world according to sam

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. Mark Twain

Tag: beauty bloggers

 Do I look 60?

A Saturday meander through Boots skincare department to look for a new face cream that would hopefully iron out some of those wrinkles …. And what an array to choose from. So when I was approached by an assistant with the offer of a sample and perhaps a test on the back of my hand I was drawn in … Like a moth to a flame (sucker!)   On closer inspection a new L’Oreal cream was being trialled with the divine and ever youthful  Helen Mirren as the figurehead. Proffering a wrinkly hand I was massaged first with a liquid serum (Glow Re-Activating Essence) followed by a calamine pink cream – L’Oreal Age Perfect Golden Age, Rose ReFortifying Day Cream. Who wouldn’t be drawn in with the promise of ‘re-cushions’ and ‘glow activating’ ? 

Ever the optimist I purchased in a frenzy,  hopeful that my next ‘new to market’ skin cream purchase would truly contain the elixir of youth. On returning home I headed straight to the L’Oreal website to check out the details … And there it was … Skincare for 60 year olds! How rude!

Anyway I have had it for a while now and have been using it diligently. The serum is cooling on the skin but does not feel particularly rich or nourishing, though it is flecked with tiny rose gold particles.  The cream is super thick and almost ‘stiff’ but moisturises well. The packaging and feel of the products are pure luxury but fortunately not the price… And like so many of these large companies nearly always on offer in some form or another at Boots. 

Results – no outbreak, moisturising and gorgeously glamorous packaging   Not sure I am a full convert and can probably be tempted by the next ‘big thing’ however having now finished the moisturising cream and being left with nearly half a bottle of the serum I will probably buy another of the moisturising day cream as I like my skincare to ‘match’ which is totally at odds with many beauty bloggers who have a plethora of products in their bathroom cabinets which they rotate throughout the week! Thinking what to wear takes long enough, introducing a choice of skincare to the fray would be a disaster!


Wake up and smell the roses ….


I have long read about and recognised the benefits of aromatherapy oils but had not realised how instantly soothing fragrances could be – until very recently, that is. Having lost my mother, feeling exhausted from grief, sleepless nights, mental note-making, eulogy writing, choosing music for the service and making sure that everything was right for the funeral, my head felt in a complete fug. Someone gifted me the most thoughtful ‘care package’ that included a delicious lavender body balm from Arbonne. Just opening the blue apothecary style jar and the waft of lavender eased my sore head and eyes. Whilst it is difficult to lift oneself from the melancholy of mourning, I was surprised at how much better I felt, instantly. The lavender really did soothe mind and soul.

Smells are evocative and can transport you to another time, delicious home-baking takes me instantly to my grandmother’s kitchen, the waft of the lightest rock cakes, sticky jam tarts with the shortest pastry cases, coconut dipped madelines and Sunday tea time.  Equally, so too  does the rather more unpleasant smell of boiled eggs! – I spent many an evening hand rolling boiled eggs in sausage-meat and then dipping them in egg and fresh breadcrumbs as part of a Scotch egg production line!  And worse still the embarrassment of carrying the sulphurous smelling eggs on the bus to my Saturday catering job in London’s Marylebone – as a teenager I lived in a permanent state of ‘blush’ and those eggs took my mortification to a whole new level.  So, the good and the bad – all from one kitchen.

Then away from the smells of home, there is fragrance, Aromatics Elixir was my mother’s signature scent and even now that heady combination of rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and vetiver brings her back to me – nestled up to her while she soothed my broken heart or coached me through my next job interview; road trips with her as driver and me as navigator,belting out Brenda Lee songs; the joys of pregnancy and motherhood and all the other occasions that she would hold me close to her.  I smell Aromatics and instantly see her gorgeous red hair and her beaming smile.  Even my children, when they were very small would be out and someone would pass wearing Aromatics or we would pass the Clinique counter in a store and they would say ‘I can smell Nanna!’

Like all the women in my family,  I am a serial monogamist in my relationships with fragrance.  My very first grown up experience with perfume was Anais Anais, sweet, pretty, feminine and perfect for a teenager.  Progressing by way of Trussardi and Claude Montana to Calyx by Prescriptives in the late 80’s.   I wore this on my wedding day and still, 25 years on, it is my favourite scent.  Despite Prescriptives being no more – thank the perfume Gods, Clinique relaunched Calyx early last year. In the interim I moved between Caleche for the Winter and Prada Infusion d’Iris in the Summer, both have Iris as their heart note and the same can be said of Calyx – this is the common denominator of all three scents, although they are very different.  I have a ‘type’ of fragrance, fresh, powdery and soft but distinctive. (The Trussardi and Claude Montana were a deviation from type, powerful, cloying, sweet, nausea inducing! but I can be forgiven as I was looking for something individual)

Which brings me to fragrance layering, one of the greatest compliments I ever receive is if I am told  ‘Ooh you always smell nice‘, I inwardly do a little jig … But of course when you become accustomed to a fragrance you often can’t smell it on yourself. I do have a propensity to ‘go mad’ with my spraying, so if you meet me and I knock your socks off with too much perfume – do tell me!   It helps to create that wafting quality when you use both bath and skin products before adding a final spritz of perfume – always on the skin not on your clothes (it will go stale and may also stain your clothes!) but using a combination of bath/shower and moisturising products will definitely get your scent to linger longer.

And then there was the Virgin Vie incident. Not normally a party plan kind of girl, I offered to help out a friend. As a party hostess you were ‘gifted’ something as recompense for plying your peers with copious amounts of alcohol and an adult crisp. I was rather stuck on what to choose, so they chose for me and gave me some bath products with an Oceanic fragrance.  My youngest son who had an olfactory awareness beyond his years came into the bathroom post shower declaring ‘Ooh mummy, can you smell fish?’  Perhaps more Oceanic than I was ready for!

Ever had any scent mishaps? and what is your favourite scent ever?

Sanctuary Spa Green Lemon & Orange Blossom Bodywash



This has the fragrance of a Luxury Spa but the price tag of a Groupon getaway special! I love the clean, citrus fragrance and that the  body wash is moisturising. So many of these body washes strip the skin of its natural oils and leave your skin tighter than the Bride of Wildensteins.

This is how it’s described on the Sanctuary Spa website

Enriched with moisture beads, this refreshing shower gel when blended with warm water  effortlessly wraps skin in zesty lather for an all over body awakening. Skin is left feeling freshly cleansed, soft & smooth.

True dat ….. I am not normally keen on those bursting bubbles as other products I have tried with similar ‘nano-technology’ leave you covered in little coloured beads that don’t burst and make you feel all warty and horrid – but these do burst as you rub the wash into your skin.  The body wash has a thick consistency which means you don’t tip half of it down the drain and quite often Sanctuary Spa products are available on 3 for 2 at Boots, so great value for money.  I like that the fragrance smells natural and not cloying or synthetically sweet, so even suitable for Mr H, perfect as an everyday shower gel or in the bath.  There is also a body lotion which I am yet to try but I really like to ‘layer’ fragranced products to get long-lasting scent so will definitely try both products together  … my only criticism is Why are the products made in Thailand?   There are plenty of personal care manufacturers in the UK and Europe, the carbon footprint for shipping product all the way from Thailand seems crazy!





Ted Baker Ottoman Experience – Extreme Grooming

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetBefore I continue I think I must make it clear that it was the husband that was being groomed here – not me and whilst my hirsuteness may have increased over the past few years I am not yet in need of a Turkish barber with his arsenal of trimming, burning and cutting weapons of mass reduction!

Cut A Dash at The Ted Baker Ottoman Lounge on Theobalds Road, EC1 is the full works whereby a man puts himself in the hands of a skilled, master barber but this is not for the faint hearted.  Real cut throat razors are used along with flaming tapers to singe hair.  On arrival we are shown downstairs to the Ottoman Lounge, a basement bedecked in  funky wallpaper depicting scissors and cut-throat razors interwoven with Byzantine vines, Turkish coffee and Efes beer are offered up whilst we wait to be shown to the barber’s chair …. lush, traditional leather seats built for comfort. The shop fit is very much Ted Baker, traditional with a quirky twist

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOnce sat in the colossal seat at the Carrera marble vanity unit, so begins the barbering ritual.  After covering up, the head is thrust into a basin, which is pre-fragranced with lemon balm,  a brusque shampoo followed by a rub down with a towel something akin to dog-drying.  This treatment is not for wusses!! Our barber sets to work, nimbly trimming, clipping and shaping hair …. nothing looks precise but it is …. one of the neatest and most thorough haircuts I have ever seen Mr H have,

IMG_4528Another dousing at the lemon balmed sink and back up again to be wrapped in a steaming fragrant towel (it looks like Mr H is grimacing here due to the intensity of the heat, but not sure!) for face kneading and on to commence the removal of facial hair. Plenty of sudsy lather is applied with a traditional badger  brush and then the dangerous part ….. out comes the cut throat razor and the barber deftly clears all facial hair ….. followed with the flaming taper which is run over the skin, exploring both ear and nose orifices on its journey, one almost expects to smell pork crackling ….. Mr H explains later that there was a definite sizzle to this step but was not uncomfortable.  Then on to trimming and threading of eyebrows …. here my heart sinks as I have a terror of men’s eyebrows looking over styled, there is something rather emasculating about eyebrows that are shaped and arched (think Bobby Cole Norris on TOWIE!), but I need not have worried the end result is just a cleaner line, groomed rather than preened.  Another mummification in a steaming towel whilst slowly broiling and a rather brusque arm massage.  Another slathering of the astringent lemon balm certainly lifts Mr H from his state of near slumber (were he a fighting man I think he may well have taken a swipe at his barber assailant).  The whole treatment comes to an end with a firm pummelling of the back, neck and shoulders  ,,, I imagine these guys go home free from tension having taken all the days woes out on their client sat in the seat before them

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And the good news is Mr H can’t wait for the next time …brilliant gift for your significant other!

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