Burn baby, burn!

BURNING_01_028071c5-706d-4c37-b0f4-0be952651d18_2048x2048Man that I am I just love burning stuff (as a I child my mother would often sniff me when I came home from a day playing outside and ask me, “Lee, have you been burning things again?”). So it comes as no surprise that I love burning incense. I absolutely love Fornasetti Profumi Incensi with its signature Otto fragrance created by perfumer Oliver Polge for example.

My latest discovery is a collection of fantastically fragrant Incense Pyres from American company Blackbird. Presented in a dinky till with cool handwritten labels they’re a brilliantly effective way of scenting your house in a hurry and are especially good at masking the smell of things like fried fish or – and I can attest for this – cat litters that see heavy traffic. My fave version at the moment is “Ozo” which is woody and floral with a slight liquoricey vibe and which totally, but safely, satisfies my penchant for pyromania.

Available from Niven & Joshua.

Champagne breath? Maybe Marvis can sort you out!

MARVIS MOUTHWASHI read with interest a report in the Telegraph this morning suggesting that Champagne may be able to improve memory (though presumably not if you have two bottles at once). Personally, being delicate-of-stomach, I try to avoid it – quite a challenge given that in the beauty world virtually every press launch is lubricated by the stuff.

But anyway, whilst the Telegraph article is very informative about the possible memory-boosting properties of the bubbly beverage it fails to mention the big downside – the infamous champagne breath. Standing next to someone who’s had a few glasses always reminds me of that moment in Alien where the monster first bares its silvery teeth to a terrified Ripley. Trust me, judging by Sigourney’s face that Alien mother was a big champagne drinker.

The solution (apart from chewing on cardamon pods which my dentist Uchenna Okoye always recommends) is to rinse with a mouthwash when you get back home and this one, from Marvis, is my current favourite. Free of mouth-drying alcohol and flavoured with peppermint and aromatic herbs it’s not as harsh as many cheaper mouthwashes you buy in supermarkets and tastes better too.

That’s something I’ll raise a glass to anytime, though not a glass of bubbly obviously.

The Grooming Guru’s Christmas Gift Guide For Her

Stuck for a present idea for the woman in your life? How about these glorious gifts?

03102012042806There are scented candles and then there are Fornasetti scented candles, which don’t just smell great but turn the humble room fragrance into a mini work of art. This one, the Flora di Fornasetti candle, fills the room with gloriously intoxicating notes of lily of the valley, jasmine and tuberose and comes in the most exquisite ceramic vessel and gift box. £99 from Selfridges.com

Face facts, how a bottle of fragrance looks is just as important as how it smells when it comes to gift giving. And who could not be won over by this orb-topped fragrance from Vivienne Westwood? Deliciously feminine, with notes of bergamot, red english rose and heliotrope, Boudoir is a no-brainer when it comes to gifting so go buy! £34 for 30ml eau de parfum from escentual.com


I always think that Molton Brown products look like colourful little jewels. And if that’s the case then this Orion Gift Set, featuring six colourful bath and shower gels is a veritible treasure trove for beauty magpies. Looks fab and best of all, is easy to wrap! £36 from nivenandjoshua.com

ren-gift-set-05I love REN as a brand and suspect she’ll love you if you gave her this Neroil Duo Gift Set featuring a Neroli and Grapefruit Body Wash and Body Cream. They smell  fantastic and the great thing is that, once they’re on the side of the bath, you can can proceed to steal them for yourself. £28 from renskincare.com

Tidy_All_PurpleLizThough the contents of a woman’s handbag largely remain a mystery to me I’ve seen enough friends rummaging around in them to know that they’re clearly a bit like the Tardis inside (i.e big and very messy). This dinky little Aspinal Handbag Tidy solves part of that problem by safely housing a few essentials like lipstick, lipgloss and contact lenses. £65 from aspinaloflondon.com

black orchidYou probably know by now how much I love Tom Ford fragrances. Well, Black Orchid is one of his best selling signature fragrances for women and this gift set, featuring a 50ml bottle of the rich, sensual fragrance along with a 75ml body lotion, is guaranteed to make a big impression on Christmas morning. £75 from selfridges.com

whole lotta colourI must confess I don’t know much about make up (the last time I wore any myself was back in the Eighties when it was de rigueur for men to slap up) but what I do know from reading the posts and tweets of my fellow beauty press and beauty bloggers is that Clinique’s Chubby Sticks* have been a bit of a sensation this year. So much so that this Whole Lotta Colour gift set has sold out on their own website and it’s pot luck whether you’ll be able to find a store near you that has a set. But since it’s clearly one of this year’s must have gifts you’ll get extra points if you do find one. So what are you doing reading this? You’d better get shopping! £30 from a store near you (hopefully).

*they’re lip colour balms in case you were wondering

Grooming Guru Essentials: Molton Brown Skin-Firming Lipoamino Hydrator SPF15

Moisturisers containing sunscreens are pretty much de rigueur thesedays. After all, if you can buy a moisturiser that doesn’t just hydrate skin but also protects it from the ageing-effects of the sun on a daily basis why wouldn’t you?

The problem is finding one that doesn’t sit on your face, looking as though you’ve slathered yourself with white emulsion. Thankfully, this new addition to the Molton Brown range blends in a treat, leaves a non-greasy matt finish and doesn’t have that nasty sunscreeny smell either. As well as hydrating it also has a slight firming action on the skin. As anti-ageing moisturisers go it’s definitely up there with the best.

Available from Niven & Joshua priced £38 for 50ml. 

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Win! The Ultimate Summer Skin Survival Pack

As Grooming & Lifestyle Ed of online grooming emporium Niven & Joshua I’m often asked what my favourite products are. But this week, the site are giving you the opportunity to win some of them too. I’ve chosen five of my essential summer skin savers to form a useful survival pack. To find out what they are and how to bag a complete pack yourself just click here. Hurry though, the winner of the pack (worth £80) will be notified on 1st June!