Thursday, 28 February 2013

Balance Me natural skincare range

Balance Me Rose Otto Hand Cream (100ml): Image 01

Not come across Balance Me products before? No neither had I until I came across them in our suite at London Fashion Week and now a tube of this handcream is ubiquitous in my handbag and has been a hand-saver in this cold weather.

So what's so special about Balance Me? Well for a start it's a brand born at the kitchen table of two British sisters, Rebecca and Clare Hopkins who in 2005 left their PR business careers to retrain in the holistic field to get a better work-life balance. They use cutting-edge technology and natural formulations to create a brilliant range of products which have won many beauty industry awards.

They work on the philosphy of 'beauty that works naturally' and all products are very natural but the quality is extremely high due to the use of latest research and hi-tech natural ingredients and understanding that have only been around in the last few years.

Their products work on bringing skin back into balance - so healthier skins just get better and problems are gently sorted out.

They have a wide range for face and body and also have some lovely gift sets like this one...

beautiful skin collection
Balance Me skin collection

which would make a fantastic mother's day gift at £20. Try them out, if all the products are as good as the handcream then you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Superdry Beauty range launches...

It took a while in development to make sure it was just right for the brand, but Superdry with their ubiquitous sweatshirts and casual-wear have launched into the beauty market with a big, bright, bang!
Take these gorgeous make-up bags which come in a variety of colours...
Superdry Neon Beauty Bag
Superdry neon make-up bag , £9.99

Or this fantastic Kabuki brush which is unbelievably soft but completely man-made and animal free...

Superdry Kabuki Brush
Kabuki brush from Superdry, £14

But it's not just about the accessories, the make-up range is pretty cool too with eye-shadows, mascara, eye-pencils, lipsticks, lipglosses - the list is pretty comprehensive. Here are a few of my favourites...
Superdry Eye Shadow Duo
Highly pigmented Superdry eyeshadow duo, £9.50
Superdry Lip Glaze Trio
Superdry LipGraze trio, £17.50
Superdry Lip Paint
Superdry lip-paint, £8.00

I have tried a few of the products and they are good quality, well great quality for the price and even better they don't charge for delivery from the Superdry site!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Touch of Silver shampoo review

Anyone who has read my blog or follows me on Twitter will know that I battle the grey so have a beautiful (well I think so anyway) streak of blonde hair at the front so I don't have to visit the hairdressers more than 6-8 weeks at a time.

My hairdresser always puts toner on to try to get it as 'white' as possible, which she does achieve, but it never lasts as long as I would like it to. I was asked to try Pro:voke Professional A Touch of Silver, a range that really helps grey, white and platinum blonde hair. It uses violet pigment which neutralises the yellow and helps colours not to fade between applications.

The Optical Brightener and sunflower seed extract make colours bright and protect and the conditioners help to soften and moisturise too.

I really liked using the shampoo and conditioner which I was sent along with daily versions and even dry shampoo (which I don't really use but will have to start). It is not overly scented but I must say even after a few days my hair had started to lose it's white shade and was turning yellow but with this it was back to white again!

My hair is also a bit shinier, which blonde hair just doesn't normally have and soft. I would recommend these products to all you bottle blondes, or those with a lot of grey who want to keep it that way...

The range is available from a wide range of high-street stores and online including Boots. Prices start at around £2.
Image: Fabulous Magazine

Monday, 25 February 2013

Audio books for on the go people...

We have had a wonderful weekend visiting family in South Yorkshire and taking in the eldest daughters production of Jesus Christ Superstar at Leeds Uni. Youngest daughter is also at Sheffield Hallum so it was easy for her to join us too (and for us to take her home) but with all the motorway driving and to-ing and fro-ing we should have thought about organising an audiobook download from AudioGo, the home of audio books from the BBC.

This site contains a plethora of books - from Shakespeare (great if you have anyone in the car who needs to do some revision) to sci-fi classics, Dr Who scripts, children's novels, and a wide, wide range of modern literature too.

Here are my top five that I will be downloading so we will never be stuck with dreadful local radio again...

Michael Palin, New Europe
I loved this programme although they only briefly touched on Belgrade (which is a shame) and I could listen to Michael's dulcet tones all day. He does a whistle stop tour of the Balkans including Bulgaria, Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Hungary and the Ukraine amongst others too. He throws himself into local life and really gives some great insight into this part of the world which has emerged from behind the curtain in recent years.  Download - £7.99

Maeve Binchy, Whitethorn Woods
I love Maeve Binchy, but this will have to be for when I'm alone in the car as the husband is not so keen. Well she is a woman's writer really so I don't blame him. Once again we visit an Irish town where the action takes place and I know I will soon become wrapped up in the characters and the story as I always do with a classic Binchy.
Download - £7.99

Alan Bennett - Telling Tales
There are tons of Alan Bennett downloads on the AudioGo site and of course this would have been perfectly fitting for our trip to Yorkshire. Telling Tales brings us 10 childhood snapshots in the form of his famous monologues and Alan Bennett reminisces about his early years from school to undergrad life at Oxford. He grew up in Leeds where the children longed 'for German bombs to lend their city some wartime glamour' and even if you are way to young (I am thankfully) to know what that was like, he still never fails to strike a chord.
Download - £2.99

The Dinner - Herman Koch
I've never read anything by Herman Koch but this caught my eye and that is why it's on my list. Set on a summer's evening in Amsterdam, two couples dine out in a fashionable restaurant where their banal conversation covers for the unsaid. Each couple has a 15 year old son involved in a single horrific act and as dinner comes to an end the formality breaks down... I haven't read it but as I say it looks fascinating so that's why it's on my list!
Download - £7.99

Image coming soon
Frankie Boyle - If I Could Reach Out Through My TV and Strangle You, I Would
Frankie Boyle is not everyone's cup of tea but he is mine. He is controversial but is also thought provoking and very, very clever. This is a live recording from 2010 which I haven't heard yet but as I have never managed to see him live this is the next best thing...
Download - £1.49

Friday, 22 February 2013

Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix foundation review

Bourjois Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation

Bourjois have a revamped Healthy Mix foundation about to launch in March in the UK and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-launch bottle in the right colour (53 Beige clair in case you were wondering).

I do struggle to find a moisturiser that doesn't make my skin feel dry, accentuate my lines or is just right for my skin tone but I think I've found it! Radiance Reveal Healthy Mix Foundation has a thin formula so application is easy - and it sinks in leaving skin feeling hydrated rather than dry. This new formula is even richer in fruit with more apricot (for radiance) more melon for hydration and more apple for youth protection (vitamin C I suppose). It is soft and I must say it lasts with my skin looking good at the end of a working day in town.

There are 8 shades to choose from so there is pretty much something for everyone. I liked the transparent pump bottle too which delivers just the right amount. The Bourjois makeup artist recommended I use a brush to make it go further but it also seems to go far with simply my fingertips.

I love it and I think you will too so keep an eye out...

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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Kat&Bee jewellery - it rhymes too

One of our lovely fashion bloggers, The Fashion Bite, rocked up at the suite we took at One Aldwych for London Fashion Week sporting a couple of lovely rings from East End designer and owner of Kat&Bee. Never one to resist a good looking piece of jewellery I was introduced to her on Twitter and it was just a click away to finding the site where I quickly discovered that I want to own virtually everything she makes!

Kat's jewellery is influenced by all elements of her life and culture. Each piece is individually made so is never the same as the next and she mixes gold and silver wires, beads and often her signature skull.

There are currently 4 collections to choose from ABC Brazil, Courtallam, Memento Mori and St Tropez SS13. 

Prices range from around £70 - £200 and here are a few of my favourite pieces....
Esperanza, £165
Saachi, £55

Adelaide £170
Paarthiv, £205
Genevieve, £210

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Vita Coco - a refreshing change

Okay another product blag at the Handpicked Media suite - and I must say this has been keeping us all going in the office too of late. However, what's really interesting about this coconut water is the story behind it. 
Two childhood friends, Ira Liran and Michael Kirban were chatting to two women from Brazil they had just met in a bar in Manhattan (like you do). When they were asked what they missed most about Brazil one of the girls, without hesitating, said 'agua de coco' as it is the most delicious drink in the world.

Two months later Liran was visiting one of these women (who is now his wife) and started to research the prospect of branding coconut water for the US market. He spent months with the plantations and producers and learnt all about the politics of production in Brazil but ended up with a product, Vita Coco.

Michael had been busy too starting market research in New York and meeting with distributors and he quickly realised that there was a large market. A handful of shops took the drink in 2004 and it is now one of the fastest growing drinks in North America. And now it is here and being advertised on TV and online.

We genuinely can't get enough of it in the office. It is not overpowering in flavour but really does seem to hydrate you quicker than drinking water - I would say it was perfect for after a gym session and it certainly gave our footsore and tired fashion bloggers a boost just when they needed it. You shouldn't drink more than 2 small cartons a day because of the amount of potassium even if you become a bit addicted!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Dr Hauschka Make-Up Palette

Dr Hauschka has been a brand associated with natural skin care for over 40 years. I didn't really take much notice of the make-up ranges and was really pleasantly surprised when I got given this gorgeous make-up palette (worth around £32) at our Handpicked Media blogger suite at London Fashion Week.

This product  is free from synthetic preservatives and scents and is dermatologically tested. This convenient palette features 3 eyeshadows, an eyeliner pencil, 2 lip glosses and a double ended applicator. The shadows are not over-stacked with pigment but are great for layering and add a touch of sparkle. They are fused with quince wax, Japan wax and black tea extract for easy application. Soft golds are my favourite colours at the moment and with these I found it easy to create a look that was light during the day but could easily be increased for a more dramatic evening look - and all in one palette in my handbag. A nice big mirror completes the set and I can guarantee it won't be far from me for most of this summer!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Celtic & Co boots for Spring...

Alisia Boots, £175
Celtic & Co Alisia Boot, £175
Celtic & Co have been producing sheepskin and leather boots in Cornwall since the mid-1970's. The range has now grown to include boots, shoes, clogs, slippers moccasins, sandals, flip-flops plus knitted jumpers, cardigans and dresses all crafted from natural fibres including luxury blends and cashmere.

I really love the simplicity and the quality of these boots and I've never bought grey shoes or boots so I may just have to add them to my collection....

Description: Harlie Biker, £345

Will also love to team them with this Harlie Biker jacket at a cool £345...from Celtic & Co

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Playful Promises lingerie

Many years ago I wanted to be a textile designer and although I never made it past my art foundation course I still am drawn to great textile designs. Playful Promises is a small and creative company who produce many of their own textile designs and create some gorgeous, sexy and above all feminine lingerie and swimwear. Well it's too good for me as I need a little more support these days, but I can still look and love from a distance...

They had a stand at our blogger suite during London Fashion Week so we got to see some of the new prints like this gorgeous Russian Doll print....

Here are some more of their designs available now on their website...
Sweet Rose Kaleidoscope bandau top (£28) and briefs (£25).

They also do a limited collection of really pretty dresses - I love this one!

Garden Print dress (£55)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Philips VisaPure review

Philips VisaPure review

I have noticed that as my skin has got older I have to take even more care of it than I always have - well I suppose that does go without saying, but when I was younger even cleansing routines seemed to be less of a hassle. So when I was asked to test the Philips VisaPure Facial Cleansing Brush I thought 'anything to cut down on the time and effort when I am dog-tired before bed!' so accepted the challenge gratefully.

This electric brush claims to give ten times better cleansing than manual make-up removal and I must say that given the whole process takes simply one minute it really does remove all facial make-up swiftly and without any residue.

It is also much gentler than I had anticipated as the bristles are soft and silky - they have to be if you are using them daily which I have done for the last week.

The head of the brush rotates and vibrates and cuts out when you have spent enough time on one particular part of your face. You simply divide your face into three parts (on side including nose, the other side including nose and forehead) and the brush tells you when you've done enough and need to move on to a particular bit. 

No need to worry about batteries either, the VisaPure comes with a plug-in charger and all you need to do is leave it on charge for an initial 6 hours then it lasts for 30 minutes which at a minute each time is pretty good going. You then simply wet your face, apply a little of your normal cleansing facial wash to the brush and away you go.

I also find that because you are really cleaning your skin thoroughly and removing dead skin cells along with make-up that my moisturiser was quickly absorbed too - an extra bonus! There are also two speed settings, gentle and deep cleansing for when you really need to get rid of a lot of make-up. I may well treat myself to the Exfoliating brush head to use when I need a deeper dead skin removal.  

There are a variety of heads available and you can use the unit in the shower making it even more versatile. I will definitely be tossing into a suitcase whenever I go away along with my electric toothbrush - it makes perfect sense and has really revolutionised the way I cleanse, especially at night, so even thought the price tag is a little steep (£150) I do think it's worth the money as it is effective and so easy to use. 

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Great new colours from Stila

Stila new colours
Great new make-up colours from Stila
Fashion-forward as always these shades are straight from the catwalk and have landed up in my make-up bag - thank you Stila for sending them over!

The Gorgeous Color Balm Lipsticks are £16 each and are rich in pigment but have the nourishing properties of a balm - perfect for this lip-destroying cold weather. Infused with peppermint oil to soothe irritated lips and a phyto-derived emollient that keeps lips hydrated, these little beauties come in 18 lush shades. You also get a bit of plumping with the addition of certified organic sunflower-based polyclyceride so lips look absolutely at their best. I found they had great staying-power too. The shades featured here are Valentina and Natasha.

Next to these are the Stay All Day Wet-to-Set Eye Shadow Trio in First Light. There are 6 colour palettes in all and Stila Global Creative Director, Sarah Lucero suggests dampening a brush and swirling it into the shadow to create a creamy consistency that can then be layered. Using water makes them last for hours along with making them really easy to use - a winner in my book.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hug a Hoody - or let it hug you!

Everywhere I look at the moment there are women's hoodies. Not the sinister black kind worn by young men of dubious disposition, but brightly coloured, fleecy, snuggly and highly desirable hoodies that make weekend dressing just that bit more comfortable and bright.

JD Sports have a range that covers all bases. Branded women's hoodies for sporty types, and less branded but colourful for those who just want something pretty to throw on. I am wedded to my pink hoody I picked up there a couple of seasons ago but feel that with Spring on it's way I need to replace it with something new...

Here are some of my favourites.

Adidas Originals Trefoil full zip hoody, £55
Converse Burnout Full Zip Hoody, £50
Brookhaven Holly Hoody, £20
Adidas Originals Flock Zip Hoody, currently £30 in the sale 

This is a sponsored post.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Vote for your favourite Shuv and you may win a pair!

The Shuv from FitFlop - pre-customisation!

It's always great when you see companies supporting and promoting new UK talent and FitFlop are no exception having set the talented students at Cordwainers (part of the London College of Fashion) the task of customising a pair of their Shuv clogs.

The students came up with a wide variety of amazing designs which were judged by Marcia Kilgore (founder and owner of FitFlops), fashion designer Lulu Guinness and fashion journalist Hilary Alexander.

The Judges.
Fashion journalist, Hilary Alexander

FitFlop owner and founder, Marcia Kilgore

Fashion designer, Lulu Guinness

Five of these amazing designs are being showcased NOW on the FitFlop Facebook page and it is up to us all to decide the winner! Please go onto the page from now until 13th February to vote for your favourites. I already have mine!

The winners will be announced on February 14th and everyone who votes will be put into a draw to win one of 14 pairs of Shuv clogs in the colour of their choice!

For more information on FitFlop visit their Facebook Page and don't forget to vote - you may well be one of the lucky ones!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Order a Lucy Scott Traybake this Valentine's Day

It's nearly Valentine's Day and the perfect Valentine's gift to send to someone you love has to be in the form of a handmade chocolate brownie heart. This one is from one of my favourite bakers - Lucy Scott from Lucy Scott Traybakes, who will deliver in the UK. Check out her site - in the office we have a lust for her Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies which would also make a fantastic present for someone special....
Lucy Scott Valentine's Heart is £17 plus postage and packaging

Friday, 8 February 2013

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes

Clinique Chubby Sticks
Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes

While we are on the subject of Clinique (well I was in my last post) I want to add my voice to the many online who are singing the praises of the Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes.

Everyone went wild when the lip colours appeared last year, so it was a natural progression to add eye colours to the mix and I must say, having been sent a couple of colours to try out, I am really impressed.

They are cute to start with and we all like a cute new beauty product. The colours are gorgeous and will match all skin tones - and there is a real depth to the pigments so you get very real shimmering colour.

I tried out Bountiful Beige and Fuller Fudge - both with a touch of gold and shimmer. They simply glide on making an even colour easy to produce. They don't seem to crease and  they are infused with Vitamin E as an added bonus!

I simply love the packaging - okay I'm going to mention it again! They are like uber-crayons and you simply twist the base to expose more shadow, so no need for a sharpener like a pencil or crayon. They are on counters next week from February 15th so make sure you grab a couple as you pass. They will also be available online at Clinique. Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes are £16 each, are allergy tested and fragrance free.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Don't forget Clinique and the Kiss It Better Campaign!

The Kiss It Better campaign is now in it's sixth year, raising funds for research into the causes and treatment for childhood cancer at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Six glosses to celebrate six years of Kiss It Better
50% of this limited edition lipgloss set which is available at Clinique and through House of Fraser stores during February will go to Great Ormond Street. Each gloss is worth £14.50 so at £24 it really is a bargain!
Treat yourself or a loved one today and you will be supporting a fabulously worthy cause....

Monday, 4 February 2013

Shopping Trolley's are En Vogue!

I just received a press release this morning with this title and it made me metaphorically air-punch and shout 'yes' as I have known this for several years now. Trying to save the planet by saving on petrol in my car, plus getting a damn good work-out at the same time, my shopping trolley from IKEA has made the the butt of lots of cruel jokes from my family. And now with this one headline I feel vindicated!

The press release from Debenhams has made shopping trolleys out to be more 'Fearne Cotton than Dot Cotton' - to be honest I've never seen Dot with a trolley but I get where they're coming from.

Back when I was a fashion stylist in the Eighties we all had shopping trolley's - they were just the easiest way of carting the fashion stylist's bag of accessories around - or for picking up samples too. So I've never felt it was a big issue. So I'm now going to share with you the trolleys at Debenhams which are much nicer than my IKEA black one but do the same job...

They are £60 and have been flying off the shelves in London, Manchester and Glasgow where less people own cars - I am glad to see I am no longer alone. Debenhams shopping trolleys from Typhoon are also available online.

Multi-coloured Debenhams shopping trolley

Debenhams shopping trolley

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Brilliant Botanicals making a fashion splash for Spring/Summer

Adara clutch bag Coast at John Lewis
Adara clutch bag from Coast, John Lewis £55

Botanicals are big for Spring/Summer but you have to be really bold to wear them in a large piece like a dress or skirt. I prefer a nod to a trend like this as an accessory so this bag is just right for adding a flash of colour. Look out for scarves, bags, jewellery, tights - make it bold, make it bright and make a statement!

And if you'd like to go down the dress route (brave) then I love these two dresses from Hobbs.
Invitation Doddington Dress
Blue Invitation Doddington dress, Hobbs £189
Invitation Fiore Dress
Purple Invitation Fiore Dress, Hobbs £189 

Personally, I am planning on wafting through Summer with this Kaliko Clemetis print skirt...
Kaliko Clematis Print Skirt from John Lewis
Kaliko Clematis print skirt from John Lewis,  £85

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