Herald Heritage! Leighton Denny Expert Nails Review

Despite 12+ hours a day typing and countless others at home doing mummy duties and household chores most days, I really do try to keep my nails well-manicured, because often they are the first thing people see after your face and a great manicure can seamlessly pull your look together.

Personally, I am big fan of a gel manicure and try and squeeze in a nail appointment whenever timing allows - however, every couple of months or so I like to give my natural nails some TLC to keep them strong and healthy and so I find myself constantly on the lookout for something that has the same benefits as a gel polish but is kinder to my nails - a polish that is highly pigmented, glossy, chip resistant and lasts longer than a couple of days – not a big ask then, eh?

Like most little girls, my 5 year old daughter loves rummaging in mummy’s beauty cupboard and so after realising that most of mine had relocated to her dressing up box, I decided it was time to stock up on my nail polishes! 

Renowned for its glamorous, high-performance results, Leighton Denny Expert Nails got my attention as soon as I heard they were formulated without the 5 nasties found in most nail polishes (Tosylamide, Camphor, DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde), therefore making them much kinder to our nails. When a gorgeous parcel arrived in the office one morning with the brand new Heritage range, I was more than ready to see if my beauty wish had finally been answered…

The heritage range (£12 each) comes in 5 rich shades to suit any occasion and the fun names are the perfect nod to our own heritage and customs. First up was the ‘Country Club’, a warm navy blue.

If you follow me on social media you will know that I am a big fan of navy so I was immediately drawn to it. I followed the instructions to “roll (not shake)” the polish between my hands before applying two thin coats to the nail, waiting one minute between each application. However, after one coat the colour was completely opaque, leaving my nail with a gorgeous, glossy finish. There was no need to apply a second layer as I was able to achieve a rich bold colour after just one coat – the formula is literally that good!


Impressed, I opened the next bottle, ‘Pretty in Plaid’ which is a rich cranberry colour speckled with subtle gold shimmer. This is the type of nail polish that reminds me of the festive season - immediately happy thoughts spring to mind as I look forward to mulled wine by an open fire, cosy catch ups with friends and family and glamorous Christmas parties – this will definitely be a go-to colour throughout the season ahead…


I tend to opt for nude shades for daily wear and ‘Rural Sunshine’ is definitely a shade I can rely on. I did apply two coats for this shade as the first application was more of a soft sheer pink; however, once I applied the second shade the colour had a rich opaque finish. If you prefer a soft nude shade, then this one is definitely for you, I have since worn it as an everyday colour and every time I wear it I am complimented on the lovely colour.


The remaining two polishes were, ‘Take Your Wellies’, a fashionable dark brown that reminds me of crisp autumn weather, soft cashmere sweaters and long walks (wearing wellies of course!) and ‘Winter Garden’. This is a bold raspberry pink which I simply adore - I know that this vibrant shade will be well used throughout the season! Again after only one coat my nails were wrapped up in rich colour with a gorgeous glossy finish. 

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Once I had tested all of the colours I removed any remaining nail polish (the colour came off easily using normal nail polish remover and cotton wool) before reapplying ‘Winter Garden’ to see if the colour could keep up with my routine - between carrying bags for school, ballet, swimming (and that’s just V!), using gym equipment (the perfect excuse for nail polish to chip) and working on a keyboard all day – it definitely tests any nail lacquer!


However, I was pleasantly surprised when my nail colour stayed put all weekend and, even more impressively, the glossy finish didn’t wear off. Unsurprisingly, there were a couple of chips after a few days, but I simply covered this with nail polish and the problem was solved, so it didn’t bother me at all.

Dare I say that I think I have finally found a brand which answers all my beauty questions. And with five striking, rich shades that are sure to complement every occasion this season I know I will be wrapping my nails in the bold colour throughout the months ahead when my nails need a little bit of TLC. 

To get yours visit; https://www.leightondennyexpertnails.com/new-in

Love Cathy xo


As I age, I have become much more aware and better educated about what goes into (and onto) my body and skin. And despite technological advances in skincare, sometimes it is the most simple and natural products which have me most excited. 

I really love local companies and brands emerging too, so I was delighted when Howes Organic and Vegan (created in Belfast) sent me some products to review. Their products are free from artificial fragrances, preservatives and colourants and the founder (Sarah Toner)  is passionate about being 100% cruelty free. The products themselves come in beautiful glass bottles, (recyclable also) which gives an old-style apothecary feeling.  


The first product I tried from the range was the Conditioning Body Oil - which was Sarah’s original product. It is light but luxurious and sinks into the skin quickly; perfect for busy mums like me. The ingredients include a blend of pure essential oils and you can use it on both wet or dry skin. Personally I love to apply this immediately after a shower on damp skin as it locks in the moisture leaving a super soft feeling.  My favourite part though, is the scent – a delicate mixture of lemongrass blended with organic bergamot and sandalwood – this really does leave my skin smelling fresh and energized. The price point is amazing at £20, asthe product goes a long way. This is definitely one to watch.


And while my body was getting the Conditioning Body Oil treatment, I spoiled my face with the Revive & Repair Elixir which definitely gives good glow. The elixir is a luxurious blend of Organic Rosehip and Macadamia Nut oil which is the ideal pairing to banish fine lines and perfect skin tone as Macadamia is rich in reparative Vitamin E. Jasmine is another great ingredient as it’s a really calming scent to use before bed and turns your bedroom or bathroom into a relaxing spa.


With the oil nature of the product, I personally prefer to use it in the evenings, after cleansing my face and just before bed. You only have to use the tiniest amount of the elixir as a little does go a long way with this product too. At £18 for 30ml, it’s a great price as the you only have to use the tiniest amount each time.


I have been seriously impressed by Howes Organic and Vegan, I love to support local businesses and I am as much of an animal lover as I am a beauty lover, so this ticks a lot of boxes for me. It’s great to see a company which is passionate about its products (and the environment) doing so well. I highly recommend the two products I have tried and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest - next on my shopping list are the Himalayan Healing Bath Salts. If you would like to get your hands on some of the Howes Organic and Vegan products you can buy them directly from https://www.howesorganicandvegan.com/collections/all or from Framar Heath, Iona in Holywood and Eatwell foods.


Spending 4 weeks of summer on the Vogue Intensive course at Conde Nast meant that my summer passed by in my teen dream whirlwind. It was tough doing my day job at night when the Vogue-ing was done, not to mention squeezing in mummy duties at the same time, but now September is well and truly here and, with Valentina back to school, I am looking forward to stepping into a new season and getting back into a (somewhat) normal routine!

Autumn means burnt colours & crispy leaves; it also brings us the 24th season of FASHIONWEEK (which I am SUPER excited for this year - keep your eyes peeled as our make up partner is the incredible Illamasqua, which I will write about in the coming weeks….)

But for now, let me tell you about a fantastic parcel which arrived one morning this week, after I’d worked past 2AM and woke early, so the drab grey day was the perfect reflection of my sleep-deprived complexion. It was a chic black box, expertly packed from Cloud10beauty.com which was filled with products prescribed almost perfectly for my lacklustre and sleep deprived skin.


First up was the Pixie Rose Caviar Essence (£26), I was immediately drawn to this product with its luxurious clear gel that is speckled with pink capsules of rose oil (I am told that the rose oil is encapsulated to keep the ingredients fresh). When I tried this product the first thing I noticed was the gorgeous rose scent, which gently tantalises your senses without being overpowering. Now rose is a scent I used to find slightly nauseating, I’ll admit, but it is a mature aroma and one which I have grown to love as I have got older….

The gel formula felt very slightly sticky when first applied, but it quickly melted into a liquid as I worked it into my skin with the rose oil capsules bursting delicately on contact. And even though there is the presence of rose oil in the gel, it did not leave my skin greasy as you might expect, but did leave my skin feeling SUPER hydrated.  My face was noticeably softer immediately after use and the mulberry extract brightened my complexion – quickly diminishing the sleep-deprived dullness on my skin with a little help from the faint pink tint of the rose oil beads - and what is not to love about that?

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The second product was the Rose Flash Balm (£24) and it is AMAZING! This stuff literally perks you up quicker than you can say “pick-me-up”.  Oil-free and packed with antioxidants, the rose balm is perfect for days when skin just needs a little lovin’.  What I also love about this product is that you can use it several different ways – as a moisturiser, a mask or as a primer, so I spent this week trying all three.

First up, I applied it instead of my day cream and I can honestly say that my skin instantly felt moisturised and refreshed - it absorbs immediately which is great as you can apply make up straight away – perfect for busy mums, workaholics or gym bunnies on the run. Admittedly I don’t always prime as my sometimes chaotic morning routine doesn’t leave much time for beauty preparations, but when I had the chance to use it as a primer on an already moisturised face going out last night, I noticed that my makeup remained fixed and lasted longer than usual.

Then later this week I used it in its third capacity, as a mask, leaving it on for more than the recommended 5 minutes (20 for me!)  before a quick damp cloth over the top to gently remove it. Again, my skin appeared brighter and felt silky smooth - and continued to do so up until (and including today) - meaning that even though I was sleep deprived my skin was bearing no real evidence, YAY!

I have started carrying this in my handbag to use as a ‘pick-me-up’ on the go, applying it when my skin needs a little boost - and I have to say it really does work, it has deservedly joined the ranks of my ultimate beauty must-haves – yes, it is that good!


One extra thing that the Cloud10 beauty ladies sent me to try was the DOSE of colour Lit It Up matte lipstick which comes in a bullet shape with gorgeous rose gold packaging. A nude lip is definitely my signature style, so the hopscotch shade was perfect, but there are 10 fabulously flattering shades to choose from.

I find that a matte lipstick can sometimes be quite heavy and although the finish was more matte than a traditional creamy lipstick, it glided on smoothly and left my lips feeling moisturised. I didn’t try it myself, because I loved the product on its own despite worries about a matte finish, but I imagine a swipe of gloss would enhance the colour and give a glossy look if that was the desired overall effect.


The unique shape of the lipstick makes it amazingly easy to get a defined edge when you apply so you don’t need lip liner – although I like my lip liner a shade darker to really define the lips so I did apply it, but that is just personal preference.
The colour is perfect for everyday wear and I have been reaching for it all week. Compared to normal lipsticks I found it to be long lasting and when it did wear off it tended to fade rather than become patchy.  I think I will try the Fudge shade next…

Until next time,

Cathy x

Shop the collection now at http://www.cloud10beauty.com/


I love summer – feel-good tunes blare out from the radio, days are longer and the official countdown to our summer holidays begin.
As we finally begin to bring out our summer dresses, we can now bear to bare a little flesh as, thanks to some much-needed sunshine, our skin is starting to lose its pale winter complexion in favour of a new golden glow (personally I’m faking it ‘til I make it with the help of some fake tan!)

I am spending July in London training at Conde Nast (yes, at 43 I am ticking off one of the first things on my bucket list, channelling the mantra - “if you want something go out and grab it” - and so that’s exactly what I did, although admittedly I am a teeny bit nervous…) and as the weather there tends to be a little warmer, combined with the humidity and non-stop hustle and bustle of London life, I began looking for long-lasting, melt-proof makeup which simultaneously endures the heat, protecting against sweat and shine.

So when my fairy godmother (Debenhams) heard my cries and dropped a delectable beauty package at BFW HQ, I decided it was time to turn up the heat and try the range out against the wear and tear of summer…

The package was loaded with Nude by Nature goodies - Australia’s No. 1 mineral makeup brand which has finally arrived on UK shelves thanks to Debenhams.

I am a big advocate of caring for your skin, believing prevention is better than a cure and I am meticulous about removing my make up before sleeping (a valuable lesson ignored my 20-something self, of course) as well as cleansing, toning and moisturising. Although this means I usually have a pretty good canvas to work off, my skin can become dehydrated and lacklustre at times so I like a makeup with buildable coverage and optimum staying power!

I have also become more aware of the things that I put on my skin as I get older, so when I read that the ingredients in the Nude by Nature products are vegan-friendly and 100% natural, including Kakadu Plum, an Australian fruit that is very high in Vitamin C, I was definitely interested.

As I first unwrapped the package I was greeted with products encased in beautiful rose gold packaging – guaranteed to add a little touch of pretty glamour to your makeup bag!

My job often sees me attending events where dinner and drinks are served in abundance and I find these can take a toll on your skin. Therefore, I always try and give my skin time to breathe and recover – going make-up free when I can.
As well as this, like many women out there, my morning routine is definitely not time-friendly between work, my 5 year old daughter, working out and all the other commitments that we have.  
Therefore, because of this, BB cream is one of my absolute beauty must-haves! Personally, I usually find that they can be a bit of a hit or miss, but the Nude by Nature Sheer Glow BB Cream £22 evened out my skin tone and give me a light, natural finish. After using this for a couple of weeks I noticed my skin felt softer and definitely looked more hydrated (apparently this is because of the moisturising Aloe Vera.) It also has an SPF8 giving you a little added protection everyday – yay.

At work, I am usually rushing from one thing to another and this means I rarely have time to touch up my makeup, so I tend to choose a long lasting makeup and I always prime to even out my skin and keep my makeup lasting longer.

The Nude by Nature Perfecting Primer £22 made my makeup stay put all day without any major touch-ups needed. I do suffer from excess oil on my t-zone and this can often cause my makeup to melt away over the course of the day but I must admit, I definitely noticed I didn’t need to touch it up nearly as often when wearing this primer - leaving my inner self rejoicing each time she looked in the mirror and seen the makeup still in place!

Next up was the Nude by Nature Touch of Glow Highlight Stick £18. During the day I would often apply highlighter under my foundation to give my skin a nice dewy look and this highlighter definitely left my skin glowing. It has a cream to powder texture so it was really easy to blend in and it also comes in 3 different shades so there is a look for everyone. My top tip – apply a little highlighter to your lips to give your lipstick an extra touch of glam!

I am a big fan of loose eyeshadows so I was quite excited to try the Nude by Nature Shimmering Sands Loose Eyeshadow £15 and it definitely did not disappoint! The product has an integrated brush applicator which means it is really easy to use and not as messy as other loose shadows I have used in the past. For dinner with the girls I used the eye shadow to create a bright and luminous look which all the girls complimented me on and it lasted all evening which I loved.

Naturally I have long eye lashes, but I always wear mascara to give them some extra definition. The Allure Defining Mascara £16 was really buildable making it perfect for both day and night, without getting that clumpy look that you can get with mascaras when attempting to build coverage.

It separated and lengthened my lashes beautifully and really opened up my eyes, giving them a gorgeous natural finish. The mascara is also enriched with Pro Vitamin B5 which is great for conditioning your lashes over time – perfect if like me, you wear mascara most days.

On the days that I go makeup free or only apply BB cream, I use concealer to cover any small blemishes that I may have that day. The Nude by Nature Perfecting Concealer £20 was great as it covered everything that I wanted it to whilst also fiving my skin a gorgeous glow – you could even wear this without foundation it is that good and I do not say that lightly!

Next up was the Natural Illusion Pressed Eyeshadow £14 which comes in a range of finishes; matte, satin and sheen, I love the matte shades for everyday looks whilst the satin and sheen shades effortlessly take your look into the evening.

To finish my makeup I would usually add a bit of loose powder to really set my look and keep it lasting longer. The Loose Finishing Powder£22 has a translucent finish so I was able to apply it effortlessly and I noticed that I hardly had to touch up all day, perfect when you’re always on the go.

During summer when I am lucky enough to have a bit of a tan I would often add a bit of bronzer to my face to give my skin a nice ‘summer glow’. The Natural Glow Loose Bronzer £18 definitely left my skin looking naturally radiant, it also naturally adapts to your own skin tone which I loved.

As well as Nude by Nature there were also products from Too Faced, including the Brow Quickie Brush-On Brow Fibre Gel £17. I don’t usually do much to my eye brows as part of my daily routine, but this is an area I would like to start working on and so this was my perfect opportunity! This gel mimics real hair, allowing you to place the product exactly where you need it. The product is also buildable making it easy to use. I noticed a big difference in my eyebrows and they definitely looked full and naturally defined – this has definitely become a makeup bag essential for me!

I also tried the Too Faced Born This Way Concealer £20. After a particularly busy night spent working until after 2am and up again at 7am,  I used this creamy little saviour to cover the dark circles under my eyes – attempting to give me the “I’ve just slept 8 hours look”. It has a complete coverage so it is great for hiding any imperfections and it felt luxuriously soft on the skin, making my sleepless night a lot less obvious!

Also in my little bag of goodies was the Too Faced Natural Love Eyeshadow Palette £52.  Eyeliner and eyeshadow are definitely part of my signature look but I have had a bit of a realisation lately with the fact that so many people find eye makeup absolutely terrifying, if you are one of them then this palette is perfect for you.  It is packed with 30 nude and neutral shadows which range from matte to gorgeous shimmery shades that will take your look from day to night. It is a bit on the pricey side but it is definitely worth it (and so are you!). The eyeshadows are amazingly pigmented and are so easy to blend (perfect if you find blending difficult – the trick is to use a soft brush when blending, aiming to blur the lines of each eye shadow colour). It also comes with a small guide which gives you loads of ideas on different looks.

The last product I tried was the Laura Geller Beach Matte Baked Hydrating Bronzer £33, I am a big fan of the Laura Geller products so I did have high expectations of this product and it definitely did not disappoint! I actually wore this on its own when out running some errands and it give my skin a gorgeous subtle glow that looked completely natural. I plan on using this throughout summer to complement my natural tan.

If you’re looking for some summer inspiration then why not give Debenhams a visit – they are killing it with their beauty selection. With my own search finally over and armed with the latest beauty must-haves, I am now definitely ready - London, here I come.

Until next time,

Cathy x


One thing you’ll rarely hear me complain about is summer. It is my favourite season – fruit is ripe and flowers are blooming, everything seems brighter, fresher, happier even. And that’s just nature!

But summer can wreak havoc with hair. In summer we all want our hair to be glossy and lustrous, but the truth is, summer sunshine combined with humidity, salty sea-water and chlorine-filled pool water (if we are lucky enough to get away) can often leave hair dry, frizzy and brittle. Or just fuzzy and unruly in the case of humidity.  I have A LOT of hair. It’s long and there is lots of it. It’s not coarse, but I am toldby hairdressers that it is very porous, so I tend to look like Julia Roberts circa 1980 instead of the coveted super sleek hair of Jennifer Anniston when it’s left untended. (Although we could all look like that if we were surrounded by hair & beauty teams 24/7…maybe?!)

Step forward Monet Hair - a new salon opened on Belfast’s style mile, the Lisburn Road – whose team invited me in to try the celebrity favourite, QOD 16 week blow dry treatment – an organic luxury hair treatment that “eliminates frizz, rejuvenates and straightens all hair types”. This is like manna from heaven for the girl who washes her hair only twice a week because it’s such a chore to wash, condition and dry/style it. (A 45minute chore at least.) And in fact, I rarely wash it at all – one of my big indulgences is to get a blow dry at least once a week, that’s how bad it is, so of course I jumped at the chance to review QOD.  

My once/twice-weekly blow dry allows me to bring my laptop and work away in peace as I attempt to get through my never-ending to-do list. Next week I am off to London for a month and I definitely don’t fancy paying London blow-dry prices, so a treatment that promises to give me smooth and sleek hair with little work is definitely something that every girl dreams of!

Patrick Mone, owner of Monet Hair greeted me as I entered the salon. The dark green and lavish black interiors create a luxurious feeling and expert-favourite brands, including Label M and Kerastase line the walls. Make up guru Paddy McGurgan has also opened his first concession in the salon (my go-to place whenever I need glammed up - the staff always have me looking & feeling a million dollars) and with salon staff including Jade Martin, a Wella graduate and David Jenkins, Toni & Guy trained with over 15 years’ experience in the industry – I knew I was in expert hands.

My stylist for QOD was David, who told me that this is the perfect treatment if your hair is naturally curly or tends to get quite frizzy. It is also great if, like mine, your hair is very long and therefore takes a long time to wash, dry and style. Between prepping for meetings/doing the school run/making lunches/gymming or the 101 other things that suddenly ALL need to be done before 9 am, it is safe to say most of us don’t have the luxury of time to spend styling our hair. David talked me through how the treatment works explaining that it includes keratin and amino acids, this injection of protein can help repair hair, making damaged hair look and feel healthier. The innovative formula also makes hair easier to manage on a daily basis and encourages hair growth; if that is an area you struggle with.
Once David took a closer look at my hair type and length and the treatment was fully explained to me with all my questions answered (yes the treatment really can make your hair more manageable after a home blow-dry, yes, even after a particularly grueling body pump class) I was reassured and the treatment began.

First up, a deep cleansing shampoo was applied to my hair before being blow-dried until about 80% of the water was removed.

My hair was then parted into sections and a thin layer of the QOD Max Silver was applied all over and left for around 20-30 minutes, allowing me to catch up on some work. David explained to me that this time varies depending on hair thickness/condition. My hair was then rinsed, blow-dried and split into sections before each section was straightened over a very specific ten times to ensure the best results possible. The straightening irons ‘lock in’ the products and ensure they get to work for long-lasting results.

Immediately my hair was noticeably softer, glossier and certainly looked healthier.  Even the colour looked brighter and just, well, NICER! The pre-treatment frizz was gone and my hair no longer looked or felt dry and brittle. David waved me goodbye with a strict warning not to get my hair wet for up to 24 hours after the treatment, I also had to wear my hair down during this time – apparently, tight bobbles or clips can create kinks and can stop the treatment from working. It is advised to wash hair between 24-48 hours after treatment, with 48 hours being the limit – and a sulphate-free shampoo is advised.

There is also no need to worry about any nasty chemicals ruining your hair as QOD is focused on minimising any levels of potent chemicals in their products while still maintaining and improving the long-lasting conditioning effect on your hair – yay!

I am over the moon with the results and can’t wait to see how much easier it makes my hair routine over the next few months. I will be following up my treatment with the QOD Silver shampoo and conditioner as I am told that this helps the treatment last longer.

Monet Hair is the exclusive provider of this treatment in Belfast and I will definitely be returning. I can honestly say, two weeks on, that the treatment has made home blow drying much, much easier! Ta-daaaaah!

For reservations

Monet Hair salon 02890682828

Price starts at £140 and may vary depending on hair type, length and colour/treatment history. 

Love, Cathy x


On one of the hottest days of the year, we arrived at one of my favourite establishments in Belfast – the rooftop bar at the stunning Merchant Hotel for the ‘KISS - Bring the Salon Home’ Summer Party and was immediately transported to a lash & nail beauty paradise!

Upon entering I was given a gorgeous cocktail and took a seat as Paddy McGurgan - make-up artist  extraordinaire and founder of the Makeup Pro Store in Belfast (my go-to place if I ever need to get glammed up – the artists are magical and always leave me looking uh-mazing!) - gave me a lash-over.

The latest in lash innovation, this product delivers the unrivalled beauty of a mink lash – they are plush, voluminous, soft and lustrous, but do not use mink. Instead they combine human and synthetic hair to create a naturally shiny, feather light strip.

Unfortunately, although my lashes are naturally long-ish, they’re quite fair at the ends and in any case, they would never be long enough to compete with false lashes which give me the definition I desire.  I must admit I was really impressed with these and will definitely be purchasing again. There were piles to choose from; I opted for a natural but oh-so-fabulous strip to give my tired eyes a little wake-up call! When applied they felt weightless, comfortable and looked completely natural (they also got me lots of compliments, which is always a good sign!).  I am also told that they can be reused up to 10 times making it a very inexpensive investment!

Next up, it was mani time! Again the choice was endless and after much deliberation, I chose a matte navy shade. The girl applying the nails told me that these were called ‘imPRESS and go’ and that they require no glue – you literally peel off the adhesive, press them on and go with no glue & no drying time.

This works by a super-hold, dual-layer adhesive. Basically the top layer is designed for optimal adhesion to the hard service of the artificial nail and the bottom layer is designed for optimal adhesive to the natural nail and is made with a softer, flexible gel adhesive that fits into the ridges and imperfections of your natural nail. I must admit I was wary at first and immediately doubted their security and ability, however I was soon proven wrong - realising their staying power after a wardrobe-clean up did not budge them - which definitely says something!  Over-using products and not removing gel nails properly has left my nails on the weak side and so this product is the perfect solution, they cause no damage, are easily applied and have a lovely natural finish. Each set includes 30 nails and comes with a mini file and prep pad! At only £7.99 I will definitely be stocking up before I move to London for July - a salon-worthy manicure in minutes – what’s not to love?

Visit www.KISSeurope.uk for more information

KISS products are available at Superdrug stores nationwide (the imPRESS and go nails will be available from 26th July)


Regular readers of my beauty columns and blogs will know that I am a big YON-KA fan, but so, it seems, are millions of others around the world, because I recently learnt that one bottle of the iconic Lotion Yon-ka is sold somewhere in the world every 3 minutes! Maybe it’s because it’s more than just a toner, it is a true phyto-aromatic fountain of beauty, essential for rebalancing and preparing skin for everyday beauty products. This vivifying mist refreshes, tones and purifies the skin and contains the Quintessence Yon-Ka, the DNA of the brand - an exclusive and treasured formula combining 5 essential oils with extraordinary synergetic properties (consisting of lavender, geranium, rosemary, cypress, thyme).

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This summer, Yon-Ka has collaborated with Fifi Mandirac, a French designer full of life, for the limited edition of its LOTION-YON-KA, €33.00|£28.00. Trained graphic designer, she is renowned for her joyful and delicate illustrations for books, materials, posters and stationary. Her retro creations are bold, and their light ,colourful touches perfectly reflect a contemporary aesthetic. Fifi is a master at identifying trends and making them reflect her personal sense of style.

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Yon-Ka’s commitment

And whilst we’re enjoying the pretty aesthetic on the exterior of the packaging, it’s important to nod to the brand for its environmental activity too. Yon-Ka owes everything to nature, and the plant world in particular, so, in 2014, the brand chose to celebrate its 60th anniversary and 60 years of shared complicity with the plant world in its own way by reasserting its environmental commitment via the safeguarding of bees through its support of the association «Un toit pour les abeilles» (A roof for our bees). Beehives were set up across Provence, creating a home for over 400,000 bees! And not only that, for every bottle of Yon-Ka purchased, the company also donates €1 to the association. I think somewhere in the distance I hear the gentle buzz ofhappy bees and the aroma of a very sweet nectar.

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House of Fraser is a one-stop-shop for everything for so many people, so when I heard that they were launching Beauty Spotlight – a revolutionary in-store beauty concept that aims to shine a light on the latest innovations in beauty products - I was more than a little excited.

This concept, a first for the group, aims to bring together an expertly curated selection of products chosen by bloggers and industry insiders which will constantly evolve to keep up with the hottest new launches. Commercially, it allows small brands access to the House of Fraser customer base without the massive expense of a concession – and I like that element of giving the small guys a chance.

As a self-confessed beauty addict who loves trying out the latest pioneering brands, this concept of bringing all of the freshest and most innovative products on the market together in one designated counter definitely has all the ingredients for a winning recipe!

With glossy marble-effect countertops and fun floral prints The Beauty Spotlight counter is aesthetically very pleasing. All the products are easily accessible and trying is compulsory! At the launch, I met with experts from each of the brands who were able to talk me through the different products, before giving me a tailored prescription suited to my own beauty needs. All of the consultants were very friendly and welcoming and immediately put me at ease. Their indepth product knowledge was invaluable and I would definitely recommend speaking to the different specialists from each brand in order to get products tailored to your own skin needs.

I tested the celebrity-favourite Glow Tonic (£18) from London brand Pixi skincare which leaves skin looking radiant (great if, like me, getting a full night’s sleep is practically unheard of as it gives you that “I’ve just had 8 hours sleep” look!). Also, all of the Pixie skincare products have beneficial plant-based ingredients meaning you can apply them guilt-free knowing you are adding nothing but gooey goodness to your skin!

I also tried the Hyaluronic Acid (£6) from The Ordinary – a Deciem brand. In summer my skin can often become dehydrated, so Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is the perfect anecdote, giving skin multi-depth hydration with visible plumping.  The Ordinary also do a 100% organic cold-pressed rose hip seed oil (£9) which smells absolutely divine and is definitely on my wish-list!

Zach from Colour Wow (a hair care line created specifically for coloured hair by beauty innovator Gail Federici, acclaimed hairdresser John Frieda and their team of professional experts) was on hand to style hair and showed me three innovative bionic leave-in tonics (£22) that treat problems associated with colour-treated hair; dryness, breakage and thinning. I was already a fan of WOW having used their powder root touch up products, but the new tonics were fantastic!

There were also award-winning face masks from Nugg (from £3.50) that come in a handy portion-sized pod with each mask targeting different skin care needs (They also do a 100% natural and vegan lip mask leaving lips soft and kissable!) I bought a fab new amazeballs NARS glitter eye shadow/liner and the best metallic shimmer product ever in the form ofthe ICONIC metallic illuminator - both of which I used in Ibiza that night (yes, I flew out right after the launch afternoon). Actually I use the ICONIC almost every time I put on make up and drop a droplet of it into my foundation every time. I have just found out that it is limited edition too, so I have made a note to stock up while I can!

Besides the brands I’ve mentioned, Beauty Spotlight counter customers will also be able to stock up on must-haves from Stila, all the Deciem family brands as well as beauty-staples such as Tangle Teezers, Spectrum brushes, Invisibobbles and Eyelure false eyelashes. In short, Beauty Spotlight is the ultimate destination for shoppers who are looking for the latest in make-up, hair and beauty, I left feeling that that this is exactly what beauty lovers have been waiting for.

And of course, after browsing the various items on offer I left with my bag a little heavier and my purse a little lighter. Standard.

Love Cathy x

*As well as the fab in store counter in Belfast, all of the Beauty Spotlight items are also available at www.houseoffraser.co.uk  meaning you can easily order your favourite items online if you cant get to the store.


Festival season is officially here! As I get ready to hit Belsonic I have picked my festival must-haves. From vivid prints with metallic trainers, straw bags with maxi-dresses and accessories to die for (think mirrored sunglasses, body art, tassel earings and floppy fedoras!) I have it covered…


A cool lightweight anorak is an absolute must-have – here is my pick of the best…

Bring metallic designs into your everyday wardrobe this season with this anorak. Finish the look with a bodysuit and denim shorts.

With slogans taking over the fashion world, this distressed oversized denim jacket is a must have! Turn your casual vibes up a notch with this statement piece or wear in the evening with a slip dress and diamante choker, love! 

This suede jacket with the tassel detail and soft pink colour is definitely on my festival wish list!

Score a wardrobe win this need-right-now metallic jacket! Wear with your favourite outfit to finish off your look.

Stand out in this colourful, embellished denim jacket that will add the edge to any outfit.

With the unpredictable GB weather you’ll be hoping rain does fall with this gorgeous gold rain jacket.


You’ll be doing a whole lotta walking and those masses can leave the ground pretty muddy. One of my ultimate festival rules is good footwear (that still looks great obvs)

You can dance all night long in these cool, yet comfortable silver glitter trainers.

We love the RIRI Puma x Fenty collaboration – slip into this comfy pink bow slippers when the sun comes out.

Because you never know what the NI weather will decide to do- be functional and fashionable in these glitter lace-up wellies.

Hunter wellies are THE must-have festival item. If one thing to be sure of at a festival its to expect a sea of Hunter wellies. Comfy, practical and fashionable – what’s not to love?


I love this long jumpsuit with the halter-style neck and gorgeous leaf print, wear with trainers during the day and add a pair of wedges to take your look into the evening.


Cute, chic and requiring little effort – playsuits are great for festival styling…

This playsuit is bang on trend with the paisley print, kimono style and plunging neckline. Add a choker and some necklaces to complete your look.


High-waisted, denim, printed, short, long – shorts are IN and with so many styles to choose from we have picked our faves…

How cute are these high-waisted shorts with the frill bottom?! And  check out that print – these will definitely have you ticking all the style boxes.

We can’t get enough of these fancy cropped trousers with a fun frill finish. Team with a crop top for some laid-back festival attitude!

PrettyLittleThing Neon Tassel Romper £35.00

PrettyLittleThing Neon Tassel Romper£35.00

This neon tassle dress just screams festival! Stand out from the crowd in this gorgeous piexe from Pretty Little Thing @ Asos.

Keep it cool & casual with this t-shirt style dress covered in graffiti.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, more importantly, when life offers you a lemon dress, make sure you bag it. This lemon print maxi dress is perfect for easy breezy festival evenings. The low V neck is flattering for a larger bust too, whilst the splits ensure you have some movement. Throw on some sandals (or trainers in our case) and the only accessory you’ll need is a cocktail

We’re totally crushin' on crochet right now and this open stitch mini dress is wardrobe win. featuring a supported bardot style, short sleeves and fresh white hue.


From tassels to crochet and everything in between create style envy with these top picks…

Totally lovin’ this loose-fit blouse with the long full sleeves, finished perfectly with some tassels and cute embroidery!

Crop crochet top – do I even need to say anymore?!


We adore these fun heart-shaped tinted glasses! Perfect for adding a little ‘pop’ to your festival look…

Round sunglasses with colourful frame and super stylish mirror lenses oh and just when we thought they couldn’t get better they have 100% UV protection. #winning


Channel your inner hippy goddess with this girly floral headband

This bohemian style feather crown headband with embellished detailing and pompoms is definitely on our festival wishlist!

A fun, new take on the typical headbands often spotted at festivals.

This gorgeous silver bohemian style layered necklace will finish any outfit (we will be wearing ours with the paisley kimono playsuit in this article)

We are totally diggin’ these art deco earrings.

Thank you Topshop – this feather collar is the ultimate festival accessory!

Steal the show with this incredible floral crown from Rock’N’Rose available on Not on the High Street

Luxurious cotton tassels hanging from gold plated filigree earrings – we love.

This year it’s all about the boho and this necklace has been inspired by the magic of Mexico! This stunning Aztec Necklace will look amazing worn on its own or layered up with other necklaces for a totally on trend look.

Sleep in style with this printed tent by Not on the High Street.
The tent comes with a 5w solar panel, lithium solar storage bank and mobile phone/usb charging adaptors!

Don’t miss a shot with this instant Fuji camera in light pink.

This small portable phone charger is the perfect size to fit in your bag and bring along with you this festival season so you don’t miss any photo opportunities.

Stay hydrated in the sun with this funky watermelon water bottle.

Toasting marshmallows just got boozy! This marshmallow toasting kit includes two bags of alcoholic gourmet marshmallow, one non-toxic gel burner and eight bamboo skewers.

Wading through mud, partying in the rain sleeping in wet clothes are a rite of passage for any festival goer. This will help them out!

Music festivals are great fun but even the tiniest of luxuries go a long wan when you haven't changed your clothes, had a wash, eaten warm food or managed to find your tent for three days.

This kit has exacly what any festival goer needs to make their weekend unfortgettable for all the right reasons.

A poncho to keep them warm, a toothbrush and toothpaste to keep them fresh, ear plugs to help them sleep and a multitool so they can open their cold can of beans.


To carry all those festival necessities in style…

Hassel-free, stylish and room for all those beauty must-haves – it gets our vote!

This picnic blanket is round and features a quirky and fun parrot design. It has a buckle to ensure it can always be stored compactly.

This cosmetic bag is the perfect accessory for your glamping or festival experience.

We can’t get enough of the tropical print of this backpack.

Love love love! Packed with everything you need - this little survival kit is essential for anyone attending a festival this year. 

Finish your look with this straw bag with brown leather strap

Dance the night away without worrying about where your bag is with this super cute bumbag!

We know you love a pretty print as much as we do, and we think you'll love this camera bag too. Big enough to fit your essential edit of things, it's perfect for adding a pop of print to your outfit.  And with an adjustable strap, it looks great as a shoulder bag or worn cross body to stay hands-free on the go.


Get festival ready with these must-have beauty items…

You never know what the weather will be like – keep your mascara at bay with this Dior waterproof mascara. Go for blue to give your look an electric edge

When you’re our all day you want lasting power and here it is – apply this to your face before applying foundation to make it stay put all day long.

Apply to the cheekbones or all over the face to give an enviable glow.

All that glitters…These glitter eye liners are perfect for creating the ultimate festival look.

This lipstick in firey orange will add a welcome splash of colour to your lips this festival season. It has fantastic staying power too!

Take your festival makeup to the next level with these 3D floral face decorations.

Make your eyes dazzle with these sequin lashes available from Not on the High Street.

NicLove's cosmetic glitters are an essential product for all makeup bags. These glitters can be worn any day of the week, as an eye shadow, highlighter or perfect for a night out.

These metallic tattoos are inspired by henna and include; bracelets, nail/finger tip and mid finger tattoos.


Check out this ultimate style guide showing you how to wear this festival season’s latest trends.

Grey lyocell dress, £24.99, H&M (hm.com); MAC lipstick in Velvet Teddy, £15.50 (maccosmetics.co.uk); suede biker jacket, £185, Topshop (topshop.com); oversized crystal hoop earrings, Claire’s (claires.co.uk)

Lace top, £29.99, Zara (zara.com); faux leather A-line skirt, £15, Boohoo (boohoo.com); silver bum bag, £11.99, Spiral (spiraluk.com); Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish eye shadow in Comex Platinum, £33.50 (stila.co.uk

Embroidered bralet, £32, Topshop (topshop.com); gold leaf hoop earrings, £6, Asos (asos.com); check trousers, £35.99, Mango (mango.com); Daniel Sandler Luxury Matte Lipstick in Marilyn, £13.25 (escentual.com).

Bomber jacket, £48, River Island (riverisland.com); Rock’n’khol liquid eye pencil in Bedroom Black, £19, Charlotte Tilbury (selfridges.com); blue off-the-shoulder dress, £65, & Other Stories (stories.com); green cat-eye sunglasses, £19.99, Mango (mango.com); Glam Lipgloss in High Society, £7, Nyx (boots.com). 


Environ Hydroboost Facial at Claire Duff Beauty, Dunmurry

At this time of the year, the changing weather can often leave skin dehydrated with the lacklustre reflection of winter seemingly impaled onto our skin. The current weather, combined with pollution, daily stress and everyday activitiesmeans everyone’s skin could do with a little TLC right about now!

Admittedly, I am very lucky to have been blessed with great genes, however as I grow older I have noticed quite a few wrinkles creeping up and, between juggling daily life, full-time work and an energetic 5 year old I was delighted to try the much-reputed Environ Hydroboost facial at Claire Duff Beauty in Dunmurry.

Formulated by Dr Des Fernandes, the world-renowned plastic surgeon, this intensive treatment already has an army of fans including Elle McPherson and Sadie Frost, and is said to be the perfect antidote to dehydrated skin – so it’s exactly what I need. It is a deeply intensive facial that hydrates the skin whilst plumping and firming – and I was more than a little excited for some much-needed ‘Me-Time’. 

Here is my step-by-step

The facial begins with a luxurious pre-cleanse oil before a clay masque is gently massaged into skin. On my visit, Claire then applied a lavishly smooth cleansing formula (giving me two cleanses for the ultimate skin rejuvenation!), before toning using the mild alpha toner, which is available in salon only.

Next, a hydrating serum is applied all over the face. Then, a ceramic wand is glided over the skin, using ultrasound waves to help the hydrating serum penetrate 4000 times deeper into the skin, than by application by hand.

The treatment contains a high percentage of Vitamin A which promotes the production of healthy collagen and elastin – helping to improve the appearance of fine lines as well as lightening pigmentation and improving skin tone. The whole range of Environ Skin Care is packed with powerful antioxidants that protect and nourish skin and after a skin consultation, Claire tailored the products to my own skin type.

FullSizeRender (13).jpg

Next Claire applied the nutrient-rich alginate mask onto my skin, – including covering eyes and mouth – which is a very strange sensation and one that doesn’t seem to suit everyone apparently as only small holes for the nostrils are left for breathing. Ultrasound probes are then attached to the edges which gently pulsed electrical currents through the mask. These gentle currents are impalpable and really help to restore skin by penetrating the layers of skin much more effectively than a topical cream.

Ten minutes later when Claire peeled off the mask I couldn’t believe it when I saw my reflection, the mask had certainly worked its magic and the fine lines around my eyes and mouth were massively reduced. My skin was glowing, plumped and soft and I felt like I was looking at myself 5 years ago – and I do not say that lightly! Claire then applied some eye gel and moisturiser before finished with Environ Sun Care RAD - a revolutionary SPF15 antioxidant sunscreen which protects from both UVA and UVB irradiation.

Claire Duff has worked in a variety of popular spa and salon environments before launching her own small salon in 2015 after 10 years in the business. It is easy to see why her clients continue to come back time and time again – I know this will not be my last visit.

I cannot recommend the Environ Hydro Boost treatment enough, 3 weeks later and my skin still has a youthful glow and is officially ready to step into summer!

Love Cathy x

For Reservations:

Claire Duff Beauty 028 9543 7171


I am sure many of you will agree that trying to be a healthy, happy, full-time working mummy quite often means something’s gotta give. In my case, sleeping is often virtually non-existent as I juggle deadlines, meetings, email mountains, homework, exercise and good eating along with everything else that life throws my way; and this combination means that often, in the midst of everything else, my skin can get neglected too. Therefore as summer approaches I decided to step up my skin routine and paid four weekly visits to Zest Beauty Clinic for some much needed skin therapy over the last month.

The team at Zest recommended that I try the Dermisonic facial which combines LED light therapy, ION treatment and ultrasonic waves for ultimate skin rejuvenation. It is unique to Zest and I think they may be he only ones in Ireland to have this technology - plus Sarah, my therapist, was great too!

The main element in this treatment is the Dermisonic device which has 5 unique functions and is amazing for increasing collagen production, reducing redness, promoting cell renewal as well as increasing circulation. After a skin consultation, Sarah tailored my treatment to my own skin’s needs using fan-favourite Dermalogica products. She explained that when used in conjunction with products, the Dermisonic device works to penetrate the products deeper into the skin. 

This treatment literally transformed my skin and left me with an amazing lustrous glow that lasted for days! I had several comments on how great my skin looked, and believe me, it really was lustrous!

Here is my step by step guide to the Dermisonic Facial,

Dermalogica Precleanse (£34.35)


The treatment started with an oil based pre-cleanser (Dermalogica Precleanse (£34.35) which is used to remove any traces of make-up before an age smart skin resurfacing cleanser was applied. This contains alpha hydroxy acid which helps hydrate and brighten skin.  The dermisonic device was applied firmly against the skin and moved upwards with a relaxing, slow movement as the anti-bacterial LED blue light got to work loosening up any excess oil and impurities for a deeper clean.

Exfoliation came next - my miracle product as it covers everything in one bottle and the multivitamin power exfoliant (Multivitamin power exfoliant (£34.00) used here definitely give my skin an instant boost! The exfoliant was applied to my face and neck and the device gently glided over my skin for 6-8 minutes, drawing out any impurities.

Sarah then applied the Age Smart Complex (£55) which is highly concentrated and rich in vitamin enzymes and proteins stimulating new collagen product and encouraging firmness and elasticity.

A luxurious multivitamin power recovery mask (Multivitamin power recovery mask (35.70) was applied onto the face and neck and the dermisonic device used the anti-aging LED red light to penetrate the nutrient-rich, skincare goodness deeper into the skin.  I lay back and relaxed as the device worked its magic over my face and neck for 16-18 minutes helping to repair and restore any damage.

Using hot mittens, Sarah removed the mask for a lavishly relaxing finish before applying Antioxidant Hyramist, which created an instant firmness as the skin was noticeably lifted and tightened. An eye gel, rich in vitamins A, C & E was applied and as the silicon’s within the gel quickly melted into the skin to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, Sarah applied the Dynamic skin recovery SPF 50 moisturiser. Straight away my skin felt super soft, supple and hydrated. The team at Zest recommend a 6 week course for optimum results, but even after 1 treatment I noticed a big difference with my skin feeling tighter, toned and my fine lines noticeably reduced!

Zest Beauty Clinic has been established for 14 years and, like I said, is the only salon in Ireland who offers the Dermisonic facials. This was my first time trying this treatment and I cannot wait to try it again. For all the ladies (and men!) working long days with tired nights and early mornings – this one is for you! 

The team’s expert knowledge and calm demeanour left me feeling ultimately relaxed and as I confidently walked out with my skin glowing I was already eagerly anticipating my next visit.

To book, call the team at Zest on 028 9062 6555

Cathy xo

Zest Beauty & Tanning Clinic

114 Andersonstown Road, Belfast BT11 9BX

028 9062 6555



Holywood mums can make everything look so easy, but juggling work, kids and not having a glam squad to prep you 24/7, can throw a major wrench in your once pristine skincare routine… I know, I am one of them! In truth, there are mornings I am just about thrown together and barely washed when I get my daughter to school - never mind a beauty routine. Thankfully I am self-employed, so can run to the gym or back home after school drop off to spruce up before I get to my desk or a meeting. So this month, I tapped into a group of busy mummies who I am friends with (our group chat is a movie waiting to happen) and offered them the opportunityto help me review some fab new products which have just become available on www.Cloud10beauty.com - well, it was Mother’s Day after all!

When you get to your 30s (or 40s!) you can become a real self-confessed skincare addict, and I know many of us spend more than we would like to admit on oils that promise to revitalise skin, masks to keep us blemish free and moisturisers which promise to transform skin instantly. As we get older it is no secret that our skin needs that little bit more TLC and, combined with unpredictable weather, air-conditioning, busy lifestyles and everything else daily life throws our way, you could say we need/deserve it.

First up is PAULA’S CHOICE REDNESS RELIEF MINERAL MOISTURIZER (£28.45) which was reviewed by busy mum and double business owner Demelza.

I was excited when I heard that Paula Begone, the leading skincare expert and author had created her own skincare line. Paula has sold over 2.5 million copies of her skincare books and has appeared on the liked of Oprah and Dr Oz to talk all things skin. Using her years of research on skincare she has created a product line using ingredients that are proven to make your skin look younger and appear more radiant, so I had high hopes for her latest range.

Demelza is now well and truly converted, telling me: “After recently being diagnosed with rosacea, which isn't just for old people or heavy drinking males as I had thought, it’s a skin condition that can include stinging sensations, permanent redness and visible blood vessels, I was delighted to be asked to try Paula's Choice Redness relief mineral moisturizer as for months I have been trying lots (and I mean lots!) of different things to make the redness in my pale Irish skin disappear, but to no avail! 

“I don't actually know how much this mineral moisturiser costs but my initial impression of the packaging was that it looked attractive, expensive and contained natural healing ingredients so I couldn't wait to cover my face in it.”

She continued: “The cream itself is cooling and soothing. It’s creamy and white with no green tinge which I was expecting. Once on, it instantly calmed my redness so much so that I didn’t need concealer as well as foundation.

“It does have a distinct smell that I can't put my finger on. It smells organic and earthy - not unpleasant, but I do have other creams that smell so good I wish they were edible! Haven't thought that about this one to be fair, but if it’s doing its job….

“Finally, a big plus for me is it has a SPF30 rating, making it a one-stop option if you’re on the lazier side of beauty regimes like me. I have been using it for over a week now and I am very impressed! The inflamed redness in my skin has definitely reduced.”

The verdict - will Demelza continue to use it? She said a big YES! Will she be buying it? “Most definitely! It protects, calms & moisturises my skin and has enabled me to do the manic morning school run again makeup free without the thoughts running through my head are the other parents wondering... what is going on with her face?!”

So Paula's Choice Redness Relief Mineral Moisturizer is now Demelza's choice!

Next up was another product from the Paula’s Choice range, THE SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA LIQUID (£27.45). Read Katie’s review below;

“I suffered acne as a teenager and throughout my adult life have been prone to break outs. Now in my thirties these breakouts can appear redder and take longer to heal.  I have been using Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid. I had never heard of the brand before (like most busy mums I guess I just stick to the brands I know and without much thought go back to products that I buy time and time again).

“In just over a week the difference in my skin has been amazing, my pores clearer, skin smoother and any blemishes have cleared up in record time. I would also suffer from blackheads and they are disappearing as never before! It is quick to use – I simply apply the liquid to a cotton pad after cleansing and toning and use it every morning and evening. The BHA (beta hydroxy acid) works by exfoliating your skin and cleaning your pores. 

This product is now part of my daily routine and one of my must-have beauty products.  I would recommend it to anyone with problem skin as the results are really so good!”

Noted on the product : Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin

Alpha-H revolutionised skincare with its innovative products. Judith reviewed the ALPHA-HLIQUID GOLD SMOOTHING AND PERFECTING MASK, (£38.95) a top selling product that is a firm favourite all over the world.

Exfoliators are THE miracle product, they cover everything in one bottle, from making skin more radiant to unclogging pores, preventing breakouts and giving skin an instant boost. Aplha-H Liquid Gold Smoothing and Perfecting Mask contains 15% Glycolic Acid which is great for exfoliation, (Alpha-H pioneered the use of Gylcolic Acids in skincare nearly 20 years ago).

This weekly treatment is designed to give a boost to all skin types, particularly dull looking skin and the fast-acting formula means you see instant results and for busy mums on the go that is something we love to hear!

Judith said: “This is a lovely mask to use as it’s really light on the skin and easy to apply. I left it on for 10 minutes and, unlike other masks I have used, it didn’t harden on my face or feel uncomfortable in any way. It was easy to remove and afterwards my skin felt really smooth and refreshed. There was definitely a glow!

“I am looking forward to using this as part of my weekly skincare routine and hope to see a reduction in redness as a result. I loved the scent of it too and later found out that the luxurious mask is enriched with lavender oil, rose oil, wheatgerm oil, macademia seed oil and pure manuka honey to deeply nourish and hydrate. It works by clarifying, exfoliating and brightening skin, leaving you with a beautiful glowing, refined and balanced texture. This product gets a big thumbs up from me!

“Working deep into the skin, rehydrating it and instantly making skin more radiant, I recommend you get your hands on this product, fast!”  

Last but most definitely not least was PESTLE AND MORTAR PURE HYALURONIC SERUM (£35.95) which was reviewed by Edel;

“As a full-time working mum of a very active 5 year old, the skincare routine of my 20’s has been replaced by a pared down selection of old trusted favourites as I hit my 40’s. With a lack of sleep, central heating, office air conditioning and our current cold weather, I don’t have time for fuss but I do need fast results.

My idea of a hydrating serum is of a silk-like cooling lotion that disappears without a trace leaving my skin feeling comfortable and baby soft; something that banishes in an instant, the tightness, sensitivity and dullness of a hardworking, under-pressure skin. This is what I was promised with the Pestle and Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum so, I was like a child on Christmas morning as I opened the simple but apothecary style packaging to find a clear glass bottle with a tear dropper top.

“I dutifully cleansed and toned my skin and applied 2-3 drops and was initially quite pleasantly surprised. My skin felt cool, comfortable and so ridiculously satiny-soft that I couldn’t stop touching it. In short, it felt like a dream.

“A few minutes in however and I just wasn’t loving it quite so much. It was making my skin feel tight. Not to a great extent but enough for me to notice and start to dislike the sensation. Dehydrated skin isn’t necessarily dry, it just needs a boost to feel comfortable but the last thing dehydrated skin needs is to feel tighter.

“Friends and work colleagues remarked that I looked ‘fresher’ but personally, the tightening effect was just too much for me. But then, I used to work on the Clarins counter and didn’t like the Beauty Flash Balm, which most women don’t even notice the effects of on their skin - ‘tightening’ products just aren’t for me I suppose.

“It says on the packaging and on the Pestle and Mortar website that the serum can also be used as a primer under makeup. I tried that option and was much happier. My skin still had the tight feeling although it wasn’t as uncomfortable as when applied under my moisturiser and for a special occasion or a night out it will keep foundation perfectly in place, which is an excellent bonus!

“Verdict: if you have oily to combination skin in need of a little hydration and a touch of firming or want your makeup to stay flawless, then this is for you. If like me, you have dehydrated skin that feels tight and needs a bit of TLC then you’d probably be better off using it under a rich moisturiser.”

So that’s it - my first guest reviewers - now I am wondering if I can christen them my beauty bitches?

As we wave goodbye to the cold(er) weather and step into spring I know I am certainly ready for some much-needed sunshine! (Ok, I know this is NI weather we are talking about, but can’t a gal dream?!)

Catch up next week!



It’s supposed to be spring but I am seriously pale right now. And I know pale is supposed to be interesting, and it’s the favourite skin tone of all those super chic peeps in fashion, but I just look and feel better with a bit of colour on my skin. I’m definitely more Donatella than Stella when it comes to skin tone. There, I said it! Does this make me Eurotrash? Or tacky? Or, god forbid, like a Kardashian?! (Side note: I just don’t get the Kardashians - like, who even are they!?)

Well, even if it does, I’m in an IDC kinda mood, so in this in-betweeny stage of still-feels-like-winter-but-its-not-quite-spring, I take a look at a few of my fave ways to bronze up your body – and your face.

Hoola Zero Tanlines – The Believable All Over Body Bronzer, £30.00

No need to settle for the typical wintery pale complexion with this fab product! With Benefit you can now Hoola your way to a sun kissed bikini bod all year around. “Hoola Zero Tanlines” is a zero mess, zero streak, zero worries solution. With the sponge attached, this lotion is easily applied, without the hassle of using a tanning mit and getting your hands messy. The formula also lasts for 12 hours and stays on when you take your clothes off - even better! You can also use this lotion as much as you want to build up for the perfect bronzed look for your skin tone. Also, forget about that typical ‘self-tan smell’, this product has the full Hawaiian Hoola-la scent! Available at counters everywhere or on www.cloud10beauty.com

Hoola Zero Tanlines - 30 GBP.png

Dew The Hoola - Soft-Matte Liquid Bronzer For Face, £28.00

Sticking with Benefit - “Dew the Hoola” is the perfect product for your face. This soft-matte liquid bronzer gives you a natural sun-kissed look for your face. The Benefit gals claim that it’s a “year-round glow, without the gleam”, and I certainly agree. Use this product either with or without foundation for a matte, au natural look. Most importantly, the lightweight texture of this allows your skin to breathe. I’ve been teaming this product along with Hoola bronzing powder for a perfect tanned look.

Dew The Hoola - 28 GBP.png

Too Faced Sweethearts Bronzer, £25.00

This gorgeous girly heart shaped bronzer gives a shimmering rose gold look – the perfect tone for a spring beauty look. Because of the sheen, I would use this more as a highlighter as it gives that luminous glowing look, perfect for just above your cheek bones. The two shades of the product create a multi-dimensional radiant bronze. Or for that chiselled look, use the two different shades to contour your face.

Ambient Hourglass Lighting Bronzer, £50.00

This Ambient Lighting Bronzer leaves your face naturally GLOWING. The shades of pink and brown tones mixed together give a neutral shimmer which reflects beautifully in the light. This product is so well pigmented that you only have to use a tiny bit each time, meaning it can last AGES! I built this powder for some natural looking contouring.

PUR Glow Together Gradient Matte-Shimmer Powder, £24.00

It’s easy to “glow together” with this PUR gradient matte-shimmer bronzer. With a mix of both matte and shimmering powders, this really fab product gives you an easy to achieve all-over-bronzed look. The bronzing pallet itself is also MASSIVE, meaning you get great value formoney. Plus, you no longer have to buy a separate matte and shimmer powder with this 2-in-1 miracle product, as you switch up between day and night looks. Offering six sun-kissed shades, it is suitable for all skin tones, from a natural tan to a deeper look. And finally, the best part about this “give back, glow forward” product is that a portion ofproceeds from each sale goes to Action Against Hunger, a charity dedicated to ending hunger worldwide. So come on girls, get bronzed up while doing your bit for charity.

Makeup Forever Pro Bronze Fusion, £33.00

Although this brand is usually reputable for its high colour choice, this product gives a sheer finish which can be layered up for a more intense bronzed look. The best part about this product is that it is compatible for all skin types, especially those who may have difficulty with acne-prone skin as it is fragrance free. As this bronzer has gel powder which makes it glide on to both oily and dry skin. This product is also waterproof so it can be worn whatever the weather. 

Diego Dalla Palma Make Up Studio Bronzing Powder, £25.00

Enhance and darken your complexion or create the perfectly contoured look with this soft-focus powder. This bronzer has a deep brown tone so would be suitable for slightly darker complexions or to build up a paler complexion. The perfection effect lightly veils the skin for an airbrushed look. Apply this product generously to cheekbones for a contoured look.

Sisley Phyto-touche Illusion D’ete Sun Glow Bronzing Gel-Powder, £69.50

Last but by no means least… This beautifully sun kissed bronzer has a ‘barely there’ feeling on your skin. Just like a stroke of sun on your cheeks, this bronzing gel powder leaves you with a luminous glow. The powder also has a soft-focus effect which camouflages wrinkles and pores, blending in flawlessly and leaving you with a stunning radiant complexion. I also ADORE the packaging and their products last ages and feel great on the skin… Can you tell I’m a massive Sisley fan…?! 



Recently, in the rush to grab a gift for a friend’s birthday lunch on a Sunday, I ended up in a local salon faced with a whole heap of beauty products and opted for what looked like some pretty staple cleansing options from world-renowned international brand YonKa. But staples these were not - because Yon-ka products are created with plants, fruits, and marine extracts to balance, soothe, revive and rejuvenate. Each ingredient has a specific role to play: fruit acids moisturise and enhance the complexion, vitamins combat free radicals, seaweed re-mineralizes and plant oils nourish and soften.  Of course, I am of the ‘one for you, one for me’ types when it comes to gift buying, so needless to say I picked one for myself too, and the results are fab.

Yon-Ka Gel Nettoyant, £26.50

I’m a suds ‘n’ water kind of girl, so this 2-in-1 azure blue gel for make-up removal and freshness is perfect for me, with its smooth and silky foam.  It gently cleanses and removes make-up from face, eyelids and eyelashes, and purifies and revives the skin. Gentle on the hydrolipid film, it leavesyour skinsupple, fresh and comfortable. You feel clean without feeling ‘stripped’. A delicate balance with a foam cleanser and this one hit the spot for me.

Yon-Ka Lait Nettoyant, £26.50

Silky and delicately scented, this milk is suitable for all skin types. It cleanses and removes make-up from your face, eyelids and eyelashes in a single wipe, and rinses off with water. It respects the hydro-lipid balance.

Yon-Ka Eau Micellaire, £26.50

This micellar water combines expert make-up removing agents and anti-aging prevention elements. In a single wipe, it gently captures impurities and removes make-up perfectly from the face, eyes and lips. No rinsing is required. High tolerance: suitable for sensitive skin and eyes.

Found in over 5000 spas and skin care centres worldwide, Yonka has gained the respect of beauty specialists for its achievements and professionalism over the past 60 years. To find a salon in Ireland, log on to www.yonka.ie

And if you’re anything like me, you look like you have two teeny peep holes for eyes once the make up is removed, so one thing you can plan to add the next day without affecting your skin is a set of Suzanne Jackson’s SoSu lashes, which are available to buy online at Cloud10beauty.com

If you don’t know who Suzanne Jackson is, let me explain, she was one of Ireland’s first beauty bloggers & vloggers with her So Sue Me blog - and, in shopping/fashion, her Primark hauls were once stuff of legend among her followers, spawning shopping sprees across Ireland by her hordes of teen and twenty-something fans.  As is the story for a lot of the early influencers and bloggers, her blog/vlog led to a book, then to appearances at events across Ireland and then to her own ranges of firstly nail products, and more recently, lashes.

On Cloud10Beauty.com you can buy both the Luxury and Premium Lashes from Suzanne’s SoSu by Susanne Jackson ranges. The Luxury Lashes are made with the finest silk and are designed to be worn up to 25 times. They are available in 4 styles – Rosie, Chloe, Kim and Sue. Price €19.95/£16.95.

SoSo by Susanne Jackson Premium Lashes are made with 100% human hair lashes, that will give you the look of naturally full lashes. Available in 8 Styles – Sara, Sophia, Gigi, Ella, Erica, Naomi, Katie and Carla. Price - €5.95/£4.95.

Ella & Erica are personal faves for their slightly more natural look and feel - but there are some really fab party/evening wear styles which will really glam up your look for night time. As always with lashes, the application is a little tricky - but I have found that it is only practice which makes perfect. One tip I learnt from a make up artist friend of mine was to cut the ends off to fit your eyes - this is important as it avoids that obvious, sticky-out bit at the sides. Another tip is to let the glue sit on them for a minute or two to get it properly tacky and sticky. Plus a wee bit of patience and maybe even a squeeze with some special lash tweezers to hold them in place until the glue takes is another good tactic.

Once you have them on, all you need to do is find a handsome man to bat them at - or just a good camera lens for a few pouty selfies with friends of course!

Enjoy! And don’t ‘So Sue Me’ if you get the tweezers in your eyes!


Towards the end of last year, multi-award-winning Irish artist Paddy McGurgan celebrated being awarded the UK franchise of iconic French make up brand MAKE UP FOREVER. I was so personally pleased for Paddy, because quite a few years ago, just before he started his Belfast make up studio and retail adventure, I travelled to Paris with him to meet with the MAKE UP FOREVER people at their amazing HQ in the centre of Paris. I was both his translator and guide as well as just a buddy on a #roadtrip and we had some nice times there.  Paddy has come a long way since – with many accolades under his belt as well as, I’m sure, volumes of stories from his make up journey. Having just worked with Paddy again last week under Charlotte Tilbury for Max Mara and again next week as Paddy’s team joins us backstage at FASHIONWEEK for KARAJA, I am delighted to be collaborating with such a talented guy.

But for now, back to the launch, where I was invited into the MAKE UP PRO store to have my make up done with a selection of the MAKE UP FOREVER products, and I finally made it in at the beginning of February, when I had my make up done for a magazine and blog shoot in my office.

Here’s the scoop:

Any good make up artist worth his or her salt will always start with a primer, and Ellen (Belfast - Head Artist at Make Up Pro Store)  gave me THREE!. She kicked off with a Smoothing Primer by MAKE UP FOREVER (£25.50) which can be applied with your fingers but she used Make up Pro Store Duo Fibre Brush No.1 (£15.00) because it optimises the product application and helps to smooth out any open pores, taking away fine lines, and giving the wearer a smooth base. Then Ellen applied Base Eclat by MAKE UP ATELIER (£22.50), which is an amazing product applied under foundation to give a kind of a glow from within; this is ideal for anyone who finds their skin dry and dull and would like to inject some dew and life back into their skin again, without the designer price tag.  Next up was the MAKE UP ATELIER HD Airbrush Blush in the shade Naked (£14.00). It is a more intense primer to what the Base Eclat is, so they are more or less the same but really brighten up certain areas such as the top of the cheekbones giving them a radiant shine. So finally, after 3 layers of primer (am I really that bad?!!) she went in with the MAKE UP FOREVER Lift Concealer in the shade Number One (£19.95)  which is amazing for brightening underneath the eyes. It lifts and brightens underneath, and is especially good for anyone who is conscious of fine lines or wrinkles under the eye , as it is a lightweight liquid product so does not sit any fine lines or porous areas.

The foundation used was natural beige MAKE UP STUDIO in Face it Light (£24.50) which gives a really full coverage, especially if you want something nice and soft. Then the MAKE UP STUDIO Contour Palette (£37.50)  gave some shape before the powders.

To set the make up underneath the eyes, Ellen used the super matte loose powder by MAKE UP FOREVER powder(£32.50)  because even though we were going for a dewy look, we still needed to make sure that under the eyes don’t crease. This was applied by using a large powder brush and pressing the loose powder to set the foundation, then, very lightly, using the top of the brush buff the powder onto the skin in light circular motions, so to allow the skin to appear flawless.  

For the smoky eye effect  Ellen  started with a transition colour MAKE UP FOREVER Eyeshadow Refill M-720 Apricot £14.50)  just to find out where she wanted to go with my shape. The transition colour is what takes the eye from my natural skin colour into heavier, smokier lid. It’s the base colour; and the colours recommended to me for my eye colour and for the occasion (a blog shoot at my office) were warm brown or cream eyeshadow colours. Then, some dark brown or black was added to the base of the lid to give it that real smoky effect, blending upwards with medium browns, to finally the lighter colours on the lid.  It takes a lot of blending and careful wrist twisting to get the look just right – I was on the make up seat for a good hour on this occasion (she was definitely perfecting her look!!) When I asked Ellen what brushes she recommended or that she used on me, she said her go-to brushes had to be a mixture of Zoeva Eyeshadow Set £75.00 and a few Make up Pro Store No.19 brush (£11.50)  

Finally, for the nude lip, we went with a dark lip liner, MAKE UP FOREVER Aqua Lip Liner in shade 5C (£18.50) which I loved. This is a real handbag must-have as it is waterproof, lasts longer and can withstand an all day wear!  I usually wear dark brown or a dark pink (Oak OR Stone by MAC are among my faves) and follow it up with a nice light gloss. The gloss we used on this occasion was the MAKE UP FOREVER Plexi Gloss (£19.50) because it’s got really strong pigmentation which makes the nude stand out.


There’s little haste at Hastings Culloden Spa – and rightly so, it was a total den of zen for me recently as I tried out their new Spring Spa Experience which has been carefully tailored to ease the face and body out of “hibernation” and refresh and revive skin in preparation for summer.

The package, which is also available at Hastings Slieve Donard Spa in Newcastle, includes a grapefruit and cypress ESPA full body scrub using salt and oil, followed by a revitalising ESPA facial, plus an uplifting scalp massage as well as full use of the spa facilities and a light lunch served in the Zest Juice Bar. The total treatment lasts 1 hour 20 minutes and costs £105 or £135 on Saturdays and Sundays. I was super self-indulgent and upgraded my experience to include a full body massage – and boy was it worth it! I almost floated out of the spa and had the most relaxing, deep sleep that night as well as fresh skin the next morning.

Here’s my step by step:

The treatment begins with ESPA’s ‘detoxifing salt scrub’, a stimulating ritual for renewed radiance.  Its refining natural sea salt and oils gently sweeps away dull cells while invigorating grapefruit, cypress and eucalyptus stimulate circulation and help eliminate toxins.

This is the exfoliation of the ancients and it’s the least pleasant part of the treatment, truth be told, but probably the most beneficial, as it removes dead skin cells and really pumps blood to the surface of the skin, boosting circulation and overall bloodflow to give super powered skin texture and tone.

Detoxifying salt scrub- £37

Detoxifying salt scrub- £37

After a refreshing shower to wash away the salt scrub (this is a DIY bit by the way!) Ilay back down for a revitalising ESPA facial using the ESPA skincare range, and mytherapist tailored my facial to my own skin’s needs.  My therapist Nicole used the following ESPA products on my skin during my facial:

While my facemask melted into the skin and worked its magic, I had an uplifting oriental scalp massage using the award-winning ‘pink hair and scalp mud’ containing apricot kernel oil and red clay to nourish, strengthen and promote healthy, manageable hair.

Pink hair and scalp mud £33

Pink hair and scalp mud £33

Then I upgraded my treatment to include a luxurious full body massage using ESPA aromatherapy body oils to either sooth the mind and body.

ESPA aromatherapy body oil- £33

ESPA aromatherapy body oil- £33

To recap: the Spring Awakening Experience includes:

– Grapefruit and Cypress ESPA Full Body Scrub

– Revitalising ESPA Facial

– Uplifting Scalp Massage

– Plus use of robe, slippers and towels, a delicious light lunch in the Juice Bar and full use of the Spa facilities (pool, sauna, jacuzzi)

Total Treatment duration 1 hour 20 minutes

Spa at Culloden..................... £105 Monday–Friday

Spa at Slieve Donard.......... £115 Monday–Friday

Oh, Go On... Spoil Yourself!

Upgrade to include a Full Body Massage (an extra 55 minutes) for only £70 more


Upgrade to include a Back Massage (an extra 25 minutes) for only £35 more


Extend the luxury with an overnight stay...

B&B from £105 pps at Culloden Estate and Spa

B&B from £75 pps at Slieve Donard Resort and Spa

£30 supplement applies for Saturdays & Sundays at both Spas.

For Reservations

The Spa at Culloden on 028 9042 1135

The Spa at Slieve Donard on 028 4372 6166



FACE | Biotulin versus Botox

I had Botox in 2009 and then again in 2012 after having Valentina (one of my friends gifted it to me as a baby shower present, can you believe that!?) but when that wore off I took a break for a while (because I got an age-defying/wrinkle-hiding fringe cut into my hair) until late last year when I decided I needed a little help to hide the fine wrinkles I had developed on my forehead… Not that there were many to be fair, I am so very thankfully blessed with my mum’s good skin genes, but my age was starting to show a wee bit having recently joined the fab forties; and I wholeheartedly admit that I wanted to keep the battered leather handbag effect at bay until at least 80.

That little blast of Botox has worn off now, (typically the effects last for 3-4 months), so I am pondering going again, but I am afraid of becoming reliant on it or liking it so much I can’t do without it. Is that wrong? Or is that silly? Of course the opposite of the aforementioned old leather handbag face effect is the Bride of Lichtenstein effect - and no one wants to look that overdone. I mean, what did she NOT have for crying out loud?!  So my theory is that when making Botox your  stop clock (or face freezer) of choice, make sure to choose an honest, well qualified practitioner who will not allow you to get overdone and who will responsibly look after your needs.

I highly recommend two practitioners who both come from a medical background - namely Martina Collins on the Lisburn Road in Belfast & the Rejuvenate mobile clinic by Dr McNally who works out of several clinics across NI. Martina has been featured on this blog before with all of her amazing superfacials and wünder treatments that I have trialled and reviewed, (you can find her via www.martinacollins.com) and as a dentist, she knows and understands the anatomy of the face inside out. Literally. When it comes to Botox and fillers, she is known for conservative and careful changes which don’t veer too dramatically from the natural ‘you’. Dr McNally’s website is at www.rejuvenateni.com and has loads of relevant information on all available products and treatments as well as a list of all host clinics across NI. New clients can also call 07701062597 if they prefer to book by phone.

The science behind Botox is that it is a natural, purified protein which reduces the activity of the muscles which cause lines to form over time.  It works by temporarily reducing the contractions of these muscles which cause permanent lines, thereby creating a smoother, rejuvenated appearance. Anti-wrinkle injections are mainly used for the face; most commonly in the forehead, the "11” lines between the eyebrows and the crows’ feet around the eyes. Botox is also offered for treating Hyperhidrosis (excess sweatingof the underarms.) 

Prices for Botox vary depending on practitioners, but small areas can be treated from as little as £120. Some points to note regarding pricing (at most clinics):

  • Both sides of eyes are counted as one area.
  • Forehead is one area
  • Between eye brows is 1 area

And you can have as many or as few areas as you like treated in one session.

For both Martina and Dr McNally, the treatments are carried out in a clinical environment with pre-testing and full consultations plus consent as pre-requisite.

In summary, I would say to go for it if you feel you need a lift. I personally don’t know of any horror stories, but I know there are some out there, and that’s why choosing an expert is key. It is pretty non-invasive as a treatment and the results are anything from good to great - but I think it is important to take a good look at your own face before your consultation and understand what you (think you) want. A good facial doctor will advise and suggest the correct bespoke treatment for you.

If you’re scared on needles, don’t stop reading(!) - this week I started trialling Biotulin - a fantastic bio-organic alternative to injectable Botox  - and the results have been great. It’s no wonder that often-photographed faces including Kate Middleton (I can’t get used to calling her Princess Catherine!) and Michelle Obama are fans. In fact, according to one Hollywood story, it was Kate Middleton who introduced the outgoing FLOTUS to the handy alternative to Botox.

In an interview with Celebrities Style Magazine, Carl Ray, make-up artist to Michelle Obama, revealed that she uses a bio Botox gel to combat wrinkles saying: “….On the recommendation of Kate Middleton, the First Lady uses this bio Botox gel on a regular basis. The effect is unbelievable. One of the constituents of this gel is Spilanthol, a biological local anesthetic extracted from the plant Acmella Oleracea (paracress). Biotulin, as this gel is called, smooths out wrinkles within just one hour.”  

So what exactly is Biotulin? Biotulin is a transparent gel. It smooths out wrinkles – the first results can be seen within just one hour. The result produced by the active ingredient Biotulin® is comparable to that achieved using Botox, yet it is much easier to use as it is applied directly onto the skin instead of being injected. It is available to buy online and costs €49.99 without the special roller and €59.99 with it…  I found this was great for a quick fix, but the effects don’t last more than an eight hour day or an evening out, you have to reapply to get the results each time. And that’s no bad thing, in fact it’s the perfect pre-going-out pick me up ever!


This month French beauty house Clarins brings out its limited edition Contouring Perfection Palette (£36) which comes with a specially shaped curve brush to give the ultimate contour to faces, whatever their shape.  This first contouring palette for the beauty giants will help to create flattering angles which will enhance features for a complexion that is luminous with defined contours and sculpted cheekbones.

The sleekly designed gold box contains three shades perfectly tailored to suit all skin tones. The formula is enriched with plant extracts to nourish the skin, whilst Clarins exclusive Anti-Pollution Complex protects from external aggressors.

Demo’s and trials are available on-counter at Clarins counters nationwide, but, in short, the way to achieve contouring perfection in three easy steps is, I’m told,  by using the matte beige to highlight and illuminate, bronze to add depth and contour and rose to add a pop of colour. And not a Kardashian face in sight.  Simple!

The full downlow is that the highlighting shade creates volume, brightens areas to be highlighted and illuminates the face. This shade should be applied to the arch of the eyebrow, under the eyes, and as a light touch on the upper and lower lip. The contouring shade allows you to hollow, sculpt and reshape your face through an optical effect. It is applied evenly to the forehead, moving down over the temples, beneath the cheekbones, the jawline, along the bridge of the nose and on the chin. The blush shade adds a healthy glow as a finishing touch to the apples of the cheeks. The palette includes a beautifully curved make-up brush which will hug facial contours - and allow for easy application too. Boom!

Also new from Clarins is the Instant Eye Reviver, Multi-Active Eye (15ml, £35 - available from February 2017). This fab new eye care product is inspired by the latest technological advances in plant power, and is aimed at  counteracting the effects of a stressful lifestyle. Late nights, trouble sleeping, hectic days… You know the drill. The ‘science bit’ of it can be explained by understanding that a hectic lifestyle and lack of sleep can lead to an overproduction of free radicals which attack and wear down the fibroblast, the cell responsible for a youthful eye contour, as well as damaging blood capillaries. When a fibroblast becomes worn out, it no longer plays its part in maintaining the skin’s youthfulness, leading to fine lines and a loss of radiance whilst damage to the blood capillaries can make them become more porous, leading to excessive leakage of blood pigments, causing visible damage to the eye contour (that’s when we say hola! to dark circles and puffiness).

The eye contour area is 3-5 times finer than the rest of the face, meaning that it is usually the first to show visible signs of ageing.  Clarins research has shown that the main concern of women in their 30’s & 40s, when it comes to their face, is the eye area, so the refreshing cream-gel texture infused with illuminating pigments, will even out and optically blur the look of fine lines to give an immediate smoothing effect. The cryo-metal tip instantly lightens and brightens the eye area, but users are advised to utilise the pads of the fingers first, applying the cream-gel, pressing lightly for a draining effect from the inner to the outer corner of the eye. Then the cryo-metal tip should be applied in the same way to provide a cooling, de-puffing effect, pressing lightly from the inner to the outer corner of the eye.

At the heart of this product lies teasel extract which is used in two innovative ways. Beneath its prickly exterior, teasel extract helps to revitalise and protect tired, stressed skin by encouraging the production of the energising molecule Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) that helps fight free radicals. And then there’s the encapsulated teasel extract. It’s complex to explain, but Clarins laboratories have used cutting edge technology to develop the Cell Targeting System in which teasel extract is encapsulated for the first time. Once protected from the harmful effects of a stressful lifestyle, the fibroblast is able to stay at full capacity to promote a youthful looking eye area. The encapsulation of the teasel means it directly targets and penetrates the fibroblast where it will release revitalizing teasel, making it 40% more effective in targeting and repairing the fibroblast than if it was not encapsulated.

The fatigue-fighting properties of teasel extract also limit the porosity of blood capillaries helping to fight dark circles and puffiness.

Can I order for life please?!

And just because I spent my late teens and most of my twenties using only Clarins, I thought a little recap from the ‘Multi-Active’ family was timely.

Multi-Active Range Multi-Active Day Cream for All Skin Types

Clarins’ age-defying plant extracts go beyond prevention, helping to visibly correct the appearance of early lines and wrinkles. A perfect formula for neutralising the harmful effects of fatigue, stress, pollution and UV damage — so your skin stays smooth and protected. 50ml jar...£42.00

Multi-Active Day Cream for Dry Skin A rich, moisturising texture, the Multi-Active Day Cream for Dry Skin will nourish and soothe skin whilst fighting the effects of fatigue and stress on the skin. 50ml jar...£42.00

Multi-Active Day Cream SPF20 A silky-smooth cream that will lock in moisture and help to fight the first signs of ageing. Containing SPF 20 skin will stay nourished and protected throughout the day. 50ml jar...£42.00

Multi-Active Lotion SPF15 A light weight lotion to help prevent new wrinkles from forming with SPF 15 protection. A perfect formula for neutralising the harmful effects of fatigue and stress—so your skin stays smooth and protected. 50ml pump bottle...£42.00

Multi-Active Night Cream for Normal to Combination Skin Think of this as eight hours of sleep in a jar. Clarins’ moisture-rich, anti-stress treatment works the nightshift, when skin is most receptive to renewal. Enriched with California Poppy, a flower that closes its petals at night and regenerates itself, you will wake feeling refreshed and revived. 50ml jar...£44.00

Multi-Active Night Cream for Normal to Dry Skin A rich textured cream that works the nightshift, when skin is most receptive to renewal. Enriched with California Poppy, a flower that closes its petals at night and regenerates itself, you will wake feeling refreshed and revived. 50ml jar...£44.00

FACE | INGLOT | Glisten & Gleam

The magic and sparkle of Christmas is most definitely done and dusted, but for many who work during December, their Christmas parties and annual celebrations are just happening now, in January. So it is with those poor souls in mind that I write this week’s Glisten & Gleam blog. (Mind you, I like to think of these guys as lucky souls - I mean, they grab restaurant reservations without waiting lists, get into clubs without queues, and avoid ten-deep masses at the bar for a cocktail…)

Anyway, I digress…. This week I am reviewing the INGLOT ‘The Star in You’ collection, which will send anyone with a Glitter addiction into overdrive. From gilded golds to stunning silvers, this collection is the perfect topping to your party season Glam, even if it is in January. And let’s face it, who wants to give upthe glam anyway, January is just so DULL?!

This collection of treasures boasts 6 brand new shades of AMC Pure Pigment Eyeshadow, 5 brand new shades of Body Sparkles and 4 brand new Nail Enamels.

AMC Pure Pigment Eyeshadow €15

Each Eyeshadow is Dazzlingly Sparkly with super pigmentation and staying power! Use dry to create a subtle wash of sparkle or pair with Inglot’s Duraline €12 for an intense effect.

Body Sparkles €15

Accentuate your eyes with these diamond like sparkles to add the finishing touch to any Glam party look. The Uber sparkly Body Sparkles will be your best friend this dull winter season as you dazzle right through until spring!

Nail Enamel €10

This collection has 4 chrome effect Nail Enamels to complete your look. My fave = the silver one but the pink is super cute too.

Available in INGLOT CastleCourt and Online at www.inglot.ie

FACE | Urban Escape at Belfast Met

New Year, New You? But what if you’ve spent all your money on the Christmas you? And now you’ve nothing left to invest in all the resolutions you made to get your summer body kick started this cold winter?

Well, one thing you can do is cut down on hair and beauty charges by heading along to Urban Escape at Belfast Met – a fully functioning hair and beauty salon which is run by experts and manned by stylists and therapists in training.

It is open every Friday for appointments from 9am-12 midday and the range of treatments serves most beauty purposes – everything from dry flotation tank therapy to massages, waxes, manicures, pedicures and facial treatments as well as a full range of hair treatments and services.

I popped along last month for a fab Dermalogica facial, plus a full body massage AND a blow dry (which turned into a trim) and I loved the treatments and the prices.

I also met some lovely people too – from the older 80-something gentleman who chatted charmingly with me before we both went in for our massages, to my therapists Emma and Georgia plus my hairdresser Michael Keogh who came to Belfast from Dublin a decade ago and hasn’t looked back.

The only downside, if you’re funny like that, is that the beauty therapists work in one large room, with the beauty beds separated by curtains, but this didn’t put me off whatsoever and in fact I heard my older pal chatting away about his joints on another bed nearby – and that brought me a wee smile. The therapists may still be in training but the service I received from Georgia and Emma was amazing – they took direction well when I asked about pressure during massage and later when I (probably very annoyingly) asked Emma what each product was as she worked through the steps of the facial. It’s important to note that most of the staff working on clients here are already out in the beauty industry and not complete rookies going crazy on your skin and hair!

My hairdresser Michael, who works in George salon in Church Lane,  complimented my hair (it is almost as long as Rapunzel’s) but we agreed to chop a bit off to take a few dead ends away. Looking at his photo now I wish he’d actually taken more off – but again, I was very pleased with his work.

All in all I loved the treatments and felt revived and refreshed afterwards. I definitely recommend a trip down – your purse will thank you for it! As will your feet – there is ample car parking underneath the building too.

For further details or to book an appointment contact Sandra on 028 9026 5000 ext. 3299 or email sjohnston@belfastmet.ac.uk 

My product of the week this week is the Skinician Hand Cream:  It’s so important to ensure you protect your hands from the winter elements this season using local product Skinician Luxe Hand Lotion (£15.00 from Skinician.com). The skin on our hands is much thinner than on the rest of our body and therefore much more prone to drying out quickly – particularly when they are regularly exposed at this time of year.  Your hands are also a tell-tale sign of age so be sure to keep yours looking, and feeling, soft and youthful this winter using Skinician’s nourishing combination of soothing Aloe Vera and deeply hydrating Cocoa butter, Shea butter and the ever-reliable Vitamin E.