NEW: The Countryfille guide to South West France

So, after two years living between Devon and France there is so much I want to share with you about this little corner of the Charente region that we now call home. To be honest, my heart has always called France home, ever since I was a small child spending endless summers running wild in the Dordogne. Memories of swimming naked in rivers; going to sleep at dusk listening to crickets and the smell of the sun-baked earth through the bedroom window; early morning trips to the boulangerie with my sister, arguing all the way as to who was going to say ‘deux grands pains s’il vous plaît’ and the never-ending lunches, the table heaving with food and friends… as a country, it just makes me properly happy.

Copyright Countryfille 2017
Copyright Countryfille 2017

I love that we have put down our own roots here and now have a proper home – and what a home she is! Living somewhere, even if it is part-time, is so very different to holidaying there. We have made real friends, not just with other expats but with our neighbours, the stall-holders at the local market, the lady in the pharmacy who is as skincare obsessed as I am…

La Retraite
La Retraite

So, I thought I’d create a dedicated section of Countryfille for all things French. Reviews, recommendations, great places to visit, city guides, interiors inspo and my favourite flea markets to visit… the works. I’ll also be interviewing interesting women who have also made the move across the channel and carved a new life for themselves in the South West of France.

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Stay tuned!

CF x

Autumnal cleansing: L’Oreal Skin Perfection range and Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm

So, other than the big wardrobe update, my beauty cabinet has undergone a bit of an overhaul with the change in season, too.

It’s a bit of a L’oreal love-in this season. Specifically their Skin Perfection range.

I’m not sure if it’s turning 30, but this season I am being meticulous about my skincare routine – upping the anti with at-home treatments (I still adore the Balance Me Radiance mask), never skipping on a serum (I’m currently trialling the Skin Perfecting Advanced Correcting serum, verdict is still out, I’ll report back) and *always* double cleansing.

I’ve just finished my second bottle of Skin Perfection Purifying Micellar Water (currently at £3.33 in Boots, it’s significantly cheaper than my usual Bioderma habit), which has always been my ‘Step 1 cleanse’ as I can sweep off eye make-up with it, too. With the prospect of a drop in the mercury and the drying effects of central heating, I’ve now switched to the brilliant 15-second Miracle Cleansing oil (£5.33, normally £7.99 at Boots) from the Skin Perfection range. The slimline bottle has a pump action which makes it great for travelling, the light-weight oil changes to a milk formula on contact with water, so after a thorough massage on dry skin I loosen it up with a little water and splash the residue away. It’s a great non-drying, but thorough cleansing step. When you don’t want ‘squeaky clean’ skin that feels tight and dry, but want it to feel truly, deeply, clean. The Radiance Revealing Exfoliator is great too, one of the only physical exfoliators (I’m usually an enzyme exfoliator fan) that I’ve found that feels like it leaves skin refined and renewed, yet cushioned and hydrated too.

I am interchanging the cleansing oil with the truly MARVELOUS Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm*. I know the world and its beauty blogger have reviewed this, to much acclaim, but I am only just discovering *how* wonderful it is.

You may remember how much I love Eve Lom’s cleanser. Well, call me fickle, but it doesn’t even come close to this. Its 100% active natural oils (a heady rose and mimosa mix) plus starflower, elderberry and opitmega oils make it more of a treatment than your everyday cleansing routine (hence the £40 price tag). One scoop of the super smooth golden butter in the palm, it immediately starts to melt. It is a balm, so it’s weird to say it’s light-weight but compared to say, Eve Lom, it is a super refined, lighter texture.

Again, after a thorough massage to loosen make-up, I wet my fingers to turn the oil to milk. Then, my favourite step, I soak the supplied flannel in hot water and press it over my face, with a brisk wipe-off (and deep inhalation of the gorgeous aromatherapy oils) the balm has disappeared, my skin is buffed but still balanced, soft and SUPER clean. Like ‘facial treatment’ level clean (which is no coincident as the formula was developed for Elemis’ facialists to use during treatments). I haven’t suffered with my usual ‘time of the month’ outbreaks this month which I wholly attribute to upping the anti on the cleansing front.

It’s no secret that Elemis is up there as one of my top beauty brands. I’m a dedicated user of their tri-enzyme range and this is a GREAT addition to my skincare routine this winter.

I’m still following this with This Works No Wrinkles Wonder Essence (full review here), then either the Skin Perfection serum, or my trusted Astalift Aquarysta rejuvenating jelly concentrate (third pot and counting). Then during the day, L’Oreal’s Revitalift Day with SPF15 (if you can get past the yoghurty smell, the glow it embues, not to mention the fine line smoothing and general hydrating, is FAB).

At night I’m still sticking to just a night cream, but have switched to a slightly heavier texture with Elizabeth’s Daughter Intensive Moisturiser – I’ve been using this on and off for years and every time I revisit it I fall in love all over again with its comforting nutty scent and over-night complexion boosting hit of nourishing oils.

In the depths of winter I will be adding a couple of drops of facial oil to my night cream so in preparation, this week I’m going to be trying my hand at making my own Rosehip facial oil. I’ve been a HUGE Trilogy fan for ages, it’s my go-to winter oil to nourish and protect – I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on!

*PR Sample



30-second review: Links of London friendship bracelet

So, I just opened my first birthday present (yes, I know it’s not till Friday, I am an impatient kinda gal) – a luxe friendship bracelet! My mother-in-law knows me too well.

My new addition is from Links of London. The teal and grey thread is intricately interwoven between the sterling silver bars. It’s beautifully finished and the perfect companion to my beloved Monica Vinader Fiji bracelet (pictured).

A good start to the celebrations!

You can find more details on Links website –

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