Beauty Without Fuss

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Best of 2013

For me, 2013 has been a really good year, the happiest one I've had in a while, luckily there have been some products released this year that have really measured up too ... here's my pick of what I have used most or discovered over the last twelve months:

An unsung hero of mine, This Makeup Forever Aqua Pencil in 19 (light brown) is something I use on a daily basis, particularly for under-eye lining.  A slightly rosy taupe, it's hugely versatile, being as it is actually the colour of shadows on skin, and is perfect for a very natural look without being too "done". You can buy Makeup Forever from PAM Cosmetics.  I picked mine (and the backup) up in Paris, but I can't recommend that for everyone ...

I've featured these three before, but this has been a good skin year, and I mainly have these three products to thank.  The Clarins Gentle Exfoliator is by far my product of the year (and, I might add, that Clarins has definitely been my brand of the year), but the Hydraluron and the Chantecaille - which is a perennial on these lists of mine - run it a very, very close second.

New additions to my favourites of the year are from Cargo, namely the Magic Brush, and Waterproof Blush in Bali:

 I've really embraced pink blusher this year, and I love this soft rose with a hint of blue micro-shimmer.  Applied with the hugely versatile "magic" brush, it really is a facelift in a tin! These came from Debenhams, and look out for a fuller review of both in the new year ... 

Speaking of Debenhams, the new Beauty Hall at the Oxford Street branch is a sight to behold, with a whole bunch of brand-new to the UK brands, of which Tromborg is a definite must-try.  I adore the organic lipstick in Sitara:

Look at that beautiful packaging! A soft tomato-red, which a hint of silver microshimmer, Sitara is a perfect everyday red lipstick that looks very natural, here's how it looks on my (rather tanned at present) mush:

The products are available at Debenhams, and are soon to be available on QVC.  You can find out more about Tromborg here, and I'll have more products from the range to show you in the New Year too.  

This Bodhi Luce Revitalising Face Oil is beautiful stuff.  Run, don't walk, and go get yourself some. I'm almost at the end of this tiny bottle, and I'm torn between reinvesting in this, or in the Desert Rose oil instead.  Oh, such a tough decision! 

My lipstick of the year is Lipstick Queen Saint Wine.  I don't have much to say here aside from the fact that I'm now on my third tube, which I think tells you everything.

Hourglass Luminizing Powders have become a BIG obsession this year.  I now have five of them.  Six if you include the back up of Diffused I have around somewhere.  Perfect for a finishing glow without adding pigment, these are amazing.  And so is the brush. 

Every single morning, without fail, I apply lipbalm, and my lipbalm of choice this year has been this one:

 Hurraw Balm in Chai Spice.  It's delicious, and does a perfect job of prepping my lips for even the most drying of lipsticks.I got mine from Content, one of my favourite shops in London.

Speaking of dry, Z Matrix Energy & Moisture Infusion is the perfect remedy for dry, dehydrated or stressed skin.  It even makes a wonderful moisturiser.  It's a rare favourites list of mine that doesn't feature a Zelens product in it somewhere and this one is no exception.  Of all the ultra-luxe skin care brands I try, Zelens is the one that delivers every single time, no matter what the product.  To say I love Zelens would be a mild understatement.  

And finally ... I struggled with including this as it was limited edition product but the Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust has been an astonishingly versatile product, and it's become much-loved as a result.

A peachy pearlescent liquid, it's a great - subtle - highlighter, but where it really comes into its own is as an addition to foundations.  It adds a wonderful "glow" to them, and leaves you with a beautiful dewy finish.  If it comes around again (and, knowing Lauder, it's rather likely), it's a good one to pick up. 

So there you have it, my favourite cosmetics and skincare of 2013, I'll showcase perfume and haircare products very soon ...

 The Fine Print: A mixture of PR samples, purchases and repurchases/  My credit card aches.  ACHES, I tell you.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Review: K West Hotel & Spa

Mr Lippie and I decided to start our honeymoon early, so the day before our flight to the Maldives we popped along to the K West Hotel and Spa in Shepherd's Bush for an afternoon of last minute shopping, and an evening of pure relaxation.  We're so glad we did!

Around 11 years old, the K West is based in an old BBC office building (as you'll be able to tell when you're wandering down the corridors, in a good way, I promise you!), and the hotel is literally a five minute walk away from Westfield, and the tube/overground rail stations.  It's ideally situated for an afternoon of shopping, and it's easy to get to Central London from here too, making it a great base for either tourist-stays, or in our case, a base for locals to see London a little bit differently.

K West has an amazing wet-spa, and we spent several hours in there, utilising the steam rooms, the bubble beds (in the pool above), the sauna, the "kuddles" (below):

And, our favourite, the snow room, which has real snow!

It's London's only snow room in a spa, and it's a real experience.  I loved running from the sanarium into the snow room, and back again, over and over!  The bubble beds were such fun too, once you got the hang of not floating off them!

All the bedrooms feature king-size beds, and our room had a California Super-King bed, which is, it must be said, the biggest bed I've ever seen!  Big enough for us both to starfish, and still have room for at least two more people in there ... well, in theory ...

A great, comfortable (more important to me than trends these days), well-stocked bar rounds out their offering, they have a great selection of cocktails, and, even though MrLippie and I found ourselves too relaxed to hit the bar after an hour or two in the spa, it definitely looked like a great place to hunker down with a drink and a snack for the evening.  It's a friendly and welcoming place, literally every staff member we met during our stay was smiley, and took the time to wish us good morning or afternoon - NOT service we're used to in Central London!

Breakfasts at the K West are hearty and delicious, there's a selection of pastries to get you started (I still dream of their mini-Pain au Raisin!), then you can have the cooked breakfast of your choice to follow, which features such delights as American-style pancake stacks, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs or the old favourite, the full English.  The sausages are *excellent*, by the way. 

All in all, K West Hotel & Spa gave us the best possible start to our honeymoon, and we're very grateful for the opportunity to go visit and find out more about them.  They're holding a couple of open evenings, one on 12th and one on 19th December, if you want to pop along and find out more for yourself (and grab a drink and a canape or three, whilst you're about it, too!).  I can't recommend the place highly enough, we've both said that if we had the cash, we'd try and stay here a lot more often!  Visiting a hotel on your doorstep might be a little odd, but when it's a great hotel, then it's real treat ...
The Fine Print: The Lippies were guests of K West Hotel & Spa. 

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Monday, 9 December 2013

I'm back!

You'll have to bear with me whilst I deal with the post-honeymoon blues, but in the meantime, here are some holiday photos ...

The Maldives is one of the most beautiful places on earth, if you get a chance to go, take it.  This was, without doubt, the best holiday I've ever had.

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