30 second review: Aveeno daily moisturising after-shower mist

aveeno sprayIn the mornings I don’t have time to slather myself with moisturiser in ‘circular, upward strokes’, then hop about naked whilst it dries. As a great woman once said: ‘ain’t nobody got time for that.’ Especially mothers being harassed by a toddler demanding ‘WEEETTAAABIXXXX’ and a 5yo quizzing them on ‘pyroclastic flow’ as they shower (just me?).

It’s not a sexy, glamorous beauty find, but I was immediately sold on this ‘quick fix’ from Aveeno on my weekly Boots sweep. Call me a lazy beauty junkie, but I like easy, quick, hard-working, effective products. If they’re a faff, chances are I won’t use them, no matter how effective they are.

This fine, light-weight formula comes out in a wide aerosol mist and works upside down, making it swift and a doddle to use – I jump out the shower, roughly towel myself dry but while my skin is still damp I hosed myself down, head to toe (well not face, neck to toe). Then rub it in. Done. No dry time, not tacky or greasy.

The oat extract means it’s really softening and soothing, without any overpowering fragrance (great if you want something that doesn’t compete with your perfume).

I’ve used it post shaving without irritation, and it’s a great prep step before applying fake tan, too.

You are most welcome.

Aveeno Daily Moisturising After Shower Mist, £7.50, 200ml

*If your skin is properly reptilian, La Roche Posay’s Lipikar Baume AP+ is the serious business. I use it once or twice a week before bed when my skin is sun/sea/chlorine battered.

CF Christmas: The Elemis Beauty Treasures Collection

I’m not going to edit a complete Christmas gift guide this year, but I thought I’d do quick posts on lovely, covetable things as/when I came across them. I know that’s a bit haphazard but that’s the way I do my Christmas shopping, throughout November and December I simply keep my eyes peeled for decadent, luxurious treats (because surely that’s the point of a present?) for my loved ones and pick them up as I go.

I am very much of the school of gift-giving that believes presents should be something you absolutely wouldn’t buy yourself. Ideally something that is just too frivolous or indulgent to warrant spending your own cash on, but makes the happiest of gifts to receive. I particularly like to buy people a ‘pimped’ version of something they use everyday. My mother in law walks the dog everyday, come rain or shine, so we bought her gorgeous cashmere-lined leather gloves from Burlington Arcade last year. Similarly, as a freelance editor I spend a rather large proportion of my day in pyjamas, so she indulged me with a cashmere tracksuit that has made my working life immeasurably happier. If you know someone who loves taking baths, why not indulge this with the most gorgeous bath oils you can find? It will make their daily soak all the more special. Or if they man in your life likes a morning cup of java, why not splurge on a coffee machine so he can ditch his morning Costa addiction and make his own? Cheaper in the long-run and something he will use well past New Year’s Day.

So, in that spirit, my first ‘find’ is the Elemis Beauty Treasures Collection. Elemis are doing various size/price point gift sets this year, but they all represent a saving on their individual prices. I hate it when companies put a premium on a ‘gift set’, basically charging you a couple of extra quid for some cardboard.

So, here it is in all its glory:

Firstly, all the products are full size – which I love, too. Nothing worse than half a dozen teeny tiny bottles that do one bath or a couple of hair washes. As I scanned the contents list I realised Elemis had managed to collate all my favourite ‘hero’ products into one metallic vanity case:

Skin Nourish Bath Milk (I extolled its virtues here)
Pro-Radiance cream cleanser (perfect as a kind-to-skin, nourishing winter cleanser)
Frangipani Monoi Body Oil (hands down my favourite scent from Elemis and my summer body staple)
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream (I haven’t used this for years but seem to remember it being a real face-plumper)
Papaya Enzyme Peel (the perfect way to combat grey winter skin as this enzyme peel is a much more gentle way to lift dead cells than a physical exfoliant – it leaves my face gleaming)

See? A great mix of face and body and all best-selling Elemis formulas.

Husband, if you’re out there – this is definitely one I’d love to find under the tree.

£135 (containing £211 worth of products!!!!) – www.timetospa.co.uk

5 of the best: winter bath soaks and oils

As a mummy, there are those moments in each day that you learn to cherish. It is all too easy, especially with a teething toddler, for days to pass by in a blaze of tantrums, naps, play dates and messy mealtimes. For me, the 30 mins of each day that are sacred are those spent in the bath with Country Bebe. Just us two, alone amongst the suds.

As he is talking more and more, I’ve found it has become our little ‘de-brief’. If I’ve been at work or we’ve just had a particularly frantic day, it’s his time to tell me what he’s been up to, or for us to talk about where we’ve been or what we’ve seen. It’s amazing how passing a field of cows in the car that morning will still be at the fore-front of his thoughts 10 hours later…

When it comes to our suds of choice, with CB in the mix I like to opt for something nourishing yet as natural as I can. Preferably organic too, if poss. Here’s my top 5 favourites, with a particular Autumnal bent:

Elemis’ Milk Bath (£42, 400ml). I started using this while pregnant as it soothed my itchy, dry skin. I’ve continued to use it with CB as it is gentle yet softens and cleanses efficiently, too. I apply a little directly to our skin, as well as running a couple of capfuls under the tap. It’s got milk protein, oat extract and Japanese camellia oil to nourish and keep skin supple. I’ll be honest, I use it on CB as it makes him smell sweet and milky, like a newborn. Which as any mother will attest is THE BEST SMELL EVER.

Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Nurturing Bath Essence (£16, 3.4fl oz) has a trio of oils (jojoba, avocado and almond) to seriously protect and nourish winter skin. I picked this up last week and tried it last night and fell in love with the velvety, soothing rose aroma that filled the bathroom with just a capful. A great alternative to lavender if you’re looking for a nurturing, harmonising bath-time soak.

Burt’s Bees Lemon and Vitamin E Bath and Body Oil (£9.99, 4fl oz) is more of a zesty pick-me-up, perhaps not ideal just before bed, aromatherapily speaking (it’s definitely a word), but I love, love, love this oil. The sweet almond and Vitamin E oils are REALLY moisturizing (I can skip the moisturizer after using this in the tub) and I like that it’s 100% natural, too.

For the last two years I have used Weleda’s Calendula baby range with CB pretty consistently, if you’re looking for a baby toiletry range as a gift, or as a new mum, this is it. When I do have the bath to myself, I’ve discovered their gorgeously autumnal Horse Chestnut bath soak (£14.95, 200ml) that is brilliant for soothing tired, achey limbs. Horse chestnut seed, along with arnica, have properties to ‘liven the spirit’, which in practice seems to leave me feeling rested, yet restored. A brilliant buy this month.

Lastly, a truly indulgent buy. One I haven’t made for a couple of years, since my Westbourne Grove dwelling/Beauty Editor days. But I still remember that chunky green bottle fondly: Bamford Body’s Geranium, Lavender and Peppermint bath oil (£40, 250ml):

This trio of extracts is the PERFECT balance: geranium is floral yet not cloying or ‘granny-ish’, the lavender is blissfully restful and the peppermint livens everything up and stops it being too sweet. It is truly a perfect blend. I have tried to replicate it at home, using a base of sweet almond and apricot kernel oil as Bamford have done but have never quite managed to replicate it. The Rosemary body oil they used to do was equally sublime.

Other tub-related favourites are Ila-Spa’s Bath Salts for Inner Peace – sandalwood and jasmine – 30 mins soaking in these is almost meditative; Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength bath and shower oil will always be close to my heart as it truly has the ability to lift the spirits and a good slug of Green & Spring’s relaxing bath foam transforms the bathroom to an English kitchen garden (rosemary, comfrey and lavender) in an instant.

Phew! That was a longer post than I intended – sorry for the ramble!

What’s your tub tonic of choice?

CF x

5 of the best: winter lip balms

I am strongly resisting putting on the central heating as I know it is the beginning of the end for my skin, lips and hair on the hydration front. But it’s not all doom and gloom, it gives me the perfect excuse to start purchasing an array of lip butters and balms to keep stashed in my pockets, glove box, handbag and on my desk, by my bed… I’ve never been precious about having a different lotion and potion for cuticles, lips etc. I find one I like and slather it on to any dry spots I notice at regular intervals throughout the day.

My long-standing loves are:

Balance Me Stellar Face Balm I reviewed this a while ago and whilst it’s billed as an overnight facial treatment I find a good dollop rubbed into raggy cuticles before bed renders them super soft by morning.

REN Mayday balm – this is my desk staple, I love the calming rose scent and it’s great for a myriad of day-to-day skin complaints – I’ve used it on everything from chapped skin to burns and insect bites. A great natural soothing balm.

Lanolips 101 Ointment (above) – I keep this on standby for when serious chapping strikes. I ride my bike pretty much every day, whatever the weather, so my lips, knuckles, nose, cheekbones etc get a real battering come winter. As the name suggests, its key ingredient is medical-grade lanolin; it’s colour/fragrance free with 100% natural ingredients, so it’s a great one to slap on Country Bebe on the back of the bike, too.

And onto my two new(ish) favourites:

By Terry’s Baume de Rose – this launched in 2003, so by no means a ‘new release’ but it is new to me, as a birthday present, last month. It has a creamy, rosey scent (a signature of By Terry products) and yes, it is a luxe purchase (or a very indulgent gift!) but I have been suitably impressed how a quick swipe of this sheer balm and I can feel the softening effects on my lips for hours after. I’ve noticed my lipsticks are going on better too as my lips are in tip-top condition.

The Korres Lip Butters are perennial favourites, but whereas I usually go for the colourless Guava formula, this time I’ve plumped for the jasmine (the pomegranate and wild rose are great, too). I like that it leaves the sheerest hint of colour and the rich buttery texture makes it feel really soothing on the lips.

That’s it! Next up in the ‘5 of the best’ series: winter haircare.

Boots Autumn Beauty Haul

So, just a short post – still trying to catch up after a digital-free weekend in Cornwall – I have gone *slightly* crazy in Boots this week, picking up a few skincare pieces from L’Oreal’s Skin Perfection range that I’m really excited about for Autumn – especially the Advanced Correcting Serum and partnering BB cream, as well as a cleansing oil and daily exfoliator.

As it’s ‘buy one get the 2nd half price’ on make-up at the mo, I also had a little lippie splurge – picking up a Rimmel ‘By Kate’ in a vintagey nude rose (my favourite Burberry Lip Mist in Field Rose is down to the barrel); another classic red with orange tones from Bourjois (below), as well as a glossy, punchy pink from their Limited Shine Edition that is nourishing and softening like a balm with a buildable pop of colour. I’ve worn it non-stop for the last two days and it’s already a ‘love’ product.

There are a couple of nail colours in the mix too – a creamy beige from Barry M that I thought was a softer take on the white nails that are everywhere at the moment, plus another vintagey rose colour that was just too pretty to leave on the shelf, from Max Factor’s Glossfinity range that promises ‘7 days chip-free’.

Last but not least, I’m intrigued to try the 1,2,3 Perfect Foundation from Bourjois – billed to ‘correct and conceal blemishes’. It’s also got a CC-vibe, with green pigments to balance out redness, mauve for radiance and yellow to conceal dark circles. It’s a hydrating formula with SPF10, too.

Phew. That’s it for now! I’ll be trialling them all over the next few weeks and I’ll get back to you with my thoughts…

CF x

CF Loves: British beauty brand: Balance Me

I was kindly sent a box of tricks from brilliant British natural, high-performance beauty brand Balance Me, just in time for our Tenby holiday back in June. I have been lugging them around with me all summer – between Cornwall, Dorset, Somerset and home – and I think I’m just about ready to give my verdicts.

One of the products that has swiftly entered my ‘travel essentials’ vanity case, is the Radiance face oil roll-on. I’m always wary about travelling with my every day face oil (Trilogy Rosehip oil – it’s MEGA) so this is the perfect non-spill, space saving alternative. No more smashed bottles and oil-slick luggage (thanks Ryanair).

The body cream is from the rose otto range; its not your cloying ‘granny’ rose, but a sophisticated fragrant floral. It’s a hybrid texture – the nourishing richness of a body butter but a lighter cream formula so not greasy or sticky, which I hate in the summer. I’m still using Korres Basil Lemon lotion in the morning for a perky citrus pick-me-up, but love this after a bath at the tail-end of the day as it’s so restful, plus I wake up baby-soft.

The Super Toning range is supposed to be an all-natural war on cellulite and wobble in general. Using the travel wash sporadically when I’m away, I can’t report back on its effects on the ol’ orange peel, but efficacy aside, I’d use it for the gorgeous blend of juniper, bergamot, geranium and lavender essential oils. It’s a great sulphate-free, non-drying, formula too.

The last product is the only one I’m not quite sold on yet, the stellar face balm. Its billed as a hydrating face mask, with organic shea butter, rosehip oil and mango seed butter. Yes, it is the perfect desk-top (it’s a bit too bit to lug around in the handbag) cuticle treatment/lip balm, but the texture is really hard. As in, my finger doesn’t make an impression in the surface, hard. I’m not quite sure then how you would transfer product-to-face, if you were to use it as a mask… none-the-less, I adore the neroli scent and will be experimenting on dry, chapped cheeks come winter.

Balance Me is available at Waitrose and they have a great site with more info on their natural credentials and ‘free-from’ promise.

Stellar face balm, £18 (50ml); Super Toning body wash £10.25 (260ml); radiance face oil £15 (10ml roll-in); Rose Otto body cream £18 (200ml). All available at balanceme.co.uk


The Sunday Overhaul: Week Two – Brows

As a beauty editor, brow maintenance was simple: Shavata at Urban Retreat. The only brow bar I entrusted my Cara-wannabe brows to. It was love at first thread, as Baljit (the master threader) took one look at my pair of scraggly caterpillars and sent me away: ‘they’ve got potential, but I need more to work with’. So I dutifully went about my business for the next four weeks cultivating a monobrow. Then, true to her work she carved out of the fuzz a killer pair of brows. Not too archy, fashionable bushy and the secret? Length. Where I, and apparently most the female race, go wrong with eyebrow maintenance is not elongating our brows. We take too much off the centre (in fear of the aforementioned monobrow) and stop the ends waaaay too short. So, for a good couple of years there I had near perfect brows. Sigh. And then I moved to the country.

To start with I simply had a blunt, heavy fringe cut in to mask the lack of Shavata in my life and my own clear ineptitude with a pair of tweezers. Then I decided to take matters into my own hands. Here’s how:

First up, getting the right kit. This duo from Marks and Spencer’s recently revamped beauty offering are near perfect. I used to rely on Bobbi Brown’s eyebrow pencil in Mahogany but this M&S version is a mere £6 (versus £16 odd) and I think tops it (this pot of gel eyeliner a la Bobbi Brown looks pretty promising, too). The lash gel is from M&S’s Limited Edition beauty range and is a wallet-friendly £5.

So, my top tips for DIY brow maintenance are:

Shape – As the wise-one Baljit said, you need to know what you’re working with. If you can bear it, leave your brows for as long as poss. When do we ever leave our brows untouched for more than a couple of weeks before getting tweezer-happy? I was amazed what difference those extra few weeks made. Patchy sections evened out, those scraggly ends filled out. Invest in a pair of big sunglasses and be patient.

When you are ready (and using ONLY Tweezerman tweezers – trust me), get plucking. Make sure it’s always after a bath (the pores are more open = less ouch factor) and in a well-lit mirror (preferably daylight). Now, you’re looking for a straightish run with a gentle curve. No overexaggerated ‘V’ spiking up in the middle of your forehead. Leave the ends and in the centre take the minimum off to create a squarish end. Don’t panic if some areas are a little sparse to begin with, they will fill out, plus that’s what the liner is for.

A surprising one, but don’t be afraid to trim your eyebrows. YEP. You heard. Use the little brush on the end of your brow pencil and brush your brows vertically up. Anything that pokes wildly above the natural upper line of your brow. Trim it. It’s incredible how much more tamed and fuller they look.

Next, eyebrow colourings. It’s an honest mistake, but don’t try and match your eyebrow pencil to your hair colour. Go one shade darker. Just one. You don’t want it to be noticeable, you just want your eyebrows to be defined and, weirdly, it makes them much more natural.

Filling in: Now, eyebrow pencils are not about colouring in the gaps. It’s about mimicking tiny little hairs to make the brows look even and full. Practice on the back of your hand; teeny, tiny flicks. Remember, no two eyebrows are made equal; look at each one individually to see where they need a little ooomph, checking as you go that they ‘sit together’ rather than match necessarily.

Finally: a slick of brow gel will keep your new brows looking groomed and ‘done’.

Here are mine before and after some TLC:

That’s it! Hope it was useful – feel free to leave me a comment below with any ideas/request for next week’s Sunday Overhaul.

P.s. If you missed last week it’s here – on foolproof, fast, fake tanning.



Pinterest board: Coloured eye trend

So, the subject of this week’s theme over on Pinterest? Coloured make-up for the eye – liners, shadows, lashes… If it’s bright, it’s there.

Via Alexandra de Montefort – Pinterest

How stunning are these bejewelled peepers at Dior SS13? For a big event with a sleek pony (a la Dior) and a vintage floor-length black gown, this would look IN-CREDIBLE. It has a feeling of Black Swan about it. Well, Black Swan’s happier sister perhaps.

Less ‘out there’ is the full-lid wash of metallics, as seen at Chanel SS13:

Via Blanche MacDonald – Pinterest

I love it twinned with the graphic black liner – Estee Lauder have just launched their Pure Colour Stay-On Shadow Paint which are perfect for getting this look. The mousse eyeshadow gives crease-less coverage in molten metallic shades. I love the midnight blue, too.

Pure Colour Shadow Paints in Cosmic, £19, esteelauder.co.uk

And the one that I didn’t expect to love: orange:

Via Shana Nesseth Bridges – Pinterest

This is a MAC SS13 colour (here for TCN at Barcelona Fashion Week), doesn’t it make her eyes pop? I would use this MAC pigment wet, applied with a liner brush, to get the intensity of colour.

This season I’m really loving paring neon brights with my mainly monochromatic wardrobe, and this could be a great addition. Worn with dewy pared-down skin and a slick of mascara I think it could be a great easy-to-wear trend. What do you think?

There is a whole board of inspiration over on Pinterest, I’d love to hear what colours you’re trying this season…

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