In an attempt to give all of my Instagram videos a safe and permanent home (ie, at a place I actually own, not a platform I have no control over) I’m slowly getting into the habit of uploading them onto Youtube before embedding them into blog posts here on the website. It’s complex and time-consuming and I think I must have finally lost the plot because the last thing I need is more admin, but it satisfies my need for neatness and order.
God knows I don’t have neatness and order in any other aspect of my life!
Anyway, I’m aware of the fact that some of you only like to come here to read, so I’ll always try and do a little blurb with the videos to soften the blow – I’m doing a bit of website restructuring soon, too, so that should help you recognise video posts and skip them should you want to.
5 New Beauty Launches: April 2022.
Liberty Candle in Faraway Palm, £48 here*. This is a beauty of a candle; it smells like ancient wood and old perfume bottles, a bit like the actual inside of the Liberty store. Gorgeous. There are a few in the range and they would all make excellent presents, if you needed to buy something spendy for someone special.
This is Silk Silk Cream Cleanser, £39.99 here. The absolute surprise find of the month; I had no expectations at all, had never heard of the brand and it’s not even wholly a beauty brand, but the smell and texture of this cleanser is just utterly sublime. I gasped. Gasped I did. It’s like a concentrated version of the Queen of Hungary mist from Omorovicza, scent-wise, and the texture is creamy and nourishing but melts into this silky, slidey sumptuousness that does a great job of makeup removal. Just lovely.
Rare Beauty Positive Light Tinted Moisturiser in 26N, £26 at SpaceNK here*. If you’re after a tinted moisturiser to take you into summer then make sure you watch the video to see this going on. It’s pretty sheer but the finish is robust and non-slippy so it’s great for oilier skin and it has a lovely sheeny luminescence to it without being overtly glowy. If you were very dry I’d moisturise well first, but I think many will welcome a sheer base that doesn’t have the typically dewy finish. It’s in lightweight packaging too, so great for throwing in your makeup bag when you’re on the go.
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Lift and Firm Day Cream, £66 here*. Elizabeth Arden have launched – and relaunched – quite a few products this spring and the Advanced Ceramide moisturisers are just lovely. The day cream without SPF added is my pick of the bunch; it has that nice, springy, gelatinous sort of feel that is fresh-feeling on the skin but really nourishing and satisfyingly hydrating. The Ceramide element here is the important bit to note, because a) they are good for helping to keep the skin barrier functioning in a healthy way and b) Elizabeth Arden have always done Stuff with Ceramides (trademarked) really well.
Elemis Morning Matrix Moisturiser. Oh my giddy aunt I read the price of this incorrectly when I first tried it and completely missed the fact that it costs £125. Wowzer. It’s a beautiful cream with a herbal, invigorating scent and that springy, gelatinous texture again but it’s twice the price of the Elizabeth Arden offering. The selling point with Morning Matrix is that it’s supposed to help protect the skin against the effects of exposure to blue light – laptop screens and phone screens – but I have to admit I’m still a bit cynical about that one on the whole! Nevertheless, if you were after a luxury cream then this is gorgeous.
I’ve just been looking at the original Pro Collagen Marine Cream, the one with the iconic scent that I associated with the word “luxury” all the way through my twenties. That one seems almost a bargain compared with the new Matrix versions – and it’s £89 for 50ml!
Can I just say: I love the way that Elemis do their product shots. With the creams or balms or what have you poking up in a whipped swirl above the edge of the pot. It makes me want to buy everything and it’s as though you can almost feel the product just by looking at it in the photo. It makes them look edible. Very clever. You can find Morning Matrix here*.
Sali Hughes’ Skincare range with Revolution launched this week and it’s a brilliant capsule collection containing everything you really need, nothing you don’t. Two cleansers (one lightweight and splashy, the other sumptuous and massage-y), a serum and a moisturiser, everything packed with hyaluronic acid so that it’s deeply hydrating but not greasy. Making it suitable for everyone. There’s also an exfoliating liquid with a clever blend of six different acids that can be used daily, if you like (it’s gentle enough) and that’s also an essential, because as we know, sloughing off dead skin cells helps all the other bits of the routine work that much more efficiently.
Sali didn’t include a sunscreen as everyone’s needs and preferences are so different and the range was designed to be straightforward and concise and retinol is omitted from the line-up, wisely, because if you want customers to be able to pick up a range and use it with no fuss or skincare knowledge then retinol adds a complication into the mix.
Everything in the range is under £15, vegan and easy to get hold of – Superdrug has it instore and you can get it online at LookFantastic here*.
I’m on Bridgerton Season 2 Episode 3 and have been gripped by what I can only describe as “heaving bosom fever”. (Why am I only on episode three, you may ask? It’s because I can only watch Bridgerton when Mr AMR is away because we like to watch something together in the evenings that we both equally appreciate and he thinks that Bridgerton is a load of old tripe. He’s not far wrong, to be fair, because there’s very little in the way of gripping storyline going on, but I enjoy it nonetheless. Apart from the annoying narrator who pips in every now and then to tell us nothing very useful. Go away narrator, we’re only here for the houses and the sexual tension!)
Anyway, I love the dresses with the plunging necklines and the chests held up by corsets and the expanses of soft, pampered skin – heaving bosoms ahoy – and thought I’d give a nod to them in this try-on video. And who better to turn to for plunging necklines and acres of pushed-up bosom than The Reformation. You may remember this brand from last summer (I made a video here): I dipped back in to see whether they had some corset-inspired low-cut dresses and tops and lo and behold…
The only problem is I have not a single clue how to style them. On the website the tops are bunged on with jeans and really that’s the only way I can see me wearing them. They’d look ridiculous with tailored trousers, surely? And with skirts would they not be a bit…costume drama? Jeans dress them down and make them seem effortless, but I’m still not sure I’d get away with it.
Thoughts in the comments please! And here are the tops and the dress I’ve tried on in the video:
Miraflores Top, short sleeves with a corset-style bodice. Online at The Reformation here.*
Isadora Top in Mildred fabric, similar shape but with long sleeves. Online here.*
Tagliatelle Dress in Blush Check, online here.*
I branched out in this Hush try-on video and decided to try a couple of things that were slightly out of my comfort zone. By “out of my comfort zone” I’m obviously not talking about anything extreme – no neon hot pants and nipple tassels here – but there were some bits and pieces that caught my eye that I wouldn’t normally even bother trying and boy am I glad I did.
I’ll tell you one thing that will never adorn my body, and that’s dungarees. Now before you all start kicking off, I know that most people love them. I know that they’re “convenient” and “practical” and an “all in one dressing solution” but, quite frankly, so is an empty potato sack. There’s something that mentally I just can’t get past when I look at dungarees; in my mind they are something that only two groups of people wear, and that’s 1) children and b) children’s TV presenters.
Anyway, now that I’ve mildly offended 47% of my readers let me unoffend the rest of you: I’m going to backtrack on my stance re Birkenstocks. I’ve never understood the Birkenstock appeal, having placed them firmly in the “Satan’s Mother’s Shoes” category, but having tried Hush’s furry-lined versions I think I may be converted. I still think they make my feet look clompy and they also make me feel like I’m on work experience at a rural pottery centre that only fires up its kilns at certain lunar phases, but I have to admit that not only are they comfy, they’re surprisingly easy to walk about in. I even tried a short run in them, for testing purposes and didn’t break my neck. So they get top marks for practicality and comfort – appearances-wise I’m…coming around to them.
Right, as always with these try-ons it’s the video that has the vital information so here it is in its full glory – there are some notes and links for the items below.
Hush Clothing Try-On: Spring 2022
Some notes on the items shown: the cowboy boots are old, bought from Durango and Reformation dress was bought last summer here* – hopefully they will bring back this shape! (There’s a try-on of Reformation dresses here.)
The printed Hush Emannuelle Dress, £69 here*, is a corker every year. So easy to wear and comfortable but with a clever cut that means the top half is slightly more fitted. I love the long sleeves, the soft fabric and the way the drop-waist makes it so casual to throw on. I wear a 10 and I’d say it’s true to size.
The Hush Black Cashmere Jumper seems to have disappeared on me but the Tilly here* is a similar shape, albeit a totally different colour. I didn’t get the jumper that long ago so have no idea where that vanished to. It’s a really nice, relaxed shape.
Chino Shorts in Midnight, £45 here*. Ah, the lifelong hunt for some shorts that are short enough to look cool but not so short that I can’t wear them in public. With legs that aren’t too tight so that you get that mid-thigh double-bulge, but fitted enough that they look shapely and not baggy. Hush’s Chino shorts are excellent – these (a UK10) are just slightly too tight for me around the middle. If I breathe out, the fastening threatens to unfasten and the zip strains to keep it together.
“Hold fast lads! If we can get through this exhalation we’ve got a good chance of making it!”
The gorgeous Florence Seersucker Shirt, £65 here*, is lovely and lightweight for spring and summer. I’ve had lots of pleasant comments about this one. Looks nice with blue jeans and white trainers, which is about as inventive as I get with the majority of my outfits.
Oh, let’s chat more about the Hetton Sheepskin Sandals. So so cosy, where have these been all my life – it’s like wearing slippers, but outside! These are currently in the mid-season sale, £69 here*.
And here’s the second item that was slightly out of my comfort zone, the Orchid Gathered Mini Dress, £99 here*, which is almost body-con in fit. I think it’s a brilliant mix of pretty floral with quite edgy, sexy design. I like it with cowboy boots and bronzed legs – just missing the bronzing on the legs but I’m about to test some “foolproof” tan that might fix that problem. Again I’m in a UK10 in this – I’d say it’s true to size but if I had to pick a side then it’s on the generous one.
Hush Cali Slub Tee in Khaki £27 here*. A good quality, nicely-cut t-shirt that comes in loads of colours. The fabric has a nice texture, the “slub”, so it’s not just plain t-shirt jersey in one flat colour. It has a little more nuance to it which somehow makes it look slightly more thoughtful as part of an outfit.
And finally I try on the Hush Ribbed Scoop Vest, £29 here* – it’s the perfect length, perfect fabric and perfect softness. Perfect. That is, if you don’t need a bra, or have some sort of bra-contraption that makes a halter neck one. I don’t like those much, they feel weird to me! This vest is great quality though.
Let me know where you stand on a) dungarees and b) Birkenstocks. I await your amusing comments.
Hello! It’s been a while. The month-long pause to “write a book and spend quality time with the family” seemed to very quickly and easily turn into a three-and-a-half-month break from the blog that has proved quite difficult to come back from. I was planning a bit of a honey I’m HOME! post at the end of January but that’s still lying in the drafts folder, and life got hectic – we had a wall knocked down (on purpose), then another three walls got knocked down (also on purpose), then we all got Covid (very much not on purpose) – which just about brings you all up to date.
And so a smooth segue from the last post – Festive Favourites – to this post, which is called Early Spring Favourites. At least there’s a seasonal theme. I’ve actually decided to update and upgrade the monthly favourites so that they’re a little more pulled-together, less random. Rather than finding my five favourite things each month, I’m going to wait until some sort of interesting category or motif strikes me; for example it could be my five favourite UK hotels. Or my five favourite recipes of all time. (Ooh! That’s a good one!)
For now, though, let’s get all springtime optimistic with my 5 Early Spring Favourites. I have to admit that the theme here is tenuous and I actually didn’t explain very well in the video how on earth some of the favourites were related to early spring, so hopefully my accompanying write-up will finish off the job. If you’d like to skip straight to the video then feel free – it’s at the bottom of the page.
1. Clinique Even Better Refresh Foundation. A rediscovery after I spent a day sorting my makeup archives, this is the perfect sort of makeup texture for early spring. It’s lightweight and very fresh and glowy, like the effect you’d maybe get from a tinted moisturiser, but it has better lasting power than most tinted moisturisers. Shade-wise I have CN28 but could actually go a smidgen darker, they have a much wider range of shades in their Even Better foundation. You can find this online here*.
2. RAB Thermal Leggings (online here). I did quite an extensive test on three pairs of leggings for my Instagram page (the video is here) and these RAB Power Stretch Pants beat the others hands down. I mean, with a name like Power Stretch Pants how could they not win? At absolutely everything? They sound like an eighties New York stockbroker.
The reason they’re included in Early Spring favourites? Should be self-explanatory if you live in the UK, but for those who aren’t familiar with our temperamental, mostly-disappointing climate, in springtime (or indeed summertime) it can be boiling hot one day and snowing the next. With weeks of grey drizzle either side. And now that turning on the heating is as expensive as staying at The Dorchester it makes sense to layer up.
The RAB Power Pants are made of very thick fabric with a fleece lining; they feel like a dry and cuddly wet suit. Full disclaimer: I don’t think I’ve actually ever donned a wet suit because I only swim or go near water when I absolutely have to and I certainly never fully immerse. But I imagine if there was a cuddly version it would feel like RAB thermal leggings.
3. My new sliding bedroom doors! They have completely transformed the roof terrace outside the bedroom making it a space I want to spend every minute in. On. Just in time for spring. For anyone interested (niche content alert) the doors are SMARTS aluminium Visoglide Plus with 35mm sightlines. (Basically the “frame” you see down the middle is quite slim so that you don’t cut the view too much. Although from this angle you see the depth of the frame on the one on the right, too, so it looks wider. It’s not.)
I could talk about glazing until the cows come home so do hit me up with questions if you have any. Honestly, I’ve had so many experiences with glazing companies – mostly bad – that I am glad to help if I can…
4. Margaret Howell Anglepoise, bought from John Lewis here*. Not remotely related to springtime, is it, but I’ve wanted a proper Anglepoise for years. I like to be able to spotlight whatever I’m doing on my desk and it amuses the geek inside me that I can angle the lamp in so many different ways! Easily pleased.
Anyway, I’ve been waiting for a colour I liked – they often do collaborations – and the Margaret Howell collection had quite retro colours.
5. Oh look, this one is very spring-appropriate: my Liberty nightie. I love it despite the kids laughing at me and asking whether I was off to a ball.
Five and six years old and I’m getting mocked already! I used loyalty points towards this and at time of publishing this it’s in the sale – you can find it here*. I have a real thing for Liberty print nightwear but only allow myself to peek at it when they have a good event on.