Thursday 29 August 2013

Frozen Afternoon Tea At Paramount - Review

Last Wednesday my husband and I headed to Centrepoint to experience London's first Frozen Afternoon Tea at Paramount. Leaving behind the steaming hot, bustling streets below we took the super fast lift up a cool 32 floors, soaring high into the sky we soon found ourselves seated in a hidden city oasis. Paramount is a rather fabulous and hip bar and restaurant boasting spectacular 360° views across London.

The view from our table 

Whilst I cooled down with the 'Iced Tea' my husband, when asked if he had any dietary requirements, requested a dairy free version (we did also email ahead with this request) the waiter assured us this would not be a problem and sure enough it wasn't. We were brought out an afternoon tea stand each :-)

The dairy free stand is on your right in this picture.

The options were fantastic, I loved the open sandwiches (they fill you up less so you can enjoy the whole afternoon tea!), each topping was on a different type of bread and I even had a wonderfully light cheese and onion quiche on my side.

The menu 

Smoked Salmon & Fromage Blanc on Rye Pumpernickel
Dry Cured Ham with Piccalilli on Sour Dough.
Poached Chicken with Spring Onion Mayonnaise on Multi Grain Loaf
Egg Mayonnaise

Warm Handmade Raisin & Plain Scones with Clotted Cream & Homemade Strawberry Jam

Pastries & Frozen Desserts included

Carrot Cake
Strawberry Parfait 
Lemon Posset
Mango Chiboust in a cone 
Mini Fruit Tart

(The selection of frozen options can include a Frozen Coffee Cream but sadly this was not in my selection)

My husband's options included

Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse
Frozen Banana Smoothie
and other fruit mixes 

An incredibly tasty selection of sweet & savoury treats and my husband was absolutely delighted with the care and attention to detail that had been given to his dairy free afternoon tea.

To accompany the food our tea was served in reinforced glass cups


Whilst I chose 2nd Flush Darjeeling tea, a fragrant and light perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea my husband opted for Assam Gold tea - a deeper and richer tea, in taste and colour but with a good smooth flavour. We were both more than happy with our choices.

Also on offer is a Frozen Cocktail - Paramount Colada -Made with  Alantico Private Cask Rum, Fee Brothers orange bitters, coconut syrup, pineapple juice and served over pineapple-and-roasted coconut ice block.

The Setting 

Mural On The Wall 

The Bar On Entry

As we were leaving we noted a door saying 'Up To The Viewing Gallery'

The Views

London's Highest Afternoon Tea just became the epitome of cool. A stunning setting with food to match. Grab your partner, grab your friends and grab your colleagues and make your way to the top of the city to Paramount. This is an afternoon tea not be missed.

Paramount 'Iced Tea' costs £28 per person or £42 with the Frozen Cocktail

*We were guests of the Paramount

Makeup For Afternoon Tea - FOTD

Last week I went for Afternoon Tea at Paramount and I thought I would share with you the makeup that I wore. As I was making a day of it in London I wanted to make sure my make up lasted. It was a pretty warm and sunny day so I wanted to avoid the big melt and still look fresh for when we sat down to tea at 3pm. I tend to go for a strong/bright lip when I go out and specifically do something as I just think they look great and stand out in photographs - The Shard was proof of this.

Products used 

Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer SPF30
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream SPF in Light
Benefit Hoola Bronzer
Smashbox Blush Rush in Silhouette
Cargo Blush in Tonga
New CID I-Shadow Quad in Florence
Clinique Quickliner Intense for Eyes in Intense Chocolate
Max Factor Clump Defy Volumising Mascara
Estee Lauder Signature Hydra Lustre Lipstick in Apricot Sun

What do you think?

L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate - Review

L'Occitane's Almond collection is one of my favourites for body care . The shower oil is my holy grail shower product and everything in the collection  just smells so damn wonderful and leaves skin silky smooth that it puts me in a good mood all day.

Almond Milk Concentrate - Firming and Smoothing

L'Occitane say 

Was voted Best Anti-Ageing Body Treatment - Beauty Bible 2011

Rich in almond oil and almond milk, this body cream nourishes and softens the skin. The blend of silicium and almond proteins, which are similar to collagen, effectively fights skin slackening by restoring skin’s support tissue.

The light, creamy texture melts into the skin without leaving a greasy residue. Skin feels satiny-smooth and is enveloped in a fresh and delicate fragrance.

Tip: This product is ideal for nourishing skin after hair removal or shaving, due to a formula rich in soothing almond oil.

My thoughts

The glass jar adds to the luxurious feel of the product. This moisturiser has a slight blancmange texture and it is incredibly light to apply to the skin instantly melting into the skin. The skin is not greasy just left beautifully soft, you can dress immediately. The scent is delicate and light but the almond scent is most definitely present.

A delicious product and perfect for Summer application.

L'Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate 200ml £35

*PR Sample - this 100ml was part of a Christmas Gift Box 

Saturday 24 August 2013

Si Giorgio Armani - Perfume Sample Saturday

Walking through a dept store beauty department (where else did you think you would find me ;-) ) I was suddenly hit with the most beautiful of scents. Obviously a little too loud I said " what is this amazing scent" and out of nowhere a woman arrived and replied "that beautiful scent is this - Si Giorgio Armani" and sure enough indeed it was.

Si Giorgio Armani Eau De Parfum is the newest fragrance from Giorgio Armani.

Giorgio Armani say 

Giorgio Armani's tribute to modern femininity, an irresistible combination of grace, strength and independent spirit. The distinguished and elegant olfactory result plays on emotion, true to the Giorgio Armani couture spirit. The perfume combines 3 notes: blackcurrant nectar, modern chypre, and blond wood musk with touches of freesia and May rose. At once chic, voluptuous, intense, and soft, Sì lingers on the skin and enchants the senses. This new fragrance reveals a free, passionate, loving, and vibrant woman.

Top notes - Sicilian Bergamot, Mandarin Oil, Liquer de Cassis
Heart notes - Rose de Mai Absolute, Neroli Absolute, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute
Base notes - Patchouli Oil, Blond Woods, Amber, Orcanox™, Vanille Absolute

My thoughts

Si instantly grabbed my attention making me sit up and take note, offering something different in a saturated fragrance market that sets it apart and draws you in. It is a fresh scent with an initial burst of fruity citrus, yet soon settles to become a powdery scent. Sweet with its notes of vanilla and rose but not overly sweet that it is heady. A beautiful and timeless scent that has rocketed to the top of my 'need to own' list. Oozing sheer class, elegance and effortless appeal, this is a perfect daytime scent and one that I am saying yes to!

Scent type - Chypre

Si Giorgio Armani EDP 30ml costs £44

Thursday 22 August 2013

Capasal Therapeutic Shampoo - Alternative to Polytar

I have been suffering from scalp psoriasis for as long as I can remember. I have tried a few shampoos and what really worked for me in keeping my symptoms under control was tar based Polytar Shampoo. Unfortunately this product became impossible to purchase (in fact pretty nonexistent) as a key ingredient became hard to get hold off, so manufacturing seized.

On the back of promises of its return I held off looking for alternatives and as I knew that products with SLS made the condition worse I switched to a SLS free shampoo and sat and waited for it to come back onto the shelves.

As the months went on my condition was worsening. My scalp was incredibly itchy to the point of being painful, I was scratching it till it bled. It was flaky too which is embarrassing when wearing dark clothing. It also coincided with a particularly stressful time for me and this just aggravated the condition even more.

I knew I had to take action when psoriasis appeared on my body and was starting to spread. The sun undoubtedly helped during this time but I hit twitter and asked for suggestions.

A pharmacist replied and suggested Capasal Therapeutic Shampoo. This is available on prescription but I bought it in Boots with no problem having asked at the Pharmacy section.

Capasal contains Salicylic acid, Coconut Oil and Distilled Coal Tar. It is gloopy in texture like T-Gel and yes it will leave your hair smelling like a freshly laid road. I actually like this smell so it doesn't bother me at all.

Instructions for use  - wet hair, massage in/lather up a small amount, leave on for a few minutes and then remove lather. Follow by rinsing with clean water.

I noticed a relief in my symptoms from the very first use. This product has been my saviour and is keeping my psoriasis under control.

It won't be for everyone and I would always urge you to check the ingredients if you have allergies in case this isn't suitable for you and/or seek advice from the pharmacist if you are concerned in any way.

I paid around £7 for Capasal but it was completely and utterly worth it.

Monday 19 August 2013

Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30 - The Rolls Royce Of Primers!

Keen readers of BeautySwot will know that I have reviewed Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer before - you can read the review here - . It is making a reappearance as I just wanted to reaffirm everything I said then, I still think it now.

Dermalogica say 

Skinperfect Primer SPF30 is a three-in-one product which smooths, protects and conditions skin, whilst correcting surface irregularities and creating a luminous finish. Created to improve the overall health of the skin, Skinperfect Primer SPF30, contains powerful peptides to stimulate collagen production and ingredients, such as white tea, known to fight the biochemical triggers which lead to skin ageing, including ROS, MMPs and AGEs.

Velvety silicones help even out skin texture, creating an instantly smooth surface, whilst hydrolysed pearl (pearl powder), a fine powder rich in amino acids, calcium, sugars and peptides stimulates cell renewal, fights glycation and helps to fight pigmentation by imbibing tyrosinase and enhancing skin luminosity. Natural earth minerals, combined with the pearl powder, provide a neutral tint, suitable for all skin tones, to enhance luminosity and radiance.

Invisible sun protection is provided by the inclusion of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which give broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection without the intense chalky, whitening and drying effects so commonly associated with physical sunscreens.

My thoughts

Skin Perfect Primer really is the Rolls Royce of primers if you are looking for a flawless finish - It smooths EVERYTHING and covers pores providing a beautifully smooth base for applying Foundation/BB/CC Cream and it keeps makeup in place all day long. A primer with skin benefits.

Try it.

Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer 22ml costs £37.50

*PR Sample

Sunday 18 August 2013

Rimmel London Salon Pro With Lycra® in Shade Hip Hop - Nails Of The day

I was sent two shades from the new Rimmel London Salon Pro Nail Colour with LYCRA® collection - Hip Hop and New Romantic, today I opted for Hip Hop - a gorgeous bright coral red shade. Kate Moss is wearing Hip Hop in the advertising campaign for the polish.

The polish promises - Up to 10 days chip resistant nail colour with gel shine finish!

Kate created 10 hot shades for the new range. I am really liking the polishes, the polish applies incredibly smooth and has a super glossy finish when it dries. The lycra makes it a bit stretchy, odd but true!

Includes the precision maxi (wide) brush for salon perfection!

Rimmel London Salon Pro With Lycra® Nail Polish costs £4.49 

*PR Sample

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Max Factor Clump Defy Volumising Mascara - Review

Many moons ago I fell in love with a mascara from Max Factor called Lash Silks. I loved the curled wand that worked with my eye shape lifting and lengthening my lashes in a way that was extremely flattering. It was superb but then it disappeared.

Imagine my delight when I learnt Max Factor was releasing a new mascara under the False Lash Effect collection - Clump Defy which had a curved brush! I was sent shade Black.

Max Factor say

Enjoy bold, defined, volumised, Anti-clump lashes.

You don’t have to compromise on volume because of clumps. Our fabulous new anti-clumps brush delivers the mega volume you want without the clumping.

  • Precisely aligned bristles mean the space between each bristle is smaller than the average clump
  • Brush loading reservoir ensures root-to-tip coverage
  • Brush hugs the lash line, defining lashes
My thoughts 

This mascara does it exactly what it describes, allows you to get close to the lash line, the brush picks up every lash, lifts and defines it. It is completely clump free. I really like the size of the brush as it is non messy when applying. The formula is neither dry or too wet. Just perfect.

You can see the results for yourself from my after pics. Fanned, defined, volumised lashes without any horrid clumps. The mascara allows for multiple applications for more intensity.

No smudging, no flaking.

Very impressive.

Before pic

After Pics 

Note - I don't use eyelash curlers - any effect is created by the mascara alone.

I am absolutely delighted with this mascara.

Max Factor Clump Defy Volumising Mascara £10.99

*PR Sample

Monday 12 August 2013

What's Inside The August 2013 GlossyBox

August's Glossybox theme is High Flyers - Bringing you all you need to be a flawless high flyer. Inside the box are selected skincare, hair and makeup heroes from around the globe.

So what was inside mine 

USA - Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir 1.5ml Sample size (full 100ml £63)

The description

Viva La Juicy highlights the succulent ripe berry notes and gourmand accents, while adding a juicy touch of honeysuckle and a sultry hint of sandalwood.

My thoughts - This is quite nice and fruity but not overly sweet so I would use this but this isn't quite my taste so I wouldn't be going out to purchase a full size bottle.

Brazil - Oceane MakeUp Remover Pen (not available in UK)

The description 

This pen delivers a mobile, mess and fuss free makeup touch-up/removal solution.

My thoughts 

I am not too bothered about this product but I will probably try it when I am using a red lipstick as I do get into some mess when applying!! Could be quite innovative.

Sweden - Emite Make Up Eyelash Curler (£20)

This has a special curved design to suit all eye shapes without touching your makeup base. I have never used an eyelash curler and am unlikely to so am not able to say if this is any good.

UK - Jelly Pong Pong 2-in1 Shadow/Liner (full size £10.50)

The description 

This creamy crayon can be used to line the eye as well as smudged and blended as a shadow.

My thoughts

The shade in my box was a nice deep, dark green. I will use this and it did feel nice when I swatched it across my skin. It didn't pull at all.

USA Tresemme Platinum Strength Concentrated Treatment Shot (15ml £1.49)

The description 

In sixty seconds will transform frizzy, fried hair into beach goddess worthy hair.

My thoughts

A nice quick treatment product, looking forward to seeing if it lives up to its claims!

Final thoughts 

After last month's great box I think this month's box was rather disappointing. I wasn't that excited when I opened the box and to be honest I haven't been tempted to use anything as of yet. However, value wise this does tick the boxes.

*PR Sample

My Hair Loves - MoroccanOil Treatment - Review

Whilst everyone was raving about MoroccanOil a while ago, I tried it and was unenthused..until now. I recently started using it again and this time I can see its appeal.

I have been using the oil treatment for all hair types as opposed to the light version as my hair is thick, coarse and highlighted.

MoroccanOil say 

Moroccanoil® Treatment’s versatile, nourishing and residue-free formula can be used as a conditioning, styling and finishing tool. It blends perfectly with other products and even speeds up drying time. This treatment for hair completely transforms and repairs as its formula transports lost proteins for strength; fatty acids, omega-3 oils and vitamins for shine; and antioxidants for protection. It absorbs instantly to fill gaps in hair created by heat, styling and environmental damage.

My thoughts 

I shampoo and condition as usual and then towel dry my hair. When it is fairly air dried I apply a 10 pence piece size of MoroccanOil to my hair and then I dry with a hairdryer and follow with straighteners. My hair is easier to style, left sleeker and beautifully soft to the touch. It looks lovely and healthy and it is entirely frizz free. Although, my only niggle would be that I would like it to shine more!

I like Moroccan Oil Treatment and I would consider purchasing a full size bottle as a little goes a long way making this worth the investment.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Radox Citrus Shower Gels - A Week Of Being Uplifted, Energised & Revived

This week I have been using the new range of shower gels from Radox. Be prepared to be energised, uplifted and revived with this wonderful collection of Citrus fragrance shower gels with a herby twist.

Revive - Mandarin & Lemongrass -

A sweet orange fruity scent but not overly sweet. A fun fragrance.

Uplift - Pink Grapefruit & Basil - 

Uplift is more zesty and perky, a real treat with its gorgeous pink grapefruit scent that I find really appealing.

Energise - Key Lime & Peppermint -

Out of the three this is the most unisex of scents. Smelling not too dissimilar to the popular cocktail drink a Mojito, this is wonderfully fresh and sparkling. It reminds me of holidays and good times. This is my favourite, yum.

Each one of these fragrances left the bathroom smelling deliciously refreshing and citrussy, these are great 'wake me up' scents for first thing in the morning!

Radox Citrus Fragrance Shower Gels are out now

*Radox asked a few bloggers to share on twitter a picture that energises, uplifts or revives us. 

Here is my photo. My 5yr old son being blasted with cool water :-) I love his reaction and the expression on his face! A real uplifting picture.

*PR Samples

Saturday 10 August 2013

bareMinerals Ready SPF20 Foundation Review

If you are a regular reader of you will know that my preference by far and away are liquid formula foundations. I cannot get on with loose powder/mineral foundations and yet I continue to try them out as I know that they are popular with many people and I want to know what it is exactly I am missing out on. When I found a sample of the latest bareMinerals Foundation (a pressed powder foundation) - Ready SPF20 Foundation in a press bag I was keen to try it out.

bareMinerals Ready SPF20 Foundation shade - Medium Shade R250

bareMinerals say 

bareMineral Ready SPF20 Foundation is an innovative concept in solid mineral technology. Created through a unique method, this silky formula combines our propriety SeaNutritive Mineral Complex composed of positively charged sea minerals and antioxidants with cold-pressed rose hip seed oil. Our foundation is proven to hydrate and replenish throughout the day while diminishing the appearance of lines and wrinkles for softer, smoother, younger looking skin.

Formulated without parabens, binders, fillers or harsh chemicals

My thoughts 

(Bit of background -my skin is normal/combination with slight redness rosacea)

Being a pressed formula I had high hopes for this foundation. The shade R250 is spot on for my skin tone which I was really happy about. The formula is silky and smooth and on the bits of my skin that are not problematic the foundation looks really lovely and virtually undetectable. The little redness that I have on my inner cheeks are covered beautifully. The formula feels really nice on my skin and not at all powdery or dry. Looking great. However...when it comes to my nose and the area around my nostrils it is an entirely different story. I applied a primer, I waited for it to dry and then applied the foundation as directed. Sadly the one area where I needed it to perform is the one area it let me down. The pores were still visible and the powder just accentuated it, I tried my best to sort it out but to no avail. This happened before with the loose bareMinerals formula.

I just don't know where I am going wrong. it seems application should be foolproof but unfortunately for me for whatever reason I cannot seem to use this foundation brand to make me look flawless. For now I will keep on using liquid foundations which cover and disguise my pores in seconds.

I don't know if it is an age or skin type issue - anyone else have this problem?

bareMinerals Ready SPF20 Foundation is available in 20 shades and costs £25

Nails Of The Day - Models Own Artstix Duo in Terra Crystal

More Models Own love, this time I am wearing Terra Crystal. Two coats of the polish and one of the glitter. So pretty.

Click here to Cloud Drops 

The collection of Artstix Duo's - which one catches your eye?

In order shown

Blue Spray - Blue Maldives & Sea Spray
Terra Crystal - Terra Firma & Pink Crystal
Cloud Drops - Cloud 9 & Dew Drops
Ember Red - Hot Red & Ember Glow

Friday 9 August 2013

4 Days In Rome - The Eternal City

About 8 years ago I went to Rome with my then boyfriend (now husband). I had heard such good things, it is romantic, you will love it ... so I was very excited to be visiting this legendary city. Sadly it was a huge disappointment, it was November, it was cold and rained the entire time, it seemed dirty and full of graffiti and to top it all off there was a transport strike :-(

However we did manage to see The Trevi Fountain and toss a coin into it (legend has it if you do this you will return) and we visited The Vatican in all its splendour and serenity.

Back to Rome

Well this thing about returning to Rome if you toss a coin into the Trevi must be true as we got an invite to my cousin's wedding to be held in Rome, we were going back! So at the end of July the whole family, and I mean the WHOLE family packed our bags and jetted off to Rome for four days of sightseeing and wedding celebrations.

Rome in the height of Summer is an entirely different place. It is steamy hot, sunny and packed with sightseers. Gelatos (ice cream) are in abundance and it is an altogether friendlier and definitely romantic destination. You cannot help but get swept up and fall  in love with the City.

We stayed in Hotel Quirinale on Via Nazionale. I would highly recommend this hotel for its location and proximity both to the main train station and the main sights, size of rooms and general ambiance. They also had good food and a lovely, peaceful garden area where they served food and drinks.

Kicking off the holiday in style

The hotel garden 

Relaxing on the swing chair

In the hotel garden - pre dinner drinks 

When in Rome - Pizza

The Sights of Rome

Trevi Fountain 

The Spanish Steps

The Colosseum 

The Vatican 

The stunning wedding location at Villa Aurelia 

Yes when in Rome it really is The Sweet Life 

Bettina x


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