Monday, 29 April 2013

Prom Make Up Special - Radio Blog Phoenix FM

Listen on Phoenix FM for some great prom make up tips, featuring Barry M, GOSH, Mavala, Benefit and more. Drop me a note let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Total Bliss Sara - Heavenly Tiers, Sweet Dream Bars, Balloon Boutique - a perfect hen party!

When I reminisce of my hen party many years ago I look back with a huge smile in my heart and a slight frown on my forehead.  I had 2 parties, one a civil weekend away at a health farm - I say civil but choose to ignore the drunken game of Twister and conversations with a certain celeb in the Jacuzzi, which I’m sure turned my Nanna in her grave, and the other a true Essex send-off – 17 nuns descending upon Sams nightclub in Brentwood, firemen stripping, various toys appearing and this time round I’m sure Nanna was doing full U-turns! Wind on 12 years and I’m ready for another one – I blame my life beginning at 40. However, I have children, I write publicly plus there is the small fact of actually not getting married, but what the heck I don’t need a reason so I invited my friends Sue, Jackie and Caroline over for a girlie pamper party.

After googling several salons I decided upon Total Bliss Sara – I think it was the name that caught my eye, I need a bit of total bliss. Sara has been a beauty therapist for many years and whilst working from Donna Milton’s salon Ovels Hair Design in Blackmore a couple of days a week, her main speciality is running pamper parties (she travels all over Essex).  Catering for all ages and all types of events from princess pamper parties, teen slumber nights, hen parties to mums simply wanting a night in with their friends, she also caters for all budgets - give her a price and she will tailor make your night to suit your pocket!  Her website shows the huge variety of treatments available from manicures, pedicures, waxing, spray tan, makeup, facials, the list is endless.  For a great alternative to coffee mornings she also runs a ‘Pop-up Spa Day’ whereby Sara sets up her salon in your house, then it’s down to the host to provide nibbles, drinks and a schedule for friends to have treatments. Not only does this provide a great social event (also handy if for whatever reason you’re housebound), but the host gets a fabulous freebie facial! If you’re short on space Sara will hold your pamper party from the salon in Blackmore, only the best in organic skincare is used – Neals Yard Remedies, and finally she even provides the refreshments and props to make your party a night to remember!

Excitement took hold, so I also called upon Hannah of Heavenly Tiers who make the most amazing cupcakes (Hannah’s cupcakes are famous amongst celebrity parties) and loving my pick n mix, I pulled in Deanne of Essex Candy Cart to spoil us with Wonka inspired treats (I’d seen her featured on TV!). Sara arrived on the night with another therapist Karla Lee, both were laden down with amazing personalised balloons, foot spas, robes and head bands. We started off with a relaxing foot soak, nails were prepped, primed and treated to Shellac, whilst lavish essential oil face masks were applied enveloping my house with essences of Bergamot, Mandarin and  Frankincense.   A group of girls with a cupful of sugar inside them and a few glasses of wine was of course a recipe for no-hold barred raucous chat and I should probably apologise now to the photographer and of course my Nanna.  I would 100% recommend hiring Sara for a day or night pamper party, for the price of a meal we had one of the best nights ever and even got given a goody bag! Thank you Sara and the rest of the girls for a fantastic evening.

Lucky for Essex Go readers I’ve got some great offers.  Total Bliss Sara is offering 10% off all treatments and pamper parties (minimum number of guests for a pamper party is 4). For bookings call 07738563688 or visit her website Ovel Hair Design is offering 10% off all hair treatments tel: 01277 822117. Hannah of Heavenly Tiers is offering a generous 15% off any cake order over £50 tel: 07885 424243.  Deanne of Sweet Dream Bars  caters for all events from small intimate parties to large events tel: 07877 463053 – any booking over the value of £20 will receive 10% discount and finally Balloon Boutique tel:01277 200083 are offering a 10% discount on all orders over £20.

For all the offers above please quote AskMolly at time of booking.  Offers are valid until 30th June 2013 and not to be used in conjunction with any other offer/promotion nor on any salon products.

If you have a beauty/hair business you would like featured please contact Molly via email or Twitter @askmollybeauty.


radio feature cellulite/clarins/apotherderm/mavala/barry m/rihanna/kim k and more

TOWIE being blamed for rise in Cosmetic Surgery...

Being a Beauty Editor and living in the heart of TOWIE land Brentwood, I've been asked several times my view on the rise of cosmetic surgery, fillers, Botox etc and the link to TOWIE. Today turning on the news a huge debate has sparked up about this such matter, so having a quick few minutes thought I'd blog out my view.

Fillers, Botox etc have been around for years long before TOWIE came onto the scene and I think they've been made a scapegoat.  Sure TOWIE has a certain look to the cast, but then so has mods/goths/emos its a trend and trends don't get anywhere unless they're new and cause debate.

The problem with cosmetic surgery is that there are so many practitioners out there that haven't done the training, who don't even need to be regulated and can buy products off the internet, and whose fault is this –  the Government, and the new regulations can't come quick enough in my opinion. 

Every week or so a back street shop with a cheap billboard pops up with Botox –  set price, 3 for 2 fillers, buy one friend gets one free, its easy and targets those that do not have common sense or confidence and think it will make them look better (btw it won't and in the long run will make you look older!) The people administering these injections just want to prey and make money on the vulnerable.

What the Government needs to put in place is first obviously regulations so that only qualified practitioners can administer, but most importantly those that want it done to go on a counselling or self esteem course first –  if they can afford Botox they can afford private counselling!

Then it's down to us parents to build our kids esteem up tell them we are proud of their individuality and that in Gods eyes and ours they are beautiful.  I'm all for cosmetic surgery if there is a genuine problem but a quick few injections for youth without being made aware of side effects is a no-no in my books.

Of course it's not just the Government to blame its ourselves. We have choices and at an age where we can have these type of treatments we have a brain to make these choices –  so lets not blame a TV series that just shows a certain stereotype of people –  that's purely for entertainment and to be honest I see a huge backlash in all these treatments anyway. In America already celebs are turning their back on the mannequin look, its not attractive and we are now seeing that in fact it just makes you look older!

Rant over, excuse typos off to pick up kids and FYI I let my 9 year old daughter watch TOWIE she loves it and the cast but I've made her well aware that its not real and personality and character is far more important than a pair of fat lips and line free forehead!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Essex Beauty Group

A few months ago I was sent a tweet by a new company called The Essex Beauty Group, they wanted me to look at their website and within a few minutes of reading it I knew I had to write a feature on their brilliant concept.

The Essex Beauty Group (EBG) was founded by Gemma Norcross and Nesha Wakeling and whilst related by blood as cousins, they also have much more in common in that they also have the same passion to make a difference in the beauty industry across Essex. Their vision was to create an exclusive directory of salons across Essex whereby consumers could find a salon, therapist or hairdresser and be confident in their choice due to public star ratings. However, this was not just a ‘Trip Advisor like’ website, they also want to be the emergency service of the beauty industry across the county and with this goal in mind have expanded into recruitment for both employers and employees, gift vouchers which can be used in any of their salons listed, special offers only available through the website, consultancy to help businesses that may be suffering and they even have in mind an EBG shop for local businesses selling their own products. For their clients they’re offering 6 months free then just £12.95 a month joining fee.

I have met with the girls several times and have to say I genuinely admire them. Both are completely different in personality, Gemma comes across as quiet and unassuming but beneath that gentle exterior is without a doubt a steely determination to succeed, driven furthermore by the sad, recent passing of her father. She’s also incredibly focused and whilst softly spoken her chosen words are relative and precise. A nail technician by trade she eventually went to work on cruise ships (anyone in the beauty sector will know to work on cruise ships you have to be 5 star trained), however, she grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of quality with salons she had used personally. With this in mind she came up with the idea for EBG and told me with genuine charm she wants to help others, EBG are not there to ‘own’ salons far from it their aim is to help them succeed by way of advertising and consultancy.  By contrast to Gemma’s quiet personality is Nesha and whilst also a highly skilled therapist, her chatty and vivacious nature has led her to a role she thrives on selling top skincare products to salons.  Gemma maybe the face of EBG but Nesha’s experience in the sales industry and confident personality compliments her cousin and between the two of them they’re a driving force to be reckoned with.

For the launch party there was only one place in Essex that could host such a glamorous beauty event – The Sugar Hut, Brentwood.  I was savvy enough to ask top makeup-artist Vivienne Shepherd (ex-BBC), if she could apply her skills and transform me into ‘natural glam’, which not only did she perform miracles, she also roped in Carly Saunders hairdresser connoisseur who replaced my fine, limp hair with masses of volume (hair extension free, I might add). I chose well as everyone had made an effort and a great night of entertainment was laid on from candy cane sweets, scrummy cupcakes to the childish fun of photo booth. Beauty trade chit-chat was rife and I certainly made the most of it as I flitted and chatted to as many as possible, however, age got the better of me and I reluctantly went home – not without a fab goody bag though!

Gemma had previously asked my opinion of whether I think EGB will be a success and I truthfully answered yes. It’s not the fact that everyone I spoke to at the launch were eager to sign up but more to do with the founders. They have something rare in this industry – honesty and whilst I wish them luck I really don’t think they’ll need it.  Gemma’s dad would be so proud -  in a nutshell they’ve struck gold!

For bookings with Vivienne Shepherd ( – tel: 07796 172021), Carly Saunders ( – tel: 07875 080649).  Visit for details of your local salons, ratings, recruitment and vouchers!

If you are interested in a feature please contact or via Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Gym Bag Essentials

One thing my friends could tell you about me is that I’m a total ‘shopaholic’ and if such a word ‘gymaholic’, in fact I get withdrawal symptoms if I haven’t been shopping or to the gym for a couple of days. Combine the two together makes a lethal combination in that I have to change my gym bag at least once a year as nothing can beat the excitement of discarding loose painkillers, manky hair bobbles, bottle lids, gum wrappers and erm odd socks. So off I went in search for the perfect gym bag and some new goodies to fill it with.

My first stop was the internet (its half term and the kids hate shopping), so after typing into Google ‘cheap pink gym bag’ I was delighted to find whereby this gorgeous, St Moritz holdall by Head landed right into my shopping bag (tel: 01787 475967 £22.75).  Next was my purchase of Yurbuds from Runactive (01702 716234), ergonomically designed headphones which fit inside the freakiest of small ears (mine) at £60 they are expensive but were budge proof and passed the skipping test.

Now my favourite part, after dropping the kids at nana’s for the day it was down to some serious beauty therapy.  There are so many products out there and whilst I don’t want to weigh my bag down the thought of decanting into smaller bottles just ruins the fun – I want to see the packaging! So into my bag went Espa Cleansing Gel ( £18) suitable for men and women this aromatic facial wash deep cleanses both face and body leaving skin feeling soft and refreshed!  I also added the incredibly calming Affinity Bay Cleansing Shower Gel with extracts of lavender and acacia honey ( £8) and to leave my skin buttery soft added some deliciously scented Boutique by Grace Cole Body Butter (available Fenwick £6), with extracts of verbena, honey and green tea I left both myself and the changing rooms smelling like a spa.

Estee Lauder’s Take it Away Towelettes (available Estee Lauder counters nationwide £20) are vital as they’re quick, easy and remove all traces of makeup before you hit the gym – streaky mascara is a no-no! Also fed up with white marks on my gym top and needing a performance deodorant to outlast a 5k run I added Estee Lauder’s Deo (£14) a roll-on which ticks all the boxes.

When a hair product promises to grow your hair 99% quicker than its usual growth rate and is the top-selling shampoo/conditioner in Canada, it’s in my basket quicker than you can say Rapunzel. I’ve only been testing FAST (£24.99 Boots) for a few days and whilst it does take a month for results it smells amazing and my hair looks thicker and shinier. My gym has a steam room so I always add some Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (from £15, to my locks to give them a huge pre-boost before shampooing off, this is a must especially if I’ve been swimming as the chlorine wrecks my hair and this treatment is a cult rescue hair remedy!

Then there are my necessities which I replace regularly. To keep my trainers and feet smelling fresh I use Mavala Talcum Powder (£9 tel: 01732 459 412), not only does it absorb moisture but also targets unpleasant odours caused by skanky gym floors. Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel (£29.50 Ace 01277 201200) is a Godsend for my arthritic joints, the gel acts as a muscle reviving treatment due to cooling Camphor, Arnica and Menthol and men love it too after a heavy weights session. I also carry Denteks (£4.99 Boots) minted, floss picks in my gym and hand bag as too many times I’ve been caught out with a flapjack seed in my gappy teeth! Disney Lip Smacker (£2.50 Primark) keep my lips flake free and smelling yummy especially when dehydration sets in after a long workout session! Finally every gym bag needs a make-up bag to be admired and that’s where fulfilled my dreams, their gorgeous floral bag £16.50 now needs to be filled but having run out of writing space that’s for another feature and another shopping trip!

If you have a beauty/health business in Essex and would like a feature please contact me or Twitter @askmollybeauty.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

radio feature - essential items for your gym bag! and relaxing treats

Hi last week on beauty chat was all about items for your gym bag, plus an extra few minutes discussing some amazing sleepy treats from Neals Yard! Hope you enjoy. Molly

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Elemis skincare and more.... radio feature beauty chat

Hi, the above link is last weeks radio chat with myself and Michelle Ward. I talked with her about one of my favourite brands Elemis, plus the new FAST shampoo, Essex Beauty Group, The Vintage Cosmetics Company and various products. Have a listen –  tell me what you think. Ciao see soon. Molly x

Monday, 1 April 2013

Best Fake Tans and how to apply them

Oil and vinegar essential ingredients for French dressing and alarmingly what my parents used to slather on me 30 years ago in a bid to get a tan, albeit back then we were unaware of the dangers of sunbathing.  My teens were spent at a local salon encased by blue tubes - thankfully this was short-lived as I soon became aware of the dangers of sunbeds and it was only a matter of time before there became an alternative and thus began my love/hate affair with fake tan.  My twenties were spent trying to master the application of this creosote but I didn’t give up even when people shouted ‘you’ve been tangoed! Fast forward 20 years and the industry is huge with celebrities endorsing their own tan and cosmetic companies launching yearly updates.  Personally I respect anyone who uses it as not only can sun-bathing cause skin-cancer but is also the number one ageing factor! Fake tans have come a long way and formulas are now streak free, easy to use and leave a natural looking tan.  Here’s a few tips to help you get that Dubai tan.

·         Make sure legs are shaved and remove jewellery, perfumes and deodorants which interact with tanning products.

·         Exfoliate everywhere, pay particular attention to feet, knees and elbows then shower off. If using an exfoliator with added oils do this the day before.

·         Apply moisturiser to toes, heels, knees, knuckles and elbows – tan will cling to these areas. Also whilst most tans provide a glove or mitt, still apply some Vaseline to your palms, hairline and eyebrows.

·         Leave at least 15 minutes to let tan dry and avoid sweating for a few hours after – this can cause streaking unless dry fast formulas.

·         In large sweeping motions using gloves or a mitt apply from feet upwards, avoid the knees but use the residue left over to lightly cover them, continue to your stomach, arms and finally your face.  Finally remove gloves, wash hands thoroughly, apply moisturiser to knuckles then dab some tan to the backs of hands and rub together. For your back use a spray, long-handled back loofah or a friend!

·         Swipe tissue in between your toes, fingers, around your nostrils and eyebrows anywhere where skin is dry and has open pores.  

·         Wear loose dark clothing, avoid underwear for at least a few hours until dried - each tan is individual on development time so simply wash off when advised.

I tested a few and was pleasantly surprised by the results. As expected some of the TOWIE crew have launched their own versions and Chloe Sims Starship 1hr Tan RRP £24 ( was very impressive, I was sceptical when I saw how dark the lotion was but within a couple of hours I was left with a nice even colour. A special mention on the girly, pink exfoliator and the excellent gloves provided. Lauren’s Way Ice Shimmer £18.95 ( was tested by my friend Sally a fake tan novice. She reported the colour easy to apply, streak free and that it dried instantly leaving her with an even shimmering tan.  Dancing Glow £18.95 has the same qualities but is more of a matt formula.

For a skin treat try Espa Detoxfying Salt Scrub RRP £32 (, which should be applied the day before. A bathing ritual, simply apply and wallow in essential oils of Grapefruit, Cypress and Eucalpytus, skin is left hydrated and smooth.

Xen-Tan £24.99 ( available Lara Surtees 07970 444575) has the added benefits of nourishing Moroccon oil, again the colour was incredibly dark when applied but left behind a light golden glow - the Scrub £14.99 revitalises senses with refreshing mint and it’s fine particles gritty enough to rid of my scaly legs!  Ace Beauty (01277 201200), supply one of the top tans Fake Bake £25.50 used by many celebrities, their original formula is still one of the best, doesn’t streak and gives a natural olive colour.

Estee Lauder (stockist 0870 034 6822) leaves us looking like its name sake - Bronze Goddess Face tan £22, I had panda eyes from my recent holiday but one application of this peachy product, blended my own tan in with my white sunglass marks – the formula is enriched with Amber Powder and Mica to give immediate radiance. For ease of use try Golden Perfection Self-Tanning Spray RRP £22 this fine, mist spray meant no area on my body was left out – great for backs!

Clarins Delicious Self-Tanning Cream RRP £18 (The New Pharmacy 01277 216897), has extracts of cocoa bean and the smooth body butter formula melts into skin, it also contains hydrating aloe vera to leave skin silky and their instant non-oily Self-Tanning Gel £28 is so fast drying you can dress immediately – great if you’re on the go.

If you have a beauty/hair/health business in Essex and would like a feature please contact Molly on  or Twitter @askmollybeauty.