Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bobbi Brown Makeup Lesson

The appointment was at 2pm and I had a mild panic at 1.52pm when I was still in the Mint Velvet Changing room in John Lewis with my arms up in the air and a top stuck between my shoulders and my head (you know the look).  However I managed to make it out, pay for my purchases and leg it across to Bentalls arriving in time for my appointment. 

I presented myself  and told the rather keen girl my name and she ushered me to a chair to discuss my needs.  I said I wanted a full coverage makeup as I had tinted moisturiser for the summer, but like to have more on my face at this time of year and when I go out in the evening (oh ha ha ha).  I said I was happy to look at concealer and other makeup too but I was planning on just getting a foundation at the moment. Famous last words.

 The makeup lesson was very good.  Bobbi Brown technicians focus on using makeup brushes a lot and this is to ensure the makeup is applied evenly.  I tend to put makeup on with my fingers and I think it works ok  and provides a good even coverage, but I’m always willing to look at different ways.  My biggest concern with brushes is needing to clean it. I’m usually too rushed in the morning getting out the door before 7.15am or too tired in the evening to be adding a brush cleaning routine in there.  She suggested I keep a pack of wipes or tissues and give them a quick swipe and only bother washing them at the end of the week.  I’m not entirely sure that’s something I will get around to doing, but who knows.

 She started off by applying a very light coloured foundation. One that’s a lot lighter than I would normally use.  No bad thing, but I was slightly concerned I was going to look to pale.  No fear though, as she had lots of colour on standby to build up the colour over the top, which makes sense.  The foundation she chose for me was Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Foundation. “Infused with Shea Butter and Evening Primrose Oil, this does-it-all formula combines all the skin-nourishing benefits of Bobbi’s Extra Skincare with the skin tone-correct colour and buildable coverage of her foundations”.  I have to say, it goes on like a dream and really does sit very well on my skin.  My only criticism, was that it is a medium coverage foundation which wasn’t exactly what I asked for, but I’m very happy with how it looks and quite possibly it’s a product that was better suited to my (now) dry and slowly ageing skin, so I’m glad that was ignored.

 Next she used a “corrector” around my eye area to….well, correct the dark circles.  She did this after applying an eye cream around the socket area.  Next she used a concealor in a slightly darker colour to cover up the circles and any blemishes.  I’ve not used a concealer under my eyes for a very long time as I’ve been an avid fan of Touche Eclat.  Obviously this ISN’T a concealer and more of a highlighter, but applied correctly it can lighten the under eye area and give the illusion of coverage.  Having seen the work this technician did with the concealer I’m now converted and am using both these products under the eye.  Again, with my finger, but more on that later. 

She then brushed my face with Brightening Finishing Powder – Brightening Nudes which brought a bit of colour and illumination to my face.  At this point I was starting to look pleased.  She then showed me how I could add bronzer over my face to add more colour very subtly and demonstrated using a cream blusher.  I’ve always been a bit frightened of cream blushers, but she put it on with such confidence and I didn’t look like a clown.  She brought the whole product from the apples of my cheeks (smile broadly and the cheeks show where to put it) up the corner of my eyes.  She then took the foundation brush that still had a bit of foundation on it to blend the blusher in.

She finished off my makeup session by showing me how to apply their liquid eyeliner with a brush AFTER applying eyeshadow.  I’ve always done this the other way around.  The eyeliner was smudged slightly for a softer line and then reapplied which worked really well.  The eyeshadow used was Bone on the entire lid up to the eyebrow and then Long Wear Cream shadow in Heather.  Again, I’ve never used a cream shadow before but this looked really good.  Mascara, a bit more powder, some neutral gloss and a brow brush with a little brown brow powder and I was done.

It was a nice dressy “day” look which is sometimes where I struggle. I have a nighttime look of eyeliner, 3 eyeshadows (smoky) etc.. but in the day tend to just use foundation, concealer/touche eclat and some mascara.  To see how I could look “made up” without the being too made up was brilliant.

I promptly bought the foundation, corrector, concealer, heather cream shadow and highlighting powder.  I opted to not buy a brush especially as one of them was £30!!  During the makeup session, quite a few bristles fell out of various brushes which wasn’t terribly impressive and I thought I might look elsewhere to get similar brushes.  I’ve got a very old powder brush at home that I’ve had for centuries and is very reliable.  After going through my purchases again I advised the girl I didn’t want the bone shadow as I’m sure I had a similar colour at home, but when I did get home she had included it and charged me which was a little naughty.

On the plus side, she chucked in quite a few sample freebies. I got a mini mascara and a little pot of the eye cream to try as well as a few other minis. 

At about 6.30pm that night a girl from the Bobbi Brown counter rang to ask if I’d like to reschedule the appointment as I must have been so busy I’d forgotten to turn up.  It would appear my technician knew only too well I was someone elses appointment but had grabbed me without telling her.  Did somewhat sour the experience as I hate to think she cheated for her sales.  However, she had been very good and did make me look really lovely.  No mean feat.

Overall I would definitely recommend booking to have a makeup lesson.  Bobbi Brown has had a good reputation for excellent product and I really can’t fault it.  A trained makeup artist always told me to go there if I had the cash.  I’m really glad I stepped out of the makeup rut and took the plunge……even if it did cost me a pretty penny to do so.

What do you think of my makeup?

Bobbi Brown Makeup Lesson

Bobbi Brown Makeup Lesson

Religion in State Schools

Well, it’s been a week since I last ranted, must be time for another one. Actually this isn’t a rant as such, more a gentle quizzing, musing, if you like.  Maybe I’m just confused.

Why is my daughter being taught about the Christian God and learning how to pray in a state school?

Photo courtesy of state Impact Florida

Photo courtesy of state Impact Florida

Before I go on, I should lay my cards on the table. You’re not stupid and probably realise that I’m clearly not a Christian. I’m most definitely an atheist, my husband is agnostic (leaning towards atheism – although truth be told I think he’s hedging his bets in case of an afterlife) and my children…..well they are religionless, if that’s even a word.  They have heard about religion, they know of church, they know of some beliefs that others follow, but I’m not teaching them to be cynical human beings and reject religion, I’m providing them with a clean slate to make their own mind up over time.

Now obviously, they will be slightly influenced.  I’m an atheist as were my parents, but they didn’t teach me that, I just worked it out for myself.  My parents were, at times, also racist, but thankfully I also worked that out and decided not to follow that path.  My children will know what I think if they asked.

There is a part of me that wished I did believe in God. As a messed up teenager I used to walk past the church near my school and look longingly in as people sat in pews, in the silence, in the beautiful architecture, feeling like someone is listening to them.  I like that.  I could have tried it. I think at times I did.  It just didn’t work.  The scientific part of my brain would get too loud.  I felt like an idiot.

So that was Australia.  We DID NOT learn hymns. We DID NOT do prayer. We DID NOT get told in classes to thank god for anything.  However, we did have religious education. It was Christian based and therefore my Jehovah Witness mate at the time got a special note to sit in the library for an hour.  I learnt about the bible, all about the stories and we all asked questions. It’s part of our history, a very important part, and let’s face it, still is.  Religion plays a big part in lots of people’s lives.  I think, for about a year, my mother also sent me to Sunday School. She was an intelligent woman and I don’t think she wanted me to know nothing about religion.  Of course, it might have been that she wanted Sunday morning free to vacuum the house.

I guess I’m surprised more than anything. I’d had the debates with other parents about church schools and the lengths people go. A friend of ours in the same borough has been going to her local church for 2 years in order to secure her daughter’s space at a C of E school.  However, she quite likes the ideals of church and likes meeting people, so to her, it wasn’t a big ask. 

Hubby and I decided we didn’t want to do that.  We have a Catholic school very near us with a good reputation (and hubby is unofficially Catholic) but I can’t do it. It doesn’t work for me. I don’t want religion being a part of all areas of my daughter’s education.  So she was packed off to a very nice state primary.

I know she had RE and I was very pleased she was learning about it.  This saves me the trouble of digging up stories long since forgotten.  I did buy the Christmas story a year ago when she was playing Mary, so she had an idea of what it was about but the only other good one is Noah but I know very little of that story.

So then it started. She started by singing me a song about God being a great big God.  Nice tune. Ok.  Then she was told that when she opens her Christmas presents on Christmas day she should thank God for them.  Ummm *Cough* no! Thank me, I bloody bought them.  I know what the teacher is getting at, but I’ll happily hijack Christmas, that doesn’t mean I want to make it religious.  Then she started telling me a few other stories about God which made me feel a bit uncomfortable until I rocked up at her birthday assembly (parents came come to those) and she did a prayer alongside all the other children and sang the God song.  Bless her, at the end she said “A Mend”.  “You say that at the end, Mummy. To say you’ve finished”.

I’m being cynical here, obviously, and it’s not that I’m dead against what’s going on, I’m just very very surprised.  I had no idea and I really don’t know what to feel about it.  Should I have been consulted or should I be a little happy that she’s getting a chance to immerse herself in it.  I’m fairly certain she’s not being brainwashed here, and let’s be honest, Church of England teachings are fairly wishy washy. No fire and brimstone. No guilt.  Just some ok stories about being kind and some education.

I guess, I’m not that happy or I wouldn’t be writing about it. However I’m not sooo unhappy I want to march into the school and say something either.  If you are an atheist, how do you feel about the teaching of religion in school?  Is this all basic stuff in England and I need to get over myself?

Any way. Musing over. A Mend.



Clarins Tri-Active Facial

As some of you may be aware, I’ve had a bit of a self indulgent weekend this weekend. It was all in aid of my birthday, hubby gave me a “day” for a treatment, shopping and relaxation which was brilliant, but aside from the Clarins treatment, was far from relaxing.
On Saturday my sister hosted a lunch with 2 of my good friends overlooking the Thames in London and we started at 1pm and only left Waterloo at 7pm. Thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Anyway, I thought you might enjoy hearing a bit about the Clarins facial and the Bobbi Brown makeup lesson I had. I know I search out real people reviews and the treatment was paid for in advance by my hubby and my lesson was free so this post is most definitely not sponsored.

I arrived, as requested, 10 minutes before the treatment and filled in a form outlining whether I’d had surgery, was on medication or had neck or back problems. I have had the latter 2 so was asked to sign a disclaimer which I was very happy to do as I knew they’d be careful.
I was asked to get undressed and was given a cupboard with hooks to put all my clothes and handbag in. For the facial I was able to keep my bra on (with straps down) and keep my jeans on, but as the treatment involves a foot massage (oh yes!) I had to take my shoes and socks off. I hoped onto the treatment table which had an electric blanket and lots of thick fluffy towels to climb under.

A discreet knock at the door and a reassuring “yes” from me and my beautician came in to discuss a little more about the tri-active facial. she talked me through the different stages of the facial – removing my makeup, cleansing, exfoliation, deep cleanse and hydration mask and then moisturising. she asked me what my concerns were, so I told her that my skin is much drier now and the skin tone is uneven with a few blemishes on my chin. I mentioned I wanted to look about 20 (oh how we laughed) and in the end she thought the radiance facial would resolve all my problems. She said I had lost some of the springiness of my skin and she would be able to put that back.

The products she used were:

ClarinsPro Radiance Plant Based Mask
ClarinsPro Radiance Supplement
Clarins Double Serum
Clarins Santal Face Treatment Oil

The facial was amazingly relaxing and involved face, neck, décolletage, shoulders, arms and hands. At various point when the treatment was working on my face, my feet were treated and massaged which was lovely. Long gone are the days when a beautician would leave you in a mask for 20 min and wander off for a chat at the reception desk. My lady stayed with me the entire time and I got the full 1 hr 20 min of indulgence.

The Double serum is a new product from Clarins and is a product split in two that is combined in your hand for application. I didn’t have it in my budget to buy it on this visit (and I’m currently using the amazing Face Treatment Oil) but I’ve been given some samples to try in the meantime and think it will definitely be on my beauty shopping list in a few months time. Amazing. Here’s what it says on the Clarins’s website : More than just a serum, this is the only intensive anti-ageing treatment rich in 20 plant extracts that boosts the skin’s vital functions. A unique formula that can be used in two ways for a visibly youthful look: – skin looks firmer, wrinkles appear smoother, – the complexion looks more even and regains its glow -pores appear less visible. More here.

I thought overall the treatment was worth the £65 for the experience and the way my skin felt at the end. It is now Tuesday and it still feels soft and plump so I’m one very happy bunny. My only niggle (and its small) is that there was a head massage with a little hair pulling, which probably wouldn’t bother most but wasn’t terribly comfy for me and my sensitive scalp. although it was only about 2 min worth. I was glad I hadn’t washed my hair before though, sometimes they should warn you. The other bug bear (and can’t be rectified) is you obvious leave without makeup on, which I find a little scary and usually organise to go straight home afterwards. I didn’t this time as I had shopping to do and had my Bobbi brown makeup session. Shall blog about that tomorrow.

Is this a treatment you’d be interested in? Are there any other treatments you’d recommend?

What about Meeeeeeee?

It’s been a bit of a stressful 12 hours in the 40 year olds house.  Valentines day/night wasn’t filled with a romantic meal or intimate whispers.  We seemed to have decided to row on valentines evening, about everything and nothing. A bit of a shame.  I blame the hubby – but then I would wouldn’t I?

I think one of the things I’m finding a little bit annoying is today’s “Me day”.  For those of you on twitter, you may be aware that for my birthday present this year my husband rather cleverly chose a selection of gifts that were designed to be used on one day (today) to give me a bit of “me” time.

picture courtesy of kmmccabe

picture courtesy of kmmccabe

I have a Clarins voucher booked for 11am today.  I have a Next and a H&M voucher to spend. I was given a book I wanted and a Red Magazine (subscription to follow) and the whole day to do with as I pleased………… lovely.

There is a catch. Of course there is a catch, there always is.  Last week hubby casually mentioned that he had a conference call at 4pm. “You’ll be back by 4 though, won’t you?”  Ummm, so now I have a deadline.  Ideally I would need to leave at 3 then, because that’s the school run time and I’ll be a bit slower.  So not a whole day then.  I wasn’t best pleased, but then he got stressed.  It’s a call related to a big job that is worth a lot of money and he’s stressed about it as it is.  After a mini debate I said it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s not ideal though.

I get home last night and he tells me he’s now got a casting at midday in London.  No panic, he’s found a mate who’s going to babysit The Monster whilst he’s in the casting. However, I could help by taking Pickle to school.  There goes the lie in.  So sandwiched somewhere in this day is some time for me.  I shouldn’t complain.  It’s hardly the hubby’s fault. He has a very unpredictable job (acting) and both the real acting work, the stuff he loves, is VERY unpredictable, the corporate acting work, which helps pay the bills, can be equally restrictive.  However, where does that leave me?

Hubby gets to go out in the evenings a lot. I’m happy for him to do so. He has lots of pockets of friends and he enjoys socialising. I don’t quite as much, so I’m happy at home with the tv and twitter.  He goes on lots of boys trips, because he’s proactive and so are his friends and they enjoy getting away.  The girls just don’t do this. We suffer guilt for leaving children behind and we’re too busy just trying to get through our working day to be able to focus on arranging something. We are our own worst enemies.

About 6 months ago, when I really got into the blogging (albeit still secretly) I asked for some time on a Sunday morning to surf the internet and do “my stuff”. No problem, said hubs. However, something always gets in the way.  A weekend away, visitors, a kids party. I used to kick up a fuss. I’ve given up now. I snatch moments when I can.  Hardly luxurious.  He gets to have time upstairs “working”.  Caught in the act watching a you tube video of an off the wall comedy show, isn’t really being caught in the act when you’re an actor and you are looked after by a comedy agency….it’s part of his job, being in the know.  Sounds rather nice though doesn’t it.  Obviously he’s often learning scripts, doing invoices, but I’d rather enjoy it.

Today, I’ve had to put in a quick wash. Friday is grown up washing day. It’s not going to magically do itself and we have visitors on Sunday, so today and tomorrow and the only days I have to do the whole family’s washing.  It’ll be more stressful not doing it.

So, “me time”? Pah!  I will enjoy my day today and try not to be panicked by my looming departure deadline.  Must make the most of it.  It’ll probably be my last opportunity for a long time.

Card be arsed

picture courtesy of

picture courtesy of

Like what I did there?  I took the word card and pretended it was…. oh never mind.

I’ve got a bone to pick. It’s a bone I’ve been wanting to pick since December last year.  It is still eating me up inside and I’m hoping a bit of “laying out my emotions about it”, will make me feel better.  Here’s hoping.

What is it with the demise of Christmas Cards?  I get that postage is expensive. I get that people are trimming their list to keep the cost down.  Since when did it become ok to send out a round robin email (or worse — via Facebook) telling everyone that this year you are donating to a charity instead of sending out cards?

Pull the bloody other one!!

That’s not the reason you aren’t sending out cards.  Christmas cards aren’t about money.  They are about staying in contact with people, reminding people you are thinking of them over the holiday period, reminding them that YOU CAN BE ARSED spending 2 Bloody evenings in 365 days of the year writing them out and addressing the envelope.  I’m sorry, but I don’t believe for a second that it’s about the money.

We trimmed our list this year because of the cost of postage.  I reviewed all of the people on my list and removed people I knew hadn’t sent one to me for a number of years. Harsh, but it had to be done.  However, I didn’t insult their intelligence by telling them.  They’ll get the picture when one doesn’t arrive.  What I could have then done, if I so wished, was to make a Christmas donation to a charity for the number of stamps I didn’t spend on, but then that defeats the purpose of saving money doesn’t it? At any rate, I don’t need to shout it from the rooftops*   (*facebook).

I just don’t understand to be honest.  I don’t know when people started thinking it wasn’t worth the effort.  I love getting Christmas cards.  Why can’t anybody be arsed anymore?

The worse contact about it I had in December was a status update (so no guarantee everyone saw it) which read:

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year one and all. Please consider this your Christmas card.  There, that was nice and easy”.

My reply

“Yes, and a bit crap”.

Quite a few people thought she was joking.  She wasn’t.  There’s one more off my list this year. That’s handy.

So if you can’t be arsed doing Christmas cards, don’t do them. Donate to a charity if you want to, it’s a nice thing to do and if you’re anything like me, you do it when you have the chance to, probably a couple of times a year.  Don’t announce it to everyone claiming you’ve sacrificed the loveliness of a personalised hand written card for the sake of a charity. We all know it’s not about that.

And as for people not rsvp’ing to invites………….well, I think I’ll leave that for another day.

*grumble grumble*