Monday, 20 December 2010

Calvin Klein Euphora

As I've mentioned many, many times before, I love me some Christmas and one of my favourite parts is buying presents for everyone. Love giving presents and thanks to Snowmageddon, my UK present shopping has been somewhat buggered (sidenote, do you think the UK high street actually prayed for the snow so everyone shopping online got shafted? The things that cross my mind...) so I'm stuck with my minimal US shopping. And you know, making sure I'm fully furnished with self-gifting. Important.

Anyway, lots of people ask me what makes a good beauty gift and a really popular choice is always fragrance BUT I think it's really, really hard to buy perfume or aftershave for someone what with it being so dependent on personal taste. However, if you're going to go with scent, there are good options. This season (in the US only I think, sozza) if you buy Euphoria by Calvin Klein, you get a free swanky tin of chocolate. Who wouldn't love that? And I really do like the fragrance, I forced the men's scent on the former Mr BeautyLover too and he was a huge fan.
I want to say it's a pretty scent that I liked to wear to go out but according to Calvin Klein, it's 'an addictive oriental fragrance that contrasts exotic fruits, seductive florals and a rich cream signature.' Probably more accurate than 'pretty'. Nice bottle too.

And if nothing else, this post gives me an excuse to publish pictures of these gorgeous ladies at the IFP's 20th Annual Gotham Film Awards at Cipriani on Wall Street, sponsored by Calvin Klein. Aren't they sickening? I think I might want to be Leighton Meester.

Natalie Portman is totes wearing Lanvin for H&M. Interesting...

Can't deal with Hathaway after Love & Other Drugs. Not because it was bad (she was great but it was a bad movie) but because man alive, all I can see when I look at her now is boobs. I'm such a child.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Winter Warmers

A couple of weeks ago I had a request for an update on my favourite winter products and yay, I've finally got off my arse to put it together for youuuu.

Body scrubs
Without question, my favourite body scrub in the world is The Sanctuary Hot Sugar Scrub. I love the way it warms up on contact with the skin, I love the signature scent and I love the way it leaves my skin soft and smooth. Whenever I'm back in the UK, I stock up and it's top of the list of things I ask friends to bring over. When, oh when will they bring it to the US? Selfish really.
Other than that, I do like the Clarins body scrubs but they're way more expensive and I think the results are the same.

Body Lotions
I'm sort of OCD when it comes to body lotions and try to moisturise my body as often I do my face. Yep, twice a day. Once after the morning shower and once before bed. I know it sounds like hard work but you just get used to it... unfortunately, it also means you get through a lot of body lotion. If I could only use one lotion for the rest of my life, it would be Bliss Lemon + Sage body butter but since that would mean I would be homeless, I have to look further afield. I like the Jergens body products for every day as well as Johnson & Johnson's Baby Bedtime cream. I realise that sounds wrong but I'm a lavender addict and this has a lovely consistency. Elemis and Clarins both do a lovely body lotion but the tube doesn't seem to last that long and as you might assume, it's pricey. I also picked up the Coco Mademoiselle body oil spray the last time I was in duty free and while it's not cheap, a little goes a really long way and it scents your skin at the same time as softening it. Double duty products are my favourites.

Lip Balms
Oh this is a tough one... now, I have a million lip balms on the go at all times. Nivea in my make up bag, Smith's Rosebud Balm tube in my handbag and the Dior Color Revive around somewhere but the one product I really, really rate and have repurchased more than once is the Creme de la Mer The Lip Balm. I know this isn't cheap and I hate recommending the pricey stuff all the time because often, it's not necessary. My general rule is - conditioner, moisturiser, foundation, eye cream and lip balm - you're going to get what you pay for. I don't think I've ever felt so strongly about a product as I do this lip balm, (aside from Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, obvs). It's soft, it absorbs right away but maintains a protective barrier and it tastes and smells amazing. I kow it's £36 for lip balm but honestly, splash out once and you'll never, ever go back.
Apologies in advance.

On a side note, if I was literally hemorrhaging money, I would write an entirely different post entitled - buy all of your body products at Bliss and never worry about dry skin again. But I'm not. So I won't. But yeah... not the face products but Bliss body scrubs, lotions and washes.
Ah. Mazing.

All I want for Christmas...

It's the most wonderful time of the year...
No really, it is. I love Christmas SO MUCH. I didn't get a tree until the THIRD this year and you can ask anyone, I was having palpitations by the second. Usually, I have it up on the 1st. At midnight but hands down, one of the best things about living in the US is that a lot of people put their trees up immediately after Thanksgiving. THAT'S AN EXTRA WEEK OF TREE!Amaze.

Anyway, in the midst of buying gifts for everyone else, I just wanted to point you (cough, my mother) in the direction of some of the beauty buys I'd love to find in my stocking:
Elemis Revealing Radiance
I have been very sad to miss Snowmageddon in the UK over the last few weeks (well, in theory. I'm sure in practice my shitty old Freeview box would have given out and I would be sobbing by now) but I have to say, I'm not sad about missing the effect snow has on my skin. As a delicate paley, my complexion hates the cold. Actually, it just hates weather but the cold is not its friend. This awesome kit from Elemis includes the Tri-Enzyme gel, resurfacing night cream, face wash and my super awesome favourite hero moisturiser of all time, Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. And it comes in a purdy bag. Oh, and if you buy from this week there's 20% off Christmas gifts and full sized products! And if you enter the code CHRISTMAS at the checkout, you get free delivery ALL MONTH.

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Eye & Lip Palette

Tell me this isn't beautiful?
Ten gorgeous greys, bronzes and sultry plums create the most amazing eye looks, perfect for Christmas time. And because it's Bobbi, you know you can go from sheer washes for daytime, right through super smoky night looks. And there are four exclusive glitter lip glosses included to compliment your look. A little bit of glitter is legally required at Christmas and while it's subtle in Bobbi Brown glosses, it's totes there. Yay.

Benefit Bathina Touch Me Then Try to Leave Body Cream
This has such a long title, it nearly got bumped but alas, I really do love it and I really am all out.
Not OK. This is my favourite body cream, pretty much the only thing I keep reserved only for special occasions of um, well, you know. It's the Ronseal of body lotions. Does exactly what it says on the tin.

To wake up looking like Christina Hendricks

Mad Men is one of my all-time favourite shows and there hasn't been a single episode this season that hasn't made me want to wake up looking like Joan Holloway. I don't think I've ever been so happy in my life as when I interviewed the costume designer, Janie Bryant, for Grazia earlier this year and she promptly declared me a 'Joan' over a 'Betty'. Her awesome new book, The Fashion Files, is on my non-beauty product Christmas wishlist (ie, I'm going to Barnes & Noble to buy it tonight) and you can get it in the UK here. But, in my blind desire to get my Joan on, I have, against all my better judgement, booked in with my lovely colorist, Whitney to go Red. Oh yes, you heard it here first. Not that I don't love my brunette, I do, but given that I'm naturally blonde in the first place, can't hurt to give it a go, can it?
Can it? Oh well, I can always change it back and it feel festive...

So, you know, Dear Santa, I've been a very good girl this year, really. Well, I've been a girl and I didn't slaughter any puppies or anything so I should get something, right?

London Calling: Eyelash Extensions

I should prepare you before I even begin that this is a post related to nothing other than horrifying, shameful vanity - yay!

There were a lot of things I should have been doing in the precious couple of hours I had in London before I flew back to New York last month. Unfortunately, they were all buggered because instead of cleaning my friend's flat, going to see my friends or getting any of the many things I had not got done, done, I went and had eyelash extensions.
Yeah. I know. And they're amazing.

I tried to find a good picture but really, all photos of me are taken under the influence and usually telling someone how much I love them. I'm a very happy drunk. The best I could do was this one - random friend cropped out. Gangsta sign, left in. Apologies if it means something I'm not aware of in Kuala Lumpur or something. But really, check them OUT.

My favourite thing about eyelash extensions was best verbalised by a friend who also indulges. We were trying to defend the appalling waste of money when she got to the point 'When I have them in, I wake up and I'm pretty.' I can't argue with it. Seriously, it feels like you wake up with bluebirds singing instead of your alarm clock ringing and then you blink yourself awake like a Disney Princess. Tralalalalala.

I've had the extensions done three times in the last two years, with Natalie at LondonEyelashExtensions and I've never had a bad result. Plus Natalie is sort of wonderful and very wise. My lashes last a good three weeks before they start falling out, the only sad thing then being that I'm usually in New York and I haven't found anywhere particularly reasonable to get them filled here yet. Happily, one of my favourite friends (and fabulous make-up artist - she did the make up for my leaving London party, check out the pics here) has just qualified so I hope she's ready for me to take advantage of that fact horribly the next time I'm back home. You can contact her here on 07855 798 806 or at She's ever so lovely.

Sadly, I took out the last of my extensions at four am on Monday morning when I was sat trying to finish the second draft of my next book. Incredibly satisfying but not recommended as part of the aftercare. Anyway, if you have cash burning a hole in your pocket (and I realise very few people do at this time of year in particular) eyelash extensions are a great idea for all the Christmas parties you have coming up. Or in general. Or if you want to wake up feeling pretty. I especially enjoy the game where people stare at you and repeatedly ask 'What have you done? What have you done?'
But then I'm very easily amused.

Friday, 3 December 2010

MAC A Tartan Tale

I know I'm hardly busting your door down with hot news right now but I have to tell you about this for fear of you not having nabbed it already. I am In Love with the MAC A Tartan Tale collection. It's ridiculous. It's gorgeous. It's incredibly wearable. It's genuinely, as far as I'm concerned, one of their best ever collections and if anyone was looking for Christmas presents (for me, cough) there isn't a single piece here that wouldn't be received with absolute joy.

I'm pretty much obsessively rocking the Dashing Lassie eye palette which gives so many great options. Can't begin to tell you how happy I am that I feverishly handed over my cash in Duty Free the other week without really paying attention to what I was doing (how could I go wrong, it was MAC?). I like the pale colours for a sparkly day look and then you smoke the whole thing out with the Buckwheat shade, use the Showstopper to line your eyes and then add drama with Magical Mist.

Aside from the eye palettes, I l-o-v-e the lip, eye and brush bags. Mostly because I want the actual bags. I'm thinking Noble Knights with teal pigment will be my first pick.
In case you were wondering. Mum.

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