TESTED: Tinted moisturisers – the face of summer

As a paid beauty junkie, writing about the virtues of a cabinet full of lotions and potions for six years at various magazines, I’m often asked what makes it into my own make-up bag (read various overstuffed trunks).

Well, my answer varies vastly depending on a/ the time of year and b/ my mood (AW10 shall herein be known as the ‘purple eye’ period). My current summer, daytime routine is light, natural and minimum-fuss (impending motherhood will do that do a gal), with the options of a strong lip (always Tom Ford) if I want to ramp things up a bit come dusk.

The foundation of my kit (forgive the pun) for summer is a hard-working tinted moisturiser. Come June I always switch for something lighter; not only because I hate the feeling of something heavy on my pores in the heat, but because frankly, I like summer’s sun-dappled skin and hiding it under a mask of foundation seems like a waste.
This post was prompted by a trip to Boots and the nostalgic rediscovery of my first tinted moisturiser – Nivea tinted moisturiser day cream.

The school-girl friendly price of £4 was probably the deciding factor for my first foray age 15, but now I can appreciate its other virtues. It’s got Vitamin E and UVA/UVB – big ticks for summer hydration and protection, and although it promises ‘light reflective pigments’ I like the fact it has a matt texture, not chalky, but by no means a shimmery finish. Freckles shine through and because it’s a Nivea moisturiser at the end of the day, it sinks in perfectly and gives really even, blemish-blurring coverage. Not bad for £4 huh?

I’ve also used all of the below for 2-3 year stints at some point or another, and all have their virtues, it just depends on your wallet:

Watermelon lightweight tinted moisturiser, Korres (£19) – I’m easily pleased on the olfactory front and the watermelon scent had me at the first squeeze of the tube. It comes in three shades, with a medium level of colour coverage. The  mineral-oil free/paraben-free formula leaves pores to breathe naturally and besides the summery scent, the watermelon extract naturally embues vitamins and amino acids galore to give parched summer skin a bit of TLC.

Moonflower tinting fluid, Madara ecocosmetics
(£20.99). I love this niche Latvian brand, the tinted fluid comes in two shades and smells of cut grass with half a herb garden thrown in for good measure. The sheer, super-light formula disappears instantly into skin, is organic, paraben-free and feels like it’s doing nothing but good for my skin.

You Rebel, Benefit (£23.50)– I started using this at 21. I’m not sure how they do it but the colour seems to work on any skin tone and just ‘adapts’ to fit. It’s got vitamins A and E, Aloe and an added SPF 15 to boot.

The ultimate Sunday roast: Lord Poulett Arms, Somerset

Copyright: lordpoulettarms.com

I was almost bored of the Lord Poulett Arms in Hinton St. George before I’d even stepped over the 17th century threshold.
My parents-in-law discovered this Somerset pub a few years ago and since then have resolutely eaten their Sunday lunch there whenever they’re in the shire. After each visit the father in law is so moved by the perfection of their roasts that he feels the urge to call and dissect the meal, roast potato by roast potato. “I get it,” I thought, “it’s good.” Oh how wrong I was.
Our inaugural LP roast took place a few weekends ago now, and yet I am still grasping friends/relatives/strangers and extolling the virtues of just How. Good. It. Was.
The Lord Poulett Arms is slap bang in the middle of the honeyed, thatched village of Hinton St. George, between Crewkerne and the A303 (if you’re heading down to the South West make the detour, I urge you). This village local is still very much that (although it looks like a photoshoot from House & Garden I grant you); and on our Sunday visit we found a reassuring number of ruddy faced farmer types propping up the bar with a flagon of local ale (Otter Ale being my local in Devon and definitely worth a tipple).

Copyright: lordpoulettarms.com

Worn flagstones under foot, vast open fires, Farrow & Ball hues and antique mismatched furniture are the order of the day, with every table taken by eager faced portly Grandpas in salmon-coloured cords, hungry toddlers slurping on Luscombe juices and us. The newbies.
After hearing about The Roast for what seems like an eternity it was the only option when ordering and as mile-high stacks of saucer-like Yorkshire puds and slabs of rare beef sail passed our table, we knew we’re onto a good thing.
Our portions soon arrived and alas, although I have no photographic proof, you’ll have to believe me when I say: it was a beautiful thing. Stacked high with a bed of root vegetables, then roast potatoes (I am a stickler for a good roastie and these passed with flying colours: golden, crunchy, fluffy but firm interior), a generous heap of the aforementioned rare beef, topped with the Yorkshire pud crown and, a genius touch, an onion ring. Each layer was done perfectly, I feel like I’m committing the ultimate betrayal here, but it even surpassed my mum’s efforts. And believe me I don’t say that lightly.
We opted for the mains/pud option (you’ll need a serious appetite to attempt all three but if you do I have it on good authority that the seafood plate to start is top-notch).
The Valrhona molten chocolate pud, lemon tart and Eton Mess were all brilliant. Plate-scrapingly so.
I’ve already booked in our next visit to try out the boule piste amongst the herb garden and after a quick peek at the rooms upstairs (£85-95 double room per night inc. breakfast) on the website, I am plotting my return for more than just the perfect roast.

Copyright: lordpoulettarms.com

2 courses are an astonishingly good £16 and three are £19. Don’t be lulled into thinking this is a quiet country pub, I’d say booking at weekends was essential. 01460 73149; lordpoulettarms.com

Laying out my stall…

New to this blog game, what I have come to understand from the good, bad and the ugly of the World Wide Web is simple. You need to get to know me, right? What is this Country Fille chick all about? What can she bring to the blog party (other than a killer Marmalade Gimlet)? Can she show me things that excite/interest/engage me? Should I care enough about what she has to say on the subject of ‘pick your own strawberries’ to give her another click? Well, gulp, I’ll try.

So, here’s my plan: chat away (not difficult), telling you about the things, places, people I think are worth shouting about – both urban and rural – and seeing if you agree. Simples, non? I appreciate to begin with I’m probably shouting this into a void (I know you’re there mum, but sorry, you don’t count), but I don’t mind, truly. The idea of a ‘scrapbook of loveliness’ came to mind when I decided to set up this website and whether I have 1 reader or a million, it’s not exactly a hard task is it?

Note: *If* you are reading my blog and give it the thumbs up please do leave a comment, I’m sat here hopefully pressing ‘refresh’ waiting to see if anyone is out there…

Introducing Country Fille…

Country Fille, Lydia Mansi, is a simple girl at heart. She left her seaside home of Sidmouth in Devon with salt in her hair and headed to Goldsmiths College, London. Here, she learnt her trade as a wordsmith, waitressed in a cocktail bar and had one too many a-symmetrical haircuts, truth be told.

At 21, via a brief job as a suited and booted finance bod in the city (it’s a mystery to her too), she ended up at the publishing house, Archant Life. Here, she cut her teeth in every department, all the while charming the pants off the editors and taking whatever commission she could; from sourcing 10 pairs of ice tongs at 9pm in Chelsea, to reviewing a vegetarian Indian restaurant in North Finchley. Finally it paid off and her first bonafide editorial role came as assistant on Grove magazine, the glossy local magazine for Notting Hill, which is where she lived in a basement studio flat, nicknamed The Hutch.

Through her journalistic endeavours around Westbourne Grove she soon discovered the joys of Portuguese custard tarts from Lisboa on Golborne Road, countered by a class at Beautcamp Pilates; nights out at Harlem (RIP) and mornings after sweating it out at The Porchester Spa… in short, she had fallen in love with inspiring readers to love where they lived.

Soon her wanderings took her south of Hyde Park, where she was immediately seduced by the glamour of the Royal Borough. An assistant editor’s role soon beckoned on The Resident, the publishing houses’ flagship title and, to those in the know, a ‘local Tatler’ for Kensington & Chelsea.

After three years of flits to exotic climes, champagne suppers in a constellation of Michelin-starred restaurants and the demise of more than a couple of credit cards on the King’s Road she upped sticks again, hotfooting it across Green Park to Mayfair, to help launch The Mayfair Resident.

Falling in love with Claridges, Heywood Hill bookshop, Burlington Arcade and Fortnum & Mason is easy for a girl to do. As is falling in love with a handsome Italian, which she did, and became his wife.

At the dawn of a new decade, editorship of NorthWest finally felt like coming home; and indeed, geographically it was, as she now lived in Kensal Rise with her very own husband and a trio of kittens. From here she could sate her country whims with stomps across Hampstead Heath and Sunday jaunts to farmers’ markets for muddy carrots.

Then, as the big 3-0 beckoned, her next challenge arrived via the cabbage patch, Country Bebe – the newest member of the Mansi brood. So, she put aside her editor’s hat (for now) and took up the mantel of motherhood – launching this website to keep the editorial cobwebs at bay and to celebrate her simple heart’s two loves: city living and country life.

Almost there…

… just give us a few more months and we’ll be ship-shape and ready for visitors. Pop your email into the box on the top right and we’ll drop you a line when we’re up and running, see you then. CF

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