The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Bucks & Oxon Edition

Category: Beauty

Need a beauty tune-up?

5 Feb 2017

This is the ideal time of year to do some at-home beauty pampering and maintenance – after all, it’s not like all your friends are having wild nights out without you (you’re not guys, are you? ARE YOU?). What’s more, I find it’s around now that my nails, hair and skin all need some serious TLC in the face of plunging temperatures, fierce central heating and my abject laziness on everything beauty-self-help related.

So where to start? Beauty entrepreneur Charlie Fowler seems like a good place to head for advice on how to do a DIY winter beauty MOT…

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Lift & lengthen – check out my LVL lashes!

23 Aug 2016

There is seemingly no end to the new beauty treatments, plumps and pampers that beauticians offer us, but I think if I had to choose one that I considered to be really excellent value it would be an eyelash tint and curl. It’s brilliant for summer holidays if you want to jump in pools, perspire gently while you’re playing sport, and giving your eyes a lift without the faff of putting on mascara every day.

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CACI Eye Revive – aim, fire, blast those wrinkles!

22 Jul 2016

Any local beauty business that manages to grow to four salons has something seriously good going for it. In addition to its two Herts salons, Lavender & Stone (great name btw) has premises in Bourne End and Beaconsfield. I have form at the Bourne end salon, having had a fantastic hot lava shell massage there back in May last year, so in the interests of yin and yang, the harmonious centring of my body and, er, the risign panic about the wrinkles now appearing on my wrinkles around my eyes, I have balanced things out   by trying the Beaconsfield salon.

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Try this: A Victoria Partridge signature facial

22 Jun 2016

I’m a fan of the facial, which is lucky as I try out gazillions of them on Muddy. Some are a bit meh and don’t make it onto the blog, other treatments are definitely worth the trip out.

Either way though, the main thing I think with facials is to be realistic. Though I’d say I have a treatment once every three weeks, I haven’t noticed myself returning to the happy days when I could wink without the side of my face collapsing.

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Been to the Lapstone Spa? Oh but you should!

5 May 2016

I know, it sounds like a planet on Blake’s 7, but nope, it’s a rather lovely Swiss-created skincare regime, based on the 5 elements of traditional Chinese medicine – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – and designed to restore and maintain the body’s holistic balance of nature.

I am, as you know, a cynic (though not an athiest) of beauty brands. I’m a likely to use Oil of Olay as Environ.

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Sanctuary Blue: Neal’s Yard in Thame, people!

26 Apr 2016

Interesting happenings in the market town of Thame – *collective gasp* ooooooooh!

Nothing as scandalous as a burgeoning husband-swapping scene (to my knowledge!) but some moves and changes on the high street. A well-received new cafe has opened, attached to deli What’s Cooking;  there are murmurings of a Bill’s or Jamie’s going into the now vacant Cargo; and The Thatch pub has just won a local award. Now Neal’s Yard has popped up in the town – not in retail on the high street but in the private beauty room Sanctuary Blue, a little oasis of calm for massages and facials that also happens to sell the products.

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The Skin Society – blasting wrinkles near you!

18 Apr 2016

There are some undeniable benefits to writing Muddy Stilettos. A legitimate excuse to wear elasticated trousers for food reviewing purposes. Walking 5 metres from bedroom to office (known until 8.55am as the kitchen table). Seeing more musicals than is strictly necessary for theatrical purposes. And perhaps more than anything, trying out lots and lots and lots of facials.

I tried out The Skin Society last month, a private practise run by April Russell (above), and I’m really excited to tell you about her, because she has seriously brilliant credentials –  not only has April worked at Harrod’s Urban Retreat, Champneys and also in the Caribbean New York where her clients included Donna Karan and Ivanka Trump.

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WOW! A skin-plumping wonder Endermolift facial in Oxford

24 Mar 2016


If you love the latest beauty gadgets, newest treatments and gallic know-how, make a beeline straight into Cannelle. The French-owned beauty salon (in both Oxford and Henley) won the Muddy Award for Best Beauty Salon in Bucks & Oxon in 2015 for good reason – it always seems to be among the first in the area to introduce new technologies to help in the frankly hopeless fight against wrinkles, sagging and middle age spread.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Bucks & Oxon Edition