My Top 3 Chunky Winter Jumpers

hush jumper

I’ve spent a fair proportion of the week trawling the internet for the best winter jumpers – ordering them, trying them on and (in 90% of cases) sending them back. My ideal jumper, this year, has a high neck (or cowl neck, turtle neck, whatever) to detract attention away from my middle, and it has a pleasingly chunky knit that feels and looks luxurious. Here are my top three…

ruth crilly a model recommends fashion blog

The cable-knit cowl-neck jumper from New Look, £34.99. What a total bargain. Everything about it is chunksville and I love it – a huge neck to hide in (though you have to arrange it properly otherwise it looks like a neck brace) and oversized cable knit that makes this look loads dearer than it is. Find it online here – I’m wearing a medium.

ruth crilly a model recommends fashion blog

The contrast roll-neck from Hush, £99. Made from the softest wool, this is the ultimate cosying-up jumper and Mr AMR’s top pick because he says it makes me look a bit “punky”, whatever that means. Looks great with black jeans and boots, so it’s a very easy “throw it on” kind of knit that’s perfect for casual weekends. Find it online here.

ruth crilly a model recommends fashion blog

Patchwork Roll Neck Jumper from Abercrombie & Fitch, £78 here. Gorgeous snowy wool, very soft, and a sloppy cowl neck that sits just right without any need for faffing. It’s more fitted on the body than the others which you may or may not like, but it’s still far from tight. Cosy, comfy and just passable as a “Christmas Jumper” if you’re getting roped into that business… Find it here.

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My Top Winter Makeup Palettes…

affordable christmas makeup palettes

My top winter palettes, on video for your viewing pleasure; perfect picks if you like to treat yourself to a little glitzy makeup number before the party season. Or, y’know, at a push, give people presents, but I do feel that these are too nice to earmark as gifts! All contain wearable shades and gorgeous glowing finishes and the packaging isn’t half bad either…

You’ll get a good look at all of the makeup morsels when you watch the video below. I also demo a few of them, including the – shock horror! – Ombres Lamees de Chanel, which apparently should never be touched by bristle nor flesh. It’s the law. Look at it, bow down to it and its majestic detailing:

chanel ombres lamees palette

I sort of wish that I hadn’t gone in with a brush and completely massacred it (the photo was taken pre-brushing frenzy) because actually, the gold didn’t have a hell of a lot of pay-off and there was quite a bit of murky brown going on by the time I’d dispensed with the overspray. The palette looks incredible, a real thing of beauty, but if you’re actually planning on using it (say what?!) then there are better golden shadows. Including ones from Chanel. Humph.

guerlain meteorites christmas

Check out this little treasure chest, above – the Météorites Perles de Légende from Guerlain. Little radiance-boosting powder pearls that set makeup without flattening the skin and give a bit of a glow without making you look robotic. 

guerlain holiday meteorites review

The actual pearls make me quite murderous because they go all over the place when you bash your makeup brush into the pot, but such is the way. They smell amazing (Parma Violet fan here) and really do give a good, ethereal sort of finish to your face. They’re here at Escentual.com.

fortune favours the brave palette review

Also in the video, my two purse-friendly favourites: the Cleopatra’s Kiss highlighting palette from Sleek (£9.99 here) and Fortune Favours the Brave eye palette by British Beauty Blogger from Makeup Revolution (£9.99 here, pictured above). And a bumper highlighter edit from Hourglass, a lovely Shimmering Nudes palette from Givenchy and the amazing Winter Soleil clutch from Tom Ford, sadly sold out.

Vita Liberata Body Blur: Instant Air-Brush for the Legs

Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish Review

I’ve long been a fan of Vita Liberata’s Capture the Light skin perfector; it adds a tint, a touch of glow and somehow seems to blur imperfections, leaving your legs looking as though they are clad in some sort of invisible miracle tights.

Capture the Light has been relaunched as Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, and it’s every bit as brilliant as the original incarnation. Easy to apply (it’s easiest with a mitt, so that you don’t get it all over your hands), this air-brush-effect body cream gives your skin an instant lift and sunkissed glow. No self-tanner required – no potential for streaky disasters, no hanging about in your knickers with your arms in the air waiting for your tan to dry. It’s body makeup, basically, but with an extra bit of pizazz.

Here’s one leg with and one leg without, because I know you like to see these things in action:

Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish Review

There’s quite a tint going on, and a lovely glow, though the finish is most definitely matte. And here’s the baby, dressed as a cow, crawling over my newly Body Blurred skin – amazingly she didn’t have great big brown streaks all over her:

That’s a good point, actually; transfer is minimal, with regards to the colour. I mean I wouldn’t want to roll about on my brand new Egyptian Cotton (1000TC, Kelly Hoppen at QVC, amazing) bedsheets, but guess what? I just accidentally did. I completely forgot that I was wearing the Body Blur. I can tell you that there was no colour transfer from just lying there and wriggling about and stretching to get the TV remote, but when I knelt up to rearrange the duvet and scraped my shin across the bed there was a bit of a mark. In real life, as in, out and about, I think you’d really have to go some to get it on your clothes – street dancing in a thunderstorm, etc – but I’d avoid bright white outfits if you’re the cautious type.

My Random Holiday Skincare Selection…

holiday skincare

I had around eighteen seconds to put together a washbag for my little mini-trip to the Isle of Wight and I thought it might be interesting* to show you what I packed in terms of skincare. You’ll notice I’ve included a makeup product too; that’s because the skincare section was so bloody thin on the ground that I needed to bulk this out a bit!

Usually I have around three or four options for each skincare “stage”, even if I’m only away for a short amount of time – I have an endless supply of tiny sample bottles and tubes that I somehow manage to stockpile over the years, and quite often I use my travels to plough through these samples and test new stuff. Saving space and researching skincare at the same time – I do love to multitask. But my limited packing window meant that I didn’t have the luxury of clarting about in my samples box (I was busy packing the baby’s bag, managing to remember eight sleepsuits, thirty pair of socks but NO coat or cardigan) and so I grabbed the first full-size things that took my fancy and chucked them into my washbag.

aurelie miracle cleanser review

Ooh – and one small-size thing, actually – the Aurelia Miracle Cleanser. Nothing particularly miraculous about it, but it is creamy and deep-cleansing and does a brilliant job of removing makeup and grime. Mine’s in a travel tube (£14) but the full-sized glass jar is better value for money and looks lovely if you’re after something luxe – it’s £38 for 120ml here. It’s ever so slightly more suited to oily/combination/normal skin than the very dry, I think – I always feel properly purged when I use this, so it was perfect for cleansing after a whole day near the beach.

zelens z brightening serum

The “power-serum” I took with me (always have to carry at least one!) was the Z Luminous Brightening Serum from Zelens. I’m always paranoid about getting pigmentation issues during pregnancy and this hi-tech product has been formulated to help repair and protect the skin from damage caused by sun exposure and to really – really – brighten it. I’ll flag it up that this isn’t cheap (a whopping, wince-inducing £135) and I had been purposefully saving it for pregnancy to give my skin a boost, but it  works incredibly well. I also use the Indeed Labs C-24 regularly and Caudalie’s Vinoperfect – I actually have quite a few antioxidant serums on the go at the moment, in preparation for a post… You can find the Zelens serum here, if you’re looking for a serious, effective skincare investment.

darphin 8 flower nectar oil cream review

For a sumptuous, buttery night treat I chose the Darphin 8 Flower Nectar Oil Cream (£65 here). I wanted something rich and floral that would be enjoyable to apply – part of my “let’s go on holiday and completely relax!” plan, which blatantly didn’t take into account that we were travelling with a baby and a mad dog. This was supposed to be my evening cream and then in the day I was aiming to just use the SPF (see below), but in actual fact my face was a bit weather-beaten and wind-whipped by the time we got to the end of the four days and so I added a touch of the 8 Flower Nectar Oil Cream after serum and before sun cream. It felt beautifully plumpy and comforting. (Full review here.)

bare minerals prep step review

And then, finally, the SPF. I took a brand new one, which was something of a risk, but luckily I got on very well with it. It was the Prep Step from Bare Minerals, an SPF50 with a light, fluid texture and a finish that’s non-greasy but still nicely moisturising. Do you know, I was about to write a mini-review saying that it’s brilliant under makeup, and then I went to check the price and saw that it’s actually a primer! (Which must be why it’s called Prep Step, duh.) It works so well as a primer – makeup goes on really smoothly – but equally it’s great as a standalone SPF. I’ve used it a lot in both ways and it’s definitely a keeper. You can find it online for £26 – Escentual currently have it for £22.10 here.

The makeup item? A “real skin” dewy foundation from No7 that’s affordable, foolproof and available in loads of shades. I’ve really grown quite attached to the Essentially Natural foundation (though Burberry have just brought one out that’s unbelievably nice!) and this was the perfect sort of “barely there” base I wanted whilst on hols. It’s £9.95 at Boots.com. You can see it on video here.