by Pixiwoo on 2 occasions has sent this blog stratospheric - I am only mentioning this for one reason: I have been inundated with requests for help. 
People are emailing/tweeting/finding me on instagram - I am being asked for skin advice in the Post Office and spotted in the loo. (Can you imagine what its like to actually BE Sam and Nic? - I'm exhausted on their behalf thinking about it.)
With the best will in the world there is just no way I can reply to everyone - if you catch me online and I'm around I will always answer if I can - but please don't think I'm rude if I don't reply to you - it's not for lack of wanting.

Thank you Sam and Nic. You rock.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm - a rant and a review. - RE-REVIEWED 16.07.13

Let me say this about this cleanser. It comes with a flannel. Yes. A flannel (washcloth for my confused US readers). Amen, praise the maker - praise whomever you choose - I cannot deal with anymore muslin cloths. One brand says muslin cloths are better at cleaning the skin and everyoneelseinthehistoryoftheworld follows. I'm looking at you Eve Lom. And don't come at me with Cleanse & Polish. Eve Lom did it first. (Not that it's her fault that everyone and their brother copied her - that's a compliment - of sorts.)
I digress.

Here's the other thing about this cleanser. I can't decide. If I like or hate the smell, like or hate the texture - like or hate the results. I've had this for a while - before it launched - I haven't blogged it because I just can't decide - so I'm sticking with facts and a round-up at the end. I hope you don't end up as confused as me.

16.07.13 - Two months on and I like this cleanser. I still wouldn't use it to remove my makeup - it's definitely a second cleanse for me, but I do like the texture, the smell and the results. It's definitely softening.

What's in it?
Well it doesn't contain collagen - as I was asked recently. In fact, you'd be hard pushed to find the ingredients anywhere if you weren't standing in front of the box as neither Elemis, nor any of their online retailers PRINT THE INGREDIENTS. I've ranted about this before so I won't bore you with it again - but seriously - it's borderline arrogance to me that brands don't a: list the full ingredient list on their sites and b: insist that their other stockists do the same. 
How do you expect your customers to make an informed decision about purchasing a product if they do not know what is in it? And not just the ingredients you want to 'push' - all of them.
So here, in all their iPhone glory are the ingredients:

Now why couldn't Elemis have provided that? There's nothing to apologise for in that list - in fact Elemis make a big deal of saying what they don't contain - parabens, mineral oils etc - so why not say it loud and proud? 
On your website?

What's good about it?
Mineral oil free, paraben and SLS free - good almond oil base. Gives a great massage medium for second cleanse - or only cleanse if you aren't wearing a lot of eye makeup. The flannel! I like the smell.

What's bad about it?
It contains shea butter so I would consider avoiding if you are prone to breakouts/acne. Hardens slightly in colder temperatures so can drag slightly on the skin if not warmed in hands before - which you must do as this is aimed at 'mature' skin - the last skin type you want to be 'dragging'. 
If you keep your cleanser in your bathroom you should be ok though. Not great for eye makeup removal - leaves traces of mascara and a film on the skin. I have to pre-cleanse if I'm wearing makeup and give an extra wipe with the flannel to make sure it's all off before I tone.

The Pro-Collagen range is to Elemis what Lime, Basil and Mandarin is to Jo Malone or Touche Eclat is to YSL in that it is their 'pension fund' range.
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream was such a huge runaway success for Elemis that it was only a matter of time before they extended the line. Elemis fans will no doubt LOVE this and say that I am insane. And that's great - if it ain't broke, don't fix it on my account.
All that being said, I'm just not overwhelmed with enthusiasm. 
It is good, it's not great
To give more context, it's easily better than Eve Lom, but it wouldn't stop me buying another balm cleanser. Then again, what would? :)
I happily use it, but it wouldn't be my first choice. But it IS good. So much so that I have 3 of them - and I won't be giving any of them away - I'll keep them and use them all (I KNOW).

I'm just confused. Sorry Elemis. 

I do like it. I'm not obsessed with it - but I do like it. Especially for good gripping massage!

Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm is available on and is £39.50. 

16.07.13 - Still £39.50 and still no ingredients on the website.

Please do let me know if you have had great results with this - I love Elemis as a rule and want to play fair.

Decleor Aroma Sun Expert SPF 50 and 30 Protective Anti-wrinkle Creams

Next up is Decleor - which is hands-down my favourite suncare packaging - they nailed it with the pinky/red. It's pretty perfect - and so easy to spot in your bag when you're wearing dark shades!

Available in three strengths:

One size:

'UVA' symbol on pack:

Water resistant?:
Resistant - Yes
Waterproof - No

Perspiration resistant?:

Rub resistant?:
Not stated.

Feels like a normal moisturiser - takes slightly longer to absorb than some - not that that's a bad thing.

SPF mixed with fresh floral - very nice.

Suitability for darker skins:
I tested the 30 and the 50. Absorbs very well with little trace. SPF creams really have come a long way since the days of making us all look milk-bottle white.

What else?:
Contains a DNA Protection Complex and Sol-Collagenine anti-ageing complex in addition to the SPF. More skin 'care' for your dolla.

Gorgeous suncare range that sits much more on the 'skincare' side due to higher price point. This is £28.00 for 50ml. Buy it when it's on GWP!

Available on (which currently has a GWP)

*PR samples

Clarins SPF 50+ and SPF30 Sun Wrinkle Control Cream

Available in three strengths:
There is a wider selection available - I'm just focusing primarily on the face.

One size:
75ml (nice big fat size)

'UVA' symbol on pack:

Water resistant?:
Resistant - Yes
Waterproof - No

Perspiration resistant?:

Rub resistant?:
Not stated.

Goes on and feels like a normal face cream - absorbs well

I love the smell - if you've ever used Clarins SPF before you'll know the scent. Same every year. Reminds me of the SUN!

Suitability for darker skins:
I tested all three strengths on all but the very darkest skins. I don't think this would leave any residue or tell-tale SPF trace on any skin.

What else?:
Contains a Clarins patented Phyto-Sunactyl 2 Multi-Cellular protection complex - which in layman's terms is designed to strengthen and reinforce the skin and protect from collagen damage. 
These photos don't show the circled UVA logo mentioned on the SPF cheat sheet - but it is on the packaging of this year's products - which I have - meaning that at least a 1/3 of the UV protection is UVA.

I love Clarins sun products. Everyone used to rave about Lancaster (good - but not the be all and end all) but for me Clarins have always done sun well. It's hard to go wrong to be honest. 
Good sizes, good technology, good price. 
What's not to love?

Clarins is available on and is highly recommended.

*PR samples

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Pixiwoo's BodyTalk

A couple of weeks ago and I sat down with Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo to talk about skincare. I say 'talk'. I mean 'rant'.

Thank you to the girls for having me and the team for being so hospitable. Next time we should do it with wine. :)

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