Clinique Mens Sonic Cleansing Brush

I have long been a fan of a cleansing brush.  The original, the Clarisonic has been in my bathroom and well used for a number of years, and I literally recommend it to EVERYONE who’ll listen.  I appreciate that it doesn’t seem to agree with everyone, some people claiming it has made their faces sore, or broke them out or made them look red. Well I certainly haven’t experienced any of that and it’s become part of my daily routine (save for when there has been beer imbibed…it falls off the list of things to do before bed in that instance).


With that in mind, I was very curious to try the Clinique version.  Much more, the MENS version.  It does come with the tag of ‘Power Tools for Men’s Skin’ which I am just putting down to marketing aimed at men who freak out should it not sound at the very least like it has come from the starship enterprise.  MEN, you could still use this in any colour (the mens version comes in a testosterone-y grey), and your penis will not shrink. Just saying.

It is launched alongside an addition to the already good Clinique For Men range in the form of the Charcoal Face Wash.

This is a slightly disconcerting black colour, but a really god gel type cleanser aimed at giving your mug a really thorough clean.


The face wash contains a charcoal derived from bamboo, and is also packed out with some glycerin which will give it some slip.  There is no grit in this face wash, which surprised me given the content, but it goes on smooth and has a slight cushiony feel to it.

Now, the Sonic Cleansing ‘power tool’.

I have used this for about a week now, and yes, I can confirm that it does seem to work. It’s smaller than the Clarisonic classic thus easier to pop into a bag, plus it is a lot less expensive, around £100 cheaper to be exact,  I do however have a couple of issues with it.

1. it works for only 1 minute at a time. I have a big face. It takes longer than a minute to go over it all. It’s not a drama in itself as it’s easily switched back on for another round. A longer setting might be an idea.

2. I feel the brush is an odd shape.  Not round but more oval, I find I am having to cover a lot of ground as quickly as possible before it stops. That said, there are two sets of bristle ‘strength’ . One softer (too soft maybe?) and the other at the top of the oval, slightly stiffer and a little more abrasive. These work better for me.

Small gripes for what is a fine product that does exactly what it says on the tin. It does make it clear that you may have to ‘build up’ to using it twice a day, possibly for the reasons of sensitivity as mentioned above. Me? as big as my face is, it’s tough as old boots.

Clinique for Men Sonic Cleansing System Deep Cleansing Brush £79

Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash £15


Cire Trudon- Joséphine

There are a ton of scented candles. They seem to have exploded somewhat in the last 10 years.  That said, Cire Trudon have been around since 1643, so it’s only right really that they are, in my eyes, the best at making extraordinary luxurious scents to waft through any home. They’ve had a while to get it right.

The latest addition is the suitably sweet and floral Joséphine.  Named after the famous wife of Napoleon, who once spurned, and not too broken hearted we beleive remained in the marital residence and took to gardening.


Set in a light and delicate looking light blue glass, as opposed to Cire’s usual opaque dark green, the Joséphine candle is a true spring floral delight. Light, airy and very fresh it’s a perfect combo of peace, and tranquil flowers. Bergamot, lime, camelia and musks waft gently through the house in the sunshine, weighted and supported by sandalwood and Iris. Not too girly, not too airy fairy. Very lovely indeed.


Joséphine limited edition candle available exclusively at Harrods & Cire Trudon on Chiltern Street. £70.

Nuit Étoilée Annick Goutal

When I was a child, and this will be no surprise to some people, I used to be obsessed with fairies.
I don’t know, something about the glitter and the frocks. A younger me prancing around with blankets round my waist (couture) and flapping my arms around trying to fly. I had VERY patient parents obviously, and not very strong arms as I never ONCE took to the sky.


Inhabiting that world of make believe would have been very nice, and I still get misty eyed when I see an Athena poster fantasy landscape, but imagine what scent would have been like in that place.

I came accross Nuit Étoilée a while back writing for something else, and it made it into my own personal stash of fragrances I love to wear. Literally translated as starry night the gorgeous deep blue bottle, the gold stopper and the light and airy outdoorsy balsam pine and mint make it smell exactly as it’s described. It dries down to a very fresh invigorating almost spicy finish, that’s quite chilly.


With the weather slowly taking a turn for the better and the nights becoming lighter, if you can imagine yourself in a fairytale utopia at dusk wandering through magic forest, Nuit Étoilée would be exactly what you’d smell.

Whether or not your flapping your arms around like a loon is up to you.

Nuit Étoilée is available nationwide.

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I’m loving – Aesop

I’m such a sucker for smells.  Candles, Fragrance, flowers, washing, the countryside.  The older I get, the more sensorialy sensitive I am becoming to a lot of things, and making as much of my life smell good as it can is becoming a little bit of an obsession.

I also do love a good bit of skincare, so happily for me Aesop manages to satisfy both of these quirks in a very happy union.

Originating from Australia, and with a very strong stance on extremely high quality natural ingredients, the brand has been enjoying a bit of a resurgence over this side of the globe for a good couple years now.

Last year they opened a beautiful looking store in Richmond, tucked into an intimate nook away from the main drag, and styled in typical quirky Aesop style, the store looks, and smells fabulous.  This is in addition to a number of other stores in and around London.

That all said, the products themselves are pretty impressive. Packaged in the most no nonsense style, non trad’ beauty product style, that still manages to look appealing and intriguing. In modest medical grade brown glass, and metal tubes, the look reflects the simplicity and efficacy of the product it contains.

The catalogue is ENORMOUS, and despite the austere appearance, has a sense of humour. The description on the mouthwash for example is just plain funny.

I have some of the body and skincare and enjoy using it when I feel I  needs a bit of a treat.  I say treat, because despite the seemingly uncomplicated nature of the products and their promises, the prices are on the high side IMHO.
That said, and it had to be said, they are amazing and I wouldn’t let that put you off experiencing it for yourself.

Some of the highlights for me are as follows:




Damscan Rose Facial Treatment oil. THE only serious treatment for dry skin. Like so dry it starts to flake which mine is often during the winter months. Smels divine, works an absolute treat, and worth the price tag frankly.



Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm.  It’s often important for my hands to smell nice, or at least odourless.  How would you like fingers that stink of Hula Hoops near your face? This is a kit essential for me frankly.  Easily absorbed, moisturises (although not to a GREAT extent, but enough) and has the most glorious smell of oranges.



Geranium Leaf Body moisturiser. We’re coming into the warmer months now, and this is a bit of a miracle.  Again, don’t expect huge amounts of hydration; probably not suitable for the driest of skins.  But this is a belter of a scented body cream. Green, herbal, and just plain fresh leaves. I adore this.

AESOP Skincare is available here plus they have the most stunning boutiques dotted all around London town. 


Dear Dolce & Gabbana…

Not normally a space for this sort of thing, but I was so incensed, not just by what they said but their infantile reaction to it.


Dear Dolce & Gabbana,

You were interviewed recently by the Italian press, where you made some pretty shocking comments.

The comments you made about your rather old fashioned take on family, and the use of IVF were not only offensive and discriminatory but demonstrative of a total lack of empathy and intelligence.

You’ve not only shown a deep lack of respect to your customers, but to the human race.


I don’t want children either. It’s a decision I’ve been perfectly comfortable with for many years. I grew up being told I wasn’t able to, and I’ve just got used to the idea, or I’m just so monumentally selfish, I can’t see a way for children to exist in my life.

It strikes me as a topic you’d know nothing about, parenthood. Or even children for that matter. It’s obvious you don’t associate with them. Or parents. If you did, you’d understand that a significant proportion of the joy of any persons life, are their children.
You’d understand that many people long so much for children, their lives feel almost half complete without them. That the pain of not being able, or allowed to have them is so great. That the capacity for love of a child, their child, far outweighs the issues of IVF or being same sex parents.

For these reasons, I am grateful that some children have the love of two dads, or two mothers. However they were brought into the world. And how lucky we are that now, everyone has the opportunity to experience being a parent.

Despite your idyllic parentage, and given your tirade against the freedoms of gay men and women, I can only assume that your upbringing was far from the paradise of non ‘synthetic’ conception that would allow you to understand your community, but to accept it. Perhaps despite the perfect home you describe, you just weren’t loved enough to be able to grow from it.

When you were rightly called out by Elton John, you childishly responded by calling him a fascist. You also blocked me from the hysterical shame board you own on Instagram.

I can live with that (nothing interesting there), but Elton? A fascist. Really? Is he? That’s just in bad taste isn’t it?

Taste is a funny thing isn’t it. It’s subjective by its very nature, but you’d know that wouldn’t you being in the rag trade (not for much longer though, eh?). And opinions it’s said are like assholes, everyone’s got one. It doesn’t mean you have to be one in getting it accross.


I too shall be boycotting Dolce & Gabbana.

I wish you well in your future endeavours.


Thank you!!

Woah, where did 2014 go?

Rather than get into a rather dull retrospective of the year, there have been too many reasons to smile, and most of them in some very good company.

Whatever profession YOU have I hope it’s one that is as rewarding and filled with exciting twists and turns, and your brain buzzes constantly with the excitement if doing it, and the people you meet inspire you.  I hope your days are filled with the sheer joy of knowing that you are there because someone thinks you are an awesome [insert job].  Because if isn’t any or all of these things, what’s the point?

I do feel these things. Most of the time. And not necessarily all the time, but looking objectively at it, I do.

One of the most glorious aspects of me doing all the things I do, is the people. I am often left open mouthed by just how lucky I am to work with, go drinking with, chat to, complain to, laugh with, cry with, and all the other facets of life that make it a little less boring by the glittering stars of the industry that I often have the sheer gall to cross a room and speak to, phone, email, chat to oh, you get the picture.

So this is a thank you to them. A tribute from me, for what it’s worth. For making my life a hell of a lot more interesting, and for keeping me, well, interested. In no particular order:

If you’re not here, I love you anyway.  But you probably know that. 

Caroline Hirons. Caroline and I have a bit of a history. No, not dating, but old colleagues from the days of retail when we both slogged it out on the shop floor for the general public.  We bonded over a mutual appreciation of swearing (I’m quite sweary), dirty jokes, and the ability to see the comedy in just about every situation. We wheezed our way through some utter crap often and now she does the same pretty much for the benefit of what seems like most of the nation, and beyond.  Caroline, is first and foremost a mother (she’s been called worse), and her whole being beckons ‘come, nestle, and be safe here…for a bit. I’ve got me own kids and a husband to look after’ and I am grateful for all her advice, her humour, and her frankness. Thank you Caroline. Stay classy.

Julia Townend. Julia and I met over wine at an event that she had been working on, and I was a guest.  I’m not really sure how we got to becoming friends, but we did. See: wine. Julia is/was one of the top makeup educators in the country, and took the very brave decision to go freelance and do what SHE loved best, or at least that that didn’t include wine.  On top of that, and again bravely, decided to launch her own line of makeup which you can see here. Like Caroline, I adore Julia, and her proverbial bosom too.  There are few people who even understand what my job is, let alone offer support, and encouragement in bucket fulls, and I am very grateful. Julia, thank you.


Nicci Jackson. Nicci is an amazing makeup artist, and again a truly wonderful friend.  Nicci’s honesty and professionalism is second to none.  She has trained coached and encouraged many many makeup artists, and held their hands through the very spooky industry pitfalls, something I have seen first hand having had the pleasure of working with her this year for the first time.  Hysterically funny, again, sweary (see a theme?) and a joy to work alongside, I am so glad to have you on MY side. Thank you Nicci,


Darren Scott. Editor of GT Magazine. Darren and I, until recently only really did the raised eyebrow of recognition across crowded rooms. When we did eventually speak, it transpired we share the same love of the Golden Girls, Ab Fab, and have a mutual friend or two. Slightly jaded queens that we are, we often find ourselves cackling like teenagers when our BS meter goes off, and also enjoying the odd glass of bubbly at events. Darren also bestowed me the honour of doing a cover for the magazine this year which I loved, and am very proud of. Thank you Darren. may there be many more reasons for us to cackle!

Sam Chapman, and Nic Haste of Pixiwoos. OF COURSE I knew of them before I met them so was a bit full of pre conception about how they would be when our paths crossed. We met when myself, Nicci, and Julia and were celebrating the first Art of Makeup Competition at Olympia Beauty 2 years ago, and we laughed so much, it hurt. Being the old lush that I am, we have met a few times since then (see: Wine. yet again!) at various things, again, laughs, and I have been introudced to two new things in my life. Chinese Brocoli (Nic) and the word Hangry (Sam). They’re so gracious and generous with their time, I want to thank them for the sore ribs, and the increased vocabulary/food options.

Myself, ruth and the fabulous Pixiwoo girls, Nic, and Sam
Myself, ruth and the fabulous Pixiwoo girls, Nic, and Sam

Ruth Crilly. Gorgoeus Ruth, She is gorgeous, she’s a model you know. Again, our paths have crossed on a number of occasions, and this year I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of her own range of product, Colab Dry shampoo.  Ruth has so much to be proud of, this being one of them, she also completed her Masters degree last year, won the P&G Beauty & Grooming Social Star Award this year, and STILL manages to look after a cat, and a gorgeous husband. Ruth is funny,fiercely intelligent, and a joy to be around. Thank you Ruth, I look forward to seeing more of you,

Francis Kurkdjian. If you don’t know, he is a rock star among perfumers, but of course so modest he’d hate me saying it.  The nose behind many of the most beautiful fragrances for men and women, Ellie Saab, My Burberry (launched this year) my all time favourite, Jean-Paul Gaultier Le Male, Fleur de Male, and the new and very very sexy, heddy, Classique Intense, as well as his own exquisite range, Maison Francis Kurkdjian (highlights include Oud, Oud Rose, Pluriel, the list is a LONG one). I’ve been lucky enough to spend a bot of time with him a few times this year, and I always walk away feeling I know a little bit more about perfume, about business, but also life, and oddly, the Skymall catalogue!  A man at the top of his game, with a cracking sense of humour, and a pleasure to speak to.  *fans self*. Merci Francis. For the fragrances, and the conversation.

Mary Greenwell. Gorgeous, fabulous, darling.  One of the original ‘supermodel’ makeup artists, responsible for some of the most iconic ad campaigns, editorials,celebrity faces and just a all round superstar.  Just a joy from the moment she opens her mouth as when she grabs a makeup brush. I have met Mary a couple of times this year and each time she brought a bit of sunshine and happiness with her. Thank you Mary,

Sali Hughes. Sali and I met at the Ruth’s Colab launch, and I was a little bit starstruck.  A journalist with integrity is like rocking horse poop, but, Sali is exactly that. Although she may not thank me for the simile, I am happy to spend time with her, and wax lyrical about the wonderful world of beauty, and all it’s successes and the not so much of a successes. As pretty as she is honest, she has a book now called Pretty Honest which is just plain awesome, and essential.  Thank you Sali.

Myself, the awesome Sali Hughes and her assistant Lauren, and Caroline Hirons.
Myself, the awesome Sali Hughes and her assistant Lauren, and Caroline Hirons.

Thomas Dunckley  Perhaps better known as Candy Perfume Boy.  Social media is a funny thing isn’t it?  When I was beauty editor at a magazine I was encouraged to get involved with it, and thought it was all a bit daunting really. Also, I’m so verbose that trying to fit my thoughts into 180 characters was more of an effort than anything else.  I met Thomas on twitter, and later in REAL LIFE (it exists), and he’s been a source of amusement, information, entertainment, and dare I say it, pleasure ever since.  So very talented a writer, it’s painful to read sometimes, but you just keep going back for more.  His Jasmine Award this year is testament to that, and I was so pleased, and rather proud. So thank you Thomas for all of the above.

Louise Young. One of the nicest, most modest women IN THE WORLD. End of. And has a natty selection of brushes and a makeup line to boot, Thank you Louise.

Grant Osborne. Basenotes, the original database of fragrance news, and information surprisingly doesn’t run itself.  The little perfume elf that is Grant does it ALL, and does it so well.  There have been many an evening spent being borderline inappropriate at various launches, and events where we’ve been drunker than we should have been, and then the after hours drinking and THAT podcast. I love you Grant. And Thank you.

Ahmed Zambarakji. The Exfoliator as he is on twitter, and his own blog. Yogi, writer, gentleman, and fittie. It’s always such a pleasure to make a new friend. Oh, if only some of our WhatsApp messages could be seen.  Such a gentleman, and again so very talented and a proper calming influence. Thank you Ahmed.

Jo Fairley. Uber brain and business talent Jo and I met this year, just as she was about to launch The Perfume Society.  Despite being under a huge number of deadlines, she always makes time to have a chat and a giggle, and to be very modest about her INCREDIBLE garden, which is nothing short of an horticultural paradise.  Jo launched another book this year, in the form of The Perfume Bible with Lorna McKay, which I have really enjoyed reading and highly recommend to all with even a vague interest in perfume, or scent.  Thank you Jo.

Dr Marko Lens. For many reason, but mainly for the SUPERB makeup line he released this year. Thank you.

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Sarah McCartney. Sarah is the perfumer for 4160 Tuesdays.  If you haven’t heard of 4160,  You are going to need to familiarise yourself with it immediately.  Sarah and I met through Grant Osborne (see Basenotes) when she gave me some little bottles of her work.  All unique All special. All of the stuff perfume dreams are made of.  Sarah is also one of the most fabulous, and I use the word in the truest sense, people I have ever had the fortune to meet.  I spent a long (slightly boozy) afternoon with Sarah recently, having a good sniff of the entire 4160 catalogue.  With names like Tart’s Knicker Drawer, Doe in the Snow, and The Lion Cupboard you’re intrigued aren’t you?  My favourite for a number of reasons is Sunshine and Pancakes.  Which to me smells of exactly that.  Happiness. Thank you Sarah.

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Alex Box. Ahhh Alex.  Again, always so generous with her time and attention, I haven’t met many other artists who are so passionate about what they do. but more importantly how it is received by people.n  No one pushes the envelope quite like Alex does with makeup, and we all had a jolt of surprise and delight when we saw Alex’s work, and to this day she continues to keep everyone hanging n for the next image/look.  This comes through so beautifully in her work for Illamasqua as well. Also, this year, after a radical change of hair colour, (on my part) she called me the boy who fell to earth (a Bowie reference).  two of my favourite things in one paragraph there.  Thank you Alex.


Azzi Glasser.  I had the pleasure of spending a morning with Azzi earlier this year.  Again, such an amazing talent, and so knowledgeable and astute, I fell completely in love with her and also all the little projects that she has squirreled away, awaiting release into the world.  I had a good look and sniff at the amazing Bella Freud collaboration, fragrances and candles, that are not only very very cool, but smell absolutely incredible.  Lots more to come form Azzi next year, so I shall definitely be keeping my eyes peeled.  Thank you Azzi.




Get Lippie. Or as I know her, Louise. I have known Louise for a few years now I guess. Always one with a quick snipe, or a quip on just about anything, don’t be fooled reader. Louise, despite common perception, is actually a rather soft soul. It was Louise who literally grabbed my hand when I told her about my bout of depression, it was Louise who bought me a pizza, and wine, and made me forget for an afternoon that the chemicals in my brain made me feel like life was a punishment for a crime I couldn’t work out I’d committed. It was also Louise who very kindly offered to have me, and some other shady Beauty types on board at Getlippie.Com this year. I have loved writing for her, and adding to the line-up, and it was Louise, who has been extraordinarily patient when my work meant I wasn’t able to commit to it as much as I’d hoped. Despite all the issues she has been through this year, I am grateful to her for her patience and kindness, when she really didn’t have to be. Thank you Louise.

That’s all I can really write. There are of course plenty of other people who have made this year amazing, and I shall be thanking them personally.

Wishing you and yours a very happy new year, and a rather magical 2015.

Ruth Crilly and Colab dry shampoo

You know what, I love Ruth.

Having been in the business for quite a while, I’m always lucky to meet some the industries better known.  Some are what you expect them to be and some are well, not.

Ruth is easily one of the nicest people around, and I am very lucky to consider her a friend.

One of the very first vloggers, Ruth’s YouTube channel (A Model Recommends) is a rip roaring success, as it should be.  A very savvy beauty lover sharing her opinions on a regular basis, and she’s always a joy to watch and just has a way about her that is so accessible and always done with good humour.  So, LOVE Ruth.

Ruth had a bit of a shindig last week to celebrate her latest coup, which was a selection of dry shampoos that she has very bravely, and also very carefully put her name and face to.

A lot of fun was had that night, and it was absolutey lovely to hear Ruth express her gratitude to her ‘family’ of friend and supporters.


Myself, ruth and the fabulous Pixiwoo girls, Nic, and Sam
Myself, ruth and the fabulous Pixiwoo girls, Nic, and Sam
Myself, the awesome Sali Hughes and her assistant Lauren, and Caroline Hirons.
Myself, the awesome Sali Hughes and her assistant Lauren, and Caroline Hirons.


Colab have re visited this particular product and made it a whole lot more pleasant.  They have a Sheer Invisible formula which promises to do exactly what it says. ie no more white marks or build up, and as well as everything else that one would expect a very good dry shampoo to do, have added five ‘fashion fragrances’ into the mix.

We have London, (bergamot, musk & magnolia) Paris, (rose, patchouli) New York (apple & amber), Rio (papya & pineapple) and finally Tokyo (orchid mandarin & sandalwood).

Not a dry shampoo user myself per se, but having been in rooms where there is a lot of hair product being sprayed almost all of my professional life, I can vouch for how great these smell.

I am so pleased for her, and I hope this does as well as it deserves to. Fab stuff.

Colab is available now in Beauty Mart ,Superdrug, and

Ormonde Jayne – Black Gold

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A little bit of an Ormonde Jayne virgin I was until I was asked to go along to the gorgeous boutique in Chelsea, and then to the launch of the newest work from OJ at Harrods.

I would urge anyone even remotely curious about fragrance for any reason to go and experience some of the most extraordinary and unique fragrances that are in the boutique.  You can go and have a little education about some of the unusual and rarely used ingredients that make up some of the most interesting scents I have had the good fortune to smell.  Ingredients like Black Hemlock, Socrates’ poison of choice, Dates (yes, the fruit) and Coriander.

For me, the visual is always a bonus, and the bottles are gorgeous too. Linda Pilkington of Ormode Jayne says that people want a glamorous bottle, with a fabulous heavy ‘stopper’ to complement the fragrance and the sheer luxury of it all. And they do this. Proper perfume bottles destined for well stocked dressing tables with a modern twist.


Ormonde Jayne released Black Gold in September as an exclusive to Harrods.  I can hear the nay sayers at the back there getting slightly huffy about fragrance with the words Black and Gold in the same sentence being released in Harrods, and you have every right to be.  Even I am a little irked when any brand of perfume decides that, oooh, around mid to late summer, lets release a heavy smoky oudy scent.  The reasons for this are obvious, and make some of us a little cynical when it happens, especially when the relative integrity of a brand comes into question.


Well you can hold your criticism for Black Gold, because frankly, if anyone regardless of the hordes of migrating persons from the UMAE that descend on London during the summer with their gold cards, gets to wear this they are a little bit lucky.

It is a collaboration between the Ormonde Jayne camp and the mega retailer, and purchase paradise Harrods.  Having been in Harrods for a little while now, Ormonde Jayne was approached to create a very special exclusive.  The brief was a relatively simple one.  It had to be beautiful, obviously, and as Linda Pilkington tells me “it had to be velvety soft, rich, sultry, and not overpowering.”

“So an Oud fragrance was order of the day?”

“No! Not at all!” she advises me “we just wanted a beautiful, extraordinarily pleasing scent, that was true to the Ormonde Jayne brand.” So that was me told.

“We collaborated with Harrods, myself and Mia [Collins, Beauty Merchandise manager] specifically.  It really is her fragrance.  We had a good few goes before we got there.”

25 versions were done, and then over the course of a year narrowed down to two, which were blind tested on Linda’s team, and on Mia, and then Black Gold as it now is, was made.

So after a long period of back and forth, Linda and her team came up with the most extraordinary concept of making a rather unprecedented 50% concentration of oil for the fragrance.

Linda Pilkington

And oh my, what oils.  Ormonde always use the most extraordinary ingredients for their unique fragrances, and I find this to be beneficial when it comes to the projection and lasting quality of them.  Black Gold is this, times 100.

The high concentration makes it extraordinarily powerful, and is absolutely packed to its fabulous stopper full of the most precious and sexiest ingredients known to the world of perfume.

On spraying, the woody sandalwood is akin to having your nose pressed right up against a tree, the rich woody sandalwood is very strong, and quickly melts away very gently into a full, and rather chunky warmth of all the glorious flowers of carnation in its absolute form which are then beautifully carried along in their spicy, almost woody way to the ambrette hibiscus which takes away any shine or green quality. This is what sticks with me. The fullness of the florals, without being too dare I say it, feminine. Then more malleable and ‘oozy’ ingredients, ones you can almost feel warm up and move in your hand like putty, or molten glass such as the labdunum with it’s incredibly cashmere soft comforting cozyness, and finally,  yes, it is there, but not as the main star (difficult with this, as it often overtakes). The oudh absolute, standing watch over all of this like an elderly relative, occasionally chipping in to keep order.

Incidentally, Ormonde Jayne were the first to use oud (in the magnificent Ormonde Man) in a tiny quantity, before everyone else jumped all over it. Interestingly, Linda didn’t like oud when she first came across it, “I thought who would wear this? It’s so strong!” But thankfully she revisited it and got the proportion just right here so it’s not a dominant force.

When you spray this, it almost shines on the skin.  There is an oily quality to it that is quite comforting. I doesn’t last this, I wouldn’t call it a feature.  It’s just the nature of the product.

It is a joy to wear. It has just the right amount of projection, lasts and lasts and LASTS, with the minimum amount of spraying. No doubt due to the content and concentration, but yet remains able to be quiet, and not shout at you or be aggressive smelling.

“So Linda, Why Black Gold?”

“the concentration of the oils is so high, that the drums that we use [to make the perfume] had filters that were so thick, and almost black with it. It was quite a labour of love for us. A two kilo drum of absolu [of Black Gold] makes less than 300 bottles.” So this makes it very precious.

It’s all class, but understated and classic. It’s a good smart leather bag and an expensive dress on date night. It’s little effort, and still managing to look glamorous. It’s flirty, but not naive, it’s a little bit kinky, but you wouldn’t know it from first meeting. It’s a treat, something you wouldn’t have every time, like lobster or caviar. It’s all of those things.

It is also £420 a bottle. So start saving.

Black Gold Parfum is available exclusively at Harrods.

More Busy Bee!

So It has been an absolutely INSANE month at Stephens HQ, I was a judge at the Olymoua Beauty Art of Makeup awards with the awesome Nicci Jackson, Louise Young, David Horne and a whole host of other makeup legends.  It was a great priviledge to be asked, and I was blown away by the talent there.  Congratulations to all the winners!



I was also asked to key the Emerging Trends show at London Fashin Week.  Nicci was head designer, and I tagged along to rally the troops and make sure that everything went smoothly.

Nicci the team consisted of some of Nicci’s Graduates from London Muse Makeup School, and they were all awesome. I learned so much from them which just goes to show the old addage of old dogs and new tricks is somewhat true.


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Seaking of new talent, I went along to the opening of the Hause of GlamDolls.  the new makeup school run by the unique talent that is David Horne.  Offering a range of courses that cover all the major elements of makeup, David has a long history of mentoring makeup students, and his talents and experience are well worth tapping into.  Not only that but he has the largest collection of original Biba makeup I have ever seen!

Do check them out hereeven if you are remotrely interested in makeup and learning a little more about it.

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I was also invited to the Perfume Society’s  launch of the amazing Jo Fairley’s new book, The Perfume Bible (more on that soon), at a wine tasting and fragrance sniffing evening.

There were a lot of glasses of wine and fantastic company, and some stunning fragrances so not MANY pictures, but this pretty much sums it up.




the rest is all incidental!

You can make your own mind up as to whats been happening.

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Do pop over to for a look at what we’ve all been up to there….


A bit of sage advice

A while ago, I had the very good fortune to sit and have a chat with Dr Marko Lens about the suncare, and skin cancer in the UK.

Worryingly, the largely avoidable disease is on the rise here (particularly among men) and even more worryingly it seems that the reason is lack of adequate education about safety in the sun, vis a vis sunscreen.


Anyway, that said, my beauty showbiz wife Caroline Hirons has a fantastic new video(s) out with Dr Marko in it giving the most up to date advice RE: suncare you could possibly ask for.

Literally, everything you need to know, but were afraid to ask from one of the leading experts in their field.

the videos are on Caroline’s channel which you can find here.

I haven’t gone!

I haven’t disappeared, I have been a very busy bee that’s all.


Now writing for the marvelous Louise at along with four other very talented and entertaining writers.

That as well as high toting it around town with all sorts of make up merriment. More of the like to follow here.




This month in pictures…

It has been a nuts busy month, and I have been very lucky to have gone and seen some amazing things, and very exciting people. including a fashion designer, and a ‘rock star’ of a perfumer.

In short, I went to the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican in London press showing, the day before the crowds arrived, and then was treated to a chat with Francis Kurkdjian and Jean-Paul himself about the story of the fragrance.  Which, incidentally was one of the first I ever bought so has a very special place in my collection. There is a brand new version of the ladies Classique on it’s way later this year. More on that as and when.

The exhibition is like nothing you have ever seen, and if you are even slightly interested in the clothes, or the man behind them you should get there ASAP. You will not be disappointed.

I also went to see Dr Marko Lens to talk about his latest skincarerelease, which you will be able to read all about on very soon.



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Illamasqua Glamore

Another dip into the glittering excitement of the Illamasqua box of delights, that never ceases to amaze, delight and surprise.

It’s probably a fair statement that Illamasqua collections are always a spectacle to behold, and quite often challenging in their content (Shoot green lipgloss anyone?) .

Their latest offering is somewhat of a more dare I say it conventional seasonal outing. No whacky names, no oddly coloured lipgloss, no science fiction textures.


Fully encompassing the very meaning of their tag line, “We are colour, you are beauty” this collection was a rather nice surprise.

Glamore, consisting of three new lip colours, and three rather unique nail polishes in very delicious shade of bright pinks, oranges and fuschias.  But is that simple? Hell no, it’s Illamasqua for goodness sakes.

5 girlssml

The lip colour’s themselves are a brand new formula of ‘Satin’ which are much more hydrating and with a might more slip for your money than the previous formulas.


The colours themselves are very wearable if you are a fan of a bold lip, and in this grey weather who wouldn’t be?

The nail colours are glitters. But the glitter is of three different weights for a truly multi dimensional sparkle. The consistency of the polish itself almost self levels, so as not to be catching on things clothes which can often happen with a glittery enamel. Unofficially, it seems to form a protective layer over the nail also for those of you that want a bit of a strengthening coat.


I met with Alex Box, creative director, and all round makeup megastar.

“A lot of people I think believe we are ‘that goth brand’ or ‘that slightly whacky make up company’ , but we have to encompass everybody, and we do. The collection is more fun and playful this time, more conventional beauty but with a twist.”

She went on to tell me that the beautiful imagery that accompanied it was inspired by all those incredible dance films of Busby Berkley (think Esther Williams, and Gold Diggers of ‘39 et al with those amazing ensemble musical numbers of dancing girls) with it’s frivolous floaty fabrics in amazing brights, and the rather directional pseudo swim cap style head piece.


“I didn’t want to really go mad with the rest of the face too much with these, because it’s really all about the lips here makeup wise…and that fabulous hair”

Glamore launches on the 27th February. and for an depth view and trial of the textures and colours, got to where Laurin has been trying them out!

MAC and Rhianna for Viva Glam EXCLUSIVE online national pre sale.

Rhianna has been the face of the superb and in my opinion probably one of the best beauty brand CSR efforts, The MAC AIDS Fund for a couple of years now.

Think what you will about our girl from Barbados, but she is clearly passionate about this cause, and let’s face it, if anyone can draw attention, Rhi Rhi can.


The plight of AIDS and HIV is still felt across the world, and in some instances is becoming a more serious issue than it needs to be!

There is a distinct lack of education surrounding the disease since the late eighties, to the point where a lot f young people, and even women are unaware of basic facts such as how to protect themselves.

In the last 10 years alone so much has changed for the better for those living with HIV and AIDS, and the MAC AIDS fund is one of the best at making education at the forefront of it’s programme for every generation, and wherever it is possible to spread the message.

MAC AIDS Fund is funded largely by the sales of the famous Viva Glam Lipsticks. There are new ones almost every year, and if you are not aware, 100% (minus VAT) of the proceeds from the sale of Viva Glam goes to the MAC AIDS Fund.

So, MAC and Rhianna have teamed up to release the following new Viva Glam lipstick and Lipglass.



Lipstick is Viva Glam Rhianna in a frosty blue red, and is £15

and the Lipglass is the same frosty blue red and is £17.

Both are available exclusively from form 11:30am today 6th February, and from MAC Counters and stores from the 13th February. 

If you are interested in getting one of these babies, and exactly what your money does, here is a brief list.


So, get Glamming!

Jean-Paul Gaultier – Limited editions for Valentine’s

Never one to be outdone in the visual stakes, our french friend Jean-Paul Gaultier has released two new limited edition bottles for Classique and Le Male in time for the kissing season.



The bottles, based on the recently reinvigorated ad campaign, for a limited time only come with a rather charming key chain.

A girly mirror for the ladies, and a manly anchor for the boys.

As a collector, these are just about the nicest ones they have had for a wee while (save for the conical corset for the Classique a few years ago).

Additionally, and if you fancy getting your kiss on, if you take a picture of your best french kiss on Instagram, and use the hashtag #JPGFrenchKiss you will be entered into a prize draw whereby you will win dinner, and a nights stay in a fancy hotel.

PLUS you will also win a bottle of the limited editions of the Classique and the Le Male.


The best kiss WINS and entries are open until 28th of February.

Jean-Paul Gaultier Limited edition bottles available now. Prices start at £56. 

Clinique – Kiss it Better 10th Anniversary

Only the most hardened of hearts would not be able to appreciate the gravity and importance of the benefit’s of research into cancer, and more importantly Childhood cancers.

Until Carmel Allen, a former beauty director , was faced with the disease herself through her daughter Josephine (Jo Jo), who was treated at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital for Neuroblastoma, there were hardly any high profile charities that catered specifically for research into childhood cancers.

With her experience as a beauty editor for a major magazine, she reached out to the Lauder group with the idea of a Kiss it Better campaign.

I was lucky enough to be invited to the presentation of 10 years of Kiss it Better from Clinique at Great Ormond Street, and spoke to Carmel and Jojo.

The premise was really simple, Kiss it Better is something every parent says and does when their child is sick or injured. I wanted to turn Jojo’s experience into something positive and to help make a differene to the lives of cchildren with cancer. 

Well that was 10 years ago, and Clinique are celebrating 10 years of the Kiss it Better Charity in real style with these two limited edition Lulu Guinness bags.




The handbag is one of only 10 available, and is exclusive to House Of Fraser.  It is signed by Lulu Guinness herself, and contains a boxed set of 16 of the now famous Clinique Chubby Sticks. It will set you back £550, but 100% of the proceeds will go to The Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

The Limited edition  Coin Purse with the synonymous Lulu Guiness lips, is exclusive to and will cost a mere £55, again 100% of which will be going to the GOSH Children’s Charity.

In addition to that,m there is also a limited edition nail colour available exclusively at House of Fraser, whereby 50% of the proceeds will go tot he charity, AND for every Clinique lipstick or lipgloss sold at HOF during the month of February, a donation of £2 will be ade throughout the month of February.

Jojo feels as passionately about helping other children as I do…the survival rates have improved during the last 10 years of Kiss it Better, and I know they can improve even more. 

So pucker and get shopping this month!

Oh, and one more thing… this happened….



That’ sme with the ever so gorgeous Alexis from Clinique…who seems to have come off slightly better than I did in these pics…


For more information about the GOSH charity, just click here.

Guerlain Baby perfume – Petit Guerlain

Not the first people to do this, but if you’re offspring really DOES have everything, then you could do a lot worse than buying them either of these from Guerlain.


Same fragrance, but distinguished by colour, these lovely little bottles of my first fragrance, I am told, is a soft delicate gentle smelling mist of Orange blossom, Honey, Mimosa and Pistachio, with a dash of Musk.

Rolling in pricewise at £215 for 250ml bottle, they will be exclusive to Harrods (0f course) as of the 28th of February.

ALMOST worth having a baby for.

So far this year…


Me in this months Pro Hair and Beauty Magazine. That fabulous pic (if I do say so myself) was taken by Darren Black.


A small snippet of what my living room floor resembles prior to a shoot.  I HATE editing my kit. HATE IT! Sadly, an essential part of the job.


The set of a music video I was make-up designer on. Watch this space.






These gorgeous colours and textures are from some new fragrances that landed on my doorstep recently.  Keep an eye out for these, they’ll be up here soon.







A lovely looking set up. Organised, neat, easy to access but then….


Yup, after about 3 hrs it all goes pete tong.


Get SET For Christmas – HIM

MEN! Always a challenge at Christmas, some  WOULD be happy with a car, and a can of WD-40 I’m sure, but most would prefer something a little bit more acceptable.

So here are just a couple of ideas.

Bond 007 Fragrance. 

I hear some snottiness about these amongst some fragrance snobs. Well I’m sorry, but I like it.

I do get asked what I am wearing when I have this on, by both men AND women, and am met with surprised “REALLY?”‘s, but I know they’re off out buying it.

Yes, camp as a row of chiffon tents that 007 even HAS a fragrance (let alone the variations that have come out of it), but actually, you could do a lot worse than this. I genuinely like it so ner ner ner ner.

PLUS we have a limited edition GOLD bottle for the festive season.


And the slightly newer, less sharp, Quantum version of the 007 Fragrance is also a rather good choice, even if it does look a little like a grenade.


James Bond 007 Ltd Edition Gold bottle is available nationwide now, and is £32 75ml, and Quantum is also available nationwide, and starts at £20.

Get SET for Christmas – Makeup


I need not say anymore.

They have a whole host of sexy looking goodies for Christmas, but THIS plastic set of lips really struck me.

Fantastic visuals, as always, and a natty case which contains some neutral favourites from Mister Nars. They include, Dolce Vita, Damage, and Roman Holiday.

Perfect. Pout.


Fling Lip set is avaialble now from all NARS retailers, and is £30.


Get SET for Christmas – Skincare



You really would have to go a long way to find a better gift than this for some seriously good skincare, SERIOUSLY!

All set in this fantastic looking Bento style box, we have three amazing pieces form the incredible Zelens range (I adore this skincare, does it show?)

You get a full size of each of the following:

– The PHA Bio Peel pads (amazing for brightening, and smoothing out)

– Transformer Instant Renewal Mask

– Intensive repair Balm

The Holiday Glow Set doesn’t come in cheap at £245, but is a real investment in some advanced, and rather special skincare.

Available at Fenwicks of Bond Street, Fortnum & Masons, Space.NK , Selfridges, and 

Get SET for Christmas

First of the best sets I have seen out there for Christmas….

Shoving a bit of Makeup Love your way….


Laura Mercier Les Petits BonBons Palette, EXCLUSIVE to Selfridges £135. 




On the pricey side, but still one of the most eye-catching sets I have seen out there.

Has 30 of the baked eye colours in there, in all manner of colours, from the natural of naturals, to the most smokey dramatic you will ever see, and all in between. These eyshadows can be used WET as well as dry, so that they come out like a solid foil colour, or used dry as a more subtle wash.

Bliss in a Bag

Errrr, just look at this.



Bliss Spa have teamed up with The Leather Satchel Company for the festive season and this AMAZING looking Bliss blue bag, packed to the straps with some of the best Bliss have to offer. Words cannot do it justice.

The set includes, full sized triple oxygen instant energizing mask,  triple oxygen instant energizing eye mask and fat girl six pack with a travel sized foaming face wash.

Worth well over £200 is coming to you for £165.

The Super Satchel is available in Harrods, and at Bliss Spa from now. 

Zelens – Dr Marko Lens

We all want good, healthy skin, right?

There are a few privileges afforded me in my line of work, and meeting some of the top bods from the industry are one of them.

I was very lucky to be invited to the surgery of one Dr Marko Lens (creator of Zelens Skincare) to listen to him talk about the new products in the line.


I have never used Zelens.  Only seen it on the shelf at Space.NK.  I know several people that are devotees, so was curious to learn a little more about it form the horses mouth as it were.

Well, what can I tell you.  It’s very easy in this industry to become a little cynical about the claims that are made by brands with regards to their efficacy, or the results that you are supposed to see because of wild claims, sexy advertising, and celebrity endorsement.  Dr Lens doesn’t really buy into any of that it seems, preferring to maintain the integrity of his professional reputation as a surgeon, and leading expert on skin ageing, as well as skin cancer…(some people are just BORN clever!)  to create a range that was simply about healthy skin.

The most refreshing aspect to our meeting was his fabulously honest claim “I don’t make a miracle cream…I don’t make a cream that is going to make you look like Sharon Stone!”  I liked him already!

At the ranges core, is the principle of the skins own natural biological functions that can be ‘helped’ by the advanced active ingredients in the products. To protect, re generate and repair the skin. Simples!

“All you really need in a skincare regimen, is a good cleanser, maybe a toner, a cream for the day that protects, and a nourishing cream to repair the skin at night” he tells me.  And these he does, beautifully.  But as he also explains, the reason there is so much more than this to the range is that we all have different feelings about the way we wish our skin to appear, or feel on a daily basis, and the range reflects these needs.  It is also a result of the ever changing and massive developments in the field of ingredient research and it’s effects on the skin that will inspire him to create something that encompasses these benefits for YOU!

So in this respect, we really are getting the benefit of the experience of someone on the front line, direct to your face. Theoretically, short of a consultation with the Dr, Zelens is the next best thing you can do for your face.

SOOOO, on the new additions. There are 2.

Z-22 Absolute Face Oil, £65

Naked of any artificial ingredients to such an extent it’s almost embarrassing it is also made up (as the name suggests) of 22 essential oils that are renowned for their anti-ageing properties.


It has the Shiso oil ingredient runnig through it again, essential for omega-3 fatty acids that the sin just love.

On some nervousness regarding essential oils, and allergies, Dr Lens explains that the oils selected are not common allergens, and have a concentration of less than 3% (sounds small but still potent) and as sch are unlikely to cause a reaction, cumulative or otherwise.

Use in the same way as a serum, OR mixes BEAUTIFULLY with moisturiser for a boost of hydration, and plumpness (it’s a word now, I say so).

The SMELL of this is just glorious, and a delight to use. Coming into winter I know my poor face is going to thank me.

Aka Shiso Reviving Mineral Shower £28. 

Shower is a shower gel right?


Skeptical as I was about a treatment shower gel, this really is a nice little number.


Again, the most important thing for me in a shower gel, is the smell and this really does smell great.

Drying sulphate free, the scent is the Japanese mint that runs through the entire range.  This Shiso oil is a bit of a wonder product and has an extremely high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, three times that of fish oil.  Essential for skin health, the shower gel has a number of benefits.

Containing minerals such as Magnesium and Zinc (excellent skin healer) it is supposed to eliminate the need for a seperate moisturiser owing to the inclusion of the vegetable glycerin. I still felt the need to slap on a body cream afterwards though, but hey.


Zelens is available at Space.NK, Harvey Nichols, Beauty Mart and Net a  

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Ahhhhh NARS.

We all breath a sigh of relief when the NARS come out with a new product, and alongside their already fabulous foundations, they are releasing a compact version!

The radiant Cream Compact IS NOT an all in one (thank god! None of them ever work, or look good!) it is a simply a really lovely cream foundation, in a compact!


Upon first feel it felt a bit liquidy? But this sets to a flexible and soft finish on the skin, so no disasters there at all.

It has a TRUE buildable coverage, none of this saying so, and not delivering, you really can get more coverage the more you pop on.  No SPF in this, but then does have titanium dioxide in it, so should be fine for occasional sun exposure. Not holiday sun though obvs.

The sponges are sold separately also, so you can get new ones should you lose/drop/overuse the ones it comes with, AND as an extra bonus, the compact is refillable!!!

The whole unit comes in at £34, well in line with your other foundations in the range. and frankly, well worth the investment.

Go and try it now!

Espa Optimal Skin ProSerum

I love a good serum, and a nice a smell.

Launched this month, the new Espa (adore Espa) this 99% natural serum seems to be a pretty universal panacea for all sorts of things.



Absolutely packed to the dropper with essential oils, it really does claim to be an easy addition to any skincare routine, and is suitable for all skin types, young or older, oily, or dry etc…

Lots of goodies here, but here are some of the ones that grabbed my attention.

  • Ballon Plant Extract.  Claiming to calm and comfort and even out skintone.
  • Rose Hip and Echium oil. Rich in Omega 3,6,and 9, all important for healthy skin (See Nude), and a naturla source of Vit A for a bit of a light peel.
  • Evening Primrose oil, hormonal regulator extraordinaire. Great for irregular skin issues at certain times of the month. *ahem* but what would I know?
  • Rose essential oil, one of the most expensive essential oils that is super for moisturisation.

It smells glorious (it has Patchouli oil in it. I love Patchouli), feels lovely on, and I have to say given the recent turn for the chill in the weather seems to have kept my skin from feeling on the dry side.

 Espa Optimal Skin ProSerum avaialble NOW at Harvey Nichols, Liberty or online at £48 for 30ml. 

Penhaligon’s Vaara

A beautiful story for a rather special fragrance*.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away lived a Maharaja.

Upon the birth of his granddaughter, he sought the finest, and most talented perfumer in the whole of the world to create and inspire with a fragrance to match the joy, the colour and the excitement of this birth, and of the land in which he lived.

He insisted that the perfumer live amongst the family to explore the city, and to experience the richness of the environment.

The perfumer wandered through exotic gardens, visited the most decadent royal palaces, and tasted the most extraordinary foods, all the time absorbing the atmosphere and feeling of the glorious city, and the vibrancy of his most gracious hosts.

The perfumer returned home to consider his experience, and create a scent that would be befitting for the Maharaja and the tiny new member of his family, Vaara.

He mixed, and concocted, and sniffed, and considered, until finally, he presented the Maharaja with a glorious bottle of the most extraordinary perfume.




Upon smelling the fragrance, the Maharaja’s mouth watered with a delicious blend of corriander and carrot seeds, saffron and the very juiciest, sweet smelling Quince.

He then drifted into the gardens of Balsamand, the Maharaja’s palace, where the most fragrant and roses grow, with a waft of magnolia carried upon the breeze, bringing with it the scent of the dry iris, and the sweetness of freesia’s that decorate the garden in the summer time.

Settling into a thick heady scent of honey and of musk, weighted down by cedarwood, and tonka, and sandalwood, he opened his eyes, and uttered the name, Vaara.

     – The End –


Vaara, created for Maharaja Gaj Singh II, is absolutely glorious. Comforting and clean. It is a superb, and unusual perfume that makes a very welcome addition to the already stellar collection for Penhaligon’s by Bertrand Duchaufour whose signature runs throughout this fragrance.

Surprising as it was good, it doesn’t have the ‘heaviness’ that one would associate with a fragrance that may have been inspired by Jodphur, despite the presence of the sandalwood, and cedarwood. Is that a good thing? Not sure. Either way, it is definitely an unforgettable perfume. Not unlike I should Imagine, Mr Duchaufour’s experience in India.

Vaara is available now, and starts at £85 for 50ml EDP. 

*bears little, if any resemblence to actual events. 


Givenchy Teint Couture

Beauty fact!

One of the most iconic beauties the world has ever known, Marilyn was a great proponent of a pink light on the face.  When she knew flashbulbs were gonna be around, she also PACKED her face with powder to give a radiant, soft focus glow, albeit a trick of the light as it were.


Givenchy have released a foundation fluid and a powder that mimics this effect.


So what’s Teint Couture all about?

Well, the foundation is a mica-silica based base (non pore clogging silicone basically = easy slip, feels GREAT on the skin) which also has a built in antioxidant,  (vit E). It also has an SPF of 10, which far from being your ideal stength of SPF, is enough for it not to compromise the colour, or give you falshback in pics.

The Powder foundation is as you’d expect, but with a wee bit of a ‘ribbon’ of a pink highlighter underneath.

The idea being you can ‘touch up’ and then do a little extra for your face by popping the highlighter where you need it (that’s high points of the face ladies).

Use them together, or separately.

What I love about this, other than the fab leather case, is the inclusion of a rosy pigment in all. That pink light, and heavy powder can be left at home now. More room in your handbag! Everyone’s a winner.

Teint Couture Long-wearing Fluid Floundation £32.

Teint Couture Long-Wearing Compact £37

Both available in Spetember. 

Brace Yourself PLEASE VOTE

Hi ho all! So I was the makeup designer on a Virgin short film recently a really rather sweet story about a girl, some braces, and a little love story.

It needs YOUR vote, and this can only be done on Twitter.

What you need to do is mention the name of the film in a tweet, Brace Yourself, then hashtag the #VMShortsVote

Please vote for the film!

I love you all!

You can see it HERE




Pleasing Pleats from Issey Miyake – Pleats Please

As I have said before about fragrance, it is a very evocative experience for all of us  Any scent ( whatever it may be) can whip your memory back to a time, a person, or a place, good or bad, happy or sad.

Issey Miyake’s L’Eau D’Issey is a mixed bag of memories for me, as much as I love it, and it’s various incarnations.

How nice it was when perfumer Aurélien Guichard declared that his ‘love affair’ with Issey Miyake started when he was five. Taken as he was by his perfumer father to a fashion show  and asked by Miyake whether he wanted to be a fashion designer, or couturier, he replied ‘Footballer’.

Thankfully for us, he saw the light as it were and became a perfumer.

He goes onto to explain that the first love of his life wore L’eau D’Issey, and the significant impact this had on him.  His dilemma at being asked to create a fragrance that would stand next to the legend that is already L’eau D’Issey that says something else. Something fresher. No easy task.

He worked with a simple ‘brief’ of the presence of happiness, and joy.

When we talk about ingredients, (in terms of fragrance) we try to find ones that translate as emotions…we tried to express the bright colourful impressions that you have on the fabrics of (Issey’s) Pleats Please (clothes).

How apt.


The colours in both a metaphorical olfactory sense, and a literal sense are glorious.

The bottle is unique as you would expect, with its many facets and corners mirroring the flexible meaccano nature of the Pleats Please clothing, and a flower- esque stopper on the top

I’m actually not going to talk about the notes too much, because if the above picture doesn’t grab your attention, I daresay the fragrance won’t either. (I also think you have no soul, but hey).

It opens with the oriental fruit Nashi, between and apple and a pear, sweet, and heady, there is LOADS in between, floral, fresh, spring like warm and sensual. Drying down to a cuddly musk and vanilla. Retaining the characteristic ‘fuitiness’ that pervades the original two.

It is a fragrance to fall in love with.

Pleats Please by Issey Miyake is available in House of Fraser from 11th July and Nationwide from 29th July. Prices start at £30. for 30ml EDT.  

Some of my new(ish) work…

A wee while ago, the amazing Mr Darren Black and I holed ourselves up in his studio and managed to produce these springy numbers.

Me on make-up duty, obviously, and with a loose bent towards spring summer collections.



Sanctuary Skin Perfecting BB Cream Medium, £15

M.A.C Pigment in Brash & Bold from Year of the Snake collection, £18

Illamasqua Lip colour in Flare, £16.50

Guerlain The Ecrin 4 Couleurs Collector’s Palette in Attrape-Coeur, £38


Illmasqua Paranormal Pallette (green) £36

Wild about Beauty Line and Define liquid Liner, £16.50


Burberry Velvet Foundation, £35.

Lancôme Blush in Love in Pommettes d’amour £34

Burberry Lip Velvet in Military Red, £23.

24 carat Gold Leaf.

Bentley Fragrance for men OR *falls to floor. Marry me NOW!*

I see soooooo much make-up and skincare, and delicious fragrances that are mostly women’s admittedly. Now as you know, I have a real problem with the gender binary, and wear ALL fragrances, regardless of whether it’s got a ‘Pour Femme’ label on it or not.

As a rule, men’s fragrances leave me a little cold.

I like to wear what I refer to as ‘f**k me fragrances’.  That is to say, I am a massive fan of the heavier end of the scale. Leather, civet, wood, oil, grease, diesel-y type smells make me go weak at the knees.

In other news, I also HATE cars. I am not a car person, I know nothing about them (they have wheels, and go. Here ends my knowledge) and as the son of an electronic engineer, you can imagine my fathers delight at  my complete lack of enthusiasm for the automobile.

These two things are related, and I’ll tell you why.

A while ago I was invited to the launch of the new Bentley fragrances for men.


There are two. Both contain Wood and leather notes. I want to marry them both. More on that later.

Now as un-informed about cars as I am, have you actually SEEN a Bentley?

I was lucky enough to spend a bit of time with the international designer for Bentley cars, and have a little chat about them. I want to marry him too, but that’s another story.

Some Bentley Facts.

  • They have ACTUAL carpet inside them. I have stayed in hotel rooms that are less comfortably furnished.
  • Practically every piece that you see is HANDMADE. From the steel knobs and dials, to the steering wheel, which has a hand sewn leather cover to it which takes 36 hours on its own to make.  Also, if it looks metal, it IS metal. No substitute plastic here!
  • They generally weigh over a tonne.
  • They are among the most LUXURIOUS cars in the world.
  • James Bond drove them (and wrecked them) for over 20 years.
  • They start at around the £80,000 mark
  • I fell in love with them
  • My birthday is in August….

As a complete car novice, I was a little blasé about the cars.  But even so, I was totally seduced by the elegance and beauty of them as well the attention to detail, and the sheer wall of luxury that hits you round the face with it’s hand sewn leather fist from what, to me, is essentially a very basic mode of transportation.

The same can also be said of the fragrances, thankfully.

From the nose of Nathalie Lorson, she has taken inspiration directly from the cars (obv) and has tried to make the sensation of stepping inside a new Bentley and pop in into a bottle.

We have leather, we have rum, we have musk, we have cinnamon, and the ultimate f**k me note, patchouli among others. It is in turn luxurious, comforting warm, and really really sexy.

The bottles are embellished with the same details that feature in the Bentley cars. Specifically the lid, which is a replica of the operatiing dials on some parts of the car.

The polished chrome finish mirros the luxurious element to the scents, and also the the cars.

It’s a humdinger of a fragrance.

I warn you though, like the cars, these are truly a sex magnet. Lock up your daughters!

Bentley for men and Bentley Intense are out now, and start at £49. 

Love & Cigarettes

Apologies for leaving it all a bit absent here, I have been filming Love & Cigarttes with Carys Watford, and Otis Waby.

I was the make up designer for this sweet short (written by Carys incidentally) where I was the makeup designer, so I haven’t had a chance to get onto the computer OR go through my mail box.


Anyway, here’s some lovely pictures of the filming…



Carys and Otis in the FREEZING cold shortly before it rained on all of us…



Me looking rather intense searching for actor shine…



A WORKSTATION! so rare on these things….





I was EXTREMELY lucky to have two fabulous assistants in the form of (left to right) Rachel Allen, and Rebecca Jones.

Not sure whats going on with my teeth there, but hey ho.




This Works – In Transit

Genius genius genius!

I am hard pushed to think of a brand that has thought of collecting all the most useful bits of travel basic skincare, and treatments and put them into one collection.

Well that clevercloggs Kathy Phillips has done it with the the This Works In Transit range.

Currently only a few (essential) SKUs, (5) but bleedin’ brilliant.

All made “…portable, unbreakable, unspillable…” the genius of this is a capsule beauty bag to travel with.


Highlights are the No Traces rosewater pads, perfect for a quick in-flight cleanse, and on the beach freshen up.

The Muscle therapy, gorgeous smelling peppery roll on with essential oils necessary for relaxing tired legs, achy backs etc…

The runaway favourite product for me was the Skin Defence cream, laced with face loving botanicals, and a high SPF (designed for sensitive skins) of 30, I don’t know exactly what is in this that makes my skin feel like a baby’s bottom, but it does!

Everything is under the required weight/volume for travel on airplane security, so NO excuses to not include this on your next trip!

This Works In Transit is out now, and starts at £15.

Illamasqua Paranormal Summer collection

This afternoon, I was asked to go and have a squiz at the brand spanking new Summer collection from Illamasqua. Alex Box and David Horne showed m round the collection, and talked me through some of the inspiration behind it.

Paranormal gives us Illamasqua showing a more fun, playful side.

Nothing is what it seems…



It consists of a BRAND spanking new Gel Eyeliner, Infinity (black) £18, and a new Gleam Cream in Supernatural, £18 which is a gorged toasted bronze colour (far right).

The heroes/heroines of this collection are by far the fab UV activated nail colours.




The fab fluorescent trio are £15 each, and come in a bright acid green, a super bright pink, and a deceptively spooky clear colour that turns white when under a UV light.

Alex and I were chatting about the possibilities of UV makeup, and nails, when Alex said how exciting it would be to get nail designs that change in UV light, or even secret messages on nails. What a cool idea….

Tweet Alex and Illamasqua with yours… @TheAlexBox @Illamasqua

The other stunners are these two. the Paranormal palette, £34, and the lipstick in Posture. £16.50. 




Four water resistant eye-shadows in fresh glowy summer colours, are not what immediately meets the eye. Looks like a cream, and glides on like silk, the colours are not nearly as dense or spooky as you think they might be.



Sheer washes of colour that are easily buildable for a more intense glow. Its a real get in there and have a play palette. And so wearable, it’s unreal.

The final product I should mention is the new cosmetic-care product from Illamasqua, in the gooey gelatinous form of Hydra Veil, £27.50.  Part primer, part moisturiser, it is designed to maintain the moisture levels of the skin, without being sticky, or interfering with make-up. Containing Vitamin C, and Hyaluronic acid for an intense moisture hit, it’s a multi use product that will easily fit into a low level skincare routine, and will no doubt be GREAT when we’re all looking a bit red after too much sun. Smells good too!




Sleek MakeUp Lip4 Palettes

So you know how I have over 600 lip colours, right?

Well I do, and lugging a case of those around is no fun (heavy).

I got a sneaky peek at these just now, and am so SOOO EXCITED!




Six compacts containing four of the Sleek Makeup signature high pigment lip colours in three finishes, a matte, a gloss and a satin.

(Shown above in order, are Showgirl, Ballet, and Tease)

Great for mixing, and not getting stuck with the same old lip colour, and also for me, GREAT for storage!!!

Super affordable at just £8.99 each, these hit the shelves in May, and will also be available at


Sorry Space.NK, Just not buyin’ it.

Oh dear!

SpaceNK Life. The brand new and improved (we’ll come to that later) own brand range from Space.NK.

Nice idea, that there are different products for you at different points in the day.

So we have Jump Start which has Grapefruit, Spearmint and Peppermint in it to well, jump start you in the morning. Sounds DELICIOUS doesn’t it? Ever had grapefruit juice after brushing your teeth? *slaps own wrist*

We have Ultimate Unwind, for those of us, like Nicky Kinnaird who we are told has a very fast-paced lifestyle; the inspiration for the range incidentally.

There’s the Daily Fix family, which includes things like hand cream, and a lip balm, and an everyday sort of body lotion among other quick fix products.

And finally, we have the Drift Away series of body goodies, to help you get into the mood for a restful nights sleep.



Well to add to the loveliness of this range, is this bold statement.

clean formulations free from parabens, sulphates, glycols, mineral oil, petrolatum,
PEG, TEA, silicones, phthalates and synthetic colourants – are either scentless or contain essential oils

How nice.  Conscientious skin/body care is something we are all in the market for these days.

AND Everything is under the £25 mark. Bargain.

Or is it?

But, here’s the thing…. (found in the Drift Away body lotion)


Sooooo, there is perfume then…. I’m confused. But…you said…

I glanced very quickly at the other products in the range and some of them ALSO have fragrance in. None of the other ‘nasties’ appear I have to say, but still….

No essential oils here either, only Sweet Almond oil, which is a carrier anyway, and one of the cheapest oils you can lay your hands on. It really smells like the bare essentials sort of cream one may get for a third of the price in say, Boots…or the pound shop *slaps own wrist again*.

There is no olfactory element to this that I found likeable, and I couldn’t try hard enough to get the smell off my hand.  It smells cheap (its £18 btw), and certainly has nothing of a drift-away-sleep-inducing type of aroma. It seems that in their zeal to take out all the ‘nasties’ they’ve removed all the bits that would make it a pleasure to use.

Sorry, but I just couldn’t get into the Jump Start either, as much as I love citrus smells, it just smelled rather underdeveloped, generic and borderline toothpastey to me.

Here’s the thing. SpaceNK IS a fantastic place to shop for any beauty lover.  Generally, the staff are all knowledgeable, and the products are all of an extremely high standard. If it wasn’t so, it wouldn’t have been going for over 10 years now would it?

However, Space always ALWAYS fall short of GOOD own brand products.

There have been several incarnations of the SpaceNK ‘own brand’ products, and some have worked, and some have fallen foul of a rather rushed approach it seems. The SPA range a few years ago leaps to mind. It was withdrawn eventually because of issues with some of the products being, well, poor.

I wouldn’t normally get shouty about something like this, but at these prices, I do feel a LITTLE effort might be made to make  quality product at a reasonable price.

In turn, there have also been some more successful ranges. Like the Beautania range. Fabulous smells, and lovely packaging. The original range (Soulful, Laughter et al, since discontinued) was pretty much a big hit with everyone, including some pretty high profile celebrities!

However, the new life range just seems sloppy, and rushed.  I’m surprised that NK as an authority of knowledge in the beauty industry, signed any of this off. I felt a bit cheated by Life (no pun intended).  It almost has a smell of  a cheap to make and high revenue/profit making excercise.

In my opinion, MUST TRY HARDER! D minus.

Guerlain Exclusive! Muguet

Traditionally, Guerlain always release an exclusive Muguet (pronounced moo-gay) in line with the French homeland from which the glorious fragrances hail.

May bank holiday in France is also known as La Fête du Muguet,  where it is traditional to give a loved one some Lily of the Valley as a good luck token.

Leading up to this holiday, it is usual for Muguet to be sold in virtually every florist or supermarket, either as bunches or potted plants.

If you are in the market for a bit of brownie point scoring with a loved one, and want to treat someone to something other than a pot plant, there are few things more precious than a lovely bottle of the limited edition Muguet fragrance from the house of Guerlain. There has been one released every year for the last 7 years (auspicious number).


This year, Guerlain have teamed up with design studio Créanog, who specialise in paper sculptures, to create the rather beautiful and elegant  Muguet embellishment on the rather fabulous quadrilobé bottle.

The bottle itself was originally created in 1908, and has been home, in the truer sense of the word, to many iconic fragrances.

Finished this year in a spring fresh green thread, off of which hangs a gold Guerlain emblem.

It really is a thing of spring beauty, and a real treat for someone…. but not too many of you, as there are only 1,349 bottles GLOBALLY.

Guerlain Exclusive Muguet Quadrilobé bottle 60ml, is available exclusicvely at Harrods as of the 1st of May. £335. 

Givenchy’s brand new Le Rouge.

So yesterday I was asked along to Givenchy HQ for a wee shufty at their make-up, and a quick look at the new Le Rouge lip colours.

If you haven’t has a look at the really fun (and award winning!) treats from Givenchy make-up, get thee to a counter now!


Le Rouge Lipsticks is a treatment as well as a lipstick, and has SUPERB coverage. A real one swiper! And LOOk at those cute little bags!!!


The Le Rouge Lip colours come in a leather, yes, LEATHER case!


Noir Couture Mascara. One mothering funky brush, no?

BUY THIS! It’s Good. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

This doesn’t come out for a little while, but I was SOOOOOO impressed by this that I had let you see it right away!



Billed as a complexion perfector, the CC stands for Colour Corrector. And boy does it!

SO, that means for you, that a slightly red complexion will be knocked back, and evened out, if you are prone to ashyness, this will brighten it up. One of the six shades will be a perfect match for you.

Seriously, it’s a little miracle.

Lightweight, and utterly un traceable when on, I can think of other brands of primer that should really quake in their boots at the arrival of this. I would quite happily replace any of mine for this.

Being Clinique, they also have the added benefit of skincare. So it has all the great bits of the already existing Moisture Surge’s hyaluronic acid, so no more drying skin worries, and YET is suitable for all skin types.

As I said, this doesn’t come out for quite a while, but do seek it out. It’s going to be HUGE!!!

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream will be £28, and available on and nationwide from April 26th. *worth the wait. 



CK One Deep Dive Make-up

Inspired by the sea, and the glorious colours therein, CK One make-up are releasing this little gem collection in April.



Six Limited edition colours, all with the borderline acid colour palette, this really caught my eye when I saw it.

For a bit of an added extra, they have scented the two fab nail colours (£9) (seen here in Riptide, and Current) with the also new CK One Summer, which comes in an equally zingy looking bottle this year.

The Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows (£11)  are a sheer washlike consistency, so great for a beach bag touchup.

The bronzer, well, it’s a bronzer (£19). It bronzes. And the packaging has an almost neoprene finish to it. Like a diving suit.  See what they’ve done there?

CK One Deep Dive Colour collection, avaialble from April 5th at Debenhams. 

Smell like a cup cake?!

Not normally a big fan of ‘sleb fragrances, but this got my attention for two reasons.

a) We had all seen her shaking her a** at the Superbowl the night before I saw/smelled this.

b) It has the most girly, fun and unique note in it I have ever come across….

Red velvet cupcake metade

Can you guess what it is yet?

Yes, Beyonce has gone an dropped the smell of Red Velvet Cupcake into her new fragrance Pulse NYC.

ad visual LR

Somewhat synonymous with New York, it makes some sense at least, although WHY you would want to smell like one, is anyone’s guess, but what a fun idea! And for what it’s worth, it’s actually quite a nice scent.  A fruity floral with few surprises, but not to shabby at all.

It is also laced with Patchouli, musks, and Raspberry, (which is making A LOT of appearances in fragrances this year, mark my words).

Pulse NYC is £23.50 for a 50ml EDP, and is available NOW!

Terre D’Hermès – Limited Edition H Bottle

If Terre were a person, they would be so beautiful it would almost be painful to behold them.

A classic scent that is pretty much universally loved, thanks to the superb nose of Jean-Claude Ellena, Terre has gone out and got a new outfit, a haircut, and been to the gym, metaphorically speaking of course.


For a short time, Terre has a new limited edition bottle, the H bottle.

Available NOW nationwide, and also in Hermès boutiques. From £72 for 100ml EDT.

Clinique Chubby Sticks for Eyes.

The ONLY time you would want the word ‘Chubby’ in reference to your eyes.

As of the mid February, the new eye tints in  the familiar format of the Chubby stick will be hitting the shelves.



We know they’re going to be massive, and for speed, you really cannot beat the simplicity of a slick-on eyeshadow in this format.

Launching in eight colours, all with suitably smirkworthy names (Whopping Willow, Bountiful Beige etc…).

Massive hit with me, and top tip is to use with the already exsting, and equally great Lid Smoothies for a longer lasting, stronger colour.


Chubby Stick Shadow Tinits for eyes, available from February 15th, £16.

Le Beau Male – Or admit it, we all want one!

Jean-Paul Gaultier’s Le Male is one of my favourite scents ever!

Worn since I was a teenager, every time I wear it it takes me right back to listening to The Smiths in my room, and generally being very stroppy and rather obnoxious (nothing new there then), but at least I smelled good whilst I was doing it.

Ironically, Le Male is now 18 years old itself, and has a new mate to introduce to us.

Le Beau Male is by the same nose, Francis Kurkdjian, and re jigged the formula somewhat. He explains,

If I were to compare Le Male to a piece of techno music, Le Beau Male would be set to a rhythm free of bass tones, even more intense and profound


A lot of people struggle with Le Male, to the strains of oh it’s too strong, oh it’s too much Lavendar, oh it’s overpowering. I say to those, MAN UP! But Le Beau Male is a slightly softer, younger smelling version, and may appease the likes of those that find Le Male rather difficult to carry off.

Monsieur Kurkdjian has kept the majority of the notes in there, but moved them around a bit. The heady lavender scent that dominated Le Male has been given a backseat, and the mint has been ‘overstated’, and we are given an ‘excessive dose’.  This, we are told is because of its association with sexual potency historically, and has been rubbed with mugwort to really punch out the libidinous scent. Naughty!

Built on a powerful and addictive freshness that makes men hot, the fragrance stimulates the senses and reveals the erotic potential of every man.

Make of that, what you will.

It is accented with clary sage and orange blossom which in turn give it a cologne like smell that is entirely surprising.

Upon first sniff, it does seem like just another summer type scent, which incidentally is exactly what the frosted bottle puts me in mind of, but after a little wearing in, it changes to be more grown up, and well, a little sexier. A very cool kind of sexy in the literal sense of the word.

The lasting power (or sillage for the more ‘fume savvy amongst you) , of this scent is very good, similar to that of the original Le Male, and unusual for such a (hate to say this, it’s just lazy!) ‘fresh’ smell.

It surprised me, I like it, and will wear it.

Now for the fun part of ANY JPG fragrance. The visuals!

This is Le Beau Male Kaylan Falgoust lounging on a (fake. That’s made QUITE clear) polar bear skin rug making us all feel a little hot under the collar in his 50’s pin up style.

So what do we think?


Le Beau Male is available from TODAY nationwide, and starts at £39.50. 

Tarocco Orange collection – Crabtree & Evelyn

A little bit of pre spring cheer for us all with the arrival (in mid Feb) of this zesty joyfest from Crabtree & Evelyn.

Tarocco Orange Comp

With inspiration from the world of perfumery, this is inspired by traditional citrus colognes.

With an added dimension of Eucalyptus and Sage giving it a bit of herby weight, the subtle, gentle scent of this collection is a real mood lifter with the Vitamin C rich Tarocco Orange at it’s heart. I loves it!

Coming in six bits, from shower gel to Body Soufllé, from a really rather fabulous smelling hand cream, to an all over body spritz, bring a little sunshine into your life whilst it’s still a bit grotty looking outside with this.

It smells lovely!

Tarocco Orange eucalyptus and sage will be available as of February 15th Nationwide, or ONLINE