Sunday, 22 February 2009

Pedicures

To match my Manicures post. You can't have one and neglect the other after all. I just had a lovely pedicure at the little place at the end of my road. Now I know you can do this yourself but it's never the same is it? I always seem to splodge the paint around and make a bit of a mess of it. And I can never get rid of all the hard skin like the professionals can.

In an effort to try and save money (no laughing at the back please) I've not had a professional pedicure since way before Christmas. That's a long time for me! My feet were sadly neglected. I had a dilemma - did I get them done here or in Hong Kong (where I am going on Thursday)? In the end I decided here as it is hot in HK and I want to wear sandals the minute I get there.

A little extravagant I know as all beauty treatments are a fraction of the price in Asia but my experience is they are good at the scraping part but not so good at the painting part. Also, handy hint, always take your own nail polish as they rarely have the good stuff.

When I last went, my friend and I had a Shanghai pedicure which I didn't know doesn't involve any paint. We sat in those wonderful massage chairs and they put boiling water in the basin by your feet. Putting your feet in that water is a bit of a test as I kid you not, it is scalding. I think I must be a wimp as my friend gamely plunged her feet in - and she was pregnant. Yes, I am a wimp.

Anyway, they leave you like that for a good half hour. Then they moved us to beds and wrapped us up in blankets (it was cold) and those heated wheat things were put around our necks. It was bliss. And they spend 45 minutes scraping all the hard skin off, buffing and moisturising my feet. It was heaven on earth and my feet had never been so soft...

Until my treatment in Indonesia last November. If you've not had paraffin wax poured on your feet, you've not lived. Seriously.

I love having my feet pampered. Happy feet = happy people.

You can of course buy one of those foot buffers and try to recreate the experience at home. If you do this, enlist a friend to do the painting bit. A good friend. And wash your feet thoroughly first. And then repay the favour.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Hot off the press...

The Missoni perfume comes with a little bit of Missoni material round the neck of the bottle.

See?

Now I want it even more if such a thing is possible. I hope they have it at duty-free next week. Anyone know if Heathrow airport has Missoni?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Another day, another perfume

Once upon a time I wore this perfume (Dune, Dior) all the time and I loved it. The Book describes it as a fresh oriental, gives it five stars and a rave review. So this was one of the samples I got from Perfumed Court the other week. I decided it was time to revisit my old favourite.

I am not sure why I stopped wearing it. I expect something else came along to take its place in my affections but I did wear this for a good few years so it was a long-term relationship. And seriously, having got it again, I am really confused as to why I ever broke up with it. It's unique. I honestly cannot think of a perfume that smells anything like it. I won't try and describe it but The Book describes it as unsmiling from top to bottom. It isn't a perfume that you immediately warm to but it develops beautifully. And it lasts. No fading after 10 minutes for this one.

I used to be wary of revisiting old favourite perfumes as I think it almost makes you regress as scent is such a strong sense. But I think I will make an exception for this and put it on the waiting list. Missoni first though.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

What do I want to try?

As promised (and I know you've been on the edge of your seats) here are some products I would like to try from the In Style Top 100 list. If you've tried any of these, please do comment. I'd love to know what you think.

Anything with an * is something I actually will buy and try at some point. The rest are in the wishful thinking category.


Best Wash off cleanser
Precision Mousse Douceur - Chanel £23.50

Best to start as I mean to go on with an expensive Chanel product. This does sound lovely. I won't type out the blurb but it is for oily/combination skins. I have combo skin. £23.50 though. How good can it be? Does it perform miracles?

Best eye de-puffer
Nutritionist Caffeine Eye Roll-On, Garnier - £9.99

Silliest name award goes to this one. I've had my eye on this baby for a while and at a tenner, it almost feels like a bargain. I don't have puffy eyes so it's going to work a treat on me isn't it?!

Best radiance mask
Radiant glow express mask, Sisley, £69.50
OK, Sisley is really expensive. This sounds like my kind of mask, all flushing out toxins and opening up pores. But £70? That's half a Missoni scarf you know.

Best stick foundation
Foundation stick, Bobbi Brown, £24
*
Now, I am not a foundation kind of girl but this does sound worth a try. It's been voted for 8 years in a row. I like the simplicity of it. I think I might seriously buy this.

Best mascara
Diorshow Mascara, Dior, £18.50
*
It's a mascara, I'll try it. It's apparently a 'dream come true'. We'll see.

Best red lipstick
Lipstick in Ruby Woo, MAC, £11
*
It's time I had a red lipstick and they say it suits all skin tones.

Best lip balm
Nutritive Lip Balm, Sisley, £32.50

Sisley again. Charging £32 for a lip balm. It would have to be amazing.

Best bronzer
Terracotta Bronzing Powder, Guerlain, £27.50

I am suspicious of bronzers but this does sound fantastic. The advice is not to go two shades darker than your skin tone. I am tempted.

Best self tan for face
Liquid bronze self tanning, Clarins, £15.50*
For a soft sun-kissed glow by morning. Yes please.

Best foot file
The Conquerer, Diamancel at Bliss, £29

£29 for a foot file? But baby soft feet - it's worth it. I'm a bit obsessed with feet. Maybe cos I have a tattoo on mine so I feel my feet should be soft at all times. They never are but maybe they could be. PS: don't get a ped egg - waste of time.

Best hand cream
Global anti-age hand care SPF 10, Sisley, £77

Yes, you read that right. Sisley strikes again. £77 on hand cream? That's the other half of your Missoni scarf.

Right that's it. I have entered the competition to actually win all these products. Wish me luck.

Monday, 16 February 2009

In Style 100 Best Beauty Buys

I don't buy In Style magazine regularly as it's fairly rubbish. But anything with 100 best beauty lists gets my attention. So I got this month's and I thought it would be fun to see what I already have (or have tried and dismissed) from this year's list.

Best Night Cream Issima Midnight Secret - Guerlain £51
Oh yes indeed. If you've not tried this and are a party animal, you have to get some. It's magical. You put it on, roll into bed at 4am, wake up at 6.30 to get to work and it will look like you've had eight hours sleep. I don't know how it does it - I guess that's why it is called secret. The bad news is it's expensive. And it doesn't last long. My sister bought me some one year and I guarded it with my life and only used it for big nights out - in my life, not that many of them - and I still nearly wept when it was finished. The only drawback is the scent - it's very heavy and made me a feel a bit nauseous.

Best moisturiser with an SPF Daywear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Cream SPF 15 - Estee Lauder £21.50
What a mouthful - does it really need to have such a long name? This is the day cream I am currently using. I do like Estee Lauder skincare. For me this is a winter day cream, it's too heavy in the summer. It's lovely, sinks in, gives a good base for make-up and feels like it is doing you good.

Best serum
Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex - Estee Lauder - £34
I have a very small bottle of this that I got as a GWP (Gift with Purchase - do keep up). People rave about this. It's alright. I don't feel the need to go and buy a bottle, put it that way.

Best cleansing wipes
Cleansing facial wipes - Simple £2.99

Sometimes you need a cleansing wipe in your life. Camping (not that I would know), airplanes, after drunken nights out when you know you need to remove your make up but standing by a sink is too much effort... I love these ones. Does the job, no fuss and cheap.

Best under-eye concealer
Touche Eclat - YSL £22.50

OK, I don't get this product. But I don't use concealers. I bought this years ago because everyone said how amazing it was and I saw no difference.


Best inexpensive mascara
Masterpiece, Max Factor £7.95
This used to be my mascara of choice and then I moved on to Great Lash. This is good but I find it flakes a bit.

Best powder eyeshadow
MAC £10

Yes. No arguments from me. Once you have used MAC eyeshadow, there is no going back.


Best tweezers Tweezerman £16
Is there any point buying any others? These change your life in a small but significant way.


Best Blusher Blush in Orgasm - Nars £18.50
They are reviewing the powder blush and I have the Multiple (multiple orgasm - tee hee). But it's the same colour and you put it on your cheeks. I've blogged about this before. It's fantastic. Get some.

Best Body exfoliator
Smoothing body scrub for a new skin - Clarins £23.50
This is very good but I don't think it's substantially better than the cheaper alternatives. If someone gives you this as a gift, it's nice treat but you'd be fine with the scrub from Soap & Glory too. I don't think it is worth spending lots of money on body scrubs.

Best shower gel
Morrocan Rose Otto Body Wash - REN £16
Do I need to tell you again? It's heaven in the shower. Put it on your wishlist and then before your birthday, make sure everyone knows. You can't have too much of it.

Best body moisturiser
Creme de Corps - Kiehls £14.50

I have used this in the past and it is nice but as I find with all Kiehls products, never quite as good as you hope.

Best inexpensive body moisturiser
Rich Care Body Moisturiser - Nivea £4.45

Does the job. You have to like the Nivea scent though.

Best moisturiser with self tan
Holiday Skin Body Lotion - Johnson's £4.99

They all smell. And it's a horrible smell. But yes, this works if you can get past that.

Best inexpensive suncare line
Soltan - Boots

The one they do for the face is really, really good and I always buy it. I don't have a favourite sun tan lotion - yet.

Best top coat
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat - Seche £8.95

This is The Business. I've recently discovered it and was going to blog about it anyway. It dries nail rock hard in seconds. Worth every penny.

Best inexpensive hand cream
Norwegian formula - Neutrogena £3.39

This is great for winter hands. Not greasy but very smooth. I'd agree with this.

Best sun haircare range
Soleil - Kerastase - from £14

My hairdresser told me to get this as my colour fades in the sun. It does work when you can be bothered to spray it on before you head out. I do have to wonder how many suncare ranges for hair there are though...

Best hairspray
Elnett Satin, L'Oreal £1.99

Why on earth would you use anything else? This stuff is legendary. I don't use hairspray much but I always have a can of this in the bathroom - it's fab.

So, that's it. My next post will be some of the products that won that I want to try. Bet you can't wait!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Manicures

It's taken me a long time to post about nails. Not sure why. Anyone who knows anything about me knows how much I love nail polish. It's always been this way. I used to bite my nails terribly when I was a kid. What made me stop was wanting to paint them. So when I finally achieved the impossible, I became somewhat obsessed with nail varnish and to this day, the fascination continues.

I think it's because no matter what kind of fugly day you are having, you can always paint your nails (toes or fingers) and it makes you feel better. So, I have an enormous nail varnish collection despite a huge throw out a few years ago. Wasn't sure I still needed that No7 pinkydink from 1987. It did inspire an online name for me though.

The irony is that I no longer use them. I am fortunate enough to work at a very forward thinking office where they have a manicurist in once a week. And I go and see her and get my nails done every Monday. Darling, the decadence! I know. But she is so good. Before Karen, I never really did deep shades because I am so particular and despite being good at applying varnish, I think you need to be professional to apply the darks. She does them perfectly. I am typing this with Damsel in a Dress on my nails. (a gorgeous purple). If you also work at a forward thinking workplace in London, check out her site. And persuade your company to look after their people.

So I don't buy nail varnish much these days but I like to dabble. I can't resist! And what's the best brand these days? Essie. Hands down (no pun intended). The best colours, the best names (a job I've always wanted - nail varnish namer) and the most staying power.

My current faves: berry hard (gorgeous deep red), Damsel in a Dress (see above) and Wicked (an even deeper black/red).

Always use a base coat and a top coat. Makes all the difference.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Shower gels

It won't surprise anyone to know that I am fussy about shower gels. They have to be just right - beautifully fragrant, not drying, nice lather-up effect but not a snowstorm, easy to rinse off. But the main feature I look for is a natural scent. So many smell artificial.

I've done the research for you. I am so kind. I can tell you, without hesitation, that Lush make the best shower gels. This is why it was so scandalous when they discontinued them all a few years back and bought out shower jellies. The stupidest invention ever. Who has room in the shower for plastic cases of jelly? And who wants ugly plastic cases in the shower? I could rant for some time but let's focus on what Lush does well.

Yes, the shower gels are really very nice. All essential oils and whatnot so they pass the fragrance test. My favourites are The Olive Branch - a lovely orange scent but with an olive note. Lush blend essential oils very well and I really do think their shower gels are great value as they pack in the oils. I also like Taai Taai but you can only get this in the Westfield branch. It's spicy and orangey. My all-time favourite was Freeze - a peppermint, zingy gel that would get your bits tingling off a morning. Perfect for hot Summer days - remember them? Me neither. You can now buy this in the Retro section of the Lush site but it annoys me it isn't in the shops. They do one called Sonic Death Monkey (great name) which is chocolate scented. I draw the line at chocolate shower gel - I find it a bit icky.

If you feeling rich, then the most perfect shower gel is Moroccan Rose by Ren. I've already talked about my love of this.

I would also say that you don't need much of either the Ren or Lush gels. So although they are more expensive than Imperial Leather/Palmolive/Radox etc, they do last longer.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

More perfume

More musing on perfume I'm afraid. Another sample I got from Perfumed Court was Missoni. I love Missoni scarves so I figured the perfume would be nice! Another 5 star review from The Book where it is described as a kaleidescopic floral and one of the most accomplished fragrances in years. You can see why I had to have it in my repertoire.

It arrived today - a few days after the others for some reason. It was worth the wait. It's completely gorgeous. I am sitting her sniffing my wrists. I am in love. It is so much more complex than simply floral. Much younger than Joy. The Book says it dries down to a minty scent and that's spot on. It's almost refreshing. I suspect I might have to have a bottle of this as it really is something special.

Monday, 2 February 2009

One of the most famous perfumes

I am talking about Joy by Jean Patou. A perfume that used to be the most expensive in the world. I am sure something has usurped it. Maybe Intimately Beckham?

Anyway The Book gives it five stars and describes it as symphonic floral. The time had come for me to properly sample it. Thanks to Perfumed Court - a nice little US site where you can buy samples of perfume instead of shelling out on a whole bottle - I finally had some in my sweaty mitts this weekend. Obviously I didn't pay US P&P for one teeny sample but I'll tell you about the others another day. Suffice to say I am chanelling 1987 and 1993 respectively.

So what's Joy like? It's certainly floral. Boy or boy. It's like an explosion of flowers on your wrist. It smells like every very expensive hotel lobby in the world. I never knew that Joy is what I was smelling. Because you know, I frequent 5 star hotels all the time...

Do I like it? Ummmmm. I appreciate it as being a lovely fragrance but it smells like stuck up women who shop at Harrods. I don't like the associations. It's definitely a perfume for the older woman and I am not in that category. Yet.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Eve Lom - am I worth it?

It was only a matter of time before I posted about Eve Lom; the Rolls Royce of skincare with a Rolls Royce price tag. I've never bought into the Eve Lom dream as spending hundreds of pounds on skincare is, to me, madness.

However, when life hands you Eve Lom testers, it would be churlish to not take them out for a spin. And that's what happened. My extremely glamorous boss (no, she doesn't read this blog but it is true) had an Eve Lom facial just before Christmas. With Eve Lom herself. Imagine that? No, I can't either. Her husband bought her this present and let's just reflect on how well trained he is for a moment...

Anyway, she had the facial and said it was unlike any other facial she'd had. Well, you would hope so wouldn't you? Apparentely Eve spent a long time talking to her and asking her about her life before she started on the facial. And she analysed her diet and told her she was eating too much wheat and blah blah blah. I am so cynical about this whole intolerance nonsense. Still, she eventually did the facial and gave her a stack of samples. I saw her the day after the facial and I must say, she did look radiant.

Back to the samples. They ended up with me! So far I've only tried the cream for very dry skin. It's called TLC. And I was having an exceptionally dry skin week. So I put this on before bed. It is very thick and almost sticky. Yes, I know that sounds horrendous. But it did wonders. I used it the day I had been blowing my nose all day and had that dreaded red nose look. It cleared it up overnight. It's £46.98 for 50ml which isn't as eye watering as some of her products. Would I buy it? Probably not because you hardly needed any for one application and I have three sachets of it! I'll see if it becomes a must-have but it's a pricey must-have.

I also have 3 sachets of the day cream but I've not tried that yet. Looking on the SpaceNK site, none of the products are 3 figures but I am convinced that Eve Lom does do some very expensive skin care too so I'm a bit confused. Anyone know?

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