Xmas gift ideas: the gift of shoe giving from TOMs + Tabitha Simmons

I think that most of you will agree that Christmas is the time for giving-a smile, a hug, a card, a present to show the people who you care about that they mean a great deal to you. But what if you could buy a pair of shoes ( for yourself or for a friend ) and a new pair of shoes will be given to a child in need? That’s the idea behind a beautiful brand called TOMs.


Blake Mycoskie, a Texas native, founded TOMs in 2006, having seen the consequences of kids not being able to afford shoes. He came up with the idea of One for One and since the brand’s launch it has given over 10 million pairs of shoes to children who desperately need them ( alongside it Blake also launched TOMs eyewear which helps to save and restore the sight  for people in need, particularly those who leave at high altitudes and where the lower oxygen concentration makes eye problems deteriorate much quicker ). Blake’s idea was to create a business that was sustainable  and not reliant on private donations and he continues to approach his business with creativity and passion.


Tabitha Simmons is a CFDA award-winning footwear designer & stylist who is on every fashionista’s lips because her shoes are cooly sophisticated and comfortable to boot. Why am I telling you all this? Well, Toms and Tabitha put their creative heads together and produced truly unique shoes, along the esthetic of both brands. You can choose from a cricket stripe women’s classics in pink or blue ( £90 ) or cricket stripe women’s desert wedges in red or blue ( £110 ) or a TOMs+ first, thanks to Tabitha-kid’s shoes – choose from a tiny classics in pink or blue cricket stripe with a velcro band for ease of putting them on/off ( £26 ) or youth laced cordones that even a grumpy teen will appreciate ( £32 ).


Considering that Tabitha’s shoes normally retail at the £500 upwards price point, those shoes will be a bargain and yet buying a pair of shoes for yourself on this occasion will give you a double satisfaction and knowledge that your purchase will also help a child get a pair of shoes at the time of the year where the lack of footwear can be deadly.

Your shoes ( my wedges are elevatingly comfortable and look so elegant, I ache for warmer weather & a chance to take them out ) will arrive in a sturdy paper box with the shoe bag and a cool sticker that will also tell you about five ways in which you can get engaged with TOMs, for example go barefoot on One Day Without Shoes. When I saw this I instantly thought about getting chided by a girl who does my pedicure in the winter for not bringing my flip-flops and marching out with my feet wrapped in cling film and UGGs. Imagine that there are plenty of people around the world who can’t afford shoes or whose shoes are so worn they might as well be walking barefoot in freezing temperatures or in places where walking barefoot is painful and dangerous.


With the fun of festivities and the year drawing to a close, it is always nice to pause and appreciate what you have-a roof over your head, clean water, home comforts and people read more

Xmas gift ideas: love your skin & treat it to Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Rose Mask

As temperatures plummet, our skin deserves to be pampered and that’s why the latest launch from the British beauty brand Aurelia Probiotic SkincareCell Revitalise Rose Mask should become your ultimate indulgence during and after the party season or a beautiful gift that you might consider giving to women you care about. After all what is beauty if it isn’t spread generously, like magic dust ?


To start with, Aurelia Cell Revitalise Rose Mask delivers botanicals and probiotics to the skin, reducing inflammation and restoring balance to the skin which might be struggling due to cold temperatures outside, warm radiators inside and lifestyle, as well as environmental stress. The mask will hydrate your skin ( make sure you drink enough water and herbal teas during the day ) and sooth it, as well as your tired senses and mind at the end of the day.

Damask Rose Absolute produces an exquisitely scented floral note, adding a warm serenity to the blend. What you can expect is a dewy, luminous complexion with added anti-ageing benefits. When the mask was developed, it was inspired by ancient Ayurvedic restorative therapies, which aim to deeply relax you. Alongside

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare’s
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Xmas stocking idea for kids: Mini-U kids bath bombs & fizzy plops

One of the best things about Christmas is the delight, surprise and happiness that we see on the children’s faces. Looking at them we let go of our daily grind and seriousness and start smiling ourselves. The innocence with which children approach Christmas and New Year, how much harder they work in order to make sure that Father Christmas makes the visit down the chimney and the excitement we all feel when we help them compile their wish list is pricelessly uplifting! Well, why don’t you add mini-U kids bath bombs & fizzy plops to your Xmas gift list and see how delightful bath time becomes.


A couple of years ago a girlfriend of mine found a brand called Mini-U kids in her local, tiny health store in Kent and gave it to me as a present. Their Innocence Hair & Body Wash ( with coconut & ylang ylang extract ) became a firm favourite, as its delicious smell made kids smile, while its bottle design reminded me a little of the Innocence Smoothies.


Recently I was sent new additions to fun bathtime collection called mini-u Fizzy Plops ( water-colour tablets ) and Coloured Bath Bombs ( for Super Heroes, Princesses & Whizz Kids ) and they proved to be such a hit that I have placed an order and plan to give some as stocking fillers for kids.

Bath bombs will plop into your bath with a satisfying thud and then will whirr around as the water dissolves it slowly and turns blue, pink or green. And don’t worry, it won’t stain kid’s skin or your bath. The biggest & charming surprise is inside, once the bomb is completely dissolved you will find it floating on the surface and it will continue to delight your kids after the bathtime is over-and no, I won’t tell you what it is, you will have to try it to find out! The bath bomb cleanses the skin, so you don’t have to use anything else while giving your child a bath but do make him or her stand in the bath and just let the water from the shower head wash over before you wrap your kid in a towel or bathrobe.

Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium sulfate, Citric acid, Parfum, CI 16035, CI 42090, CI 61565, Linalool.


As an alternative, you can try Fizzy Plops ( a great idea for when you are travelling and don’t want to pack bulky bottles in your suitcase ). They are small tablets that dissolve in water, coloring it but not the kids. Each tablet smells fruity and will delight your little one or even a pre-teen. Who knows, on a given day you might be even tempted to try one when having a bath or sharing it with your kids.

Ingredients: Sodium bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Pentasodium Triphosphate, Succinic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, PEG-8, Parfum, Denatonium Benzoate, CI 42090, CI 19140, CI 42090, CI 16255, Linalool



For the love of bees: Therapi Honey Skincare

All it takes is one teaspoon of honey to help start your day the right way-add it to a glass of warm water, along with the juice of half a lemon and drink it first thing in the morning-it will increase your immunity, help to balance your gut flora and will ‘wake you up’ naturally. Honey contains over 300 of enzymes & vitamins, including B, C, calcium, iodine and phosphorus and even water, so why did no one thing of creating a skincare line around it? Oh wait, one woman did, her name is Tanya Hawkes, she is a bee keeper with over 25 years of experience and she is also a founder of the pure honey range called Therapi Honey Skincare.


Therapi launched its face skincare range at the 2013 Natural & Organic Products show and then Content Well-being store hosted a beautiful presentation ( they stock the whole range in their Marylebone store, as well as online ), on the rooftop of Soho House in early September. The sun shone, the conversation flowed and men and women of all ages seemed riveted by the jars of honey and Therapi austere white packaging, which reminds me of old school apothecaries that still retain the air of mystery, wonder and discovery.


The range is very gentle ( Tania herself used to suffer from hypersensitive skin, as well as eczema, so her research was thorough and all-encompassing ) but it offers wonderfully moisturising and healing benefits. How do I know? Well, I ‘intentionally’ used it on my post-summer skin and continued to do so as temperatures started to plummet. Happy to report that the products work beautifully in different climates and different temperatures, yet remain effective and nurturing, like honey itself.


There are three honey product lines within Therapi honey skincare range: Rose Otto ( suitable for normal & dry skin; comprises Honey Gel Cleanser, Hydrating Facial Toner, Honey Moisturiser and one of brand’s best-sellers,

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Xmas Gift Ideas ( Beauty ): Bodhi, Georgia Louise, Ilia, Kjaer Weis, Nourish Skin, RMS Beauty & Rouge Bunny Rouge

Whether you believe in magic or not, it is beginning to feel a lot like Xmas with the decorations going up, jingle bells playing and the air smelling of burning logs, marshmallows and hot chocolate. Festive season brings along the need and the desire to shop for gifts, so I thought I might start throwing some ideas out, like snowballs.

Rouge Bunny Rouge: I discovered this beauty brand earlier this year and feel that the products, as well as the amazing linguistic descriptions that are at the core of the brand, will make any woman happy when she receives them. With Christmas come various parties and what better way to enhance your own look then by emphasising your eyes. Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink ( newly launched this month ) is a beautiful satin eyeliner that feels like a Japanese calligraphy pen in your hand. This eyeliner ink provides a sleek, precise application that dries up very quickly. Dot the colour between the lashes along the lash line so you have a ‘fuller’ line that will give your eyes a more magnetic emphasis. The eyeliner works well even on sensitive eyes and has been both dermatalogically, as well as ophthalmologically approved. The ink comes in three shades-sooth black, deep ebony brown and midnight petrol blue, so you are bound to find the one that will compliment any eye colour.


When I first tried the eyeliner, just on its own, a few hours later the line was a little smudged, so I got in touch with RBR team and received lots of helpful and practical tips, like ‘try priming your eyelid. Of course everyone’s skin is different, but RBR make-up artists and team use the liners with RBR Long-lasting Eye Shadow’ or ‘a hint of powder also works perfectly fine under the eye shadow and liners to enhance the staying power’. Once I used the eyelid primer the whole look worked perfectly and it has become one of my favourite make-up tools since then. Add ‘When birds are singing’ long-lasting eye shadow in ‘Rain dove’, which is a light caffè latte hue or ‘Rufus-tailed Weaver’ which is a darker dusky brown, your ‘make-up look’ will be enigmatic and current. The brand also added new blender brush 016 and loose glitter pigment ‘Fire Drops’ in ‘Eaten all the cherries’ that you can apply around the eye for a more festive look and you are guaranteed to look, as well as feel the belle of the ball.


Another great gift idea can be RBR ‘Silvan’ perfume which has a sensuous aroma drawn from shaded earth, leathery leaves and forest trees, as well as from the streaming sunlight and the refreshing bite of bitter greens. The perfume blends juniper berries with sparkling grapefruit, so you get a cooly composed presence, like an Ice Queen on a  gloriously sunny day. You also have smooth accords of guaiac wood, smoky incense, vibrant black pepper all of which are propelled by patchouli, liquorice and cedarwood.


Nourish Skin:  last year my favourite party accessory was this brand’s Golden Glow Toning Souffle and read more