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Friday, 30 December 2016

The Trends for 2017: Year of the Rooster

Picture of hydrangea paniculata Vanilla Fraise
Hydrangea Paniculata Vanilla Fraise: copyright Bakker.com

2016 was a tumultuous year and one that many of us will be glad to see the back of.  I'm always intrigued to hear what the predictions  are for the new year in terms of fashion, food and general prosperity. Here's my summary of trends for 2017 including flowers, fashion, colours and food.

Year of the Rooster


From Jan 28 we are in the Chinese Year of the Rooster. The Rooster is the sign of dawn and awakening. Triumph and success can only be achieved at the price of hard work and patience in 2017.

Green the Colour to be Seen In 

The influential Pantone Colour Institute were bang on with their predictions for 2016 of rose quartz and serenity: the rose pink and tranquil blue tones were everywhere, even if the supposed "soothing sense of order and peace" represented by the colours was absent.



For 2017, Pantone predict we will be in the green:  their shade Greenery will be all around us. This is good news for those who love green (myself included). It represents the colour of life, renewal, nature and energy, along with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy, and Wall Street.


The Fashion Trends

2016 was the year of the bomber jacket and the 2017 jacket will be a white blazer, apparently. They're in some of the hot new collections and style mavens like Alexa Chung and Emmanuelle Alt, editor of French Vogue, have been seen in them.  Below: Marella FENNEC longline collarless blazer from House of Fraser.


The top handle bag will replace the cross-body bag. These are small bags which the trendy use without a strap. Below: Givenchy's's medium Antigona tote from Selfridges. 


Other trends on the horizon include the shirtdress, a looser tunic style designed to be worn with tights and ankle boots while the weather is cold, and then trainers or sandals in summer. 

Thankfully the puffer coat will be old hat  (do they flatter anyone?) and the trench coat will be reinvented. Preen have a gingham version and Burberry's classic gaberdine had leopard-print sleeves. 

In The Garden

Madonna will hate this one but apparently hydrangeas will be big news this year.  I have always loved the paniculata varieties of later flowering hydrangeas rather than the mop head types. One of my favourites is vanilla fraise, pictured, top. I would love to see a Chelsea Flower Show that brings back cottage garden flowers like hollyhocks, delphiniums, love-in-the-mist. Personally, I am so over "prairie planting",  grasses, and all those clashing hot garden pinks and oranges.


Snack Atttack


Golden milk lattes will seduce us with their turmeric, celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties. I find it works very well, although not in tablet or pill form  (which was validated by a recent study).  I add turmeric to home-made soups and drink turmeric and coconut tea.  It really helps with aching joints, particularly if you can't take ibuprofen.

Vegetable yoghurt is supposed to be the Next Big Thing. Varieties such as carrot, beetroot and sweet potato have proved an unexpected hit in the US and will soon be making a mark in Britain, according to Waitrose in its annual food and drink trends report.

Meanwhile poké,  Hawaii’s answer to sushi, is predicted by Waitrose to be the must-eat snack of 2017. 

Hawaiian poke on rice

The interiors trend for marble is creeping into food, too. Expect to see marbled icing, meringues and macaroons all over Instagram, made by bakers such as the Meringue Girls, aka Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman. 
Marbled meringues from The Meringue Girls
Marbled meringues: copyright Meringue Girls

Retro Drinks


Gin and different botanical variations was hot in 2016 and I'm glad to see that sherry will be becoming trendy in 2017  (I've been predicting this for a while). Trendy cocktail bars are adding dry types of sherry to their concoctions. Alternatives to prosecco, such as Pignoletto from Italy and Cava from Spain, will be joyfully guzzled.

Sharing with Nancy's Fashion Style FancyFridayLink-UpParty and Not Dressed As Lamb, #SaturdayShareLinkUp
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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Lip balms on trial

Article from Is This Mutton? testing several lip balms from high-end to cheap buys

The one thing that most of us cannot do without is a lip balm. I'm always buying different ones, particularly if I'm out and find I don't have one on me. Winter makes my lips even more prone to dryness and cracking so a good lip balm is essential.

I rate a lip balm on three factors: 
  1. Does it moisturize and give a nice sheen to the lips? 
  2. Does it last on the lips or fade within minutes? I find that some lip balms, when they fade, leave a nasty residue, a "bittiness" on the lips.
  3. Does it taste good?
I rounded up my lip balms and found 8, two of which were free gifts in magazines. I've put them on trial and the verdict is in.

One of the more expensive ones at £17.00 for 7ml. I had a generous 10ml tube as a free sample in a magazine. Quite a strong rose flavour and smell. Gives a good glossy finish and camouflages lip lines (this must be the "3D filling spheres"!). It lasted for about an hour and disappeared in a clean way. Score: 4 out of 5. 

£3.49 for 15ml.
Picked this one up at Waitrose (as you do) as I had read a lot about the hydrating qualities of argan oil. A bit cloying and sticky on the lips. Score: 2 out of 5.

£1.50 from Tesco and other outlets
Ah, Lypsyl. Everyone of a certain age will remember this one. I see from the website it has a new formulation and comes in different varieties, but the one I have is described as the original and I buy them in bulk at Amazon. I absolutely love Lypsyl. It has a very distinctive taste and smell and sweetens the breath.  It's instantly hydrating and comforting on the lips and has good lasting power. When it does disappear, it does so without becoming sticky or leaving a weird after residue. Score: 4 out of 5, 

£4.99 from Holland and Barrett.
This one is in a category all of its own for tasting and smelling absolutely delicious. It reminds me somehow of a lovely cake. I used to keep it in the car so I could apply it at times of stress on the M25. Gives a nice sheen to the lips and lasts about two hours before doing a good disappearing act. Score: 3 out of 5

£1.99 from Boots
Nivea have long had lip balms in various permutations. This one is a big disappointment.  It doesn't really give your lips any colour and the flavour is very synthetic. It disappears quite fast and leaves an unpleasant residue on the lips. Score:1 out of 5,

£12 for 15ml from outlets including Space NK
This started as a nipple balm, as its name would suggest, but mothers were using it on their lips too. It's a multi purpose balm you can use anywhere. It's similar to Vaseline, gloopy, waxy and unpleasant tasting. I wouldn't wear it outdoors on any day where there was wind because your hair gets plastered to your lips. It's OK for wearing overnight. It gives a good glossy finish and lasts a few hours. The website is fun. Score: 2 out of 5.

£10 for 15ml from outlets including Space NK, Marks and Spencer
I believe this was another free gift. It has a slightly weird taste. Imparted a good shine but didn't give such a smooth lip as the Rodial.

Clarins Instant Comfort Lip Comfort Oil
I remember reading about the launch of this and trying several times to buy it, only to be told it was out of stock. When I finally got my hands on it I found it a big disappointment.  It's quite a thick oil with an unpleasant taste, and as it fades away it leaves a sticky residue.  Unpleasant.  1 out of 5.

Which is your favourite lip balm, and do you disagree with any of my findings?
















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Friday, 23 December 2016

The Decleor Advent calendar: how was it?

Image showing selection of items from the 2016 Decleor Advent Calendar

I've been a Decleor fan for years. I love their sublime facial oils and have found their products very effective. In recent years I haven't used their products quite as much so I decided to treat myself to the Decleor Advent calendar to see what's new.
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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Bargain red tartan and a classy reindeer jumper

Two more outfits for Christmas


Browsing among the groceries at Sainsburys, I had a quick look at the TU clothing, having seen an article where their clothes were said to be much improved. I've been itching to wear something in red and so this tartan skirt and jumper leapt out at me and before I knew it, were in the trolley along with the fruit and veg.
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Friday, 16 December 2016

Remember these beauty products from the 70s and 80s?

I've been enjoying Sali Hughes' book "Pretty Iconic: A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World". I am somewhat obsessed with finding the beauty products I grew up with, and it makes my day if they're still around today.
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

5 outfits for Christmas

Collar less coat from Marks and SpencerI haven't bought many new pieces this Christmas and the reason is linked to the fact I'm currently not working, for the first time ever.  I haven't had any office parties to think about. If I did, I have a rich seam of dresses that have only been worn once or twice. Here are five outfits for Christmas. I have left my Boxing Day outfit for another post (yep, it's the jumper.....).

Christmas shopping with Mum 

I always go to Plymouth a couple of weeks before Christmas to spend a few days with my mum, who's 84, and to see my brother and his family. Mum is a widow, very independent and enviably sociable: she's social secretary for a couple of organisations and is on a constant whirl of lunches and day trips. She loves buying clothes, usually in bright colours: she hates the idea of being a "beige old lady."  Here she's wearing a collarless coat and teal polo neck jumper. I'm wearing my green coat from Marks and Spencer and an embellished jumper from Boden which I absolutely love  (it is about three years old).

Christmas carol concert

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the wonderful BT Christmas Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We had dinner beforehand at one of the venue's restaurants, the Elgar Grill. The concert includes singalong carols, the Royal Marine Band, Chris Hollins (as MC), an orchestra and choirs, and two guest opera singers. It's an exuberant celebration ending with a rendition of "Merry Christmas Everyone", fake snow and indoor fireworks.

Green is my favourite colour and as it's so mild I didn't need to wear a thick coat with gloves and scarf. Out came the M&S green coat, a green jumper from Boden, necklace from Etsy, burgundy boots and navy trousers.
Green coat from Marks and Spencer, green jumper from Boden


Christmas party dress 

I love a sequin like most women. I've only worn this dress from Hobbs once - I feel it's a bit too short on me.I paired it with a white faux fur stole that I've had so long it has the label "St Michael"  (which used to be a brand name of Marks and Spencer).

I have a bit of a shoe crisis.  I decided a few weeks ago that high heels were no longer for me. I gave away several pairs to the charity shop.  But my usual ankle boots and flat shoes don't look great with my party dresses, so I had to improvise with sandals I normally wear in summer. I wouldn't usually wear tights with open toe sandals, believe me.

Black sequin dress from Hobbs with silver sandals and white faux fur stole

The LBD every woman needs 

You've probably got a dress like this in your wardrobe, whether it's from Vivienne Westwood, Aleia or in my case, Marks and Spencer. It's designed to flatter the figure and is conservative enough to wear to more restrained functions, but can be dressed up for more ritzy parties. 

Mine is a little longer than I would like. The mid calf, midi trend, was not one I greeted with enthusiasm. I find knee length a more flattering length.  The block heels are a good substitute for high heels when you need something more than a flattie. Mine are from Dune. 
Black crepe figure flattering dress with Dune block heeled shoes

Here I have added my glamorous black velvet coat - bought more than 15 years ago.

Black crepe figure flattering dress and black velvet coat

Sequin skirt and ruffle sleeve jumper

This skirt still has its label attached because in the two years I've had it, I've never found a top to go with it.  I wanted something in a vibrant pink but this is a colour the stores forgot this year. I finally found a ruffle sleeve jumper by Lost Ink which fit the bill.  I had sore misgivings to start with: I feared it was going to be a crop top and ride up.  Wearing tops loose doesn't suit my shape - I need to create definition at the waist or with my big shoulders and bust I can look like a fridge. Fortunately the jumper tucks in OK.

Magenta sequin skirt and Lost Ink pink ruffle sleeved jumper

So those are my main picks for Christmas. I've had fun looking at all the lovely outfits on different sites. In particular I loved Lizzy's red dress and Michelle's blush pink number. Nikki adds the wow factor to a jeans and velvet top combo with gorgeous gold heels and jewellery (I need those gold shoes in my life!). 

Sharing this post with Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet, Catherine at Not Dressed As Lamb #SaturdayShareLinkUp and Patti at NotDeadYetStyle for Visible Monday.

* all outfits bought by me 

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Congratulations

The winner of my Christmas giveaway beauty bag is @vanityandmeblog

You should get the bag before Christmas. Thanks for entering!

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Monday, 12 December 2016

Sequin bomber jacket

Lipsy black sequin bomber jacket and Office gold bootsAny reservations I had about buying a bomber jacket the second time around have been dispelled by the purchase of a second one.  This black sequin bomber from Lipsy was bought specifically for attending Elton John's concert in Belfast.  I figured Elton would appreciate a sequin or two. Not that he got to see!
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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas beauty giveaway!

Is This Mutton dot com Christmas beauty competition prizeI've put together a dreamy bag full of brand new, unopened samples from many cult brands, and it'll go to the first comment selected at random on Dec 13, midday GMT.

It's got everything you need for a big night out: cleanser, hair conditioners; face treatments; a body lotion; fake tan; eye shadows and products to remove it all before you go to bed. List below.

For your chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment (not anonymous) saying which of the products you would most like to try. 

Happy to ship abroad!



Good luck and share the love with your friends.

The bag itself
Pureology

What's in the bag?
Decleor Hydra Floral light cream, 15ml
Decleor Micellar Oil 5ml
Lancome Energie de Vie 5ml: smoothing and glow boosting liquid care
Ouai hair treatment masque
Benefit They're Real! remover
January Labs restorative tonic mist 30ml: alcohol free toner that minimizes the appearance of pores and prevents breakouts. Designed to tone, rehydrate, and balance all skin types.
Omorovicza Ultramoor Mud Mask: transform skin’s appearance in just a few minutes with this flash-lifting anti-ageing mud mask.
Inika mineral eye shadow, gunmetal: vegan pure and vibrant mineral eyeshadow, pigment-rich, that will last all day.
Nudestix Magnetic eye color, angel: über long wearing eye shadow pencil that highlights, provides intense luminous colour, precise lining and primes lids for all day wear.
Lypsyl original lip balm
Emma Hardie Protect & Prime sachet: light weight, non-greasy skin protecting and priming cream with a broad spectrum sun protection SPF30,
Frederic Fekkai Protein Rx hair repair strengthener: treatment that mends brittle damaged hair.
Sienna X instant bronzing gel
Australian Bodycare tea tree oil hair conditioner: detangles and restores natural lustre leaving hair manageable and healthy.
Weleda evening primrose age revitalizing body lotion: firms and increases skin elasticity
Melvita argan oil for face or hair

Terms and conditions can be found here.





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Monday, 5 December 2016

A fantastic weekend in Belfast

Gail Hanlon in cape on Game of Thrones tour
You could say I'm wearing what I like in this pic - it's a Game of Thrones cape! We had a fantastic weekend in Belfast, starting first at the Titanic Experience which has quite rightly been voted the world's top tourist attraction. Nine galleries, all very evocative and interactive, take you from the history of Belfast's shipbuilding and other associated industries (linen, rope) to the discovery of the wreckage and retrieval of some of the artifacts.
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Sunday, 4 December 2016

A tale of two wedding dresses

1987 wedding dress by Pronovias worn by Is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon
Author Raffaella Barker recently wrote in the Mail on the dilemma she faced as a 51 year old second time bride in choosing her dress.

I had exactly the same challenge six years ago when I married John.
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Monday, 28 November 2016

Surprise! It's from Laura Ashley

Women's trench coat from Laura Ashley, AW 16Laura Ashley is probably not one of your go-to's for fashion.  Their cluttered rails of dingy, ditsy prints don't encourage browsing. They do a better job of displaying furniture and home wares.

The website isn't much better: everything is styled in such a drab way, with tops always worn outside of the trousers or skirts.

It's a shame because you can find some good things if you browse the site at the immediate start of each season.  These pieces seem to sell out very quickly.

My all-time favourite summer outfit came from Laura Ashley, bought about three years ago and still worn on holiday: a print skirt and green bow blouse. This winter I bought several pieces back in August when they first appeared on the website. The trench coat below is great quality and is a classic design that won't date.


I picked up this tulip shaped Laura Ashley print skirt, below, on eBay and I'm wearing it with a Peter Pan collared navy top from their autumn collection (I have a thing for Peter Pan collars).

Laura Ashley navy top with Peter Pan collar

Laura Ashley navy top and silk floral skirt
Finally, and on the subject of Peter Pan collars, this cream jumper from Laura Ashley has a pretty lace collar.  Furry hat from M&S. 

What are your experiences of fashion at Laura Ashley?  Leave a comment or tweet me @gail_h
Laura Ashley cream jumper with lace collar

Linking to Patti and Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday and Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb, for #IWillWearWhatILike 


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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Get ahead with your summer swimwear

"What? Swimwear in November?"I hear you cry. But it makes good sense. Some of the 2017 collections have just landed - and the best items sell out fast - plus you can find some great sale bargains.

I like to add one "good" kaftan a year to my collection from Melissa Odabash or Vix. They last for years and the quality is superb. I also buy cheaper kaftans and cover-ups from Seafolly, Phax and Moontide. I don't like them too short (mutton alert) or indeed, too long, and don't like them being see through.
  
On the debate of bikinis for the over 50s: too mutton?, I am in the "go ahead and wear what you like" camp. Every year I agonise about being bikini body ready, yet when I get to the beach, I see women of all shapes and sizes enjoying the sun in bikinis and not giving a hoot. I bought some swimming costumes one year but they definitely have an older and more matronly vibe. The more daring varieties with cut outs are best left to Elle McPherson (and she is over 50). 

With bikinis, it's more flattering to wear cup sized tops, and bottoms which are not too big. Don't make the mistake of buying a size up in the hope it will be more forgiving. If you've bought a cheaper bikini, the bottoms will stretch very quickly and your backside will look the size of a small country. 

Most brands produce several types of bottom so you can choose the most flattering. Some, from the likes of Fantasie, have fold down waists so you can adjust how big your pants are. Side ties are also flattering because they don't cut into the flesh. 

My favourite brands for bikinis are Freya, Bravissimo and Fantasie. I like bandeau styles which liberate your shoulders from tan lines. Both the brands I mention excel in underwired bikini tops which allow the larger busted to wear bandeaus and look great. 

Sometimes, when I really love a particular bikini, I buy it again at a reduced price from the wonderful Belle Lingerie, or I choose a different bottom. 


Beach Kaftans and Cover Ups


Seafolly Bandwave Memphis kaftan in magenta
Kaftan by Seafolly

These Seafolly kaftans appear in different colours every year and they're so easy to wear. One size, £53 from Cocobay.

Elizabeth Hurley Beach kaftan in aqua
Indira kaftan by Elizabeth Hurley Beach
Here's an example of how you can get some good reductions buying now. This kaftan with flattering drawstring waist is reduced by 30% and now costs £175.70 from Elizabeth Hurley Beach.  Still quite pricey, but something to add to your Christmas list? Also in apricot.

Bikinis and Swimsuits




The stylish Freya Tootsie bandeau bikini and shorts (sold individually) are at knock down prices at Belle Lingerie: the top is now £14.40 and the shorts £9.60. Other items including a tankini top and a swimsuit are available, as are other colours.

If you can't find the matching bottoms that you want, my tip is to try eBay. 

Fantasie and Freya both produce a few co-ordinating kaftans but they're not always my first choice: the Fantasie ones are a bit too floaty and remind me of Abigail's Party.


Freya Under the Sea bikini top and bottoms
Freya Under The Sea 
This Under the Sea bikini from Freya was one I bought this year and I absolutely love it. Still available, with two choices of bottoms, from Bravissimo.

Seafolly Blue Coast retro bikini from Figleaves
Seafolly Blue Coast 
Seafolly's new Blue Coast Ruched Side Retro bikini separates are reduced for Black Friday at Fig Leaves. The bottoms are £29.25 instead of £39, and the bandeau is £45 instead of £60.

Latest swimsuits 

If it's a swimsuit you're after, Figleaves has some new styles which are on offer. This Stella McCartney Iconic Print One Piece Strapless Swimsuit is 25% off at £116.25. 

Stella Mccartney iconic print one piece swimsuit
Stella McCartney Iconic print swimsuit 
A figure flattering one piece in black or navy always looks elegant. This Gaby padded costume by Huit in evening blue is on offer at Figleaves, £45 instead of £60.

Huit Gaby one piece
A key part of the look is of course the accessories:  beach bag (with charm!), towel, sunglasses, flip flops, sun hat.  I tend to buy these nearer to the holiday take-off date, so more on these later. 


Linking to Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb, and the #SaturdayShareLinkUp

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Monday, 21 November 2016

Four must-haves for winter


Before each season I do an audit of the essentials I need. They're faithful staples that may not be the height of fashion but I know they'll be worn time and time again.  The top 4 this winter: 

1. The Crop Cashmere Cardigan

I always buy at least one of these: the black one above is from Pure Collection, currently £74 reduced from £99.  In winter I like to snuggle back into black and grey, whereas in summer I go for bright colours and my crop cardis are pink and lime green, 

Utterly invaluable, particularly in summer for chilly evenings. Look for little details like mother of pearl buttons.  I also recommend Boden's crop cardigans. 

2. The gassato cashmere poncho

Ponchos are great for bridging the gap between summer and autumn, when you need a bit of extra warmth but you don't want to wear a coat yet.  Well, as we're definitely wearing coats now - and hats and scarves - I'm now carrying my lightweight gassato cashmere poncho in my bag to wear in offices that have been too aggressively air conditioned.  This one came from Pure Collection, now £84.15  in six colours. 

3 and 4: A silk top and indispensable little jacket 

The silk roll neck top in duck egg goes very well with so many colours, while the  cropped ponte jacket, now £49 in black,  gives a nod to the mode for checks and houndstooth. Both from Pure Collection  (you'd think I was on commission - sadly not!) and both at reduced prices right now.

Sharing this with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and #VisibleMonday, and Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb, #iwillwearwhatilike




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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

5 Christmas Jumpers and Colin Firth

actor Colin Firth in Christmas jumper from Bridget Jones film
Colin Firth in that memorable Christmas jumper

I'd like to say it all started with Colin Firth and the first Bridget Jones film, but I had a very similar reindeer jumper back in 1987. Here's my quick round-up of Christmas woollies. Nothing too subtle here! I like my festive jumpers to be garish and seasonal, not tasteful Fairisle.

Marks and Spencer pale blue reindeer Christmas jumper


This jumper from Marks and Spencer is very similar to the one I had last year, which was cream;  it has a reindeer motiff and sparkly antlers. £29.50.


Yumi robin knit from House of Fraser
If robins are more your thing, this is a cute jumper from House of Fraser, £28 reduced from £35.

Who doesn't love a sequin at Christmas?  Here's a sequinned gingerbread man jumper from Top Shop, £36



If you want to copy Colin and sport a reindeer jumper, this one is £45 at Fat Face:

Finally, if you blanch at the expense of buying a jumper that may only be worn a couple of times, there are plenty of "decorate your own Christmas jumper" kits out there with prices starting from £3.99.

Sharing with Catherine and the Not Dressed As Lamb #SaturdayShareLinkUp

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

A tale of two coats

Winter white Banana Republic cashmere coat
I normally buy one or two coats each year depending on what's in fashion. But this winter,  I'm thrilled to find two of my oldest coats are now back in style.
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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Beauty heroes: Hair products

My approach to hair is low maintenance. I've never been able to successfully use electrical styling products or even create fancy up do's or buns when my hair was long. I want products that deliver shine and manageability.

Here are my four hero products. For washing and conditioning I like to use products that are parabens and sulphate free, but not so worthy they don't work. I'm afraid I don't like products that don't foam up in that reassuring way. And as my hair is highlighted, I like to use products that protect the colour. I've found that spending more on shampoo and conditioner is not a false economy. I've tried other cheaper products for colour protection but they don't work as well as the Pureology range. I use the Perfect 4 Platinum shampoo and conditioner.  My highlights stay buttery, right through to renewal time, and my hair has volume and is manageable.

A deep conditioning treatment

When I have time, I like to use a deep conditioning product.  My hairdresser sells the luxurious Italian range Davines and I love the Minu Illuminating and Regenerating Mask for Coloured hair, £18.50 at Cult Beauty. Apply it to damp hair, comb through with your Tangle Teazer and leave it to work for 10-15 minutes. It makes me hair silky smooth but not so slippery I can't style it. And it smells gor-juss.


Blow dry primer 

I'm not keen on mousses - find they dry the hair. Redken's Pillow Proof blow dry express primer is my choice, It somehow reduces the time that a blow dry takes, and protects hair from the blast of the dryer. Currently at the reduced price of £13.60 at Look Fantastic

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Saturday, 5 November 2016

Latest beauty heroes: face

My beauty heroes change quite often. I rarely buy a second bottle! But I made an exception for four of the products shown here, so they must be good.


First up, Alpha-H Liquid Gold smoothing and perfecting mask, £48 from Cult Beauty.
Now I've tried several products containing with alpha hydroxy or gycolic acid, including 
Alpha-H Liquid Gold and also Pixi Glow Tonic and Sunday Riley Good Genes. Although they made my skin brighter and smoother, over time I found them all very drying and stopped using them. I think they're fine for younger skin but maybe a little too harsh for mature skin.

So it was with trepidation that I bought the mask. But the mask is great. Very authentic lavender scent and smooth, luscious cream that you rinse off after 10 mins.  It really does brighten the skin and dial-down dark circles and tiredness. And it doesn't cause any long-term dryness. I'm still on the first tube but I think this one is a keeper.

I rarely wear foundation but occasionally you want a flawless base and to forget about all those darn pigmentation marks  (you still get them even if you sunbathe using Factor 50 - that's my warning to you girls). Clinique's Beyond Perfecting foundation & concealer performs both functions most excellently. I liked it so much, reader, I have it in two shades. It doesn't look mask-like and it isn't too matte, which I find quite ageing. I haven't liked a foundation so much since Estee Lauder's much lamented Lucidity.

Next:  Cult51 immediate effect serum, £95 from Cult Beauty.  I've never rated any serums. I've always thought them over-rated and a cynical attempt to exhort more money out of us. But I was pleasantly surprised by this serum, As always, I applied it to one side of my face for a few days to see if it made any difference.  It was quite noticeable. I applied some on my crow's feet and the wrinkle between my eyebrows, and around my top lip. Definitely plumped up the skin. It looked and felt good enough not to wear moisturizer but that's a step too far. So I'm getting a second bottle for my birthday.

I'm on my third pot of Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream, £70. I've used dozens of moisturizers over the years but this one, for me, is great. It provides a great base for make-up, feels very luxurious and sinks in quickly, and gives a dewy finish that lasts for hours. Tilbury's products are now available at Cult Beauty, yay  (it's my go-to site, as you may have gathered!).

So those are my latest beauty face heroes: have you used any of them?
Next week: hair heroes

Sharing with Catherine's #SaturdayShareLinkUp at Not Dressed Like Lamb.

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Monday, 31 October 2016

A crush on velvet

Very happy to see that velvet is back in many guises for both day and evening delight. There are plenty of jackets around and they look great with jeans. My tip is to try them on because they can be very variable in terms of the way they hang, and their fit. Some cheaper jackets are too soft and don't have any structure so they aren't very flattering.  The Marks & Spencer navy velvet jacket I'm wearing below wasn't expensive but it does have a nice shape.

A Handbag?

I saw the Russell & Bromley hobo bag in a magazine and was instantly smitten. I love the berry shade, it goes with everything. The only problem is, I love the bag so much I haven't used it yet. I'm afraid it'll get dirty, or the plush will lose its pile. So at the moment, it's in the soft bag provided and I like to stroke it occasionally.
Marks and Spencer navy velvet jacket, Office gold metallic ankle boots, Russell and Bromley berry hobo velvet bag
Jacket: Marks and Spencer, jeans Levi's, boots Office, bag Russell and Bromley

Velvet berry coloured Russell and Bromley bag, Office gold metallic ankle boots and Marks and Spencer Limited navy velvet jacket


Close up of berry velvet boho bag by Russell and Bromley

Linking this post to Catherine #IwillwearwhatIlike link-up and Patti at Visible Monday.
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Thursday, 27 October 2016

Two easier ways to wear scarves


Scarf in fuchsia by Rew, UK
Scarf by Rew
I don't know about you but I find scarves impossible. I just can't tie or arrange them in a pleasing way.  I usually end up looking like Dick Turpin. I've tried YouTube tutorials but I'm afraid this is one skill that eludes me.
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Is it OK to wear a bomber jacket second time round?

Asos faux fur trimmed jacquard bomber jacket and silver boots

I used to say that if I wore a fashion first time round, I wouldn't wear it again (except for wedge shoes). Well, Mary Berry put paid to that. If she can rock a bomber jacket, it doesn't matter if I last wore one in the 70s.

My bomber jacket in floral jacquard is from Asos, in floral jacquard. Low stock, reduced to £45.50.   Ashleigh silver leather boots also from Asos, £60.  Jeans: Marks and Spencer, past season. Ring: diamonique, QVC.  I shall be wearing this ensemble to see Heaven 17 at the weekend.

What do you think about wearing fashions the second time round? Are there any "no go's" as far as you're concerned?

Post linked with LINKUPWITHLISA #72, Catherine at http://www.notdressedaslamb.com/ #iwillwearwhatilike and Patti at Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday.


Asos faux fur trimmed jacquard bomber jacket and silver boots

Asos faux fur trimmed jacquard bomber jacket

Necklace: Heavenly Necklaces
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