Category Archives: Beauty

The Perfume Society Discovery Box

Scents of occasion: A day with The Perfume Society

8th February 2016

Love perfumes? I’ve been invited to join a “secret” society and now I’m sharing their secret with you. Ssssh….

The Scented Letter Perfume Society

I received a most fragrant invitation this week to meet the experts behind The Perfume Society, a new online club that allows members to test the latest fragrances and learn more about their sense of smell. The event, held at The Porter in Bath, promised to unravel the secrets of our olfactory preferences and make us more discerning in our appreciation of fragrances.

Perfume Society workshop

Hosted by fragrance expert and journalist Jo Fairley, the workshop brought together perfume aficionados for an afternoon of scent appreciation. We began by discussing why people prefer certain types of fragrances to others, for example, did you know that your physical appearance can impact the kinds of scents that work best on you? As a general rule of thumb:

  • Blondes with fair skin are happiest with richer florals, because their skin has a tendency to be dry and subtle fragrances dissolve faster.
  • Brunettes with medium/dark skin tend to have more oil in their skin, meaning that spicier, oriental fragrances work best on them.

This, and many other olfactory facts brought us closer to becoming experts in the art of perfume appreciation. We were also asked to bring along our favourite scent for discussion. I had hoped that Jo might tell us a little something about ourselves based on what we’d brought, or perhaps a little bit about which family our scents come from – I hope they can add this into future workshops as I’d love to learn more about why we choose the perfumes that we do.

The Perfume Society Discovery Box

Another great tip I picked up at the workshop was a fail-safe method for finding a new fragrance, or choosing a gift for someone else. When in doubt, you just ask FR.eD! This online fragrance editor helps you pick a scent you’re likely to love, based on the ones you already adore. I think it’s a brilliant idea, as fragrances are so personal and easy to get wrong when you’re buying for someone else, so I thought this was absolutely ingenious!

The Perfume Society Discovery Box

As well as the workshop, I’ve also signed up to receive The Perfume Society’s subscription box, which includes a monthly Discovery Box of samples, accompanied by ‘smelling notes’ designed to introduce you to key fragrance families. It also entitles you to discounts with some top fragrance retailers, plus invites to some exclusive events with key figures from the perfume world and eight copies a year of their exclusive digital magazine, The Scented Letter. Subscriptions cost £25 per year and can be purchased online here.

The Perfume Society Discovery Box

Before attending the workshop, I hadn’t realised quite how much goes into selecting the perfect fragrance. I’ll certainly give it a lot more thought in future and I’m looking forward to sampling the delights of the Discovery Box.

The Perfume Society Discovery Box

Disclosure: I was offered a complimentary subscription to The Perfume Society and ticket for the workshop but all views are my own.

Bristol beauty: R&R Experience

9th November 2015

A touch of Parisian beauty in the heart of Bristol…

salon

Every now and then an email arrives which just brightens your day. This happened to me the other day when I heard from a lady called Ruth Chona. Having worked at a luxury salon on the Champs Elysees in Paris and posh hotels in the south of France, Ruth has now opened her own salon right here in Bristol, aiming to bring that five-star service to the west country. She invited me in to try one of their massages and, being a total spa junkie, of course I accepted.

Ruth’s Horfield salon, while simple in style, has been a total labour of love for the South American-born beauty therapist. From handpicking all the furniture, to putting up new walls and decorating – there’s no part of this small but cosy space she hasn’t been involved with.

Ruth Chona - the entrepreneur behind R&R Experience

Ruth Chona – the entrepreneur behind R&R Experience

That attention to detail extends even to the massage table – it’s heated and oh so cosy! For my 30-minute massage I was given a choice between lemongrass, geranium and lavender oils. Since it was the end of a long week and I was heading back home afterwards, I opted for relaxing lavender.

Having suffered from a few back niggles in recent months, I was a bit anxious about entrusting my knotted muscles to someone new, but Ruth was considerate and made sure I was comfortable with the pressure. Pretty soon I drifted away and half an hour felt like a lot longer.

It might seem a bit self-indulgent to buy yourself to a massage on a regular basis, but little treats like this now and then can make all the difference to your frame of mind. A 30-minute massage with R&R Experience is just £25 and, after a wonderful first-time experience, I can definitely see myself doing this again.

If you live in Bristol and fancy a little treat, book in with Ruth at randrexperience.com – after all, you’re totally worth it!

Disclosure: R&R Experience approached me to write this post and gifted me a massage but, as you know, I never recommend things I wouldn’t willingly pay for myself.

Nailing the trend

17th July 2015

My friends at Nailbox sent over a nifty little parcel this month, which was the perfect excuse to get creative and try some new nail art.

Nailbox June subscription box

There are so many beauty subscription box services out there right now, it’s hard to keep track of them all but being a total nail art fiend, I was excited to hear there is now one that’s just for your nails. The June Nailbox came with a tropical orange colour from Essie, one of Tanya Burr’s signature reds, a classy mink colour from Nails Inc, a topcoat and a cuticle trimmer.

Nailbox red rose nail art

It was a good selection that mixed and matched quite well – I decided to start with the most obvious combination, the red and the mink. I created these rose designs using a cocktail stick – it’s quite easy on the left hand but the right was pretty tricky!

Nailbox Tanya Burr nail polish

I’m not very good at staying within the lines, but overall I was pleased with the result. I’m a long-time Nails Inc devotee, but this was my first time trying Tanya Burr’s range and I have to say, I quite liked it. It was a striking, good quality red that stayed put for about a week and half, which is pretty good, considering most brands chip off on me the moment I leave the house.

Nailbox Essie Orange

Next, I tried the Essie orange, with an accent nail of the mink, covered with a spotty design made up of both the orange and red. This one was a lot easier to create but I had run out of cocktail sticks so it’s a bit uneven as I did it freehand!

Nailbox Essie Orange and Nails Inc Mink

Overall, I thought it was pretty fab and it’s excellent value at £15 a box when you consider that the Nails Inc colour alone would have cost you £14. (The longer you subscribe for, the cheaper it is per box, so it’s £14.50 a box for 3 months, £14 for 6 months and £13.50 for the year). I’m not sure I could justify spending that much every month on nails for myself, but I would consider buying a gift box for a friend, as it’s the kind of decadent thing you can treat someone else to for their birthday.

Have you tried any subscription boxes? Which were your favourites? Leave me a comment below!

Disclosure: I was given this Nailbox for free but other than that, I was not paid for this review. All views are my own.

 

Relaxation…Georgian style

25th June 2014

This week I’ve got spas in my eyes after a blissful visit to the beautiful Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath.

1089-ROYALCRESCENT

There are some tweets that just make your day sing and one of them chirped into my feed a few weeks ago. It was from the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath, saying they had just refurbished their spa and asking if I’d like to come along and check it out. Does Elizabeth love Mr Darcy?! Bloody right!

The Spa interior

Set within the hotel’s stunning Georgian architecture, it really is a little gem in the heart of the city. The new spa boasts a fabulous heated pool, hot and cool tubs, a steam room and sauna. The building itself reminded me of an old church, made from Bath stone with huge windows and high ceilings. The spa interior is decked out with natural woods and bamboo, which gives it a really tranquil atmosphere – not to mention a lovely woody smell. We visited on a Saturday and were the only guests there, so we had the whole place to ourselves, which is exactly how I like it.

ESPA_SoothingOils

The products they use are by ESPA and there were candles burning with a lovely sweet scent of Palmarosa, Sweet Orange and Lavender. The thing I loved the most was their shower gel and hair products, which smelled like bergamot. It’s much more natural smelling than what I would usually go for (I tend to prefer sweet, floral smells) but actually I think it might be the start of a new olfactory journey for me. It’s a much more grown up scent and uses all-natural ingredients.

The spa is currently offering membership packages, which include special discounts for the hotel and restaurant. Membership starts from £65 a month, which is pricey, but my goodness it’s really luxurious and such a treat! Visit http://www.royalcrescent.co.uk/spa/

Disclosure: I was treated to a free spa day, but I wasn’t paid for this piece and all views in this blog are definitely my own. So there.

New Year, new nail art!

12th January 2014

January is a pretty depressing time, so I thought it was time to cheer up and get stuck into some new nail art. This time, I went for one of this season’s key trends: winter florals.

IMG_5660Florals in winter follow slightly different rules to those we wear in summer – for starters, the base colour should always be darker, so I went for a deep purple. Oriental patterns like these delicate blooms with long stems work really well for winter months.

nails edit

A lot of the fashion magazines at the moment are saying that nail art will die off in 2014, in favour of plainer nail decoration in subtle shades. I’d like to tell anyone thinking of ditching the trend to hold fire! Who says someone in an office in London should decide what we’re all doing? I like to wear them bold and bright, and I don’t care what anyone says!

(By the way, I got these done on a recent trip to London at Spa Nails in Teddington so if you’re in the neighbourhood, pop by! They were pretty reasonable at £13, I thought. Alternatively, if you’re in Bristol, try Nails Deluxe in Broadmead, who I’m sure would do a similar look for a comparable price).

My favourite nail art of 2013

15th December 2013

If you’re a regular follower, you’ll know that I love nail art. I like to grow ’em long and wear ’em wild! I’ve had all kinds of crazy designs this year, but here are a few of my favourites.

Bling it on nails

bling it on

I did these using the new limited edition Nails Inc Bling It On set brought out especially for Christmas. As my family in Seychelles would say, tous nouveau, tous beau (all new, all beautiful).

Kimmy’s pastel paradise

kimmy nails

As the name suggests, I had these done at Kimmy’s nail bar in Bedminster. I couldn’t decide which design to go for, so Kimmy being Kimmy, she said ‘why not have them all?!’ I did love this far-out look, but it didn’t last very long because the applique does come off after a while.

Meadham Kirchoff nails

meadham kirchoff nails

These are Nail Rock transfers which I picked up from Topshop. They were brought out to celebrate the Meadham Kirchoff Spring/Summer collection. I loved these kitsch designs but did find them hard to put on.

Lippy loves

lips nails

I bought these nail wraps in Boots a while back and had been meaning to try them for ages.  At first I wasn’t sure about wearing white because of my pale skin, but they turned out to be very striking and I did get quite a few comments wearing these!

Pastel dotty

pastel dots

Accent nails were a big trend this year – that’s where you paint one nail slightly different from the rest. I did this one myself at home, so it’s a bit rough and ready, but overall I was pleased with the result. The slightly grey/blue colour is by Essie and the lilac is a Barry M shade.

I’m looking forward to seeing what nail trends 2014 will have to offer…

GK Nail launch

27th November 2013

The gorgeous Grace Kingsley, who also happens to be one of our lovely South West Bloggers, has only gone and launched her own nail art collection! Clever girl… anyway, here are some photos from her launch party!

IMG_5218

Here’s Grace, glamorously modelling her new collection! They’re ready to wear, press-on nails that come in a range of stylish designs – plus they’re dead easy to put on at home.

IMG_5228

The ones I’m planning to buy are these ones with the moustache motifs on them…

IMG_5217

Bravo, Grace! Time for some cake… (and well done Grace’s mum for making the fabulous cakes!)

IMG_5213

For more information about GK Nails and to nab yourself a pair, visit the website.

The new bob

17th May 2012

Noel Halligan, stylist at hip Cabot Circus salon Seanhanna, demonstrates this season’s most wanted style, the six point star cut.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yECde81mxgM]

Hair trends come and go, but what we’re all looking for is a pretty, easy to wear style that doesn’t need too much looking after.

The six point star cut is a textured style that’s easy to maintain and can be worn either straight or curly. The really great news is that this style can be tailored to suit all face shapes, so matter what your size or personal style, you’ll be able to rock this one in your own way.

In the video above, Noel outlines how the style is achieved and offers tips on how to keep it looking fresh at home with minimal effort.

For more information, see http://www.seanhanna.com