Thursday, 23 August 2012

Red (or, Orange or Plum) Riding Hood

Yes, it's just August and we're in the middle of a heat wave. But my mind is firmly in "autumnal mode" now. Plus I've gone several years without being able to find a decent new winter coat so I have to keep an eagle eye out for the new stuff hitting the shops, in case I miss the perfect one. So far the following have caught my eye. I'd like to keep my Comptoir de Cotonniers purple tulip coat that I wear every winter for smarter occasions, I think, as it is just so perfect in fit and the wool is such good quality. But I do need a hooded coat for Southampton - which often has coastal, blustery weather (RIP several cute Primark umbrellas).

Three coats for living on the coast

From left to right:

1. Topshop, £98

I'm not sure the swingyness will do me any favours whatsoever, but the colour is lovely and it really does make me think of a gothic Red Riding Hood.

2. Very/Isme, £55

I do rather like this in theory, slightly flared/nipped in shape (a full flared skirt doesn't work on little stumpy me, I've found). But I'm not sure what the quality will be like.

3. H&M, £35

I'm a bit annoyed that I didn't buy this coat last year in the red, which was so perfectly Red Riding Hood. But the orange actually looks rather nice I think, at least here - it very much depends on what it looks like in real life. I don't want to glow in the dark!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Skincare Heroes and Skincare Zeroes

I have quite a few staple products when it comes to skincare and have myself quite a routine, and thought I'd mini review them and mention a couple that didn't work out. I've got dry (sometimes very dry) sensitive skin, and a lot of face washes and wipes etc. strip my skin too much and leave it flaky, raw and red. Because it's so dry, I don't get breakouts per se but like everyone I do get spots. I have to use gentle products and rich moisturisers but also have to cleanse thoroughly (but not excessively). I've found if I switch my routine around too much, my skin just isn't happy, and becomes dull, dry and sore. Whilst there are a lot of posts out there reviewing products are good for oily skin, there's not so many for skin like mine.

So here are my heroes, some of which have been part of my routine now for over 10 years!

Face Wash

Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foam Cleanser

This is pricey at £10.16 but it lasts and lasts. In fact, I bought my first bottle perhaps 3 years ago using a £5 off Boots voucher, and then replaced it when the £5 voucher came around again (and the Nick Lowe ones don't come around often, so it must have been a year afterwards, at least?) I use it pretty much every day, morning and night, so that should give you some idea of its incredible longevity. I've just bought a similar type of foaming face wash for sensitive skin to keep at my mum's, a cheap Boots version - and the difference between the two is amazing. The NL one never leaves my skin feeling tight or dry, and definitely reduces the number of spots I get (and those annoying tiny bumps). It leaves it looking bright and feeling soft. Rave! It has a slight medicated kind of smell, but nothing overly offensive.

Day cream

Olay Complete Care Multiradiance

My mum has amazing skin, and she puts it down to using Oil of Ulay (ULAY) all her life. I swear, they should get her on a billboard - she's in her 50s and doesn't have a single line. I have more (I've been less loyal, that should teach me)! She uses the original Beauty Fluid, but it's not rich enough for me. I love the Multiradiance creams though (I use the fluid version in the summer, cream in winter) - it has SP15, is wonderfully hydrating and softening, and the shimmer in it is absolutely finer than fine (no glitter here!) working to just lift my skin tone very subtly. In winter in particular, my skin looks dull but this really makes it look its best, even without makeup. I've used this for over 10 years now!

Night Cream

Olay Complete Care Night Enriched Cream

This is a beautiful night cream, it has the Olay/Ulay scent which makes it wonderfully nostalgic for me, and it feels very soothing, healing and nourishing. When staying at my mum's I switched to a Superdrug Vitamin E night cream and my skin started looking duller in days. Not switching again!


Olay Regenerist Daily Thermal Skin Polisher

Yes, yes, this is getting to be a bit of an Olay ad. But this is a great facial exfoliant - a chemical rather than physical one, so not too harsh for sensitive skin (though I still only use it once a week at most, I wouldn't recommend using it everyday) which leaves the skin feeling so soft and smooth. I love the warming effect and it smells of apple pie! I always restock when the Boots £5 skincare vouchers come around.

Makeup remover/deep cleanser

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish

I think pretty much all that needs to be said about this product already has been, but my it certainly lives up to the hype. It really does melt off makeup and leaves the skin so soft and not at all dry. However, I tend to use this only when I've been wearing makeup (surprising, that's not every day!) as using a muslin cloth on my skin every day tends to upset it a bit (it's such a diva!).

Skincare Zeroes

Good Things Creamy Cleanser

Wow did this break me out like a mofo. I'm a bit slow sometimes, in that if I get a whole bunch of spots I'll think it's because my skin is changing from being dry to oily, or because I've eaten badly, but I don't always immediately associate it with changing one of my products. Which is what happened with this, and I have a row of spot scars on one of my cheeks to show for it. I picked this because it didn't have SLS and was one of the few high street face cleansers not to, and I figured all the natural credentials and it being targeted to a youth market would make it quite gentle. I was wrong! I can't imagine what this is like on oilier skin than mine if it broke me out. But, I guess all skin is different so it might work for some. On the upside, it smells lovely, like a fruit yoghurt!

Balance Me Eye Cream

I'm sad to write this as I love the Balance Me body wash range (well what I've sampled of it through magazine freebies). I want to hug any brand that doesn't use SLS, SLES or ALS. But it's ironically the natural credentials themselves that make this not work for me. The eye cream smells lovely as it contains essential oils, but as essential oils can be irritants, this just hasn't worked out for me (my eyes are as sensitive as my skin). I thought I had an eye infection for the couple of days I used this, my eyes were so red, dry and painful. It's fine because the eye cream was a freebie, but I'm still searching for a staple eye cream (currently Boots Sensitive but I'm not keen that it doesn't have SPF).

What are your skincare heroes, and which proved to be zeroes?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Take one maroon cardigan...

As berry shades are a big thing this autumn, I thought I'd show just how versatile just one maroon cardigan can be. It can go sugar-sweet, cute and indie, bookish and preppy or grungey and goth. It's definitely going to be a staple in my autumn winter wardrobe!

Friday, 17 August 2012

The Truth Is Out There

The Truth Is Out There

So I'm officially about a year late to the party, but this autumn I'm really hankering after a bit of 1990s grunge in my wardrobe. I think I've overdosed a bit on the supersweet and the ultra-retro, and I just want to channel my old grumpy, grungey teen self a bit. Though I've heard goth is supposed to be making another appearance this winter, it hasn't as yet made an major appearance in the autumn/winter stuff coming on the high street, except in the form of this dress which I'm fast developing an obsession with. It's the perfect tribute to my teendom as a grungey, geeky sci fi nerd completely obsessed with My So-Called Life, Reality Bites, X Files, Dark Skies, and Millennium. (I didn't go out much as a teen, my life was pretty much homework, music and tv).

But boy do I love this dress! (Though that seems inappropriately bouncy and enthusiastic - I should be more like "yeah, it's ok, I guess"). It's so cool and it makes me want to dig out The Bends and listen to it on repeat like I used ta. Ah the good old days, back when I was so very miserable...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

I love berries. I love to eat them (blackberries and raspberries especially). I love berry lip colours. And I'm very excited that berry tones seem to be a colour trend for this autumn/winter. I know, I know, we haven't even had a real chance to wear summer stuffs yet! But I'm always drawn to the richer colour palettes of autumn and wear jewel colours throughout the year.

Here's my favourite berry things of the moment:

Berry Crush