American Beauty

Why must all good things come to an end? Sadly my (long overdue) holiday to the USA has been and gone, and now it's back to reality.

I have absolutely loved every last moment spent in the States, from Yosemite through to Manhattan, and have had the most wonderful holiday. 

I have also spent some money. And by some, I mean too much.

Personalised perfumes, dazzling statement necklaces, quirky handmade cards and dessert flavoured chewing gum- I literally could not say no this year. 

The only time I have said "NO" is when my bank emailed me offering me my latest statement. No, I am not mentally prepared to see that just yet. 

I have had particular difficulty trying to resist beauty products, and felt I had to share some of my favourite finds from my travels with you. Alas, I did not manage to fit all the below in my case (not through lack of trying) and ended up with an all-too careful selection of beauty loot to take back to the UK with me. 

If you have any other must have US beauty buys please do let me know! 

1. If you are a golf enthusiast, you may be familiar with Pebble Beach and The Inn at Spanish Bay between Monterey and Carmel on the West Coast. A luxurious golf resort with an acclaimed Hawaiian fusion restaurant, Roys, The Spanish Bay also has a host of sweet gift shops. It is in one of these boutiques that I first noticed Farmhouse Fresh beauty products. This Splendid Dirt Nutrient Rich Mud Mask smells just like Pumpkin Pie and is great for drawing our impurities. It's like spa-meets-bakery-meets-your bathroom. It is $20 here

2. I really had to restrain myself when I noticed the array of Philosophy products available in Macy's SF. With a far broader collection than my local Boots/ John Lewis, Macy's had a selection of seriously yummy scents only available in the USA. This creamy chiffon Pink Frosted Animal Cracker shower gel smells as sticky sweet as a fresh box of Krispy Kremes. You can buy it from Sephora here for $16.50.

3. Another delicious Philosophy product that is certainly worthy of note is the Almonds and Cream body lotion. Though I was initially tempted by the Almonds & Cream duo with shower gel and lotion, I opted instead for the larger bottle to act as a post-sun skin soother. It smells just like feather light vanilla macaroons. Soft, nutty and sophisticated- this is the perfect body lotion for the sweet tooth, and it works a charm at smoothing the skin. It is also $16.50 here

4. Though I am partial to a Lush lip scrub, the Sara Happ lip polishes are far superior. A coarse sugar based polish enriched with essential oils, these cult products are just the ticket for smoothing over your pout. A sparkling lemonade scent is just ideal for a red-hot Summer day in NYC. Wear with a fruity lipbalm or gelee for a popsicle pout. You can buy this flavour in Selfridges for £20. 

1. Lined up in a row in a quaint gift shop in Sonoma, the Milkhouse Creamery Candles 1/2 pint milk-bottle candles are as fragrant as they are decadent. Crafted from soy and swirled with beeswax, these sweet scented candles make for ideal presents. Notable scents include apple strudel, butter toffee, gingerbread pumpkin, oatmeal and honey, sticky buns and cappuccino brulee... It's easy to get carried away with these (half) pint-sized pretties. Thankfully, these yummy candles are available in the UK here

2. A little cheat here- Fresh beauty products are actually made in France, but they are having a real moment in the States. My mother and I first came across the brand while browsing the glamourous beauty hall in Neiman Marcus San Francisco. While we bought some natural body washes and lotions, I was rather more intrigued by the hero product: Sake bath ($38- $80 at Sephora). My father and I are both Sake enthusiasts (particularly alongside a sashimi platter in Charlotte Street's Roka), and a few months ago I began looking into the beautifying properties of this Japanese elixir after reading about the country's beauty industry in Monocle. I then went on to write an article about this new beauty ingredient, and it is exciting to see it infiltrating into the luxury market. This smooth bath oil has a light and fresh scent and just a few drops in a scorching hot bath will open up pores and draw out impurities while smoothing the skin. Other products to note are the nourishing Rice Dry Oil and the Brown Sugar Body Polish

3. There is nothing more unsightly than dry, scuffed soles, so take good care of your feet- even when on holiday. I personally have neglected my feet a little of late, but have started using this Napa Valley Bath Co Hoof Cream and am rather impressed with the results. Rather more of a balm, this convenient tin has a delicious aromatic scent with sharp blood orange notes and a marriage of nourishing essential oils to soften the skin. You can buy the Blood Orange and Rosemary Hoof Cream here for $24.

4. A further Summer special from Sara Happ, the zingy Sparkling Pink Grapefruit scent is suitably sugary with a fresh little bite to it. You can buy this from Selfridges for £20 here. How glorious is that rich raspberry pink shade!
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