Sunday Tittle Tattle: Brace Yourselves.

baby bump 38 weeks

1) Could this be the last Sunday Tittle Tattle for a while? Brace yourselves: it’s entirely possible! I’m 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow and so really, Baby AMR could emerge at any time. (I like the word “emerge” rather than “pop out” – it sounds gentler and far less painful. Like the head will just serenely appear and we will all smile and coo and I can play The Circle of Life from The Lion King through my iPod speakers. Brilliant.) Anyway; as always I will endeavour to provide you with regular, brilliant quality (ha!) content, and I have loads of interesting posts and videos scheduled in advance, it’s just the Sunday Tittle Tattles that may prove to be a pain. I like them to be current and so I write them only a day or two in advance – that may not be possible if I’m simultaneously trying to learn the art of breastfeeding and trying to press frozen sanitary pads onto my sore bits. If you miss me and you want to find out what’s going on (mostly with my breasts and sore bits, I’d imagine) then please do bookmark my other blog, The Uphill. You can subscribe to the email feed and it’ll notify you when I’ve written something worthy and original.

neom intensive skin treatment candle

2) Random beauty mention, just in case I don’t manage to test this out pre-baby-madness; NEOM’s new Intensive Skin Treatment Candles. Now these “beauty” candles aren’t a new concept – Oskia do a gorgeous Rose de Mai one and I’ve seen a couple of others about, but…HELLO! Look at the packaging on this beauty! Absolutely knock-out. Very luxe and impressive and I can imagine that the product itself won’t disappoint; the Scent to Sleep version has been formulated to soothe and nourish very dry skin and there’s the highest possible concentration of essential oils blended in to give the ultimate aromatherapy hit. A sleepy hit, I’m guessing from the name of this treatment – I can’t wait to try it. You can find more details on the NEOM website here.

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Summer Beauty Products: Part 2 of About 3,245.

summer beauty products

I will readily admit that I’ve gone a bit gah-gah for the idea of summer; I can’t wait to sit in my garden (if I ever get back to my house to sit in my garden!) and feel the warm sun on me as I quietly work my way through the pile of novels I have waiting. (Obviously this will happen when new baby is sleeping, I’m not planning on abandoning all responsibility! I’m picturing a slumbering Baby AMR, snoozing away in the shade in his/her perambulator, lulled to sleep by the slow droning of the bees and the distant hum of a lawnmower.)

I digress: look at the sexy summer beauty products I’ve pulled together! Those bronzey, golden tones… Let’s see what’s taking my fancy. There’s a “first part” to this post with blue and pink products (got a thing about packaging colours at the moment) and so if you want to read that first, click here.

elizabeth arden serum

Kicking off with a brilliant, brilliant face serum that I started testing pre-pregnancy and can’t wait to get back to. (It’s somewhere in my huge shipping container!) The Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules each contain a dose of serum that’s packed full of ingredients that help to retexturise the skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve the skin’s barrier function. It has a non-irritating form of Vitamin A that didn’t make my skin red or flaky and smoothing results were almost instant. Not cheap, at around a pound a capsule, but you can save a little by buying the refill version rather than the pot shown above. I’ll be back with a proper review later on in the summer, but in the meantime you can find the capsules online here, the refill version costs £46.

I’m really looking forward to testing out Institut Esthederm’s new l’Huile Solaire. My skin gets on incredibly well with Institut Esthederm suncare; it has seen me through times when many other protectants have failed. I even did a direct test, once, in Greece in the height of summer – IE Adaptasun on one shoulder and arm, a well-known high street version on the other – and the Adaptasun side was a sunkissed pale bronze at the end of the day whereas the other arm had reddened slightly. Only slightly – I’m not silly enough to risk my skin for a homemade, rudimentary SPF test and I had been reapplying as per guidelines – but it was interesting to note. You can find the new l’Huile Solaire online here – I’ll let you know how I get on with it when I’ve given it a good try.

Moving over: Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster. I did a full post here, but it’s safe to say that this is one of my ultimate summer essentials. Add a few drops to body lotion and you have your own, customised gradual tanner. Just genius. Find it online here – it’s a couple of quid cheaper than getting it in-store.

hot summer essentials

Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess perfume: an absolute classic. I know that “holiday in a bottle” is now something of a cliché, but in this case it’s absolutely true. Lauder should really have the trademark on that phrase, because never has a scent been so aptly described. Coconutty, tropical, heady, the smell of suntan lotion and warm sand. You can find it online here – it’s £47 for a whopping 100ml.

A beautiful nude nail polish from Michael Kors – “Blush” is a bit paler than your average nude, but looks great against sunkissed skin. It needs a couple of coats to get a good, “patent Louboutin courts” kind of finish, and I had to go in with one of those neatening-up pens because I coloured over the lines, but the final result is very chic. £15.50 online here.

Peeking out behind the polish: Vichy Ideal Soleil Mattifying Face Fluid SPF50. I like Vichy suncare – this one is a “dry touch” cream that has no greasy, white residue and sits well beneath makeup. Good, comprehensive skincare and a big tube will only set you back £14. (Escentual.com price.) Find it online here.

That sexy little compact is from the forthcoming Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson collection and it’s the Dreamy Glow Highlighter. You can see me talk through and demonstrate the collection in my video for The Telegraph here, but here’s a quick look inside the compact:

summer beauty products

It’s a creamy powder with quite good pay-off, a nice warm tone that doesn’t look too “snail trail” on the cheekbones. Coming soon at CharlotteTilbury.com… Ooh, and I almost missed off Laura Mercier’s brilliantly fiery and hot Paint Wash Liquid Lip Colour in Sunblaze. A vibrant, burnished red with a hint of terracotta orange and a slight metallic sheen, the Paint Wash formula is incredibly light to wear but has a long-lasting, intense finish. Find it online here – it’s £22.

That’s me all summered-out now, beauty-wise – I’m off to look at large sunhats and sandals and to lust over the colour-block dress on Hush!

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Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation

bobbi brown intensive skin serum foundation

I promised a full review on this foundation and then promptly forgot about it. Not because I haven’t used it again – in fact, quite the opposite. It has become one of those bases that I feel I can rely on for a good, believable finish that has a nice glow and a comfortable feel. The Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation is one for the makeup traditionalists, really; there’s none of this “lighter than air” thing going on, there’s no demi-velvet-glow-from-within-diffuse-from-without sales-speak malarkey happening, it’s just a really lovely, slightly-dewy face base.

Bobbi Brown would disagree with this, I’m sure, because actually there’s a fair whack of sales-speak that goes with this foundation; there are skincare benefits (added antioxidants and certain algaes that are said to help reduce skin inflammation, to name just a couple) and there’s a whacking great SPF40 built in to the formula. Actually very impressive, but I’m the type of person who likes to keep my skincare and makeup benefits more or less separated and so added skincare perks in foundations tend to pass me by!

If, however, you like to know that your foundation has it all going on, then this is an excellent place to start – I’m not quite sure how it would work as a serum when you’re applying it last in your skin/makeup routine, but the hulking SPF40 is definitely a bonus, so long as you’re applying enough product. Either way, this is a smooth, silky, moisturising foundation that has a light, fresh feel.

ruth crilly model beauty blogger

Here I am sans Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation. Bits of redness here and there, very slight dark circles – nothing too hideous, but enough to test a light/medium coverage foundation on. Which is where I’d place the Skin Serum Foundation – it’s certainly not a heavy coverage, but it’s easily buildable and so you can take it from sheer (especially if you apply with a dampened blending sponge, which I did first of all) to a good medium.

ruth crilly model beauty blogger

Ta-dah! Here I am after one quick application. I use shade 3.25 “cool beige” which (ironically) warms my skin up a little and gives it the faintest touch of that wonderful, healthy-looking apricot tone. If you’re a fan of illuminating primers then I can safely say that you do not need one beneath this foundation, it has its own very comprehensive glow. If anything, I might be tempted to use a pore-filling primer beneath it, because a bit of glow does tend to accentuate open pores, and if you’re not keen on dewiness in the t-zone then you would possibly want to whisk over it with some very fine face powder. (I’m thinking that Hourglass Ambient Light could be a good one.)

I have one gripe with this foundation, and that’s the packaging. It’s borderline ridiculous, which is such a shame: a glass bottle (lovely, very chic) but then this weird dropper inside that simply doesn’t work. It deposits product all over the neck of the bottle and it’s difficult to get it to drop the right amount onto the back of your hand. (And you have to use the back of your hand – I don’t know how else you’d practically apply it.) This would be so, so much better in a little squeezy thing or a pump-action bottle – I hope that they change it, because with the packaging issue sorted this foundation would be perfection.

And, you know, I’ve still been using it loads, so the product inside is definitely brilliant enough to overcome my gripes! If you have normal-to-dryish skin and you want a buildable, blendable foundation with a gorgeous sheen, that comes in loads of different shades, give this one a try. You can find the Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation at John Lewis here – it’s £39.

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Where I’d Go On Holiday, Right Now.

aenaon villas santorini

If I didn’t have a house renovation happening (aka “the money pit”) and a baby about to emerge, then I would one hundred percent be going on holiday right this very minute. You know when you get to the end of your tether and the only thing you want to do is run away and hide on a beach for a week? That is happening, to me, right now. But the house thing: it’s a pain. Also, at thirty-eight weeks pregnant I don’t think I’m even allowed on a plane. Am I? Surely not – I’d need an extra seat!

Anyway, as I was saying: were I not pregnant, with a half-demolished house, living in a criminally overpriced short-term holiday let with a mountain of work to get done, I would definitely be escaping. Fantasy holidays coming right up – feel free to book them and then smugly report back to me with all of the juicy details. I promise I won’t hate you. Much.

holiday review santorini

1) Aenaon Villas, Santorini. Current weather conditions: approx 26C. The perfect compromise between hotel-staying and villa-renting. There are just a few villas (totally luxurious) set over various levels and terraces so that each one is very private. There’s a beautiful infinity pool, the views are stupendous and the breakfasts, brought to your outside (or inside) dining table, are what can only be described as epic. There’s no bar or restaurant here, but if you want a cocktail, a glass of wine or a tasty light lunch then all are provided on a kind of casual, “pretend you’re staying with relatives” basis. There are also self-catering facilities.

aenaon villas santorini

Take a look here for more details – the villa at the very top of the resort is incredible, with its own private plunge-pool. Santorini is so easy to get to – you can fly direct and then just grab a taxi at the airport. Mr AMR and I always said we’d go back for a long weekend, but I can’t see that happening for a while!

tuscany hotel review

2) Poggio Piglia, Siena, Italy. Current weather? 25C, ish. For the quick weekend away somewhere sunny and easy, a jet across to Tuscany is ideal. You can find cheap flights to Pisa and it’s not too much of a drive from there to the beautiful Poggio Piglia hotel, an imposing stone fortress surrounded by beautiful vineyards. There’s a pool to lie beside, an excellent restaurant to eat in and the famous Montepulciano to visit when you’re sick of doing nothing. (Never.) I reviewed this hotel as a secret spy – you can read my review and find booking details here. Rooms start at about £150 per night.

perfect stays polzeath rainer rocks

3) Polzeath, Cornwall. Current weather? Who ever knows?! When you stay in good old GB, you have to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to climate. But if you’re right on the beach in somewhere as beautiful as Cornwall then it almost doesn’t matter whether you’re doing cliff-top walks in the drizzle or lying prone on the hot sand. A true British Holiday is one that requires all of your outerwear and footwear to be crammed into the boot so that any eventuality is covered and being able to cram your car full and just set off is one of the true joys of the “staycation”. Luxury house rental company PerfectStays have a new property on Polzeath beach; Rainer Rocks sleeps 8, is dog friendly and has a great outdoor terrace as well as being just minutes from the sea. Find out more, pore over the gallery photos and see availability here. If there were eight of you, this would be an incredibly good value (yet luxurious!) holiday.

al maha desert resort

4) I was undecided as to whether I should recommend this fourth place because I have a feeling that it would be far too hot for most people. And, unless you are an actual royal, it’s probably too expensive. But I think that it’s possibly one of the best places I’ve ever been and so as far as fantasy hols go, it’s in. The Al Maha Desert Resort with its individual tented villas (each has its own infinity pool) is set within the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. You feel as though you’re as far from everything as you can possibly be. Food is exemplary, service is seamless and discreet – it’s the kind of place you’d go if you were a celebrity and had just undergone some weird, dramatic facial transformation. The only things that would see you would be the camels humpling past on the horizon. Villas here start at around five million pounds a night, but if you can afford it, or you’re planning a honeymoon and asking people to chip in, then try and do a couple of nights here. I stayed when I was doing a fashion shoot with a magazine about ten or more years ago and I still remember every little detail. Take a look at the website here.

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