Hot and Heady Summer Scents

the best summer scents for indian summer

I know that I’ve covered summer scents already, but I was sorting through my Cabinet of many Beauty Secrets and putting fragrances into groups (as you do) and this was the collection I nicknamed “hot and heady”. I also have a group called “naughty rose” (I kid you not) and one called “figgy pudding”. I’ll share those with you another time; there’s probably only so much of my weirdness and/or dullness that you can cope with in any one day.

The “hot and heady” group features the kind of exotic scents that are almost a little bit intoxicating; big hits of orange blossom and powerful florals with warm or woody or sweet base notes. Coconut, vanilla, sandalwood. These fragrances are just made for those sultry summer nights. They even look like summer in a bottle; all syrupy-sweet and amber-toned with rich golden accents and jewel-like glass. The summer seems to have disappeared for a little nap (I’ve got a huge cardigan on as I write this!) but I’m positive that it’ll be back in all its glory very soon, and when it reappears I shall be waiting with my arsenal of knock-em-dead scents.

1) l’Occitane’s Neroli & Orchidee is getting a lot of use at the moment, though the good weather seems to have taken a bit of a break. I’ve written about this one loads already; it’s my favourite of the l’Occitane Grasse collection. You can find previous musings here.

fragrance review

2) elle l’aime by Lolita Lempicka is an absolute cracker. Beachy and exotic, orange-blossomy and fruity, but then with this great whack of sandalwood. It’s incredibly seductive, I think. It’s on sale at the moment, the 80ml is £46 down from £70, the 40ml version is £36. (I know which size makes sense to me!) Find elle L’aime parfum here.

3) Odd one out: it’s a body oil. The Huile Sublime, to be more precise. I bloody love Roger & Gallet’s Bois d’Orange, as you probably already know – I actually love the body cream more than this oil, because the texture is just magnificent, but it didn’t look as good in my photograph! Bois d’Orange is just the most lovely hit of warm orange blossom – the oil is great for a non-greasy skin sheen after the beach and you can use it in the ends of your hair, too, though I do always prefer cream leave-in conditioners. You can find the Bois d’Orange range on here.

Read more fragrance reviews…

4) NUXE: again, I’ve written about this one quite a lot, I think! I keep smelling the Prodigieux fragrance on other people and asking them what they’re wearing; a good sign. This one has orange blossom and bergamot and tangerine but with a gorgeous tropical undertone; vanilla and coconut milk make this a warm and almost comforting scent. You can find it here.

new perfume review

5) And – ah! – the sumptuous, sexy-as-hell Classique Intense from Jean Paul Gaultier. This completely stole my heart earlier on in the summer, but at the time of reviewing (read full review here) it hadn’t yet been released. It’s now available, sold out in a few places but good old have it here – you get a free body lotion when you buy 50ml or above.

Leave me a comment with your own sexy, sultry summer scent suggestions (BLIMEY! Alliteration gone mad!) and I’ll test as many as I can when I’m in town next week. I’m due a bit of a perfume exploration session.

Read about scents that remind me of summer….

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Rosie for Autograph Makeup: Camisole Blush

rosie autograph cream blusher in camilsole blush

This was a find; the cream blush from the Rosie for Autograph range at M&S. I picked this out in a bit of a hurry, because Mr AMR was waiting for me in the car with the baby, but not before I’d quickly had a scribble with most of the eye pencils and lipsticks in the range and given the mascara a cursory once-over. The cream blush – and the shade “Camisole Blush” in particular – would be my key product, if I was pushed to single one out; the highlighting stick also looked nice, and I have used the Radiance Cream to good effect (see here), but the blush is a great everyday makeup essential.

Rosie for Autograph at M&S Cream Blusher Review

It’s easy to apply and blend, for a start – fingertips or, if you don’t mind cross-contaminating your makeup tools with a million different products, your foundation brush. I quite like using the same brush to do primer (if I’m bothering), foundation and then cream bronzers and blushers. If I’m having a dry day and using powders then I’ll have my big powder brushes out (despite Caroline Barnes telling me off and instructing me to use more precise, smaller-headed brushes!) but on a creamier, dewier-face day the Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Brush sees a lot of action.

Rosie for Autograph at M&S Cream Blusher Review

Then there’s the tawny, sort of autumnal shade. Completely unseasonal, it’s sort of the beauty equivalent of eating asparagus at Christmas, but who the hell cares? I’ve been wearing a lot of pretty pink recently, and this just feels a little more grown-up and sophisticated. Doesn’t have the same youthful flush, I suppose, and that cheeky flash of brightness that seems to light up the eyes and make everything look that bit perkier, but it certainly feels polished and sexy.
Rosie for Autograph at M&S Cream Blusher Review

It reminds me a little of the cheek shade I used in a Tom Ford video many, many years ago – it was called Ravish, though looking back, Ravish was a fair bit more gingery and red than this. Camisole Blush is infinitely more wearable and natural (and affordable) so if you’re after a creamy blush to buff in for a bit of posh colour then give this a try. They seem to be rolling out the beauty department at most of the big Marks and Spencers, now, but if you don’t have one near you then they also have Rosie for Autograph online – the cream blusher is here, £14.

You can see the cream blush in action in my latest video here, if you haven’t already watched that…

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Weekly Window Shop: All The Nudes

window shopping

I’m having a bit of a nude moment, when it comes to fashion and beauty; so pretty, so uplifting for spring and (though not quite so low-maintenance) such a lovely change from black. Black is timeless and chic, but so is nude – it just takes nerves of steel to wear it. If you’re anything like me, anyway – give me five minutes in a light-coloured top and I will have spattered it in spaghetti sauce or leant against a freshly-painted wall or offered to help someone with their pram and smeared my sleeves with dried mud from the wheels. (True story.) Show me a nude-coloured accessory – bag, purse, belt – and I will find a rainstorm to take it out in and I will be wearing dark jeans with non-colourfast dye.

ruth crilly nude fashion

But these are the nudes I’m lusting after and the beauty items that kickstarted my obsession. My weekly window shop, if you like. From left to right on the top row: Equipment Silk Shirt (here – I’m torn between this one and one with hearts printed on it), Bobbi Brown Illuminating Powder (brilliant for adding a glowy finish, find it here), Saint Laurent Quilted Envelope Clutch (here). Ugh, I absolutely love this clutch, but can I – anyone – really justify it? When did tiny bags get so expensive? This one is 19.5cm by 12.5! It’s hardly any bigger than my iPhone. In fact I think I’d be hard pressed to fit anything in it except my phone…

ruth crilly nude fashion

On the bottom row the Coco Mademoiselle Touche de Parfum from Chanel (here), a gorgeous cashmere sweater from Hush (here – I love these ice-cream colours), and the New Nudes lipstick from Marc Jacobs, review here. The Equipment shirt and the Hush sweater I can see going very nicely with my Karen Millen buttery skirt – I just need to source some camel/nude pointed courts with a mid-heel in a soft leather and THEN I’ll stop window shopping…

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Glowing Makeup for my Tired Face…

makeup tutorial video new mum

The baby has started sleeping through the night. Hurrah, you might think, but no: I have developed, for the very first time in my life, a kind of strange almost-insomnia that sees me spend much of the night in quasi-dream-mode and the rest of it listening out for the baby monitor. Sod’s law, eh?

So I’m completely shattered, but the upside of this is that I’m really starting to appreciate the true transformative powers of makeup. I’m not talking about transformative in the editorial kind of way, where dramatic makeup techniques can make you look like a totally different person, I’m talking about transformative on a much more basic level. The “starting off looking dead and ending up looking a bit more alive” level. Brightening the skin, lightening circles, widening the eyes and bringing colour to the lips. Sod the smokey eye (momentarily, at least): this is makeup for those who simply don’t want to scare the children.

Suqqu Sheer Glow: launches soon.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation in 52:

Soap & Glory Kick Ass Concealer:

Bobbi Brown Illuminating Powder in Bare:

Soap & Glory Highlighting Stick:

Well People Highlighting Stick:

Rosie for Autograph Cream Blush in Camisole:

Rimmel Shadow in 002:

Chanel Rouge Noir Le Volume Mascara (27) – I very much doubt anyone will have this in stock as it was for Christmas, but I bloody love it! Here it is in black:

Lancome Juicy Shaker in 142, Freedom of Peach:

My jumper is from Hush Homewear, but it was last year!

Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored. Links may be affiliate links. Products are press samples unless otherwise stated in video or description.

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Ten Beauty Products To Try In 2015

1. A Lip Mask

Lip Masks

Lip Masks are going to be a thing for 2015, I’m convinced of it! If you can resist the urge to lick your lips while wearing a lip mask, then you should reap the ultra hydrating benefits for an intense infusion of moisture. The Japanese Choosy Lip Masks above are £2.99 each from Ebay (HERE), but there are several brands hopping on this trend, including Kaplan MD, £37, at Cult Beauty (HERE) and Jamela 24 Carat Lip Masks (£46) HERE. If you buy the solid gel lip ‘sheets’, you can’t talk or eat while it’s on and you have to lie down otherwise it falls off! The lip mask that’s currently getting rave reviews is Bite Agave Lip Mask ($26) – a thick cream application that you use overnight. Currently, Bite isn’t available readily in the UK so it’s a Sephora or Ebay order.

Ladival IRD

2. Infrared Blocking Sun Care

I’ve a feeling that Ladival IRB is going to be huge next summer. Bottom line is that it’s next generation sunscreen that’s taken advantage of new technology that can separate infrared-A rays from the other sun rays to see what effects they have on the skin. It’s so complicated, I have nearly torn my hair out trying to find a way to explain this, so I will stick to the absolute basics. Infrared-A rays can’t be blocked on the skin’s surface in the way that UV rays can, so it needs a very specific formula to do so. Standard sun creams protect against UVA and UVB but infrared accounts for 37% of damage. Years in the making (research provided by the University of Dusseldorf), Ladival IRB will be the sunscreen to watch in 2015 when it launches later in the year.

Rodin Cleansing Powder

3. Cleansing Powder

One of the newest cleansing powders on the market is Rodin Olio Lussio Facial Cleansing Powder – it’s pricy at £50 at Liberty (not on-line yet) but there are other versions available. If you haven’t tried a cleansing powder yet, you might want to start with a more budget friendly option such as Nude Fizzy Facial Wash (£38) HERE or DHC Face Wash Powder (£9.50) HERE. Cleansing powders, like BB creams, are an Asian import that we’re just scratching the surface of at the moment. You can expect many brands to be looking at a powder version of cleanser. Usually, they’re rice bran based with enzymatic action that smooths the skin – you add a tiny splash of water to make a paste that you then apply to the face. I like them for oilier skin types and wouldn’t recommend for very dry skin. I’ve been a fan of Givenchy Hydra Sparkling One Minute Glow Powder (£29.50) HERE for a while and have used it on and off all year, but it’s more of a brightening exfoliator than an actual cleanser.

Ma Cherie

4. A Negusi ‘Bed Hair’ Spray

I have the brilliant blog at Ratzillacosme (HERE) to thank for this emerging trend. But, how to explain?! Okay.. a Negusi spray isn’t a leave-in conditioner as such, but you use it in your hair in the morning so that re-styling is quicker and easier – a fragranced ‘reviving’ spray, if you like. It tamps down frizz and fly aways. We have similar products in the UK but not many of them – Tigi Bed Head Spoil Me is one to try. It’s £14.95 HERE. Otherwise, it’s an Ebay or GMarket search for Shiseido Ma Cherie Perfect Shower Spray, above, if you want the real Asian experience.

Pur Minerals

5. Cushion Foundation

There’s no doubt that Cushion Foundations are coming – the race is on to see which brand gets them to the UK market first! A cushion foundation is a new way to dispense foundation using a pre-soaked ‘sponge’ within a compact. A cushion foundation’s main bonus is portability – a liquid foundation in a solid form – but formulas vary from mousse texture to skincare ingredients. Our best hope, in the UK, is Pur Minerals (above) – the range is currently stocked in M&S and therefore easily available – we just have to wait for them to stock this particular item. If you can’t wait for the UK market to catch up, the cushion foundation that has had consistently positive reviews is Laneige Snow BB Cushion and it’s easily available on Ebay for around £20.

Vita Coco Oil

6. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been drifting around 2014 as a trend already, but you know it’s going to avalanche when coconut water brands start to produce and market their own solid oil. VitaCoco is swift on the coconut oil trend and what’s interesting is that they’re pointing it firmly at the beauty market as well as the food market. Use it for moisturising and conditioning hair and skin – and you only need a tiny amount. I’ve had a go at oil pulling (omg..never again), but it’s one of my top trends to try this year. It’s currently HERE for £5.09.

Shiseido softener

7. A DIY Lotion Mask

This is a bit fiddly, but a fun Asian trend to try. Although DIY Lotion Masks aren’t new at all, they’re not very well known in the UK and as the Asian market opens up to us even further, I’m guessing this could become a micro-trend. Japan and Korea use beauty ‘lotions’ or essences which are somewhere between a water and a cream – a bit heavier than a micellar and usually opaque. They’re an extra step in skincare, generally used after cleansing and before moisturising and help your hydration products to work more effectively (allegedly!). I love versions of essence from Shiseido and L’Occitane, and the liquidity of the formula means ingredients are rapidly absorbed.

Cotton wool

You’ll need some (ideally) square, layered cotton wool pads (try Muji) that you saturate with essence. Once the pads are wet, you can start peeling them apart so they’re very, very thin layers which you then place on your skin. After that, it’s a simple matter of lying back and relaxing until the pads have dried out a bit, before you remove the pads to reveal softer skin. It really does work in the sense that your complexion feels like velvet and there’s a noticable difference when you put your moisturiser on afterwards. Expect a great skin day from this trend. A great product to try this with is Shiseido Pureness Balancing Softener (Alcohol Free), £24.50 HERE.


8. Marsala

Well, Pantone certainly pulled a tricky shade for beauty lovers to name as their colour of the year! Marsala is the shade where everything can go badly wrong from start to finish, whether it’s an eye shadow, a blush or a lip colour. This tone of red-wine-soaked, heathered pink is so close to a bruise colour that you’ll need to either embrace the Corrinne Roitfeld ‘tired-all-the-time’ eyes and exacerbate with smudgy kohl or use it carefully with other shades to accent rather than to be a main feature. I’ve highlighted MUFE Satin Ash as we have both the brand and the trend to look forward to in the UK in 2015. Ir’s perfect for ‘byojaku face’ – yes, it’s really a thing – a look that makes you appear ill.

Shabon Roller

9. Skincare Ingredient Fuelled Soap

All the indications are that skincare soaps are on their way, big time. Soap bar cleansers are not new exactly, but are enjoying a revival in more sophisticated forms, but the real emerging trend is ‘beauty bars’ – soap like bars with more than just a cleansing action.  Current kings of soap cleansing are Erno Lazlo and Clinique, but Perricone has Glycolic Bars (£56) to exfoliate, cleanse and reduce pores. Clarins Beauty Soap is simpler, with shea butter and organic hazelnut oil, but they’re all fuel for beauty areas that aren’t tapped to their full potential. I blogged the Non F Shabon Roller soap from Victoria Health before Christmas HERE but the high foam element is key to fusing the Asian cleansing trend with serious skincare.

YSL Lip Oil

10. Lip Oils

As soon as I tried the YSL Tint-In-Oils, I was in love with the formula. Heading up the trend for tinted oils are Clarins and YSL, but bear in mind that YSL is part of L’Oreal who cascade their formulas – I’d be very surprised if we don’t see a L’Oreal Paris and a Body Shop version really soon. Lip oils glide onto the lip in the softest possible way throwing a little bit of colour as they go. They’re lighter and less sticky than gloss but feel softening as balm. I imagine that every other beauty brand has thrown away their 2015 schedule to get working on a similar version. If you love an interesting texture and a light and glowy tint, then take your pick from either Clarins or YSL for now. Neither has launched yet so they’re both a treat in store for 2015!

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