Rene Furterer Lissea for Unruly Hair


I’ve been saving these for a post on All The Things I do to tame my unruly hair - that post is coming, but to be fair, these are so good they deserve an ode of their own - so here it is.

Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that my bathroom is a shrine to Disappointing Hair Products. My hair lost the plot recently after subjecting it to way too many of them. Very few make it through to my everyday must-haves, but this lot did and I know I can rely on them when I need my hair to look good.

Rene Furterer is a sulphate-free French hair care brand made with essential oils and plant extracts. The Lissea Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner with winter cherry extract leave my hair feeling salon soft, a total novelty for me which I absolutely love. The styling products are also great, with a Leave-in Smoothing Fluid to add shine and control frizz and a Thermal Protecting Smoothing Spray with avocado oil, which guards against humidity as well as protecting from heated styling products. This has a fine mist which really coats every strand. My hair does not cope well with too much heat styling and I no longer go near straighteners or curling wands without loads of protection, otherwise I end up with a head of straw; not a good look.

Check out the Rene Furterer range for different hair types at official UK stockist,



Top 5 Self Tanners for a Deep Golden Olive Tan


It’s a good thing Summer is running late this year as I’ve spent months with multicoloured limbs testing numerous self tanners, narrowing things down to five winning formulas. While I’m naturally pale, I do love a deep tan in Summer. And by deep, I don’t mean a tacky shade of TOWIE, but that back-in-the-day shade of bronze that resulted from holidays spent sunbathing from dawn ’til dusk (before I knew about SPFs higher than Factor 6. Cringe.) These products replicate that colour, some with a touch more depth.

What I’m trying to say is that they will give you a deep tan, but not a ridiculous looking one, so no need to be scared of words like Ultra or Super Dark. Think natural looking deep golden or olive toned skin. Minus the damage and hours spent lying very still on 3 solid meals of crisps and dry bread rolls, washed down with a litre of frozen water. (Anyone else use that trick… freezing bottles of water pre-beach to keep it cooler for longer?)


I’d read multiple rave reviews for Xen-Tan Absolute Luxe (M&S Beauty Stores and and now I get the hype. This is a creamy gel with a light caramel colour guide and gorgeous scent. I found application a bit like massaging in body cream and the product felt rich and luxurious on my skin. A mousse might be easier for beginners, but I had no probs applying this. The resulting colour was a medium golden tan in one coat and deeper golden olive in two, a really flattering shade which lasted for 6 days.

I always prefer two thin coats for the most natural look and find that self tan is a bit like nail polish in this manner. After one coat I’m convinced that I can still see my pale skin through it; two looks more polished and even.

For All My Eternity Tanning Mousse Gold Edition is a new brand to me - and one of the most luxurious formulas I’ve used. Along with the Xen Tan Absolute Luxe, this comes closest to the colour I tan naturally, so really suits my skin tone.  The mousse is so fine and silky that it feels more like a skincare product and applies incredibly smoothly and easily. Again this has a subtle tint, good lasting power and wears off very evenly.

He-Shi Dark Foaming Mousse has a deep colour guide and blends in easily, so no risk of overlapping or missing bits, though you probably won’t want to go out until you’ve rinsed the guide off. I’ve used this one a lot over the past few Summers, especially on my legs, which I do like to be a touch darker than my upper body for camouflaging powers and the confidence to actually get my legs out! It goes a gorgeous golden olive shade, which you can see on my skin in this post. If you’re in a rush, the Rapid One Hour Tan is great too (review here).

I’m not of the overnight tanning school of thought; I value my sheets too much - and self tan doesn’t know what time it is. I apply early evening and shower off before bed; 3-4 hours is ample developing time.


So at one point I had He-Shi on one leg and Vita Liberata on the other. A risky strategy I know… and not gonna lie, I was a tad nervous, but once developed, there was only a marginal difference between the two. Vita Liberata Super Dark 4-7 Day Tinted Tan Mist is a fraction deeper and a touch more olive toned. To use, spray onto a tanning mitt, then apply directly to skin for a fast-drying, deep instant tint, developing into bronzed limbs for up to one week. I really like both this and the He Shi for my legs, so if choosing between the two, go for whichever formula appeals most - they’re both excellent.

If like me you often forget to tan until shortly before heading out, St Tropez Self Tan Express (1/3 off at!) could be your new BFF. This can be rinsed off after 1 hour for a light tan, 2 for medium and 3+ hours for deep. I left it on all day and loved the results. I haven’t tested how it performs when rinsed off after a shorter time, but when fully developed this gives a really deep even tan, darker than I expected and a true ‘just back from holiday’ shade. This pic was taken a couple of hours after application. Tinted mousse is my tanning formula of choice and this one applies with ease.

Exfoliating in between tanning applications (preferably after a bath) is essential no matter which formula you go for, to remove any residue and dry skin patches, leaving a smooth base.

SUMMARY | Sorry that I don’t have pics of every product applied, but like I say - I had rainbow limbs during testing and things could have ended up a little risqué! Hopefully I’ve given you a heads up on the various formulas and impressive results I achieved with these five. If you want to play it safe with a medium-deep golden shade, stick to Xen Tan Absolute Luxe or For All My Eternity Gold Edition. For a deeper olive colour, go with Vita Liberata Super Dark or He-Shi Dark Foaming Mousse - and to cover all bets, the adaptable St Tropez Self Tan Express.

I realise that these are all high end formulas… and while I’ve had great results with cheaper ones, I often find that they don’t wear as well - fading in patches, whereas all of the above fade evenly - which is important if you’re a repeat tanner. If you have a budget favourite, please let me know!

Which is your self tanner of choice?


New Jo Malone London Bath & Body - in Stripes

Jo Malone London Bath & Body HR (1)

Not sure if I’m more envious of this girl’s Jo Malone London collection or her toasted soldiers and dippy egg. In the bath! Spot the stripes on the bottles nonchalantly scattered around her, a new design launching 1st July along with some brand new bath & body products. The new lines include Geranium & Walnut Body Scrub and Shower Oils in Lime Basil & Mandarin, Peony & Blush Suede and my favourite scent, Blackberry & Bay.

The shower oils are made with nourishing sunflower seed, jojoba and coconut oil - and offer a new way to layer up different fragrances. I got to smell all three last week (a sneak sniff?) and you really can’t go wrong - they’re all gorgeous. The fresh scent of the Geranium & Walnut scrub was developed to work with every Jo Malone fragrance, clever right?

Jo-Malone-Bath Body-Stripes-Red-Roses

The rest of Jo Malone London’s Bath & Body collection will also be dressed in frosted stripes from now on, such as the silky smooth Red Roses Body & Hand Lotion, inspired by seven of the world’s most exquisite roses. While you can of course layer the body products with your perfume, I feel scenty enough wearing this on its own, though do struggle to resist sniffing my own arms.

JML Lime Basil & Mandarin Shower Oil JML Geranium & Walnut Body Scrub

You can see the packaging more clearly in these pics. I think it’s very chic and makes the products look more unisex, as many of them are. Sharing is caring and all that (actually I’d draw the line when it comes to JML). While I’ve occasionally used my fancy bath oils in the shower, I think the introduction of specific shower products is a clever idea and perfectly timed for Summer. Plastic bottles may not be quite so glam as glass, but let’s face it - they’re more practical, travel friendly and I’d rather drop one of these on my toe. 

What do you think of the new packaging?

Jo Malone London’s new Bath & Body Collection launches 1st July at John Lewis, House of Fraser and Selfridges.


3 Skincare Loves

Oskia-Renaissance-Cleansing-Gel,Pestle Mortar-Hyaluronic-Serum, Yonka-Vital-Defense-Antioxidant

Every now and then I try skincare products that immediately click… they feel amazing on my skin, are a pleasure to use and give visible results. It doesn’t happen often. I’d been mixing and matching a number of different products, but when I settled on these three, I knew I was onto real winners: Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum and Yonka Vital Defense. Here are my thoughts after around one month of use.

Oskia-Renaissance-Cleansing-Gel,Pestle Mortar-Hyaluronic-Serum, Yonka-Vital-Defense-Antioxidant-Moisturiser-

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel is a much raved about product, with good reason. The pink rose camomile scented gel feels more balm-like massaged into my skin, smells incredible and is basically a joy to use. I use two pumps as my second cleanse at night (to clean my skin post makeup removal) and one pump in the morning - massage in, rinse to emulsify and remove with a warm damp flannel. I think this is the first time I’ve ever doubled up on the same cleanser and really shouldn’t with a luxury product, but I’m that hooked. Pore-purging pumpkin enzyme, resurfacing vitamin A and Oskia’s signature inflammation-reducing MSM (the most bio-available form of Sulphur) are just 3 of its amazing ingredients. My pores look cleaner and finer (even in my scary zoom mirror), the millia which seemed to be breeding on my face have reduced and redness around my nose and cheeks has lessened. All of the above were seriously starting to bug me, so this makes me very happy indeed. Oh and despite being dry, my skin feels comfortable after use. All that and it’s a pleasure to use.

I’m a big fan of essence-like deeply hydrating serums and am currently fangirling over Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum. A few drops dispensed into my hand and pressed into my skin provide instant comfort and give skin that lovely pillowy softness that seems to require less moisturiser and help makeup apply more smoothly. Suitable for all skins, including sensitive, Pestle & Mortar was developed by Irish woman, Sonia Deasy out of a desire to create camera-ready skin.

This is where Yonka Vital Defense Antioxidant comes in… adding further hydration and a vitality boost, via plant extracts, vitamins and peptides. This silky cream sinks in quickly, priming my skin for makeup and is one of those mmmmm…. every time I use it products as it feels so good. Scientific or what. Also, can every moisturiser please come in a lightweight tube? I’ll take a tube over glass jars every time.

If I could only have one of these, it would be the Oskia Renaissance Gel, but all three are absolute gems!


Top 5 Luxe Lipsticks - Summer 2015


While I don’t think it’s necessary to spend a fortune for a great lipstick, I can’t deny the lure of glamorously glossy high-end bullets. Even in my student days I’d opt for one Chanel or Dior lippy over 5 cheaper ones - and wear it religiously every day. Today I’m talking my Top 5 Luxury Lipsticks from Summer 2015 releases… I have a couple of favourites as you can probably spot from the pics (anyone else a flat topper?). Read on for the lowdown on each one, with links to pics of me wearing some of them.

Clinique Pop Lip in Bare Pop - creamy, moisturising and the perfect pinky beige tone, this is the most flattering nude lipstick I own right now. It’s rare that I find a nude which works well on my pale skin, but this one brings it. As you can see in the bullet, this has a slight shimmer through it, which is the only thing I’d change, though it’s very subtle when applied and seems to disappear on me. If I could only wear one lipstick line all Summer, this would be it… see Bare Pop on my lips here and the equally lovely Poppy Pop here

Too Faced Melted Metal in Tu-Tu is a very pretty salmon pink liquid lipstick in a travel-friendly lightweight tube. I’m happy to say that the metallic element isn’t at all as shimmery as I expected... I’d describe it as an iridescent satin finish, with a similar effect on the lips as a blusher with built-in sheen: think modern metallic rather than 80s disco! NB Coral in the original Melted formula (review here) is a staple in my stash and one of my fave corals ever.  


Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Shine Sculpting Lipstick in Suggestive - I defy anyone to try these lipsticks and not fall for them on first application. I love the glide-on buttery texture, slightly sheer, shiny finish and flattering soft pinky coral shade. When I want more colour than a nude without full-on bright lips, this is the one… it’s a perfect daytime bright and very hydrating (see more pics & swatches in this post).

Chantecaille Lip Chic in Mandarin is one of those rare formulas that combines lip colour and care in equal measures. Its nourishing formula with emollient oil and hyaluronic acid leaves lip looking shiny, smooth and plump and seems to mesh with the texture of my lips so that they don’t feel coated. Mandarin is a true orange that’s perfect for Summer, no need for a balm with this one!

Smashbox Be Legendary Matte Lipstick in Fireball is a va-va-voom wake-up call for lips and not one for the faint hearted. While I usually save this one for evening, I do whip it out when my face needs a pop of colour by day as it’s guaranteed to put a spring in my step. I’ve even used it to fake an extra couple of hours sleep, as illustrated in this pic. Opaque in one layer, it applies beautifully straight from the bullet and has good lasting power.

Clinique-BarePop,TooFaced-MeltedMetal-TuTu,EsteeLauder-Suggestive,Chantecaille-Mandarin-LipChic,Smashbox-Fireball-MattePackaging matters when you’re forking out for a pricey lipstick and all of these deliver - I’d happily whip any of them out on the go. Clinique Bare Pop and Estee Lauder Suggestive are my most worn to date, though all 5 are regulars!

Have you tried any of these formulas? I’m always open to enabling on other shades!

PS Check out my Top 5 Budget Lipsticks here.


Top 5 Budget Lipsticks - Summer 2015


To me, Summer Lipsticks mean pops of bright colour, sheer, balmy textures and the quickest way to switch up your makeup for the warmer months. After testing multiple new formulas and colours, I’ve picked out my Top 10 Summer Lipsticks and divided them into budget and luxury lip picks. Starting with the budget options, these 5 offer a whole lotta happy lip at pocket friendly prices.  Starting from top left…

Models Own Semi Matt Lipstick in Hot Fuchsia - somewhere between fuchsia and a deep rose pink, this lipstick has a true semi-matt finish that doesn’t feel and great pigmentation. I’ve tried 5 of the 10 new shades and choosing a favourite was a close call, but I do love a bright pink in Summer! There are some beautiful red and coral shades in there too, definitely worth checking out.

NYC Expert Last Lip Color Satin Matte in Pure Coral #450 - this colour reminds me of a juicy watermelon and it’s hard not to look at it without smiling - it really is one of those brighten up your face shades. I’ve been impressed with most shades in the new Expert Last line-up, the most pigmented options definitely winning me over. The texture is slightly sheer with a bit of a sheen and very comfortable on the lips. The only thing I’m not fussed about is the sweet scent, which I don’t notice a few mins after application. These are £1.99 people, I mean it’s rude not to at that price! 

Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Hawaiian Smolder (spelt like that on the tube) - this is pretty much a lip product of dreams for me as it combines intense pigmentation with a buttery soft texture, not a million miles from Clinique Pop Lips, except this one is 100% natural. It’s a twist-up crayon in a beautiful deep rosy pink and I’ve been wearing it a lot. 

Bourjois Aqua Laque in Appechissant - I like the Aqua Laque formula a lot… it feels slightly cooling on the lips and I’d describe the finish as mid-way between a lip gloss and lip lacquer (closer to the gloss end). This pinky, rosewood nude definite favourite and I reach for it regularly when I want to look a bit healthier without looking too made up.

Barry M Matte Me Up in Dress Rehearsal - the colour of this really won me over as it’s a lovely brown toned nude with a slight mauve undertone - and although the finish is matte, the texture feels creamy on application. I’m a fan of the twist-up mechanism too, but go easy as the bullet falls out quite easily and I’ve heard a few others say the same. 


The two that appealed to me most at first use were Models Own and NYC, as the colours are just gorgeous, but the ones I’ve actually worn the most are Burt Bees and Bourjois Aqua Laque, as I love how they feel on my lips as well as the colour.

Which lip colours do you like to wear in Summer?


Silky Limbs on 3 Budgets

Filorga-Detox-Body-Treatment, Neutrogena-Visibly-Renew-Elasti-boost-Body-Lotion,&Other-Stories-Floral-Memento-Body-SouffleIt’s Legs Out Season, which is always a bit daunting at first, until we get so hot & bothered we just do it anyway. That hasn’t happened yet, but in preparation I’m trying to get into the habit of helping my skin look its best by slathering on the good stuff more regularly than usual. Not my favourite thing, but lovely products help. Here are three I’ve been enjoying on different price tags: luxe, budget and somewhere-in-between.

LUXE - Filorga Detox Body Treatment is a luxury bodycare product from a French skincare brand for which I have huge respect, having been impressed by every product I’ve tried. This velvety mousse sinks into skin in seconds, leaving it matte to the touch with a subtle glow and fresh scent. It is a treatment rather than your standard body lotion and has a similar effect to a facial serum for the body. In fact it contains two of my favourite skincare ingredients - hydrating hyaluronic acid and gently exfoliating glycolic acid, along with nourishing shea butter. I have dry skin and find it very soothing and deeply hydrating. Since it is so luxurious I try to save it for my upper body and use a cheaper formula on my legs, such as…            PS buy one get one half price on selected Filorga at M&S

BUDGET - Neutrogena Visibly Renew Elasti-boost Body Lotion (£4.99) is a new formula to intensely hydrate dry skin and help improve elasticity. For this reason it works particularly well on my croc-a-like shins and I don’t have to be precious with it at this price. I first became aware of the original formula via Sali Hughes, but prefer this one even more as feels more silky, absorbs quickly and a little goes a long way. The fast absorption and generously sized pump bottle make it a foolproof post-shower morning formula, which I really do enjoy using just as much as much more expensive products and will definitely repurchase. A Summer staple.                PS currently half price at Boots!

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN - & Other Stories Floral Memento Body Soufflé (£10) is a scented body cream with a fresh floral blend of lemon, bergamot, peony and musks… I don’t even need perfume when I wear it. I often have to be careful about perfumed body products as my skin is quite sensitive, but this hasn’t caused any problems, though I only use it occasionally just in case. While soufflé implies a light formula, I find this the richest of these three, more like a traditional body cream - it’s lovely to use the day after self tanning, when it definitely masks any unwanted aromas!


3 Ways to Relax: Nature, Shopping & Pampering

I don’t know about you but I often have to force myself to take time out and just relax… life seems to have become so fast paced, with every single moment filled to the brim. I’m sure we’re all guilty of whipping out our phones while waiting for the kettle to boil or queuing in a supermarket? It’s like we’re afraid of wasting a second with empty space, when this literal and head space is good for us. I often miss the head-clearing hours I spent walking on Whiterocks beach or Ramore Head in my student days. Now that I’m officially a grown up and mum of two, I have to be a bit more organised about it all. Here are a few favourite ways to unwind that I’ve enjoyed lately…
NATURE Hillsborough-Lake Hillsborough-Lake_swan Hillsborough
It took some convincing to lure my kids away from friends, screens et al for lunch in The Plough and a bike ride around Hillsborough Lake a few weeks ago, but they had the best fun when we got there. This was one of the first mild days we’d had for a while, perfect for a stroll and enjoying our beautiful natural environment (spot the swan!). I was transfixed by that handsome tree trunk, which almost came up to my shoulders.

Give me a day to myself and 9 times out of 10 I’ll spend half of it shopping... I’ve always loved shopping and secretly harboured dreams of being a personal shopper. I recently went on a press trip to Kildare Village, Dublin with a few blogger friends (School Gate Style, Raising Mighty Girls & Adventures of an Unfit Mother) and we had the best day. This is one of nine Chic Outlet Shopping Villages, which includes Bicester Village. The shops, restaurant and entire village were beyond my expectations and it wasn’t like any previous experience I’d had of outlets. This is a luxury shopping experience with pristine gardens, glam shop displays and great customer service… just like being in the regular stores. Highlights for me were Lulu Guinness, Kate Spade, Hobbs and Anya Hindmarch. I bought the gold Hobbs bracelet in the centre pic, a couple of pieces from Lulu Guinness which I’ll share with you again and a cute Cath Kidston mug. Check out that Anya Hindmarch bag bottom left - stuff of dreams. Discounts varied but on the whole, were great and I’ll be back asap… there’s lots of new shops opening in the Autumn, if I can wait until then!
Herb Cupboard Geborgenheit-Herbal-Stamps  Geborgenheit-Singing-Bowls-Massage

Most pampering around here is DIY, using the lotions and potions I rave about on these pages, so when I’m treated to a professional massage, it’s just the ultimate. It’s only happened twice before, once during my first pregnancy - and this time it was unlike anything I’ve experienced or even heard of. Alison Stevenson runs Geborgenheit Massage and carries out treatments from her base in Holywood, in your own home or even outdoors (one of which can be done fully clothed I hasten to add!). She performs the ancient arts of Singing Bowl and Herbal Stamp massage, of which I had a combination - and left walking on air. The Herbal Stamps are the pretty little parcels above - dried herbs with essential oils, rice and coconut oil, wrapped in unbleached cotton, warmed and applied on pressure points. The golden Singing Bowls are placed on the body and tapped gently, releasing deeply soothing vibrations. NB there is no actual singing involved and both the sound and sensation are incredibly gentle. I literally floated out of there… 


Maybelline Master Sculpt: Review & Swatches

Maybelline-Master-Sculpt brush

Contouring has become so popular recently that I almost shy away from it… if you’re not familiar with the term, it’s all about using light and shadow to change the appearance of your face shape - primarily to enhance cheekbones, but it can be much more complex than that. I think it’s a great tool in the right hands, but for your average person - ie non makeup artist - it’s best kept subtle. As my face is quite angular already, I have to be extra careful or I can look a bit concave - and not in a good way. A cool toned bronzer such as Soap & Glory Solar Powder usually does the job for day to day and I’ve touched on High Street contour kits such as Barry M Chisel Cheeks and Topshop Contour Cream.

Those of you who found these dauntingly dark may like to check out Maybelline Master Sculpt, a new launch which I think gives some higher end kits a run for their money.

Maybelline-Master-Sculpt  Maybelline-Master-Sculpt-brush Maybelline-Master-Sculpt-compact Maybelline-Master-Sculpt-review 

Packed in a neat square compact, Maybelline Master Sculpt is 2/3 contour, 1/3 highlighter. The powder pan flips up to reveal a built-in mirror and brush that’s softer than most and good for on the go touch ups.

SWATCHES: Maybelline Master Sculpt - Medium/Dark

Maybelline-Master-Sculpt-swatch Maybelline-Master-Sculpt-swatchesMaybelline-Master-Sculpt-swatched

COLOUR I have the darkest of the two shades, Medium/ Dark (also available in Light/Medium) and the colour is perfect on me. I imagine it would work well on most light to medium skin tones, though may not show up if you’re darker than that.  The first two swatches above are in natural light and the third in direct sunlight. As ever these are heavy swatches; I only actually use a whisper of this colour on my skin. The contour colour is a cool toned brown, but not so cool/grey based that it looks muddy on the skin. It looks warmer in the sunlit pic, but that’s just the light and it wouldn’t normally be applied this heavily. If you’re used to contouring with bronzer, you’ll probably find that you need a lot less product with this as it really is the perfect shadow colour - and unlike bronzing, contour is about creating shadow rather than adding colour.

TEXTURE The texture of this matte contour colour is smooth, soft and in my opinion, perfectly pigmented. A single touch or gentle swipe of my brush is all I need without danger of overload, though the colour is buildable. The highlight is very subtle on the skin - slightly powdery with a little sparkle, which some people will like. It’s only a slight shimmer, but worth mentioning as it doesn’t really show in the swatch. While it lightens the colour of my cheekbones slightly, it doesn’t really make them look like they’ve caught the light. The contour powder is the winner here for me and I do think the palette is worth buying for that alone.

I don’t contour every day, just when I’m in the mood or going out for the evening. When I do it’s a tiny bit of cheekbone definition, a little below my jawline (sadly not as sharp as it once was) and a little around my hairline and temples as I have the biggest forehead known to mankind.

Promised myself this would be a one paragraph blog post (why can’t I do that?!) but there you go - my thoughts in full, as per! In conclusion, I don’t think it’s necessary to spend lots of hard earned cash on pricey contour kits unless you’re a makeup artist/model/always on camera, which rules most of us out. If you do fancy a dabble, Maybelline Master Sculpt is the best contour kit on a budget that I’ve tried to date - and at £6.99, won’t break the bank. Oh and it works on eyes too, great for reducing the look of hooded lids.

PS The Medium/Dark shade is perfect on my pale skin - I wouldn’t personally go for the Light/Medium unless you’re feeling extra cautious.

Maybelline Master Sculpt Contouring, £6.99 is available now at (on 3 for 2) or


NEOM Tranquility Intensive Skin Treatment Candle



NEOM, maker of my favourite organic candles, has not only created a new home spa candle, but a work of art… I mean is it just me or is that drop of molten gold completely mesmerising? For years, NEOM has made candles and body products with therapeutic benefits, so combining the best of both just makes sense. This is exactly what they have done with the new Intensive Skin Treatment Candle… read on to find out how it works.

In March NEOM launched four Wellbeing spa treatments to help with sleep, stress, energy levels and mood. Hero product, the Intensive Skin Treatment Candle, was so popular that the team created one to help aid sleep and de-stressing at home, in its Tranquility and Real Luxury scents.

The candles are made with oils designed to be applied directly to the skin, with a really low melt point, so you light them for 15+ minutes, blow out and leave to cool for 2 minutes, then massage a little of the oil into skin. Pour directly from that pretty golden spout into your palm, then apply where needed… the oil feels pleasantly warm rather than hot.

The moisturising blend contains cocoa butter, soybean and almond oils in 100% natural vegetable wax. I find that I get enough oil for use after burning the candle for 5-10 minutes, but it’s nice to burn it for longer to fill the room with scent. NB the scent seems softer than with the main candle line, which I guess is to due to both the formula and percentage of essential oils suitable for skin application. Strange as it may sound, the warm oil feels really soothing and sinks in quickly - there’s no waxy residue, just deeply nourished, glowing skin - and of course the calming, therapeutic benefits of the oils. Mine is in the Tranquillity fragrance, which happens to be a NEOM favourite of English lavender, sweet basil and jasmine. 


I literally swooned when I opened this box - isn’t it beautiful? I think one of these would make such a thoughtful gift and the ultimate luxe home spa treatment. Burn the candle while you bathe, then work the oils into skin afterwards…


I love that NEOM called this an intensive skin treatment rather than a massage candle. To me, this dispels any ‘fuss’ surrounding its use and reassures us that it’s ok to use the oil on yourself whenever you need a little extra help sleeping, de-stressing or simply to feel pampered. We all deserve that, right?



If a portable relaxation aid is more your style, you may prefer NEOM’s other new release, miniature spray or roll-on treatment scents to instantly de-stress. On the Go Mist (spray) and Intensive Stress Relief Treatment (roll on) are the perfect pocket, handbag or travel size to deliver a dose of calm whenever, wherever.

These were inspired by NEOM’s independent survey on the state of women's stress levels, which revealed that 9 in 10 UK women are stressed and almost 60% of these women felt ‘more time’ would make them less stressed. 9 out of 10; that’s huge. As I sit here typing at midnight, I for one can definitely relate to the more time element. Juggling work, family and a home can be demanding… and I know that fitting in ‘me time’ always seems to come last on my list. I need to work on that!

Check out some feel good, chill-out tips in NEOM’s Wellbeing Magazine and look out for the mini fixes (£8 each) from 18th July. You can buy them two weeks before launch date here (see similar in the Essential De-Stress Kit). The Intense Skin Treatment Candles in Tranquility and Real Luxury (£36) are available at


Best SLS-free Liquid Hand Wash


I’ve always been avid about applying hand cream as I’m prone to dry hands and cuticles, so don’t know why it only occurred to me recently that my hand wash could impact the skin here too. Sulphates - the foaming agent in any soapy product - can cause dryness and irritation, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. You’d be surprised how many ‘natural’ or sensitive skin products contain sulphates, though I’m told that normal, healthy skin often isn’t affected by them. I’ve gradually switched over to sulphate-free hand washes in recent months and gathered them up from around the house to share with you (no we don’t have 5 bathrooms, sadly, and one of these bottles is now empty).


I’d happily recommend all of the above - and although most cost a little more than your average soap, I think preserving my hands is worth the money. They’re one of the first areas to show signs of ageing after all. Knowing the skin-kind box is ticked, I’m guessing that (like me) you’ll choose based on packaging and scent. I like the look of the Sukin bottle most, but the scent of the Deep Steep is my favourite - and it also comes in pretty packaging.

The Sukin and Mandara Spa both have quite gentle botanical and honeymilk scents (good for kitchens), while Deep Steep and Mughetto Tiare have stronger, more lingering fragrances of Brown Sugar & Vanilla and Lily of the Valley. Dr Bronners is Lemongrass Lime but available in lots more varieties; my personal favourite is the Mint. I mainly use Dr Bronners for washing makeup brushes, but it’s also great for the kitchen, where I prefer clean, subtle smells… I don’t want perfumed hands when I’m handling food or eating.


I bought the Deep Steep (£7.65) and Dr Bronners (£7.29) from Feel Unique, Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream (£2.50 on offer) from Sainsburys and Mughetto Tiare (£3.99) from TK Maxx. The Sukin Cleansing Hand Wash (£8.10) is available from Look Fantastic.

Do you suffer from dry hands? If you’re continually washing them like me, it may be worth giving one of these a go. I’ll share my hand cream favourites soon!


MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Bronze Fusion 25i: Review & Swatches


Having briefly dabbled with MAKE UP FOR EVER a few years ago, I’ve been so excited about its UK launch and Pro Bronze Fusion is the first product I’ve tried since it became available here. This new gel-powder bronzer has a lightweight, waterproof formula and is available in six shades with matte or iridescent finishes (marked ‘m’ or ‘i’ next to the shade number).  Made using BouncyGel technology, it adds a veil of seamless colour with a non powdery finish. Mine has the iridescent finish, with a fine shimmer in the light, but I can imagine the matte looking entirely undetectable on the skin, besides the bronzed glow.

I was wary about destroying the gorgeous wavy pattern on first use, but needn’t have worried as it still looks almost perfect after a couple of weeks’ use. The formula, how it applies and buildability reminds me a bit of Clinique Cheek Pops (review here).


MakeupForEver-MUFE-Pro-Bronze-Fusion-25i-swatch MakeupForEver-MUFE-Pro-Bronze-Fusion-25i-swatched MakeupForEver-MUFE-Pro-Bronze-Fusion-25i-swatches

This sample is in a medium shade, Cinnamon 25i, warmer than I’d normally go for, but it can be used in such a sheer layer that I can still get away with it (I’d probably opt for the lightest Honey shade with a matte finish, 10M). I’ve shown a heavy finger swatch and both light and heavy brush swatches to illustrate how versatile the finish is. The light brush swatch is the maximum amount I actually use on my skin. The iridescence is super fine, just seen in the sunlit swatches… I actually didn’t notice it until taking these photographs, so it’s obviously not OTT on the face (though I do generally like a matte bronzer for day time). The overall finish - when not stood under a spotlight or in direct sunlight - is of radiance. This definitely gives my skin a glow, almost as if wearing a radiant finishing powder, but with zero powder effect. I need to find an actual face powder that performs like this!

MakeupForEver-MUFE-Pro-Bronze-Fusion-packagingMakeupForEver-MUFE-135-Pro-Bronze-Kabuki-Brush-Straight Wavy 

I used the MAKE UP FOR EVER 136 Pro Bronze Kabuki brush to apply Pro Bronze Fusion (inc the brush swatches). This is a very different experience from my regular bronzing brushes as it really works product into skin, compared to my usual light dusting. It’s velvety soft, zero scratch and densely packed with a completely flat base, unlike the looser brushes I normally use for bronzer. I can achieve a smooth finish with this when applying the powder all over for a wash of colour, but for a more subtle sunkissed effect on cheekbones and temples, I personally prefer using a duo fibre brush.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the texture, finish and lasting power of Pro Bronze Fusion. Oh and I did test the waterproof element too… water droplets sat on the surface of my skin rather than creating little bronze rivulets - I’d say it’s splash proof, to the extent that it could withstand sweat and the odd pool splash on holidays, but maybe not swimming long distance with your head under water. If, unlike me, you’re into that kinda thing!

Have you tried any products by MAKE UP FOR EVER? I love the lipsticks and am curious about the foundation and concealer, but would love to hear your recs!

MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Bronze Fusion, £28 & 136 Pro Bronze Kabuki brush, £24 are available in the UK at selected Debenhams stores or online at


My Summer Nail Polish Palette


Despite being a nail polish hoarder, my Summer palette is usually quite predictable - with an annual coral/ hot pink mani and cobalt /red pedi - so I’ve edited the latest nail releases into a palette of rainbow brights in attempt to extend my nailicious horizons. Hopefully you’ll spot one or two you like the look of… 


ORANGE | Bourjois La Laque, Orange Outrant is an orange coral, softer than full-on orange and sassier than straight up coral. Opaque in one coat, yup.

LAVENDAR PINK | CND Vinylux, Crushed Rose looks rose pink and lavender in different lights. Adore this colour, which applies like a dream. I’d only tried CND nail treatments before and will definitely give more of the polishes a go. This one is from the Garden Collection, which includes the most beautiful cornflower blue. Designed to be worn with the CND weekly top coat.

TEAL | Barry M Sunset, The Way You Make me Teal is a rich greeny blue that works beautifully on both tanned and pale hands. From the Daylight Curing collection, this works best when used with the matching top coat (not essential in my opinion).


PEACHY CORAL - Morgan Taylor, My Carriage Awaits is a bit deeper than it looks here on camera, more pastel coral than peach and an incredibly pretty shade from the Cinderella Collection (love this new movie if you haven’t already seen!). I paired it with a soft pink from the same collection in an ombre mani here, where the colour looks more true.

YELLOW - NYC, NY Taxi is the most perfect banana yellow, opaque in two medium or 3 thin coats. It’s a little softer and warmer than it looks here, a proper banana (or taxi!) shade. Don’t overlook NYC due to its low price - they have some of the best nail formulas around and a lovely wide, curved edge brush.

CORAL RED - Nella Milano, Fiery Flamenco is a sizzling hot red with a hint of raspberry and coral that applies like silk. Pretty sure Marilyn would have loved this one. Swatched alongside her sisters in another ombre mani here.


HOT PINK - Barry M Speedy Quick Dry, Get Set Go ain’t no Barbie, but a deep hot pink that’s gorgeous on both fingers and toes. I often switch up red lipstick and nail polish for hot pink in Summer - it just makes me feel more…. Summery! This is one of the new shades from the Speedy Quick Dry line-up, which does just that.

LEAF GREEN - & Other Stories, Welding Green is a surprisingly wearable leafy green, which I think would look incredible on deeper skin tones. Personally I’d use this one more for nail art or an accent nail; it would look great with glitter tips.

SKY BLUE - Models Own, Blue Skies from the Festival Collection is the ultimate - and aptly named - Summer blue. It pulls slightly more teal on my nails than it looks here, but is equally bright and happy… how could you not smile every time you caught a glimpse of this?

Rainbow nails, here I come!


Overnight Tanning Face Masks


I’ve always preferred to self tan my face overnight and it seems several of my favourite tanning brands have read my mind, as He-Shi, Vita Liberata and James Read Tan have all developed products specifically designed to do this. Self tan under makeup often leaves me with a greasy film as it develops, except for Clarins Radiance Plus. Of course you can use any facial self tanner overnight, but these three are also masks, with built in skin treatments for extra nourishment as we snooze. I’ve touched on two of them before, but thought you might be interested in a comparison of the three, in terms of colour, performance and skin benefits.

In all honesty, all three perform well and leave my skin feeling more hydrated than a standard facial self tanner, which I know many people find drying. Designed to be used alone on clean, dry skin, they don’t congest my skin, emphasise pores or cause me to break out. While I can get away with using them all, He-Shi gives me the best colour for this time of year. Vita Liberata adds subtle colour, good for pale skins or anyone scared of overdoing it - and can be built up over a number of days for deeper colour. One coat leaves my skin looking evened out and healthier without looking mega tanned, while the He-Shi makes me look more sun kissed and helps match my face with a self tanned body. James Read Tan gives me the most colour and is more yellow based than the other two; his facial tanners are an old favourite of mine, but I’ve been reaching for the other two more lately. 


He-Shi Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm contains a blend of antioxidant Millesis, repairing Jojoba Protein and Hyaluronic Acid to boost moisture levels and elasticity, while leaving skin looking more rested. Contains 100% natural DHA, paraben and alcohol-free. Very natural looking light to medium tan.

Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask contains Organic Sunflower Seed with soothing Vitamin A, C and D, while Tocopherol protects against free radical damage and Apple softens fine lines and wrinkles. Subtle colour for a light glow that can be built up over a number of nights. Available in one suit-all shade.

James Read Tan Sleep Mask Tan contains Aloe Vera and cucumber to soothe, repair and calm skin and moisture boosting Hyaluronic acid and Red Algae. Gives me the deepest colour of the three, available in one suits-all golden shade.


Apply an hour or more before bed if possible to avoid any colour developing on your pillow... I haven’t had this issue, but just in case!

I also use these on hands and feet, neck and décolletage as the colour gives a more natural, subtle effect than full-on self tan. Just blend well for a seamless finish.

He-Shi Overnight Ageless Tanning Balm £21.35 | Vita Liberata Self Tanning Night Moisture Mask £29.95 |  James Read Tan Sleep Mask Tan £25


Bumble & Bumble Surf Infusion: my new hair must-have

Bumble Bumble-Surf-Infusion

I’ve been a bit shy of texturising and salt sprays to date, having my own built-in texture (otherwise known as coarse frizzy hair) and while I did buy Bumble & Bumble’s original Surf Spray a few years ago, it wasn’t the one for me. The new Surf Infusion formula is a whole different animal, designed to work on all hair types, but specifically dry, coarse hair.

BENEFITS   This bi-phase oil and saltwater blend gives me frizz-free curls without the crunch. No more dry crispy locks, just incredible softness, shine and good texture… think definition and slightly mussed up curls. In fact my favourite way to use Surf Infusion is on freshly curled hair (usually done with Babyliss Boutique Salon Soft Waves - review here). Scrunched into curls that look a bit Shirley Temple, this lends a slightly rock’n’roll / surf chic edge. I also find it effective on roughly blow dried hair for a tousled-in-a-good-way wavy finish.

WHEN TO APPLY   It smells of tropical holiday heaven and is effective both on damp hair - to help form natural looking waves - and on dry hair for shine and definition. As my hair is quite dry I can get away with a double whammy, but restrict use to mid lengths and ends, or at least below ear level - a little goes a long way.

Bumble Bumble-Surf-Infusion-ingredients-list

WHAT’S IN IT?   Silicones are pretty high on the list, but I’m happy to use these on my hair and this does not leave my hair feeling silicone-y like some serums etc do - just me? There’s also lots of good stuff like softening coconut, mango seed, passion fruit and palm oils; coconut fruit and algae extracts to nourish and UV protection.

Bumble Bumble-Surf-Infusion-review

TIPS   Shake the bottle before spritzing to mix up the ingredients for the perfect baby blue beachy hair cocktail. Surfers have been using hair oils to protect their locks for years… it makes sense. It’s not often I get this excited about a single hair product, but I have a feeling I’ll be using this daily, all Summer long.

Best for dry/coarse hair | shake well before use | avoid roots | you only need a little!

Bumble & Bumble Surf Infusion, £21.50 is available now. (Get 500 points when you purchase at

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