pillowmagazine

Needing an escape

AS a working mum, with a hyper-active two year old – not to mention being five months’ pregnant… I do like to daydream about a little hideaway which I could style up to be my perfect adults’ escape. 

I’d style up the Tiger Elite Pressure Treated Octagonal shed in the garden from Tiger Sheds to be my perfect little getaway. I love the quirky shape, and I can imagine it painted in a beautiful pastel shade, or maybe a deep forest green to really add a stand-out effect.

Beauty is my passion, so I’d fill it with my huge collection of make-up, creams, and tools. I’d style the space up with my favourite designs from House of Hackney, and fill it with vintage furniture.

HOH

 

At the moment it has to remain a fantasy – I have Champagne tastes on a tap water budget, but what would the fun be, if you weren’t allowed to dream?

Now… back to reality!

A beautiful cream moisturiser

AMIDST the trend for acids, serums, gels et al, sometimes your skin is just crying out for a beautiful rich cream moisturiser.

This one from Embryolisse is a beauty – not only for its gorgeous limited edition packaging which is both eye-catching and chic, but also for its rich cream formula which nourishes skin back to health once applied over the face.

I’ve tried a few items from the Embryolisse range, and found them all to be high quality, and a real treat on the skin.

It’s one of my favourite kind of skin care ranges, where there’s real science to back up the efficacy of the product. As the blurb on the website says, “The Embryolisse story begins in 1950, when a Paris hospital dermatologist specializing in skin diseases creates the legendary Milk-Cream Concentrate, sold millions worldwide. A physician who desired to create his own pharmaceutical skin care brand that met the expectations and acceptance of his profession.”

Buy Embryolisse here.

An early Christmas present

IT’S only a few weeks until Christmas (OK, I’m getting excited a bit early) but it feels like a good time to start treating ourselves in the festive spirit.

One of the best things about Christmas is indulging in your favourite wine and spirits. What better time, then, to expand our whisky repertoire and ask him to try this 12-year-old dram from Inchmurrin, an island in Loch Lomand.

As I’m not a big whisky drinker myself and I’m almost five months pregnant it was up to my husband to take on the duties of giving this whisky a taste.

This single malt Scotch whisky is described as ” aged in hand selected bourbon, refill and re-charred casks and then married together to create a lighter whisky with grassy notes and floral hints of pear drops, crème caramel, soft fruits, vanilla and fudge,” which my husband really felt came though.

He commented on the smoothness if the whisky, and the wordiness that comes though from the aging of the whisky.

For a seasoned whisky drinker, he said it was a very easy to drink dram for a winter’s evening.

Buy Inchmurrin 12 Year Old for £41.95, here.

Green and glittery with Urban Decay

Iwe_own_the_night_movie_image_eva_mendes‘VE HAD a long standing beauty obsession that I’m trying to turn into a reality. 

I’ve felt compelled to recreate a specific make-up look from one of my favourite films.

Its a sparkling green winged-out look that Eva Mendes wears in the opening scenes to We Own the Night which she stars in alongside Mark Wahlberg.

For the last few years, I have been constantly on the prowl for dark green eyeshadows, liners, glitters.. anything that will go on in a deep holly green and I can either add a glitter to, or contains a glitter itself.

img_0783.jpgMy latest attempt to recreate this look comes courtesy of Urban Decay. I used to be obsessed with this brand when I was about 20 and had so many of it’s beautiful silk-like eyeshadows and glitters and 15 years later I feel like I’m falling in love with the brand again.

Junkie is a dark green eyeliner that goes on with a smooth formulation and has a strong colour pay off, I added a layer of Bourjois Little Round Pot Intense Eyeshadow in 05 over the top to create a more smokey look.

I then layered Urban Decay’s Heavy Metals Glitter Eyeliner in Midnight Cowboy over the top to create a sparkly effect.

Buy Junkie and Midnight Cowboy from Urban Decay for £15 each, here.

The perfect advent calendar for Christmas

I LOVE the various types of advent calendars that you can get now – from beauty ones to whisky, and now… socks!

I just love this idea! Maybe as my husband absolutely loves socks, and so this would be awesome for him! I just like the novelty factor of an advent calendar, and Christmas this year is going to be very special as our son is starting to understand the festive season more and more.

For £80, you receive 24 pairs of socks which is a pretty good deal as it works out about £3.50 per pair of socks! Add to that the fact that they come in a cotton rich blend, and an array of colours and patterns it’s a really fun indulgent treat.

Buy SockShop’s Men’s Colour Burst Advent Calendar here. 

5 Suggestions For A Fantastic Christmas Party

5 Suggestions For A Fantastic Christmas Party

The holiday season is almost here, so look through your calendar and pick a date to throw a fantastic Christmas party. Send out the invites right away, because your friends will have their December schedules booked before you know it. Once you have the guest list lined up, all you will need to do is make sure that your food, drinks and decorations are filled with the holiday spirit.

  1. String Lights

Instead of hanging string lights from your roof, bring them inside and arrange them in a variety of beautiful designs for your party. They can be placed in glass bottles or mason jars, wrapped inside large potted plants, and even used to spell out words — think of how sweet it would be for your guests to enter your home and see a shining “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” on the wall.

  1. Snowflakes Everywhere

Make your home look like it’s in the middle of a winter wonderland by crafting garlands of white paper snowflakes. You can dangle the snowflake garlands from the ceiling, drape them on mantelpieces, place them along staircases and across windows to make your home look like it’s trapped in a blizzard. Add silver glitter so that the paper sparkles like freshly fallen snow — the glitter will look positively magical by the glow of the string lights.

  1. Themed Desserts

Party
You can serve frosty sweets like mochi ice cream balls to match the snowy atmosphere of your Christmas party. The frozen treats are a great fit for a winter wonderland theme, especially since a ball of vanilla mochi ice cream looks like a ball of snow. You can choose other delicious flavors of MyMo Mochi ice cream to suit the theme of your party, by focusing on their festive colors — try green tea mochi ice cream and strawberry mochi ice cream together, so that your snack table fits the traditional red and green Christmas pattern.

  1. A Full Punch Bowl

While hot cocoa and egg nog are popular holiday beverages, partygoers will be surprised and delighted by a punch bowl. This festive drink should be served in a beautiful glass bowl filled with spices, fruit slices, garnishes and liquor. As a courtesy, you can make another bowl filled with non-alcoholic punch for designated drivers and non-drinkers.

  1. Gift Bags

Show that you are in the giving spirit for your big Christmas party by offering special gift bags, boxes or miniature stockings. Place small presents inside the bags, boxes, or stockings like scented candles, truffles and artisanal spreads. Give your guests the option to wait until Christmas day to open their gifts, or forego any patience and open them right away.

Cover your home in twinkling lights and spinning snowflakes, set out treats and bowls of punch, and then spend a night celebrating with all of your friends. An incredible Christmas party, along with a sweet gift, will put every single one of your guests in the spirit of the holiday season.

Long lasting colour: velvet to matte lipstick

I’VE been trialling a few different formulas of lipsticks over the last few weeks, and  Bourjois has once again come up with the goods. 

Velvet Rouge goes on in a deep shiny sheen like a satin velvet, feeling rich and luxurious on the lips, and then dries to soft matte finish which leaves you with ultimate staying power. I’m so impressed!

The colour pay off is really deep and saturated,  I layered it up a few times while in the Velvet stage. I paired it with undressed eyebrows, dark liquid liner and a slick of mascara for a chic Halloween look.

Compared with other, more prestigious brands, this one still comes out top of the league for me. I love the way that it glides on, but dries down to ensure that you don’t have to reapply it every hour or so. That’s what I personally want from a lippy. Nothing worse than having to leg it into a meeting with what looks like old lip liner and some bleed marks across your pout.

Berry lipsticks from MAC

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(L) Liptensity in Marsala, and (R) D for Danger

MY obsession with berry lipsticks shows no signs of slowing, and when you look at these beauties from MAC Cosmetics, why on earth would it?

On the left we have Liptensity in Marsala, which I though might be a sheer but has a deep satin finish (see main pic).

I whacked this on when I had bed hair and no foundation on, in an attempt to jazz up my look and I think it actually worked! A bit of mascara and a splash of bright lipstick and some volume powder from Sachajuan and I felt a million times better.

I also tested out Mac’s matte lipstick in D for Danger… which I love! It’s an autumnal berry, which I felt really suited my skin tone but wasn’t too dark and intense to cause too much of a stir.

Both lipstick need to be reapplied fairly often, but I find that standard with such bright lippies…. notable exceptions are Mary Kay whose matte gel lipstick seems to have indestructible lasting power, and the plethora of matte liquid lipsticks out there which I love.

Both are beautiful lipsticks for the coming months, which I’ll be wearing often.

Buy Liptensity in Marsala for £17.50 here, and D for Danger for £16.50 here.

MAC1

MAC D for Danger

Hape Walk-A-Long Snail

I STARTED a mummy blog called The Mum Diary soon after I had my son Rafael, mainly to counteract the boredom of some of those long days, and to also put all my social media knowledge into practice. 

I’d been a Senior Brand Editor at a London agency for just over a year, and had contributed to the massive growth of the nation’s most used/most hated supermarket – Tesco – in that time.

Back then it was pretty easy to take a photo of my son, just pop him down on the floor on a plain background and snap away. Try to capture the light in a dark flat (we’ve since moved) and I saw my followers steadily grow.

RafaTwo years later and it’s nigh on impossible to get a decent photo of him! He’s so FAST! As soon as I get my camera out, he’s quick as a flash off to take on his next adventure and I have a few blurred shots of him on my phone.

So it’s a pretty good indication of the enjoyment that he gets from his Walk-A-Long snail from Hape that I managed to capture a few good pics of him playing with this toy.

I love Hape’s toys as they are wooden and high quality, and all of them have captured the imagination of my child  without fail.

The Walk-A-Long Snail has a base with big googly eyes, and a wiggling tail that moves when you pull it along, and then a ‘shell’ with three shaped holes to put three little wooden blocks through.

I thought Rafa might be a bit old for it, as he’s two and a half but it is continuously brought out of the toy box, so not only has it been a curiosity.. like most of Hape’s toys… it’s been a keeper.

Buy Hape’s Walk-A-Long-Snail toy for £25, here.

The hunt for the perfect shampoo & conditioner: Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Zero Break Cleansing Oil Shampoo

I HAD a discussion with a few fellow beauty nerds yesterday about the best shampoos and conditioners, and whether you are on team natural (minus the parabens and SLS) or team chemicals (with the whole kitchen sink chucked in). 

I’m firmly in team chemical (!) as I love the lather that you get with a shampoo containing the sulfates) and I find that the non-organic brands work best on my hair.

However, I’ve slightly fallen in love with this new hair range from Palmer’s – who you might know from their cocoa body offerings. It’s not full of “nasties”, in fact, this shampoo is even gluten- free! Read the list of what isn’t in it… “No Sulphates. No Parabens. No Phthalates. No Mineral Oil. No Gluten. No Dyes. No Silicones.”

For those who aren’t keen on a tropical smell, this doesn’t smell overwhelmingly of coconut. It lathers nicely and leaves hair squeaky clean with that nice luxury feeling you get from oil. Plus the shampoo and conditioner are as kind on the wallet as they are on your hair at £7.99.

Buy Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Zero Break Cleansing Oil Shampoo and Conditioner here.