I’m back from my travels and my head feels a bit like an old fashioned camera film – full of undeveloped moments. I need a bit of time to process them so I will write about my trip and also about the intense (and wonderful) experience of spending a week with strangers who have now become friends – but not yet. I’ve had a lot to catch up on this week, not helped by the fact that my brain is fried by jet lag and I’m struggling to get back into a good sleeping rhythm. It means that today it’s going to be easiest for me to pull together a few things I’ve been wanting to tell you about for a while so it’s a cornucopia – beauty, accessories and travel tips.

Cornucopia – beauty, accessories and travel tips

New from Claudia Bradby

It was apt that I left a week of living on water on 20th April because rather coincidentally it was the day that the horoscope moved into my star sign – the solidly earthy Taurus. And I had an early birthday present of a zodiac pendant from my friend Claudia that I’ve been waiting to wear and it’s now firmly on. I can’t say I’m hugely into astrology but I do absolutely recognise the qualities of the bull that lie within me – I’m generally at my happiest with my feet on the ground, eating good hearty food and with lots of home comforts around me.

Zodiac necklace; Love knot necklace; Love knot earrings

These pendants make great gifts, particularly for millennials and Gen Zs who take astrology far more seriously than we often do – I know of young women who plan their whole weeks around their forecast. They’re available in silver or gold, each with one of Claudia’s signature pearls attached.

And just arrived is her latest bee collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings – the perfect accessory for the British summer. I’ve mentioned before that Claudia has two new midlife passions – wild swimming and bee keeping and I relate more to the latter than the former.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Flying bee choker; pearl drop necklace

She donates 1% of her turnover each year to ‘1% for the planet’ and specifically the B4 project so every sale supports the conservation of the native British honey bee – you can read more about it here. Don’t forget that as a Midlifechic reader you get an ongoing discount from Claudia with code MIDLIFECHIC20 at checkout.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Silver bee bracelet; simple pearl bracelet

New from Nearly New Cashmere

Over at another of my favourite small brands, Nearly New Cashmere, they’ve been busy supporting a small Scottish Mill who had a cancelled order on a collection of cashmere wraps and ponchos. NNC has rescued the whole batch to sell through their shop and so by buying one, you’re supporting two small British companies at the same time. They’re perfect for summer nights, especially on holiday – being cashmere there’s no bulk when you fold them down so you can carry them in a small bag, ready to pull out as the evening draws in. As you can imagine they’re selling quickly – this shade of denim blue has gone but there are lots of other colours – you can find them all here.

Cashmere wraps

And here are the ponchos, great for cooler summer days, again with a selection of colours available and all made at one of Scotland’s best specialist cashmere mills.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Cashmere poncho collection

Foras Fragrance

Just after Christmas I was contacted by a small perfume house in Folkestone that’s been launched by two experienced fragrance specialists working with renowned parfumier Alexander Verier. They’re using natural ingredients to make small batches of intense, layered fragrances. As you know, I’m very particular about fragrance after my year of training in the industry where I saw the big name brands developing their perfumes in the same labs (and often using the same synthetic ingredients) as washing powder. Since then I very rarely wear anything that has been mass produced for a designer label. These fragrances are nothing like the sort of thing you have blasted at you when you’re walking through a department store. They’re complex and heady, each one completely different from the other. I was sent this discovery set to play with for a while and although it contains tiny 2ml glass vials, each fragrance is so fully rounded that I was able to test them for a few days each.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Fragrance Discovery Set

I was invited to choose one to be sent in a full size and it was hard because each one made me feel completely different. As it was winter I opted for the oxidised rose which has eight different rose extractions with a middle note of amber and a leather base – one of my favourite combinations. I found it hard to choose between that one and the earthy Mushroom Forest though.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Oxidised rose

If it had been this time of year I’d probably have gone for garden scented Folkestone Green, the light, figgy (fresh not fruity) Fig Ozone or the tomatoey Summer Vine. If you’re fed up of the unchallenging nature of high street perfume, treat yourself to a discovery set and give these a try. They’ll really make you think and of course it’s a great way to support a tiny British brand. Oh and if you live near Folkestone you can pop into their shop on Church Street and play around to your heart’s content.

Cornucopia – beauty, accessories and travel tips

New Foundations/ CC Creams

I’ve been trialling some new foundations. This one is from Avon, a brand I haven’t explored before and at first I thought I’d found a little gem at £8.50 because it went on beautifully. However after only five minutes my skin felt and looked dry so it didn’t work for me but I thought I’d mention it as an option for people who have oily skin.

CC cream oily skin

Serum Foundation

The next was IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream. It’s one of those products that I’ve been hearing about for years but I’ve never got around to buying. I started with the highly acclaimed full coverage version and the effect is quite astonishing but it was far too thick and heavy for me – it reminded me of the stage make-up I used to wear as a dancer.

best CC cream for women over 50

Full cover correcting cream

This medium coverage version is much better though, it gives a similar effect to the Erborian BB cream that I told you about a while ago and that remains my favourite of the lower priced options – here’s a reminder…

I can’t get a good shot of this one at the moment, probably because I’ve hardly slept this week so my face looks about 120 years old but I’m wearing it below. It allows your skin to show through with a smooth finish and a decent glow that isn’t too shiny. It isn’t as good as the Dior and Armani foundations that I usually use but for the price, it isn’t far off.

best light CC cream for women over 50

CC+ Nude Glow


New lip plumping gloss

A box of the new Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk collection arrived for testing this week but I haven’t had time to play around with it all yet. Pillow Talk, as I’m sure you know, is the specific nude pigment mix that Charlotte developed to suit every skintone and it’s used across lots of products in the range from eyeliner to blusher to lipstick. The lynchpin of this season’s launch is the new lip plumping lip gloss which comes in two shades of Pillow Talk – a darker one and a lighter one. There’s all sorts of excitement around it in Newcastle today as I discovered when I popped into town at lunchtime

Leather jacket  and jeans both Me+Em past season; Jumper Asos past season; Trainers

Now I have to say I struggle a bit with Charlotte Tilbury branding – not the product, just the branding. I hate being called ‘darling’ in emails, I’m not keen on the way that this is called Plumpgasm and I really don’t like the packaging BUT the product, as always, is excellent.

The promise is fuller looking lips. I’m not going to judge anyone who has lip fillers, it’s a route I wouldn’t take but I’m aware that my lips don’t have as much fullness as they did. This does, immediately, make them look fuller. The gloss goes on beautifully thanks to an excellent applicator so you don’t end up with any kind of gooey, drippy feeling. It tingles upon application so I guess that’s the ‘heat and ice technology’ at work, it’s quite a nice feeling and it isn’t uncomfortable. It handled a cup of coffee well – there was slight transfer but still plenty of product left on my lips so it won’t need reapplying too often which is good because I wouldn’t want to pull the case out in public – I just don’t like it.

Whether it will result in plumping the volume of my lips by 25% after two weeks’ use as claimed is yet to be seen – the research was only based on 33 people. However, I felt both the shades were a natural enough colour to balance out the impact of juicy shine it gives and they look more Parisian than louche. So my verdict is that I love the product, just not the packaging. Would I buy it? Yes.

Plumping lip gloss

Travel Beauty Essentials

We often travel in the autumn so there are lots of products that I intend to report back on but it’s always a bit too late for most people’s holiday season. However this year I’m way ahead of myself so I’m going to share some brilliant beauty products to take away with you.

Flying long haul

When I left for my long journey I put together a slim envelope of beauty products that I could use on the 14 hour flight to Singapore. I always keep the sample sachets that you find glued into magazines so I had a full set of tiny Clarins serums and moisturisers to use. I added these single wrapped cleansing wipes so that I could take my make-up off easily when I started to feel grimy. They’re just great if you’re in any kind of transit, they’re gentle but they remove all of your make-up. Obviously they’re not for regular use but they’re brilliant for travelling.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Compostable cleansing wipes

Jet Lag Mask

I then slathered my skin in this Jet Lag Mask and it’s as good as the reviews say, deeply moisturising. I left it on for a few hours and it had completely sunk in by the time we landed when I reapplied my make-up. It successfully countered the dehydrating effects of the plane.

Jet lag mask review

Jet Lag Mask

Swim Cap

Knowing that I was going to spend days on end in the sea I restocked with my tried and tested Swim Cap. You rinse your hair in the morning with clean water and while it’s still wet, slather it with Swim Cap to protect it from sun, salt and chlorine. After a week of being covered in it every day, when I finally had the joyful moment of washing and drying my hair properly it was deeply conditioned. This is the best value set to buy at the moment – you basically get all of the other products free for the price of the Swim Cap tube which would easily last for a fortnight.

Cornucopia - beauty, accessories and travel tips

Philip Kingsley Holiday Hair Set

It’s great for anyone who swims a lot either in salt water or chlorine and I find it stops your hair going frizzy too, you can see the finish I get with it here. I usually find it hard to get any kind of beachy look with my hair but this does it.



Midlifechic and youngest son

Superb sun cream

I discovered this sun cream last year when I was browsing around Liberty and it’s now become my favourite. It’s Australian so you know it has to hit the world’s highest sun cream standards in order to be approved. Ocean friendly, it’s deeply moisturising and it also has a shimmer to it that makes your limbs glow, plus it has four hours of water resistance which is reassuring. A tube easily lasted me for a week.

best sun cream for women over 50

Extreme Screen Hydrating Skinscreen

One thing I learned from the others about travelling alone though is that you need to take a spray for the hard to reach parts of your back. They were all using this one and it was lovely.

best sun spray for women over 50

Sun Bum sunscreen spray

Super moisturising night cream

I can’t bear having parched skin after a day in the sun and I was recently given a sachet of this night cream to try from a beauty counter. I loved it instantly so I bought a tiny travel pot to take away with me and it was exactly what I needed to restore moisture overnight. It’s a bit like Eight Hour Cream but with a softer consistency and no medicated smell. It sits on your skin all night as an unctuous hydrating layer – it’ll be one of those love/hate products depending on your approach to texture because it’s a bit greasy when you first put it on but I really, really love the way it leaves my skin in the morning. And a little goes a very long way, I hardly made a dint in my little pot.

best night cream for hot holidays

Magic Night Cream

Jet Lag App

One last quick thing to mention – on my way out to Thailand I used the Timeshifter App and barely had any jet lag. It’s a very clever way of adjusting your circadian rhythm before you travel so that you don’t have too much downtime when you get there. Being with a group of people on a tight schedule I couldn’t use it on the way back and the jet lag this week has made me realise what an effective tool it was. I got melatonin from my local travel clinic to use with it but it works without that if you prefer and I can’t recommend it enough.

And that’s my cornucopia – beauty, accessories and travel tips for today. I know this post isn’t reading very fluently but I just wanted to say ‘hello’ – my frazzled head isn’t up to writing long sentences that make any sense. It’s been a busy week, Mal was successful at his big karate event on Sunday which is a huge relief. He’s been training for it for six years now and since Christmas it’s had a massive impact on our life – I’m delighted that he’ll no longer have to train six nights a week. He went straight into hospital on Monday morning for a long-planned elbow repair so things are still a bit out of kilter, we’re slowly getting back to normal though. Thank you to those of you who kept me company on the trip and also to everyone who supported the charity sale while I was away. There are still a few things left here if you missed it. And with that I’m going to leave you but I’ll be back next week on better form. Have a fabulous weekend and thank you for still being here, reading on a Friday night or whenever it is that you visit.

Disclosure: ‘Cornucopia – beauty, accessories and travel tips’ is not a sponsored post

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