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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

a lesson in make-up

When it comes to her resume, make-up artist Cassie Lomas certainly has her shadow daubed finger firmly on the beauty pulse. She’s created faces for magazine shoots and red carpet events for 14 years including The BAFTA’s and the MTV awards, as well as dusting her make-up brush over Lady GaGa, Minnie Driver, Holly Willoughby and Jenny Frost. All of which makes her the perfect ambassador as Bourjois’s celebrity make-up artist. However, not content to rest on her laurels, Cassie has just added another colour to her make-up palette - opening up her own make-up academy.

“I wanted to open the academy to give people the opportunity to enjoy a successful career in make-up, as well help women who struggle with trends and application,” Cassie tells me. “It’s been a dream for years to have my own school, and I believe I can provide a great framework for budding make-up artists who want to get into the industry.”

Located in Manchester (Cassie’s home town), the school aims to teach all the trickery and skills to make your mark in the fashion and TV industry. All tutors have been cherry picked by Cassie where there’s only a maximum of 12 students in a class, ensuring everybody is given personal attention. For further information on courses and classes visit:

In the meantime, I’ve quizzed Cassie on her top 10 products which you can start adding to your make-up repertoire:

  1. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, £23. “It always makes a model smile.”  And rightly so. The texture is delicious, where it can be swiftly slicked over dry lips, cuticles and used to give a sexy gloss to brows.
  2. Benefit Brow zings, £22.50. “Perfect for immaculately groomed brows that stay defined all day.”  Use the natural shaded powder for filling any gaps and the angled brush to blend.
  3. Chanel nail polishes, £16.50. “Simply because their colours are always amazing and make fingertip impact. Set by dipping fingers into cold water.”
  4. Bourjois Little Round Pot Eyeshadows, £5.99. “These work wonderfully, as the pigments are intense and they blend with no effort at all.” Furthermore, the baked powder formula can be applied wet to really pop the colour.
  5. Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blusher, £10 (  “It gives amazing cheek colour with ultimate staying power. I often see blush applied too high, so smile, apply to the apples of your cheeks, taking up to the centre of the ear.”
  6. Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, £18 ( “Covers blemishes amazingly well without leaving the skin looking overloaded. Apply after all other make-up.”
  7. Shu Uemura UV under base mousse spf30, £28. A weightless formula that evens out skintone and texture for flawless appeal. Keeps make-up staying true through the day.”
  8. Bourjois 3D Effect, £6.99 “Sexily plumps and glosses your pout.”
  9. MAC Face and Body Foundation, £23. “A water based formula that’s easy to blend and looks super natural. You can layer it to build up coverage where needed.”
  10. Diorshow Mascara, £21.50. “Inspired by the runway, it leaves lashes luxuriously thick, lengthened and curved. For a false lash effect, comb extra layers on the outer corners of the lashes to accentuate further.”

Friday, 3 December 2010

the diva detox

Tinsel. Champagne. Mistletoe. Yes, it’s that time again when kisses are stolen, champagne is popped and your reputation and immune system can both take a yuletide battering.

My take on surviving parties – especially the corporate kind is simple. Keep away from the photocopying machine, and don’t slob over or treat your CEO like a new best friend after too many warm wines. Be warned: it can make all that career ladder climbing this year immediately redundant.

A kill joy I may sound, but recognising it is the season for jolly ho-ho nights, I’ve turned to nutritionist Anita Ellis for her savvy wellbeing insights. This means you can enjoy the festive celebrations night after night without placing too much trauma on your liver. Read. Take note. And thrive!

  • Drink plenty of water to limit dehydration of body cells on the day you’re your partying. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one glass of water, and drink one pint of water before going to bed. Keep the loo door open!
  • Increase antioxidant levels, especially vitamin C and E during the party season to fight free radical damage from alcohol.
  • Forget builder’s tea and drink green tea. It has large and strong quantities of flavonoids, antioxidants which help protect the liver.
  • Take the Chinese herb Kudzu (available from health shops). This stops cravings for alcohol and has been proven in trials to break addiction to alcohol. For the morning after a heavy night before, drink two cups of the ‘sobering up tea’ made from the Kudzu vine Xing-jiu-ling.
  • Start taking Milk Thistle supplement now. It’s a potent antioxidant which speeds up the removal of bile, strengthens the liver and promotes the regeneration of new healthy liver cells.
  • To sweat out a hangover and heal the stomach, upon rising drink a glass of boiling water that has been allowed to cool, along with a squeeze of half a fresh lemon and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.
  • Take Vitabiotics Wellwoman Inner Cleanse, £8.95 for a month’s supply – buy now and it will party proof you well into the New Year. It’s formulated to help cleanse and purify your body (if not your soul!) whilst helping to maintain the immune system.

Monday, 22 November 2010

a polished sister act

Just like the rise and fall of hemlines, nails are also dictated by fashion. In the 30’s polish was applied to the centre of the nail, leaving the half moon and nail tip bare. The 50’s witnessed nails long and pointed, filed low on the sides and lacquered with red or fuchsia. And in the 90’s it was the ubiquitous French Manicure that seduced fingertips.

Today, the most noticeable nails are those that are unpolished and unkempt. The trend for nail art, together with passionate colour has fast made bejewelled nails the ultimate accessory in beauty wear.

One duo that understands the intrinsic link between fingertips and fashion is Ange and Vernice Walker, sisters, nail technicians and co-founders of Rococo Nail Apparel – an ever changing range of on-message polishes with a celebrity cool following. Lizzy Jagger, Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung are all devotees.

Here I caught up with the nail entrepreneurs to find out about colour, confidence and (sisterly) clashes.

Dolly Mixture (DM): How were you involved in the nail business prior to launching Rococo?
Vernice (V): We’ve had several salons in the past and we decided to launch a brand that encompassed elements of our favourite salon brands. We also added a fashion edge, originally to boost sales within our salon.
Ange (A): I was always into colour and art design, and thought nails should be the ultimate fashion accessory. I wanted to capture that vision and put it into a bottle.

DM: You’ve used the term ‘nail apparel’ instead of polish or varnish. Was this to give your band a runway edge?
V: Yes, we wanted to change the way nail polish was seen. We always talked to our clients about using it as an accessory when choosing colour, and felt there was room for experimenting with texture and pigment – just like clothing. Rococo was also a period in history that was known for luxury and adorning oneself.

DM: What inspires you when talking colour?
V: From catwalk shows to car paint…we often see things around us and think, “That would be an amazing nail colour.”
A: We have just based our latest gift set on the colours of seduction. Social influences and our travels around the world feed us with non-stop ideas.

DM: Do you believe nail colour can influence your mood?
V: I often think when your nails are polished, you feel complete and others notice enough to compliment you. A great confidence boost! Personally, I also like to wear brighter colours in winter to contrast with the more sombre fashion to lift my mood.
A: Very much. I wear pink because it makes me feel feminine and sexy against my mainly black wardrobe. If it’s a very special occasion, I’ll wear a deep cherry red with peep toed shoes to add glamour.

DM: What are your predictions for SS colour?
V: Without giving too much away we’re looking at pastels with a bit of heavy metal edge.
A: 70’s glam rock, more nude beige tones that help lengthen the fingers and retro style shades your granny wore. Think coral, peach and lilac.

DM: How do you work together as sisters?
V: We work well together. When it concerns work, we’re on the same page and find ourselves bringing different elements to the brand. Of course, there are times where we can find ourselves disagreeing, but we’ll either find a way around it, or just agree to disagree!

DM: Finally, any great tips for applying polish?
V: Start with the right foundations. A perfectly shaped nail and a smooth surface will give any nail apparel a head start.
A: I’m a strict topcoat girl. Use our Supergloss topcoat to speed up drying time, hide imperfections, extend wear and to refresh a manicure after a few days.

Rococo Nail Apparel is available exclusively at SPACE.NK.apothecary priced at £11.50

Friday, 12 November 2010

is your skin broken hearted?

Meeting the eminent American dermatologist, Dr Howard Murad, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA earlier this year, I was surprised when he told me many skin problems he treats arise due to depression. Yes, like our hearts our skin is an organ that can become sensitive too, often trying to express unresolved internal tension. Chemical changes brought on by anxiety may provoke breakouts, psoriasis conditions or adult acne, which seems to be ever more frequent in its diagnosis.

A great believer in ‘emotional self-care’ Dr Murad is my kind of skin expert. His inclusive approach is not only to treat skin topically, but spiritually too, taking into consideration your inner state to achieve a better performing visage. Because stress rocks your health at the cellular level, Dr Murad has determined, through clinical research that managing it is a critical part to optimising health.

“The stress inherent in an unbalanced life chronically over stimulates the nervous system and causes an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress related hormones,” explains Dr Murad. “This hormonal overload taxes all the body’s systems and can ravage the cells.” Furthermore, cultural stress makes it more difficult for the body to repair and regenerate, leading to visible signs of skin ageing.

I’ve selected five of Dr Murad’s softly, softly tactics to help lift modern pressure:

  • Smile and laugh at least once a day. These child like emotions actually change our brain chemistry for the better.
  • Replace one glass of water a day with eating a raw fruit or vegetable. This is classed as ‘structured’ water, which is more efficient, and has the ability to better penetrate water into our living cells. It will reach every cell in our body including the epidermis more than when drinking water – whether it’s tap or bottled.
  • Surround yourself with positivity. Moods are contagious. Envelope yourself with people who demonstrate positive attitudes.
  • Splurge on yourself. A massage, facial or manicure can go a long way in making you feel valued and special.
  • Write down three good things that have happened to you today, and everyday.
Dolly mixture note: A comfort blanket for winter skin is Murad’s Recovery Treatment Gel, £40.95. The ultimate in redness therapy, it reduces the feeling of sensitivity by fortifying with cooling agents.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

a fashion for passion

Writing from the perspective of a life coach, I’ve noticed words such as: rut, stuck, bored and unchallenged leaking frequently into our daily vocabulary. Why? Well, one of the reasons is because new job opportunities are limited making new experiences scarce, and with money tight your world can feel like it has shrunk. In essence we are beginning to feel boxed in, jaded and fed-up. But although it seems the country has its handbrake on, that’s no excuse to put your life on hold.

One way of putting fire back into your belly is reconnecting with your passions. Although I agree with Yves Saint Laurent’s quip, ‘The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy’, a fiery red lipstick or a rush of blush won’t feed the soul.  Life without a passion – and I’m not just talking about a can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other relationship, can feel like a jigsaw with the last crucial bit missing. Swapping purpose for passion can make everything seem significant and your life fuller.

For some, passions come naturally, but for others fusing with something that makes your heart quicken and gives meaning outside the mundane takes a little detective work. Truth is, you’ve probably fallen out of the habit of asking yourself how you can bring excitement to your life. To put radiance back into your cheeks naturally, here are my cosmetic free questions to ask yourself:

1.  What would you do for free?
Generally speaking we are ruled by money, and that’s the life game we find ourselves playing in order to survive. The downside? It leads us to think about dosh first, instead of what makes us truly happy. Turn the theory on its head. Doing something you’re passionate about brings rewards. Most successful people in business don’t go out to please their bank manager, they go out to please themselves – their success is a by product of their passion.
2.   What makes you creative?
Think about something in your life that always encourages you to come up with new, fun and exciting ideas. Whatever makes you creative is something you’re passionate about.
3.   What do you find effortless?
Usually, what we find easy will be something we’re passionate about. Think about what you’re naturally good at. How can you take it further? A client of mine never went out without a camera. Like her lipstick, it was always in her bag, ready for her to snap away at anything that caught her interest. Exploring this more in a session, we discovered she had a very creative eye and her secret passion was to become a photographer. In essence, she was one, but only defined herself by what she did in her current job. Once her blinkers were off, a month later she approached an arty brassiere with samples of her work. They suggested displaying them on their walls. She sold 20 prints. Proof you don’t have to give up the life you have now to unearth and pursue your passion.
4.   What do you talk about?
What we chatter about certainly throws up clues as to what we’re interested in. Most of the time we’re not even aware of it, which is why it’s a good idea to ask those who lend their ears - such as friends or spouses. Ask them what do you always bring a conversation around to. Your next move, weaving it into your life. As the thread becomes stronger, you become happier.
5.  What would you like to try?
We all started out with big ambitions, but somehow, life pushes us in another direction, and the next thing we know those ambitions have been sidelined. Ask yourself: if you were at the end of your life, what would you regret not having given a try? What would you have liked to have done, but never gave yourself the chance? It could be anything from horse riding, Flamenco dancing to sky diving. Make it happen now!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

dior's golden christmas star

I know this covetable clutch has already had acres of coverage – and rightly so, making any beauty aficionado already in the know, but I still can’t help but spotlight it. Inspired by the grace of the Belle Epoque, French for Beautiful Era and in retrospect considered a golden age, Dior’s Minaudiere has to be one of Christmas’s most desirable beauty offerings. With a fashionable history and always a story to tell, Dior reveal that in the early 20th century, high society ladies who found themselves without a pocket, or indeed a handbag, looked to small ornamental boxes that harboured compartments. Upon opening they would hold her beautifying arsenal of powder, blush and lipstick.
Dior has successfully captured this engaging and long gone elegance with their limited edition vintage style clutch. Inside it has everything you need to apply a face that radiates measured sophistication.
Dior Minaudiere costs £59. Take your pick from colourways of Grey Golds and Pink Golds.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

going for bust

Décolleté: the French word for low necked. Actor Christina Hendricks otherwise known as Joan Holloway, the secretary with curvy clout in the addictive Mad Men knows how to showcase hers only too well. But what impresses me most about her much photographed womanly assets is not their cup size, but the baby softness of her décolleté. No mean feat when living in sun drenched LA. The neck and chest (they are often viewed together in the beauty world) are one of the most exposed areas of the body and susceptible to sun damage. Oil glands and fat cells are in short supply, making the skin fragile and vulnerable to sagging as they aren’t supported by bones in the same way as facial skin.
Clinique are in true defence mode when it comes to fighting neck and cleavage wrinkles and have introduced CX Neck and Chest De-Ageing Cream. The role call of ingredients includes whey protein that increases skin’s natural production of collagen to help firm and minimise the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Looking like thick creamy yoghurt in the pot, once applied it’s actually very light and sinks comfortably into the skin without being tacky-to-the-touch. I’m not saying it will give you the milk maid smoothness of Christina’s ample bosom, but over time the skin barrier is strengthened for a more hydrated and plumped up appearance. When applying, massage from the bust to the chin using long firm strokes to help re-educate muscles back up into position.
Available from Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in London, Brown Thomas, Dublin and online at priced at £73.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

the new echinacea

Atisho! Yes, the tissue season is upon us where sniffles and snuffles leave us feeling below par along with a red and sore nose. Always on the hunt for a new super supplement I’ve recently come across Comvita’s Olive Leaf Complex. A staple part of the Mediterranean diet, it’s the oil from the olive tree fruit that is usually hailed with the do-good health benefits. Research has shown that active compounds called Polyphenolics are to be thanked, but here’s a secret: the olive leaf harbours these too and in much higher doses. 30 to 40 times more than Extra Virgin Olive Oil in fact. Furthermore, olive leaf has 400% the antioxidant power of Vitamin C and at least 5 times higher antioxidants than achingly trendy juices such as Acai, Goji and Mangosteen, which I reckon makes it a supersonic immune booster.
Available both as a liquid – it tastes quite bitter so you may want to dilute with juice and a capsule take as soon as you feel a throat tickle.
Both liquid and capsule are £27.95 available from larger Boots, Holland & Barrett or visit:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

more than a facial, short of a scalpel

Every once in a while you come across something or somebody that literally turns your skin around. Mine was therapist and all round skin-ista Emma Hardie (pictured left). Her magic is not down to the latest gizmo or being a dab hand at injecting a toxin or fillers, it’s simply down to her fingertips. For over the last decade Emma has researched the science behind facial massage to better understand why it can play such a complexion changing role in skin rejuvenation. And the swotting has paid off. Her facials are amazing both in experience and results. It’s little wonder she’s called her skincare line Amazing Face. The foundation of her facials lay in the ability to being able to ‘melt’ the facial tissue including the muscle and skin under her fingertips so she can plump, lift and sculpt the skin naturally. “The warmth and natural electrical pulses from your fingertips act as skin stimulating and plumping tools. When you take time massaging in products you are literally ‘charging up’ your skin with energy,” Emma explains. Looking in the mirror after my treatment my number 11 lines between my brows were definitely less noticeable and my cheekbones seemed, if not chiselled but that little bit higher. Taking away some of her dexterous moves I’ve noticed I can keep my facial muscles flexible by doing a spot of DIY facial massage every evening. It’s a relaxing ritual too.
But what I really love about Emma is her skin philosophy. Looking at the person holistically, not just their pores she has some slightly leftfield ideas, but they’re worth digesting. She says, “Before you go to sleep, visualise your face, the skin and its contours as it was 10 years ago. See and feel your face morphing into this younger image. Do this nightly and it will help re-energise and bring youth back to your face.” Emma also reveals that feeling negative is the fastest way to look old as it causes contraction of the vital micro structures of the face. “You are what you think, so think happy,” she says. And as to the question of turning back time with a jab of a needle, Emma believes injectables can cause the skin to loose its pliability whereby the complexion can begin to look hard and softness – a youth inducing quality in itself, vanishes from the face.
Emma’s Natural Lift and Sculpting Facial costs £130 and can be booked at Michaeljohn of Mayfair. Telephone: 020 7629 6969. Her amazing face skincare line is available at Space NK or online at

Monday, 25 October 2010

eye spy a de-aging trick

A few crinkles around the eyes when you smile are sexy, but you know you’re in trouble when you apply your mascara and it ends up decorating your upper eyelids. Like women that angst over which colour to polish their toenails but forget to buff away at cracked and split heels – rather spoiling the effect of a stunning strappy shoe, so it goes that it doesn’t make beauty sense to slather on eye care wizardry just under the eye and ignore the upper lids that can sag and become hooded with age. Having just discovered Jeanne Piaubert’s Radical Firmness Eyelid Lifting Care my morning routine isn’t complete without dabbing on this bright eyed miracle worker. Not only does this slightly pearlised lotion work as a superlative highlighter thereby instantly lightening up the brow bone area, it lifts and smoothes too. With a 10 ingredient complex – let’s give a mention to the hope-in-a-tube sounding ingredient, Dynalift that works as an anti-gravity agent on the eyelid skin, after one week of use 85% of women declared they had more lifted skin. Make-up can even be applied straight after application. It costs £47 and is available from Urban Retreat, Harrods and at

Sunday, 24 October 2010

be brave, say no!

Be truthful, what have you said yes to today when you really meant to say no? Jot them down. Now write down all the fake yes’s you’ve said throughout the week. How many have you listed and how has it left you feeling? Resentful of the people you’ve said yes to and annoyed at yourself for being weak?

If you're feeling undervalued or trying to find time to fit in the things you love doing, perhaps it's time you asked yourself: ‘what am I nodding at when I should be shaking at’? The fact is most of us say yes because we see the action of doing it as a giving role. Generally women like to people please, not rock the boat and be classed as a person that is seen contributing and helping out. But the truth is, when we agree to do things we really don’t want to do, we wind up paying a higher price: increased stress, less energy and lower self esteem. On the other hand, when we say yes and mean it, we give energy, motivation and creativity. One book I discovered earlier this year is Beth Wareham's The Power Of No (published by Hay House) who details her yes years as a catalogue of unflattering hairdos, back-fat exposing blouses, treacherous work situations and bad relationships. That’s until she discovered that all-important, two-letter word: NO.

Wareham is a vice president and director of a lifestyle publishing company in New York and writes in a witty and upbeat manner that makes for easy breezy reading. Explaining how saying no changed her job description from 'mopping the pee off the floor' to 'making decisions' she cheerleads us into taking control of our lives simply by saying no, creating the time and space to live the life you want.  As Wareham says, ‘you are who you no’.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tangle Teezer's head girl

I may be biased as a consultant for the detangling brush, Tangle Teezer, but really it's the only brush you need to leave you with hair that smoothly swings and sways. A hit with uber cool session hairstylists such as Sam McKnight and Zoe Irwin, the oddly spaced teeth flex just enough to ensure tangles are tackled effortlessly minus the ouch factor. I can't tell you how many emails pop up in our inbox thanking creator Shaun P for literally changing their life. No more hacking away at fresh-from-the-shower hair that not only leaves your scalp sore but your brush full of tortured hair. And the funny thing is, once you own a Teezer you just can't stop brushing your hair. Compact Styler is newly launched. Surely a handbag must-have it keeps hair looking good on the run. £11.99