Friday, 15 May 2015

Review: Sanctuary Spa Air-Whipped Shower Souffle

Don't eat this.
I have a bit of an issue with shower stuff. You see, when I was working on a magazine and surrounded by the most beautiful and ridiculously indulgent bath oils and shower washes (Aromatherapy Associates and Jo Malone might have figured in there somewhere) I thought nothing of using and then enthusing about their relax-inducing benefits in the features I was writing. However, as a freelancer you just don't get sent so much of the sexy stuff and (wait for it) you have to BUY YOUR OWN. The first time I had to do this and merrily set about shopping online for a bottle of my favourite Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath, I almost cried into my cappuccino. £41 sounds fine and dandy when you're raving about it in the glossy you write for but when you have to actually buy it yourself? Not so much.
Which brings me to Sanctuary Spa. I can genuinely say I love this brand because they're doing something not a lot of brands are and that's offering deliciously smelling and lux looking bath and shower products that don't cost the same as a pair of jeans (if you buy Topshop). And also, they're doing pretty innovative stuff; their textures, packaging, formulas and collaborations are knocking socks off what some designer brands are doing right now. Take their latest launch: the dessert-inspired Air-Whipped Shower Souffle, £7. I've been using this every time I shower and seriously, it's the fluffiest and most hydrating shower cream I've used in ages. The mango seed oil softens the scaliest skin - and has made my body lotion pretty much redundant these last few weeks - which is great because with two little ones, my morning routine needs to be speedy. And because of the unique, star-shaped nozzle on the tube, the texture is exactly akin to the creamy twirls of icing you get on a cupcake.  Which can only be a good thing.
Oh and if you care about this sort of thing it's also worth pointing out that they look okay too - you won't feel the need to hide your bottle behind your almost-empty Jo Malone one when people come round. Win-win. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Candles to make your heart sing

Bella Freud: lighting up my life
I love an amazing candle. I love the way the right one can change your mood, alter an atmosphere or add a sense of warmth, comfort and calm to the room. And in the past few months I've spent a great deal of time on Google on the hunt for some that do all of the above but don't cost upwards of £45 for the privilege. And it's SO hard. And I realised it's also because it's impossible; you really can't get a great quality candle (i.e one that smells amazing/looks beautiful and lasts longer that a few days) without splashing some cash. So, I'm going with it and saying you have GOT to buy one of these astoundingly beautiful Bella Freud Candles, £38. Or at least put one on your wish-list. Thanks to a recent birthday I have two of them but I'm on a mission (albeit a very slow one) to fill my house with them, simply because once lit, my je t'aime Jane candle transports me slap bang into the prettiest, flower-filled garden in Spring time. It's really that good. And also I once read that you should only fill your house with things you really love. And I absolutely love these.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Beauty Editors with Babies: Eminé Ali Rushton

Émine with her eldest, Mia
When I last saw Eminé, we were sat at a beauty launch, both of us in our first few months of pregnancy (with our second babies) and both excited and anxious about how we would handle having a four-year-old and a baby. We knew lots of coffee might come into it (for me anyway). Since then, I have watched in AMAZEMENT as, whilst I have struggled with finding the time to change my name on my passport (I got married almost three years ago folks), Eminé has gone back to work (as the Beauty and Wellbeing Director at Psychologies) and written a BOOK! Yes, a whole, hold-it-in-your-hand-and-read-it book. The Body Balance Diet Plan (published by Watkins) focuses on the science of ayurveda and how you can use it to achieve a balanced, healthy lifestyle and will be available this April. It looks brilliant. Eminé tells me it's the secret to how she keeps on top of it all - but a very hands-on husband and a few fab beauty products add to the mix.

1. Decléor Aromessence Marjolaine, £44 (
'I have to pay close attention to my skin - it can go from settled to oily to flaky in a matter of days - usually due to a lack of sleep! This is a great new find – it's a truly amazing nourishing serum for when skin is sensitised, dry and flaky.' 
2. Eminence Coconut Milk Cleanser, £29.95 (
'I guess I've always enjoyed cleansing my skin because, for as long as I can remember, I've bought balms or pomades or creams that require massage, steam and buffing. As a working mum of two, I've become so appreciative of the little windows of 'me time' I get - and cleansing with this every evening, is just dreamy. Plus, the coconut scent makes me smile every time.'  Other favourite cleansers I always return to - particularly in winter, when skin needs cosseting - are The Organic Pharmacy Carrot Butter Cleanser, £39.95 (, and the amazing Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser, £29 ( 

3. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, £40 ( 'Baths are a big thing for me and this is somnolence in a bottle. Honestly. I add a little drop to my childrens' baths too, and it not only helps them unwind every night, but also fills the upstairs of the house with its incredibly potent sleep-inducing waft that takes hours to dissipate - amazing!' 

4. Burt's Bees Baby Bee Multipurpose Ointment, £8.99, (
'This comes in a HUGE tub which just lasts forever and it's brilliant for softening heels, elbows, chapped lips (me) ... and of course for the babies bottoms and wind-kissed cheeks too.' 

5. Antipodes Performance Plus Mineral Foundation, £27.99 (
'Make-up-wise, I go through phases of loving tinted moisturisers (my all time favourite is Oxygenetix Breathable Foundation, £45 ( which is great when skin is feeling drier, but at present I'm back in mineral powder make-up mode. Antipodes (whose Grace Cleanser is also beautiful - and ideal if skin is more sensitive during or post-pregnancy) make an utterly gorgeous mineral foundation with some lovely 'bonus' antioxidant ingredients, such as grapeseed and kiwi extract. A light puff at weekends makes me look human, and a more thorough dusting on workdays dispels a tired and lacklustre tone.' 

6. BareMinerals Stroke of Light, £22 (
'This is my hands-down favourite undereye concealer. It's level of (undetectable) coverage supersedes anything else I've tried and it actually leaves my eyes looking brighter too.'

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Don't buy her flowers

The Care Package. Love.
My first week at home after having Max (almost five years ago) was a bit of a blur to say the least. In those first few days you're just so exhausted, delirious and a little bit all over the place emotionally and physically that you're surprised you make it through week number one at all. However, in amongst it all a friend came to visit and brought the BEST basket of goodies; gossip magazines, some really good chocolate, a huge, ridiculously cosy scarf and a few beauty products that were so easy to wear, they practically applied themselves. It was such a lovely thought because she'd taken the time to handpick a few things she thought I might like and in all honestly, were much more bloody exciting than another bunch of flowers.
Which brings me to Don't Buy Her Flowers. I am so excited about this new venture by brilliant blogger and mum of two, Steph Douglas, (read her fab blog here) because it really does fill such a huge void when it comes to what's out there, gift-wise for new mums. The premise is pretty much exactly what I've described above but on another level. There are five gift sets to choose from, all beautifully wrapped and all containing the sorts of things you really do want in those first few days you're at home. I'm itching to buy my very pregnant friend The Care Package, £26 - which lovingly houses your choice of glossy magazine, triple chocolate brownie truffles, green and mint tea, a luxury flapjack AND a very gorgeous scarf. You can even add Cook food vouchers to your set too.
So really, don't buy her flowers. She has enough of those. Do this instead and make her smile.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Probably the best cleanser in the world

Genius in a bottle
It's at this time of the year that my skin starts to change a little; it's drier around my forehead and cheeks, a bit more sensitive and feels much 'tighter' after cleansing. So I've started mixing things up a bit - my lighter moisturisers have been replaced with creamier ones and I'm using facial oils every other night (if I feel my skin needs it). You get the idea. Anyway, I've also recently switched my usual cleanser (Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water) to the more moisturising variant, Bioderma Hydrabio H20, £10.20. I absolutely love the original formula (as does every beauty editor I know) but was dubious as to how, as a water, this could match that comforting feel you get from a cream cleanser. And actually, it does. In fact, it's brilliant. Hydrabio is just as efficacious at cleansing as the original but it's specifically for dehydrated, sensitive skin (so really, it's perfect for colder climates like these) - it contains ingredients that 'lock' moisture on the surface of the skin. After a few swipes of cotton wool this took all of my make-up off - yes, even those stubborn bits - left my skin really refreshed and genuinely, I didn't use a moisturiser that evening because I didn't need it. For a busy mum, it's genius: fast, easy, moisturising, gentle and it WORKS. I'm hooked.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

5 online shops for stylish kids stuff

Scout & Co's delightful JoJo's First Word Book, £12.99
Let's face it, when it comes to gorgeous, stylish, stand-out kids clothes, decor or even toys, we're not so good at getting it right here in the UK. Okay, Gap is pretty nifty at coming up with some clever collections and Mothercare finally got their act together by getting Jools Oliver on board but, aside from H&M (and their home department) and a few bits at M&S I struggle to find great things on the high street. So this post is basically dedicated to all those brilliant small companies who are doing fab flipping amazing stuff online. I go to all of these places when, in the midst of all those basics from H&M I really want just one incredible jumper/body/pair of leggings for Elsie. Or an amazing duvet cover for Max. They're not cheap, granted, but they truly do offer the kind of things that make me smile every time I see them. And that's worth every penny.
What about you guys? Any favourite online shops you love to splurge in? Let me know. 

The Apple Papple Poster, £28
1. Scout & Co
I could spend hours looking at Scout & Co's website (in fact, I probably have). I love absolutely everything these guys stock (and that's clothes, posters, toys, books, blankets and so on - we have the adorable Fine little Day Apple Papple Poster in Elsie's bedroom) - so much so, that, in my head I've often fantasized of opening my own little kid's shop, right here in East London, full to the rafters of everything they do. Anyway. Just go grab a coffee, sit down and take a look.

2. The Bright Company
The Bright Company's Slim Gyms, £16
Instagram is just brilliant at bringing amazing things to your attention that you never knew even existed. Like pyjamas. Such is the case with The Bright Company. They only stock kids pyjamas and bedding but they're the brightest, coolest pair of PJ's your kid will ever own. Max has the Short Jyms (on sale now for £12) but I'm bursting to buy him these. 

3. Little Titans
Since having Elsie I've become a teeny bit obsessed with finding the cutest, coolest tights. Those little chubster legs just demand to be shown off. And here they are. Little Titans are tights for girls and boys and they're the best designed tights ever. It's a fact. And they won't run in the wash like Elsie's old Next ones did.
Little Titan's Sunshine Stripe, £15.99

4. Magnificent Stanley
Elsie in her Magnificent Stanley T, £18
I've raved about Magnificent Stanley before (see here) but it's become a go-to for an original and beautiful gift for friends who've just had babies. Choose from bodies and T-shirts in navy or white and get your choice of an appliqued Liberty print letter or word sewn on the front. I have one of these for Max and Elsie and I love them. 

5. Velveteen Babies
Again, this is one I came across on Instagram, which is proving to be brilliant at seeking out neat little online stores like this one (especially as it's nestled in the mind boggling big handmade and vintage shopping site, Etsy). VelveteenBabies is small but adoringly so - check out the panda and penguin garlands and cloud mobiles. See?    
Velveteen Babies Penguin Garland, $37.35

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Back to the blog

Happy New Year everyone! I have to admit this little blog of mine has taken a backseat for a while. Our little boy, Max, started school last year and it's all been a bit of an eye opening experience. Things like uniforms, PE kits, packed lunches, weekly birthday parties and school fairs really do take up a lot of your time. I've even had to get the iron out. It's been that intense. So now it's all settled and we have a routine of sorts I can get back to this blog. And this year it's all about honing in on the amazing beauty products out there designed to make your life that bit easier, as well as some lovely things for your little ones and take-your-breath-away spas that work for you and your family. I'll also probably be nattering on about some other bits and pieces that aren't entirely beauty based (did you see the Kate Spade collection for Gap last year?!) but hopefully, those snippets will inspire and intrigue you too. Enjoy and thanks for following!