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Monday, 6 March 2017

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil

Clinique Take the Day Off cleansing oil is a staple of my routine, and frankly, I'm really embarrassed that it's taken me till now to review this product!

I have sensitive skin, and this, coupled with a rather, um ... magpie-like ... approach to collecting skincare can cause occasional problems.  However, Clinique Take the Day Off oil has never, ever caused me a problem. Unencumbered by essential or mineral oils, or even, weirdly, any oils at all (the short ingredients list is full of oil-like ingredients, but of actual oil in the formulation; there is none), TTDO is a silky-feeling cleanser that removes every single scrap of makeup and sunscreen without ever stripping, or irritating the skin. And it is deliciously inert, unfragranced, and just a great choice for sensitive skins because of it.

Whilst I don't use it every day, where it becomes invaluable in my collection is when I'm introducing new products into my routine.  As I have sensitive skin (I think I might have mentioned it once or twice over the years), introducing a new product into an established routine can be traumatic, so I have a couple of products that I fall back onto, ones that I know never irritate.  And I use those religiously alongside any new product to ensure that any results (good or bad) come directly from the product I've changed, rather than the routine itself.  I also have an SOS skincare routine for those times when my skin is just being irritable, and TTDO oil has made it into both those routines. Other products that I rely on for testing purposes include La Roche Posay Serozinc, and Murad Hydro-Dynamic Moisturiser, and the SOS routine is different again.  For a product to make both lists is very, very rare.

 Clinique Take the Day Off oil is both gentle on the skin, and a powerful cleanser. It takes off almost all makeup just in one cleanse, and emulsifies beautifully.  Also, it lasts almost forever, I've had a bottle on the go ever since the launch, and only recently had to buy a backup. I can't imagine life without it.  At around £19-£22 for a big 200ml bottle, it's a bit of a bargain too.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Clinique Aromatics in Black Essentials Gift Set

Christmas isn't Christmas in the Lippie household without an Aromatics gift set of some sort, and so, after discovering that I have enough of the original Aromatics Elixir to last me approximately 400 lifetimes (so around 4 bottles then, including various special editions), this year, I went for an Aromatics in Black box.  Released in 2015 as a "Noir" version of the original, Aromatics in Black boasts plum and grapefruit in the top notes alongside more vetiver in the base.

My nose and I didn't really get along with Aromatics in Black when it was first released (I suspect it was the grapefruit) as it caused parosmic reactions, but I'm enjoying rediscovering it now.    It's about as "noir" as playdo frankly, but that doesn't mean it's uninteresting.  The addition of plum and grapefruit gives it a more "oriental" feel, without it really turning into a bog-standard "fruitchouli", but it is very different, both sweeter and lighter than the original Aromatics Elixir, which I love simply because it doesn't smell like anything else on earth - and it was my signature scent for nearly 20 years, and if that doesn't tell you how much I love AE, then nothing will - whist still retaining something, albeit a soapier "something" of the fragrance it's based on.  As flankers go, it's a good one.  It'll never replace the original AE, but it'll do for the days when real AE is simply too much effort.

It's a little odd that they've made a "noir" version of something that's already the "noir-iest" fragrance on earth, if you ask me, but there you go.  The very best thing about Clinique gift sets is the price, you get the 50ml fragrance, the body wash and lotion and gift box for the exact same price of the 50nl fragrance alone, which in this case is £56.  Not at all bad.

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Clinique Sonic System - Purifying Cleansing Brush with Extra Gentle Cleansing Head

Being a delicate soul at heart*, sonic cleansing brushes and I don't always get along.  I used A N Other brand's "sonic" brush for a few months until I realised it was giving me chronic redness and broken veins than vowed no more.  I've had a Clinique Sonic System for a while now, but in the house move a few months ago, the base unit charger and the handset had somehow become separated and neither has been seen in about six months as a result.  Clinique kindly replaced my unit recently though, and I'm reminded that I do like this particular face cleansing brush a great deal.

Priced at £72, which whilst still pricey, but actually around half the price of A N Other brush, I find this simple to use, even with an oil-based cleanser rather than the "soap" Clinique recommend, and, with the Extra Gentle Cleansing Head (the white and grey brush on the unit above - the green and white brush head also pictured is the regular), this is a great addition to my skincare routine.

Sonic brushes promise to make your face cleaner than any other cleansing system, and thereby make your skin more receptive to anything you apply to it after using the brush.   Now, having sensitive skin, I must admit that I do not (and will not) use this on a daily basis, but I do use it two or three nights a week, usually on the nights that I am not using a retinol-based product.   The brush heads have a dual-bristle function, the slightly shorter coloured bristles at the top are for areas that need a bit more cleansing "oomph", such as around the nose, and the chin, and you just tilt the brush slightly over those areas so the firmer bristles can get to work, and just tilt it back so the rest of your face gets a good, gentle clean too.  The brush works in 30 second bursts, there's no awkward requirement of tricky button-press combinations to remember in order to get the cleanse you require, if you need longer, just press the button again ...

An ideal Christmas gift for the sonic-brush virgin, or someone who needs a more thorough cleanse than a flannel can manage.  Clinique have a number of Sonic System gift sets this year that come with some funky cases, I'm tempted to buy MrLippie one.

* I can hear you laughing from here, you know

The Fine Print: PR sample

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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Finishing Touches: LipsNspritz of the Week 8th July 2016

It's been a mixed bag, fragrance-wise this week.  It's ostensibly summer, but I can't imagine anything less summery than this dark and dank July we're having so far!  Like with the weather, my perfume choices have been a bit all over the place, too.

Monday brought Tangerine Vert from Miller Harris, a herbal-fresh and zingy citrus that was perfect for blasting away those dreadful Monday morning blues!  This and Hermes Eau d'Orange Vert are very similar mood-lifters for me, both feature, I think, a little hit of mint amongst the orange and other leafy green herbs, and it's bother awakening and refreshing, and just that little bit "different" to a normal lemony-citrus as a result.  I wore Tangerine Vert with Charlotte Tilbury Walk of Shame lipstick, which is a great brown-ish neutral that teeters on that 1990's-style rust, but just avoids it.

Tuesday was Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initiale, and byTerry Cherry Cherry lipstick (stupid name, great pink).  I was in Paris for the launch of Parfum Initiale a couple of years ago, and so it will always have a special place in my heart - I love the velvety iris and smooth vanilla, it's also surprisingly rich and earthy (almost  ... carroty!) for what was intended at the time to be a teenage girl's way into the world of Shalimar.  It's very different to many ostensibly "teenage" fragrances, not smelling of sugar and fruit, which is why I think it has been discontinued, and why that increasingly Le Petite Cherie Robe Noire, with it's cherries and black tea, and hints of chocolate has taken over as the flagship Guerlain fragrance.  Don't get me wrong, LPCRN is good, but it's just not as interesting (to me) as Parfum Initiale is.  Was.  Whatever.

Wednesday found me in Estee Lauder Alliage.  I love Alliage, as perfect an example of the pinnacle of seventies chypres as can be, it is both bitter green and blinding white, with galbanum and moss and crystalline white flowers, you could wear a tweed jacket and starched white shirt with this and it would be perfect.  I own neither, and wore it with black jersey (my default) and still managed to feel like a grownup all day.  I do think Lauder neglect their amazing back catalogue rather horribly in favour of their newer releases a great deal - does the world really need four versions of Modern Muse above some of the genuine classics in the Lauder catalogue?  Does Kendall Jenner read Descartes in the original? - but the fact that their classics are still available, and largely untouched, and accessibly priced is a great, great thing.  Go try some of them.  Also only of my favourite reasonably priced brands is Pixi, and this lipstick in Raspberry Blush is amazingly good and pretty.

Thursday was Vaara by Penhaligons.  I love Vaara.  It's a fruity-floral, normally a category I eschew, but it is interesting and original, redolent of quinces and a hint of saffron, over a bed of coriander (the seed,  not the leaf) and is beautiful and gorgeous and wonderfully radiant. I love wearing it.  It also has one of the prettiest boxes Penhaligons have ever done.  The lipstick was Givenchy Le Rouge in Carmin Escarpin, which is the lipstick I wore in Paris on my honeymoon, that's how much I love it.

On Friday, I wore Marrakesh Intense by Aesop.  This blend of rose, black pepper and cardomom is both spiky and powdery and wonderfully evocative, it makes me a little woozy in the best possible way when I wear it.  I do have to confess that I have a sneaking preference for the original Marrakesh formula, which punches up both the spiky black pepper, and the plush cardamom over the silky rose, but this is still magnificent, and has better lasting power overall.  The lipstick was Punch Pop by Clinique, which is one of my all-time favourite pink lipsticks.

Saturday was a lazy day in front of the TV, frankly, so I wore things that didn't take much thinking about: Bagatelle de Gabrielle by Omorovicza, which is a gently pretty, rather prim, little white floral based on, but not overwhelmed by orange blossom.  It's rather a "spa" kind of scent.  Pretty, but slightly unmemorable.  I paired it with Aerin Rose lip balm. To be honest, I'm left slightly cold by the whole Aerin Lauder cosmetics "concept" (though, I admit I do love her homewares - someone needs to bring them to the UK STAT!), it's all a bit wishy-washy "makeup for people who don't really like makeup" for me, but the perfumes are nice in a Jo Malone-ish kind-of-a-way, and this particular balm is very much a winner.

What've you been wearing this week?

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Skincare of the Week 12 June 2016

Get Lippie Skincare of the Week 12 June 2016 featuring Zelens, Votary London, Omorovicza, Clinique, Tata Harper, La Roche Posay, La Potion Infinie, Alpha H, Silke London

I've been on a blog-hiatus. It wasn't intended, but it just sort of happened, and, I have to admit, I've rather enjoyed it.  I'm just now entering my eighth year of blogging (you read that right), so that's seven years of Sunday afternoons that I've spent at my computer,which equates to nearly a solid YEAR of taking pictures, editing pictures (always the worst part, tbh), actually doing the writing and doesn't even slightly take into account the hours I spend getting to events, reading press releases, testing products and the thinking (oh my god, the THINKING) about blog posts even before I sit down to write them!  

So, because I've been enjoying NOT blogging for a couple of months, its crossed my mind that maybe I should retire.  Year end was super-busy at work this year, and we just moved house, and I've been tired - so very, very tired - and the thought of adding blogging back into that particular mix has just been ... depressing. Another thing to worry about, and another obligation.  That said, I've been loving Instagram very much lately, pop on over!

Retiring from blogging at Get Lippie completely has been a tempting option under the circumstances, like the thought of going on a lovely, looooooooong, holiday.  Blogging, particularly beauty blogging, is both a bit of a rat-race and a popularity contest these days, and I'm never going to be Zoella or Pixiwoos.  Hell, I'm barely even Get Lippie these days! Luckily, I don't rely on my blog to make my living - there's no sponsorship or endorsement deals here - but, now I'm out of work-madness time, and we've practically got the new flat sorted,  I'm going to give a couple of Sundays* back up to the blogging muse, and see what occurs. 

So, yeah, skincare is what we're meant to be talking about, apparently, not my existential crisis, so here's some skincare chat:

I'm attempting to use up my much-beloved Zelens Intense Defence Serum, because it's nearly at the end, and that will make it the only serum I've used up in several years!  I love this stuff, on my picky, overly sensitive, prone-to-redness skin, this acts like a bandage, protecting it from all kinds of pollutants and cushioning it from the effects of overly harsh weather, or unsuitable skincare products.  I've been boosting it with Zelens Power D Drops in recent weeks, and I'll be giving a full review of those soon.

Clinique sent me a bumper pack of their Moisture Surge products the other week, and, whilst I've had trouble with gel-formula moisturisers in the past (they tend to be heavy on the silicones and irritate my skin by not letting it breathe too well), I'm really enjoying using Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief.  The stress of the last couple of months, combined with spending a lot of hours really staring at a computer - seriously, when you're getting 40 incomprehensible emails a day from a government department, you'd be screwing your face up too - have left me craving hydration, and I find this feels super-hydrating at first application and leaves my skin feeling velvety and wonderful, without the little angry bumps I can get from too many silicones.

Silke London "The Isla" Silk Hair Wrap in Green and Blue Get Lippie 20160612

Something else new that I'm trying right now is the Silke London silk hair wrap.  I've been toying with wrapping my hair for a while now, having found that sleeping on a silk pillow case makes a huge difference to my hair, but couldn't find a 100% silk wrap that I liked. Then Silke London launched, and I had to have one, so treated myself to an Isla, which is the green and blue version.  It's essentially a silk turban, and looks impossibly glamorous on the right person.  I am not the right person, and look like Hilda Ogden after a minor lottery win in mine, so there will be no selfies wearing it, but I'll keep you posted ...

How's your week been?  I've not retired.  Yet.

*But not next Sunday.  Ironically, I'm going on holiday ... ;)
The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Sunday, 15 May 2016

Skincare of the Week 15th May 2016

Skincare sets including Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser, Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse and Santa Maria Novelli Rose Water

Last week was a really stressful one, with deadlines and auditors galore, I'm still recovering! Hopefully now both the house move and the audit are over, I'll have a little more time free to do some blogging and cataloguing my collection of ... stuff.  I've had a few new releases recently too, and I'll get around to photographing them soon.  Anyhoo, skincare-wise, I've been a bit all over the place, and I'm just now getting back into a routine after a recent bout of sensitivity, which caused me to have to omit a few things.  I'm slowly adding some bits back, and so Zelens Skincare Power D Drops are re-appearing in my routines.

Notable newness I've added this week includes Dermalogica Pre Cleanse, a thin and light lavender-scented oil which is perfect for a morning cleanse when you don't need any makeup removal. It's rather scented though, but very lovely.  I've also invested in a bottle of Santa Maria Novelli Rose Water to help soothe my stressed skin.  I love to splash this on all over first thing in the morning and it smells delicious.

What's the latest on your face? 

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Monday, 2 May 2016

Skincare of the week 2nd May 2016

I'm trialling a couple of new bits and pieces at the moment, mostly from Zelens.  The new pieces I've added to my routine are the Zelens Power D Treatment Drops, which I've been adding to my serums this week for a lovely antioxidant boost, and I've been using them alongside the Zelens Hydra Shiso Balancing Moisturiser too.  Loving the treatment drops, but I really need to re-try the moisturiser - I had a touch of sensitivity towards the end of the week (which I think was related to a rather silicone-heavy cosmetic product I'd been using), so I'll be gradually re-introducing the skincare back to my routine over the next week or so.  I was also introduced to Erborian Eau Ginseng toner this week, which is a lovely moisturising step in my routine.  I'm really enjoying using splash toners at the moment, they're a bit less shocking than sprays, first thing in the morning!   Plus, you can really feel the difference in what they do to your skin, as you apply.  (I also have plans to use this as an occasional eye mask, I've been doing a lot of squinting at a computer recently, and the dehydration lines I've been suffering with as a result are no joke, believe me!).

What's new in your routine these days? 

The Fine Print: A mixture of PR samples and purchases

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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Skincare of the Week 7th February 2016

Get Lippie Skincare of the week 7 February 2016
A mixed bag skincare-wise this week, I started the week with a Zelens-heavy routine (have I mentioned how much I love Zelens?  It's true, I do), and, I still love a full routine from them - in particular the Z Recovery Intensive Repair Balm, which is a lifesaver.  A non-greasy balm that sinks in, heals and nourishes stressed skin, I've used it after operations, during illness, after allergic reactions, on burnt skin, and occasionally - just once in a while, mind - I use it as a particularly hydrating moisturiser too.  I'm near the end of this jar, and need to stock up, now I come to think of it.

The rest of the week has seen Tata Harper products settling in to become regular choices in my usual routine (instead of me being merely obsessed with them), and I've rotated some ByTerry choices from the Cellularose range into my routine too. The Cellularose range smells absolutely divine, but the oil only emulsifies partially, which is a bit odd, but I still like using it, regardless.

I'm trialling a new foundation at the moment, so I've been using a variety of moisturisers and oils  in order to give it a range of bases to work on.  I'm nice like that.  Moisturisers this week have included Kate Somerville Goat Cream (an eternal favourite), Laura Mercier Flawless Skin (a new addition after it turned up at Christmas) Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisturising Jelly (love this stuff for hydrating without greasiness) Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturiser (which I love an unreasonable amount) and, of course, the aforementioned Z Recovery, which is aces.

This week was all about the lipstick though, and more about that later.  What's been on your face? 

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Clinique Sweet Pots ptII - Black Honey and Red Velvet

It's hard having completist tendencies.  I mentioned Clinique Sweet Pots a couple of weeks ago, and mentioned that I wanted Red Velvet and Black Honey.  And lo! Here are Red Velvet and Black Honey (note to Clinique, I can't resist Black Honey anything, as well you know).  From left to right here are Candied Cassis, Orange Blossom and Pink Framboise, then Red Velvet and Black Honey.  Basically, I'm writing this paragraph to see how many times I can write the phrase "Red Velvet and Black Honey" without wanting to gouge my eyes out.  It's okay, I think I've reached my limit now.

This isn't really a review, I reviewed them a couple of weeks ago, but I thought people might like to see two more shades, particularly Black Honey, as that's not available in stores.

 I really like both of these shades, my favourites from the range are Black Honey, Red Velvet and Candied Cassis, how about you?

The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Skincare of the Week 24 January 2016

Skincare featuring: Tata Harper, May Lindstrom, Dr Dennis Gross, Omorovicza, Vichy, Clinique, Pixi Beauty, Zelens

 This week was another Tata Harper-heavy week, I've totally fallen in love with one of the products, and I *like* the others, but for me, the Refreshing Cleanser really is the outstanding product of the range so far.  There's a full review of just why I like it so much coming up later this week.  I also went for a Tata Harper facial, at the always-excellent Content Beauty and Wellbeing in Marylebone this week, and you can look out for a full review of that later this week too.

It has been a very cold week this week, and I've found that the Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturiser, whilst being otherwise excellent, hasn't given quite enough protection from the weather as I would like, so I've been using the wonderful (again, a full review upcoming this week!) Omorovicza Miracle Oil as a base for my foundation, which adds just a tiny extra boost of hydration, and weather protection, without adding an extra layer of skincare.   I'm still formulating my thoughts on the Dr Dennis Gross Ferrulic + Glycolic Eye Cream, but thoughts are mostly positive so far. 

Even though I've mostly dropped acids from my routine this week, skin has been quiet and smooth and less red.  Result!  Just a short roundup this week, because I'm doing a few in-depth reviews to supplement in the coming days.  How's your skin been?

The Fine Print: PR Samples and purchases.

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Friday, 22 January 2016

Clinique Sweet Pots

Clinique Sweet Pots in Orange Blossom, Candied Cassis and Pink Framboise

Packaged like macarons, and available in the sweetest of shades, the Clinique Sweet Pots are rather cute and lovely. This is Candied Cassis, Orange Blossom and Pink Frambois.

Clinique Sweet Pots in Orange Blossom, Candied Cassis and Pink Framboise
Yeah, I broke the cardinal blogging rule and swatched before shooting!

Consisting of a finely-textured sugar scrub and a gently tinted balm in either side, these are Clinique's answer to Lush's Lip Scrubs.  The idea is that you take the macarons apart, scuff your lips with the scrubby side, then apply the balm to keep your lips soft for hours afterwards.

Clinique Sweet Pots in Orange Blossom, Candied Cassis and Pink Framboise

The scrub is really finely textured, and I found I had to dig through the top layer of balm to get to the sugary stuff below, but it's not too grainy and hard once you're scrubbing. The balms are soft, and sweet - I can't discern any particular flavour, but your mileage may vary on this, owing to my smell problems - and I find them very hydrating, they remind me of the really good Superbalm that they do. Contrary to the rather dramatic shades in the pot, the balms are very very sheer, and add only a whisper of colour to the lips when you wear the balm.

Clinique Sweet Pots in Orange Blossom, Candied Cassis and Pink Framboise

 Now, to the price, they're undeniably expensive. They are £15 each, and the amounts of both scrub and balm that you get is quite small, considering the size of the pot - the majority of the bulky, but very pretty, packaging is the ring that holds the balm and scrub in one place. Compare this to the £5.50 that a Lush Lip Scrub will cost (which, of course, doesn't come with a matching balm), and the price seems a little extortionate.  That said, I have just bought the Red Velvet and online exclusive shade of Black Honey to round out my collection ...

Now, Clinique, just what does a blogger have to do to get the Black Honey Superbalm made permanent in the UK, please??? 

The Fine Print: PR samples

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Desert Island Skincare

I was wondering, briefly, what I would take if I had to pare down my skincare routine right down to its very, very basics.   I get lots of people mentioning that I use a wide range of products on my skin, and if I think that's a good idea, bearing in mind that my skin is quite sensitive.  My reply is usually that whilst I do rotate products quite a bit, I tend to stick to tried and trusted favourites, and just swap in one new product into my routine at a time.  If you follow me on Instagram at all, you'll see my morning face routines on the day, and there's usually a core of products that I use, and only swap one product or so a day.

Picking my core, desert island skincare was difficult.  Very, very, very the end, I narrowed it down to these nine items, and I made them mostly old favourites, because, whilst I've trialled some amazing skincare - some that I'm convinced will be future classics, I haven't been using them long enough to see if they make the "repurchase" hall of fame.  All of the products featured here, with the exception of one, have passed that particular hurdle, and in spades

First things first, cleansing.  I picked two cleansers, one a basic no frills, no scents, no luxury cleanser, which is perfect for sensitive skin, and also makes a great makeup remover, and that is Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil.  I've not reviewed this yet (but I will), but I love it for days when my skin is acting up, and I want something that my skin won't - can't - react to.  For a cleanser that is the exact opposite, that is luxurious in every single way, smells divine, beautifully textured, and fantastic for a second cleanse, I chose Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm.  Follow the link for a full review.

Toner.  There was only ever one "toner" on this list, and that was, of course, La Roche Posay Serozinc.  I play with others, but the zinc in Serozinc makes all the difference to my skin.  For an acid tone, however, I chose Zelens PHA+ Bio Peel Facial Resurfacing Pads because they are glycolic-free, and my skin tolerates them better than any other acid toner on the planet.  There is a rumour going around that I only bought the Caroline Hirons Beauty Box recently because I needed to stock up on these, and I only wish I could deny that ...

Serum-wise, I went with Artemis by Sunday Riley.  This was an incredibly difficult choice, and I uhmmed and ahhhed about putting Hydraluron in its place instead. In the end I went with Artemis because it is more of a multi-purpose product, which you can use as an oil or a serum, and it's anti-inflammatory qualities make it a great product for skin prone to sensitivity or redness, like mine. I'd miss Hydraluron though.

I guess you could also call  May Lindstrom's Blue Cocoon a serum, but it's a balm that turns into an oil, and it's fantastic for sensitive skin.  I use it whenever my skin is flaring up, or when it needs a little extra protection, either from products or from the weather.  It's truly a desert island product in that I can't imagine life without it.

Speaking of balms, the Nuxe Reve de Miel never ever makes it onto my skincare of the day posts, but it is a product I use every single day without fail. It softens the lips beautifully and prepares them for lipstick perfectly.  I love the matte texture, and this version, "Love" has a lovely orange flavour, which I like more than the original honey version.

For eyes, I chose Omorovicza Blue Diamond Eye Cream, which I have enjoyed using a great deal this year.  Whilst I wouldn't describe it as my holy grail eyecream - which I'm not sure exists, tbh - it is a very, very good eyecream.  Except the price will make your eyes water ... 

And finally, moisturiser.  Now, I'm pretty much of the opinion that if you get everything else right, you can use pretty much anything as a moisturiser, to be honest, but I make an exception for this, Kate Somerville Goat Cream.   Moisturising, soothing, and also gently exfoliating (it's packed with lactic acid) this is a moisturiser beyond compare.  I can't wait for Kate Somerville skincare to come back to the UK.  I hear rumours that it's on the horizon, and, as soon as I hear anything confirmable, I'll let you know.

So there you go.  If I could only use a few products, these would be the ones I would choose. I think. What skincare products couldn't you live without?

The Fine Print: PR Samples and purchases

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Sunday, 13 December 2015

LipsNspritz 13 December 2015

I really enjoyed this week's #LipsNspritz, thanks to making a stupendous discovery about Shalimar that I've always missed before.  Sometimes having a "before" nose and an "after" nose thanks to my anosmia and my parosmia has it's blessings!  Anyway, more about that when I get to the Thursday part of today's post.

Monday was Aesop Marrakech Intense with Lanolips Apples.  I love the peppery-spicy rose of the original Aesop Marrakech a huge amount, without at all falling into the Christmassy spice trap, it's a true treat for spice lovers.  Ironically, Marrakech Intense drops a little of the peppery-tickly spiciness in favour of a brighter, greener, altogether fresher (without actually turning into a "fresh" scent) take on the spice market, but it's still lovely, nonetheless.  It's rosier too, and slightly easier to wear as a result, I guess.  Lanolips Apples is a lovely red balm that nourishes a treat on the lips, and never looks fuchsia when you're wearing it, which is something I really appreciate.

Tuesday brought DSquared2's She Wood and Givenchy Le Rouge Givenchy in Rose Dressing.  Sadly, something in the formulation of She Wood smells "burned" to my parosmic nose, and I wasn't able to get past that to smell anything else in there, but I'm given to understand that She Wood is a pleasant woody fragrance, designed to smell good to women who like to wear men's fragrances - it has vetiver in the base, which is, I suspect what my nose is reacting too.  I'll smell this one again in a few months, I think and see what happens then.  Givenchy le Rouge Givenchy  in Rose Dressing is a lovely neutral rose-pink, perfect for unthreatening days in the office.

Wednesday was YSL Black Opium and Lipstick Queen Rat Pack.  I'd not smelled Black Opium before, and it's a nice fragrance, but it's about as far removed from the original Opium as, say, the smell of freshly brewed coffee is.  Inoffensive, and packaged in a gorgeously sparkly bottle, it's a great perfume for people who don't remember the original, and just want to smell "nice".  Lipstick Queen Rat Pack, from the Velvet Rope collection is a fabulous red lipstick though, feather light, and with a HUGE punch of pigment, it's one of my favourites.  

On Thursday, I thought I'd wear Guerlain.  For some reason, in spite of not, actually, liking it very much, I have acquired at least five bottles of Shalimar, of differing strengths, formulations and vintages, but the old classic and I have never really gotten along that well.  I've always found it a thick, rather oily and smoky perfume, like an old fur jacket that's spent too long around cigar smokers, and I've found the vanilla overpowers literally everything else in the fragrance. I've read myriad reviews of Shalimar that rave about the bright and sparkling bergamot opening, but for some reason, my nose has always gone straight to the base, and not found it lovely.  However, this week, after having not worn Shalimar at all for a couple of years I sprayed it with some trepidation and presto!  Bright and sparkling bergamot ahoy!  It was a glorious revelation, all the more precious because I've literally never smelled it before.  Best of all, the bergamot beat the vanilla into submission so this was infinitely more wearable for me than ever before, parosmia or no parosmia. A happy discovery, and I'm looking forward to trying more of my Shalimar wardrobe as a result.  Lipstick was Guerlain Rouge G in Madame Flirte, a lovely soft red.

I was interviewing candidates for a job on Friday morning, so nothing too unusual or outré was required and this Eau des Minimes from Couvent Des Minimes was just what the doctor ordered.  A clean and classic herbaceous-citrus cologne, it was bright and lively, and not too long-lived.  And can I just say how much I love the packaging?  It's really rather lovely.  I wore Lipstick Queen Saint Wine, which may just be my favourite lipstick of all time with it.  Didn't want to scare the poor accountants!

Saturday was a pyjama day - still trying to shake this hideous cold off - but I dug out my bottle of Guerlain Teazzurra, which is one of their Aqua Allegorica collection (and, I believe, soon to be discontinued, so if you've been interested in it at all, then you might want to snap one up now).  Teazzurra is based around citrus and black tea accords, and it smells like nothing more than sweet, sift and lovely lemon tea.  Not the most sophisticated fragrance, possibly, and definitely not very complex, it doesn't last at all long, but it's lovely whilst it does.  I wore it with a Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Plushest Punch, because even when you're ill, sometimes you want to look (and smell) nice, don't you?

What've you been wearing this week?
The Fine Print: PR Samples and purchases.

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Skincare of the Week - 13 December 2015

Not a hugely exciting week skincare-wise, admittedly - I'm still ill and still look like death warmed up (if death was into the fourth week of a cough that makes them puke at regular intervals, that is) - but I did get my Caroline Hirons Skincare box this week, so from Tuesday onwards you can see the Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum, and the Dr Dennis Gross Retinol Eye Cream have been added to my regular rotation.   I can't judge their results yet - indeed, it would be unfair to do so, seeing how grotty I look generally at the moment, to be honest - but they're a nice addition to my routine and I'm looking forward to seeing how they work generally once I recover.  The box was a good one though, especially as I got back ups of some longtime faves, the May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon Balm, alongside the Zelens PHA+ Bio Peel Resurfacing Pads, in the box too.  But more about those products in particular later this week.

I also added some Hydraluron back into my routine, both in the serum and the moisturising jelly formulation. I do like a bit of hyaluronic acid in my routine, and I like Hydraluron very much - I especially like the moisturising jelly as a great hydrating moisturiser for oily/combination skin that doesn't need an oily cream over the top as well.  They were on offer at Boots recently, £30 for the serum, the jelly and a box of sheet masks for £30, which is a humongous bargain!  I may have bought a couple of them!

I think my dreadful cough is on the wane now, hopefully I'll be back to looking like a human by Christmas ...

The Fine Print: Stuff and things from my cupboard and that.

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Monday, 7 December 2015

Clinique Deep Comfort Body Oil


First things first; I don't have dry skin. Secondly, I don't use body lotion, as a rule.  These two facts may be related.  I do, however, occasionally get dry shins in winter.  I wear trousers a lot, don't wear a full-length coat for fear of looking like a hobbit, and so my shins, protected only by my trousers and the tights I usually wear beneath are the bits of my body most exposed to the weather, really.  There's always a week, every winter where my shins get so dry and flaky that they ITCH like nothing on earth and it drives me bananas.

And still body lotion seems like too much of a faff, frankly.  They're always too scented, or too thick, or just take too damn long to rub in, and I just can't be bothered.  Enter Clinique Deep Comfort Body Oil, a light spray that has just enough heft to be able to hydrate even the most crocodilesque of shins, yet is light enough to barely need any rubbing in whasoever.  It literally sinks into skin almost as soon as it is sprayed on, and soothes the itchiest of limbs.  I love it.

At £21 or so for quite a small 125ml bottle, however, I suspect my drier-skinned friends (of whom I have many) will be cursing at the price.  Admittedly you don't need very much at all, I found one spray per shin plenty to go around. For me, based on two weeks a year usage, and two sprays per shin per day, whilst I doubt I'll ever finish the bottle in this lifetime, as an emergency itch-relief product, it can't be beaten.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Skincare of the Week 06.12.15

Having sensitive skin whilst the seasons are changing can be awkward, certainly I find that I have to be extra careful with the active ingredients in skincare when the weather is at its least predictable.  Still being ill with a cough really isn't helping, either. My skin has been on the verge of being really reactive this week (I can usually tell as tiny bumps start appearing on my temples), so I've swapped my routines around a bit, to be a bit kinder to my skin.

I have dropped the acids from my daytime routines and I'm now only using them a couple of times a week - at night.  This gives my skin time to recover from using them whilst I sleep, and stops my skin getting irritated by the weather so much during the day.  I'm going to avoid using glycolic all over for a while until my skin settles down again.

In other news, I've re-introduced one of my all-time favourite skincare brands back into my routine - namely Kate Somerville.  I'm so happy to have Goat Cream (you can see it in my Thursday PM pic above) back in my routine.  It's gentle and soothing, and thanks to the lactic acid, it's also ever so slightly exfoliating.  I've been using the Pixi Skintreats Glow Peel Pads to exfoliate my chin separately, however, as I have a semi-permanent build up of sebum there, and I'm hoping the 20% glycolic on those pads will help deal with that.

Now, if only these things helped with cold sores ...

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Skincare of the week 29.11.15

I've been ill for a fortnight now - why there weren't any posts on the blog last week, sorry! And this is the skincare I've been using to help myself look approximately normal again.  It's not working, I still look like death warmed up, but at least my skin isn't blotchy and flaking.  For now ...

Monday brought Biologique Recherche Lait, with PixiBeauty Glow Tonic, Murad Eye Cream, Medik8 Red Skin serum (something I'm starting to truly love and rely on), and SkinCeuticals moisturiser - of which there is a full review coming up, because it's a great product on my sensitive oily-combination skin. Oh, and Serozinc, which is an all-time favourite!

Tuesday was the same,  only I swapped in Bioderma Crealine spray for the Serozinc (and in all honesty, I use them both interchangably - if you have one, you probably don't need the other), plus I added in Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic, for more hydration.  Tuesday was a long day at the office, and I knew I'd need a boost of hydration to get through the day, but I needed a bit of exfoliation first to make it sink in well, so the morning also brought in my much-loved Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner.

Wednesday was one of those days where I woke up super exhausted, and it was showing on my face, so I wanted some lovely, buffering, comforting skincare, so I dug out my beloved (truly beloved) May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon Balm, which is an amazing skincare product for sensitised slightly reactive skin like mine.  A rich balm that melts into an oil, and contains natural anti-histamines in the form of blue tansy oil, I use it as a night treatment mostly, but it's superb at protecting from the weather, on occasion.

Thursday - I'm experimenting with the Kiehls' Ultra Facial moisturiser at the moment, which I really liked in conjunction with the Blue Cocoon Balm, and, just because I could, I did a double-cleanse with PixiBeauty Nourishing Cleansing Balm, and Bioessense Miracle Cleansing Water Cleansing Jelly (about which more soon).  I don't normally double-cleanse in the morning , but sometimes you just want to kick things up a bit.

FridayKATE SOMERVILLE is back in my routine! I received a little package of the products a while ago, and I've been holding onto them (along with the KS products I've been keeping in my fridge for a good few months now too - thanks to kind friends and family who have been to the US this year, and dragged some back for me) till now.  You're going to be seeing a lot of KS in the coming weeks, but it's always a joy to use them.  I'm currently using the Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturiser, and the Age Arrest Eye Cream, but I'll be rotating a couple of other products in and out of my routine for a couple of weeks.  I also have a couple of pots of Goat Cream, but I'm keeping those mainly as night creams right now.

Saturday - I wanted to do a routine composed entirely of favourite products, both old and new ones, and this was the result.  Zelens Balm Cleanser, which I left on my face for a good five or ten minutes as a mask before removing (not deliberate, but it felt really nice, actually!) Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner, Serozinc, Zelens Antioxidant Serum, and three (count them!) Kate Somerville products, the aforementioned Nourish and Age Arrest eyecream, alongside Quench Hydrating Serum, which is one of my favourite products ever.  I probably need the oil-free version for every day use, to be honest, but I do like to use this on days where I'm in no rush to apply my makeup afterwards.

How has your week in skincare been? 

The Fine Print: PR Samples, purchases, and gifts which were  until recently kept in the back of the fridge ...

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Sunday, 15 November 2015

LipsNspritz 15 November 2015

I was ill on Wednesday, and yesterday (the day after the Paris terrorist attacks), rightly or wrongly, it simply didn't feel appropriate to celebrate lipstick and perfume on Instagram, so a shortened #LipsNspritz this week.

 Monday brought Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Walk of Shame wjhich is a lovely neutral berried-rose shade (seriously difficult to describe this one, it's not red, and it's not brown) which is one of my favourites for looking polished without drawing attention to itself.  Inspired by the name, I wore it with Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa, which is Aqua di Parma's hairy-chested big brother, fresh from a hot shower, and about to put on his medallion and dancing shoes. The smell of hot soap, shaving cream, and chest hair, it's about as masculine as it is possible to be.

On Tuesday, I went to the opposite extreme, pairing Estee Lauder Private Collection - the smell of bitter, green boardrooms, shoulder pads, and perfect manicures - with Clinique Color Pop in Kiss Pop.  I liked the idea of pairing the mature femininity of Private Collection with a bubblegum confection of a lipstick.

Thursday brought what is likely to be one of at least five appearances for Guerlain Shalimar in one guise or another.  Seriously, for a fragrance I don't, in all honestly actually like that much, I sure do own a lot of bottles of it!  This time around I wore it's perfect entry-point fragrance: Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial, which as it has the addition of a lot of buttery, carroty, rooty iris in the opening is much easier to wear than the tar, fur and vanilla of "grown-up" Shalimar.  I wore it with red lips, regardless, breaking out the Guerlain Gloss d'Enfer in Rouge Parade, which was last year's Christmas lipgloss from Guerlain, and I like it very much indeed.

And finally, because I had a day off on Friday, and was just wandering around a very wet and windy North London (because: reasons), I wore simple and yet still lovely Aerin Waterlily Sun. Which is an aquatic floral - an unknowingly apt choice, considering the bright sunshine I applied it in first thing Friday morning!  It's very lovely, and it's something I wear quite regularly when I just want to smell pretty and simple. I paired it with Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Stain in Swank, which is a sheer and pretty red colour.

What've you been wearing?

The Fine Print: PR Samples and purchases.

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Skincare of the Week 15th November 2015

This was a week of two halves, pre-facial (Monday and Tuesday) and post-facial (Weds-Friday).  Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal routines for me, I'd had a bit of an itchy face over the weekend, so broke out some bits and pieces from my "SOS" kit - and more about my sensitive skin routine in detail soon, btw - from Darphin and Clarins to soothe, but it was only a temporary itch once I'd discovered the culprit, which was a night cream I've been testing.  Dropping that for a few days really helped cure the itchy cycle!

I've introduced a new eye product, which is the Murad Renewing Eye Cream, which is a slightly thick cream that promises to diminish wrinkles and deal with dark circles and bags.  After a week of use, I can say it's good, but that I haven't seen any spectacular results so far!  I'll keep you posted. Post-facial, I've introduced some Biologique Recherche products, specifically BR Lait U - a nut-milk based cleanser designed for oil-combination skins, and Sérum Extraits Tissulaires, which is designed to help strengthen and moisturise stressed skin.  I can't recommend a Biologique Recherche facial highly enough at the moment, I had mine at EF Medispa in Kensington, and I loved it.  So thorough, and with excellent - visible - results for several days afterwards.  I was also recommended the cult product Lotion P50W, (which is the sensitive skin version) but sadly they were out of stock on the day. I can tell that I do still need some kind of daily exfoliating product, however, hence the re-appearance of Clarins Gentle Exfoliator on the Friday routine.

In other news, I'm trying to use cooler water to cleanse with - whilst steam is fabulous for skin, I am beginning to wonder if using hot water on my face so much is exacerbating my redness problems.  I'll let you know how this experiment goes!  The idea of cold water on my face on winter mornings doesn't fill me with joy, I have to admit ...

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Clinique Days of the Week Lipstick Set

To say I have no need for a Day of the Week lipstick set would be a mild understatement - I probably have enough lipsticks here for a Days of the Year lipstick set, if not eighteen months - but nonetheless when this turned up last week I laughed.  It's great.

Containing seven not-quite-full-size, but also not-quite-miniature lipsticks, one (you might have guessed) for each day of the week, this is both witty and fun.

The shades are (l-r):
Sweet Sunday - A soft taupe-pink mid-nude.
Monday Mojo - a cool fuchsia with blue micro-shimmer
Take On Tuesday - A pink-nude
Welcome Wednesday - warm caramel
Throwback Thursday - Baby Pink
Finally Friday - A deep, slightly warm pink
Sassy Saturday - deep warm red.

It's a cute and clever gift idea, the lipsticks will cover most colourings and most occasions.  They're all in the Soft Shine formulation, which is a mid-coverage but non-drying formula.  Whilst not totally sheer, they're shiny and easy to wear:

And they're only £35 for seven lipsticks.  What finer present for a lipstick lover (even a lipstick lover with more lipsticks than she knows what to do with) than that?

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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