When it comes to makeup as I’ve said many a time I am definitely more spit and polish than polished. I will never be that perfectly turned out woman with immaculate makeup and glossy mane of hair. Ultimately I am far too lazy to try. Not my best trait and not something I can even blame on motherhood. In fact since having the girls my few swipes of the face with a Simple face wipe every evening has evolved into a full on cleanse and bathroom cabinet full to the brim with creams and serums. But makeup wise I am the same – if I even wear any. In mum mode its cleanse, vitamin c, Hyaluronic acid, moisturiser and spf50. When I am working I use a foundation, concealer, blush, eyebrow mascara, mascara and a lip tint. Liner or shadows are for evenings and for lipstick – it has to be a really special occasion.

So when I was given the chance to sit down alone with the incredible international makeup artist and Max Factor ambassador Caroline Barnes I jumped at the chance. Caroline is responsible for many a stunning red carpet moment – she’s worked countless campaigns and her A-lister clientele is really rather impressive.

So armed with your questions you kindly sent me on my Instagram stories I managed to gather some seriously good insider tips…

A Mothers Edit X Caroline Barnes


How can I help my tired puffy eyes?

Firstly always massage around your eyes before starting your makeup routine. Puffiness is due to a lack of circulation so using your ring finger for the right amount of pressure push towards your tear duct and out. I grate cucumber to make my own cucumber ice cubes. Pop one in a soft muslin (not a flannel) and dab it around your eyes. The cold tightens everything up.


Whats the best way to moisturise before makeup?

You need Hyaluronic acid – this pulls all the moisture from the environment into your skin. Then a moisturiser on top. The Ordinary do a great budget Hyaluronic acid for about £6, other favourites are by Skin Ceuticals and Niod.


How can I cover my eye bags and dark circles?

After prepping the area with massage and moisture you can use a concealer under your eyes but make sure its a light reflective one. If you have very dark circles you can use an opaque one but only right in the corner. The Max Factor master touch light reflective concealer is amazing. I also love the Clinique air brush concealer.

And if you are really suffering with big eye bags – makeup your eyes – make them the focus of your face. Its the art of distraction. Kohl is your best friend.

How can I make my lips look their best?

Accentuate your cupids bow. Use a highlighter like the solid miracle glow duo which is very easy to control. Then add a Rimmel Matt lipstick all over to create a lip shape. Once that’s dry use a nice balm.


I don’t want to use foundation everyday but need a bit of makeup help whats the best thing to use?

Use a matt primer and blotting paper, the Body Shop ones are great. Then just dab a concealer where needed, any blemishes, age spots, pimples.


I need a quick makeup routine what would you recommend?

Use a stick foundation. Draw a camouflage style streak down the centre of your face and then blend in with a brush where needed. Comb your brows, add a slick of mascara and finish with a punch of colour on your lips.


And when I asked Caroline what she would do differently with my own makeup she told me not to wear so much. To just use foundation in the middle of my face. And since then… I am a middle of the face kinda gal. Just to say you do need to make sure you’re colour matched perfectly using this technique or you’ll look a little stripy.


With thanks to Caroline and Max Factor – who allowed me the time for questions to celebrate the launch of their new foundation (which I am using, love and have not been asked or paid to write about). It’s linked below and its the perfect amount of glow with longevity. It makes me look more awake and where I need more coverage you can build it up by adding more product.

Max factor Radiant Lift Foundation



When I start using something new and it actually works I get extremely excited. If its cheap then all the better. If its pricey I try and weigh up the cost per benefit. Well recently I have fallen in love with quite a few new things and I didn’t want to wait until my next seasonal beauty post so welcome to my monthly beauty update.

The Unexpected Website

Don’t be put off by the images on their instagram account (genius but gruesome) – this website is a makeup professionals secret. They mainly cater for films but this means they only stock the best brands that are used in the pro industry – you know whats on their site has been tried and tested by industry experts. Brands to check out include Stylpro, Make Up For Ever, Ben Nye, Bdellium, TMA bags and Beauty Blender.

www.The Makeup Armoury .com

The Foundations

I’ve been very unfaithful with foundations recently. I used to always use Chanel Vitalumiere then decided it was too sheer as my skin has got older. I swung over to Estee Lauder double wear and then decided my skin was too dry I look a little caked in it. Then I tried some from Laura Mercier which I liked but didn’t fall in love with (their concealer is my favourite though). Then I found and loved two in one month.

The first is budget friendly – Max Factor Radiant Lift foundation. It lasts all day and has a soft glow finish. if you have things you want to cover its been designed for you to build it up so I use more on my chin and around my nose.

Shop here on Boots.com

The second is by NARS – Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation. Again it lasts and I love the just enough dew finish.

The lip colour

This is a gorgeous gel-balm that turns into an oil. It only comes in three shades but my favourite is 1-cool. Which surprised me as I usually always go for a pink.

The Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C

I have mentioned these a few times on stories and they’re not cheap but my skin has changed dramatically since using them together. The Vitamin C I have used for quite some time now – on my second bottle. But I have just added their Hyaluronic acid to my routine and I am seriously impressed. You do get what you pay for with this brand. If you’re unsure a quick google will show you it works – the reviews are raving.

The Cleansing Balm

So I finished my final bottle of the face wash I swore cured my hormonal acne. It was Peter Thomas Roth and they for some reason changed the packaging AND the formula and the new wash didn’t agree with my skin. I managed to buy about five of the old bottles from the US over a year ago and have been working through them slowly knowing soon I’d be out. So it was a big decision for me on what I used next. I went with a brand I know and trust – Elemis. This cleansing balm is heaven to use… it feels so luxurious and and gets all my makeup and dirt off with ease. My skin actually glows after I have used it. I am obsessed!

Any questions shoot away… thank you so much for reading.



I am all for being beach body ready no matter what – i.e. it makes no difference if I am carrying a few extra pounds or not. I am proud of my body, what its done, what it does, its curves and its dimples. But I do like to take extra care of my skin before I hit the beach. Shed the Winter dullness. I find dieting impossible and I love carbs and red wine far too much, so body brushing, exercise, lotions and potions become my Summer prep best friends. And in this post I am going to be sharing what I have been using recently, what I love and what I will be keeping up all year round…

The Exercise

I am no fitness expert (In fact my husband often tells me I am the unhealthiest person he knows!) But I do go to the gym, if anything to make me feel less guilty about the wine and chocolate. I try and mainly do weights and body-weight exercises. I’ll warm up with a run or ten minutes on the cross trainer doing interval training. Then I will work on legs or arms alternatively. And I’ll always finish with ab work on the mats.

I also love going to classes if I can make the timings work with my work schedule and the girls. BodyPump is a new favourite – and spinning (but haven’t done that in months). And nothing beats a good swim for overall toning.

The Gadgets

Legology – I am a huge fan of this brand and have used their products for over a year now. The range was developed by award-winning beauty writer Kate Shapland to deliver a high performance solution to heavy legs and cellulite. When I remember I use the cup on the backs of my legs. Its a little strange – a vacuum cup which promotes deep drainage, circulation, skin firmness, tone and elasticity. Feels good to use though!

Elemis – I have just started using the new body toning formula with their body brush. I love doing the body brushing just before I jump in the shower. Its probably the hardest body brush I have used… at first I found it quite scratchy but now its quite relieving and feels like its really helping with my poor circulation.

The Lotions and Potions

Legology – As well as using their vacuum cup I love their formulas. They’re all designed to relieve fluid retention that makes legs puffy, tired and congested and which contributes to cellulite. I love the exfoliating salts and the daily lift which I have linked below.

SkinCeuticals – Vitamin C – do you use it? Know what it does? This serum is not cheap granted – but it delivers and you use just a few drops every day. It’s essentially an antioxidant formulation that helps to reinforce your skins natural protection against free radicals. It will improve any signs of photo-damage, the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and the loss of firmness. This is always my first step, followed by mouisturiser and then spf.

Sunday Riley – I am a fan of everything Sunday Riley does – and recently I have been using their CEO moisturiser. It’s a protect and repair formulation that as well as fighting signs of ageing it exfoliates to refine skin and provides a protective shield for your skin with something called ‘Exopolysaccharides’ – no idea what that is but I like it. And being a Vitamin C cream it sits well with my serum.

HelioCare – I am always banging on about this (sorry) but wearing spf 50 everyday is my new rule. I’ve so much sun damage (working in a sun-bed shop at university meant free sessions and I loved a tan!). This spf is favourited by beauty insiders and doesn’t cost the earth. I use the gel cream in ‘light’ but they also do ‘brown’ and I have just discovered compacts too – great for when you’re out and about in the handbag.

Elemis – The targeted body toning moisturiser, combined with daily massage is really supposed to help with reducing the appearance of cellulite so I have been using it across my arms, stomach and legs after I get out of the shower. It soaks in within an instant so I can just get dressed and out the door.

I’ve said before I am definitely more spit and polish than polished but they do say you must love the skin you’re in… and that means taking care of it.

Thank you so much for reading…



I have been promising this blog for a while now – I think I found it hard to get started as it’s quite technical in terms of the information I wanted to share. But ultimately – its a product that can help get you the glow you want.

What is it?

Micro needling, clinically referred to as ‘collagen induction therapy’, is a rejuvenating skin treatment that can be performed at home or at a clinic. A Skin Roller (aka dermaroller) repeatedly penetrates the skin creating thousands of tiny microchannels that the skin perceives as microwounds. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process; production of collagen and elastin. The result is smoother, healthier, and younger-looking skin.


Anti-ageing benefits

A dermaroller (the microneedling device) has a rolling head, equipped with hundreds of ultrafine needles that create micropunctures in the skin. The body perceives these microscopic channels as wounds, and prompts a healing process. Healing of the skin is mainly done by collagen and elastin production. And its the collagen and elastin that the skin requires to look plump, healthy and youthful. Other factors its helps with include skin texture, pigmentation, fine lines, scarring and sun damage.

What it promises:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduce hyperpigmentation and give you a more even skin tone
  • Exfoliate the skin
  • Allow for better absorption of your skin care products
  • Reduce scarring
  • Reduce the size of your pores
  • Treat acne and clogged pores

The skin roller I have been using is by Swiss Clinic – It is designed specifically for at-home use and the needles are made of silver-plated Japanese surgical steel. The spacing between the needles ensures that the ideal amount of serum can penetrate the skin, as well as ensuring ease and safety of use. Mine is 0.5mm and I use the gorgeous serum they also make which has five Hyaluronic Acids – essential for plumping our skin. I am very careful to make sure its cleaned properly after every use too and they have a great cleaning spray.

This is the roller and serum I use here.

My roller works on two levels:

  • Simulates stress on the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing process.
  • Creates micro channels to allow the skin to absorb 300% more serum than untreated skin is able to – meaning my products can work on a far deeper level – and I use less of them.

I had a few questions about the technical scientific side so approached my friend and very talented aesthetic Doctor Anna Hemming. Read our Q&A below for more details and a bit more info if you’re tempted to go professional and have a deeper treatment.


What can be offered with a clinic based method that can’t be done at home?

Clinic based micro needling using deeper derma-rollers (and anaesthetic cream), injectable products and serums added to this to maximise results, the use of intradermal injectables like the RRS brand which have 14 separate products the physician can mix and tailor to your skin needs. These are used in a 6 week course of treatment and can give some amazing results in tightening, firming, skin conditioning as well as lightening, removing stretch marks, cellulite, thickened volume under the chin.

Platelet Rich Plasma is also an excellent addition to an office Microneedling or Fractora RF treatment. Using your own plasma taken via a blood sample and spun in clinic to extract the PRP portion. It stimulates growth and collagen too and steps up the results from the needling on it’s own.

Microneedling can also be used with radiofrequency, I love the Fractora treatment which has 3 different Microneedling pin heads for the physician to select depending on target area, skin concerns and fragility. Treatment is done on anaesthetised skin and the area has multiple micro needle treatments with radio frequency stimulated inside the skin. This gives maximum tightening and skin improvements.

RADARA is a micro-channelling patch for the use around the eye area with a HA serum. This can be purchased through your local aesthetic physician too! It comes in a very neat box lasting 28 days with individual micro channelling patches for the area surrounding the eye.

What length needle should I use and what does it depend on?

The depth of the needle and other serums applied to the skin will determine the efficacy, cost and results. At home you would achieve minimal skin improvement with 0.1, 0.2, 0.3mm compared to physician Microneedling (up to 3mm). The longer the needle you can use the better, however you need to ensure your skin is very clean. I recommend Clinisept plus for skin disinfection before rolling and for sterilising the roller in between use. (Or 70% alcohol solution).

Needle length is also selected depending on the area you want to treat. For example, in clinic I would use a 1.0mm or 1.5mm for facial rejuvenation. 1.5mm for acne / scarring and rejuvenation. 2.0mm for stretch marks and 3.0mm for cellulite. At home you will have to work within your pain tolerance, the longer the needle the more painful it is. In clinic you have the benefit of topical local anaesthetic creams. Home treatment is a great way to continue to stimulate the effects created with a physician treatment. Home treatment rollers are often included in a treatment package along with a serum. Perhaps this is a really good way to start.

When should someone make the decision to go deeper and have it done professionally?

I think this is quite simple. Go to a professional when you want a deeper treatment, if you are not getting the results you want, for expert advice and a more targeted treatment with anaesthetic cream. When using Microneedling in clinic you should aim to have 2-3 treatments about 6-8 weeks apart.

What is the recovery time like?

Recovery time depends on the depth of treatment and whether RF is used. Very minimal after a home roller. Skin might be a little red, possibly a bit tight.

Clinic Microneedling with derma-roller you would expect to leave a finishing serum, PRP or other product on the skin until the next morning when you wash it off. On day 1 and 2 following treatment you would expect moderate swelling, redness, sensitivity to touch, itchiness and occasional petechiae (pin prick spots of bruising). There can be some serous fluid discharge from the needled skin and it may appear scratched. Around Day 3 the treated skin starts scabbing slightly and remains pinkish. At this point mineral makeup or colourscience products can be used on the skin. Day 4 the scabbing and redness subsides or is greatly reduced. Day 5 Treated skin heals and there is barely any evidence that the procedure has taken place. Most patients have minimal down time at about 48hrs. With minimal post treatment discomfort and minimal side effects  (vs Laser,fraxel etc).

Aftercare experienced with Radiofrequency treatments are similar. Following RF treatment your skin will be pink (like sunburn) for a couple of days. The needle pin holes can scab and crust over. There are often 7000 or so on the face and neck area. Your skin will feel tight and slightly rough. This will pass after 5 or so days. Some carry on as normal, others might feel they want to take cover for a few days. Again reduced downtime compaired with CO2 fractional laser / Fraxel etc

When the skin has recovered from the skin needling treatment AHA, retinol or other skin treatment products can be resumed as per discussion with your physician. These help to keep the skin soft smooth and help to superficially resurface the epidermis.

What are the best serums / products to use after doing an at-home session?

My skills lie in physician only treatment. Therefore I have a huge depth of knowledge about the creams and serums avalible to my patients. For home use it depends what you are trying to achieve and who you see for your skincare products.

Whatever you use I recommend you do a patch test first to check for sensitivity.


Vitamin C

Retinol cream – Tretinoin 0.5% (prescription only)

Some can sting the skin and make it feel red slightly itchy and possible flake a little.

How often should I do it at home?

This depends on the product, needle length, treatment additions and should be started gently and slowly.

Initially Derma-roller Microneedling should be used twice a week so the amount of serum penetration is controlled. You do not want to over stimulate the skin.

RADARA treatment is nightly pop the patches on both eyes for 5 mins.

Is it better at night or in the morning? 

I don’t think there is a very best time of day as everyone’s routine is totally different. Please ensure that you sanitise the roller. Most sanitising solutions state that you should not rinse the roller with water before use, as this could actually re-contaminate it. The sanitising solution should evaporate rapidly which actually has a cooling effect on the roller needles making them less painful!

A good time is when you are relaxed, perhaps in front of the TV in the evening for 20 minutes. I would not recommend doing this immediately before bed, where you put your head on your pillow where several nights worth of skin cells, bacteria etc It is best to needle your skin at least an hour before bed.

Are some materials better than others in terms of the roller and needles?

Always used a reputable manufacturer with UK accepted regulation. Not all of these products need to be CE marked.

Personally I suggest using titanium rollers, this gives the needles a finer more durable edge (less pain and less irritation vs stainless steel). Titanium does not pit or damage like stainless steel so there is no tearing of skin (which could cause scaring). Some makes use a gold-plated microneedle to maintain sterility.

Is there anything to watch out for be worried about?

There are some things to look out for. However, if you are worried about anything you should go to see your aesthetic physician. If you do not have an aesthetic doctor then visit your GP. They will be able to help you although their knowledge about aesthetic procedures may not be extensive.

You must also use sun protection during the healing period to avoid any hyperpigmentation. If you do get this – it should normally resolve in about a month.

When to stop.

Stop using the roller when you have reached your goal. If your skin gets overstimulated, you are unhappy with the effect.

Anything that works nicely alongside (products and/or treatments) to get the most impact from it

Using an anti-ageing skin program set up by your aesthetic physician would benefit any Microneedling treatment. I love Calecim serum for use immediately following RRS, Radiofrequency Fractora and micro needling treatments. Containing stem cell technology, it helps improve results and maintain them too. They also make a couple of very nice creams for everyday use.

For years I have been working with ZO skin health and have been trained by Dr Zein Obagi in Beverly Hills. The products focus on returning skin back to youth, healthy, soft, smooth, pigmentation free. Sounds good doesn’t it. I would definitely recommend the core treatment products including the cleansers which are fabulous at removing unwanted skin oils as well as make up. The scrubs exfoliate and further remove oil from the skin. The oil control pads are aptly named too – resulting in skin that is ready for product application. Oil is responsible for much of the aging effect on the skin, including spots, large pores and acne but also breaking barriers within the skin so products cannot penetrate properly.  The treatment creams vary depending on your skins needs, they include vitamin C and retinol. Finally, the hero product daily power defence and one of their amazing SPF’s are applied. Making your skin day ready and protecting it from UVA, UVB and HEV sun rays.

Zo is physician dispensed and available through a doctor or nurse prescriber on their website search area. I see patients for a skin assessment appointment before writing a personalised ZO regimen for them.

Hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading and please do contact Anna if you’d like to know more about any of her treatments or products that can help your own skins needs.




I absolutely love being a mother to girls. I love that they have so much ahead of them, all the points in their life as a woman they’ll go through. All the things I remember so well. I love that I’ll guide them through the mishaps and heart breaks, mistakes and successes. And already I am thinking about the things I want to teach them as young women.

And with being a woman (and a man) comes looking after your body… teaching them the importance of a good skincare regime, sun protection, moisturising. And of the choices that come with it. My own first experience was locked in my family bathroom and sneakily using some awful smelling hair removal cream on my arm. Big mistake! Think I then followed it with a quick tester of another equally awful smelling fake tan. I so clearly remember having to explain the brown hairless blotch to my friends the next day at school – ‘oh yes some hair dye fell on my arm’?!!!? What was I thinking?

Well in my head – with my plans for the girls they won’t make the same mistakes. Here’s hoping right. But I want to ensure that they know they have choices and also make sure they choose the best product if they do choose to remove hair. The transition from little girls to independent young women can be difficult, but I want my girls to feel confident that they have the knowledge and the tools to figure out what works best for them, and hopefully their first foray into hair removal will be a little more successful than my own.

I have always used Venus razors and never knew they are actually the world’s number one female shaving brand, and a brand designed specifically for women. After shaving for many years, I have also begun to epilate with Braun tools – the worlds most trusted epilator brand. Both these brands expertise make me feel confident in their tools both in regards to getting the best result and their safety. For me these are the two ways I like to remove hair. The most efficient and time saving ways for me. I actually have never had a wax. Ever. Fun fact for the day.

I like speedy, at home, no harsh chemicals, and private, efficient hair removal.

Feeling good in my own skin is so important to me. And having smooth legs and under arms makes me feel good. That might not be the case for everyone, or even for my daughters as they grow up, but nevertheless I wanted my daughters to know the options they have and feel comfortable talking about hair removal.

The Venus ComfortGlide Spa Breeze is always a natural go-to product for me. It just lives in the shower and I don’t have to worry about irritation thanks to the flexible moisture bars which have a lovely rich body butter that keeps my skin feeling so silky and soft in one simple step

Venus ComfortGlide Spa Breeze is available at Boots 

Having the Braun Silk-epil 5 epilator gives me options. A longer lasting form of hair removal it means no fuss and no in-between days. You can use it in the shower or dry which more of less means you can use this anytime anywhere which is great! And actually – it is great value! It has a new beginner cap that shaves and epilates at the same time – it’s perfect for when girls first start out, getting them used to the sensation of epilation which understandably can be daunting.

Braun Silk-épil 5 is available at Amazon

I think giving our daughters choices is so important and we can help by teaching them to look after themselves by giving them the best tools. In every part of their life.

It might be a long way off until Vivienne and Margot start thinking about hair removal, and I have to admit the idea of them both growing up into little independent young ladies makes me all too aware of how quickly time passes. But with knowledge our daughters can be more confident, and for me that is so important.




This post was created in collaboration with Braun and Gillette – all images and opinions are my own.