I had my first contact lens “lesson” last week and to say it went badly would be a huge understatement. To be quite honest with you, I don’t know why any part of me thinks that I’ll ever be successful with a procedure that involves precision, dexterity and being OK with repeatedly touching your own eyeballs. I’ve never been successful with body-related things that don’t involve precision, dexterity and repeatedly touching your own eyeballs, come to think of it: all ear piercing episodes have all ended disappointingly when the holes have inexplicably decided to close themselves over; my flirtation with lash extensions was both painful and short-lived and don’t even get me started on the time I thought I’d use a diaphragm for contraception.
I’m fine about doing things to/with my body so long as I don’t have to interact with it in the same skilled way as you’d expect from, I don’t know, a medical professional. I like to be responsibility free. I can use a battery-operated foot file, for example, but if you ask me to inject myself with a life-saving anti-coagulant twice a day for a week I will look at you with a faraway expression that means that I have definitely not processed the instructions. I can Veet my bikini line, but do not ask me to check my own c-section wound for infection. Go ahead and pierce my ears, but I can guarantee you that I will not turn the studs to release the stinking gunk.
Things I have vetoed due to my post-babies aversion to having my body meddled with in any shape or form: getting a contraceptive coil fitted, starting my very necessary Invisalign programme (I have a bite problem that needs correcting) and having any form of face alteration, injection or tweakment. Unless a procedure is potentially going to stop me from getting ill or dying then I’m not interested, ta ever so. Back the f*ck away with your needles and rollers and things that freeze your fat off.
So why, then, have I made the decision to have a crack at wearing contact lenses? Surely this decision is – at best – unwise. At worst it is completely and utterly insane. I had a complete breakdown at my first cystoscopy (Google it if you dare) and was so traumatised that I sat in the bath for five hours, silently rocking back and forth with my knees pulled up to my chest. What makes me think having things inserted into my eyes is going to go any better? Having to touch the wobbly eyeballs, those jelly balls, the things that Lady Caroline from Succession (may one of the best dramas ever made rest in peace) called “face eggs” with such a tone of disgust?
Having things inserted into my eyes was better, obviously. I’m being obtuse. I mean if you had a choice between having your eyelids clamped open and your eyeball firmly stroked, over and over again or having a camera inserted up your pee-hole then I can imagine you’d fall into the same camp as me. I’d opt for the eyeball every time. Still, it’s not what I’d classify as an enjoyable pursuit. Apparently I have flickery eyelids, which hinders things when it comes to contact lens application, but tell me this: what sociopath doesn’t flinch when something approaches their naked, vulnerable eyeball?
Anyway, it took ages to get the blasted things in and it wasn’t even my go to do it myself yet. And I have astigmatism and so some parts of the lens are thicker and I had to blink lots to get them to turn into position, which felt like blinking with an eyelash stuck in my eye and all felt very counterintuitive. If I’m being truthful, the lenses still felt like eyelashes, or debris, even when they were in position.
But barely had I recovered from one torture when another one started: a lesson in how to take the blasted things out. There I was positioned, in front of a pedestal mirror that had apparently been briefed to show me in my very worst light, and all I could see was a version of myself who was at least fifteen years older than the one I’m used to (potentially because I’m so blind) pulling faces that wouldn’t be out of place in an aquarium and poking herself again and again in the eyeball whilst exclaiming “ugh” and “ow” and “argggh”!
Had someone happened upon me who had been unaware of my predicament, ie that I had to sit there until I had learned how to remove these little eye-discs of doom, they would have thought I needed immediate help. Because who willingly sits there fingering their eyeballs until they are dry (I needed emergency drops) and sore (of course they were sore) when there are racks and racks of perfectly comfortable glasses to try on just around the corner?
It must get better. That’s what everyone keeps telling me and that is why I am taking another stab at the whole thing. For want of a better phrase. I have another appointment – Eye Death Episode II – at the end of the week and it’ll either be disastrous, ending in another mild panic with me flailing about saying “just get them out, for the love of God – GET THEM OUT OF ME!”, or I shall emerge victorious with a trial pack of my special daily lenses and a spring in my step. I cannot see there being any middle ground. If, once again, my eyes feel as though they are being massaged with sandpaper then I shall have to politely decline a trial and draw a line beneath my contact lens escapades.
Many thanks to all those so far who have sent tried-and-tested contact lens methods, they are all very much appreciated. Can I have a show of hands for those who thought they would never conquer it after their first go but then emerged, to use my own description, victorious?
Image credit Unsplash
The post How Not To Try Contact Lenses appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
It’s favourites time, but this time they’re supercharged. The first favourite thing has changed my life and I’m not being dramatic and clickbait-y about it, either; the second favourite is a book that had me audibly cheering as I read it (in just two sittings) in bed last week. The rest of the favourites are also brilliant but it was the first two that inspired my latest video (bottom of the page) and therefore this, the accompanying post. And so without further ado:
I’m sick of saying and writing the word Waterfall; the video took me three attempts, then I spent an hour editing it, now I’m writing about it. I’ve said Waterfall more times in the past day than in the entire rest of my life. But all is forgiven because honestly, these little chewable D-Mannose tablets have changed my life.
Waterfall D-Mannose Peppermint Tablets*
You know how I had constant cystitis? You can read the odd post here and there, I think I tailed off with talking about it because it was frankly depressing and I had a cystoscopy which was horrible and I just didn’t want to share anymore, but – in short – it’s something I had suffered with since late teens. Triggers include winter, sitting down for long periods, not sitting down for long periods, getting a cold back, sex, any alcohol, no alcohol, no sex, holidays, breathing. You get the picture.
After numerous tests, both NHS and private and with no discernible outcome, I had just resigned myself to a lifetime of antibiotic bouts and not being able to drink wine and/or have raucous sex. But two of the things I had been recommended by both consultants was to a) up my fibre and b) try out regular intake of D-Mannose. I tried with the upping of the fibre but the D-Mannose intake was one of those things I – for unknown reasons – resisted. I think it was maybe because the cheap tablets I had were SO big (I have to break them in half) and when I wasn’t actually getting any cystitis warning symptoms I’d simply forget to take them.
Well after my third consecutive cystitis knock-down before Christmas I was desperate to find a way to reduce the occurrences. Also one of the courses of my usual antibiotics had failed to work, which terrified me, and so I ordered a whole load of different D-Mannose products to try them out. Powders, pills and these: the Waterfall Peppermint chewable tablets (here*).
Now I don’t really know whether they are any better than the others out there on the market, in terms of strength or ingredients, but it’s the pure fact that they are like a sweet that keeps me eating them. I have six a day and increase it on the rare occasion I’m going to be doing one of my “cystitis danger activities”, and because I have them on me, whether they’re in my handbag or on my desk or in the car, I know I’ll remember to take them.
They are very pricey compared to my usual ones but – touch wood – I haven’t had a problem since mid-December. Not only that, my usual “irritable bladder” symptoms, – ie always feeling I need to go for a wee, a constant feeling of dread, etc – have almost entirely disappeared.
All of this is completely my own experience and obviously I’m not even remotely a medical expert or advisor, but it’s actually not an expensive outlay to give D-Mannose – regular and consistent taking of D-Mannose – a go. You can get far cheaper options than the Waterfall peppermint ones, it’s just that they make me take them more regularly. Because it’s like chomping sweets. Which has been the gamechanger, I think.
(Realise suddenly chomping six more sweets a day has its own drawbacks but they’re not big. And anyway, preferable to constantly feeling as though your bladder is about to self-combust.)
Anyway, give D-Mannose a Google. There’s plenty of NHS stuff about it – it’s basically a sugar that stops E-Coli bacteria from growing in the urinary system. I wish I had taken it more seriously years ago, it would have saved me a hell of a lot of aggravation and upset!
You can find the peppermint tablets here*.
Enough of my bladder and urethra, though – let’s talk books!
Rarely have I read a book that resonated with me more. Which is weird because (mild spoiler alert) it’s about a mother who is turning into a dog. But of course that’s not really what it’s all about: it’s about losing your identity in stay-at-home-motherhood and (whispers!) boredom in stay-at-home-motherhood and it’s also all about the trade-offs and anxieties and losses of identity for mothers who don’t entirely stay at home, or who are barely at home. It’s a raw, almost feral examination of transformation after childbirth and also of inequalities in relationships with regards to childcare and nurture and – oh God, just read it.
There were parts that didn’t resonate with me, of course, but there were entire passages, pages, chapters that just had me agog with how accurate they were and how in any other hands the subjects being discussed would perhaps make the protagonist sound ungrateful, spoiled, self-indulgent, mad, all of the above. But you just know what she’s about. It’s great. I loved it and have been recommending it to all of my friends, even if most of them have given me an odd look and said ‘wait, you’ve only just read Nightbitch?’
Nightbitch in paperback is online here*
Alas, sold out now in black but there’s an incredibly funky lighter one here*, I’ve found my perfect chunky winter cardicoatigan. It has distinct seventies ski lodge vibes, which is a vibe I can get along with, and it was from The Outnet so had money off. Always a bonus.
You may recall that I’m on a constant search for good long cardis – just found this post from years ago! – because they are so versatile and a dream for lazy dressers like me. I think my love of cardigans will follow me to the grave.
I’m massively pleased with my latest haircut. And I know I’ve said this for the past few, since it’s been shorter, but it’s something of a new era for me. I’ve finally managed to get past my obsession with having to tie it up all the time. I’ve become accustomed to the feeling of it hanging loose and the odd tickle around my face no longer irritates me quite so much. Interestingly I’ve also had less stress headaches since I’ve stopped pulling my hair back into a bun for 90% of the time.
Curing my own ailments, one favourite at a time!
I get my hair done at The Suite in Bath – usually by Mathilde but currently with Cassie Permial, if you’re in Bath and want to ask for her! Both are brilliant.
Final favourite, or “fave” or “favorite” depending on your age and geographical location: the Support Equilibrium Bath & Body Oil from Aromatherapy Associates. It’s just gorgeous. I’ve always been a die-hard Deep Relax blend person (and so is my Mum, we both find it so effective when we need to de-stress and get a good sleep) but recently I started experimenting with other blends and Support has almost immediately placed itself right up there with Deep Relax on my leaderboard.
It’s far more floral and optimistic than Deep Relax but still with a very grounding, deep sort of base. Ooh, I’ve just Googled: it has Frankincense in it! No wonder I bloody love it. Anything with Frankincense usually worms its way into my stash quite quickly.
Harrods currently have this on sale, for some reason – no idea why as it’s full price elsewhere but I’m not complaining! It’s £38.50 instead of £55 here*. AA oils are expensive but for a reason: I haven’t found any better for the bath and body yet and I’ve been testing hundreds of them over the course of thirteen years.
Added to my bargain basement Epsom Salts (here*) it’s the best luxurious bathing experience money can buy! I like to think that the savings on the salts justify the price of the oils, but in fact the oils are so good they need no justification and you need the teeniest bit each time.
Marvellous: here’s the video for extra info and enthusiasm and drama.
The post You Won’t Believe How Much I Love These Things… appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
I woke up unable to move and with my arm muscles screaming: what evil atrocity had happened to my person overnight? I did (what they call in the meditation sessions I never get around to doing) a body scan; starting at the toes, moving up to the knees and then the thighs and the hips, noting any sensations in the body pleasant or unpleasant. They were all deeply unpleasant. Pains shot through my calves when I tried to wiggle my toes and I was unable to feel my thighs. It was as though anything connecting my legs to the rest of my body had been stolen away whilst I was sleeping.
I tried to roll onto my side but where there had been (admittedly feeble) core muscles, there now seemed to be none. My brain whirred. Had I unwittingly birthed another baby? By c-section? Or perhaps I had been illegally harvested of some vital organs and this was the aftermath. Hundreds of separate pains were beginning to register around my body – even my head hurt when I weakly turned it from side to side.
And then the horror came flooding back. Operating on a slight delay, no doubt due to the trauma, my mind blinked into action and played a number of nightmarish flashbacks from the previous day. The root cause of all my pains became crystal clear:
I had exercised.
More specifically, I had “boxed”. Or “done boxing” – I’m not sure of the correct phrase here, being unfamiliar with almost all forms of exercise and the appropriate fitness-related lexicon. But I had done something akin to boxing at the very least – I’d had my hands strapped up (in bandages, which sort of felt like a forewarning) and I’d worn the proper gloves and I’d given it my all like only a comparatively unfit forty-two-year-old mum-of-two can.
I say comparatively because with a few exceptions I think I was the oldest participant in the room by almost a couple of decades and I’m not sure, judging by the enthusiasm and vigour with which they all did the jumping jacks, that any of the others had yet to become inconvenienced with compromised pelvic floors.
Now look; I’m not unfit in that I have to huff and puff to get myself up my near-vertical driveway (I can even carry heavy stacks of parcels up it) and I’m also not unfit in that I can easily hike six, seven, eight miles or more in one go and it doesn’t really feel as though I’ve dented my energy that much. However: put me on a rubbery floor and make me do things like “mountain climbers” and “burpees” and anything involving upper body strength and I promise you I will collapse like one of those little push-up puppets with elastic bands threaded through them.
Why was I exercising? You might ask. I was at a press event for Kiehl’s and the boxing session (at the amazing JAB club in Mayfair) was part of the package. Kiehl’s have launched a lovely new product into their Ultra Facial range; the Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream, and I’m guessing that the “defensive” nature of the boxing class is the link between event and barrier repair product. Although, I have to say, JAB couldn’t have been more Kiehl’s in style if it had tried – it felt very New York cool with its wooden lockers and wall of boxing gloves and the amazing leather punchbags in the mirrored studio.
And as Rebecca, the photographer for Kiehl’s, clicked away at all of the guests posing in the aforementioned boxing gloves, leaning against the aforementioned punchbags, I made the fatal error of assuming that this boxing session was to be “just for the ‘gram” and that nobody would actually be expending any real sort of physical effort.
Which was all fine by me because even as I enrered the locker room I was beginning to question my sanity – why on earth had I agreed to spend a morning doing something so energetic and potentially excruciating when I could have been having hot chocolate with a friend, or browsing John Lewis for a new travel bag (much needed). Or just anything, really, rather than being in a boxing gym with that faint smell of sweat and rubber and – weirdly – ham that’s seemingly always the precursor to intense physical discomfort.
Luckily the JAB crew (instructor and two finely-honed “demo” boxers to keep us all on track with the moves) were all very easy on the eye and as I don’t get out much these days it was all quite visually exciting at first. As we started jigging about on the spot and doing pretend punching I relaxed into the whole thing and suddenly felt quite confident that I’d be able to take the whole thing in my stride. Even as the moves progressed to more energetic ones, ones that saw me having to throw myself to the floor, touch my knee to my shoulder like in some sadistic version of Twister, I felt sort of physically energised and motivated in a way I hadn’t experienced since having to run to catch the last train from Paddington at the end of January 2021. (One of my tendons has only just healed.)
But oh my God. After about ten minutes of pure cardio sweaty exertion and just as I assumed we were about to wind things up to have a little rest, the instructor (and owner of JAB) declared that the “warm up was almost over”. I beg your pardon? Warm up? If this was one of those army obstacle courses then I was at exhaustion level 8: the final swamp crossing. If I was on an army course then at this point I’d be hauling myself through the mud on my knees, doing ugly crying. If it was childbirth (and my babies hadn’t been huge/wrong way up/late) then I’d be at the bit where it’s ring of fire and you have to push through the pain.
Had Mr Jab not been so encouraging, in his tiny shorts with his muscular physique, I would have lain down on the rubbery floor and wept. As it happened, he carried with him some sort of long plastic ruler and now and then gave a gentle tap with it which was actually quite arousing.
Or would have been quite arousing had my pelvic floor not decided to completely give up the ghost which meant I was concentrating on trying not to involuntarily urinate over myself. It was the split jumping jacks that did the pelvic floor in, FYI – manic opening and closing of the legs coupled with intense and forceful high impact landings. It’s gonna do it. You may as well place your undercarriage into that machine in IKEA that demonstrates how violently they test their mattresses for wear and tear. Pound-pound-pound.
Anyway, jesting aside I did very much enjoy myself. The urine stayed where it should be, despite my bladder screeching at me for the entire forty-five minutes, and the first thing I did when I got on the train home was to Google “Boxing Club in Bath”. I felt on top of the world. There was a ferocity and a focus to the session that I loved; it was so intense that it left no room to think. If I’m spinning (on a bike, not just around and around in a room like someone on hallucinogenics) then all sorts of things go through my mind. And I can imagine that – if I had knees that weren’t made of Play-Doh and I jogged – the same thing would happen with jogging. I’d ruminate on work issues, on family life, I’d run through my lists of things that needed to be done.
No space for that during boxing! Or – whispers – Boxercise, which is what I think I’m going to have to do in lieu of proper boxing. Mainly because the proper boxing gyms talk of such things as “sparring” and “mouth guards” and I’m not completely ready to retire from modelling just yet.
And also, I say that Boxercise is what I think I’m going to have to do, but it has taken me five full days to get full movement back in my upper body: I went forty-eight hours in the same t-shirt because I couldn’t bear to lift my arms over my head! So maybe I should stick to spinning (again, the cycling on a stationary bike sort) rather than anything more taxing. Which would mean I’d have to buy an actual clothes horse instead of using the Peleton to dry my clothes, so it’s swings and roundabouts…
A massive thanks to Kiehl’s for inviting me to their Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream launch: I did feel very relevant and youthful in my gym stuff and boxing gloves. And the new cream is just lovely – a great addition to the Ultra Facial line-up, which is renowned for being very calm and gentle. I have two close friends who have used nothing else for years and will use nothing else. The new cream brings extra-potent ingredients to the table for really helping to repair the skin barrier so that it can function more effectively – better skin barrier, less moisture loss and skin that feels more comfortable and soothed. The new barrier cream has a balm texture that’s surprisingly velvety rather than being the heavy, greasy ointment that you might expect. Sits brilliantly beneath makeup (I have it on now) (I realise you can’t see me so that’s a pointless statement) and keeps skin feeling supple and comfortable all day.
You can find the new Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream at Kiehl’s here* – it’s £34 for 50ml.
Photography credit: Rebecca Spencer Photography
The post How (Not) To Do Boxing appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
First post of 2023 and it’s straight in with my current makeup routine and some incredible new makeup discoveries. I don’t use the word incredible lightly, either: some of these products have completely changed my makeup routine and had my husband asking questions such as “what have you done to your eyebrows? I mean, why are they pointing upwards like that? Like bird’s feathers stuck on?”
“It’s the fashion,” I replied.
And it is. Or was, at least. Feathery eyebrows: I have grown to like them. Just in time for them to seemingly slide back out of fashion in favour of the nineties groomed-and-narrow brow. I like that the featheriness takes the weight out of the brow and lifts my eye area but equally I can see why that’s not for everyone. But that is the beauty of makeup – you can simply change your mind and do something different the next day.
New discoveries then – and do watch the video at the bottom of the page to see these in action. Very briefly.
I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments on my skin since using this tinted moisturiser (for that is what it is). It has such a heft of illuminator in it that you cannot fail to glow. The coverage is light but capable, making skintone look more even and the finish is dewy and feels comfortable and flexible on the skin.
The ILIA skin tint is massively hydrating and I apply straight over serum (ironically, because this is also called a serum) for a one-stop daytime low-key look. A bit of cream bronzer and blush over the top and a lick of mascara and I’m good to go, if I’m after the bare minimum. The skin tint really does give a superstar sort of finish that looks perfect, but real, but glowier than real, but also undone, but still polished. I suppose what I’m saying is that it looks effortless but is actually working really hard on the light-reflecting front.
If you have lots of fine lines or quite crepey skin then be aware that illuminating products tend to also illuminate lines (usually not so much of a problem with dedicated highlighters as you would apply them both sparingly and in targeted areas) but I’ve found that a bit of pore-filling primer on the forehead and around the eye area does wonders. (Benefit Porefessional is always a good one.)
This Skin Tint sits at a premium price-point – it’s £46 at Sephora here* – but I’d say that you’re absolutely getting a premium product. This is the sort of face base you can rely on to always look good and make you look fresher and perkier. I’d say it’s slightly better for drier skin rather than oily as it doesn’t set completely and I do get a little movement in the t-zone if I don’t powder but you could always use a primer, as mentioned.
If I had to compare it to another product then I’d say that it’s quite similar to NARS Tinted Moisturiser with perhaps less coverage and more glow. I’m not mad-keen on the pipette dispenser but it’s so good that I forgive that.
Find ILIA Skin Tint here* – there are 30 blendable shades (this isn’t the sort of face product that requires an identical tone match) and I wear ST7.
Let’s return to the feathery brows and this, the Anastasia Brow Freeze, is the ultimate product to make them with. It’s a wax but also a gel – sort of like one of those eighties hair gels that came in the big sticky pot – and it coats the brow hairs so that they are instantly shapeable and moveable. If Dali had seen this stuff he’d have been in his element – God only knows what his tache would have looked like. He’d probably have been able to shape whole words out of it. Sentences!
You’re supposed to use a special applicator but I don’t have that and I don’t feel I need it. The wax does clog up all of my brow brushes but a quick wash in boiling water melts it off and leaves them as-new. Ish. Maybe I should get the applicator!
I haven’t found another brow product that can shape and hold like this one; it’s like using glue, but a friendly one that won’t make your brows clump together and then fall off. On my very fair brows it gives them massive definition without needing to add any colour and I love the way I can feather the hairs upwards so effectively – I’m a big promotor of using hairspray on brows for a quick fix and I stand behind that tip… but honestly, Brow Freeze takes things to a new dimension.
You can find Brow Freeze online here* – it’s £23.
Every time I mention the Kajal eyeliners from Victoria Beckham I get asked if there are dupes. And understandably, because the price is pretty punchy for an eyeliner. (£26 at VBB here.) Yes there are other soft liners that hold fast (one of the best is the Avon one in my opinion, Gel Paint Eyeliner here*) but if you’re after the on-trend shades that VBB brings out then it’s more difficult to find them on the high street, especially with the right texture and staying power.
I’m using Copper in the video below and I think that it’s a really lovely alternative to plain brown if you want to add some sparkle and zing. I don’t think that it looks over the top as a daytime effect, either. The Kajal is really soft and so you get enough time to blend the lines out if you want a smokier effect, but it’s not out-of-control smudgey and it sets fast without budging until it’s time to remove it. The Olive shade is also marvellous and slightly more unusual, FYI.
New from the ever-expanding Tilbury makeup empire: Pop Shots. These are more about the glimmer than imparting lots of colour – think of the glittery “top coat” you get in her eye quads that you press onto the lids as a final light-reflecting hit. That’s what these are, but without the rest of the quad. I use Sunlit Diamond which is a very warm, coppery gold and slightly more modern than the classic yellow version. I thought that these would have limited appeal after the festive season was finished (and they are limited edition) but I’ve been enjoying adding something fun and frivolous to my makeup routine. You have to get your kicks where you can in January.
Find Hypnotising Pop Shots online here*.
Final new find: Ruby Hammer’s Lip Serum Balms. They’re utterly beautiful. Buttery soft and spreadable and comfortable and you feel the effects even when the colour has disappeared. Possibly Red isn’t the wisest choice for a soft and buttery balm – it can be a disaster on the teeth! – but I couldn’t resist this one. It’s glossy and rich and such a true, true red – you wouldn’t want to wear it for kissing under the mistletoe as it would be everywhere but you’ve missed that boat anyway. And for all other situations, it’s just cheery and great. You can blot it down to a more muted lip stain if you like, but it’s just such a good shade I think it’s a shame to clip its wings.
Ruby Hammer Lip Serum Balm is £18 at Sephora here*.
Right, here’s the vid (if you can’t see it then you’ve managed to land on this page whilst it’s uploading!). I also used Charlotte Tilbury Cream Bronzer in Shade 1 (here*) and Beauty Pie brown mascara and red lipliner (here*). The cream roll-neck jumper is Wyse London but seems to have sold out!
The post My Makeup Routine: January 2023 appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
At the very real risk of boring myself to death with the same makeup look over and over again I thought I had better jiggle things up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with “sticking to what suits you” when it comes to putting your maquillage on but sometimes there’s a better face-improving tip or trick just around the corner and if you don’t experiment then you’ll never, er…see around the corner.
(Don’t judge my writing skills today, please, I have terrible PMT and as well as wanting to set fire to the fridge because it beeps too much I’m finding it difficult to string words together in an entertaining manner.)
So: three little changes that have updated my makeup routine. I go as far as to say three little makeup improvements. They might just work for you, too – see what you think.
The Eyeliner Replacement
I’ve been using an angled brush (handily, there’s one on the other end of my Benefit brow brush*) with a very dark brown shadow (from this excellent Lancome palette*) to very gently press shadow into the “lashline” at the inner corners and then to form a short flick at the outer. Because the brush is so fine and the shadow isn’t quite as punchy as a liner the effect is every so slightly softer. I’ve been finding that sometimes eyeliner can make me look very tired and my eyes very small if I don’t handle it carefully – this angled brush technique seems to be slightly more subtle and foolproof.
Perhaps it’s because I rarely sharpen my eyeliner pencils to the recommended needle-like point!
The All-Over Glow
The next tweak is that I’ve been giving my skin a bit of a once-over with a glowy powder for a mega-watt all-over sheen rather than confining it to the tradition highlighter zones. Amazingly, it doesn’t look greasy or weird and I don’t end up like the Tin Man from Oz. I think it’s because the powders I use (Ambient Lighting from Hourglass* – unbeatable in my opinion and worth the investment if you can make that sort of investment) are so clever and non-glittery and fine. I use the slightly darker shades in this Hourglass palette on the cheeks and where I’d normally bronze for a bit of extra (glowing) depth and the paler shade over the t-zone. It has the added bonus of setting makeup in place for the long haul.
My actual Hourglass palette was in the car but it was a good excuse to photograph the beautiful new Unlocked limited edition ones – the Elephant version is the closest to the one I use already (find it here*.) The powders are smaller – much smaller – but you get the additional colours so it’s sort of an all-in-one blush, setting powder, complexion enhancer kit.
Also of note in this category is the new Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Brightening Powder*. Gee whizz this is a strong one. I would treat it with slightly more caution than the Hourglass palette. I wore it all over my face as a setting powder for a red carpet event and my face was basically a beacon. It’s amazing stuff but I’d be tempted to use it on cheekbones and around the traditionally “non sweaty” areas and then her equally good non-bright powder on the t-zone.
The Darker Brow
You can’t really see this in all of its glory on the video because I filmed on my iPhone and the front-facing camera is rubbish and pales everything out so that it all becomes a featureless sea of cream and sepia. Yes I can mess about with levels in post-production but I didn’t here – see aforementioned PMT.
I’ll film another makeup routine video showing what a difference it makes – the darker eyebrow, simply taken down a shade using a slightly darker brow gel, looks fresh and youthful and, if done right, very chic. We’re not talking about drawn-on comedy brows, just a smidgen deeper for those of you (me included) who usually err on the safe side when it comes to doing your eyebrows. My default is a bit of Elnett brushed through in an upwards direction and so adding a brow gel that’s fractionally more dramatic is big news. Still no pencil, still no drawing-in (this just spells trouble for me), just a simple swipe through with the tinted brow gel. I’ve been using the one in Light Brown from Authored, here.
Here’s an unhelpful video that doesn’t really show what the makeup changes do but does demonstrate the final effect. I didn’t think it through enough.
The post How I’ve Tweaked My Makeup Routine appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
I’ve been doing some quick little makeup videos on Instagram and Youtube and thought I’d start to share them here. I love before and afters, the transformation from normal to glam or from washed-out to a bit more lively. And this video just shows you the process in between – a whole makeup look edited down to one minute for those who are impatient and have the attention span of a gnat, which I think is probably most of us these days.
I’ve embedded the video below with a quick run-down of the makeup used and any particular likes and dislikes, product-wise. For those coming over for Instagram who’d just like an at-a-glance product run-down, this is it:
Dior Forever Skin Glow in 2N, here*
Vieve Foundation Brush, here*
Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow, here*
Rare Beauty Cream Blush in Rose, here*
NARS Voyageur Palette in Suede, here*
Hourglass Gel Liner in Chestnut, here*
Elnett Hair Spray, here*
Rare Beauty Liner in Fun, here*
Code8 Beauty in At The Barre, here*
Benefit Brow Brush, here*
Before and After Beauty: October 2022
I begin with the Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation in shade 2N (online here*) applied with the Vieve foundation brush, £26 here*. This is a long-term face base favourite as it adds luminescence but doesn’t leave any particular residue on the skin. For those who want a more velvety matte finish there’s the Dior Forever – both have great longevity and you need to work relatively fast to blend them in. It’s just a very, very reliable foundation.
For slightly less coverage but similar sort of low-key glow take a look at L’Oreal True Match (online here*). There are loads of shades and it’s marginally easier to work with as it doesn’t set so fast. It’s also a fraction of the cost, if you’re budget conscious.
I don’t use concealer here as the Dior foundation does the trick for me (I need concealer with the True Match) so it’s straight in with my ultimate “instant glamour” product, Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow (online here*). I use this a lot when I want to create something a bit more grown-up and polished – the cheekbone and chisel. It’s an investment but a little goes a long way and I never fail to be pleased with the results. A bit of the bronzing contour beneath the cheekbones and a touch of the highlighter on top, this is not for your low-key everyday routine if you like to have a completely natural, undetectable sort of makeup look.
The blush here is a Rare Beauty cream one in Rose*, applied with a Jones Road blusher brush. And that completes the skin.
You can see that I very simply brush and set my brows using a spritz of Elnett* on a brow brush (this one is Benefit and has an angled liner brush on the other end, find it here*). It’s a very quick and cheap way of doing brows if you’re not fussed about adding more colour and volume to them – you cannot go far wrong with this technique and even if you’re the most minimal makeup person ever I’d recommend adding this in to your day. It just seems to lift my eyes slightly and make me look more awake.
Eyeshadow is mainly “the top middle one” from the NARS Voyageur Palette in Suede. I think that this is my all-time favourite eyeshadow palette due to its handy size and the fact that I like all of the shades, no exception. They’re all useful and you can create so many looks. The palette is £28 (find it here*) and for a heartstopping moment last month I thought they’d discontinued it but it looks to be in stock with a few etailers so I’ll chill.
I use the slightly darker shades just to run along the lower lashline and then the darkest in the palette to create a small “flick” at the outer corner. You know the drill, you’ve seen this before.
Mascara is an Armani one but that didn’t float my boat too much, the brush was slightly too thick for me and I tend to get a lot on my lids when this is the case! Back to the Telescopic* I go…
I have used an eyeliner here, even though I’m trying to not use an eyeliner these days for low-key looks. There’s just something about it that I think makes me look slightly tired, unless I’m doing a big old smokey eye extravaganza and blending it all in. I’ll have to experiment more on that theory. Anyway this gel liner is gorgeous whether it tires me out or not: the Chestnut gel liner from Hourglass*. It glides on beautifully and then sticks in place for hours and hours.
On the lips? A Rare Beauty lip liner in shade Fun*, ‘cos that’s what I am, and the AM/PM lip crayon from Code Eight in a shade called At The Barre*. I’d forgotten about these beautiful tinted lip balms from Code Eight; so easy to use and very moisturising. As you’d hope.
That’s the whole look. I curled my hair with my Cloud9 wand (this one*, in case you’re interested) and then bouffed it out with my fingertips so that it all felt a little bit retro.
I have some research to do before next month’s One Minute Makeup; I’m trying to find the loveliest high street lipsticks. There seems to be a dearth of nice pinks on the high street – I’m thinking one’s like Clinique’s Peony Pop – and I’m determined to find some nice options. Any ideas, please let me know in the comments…
The post BEFORE AND AFTER BEAUTY: OCTOBER 2022 appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
It’s “neutrals with a hint of pink time”! Yes, that’s right: whilst the whole world of social media experiments with the mandatory seasonal shades of russet and bronze, I’m still stuck in bronzer mode with a little bit of pretty pink to eradicate signs of tiredness and add a bit of youthful flush into the mix.
Here’s what I’m using on my face at the moment; the hero products are the recently rediscovered Dior Forever Skin Glow foundation and the liquid blush from Rare Beauty, which seems to be totally sold out. Some potential alternatives listed below.
Let’s get cracking – if you’d like to watch all of the products in action (and full technicolour) then scroll to the bottom of the page and click play on the video screen.
Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation
They’ve relaunched this foundation a few different times since I first reviewed it here in May 2013. It started off as a velvet finish face base and then it became two different foundations altogether, one with a matte finish and one with a glowier finish. The matte (simply called Forever) is absolutely brilliant for staying power and a massively perfected finish, the sort that looks airbrushed. The Skin Glow looks slightly more natural and real. Flexible.
I use shade 2N but actually it looks better on me mixed with a bit of 2.5N to warm things up. In the depths of winter I’ll probably be 2N proper.
I feel as though you have to work quite quickly with this foundation, it sets fast and then sticks around until you have a proper cleanse with a flannel. The coverage is medium-to-full and it’s easily buildable – I can go in with another little tapped-on layer under the eyes and around the nose and it looks seamless.
Find Dior Forever Skin Glow here* – at Escentual it always seems to be a load cheaper than elsewhere. There’s a reason for this and I can’t remember it, but whatever: it makes it just a little more appealing, price-wise, when it’s £38.25 rather than £45.
Armani Power Fabric Concealer
This concealer deserves its own post; I use it constantly and it’s my default option. It gives a really natural, lightweight look, as though the product melds with the skin and moves with it, but the coverage is still very good. It’s a clever product in that it disguises and detracts without forming a thick, opaque layer.
You still see some of the skin beneath but it makes everything vastly improved. If you tend to wear lighter, sheerer bases and a heavy concealer on top looks odd then this is the product for you. If you can stretch to it. I’d say it’s a good investment if you struggle with concealers that sit in fine lines or look cakey – this blends in quickly and stays looking fresh all day.
You can find Power Fabric online here* – I use shade 5, for reference.
Charlotte Tilbury Cream Bronzer
Is actually called Beautiful Skin Bronzer but I’m lazy. This is very similar to Chanel’s big cream bronzer in the flat jar but comes in more shades and is marginally less orange-toned so slightly more foolproof. By buffing this into freshly-applied foundation you can create a sunkissed look that’s very believable and subtle or build up the colour for a more dramatic look.
It’s excellent stuff. Priced to reflect that. I’ve just realised that this video is erring on the side of pure luxury which wasn’t intentional! Find the cream bronzer here*, I use shade 1.
Rare Beauty Liquid Blush
This is sold out everywhere by the looks of it, but give this link* a try anyway in case you’re reading in a time of good stock! I use Hope, a lovely pink shade and you can see from the video that the amount you need to use each time is minuscule. Truly. I doubt I’ll ever use this up, unless I live to one hundred and twenty.
Good alternatives, though they’re cream rather than liquid; the cream blush from Rare Beauty (same brand, different texture) and also the cream blushes from Trinny London and Beauty Pie. They are all delicious – I apply with a brush for these, too, for a really flawless sort of effect.
If you’re lucky enough to get hold of the liquid blush I use in the video then just dap a dot on each cheek and blend lightly with a fluffy brush rather than a firmer, kabuki one. You don’t want to upset all the makeup beneath the blush, things can get alarmingly patchy very quickly…
NARS Voyageur Palette
This is one of my most-used eye palettes. Possibly the most-used if you exclude the Becca one that’s now discontinued. As in the entire brand, not just the palette. NARS Voyageur in Suede has precisely the shades I want to use on a daily basis and nothing else at all. It’s small and compact and I can bung it in a handbag if I need to an it even slides into one of those stupid small purse-on-a-string bags that are all the rage for people who seemingly never need to cart about an emergency Tampax, car keys or, I don’t know, money.
Find the palatte here* – and if you tap “Voyageur” into the search box then you’ll see plenty of videos where I’m using it. The big fat brush I use to apply the shimmery peach-beige shadow is the Bobbi Brown Blender, here* and the flatter, rounded one for the “fake eyeliner” trick that I do is a Sigma E55 brush, here*.
Brows and Lashes
Nearly there! Brows are groomed and thickened with the perennial favourite, Benefit’s Gimme Brow in shade 1, here*. Lashes are lengthened and volumised with L’Oreal’s Telescopic False Lash mascara (here*) which is as good as any of the luxury offerings out there. If you have fine, flat lashes and big brushes do you no favours then honestly, get involved with the Telescopic. I prefer the one in the matte gold tube (currently seven-ish quid here*) for everyday use but it was in my car and couldn’t be bothered to go and get it.
Clinique Lip Pop
Clinique’s lipsticks are genuinely some of the very best out there. They combine a lip primer to smooth and fill with a beautiful, punchy dose of colour and you can get matte finishes or shinier ones. Peony is, in my opinion, the perfect pretty pink. At time of writing Clinique have these lipsticks for sale at around £17 – find them here*. I doubt anyone would regret the purchase of one of these – they feel like a luxury buy but don’t have the luxury price tag.L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara*: https://amzn.to/3LzaLFW
The post CURRENT MAKEUP ROUTINE: AUTUMN 2022 appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
Some lovely, melty-textured makeup bits that’ll see you through the rest of summer and take you nicely into Autumn.
Oh God! The A-Word!
I hate myself for even using it, because the summer months are what I live for, but all good things must come to an end. Also, the summer holidays stress me out more than they ever relax me, September is always a welcome break. I still think of September as being a new year and a fresh start – empty notebooks waiting to be filled, the smell of unworn plimsolls. Is anyone else still stuck in their school years, decades on?
Back on topic: these are all relatively new makeup launches and (apart from the annoying fiddly cap on the cream eyeshadow) make near-perfect additions to any makeup bag. Highlights include a brilliant tinted sunscreen (one that could easily replace your sheer foundation if you were after an all-in-one summer weather multi-tasker) and a cream bronzer that buffs into the skin to give the most beautiful, diffused colour.
Read on for all of the details or, if you’d prefer to watch me talking and applying the products, scroll down to the video at the bottom of the page.
Ultra Violette Dream Screen Tinted Veil*
I think that this tinted sunscreen is one of the best beauty launches of the year. There’s a whole rave about it in my previous post about SPF top-ups but, in short, it’s a sheer skin base with full SPF50, UVA and UVB protection and it comes in lots of shades. It’s easily doable to apply the recommended amount to your face (1/4 teaspoon) without it looking overdone or claggy and I don’t find I need a separate moisturiser beneath it.
The coverage is by no means “full” but if you’re after the ultimate all-in-one skin product with colour, minimal coverage and full sun protection then this is it. Find it at Space NK here* – it’s £38 for 50ml.
Read: How Can I Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup?
Charlotte Tilbury Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer*
If you prefer your skin to look naturally sunkissed rather than obviously bronzed then Charlotte Tilbury’s new cream Sun-Kissed Glow bronzer (£42 here*) is a solid investment. It’s as pricey as Chanel’s Les Beiges version but has the same soft-focus effect when buffed into the skin and comes in four shades rather than Chanel’s two. This is sophisticated bronzing that seamlessly melds into your makeup base rather than sitting on top – if you’d like to see it in action then watch the video at the bottom of the page. It’s such a lovely, grown-up effect.
You can find the Sun-Kissed Glow bronzer online in all four shades – I wear shade two, medium, but in winter I could be tempted to notch down to shade one and apply more copiously. It’s nicely buildable.
Jones Road Shimmer Face Oil in Midas
I like this very summery highlighter. It won’t be for everyone, especially not those with oily or combination skin, but if you love a sheeny finish to your makeup and also a bit of movement, where the skin and the makeup all look flexible and natural rather than set in place, you’ll really like it. It almost feels more like a luxury body product than a face one – it smells unbelievably nice and comes in a little bottle with a pump – but tap it onto cheekbones and you can instantly see how it adds a gorgeous non-glittery glow.
I tried all shades of this but I think Midas is the best on me – it has a slight warmth that works really well on summer skin. See video below.
RMS Beauty Eyelight Cream Shadow in Flare*
This is a great summer-autumn eye colour and the cream formula blends in so nicely. Not sure that the tube with the tiny cap is very user-friendly and you need to squeeze out the tiniest amount of product otherwise all hell breaks loose but this would last you a long, long time even with daily use.
I love the shade “Flare”, which has just the right degree of beigey-warmth beneath the shimmer; you can do a brilliant one-shadow eye look with this, it highlights in all the right places. See video for application.
Victoria Beckham Posh Gloss in Bungalow
The shade name Bungalow really tickles me. It’s a very unglamorous-sounding word, like bungle. But the shade itself is lovely – the perfect amount of pink to make it pretty but with a neutral edge to keep it subtle. The gloss formula is marginally less sticky than your usual gloss, which is something to celebrate – I’m wearing it as I type and I’ve had it on for around five hours. Granted I haven’t eaten or drunk anything or even spoken to anyone, but it still has all the sheen and colour and feels ever so slightly – really very slightly, – tacky rather than sticky. It’s a good ‘un if you like your glosses but hate having small insects stuck to your lips all day.
Find it here online.
The post 5 Favourite Makeup Launches: Summer 2022 appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
I’m very pleased with the poetic title for this post. I’m even more pleased with the fact I’ve actually finished the seaside holiday cottage renovation project I’ve been working on* and the romantic little Dorset Nook is now available to book!
Think lazy walks down to the beach for a picnic on a sunny day, think longer, blustery walks along the south-west coastal path to take in the stupendous views along the Jurassic Coast (this is my favourite activity); think massive slabs of apple cake with clotted cream, trips to the Gelato hut, seaside fish and chips (the best kind). Think long lunches at creaky old pubs and then back to the gorgeous, cosy cottage for a warm bath and a glass of wine in front of the fire.
Yes, the cottage is finally ready for bookings. After a very prolonged renovation period (do I need to even utter the word pandemic?) and a seemingly endless era of zipping up and down to Dorset to decorate and furnish, this gorgeous hideaway is available for beautifully lazy summer holidays, crisp autumnal long weekends and snug winter breaks.
I’m going to go into “travel agent mode” to tell you a bit about it – I feel as though I need to wear two hats at the moment because I have to be this professional holiday-let owner when I get enquiries and not write the word “lol” in my email responses and also deal with things like lost keys. Which is very different to the hat I wear the rest of the time when I’m doing things like dressing as a wizard (see here).
So here we go: let the brochure begin.
The Dorset Nook is an 18th century cottage in the picturesque village of Eype that sleeps two adults in very stylish comfort. (If I may say so myself. Sorry – popping in with the other hat on!)
There’s a kingsize bedroom upstairs (the staircase is through a little doorway in a panelled wall, it’s very secretive) with deep window seat and a lovely, soothing vibe. It’s so quiet and so dark at night, it’s a true romantic hideaway up there.
Downstairs there are two lovely living areas; the cosy, ancient living room with exposed stone walls and woodburning stove and then the light-filled open-plan space with kitchen, dining area and reading nook.
The living room is perfect for cuddling up in if the evenings are chilly but I actually love it at any time of the day – it feels so atmospheric in there with its window seat and thick stone walls.
The open plan living area (below) was originally a series of small, dark rooms but now they are knocked through into one space it is filled with light all day long – it’s also surrounded by the little cottage garden so that you can throw the windows open and listen to the birds.
There’s a fully-equipped kitchen, a dining area with antique farmhouse table and chairs and a lovely reading nook with squidgy sofa and cushions and throws.
It’s really hard not to fall asleep here in the afternoon. I always planned to write a novel from the kitchen table, but that hasn’t quite manifested itself. Maybe somebody else will!
The sweet bathroom downstairs has a bath with a shower over it and lovely traditional sink and fittings, and then there’s the little cottage garden that wraps around the cottage with space to dine and deckchairs to kick back in.
There are amazing walks straight from the garden gate, there’s an incredible beach a third of a mile away (I march down there in a matter of minutes, you can amble at a more leisurely pace if you prefer!) and the views from the south-west coastal path are just stunning.
You can find loads more information about the cottage on the website here – there’s a whole page on amenities and interiors and another on location and things to do and places to eat. I’ve really fallen in love with both the cottage and the area and I’m hoping that everyone who visits will too.
It really is such a lovely spot and the cottage is tucked away (it can only be accessed on foot and isn’t suitable for pets or children) so it feels like a proper holiday from the world as soon as you step through the garden gate. And the cottage with its crisp, beautiful bed linens, vintage furniture finds and old oak beams feels so welcoming and atmospheric – it’s a joy to land back there at the end of the day. Or just not leave it at all.
*Just in case some of you missed the intro to my latest venture (I do like to keep them coming!); it has been a long-term plan of mine to renovate a little holiday cottage somewhere, off the beaten track, fill it full of gorgeous bits and pieces and let it out to nice people who appreciate lovely things. I did record some of the process on the Instagram page here if you’d like to take a look.
I’m thinking about doing a renovation post on how we transformed the cottage, so let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. It was actually quite a drawn-out process, in the end, and took a lot longer and cost a lot more than I anticipated. (Mainly because I am an eternal optimist and didn’t think that trying to manage a renovation that was an hour-and-a-half away would be an issue. With two small kids. And a job. You live and learn!)
The post The Dorset Nook, Ready To Book appeared first on Ruth Crilly.
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.*
The post Trying On Bridgerton Outfits appeared first on Ruth Crilly.