Superdrug Optimum PhytoHydrate: Review

As I was going to be staying in the five star Swiss spa resort Atlantis By Giardino I thought I would take the opportunity to test out Superdrug’s new Optimum PhytoHydrate products which have been developed alongside Swiss skincare specialists to harness the hydrating properties of birch water.


I was invited to review the SPF Day Cream £14.99 and the Micellar Water £4.99 – both exceptionally well priced.

Birch water has been used medicinally for many years for its detoxifying and hydrating action.  The water is harvested from mature birch trees in spring, when the trees absorb water from the soil. The birch tree filters the water and a small amount of it is tapped and used as a supplement in drinks, or as a therapeutic agent.


The message at the spa was loud and clear: hydrate!  There were jugs of water everywhere flavoured with fresh fruit and cucumber, plus delicious herbal and detox teas.


I have mature skin which has a tendency to dehydrate quickly, so I use a daily face cream with SPF plus a facial oil at night.  I used the PhytoHydrate first thing in the morning and topped it up after my spa and relaxation sessions.  My skin felt plumped and perfectly hydrated.  The SPF of 15 was fine for an autumn break, but come summer I would need a higher SPF of at least 40.

The micellar water, I swept across my face after my usual hot cloth cleanser and after removing my make up at night.  It has a fresh toning effect and a delicate scent which I liked.

I really liked these products and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.





A Few March Favourites

I’ve written about a few things I’ve enjoyed in March. This is a round up of the rest.


Aveda be Curly

This set was a Christmas gift from my niece as she remembered that I wanted to try it.  I have very curly, unruly hair with a tendency to frizz, so I approached a lady in the gym who has fabulous curly hair and asked her what she uses.  Aveda is the answer it seems! The first thing to mention is that the shampoo does not lather – this is a good thing as it indicates a lack of nasties that strip the hair of oil.  Once you get used to the feeling that you are not scrubbing your hair clean, then it’s fine.  The conditioner is nice and thick and you only need to use a small amount (good job as it’s expensive).  The curl enhancer is a real miracle worker for me as I dry my hair naturally most of the time and this keeps it relatively under control as it dries.  I use it when my hair is still wet, but also as a top up to control frizz in the day.


Rituals Yogi Flow Body Wash & Body Oil

This was a treat to myself and smells fabulous!  I don’t know what it is about Rituals but everything  I try is just delicious so I’m working my way through the range.

Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser

Once I started with this method of cleansing, there was no going back, although I have bought in extra supplies of lovely white face flannels as the bottle only comes with two. There is a new rose scented one out which I plan to buy next.

The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis

I’ll probably finish this page turner in bed tonight.  I love the characters as they are definitely more naughty than nice.


Haus Frau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

I read this on holiday and devoured it.  Reminds me a bit of The Reader.  Understated, but you can really feel Anna’s pain at being trapped in her unhappy life.

Looking forward to April as there are lots of adventures lined up!

Christine x


Phenotype City Protection Replenshing Cream: Review


I’ve been using Phenotype City Protection* as my daytime moisturiser for a whole month now, so it’s time for a review.

Firstly, it feels like a luxury product in its application.  The formula is silky but not heavy or greasy, and absorbs well into the skin. It has a very delicate smell, which personally I prefer to unscented.

The ingredients are 97% plant based and the product is cruelty free.  Two big ticks in the box for this.

It contains an SPF, but doesn’t say what level, so I applied sun protection cream on top when in Spain the last couple of weeks. The product is made in Italy, so I’m not sure if SPF is normally displayed there.

The science behind its city protection credentials are that it contains extracts of olive oil, wheat germ and pollen which all have compounds that are antioxidant and hydrolipidic, meaning they should repel and counteract the grime in the city.

It’s recommended you use the cream morning and night to get the full effect, but I like to use an oil on my face at bedtime, so I chose to use in the morning only.

The product has been formulated for mature or sensitive skin and I have to say my skin has been looking great.

The replenishing cream retails at £39

*This product was gifted to me in exchange for my honest opinion.



Avene Eau Thermale Range For Ageing Skin: Review


I love to try new skin products and just lately I’ve been using this new range from Avene which has been formulated especially for ageing skin*.

I have delicate, fair skin with visible sagging around the chops.  It’s a family trait and not much I can do about it, but at the same time, keeping my skin in tip top condition means that, at 54, I have very few wrinkles and a good, even skin colour. I do my best with what I’ve got and don’t see ageing as a problem per se.  It’s just part of living and railing against it won’t change a thing.

Avene aims to challenge the notion that ageing skin is a problem, and urges us to consider it as normal (which if course it is!).  The thing we need to take into account, is that as we age, our skin has different needs and we should think about changing the products we use accordingly.

My skin is now dryer than it was, but I have increasingly frequent episodes of hot flushing, which make me feel hot and sweaty, but at the same time, are dehydrating my skin even further.

The Eau Thermale Physiolift Smoothing, Regenerating Night Balm  contains retinaldehyde which boosts the level of vitamin A in the skin.  It also contains hyaluronic acid, a water holding molecule which acts as a cushioning agent and space filler in the skin, resulting in a plumping action.  To help minimise wrinkles, it contains a compound called ‘ascofilline’ which has been developed by Avene in order to boost collagen production.

I’ve also been using Physiolift Eyes which has the same plumping action, minimising under eye bagging.

The third product is Avene Thermal Spring Water which is fantastic for keeping in your handbag for when a hot flush strikes! It is naturally filtered water and has a gentle, cooling action.  I’ll definitely be packing this in my holiday luggage!

So, does it work? Well, my skin feels great and looks good, so apart from the saggy chops (which will never go away) then I’m very happy with it.  This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, so you can judge for yourself.   PS I did have a bit of a tan as I’d just been to Tenerife for a week.

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*This product was gifted to me


Optimum PhytoDeluxe Skincare: Review


Optimum PhytoDeluxe is the latest skincare development from Superdrug.  Aimed at the over 40 market it has the look, feel and performance of a luxury product, but with a £14.99 price tag.  Superdrug kindly sent me both the day cream and night cream to trial, and I have to say I’m delighted with them.  They remind me very much of (dare I say it) a moisturiser I often buy from Clarins, which gives my credit card a battering every now and then.  Optimum PhytoDeluxe contains black diamond truffle which is rich in amino acids as well as platinum particles which help improve the synthesis of collagen (the stuff that holds our face together).  Synthesis is the term for making things happen in the body and as we age, this process of making collagen (which is a protein) becomes less effective, hence the sagging and wrinkles!  So anything which improves our ability to continue making enough collagen has got to be good.

I love this product and it is my new ‘go to’ for a number of reasons.

  1. It smells divine (I’m all over a great smelling product)
  2. Both the day and night cream are a good thick texture and feel really nourishing on the skin.
  3. The pump action dispenser avoids fingers in the pot.
  4. It looks pretty (has to be dressing table worthy to earn a place on my list)
  5. It’s a great price.
  6. As with all of Superdrug’s own brand products, it is certified as cruelty free.

Holiday Heroes: Packing For Blissful Skin

As we were going on a no frills holiday, I decided to pack heavenly rose fragranced beauty products so that I had that feeling of being cossetted.


The Jo Malone Red Roses soap (in the box) is gentle on the skin and is much nicer to handle than the tiny slivers of hard packaged soap you get in hotels.

I chose Dr Organic Rose Otto shampoo, conditioner and body wash for bath time pampering so I had a real hit of rose!

For daytime facial moisturising I took my old favourite Clinique City Block SPF 40 – no way I’m getting sun on my face.  People used to laugh at me in my twenties for sunbathing with a towel over my face, but it’s paid off as I’m not really that wrinkled for my age!  My body doesn’t see the sun much either as I don’t sunbathe at all these days, so I use SPF50 on just the exposed bits (not pictured, but Nivea).

For night time facial care I took Rosehip Plus Australian cold pressed rosehip oil which, to save room in the case, also served as a heavy duty body moisturiser.  This is more dense than I normally use, but for sunny climates, I over compensate on the moisture to make up for water loss through heat.

The Cowshed hand lotion is small enough for my handbag and does double duty for feet.  This one is called ‘Cow Pat’ with grapefruit and lavender. Smells better than it sounds.

To tame my curls I took Dove Youthful Vitality BB cream.  Humidity levels were high so my very curly hair grew bigger and bigger as the week went on, but this tamed it enough to look reasonably tidy to go out.  I don’t bother with a hairdryer or brush on holiday and just leave my hair a curly mess.  I also took Philip Kingsley dry shampoo as my hair is better not washed every day, but because of the heat and humidity I felt compelled to wash it and only used dry shampoo once.

I had a tiny sample of Laura Mercier face polish which I used once, but don’t recommend as it stung my eyes.

Finally, I took a sparkling bath tablet from Kneipp which was sent to me as a gift from Graftons.  These are packed with essential oils and the scent of this one filled the bathroom with Eucalyptus – perfect for relaxing after a long walk.


I’m always interested to hear what other people take on holiday.  Any top tips?

Holiday Skincare: Fifty Plus Style

I’m no sun lover, in fact, most of my holiday is spent reading a book under a tree. That doesn’t mean however that I don’t like to look sunkissed, so these are the products I take with me on a sun, sea and sand break.


1. For body, I use Nivea SPF50 sun cream.  It smells nice and gives good thick coverage.

2. For my face, I choose Clinique City Block SPF 40.  I wear this at home too.  It has a slight tint and keeps wrinkles at bay.  My husband uses it too (although I wish he’d get his own).

3.  Aerin Beach Cream for Hair & Body.  My hair is frizzy and dry in hot climates so this calms it and adds a subtle glow.  I also pop it on my shoulders for a bit of shimmer.

4. By Terry Hyaluronic Summer. This wash off fake tan is great for topping up my gradual tanner – for when you need a bit of extra colour in the evening.

5. Crème de la Mer gradual tanner for face and body.  This gives a very subtle colour that builds up over a few days, although my application technique leaves much to be desired and I suffer from orange ankle stripes now and again.  I wouldn’t dare use fake tan on my face!

6. Frizz Ease Air Dry Waves.  I don’t touch a hairdryer on holiday so this product is ideal for keeping my curls under control.


I love reading about holiday must haves so if you have any top tips for curly hair and a freckly complexion, fire away!

Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil: Review


I was interested to try this facial oil from Indie Lee as I’d never heard of ‘squalane’.  The Indie Lee website describes its use as follows: Protects your skin from ultraviolet rays and moisturizes to prevent dryness and chapping which results in a finer, more textured skin. Squalane oil is also an excellent carrier of additional nutrients because it penetrates the dermis layer much more deeply than other topical creams.

Further googling tells me that squalane is an organic compound, derived, in this case, from olives, which according to Wikipedia is a natural and vital part of the synthesis of all plant and animal sterols including cholesterol, steroid hormones, and vitamin D in the human body.

I took it on holiday to use as a night time moisturiser.  I always use a facial oil at night and textures tend to vary across products.  This one is beautifully light and a pleasure to use – ideal for use in a hot climate.  It’s unscented and if I was using it at home I would be tempted to add a drop of rose, or neroli, or maybe frankincense to send me off to sleep.

I’m always on the lookout for beautiful natural products and I think this one is a keeper!  The packaging is really attractive too – I like the clean simple lines and the glass bottle.  Of course this means I’ll have to try out some of the other products in the range now, so watch this space!

Codage No 01 Serum Review


I have mature, dry skin, so I was very pleased to win this serum to review from Look Fantastic.

From the Codage website description it sounded perfect for my skin.

SERUM N°01 is a powerful formula especially formulated to care for and comfort dry and dehydrated skin. Its extra rich composition provides the skin with intense nourishment, in depth and on the surface, making it softer, suppler and more resilient. Soothing active ingredients and a powerful blend of antioxidants help prevent sensitivity and redness, while strengthening the skin’s natural defences and improving its integrity. Skin is left soft and perfectly moisturized.

The first time I used it I thought I could detect a chemical smell, though strangely, I didn’t notice it again.  I also initially felt that it was a bit sticky but as I don’t often use a serum I assumed this was the norm.

The 5ml bottle lasted me a month and the results, I have to say, have been pretty good.  My skin was plumped and glowing and felt very soft to the touch.  My problem area is around the neck and to be honest, at 53, I’m not expecting a beauty product to make the slightest difference to the sagging, and this was no exception.

Would I use it again?  Yes.  I liked the results and that’s what matters.  If I could change anything, I’d like it to have a fragrance, as one of the things I enjoy about using beautiful products is the feeling of wellbeing you get from the scent.  I was craving a rose or neroli aromatherapy hit!








Fifty Plus Skincare: My Current Regime

My skin is pretty good but I do need help these days to keep the moisture in and keep the wrinkles at bay.


I start with Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Facial Wash.  I love the smell and my face feels much cleaner with a wash than with a creamy cleanser.  When I first put it in the bathroom, the contents were disappearing alarmingly fast until my husband mentioned ‘that nice smelling hand wash’.  He’s now not allowed to steal it unless washing his face!

Next I apply Environ Super Intensive Moisturiser from Skinaddict. This is reassuringly thick and non perfumed.  Ideal for the winter months.  Interestingly my husband has also been stealing this and his acne rosacea has improved considerably.

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I’m trying out Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster which I apply after moisturising.  It came in a Birchbox last year and I’ve only just got round to trying it.  The jury is still out because it has a peculiar orange smell and is quite sticky.  I’ll persevere for a bit longer to see if it makes any difference to my jawline and neck.

Finally, for daytime, I’m using Caudalie SOS Morning Eye Rescue as I’ve noticed that the skin under my eyes is darker than it used to be. This has a nice light formula and is easily absorbed and fragrance free.  It doesn’t cause any problems with my contact lenses either.

At bedtime I really love to use an oil as my skin feels dry by the end of the day.  My current favourite is Saaf Organic Ultimate Moisture Face Serum which smells divine.  Because using a facial oil has been part of my bedtime routine for so long, I’m sure it puts my brain into sleep mode.

With spring on the way, I’ll be updating my regime and would love to hear what other fifty plus ladies are using.