Friday, 27 August 2010


Hold up ! It has just been confirmed that the fabulous and super talented perfumer Roja Dove who I adore and is one of the reasons why the beauty industry is one of the most exciting and dynamic industries to work in is wait for it..... creating a fragrance for The Sun newspaper called BUZZ apparently.

I almost choked my my decaf latte when I heard this but The Sun is a British Institution and Roja does big institutions, as he has just created a fragrance for the V & A (I will be reviewing this asap I promise). As for the new fragrance for The Sun I await with baited breath along with everyone else as to what the fragrance will smell like. I'm thinking notes of bacon sandwiches, Benson and Hedges and the sweat of a nubile topless young thing...........hmmmmmm.


A couple of weeks ago I got the shock of my life. I weighed myself, it was the first time in 7 years and I realised that I have literally doubled in size since I was 19. The funny thing is I was super sporty at school and used to be really active. I was captain of everything from volleyball to basketball, I can shake my ass on the dance floor and I was the London Girls Inter school Junior Fencing Champion (don’t laugh). From university like it is for many of us it was a slippery slope, until it got to the point where I spent my days looking at E! news, The Hills while sitting at my laptop eating slices of Victoria Sponge that was 2 weeks ago by the way (oh happy days).

Therefore it shouldn’t have been such as shock but it was. My husband says I have body dysmorphia because when I look in the mirror I see Britney Spears circa 2001 in her “I’m a slave for you” video (anyone who knows me will be pissing themselves). Let’s put it this way, when I get offered a seat on the bus, I think it’s because I’m hot and still got it and they think it’s because I’m a few months gone.

Anyway, I’ve decided to do something about it and took myself off tonight to my very first Reformer Pilates class at Ten Pilates,, which have studios in Mayfair, Notting Hill and Chiswick.

I can be very OCD about new places and didn’t know if I would like pilates to be honest. I dislike yoga, as I think it’s for bedwetters, I’m sorry my darlings I do, what’s all that downward dog business- I’m an angry black woman and I need to kick the shit out of something in a boxercise/ thai kickboxing stylee.

However, I was really pleased to find Ten Pilates was all zen, with clean lines white washed walls, wood floors and Diptyque candles scattered everywhere (oooowww very posh and classy, me likey). The studio was airy and air conditioned and was super clean even for by my OCD standards. The instructor was brilliant, really sweet and made me feel at ease and that I could take things at my own pace. The class is never more than 10, which is good as you feel you get a lot of individual care and attention. I liked the fact I didn’t get all hot and bothered and sweaty but had a deep sweet burn and I know I’m going to feel this tomorrow. I feel like my body has been bitch slapped but in a good way, I feel alive boooyayyyy!

At the end of the class I had a gentle tap on my shoulder and it was a really sweet super star global stylist from John Frieda who I know. They were also there in the class but in the back so I couldn’t see. A wall of shame hit me, as I was trying to think if I had grunted and growled my way through the session like some kind of mad dog in heat? Oh well. I will definitely go again. I can feel myself standing straighter and being aware of my core even after one session and I loved all the leg pulley things, it felt a bit scandalous. Feel the burn baby grrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Ok, please don’t think I’m a freak but I have never liked the Summer. When I tell people this I usually get confronted with open mouthed shock and stares, which seem to say, “ohhh she’s a wrongin’ I bet she likes to hurt puppies”. I have never liked summer as a season that much, even as a child. In summer most people who really should know better are out in tight unforgiving skimpy mid riff baring tops with their muffin tops proudly on display for all the world to see (put it away love, please) and with sandals and unpedicured feet (I’m sorry I can be a beauty snob when it comes to that sort of thing- if you have your feet out for god sake give them a good going over with a foot file). Women with layers of skanky badly applied day glow fake tan, which would put Lindsey Lohan to shame are on every street corner (especially Oxford Circus outside of Topshop) and random old men think it’s acceptable to take their tops off and wonder around central London scaring the tourists and people’s personal hygiene seems to go out of the window, leaving me gagging when I’m on the tube or bus. Am I wrong?

Now Autumn, oh me amour. I love Autumn /Winter and spring but especially Autumn. I love walks in the park all snuggled up in cosy cashmere and scarves with a coffee in one hand and a crisp breeze licking my face. I love the Autumnal palette out goes acid neons (to be fair I do love these) and in comes regal jewel tones, burnished coppers and bronzes and rich deep tones, which I love. I also love Fashion week and the giddy feeling I get in anticipation of seeing the new ideas and styles we will see for spring (I’m sorry I won’t acknowledge the summer bit in S/S). I just think Autumn is a more chic season everyone looks fabulous in layers, A/W make up and people seem to take note and care of their skin in a back to school sort of way so every seems to glow a bit. For me I associate Jersey Shore with summer it’s in ya face and a little bit too much.

Anyway, September is always a really exciting time for me as it rings in the beginning of autumn. I am even more excited this September as Dior are launching their new nail polish Dior Vernis in Bronze Libertine, £17, exclusively available from Selfridges Oxford Street,, from the 6th September. It was seen backstage at their A/W show as you can see above and is mouth wateringly delicious. It looks really glamourous on all skin tones no BS and especially on darker skin tones. It has a metallic sheen and looks great on both fingers and toes. If you’re mourning the end of summer (unlike me) then get yourself down to Selfridges Oxford Street for a bottle as it will put a smile back on your face and make you glad to see the first falling autumn leaves.

Monday, 16 August 2010


I'm all about the oils (I know that sounds pervy) but I really am. I love bath oil (Espa's soothing bath oil knocks me out- in a good way), body oils (I love Origins as it's so potent), body balms ( Decleor ohh so buttery it melts on the skin) and facial oils ( I use Aromatherapy Associates Rose and Sandalwood Facial oil every night for soft and hydrated skin).

I'm also a big fan of Darphin and just started using their new Orange Blossom Aromatic Care, £45 for 15ml, You use this oil after your serum and before your moisturiser and it’s great for brightening and soothing the skin. Screw fine and lines and wrinkles I think one of the most aging things is dull skin. Radiance is key for every age as it screams health, vitality and expensive skin. I’m loving this product as the potent oil is laced with 7 precious organic oils with detoxing and purifying lavender, skin brightening liquorice as well as calming and soothing carrot essential oils and Orange blossom. I’m a bit OCD and like ceremony, rituals and routine in my skincare regime. What I love about this is oil is that you can take deep breaths of the oil, as it really soothes the spirit as well as the skin.

The oil is really lightweight and non greasy and sinks in really quickly. If you don’t use oils on your face you should really try it, as the skin recognizes oils and sucks it in rather than sitting on the skin and causing congestion like some heavier creams and silicone laden products. Go on and try this oil you'll be as obsessed as me!

Monday, 9 August 2010


Hold up, I have a new obsession. I love Illamasqua cream blushers in Ravish and Crush, £16 each, (their decadent names are very appropriate as they will do just that). The Ravish shade is a delicious bright raspberry red and the Crush is a deeper cooler raspberry.

I know a lot of black girls are scared of a blush but I love it. It makes the skin come alive, it gives a glow and it lifts your whole make up look. One of my cousins was a model and really should have known better because of all the make up she had to wear for shoots but had that black girl fear of The blush. “Oh it doesn’t look natural, it’s not for us”, is what she would say until one day I literally sat on her and I ain’t easy to budge off and dusted one side of her cheek with a warm deep pink blush. I then said to her, “ look in the mirror, you tell me which side looks better?” She was like, “ohhhh” and she has worn blush ever since. I think in the past people could get overexcited on dark skin and do a nasty angry old fashion brick red blush, as a one size fits all on black girls, which is aging and really 80s in a bad way.

However, Illamasqua’s Ravish and Crush cream blushers are both brilliant as they are packed full of pigment, which is so important for all skin tones, especially darker skin tones as it shows up really well on the skin and looks expensive and not washed out or ashy. You can also use these on the lip as a sexy lip stain. I love the packaging and texture, which is whisper light as it looks like proper rouge from the 18th Century, which I love and echoes that womanly look seen in some of my favourite films like ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ and  Monica Bellucci (she is ridiculously sexy and womanly isn’t she) in ‘Brotherhood of the Wolf’.

When it comes to blush it’s all about getting the right shade for your skin tone. If you are honey toned like Chanel Iman above or Beyonce warm peaches and golden bronzers will look amazing on you. If you are more like naughty Naomi, although I really doubt you could be as she is being “’inconvenienced” by having to give evidence in the Hague for accepting dirty looking rocks AKA uncut diamonds –bush -from an alleged African dictator who is said to have raped, pillaged, had slaves and child soldiers errrr red deeper toned shades will look fab on you. You can see in the pictures what blush does for her skin as the image where she is going solo looks quite flat and washed out and the other image with the blush adds radiance to her face.

With cream blush, a little goes a long way, make sure to dab on the blush to the apples of the cheek and blend, blend, blend like you have never blended before. Buffing the cream blusher into your skin will make it look natural and like light and vitality are trying to explode out of your pores. This is good. Go on give it a go and you’ll be amazed how you ever did without it. 

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Thank God the Prop 8 law has been repealed in California. I think it's shameful that in 2010 this kind of non sense even happened. Love is beautiful and should be celebrated. When my dad was a young man he was sent to South Africa with the UN to do some work. As a black Nigerian man he had to have a special document placed in this passport saying he was an honorary white man, so he would be allowed to stay in hotels and offices for his diplomatic work. This was in the 60s and an outrage. Our children will look at Prop 8 with equal disgust and amazement about how this kind of discrimination was even allowed.

Now I watch a lot of E! news I love my Britney and Jersey Shore breaking news gossip. However, I have noticed every time there is an image of a gay celeb couple kissing, the image is blurred out, which is so offensive to me. Why should Lindsey Lohan snogging her girlfriend Sam or America Idol's Adam Lambert snogging some poor unsuspecting backing dancer be blurred out when the likes of the Jersey Shore posse having girls drink shots through the ripple of their 8 packs (I kid you not) and them snogging random hos. I think this type of double standards and subconscious bigotry is really a problem. I look forward to the day when people are judged for who they are and not who they want to share their lives and make a home with. Amen.  

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


When I look at Estee Lauder’s latest A/W make up collection called Blue Dahlia created by the make up artist legend and new Estee Lauder Creative Makeup Director that is Tom Pecheux- it makes me smile.

I’ve been in the beauty industry for a decade and first went freelance when I was 24. I had worked at Tatler and In Style magazine beforehand. I was young and fearless and thought this freelancing lark seems alright, I’ll give it and go and off I went- that was 8 years ago. Back in the day I had a bit less shame (not much less) and was queen of polite stalking. I had been commissioned to write a piece for Sunday Times Style and knew I had to get quotes from the make up artist genius that is Tom Pecheux. 

Now to put this into context, make up artists and hair stylists are like rock stars and big names like Tom are considered to be like demi gods in the beauty industry. There are lots of rules and regulations regarding interview access with such biggies, which would make divas like Mariah Carey and JLO’s eyes water. The usual rules entail having to go through their agencies, faxing questions to be checked, deciding whether they approve of the questions  and you have 15 mins to chat but can’t ask about certain things blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I didn’t have time for all that and somehow got Tom’s home number in Paris (don’t ask me how -it was an out of body experience). Anyway, I thought F*** it and called Paris, where a very sweet and polite "bonjour" greeted me. Now the 24 year old me realised holy crap, I have the equivalent of Mick Jagger on the phone here and I am invading his space by calling him at home. I explained who I was and that I was a huge fan and knew it was a rather unorthodox way of contacting him but could I have a 5 min chat with him. Now Mr Tom Pecheux was the most chilled and lovely man and didn’t bat an eyelid. We had a lovely 30 min chat and he was totally generous, wonderful and really interesting. Bless him he never asked how the hell a random 24 year beauty journalist from London got his home phone number in Paris.

I have found that the most talented people in any field, be it backstage like Vivienne Westwood, movie stars like George Clooney (he stepped on my foot at the Baftas and was charm personified he could have stepped on it all day for all I bloody cared) or pop stars like Mariah Carey are really lovely. They have the goods and have grafted all the way to the top so they have nothing to prove and once you get past their scary ‘people’ are rather fabulous and normal.

Anyway, Tom’s new collection for Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia is totally delicious. What a clever move on Estee Lauder’s part to have Tom on board. Estee’s make up has always been elegant and timeless but this new collection adds some guts and cool to the brand. I love the blues and purples he has used for A/W in the Pure Color Five Color EyeShadow Palette in Blue Dahlia, £34, and Pure Color Five Color EyeShadow Palette in Surreal Violet, £34, which are a world away from safer browns and traditional autumnal shades. The Pure Color Gloss Stick in Orchid Dream, £17 is also a hero product. It’s a grown up gloss with lots of pigment and staying power. I’m also itching to paint my nails with the Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Blue Dahlia, £12, a cool goth ish deep blue/black but it seems a bit wrong in August. I will wait a few weeks or will rock it on my toes. Congrats Estee Lauder for an exciting new direction and thank you Tom for being so lovely all those years ago!


I’m a huge fan of Bobbi Brown and love the new Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15, £17, Bobbi does the richest and deepest pigments and have a great range of products for every skin tone, which in 2010 is still shamefully not the norm on the beauty counter. Next time you are in a beauty hall or are online have a look at the major beauty brands and think to yourself if you were Rihanna or Naomi Campbell’s shade, which brands could cater to your skin tone. You will be shocked.

Anyway, Bobbi Brown’s new Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 is my latest make up obsession. When it comes to make up, I love eye shadows and blushes and love a pulled together nude ish lip. As a child of the 80s, I grew up with 'Dynasty' / 'Dallas' type women who all rocked a crazy power red and scarlet lipstick. As a result, I have done a 180 and love sheer washes of colour. If you too love some 2 in 1 action when it comes to your lips, you will love these new lip colours that come in 13 shades. They not only leave a proper veil of colour on the lips (I hate tints which quite frankly are transparent and blahhhhh on the lips) and condition with Cocoa and Shea butter.

The lip treatment also contains anti-aging properties with SPF 15 protection and ingredients such as Peptides, Vitamin C and Paracress to help plump fine lines and prevent you getting that unattractive cat’s bum effect around the mouth area that old age and smoking can cause. Nice. I am loving the Berry and Plumberry shades. Check out these little beauties as there is bound to be a colour to suit you. Thanks again lovely Bobbi!

Monday, 2 August 2010


I can’t believe it’s Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb’s 5th birthday! The juice is super feminine and does what it says on the tin with a huge bouquet of flowers in ya face. It opens with tea and bergamot with heart notes of jasmine, freesia and orchid with base notes of centiflora rose and patchouli.

I also love the ad campaign and knew I had seen it somewhere before. I love MGM 1950s musicals. The more technicolour and camper the better. As a child, I was 6 or 7 I used to bunk off school by pretending I was sick so I could slip into my favourite dress (I loved it because I could swish around in it and I felt it was very ‘The Sound Of Music’, bless) and watch my musical magic. I would be transported into a all singing and all dancing fantasy world. I loved the costume design, the sassy voluptuous women (the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell would be seen as obese by today’s size 0 standards) and the musical numbers. 

One of my favourite’s is ‘Gentlemen prefer Blondes’. In the famous 'Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ routine (never a truer word has been said lady the theme is  look after your own financial security because men will screw you over, too true Marilyn I hear ya) this image is amazing. When I saw it I wondered if this influenced the Viktor and Rolf ad campaign. I like to think so. Great art comes in lots of different mediums and nothing is new, just transformed and sprinkled with fairy dust for a new generation. Do you think Lady Gaga invented sexual mouthiness and her avant garde approach to her sexuality? Mae West was doing a Samantha from 'Sex in the City' in the 20s and 30s and Marlene Dietrich was doing gender bender chic well before YSL, Helmut Newton and Madonna. Happy Birthday Flowerbomb and thank you for taking me down memory lane.


Ahhhh hello August. I can’t believe it’s high summer already. For all those of you jetting off on your summer hols it’s a good time to start thinking about your sun protection and if the sun makes another appearance in London, it will probably be this month. Now what to do about sun protection is still a big bone of contention. What factor do you use, should you bother using it at all? Celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow have also thrown in a curve ball in sun protection as she has been talking about being ordered to get more sunshine to help her osteopenia (the early stage of the bone disease osteoporosis).

Now when it comes to sun protection I am vain. The thought of not using anything and frying in the sun is nuts to me and I’m black. Screw skin cancer (for obvious reasons) but as well as not dying for the sake of a tan I don’t think it's a good look resembling a mashed up Hermes crocodile handbag. For anyone seriously not using sun protection just look at Jordan. I do love Jordan she’s a grafter, I love a grafter. However, her looks have been ruined by fillers, botox and her love of sunbeds. She’s 32 but looks like Janice Dickinson’s (who is 55) randy twin.

To stay sun safe make sure to stay out of the sun from 11-3pm when the sun is highest and hottest in the skin. My mother is from the Caribbean and like all people from the sun she has an innate respect for it and carries an umbrella to shade her skin from the sun. I used to laugh at her but she now gets hit on for 30 year men who think she’s the same age -the woman is 64! Love it.

Also when choosing the right sun protection look for products with 5 * UVA protection and those that protect against UVA and UVB damage. When it comes to sun damage remember UVA equals A for aging and UVB is for B for burning. As well as protecting the skin against burning with UVB protection (the red lobster effect) it’s also really important to go full spectrum and protect against UVA damage as this will help prevent premature aging, skin roughness and wrinkles.

Like hotels, 5* protection offers the highest and best levels of protection. Have fun this summer but also be sun safe x

p.s. this is Alex Reid as Roxy being Jordan their love life must be interesting (I couldn't help myself). 

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