Christmas Gift Ideas- The Handpicked Collection

Recently I was asked to review gifts from The handpicked collection and I eagerly agreed, I'm a big fan of this online shop which delivers stylish and affordable pressies. One of my favourite features is the special occasion section which of course displays gifts according to occasions such as christenings and weddings etc but most importantly right now, there is a Christmas section which is further broken down in to age groups, making this the perfect shop for busy mamas like myself. All items displayed on the website have been vetted by a panel of lifestyle journalists, trendsetters and entrepreneurs who ensure that The handpicked collection stocks only the hottest products on the market.

I chose This Works - Perfect hands and heels gift set to review. This Works is a fantastic brand which uses only the finest natural active ingredients, all their products avoid nasty chemicals such as parabens and sulphates and they don't test on animals either which get big big thumbs up from me. 
The gift set contains a full sized tube of hand balm and heel balm which separately would retail for considerably more than the set itself which costs £19.95.

On to the perfect hands intense moisture cream, initially I was dubious about the Rose and Mimosa scent but this was far from Eau de Granny and instead I was met with a beautiful fresh perfume. The two ingredients have been selected primarily for their anti-ageing properties and are said to reduce dark spots although I can't really comment on this aspect as I don't have dark spots on my hands.......yet! The product itself moisturised well thanks to Hyaluronic acid it contains which locks in moisture, and importantly it was non greasy.

The perfect heels rescue balm, aaahhhh the perfect heels rescue balm. This stuff is just dreamy it has a light lavender smell and it's described on the tube as a 'miracle balm with cotton and thistle to prevent and repair cracked heels and dry feet' and boy does this stuff deliver, I'm in love! 

Who would I buy this gift for? Well anyone who deserves to be pampered really. Personally I think that the hand cream in particular would make a great gift for little E to give to Grandma who suffers terribly with chapped hands throughout the year, she would also love the fact that it helps with dark spots, even though she doesn't actually have any!! 
I also think this would make a ideal gift for any preggie friends, I constantly had dry hands and cracked heels while little E was on the way and feeling confident that neither product contained any nasties a foot massage with the heel balm courtesy of Mr Jones would have been absolute bliss. 

Top on my list of great pressies from the hand picked collection are: 

1. Fisher price chatter phone

2 Wooden dolls pram

3. Wagging tail clock

4. Spineless classics complete novel poster


Nails of the Week- Incoco Candy

I'm back! We have just returned from a few weeks break in Singapore and Malaysia. It was so nice to have a break from London although 10 days in Singapore with the in laws was more than enough and I'm very happy to be back home now :)

I'm a little behind with posts and this week's nails of the week post is a little out of date now but it was to pretty to ignore. Incoco press on nail polish is one of my favourite beauty products and from now on I think it will be one of my travel staples. All I had to pack was the weightless polish strips, no need for top and base coats which always seem to leak in my suitcase anyway, grrrr.

You may remember from my photos of the week post a while back that I picked up three different Incoco strips from Harrods, for my holidays I chose a sparkling Turquoise called Candy. It lasted me a good five days, usually I find they last longer but I managed to cover my nails in insect repellent which made the polish dissolve *sad face*

The three shades that I bought from Harrods:

Some red strips that I used on my Mama, I think the colour was called Passion. She absolutely loved them and she even got two weeks wear out of them!

If you missed my previous Incoco posts, read them here and here.


Winter Wishlist

It's been a miserable and rainy day here in London today and although summer is a distant memory, I'm still not quite ready to pack the bright clothes away until next June. These beautiful and vibrant winter coats from J crew are just the thing to keep me going until spring:

I can just picture pushing little E in the stroller along kings road in one of these beauties, Lol.........
They are all available in a multitude of hues if brights aren't your thing, although I'm not sure I'd be able to choose just one. Link

Every few weeks the newly re branded Baukjen, (formerly Isabella Oliver 365, the non maternity range) catalogue drops through my letterbox and threatens to bankrupt the family Jones. The look is very yummy mummy/ Isabel Marantish, laid back glam and the collection is jam packed full of basic investment pieces that are truly versatile. I currently have my eye on all the outfits below but especially the Maja joggers in the first picture. Link

I have been mulling over this Zara plaited shopper with studs for months now. It's nothing to do with the appearance, I love how the bag looks and it's so practical, it fits almost everything inside! It's just that recently I have bought so many pieces from Zara that have fallen apart and even though £129 isn't cheap, it's by no means the most expensive bag that I've bought but I'm kind of doubting the quality and thinking that perhaps my £129 could be better spent elsewhere..... Link

Slipper shoes are everywhere right now but a very good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of these velvet Charles Philip Shanghai's beauties and I have been drooling over them ever since. I love the shape, the pancake flat sole and the low vamp. Link

So unless I win the lottery I am going to have to resort to dreaming about my winter wish list. Mr Jones, if you're reading........ some Christmas/Bday gift ideas for you ;) xxxx


That Kardashian Lipstick

I can't believe that I'm writing a post about the Kardashians but I secretly love watching the show and I am a big big fan of the bright lipsticks that the girls often wear especially this vibrant orangey red that Kourtney often sports. I recently discovered that the lipstick that she wears is YSL Rouge Pur Couture in L'Orange ( number 13).

I have since bought L'orange myself and it's swiftly becoming my signature lipstick. It literally lasts all day, I apply it at about 8.30 just before work and when I return home in the evening it is still firmly in place.

The product feels super creamy and moisturising on application but afterwards I find I need to use a good moisturiser to prevent dryness. I usually wear this along side Mac Redd lip liner for added definition and staying power.

I absolutely love the way that a bold lip colour can totally change a look in a matter of seconds. It instantly makes me feel a little bit glam. L'orange is most definitely a keeper!!


Photos of the Week

I haven't done a photo of the week post for quite a while now and thought it was high time that I put a post together:

Below is my new dipped hem top from Anthropologie ( I do shop elsewhere believe it or not!) It's one of those incredibly versatile tops that you can just wear anywhere. In the photo I'm wearing it with leggings, cowboy boots and a blazer but I think it would also work at night time dressed up with heels instead of boots and a statement necklace, which more than justifies the cost per wear! I love it! 

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have noticed me experimenting with Rock Star nails. Rock Star nails is basically just gel topped off with lots and lots of glitter, the effect is very very striking and it's relatively easy to do yourself, I shall put a 'How to' post together soon.

For quite some time, little E has been miles ahead of her mama in the style stakes! I love these little pink corduroy shorts form H&M and the Peter Pan collared top from Zara.

A slightly unorthodox bedtime reading ritual- little E and Grandma ( or Gaga as she is now known) share their love of glossy magazines.

Last week we took, little E and cousin M to Gambado soft play gym for the first time. I actually think the Daddies enjoyed it more than the girls, meanwhile both mama's left with sore heads!!

On a shopping trip to Harrods on Friday, I discovered that they now stock Incoco, my favourite nail appliques. If you haven't tried them then you absolutely must, they are genius! I wrote a couple of reviews on them HERE and HERE

E and I continue to be obsessed with Froyo, it's low fat and a scrummy and healthy substitute for Ice Cream. These sample pots at YooMoo in Harrods are the perfect size for little ones.


Spreading the Arm Candy Love

Just a quick little post today, you may have already seen the photos I posted on Twitter and Instagram of my new rose gold 'Love' bracelet.  I absolutely love Zoe and Morgan's Love Lasso ring which inspired me to do a huge internet trawl to find something similar yet a little more affordable. 

My search brought me to a fabulous Etsy store named Apple Latte, although I chose a bracelet in the end over a ring. This store is packed full of beautiful and dainty pieces which would make perfect gifts or treats for yourself :) It's an absolute gem and I thought it would be just rude not to share.....

 Here's the Link if anyone is interested.


Baby Got New Wheels

A friend of mine once commented  how on first impressions women often check out each others handbags but once they have a baby then this progresses to prams and strollers. I love my Stokke Xplory so much and have never had so much as an ounce of pram envy, even walking around the streets of Chelsea where so many mama's seem to have a different stroller for each day of the week. I swear that I have seen some mamas with Bugaboo donkey's, no babies inside and instead the seats are filled with Jimmy Choo and Chanel shopping bags.......

Mr Jones recently suggested that we should think about buying something more lightweight along the lines of a Maclaren and I have to admit, I did get a little defensive. Like most mama's I'm sure, I spent ages choosing the right travel system for us and for our little one and a Maclaren just seemed dull in comparison. To add to my frustrations, all the relatively attractive collapsible strollers seemed to cost an absolute fortune.

Then I struck gold when I came across a gorgeous limited edition, Cath Kidston floral print Maclaren Quest on Winstanley's Pramworld website for a  very very reasonable price. I was sold,( although should our next little one be a boy then I may have to rethink this purchase). The pram arrived within 24 hours and the delivery was free!

My sister also owns a regular Maclaren Quest and we have noticed that the Cath Kidston model does lack some of the features of the regular Quest, such as fully reclining seats- ours only recline 3/4 of the way down- but little E doesn't seem to have any trouble falling asleep in it. It isn't anywhere near as smooth a ride as our Stokke but then I didn't really expect that it would be and as it's so lightweight it is still relatively nimble. One of the only design flaws of the Stokke is does take a while to learn how to collapse so Maclaren is a dream in comparison.

I still prefer to use the Stokke, it looks cooler, it's easier on my back, much sturdier than the Maclaren which tips constantly if you hang anything from the handles when it's empty but little E has other ideas and absolutely adores the Maclaren. She loves going out in it and can often be found pushing it around the house. So, for now, Mr Jones has promised to find me a bumper sticker for the pushchair saying ' My other pram is a Stokke!' ............


Nails of the week: An alternative to Chanel Black Pearl - Sensationail Ocean Sparkle

I never ever win anything, and so I was ever so slightly excited to find out that I had won a bottle of  SensatioNail Gel Polish in a twitter competition. A few days later, this beautiful bottle of jewel toned teal polish popped through my letterbox!! Just the sort of colour I would pick myself :)

I was a bit disheartened to see that the packaging stated boldly that this polish could only be cured using an LED light, which I don't own, I always cure ( or dry ) my gel polish with a UV lamp. However, I read through the ingredients and noticed that they were almost exactly the same as the other brands of gel polish I already own. So, I tested one nail with the UV lamp and bingo! it worked! Emergency averted!!

As I was painting my nails with this sparkly teal, I had a strange feeling of Deja Vu and promptly dug out my stash of Chanel Black Pearl. Whilst Ocean Sparkle isn't a perfect dupe for Black Pearl. I would say it is certainly a good long lasting alternative. (Especially given as most of my Chanel polishes last about a day before chipping!! ) Black Pearl is a pearlescent greeny grey whereas Ocean Sparkle is more of a deep blue with teeny tiny flecks of glitter. At a glance they are very difficult to tell apart.

So how did the SensatioNail fare? Aside from horrible the brand name ( too much frommage pour moi!) the polish itself is excellent. The brush makes this polish very easy to apply and it has just he right consistency being neither too thick or too thin. One of the best things about this polish for me is that it is available in Boots, so I can pick this up whilst on my weekly nappy shop without having to faff about with purchasing on Ebay. I will certainly be purchasing more SensatioNail colours, I already have my eye on a shade called Coral Sunset which looks like a potential gel dupe for Essie's Cute as a Button!


Three years ago......

.... (yesterday) on a rainy Saturday evening in Athens, Mr Jones and I were married in front of friends and family who travelled from all over the world to be there for us. We both had the most fantastic time and I'm sure my friends who read this blog are by now sick to death of my wedding photos but here are some of my faves:

Last night we celebrated our anniversary with dinner in Hakkasan which is one of my favourite Chinese restaurants. I work on Wednesdays so that didn't leave me much time to get changed, in the end I just threw on some bright red lippie and changed the flats for some trusty Louboutin heels. 
To all those brides out there organising their own weddings, enjoy the planning and most importantly, enjoy the day!



Operation Hair Repair

Ugh my hair has just been so vile lately, even viler (is that a word?) than usual!
In a bid to reign back my spending on cosmetics, I decided to try out 'supermarket brands' for my hair but they just aren't doing it for me. My hair has the appearance and texture of straw and NO I will not get it cut!

Then I had a brainwave to re-purchase Kevin Murphy's Hydrate Me wash and rinse. I came across this brand a few years ago after having a Brazilian Blow dry in Harrods. They are free from sulphates (which break down the chemicals in a Brazilian Blow dry) and don't contain any parabens either. I developed a serious aversion to products containing parabens during my pregnancy and have continued to search out paraben free products ever since.

Many shampoos and conditioners leave yucky residues behind but not this one and after a week's use my hair is already feeling hydrated and generally in better condition. The unique block shaped packaging not only looks cool but it's also very practical to pack when travelling. The shampoo lathers really well and did I mention how great it smells too? I Love love love this stuff although I do hate the way they are called wash and rinse instead of shampoo and conditioner- far to confusing for my little blonde baby brain!!!

I usually order mine from Amazon for around £15 each and ok that's not exactly a bargain but I look at it this way: I would happily spend £30 on a jumper and I don't wear that every day, my hair I do wear every day and even though these products are expensive, a little goes a VERY long way. Therefore I declare these products an investment in decent ( hopefully) hair!

I've also tried his Angel and Luxury ranges but they didn't do anything for me so you really need to find the right range for your hair type. However one other great product in this range which deserves a mention is Body Guard which is a fantastic multipurpose product ( love my multipurpose products!) it's both a hydrating leave in cream and a heat protector.

A bientot my lovelies xxxx


La vie en Luxe

After much deliberation, we have finally booked our flights to Singapore to visit little E's Grandad & Granny J next month. Although E has managed to rack up the air miles in her first year on the planet, she has never been further than Greece, so this will be our first ever long haul flight (13hrs, eek!) and I'm a little bit nervous. Any tips for long haul flights with little ones would be much appreciated!

I have visited Singapore a few times and Mr Jones spent a lot of time there as a child, so we are quite familiar with the city. Nevertheless, I find the Luxe City Guides absolutely invaluable for finding out about the coolest restaurants and shops. I often find myself writing lists for friends with things to do and  see in Athens/ Paris and the Luxe City Guides remind me of the sort of thing you would write for a friend. It's just like a pamphlet full of really really useful tips and what's more they are regularly updated.......
So I went online to order a new Singapore Guide only to find that the thoughtful Luxe Guiders have released a Family friendly version just in time for our holiday!!!! Naturally I have spent the past few days absorbed in my new find and googling all the places suggested. The Guide is made in conjunction with a website called Little Steps Asia, which has given me loads more ideas for our trip including this list of Travel Apps for the iPad. Despite the hideously long flight, we're all getting super excited about our trip, especially as we may just sneak off to a near by Island for a few days break which would hopefully mean some sunshine!!!!! Bliss :)


Nails of the Week- Nail Bling!!

Woohoooo, I've managed two posts this week!! The first time since I've started back at work. Although technically this one is a little bit of a cheat because a) they're a variation on the Grey Polish I wore the other week and b) these nails are from a few weeks ago but you're aren't going to hold that against me now are you????

Of course I couldn't resist these 3D Bling Envy wraps from Elegant touch. When my beady eyes fell on them in Superdrug, it was love at first sight, I had to have them!!! I had been looking for some simple nail art that would work with a UV gel such as shellac and these fit the bill perfectly.

These are called Bling Candy Sprinkles and they come in a sheet of 18. They're really easy to apply, you just need to match the correct size to each nail, press them on, stretch any surplus over the edge of the nail and then file it off ( Don't worry, it comes with simple instructions!)  To begin with I actually did a full manicure using a regular top coat but it seems the shellac gel underneath didn't like the top coat and they all came off in a matter of hours. On my second attempt I decided to settle for an accent nail and used my Gelish Top it Off - top coat. This worked fine and lasted until I got bored, although you only need a very thin layer of gel on top so as not to lose the 3D effect.

Next time I'm hoping to try these with regular polish underneath. If you love these then keep your eyes peeled for an update.


Happy Birthday Papou !!

First of all I have to apologise  for my infrequent blog posts lately. I have recently returned to work and I am still getting used to combining motherhood with work which unfortunately hasn't left much time for blogging. I do hope to be a little bit more organised in the coming weeks as I have heaps and heaps of posts in mind.

Last Sunday was my Father's birthday or Papou as he is known to little E and cousin M (which means Grandad in Greek) We took him to lunch at The Gilbert Scott restaurant which is in the newly renovated and quite spectacular, St Pancras hotel. I don't think that families with small children are exactly the target market for this restaurant and that was made quite obvious to us by the death stares we received from the A.A.Gill wannabe diners as we walked in to the restaurant with two little ones. That said, the staff were absolutely fantastic with the babies. We brought our own food for little E and cousin M so food wasn't really an issue but the waiters were always on hand for anything we required and constantly smiling at the girls and making them giggle. They even noticed us whisper singing Happy Birthday to my dad and brought over a little birthday desert for him.

I'm always a little nervous when we go to smart restaurants with little E, mainly because I don't want to be at all disruptive to other diners. I needn't have worried as both girls were beautifully behaved as always.
You're probably thinking well, why go to such restaurants if it stresses you out.  Our main reason for choosing this restaurant was because we had arranged something quite special for the eve of Papou's birthday. We had secretly bought him & my mother tickets for the closing ceremony of the Paralympics and after lunch we waved them off on the Javelin train which took them straight to the Olympic park from St Pancras in just over 5 minutes.Papou claims it was the best birthday surprise ever. Although I have no idea how we are going to beat that for presents next year!!!!!!!!!!

Oooohh and check out the restaurant's gorgeous Walnut Stokke Tripp Trapp high chairs.......

© Mrs Jones London . Design by Fearne.