17 January 2010

Ladies - get thee to a bra fitter!

For about ten years now, I've been wearing a certain size bra. I'm not sure where this size came from, but I've always been it - occassionally a cup size up, occassionally a size down. We've all heard time and time again that a huge percentage of British women are wearing the wrong size bra, and seen Gok Wan grabbing women's breasts and stretching their bra straps to demonstrate what's a good fit, but personally I've always taken this with a pinch of salt. After all, surely we know our own bodies better than some strange lady wielding a measuring tape? However, I recently, I decided to get fitted, out of curiosity more than anything else, and also because I'd bought a few bras recently that I found uncomfortable.

And so it was I found myself in John Lewis Oxford Street yesterday evening while a nice American lady looked at me aghast when I told her what size I was wearing (I was still wearing an overcoat and jumper at this point). When stated the size she thought I was, again before measuring, I all but laughed out loud. And then she quickly measured me. And then she brought me that size bra to try on. And lo and behold, it fit, like a very well-fitting bra. The bra she brought me, coincidentally, was a Gossard bra exactly the same as one I bought recently in my 'old' size, which really brought it home to me. Much tighter, much snugger, much more comfortable and above all it just looked so much better.

I almost had one of those emotional Gok Wan changing room type moments. Without giving too much away, my new bra size is an amazing four inches smaller and two cup sizes bigger than I thought. I really was (and still am) in absolute shock - I'm actually thinking of going to Marks and Spencers tomorrow to get a second opinion, but actually, the evidence is all there in the fit.

If you're in any doubt about what bra size you are, or even if you are quite confident you're wearing the right size but have never been measured, I urge you to go to a fitter - they're in most department stores and specialist lingerie shops now. Ill fitting bras are associated with various ailments including back pain and postural problems according to the British Chiropractic Association. And you never know, you might have an excuse to buy yourself a whole new underwear wardrobe.. Agent Provocateur does have a pretty good sale on at the mo..!

14 January 2010

Products du jour

Pinched the theme of this post from Make up and beauty musings. Haven't had time to blog any swatches etc so thought this would be a quick way of giving a little beauty update til the weekend, when I hope to report on some new Guerlain purchases and do a nail of the day.

I've recently started using a permanent all over colour on my hair after my 6-month old blond straggly highlights were starting to annoy me. So I've gone for a lovely dark glossy brown with kind of an auburn tint. I was getting a bit frustrated at how quickly the colour faded then realised I wasn't using a colour prolonging shampoo and conditioner (doh!), and so I purchased the Aussie Color Mate range, which is on sale in Boots, Wilkinsons and a few other places at two for £6.

So far I've been really pleased, it smells nice and has brought my color back to life a bit (although those damn highlights are starting to show through again now, what a mistake that was!)

Anyway I'd recommend these for affordable colour care, but I'm definitely no expert in this area, so if any of you other colourers out there have any products you'd care to recommend, suggestions would be gratefully received!

My skincare routine is a bit of a mismas at the moment.. but it seems to be working! After finally, aged 31, learning what my skin type is after a facial (combination), I think I may be now be free of those annoying shiny squares in the middle of my forehead that spoil most of my 'night out' Facebook pics


So basically, I had an amazing facial in November at the Decleor spa at the McDonald hotel in Manchester. Afterwards I purchased the Ylang Ylang oil, and since then I've purchased the YY night balm and the Mattifying moisturiser. The oil goes on beneath the moisturiser in the morning and the balm at night. I'm also adding a few drops of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair over the top. The only problem with this routine at the moment is the lack of SPF, so I'll have to remedy this come spring / summer.

I also had a Dermalogica facial at Renata Brown's wonderful salon in Crystal Palace. My skin still looks clear and quite soft almost a week later, v impressed, and I've been using the Dermalogica pre-cleanse every day, which seems to be working although it does sting my eyes a bit.

Finally I've been using the Kiehls Abyssine eye cream since August, when I finished my tub of hideously expensive Sisley eye cream that didn't really do much for me. My boyfriend actually picked this for my birthday (I said anything Kiehls - I do have a slight obsession - and he remembered that I'd run out of eye cream... good skills I thought!). Actually I really like this - it's so light that at first I didn't think it could be doing anything, but actually it does seem to be moisturising round that area and is a good base for make up and concealer. I do think though that the best thing anyone can do for that area is drink lots of water and get lots of sleep!

I'm actually trying to give my skin a bit of a break from make up at the mo (sacrilege!), however my fave products at the moment are:

Kiehls Tinted Moisturiser - love this, gives me fresh looking, glowy skin and just enough coverage for broken capillaries, acne scars etc.

By Terry concealer - great undereyes and for any bits the above doesn't quite cover

Nars Amour blush from the Lust for Life palette - gives cheeks a nice, subtle, wintry flush

MAC charcoal brown for my eyebrows, currently in a horrible state as I'm growing them out to get them threaded again!

Nars medea lip laquer, Nars Pigalle lipstick or Shiseido Honey Tea lipstick - nice rosy brown wintry shades (Pigalle is pinker and creamy in texture, Honey tea is glossy) or just my trusty Eight Hour Cream which actually is not quite cutting the mustard in this skin ravaging snow / central heating weather despite it usually being a saviour for my lips in the winter, so I'm on the lookout for a seriously heavy duty lip protectant.

For the evening, I'm also loving Lancomes Blush Subtil highlighter on the cheekbones, can't remember the name but its a shimmering champagne colour, lovely texture, which works very well with Nars' matt brown brush Zen in the hollow when one needs a sharp cheekbone (which we all do from time to time n'est pas??)

Brushes - MAC 266 for brows, my new half price Lancome powder brush, No 7 concealer brush and Ruby and Millie's fab blusher brush are my essentials. I'm on the lookout for a new eyeliner brush - suggestions welcomed again.

And finally my trusty Shu eyelash curlers with, when i feel like it, Lancome Hypnose mascara.

I'm currently trialing Bio-Oil. Having been plagued by stretchmarks on my hips since I was about 13 (unfair I know though thankfully they have faded and not worsened as I've aged), I've always been interested in this oil, and picked some up in Superdrug recently as it was on offer. I haven't tried it on the hips as yet but I am applying it on my chest twice a day (it recommends using it twice a day for three months to see results) to see if it will have any effect on the worsening wizened skin that seemed to appear out of nowhere when I hit 30 - (I blame one very hot holiday in Turkey when I was 16 for this!), as it says the oil helps dehydrated and ageing skin. So I'll update on this in three months perhaps with before and after shots if I'm brave enough! The reviews on MUA for this are pretty mixed so I'm not expecting anything spectacular but we'll see.

I'm also using my Clarins and L'Oreal body scrubs as detailed in my last post, and my Kiehls Hand and Body Lotion with Aloe Vera and Oatmeal which I adore and am going to post in separately shortly, though sadly they've discontinued it in my favourite fragrance, Vanilla. I do need to replace this with the Creme de Corps though as it's another thing not quite cutting the mustard in this horribe winter weather.

Hand cream is Clarins Hand and Nail treatment - nice, pleasant smell and absorbs well but wish it had SPF.

I'm not fussed about shower gel - can't see the point in spending lots of money on something that gets washed away. Boots Botanics do a lovely soft sea sponge though that seems to make it go a lot further.

None at the moment as I've lost my beloved Kiehls Original Musk oil!

Again having a break but Essie Mink Muffs and OPI A oui bit of red are both recent favourites.

Well that's the closest thing I have to a winter routine. Have made a few exciting new purchases recently so hopefully will get round to blogging about them soon!

6 January 2010

Kate Moss - magazine covers

One of my favourite features in magazines is those 'style evolution' type articles, e.g. SJP's transition from frizzy, overhighlighted 80s actress with bubblegum pink lips to gorgeous, glowing mum / style icon (personally I loved her straight bob period towards the end of SATC). So I was delighted to find this website showing all, or almost all, of the magazine covers of the uniquely beautiful Kate Moss.


From achingly pretty, slightly gawky teen model to Blondie-esque icon, many of Kate's incarnations over the years can be viewed here, including lots of foreign covers I've never seen before. I have to confess to being quite fascinated by Kate, probably due in no small fact to her elusivity over the years. I remember the first time I heard her speak, during an interview with David Bailey I think, and was amazed and charmed by her soft, girly south London accent. I'm not sure how I expected her to sound, but it wasn't like that!

I've bookmarked this site and plan to peruse it at a more leisurely pace later on, but having had a quick look, these are some of my favourites:




(I remember loving this one at the time too).

Essential measures #3 L'Oreal Exfotonic Skin Revealing Exfoliator and Clarins Body Smoothing Scrub (joint honours)

Body scrub is an essential part of my routine. I hate the feeling of dry skin on my body and probably exfoliate every other day, either on dry skin if I'm in need of a real slough or when showering.

I've been using L'Oreal Exfotonic for several years now (and so, apparently, has Cheryl Cole, as I read recently!). It is hardcore! Not only does my body feel incredibly soft after I've used it but the tips of my fingers too where I've rubbed it in.

It comes in a green tube and comprises large-ish green granules in a gel-like suspension (my boyfriend likens it to frogspawn).

At around £8 a bottle I think it's pretty good value, and it can often be picked up on offer in Boots and Superdrug in the UK. I used to follow this with L'Oreal's Nutrilift body moisturiser which is a great partner... until I discovered Kiehl's more luxurious and natural-feeling body creams, which will feature as my next 'Essentials'...

So Exfotonic has served me well over the years and is a great budget-ish scrub, however I recent discovered Clarins Body Smoothing Scrub for a New Skin (catchy name!), and I have to say I'm seriously in love with this. The L'Oreal is now my quick 'n' dirty, standby scrub, but when I want to truly pamper myself, I reach for the Clarins. Just the look and smell alone, gorgeously creamy and peachy, is enough to send me in to raptures (apparently it contains bamboo powders). It takes me back to my early teens, when my beauty obsession began and when there was nothing more glamourous and grown up  than a tube of Clarin's something or other among the Avon and Rimmel on my dressing table. Aesthetic and olfactory properties aside though, this works beautifully - it feels gentle and soothing but my skin still feels baby soft and kind of peachy too afterwards, and although I'm not certain, I think the effects are more longer lasting than with the Exfotonic.

The Clarins scrub retails at around £25 so definitely more of a luxury - I'll probably buy two the next time Clarins are running a promotion.

So there we have it, I couldn't pick a favourite as each has their merits, so these are my joint top scrubs. I think I'll be repurchasing these for some time to come. Has anyone tried either or have any favourite scrubs of their own? I'm still on the lookout for an 'Essential' facial scrub - Sisley's Gentle Facial Buffing Cream is leading the way so far and I've also been impressed with Clinque's Seven Day scrub, but I suspect there's a HG for me out there somewhere....

1 January 2010

Essie - Mink Muffs nail polish

Hate the Essie formula - so watery and a bit streaky - but LOVE Mink Muffs. Another to add to my ever expanding arsenal of browns. Not hugely exciting but looks neat and chic on the nails - will be a good workpolish I think. Pictured with Nails Inc top and base coats.

Chanel Le Vernis - Gondola

Happy New Year! The first of hopefully many posts this year. My lovely boyfriend bought this for me for Christmas - I haven't tried it myself yet but as my mum was wearing pink on Christmas day I offered to manicure her nails using this colour - she loves it and so do I - a gorgeous, shimmering raspberry colour, very festive but I think this will also make a nice summer pedicure colour - what do you think?