Monday, 30 October 2017

Spotlight on Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color, £24

This is not a paid post. Products are press samples.

At this time of year most of us need to wear a touch of colour to warm up our faces. Nothing alters your appearance more than a quick swipe of lipstick. If, like me, you find lipsticks can be drying, you will want to try Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color which comes in a variety of shades.


It is combination of lipstick and balm so you get with just one swipe a rich-coloured stained semi-matt effect that does not dry out your lips. I have incredibly dry lips and prefer a subtle colour for every day rather than a dramatic look. Therefore, I prepped my lips with a separate clear balm and then applied a touch of the Lilac using my finger. I pressed it into my lower lip and worked it in. The result was my lips only better. It also lasts well.


For the evening I tried Cranbury which is another pretty shade. You can achieve a dramatic look with these lipsticks if you apply more. What I specifically like is that the colour gradually fades but gets softer and still looks pretty after a cup of coffee.

To find a range that I like with more than one shade to suit me is rather rare. This line has got me hooked. 

If you want to try out a new look or would like to try out more products in the range, head to Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Pro Studio in London’s Soho. It is a playground for make-up artists and aficionados. You can also sign up for master classes and workshops which will be held in its special Creative Studio.

If you do not live in London, this is a great excuse to plan a trip.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 27 October 2017

Destination South Island, New Zealand – Christchurch to Dunedin

This is not a paid post.

The fiery red and vibrant orange dawn clouds swathing Aoraki/ Mount Cook was a scene that left an indelible mark on my memory. Here I was standing on my hotel room’s terrace watching the sun rise over New Zealand's highest mountain. Invigorating yet calming at the same time. 

The fiery red and vibrant orange dawn clouds swathing Aoraki/ Mount Cook 

No pictures or words can depict the magnificent beauty of the “Land of the Long White Cloud” (the translation of the Māori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa). You have to see it with your own eyes. 

During the day that we had left the Garden City of Christchurch and drove through the southern Canterbury Plains, I had encountered scenery that was jaw-dropping. 

Aoraki/ Mount Cook 

Towering snow-capped mountains covered with glaciers curving towards the sky, verdant valleys, spectacular gorges and meadows filled with cows and sheep basking in the sun carpeted the route to the sparkling turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo. 

Hugging its shore is the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, a memorial and a place to worship for the pioneers of the Mackenzie region. From its altar window you get a picture-perfect view of the lake and the Southern Alps. From Peter’s Lookout I saw for the first time Aoraki/ Mount Cook in its full splendour as I filled my lungs with fresh air.

The laid-back town of Oamaru

I had seen in Christchurch the devastating damage caused by earthquakes and the effects of the wild fires that had recently hit the city. After having witnessed the worst aspects of Mother Nature’s wrath, I was now seeing her creative genius. The diverse artworks from ice and rock to lush and green were so magnificent that they give a whole new meaning to the word. 

We passed by the Waitaki River and through pleasant remote rural towns that gave a glimpse into another world. Further removed from the pollution and hustle and bustle of London, I could not imagine. Geraldine which has grown up along the Waihi River was a lovely arty town with cute boutique shops to explore. 

Lake Tekapo

The laid-back town of Oamaru got the award for elegance and style. Its 19th-century whitestone buildings make this once prosperous goldmining and quarrying town rather special. Harbour-Tyne Street, lined with quirky galleries, intriguing shops and even a winery, is attracting tourists from around the globe. Steampunk HQ is a fascinating off-beat museum where you can see a futuristic version of 19th-century Victorian England. The steam-powered machinery is quite something.

The main draw of this town is the colony of penguins. Reputed to be the world’s smallest, these delightful blue creatures, at sunset, waddle ashore at the waterfront. You can also spot some yellow ones as well.

It was early afternoon when we arrived in Dunedin, known as the Edinburgh of New Zealand. The country’s oldest city takes its name from the Gaelic for the capital of Scotland. Its down-to-earth residents are fiercely proud of their heritage. 

Dunedin Station

Bluestone Victorian buildings ranging from Gothic church spires and stately mansions are reminders that this town was built on the riches of the gold rush. Engulfed by hills and at the edge of a pretty harbour, Dunedin sizzles with great bars and restaurants boosted by its student population.

If you want to delve into Victorian culture, Larnach Castle, which claims to be the only one in New Zealand, is well worth including on your itinerary. It is one of those if- walls- could- talk places. There is plenty of scandal and intrigue to discover about the original owners, the Larnacs. The award-winning gardens of this mock castle are gorgeous. High tea in the ballroom is scrumptious.

View from Larnach Castle

Driving along the Otago Peninsula and taking in the scenes of wild and rugged beaches and aqua-blue waters was reason enough to visit the city. This is what I call getting up, close and personal with nature.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

This was part of the Grand Pacific Ultimate Small Group Tours which I booked through Trailfinders (

The advantage of travelling aboard the Ultimate Coach is that instead of carrying the normal 48 passengers, it only carries 20. You sit in comfort in leather fully-reclining seats so no stiff neck at the end of a long day. (Distances are vast in New Zealand.) There is plenty of personal storage. It is much easier being in a small group, no hanging around waiting for people, no long queues for the loos, overall much cosier. You also can get to stay in more boutique hotels which cannot cater for large groups.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Get your hair into good condition

This is not a paid post. Products are press samples.

Guido, Redken's global creative director and one of the most influential hairdressers of our day, said he has seen a resurgence of a new idea of luxury for autumn/winter 2017  – very clean hair that’s left to dry naturally. 

“The simplicity of washing your hair and letting it dry gives an almost child-like shine quality which feels new again. I don’t believe anything truly comes into or goes out of fashion, but these days it seems like a blow-dry can now seem forced compared to an air-dry look. Women can be afraid of letting their natural texture out, but there’s so much you can do, like only blow drying the top part to flatten, and allowing the rest of the length to dry naturally,” he said.

When testing these masks I used a hair dryer as my locks revert to their natural texture quite quickly in humid weather. 

If you are going to show off your tresses they need to be in good condition that is why it is so important to use a good mask once a week, especially if it is looking and feeling dry and brittle from late summer holidays or too much processing or overuse of heated appliances.

Here are my favourites.

Redken Extreme Mega Mask (for damaged, sensitised hair), £23
If heat damage has ravaged your tresses, this wonderful protein hair mask will cocoon them in moisture as well as help to strengthen them. It contains two formulas: a treatment and care-extender to keep your hair looking healthier for up to three washes. Another plus is that you only have to keep it on for no longer than five minutes to reap rewards. 

I put it on roots to ends and left a little in the hair when I rinsed out. This really helped to add a little weight to the hair so that I could keep frizz and fluffiness at bay. My hair felt great after use and looked sleek and smooth. Hair masks do not always deliver on their promises, this one does. 

Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs de Jasmin, £37 (Space NK)
Leonor Greyl prides itself that its hair care products are made using plants and natural ingredients. Smells gorgeous. Laced with botanical oils and amino acids this restorative mask is particularly good for fine dry or limp hair. It will not weigh it down but will leave it feeling moisturised. Can also be used as an everyday conditioner. Leaves hair with a nice sheen. 

Davines OI All In One Milk, £19.40
Although this is not a mask it is rich enough to be used as one. If you have got damaged or dry hair that is crying out for a bit of TLC, try this leave-in formula. It also helps eradicate frizz as well as making it soft and shiny. Contains roucou oil, which is renowned for its conditioning powers.  

L’Oréal Série Expert Inforcer Vitamin B6 + Biotin masque, £16
Especially good for long hair this powerful masque has been created especially to combat breakage. Laced with vitamins B6 and B8 which are said to aid in strengthening, I found after use my tresses were easier to comb and split ends were less noticeable.

Once again I left a small amount in the hair when I rinsed. This trick works for me but it will depend on the texture of your locks to whether it will do the same for you. Really pleased with this product.

Davines Nounou (part of the Essential Haircare Line), hair mask, £19.45
A great option for those with dry, brittle or coarse hair. Laced with tomato extract this protein-rich mask provides long-lasting hydration and helps restore your locks to their former glory. This is a superb mask which gives your hair a good dose of nourishment leaving it easy to manage. There is also a matching shampoo (£15.45) and conditioner (£17.20).

72 Intense Replenishing Mask £24.99
This is a great mask for those with frizzy, dry hair. Boosted with germ oil and avocado oil, it helps to strengthen and restore the moisture levels in your hair. After a few uses, I noticed that my tresses look shinier and certainly felt more nourished. This is a great treatment whatever type of hair you have, be it Afro Caribbean, coloured or virgin. I also tried it on dry hair and left it to soak in for 20 minutes before shampooing and got great results.

syoss SALONPLEX Serum, £3, Tesco
A good buy for only £3. This leave-in serum is worth keeping to hand for when your hair could do with a boost. Use it a couple of times a week to improve the health of your tresses. Great value for money.

By Daralyn Danns