My Ten Skincare Commandments

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Skincare woes. Let’s be honest here, I’ve had quite a few! Though in recent years, I’m happy to admit, I’ve been getting much better at looking after my skin and really paying attention to what works for me. At this time of year though, what with the drop in temperatures, cranked up central heating and post-party season fatigue, my routine could still do with an extra helping hand!

So, what’s a gal to do? Well, recently, I spent the afternoon at Debenhams St Enoch Centre and picked up some tips to take me through January and beyond. As well as browsing the range of luxury skincare brands at the beauty hall, I also made an appointment with the in-store Clarins Spa for a chat with one of their therapists. After almost napping during my super relaxing facial treatment (there’s something intoxicating about a dark room, a vibrating chair and being submerged in the aroma of essential oils on a Friday afternoon, I tell you!), I received a full diagnosis of my skin’s needs.

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Bare-faced and armed with a few new product reccomendations, I started to think about the simple steps I could take to help keep my skin in tip-top shape. The small things that make a big difference. While cruising on the escalator, I pledged to myself that I would make an effort to stick to these steps and couldn’t help but laugh when I realised there were ten of them! A theme was forming. I COULDN’T RESIST, you guys.

Want to hear my ten skincare commandments for the new year? Read on…

Thou shalt always take thy makeup off (even at 3am!). Oh, that’s right. I don’t care if it’s chips and cheese time, mama – don’t forget to remove that face before you fall into bed with your shoes on. Make it an easy job with the Clarins Cleansing Milk with Alpine herbs. At 400ml, it’ll last you ages too.

Thou shalt exfoliate, but not too much. Apparently you can have too much of a good thing – and that includes exfoliating! At my appointment, I discovered that you can over-exfoliate, which isn’t great for your skin as it’s not given time to repair itself. Yikes! 3 times a week is PLENTY, so take note.

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Thou shalt never forget to wear SPF all year round. This old chestnut? You betcha. Incorporating sun protection into your daily skincare is so important, even I knew this one. I’ve been giving the Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution a whirl and it’s ideal for city living (even when it’s still ‘taps oan’ weather). It’s light, non-greasy AND sits perfectly under makeup. No more excuses!

Thou shalt perk up thy tired eyes. Sometimes we don’t get that eight-plus hours sleep that we know we’re meant to have (and SOMETIMES that has a link to commandment 1, yes?), so that’s when we need to fake it ’til we make it! A Perfect World For Eyes by Origins helps to diminish dastardly dark circles and do a little firming and toning around the eye area too.

Thou shalt open thy mind to advice from experts. The way I see it, unless you’re some kind of skincare guru, you never really know it all. I’ve had the same face for 31 years now, but I STILL enjoy getting a second opinion on what I’m using and how often. The beauty hall at Debenhams is bursting with consultants who know their stuff and I promise they don’t bite! Plus if you DO pick up something new while you’re there, you can rack up some points by swiping your St Enoch Rewards card!

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Thou shalt avoid dry, cracked lips. Ah, that creamy, dreamy, matte-effect liquid lipstick you’ve been eyeing up. It’s finally yours! But you know what it doesn’t look so creamy and dreamy on top of? Flaky, dry lips! In fact, it looks a bit scaly and gross. Avoid disaster by picking up an ultra-conditioning lip balm – this one by Burt’s Bees, enriched with Kokum butter, is perfect.

Thou shalt boost, when boosting is necessary. I’m not talking about hurrying to catch that bus (though you can if you wish!). No, I’m talking about a skin booster. Clarins have recently released 3 new Skin Boosters in highly-concentrated formulas to target skin that is in need of some TLC. I picked up the Detox booster which is ideal for combatting pollution, overeating (ahem, there was no cheese left in M&S at Christmas because I ATE IT ALL) and late nights.

Thou shalt stay hydrated (from the inside out!). Invest in a good moisturiser and drink lots of water! And extra water on top of that just for good measure. It’s that simple.

Thou shalt wear a mask. If your skin is extra thirsty (see above), extra tired, extra freaking out, or just generally throwing in the towel, it’s time for a mask. That leftover one from Halloween isn’t going to cut it though so, instead, why not comfort your poor face with a cream, gel, clay or hilarious (and coincidentaly, almost Halloween-like) sheet mask? The HydraQuench range from Clarins offers intensive care for dehydrated skin in the form of a cream mask – my dried-out winter skin is rejoicing!

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Thou shalt not underestimate a cheeky 2-for-1. Well, a 2-in-1, to be exact. If you’re a busy bee, why make time to cleanse AND exfoliate when you have a  product that’ll do both for you at once? The Pep-Start range from Clinque includes this nifty 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser, freeing up more time and more space on your bathroom shelf.

I hope this list helps any of you looking to kick-start your skin routine this year! Are you going to try any of these out? Do you have any tips (or if you’re feeling as chatty as me, a list of commandments!) to share? Let me know!

Love,

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This post was made possible thanks to the awesome folk at St Enoch and Debenhams 

Beauty Hit List: May & June 2016

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Happy hump day, friends! It’s time for another edition of my Beauty Hit List, and a chance for me to talk about some awesome new products to get excited about, along with what’s been gracing my face over the last two months. Whether you’re a makeup junkie or just looking to update your bathroom shelves, you’re in the right place…

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Benefit Brow Collection

If you’ve been following my adventures over on Twitter, you might know that I spent last Wednesday getting an introduction to the new Brow Collection from Benefit (while posing in a bowler hat or two!). With existing products like Gimme Brow and Brow-Zings already solving brow dilemmas, the team at Benefit have revamped and EXPANDED their range, with a product to now tackle every kind of brow woe imaginable.

Patchy brows? Over-plucked brows? Don’t-know-where-to-start brows? Don’t sweat it! There are now 9 (yup!) tools to choose from, and having had the opportunity to test each of them last week, they could not be easier to use. In fact, Goof Proof brow pencil is just that – filling and shaping made simple and ideal for popping in your makeup bag. My other favourite is the Ka-Brow! cream-gel brow colour, the first of its kind for Benefit and a guaranteed best-seller. This new collection has already hit the beauty counters, so we can all wave buh-bye to dodgy brow days!

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Skin Care from PURE Spa & Beauty 

I love going for facials, but sometimes (OK, most times!) turning up in your pyjamas is kind of considered a faux pas! This is where pampering at home comes in and finding the right products to create that luxurious experience at home is half the battle.

So when PURE Spa & Beauty recently released their skincare range, I was interested to see if this leading spa brand could translate its expertise into take-home products. This vegan and animal-friendly line consists of two facial oils, an eye serum, a cleansing oil and a facial spritz. In other words, everything you need to create a relaxing treatment at home with the same quality of products used in the spas themselves (this range will be actually be introduced into PURE’s treatments).

So far I am loving the PURE Clean & Glow cleansing oil, which does a wonderful job of gently removing makeup and hydrating my skin. The PURE Regenerate & Boost Eye Serum contains a specialist blend of antioxidant ingredients, and is designed to renew and revitalise the area around the eyes. At 30, I’m starting to take more care of this area in particular, and this is an easy product to work into my evening routine (PS: the smooth consistency feels divine!).

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KIKO Milano arrives in Glasgow 

Last month, Glasgow’s Buchanan Street rolled out the purple carpet and prepped the balloons as KIKO Milano arrived with a bang! With their own stand-alone boutique now on the Style Mile, getting our hands on the budget-friendly makeup brand has never been easier.

Lately, I’ve been trying out a few of their lip products, starting with the Mirage Lip Stylo. As well as being the kind of bold red that suits most skintones (this is shade 05), what I love most about this lipstick is the formula which goes onto the lips super soft and smooth, giving a light sheen. It’s almost like a pigmented lip balm! The rose gold packaging also makes it a pretty addition to dressing tables everywhere.

The Free Spirit Lips & Cheeks pencil is a lot thicker and matte in comparison. I haven’t tried using this on my cheeks as yet, but the creamy texture and handy pencil shape makes this easy to use and I love the colour payoff on my lips. This deep pink is shade 104.

I guess my Beauty Hit List LITERALLY covers brows, lips and everything in between this time around, huh? But I also want to know about the products that are making you swoon these days – anything new I should investigate? Or do you have tried-and-tested favourites you simply can’t live without? Let me know!

With love,

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Self Care Sessions: Aveda Lifestyle at James Dun’s House

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When people meet me for the first time, something that they usually notice is how enthusiastic I am. It’s no secret at all that I am a cheerful person, and I’m often found bouncing around my day like a human version of Tigger going from one place to the next! But as much as I like to think I have an endless supply of energy, I can burn myself out if I keep on at the same pace without resting or looking after myself.

Last year, I wrote a little something about learning how to say no and trying to balance things a bit more realistically. I’m still making sure that I do this, but at the same time I’m also setting aside time for healthy self care and relaxation so that when it’s ‘Tigger time’, I can really give my best work. I think that it’s perfectly fine to feel happy but still recognise the need to pace yourself, don’t you?

I thought that this would be a good time to introduce a new feature in which I can share the ways that I’ve been investing time and care into myself, in case any of you guys have been feeling the pressure and are looking for ways to balance things a bit better too. Welcome to my Self Care Sessions!

Today, I’m kicking things off with my recent experience at the Aveda Lifestyle Spa – based in the city centre at James Dun’s House

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Last Thursday, my body was telling me that I needed to STOP. My muscles were tense, I was feeling tired and I’m pretty sure if someone had turned the lights out, I would have fallen asleep! So, it was a very happy coincidence that I was already booked into the tranquil lower ground spa of James Dun’s House for an afternoon of Aveda treatments.

James Dun’s House is ridiculously easy to find, yet I bet some of you walk right past it often (it’s OK – I did too, until I realised what it was!). Just off George Square, it is right in the centre of town and anyone from locals to visitors couldn’t possibly get lost looking for it!

Inside, the bright reception area also doubles as a salon store, where you can stock up on your favourite Aveda goodies. My spa therapist, Linzi, led me through the chic beauty salon (which is extended over the ground and first floors) and downstairs into the spa. The salon was a hub of activity with a few clients in for hair appointments, and the sound of chattering and blow dries got more and more faint as we headed underground until suddenly I couldn’t hear anything at all.

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I was invited to relax in the lounge area while Linzi prepared the room for my treatment. I sipped Aveda’s liquorice and peppermint tea and started to feel my busy day slowly lift away while admiring the pretty lanterns on the wall. The spa has very relaxing low lighting – making it ideal for busting stress and strain, but not so great for photos! Still, even if I can’t share too many images here, I CAN fill you in on how I got on in the treatment room!

Aveda have a new bespoke range of treatments for this year that can be fully customised to meet the needs of each client, delivering a truly personal sensory journey. I chose the Aroma Body Wrap and decided to customise it with rosemary mint. I love anything that smells like mint, and the Aveda Aroma promised to refresh and invigorate. Who could say no to that?

Linzi firstly took me through a consultation, so that the treatment could be personally designed for me. She also explained what I could expect (even covering those awkward spa newbie questions like “what clothes should I leave on?”) and made me feel at ease right away. After changing into my fluffy robe, we started with a foot bath and scrub, which I really enjoyed, before I hopped up onto the bed.

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After some body brushing to get my circulation going, my arms, legs, chest, tummy and back were covered in a warm seaweed mask. The mask worked its detoxifying magic on my skin while my therapist gave me a reflexology foot massage and pressure point scalp massage. The smell of rosemary and mint flowed through my entire treatment (even a few drops were added to the foot bath) and the uplifting scent surrounded me without being overpowering.

I was wrapped in aromatic how towels (fragranced with – you guessed it – more refreshing Aveda rosemary and mint!) and I took some deep, relaxing breaths. This part of the treatment was so blissful that I very nearly fell asleep! I managed to stop myself from letting out a little snore just before Linzi gently told me that it was time to get into the shower (which is custom-built into the treatment room) and wash off the mask, which exfoliated my skin as I rinsed it.

Linzi left me to shower and get dried, before returning to the room when I was ready for the final part of my treatment. By this point, I was very refreshed and calm, feeling a bit like I was on another planet. The only sounds were the soft chimes of the background music and it was really hard to believe we were so close to any other people – let alone George Square at dinner time!

We finished up with a full body massage using lotion and the fragrant oil, which was probably my favourite part of my treatment. I think taking the time to just be quiet, not focus on anything but my breathing and simply enjoy some pampering was just what I needed to clear my head. Plus, my muscles felt amazing afterwards – I walked out of the spa feeling an extra foot taller!

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After my treatment ended, and I was dressed Linzi brought me some cool water to drink and took me through some aftercare advice. I couldn’t resist one final sniff of the rosemary and mint lotion, that invigorating smell is super addictive.

While in the spa, I lost all awareness of time – there are no clocks and because it was so quiet I had no idea how long I had been in for! I floated out of James Dun’s House feeling like I was walking on a cloud and headed home in a little blissful bubble! That night, I slept like a baby – the relaxing effect of my treatment clearly stayed with me for the rest of the night…

My afternoon with Aveda was the little slice of heaven that I had been craving and I felt re-energised and raring to go the next morning. If you’re looking for a spa experience in the city centre, James Dun’s House have a range of body and beauty treatments available. I would also highly recommend at least trying the ritual of lying down in silence, closing your eyes and breathing deeply – I found it worked wonders, and having the Aveda treatment along with it took it to the next level!

Have you ever visited James Dun’s House? What are your self-care rituals?

Balancing bouncing and breathing…

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With thanks to James Dun’s House for helping me to relax!