Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Form over Function

Now, I'm the first to admit I'm a sucker for the following things:

  • Shoes
  • Laughing at inappropriate moments
  • Anything involving Lurex

So it should comes as no surprise to you that, despite my love and knowledge of all things beauty, if something is pretty, I will buy it.

Example a)

Last year, I fell in love with Paul&Joe. I decided it was the label for me. Slightly sparkly, very beautiful... Unfortunately, my salary did not stretch to Paul&Joe or even Paul&Joe Sister. It did, however, just about stretch to Paul&Joe Cosmetics - ta da!

Isn't is pretty? It is lovely and iridescent and looks like it belonged to Marilyn Monroe and who wouldn't want a part of that?
Unfortunately, it is also white, chalky, slightly glittery and utterly, utterly pointless.

On the other hand, this manky little compact from L'Oreal gives great coverage, has a fab separate little compartment for the sponge applicator and matches my skintone perfectly.
Damn you Paul&Joe, DAMN YOU!

But there is hope.
Below is one of favourite products of all time, the M.A.C. Holiday 2006 compact in Smoky.
Gorgeous, touch me packaging, great sized mirror, good quality brush and fantastic eye shadows for day-to-night, super smoky and all round generally fabulous eyes.

I love it when a plan comes together...

p.s. Yes these pictures were taken with my phone, as well as being an absolute magpie, I'm incredibly disorganised, 'kay?

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Nature vs Nurture pt 1

You can't help but have noticed the massive trend for natural cosmetics and beauty products in recent times. We've all been brought up on brands like Olay and Nivea but what we're being told, is that we're all looking to organic, ethically created, natural brands. But are we really?

There's no doubt that the words natural and organic are buzzing around everywhere at the moment. Even if companies aren't creating 100% genuine organic products (and most of them aren't!) they're playing on the terminology to convince you what you're buying is as good for the planet as they are for the skin. Boots' Botanic range, Garnier's Skin Naturals and Clairol's Herbal Essences all imply natural products but are they any more authentic than say, Olay and Pantene? Difficult to say but it's doubtful.

And more importantly, are we really that concerned about natural products, or just buying into a marketing message? Is it enough just to think our moisturiser, shower gel or foundation is created ethically and without harming the planet as long as it performs?

One company creating natural products, Jerome Petit, MD of Natura Organics, has tried to help me answer some of my questions...

What inspired Natura Organics as a company?
The fact was that none of the natural/organic products on the market were being marketed like conventional products. They looked awful, the packaging was far from pleasing and the scents were too strong. To appeal both to existing natural brand users and to help convert those using conventional brands, we decided to develop our own organic range, with the packaging, design, formulation and scent we wanted.

What inspires your individual products?
To complement different skin types. To work with the skin and calm allergies where possible. To be ethical wherever possible. To nourish, revitalise and soothe the skin and soul with aromatherapy scents blended by French perfumer know-how.

What makes you different to other products on the market and as a company?
Natura Organics is organic, ethical and pure.

We aim to make products that are affordable and use the very latest technologies and ingredients. For example, our unique sugar & plant based surfactant gives a cleansing, foaming action to our products. The majority of brands use a 30 year old coconut based surfactant technique. The sugar and plant based surfactant is newer, milder and more ecological. It is also more efficient and you therefore use less product. The amount of people who tell us how little shampoo they need is so pleasing!

Who do you think is the Natura Organics customer?
People who use conventional products and are just getting to know natural products but unfortunately have been put-off with the general look or quality of organic products until they see Natura Organics... We also appeal to ethical consumers who want to play their part. We were one of the first beauty brands to be audited by the ethical company organisation and carry the ‘Good Shopping Guide – ethical company’ logo as well as being in the guide itself – a fascinating book that covers everything from vacuum cleaners to bottled water!

How do you think organic beauty ranges compare to old classics and are they a threat to the established brands?
This new booming niche market is certainly not a threat to the conventional. They are here to stay and we are here to grow. A good example is L’Oreal buying Florame. This is a 30 year-old French company who has been distilling essential oils and developing products have now been bought out. L’Oreal aims to grow even faster with this brand will learn from 30 years of natural and organic cosmetics.

The most interesting thing for me was the point about marketing. While the conventional market is running around trying to associate itself with 'natural' and 'organic' Natura Organics is trying to market itself as per a conventional product!

So what do you think? Do you actively look for organic, ethical products with natural ingredients? I'm going to be testing a few over the next few weeks and will let you know what I find but I will say now that Jerome is right, the majority of natural/organic beauty product looks awful! Not exactly what a beauty junky wants on her bathroom shelf, no matter how green it makes her...

Monday, 26 February 2007

What's in the Bag Della Pike?

Today's what's in the bag beautista is self-confessed make up junkie, Della Pike. Seriously, I'm a little overawed and possibly, a little bit in girl-crush love. I want this make up bag...

What's your signature make-up product and how does using it affect your mood?
Most definitely Mascara (and probably a bit of eyeliner) - without it I am just not awake!

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?Benefit Bad Gal Lash - how else can I flutter my eyelashes unless they are big, bad and beautiful!

Out of every product you've ever had, current or sob, discontinued, what would be your favourite beauty product ever?
The one I am the most grateful too is probably Benefit Brow Zing - it's true what they say, fuller eyebrows that shape your face are more flattering and make you look younger. And if you are like me and spent your early teenage years plucking every hair possible (didn't mean that to sound quite as wrong as it did), you will need all the help you can get! Brow Zing is great because it lasts all day, and it really does leave them looking natural, rather than my previous body-shop pencilled-in numbers.

So the bag…
Well, you see, its not so much that I don't have a bag, it's that I don't have one bag. I have four. All of which are Benefit of various shapes and sizes all all contain beautiful, beautiful things... Now I have to say I am a MASSIVE make-up snob and on many occasions throughout University went without food for the sake of a beautiful make up product - the only thing high street in my make up bag is Rimmel Hide the Blemish concealer. I have never found a concealer that works as well - it's like a mini miracle worker and practically free!

Foundation: MAC Fond de Teint - Now I really struggle with foundation - I have never EVER found a foundation that I love - this is OK, Clinique is OK, Bobbi Brown is good but a bit runny, Benefits colouring is just all wrong for me (sigh). Suffice to say but none of these have won my heart. I am still searching for the perfect 'match'... any ideas welcome.

Concealer: Rimmel Hide the Blemish

Under-Eye Concealer: Touch Eclat - biggest tip I can give you - £13!

I'm not a blusher girl, more of a bronzer (although Benefit Dandelion does have a place in my make-up bag for those winter-white cheeks!) Benefit Hoola, Dallas and Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick - All have their different uses and all are fab!

Eyeshadow: MAC make the most amazing eye shadows in so many fabulous colours - I can't even begin to pick one! Although for everyday neutral shades, have recently fallen in love with my new Bobbi Brown Nude on Nude eyeshadow palette.

Eye lash Curlers: None - I realise that is bad but the do-it-yourself clamping ones scare the bejesus out of me and my heated ones ran out of battery (about 10 months ago!) hmmmm...

Eyeliners: Well on my previous visit to the US of A where make up is plentiful and half the price of that of the UK I found what is now my favourite eyeliner ever. Let me introduce you to Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner - It is AMAZING. It comes in a pack of two colours - Black and Sepia (brown) and Catherine, as much as I love the bad gal, this puts its attempt at smoky eyes to shame - I love it and it lasts forever! Although be warned, the panda eyes in the morning are not a good look!

Lips: I can't wear lipstick - be it nude, brown, pink or red. Just the slightest bit of colour leaves me looking like Pete Burns post-op (yet no-one thought to tell me this during my coffee-shimmer filled teenage years!) So instead I go for the gloss. Have to say that Clinique air kiss is probably my all time favourite - subtle but enough to look like I have made an effort and the beauty blogger recently brought me MAC's Viva Glam V which I adore. As she said, if it's good enough for Dita Von Teese, it's good enough for me! However, on a 'natural day' (that is when I apply a fair old amount of make up to make it look like I am wearing none), Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is perfect - a bit thick at times but a quick swipe across the lips and eyelids (trust me) and am ready to go!

Perfume: Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, Chacharel Amor Amor and Philosophy Pure Grace - Beautiful!

For one of my Christmas presents I got the complete collection of make up brushes from The Body Shop - While Bobbi Brown and MAC will charge you ridiculous amounts of money for an applicator that, while looks beautiful, doesn't have any magical powers that turn you in to fully fledged make up artist, The Body Shop set is very very good, no stray brush hairs, easy to clean and the receipt will not make your bank manager shout at you.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Cheap Thrills

I have a confession to make.
Yes, another one...

I have only had two professional manicures my whole life.
The first one because I was going to this big event with work and I knew I would have meetings with uber groomed Americanos and the second because, well, I was going on holiday to New York with the super groomed Americanos... Can we see a pattern, kids? I loved getting my manicures, they made me feel like a proper grown up lady but hey, I'm just not.

There are any numbers of reasons why this is. I'm clumsy, I chip polish, I'm too lazy to take it off properly... Since I'm so awful at looking after my nails (they're clean and not bitten, okay?) I don't see a lot of point in spending a lot on nail polish. Correct me if I'm wrong but it's just not an investment purchase to me. The last three I bought were Barry M, 17 and Rimmel. And I was happy with them all. I have used Nails Inc which was three times as expensive and achieved no better results so I'm not exactly reaching for the Chanel Rouge Noir right now.

But there is something about buying nail polish that is akin to buying pick and mix. They're cheap, they're shiny, they come in dozens of colours and they're a really easy way to pick up a trend. As much as I'm not one for manicures, I do love painting my tootsies in summer and for the three days that it lasted, my black manicure for NYC last winter looked super chic.

See what I did there? NYC/NYC? I'm so meta...

If you're after something that won't break the bank, NYC have a great range of nail polishes if you like classic colours, called Glossies and you can pick them up in Superdrug for a complete song. I like the Rimmel colours too if you're after a fashion forward look. 17 is great at picking up trends really quickly but the quality isn't so good. Barry M colours are always fun but only if you're prepared to invest time in a couple of coats.

Which as we've established, I'm not. Off to the loo to try try out a new clear varnish... I laddered my tights on the way on this morning.
A lady I am not.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Mac Daddy, Daddy M.A.C.

I love funny movies. I love scary movies. Romantic movies? Meh, not so much.
But when it comes to my make up, my two very least favourite genres are comedy and horror. Tragically, I recently endured both...

I was mosying around Selfridges pre-fabulouso hair make over on Tuesday when the lovely lady on the Benefit counter asked if I would like to try out some products. Clearly they do not know who I am and were very happy when I said yes. I always feel awful doing this on the Benefit counter because I know I'm not going to buy anything - I have everything already! And watching their little faces fall as I count off what I'm already using, tch, a heartbreaker.

But this one was different. She was not going to be deterred by a simple unchangeable fact like, oh I don't know, my skintone. Oh no, she was determined she was going to sell me something. Now, I admire this determination in a woman but not in a salesperson. If I want it, I'll buy it. If I don't, I won't. I will not be bullied. Within five minutes, this woman had slathered my face in You Rebel tinted moisturiser, Benetint to the cheeks and lips and Highbeam all over my face.
"Now you look healthy!" she crooned, passing me the mirror.
That's the comedy part.

Then I looked in the mirror.
And that's where it turns into a horror movie. Step aside Freddy, Jason and Leatherface, Orange Momma is here to take your crown.
I looked like Judith Chalmers.

But still, epitome of politeness that I am, I thanked her for her services, stepped down from her stool and declined her offer to take me to the till. Instead, I made a face-down bee-line straight for the M.A.C. counter and by God, am I glad.

The look on Tori, the make up artist's face, confirmed what the Benefit girl had assured me was 'just bad lighting' was actually a car crash of a makeover and immediately grabbed for her cleansing wipes. Forty minutes later, I was cleansed, moisturised, made up and walking away (running for my bus actually) with a list of all the products she had used to correct my fright mask. I also found out that after 26 years of having combination skin, I was now erring towards dry and that although I'm the palest girl in the world, my skintone is actually warm, which is why it is so damn hard for me to find foundation. But find foundation I did. And blusher. And bronzer. And concealer.

I went with Studiofix Fluid if you're interested...

The best part was that there was no hard sell. Just genuinely useful advice. Tori even recommended I go and take a look at the foundation outside before I bought it. She gave me a quick lesson in applying my blusher, she gave me killer cheekbones and most importantly, she made me smile.

And that's how I managed to turn Friday the 13th into Love Story in a hop, skip and a jump across the beauty hall.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

A Tail of Two Scissors

Once upon a time, I had a hairdresser and I loved him.

His name was Joel and not only was he wizard with the scissors, he was both beautiful and lovely. Visiting him in the salon was just like visiting my best friend, my hot man crush and the beautification fairy all in one. Sigh. But then one day, Joel decided to down scissors and become a picture framer. No, really. I tried my best to nurse my broken heart. I rebounded through Kit, Ivana, Elyse, Kaci and a nameless man across the road from work but to no avail. I was devastated and my hair, my hair was just sad.

That is until today.
Ladies, I am here to tell you that true love can strike twice in one lifetime. Today I sit here blogging not with a tragic shaggy mop/bob/bag of crap on my head. Today I sit here with the world's best haircut. Today I sit here smiling.

Now if we could just skip back in time...
Yesterday, I took another leap into the beyond and entrusted my mane to a new salon, a new man and a new look. I hit the very sexy Lee Stafford salon on Wardour Street, London at 4.00pm and at 5.30pm, I left transformed. Whatever style we all sport on a daily basis, I firmly believe every woman has a secret hair idol - Rachel from Friends, Nicole Kidman, ahem, Willow from Buffy, specifically season 4... I digress. The hidden hipster in me has always lusted after a Debbie Harry bob. I've tried cut after cut but it always ends up as librarian hair, even when I bleached it platinum blonde. But not this time.

That's Lee in the picture btw, I've not got something radical to tell you about my gender...

After a quick introduction and consultation with the lovely, lovely Johnny, I was shampooed and safely sat down in the coolio a-go go retro style chair, drinking tea out of a Catwoman teapot. I do so love attention to detail. Johnny, miracle worked that he is, managed to translate my random wafflings about choppy bobs, Debbie Harry fantasies and bleach damage, into the World's Most Wonderful Haircut (TM). There was a lot of cutting involved, some mousse, even scrunch drying (with a diffuser and everything - I always thought it was a hairdressing myth!) and eventually a lot of flicking and fluffing but as Johnny pulled out the mirror, he uttered those three little words I'd been waiting to hear for so long...

"Heart of Glass!"

And it might not have been platinum blonde but damn it, even Debbie herself would have to say, I looked pretty bloody good. At this point, I came over a bit irrational and started kissing people but I can honestly say, I've never had such a good haircut from such a good hairdresser. It felt like everyone in the salon was there to make my day that little bit nicer, Johnny listened to absolutely everything I had to say and managed to transform my very vague comments into my dream do. And the salon is only a five minute walk from TopShop.
Where is the bad here. people?

Tragically, I can't post a picture as I swanked my do all the way down Oxford Street to The Long Blondes gig and flicked it around at the hipsters so many times that it's looking a little limp this morning. But still beautiful. So, so beautiful.

Which leave me with just have one thing to say.
In the immortal words of Miss Rachel Green:

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

What's in the Bag Catherine Chapman?

Roll up, roll up, time for another peek into the make up bag of a product junkie!
Catherine Chapman is today's gorgeous guinea pig, let's see what things of wonder she's got for us to nosy at....

What's your signature make-up product and how does using it affect your mood? Whenever I go out I use a teeth whitener called Party Sparkle by Pearl Drops first. It makes my teeth look whiter straight away which is perfect if, like me, you have no patience but have a penchant for red wine!

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?
Easy, mascara. I'm lucky because I have long eye lashes but they are very blonde so I look freaky without mascara. I'd love to have my eye lashes tinted but haven't so far - can you recommend anywhere that isn't expensive?

Of every product you've ever had, current or sob, discontinued, what would be your favourite beauty product ever?
Favourite ever? This is hard!! I would say the humble eye liner (preferably Dior) - it makes a big difference to eyes if used in the right way. Daily I use dark brown but i love the Urban Defects glittery eye liners for nights out.

Foundation: Clinique
Lip gloss: Jemma Kidd
Mascara: Rimmel Magnifeyes Mascara
Eye Liner: Dior
Powder: Elizabeth Arden
Benefit: Lip tint
Pearl Drops Party Sparkle tooth polish

It's so much healthier and more satisfying than looking in David Hasselhoff's drinks cabinet...
We have the best addiction.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Cheap Thrills

Don't you just LOVE it when a plan comes together?

I received my Smashbox lip gloss set from Ebay this morning. I frickin LOVE Ebay but it really shouldn't come under cheap thrills for me... I've spent a goddamn fortune on that website. But i digress. Lovely little lipglosses, a wee pink patent case with to carry three of them around and a teensy mirror for perfect application. What's not to love?
I even took a picture for you...

Another cheapie I've been enoying this week is Rimmel's Magnif'eyes Mascara. I'm not if it was the pun on the name or the fact that it was on offer in Boots when I went in for Shapers bars (it's February, I'm still pretending to diet my Christmas weight off, okay?) but I do know it wasn't the Kate Moss ads. That woman, red eyeliner or no, really winds me up. Grrr.

But it is an okay mascara. It seems to be lasting the day, it's super black and as long as you don't overload the brush, it's pretty good coverage. I do look like I have more lashes but they don't look soft and fluttery, just really black and really there, if you know what I mean?

You don't? Well, I have only had a diet Pepsi so far today so give me ten more minutes to wake up...

Thursday, 15 February 2007

New York, New York, it's a hell of a town...

In two weeks and one day, I will be merrily sailing through the skies on a big white plane, squished into my dirt cheap economy seat on my way to my favourite place in the entire world, Noo Yoik! The odds are, four hours in, I'll be watching a bad film, my face smothered in moisturiser and my tootsies warm in my Hello Kitty travel socks but one of my favourite things to do on the way to the US is to pick up all the glossies on the way out and plan my credit card bashing (on the way back, I buy all the trashy tabloids and get the latest on the Jessica Simpson/John Mayer are they-aren't they? debate. Who cares? We don't know who he is!)

But don't think I haven't been doing my prep. Here are some of the thing's I've been lusting after online...

Smashbox O-Glow
I'm a sucker for techie products, I should tell you that now. I was all over that No.7 Perfect Match foundation that 'claimed' it could match your skintone. That was a pooh claim. Now this, I believe to be entirely different. Mainly because I want to believe it.
Sephora says...

'When applied, the skin's moisture activates the energizing Goji Berry-C Complex™. It creates a microcirculatory effect, producing a rosy flush that lasts all day. Completely natural looking, waterproof, preservative and fragrance-free formula glides on smoothly for a healthy, glowing blush that's you, only prettier.'

Who doesn't want to look prettier?? I'm such a mug but I will absolutely be buying this baby.

Stila Celebration of Colour
I love Stila but I do sting handing over my hard earned pounds and pence when I know our US Beautista sisters are handing over far fewer dollars and cents but with this baby, I get the best of both worlds. The Celebration of Colour set is retailing at $160 with a $280 value and includes... (deep breath) 6-pan Refillable Palette containing four .35 oz eye shadows in Starlight (shimmering champagne), Shell (shimmering dusty rose), Latte (shimmering soft taupe) and Belgique (rich matte chocolate), two .18 oz cheek colors in Tutu (dusty rose) and Rose (fresh pink), a .28 oz Stila Sun in Shade 1 (sheer golden matte bronze), three Lip Glazes in Apricot (melon nectarine), Brown Sugar (shimmering golden nude) and Grapefruit (frosted pink), three .17 oz IT Glosses in Sweet (rose shimmer), Enticing (light pink shimmer), and Inviting (peach shimmer), .04 oz Kajal Eye liner in Tiger's Eye (deep brown), .14 oz Smudge Pot in Black, two .04 oz Lip Pencils in Contour No. 1 (rosy-nude) and No. 9 (peachy-nude), .28 oz Fiber Optics Mascara in Black, and a #28 smudge and line brush.

Phew. If you use these products (and I do) this is absolutely worth it but before I commit, I'm going to check out the Marc Jacobs bit of Century 21, 'kay? I'll definitely be stocking up on Lip Rouges and Glaze Sticks so Stila can breathe easy - you're still getting my (overdraft's) cash!

The other things I'm looking forward to picking up are Mac foundation as recommended by Miss Amy Noble, Bliss Oxygen Face Mask (practically half price in the US) and maybe some Nars eye colours. I'm also due to stock up on Origins moisturisers but I'm a bit worried about them not having an SPF... I hate to be a beauty whore but I might have to pimp myself around Bloomies a few times till I find the right thing for me.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Valentine, Schmalentine

I will happily accept that having a boyfriend excludes me from bitching and moaning about Valentine's day, but really, it's just getting more tragic by the year. Did you read that the average Londonder would spend around £83 per person this year?
Who's spending the extra £75 I haven't spent?? Could I meet him for dinner??

Alas, alack, with a song in my heart and bags under my eyes, I thought it would be nice to share with you some of my favourite products for a date - be it a hot and heavy new relationship or a 'we've been together forever' steak dinner at home with Ugly Betty in the background.

Who wouldn't be won over by their boyfriend sending you a Ben and Jerry's e-card with the message 'you bring the meat and I'll bring the moo'? I'm a lucky girl.

Your Toilette
Hopefully you will get a chance for a long luxurious bath which your lover will have thoughtfully run and filled with asses milk and rose petals. If not, it's Sure wipes in the ladies' loos and a spritz of whatever fragrance gets you going. I love Angel Innocent and Coco Madamoiselle for the daytime but at night, I'm going more for Euphoria at the moment. I'm fickle.

The most important thing to mentally get me prepared for a special occasion (aside from waxing/shaving/general body hair removal) is using a gorgeous body lotion. I've got a few on the go at the moment but since it's Valentine's, I'll probably match to my perfume. Get me, classy bird.

Make Up

It's always tempting to go a bit crazy with your make up when you want to make a good impression but remember candle light intensifies your look so a soft smoky eye might look subtle under the fluorescent tube of your work toilets but you're going to look like Uncle Fester in the romantic low lighting of Luigi's. If you must go eyes, use a light sparkly grey and a subtle or liquid liner (the coloursport Amy recommended yesterday is good for this and it stays on 24 hours). Keep it neat and don't go panda-crazy. Time and a place ladies. Also, your eye make up might be facing a bit of a work out later on so use waterproof mascara just in case. And COMB THROUGH! No clumps for your close up.

For lips, they just need to be kissable. If you're eating, a strong colour is going to come right off and ruin your look. If you're not even bothering with the food, lipstick on his collar only works in the movies. In real life, you're the one stuck with the cleaning bill. Another no no (and it pains me to say it) is gloss. I love gloss. I ALWAYS wear gloss. But following a quick straw poll, boys, they no like the gloss. It's sticky, it tastes weird and it doesn't look good on them. Stick to a tinted balm or a stain. It's for your own good.

Cheeks need a gentle flush, BeneTint is always a natural winner, use the Daniel Sandler Watercolour if you're on the move. Keep powder light, you don't want to look chalky (even better, use Dr Feelgood) and add a dot of BeneFit Highbeam to your cheekbones and browbones to keep things pretty.

And ta-da, you're done!

Anyone that needs advice on the walk of shame kit, I understand a toothbrush, one of those tiny Nivea deodorants and a spare pair of pants work a treat. Failing that, a BeneFit Georgia or Dandelion palette has enough to get you to Boots so you can top up properly. Say after me, 'Why yes missus Clinique counter lady, I'd love to try all of your new products...'

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

What's in the Bag Amy Noble?

This is fast becoming my favourite part of the blog!
Who doesn't love sanctioned nosiness?

This week's bag has been graciously provided by Amy Noble, former make up artist and PR queen. Pull in the love, push out the envy...

What's your signature make-up product and how does using it affect your mood?
It would definitely have to be lip liner and gloss. Without it I feel drab and like a librarian - as soon as I get a power pout then I feel vampish again.

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?
Gloss, gloss and more gloss so definitely the Trilogy Intensive Lip Treatment!!

Of every product you've ever had, current or sob, discontinued, what would be your favourite beauty product ever?
I think as a staple must have, cant live without product it would have to be the Mac Full Coverage Foundation in NC30

So, onto the bag...
I am a total MAC fiend and find that it makes up a large percentage of my make up bag!!

I am not a make up snob so I do have a couple of high street brands in my make up bag too, as colorsport 24 hour eye liner in black and brown is amazing for extra staying power as well as the absolute must have Colorsport eyebrow grooming kit.

I believe, that as an ex TV and Film Make Up Designer, that you have to pay out for fabulous bases, mascaras and high pigment shadows, but you can get away with cheaper powder! I have a Rimmel Stay Matte translucent powder and a MAC Bronzer in Bronze.

I use the MAC full coverage foundation as it is brilliant when having a bad skin day and can also double up as a concealer. I also love the Dr Harnik under eye concealer, which is a duo cube with two colours for extra subtle coverage.

Lips are a bit of a thing for me as am always trying to make my pout . . . poutier, so I swear by Rimmel lip liner in Black Tulip a little dab of powder over the top to tone down the colour and then a slick of Trilogy Intensive Lip Treatment which contains Organic Rosehip Oil. It is an amazing moisturizer and doubles up as a gloss – it is very similar to Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream but without the vile taste and smell!

Jelly Pong Pong do a wonderful little product called Supermodel Stain in Nymphette, it is a fantastic cheek colour!! It doesn’t matter how tired you are, it will always give you the perfect rosy cheeked look, it also doubles up as a lip colour!!

Delicious Beauty with honey and almond handluscious hand cream is also a must have - I have just grow my nails and want to keep my hands in tip top condition

Organic Surge Lets Face It facial spritz which is perfect for applying throughout the day to soothe your skin, it is also fab for setting your make up directly after application, so your make up doesn’t end up by your knees!!

I also always carry the Lee Stafford R U Taking Protection from partying and smokey nights out spritz which banishes those horrible smells that can gather in your hair throughout the day!!

I am trying to banish my jealousy by accepting this as sound advice... And you know what, it helps! Those Coloursport liners are brilliant!

Friday, 9 February 2007

Parallel Lines

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I am a fan of smoky eyes and as such, eyeliner.
I like it on girls...

and sometimes, I like it on boys...

Mostly, I like it on me (no pic I'm afraid).

I have travelled far and wide in the search for the perfect liner and come up with a few I can more or less trust to still be there at the end of big night, approximately in the eye area. Here are my top picks.

Stile Smudge Pots - Black
If you're not totally won over by the heavy glass jar packaging (like me) you'll just love the dense, creamy gel formula that sweeps right on and once set, doesn't budge. I find the BeneFit eyeliner brush the best for this but you can just smudge it right on with your finger if you wanted a real punk rock look. Plus the deep jewel colours are gorgeous.

Smashbox Cream Eyeliner - Caviar
I have to say, this is really similar to Stila product but with smaller, rubbery packaging and a slightly creamier texture. I got this in a set and I love it. Possibly even more than the Stila but by virtue of how hard Smashbox can be to get hold of, Stila wins out. If you buy it from QVC you get the excellent liner brush in the set and there are always Smashbox goodies to be had on Ebay.

Bad Gal
The classic and the best pencil as far as I'm concerned. Yes, it's much smudgier than the gel/cream formulas but that's the point. Layer it on, rub it in and smoke away. Plus there's something about Bad Gal that makes you feel naughty just using it. Panda eyes have never looked so sexy.

Stila Convertible Eye Colour - Slate
This is my usual daytime option. It's a handy-dandy pencil and powder in one and the soft grey is incredibly wearable. The powder tends to try and escape in public so be careful with the application and ALWAYS wind the eyeliner back down or it will get smushed in the cap but really, it's fab and perfect for day-to-night looks.

My next product to try will be the Clinique cream eyeliner a) because it's another pretty glass jar and b) I just really want it.

For some reason, the internet has a downer on black/grey eye make-up products today so you get to enjoy the browny versions of the smudge pot, the Smashbox cream and the Stila convertible colour here which I'm sure are equally nice...

Thursday, 8 February 2007

And relax...

I should warn you now, I'm in a foul mood.
The snow drift that deposited itself outside my house this morning not only left me cold, red and on my arse in front of a bin lorry and several bin men (it was not hilarious and neither are they), it also meant that I was two hours late to my desk which seriously cuts into my blogging time.

But to cheer myself up I might have accidentally bought this from ebay...

We shouldn't reward ourselves with material things, I know, I know but it was this or a sack load of Mini Eggs and that would have been worse.

I discovered Smashbox on QVC and, ahem, America's Next Top Model, but never bought, despite the prettiness and the lovely, convincing man who stares into your eyes and tried to tempt you. However, in the States, you can buy all the Smashbox your heart could desire from Sephora. Wonderful, wonderful Sephora. I bought one of their seasonal box sets and already am in love with the primer and the cream eyeliner, I'd even go so far as to say I prefer it to Stila's smudge pot. The formulas are amazing and, although the packaging looks really basic at first, it's actually this slightly kicky touch-me-touch-me soft rubbery plastic. Grrrr.

Most of the colours I got in the kit are too warm for me but I absolutely adore the textures so I'm going back in for more! And do I love a mini version of a product or what? If you live in London, keep an eye out for one or more of these babies to be kicking around on a District line train near you soon... Love 'em but can't keep hold of 'em.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

It's Girl Porn, that's what it is...

Now I don't know how often you...
a) mosey on into Space NK for a quick 'I won't buy anything, it's just research' peepo
b) think, wow, I wish my eyes looked all smoky and sexy like the girls on the runways of New York fashion show this week.

Whether you have fallen foul of either of these vices or not, I found myself in Space NK in Brighton at the weekend. With PMT. And my credit card. Luckily, I also had my boy-shaped credit card limit with me...

Here are some of the GORGEOUS things I'll be purchasing when he's not looking...

Night Clubbing single shadow
This is a delicious blackest black with gold pearl shimmer. I'm not normally a gold shimmer kind of a girl but this was amazing. For the classicists among you, go for Nightbreed that has a silver shimmer instead. I tapped my finger on the top of the shadow and looked like I'm been down a coal mine for a month. In the best possible way.

Misfit/Rated R Duo Shadows
Now I'll admit to anyone that I love a shot of colour to the eyes. Recently, I've been wearing a more neutral look but find me in the right mood and I'm the girl on the tube rocking the solid turquoise eyeshadow and big black lashes. Or sometimes it's royal blue. Or occasionally purple. Just be assured that with a neutral face that's powdered to velvetty perfection (or as near as you can get!) block coloured eyes don't have to be 80s. Nars have an amazing selection of colours, all highly pigmented and crease-proof. I want... I want...

The Multiple
Something else I've learned from my many years of trial and beauty error, is that something is a classic for a reason. Nars The Multiple (my fave is sheer pink Riviera) is a wonder. It's cheek colour, it's lip colour, it's a highlighter and man alive it looks sexy.

Orgasm Blush
See above points and roll into one. Classic, high pigment, delicious healthy flush and who wouldn't want to keep an orgasm in their handbag? Deep Throat made me blush though. Cosmetics not for kiddies...

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

An Apology...

Dear Cheryl,

I am very sorry that Beauty Mecca is costing you precious pennies.
I am very sorry that is making you go over your allotted lunch hour in search of beautiful, beautiful things.

I am however, not so sorry that you sent me this fab website below:

"It’s . I’ve used this site many a time & never had any problems with them. You can get genuine YSL for £13.95 & P&P is pretty cheap too. I always buy two at a time. You can also get perfumes, great skincare stuff e.g. Clarins/Clinique/Estee Lauder & Tigi/Catwalk products on the cheap."

See what happens when we all work together?

So happy to find new beauty websites, so happy to find somewhere that sells cheap Bedhead After-Party (my cure all hair product) and so happy that someone is enjoying Beauty Mecca!


Beauty Lover

p.s. let me know how you get on with the Smashbox Primer and the Origins starter set.

Monday, 5 February 2007

What's in the Bag Catherine Ellis?

In the grand tradition of, well, last week, today we're delving back into another beautista's make up bag and having a good old nosy around. Catherine Ellis is a designer and makes beautiful things on a daily basis - is it any wonder that she is such a cracker herself?

Here are her top picks...

What's your signature make-up product and how does using it affect your mood?
Benefit Bad Gal Eye Pencil. A good splodge of this makes me feel like I can take on the world!

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?
Probably Bad Gal. Then I can stare him out with my panda-ringed eyes until he falls, helpless with desire, to my feet.

Out of every product you've ever had, current or sob, discontinued, what would be your favourite beauty product ever?
There are so many lovely things in the world, but I’m going to pick a very unassuming one, Liz Collinge Eye Colour in Sand. This is an idiot-proof shimmering eyeshadow that can enliven even the weariest of peepers. Soft and easy to blend, but Liz Collinge make up has ceased to exist , so I will have to find a replacement product soon... Sob!

So the bag…
I don’t actually have a bag, I have a tin from 100drine ( and it’s one of my favourite things.

Foundation: L’Oreal True Match in ‘C1 Rose Ivory’. I, like Mrs BeautyMecca, am ridiculously pale but can get away with this shade. This covers most sins and can be layered on for denser coverage.

Concealer: Rimmel Hide the Blemish in ‘001 Ivory’. A true classic and justifiably so.

Under-Eye Concealer: Boots No 7 Instant Radiance Concealer. We all know it’s Touche Eclait. Just a lot cheaper.

Blusher: Ruby and Millie Face Gloss in ‘Wine 50’. Looks terrifyingly dark in the tube but delivers a pop of sheer, ‘just been for a walk in the country’, colour. Lasts forever, too.

Eyeshadow: Apart from my allegiance to the Liz Collinge shadow, I love love love Urban Decay eye shadows. The colours are amazing, the pigment is SO dense and the names are fabulous. They are a little more expensive than the average shadow but, by golly, they’re worth it. Current favourites are ‘Lust’ (a mesmeric purple) and Mildew (a sludge green that has a hint of metallic). And just when I thought they couldn’t improve on perfection, they brought out the ‘Deluxe’ eyeshadows. These have great packaging, with their own little mirrors, and the colours are divine. ‘Adore’, a rich royal blue, gives you eyes to be noticed.

Eye lash Curlers: Just bog standard Boots, though I covet a pair of Shu Uemura curlers. My eyelashes are so straight and short, a curler is a must!

Eyeliners: As you might have guessed, I love a bit of eyeliner. Firstly, there’s Bad Gal, the eyeliner of choice for a rock-goddess-look. Prestige (I think this is a Boots brand only) do a really good eyeliner; self-sharpening and a good solid colour. Honourable mention must also go to FCUK eye crayons. I particularly like ‘05 Piercing’, an electric blue. If you want a good winged 50s-style line, Rimmel Liquid Liner in Black is the only way to go.

Lips: I am not good with lips. I lick gloss off (when I’m not pulling my hair out of it on windy days) and forget to re-apply lipstick. However, I seem to have reached a compromise with Boots No 7 Matte Velvet Lip Colour. I apply it in the shade ‘20 Luxe’ with my fingers, for just-bitten lips that look pretty and natural, and last for hours. Otherwise, a slick of Blisteze Relief Cream will keep your lips kissably soft.

Perfume: I seem to smell best in perfumes that are musky and dirty. Hence my perfume collection of Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood ‘Boudoir’ and Chanel ‘Allure’.

So much inspiration, so little room on my credit card... I have to say, I tried the No 7 Matte Velvet Lip Colour and it does indeedy create a whole 1940s starlet type look, all on it's own. Love it.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Ready, Set, Go!

This morning, I was running late. This is not unusual for me, I am a very lazy person and would much rather take an extra ten minute in bed and rush around like a maniac than get up at a reasonable time and swan around the flat.

However, today I have a meeting with some clients at a swanky London restaurant (I'm not paying) and it was sort of important that I didn't look like I'd been dragged through a hedge backwards.

What do you do when you have fifteen minutes to make yourself presentable? Well, I can't really pass this off as good advice, but this is how I bodged it...

Always shower, even if it's a choice between eating, make up or showering - people won't know if you're hungry and you can always take the make up on the go route described below but they will notice if you pong. Fact. Scented shower gel will just make you feel better about everything. I love Angel Innocent when I need some inspiration to get me going in the morning.

Dry Shampoo
This is sort of unfair because it only really works on blondes and light brown hair unless you shell out for the pricey Bumble&Bumble hair powder option. Go to Boots, do it now, I'll wait, and get some Batiste Dry Shampoo or the lovely Lee Stafford version (it's pinker and prettier). Goodbye bad hair days, hello twenty minute lie-ins...

Make Up
Now, you don't want to make a mess and overdo it which is all too easy when you're in a rush. Just pare it down to what you really need - foundation or better yet, tinted moisturiser (the less pigment, the less likely you are to make a balls up), blusher, applied with a light hand, lipbalm and mascara. Now you should be good to leave the house without scaring the postman. The rest of your make up can be applied on the train, in the cab or outside/in the toilets of wherever you're going when you get there.

As a veteran five year commuter, I have vast experience of what make up can and can't be applied on public transport:

Lip Colour:
I would go with a sheer gloss or something very easy to apply unless you're a pro - Stila lipglazes and lipglaze sticks are perfect. Anything that means you have to fanny about with a wand or could stain is asking for trouble.

Eye Colour:
Not the time to be trying Audrey Hepburn liquid liner... I once saw a girl practically blind herself with a liquid liner wand on a train. It wasn't pretty before, during and especially after. Go for neutral cream colours in easy to hold, easy to apply formulas. Benefit's eyeshadows have flip top lids so you're not going to drop the lid and lose it! Be very very careful if you need to top up your mascara and carry wipes in case of disasters.

Cheek Colour:
Same as the eyes and lips, best not to be applying from fiddly packaging and avoid anything that could spill or stain. Bourjois blush has a flip top lid and a hand little mirror. Fab. If you want to go cream, Nars has beautiful multipurpose sticks that I would die for, as do Pout. A world of options ladies.

Not a problem, every lady carries a compact doesn't she? Just don't do what I've done a thousand times and be swayed by the pretty packaging over the actual function. Try before you buy, always.

Perfume: Nothing makes me feel finished like a spritz of lovely perfume and it's a great pick me up during the day or just before you leave. When I've had a shitty office day or I have a big meeting (like today!) I'll always squirt just before I go. It cheers me up and I hope it makes the other person realise I've made an effort.

Even if my dress really could have used ironing... Hey, they can't have it all!

Thursday, 1 February 2007


When you were 14, did you ever go to Boots with your friends and spend as much time contemplating lipbalms as you would now spend contemplating boyfriends/mortgages/shoes*

For me, it was such a major thing. Not quite lipstick but very grown up and the essential handbag and pocket essential. I remember buying the Natural Collection Sugar Plum and Red Currant lipbalms and feeling so grown up - they had colour and everything!

These days, my lipbalm collection is as varied as they come. I have to know I have a tube handy at all times, in fact, in front of me right now is a tin of Rosebud Salve, an Espa Botantical Lipbalm and in my pocket, let's see, Carmex stick and BeneFit Lipscription. My most coveted of lipbalms is the Creme de la Mer but it's £35 people! In today's Primarni world, I could buy the entire wardrobe for a West End Show for that!

But out of all the crap I tote around with me, is any of it really any good? Let's see.

Rosebud Salve
I've mentioned this baby before and whenever I'm in the US, I'll pick one up but I really wouldn't pay the UK prices for it - £6 in Urban Outfitters! It doesn't really delivery any more than good old vaseline but I have friends that swear by it as emergency nappy cream should the need arise. I do like a multitasker.
All that aside, it sure is purdy.

BeneFit Lipscription
The first extension of the Dr Feelgood brand from BeneFit includes a gorgeous, gorgeous lipbalm and lip scrub in cute little screw top tubes. Sure, they're beautiful to look at and really effective but they cost a BOMB. I received mine as a gift and as committed a BeneFit fiend as I am, I can't see me replacing them once they're gone - not at the rate I get through lipbalms anyway. They make a lovely gift though, if anyone's feeling generous???

I tend to get the stick version of this rather than the cult screw top pot. Again, it's something I'd pick up in the US where it's practically free (less than a dollar at least) and it's handy to have around if you want a really thick firm stick product. It's pretty matte so you can put lipstick straight over the top and you do get that reassuring tingle. Rumours of addiction are completely untrue according the website. But then they would say that...

Espa Botanical Lipbalm
Don't be fooled by the pretty packaging, delicious scent and lovely lube feeling on the lips. For £12, this delivers no long term softness and no protection against the elements. Boo, so pretty and yet utterly useless. It's the Jude Law of lipbalms.

Neutrogena Lipbalm

It's not flashy, it's not in anyway swanky and I think it's probably the cheapest lipbalm on this page but it is my favourite. Neutrogena lipbalm has a lovely matte finish, it glides on nicely without any real sort of scent and it lasts. When it's on, it's on and your lips know about it. Plus, you can put it on your boyfriend without him worrying for his masculinity. Perfecto.

*Just me that spends as much time worrying about my shoes as my mortgage? Oh, ok then.

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