#JanuaryJoy: Get serious about your skin

I thought about calling this post, ‘get serious about anti-aging‘ but skin care is important at any age however you choose to address it. My particular angle this year is towards investing in the future… at almost 32 I feel it might be time to acknowledge that ubiquitous beauty industry term, ‘anti-aging’. Scary.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel I have suddenly aged in the last year. I’m very lucky and still don’t have any greys (yet!) but I do feel my skin has changed. It’s not quite as plump and fresh looking as it once was and I can’t help but feel that a lot of that is down to my own laziness.

I’ve fallen into the trap of using facial wipes each night, rarely moisturising, unless my skin is actually flaking off and the same goes for exfoliating. One improvement I have made, as of Christmas however, is to start using a serum (something I vowed to find last year) and so I thought I’d share some skin care recommendations that I’ll be endeavouring to follow…

  1. If you have to use a facial wipe (and let’s face it, a facial wipe will always trump sleeping with your make up on,) these are my new favourite. I picked them up in Glasgow when I forgot my usual cleanser and was pleasantly surprised. They’re neither greasy nor drying and don’t strip your skin, plus they’re kind to eyes when removing stubborn mascara. I keep mine in my bedside table 😉 Johnsons Skincare Make Up Be Gone refresher wipes £3.29
  2. Last year, to save money I left my beloved Eve Lom behind and worked through some of my old cleansers to use them up. Now I feel like I deserve the deep clean and daily sloughing off of dead cells that Eve Lom gives and its soothing oils, so I’ll be splurging on this queen of cleansers again. Eve Lom Cleanser 100ml £55
  3. This is hands down the best exfoliator I’ve ever used. Super smoothing and brightening, I use it 1-2 times weekly for the best wake up to your skin you could ask for. Boots No.7 Total renewal Microdermabrasion exfoliator £11
  4. My hard and fast rule for moisturisers (and anti-aging) is that they must contain SPF. I find this one is strong enough for winter dryness but non-greasy and smells lovely while protecting my skin. A Perfect World SPF 25 £35
  5. Lastly, the super serum. This one gets a lot of hype, especially after its recent reformulation and release. I got a sample a few months back and fell in love with it. It has a lovely texture and whilst I’m never going to be the sort of person who actually believes it will make my skin younger to erase wrinkles, it definitely improved the texture and quality of my skin so I asked for a full size bottle for Christmas and am crossing my fingers for miracles! Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II £48

So readers – do you have any skin care resolutions or products that you have discovered and want to share. I;d love to hear any recommendations (or confessions if you’re a face wipe user too!)


#JanuaryJoy – Overhaul your Skincare

January is a time for fresh starts, clean slates and good intentions. I don’t know about you but I’m always in need of a kick up the behind when it comes to skin care and I can’t think of a better time than now, when I’m feeling motivated and thinking about all the events I have coming up this year that I want my skin to be glowing for.

In a moment I’m going to share my skin care resolutions and I’d love to hear yours. As with so many of the #JanuaryJoy prompts, just writing something down makes me feel much more committed to the idea and it’s fab sharing tips and thoughts with you all.

Image of and credited to Keiko Lynn

First though, I want to update you all on something I have been doing for my skin for a while now. Back in June I wrote 2 posts on Adult Acne… One busting the myths and encouraging you all to seek treatment if you need it, instead of putting up with less than perfect skin and a second detailing the acne treatments you might be offered. At the time, my skin had been particularly troublesome. Barely a day went by that I didn’t get a new red lump under my skin and whilst they were easily coverable with make-up, who wants to have to do that everyday? The spots were also leaving areas of increased pigmentation behind and after looking back at some honeymoon photos of ours, (when I had been on treatment for spots) I realised how good my skin had been and how I had really just got used to the spots, kidding myself when I had a good few days that it wasn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I was by no means acne-ridden, but I certainly fell into one of the categories of women who I was trying to target in those posts – Living with acne and not feeling like I really warranted medical treatment for it.

Fast forward 6 months and after 5-6 months of treatment, my skin is massively improved. I barely get a spot now and if I do they are much less significant. My skin tone is also so much better. All the pigmentation I was worried about has almost completely faded and apart from my desert island beauty item of blusher to brighten up my monotone skin, I’m happy to go completely barefaced any time, any where. (Here I am, doing just that.)

I’m so glad I went back to my GP (GP’s have their own GP too!) and got it sorted out. As with all my other skin care tips I wanted to remind you, if one of your resolutions this year is to sort your skin out, before forking out on expensive cosmetics and skincare, go back and read those posts and think about whether you actually need professional help. (It was interesting to note, even after writing those posts, that when I tweeted about how much my skin had improved yesterday, everyone was hoping I would reveal a miracle cosmetic product.)

Ok, so skin sorted, what am I focusing on this year when it comes to my skin?

  1. My devotion to Eve Lom is unwavering but my laziness seriously gets in the way of maintaining her regime. I’m going to try my very best not to fall into bed without taking my make up off and at the very least, keep some make-up remover wipes in my bedside to use if tiredness gets the better of me.
  2. Now I’ve turned thirty, I feel like it’s time to start thinking more seriously about anti-aging products. I’m not entirely convinced any anti-aging product actually works but I am going to endeavour to apply my eye cream at night and to moisturise my neck too.
  3. On the same note, I’m going to start the search for a super-serum to improve my skin and at the very least hydrate it better.

So let’s hear your thoughts now. What are your skin care resolutions? Did you visit your GP after reading my Adult Acne posts and have you seen a difference? Or has this post made you realise now is the time?

Here’s to your best skin ever in 2013!


PS. Here are those Acne posts if you want to re-read.

Beauty Save v Splurge

I realised recently that when it comes to beauty, there are several items I will quite happily fork out on. Others however I buy on a budget, partly to allow the afore mentioned splurges and partly because they do just as good a job. I guess it comes down to exactly how good I think the product is.

So this afternoon I’m rounding up first my beauty splurges and then the items that I save save save on.

I hope you’ll join in by adding your favourite saves/splurges in the comments box.

1. Shampoo, Kerastase specifically (£11 to £16). Although I think a lot of people think of shampoo as simply for getting their hair clean, since I started using Kerastase I saw an immediate and brilliant difference in my hair. I used it pre-wedding when my hair was longer but recently returned to Kerastase as I felt my hair wasn’t as thick as it used to be. Cue better hair in less than a handful of washes.

2. Eve Lom – £55. I remain evangelical about all things Eve Lom. I’ve tried oil based cleansers, the major competitor Liz Earle and others when I’ve been trying to save money. First I thought it was just the muslin cloth that made the difference but I can’t argue any more. There’s a reason the formula is that expensive. It’s that good.

3. Tinted Moisturiser, Laura Mercier. Although expensive, I’ve been using this product for over 3 years now and couldn’t be without it. I keep trying the BB creams but I just can’t find a formula that is as light weight but with as great coverage. I use probably a pea sized amount, so although expensive, it lasts a long time. Favourite new splurge? The Radiance Primer. Just Lovely.

1. Body Lotion. As far as I’m concerned the basic moisturisers are just as good for everyday pins as any of the more expensive cosmetic brands. I use Nivea (£3.57 at Boots) but Vaseline is great too. Plus, because they’re not expensive I’m more likely to look after my dry skin and slap it on daily.

2. Gradual self tanner. Although I spend money on St Tropez Tanner for instant results, having tried the Dove Summer Glow (£5.69 at Boots) gradual self tanner, I do wonder if I’ll ever go back. I also find it really doesn’t take that many applications to get a decent result. I feel more golden after just one, and a couple of layers give a great even result on my legs. Just make sure you exfoliate first!

3. Exfoliators. Honestly, I really don’t think those shower gel type formulations with a handful of exfoliating ‘beads’ thrown in really make a difference. When I have exfoliated, I like my skin to feel like a baby’s and I dont mind a bit of hard work and rough treatment to get there. Although a fan of The Sanctuary Salt Scrub, it’s a bit messy and not that cheap, so I use exfoliating mits from any decent beauty store for just a few pounds. Pair with your regular shower gel and scrub from top to toe for baby soft skin. Dry them out on the radiator between uses and they will last forever.

Time for your recommendations now – I’m hoping I might find a sneaky new bargain beauty item! 😉


Florence’s Gift Guide #7 – Stocking fillers

This morning, it’s a very quick last few ideas for stocking fillers before the Christmas shopping deadlines.

Most shops are still accepting orders for delivery before Christmas until the end of the day, (notonthehighstreet.com only until 11am!) so if you’ve got anything left to buy and can’t face the shops do make sure you get it done quickly this morning and save the time spent battling the masses on your local high street for Christmas fun with the ones you love 😉

  • Every year I buy someone (if not several people) these Gap wool socks. The picture doesn’t make them look good but they do different colours and patterns and are the warmest socks ever for wearing with boots in the winter. Without fail they go on my list too.
  • Party girl or cocktail lover? White Peach Puree – for an effortless Bellini.
  • For a perfect pout all winter long… Eve Lom Kiss Mix.
  • For the man who loves a kitchen gadget, give him uniformity with a Meat Baller!
  • A shade that ticks all the boxes for a great price, try giving Metallic nails (or any number of other reasonably priced makeup items) – Topshop
  • For the gardener in your life, string in a tin – Crocus
  • In a range of different phrases to tickle everyone’s humorous side and making a great fold up tote for inside your bag… Book Club Tote – notonthehighstreet.com
  • Save your own moisturiser from being depleted and treat him to his own… Nivea for men – to soothe his winter chapped skin.
  • Interiors fanatics and design afficionados will appreciate the credentials of the Pantone Bone China Mug in Custard Yellow.
  • And lastly, my favourite ‘find’. For handbag lovers, cat owners and the safety conscious alike (– that should have every female friend or relative you know covered then,) have you seen this genius and stylish Alessi Handbag Hook? Shaped like a cat, you keep it in your bag then balance it off a table edge where the tail keeps your bag close to hand. LOVE.

That’s the last Christmas gift guide for 2011! I purchased my last present last night (smug face) and am now facing a mountain of wrapping…

Pop back this afternoon for Florence’s book club!



Winter is slowly approaching and I don’t know about you, but the can’t-make-up-its-mind weather flashing from mild to chilly with winds, the return of central heating and cosy evenings under a blanket are all playing havoc with my lips.

I am a total lip balm addict, and I say that not alluding to the rubbish brands that seem to make you want to re-apply every five minutes, but with reference to the fact that I have enough of them to keep one in every regularly occupied room of the house. I have several on the go in each handbag I’m using and apply religiously day and night. So I don’t mind considering myself something of an expert!

I thought that if I am suffering then now would be a good time to share my favourite balms and a few famous faces, then ask for your recommendations to keep your lips super soft all winter…

1. Original Chapstick. The original and the best, this isn’t just cheap and cheerful but has a slightly medicinal smell guaranteed to transport you back to childhood memories. Ideal for a quick lunchtime purchase on those days you’ve left yours at home.
2. Bobbi Brown’s Lip Balm. The Queen of base also does, in my humble opinion, the absolute best lip balm out there. apply it at bed time and not only will your lips be perfect come morning, but they will still have the balm on them, it’s that good.
3. Eve Lom Kiss Mix. For a bit of posh for your pout, this is minty fresh and another ‘super soft’ balm that I hope to find in each years Christmas stocking.
4. Lush Honey Trap lip balm. Because I love honey, it smells amazing and again, really works.
5. Burt’s Bees Honey balm – Another honey balm, in a stick this time.
6. Philosophy Kiss Me lip balm. Alos available in clear or original, this comes in tinted formulations too, smells good and has the right moisturising but non-sticky consistency.
7. Smiths Minted Rose lip balm. An iconic brand and with a gorgeous range of designs, this one gets extra style points when you have to touch up at the table.
8. Korres Lip Butter. A recent find of mine, these are lovely and moisturising but also quite densely pigmented offering some fast colour for your lips. I’ve got the corally Quince for summer and rose pink Pomegranate for winter.

You might be wondering why I haven’t included the legendary Vaseline tins but I’ve got to just come out and say it… I don’t rate it. Vaseline just slides off my lips and leaves them drier than before after I’ve slid it around all over my face and I think it belongs in the self-perpetuating camp that cause the need for ongoing reapplication. Feel free to object in the comments box though!

In case you haven’t guessed, it’s Bobbi Brown’s Lip Balm that gets Florence’s gold star for being the best I’ve ever found.

So now it’s your turn. Can you recommend any of these or have I missed something you rely on in the winter months. Drop me a comment below and share your favourite 🙂


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