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.

Liberty Christmas Calendar 2

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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:

Sleep Collage

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

Skincare 4

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.

Skincare 3

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.

Skincare 1

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

Skincare 2

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

The Beauty Edit: Going Chemical Free in 2014

I’m the first to admit that I’m no Eco warrior – I wear leather, I eat meat (I’ve even been known to visit McDonalds from time to time) and although financial constraints mean that we rarely have more than one or two holidays a year, we usually travel by air when we do go away. Increasingly, however, I find myself buying organic and/or locally sourced food produce and, having worked in the fashion industry, I prefer to buy my clothes from retailers who (at least claim to) have measures in place to ensure a sustainable supply chain.

Recently, after reading this post on The Everyday Spa blog, I started questioning what’s in the products we use on our skin and hair. As luck would have it, I came across the post at the same time as my shampoo and other beauty paraphernelia were running out so I decided to try some brands that don’t list any of the nasties in their ingredients.

 Ren

The shower gel and body lotion from REN (which incidentally means ‘clean’ in Swedish!) are gorgeous and last for ages. Since its launch in 2000 REN has become a cult favourite amongst beauty editors and consumers and is now available in department stores, pharmacies and spas in over 50 countries around the world. The brand uses only 100% plant and mineral derived actives and is free from skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients such as synthetic fragrance, petrolatum, sulfate detergents and parabens.

Estelle & Thild

I have written previously about Estelle & Thild and I cannot recommend their products highly enough. While the Bergamot shampoo does not lather as much as my regular shampoo, it left my hair feeling clean and smelling delicious. The Baby & Child shampoo has been a big hit with the kids – again, as with the REN products a little goes a long way.

The products are a bit more pricey than what you’ll find on the high street (particularly the supermarkets) but as I don’t use a huge number of hair and skincare products, I can live with that.

So now, over to you – do you ever look at the list of unpronounceable ingredients on your shampoo or shower gel and wonder what on earth you are putting on your body? Or are there, in your view, more important things to worry about?

Chemical free

The Beauty Edit: (Re) Verso the Years

Vesro 3

I still remember the first time I went up to a beauty counter in search of an anti-aging cream. I was 23 years old and luckily the lady at the Clarins counter took a no nonsense approach and steered me away from the wrinkle-busting potions, instead persuading me to buy a pot of their Gentle Day Cream which I carried on using for many years.
I am extra grateful that she didn’t indulge my worries about my non-existent wrinkles after reading an article in The Sunday Times In Style magazine which warns against starting to use harsh anti-aging products too early, saying that they can irritate the skin and even cause it to age prematurely (take heed all you 20 somethings out there!)

Fast forward a few years and while I’m quite happy to grow old (er) gracefully without Botox, fillers or more invasive treaments, my skin is in need of a helping hand to stave off the signs of aging. The irony is that I probably spent both more money and time on my skincare regime when I was in my 20s than I do these days. Instead of the Clarins or Lancome products that I used to favour, I have been buying my face creams on the high street, or worse,  relying on samples from magazines, which are not necessarily adapted for my skin type (Big slap on the wrist for me!).

In the summer holidays I read about a new Swedish skincare brand called Verso which uses a formula called Retinol 8 to stimulate the skin’s own production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in order to reduce the signs of aging (read more about the science behind the products here). It’s not the cheapest option around but this month I decided to bite the bullet and invest in the serum and day cream (the range also includes a cleanser, eye cream and night cream). As the products only arrived yesterday I haven’t yet been able to gauge if they live up to their promises but watch this space for a more comprehensive review…

{Verso skincare is available from Selfridges in the UK. For a full list of international stockists click here.}

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Verso