I always feel like a right berk recommending this to people when I can’t pronounce the name properly – I mean, how on earth do you say OI Oil without looking as though you’re doing an extreme facial yoga move? – but recommend it I do. A lot. Because, despite trying dozens and dozens of smoothing creams and silkening serums and pomades that promise to tame fried locks, this is still one of the very best things I’ve found.
Davines OI Oil.
I’m not 100% sure on how to say the Davines bit, don’t have a clue on the OI bit, but don’t let pronunciation faze you: because surely that’s one of the great things about internet shopping? Being able to order stuff that you can’t pronounce in real life. Or, even better, being able to order all of the stuff that is too humiliating to do face to face.
(The fact that I now can’t think of a single thing that would humiliate me to buy face-to-face means that I have sunk to new lows. Unctions for various complaints of the orifices, athlete’s foot cream, stuff for ulcers and boils, bunions and buboes; the pharmacist in my local Sainsbury’s has seen it all and neither of us bats an eyelid. I always wonder whether it’s the combination of shopping items that cause’s embarrassment, rather than the items themselves. Though to be quite honest I rarely overthink this nowadays. I mean, if you found yourself at the checkout with a cucumber, some lard and a packet of condoms then you’d probably want to rethink your shopping list but I can’t think of much else that would make me pause for thought. Just to be clear, I’ve never rocked up to the tills with that combination of items, but once I did buy just an aubergine, two courgettes and a large pot of yoghurt because I was making an emergency vegetarian curry for a visiting friend and the man at the checkout said “that looks like a fine Saturday night in.” WTF.)
Where am I going with this? I have no idea. Poor you, clicking on a seemingly innocent haircare review and being plunged into the depths of my meandering mind. OI Oil. No idea how to say it, because they’ve capitalised the O and the I which further confuses me – if it’s not “Oi Oil” then is it o-eye oil?
I like to think you shout it, like Harry Enfield pretending to be a builder.
“Oi! Oil! Over ‘ere! Come on then if you think you’re ‘ard enough!”
But I’m guessing that would be off-brand. Davines is a very high-end, high-performance haircare brand and I’m not sure that Harry would be their poster boy. Everything I’ve tried from this company has been gorgeous, effective and a cut above much of the competition, so I’m going to be sensible from now on and give it the credit it deserves.
OI Oil Absolute Beatifying Potion is a hair-finishing serum that contains oil, but doesn’t quite behave like an oil. Which is a blessing for those with fine, easily-weighed-down hair. You get all of the sheen and conditioning benefits of the oil (roucou oil, which is apparently 100 times richer in beta carotene than carrots; handy if you, like me, would like your hair to be able to see in the dark) but you don’t get the greasiness.
Obviously if you pour the stuff on and baste your whole head in it, things would start to get greasy, but why would you do that? You need a minimal amount – for long hair, I’d dispense about the size of a 10p coin – and that minimal amount manages to groom, tame and polish without any heaviness whatsoever.
My hair just looks sleek and smooth, but not in that nineties Jennifer Aniston way that needed four hours of straightening to achieve – the surface just looks healthy and…well pulled together. So I’d use the OI Oil on days when my hair looks tousled, for example, leaving it looking tousled but incredibly healthy, rather than tousled because it’s just dry AF and I haven’t had my split ends cut off in five or six months.
How do you use Davines OI Oil? Well here’s the most beautiful bit: pretty much in any way you want. Massage into damp hair and allow to air-dry, massage into damp hair before blow-drying, smooth over dried ends to get rid of frizz or spread a small amount between palms and then press them lightly down the lengths of a finished style to give it polish and sheen.
My most-employed way of using OI Oil is on hair that I’ve basically washed and forgotten about, hair that has dried into a huge Helena Bonham-Carter bird’s nest on my head, tangled and stressed. And you know that when you’ve left your hair to riot like that then there’s very little you can do to pull it back from the brink – some of my lowest hair moments have been when I’ve brushed my hair out from the freshly-washed bird’s nest and it just sits, lank yet somehow still frazzled, hanging down in tattered curtains on either side of my face.
That is when OI Oil comes into its own. On my fine, colour-treated hair it just seems to perform small miracles, working its way through the damage to come out with something that’s a hell of a lot more than just presentable. And yes, a glance at the ingredients list tells you that the silicone-heavy formula is very much in a similar arena to your Frizz-Eases and your Moroccanoils, but there’s something about this one that works incredibly well on my fine, blonded hair.
You can find Davines OI Oil online here* – a small bottle is £24, but a large bottle, which is almost three times the size, is £35. On the one hand, a small bottle would probably last you an age and I’m always hesitant to recommend unnecessary super-sizing, but the numbers here point in only one direction. Economy of scale and all that.
It’s Best Budget Beauty time again and who better to join me in my bargain-hunting exploits than the self-confessed dupe-obsessive Nadine Baggott? Nadine has decades of experience as a beauty editor and presenter and spends an unholy amount of time chasing down high-performance products that cost a fraction of the luxury versions.
In this little duet of videos (is that even a term?) we unearth our favourite makeup and skincare finds in the under £20 bracket. I think that it could quite easily have been an under £15 challenge, really, as most of the products featured hover around or under that price – a few are currently available for under a fiver.
As with last week’s, I have captioned my video using a real-life transcriber so that the subtitles make sense. On the skincare video you can get this to appear by clicking the CC at the bottom of the video screen. I’ve listed the featured skincare products at the bottom of this page – for the makeup finds, click through to Nadine’s video and all of the listings will be in the description box!
Right, get watching if you want to find out which cult (and notoriously hard to get) skincare brand will soon be in Superdrug or which eyeshadow pencil is as good as the designer ones yet costs less than a fiver…
Here’s the Best Budget Skincare video:
and the Best Budget Makeup video on Nadine’s Youtube channel:
Products Featured in the Skincare video:
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser*: http://bit.ly/2rjRByY
Curel Makeup Cleansing Gel*: http://tidd.ly/6b72c794
Inkey List Collagen*: https://amzn.to/2SIY2Xr
Hada Labo Hyaluronic with retinol + collagen*: https://amzn.to/2SWx4dP
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluid*: http://tidd.ly/f6b3539f
The Body Shop Aloe Day Cream*: http://tidd.ly/53ff3fb0
Simple Calming Moisturiser*: http://tidd.ly/852f4075
Eucerin Vit C*: http://tidd.ly/e9074e01
The post Best Budget Beauty Under £20 – with Nadine Baggott appeared first on A Model Recommends.
Well here’s a makeup collection that feels decidedly spring-like; it’s making me feel quite optimistic and invigorated about things, despite the fact that we’re being battered by various storms and all still wearing tights.
It’s the Act IV collection by Estée Lauder, created in collaboration with Danielle Lauder, an aspiring actor and Mrs Estée Lauder’s Great-Granddaughter.
It’s a chic, unfussy collection of seven makeup products that gives a glamorous nod to the “Old Hollywood” vibe but at the same time remains wearable and useful for everyday looks.
The idea behind the collection is that it’s beauty that makes you the star – just enough glitz and shimmer to add a bit of pizazz to the day but not over the top and definitely not unattainable. The packaging isn’t fussy but it definitely has that vintage luxury vibe.
And you can tell that there’s a distinct Hollywood lean to Act IV because the skin products concentrate on creating that very dreamy, almost soft-focus effect; there’s the Cinemattic Complexion Liquid (shop here) that acts as a blurring, mattifying primer and the Spotlight Highlighter (here) that just gives a hint of warmth along with the traditional pearlescent glow.
You can actually use the Complexion Liquid on its own, if you want an even and perfected base but little in the way of coverage, but it’s a dream beneath foundation, creating a very smooth canvas. It gives everything that ethereal sort of quality, I think, especially in combination with the highlighter and the loose Party Puff Starlucent Powder.
The Party Puff Starlucent Filtered Powder (online here) feels and looks like something you’d find on a vintage dressing table, perhaps backstage on a film set, and the coral hue gives a fresh finish that works to set makeup as well as add a little extra radiance.
The colour makeup is a dream if you love your springtime pastels; I think this is one of the only times I’ve actually liked coral and lavender tones on my lids! The Best Picture Multi-Look Palette (shop here) is for eyes and face, though I think it works best on eyes – the lavender and charcoal shades mixed together make for a really sultry, smokey eye that has a bit of an edge.
I don’t often inject purple shades into my makeup routine but I found this quite exciting, really, and it made me feel as though I’d stepped out of my comfort zone.
By about an inch.
I mean it’s not as though I died my hair bright green and walked down the high street wearing a thong bikini, but in terms of a little makeup shake-up I found the lavender tint very pleasing!
The lipsticks and tints will perhaps be the most universally pleasing; two Luxe Lip Creme shades (Reel Coral and Reel Rose, find here online) and then a travel-friendly Lip Duet Tint and Balm, here, which has – as the name suggests – a balm in one end and a tint in the other.
It gives a healthy little flush to the lips and can be intensified by skipping the balm step altogether. But if it was punchy you wanted then the Reef Coral is the one to leap for – really very bright, almost neon in some lights, it’s the kind of shade that will only look better as the weather gets warmer!
Ugh, I can’t wait for the weather to get warmer. I think it’s going to be coral lips and lavender eyes all the way, for me, once the wild flowers start coming out!
You can find the Act IV collection on the Estée Lauder website here – prices start at £34 for the creme lipsticks. What do you think about pastels with a punchy lip? Is this something I might have to do a School Run Makeup on?
Hurrah! I finally have internet speeds that are faster than the ones that we had back in 1999! And all it took was Mr AMR hanging precariously out of the top window, holding a 4G router above his head like a possessed telecommunications engineer. It’s the same router I’ve had for a while, but we had never tried positioning it 80cm outside the house before – more fool us!
Only others with painfully slow internet will share my joy in finally finding a workable solution to the problem – if you have internet, and it’s fast enough to do basic things such as watch a film on Netflix, then my revelation (indeed this entire post) will hold no interest for you. Move on, smugly, knowing that the next page you click to will take approximately 2.1 seconds to load and not fifteen minutes.
A bit of background, for those who are still with me: I live in a rural hamlet and we don’t have high-speed broadband. Our download speed with BT is around 5MB, upload speed is about 0.8. Netflix can be slow to respond, large files are impossible to upload and, if we have an important email to send with attachments, we find that it’s easier to dictate it to an aged monk and then summon a messenger on horseback to deliver the manuscript directly into the hands of the recipient. Godspeed, Cedric, Godspeed.
When we bought the house, we knew that the internet speeds were dire but the owners had installed satellite internet. Which seemed like a good fix. It really wasn’t – it was temperamental, didn’t like cloudy days and was very expensive to run. I think we kept it for a couple of months before realising that it was a complete waste of money and barely any faster than the bog-standard BT line. This might not be the case for everyone – it can very much depend on geographical position, whether or not you’re in a valley, for example – but the overall feeling about satellite internet, when you read online, seems to be that people aren’t overwhelmed with enthusiasm for it.
So what was my next line of attack? Well, I’ll admit that I was a bit stuck. The residents of my hamlet had been promised Truespeed, which is one of the providers trying to bring FTTP (fibre to the premises) to people in areas without any high speed broadband. They quite literally build the network, from scratch, and connect each home to a network that’s often higher than you’ll even find in the cities.
I have a love-hate relationship with companies such as Gigaclear and Truespeed and also quite a lengthy relationship. The village I lived in just outside of London didn’t have fibre (more forgivable in 2014, I suppose) and one day a meeting was held in the village hall about a high speed network that would be put together by someone called Gigaclear. So we all duly signed up and those of us who were desperate for it (freelancers, mainly, and people running businesses from home) even took it upon ourselves to go out personally and get new sign-ups. Everyone had to give their bank details, sign the forms – we were at 99% they told us! Only less than one household to go! – and it looked like a done deal. But nothing materialised. Even by the time we moved, in 2017, there was no Gigaclear. And I’ve just checked online now, in 2020: still no Gigaclear.
It’s the same with Truespeed. Promised it way before we bought our house in Somerset and for almost two years we’ve been receiving updates but there’s always one more barrier, one more problem that needs to be overcome.
So I had to put aside my hopes of getting Truespeed for now (fibre speeds of up to 200MB!) and seek other remedies. Thankfully, the best one – and I shall be eternally grateful – came from one of my neighbours, Adam, who had beaten us to Somerset by around four months and had therefore exhausted most internet-improving avenues. Now I must be clear, before you get overexcited: this method of gaining miraculously high speeds does depend on your 4G reception. I’ll admit that many rural places have crap internet and barely any 4G coverage, but for those luckily enough to have good phone signal, you’re in for a treat.
4G coverage is ever-improving, so it’s worth checking coverage maps for all providers, not just the one you happen to have stuck with for the past fifteen years. See who comes up trumps on the coverage maps and then get hold of a pay as you go SIM card for that company and test out the 4G reception in all areas of your house.
The areas of the house thing is incredibly important, by the way; in my office, my 4G router gives me download speeds of 6.8MB and upload speeds of 0.98. If I shunt the router forwards into a front bedroom and balance it on the windowsill (or, even, out of the window on the end of Mr AMR’s arm) then I get a ridiculously speedy (for here) 12MB download speed and 26MB upload. (I have no idea why the upload speed is faster, I suspect it’s not a good sign but quite honestly I can’t be bothered to rock the boat when I finally have a workable connection!)
But I’ve gone too far ahead and missed out important information here: neighbour Adam had been experimenting with various internet things and had settled on the very satisfactory method of using a 4G data-only SIM with a router he had bought on Amazon. He was getting fast, reliable internet and paying around £25 per month.
I immediately ordered the router (this one here* (AD/affiliate link) in case you’re interested) and went for the same data SIM he was using (Vodafone, 50GB limit) and the next day slotted everything together and crossed my fingers. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the speedtest came back with 25MB download and 8MB up. Hurrah! All of my work (and Netflix) problems had been solved!
Huawai Router* + Data Only SIM + Reasonable 4G Coverage = Rural High Speed Internet
There was one more twist in the tale, though. Left to its own devices, my Macbook Pro was a champion devourer of data. It chomped its way through data like one of those people who eat hot dogs to break world records; the remaining gigabytes dissolved in front of my very eyes as my iCloud synced the ten thousand daily photos that I took on my phone and my iPhoto uploaded all of my DSLR photos to the iCloud and my iTunes did things that only iTunes really understands, because who can actually access any of their music anyway? It’s all locked up in some virtual shipping container somewhere and you can only play it if you ask really, really nicely, even though you spent forty-nine days importing all of your CDs into your iMac in 2004. (What a bloody waste of time! I swear, the number of weeks I’ve spent copying records onto tape cassettes, tapes onto CD, converting CDs to MP3s. Oh! And the brief yet painful era of the mini disk. Remember those? You couldn’t even buy music on a mini disk, so you had to make the world’s most labour-intensive mix tapes and the whole set-up only lasted for about a year anyway! Which meant that my in-car mini disk player and my mini disk walkman were both an epic waste of hard-earned cash…)
To cut a long story short, my 50GB data was lasting for around two days if I left my MacBook running. So I had to turn off iCloud, which meant I couldn’t sync my photos and I couldn’t see my emails either because they were burning up data like psychopathic data fire-starters. Unlimited data SIMs weren’t yet a thing, so I had to try and find another way to limit my usage. Firstly I bought two SIMs so that I would never run out – I just swapped them over when one ran out for the month. But then I looked into how to manage my usage and found a very handy app called TripMode. I can’t really rave about this app enough; it’s inexpensive, it works, it will probably save you tens of pounds each month, especially if you work from home.
TripMode automatically limits your data usage by blocking things on your computer (or phone) that are data hogs. So iCloud, for example, and Mail, and even iPhoto if you tend to take a lot of video footage and photos with large file sizes. You can preset which apps to block and toggle TripMode on and off so that if you do need to quickly email or sync something it’s easy to do. It also monitors usage and can set data caps – all for about six quid. (At last glance.) Find that here, it’s an absolute must if you don’t have unlimited data.
Luckily, more and more data providers are now doing unlimited data SIMs that you can slip, with an almost sexual level of pleasure, into your router slot. Oh, the thrill of knowing that you’ll be able to load a page on ASOS without getting the spinning wheel of doom! Oh, the sparks of passion that will fly as your fingers caress the keyboard and open New Tab, New Tab, New Tab, as you frantically absorb all of that internet information and even play a Youtube video in the background! Stick a fork in me, unlimited data SIM, I’m done.
Virgin do an unlimited data SIM for those who are already customers, SMARTY have one that’s very cheap and doesn’t have a contract (I found this the slowest for speeds in my area so cancelled), 3 have one, Vodafone have an unlimited SIM but they say it’s just for phones. I have yet to test this. For many, 3 will be the best bet – they have exemplary coverage when you look at their maps. I think that 3 own SMARTY, but I found speeds higher with 3. Go figure.
I hope, sincerely, that at least a few of you that have been struggling with rural – or just plain bad – internet will find this useful. Some will be eye-rolling and saying “duh, like I hadn’t thought of that!” but at least a dozen people in my immediate geographical vicinity hadn’t known about the router + 4G sim option, so I’m going out on a limb and putting it out there.
And at the risk of being even more obvious, I’m going to precis my rural internet findings below, with the Three Useful Things You Should Know If You Have Very Slow Internet. You’re welcome.
1 You can easily find out whether you’re in an area that’s being considered by providers such as Truespeed and Gigaclear. Just type your postcode into their websites (linked above) and it’ll tell you whether there’s a build in progress or any interest at all in your area. You can also (actually is maybe a better first call) check on Open Reach to see whether fibre is coming to your area, or whether your cabinet (not like a kitchen cabinet, it’s bigger and further away) is due to be upgraded. Check that info here.
If your community isn’t eligible for any sort of network building scheme then you could also look into Community Fibre Partnerships, which is when you all get together and basically foot the bill. I’ll side-step the politics on that one, because it seems slightly ridiculous that a community should be having to raise massive funds for something that others get for free… Trying to be all zen at the moment.
2 If you can get 4G signal then you are massively in luck, because you can try the Router + 4G SIM method that works so well for me. You can find 4G coverage maps for most providers here. If you have a reasonably strong 4G signal with one of them then you can buy a 4G router here (that’s the one I have) and data SIM cards from most mobile phone providers. If you want unlimited data (why wouldn’t you?) then try Three (here) and EE have literally just launched theirs onto the market, the deal is £34 per month here. (Please do your own checks as to suitability for your router and so on!)
3 If you don’t get any 4G reception then all is not lost. Though it may be a matter of doing some heavy research and/or digging a little deeper in terms of costs. If you want to try satellite, because you’re desperate (I found it twitchy) then try a larger provider such as Avonline. I also found this website incredibly interesting: ruralinternet.co.uk. You can also contact Open Reach and see how much it would cost for fibre to your premises privately – ie, the road gets dug up just for you, the price depends on how far you are from the nearest cabinet. I don’t need to tell you, I’m sure, that it’s probably going to be really, really expensive. There’s a rudimentary price list here if you can get your head around it…
The post 3 Useful Things To Know If You Have Very Slow Internet… appeared first on A Model Recommends.
I raved about this wondrous shampoo and conditioner duo just after Christmas but – as usual – it has taken some time to edit my written review. Mind you, that’s not a bad thing at all, because it’s given me a chance to test Olaplex 4 & 5 (sounds like a virus) to an almost obsessive degree.
You may have heard about Olaplex; it started off as an in-salon, professional product for helping to drastically repair and strengthen damaged hair, and it was one of those treatments that people whispered smugly about, people who were in the know.
“Your colour looks nice, darling, where did you get it done?”
“Oh, you know, darling…Barnabas does it.”
(I am hugely aware that these fictional people already sound like total twats. If truth be told, I’m regretting having even started the off-piste dialogue section, but now I’ve created Mandy and Gwyneth I feel I can’t stop. Forgive me, Olaplex, they’re not going to do much for your street cred, old Mands and Gwynnie, but they absolutely are OMG obsessed with your product, so it’ll all be good PR in the end.)
“The Barnabas does your colour?”
“Yes, darling Gwynnie, always has done always will.”
“Well, not always.”
“He will have to die at some point.”
(I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Someone intervene. I think it’s the sinus medicine I’m on, it has sent me totally bonkers.)
“Well, Gwyneth, there’s no need to wish ill on someone like that, he’s -“
“I’m not wishing ill, Mandy, it’s a simple fact of life. He will, at some point, die. Anyway, Jonas does my hair and look how strong it is, despite the fact that I bleach the living tits out of it every four weeks. Touch it Mandy. Touch it.”
“I don’t need to, Gwyneth. It looks strong as a horse’s mane. You basically have a horse’s mane. You’re basically a hor-“
“Olaplex, Mandy. My hair has never felt so strong and healthy. So robust. So…”
“Empowered. I know, Gwyneth darling. I get Olaplexed too. Olaplex one and two. Stronger hair, stronger you.”
OH MY GOD, OLAPLEX, I’VE WRITTEN YOU YOUR NEXT WORLDWIDE AD CAMPAIGN! That’ll be £450 please.
Anyway, Olaplex is the kind of strengthening treatment that people (especially people who bleach the bejeezus out of their hair on a regular basis) can’t get enough of. Steps 1 and 2 are the in-salon parts, with 1 being the bit that you apply when you’re actually having your colour done and 2 the after-rinsing part. Many colourists mix it directly in with the hair colour or bleach and it helps to rebuild the structure of the hair, making it smoother and stronger. Despite the hair being dead. Which is weird, when you think about it. It’s a bit like using No More Nails to glue a skeleton back together.
And there’s a home bond-strengthening treatment, now, as well as the in-salon steps; there’s step 3, the Hair Perfector, which is a pre-shampoo leave-in treatment, and there’s step 4, a shampoo, and step 5 which is a conditioner. Oh, and step 6, which is something you leave-on after you’ve rinsed out all the other gubbins.
Here in this review I’m talking specifically about steps 4 & 5, but I will come back to 3 (and 6!) in a later post. I need to try them properly, but as far as I can tell step 3 is a kind of Elasticizer-style pre-shampoo deep-conditioner and step 6 (The Bond Smoother) is more of a leave-in treatment that protects against frizz and so on when you’re blow-drying.
So far, however, I haven’t felt as though I’ve needed them at all. The shampoo and conditioner work amazingly well on my hair, leaving it feeling so (empowered) strong and smooth, I haven’t really felt the need to reach for the stronger stuff. The big guns.
Partly because I can’t imagine what the big guns might actually do. I don’t want to go OTT. I mean, can hair be too strong? Could that be a potential problem? I have visions of me whipping my mane over my shoulder and accidentally killing someone. Or demolishing small buildings with my plait. Mind you, it could be quite useful if I wanted to lasso things. Buffalo. Horses.
Anyway, the shampoo and conditioner are bloody brilliant. I have the proper “wow” sensation when I use them – even before drying my hair off I can feel that satisfying slip, the slip that I haven’t really had since first dying my hair. (Twenty five years ago almost. I first had highlights at sixteen, I saved up money from my weekend job and went to a place that used a crochet hook to pull massive wads of hair through a rubber hat with hundreds of slits cut into it. The indignity.)
You can find Olaplex at Space NK here* – small bottles of the shampoo and conditioner are £13, bigger ones are £26. I will report back once I’ve tried steps 3 and 6 – if I haven’t garrotted myself with my strong-as-steel ponytail in my sleep.
If your hair is weak, frazzled, generally just dry and shite (name of my new hair serum I’m going to bring out – Dry n Shite) then this stuff is well worth a try. I mean, if you can get your salon to use the first steps when you’re having your colour done then all the better, but my colourist doesn’t, and I am still having great results from the home stuff. It gives me the weighty, swingy feeling that I love but none of that horrendous semi-oily residue that some strengthening products seem to leave – have you ever experienced that? Like a rubberised coating that won’t come off? Argh! Well Olaplex doesn’t do that. All hail.
After writing off my “daily essentials” makeup bag, thinking I had lost it at a hotel, I was excited to find that it was, in fact, stowed away right at the back of the glovebox in my car. Behind the owner’s manual and the pile of old MOT certificates and the broken umbrella and – joy! – a sweet bag with a singular Percy Pig from M&S in it. I ate the pig, despite the fact that it must have been at least six months old and had probably been heated and then frozen, heated then frozen, about sixty times.
Anyway I’m still here to tell the tale, so God only knows what they put into those pigs – I think they’d survive the apocalypse! Unlike Clinique’s excellent Pep-Start Lip Balm, which had the dead and dessicated body of a woodlouse stuck into the top of it. Not Clinique’s fault, of course – mine for losing the lid many eons ago – but still, gross.
You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve cut the contaminated top off the balm with my extra-sharp Global kitchen knife (how I’ve longed to slip a mention of my knife into this blog, I can die happy) and I’m contemplating using it again. The thing is, before you go all hysterical, I’m pretty sure that the louse was dead before it stuck to the balm. It’s not as though it crawled on, got its little legs stuck and then slowly expired from thirst and hunger.
How do I know this? It’s an educated guess. The louse corpse has no legs, so the chances of it crawling on and getting its legs stuck are virtually nil; I looked closely with my magnifying glass and there’s no evidence of leg material whatsoever.
So I don’t think it’s as though the woodlouse died of some terrible disease and leached all of its germs and whatnot into the balm and I’m sure now that I’ve cut off 5mm of product all will be fine. Vote now.
Good grief, that went off on a tangent. If Clinique haven’t already discontinued that balm then they probably will now. It’s tainted. Tainted I tell you!
Click to watch the video and find out what was in my Time Capsule makeup bag. I could equally have called this my “Lost and Found” edition, or “Daily Essentials I Didn’t Appreciate Until They’d Gone”, because it’s a bit farfetched to call something from only a few months ago a “Time Capsule”, but seeing as though I didn’t have the foresight to keep a bag filled with makeup favourites from 1995 and bury it in my parents’ garden, this will have to do.
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49 here*: http://bit.ly/2zWfFZK
Charlotte Tilbury Mini Brush Set, here*: http://bit.ly/2SfAAke This is actually really good, usually mini brush sets are a bit hit and miss! If she does them again next Christmas and they are the same, I’d get them!
Chanel Powder Brush No3 – discontinued?
Karen Walker Necklace*: http://bit.ly/2OX1wn1
Zoeva Buffer Brush, £17 here*: http://bit.ly/2vkEGif
Rodial Banana Lowlighter, £38 here*: http://bit.ly/2Hd3Ce5
Glossier Boy Brow in Blonde, £14 here*: http://bit.ly/2vkEGif
L’Oreal Unlimited Mascara, currently £5.99 here*: https://amzn.to/37jyzrJ
Clinique Pep Start Lip Balm – can’t find this at all! Where has it gone? It’s REALLY GOOD! Apart from the dead woodlouse body.
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner in Hot Gossip, £17 here*: http://bit.ly/38u3Jy5
NARS Voyageur Palette in Suede, £28 here*: https://bit.ly/2w8Z7Pv
Yes, yes, how dreadfully selfless of me to give away my hallowed – hallowed I tell thee! – Space NK x Caroline Hirons beauty box. This luxury beauty box – with a product value totalling over £400 – sold out within hours and now you have a chance to win one. It’s Valentine’s Day and I thought I’d show you some love.
Have you peered inside this particular box of delights? Eight full-sized products from the most delectable luxury beauty brands including Sunday Riley, Oskia and Kate Somerville. Always fancied trying Votary’s Facial Oil? Had Chantecaille’s Jasmine and Lily Mask on your Christmas list but didn’t get so lucky?
Now’s your chance.
Just leave a comment below telling me you’re in (I’M IN!) and one winner will be picked at random on Monday 17th February 2020 at noon. They will win a coveted, sold-quicker-than-hotcakes beauty box. This is open to UK readers only due to competition laws and please only enter once. The winner will be contacted by email – for full T&Cs please see here.
May the force be with you my friends. This is a good one. I part with the beauty box painfully and with quite a massive degree of regret. That Chantecaille mask! Boo hoo….
If you want the full box contents details and ingredients lists etc, go to the Space NK page here*.
The post Giveaway: The Space NK x Caroline Hirons Beauty Box appeared first on A Model Recommends.
I am sandwiched between two lone male diners. Not in the biblical sense, obviously, they wouldn’t be dining if they were sandwiching me (if that is even a term) and I’m not sure I’d refer to them as “lone” males if we were midway through performing some kind of debaucherous act.
No, I merely mean that I am sitting (also alone) at a table in a restaurant and the tables either side of me are occupied by lone male diners. I could have said it like that to start off with, but that would have deprived you of the lasting mental image of me being “sandwiched”.
Anyway, I write with important news, because I think I may be at the end of my love affair with burrata. You know burrata, the incredibly rich and creamy italian cheese – it looks like a ball of mozzarella di buffala, but it’s milkier and more surprising. If I was to accurately describe it, I’d call it a cheese sack filled with cream, but that has to be the least appealing description of any foodstuff ever, so I’ll leave it to finecooking.com who say:
“burrata is a supple pouch of tender mozzarella stuffed with stracciatella, a luscious blend of fresh cream and soft mozzarella shreds”.
Supple pouch. Supple. Pouch. I’m not sure which is worse: cheese sack, or supple pouch.
Getting back to the matter in hand; my love affair with burrata. We’ve been all over the world together – Paris, L.A., New York, London, Tokyo – and I’ve been faithful, dear reader, choosing burrata over almost anything else when given the choice. But things are fizzling out. It’s not actually the burrata’s fault, because I still love it, the big supple pouch of a bastard, the plump white orb of goodness; it’s what chef’s are doing to it that is turning me off. What they’re serving it with.
It seems to have become de rigueur to serve it a) completely by itself or b) with something that simply doesn’t do it any favours at all. Gives it no help. And you might say “oh, but burrata doesn’t need any help, it’s perfection the way it is!”
But try eating a whole, large burrata with nothing else on the plate. Which is how I’ve been served it a few times. It’s just too decadent, too rich. My body can’t cope with it. It’s so gloriously creamy, with its mozzarella shell and liquidy insides, but it’s (whispers) too much of a good thing.
In my very humble opinion (I say humble, but I must have eaten over eighty thousand burratas, so in a way I’m probably a world expert) the best way to eat a burrata is with something ever so slightly sharp, or tangy, beside it. My preference would be that there was something involving tomatoes, but equally it could be some peppers that have been charred, skinned, marinated in something slightly acidic. A quality balsamic, perhaps.
I don’t know, I’m just giving you my thoughts.
Of course the ultimate delight, if bodies didn’t have arteries that had to be kept relatively unclogged, would be a huge bowl of penne with an incredibly spicy tomato sauce and then a massive great big sac magique of burrata plonked on the top. Quivering. Ready to explode all over the spicy sauce and extinguish the fire. See? Balance!
Instead, I get given: a burrata on a plate, a sea of cream, some sprigs of what looks like thyme sprinkled on top. Which also makes no sense – why thyme? Or, in one overly-wholesome place, a burrata served next to an avocado purée, which was just nonsense, a triangular plate-shaped mess of expensive baby food.
And now I sit here, amongst my lone male diners, staring at another burrata creation: burrata with pine nuts (meh) and chargrilled broccoli. Broccoli!
The broccoli is offering nothing in the way of flavour, nothing strong enough to contrast with the milkiness of the cheese. It’s just faintly like guff, broccoli, and I love it but at the same time it’s not worthy of a place at the table with King Burrata.
And this meal was going so well, too. The ceviche starter was excellent. I even gave it my undivided attention, because my iPhone battery has died and I didn’t want to accidentally make eye contact with other humans. Not the ones here, at any rate. I’m not cool enough for the people here – the men all have fisherman’s beards and are wearing jeggings and there’s a girl wearing what seems to be a non-ironic tiger outfit, complete with tail. When I walked in wearing my tracksuit I saw the sea of eyes upon me; I’d have been less conspicuous had I weaved my way through the restaurant on a Penny Farthing blowing on a hunting bugle.
Now the dessert is here; deconstructed fig tatin. I thought that a tarte tatin was pretty deconstructed to start with – pastry, fruit, caramel – but here we are with it brought down to even humbler components. Wait: two of said components are missing. This is just figs and ice cream. Where’s the bloody pastry? Where’s the tatin? It costs 8.5, which means eight and a half pounds, to those of you who are used to the normal pricing system, which tends to work quite well so why mess with it, which I think is extortionate for three figs and a scoop of vanilla.
But this is not a restaurant review, I merely popped in to talk about burrata. Pressing issues, people, pressing issues. The man beside me has just leant in and asked me a dubious, conversation-opening question about wine – wine! – which means possible social contact and a potential awkward situation: time for me to run like the wind! I’ll not be the filling in your lone diner sandwich, matey!
Questions to answer: do you like burrata? If so, am I right about the accompaniments or amiright? Opinions below.
NB: the burrata in the image is actually a Claridges one, which was – incidentally – delicious, but appearance-wise scored low. Whatever the hell it was served upon looked like a bed of maggots. The cheese was, as expected, delightful, but where was the tanginess? Something contrasty? Nowhere to be seen, that’s where!
I’ve made some quite significant changes to my skincare routine since Christmas and so I thought it might be time for an update. This wasn’t the easiest update video to film, mostly because the issue of the hero product’s price-tag was hanging over me like a spectre the entire time I was talking about it!
But I have had really quite brilliant results from this particular wonder cream and so I managed to get over my fear of being pelted by rotten eggs – or whatever the online equivalent is – over the price. I like my skincare routine updates to be genuine and accurate recordings of the products I’m using and what they seem to be doing to my skin and so it would actually be quite weird for me to not mention a high-performing product just because it’s out of the usual budgetary range…
I’m going to let you watch the video to find out what I’ve been using (strong strong retinol and less of the other types of active ingredient) but before you tune out, thinking, “I don’t want to listen to a video”, hear this: I’ve actually got proper, professional closed captions on this video. I’m trying it out to see whether people find them useful and actually turn them on – Youtube do caption their videos automatically, I think, but the transcriptions can be very hit and miss and are often woefully inaccurate.
So, if you’re in the office/feeding a baby/pretending to be on the toilet and can’t listen aloud, just set the video running with your sound off and click the little CC symbol on the bottom of the screen. That’ll bring up my painstakingly transcribed captions. (Full disclosure: paid someone else to do it, I barely have time to edit the videos let alone caption them. It takes bloody ages.)
Anyway, let me know whether it’s useful – or, should I say, more useful than the standard captioning – if you regularly make use of the subtitle functions. You can find a (spoiler alert) list of the products I’ve been using if you scroll down past the video screen, but please do take a moment to watch, because that’s where the magic happens!
I’ll be back with a full, standalone review of the Medik8 retinol product because the results warrant it and the pricing is sure to be a talking point…
My Current Skincare Routine
Morning – Cleanse, Hydrating Serum, Moisturiser
Cleanse Products I’m Using:
Skinceuticals Cream Cleanser, £31 here*: http://bit.ly/2H6Vw6L
Bioderma Micellar Water, £19.50 here*: http://tidd.ly/e9f2529
Murad Pre-Biotic Cleanser, £38 here*: http://bit.ly/3bo2hPj
Serums I’m Using:
Alpha-H Skincare Hyaluronic 8 Serum, £38 here*: http://bit.ly/2vjOJnK
La Roche-Posay Hyalu-B Serum, £38 here*: http://tidd.ly/16cfb4b1
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid, £5.99 here*: https://amzn.to/3boRJiY
Inkey List Collagen, £8.99 here*: https://amzn.to/3boRHrm
Moisturisers I’m Using:
The Body Shop Carrot Day Cream, £14 here*: http://bit.ly/2Hje7Nb
Dr Sam Bunting Flawless Moisturiser, £25 here: https://drsambunting.com/products/flawless-moisturiser
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluid, £16.50 here*: http://tidd.ly/facc95e1
SPF I’m Using:
Elizabeth Arden Great 8 SPF35, RRP £36 but is currently £24 on Amazon here*: https://amzn.to/3bmfd8z
PM – Cleanse, Hydrating Serum, Moisturise
As above but no SPF and a proper balm cleanser, I’ve been using:
Emma Hardie Moringa Light Gel, £34 here*: http://tidd.ly/99e8c9bc
Pestle and Mortar Renew Gel, £38 here*: http://tidd.ly/1c6393b6
Every three or four nights (I’m working my way up to every other night!) I use the R-Retinoate below. Sometimes I follow with a bit of moisturiser, often I just use it alone!
Medik8 R-Retinoate Intense, £210 here: https://www.medik8.com/r-retinoate-intense.html
Medik8 also do the Crystal Retinal in different strengths, the 10 is MEGA! I used the 6 without any fallout (as in my face falling off) whatsoever and thought it was brilliant – it’s £59 here: https://www.medik8.com/crystal-retinal.html
For an incredibly strong retinol (1%!) without the humungous pricetag then do look at PaulasChoiceUK here*: http://bit.ly/2ScPYhn It’s £12 for the smallest bottle or £53 for the 30ml size and it’s really bloody potent.
With all of these, please start off slowly and with a moisturiser first if you’re being extra cautious – the moisturiser acts as a sort of buffer. I use the retinol products above straight onto clean skin, but only once every three nights. Once I want to increase the effect I will use every other night but with a hyaluronic acid serum beforehand or even a moisturiser beforehand!
Not since Molton Brown’s Geranium Nefertum have I spritzed a scent and really really liked it. I think that my nose has gone on strike, to a certain extent – it’s not that it can’t smell things, it just doesn’t really get that excited anymore. Not much tickles my olfactory fancy. It started when I was pregnant with my first baby, this whatever kind of attitude towards perfume, and I still don’t feel as though I’m “back in the room” when it comes to appreciating smells.
My most-used perfumes? They are all pretty low-key. I love Philosykos from Diptyque (the eau de parfum* lasts far, far longer than the toilette and is worth the extra cost), I also still use Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 (find it here*) a lot – it’s the ultimate adaptable fragrance, with just one scent molecule that smells quite different on whoever is wearing it. My favourite smell on Mr AMR? The Molton Brown Geranium Nefertum, which is (as I wrote here earlier in the year) so sexy it hurts.
Considering how many exotic, niche and horrendously premium (aka expensive) perfumes cross my path on a weekly basis, my favourites list is quite tame. I’d add some Le Labo, I’d add the Oud & Bergamot by Jo Malone and I’d maybe throw in a little bit of Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc, despite it being out of season, but it’s really not a wild and wicked list.
Anyway, I’ve digressed hugely here; what I wanted to say was that not since Geranium Nefertum have a spritzed a scent and really, really liked it yet here I sit repeatedly sniffing a bottle of Jo Malone’s Poppy & Barley. I’m late to the party, because it was an autumn release, but I’ve never really been one to follow the seasonal “rules” when it comes to beauty and scent. It’s true that I might lean towards perfumes that smell of suntan lotion when the weather warms up, and I’m more likely to use a red lipstick in the winter, but apart from that I have quite the liberal attitude towards what goes where and when.
Jo Malone call Poppy & Barley a “lively floral scent, enhanced by rose and violet and topped with juicy blackcurrants” but quite honestly I don’t find any of the individual notes to be that noticeable. And for me, that’s the beauty of it. It just smells full and rich and multi-layered – yes there may be fruits, but it’s not peachy or citrussy or anything that I can put my finger on. There’s some sort of woodier note, there’s a lighter floral (but not at all “pretty”) and there’s a pervading understated sweetness that’s not cloying but still makes itself known.
It’s sort of like if you had to represent “nature” as a perfume, this smell. It’s a posh harvest festival. No nobbly carrots here, parishioners, only send your finest berries and some poppies. Bloody hell – imagine that, a Jo Malone-level harvest festival! Our school harvest festival used to consist of some tins of beans and tuna, formed into a precarious tin pyramid, with old onions and cabbages and carrots scattered around the base. Now and then one of the “good” parents would have donated some satsumas, but the majority of the fruit offering, when I was at primary school, was made up of apples from people’s gardens. Most of them puckered or shot through with wasp holes.
(I realise that makes it sound as though I was in school during the immediate post-war period: it was actually the eighties. I find that any sort of childhood memory I recount now sounds like something from a history book, which is vaguely frightening. I had to explain to someone in their twenties what a record player was, the other day.)
But back to the present day and nice fragrances: if Jo Malone did harvest festival then it would probably smell like Poppy & Barley. I realise that talking about harvest festival isn’t particularly relevant, just as we hit the really cold part of winter, but I’m running with it.
You can find Poppy & Barley at LookFantastic here* – at starts at £48 for 30ml.