A Thank You on Mother’s Day : Look Good Feel Better

I’ve worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, striving hard to promote a sense of wellbeing and happiness that comes from feeling your best. A result from the purchase or first wear of a new lippy, a foundation that lasts all day or a lash curling mascara. Even a sultry scent. Somehow however it always seemed an ethereal feeling to try and evoke and conjure. This feeling, almost a self gratification or inner confidence that a bit of war paint seems to bolster in us. For me this is nail polish, if my nails are glossy, chip free I feel I can take on the world. Polished.

The meaning and in fact need for this was solidified for me today.

The reason? Look Good Feel Better, a charity I have worked with and supported in my decade in beauty. However, it isn’t until a charities work is personal to you that it really hits home. I’m sure it can even seem a bit trivial – a charity devoted to bringing beauty and makeup tips to Cancer patients. But it really isn’t.

My mum is undergoing Chemo for Breast Cancer for the second time in her life. The first 20 years ago. This time I’m an adult. I have more knowledge. More feelings. It’s harder. 

My mum is tough, she’s a terrier. One of those amazing women you wouldn’t want to short change as she’ll tear you to pieces. She’s hard working, still working and running an allotment in her sixties. I’m sure she thinks she’s still in her twenties sometimes.

But this evil disease has fought its way back and I know she’s scared. We are all scared. The other week she had to choose a wig, a horrendous reality of what is happening. My mums hair has always been a look don’t touch zone. Always perfect, always cut, coloured and styled. The knowledge of losing it is hitting hard. Suddenly the reasoning of those mothers and daughters who shave in solidarity makes some sort of sense to me. Not a route we will be taking but I suddenly get it. 

However in this gloomy state of affairs, there’s a spot of light. The amazing volunteers at Look Good Feel Better visited her during her Chemo treatment. Totally unbeknownst to me. Along with the nurses they helped her find a wig as near to her current look as possible.

Then today they phoned her. They have arranged some beauty treatments and workshops for her in a spa. I’ve not heard her so excited in months. She’s got appointments other than Cancer treatment appointments she’s looking forward to and think about. Helping her with makeup, such as what to do with her eye brows during treatment. Giving her products and guidance on what to use and how to boost her confidence in her new appearance. This simple charity reach out programme has so much more significance now. It really is true that if you Look Good, you do Feel Better.





No it’s not going to make the cancer go away but it gives a chance of normality. A day, an hour, a feeling of being you again. So this post is dedicated to the amazing work of these volunteers and charity teams. It has redefined the importance of my role in the beauty industry and made my mum feel more confident and like ‘her’ as she tackles this. 

So please, do click here to find out more about Look Good Feel Better.

To donate to this charity click here to go to their just giving site.





Just £5 will find a confidence kit for another Cancer patient like the one shown here, this is the kit my mum received and is over the moon with. She couldn’t wait to show me what she had learnt. 



This is my brave mum, smiling in her new look wig. This lovely charity is helping boost my mum’s confidence and made her feel great today on Mother’s Day. 

Thank you. 

Advertisements

Autumn Beauty Done.

In a world where we are all too busy to sometimes text that friend back, post that birthday card or arrange those drinks with old colleagues. It is getting increasingly harder for brands to convince, engage and spend time with customers. Making in-retail events very hard to succeed at.

Do customers want to give over hours or even half an hour of their day to a brand, a store? What is the excitement for them if they turn up?

What is the magic algorithm to success? I’m sure there is a numbers geek out there that could apply some logic to the psychologies, but without access to this I would say after attending Selfridges recent Autumn Beauty Event they have come close to cracking the code.

A year to the launch of Selfridges Beauty Workshop concept, the store opened up the doors to the beauty set for an evening of education, make-up, fun, sugar and prosecco.

With a £10 coveted ticket price, which you have to apply in advance for. You are adorned with a golden wristband – the access to the fabulousness.

You are transported into Selfridges amazingly unique way of making events a must-attend show. With complimentary branded candy floss, pick-a-mix stalls (this guy had a queue as long as those for a launch of a new Chanel nail varnish!), snow cones (with real vodka toppings), DJ’s, manicurists, make-up artists, skincare gurus… Free gifts, free prosecco – lots of free prosecco. It was no wonder that despite the sheer volume of ladies – it was fun, giggly, girly, purely and unapologetically fun and frivolous. A night to dip in and out of brands you love, or those you want to discover without the pressure sometimes felt by stepping onto a luxury beauty brands counter.

A perfect launch platform for brands to start a relationship with new customers. Especially for the likes of Charlotte Tilbury whom was unveiling her new capsule make-up collection exclusively at Selfridges. However, with the economic downturn still pinching our pockets, the FREE aspect is key here, it was very interesting to see that even the big players joined in the fun. With super GWPs for high spending clients, juice bars, international make-up artists. Even Jo Malone had a lady making free felt brooches for those whom spent on counter. It was the apple version of a beauty event. Exquisitely planned, superbly executed. Dynamic and emotive.

This allows customers, myself included feeling more at ease at buying luxury products. We are investing in the quality rather than quantity but we do need to feel we are getting an amazing deal.

So as you can probably tell we had a great time. This may of course be down to the company I was in. However, looking around us all we saw and heard was excitement, giggles, smiles and good times.

Yes this is hard work to achieve, and without being privy to Selfridges bottom line, I dare say its an investment but I truly believe that investment in your key clientele is the best thing you can put your money on these days.

If your customers go away having had an amazing night that’s made them happy, chances are they tweeted about it, blogged about it, put it on facebook, instagrammed it. And even if they don’t pop back though your doors for a week or two the people they shared it with just might.

I have been to events, launch parties, make-up lessons, skincare workshops. You name it. With all of these things sometimes the fundamental element gets forgotten. Fun.

This was about a girly catch up, a bit of competitor snooping but ultimately celebrating what’s great about being a girl, make-up, trying every pinky red lip shade on every counter until we find ‘the one’ scouting out the hottest nail colours from the sea of choice. Daring to try a new look, a vamp goth lip a daring red…

Ultimately a night of escape with girl friends, of rewards with free goodies, a sense of enjoyment, a little chip away at re-claiming your ‘me-time’ away from family, work and other life commitments.

Whilst I think we’d all love it if these evenings happened more often, what is so special and desirable about them is their surprising arrival. Plus the effortless detail that does not go un-missed.

Thank you Selfridges. A pinnacle of light in today’s doom and gloom retail landscape.

Discover Selfridges Beauty Workshop concept in the Oxford Street store.

20130913-195313.jpg

20130913-234359.jpg

20130913-234412.jpg

20130913-234422.jpg

20130913-234443.jpg

20130913-234454.jpg

20130913-234505.jpg

20130913-234519.jpg

20130913-234532.jpg

20130913-234548.jpg

20130913-234608.jpg

20130913-234628.jpg

The art of the re-purchase

Earlier this week I read an article about owning more beauty products than you would ever use. The reality of only ever using around 10% of the items you own. That the female consumption for products, especially makeup and skincare, was even more prolific in the UK. This resonated with me quite deeply – I actually have multiple beauty bags to categorise my beauty items for this very reason without actually really realising that this is what I had done.
After over 10 years in the beauty industry I have tried and tested a fair few products and I know what works for me on an every day basis. However this knowledge does not ever quench my desire for ‘more’ to buy the latest lip plumping, glossing, pigment rich… The justification list is endless.

I have the ‘pink’ makeup bag, that is my holy grail. The bag that turns me from bed head to beauty gal every day. Items that make it to here are there for good. On the replenish list for sure and that for any beauty product is like reaching nirvana.

With the world, myself included, thirsty for the latest and greatest securing a second and third purchase is harder and harder to achieve. Brands are searching for ways to mean more to the purchaser. Being multi-tasking, emotive or problem solving. The un-slowing generation of BB and CC creams fuel this theory.

So, with this in mind I thought I would take a moment to reveal my ‘go-to products’ the ones I deem re-purchasable. The newest to this line up is the innovative Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser. Despite working in skincare I find body moisturising laborious. I don’t ever have time to lather my skin in body moisturiser before dressing, it simply takes too much time. I wish I did have the time as I truly believe in keeping your skin hydrated. Skin is the body’s biggest organ which we can all easily neglect. So this simple product has ticked a to-do and made me feel happy in the knowledge I’m now doing what I was failing to before. It’s simple just lotion on as you would a shower cream and rinse off as you would your hair conditioner. Perfect! It comes in 2 types but I have opted for the Dry skin version with Almond Oil. You leave the shower feeling super hydrated and smelling amazing. I bought my second 400ml tube yesterday, taking the last on shelf, the customer next to me taking the penultimate one. We both gave a knowing smile ‘this is an awesome product’.

20130729-074944.jpg

Now, back to the pink bag, the item I can’t live without the most has to be Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, this shake-able little guy is my morning go to. I recently thought I would try something ‘new’ because you never know when the next must keep will surface from. As Vitalumiere Aqua replaced my love of DiorForever (sorry Dior), with that in mind I purchased DiorSkin Nude BB Cream. It is good, not great but has a good texture, not amazing colour matching and I found my shade a little on the pale side which for summer left me feeling too washed out. Then I went back to an old favourite MAC face and body makeup. This is a great product and one that lives in and out of the pink bag (its a chunky monkey so gets thrown out when room doesn’t allow). But as much as I try I felt the need to go back to something I simply LOVE there’s no other way to describe it.
The smell – divine, one that never fails to delight and make me smile, the coverage – beautiful, it sinks into your skin leaving a dewy radiance that I simply have been unable to achieve with other products.
Eyeliner! Yes I know that was an exclamation mark. For me, eyeliner is essential. The pink bag is 60% full of them. Now for everyday of course there is no other option than Urban Decay 24/7 pencils. I own every colour (literally) they are fabulous and un moving. I do wish they were automatic – I loathe having to sharpen liners. My favourite of course is Perversion. This blacker than black carbon liner leaves you with amazing definition. Whether using it for a waxy smoky eye to a thin line it simply delivers. I do however have a secret lover when it comes to liners, I do on occasion cheat on them with Bobbi Brown’s Long-wear Gel Eye Liner in black. This is simply the don. It’s texture glides on to skin, it’s precision is divine. The fact you must apply it with a brush allows you the creative edge to create really graphic eye looks. You can build it up and I can not love it more. But for me, it’s not for every day.
No makeup bag is complete without mascara, with this product I have been rather promiscuous, I do love to try something new but for ever dalliance I have come back to one that I covet. That is none other than DiorShow the black to me is slightly brownish this suits me perfectly as with very blonde hair tones the look down for everyday. I have recently been very impressed with Guerlain’s Maxi Lash mascara.
Lips… I love, love, love lip products! They don’t however, always love me. After suffering for all my life with cold sores I like every sufferer try to avoid anything that triggers the disease. With that in mind this product features in every room and handbag I have. CARMEX. This is a little pot of magic. Smoothing, nourishing, healing, medicinal. It delivers. I can not live without this product.

I could go on and on… However, I will do this for my skincare musts one day.

What products make it to your daily use makeup bag?

20130728-215926.jpg

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence De La Beauté Awards 2011 winners revealed…

What better way to end a Monday than a glamorous Awards ceremony at the Claridges Ballroom for the annual Marie Claire Beauty Oscars Prix d’excellence de la beauté awards 2011. From champagne and beauty gossip with the beauty pack to the award winners acceptance speeches, hosted by the very glamorous Christine Bleakley from Daybreak and the lovely Trisha Halpin, Editor in Chief Marie Claire UK.

The Awards themselves were split in two categories best International Winners – as voted by both Marie Claire International judges and the creme de la creme of beauty journalists across the globe; from Marie Claire – Lisa Oxenham (UK), Ariane Goldet (France), Ying Chu (US), Ana Serrano (Spain), Antonella Bussi (Italy) and representing the beauty journalists vote: Emmanuelle Demarest, Marie-Francoise Dubillion, Dominique Garnier, Aurelie Lambillon, Emmanuelle Lannes, Genevieve Murat, Brigitte Papin, Marie Pouzol, Alexandra Raillan and Zoe Zhang.

Plus our very own best of the best British winners as voted by a panel of UK beauty journalists: Lisa Oxenham (Marie Claire’s very own award-winning beauty journalist and stylist, Hannah Betts (Writer and columnist for British Broadsheets and magazines) Annabel Jones (who has over 10 years experience as beauty journalist) Sarah Vine (Beauty Editor and columnist for The Times) and Alice Hart-Davis (Award-winning writer and creator of Good Things Skincare)

So the winners for 2011…

International Winners….

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this wonder product has been rushing off our high street and online store shelves faster than the Clinique consultants can utter the words ‘miracle serum’ with its clinical proven results of a 53% improvement in dark spots after 12 weeks use this potent skin solution of Vitamin C and Salicylic acid is sure to become a true icon!

Lancome Teint Miracle Foundation – a foundation I have yet to try but is coveted by a number of my friends who swear by its multi tasking properties and barely there effect – it moisturises, gives SPF and long-lasting coverage.

Guerlain Abeille Royale Youth Serum – The power of honey harnessed in this youth serum, every skincare brand on the market has their version of a youth fighting serum and the masters at Guerlain prove to strike gold with this fab product infused with Royal Jelly and honey to help skin self repair, despite it reminding me of buying my grandma Royal Jelly as a child I’ve tried this product and do think it’s really worth the investment!

Roc Sublime Energy range – I am not that familiar with the Roc skincare range but this sounds like science in a tube… the range itself was designed to harness electricity as it passes from cell to cell within our bodies and utilise this power or skin energy to turn back time (time travel for your skin!) with that claim it is one worth trying especially at such an attractive price starting at just £29.99

Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect Oil SPF30 – With all the sunshine today I decided it was time to dare to go bare-legged after months and months of opaque tights, I am not convinced it was quite the right decision but it has got me in the swing of feeling summery so it was fab to see one of my favourite sun protection brands winning an award. Plus it’s fantastic to see an oil with such a high SPF – I have very pale skin (thanks to my very blonde hair and English complexion) so a high SPF is a requirement even in the slightest ray of sunshine!

So on to my favourite part… The British beauty winners!

Best Beauty Care product goes to – Olay Regenerist 3 Point Super Serum, this products predecessor generated a waiting list of over 20,000 women so it’s not surprising its made it to the top spot. However that said I had real problems with this product – I tried it’s predecessor and had the worst reaction to this serum resulting in a month of just using Aqueous cream on my face it was so sensitive after using it…. so unfortunately it doesn’t get my seal of approval – but thousands of others seem to love it!

Highly commended in this category also were: L’Oreal Youthcode, La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Serum and Skinceuticals Pigment Regulator.

Best Make up product – Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick. I’m a huge lip junkie from glosses to lipsticks and even balms I love trying and using new textures and lip products and this is a fantastic lipstick – the colour pigment is strong on application and truly has a great long-lasting wear – I can highly recommend it!

Highly commended in this category: Garnier Youth Radiance 2 in 1 Tinted Eye Roll on Concealer, Burberry Make Up range, Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick.

Best Ethical product – Clarins Gentle Beauty Soap – I was really pleased to see this product win, Clarins work tirelessly at their ethical responsibilities when using exotic plant ingredients by replanting and supporting local communities without shouting about their green ways, so it’s lovely to see them recognised with this gentle little soap – which itself has an Ecocert organic certification. I am a huge soap fan so very happy to see soap taking centre stage in the beauty elite once more.

Highly Commended – L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Nature Range, Une Make-up Range, Aveda Control Force Firm Hairspray.

That’s it for this year… time for one more quick glass of Champagne to celebrate the winners and a read of Marie Claire on the tube home!

The one where MAC goes all Surf Babe…

MAC Surf Baby Model Shot
From the Northern line to the Pacific Coast Highway… this morning was no normal commute!
I arrived this morning at MAC HQ and found myself on a mini holiday up the Pacific Coast Highway, as I sipped lemonade and sat amongst the sand and seashells… and a surf board! It could only mean one thing… it was time for summer MAC style.

I’d seen snippets of the MAC SS Surf Babe collection awhile ago so I was very excited to see and play with the new products, and get really into the holiday spirit! It’s a really fun vibrant collection that just gets you dreaming of endless summer days on the beach, people watching or just poolside posing.

My standout products have to be the return of the Crushed Metallic Pigments – which are just fabulous to play with to create that real ethereal make up glow on your skin and eyes. SUMMER STASH – Light pink champagne (Frost), Light white pearl (Frost), Light violet with silver pearl (Frost), Brown bronze with gold pearl (Frost). SURF THE OCEAN- Frosty platinum (Frost), Light yellow green (Frost), Gold bronze (Frost), Dirty graphite with silver pearl (Frost) RRP: £25.50 / EURO 34.00

MAC Mineralize Pigments

I loved the new Skinsheen Bronzer Sticks, a really easy fun way to apply bronzer – the best bit is that they are water based so gives a real refreshing feeling on the skin with a fab bronze sheen glow, I can see this being a summer make up staple! (Available in three gorgeous shades TAN-TINT Soft suntan bronze, BILLIONAIRE BRONZE Warm golden tan, GILTY BRONZE Coppery bronze with gold shimmer RRP: £23.00 / EURO 35.50)

For those opting for the more traditional bronze powders you won’t be disappointed with the Solar Riche or Refined Golden Bronzing Powders. (REFINED GOLDEN Finely spun golden with soft pearl finish SOLAR RICHE Mid-tone deep orange brown RRP: £19 / EURO 25)


With spring being all about pop brights this collection warms up but continues this trend with some really wearable but high trend limited colours, as a bit of a nail varnish addict I love the aqua shade – just perfect for tanned toes to wear proudly (ooooh I dream of the return of flip-flop & sandal season!) The Nail lacquers come in HANGIN’ LOOSE Dirty pink nude and OCEAN DIP Mid-tone creamy aqua RRP: £10.00 / EURO 13.50


The Five limited Ed Eye Shadows continue the warmed sun shades mixed with surf and sea tones and are great to wear sheer or layer for a more intense pop of bright colour. The Frosty white acts as a great highlighting and brightening eye colour SHORT SHORTS Eye Shadows available in Frosty white champagne (Frost) SUN BLONDE Dirty yellow gold (Frost) SAFFRON Deep coral caramel (Satin) SURF USA Frosted teal (Frost) SWELL BABY Mid-tone grey (Satin) RRP: £12.00 / EURO 15.50

MAC My Paradise Cheek Powder: A warm coral tone blush with a hibiscus golden embossed flower adding just a subtle shimmer to the skin when applied with a brush  RRP: £19.00 / EURO 25.00


No MAC collection is complete without some iconic Lipstick shades and of course Lipglass, for that water shiny effect; LIPSTICK – NATURALLY ECCENTRIC Creamy white nude (Lustre), HIBISCUS Bright orange coral (Cremesheen), BUST OUT! Dirty mid-tone violet (Lustre), MOCHA Peachy yellow-brown (Satin), RRP: £14.00 / EURO 18.50

LIPGLASS – GIRL ON BOARD Pale white gold, GOOD LOVIN’ Soft peachy pink, STRANGE POTION Soft coral pink, KRAZY KAHUNA Warm mid-tone brown RRP: £13.50 / EURO 18.00


My official countdown to June 2011 has begun.

Images courtesy of MAC Cosmetics.