All being well, in just over 6 weeks, I’m going to be a Mum again.  To say that I’m feeling a little apprehensive about this is an understatement.  Five years is a long time for the mind to heal, forgetting about the sleepless nights and the frustrations at not being able to immediately comfort an unhappy little one.

I love being the Mum of a 5-yr old more than anything, but I’m acutely aware that I didn’t relish those first few months in my new role.  I’m not ashamed to admit that either, I much prefer the company of someone who can talk back to me.  That being said, I shall be patiently awaiting the flood of maternal love that will surely wash over me within minutes of meeting our new family member.  And then I’ll be demanding a belated Mother’s Day present, because… you know, how dare you schedule your entry to coincide with MISSING THE BIG DAY?!

Incase you’re listening little one… any, or you know… ALL of the below will suffice.

mothers-day-beauty-gift-guide-2014

1). It’s an oldie but a goodie.  Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish (£14.75) sales must hit the roof come Mother’s Day, I genuinely don’t know any women in my family who wouldn’t love to see this blue bottle pop out of a gift bag.  There’s also free delivery over on the website at the moment until the 25th March and a free sample with every order.

You could even build your own Liz Earle goody-bag for Mum by purchasing the mini 15ml tube and a muslin cloth for only £3.75 – now there’s thoughtful!

2). Each year, when Jo Malone release their bespoke Mother’s Day Floral Boxes (£120), I sit and drool at the thought of receiving something so mind-blowingly extravagant.  Complete with 100ml cologne of your choice (Vetyver for me please sproglet!), this beautiful floral display will melt the heart of anyone you’ve been privileged enough to call “Mum”.  Available from Monday 24th March, exclusively from the Jo Malone Sloane Street boutique.

3). Back down to earth with a beautifully-scented bump now, thanks to this perfectly-presented sweet little cone of bubbles and fizz!  The Mum’s Goodies (£13.50) offering from LUSH contains a limited edition Wonder Woohoo bubble bar, the Secret Garden bath bomb, and a Rockstar Soap.  The perfect way to show Mum that you care.  Just don’t steal the contents while her back is turned, ok?

4). For the ultimate glamour-Mum, look no further than this Paparazzi Compact (£27.65) from the new Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range.  The pretty duo features a classic lipstick/powder combination that makes “on the go” touch-ups a thing of true elegance!  The powder shade is a “neutral” tone to suit most complexions and depending on how bold your influential lady’s beauty tastes are, you can choose between a pink or burgundy lipstick!

5). When it comes to picking a perfume, you can’t go wrong with a delicate rose scent, the queen of all florals.  This Monotheme Apothéose de Rose (£18.00) from Marks & Spencer, offers a modern take on a much-loved theme.  Described as a soft, young and feminine scent – you won’t mistake this beauty for one of granny’s old perfumes.  The packaging is beautiful and will look a proper treat given pride of place at the dressing table.

6). If you haven’t yet heard of bathing brand Kneipp, trust me – you’re about to…

This German, mineral-rich brand offer a wide-range of bodycare products developed around the wonders of hydrotherapy.  The Kneipp Pure Bliss Bath & Body Gift Set (£12.95) will turn Mum’s bath water from boring to blissful in the blink of an eye.  With Red Poppy and Hemp as the workhorse naturals in this set, Mum will be sure to achieve complete serenity.  Even if its only until the water turns cold.

7). For the more traditional fragrant-fiend in your life, you won’t go wrong with a sneaky purchase of Floris’ Night Scented Jasmine Gift Set (£50) which includes a moisturising Bath & Shower Gel and an enriched Body Moisturiser.  This luxurious scent is inspired by the original Jasmine perfume introduced in 1806 by Mr. Floris.  It’s the kind of fragrant heritage that money just can’t buy… err, except luckily for us, it can!  The epitome of elegant gift-choices!

8). When spa-brand Elemis put together a special release that saves almost £30 on the full-price, you have to sit up and take notice.  Particularly when the items included are full-size products!  The Elemis Pro-Collagen Treats Collection (£49.00) comprises two beauty essentials from their iconic Pro-Collagen range: the Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, and the Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment.

Both products are housed in a rather cute, silver presentation box that makes gifting just a little bit more glamourous!

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All ur mums.

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 5 - 2013

I still feel quite new at this motherhood lark and haven’t come to terms with the fact that after all these years, I’m now included in this annual celebration.

So, when does Mother’s Day stop being about your own Mum?  Never, I’d imagine.  My Mum and I don’t have the easiest relationship, it’s not the kind I want Leila and I to enjoy in years to come, and yet we both understand our failings.  I know I love my Mum and I know that my Mum loves me… in our own ways.

That has to be enough for both of us because neither can bring any more to the table.  That sounds more regretful than it is but it’s something we’ve actually made peace with over the past 12-months, which makes this Sunday more poignant for me, maybe for both of us, than it usually is.  It’s also my first Mother’s Day away from my Mum, perhaps we just lived under the same roof for too long?!

Regardless, Mother’s Day for me, has always been the day where I attempt to repent for my sins.  All those times throughout the year where I happily let my Mum put aside her wishes/choices/motivations to please me instead must now be addressed in full.  Sure, I showed appreciation at the time, and there’s lots of you out there that feel these one-day “celebrations” are nothing more than an opportunity to line Hallmark’s pockets… but, there’s something about dedicating a whole day to say thank you for the role someone plays in your life.

I wouldn’t get rid of the celebration for the world.  Plus, my Mum gets to stock up on Walnut Whips and her favourite perfume!

All ur mums.

01: Urban Apothecary’s Macaroon-inspired candle collection will be sure to get your Mother’s taste-buds watering with a choice of scents including: frangipan, violet cassis, mint creme, strawberries and cream, chocolate orange, and white truffle.  Each candle delivers artound 25-hours burn time with a natural soy wax blend and 100% cotton wick. £30, www.urbanapothecarylondon.com

02: Volupté Sheer Candy by Yves Saint Laurent delivers sheer lip colour with a moisturising, balmy finish thanks to a formula developed with fruit extracts.  Available now on counter in ten shades and packaged so beautifully, you wouldn’t even need to wrap it. £23.50, www.yslbeauty.co.uk *

03: Did your mother give you butterfly kisses when you were a wee one?  Give one back in the shape of this LUSH Madame Butterfly Re-Usable Bubble Bar enriched with delicious rose absolute, geranium oil and lemon.  Each bubble bar should allow for around six baths, ensuring that you remain #1 daughter for a while.  Madame Butterfly also comes with a rather special tag with wild-flower seeds embedded in the paper!  The gift that keeps on giving! £5.25, www.lush.co.uk *

04: Recently shortlisted as “gift of the year” by the Giftware Association, Miss Patisserie’s Macaroon Gift Tin promises to be a true bathing delight for any sweet-toothed Mum’s out there.  Nine fizzy melts will release a range of fragrances into your bath including: sweet pomegranate, spearmint & eucalyptus, champagne, french lavender, juicy peach, coconut & citrus, cucumber, garden flowers and rose. £15.50, www.miss-patisserie.com

05: For the Mum who has everything, there’s only one option… the works.  Give her the gift of ultimate pampering with a special Mother’s Day package from Daniel Galvin.  The treat includes: An express Dermalogica facial, manicure, cut & blow-dry, and a glass of bubbly from the top London salon. £140, www.danielgalvin.com

06: For the sweetest-smelling Mum around, gift her this fruity-floral wonder from an iconic British fragrance house.  Floris Cherry Blossom delivers a fresh blend of bergamot, orange and pink pepper over a heart of cherry blossom, osmanthus, rose and peony.  It’s a delicate, decadent, and exclusive gift that evokes the very essence of Spring. £99, www.florislondon.com *

07: If you’ve ever heard yourself say “let’s have a nice cup of tea and a sit down” the chances are, you’re turning into your Mum.  Let her lead the way in style with this Blossom & Bird Tea for One set.  Comprising a teapot, cup, and saucer in the prettiest of designs, all you need is a packet of hob knobs for a wonderful afternoon treat. £5, www.tesco.com

Do you go all-out on the Mother’s Day treats?  What have you got planned for this year?

* press sample

* p.s – sorry about that intro, I started writing and it ALL came out haha!

Men of the World. Y U No Smell This Good?

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 14 - 2012

We all have definite ideas about the scents we like to surround ourselves with — be it the washing powder we use to clean our undies; the candles we light when we step through the door after work; or the bath oils we pour under a hot running tap at the end of the night.  When was the last time you chose a new shampoo in the supermarket before flipping up the lid and inhaling a quick whiff to make sure you shared the product’s olfactory persuasions?

But what about the people we share our lives with?  What control do we have over how they smell?!

It’s taken a long time to gently steer my husband away from the Umbro Aftershave of his early twenties and onto scents which don’t make me want to check behind his ears for dirt.  I sound like a fragrance nazi right?  I’m not… it’s not that he resisted either, he just didn’t have an opinion either way.  Over the past couple of years, he’s developed a greater understanding and passion for fragrance — and thankfully, we do share quite similar tastes — something which comes in very handy for sharing the cost of those more extravagant fragrance purchases.

On this day, St. Valentine’s Day — I thought I’d hand the reins over to my brilliant husband, who has picked out the fragrances from his collection that make us both swoon when he wears them.

YSL – M7 Oud Absolu | Molton Brown NTS – Rogart | Parfum d’Empire – Ambre Russe | Oscar de la Renta – Oscar for Men | Floris – Santal

I’m still an awful fragrance reviewer, I just don’t have enough words swirling around in my puny brain to conjure up enough ways to say “if this fragrance were a doughnut, you’d consume four of them in one sitting”.  Although, I’ll never get better if I don’t try, so – in our own bumbled together manner… (at least I’ve got someone else to blame)

Yves Saint Laurent: M7 Oud Absolu (£58.00) *

As part of the reworked YSL Heritage Collection which celebrates half a century of expert perfume creation, the brand have released a reworked version of M7 which first came to the public nose in 2002 under the direction of one Mr. Tom Ford.  From such an agent provocateur, you’d expect to experience something special and you won’t be disappointed with this fragrance, which despite the reformulation is described as the climax of male sexuality1.  M7 is a deeply smoky scent with notes of myrrh, french labdanum, patchouli and a resonating woody, almost leathery oud accord.  There’s a medicinal hint that lingers through the dry-down which we both find comforting.  It’s not sharp but resinous and syrupy, like a cough drop.  M7 is a fragrance for the night, of the night.  If Serge Gainsbourg were to walk in behind me right now, this is the smell I’d catch (and hold onto) as he passed.  An intensely sexy, dark scent.

1 yslbeauty.co.uk

 Molton Brown Navigations Through Scent: Rogart (£60.00)

If you prefer to scent your senses with a touch of the gourmand, you may be interested in Rogart’s unusual but profoundly delicious note more usually found on your pancakes than in your perfume: maple syrup.  The tasty fragrance from Jennifer Jambon opens with a bracing blend of juniper berries and fir balsam which gives it that ‘great outdoors’ feel and indeed it should, as it draws its inspiration from the Cobequid Mountains of Canada.  All this freshness contrasts wonderfully as it warms on the skin and develops a hint of campfire, resinous wood and that sweet, mouthwatering maple.  Jointly, we’ve purchased nearly all of the releases in the Navigations Through Scent collection but Rogart firmly remains my husband’s favourite.

Parfum d’Empire: Ambre Russe (£84.50)

Not sure we’ll ever fall out of love with the majestic, imperial notes contained within Parfum d’Empire’s exquisite nod to Tsarist Russia.  It’s all here: vodka, champagne, tea, leather, amber and incense.  It’s like the party you know will conclude with most of its guests going home in a meat wagon before sunrise.  It’s raucously obnoxious and it knows it.  It wants you to know it too and you can’t help but admire Ambre Russe for it’s audacity to even exist.  It manages to be simultaneously effervescent (that’ll be the champagne hic!) and creamy, with the boozy amber trumping all else.  If you like dark, oriental fragrances, consider this a contender for the big daddy – shy, delicate noses need not apply.

Oscar de la Renta: Oscar for Men (£45.00)

We fought a little over the inclusion of this… I wanted to place Bvlgari Black above this one but Mr. L triumphed by making me a cup of tea and pointing out that, for once, he was entitled to call first dibs.  Oscar de la Renta’s Oscar for Men can be picked up online for as little as £17.00, which admittedly, ups the desirability stakes.  It’s a far sharper, more summery scent than the ones we’ve so far included – the top notes of bergamot, mandarin, and black pepper ensure that it prickles a little with a zestiness that makes you stand up and pay attention.  It has a floral heart that tempers the spiciness a little but if you’re a fan of the peppery notes of something like Marc Jacob’s Bang, you should enjoy this equally.  Oscar for Men trails with a suggestion of leather and vanilla which further smoothes the pepper without ever fully quietening it.  A spicy serenade that wears well in warmer months thanks to it’s sparkling opening.

Floris London: Santal (£69.00) *

As is my prerogative, I’m a woman of many contradictions.  Sometimes, I will eschew the feral, growling sensibilities of something like M7 (though never Serge) and want the man in my life to appeal as much to others as he does to me.  Floris Santal is the perfect scent to meet that need with its clean but never soapy existence.  Creamy sandalwood (and good sandalwood at that) gives Santal the most distinguished of edges in the overpopulated woody oriental category.  A hint of spiciness and musk keeps things warm and sensual whilst the crisp bergamot and trickles of lavender promote the balance beautifully and prevent this classic scent from ever feeling generic or old-fashioned.  Longevity is unparalled, displaying the kind of quality one would expect from a traditional British fragrance house like Floris.  I may have started with Serge Gainsbourg, but please… let me end with a young, freshly-shaven Paul Newman.  Rawr.

I’m feeling a tad hot under the collar now!  Happy Valentine’s Day you lovely lot.

Do you lust over leather or go crazy for classic cleanliness?  Do those animalic undertones bring out your wild side or perhaps you simply prefer a good old splash of Brut! 

Tell me, how do you like the men in your life to smell? (note: “of money” isn’t a valid answer!)

* press sample

Top Five HOT Summer… Fragrances!

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 11 - 2011

Next up on my Summer lists are FIVE fragrances perfectly suited to long Summer days, balmy Summer evenings and not forgetting the odd rain downpour just to keep us on our toes.

What makes a Summer fragrance?  Well… obviously highly subjective but personally, I’m partial to a bit of greenery, a touch of juiciness, not too much of my beloved amber this time of year but a nice big blast of floral instead.  I want a Summer fragrance to freshen and lighten my mood, I don’t want to curl up in it.  I just want it to carry me along on a cool breeze.

1.  Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl 30ml (£9.00)

Don’t you DARE laugh.  I’ve had this since I was 15 and I’m on my 3rd/4th bottle.  I’m sure there are unwritten or maybe even written rules about fragrances not really being fragrances at all when you can buy them for £9 in Asda but I. DON’T. CARE.  I think Tommy Girl is an exquisite Summer scent.  It’s fruity and sharp without being tarte or acidic.  It’s a proper mood lifter and whilst not hugely long-lasting (it’s an Eau de Cologne), it has a real energising tang with a soft, soft heart.

2.  Miller Harris Citron Citron 50ml (£60.00)

A slightly more refined choice in the form of Miller Harris Citron Citron which is distinctly part fruit, part earth.  It makes for a wonderfully new take on a traditional juicy fragrance.  Yes, the Sicilian lemon is at the core of the scent but it’s flanked in all directions by a bouquet of wild herbs and woodland.  Don’t mistake this for your typical juicy fruit fragrance… the fruit is nicely complemented with a crisp note of mint that ensures a perfect harmony.

3.  Burberry Summer Woman EDT 50ml* (£33.00)

While Citron Citron shuns the juicier aspects of fruit… Burberry Summer holds its arms out for a fruity cuddle whilst secretly concealing a 3000 watt juicer.

A sweet fragrance with a big hit of orange.  It’s a touch syrupy but contains enough fresh, green notes to stop it from fading into the gourmand, fruit salad genre.  Not the longest-lasting scent, it wears close to the skin once the top notes have faded and I detect a soft floral with a hint of powder.  Burberry Summer is a carefree, Summer fragrance with youth on its side and if you love Nina Ricci-esque scents, you should definitely be checking this one out before the limited edition run disappears along with the last of Summer!

4.  Ted Baker Skinwear Limited Edition EDT 100ml* (£24.00)

Lemon peel, spearmint and pepper make for a zingy and uplifting opening to this deliciously light men’s fragrance.  After a few minutes, the scent mellows, allowing the woodier notes to emerge.  Vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli make for a smooth and creamy base which lingers for hours and keeps encouraging me in for another sniff.

Despite having been created for men, there is nothing locker-room about this fragrance.  It’s far more refined and if you’re keen on a little spice and some woody notes, it’s thoroughly suitable to wear as an interesting alternative to the standard female fare.  I love it and it certainly doesn’t bring me the Lynx effect.  Thank god!

5.  Floris London Florissa EDT 50ml (£45.00)

Currently available on the Floris London website at a knockdown price, Florissa is a charming floral with a heart of rose and muguet.  I don’t wear lily of the valley too well but it reminds me of my Nan and will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason.

The opening is sharp and a little overpowering, containing a delightfully crisp element of cut grass but the winner for me is in the soft, powdery floral qualities to be found from the drydown onward.  It’s babysoft and comforting… Florissa is a perfume from another era and one that I happily visit again and again.

.

What are your favourite Summer scents?

* press samples

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