Lady Luxe vs Lady Less

I love beauty and make-up.  You could call me a beauty product geek.  I love nothing better than reading up about the latest beauty products to hit the market.  Although, to look at me some days you wouldn’t think so!  I’m not sure when I first became interested in make-up, probably during my teenage years.  But the real catalyst that galvanised my make-up buying addiction was the opening of the new House of Fraser store on King William Street in London.  My office at the time was a hop and skip from the main entrance, so on the night of the opening, I went along with two of my friends, to explore what delights they had inside.  Whilst walking around with a glass of champagne we discovered the fabulous make-up range by Laura Mercier.  Whilst perusing the goodies on the counter, one of Laura’s Global Make-up Artists, Abby Ireland (who counts Kylie & Danni Minogue amongst others her clients!) asked if we wanted a mini make over – well she didn’t need to ask us twice!  We were all completely wowed by the Laura Mercier products and ended up spending a small fortune!  This was nearly 10 years ago and my love for Laura Mercier make-up is still as strong as ever.  However, her range is not cheap, it most definitely falls into the “Luxe” category!  A friend in Bangalore recently asked if I could do a post on luxe vs budget make-up, so Georgina, this is especially for you!  To qualify as a budget buy, the item needs to cost around the £10 mark or less.  Look out for more luxe vs budget posts in the future.

From left:  No. 17 Photo Flawless Primer.  Whilst at £4.99 this might seem an absolute bargain, but with only 15ml in the tube, it actually works out more expensive than the Laura Mercier primer.  However, if you don’t wear foundation or tinted moisturiser regularly, this is probably an ideal purchase.  It creates a great even palette for applying your foundation or tinted moisturiser, and helps minimise the appearance of pores.  It goes on really easily and smoothly.

Avon MagiX Face Perfector.  This is a fabulous primer for oilier skins, as it keeps the oil at bay. It gives a brilliant matte base and completely fills in pores, giving a very smooth palette to work with.  Skin feels extremely soft after it’s been applied and makes your skin look so lovely, you actually don’t need to wear anything else!  Oh and it contains SPF20 sunscreen – so no pesky sun damage!

Trish McEvoy Even Skin Face Primer.  A brilliant primer for instantly correcting any redness or blemishes.  Unlike many primers out there, this doesn’t dry your skin out and if you’re prone to breakouts, don’t fear, this product won’t cause an eruption!  It’s oil-free, so works really well with all skin types.  It completely fills in pores and creates a great protective layer over the skin.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer.  If you haven’t tried this, then where have you been? When doing my research on primers for this piece, the Laura Mercier one constantly came out as the best primer on the market. It was one of the products I bought way back when on that trip to House of Fraser, and whilst I’ve tried a few others over the years, this is without doubt, my favourite and probably the only one I’ll buy from now on.  It’s lightweight, easy to apply and keeps my make-up in place all day or night, which is quite amazing in a hot climate!  I think it even helps make some of my fine lines disappear….In addition to the original foundation primer, there are now four other varieties:  mineral, oil-free, hydrating and radiance.  I can’t wait to try the radiance version.  It is such a renowned primer that it has made the InStyle Best Beauty Buys Hall of Fame – a true accolade!

From left:  L’Oreal True Match Foundation.  This is ideal for ladies who are looking for an even and natural coverage.  With a choice of 20 colours, you’re bound to find the perfect shade to match your complexion.  The texture is very light and creates a sheer finish.  Mix with your regular moisturiser for a dewy finish.  If it’s good enough for Beyonce, it’s good enough for us! Oh and an Instyle Best Beauty Buys 2012 Winner – what’s not to like?

Max Factor Lasting Performance Foundation.  This foundation is made with silicones to give a lighter and less greasy feel than some other foundations on the market.  It provides great coverage that lasts all day and doesn’t require any powder, as it leaves a matte finish on your skin.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.  Make-up artists around the world love this foundation. Available in 18 different shades, it gives (as the name might suggest) a gorgeous luminous finish.  It’s super easy to apply and stays put all day.  It even manages to cover the redness from any blemishes you might have, without the need for concealer!  Using this foundation will make your skin look perfect!  A staple in my make-up bag.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.  This is another Instyle Best Beauty Buy 2012 Winner and creates a perfect finish without you feeling that you’ve got a thick heavy layer of foundation on.  It’s a water-based foundation, so make sure that you give it a good shake before applying.  It can be used as either a sheer/light coverage, or by building it up, you can create a much heavier coverage.  Unlike lots of other foundations on the market, it can be applied with your fingers, which will create a lighter satin finish.

So, lovely readers, which are your favourite less and luxe make-up buys?  Do you have any of the products listed above?  And are there any products that you feel should be a luxe buy?

Pop your comments in the box below.

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Five More Minutes

I have a confession to make…..getting into bed is possibly my favourite time of the day and getting up, probably my worst!  I bet I’m not the only person to utter “5 more minutes” when the alarm goes off.  In my opinion, there is nothing nicer than an inviting bed and slipping into luxuriously soft bed linen.  During the last few years we’ve been lucky enough to have slept in some of the loveliest, comfiest beds in the world – the Ritz Carlton Battery Park springs to mind.

However, it was on holiday a few years ago that really ignited my love affair with beautiful linens and trying to make our bed a true haven.  We were staying at The Club at The Legian in Bali, when we both fell in love with the linen, divine pillows, duvet and featherbed (also known as a mattress topper).  During our 10-day stay (look out for a future post on this), we slept like babies every night.  Whilst some of this was down to the relaxing nature of our holiday, a large element was the luxurious bed we snuggled into every night.  So impressed were we, we asked the hotel which company provided the linens, duvets and pillows.  Much to our joy, we discovered the supplier also sold to the general public.  And that lead us to the delight that is Ploh.

Once home, I hit the Internet and soon our dreamy linens, duvet, featherbed and pillows were winging their way to us.  Quite honestly it is some of the best money we’ve ever spent and haven’t regretted it for one moment.  Getting into bed every night is such a pleasure and sleeping on the featherbed, well, it’s just like sleeping on a cloud!

We all know that sleep is essential to our everyday wellbeing.  With more studies proving that adequate sleep can help with our battle of the bulge, creating the perfect sleeping environment has become even more important.  So, here are my tips so you too can create your perfect bed.

Source: The White Company

Domestic Princess tips on creating your perfect bed:

1.  Mattress

The foundation, as you all know, is the mattress, so don’t skimp on it.  In the long-term, it’s just a false economy. Remember, the variety and quality of mattresses are vast.

We have an Ambassador mattress from Jensen that we discovered when they had just launched in the UK, so got an amazing bargain compared with prices now!  I’d recommend going to a proper bed store so the salesperson may assess how you (and your partner) share the bed and inform you of the brands and different types of mattresses available.  Try out as many as you can.  We chose And So To Bed in Harrods and the saleslady couldn’t have been more helpful.  The Domestic Prince was adamant he needed a hard mattress and I was pretty determined I wanted a soft one.  Turns out we were both wrong, the most suitable one for us, as a couple, was a medium one.

Which? have recently published their findings on the best mattresses and suppliers in the UK.  So, if you’re thinking of purchasing a new one, click by and have a read.

2.  A featherbed or mattress topper

Now, we were late to the party on this delicious addition to a bed, but gosh are we happy we finally did arrive!  Sinking into 4 inches of feathers and goose down is just bliss and creates an extra layer cwtchiness (def: the Welsh word for cuddling).  It moulds around your body providing support and cushioning for your joints.

There are many different fillings available in a topper, which can be bought from The White Company, John Lewis, Macys and Marriott to name but a few.  Go for it, I promise you won’t regret it!

3.  Duvet and Pillows

Duvet

The warmth, softness and weight of a duvet, depends very much on the tog rating and the type of filling.  The three things to consider when purchasing a new duvet are: tog rating, type of filling and size.

The tog rating tells you how effective the duvet is at trapping warm air, so the higher the rating, the warmer the duvet.  Duvets made up of natural fillings have better thermal properties than synthetically filled ones.  However, if you suffer from allergies, you’d probably want a synthetically filled one in preference to a natural one.  With regards to the size of the duvet, if you and your partner tussle over the duvet, you’re better off opting for the next size up to ensure no more squabbles!

Pillows

Finding the correct pillow is essential for a comfortable night’s sleep.  When choosing new pillows, things to consider are:  shape, size, filling and firmness.

4.  Bed linen

Bed linen comes in many types of fabric:  cotton, Egyptian cotton, cotton sateen, silk, linen, polycotton.  I prefer sateen and tend to go for something like Montabello Cappuccino linen from The White Company.  Many people have the impression that the higher the thread count, the better the bed linen; this is simply not true.  Pure linen, for example, will always have a lower thread count than cotton, but is still considered extremely luxurious.  For me though, the thought of ironing pure linen puts me right off!  Before purchasing any bed linen, I always, always have to feel it – the softer the better!

John Lewis and The White Company both have detailed guides on how to purchase duvets, pillows and bed linen.

Another few tips that help me sleep deeply are:

  1. Eye shades – I think I started wearing these when we had shutters installed in our house in London.  Whilst the shutters look fabulous, they don’t create the pitch black room that I like and which is recommended by the sleep experts to help enhance one’s sleep.  There are many lovely eye-shades available, but I tend to use the ones I pick-up on the ‘plane when travelling.  They’ve worked for me for nearly 10 years, so I think I’ll stick with them.  However, Susie Amy on her wonderful Blusher and Blogging blog swears by this lavender eye mask.  Maybe I’ll treat myself and give it a whirl to see how they compare?
  2. Chamomile tea – most nights we trot off to bed with mugs of chamomile tea, which we both swear helps us enjoy a deep slumber.
  3. Magnesium supplements – a new addition to our nighttime routine is 400mg of magnesium citrate.  Magnesium is known to have a calming effect on the brain and is also important for muscle function; a lack of it may cause muscle cramps and restless legs.

So, readers – tell me what makes your dream bed?  Is going to bed your favourite time of day?  And do you have any good tips on what helps you enjoy a good night’s sleep?

With much love

The Domestic Princess

Xoxo

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