- Beauty Secrets and The Aura Mirabilis | AD August 26, 2016
- New-In Beauty & First Impressions August 25, 2016
- The new TomTom August 25, 2016
- Lime Wood Hotel: Spiders in Belstaff and Mice in McCartney August 25, 2016
- Kylie Cosmetics Birthday Edition Tutorial- CHRISSPY August 24, 2016
- Soft Luxe: Strawberry Milkshake for the Lips August 24, 2016
- High Street Foundations with the Most Shades… August 23, 2016
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I’ve been working on a gorgeous new launch project with one of my most-loved beauty brands, Roger & Gallet, and today I’m proud to introduce their first ever skincare line, Aura Mirabilis. Small but perfectly formed, it shows the same impeccable attention to detail that Roger & Gallet have displayed for many years with their fragrance and body products but brings a completely new and unique twist to the skincare world.
Ever heard of a “beauty vinegar”? A stilligoute? Can you think of a range that’s based on a three-hundred year-old natural remedy created by monks?! Roger & Gallet’s new Aura Mirabilis line has plenty of these quirks – things that seem to lend a touch of antiquated mystery and Shardlake-esque* fantasy to the proceedings – yet the formulas are distinctly modern and the products beautiful to use. Just four of them; an Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask, a smoothing and refining Beauty Vinegar, a light-but-powerful Double-Extract treatment and – possibly the most recognisable item in the range – the sumptuous, moisturising Legendary Cream.
The Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask and the Beauty Vinegar have been my most-used products so far, possibly because I spend the most time cleansing and tinkering with my face – the serum and moisturiser stages are usually over in a flash! Actually, though, one of the things that most struck me about Aura Mirablis when I first tried it was how each stage sort of forced me to slow down and really think about what I was doing with my beauty routine. Perhaps because the types of product were unfamiliar to me (beauty vinegar?) and I had to actually read the instructions, but also because the application methods don’t lend themselves to a quick-fix splash-at-the-sink sort of routine.
The Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask doesn’t have to be left on as a mask at all. In fact as a cleanser, it’s one of my favourite types – a multi-phase melting cleanser that turns oily upon the skin when massaged in and then milky when mixed with water, making for easy removal. Left on, it’s said to be a “detoxifying mask”, but it all depends how much time and inclination you have and I’m usually keen to get on with my favourite step, the Beauty Vinegar.
Initially, I found the name of this step rather off-putting. I’m not keen on vinegars outside of the food world – Mr AMR is always using them for various household chores (brilliant for getting that mouldy smell out of laundry when you accidentally leave it in the washing machine for six days and great for leaving mirrors and windows nice and shiny!) – but the smell of neat vinegar really turns my stomach. Fortunately the Roger & Gallet vinegar is as far from actual vinegar as you can get – not even a trace whiff of it, though the formula effectively uses its refreshing and purifying properties. It’s a bi-phase product, so you shake before use – fruit vinegars in the “watery phase” to clarify and refine and an “oily phase” containing the eighteen distilled plants that are at the heart of the Aura Mirabilis.
This eighteen plant recipe is the formula that has inspired the entire range. The Aqua Mirabilis was a natural elixir that could be ingested or applied topically and it contained the most powerful and rare medicinal plants. Most of them, now, we are very familiar with – lavender, neroli, thyme, lemongrass, bergamot, geranium – but centuries ago, this was something of a miracle water and in 1727 (history lesson alert) its virtues were patented by the faculty of Medecine of Cologne. And it became known as – any guesses? – Eau de Cologne.
I think that it’s in the Double-Extract and the Legendary Cream that you really get a sense of this Aqua Mirabilis; the former concentrates it in a light-as-water essence that can be patted over the skin and the hydrating cream combines it with a white lily extract to help renew the skin and add radiance.
A note on the Double-Extract and its very snazzy dispenser (second history lesson alert): the pipette is based on an old French mechanism called the stilligoute, which used a goose feather (stem part, not fluffy part) to release a liquid from a bottle drop by drop. No goose feather in the modern bottle, but it’s the same precise system – the exact amount of Double-Extract is dispensed, just enough to do face and neck, I find, though if you like to do your entire décolletage and its an expansive one then you might find you need two goes…
And there’s nothing wrong with having two goes whatsoever – pamper and indulge, that’s what I say! Whenever I have a spare moment I’ll usually spend it pootling about in the bathroom, slathering on new potions and lotions – it’s my proper unwind time. Which was the idea behind the launch campaign for the Aura Mirabilis; a sense of indulgent time-out and luxurious beauty routines.
I flew to France to a beautiful old chateau to shoot the teaser for this launch campaign. It was all very fitting – a whimsical, secret-passageway sort of castle with carved angels in the bathrooms and the most brilliant old wallpaper everywhere…
And there I was, trussed up in a rather racy corset, with Marie-Antoinette hair and sultry-sexy makeup – the “Modern Empress” – lying in an empty bathtub with my five-inch stiletto heels resting on the edge… All in a day’s work!
You’ll be able to watch my Modern Empress teaser video next month. There’s also a behind-the-scenes vlog coming at you so keep an eye out for that…
You can find the Aura Mirablis range at Marks and Spencer – the prices are as pleasing as the range itself (one of the reasons I love Roger & Gallet so much), starting at just £15 for the Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask and the Beauty Vinegar. Take a look at the whole range here!
*Shardlake is a character in one of my favourite series of books ever, written by CJ Sansom. He’s a hunchbacked detective in the tudor times and the books are dark and mysterious and filled with secrets. Possibly not the literary character Roger & Gallet would choose to endorse their newest beauty line, but it’s this sense of history that I love about the range.
**this post has been sponsored by Roger & Gallet
The post Beauty Secrets and The Aura Mirabilis | AD appeared first on A Model Recommends.
© 2016 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be very clearly marked. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. Outward links to retailers will usually be affiliate links. Please see here for full “about” section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.
I’m in a real funk when it comes to makeup and you know what? I’m really ok with it. I’ve reached a point where I know what I like and I’ve got a daily uniform of products that I’ve used for yonks, love dearly and perform well. New stuff in the beauty department just doesn’t get me as excited as it used to. Now that’s not to say that it doesn’t get me excited at all – there are always a few bits here and there that tickle my pickle – so I’ve been hoarding on to a handful of items that I’ve discovered recently that have made me ‘ooh‘ and ‘ahh’ and today’s the day that I finally get to have a play with them.
You know the set-up of these kinds of videos by now. I take five new items, throw them on my face and give you my first impressions of them. Then I take you around for the rest of the day (on my new vlogging camera – ooooh fancy! Now I can finally see myself in the flip-up screen) and let you know my final thoughts after a solid 12 hours plus of wear. This time round there’s a new foundation from Hourglass which promises to bring coverage without the cake, an eyeshadow palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills that I’ve been dying to get my hands on, a liquid bronzer and highlighter from Cover F.X that I purchased because I completely fell for the hype and then some limited edition lip beauties from Clarins, which I know I’m going to be crazy about already.
That’s it for the new beauty hauling from me for a while. Time to get back to purchasing copious amounts of workout leggings. So have a watch and let me know what you think. What’s been tickling your beauty pickle recently?
Never before had I been in such dire need of a break. Avid readers will have heard me bang on about my desperation to go on holiday many times, this year, but somehow – what with work commitments and baby stuff and Mr AMR never being free at the right moment – time for a holiday has failed to miraculously materialise.
(I’m learning, though, that the right time for a holiday will never miraculously materialise: you have to book it, pay for it and stick to it. Which is precisely what I’m going to do next year!)
Anyway, last week my planets must have suddenly aligned because two very fortuitous things happened: firstly, my sister-in-law reminded me that she had offered to baby-and-dog-sit for two nights and asked if we would be taking her up on her offer any time soon, and secondly, the very kind people at Pai Skincare said they could help to arrange a stay at the amazing Lime Wood Hotel* in the New Forest.
Now – in all truthfulness – I would have been happy sitting very quietly in a hole in the woods, completely on my own, with perhaps a book and a knapsack filled with bags of Haribo and sandwiches from the local 24 hour garage, but a break at the sort of luxury hotel that has award-winning food, a state-of-the-art spa and rooms you never want to leave sounded much better. I even decided to let Mr AMR come along with me.
When you’re finished with my words, I would highly recommend having a little whizz about the Lime Wood Hotel website to get a good look at all of the pictures, because I’m afraid I was having such a good time I didn’t remember to take my big camera out – though I did do some video (coming up) – and, at any rate, their photos are so much better than mine. I’m tempted just to nick them and use them here instead of my own sorry efforts, but I think better to click on over and appreciate them in their rightful home. Also, if you’re on Google, do take a look at the Lime Wood reviews because they are almost unanimously brilliant and that’s a difficult thing for a hotel to achieve…
…though not at all surprising – it’s clear you’ve landed somewhere special from the moment you set foot through the front door. It’s like the posh country house of the long-lost, very eccentric and very rich relative you wish you had. Some sort of Uncle Cuthbert or similar – one that might die and leave you five million pounds. Except that never happens in real life, does it? I’d scoured my family tree for possibly wealthy, old, childless relatives before I was even out of my teens, such was my keenness to be left lots of money and not have to do GCSE advanced maths.
Anyway, we’re not talking Country House in a stuffy, “don’t touch the suit of armour, Bertie!” way, and we’re equally not talking Country House in the shabby-chic sort of way that you might see at The Pig, which is Lime Wood’s sister hotel. No. This is Country House with zero shabbiness and absolute maximum style. If there was a spider lurking in the corner then it would probably be kitted out in Belstaff boots. If – highly unlikely – a mouse made it into one of the rooms, then it would no doubt be lounging around the skirting boards wearing something by Stella McCartney. A miniature jumpsuit, perhaps.
The point I’m trying to get across (in the oddest way, because the chances of seeing a spider or mouse at Lime Wood are virtually zero – it’s the neatest, cleanest non-city hotel I think I’ve ever seen) is that everything – and I mean everything – is stylish and well thought-out.
There are 12 suites and 17 bedrooms at Lime Wood; we were in one called Coach House 1, which I’m assuming was a suite, though I forgot to clarify with the lovely receptionist. I’m pretty sure that it was a cheeky little upgrade, because on my bill and reservation it was a “Spacious Room”, but from the website description and various customer reviews, it seems that our two-floored two-terraced space was a cut above. Not complaining. Not at all. Our “room” was like a Tuscan turret and the little outdoor space that cut into the bedroom was just the most brilliant touch, especially as it was broiling hot with glaring sunshine when we arrived. (Rained the rest of the time, but that was a good excuse to take lots of naps and read the entire paper, including supplements, cover to cover.)
I’m a total stickler for any sort of noise whatsoever, and so the Coach House, which was separate from the main house, was ideal for me. It was – almost – like being in a sensory deprivation experiment, apart from the fact that Mr AMR kept insisting on opening the blinds to “let the light in”. Killjoy. From most of the back windows there was a view of the New Forest up close and personal – in fact one of Lime Wood’s absolute star points, for me, was that it was directly-smack-bang in the forest. How many hotels can you truly step out from and be in proper countryside? Without having to cross the car park or a small road or what have you? Lime Wood has its own secret ramblers’ gate that leads straight onto the sort of woody, damp-smelling trail that has you wishing you’d packed a picnic and a raincoat and perhaps a small bivouac shelter so that you could truly go adventuring…
I’m pretty certain that a picnic would be possible – everything else at LWH (is it too familiar of me to abbreviate?) seems to be. Oh, and the food – really delightful. A four course Italian feast had us grinning from ear to ear but far from overstuffed, which is exactly how we like to be. The restaurant – Hartnett, Holder & Co – was completely booked up for both nights of our stay, with just a little table squeezed in at 6.30pm for us, so it’s clearly extremely popular. Rightly so. My starter of pickled things (can you tell I forgot my notebook) with Mackerel was so moreish I ordered it for lunch the next day – my pasta was perfectly done, the duck I ordered was rich but not stomach-bloatingly so. All of it great. The following day we ordered from the more relaxed menu in the Courtyard Bar and everything was fabulous again – Mr AMR’s burger (he’s notoriously judgemental about them) was devoured in thirty seconds flat, and I had a selection of the salads, including Pear & Pecorino and Feta, Watermelon and Tomato, both of which were fresh and lovely.
I’m going to dip into some more detail on the Herb House Spa when I write about my Pai Skincare facial (bear with me, it could be next week depending on how quickly I get my act together), but suffice to say that it’s a destination in itself. As someone who is quite frequently bored of spas within approximately eight minutes, I was surprised to find that I let this one take up the best part of a day. The indoor hydrotherapy pool and sauna both had whole glazed walls directly facing the forest (see above – the trees are mere metres away) and there was a huge roof terrace wild with herbs and plants. An outdoor pool, an indoor pool, lovely treatment rooms… The changing areas had private claw-footed bathrooms as well as huge walk-in showers!
Impeccable attention to detail. I’d go again at the drop of a hat. Advice, for people who – like me – have FOMO (fear of missing out! It’s a new phrase I’ve picked up from being down with the kids) when it comes to breakfast: the room service breakfast is EVERY BIT as good as the one that’s served in the scullery. Usually, I make Mr AMR trail me down to a proper hotel breakfast because I think they’ll have loads more options and the food will be fresher, but we had room service on the first day and it was all hot, fresh and well-presented. I just wish I’d ticked every option on the form (do it) and remembered to ask for toast.
You can book Lime Wood through their website or, if you like to get little free things, Mr & Mrs Smith. (Sign up for the Blacksmith card, here, which has no fee, and you get perks at every hotel you book through them – at Lime Wood it is, at time of writing, a bottle of champagne. Not to be sniffed at!) Rooms start at £275.
*with utmost thanks to Pai Skincare and Lime Wood Hotel for arranging this break. The first night was free, along with my treatments (see upcoming post); from thereon I paid full rate.
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