Sunday, 30 December 2012

This is why the Daily Mail cracks me up

I know this is slow news season but seriously?

Hip rotation in degrees? This is like the "science" bit in those L'Oreal commercials.

Believe it or not, this article was not followed by Chicks love chocolate or Men like beer.

To finish the article and for a chuckle, here's the link.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Slippers a la whatever you want...

I had these Charlotte Olympia kitty flats on my Christmas wish list.

I am not even a huge cat person but I loved these...

I really wanted to get them but they were sold out at their Maddox Street boutique in Mayfair and most online shops.

It is such a cute store with its spiderweb out front!
Then while waiting for the phone call letting me know there was finally a pair in my size, I started browsing the internet for similar slippers.  I was thinking if this is one of those things that is so great and trendy for about three months.  Does this mean that in the fourth month, I become a fashion victim?  I like my purchases to be classic and last for several seasons at least. It is a lot of money to spend to only to regret later. 

Friday, 28 December 2012

Beds in "bedrooms" is so last millenium

I am such a water baby, I could easily sleep here but are those side lamps really necessary?

Hey Swamp boys, Miss Havisham wants her bed back!
If Ikea made outdoor beds.
Swinging in bed taking on a wholesome dimension.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Moonshine soon - werewolf alert.

It's the full moon tomorrow.  
Whether you believe in astrology or not, full moons should be respected and acknowledged.  
 If you can't sleep, just go with it. 
As LeAnn Rimes said, Can't fight the moonlight.

The police and those in the health profession attest to higher number of incidents that occur under the full moon and there is an increase in epileptic seizures that still can not be explained.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Why IKEA, despite all its faults, is still in business

I was trawling through the Boxing day sales hoping to nab a bargain either for my skin, wardrobe, or house and came across these.  They weren't even on sale...

It's bespoke! How ugly would you like it?

I actually want to keep the lights off so I can't see this.  

Happy Boxing day everyone - hope you get lucky in the sales!  

P.S. Don't go broke saving money folks...

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Xmas to all from Martha Stewart and me

Let me first say that I adore Martha Stewart.  She is what I really am but covered up under all the piles of books and the to do lists also piling up next to aforementioned books.  But she makes me laugh and I think I would never do half the things she said even if I was in prison.  ( no jokes please ) 

Christmas season is so hectic I can barely attend all the parties let alone do all the holiday chores.  But here is what we all should have done...

I was reading her December issue and wanted to share...

What do you mean you haven't built a replica of your house in gingerbread cookie form?

This is her country house!  She actually gave the recipe. Let me know if you want me to email it to you.

That chicken has a better blow-dry and highlights than Kate Middleton.

This is like that very old lamb roast recipe where it begins - first, chase after the lamb...

The real reason Martha keeps horses in her air conditioned stables - so their hair won't get frizzy.  Keep reading below and it will make sense.

               Just in case you have run out of ideas for genuine thoughtful presents you can't find anywhere.

Google suitable boxes for twenty minutes in Japan, get waxed gold paper, find a seal stamp and wax and presto! 

Merry Christmas everyone!  

The season is over and now we can stop feeling guilty that we haven't done all  of this...

Images via Martha Stewart Magazine

Sunday, 23 December 2012

How I would decorate my house if I was a twelve year old heiress

Two white poodles who would be my frenemies because the only chore I would have is to walk them.
I would have dress up tea parties in this room with all the forced cheer that yellow brings.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Dear Santa...

I have done nothing to deserve this but if you are feeling a little generous or if the elves mess up.
Kitty flat from Charlotte Olympia - will turn any dog person into a feline fan

Love the style of Alex Monroe.  Sweet and quirky all at the same time.

Hermes Double Sens bag - It's Reversible!
Duck feet lamp from Porta Romana - never get sick of this lamp.

So soothing to look at it.  Porta Romana is just lamp heaven.
Giulietta, amazing desginer with her Romeo satin gown, old school glamour and panache - available at Net a porter

Philips ReAura Laser skin rejuvenation - my skincare routine would be complete. At Space.nk

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Candles rule. Candle rules.

Just a bit of trivia before we begin

Bougie is the French word for candle.  Did you know that the term bourgeoisie  was derived from the word Bougeoir which means small candlestick with out a foot, with a ring or a handle? The bourgeoisie were the only people who could afford so many candles so the term stuck to those who could and would use candles all the time.

Please excuse the second post about candles immediately after yesterday but they have been part of my daily routine especially as the days are getting shorter.  I am lighting candles all over the house and I just want to create that "hygge" feeling, that notion of coziness the Danes do so well.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Burning the candle at both all ends

I remember when scented candles were really burgeoning as a perfumed home fragrance and replacing Glade sprays in the mid nineties. Since then, it has gone from luxury splurge to part of one's weekly or monthly shop.  I buy more candles than lip gloss now whereas it used to be the other way around.

The market has grown to such a point there are so many brands to choose from.  I just wanted to share with you the pros and cons of some popular brands at the moment.

This is the mother ship.  Look at their wall display in the picture above - simple but effective.  The oldest candle making firm since 1643 that used to make candles for French royalty during their heyday in Versailles and Napoleon.  They blow everyone out of the water.  They use hand blown Venetian glass as seen in the picture below.  The vessel itself is of such quality with deep rich colors. I tend to use them as mini vases or utensil holders when the candle is finished.  The wax is so pure and clean that it burns evenly. You never get pockets of wax on one side with left over wax stuck on the other side of the candle.  The staff in their boutiques are very knowledgeable and teach you how to light and treat the candle for most effective use.  The scents are interesting and complex.  The only negative I can say about this is that it is very expensive at £60 for a standard sized candle.  This makes Diptyque look a bargain.  8/10, if it were cheaper it would be a 10.

One of the earlier makers and I was a loyal fan of their candles.  I used to go to their original shop when it was the size of a small bedroom on Walton Street in Chelsea.  They were the pioneers of modern scents.  Beforehand, candles were either Jasmine or Lavender.  Lime, basil, and mandarin was groundbreaking.  So much so that it was the equivalent of Giorgio of Beverly Hills, CK One, and Ralph Lauren: scents that started out intoxicating but became so ordinary.  I feel that the firm has stalled a bit and are not being as adventurous but that is probably because it is now owned by Estee Lauder so they are just flogging a proven formula. But the scents are dependable and comforting.  The price point is in line with other luxury home candles but the wax is inconsistent.  Some candles burn evenly and clean while others dont and there is nothing more annoying that having wax on the side of a candle.  At £ 38, one does not want to leave a wad of wax on the sides of the candle!  But I must say I don't know anyone who would mind receiving this as a gift. 6/10

This company really is the Boden of the homewares world.  It is dependable and just works.  The candle scents here on average are what one would expect.  They are middle of the road and appropriate for non special occasion home use; midweek stay at home in the evening use.  But there is one huge hit scent that I come to White Company for - Winter spray.  It is the sweetest, nostalgic and comforting blend of orange, clove, and cinnamon.  It is its most popular scent and never on sale - unless you have a voucher.  It comes in every conduit of scent possible - including Winter spray Christmas wreaths.  The candles are fine and do the job.  But at £ 20, one should not expect the rich release of scent that the more expensive ones have.  But I use this in conjunction with the home spray.  7/10

This brand has almost gone the way of Jo Malone.  They used to come out with some really original scents that were an olfactory sensation.  The fig scent, called Figuier was a huge hit.  People were going nuts over the scent. At one point almost every home I visited had this candle burning.  Recently, it seems they have realized they must constantly be innovative and have brought in new packaging and scents. Wax burns relatively evenly so less wastage.  At £38, they should not be resting on their laurels.  A dependable brand that whilst I may no longer buy as frequently unless I have my figuier craving, I always love receiving as a gift.  6/10

This is at a cheaper price point that the other luxury brands.  I must say that I think there must be some sort of colluding of prices on the luxury brands because most seem to be £ 38...But that is another story.  Yankee candle is an American brand and always come out with flavors that would make a great chap-stick or perfumes that 7 year old girls would adore.  It brings out the child in me and I light these candles with abandon and without guilt.  These are also candles that go on sale once in a while so I always try and bulk buy them when possible. Yankee Direct and QVC also have some special deals on them so try and catch them while they are on sale.  Cranberry chutney, apple cinnamon pie, blueberry milkshake anyone?  7/10

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Mmm, no thanks.

There is a place for luxury and a splurge and there is plain old waste of money.

This is my mini list of non recommendations and options instead.

1)  Diptyque scented ovals

32 pounds for perfumed wax.  Now I know candles are slightly more. But lighting a candle, seeing the flicker of the flame, scenting the air inside the whole room.  All of a sudden, 38 pounds is starting to seem value for money!  I bought this once and I decided I would rather buy a subscription to a magazine I rarely read instead; at least I could share it with someone after I was done with it.  It just hangs there like old fashioned soap used by the military locked up inside your closet with your clothes smelling like expired Glade.  There is no shared experience.  
What I do instead is buy my favorite soap from a perfume line.  I buy Chanel no 5 soap and stick them in my drawers and my closet.  At 17 pounds, it is almost half the price of one scented oval.  You can get two for the price of one.  Chanel, a bargain!  If there is a soap version of your favorite perfume, then you could try this to scent your clothes or room subtly.  If you want to make the scent go further, you could grate the soap with an apple peeler and put in a small, empty lavender pouch and place where desired.

Friday, 14 December 2012

To Vitamin C or not to C

There always seems to be a buzzword every year that sets a trend for women of all ages. Lately, anything with Vitamin C is grabbing the headlines of beauty lotions.

It is one of the most recognizable vitamins the public know of but it is known for fighting infection and boosting your immune system. 

So what does it actually mean for skin?

It is an antioxidant. This means it neutralizes oxidants that come into contact with skin.

The classic example is an apple cut in half left on the kitchen counter.  After a few minutes, it will turn brown. To prevent discoloration, one can squeeze vitamin c in the form of lemon juice and it will stave off discoloration.  I cut an apple in half and squeezed lemon juice on one half and left the other one.  I let the apples sit on the kitchen counter for 24 hours.  I think you will be able to guess which half had lemon juice on it.

Do not start squeezing lemon juice on your face because the vitamin c has to be in a stable form to be soluble and absorbed into the epidermis.  If you think of doing this, you will only increase photo-sensitivity! This means that you will increase sensitivity to the sun and you might get a rash, hives,or sun spots.

This is why sometimes you will feel a slight sting or a tingling on your skin when applied.

Remember that either way you should be extra vigilant with sunscreen because of the increased photo-sensitivity.

There are various serums in different cocktails mixed with other vitamins and natural active ingredients that cost varying from single digit price points to three figures.  You have to remember that if you buy a high street version, it might take longer to see the benefits because the active ingredient is not concentrated.

Here are my favorites...,default,pd.html

But remember that vitamin c tablets taken daily are a great beauty tip.  It is well known for fighting colds but it is essential for collagen production which are the equivalent of the coils in your mattress and will support your skin from the base.  All the vitamin c serums would be useless if you weren't taking enough vitamin c internally!

Orange juice anyone? 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Rolling, rolling, rolling. Rawhide?

I am a sucker for every and any new beauty trend and discover or may I use the medical term, guinea pig?  I know I will be getting too old when I don't even want to try something new - not necessarily when I get too many wrinkles to count.

However, when I first saw the dermaroller, I did not jump at the first opportunity to try it out.  It looked so menacing that it would not look out of place in a Japanese horror film.  If you haven't seen this before, you have got to be raising an eyebrow by now.
I only started to use it when I was in a French pharmacy and it was part of the general beauty section and available for purchase straight off the shelf and not behind the counter. I thought that this has become so mainstream in France that I need not worry.  Filorga, a French brand, did a set with a special spray that preps and soothes after needling. It gave great instructions that were simple to use and easy to understand.  This is the kit I started out with and is available in French pharmacies or online

I was not game to use it straight away on my face and decided to use it on a burn mark that turned into a scar on my wrist.  I had used quite a few scar serums but with no improvement for two months.  I then started using the dermaroller on my scar for about a month in conjunction with scar serums and it has improved by about 40%.  I wish I had taken photos of my scar from the beginning to show the marked improvement.

This is a picture of my scar now and will continue to needle and show my progress in another month time.

Dermarolling or otherwise known as skin needling originated in ancient China from the effects of acupuncture when physicians noticed that inserting a needle stimulated the collagen and elastin in the punctured area.

In the U.K., skin needling is still very much administered professionally and the rollers are harder to obtain in the high street and not available at Boots...yet.  Skin rolling is particularly beneficial for scarring from severe acne, stretch marks and burns.

It also has a strong effect on preventing and softening wrinkles and evens out skin tone.  Salons also use it to stimulate hair follicles for hair loss and increasing blood flow to the scalp for healthier hair.

But due to the lack of knowledge and confidence by a beginner, it probably is best to get your first treatment at a salon or start somewhere on the body while you perfect your technique.
There is a method on how to use the roller on the skin as shown below.  You want to make sure you cover as much surface area as thoroughly as possible. You roll side to side, up and down, and then zig zag as shown below.

Remember that dermarollers come in different lengths from .25 mm to 2 mm.

Most experts that .25 is not worth the bother unless you are using it for hair loss and using it once a week on your scalp. 1 mm upwards should only be used by the pros or very experience home users.  So if you want to start needling at home, start with the .5 or .75 and go gently.  Remember to wash and sterilize after use and try to get a reputable online retailer.  Here are a few that seem reputable sellers that sell good quality rollers with straight needles.

Let the good times roll!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Best of British - Jubilee products.

Besides the Queen, dependable breakfasts, and the guarantee of a cold winter, the U.K. is rather modest about its beauty industry.  
We hear endlessly about great finds in Australia and France - don't worry, I will get to those but Great Britain has its own products that tourists make sure they go to the high street for.

Here are my faves!

Espa pink mud

This is one of my theoretical desert island essentials. This makes the hair so lustrous that the next day after using it, I have my great hair day without having to go to the hairdressers.  It is also doubles up as a skin mask.  The mud remineralises and cleanses while the apricot kernel oil nourishes and this makes a perfect marriage.  I have been using this since the mid nineties when it had just a small concession in Harvey Nichols.

Boots Soltan Once Invisible sunscreen

This range is dependable and consistent.  It has five stars, the highest possible in the sunscreen range.

It is both protected against UVA which is against wrinkling due to the sun and UVB which is the rays that actually burn the skin.  You spray it once and it is easily rubbed in and doesn't leave a sticky uncomfortable film that five sunscreens a bad name.  A must, not just in the summer but for those serious in the fight against sun damage - all year round.