November Favourites

There’s a bumper skincare crop in this month’s favourites, as promised. Not as bumper as it could be, but my legs had completely fallen asleep during the making of this video and then I got to that stage where the blood starts to flow back in and it’s impossible to decide whether the sensation is a) orgasmic or b) the most painful thing you’ve ever experienced.

Anyway, lots to be getting on with – I do love the thick, rich Avene cream for these bitter, wintery days, and the Clarins Repair Concentrate is a Godsend if you’re feeling chapped and sensitive. I’ve also included the Chanel red-eye dupes in this video, so apologies if that’s a little on the repetitive side for you regular readers (proper post here) but I don’t like anyone to miss out. I’ve actually found another brilliant reddish, coppery shadow in the Estee Lauder Sultry Nudes palette, if you’re interested – I wore it last week a few times and though it’s not as edgy as the proper matte, brickish rouge, it still gives that warm, sultry sort of glow. You can peruse the shades in that palette here – all incredibly wearable and easy to blend.

Right, eyeballs at the ready for my November Beauty Favourites – press play, or if you can’t see the video screen then please click here. All of the products mentioned are listed below.

Icy Cut Crease Makeup Tutorial

products used:
-smashbox photofinish primer
-marc jacobs foundation
-nars radiant creamy concealer
-laura mercier translucent powder
-maybelinner super stay powder
-benefit hoola bronzer
-smashbox LA lights blush and highlight palette
-becca champagne pop highlighter
-sanias brow bar mechanical brow pencil
-benefit give me brow
-ABH clear brow gel
-makeup geek- creme brulee,mango tango, bitten eyeshadows
-tarte in the bloom palette
-toofaced glitter glue
-alexa persico concealer
-furless depraved loose pigment
-lancome liquid art liner
-backstage lashes chelsea lashes
-makeup forever 2C lipliner
-nars raquel lipstick

Sunday Tittle Tattle: Best Beauty Buys

amazon luxury beauty box

Oh, we’re knee-deep in this whole headache-inducing Black Friday business, which seems to now start on a Wednesday and last until a Tuesday, but still manages to fill me with excitement because: DISCOUNTS. Discounts are basically my downfall – give me any kind of voucher code or “special VIP coupon” and I simply must use it, even if I don’t need anything. It’s an affliction. The only saving grace for me this year is that I look like a snake after it’s eaten a football and so I can’t shop for clothes. Baby clothes, different matter, but they tend to be cheaper… (Baby GAP have 40% off everything here. Thank me later.)

Anyway, I’ve done a round-up of the best beauty deals just in case you’d appreciate having them all in one place. If you’re after codes for the online beauty “supermarkets” then LookFantastic have one on their homepage (on Friday it was for 25% but it supposedly decreases over time) and FeelUnique have 15% off everything with the code MAKEITMAGIC.

amazon beauty box gwp

The following section contains a video with an advertorial for Amazon UK.

If it’s a great GWP you’re interested in then may I direct you to the video that I worked on with Amazon? (It contains an ad, just so you’re aware before you watch it!) The Luxury Beauty Box is free if you spend £50 or over on beauty products (ones sold and dispatched by Amazon) and has a value of over £100, including products from luxury and niche brands such as Rodial and Merumaya.  If you fancy a brilliant way to spend fifty quid on skincare then go for the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (£22), L’Oreal’s skin-plumping Laser Renew Night Cream-Mask (£11.99) and Merumaya’s Melting Cleansing Balm (£16.50). You get a little tube of the cleansing balm in the Beauty Box, but – trust me – you’ll want a tube for home and one for travel! Here’s the video if you fancy seeing all of the contents – the beauty box is online.


Next in the line-up of great beauty deals, a blanket 30% discount across all Omorovicza products.

omorovicza skincare black friday discount

If ever you were tempted by this brilliant luxury brand then now is the time – prices don’t really get any lower. The discount takes one of my favourite products ever, the Queen of Hungary Mist, down to £33.60 for the large bottle and the amazing, lightweight hydrator Elemental Emulsion down to a slightly more affordable £63. (It should be £90.) You can browse the sumptuous things on Omorovica’s virtual shelves.

pai skincare black friday discount

Pai also have a blanket discount, incredibly rare for them so a great time to stock up if you have a few favourites. They’re offering 25% off everything online – the code is BLACKPAIDAY and will work until tomorrow night.

darphin value set

Darphin’s Healthy Hydration set is rather a perk for Darphin lovers – with a value of £107, it contains the following luscious products:

–          Cleansing Foam Gel with Water Lily (125ml)

–          Hydrating Kiwi Mask (75ml)

–          Hydraskin Intensive Moisturising Serum (5ml)

–          Hydraskin Light Gel Cream (50ml)

–          Rose Aromatic Care (4ml)

All yours for a (much) reduced price of £45. You can find it, while stocks last, at Darphin online. Though if it’s just the quenching Hydraskin Light Gel Cream moisturiser you’re after then Escentual have it for less than half price this weekend. It’s £17 down from £35 and you get an extra 10% off if you use the code BLACK10.

laura gellar makeup set reduced price

There are some brilliant bargains at Escentual, actually – Vichy’s amazing Aqualia serum (great for powerful hydration pre-moisturiser) is £11.25 instead of £22.50 with an extra 10% off if you use the code BLACK10. Same code can be applied to the Laura Geller Perfectly Pink collection, pictured above – it’s reduced, quite ridiculously, from £45 to £19.95.

laura geller baked foundation

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Weekly Christmas Shop: The Luxe List

womens luxury gift guide

Here it is: the women’s Christmas Gift Guide. I find that women are much, much easier to buy for than men. My friends like almost anything that smells or looks or feels nice. I like almost everything that smells or looks or feels nice. I honestly don’t know how people get it so wrong, with unfunny novelty mugs and candles that give you an instant headache when there are so many suitably swish beauty morsels out there – and they don’t need to cost the earth, as my “under a tenner” guide clearly demonstrated!

And yes, it’s the thought that counts, etc etc, but choosing presents properly can be the difference between you wasting a hell of a lot of money on stuff that nobody wants or needs (lighthouse salt and pepper shakers, anyone?) and really making someone’s day with a well-researched gift. And if you’re still not sure, even after researching, then a good bottle of wine is always a good bet – or a hunk of excellent cheese and jar of nice chutney. Things that can be eaten and that don’t take up cupboard space for years before they end up in a car boot sale are always welcomed!

There are few more luxurious items this week, hence the title Luxe List, but hopefully still a very nice price range and lots of ideas to keep you going if you’ve started your Christmas shopping. I’ve had to hide my credit card whilst compiling this post – there are so many things I love!

Let’s start with some luxe-looking things to keep you tech-ed up and well-organised in the desk department…

tom dixon cog pen

This Cog Pen from designer Tom Dixon (above) looks just like something from a James Bond set and will cheer up those cheque-writing sessions no end. (Do people still write cheques? I had to write one to pay for the Christmas Turkey and the cheque book was covered in dust – my last cheque had been written years ago!) The Cog Pen is £55 online – try the code SELFCCE to get 20% off. It works on some things in Selfridges, but not all. Trial and error, trial and error.

weekly paper planner desktop

There are loads of gorgeous desktop planners available from The Fox & Star; I’m particularly enamoured with the Pantone-esque weekly one pictured above, £9.60, which has 50 tear-off sheets to keep you organised for (almost) the whole year.

women luxury gift guide

Let’s move onto beauty and the most delectable, top quality morsels. Here’s what hair waving wands would look like if they were designed by the love-child of Tom Ford and Michael Kors:

t3 twirl trio styling wand

The T3 Whirl Trio: just gorgeous. And smart, because it’s actually three wands in one. Interchangeable barrels for varying sizes of waves, this is the King of Curlers and priced to reflect that – £199. However there’s a discount code running over the weekend – use T3BF25 to get 25% off. If you’re reading this after the financial carnage of Black Friday then you can also find the wand at Amazon.

by terry ombre blackstar set

What to get the makeup addict who has (virtually) everything? The ultimate smokey eye set, By Terry’s Ombre Blackstar collection. Five very appealing shades of the most smouldery, creamy, no-budge eyeshadows that money can buy. It’s a whopping £110 (find it), but those who use Blackstar swear by the foolproof texture and beautiful shades..

tom ford dry oil soleil blanc

Tom Ford’s Soleil Dry Oil Spray was featured recently – it’s so summery and uplifting and entirely inappropriate for winter, but still, I spray it on a regular basis. Pure luxury in a fine-mist oil-spray. Oh, Tom. £45. (Try SELFCCE for 10% off over the Black Friday long (oh-so-long, kill-me-now) weekend.)

laura mercier honey bath

Decadent bathing with Laura Mercier’s Honey Bath, pictured above. Soft bubbles, gorgeous scent and I don’t know why that wooden honey twirler makes the whole thing so much more appealing, but it does. Find it – it’s £33.

rosie lipstick sweet darling

Look I get it: the lipstick above isn’t a Tom Ford or a Tilbury or a Christian Louboutin number, but do you know what? It’s one of the best lipshines I’ve tried for months. Really creamy and luscious and the colour (Sweet Darling) is a pretty just-pinker-than-neutral. It’s £14 from Rosie at M&S.

louboutin velvet matte lip

If it is ultimate and ridiculous luxury that you’re after then the pinnacle, currently, has to be the Louboutin makeup range with its OTT packaging and overdone sense of drama. I like the look of the matte lip in Just Nothing which is £65. The shade is a safe bet. (Try, again, code SELFCCE for 10% off. I haven’t checked it on individual purchases but always worth a punt.)

womens luxury gift guide

And now for the sexy stuff.

jimmy choo romy lace courts

Just about the maximum heel height I can possibly walk in at the moment, but Jimmy Choo’s 85mm Romy courts look no less vampish than the taller ones. (OK, the taller ones are total sex, but I would break my ankles within seconds.) I love the lace fabric version, pictured above – a very special treat (they’re £495!) but if you’re a high-heel disaster like me then they’re going to get a lot of wear, over the years. Swish enough for big events and parties but they also look amazing dressed down with jeans.

women luxury gift guide

I almost died a death when I first used Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady hair and body oil. In a good way. It is absolutely knockout, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s so unbelievably seductive. To call it a “rose” scent is sort of right, but a massive understatement – it’s a dark, naughty, mask-wearing, whip-carrying rose. You really must smell it. The oil brings a certain softness, I think, over the parfum – still, you need just a few drops to smell like the world’s most vampish seductress all day long. A bottle of this most glorious nectar is £130. (Do try that SELFCCE code in case you can get 10% off…)

alexander mcqueen parfum

Talking of glorious nectar, if it’s a unique, show-stopping fragrance you’re after then look no further than Alexander McQueen’s parfum. I reviewed it here, if you fancy stepping into the world of night-blooming flowers and heady fantasies, and it’s online for £285. If that’s slightly (ha!) over-budget then take a look at the fresher, more accessible version.

luxury gift guide women

Naughty knickers? Alrighty then. The Lorna briefs from Agent Provocateur don’t leave much to the imagination! They’re £35 online.

givenchy dahlia noir candle

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Caroline Hirons and the Pixi Double Cleanse

new pixi double cleanse skincare

I suspect there’ll be some sort of online meltdown on the 10th January because – brace yourselves – that’s the day that Caroline Hirons’ first ever skincare product will go on sale. If you are an avid Hirons follower (to be honest, I don’t know of any other type – once you get started on her beauty blog you’re likely never to leave) then this news will no doubt make your heart beat that bit faster. Caroline’s sharp eye for great skincare formulations and her experience in the industry mean that whatever products she decides to create will be the stuff of beauty dreams.

new pixi double cleanse skincare

And the first, in collaboration with the increasingly popular (and really quite excellent) brand Pixi, is a stroke of genius: the Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse. Two cleansers, one pot, easy and fast-but-very-thorough cleansing with minimal fuss. If you’re reading the phrase Double Cleanse and thinking huh? then let me explain, because it’s probably something you do anyway without really putting a name to it. It is, quite simply, cleansing once (to remove makeup and break down dirt and so on) and then, after removing your cleanser with a flannel or what have you, cleansing again. (Albeit with a different cleanser, if we’re being strict about things, but I’m trying to keep things basic here!) Two cleanses. Double Cleanse.

If you don’t already do this, then humour me and do a little experiment; remove your foundation and what have you with a white flannel and one lot of cleanser. Balm, gel wash, cream cleanser, whatever you usually use. Now rinse the flannel clean and go back in for another cleanse. I can almost guarantee that there will still be crap coming off and that the second cleanse will finish things off nicely.

new pixi double cleanse skincare

But Caroline’s new Double Cleanse is more than just “cleansing twice” – there are two different formulations in one pot, created in this way because they have slightly different functions. One for makeup-melting, the other for a more sumptuous and nourishing cleansing experience. I managed to hunt Caroline down (she was dealing with a migraine, a broken boiler and two kids off sick but still picked up the phone!) to answer some Double Cleanse questions… Continue reading