Thursday, 22 March 2007

Business as Usual

I'm sorry there's been another hiatus with the old blogging. I was rather shocked about the murder of a teenager near where I live. At the risk of sounding a bit like everyone's grandparents, what is the world coming to.

But whilst I was ruminating on the state of the world, and this country, the celebs continued their lives in a delightfully typical and outrageous fashion. Britney is out of rehab, getting primary custody of the boys but joint custody with K-Fed, with whom she is now getting along! Bloody typical. They are pretty hormonal as couples go. Naomi Campbell not only turned up for her community service but was nice to the people she was working with. And Angelina Jolie has adopted another child. This time Pax from Vietnam. I'm sure that it is better to give an orphan the opportunity to have a good life. However, with the hectic schedules of major celebrities, it must be hard to have time to pay enough attention to their own children. Let alone integrating a family of adopted children into a totally different country, culture, language and lifestyle.

Now I know this is gross but something has to be said. For all of you who have maybe a little bit of a shoe problem and go for looks over comfort be warned. I love shoes, the pointier and higher the better. For years I have spent more money on shoes than anyone of a sane disposition but I can't help it. But oh boy am I paying for it now. It's official - I have a bunion, and it hurts. I am now relegated to the faithful ugg boots (which I resisted for so long) and a toe separator in a vain attempt at stopping it getting worse. So here are some ways to prevent being doomed to a life of lumpy feet (I'd like to point out that my feet are the best part of me. I wouldn't change them and now...)

Most large pharmacies have whole sections of weird and wonderful things dedicated to feet. There are literally hundreds of foot soaks, scrubs, moisturisers and 'accessories' out there so really the best thing to do is go and have a look. But where to start? Here are a few products I like and suggestions on how to keep your feet fancy free (because we call know we aren't going to give up the shoes) But before I start if you wear pointy high heels you can get toe separators from Boots which you can wear in trainers and stops your big toe moving.

Before you can do any proper foot maintainance remove your nail varnish, your nails need help too. Then, and believe me this is good, get a bowl and fill it full with hot water and foot soak, plonk it in front of your favourite chair, insert feet and say 'ahhhh!'. Seriously, unless you splash out on a foot spa, not many things can be better than this. Boots Soothing Foot Bath which is medicated with witch hazel and mint and is a really great deal at £2.99. The Sanctury do a Relaxing Foot Soak with Lavender, Tea Tree and Green Seaweed which smells great and again amazing for £4.00 (also available in sachets). For something a bit more special Origins Foot Rest is no snip at £16.50 but this well last you a while and worth treating yourself with.

Once your feet are all soaked and smooth you can do your nails and the skin around your naOrigins Sole Searcherils (it'll be easier now they are softened). If you have dry skin investing in a foot file is gross but necessary and now would be the time to get filing. Scholl's Dual Action Foot File is a good choice. For something with a little less elbow grease why not use a foot scrub? The Sanctuary's Foot Salt Scrub not only exfoliates but contains essential oils so its not too abraisive and only £5.95 for a big pot. But, as always, Origins have something a little more pricey up their sleeves, and its a goodie. Sole Searcher is a soothing foot scrub with Lava Rock (!) and worth its £16.50.

Now when it comes to moisturisers even I don't know where to begin. For me there is only one thing for really, really dry cracked skin. Flextol Heel Balm doesn't look special but my god it's a miracle worker. For £5.50 its a real must for those be-flip-flopped feet. Scholl's Deep Moisturising Cream is a permanant fixture in my bathroom and its only £3.99. This not only works a treat it smells amazing. For a more intensive treatment they do an Intensive Night Treatment, this comes with socks so you don't even have to walk like a tipsy penguin after application!
L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream
Best value for money for a non-intensive moisturiser is Badger Foot balm 21g is £3.89 for a big pot. Or Garnier's Body Cocoon Foot Cream is just 10p more. But I for one am never likely to do things by half so for something a little more fancy (again with the Origins...) Reinventing the Heel is a thick cream with tingling Menthol and Shea Butter to smooth the cracks. But the be all and end all in footcare for me, is L'Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream 150ml. Its cheaper than Origins and oh my goodness its pretty unbeatable. For £14 its thick, soothing and smells incredible. I really recommend this for any feet!

So ladies, remember you can have the aesthetic pleasure without the pain, but you have to look after your feet because there's no glamour in hobbling. xx

Monday, 12 March 2007

Put Your Hands Together

Just a quick rant before I get started. I’d like to issue a warning. The pavement pervs have up-ed their game. On my way to the Doctor’s at 10.00 on a Wednesday morning with the sun shining and the birds singing I was walking behind two guys who I would guess to be Iranian. They looked over their shoulder a couple of times and I thought nothing of it. Then one turned around and ‘jokingly’ pretended to jack off onto me!!

I am not telling porkies. That is what happened. I was, for possibly one of the first times in my life, speechless. I stopped and stared with my mouth open. In hindsight this probably just added to the effect for both him and the onlookers. He finished his action cheerily and continued on his way laughing with his friend.
Is nothing sacred??

Right back to the more pressing business of the most un-romantic public act ever (not including the act above). I was shocked by Prince William’s pre-proposal announcement in the papers. Well I say shocked… it was more the wearied resignation of the un-shockable. I’ve spoken to girls on the subject of proposal’s and indeed do know people who have organised the date on which their other-half is to pop the question, but never have I met anyone who says that from an early age (or indeed any age) they have dreamt of their engagement being announced in the papers three years before it actually happened. Is romance dead? Is every secret pleasure of our relationships to be formalised and aired in public? 

It seems that those in the public eye seem to get married to people they’ve seen a couple of times in a music video and eaten a few meals with. Marital problems get dragged through the papers and engagements are pre-planned. I suppose I can’t really comment as I am an avid reader of celebrity gossip. But to be honest there are some things I wish I didn’t know and I’d rather hear about Kate and William’s engagement the day after it had happened rather than over a thousand days before. 

There is one bonus however. Kate gets to ensure she has the loveliest little mitts in town. I’d recommend a manicure to anyone. They are soothing and slightly decadent but also get something done which is quite frankly pretty dull. Princess Nails have never let me down and for £12 you get your nails shaped, your hands moisturised and rubbed and colour applied. However if, like me, your cash flow is but a dribble, spending any money on something which you can do yourself for free is not an option.

Cuticle Clippers
Firstly I get the creepy bit out of the way. I haven’t tried any cuticle removing creams but these are available at some chemists (definitely Boots and Superdrug). If you don’t want the cream then just soak your hands in warm water for a few minutes and then either using clippers or your preferred device .gently remove the cuticles. Sounds very obvious reading it but 90% of the women I’ve spoken to are a little screamish about their cuticles. Believe me its not as bad as you think.
Absolute Aromas Organic Sweet Almond Oil and salt is an amazing exfoliating and moisturising treatment. It is exactly how it sounds. Just pour the almond oil into your palm and add some salt (with big crystals) and get rubbing. Then rinse. I do this after I remove my nail varnish – I usually use nail varnish remover on my nails even when I haven’t worn nail varnish for a while. It gets off any leftovers and will remove anything else not noticeable to the human eye. I recommend Quickies Nail Varnish Remover Pads with Vitamin B5. You can do all your nails with one pad (unless you are being a red-nailed vixen – that stuff gets everywhere you need to bathe in nail varnish remover) and they don’t dry out your nails so much. All nail varnish remover is stringent though so always wash your hands and moisturise after. 

All-in-one nail buffers and polishers are great and last for years. I keep one in my handbag just in case I have time to buff-on-the-go. You can get them in pretty much any big chemist now, definitely Boots and Superdrug for about £2. I also carry around a nail file and have some strategically placed around the house and my office (there is one stashed in the loos). These you can also pick up anywhere. Claire’s Accessories and Boots do fun ones for around £1. Never underestimate the power of the nail file. I hardly ever cut my nails anymore it’s much easier just to re-shape every now and again. To clip or to scissor is a personal preference. I clip Mr J amongst others cut. I’m assuming that this is because I’m constantly trying to keep my nails at a decent length rather than practically short so I need less precision. 

I have to admit that 50% of the time when buying nail varnishes I don’t like the colour when I get home. It never looks the same as it does in the bottle and it takes a trained eye to know what it will actually come out like. You are pretty safe with reds but pink is danger territory. There is only one person who I trust to pick out my nail varnish, the Mumma B, and 2 out of my top 3 colours come from her choosing. She can match colour to skin tone and see what the colour will look like on (I can hear her denying all knowledge of this ability but I hope that secretly she knows it’s true). She also taught me to always put a base coat on, an often overlooked trick of vital importance, this protects the nail and stops it from turning yellow. It is also essential to put on a top coat as this will take most of the bumps without chipping the colour. But what goes in-between? There are so many colours out there and everyone has different nail and skin tone and many different preferences in polish colour but I’ve picked my top three which I think would suit most people:
  1. Courtesy of Santa last year (another Mumma B choice) Maybelline New York Express Finish Shock Control its impossible to tell from my bottle what the colour is but Pearly Pink looks a slightly lighter version.
  2. Rimmel Lycra Wear in 325 Hot Gossip is a great deep red. It has a little sparkle in it so it’s not too much of a flat colour. So far this is the closest I’ve got to the perfect red nail varnish. This is really hardwearing especially after two coats.
  3. My favourite another Mumma B purchase is Rimmel’s Lycra Wear in 307 Grape Sorbet. She bought me this nail varnish when I said I was doubtful of the colour. We got home and it’s been on my toe nails ever since.
Hope this helps keep those hands looking beautiful and rings slipping onto fingers. And for those of you who’ve already got your diamonds – don’t let them down! xx

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Treat of the Week 5th-11th March

This week I'm going for Clinique's 15-minute Turnaround facial (as featured Clnique 15-minute Turnaround Facialin Under Pressure). Its £25 and worth ever penny - it lasts for ages and is a gentle way to treat your face. xx

Saturday, 3 March 2007

The Natural Look

Now I know it has all been a bit quiet on the Miss B front of late. Not only have I been suffering from a rather embarrassing illness but there has not been a lot to report on the terrifying world of celebrities. Britney has been in, out and back into rehab, Paris has cried at her birthday party, Liz Hurley got married and Charlotte Church is pregnant. But all in a very calm way. I guess that once you’ve seen a shaven headed Britney attacking a car with an umbrella dressed like an extra from Dodgeball everything else is bound to seem a bit tame.

I have also been applying for jobs and preparing for interviews which have forced me, against my will, to think slightly less about products and celebrities and more on my own charm offensive. The rest of my brain has been stuck on a new handbag and some grey suede stilettos. If anyone has any suggestions on where to get either I would be grateful. Not that I can afford to go and buy them but I am allowed to gaze in wonder and longing through shop windows.
So with all this too-ing and fro-ing, shop avoidance, self improvement and lack of funds what have I been up to beauty wise? Well I’ve been experimenting with the Natural Look! I’ve never been able to do it myself. I one of those more is more girls when it comes to make-up. Not because I am unaware that I look like I’m wearing a lot of make-up but because I like the look of myself all done up. I should say that as this is an anonymous website and therefore there are no pictures of me I do not look like Dame Barbara Cartland I promise. But, as I’ve said before, I don’t stint on the eyeliner and to be honest I rarely have the inclination to wear less.
That was until Miss M started seeing a guy from work, Mr N. I was living vicariously through their office flirting and illicit drinks. After a couple of months it was clear that Mr N was going to around for a while (they booked a holiday to Paris… Where’s my holiday??) Miss M decided the time had come. She could no longer go to bed war painted to the gunnels with a tube of mascara clutched at the ready. It was time to see if Mr N would stand the ground that lesser men had feared to tread. The morning after the night before... with no make-up.
Miss M takes after me in the will-not-leave-the-house-without-make-up stakes but there comes a time when every Mr has to see his Miss without the slap. Quite often, as was the case for me and the Mumma B (who claims to not have removed her mascara for the first year of marriage) the Mr in question does not notice this daring act of intimacy. But just in case we have an out. The Natural Look. Or the no make-up make-up as I like to call it (I was encouraged further when Miss G arrived at work completely sans make-up looking, and I am not kidding, absolutely stunning).
So what does Miss M rely on in times of no-make-up need? A touch of foundation on theMax Factor Masterpiece Mascara cheeks, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly No. 3 - 225g, mascara and blusher. Miss S smugly replied informed me ‘I always go for the natural look’. And she does. She always looks great and doesn’t take 3 hours to get ready (except when prising a wine glass from her hand!). She goes for Clinique’s Cream Shaper eyeliner in Brown Sugar, black mascara and some uncoloured lip balm. All three of us love Maxfactor's Materpiece mascara although, typical me, i've now opted for the new extra volume version. With this advice in mind I’ve been having an experBenefit Lemon Aidiment and I think I’ve come up with my ideal no make up make up.
  • Lemon Aid (of course) on the eyelids. You can actually just use this if you are going for the ultra natural look.
  • I always use foundation, especially at this time of year. I find that my skin does not look its best during the winter months if left to its own devices. I'm still hooked on Rimmel's Cool Matte 16hr Mousse.
  • Clinique Quickliner in Roast Coffee
  • Clinique’s Quickliner in Roast Coffee all around the eyes (lightly on the lower lids) and smudged about a bit. I still use quite a lot of definition on the corners of my eyes but as I’ve said before… I like looking like I have make-up on – I’m not one of the natural human wonders. But subtley and smudgily done this is a great 'natural' liner.
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly No. 3 - 225g. This is great for lips and eyes. If you use a touch on your eyelids then your eyeliner smudges up really well and it adds a touch of ‘natural’ shine.
  • A light dusting of Clinique’s Powder Blush in Innocent Peach.
  • Maxfactor’s Masterpiece Mascara
So go forth and be natural. Lets face it - it doesn't seem like the Mr's are going to notice it anyway xx
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