Friday, 1 November 2013

L'Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil

Cleansing balms and oils take a whole day's make-up off in literally seconds without drying or irritating the skin - ideal for the harsher winter months ahead! I tried the new L'Oreal Skin Perfection Oil as I'd heard it through the beauty grapevine that it is a complete dupe for Shu Umera Cleansing Oil, at a quarter of the price.

One or two pumps of this luxurious oil, gently massaged into the face over your make-up, removes all traces of the day - even tough mascara. I usually rinse and repeat to get the best results and am left with a supple, soft and gently cleansed complexion. I have tried the Shu Umera Cleansing Oil and loved it too, so I just can't decide which I prefer as I genuinely believe my skin feels the benefits of both - however my bank balance certainly feels the benefit of using L'Oreal's version. 

Have you tried cleansing oils or balms? Which do you recommend?

Skin Perfection 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil | L'Oréal | £7.99 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Shoreditch House

Occupying the top three floors of an otherwise nondescript warehouse building that our taxi driver didn't even know how to find, Shoreditch House is an exclusive members only club that offers celebrities, jet-setters and London's high flyers a chance to unwind in complete comfort and privacy. As I am sadly not a member or celebrity just yet, it's safe to say I was pretty excited when I was invited to stay with a guest.

The ground floor reception area is marked by a modern design and soft lighting, perfect for the bleary-eyed rock stars to stumble in and elevate to the fourth floor, a cavernous private party space large enough to accommodate 150 people and its own cinema and bowling alley.

The bedrooms are in contrast a haven of tranquility with luxurious fluffy robes and slippers, the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in and all the technology you could need, from a flatscreen tv, free wireless and ipod docks with digital radios in every room. Decorated in calming neutral tones and white wood panelling, it feels more like being in a French country house retreat than in the middle of gritty East London. Then there's the bathroom with a huge monsoon shower you could happily spend the whole evening in, fully stocked with yummy Cowshed treats for the ultimate pampering session.

After chilling out in our room, we headed to the über-trendy bar where a casually cool and friendly staff member led us to a private seated area. Stumped by the extensive cocktail menu, we followed our bartender's recommendation and went for a ginger infused concoction. Unfortunately the ginger was far too strong for my liking - which my face struggled to hide - so the barman very generously offered to make me an utterly delicious mojito instead. 

As it was a warm and pleasant night, we headed up to the very top floor and sat by the pool. The incredible view over busy London down below and the stars above reflecting on the water really made this the hotel's highlight in my eyes.

Shoreditch House is an amazing place to stay - the trendy location, relaxed vibe and service could not be better. As for it being a members only hotel, I say if you can afford the membership fee, then this is definitely worth the investment.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Rose Round-up

To me, a rose is a timeless flower that encompasses eternal beauty. I've always loved roses of any colour and description, so receiving them is something I generally encourage! It's only recently I've become more aware of the benefits that rose has on my skin.

The Care Oil
Oil is great for all skin types - ignore the myth that oily skin should avoid it - especially one as beautifully nourishing as Darphin's Rose Aromatic Care Oil. The oil instantly refreshes and awakens a tired looking complexion, while re-balancing hydration levels and restoring natural radiance. Darphin's skin-quenching concentrate blends pure Rose and Bay Saint Thomas Essential Oils with Rose Hip and Evening Primrose Oils in an exquisitely fragrant, luxurious formula and a really indulgent treat to apply each night.

Organic Rose Aromatic Care Oil | Darphin | £44

The Treatment
This is the perfect time of year for a little bit of spa action. Combine a relaxing treatment with luxurious roses for the ultimate indulgence. Danesfield House Hotel and Spa in Marlow on Thames is launching a brand new luxury Rose Infinity Facial. The ground breaking Rose Infinity Collection uses Nobel Prize winning research that works at a cellular level to repair ageing DNA, radically increase moisture levels and stimulate collagen production. Wrinkles and lines are plumped out for visibly smoother, younger looking skin. A gentle, natural enzyme peel works to re-surface and illuminate while enabling the products to penetrate deeper into the skin. At the same time the tailored anti-ageing massage helps to stimulate circulation and diminish puffiness. The Rose Infinity facial harnesses the most advanced natural ingredients with cutting edge technology to reveal younger looking skin and a radiant complexion.

The facial launches on Friday 11 October 2013 and on the day of the launch the Spa at Danesfield House is offering a 45 minute hands on Rose Infinity Taster Facial for £50, which includes a £50 discount off any 2 Aromatherapy Associates products bought on the day. Amazing.

Rose Infinity Facial | Danesfield House | £50 for 45 mins on launch date, £105 for 85 mins thereafter.

Hands give away your age more than any other part of the body. Take extra special care of them during the harsh winter months with Jurlique Rose Hand Cream. Beautifully scented and infused with rose extract, its luxurious formula makes hands velvety soft and supple. I actually have a hand cream in each of my handbags and my desk at work and my bedside table. Seriously.

Rose Hand Cream | Jurlique | £33

The Scent
No rose bouquet to scent your room at all times? Jo Malone's Red Roses candle is literally the next best thing. Such a beautiful smell with a burning time of 45 hours - it definitely lasts longer than the fresh cut real deal.

Red Roses Home Candle | Jo Malone| £39

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Chocolate & raspberries - Bobbi Brown's sweet treat

What could be more delicious than bittersweet chocolate and juicy raspberries - the inspiration behind the Rich Chocolate collection by my all time favourite make-up brand Bobbi Brown.

I am drooling over the collection's Rich Chocolate Eye Palette, which features the perfect Atumnal chocolate brown tones in an array of textures and finishes – from matte and soft shimmer to a sparkly number. All can be worn alone or layered for a smoldering look, classic Bobbi style.

Alongside the palette, the Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Bittersweet looks more tempting than a galaxy bar, and to complete the autumnal eye look, both of Bobbi’s fan-favourite eyeliner formulas – Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and Long-Wear Eye Pencil – are available in deep chocolate shades. Delicious.

Add a slick of berry on the lips with the mouth-watering Lip Colours in Baby Pink and Berry. Finally,  a flush of blush in Pink Coral or limited edition Berry for a look good enough to eat.

I'm going to have to get down to Selfridges asap as all products are exclusively on sale there until 29 August. Keep your eyes peeled for a Katie Holmes inspired chocolatey look on here soon!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Newsworthy x 3

Sometimes there's so much excitement around a new product that you don't know whether it genuinely is an amazing new find, or if everyone's just jumped on the bandwagon thanks to clever marketing. I have to say, I purchased all three of these products purely on the buzz that surrounded them, but I am here to tell you all the wonderful news that they are worth the hype!

John Frieda | Full Repair Touch-up Flyaway Tamer | £10.99

Remember hair mascara?! Sadly, I do. Though the new John Frieda Flyaway Tamer may look similar, it is luckily nothing like that dreadful 90s trend of painting a selection of your hair a ghastly colour in the name of cool.

This magic wand actually makes your hair LOOK BETTER. It's a nifty little handbag-sized hero with such a straightforward concept (smooth flyaways quickly and effectively) you may think "Isn't it just a serum in expensive new packaging?" Well yes...and no.

Like with a serum those annoying, unsightly split ends and frizzy post-rain hairs are smoothed away.  

However its weightless, gel-like consistency and wand applicator mean you easily and evenly distribute the product only where needed and run no risk whatsoever in grease ball-ing - especially if you don't have a mirror on hand to see what you're doing.

During the cold months of winter I'm all about slathering my self in luxurious body butters and keeping my skin as soft as the blankets I'm wrapped up in. 
Come summer it's a different story. Who can really be bothered? Especially in this heat, the mere thought of applying thick creams is making me feel hot and sticky. 

This was a purchase almost entirely influenced by the hype surrounded by it, mixed partly with the fact it was on offer in Boots. Jump out an ice cold shower and spray the light yet deeply moisturising lotion all over your body. It feels like I'm misting myself with water. Skin smoothing, deliciously cocoa-butter scented water.

Nivea | In-Shower Body Moisturiser | £2.36

And so this next product makes the previous product, which I loved, sort of obsolete.

The clever folks at Nivea understand the dilemma I have now dubbed CBAM (Can't Be Arsed Moisturising).

It's pretty much a conditioner for the skin. Use after washing, massage into the skin a little and rinse off. This stuff really works though and out of my chosen 'hype worthy' mix is the cheapest too!

You can get dressed right away as the result is instantly moisturised skin in a flash, that lasts all day thanks to the deeply conditioning almond oil.

Do you ever buy a product purely to see what all the fuss is about?

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Mildreds feast

Unassumingly named, Mildreds is a cool, laid back vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Soho, that really lets the food do the talking. Always buzzing, yet strictly no bookings - it is popular amongst both veggies and omnivores alike.

I've been vegetarian since I was eight years old and up until a few years ago really struggled to find restaurants that understood that a meat substitute didn't simply equal bland pasta or a plate of chips - even in a forward thinking capital like London.  I think vegetarians are more open to trying out new combinations of flavours and foods which, judging by the menu, is something Mildreds takes full advantage of. From hefty burgers to burritos to curries and pies- it's a traditional menu made innovative by the ingredients - all served up as reasonably priced, meatless fare.

I was very excited at the prospect of Ollie treating me to a meal here as celebration for both our new jobs. He on the other hand, as contented omnivore, wasn't so sure and had planned the route home via an array of fast-food chains, just in case. I am happy to report this was not necessary.

To start we had Gyoza dumplings and quesadillas, I then had the Sri Lankan curry and Ollie the risotto cake with shared sweet potato fries (literally the best in the world) and a peanut butter chocolate brownie for dessert. Wow. My date, combined with the recent good news for us both obviously made this an amazing night regardless, but the food, atmosphere and friendly service were spot on too.

I really recommend this lovely little restaurant to everyone who wants a good meal in an unpretentious setting. 

Please share any other great places with interesting vegetarian options in London with me!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My London calling

This post is more of a diary entry than anything of real journalistic value. But sometimes good things happen. Like really, really good things. And that's when you realise that working your butt off and not giving up actually pays off and you just want to share it with the world via your blog.

I'm back in London, with a new job I am loving, staying with my oldest London friends whom I've know since halls, feeling a little bit "am I dreaming/ is this actually happening?!"

I have been busy busy at my first week at work, but have managed to fit in some downtime too, seeing my favourite people and visiting my favourite old haunts. And even when working I get to spend my lunch hour sunning myself in Kensington Gardens which is always good in my book.

I'm still stressing (of course!), as I don't have a flat sorted yet and I lost/someone stole my iphone yesterday... but I actually don't mind because I know those thing will sort themselves out too. And in the meantime I get to spoon Henrietta Young each night. Perfection.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Bumble & Bumble Thickening shampoo

Often beauty pages will suggest to scrimp on the quality of shampoo in favour of a higher-end conditioner, and I would usually agree with this sentiment. All shampoos do their job of cleaning - it's the conditioner that works the magic in terms of end results, right? Well, the clever people at Bumble & Bumble have made me re-think the power of a good old shampoo.

Like most haircare ranges, Bumble & Bumble's products are tailored to suit individual hair concerns. I have lots of hair, but it's very fine so I am always on the lookout for products which offer to create full-bodied, voluminous hair (aka The Dream).

Ideally you would want to invest in the whole Thickening range to really get the best results, however I have often just used the shampoo with no product or styling afterwards and the results were still incredible. This shampoo really lifts the hair and texturises it whilst moisturising without weight, sealing split ends and taming flyaways. 

I would never usually advocate spending 
£18.50 on a shampoo (the whole range would cost approx £60), however as clichéd as it sounds a little really does go a long way and it has been a month of daily usage leaving me with over half the bottle left... and the results, well they speak volumes. Go Bumble!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Lusting after bling: Katie Lees Jewellery

I was browsing in a pop-up shop in Glasgow's Flat 0/1 when I first spotted Katie Lees' unique designs. Like a magpie I was instantly drawn to her range of statement rings - some simple, some so intricately detailed and structured - to be worn alone or stacked high up to your knuckles. The lusting began. 

Katie is a designer whose unique style is defined by the perhaps incongruous concept of creating finely crafted jewellery, of silver and semi-precious stones, from the heavy industrial aesthetic of the shipbuilding history that has moulded her home city of Glasgow.

From her studio on the Isle of Arran, these evocative forms are translated by hand into finely crafted jewellery - another reason to add to the list of why I love Arran (others including the whisky and the soaps...). Her unique style lends itself well to bold statement pieces as well as smaller, more subtle forms.

Although Katie's designs do seem very fashion forward, I actually think they are really timeless pieces which will look good regardless of the current statement jewellery trend. A Katie Lee piece is something I would treasure as a special gift, something to mark an occasion or something to really treat myself to and love forever. The items aren't cheap, but that just reflects the quality and the one-of-a-kind designs - something you don't get from a high-street range.

If you have fallen for the collection as much as I have but can't catch a ferry to Arran then fear not! All of Katie's collection is available online at

My pick of rings from the website:

'Crank' ring gold vermeil | Katie Lees Jewellery | £188

'Gauge' ring III |Katie Lees Jewellery | £124

'Warp" ring gold vermeil | Katie Lees Jewellery | £138

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Take three: hot pink

A pop of colour can make a look, so what would three times the recommended dose do? I usually wouldn't co-ordinate make-up colours, as matchy-matchy can look naff.  However, I am currently a little bit obsessed with all things hot pink - to the point of thinking "the more magenta the merrier" in terms of the colour on my face.

Tread carefully though - too much pink can make you look like a slightly deranged barbie doll. My top three hot pinks (to be worn alone or all at once) are a fail proof way of adding a smack of colour with ease.

Enter Clinique Chubby Stick in Pudgey Peony - a hot, hot pink with slight purple undertones. As it is in the form of a beloved Chubby Stick, it applies like a dream. Conditioning the lips whilst adding a dollop of bright colour with no need for lip liner or brush - who knew being on trend could be so simple?

Next on the face is something I was a little wary to try. Smashbox is one of many brands I have recently seen who have a bright, garish looking blush in their repertoire. In the past anything so attention-grabbing would have made me run a mile, but why would they sell something that would make you look like you applied your face in the dark? This point proves correct after trying this almost neon pink blush in Radiance (it is brighter in real life than the picture shows) -  and the results being a subtle flush with a modern twist. Just make sure you apply lightly with a fluffy blusher brush to avoid any streaks.

If there's one way to safely try out colour, it's on your nails. This Bobbi Brown pot of loveliness in Pink Valentine is what first got me hooked on hot pink. It requires two coats, but lasts for ages without chipping. Matching lips and nails? I'm converted... and I'm not the only one (Miranda Kerr and designers at LFW to name but a few)!

The overall look of pink on pink on pink is a very modern take on the often avoided colour and by keeping the rest of the pallet neutral, it is just on the right side of 'girly'.

Get the look with: 
True Match Foundation in Ivory | L'oreal | £9.99
Radiance Blusher | Smashbox | £19
Chubby Stick in Pudgey Peony | Clinique | £16
Eye Bright pencil | Benefit | £15
Lash Extend Mascara | Model Co | £28 (or FREE in this months Glamour mag)
Nail polish in Pink Valentine | Bobbi Brown | £11

How do you wear your hot pink? And what do you think of matching lips and nails (and blush!)?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

HOW TO: Get glowing skin

In the warmer weather, I want to be able to skip the heavy foundation without looking pasty and corpse-like. Not too much to ask for, surely? Here are my ultimate glow-getters for a radiant, fresh complexion...

1. Good skin starts from within. So drink plenty of water! Around 8 glasses of water a day is what I try to average. Herbal teas count towards this, but don't be fooled into thinking coffee does too - caffeine hugely dehydrates the skin, making it appear dull and lacklustre. As I love my coffee too much to quit, I ensure I drink one extra glass of water for each latte I have. I have also recently swapped my regular morning coffee for some hot water and lemon and am already noticing a huge difference to my skin. Drink up!

2. If your skin isn't prepped properly, then all my tips after this one won't work half as well. Balance Me Radiance Face Mask is wonderful for polishing and perfecting skin, creating a perfect canvas for any make-up to follow. Ground walnut shells gently slough away dead skin cells and encourage cell renewal, purifying kaolin clay helps eliminate impurities and the fruit acid complex works on restoring the skin’s natural radiance.
Radiance Face Mask | Balance Me. | £18

3. Hydration is key, and a good moisturiser will pay dividends. This nifty little one by Soap and Glory contains a "Swiss Moisture Matrix" for long lasting hydration and protection, as well as the "Bronzeburst Beads" which give your skin a sun-kissed, golden glow without the nasty fake tan look.
Glow Job Daily Radiance Moisture Lotion | Soap and Glory | £10

4. If you prefer no colour but still want an instant glow, try the Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm from Elemis. This is an everyday treat that instantly evens and brightens skin tone. The powerful formulation of vitamin complex helps protect against moisture loss, making it a must-have for long-haul flights and can be worn alone or under foundation depending on your needs. 
Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm | Elemis | £32

5. Replace your ordinary, often drying powder for this Brightening Finishing Powder - an all-over powder that instantly illuminates and gives skin a healthy-looking glow. It's infused with a skin-brightening blend of mulberry and grape extracts, as well as Sodium Hyaluronate (loved for its moisture magnet-like effect) to help keep skin fresh and smooth looking. It comes in a stunning compact for touch-ups throughout the day.
Brightening Finishing Powder in Porcelain Pearl | Bobbi Brown | £40

6. Don't let dark circles ruin the radiant effect. Ensuring you get enough sleep and are following Step 1 by drinking plenty of water, your under-eye bags should diminish. Some of us have darker colourings under the eye area regardless, and for this  Rimmel's Wake Me Up under-eye concealer is superb. It strikes the perfect balance between coverage and illumination, creating flawless results.
Wake Me Up Concealer | Rimmel London | £5.49

7. In order to look awake and healthy, skin needs colour. This little multi-tasker by NARS provides the perfect flush of colour for eyes, cheeks and lips. Its unique creamy formula and sheer color blends effortlessly to create shimmering accents, contours or dynamic highlights on all skin tones.
The Multiple in Portofino | NARS | £30

Do you have any top glow-getter tips to add?

I will be doing a review on different brightening face-masks soon - is there any you recommend I try?

Monday, 17 June 2013

West End musings


Sometimes if you are so obsessed with a certain situation, (for me it's work, work and more work - always looking to the future and the next big thing) you often forget to relish the moment you are in right this very second. I am always striving to do better, move forwards, get there faster. I frequently need to remind myself to live in the present and just enjoy the ride.

So yesterday I took a break and went out with a friend to rediscover the West End of Glasgow. It really is my favourite part of town - it reminds me of a mini, slightly dishevelled Covent Garden. The cute coffee shops, independent boutiques, cobbled streets, the busker shouting "awright hen gies a smile!" - ok no, that's just Glasgow...

I found a new favourite hang-out: Avenue G's coffee bar - who serve Monmouth of London's coffee! I literally died and went to heaven with my extra large, soya latte delight. The waiter almost definitely thought I had a screw loose when he caught sight of me as I kept smelling my drink (nothing beats the smell of decent coffee). So with a slight caffeine-induced high we took to the botanic gardens and even though grey skies were looming, people were out in their shorts and queuing up at the organic ice-cream van. Each time an elusive ray of sunshine peeked through the clouds it felt like a dreamy summer's day.

The final picture I have posted may seem completely unrelated, but is in fact a huge contributor to the day's success - a brand spanking new pair of the bluest of blue jeans from my all time favourite, Whistles. (Blog post dedicated entirely to said trousers will follow shortly). I am slightly in love with them.

My lesson for today is basically this: when you really look at your present surroundings and appreciate them, it makes the journey to wherever you are headed seem all the better. It just helps when good coffee and shopping are involved, of course.