Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Online Makeup Masterclasses for Ladies 50+

Makeup artist Mary Greenwell, who has worked on many famous faces including Diana Princess of Wales and Gywneth Paltrow, has teamed up with beauty writer Jo Fairley to launch a new online makeup tutorial series. This is a series with a difference as it's aimed specifically at ladies who are 50+.

I think makeup is important to women of all ages. I know personally that makeup has become more important to me now I'm in my mid-30's and looking to disguise and enhance rather than look 'done'. It can be tricky to get the right balance though and I suspect what works for me in my 30's, won't work as well in my 50's. Online tutorials are a great way to improve your techniques too. I'm too shy to ask for help at counters and I have learned most of what I know watching YouTube videos and reading blogs. I'm sure I'm not alone in this either!

The weekly makeup-masterclass series with Mary and Jo starts today on The first in the series tackles how to apply foundation and concealer. I think the key tips here for me are matching your foundation to your neck and to use a light-reflective concealer on the undereye area. I know that often there is a temptation to cover up the discoloration under the eye with something more opaque but I also know that, even at my age, less is more as otherwise you draw attention to lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

Do you have any makeup tips for more mature skin?

Christmas Gift Ideas from Jo Malone

My husband isn't the best gifter ever. I'm feel I'm partly to blame for this as I'm fussy (or at least I used to be) and I just expected him to intuit exactly what I want without any clues. One year he excelled himself and surprised me with a beautiful Jo Malone body cream. He went into the shop in Leeds and I know he spent quite a while in there as there were tales of the sales assistance helping him out. So, I like to keep abreast of the Jo Malone gift sets, you know, just in case he excels himself again.

This year they have a vast array of gift ideas, with prices ranging from £28 to £260. I won't show you them all just a selection that caught my eye (and if any of my family happens to be reading, you can take this as a hint).

World Of Jo Malone

Although at just under £100 this is an expensive set, I do think it is a lovely selection. It contains a 50ml pot of Orange Blossom Body Creme, 100ml of Grapefruit Body & Hand Wash, a 30ml bottle of English Pear & Freesia cologne, 30ml Nutmeg & Ginger Bath Oil and Pomegranate Noir Travel sized candle. I like the fact that it contains a mixture of fragrances and formats.

Cologne Collection

This boxed set contains 5 x 9ml bottles of fragrance. It includes Grapefruit, Pomegranate Noir, Wild Bluebell, Red Roses and Vanilla & Anise colognes. As a fan of miniature fragrance collections, this really appeals to me. I've struggled in the past to work out whether some of the Jo Malone fragrances would suit me (I love Pomegranate Noir on other people but I think it would drown me) so this would be a nice way to explore which fragrances would work and also offers the possibility of layering.

Pampering Collection

The Pampering collection contains a 30ml bottle of Red Roses Bath oil, 30g Pomegranate Noir Scatter Candle and 15ml pot of English Pear & Freesia Body Creme. This really does sound like a lovely way to pamper yourself, their body creme formula feels beautiful on the skin and I like the idea of Pomegranate Noir in candle form.

I was really pleased to see an affordable set in the Christmas collection. It seems that I wasn't alone as apparently these have sold out everywhere (hence the lack of picture). With many people feeling the pinch this year it's nice to see gift sets that still provide a little luxury without breaking the bank. If only I'd been a little quicker off the mark, I would have got one of these for myself!

The gift sets are available from Jo Malone boutiques and also from Are any of these sets on your Christmas wishlists? Are you good at dropping hints about what you would like for Christmas?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins Cream

I have been using the Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins oil-free cream for a couple of months now. The full name (High Potency Night-A-Mins Mineral-enriched oil-free renewal cream) is a bit lengthy so, for the purposes of this review, I hope you'll forgive me to sticking to the shortened version.

The Origins night cream arrived at the perfect time for me. I hadn't been using a separate night cream and whilst the skin care I had been using was very good at balancing my skin, it wasn't addressing my 'age-related concerns' as it were. I was very aware that my fine lines were becoming more noticeable. Although this cream is nourishing the oil-free formula is quite lightweight and doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy. I find the texture to be silky to the touch and the scent from the neroli, orange and vanilla oil is delicious!


Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins_2

The active ingredients in this cream include Salicylic acid, Vitamin C (a stable form) and Vitamin E. The Salicyclic acid would certainly explain my improved skin texture. As well as lots of moisturising ingredients (I spotted jojoba, wheat germ extract, shea butter and panthenol in the ingredients list) it also contains minerals and various essential oils. As you can see below, the ingredients list is rather comprehensive!

Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins_3

I have seen a definite improvement in my skin since I started using this cream. It is hard to tell whether this improvement is as a direct result of the ingredients or simply because my skin needed a more nourishing night cream. It may a little of both. Either way, I am very happy and will continue to use this pot until it is empty. Origins creams do seem to suit my skin well (I've used Starting Over cream before) and although a lovely scent isn't essential, it does make it very pleasant to use as part of my evening wind down.

Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins cream costs £32 for 50mls and is available from Origins counters as well as online from

Disclosure: The sample was sent to me without cost for review purposes.

Monday, 28 November 2011

17 Supreme Shine Lipstick in All About the Sass

As soon as I opened this lipstick and saw the colour I grinned. Boots 17 lipstick in All About the Sass is a bright cheery pink colour. When swatched the colour appears slightly sheer but it is opaque on the lips. The Supreme Sheen lipstick formula is slippy, I'm not sure yet if it is especially moisturising (my lips are particularly dry today) but it is very comfortable when first applied. I did spy the ring of doom as the colour faded so it's one to keep regularly topped up.

All About the Sass1

All About the Sass3

All About the Sass4

All About the Sass7

All About the Sass6

I like the silver mirror-effect packaging. Of course it wasn't until after I'd sorted all the images that I realised I had omitted to take a picture of the lipstick closed. The shaping of the outer casing makes it look a little different and it's larger dimensions would make it quite easy to locate in your handbag.

17+All about the sass

The colour reminds me a little of Barry M's Punky Pink. When swatched side by side you can see that Punky Pink is a little darker and more blue toned that All About the Sass. The Barry M formula is more opaque too. My apologies for difference in lighting in this last picture, I didn't take this picture until later the the day when the light was quite dim.

The 17 Supreme Sheen lipsticks cost £4.99 and are available from Boots.

Disclosure: PR sample.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Beauty Spotlight Team Roundup 27/11/11

The holidays are heating up for the Beauty Spotlight Team. We’re all so busy but it doesn’t stop any of us from bringing our love of beauty to you. Most of us have picked out just one of our many posts from the past two weeks to share with you. We invite you to read these and then take a look through our blogs to see what else we have been excited about. Enjoy!

Joey is in awe of perfumer Mandy Aftel's talent, and nowhere is Mandy's genius more evident than in her Shiso perfume - a fragrance that is simultaneously beautiful and disturbing. Read her review over at Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies!

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed is stuffing your stocking with cute gift ideas - check out what she is hoping to get from Santa this year!

Marcia from Beauty Info Zone has found a skincare system that’s working beautifully for her. Find out why Somme Institute has hit the spot for her.

Modesty Brown attended a MAC Trends workshop and shares the tips she learned as a non-makeup artist. There's also a little look at some of the trends from the the AW11 catwalks.

Are your hands suffering the effects of cold weather and dry heat? Then Lipstick Musings has the cure, courtesy of L'Occitane!

Are you a fragrance lover or looking to finally explore the world scent a little more? Check out this incredible resource on Discovery and Sample Sets on Perilously Pale!

Styrch at Pretty in Dayton gets back into glitter by admiring some Eye Candy.

Cindy from Prime Beauty is a sucker for shiny metallic eyeliners. Check out her newest love from Nars Cosmetics but get out your credit card first!

Visionary Beauty shows us two essential liners from the delightful and whimsical Rouge Bunny Rouge!

A monthly "giftbox" subscription for nail polish lovers? Pammy Blogs Beauty checks out Julep Maven and the "Sneak Peek Box". Annual Charity Auction

The charity auction is back again for the second year. Just like last year, there are some spectacular items on offer. I have my eye on the stunning Chantecaille Les Papillons Poudre Delicate in Veil as well as the festive Le Metier de Beaute StocKen stuffers that I had already been admiring. I think you'd struggle not to find something to fall in love with amongst all of the lots.

The items have been donated by bloggers and brands and as before it is open internationally (with free postage too). will donate the winning bids directly to Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. You can find out more about Médecins Sans Frontières work here. So, go on, do a bit of Christmas shopping for yourself and raise some money for a great cause. The 2011 auction begins at 8 am CST on Monday, November 28, and ends at 5 pm CST on Monday, December 12. Happy bidding!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Come One, Come All Kaleidoscope

The sun finally came out towards the end of the week so I seized the opportunity to take some photographs of my new Come One, Come All Kaleidoscope. As every good beauty blogger know, you can't play with a new item until there are pictures and I'd been itching to try these eyeshadows out.

Come One, Come All1

Come One, Come All17

Come one, come all
With flash

The eyeshadow at the top of the stack is pale nude peach with shimmer. The shimmer is a little chunkier than I have have come across with other Le Métier eyeshadows and I did experience some fall out. It is still smooth to apply with good pigmentation. Ordinarily I am not good with peachy colours but this is pale enough for me to feel confident wearing it as a base colour.

Come One, Come All4

What I thought was taupe actually turned out to be a silvery grey-green. It's very pretty and I believe this colour has been released before in the Splendid Frost Kaleidoscope. On my first attempt at applying these eyeshadows, I struggled to pair this grey-green with the nude peach. I have a feeling that I need to do some experimenting to get these colours to work for me. I'm keen to see how this colour will look applied on it's own to the lid.

Come One, Come All5

The bottom two colours of this kaleidoscope are the same two bottom colours from the Silk Road kaleidoscope which I reviewed here. Or at least they look identical to my eye. The colour below was named Ikat in the Silk Road kaleidoscope. It is a rich plum colour with a satin finish with very good pigmentation.

Come One, Come All7

This chocolately brown colour was referred to as Brocade in the Silk Road kaleidoscope. I'm pretty certain it is the same colour as it has the same beautiful golden shimmer. I applied this as a liner yesterday and it works very well used this way as it is has very good pigmentation.

Come One, Come All14

Come One, Come All20
From left to right: Come One, Come All colours swatched top to bottom

Come One, Come All18

As is often the case with Le Métier de Beauté kaleidoscopes, I will need to experiment a little with placement to get all of these colours to work in combination. I am very excited by both the peach and the grey-green as they are unique colours in my collection. I can see me getting a lot of use from both eyeshadows as singles.

Come One, Come All9
L- Come One, Come All, R - Silk Road

As a little extra I thought it might be interesting to compare the 'taupe' from Come One, Come All with the some similar kaleidoscopes colours. I think this comparison demonstrates that the eyeshadow in Come One, Come All is more silvery green than brown. It's probably unnecessary to share this picture but I do like a bit of makeup eye candy now and again!

Come One, Come All10

Come One, Come All23

I would like to say a very big thank you to Charleston Girl for helping me get hold of this little beauty. What do you think to this selection of colours? How would you make them work together?

Friday, 25 November 2011

Pampering Time: Face Masks

I slipped off to bed early last night as I was really shattered. Although I rarely fall asleep early, I do like to spend this time cosying up in my bedroom and enjoying a bit of time to myself. Something I often do on nights like this is put on a face mask and I have a few old faithfuls as well as a couple of new finds that I will pick from depending on how my skin is behaving.


For smooth skin: Naked Truth Face Renewal Mask (currently on sale for £11.99 - I think!)*
When my skin is feeling bumpy and looking a little grey, I reach for this one. It has quite a soothing, whipped texture but the large gritty lumps may not be everyone's cup of tea. It does a good job of exfoliating my skin and when I remove it my skin looks brighter and feels plump and smooth. This is a nice choice if you're in the mood for a mask than doesn't set.

As I went to look up the price, I spotted that the brand seems to have re-launched and ditched the Naked Truth name. I have a feeling that this Tri-Mineral microdermabrasion mask is the new name for the Face Renewal Mask.


For pore cleansing: Montagne Jeunesse Damask Rose Deep Cleansing Mask (£4.99)*
Although this was a PR sample, I have been using Montagne Jeunesse masks for years. I like to use a clay based mask whenever my skin is feeling congested or I can feel spots brewing. I like the Rose scent of this mask too. I also like the price!


To shave a couple of years off: REN Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask (£30)*
I've had the REN Glycolactic peel mask for over a year now. It has a strange texture for a mask; it's quite thick and gooey and can feel a little sticky on the skin (I know, I'm really selling it here). This mask does tingle a little whilst it is on but nothing too uncomfortable. It is a little tricky to wash it off because of the sticky texture but it does leave my skin feeling nice and refreshed. Maybe it's wishful thinking but I do think it makes my fine lines a little less obvious. The peel mask costs £30.


To shave a few more off! Heaven Bee Venom Mask (£65)*
The Heaven skincare line was created by Deborah Mitchell and the Bee Venom mask already has quite a name for itself. Deborah Mitchell's celebrity clients include Danni Minogue, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham. The mask has a creamy texture and has a slightly sweet scent which I presume is from the manuka honey and essentials oils. It doesn't set but it does make the skin prickle a little as you might expect from a treatment that contains bee sting. I definitely feel that it plumps my skin and improves the overall texture. The Bee Venom mask is available from


Personally, I wouldn't use either the REN or the Bee Venom mask before an event. They can make my skin look a little flushed immediately afterwards and I tend to see the greatest improvements to my skin the morning after.

For hydrating: Lancome Vivéclat
I suspect this is a long discontinued item. It's similar to Clarins Flash Balm in that you can apply a thin layer or apply more liberally as a mask. I don't find it has a tightening effect but it's very good at rehydrating my skin when moisturiser alone won't cut it. I suppose I will eventually get around to working out what this was replaced with when I run out!


The one I don't like: Soap & Glory Fab Pore Facial Peel (£8)
I know that Soap & Glory is a really popular brand but I have to admit I'm not a big fan. This mask is mostly inoffensive but it doesn't really seem to do anything for my skin either. It's somewhere between a clay mask and an exfoliator. I haven't noticed a peeling effect particularly and it leaves my face feeling a little tight after use. 


Do you have a favourite mask or pampering treatment?

*PR Samples

The Final Confession!

I know that Ki, writer of Les Pensées de Ki! and Dressing up for Life, has long been a fan of the Friday Confessionals so I think it only fitting that she's the blogger to end the series. With no more volunteers I think Aunty Brown is finally going to go into retirement. Don't feel sorry for her, she'd only milk the sympathy. Anyway, let's find out what naughty secrets Ki has been bottling up all this time.

Confession is good for the soul, go ahead and unburden yourself! I promise I won’t judge.

I’m sure I commit a million beauty-related sins but here are two off the top of my head...

Sin #1: Come winter and I can go weeks without waxing! As long as the world cannot see my hairy legs, they don’t exist. Right?! It doesn’t help that waxing in France costs 10 times of what it did in India!

Just remember to get them done *before* you swank out of the house in your best gear!

Sin #2: I don’t wear sunscreen. I know I should and I even bought a tube of SPF 50 but somehow, I always forget!

There, don’t you feel better now?

Sort of? *wonders where the tube of sunscreen is*

Aunty Brown has a few more questions though; it’s true that I’m the nosy type.

When was the last time you visited the hairdresser?

Erm, June? God, I should add this to my list of sins as well since my hair is now very shapeless and frumpy looking thanks to my many months of neglect!

Which trend still makes you cringe?

Definitely dark lipliner! Most Indian women seem to have just one lipliner - a dark maroon and they use it with every lipstick, be it a light pink or a dark brown!

Also lighter foundation on darker skintones - I think this also has to do with growing up in India, where everyone wants to be fair even at the risk of their face and neck looking like they belong to two different people!

It’s the day of a special occasion and you wake up with an enormous spot on your face. Do you fiddle or are you the master of disguise?

I fiddle! I know it is the worst thing to do when you have a pimple or whitehead but I just can’t leave them alone!

Let's not forget there are consequences to the fiddling...

When did you last wash your makeup brushes?

Umm, about a month ago?! Oops!


Thank you very much Ki for being my very last victim, pardon me, volunteer. In fact, thank you to everyone that has taken part in the Friday Confessional over the past 12 months, it's really been a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

This week I have mostly been....

One Day. I know, I know, I'm pretty late to this party but I do prefer to read the book before watching the film. Especially when I'm already aware of the strange casting choices. Can I just offer one word of warning? It's probably a good idea NOT to read the end of this book when you're on a crowded train. Enough said!

One Day

The Slap. This series is based on a book by Austalian author, Christos Tsiolkas. The story follows the events that unfold after a child is slapped by an adult at a barbecue. It's very well acted: it's hard to say that it's enjoyable exactly, as none of the characters are particularly likeable, but it is strangely compelling viewing.

I've also been watching and enjoying some slightly quirky films: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, My Year Without Sex and Smart People. The Private Lives of Pippa Lee gave me a crush on Keanu Reeves all over again! I suspect that none of these films would have done well at the box office but they make for perfect late night viewing.

Soup. I've been a bit obsessed with having soup for lunch for about a month now. I'm not sure whether it's the cold weather or maybe I'm just fed up of sandwiches. My current favourite is Baxters Smoked Bacon and Three Bean flavour.

Be stila my heart

I seem to have had a little burst of spending over the past week. With the exception of a Stila lipgloss set, I haven't really done much makeup shopping. Instead, I've been making a slightly different kind of blog related purchase. I bought a new MacBook Pro laptop at the weekend. My old MacBook has taken so many bashes and was starting to get a little slow so I thought it was time for an upgrade (you can find any excuse if you try hard enough). I made a brilliant discovery whilst searching for the best deal on software packages too. If you have school age children, I can recommend taking a look at I got the latest Microsoft Office for Mac package for a great price and made a whopping saving of £700+ on Adobe Photoshop.

Lusting after....
A new camera. I've been researching the best options for my particular needs (i.e. camera numpty that takes a lot of pictures) and it seems to be taking up all of my time at the minute. The Canon Ixus50 has served me well but I'm really tempted to get a bridge camera like the Panasonic Lumix GF2. I might even go for broke and invest in a DSLR and a lens suitable for taking pictures in low lighting conditions. I can see this particular decision taking a long time!


Coats and scarves. It's been really cold outside this week and it definitely feels like winter is on the way. I may even be forced to buy some gloves this year to save my hands from the worst of it.

Non-celebrities. This is a slight exaggeration as it was only the one. Michael Portillo came into the waiting room at Oxford train station and sat next to me. I recognised him immediately but by the time my baby-addled brain could recall his name, he'd gone. Needless to say I didn't ask for an autograph. 

Night night

What have you been up to this week? Are you reading any good books or have you watched any interesting films? Can you beat Michael Portillo in the non-celebrity spotting stakes?

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Stila Week: Striking in South Beach Palette

This is the third and final Stila Beach Palette that I will review. Striking in South Beach was definitely the hardest of the three to photography. Both of the 'blue' eyeshadows on the left hand side (Wave and Cabana) seemed determined to evade a fair representation. Wave is lavender although it photographs as blue in the pan and Cabana is a smoky indigo. The depth of colour is accurate but both have more of a purple undertone than is represented in my pictures.



The silvery Ocean Drive and the shimmery black Nightlife look just as they appear in the pan. Although strangely, when swatched, Ocean Drive appears quite blue so that there is a graduation of colour moving from Ocean Drive to Wave to Cabana. All of the eyeshadows have some shimmer, with Ocean Drive being the most shimmery of the four colours.

As with the Living the Life in Laguna palette, I found the eyeshadows a little tricky to work with. The colour pay-off isn't great and I struggled to get an even application. Packing it on resulted in fallout so this is definitely one to apply before foundation. Again, the application guide recommended applying some of the colours wet and no doubt this would make for a better result. I'm going to be forced to wet my brush at some point aren't I?





Although the application was uneven, I really liked the smoky indigo effect. I wasn't really sure how the blusher and bronzer shades would work with the eyeshadows. I'm still not convinced of Sobe as a bronzer (it pulls rather orange on my skin) but the Art Deco pink is prettier and less bold than I had imagined.




As with the other palettes, there is some variation in the quality of the eyeshadows and blushers but I want to point out once again that these palettes cost a rather bargainous £10 each. That's £3 less than a single Stila powder eyeshadow. So although they might not be perfect across the board, they are a great way to experiment with colour.

The Stila Beach palettes are available from and, as well as several other online retailers.

Disclosure: PR Sample

Monday, 21 November 2011

Pai Skincare Christmas Collection

Whilst I was out and about over the weekend I realised that Christmas shopping was firmly on the agenda for most people. I will admit to not being most people. I love the run up to Christmas but I'm afraid I tend to bury my head in the sand until about Christmas Eve in terms of shopping and getting organised. I realise from a blogging point of view this strategy isn't entirely helpful. Anyway, this my roundabout way of saying that it would probably be a good idea for me to pull my head out of the sandpit now as I don't know how many of you are going to appreciate reading about gift suggestions on Christmas Eve!

The Pai Skincare Christmas Collection caught my eye for two reasons. One - they look gorgeous and not overtly Christmassy (therefore don't interfere too much with my Festive denial) and two - they are very reasonably priced. Both sets are under £20 so perfect for those who want to buy lovely presents but stay within a budget.

Pai Serenity Set (RRP £15.99)
The ultimate tonic for the skin and soul, the Pai Serenity Set comprises a harmonising Himalayan and Dead Sea Salt Blend as well as the cult Comfrey & Calendula Calming Body Cream.

Pai Tranquility Set (RRP £13.99)
Discover the secret to complete contentment with Pai’s luxurious Jasmine & May Chang bath and body oils.

I really like the sound of the bath and body oils in the Tranquility set. My experience with other Pai products leads me to believe they would smell divine. The other plus point of buying a set from Pai is that you don't have the worry that the products might cause a reaction as Pai skincare is made with organic ingredients and specifically designed for sensitive skin.

Both sets are available Pai stockists such as and For those of you in the US it is possible to buy the sets from Pai's American website.


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