YSL Black Opium: Your Winter Fragrance Sorted

YSL Black Opium Perfume Review

Oh ho ho, I am so ready for deep and sexy wintertime perfumes and Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium is just about as sexy as they come. I mentioned Chanel’s Coco Noir Parfum last week – it’s a very concentrated, sexed-up version of the popular eau de toilette – but I must say that Black Opium has knocked my socks off. (I’d use ruder terminology but I’ve already said sex three times and we haven’t even got to the good part.) Black Opium is dark, naughty and almost overwhelmingly warm and spicy – I’m half wishing for the nights to get longer just so I can prowl around town intoxicating unsuspecting people with my scent!

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Partly, I know that I love Black Opium because there’s something of the original Opium in there and Opium was always my Mum’s perfume. She still wears it occasionally even now, but when I was a small child it’s the smell that I remember lingering on her coats and scarves and in her hair. Black Opium isn’t as grown-up as the original, I don’t think – it’s darker and spicier, but it’s not so…cloying? I don’t know whether “cloying” is a fair description, because I don’t mean it negatively, but I can’t think of a better word; it’s so strong that it makes me dizzy. Black Opium feels much less heady. It has a little trace of the original scent (maybe it’s the jasmine?) but the rest is warm and spicy – coffee, vanilla, pink pepper, patchouli. It seems a bit younger and edgier and I’d hazard a guess that YSL are after a new generation of Opium wearers; it’s all sparkly, tactile packaging with sultry, rock-chick advertising campaigns.

YSL Black Opium Perfume Review

Read about some dark, “naughty rose” scents… 

Whatever; I love it. I seem to be changing in my perfume tastes, as I get older – stronger, darker, more exotic. Rarely do I go for a fresh kind of scent, now, unless it’s over the proper summer months or I feel as though I need something light and girly. But for the next few months, as the long, cold evenings draw in, it’s dark and sexy and spicy all the way. I’m already envisaging the outfits I’ll be wearing with Black Opium; skinny black jeans, high black boots and a rock ‘n roll faux-fur. (I like this one from Unreal Fur – it’s on the wishlist.)

Black Opium starts at £44 for 30ml,  but it’s cheaper (as usual!) on the amazing Escentual.com – find all sizes here, the 30ml is £37.40 with free delivery.

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Sunday Tittle Tattle: Spare Beds, Prize Winners and Miffy XL

john lewis kix

I found a rather snazzy solution to my sofabed woes the other week and it has just been delivered. I needed a very occasional spare-spare bed that could be stowed away easily but that was more comfortable than a blow-up, and after hours and hours of Googling and internet-trawling I found the one above, the “Kix” from John Lewis. This double bed folds up into a kind of ottoman, mini-sofa thing which I thought was perfect considering it was going to live in Baby AMR’s nursery. It’s quite a neat solution if you don’t want a hulking great sofabed taking up space! Anyway, haven’t slept on this yet – and probably never will – but I’ll update you on comfort levels when it has been tried and tested. It comes in a few different colours and also a single bed version, you can find it online here. (The giant Miffy light is mine, believe it or not. (!) You can find him online here at Amazon , or search for the Miffy “XL”, 80cm tall.)

The prize-winners for the various Newsletter giveaways are as follows – if you missed out in this season’s special email and want to make sure that you get the next one, sign up here. (If you already think you’re signed up but didn’t get one, use the same form to input your email and you’ll see a (small) prompt to update your preferences.)

philosophy skincare giveaway

The winners of the four amazing Philosophy skincare sets are: bellalasic03, bridgetrosajamieson, kasia.lichota and catrionamaclennan19. Congratulations and please keep a lookout for an email directly from the brand.

emma hardie moringa cleanser giveaway

The winner of the gorgeous gigantic Moringa Cleansing Balm from Emma Hardie is Jo Newland – enjoy, Jo! This is one of my all-time favourite cleansers, I hope you love it.

alpha-h christmas set giveaway

The very smart Alpha-H skincare sets with mini candles go to antje.strietholt and nicaraman – well done!

colab luxe shine giveaway

There were thirty – THIRTY!* – winners of the Colab Luxe Shine Hair Fragrance spray. Each one of you will be contacted directly by the brand so please keep a lookout. If anyone misses their email or doesn’t respond I’ll do a shout-out to them in a couple of weeks time here in the Sunday Tittle Tattle.

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Righty-ho, that’s me for today: I have to take photos of a load of sexy stationery for tomorrow’s post and think of my Top 10 Christmas Book recommendations. Lots of people have also requested a teen gift guide and IF I have time I will try and do that too. But there are only so many hours in the day, so no promises…I must leave enough time to eat what is now my daily Mint Choc Magnum. (Giving them up after Christmas. Along with all of the other terrible things I’ve started munching on to get myself through the day.)

*I’ve updated this from FIFTY, because FIFTY was wrong – I got a bit overexcited with my numbers!! Soz.

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Bobbi Brown Nourishing Lip Color: Almost Pink

ruth crilly nude lipstick

Sorry; another pinky-nude lipstick, but it’s really the texture of this one that I want to scream and shout about. (In a good way.) Bobbi Brown’s Nourishing Lip Color with Oil-Infused Shine is deeply moisturising and gives a good bit of non-sticky glaze – rather like the By Terry Baume I wrote about and the Lip Parfait from Laura Mercier, but with more whack in the pigment department. It’s most definitely a lipstick rather than a balm, but the formula is so ridiculously sumptuous and moisturising you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was some sort of treatment, if you were judging by feel alone.

I’m wearing Almost Pink in the picture above – it looks quite subdued here, in daylight, but for some reason it seems to get a bit of a colour boost under artificial light – when I wore it in Paris one evening last week the shade almost seemed rather outré and daring. For me, at least…

The formula contains Avocado, Babassu and Jojoba oils and is excellent at smoothing over lip imperfections and dryness, as you’d perhaps expect – I love the low-key shine that doesn’t feel sticky or overdone. I can imagine that the Nourishing Lip Color will be instantly popular; this sort of glossiness feels modern and sexy without any of the gloss-related pitfalls. (Hair stuck to lips, small insects and midges stuck to lips, etc.)

You can find the new Nourishing Lip Color at Bobbi Brown here – it’s £21 and there are 16 shades. I must try Coral Pop in a few months and see how the oil formula holds up in the summer heat! I’ll report back…

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Serozinc, Unlikely Facial Cleansers and the Saucy Game of Thrones.

skin care review

Just a quickie, today, because I have recently discovered the television series Game of Thrones and the sofa beckons! Goodness me is Game of Thrones saucy – how has it taken me so long to get around to watching it? I thought that it was going to be a bit like Lord of the Rings which, quite frankly, bored me to tears, but G-o-T is an action-packed sex-filled gore-fest!


A while back I mentioned a nifty little cleansing spray from La Roche-Posay called “Serozinc”. I discovered Serozinc through Caroline Hirons (along with a few billion other people, I’d imagine!) and it immediately became one of my “French Pharmacie” must-haves. Its labelling says that it’s a “cleansing, soothing zinc-sulfate solution”, the blurb says that it’s a zinc-sulfate enriched “toning mist”, I say that it’s just a bloody brilliant little spray for just about everything. I have used it as a gentle kind of toner, after cleansing and before serum, I have used it as a “quick sweep cleanse” when I’ve been travelling and forgotten my creams and balms, and I’ve used it as a refreshing mist throughout the day in hot weather or when I’ve been sat at my desk.

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Zinc has long been touted about as having a positive effect on breakout-prone skin; it also apparently has something of a soothing quality and is good as an anti-irritant. Great for those days when skin is just sore, bumpy and having a minor meltdown. A quick spritz of Serozinc after cleansing can’t be a bad thing if you’re after an extra bit of anti-spot security; it takes about three seconds to spray it on and then all you have to do is just pat in and leave. If I’m away from home and haven’t taken a decent cleanser with me then I have been known to use a mist of Serozinc and then a wipe over with some damp cotton wool. I can’t say that its cleansing powers are life-changing, but as a final sweep-over you could do a lot worse! (Sidenote: I often forget to take cleanser away with me. I have no idea why, seeing as though it’s my most important step. But I have many emergency cleanse measures that I resort to, including using face oil (excellent), moisturiser (very good) and even, once, some lip balm melted down in my palms. (Don’t even ask how that went.))

So, Serozinc: definitely a nice one to have in your stash, especially if you’re fond of facial mists and spritzes. If you’re usually just using a can of scented water then do have a change and give this a go; it’s not just for acne-prone or oily skin, it’s comforting, soothing and refreshing and not at all drying.

Once a treasure to be found buried deep in the hallowed aisles of the French pharmacie, Serozinc is now available in the UK. It’s £8.50 at Escentual.com here – at time of writing it was on offer for £7.20.

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