Beauty Advent Calendars 2019

Before we begin, I’d like to make an observation about beauty advent calendars.

If you’re buying one as a gift…

Amazing! Knock yourself out, go to town. Who wouldn’t want to open one of these?

If you’re buying one for yourself…

I LOVE the idea of a beauty advent calendar and I think they make such a special treat. However, if you’re on a budget, think about what is more important to spend your money on: a selection of beauty products that you haven’t curated, or one or two products that you’ve chosen yourself that are perfect for you.

It’s easy to be sucked into the allure of these things on Instagram. While I think these calendars are super exciting, I think it important to note that some of these really are expensive for what you get. If I think something is exceptional value, I’ll make a point of it.

You have my two sides on this. Here you go…

Fenwick, available instore and online from October 21st for £150 

Fenwick Beauty Advent Calendar 2019

This line-up is pleasing with a mixture of skin, body, fragrance and make-up. My favourite picks are the By Terry powder, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, L’Occitane hand cream and the miniature Foreo.

Full content list:

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks (full-size 3.7g), By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder Face Setting Powder (deluxe travel size 1.5g) Clarins Instant Eye Make-up Remover (deluxe travel size 50ml) Dermalogica Prisma Protect Moisturiser SPF 30 (deluxe travel size 12ml) Foreo Luna Play in Fuchsia (deluxe travel-size) Hermes Twilly D’Hermes Eau De Parfum (deluxe handbag-size 12.5ml) Laura Mercier Mini Caviar Stick in Au Natural (deluxe handbag-size 1g) Nars Mini Velvet Lip Glide in Roseland (deluxe handbag-size 2ml)L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream (deluxe handbag-size 30ml) L’Occtinae Shea Butter Foot Cream (deluxe travel size 30ml) Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Facial Mist (deluxe travel size 30ml), REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash (deluxe travel size 50ml), REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Lotion (deluxe travel size 50ml) Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate Serum (deluxe travel size 10ml) The Ordinary Buffet (deluxe travel size 30ml), Lancer Skincare The Method: Nourish Moisturiser (deluxe travel size 7ml) Neom Organics De-stress Scented Travel Candle (full size), Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood lips in Screen Siren (full size 6.8g) BioEffect EGF Serum (deluxe travel size 5ml), Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (deluxe travel size 7ml) Chantecaille Rose de Mai Face Oil (deluxe travel size 4ml), Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo (deluxe travel size 50ml) Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Conditioner (deluxe travel size 50ml) Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight (deluxe handbag-size 3.6g) Molton Brown Vitamin Lip Saver (full size 10ml), MAC Prep and Prime Fix+ (full-size 30ml), MAC Complementary 30 mins Service bounceback card, Benefit Bad Gal Bang (deluxe handbag-size 3g)

Making a Difference With Your Spare Beauty Products

A few people mentioned in this video: @salihughes, @joljonesand @thebeautybanks, @carolinehirons and Give and Makeup, @bootsuk, and idea for making a bag and filling it as you go along came from Lizzy at @thehygienebank.

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Jo Malone London Wild Flowers & Weeds

One of my favourites of all time was the Herb Garden, and this year’s Wild Flowers & Weeds reminds me of it somehow.

Wild Flowers & Weeds is a celebration of the unruly; the flowers, weeds and surprises that you find lining a river bank. Each scent is quite particular, and in my opinion will work especially well to add a little kick of something strange to your tried and tested favourites.

Here’s a look at the collection in full…

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019

Cade & Cedarwood

Let’s start with my favourite. This is smoky and sexy, and reminds me of Black Cedarwood & Juniper with a more feminine personality.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019  cade cedar wood

Lupin & Patchouli

Close in my estimation is this, bursting with vivacity, merges freshness of a rose with a powerful hit of bergamot and captures a rainbow of lupin flowers. Clearly this also wins the ‘best bottle in the collection’ award.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019 lupin patchouli

Willow & Amber 

Something subtle that everyone will love, this is a cosy, warming scent with a soft personality. If it was an item of clothing, it would be a cashmere jumper.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019 willow amber

Nettle & Wild Achillea 

If you like a clean, zesty fragrance, this is your match. Tangy from the nettle and sharp from white flowers.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019 nettle wild achillea

Hemlock & Bergamot  

And finally: the wild card, the wear if you dare scent, Hemlock & Bergamot. This is powdery, crisp and quite startlingly sweet. You’ll love it or hate it. I think this will be wonderful to add a punch of personality to your regular perfume.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019 hemlock bergamot

Each fragrance comes in a 30ml size, at £49 each, and is decorated to mirror the flowers in the fragrance.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019

Wild Flowers & Weeds launches on March 1st.

Jo Malone Wild Flowers and Weeds Spring 2019

www.jomalone.co.uk

Some of the above items have been gifted to me as press samples. 

Christmas Fragrances for the Ladies In Your Life

Givenchy L’Interdit for your lover

Sexy and dark, this fragrance merges bright, sharp notes like jasmine and tuberose and deepens with smoky, earthy base notes. Really unusual and a gorgeous date night perfume.

Givenchy L'Interdit

Cartier Carat for an elegant lady

Cartier Carat is formed of seven fresh flowers that mirror the colours of the rainbow. This is a sparkling, pretty fragrance and will be beautiful on ladies of all ages because it is so timeless.

Cartier Carat

Maison Martin Margiela Mutiny for a chic friend

An oriental fragrance, this is warm and fruity with notes like peach, pear, apple and warming saffron. A unisex option with the most divine bottle, this is for someone confident but understated.

Maison Martin Margiela Mutiny

Roger & Gallet Magnolia Folie for someone who doesn’t like strong fragrances

A cosy, comforting fragrance, this is simple and pretty and would be the kind of thing you’d love to smell on your jumper or scarf. See also, the beautiful fig fragrance they released earlier this year. Treat this to someone who loves a soft fragrance that won’t feel overpowering.

Roger and Gallet Magnolia Folie

Elle L’Edition for the little lady

Pretty and sweet with a cute bottle, this blend of lemon, peach, rose, pear and musk to name a few is the ideal treat for a teen queen.

Elle L'Edition

If you still want some more fragrance inspiration, take a look at this piece on fragrances inspired by some of the loveliest Christmas films

Givenchy L'Interdit

If Christmas Films Were Fragrances…

Home Alone

Bon Bon by Viktor and Rolf

Enjoying a kitchen full of sweets and chocolates to himself, for me the sugary Bon Bon is the perfect reimagining of Kevin’s adventures in the Home Alone films. Though the key storyline involves battling two intruders with a series of mouse traps, Kevin uses the time to himself to enjoy endless sugary treats without consequence. Bon Bon, reinvented with a limited Christmas bottle every year, merges notes like caramel and fruity peach and mandarin to create a sweet, playful fragrance.

Home Alone Kevin

Photo credit

Love, Actually

Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone London

The ultimate Christmas movie would be reimagined as the classic Christmas fragrance, Pomegranate Noir from Jo Malone London. This deep, heady fragrance is one I can see lots of the characters wearing well. The Prime Minister, his heart broken sister, seductive Mia in the office, Liam Neeson as the grieving father… there is a strength in Pomegranate Noir that would perfectly marry with all of these people and their varying journeys, all united in their strength.

hugh grant love actually

Photo credit

Elf

Sunny Side Up by Juliette Has a Gun

What could match the world’s most optimistic person more-so than a fragrance designed to inspire optimism and joy? Sunny Side Up, a creamy, sweet scent from Juliette Has a Gun, is as happy in spirit as Buddy the Elf. Though notes such as coconut milk and amyris work beautifully to give this a sunny quality, the musks layered into it will make it just as wonderful at Christmas time.

Elf Will Ferrell

Photo credit

Edward Scissorhands

Freak by Illamasqua

The delicate and strange Edward Scissorhands is mirrored beautifully in my favourite fragrance of all time, Illamasqua’s Freak. Freak is made entirely of white flowers, all of which bloom in the night, attracting their prey with their scent and not their appearance. This reminded me of Edward’s good heart which enables everyone to see beyond his scary exterior and fall in love with him.

Edward Scissorhands

Photo credit

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Princess by Killian

Not strictly a Christmas film, but one that always has a presence at Christmas, I couldn’t exclude the allure of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. One of my favourite new discoveries this year was Kilian’s incredibly sweet Princess. Princess is sickly sweet but with strange zing from ginger; much like Willy Wonka and the zany but delicious world he creates.

Willy Wonka

Photo credit

The Holiday

Musc Imperial by Atlier Cologne and Yvresse by YSL

Juxtaposing the tales of two women at Christmastime, it seems only appropriate to bestow two contrasting fragrances to this romantic Christmas film. For the snowy British countryside, the comforting Musc Imperiale from Atelier Cologne is the obvious choice. One spray makes the warmest of jumpers all the more cosy, and this is exactly the kind of scent Cameron Diaz’s perfectionist character would have lent towards as she started to thaw. And for Kate Winslet’s heroine, who runs to the sunshine of LA and experiences an entire life epiphany, the uplifting YSL Yvresse is a beautiful partner. Though different in the moods they evoke – one for slumber, one for go-getting – both are creamy and soft, like the romantic souls that would wear them.

The Holiday

Photo credit

A Christmas Carol

Kensington Amber by Penhaligons

In order to mellow Ebeneezer Scrooge, the coldest of Christmas hearts, a warming fragrance is essential. Kensington Amber from Penhaligons has been one of my most worn scents this winter. Gorgeously suited to this time of year, it merges spicy cinnamon and vanilla to create an elegant, understated blend that smells all the more delicious on warm skin. In the way that the miraculous fate of Tiny Tim warms every heart, this scent will bring instant festive cheer to those who wear it.

Tiny Tim

Photo credit

A note on finding the perfect Christmas fragrance for a loved one this Christmas…

Have you ever visited the Burlington Arcade in central London? The warm, almost otherworldly arcade of shops is quintessentially British in every way and home to an array of wonderful fragrance boutiques. Killian, Penhaligons, Roja Dove and Chanel to name a few all have glorious spaces in here.

The experts in these boutiques are total fragrance fanatics, and given that they are tucked away in a Diagon Alley-esque walkway, you can enjoy an immersive fragrance experience away from crowds and chaos this Christmas.

Another of my favourite London hot spots is the Atelier Cologne boutique in Covent Garden, allowing for a personal touch with embossed leather accessories for each fragrance taken home. And if you’re outside of London, I’d recommend a visit to Scotty in the fragrance department of Selfridges Birmingham, and Teresa in their Jo Malone London boutique.

The New Fragrances You Need to Try This Autumn

What has struck me in recent months is that, for the first time in a long time, there are no safe bets among the new launches. Instead, each fragrance is powerful and potent in its own way.

Here are a few of the noteworthy scents that I am enjoying with the turn of the season.

Jo Malone Honeysuckle and Davana, from £47

Honeysuckle and Davana is quite unlike anything I’ve tried from Jo Malone London. Sweet, sharp, floral and almost a little disruptive, this will enter the room before you do. It’s a real love or hate fragrance, unlike lots of their softer options, and I love it.

Jo Malone London Honeysuckle and Davana Review

Estee Lauder Beautiful Belle, from £52

The prom queen of the autumn fragrance launches, Beautiful Belle is what it says on the tin: beautiful. This fresh, pretty, floral fragrance gradually wears to exude a spicy undertone, giving it an oriental twist. Slightly warmer than the fragrances I’m used to from Estee Lauder, I think this will transcend all ages and make a beautiful Christmas gift for anyone in the family this year.

Estee Lauder Beautiful Belle Review

Givenchy L’Interdit, from £51

L’Interdit has really surprised me for the positive because for once I am finding myself drawn to a fragrance which is largely based around tuberose. Tuberose is so sweet and piercing, I find it quite difficult to wear. However, the sheer contrast of L’Interdit on first spray versus the dried down fragrance is a romantic, creamy play on the sharp flower. This fragrance merges lots of light, bright notes like jasmine and orange blossom with a sensual darkness from smoky notes, making it the sexiest fragrance I’ve tried this autumn. Be sure to try this before you buy – the blotter will smell completely different to your wrist in a few short minutes.

Givenchy L'Interdit Review

Ralph Lauren Woman, from £49

Speaking of tuberose, Woman is a perfect fragrance to take you into autumn because it is rich and heady, just the kind of thing you want to smell on your scarf on a cold morning. This is a deep scent and I was really impressed with the lasting power; one spritz of this and you’ll find it lingering all day. Teaming a powerful hit of tuberose with creamy, woody notes, this contrasts a sharp sweetness with a rich fullness. If red wine was a perfume, it would be this.

Ralph Lauren Woman Review

NUXE Parfums des Possibles, £49 each

This autumn marks the arrival of two lovely new additions to the NUXE fragrance family.

Nuxe Les Parfumes Des Possibles

One sharp, sweet and zesty to energise you in the morning…

Nuxe Les Parfumes Des Possibles

…the other earthy, sensual and dark, a witchy scent for the night.

Nuxe Les Parfumes Des Possibles

Molton Brown Jasmine and Sun Rose, from £45

A warm, sexy scent, Jasmine and Sun Rose is the first ever chypre fragrance from Molton Brown. Though chypre scents can often be quite heavy, this is spicy, powdery and a touch sweet, making it sexy and a bit more playful. This comes as a scent or in various body products, my favourite being the divine bath oil.

Molton Brown Jasmine and Sun Rose Review

Molton Brown Jasmine and Sun Rose Review

Jo Loves Jo by Jo Loves, from £70

A pungent, sweet take on grapefruit, if you like citrus scents then this stands out because it is powerful at the same time as delicate. Jo Malone has created this fragrance especially for herself, she says.

Jo Loves Jo by Jo Loves review

The obvious question will be how this compares to the JML Grapefruit, and they’re very different. This is sweet and rich, whereas the JML Grapefruit is for me a little more bitter and crisp. Both lovely but with entirely different personalities. If you thought you loved Pomelo, just wait until you try this.

Penhaligons Luna, from £100

This one isn’t new, but I have worn it since the turn of the new moon in July. I am besotted by Luna, a scent inspired by the mythical Greek goddess of the moon. Beyond the delicacy of the bottle, with a magical silvery hue, the juice is like the moon itself and both powerful and gentle.

Penhaligons Luna Review

An instant hit of freshness opens the scent with notes like orange, lemon and bergamot, but warmth from amber and musks make this as comforting as it is clean.

Penhaligons Luna Review

What have you been wearing this autumn? Tag me on Instagram @MixedGemsBeauty and show me.

An Autumn Guide to the Very Best Candles

Coming in from a cold day and lighting a candle in the room is one of my cosiest autumn pleasures, but the fragrance of choice is key to what kind of atmosphere this creates.

Here are a few that I turn to for many different reasons…

The ultimate scent for a cosy night in: Jo Loves Red Truffle 21, £55

Red Truffle 21 is, for me, one of the ultimate cosiest scents. The rich, creamy warmth of the truffle in this candle reminds me of the warmth of a body when you nestle into a jumper for a big hug. When I think of a cosy atmosphere, I think of warmth, hugs and company, and this candle captures all of those things. There’s a hint of fig in this which keeps it earthy and almost a little masculine in personality.

Jo Loves Red Truffle 21 Candle

Sweet and light for a girlie night in: Floral Street Lipstick, £28 

Floral Street Lipstick smells like what it says on the tin: lipstick. This sweet, powdery smell is feminine and pretty, much like a vintage lipstick. Quite strong in power, you’ll want to wait until you’ve finished eating before you light this because you can almost taste it in the air. I love this vintage make-up smell and to have it in candle form is such a lovely, nostalgic treat. The team at Floral Street call this “that feeling you get when you wear bold lipstick; a motif of modern sisterhood.”

Floral Street Lipstick Candle

Soft and ambient for a lazy Sunday: Anya Hindmarch Coffee, £50 

A little bohemian treasure, Anya Hindmarch Coffee is not as potent as the name would suggest, and as such makes for a lovely background accompaniment. A woody, inoffensive fragrance, this blends warming notes of amber, frankincense and vetiver to name a few and just adds a gentle warmth to the room. Coffee isn’t quite what I pick up from this; it brings more of an atmosphere than a fragrance. What I love about this is that I can burn it from morning to night and it won’t disrupt or overpower food or drinks.

Anya Hindmarch Coffee Candle

Having friends over for wine: True Grace Black Lily, £35

Black Lily, on the other hand, will absolutely disrupt your food, hence the suggestion of keeping it for a cosy evening in with wine. A very, very powerful scent, this reminds me a lot of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid in a candle form. A powerful, dark, heady fragrance, this creates such a sensual evening atmosphere. Team it with a bottle of red wine and you’ll make even the simplest of living spaces feel decadent and grand. You might only leave it on for an hour to find that the smell will linger through the night.

True Grace Black Lily Candle

Clean and cosy, for first thing in the morning to last thing at night: Atelier Cologne Cedrat Venice, £55

Inspired by the freshness of Venice Beach in Los Angeles, this is light, breezy and clean. A lovely green fragrance for days when you’ve cleaned and tidied from top to bottom, this is like a detox for your living room and brilliant to burn on those days when you’re working your way through an enormous list of e-mails or checking tasks off the check list.

Atelier Cologne Cedrat Venice Candle

A total wild card and the gift to buy the person who has everything: Lumira Tunisian Mint Tea, £49

The most unusual candle I’ve tried in some time, my living room is often swept up with the scent of this Tunisian Mint Tea. Though the spearmint is clean and delicate, there is a hint of Chinese ginger in here which adds warmth and makes you feel ready for the turn of autumn. There’s sage in here too and I am always open to burning a little of that… 🖤

Lumira Tunisian Mint Tea Candle

A mantelpiece burn for when you’re binge watching Netflix: Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli, £47

And finally, the candle to to turn to when you’re not moving from your pyjamas and you’re spending the on the couch: Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli. This bitter, citrus blend is cosy and invigorating all in one, creating a homely atmosphere but keeping you alive and bright for the duration of your TV marathon.

Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli Candle

What are your favourite autumn fragrances? Tag me on Instagram @MixedGemsBeauty and tell me.

Jo Malone Christmas 2018: All That Sparkles

One of the most ornate differences in this year’s Christmas offering is that lots of the bottles and glass jars have a beautiful, iridescent sheen to them. It’s such a subtle touch that has really brought a magical element to such a traditional brand.

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018

Also, the likes of the annual Pine & Eucalyptus range has received a golden makeover, swapping the signature silver lids for a touch of gold instead.

In a stark contrast to last year’s bold and bright ‘Crazy Colourful’ theme, this simple, iridescent touch has brought a subtle hint of the rainbow.

Orange Bitters Cologne 30ml, £48, Cologne 100ml, £96, and Home Candle, £47 

One of the things I love about Jo Malone London is that they really listen to their loyal fans. So many people fell in love with one of their limited Christmas scents, Orange Bitters. In direct response to customer requests, they have returned with this fragrance but this time they’ve added a 30ml fragrance and also a smaller home candle so that people with varying budgets can access this limited perfume.

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018 orange bitters

I always associate Jo Malone London with the most impeccable, kind and thorough service, and this reaction is a complete mirroring of that sentiment. Thank you for listening!

White Moss & Snowdrop Cologne 100ml, £96, and Deluxe Candle, £126 

I am amazed at some of the new fragrances from Jo Malone London this year because they’re so much more pungent than lots in the current line up. White Moss & Snowdrop is very powerful and sexy, super reminiscent of YSL’s iconic Opium.

white moss and snowdrop Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018

Don’t let the delicate name fool you, this is one of their most striking scents to date.

white moss and snowdrop Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018

Advent Calendar, £300 

A 24-day count down of miniature Jo Malone London treats, this includes the new scents from this year as well as Orange Bitters and Frosted Cherry and Clove candles.

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018 advent calendar

Luxury Cologne Collection, £370

For the first time ever, this trousseau will house every single Jo Malone London scent in one treasure chest. This is going to be exclusive to Selfridges and Brown Thomas.

luxury cologne collection Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018

House of Jo Malone London, £115 

The House of Jo Malone always used to be a pre-made selection box of body and fragrance products, but people often fed back that they wanted to choose their own items to go inside which wasn’t an option. So now, they’ve tailored this to house a collection of home products instead, allowing the House to live on in a different way.

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018 house of jo malone

Miniature Soap Collection, £36 

This was one of my favourite launches from last year. This selection of soaps in all of their iconic scents allows you to get a feel for many different fragrances from the brand before you commit to one bottle. Perfect.

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018 miniature soap collection

Christmas Cracker, £32

Can you imagine seeing this at the table on Christmas morning? Love the iridescent packaging too.

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018 cracker

Limited Edition Pomegranate Noir Cologne and English Pear and Freesia Cologne, £96 each 

Also pictured, a new limited Ginger Biscuit cologne, £96 

Jo Malone London All that Sparkles Christmas 2018 ginger biscuit

Pine and Eucalyptus Collection, from £46 

The Jo Malone London Christmas collection will land in stores from October 2018. The advent calendar is made in a notoriously small run each year, so if you’re interested in one of those I would visit your nearest Jo Malone London boutique now and get on the reservation list. Otherwise, I’d recommend getting any of these things as early as you can, because once they’re gone they mostly don’t return.

www.jomalonelondon.co.uk

Lancome and Write Your Future: A National Literacy Trust Partnership

Illiteracy in this context is defined as lacking basic reading, writing and communication skills, and I was amazed to learn that 1 in 7 young women in England is considered illiterate. Being able to read and write is something I’ve fortunately never had to question, and, especially considering that I make a living through maintaining my blog, this knowledge really resonated with me.

This in mind, Lancome have partnered with the National Literacy Trust to launch a new programme called Words for Work: Women in Leadership. What this means is that over the next three years at least, they will work with selected schools in London, Manchester and Nottingham to provide specialist support for young people with illiteracy. In addition to ongoing support to develop reading and writing skills, they will create activities to inspire confidence. Beneficiaries will experience a business immersion day at the Lancome head office, gaining insight into various roles, and attend interactive talks from panels of inspiring women.

Matt Crossick/PA Wire

Why is it important to focus on women in particular? Here are a few of the stats that we learned yesterday that help to put the importance of this movement into context, all taken from the National Literacy Trust…

At every level of education, women need to earn one additional degree in order to reach average salaries in line with men’s averages

44% of women in poorer communities left school last year with good GCSEs in English and Maths, compared to 71% of women in wealthier communities

75% of women with very low literacy skills have never had a promotion

Women in the UK are three times less likely to be a director than men (26% vs 74%)

The negative affect of poor literacy skills on employability is twice as large for women than for men

And the one that made me the saddest: 1 in 8 children in the UK don’t actually own a book.

To explore the partnership, Lancome invited a selection of guests to share their personal connection to the cause. Among them was Kate Winslet, who has been an ambassadress for Lancome for many years now. She shared quite a unique connection to the cause because she played a lady with illiteracy in the film The Reader.

To prepare for this role, Kate spent time at a centre in New York for adults with illiteracy and spent time with many people there to immerse herself into this mindset.

“One woman really sticks with me because she was hilarious and amazing. She had just learned these skills recently, she was 63, and she was very willing to talk to me about this process because she was so proud of herself. She had spent her life ashamed and living a lie, she said. She felt she was living a lie every day.

“I wanted to know how this affected other areas of her life, so I asked her, ‘what about your relationships?’ She would end relationships all the time. ‘Literally, the minute they presented me with something I had to read, I would say, ‘ok! I have to go now! Goodbye!’’

“She would wear fancy suits for work and press them herself so she didn’t have to deal with the dry cleaners and any forms. She would eat at fancy restaurants all the time and when I asked her how she did it, she said, ‘oh honey. Everybody has chicken!’ I asked her, how did you get that fancy job? ‘I got myself an ace bandage, bandaged up my arm, and said to my neighbour, ‘I broke my arm. Would you do the forms for me?’’

As Kate shared her memories, she also touched on how this particular cause had resonated with her now that she is a mother. The thought of not being able to properly understand a school report, or worse still read the instructions on a prescription for her child, was upsetting.

Speaking on behalf of the partnership, she said, “This is one of the reasons why I appreciate the relationship I have with Lancome as together, we share a deep-rooted desire to support women.”

Another speaker was Chidera Eggerue, blogger, author and founder of the #SaggyBoobsMatter movement. She was positive, confident and so powerful in her vision that women should believe in themselves and put themselves first. I’ve started following her on Instagram @TheSlumFlower and would recommend to do the same for a dose of girl power and constant fighting spirit.

The event coincided with the launch of her book, Scribble Yourself Feminist, which I will share some thoughts on once I have explored.

Scribble Yourself Feminist

All in all, the morning really opened my eyes as to how grateful we should be for these basic things that we don’t realise are so precious. I also felt really proud to be part of the L’Oreal family when so many of their brands, Lancome included, use their power and voice to make a positive difference.

Are you affected by this, or know someone that could use support? Visit the Literacy Trust website to learn more.

www.literacytrust.org.uk/words-for-work

Kate Winslet photo credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

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