Marks and Spencer Beauty Department

If you have a large M&S near you then the chances are you will now have a Marks with one of its new(-ish, they rolled out in London 2012/13 and were hitting further afield places like Grimsby last summer) Beauty Departments.

My nearest is Marble Arch, which I think has the full gamut of brands they stock, and I have to say that I think Marks are batting out of the park here. Considering that they still maintain that the average woman looks good in a peach waterfall cardigan, to be stocking brands like Filorga, Murad, Skyn, Emma Hardie, Josh Wood, Bliss and Cowshed is reasonably mind blowing.

I absolutely LOVE having a rootle around whenever I pop in for more prosaic items like pants and tights and it’s rare that I don’t come out with something. The departments are hardly ever busy, they are well lit, stocked well presented simply. Often they have lovely offers like 3-for-2 or gifts with purchase (I recently loaded up on REN Evercalm and came away with a sweet little cosmetic purse full of about £25 worth of travel sizes.)

Emma Hardie has been one of the latest additions to their collection and her Midas Touch Serum was firstly exclusive only to M&S, which is pretty impressive when you consider that for a long while EH was the preserve of a few specialist websites and Space NK. I know that we can order anything online from pretty much anywhere these days, but I do find it really heartening that Marks are taking Beauty seriously and stocking some heavyweight brands that can now be picked up alongside some Percy Pigs and a packet of 5 cotton undies.

Standouts of their range for me are:

James Read Express Mask Tan -stick this on your mush for 30 minutes then wash off: it will carry on developing for a full hour. Gives a great natural glow for light to medium skintones.

james read

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask -I don’t think I have ever found a mask that makes me look as zingy in ten minutes as this does. It’s a bit spendy but it’s a life saver rather than a regular use item.

bliss

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Balm cleanser -Ditch the useless cloth that comes with this and just use a flannel for extra grip. Oily, unctuous, gorgeous smelling, divine miracle cleanser that leaves skin feeling soft and nourished.

Moringa Cleansing Balm with cloth

Stila Convertible colour -The whole Stila range is pretty damn good, but their convertible colour cheek and (ahem) lip cream comes in the best formulation I’ve found.

stila

M&S Essentials Aloe Vera and Mint shower gel -It’s a POUND, people. One freaking Pound. And for that you get 300ml of BUAV approved, alcohol and paraben free, Vegan friendly, minty loveliness. The whole Essentials range is great. (BEGONE, MAGNOLIA!)

aloe and mint

Glamglow -it’s Witchcraft in a jar, basically.

glamglow

REN Grab-and-Go Kit -A great place to start for £20 and everything you need for an overnight getaway, in a lush see through zipped pouch that they probably won’t let you through Airport security with. *Shakes fist at sky*

REN kit

So there you have it -definitely worth a visit instore, but if you happen to live in the sticks somewhere not graced with a Jumbo Marks then make sure you load up with goodies next time you’re in the market for an on-line haul.

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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

closeup

closeup

  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.