Tag Archives: central London

Dr Hauschka anti-blemish system trial

I’ve been searching for the perfect solution to my skin breakouts and blemishes and since there are so many skin systems out there with weird chemicals and acids, I decided to go down the natural route with Dr Hauschka’s Daily Face Care Kit for Oily Skin.

My skin complaints date from when I moved to London almost two years ago from Newcastle and many of my friends have blamed the hard water and excess pollution and stress for changes in their own skin.

I popped in to Zest Pharmacy in Soho, a proper neighbourhood chemist, which stocks an excellent range of natural, specialist and French skincare brands.  I had a long chat with one of the owners, a French lady who knew pretty much everything about skincare and had luminous skin to prove it.

She showed me starter kits by La Roche-Posay, Murad, Vichy and Caudalie, but recommended Dr Hauschka for its homeopathic approach to solving skin problems.

I’ve been using the Hydra Medic skincare system by Repechage for about nine months, which I roadtested for ELLEuk.com, but after initial good results, it seems to have dried my skin out.  The Repechage Beta Hydroxy Serum is a great overnight treatment, as it smoothed out all the tiny bumps on my forehead, but the Mattifying Moisturiser is a horrible bright white that made my skin feel tight and uncomfortable.

At just £15 for six travel size products, I thought I’d give it a try and see if I have more luck without the drying chemicals I’ve been relying on for so many years.

The Daily Face Care Kit for oily skin consists of a Cream Cleanser, Clarifying Toner and Normalising Day Oil to be used instead of a moisturiser, as well as three weekly treatments – a Facial Steam Bath, Cleansing Clay Mask and a Revitalising Mask.

On the first day of the trial, I took some time out to do the whole seven step system with all of the products.  I expected the Cleansing Cream to be smooth and rich, but it had an oatmeal consistency that gently exfoliated my skin without drying it. The Clarifying Toner felt refreshing and calmed my skin with extracts of calendula, witch hazel and daisy.

Having used oil-free products for so long and having an almost pathological fear of getting an oily T-Zone, I was sceptical about using the Normalising Day Oil.  I could just imagine my make-up slipping off and suffering a greasy face all day, but I was amazed at how quickly the oil was absorbed.  It’s important to get the right amount and I found that two drops was enough to cover my face.

Dr Hauschka’s skin regime is completely different to any other I’ve tried, as he doesn’t believe in using exfoliators or night creams, as they upsets the natural rhythm of your skin, thus clogging pores and making your skin increasingly dependent on products.

It’s all about normalising skin and making it learn again how to repair itself biologically. I’m still unsure about putting so much trust in my own body to rid itself of the blemishes, as it’s been a bit of a bitch so far, but picking and choosing various harsh and expensive products is probably what’s given it the hump in the first place.

Once a week, you should give your skin an intensive treatment of steam, deep pore cleansing and radiance revealing.  The Facial Steam Bath has a subtle, herbal scent and helps open pores and detoxify skin. Add a few table spoons to a sink full of boiling water, cover your head with a towel and breath in the aromatic steam for five to seven minutes.  Afterwards, my skin, chest and head all felt opened and I instantly had more energy.

Immediately after steaming, you’re supposed to add a thin layer of the mustard-coloured Cleansing Clay Mask and keep your face moist for up to ten minutes (I forgot and my face felt tight and rigid, like it was covered in cement).  After washing it off, I applied the Revitalising Mask, which felt luxurious but not too rich and had a relaxing aroma.

Dr Hauschka’s regime can be a bit of a faff, as they expect you to have an endless supply of clean muslin cloths – cotton wool just won’t cut it, as it absorbs the skin’s natural oils – and enough time in the morning to steam said cloths in between cleansing steps.  However, it is good advice and it just requires a bit more effort and perseverance.

So on day two, I don’t have that tight, under-nourished feeling on my face and haven’t experienced any more painful breakouts, apart from a few spots when the steam and masks brought out the impurities.  I’m impressed so far, but will post updates after a week and when I finish the starter kit.

Zest Pharmacy, 18 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 8HS

Swarovski Crystallized’s SS10 collections

There’s only one thing I love more than beautiful jewellery, and that’s being able to get creative and make up my own creations.  So, I went to the Swarovski Crystallized press day to check out which new pieces I’d be lusting after when the sun comes out again.

The Azzaro collection, designed by Vanessa Sewell, is full of bold, simple and sparkly pieces in silver and gold.  One of the main pieces is a vintage-style black and silver shell locket necklace with a chain tassel.  It reminds me of something from Titanic and it would look amazing with a silk, drop-waist evening dress.

My personal favourites from the Azzaro collection are a blingtastic crystal encrusted wave cuff and slim bangles with rows of tiny crystals.

I was blown away by the new collection by French jewellery designer Philippe Ferrandis and would put every single piece on my wish list (mysterious benefactor, take note please).

I’m not sure what most of the stones are, to be honest, so I’ll let you judge the pictures for yourself….

I love the contrast between the iridescent white flower and the spiky crystals on the ring and earrings.  They look quite Japanese and futuristic – perfect for the winter snow queen look.

The pearl and emerald necklace and earrings have a vintage, Jazz Age feel and are priced between around £250 and £500.

The new ready-to-wear collection is inspired by the fresh, clear light of a Scandinavian summer.  Pieces incorporate oval spheres and interchangeable pendants in subtle, neutral colours.  The silk cord necklaces reflect the beach element and they will go perfectly with next season’s nudes.

The mainline collection featured some pretty affordable pearls for under £20 and everyone was fawning over the stretchy crystal bracelets that you can stack up, costing just £10!

We were also treated to a sneak peak at the exclusive Daisy Lowe collection that she designed with the Creative Director.  The pieces are typical Daisy with black, green and silver stars and moons – flirty but a little bit dark and mystical.

All collections are available from January at the Swarovski Crystallized store.

Swarovski Crystallized 25 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HU.

Anthropologie arrives in London

So, I finally got to see the new Anthropologie store on Regent Street and in just a short visit, I managed to compile a pretty extensive Christmas wish list.

I first came across Anthropologie on a trip to New York about six years ago and I remember being in awe of their Snow Queen-style silk dresses and embellished homeware. 

blankets

This is Anthropologie’s first European store out of America, which will be followed by another store on the King’s Road, housed in a former gentlemen’s club.  All of the Anthropologie stores are unique and the three-floor Regent Street branch is pretty spectacular, with a wall tapestry of over 200 sq. metres of living plants, sustained by the rain-water collected on the roof.

green stairs

Inside, it is a wonderland of bobo, Amélie-style patterned dresses, rustic Americana bed linen and velvet embroidered cushions and good, old-fashioned crockery with a modern twist.

Some of the clothes can be a bit on the twee side, but the collections have clearly been picked because of their excellent quality and fine details, like felt patchwork hearts sewn on the inside. 

clothes

It’s great to finally have access to Anthropologie’s designer labels like Leifsdottir and Moulinette Soeurs, as well as New York-based Mise en Scene by Ruffian and Eva Franco and high-end pieces from Sara Berman.  I am currently lusting after a Mise en Scene by Ruffian black velvet cocktail dress with a white silk collar – think Eva Green wearing YSL and smoking a cigarette in The Dreamers, that’s how fabulous it is!

spot dress

Anthropologie’s buyers have scoured the world to source some of the most beautiful things for your home. I recognised some of the stationary that is stocked in Selfridges, but they also have an enormous collection of jewelled, wooden and ceramic drawer handles, hand-painted china cups and saucers and exquisite bold striped and patchwork quilts.

cushions

I had serious envy on their amazingly-styled in-store bedroom and had the store assistant not being restocking the drawers, I would have been tempted to curl up among the cushions.  While I already have a gorgeous handmade patchwork quilt in my room at home, I can’t help feeling that this bedroom would make me into the organised, serene and breezy person I’ve always wanted to be (must make storage notes).

bedroom

The greatest addition to Anthropologie’s Regent Street store would be a cafe (see Avoca, Belfast’s adorable lifestyle store) where you could have afternoon tea, as judging by Style Bubble and disneyrollergirl’s mouthwatering pics from the press day, they have some real cakemaking talents.  If you’re reading, Anthropologie, grab some of those tea pots and cake stands and get a pop-up shop going, we’ll be in there all day!

Anthropologie, 158 Regent Street, London, W1B 5SW