Friday, May 28, 2010

Excuse My Beauty

I’m not much of a beauty or make-up fanatic. Like I said a few posts ago, I’m a one man woman when it comes to cosmetics. I stick to my favourites for important stuff like foundation, liquid eyeliner and lipstick and then I rely on freebies for everything else (blusher, mascara, etc). Annoyingly, the free stuff is sometimes so good that I feel compelled to buy it after the sample has run out. How can I go back to Herbal Essences when I have discovered Aveda’s Shampure range? My hair smells so nice and it's really shiny. The lurid Herbal Essences bottles just look cheap and tawdry in the shower now. And that Dior mascara that I got in a goody bag makes my eyelashes look so long. Word of warning, though: Dior mascara is very effective at making your lashes look longer but it is not tear-proof. For somebody who cries twice daily (the circle line is delayed again, somebody said something vaguely mean to me at work, the news was really depressing, etc, etc) it is not always practical.

Anyway, the main point that I am trying to make is that there are several beauty products that I remain loyal to and I would like to share those with you now.

Mac Lady Danger Lipstick
This is my favourite red lipstick – matte and brash with orange-y undertones. It is not a ladylike red, rather a brazen, childish hue that messes up wineglasses with reckless abandon. A friend gave me the more grown-up Chanel Gabrielle as a birthday present recently so I will break her out when I am going for a posh dinner or to the theatre. For parties, though, I remain devoted to Lady Danger.

L’oreal Nutri Summer
I am very pale and I know that fellow pale people might decry me as a traitor for using fake tan but climb down from your oh-so-ivory tower and slap on some fake tan. Legs look better, arms appear thinner, short skirts are sexier. That’s the truth of the matter. And the thing with L'oreal Nutri Summer is that it is very subtle and you might not even guess that you have fake tan on at all. I swear. Other pale people say “No, no it always looks orange on me!” but honestly, if I can get away with it, anybody can.

Number 17 Lasting Fix Nail Polish (Mint Choc Chip)
OK so this is actually a relatively new addition to my make-up bag but I love it so far. Two layers and you’ve got beautiful blue chip-free nails for a week. I hadn’t really bought into the whole manicure trend but if my nails look this good with £2.50 Number 17 polish on them, perhaps I should go the whole hog and get flags or interlocking Cs or whatever it is that people do emblazoned across them.

Clinique Super Defence
I am currently sans Clinique Super Defence moisturiser and it’s obvious. My skin just isn’t as nice. It’s redder and blotchier and there are more open pores and spots. I can’t tell you why Clinique works and I usually do agree with people who say “ There’s no point spending big money on over-priced beauty products” but you can’t argue with a reddish complexion and 5 extra spots, now can you? LE

Monday, May 24, 2010

Me and You - Just Us 2

So the Sex and the City media coverage is reaching its frenzied peak. The posters are everywhere, you can’t open a mag without being assaulted by Halston Heritage dresses and SJP is staring out at me from all my Sunday supplements. Obviously Hadley Freeman’s piece in today’s G2 is the definitive read on the subject. It’s like she’s inside my mind. We’re soul mates or long lost sisters or something. Except for I’m the sister who drunkenly makes the point to a few friends over a boozy picnic and Hadley is the one who publishes her views in one of Britain’s best newspapers. But, basically, we’re the same.

So she’s seen the extended clips that appeared on the internet last week and she’s worried. Eh, yeah, moi aussi. It looks like a cartoon. Or worse – a play. A really bad play. The stilted dialogue, the colourful costumes, the caricatures that have taken the place of the characters we used to love. I mean obviously this comes as no surprise as the first movie made it clear that Carrie et al were no longer interested in careers or sex but were now only concerned with – and I know I made this point three blog posts ago, but come on! – “love and labels.”

Hadley seems to be referring to a feature in last week’s Stylist that asked four male journalists to analyse each of the four characters when she says: “One writer of a recent piece cited that achievement [not having watched the TV series] as a point of pride before then listing his reasons for hating the show, reasons he presumably pulled out of his ass.” Yes, Chris Bell opened his article with: “Let me begin by stating that – of course – I have never watched Sex and the City.” He then goes on to say that “for men, this [Charlotte] is perfect wife material – formal and reserved in public; a ‘goer’ in private.” Oh God.

But that’s not even the most offensive thing that was written in the feature. No, that was left to Toby Young (obvs). I’m paraphrasing but he is thankful to Samantha for persuading a generation of women that it’s cool to be slutty and sleep with men like him. Which, okay, is a funny take on things, but then he says: “The truly incredible thing about Samantha is that she doesn’t make the connection between her promiscuity and her inability to find a decent man… Duh! .... Since time immemorial, the way women have enticed men to make a commitment to them is by refusing to have sex until the man gets down on one knee. But if you’re willing to trade your body for a Cosmopolitan, why would a man bother to buy a ring?” SHE DOESN'T WANT TO GET MARRIED OR BE BOUGHT A RING. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT. DUH! And, btw, she’s not “trading her body” because she’s not a prostitute, but engaging in a consensual, (hopefully) mutually beneficial relationship.

But anyway the point that Hadley Freeman makes in her piece is that now we don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes defending our once beloved SATC characters. Young and Bell and the rest of the misogynists will go along to the movie and have all their views confirmed as Carrie – a professional writer – presents Big with a watch inscribed with ‘Me and you – just us 2’ and Miranda – a high-flying career woman – leaves her job to look after her husband and child. LE

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Board

I can’t say that I normally see much in the line of beauty when I’m passing the billboards on Shepherd’s Bush or Old Street roundabouts. But over the past couple of months, two campaigns in particular have stopped me in my tracks. First up, that French Connection campaign, devised by ad agency Fallon and shot by photog duo Damien & Leila De Blinkk. You know, the one with THE MAN – the hot, brutish, bearded guy and THE WOMAN - very Margaret Howell-esque. I love the kinda weird slogans and the simple font. I know – French Connection – who would have thought they had it in them. Completely irrelevent to me before but they so got it right for this season. Another beauty is the poster for Laura Marling’s I Speak Because I Can that features a striking portrait by artist Sophie Milner. Moments of beauty to brighten up even the greyest of bus journeys. NOK

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sock it to me!

For a couple of weeks there, it was summer. I skipped around town wearing sundresses and drank Hoegaarden out of plastic cups in pub gardens. I pranced around in light t-shirts and skinny jeans and pumps and I walked to appointments instead of taking the tube. But then it started raining again and the wind brought a chill from the north and I had to layer shirts and cardigans over my dresses and wear socks with my pumps. Except that I couldn’t find any socks. Well I could find odd sports socks or pink socks that had been left in my Christmas stocking about a decade go but I couldn’t find any nice normal socks that would be acceptable to wear with a ballet pump. And that’s what I miss about living with my dad. Well I also miss being able to ask for a quick summary of any political situation or war that I might not be as knowledgeable about as I should be. But mainly I miss the socks. Dads have whole drawers devoted to socks. I have a drawer for underwear and a drawer for bills and bank statements and a drawer for tights even, but I don’t have a drawer for socks. I need to buy some socks first.

When it comes to buying socks, I think it’s important to remember that black is bad. Black fades to a horrible light black and those hard crusty socks that you eventually find at the bottom of your wardrobe are always black. No, grey is better or a light brown perhaps. Patterns are out too unless they are very faint. Pop socks are also verboten (take note Lindsay Lohan). Obviously cashmere socks are the nicest but socks are easily lost or eaten by a dog so it doesn’t really make sense to splurge on them. And anyway, nobody wants really hot feet; that’s almost as uncomfortable as having really cold ones. People like Alexa Chung – that is to say people with very long, very skinny legs – are able to get away with skirts and socks and when the Alexa Chung for Madewell collection was launched there was plenty of socks-with-sandal action going on. I tend to stick to the skinny jeans/socks/ballet pumps combination myself but perhaps I’ll give socks with bare legs a try when the sun eventually comes back out. LE