A paper bag – the next beauty must have

American actor Shia Lebeouf did something last week that made me very jealous – he went out with a paper bag on his head.

Admittedly he did it because he is in the middle of a Hollywood child star meltdown which isn’t really relevant to my life but I can see the appeal of the paper bag.image

Last week I would have happily won a bag over my head. I was ravaged by cold with runny eyes, a nose that dribbled like a tap unless I had tissue shoved up it and a giant red patch that covered the whole space between my nose and mouth.

People avoided me and gave me looks that combined pity with disgust. I made myself look less fearful each morning by putting on lots and lots of make up. Sadly this had mostly been sneezed and dribbled off by the time I got to work and I could not be bothered to put myself through the misery of constant reapplication.

I just needed a paper bag to stick over my head.

It is one thing feeling like death but even worse when you look like a freshly dug up corpse with lank hair, dull skin and black circles under your eyes.

A paper bag would be handy for a whole range of situations:

Illness – Nobody wants to look at you and you would rather hide your red, dribbly face in a giant bag

Hangovers – The bag could be accessorised with sunglasses and can double up if you need to vomit

Tiredness – Running late? Can’t be bothered? Bag and go

Tears – Sad ones are horrible and angry one are infuriating – they mess up your face and make people uncomfortable and are best bagged up

I would save money on make up and could squeeze in an extra ten minutes in bed without having to do my hair or anything.

I would personalise the bag like Lebeouf, not by writing some mysterious pseudopolitical slogan on it, but maybe with a smiley face or something mood specific. It could be very useful for those days when you don’t want to talk to someone or are putting on a brave face.

I think this is a fully marketable idea and I would definitely buy one. The only downside I can see is that you might appear to be either mentally ill or idiotic but you won’t care about that from inside the security of your bag.

I am off to work on a prototype right now. Watch this space for further genius beauty ideas that save time and effort and I welcome suggestions from fellow scruffs.

Why behaving like a slut is not empowering

Hello again! I’m back in all my scruffy glory and ready for a massive rant.

During the couple of months that I have been dormant there have been several events in popular culture that have inspired a seething rage to bubble inside me and at the point of explosion I knew it was time to come back.

While watching a recent tv programme based in the Bulgarian report of Sunnybeach, a young girl happily exclaims to camera that she is looking forward to being a slut while on holiday because she’s never been one before.

“GOOD! Why the hell would you want to be a slut?” I want to scream at the screen whilst banging her and her friend’s heads together in a vain bid to stop them heading off to be filmed drinking gallons of cheap alcohol, flashing their boobs and performing sex acts in public for ‘entertainment’ like everyone else featured on the programme.

Sadly she wasn’t listening.

Forget the obvious risks of sexually transmitted diseases and the fact that you can be globally humiliated forever on the internet in under five seconds. What about self-respect and personal hygiene and life being more important than racking up the number of people you’ve had sex with?

Why do young girls think it matters so much to be a slut? Do they see the desperate behaviour of people on reality tv shows wriggling around under duvets like rabbits surrounded by take away boxes and dirty underwear and think it looks cool?

There is a massive difference between nudity and intimacy. You don’t have to love someone to have sex with them and you can snog as many people as you want but you should do it with a bit of class.

How do I define a slut? A slut is someone with no self-respect. Someone that will have sex or flash their tits or be crude and unpleasant, even if they don’t want to be, because it will get them attention or make them feel wanted or popular in some way, usually this is facilitated by vast amounts of alcohol. I don’t hate these women I just feel really sorry for them.

Being a slut has become fashionable. Pop artists like Kesha have hit songs singing about getting drunk and ‘going down’ for slimy misogynists like her collaborator Pitbull (don’t look him up he’s creepy) and nobody bats an eyelid.

I don’t want to judge people but swinging naked on a demolition ball while sucking off a hammer or being famous for having sex in a toilet on big brother is not cool or empowering and it never has been. Even back in the day Madonna’s sex book was considered to be a bit desperate rather than sexy.

Women can argue to the grave that having lots of sex and taking their clothes off in public is empowering but I don’t buy it. It is a choice but it is not empowering.
The dictionary definition of empower is to make someone more confident and strong in controlling their life and claiming their rights. Why not get attention for being clever or brave or interesting rather than naked? It isn’t a right to flash your bits to as many people as will look In the same way as it is to vote or get an education.

Porn actresses spend a lot of time talking about how empowering it is to have sex on camera for a living but you don’t get a woman who works in no shop or a nurse or a woman in any other job banging on about being empowered by their work. That’s because they don’t feel the need to justify it because it doesn’t make people uncomfortable and they aren’t desperate to prove that they are not being exploited.

There are many things in life to aspire to but having sex with lots of people is not one of them. Neither is pretending to fellate a banana poking out of someone’s pants in a public place or getting so drunk that you feel the need to flash your lady parts in any capacity.

Have confidence in your body and by all means meet lots of people and have as many relationships as you want but treasure your self respect

It’s the 21st century – being sex mad and up for anything is not, and never has been, all that women have to offer. Please put your clothes on, have sex because you want to and not because you are drunk and understand that the nature of empowerment is being in control of your beliefs and actions rather than sinking to meet the low expectations of a few (mostly male) people.

Rant over. Next week I promise I will return to my usual brand of bad beauty and frothy feminism. I just need to get this off my (mercifully covered up) chest. – bad glamour is back

Beauty tricks to hide germs

I have been snotty and ill for what seems like weeks now and a hacking cough and dribbly nose can really wear down your self-confidence.

Putting make up on is a thankless task when you sneeze it off or wipe it into a tissue but it is a necessary evil to mask the true horror of an unwell complexion.

Primer time

Primer time

Whether it’s germs, allergies, hormones, a hangover or simply lack of sleep, the signs of feeling unwell are plain to see. Looking bad makes you feel worse and, when you do start to feel a bit better, a pitying look from a friend or family member can be all it takes to send you back into relapse.

The Tools

It would be nice to hide under a duvet until you feel well again but most of us plod along through our daily routine despite feeling and looking like the undead. Illness requires copious amounts of make up to hide the black bags, sallow complexion, crusty cold sores or giant pimples but fortunately there are a whole host of weapons in your arsenal:

Primer – I always use primer when I feel really rough and have to go out in public. It is  the ultimate undercoat, designed to fill in cracks and crevices and keep your other make up in place for longer.

CC or BB cream – These are magic ‘everything-in-one tube’ creams that act as moisturiser, foundation, hide blemishes, even skin tone and protect against the sun. Many of them are more lightweight than foundation so may feel less claggy on dry, tired skin.

Foundation – The original base coat to cover up all sins and best for total coverage. I sometimes find it too heavy when I am ill and it makes me sad when I blow my nose and it comes off on a tissue.

Concealer – Use either a wand like Touche éclat or a stick to apply directly to problem areas as needed such as dark circles under the eyes, a giant spot or around bright red nostrils.

Powder – A light dusting of face powder will take the shine off your skin which is especially useful if you have just put on three layers of the above.

Creating the perfect nude

  • The trick to ill make up is making it look like you have no make up on and are natural and fresh faced. I rarely reapply make up throughout the day but always carry concealer and face powder to touch up around my eyes and red nose when I am ill
  • Take care to choose your base make up in a shade that is natural to you. It never helps to be too pale or an odd shade of orange. Make sure you blend the layers in carefully, especially if you don’t  usually wear much make up in the day, as ill skin is much drier so make up can be harder to absorb and go a bit crusty in the corners
  • Use a pale eye shadow colour such as ivory or light beige and apply it to the eye lids and under the eyes to disguise redness and look less squinty
  • Take great care when applying mascara – waterproof is probably best. Sneezing is the enemy of black eye make up, especially when you are trying to apply it and a tickly nose means it sprays all down your face
  • Blusher is very important. You can spend hours creating a perfect nude face but without a bit of colour on your cheeks you will still look  like a corpse

Being ill is annoying but it is much worse when you look as awful as you feel and have to go out and about with everybody looking at you like you are a terminal case. The best thing to do is stay under a duvet and watch some low brow television but, if you do have to face the world, don’t be ashamed to pull out the skincare big guns.



10 ways to tell if you are in age denial


Getting old – is it so bad?

In my head I am still around 25 and I’m pretty sure I will feel that way until I am 80 if I hang around that long.

I have never been bothered about getting older but that doesn’t stop it being a surprise each time I am faced with my real age (36 in case you were wondering). Since turning 30 I have only had a vague grasp on my actual age which I thought was mathematical but I am now starting to wonder if it was a subconscious form of denial.

I may feel 25 in my head but I am now at an age where I am classed as an actual grown up. Many of my friends and peers (including my little sister who is 8 years younger than me) are school teachers, doctors and the like and I remember how ancient they seemed way back when.

There are warning signs that the spring in your step is slowing and here are 10 ways to tell if you are still young or just young at heart:

  1. The newest bunch of celebrities look very young and not at all handsome or sexy
  2. You have deliberately drunk less on a night out to ease the next day’s hangover
  3. You think twice about wearing a short skirt, even with black tights
  4. Most of your underwear is large, black, cotton and comfortable
  5. You are always willing to spend money on a new miracle product that promises to make you look younger, have shinier hair etc…
  6. The smile lines don’t go away when your face is relaxed
  7. You exercise a lot and pretend it is to be healthier but it is actually so you can eat more
  8. You have lots of sincere conversations about cooking and cleaning
  9. You choose footwear for a night out based on whether you will be able to sit down or not (and consider not going if you can’t)
  10. Your handbag contains numerous ’emergency’ items including plasters, deodorant, tissues and baby wipes

Getting older doesn’t always men you are sad and boring (well maybe a bit) but it does mean you become more practical. There is more consideration of consequences and a managed and organised approach to hedonism. Yes I need more sleep, food, water and an elasticated waistband but I feel no shame.

So if, like me, you sometimes get shocked by your true age, just remember that now you have it all in a way you probably didn’t back then. You can still go out and party like you’re 25 but you feel comfortable, know your limits, and take better care of yourself afterwards which is why being a grown up is sick (that’s what the young folk say nowadays isn’t it?).



Autumn – The best season for fashion and beauty

Although I love summer (and we’ve had an ok one this year) Autumn is probably my favourite season for fashion and beauty.MH900407524

Winter is dark and cold, Spring and Summer are high maintenance but Autumn promises a few warm days and freedom from the primping and preening required for warm weather. The shops are filled with lots of lovely warm clothes, nobody has started going on about Christmas every five minutes yet and salad is swapped for roast dinners and custard sponge puddings.

There are lots of things to enjoy about Autumn and here are a few of my favourites:

Knitwear – A chunky wool jumper or knitted dress can hide a multitude of sins, not least the fallout from all the barbecue and beers I have been shovelling down all summer.

Boots – A extra layer of leathery warmth, they look stylish and I have never owned an uncomfortable pair of boots. They also do not require pedicured feet or painted toenails.

Winter coats – Coats are warm; coats have pockets that you can fill with random things like an extra handbag; a good winter coat feels like being hugged in all-weather conditions.

Dark colours – Black, brown, navy blue, grey, purple etc. It’s the season to crack out the dark colours and wear them without looking dour. Dark colours look great with jewellery, they are slimming and they are less dangerous to wear when drinking red wine.

Pale skin – Farewell fake tan for another six months. I will not miss the ritual of exfoliating and moisturising, wondering if I have missed a patch, waiting to dry before I get dressed and then checking fearfully as it develops in case my knees and ankles are orange.

Hot fuzz – Only a fool would spend Autumn and Winter shaving their legs every few days when they are hidden for most of the next six months in a pair of jeans, tights or leggings.

Things to watch out for

Despite all these positives there are a few things that can catch you out in Autumn:

  • Sweating – Autumn temperatures are notoriously variable and as homes and businesses click on their central heating, it can be hard to tell what to wear which can mean a lot of sweating when you’re out and about. Until the temperatures drop significantly, several thin layers of clothing are best and dark colours are more sweat patch friendly.
  • Dry skin – The transition from cold outdoors to warm  indoors can make skin feel tight and dry so keep moisturising a lot, especially the bits that are exposed such as faces and hands.
  • Fatigue – Colder temperatures and darker days make us feel more tired and it takes time to adjust. Get lots of sleep and drink plenty of water to stay feeling fresh.

Autumn is ace, there is no pressure to be thin and brown and hairless as you can shove everything away under a jumper dress and a pair of tights and be done with it. Stop worrying about the dry skin on your feet, pour a large glass of red wine and enjoy the most carefree season of the year.