Product love

L-R: Clinitas Soothe Dry Eye Relief Drops, Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser, Nails Inc Elizabeth Street, Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash

L-R: Clinitas Soothe Dry Eye Relief Drops, Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser, Nails Inc Elizabeth Street, Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash

Here are four products that have been making me very happy recently:

Clinitas Soothe Dry Eye Relief Drops
Zoe Foster was the reason I started looking for individual-use eyedrops. She made a very good point that you never tend to use up the regular droppers before the one-month-after-opening use by date so they always end up being a bit of a waste. (I know not everyone pays too much attention to use by dates but for something that’s going in my eyes I’m happy to take the manufacturers recommendation).

I love these ones because they are gentle and make my eyes feel lovely and fresh. I found them in Boots but can’t find them on the website, try Chemist Direct in the link above instead.

Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser
I got a couple of samples of this and after around two weeks of using it I am really impressed. I’ve been whipping my skincare into shape recently so it could be a combination of a few things, but using this in the mornings leaves my skin smooth and glowing. My make-up also goes on nicely and I’m using less as a result. The smell is a bit odd – kind of herby and yeasty – but I like it! Also, it says it is wash-off and that you don’t need to use a muslin cloth to remove it but I have been – for me my skin just feels cleaner that way.

I’ve only tried the original cleanser once (another sample) and, while I liked it, it didn’t wow me enough to buy it. I’m using Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish in the evenings at the moment, which I’ve used on and off for years, and combined with the Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser I’m feeling happier with my skin than I have for a while.

Nails Inc Elizabeth Street
Wearing three coats of this (so that it is completely opaque) on my fingers and toes has been pleasing me a great deal recently. It’s a pretty pale pink that I like to think makes my nails look like little shells. (Oh shut up, it makes me happy ok?) I think Nails Inc use it as part of a French manicure but I like it best on it’s own and as a solid colour.

Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash
I got this as part of a little travel set that I think included the body oil and moisturiser too. This cleanser has come with me on a few weekend trips away recently and I love it. The smell is so good. So good. I love rose fragrances anyway but this one is especially delicious and it’s nice to have a little bit of luxury when you’re away from home.

Mama Mia: Zoe Foster leaves the gang

Oh wow. As gutted as I am that Zoe will no longer be writing for Australian lifestyle site Mama Mia, I’m delighted that she has kindly written a final piece that rounds up every single one of her beauty posts! It’s a merry feast of brilliant, witty and honest beauty advice that every girl should read.

Click on the image of Zoe below to lap it all up.

The story of my brows – part one

I have always been obsessed with my eyebrows. I think this obsession developed when I was as young as nine or ten years old; I realised that they were huge in comparison to my friends’ and also, flicked up at the ends so that I looked like some sort of devil-child or Italian soprano! I can remember my mum coming to pick me up from a friend’s house and her mum making a comment about how the way my eyebrows flicked up at the ends was a real reflection of my personality. What? I didn’t understand that at the time and I’m not sure I do now either! But someone else noticing my crazy brows, and pointing them out, made me hate them even more. I developed a habit of constantly trying to flick the ends back down again.

Natural brows. Excuse the quality – you’ll appreciate that I don’t have the original! Witness the flicked up ends.

When I was about 11 my mum finally agreed to take me to have my brows professionally shaped. This was a really great thing. The lady took very little off but just made them look much more tidy. The idea was that I would then continue to keep them tidy myself. Big mistake. Huge. Eleven-year-olds should not be let loose with a pair of tweezers. I think I kept the new tidy eyebrows for a few months, and then when I came to do it myself, we were on holiday in Cornwall. The reason this is significant is because we were staying in a caravan and I shut myself in the little bedroom, which had very little light, and pluck-plucked away. You know the scenario – I did one side and then needed to even up the other side, then did too much there and have to do the other side again. I can remember emerging from that little room and my mum’s dismay at what I had done. From then onwards, and throughout my teens, I continued to obsess, tearing images out of magazines to copy, and settled on what I thought was the loveliest brow shape. In a bid to achieve higher arches I took too much away from the middle of my brows, giving them a rounded shape. They were also very thin.

Thin brows from my teenage years to mid-twenties.

My moment of realisation and subsequent eyebrow crisis then didn’t happen until very recently (my late 20s). About six months before my wedding day I decided to start trying to grow them back a little and go and see a professional. Of course, after about 16 years of abuse, the re-growth was sparse and patchy, plus I didn’t really leave them long enough to see any of their true shape coming back. When I went to see a professional, I opted for threading, something I hadn’t tried before. The lady had the best intentions, of course, but essentially just got rid of all that re-growth and shaped them back into the thin, rounded shape that they had been before! I got married with those brows, which, to be honest, is a shame.

It was a beautiful day and eyebrows were the last thing I was thinking about, but – here they are being thin and round.
Photo by the wonderful Sarah Bowerman.

This post is getting very long, so I’m going to stop here for now. Next time; the discovery of beauty blogs and, specifically, Zoe Foster and Lien Davies. You can read part two of my brow story here.

The power of brows

Ok, so I think a large majority of the world would agree with me when I say that Mila Kunis is a particularly beautiful example of the human race. However, LOOK, just look at her without eyebrows! I found this photo on a curious, and yet, ingenious, blog dedicated entirely to photos of celebrities without eyebrows. Go ahead and have a browse, it makes for captivating viewing.

My point is this: Your eyebrows a are vitally important part of your face; treat them with the reverence of two queens sitting atop your pretty baby blues.

By this I mean, please, PLEASE, do not over-pluck. I say this as someone who grew up in the early nineties with an enormous set of natural eyebrows. I hated them. Particularly because I have curly hair, and they flicked up at the ends. Can you imagine? It was ‘fashionable’ then to have narrow lines forming precision-perfect arches. My poor little ten-year-old self didn’t stand a chance.

Not long later, I discovered tweezers and locked myself in the bathroom. From then onwards, for about 17 years, I pluck-plucked away and I had a set of those narrow, precise lines that I had always wanted.

What I know now, that I wish so much I had known/ believed my mother about then, is that natural, (neat, yes, thick, probably) suits best. And fashion cannot dictate this. A neat version of your natural brows will MAKE YOU LOOK YOUNGER, it will make your eyes prettier, your face more balanced.

Zoe Foster illustrates this perfectly with a couple of images of Keira Knightly on Primped.com.au

Later, I plan to share my own eyebrow story on here, complete with, gulp, pictures. I’ve made a mess, and now I’m learning how to clear it up.

Update: To achieve your perfect brow shape, get in touch: www.browboothe.com

Packing light with Zoe Foster

I do realise I say this about all the people whose posts I save on here, but I LOVE THIS GIRL. I just really do. If you have even a small interest in beauty and products and make up then I strongly recommend you buy Zoe’s book, Amazing Face. It’s not available in the UK, but you can buy it here.

I love the videos that give a little insight into the blogger’s life, and these two are no exception. Not only that but when I recently visited my sister in Australia I lugged six, SIX toiletry and make up bags with me. So heavy. And potentially relationship busting when your husband has to carry your suitcase up and down train station staircases (while I happily skip along with his). So it’s a shame these videos didn’t come a month sooner.

Anyway, obviously, I now want the YSL nude gloss. And everything else.

By the way, while I was in Australia I bought the Covergirl eyeshadow primers Zoe recommends here, and I love them both. Brilliant under pretty much every eye shadow I own. (Might have mentioned that before). I also bought three tubes of Suvana paw paw and it is excellent. Genuinely better for lips (and everywhere else) than the Lucas Ointment version which contains petroleum – your skin can get addicted to this and stop producing it’s own oils – shock! (Having said that it’s very good for protecting cuticles when applying fake tan).

Over to Zoe:

What Zoe Foster packs in her toiletry bag

Zoe Foster takes us through her make up bag

The products that Zoe Foster really uses

I could probably list every one of Zoe Foster’s posts on here – I totally love the girl!

For now, here are two that I read while I was actually in Zoe’s homeland, Sydney. This meant I could run straight to the shops to buy her recommendations, hooray!

Zoe has written two posts on mamamia.com.au, sharing the products that she really rates and genuinely uses, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I bought Revlon’s Colourburst Lip Butter in Tutti Frutti (available in the UK but bought it while I was away anyway) and Covergirl Intense Shadowblast in Brown Bling and Beige Blaze. I ADORE all of these, particularly the eyeshadows,  and have been wearing both shades lots.

The bronzer Zoe lists, and the lipstick/ stain/ gloss from YSL, are both on my wishlist until pay day!