Accessorize Nail Polish - £4 (err, wow!)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Oh how I covet glitter nail polish. I fall hook, line and sinker for owt that sparkles (can't lie) but, in all honesty, blingin' nails appeal to my slummier side. A couple of coats of razzle-dazzle hides a multitude of sins and usually stays on for *whispers* weeks - perfect. I also like the fact that glitter gives a slightly rounded, built-up effect (a bit like gels), which makes short, stubby nails look a whole lot chicer. I picked up this beauty - called Molton Copper - in Accessorize for £4, with another nail colour and a blusher which I will post on soon. 

Hot stuff: Accessorise nail polish in molton copper

I can't say I was expecting much. Initial impressions were decidedly cheap and cheerful but I impulse-bought purely for the colour; a gorgeous copper with a rose gold undertone. On the nails, however, it sings with a dense super-sparkly effect that reminds me of glitter encrusted party shoes. To get the best result you do need to use a slightly different application technique. On my first attempt I brushed it on in strokes which deposited the barest smidge of glitter - wrong, wrong, wrong. Trying again, I realised you need to dab the polish on in tiny blobs (technical term), and then buff it around with the end of the brush to achieve the intensity. If your kids use glitter glue you'll know what I mean. I'm making it sound like hard work when in fact it was very, very easy.

After two layers I sealed with a top coat and ta-da! SHOWTIME. Aztec, the second shade pictured above, was 'nice' enough. It has the blue bottle wing effect (sort-of), that everyone's been going mad for but fell flat as a pancake compared to the stellar Molton Copper. 

What do you think. Would you wear grown-up glitter? x

Sequins For The Soul

Thursday, 24 November 2011

One of my favourite sayings, which I'm going to paraphrase as it's a little on the - ahem - crude side is, 'you can't polish a poop but you can roll it in glitter.' I totally subscribe to this view of life. It may seem a little on the superficial side to focus on veneer (beauty products, make-up, vanities etc), but I firmly believe that feeling good about how you look on the outside works wonders for how you feel on the inside - and vice versa. We all have times that are, let's face it, really quite blah. My 'sequins for the soul' always involves something kitsch (preferably leopard print), retro-inspired, foot-based (pedicure/reflexology), or just ridiculously sparkly. Failing that there is always wine, The X Factor and After Eights. Easily pleased.

Exhibit A: Warehouse leopard print clutch, £45 at ASOS
Totally tempted. Can a girl ever have too much faux leopard?

Exhibit B: Aromatherapy Associates 
Deep Relax bath oil , £37. Known in our house as 
the 'knockout drops.' Fantastic for the fatigued

Exhibit C: I've got my magpie-eye on this black-based
nail lacquer laced with blue, silver and pink glitter
 from Butter London, £12. Available at Harvey Nichols

Exhibit D: a very retro christmas -
Gisela Graham glitter snowflake around £4

Exhibit E: BB - Priceless sunshine and sparkle

What are your sequins for the soul? x

LOVE Living Nature

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Living nature's firming flax serum leaves my skin
feeling toned but not taut

I've been using this super little serum for the past month and - wow - it's a keeper. I'm not a huge fan of serums per se. I don't like the feeling of my skin being suffocated under a blanket of silicone, the ingredient that tends to be used to give serums their 'silky' feel. This one, however, is certified natural, silicone-free, preservative-free and performs beautifully leaving skin ultra-smooth and soft. Whilst Manuka honey and rosehip oil do a grand job of boosting moisture and softening the signs of ageing, the really interesting ingredient in this serum is harakeke flax gel. Native to New Zealand (from where Living Nature hails), harakeke has a mildly astringent effect on the skin that temporarily reduces the appearance of pores, firms and creates the perfect canvas for make-up. And when I say this serum has a firming-factor, it really does. Not in an unpleasant taut fashion - there's no obvious egg-white type film left on the skin - rather your complexion just feels fresher and more toned. It's a lovely, lovely product.

The harakeke plant

Holding just 13mls of serum the pump-bottle is of a rather diminutive stature but, as I always say, good things come in small packages. A little goes a very long way and for those with combination/oily skin - like me - you could probably get away with using it as a day moisturiser. Don't forget SPF though! For drier complexions I would follow with a moisturiser suited to your skin type. 

* Living Nature Firming Flax Serum is £22.45 and available at Living Nature.

Happy Hands

Thursday, 17 November 2011

There's nothing quite like the compare and contrast shocker of glimpsing your toddler's plump palm in your own chapped mitt. Or the photo reminder that reveals your speed-aged hands used to look smooth even against a newborn's skin. With kids, hands are constantly submerged thanks to the relentless cycle of stuff to wash; dishes, clothes, bottles, backsides - toys fished from out of the loo - repeat, repeat, repeat ad infinitumThe stripping nature of some antibacterial soaps, wipes and detergents can cause the skin's natural barrier function to protest leaving them itchy, irritated and - in severe cases - cracked and bleeding. As my boy would say, 'it's not beautiful.' Since BB came on the scene my hands have been on a downward spiral that's been hard to halt and I hate relying on hydrocortisone. Here are a couple of products I've been trialling religiously which have hands-on-heart helped - you might like them too x

Orba Originals Relief Cream -
helps to cool and calm irritated skin

Left: Nurture Protect SPF15 Hand Cream.
BB aged 2 hours old - before my hands
entered a life of domestic service

Verdict: Despite the fact that this cream is designed with Psoriasis sufferers in mind I've found it has helped heaps in conditioning the tight, chapped skin across my hands and fingers which gets mighty itchy, inflamed and unsightly. The cooling cream formula, enriched with goat's milk extract, has a similar texture to old-fashioned cold cream cleaner and has noticeably reduced the heat and redness of some particularly sore patches on my hands. Relief Cream can be applied any time, anywhere (on the face and body), but I have found it best used as an over-night treatment. Layer it on thickly and your hands almost breathe a soothed sigh - aaah! Made from a blend of lipid-rich, nourishing oils including borage, evening primrose, apricot, jojoba and avocado it's my new winter must-have for buffering reactive, sensitive skin and a real pleasure to dip into. Please note that online this product is called Psoriasis Cream

Verdict: It's hard to get excited about a hand cream when they're usually a dull, functional necessity but this one I could do - yes, really. Nurture is a fantastic skincare line with a holistic approach to skin health; supplements for the inside and products with performance anti-aging actives for the outside. I'm currently trialling some of the ranges new skincare - which I will post on at a later date - but I can already see that the lab sample of neck cream is doing sterling, smoothing work. Back to the hand cream in question. Cocoa butter, glycerin and sweet almond oil plus green tea extract, vitamin E and UVA/UVB filters all add up to a formula that's nourishing yet not at all greasy. I use this several times a day and - unlike some hand creams - the moisturising factor actually lasts. You can still feel it on your skin several hours later. Love it! Another thing to love about Nurture is that all of their products are tax free and delivery is free too. Good stuff.

Notes On A Theme

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

If I had £140 burning a hole in my pocket (which sadly I don't), I would be SO tempted to 'invest' in this stunning stationary collaboration from Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders and Smythson of Bond Street. I love everything about it; the buttery leather, the graphic clasp, the complete exquisite luxury but, most of all, I dig the colour combination. Camel, red, black and gold are enduringly chic tones conjuring cashmere sweaters, inky eyeliner and iconic actresses of the late 60's - think Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde.

Designs on style: jonathan saunders
2012 panama diary for smythson

To re-create the colour theme with make-up it's all about understated yet expensive-looking textures and tones. On the eyes, I would go for Jemma Kidd Firming I-Creme Duo in Tweed £20, which gives lids a polished, modern and - key as you get into your 30s and beyond - smoothed effect. I use the tan shade as a wash (blended out to nothing), right up to the brow and then press a dab of the metallic tone onto the centre of the lid. For full-on elegance follow with a sweep of gel eyeliner. I'm currently loving Barbara Daly Make-Up for Tesco Eye Liner Polish (in-store priced £7.99), which could give similar products at twice the price a run for their money and is incredibly easy to apply. Complete with a glossy, lengthening mascara like DHC Mascara Perfect Pro Double Perfection, £13. I've been using this recently and it's fantastic for giving lashes a naturally extended, separated look. The smudge and flake-resistant formulation encases each lash in a polymer tube which dissolves only on contact with warm water. The emphasis here is on sleek - rather than volumised - lashes and to that end this mascara works like a charm. 

For statement lips, I will not be parted from my Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Colour in Cherry Lush. The last time I wore this to the ballet (not a regular occurrence, I've only been the once), a handsome man winked at me and said 'well, hello Shanghai dolly.' I'm not 100% sure what he meant - and as chat up lines go it could have been better - but the disarming delivery put a spring in my step and this particular lipstick always does too. At £35, it is seriously spendy but, if you've an eye for high quality, covetable cosmetics you honestly won't be disappointed. 

And finally, to a new non-toxic nail brand rocking a gorgeous collection of retro reds. NIYOT is a range flying in the face of fancy top coats, nail wraps, foils and decals with a small - but perfectly formed - trio of classic red shades that are absolutely on the money. I ordered Lost Red £8, which has a cool undertone that would work particularly well against winter skin. The finish is glassy, pure and pigment-precise. On short nails the effect is clean, neat and chic but on longer, shaped nails? Femme fatale.

What are your must-wear colours for winter? x

Eleven Hair - Party For Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research

Friday, 4 November 2011

Righty-oh. I'm going to do a blatant blog shout-out for my favourite salon - Eleven Hair - in aid of a fantastic cause. On the 11th of November, the very talented guys and gals of this super-fun hair hot-spot will be hosting a fabulous shin dig (all day and into the night), to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma research. In true Eleven style there will be complementary cupcakes, canap├ęs, champagne, a free mini make-up session or mini-manicure and - get this - goodie bags courtesy of Moroccan Oil. Also planned are musicians, a drag show and an evening cabaret. Something tells me the team will be putting on quite a party.

Feel-good friday: Eleven will be open from 
10am until 8pm on the 11th of November. 
For appointments call: 0207 491 2390

Entertainment apart, the serious side of the day will involve raising cold, hard cash. Eleven are donating 11% of the days takings to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, the only UK based charity dedicated to finding treatment and cures for all blood cancers. So, if you're in London and in the market for seamless colour (Jason Welch does the best highlights and is renowned for colour correction), or the kind of cut that will keep you coming back for more, why not book in on the 11th for an all-round great hair day? 

For more info on blood cancers or to donate visit:

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