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 You can see it on video here.



Chanel Quilted Eyes: My Version

ruth crilly a model recommends

I very rarely attempt to wear any of the jazzier runway makeup looks; often they are interesting and edgy – or very theatrical – on the catwalk, but ridiculous in real life. I suppose you could say that the same goes for the clothes a lot of the time! But Chanel’s “Quilted Eyes” for the AW16 show really tickled my fancy – the iconic quilting from their gorgeous handbags and accessories, brought across to makeup. It’s not very often you can work with patterns on the face – usually it’s just certain colours that become the makeup trends for the season – but this pattern is, I think, surprisingly wearable.

ruth crilly a model recommends

Mine turned out a lot smaller than the Chanel quilting, but I like that it’s a sort of “soft snakeskin” effect – a texture rather than a design. (Also I couldn’t get my diamond shapes to go any bigger, it was just too fiddly without help, but let’s ignore that part.)

ruth crilly a model recommends

I used pieces of fishnet stocking as a stencil (I tried to find something that would be reasonably easy to get hold of) and settled on a mid-brown shadow to create the quilting design, rather than the dark gunmetal used at the show. So I have very definitely done a “version” and not a recreation of the show look; I can’t imagine that they were sat there cutting up bits of fishnet stocking backstage! If you have any suggestions as to how to create an easier-to-use stencil (it’s incredibly tricky trying to stretch the fishnet over your eye and stipple-brush the shadow on) then please leave a comment below.

Take a look at the video to see how I “quilted my lids”. It’s actually quite quick once you have the knack of holding the fishnet with one hand and brushing the shadow on with the other…


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KIKI Health Magnesium Sray + Why You Need This Super Mineral.

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the human body. This isn’t just a ‘take it when you feel a cold coming on’ superfood or a handy vitamin C shot in the winter, it’s serious stuff and responsible for over 300 different reactions in the body. Without an adequate amount in your system you could develop insomnia, muscle weakness, lack of energy and fatigue, headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, imbalanced blood sugar, depression and quite a few more problems… plus, none of the above listed are helpful for getting beautiful skin!

Magnesium contributes to:

  • a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • electrolyte balance
  • normal muscle function
  • normal energy yielding metabolism
  • normal functioning of the nervous system
  • normal protein synthesis
  • normal psychological function
  • maintenance of normal teeth
  • maintenance of normal bones
  • role in the process of cell division
  • skin health

You could be eating plenty of magnesium rich food, but also doing all the wrong things to stop this mineral being absorbed. Sugar and carbonated drinks can seriously hinder absorption, prescription meds and too much calcium, especially from dairy deplete magnesium levels, and a diet high in animal products and low in plant foods is stopping you reaching your magnesium goals. Eating lots of bananas, avocados, dark leafy greens, seaweed, spirulina, beans, dried fruits and dark chocolate help as these are all really good sources, but the amount you ideally need to consume to stay on top of your magnesium levels is high. Which is why I decided to pick up the Kiki Health Magnesium Spray recently, as I’ve been feeling really tired and have had more headaches than usual – plus my diet has been all over the place as I have transitioned to eating vegan! We’re talking lots of vegan ice cream, cheesegary‘ toasties and Linda McCartney sausages.

The Magnesium Spray is applied topically, has no scent and even though it’s not an oil has an oily feel that makes it easy to massage into skin. Applying magnesium topically is proven to be more effective, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin and transported directly where it needs to be, instead of being lost in the digestive tract.

The first 2-3 times I used the spray I felt a very mild warming/tingling sensation – this is actually a sign you are deficient in the mineral and fades as your magnesium levels increase. I also convinced the boyfriend to give it a go and it tingled so much for him that he had to wash it off! Clearly he needs some magnesium but won’t risk using the spray again, even though I’ve told him he can dilute it – ha!
I’ve also found the best time to use the spray is straight out of the bath or shower onto wet skin. The oil has a watery, thin consistency and absorbs much easier when the skin is as wet as possible. The times I’ve tried applying this on dry skin it just doesn’t sink in enough and my clothes feel weird over the top. I use about 5-10 sprays every couple of days and apply it pretty much over my entire body (avoiding the face), this amount gives a dose of approx. 309mg of magnesium – around 80% of your daily intake!

What about the results for skin health and acne?

Aswell as getting better quality sleep, having steady energy levels and banishing any aches and pains, I feel like a steady dose of magnesium does help my skin. I’ve taken a magnesium supplement in the past but this has given me much more noticeable results. My skin is steadily, slowly but surely improving. Will it ever be perfect? probably not. Do I have the guts to accept this and live with blemishes forever? Or should I accept my dermatologists offer of roacctane? That’s probably a discussion for another time. What I do know is, I haven’t had a cystic acne breakout for months now, and my small spotty breakouts are fewer in number and heal quicker, but they’re still persistant. They still seem to leave little scars for weeks. I’m working on that, however, and am looking into what’s missing from my body that could prevent and/or heal blemish scars quicker.
In the past couple of weeks since introducing the spray my skin texture has improved, blackheads are dwindling and my complexion looks brighter, clearer and overall less ruddy. Is it related? I couldn’t tell you for sure, but I’m going to keep using the spray because I do enjoy thinking I’m a little beacon of health – even when I’m scoffing a full tub of the new alpro ice cream. 😉

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Vivienne Westwood’s theatre of chaos for SS14

Vivienne Westwood SS14 beautyYou can always trust Vivienne Westwood to bring the crazy during fashion week, and as SS14 thus far has been too often (in my opinion) littered with ‘natural’, ‘undone’ hair and makeup – easy to do but not so fun to write about – I was looking forward to the chaotic look we were sure to see. I was not disappointed.

If chaos was what we wanted, chaos was what we got; Viv is not a fan of conventional makeup, so faces were painted chalky white and shaded in blueish grey were reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride – until they were streaked with black under the cheekbones and around the eyes, and splattered over the rest of the face. Nails were long, broken and chipped red talons to match the additional red accents on some of the models faces, in lines around the eyes and smudged over the lips.

The theme carried over into the hair which was in huge disheveled, voluminous waves Helena Bonham Carter would be proud of, pinned up abstractly at the top and flowing over the shoulder.

One for the street? Probably not. But definitely some chic Halloween inspiration