Everyone seems to be enjoying my more eclectic mixes of favourites, rather than exclusively beauty, and so this month I give you everything from interiors to – er – linseed. You need to watch the video, really, to get the proper lowdown on the linseed, but I’ve waxed lyrical about my other favourites below.
This has been on my wishlist for years – I have a sort of ongoing “fantasy” wishlist with things on that I don’t really need, but would really very much like. It always has some improbably-priced art on it, a bit of jewellery that I know would be a waste as I’m not a big jewellery-wearer, and then the odd ridiculous dress that would never get worn. But I’ve always wanted a bit of Liberty-print dressing gown because a) I love the prints and b) I know it’s something I will wear daily.
And here it is. This is the Rachel Tana Lawn robe and it is almost brilliant enough to wear as a robe, at a ball or something. I love it. The shoulders are perfectly cut with a bit of a glamorous edge, the cotton is crisp as anything and the print just brings me absolute joy. Yes, pricey, but I’m hoping to get decades – decades I tell you! – of use out of it.
You cand find the Rachel Tana Lawn robe online at Liberty here*.
Oh God, the story behind this flaxseed is for another time entirely. Honestly, it’s so long and drawn-out. But to precis it: a urologist looking into my weird old bladder (I feel as though I always need a wee when I don’t) said that sometimes slow bowel movements can affect your bladder. Or something. Anyway, he recommended a bit of flaxseed every day to “get things moving”. (One of my most hated terms and also subjects.) I’ve been taking these on my porridge or yoghurt every morning. They don’t seem to taste of much – annoying texture as they get in your teeth, but one must endure.
Charlotte Tilbury Hyaluronic HappiKiss
Have you always wanted the high-laquer shine of a lip gloss but not the stickiness and for all of this to be in a convenient, mess-free stick rather than a tube? Here you go then – Charlotte Tilbury’s Happikiss, which is online here*. I’ve been using Crystal, which is a barely-there pink, but there are a few different shades. I’m not sure that intense colour is the aim with these, it’s more the outrageous levels of shine and the impressively moisturising formula. Seriously, I still feel the effects well into the evening after just one application!
If you could bottle sex then this would be it: Amber from Laboratory Perfumes. I’ve narrowed down my favourite “masculine” scents to three now and I’m going to do a video on them. I won’t reveal too much but I can say that none of them are really from mainstream brands, it’s all rather niche.
Anyway, Amber is, as I said, sex in a bottle. Which for me is the scent of an incredibly skilled MI6 spy/assassin who has just finished trekking through the desert, hunting down an evil overlord. Sleeves rolled up, tanned forearms, he’s very cross about the fact that the evil overlord has nabbed the controls to the missile launcher, yet he still has enough energy to think about a quickie on the hot sand. Actually not on the sand, that would be a gynaecological nightmare.
Mad About The House Planner
Last of the “faves” for this month – the new planner from Kate at Mad About The House. This is Kate’s third interiors book and they’ve all been bestsellers for good reason – if you’re thinking about doing any sort of home renovations, re-jigging of layout or even just decorating then you need to read her books first. They are here* online and they are easy to understand, totally non-judgey and – almost uniquely for interiors books – free from titillating house images. Why would that be a bonus? Because her books don’t presume to either know your style or dictate it – you read her advice and your own imagination runs free, without being led by images of rooms you think you should be creating. She guides rather than tells.
The planner continues along this vein and it’s more of a workbook than an actual book – there are sections with great advice, with lists and so on, but the majority of it provides spaces to mess with floorplans or mock up colour schemes and the whole completed book forms a really lovely keepsake to remember the befores and afters and so on.
A lovely idea. The lady can do no wrong if you ask me! You can find the new planner online here*.
And that is it for March – do watch the video if you feel like you need to experience a small injection of springtime; I filmed outside and the birds were singing and the brook was a-babbling. Light at the end of the wintery tunnel…
Two posts in quick succession this week – ambassadors I am really spoiling you! Total misquote there, but if you were born earlier than – I don’t know, about 1985? – then it’s pretty much mandatory to reference the classic Ferrero Rocher ad if you ever use “spoiling you” or “spoiling us” in a sentence. True fact.
If you have no idea what I’m on about, regardez. It’s simply exquisite.
I could do a whole post about this advert and how ridiculous adverts were in general when I was a child, but I need to save that for another day. I’m time poor this week, but thankfully (and unusually) energy rich. It must be the prospect of the schools reopening! Anyway I’m typing like the clappers and working my way through a backlog of posts that need tidying up before my motivation wanes.
February favourites. I’ve tried to keep it eclectic for you again and so we have wood flooring samples alongside cable-knit tights. I know that you appreciate a little variety. I’ve listed the items below the video pane for those of you who want to skim through. If you want to follow my interiors and renovation updates then you need the @casacrilly account on Instagram, here.
YSL Mascara in Brown – is amazing, find it here*: https://bit.ly/3qfC8bY
Flooring samples are from Kahrs in Louisiana and Oregon, they send them for free and you can find loads of places that stock them online!
Hush dress, bought this a few weeks ago and they still have stock*: https://bit.ly/3tpQlWi
Cable-knit tights, again bought a few weeks ago and still in stock here
Robot hoover bought from Amazon, it’s this one here*: https://amzn.to/3qIuhUH
Shirt is by Me+Em, find it here*: https://bit.ly/2O6hgGp
Five favourites from the month of January, in the year 2021, which will surely go down in history as the longest month on record. It’s like when they say on the weather forecast, “the temperature will be at around eight degrees but will feel like two” because of the wind chill factor or whatever it is. Well this month has been thirty one days but has felt like a hundred and thirty one. I thought that it was February about two weeks ago!
My least favourite things of the month have been, in no particular order: homeschooling, making up a Betty Crocker Vanilla Sponge Mix that was inexplicably in my baking cupboard (you mix the powder with oil!) and getting back on my Peloton exercise bike after a two month hiatus.
I’m not a big exercise fan. I do it because I want to retain a good fitness level, not because I’m one of those people who gets a kick out of it; I do walk quite long distances every now and then, and that is all very well and good, but it doesn’t exactly get the heart pumping. The only reason I even remotely tolerate the Peloton is that I can get it done and dusted in twenty minutes, no faffing around in gym changing rooms (if gyms were even open) and trying to find a car parking space and all that nonsense.
I have a thing about gym changing rooms. Did I ever tell you about the time a woman was drying her muff in front of me with a hairdryer? You can tell that it was a good while ago, because who sports a muff now? Nobody, that’s who. Everyone, seemingly, is bare as a burger down there. I feel quite left out with my seventies ‘do.
I digress: this is supposed to be about favourites, not un-favourites, and so let’s get cracking. If you would rather watch me chat this through then scroll down the page immediately and click play on the video screen!
My new glasses. Crikey, these have been a rigmarole. I wanted some the same as Rosie Byrne’s in the TV series Mrs America (she plays Gloria Steinem) and it has taken me five months to track down the right ones, with a central bar and retro feel.
As everything is closed, I had to order them online, get them posted to check I liked them and now I’ve sent them back again to have – get this – light-sensitive brown-tinted ultra-thin prescription lenses put in. I know! I’m going to look like an actual walking time capsule from the seventies.
My glasses are these Givenchy frames – I bought them from Fashion Eyewear in London.
A couple of beauty favourites now, things I’ve used over and over to the point of mild obsession. I had a little flutter yesterday when they weren’t in their usual place in the bathroom and didn’t calm down until I realised I’d been shooting them for this video and they were in the spare room on the windowsill. The first item is the brilliant Discoloration Defense Serum from Skinceuticals, £85 here*, which is pricey in comparison to general beauty pricing levels but not for a Skinceutials product. This helps tackle dark spots and discolouration and worked a treat on my patches that came up along my cheekbones last spring/summer. There’s a whole post about that here if you want to read more!
The other beauty bit is Dermalogica’s Active Clay Cleanser (£35 here*) which does a great job of keeping skin clear and deeply-cleansed with absolutely no aggressiveness or tendency to dry out the skin. Great for those who are suffering a little with congestion from wearing a mask or being stuck inside eating Jelly Babies for two of their meals a day or combination of both, it’s a soft alternative to using one of those proper deep-cleansing clay masks and a lot more pleasant and convenient to use. Just apply a layer, let it sit for a while (I do thirty seconds) and then remove with a warm flannel. I use it every other night when I’m in the bath and have become quite attached.
Sleep Salts from Aroma Active Laboratories, £15 here*. Now I know I’ve been very vocal about the benefits of buying Epsom Salts buy the 20-kilo and adding your own essential oils (please read my detailed post here, if you want to save some money and have the world’s most relaxing bathing experience) but these pre-mixed salts have a very clever aromatherapy blend going on. Not surprising seeing as though the brand-behind-the-brand is It absolutely knocks you for six, so don’t use them before you’re about to go to your job in, I don’t know, heavy engineering or open heart surgery. Do use them, however, if you’re constantly anxious and find it hard to unwind before bed. They are the business.
Back to fash-un and this remarkably simple-but-clever jumper from Me+Em. It doesn’t have to be this particular jumper, it’s more a category of Me+Em jumpers called “all the ones with the removable snoods”. What a great idea! You start the day off by putting on a jumper that to the rest of civilisation looks like a roll neck, or polo neck, or whatever it is called when your jumper has one of those big, high necklines that tickles your chin. It’s chilly, you want full coverage, the neckline makes you feel cosy and great. But by 10.30am the neck is pissing you right off, for want of a more polite phrase – it’s making you feel claustrophobic and itchy and generally so irritated that you can’t function. No problem – you can whip that neck right off! The knitted one, obviously! So these Me+Em jumper+snood combos are an incredibly good idea. And with the heavier weight jumpers the snood part just sits atop the jumper, anchored by its own bulk. No buttoning needed.
You can find a whole load of examples on their website here* – deep breath, they’re definitely an investment, but the quality, cut and general execution of everything Me+Em make is just superb.
This photo is completely unrelated to the video content but it’s been a while since Mr Bear has pulled one of his classic “unamused” faces here on the blog and so I hope all is forgiven. Also I have taken to filming my Youtube videos on my iPhone, for ease and because the microphone is so much better than on any of the snazzy expensive cameras, but it means that I keep forgetting to take thumbnail pictures to use for the posts.
So cat it is. And a witch’s hat.
Five favourites for you again and it’s a relatively eclectic mix of vintage chairs, mad dresses and beauty products that have wowed me. You can find links and more details below the video pane!
@teenytinyemporium on Instagram for vintage finds, Vichy Neovadiol Rose Platinum Eye Cream*: https://bit.ly/321a4Q5, Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil*: https://bit.ly/3mH0UAq, SpaceNK Beauty Joy Gift*: https://bit.ly/2VjWoi0 Maje Dress (Sold Out) from The Outnet*: https://bit.ly/3244xsd
In what might be considered the rebrand of the century, the monthly 5 Beauty Favourites feature has now become…
…5 Favourites. It took me a hell of a long time to come up with the new title format and so please do show your appreciation in the comments below. Ha. In response to your overwhelming positivity on the matter (and also my own ever-increasing boredom) I have expanded the monthly favourites to include things I’ve loved from all manner of categories. Food, clothing, lifestyle, interiors, health; the list will, I am sure, go on and on.
And so I bring you 5 Favourites: September 2020 (catchy!) with something for just about everyone. There’s a video at the bottom of the post if you hate reading words and there are words for those who hate the sound of my voice. If you’re a glutton for punishment then you can read the post and watch the video!
Favourite 1: The Peloton
At time of filming I hadn’t had the new Peloton Bike+ delivered and so here I refer to the original home spinning bike which has had its price cut to a still quite astonishing £1750. It’s eye-watering, I know, but it would be no exaggeration to say that this futuristic exercise bike has completely changed my fitness life. In that before I had the Peloton I was doing nothing towards my health and fitness and now I can cycle almost six miles in twenty minutes.
I bloody love it. I actually look forward to getting on the saddle, choosing my class (or you can join live ones) and working so hard that my vision goes blurry. I love it so much I’ve returned the original Peloton and gone for the new one which is even more hideously expensive, but with both the adults in the household using it daily and looking and feeling a million times better for it, I can’t actually think of a better investment we’ve made in recent years.
I’m about to do a review video on the new Peloton Bike+ so make sure you’re following on Instagram – you can find my video on the original bike on IGTV here.
Favourite 2: Clipper Sleepy Tea
It’s not actually called Sleepy Tea at all, it’s Sleep Easy, and it smells a bit like old cow dung when you open the foil pouch, but persevere and you’ll find a delectable bedtime infusion with orange, chamomile and valerian. I think I’ve tried the majority of sleep teas on the mainstream market and this is my repeat buy – I do like the Tea Pigs one for the big lumps of actual apple and whole blossoms inside the bag (it’s like someone has wrapped up a fairies’ tea party in a hurry!) but Clipper’s pips it to the post.
I like to drink a mug of it whilst I’m in one of my special Epsom Salt baths. Double whammy. I can’t even read a sentence of my book when I get into bed before falling asleep!
Favourite 3: Louis de Poortere Antiquarian Rug
I’ve bought four rugs from Louis de Poortere now but this is the largest and most extravagant – it needed to be because the floor it covers is in “the new room” and is quite expansive. But it’s absolutely one of my favourite home purchases since we moved to this house – it’s amazing how some pattern and warmth can suddenly pull a room together and make a large space feel cosy.
You can find this particular rug online here, they do loads of different sizes. It has a traditional, slightly distressed feel to it but it’s actually new. Which usually I’d hate, but I couldn’t be doing with trawling through loads of old rugs to find “the one” that just happened to be a) authentic and b) the right size and c) the right colour! I like buying second hand and I’d say that way more than half of my furniture and home stuff is vintage but sometimes I have to draw the line…
Favourite 4: StricVectin Daily Reveal Pads
You’re going to be hearing a lot about these one-swipe wonder pads – they’re seriously impressive. They contain four different exfoliating acids for that immediate look of brightness we’re now quite familiar with, but the difference is that they also leave your skin feeling really moisturised. They have that instant “fresh” feel that you tend to get with acid peel pads (usually the alcohol evaporating) but just seconds after you finish wiping your face, the skin develops an almost oily layer. Not greasy or unpleasant, but certainly enough that I wouldn’t bother with serum and moisturiser afterwards!
The ultimate one-step facial, then. I think they’re great – you can find them online here*; they’re £39 for 60 pads which is a few months’ worth if you use two or three times a week, which would be my personal preference.
Favourite 5: Simple Protect n Glow Rest & Reset 72h Hydrating Gel
A cheeky little bargain for you; I think that this little pot of lightweight, fresh-feel gel moisturiser is as good as the pricey ones. Thing Moisture Surge on a budget. If you hate oily or heavy face creams but have skin that’s slightly dehydrated then give this a try, it’s a pretty safe investment! Ditto if you want something to layer on beneath your SPF. You can find it at Boots here*, it’s £6.99.
Fancy a quick blast through the beauty things that have wowed me recently? Well buckle up, team, this is going to be quite the ride!
I’m exaggerating, obviously, because it’s just a post about beauty favourites so there are never going to be any significant potholes or humpbacked bridges to throw you out of your proverbial seat. I just feel as though I need an inventive and enticing way to introduce the post because beauty feels so…vanilla after all we’ve been chatting about recently. You know, tick removal and having sex with mermaids. As Mr AMR said to me last week: how do you ever go back to normal content when you’ve written about underwater love with a sequinned penis?
(You can read all about the intricacies of merperson sex here.)
But I take pride in my professionalism and so I’m going to try my hardest to get back to business – exemplary eyeshadows, exclusive perfumes and a conditioner that’ll leave your hair silkier than a mermaid’s. Although NOT a mermaid who’s been in an aqua-aerobical tryst with King Triton.
(In fact why would mermaids even have silky hair? Surely the salt water plays absolute havoc! I bet it’s a full time job just keeping it detangled. You’d be there at your clam shell dressing table all day sorting that mess out and don’t even get me started on the amount of moisturiser you’d need for your shrivelled up skin.)
Anyway, back to the favourites: I’m particularly fond of this little collection. A whisper of lace, a hint of sparkle and a whole bucketful of quality essential oil. Sounds like a recipe for my kind of party!
I don’t even know what I mean by that. Here’s the video, but carry on reading for the full post.
My first favourite of the month: the John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Conditioner, £29 here*. I mentioned a mask from the same range a while back and that’s glorious too, but I actually think that the conditioner pips it to the beauty post. It’s quicker, more convenient and leaves your hair just as smooth and silky as the reconstructor treatment. No residue, easy to rinse off, gorgeous smell. It’s just exemplary.
Then the Aromatherapy Associates Shower Oil, £26 here*. You can’t get better than the original, hero product that this brand makes (confusingly called Aromatherapy Associates Bath and Shower Oil); it’s just aromatherapy perfection. One tiny capful of the concentrated oil blend into a warm bath and you’re transformed into whatever improved state the bottle promises – deeply relaxed, perhaps, or lightly revived, depending on which version you choose.
But for those who don’t have a bath, the original is a bit of a faff. You get around the lack of standing water issue by patting a small amount of the oil onto your chest and “inhaling the scent”, but really. It’s a (literal) booby prize in comparison to the real deal, the instant bath-to-spa experience.
And so the new dedicated shower product is a welcome launch – it cleanses and allows you to enjoy the benefits of the aromatherapy blends all at the same time. There are fewer scent versions but the all important and very best one is present – Deep Relax – and for me that’s the only one that matters!
I think my favourite-favourite this month is the beautiful Quentin Monge x Atelier Cologne launch. Atelier Cologne have done quite a few amazing collaborations but this one has really excited me – Quentin Monge produces some of the most recognisable, iconic illustrations in the world and his design for the Clementine California fragrance is so unbelievably cool. This is a proper collector’s item – I can imagine people in 2065 unboxing their pristine Quentin Monge perfumes and making a video for whatever futuristic video platform that exists in 2065.
“GUYS!” they’ll say. “Oh my God, Granny found this awesome box of beauty stuff from the olden days and look at this bottle! I think the woman in the illustration is, like, lying in the sun? Which is weird, but they used to do weird shit back then. LOL. Like go to these places to all eat together, on the same table, in the same room. I think they were called restrooms. Or restaurants. Whatever.”
The fragrance can be bought alone, as a large bottle, or as a very beautiful gift set including a large 100ml bottle, a 30ml bottle and a leather travel pouch. The gift set is £153 at Selfridges here* and the 100ml fragrance is £98 here*. The scent is, as you can probably imagine, very orangey but in a light and sexy way. Incredibly wearable, utterly delicious.
Talking about incredibly wearable and utterly delicious, this month’s favourites round-up includes a wonderful independent lingerie brand called Attollo. Attollo first got in touch with me a couple of years ago when I was talking about annoying bra sizes on Instagram. I kept getting measured in department stores as 30G (I had just stopped breastfeeding, I think!) or 30FF, yet they had very little to offer me in those sizes. It sort of seemed pointless, really, to tell me I was that size. Why give someone a size that isn’t catered for?
So there wasn’t much out there for me at all – a handful of styles I liked – and when Attollo got in touch to say that they actually specialised in small back sizes with large cups I was delighted to see that their bras were dainty, sexy and didn’t have inch-wide rubber backed shoulder straps.
It’s proper treaty underwear – luxury lace, exquisite detailing and flattering longline cuts that make you feel a million dollars. Go and have a meander around on their website – the range is small but everything it needs to be.
Finally, some cream eyeshadows that wowed me and therefore went straight into my permanent makeup bag. Trinny London’s eye2eye cream shadows are well-pigmented, slide on softly and easily but set well and stay on all day. I’ve tried them before and loved them but I usually steer towards the muted neutral tones; a little line-up of terracotta and peachy shades landed on my desk the other week and they instantly struck me as being perfect for late summer. Burnished, sizzling reddish metallics. Vaguely reminiscent of the sun going down on an exotic beach that most of us are too nervous to visit.
I tried Fortitude, a metallic burgundy and Courage which is a deep pinky copper. Both look outrageously good, even splodged on and smudged with a fingertip. You can find them here* – shadows are £18 each and the cream formula makes lids look fresh and sheeny rather than flat and powdery.
Here endeth my monthly favourites sermon – remember that (if you have a spare hundred hours or so) you can scroll back through all of my favourites over the past DECADE by clicking here.
Here are the June favourites, which means that I’m finally getting there with my admin catch-up! I’m going to keep this blurb short and sweet because quite a lot of the video is taken up by a review of some “period pants” and I’m doing a whole other post on those delightful things. And I don’t want to repeat myself. (I’m trying to be very efficient with my time this week because things have been so hectic. The only saving grace is that the weather hasn’t been that brilliant, because there’s nothing I hate more than being trapped inside with my laptop when the sun is shining.)
(Yes I know about those weird box things that you can put your laptop into to shade the screen from the sun, but honestly that would be one step away from wearing knee-pads to do the weeding. I’m just not ready to be that practical.)
So June Favourites; an amazingly light-but-effective neck cream, a powerful eye cream, a hydrating foundation (spoiler alert: you already know about that one, I’m all out of sync here) and some lightly-tinted lip balms that are great for low-low-key makeup days.
Enjoy – I’ll be back with the period pants. Even though the phrase period pants does make me want to be slightly sick in my mouth…
Clinique Triple Pop Lip Balms here*
Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Eye Cream here*
Prai Night Cream for Neck and Decollatage here*
Oskia Nutri-Bronze serum here*
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Radiant Tint here* (sidenote on this: I like the glow, but it’s not the best sunscreen to use under makeup! It’s just the one I’ve been using recently mixed with the Oskia drops.)
On my eyes, the pink tones from the Pat McGrath Golden Opulence palette here*
I completely forgot to post up my May Favourites video and when I gave it a quick once over to see what it was all about, because May feels like a century ago, it was like travelling back through time. Travelling back to an era when I hadn’t hacked off my own hair with paper scissors, when I could still fit into my shorts, when I didn’t have a problem with beard and moustache growth. (See my Instagram page.)
Oh, life seemed so much more carefree, back in May!** You didn’t have to make up excuses not to see people, the doorbell never rang. It was zoom this and zoom that, you could mute yourself and carry on typing emails or you could pretend that turning the camera off was an accident – “oops, sorry everyone, I’m still a dinosaur with these things – can anyone see me?” – so that you could eat lunch during a client meeting.
(**Apart from the obvious health hazards, impending economic disaster and stressful homeschooling situations.)
Now it’s all “let’s meet up for garden drinks” and you have to de-beard yourself and get dressed. I got halfway around Sainsbury’s the other day before I realised that I hadn’t even done up the buttons on my shirt properly and that my baps were proudly presenting themselves in all of their manky-brassiered glory.
It’s a (re)learning curve, this social skills thing.
Anyway, here’s the May Favourites. It’s going to be closely followed by June Favourites in the next couple of days, which will make you feel as though I’m messing with your head, but it has to be done because if it isn’t recorded on here for posterity then it never happened. One day this blog will be an important historical research, mark my words! Few people have kept up an online documentation of their life with such dedication and attention to detail. OK, quite a few have, but apart from them, not many. I’ll be like the Samuel Pepys of the 21st Century, except I’m writing about face creams and social distancing mishaps rather than great fires and plagues. We’re virtually the same guy.
Products mentioned are below – interesting that the Futurist foundation was a favourite, I’d forgotten that I’d popped that in! You can read the full and proper review of it here if you’re interested in more info.
Hush Shorts, £45 here*
Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Foundation, £36 here*
Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Bronzer here*
Guerlain Terracotta Nude, £38 here* – I didn’t realise that this only came in one shade. It states “universal” but honestly I don’t know how far that would stretch, it’s pretty subtle on me and I’m fair-medium. Sorry, I should have checked this before posting.
Real Techniques Powder Brush, £8.84*: https://amzn.to/3djqffl Pixi Eye Palette Natural Beauty, £24 here*
Sanctuary Moisture Miracle Body Lotion Extra Rich, £10 here*
Rimmel 60 Seconds Shine Nail Polish, £3.49 here*
Curel Foaming Face Wash, £12.50 here*
My shirt is a really old one from H&M.
Necklace is Jennifer Meyer here*
My five beauty favourites for the month of April – I’ve gone back to them again and again, enjoyed using them all and will be sad when they finally run out. Although if they’re anything like my Medik-8 R-Retinoate I could be waiting a long time, because I just can’t seem to get to the bottom of the bottle!
Which is probably quite fortunate considering its price.
Anyway, here goes with the April Hit List:
L’Oreal Glow Cherie Glow Enhancer Lotion
I’ve compared this before to Charlotte Tilbury’s Flawless Filter (see my in-depth review here) but in actual fact it’s much more like her Wonder Glow. Lighter, sheerer, with less in the way of a tint. Regardless, the L’Oreal version is an absolute bargain and brilliant for adding low-key dewy glow before applying foundation or concealer.
You can find it online here* – it’s £9.99.
Anne Semonin Gel Mask
This is a very essential-oily mask with quite a tingle. It’s refreshing, reviving and makes you feel as though your face has had a brisk run along a seashore. Which is a weird concept. It’s forty-five quid but the tube is large. Lovely luxury buy for lacklustre, dull skin – I discovered it postpartum after having my first baby and I’ve recently returned to it after something of a hiatus!
Find it at Anne Semonin here.
Lumene Oleo Rich Serum
Well, this is a surprise favourite – I mentioned the rich cream from this Lumene range a few weeks ago and didn’t think that anything else would be as notably excellent, but the serum is just marvellous. It’s more of a light moisturiser than a serum, in a way, because as well as mega-moisturising glycerin it’s packed with nourishing oils.
In fact, if you’ve always wanted to try a face oil but worry about greasiness, this would be a beautiful way of dipping your proverbial toe. Just apply after cleansing and before moisturiser. It’s online here*.
Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum
I’ve been doing lots of stuff out in the garden and (in the UK at least) the sun has been, at times, blazing. As well as a high factor sunscreen I’ve also been upping my antioxidants and pulling out the skintone-brightening big guns. Skinceuticals make quite a few of these “big guns” and the Discoloration Defense Serum is one of the latest launches, promising to dramatically help with dark spots and unevenness of tone. I’ll keep you updated on the results – I use a few drops morning and night before my usual serum.
You can find it (and more detailed info) online here*.
Drunk Elephant WaterFacial Mask
I’ve been using this on my non-retinol nights (current skincare routine seems to be: go in strong with retinol one night, pump face full of moisture the next) and it’s lovely – light and gel-like but not at all sticky. I feel the difference in the morning, let me tell you! I also quite often layer it on over the Lumene serum above for double-whammy effect.
Find the WaterFacial Mask online here*.
All of the above and more are included in this month’s favourite video. Yes, there’s a video! You might be wondering why an earth I’ve taken the time to write it all out as well as filming it: I only exist to serve. And to respond positively and proactively to feedback. So those of you who can’t abide my face/voice/mannerisms can just read my words instead…
It seems a weird time to be filming a beauty favourites video, but what I thought would be even weirder would be for me to have made a big song and a dance last month about my favourites being back in town and then never doing another one! I even made that whole Brokeback Mountain joke about not being able to quit my favourites, etc etc, and so to simply up sticks and leave again wasn’t an option.
Just five favourites, though – it’s not exactly an orgy. Just five things that have really tickled my whistle and that would make a cheery addition to any routine, once things settle down a bit. The handwash favourite is probably the most relevant – very inexpensive, non-drying, good brand that gives back to charity and so on – but I like to think that any of this month’s picks would do a particular service.
A warm and comforting fragrance (it’s like the olfactory equivalent of being hugged in big, safe arms), a cleanser with aromatherapy benefits, an eye cream for tired, staring-at-an-iPhone-screen-twelve-hours-a-day eyes…
I’ll leave you to watch the video in peace. But if you don’t want the video, then – hurrah – a slightly new format for you! Rather than just listing the products below the screen, there’s a mini review. Which makes this more of a blog post than simply a place to announce that there’s a new video in town. Better for those of you who are resolutely video-free? I hope so.
OK, so onto my mini reviews. Some old favourites, here and some new. It’s like a wedding. Except there’s nothing borrowed. Or blue.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Cleanser, £21 here*. If you have combination or oily skin and have always been put off by the idea of cream or oil cleansers, then this could be the one to try. It is rich and creamy, but it actually leaves the skin feeling very refined and ever – ever! – so slightly tightened. So if you hate a residue and want that ultra-clean feeling then this is a gorgeous luxury buy.
Neal’s Yard are experts at sourcing and working with frankincense and it really shows in their frankincense ranges. The cleanser is very scented (with frankincense, obviously!) and I find it to be more of a grounding, de-stressing treatment than anything resembling a mundane cleanse. Top marks, I’ve loved this cleanser for many years.
Soaper Duper Handwashes, online here. Soaper Duper do some of the best handwashes around. Wasn’t ever a beauty category that I imagined raving about, but it’s definitely topical and we’re all (hopefully) washing our hands about a billion times a day. So it’s nice to pick out some good ones. (If you’d like me to test a few and report back then I’m totally up for that – plenty of opportunity to compare and contrast!)
Soaper Duper do their washes in lots of scents – this Tuberose one is fresh and green rather than anything too floral – and they are hooked up with some great charities, including Water Aid. Big bottles, non-drying formula, definitely up there with the best of them.
Kiehl’s Line Reducing Eye Serum*, £41 here. Remember eons ago when I reviewed the Vitamin C face serum from Kiehl’s? Well now there’s one specifically for eyes and it’s just as good as the original. If you want a powerful eye cream that feels gutsy and strong, rather than a “light and fresh gel” or a “cooling cream” then this is the business – it has the same thick and dry texture as the serum, which won’t be for everyone, but really will be for those who want a rich cream that’s grease-free.
You can read my original review on the face serum here – I’ve just seen that it was a favourite back in 2015! How time flies. I think the serum – or concentrate as it was called – has actually been reformulated since then. More potent, if I remember correctly.
Charlotte Tilbury Copper Charge Eye Palette, £40 here*. I have an IGTV waiting to be published on this – very informal, just showing how I apply it and how it looks in different lights. I think that the CT eye quads are all fantastic – good pigment but easy to handle, really blendable and cleverly chosen shades that always look flattering and sexy.
The new Copper Charge palette is part of the new range that promises to make your actual eye colour more intense – so there’s a copper one to make blue eyes bluer, and blue one to make (I think) brown eyes browner, and so on. The coppery one could be dicey, if you are prone to looking a little pink-eyed, but used carefully it really enhances blue eyes. Keep a lookout for the IGTV video – I’ll update here with a link for you once it’s up!
Molton Brown Milk Musk, from £65 here*. Not convinced by the name of this new Molton Brown range, but I think that the scent is outrageously good. It’s warm, it’s cocooning, it’s like throwing yourself into (I imagine) a bed that’s been set-dressed for a Hygge interiors shoot. All natural-hued faux furs and giant knits and cashmere throws and those little flickering tealights scattered around the (wooden) floor.
The scent is warm, faintly exotic and with a musky, tonka bean base. Heady top notes that are really quite sexy and rich and then that warm, comforting base. The eau de toilette is fresher, (not surprisingly) and the parfum is deeper with a lovely little sharp, greenish twist right at the bottom. It’s gorgeous. Another winner from Molton Brown, for me – they seem to be ticking all of my boxes recently because my top fragrance love before this one was their Geranium Nefertum!