Thursday 6 September 2012

No Rest For The Wicked And All That...

I haven't found a single spare moment to tell you that I've started another film. Literally not one.

I've neglected many aspects of my life: friends, family, laundry, cleaning the bathroom. I've even had a birthday which went by without one cocktail or high five (there were a few sing songs, a Sunday roast and lots of cake though). So I'm sure you'll all understand when I say I HAVE LITERALLY NOT HAD ONE SECOND...

I have been using lots of nice new products though and giving them all a thorough testing so I will be sure to let each one have their day as soon as I possibly can.

It might well be Christmas by then but Goddamn it I will not fail on this!!

Pugs and Kisses...

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Daylesford Organic Farm

I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself in a sea of tissues, eucalyptus salve and Olympic commentary. I have a cold, people! But now I am in the in-betweeny boredom stage where you're too weak to really do anything but have come out the other side of the 16 hour sleeps interrupted by fidgeting and fever - I am daydreaming of the things I want to do or rather something I want to do again, that is to visit Daylesford Organic Farm. Maybe I should go convalesce under the shade of a sturdy old tree and a hand woven blankie...

My sister has long been a fan of this beautiful organic farm in Gloucestershire and has chaperoned my entire family there on many occasions. Although I have been to the shop and cafe in Pimlico which is pretty divine in its own right, my turn on the farm was long overdue and so we went a couple weeks back to have a mooch, eat some delicious lunch and stock up on naturally, ethically and sustainably produced treasures.

Quick FYI - Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire is owned by Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford (oh my) and has been organically producing food and livestock for 25 years. There are a couple of sister companies, Bamford, a luxury natural skincare line and Château Léoube, an organic vineyard in France. On site in Gloucestershire is a farmhouse cafe, cookery and farm school, spa, gardenware, homeware and farm produce shop. And apparently you can sleep there too.

The place is beautiful. Did I say that already? Well it is. I can't say it enough. The menu in the cafe is simple but totally delish, the cheddar rarebit is most recommended as are the salads. Obviously pretty much everything comes from the farm. The interior is light, muted tones, classic farmhouse beams, it's earthy but oh so neutral and very calming, even if the room is alive with happy chatter and hearty chomping. I can't actually believe I didn't take any pictures of the cafe or my food, how unlike me?

Take a look around though...

The homeware range is lovely. A nice mix of traditional and minimal, simple ceramics, hand blown glass, chunky chopping boards, that kind of feel. The palette across the whole range is neutral. Woods, whites, mushrooms, stone, slate. I got myself one of those nice white wicker hampers to stash towels in, it's pretty big for a mere £14. I couldn't quite believe that value. Some things are particularly expensive here, don't even consider the clothing line unless you live in a house made from gold and can just lob off a bannister or something to buy one of their cashmere stoles but other things are miraculously cheap in comparison.

Sorry for cruddy photos here. I kind of worried I shouldn't be taking pictures but I did all the same.

Walking around Daylesford is a pretty slow-paced, relaxing affair and when you walk into the Hay Barn Spa it's easy to let go, stay awhile longer and slip... deep...into... a gentle... and blissful.... ........sleep. Ahem. Sorry. 

In the Hay Barn Spa you can a buy more from the Bamford skincare line (it's dotted throughout the various shops), plus a few other brands like Fushii and Aromatherapy Associates. The treatments on offer sound heavenly, and will definitely demand closer consideration, trial and review! Actually, I reviewed a hand cream by Bamford a long time ago now, one of the first reviews I did. It's a great range, simple luxurious packaging, heavy, green glass jars and nice, neat, white tubes. Clean formulations (obviously) and gorgeous signature fragrances. 

You could say Daylesford is a kind of lifestyle shop. It's not a lifestyle I actually lead in so far as I don't live in a converted barn with floor to ceiling windows and room for a pony (and when you are there it's easy to get swept away thinking you do or you will. Or that you even want to....) No, far more importantly, it's a lifestyle shop that says something about how you live your life. It's a business that favours what is wholesome and holistic over what is most profitable and proliferative. It's taking responsibility. And it lets us take responsibility too - as the products we choose to consume can go towards supporting not just a business but a whole theory on living.

Daylesford Organics Farm
Pop in if you can or get yourself to Pimlico, Notting Hill or the roof terrace atop Selfridges for a spot of Afternoon Tea. (I have to try this!!)

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Lily Lolo Mineral Blush

My last post was kind of geared towards fooling yourself into feeling like you've had a summer by the amazing trickery of bronzer. Although we did see a slice of sunshine when the big fat bully of the jet stream left us alone for one measly week, now it's back to the same old. So following on from that post I wanted to just quickly tell you about the latest little purchase from Lily Lolo who make, in my opinion, the BEST mineral foundation in loose powder format I have ever tried (and I doubt I will ever find one I prefer). Amen.

Given how much I like their foundation - I'm on my third pot of Blondie, a light neutral tone - I thought it was high time I tried one of their blushes. So I opted for a new shade, Beach Babe. That's a wishful-thinking-kind-of-name if ever I heard one. But that's OK. That's what we want! Because with this beautiful soft peachy pink and my Neal's Yard Mineral Bronzer, I am maybe one quarter of the way to becoming a Beach Babe myself! HA! All I need now is a beach, some kind of miracle bikini and some scorching hot rays. High Five! (OK and some sunscreen, shut up already)

The shade is very pretty, very summery without any sparkle because (all together now...) I hate glitter. It's just a very wearable colour. The texture is superb. Lily Lolo are really good at delivering a fine milled texture without scary nano-particles that do freaky disappearing acts in your cells and get up to nasty toxic jiggery-pokery when they shouldn't be. No, there's none of that here. Actually, although it is a great summer shade, it would be perfect all your round, as it would look very china-dollesque on a lovely pale, dainty face framed with a big cosy scarf and glossy dark locks. Can you tell I am a little sunshine-starved right now? Anyway...

I also ordered a Baby Buki brush to assist me in my Beach Babe fabulousness and although at first I thought it wasn't going to be a patch on the densely packed dream of the Super Kabuki, as this one has nowhere near the same tightly crammed bristles, it does actually perform perfectly well at popping on a dab of colour to one's grinning cheeks. Marvellous. 

Lily Lolo Mineral Blush in Beach Babe is £7.29
Baby Buki Brush is £7.99
Tropical Paradise Picture available here. I really want this!

Sunday 15 July 2012

Neal's Yard Remedies Mineral Bronzer

Hello! Welcome back! Welcome back to me really.  I have taken rather a long hiatus I know but as Elvis (and countless others) said, 'you were always on my mind'. So let's press on yes?

It was supposed to be a sunny and dry day today. It isn't. At least it isn't sunny. And in a month where expectations are at their highest and where the reality of the modern British Summer hits home hard, it is a predictably grey and lack lustre day. I don't know about you but I remember hot summers. I remember sunbathing in my garden during the school holidays. I remember revising for my exams whilst stretched out on a blanket in 30 degree heat. WHAT the hell happened!!?? Like the rest of you, I'm so fed up with this weather!

And so to perk myself up and to pretend it is anything like July I have made bronzer a staple in my everyday make up routine. I'm dusting myself with it at every given opportunity in the vague hope I can confuse my own brain into thinking I have seen the sun in this forsaken season before Winter creeps on in.

And this is the thing. This is why this is news. I have never been a fake-tanner though I do like to dabble now and again. And although I admire that sun-kissed look on others - I have always thought it was a bit like a push up bra - just who am I kidding? Only myself really and that's just a bit sad. I'm no Californian beauty with a golden tan all year round and I always felt any attempt at that would just look well, fake. And I hate fake. But I got a bit bored of blusher and nearing an age where my skin's better days are behind me (positive attitude eh?) I definitely need a little help in illuminating, shall we say, my complexion. Stumbling across NYR's new make up line one day on Upper Street, I got particularly infatuated with this mineral bronzer. 

So I realise now a bronzer just lifts your face, makes your skin seem a little more radiant, a little more contoured and is without the need of a stupid mitt to apply it. This kind of faking it I can do!

There are two shades, warm bronze and golden bronze. I opted for the golden. It is a pretty, uncomplicated, golden brown shade, without too much sparkle. I hate glitter. I am not 8 years old. It is particularly easy to apply... Big fat brush, swirlylswirlyswirly in the lid. Tap/shake. Swirlyswirlyswirly on your face, over cheekbones, bridge of nose, temples. Sod it, the WHOLE face.

You can't really go wrong if you have a light touch. By which I mean it is very buildable and has a lot of pigment to it so be warned - I have been wearing this bronzer for a while now actually and whilst I was working it was rather too easy to put too much on a in a dark bedroom at 4 a.m. Arriving at work on board a make up bus surrounded by bright lights, big mirrors and industry professionals did amuse a few times. Nevertheless, many people said how lovely and bright it made me look and took to slapping on some bronzer themselves! 

Tempting as it is with sun-in-a-pot, I do recommend you try and restrain yourself to the high points of your face, where the sun would naturally catch you first as this looks a little softer and helps contour  for a more flattering look. Don't actually swirl it over the whole face, otherwise you may as well just spray paint a David Dickenson shade of foundation on and be done with it.

Actually, I had to make up a quite a well known chat show host the other day for a satellite link-up to New York and he was keen to have a golden glow for the sake of the American audience. Now my make up kit is particularly geared up towards blood, dirt and general fatigue at the moment from my latest jobs so I had very little in the way of "all-round American good guy" kind of products with me. I quickly whipped this out of the bag and indeed it did the trick. Not too glitzty, can-use-on-a-man kind of practicality there. Not too glamourama. Just happy, attractive skin.

And for the record, it is 11% organic, 84% mineral with no talc, no parabens and no silicones. It is infused with antioxidant white tea and some nourishing oils too, like sweet almond. Just how there is an oil in a powder I don't know. But I believe them. I am on board. And I like it. 

Neal's Yard Remedies Mineral Bronzer in Golden Bronze is £16.50 for 5.5g available in store and online.

Thursday 31 May 2012

Les Miserables Teaser Trailer

Its' been a bit quiet on here for a while, maybe you have noticed. (I did warn you!)

No excuses for where I have been for all these months though. No reasons or apologies. It's been bloody hard work, with two weeks filming left to go and I think the result is going to be phenomenal. Feast your eyes on the teaser below and try not to cry.

P.S Normal skincare service will resume in approximately two and a half weeks.... you got to give yourself a day or two right?

Sunday 8 April 2012

Purity Skincare

OK I have a moment to write something. In between mouthfuls of popcorn and with one eye on the telly. Because these things are very important to me right now - a simple day off feels like ten days in Tuscany and I have to optimise my time. Which is why I don't do videos, what with all the chomping and greasy fingers. (Sorry Little Macbook. I'll clean you another time. Along with the car and my bathroom and other chores I'm choosing to ignore.)

Right, so the point of this post is to tell you about a lovely and very inexpensive brand I have been using for several weeks now - Purity. I replied to a call out on Twitter to try it and the kindly folks there sent me a whole bunch of products to test. How nice!

I was initially very impressed with such generosity (what? I'm easily bought) but also with the clean and simple look to the range. It's very functional and straightforward. It doesn't look expensive because it doesn't have to. Nothing costs over a tenner making Purity a very friendly, easily accessible range (at Superdrug) which I hope will do some good to crossing over into the mainstream where so many natural brands have been overlooked and misunderstood.

I was sent the Facial Wash, Facial Exfoliator, Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, Anti-Ageing Serum and Mask and the Regenerating Overnight Moisturiser. I know. How nice!

The products I have used to death are the Facial Wash and Facial Exfoliator. The wash being perfect for the Clarisonic which I am still dabbling with. It feels fresh, with a nice light foam and doesn't dry out my skin. I have used is every other day as I alternate between trying other things and sticking to the old favourite - coconut oil (still in love with this). I had kind of forgotten how easy a face wash can be and this has really brought me back round to the idea, every now and then! Very good indeed.

The exfoliator is great for when you feel the need to march your skin outside into the glaring sunlight and give it a good whack with a carpet beater. Which is more or less everyday right now. I have made it sound really rather harsh and although it is very grainy these grains are actually in the most velvety, yoghurty cream. Feels like pudding for your face. Maybe an Eton mess. Or even just strawberries and cream.  It really enlivens the skin, leaving it soft and juicy. As if I might really have taken my tired old rug of a mug outside and given it a good thrashing with a carpet beater. Seriously though if you like a scrub this is actually a very kind one. Consider it recommended.

The moisturisers have been living in my kit, with good results and pleasant reactions -  the night time one has been enjoyed more by myself admittedly and although I don't like moisturisers that much (preferring a facial oil every time) I have been very happy with both of them. And very happy to use it as a way of getting people interested in natural skincare. I'm still horrified on a daily basis how  unaware most people are of what it is they put on their skin whilst assuming it must be just fine and dandy.

I admit I have only used the Serum / Mask combo once but this is mostly due to the distinct lack of time to do anything as nearly as indulgent as a mask for ten minutes and not because I didn't want to. It seems lovely but I must promise to road test it a bit more before I give you any feedback...

I have to say none of the products are heavily fragranced, or even register a smell at all and this is actually quite reassuring and makes a nice change. 

Purity is undeniably very affordable and is marketed as an option for those who want to buy natural but are put off by the price. There are several, very affordable ranges available now but usually only found in health food stores or online, not somewhere like Superdrug (which generally sells what I like to refer to as MUCK.) And it is this that I find most interesting. Encouraging even.  A great step towards people making a more informed choice I hope.

But at the same time something else worries me here - that people will read 'natural', 'pure' and even 'organic'  on other brands' packaging and feel they are getting a similar thing with those brands too when they most certainly are not. Greenwashing is a terrible, terrible thing and makes my blood boil. Don't go forgetting there is no legal definition of any of these terms and brands can wave words like this around like pretty little bunting at a summer's fayre to get you slapping on a whole host of synthetic chemicals, preservatives, fragrances and potentially carcinogenic material in the name of cheap and easy profit.

Labels are everything and although it as great to see a natural product from someone like Purity next to something like Dove, Simple or Nivea, it would actually make me weep if people didn't realise there was difference between them. 

Also whilst we are on this subject of ingredients - a full ingredients listing on a website, in this day and age, for a natural brand, is ESSENTIAL if a consumer is to trust who they are buying from and indeed what they are buying. It is a massive turn-off when a full list isn't available. At first, I was a little frustrated that I couldn't see an ingredients list right by the products on Purity's website. With a little more patience I discovered their ingredients glossary which clearly explains every ingredient they use and this I think is very, very commendable. Even I, up here on my high horse, can't be bothered to google every single ingredient and although I know I recognise and understand most things I read, there are plenty of chemicals, natural or not that I don't. This glossary is clear, transparent and something everyone should want to read. Well done Purity. 

Right, I got all serious there. So enough of that. Jurassic Park is on. See you next time.

Purity is available in Superdrug Stores and online 
Products range from £4.99 to £8.99. 

Thursday 22 March 2012

Checking In

Tired much?

Hi Folks. So I'm checking in to say hello and to tell you how things are going at work because I haven't much else to report!

I have literally just checked in at some random hotel off the motorway here in Kent for one night and one night only for filming tomorrow.

We started shooting on Monday, in a gorgeous church in London which involved a mule and a cow. That's all I'm saying. Except I wasn't really on set much that day, more poking around on the make up bus filling moulds for prosthetic pieces and washing wefts etc. That pretty much covers Tuesday too.

And yesterday I was in the gorgeous Ewelme in Oxfordshire which is the most beautiful little village - filming with some lovely background artists that we made all grubby and poor-like. Very satisfying.

Today was spent recovering from getting back home at 03.30 and travelling down here to Kent and tomorrow  - I have no idea what is actually happening tomorrow - except there is a massive crowd, lots of dirty beggars again and our lead fella on horseback I believe.

So that's that.  I may go and have a large glass of wine now and wait til morning.

Love and kisses.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Burt's Bee Tinted Lip Balm

OK, quick, before I get distracted.... here is another post!

I have been particularly interested in lip products of late, after what I call the Lipstick Disaster also known as the Japanese Honeysuckle debacle (click here). So on a recent trip to Wholefoods (I should start receiving commission how much I go on about Wholefoods) - a trip which lasted several hours I might add, maybe even as long as three, I know! THREE! - I picked up a little tube of Burt's Bee Tinted Lip Balm (that probably wasn't all I got...)

"Great!" I thought.
A lip balm with a healthy dab of colour. I chose Pink Blossom. It's a pretty fuschia pink, nothing too wild but not plain jane either. There are six colours in this range though, including red, darker plum, coral and nude. I simply must try them all! For I love this lip balm. LOVE!

The colour is perfect for my lips to look a little alive and a little effortlessly 'done'. And as it is a balm, you get properly moisturised, long-lasting smoothness. For real! I struggle with lip balms. I can get really dry lips and have the grossest habit of pickpickpicking when they get that way. Colour can only make dry skin more obvious. This is nothing short of amazing for how smooth it makes my lips feel and the slick of colour just makes them POP! 

Let me say it again. I LOVE this lip balm.

I tell you what I also love, the packaging. It comes in a cute little cardboard tube which has really brought out my geek side as I have kept what is a standard lip-balm-shaped lip balm inside it's very own little lip balm house to stop it getting all fluffy under the lid like they usually do in my possession. It does cost £5.99 which is about 2squid more than the others in the Burt's Bees line but for a cute lip balm carrier case I'll pay what you ask!

It's such a great formula, coconut oil, shea butter, lanolin and it smells délicieux like bubblegum, though I think that it might be jasmine and rosemary, looking at the ingredients... Yum!

So there. That wasn't so hard now was it!

Kiss kiss xoxo

Where I Have Been

Hey folks.

Something has been going on. I haven't been writing on here much (less than normal), I haven't been on Twitter, tweeting my thoughts on recent television programming or the contents of my fridge. I have barely even tweeted my latest road rage escapades and there's been plenty of those, let me tell you! I can't even remember the last time I logged into my Facebook page (boring). What the heck is wrong with me?

Work. Sounds rubbish I know but it's true.

I am working on a film again, Les Miserables (think I'm allowed to say this). It is a biggie ...and  I'm loving it! But take heed and listen. No matter how much I say I will keep this up. I won't. I know what I'm like - full of empty promises and afraid of commitment! So get used to the silence baby. I mean, I will try and tweet a bit of on set shenanigans now and then. And maybe I can whip up a post whilst sat lonely in hotel rooms... See, I'm doing it again! Don't listen! It's false hope!

In fact, the only reason I am writing this post now (and I might try and squeeze another out whilst I'm here) is because I was actually home at a decent time today and appear to have a spare evening! Trés miraclous!

So this is what I have for you, for those times you find you're feeling low or lonesome, or maybe in the tiny, wee hours you stumble over to my blog for a spot of light reading on natural skincare and good humour, or those times where work really is too much, or too little and you are searching out a distraction, or a purpose, something to look forward to, to drag you through the remainder of the day... well, for all those times when you feel like you're in need and I'm not here... There is something, somebody you can turn to.... Louis. Awww. Happy little fella.

He's chewing a bone here, don't be alarmed.

Adios Amigos. Love and Kisses.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

This is exciting isn't it? Alice from Bright Town Girl has awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award. 

Thanks Alice!

I'm a bit rubbish at these sorts of things and so I will attempt to abide by the Rules of Honour see below (it's all a bit secret society sounding isn't it?) and pass along the Baton of Blog Love. 

Rules of Honour - 
1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back (naturally! Done!)
2. Tell 7 things about you (oh that should be easy)
3. Pass this on to newly discovered blogs and let them know they received the award
(tricky, so many have already received it I think! But I'll certainly dish out some loving, no problem.)

But first let's talk about me again!

Here's some things you may or may not be interested in. 
1. Well. I LOVE pugs. But you knew that one already didn't you? I really love any dog. I have some strange compulsion to look after them. I have been known to stop in the street and stare at passing dogs whilst my heart fills with joy and love. I don't sniff their behinds though. That's weird.
2. I'm a Virgo. That's a bit dull. Sorry. 
3. I am super critical and annoy my nearest and dearest a lot of the time by grooming them openly in public. Like a monkey. Not a particularly appealing character trait. I blame my job for that one. That and being a Virgo. Whatevs.
4. I have a really low brow sense of humour and Jim Carey is my HERO! Dumb and Dumber is one of my favourite films. I will defend it to the death. Don't get me started.
5. I have a major girl crush on Mischa Barton (for all her weirdness), at it's height during the golden years of The OC of which I own seasons 1 and 2 but will not watch season 3 and she dies. I'm surprised the DVDs still work to be honest because I have watched them simply MILLIONS of times. I know, 10 more cool points to me!
6. I have never watched a Bond film. That's pretty embarrassing when you work in the film industry. I did try to watch one once feeling the pressure to conform but boredom prevailed. 
7. Errr... This is harder than I expected. Made so much worse by the realisation my personality can be reduced to 6 facts. I thought I was so complex! ....Here's one. I'm a peculiar type of vegetarian by which I mean I eat chicken but not on the bone, generally only in the roast dinner format. Sausages, but only if they are chipolatas and particularly well done. Bacon, but only if it's so burnt it snaps and none of your smokey nor streaky varieties please. And fish, but only if it's breaded or battered and quite mild in fishiness. And not in pie format. All other meat is met with a scrunched up nose and expression of disdain. I am properly fussy on welfare standards too so no battery farming for me thanks. No Sir.

So then. These are the most important things you need to know about me right there. 

Blogs then. 
Although much of my blog reading is devoted to my own (ha! Joke) I do occasionally click through to someone else's. Forgive me if these have already been mentioned but I think credit where it's due. Give it up for the bloggers! *wild and rapturous applause*

Aleigh from Indigo+Canary 
Dana from Organic Lassie
Andy from Pampered Prince (doing it for the boys - 10 cool points to Andy)
Gemma from Buff Beauty

That's only 5 because these are my newest discoveries and I have a list of all the other blogs I like to read on the side bar so do check those out too! 

Hope you enjoyed that! 
Love and KIsses.

Monday 13 February 2012

Pucker Up with BellaPierre Lipstick

Lipstick. Valentines. It's all so predictable. Interestingly, I'm a bit contrary and seem to veer wildly away from things that I suspect I'm supposed to do. But just as I am contrary, you will also see I am inconsistent and so here you go - a Valentine's Day themed post. About smoochy-coochy lips. Pucker up folks... I'm coming to getya!!!!

I've always shied away from lipstick. Firstly, I prefer to emphasis my eyes. Secondly, traditionally lippies only dried out my lips. Which looks crap when you deliberately draw attention to them. And thirdly, if you need one, it's a bit... obvious for me... Trés cliché!

But recently, and as a bit of a surprise, I have started to enjoy sporting a red lip. (Love referring to the plural as singular. ) I do like red lips when I see other people wearing it. So I thought to hell with it. Me too! It's that Forties glamour and a Fifties flirtiness thing. Trés cool.

So to avoid ingesting a kilo of chemicals (have you any idea how much lipstick the average woman 'eats' in a lifetime? Anywhere up to 9lbs. Thats apparently 23 tubes. Or maybe like, half your arm or something, if you think about it. Or an ankle's worth. Or maybe a knee. Or two knees!? Anyway. It's horrific!) I was determined to find a decent natural lipstick to reduce my lifetime consumption to a few fingers worth. (Weirdo)

Looking for a decent natural lipstick was harder than I assumed. A lot of them are neutral shades for a more subtle look, lacking the impact I was after. Or they are stuffed full of glittering mineral pigments which look pearly (yuk!) or frosted (yuk again). If I wanted to channel Pat Butcher it would be just darling! But I don't. So they suck.

The first one I found that looked a proper, serious red was by natural cosmetics brand BellaPierre, called 'Ruby'. It's a beautiful, slightly blue - toned red which I prefer as it helps teeth look whiter and that's never a bad thing really.

So great colour and it's long-lasting! In fact I was quite surprised how long it did last considering it feels quite juicy. It goes on very smoothly but doesn't have too much shine to feel like your in a Robert Palmer video (glossy and red - so Eighties!) It's versatile too - you can dab it on lightly with a pinky for a pretty bitten look or you can layer it up thick with a brush for the full-on femme fatale. Or the Robert Palmer video. 

It does do that drying thing which I can't seem to get around. But I think that's my own issue and not really the lipstick's fault. 

However! Something terrible has just happened and I have been deliberating for days what to do about this. The ingredients aren't too bad but whilst having a look for this post I noticed there within lurks a rather naughty little preservative - Japanese honeysuckle or Lonicera Japonica, to use it's latin name as stated on the packaging. This is a natural preservative but guess what? It's identical to parabens. So if it acts like a paraben, be it from nature or not, should it be in there? And do I want to use it? 

This is a bit of an oversight on my part, annoyingly. As I might not have bought it if I had realised. In fact I know I wouldn't. And I really wasn't sure about whether to go ahead with this post or not.  But I've thought long and hard about this and I've decided I won't get mad, or get even. I'll just see it as a halfway house. It's better than most of your common or rubbish high street lipsticks so I'll continue to use it whilst struggling ever onward to find an improvement! Everything else in it is good, it's just very disappointing to realise you REALLY need to read the labels! Even at the revered House of Natural - Wholefoods Market, where I bought this.

So there you go - let that be a lesson to y'all! Kiss kiss.

Do share the love! What are your favourite natural lipsticks? I'd love to hear suggestions! And what do you think about Japanese honeysuckle - this so-called natural paraben - being used in cosmetics? Bothered?

I plan to do a bit of unearthing on this matter for another post so do watch this space! 

Sunday 5 February 2012

Try the Suti Core Facial for Yourself!

Get excited people I have news!  The Suti Core Facial is now available to sample at Wholefoods Market Kensington, selected dates throughout the year! "Welcome to my world... Won't you come on in... " sung in cheesy club singer style voice or maybe someone like Michael Bublé. Yes, I can hear Bublé singing that... with a twinkle in his eye and dashing Canadian grin...

This is cracking. Sample facials are either £30 for 30 minutes or £60 for 60 minutes, at The Whole Body Centre in the fabulous Wholefoods Market Kensington and wait for it... that's redeemable against products! Again. Redeemable. Oh dear lord! That is one hell of an offer and a great introduction to my favourite skincare line. I'm a little breathless just thinking about it. And not because of Michael Bublé. He won't be there.

The treatments will be with Suti's very own and very good Suzannah Jenkins and also with Claire Popham who has already been offering this incredible facial at her treatment rooms, The Lily Room in East Sheen. Booking is essential, so call The Whole Body Centre on 0207 3684531 or email on

The dates are as follows, with appointments available between 12 and 6pm:
2nd March, 30th March, 11th May, 8th June, 6th July, 3rd August, 7th September, 5th October, 2nd November, 7th December. 

You can read up on my experience with Suti's Core Facial here. And my ravings about the products I have reviewed here. If you are in the slightest bit interested in trying it out, then do! I urge you. I am merrily working my way through a second bottle of my favourite Rejuvenate Oil and especially with this bitter cold it really keeps skin comfortable and nourished.

On that note and just for your amusement, something kind of funny happened the other day. Mr. BE came trudging in from the cold and tentatively asked me if I had anything for his face because it was all chapped and was hurting him. (Can you imagine? Heartbreaking!) "Of course!" I squealed! The first thing I reached for was the Rejuvenate Oil. And he was soon happily glowing like a bunny brought in from the garden and sat by the fire, all rosy cheeked but soothed. (Don't tell him I told you.) His verdict the next morning and I quote, "Yeah it's actually better, thanks!"

That's basically top marks!

Drop your comments below if you are going to give Suti a try or if you are already are! Let's hear it for Suti! Over to you Michael.

Monday 30 January 2012

Clarisonic Mia: First Update

Right so I'm still a little undecided on the Clarisonic. Obviously for the price tag I want to love it. But I am aware of that. So I'm trying to not let that sway me. And I don't think it is actually. If anything I'm being more harsh on it.

Now I figured the point of it was to remove daily dirt and make up so it makes more sense to use it in the evenings but I like the potential for it to tighten up your facial muscles so I sometimes do a 'double shift' with it and use it again in the morning.

To give you an idea of the routine, I use a natural cleanser, Stem Organics Gentle Cleansing Milk (review to follow) for a quick pre-cleanse so as not to get the brush head too discoloured with make up. Then I squish a bit out onto the brush and I'm away. Rinse with cool water. Wash the brush clean and Tah-Dah! There's not much to it really.

I haven't suffered any breakouts, certainly nothing that I think was caused by the Clarisonic anyway, which is great. I've heard that this can be the case as your skin starts to respond but so far so good with me.

I do think I might have a little more firmness around my cheeks, in the smile line area. This is probably only noticeable to me and might be non-existent - I'm not squealing with excitement just yet. But I'm going to watch this carefully as I continue to use it and if this is indeed the case I might start a one-man parade with a sandwich board and a megaphone to declare my jubilation because that really was what I was hoping for!

I can't say I've seen outlandish improvement in the unblocking of pores around my nose and chin however, maybe a little bit but I'll persevere and monitor this.

One slight concern with using it was I was getting pesky dry patches on my forehead and nose which I never get and considering this is the oiliest bit of your face - the T zone- I did find this a little strange and obviously very much unwanted! This made me switch back to a hot cloth and coconut oil every now and then to sort this out. I thought the Clarisonic would be ace at getting rid of dead skin, like an industrial floor sanding machine but I suspect it's actually causing it. Maybe it's too abrasive?

In summary: It's not bad but it's not magic. More Paul Daniels than Paul McKenna.

I'm curious. I'm not blown away but I'm not disappointed. I will continue to subject my face to the experiment and I will report back when I have fully made my mind up on this funny little gadget.

I would love your feedback on this. If you have a Clarisonic, what are your experiences using it? Did you love it right away? Did it take time to notice a difference? Did you have any problems with it or has it been plain sailing on a sunny day?

Comment below! Thanks y'all.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Coconut Oil - A Beauty Must Have!

You know what, every now and then I like to try a bit of homespun beauty. I don't go crazy, like mixing my own shampoo in a vat over the bath or anything but I have been known to plaster porridge on my face (oats make a great exfoliator and are very soothing for dry skin).

This latest kitchen cupboard discovery is the endlessly useful coconut oil. I'm not talking cocoa butter or shea butter. This is more like the insides of a Bounty. Without the sugar. And organic. And virgin. *Blush*

It's a great ingredient and has been included in hundreds of skincare formulas I've come across before. It's also the 'healthiest fat in the world' (cue fanfare of silver hornets and trombones) with an amazing array of health promoting properties. Google it if you're interested but as a quick overview it acts differently to other saturated fats - this one is a medium chain triglyceride which means your body metabolises it right away and doesn't store it like it does other fats. It can reduce bad cholesterol, it's great for keeping your heart healthy, it's anti-microbial, ant-viral, anti-inflammatory and it has a whole host of anti-oxident action too. Seriously it's overwhelming stuff. I'm breathless just thinking about it!

But aside from eating it (I have yet to try it on my toast but I hear it's a great cooking oil too as it's stable at high temperatures) the reason I'm loving it so much is how good it is for the skin. I feel a little silly after declaring it can have boundless good effects on your health and then following it up with, "I use it to take my eye make up off!" but it's true. I do. And there's nothing better if I may be so bold.

Quick moan: I hate taking off my eye make up. Firstly, because it generally means the removal of my entire eye - without make up I look like a little blind mole that's been dug up from the soil and dangled in bright sunlight; pallid, squinty, shy. And secondly, it's just messy, my eyes sting, go red, get sore. Its just a faff isn't it?

So using something that is quick, uber-gentle and actually good for my skin instead of leaving me with nightmares of propylene glycol molecules dancing around my bloodstream in some kind of Wizard of Oz mash-up, well, it's just perfect really. I dampen cotton wool with warm water, squidge a bit onto the pad, it quickly turns into a liquid from the heat of the pad, I apply to my eye, hold a few seconds, circle my eye a couple times and then wipe away. DONE.

After using it to remove eye make up so successfully, well, one thing led to another and what can I say,  I began using it as a full face cleanser! Bam! Right now, I have to say, it's even made me put my Clarisonic down and reach for the hot cloth method once more. Yikes. It makes my skin look so clean, so much more even and I love that! (There will be updates on my progress with Mr. Clarisonic soon)

So then I went the whole hog and began using it as a body oil, it's LUSH! I was getting a pesky little eczemary patch on my arm, Lo! And Behold! it cleared that up in a matter of days, nay, hours. It instantly relieves dry skin and it works to generally improve skin tone and elasticity. It's blooming marvellous. I don't usually go in for a body lotion or such like, mostly because it's a bit of a bore applying it but I'm loving this and it smells all tropical and exciting.

I won't go on any more. You get the picture. Buy a jar of it from your health food shop for about £4 and quench that winter skin! 

Monday 23 January 2012

Suti Core Facial

Suti Core Facial. The Ultimate Facial Treatment. Coming Soon...

This facial, by the brand that's fast becoming my all time favourite, deserves it's own tagline, Underground poster campaign and TV ads with a gravel-voiced Voiceover Man bellowing out dramatic and glamourous statements to get you all over excited and impatient, because it is quite frankly the best facial I have had. And what's more, the build up to this particular appointment was nigh on EIGHT months! That is one hefty amount of anticipation and boy did it live up to it - way beyond my expectations!

So then. What the hell am I on about... Suti, if you haven't yet heard, is the most beautiful skincare range developed in very recent years by two sisters-in-law. I have reviewed some of their gorgeous products here and have been enamoured with them ever since. In May last year I was asked if I would like to try a new facial treatment they had developed and of course, I accepted! However, work got in the way and before I knew it I was filming in Malta. I ended up being away on location for the rest of the summer. Kindly the appointment was postponed and scheduled for November on my return. After seriously doing my back in (standing for long hours and heavy make up kits don't do much for your back) I was forced to postpone again and so in December on the morning of the appointment I awoke with excitement and trepidation and... the most godawful cold. Again I was forced to forfeit and the wait was back on. Bugger.

A month on, stupid cold still very much with me (seriously??! What is up with my immune system right now??) and the big day finally came! I half expected locusts to fall from the sky... thankfully no hitches this time!

This treatment, performed by the lovely Suzannah Jenkins, is way beyond a facial. Incorporating all the products in the range it includes deep cleansing, exfoliating and several nourishing and purifying masks. Every product in the Suti range is beautiful and each one really gets to shine here. The Purity Face Balm is gorgeous, the Peppermint water is so reviving, the Organic Cleanser is already a favourite, as is the Rejuvenate Face Oil - I'm completely hooked on this. But why let your face have all the fun?! Whilst the various masks are performing their magic, legs and feet, arms and hands, chest and head are all treated to a massage too, using the appropriate oils and balms to match, like the Fabulous Foot Balm. Heavenly.

All the sensations from hot cloths, to cool pads, firm massage and light spritzes, are delivered with reassuring precision and keep your skin comfortable and calm, letting you really relax into the experience. There's no harsh scrubbing, no serious pummelling where you actually begin to gag. And definitely no irritation or risk of over-sensitised skin here. 

But what is the really unique thing about this facial treatment is the use of crystals. Don't freak...

On lying down on the couch I was given two Reiki crystals to hold. This is a nice, friendly, grounding technique, allowing you to close your eyes, lie back and centre your mind. Various crystals are also used during the massage, which helps, in crystal theory, to send positive vibrations to you. Now this may not excite you or even interest you, but what might is how this actually feels.

Through every stage of the facial, different crystals were used to draw patterns down the face and neck, tracing the channels of lymphatic drainage and adding another, very welcome aspect to this sensory experience. That and the steamer which gently blows steam towards your face whilst another bit of you is being tended to - just lovely. (I love steam. I could live in a steam room, if it wasn't for the fat hairy men that already live there.)

Feeling a little heady and thoroughly floppy, in a good way, I took a peek in the mirror getting changed and I was impressed to say the least, glowing, happy skin. Later that day I was fascinated by the glow. I couldn't stop inspecting my face!

Feeling good and very happy with the results, I went to meet to friends for drinks. The next day, my cold had developed into a curious throat afflication, like a little bird's nest had been built over night and then caught fire; scratchy, sore, lumpy. I felt like crap. Plus I was hungover from some kind of japanese mojito overindulgence. I'm not telling you this to be gauche (!) my point is when I dragged myself from my bed to the shower and looked in the mirror I was actually shocked at how good my skin still looked! It was even better than the day before, even smoother, more even, tighter, plumper! And with my catalogue of complaints to boot! Serious magic was at work. I loved it! 

There's something very special about a facial, that no amount of self-admininstered facial massaging can seem to achieve. And with the combination of pure products and expert technique, this one is a real gem you ought to try. (There is also something very special about a facial that not even a stinking cold and a hangover can ruin! Incredible)

It costs £65 for the 90 minute treatment, which I think it the most amazing value for money. I would generally expect to pay a pound a minute as a rough idea, which makes this great value already. Factor in the results and you've got one exceptional treatment. GO GET ONE!

Suzannah is currently training therapists in the Suti Core Facial. If you live in the vicinity of East Sheen there are a few places you can go for it, see their website for more details.

There is also a program of events taking place with Wholefoods Market across London which is very exciting and I will update you on this as and when I get the details. 

Also of note: The Suti Core Facial received a blog award from Beauty Mouth - Best Facial of 2011 and you can read about that here.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Antipodes Divine Face Oil

I was asked if I could recommend a facial oil on Twitter today. And obviously I was very happy to oblige! But this made me realise how I get asked a lot of questions about facial oils. Probably because I rant about them to anyone who will listen. After discovering how good facial oils were I more or less ditched every other moisturiser I was using and subsequently told almost every person I met who may have merely hinted (probably with regret) at their vague interest at what I might be using on my skin.

So.... Oh yes, I have been happily using facial oils for about 8 or 9 months now. The Antipodes Divine Face Oil has been my current love. It's a beautiful blend of avocado, macadamia, jojoba and rosehip oils in that order and if you've been paying attention even slightly you will already know how good all these plant oils are for your skin. If not, quick recap:

Avocado oil is rich in chlorophyll which, along with lutein, is what gives it that gorgeous green colour. Chlorophyll and lutein are a potent antioxidants and these help support skin cell function, eliminating toxins and free radicals roaming around your body, willy-nilly. Or something like that. And, let me say that again, and avocado oil has been credited with stimulating collagen production by up to 51%. Good grief. That's actual 'charts and graphs' proof for you right there.

In fact all these oils deliver powerful and naturally balanced essential fatty acids into the skin. These act to promote skin healing, reduce inflammation and sun-damage, deliver moisture deep into the dermal layers, keep skin hydrated and retain its elasticity. You couldn't ask for more.

I feel like quoting Jimmy Nail at this point, "Ain't no doubt it's plain to see...." *insert own lyrics now*  "...a facial oil like that is..." *original lyrics* "good for me!" Please note: Geordie accent is optional of course. That's enough of that.

The Divine Face Oil smells just that, divine, it's a light subtle fragrance of ylang ylang, jasmine and sweet orange. It absorbs quickly, giving you time to massage it in but without leaving you time to sit there and notice how you really need to dust your dressing table more often. And it can be used morning and night. And I do. Both.

It's simple, it's very effective. I never feel like I've missed a step of my skincare routine. My skin feels comfortable and moisturised without feeling sticky or greasy in any way. Plus it lasts all day. It seems to be giving my skin exactly what it needs. And I thoroughly recommend that!

It's also very reasonable in price too (at least it is when you are used to paying well over twenty-smackeroons for facial products...) at £18.99 and I can tell you I have been using mine for a good three months now and I'm still going with this bottle so it's fair value for money.

So there you go. Listen to Jimmy!

Antipodes Divine Light Facial Oil is £18.99 for 25ml
I bought mine from Naturisimo I believe...

Thursday 5 January 2012

The Clarisonic Mia: Oh go on then...

The Clarisonic has been paraded all over blogs and the internet for many months now and as much as I was sceptical about it's skin-changing prowess I was intrigued...

Just before Christmas my sister got one and after she raved about it and I started to pay close attention to what it claims to do, I was hooked on the idea. "What a great way to start the New Year," I lied to myself... "But why not give it a go, you know, for the good of the blog... " So I am!

If you live in a hole and haven't heard, the Clarisonic is a facial cleansing brush that uses sonic technology to deliver a more thorough cleanse to the face, removing more dirt and make up than a 'manual' cleanse. This helps decongest pores and keeps skin exfoliated which allows for products to penetrate the skin more readily and therefore, work more efficiently. AND (this is my favourite bit) the sonic waves help to improve overall skin tone, promoting a more even and glowing complexion.

If it does do these things, it will certainly have earned that £120 price tag, which after you've picked yourself up off the floor, will still feel expensive. But my thinking is this: it's your face. YOUR FACE! If it works it's worth every penny right? For all the money and time we all spend fiddling around with things that make no discernible difference, to have a product that not only helps all those products work more effectively but in itself will tighten up those jabbly jowls, well, then I will personally track down its inventor and take him to Afternoon Tea. Yes Sir!

And... if it doesn't it will be consigned to the 'messy drawer' of my dressing table never to fulfil it's face-shaping destiny. Stay tuned for regular thoughts and updates on how it's changing my life (for better or worse...)

Let the trials begin!

I bought the Clarisonic Mia in Lavender from SpaceNK for £120.

Monday 2 January 2012

Like a Dog with a Bone! Thanks Folks.

Hello All.

I didn't want to do a 'Happy New Year' post. Or even a 'Merry Christmas Post'.
Obviously, I hope every one of you has had a very festive Yule (loving this phrase) and will have the best year ahead on record ever, truly I do. But to be frank, I am fed up of reading about The New Year.

If one more person asks me "What's your hopes and dreams for 2012?" I'm going to stuff my ears with the dead Christmas tree branches and close my eyes until February. And it's only the 2nd... doesn't bode well...

However. I don't want to be a party-pooper (and if you were with me on New Year's Eve you will know that I owned that dance floor like the bailiffs were coming to rip it out from beneath me...)
So I have caved. It would be rude not to mark this new year with a post dedicated to this... A big gushy "oh you GUYS!!" kind of thank you.

Louis is Me and the Bone represents the blog. Obviously.

I started this blog in early 2011 to give me a way of avoiding watching This Morning everyday of the week; a bit of focus and direction in what I like to refer to as The Dark Days, where I mope about the house between make up jobs. Don't get me wrong - I do love Holly and Philip, it's just like when you have ice cream everyday, it kind of makes you sick right? Right. Anyway, it was only my second year in the film industry and it was a long time between significant jobs.

As I seemed to spout on about natural skincare to anyone who might be passing by, I thought I better get a handle on it before I got sectioned for talking to too many strangers on the bus. And so, inspired by reading other blogs, I decided I could do it too!

I haven't been the most prolific, I admit that, as finally The Dark Days turned into The Actual Paying Job Days (hoorah!) but I have loved writing this blog and no matter how busy or distracted I have been, it has always remained one of my only passions.

So a massive "thank you" for stopping by to read this, whether it only be the once because of a random tweet you read or whether you follow all the time. Without you it barely seems worth it so... you know, ta very much.

So... gulp,  "Here's to a great year ahead..."

Love and Kisses.

I PROMISE there are a whole host of posts coming right at you in the very immediate future!