Tag 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…


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.


Beauty junkie: The vajacial

29th March 2011

Beauty fiend Gina Dyer tests out the latest treatments hitting salons near you. This week…the Brazilian facial.

So you’ve waxed it, plucked it, exfoliated it, maybe even ‘vajazzled’ it (if you’re not sure what that is, let me refer you to our friends on The Only Way is Essex for a full explanation), is there really anything left to beautify your lady garden that they haven’t already thought of? Well, yes, in fact. You can now get a vajacial.

The Brazilian facial (nicknamed the vajacial) is the latest trend in fuzz-free fashion. It’s a non-invasive exfoliation treatment designed to get rid of dead skin cells, as well as pumping in skin boosting nutrients to leave the area soft, supple and utterly strokable (ooo-er!).

As a beauty journalist, I thought I’d heard it all before this came along and wasn’t sure it was something I really needed, but my ears did prick up when I was told it can be used to treat specific concerns such as dehydration, acne, dull skin and ingrown hair (a major problem for those frequent waxers among us). The procedure can be performed immediately after a waxing or IPL hair removal session, so it’s not too onerous to plan into your monthly schedule.

Moisturised minnie
At the moment, the only salon in the UK offering the treatment is rather scarily named Ministry of Waxing in London, so it was here that I ventured to test it out on your behalf.

Despite the rather serious name, it’s a friendly place and my therapist Chloe put me at ease by explaining that it wouldn’t hurt at all. She had a trustworthy face, but I was still nervous.

Essentially, it’s a micro-dermabrasion treatment which gets rid of the top layer of dead skin – wouldn’t this be too harsh for – ahem – delicate areas? Chloe explained that the controlled pressure meant it was a lot lighter than other treatments of its kind and, while the skin might turn red for a few seconds at first, the after-effect would simply be softer, more polished looking skin.

Each treatment is customised to your skin type, so others’ experiences might be slightly different to mine, but essentially it felt like a suction effect on the skin, followed by a smoothing sensation when she applied the hydration formula. At the risk of sounding pervy, it wasn’t altogether unpleasant!

Noticeable results
Immediately afterwards I saw a noticeable improvement – many of my ingrown hairs had disappeared – and over the next few days the skin did look healthier and, dare I say it, more aglow! In order to get the best from the treatment, I was advised to undertake between two and four more sessions on a fortnightly basis which would banish those pesky ingrown hairs for good.

I’m not sure I can quite justify the £60 per session price tag (particularly when I’m not planning to show the results off in public!) but if I had the cash I would definitely invest in it as a soothing follow-on from regular waxing. It’s a thumbs up for the downstairs facial!

Ministry of Waxing: 17 South Molton St, London, W1 – 020 7409 7343 / 19a Floral St, London, WC2 – 020 7240 7004


Beauty trend: Candy gals

25th February 2011

The weather may have been miserable but London Fashion Week was awash with colour as the brightest of lip shades came out to play. Hot pink was a winner at Jil Sander, Chanel and Fendi, while post box reds were spotted at Topshop. For a more fun party look, take your inspiration from Katy Perry and pair it with a contrasting candy coloured nail polish – mmm delicious! Take a look at the gallery below for our favourite shades and celeb looks.

*Stockist: 0844 243 9243