Wednesday, 23 March 2011

no!no! Trial - Week 4 (of 8)

Well here I am halfway through my eight week no!no! trial, so that's a total of eight treatments so far on my lower legs.

This week I attempted the underarm area, not hugely successfully I'm afraid as it's not a completely flat area, so the machine kept jumping. The hair's also coarser here so I was still left with stubble, even after attempting to buff away. Ditto bikini line.

Some positive news however on the leg front! I can report that the hair growth has now become slightly finer. It's not sparse but it's grown back a little weaker, so I'm happy to see that as the treatments do take perseverance and patience! The hair doesn't grow back with the blunt end you get with shaving, it's more tapered, but it does still grow back at the same rate as if I'd shaved.

One bonus I've noticed over waxing and shaving is that it works well if you are wearing a fake tan as it doesn't strip the colour away! 

If you're thinking of buying a no!no!, please do note that these views are entirely my own and the device will achieve different results for different people. As with any major purchase, always check out the refund policy carefully before investing, just in case it doesn't work for you.

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

I knew Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser was going to be good (it is, after all, multi-award winning and receives gushing reviews from its dedicated following!) but I have to say, this is the cleanser to end all cleansers!

I was impressed right from the moment my product arrived. My starter pack (including a 100ml pump) came in a signature mint green zip-up pouch, with how-to-use instructions (yes you really do need these as it's not like anything you'll have used before) and two generously-sized white muslin cloths. Just amazing attention to detail. And, priced at £13.25, it's a really special product, but without a guilt-inducing price tag.

I had half-expected the consistency to be granular (because of the polish element in the name) but it's actually a really thick, luxurious white cream, containing cocoa butter. This will sound bizarre - and I mean it in a good way - but it reminded me of a high-quality foot cream in both texture and smell!

It has a really refreshing and cleansing aroma (rosemary, calendula and eucalyptus) and is a sheer joy to smooth onto the skin, which you do when the skin is dry, including the eye area - it's really great for removing eye make-up (do this last to avoid spreading make-up all over your face!). 

The 'polish' element comes in when you remove the product with the muslin cloth as it gently exfoliates the skin. You simply wet the cloth in hand hot water, wring it out then use it to sweep away the product, lightly over the eye area, then rinse and dry the cloth. I run mine through the washing machine and hang out to dry every other day.

A cool splash of water later and I felt like I'd been left with new skin. It made me feel fresher, healthier, younger and more radiant, as if I'd let my skin breathe for the first time in ages. Even just the aromas as you're using the product, combined with the steamy warm water, is a therapeutic treat in itself! In just a couple of weeks, it's sorted out a plethora of problems too, from dry patches to spots. It's a real miracle worker.

What else? The packaging looks beautiful in my bathroom. I love the ethos, the naturally active ingredients, the thought and attention to detail, even the fact that the company hails from the Isle of Wight where Liz has been Nordic walking along the beach. I buy into all of that whole philosophy of blending beauty with health! 

I can't wait to build up my Liz Earle collection. I'm particularly keen to start using it in conjunction with the Skin Repair moisturiser. Oh, and there are some new shampoos too! And for a real treat, I'm going to try and get to the lovely new store in Leeds (the nearest to me) and treat myself to a bliss-out skincare treatment! Can't wait!

Treat yourself to this and you won't look back! There are some fantastic deals and money-saving packages to be found on QVC,, or buy directly from the Liz Earle website

Monday, 21 March 2011

Bottled sunshine from Miners!

Nothing signals the arrival of summer (okay, spring!) quite as much as the arrival of some pretty new pastel nail colours, especially when they're inspired by holiday destinations like Moroccan Mint, Laguna Love and Bermuda Blue, like these, brand new from Miners!

My favourite is Coral Cutie (below), an easy-to-wear fruity colour, good on hands and feet, and super hot with a tan! I find three thin layers works best for this, allowing each to dry inbetween. 

The lighter blue shades, Moroccan Mint and Bermuda Blue are ultra-fashionable but need to be applied to a smooth, well-prepared nail surface for a flawless finish, so dig out that ridge-filling base coat and get to work on those cuticles! 

Pretty pink Marshmallow and lilac Laguna, Love are go-to colours when you want to look groomed but need to be out of the door!

A fab range which is going to look sweet with this season's florals and wooden peep-toe stacked sandals. Bring on the summer!

Available from and quality pharmacies, £2.99 each.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

AHAVA Energizing Body Mud Mask

When I was first invited to try out a body mud mask I had visions of it splattering all over my bathroom walls, blocking the plug hole and smearing mud all over the towels! In other words, a bit much of a palava!

I'm so glad I put that misconception behind me because AHAVA's Energizing Body Mud Mask is a sheer pleasure to use. It's an ultra-smooth mask with a light pleasant scent that glides easily onto the skin (it has a lovely silky, creamy consistency, not at all messy or drippy) and only takes as long as smoothing on a moisturiser to apply.

As it dries on the skin (about five minutes) it feels refreshingly cool and light. I actually used the five mins to do a deep facial cleanse, then jumped in the shower to rinse it all away. I prefer to use a shower with this product personally, as I wouldn't want to bathe in the product after it's detoxed my skin!

It's packed with therapeutic goodness such as muds and minerals from the Dead Sea, Dunaliella seaweed (known for its anti-ageing properties) and also an aromatic blend of Mandarin and Cedarwood (although this scent is very subtle, but that's often a good think for sensitive skins like mine).

My skin felt tighter, more toned, hydrated and radiant after just one use, especially the upper arms ... a great product to try in preparation for the summer months ahead!

I'm not sure if AHAVA is available to the beauty professional but I so wish I'd discovered this range when I was doing my mobile beauty treatments. This mask would have been ideal, so easy and clean to use and remove, and transport! And easy to retail too!

Do check out the AHAVA range at, it's a beautifully packaged (affordable) range based on the natural health minerals of the Dead Sea and includes facial and body products, hair care, hand and foot care, plus some gorgeous gift packages - if you're stuck for ideas for Mother's Day!

AHAVA Energizing Body Mud Mask, £14, available from

Get flirty ... with Lush's Dirty!

This week I've been lucky enough to sample a brand new fragrance from one of my very favourite stores, Lush! It was the name - Dirty - that first grabbed my attention ... intriguing to say the least!

Okay, so this one's really for the man (or men!) in your life, but I'd place bets that us women will be spritzing this on like crazy too! The concept? Well, I love the thinking behind this. The Dirty range, new to Gorilla Perfumes at Lush, is designed for men who don't want too much faff, would like one all-over smell, and don't want to walk around wafting a variety of different aromas behind them.

Each element of the range has its own unique fragrance, which when used as a set, builds up in layers to form the complete fragrance (which is the same as the complete Dirty Complete Fragrance I've been trying above). There's also a shower gel, shaving cream, hair styling cream, body spray, even tooth tabs (a novel idea - a tablet you crush in your mouth and brush!) ... so all bases are covered!

So what's it smell like? I'll be completely honest here. To begin with I wasn't entirely sure (neither was my other half!). It smelt a little culinary and herby (think that's the initial uplifting hit of the mint, tarragon and thyme) but it mellows down through oak moss and lavender to a seductive and sensual base of sandalwood and neroli. Very nice indeed! It's got great staying power too!

Lush Complete Fragrance Spritzer, from £9 for 10ml, available at

Toothy Tabs £2, Spring Wash Shower Gel from £4.25, Shaving Cream £4.95, Hair Styling Cream £5.95 and Body Spray £12.50 all available online or in store.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Clinique freebie in Glamour magazine!

No wonder I've had to search high and low for Glamour magazine this month! The mag's only a couple of quid (the April Fearne Cotton cover), and there's a Clinique freebie stuck to the front! Ten to collect, together worth £80.

I've bagged the All About Eyes eye cream but there's also a make-up remover, two lip glosses, a lip colour, a facial scrub, a facial soap, two moisturisers and a mascara.

Personally I can't think of a better way for Glamour to celebrate its 10th birthday!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

no!no! Trial - Week 3 (of 8)

Have been getting on so much better with the no!no! this week, with my new mantra being, moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

I'm a bit hit and miss when it comes to slapping on the creams but I've discovered this is a step I can't afford to miss with the no!no! My skin is sensitive and the combination of heat (even though mysteriously you can't feel it!) and the buffing away of the singed/crystallised hair afterwards, left my legs feeling a bit on the dry side and a little itchy.

(Just a point but I'd always say go with the cream/aftercare products the manufacturer advises to avoid any reactions).

I had some interesting feedback from a friend who has been using the original model for the past year and who says it's worked well for her. She tries to use it every other night and reports finer hair and some patches with no hair. Would love to hear how anyone else has been getting on?

So after last week, my faith is renewed and I'm replenished with buffers and tips. Results: still pretty much the same as shaving. Is the hair density lighter? Not yet, but time will tell!

More next week when I'll be halfway through my eight week trial.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

no!no! Trial - Week 2 (of 8)

I found myself with a spare half hour tonight so, with my hair back up to the optimum length of 1-3mm, I decided to squeeze in my second no!no! session this week (four in total so far).

I don't want to sound negative as I'm all for giving things a fair chance but I did struggle a little with it tonight. The machine kept turning itself on and off (maybe I'm doing something wrong?); the status indicator is showing that my large Thermicon tips (for legs) is down to 1 of 3 bars (I've only treated my lower legs four times!) and my buffer is completely buffed out so I've already had to buy some more.

I'm finding I have to repeatedly go over areas to get a smooth finish (maybe that's why my tip is running low) and whilst it works pretty well on finer haired areas, personally I'm not finding it that effective at all on coarser areas. Really strange as I got a great finish after my first session. Am wondering if my hair isn't long enough this week? Unlike waxing, if your hair is on the darker side, you can still see the darker hair under the skin like a pin prick waiting to come through. 

I did lend it to a former waxing client of mine earlier this week and it worked absolutely brilliantly on her finer facial hair (that annoying peach fuzz hair) using the smaller tips and she told me it left her skin feeling soft and smooth, without the redness associated with waxing. Maybe this is one area where the no!no! really comes into its own?

I can only really judge this on whether I'd recommend it to a friend and how I'd feel if I'd spent almost £200 on the product. As I sit here with my prickly legs breathing in the smell of burning hair, I think I'd be questioning if I'd done the right thing. I really, really hope I'm going to be proved wrong! Will keep on with the sessions, more next week...

Sugared Almond Shower Gel by Organic Surge

Who wouldn't be seduced by a shower gel called Sugared Almond, sweet or what?

I'm a big fan of Organic Surge's affordable range of hair, skin and body products. In fact, their Let's Face It refreshing face spritzer once got me through a particularly traumatic labour, I can certainly say I put its 'happy blend' of ingredients to the test that boiling hot August day! 

This is a lovely lightly-scented shower gel (ideal for sensitive skins), and will bring a welcome burst of sugary sweetness to your shower. I loved the calming wafts of palmarosa and sugared almond that come through in the silky foam, and found the vitamin E and glycerin naturally nourishing on the skin.

The range is formulated using naturally-derived ingredients, pure plant extracts and organic essential oils. I can't get over the fact that it's only £3.99, it has the look and feel of a much more expensive shower gel!
Every Organic Surge product we buy contributes to the company's efforts to support Africa's most vulnerable children. For more info, visit

Sugared Almond Shower Gel, £3.99 for 250ml, is available online from or from Boots, Waitrose and Lloyds Pharmacy.

Give sensitive skin the royal treatment with Queen Cosmetics

I'm sure you'll all be fascinated to learn that I have ridiculously sensitive eye lids!

So when I discovered one of beauty's best-kept secrets for sensitive skin recently, Queen Cosmetics - a range which spans cleansers, toning lotions, face and body creams, hair, bathing, sun protection and make-up -  I decided to put their Eye Make-up Remover and Eyelash Cream to the test.

One of the first things that fascinated me about this little-known brand is its 84-year-old history. I can imagine the fashionable, wealthy women of the 1920s, with their cloche hats and bobbed hair-dos, trotting across London to the pharmacy on Queen Square (hence the name), where the brand made its debut after being developed by three eminent dermatologists.

The manufacturers appear to be so confident of the brand's efficacy that they let the products do the talking, keeping both the packaging and formulations fuss-free and simple. There are no perfumes, essential oils or any unnecessary ingredients here, so that's great news for easily irritated skins.

I found Queen Cosmetic's Eye Make-up Remover particularly soothing after I'd been wearing heavier eye make-up, even waterproof mascaras. It has a thick cream-like consistency and glides across the skin effortlessly when removing, minimising pulling the delicate skin around the eye area. I found using damp cotton wool pads worked best for this. It feels creamy, mild and I felt no sensitivity towards it at all, if anything the eye area felt protected afterwards, and it removed every last trace of make-up.

I've always been pretty proud of my long eyelashes (the only part of me that is long and leggy!) but over the years I've noticed they've become more and more sparse and brittle. Queen Cosmetic's Eyelash Cream conditions and repairs lashes, and you can even wear it as a mascara if you like a natural look. It's also a good eyebrow groomer too, and keeps unruly brows in place throughout the day. It's also a pretty good lip conditioner and cuticle balm!

If you have allergy prone or sensitive skin which suffers from breakouts, redness, itchiness, eczema, rosacea, acne, dermatitis or soreness after using certain products, or maybe that your skin has become more sensitive with age, I'd give this time-honoured, tried-and tested range a try. There's a free sample of the month and trial sizes are available (great for finding out if a product suits your sensitive skin before committing to buy!) and also a 60-second survey on the website offering free advice via e-mail (and a 10% discount off your first order as a thank you).

Queen Cosmetics Eye Make-up Remover, £14.50 for 50g, and Eyelash Cream, £9.70 for 12ml, are available from

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment Review

... and how I saved myself from the haircut from hell!

Six months ago I had what can only be described as the haircut from hell when a 'stylist' from a very well-known chain of salons, in a very well-known seaside town, hacked off my locks to leave me looking, well, to start with like Jimmy Crankie then in later months, Hayley Cropper.

Needless to say I've spent the past six months in tears growing it partially back (it will take around three years to get it to back to how it looked before I went in!) but just lately I've had the Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment to thank for adding extra inches.

I L.O.V.E Lee Stafford. I love everything about his products, from their sweet, candyfloss smell (like walking through a fairground) to the way the bright pink packaging peps up my bathroom. I also particularly like the fact he has a puppy called Knickers! But mainly I like all the compliments I get on how shiny/glossy/healthy my hair looks when I've stocked up and slapped on his range from Boots.

Marketed as a 'fertilizer for the follicles' the Hair Growth Treatment claims to give the hair 'strength from within' and I can honestly say, after a couple of weeks of useage, my hair is longer, not to mention in super-soft, run-your-fingers through condition. 

I know it's longer because my fringe is in my eyes and what would normally fall straight down at the sides is kicking out enthusiastically with extra length. It also works really well with the other products in the range, so no need to skip the regular conditioner (another of my favourites!).

Speaking of which, I can't wait to try his brand new nourishing miracle oil, ArganOil (an oil native to Morocco), which I hear is lightweight yet lends and soft lustre and shine to the hair.

The Lee Stafford range is available exclusively in Boots. Hair Growth Treatment, £7.14, 200ml. Order online at and don't forget to stock up when there's a 3 for 2 offer on!

no!no! Week 1 (of 8) continued!


First up, the no!no! 8800 is incredibly simple and easy to use and totally mess free. There's a Quick Guide so you get going straight away (once you've charged it up, but you really do need to read the user manual on CD too) and I love the fact that it's cordless (once charged) so you can do it wherever you like, even in front of the TV!

When I first heard about this device I thought it was a take on a home IPL/laser machine. It is based on the same principles but it uses heat, or what's called the Thermicon Effect, to target hair instead.

A gentle wave of heat removes hair and continues below the surface down into the hair bulb, then with time and consistent use the idea is hair growth is distorted and that the hair that does grow back appears thinner and lighter. The real advantage over laser/IPL systems is that the machine doesn't target the melanin, so it's suitable for everyone, regardless of skin colour or hair colour.

This model comes with three treatment levels (low, medium and high) which are displayed on the digital status screen. There's also a tip status screen which lets you know the condition of your tip and when it's no longer working efficiently.

Does it hurt? Absolutely not. It's like running a little roller over your leg against the hair growth (or wherever you're using it), if anything a slight warm feeling but nothing to get excited about. A blue light and continuous beep reassures you that you're gliding it on the skin correctly (ie holding it at 90deg and using it at the correct speed, keeping it steady and not too fast/slow).

As you run the device over the skin, the hair starts to 'frazzle' up as a thermal wire passes over them, or to use their terminology, 'crystalise', but there's no pain and barely any heat. It's so quick too, it takes the same time as shaving would (very quick), but without the hassle of having to bath or shower, and without the mess and stickiness of home waxing or nicks when shaving! The only gripe I can image anyone having is the smell of burning hair, but it's worth putting up with for the end result! Hair needs to be 1-3mm long.

Any hair that's left on the skin is then buffed away gently to leave a smooth and silky finish. I was really quite taken aback by the results at this stage, I was really amazed at how effective it was. My skin is very sensitive so it did feel a little warm and slightly itchy at this stage but not as much as it would after waxing/shaving. I soothed the skin with aloe vera gel but no!no! do manufacture a Smooth After Treatment Cream so if you use anything, I'd say go with their recommendations.

By the next day, I could feel the hair returning, and couldn't really see the advantage (at this stage) over shaving (and it certainly comes nowhere near to the long-lasting effects of waxing). But, as the manual says, with patience and dedication (ie 2-3 times a week for 6-8 weeks) I should reap the rewards, then I'll need to use only as often as necessary. Fingers crossed!

More next week ...!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Free £10 Cowshed body lotion with April's Marie Claire

Magazine freebies are rarely up to much but the free 100ml Cowshed Body Lotion in April's Marie Claire, worth £10, is top notch. There are six fragrances to collect, I got Grumpy Cow but Knackered Cow might have been more appropriate, or Grumpy Cow (and I'm not even going to comment on Horny Cow). Also available in Wild Cow and Lazy Cow ... collect them all!

Rescue me! Nature's skin saver

As a 30-something, whenever I get a spot I don't really want to be reaching for the teenage Clearasil-esque products any more, so Living Nature's Rescue Gel with Manuka Honey from New Zealand really hits the, er, spot!

Ashamed as I am to admit it on the World Wide Web, I'm a terrible spot picker, but a slick of this light gel over the area really makes me more inclined to leave pesky pimples alone. One tiny dab (it dries in seconds) is all that's needed and for me it works fine under concealer and make-up. 

The Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil, with their antibacterial and antiseptic properties, get to work by putting the skin in the best possible position to heal itself naturally (stimulating wound healing), keeping skin hydrated, rejuvenated and protected.

One small point. I'm not entirely sure the aroma of this product will appeal to everyone. I didn't mind it (it just smells really healthy, natural and earthy to me!) and considering you only need a dab, I can't see it being a major issue!

I'll be keeping a pocket-sized tube to hand for the summer months too, as it's also great on bites, cuts and grazes, sunburn, skin rashes and irritations. It's 100% natural so I'll use it on my children's skin too. A really lovely product.

Living Nature's Rescue Gel is available in selected salons, pharmacies and health stores, £8.15 for 10ml or £12.25 for 50ml. For stockists visit

Coming up roses. The soap the A-listers love!

This has got to be the hardest working product in my bathroom! Dr Bronner's 18-in-1 Hemp Castile Liquid Soap, which I'm told is loved by Hollwood A-listers like Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock, is suitable for, yes you've guessed it, 18 purposes.

From washing hair and body, cleaning the house, brushing teeth (peppermint probably best!), doing the laundry, cleaning fruit and veg (?!), even washing pets, it seems there's not a lot this multi-tasking gem doesn't do.

Apart from its all-round versatility, what I really love about this soap is the quality and purity of the product for the price. It's just £1.69 (59ml) or £4.99 (236ml) and for that you're getting a superior product containing pure organic oils (extra virgin, coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp). You might expect it to be greasy but it's just the opposite, it left me feeling squeaky clean!

I've been trying the rose soap and have found it to be gorgeous in the shower (creamy velvety bubbles) and I also really love it as a face wash, I just dilute a few drops in water first. I wasn't so keen on it as a shampoo but the range does include a conditioning rinse and a leave-in conditioning creme so I'll reserve judgement until I've tried it in conjunction with those. It's relaxing in the bath too, not the bubbliest bath product I've tried, probably because it's a mild and simple formulation, free from aggressive synthetic detergents, which can irritate the skin.

Available in Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Citrus, Almond, Tea Tree and Unscented Baby Mild, I'll be working my way through the range. 

Available in selected Waitrose and health food stores. For more stockist info visit

Friday, 4 March 2011

no!no! Trial - Week 1 (of 8)

Hurrah, my no!no! has arrived so I thought I'd start by sharing with you what the marketing claims are and post a few pics of exactly what's included.

The main box (above) includes the no!no!, a Quick Guide manual and a CD user guide, two Thermicon tips and a buffer for larger areas (legs/arms), a power cord/charger and a little cleaning brush.

The kit for smaller more sensitive areas (face/bikini line), below, contains a travel case, two small buffers, three small Thermicon tips and a Quick Guide instruction leaflet for using the machine on smaller areas.


So what are the marketing claims?
  • Painless
  • Slows down the rate of hair re-growth (up to 94% hair reduction)
  • Catches hair on all skin types and colours
  • No sore, red 'after wax' rash
  • Skin can go in the sun directly after use
  • Immediate hair removal as well as long lasting results.

How much? It's £193.50, available at Harrods & Selfridges, yes not exactly Suburban Beauty Junkie haunts but I'm hoping long-term this device will save me hundreds of pounds a year in waxing, so bear with me! It's also available online at

Well I'm off to charge it up (for five hours before first use) then give it a whirl so will be back later with lots more info on the device and how I've got on with it! Stay tuned!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Want pain-free hair removal? Watch this space!

Over the next eight weeks, I'll be trying out the new no!no! 8800 and reporting back to you. Marketed as a 'pain-free, professional hair removal system' which uses Thermicon technology to remove hair and slow down the rate of hair growth, I can't wait to put it to the test, especially if long-term it saves me money on waxing bills. It's just arrived so I'm busy unpacking it ... watch this space!

A Shining Example - St Eval Candle Company

I'm so excited to have discovered the St. Eval Candle Company. Based on a farm on the north coast of Cornwall, they make a huge range of exquisite (yet affordable!) candles using traditional methods, and their attention to detail really shines through.

I've been burning one of their Scented Tins, (£8.65, 45hr burn time) on my desk for a few weeks now (Thyme & Mint) which has a really clean, crisp, fresh fragrance, a scent which I've found great for motivation and concentration - it's pulled me through several deadlines this week!

I took a peek at what else they have to offer on their website and the range is truly stunning. I loved the National Gallery-inspired range, especially the Sunflowers candle (a Van Gogh sunny yellow) and also the rustic terracotta-filled pots, which conjure up a balmy evening in Tuscany ... I'll buy anything that makes promises like that!

Next time you need a present for someone, or fancy treating yourself, bookmark this page and take a look. There's classic, rustic, pretty, scented quirky, arty, romantic, something for everyone, you really can't go wrong.

Order online at

Never leave a burning candle unattended


The little pout perfector

Strictly speaking this Aromatherapy Associates Moisturising Lip Balm is a little bit more luxe than I'd normally go for (£13.50) but I can justify it by saying a little goes a long, long way! I love products you can use once in the morning and reap the rewards all day ... this is one of them!

The quality of the moisturising ingredients (rose wax & cocoa butter) are so superior that the balm sinks right down into the lips - it's not just a slick of gloss on the surface - and it leaves them feeling nourished, protected and plump for hours!

As with all Aromatherapy Associates products, it's packed full of wonderful natural ingredients (protective vanilla, stimulating ginger and soothing calendula) but the scent is light and delicate, just enough to know it's there.

I'd recommend treating yourself to this balm as a mini-intro to the Aromatherapy Associates range. I once survived a stressful Christmas with regular soaks in their divine Support bath & shower oil, my all-time favourite de-stressing bath product, but, at £37, that's strictly one for the Xmas list!

Buy online at