My Favourite Autumn & Winter Perfume

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I love this time of year, the turning of the leaves, the crisp breezes and the beautiful autumn light. Whilst in summer I have enjoyed coconut and fruity scents, now the season is changing I find myself wanting something warmer and more complex. I love the smell of roses, in my opinion the most beautiful flower of all. The beautiful Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone is a rich, woody rose that reminds of me of a bunch of red flowers by a wood burning stove. It is actually a fairly simple composition, containing only rose, oud wood, praline and clove however it does not seem simple when worn. I find two spritzes of this beautiful perfume last all day and I can’t see me getting through the bottle for years.

What is your favourite perfume for this time of year?

Evening Skincare Routine Trial: October

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This is the evening routine to go with my morning routine.

I like to use different types of products in the evening as I have usually been wearing a full face of make up during the day and I like my skin to feel thoroughly cleansed afterwards. There are also some products in my evening routine that I don’t use every day but are extra treatments used a couple of times a week. This is what I have been using this month.

Cleanser

I start off with a micellar water to take off my eye make up and a good amount of the rest of my make up. To do this I soak a couple of cotton wool pads and sweep them over my eyes and face. I find my cleanser does a more thorough job if I do this first. My current favourite is the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water which does the job very well. To be honest, I haven’t seen much difference between micellar waters that I have used so I will probably stick to this one as it is inexpensive and does the job.

Once I have done this I use an oil or creamy cleanser, currently the Nuxe Melting Cleansing Gel with Rose Petals. This smells absolutely beautiful and feels lovely and creamy on the skin. I bought it as an alternative to the Clarins Melting Cleansing Gel which I had a sample of and loved. I don’t actually find the texture to be very similar to the Clarins but I like it anyway. To thoroughly remove all traces of my make up I massage in a generous blob and then wipe it away with a soaked, hot flannel. I might run out of this soon, if so I will switch to the Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil.

Toner

I don’t use a toner every evening but a couple of times a week I use the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. This contains glycolic acid amongst other things and does an excellent job of brighting my face, leaving it glowing the next day. It has quite a strong smell like most Clarins products but I love it.

Eye cream

The moisturiser I have chosen irritates my eyes if I get it too close to them so I am using Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Rejuvinating Eye Cream at the moment. This is nice and rich yet still absorbs well. I am concerned that this is a little too rich more me but I will stick with it for the month and see how my skin is at the end of it.

Serum

I like serums that don’t leave my skin feeling like it have a layer of silicone on it and the Vichy Aqualia serum does this perfectly. This gorgeous smelling light serum absorbs quickly and leaves my skin looking radiant and healthy. I will also mention the Vitamin C capsules by The Body Shop. I plan to alternate these with the Vichy serum as I want to test out their brightening effect and to compliment my morning serum (Superfacialist Vitamin C). I must admit one of the reason I want to use them is that I like the little capsules that they come in.

Moisturiser

Oh how I love the smell and texture of Origins High Potency Night-a-Mins. To me it smells of chocolate orange and is a lovely, rich luxurious cream that is a pleasure to apply at night. Even though this seems as if it would be too rich for my oily skin I have not had any problems with it and my skin seems to like it too. My only complaint is that it stings my eyes if it gets too close so I need to be careful when I apply it.

 

Simple Chicken Curry and Mushroom Rice

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I love Indian food and make quite a lot of it but this one doesn’t follow any particular recipe. You can add more chilli if you prefer it hotter but it is very nice without any chilli at all if you have children to feed or you don’t like your food too hot and spicy. I tend to add whatever vegetables I have lying around too.

This is best served with the mushroom rice but is also lovely with plain basmati rice. I almost always use a rice cooker so that I can put it on to cook and leave it while I get on with everything else and not worry too much about getting everything ready at the same time.

This will make two adult portions and some for a toddler and you can always add more chicken if you want it to go further.

For the curry, you will need:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts (depending on size), cut into cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 3 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried chilli (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • Small handful chopped fresh coriander

For the rice:

  • 200g basmati rice, washed
  • Drizzle of sunflower oil
  • 3-4 mushrooms, chopped
  • Half an onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • Pinch cumin seeds
  • Salt, to taste

Start by gently frying the onion for the rice with the cumin seeds. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the rest of the spices, salt and mushrooms and fry for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms start to look cooked. Add you rice to your rice cooker with the correct amount of water and then tip the contents of the frying pan in and start it cooking. If you don’t have a rice cooker you can stir this mixture into a pan of rice part way through cooking.

For the curry, start by gently frying the onion for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to let it brown too quickly. Once it is lightly browned, add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry for another minute or so.

Now add the chicken and all of the dry spices and salt. Keep frying for another minute to seal the chicken and then pour in the tomatoes. I like to fry this mixture quite hot until it dries out and then add and enough water to cover. At this point, bring to the boil for a minute or so and then turn the heat down. This will need to simmer for around 15 minutes minutes, stirring regularly.

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If the curry starts to dry up, add more water and stir.

Once the meat is cooked through, add the yoghurt and chopped fresh coriander. Simmer for another few minutes and then serve with the rice.

Morning Skincare Routine Trial: October

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I love trying out new skincare products but I’m not so sure my skin loves it. Although I don’t have sensitive, irritated skin it has a tendency to get very congested if I use too many rich products, especially as I wear full make up most days. I have decided to trial a skincare routine for a month, sticking to the same products every day to see how my skin reacts. I am hoping that consistency will be the key to keeping my skin clear and blemish free. I have always had oily skin which I hoped would calm down now I am in my early 30s but unfortunately it is still as oily as it has ever been. I get fewer blemishes now but they seem to scar more than they used to. My aim is to find a skincare routine that keeps my pores clear and helps existing marks to fade. To do this I am going to include chemical exfoliants alongside my cleanser, toner, serum and moisturiser.

This is what I have chosen and been using so far in October.

Cleanser

After many years of trying many different cleansers I have settled on using a foaming wash in the shower in the morning as I find it makes my skin feel fresh and clean and keeps my pores clear. I have tried using cream cleansers in the morning but I seem to have more congested skin if I do, even though this isn’t the case in the evening. My morning cleanse is done in the shower and my current favourite product is the Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash from The Body Shop. I love the fresh smell and the fairly gentle foam which gives my face a thorough clean but without making it feel dry. My pores always seem to be well cleaned after using this but I like to follow with a gentle exfoliating toner.

Toner

I don’t always use a toner in the morning but when I do it is currently Eucerin DermoPurifyer. Most days I don’t need it but if my pores need a little extra cleansing or my skin is looking dull then this toner works well. It contains lactic acid which I find is quite gentle on my skin. I have to be careful not to use too much of this and to wipe it off well as it can leave a bit of a residue.

Eye cream

Eye cream is not something I bother to use all that much but as the weather is getting worse and the days are colder I like a bit of extra moisturiser around my eyes. Some moisturisers seem to make my eyes sting so I have been using Eucerin Aquaporin as it is light, gentle and fragrance free.

Serum

I have to be careful with serum and moisturiser as if I use too rich a cream along with serum my skin suffers. The serum I am using at the moment is the Superfacialist Vitamin C Brightening Serum which is very light, absorbs very quickly and smells beautiful (oranges). I don’t know yet if it does brighten my skin as it claims but it certainly feels nice on my skin and gives some extra hydration.

Moisturiser

As I am using a serum at the moment I am sticking to La Roche-Posay Toleriane Fluide moisturiser as it is very, very light and non-greasy. There is no scent and it is designed to suit the most sensitive skin. I don’t find this enough on its own but over serum it is perfect and doesn’t prevent my make up from staying in place by being too greasy an heavy.

If my skin is hit by blemishes I will also use Dr Spot by Soap & Glory. I bought this as a cheaper alternative to the Clinique Clinical Clearing Gel and so far it seems to be working quite well.

So this is everything. I will post my thoughts on this combination of products at the end of the month.

My Favourite Foundations for Autumn


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My skin is quite pale all year round but is especially so once summer is over. I seem to be the palest shade in most ranges and sometimes I can’t get a shade pale enough. During the summer I like to wear lighter bases with a more liquid texture that show a little of my natural complexion but when the weather gets cooler I prefer more coverage and a thicker consistency. These are some of my favourites.

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation

This is a fairly recent discovery for me. I have it in Rose Ivory which is fair and slightly pink toned. I usually prefer more yellow based foundations but the assistant on the counter matched me to this and it is a good match that looks very natural on me. The texture is thick and creamy and you only need the smallest amount for a flawless finish which needs little concealer on my skin. My only complaint is the very strong smell but it doesn’t linger. I find a little goes a very long way if I apply it with my Real Techniques buffing brush.

Dr Jart+ Platinum BB Cream

It took me a while to succumb to the hype with BB creams but when I did this was the first brand I tried. My original purchase was the Regenerating version which I loved instantly for its great coverage and lovely dewy look. This version has a very similar finish but smells a bit nicer (like berries) and gives just a bit more coverage. The lasting power is good as I can get it to last all day at work with just a little powder touch up needed at lunch time. I have tried applying it with my fingers and various brushes but I think this seems to apply best with fingers. As it is so thick it seems a little difficult to blend with a brush. As with many BB creams there is only one shade but it seems to match my autumn skin tone very well. I did try using it in summer but it looked a little pale and grey when I had a slight tan. It is a shame that there aren’t shades available for darker skin tones.

Clarins Everlasting Foundation

I have this in 103 Ivory. The colour is fairly neutral, neither particularly pink or yellow in tone. The lasting power of this foundation is amazing, I can get a whole day in a hot office at any time of year and my face still looks pretty flawless by the end of the day. I don’t even need to use much concealer unless my face is particularly blemished. The smell is quite strong as I find with all Clarins foundations but it is a pleasant smell (of cucumbers) and I can’t detect it once it is on my skin. This is my current favourite foundation and I will definitely repurchase it once I run out. I find this best applied with a buffing brush.

Here are the swatches.

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L-R: Dr Jart Platinum BB Cream, Clarins Everlasting Foundation 103 Ivory, Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation Rose Ivory