Sunday 29 April 2007

Aches and Pains

I’m sitting on my sofa after a lovely weekend of sun, picnics, booze and ponies. Yes ponies. Well horses to be precise and now I’m trying to think about what to write about and to be honest… sitting down is not the most comfortable thing in the world right now. Ok, I’ll start from the beginning. I used to ride horses a lot but stopped when I was about 17. Yes there were boys, A-levels and illicit drinking in the Threshers car park, and these somewhat diverted me from something I had always loved. Luckily Daddy B still has a trusty steed and today I was lent a lovely mare to ride. It was great to see the bluebells and literally be back in the saddle but I’m paying for it now. Or at least my bottom is. Coupled with a rather violent game of swingball in Regents Park on Saturday afternoon I’m aching in a way I don’t remember experiencing before. So, although I have two pieces forming about much more worthwhile and exciting things (skin care for the older Misses and what is actually in these products that we use), right now all I can think about is a hot relaxing bath. So today I’m going to see what is best for wallowing and all with Little Miss F listening to the accordion music on the Captain Pugwash site (don’t ask).

For Mother’s Day I got Mumma B Origins Ginger Float. You can just scoop a bit out with your hand and throw it in and for all you morning bathers out there Mumma says that’s when it is best. For something more long lasting Little Miss F, the bath Queen, recommends Neals Yard Geranium & Orange Bath Oil. It keeps your skin moisturised and although it smells a bit strange in the bottle it’s gorgeous in the bath. For a real treat you can go and hand pick yourself a Bath Ballistic from Lush. They aren’t as scary as they sound and it’s like choosing pick and mix. They change their ‘flavours’ quite often so I haven’t tried their most recent ones but I’ve picked out which I want. Golden Slumbers Bath Ball with Lavender and Camomile, Butterfly Ball Ballistic which smells of honeysuckle and has little butterflies inside, and Rose tinted Tisty Tosty with its supposed magic spells. All that would only be about £8!!

If you have sensitive skin you have to be really careful about what you put in your bath, although I find that this depends on what time of year it is. Very few things moisturise as well as Oilatum Plus Bath Emollient - 500ml. Designed for dry skin it contains no fragrances or emulsifiers it is like having a bath with nothing in it but the effect is noticeable. It also means you can use yummy soaps and not worry about them dehydrating you. The I Coloniaili Soaps (see treat of the week) are my favourite with the White Company a close second.

Radox are well known in the aromatherapy market. At home Mumma B always has my bathroom stocked with their Radox Herbal Bath Sleep Easy - 500ml with Lavender – well known for aiding sleep, something that often eludes me. But what I really need now is their Muscle Soap Herbal Bath Salts. I’m slightly suspicious of this because it is made with Thyme which I’m pretty sure I don’t want to soak in but I am sure that if anything is going to work this will. Maybe I’ll be daring and treat myself to some tomorrow. That’s if I can walk. xx

Thursday 26 April 2007

Thank you

I am absolutely thrilled to be the runner up in the fashion category for the Best British Blog Awards 2007 sponsored by Metro and Thank you to everyone who voted and to all who read it. I really appreciate it. xx
P.S it has not skipped my notice that for some reason the pics from the last post are being a bit rubbish. Will sort that out asap. xx

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Pasture's New

Hurrah. Finally have spangly new job so will finally be doing something new for 8 hours a day! The new job is a little more country orientated so I will probably have to start discussing what make-up is best worn to a shoot lunch or what mascara is going to hold up after four hours sitting next to a river in the rain. However, before then I get to go and buy a new wardrobe, obviously, and having spent some time over recent months trying and failing to track down beautiful skirts today I managed to pick up three!

I have to say that I had rather lost my faith in Monsoon. You occasionally get a cracker but usually only after sifting through a lot of pricey rather mumsy wedding outfits. But now is the time to go. They have so many skirts that I literally had to make my choice and then blinker myself in the queue for the till. Still a few more bits to get - a nice summer coat for a start as the old leather jacket can look a little quaint over a sun dress and has made me feel not unlike Stevie Nicks going for job interviews. But where? any suggestions would be much appreciated. I also need a new handbag but I seem to start at Chanel and work my way up. Unless you can weave a great bag out of longing I think I need to set my sights a little lower.

I do, however, worry that they are not quite ready for the Miss B make-up. I think coming from a background in military history I may sometimes take the idea of 'war paint' a little too far but thats what you need when entering into the unknown. I am also a firm believer in going in as yourself - one of the benefits of this is that you don't come home a complete bitch and swearing like a sailor from being nice all day. Not that we Misses aren't heavenly all the time!

So, the purchase of skirts may seem like a good idea but with the early onset of summer my legs have look like they belong to Caspar and with the temperature soaring you really cannot rely on wearing tights. Now I don't know about you but for me finding the right fake tan is a harrowing and often embarrassing ordeal. However, as always Mumma B had the solution ready and waiting this morning.

The important thing about fake tan is making sure your legs are ready for it. If you apply to unprepared legs there is no way that it is going to look any good and not transfer on to all that touches you. So ladies do what you have to do for hair removal I shave (too chicken, too poor and too dark to wait for waxing) Miss F however, doesn't even need to possess a razor - each to their own. There are also lots of self tan preparations you can use. The Sanctuary a pre-tan exfoliator which although I haven't tried (yet) I'm told is really worth its teeny £4.25. Failing a specific pre-tan product you must moiturise, we all know that you should always moisturise after shaving but many neglect to moisturise right before you put on the fake tan. Just a nice light moisturiser is fine - I love Nivea it's not too pricy, it comes in big pots and really keep your skin smooth. But what fake tan?

When Johnsons holiday skin came out I ran to Boots faster than I think I've ever moved before. However, my skin is quite sensitive and I had to stop using it. My pasty legs were not only exactly the same colour as before just smelling a bit weird, but inbetween my fingers had gone orange. Not a success. Next was Dove's Summer Glow. This smells a little less like baby vomit but again apart from my fingers there was not a lot of change. Finally I went for Garnier's Summer Body. This smells soooo good but thats about it. I don't know maybe my skin is just too glaringly white for these to have an impact, maybe you are supposed to apply five times a day for five months. Either way I don't have the time, the patience or enough excuses for the suspicious stains on my hands.

So onto the real deal. I have never trusted anything other than instant tan. I have heard great things about gradual/progressive tans I just know that if I were to use one (and probably as karmic result of this blog) I would end up looking like Ross in that tan disaster friends episode we all know (yes you do). So, for me, instant tan is the way forward, although you can make it uneven and streaky you are not going to get oranger and oranger whilst at a party with no hope of stopping the process. Another reason why moisutriser is key for instant tan is because it helps prevent streaking and I find makes me more confident with the tan application - you've just applied the moisturiser so you apply the tan in the same way. St Tropez is good but this can go quite dark as can Piz Brun - these are serious self tans. But if they are applied properly these really are worth their quite expensive price tags.

There is not a lot I can tell you without having you all round for a good look at your skin tones and question about which kind of finish you prefer (minds out of gutter please). You really do have to try these on the back of your hand in a good light to really know which is the best for you. However, I will definately recommend Rimmel's Sun Shimmer Instant Tan. It comes with either a shimmer or a matte finish I decided to live dangerously and go for the shimmer. And as usual Mumma B was right - it's my favourite! Rather than making you look like you've basted yourself in goop and then rolled around on a kiddies craft table the shimmer actually really helps the post-Christmas pasty pins, giving them a bit of glow which lets face it, they need having been got out so early in the year!

So go forth Misses and get testing. Help is at hand but it's vital to get it right. No one wants to look like Jodie Marsh on a bad day (...or maybe even on a good day) and it's just too hot for tights! And remember no matter what you say about fake tan being 'cheap' or 'chavy' it's the safest way to make your legs stop looking like beacons! xx

Monday 23 April 2007

Stop Press... or just stop!

This should be an amazingly fabulous post-nominations beauty bonanza. Nope, instead its a not so mini rant about the ongoing pavement perverts. Heading out for lunch with the striking Miss S (her legs are about 6ft alone), having re-applied my Benefit Kohl eyeliner and some Clinique lippy we were happily walking down the road chatting... as you do. Some guys were riding towards us on their bikes (and on the pavement as usual) and as the first one rode past he stuck his arm out behind him to take a photo of us with his phone. Not only did it nearly smack me in the face on the way past but I actually felt quite outraged and almost violated. Clearly we are to have no more personal space or privacy anywhere. Who is going to see these photo's and what purpose do they have? I dread to think.

I felt a bit better after lunch however, when, as usual, the strange male-redeeming karmic balance was restored when Miss G informed me that she had been surprised by her man with supper at Nobu for her birthday last night... I guess in that situation I wouldn't mind people taking my photo quite so much! xx

Saturday 21 April 2007


Thank you thank you lovely Misses who read my ramblings and whoever nominated me for Best Brit Blog Awards 2007. I cannot tell you how happy and surprised I am... I still have excited butterflies and have been thinking about award make-up ever since so as usual any ideas would be welcomed.

Will keep you posted xx

Sunday 15 April 2007

The End is Nigh

Having ranted about their pre-engagement engagement announcement a couple of weeks ago I can’t say I was surprised to wake up this morning and hear of the parting of ways of Kate Middleton and Prince William. I was even less surprised as yesterday I received an anonymous tip that I should go and put some money down on such a sad event. Having had a top tip for the national last year which lost me some much needed cash I chose to err on the side of safety and not let myself anywhere near a bookies. Would that I had for it would have made my weekend. However, I guess I can think of this karmicly -although I did not win loads of money for betting on other people’s mishaps I have finally been sent my last 4 years bank statements so I can claim back any unfair charges.

The saddest part of the whole thing, apart from the fact that I think Kate is going to have to publically get over the love of her life, is that whatever the outcome her life is irrevocably changed forever. On the one hand she could stay one of the media’s favourites developing her name as a bit of a style icon and doing good works, which is in itself hugely stressful. Or she will be forgotten and pushed aside for William’s latest club snog which as you can imagine, would be very hard on the confidence. I have no doubt that she will continue to handle herself well in the public eye but as we have seen with the likes of Reese Witherspoon and dare I say, Princess Di.

I hope that for once the media is fair. I think that Kate is in a position we can all relate to but also uniquely one of the few people who can claim that they were nearly engaged to the future King of England. xx


Friday 6 April 2007

The Look of Love

Ok at the risk of sounding incredibly melodramatic I have Repetitive Strain Injury so am feeling a bit wet about the whole typing thing at the moment. I am, in fact, being a bit wet about most things as I have both wrists in splints whenever I’m doing anything which looks weird and not hugely trendy. They do seem to be working though so fingers crossed (I wish) they won’t be on for long. But they make typing a nightmare and what with the newly acquired bunion I’m feeling slightly like I’m morphing into Forrest Gump (pre the running).

However, in the lives of the stars things seem to finally be on the up. Britney is back, divorce agreed and blue contact lenses purchased. Colleen and Wayne are planning their nuptials, Mel B has had a bouncing baby girl and Posh and Becks’ stuff has arrived in L.A. Ok, so Paris may go to prison and David Beckham’s new ‘do’ is horrific but it did seem that for the last five months nothing good was happening to anyone. But now the sun is out, love is in the air and things are on the up.

Wayne and Colleen are not the only ones with a wedding to plan. The lovely Miss E is getting married in July and asked me to help her with her try out some make-up. I hadn’t really thought a lot about wedding make-up as it’s not really something I need to worry about at the moment but was intrigued as to what I would want and then tried to put those ideas into something she would like and that would suit the occasion. I cannot reveal any info about the dress here in case Mr H bizarrely feels the need to get some beauty tips from me and looks at the website. However, I can tell you that the ceremony will be at 6 o’clock in a garden with dinner afterwards. So we need to get the balance between demure wedding make-up and slinky evening glamour. I think we finally found the perfect solution so for all of you out there who are need a little help here’s what we’ve decide on.

The thing to remember about wedding make-up is that you will have your photograph taken a lot during the whole event so you need to be confident that you will look defined. Obviously this is less scary if you are planning an evening ceremony as the light won’t be quite so bright and it is more acceptable to trowel it on for an evening do.7

Once you’ve done the usual preparations (cleansed, toned, moisturised etc) its time for the eye shadow. As always I put a base of Lemon Aid by Benefit on the lids before the colour and Boi-ing underneath to cover my dark circles. Now, colour will depend on the dress and skin tone but MNARS Glitter Penciliss E and I went for a really gentle light gold. I’m afraid the one we’re using is an old Elizabeth Arden one of my grandmothers which I'm pretty sure you can't get anymore. But help is at hand. Prestige cosmetics Let Loose in Jump works just as well and the sponge-tip applicator is fantastic at building up colour with smooth application. Both these colours are really subtle but for something more dramatic Nars Glitter Pencil in Danceteria looks amazing. This is also great for using on the lower lashes over the top of some light dusted brown kohl – I love Clinique’s Quickliner in Roast Coffee.
Eyeliner here is very important. If, like me, you are a slave to the black lines you have to play it carefully with someone else’s wedding make-up. I stuck with black, however, using my favourite L’Oreal Liner Intense Felt-tip liner but I made sure the line was really thin. It is vital that you don't make the line to thick as this can make the eyes look piggy and over the top. You can always go over it with some brown kohl afterwards to soften the line but you really do just want to make sure the eye is defined and liquid liner is best for this. 

A trusted volumising mascara is a must on the big day. A mascara crisis is hard to rectify. I’d recommend either Max Factor’s Masterpiece or Benefit’s Bad Gal but remember to use the curlers before hand. I finally found my favourite eyelash curlers again the other dayBenefit Bad Gal Lash mascara after nine months of looking so I can now reveal that they are by Girl2Go a great range of beauty essentials made to fit in your bag or desk drawer. This are so much easier to use than the usual metal ones so although the plastic may not have as much curling power you can actually curl more accurately and without pinching your skin and poking yourself in the eye.

Now getting your foundation right is a tricky thing. It’s amazing how many women can get it wrong and I spend quite a lot of my mornings peering at myself in loo mirrors checking for the tell-tale foundation line at the jaw and hairline. You MUST get this right. Not much can look worse than poorly applied foundation and everyone can notice it. I love mousse foundations because they spread really evenly and you can really blend them in. Rimmel’s Cool Matte Mousse is still my favourite but for a stronBenefit You Rebelger colour You Rebel by Benefit suites any skin tone and can be mixed with moisturiser to give smooth but noticeable colour. For photographs and lasting effect you will need to put on quite a lot of this. There would be nothing worse that looking washed out in your wedding photo’s, well except looking like you’ve been tango’d so make sure caution is exercised there as well. I really advise having someone to tell you when you’re foundation is right on the big day because, as the name implies, this is the base for your whole ‘look’.

Lipstick is, again, a personal choice. I’m constantly using Clinique’s Sugared Maple Long Last Lipstick at the moment which can be made as light or as dark as you like and has shimmer which helps add some pout. To keep re-application to a minimum use a matching lip-liner (Clinique do a Quickliner for Lips) to keep the colour MAC Irridescent Loose Powderstrong and the line firm. To finish off and for a bit of added shimmer all round Bare Escentuals Sexy Sheen Glimmer Duo comes in Vanilla Sugar and Bare Skin and for the whole face MAC’s Iridescent Loose Powder gives a beautiful finish.
This make-up is not only great for the big day but with the rapidly approaching summer and the recent sunny weekends adds a bit of sparkle to your spring look. xx

Miss B's Classic Cookies

Right, I know that this is nothing to do with beauty but I think every now and again we need a little cheering on the inside so here is my much requested and pretty unbeatable cookie recipe:

300 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
170g butter
215g light brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
300g choc chips

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade

  • Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soada and salt and set aside.
  • Stir together soft butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the egg and then the extra yolk. Beat well to ensure that the egg is evenly distributed.
  • Stir in the dry ingedients then fold in the choc chips.
  • Cover in cling film and chill until firm (at least 30 minutes)
  • Make hockey puck shapes in a prepared baking tray. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes until the edges begin to look golden.
  • Cool on the sheet for one minute and remove with a wide spatula to a cooling rack.
These are great because they are quick and easy to make, you can freeze the dough and you can cook for as long or as short as you like to get the perfect consistency. Everyone will treat you like Nigella for the day and they don't have to know that these are minimum effort maximum result. xx
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