Monday 31 October 2011

Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Pai skincare claims to be organic skincare for sensitive skin. The products are paraben free, SLS free, Phthalates free and contain no artificial fragrances or alcohol.

I was recently sent the camellia and rose gentle hydrating cleanser to try. The cleanser is suitable for all skin types including sensitive and allergy prone skins (although, as I have normal/combination skin, I cannot comment on those claims). Contains omega 3 and vitamins A, B, C & E .

I have included a list of ingredients below for your reference.

Camellia & Rose gentle hydrating cleanser claims to be a cleanser and eye makeup remover in one. I was expecting a rose scent but the actual scent is a soft lemony scent which is quite pleasant.

This is a beautifully creamy cleanser. The product is packaged in an opaque pump action bottle.The instructions say to use 2-3 pumps but I found that one pump was enough to cleanse my skin. I apply one pump, apply to skin and leave it a few seconds to melt away my makeup and then use a warm muslin to wash it off.

This cleanser does a brilliant job of cleansing, removing all my makeup and leaving my skin feeling incredibly clean and velvety soft.

I used a toner afterwards to check its effectiveness and my cotton wool pad was virtually clear. Although the instructions say to avoid the delicate eye area I did use it on my eyes as part of cleansing my face and it was so gentle on the area, my eyes did not sting at all.

I also put the cleanser on a cotton wool pad and applied it as an eye makeup remover, once again it was gentle and removed the makeup well,.

I really enjoy using this cleanser, it does exactly what it claims to do and feels so gentle on my skin, this is one that I will definitely be finishing,

Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser costs £25 for 100ml and includes an exfoliating muslin cloth. Available by clicking here

Saturday 29 October 2011

And The Winner is..... Dr.Hauska Giveaway Winner Revealed!

BeautySwot teamed up with the lovely team at Dr.Hauschka to treat one lucky person to a 'Radiant You' cleansing ritual starter kit and a full size Melissa Day Cream, which is one of my favourite moisturisers.

I am now pleased to announce the winner...drumroll!

And the winner as selected by Random.Org is....


Congratulations Helena :-)

I will be in touch shortly to arrange delivery of your prize!

Thank you to everyone for entering, please stay reading for your chance to win in more fabulous giveaways.

Friday 28 October 2011

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint SPF15 - Review

When I wrote the 2 minute make up post  I used Liz Earle's Sheer Skin Tint as my base. I promised a review of the product and here it is.

When I received an email informing me that Liz Earle was venturing into makeup I knew that she would probably be onto a winner if the products were as well devised and created with the same care and attention that is used with existing Liz Earle products.

The first product in the Colour range is the Sheer Skin Tint. I was sent shade Beige 02 (the medium shade) to try.  Sheer Tint is packaged in a nice sleek dark blue tube.

What Liz Earle claims - 'Our rich, creamy formula leaves skin looking naturally dewy, even and radiant. With mineral UV protection SPF15, plus our own specially selected blend of botanicals. You'll love its sheer coverage and lightweight feel.'

My thoughts - Sheer Skin Tint is somewhere between a tint and a foundation. It does have a good thick texture but it blends very easily and I like the coverage which is nice and even. I have been using it for when I need to look good quickly and it does the job providing a nice dewy appearance, although if you have blemishes they won't cover that or any redness.

Wonderfully creamy

I have combination skin and I noticed that if I applied too much I ended up looking a bit greasy rather than radiant and glowy which is really not a good look! Personally, I feel this may not be ideal for oily skins. I like the fact that it has a SPF, I am always trying to use products with these in wherever possible.

Leaves skin looking radiant

Two things prevent me from absolutely loving this product -

One - I am not keen on  the scent, it really smells of the minerals it has been composed with and quite metallic.
Two - Tackiness, touching my face it feels a bit sticky to the touch and this pretty much lasts all day. You won't know it unless you touch your face, but I seem to have got into this terrible habit!

I am looking forward to seeing what other Colour products Liz Earle will be introducing.

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint comes in a generous 40ml tube costing £21 and is available in 3 shades 

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Vaseline Limited Edition Lip Therapy in Crème Brûlée

I love my little tins of Vaseline, so I am really excited to hear that Vaseline have created a limited edition version in Crème brûlée.  As Crème brûlée is one of my favourite desserts I cannot wait to try this..although I might just want to eat my lips if it tastes as good as the real thing!.

Don't worry though, it will still have all the moisturising benefits of petroleum jelly to leave your lips lovely and soft.

Vaseline Lip Therapy in Crème brûlée is available in Selfridges from the 27th October 2011 and nationwide from 2nd November RRP £2.99

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Celebrity Perfume Review - Jennifer Aniston

When it comes to choosing a perfume the last thing on my mind is seeking out and purchasing a celebrity scent. Consequently, I rarely go anywhere near celebrity perfumes, I have had the odd sniff or spray but the ones I have smelt are heady and sweet, not to my taste at all.

However, when I heard that Jennifer Aniston was launching a perfume I was excited. I like Jennifer Aniston a lot. Ever since she played Rachel in Friends where I was likened to her both in character and looks I have followed her in films and magazines. I like her hair and I like her style. I even tend to choose similar hair styles as I know that if it suits her it will suit me. 

The big question .. would I like her perfume, the signature scent created to represent her. Jennifer is quoted as saying that the scent was 'sexy, clean and floral but not too flowery'.

Apparently the perfume was to be called Lolavie but this was dropped just before launch and it became simply Jennifer Aniston. The bottle is shaped liked the contour of her back, I like the idea of it but it is a bit big and bulky, awkward for my small hands to hold.

I read that the perfume had top notes of citruses and rose; heart notes of jasmine, violet and lily and base notes of musk, sandalwood and amber. I love rose so it sounded like something that would appeal to me and I desperately wanted to try it, but I couldn't get hold of the perfume until this Summer.

On first spray I was really quite disappointed, I was convinced that I should have loved it and yet I wasn't sure whether I liked it all. I couldn't smell the rose in it and that would have had huge appeal to me. It was strong but not strong enough to get up my nose to irritate it and make me sneeze like so many scents do.

It took three attempts of wearing this perfume for me to like it, but I can safely say that I now adore it. It is the perfect everyday scent. Jennifer Aniston has the same lightness that drew me to PureDKNY but the scent is not similar to it. 

On first contact with my skin the perfume, heads straight to the middle notes of Jasmine, Violet and Lily. I cannot detect citruses at all.. I am ok with this as citrus based scents are not for me. The perfume fades quite quickly into a gorgeous and classy, grown up powdery scent which I love and it is this scent that lasts for hours on my skin.

The best thing is that it has received the family seal of approval as both my husband and three year old son like it. In the words of my son 'Mmm nice!'

Jennifer Aniston Eau de Parfum - 85mls. Available to purchase in store at The Perfume Shop.

*PR Sample

A -Z About Me

A-Z About Me

I read an A-Z About Me on my friend Vic's blog. Even though we have known each ever since we were five years old, I still managed to learn plenty of new things about her!

A - Age – 34 although in my head and body I still feel like I am 24!

B - Best holiday – I changed this question from type of bed to best holiday.. My best holiday was my honeymoon to Las Vegas, Hawaii and San Francisco. 3 completely different fabulous locations with my dream man. I couldn't have asked for anything else.

C - Chores you hate – I hate ironing but I love washing up.

D - Dogs – I don't really do animals so have never had a pet of my own BUT my sister has a dog at the family home.

E - Essential start to your day – Cleanse, tone and moisturise

F - Favourite colour – I love purple, my bedroom at home had purple walls, carpet and bed cover. When I moved into my own house I painted the bedroom magnolia.. After sleeping there the first night I woke up and found myself looking at a creamy white haze, I thought I had died and gone to heaven, literally!

G - Gold or silver – I like all Jewellery materials but my rings are platinum

H - Height – A tiny 4ft 11 but I make up for it with my voice.

I - Instruments you play – I play the piano, as it lives at my parent's house I am a bit rusty.

J - Job title – My last official title was International Product Manager. Now I am a blogger and proof reader 

K - Kids – One boy

L - Live – I am a north Londoner at heart but I currently live in Essex.

M - Mother's name – Joy

N - Nickname - None, I am always Bettina 

O - Overnight hospital stays – Sadly quite a few!

P - Pet Peeves – Rudeness, bullying and inconsiderate people.

Q - Quote from a film – 'You had me at Hello' - from Jerry McGuire

R - Right or left handed - Right

S - Siblings – Two brothers, one sister

T - Time you wake up – 7.3am . I don't tend to fall asleep to near 1am.

U - Underwear – Yes I do wear it

V - Vegetable you hate – I really cannot stand Brussel sprouts. They taste nasty and bitter, and nothing will change my mind about them.

W - What makes you run late – Problems on transport or traffic jams, dilly dallying from the 3 yr old

X - X-rays you've had – I have had them on my knee, and after a road accident where a double decker bus ploughed into our car.

Y - Yummy food you make – Nigella's Champagne risotto and for dessert panna cottas and chocolate brownies...

Z - Zoo animal – My favourite zoo animals are Giraffes, they are so tall and stunning.  I wish I was the same!

Feel free to copy and paste your answers on your blog!

Monday 24 October 2011

NOTD - 17 Autum/Winter Collection 2011 Fast Finish Nail Polish

I was recently sent some gorgeous 17 Trio Eye Shadows and their complementary 17 Fast Finish Nail Polishes and today's nail's of the day uses two out of the three that I was sent.

On the left is Fury, a gold/bronze shimmery shade. On the right is Revenge, a darkish purple with shimmer.

I am wearing Fury and have chosen to use Revenge as my 'statement nail'. This is where one nail is painted differently to all the others....

These are one coat fast drying polishes, I noticed afterwards that although Fury looks covered if I look really closely I can detect slight patchiness. Revenge needs 2 coats, the first coat came out watery and pale. I had real trouble translating the shimmer of Revenge on to my small nails. Once dry it looks matt and I cannot detect the shimmer which is a real pity as it looks so pretty in the bottle.

17 Fast Finish Nail Polishes are £2.99 each

Friday 21 October 2011

Lulu Guinness High Tea China Set Exclusive To Fortnum and Mason

Lulu Guinness is to launch her retro vintage High Tea China Collection exclusively at Fortnum and Mason.

I came across a tea set that no afternoon tea fashionista will want to be without, I fell in love with this tea set the moment I set eyes on it. I am a huge fan of stripes, I already own a black and white stripes tea set but this design is pure style. Lulu Guinness has created a design that manages to capture everything I love in life, afternoon tea, monochrome and pearls.

The collection features

High tea mug - £26
High tea cup and saucer - £45
High tea pot - £96
High tea sugar pot - £36
High tea cream pot - £39 
High tea 22cm plate - £28
and not pictured but one I would love to see .... a.2 tier cake stand - £75 

The Lulu Guinness High Tea China Collection will be available to purchase from the the end of October 2011 at Fortnum and Mason.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Gorgeous Lip Liners from Sisley Cosmetics

I was sent three lip liners from Sisley to try out recently. These are luxuriously packaged and luxurious to use.

Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Perfect in Rose Thé
Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Perfect in Nude
Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Gloss in 01 Thé Glacé

The blurb on the back of the packs - Lip Liner on the left, Sheer Lip Liner on the right.

Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Perfect in Rose Thé

I purchased a rather strong, bright lipstick from Estee Lauder (Bitten Fig) and the first time I wore it I had the most dreadful feathering which was really quite embarrassing. Bitten Fig made the perfect shade of lipstick to test the effectiveness of the Lip Liner. I wore Rose Thé as it is the darker of the two pencil liners and it did a brilliant job of keeping the lipstick in place, no feathering at all.

Each pencil comes with a brush on one end and a sharpener.

Rose Thé is a pinky brown shade that I find perfect to wear under my stronger coloured lipsticks.This feels lovely and soft to apply to the lip, gliding on easily and yet the pencil is still firm. Apparently it is packed with oils and waxes so that it is comfortable to wear and non drying.

Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Perfect in Nude

Nude is THE perfect nude base for lipsticks, I love this shade. It has all the same benefits as mentioned above.
Active ingredients are Aloe Vera, Jojoba and Kokum

Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Perfect Lip Liners are available in 6 shades.

Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Gloss in 01 Thé Glacé

Love, love, love this gloss liner. I wasn't sure at first why I would need a glossy lip liner. I mostly wear it alone as a quick lightly glossed lip as I find that it enhances my lips, creating the illusion of plumped up lips (without the tingle). I mainly use it this way however you can also use it under a gloss to give it extra staying power.

This is pretty, sheer light brown tone and it is so buttery soft to apply.

Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Gloss is available in 4 shades.

Swatches of Sisley Phyto-Lèvres Perfect and Gloss

From top to bottom - Rose Thé, Nude and Thé Glacé

Have you tried Sisley Lip Liners?

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Dr.Hauschka Radiant You and Melissa Day Cream Prize Giveaway! *NOW CLOSED*

*Giveaway Now Closed!*

BeautySwot is delighted to have teamed up with the lovely team at Dr.Hauschka for this rather fabulous giveaway prize!

A 'Radiant You' cleansing ritual starter kit worth £39.95 

I am a huge believer of a cleansing ritual consisting of cleansing and toning and I will not go to bed without removing my make-up.

Dr.Hauschka skin care products are designed with medical understanding of how the skin functions. Cleansing and toning the Dr Hauschka way forms the foundations of healthy, radiant skin. They promise that within only 30 days of beginning their cleansing ritual, you will have laid the foundations to picture perfect skin that can stay that way for a lifetime.

The kit contains -
Cleansing Cream 50ml
Facial Toner 100ml
Dr.Hauschka Organic Cotton Muslin Cloth
Miniature Lavender Bath Oil

Suitable for normal, dry and sensitive skins

But that is not all.....

The lucky winner will also receive this as part of the prize

A full size tube of Dr.Hauschka Melissa Day Cream Moisturiser worth £23.95

Melissa Day Cream recently won a Pure Beauty Award for Best Organic Launch 2011. Readers of BeautySwot will know that I absolutely loved this moisturiser when I reviewed it. Here is the link if you missed it first time round - Melissa Day Cream. I am so pleased to be able to give one of my readers the chance to try it for themselves.

Melissa Day Cream is suitable for sensitive combinations skins.

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize please see details of how to enter below -

The rules

  • You must be a follower of this blog and leave a comment below asking to be entered into the giveaway with your name and a way to contact you, so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner. It's easy to follow my blog - just click the FOLLOW button on the right of the page and follow the instructions. This will gain you one entry. 
  • You can gain an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway. Just tag your tweet with @BeautySwot at the end so I can see it. 
  • You can also gain another entry if you blog about / have a link to this giveaway on your side bar - please post link to show you have done this. 

The (not so) Small Print -
  • Maximum entries per person is 3
  • Open only to UK residents
  • All entries will be logged and numbered, and the winner will be selected by
  • Entries close at 23.59pm, 28th October 2011 (GMT)
Thank you and good luck!

Monday 17 October 2011

October 2011 GlossyBox - First Impressions

This morning my postman delivered the October Glossybox. 

I was sent one to review back in May when it was newly launched, you can read my original review, find out more on how it works here.  I didn't sign up at the time as I wanted to see what future boxes contained and well for me personally, I am not a huge fan of surprises!

6 months in and Glossybox now costs £10 + P&P which is £2.95. At £12.95 a month I think it still represents good value if it consistently contains products like the ones that are included in this month's box.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the box contained the following

Recognisable brands like Stila, Dermalogica and Leighton Denny and a perfume sample.

Opening the Dermalogica mini bag (handy for storing products) was an additional teeny 1ml product for the lips.

Returning home and taking a closer look at the package I opened the pink organza bag to find that the perfume sample was actually three different scents from the same brand.

In October's Glossybox I have -

Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Thermofoliant - Skin Polisher - 15ml
Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Power Recover Masque - Facial Masque - 15ml
Dermalogica Age Smart Renewal Lip Complex - lip treatment - 1ml (includes beauty bag)
Leighton Denny Expert Nails - shade Baby Doll - Full Size 12ml
Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner - shade Moray - Full Size
Robert Piguet Eau De Parfums - Fracas, Visa and Calypso - 3 signature scents in 8ml sample bottles

My initial thoughts

I am looking forward to trying out the perfume samples from Robert Piguet. I love perfume and discovering new scents so the fact there are 3 is fantastic and I am bound to like at least one of them as the descriptions sound lovely.

The shade of Leighton Denny polish is not really one that I would choose so I will probably end up giving this away as I fear it is a little too pink and sugary for me.

The Dermalogica samples are something that really appeal to me. I have tried Dermalogica before and liked what I have used, so cannot wait to try these out.

I was really excited to find the Stila Waterproof eyeliner in the box as I have never tried Stila products. I couldn't resist a quick swatch of it. Moray is a gorgeous olive green shade with gold flecks, I think this will be really flattering for my green eyes and perfect for this season. Ps It really is smudge proof, it did not budge! This is the winning product for me in the October Glossybox.

Final thoughts - As the Stila and Leighton Denny products are full size and equal in value to £24, you will easily have recouped your outlay this month and more. I like the sound of the Dermalogica products, being 34 I am increasingly drawn to products that are going to delay the signs ageing... although I am not entirely sure that they will appeal to younger subscribers.

What do you think of the contents of the October Glossybox? Have you subscribed or are you thinking of subscribing. I would love to hear your thoughts.

*PR Sample

Friday 14 October 2011

The Friday Column - Open:An Autobiography By Andre Agassi - Review

Book Review - Open An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

I don't usually read autobiographies.. in fact the only one I have read is Beasts In My Belfry by Gerald Durrell and that was back in my teens. I don't really watch or follow Tennis much either. So how did I find myself in possession of a copy of Andre Agassi's autobiography Open?

I was given this to read by my brother in law (a sports fanatic) with the words ' Bettina, this is really good, you should read it'. So I did. I actually found I could not put it down.

Open is a thoroughly gripping account of Andre Agassi's (One of the most talented Tennis players ever) tennis career from the first time he picked up a racket to the very last time. I was concerned that it would be full of technical tennis terms and be dull (I am not a huge sports fan) but it turned out to be one of the best books I have ever read.

It is well written and reads fluidly. As Andre describes a match I feel the highs and the lows, his frustrations at losing and his exhilaration on winning. He manages to write in a way that I almost feel like I am in his skin, no mean feat. A good chunk of the book focuses on Andre's relationship with his father, he felt his father gave him no option but to play Tennis. Andre convinces us and anyone else who interviews him that he hates the game. He only played Tennis because he was good at it and had nothing else he could do (he didn't excel at school).

The young Agassi was packed off to a Tennis School miles from home and his family. Once again he was not given any choice in the matter and he turned into a rebellious teenager. He managed to get away with all that he did, purely because he was such a gifted player which the school relied on, much to his chagrin.

The book gives an excellent insight into his mental state with his (almost) non existent family life,  as a young man, whilst playing matches,  his friendships and romantic liaisons. I learnt that he didn't really have many friends, probably as a result from the amount of time a top player has to spend practicing, training and travelling to matches. He was constantly trying to challenge authority, even being banned from matches and tournaments for his behaviour. For all his misbehaviour, he provides a reason behind it.

Andre Agassi doesn't come across as a very likeable character or at least his personality does, only having a few close people in his network of friends and family that he depends on. I enjoyed reading about his rivalry with fellow Tennis players. Most interesting was the banter and games played with Boris Becker.

At various points in his career it seems like he is intent on pressing that self destruct button but each time finds the will and support to rise from its ashes and push himself to greater things.

Romance wise, he dated Hollywood actress Brooke Shields for a time and the relationship is described with startling honesty. Apparently he spent many years trying to get a date with Steffi Graff and this is played out in the book culminating in a wedding and two beautiful children. The few photos included in the autobiography are a real joy to see.

Open really is a warts and all, genuine account from Andre Agassi and makes for a riveting read.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in POP

Especially created to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blush in POP is an exceptionally pretty pink shade that I think would flatter most skin tones.

A tiny squirt is all you need of this liquid formulation blush and I really mean a tiny squirt as a little really does go a long way. It is highly pigmented and runny so unless you want to look like Aunt Sally from the outset it is far better to add as you go along.

I actually used about a tenth of what I have pictured here on my cheeks. The amount here covered the whole of my hand and more!

I applied it over my foundation with my fingers and gently blended it in. Daniel Sandler also recommends his special waterbrush for a more polished application (currently £5 on Escentual), although I haven't tried this method, I found my fingers worked well enough.

How lovely does this 'flush' on my cheeks look and it lasts literally for hours.As you only need a little each time,  this pot will last a long time making it excellent value.  The more I am trying liquid and cream blushes the more I am liking them as I get older. They are far less likely to sit in dry patches of the skin or look cakey like powder blushes can sometimes appear. Fabulous.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in 'POP' is limited edition and exclusive to Costing £14.50 for a 15ml bottle, a worthy £5 from every bottle sold will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

*PR Sample 

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Lips Of The Day - MeMeMe Cosmetics in Eva (China Rose)

MeMeMe Cosmetics Long Wear Satin Cream Lipstick in shade Eva (China Rose) is one of my current favourites. I adore this pale pink shade and am finding that I reach for it more and more as it is so easy to wear.

Cute outer packaging but contained in a smart rubber touch black case means it looks and feels more expensive than it is.

This literally glides across my lips on application and stays comfortable whilst I am wearing it thanks to it being enriched with Shea butter and Vitamin E. The colour has good pigmentation so you do only need one slick on the lips. I love the texture too, it is wonderfully soft and creamy and yet it doesn't feel like you are wearing any lipstick at all.

Here is a close up

I have included this full face shot so you can see the lipstick worn in context. I love the coolness of the blusher, as it is almost icy in tone, it enhances the lipstick.

I actually think this would be an ideal lipstick to accompany a smoky eye as although Eva is pink, it is still quite a soft and natural colour and wouldn't detract from the eyes.

MeMeMe Cosmetics Long Wear Satin Cream Lipstick costs £8.50

*PR Sample

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Afternoon Tea at Sketch - Mini Review

A couple of Friday's ago I went to Sketch for Afternoon Tea. This is a brief review as my time at Sketch was limited due to having to get to another appointment but I wanted to share my experience with you nonetheless.

Sketch is perfectly situated for shoppers and tourists alike, its home being a big white regency style building in Conduit St just off of Regent St. London

The afternoon tea was booked for 5pm, I have never been to Sketch but have heard how fab it is and so was really looking forward to trying it out. As we walked in we thought we had a table in The Parlour - this is described as a quirky and eccentric room where you can lounge on Louis XV seating. I had a tiny peek into this cute room and have to admit I was a tad disappointed that I wasn't going to be enjoying afternoon tea in there. It has a very appealing patisserie counter full of tempting cakes.

We were taken down the stairs to The Glade, this room is described as a Swarovski encrusted and sunset-strewn woodland bar. It certainly was full of wood, but it had a nice ambiance and warmth and I found my chair comfortable. We soon settled down and selected the afternoon tea menu 'lighter option' for 2 people costing £52. My companion opted for the Earl Grey tea and I chose to drink the 'Taiwan Oriental Beauty' Oolong  tea which was a delicate, honeyed, sweet tea. There is a good selection of teas to choose from which is pleasing to see.

Background noise came in the form of live music from a musician and accompanying singer. This was a real treat as she was a wonderful singer and the songs were modern, although at times it was a little noisy making it difficult to talk and be heard. However, we were positioned right next to the music so I am not sure how noisy it was for other people in the room.

Afternoon tea comprised of a selection of finger sandwiches, mini rolls and larger long roll containing fillings such as smoked salmon, cucumber, cooked ham and Dijon mustard and egg mayonnaise. It was nice to be offered rolls as well as the more traditional finger sandwich. We then enjoyed 2 fruit scones, served with jam and clotted cream on spoons! 

On the centre tier of the cake stand were four mini cakes calling out to me to eat them .. and they were quite simply delicious. My favourite pastry was the one that has the little crunchy balls on top in my photograph. I could have probably eaten another 1 or 2.. 

The crockery is quirky, as you can see in the picture, the cake stand was made of teacups, saucers and larger plates! The plates we ate from were printed with scroll writing. It was a real mish mash but from this venue somehow I expected something a little unusual and I wasn't disappointed.

I really enjoyed my Sketch afternoon tea experience. Set in a fabulous and cool venue, it was relaxed, fun and whilst I still feasted on a traditional afternoon tea it had enough differences to set it apart from others.

I plan on returning very soon and heading to The Parlour to try it all over again!

If you are looking for a traditional afternoon tea, this is most definitely not it. However, if you are looking for something a little different from your afternoon tea then I suggest you make a visit Sketch.

Monday 10 October 2011

National Chocolate Week 2011 - A Real Beauty Treat

This week (10-16th October 2011) is National Chocolate Week and in celebration of this fact I thought I would bring together a fabulous collection of beauty products that are chocolate based or inspired....

As expected, Lush have some wonderful chocolate based products 

Ma Bar (£2.50) Looks good enough to eat but is actually a wonderfully guilt free way of enjoying chocolate. This bubble bar contains Bergamot oil and orange oil. A chocolatey caramel bar with a sugar cube!

Soft Coeur massage bar (£4.50) Heart-shaped and deliciously chocolatey, this massage bar contains moisturising cocoa butter and shea butter and is scented with molten toffee fragrance. When gently rubbed onto the skin, the bar melts away to reveal a soft centre. Yummy indeed.

Whipstick lip balm (£5.25) A lightly whipped formulation with a smooth chocolate base. This is a delicious blend of orange, tangerine and vanilla essential oils and cold pressed almond oil, olive oil and wheatgerm oil which, along with shea butter, will make your lips soft and moisturised.

White chocolate fans will love these offerings also from Lush

Honey Trap Lip Balm (£4.75) is a blend of white chocolate, honey and vanilla.

Mange Too Massage Bar (£6.00) This hexagonal shaped bar is made with white chocolate, honey and fresh bananas with a shea butter and mango butter base...simply divine.

Taking centre stage is Essential Care's Organic Coconut Candy Scrub (£28.00)

This luxurious body scrub is utterly delectable, it has been delicately blended with coconut oil and cocoa butter which smells just incredible and promises to leave skin silky smooth, containing gently exfoliating sugar cane crystals. I cannot wait to review it.

On the left of the photograph

Palladio Herbal Eye Shadow Trio - Chocolates (£7.00)
Silky smooth, fine powders, blended with herbal extracts and created to glide on easily and give a long lasting, satin-fine finish. Presented in a handy mirrored compact, includes a convenient double ended sponge applicator.
Available online from Beauty Naturals

Chocolate & Strawberry Facial Detoxifying Mask (£4.45)
This gorgeously scented clay mask is packed with cocoa and contains strawberry extract and shea butter providing deep pore cleansing. Suitable for normal, t-zone and dry skins.

Pictured 150ml tube and a 15ml sachet (0.99p) available from Beauty Naturals

More chocolatey goodness comes from Montagne Jeunesse in the form of these fab masks

Chocolate Infusion Intensive Conditioning Hair Treatment (£1.09)
With ingredients like chocolate, honey and Kukui oil with added Panthenol Vitamin B5 this is a real treat for the hair to leave it soft and silky.

Chocolate Mud Face Masque (£1.09)
This natural clay mask contains cocoa, cocoa butter and shea butter and is suitable for normal, dry and t-zone skin. Beware though it is messy! Paraben free

White Chocolate Face Masque (£1.09)
More yumminess comes in the form of this white chocolate mask, with cocoa butter, cream and jojoba this promises to leave skin deeply clean and smooth. Paraben free. I am looking forward to trying this one out.

And finally more makeup treats in chocolate and rich dark shades ..

Max Factor Max Effect Trio Eye Shadow in 01 Coco Crazy (£6.99)
I love this easy to blend eye shadow trio and have been using it a lot recently. With a name like Coco Crazy I had to include it in this piece! 3 wearable shades that contrast and blend in equal measures, you can use wet for a more intensified look or dry for a more natural appearance.

YoungBlood Mineral Cosmetics Lipstick in Honey Nut (£14.00)
Cruelty free and 100% mineral in composition, this pretty creamy light brown shade contains Sunflower Oil and Candelilla Wax for moisture and Vitamin E for antioxidant protection, providing a soft shine finish.

No7 Poppy King Lipstick in Seduction (£12.00)
This is the darkest shade from the Poppy King collection of lipsticks, described as blackberry on my lips appears as a rich almost chocolatey shade. 

No7 Poppy King Lipgloss in Seduction (£11.00)
For every lipstick Poppy King created she also created a matching gloss to wear alone or on top of the lipstick for a more intense, glossy colour. In the tube this looks like a chocolate brown but is far less scary on the lips providing just a hint. I love the spotty lid.

Happy Chocolate Week!

*All products were supplied for free, except for the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut which I purchased and am currently feasting on..

Thursday 6 October 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2011

You are probably aware that this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beauty brands are huge supporters of this cause and each year release special products which beauty fans can purchase whilst raising funds for the cause.

This last year has been hard for my family with relatives being diagnosed with Breast Cancer on my both mine and my husband's sides, and I am sure that with 50,000 women being diagnosed each year that few families have been left untouched.

I thought that I would make you aware of a few products that are available from some of my favourite brands

Elemis fans will love this Think Pink Beauty Kit RRP £29.90 (worth £59.80)

The Think Pink Beauty Kit contains 3 hero products contained in a cute pink cube beauty case -

Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust ‘Boob Tube’, 15ml
Pro-Collagen Marine Cream in exclusive pink jar, 30ml  
Skin Nourishing Shower Cream 50ml

Available now from, spas/salons and selected department stores, while stocks last.  

Elemis are pledging £10,000 to Breast Cancer Care.

Clinique have created this Great Lips, Great Cause Key Ring RRP £15

Lip gloss fans will love this limited edition collectable key ring which features a heart-shaped ribbon charm, Clinique “C” charm and three mini Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 glosses in best selling Clearly Pink, Air Kiss and Cabana Crush.

£2 from every sale of this key ring will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Bourjois and Superdrug have joined forces this year with £1 from every sale of Bourjois Illuminating Touch in Rose Essential £7.49 at Superdrug being donated to Cancer Research UK.

This is a great little pot illuminator to apply to your browbones, cheekbones and temples for instant radiance.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Afternoon Tea at The Langham - Review

Afternoon Tea at The Langham

I booked The Langham for my mum's birthday back in January 2010 after she showed me a press cutting with this tempting image and said she would love to try it. I went with my mum and sister.

Afternoon tea at The Langham is served in the stunning Palm Court which is famed as being the place where the tradition of afternoon tea was born over 140 years ago!

We were running late that day but the team at The Langham were very accommodating and assured it was no problem and when we arrived we were greeted with a smile and shown to lovely seats in the corner of the room, a perfect place to people watch and admire the decor and surroundings.

The atmosphere was buzzy and jovial with nearly all of the tables taken up with mainly ladies enjoying afternoon tea. In the background the pianist was playing a mix of old and new tunes that perfectly set the mood. I really do love the touch of live music and even more so when the musicians interact with their audience. The pianist delighted by mum by coming round the tables and asking if we had any requests. She requested one of her favourite songs - John Denver 'Annie's Song' which he duly obliged and how beautiful did it sound resonating across the room.

Above is a shot of the Palm Court but in reality it is much warmer with low lighting as pictured below

We indulged in the traditional afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve.

All three of us together with the stand on my left.

I selected the rose tea to drink and it didn't disappoint, it was delicately fragranced. There are over 30 teas to choose from on the menu, something to satisfy every palette.

The delicious cakes that we devoured, they really were some of the best I have ever tasted.

Halfway through the afternoon tea my sister and I escaped on the pretence of needing to visit the ladies room ..but in reality we left through one exit and entered where my mum couldn't see us. We mentioned to our waitress that it was my mum's birthday and she said not to worry and to leave it to her to do something special.

A bit later on the pianist started to play Happy Birthday and our waitress beamed as she approached our table with this cake and candle, a lovely surprise for my unsuspecting mum!

We had a fantastic time at The Langham, the service was friendly and attentive, the food was spot on and plentiful. We all agreed that we would return. As we didn't finish our cakes we were given the cutest bag to take them away in.

I think The Palm Court at The Langham is the perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea with your friends, the atmosphere is relaxed and you will have the space to chat and catch up in glamorous surroundings whilst being served a top quality afternoon tea. I highly recommend it.

The Palm Court was awarded The Tea Guild's Top London Afternoon Tea 2010

For more information on The Palm Court and to book please click here 


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