LUST-HAVE | 20th century British art auction at Sotheby's

via wikipedia

THE CLASS that most enthralled me at university was one with this exact same title (minus the 'auction at Sotheby's' part, which, by the way, happened mid-December, when I started writing this post!), taught by brilliant professor Timothy Barringer.

It's no secret (at least not in the art world) that Yale has the biggest British art collection outside of Britain thanks to one seriously generous man named Paul Mellon, and we students were granted access to works of art by Turner, Whiteread, Rego and more because of Mellon's beneficence. [Check out the Yale Center for British Art for more info.]

I sort of thought I would grow up, professionally speaking, in the art world, working at an auction house or the like.

Apparently not the case.

But I can share with you lot a few arty nuggets time and again, particularly on subjects I know about.

This -- 20th century British art -- being one of them.

Even if you haven't the slightest inclination towards the arts, this group of Brit artists has been hugely influential in the world, whether it be through social commentary, breaking ground with new mediums or techniques or simply paving the way for future artists inspired by them.

From Vorticists (there's a great Vorticism exhibition on at Duke University at the moment if you find yourself in Raleigh-Durham, North Caronlina and the Cornell University Art Gallery had a great Bloomsbury Group exhibition recently too) to the natural leanings of the St. Ives group or the YBAs, you've been touched by the works of 20th century British artists (and get your mind out of the gutter right now... not in a naughty way). 

Here's a list of my favourite artists from the collection on auction and resources to help you learn more about 20th century British art (early 20th century) if you fancy it. That said, I can't be arsed to add links so Google them!

Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Stanley Spencer, David Boomberg, Henry Moore, Walter Sickert, Barbara Hepworth, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Jacob Epstein, Wyndham Lewis, Gwen and Augustus John, Paula Rego, Christopher Nevinson...

A few fun facts for you:

If you ever go rambling and start in Cookham, you'll come across Spencer's home. It's just by the station.

Paul Nash's name graces one of those blue plaques one street south of Euston Road (katty corner to the back of the Camden library branch right there).

Henry Moore's giant sculptures litter the lawn by Kenwood House in the upper bit of Hampstead Heath. They're marvellous when the Rhododendrons are in bloom.


  • Check out the video on the auction items (now long since passed) HERE and for a speedy lecture on a few amazing piece.
  • Here's a Wiki-view to the world of British art.
  • Check out the various Tate locations for a wealth of information on British and other artists.
  • The Imperial War Museum has quite a few pieces from this early 20th-century era in British art too.

HO HO HO | Penhaligon's Christmas Gifts

HOW COULD I have forgotten to add these positively gorgeous hat boxes topped with floppy velvet bows to my Christmas Gift Guide. That's being rectified immediately. I remembered them as I was editing a post on the trend for all things Owl-y nowadays (seriously, haven't you noticed them everywhere?).

Gorgeous gift sets for him and her both. Or the house if you're getting it for a couple. I'd keep the entire thing, packaging and gift within, forever. Fragrances, bath and shower gels, votives, hand wash and lotion... all in the quintessential Penhaligon scents, style and bottles.

Image credit

HO HO HO | Lanvin Faces Playing Cards


KNOW A poker player with aesthete leanings? These Lanvin Playing Cards are the stocker stuffer for them. However at $85/£55, this deck might be the only thing stuffed in the toe of his/her stocking this year.

Play a second game of "Where's Alber" too, thanks to the cheeky bow-tie homage to the portly dandy designer.

Buy your own deck of Lanvin Faces Playing Cards or check out our Christmas Gift Guide for a plethora of across-the-board amazing gifts (because you know you haven't done your shopping yet).

LUST-HAVE | Scotch Naturals WaterColors


3-FREE is a pretty common catch phrase in the world of nails nowadays. No one wants toluene, formaldehyde or or DBP in their nail polish anymore. Um, fair enough.

We've seen Priti, Sula, Rescue Beauty, Ginger and Liz, Jessica, Zoya, Mavala... In fact, you can probably find more non-toxic polishes than toxic, although many of the biggest offenders are still the biggest names in the beauty.

The latest in non-toxic, natural nailcare is Scotch Naturals, a collection of 13 water-based polishes from an Arizona mom who first created non-toxic Hopscotch Kids nail polish for little girls.

In fact, the brand has such faith in its product that it claims to give you healthier nails the longer you use it (but be sure to use their remover too instead of super-drying acetone).

After reading the ingredient lists of their products, we tend to agree. The WaterColors ingredients are: water, acrylic polymer emulsion, and non toxic colorants. Seriously. THREE INGREDIENTS. The Polish Remover ingredients? water, tall oil fatty acids & alcohols (plant based), nonionic surfactant, organic buffer. 

Natural nail colour does tend to be harder to apply, take longer to dry and be quicker to come off and/or chip, but Scotch Naturals gives some handy tips to keep it looking better longer on this page.

Ceasefire and Hot Toddy are on-trend putty/mushroom/greige/khaki colours. There are some brilliant blues, a fiery red, black, a magenta and a bevy of nudes for the non-adventurous. All in, a well-rounded capsule collection.

Good for your nails taken neat.

Speaking of naturals... stay tuned for a little side project we're working on a very chic gardening e-commerce site... Kale & Cole {for the hip garden}. We can't wait to launch it!

LUST-HAVE | Filorga at House of Fraser

STORES AND boutiques have made it their business in recent years to stock the best beauty brands and products from around the world. No more waiting until you next travel to France or New York to stock up on your local favourites. You can get them anywhere, including the high street, which wasn't a reality just afew years back.

From Bluebird on King's Road to Content Beauty/Wellbeing in Marylebone, Beauty Cube in Spain or even, yes, House of Fraser, you can get your mitts on exotic beauty goods. In fact, House of Fraser have just rolled out their Apothecary concept in Glasgow, soon to be launched throughout the rest of the UK. They're stocking a private label Apothecary brand that's as gorgeous as any high-end brand out there (including a gorgeous 20 quid candle). Plus, they're carrying brands from far-flung destinations like Hei-She, Hissyfit, Pure by Mary Greenwell, Deborah Lippman, Electric Body, Slendertone, Rosebud, Trilogy, Bliss, Body America, Cereria Terenzi, Banana Republic, Gentry Grooming, Perricone MD and more.

My favourite new brand so far? French lable Filorga. The brand has made injectable cosmetic products for over 30 years and have now brought topical treatments made from the same high concentration active ingredients -- 55+1 to be exact. And they're traditionally used in mesotherapy treatments. Trust the French to bring us such products. They love their 'little' injectables and they love their skincare. Us? It's the slap, to cover up all those skincare transgressions and lazy habits. Whoops. Time to change that, no?

According to the press release, the range employs a patented core formula of hyaluronic Acid and NCTF , and those active ingredients really are identical to the ones injected in mesotherapy.

What else does the press release say? That the range uses a Hyaluronic Acid (HA) with high molecular weight and that "the complete anti-ageing efficiency of the 55+1 (NCTF + that Hyaluronic Acid) ingredients has been proven by a number of studies carried out by an independant molecular and
cellular pharmacology research centre: Stimulation of cellular growth, (+147 %)*, Anti-radical protection, (+90 %)*, Collagenic re-densification, (+256%)*, Slow down of dermal rigidification, (+366%)*

(*series of studies conducted by an independent research laboratory specialised in molecular and cellular pharmacology.)

So that's a bit more science backing up the products than Rodial and their Boob Job, eh? However, not being of a science background I can't verify the validity of their studies but the history of the brand suggests that they take their clinicals seriously.

What do I think? That I saw an instant change in my skin tone and texture when I started using the Filogra Absolute Anti-Ageing Serum, made of 100 ingredients (67% active), including the 55+1 medley, retinol and DNA. How DNA helps the skin, I cannot explain, but the product details state that it is anti-oxidant, moisturising and reactivates fibroblasts.

Since using it, my rosacea has been less rosy (no doubt helped by the Alpha H I've been using in tandem. More on that later), the fine lines under my eyes and on my forehead are dimished and my skin looks more even. Many anti-ageing serums really irritate my skin. I'm not sure if it's the fragrance or if they're meant to do so to inflame the skin and make it look smoother (completely counter-productive) but I have trialled a load and ditched them after a week or so because I simply can't take the way my skin breaks out, turns red and feels uncomfortable.

The texture is less viscous than many serums, having a thicker texture. If you have dry skin, you won't be able to use it alone (like me).

My conclusions: It's in my repeat buy pile for the forseeable future because of the immediate and lasting results in skin texture, fine lines and lack of irritation I've experienced with it.

Filorga Meso+ Absolute Anti-Ageing Serum (£55.00 for 30ml)

LUST-HAVE | CHANEL Sublimage Essential Revitalising Concentrate

SINCE WE'RE on the subject of serums this week. we need to tell you about the next big launch. Mark your calendars for Friday, October 8th because CHANEL is launching a new serum (or concentrate) in its Sublimage range (famed for its Planifolia PFA (vanilla planifolia + polyfractioning process)).

And it features yet another new ingredient to the beautyscape - the Golden Flower of the Himalayas aka Golden Champa aka the heal-all flower. You'll see it on CHANEL ingredient labels at Golden Champa PFA (polyfractioning is used again to extract the flower esters and maintain their integrity. I am unable to tell you what polyfractioning is... yet). Apparently the flower can help detoxify and revitalise skin. How? Well, what I've read is that Golden Champa PFA is anti-oxidizing and "induces active cellular revitalization by stimulating the expression of two essential enzymes... DT-Diaphorase and GST". There are all sorts of other scientific-sounding claims about the increase in ATP (energy/food) for cells, reduction in peroxized lipids in DNA, etc., however I would need a scientist to first explain such things to me and, second, verify whether this is true or not in order to tell you, one way or another, in this space today, if Golden Champa can do all those things.

That said, I, for one, will be trying it. And why not (tho I won't be spending this much on all my beauty products)? CHANEL does not disclose the amount of money it spends on research per year (which we take as a sign that it's A LOT), nor do they depend on suppliers for their active ingredients, instead choosing to grow their own. Their extraction processes are highly secretive and, well, if they're that intensive on the R&D side, I'd like to see if the fruit of their collective labor works. Wouldn't you? Plus, the Sublimage range has received rave reviews from consumers since its 2006 launch. 

It is pricey at £290.00 for 30ml, but, I've been using La Mer The Concentrate (not cheap) for ages -- and I LOVE it (love it), so I understand prioritizing my purchases (Dove soap or jojoba oil at cleanser for a snip but an expensive serum if it works, I use it daily and am judicious with applying it).

Needless to say, Xavier Ormancey (Chanel's Director of Active Ingredients) seems to spare no expense, nor leave any rock unturned, in his search for un-paralleled active ingredients for CHANEL skincare. 


COMPETITION: Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion


Read the review of Prtty Peaushun to find out more.

Terms and Conditions: Promotion open globally but excludes employees of Ellis Faas (or any retailers of Ellis Faas), their immediate families or anyone connected professionally with the promotion; Limited to one entry per household; Winners will be selected at random; Must be 16 years of age; Each winner receives one Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion; Promotion ends 12th August 2010. We DO NOT share your email or information with 3rd parties and dispose of it as soon as the promotion closes. Winner will be notified on, via the twitter feed and by email. 
Under Creative Commons License: 
Attribution Non-Commercial

TRIED&TESTED | Philips Lumea for the hair down there

This week, fearless Ali Taylor tries at-home laser hair removal for the pages of Find out if you can fry your follicles while having a cuppa in your kitchen or if, indeed, it's best done under a doctor's supervision!

SO, PHILIPS LUMEA is a home laser hair removal device. I tested it over an eight-week period – one session per fortnight - under the supervision of the lovely Philips people. The way it works? Well, it’s startlingly simple. There is a screen – like a mini TV screen - which houses the Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology at the end of the curvaceous L-shaped hand-held. You press the screen against your skin and work your way through the affected area bit by bit, zapping as you go.  It feels a little hot, or like the feeling of an elastic band pinging against your skin, but not what you’d call painful. And let’s face it, when it comes to hair removal; no pain no gain, eh?

We were instructed to shave before the first session so that you can apply the laser to a clean area. I wasn’t too happy about this – through bitter experience I’m a waxer when it comes to the bikini area; shaving is rash central for me. I went ahead though and was excited to see the results. It took less than ten minutes to do my bikini line. You pick a setting according to your skin and hair colour (there are five settings) and can adjust them as you go depending on how sensitive the area is. You literally press ONE button before moving onto the next bit. It’s unbelievably easy and, of course, mess free.

I inspected the area closely over the next week and sure enough the hair started to grow back pretty much as normal but this is usual, apparently. Between session two and three, though, there was a massive difference. I had very patchy re-growth and nowhere near the discomfort you usually experience from shaving ‘down there’. It was amazing – I was excited... Is that sad?

By the last session, week four, there was virtually no re-growth and I used my final fling to really give that sucker a good going over. It’s not stayed completely hair free in the past four weeks but the re-growth has been minimal and not an, erm, patch on what it would normally be like. I reckon two more sessions would see the back of it for good. Now that is really something – and just in time for holiday season.

Hair removal nirvana, needless to say, doesn’t come cheap. It’ll set you back £399 (buy at Boots, John Lewis or Amazon) but compare this to the amount spent on waxing over the years and how much it would cost for a similar treatment in a salon, it’s not bad at all.

For more info on how it stops the hair from growing, see British Beauty Blogger's review in The Telegraph here.

I will be investing.

LUST-HAVE | Korres Jasmine Eau de Toilette

I LOVE this… Because it’s a complex and alluring alternative to the watery, weightless fragrance trend. Whether, like us, you’re at peace with a scent unassigned to man or woman, or you prefer to leave a cloud of feminine sweetness or masculine musk wafting in your wake, one of the three Korres scents will woo you. In a moment of olfactory brilliance, Korres has found three ways to bottle the Mediterranean mystique. £38, 100ml


LUST-HAVE | Dr. Hauschka tube wringer

BECAUSE WHY the bloody hell wouldn't you? Yes, you can also use the edge of a toothbrush or butter knife, but that only seems to work with plastic, glossy toothpaste tubes. For the metal ones that hold very precious cargo (like my tube of Ziana that's worth, in weight, more than gold), I want EVERY SINGLE LAST DROP from it. Throw away 5 drops!? That's like chucking two lattes or a bottle of wine down the drain! I mean... better yet, save yourself the time and sliced finger and just crumple up a tenner and chuck it in the bin...

Or buy this. It's a good value and with the frequency at which you'll (I'll) strap it on a tube, the price per use will be negligible... if only I could say the same for my anti-ageing, anti-spot wunder-cream. 

Get a Dr. Hauschka Tube Wringer. Or check out the plethora of other wringers out there for the penny pincher that lives in all (maybe most) of us.


YOU PROBABLY don't need this but you'll certainly lust after it. The double whammy of acne and ageing that I (and over 50% of other women) am facing almost demands I buy Ziana. Almost.

This stuff is almost immoral it's priced so high (several hundred $ a tube). I can't rationalise buying it. When I'm in the states I – of course – have American health insurance, which does not actually do all that much for me (maybe after I pay my $5,000 deductible it does something?), including pay for prescriptions.

So even with the discount card the Dermatologist gave me, I can't buy it (surprise! – my insurance only covers 30g tubes and the offer is only for 60g tubes. Did you really think they'd let me have it for $20 instead of the $187 (that's with my coverage) they're asking?).

Some might grumble that, well, insurance shouldn't pay for cosmetic prescriptions anyway. BUT this stuff is pretty unique in that it's for acne (a REAL medical condition. Wait until you have it and then see who's sniggering) AND helps with fine lines at the same time. The combo of Tretinoin (a Vitamin A derivative (or topical Retinoid)) and Clindamycin Phosphate (anti-bacterial) simultaneously nips acne and ageing in the bud.

One work around? Get an OTC with Clindamycin Phosphate and apply it nightly with some sort of generic (or medical-grade like Skinceuticals) Vitamin A cream/gel (of at least .01% concentration. Ziana is .025%).

In the meantime, I'll be calling the Dermo and get myself a satchel full of samples (take that Medicis).

An un-conventional lust-have but emotions (especially about material things) rarely are (nor are they always rational).

Belmacz 24K Gold Flake Lipgloss on because

My latest installment on is for Belmacz lippy. "Thick, glassy and flecked with real gold, the brilliantly pigmented glosses are not for those who want to blend it. They’re for those who want to stand apart. Punk pink, magenta, cornelia. Even the names are vibrant. Use them alone or give your lips a layer of punk-rock goddess that’s wearable day and night"... Read the full piece and buy a pot at

Beauty giveaway: Ormonde Jayne Essential Bathing Oil

WHAT | 3 lucky Beauty Woo Me readers will receive a bottle of Essential Bathing Oil (n the scent of your choosing: Orris Noir, Champaca, Osmanthus, Tolu, Ta’if, Ormonde Woman, Frangipani or Sampaquita) from the luxurious, quintessentially London perfumer Ormonde Jayne.

HOW | It's a free prize draw! Simply enter your email and name HEREhit submit et... voila! You are entered for a chance to win one of 3 prizes. There's nothing to it (and we aren't sharing your information with any third parties). Naughty or nice? No matter... Only luck matters in this festive giveaway!

DEADLINE | Prize draw closes December 14, 2009. Winners will be emailed directly by December 15, 2009.

WHY | Beauty Woo Me and Ormonde Jayne simply want start the festive season started off right... with beautiful fragrance, plump skin and a warm bath.


The Beauty Woo Me edit from Ormonde Jayne |  Frangipani (no brainer), Ormonde Woman (with black hemlock, this is as exotic and femme fatale as a fragrance can possibly be) and Orris Noir... we've been known to leave the house swathed in a gentle cloud of Zizan or Ormonde Man from time to time as well.

Oribe 24K Gold Pomade on

We love this because the gently scintillating golden Pomade is the range’s hero product, bringing instant brilliance to your hair. And Oribe's new branding is very luxe. It looks better in the shower than almost any other brand out there (not that you would buy a product just because you like the way it looks, right? I know... I'm guilty of it too). Read my full review of Oribe 24K Gold Pomade at