REVIEW: Montblanc Signature Fragrance for Her

Montblanc Signature For Her

With the arrival of spring, a host of fresh and light fragrances to lift one’s spirit and mood have landed on my desk, with one such lovely being Montblanc’s latest women fragrance Montblanc Signature For Her…

‘If writing is the visible expression of the soul,’ they tell us, ‘fragrance is surely its unspoken, subliminal language. Fragrances tell stories, shape emotions and evoke poetry, writing in unseen ink where the fountain pen marks on paper in black and white.’ –Montblanc

Montblanc Signature For Her

There are women who will be remembered for their bravery, authenticity, strength and courage and choose to be the author of their own life; Montblanc Signature pays tribute to unforgettable women, ‘authors of their own story’. Diane Ducret, a French Belgian writer, noted as the only French writer to make a living from writing is the face of Montblanc Signature campaign.

This fresh appealing everyday scent is classified as a floral-oriental and musky fragrance;  top notes of juicy clementines combined with delicate peony, magnolia and ylang-ylang are at the heart, wrapped up in warming white musk, benzoin and sensual vanilla. I loved the zesty clementine smell on first spritz, settling down into a non obtrusive and subtle vanilla notes so had good durability.

Montblanc Signature For Her Fragrance
Montblanc Signature For Her

Perfumers Guillaume Flavigny and Nathalie Gracia-Cetto wanted ‘a contrast of opulent and sensual, an appeal and elegance; I wanted to infuse more light, more breath and transparency’, says Natalie Gracia-Cetto.

The gorgoeus opalescent bottle designed by Mark Eisen pays tribute to the iconic inkwell, part of Montblanc heritage with gold details  borrowed from the ‘Meisterstück’ writing instrument, underline the elegance of the object.

  • Did you know designer and artist Mark Eisen was born in Cape Town before moving to the states  to study, read more on him here

It’s well balanced and very befitting for spring time

Montblanc Signature For Her EDP, R880 for 30ml, R1 065 for 50ml and R1 315 for 90ml, is available at Dis-Chem.

REVIEW: Nature Box’s Almond range

German brand Nature Box recently hit our shores  and has been receiving rave reviews for their eco-friendly sustainable products that contain no artificial colours and are silicone and paraben-free. They are all vegan certified and available at affordable prices too. I was delighted to be sent their Almond range to see what all the fuss was about.

Nature Box Almond Range includes: Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Lotion, Shower Gel & Hair Lift Spray

Cold-Pressed Oils

Nature Box has a number of ranges: avocado, apricot, coconut, passion fruit, pomegranate, olive oil, argan oil and almond. They all contain 100% cold-pressed oils. This is considered the best method to extract, as no external heat is applied meaning antioxidants, vitamins, essential nutrients and fatty acids aren’t affected or damaged. The oils are extracted from the nuts, seed and/or fruit without losing quality and thus retaining their effectiveness.

‘Social responsibly is our top priority supporting smaller farmers for a more sustainable cultivation of raw materials .’

Socially Responsible

Nature Box use sustainably produced palm oil from Nigeria. Palm oil production is notoriously bad for the planet, however Nature Box has joined forces with Solidaridad to ensure their palm oil is sustainably harvested. Solidaridad is an international development organisation that supports small farmers in the sustainable cultivation of palm oil in several regions around the world. For their project in Nigeria small farmers are trained and supported in sustainability cultivating palm oil. This enables farmers to increase their productivity and reduce the negative impact on environment. In addition, the farmers receive a certification for their harvest. You can check out more on Nature Box Sustainability projects here

The Almond range includes their Almond Shampoo R119.99, Almond Conditioner, R119.99, Almond Shower Gel R69.99, Almond Body Lotion R93 and Root Lift Spray R99. Almonds are rich in antioxidants, omega fatty acids and magnesium which is necessary to promote hair growth and also helps with shine, frizz, to nourish hair strands, and to prevent inflammation, dandruff and damage from hair styling tools.

Nature Box Almond Range includes: Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Lotion, Shower Gel & Hair Lift Spray

Nature Box Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve been using these for a couple of months now and I am impressed. I love that the shampoo bottle is the same size as the conditioner so my husband and I can share the bottle. His scalp is sensitive and prone to flakiness and using this on a daily basis has been gentle and left his hair shiny. I have dry hair so only shampoo once a week with lashings of conditioner. They work well on my hair to add moisture and nourishment.

Nature Box Almond Range includes: Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Lotion, Shower Gel & Hair Lift Spray

Nature Box Root Lift Spray

I wouldn’t have necessarily gravitated towards the Root Lift Spray as it is aimed at giving volume and, hells teeth, I have enough of that! However, I’ve found that it works remarkably well on restoring my waves. Because I regularly colour and highlight my hair, I have all but lost my curl pattern (except in summertime where the salt water gives my waves back, ha!). I spray this on wet hair and use my hands to scrunch it in, and it dries into natural-looking waves.

Nature Box Shower Gel

I am a huge fan of shower gels as they are just so easy to use. If they lather up nicely and smell good then it’s a big yay from me. Another big bonus is the clear print on the bottles. There have been occasions where I’ve had to climb out of the shower to fetch my glasses, but Nature Box’s bottles are easy-to-read, so there’s no chance of washing myself with conditioner or adding shower gel to my hair..!

Nature Box Body Lotion

I’m always pressed for time my two priorities for a body lotion are it needs to sink in quickly and it needs to smell good. This one ticks both of those boxes.

Would I buy these again?

I love when a range works well, mainly because it looks pretty on my bathroom shelf to have everything matching! I’m impressed by the prices too, especially for the size of the bottles. I’ll definitely be repurchasing, this time the coconut range, suitable for dry hair and skin. And with travel plans still on hold for me I’ll take all the tropical scents I can get!

Happy day

Cath

REVIEW: Dr Hauschka Regenerating Oil Serum, Regenerating Day Cream and Translucent Bronzing Tint

My days of waking up looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed are long over, so imagine my delight when products for mature skin from Dr Hauschka arrive at my door. Ingredients are selected that refine and renew skin, leaving you looking firmer, smoother and more radiant. I like that, as realistically there is no magic potion to eliminate wrinkles completely, so you might as well embrace ageing but look radiant while doing so.

As more customers opt for a straight-forward, no-nonsense beauty approach, German brands, known as G-Beauty, are highly sought-after. Dr Hauschka was one of the first international brands paying tribute to a more eco-conscious way of using organic and natural ingredients in beauty products, placing sustainability, quality and ingredient integrity at a greater
importance.

Dr Hauschka Regenerating Oil Serum Intensive

Dr Hauschka combines the concentrated skin care of an oil with the
power of a serum. Oils are for nourishing, hydrating and
strengthening the skin barrier and serums have the power to deeply
penetrate the skin, depositing powerful active ingredients for more
targeted results.
Ingredients in their Regenerating Oil Serum Intensive include a formulation of almond and olive oils alongside nurturing plants like blackthorn extracts to aid elasticity and firmness and protect against drying environmental influences. My skin loved this and felt hydrated and moisturised.

Dr Hauschka Regenerating Day Cream 

I spent an awful amount of time lying in the backyard soaking up the sun while trying out these products. Sun exposure is bad, I know, but this was back in stage 5 of lockdown so no judgement! I loved using the combination of both the oil serum and moisturiser as my skin felt soft and hydrated, in spite of all the sun I was getting.

I haven’t been out much during lockdown, except to work, Zoom meetings and a few coffee dates on the weekend so this little bottle has
lasted me five months and I still have a bit to go.

Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint

For the last couple of years, I’ve steered clear of foundations as they feel
too heavy on my skin, rather opting for tinted moisturisers. I can’t sing the praises of Bioderma and Heliocare enough as they give a dash of colour and contain a high SPF. So what’s with this Translucent Bronzing Tint? 
Admittedly I was a little apprehensive as I am perfectly happy with my
above-mentioned tinted moisturisers, however I was pleasantly
surprised. To use it you add a few drops of the Translucent Bronzing Tint to their Moisturiser, patting it in gently for a fresh sun-kissed complexion

Sadly my oil serum and moisturiser have come to an end but I’ve been
continuing with the tint, mixing it into another moisturiser. Would I
repurchase these? Yes to the oil serum and moisturiser as they were such
a treat for my skin and I have always loved Dr H. Their philosophy and ethics resonate with me and, man, their products smell heavenly. And have you ever experienced a Dr Hauschka facial? Sublime indeed!

That’s all for today but take care and chat soon!

Cath

Kirsten Goss: ABODE Collection

Kirsten Goss ABODE Collection

Kirsten Goss latest ABODE Collection is a natural extension of her renowned jewellery brand, reflecting her signature shapes and styles with cutting edge pieces which are fast becoming highly collectible tableware accessories…

 The core collection consists of sterling silver cutlery and solid brass serving-ware with mustard/espresso spoons, jam or sugar spoons, salad servers and butter/pate knives and condiment spoons all meticulously crafted.

 ‘We revere the notion of buying ethically made, handcrafted items which we have sustained in our jewellery brand for almost 18 years’ Kirsten Goss

‘It’s now time to enjoy this aspect in everyday life – on your tables and in your living spaces. Solid silver spoons with personalised name/date-stamping make the most beautiful gifts for christenings, milestone birthdays, anniversaries and weddings’


We like the consideration of giving reverence to the quotidian. Spreading that jam or scooping that chilli with some magnificent little art piece – it’s one of life’s underrated pleasures. Make it count. Pass it on. The Modern Heirloom.‘ – Kirsten Goss

I hope you enjoyed this post- it’s always so inspiring to see what our local creative artists and designers are up to!

Take care and happy Monday!

Cath

SKIN QUENCHERS: Sheet Masks by The Body Shop

Amongst all the uncertainty and change of routine, I’ve been trying to make room for more me-time during lockdown. I’ve had great fun trawling through my beauty cupboard using forgotten-about cleansers and masks (and for once we’re not talking fabric face masks!).

I got around to treating myself to a few sheet masks from The Body Shop I had been saving. Back in the day, before The Body Shop came to South Africa, it was considered extremely cool for someone to return from travels abroad with their products! Three of my favourite buys included a reinvigorating shampoo called Ice Blue Shampoo, a cooling and refreshing gel for puffy and tired eyes called Elderflower Eye Gel and, my ultimate favourite, a vanilla oil in a nondescript plastic container where one drop lasted an entire day.

Sadly the formula changed and their vanilla scent was never quite the same, but my love for The Body Shop products has never waivered. They were one of the first to speak out against animal testing in beauty products and to encourage customers to recycle their packaging. But enough jabbering; let’s get to the masks!

Aloe Calm Sheet Mask

Before the science of medicine was developed, aloe vera was
considered a life-saving plant. In Ancient Egyptian culture it was referred to as the Plant of Immortality and by Native Americans as the Wand of Heaven.


Thanks to aloe vera and cucumber in the Aloe Calm Sheet Mask, my skin felt instantly hydrated and smooth. I popped the sealed mask into the fridge for an extra cooling experience before I applied it to my face. I lay down and listened to a 20 minute podcast episode before removing the mask, massaging the excess product into my often-neglected décolletage and neck area.

Vitamin E Quench Sheet Mask

Vitamin E Quench Sheet Mask

Wheatgerm oil is one of the richest sources of natural Vitamin E and is known for its moisturising and hydrating properties. During the first weeks of lockdown I spent a considerable amount of time soaking up the sun in my backyard (how glorious was the weather!) so my skin really benefitted from this mask which contains nourishing oil plus Hyaluronic acid. After fifteen minutes I removed the mask to reveal a noticeably hydrated and plumper face.

I do wish I had a stash of these sheet masks to apply weekly as they really made an instant difference. I’d keep these in my overnight bag if I was travelling anywhere – not that there’s a chance of that happening any time soon!

The Body Shop Face Sheet Masks

Have you tried any of these and what did you think?

Have a fantabulous Tuesday

Cath

REVIEW: Afari Skincare

I’ve tested out many cleansers over the years but Afari Skincare‘s Priming Cleanser is an outstanding one, made even more so as I know how much love, time and passion has gone into creating this luxe local brand. Margaux Knuppe  is the founder of Afari Skincare (you can read an interview I wrote earlier in the year here). I tried out their Priming Cleanser and Protecting Day Cream SPF30:

In a continent recognised for its rich heritage of traditional healers, and its wealth of naturally restorative elements and biodiversity, we embarked on a journey to find an indigenous botanical with regenerative skin benefits

I’m always looking for multi-purpose products to both save me time but also (and more importantly) address my skin concerns like collagen production, hydration, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. The key ingredient in all Afari Skincare products is an indigenous shrub that grows naturally in the Limpopo region. The sap contains soothing and anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for generations by traditional healers for skin ailments.

A great synthesis between female harvesters in rural Limpopo and ground-breaking scientific research led to the discovery of Bulbine frutescens, a small shrub indigenous to the dry valleys of Southern Africa

‘Decadently lush’ are words that spring to mind when using this cleanser. My skin feels pampered after using the gel formula that lathers up easily and smells pretty damn fine too!

The day cream sinks in easily, contains a protecting high SPF and is safe to use around the sensitive eye area.

My approach to applying products can be a bit heavy-handed, which means I go through my creams and serums way too quickly. We actually don’t need gallons of product on our faces, so I love Afari‘s airless pump bottles, which dispense just the right amount. An airless pump reduces the amount of oxygen entering the bottle which makes your product last longer, plus it means less preservatives are needed. And there’s no need to grab scissors to squeeze out your last drops!

AFARI SKINCARE

Because the 100% recyclable, earth-friendly containers don’t need gravity to dispense the product, there is no chance of spillage from the nozzle. So one day when we’re allowed to travel again and/or head to the gym, they’re perfect for popping in your bag!

Afari Skincare products are available online here

PS I have a feeling Bulbine frutescens is going to be the next beauty must-have ingredient…watch this space!

Happy Thursday

Cath

CONVERSATIONS: with Amanda Kamhoot of Just Cruizin Clothing

Like a lot of local brands Just Cruizin Clothing has been affected by Covid-19, and sadly had to close two of their Cape Town stores. The silver lining, however, is that the brand has been able to use this as a push to create an online store. I caught up with owner Amanda Kamhoot to find out more about Just Cruizin.

What was your inspiration behind the name?

Just Cruizin started back in 1985 from an idea born out of a love of chilled, unconstructed cotton clothing. Hans, my husband, was influenced by the laid-back life he had experienced abroad, spending most of his 8 years searching for perfect waves and learning from many mentors who impacted his non-conventional way of doing things. Hans’s motto was and still is  ‘keep it simple’. I have always felt the name ‘Just Cruizin’ is a perfect reflection of the lifestyle he largely lives up to.

Just Cruizin Clothing
Just Cruizin Clothing

Tell us about your team

Having owned a hair salon and a real passion for making women feel beautiful, it was a natural progression for me to eventually join Hans in his business. After our daughter, Hana, was born, my back gave in and I knew I had to sell my salon. I grieved the loss for a year and still miss so many of my clients dearly, but so many of them are now loyal supporters of JC! I am not a designer but have always loved fashion; don’t we all?


As a family, we enjoy overseas travel and use these opportunities to find interesting samples which we then adapt to suit our fabric. I work with an amazing team of women, and we have lots of fun getting our ranges together. Our son Jordan has been involved in the business for nearly 10 years and it’s been wonderful seeing him mature and take the JC men’s brand to new heights.

Did lockdown give you the little push you needed to go online? 


I think we must have been one of the last clothing brands to go online! We knew it was something we had to do at some stage and Covid-19 definitely gave us the push we needed! Technology is not our strength at all, and I guess we feared to dip our toes into this uncharted water.

I have often mentioned, ‘treading lightly into our new normal’ in my posts on Insta. These words were written by Arundhati Roy at the beginning of the pandemic. They resonated hugely with me, and if I learn anything from this time, I hope it to be to ‘tread lightly with little baggage.’

What is a typical day for you?
My day starts with a delicious coffee in bed from Hans and an excited ‘Hello’ from our husky Marlie. I have now gotten used to the early morning walks during lockdown, so I think I’d like to continue with this as one of the new additions to my new normal. I generally get to work around 9.30am, check-in on stores, communicate with our CMT about production status and start answering emails.

I find that since going online, so much more of my time is spent communicating with customers or potential customers. I love interacting with people, so at the moment I don’t mind. I think anything new is exciting, so I am grateful that we have this platform to focus on right now, and give our staff some work to do.

What influences you?
I would like to think I am influenced by the many incredible people I’ve met throughout my life. Aren’t humans just the most extraordinary creation?  In a time like we are experiencing now, we realise more than ever how much we need, miss and rely on each other. I am instantly drawn to folk who have a story and are open and willing to share. I used to spend so much time chatting to the elderly at my late grandmother’s old age home… if ever you have the time, sit and chat to the elderly. They have something to say and stories to tell.

What do you do to relax?
I’m a Leo, so I guess that could be part of the reason why I just love the sun. When I get home from work, I’ll always find the sunniest spot whether inside or outside to have a cup of tea. I love music, especially all the ‘oldies’ and my best is when Hana and I have our own dance parties together at home! We find any excuse to turn the music up. Being around my friends and family is probably my happiest time, and when you’re happy you’re relaxed!

A life mantra
‘Be kind, always’.

Any exciting plans for the future?
So much has changed so suddenly in business and in all our lives, I feel I would like to relook at our business model and possibly bring it back to its core again, simplify, follow our dream of perfecting a fully sustainable range of clothing. Keeping things honest and real.

Check out Just Cruizin’s new online store here.

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CONVERSATIONS with Hairstylist David Gillson

 

IMG_9764My thick, frizzy and tangled hair has always been the bane of my existence. Sure, it doesn’t help that I rarely run a comb through it, but since having my colour and treatments with hair guru/stylist David Gillson, my hair has improved dramatically. Not only does he get my colour perfect every time (anyone who has gone blonde can attest to what a feat this is) but every time I leave his salon I feel like a million bucks. Thanks to lockdown, I’m missing David. Hair aside, (I’m making peace with my roots…!) our appointments are also a great chance for a catch-up. So I thought I would see how he is doing and what makes him tick via a good old-fashioned email:

What’s your earliest childhood memory?
Being in the Yorkshire moors.

What does a normal day for you involve?
Not so normal at the moment! I wake up to meditate for longer with more
powerful sessions during the lockdown, but usually, it is drinking a coffee
before dropping my daughter off at school and am at work by 7:00. I work
between Rosebank Melrose Arch and Hyde Park, but my routine is the same
every day. I do Reiki one a week and like to get home early enough to cook, a
great passion of mine!

What do you do to relax?
Meditation, Reiki, walking and watching TV series.

Hair stylist David Gillson
David Gillson

A life mantra?
A positive mind brings a positive life.

Which living person do you most admire?
Deepak Chopra.

Your favourite fashion item…
Cashmere jerseys (especially my Valentino’s).

The most memorable gift you have ever received?
A trip to Monte Carlo!

Hair stylist David Gillson
One piece of advice you’d give the next generation:
Do what you love; life is too short to be in a career or job that you are not
passionate about.

Your favourite travel destination?
I’m obsessed with London so feel blessed to have a salon there and get to
spend so much time between here and London.

What’s on your bucket list?
A fabulous trip to Japan.

David Gillson Hair stylist
David is co-owner of Issy Belgravia London Hair salon on the Insta-famous Elizabeth Street

 

You can find David at Carlton Hair in Hyde Park & Melrose Arch in Gauteng and Constantia in Cape Town and at Issy’s Belgravia London Hair Salon

Faithful to Nature Red Clay Konjac sponge

REVIEW: KONJAC SPONGES

 

Everyone is dealing with their lockdown cabin fever in their own way, and for me, it’s involved going into a cleaning frenzy! While tidying my beauty cupboard I found a konjac sponge I had received from Faithful to Nature. I had heard great things about these sponges for yonks and I decided it was time to ditch my faithful super-clean-foreo-luna-mini-2and try something new.

When I say ‘new’, I mean ‘new to me’, as konjac sponges have been used in Japan for centuries, both for beauty and medicinal purposes. My sponge contains Japanese potato fibre and red clay, but there are a variety of different infusions, from bamboo to aloe (see Faithful to Nature’s site for all the options). Red clay is particularly good for sensitive and dry skin as it’s high in iron oxide and revitalising minerals. It is also pH neutral, meaning your complexion will be protected by balancing the acidity of your skin.

Cleansing properly is not an option but a necessity in my beauty routine and using an organic and naturally biodegradable item like a konjac sponge ticks the boxes for all the right reasons...
Not only does a konjac sponge give a super-duper deep cleanse, but is organic, vegan and totally biodegradable…

A konjac sponge deep cleanses pores, has a soothing effect on sensitive and sunburnt skin, eliminates dryness and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and broken capillaries. It can be used with your fave cleanser or on its own to stimulate blood flow and promote new cell growth.

It’s best to soak your sponge completely first to make it pliable and soft to use on your face. The thread attached makes it easy to hang out and dry, which is great as there’s nothing worse than a manky smelling sponge – it is made of natural vegetables after all!

Konjac sponges are not only great for your skin but the earth too: they are environmentally friendly, vegan and the packaging is 100% plastic-free. Because they’re totally biodegradable, after a few weeks of use you can toss them into some soil. Not too shabby, hey!

Have you used a Konjac sponge before – your thoughts?

Happy Tuesday and hope it’s a sunshiny day up ahead!

 

Cath