Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush – Luminous Flush

Ok, I’ll be honest here – I know almost nothing about blusher, and my only rule is pretty much ‘as long as there’s no glitter in it and it’s pink’…IMG_7317Make-up is fairly unknown territory to me, because I’m so not a morning person. I’ve never had the time to get into it and actually enjoy the process (it’s a ‘slapping it on with my hand, swiping on some powder and trying not to poke myself with mascara as I put my shoes on at the same time’ situation). Through blogging though, I’ve recently discovered products that are so wonderful, my passion has been well and truly ignited. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush is absolutely one of them.

It goes without saying that this blush is beautiful beyond belief. The marble effect looks so luxurious (I mean, it is luxurious, but it really makes you feel like you’re pampering yourself every time you apply it) and I love the fact that it’s two separate parts of the blush, the powder and the pigment, which are combined once you swirl your brush over it. The pigment is astonishing – I swipe my brush lightly over the blush twice and I’m left with a gorgeously warm pink on my cheeks.

IMG_7716This moody-as-hell morning selfie demonstrates how effortlessly this blush imparts a lovely subtle pink to the cheeks. I put next to no effort into my make-up on weekdays, but now my face looks more alive awake and radiant every day. I adore this shade too – the warm pink is a perfect match for my pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. The shades are really varied though, with lovely options for dark and light skin, with both yellow and blue undertones. Hourglass clearly know not only their lighting, but also their skin colours.

My Geologist boyfriend really liked the fact that Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting products contain diamond powder – he tells me that this has the effect of ‘scattering’ the light. As diamond refracts light a lot, adding the powder to the blush means that light will be refracted in lots of different directions instead of just reflected like with glitter. This gives a sophisticated glow, as opposed to the annoying sparkle of glitter (sorry everyone, I REALLY hate glitter in everyday make-up products). It really does as well – in comparison to any other blusher I’ve tried, there’s something incredibly complex about the colour. It’s not a sheen, but when James explained that the powder would refract light like that, it really made sense.

I absolutely love Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush – it’s so much more than just a blusher, and I really want to give their other Ambient Lighting products a try one day. Get it from Space NK for £28 – link

Learning to love my armpit hair

Today, I went to my first ever yoga class, and I was a bit nervous. Being naturally flexible and weirdly good at balancing (thanks, five years of gymnastic trampolining), actually being able to do the poses wasn’t the thing that was worrying me. My nerves were to do with the fact that I haven’t shaved my underarms for almost a year. I was wearing a vest top and sports bra, and was about to spend an hour with my arms up in the air, surrounded by beautiful strangers.

I love my underarm hair. It’s so soft, and it curls like the hair on my head. My partner thinks it’s pretty. think it’s pretty. The fact that I can have body hair, not worry about people seeing it and still feel confident is a huge thing for me. I struggled with body image until I was about 22, so here I am making myself less attractive in the eyes of society, and I still feel good?!

The yoga class was a blip – I was unsure of the people I’d be around, and knew that if anyone looked at me there was no chance they wouldn’t see my underarms.This experience was definitely the most intense ‘armpit hair display’ I’ve ever had, and I got through it because I knew that I liked my armpit hair, and I wanted to share with you the way that I actually learned to love it. Yep, that’s right, this is my underarm hair beauty routine. And what?

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Step one: Washing. 

My boyfriend sports a lovely Aragorn-style 5 day beard, which looks insanely sexy but has a tendency to scratch my delicate face apart when we make out. When shopping around for something to tame it, we came across this Kalamazoo Beard Wash in Lush and he bought a small tub. A couple of weeks later, he went back to buy this bucket size, because this mixture of pineapple, almond oil, jojoba oil and cupuaçu makes body hair INSANELY soft. I asked James if I could try it on my underarm hair one morning and he enthusiastically agreed, and ever since my hair has been baby soft and super smooth.

Step two: Deodorise. 

I haven’t used anti-perspirant for almost a year. Natural deodorants are great as they allow you to sweat (which you NEED to do) but if used correctly, do help prevent body odour. I use Pit Rok Spray in the morning, as this prevents the smell, and then Weleda Sage Deodorant later in the day if I need to cover up. I’ve tried tonnes of natural deos, and these are definitely the best. I keep my arms pressed to my sides to make sure the liquid gets through the hair and all over my skin.

Step three: Conditioning.

Using oil on your armpit hair is entirely optional, I usually only do it when I’m wearing something sleeveless. It is, however, the most absolutely gorgeous thing you can do with your underarm hair, and an excellent way of feeling more confident about it. When you lift your arm up to point at something and are greeted with the smell of some beautiful essential oils, how could you, or anyone else, think anything bad about your body hair? It smells of flowers and fruits! I had this little bottle of Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil and have been using that because it smells divine and my hair loves it – while it’s pricey, I am SO tempted to buy some more when it runs out. But I’ve also recently bought some Elbow Grease, a exclusive Lush Oxford Street product that is without a shadow of a doubt the most gorgeous collection of oils EVER. It melts into skin and hair immediately, and actually smells just like my Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger perfume. When I put oil on my armpit hair, I like to comb it through with an eyelash comb. You’d be surprised how tangled  an inch of armpit hair can get! It curls and sits beautifully after I do this (and no, it doesn’t look greasy, the hair is too thick for that!)

Step four: Nighttime. 

I often shower before bed rather than in the morning as it helps me sleep, and as part of my night time skincare routine, I always sprinkle some dusting powder on my underarms to make sure they’re fresh in the morning. If I’m showering in the morning instead, I don’t bother, but it’s lovely to go to bed with fragrant, dusted underarms. Lush’s dusting powders are the only ones worth using if you ask me, and their Princess Dusting Powder, bought for me as an in-joke gift by my boyfriend (and another Oxford Street Exclusive), is gorgeous. Silky Underwear is another stunning option that I’ve raved about before.

So that’s how I grew to really enjoy, embrace and normalise having underarm hair! Is it different? Yes. Do I care? Hell no, I’m having SO much fun. One day I might even dye it green. 

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

Hand creams and I, we have a special relationship. Being something of a germophobe, and having naturally really dry hands (thanks dad), balms, creams and lotions have their work cut out when they meet me. I reviewed a lot of mediocre hand creams back in the day, but I’ve decided that now, I’ll ONLY be reviewing the creams that really make me go wow. Maybe when I accumulate a load of crap ones I’ll do a post on them, but for now, lets focus on Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm.IMG_6761

The nourishing ingredients packed into this botanical mixture, are quite something. Shea butter, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, cetaryl alcohol (a fatty acid and amazing moisturiser), glycerin, cocoa butter, wheatgerm oil AND soybean oil. Like, whaaaat? Most hand creams would only contain one or two of these, but the combination of all of them means you get all of their individual benefits too. For example, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, almond oil helps to protect the skin and wheatgerm oil is high in antioxidant vitamin E. The texture of the cream is gorgeous, while it’s an incredibly rich balm it melts into the skin so easily. The perfect combination of nourishment and easy-absorbency for any busy person with a dry hand problem.

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The botanical ingredients in Resurrection Aromatique are seriously out of this world. Orange, cedarwood, lavender, grapefruit and rosemary combine to make an intense and complex fragrance, that really does bring the senses to life. There are so many amazing ingredients in this balm, I want to talk about them all! There’s soothing aloe vera, anti-ageing tocopherol and carrot oil in there too.

So on paper this sounds like the best hand cream around, right? I have to say, I genuinely think it’s one of my favourites. I use it every morning before work (I massage it in while I’m walking out of my flat, covers up the smell of central London nicely) and it absorbs really well. Since using this I’ve realised that not only have I stopped having to use a hand cream throughout the day, my hands now look younger too! If you have constantly dry hands, this is such a good option for you, I cannot recommend it enough. It certainly isn’t a budget product, but at £21 for a 75ml tube, it’s not the costliest, and the luxurious formula really is worth it, especially if you struggle to find good hand creams. Get it here – link.

I’m really keen to try more of Aesop’s products, do you have any recommendations?

Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

I have a weird problem with sunscreens. There are chemicals in most of them my facial skin reacts to, even though it isn’t really that sensitive to anything else. My skin breaks out in blotches, and feels hot. Believe me when I say I wasn’t expecting to find a solution, especially not one so pleasant and protective as Benefit Dream Screen!

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I’ve recently woken up to the fact that I’m in my mid-twenties, and have never used regular sun protection unless it’s the SPF 15 I used to get in my foundation. Did you know that sun damage breaks down the collagen in your skin more than anything else, including poor skincare and even ageing? Especially when you’re as pasty as I am, you need something high protection otherwise you’re screwed.  So when I was pottering around a Benefit stand a while ago I decided to ask for a sample. The lady gave me two little tubs which lasted for ages – giving me more than enough time to know that my skin loved it.

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A couple of things I’ve read about Dream Screen moan that it makes your skin feel greasy – if you’ve read that too (because let’s face it, it’s impossible to avoid paula’s fucking choice when looking for reviews) let me tell you that it’s a load of rubbish. When your skin feels greasy it feels like there’s thick oil covering it, when you put this on, it feels silky. Soft, matt, calm, smooth and ready for anything, including fierce summer sun.
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It sinks into your skin immediately, leaving invisible, broad spectrum and incredibly high protection as well as a soft, gorgeous feeling. It sits under my makeup perfectly, and I’ve been using it instead of my primer this summer. Since I started using it my skin has stayed exactly the same colour, so I’m confident the protection is exactly what they say it is. Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 is an amazing solution for anyone who usually struggles with sun protection, as well as anyone looking for gorgeous, fuss free sun care. Get it on Feel Unique for £25 – link

Beauty Wishlist for Summer

I’ve never done one of these before, but there are certainly a lot of products I’ve been mentally wishlisting lately so I thought I’d make physical note, and you never know, you might get some summer inspiration too!wishlist

1. Jurlique Rose Finishing Powder – My No.7 Translucent Powder is about to run out, and I’ve been lusting after this light, gorgeously scented rose powder for as long as I’ve known what Jurlique is. I’m pretty sure it can be used over makeup, and if so, this is definitely my powder most wanted.

2. Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick – How on earth could you not want this in your life. First of all I tried it on my hand in Space NK and the colour was stunning – it’s a slightly translucent, beautiful pink, which is perfect for me because thick, heavily pigmented lipsticks just don’t work for me. I never really put anything luxurious on my lips, so this would be a lovely change.

3. Mario Badescu Flower Tonic Mask – I’m an absolute sucker for anything with a name like ‘Flower Tonic’ so this was always going to be on my list. However after reading that the ingredients include kaolin and Balsam of Peru (an extraordinarily effective healing extract) I was desperate to try it. Pore-clarifying and healing are two things my skin really needs.

4. Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – Living right up to the stereotype I made for myself in the previous paragraph, the name of this scrub got my attention right away. However this does look amazing, with extracts of basically everything you need to restore a healthy, glowing and balanced complexion. Ginger, gingko, green tea, aloe and coconut together with palm seed powder to buff away dead skin….like…hell yes.

5. Philip Kingsley Geranium and Neroli Elasticizer – The reviews of this stuff are amazing, as are the awards it’s been lauded with. I love the idea of a ‘pre-shampoo’, as well as the fact that you can sleep with it on your hair. I’ve never actually seen it in stores so I have no idea what it smells like, but I can’t see how it wouldn’t be absolutely gorgeous. I just can’t shake the idea that my hair would be left silky smooth after using this, so I shall have  to try it.

6. Sukin Natural Deodorant – I’m anti antiperspirant, but the summer heat in London is proving too much for the lovely Deo My BO solid deodorant bar from Lush (despite it working wonderfully before it got so hot!) I definitely want to give this one a try, as I love everything I’ve tried from Sukin so far.

7. Frog Prince Wash Bag from Catseye – I’ve been lusting after this for over a year – I love the happy, cute design and it’s the perfect size for all the stuff I bring with me everywhere. Really I should just get a grip and buy it, but every time I go into Selfridge’s and see it, it just seems so frivolous (it isn’t, it’s only £15 so I don’t know what I’m on about really).

8. & Other Stories Nail Colour in Dot Peach – I recently bought the most gorgeous sandals from Topshop, but I need a muted nail colour to go with my work clothes. & Other Stories have really lovely nail polishes, and I adore this cute pink colour.

9. Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads – I’m really curious about these. Both my boyfriend and I get ingrown hairs occasionally (it’s really common for guys to get these on their legs!) and they’re bloody annoying, so if these work it would be fantastic – it is shorts season after all!

What’s on your summer wishlist? Any of these?

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Ooohhhhkay. This stuff. If you buy nothing else new this summer, make it this stuff. Brace yourselves, becasuse this post will contain nothing but love, praise and adoration for Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater. Read on to find out why I love it so much!

IMG_6942I’ve never been into facial sprays or toners really. Having tried a few options from The Body Shop, Boots etc, I was never sold. Really, it just felt like I was adding more stuff to my face that it didn’t really need. That was until Urban Outfitters started selling the super-cool cult brand Mario Badescu. Obviously intrigued, I had a good poke around at the products and as soon as I smelled this stuff I picked it up and bought it. Seriously, the smell is gorgeous. It’s rose, but it’s really refreshing and bright, not cloying – although I adore anything that smells of rose, I know some people don’t like that super perfumey rose scent, and this definitely isn’t like that.

Now, the lovely smell and the refreshing feeling when you spray it would be enough to make it a wonderful product for summer. But Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray does SO much more than that. It was only after a few days of use that I noticed my skin was suddenly much brighter and softer than it had been in ages. It was like this spray, with it’s rose, thyme, seaweed, gardenia and aloe extracts, had given my skin a serious boost that meant I could get away with half the amount of makeup I usually wear! My skin has been glowing.

This Facial Spray is the perfect addition to your skincare routine for summer – I use it after I get out of the shower before applying my serum and facial oil (yeah, I use facial oil all year round, don’t ask). It’s such a great way of giving your skin some serious love in the summer, keeping your face looking gorgeous while you wear lighter makeup, or even go without. This stuff has become one of my summer must haves! Plus, it’s like £5 on BeautyBay.com so you have no reason not to try it! I’m totally in love with Mario Badescu as a brand, and can’t wait to try more of their products. What are your summer essentials?

Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger

A few weeks ago we visited Kew Gardens, when the rhododendron flowers we out and the entire place was peppered with their brightly coloured, delicate petals. As I wandered along a path bursting with white and cream flowers, my nose was suddenly full of an astonishing scent.
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I wandered around smelling the flowers for ages, saying to my boyfriend ‘Where on earth is that smell coming from, it’s beautiful!’ until a lady with a pram behind me said ‘oh, um…I think it might be my perfume’. And yep, it was. She kindly told me the name so I could note it down on my phone, and as soon as we were on the bus home I had it in my Feel Unique basket.

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Fleur d’Oranger is blossomy, sweet and springy, with a warm, glowing basenote that reminds me of rain hitting the hot ground at the start of a thunderstorm. The sweet notes are so perfectly balanced, it’s incredibly delicate but there’s some strength to it, and on my skin at least, it has serious staying power. It smells like all my favourite parts of nature rolled into one perfect bottle. This is the perfect, perfect summer perfume, and I honestly think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever smelled.

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If you like sweet, blossomy scents with a seriously deep and interesting side, this is the one for you. Find it on Feel Unique. It makes me feel special, sexy, happy and fresh, all day long!

Benefit Bathina “Take a picture…it lasts longer…” Review

I have wanted this stuff foreeeever. In my early teens I thought Benefit and Lush were the ultimate in beauty, and I was obsessed with their quirky, cool products. Bathina “Take a picture…it lasts longer” like Silky Underwear from Lush, has been on my wishlist since I was about 13. So the other day when I was faffing around on Feel Unique I decided to treat myself, because I’m an adult now (right?) and I have disposable income (…right?)

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Let’s not dwell on how stereotypically 90s kid it is of me to buy what is essentially glorified body glitter. To be fair, it does pack an impressive shimmer, but it’s so much more than that. The glitter is a warm golden colour and the balm is a beautiful pink, so when it reflects in the light it gives this gorgeous peachy shimmer. Perfect for people who don’t tan, and so have no use for bronzer.

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The scent is ludicrously gorgeous, and has some serious staying power. I’ve worn it on bare legs (hellooooo summer!) for the past two days and not only have they been gorgeously shimmery every time I look down, they’ve been silky soft and lightly scented. Something in the fragrance reminds me of summer really vividly, in the same way that suntan lotion always does. This is such a gorgeous treat for the warmer months, and if like me you just do not tan, this’ll give you a break from that milk-bottle leg feeling.

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I did a silly little summer leg shaving ‘step by step’ the other day where I recommended Silky Underwear Dusting Powder or Korres Bergamot Pear Body Milk as the final step – but I think it’s safe to say that this is the perfect finishing touch. Get it from Feel Unique for £23.50 – go on, treat yo self.

Lush Oxford Street Exclusives – Rosy Cheeks Mask and Deo My B.O. Deodorant

When you walk into Lush Oxford Street and are immediately greeted by that trademark scent, combined with the scent of 200 new products you can’t get anywhere else, it’s quite an experience for anyone. Let alone someone like me who’s basically been obsessed with Lush from the get-go. I couldn’t wait to track down these exciting products and see what treats the Lush Kitchen had come up with.

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I bought loads, so I decided to break it down into easily manageable chunks (I could hardly try everything at once, could I? Well, I could, but my flatmates wouldn’t appreciate me taking over the bathroom for 12 hours). This first one is a deodorant bar called Deo My BO. I don’t like antiperspirant, having struggled with the skin under my arms for years I’ve taken the all natural, all gentle approach. Antiperspirants are boring anyway, they all smell like chemicals and fake fragrances. When you open yourself up to natural deodorants, things get interesting, and this deodorant bar is no exception.

IMG_6384 The base of this deo bar is bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and lycopodium powder (do you know what that is? It’s the lube powder you get on latex gloves and condoms! So I guess this must be what helps the deodorant spread over the skin without leaving it feeling weird and powdery). The scent is amaaaaaazing – lemon oil, bergamot, juniperberry and neroli oil make it sharp and refreshing, which is just what you need to combat BO as well as give you nice treat every time you lift your arms up.

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This is the base – they cover it in green wax to give you something to hold on to. So, if you’re still reading, I’m guessing it’s because you want an answer to the question DOES IT WORK?! And I am delighted to inform you that gawd yes, it works. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to, but it really does, and I’ve had a BUSY few weeks. I have run for at least three trains since I started using it and every time my underarms get to the end of the day as happy and decent smelling as they were in the morning. Nice one, Lush!

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The second product I want to talk to you about is the Rosy Cheeks Mask. We tried four different masks in Lush, and it was really hard to choose just one. I chose Rosy Cheeks because even after a different mask had been applied and washed off my hand, I could still smell the gorgeous light rose scent. With calamine to calm the skin, and kaolin to gently exfoliate I thought this would be great for my consistently grumpy skin. There’s rose oil in there too, which just like it’s famous sister, rosehip seed oil, is great for the skin. It helps to even out the colour of the skin, and obviously smells beautiful.

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Its gorgeously thick, and instantly soothes the skin when you put it on because it’s cold – then as it warms up the calamine continues to calm the skin down, while the rose fragrance calms the senses. This is an all around gorgeous experience, and my skin was so soft, soothes and lightly scented after I washed it off. I have a couple of angry spots at the moment and they were immediately diminished! Once again, Lush, very well done.

IMG_6390My boyfriend made me take this picture. It’s a rose comet! Anyway…Lush have truly exceeded all my expectations with their new products, and I really, really hope they absorb some into their main product range so that more people can enjoy them! These innovative products have filled holes in my beauty routine that I didn’t even realise existed. Get yourself to Oxford Street if you possibly can!

Want to read about more of Lush Oxford Street’s amazing products? Click here or here, and stay tuned for a tonne more! 

How to shave your legs like a feminist

1. Acknowledge that, as a feminist, you never want to tell other women what to do with their bodies and anything you may or may not say about hair removal is merely a suggestion based on subjective experiences.

2. Grow out a different body hair area to ensure there’s always a part of you that doesn’t unintentionally cater to the male gaze. With smooth legs comes great responsibility to ensure men don’t think you’re on their side.

 

3. If you start dating a beard bro, be sure to grow out enough body hair in the first few months that you can be certain of any feminist ideals he might claim to have (if there isn’t a man, skip to the end of step 4).

4. Once you’re sure of the aforementioned man’s regard for you and the choices you make about your body, or you get bored of the fur covering your lower extremities, decide that it’s time for a shave.

5. Invest in some nice products. You’re doing this for you, after all. May as well get it right.

6. Choose your first product: An exfoliator. These come in several shapes, a konjac sponge, a body brush, exfoliating gloves, or my personal preference, a scrub. I LOVE & Other Stories’ beautiful Body Scrubs.

7. Choose your razor. I always used to preach that expensive razors were a joke and that we should always go withthe 10 for a £1 orange Bic multipack, but I’m told by some of my fellow feminists that women with thicker or coarser hair actually need to take a three-bladed approach to their hair removal. So pick whichever razor you like, but DON’T go for the higher priced pink option just because it claims to be specially designed for your legs. It isn’t.

8. Second product: shaving aid. You don’t need to use special shaving gel on your legs, but don’t cop out by using your shampoo, or worse, conditioner on your legs. I know so many people who do this and I don’t get it – you’re shaving the hair off for heaven’s sake! When you shave, you’re leaving the product on your legs for longer than normal so it’s imperative to use something actually designed for your body, not hair. A moisturising and gorgeously scented shower gel is what you want. Korres Bergamot Pear, or any of & Other Stories’ Shower Gels are perfect.

9. Warm your skin under the shower to soften the skin a bit, and then exfoliate. This’ll help make the exfoliation more effective.

10. Turn the shower off because otherwise you’ll waste a tonne of water. I actually have a little plastic pot in the bathroom, which I fill with water to rinse the hair off the razor as I shave.

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11. Try not to cut yourself. (If you do slip, cool the area asap. Your blood vessels are open from the warm water, which is why shaving injuries bear a striking resemblance to the elevator scene in The Shining. I usually just rinse the blood with cold water and then apply a flannel soaked in cold water as I hobble back to my bedroom…)

12. Should you manage to complete your shave without abandoning due to injury, gently pat your skin dry.

13. Time for the third product. Lush’s Silky Underwear Dusting Powder contains cocoa butter, cornflower and jasmine. It smells unbelievably sexy, and it makes your body feel smoother than smooth. Sprinkling it over freshly shaved legs gives the ultimate smooth shave feeling. I don’t know if people with dark skin tones can use aggressively white dusting powder, and if I’m right, then try my other favourite body moisturiser. Korres Bergamot Pear Body Milk contains aloe vera, almond and shea butter as well as the most beautiful fragrance known to humankind. These are two of the best body products I’ve ever tried.

14. Do this:

15. Go outside and show your legs off! Only if you want to (and you slather on some SPF) of course.