I’m clocking off for Christmas now, but not before I present you with this month’s favourites video. It actually straddles two months (oh, how I’ve always longed to use the word “straddled” in a non-sexual sentence!) because I missed November’s favourites out completely. (It’s my birthday at the end of November and I always forget to film in advance.)
I’m about to sign off for at least a month, I think, in order to a) have a proper Christmas break with the kids and b) attempt to birth some form of book, or at least a good few chapters of one. Seize the day, and all that – if I don’t knuckle down and do it next year I fear it’ll never happen.
So: festive favourites. Five things that have tickled my fancy when it comes to getting into the Christmas spirit, including a massive tree, a dramatic tulle skirt and, er, some wellies. It’ll all make sense when you read on – and please see video below for visuals!
Festive Favourite Numero Uno: The 10ft Vermont Spruce from Balsam Hill
Good lord I had a right old rigmarole with this artificial tree business. You can follow the journey on Instagram here. The first two trees, in true Goldilocks style, weren’t quite right. The third tree finally arrived….but only half of it! Who sends half a tree? Balsam Hill, that’s who.
This little (large) problem was overshadowed, however, when the tree was erected in all of its realistic glory. I’m quite taken aback by how much I love it. I can highly recommend the Balsam Hill Vermont Spruce if, in years to come, you decide you want a non-dropping tree that you can keep forever. (I have to have a fake one as I start shooting Christmas content around seven or eight weeks before Christmas.)
The tree I bought is here but they do have far less expensive options, especially if you’re not buying a gigantic one. The needles are really very convincing and it’s pre-lit with so many lights, way more than I would ever bother to put on. You could almost not decorate it and it would still look great.
Festive Favourite Number Two: Muck Boots
We are now, seemingly, a Muck Boot family. I’ll admit that they look slightly less, er, chic than some of the trendy brands by by God are they comfy. Neoprene-lined so that your feet don’t get cold and with soles that feel on a par with Nike Airs for bounce level. You can find all of their styles on their website here and they also stock them on Amazon here* if you’re in an almighty rush to get something for someone in time for Christmas…
Festive Favourite Number Three: Tulle Skirt
I went all Sex And The City and bought a grown-up tulle skirt and have no regrets. Hush keep selling out of this (it’s £99 here* online) but keep an eye on the page and do order if it takes your fancy, it’s exactly as nice as they promise. Although I would size down at least one UK size.
Festive Favourite Number Four: Desmond & Dempsey Pyjamas
I ordered these cotton pyjamas* for a shoot and could not have been more impressed with the service – really fast postage, the pyjamas were beautifully packaged (above and beyond!) and the quality is superb. The design I liked the most (here*) happened to be reduced in price, inexplicably, but I’m not complaining! I love that Desmond & Dempsey do shorts with long-sleeved tops; lots of places only do short-sleeved shirts with their short sets but I’m never that keen. They make me feel like I’m wearing a school uniform.
You can find all the Desmond & Demspey ranges online here*.
Festive Favourite Number Five: Huda Glowish Skin Tint (Press Sample)
For those who want that sophisticated candlelit glow on their face, there’s Huda Glowish. It’s really great. It’s tinted enough to actually wear as a tinted moisturiser but personally I feel it’s a little too glowy to wear without being tempered down slightly. So I use it as a primer with a very light foundation on top in the places I need it, or I dab it onto cheekbones and below the brows after I’ve finished my makeup. Or both.
It’s a wonderful alternative to highlighter for those who can’t abide the strong, shimmery or pearlescent line that some of the more dramatic highlighters can leave. Utterly foolproof and really amps up a glamorous look. You can find it at Cult Beauty here*, it’s £32.
Here’s the video if you’d like to see some of these bits and pieces in action; all that’s left is for me now to wish you all a very lovely Christmas and a joyful 2022. (Realise that with the current state of affairs that joyful might be stretching things a bit, but we can hope!)
Thank you so much for all of your support in 2021, I really do appreciate every read and every comment. You may have noticed that posts have been a bit more regular on here for the past few months: it’s a trend I’m hoping to keep working on next year. Which will hopefully please those who don’t use social media and only keep up with me here on the blog!
I’m back with this month’s favourite things, including (spoiler alert) the best book I’ve read this year, a rather festive jumper and an eyeshadow palette that costs less than a tenner but will last a lifetime. Read on, my friends, read on – the video is at the bottom of the page, for those who wish to hear my dulcet tones. And see the festive jumper in real life.
Hush jumper, online here*
My first favourite is the newest: this jumper was delivered about an hour before I filmed the video and it was instant love. I like that it’s a looser knit than most Christmassy jumpers – it doesn’t feel too chunky or restrictive beneath coats. Which is a big issue for me when it comes to chunky jumpers; they’re designed to keep you warm but then you basically have to wear them as an outer layer because if you try to put a coat over the top you can’t move your arms.
Aveeno Spray, at Boots here*
Talking of moving your arms, this Aveeno After-Shower Mist cuts out a hell of a lot of unnecessary action when it comes to post-shower body lotion application. You just lazily spray at yourself and then, if you can summon up the energy, pat in the residue. And this is powerful stuff, this mist – it almost leaves a gloss to the skin, it’s so moisturising. No flimsy old watery scented spray here, it’s as good as a cream but, er, not in a cream. It’s also only £4.99 at Boots*!
Soho Home Greyson Lamps, online here
I procrastinated too much over these lamps and then they sold out and I kicked myself. Then I found them on Liberty (who now stock selected items from Soho Home, as do Amara) and that is where my happy tale ends. I have to say, the maximum bulb wattage allowed in the lamps is quite dismal, so I have to read my bedtime stories half-hanging off the side of my mattress in order to illuminate the page, but apart from the fact that the most basic functionality of the lamp is questionable, they were an excellent purchase. Next month: a chocolate fireguard.
Bliss and Sorrow by Meg Mason – online here*
This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I’ve read some absolute corkers. Shuggie Bain, A Little Life, Queenie, Exciting Times; I haven’t been voracious with my reading but nearly everything I’ve read has been startlingly good and so to say that Bliss and Sorrow is one of the best is no small compliment. It’s a mighty feat of a novel. I think because it’s just so enjoyable. It’s the sort of book you want to tell everyone about when you’re only two chapters in; there’s a laugh out loud moment on nearly every page and a sort of upbeat, sing-song tempo to the narrative despite the dark, upsetting undertones.
It’s dense with humorous sorrow. Is there such a thing as humorous sorrow? There is in this book. It’s sad event after sad, destructive event, but it’s so excruciatingly witty that you can’t stop reading. And that’s what I like – books that call me to bed and make me read by the – quite frankly pathetic – light of my new lamps.
Revolution Pro Eyeshadow Palette, online here*
This gorgeous eyeshadow palette is nine pounds. Nine pounds! Dense pigment, soft, easy-to-blend texture and the most startling array of shades. Each one, to me, looks like the surface of a planet. It’s just beautiful. The casing isn’t anything to write home about and there’s no mirror in the lid but…it’s nine pounds. Find of the month.
OK, here I am rambling away and careering through the house with my camera at weird angles – enjoy:
The post 5 FASHION, BEAUTY & HOME FAVOURITES | OCTOBER 2021 appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
Please excuse the filming conditions in this month’s favourites video: firstly a wasp came in to the bedroom (probably trying to escape the building dust in the rest of the house) and then I didn’t have anywhere to put all the crap that was on the bed, because there was so much other crap all over the floor. So I look as though I’m filming mid-house-move, or after I’ve just unpacked from a very long holiday.
I’m neither mid-house-move or recently back from a long holiday. To be quite honest I’d take either of those options over the reality because it would mean that respite was on its way or that I had just missed eight weeks of drilling and sawing. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s all completely self-inflicted so I’m not complaining – just accounting for the low-budget filming location!
This month’s favourites include sporty trousers, a toilet wipe that’s not an actual wipe and a really, really brilliant idea for a wedding gift list. Or birthday gift list. Or any sort of gift list. Keep on reading – or watch the video further on down the page if you’d prefer to hear my dulcet tones punctuated by loud hammering.
Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer £19.00 at Cult Beauty here*. This has become my most-used mascara and I will be purchasing another when it runs out, which can’t be too long now because I use it all the time. It has a little primer on one end and that fills out the lashes and makes them look longer and then a black mascara to go over the top. It just works so well on my fine, straight lashes and I can forgive the extra bit of faff for such a polished final look. I actually enjoy the extra faff, weirdly…
I’m very pleased with my new side-strip joggers from Me+Em (online here*). They’re flattering and go with pretty much anything, from a casual t-shirt to a smart silk shirt. The mantra always used to be, with sport-luxe, “dress them up with heels”, but sod that. I’m trainers all the way. My ankle bones seem to be made of chalk, now, and cannot cope with the stress of very high heels. It’s something I need to work on. Because I do love the lift of a good, sexy heel…but at the same time quite like not having to worry about breaking my neck getting out of a taxi.
Anyway: the trousers. The side-stripe is elongating, the fabric is just on the smart side of “smart casual” and the tailoring is clever, making the joggers look cool and sporty but pulled-together all at the same time.
The Wipe-Free Wipe
This is clever: a toilet wipe alternative that involves no actual wipe. Wype is a gel that you apply to your normal toilet paper for a freshen-up, rather than using those wet wipe toilet tissues that come in the little sealed packets. (With the seals that only actually seal for about a week and then the wipes all dry up.)
We’ve never really been a wipe-using household, apart from when the kids were babies, but I have always wanted a bidet and so this is the next best thing! Ha. A hell of a lot cheaper and easier than having a bidet installed. (I did want one of those shower toilets but got bored of researching them and also worried that the kids would have far too much fun with it.)
You can find Wype on Amazon here* – it’s £9.99 for a bottle, which equates to about 200 wipes. Non-scented, nothing extra to dispose of and the aluminium bottle is infinitely recyclable.
The Hot Oil Cleanser
Beauty Pie Double Hot Oil Cleansing Balm (Beauty Pie here* – £12.10 with membership, £50 without. You can get an extra £50 spending allowance with the code RUTHSENTME)
Oh this is just glorious. A really luxurious, slippery oil-balm that you can massage over the skin for minutes and minutes with it getting warmer and oilier every second… I love it. It reminds me a lot of Darphin’s Aromatic Cleansing Balm (see review here) except that it isn’t fragranced with essential oils or otherwise. Same dry-skin-pleasing slip, without the fragrant frills. So often these unctuous balm cleansers come heavily fragranced (which personally I love, because I’m a sucker for anything that makes me feel as though I’m in an exotic hotel spa, somewhere hot) and this is a great option for those who want the function but not the smell.
The Gift List Tip
I read a brilliant thing in an interview recently – it’s actually quite an old interview, with Laura Jackson for House & Garden magazine here. In it, Laura talks about how she got her wedding guests to each bring a copy of their favourite book. So they now have a bookshelf filled with the favourite books of their closest friends and family. Brilliant for the recipients and relatively straightforward and inexpensive for the guests. I love this idea.
Three beauty heroes, an excellent cookbook and one of the best presents I’ve ever been given: how much better could a monthly favourites video be?
Here’s a quick rundown of the first four items on the list but you’ll have to watch the video to see the fifth. It’s so cute. I do have a tearful moment at one point…
My first beauty love this month is Le Labo’s cult fragrance Santal 33. It’s spicy, warm, woody, leathery (but a hint of expensive leather, not a male stripper’s oud-soaked leather thong type leather) and just so incredibly sexy. I’ll never do it justice with words, so give it a try next time you pass a stockist. Or if you ever see a gift with purchase that has it in then nab one – the little 15ml sample I have was either from a gift or the Liberty calendar and its RRP is £58! You can find it at Liberty or Cult Beauty here*.
Next on the list, Murad’s incredible Intense Recovery Cream, online here*. It’s almost medicinal in its colour and texture, it feels like the sort of thing you’d use in extreme situations, but it’s absolutely gorgeous on very dry or overcooked skin. And by overcooked I mean too many acids, too much retinol, too much piling on of everything willy-nilly. This is instant relief and you notice a difference overnight. Standalone post coming up, I’m sure.
La Roche-Posay have launched a really lovely facial sunscreen. They are champions when it comes to good sunscreens but this one is a departure from the light and milky Anthelios: the Hyalu B5 Aquagel SPF30 is part of the intensely hydrating Hyalu range and it really, really leaves skin properly quenched. Or drenched. Whatever the term would be. It’s unbelievably lightweight, fresh in feel and I can imagine it’ll be a huge hit, especially for those with oily/combination skin who want a light touch but still require a load of moisture. Find it here at Boots*.
Last mention before you watch the end of the video (I know you’ll skip to it, it’s fine): Table Manners by Jessie and Lennie Ware. It’s such a good recipe book – I’ve cooked two things already and have a dozen or so more bookmarked. The photos are a delight, I love the little anecdotes on every page and you can really tell that the two of them (mother and daughter) love to cook and love to eat. Find it online here*.
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.
Do any of you have any huge objections if I widen the scope of my monthly favourites round-ups to include stuff other than beauty? I feel it would inject some new and welcome joie de vivre into what is an old – yet surprisingly still very popular – format.
The only problem might be (spoiler alert!) is that some of the items, if I’m let loose completely from my self-imposed constraints, might be a bit random. For example this month, had I been given free rein, I would most probably have included a faux-antique rug in my favourites as well as a vintage BelgoChrom table I picked up (not literally) from Belgium for an absolute steal.
I don’t mean to imply that all of the favourites would be interiors-related – I’ve also had a great love-affair with a new Amazon Prime TV series this month – I’m just throwing some examples out there. So what do you think? Death to the (exclusively) beauty favourites? Bring in a new era? Or are you change-averse?
(If you are incredibly change-averse then I do genuinely feel for you. 2020 is most certainly not your year.)
Let me know in the comments, please – I do love a spot of market research on here! But for now, on with the beauty favourites. I’ve mostly avoided skincare this month despite racking up a fair few new discoveries that were deserving of a big mention, and that’s because I’m judging the Marie Claire skincare awards. It would be slightly disingenuous to go shouting my mouth off about my favourites whilst others are still doing their solemn judging.
So two bodycare items, two makeup favourites and one thing that is skincare but not quite as you know it. Shall we start with that one? It’s called a ZitSticka and it’s a small patch infused with potent spot-fighting ingredients that you stick over an emerging or early-bird blemish. You know when you have that hard swelling beneath the skin and your heart sinks because you know it’ll take long and painful days to erupt into anything you can (illegally) squeeze?
That’s what these ZitStickas are aimed at. I actually did an ad for this product at the very start of the year, having used it over the Christmas zit period, but I’ve had a fairly spot-free spring and summer and so hadn’t needed them since. But boy did last month’s PMT week see a beauty of a boil! The perfect pustule to place a Sticka on and I was delighted to find that it worked just as well as at Christmas. From hard, red skin to…absolutely nothing.
The raised bump didn’t disappear completely overnight, I had to take the patch off in the morning and double-obliterate it with a second one, but after that it simply dispersed. No squeezing necessary, which was good as it’s a very bad thing to do with a hard and horrible spot like that.
And to bodycare, where a Mitchum deodorant stole the show. On closer inspection, a “man’s” deodorant but I’m not really sure what makes it manly. The smell is “Cedarwood” but I find it fresh and figgy, which is why it’s in the faves (a good deodorant smell is hard to find), the formula is creamy, aluminium-free and effective.
True fact: to test efficacy I always do a half-half trial, whether it’s foundation, SPF or an exfoliating body lotion. You need to keep one half of your test area free from the product being tested – in this case it was so that I could gauge that day’s sweatiness with one pit and the sweat-fighting prowess of the anti-perspirant with the other.
It did well. The depths of the underarm were fresh even after a brisk walk down the river on a hot day wearing inadvisable levels of cashmere.
You can find Mitchum’s Natural Power deodorants here at Boots*, they are £4.50.
A seasonal favourite now, in the shape of Weleda’s Pine Bath. I know I’ve mentioned this a fair bit over the years and usually it’s more of a winter staple, but I ran out of Epsom Salts the other day (shock horror! fear not, I have reordered) and bathing just wasn’t bathing without something added to the water.
The Weleda bath milks are excellent – lavender would be my warmer months option but nothing beats pine for a bit of a Christmassy run-up. Again, I know I’m early – I’m not wishing Christmas upon anyone for the moment, the last thing we all need is another bloody school holiday! – but if you’re craving those crisp nights and blustery russetty days, this will be your bag.
Weleda Pine Bath Milk is £14 here*.
My next favourite is actually a whole category and so I’m going to sort of mulch over it – if you want more of an in-depth explanation of it then watch the video below. It’s mascaras. All mascaras. I’ve had a sort of renewed falling-in-love of them and have been testing out loads. I am going to be back with a video of my favourite four new mascara launches in the next week or so, but if you can’t wait that long then know that these are currently “the ones”:
Marc Jacobs At Lash’d Mascara, £25 here*
Charlotte Tilbury Push Up Lashes Mascara, £23 here*
Urban Decay Lash Freak Mascara, £21 here*
Dior Overcurl Mascara, £28 here*
All do things to my puny, barely-there lashes that would definitely win prizes, if there were prizes for lash transformations.
And finally another favourite that I’m not going to explain at length; it’s basically anything from Trinny London that counts as “makeup in pots”. In particular the cream eyeshadow in Truth and the cream blush in Electra. I’ve used both so regularly that it would be disingenuous for them not to make an appearance in the monthly hall of fame. You can read my full review of the eye2eye shadows here and the cream blush is online here*.
And there endeth the beauty sermon: it’s all on video right here if you want to see items up close and personal or find out about the makeup I’m wearing. Any extra details are written below the video pane. Enjoy – and let me know whether you’d like me to expand on my favourites categories!
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation in B30, £40 here*
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, £49 here*
Pat McGrath Permagel Lipliner, £25 here*
Pat McGrath Lip Balm, £35 here*
Jumper is from Cocoa Cashmere here
Amazing abstract painting in background is by Holly Delaney