Friday, 25 May 2012

Make-under. Made-up.

Do we buy brands with a personality? 
I personally find it a tad creepy. Exhibit A

Then again, I no longer trust (most) celebrity endorsements. Exhibit B.

Heidi Klum's 'Fruit Flirtation' (sugar/carb overload)

There's promises made. Far fetched promises. They usually include changing your life, typically displayed in cringe-inducing adverts with unnatural smiling and gushing, coupled with eyes that lie. Then there's guarantees, as if you'd actually return toothpaste if you didn't wake up with sparkling gnashers after 2 weeks. I'm not saying I don't buy into it, but I'm aware that if I purchase a Dior lipstick it's highly unlikely my lips'll morph into Johansson's ample chops.*

As mentioned previously, Mother (Anna) turned 50 last week and my good blogger-friend Vicki Day kindly arranged a make-over for her at the Bare Minerals counter, John Lewis (Cheadle). 

Anna's been stuck in a beauty rut: using cheap slap whilst being blissfully unaware of the difference between dewy and matte look, black and very black mascara, you know, beauty psalms. This makeover was to be akin to a cookery class: a treat, an education, and something delicious looking at the end of it, what more could one want from a Saturday afternoon.

Doing a spot of prep before the episode, I looked at the promises Bare Minerals made. With the 'belief that products can actually be good, makeup can be fun, business can be personal and companies can behave more like communities' I reserved my judgement, I've heard it all before

The uncharacteristically nervous Anna was immediately thrown a buoy in the form of Helen, our brand ambassador. Surrounded by intimidating brands like Chanel, YSL and even Origins, Helen introduced the brand and the philosophy aptly, drowning out the over-made, pouty princesses of the other counters. 

Explaining at each stage without any condescending tones, we were immersed in a gentle pool of information, waves of interesting tidbits (including the fabulous 'Be a Force for Beauty' campaign) flowed over us and as Annas skin was purified, my assumptions floated away in a sea of minerals and re-hydration.

Less is more. 

The products spoke for themselves. When something does what it says on the tin it's a shock, but as baked beans claim to be nothing other than baked beans, Bare Minerals' makeup states what it is, and does it**. 

Correspondingly, as Helen communicated, the brand gained authenticity, became pulchritudinous and bowled me over. Overwhelmingly honest and transparent. 

What more could you want from a brand? 

A journey, a promise fulfilled and candid. Bare Minerals, you've pinned the tail on the donkey correctly. Exemplary.

Annas expedition:

I know nothing. 

What the flip is she getting from that draw.

I'm barefaced. What of it.

(I've not seen Annas forehead in years, this is the only reason for this snap)

Who's the fairest of them all?

Helen's a babe, I hope I end up resembling her.

Say what you see.

Swirl and tap, swirl and tap.


Anna: 'I've worn the same eyeshadow for about a decade'.

This is dewy? Am I in a library?***

I'll take the lot.

I'd like to thank, Vicki, the JL PR co-ordinators Karina Perry and Carolyn Plant, and Helen. We walked away buoyant and more importantly, her regime has been 'made-under' to over-achieve her expectations.

*I live in hope
**too blunt a contrast?
***forgive me, I'm ill.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


I wonder where the term milestone came from. It's always being bandied around, job promotion? Milestone. Bought a kitten? Milestone. Found a tenner on the pavement? Milestone, naturally.

My mother turned 50 last week. Apparent milestone. Despite being something one cannot avoid, for aging is inevitable, I'll relax my opinion and go with this birthday being an infamous milestone.

The woman's a legend. She might not be Helen of Troy, but I'd swim a few laps for her.

Put on a shindig for her & invited 60 close chums, it was an absolute blast; top notch spread, more alcohol than you could shake a stick at and the banter as buoyant as the garishly pink helium filled '5' and '0' balloons I'd battled to hold onto in the wind.

Being the offspring of fables I suprised her with a few tricks.

Afternoon tea at The Hilton,

Trip to Rome

& a little treat from Jo Malone

Three amusing things that happened regarding these gifts:

1. Someone took a bottle of plonk emblazoned with 'Anna's 50th, vintage year' (complete with images of her) home with them. Vinegar would taste better I expect.
2. The first pot of tea Mother was presented with at the Hilton had no teabag in it. 
3. The Pope is on holiday when we zip to Rome.