It's gonna get sappy up in here.
Ok, I promise I'm not going to whinge about the weather we've been having (one sunny Sunday doesn't count, and I'm not angry, just disappointed, oh who am I kidding, I'm FURIOUS). Instead I'm going to get straight into this week's beauty pick, which is Caudalie's Divine Legs.
I really need to feel 'divine' right now in the true Joan Collins sense of the word so anything that promises to give me that is worth investigation.
In essence, Divine Skin is sunshine in a bottle because it smells incredibly good and it makes you look tanned. The product was launched a year after Caudalie released their Divine Oil and the scent is the same - a blend of grapefruit, Bulgarian and Moroccan rose, pink pepper, vanilla, cedar and white musk - summertime distilled.
This is make-up for your legs - a wash-off option that is less drastic than fake tan. I particularly appreciate this concept on the first day of a beach holiday when everyone else has got nice, well-established tans and I'm standing there like some ghostly creature with moon-pale skin. I need to catch up and fast!
Of course a product like this is pure indulgence - I make no apologies for that. It feels and smells luxurious and expensive and even more importantly, French. It's a treat that comes in a pretty glass bottle and costs £26 for 100ml (but trust me, a little goes a long way).
After exfoliating your legs (try the matching Divine Scrub which is a delicate, soft sand-like product with four plant oils in a brown sugar base, or hey, make your own!) apply a couple of pumps of the product and massage in.
I stepped into the garden to try it out in unforgiving sunshine which bounced off my pallid limbs. The trick is to mix the product with body lotion - this takes the intensity down a notch and helps it disperse more evenly, giving a subtle effect rather than a deep bronze finish.
Et voila - smooth, golden limbs with the very slightest hint of an iridescent gleam, just as if you'd been lolling on the beach in Cannes all day rather than sulking in your bedroom in Bethnal Green. As well as delivering an immediate visual effect and being lovely and moisturising, the lotion also stimulates production of protein Kinase C in the skin which prolongs any natural tan you might already have.
Caudalie is one of those chic French beauty brands that always impresses me because they stay true to their all-natural principles while taking full advantage of advances in skincare research - there's no 'either/or' in their approach to beauty, they just take the best of everything (they have patents coming out of their ears and their hero products and spa treatments use WINE for crying out loud - what more do you want?)
The products have incredibly high levels of active ingredients - so high in fact that if you have very sensitive skin, you may experience a bit of a reaction, so as always it's wise to do a patch test before slathering your entire face and body in something if you haven't used it before.
I'm slightly obsessed with French women - their skin, their hair, their style - the way they look beautiful in a careless, effortless way, while seemingly enjoying the good things in life like wine, chocolate, red meat, cigarettes and, of course, l'amour. Curse their elegant, Chanel-clad bones. It's got to be something to do with brands like this - they pretend they make minimal effort, but really they're just choosing the right products and using them wisely.
So this is my one small step towards looking a bit French: I will close the curtains against the relentless rain, smear Divine Legs on my arms (cos I'm crazy like that) and legs and weep elegantly over last year's holiday photos.