Thursday, 30 August 2007

It's Bliss!

You know how I talked about getting my jollies last week?
That's jollies from sweet smelling products, filthy irregular reader.
Well guess what? Two of my favourite happy products are up in the first ever Bliss online sale!

The heavenly Lemon+Sage Scrub and Magnolia Petal Polish, plus it's delicious counterpart, Magnolia Moisture Mousse are included, at almost half price.

Get online now, the sale ends at 5.00pm Friday!

Splish splash, I was taking a bath...

I'm in a right old grump of a mood.
The weather is shat again, I swear I've put on a stone (how? how?) and I'm super poor.
But how to rectify this crappiness?

Welcome to the wonders of the bath.
Seriously though, is there anything better in the whole wide world?
I love my bath so much. The rest of the house can go to complete shit as long as I know I can pull back the white waffle shower curtain and fill up the tub. The best bit is, my bathroom window opens into the garden so I can have the window open and mock the cat. She is very confused by the bath. It is her idea of hell.

As an avid bath fan, I have hunted high and low for bath related goodness - bathroom candles, bath pillows, bath bombs, bubble baths, putty soap, bath pearls, bath oils, bath fizzers - seriously, I've tried them all. But at the moment, in this time of supreme grumpiness, I'm addicted to Floracologie Lie Back in Lavender bath soak.

You all know how I feel about lavender right? Warm and tingly? Yep, well, this really does the job. It's a gorgeous blend of lavender, dill, arimony, white chestnut, heather, vervain and oak, and as you slip into the bubbles, your brain just switches off. Delish. Plus all of Floracologie's products are free from mineral oils and synthetic fragrances, hurrah. And to make matters even better, there are matching body wash, body scrub and body cream products and if you're weird and don't like lavender, go crazy with Rose! The flower, not a person, btw.

To quote Floracologie directly: The blends of Bach Flower Remedies and Essential Oils have been carefully handcrafted and prescribed to benefit your mood and emotional outlook.

To quote me: Ahhhhhhhhhh, that is sooooooooo nice. Now can I still reach that bar of Galaxy without getting out of the bath?

Hmm, maybe that's where the extra stone came from.

Feel better at

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Hot Hot Heat

Have you ever had one of those conversations with your friends that sounds suspiciously like it was scripted by the good people behind the Picture Loans adverts?

Well, I was recently lucky enough to 'come into possesion' of some Lee Stafford straightening irons, and given my previous with Mr Stafford (I may or may not have intimated that we were having an affair. Mr Stafford's lawyers, stand down, tis all in my fevered imagination) I decided to pass them on to an objective tester.

The conversation that followed went more or less exactly like this.

J (the tester): You know those Lee Stafford straightening irons you gave me?
Beauty Lover (me): I do.
J: They're shitloads better than your GHDs.
BL: Yeah, course they are...
J: No really, they get hotter faster, you can vary the heat, they've got these floating plate thingies and you can do curls dead easy too. Oh, and they're a bit pink!
BL: (slightly huffily) My GHDs are pink.
J: Yeah, but these are a nice pink, not that Pepto Bismol baby sick pink you've got.
BL: Oh.
J: And they have a heat mat that you can wrap around them so I won't burn the carpet.
BL: Like I did?
J: Like you did. AND they turn themselves off if you leave them on... la la la la la la

At this point I tuned out because I couldn't quite cope with the idea that I had handed over the best freebie ever.
A heat mat!
A self-turn off function!
And they're HALF the price of GHDs - £48 and they're yours.

I'll see you down at Boots from September to snag a new set.
Damn it.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Reading Resurfaced

I have returned from the wilderness of Reading Festival safe in the knowledge that I will never return. It was okay really, just a little bit like living out an episode of Skins.

An episode of Skins in which you are the unpopular mum of the coolest kid in school, who thinks you're a complete loser because you watched Ash from the back of the tent sat in a folding chair whilst drinking tea and eating ginger nuts, thinking, 'did Ash play these exact songs in this exact tent at this exact time when I came here exactly six years ago? Blimey, I think they did!'

Aside from 'feeling my age', I also felt something else.
It's not a specific dirtiness, just an overwhelming skank that descends on the second day.
Luckily for me, I was armed with Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer. These amazing exfoliating finger puppets come in individual sachets (perfect for travelling) and contain lots of lovely skin sloughing ingredients like hydroxy acids, Japanese Unshiu Citrus Peel to even out skin tone and lovely green tea to soothe the resurfaced skin. Find out more and see stockists at

So grubby I may have felt, but grubby I was not. Plus, the individual sachets look enough like condom wrappers for you to litter them around your tent and gain the respect of the filthy teenagers that are at it like mucky rabbits all around you.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Secret to Happiness

When the weather is skank-tastic like today, you've got to find away to make yourself smile.
One of my favourite ways to get my chin up is to stay in bed and watch Buffy re-runs until I've blinded myself and then soothe the blindness with Ben&Jerry's Phish Food. Not always an option, okay.

If you really have to leave the house, I recommend layering up your favourite scents and surrounding yourself with joy all day long. For me, an ideal day would go a little bit like this...

Shower with Bliss Lemon and Sage Soapy Sap or Magnolia Petal Polish to remind me of happy times in NYC. The super cool W hotels stock the soapy sap in their bathrooms and I took the petal polish with me in June. Having said that, it does also remind me of the The Worse Hangover Known to Man as well. Might stick with the Lemon and Sage

Once out of the shower, I'd go for Oil of Olay. It always reminds me of my grandmother who swears by the stuff. Given, she never had Creme de la Mer but I love the smell of the classic beauty fluid so much.

For perfume, I'd spritz with Clinique Happy to remind me of my trip to Vegas with one of my best buds. So much fun.

To make it through the day, I'd keep Urban Decay lipgunks in Hot Pants and Big Bang close by. Hot Pants is a gorgeous shiny pink that tastes like sweeties and Big Bank is a glitter packed sheer fuchsia that reeks of cinnamon. Or actually, given the times it reminds me of, After Shock.

Since I'm in such a good mood, I'll clearly be going out for a drink, so I'll shower myself in a spray of YSL Babydoll Paris. I love fragrance and usually have three or four on the go but Babydoll was the first adult purchase (even it doesn't sound it) that I made myself and I have very happy memories of people asking me what it was and specifically one of my major crushes (turned out to be gay three years later, sob) loved it.

Ahh, and now it's bedtime, so I'm slathering on L'Occitane's lavender handcream. Mmm, lavender, my old lady secret shame that reminds me of a lovely trip to the Norfolk lavender farms when I was wee.

See, I'm clearly super cool. Lavender farms and Oil of Olay, rock on.

In order to redeem myself, I have to remind you I'm off to prostrate myself before the gods of rawk at Reading from tomorrow so there won't be any new posts until Tuesday. Try and get by without me or at least, don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Makebelieve it's Summer

You all know I'm not a big fan of fake tans but this summer has been SO TRAGIC, I'm now officially open to trying to convince myself I'm in California any way possible.
And so, I'm using again... I know, I've tried to stop but I just keep going back on the stuff.

According to the press release, makebelieve is a new-generation of self-tan, working with your own skin tone to give a natural streak-free colour.

Hmm, sounds good. But wait! There's more!

Not only does makebelieve deliver a great natural looking tan, but the range has a three-in-one, tanning, toning and moisturising action. The makebelieve patented Lipo Care Complex helps combat cellulite, and tones and firms the skin, whilst the unique Rainforest Blend of ultra-moisturising oils keep your skin silky soft.

Oooh! Rainforest! That sounds nice?

However, the most surprising thing about makebelieve is the smell – goodbye to the pong of burnt biscuits – makebelieve contains fruit extract, jojoba and coconut, and smells GREAT!

The most shocking thing of all is that this is ALL TRUE. I had a crack at the Self-Tan Lotion and it was genuinely lovely. Sean John, if you're listening at all, THIS is what a Pina Colada smells like. Mmmm. And it was really, really moisturising. After a good couple of hours, you do start to get a whiff of the chemicals as they kick in, but it's not too bad at all. Much nicer than most self-tan products.

And bugger me, if my legs weren't golden and streak-free in the morning... Yes, even mine. They don't look orange, they aren't weirdly gravy stained and they're pretty evenly coloured.

Wow, at last I've found a fake tan to believe in.

The makebelieve range includes:
Self Tan Lotion - £30
Airbrush Bronzer - £30
Gradual Self Tan - £25
Night Time Facial Self Tan - £25
Winter Glow Facial Self Tan & Barrier Cream - £25
Quick Fix Cleansing Wipes - £7

And is available at Boots, John Lewis, Fenwicks & Selfridges. For further information log onto

Monday, 20 August 2007

What's in the Bag Lydia Sideras?

Today's uber beautista is one well groomed lady.
Feeling like a disgusting slattern? Well, you should.

What's your signature make-up product and how does using it affect your mood?

My signature makeup product is La Prairie foundation called Creme Peche it makes me feel more confident with a more flawless face.

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?

Out of every product you've ever had, current or sob, discontinued, what would be your favourite beauty product ever?
My favourite beauty product ever was probably a Christian Dior lipstick which was discontinued!

And the bag...
Lancome Hypnose mascara in brown - it's lush. It makes my lashes long and thick without looking like spider legs.

Guerlain Divinora eye liner in Bleu nuit No2 - it's less harsh than black mascara and goes on easily without having to drag it on.

Revlon colour stay lip liner in Fig - I bought this in NY as I forgot my lip liner and I've used it ever since. It's a really nice colour and blends well with my lipstick.

Mac matt lipstick called Please me - the matt texture makes it stay on well and I love the shade!
Touche Eclait YSL- it's light refection qualities make me look less sleep deprived.

Clinique concealer in light 02 - it's quite thick so it covers my blemishes.

La Prairie foundation in creme peche- it's got amazing coverage without looking like you've caked it on but it's uber expensive about £90 - thankfully I get samples off my sister in law.

White eyeliner by Max Factor- white eyeliner is really under used by most girls. It really brings out your eye colour and makes your eyes look brighter and healthier.

Chanel lipgloss number 25 Volage- it gives you the glam factor in an instant.

Clinique blusher - don't know the name as it's rubbed off - it's got a slight sparkle to it so it gives you colour without looking too artificial.

Bobbi Brown powder in Pale Yellow 1 - it's a nice shade and tones down the red in your face.

Woah, super premium beauty brand alert.
I'm not jealous, I'm always this shade of green on a Monday...

Friday, 17 August 2007

...And your're good to go!

There are two very different approaches to festival make up.

One is the approach taken by girls at their first festival - bring all of your make up in a giant bag, put it all on for the first day, then leave it in your tent to get stolen/melted/washed away in a biblical flood/pissed on and never bring make up to a festival again.

The other is taken by girls in their mid-twenties that probably shouldn't be going to festivals anyway but thanks to the likes of La Moss (grrr) and the fact that they look like crap without it, are forced to wear tactical slap.
That, my friends, is called a run on sentence.

Tactical slap isn't the same as nude or no make up make up. You clearly want people to know that it's there but that you threw it on in a devil may care, I'm so too good for Pete the smackhead Doherty kind of a way. I recommend the following:

Tinted moisturiser and concealer to help you out the morning after. BeneFit It Stick comes as a pencil so is super portable and cover a multitude of sins (but not that dog you picked up during Razorlight and found in your tent this morning. Only forgivable if you had to find something to take your mind off Razorlight)

Give powder a miss and, if you must mattify, go for MAC blotting papers or BeneFit Mr Feelgood balm. No one is fooled by a pasty, powdery face when you're living in a tent.

Mascara is controversial. I would suggest tinting your eyelashes with Colorsport 30 Day Mascara and avoid facing the potential mascara in the eye/how do I get rid of panda eyes with babywipes debacle.

Multipurpose colour is essential. I love the new Bobbi Brown Stonewashed Pink Rouge Pot, shown here with the matching gloss and lipstick. It's a gorgeous tawny pink that sits somewhere between a blusher and a bronzer but gives a healthy hit of colour to you cheeks, lips and lids. Winner.

And herein lies the tactical festival make up key.


Shitloads of it.

My friend swears by Bad Gal and maintains annually that it just looks better and better if you sleep in it and touch up the next day. As a contact lens wearer, I do not recommend this but it really is the definition of festival make up. Eyeliner is dramatic but says, 'yeah, I tried but not for you'. It's pencil on attitude plus it takes attention away from how rank you're probably looking in general...

I'm thinking about rocking some colours as well as traditional black - maybe even some Urban Decay Heavy Metal glitter liner or their glittery Pocket Rocket pencils.

What I don't recommend you try is an Amy Winehouse liquid liner look in a tent unless you're a) a Geldof and staying in a sponsored RV (cow) or b) Amy Winehouse and I'm guessing even her handiwork has been a little shaky lately.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Down, down, deeper and down...

Continuing on yesterday's festival tip, today we're looking at how you stay clean during a mudbath.
And not the good dead sea kind...

Assuming the festival facilities will be limited at best and that you're saving space in your rucksack for booze, cereal bars and Kate Moss-esque festival garb (the cow has a lot to answer for. It's her fault i'm taking three pairs of hot pants, Hunter wellies and a lurex jumper with me this year), we're looking at speedy, easy, cleansing with an eye on space saving, portable packaging.

First things first, if you can, get a leg and underarm wax.
There is nothing worse than day three prickly festival ankles poking out of footless tights.
For me to have to look at.

With that off my chest, now, the packing. The majority of your beauty bag should, and I will never get tired of banging on about it, be taken up with sunscreen. As high as you can go for the face, at least spf 25 for the body. You're going to be outside all day, remember. I'll be going DDF complexion enhancing sunscreen so I don't need to worry about foundation (more on that tomorrow) and a good moisturing sunscreen for all. Nivea's spf 30 is good.

Now onto cleansing. You. Will. Need. Wipes. Lots of wipes.

I'm taking Olay Daily Facials for my face, Johnson&Johnson baby wipes for all over (they're bigger than most deo wipes and more gentle) and Dove deo wipes just in case things get really stinky. I've also bought a couple of mini spray bottles from Superdrug to decant my favourite Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner. Most of the time, I use a rinse off cleanser and skip toner but you will be really grateful for the extra freshness this baby provides. Plus it's packed full of gorgeous lavender, rose and geranium so even if the weekend ends up a skank-filled crap-fest, you can have a smile on your face.

Along with your wipes and toner, pack as many tissues as you can carry, for wiping off wipe residue, cleaning your hands and well, you can guess what else you might need them for. And despite what your crusty friends might say, deodrant is everyone's friend, even when you're living in a tent. Go for something long lasting like Mitchum or, be super kind to the environment (and my nose) and go for Crystal Body Deodrant Spray. It's aluminium free and comes in a handy dandy pump dispenser... plus you can use it to deodorise stinky trainers and wellies.

Moisturiser-wise, I would pack a great allrounder that you won't miss should the worst happen. Clinique's Continuous Rescue Antioxidant moisturiser is perfect. It's in a tube so it's portable, it'll help repair (and prevent) some of the damage from extended sun exposure and ahem, alcohol consumption and it comes in three variants - perfect for every skin type. It does need an spf over the top though.

Not strictly a beauty tip, but I would also take some hand sanitizer. Use it before you touch your skin and every time you eat. You SO don't want to be getting a tummy bug with those toilets... But pack some Immodium just in case.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Fiesta, Forever...

Oh Lord, heavenly father hear my plea.
Grant us thy mercy and let it not tip it down this weekend and next weekend.
Tis the hallowed fortnight of festivals - V and Carling Weekender - and we beauty types are already up against it with the lack of showers and appropriate leg shaving facilities...
Preferably keep it dry next weekend if you have to choose because I'm going to Reading, cheers.
Should God decide not to listen to my please for any number of (completely understandable) reasons, I'm going to offer up my top tips for remaining passable at a festival. Today we'll look at hair, tomorrow, cleansing and on Friday, we'll work on the make up.

Despite the fact you've packed a towel, we both know you're not going to wash in those showers more than once, so hair is your first problem. Wash on the morning you leave and you should be good for at least days one and two if you can steer clear of styling products. A friend of mine always straightens before she goes as it dries her hair out - canny! Not advisable but when needs must...

If you're headed to Reading on Thursday, that leaves you in quite the predicament for Saturday to Monday. Saturday, try using dry shampoo and an alice band. The roots will get greasy first so soak that up with Lee Stafford Oily Roots spray then scrape it all back with the band.

On Sunday, you're fighting a losing battle so I would either:
Don a hat and hope for the best
Do a Britney and rock a wig
Go for this season's hot heidi style plaits

Part your hair down the middle and separate into two pigtails. Plait each one from just behind your ear, bringing it round so ti sits tight to your head. Now coil the plaits together or in any artistic fashion that takes your fancy and pin to the nape of your neck. Ta-da! And since your hair is so rank, this should hold until you get home on Monday.

Alternatively, if you're going to V or Leeds festival, you can spoil yourselves stupid at Powder Room Trailers, officially the best idea ever. These portable salons mean you can get your hair WASHED, have a mini facial or even get a mani pedi! Think of these brave girls going near trench foot after three days of festivaling...

And pity me, the sad beauty dependent moose who is going to the only festival they aren't attending.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Jelly Pong Pong

I woke up this morning and found myself not in bed but in my grumpy place.
It was raining, it was seven minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off and it was Tuesday. This is not a good combination of things in my world.

To try and combat the general mankiness of The Tuesday Time Forgot, I have been trying to access my happy place via some of the prettiest things I own, Jelly Pong Pong (giggle) make up.
See, you're smiling already, aren't you?

I love Jelly Pong Pong (giggle) not just because its name makes me smile but because the products are super cute and super easy to play with. And it reminds me of how much I love eating at Ping Pong dim sum restaurant. The Supermodel Stain is a really highly pigmented stain for lips and cheeks, comes in a totally cute weeny palette with mirror and there are five shades to choose from - how can you argue with that? I like Slenderella, a pretty pink.
For something a bit softer, you might like Chic Shine, which includes a matte stain and a soft shiny gelee to complement. And yet another fab compact with yet another fab mirror. There's so cute and wee, you just want to hold them in your hand all the time but don't because they'll melt. Otherwise, they'll last practically forever.

Since I'm trying to cheer myself up here (and it's working!) I'm going to go for my favourite product, the Lo-Lip-Pop in Strawberry Slush. With more pigment that a Juicy Tube, these lovely shimmery lipgloss tubes are perfect to pop in your bag on the way out. There are six lush colours and they all taste gorgeous. Plus, as the website quite rightly points out, the reflective pink tube makes them a doddle to find in your handbag!

Another ten happy points to Jelly Pong Pong (giggle).

Ahh, see? I'm practically smiling.
Check them out at, and

Monday, 13 August 2007

What's in the Bridesmaid Bag, BeautyLover?

Okay, it's a big day. I've posted a picture of myself.
Please don't judge me until you've walked a mile in this red bridesmaid dress, outside, where people can totally see you and everything.

Also, please note that this was taken at the reception so it's post super ceremony make up but but pre-evening do touch up...
And be gentle.

What's your signature make-up product and how does using it affect your mood?
For a bridesmaid look, it's all about looking groomed, polished and good in photos but not upstaging the bride. So for this look, it was MAC eyeliner in Prunella, a soft pruney brown that emphasises the eyes but doesn't scream for attention.

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product - what is it?
Well, if it was Mr BeautyLover, I'd steer clear of the lipgloss because he's not keen and go Creme de la Mer lipbalm. Eyes were the focus on this look and he likes that it smells like mint choc chip ice cream. And yeah, yeah, this is Mr BeautyLover. Laugh at his tan next to my Vampirella like complexion then go to hell.

Out of every product in this look, what was the most essential?
Primer, face and eye. Weddings are loooonnng and you have heaps to do as a bridesmaid and not always time for a proper touch up. I used Clinique Cityblock spf 40 as a make up base and BeneFit FYEye on my eyes and nothing moved all day long, even after my, ahem, 6.50 - 7.25 nap. What am I, fifty?

So the bag…
As I've already said, primer is everything to a bridesmaid (or bride!) so get yours on and give it a couple of minutes to rest before you start layering slap over it. I recommend the Clinique Cityblock because it has a high spf, meaning you don't have to add another oily layer after your moisturiser. Remember you're most probably going to be spending time outdoors, so an spf is a must.

I recommend a tinted moisturiser rather than a heavy foundation. Foundation will wear and could look too much in pictures, try and go as light as you dare with coverage and set with pressed powder. I used Creme de la Mer tinted moisturiser, BeneFit It Stick concealer and Prescriptives Magic Liquid Powder and only had to touch up once before piccies (BeneFit Get Even for a neutral toned pressed powder that doesn't look overdone).

On my cheeks, I just tried to breathe some natural colour into my skin that wouldn't clash with my dress. I went for Stila Convertible Colour in Gerbera as it's the most natural colour on my skin but BeneTint is another great option if you want something that will stay put all day. Over that, I dusted Georgia powder to sparkle and set but not shimmer too much - the cameras HATE High Beam!

All the focus on my look went on my eyes because a) I knew they would need way less touching up than a strong lip look and b) because in twenty years time when I look at my friend's wedding photos, do I really want to contemplate whether or not my lippy is working? Soft smokey eyes ALWAYS work.

I started with FYEye and then used Stila colours on top. I built up a base of Cloud, a neutral shimmery taupe that I wear practically day in, day out. Along the lashline, I used MAC Prunella pencil for definition and to intensify the whole thing slightly, I worked Espresso into the crease and upper and lower lashlines. To highlight, I dotted Sun onto the middle of my eyelid and into the inner corners then blended like crazy with a fat eyeshadow brush. On my lashes (because I knew I would cry!) I went for id Bare Minerals Everywear Mascara.

For lips, I kept things really simple with Stila Plumping Lipglaze in BerryMint, a really, really sheer pink.

To wake things up in the evening, I added some shimmery Stila Antique Silver Kajal Pencil.

My basic advice to anyone planning make up for a wedding, whether you're the bride, bridesmaid, mother of the bride, cousin of the caterer or school friend of the groom's best friend's milkman, just bear in mind that you WILL be photographed and these photographs WILL be around for a very long time. This is not the time to experiment with pop art Lily Allen eyes or red lips. Go for something classic you're comfortable with or a slightly more dramatic version of what you always wear for a special occasion, that way, your kids will recognise you in the pictures. And if you are the bride or even bridesmaid, I'd do at least one test run and photograph it so you know it won't scare children on the day but will show up on camera.

As a side note, I'd just like to apologise to the wonder that is Jonny at Lee Stafford for what they did to my hair - they didn't manage to get my hair into a French Pleat but they did put it through hell with METAL straighteners and the world's ickiest silicone shine spray. I'm still deep conditioning now...

And just so the rest of you know, my hair is usually able to move.

Friday, 10 August 2007

The Sun Has Got His Hat On...

Hip, hip, hip hooray!
And since Senor Sun (he's spanish btw) has popped out to see us, I'm going to
b) talk about stay in place eyeshadows for this weekend.


Now that's out the way, here are my top takes on stay in place shadows.
Almost ANY shadows can be made to sit the hell still with a slick of BeneFit's FYEye. It really is brilliant and the first primer product to sway me from my (very strongly held) cynicism. I tried it once in Vegas about five years ago and as you know, what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas. Except this didn't, it totally came home with me and I was importing pots for years before BeneFit had the good sense to bring it over to the UK.
Happy days.

Alternatively, if you want to swipe and go, I am crushing big time on Estee Lauder's Double Wear Stay In Place Shadow Stick. It's fabulous and comes in lots of interesting colours. It's sheer enough for a lovely daytime was of colour but can be built up into something more impactful for evening.

My suggestion would be go for the limited edition Silver Pearl for the daytime and then add some Black Pearl and Double Wear Zero Smudge Liquid Liner for definition in the evening. Estee Lauder was my first ever premium cosmetic purchase and I've always had a nostalgic smile for the counter as I wandered past but just recently, I'm falling in love all over again. The new collections are amazing. If you're super lucky, I'll present in full next week.

You lucky pups. Now go out and enjoy the sunshine WHILST WEARING SUNSCREEN!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Ho ho ho and a merry August...

In the merry old land of, well, most industries, we are not able to enjoy the fact that the sun has got his hat on today. Instead, we are all holed up preparing for the 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year' (TM and (c) Disney Corp):

Yes indeedy, every job I've EVER worked has basically involved me hearing jingle bells constantly from mid-July and the heady world of slap is no different. I'm sure you imagine BeautyMecca towers to be a polished pristine world of fabulous samples, fabulous furnishings, and sleek Mode magazine style glamazons who spend months planning each post, every single one plotted to the nth degree by thousands of copywriters and producers, for it is a product of much shiny beauty.
And not at all cobbled together by moi, keeping everything crossed that I manage to bang out a couple of hundred words before I pass out in front of QVC.
It's the first one, honest.

But seriously, everything that pops up in our favourite mags has been planned for MONTHS. At least three months in advance anyway - how scary is that? For the last two weeks, the beauty world has had mince pies coming out of it's ears (Origins even had snow) and Christmas carols piped out of it's, well, it's been a bit Christmassy.

When I ventured into the world of beauty, press launches were one of my favourite things. So many pretties, all in one place and all vying for my attention. Sometimes, like at the Sean John launch, a super special pretty gets an event all of it's own. Often, they have to share the spotlight. In the last two weeks, I have seen everything from a £1000 Bobbi Brown Train Case and a £500 pot of Creme de la Mer to an electric spot zapper and a perfume by... Mariah Carey. And do you know what was the most shocking of all these things?
Mariah Carey's perfume is gorgeous.

From the end of September, once a week I'll be looking at a Beauty-Full Christmas (see what I did?) and all the presents you might buy for all the beautistas in your life, from your little sister and your best mate right through to your man, gran and postman. Okay, not your postman but it was alliterative and I liked it. If there's anyone particularly tricky that you have to buy for or you have any top tips on Christmas beauty shopping (my three favourite words in one sentence! Aside from Brad, Ben and Jerry's...) then drop me a line at

Ho ho ho.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007


Three steps to having a crappy day...
1. Get sunburnt on the first sunny day of the year, therefore condemning yourself to jeans for over a week.
Of sunshine.
2. Put your crappy, watery moisturiser on ten minutes before you have to leave the house then try and wriggle into skinny jeans.
3. Go to work (full stop actually) with jeans cemented to your legs, sunburn itching and peeling, jeans hovering three inches below your crotch but you can't pull them up because you BLOODY CEMENTED THEM TO YOUR LEGS WITH MOISTURISER.

Three steps to having an amazing day...

1. Moisturise your wonderfully non-burnt legs with AMAZING laidbare Organic Shea Butter
2. Smile peacefully as you massage in the rosehip, avocado and carrot oils that make up this miracle skin softener.
3. Slip on a weather appropriate wisp of a sundress and bask in the compliments elicited by your fabulous skin that literally begs to be touched, so soft, silky and scented is it.

Guess which kind of a day I'm having?

I recommend you improve your own day by purchasing the laidbare miracle cream from, Selfridges, Fenwicks or Whole Foods. Seriously though, a very hot boy told me I smelled 'amazing' yesterday and all I was wearing was this skin-softening wonder. He was gay but hey, I'll take it where I can get it.

Ooh, and if you go to Whole Foods, could you get me a brownie?

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

A Few of My Favourite Things... Lips

I've got to end this today because I recognise we could cover old ground forever and every time I delve into my make up bag, I go 'ooh, I didn't do bronzers' (I'd go either Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess or Clinique Uplighting Fluid for everyone, Benefit Dallas for pale ladies) 'I didn't do styling products' (I like Bedhead or Lee Stafford) I didn't do facial scrubs (Estee Lauder Idealist Thermal Scrub or MD formulations), treatment masks (Mud, Bliss Triple Oxygen or Elemis Exotic Moisture) etc, etc...

I think lip products are really down to personal choice. I love a gloss because I don't like a really dense colour on my lips and I'm pretty low maintenance at reapplication. If I do need colour and I need it to stay, I love MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolour. It's the same thinking as Max Factor Lipfinity but I find it less drying and it has a truer colour. Persist is my favourite, a lovely soft peachy pink.

Having just had a quick peepo at my
make up bag, MAC is coming out really well on lipcolours. I'm constantly within grabbing distance of my Tendertones lipbalm, I adored my Barbie loves MAC lipstick and for about a month, I wore nothing but Overrich lipstick, a soft metallic coral with a lightly frosted finish. Yum.

Aside from my lovely MAC products, you will always find five things in my handbag:
Mobile Phone
Oyster Card
Stila Lipglaze

It doesn't matter what colour it is - Fig, Raspberry, BerryMint, MelonMint, Strawberry, Fruit Punch or Passion Fruit, I don't like to be too far away from a lipglaze at anyone time. In fact, let me take a picture...

Don't laugh, I know it's a mess.
But you can see my point - lipbalm, Tendertones pot (with the black lid) and lipglaze (it's sugar plum btw)

Seriously though, lips are really an area where you can afford to go really crazy - it just wipes off, right?! So try and many colours as you like and spend as little or as much as you can afford. Just don't forget to moisturise (lips have no oil glands!) with your fave lip balm. My top pics would be Rosebud Salve, Creme de la Mer or good old Vaseline.

We've praised Vaseline enough on these pages though, I don't want to go getting a reputation...

Monday, 6 August 2007

What's in the Bag Ashley Zurinskas?

Today's beauty disciple is truly the owner of a bag of glory...
I have COMPLETE product envy.

What’s your signature product and how does it make you feel?
I'm one of these people that by 3pm looks like she has put no makeup on at all – when in actual fact I love putting make up on, and put quite a few different products on in the morning (me too! BL). This is why I would say my signature product has to be the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Bronze. I managed to find one that had a Lip palette inside too (after seeing it on the US website). The packaging is just great, simple with a little mirror – fits nicely into my bag. Useful especially for those nights out after work - not only do I get a shimmery tanned glow for my face, my lips are suitably made up to match. It really makes your skin look alive and should you need eyeshadow you can also use one of the many colours that create the bronze palette, on your eyes.

A beautiful boy is on the approach and you only have time to apply one product – what would it be?
I will have to say I'm a lip-gloss nut. I have all manner of glosses/lip care in my bag at once. But if a beautiful boy was to approach me - I would choose the Chanel Cristalle gloss (No 17 - it's pink) with lip plumping effect. The plumping has no effect on me really – but the colour is just lovely. It’s not sticky or too wet, and you can't help but feel special when you get the gloss out and you see that big C on the top. (FYI the Mascara is just fab too).

What is your favourite product of all time?
If you have ever been nuts about Yves Saint Laurent’s Touché Éclat – you will die for the Perfect Touch (Éclat) foundation. The brush on the end of the foundation tube is just ingenious. It helps give an even finish and covers very well. You can layer up for a flawless finish on a night out or just put it on thinly for the day time. It gives a similar effect as the Touché Éclat but all over your face. I don’t know how it works or what its intention is – but it manages to cover all my blemishes and the dark circles under my eyes without the need for the separate Touché Éclat stick. Its quite pricy but will last for a while. You really have to try it if you’re a Touché Éclat fanatic. It’s a great base for all your other makeu p and I simply can't live without it.

And the bag?
Chanel Mascara
Rimmel cover stick
Nars – Cheek tint
Benefit – Brow zing (eyebrow kit)
Bobbi brown Nude eye palette
Bobbi Brown black eyeliner cream and brush

Aren't you just itching to search her out on the Tube and nick her handbag?
I LURVE me some Bobbi Brown and you're so right about the Big C. I am always happy to welcome some Chanel into my life... Good to hear a good review about the YSL Perfect Touch Foundation. It was too dark for me and I was a bit grossed out by the brush applicator btu apparently you can take it off and wash it. We live and learn people, we live and learn...
Top bag, Ashley!

p.s. I'm sorry I slacked over the weekend but I was wedding-ing and will be giving you a full run down of my top lip picks this week as well as advice on would be brides, bridesmaids and hateful Stockton make up artists...
The less said about the woman who attacked my hair with her METAL straightening irons, the better.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

A Few of My Favourite Things... Primers and Eyes

I love me a primer.
Seriously, I've been a Doubting Thomas but I'm all turned around.
It started with BeneFit F.Y.Eye and moved on to Smashbox Photofinish and then the Estee Lauder Mattifying range. I also like Clinique Cityblock as a primer and sunscreen all in one. Fab.

I don't want to harp on like an RSPCA ad at Christmas but give primers a go and you'll find they're a trustworthy companion for life.

Eyes are another matter altogether. I could wax lyrical about eye products all day but to be honest I don't have the time and you probably can't be arsed to hear it, so here are my top five eye products that work for everyone, every time.

1. Prescriptives Falsh Lash Mascara - feathery, fluttery perfect lashes every time

2. id Bare Minerals Everywear Waterproof Mascara - doesn't smudge, doesn't clump, didn't even come off after I failed my driving test and bawled on the examiner. A Month ago.`

3. Stila powder shadow in Cloud - a gorgeous shimmery taupe that goes with every eye colour and is perfect for a light day look and can be built up with a lovely liner for nighttime.

4. MAC pencil in Prunella - perfect eye pencil for everyone. A soft plummy brown that blends into lashlines for a day-look but thickens up perfectly for nighttime definition.

5. Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid Liner - I have NEVER EVER been able to apply liquid liner but this baby brings out my inner 50's screen siren. It's amazing, thick line, thin line, cat's eyes, Amy Winehouse scrawl - whatever you need, it delivers.

There is so much more but I'm totally out of time.
Tomorrow I'm postponing lips until Saturday as I'm bridesmaiding from 1.00 (oh yes, more on that next week) so there's a special fun weekend post for you lucky, lucky people!
I'm so good to you.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

a Few of My Favourite Things... Foundation, Concealer, Powder and Blushers

Today I look and feel like crap.
Just so you know.

Now we've conquered your moisturiser issues, let's move onto your base. You know it's important, right? Right.
I've always had a mare because I'm so pale so these are really my favourite things and a few of my BeautyMecca buddies too. It's good to do a straw poll of six on anything and call it consumer research.

Coming in top of the tree are two products I actually love dearly, id Bare Minerals foundation and Bobbi Brown Oil Free Foundation. They both give great coverage, both come in a variety of shades as to satisfy Paley McPale through to Tanny McTan. I'm feeling a bit Scottish today. I love Bare Minerals because it has fabulous buildable coverage and I feel like it's genuinely good for my skin. If I'm after something a bit more solid and traditional or I'm travelling, I'll always go Bobbi Brown.

If you're after a tinted moisturiser (and I often am) I'd go for Stila if you're looking for a reasonably priced product that works or Creme de la Mer if you're looking for a splurge product that makes you look like you drink diamond laced water for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's great.

Concealer-wise, I'm less easy to please. I will mention Rimmel Hide the Blemish because it resides in so many of your make-up bags but for me, it's only BeneFit's It Stick that does the job. I Love It. Buy one now. For under eyes, I like Korres Vitamin Concealer and I'm not alone. I lent it to a true Touche Eclat devotee and she's switched! Go crazy, try it yourself.

For powders, I'll be quick. Prescriptives Magic Liquid Powder is the coolest thing ever. It's a powder that turns to liquid on contact with the skin thanks to a massive water content but it does away with the shinies, doesn't look cakey and is just wonderful. Buy it now. For compacts, I like BeneFit Get Even in 01 because it's lemoney and evens out my red skintone. Ideally, I'd go for Dr Feelgood because sometimes honey, you don't need powder, you just think you do!

Blushers are a bit trickier as I could go on ALL DAY. For true portability and versatility, I would look no further than Stila Convertible Colour. There's absolutely one (or six) that are right for you, they're pretty and they work. Who could ask for more?

Stain-wise, I'm a Benetint freak as you know but I also like Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blush. It's super pretty and doesn't cane your cream carpets (sorry, mum).

Back tomorrow with primers and eyes then on Friday it's lips!!

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