MOROCCO BOUND – update

Update: 8 Feb: Leaving tomorrow after an amazing trip – the only thing I’ve missed is English tea and my winter jacket, so much colder here than normal (hovering around 10C).  No TV here but from the front page pics online it looks v. chilly in Brrrr-itain. Let’s hope a warm front blows in and spring is here before we know it (ahem, wishful thinking).

4 Feb: Freezing last night -4C! Winter warmer tip – sleep with fingerless gloves on – it works.  Just had breakfast looking out at the blue pool, pink mountains and a luminous blue sky, it feels like the Alps today but with stronger sunshine – far too cold to sunbathe but it’s bliss sitting wrapped up with a hot coffee listening to the birds chirping.  The sunshine is back big time and I’m off for a very long walk to soak it all up…hope everyone’s keeping warm in Europe, this cold snap caught us all by surprise, didn’t it? x

2 Feb:  “Make hay while the sun shines” (and soak it up when it does!)  After three blissful blue sky days, the rain has blown in, the palm trees are waving like windmills and it’s gone from breakfast al fresco to soup by the fireplace (tonight)…brrr! Currently 12C and 1C at night but luckily the forecast is for more sunshine for the rest of the week. Go away cold snap and roll on spring…wondering if it will snow in London this week? 

1 Feb: Happy February everybody *applause* – we’re over the winter hump!  March will feel more like spring (famous last words). Hope you’re staying warm (unless you’re reading this somewhere warm and exotic!) The cold snap is heading to Fez, too, rain is blowing our way tomorrow, they say. More beauty posts soon but have been working (erm!) and spending every spare minute with the sunglasses on pretending this is a holiday. Day 5 of our 7 Days of Beauty Competition goes live tomorrow evening so you might not want to miss that http://thebeautyshortlist.com/coming-soon/ x

31 Jan: It’s 18C and sunny today (just like in the photo below but bikini weather would be a bit optimistic.  More like long-sleeve T-shirts when the sun’s out (it sets at around 6pm) then warm jacket/layers (it dropped quickly to 4C after sunset last night.) 

The argan oil here is amazing (gloss-enhancing food for hair and skin). Breakfast today was fresh bread dipped in a little bowl of olive oil, fresh fruit, home made quince jam and bitter orange marmalade with crispy square Moroccan pancakes and coffee. Honestly, the olive oil was like liquid gold, really translucent and silky in texture, almost sweet. Hopefully we’ll be featuring it on The Food Shortlist soon if we can find out who to contact and if the brand is available in the UK/Europe.)

Meanwhile, if you haven’t entered our 7 Days of Beauty, you must do!! We’re giving away one gorgeous prize to seven lucky winners (huge thanks to the seven brands who’ve participated and will be sending the prizes directly to the winners). The lucky seven will be announced Feb 17th. Comp closes midnight Feb 14th. (We’ll be posting the rest of the prizes this week, as you’ll see on the 7 Days of Beauty page, we’re up to Day 4’s prize – just three more to to be revealed!)

Where I’m staying…RIAD LE KSAR DE FEZ If you can get to Fez airport this is just 10 mins away, deep in the beautiful Fez countryside! I’m a bit claustrophobic so if I’m in Fez I avoid staying the medina. Riad Le Ksar de Fez is on Twitter @fezgolf (not a golf hotel but Fez Royal Golf Club is two minutes away) and I found it by accident last year – to call it a gem is an understatement, the people are so lovely and can’t do enough for you…and the winter sunshine’s free. www.riad-leksardefes.com

But back to beauty…!  Here are my “desert island” travel picks – thought I’d quickly share what made it into the handluggage:

NATURAL WISDOM’s mini kit – includes cleanser, toner, facial oil, antioxidant balm www.naturalwisdom.co.uk  I can see this becoming my jet set six for any/all future trips! (The cleanser is stupendous, you can use it on your eyes – no sting whatsoever…)

BODHI’s Mint Thé Botanical Therapy (for the shower) from www.bodhi.uk.com. In between the other mint teas, this is the one I’ll be enjoying in the shower. Botanical Therapy is right…I love this brand!

SISLEY’s Confort Extreme Levres – The queen of luxury lip balms, this beauty is ultra-protective and actually a great extreme conditions lip protector. Still, it’s very much a beauty treat and feels unlike any other lip balm I’ve ever tested and worth every penny.  I’m driving up into the mountains in Ifrane, 45 mins above Fez, where skiing is in full swing on the snow-covered runs. Being a useless skier (out of control, heading for the nearest ravine) I come here for the walks, Alpine style scenery (the village is dotted with little chalets and feels more Swiss than Moroccan)  and after a chilly day out there’s nothing better than inhaling a wood-fired pizza (naughty carbs, hope you’re not reading this Jarod Chapman – see previous post!) at the Forest Cafe. www.johnlewis.com/80263/Product.aspx 

HERBFARMACY’s Mallow Beauty Balm – seriously cannot say enough good things about this brand! Beautifully pure skincare made from plants, flowers and herbs grown in the company’s own gardens in Herefordshire and this is a steal at around £12 for 30g, the pot will last a long time.  100% organic, packed with Marshmallow, Mullein, Jojoba and Shea Butter this facial beauty balm is silky, ultra-hydrating and smells…well…lovely!  www.herbfarmacy.co.uk 

Last but not least, as my all-round serum, I’ve opted for two:  First, Alaya Beauty’s Triple Complex Advanced Radiance Superboost Serum, launched late last year – so many good things in it I barely have time to list them (am running late!) www.alayabeauty.co.uk . And, second, my very latest discovery which I’ve fallen in love with this week, is John Masters Organics Vitamin C Serum.  It’s rose scented, really light http://www.johnmasters.co.uk/skin1.html A fab blend of Vitamin C and extracts of sea algae, nettle and rosebud – full of antioxidants and procollagen-boosting ingredients.  There’ll be more on John Masters in February when we do a full feature on the brand.

Have a lovely week! x



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