Friday 28 December 2007

Merry Christmas

I know it's late but I had full on can't-get-out-of-bed flu for the whole week before Christmas and I hate the idea that it ends at 12.00am on 26th December - this feeling is not helped by the complete bombardment of sales adverts on the TV and radio and the constant news updates on how many people have been through John Lewis etc. It's all become so materialistic I find it really disturbing and unfestive. Having said that I'm writing from my amazing and fabulous laptop kindly given to me by the hugely generous Mumma and Papa B who I think will enjoy the silence of my happy tapping compared to the previous efforts on my last computer which saw me turning the air blue with expletives every time I tried to do anything other than play solitaire.

I hope everyone had fantastic Christmases and are looking forward to the New Year and 2008. I've discovered that I am not, as I once thought, alone in my dislike for New Year. Ideally I'd hunker down with a couple of bottles of fizz and some smoked salmon and other goodies and be in bed by 1.00. Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately for my social life) Mr J is a party fiend and does not think New Year is New Year without jiggling about to music with 500 of his closest friends until 8.00 am on New Years Day. Luckily Mumma B always has an alternative New Years Day feast the weekend after the event - giving us time to recover and ensuring I get a little tradition to start off the year (although I'm sure it's a ruse to ensure her children are back in the house to tear down the tree they insist on being present to decorate). It seems that no one really has many plans for this year - last year everyone was having parties but this year there really aren't many (unless I'm being kept seriously out of the loop). I'd like to think that our party last year was so fabulous that it can't be beaten but I'm sure that's not it.

I did rather well for lovely smelly things and products this year. In my stocking I got; a black with gold glitter NARS Glitter Pencil in my stocking and it's every bit as good as I thought it would be. I'm rather worried that I won't be able to stop using it when I get back to work so will turn up a bit over-glittered on the 2nd and some E. Coudray Espreys scented Creme de Corps Body Cream which smells amazing it's almost too good to use. My wonderful godmother gave me a whole box of goodies from Potions and Possibilities I'm especially pleased because it made me check out the website which has so many lovely things on it and is fantastic for gifts. I got a lovely box wrapped with glittery paper and ribbon containing; English Jasmine soap, palmarosa, mandarin and violet concentration relief balm, traditional Lavender bath and shower gel, luxury bath parcel with Lavender and Calmomile, English Lavender bath salts and English Rose bath salts. It really is the ultimate girlie box of goodies. Lucky me - I'm off to soak xx

Monday 17 December 2007

Sniffle Sniffle

I managed not to disgrace myself at the Christmas party which was so fun, Miss K has flown off to Canada, and I have suddenly succumbed to the horrible cold that's been going round. I had to slink home from work early today to lie in a dark room. I'm hoping that the Lemsip will knock it on the head.

It has not been a good week for Amy Winehouse who is to be questioned by the police in relation to her husband's arrest for GBH and perverting the course of justice. So Amy being Amy goes to the pub at 6am for cocktails and makes a suicide pact with her prison bound husband. Fellow press meltdown nightmare Britney Spears has been barred from her favourite hideout the Beverly Hills Four Seasons. It does not look like either of them will be changing their ways any time soon.

On a brighter note, for those of you who are fans of Cashmere look no further than Eric Bompard's stunning collection which is must for anyone who loves french style. For anyone wanting a cashmere present for Christmas visit the website here and there's 20% off scarves, stoles and hats until 24th December so definitely worth checking out. There are so many colours available that you should be able to find the perfect present - from Eucalyptus Green classic hats and Intense Blue scarves to Mixed Cork Brown jumpers and Charcoal Grey for those who like something a bit more sedate. The website is incredibly easy to use so get clicking. xx

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Tis the Season to be Jolly

It's the dreaded Christmas party - it's the concept that's dreaded. I have no idea what to wear, I'm constantly exhausted from too many festivities so my face is not even trying to stop me looking horrendous in all the party pics and the uniting of alcohol and work is always to be closely monitored. It also brings closer the knowledge that the lovely Miss K is off to Australia soon and this is her last hurrah (no sneaking back to my sofa early for me then).

For those of you braver than I there are some fabulous party dresses available. As usually Asos have a huge selection - I love the look of the Luxe Sequin Scoop Back Dress £65 (as seen on Eva Longoria) and the French Connection Snowball Sequin Dress which is a bit more at £150 (as seen on Cat Deeley). For those of you who want something a bit more demure the Ted Baker Oversize Wool Mix Tunic (£75) is perfect.

If you are not keen on not trying before you buy New Look are doing a sweet Sequin Baby Doll Dress for only £25. For maximum bling Miss Selfridge's All Over Sequin Maxi Dress (£85) will certainly get you noticed. Marks and Spencers Per Una's Sequin Shift Dress with its flattering satin waistband (£99) is really feminine.

For those who prefer a little less sparkle Monsoon surprisingly have some really great maxi dresses - I love the Clementine Long Silk Panel Cut Print Dress and the Venus Burnout Dress both £180 but so understatedly glam and sophisticated, this is definitely not just a Christmas purchase. These may not suit those of us not blessed in the leg department so if that's the case you should try these on before buying.

I will be resorting to my old faithful black Gap Jersey Dress from last year my safe going out alternative to the black skinny's now known as the Trousers of Remorse xx

Monday 3 December 2007

A Little Sparkle

I have to say I am really sick of the Christmas shopping - I usually love it but am a total pauper this year, the crowds are completely out of control and it's getting harder and harder to know what people want. But this has been a great year for a bit of sparkle (remember the sparkly hair clips?). I may not know what other people want having been on a massive pre-Christmas shopping ban I saw so many things that I want. A word of warning - if you are retail starved don't think that you can just wander into Cath Kidston and not immediately want to hand over your credit card (or debit card in my case) even the tea towels are irresistible.NARS Area Glitter Pencil

Miss M had to drag away from the NARS Glitter Pencils on Saturday. They come in eight colours by my favourite is Area (black with gold glitter) and Mudd Club (beige with gold glitter). They are £18.50 each but these are chunky pencils which will last for ages. The lighter colours 54 and Roxbury can also be used Givenchy Prisme Solitaire Hightlighting Face Powderto highlight the cheeks. I can't stop thinking about them.

No 7's Highlighter is made up of champagne, platinum and gold powder to add highlights and sparkle to the face or body. There are so many different kinds of highlighters and illuminators around at the moment but this is great for general application and it won't break the bank at £13. It's perfect for taking to work to streak on your cheeks when you have to go straight out afterwards. For those of you wanting to spend a bit more on your highlighter Givenchy's Limited Edition Prisme Solitaire highlighting face powder is £28 - not only is this a great facial highlighter but for those of you brave enough to go strapless in this weather it looks great on the top of you shoulders.
Jemma Kidd Dual Illuminator
I'm still a huge fan of Benefit's High Beam but for those lucky people with a less pasty complexion Moon Beam is a more golden pink. They both last for ages so well worth the £15.50. When I'm finally allowed to add to my sparkle collection I would love to try the Jemma Kid's Dual Illuminator (£12.50). It has cream highlighter in one end and shimmer dust in the other and best of all it's portable for another great Christmas party back up. Now go forth and sparkle xx

Monday 26 November 2007

Slow on the uptake

Miss F and I have finally worked out what was wrong with the James Brown shampoo and conditioner lids. Whilst we spent ages trying to force them off they actually have a very easy to use hole in the top which when you press on the sides and lift opens up so you can just squirt the shampoo directly into your palm. I certainly feel a bit thick for not working that out sooner. The new James Brown haircare range is also now available (and very reasonably priced) at Boots. But it was thanks to this slight mental hiatus that I started sneakily using Miss F's Soap and Glory Hair Supply (available at Boots). It's £6, lasts for ages and works so well that loads of people keep asking me if I've had my hair done. It's really good.

For those people that it is just impossible to get anything for I Lick My Cheese and Other Notes: From the Frontline of Flatsharing by Oonagh O'Hagen is perfect. I have to say that I'm not to keen on the presentation - the cover isn't very exciting. But once you've started reading it you just keep coming back for more. Originally from Glasgow Oonagh O'Hagan is an MA fashion graduate of London's Central St Martins, where she is now a tutor. She runs, on online community of flatsharers where notes continue to be donated. This hilarious guide to flatmates will strike a chord with all flat sharers and anyone who's been on the end of such notes as "You know, that I know, that you know, that you took it... so give it back" or "I needed that ham, really needed it".

I don't know why but I always manage to forget the Christmas 'do' clothing disaster. So many things are going on, the weather (as usual) is foul - what do you wear? My pre-Christmas weight loss program has gone out the window - I'm at least half a stone over weight so I've taken to wearing my favourite black Gap mini-dress which is the closest you can get to a fabric bin-bag. It doesn't cling to the fat parts but is a great length (mid-thigh) and sweet mid-length sleeves. But it's Christmas and black is hardly festive. Behold, the return of the bling hair accessories. You can go for full on tiara style or just a teeny glitzy clip to add some sparkle.

Topshop Rhinestone Star hair clips are really sweet and only £6 so a great way to glam up but also great for stockings! If you want to be a little bit more extravagant Glitzy Secrets Paradise Head band would look great on piled up hair. For budget subtle sophistication Accessorize elastic Triple Strand Metallic Brando will sort out unruly hair - pile it up and space out the bands - it's only £4. Don't panic get glitzy xx

Monday 19 November 2007

Christmas Goddess

If you thought the hardback was good just wait til you see the paperback. The Goddess Guide by Gisele Scanlon is out in it's new format and it's better than ever. With new content and cover it's perfect for a girlie present or stocking filler - I defy any girl not to LOVE this.

As we know Christmas is the perfect excuse for slightly too much booze and you can't get more festive than M&S's Rose Prosecco which at just under £8 per bottle, is the perfect start to any Christmas party and won't break the bank.

Alan Yau has opened a new restaurant on St James St which I am desperate to try out. Sakenohana not only does sushi and sashimi but has a list of exciting traditional Japanese recipes with a modern twist - the shabu-shabu with Kobe beef sounds amazing. With a sushi bar downstairs and the restaurant and bar upstairs this is definitely worth trying as a Christmas treat.

For the man in your life - let's face it they are impossible to shop for - legendary guitarist Slash has just bought out an autobiography which I have to say is the best book I've read all year. Written with Rolling Stone journalist Anthony Bozza, Slash: The Autobiography takes you through one of the most exciting times in rock history from the view point of one of the genre's most respected musicians. It doesn't get any better than this - it's so good I might just have to read it again. xx

Monday 5 November 2007


I would like to congratulate Mrs Y on the long awaited arrival of her baby. She had a beautiful boy born at home on Sunday afternoon.

Right back to the more usual business of the day. Cheryl Cole has been badmouthing nearly everyone in the music business. I have to say that I think both Amy Winehouse and Charlotte Church, her two most recent targets, can both out sing any of girls aloud. Amy may have her drunken moments (OK more than a few) but she is truly original compared to a lot of what's out there at the moment. Mrs Fielder-Civil has other things to worry about this week her (loser) husband has been arrested for trying to bribe the victim in his ongoing assault case. Amy has been described as 'distraught' and this just seems to be just one more thing that is detracting from her talent.

And just when you were thinking that Britney might have actually kept out of the papers for once she has been snapped running a red light whilst looking at her phone with her kids in the back. Presumably the child welfare person was in the passenger seat so god knows what she must have been thinking. However, having watched a programme on Thursday (annoyingly the name escapes me) I do feel incredibly sorry for her. She is constantly surrounded by photographers. All the time. And the paps excuse? She knows their names and knows who they are so that makes it OK. I have no doubt that they help her career and she acts up for them but that in no way means she should have her every single move followed. No wonder she is [allegedly] going loopy.

OK and now to nicer things. For those of you who want to be creative with your presents this year or for those who, like me, use Christmas as an excuse to eat as much as possible Mumma B's Pepparkakor are a great present... or a great treat for you! They are a Swedish Christmas biscuit which are yummy plain or decorated. This recipe makes hundreds but you can freeze the dough so you can make them as you need them.
  • 250g butter
  • 300g sugar
  • 1tbsp syrup
  • 1 dessert spoon ground ginger
  • 1 desert spoon ground gloves
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 cardamon seeds ground
  • 1 egg
  • 500g plain flour
  • 1tbsp bicarbonate of soda
Melt the butter into a saucepan. Add the sugar, syrup and spices. Let it cool - it can be luke-warm but you don't want it to cook the eggs. Then add the eggs, flour and bicarbonate of soda. Let the dough firm in the fridge, roll onto a floured surface and cut into thin shapes (I love using star cutters). Bake in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about ten minutes and then leave to cool.

If you want to decorate them then you can mix up some icing and use silver sugar balls as decoration. Red, green and white are great festive icing colours. For all those ginger biscuit fans out there, these are going to the next level. xx

Saturday 3 November 2007

Give and You Shall Receive

Chai Time Tea
Having gone to an amazing Halloween party at my sisters house I was reminded that Christmas brings out the hostess is many and this in itself can just add to the expense of the season. Finding suitable presents to give as a thank you for a party can be impossible. But Choi Time may have the perfect solution. Tea may not sound very exciting but is actually a great substitute for the usual chocolates - and special tea is pretty unbeatable. Choi Time sell imported blossoms from China. With Jasmine, Exotic Mixed Flowers and Thousand Year Red Flowers because you only have to use one or two blossoms a time these actually last ages. You can buy small pots from £7.50 - getting a few of these would be a great present reserve for those awkward moments when you get presented with a gift and have nothing with which to reciprocate - or there are gift sets with an assortment of teas, pots and glasses (from £28). Not only will these teas suit those anti-caffeine people but also are great for helping along your festive hangover, which will make your present even more appreciated the morning after. Pour on the hot water and watch the flower blossom. Not only do these teas have anti-aging properties and can help speed up metabolism but they are calming, provide the body with catechins (which help fight cancer), help digestion and get rid of free radicals.

A more girl-specific present but a great choice if you don't really know the girlie on the receiving end is Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, and Everything Glamour by RStyle A to Zoe by Rachel Zoeachel Zoe with Rose Apodaca. This is a beautifully presented book and actually looks really different from its competition not only is it great inside but it's format outside makes it a great coffee table book. Unlike the other style/fashion/beauty books out there this is written by a bona fide stylist. The tips in here are have celebrity photographic and anecdotal evidence to back it up - with glowing praise for Rachel on the back from the likes of Glenda Bailey and Liv Tyler. Covering vintage must haves, the red carpet, what poses you can pull off and what to wear the morning after this is the best of it's kind with out a doubt. xx

Wednesday 31 October 2007

Back in the Saddle

Liesel and I completed our sponsored ride on Sunday and although we got absolutely drenched it was a really great day (but not one of my most glam!!) She jumped beautifully, was extremely well behaved and we managed to raise £145 for the Mark Davies Injured Riders Fund . So although I arrived home soaked to the skin and have spent the last two days barely able to sit down (or get my hand out of the ‘claw’ position) it was all totally worth it for such a great day. Taking advantage to use it as an excuse to spend most of this week in hot baths with my latest read (Slash: The Autobiography).

I waddled into work on Friday to see that I had won a prize for ‘greenness’ which was a lovely surprise. I have to choose my prize and am having a look at all the latest ‘green’ cosmetics. Stella McCartney has a great range. All products are not tested on animals, 100% organic non-genetically modified ingredients, no chemicals or petrochemicals and suitable for every skin type - the Nourishing Elixir looks great. Another great ‘green’ skincare range is Ren – they cover everything from skin and facial care, to fragrance and haircare. I really love the look of their Phytokeratin Volumising Conditioner for Fine Hair (£19.50). I’d also love to try REN Zostera Marina Cleansing Wash 150ml (£16.50).

I’ve managed to get my hands on the new paperback edition of That Extra Half an Inch: Hair, Heels and Everything in Between by Victoria Beckham. This is a really fun book with great pictures and tips but I have to say that I did not feel that it told me anything I didn’t already know. She gives great advice on where to get certain items of clothing and accessories but unless I am more clued up than most on fashion (which I don’t think I am necessarily) I feel that I could have written a similar book and, dare I say it, maybe done it slightly better. It would be a great girlie present but with books like The Goddess Guide around I fear the competition is pretty stiff.

I’m really loving the L'Oreal Resist and Shine nail varnish which I put on my toes nearly three weeks ago… it still hasn’t chipped!! Although I think I will stick to pinker colours on my tootsies and keep the red for the hands so far this is the longest lasting nail varnish I’ve had on my toes ever. There’s also a new comer in nail care which I think is a must try for all of you who love to varnish Butter London looks fantastic. None of their products contain formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate (so are known as 3 Free) and as well as doing a fantastic range of colours (Macbeth, Portobello Pink, and Henley Regatta for the more adventurous) they also do nail fertilizer (Horse Power, £20), ridge filling basecoat (Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat, £18) and many more. And they do loads of fabulous gift packs which are great as presents ranging from £12 for a travel pack which complies with new airport rules (containing remover, sanitizer, nail files and cotton pads) to £18 for Lacquer Lovers (a set of two nail lacquers in either a ‘Vogue’ or ‘Vintage’ look) or for the really extravagant the Ultimate Mani Pack. It’s £90 but you get lacquers, treatments and files. It’s really worth checking out their site.

Mr J and I attended the annual Halloween party at my sisters house in Brixton last night. As usual there was mind-numbing punch and fantastic nibbles to be had. And we're going to not one but two fireworks displays this weekend. Brockwell Park on Friday and Ravenscourt Park on Saturday. I can't wait - I love fireworks although they have a nasty habit of making me feel prematurely festive. xx

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Don't Mention It

Just when you thought The White Company couldn't get much better they have now set up a Gift Reminder Service. You can fill in the date and the occasion, the age and gender of the recipient and the approximate budget. Not only do you get a reminder email but they will also give you some recommendations for the present. Perfect!

For those of you who live or venture to East London a new bar has opened and I really want to check it out. Mary Janes Bar & Lounge is the new place for cocktails, with speciality liqueurs and flavoured vodkas. Sounds like the perfect post-payday treat.

Now I hate to bring this up. But it is only 8ish weeks til Christmas and although I hate all the decorations going up too early it is true that the earlier you do your shopping the calmer the whole thing is. So I'm going to try and seek out some present ideas and deals that may help us out. I'll keep you posted.

One great new product which I would love to try and think would make a great girlie present is New Id Comsmetics' I-Smoulder. With an angled pencil at one end and eye shadow at the other it comes in Charcoal and Ember - perfect for smoky eyes xx

Monday 22 October 2007

Your Next Bold Move

Last night was finally the night when I dragged a rather willing Mr J off to see Ani Difranco at the Shepherds Bush Empire. I had a filthy cold and was feeling a bit subdued. I had also forgotten how massive the queues are outside the venue. It was all totally worth it. Mr J firmly believing in the healing powers of whisky made me have two for medicinal purposes so by the time Ani's support act Hamel on Trial came on I was feeling revived! I have to say I nearly forget just how good she was live and last night was as good as ever. What I did find strange was that nobody in the standing area was dancing (we were on Level 2 which I was initially annoyed about but it meant that a) i didn't have to stand which I really didn't feel up to for four hours, and b) we didn't have the eternal problem of me not being able to see anything). But I could barely sit in my seat - and I thought it must be a bit weird to be playing to a nearly still room. If you haven't already I really would recommend checking her out (Righteous Babe).

Britney just keeps going with the bizarre behaviour. This time she has got her lips plumped and crashed her car again. I just cannot imagine the decision making process that goes on in her head! She has got some visitation rights back though so fingers crossed she can do that right. Same goes for Amy Winehouse who has been arrested in Norway for drug possession. Refreshingly Lindsey Lohan seems to be doing well out of rehab although I don't want to speak to soon... It's the season finale of Grey's Anatomy on Thursday night so no guesses as to where I'll be on Thursday night. Ugly Betty series 2 has started though so there is some consolation.

This week I've been testing out [A'Kin] Rosehip and Shea Intensive Anti-oxidant complex. It smells great but the consistency is a bit strange after application. It is a great cream but I'm not sure it is up to the stiff competition out there. I'm going to give it a bit longer and see how it goes.

I got my roots hightlighted this weekend at Tony & Guy Essensuals. My colourist does a fantastic job but I think next time I'm going to make an attempt to return to my natural hair colour. I keep seeing brunettes and hearing my mother say that she thinks most people look best with their natural hair colour (although she has been telling me to stick to blonde). But I think next time it's got to be done.

I've been in bed all day struggling with this cold. I wish I'd got my act together and had got my hands on Camilla Morton's latest, A Girl for All Seasons. It looks fantastic and perfect for a bedridden Miss B (see Treat of the Week). xx


Sunday 14 October 2007


I have to get my disgust for today's News of the World off my chest before I can write this post. Today they had photo's of Kate Middleton stalking with Prince Charles saying that in today's gun culture they thought it was irresponsible. I was so cross because it's a perfect example of gun's being used responsibly in a tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. Whether you agree with stalking or not there are people there who have been properly trained and who are using them in a safe environment. I think that we have a growing problem with gun crime but that doesn't mean anyone who handles a gun is going to use it dangerously. I hate that people waste time on tiny incidents when the serious ones keep getting worse.

Right - now that's over I think I tracked down four great nail varnishes on Friday (having convinced myself that they were necessities). The first was actually a Miss F find. It's Revlon Nail Enamel for £4.99 in One Perfect Coral. It looks slightly different depending on your skin tones - it looks more orange on Miss F and more red on me but what I love about it is that its a calmer alternative to a more post-box red. I can't stop looking at my hands!! The next is L'Oreal's Resist and Shine in 505. I can't track the actual colour down for some reason but this is a light red which is really girlie and pretty - I think it's the perfect red for toe nails. 17's Knockout Red is a cheaper, slightly darker version of the L'Oreal and 17 also do a great 3 in 1 clear nail varnish which moisturises and conditions and makes the perfect base and top coat. Both were just £2.59. I've been feeling like a real glamour puss since my nail fest at the weekend (Mr J had his eyes opened to a whole new world of the nail varnishing process). I will say that the Revlon did only manage to stay on for three-ish days but this is no criticism really. I have yet to find a nail varnish that can last longer than that and I've been trying for ten years!!

Right - the jury is in on the James Brown and Kate Moss new haircare range. First a bit from their press release...

"James Brown defines British hairdressing. One of the world's most sought after and influential session stylists: he has more British Vogue cover credits to his name than any other hairdresser. His signature brand of effortlessly cool hairstyling from grunge to high-octane glamour has influenced a generation "

"When formulating the range James called on his best friend and muse Kate Moss for her advice on fragrance direction and packaging aesthetics. This new partnership between James and Kate is a continuation of their long-term relationship which has seen them as best friends, flatmates, trusted confidantes and, on camera, as fashion catalysts. Kate's involvement also sees her as the face of the James Brown London brand, ensuring this exciting new launch is as much about James' and Kate's personalities, professional experience and personal favourites as it is about natural and efficacious ingredients. "

Now Miss F and I are pretty much the perfect testers for hair products. Her hair is naturally blonde and thick with curls at the end. Mine is fine, but there's lots of it and peroxided to within an inch of it's life. We both wash ours every other day but Miss F's can definitely go a bit further without washing than mine which, being fine tends to stick to my head and lose all volume. We were trying the dry hair shampoo and conditioner and the styling balm. Due to the peroxide my hair can be dry and frizzy. Miss F's has a tendency to frizz and although it's not dry - she wants it to shine.

I found that my hair felt really silky after using the James Brown products (the conditioner is pretty tough stuff so should just be applied to the ends of your hair) but the day after it lacked volume. Miss F loves it - she says it makes her hair feel shiny and her curls are proper curls rather than frizz. I think that a first wash with the James Brown and the second wash with the Thicker Fuller Hair Shampoo would do the trick for my hair (that's if I can get to the James Brown before Miss F). The Styling Balm is great is smells really nice and even though it feels quite hard (literally) to apply this actually ensures that you don't overdo it (which is the most upsetting thing). This range is definitely worth trying.

Got some more lovely treats in the post today so am off to check them out xx

Tuesday 9 October 2007

Miss F Returns

Miss F has returned from her sojourn in Australia so finally we are a full house again and Grey's Anatomy normality can be restored). This week we will mostly be washing our hair - the new James Brown products have arrived and I have to say... I'm impressed. They smell gorgeous and I had a sneaky try on the balm in the car and it seemed pretty good. I used the shampoo and conditioner for the first time today and my hair does feel softer but definitely less volumised. But obviously will take a few washes to settle down so will keep going. Am impressed so far.

I've been feeling so lethargic this week (I'm blaming Miss F for my sympathy jet-lag) but haven't been too lazy to notice how great Nicole Richie is looking now she is pregnant. She looks really healthy and happy so I'm hoping that motherhood will sort out the weight problems once and for all. We'll have to wait and see. Another person who is continually in the papers (apart from Ms Spears and her lack of underwear) is Amy Winehouse who was apparently so upset when her husband failed to appear at the MOBO's that she is talking divorce. I'm not holding my breath though - it certainly seems too good to be true. Right - off for the first wash with the James Brown... xx

Thursday 4 October 2007

Shopping Spree

I sat down to write this two hours ago but I have been finally going through all my emails and I had loads of really nice ones from people who read this but also I’ve been told about a couple of new products out there which I’m determined to sample. The first package of goodies is currently sitting in the post office waiting for me to retrieve it tomorrow morning. It’s James Brown’s new haircare range. He’s one of the most sought after British stylists and who has he chosen to collaborate with? His best bud, ex-flatmate and muse, Kate Moss. I can't wait to try them out! I’ve also been told about a new mineral cosmetics brand from Australia - Inika. Not only are their products made from minerals with no parabens, talc or fragrance but they’re also 100% Vegan. Want to give those a go too.

It's been a good week for me with my goodies but a bad week for... you guessed it - Miss Britney Spears. She's now only allowed to see her kids in the presence of a social worker. I've completely lost faith in her turning her life around. I still really hope she does but she just doesn't even seem to be trying... in any way... at all!! When I got back from holiday friends of Amy Winehouse said she was coming round to their way of thinking but this actually seems to be untrue. She's missing the first couple of dates on her November tour to be by his side in court.
But back to normality… for Mumma B’s birthday (which falls in the middle of our family holiday so is always tricky to for packing) I gave her some L’Occitane Elixir from Immortelle. It’s supposed to show results in one month so I’m going to go and prod at her face this weekend.
I’m loving the You’re Bluffing by Benefit. It really works. This really was a decadent buy because I don’t suffer too badly from patchy skin. I do always get redness around my nose and this works like a dream. It also comes in (typically) great packaging too. Some Kind-a Gorgeous is fabulous. I am less keen on the packaging with this one. It’s pretty clunky and plasticy – but luckily what’s inside is worth the £19.50 you pay. These were my welcome home from holiday treats. But then I get an email telling me about their new product Cupids Bow. Not only is it a lip liner with two shades but there’s also a brush and sponge all in one. I must resist I must resist… well I’ll try really hard to resist.
My final hurrah on the spending front was a trip to Topshop last Thursday night. I finally succumbed and bought a pair of skinny jeans. They do not look good but I'm determined to tone the thighs. They have become my aim. I also bought a jumper from the new Kate Moss range (Kate Moss again!). Which is really gorgeous. Worth a look in - if you can face it.
I’m getting excited about seeing Ani Difranco in a couple of weeks time at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. I am taking Mr J though so am slightly concerned about how he’ll handle it. Not content with spending my salary on products I bought some mugs from the Righteous Babe website. The best thing for a cup of tea. I’m going to use it for my lunch time soup. I’m desperately trying to shed a few pounds but have no will power whatsoever so keep cheating. I’m trying to do exercises in the morning, and not eat carbs after 5 but then naughty Miss K tempted me into getting a bagel from breakfast. The aforementioned lack of will power ever present I had Pastrami, cream cheese and pickles. Full fat cream cheese obviously. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.
Miss F is still in Australia. It’s very strange without her – watching Grey’s Anatomy is just not the same surrounded by boys with no ally. She’ll home soon though and then I get to watch them all over again thanks to the wonder of the Sky+ box. Speaking of which it’s 10.30 on Thursday – time for some McDreamy. It's sooooo good xx

Monday 1 October 2007

New Arrivals

Woke up on Saturday morning to find the first box of my Benefit order has arrived. I'm overjoyed to have my Bad Gal eye liner back but I was also intrigued to try out the You're Bluffing creamy yellow correcting stick after the disaster that is Rush Hour I was having doubts about their more different products. But it really works and of course the packaging is divine. Now just waiting for the Some Kind-a Gorgeous to turn up then I'm going to have a fully girlie play about and let you know what I think. xx

Thursday 27 September 2007

Where's my Stuff?

To compound my rage of yesterday (see below) my Benefit purchases still haven't turned up. They were due on the 24th. I'm going to have to track them down myself clearly xx

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Hell hath no fury like Miss B

Right - don't actually know what to do with myself I am so shocked and angry. My darling sister was walking the teeny walk home from her boyfriends house in Brixton last night when she was jumped from behind by a 'weedy middle aged' white guy who tried to take her handbag. I say tried because after punching her in the head she still held on to the bag and was giving as good as she got. Unfortunately for her this guy must be used to losing to women as his huge black friend (about 6'5") then appeared threw my sister to the ground where they proceeded to kick her. As she has stitches in her tummy at the moment she gave up the bag when the kicking ensued. The white guy, true to form, booted her a bit more after this.

I think any man who hits a woman should have his hands removed and my entire family would happily string these guys up by their testicles. And will if we see them. Thank god they didn't have any weapons and the police were apparently really great and took her looking for them afterwards. I pesonally hope she sees them with her two large male housemates, her large boyfriend and his large housemate. Fingers crossed.

So Misses you have been warned. If you live in Brixton (this happened in one of the residential roads of Railton Road towards Herne Hill) watch out for these two guys - they've tried to attack one of my friends before - and apparently they hide and jump you from behind. But wherever you live always be careful - carrying a rape alarm in your hand may feel silly most of the time but could be a valuable asset if you get attacked. Nowhere is safe anymore and although I know you are always advised to just hand over your stuff a) adrenaline kicks in and you want to hold on to it and b) who wants to live in a society where we should just hand my stuff over to anyone who thinks they can take it. Be careful of yourselves xx

Wednesday 19 September 2007

Spend, Spend, Spend

Right, having had to lovely weeks in the south of France I’m back and unfortunately making up for lost time on the spending front. I’ve also got a new Internet connection so forgive me if the posts are a bit sporadic. I did the usual pre-holiday shop getting L'Oreal Professional shampoo and I treated myself to A Perfect World by Origins which I'm loving. Miss F and I also tried the Foot Rest soothing foot soak which was lovely, but quite eucalyptus-y.
One of the best things about France, apart from the sun, swimming pools, good food and drink is Sephora. The shop that stocks so many different brands you would rarely have to go anywhere else. I was lucky to be on holiday with my parents and had vowed not to spend so I had to limit myself to Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm which was only €9 and my absolute favourite lip treatment. I had to resist the Two Faced Beauty Balm, eye shadow and Frosted Lip Injection and had promised myself some new Bad Gal and the only thing Sephora lacks is Benefit. Which is what led to my downfall…
Two minutes back with the Internet and I’ve not only bought Bad Gal Eye Liner but also You're Bluffing correcting stick and then today Some Kind-a Gorgeous. I’m supposed to be conserving funds for a trip to Topshop tomorrow to spend my birthday voucher from my sister and I just know that that is going to lead to a clothing frenzy but no – products on the Internet are paid for with seemingly pretend money so I got a bit carried away. I will keep you posted on how they go.
Something else which I’m pretty sure is at its best in France is soap. The women in my family literally could barely shut their cases for soap (Papa B had to take a firm hand to mine). For as cheap as €1.50 you can great delicious smelling Provencal soap which is great for presents but I have actually ended up keeping about 6 of mine. I haven't bought anything from this website (I'm fully stocked) but it seems to have a great range and be the real deal .
As wonderful as France was after two weeks away you do find that you miss out on so much news and you haven’t seen your friends for years. You also miss out on the latest gossip be it celebrity or more home grown. Sadly, whilst we were away Luciano Pavarotti and Anita Rodick died and OJ Simpson seems to have got himself in to trouble again. As for Amy Winehouse; will she ever get help? Surely she can see that having public slanging matches with your husband and have suspiciously bloodied toed shoes is too far. I love her but I wish that she would grow up slightly. I know that she has a drug problem but as far as her marriage is concerned they should both realise that they've made an adult decision so they should act like adults.
Right lecture over. I'm off to sit by the letterbox and wait for my Benefit goodies. xx


Monday 17 September 2007


Bonjour ma petite mademoiselle's. I'm sorry for the rather extended silence but have just returned from the family holiday in Marseilles which was heavenly but t'internet and therefore blog-less. Having topped up my tan before the onslaught of English autumn and completely missed the Indian Summer I'm ready to get back to it on the reviewing front. Let me know if there is anything specific you'd like looked at. Meanwhile just a little something to keep you going. Have started to swear by putting Vaseline on my feet before my socks most mornings. It really clears up any dry or cracked skin and makes them baby smooth. I was told to do this at night but frankly the thought of wearing socks in bed is, to me, not pleasant (anyway I know that for some reason I always seem to remove them in my sleep) xxx

Wednesday 29 August 2007


The now Mrs H has very kindly sent me some photo's of the wedding so you can see the finished product from my months of discussion on what make-up we should do. There are not close close close ups yet but her are a couple in which I think you'll agree she looks fabulous (that sounds like I'm blowing my own trumpet... lets face it she'd look amazing in a in bag) xx


Monday 27 August 2007


Right - I know how this is going to sound and there's nothing I can do about it. You are going to have to bear with me. This is going to sound like Carrie Bradshaw but I can't help it... it is also nothing to do with beauty... well it is in a way. I was on my way back from a lovely supper courtesy of Miss W and Mr E. I had been confined to the bus due to poverty and whilst sitting on the 148 from Elephant and Castle (possibly somewhat inebriated...) we crossed Westminster Bridge. I looked out at the Houses of Parliament all lit up in their architectural wonder. Nessum Dorma sung by Pavarotti came on my i-pod. To be listening to such a moving song (especially in light of Pavarotti's declining health) and the view was one from postcards. As we went past Big Ben I looked up to see that it was exactly midnight on the dot. You couldn't have timed it - the song, the view, the time.

It's theses little bits of London that renew my faith in the city which seems to be more and more consumed by crime and political ineptitude. When ever you are feeling fed up with the city I recommend a night bus (the 14 is another great one) for a slow glimpse of a city in which the majority of us spend our time rushing about. xx

Monday 13 August 2007


I have to confess that last weekend whilst having a wonderfully 'London' day (the sun was out, Mr J and I were strolling down the King's Road looking for presents for each other...) I was completely put off buying one brand again. We had gone into quite a few beauty shops that day (are you surprised?) and as we walked into MAC we were greeted by a wall of horrifically terrible house music. I balked at the door but went in anyway. The shop assistants (a man and a woman with terrifying black lipstick) were chatting away at the end of the counter. They continued to chat whilst I tapped my fingers. When the woman eventually came over her disdain for me was tangible after giving me the price of the product I was looking at (which she had to repeat over the blare of the awful music) she then swanned off back to her chat. I left without even considering a purchase.

Why do shops think that pumping house music is a good sales technique. You can't hear yourself think let alone any of the shop assistants and I'm sure I'm not the only one who can't stand house music. I also end up feeling rather like my mother ("what a terrible noise") which is not great when you are 23. I know much prefer going to a big department store where the muzak is in the background and the assistants are there to help. John Lewis on the Kings Road ended up getting my custom.

Thank goodness that the wacky world of celebrities is proving a suitable diversion from the drama of what I now like to call 'in-person shopping' (as opposed to online). Amy Winehouse has succumbed to Rehab (I'm avoiding the much over used but tempting 'yes yes yes' gag), Nicole Richie is pregnant and Britney is now an (alleged) lesbian. I find this all immensely comforting as it makes my lack of money, carpets in my house and any sort of career plan look insanely normal and boring. I am a big Amy Winehouse fan - I can't really explain why. We're the same age and I often toyed with off-the-raildom and instead teetered back to sane living thanks to the firm rule of Mumma B. And she looks so scarily thin that I can only think how messed up and unhappy she must be. She only lasted two days however, so I'm not sure she's on the road to recovery just yet.

Her US skinny equivalent Nicole Richie however, has been looking fab since announcing her pregnancy. One can only assume that it is the addition of baby fat that has improved her no end. I can't help but worry that once she reaches six months she will just snap if she stands up. Surely she doesn't have the ability to hold up pounds of baby. I do really hope that this signals a turning point for her though. Fingers crossed.

As for Ms Spears. Oh Britney, Britney, Britney. I really don't think she would know how to make a right decision if one came up and smacked her in the face (which I believe it frequently nearly has in the form of her various 'close friends and relatives' who are constantly in the press ruing the Pop Princesses behaviour. But for those of you who thought it couldn't get any worse the last couple of days have been dominated by news of Britney's penchant for nudity in public, lesbian pool romps and family rows. It has also been rumoured that she keeps her babies awake til 11 so that they sleep in and to aid this gives them coffee with cream and sugar. Don't hold your breathe for Britney's re-birth as the next Mrs Beeton. xx

Monday 6 August 2007

Me, me, me

Lucky me had a really great weekend. Post dog-death Miss B was a little morose. I did go through the 'I have no friends I'm all alone' stage and now am safely out the otherside. The weather definately helped but so did doing something different with my time. Rather than the usual Sunday with Mr J spent drinking and eating too much whilst reading papers we went with Miss M, to a car boot sale in Battersea. But wait, we went one step further, we took a table, some chair, a great picnic and what seemed like half of Miss M's flat and did some selling. I was a little dubious at first but it was so much fun. I would really recommend it. Proof that there is still cool cheap stuff to do in London. It nearly but not quite made up for the fact that I am living in a building site and have had no hot water for over a week. I'm running out of places to shower which is not good.
Am now facing the usual poverty which the end of the first week of the month brings. Have luckily purchased Mr J's birthday present but for some reason have no idea what I want myself... except about 100 different products of course but I just don't think that that can be my present from Mr J. However, it would be foolish of me not to browse under the circumstances. Here's what I've seen....
  • Sue Devitt Beauty Eye Intensifier Pencil in Surat (£17.50). This deep shimmering bronze is great for adding definition and a bit of sparkle. It is smudge proof and waterproof so this works great as either and intensive liner or lighter for smokey eyes.

  • Paul and Joe Serum (£22) a grease free intensive moisturiser. This frangrance free serum contains honey to aid moisture retention.

  • Shiseido the Make-up Silky eye shadow quad in Lunar phases (£24)

  • Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme Frosted (£17) used in the morning and evening this plumper contains the latest in 'lip plumping technologies'.

  • Revlon Bedroom Eyes poweder liner in Fishnet Jet (£8)

  • Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Body Spray (£13) can be used everywhere and even works upside down. Not wanting to be too gross but I want to try this on the hard to get bit between the shoulder blades!

  • Bliss Love Handler (£28). This seems to be being recommended everywhere. It releases caffine over an extended period of time which increases your metabolism. Best used with FatGirlSlim...

  • GHD Summer Travel Bag (£145) comes with a styler and heat proof pouch and some travel sized goodies. Terribly extravagent especially if, like me, you already have some GHD's but I can't help myself.

  • Elizabeth Arden's Smokey Eyes Powder Eye Pencil (£12)

One thing I've noticed since getting older is that presents you saw your older relatives getting when you were younger and thought were rubbish you now really want. If anyone is stuck for what to get me, anything from L'Occitane, The White Company, Molton Brown, Jo Malone (... you get the idea) is perfect. The thought of a receiving a scented candle drove the seven year old me into a decline now I adore them. xxx

Tuesday 31 July 2007

Cheer Up

At the risk of sounding sorry for myself I’ve been having a bit of a tough time of it recently. My dear dog Pippo had to be out down leaving a big empty hole in my family and our house. Having rescued him from Italy two years ago I’d expected him to be around for a while but unfortunately he had inoperable tumours and there was nothing we could do. It’s hit us all really hard.

I’ve also been living in a building site due to a burst radiator and now that work has finally started the hot water has decided to stop. Three days and counting – thank god for the fabulous Miss W who has let me nip over to use her shower. Otherwise I think I would have no friends left.

It’s vaguely comforting to know that I am not the only one (you never are!). A pregnant Nicole Richie has been sentenced to time in prison but who knows when and for how long? I am all for celebrities doing time if they’ve done a crime but I am absolutely terrified at the thought of Nicole even being pregnant – I think she needs to sit quietly for the next 7 or so months until it’s born. Britney too has been not having the best of times – although she still seems to be in complete denial and have lost the ability to stop doing things she shouldn’t. Having had some sort of ‘episode’ on a photo shoot for ‘OK’ magazine she has also been acting weird on the set of her new video. If you had gone through a messy public divorce, had a messy public meltdown involving head shaving and umbrella wars and were constantly at risk of having your children taken away from you what would you chose as your comeback video?? Yes that’s right Britney – dress in leather waistcoat, shorts two sizes to short and fishnets and pole dance. That will restore everyone’s faith. This will work best if you punctuate practises with vacant eyed puppy cuddling.

I think what we all need sometimes is something to cheer us up in product form – and I’m not talking about Valium. Unfortunately I am too poor to be able to buy anything but a girl can dream. So here are some products I really want to try that are packaged and pretty to make a girl feel better.

Meteorites Powder for the Face (£30) by Emilio Pucci for Guerlain. The packaging is simply divine and is described as “the secret to a perfect complexion”. Made up of multicoloured beads each add something to the skin – the green takes away redness, pink adds healthy glow and gold adds highlights.

Mac Cosmetics Pigment in (£15) this is great for adding shimmer to the cheeks and brow bone or indeed anywhere and is available in over twenty different colours but my choice would be Frozen White or Frost as they look great over light blusher or on the brow bone.

Paul and Joe’s Eye Colour comes in 20 different shades and a cute compact. I really like the light green (01).

Crayon Liner in No 1 by Pixi (£12). This is a gorgeous green that will really make you feel like summer is finally here.

Benefit Hollywood Glo Body Lustre (£22). This body balm adds a rose gold glimmer to your body. Perfect for arms and shoulders now that the sun is finally out.

Flower Eye Colour by the Body Shop (£9). Comes in two colours – I love the look of La Cruz in Aqua Peach.

And finally Palette Mauresque for the complexion by Yves Saint Laurent (£36). Also available for the eyes but this is the one to go for I think made to give a healthy glow this mixes browns and pinks to avoid either the flushed or the dirty look.

Let me know if you are lucky enough to have any of these products or if there is something that you think I've missed that can cheer you up. Remember everything is impermanent so no bad feelings can last forever. xx

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Hangover from Hell?

I had a sudden realisation on the 6 hour (so not that sudden) train journey from King's Cross to Perth that having written about parties, Ibiza and now weddings I have yet to come with any tips for a crashing hangover. Needless to say I was suffering with one at the time. It all started on Thursday lunchtime and I am not responsible. Thinking it was Friday (I had Friday off to get up to Scotland) I agreed to a boozy lunch involving me and a three or four pints of San Miguel. Having realised my error I was left to suffer at my desk until 5.30 with impending doom in my sinuses. Obviously to get over this lunchtime drinking hangover I had to continue - demanding Proseco and Champagne from Mr J when I turned up tiddled for supper and getting increasingly in the 'holiday' mood by being alternately mouthy and sleepy.

Danger. Woke up grumpy and sore-headed on Friday with a train to catch and a Boots shop to accomplish. Having downed some painkillers I started thinking about what we can do to get over self-induced punishments whilst still looking fabulous (well... trying to). It's always tempting to go for the hair of the dog option but why prolong the agony? Unless its a Prairie Oyster I say stay away. So here are my rules for making the day after the night before as bearable as possible.

1. The first and most important rule is take your make-up off before you go to bed. I know this sounds obvious but I know that we've all been in the position of too drunk to get undressed let alone remove make-up. I keep some face wipes and a small tin of Vaseline next to my bed for those times when standing is just a little too much (if you can't make it to the shops you can get it here Vaseline Petroleum Jelly No. 3 - 225g or you can get the small tin like mine here). You know its true!! Waking up with last nights make up down your face and mostly on your pillow is a recipe for hangover disaster.

2. Take a Vitamin C before bed. Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant which helps the liver recover from the alcohol and minimizes tissue damage. It also bumps up the immune system making you less susceptible to a post-hangover cold. It's pretty easy to track down but also available here Goldshield Vitamin C Orange Effervescent 1000mg 20 tablets.

3. Drink 1/2 litre of water before bed. One of the reasons you feel so bad is the dehydration caused by the alcohol so drinking water before bed will make it less of a shock to the system when you wake up. If you are not a fan of water a 'sports' drink will do just as good - in fact sometimes these are better as they are made to rehydrate you.

4. I know how tempting it is to reach for the coffee or the comforting tea in the morning but in fact caffeine will actually make you feel worse and add to the dehydration. Herbal tea is a much better option - one of my favourites is Jackson's Green Tea or House Japanese Green, 50 Teabags.

5. Aspirin - sounds obvious but they really do help. Having lived with Mr J aka Mr Hangover for sometime I have witnessed first hand the wonders of Alka Seltzer (Alka-Seltzer XS - 20)... they work they really work. Stock up and feel the relief (unless you are like me and throw-up on the first sip - we weaklings have to stick to pill forms of pain relief - I choose Nurofen Plus).

6. Food is good. If you can't face it then go for toast but egg is great for dealing with toxins. If you are feeling really nauseous then Coke is great - the sugar perks you up and the fizz helps the sickness.

7. So we know that your insides get dehydrated hence the gasping need for water. But your outside is also affected. Have a hot bath which will help you sweat out some of the toxins and have a good moisturise afterwards. A moisturising face mask will make you feel better on the outside and give you a chance to put your feet up for ten minutes. I recommend Drink Up! by Origins.

8. If the skin on your face is looking tired scrub your face vigorously to get the circulation going and then use lots of moisturiser to plump. Now I know this sounds like madness but for make-up in this situation less is more.

9. I know this sounds like most booze victims worst nightmare but exercise and fresh air (I sound like Mumma B) is really good. Just go for a walk and take some deep breaths if that's all you can face - it will make you feel better.
10. Not for the faint hearted. The Prairie Oyster. Now, there are many different ways of making this but in it's true form as a hangover cure it really should contain just a little vodka. Here's my recipe for the perfect Prairie Oyster although you should adjust the recipe to suit you!
  • 25mls Vodka (some people use Brandy)
  • 10ml Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Juice (I recommend Clamato Juice which I think is available in Tesco's now but unfortunately their site is too rubbish to find out)
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • Dash of celery salt
  • Dash of Pepper (starting to feel like Jamie Oliver)
  • 1 Egg Yolk

  • Rinse a Martini glass with olive oil.
  • Mix together the Vodka and tomato juice and pour into the glass.
  • Next slid in the egg yolk - do not break it!!
  • Season with the Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Celery Salt and Pepper.
  • DOWN IT... there is no point doing this half-heartedly. Down it and I guarantee you it will make you feel better. xxx
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