Thursday, 31 January 2013

Barbara's Skin Tips

Barbara Olioso is a green chemist Green Chemist at Forest Secrets Skincare. She knows so much about skincare! I asked her for her top 10 skin tips:
  1. Cut down on sugar, replacing it with a natural substitute like xylitol. Sugar is responsible of glycation a process that "burns" your collagen out
  2. Take a good omega 3 oil supplements, essential for strengthening and protecting the skin barrier and great for the brain too
  3. Exfoliate your skin regularly, i.e. once a week. Dead skin cells are like dead leaves interfering with your skin and making it look dull
  4. Compensate the drying effects of central heating by using a good facial oil at night
  5. Cleanse your skin regularly to keep the skin in its optimal.  We shed 3-4 grams of skin each day, plus all the dirt and grime of the atmosphere - the skin is a living organ, it needs to breathe!
  6. Protect your skin from free radicals and oxidation by using a product with good antioxidants, there are a few good ones on the market that have proven antioxidant activity; such as my own Forest Secrets iRejuvenate Plus Elixir
  7. Stay away from dermal fillers and "freezing" face procedures. You are better off with a facial fitness regime - like Face Yoga - to tone your face muscles
  8. Avoid products that use petrolatum and silicones, they create a film that suffocates your skin. Always read the ingredients list
  9. Detoxify your skin with a good herbal supplement. I love Burdock root for this
  10. Smile! It exercises more face muscles than frowning, and it stimulates endorphin productions - the feel good hormone!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

SPA ILLUMINATA 10th Birthday

I popped along to Spa Illuminata in Mayfair to celebrate the spa’s 10th birthday.  We celebrated with demonstrations, skin analysis, experts and of course, lots of bubbly and nibbles. The spa looked incredible, kind of Grecian/Roman and very luxurious in a prestigious location. The staff were friendly and the treatment menu boasted pioneering therapies and deluxe treatment rooms to relax in.  
While I was there, I tried out Beauty Angel Energising Light Technology (ELT) therapy. This non-invasive treatment has been taking Europe by storm. Your skin is exposed to harmless red light which naturally boosts collagen production in your skin. This has been hailed as a ‘Botox alternative’ which revitalizes and hydrates dull, lifeless skin.
After just one session, my skin felt refreshed, looked brighter and I had a visible glow. The light was quite bright, and at the beginning, this took me by surprise. I think that you’d get used to this after a couple of sessions and (I’m no expert) but I think it might help beat SAD! Maybe it’s just that I’m not used to light of any kind at the moment!
I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a quick lift – cheaper than a holiday too!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Free People

I’m so happy Free People has come to the UK! You may remember I wrote about it a while ago. I was lucky enough to be invited along to this wondrous thing called a ‘Gifting Suite’. This is basically an opportunity to see what’s new from the brand and even take a piece or two home with me! I selected a powder pink shirt (because it reminded me of Cher’s from ‘Clueless’!) and a lovely chunky knit. If a knit could represent spring, then this would be it. Fresh and fabulous. I’ll take a picture the next time I wear it and show you.

I was really wowed by the new collection. It had some great boho-style pieces; the perfect way to reference the new ‘Globetrotter’ trend.  When I’m thin (this WILL happen before I’m 30), I’m planning to wear the tie dye shorts with a loose blouse, and ride my bike in a carefree style like the beautiful babes in the brand’s catalogue. ‘Girls on Bikes’ is an inspired theme, perfectly capturing the essence of the company’s free-spirited, natural approach.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Strip off for 2013: Hair

Every day, I use at least two different products on my hair. To stop it getting all clogged up, I give it a weekly detox. Here’s my list of go-to hair detoxers and treatment masks.

It sounds weird, but when I was trying to get rid of some ’20 washes’ hair colour, my hairdresser recommended using Head & Shoulders to speed things up. When my hair is feeling overloaded, I smooth this shampoo all over and wait 30 minutes before rinsing it off. 

This one’s fab for swimmers – it removes green hair! I’m not swimming, but can still see its detoxifying benefits. It’s sulphate and sodium chloride-free.

A protein-rich conditioner which infuses keratin directly into the hair, making it shiny and smooth.

I like to use a bit of this oil to tame flyaways after blowdrying. On second-day hair, I smother the ends to make it ultra shiny after washing. It smells divine and helps replenish keratin.

AlternaProfessional Haircare Micro-Bead Fill & Fix Treatment Masque 171ml £42.90 (in salons)

This is an intensely nourishing treatment with ‘water-activated micro-beads’. It leaves my hair looking really glossy and it smells divine. I like to coat my hair in this before I have a bath. A luxurious product I’ll use every weekend.

The perfect cleansing duo for oily scalps and lack-lustre locks. I’ve seen great results from Organic Head Detox & Purify Shampoo and Conditioner. Both products contain antioxidant rich argan extract and wheat proteins to improve hair elasticity and strengthen lengths and ends (together with other organic goodies).

The  Organic Head Detox Masque leaves my hair looking smooth, soft  and shiny. It adds volume by deeply cleansing the scalp to remove product build up. It feels like a real treat. 

A ‘revitalizing re-constructor’ for dry or damaged hair. It’s packed full of goodies, including Macadamia and Argan oil, tea tree oil, chamomile oil, aloe and algae extracts. It’s seriously conditioning, and left my hair wonderfully soft and easy to manage.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Strip off for 2013: Masks, Moisturisers and Serums

So many new products, so little time. I have pooled my New Year favourites into this little post.

Lovely one for a relaxing Sunday afternoon – it feels rich without being heavy, and
leaves my skin with a healthy glow.

I’ve been using this moisturiser every morning and have noticed a real improvement in the texture of my skin. It leaves it so smooth, in fact, that I haven’t needed a primer.

I look to this purifying mask for heavy-duty cleansing. I use it twice a week to remove the gross congestion of London town. 

SkinBrightening Exfoliating Peel™ 50ml £19.50

This brilliant peel left me with clearer, brighter looking skin – gorgeous.

Despite having access to some lovely products, I still struggle with my skin sometimes. This treatment gel keeps everything in order.

This moisturiser contains organic Seabuckthorn oil which enhances microcirculation and gives protection against aging. It’s great for skin regeneration and hydrating and sun care applications. It leaves my face feeling fresh, smooth and oil free. No primer required after this one either.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Strip off for 2013: Supplements

I decided to take a moment to remember what I put into my body, not just all the glorious things I smother it with. As well as eating lots of leafy, colourful stuff, and drink the (apparently mandatory) bucketloads of water, I have also started taking some supplements. Iron for energy, cod liver oil for my joints and zinc for general healthiness.

IMEDEEN Hair & Nails™ (RRP £23.49) has been a recent addition to my burgeoning vitamin collection.  These capsules are packed full of nutrients essential for the growth, strength and shine of hair and nails.  The results are so good, celebrity manicurist Andrea Fullerton, and celebrity hair stylist Claire Rothstein both endorse them.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Strip off for 2013: Toners

Hands up, I never used tone my face. Still, New Year, time to tone up and all that. Yes, it’s yet another step in my already complicated skincare regime, but after using these products, I can honestly say it has been a worthwhile addition, and definitely makes getting up five minutes earlier pay off. Here are some of my new favourites.

Jason C C-Effects™ Super-C™ Toner 150ml £10.49

This one really smells like it’s doing good, if that makes sense. Fresh and zesty, when I sweep it over my skin, I swear I can feel the vitamin C sinking in. A real pleasure to use, it makes my skin feel smoother and somehow more supple. It fights ageing too – a real bonus in my eyes. I’m keen to experiment with more products from the Jason C-Effects range. After using this toner, I’ve been continuing along the Vitamin C theme by following up with Murad Active RadianceSerum (this has become a staple, no matter how much my routine varies).

It’s billed as ‘an instant refresher’ on their website and I would definitely agree. It smells great a gives a really fine, moisturising mist. This one will be kept in my desk drawer for that 3pm slump. It’s also coming with me on plane trips – even if, at 100ml, it’s the only thing I carry on. A gorgeous product with very stylish packaging. 

Elemis Rehydrating Ginseng Toner combines extracts of Korean Ginseng, Quillaja Wood and Sweet Betty Flower. It feels like you’re spraying your face with a bouquet; simply lovely. 

Botanicals Organic Facial Serum: Rose & Camellia 30ml £18.95

High in GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), this intensive anti-ageing serum helps regenerate skin tissue and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It smells amazing – I like to use this before bedtime. The chamomile version is lovely too. Not technically a toner but toning and  a nice one for after cleansing so I thought I'd sneak it in regardless. 

Sisley Floral Toning Lotion £51.50 (currently on sale in Selfridges) 250ml

If a Disney princess were toning her face, she would use this. It smells like heaven and is the prettiest shade of pink. It's alcohol free to boot. It has a higher price point, but I believe you always get amazing value for money with this brand and always head for their Selfridges stand when I’m feeling flush! 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Strip off for 2013: Cleansers

After Christmas, my skin took on a puffy, pale, spotty appearance. Too many toxins, some pretty naughty food and little to no exercise had seriously taken their toll. I decided to take better care of myself in 2013 and have now started to eat more healthily and get to the gym more too. Skin-wise, a thorough cleanse seemed like the best place to start. Here are some of my favourite cleansing products.
Boots Botanics All Bright Eye Soothing Eye Make Up Remover 150ml £2.49
Think I've mentioned before that this is my favourite ever eye-make-up remover. It’s really oily and gets rid of every trace of my waterproof mascara. Amazing price, amazing product. I love the new-look Botanics packaging too.

Elemis Revitalise & Replenish Cleansing Duo £21.00
The Elemis Rehydrating Rosepetal Cleanser contains extracts of healing Rose, Lecithin and Vitamins E and F. It’s so thick and moisturising, it makes cleansing feel really luxurious – I use this one in the evening, as I prefer a face wash to wake me up in the morning. This set includes a free Rehydrating Rosepetal Cleanser too – bonus!

Biore Steam Activated Cleanser 145ml £4.99

I love this cleanser – it’s a real time-saver in the morning and I love the fact that it’s activated by steam. It goes a bit tingly and feels like it’s giving my face a really deep clean. My face always looks fresh, healthy and glowing after using this.


At last – an exfoliator which is actually pleasant to use. Thorough without being scratchy, this product succeeds in every way; it smells great, it looks great and it gives my face a really deep cleanse. It contains lotus flower and moringa extract.
Stay tuned for the second installment of this feature. Next? Toners...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Save our Sparkles!

I know the festive season is technically over, and the tinsel came down long ago, but I'm still not quite ready to give up the sparkles! This Skin Art glitter tattoo set is amazing - I did a little star on my forearm and it cheered me up no end. I was surprised at how well it lasted - even when I showered. A was too keep some twinkly shine well into 2013.

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Museum of London

I had no idea how amazing the Museum of London was! Cool 60's stuff, suffragettes memorabilia and cool costumes can all be found there. It’s a fab (and free) day out – pop along if you get a chance. Ps. The gift shop there is amazing for unusual gifts, I bought loads.

150 London Wall  City of London, Greater London EC2Y 5HN, United Kingdom
+44 20 7001 9844

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Neon Man

If, like me, you are obsessed with neon signs, then I would strongly recommend 'God's Own Junkyard' on London's Beak Street. It holds work by Chris Bracey, AKA 'The Neon Man' who, for the last 37 years has created neon masterpieces for the likes of David LaChapelle and Martin Creed. Now I just have to start saving to afford one!