A new way to cleanse

I’m quite particular about how I cleanse my skin, I am one of those annoying people that will always cleanse my skin before going to bed, even if it ends up being a baby wipe I will always remove the days impurities. Living in london and having a daily underground commute I love nothing more than that skin fresh feeling.

All that said I am a sucker for a one product wonder. I lean towards water based cleansers that will hydrate feel cooling and clean my skin and eye area. For years my ultimate go to was YSL 4-in-1 cleanser (now known as Top Secrets Toning and Cleansing Water) it was a luxurious and soothing way to end the day, knowing that I didn’t need a separate eye makeup remover or toner afterwards..

Then two years ago I discovered Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser and my attitude towards cleansing took on a new angle. With the most beautiful textures, exquisite spa-like aromas it was a pleasure to massage on to my skin every day. The best of all it was eye makeup remover friendly. Finally a professional deep cleansing product that could be used across the whole face.

What I loved most of all was the soft hydrated feeling it gave my skin, the cream texture formula glides on to your skin, Elemis and indeed I also recommend leaving it your skin for a minute or two, I tend to use this time to brush my teeth, I wear quite thick eye liner so usually removing it can be a struggle as I’m sure most of you reading this have experienced. However this cleanser somehow dissolves it, there is no other way to describe it. It comes packaged with a luxurious 100% cotton cleansing mitt, like a flannel you can slip your hand into. Warmed under the tap or sink the feeling of the hot cloth on the skin is really replenishing. Your cloth will look very dirty however it is easily cleansed under the tap and eventually in the washing machine.

This shift in cleansing rituals made me re think my use of toners, despite working in the industry for years I had never really given toners the time they deserve. So why tone? Well toners help rebalance your skin, close your pores, restore your PH level and aid the absorption of your moisturiser and if used in the morning your foundation – think of it as a primer!

So why the need to discuss this now? Well my routine has been given a super boost! The launch of Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm has added a deeper spa treatment inspired boost to my skin. You can use this cleansing balm daily however I intend to use it once a week as a more intense cleansing treatment mask.

Just unscrewing the beautifully simple but luxurious jar gives out the most beautiful aroma, like a spa in a jar, you instantly go on a sensorial journey by the British botanical actives, geranium, lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, ho wood, orange, menthol and clove, blended into wheat germ, oat, starflower, elderberry oils and mimosa and rose wax.

As you can imagine it has a waxy oil texture but one that feels more silky than greasy. It’s texture and formulation apparently make it perfect for oily or blemish prone skin, I don’t suffer from those skin issues but felt that the texture was very exquisite. You can simply massage on to skin and instantly remove with the cleansing cloth or leave on the skin up to ten minutes as a treatment mask, perfect for when you’re relaxing in the bath. The cleansing cloth that comes with the product is large enough to cover the entire face and is designed to hold the warm heat from water to give a hot cloth style mask.

A little goes a long way and if like me you intend to use weekly the £39.50 investment will be easily justified. I follow with Apricot Soothing Toner and Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Makeup SPF 15 Continue reading

A walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ at Harrods

Ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a brand? If you could pick any brand why not the ultimate brand (in my opinion) CHANEL – well of course if any store could make this happen it would of course be Harrods…

Yesterday I took a walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ in Harrods. It is a takeover of such immense scale it is amazing how it has been so cleverly kept secret until now.

Even from the walk along Brompton road you get a sense of what lays ahead as the Harrods flags have turned monochrome with just CHANEL fluttering away along the iconic building’s length, all it’s 23 windows along the stores front have been utterly transformed into Karl’s AW ready to wear catwalk show, suddenly walking along the pavement you can be front row of the ultimate fashion show. Take in the fantasy ethereal forest dream – where animals meet haute couture! I wasn’t even inside yet and it had taken my breath away!

Entering through Door 6 and into the stores Colour Hall (formerly the Lifestyle room) I discover a new pop up neighbour for MAC a PINK, yes you read correctly, CHANEL beauty boutique offers itself like a grown up sweetie shop – that you just have to discover! From giant 900ml bottles of No5, which yes you can buy money permitting, to a gorgeous EXCLUSIVE Collection created by the master, Peter Philips – Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup just for this installation and named ‘The Harrods Collection’ the star of the collection, none other than a pretty pink powder blush compact ‘Brompton Road‘ for £46, this is a great way to own a little limited edition piece of this fantastic take over.

But if that is not all, the space plays host to a whole 3 weeks of celebrity makeover events, I was lucky to spot Mary Greenwell and Sophy Robson who were giving expert makeovers and manicures respectively using the CHANEL new AW collection. Once made over I could not resist indulging in some CHANEL photobooth fun (not only is there an in-built wind machine, so you can create that hollywood glamour pose, but the miraculous booth even airbrushes you so your photos arrive picture perfect in a lovely CHANEL folder) now if only all my passport photo posing experiences where that good!!

A stroll along the ground floor and suddenly I feel and see tweed underfoot and I know I have entered something special. If like me you have ever felt a bit too intimidated to enter a CHANEL boutique now is your chance to experience the absolute wonder and awe of it. Another pop up boutique this one on a grand scale for the Ready to Wear Collection, Handbags, Accessories and Les Exclusif CHANEL fragrances. It is a little CHANEL curiosity shop – there is no other explanation for the dream you will feel you have entered. You will indulge your eyes in some of the ultimate visual merchandising you will ever witness as well as being able to touch, see and feel iconic CHANEL products. As well as some EXCLUSIVE products that you may recognise….

The iconic Harrods tote has been pimped up CHANEL stylee with a uber luxe chain, golden CHANEL logo and quilting effect. CHANEL’s biker boots have been given a wash with Harrods green as well as their classic overnight holdall. For those with slightly more disposable income there are also limited edition Classic handbags too!

The pure attention to every detail is brought to your attention at every turn, and no more so as you take in the mural wall and ceiling hand drawn in chalk to create a CHANEL forest backdrop to the latest AW fashion pieces.

With my eyes already starry and feeling like I am in the best luxe dream I went further into the world of CHANEL….. up another 2 floors to the 3rd Floor in Harrods, past illustrated maps of the world, to the entrance to ‘Une Promenade’ the most stellar installation and creation of a brand yet.

Through a wall of pearls you disappear and enter another world (I can only imagine that this is what stepping through those fur coats in Narnia would have been like – had it been real) but thanks to Karl & the CHANEL team sometimes fiction and dreams obviously do come true!

You move through the promenade with a CHANEL guide or alone if you prefer, through the making of 2.55 handbag – watching a multitude of screens as the Ateliers work their magic to create the dream handbag for girls worldwide.

My favourite room has to be Karl’s CHANEL doll house, hosting CHANEL Bearbricks – which if you follow the cult of Bearbrick life you will instantly want to own but alas they are not for sale! They stand over Harrods bears in their hand-made CHANEL suits (and boots) and you just wish that Karl Lagerfeld had designed your childhood bedroom.

Then onwards to Gabrielle’s apartment, featuring printed Coromandel screen walls, Haute Couture dresses, replica furniture from Gabrielle’s original apartment – you can feel like you are in 31, rue Cambon, PARIS.

No CHANEL world is complete until you see and even feel a bit of TWEED, and this world does not disappoint – enter the 54 room (named for 1954 – the year of Gabrielle’s return post war and the entrance of the tweed CHANEL jacket) stand and take in the hand drawn jacket designs on floor to ceiling scale on none other than tweed canvas by Karl himself. I never in a million years thought I would come face to face and touch one of his hand drawn designs.

A CHANEL world also naturally must pay homage to the world’s most iconic fragrance – that of course is none other than No5. A fragrance that is a brand in itself, step inside Andy Warhol’s famous prints of the mystery bottle. Watch the No5 films played on none other an immense No5 bottle.

There is of course lots more – such as a 2.55 handbag the size of your double bed (you could literally live in it and to be honest I would be more than happy to do so)…

Why not enter the world of CHANEL at Harrods too… explore from 5 – 24 September at Harrods, Brompton Road, London. I think I need to go again just to check I have not dreamt it!

Bare Minerals Skincare Range

The skincare foundation you wear to bed!

For those in the know you will already have seen and quite possibly even used the New Bare Minerals Skincare range, it is already available in Selfridges and set to hit the rest of the UK high street later this year in September. I met with the Bare Minerals team a couple of months ago and have been trying the new skincare range since then.

My favourite of the range and the IT product has to be the Pure Transformation Night Treatment– this genius product thinks like a foundation and works like an intensive skin spa treatment, in essence my new best friend in a pot. My favourite thing about this product – it allows you to have a radiantly glowing flawless complexion even post cleansing (so no more running to the bathroom to hide that bare faced look) at first I was worried that this tinted powder would rub off on my pillow and sheets but once buffed on to the skin using the super soft natural brush that sits attached to the lid it stays put on your skin until morning.

The formula is created to work in harmony with your skins natural rhythm to restore, replenish and rejuvenate whilst you sleep – you can use the treatment as a last step in any skincare routine, after your moisturiser or night cream you simply shake, twist the lid off and buff on to your skin. It’s available in 4 shades starting at Clear (which is great for guys too).

I have been using it every night for the last month and I am very pleased with the results so far, I love the even toned look it gives you, but what I also like is the fact that my skin seems to have improved generally – it looks brighter, it is less sensitive and less prone to redness and my pores look more refined too. If this is what it can visibly do in just a month I am excited to see it’s lasting longer term effects from continual use. The product is £45 so an investment for most, but with such quick visible results and unique application I think I am converted! The product also comes in a decent size jar so the powder will last you months and months as you don’t need a lot to apply all over the face.

The product itself is filled to bursting with Rare Minerals, Vitamins A, C and E, Emblica Fruit and Ectoin extract – creating an active soil complex that is derived from the purest of mineral soils, so much so they put it into liquid and let me drink it!

In addition I have also been using the coordinating Purifying Facial Cleanser – with an easy to use pump application this is super simple and delivers a fresh scent, skincare benefits whilst dissolving your makeup (including eye makeup) it does need to be washed off but I am already a facial wash cleansing advocate this didn’t bother me. Its ingredients reads more like a fruit smoothie than a skincare product – filled with Pineapple, Lychee, Guava Fruit Enzymes, Avocado oils and Pomegranate extracts – as you can imagine it smells gorgeous too! The texture is very light and fluid.

I still have the moisturiser and eye cream to try so I will report back if any of the other range makes my ‘need to blog’ list!

You can buy and try the new Bare Minerals skincare range from Selfridges stores or Selfridges website.

Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence De La Beauté Awards 2011 winners revealed…

What better way to end a Monday than a glamorous Awards ceremony at the Claridges Ballroom for the annual Marie Claire Beauty Oscars Prix d’excellence de la beauté awards 2011. From champagne and beauty gossip with the beauty pack to the award winners acceptance speeches, hosted by the very glamorous Christine Bleakley from Daybreak and the lovely Trisha Halpin, Editor in Chief Marie Claire UK.

The Awards themselves were split in two categories best International Winners – as voted by both Marie Claire International judges and the creme de la creme of beauty journalists across the globe; from Marie Claire – Lisa Oxenham (UK), Ariane Goldet (France), Ying Chu (US), Ana Serrano (Spain), Antonella Bussi (Italy) and representing the beauty journalists vote: Emmanuelle Demarest, Marie-Francoise Dubillion, Dominique Garnier, Aurelie Lambillon, Emmanuelle Lannes, Genevieve Murat, Brigitte Papin, Marie Pouzol, Alexandra Raillan and Zoe Zhang.

Plus our very own best of the best British winners as voted by a panel of UK beauty journalists: Lisa Oxenham (Marie Claire’s very own award-winning beauty journalist and stylist, Hannah Betts (Writer and columnist for British Broadsheets and magazines) Annabel Jones (who has over 10 years experience as beauty journalist) Sarah Vine (Beauty Editor and columnist for The Times) and Alice Hart-Davis (Award-winning writer and creator of Good Things Skincare)

So the winners for 2011…

International Winners….

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this wonder product has been rushing off our high street and online store shelves faster than the Clinique consultants can utter the words ‘miracle serum’ with its clinical proven results of a 53% improvement in dark spots after 12 weeks use this potent skin solution of Vitamin C and Salicylic acid is sure to become a true icon!

Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation – a foundation I have yet to try but is coveted by a number of my friends who swear by its multi tasking properties and barely there effect – it moisturises, gives SPF and long-lasting coverage.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Youth Serum – The power of honey harnessed in this youth serum, every skincare brand on the market has their version of a youth fighting serum and the masters at Guerlain prove to strike gold with this fab product infused with Royal Jelly and honey to help skin self repair, despite it reminding me of buying my grandma Royal Jelly as a child I’ve tried this product and do think it’s really worth the investment!

Roc Sublime Energy range – I am not that familiar with the Roc skincare range but this sounds like science in a tube… the range itself was designed to harness electricity as it passes from cell to cell within our bodies and utilise this power or skin energy to turn back time (time travel for your skin!) with that claim it is one worth trying especially at such an attractive price starting at just £29.99

Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect Oil SPF30 – With all the sunshine today I decided it was time to dare to go bare-legged after months and months of opaque tights, I am not convinced it was quite the right decision but it has got me in the swing of feeling summery so it was fab to see one of my favourite sun protection brands winning an award. Plus it’s fantastic to see an oil with such a high SPF – I have very pale skin (thanks to my very blonde hair and English complexion) so a high SPF is a requirement even in the slightest ray of sunshine!

So on to my favourite part… The British beauty winners!

Best Beauty Care product goes to – Olay Regenerist 3 Point Super Serum, this products predecessor generated a waiting list of over 20,000 women so it’s not surprising its made it to the top spot. However that said I had real problems with this product – I tried it’s predecessor and had the worst reaction to this serum resulting in a month of just using Aqueous cream on my face it was so sensitive after using it…. so unfortunately it doesn’t get my seal of approval – but thousands of others seem to love it!

Highly commended in this category also were: L’Oreal Youthcode, La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Serum and Skinceuticals Pigment Regulator.

Best Make up product – Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick. I’m a huge lip junkie from glosses to lipsticks and even balms I love trying and using new textures and lip products and this is a fantastic lipstick – the colour pigment is strong on application and truly has a great long-lasting wear – I can highly recommend it!

Highly commended in this category: Garnier Youth Radiance 2 in 1 Tinted Eye Roll on Concealer, Burberry Make Up range, Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick.

Best Ethical product – Clarins Gentle Beauty Soap – I was really pleased to see this product win, Clarins work tirelessly at their ethical responsibilities when using exotic plant ingredients by replanting and supporting local communities without shouting about their green ways, so it’s lovely to see them recognised with this gentle little soap – which itself has an Ecocert organic certification. I am a huge soap fan so very happy to see soap taking centre stage in the beauty elite once more.

Highly Commended – L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Nature Range, Une Make-up Range, Aveda Control Force Firm Hairspray.

That’s it for this year… time for one more quick glass of Champagne to celebrate the winners and a read of Marie Claire on the tube home!

The one where MAC goes all Surf Babe…

MAC Surf Baby Model Shot
From the Northern line to the Pacific Coast Highway… this morning was no normal commute!
I arrived this morning at MAC HQ and found myself on a mini holiday up the Pacific Coast Highway, as I sipped lemonade and sat amongst the sand and seashells… and a surf board! It could only mean one thing… it was time for summer MAC style.

I’d seen snippets of the MAC SS Surf Babe collection awhile ago so I was very excited to see and play with the new products, and get really into the holiday spirit! It’s a really fun vibrant collection that just gets you dreaming of endless summer days on the beach, people watching or just poolside posing.

My standout products have to be the return of the Crushed Metallic Pigments – which are just fabulous to play with to create that real ethereal make up glow on your skin and eyes. SUMMER STASH – Light pink champagne (Frost), Light white pearl (Frost), Light violet with silver pearl (Frost), Brown bronze with gold pearl (Frost). SURF THE OCEAN- Frosty platinum (Frost), Light yellow green (Frost), Gold bronze (Frost), Dirty graphite with silver pearl (Frost) RRP: £25.50 / EURO 34.00

MAC Mineralize Pigments

I loved the new Skinsheen Bronzer Sticks, a really easy fun way to apply bronzer – the best bit is that they are water based so gives a real refreshing feeling on the skin with a fab bronze sheen glow, I can see this being a summer make up staple! (Available in three gorgeous shades TAN-TINT Soft suntan bronze, BILLIONAIRE BRONZE Warm golden tan, GILTY BRONZE Coppery bronze with gold shimmer RRP: £23.00 / EURO 35.50)

For those opting for the more traditional bronze powders you won’t be disappointed with the Solar Riche or Refined Golden Bronzing Powders. (REFINED GOLDEN Finely spun golden with soft pearl finish SOLAR RICHE Mid-tone deep orange brown RRP: £19 / EURO 25)


With spring being all about pop brights this collection warms up but continues this trend with some really wearable but high trend limited colours, as a bit of a nail varnish addict I love the aqua shade – just perfect for tanned toes to wear proudly (ooooh I dream of the return of flip-flop & sandal season!) The Nail lacquers come in HANGIN’ LOOSE Dirty pink nude and OCEAN DIP Mid-tone creamy aqua RRP: £10.00 / EURO 13.50


The Five limited Ed Eye Shadows continue the warmed sun shades mixed with surf and sea tones and are great to wear sheer or layer for a more intense pop of bright colour. The Frosty white acts as a great highlighting and brightening eye colour SHORT SHORTS Eye Shadows available in Frosty white champagne (Frost) SUN BLONDE Dirty yellow gold (Frost) SAFFRON Deep coral caramel (Satin) SURF USA Frosted teal (Frost) SWELL BABY Mid-tone grey (Satin) RRP: £12.00 / EURO 15.50

MAC My Paradise Cheek Powder: A warm coral tone blush with a hibiscus golden embossed flower adding just a subtle shimmer to the skin when applied with a brush  RRP: £19.00 / EURO 25.00


No MAC collection is complete without some iconic Lipstick shades and of course Lipglass, for that water shiny effect; LIPSTICK – NATURALLY ECCENTRIC Creamy white nude (Lustre), HIBISCUS Bright orange coral (Cremesheen), BUST OUT! Dirty mid-tone violet (Lustre), MOCHA Peachy yellow-brown (Satin), RRP: £14.00 / EURO 18.50

LIPGLASS – GIRL ON BOARD Pale white gold, GOOD LOVIN’ Soft peachy pink, STRANGE POTION Soft coral pink, KRAZY KAHUNA Warm mid-tone brown RRP: £13.50 / EURO 18.00


My official countdown to June 2011 has begun.

Images courtesy of MAC Cosmetics.