Monday, 21 December 2009

The Fax Of Life..

The Fax Of Life..

For many, the Filofax recalls memories of Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl or Michael Douglas in Wall Street. It was as much a symbol of aspirational 80's power brokers as having your own penthouse apartment, Porche and brick-sized mobile phone. Though the dominance of computers and Blackberrys may have rung the death knell for personal organizers in The Noughties - there's still a lot to be said for the Filofax. For a start, there's no risk of electronic failure, the battery will never run out (there isn't one) and you've as much chance of dropping it down the loo as you have of seeing Victoria Beckham wearing orthopedic shoes (and let's face it - that's far from likely).

So thank heavens Filofax have launched the Beauty Giftbox - the gift that literally keeps on giving. For a modest £40, you can choose from three stylish designs, a faux-snakeskin number in chic oatmeal (my personal favourite), hot pink leatherette for the Legally Blonde aspirants and a fresco design for the arty crowd. Not only does each one contain a 2010 diary, dividers, address pages and notepaper, it also contains a nifty perfume pen atomiser with spray concealed in the cap. Simply decant your preferred scent into the little bottle and spritz away at your leisure. It's so genius you know that Elle Woods would have used it in Legally Blonde - had she been able to get her hands on one. Sorry Elle! To give Elle even more organiser envy, they've even slipped a compact mirror into the Filofax, so you can discretely check your make-up while pretending to plan world domination - genius!

But what truly marks this out as a remarkable gift is the complimentary beauty voucher (worth up to £100) that comes with it. With the option of one of three treatments, the (very lucky) recipient may choose either a £25 beauty treatment (facials, massages and manicures are on offer), a £40 haircut and finish or a £100 fashion make-over (including hair and make-up) and photographic shoot.

This uber-gift is in very limited supply so snap one up while you have the chance. UK residents will benefit from free postage and packing! / 08705 143 702

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah..

Glory, Glory Hallelujah...

It's always music to my ears when Soap&Glory add to their roster of wonder-products. I have the privilege of testing all the latest skincare and cosmetics on the market. Though, in all honesty, too many brands deliver far more on the marketing spiel and packaging front than they do on the actual efficacy of their products. Not so with Soap&Glory. Indeed, this brand is "Glory" by name and glorious by nature. I reached the ripe but not-so-old age of 28 today. I've always been a firm believer in the mantra that prevention is better than the cure. With this in mind, my mother instilled in me from a young age the importance of looking after my skin. I celebrated yesterday with a slap up Sunday roast with my nearest and dearest. With parched skin dryer than the Sahara courtesy of my central heating and the hideous British weather, I needed some serious cosmetic TLC. So it was a case of "Glory, glory, hallelujah!" when I received four hot new products from Soap&Glory - especially as they all retail for under £12. My care package of sallow skin-busters included:

"You Won't Believe Your Eyes", a tired-eye soothing, brightening and de-puffing miracle in a tube complete with a tri-ball applicator. Suddenly that Garnier caffeine roll-on seems so last year! My fiancee practically ripped this little wonder out of my hands. He suffers from puffy eyes due to his anti-social work schedule. For someone who is a total alpha male - he seemed rather keen on the results. I have a feeling I'm going to have to hide this one. For under eye baggage to rival brand Beckham's Louis Vuitton collection, I used to swear by Hylexin. I have to say this beauty has me converted. It's priced at a wallet-friendly £9. That's a whopping £71 cheaper than Hylexin! Insert your "eye don't believe it" jokes here. With magic numbers like that, I think Soap&Glory should be running the economy! So what makes this miracle in a tube so miraculous? It's all down to the key ingredient LYCD (Live Yeast Cell Derivative), combined with some nifty light reflecting particles to diffuse dark circles. Fashion models have been using haemorrhoid cream to tackle under eye bags for decades - it contains LYCD. Don't ask me why they were using a product designed for derrieres on their eyes. I prefer not to comment - models are often the butt of journalists' jokes and it's time we stopped hating. Though, for all those who've seen Team America, that legendary line "We have lost all intelligence" suddenly springs to mind. I know, I know - meow!

"Night In Shining Armour" is a genius night cream - though use it twice a day and it's guaranteed to visibly smooth, plump and firm skin in just 28 days. A must-have for anyone who wants to say "night, night" to dull, sagging skin. It contains a superpeptide complex to smooth fine lines (clinically proven to decrease wrinkles by 44%), oxygen boosters to impart radiance and EFA antioxidants to tackle the ageing effects of sun damage, urban aggressors and free radicals head-on. Soap&Glory's tag line is "The Clean Of England" but this miracle in a jar gets my vote for the cream of England. Better yet, it smells good enough to eat. Though I think it's best you don't take my last comment literally - even if the skin guru Bharti Vyas does extol the virtues of beauty on the outside starting on the inside. I advise all girls to keep this one under lock and key after they've purchased it - husbands and boyfriends are bound to get their paws on it. Tell them to buy their own, it's only £12!

"No Clogs Allowed Deep Pore Detox Mask" is the face mask that will go where no mask has gone before. Sadly it doesn't banish Crocs - but for a mere £10 and 5 minutes of your time, when massaged onto the face, this self-heating grime-buster will slough off potentially pore-clogging dead skin cells with salicylic acid, to reveal a brighter, fresh-faced you. Possibly the only face mask on the market that shares one similarity with home pregnancy testing kits - it turns blue when it's ready, letting you know it's time to wash and go. It gives a whole new spin to "Here comes the science"!

"Bright Here Bright Now" is like one of the kids from the TV series Heroes, in the sense that the cheerleader girl's super-powers rival those of her parents. In this case, the parents could have been the pricey Clarins' Beauty Flash Balm and Chanel's Le Blanc De Chanel Sheer Illuminating Base. This instant radiance energy balm is priced at just £10 and is ideal for anyone suffering from sleep debt. It will become your best friend during the festive period, it's the perfect pick-me-up for the morning after the night before. Apricot kernel oil provides essential moisture (no doubt stripped from your skin by one-to-many glasses of bubbly), together with skin-soothing aloe vera and the face-firming Instantight2. On the cosmetic front, light diffusing particles offer a complexion-enhancing sheen to add some subtle radiance - taking you from Death Becomes Her to De-Lovely in seconds. In a nut shell, this gem is essentially a face serum/primer hybrid - and a wondrous one at that. Apply as a moisturizer throughout the day whenever you need a complexion pick-me-up or mix a little in with your foundation for a glow-getting gleam.

"The Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser" is the BFF for anyone on a beauty budget - and unlike Paris Hilton, this one won't say "TTYN" (talk to you never) and is guaranteed to stick around (if only in your beauty arsenal). At a modest £9, it's approximately £38 cheaper than the best-selling Eve Lom Cleanser and comes with a muslin cloth included. Those who swear by Eve Lom have to pay an additional £12.23 for a pack of three muslin cloths, which works out at approximately £4.08 for each cloth - far from cheap and not remotely cheerful! This 3-in-1 cleansing balm melts away grime and make-up, while the natural blend of revitalising aromatic essential oils smooth away fine lines, imparting dewy baby-soft skin. What's not to love? Pore blimey, if you ask me, this one's a winner!

The Fab Pore Hot Cloth Cleanser - £9
Bright Here Bright Now - £10
No Clogs Allowed Deep Pore Detox Mask - £10
Night In Shining Armour - £12
You Won't Believe Your Eyes - £9

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

From Tiny Acorns Mighty Oak Trees Grow

From Tiny Acorns Mighty Oak Trees Grow..

Kate Moss was recently quoted as saying "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels". Had she attended the Oak Jeans fashion show at Whisky Mist a few weeks ago she'd probably have said "nothing tastes as good as Oak Jeans feel". Launched in 2006 by British designer Scott Rogers, the label has slowly gained cult status in a heavily saturated market via the patronage of A-List stars and style leaders such as Kirsten Dunst. Kirsten was spotted on the street wearing her Oak Jeans with the supermodels' favourite brands, Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin. The word on the street is that her Oaks had made their way into her wardrobe via an editorial shoot - she nabbed them from the shoot's stylist because she loved them so much. Given that she invariably rocks Chanel Couture on the red carpet, Scott's obviously doing something right. So what is it about Oak Jeans that knocks other popular brands such as J Brand, Seven For All Mankind, Ksubi, Acne, Nudie and Cheap Monday out of the water? For a start, Scott's jeans are priced very competitively. Averaging at £45 a pair - but with hot styles such as the Bristol Grey Acid Wash coming in at a wallet-friendly £40, it's no wonder hipsters the world over are making Oak Jeans their denim brand of choice. The one thing that elevates good jeans to great jeans is undoubtedly the fit. Scott designs all the patterns himself and as a fashion expert, I'm all too aware of the time and effort involved in creating garments with a superb fit. A successfully fitted garment is partly down to an ingenious cut - but a great cut is nothing without the right textiles. Scott painstakingly sources the best textiles from around the world. Many designers manufacture in China, partly due to the cheaper costs and partly due to the seemingly limitless choice of Chinese textiles. The Chinese have a great knack for being able to create (or re-create) virtually any garment, fabric or finish - and all at minimal costs. During my tenure at The Arcadia Group, it was common place for the brands' designers to go on buying trips to the hottest fashion destinations around the world and purchase the cream of the crop of the world's design talent (for inspiration naturally). These carefully sourced garments would then find themselves on a rack, with carefully cut out squares, which in turn found their way to the brands' manufacturers in China, where the Chinese would be instructed to recreate the sampled textiles at a fraction of the cost of the original designer garment. Thankfully, Scott doesn't resort to such low-level tactics when creating his own designs. In every sense, he is a designer's designer, he relies on nothing more than his own innate skill, creativity and resourcefulness. Furthermore, in the interest of bolstering the brand's British heritage, he has actively been seeking out UK textile suppliers and manufacturers, which in turn supports the UK economy. It is these qualities that will undoubtedly see Oak Jeans continue to gain prominence on the fashion stage worldwide. When I asked Scott who his ideal muse would be for an Oak Jeans ad campaign, he replied with the less than obvious response of "Zooey Deschanel", adding that "there's something about her eyes". LA's reigning queen of kook was born into a Hollywood family (her father was a cinematographer) and had a quirky and nomadic lifestyle, growing up in locations as varied as the Seychelles and Yugoslavia. With so many experiences to draw upon, it's no wonder she's carved a niche for herself in the acting world with interesting supporting roles in indie classics such as Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. Kirsten Dunst is already a fan Scott, so I've no doubt that Zooey will be rocking her Oaks in no time at all. As the saying goes "from tiny acorns mighty oak trees grow".