Friday, 18 November 2016


One thing guaranteed to confuse most of us when buying hair appliances is, which one does what job.  Jumbo, infused plates, ceramic, Tourmaline it's a jungle out there when trying to decide what to go for.

No doubt you will see the following on many appliance packaging and so here's some jargon:-

Keratin (/ˈkɛrətɪn/[1][2]) is one of a family of fibrous structural proteins. Keratin is the protein that protects epithelial cells from damage or stress. It is the key structural material making up the outer layer of human skin.

Tourmaline (pronunciation: /ˈtʊərməliːn/ TOOR-mə-leen) is a crystalline boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium.

(taken from Wikipedia). 

Jargon out the way, this year I've decided to focus on a few products that I know you'll find easy to use and, most importantly will use and won't end up under the bed!  Note - I haven't had time to test all of them, but where I did, I've put photos up - please also note I'm not a hairdresser and literally tried once and uploaded the photos. Sometimes that's the best way as gives the most honest approach! Anyway here are my picks:-


Hair tongs have come a long way in recent years, and thank goodness as I've put my hair through damage limitation hell.  These ones have a wide barrel and are infused with the protein Keratin alongside nourishing Argan oil, which means they treat the hair rather than damage it! Within seconds they heat up to 210 degrees, and have an automatic safety shut off point after an hour (anxiety attacks diminished).  Easy to use they are great for glamorous curls and make styling a doddle.


At first glance this looked rather peculiar and erm something not dissimilar to a product on display in Ann Summers (come on we all thought the same). Except it's obviously not. In all seriousness this is by far the grand creme de la creme of hair curlers and for the love of God, I've finally found a hair appliance that I can do myself, without getting into a tizzy. The patented barrel ensures perfect curls each time whether they be medium or large. I've tested on my daughters hair and on mine, so you can see the difference (she has long thick hair, mine is medium length and very fine).  As the barrel is injected with Tourmaline, it promotes healthy and shiny hair! If you check out the website there are some great online tutorials to guide you.


Save space and save time with this fantastic 2 in 1 hair styler that both straightens and gives full on volume and curl.  The styler looks like a curling brush from the outside but opens up to reveal argan oil infused plates, so you can either straighten your hair by clamping between the plates or use the brush to crate an abundance of curls. Argan oil extracts are released as the plates quickly heat up to 210 degrees, which promotes glossy and shiny locks. The bristles are also heat-resistant so that you can feel safe in the knowledge you won't burn your fingers! 

Studio 54 eat your heart out - with the Disco Fever trend still dominating autumn/winter trends, this is all you need to update your look! It's fun, sassy and a little bit Fleur East and will instantly get you in the mood for dancing!  The slim square/barrel heats up to 200 degrees quickly and is ceramic coated to keep hair glossy.  It gives perfect corkscrew hair to all hair types including short and is perfect for a Christmas present.  Here's my after - but please don't judge me - I was in my nightie sans make-up at time of testing, and note the curls do drop slightly if you don't apply hairspray! Oh and a handy tip - for straighter styles but with huge volume, simply place the wand under the root of the hair for an inch lift! 


The Jumbo Juicy Tong isn't just any ordinary tong, no it's actually a hair treatment as the barrel is infused with oils from the Southern Africa.  Mongongo oil, also known as Manketti oil is the key ingredient within the aBunTu oil, a nut from the Mongogo tree.  It's renowned for it's hydrating and regenerating properties and contains natural Vitamin E.  Hair is protected from harsh environmental factors and from the sun, so it's ideal for protecting against heat damage from appliances.  This giant tong is ideal for giving volume to shorter styles or for adding full glamourous curls to medium/longer length hair.  


Finally no more getting tangled up and 'losing it' with the old arm-ache, as quite simply these tongs do the job for you.  Simply place the hair under the clip, press the button and watch as your hair whizzes into the barrel.  It rotates left and right and like many of the others mentioned features, embedded with proteins and oils to give hair nourishment and shine.  There are 14 heat settings, making it ideal for all hair types including those with hair extensions.  Perfect curls are achieved within seconds and brushed through create that 40's glamour.  


Not just any hair straightener, these are possibly the kindest straightener on the market to hair as they have built in sensors that actually detect the moisture level on each hair strand. This enables the plates to adapt temperature according to how dry the hair shaft is.  The technology is so advanced that it actually personalises your hair on a mini computer, and gives feedback on your styling process! If that wasn't enough you can also input other users so you can share with friends, making it personalised to them too!


This is the perfect tool to create waves, be they brushed through and groomed aka Hollywood movie star glamour, or the beach head undone look in which case just crimp and run through with a little salt water! Incredibly compact and light to use, these are ideal for travel and hand luggage.  Again with Tourmaline colour lock technology, this will ensure your hair colour doesn't fade and that your waves will be full of shine! In the photo below I've literally just clamped a couple of sections and it's given me full on body waves in seconds!


Not electrical but the perfect accessory to compliment any hair appliance. This gift set contains miniatures of Label.M's best sellers (note they were the official hair care brand used in London Fashion Week this year). Included is Honey & Oat Shampoo & Conditioner, Protein Spray, Volume Mouse, Dry Shampoo, Hairspray and Shine Mist. Everything is included to create and design all hairstyles from short textures, braids, updos and curls! 

Thursday, 17 November 2016


Yes you read that correctly. I was recently send some Proskin Slim leggings to trial and at first thought as opening the cellophane packaging I wondered what all the fuss was about. Why these leggings had such a huge celebrity following and that my Twitter is dominated by Proskin loving fans.

At first sight they look like any normal pair of lycra leggings, but that's where the similarities stop there. As soon as I put them on they felt like a second skin. Being 5 ft 9 and a size 12-14 I struggle to get any leggings to fit as they kind of drop down gradually throughout the day.  These didn't - they came right up to my waist and snugged close to my skin without any creasing.  I put them on an hour's dog walk test and a 45 minute spinning session test and they didn't budge.

However, I wouldn't be writing up a whole single blog on one item if they were just standard leggings. No, these are simply just magic with groundbreaking technology that helps you lose weight, reduce cellulite and make you look slim as soon as you put them on. I can certainly vouch for the last one, as they did indeed make my legs look more toned.

The secret of these leggings lies in the fabric, which has been created using microencapsulated yarn. These microcapsules contain caffeine, documented to reduce cellulite, Vitamin E to help prevent ageing, ceramides to keep skin smooth, retinol to stimulate collagen production and aloe vera to help calm any inflammation and moisturise skin.  In essence they are a spa treatment within a legging!

So is there a catch - well yes and no, the catch is you must wear them for 8 hours a day for 28 days to get the real effects from the active ingredients encased in the capsules. However, whilst I haven't had time to test them for this long, the reviews and testimonies speak for themselves.  I certainly won't have a problem living in them as they are so very comfortable.

Proskins Slim Leggings are available for £49.95 and come in a huge variety of designs and colours.  Proskins offer a huge abundance of sportswear for women, men and kids, each item offering their own unique properties. Check out their website for further details


Everyone loves a bit of pampering and everyone deserves a bit of pampering! This year I've had the oh so hard task of testing some gorgeous products, which have left me feeling more snoozled than my Christmas Bailey's on ice. Actually that's not exactly true…. the reality has been something like this.

Close bedroom door, run warm water and enthusiastically throw in half a bottle of bubbly (sadly not Prosecco), light a candle or two, grab my trash magazine to make me feel better about yo-yo weight gaining celebs and then just as I'm about to dip in it's……'Mum can you put on Horrid Henry', 'Mum can I have some crisps', 'Mum can you help me with my homework - it's equations (snigger)', 'Mum Rory's chewing the cushions', 'Mum what time is dinner'? Yes all thoughts of relaxation have laughably gone out of the window, whilst the bubbles just dispersed into nothingness.

So the biggest indulgence for me this year would be time, an hour, just me to own that bathtub and to lie back and just think of well nothingness.  If you know someone who deserves some me time, pour her a large glass of bubbly then spoil her with one of these great gifts:-


With a candle for each of Ted's favourite cities across the world, it was only apt that I tested 'London'.  This beautiful candle is infused with Wild Rose and English Leather, making it a unisex scent perfect for creating a homely ambiance and evoking uplifting emotions as well as calm.  The candle aromas were strong enough to fill the whole of the downstairs, without being too 'heady'.


This luxurious body oil contains stem cells extracts from champagne pear, which help strengthen skin cells making this oil not just a feel-good treatment but one that promotes skin health.  The oil has been created by Babor Spa, famous for their high quality products that focus on skin wellness.  This particular oil contains almond, Abyssinian and argan oil and nourishes not only the skin but also the hair shaft, making for a great deep conditioner.  The unisex fragrance is soft, unassuming but earthy and so suitable for both men and women and of course is ideal for massage.


Every year Dermalogica treat us to an abundance of gift sets suited to every skin type, but with extra value for money.  This skin perfecting set contains a full sized primer from the 'AGE Smart' range alongside an overnight repair serum.  Both work in conjunction with each other to make the skin look and feel amazing, smoothing out lines and fighting the effects of ageing.  The primer can be worn alone or under make-up and contains an Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30, and gives the skin a smooth base diffusing fine lines.  The overnight repair contains argan and rose oils, known for giving radiance to the skin as well as extra comfort to dehydrated skin types.


The 'Clear Skin Day In, Day Out' gift set is ideal for teen skin, especially those who suffer with hormonal outbreaks.  It contains travel sizes to introduce your teen to a skincare regime, which is formulated to help cope with spots, acne and blackheads.  The 3 step regime comprises of a foaming wash, to rid skin of excess oils and dead skin cells; daytime treatment to help prevent skin from breaking out and overnight treatment, which contains Salicylic Acid known to be the sword and shield for fighting against congestion and breakouts. The products are suitable for sensitive skin, calming inflammation, which often goes hand in hand with hormonal issues (sadly doesn't work on tantrums!) 


Working alongside the Royal Horticultural Society, Bronnley have released the Poppy Meadow range just in time for Christmas.  Included in this set is the Hand Wash, Hand & Nail Cream and a Glass Nail File (will last for ages), perfect for those cold, chapped hands and dry nails.  As I'm writing this now, I'm looking at the state of my dry hands, with calluses from every day wear and my nails are so rigged they resemble a griddle pan! This set is beautifully scented with red poppy, violet and vanilla making it an absolute pleasure to use.


My mother has exquisite taste in all things clothes and beauty and one of her favourite brands is Fenjal. With prices starting from just £3.52 for the Body Spray, this year I'm treating her to the whole range.  The classic smell is reminiscent of a spa, refreshing, uplifting and rejuvenating, whilst the products themselves are enriched with ingredients such as Soy Oil to cleanse, nourish and leave the skin feeling utterly pampered.


Containing everything you need for a complete spa treatment, this is the ideal antidote for anyone feeling the pressure of time and contains all you need to escape into oblivion. With products to help heal, nourish, soothe and relax both your body, mind and spirit, this really evokes total well-being.  The products contain an Essential Dream Moisturiser, Dream Body Wash, Afternoon Tea Hand Cream, Afternoon Tea Hand Cream & Body Wash and an Emergency Organic Skincare Set. Each product brings it's own special qualities such as the Afternoon Tea Hand Cream, which takes away food odours.  The Dream Body Wash helps relax the mind and body with ingredients that prepare for a goods night sleep.  The value is unbelievable as all the products are of extremely high quality, as Deborah Mitchell only uses only the finest organic essential oils and vitamins. It's a little bit of Heaven.

PATISSERIE DE BAIN prices from £3.99

This delightful brand is like stepping back in time to a vintage sweet shop and emulates all things utterly gorgeous, girly and sweet.  I love the kitsch packaging that will look great on the bathroom shelf, but most of all I love the sugary sweet smell of Cherry Pie that's left lingering on my hands - it's like having the real deal baking in the oven and is making me feel rather hungry! The products are so reasonably priced and make fantastic stocking fillers for anyone who loves a bit of retro! I'm keeping this hand cream in my car - as the fragrance delicately lingers and just about disguises unwanted doggie smells!


It's expensive but this body balm is pure decadence and once applied to your skin feels like you're wearing a veil of fine-spun pure silk.  The beautiful iridescent balm contains rose quartz micro-crystals that gently blankets the skin offering comfort to the driest of skin types.  With an abundance of ingredients to help soothe and nourish such as Passion Flower Seed Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil, both rich in fatty acids your skin will be wrapped in comfort.  The delicate rose scent just sits lightly on the skin, whilst the subtle shimmering rose quartz gives limbs the look of wearing the finest denier silk stockings. The product comes with a soft sponge to layer the balm with one sweep across the skin. 


I would never normally go for a gift just on it's packaging alone but this cannot fail to impress the eye, with the festive berry design etched in gold gilt.  Aside from the box, which I will use each Christmas to give out baked goodies to guests, it contains a full sized Skin Invigorating Bath & Shower Gel, Skin Refreshing Body Lotion, Hand Therapy and an exquisite Porcelain Bird Ornament (for my tree).  Each product is scented with the uplifting and revitalising scent of orange, eucalyptus and sage.  Whilst the nose is encouraged to pick out the light scent of zingy orange above the others, there is unmistakably a base of refreshing eucalyptus and sage in the background.  A wonderful pampering gift that will make you feel all warm inside. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


When it comes to writing up gift guides, the 'For Him' is usually the ones I find the easiest. Purely as the choice is limited to aftershave, XBox games, beer making kits and PS4 games. Give a man 4 hours of uninterrupted game playing and he's bright eyed and bushy tailed.

However, I also know that men do love a Christmas Stocking pun intended (he really will love those too), and so it's nice to show your appreciation of his support by wrapping up some extras under the tree for him.  It's also a great and subtle way to nudge him in the right direction of a skincare regime and and introducing him to something that will make him smell rather pleasant for a change.

Here's my pick this year!

Clinique For Men Kit Voyage £39

This great little kit contains everything for a complete skin care regime, without him having to 'try too hard'.  It contains a face wash, face stub, moisturising lotion and anti-age eye cream in travel sizes so ideal for his gym bag, travel holdall or to try before splashing out on the full size.

The products are formulated for normal to dry skins and each work together to make skin look and feel smoother and brighter.

Clinique For Men anti-fatigue eye gel £24

I have a friend who likes his skincare products and uses this religiously.  It's 100% fragrance free, ophthalmologist and allergy tested so suitable for everyone.  The cooling roll-on gel instantly revives and refreshes tired eyes and is perfect for anyone who has to stare at a computer screen all day.  The best part is the discreetness of the easy roller-ball style, and that the product sinks in quickly so can be used throughout the day.

Label.Men 3-Step Grooming Kit £23.75

Including 2 award winners this mens grooming kit is all he needs to create a variety of hair-styles and textures.  It contains a 250ml Scalp Purifying Shampoo to rid of any excess build-up and dandruff; 100ml Grooming Cream, which can be used as a pre-styling product and to create definition and thickness and finally a 50ml Deconstructor, a paste based creme for more hold and root lift. The products are formulated with ingredients to help promote hair health and prevent scalp irritation. All this encased in a black travel bag, makes it a good all-rounder gift.

Ben Cohen Grooming Tools Facial Styling Kit £19.95

Make sure he doesn't develop a Father Christmas beard this year with this great moustache and beard grooming kit.  It contains a specialised comb and pair of scissors that give detailed precision to keeping his tache just how he likes it and comes in a handy wipe-clean charcoal toiletry bag. It also contains a 5 year guarantee, so should any of the tools lose their usability they will be replaced!

Pall Mall Barbers Cologne Sandalwood & Clove £40

A masculine and fresh scent for men, that's perfect for winter with top notes of spicy cloves, smooth almond, earthy cardamon and base notes of comforting vanilla, sensual tobacco and calming sandalwood.  Ideal for day or night, the smell gently lingers without being over-powering and is suited to the dependable, confident man.

Scuderia Ferrari Black £30

A fragrance for the sporty, zesty and fast-paced living man. This fragrance is sleek and sure to set pulses racing, with essences of sparkling apple, bittersweet plum and spicy warming notes of cardamom and cinnamon.  A blend of woody notes reveal the final layer of this fragrance with cedar wood and amyris wood making it a scent you'll just want to nuzzle up to.

Parlay The Ultra Black Rum 50cl £28

Launched only in July 2016 in the UK, this rum is infused with only the highest quality ingredients.  Let him sit back in his favourite chair and take a glug of this triple distilled rum, containing raisin, tangerine, cherry and vanilla.  The result is a mellow, fruity flavour that will send a ripple of warmth through his entire body.  The bottle is classy in black and gold and the drink itself can be partnered for a cocktail or simply on it's own.

Rituals Maharaja D'Or Oriental Essence £39

Take a journey into the orient with this spicy, warming eau de parfum exclusively launched for winter.  The sleek design mimics the very wearer of this scent, someone who is masculine, confident and has that air of mystery.  With notes of cardamom, pine and patchouli it mimics the aromatic essence of royalty and the utter luxury found within the golden palaces of India.

Corkcicle Air £20

This has to be the ideal present for any wine lover and for men who have everything! Simply use this cork to keep white wine chilled and cool down room-temperature reds to cellar temperature! Not only does it keep wine the perfect temperature but this ingenious product aerates by creating oxygen bubbles as you pour out the drink. This in turn enhances the flavour of all wines! A unique and excellent gift for both men and women!

Men's Heaven by Deborah Mitchell prices from £5.50

A little while back I introduced the boyfriend to some Heaven Skincare and I didn't really expect him to have much of an opinion, as he isn't 'into his skincare' (golf and it's a different story). Well how wrong was I - he absolutely loved it to the point when I asked him for some hints for Christmas he said 'that Heaven cleanse stuff '.  Well luckily for him he's definitely on Ms Claus's good list this Christmas as I'm introducing him to some more products, and yes the Heaven Shave Shower Shampoo Step 1 £37 will be included.  FYI this is a fabulous product that can be used all over the body in the shower as well as a cleanser on the face pre-shave!

Most of you will know I'm personally a huge fan of Deborah Mitchell's range, and this is evident from how many times I've put the brand in the press and online. Quite simply it makes my skin look and feel incredible.  Well if you have a man to buy for who likes the creme de la creme, then this is definitely the brand to go for.  Each product contains  organic, luxury ingredients that soothe the skin, help create a perfect shave and treat the most sensitive of skins.  Go online, browse and I promise you - he will be delighted. 

Friday, 11 November 2016


Every year I fill my rooms with clouds of spicy and sweet smelling aromas. From cinnamon, ginger, clove to sweet mandarin, nutmeg and almond, walking into my house is like taking a sensory trip into The Gingerbread House.

An essence can create an atmosphere, mood and ambiance so it's worth remembering the roles some of some of the main essential oils, and which room to use them in. Remember you can mix and match by choosing single fragrance candles to get a unique aroma for your room.


Here you want to create an uplifting aroma but with warmth as it's the hub of the house. Look for candles and room sprays with citrus fruits, clove, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg essence.  The citrus such as lemon will help keep the mood upbeat, whilst the warming scents create a welcoming effect for guests. Choose spicy and food based aromas over floral as any strong floral mixed in with cooking smells will be too overwhelming.


Warming and relaxing fragrances are the best for the lounge as it's here you'll want to chill for the evening. Choose amber, sandalwood, patchouli, sweet clementine alongside vanilla to create a slightly woody affect mimicking a log fire. Or to keep a party upbeat go for sparkling fruits and floral such as blackcurrant, apple and peony.


The study is where you want to keep your brain working and so choose scents that are revitalising and energetic. Peppermint, fennel and lemongrass will all help relieve stress yet stimulate your senses helping keep you bright eyed and bushy tailed.


Sensual and relaxing fragrances are best suited to the bedroom. Choose jasmine, ylang-ylang and lavender to help you unwind.  If you have a headache or stress try peppermint but be cautious as sometimes the more clarifying an oil it may have the opposite effect and keep you awake.


The bathroom anything goes - this all depends on your mood and if you are going out (then choose invigorating menthol) or getting ready for bed (so go for relaxing)!

Some important tips when using candles:-
  • Use smaller candles for small areas and vice-versa. Alternatively if you have an open plan house it's worth splashing out on one good quality 3 wick candle as the scent will travel.
  • Never use candles to mask unpleasant odours, it doesn't work and can 'confuse the nose' making the smell more prominent.
  • Always leave a candle on a heat-resistant mat or setting and never under a shelf or near a draft.
  • Never leave a candle burning unattended.
  • Keep wicks trimmed to 1/4 inch to prevent dripping.
  • Keep pets away from candles! 
I've been sent some candles to test and here are a few of my favourites:-

Rituals The Ritual of Light Sweet Orange & Cinnamon Limited Edition £21

As you would expect from the warming cinnamon and Christmas sweet orange, this is like walking into a Christingle church service.  The sweet smelling fruit alongside the spicy cinnamon is like a waft of the festive smell you get walking into a coffee shop at Christmas.  It's perfect for the lounge and the reassuring and comforting aroma fills the whole house. Rituals aims to bring the consumer an experience of ancient light ceremonies and soulful living.

Label.m Diamond Dust Candle £FREE with 2 purchases of Diamond Dust Hair Products

I was looking for the RRP and couldn't quite believe it was free with 2 purchases of the newly launched Diamond Dust Hair products.  The smell is a blend of the tropics with floral notes including gardenia gloral, bergamot citrus, flirty tuberose and delicate magnolia, whilst the mellowing base of violet floral and musk is incredibly inviting. 

The products  themselves are label.m's premium range of hair care and including particles of real diamond dust, leaving hair shiny, feeling incredibly silky and with the same beautiful scent as the candle.  The range is 'limited edition' for Christmas and is definitely worth investing in as not only are the products such high quality but the candle smells exquisite.

Bath House Prosecco Candle £14.99

Set the mood and fill your house with party vibes with this distinctive Prosecco candle, that fills the air with the sparkling notes of Prosecco.  It really does feel like you're walking into a bubbly bottle of fizz and makes for a wonderful gift this Christmas. It's light, fruity and perfect for getting the party started!

1001 Remedies PurAir £24

1001 Remedies is a brand concerned for your well-being and as such all their products are made with 100% natural organic essential oils.  A spray of the PurAir does just that, it purifies the air to rid of harmful bacteria, cleanse the air of viruses whilst at the same time treat the mind, body and spirit.  PurAir contains cinnamon essential oil that helps strengthen the immune system and peppermint to invigorate the mind and enliven the spirit. A scent that can be used in the home or office. 

Crabtree & Evelyn London Feast For The Senses £45

Encased in this festive pink box are a trio of candles designed to work in harmony with each other or alone.  Fill your kitchen with the wonderful aromas of rich Festive Fig, your lounge with tantalising and warming Spiced Earl Grey and your bedroom with the delicate but sprightly Rose Pineapple. Your house will come alive with a burst of vibrant scent when used together or as an alternative wrap each one in delicate pink tissue paper and give as individual gifts at the dinner table. 

Heaven by Deborah Mitchell ODE £37

Rich, luxuriating and decadent is how I would describe this candle when lit.  As the aromas seep into the room filling it with warmth and comfort from the amber, agarwood, warm musk and patchouli you'll be transported into a log cabin on a cold wintry night. However, the real benefit of this candle can be felt as the oils can also be used to give you a deep, relaxing massage. Simply light the wick, wait for the candle to melt and then once when cooled slightly, scoop up the oils and massage all over your body. The whole ritual is simply delightful and with the 100% organic ingredients your skin will feel amazing. It's a little treat for your spirit. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016


You love it so they must love it right? No wrong and worst off they may absolutely detest it, so that afternoon spent accumulating a headache from sniffing various scents has been a waste of time. Well it needn't be and not if you spend just a few moments to analyse the kind of person you're buying for.

Fragrance be it eau de parfum or an after-shave is an incredibly personal choice and a very difficult one with so many on the market.  You need to decipher whether that person is romantic, sporty, masculine, edgy etc and the only way you're going to do that is by dropping personal hints, and so buying fragrance is best left for someone you know relatively well!

Here's some tips on deciding the type of fragrance for someone else.  Firstly though remember to only test around 3 a day - anymore and you'll have that dreadful headache and a very confused nose!

 If he's:-
  • Sporty - choose citrus and acqua fragrances that have crisp, clear top notes.
  • Dependable and masculine - choose a fragrance that has woody base notes such as Sandalwood and Vanilla.
  • Outdoorsy - choose notes that mimic the earth such as Oakmoss and Tonka Bean.
If she's:-
  • Romantic - choose floral notes such as Tuberose and Lily of the Valley.
  • Sensual - choose oriental notes such as Ylang Ylang and Jasmine.
  • Sporty - again choose citrus and green notes.
  • Homely - choose a musk with accents of Vanilla.
The Perfume Studio (see below) have this handy reference if you need further guidance!

If you're choosing perfume for yourself it is of course much easier and here are some quick tips to remember:-
  • Test on your wrists and not on the paper testers (although they make for a great scented underwear drawer). 
  • Always wear the fragrance on the warmest parts of your body, such as your wrists and inner elbow.
  • Do not rub in the fragrance as this 'breaks' the bonds down. Simply spray and leave or just dab into your skin.
  • Remember the oils on your skin and how much you sweat will affect the overall smell, meaning what smells great on your friend will be entirely different on yourself!
  • Alcohol and even what you've eaten can alter how a fragrance sits on you. However, rather than shop in the morning you should shop after your body has warmed up, so that you can get an idea of how that fragrance sits on you.
  • Once chosen always ask if they have an mini samples to keep in your gym bag or day bag.
  • Keep your perfume in a cool dark cupboard as they 'go off' quicker if exposed to sunlight. 
  • Make the most of the Christmas gift sets as most include freebies such as shower-gel and body lotions.
Still in need of some ideas? Here are some of my favourites:-

The Perfume Studio London Design Your Own Fragrance £40

Even the hardest person to buy for man or woman would love to receive this gift.  Beautifully encased is a selection of 6 perfume blends Citrus, Green, Fruity, Ozonic, Musky and Gentle Floral, alongside 6 pipettes, 6 scent strips and a 30ml bottle atomiser.  The uniquely chosen blends have been selected by Master Perfumer Francois Robert, to give you the opportunity to create your own signature scent.  With step-by-step instructions you're guided into making a scent that is simply your own. 

It's a fantastic idea and there are 4 types of gift boxes to choose from with the most lavish being the 18 Ultimate blend at £95.  There are also 'day experiences' that you can attend in London - click on their website above for more information.

4711 Original Eau de Cologne Refreshing Tissues £3 and Eau de Cologne £16.95

When a perfume is still going strong after 200 years, then you know the formula is a cult classic. Whilst many have tried and failed to imitate this 'Wonder Water' as it's known, the fact is no-one can as the ingredients have remained a secret to this day.  What we do know is that it's citrus notes are based around lemon, orange, bergamot and lavender. This unisex fragrance is ideal to splash on for a quick pick-me-up after the gym or travelling.  

Estee Lauder Pleasures £50

Many moons ago my boss bought me this perfume as 'I was a pleasure to work with', and it has remained one of my favourites to date.  I think with all the new perfumes on the market it's often we forget the iconic ones and it's a shame as they bring back so many memories.  Pleasures was launched in 1995 and has top notes of lily, violet leaf and middle notes of jasmine, peony, lilac then leaving a woody base note of sandalwood and patchouli. It's suited to a woman who is feminine but confident and is designed to evoke the fragrance flowers give after a moment of rain. 

Clinique Happy Couple Gift Set £25

This gift set includes a Happy Perfume Spray 30ml and a 75ml Body Lotion so an ideal companion for you handbag.  The gift is all wrapped up in a bright 'Liquorice Allsort' box guaranteed to bring a huge smile to the recipients face.  Happy is a perfume that is lively, full of playfulness and full of fruit! With notes such as apple, bergamot, orange, rose, lily, freesia and a base of musk it's definitely for a girl who has that sunny disposition!

Joan Collins I Am Woman Gift Set £50

This gift set incorporates I Am Woman Eau de Parfum, Fragrance Essence and an SPF15 Luxury Body Lotion.  The reason why I wanted to feature this was I put it in the paper around a year ago and had readers thanking me for recommending it. When I took it on air the producer fell in love with it as did my mother.  The top and middle notes dance with citrus blends of lemon, peach nectar, rose, jasmine and rose. However, its the base notes that make this iconic to the Dame we know.  A sultry mix of musk, vanilla and woody notes of sandalwood and cedar make this perfume ideal for those of us who like to tease with eroticism and seductiveness. 

Estee Lauder Wood Mystique £115

Faced with a challenge to provide the consumers of the Middle East with a unisex fragrance was going to be a tough one, but Estee Lauder not only produced a luxury scent but did so incorporating the traditions and heritage of the people.  The result was a mix of sparkling, spicy top notes such Pink Pepper, Precious Rose de Mai Absolute with underlying sensuality from Egyptian Jasmine Absolute and Mimosa Provence Absolute.  The base notes envelop into a creamy, rich smooth blend of leather, patchouli and the unique Agar Wood to leave an enticing, woody, earthy scent that is simply captivating. All of this is cloaked in an opulent and decadent golden bottle. Only the highest quality of essences have been used ensuring this fragrance is in a class of it's own.