Monday, 23 June 2014

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

I have a confession to make. Though I'm a beauty editor and sometimes, quite literally, haven't been able to see my desk due to the amount of new lipsticks, mascaras and foundations that have found themselves there, I don't actually wear much of it. It's not that I don't wear any at all. More that, like most beauty editors I know, you are sent just so much stuff, that it's almost overwhelming. And also, after years of industry experience, you come to realise that the best look for most of us is the simplest one (i.e dewy skin, rosebud lips, long lashes and good eyebrows) and doesn't require 20 different products to get it.
Which brings me to Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm. I really don't know what is going on at Clinique but over the last five years or so they have been knocking it out of the park in a big way when it comes to new launches. Of course, their original Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip colour Balm was just brilliant (and has scooped up something like a billion beauty awards). But then there was the Chubby Shadow Tint for Eyes (genius) and then, Moisture Surge CC Cream (again, amazing) and their more recently launched (and gorgeous) Soft Matte Lipsticks. And now, they've gone and done it again with their Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm.
What I love about CSCCB is what I love about all of these products. It is so easy. No brushes, no fiddly applicators and no danger of over doing it. In short, totally foolproof. You simply twist up the colour stick, dab on to your cheeks and smudge in with your fingers and the heat from your skin will help it blend in effortlessly - and leave you with the aforementioned 'dewy' glow you're after. And, once it's settled, it's non-drying, humidity-resistant and long lasting too, so won't have disappeared by the time you've packed up your horse cart buggy for that picnic in the park. Buy one. You won't regret it.

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm, £19, is available in four shades. Buy it exclusively at from 18th July or nationwide from 1st August.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The perfect Cornish retreat

The Emerald's stunning gardens
I have meant to write a little post about the amazing place we stayed in to celebrate my brother-in-law's 40th birthday recently. Not purely just to brag but because I genuinely think it's a real find and somewhere that anyone would love - whether you've got kiddies or not. (Though it is brilliant for kids). After somewhere to relax? Love a landscaped garden? Swimming pool a must? Fancy a tennis court five minutes from your door? And the kind of decor you'd get in a boutique hotel? This place ticks all of those boxes. And then some.
The Emerald is a glorious retreat tucked away in the Cornish countryside which houses five properties, all completely different, all completely beautiful, dotted around five acres of gardens. You can rent each one out separately but there were 22 of us (including 10 children), so we had the whole place to ourselves (whoop!) and each family or couple had their own unique private space. We stayed in The Gatehouse, which sleeps four to six and is a little bit more rustic than the others (think very fancy farmhouse) but still comes with the same mod cons - smart televisions, coffee machines, underfloor heating. If you're after something a bit bigger, there's also Drift and Coast, which each sleep six and come complete with glass fronted balconies, outdoor hot tubs and even little 'snugs' where the kids loved sneaking off to watch television. And for two, Fern or Cedar come with private decked terraces and hot tubs. Cosy.
Aside from the amazing accommodation, what The Emerald really has going for it is that there is so much to do. It's the best place for kids. We all know the great British summer can be, well, not so great but you'd seriously have no qualms about booking this place because there's the indoor swimming pool (open all hours and mood lit if you fancy a bit of night swimming), the gym and smart TV's or, when it brightens up a bit, there's the tennis courts, table tennis and play area. And the kids loved the gardens; the winding pathways, huge trees and little lake provided the best hideouts for playing (and an Easter egg hunt). If you do ever want to leave, of course there's also the Cornish coast to explore. We loved taking a trip on the King Harry Ferry in Trelissick, lunch at The Pandora Inn in the stunning surroundings of Restronguet Creek and dinner at Rick Stein's in Falmouth. I'd never really explored Cornwall before but in all honesty, I think all of us were a little bit amazed at just how beautiful it is.
Balcony view
So really, this is just my very own shout out to The Emerald to say just how great it was and how everyone should just go. The warm and ever-obliging owners, Tim and Brigitte have created an amazing place, that's not only beautiful but zero carbon too - it's the UK's first ever zero carbon holiday accommodation - and I can't imagine the amount of work that must have gone into it but there's a lot of love in it too. And it really shows. My advice? Book it soon because this place is going to be busy.

(Find out more about The Emerald here

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Swimwear Part 2: How to wear it well

Boden's gorgeous Sorrento Swimsuit, £59
As a follow-up to this week's post on some of my favourite swimsuits about at the moment, I thought it might be worth getting together a few little tips on wearing them well - for those of you who feel it's helpful! But fear not, I'm not professing my own tips and tricks (of which I have none). Nope, instead, I've asked a proper stylist and friend of mine, Anna Woodham to divulge some of her secrets. Anna has worked with the likes of Holly Willoughby, Alesha Dixon and The Saturdays (check out so knows a thing or too about what works and what doesn't. Here's what she had to say... oh and isn't this swimsuit from Boden absolutely amazing?! It comes in loads of colours and even has hidden control panels and detachable straps. Ticks every box, right?

1. Look for ruched or frill details if you want to flatter your tummy and hide any post-baby weight.

2. Styles with control panels, illusion lines or dark panels down the sides will take inches off!

3. Frill straps or shoulder details will take any unwanted attention from your tummy, drawing eyes up.

4. Don't be afraid of colour; if you have a tan, corals and even reds can look amazing.

5. Moulded cups give great shape if you feel you're lacking in that department so don't overlook them.

6. If you're still stuck, you can't go wrong with a classic, black swimsuit. It works on everyone.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Five Favourite Swimsuits

Giselle for Paris Vogue. It's not fair.
This week I'm diverging a little to bring you a fashion-esque post on swimwear. Earlier this month, I spent a week in Cornwall and though I felt utterly mortified at the prospect of being in any sort of swimwear so early on in Spring (err, hello pale, stubbly legs and wobbly tummy), I reluctantly dug out my old swimsuit. This would be okay if we were talking about a nifty little number that cleverly disguises a bit of a mum tum (or as my mum puts it, 'a belly like a squashed tomato'). It would also be okay if it had, I don't know, a lovely strap detail or pretty print. But no. It's a black Speedo number, with pastel pink edging and high V-neck. Awful. And actually, though it disguised my post-baby tum, it made me feel worse - in hindsight, I should have just picked out a prettier bikini, slapped on a bit of fake tan and got on with it.

Anyhooow, the moral of the story is; next time you get invited on a lovely holiday and there's a small chance you'll be in swimwear and you're a little worried about a wobbly tummy, buy a new and lovely flattering swimsuit before you go. I grant you, it's not that easy to come across a goodie (and please do ignore all those magazines with charts that tell you to choose one according to what 'fruit' shaped boobs you have - I kid you not, I spotted one only this week). Simply choose one that won't ride up your backside when you're lifting your toddler into the pool or fall down when he's using you as a float. And that's all you need really. Job done.

(left to right) Topshop Spyrograph Print Swimsuit, £36, H&M One Shoulder Swimsuit, £14.99, River Island Geometric Floral Swimsuit, £25, Whistles Cruz Blotted Floral Swimsuit, £75, French Connection Nancy Plaid Swimsuit, £42.