Monday, 30 July 2012

Animal jewellery by Jana Reinhardt

Little animals are everywhere in this wonderful collection by Jana Reinhardt. This is actually a tiny, slender ring for £69 and is gold plated sterling silver. Other gorgeous things in the collection include the following...

Goose-head bangle with manuka wood and sterling silver goose-heads, £490

Golden sleepy fox ring with two brown diamonds, £225

Golden wing ring, £115
Golden hare necklace, £149

Sunday, 29 July 2012

New bits from Bobbi Brown

Loving some of my new bits and pieces that have been added to the Bobbi Brown range so thought I'd share.

First up is the gorgeous Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss in Firefly which really does shimmer, isn't too sticky and goes over lipsticks or looks great on it's own. Wear with a tan...

Then there is Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Fresh Melon which is a really pretty pinky orange - well melon really (funny that) and is a cream rouge that is quite sheer when applied.

Thirdly comes Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Heather. I am really impressed with this as it goes on really evenly, is fairly matt but you can build up a great colour and stays in place for a remarkable amount of time!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

David Cerny's London Booster

Photo: Czech sculptor David Cerny's amazing transformer bus the 'London Booster' for London2012 Czech House.

This popped into my inbox yesterday and amazingly it's not a photo-shopped picture but an actual piece of sculpture featuring a real London bus manufactured in 1957. The sculpture of this incredible transformer bus, the 'London Booster' is by Czech artist David Cerny for London 2012 Czech House currently at the Business Design Centre, Islington who are hosting the Czech Olympic committee.

David Cerny is one of the Czech Republic's most controversial artists, and this is what he has to say about this particular piece which has had heads turning,
'The obsession with sport, the frenzy it generates, sometimes even ending in street war and regularly in a dependence on the activity, always amazed me. And the only sport which I'm able to watch passively is pole dancing. Although objectively speaking, I'm quite sporty: biking, swimming, flying, certainly I would not call myself an athlete. I'm probably obtaining dopamine from other physical sources. Press-ups are a particular physical exercise which every athlete does, but they also form part of a military drill and sometimes are forced on prisoners as punishment.'
Read more about David Cerny on Art Daily.

Will have to go down to the exhibition centre as there are daily exhibitions and things happening - all to do with the Czech Republic of course!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Philips ReAura - the story so far

About a month ago I was asked to give the Philips ReAura home laser kit which is a truly ground-breaking development in home beauty treatments. It has big promises to dramatically improve the quality of my skin including high colour (which I do suffer from a bit) to age spots, wrinkles and lines. It promises to give you dramatically improved skin in 8 weeks so this was one that had to be put to the test!

It works on using light treatment and is endorsed by a leading Harley Street cosmetic dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting - and is from Philips who are a well trusted brand, so I never felt like I was putting myself up for something that was harmful. But like all lasers you do have to follow the instructions to the letter so you don't do more harm than good.

My initial impression was that it was a bit uncomfortable and I was wary of increasing the power to the full three - however after a week or so I found that I could tolerate it and use the power at full without too much difficulty.

My laughter lines before treatment

My forehead before treatment
As you can see from these pictures my unmade-up skin has a few patches of uneven skin-tone, the expected wrinkles for someone of my age and I do have a few tiny broken capillaries which make my skin look a little red, especially on my cheeks. I therefore have been concentrating on my face for the duration of the trial as you are advised only to do one body area at a time (so either your face, or neck or chest area, not all together).

The Philips ReAura is £799 from space:nk. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Stila Stay All Day Foundation and Concealer

I'm not a great one for foundation and prefer to use a tinted moisturiser or powders - even though I now know I need help to even out my skin tones and cover up blemishes - oh woe the dawning of an old aged skin!

I went along to a Stila launch recently and against my usual natural hesitance found myself in front of one of their brilliant makeup artists. He was there to promote the new Stila Stay all Day Foundation & Concealer and before I knew it he was remarking on my lovely skin (well it was tanned) while whisking a brush lightly over my cheekbones and forehead. He then used a little concealer under my eyes and finished off the whole effect with a flourish of blusher...

I looked in the mirror and I must say I was very impressed. Because this range has no fewer than 16 different shades from bare (1) to cocoa (16) he had managed to match my skin tone perfectly - I was caramel (10). So my skin looked exactly like my skin but a more perfect version. And it did last all day and into the evening which was pretty impressive too.

So how does it work? The formula is oil-free so glides on effortlessly and doesn't feel at all heavy. It contains botanical extracts like ginseng, gynostemma and ginsenosides that enhance blood flow and circulation in the skin's capillaries. This all helps with slowing down premature aging apparently, but I suppose only time will tell with that claim! Vitamins A & C also provide antioxidant benefits and Vitamin E helps with more anti-aging.

It also contains a unique silicone elastomer so your skin looks and feels, well, skin-like! The lid contains the matching concealer and a small mirror for touch-ups and the whole kit comes with a brush for easy application. The downside? It is a bit pricey at £29.50 but I have been using a tiny amount which gives me great coverage so I do think it will outlast most cheaper alternatives. I'm not sure when it goes on sale but will be soon so keep an eye on Stila!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I Know The Queen jewellery


I Know the Queen is a genius name for a jewellery company - and I really quite like their jewels too.

Here are a few of my faves...
She-Ra headpiece, £56

Spy Necklace, £129
Tutti Fruiti necklace, £245

They use a mix of vintage beads and jewels with modern pieces but all are made in Britain - naturally!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

British Mix from Barratt's sweets

Barratt's are celebrating all that is British by hitting our shelves with telephone boxes, bulldogs, teapots and even Big Ben in time for all the sporting celebrations.

These sweets are made using only natural colours and flavours and include blackcurrant, strawberry, lemon, lime and grapefruit. British Mix comes in 180g sharing bags but certainly wouldn't last long in our office! British Mix, £1.35 (RRP). 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Quick and easy pasta recipe

Apologies if this image is a little blurred but I was in a hurry to eat it once made and the light was fading...
This is a combination pasta of some of my favourite ingredients - virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, baby courgettes and proscuitto, oh and some baby spinach...

Perfect for two you will need -

200g pasta
baby courgettes
half red onion
olive oil
black pepper
proscuitto (two slices)
baby spinach

Chop and fry the garlic and onion in a healthy glug of olive oil. Tear up the proscuitto and fry alongside the other ingredients sliced. Cook pasta until al dente. Toss together and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Takes 15 minutes and is delicious...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Scent Diffusers to lift the spirits

Don't know how you are finding the weather is affecting everything you do, but one of the more unpleasant side effects of a wet summer is the fact that we don't get a chance to air our homes. My windows haven't been opened and usually I have the back door open all evening - no chance at the moment. Which means that everything is musty and fuggy in the manor....

I am lucky that for my birthday I was bought a couple of gorgeous air freshener reed kits and they have made a big difference - and added a bit of style too. The one above is a beautiful decoration in it's own right from Ashleigh & Burwood and has a wonderful moroccan spiced fragrance.

The one below is equally as good from The White Company and is a driftwood fragrance, perfect for the bedroom, to really lift the spirits...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Ghost - truly timeless pieces

I used to wear Ghost back in the eighties when the designs were by Tanya Sarne who launched the company as a single mother - 1984 to be precise though it was later on that I started to wear her pieces. I do still feel that this was the heyday of the label (Sarne left in 2006) but have to say that you can still pick up a few really nice pieces in today's collections.

What's so great about Ghost? Well it is affordable, and you can throw it in the washing machine, plus it looks good on most women. I have bought three pieces in the last year - a gorgeous green cotton lycra dress with printed chiffon detail, a navy blue shirt with roll up sleeves that hangs long and languid and a long navy skirt but almost on the bias. All look great (well I wouldn't have bought them I suppose) but I do hanker after the catwalk collections that played with the shapes and fabrics and really bought soft colour alive for a wide variety of women. The latest stuff is just, well a bit mundane. So I will enjoy wearing my new pieces but they won't have the same impact as the old had...

Here are some of the last catwalk collections of 2006/7 so you can see what I mean...

Photos by Marcio Madeira/VOGUE.COM and Fotografi Associati/VOGUE.COM

My new purchases look very mundane in comparison and although I will wear them with great comfort and ease I would love to see some more cut and swagger at Ghost!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Colourful Candy Store

Here are my new Candy Store make-up bag and compact mirror and I am in love. Made from hard wearing and easily wipeable sillicone, these babies won't get lost in the depths of my bag. They also feel gorgeous to the touch and I love the retro clasp that closes them. The compact mirror also features a magnifying mirror for perfect make-up application.

I adore them and they are available now from £9 at ASOS.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Ginvera BB Cream reviewed


I have to admit I am not really a fan of BB creams. Its really a tinted moisturiser with an spf added and there is more than a whiff of beauty marketing about them - well that's how it appears to me. In the summer I wear moisturiser and in the winter I wear a foundation... so what's all the noise about BB creams then?

So I haven't really given them much thought since everyone has gone a bit BB cream mad over the last year or so. This week, however, I was sent (unrequested I hasten to add) a tube of Ginvera BB Cream, a brand which hails from Singapore. Ginvera BB cream Green Tea Nude Cover does claim to multi-task using the anti-oxidant power of green tea plus anti-blemish properties while being a primer, foundation, sunblock moisturiser and concealer all-in-one.

So how did I find it? Well at the moment my skin is quite tanned and this did come out rather pale - but it was quickly absorbed and spread evenly allowing my tan to shine through while giving a bit of cover to any redness or blemishes. It also has an SPF of 30 plus so will help with those wrinkles!

It has a fresh fragrance and I must admit after one application (so I don't know about any long term benefits yet) my skin does look fairly awesome today... No shine or grease and just a hint of cover, yes I really rather like this!

Ginvera BB cream contains Green Tea, Ginseng, Chinese Angelica and Hyaluronic Acid, £20 plus p&p for 25ml.  

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Kefalonia Bay Palace Hotel, Greece

The view every morning for the past week

Well the blog has been a bit quiet for the past week and that is because I have been away on holiday...
It's a bit of a biggie if I am honest as it's the first time that we have left the girls (well they are nearly 18 and 19) at home for a week while we went on holiday. We've done the occasional weekend but always in the UK so this was a leap of faith. Would we have a home to return too? Would we come back actually still married after a week solely in one another's company? Would we ever want to come back at all?

All went well I am happy to report. We felt like we were on a bit of a second-honeymoon and our house wasn't too trashed.. just the odd overflowing rubbish bin and stacks of water and coffee cups growing penicillin under the beds.

Our new phase of life was made even better by our choice of location and hotel so here is my take on where we stayed.

Kefalonia is a truly lovely island made famous in recent years by Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Berniere. Almost totally destroyed in 1953 by a massive earthquake, the island has been virtually rebuilt from scratch - apart from a beautiful port in the very north at Fiscardo which still has the original buildings.

Most buildings have been built in the past 20 years but don't let this put you off - they are built with great sympathy for the originals and are painted from a Farrow & Ball inspired colour palette. Soft pinks, apricots, mink browns - all set off the ubiquitous brilliantly hot and vibrant bougainvillea flowers. The people are friendly, the beaches (though mainly pebbly) are lapped by turquoise and warm seas and the mountains rise high where small villages cling to crumbling terraces.
The harbour at Aga Efthimia

We stayed in Aga Efimia at the Kefalonia Bay Palace Hotel, a new hotel of some 53 rooms, a few of which are suites with their own pools. It was quiet - they kept telling us they were full but I don't honestly believe them, and spotlessly clean. The rooms were comfortable and, unlike many places throughout Greece, you could flush away your toilet paper! Anyone who has been will know that this is a luxury.
View from our balcony with Ithica in the background

The only downside is the 137 stone step climb to our room - but to be honest each room cut into the cliff front afforded the most wonderful views across the bay to the legendary island of Ithica, home of Odysseus and Penelope. The infinity pool was truly spectacular and often we were one of only half a dozen people using it.

But what made this hotel so special was the staff. It appears to be run by a team of 5, but they really couldn't do enough for us no matter the time of day or night.

The hotel is a 10 minute walk from Aga Efthimia, a small port lined with restaurants and bars playing host to the many yachts which berth for the night. While we were there a yacht with Tony and Cherie Blair dropped anchor in the bay - it's that sort of place.

More upmarket but a good 45 minutes drive to the top of the island the fishing port of Fiscardo reminds me of Nice or Capri, though on a far smaller scale. This is where the really big and expensive yachts find still waters and fancy bars and probably the best espresso martini outside of Soho!

Kefalonia is an island to relax, chill, swim, sail and generally mess about on the water. If you want night-clubs and sophisticated evening entertainment forget it. This island is about meze, fresh fish, moussaka and chilled locally produced rose wine. I loved it and a return to a wet and dark Luton airport was a bit of a shock to the system I can tell you!

Myrtos Beach - beautiful even by Caribbean standards!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Memory Keeper Sphere, Lily Blanche

The Memory Keeper Sphere, £275

Worn by Judy Murray at Wimbledon and produced in Edinburgh I really like this keepsake necklace which holds 6 secret photographs. Like most my photos are all stored on a less than romantic hard-drive, so something timeless in solid silver that can be worn around my neck is much more appealing. It is £275 from Lily Blanche who have a wide range of craftsmen produced jewellery - and all from the UK!

Judy Murray has a reputation for being formidable - but I think this little piece of jewellery shows she has a far softer side than she cares to show!
Judy Murray - The Championships - Wimbledon 2012: Day Eight

Monday, 9 July 2012

21st Birthday Presents and beyond...

There seem to be a significant number of significant birthday's around at the moment. 18th's, 21st's, 40th's, 50th's - it's been an expensive year and it's set to continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

I do try to search out the unusual and pick up things as I go along - both in the shops and online. So I am always happy to be introduced to new shops and online stores who will help me in that important quest for  21st birthday presents or similar.

Getting something which is personalised, whether a washbag, shopper, calendar, or even a cushion is always a way round just giving the same old thing time and time again (or vouchers).

Several photos printed on a pink handbag
Memories can be displayed on a bag

A photo montage of several phots on a deckchair
....or even on a deckchair!

I particularly like the deckchair as it is unisex and you can fit loads of pictures on making it extra personal. And you can turn your personalised gift into a bit of a 'fan' gift too. Got a guy whose obsessed with Spurs or Man Utd? Then make him up a collage of his team memorabilia and pictures of him at those all important matches. You could have great fun with pictures for a baby shower gift or a hen-night. Once you let your imagination run wild you really could come up with a gift that is memorable and shows that you've put a bit of individual effort in - and everyone always appreciates that...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Itsu - chocolate covered Edamame beans

I love chocolate and I love edamame beans so the combination is pretty much heaven for me. Following on from my discovery of the Itsu Seaweed Thins the other week (which are very more-ish) I have been introduced by my office colleagues to the Itsu Chocolate Edamame and the Itsu Yogurt Edamame.

Dark, slightly bitter chocolate which is thick enough to really taste covers crisp and crunchy edamame beans. These are a real treat but aren't so bad for the waistline either being 131 calories for half a pack - and half a pack is certainly generous enough. And endemame beans are a relatively good source of protein too...

The yoghurt version is even less at 110 calories and both are £1.95 a packet.

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