Monday, 28 April 2008

April Rules! Scrub it Up

Sigh, still not pay day...
I do realise that life can't always be about Bliss lemon+sage body scrub (although it should be) and that pre-shower scrubs are often overlooked in the early morning rush, so I today I'm championing my two favourite in-shower bargainous scrubs.

For a lovely, fresh every day wash with a hint of scrub, I love the new Palmolive Cashmere body scrub. I don't know what it's scented with and nor do I care, it's delicious. It smells like they had angels sigh into each tube and then got kittens to kiss it on it's way into stores. The scrub itself is very gentle and suitable for all over use, it won't irritate delicate areas and I don't think you can overdo it, so perfect if you like to scrub it up every day.

For a more intensive scrubbing (I'm trying to see how many times I can use the word 'scrub' in one post), try The Sanctuary Moisturising Butter Scrub from Boots. This beast will tackle any rough patches and is fab for bums, legs and feet although I find it a bit harsh for my torso. LOVE it though, the smell is yummy and the gel that carries the scrubby bits is really gelatinous (what with it being a gel) a bit like a lovely, scented version of silly putty. This would be a great scrub to go with pre-self-tan as it leaves the skin quite moisturised too with yummy nut butters and sweet almond oil. I'm literally getting through a tube every couple of weeks, yes because it's fab and a bargain (less than six quid!) but also because I love playing with the gel in the bath.
Small things, small minds and all that.

Scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub.

Cue satisfied sigh.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

April Rules! Johnson's Baby Oil

Sigh, the last week before payday.
I really, really hate being poor. And yes, I know I'm not exactly poverty stricken but I can't afford to buy those beautiful coral peeptoes in TopShop either and as far as I'm concerned, that's not fair.

But at least I don't have to tighten my beauty belt...
Given my impoverished circumstances, I've taken to trying a little bit harder to find some bargain beauty buys and do you know what, I'm all kids of giddy about Johnson's Baby Oil. Now I don't want any dodge references to naughtiness - this is strictly a beauty feature, okay?

It turns out, you need practically nothing else in the whole world if you've got some Johnson's Baby Oil. No, really!

Add a few drops to the bath for a moisturising soak, rub it into damp skin after said bath for super softness (the Hugh Laurie-voiced babies on the ads speak the truth!), use it as a shaving oil on your legs, then apply to dry legs for super sexy shine or add a teeny, tiny bit to your cheekbones for a killer sheen. I've even taken to combing my fingers really lightly through the very ends of my hair after using it to moisturise as the rank weather has left my mop incredibly dry and I'm all out of serum.

Tis a wonder product. If you're not totally okay with having a vat of Baby Oil by your bed (new flatmates, mum coming to visit, etc.) then try the Baby Oil Gel which I love to larp on my legs in a morning. Between 80 denier opaques and high central heating, my shins look like that alligator that rocked up in someone's house in Florida this morning.
Maybe he was just looking for some cheap as chips moisturiser too?

Yay for Johnson's Baby Oil, available ALL OVER the freaking place, so you have no excuse.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

April Rules: Brit and Alex

I love it when friends come to visit and today we have an old friend in What's in the Bag - a sneaky peek into lovely ladies' make up bags - and a visit from new muso friends Brit & Alex.

Twin talents Brit & Alex have been actors, models and now musicians with their single 'Let it Go' currently featuring in Step Up 2: The Streets. You might recognise them from the John Frieda Sheer Blonde commercials (hot blonde twins? I'm pretty sure you do... I SO took their picture into SuperCuts Nottingham when I was 19. For shame).

I'm not jealous at all (honest) but I do want to take a sneak peek in their make up bag and try and steal some of their secrets of super hotness...

What is your signature beauty product and how does using it make you feel?
We love to use the same products so our signature product would have to be Chanel Chance perfume; it’s gorgeous and makes us feel a little more feminine and sophisticated.

What is your best beauty secret?
Our beauty secret is Fresh foundation; it looks really natural and really evens out your skin tone for a fresh dewy finish.

What product could you not live without?
We just couldn't live without MAC eyeliner 'Engraved' it a total essential.

And what's in the bag?
Bourjois compact powder Sable Rose – Takes away any shine
Rimmel concealer Ivory – In case of any skin emergencies
Cover Girl blush Rose – Gives a gorgeous natural blush
Lancôme eyelash curler – To open up my eyes, especially if I am feeling a bit tired
Eyeliner MAC 'Engraved' – Really makes my eyes stand out, so it the perfect shade for daytime and evening
Givenchy lipstick "Nude Shine" – I like quite natural sheer colours so this one is perfect
Lancôme Juicy Tubes "Strawberry Funk" – Juicy Tubes are a must have for every girls make up bag (totally agree! I can't go anywhere without my Marshmallow...)
Rimmel Glam'Eyes mascara Black – For long thick gorgeous lashes

Download their single 'Let it Go' now and grab the album this summer!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

April Rules! Nars Eyeshadows

You might not believe it but I'm trying to master the art of travelling light and shoes, knickers and opaque tights aside, it's not going badly.

The last couple of months (as many of you already know) have been a bit mental and so I've been out a lot, staying with friends and generally not going home (minds out of gutters, I WISH) so my beauty bag has been considerably condensed. I've got a mini foundation from my Prescriptives Custom Blend set, Touche Eclat and It Stick concealers hardly take up any room and Clinique's Lash Power mascara is both portable and handy to have around as you don't need make up remover to take it off.

My main issue is always with eyes. I love my eye make up and hate being restricted but I understand some handbags can't facilitate my A5 sized Stila palette... Boo to them. But they're so pretty... Sorry, I get distracted. Luckily I've found a compromise in two lovely Nars shadows - Heart of Glass, an icy white/blue with shimmer and Night Clubbing, black with gold pearl. They feel like silk, never crease, last forever and they can be used alone for a wash of sparkly colour (Heart of Glass) or an intense punch of rock chick/chicky rock (Night Clubbing) or blended together for a super cool smokey eye. I've also found Heart of Glass to be the perfect hangover shadow as it lights up the whole eye area and the blue in it takes away some of the redness in tired eyes. And it's called Heart of Glass - could it be any cooler?

Plus, you know, they're Nars and therefore delicious and beautiful. Yum, tactile rubberised casing. Hurrah, decent sized mirror in the case. Ha, jealous people on the train. Boo, being so hungover you stick your fingernail in the shadow instead of opening it carefully.

Go forth and purchase.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

April Rules! Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish

You all know about my QVC 'issue' so I'm not going to make a big deal out of it, especially when it provides me with hours of hangover TV, great make up tips and such wonders as my New Favourite Cleanser.
A couple of BeautyMecca readers have asked why I've never featured Liz Earle before now and to be honest I have had a bit of a grudge which will now be but behind us in a 'less said, soonest mended' stylee because - eeep - I am in LOVE with Liz Earle Cleanse&Polish.

For years I've sat/laid on the sofa watching the eternally youthful Liz Earle scrub the back of her hand with a muslin cloth and thought, meh, it's just poncey cold cream, isn't it?
Turns out, not so much. After trying The Sanctuary Hot Cloth Cleanser, my interest was piqued so I decided to give Liz a whirl.

Where The Sanctuary product was a bit heavy and greasy after a few days (Still good for drier skins though), the Liz Earle Cleanse&Polish is deliciously light and moisturising without being hard to remove. It has a gorgeous eucalyptus smell that clears your mind as you massage it in while all the other ingredients soothe your skin. It's beautiful. And the hot muslin cloth gently exfoliates but never scrubs (sorry for suggesting otherwise, Liz).

Basically, I'm a convert. I've also added the exfoliater to my regime along with the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and I HATE toners. This really perked up my skin and made my glow.
Whatever is happening to me????

And I've EVEN bought a travel size kit from to see me through my May/June travels...
Wow, Liz Earle and QVC, BeautyMecca salutes you.

PLEASE join me in a sofa-a-thon on the 19th at 9.00pm (what else might you be doing on a Saturday night?) to enjoy the wonders OR hit and feel the love.
But the telly is better, she's oddly soothing.

Monday, 14 April 2008

April Rules: Lee Stafford Dehumidifier

I'm really trying to be okay with the comedy of April Showers, I really, really am. Unfortunately, I'm trying to time my next haircut to fit in with my upcoming jaunts (work trips!) to the Us in May and June so I'm the first to admit I'm a little bit frizzy...

And just to make matters a little bit more frizz-tastic, London has decided to go completely schizo on me. I get up, wash my hair, head out into crisp cold weather. Which then turns really sunny. Which then turns into a thunder storm. Which then turns sunny. Which then goes a bit windy. At which point I put on a hat.

But, ahhh, the wonder that is Lee Stafford has saved me from hat hair. He has saved us all I tell you! Now, instead of freaking out, I just spray my luverly Lee Stafford Poker Straight Dehumidifier prod onto my locks for frizz free shine and a stable style. Seriously, I debuted it yesterday and while my curly-inclined friend had to pop on her (very, very cute) beret when tousled tresses took a turn for the worse* I marched on.
And I did not frizz.

Bonus, it also does away with those irritating flyaways that you can't get rid of when you're in need of a trim.
And double Boots bonus, it's only £4.99.
Rock on over at lunch and say 'Pah! I do not fear you April showers!' loudly at the sky.
But only while no one is listening.

*note to curly girls in hats. This is a very cute look but not all of us are as gifted in the prettylicious department as my friend, who just looked like you wanted to pat her head and put her in your pocket with her rain-induced curly locks. Grrr.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

April Rules! Origins Lip Balm with Tumeric

I know you're all well aware of my lip balm obsession but I am trying to recover.
I can only account for four different balms right now, isn't that progress?

Unfortunately, Origins aren't helping. They have just released a totally fabu new balm which is completely different to any of my existing faves...

They say:

NEW! Conditioning Lip Balm with Turmeric
Enjoy the benefits of this highly
emollient lip balm that rapidly restores softness and smoothness to parched lips. Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Jojoba, Organic Beeswax and Murumuru hydrate and soften lips while Mango Seed Butter and Rice Bran Oil provide antioxidant protection. The bright colour and aromatic scent of Turmeric, along with the essential oils of Organic Sweet Ginger, Lime and Magnasweet make applying this protective and softening lip balm a pleasure.
Turmeric, a potent spice, has long been used in Eastern and Ayurvedic traditions and is a staple of Asian diets. It is used in American mustards, exotic curries and the people of Okinawa regularly partake in a soothing Turmeric tea. Dr. Weil has long recommended a diet rich in Turmeric as part of his philosophy for healthier living. As part of Origins mission to promote beauty and wellness, this new lip balm is rich with Turmeric in addition to lip protectors, moisturisers, and other antioxidants.

And more importantly, the tube and balm is oval shaped which makes it lovely to hold in your pocket. Yes, I know I have an issue.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

April Rules! Advanced Night Repair

I love it when a product does exactly what it says on the tin.
Or beautiful brown glass bottle in this case...
My skin has been going through some very late teenage tantrums since Christmas but I can always, always rely on one product to sort it out sooner rather than later.

Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair serum is an absolute godsend.
I'm sure you've seen a lot of press about the little brown bottle in the last few months as ANR has had a big birthday (ah to be 25 again... she says at 27) and I'm sure you've thought about it, you might have even tried a sample, or played with the pipette at the counter but I'm fairly certain a big old chunk of you decided against purchasing. Let's face it, serums are a pricey addition to a skincare regime if you're not already rocking one and you're expected to commit for a good couple of months before you see a benefit. Sigh.
Can't be bothered, right? It's £40 you could spend in TopShop and see the results right away?

Well, put down the Baxter skinny jeans, yes I know they're very flattering, and get your arse back over to the Estee Lauder counter. Honestly, ANR has revolutionised my skincare regime and I don't know how I would get by without it. Seriously, I've used it when my skin has had a little too much sun and woken up the next day glowing like a goddess (and remember I'm the world's palest paley). I've used it when very, very drunk and woken up with rosy pink glow, not a blotchy red glare. I've used it when I'm spotty and hormonal and woken up fresh as a baby's, well, I don't think baby's bums are that fresh but you get where I'm coming from?

And to make matters worse, I'm really sorry but I'm going to recommend you get the Advanced Night Repair Concentrate Recovery Boosting Complex too. Unlike ANR which you use every evening to keep Father Time at bay, the concentrate complex is a separate routine that you use for just 21 nights and then go back to the original. I try and fit it in every three months or so and my skin never, ever looks better than when I'm rocking this bad boy. I also tend to favour the concentrate when I'm super hungover. It's like an apology to my skin.

So yes, I know I just asked you to part with the best part of £100 on things to add to your skincare regime but seriously, call me up in twenty years and thank me. I'll be the one sat at the bar knocking back champers with the skin of a twenty year old.
Make sure it's me and not Madonna though, I'm guessing by the time she's seventy she might just about look twenty.
Scary, scary ageless Madonna...

Monday, 7 April 2008

April Rules! Spring Clean with Astral

Now, I always start out my new relationships with the BEST intentions.
First I get all hot and bothered, then completely gushy and rubbish and for the first few weeks, first few months if it's really special, I am like a goddess - nothing is too much bother and the upmost care and attention is given. But after a while, you get a little bit sloppy, you start forgetting it was special once and maybe, god forbid, you start getting all hot and bothered over new handbags.

Oh, did I not say this was about handbags?
Please, totally more exciting than boys.
I really am the worst. My BEAUTIFUL Marc Jacobs Jazz bag that I love with all my heart has even suffered the odd empty Polo wrapper and I'm sure there's more than one old tube ticket in there. I don't mean to be a skank but hey, I get busy.

Well, the helpful people at Astral have given us some top handbag spring cleaning tips...

What to bin…multiple make-up products What to buy… multi-purpose moisturiser

Why carry around hand lotion, body moisturiser and face cream when one product will do? In its handy 50ml pot, Astral acts as a multi-purpose moisturiser for the entire body, doubling up as make-up remover and after-sun. As for your face, leave it free to take in some much-needed sunshine. Just 10 minutes of outdoor light a day can help your body process vitamin D, helping to keep bones strong and healthy. Remember to apply suntan lotion.

What to bin…chocolate bar What to buy…bottle of water

There’s nothing more comforting than a delicious bar of chocolate to brighten up dull winter days. But now that spring is here, throw out your hoard of sweets and invest in a single bottle of water to make you feel refreshed and revitalised. If your eyes are prone to puffiness, this suggests that toxins have accumulated in this area and water will help flush them out. Combined with a good moisturiser, like Astral, your skin will dazzle in the spring sunshine.

What to bin…stationery What to buy (keep)…mobile phone

If you carry a diary, phone book and more pens that you know what to do with – bin them. You can record all important dates and phone numbers in most mobile phones and replace your pen with your thumb!

It all makes a special kind of sense, doesn't it? Except I don't think I'm totally okay with ditching my chocolate for water.
But Astral is totally retro-tastic and sigh, I think they might be right as well as pretty.

Friday, 4 April 2008

April Rules! What's in the Bag?

I just realised it's been forever since we did a What's in the Bag and so I thought I'd kick us off with what I'm hauling around town with me at the moment.

I always carry my travel size Prescriptives Colour Match foundation. Perfect for night-time touch ups and (God forbid) the morning after.
For concealer, I've got my trusty BeneFit It Stick (somethings never change!) and my new obsession, Touche Eclat in number 1. Seriously, it's changed my life.
Powder-wise, I've gone back onto BeneFit Get Even. Anyone got any suggestions for a good pressed powder in a pretty compact that's non-sparkly and good for fair skin?
My carry-around blush is Prescriptives Thai Orchid at the mo. Such a pretty flush.

Clinique Lash Power has found a very safe place in my make up bag. It's non-clumping and that mofo isn't going to budge until you get the hot, wet cotton wool pads on it. Even over night if you really must be that lazy. LOVE it.
For colours, I'm still rocking Stila Cloud most days but have updated my palette with Diamond Lil, a really pretty shade that you can smoke out easily. I've also got my trusty MAC Prunella pencil and my Stila silver kajal pencil.

You know I'm a crazy gloss girl... I'm currently toting Juicy Tubes in Marshmallow, MAC lipsticks in Overrich and Sweet&Single (because I am, waaaaah), Jo Malone and Creme de la Mer lip balms, Stila Lipglaze in Fig and a recent find, Ruby&Millie lip colour in Pink 435c which is a really pretty shade. It's almost a Barbie pink but it gives a really pretty stain when pressed in lightly with your finger and layers up to an amazing block finish. Definitely a statement Friday night colour.

I'm trying to slim down my bag at the moment as my back is killing me... But I do have the fab new Stila Cherry Crush Lip & Cheek Stain which I picked up in Sephora in NYC. It's great if you're having 'one of those mornings' and need a speedy face. Touche Eclat, stain, mascara, go.

I'm also loving Bobbi Brown's Pink Shimmer Brick which I'm using as a lovely Springy alternative to blusher on my pale, pale, pre-summer skin.

Ta da!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

April Rules! The Sanctuary Hot Cloth Cleanser

So today is apparently the warmest day of the year so far.
This is good news and only slightly hampered by the bad news that this weekend is going to be shite. All this changeable weather is no good for my skin and in an attempt to placate it , I've started using the Perfectly Polished Hot Cloth Cleanser from The Sanctuary.

I lurved The Sanctuary products when they first launched and used to have teenage fantasies about hovering around the spa on that swing they made so much noise about at the time. It was a long and glamorous way from South Yorkshire FYI. But for some reason I'd drifted away from their products, even the lovely Mande Luar scrub thing in that sexy glass jar so I came to this, the first of their face care products I'd tried, with a fairly open, if not ever so slightly cynical mind.

The hot cloth cleansing system isn't that new, Eve Lom and Liz Earle make bucket-loads of cash from their versions but obviously they're not available from Boots for under a tenner. Having avoided creamy cleansers for an age, I was so pleasantly surprised. My skin felt ridiculously soft after cleansing and the muslin cloth left it exfoliated but not scrubbed. Okay, so I don't exactly look like a rosy cheeked cherub just yet but it has only been a week and I'm sticking with it. I will update you as to when we move from Silky Soft to Perfectly Polished...

Not that they are words that have ever been used to describe me before.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

April Rules! Heatherette for MAC

Can it be true?
Is it really April?
And have MAC done it again?

To celebrate it not being March anymore, MAC have decided to brighten my Tuesday by releasing their super cool, super swank Heatherette collection today, in Selfridges. And man ALIVE it is pretty.

The amazing pink holofoil packaging aside, the products are amazing.
I adore the two eye shadow palettes, the dual ended eye pencils and the beautiful fucshia pink Hollywood Nights lipstick and Style Minx lipglass. Not to mention the silver foil nail polish.

In case you're not uber familiar with Heatherette, they are super-cool design duo Richie Rich and Traver Rains, based in the city of my dreams, NYC. As you might imagine, practicality is not their modus operandi but their MAC collection is surprisingly wearable. Yes, the very pale pinks can be tricky to pull off but the lilacy eyeshadows and gorgeous Beauty Powders should be in every girl's make up bag. And quite frankly, MAC + Limited Edition + Beautiful packaging + Very Close to Payday= Mega BeautyLover purchase.

I'm off to Selfridges right now, fight you, I mean, see you at the counter!

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