Wednesday 24 January 2007


Oh my goodness I'm not sure there's anything better you can do on a freezing (literally) Tuesday night than go with a good friend to get a massage. As a relative massage virgin I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Last time someone other than Mr J rubbed me it was in Turkey with my family and I'm not kidding when I say that I came out feeling like I should have asked for a gynecological consult while I was there. It is not for the faint-hearted.

But not so in the Buty Salon on Hammersmith Grove. With soothing music and a great massage it was really worth chasing away the January blues and spending some hard earned money on. Miss E booked us in and off we went with our £10 vouchers (its is January after all). It was freezing we'd been at work all day we had no idea what to expect (both of us stood, in separate rooms, whilst the masseuse stood outside waiting for us to take our clothes off, they had to come in and tell exactly what to do!). I'm always slightly aware in these situations of the luxury of paying someone to rub you while you are semi-naked but I have to say after five minutes I was in a world of my own. It was so good that I returned two days later to disloyally get my eyebrows waxed (I've been going to the same place for the past two years but since I moved last June it's become a bit of a trek).

The Buty Salon do a whole range of treatments from massages and facials to waxing and tanning. We went for a 30 minute back and neck massage which is not very cheap (£30) but actually worth every penny. They use products by Decleor which contain no preservatives and are 100% natural so you do not have to worry about whether you are going to react badly to anything - it's unlikely. You can book appointments online and with salons in Hammersmith and Fulham they have created atmosphere's to relax and soothe you after a cold day back at the office. Definitely worth a look - the Buty Salon xx

Tuesday 23 January 2007

Baby Soft Skin

The lovely Ani Difranco has given birth (I hate that expression, it makes her sound like a dock) to a baby girl called Petah Lucia. I know that Ani is probably not hugely interested in beauty products or make-up but this was very nearly a music blog so I feel that today's post should be dedicated to her and her righteous baby. So this time we're going to be tackling dry skin, something I've had to put up with for years, and I'll try and give you some tips that will get you on your way to making it baby soft.

I find this time of year particularly difficult. The cold weather seems to aggravate my skin more then anything - I think I've got through about a ton of hand cream since November (my favourite is L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream). A great bathroom constant in our house is Oilatum Bath Formula. This is great if you suffer from excessive dry skin or eczema, containing light liquid parafin it prevents the top layer of skin from drying out, its best to pat yourself dry and throw on some talcom powder after using this rather than towelling properly as this removes the Oilatum goodness. With regard to talc its really a personal preference as to which brand you choose. We'd all love to be able to afford the one that corresponds to our scent but most of us can't afford to be that luxurious so to be honest they are all much of a muchness. I use Johnsons Baby Powder or Boots own brand (which smells a bit less like you've waded through a creche). Nivea also do a great talc (Nivea Talc). Be warned though, too much talc is bad for you. It can suffocate the skin so sprinkle sparingly you really don't need too much.

I don't really know where to start as there's so much skin to cover! So I'm going to go from top to bottom as usual starting with a great facial moisturiser. Unfortunately Hammersmith does not really cater for the lover of Clarins so I decided to break the habit of a life time and try out a new moisturiser. Now, don't get me wrong, I love trying different creams but will only spend over £25 on my favourites. But Estee Lauder's DayWear Plus for Dry Skin is really great and worth its reasonable £28. Personally, I like my moisturisers to smell (lightly) of scent, Origins is an exception as I love the smell of everything in their range, and I have to say I was slightly put off the Estee Lauder by the smell of cucumber. But I got over that almost immediately and I'm actually a complete convert. The Estee Lauder is great for a morning cream (as the name suggests) it is quite thick without being too much and contains sun factor 15 which really protects your skin no matter what time of year. Its super long lasting and really light. Highly recommended.

For years I have been put off showing the tops of my arms and thighs because of terrible dry skin bumps. They are bad enough for people who touch these areas to enquire as to whether I would like a coat or jumper. This is not a pleasant experience. My mother always told me that I would grow out of it, and I suppose I have to a certain extent. My eczema now only rears its ugly head when I'm really stressed and the areas of bumps are now smaller. But they are still there. I've tried all sorts of exfoliators, I've even tried mild application of a brillo pad but nothing really worked. Until now.

Now once again I think part of the cure is to find the right moisturiser. I love Nivea Soft Intensive Cream. Its amazing of all the body moisturisers I have tried this is the best. It doesn't irritate sensitive skin at all and when applied to an irritated area it immediately soothes. This even beats the dermatological creams I was prescribed by the doctor. I use this on my arms, legs and back everyday. But what about the bumps? Mr J and I managed to track down one of the toughest naturally made exfoliators in the form of Korres Grape Seed Scrub which i have to say is one of the few exfoliators I have found that actually works properly. I find that you can spend so much money on these kinds of products which do work a little but usually not enough to match their prices, I'd definitely say that Korres have earned their £15. I use this three times a week on the back of my arms and the top of my thighs and it really softens the skin, removing dead skin cells without irritating or aggravating. But this wasn't sufficient. As I am weary of over-using products I really didn't want to use this too excess and make the problem worse.

It was then I tracked down Botanics Sisal Buffer. I've heard a lot about the benefits of brushing your skin to tone it and get rid of cellulite and dry skin but I was never really convinced. But this has almost eliminated my dry skin bumps. I alternate it with the Korres exfoliator and make sure I moisturise properly afterwards and for the firs time I can really feel the difference. It's really worth it and amazingly priced at around £4. After exfoliating or buffing your skin apply some toner over the dry skin bumps as recommended by Miss L - we both swear by Simple's Soothing Toner.

For those whose lower legs have a tendancy to look more like they are covered in scales rather than skin a saviour is at hand. If like me you have scrubbed and rubbed til you are literally blue in the face and still suffer from dry pins look no further than This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil. As will all of This Works products it does exactly what it says on the bottle so beware, it is an oil so it is best to do this on the edge of the bath in your dressing gown rather than in your new Gharani Strok over your bedroom carpet.

So even though we no longer qualify for having baby soft skin I hope that these will help you cheat time and be as smooth and soft as a baby's bottom! xx

Thursday 18 January 2007

Silence is Golden

I had a wonderful supper with my oldest friend last night (we've known each other since we were bumps). She informs me that the pavement perverts of Lamberth go for the direct approach rather than swerving at you or kissing their teeth they go for asking for your phone number of the street or clicking at you... as she said 'we're not ponies'. These guys are everywhere.

I got fed wonderful food and masses of brie before being sat down in front of this years Celebrity Big Brother which I have been purposefully avoiding. I am the nosiest person I know but the thought of adding myself to the list of people watching Jade Goody again was just too much for me. Plus every time I switch it on it seems to be celebrities seemingly miming over the sound of birds singing. That's the stuff I want to listen to!! But last night my Celebrity BB virginity was breached and I managed 20 minutes before being so enraged that I had to stop!

Who the hell does Jade think she is. I don't agree with all this racism stuff going on. I think people have got confused between racism and stupidity and the majority of people in the BB house seem to fall in the latter category with Jade as their Queen. We all appreciate telling people things to their face rather than bitching behind their back BUT this does not mean we think we have free reign to just scream in people's faces about stuff we know nothing about but on which we think we have authority. Last night Jade came up with Shilpa being arrogant and talking down to people and how this was wrong and much worse than Jade marching round slagging everyone off and making their lives a nightmare like she is special for being famed as the stupidest person to ever grace our reality TV screens. I ask you which is more superior?

I've been struggling on how to link this to beauty as jaw wiring can't be described as a beauty treatment so I thought we would focus on lips and hope that Jade Goody eventually learns to shut hers.

One product which I has been a permanent fixture in my beauty box is Body Shop Lip Scuff. This stuff is amazing. And to be honest, I know it sounds silly, but you reaThe Body Shop Lip Scufflly do need to exfoliate your lips. They (hopefully) get a lot of use and face the elements everyday so using this lip scuff once a week really really helps. If you are prone to chewing your lips this should also prevent too much tense biting! After this its best to use a really good moisturising lip balm for a couple of hours before applying lipsticks (I don't care what they say lippies do dry out your lips). My favourite lip balm is Clarins Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm. You can really feel it working and although its usually around £19Clarins Lip Balm, which I'll admit is not cheap for a lip balm, you really don't need to use very much and its worth every penny. Another great lip balm is This Works Lip Balm which is slightly cheaper and great to have in your handbag or at your desk.

There are some primers that you can put on before you get to the lipstick. Again Benefit fly to the rescue here with their Lip Plump which is a nude primer which not only gives you added pout but also holds the colour of your lipstick on well.Benefit Lip Plump

Once your lips are scuffed, balmed, primed and ready to go there are so many lip sticks, glosses and stains to chose from I really didn't know where to start so I set my team of Misses to work to find out what there favourites are. I love Benetint for everyday use. You can have it really red or just a dash of colour and now it comes in three formats (I smugly have all three) so you can have it in your bag. I've been living for Pocketpal at the moment which comes with its own gloss but be careful, this is a stain and there for can be quite dry on the lips. If you buy the lip balm version than this does add moisture and if you've been using the actual stain the balm can add a bit more colour and some moisture to.

So what did the girls have to say? Miss S says for lip treatment she uses Elizabeth Arden 8hr Cream (they've bought out the lip version but I'd go for the original as its great for everything - can't believe I haven't mentioned this before!). For Miss F iMolton Brown Lip Boosterts Molton Brown Wonder Lips Booster and Miss M is not caught without a tin of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly No. 3 - 225g nearby. For those of us who can't spent lots of money on lip treatments you cannot lose with Vasaline not only can it be used for everything (some of my friends use it on top of their eyeliner to create smokey eyes) it is super long-lasting and is great if you find yourself off to a do lipstick-less. For colour Miss F recommends Body Shops Lip and Cheek Stain - this is great coupled with Vaseline for moisture. Miss L uses Boots Natural Collection Juicy Lips which come in loads of colours and look good over regular lip sticks.

Now lets face it glosses can be annoying. Your hair gets stuck in them and its redistributed around your face libPout Plump in Caramelerally wherever your hair sees fit. So my advice is apply at the last possible moment (i.e. on the tube or if you are like me outside the venue whilst your ditching your flats for the killer heels). Max Factor Lipfinity is great because it comes with its own gloss which really holds the colour in. You won't be needing to re-apply this for a while but my out and out favourite is Pouts Plump. It comes in three colours but I'd go for Caramel as this can be worn over the top of other colours as just a gloss or just by itself with for a hint of colour. Its worth spending the extra money because boy it works... and believe me you can feel it.

So go forth and pout ladies and remember if there's one thing we can learn from Jade, and believe me I think this is the only thing she can teach us, its think before you speak. xx

Tuesday 9 January 2007

Happy New Year

I hope you all bought the New Year in in style. We had a fabulous party which really couldn't have gone better. All our friends appeared laden with booze and festive fun and made it really the best New Year's Eve I've had in ages. I have to say though that having thought for a long about fabulous party make-up not only did I not get the piece out in time for New Year but I barely had time to get changed and made-up before the guests arrived.

We had a sit down dinner for 35 people made by me and my sister and our respective Mr's. Having spent ages cooking, laying the tables and beautifying the house we then cleared away (that's the bonus of using paper plates and cups and decorating tables), made a dance floor and partied til 11 on Monday morning. It was so much fun. Unlike the clear up the day after but we had moral support so it wasn't too horrendous.

I do have to say that for exciting party make-up you really can't beat Benefit's Show Off eyeshadow. If you do a thick line of eyeliner (BadGal is best for this) and then put on Show Off! (pictured) the colour change is amazing. also do Bourjois Suivez Mon Regard in Bleu insolite and Illuminateur du regard which change colour with eyeliner.

I know I'm a bit late for the big party of the year (or extremely early) but I hope these might help with cheering up those January blues. xx

Monday 8 January 2007

2007 the year of the Man?

I'm sorry I know I'm due to do a post and there is one on the way asap. But I'm so outraged I had to write. I walk home from work (I admit I haven't quite been able to face walking into work). And three times I was almost run over but leering men and I'm no supermodel. The first was a young rudie on a bike who thought that mounting the curb when I was about to cross and kissing his teeth whilst swerving at me was going to make me hop on the back and demand a good seeing too before his homework. Crossing the road (with toes barely in tact) 3 guys in a white van lurched towards me. I'm sure I was supposed to drop my trousers and hop in the back shouting 'this is the best offer I've had in years'. Needless to say I didn't. I made it onto my road only to have another white van drive past and stop for the occupants to 'Way-hay' me and offer all kinds of services not mentioned on the side of the van.

I cannot understand what has happened to men over the years. Why is it ok for this to happen? I'm not offended by it (or flattered) and I'm in no way a raging feminist but I'm so bored of it. My suggestion for the men who think that this kind of behaviour makes us weak at the knees is get a grip and get a life. Ladies, (and boys) is there anyone out there who has ever found love thanks to a wolf whistle on a building site, or an aggressive wheelie down your paramour's pavement? I would try and link this to something beauty but we've decided that more make-up or less for these pavement perverts you can't win. xx

Sunday 7 January 2007

Time For Your Close Up

Sorry for the silence since before Christmas. It was a fabulous time in the Miss B household and I have to say that getting back into work took more mental and physical exertion than I would have predicted. But I've conquered the first week back (bonus and pay-rise free) and woke up this morning for the first time since the 1st not feeling too much like death. So HAPPY NEW YEAR. I hope you all had a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year and lets hope 2007 is as good, if not better, than 2006. I have to say I'm hoping for the latter.

So back to it for me and I think the story that I have noticed most this weekend (hard to miss when its on the front page of a lot of papers), is the Kate Middleton/Princess Di connection. Palace lawyers are trying to protect Kate from the paps and the tabloids for fear of her encountering the same problems as her boyfriends mother who was infamously 'chased to her death' by the paps. However, Princess Di, although constantly pursued always came across wonderfully in the papers. Even during a scandal she kept her grace. Can Kate do the same?

I have to say I think its a bit of a shame that the lawyers have been bought in already. Yes, there are rumours of engagement but Princess Di (no matter what you think of her) was a special woman. A Queen of Hearts no less. However, when receiving a parking ticket in Chelsea last week we did not have the fuming 'do-you-know-who-I-am' royal girlfriend. Instead, Kate looked slightly miffed but then smiled sweetly and got on with it. I realise that at times the paps have got completely out of control, however, there has to be a certain amount of press involvement for any one getting involved with a royal, and I'm sure this would be the case even if Kate herself was of royal blood. It kind of comes with the territory.

I think a decision has to be made. To get on with it and accept that whatever you do will be of interest to the press but then they will lose interest if you don't do anything hugely exciting. Or get out while you can. It sounds harsh but I think when it comes to being involved with royalty, once you've made your bed you're pretty much going to have to lie in it. But if you are going to be photoed at every event, even the receiving of a parking ticket, how can you look your best for minimum effort, because lets face it, its not always necessary to slather it on when going down the shops for some milk.

I've said it beforeClinique Cream Shaper Eyeliner and I'll say it again. Benefit's Lemon Aid is fabulous whether you have five hours to do your make-up or five minutes. You can either use it as a base or you can use it almost as a shadow - you can put your eyeliner straight on over the top. Although I love No 7's Opal eye shadow. For something extremely subtle the Body Shop's eyeshadow in Buttercup is barely there but gives a nice shimmer. No 7's Oyster is also really soft and goes perfectly with brown eyeliners. If you are going for the lighter eyeshadows (which will keep your eyes looking bright in case of a run in with a photographer) a brown eyeliner is best. It defines but isn't quite so 'look-at-me' as my old favourite the black liquid liner. Benefit's Eye Sketching Pencil in Sable is perfect for this and comes with a sponge tip for smudging and blending. Miss S who is queen of the subtle make-up recommends Clinque Cream Shaper for Eyes in Brown Sugar. It accentuates without being to OTT.

Bourjois Pump Up The Volume Waterproof Mascara
I always recommend Masterpiece mascara (and probably always will til someone tops it) but Pump Up the Volume by Bourjois which is fabulous. As I've said before it needs to be open for a little to settle but then it does exactly what it says on the packet. A good pair of eyelash curlers never go amiss either, Courtney Cox swears by them!

Depending on what your skin type is I am of the opinion that if you can get away without foundation then go for it. If you can get away with just a light tinted moisturiser instead that too is a bonus. However, how often have you looked at photos of yourself and wished you'd spent another hour with your make-up. The flash inevitably means that all the flaws are highlighted so a nice smooth foundation of light tinted moisturiser is definately the way forward. Again I'd recommend Rimmel's Cool Matte Foundation is great especiallyBenefit Dandelion Blush if you damp your sponge before application. Its really smooth and will not end up making you look like Jodie Marsh at an awards ceremony.

With or without foundation Benefit's Dandelion blusher is great. It gives a healty glow rather than a hot flush. As with all blushers, however, it is necessary to go lightly! Benefit High Beam highlighter
Benefit's High Beam is also great. Unlike other skin shimmers it is really sublte and can be worn during the day without fear of making you feel like a disco queen! I like to use it on the cheek bones and just under the arch of the eyebrows. This will (or should at least!) add to the healthy look.
Now lips are always a problem. I tend to try and obey by the rule 'dramatic eyes or dramatic lips' but as we're going for the all over fresh subtle look then you can't do much better than Clinique's Glosswear Lipgloss in Nude. It gives you a bit of shimmer and a bit of a plump but, as the colour implies, is a far cry from the Christina/Gwen post box red! But for those who can't stand the inevitable hair-in-gloss-and-then-on-face incident, Bourjois Clinique Glosswear for Lips in Nudenew Doctor Glamour lipstick comes in Rose retabli is great. Benefit's Benetint is also good but must be applied lightly (unless you are going for all out red lips in which case it is brilliant on its own or as a base) as it is a stain rather than a lipstick. It now comes in a handy 'pocketpal' format with the stain at one end and gloss at the other. I received this for Christmas thanks to Miss J, so I can now have the real thing in my handbag.
Good luck in front of those cameras ladies (and boys). Believe me I need all the help I can get!! xx
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