Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Your Party Look in 10 Minutes

I love Christmas so much! I’d probably go, as far as to say it’s my favourite time of the year. It’s the only time of the year I allow myself to buy tins of chocolates and eat them all by December 1st, cry at a lorry covered in lights and allow Santa to put muddy footprints on my cream carpet, however, the best part without a doubt is the glitter, glitz and glamour. I’m not sure about you, but for me, getting ready to party is more exciting than the event itself. When I have time I like to spend a good 2 hours preening and pruning (believe me these legs take some pruning), but reality is I usually have about 10 minutes and that’s in-between shoving fish fingers in Donuts mouth and being quizzed by Princess on Harry, Niall (aka One Direction), like most mums 2 hours isn’t happening. By the time the kids are deposited at their fathers’ house, I’m ready for that Rose! If, like me you’re pushed for time, here are some quick tips to get you party ready! Before I share, just quick word of advice, leave the alcohol until after the makeup. Wine and makeup not a great combination – product overload!


·         If your skin is looking dull and needs a pep me up apply a hydrating serum. Alcohol, cold weather and heating dehydrates and a hydrating serum will give it a dewy finish.  Wild about Beauty’s Rose Water Illuminating Serum RRP, not only has light reflecting particles which give the appearance of more youthful skin, but also has anti-ageing ingredients to treat the skin - what makes this difference is the hint of violet that makes skin glow.

·         For  a ‘smokey eye’ use a dark colour on the lid that has a slight shimmer - this is more flattering and not as heavy as a matte colour.  A multipurpose gel product is great as  these can be used lightly as a shadow or built up to define the eyes and used wet or dry to define. Estee Lauder Pure Gel Colour in Cyber Green Metallic RRP is on trend for winter 2013. It’s not as heavy as black but is alluring, enchanting and edgy. The dark khaki, shot through with shimmering gold is suitable for all ages and adds glamour without being over the top.

·         To accentuate your eyes, apply very soft kohl to your upper lids and smudge upwards and outwards.  As you get older heavy rimmed eyes can look very aging. If you are 30 and under then line away by all means and go for that rock chic look. My favourite is Wild About Beauty Kohl as its incredibly soft, long lasting and comes in a duo form with a thick end to create such a rock chic look and a thinner end for more controlled defining.

·         For the rest of the eye, stick to light, neutral and shimmering shades. A small dab of silver on the inner corners of the eyes will give the illusion of brighter dazzling irises.

·         A multi-purpose mascara is a must, one that thickens, lengthens and curls, try Max Factor Calorie 2000 which has been on the market for years, but still one of the best.

·         I tend to use crème blushers as they’re easier to apply and colour can be built up.  Pat on to apples of the cheeks then follow with a light dusting of powder over the top. This gives the illusion of a healthy flush under the skin.

·         Lipstick – if you’re going heavy on the eyes, stick to a light shimmering nude. Estee Lauder Spiked Toffee is a soft, shimmering caramel shade. As you get older a pop of colour can bring back vitality to the skin. Pink Riot is a sheer pretty shade that is not too heavy but gives the complexion some radiance.

·         Finally a quick spritz of perfume behind the ears, just a small spray as there is nothing worse than choking other party goers. I love Very Estee by Estee Lauder which has top floral notes of freesia, lotus and base notes of Cashmere Wood and Sandalwood and it’s these lingering woody notes that give an air of sensuality, seductiveness but without being overpowering.

·         Now if I haven’t had time to do my nails, I’ll literally swipe a single block colour over my nails before I leave. Just one coat and a few minutes is all it takes to make them look presentable, and with the cold air hitting them, they dry super quick. This year I’m using Estee Lauder’s Beautiful Liar a gorgeous punchy pink and Love Bite a seductive rich red.

All that’s left is to go out and enjoy yourself, be merry and stay safe x

Estee Lauder/Wild about Beauty available from House of Fraser.

If you have any queries please contact me via Twitter @askmollybeauty or if you would like me to feature your business e-mail me

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Best Xmas Gifts

T’was night before Christmas, not a sound could be heard from the Beauty residence. A mother (let’s call her Molly) bent down to kiss her children’s foreheads and as they lay deep in slumber she inhaled their warm breath and let out her own small sigh of contentment. All the excitement and energy leading up to Christmas Eve had been replaced with a serenity of such calm it was as though the air was still.  The chores all done, the house lay prepared for a busy day ahead. Twinkling lights adorned the Mantle, mince pies lay by the hearth as did a half glass of Malibu and there hanging up were the lifeless souls of the stockings waiting to be filled. For her son the anticipation of a Chocolate waterfall, an Oompa Loompa and for her daughter the promise of appearing on SurpriseSurprise, and being rescued by Justin Bieber from her neglectful mum was the contract (wise girl) from Santa’s grotto.  Yet as Molly drunk in the scene and the Malibu, she proved to herself she needed Botox, as a deep crease appeared on her forehead and like coming out of the Shrek Swamp the fog became clear. For there would be no presents, no cotton wool, no satsuma, not even a blooming brussel sprout , because the truth of it was….she went to Lakeside and after trying to park for half an hour, cursing and flashing the guy who refused to indicate,  she gave up and came home empty handed. As a mother she had failed!

That’s not me though…ooh no - I have a plan! Being a self-confessed shopaholic, I know the best local shops where I can get everything and I will not get stressed, I will be that calm, gentle prepared mother who bakes gingerbread and wears an apron and if I can’t get it locally there’s always that thing called the Internet….

My first stop is one of my favourite shops The New Pharmacy, Brentwood and the proof of its popularity is standing the test of time for over 25 years. Its winning formula is not due to the huge brand names that you get in department stores, such as Lauder, Clarins, Dior and Darphin. Nor is it down to the rows of sumptuously displayed perfumes. It’s quite simply down to the best service of any shop I know in Brentwood. As soon as you walk in the staff are ready to help you find that perfect gift and as they are independent stockists there is no bias to any one brand. As a result you know their advice is genuine. Shopping is a doddle and with their expertise when the wife/girlfriend/mother opens her present(s), huge brownie points will be scored and the Sky remote will be yours all night.  Shopping here is fun, it’s not stressful, your gifts are professionally wrapped with their compliments with shiny paper and ribbon and there’s even a home delivery service! I’ve been a regular since I had my own visa.  The owners Umesh and Raakhee Amin and their team, Margaret, Linda, Pat and Chris are so welcoming it’s easy to see why customers are so loyal. Upstairs is an accessory and shoe boutique, with luxury names such as Jimmy Crystal, New York.  Take time to browse though, as you may miss that rare brand only found in Paris, or that elegant gift for a special lady. The men are not left out, with a huge array of aftershaves and leather goods.

One gift that caught my eye was the Estee Lauder Gift Set. It’s on offer for £50 with any Lauder perfume, yet its value is worth over £250!  Presented in a red crocodile bag and filled to the brim with luxury products suitable for all skin tones and ages. Detailed instructions are included in the matching red wallet, showing how to make the most of the delicious colours of smokey plums and muted neutrals.  Play around as there are so many options to create, daytime, evening, work – everything is included for your make up wardrobe - lipsticks, blushers, eye-shadows, liners and even makeup remover.  This is a present that will draw that inaudible gasp from whoever is lucky enough to receive it.

I also fell in love with the most amazing Christian Dior Grand Bal Palette - this gets my ‘Glamour’ award of the year. Encased in a sleek, gold compact is a duo of gold and silver highlighter, intricately braided, the molten, silky powders glide onto your eyes, lips, cheeks and even a flash on the collarbone gives an alluring glow to the skin. Within this compact lies a secret compartment of glosses, when lightly applied gives an illusion of fullness to the lips. Dainty brushes are also included, but for me the piece de resistance is the black eyeliner which closes the compact. All of this is wrapped in the most luxurious gold compact that will make you look and feel a million dollars.

Next stop The Skin Clinic, Brentwood.  Wave goodbye to eyelash extensions with Revitalish Eye Defining Gift Set – this unique formula literally lengthens lashes in less than a few weeks. The set contains a patented eyelash conditioner, which is so potent it must only be applied once in the evening, just one lash stroke per application. The formula has been proven to grow eyelashes within 21 days, there is no denying if used correctly it works. The reviews from other testers include ‘I stopped using it when my eyelashes hit my glasses’ and ‘I’ve been asked if they’re false’.  The set also provides an amazing volumising mascara, eyelash curler and eyebrow/eyelash comb.

For the men, The Skin Clinic came up trumps with a skincare set that’s easy to use, but will get results quickly so your man will be impressed - an easy to follow system, to get him looking his best. It contains two professional products by Australian brand Skinn which includes Total Shave and Daily Moisture presented in a minimalistic black travel bag. The sizes are easily transportable for gym/travel bag, but will last ages - a good no nonsense kit to kick start some good habits into your man, rather than him slathering on whatever moisturiser comes to hand first.

Also for the men from Menace in Shenfield, is the promise of some male indulgence. Why not send him for a manly pamper to the UK’s Best Male Grooming Salon (its beaten top London salons for this prestigious award).  Menace offer an abundance of treatments from facials to cut-throat shaves and gift vouchers which make an ideal stocking gift. Also pop in some Babassu and Bergamot Gentlemen’s Tonic (Shower Gel), ideal for him to grab and go or display in his shower.  The quality ingredients mean you only need to use a tiny amount, so it will last ages. Finally consider some Dermalogica Daily Scrub, an ideal pre shave to give him baby soft skin and make shaving so much easier.  

If however you really can’t face leaving the Omnibus Eastenders and want to order from home, then I have a couple of great websites for gifts, and my first is Here you will find a wide range of luxury essential oil body/face products  and gifts.  I absolutely love the Chocolate Xmas Gift Box. As soon as you open the box, the Restorative candle scents the whole room with essences of Palmarosa, Sweet Orange and Lavender. Also included is a huge jar of indulgent, award winning William Curley drinking chocolate. This is the creamiest, richest chocolate and my only tip is not to share it, savour every mouthful and curl up.

Finally, my last suggestion I admit is not to do with beauty. However, most of you may know I have an obsession with bling and it doesn’t come better than Tanya’s jewellery adorns the bodies of celebs and it’s not hard to see why. Fabulously girly, with designs that rival Swarovski but at affordable prices and with a spectrum ranging from delicate hearts, chunky bangles to the blingiest of headbands there is something for everyone. A selection is also stocked at French Quarter, Brentwood.

Before I go and wrap up all these wonderful treats, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Kayleigh of Tres Chic, for letting me hijack their Christmas tree!

1.        Estee Lauder Gift Set £50 (RRP £250) with any purchase of fragrance.

2.        Christian Dior Luxury Gold Palette £60

3.        Revitilash Eye Kit  £99

4.        SKINN Mens   kit  £50

5.        Dermalogica Daily Clean Scrub £24.50

6.        Babassu and Bergamot Gentlemens Tonic £13

7.        Espa Hot Chocolate Gift Set  £40

8.        Tanya Jewellery prices start from £12.95

Prices correct at going to press.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Its the Glitterati......

Once again its that time of year where glitter is literally everywhere (including my floor/bathroom/bedroom)! My inner child comes out to play though as I love anything sparkly, glittery and shiny. For some fab festivity fun try the following…and remember Christmas is the one time of the year where no matter how old you are, we can all have that Dorothy moment!

  • Glitter nails are sooo easy. For a subtle approach, just one coat of finely applied gold shimmer is enough. However, if you want to go all out then its time to experiment. Buy glitter pots from arts and crafts shop, or cheapy shops like Claires do great pots finely milled glitter. Then simply get a cotton bud, dip in some clear nail varnish, paint any pattern on to your fingertips and sprinkle glitter on top. Shake excess into sink or on newspaper and you're left with your chosen design. Simply apply any top coat to seal.
  • Glitter eyes. Again, a simple wash of fine shimmering eye shadow is sometimes enough, but I like to apply my usual smoky eyes, then apply a fine pigment of MAC or Chanel and press lightly into the socket.
  • Eyeliner, just one sweep of any bright glitter colour is enough to dazzle when you simply blink. I love Collection 2000. They simply are the thickest glitters out there, better than any other brand I've tried and the cheapest.
  • Eye pigments. For top end scale can't ever go wrong with MAC but for cheaper and a huge choice try Barry M. When applying if the glitter drops onto your cheek simply pick up with sellotape. If you are using a lightly fine pigment and it drops onto your cheek, then cover with your foundation!
  • Lips. I love a statement lip. If you're young (under 30) then there's no reason why you shouldn't choose this dramatic lip. Line and fill mouth with a dark red lip liner. In the centre of your mouth use a lipstick – Lady Red by MAC is a classic, apply to centre and spread out but not to the far corners (you'll look like Joker). Then with finely gold/silver pigment press onto middle of your lips to make them Pop! Or choose a glitter lip gloss to add fullness.
  • For your body, I like to get my favourite body lotion, apply some rose gold pigment (rose gold is very flattering), mix together and apply to the centre of my shins to elongate the legs. Alternatively applying to the decolletage is also very alluring.
  • Hair, again gold/silver pigments can be applied by spraying hairspray either directly on to your brush or in your hand then mixing with pigment and brushing through.

Any leftover glitter can be used to make cards, decorate the back of Uggs (I won't take credit for that as a friend recently did hers, by applying glue to the back of the Ugg and shaking thick glitter over –  looks incredible).

Have a happy glitter Christmas x

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Stay Safe this Christmas

Last night whilst walking through my high street having been for a meal with my friend we both commented on the scores of girls falling around on the pavement consumed by alcohol. Then there were those that weren't drinking but still out to have a good time with their friends, dressed up and ready for a fun evening of dancing and chatting and it was nice to see them all enjoying themselves. The conversation turned to how my daughter would be of that age in 7 years time, a long way off, but still –   and my first thought, as maybe most parents would be, was for her safety and how important it was to be street wise. You see God forbid and through experience I can write this, to be in a situation where you feel threatened is not one you'd ever want to put yourself through. So taking a break from writing about my usual beauty, I thought I'd write up a few tips on staying safe, pass on to your friends, mums give to your daughters, just stay safe x

  • Always carry a mobile phone with you or make sure someone in your crowd has a phone. Give an emergency number to family and let someone know where you are going. Try to conceal your phone, so its not used as a target to steal and never walk along at night chatting on it, you need to be vigilant. Same with an Ipod, never use in the dark.
  • Carry spare cash and be strict not to spend it - however, if you don't trust yourself then leave some at home so you can pay a cab driver.
  • NEVER leave your drinks unattended. Its easy to spike drinks with drugs that are clear and odourless. Do not accept a drink from a stranger, but if you do, go with him to the bar and let the attendant hand to you directly.
  • Share your transport home with friends. Be sensible, don't sit next to a cab driver, sit in the back –  if you're getting a bus, stay at the front next to the driver.
  • Always use licensed taxis and carry the number of a well known taxi firm. If there is a long wait, stay with friends in a well lit area. No matter how tired or tempted never accept a lift from a stranger. When booking a taxi, ask for the drivers name and make/model of the car.
  • If you are walking home, never do the journey alone. Stay with friends and don't be tempted to take short cuts through alleyways. Keep in well lit areas.
  • Carry a personal alarm –  there are lots on the market which are small but powerful but used will give you the chance to shock your attacker so you can get away.

Finally the most important tip is to LISTEN and LOOK! Be alert. Your senses and instinct are what will protect you. You'll notice that I haven't put anything about alcohol. Unfortunately if you go with the mindset, you are going to get drunk, then this will of course put all your defences down. So be prepared before you hit the town. Try to limit your drinks or alternate one alcohol with one water/soda.

If you are attacked, contact the police IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait. They will need evidence so do not shower or wash your clothes. DNA samples can be taken from inside the mouth so don't eat, smoke or drink. Tell a friend or family member as you will need lots of support, especially as you will have to remember as much detail to give to the police whilst its in your mind.

Hopefully you won't ever be in a threatened situation, please pass these tips on, stay safe this Christmas and God Bless.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hair Extensions

As a Beauty Editor I live in a somewhat superficial world, it doesn’t help that I buy every glossy mag, pour over celebs and their weight gain (cheers me up), dissect their faces to see what they really look like without three pairs of eyelashes (different but better) and swoon over latest products, but if I’m honest it can make me feel a bit critical of myself. I’m constantly faced with images of self-obsessed celebs and I can see the downward spiral it can lead to. Being pictured weekly in the Gazette for the first couple of weeks did wonders for my diet, then the Percy Pigs got the better of me and my attitude went back to reality, I’m a busy mum of two kids and my job is to relate to readers not look glam 24/7. I refuse to use the word ‘totes’ and I don’t own a pug.  I also live without makeup artists, personal trainers every day (maybe once a week), nutrionists come in the form of Sainsbury’s, teeth whitening courtesy of Crest Strips and hair is my own.

I was intrigued though when a few weeks ago I was contacted by Charlotte Borley, Hair Extension Connesiour. I hadn’t heard of her, but after asking a few people in the industry and looking up on Twitter, I realised that she is one of the top hair extension specialists in the country and she very kindly offered to put some extensions in for me, so I could tell you, the readers first hand on what it’s like.  Now whatever I think of my hair – it’s fine, long, straggly and over dyed, I am also extremely protective of anyone ‘playing’ for fear of needing it chopped off.  

So I was extremely happy when I read up on Charlottes credentials. She trained at Europe’s largest hair loss and extension studio on an intensive course that covered every aspect of hair extensions from the best placement of bonding, method of bonding and significantly choosing the correct size of bonds for clients to get the best results. From seeing her portfolio there was no over-the-top tacky extensions, in fact the majority of her clients aren’t the young celeb followers, but ladies of all ages who simply want a bit of fullness to their natural hair, be it a short or mid-length bob.  A fully qualified hairdresser, her resume includes Toni and Guy and hairdressers to the stars Lucinda Ellery, London.  Her clients travel from as far as Switzerland as they know they won’t find anyone to rival her.  She also helps many women who have suffered hair loss due to medical reasons.

Now whilst there are several specialists out there, Charlotte has something that most of these hairdressers don’t - a trade secret and this secret is her supplier. She uses only top quality 100% European hair and her hair Merchant – who for client confidentiality shall remain nameless, graces the likes of Posh, Cheryl Cole, Kylie, Kate Moss, Leona Lewis, the list just goes on. This merchant supplies the majority of theatrical stylists and wigmakers across Europe, to give you a picture his wigs have been worn by Madonna, Tom Cruise, Cher and all top Hollywood stars. The hair is cuticle correct and double drawn with every hair being the same length.  This basically means the hair is of highest quality and has a lovely natural movement.  However, this jargon didn’t mean much to me, I was too excited thinking I would soon be having the same mane as Catherina Zeta Jones!

 The process uses a method of placing tiny bonds the size of a grain of rice to the hair, using a keratin medium to set it.  I had just under half a head, it was extremely quick and the results were absolutely incredible.  Firstly, the bonds are weightless – they simply feel like my own hair. Secondly, and importantly with my busy lifestyle, they simply need looking after with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner. Lastly, they look utterly amazing, for the first time in my life I have a swishy, glossy mane and I can’t stop looking at my reflection (sadly the meat counter at Sainsbury’s). The following day was my real test of how I would fare with them, as being a wash and go person, now I needed to make sure the bonds were dried, however, a simple 5 minute blast with the hairdryer and my glam locks were ready to swoosh once more.

For the perfect Christmas gift, the treat of A list bond hair extensions is hard to beat and they last months. Alternatively, for a stocking gift, why not treat someone to clip on weaves; hair can be bought from The One Stop Hair Shop and start from £59.95. Charlotte also offers a bespoke clip in hair extension service £150 and weaved hair extensions from £15 per row.

Bond extensions are priced on quotation via an initial free consultation. Charlotte is offering anyone quoting askmollybeauty a 10% discount off application of bond extensions (excl. hair); offer to be taken by end of January. Follow her on Twitter at @CharlotteEmhair or call 07511 193251 or One Stop Hair Shop 01277 225086.

If you have any beauty queries please contact me via Twitter @askmollybeauty or if you have a business you would like featured, contact me via Email


Could Semen be the miracle face serum....

I don't know how I suddenly came to thinking that Semen could be a miracle product for the skin. Maybe it was reading up on the top Hollywood salon that uses bull sperm in their facials. However, after asking lots of people not to judge me on my theory, I decided to investigate. I also threw it past various people from school mums to the hierarchy of a tennis club and of course it got lots of giggles on girls nights out. The reactions of everyone, made my mind up to test the public and see their reaction – although had to be said most friends had actually heard of it before, whilst several had been wondering whether to introduce it alongside their Clarins moisturiser.

So whilst I wasn't surprised that quite a bit of research has already been done on this –  just google and you will see that most doctors and health professionals agree its good for the skin. What I was surprised is why someone hasn't bottled it (obviously finding a preservative), and made a fortune. Again, I had many jokes mostly from men ranging from sperm banks to donor via thanks you've made me a happy man, ill tell my wife.

However, before you all laugh it off as a gag (pardon pun), lets look at the facts and ingredients involved, after all they read as like a top skincare product that would probably be in the higher end bracket..

  • Protein –  essential for repairing skin cells and improving elasticity
  • Amino Acids/natural sugars –  used as light exfoliation
  • Vitamins/hormones – contains growth hormone prostaglandins
  • Zinc –  great for antibacterial use

So whilst I haven't tried and tested it, I have asked a couple of 'she whom shall not be named' friends,to do so. The first effect is tightening, gross but its like applying egg white, however, her skin felt amazing for days. She had spots, which she dabbed regularly with semen and they disappeared after couple of days, having dried up quicker than 'any zit cream' she had used. The other friend said the same thing,with the added benefit of softer looking skin.  

Of course, there is a lot of research needed to prove its worth… For example, a mans diet could affect the quality of the semen. Someone eating a clean diet of veg is going to have healthier sperm. Also you would have to implicitly trust your donor i.e your boyfriend/husband as any STD is a huge worry.

Yet with one salon in New York apparently charging in excess of $250 for 'sperm facial' surely its worth considering. Its free (for some of us) and they'll be alto more men out there happier to go shopping for the day!

Before I sign off, pls note I'm not a Doctor, I'm a Beauty Editor and open to all avenues of searching for that eternal youth, and sharing it with you. Whilst my view is most beauty comes from inside, there's nothing wrong with a helping hand!