Bargain Holiday Nails: Barry M’s Peach Melba

Barry M Nail Paint in Peach Melba

Annoyingly, because I had about three million bottles at home waiting to be tested out, I forgot to pack nail polish for my holiday. I didn’t have time for a manicure or pedicure before I went, so I had envisaged taking all of my nail-perfecting stuff with me – oils, buffers, weird pointy sticks that I don’t have a clue what to do with – and having some sort of rudimentary mani-pedi session. Anyway, as it turned out, I didn’t manage to remember anything nail-related at all apart from a single polish-removing wipe, which was shoved in a pocket of my washbag along with a brush-cleaning tissue and three unpaired and very dusty earplugs.

So, to cut a very long and boring story short, I had to buy nail varnish at Heathrow. And I wasn’t very well going to buy a polish that I already had sitting at home, so I went into Boots to look at the Barry M ones – everyone seems to go on about Barry M, so I thought I’d see what the hype was about. They had a lovely array of shades, considering that I was just in the little Boots at Terminal 5, and there were a few different finishes on display too. I went for a “Gelly” polish in coral for my toes and a nail varnish for my fingernails that was called Peach Melba.

barry m peach melba

Fast-forward to the second night of the hols and there I am, propped up against the patio doors, painting my nails. I have to say that both applied very nicely, though I found the “Gelly” to be a little thicker and more prone to going blobby. But perhaps that’s because it was going on my toes, and toes are notoriously hard to paint? (Does anyone else have such small toenails on the third, fourth and fifth toes that they have to simply “dot” the brush onto the nail? It feels so pointless, doesn’t it?!)

ruth crilly model beauty blogger

The Peach Melba applied beautifully, I thought. One coat was almost enough; two was plenty. It dried quite quickly – no doubt helped along by the thirty degree heat – and looked nice and shiny even without a topcoat. Almost too good to be true, really, but then my cynicism was rewarded when two nails chipped after about twelve hours of wear. One whole week later (I’m doing an experiment with it, you see – testing it to the limits) and although the left hand is almost perfect, apart from some wear at the tips, the right hand looks as though I’ve been trying to paint the nails with slightly yellowed Tippex, whilst wearing a blindfold. So the right hand didn’t fare very well at all – chips all over the shop after twenty-four hours and one nail with some kind of weird marbling on it. But you know what? It was £2.99 that polish. £2.99! A lovely, peachy holiday colour that looks great with a tan – even if I’d used up the whole bottle, reapplying every couple of days, it would still have been a total bargain.

You can find Barry M online at – are there any longstanding Barry M users here? How do you find the “Gelly” polish? Let me know. It’s buy-one-get-another-half-price at the moment, you can find them here.

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August Beauty Favourites

august beauty favourites

Late with this. Sorry. I honestly thought that we had another couple of weeks left in August – I’m appear to be stuck in a kind of time-warp at the moment! This month’s favourite products seem to be following a kind of “perfect skin” theme – completely unintentional – with a gorgeous glow serum (see full review here) as well as a skin-blurring pre-foundation fluid and a very good full-coverage base. Have a look – I filmed this with very minimal daylight and no extra lighting at all, so you can really see how the products get to work with creating the ultimate skin glow. Of particular note is the NIOD Photography Fluid, which just creates the most amazingly flawless base – I’ll be reviewing it properly soon, but you can find it online here if you want to read more.

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Best In Show: Aurelia Dry Body Oil

probiotic skincare

It’s pricey, but there’s no escaping the fact that Aurelia’s Firm and Revitalise is one incredibly nice body oil. It feels like such a treat; the smell is just out of this world and the texture is possibly the best of any “dry” oil I’ve used. It manages to be lightweight but really nourishing and rich at the same time – all of the massaging-in pleasure of a traditional body oil but without the lingering residue. There are loads of dry oils out there, but they tend to be just as they describe – dry. You get that beautiful sheen, but there’s no deep-down feeling of moisturisation. I think that the Aurelia oil gets things just right. It’s definitely in “treat to self” category, in terms of price (£48 here) but it’s also top of the class in terms of performance. “Best in Show”, even, though I hate to commit myself to statements like that! The oil is a wonderful blend of Macadamia and Borage Oil with Kukui for extra hydration and something called “Mongongo Oil” (need to look it up properly, but apparently it is high in Vitamin E). Then you’ve the Neroli, Mandarin and Rose essential oils which together create a scent that’s both uplifting and totally calming – it’s the full “luxury spa” kind of experience.

aurelia probiotic skincare

Whilst on the subject of Aurelia’s Probiotic Skincare, I must say that I am getting on very well indeed with both the Miracle Cleanser (see full review here) and the Revitalise and Glow face serum. I thought that the serum would be a bit wishy-washy (I’m always judging beauty products by their too-gorgeous-to-be-effective style packaging!) but I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s quite a little firecracker! I’ll update you on it properly at the end of summer – I’m midway through a proper, controlled test of something else at the moment so have had to stop for a while, but it’s most definitely one I want to come back to. Interestingly, it’s about the same price as the body oil. If I had to pick one or the other, I’d go for the serum as it’s actually very nicely priced for such a ballsy piece of skincare kit, but if you’re just in the market for an amazing body treat, grab the oil!

You can find the whole Aurelia range at Net-a-Porter here.

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Mr Bear: Getting in on the Action

ruth crilly and mr bear the cat

I went to the ballet last night (The Nutcracker, absolutely magical!) and forgot to finish off my post for today and so you’ll have to make do, temporarily, with some cat pictures. Though there is something of a beauty element involved, as I’m sporting my current favourite lipstick which is called Tango and made by Delilah Cosmetics. Have you heard of them? I have a little post almost ready to go, so I’ll tell you a bit more about them then. Tango is the most brilliant red-for-beginners; it’s light and bright and youthful and I can’t get enough of it!

cream british shorthair cat

Anyway, here’s Mr Bear stopping by for a quick cuddle as I set up my lighting for the Ten Top Presents for Under Ten Pounds video. He likes to come and get involved when there’s any kind of unusual activity. He also likes trying to climb the Christmas tree to bat the baubles down, so I think the fact that I had sat myself in front of it made me prime climbing-frame material. Today I’m going to attempt to surround both the cat and the dog in tinsel and baubles and make a “family” Christmas card. I’ll let you know how that goes. Chainmail and protective headgear at the ready…

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Thirst-Quenching Beauty for End-of-Summer Skin.

hyaluronic acid products

Some thirst-quenching skincare bits to see us through the last of the warm weather. I’m actually off on my hols soon (I have never been so glad to have some time away!) and will definitely be slathering these on to keep my skin hydrated and comfortable. We have, from left to right:

1) The Hyaluronic Concentrate from Hand Chemistry. This big bottle of hydrating gel for hands, body and (I don’t see why not) face contains 99.5% pure hyaluronic acid, helping the skin to hold on to moisture and making any cream or lotion that’s applied over the top even more effective. It’s not the kind of product that you’d want to use on its own – I found it a little sticky and odd-feeling without a body lotion over the top – but it’s a brilliant moisture booster. A kind of body serum, in a way, getting down to the nitty-gritty of the hydration business without adding any oil or slip. Boots have it on sale at the moment – it’s £20.99 instead of £27.99 here.

2) The Powerball intensive moisturiser from Time Bomb. I can’t rave about this enough; it is so, so hydrating. It does contain oils, but it’s not a heavy, greasy kind of moisturiser. In fact, Time Bomb suggest that this is a pre-serum moisture boost – though I can’t begin to imagine how moisturised your skin would be if you followed this up with another moisturiser. As it is, the Powerball effect lasts for a good twenty-four hours on me – my skin is plumper and dewier and more bouncy. Forget in-flight masks; a layer of this and you’re good to go. Less oily than the Wild Rose Beauty Balm that I reviewed last week (here), and also less fragrant, but with a similar end result. Find it QVC – it’s £36

Best Moisturisers for Dehydrated Skin

3) Apivita’s Aqua Vita 24H Moisturizing Cream. Fitting for my holiday, because I’m going to Greece and Apivita is a Greek brand. A very nice one, at that; there have been quite a few wonderful things I’ve tried, including the sachet masks and the hair and body care. (I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels in Greece that have bathrooms stocked with Apivita so have had a good old test!) The 24H Moisturizing Cream-Gel is a lovely hydrator for combination skin; it doesn’t sit heavily or feel greasy, but still has more moisturising clout than most of the gels intended for oilier skins.Some of the oily-intended moisturisers seem to simply disappear, leaving the skin tight and fresh – great for a quick fix, but for an all-day hydration hit the Aqua Vita is great. You can find it at Amazon for £29.50 here and there’s also a version for dry/normal skin which is £25 at Marks and Spencer Beauty.

4) Dr Jart’s Water-Max Sleeping Mask; I have to be absolutely truthful and say that this product managed to slip through the net due to the fact that 1) it looked good in the photograph and 2) I really liked the name. Shamefully, I lined it up in my pretty picture without giving it a recent and thorough test and I couldn’t crop it out without ruining my colour scheme! There are definitely more intensive “sleep masks” on the market (I’ve been testing, will report back soon) and you could layer up a bit of Hydraluron serum with a nice dollop of Powerball and get a much better face treat, but for convenience and a nice cooling, soothing fix, Water-Max isn’t the worst option. The mask absorbs in around ten minutes on my skin, so I don’t get where the “sleep” part comes in (a complaint I have with many of these overnight mask things) but it does give a little moisture injection and it’s pretty nice after a little session in the sun. You can find it at for £23.25.

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