Holiday washbag (Part 2)

This is where the majority of my super sneaky downsizing has come in handy:

The skincare section

The skincare section

First up is the gorgeous Stephanie Johnson case I’m taking it all in. I got it in the Space NK sale at Christmas (I was the person logging on on Christmas day like a madwoman to get all the bargains.) I have to say, lovely as it is, it’s more a weekend case than a week-away case, but no matter. It’s beautiful and that’s enough for me.

Taking up a lot of room: Cotton wool pads/washcloths: because you can’t bank on there being ones you would actually use at your destination.

Going top L-R



  1. Sisley face mask samples (enough for a couple of applications, I reckon)
  2. Fish Oil capsules
  3. Crest Whitestripes professional effects 30 minute teeth whitening strips. I think they’re basically outlawed in the UK, but they work incredibly well.
  4. Samples of Aesop Fabulous Face oil (reviewed here) -enough for a week.
  5. Samples of Aesop Parsley seed eye cream and eye serum. Bit of an unknown quantity as this will be the first time I’ve used them, but if my face falls off as a result, at least I’ll be abroad.
  6. Needle and Cotton/nail scissors. Because I’m turning into my mother. (Note to self: remember some safety pins…)
  7. OGX shampoo miniatures. I’m a complete slut random shopper when it comes to hair products -I don’t use the same ones twice as I can never really see a difference. But these smell gorgeous so they will do. Plus the bottles are so cute.
  8. OGX weightless hair oil. Heh, right. see above.
  9. Cowshed Gorgeous cow mini bath and shower gel. (Reviewed here.) Because although we are going to a perfectly beautiful hotel, my experience of Mediterranean hotels means that the complimentary toiletries will be one step up from Fairy Liquid.
  10. Garnier mini Micellar water, decanted Pixi Glow tonic, a tiny Murad hydrating toner spray (thank you Ebay!), a tiny Emma Hardie Moringa cleanser, a tiny Ole Henrickson truth serum collagen booster, some Espa moisturisers, Ole Henrickson’s Nurture me moisturiser because I have a panic attack if I’m separated from it, Superdrug’s Naturally radiant 2-in-1 serum and moisturiser which is seriously good and under a fiver, a little REN beauty flash sample (I think I may be going a bit OTT on the radiance side of things), sudocrem, deoderant and anti-bac gel.

I think I’ve got just about everything covered. What do you think? Anything I’ve missed out?

Disclaimer: All purchases.


New Purchases -Aesop


I’ll be honest with you: I’m a sucker for an Aesop product. I’m not actually sure that they deliver the level of skincare that is promised at their price point: because when I’ve drilled down on their ingredients list there are a few products that make me think ” I’m paying for what?” However – if you like herbaciously scented no nonsense products that are the equivalent of an Aussie bootcamp then who am I to stop you. And hell knows, I keep going back for more. Maybe I wasn’t birched enough as a child. So recently I went on a splurge in Liberty as I wanted to investigate their Fabulous Face Oil, but of course I got completely carried away…

First up is the Resurrection hand wash. .

I can’t tell you how much I love this stuff. The first time I used it, about 6 years ago in a restaurant behind Fenwicks, I smuggled a bottle out in my handbag. I know. I haven’t behaved that way before or since, but the combination of rosemary, mandarin and cedar atlas (basically pine) hits up my central nasal system in a way nothing has before or since. A bottle (500ml) lasts about 4 months, so while being prohibitively expensive, I can just about get away with asking for this for birthdays and Christmas, meaning I only have to shell out for one bottle a year.


Yes, it contains SLS, so it REALLY shouldn’t be £27, but the liquid is so silky and aromatic and foams gorgeously. It doesn’t feel drying on my already overworked hands, and did I mention it smells heavenly? Surprisingly it’s the lavender notes that hit me first, then the mandarin and orange, rosemary and finally the pine, holding it all together. It smells Nordic, clean, no-nonsense and luxurious all at the same time.

Next up: Purifying facial exfoliant paste

Aesop exfoliating paste

I’m a big fan of Lactic acid -I first became aware of it when I started to use Sunday Riley’s Good Genes and noticed a dramatic improvement in pigmentation marks and all over skin quality. It’s also present in Pixi Glow tonic which may be another reason why I love that too. And I’m guessing that this is the magic ingredient here too.

Aesop exfoliating paste

aesop exfoliating paste spread out

The first thing that hits you is the smell -it is fairly earthy and robust. Personally I really like the smell of rosemary but I know it hasn’t received a huge amount of love in some reviews. There is lavender oil in there too but that doesn’t come through for me. The quartz particles are small but gritty. I gave up on mechanical exfoliants a long time ago (looking at you St Ives), and in the last couple of years have been using acids to get rid of flaky skin, but there is something reassuringly old school about massaging this in and feeling the grit get to work. I don’t go in too hard as I’m wary about my sensitivity issues but I do leave the whole lot on for a minute or so after the initial scrub to give the lactic acid time to kick in.

It’s a bugger to rinse off -if anyone knows how to avoid ALWAYS ending up with a mouthful of grit I’d be eternally grateful. But the end result is amazing. Soft, clean skin that simply drinks up serum and moisturiser afterwards. I don’t use this above once a week in case my face falls off through over stimulation, but as a quick blast when skin feels a bit dull, you can’t beat it.

Next: Fabulous Facial Oil


During the winter I am ALL ABOUT THE OILS, people. My poor windswept, cold-ravaged florist’s face needs all the help it can get, and man, do I love me an oil that sinks in, smells fabulous and softens my skin until it’s plump and glowing again. I’ve done my time with Clarins Blue Orchid and Santal, which are fabulous for older skins that like a thicker oil, but recently I’ve come round to thinner, dryer oils which seem to pack the same hydrating and calming punch but without leaving a ‘film’ on my skin.

fabulous face oil dropper

Like the Clarins oils it uses an eyedropper to deliver the product so you can control the (tiny) amount that you need. I was particularly interested in its claims to ‘smooth patchy skin’

Fabulous facial oil on skin

It’s a clear, easily spreading lightweight oil that smells incredibly wonderful. The sweet, custard-y, heady scent of ylang ylang is out first, followed by jasmine. That’s just about all I can smell in this, it’s simply a sweet floral smell but frankly that’s enough for me, as they are two of my all time favourite scents. I use it after moisturiser and five small drops are enough for my whole face and neck. The oil absorbs immediately leaving no tacky residue at all and the scent dissipates after about five minutes leaving a slightly herbaceous but not unpleasant echo.

The next morning, my skin always feels great. Plumped, even textured and coloured, my rosacea prone areas seem calmed and are less likely to flare up during the days when I’ve used this the night before. It does seem to smooth out the random patches of dryness I’m prone to on my cheeks, while leaving my T-zone completely balanced. They’re not wrong in calling it fabulous.

And finally! Elemental facial barrier cream

Aesop Elemental barrier cream

So, going from the hyperbole of ‘Fabulous’ to the distinctly unsexy word ‘Barrier’. I don’t hold a lot of truck with ridiculously amped up names, but this one really could do with a bit of oomph. HOWEVER. What caught my eye was the word ‘Elemental’. I spend a lot of my time in cold, windy, skin stripping conditions and am constantly looking to put comforting, emollient creams on my face when it feels knackered and sore.

This cream is rich in castor seed oil, shea butter, glycerin and a mix of other moisturising and essential oils. Copper, Zinc and Bisabolol help strengthen skin, fight inflammation and calm redness. All of which I am perennially interested in in my skincare.

As with any moisturiser that comes packaged in a pot  I’m always slightly annoyed at the possibility of contamination, even though I use scrupulously clean hands to apply it. I will forgive this one not coming in a pump as the formula is pretty thick.

aesop barrier cream

Aesop barrier cream

barrier cream on hand

It has a fairly strong scent; the ginger and cloves come through first, so it’s quite a Christmassy smell, which I don’t mind. It takes a bit of working into the skin -it’s a proper cream rather than a lotion formula and feels slightly waxy, which I guess is the ‘barrier’ element. You don’t need much -a pea sized blob does my face and neck. I found it easy to apply too much and then be left with a slightly tacky feel to my skin which I found unpleasant, but once I cut back and went easy on the application I found that it sunk in beautifully, doesn’t look or feel greasy and gives immediate comfort to tight, uncomfortable skin. Make up goes on smoothly over the top, although I do give this one a bit longer than other moisturisers to sink in before I apply any. I can’t say that I’ve noticed a huge improvement in terms of protection against the environments or calming of redness -I still look like I’ve come back from a day on a trawlerboat most days- and I don’t use it at night because it doesn’t feel like there’s any point. I’ll probably also give this a miss when the weather gets warmer and I switch to lotions for my moisture fix. Maybe I’ve come a little late to this party and would have benefited from starting to use it earlier in the year *gnashes teeth*. However, if your skin is in need of some heavy duty protection, if you work outside a lot or in harsh environments that dry or strip your skin, you could do worse than invest in a jar of this.

Aesop Resurrection Hand Wash £27

Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste £35

Aesop Fabulous Facial Oil £40

Aesop Elemental Facial Barrier Cream £37

All available here

All paid for by me. *looks sadly into empty purse*