The Beauty Edit: Wave Goodbye to Chapped Hands

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{The Laura Mercier La Petite Patisserie Hand Crème Quartet comes in a long tube – just the right size to fit in a Christmas stocking!}

One of my favourite stocking fillers this Christmas (thank you Santa!) was Laura Mercier’s La Petite Patisserie Hand Crème Quartet. I have dry skin anyway and my hands always look terrible in the winter – chapped and scaly with a texture like sandpaper. The only thing that keeps the dryness at bay is religiously applying cream every time my hands have been in water, but it is so easy to forget. This pack of four 1 oz. tubes of luxurious handcream means that I can keep one in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and my handbag. With four delicious fragrances – Almond Coconut Milk, Crème Brulée, Crème de Pistache and Fresh Fig – an added bonus is that your hands are not only velvety soft but also smell good enough to eat. In fact, when I was putting my son to bed last night after applying the Crème Brulée hand cream he said ‘Mummy your hands smell like sweeties!’ High praise indeed!

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{In this picture you can see another Christmas present: my new favorite nail polish, Essie’s Good as Gold}

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Currently Coveting #27: The Liberty Christmas Calendar

Liberty Christmas Calendar

 

With only 36 days to go until Christmas Day, the festive countdown has well and truly begun. In a few days’ time I will have to go up into the loft to hunt down the children’s wooden advent calendar and put it on the mantlepiece, ready to be filled with chocolates on December 1. This year though I rather fancy an advent calendar of my own and, as much as I love chocolate, my sights are set on this beauty calendar from Liberty. With a gorgeous picture of the iconic Regent Street store on the front, inside each Liberty Print decorated box hides a decadent beauty treat, from skincare to scent and everything in-between. If you’ve ever visited Liberty’s Beauty Hall you will know what a fabulous selection of must-have beauty buys there is to choose from.

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The Beauty Edit: Just Add Sunshine

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The arrival of summer here in the UK is always sudden and usually unpredictable, even for the poor weathermen. Last weekend we had glorious sunny weather, culminating in the hottest day so far this year on Monday. It is always wonderful when we get these sudden heatwaves, short as they may be, but I have to admit that the prospect of putting my lily white limbs on display didn’t have me jumping up and down with joy. But a quick trip into town and a rifle through the shelves in John Lewis’ refurbished beauty hall (I was very impressed – lots of new brands to try) and I was ready to transform myself, if not exactly into a bronzed goddess, at least a less ghostly version of myself.

Being a low maintenance girl, I’m all for keeping it simple and not over complicating things with too many products. A good exfoliator is essential – I normally use the Soap & Glory one but this Exfoliating Body Wash from Australian Organics worked just as well. When it comes to the self tanner I prefer a mousse as it’s easier to apply and you can see which areas you have already covered. Fake Bake has been my go-to brand for the last few years as it gives a nice subtle glow rather than a “I just spent a week in Barbados” deep bronze. I first bought a St Tropez tan applicator mitt last summer and now consider it a must-have to ensure an even finish, free of streaks and product build-up.

Add in a nice summery nail polish in ‘No Room for the Blues’ by OPI (pictured here with the Start to Finish all-in-one base coat, top coat and strengthener – a great multi-tasker if there ever was one) and I was ready to face the sunshine which lasted all but four days. Oh well, that’s the British summer for you!

The Beauty Edit: Sleeping Beauty

A Good Night’s Sleep – four little words that are the holy grail for most parents with small children. Personally, I can count on one hand the number of uninterrupted nights’ sleep I have had in the last decade. It is one of the greatest fallacies of parenthood that once your babies sleep through the night, they will carry on doing so until they grow up and leave home. Or at least that hasn’t been my experience. My eldest son finally started sleeping through most nights when he was six, at which point I decided it would be a really good idea to have another baby!

I’m lucky in that, as long as I go to bed before midnight and don’t drink more than two glasses of wine, a lack of shut eye doesn’t bother me too much (unlike my husband who is not, shall we say, at his most sparkling first thing in the morning). The effects the lack of sleep has on my skin is another matter though and I’m constantly on the look out for new products to boost my arsenal against the sleep thieves (a.k.a my children).

And it seems I’m not the only one who is searching for eight hours sleep in a bottle or a  jar. The beauty shelves are bursting with products which promise to help you get to sleep, pamper your skin or even your hair while you sleep and cover the damage caused by sleepless nights. Here are a few that I would like to try:

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1. A relaxing soak in the bath is a nice way to unwind before bedtime. This indulgent Drift Away Milk Soak by Space NK contains ingredients which have a calming effect on busy minds.

2. The Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle by This Works has notes of Lavender and Camomile to soothe your senses.

3. Promising to ensure “a blissful night of slumber” this Deep Relax Balm by Aromatherapy Associates is the most luxurious sleeping pill I’ve ever seen.

4. Squirt This Work’s Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on your pillow and let its soothing scent of Lavender, Vetivert and Wild Camomile send you off to the land of nod.

5. You can actually improve your hair while you sleep with the Thickening Serum from Bumble & Bumble that works overnight to give you thicker, fuller hair.

6.The name alone was enough to draw me in: Dragon’s Blood Night Cream by Rodial promises a smoother, brighter, more even complexion by the time dawn breaks.

7. The Overnight Body Treatment by Sarah Chapman is packed with potent anti-ageing ingredients and relaxing essential oils.

8. If all else fails, hide the dark circles with Laura Mercier’s Secret Concealer and take comfort in the knowledge that at least you look well-rested.

9. Or plump for By Terry’s Hyaluronic Eye Primer which promises to erase sleepless nights by reducing puffiness and lifting fine lines.

All products available at Space NK

 

 

 

The Beauty Edit: My Skincare Regime

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So, I know you’ve all been dying to know what was hiding in my Space NK bag the other week (apart from the Narsissist cheek palette of course..) 😉

Pretty much all my skincare products had run out so I desperately needed to restock on everything from cleansers to moisturizers. While I was happy with the Verso serum and day cream I was using before, I’m not exactly what you would call a loyal customer when it comes to beauty products. So I walked into the shop with a very open mind, ready to heed the advice the experts had to offer.

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One product that I did re-purchase was the Express Makeup Remover by Ren as it does such a thorough job of removing all traces of makeup (including my waterproof mascara) and saves time on using a separate eye makeup remover and cleanser. I also bought an exfoliator by the same brand which is gentle enough to use every day.

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Here’s a new brand for me: Darphin. As the name would suggest, it hails from France and the blurb says it is “a professional botanical Parisian skincare line based on a harmonious blend of plants and pure essential oils.” Sounds good to me so I bought the serum, night and day creams. The serum is very light but a little goes a long way. The creams both have a wonderful texture and are quickly absorbed by the skin – again you don’t need to use much, so while they weren’t exactly cheap the pots should last quite a while. I’ve only been using the products for a week and a half but already my skin looks brighter and maybe a little smoother.
Now, in case any of you were wondering where the eye cream is, I have to confess that I never use one. I know most skincare advisors would probably recommend a separate product for the skin around the eyes, but I’ve always been fine with just my regular face cream. You can read a bit about the pros and cons of using a separate eye cream here and here

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I have very pale skin which can look pasty in winter, matching the dull grey weather perhaps, but not exactly uplifting when looking in the mirror. I’m forever searching for a fake tan that will add a hint of colour without any orange undertones. The sales lady at Space NK suggested I try the Xen-Tan daily face tanner and it’s just what I wanted. In the winter I only use fake tan on my face, neck and decolletage but I plan to buy the body lotion as soon as the weather is warm enough for bare legs.

The Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream is a sample I received a while ago but it’s great at keeping chapped lips at bay. I also try to use a face mask once a week but I don’t stick to any particular brand. This Sanctuary Spa mask was another sample (from a Glossy Box last autumn I think) that I have yet to try but I’m intrigued by the fact that it heats up on your skin!

And that’s it – eight products in total to (hopefully) keep my skin looking its best. As I get older I’m finding that I would rather spend more on a few products that really make a difference than clutter up my bathroom cabinet with bottles and jars I rarely use.

By the way, I don’t know if any of you have had problems with WordPress today. It doesn’t seem to be working on my computer so I had to write this on the iPad which took over an hour… Hopefully it will be back to normal this evening.

Hope you’ve all had a great start to the week! X