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Monthly Archives: May 2013

roseHands are one of the most used and abused body parts. They are in use virtually all day and it’s almost impossible to conceal hands from harsh environmental conditions whilst still being able to make appropriate use of them! Investing in a quality hand cream is essential for well cared for hands. Hands are also one of the easiest indicators of age and betray your chronological years very quickly! An airport impulse led me to purchase the above listed product. Here’s what I thought of it!

Packaging: A squeezy tube (it really is a fun squeezy tube too!) with 100ml of product. I always love The Body Shops designs. The tube is a little crinkly and crackly rendering it a recycled look (knowing The Body Shops ethics it probably is). The colour scheme invigorates and enlivens the wild rose theme with a light pink segment in English and a second segment written in French in hot pink (borrowing the allure and elegance of the French is never a poor marketing move!) It’s easy to acquire from the tube – just a gentle squeeze. It’s easy to get as little or as much as you would like without wastage.

Price: 440 baht (approximately £8.50)

Scent: Roses have a beautiful scent as anyone with a garden, or a nose for these things, will understand. Roses have long been affiliated with romance, because of the delicate sweetness and freshness of their aroma. There is something so spring like about a rose, that it perfectly represents budding relationships and infatuation. Wild rose has a slightly stronger scent, making the dainty rose a little more powerful and adding a touch of the untameable to this domesticated garden flower.The scent is strong but not imposing and I can imagine it would not be to all ‘tastes’. I find it to be a very feminine scent and to state the obvious, very flowery. Sometimes flowery smells can feel ‘old’ but I do quite like this one.

Texture: This has a lovely cool texture. The product is thick and creamy with none of the gloop or sludge or some products. It leaves no residue and doesn’t cake. It’s simply into your skin as soon as you put it on. Hands need some extra TLC so the thick consistency is of real value. My hands feel so amazingly soft after application but not as though they have been ‘coated’.

Bang for your buck: Plus points are the easy application, delightful scent and the baby softness that this product delivers. The container can stand to take a beating which means it doesn’t matter if this gets knocked about in your bag. The texture of the packaging also means you can eek out every last morsel of cream as is not always the case with tougher containers. You can squeeze in whichever direction you like to ensure you get your money’s worth. Containing SPF 15, you also get your sun protection in here and the product is designed to hydrate and protect against the appearance of dark spots forming on the hands. Although I cannot attest to this, I still believe the best way to avoid dark spots is to keep skin out of excessive sunlight whenever possible. A cream will be an effective barrier, but only with regular application. It contains some of my favourite ingredients, rose hip oil, which is constantly saluted by the gorgeous Miranda Kerr and Brazil Nut Oil. The products are sourced from Community Fair Trade means meaning that although Body Shop products can be a little pricier, they are ethical purchases helping to sustain the lifestyles of the workers who source the materials. There are also a hell of a lot of other ingredients listed on the back, so if you’re an ingredients purist, you may want to take a pass. Another plus point is that the Body Shop is against animal testing so you can enjoy their products knowing that you are not participating in a cruel, abusive and unnecessary practice.

Does it work?: It does. I cannot attest to the prevention of brown spots on the hands, because I try to keep my hands shielded anyway, but I can say it is an excellent moisturiser to keep on hand (pardon the pun). My mum agrees!

Does it last?: I always think hand creams, when used properly, should be used up pretty fast. If you are really taking care of your hands you will moisturise every time you wash, work or face the elements. But if you moisturise your hands a normal amount and not obsessively, this will last you perfectly well.

Would I repurchase? I would repurchase, but I think I preferred the Hemp Hand Protector (also from The Body Shop), which doesn’t smell as fragrant but is a far more intense, powerful moisturiser, particularly for winter. This product is great for summer!

 

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Hawaiian sunblock

I’ve spoken previously about the importance of incorporating a sunblock into your skin care routine. The sun is one of our fastest ‘agers’ and is also responsible for pigmentation problems, moles, freckles and numerous other skin mutations and malfunctions. We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘fun in the sun’, and although it’s during the hot months that most of us want to frolic, we do need to bare in mind the dangers IF we wish to age gracefully and defend ourselves against skin cancer. One of the most effective means of achieving this if outright avoidance is impossible is to shield the skin by slathering on a sunblock. This is true regardless of your skin colour or type, although fairer skins will be more visibly affected by regular sun exposure.

Hawaiian is another brand that has been around for a long time but that I have only begun using. Naturally, I purchased factor 50 for maximum skin protection benefits.

Packaging: Initially, I was off-put by the small bottle (120 ml)) cramped up in a little tense container, but it’s shortness is compensated by it’s stoutness. It’s pocket sized making it the ideal travel companion in comparison to cylindrical bottles. It’s baby pink with hot pink and dark blue lettering (and lid) and the golden Hawaiian logo.

Scent: Another strong summer scent. I don’t know what it is about sunscreens, perhaps it’s the memories they encapsulate, but the smell for me is like 100 hot summers in a bottle. This one has a sweet, heady aroma.

Texture: Thick, but yet it applies smoothly, easily and evenly.

Price: I purchased this product before I had committed myself to reviewing it and did not make a note of the price. However I know it was roughly 300 baht which translates to £6. It will be more expensively priced in Western markets.

Bang for your buck: Don’t let the size fool you. The saying ‘good things come in small packages’ wasn’t just invented for the sake of it. A really small application goes a really long way and glides in like a gull. The product smells divine and my skin was afforded maximum protection. The product claims to protect and smooth skin simultaneously and can be used on both the body and face which means you won’t have to make two purchases (sometimes body sunblock’s can be too heavy and oily for the face). It also contains aloe Vera extract and is absent of PABA.

Does it work?: This is another of my favourite sunblock’s. Application is so effortless and the thick, creamy consistency means skin feels shielded, thoroughly nourished and hydrated but not buried. This seems to take a relentless beating without fading. I’ve used sunscreens previously that leave my skin barren as soon as I make contact with the water but I can see and feel the force field of this protection even after excess water exposure, of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t reapply every two hours!

Does it last?: As covered above, minimal application really lasts a long time meaning that this product will be with you for a long while. If you take skin care seriously and reapply often you may want to invest in a larger bottle, or if you are on a month long beach holiday (then it is essential!)

Would I repurchase?: I am on my second bottle. This and Ocean Potion are my two favourite skin savers!

Ferrari
For a book that has sold over 3 million copies, I found it tremendously difficult to infiltrate beyond the hype. Even Paulo Coelho, an author I enjoy, has endowed much praise upon this book. To be frank, I just cannot understand why…

The writing style is simplistic, bouncing like a volleyball between John (the stories narrator), and Julian Mantle, a high powered, driven lawyer who ends up cashing in all the materialistic spoils of his long, successful career for a far more simplistic life.

Although the message of the story is as potent and promising as any self help guide, i.e. achieve balance, simplicity and harmony in your life to achieve happiness, there is something terribly patronizing and repetitive about the telling.

A clash of modern day mania meets fable, Julian confides in John, explaining how and why he gave it all up in order to reach a more personally fulfilling destiny. Julian, living a life of hedonism and extraordinary excess, is fumbled by a heart attack and spiritually, begins to take stock of his life. Julian parts with his wealth and travels to India – long renowned land of mystique and intrigue. Whilst there, he stumbles upon the Sages of Sivana, ageless inhabitants of a rose obscured refuge in the Himalayas. They share with Julian their secrets for a truly prosperous life, which he in turn shares with John, three years after his disappearance from the legal eagle world, which John then narrates for the reader.

Julian’s advice centres of seven particular virtues that expand the enjoyment of one’s life. Such techniques include facing fears rather than bowing to them, exiting the rat race as it exists (as a race against competitors) and race only against yourself, condition your mind to perform in the way you would like, altering the way you respond to setbacks and life occurrences in order to establish your destiny, the idea that all life limitations are self-imposed rather than external and focusing on what you would wish you had done on your deathbed.

He also refers to several symbols such as the rose garden (representative of mental processes and being sure to attend to invasive weeds), the magnificent lighthouse (your purpose in life) and the diamond path (the ability to serve others).
The fable format makes it a little more palatable than a to do list for self-improvement, but I just felt it could have been written in a better and more engaging style, with a little more maturity.

It’s not that the advice isn’t valuable, truthful and ideal for those reading, it’s just that for me, despite its simplicity and structure, it was a bore to read. It felt pompous, false and pretentious, but obviously, over 3 million fans can’t be wrong. As such I would advise that you do read this if you desire to, but perhaps keep your expectations a little low! And if you do have a Ferrari, don’t necessarily be in a rush to sell it!

In today’s climate, being a lady (or indeed, a gentleman), are not high priorities on most peoples lists. Whether you are looking at fashion, television, music or the internet, it seems young ladies are encouraged to emulate the promoted lifestyles of reality TV stars, D list celebrities and stars of sex tapes. It’s hard to find an Audrey, Rita or Marilyn among the crowd (although even these stunning starlets were considered less ladylike during their day). You are more likely to find role models in the shapes of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Snooki than anyone of true morals, values, style or class.

Blasberg is revisiting and updating his first best-selling work, Very Classy and this time he has a few new comments…

You might wonder what a man knows about what makes a woman classy, and though your grandmother may know more, Derek has surrounded himself with enough fashionistas to understand both the basics, and the intricacies of what transform a woman into a lady.

Derek begins by stating that a previous car crash (such as Nicole Ricci) can uncover her inner lady, and a lady can revert to, what Derek refers to, as a tramp.

And therein lies the rub with Derek’s narrative style. He is irritatingly unlikeable. I am still unsure, having finished reading, whether Derek is gay or straight. The issue with Derek’s writing style is that it comes across as pompous, patronizing, ‘trying too hard’ and also faintly misogynistic. I don’t believe for a second that Derek is a misogynist, in fact I believe he loves women, but he throws around words like ‘skank’ far too often, despite criticising the fact that girls themselves often refer to each other with these insults. It seems Derek is simply perpetuating very unladylike (and ungentlemanly) behaviour in his depiction of two sharp contrasts of women…ladies and tramps (otherwise known as the Madonna/Whore complex…a woman is either an angel or a prostitute). Derek is not a true gentleman, so why is he telling women how to be ladies?

Derek also belongs to a world of crazy parties, mad money and celebrity friends, meaning that the average girl who wants to be more ladylike might find it difficult to truly take much from Derek’s materialistic, vapid world. The book is littered with pictures of Derek fawning over Hollywood stunners like a drunk deer desperate for attention and most of the women in the pictures don’t particularly look like endearing young ladies, but like posers, with stony, unsmiling faces and ‘over the shoulder’ glances that look practised rather than natural.

That’s not to say that this book does not have its bonuses.

For those looking to brush up on their manners, there are sections dedicated to wardrobe essentials, such as big sunglasses, LBD’s and trench coats, how to host dinner parties, set tables and establish themes, the perfect pictorial poses, and lists of movies and music, as well as artists, poets and theatrical productions, to set the tone of a true lady.

Although there are a few gems located within, I found the book a little too pandering. I think every girl is better when she treats herself like a lady, but we also have to move with the times and understand that if we were all to behave in a truly ladylike fashion, we wouldn’t be doing very much at all! Although Derek discourages this and actively encourages women to intermingle their individuality with their ladylike habits, it begins to feel like being a lady requires too many shallow affectations rather than a true reflection of character. For instance, he decries a woman who would wear casual clothing to an airport (totally negating that a woman might want to fly for comfort or relaxation). He also makes frequent references to celebrity friends who supposedly look like ladies but essentially aren’t which to me defeats the purpose of the book. There’s no point acting like a lady if you aren’t one. Derek seems to focus too much on the frock and the company you keep as well as ridiculous statements like leaving parties at the peak of your enjoyment just to preserve a little mystique, rather than the quality of the character within. What’s the point of being a lady if you are obsessed what others think of you and can have no fun?

If you want to learn how to set a table, wear a scarf in several ways and tackle relationships the ladylike way, this book is useful and a funny, witty read, but for me the author was unlikeable, a little too derogatory and up himself and essentially, most girls know what it means to be a lady, if and when they want to be.

If you really want to know how to turn on the lady like charm, turn to your grandma’s or the screen sirens of yesteryear, but most importantly…be comfortable being who you are, and if that means sitting in your tracksuit bottoms snuggled up on the sofa, well there’s nothing wrong with that!

Derek seems to confuse class with posing, expensive clothes and being seen with the right people always doing the right thing, rather than a true expression of the inner self, and for a supposed expert on class, he is nothing but crass!

Note to Derek; maybe write a book about being a gentleman next time?

Room

“When I was a little kid I thought like a little kid, but now I’m five I know everything” – Jack

Jack has lived in ‘Room’ for all of his five years. He has only existed between a space measuring 11’ x 11’. He has never seen the outside world apart from the brief glimpse offered by the skylight above him. He and his ma live a life of routine; food, games and play time, occasionally interspersed with a ‘gone’ day where mum zones out, despondent in bed, and the nights whereby Nick, the nightly visitor ‘bounces on the bed with mum’ (Jack counts the bounces from his hiding space in the cupboard).

‘Room’ is so uniquely intriguing because it is told from the perspective of five year old Jack, with his limited yet evocative grasp of the English language. He knows nothing of the world beyond his small room, where his mother has been held captive, kidnapped in her nineteenth year, for seven years. Jack’s innocence and acceptance of his plight contrast with his mother’s ability to raise him to be her saviour whilst tolerating the abuse of her abductor.

Donaghy has a very spellbinding ability to capture the language, thoughts, fears, concerns, interpretations and acceptances (as well as the curiosity) of a young child, capturing a very effervescent and gold hearted boy in the character of Jack whilst ma is courageous, a lioness with a game plan.

The language at times, as we learn of Jack and Ma’s fate, can be somewhat alienating. After all, we are used to reading books written from an adult perspective, for adults, but here we are reading young Jack’s interpretations of the world around him. Nonetheless, the simplicity but sheer imagination of the language doubled with the claustrophobic horror of their plight, make a very powerful contrast. If this merely written as an abduction tale, it would be powerful, but also sinister, creepy and eerie. Jack’s cheery innocence manages to make it something more than that – a human tale of survival in unusual odds. Jack’s naivety and simple understanding stop things from getting too dark and dingy.

The suffocation of the mediocrity, repetition and imprisonment of their day to day life’s is also intriguing as we share Jack’s joy of habitual, repetitious, consistent routines, and Ma’s façade, using their play both as a way to pass the day and to raise a possible hero.

Unfortunately, numerous media stories have revealed horrifying occurrences of real individuals locked in basements as powerless amusements for their tormentors. This lends ‘Room’ a powerful relevancy and currency, making it far too relatable, as we suffer Ma’s desperation and bravery, and Jack’s meek and mild comprehension of the situation he has been born into.

Recommended by Richard and Judy’s Book Club, Room is a pleasurable, but not escapist read about the powerful, unbreakable bond between mother and son, and the necessity for tenacity, formidable will and admirable courage that is essential for survival. At its core, it’s a story of love and the connection between a mother and her child and how that love can survive and rise above all evils.

IMG_7393

The ancestor of this product, Neroli Jasmin Eau De Toilette, has sadly been discontinued. I say sadly because this delicious product was a sexy slam on the senses; feminine, powerful, sizzling but also zesty and fresh. The vibrant orange of the bottle dictates that the product would be fruity and juicy, but the ingredients also lend themselves to romantic scenes such as midnight canoe trips and sojourns on the beach. There was something so fabulously, exotically, erotically intoxicating about it making it so exciting to where!

For whatever reasons, The Body Shop decided to discontinue this fragrance. I truly will never understand the decisions of big bosses! Nonetheless, the scent has been replaced by one designed to be almost identical – Indian Night Jasmine.

What is an eau de toilette?

Eau de toilettes are less concentrated versions of perfumes. They are essentially subtly perfumed water. Eau de parfum is slightly more concentrated whilst parfum (or perfume) has the highest concentration making it the most potent of the three. Eau de toilettes are useful for those who like lighter, subtler scents, notes and accords, as you can literally apply them moderately after showering.

What’s the story?

The Body Shop have recently launched a new range entitled ‘Scents of the World’. This scent pertains to the mystery and intrigue of India with all of its courtship and charisma and none of its bustle! It contains jasmine, sandalwood, orange blossom and violet leaves.

Bottle design:

A translucent, lightly tinted bottle decorated with vivacious jasmine blooms and containing 50 ml of delicious, delirium inducing scented water. The silver cap releases a spritz with a light push. It’s a very attractive, feminine, romantic bottle which hints at a fun, frivolous and seductive scent inside. Its square block-like shop gives it a slightly more severe, but elegant edge.

Scent:

This scent really seduces and enchants the nostrils. It’s delicate, but memorable. Undoubtedly female but powerful. It’s the smell of the seductress. It really conjures images of moonlit mermaids and sun splashed sirens to me. It’s a dainty scent that also really gets into you. When I catch a whiff of this on myself or my clothes, it’s like I fall a little in love. It’s fun loving but also mysterious. It’s just a really gorgeous, sweet and heady scent that nonetheless has a subtlety to it – what a paradox!

Durability:

This scent will linger long after you, oozing out of you like a sweet, sultry, seductive skunk! Really, it’s much less offensive than this. It’s dainty, girly but it clings to you, as if part of you, rather than as if you’ve bathed in it!

Affordability:

At £15, it’s not too bad. We’ve all come to expect that scents are somewhat of a luxury as they evoke elegance, class and our inner ladies. We can conjure characters through smell alone. It may be our most powerful sense, what with the intoxication of pheromones determining whether we feel chemistry with another or not.

Does it last?

This product has staying power if you apply if liberally. A little at the pulse points, behind the ears, on the neck or behind the knee, or as I was once advised, at the top of the thighs!

Would I repurchase?

YES. I love the Body Shop but I really adore this product! It’s the combination of quiet charm that builds into a near hysterical love affair. You’ll be a very popular girl indeed if you wear this!

Overall rating:

9.5/10

Packaging: 125 ml in a translucent tube with a pastel green lid. A perfect, pocket-sized bottle, ideal for a handbag, work space or even a cup holder in your car!

Scent: Johnson’s are renowned for their mild, ‘baby’ scents. This is a pleasant, light, lovely aroma. I’ve always found something very comforting about the scents of Johnson’s products, possibly because I affiliate them with my own infanthood!

Texture: I find Johnson’s oils so unique. It’s almost like rainwater on the skin. It’s best applied to skin up to three minutes after showering or bathing so as to lock in moisture and you can run it over your body like morning dew or drizzle in under 20 seconds and be shiny and soft as a new-born seal!

Price: 100 baht (equivalent of £2). Please check your relevant currency.

Bang for your buck: This is the original baby oil formula enthused with vitamin e, which prevents early rancidity of a product and aloe vera (a brilliant after sun skin soother). I adore Johnson’s products and consider them a staple. Application is so effortless, the smell is lovingly pleasant and a little goes far.

Does it work?: This is one of the mildest and yet most powerful, not to mention cheapest of moisturisers, that I know of. The inherent purpose of a moisturiser is to do just that – moisturise – and Johnson’s really lock in that moisture. I don’t know anyone who dislikes or distrusts the Johnson’s brand. I perceive it as the perfect moisturiser. A stranger even ran her hand up my arm and complimented me on how soft I was! Please be aware that Johnson’s oil contains mineral oil which has been criticised as a pore blocking product. Although I’ve never noticed any blocked pores, it is of course essential that your skin is able to breathe. If you suffer with acne of the body or other skin conditions, I would not advise that you use this product. Furthermore, if you have oily or acne oriented skin on your face, do not use this product there as your pores will struggle!

Does it last?: You’ll still be soft not only by the morning but for the entire day.

Would I repurchase?: Without a shadow of a doubt. I would recommend to anyone!

Overall rating: 9/10