Blown away by @BlowLtd

There is one dreadful thing (oh OK then more than one but this is the worst) about working in PR and that is the repitch.

I’m going to post on the process tomorrow to get a little honesty out there, but today I will stay on message and post about my repitch prep.

You see it’s not just about the pitch and presentation, I find you perform better if you feel you look the part.  I know deep down that the client isn’t looking at me, they are listening to me (or they should be) but I just feel a little better know the frizz has been contained.

So the day of the pitch I booked a 7am appointment at the new salon Blow Ltd in Covent Garden.  That’s right 7am… when I saw the opening times of 7am to 9pm I knew I had found a friend.

You may guess from the name but it’s a salon with specialises in blowdrying, but also offers manis and makeovers so you can theoretically head into the salon at 7am straight from the shower and be transformed to meet the day ahead, or similarly and possibly more usefully head to the salon after work and be beautified for a big date or night out.

So I went in at 7am and a lovely lady, I can’t remember her name, come on it was early, and she both washed and dried my hair, blow drying it into sleek perfection which lasted three days looking pretty magnificent.

I liked Blow.  I liked the Blow Dry – it lasted, fought the frizz and made me feel better about myself (sob).  I liked the girl who looked after me, I like someone who washes and blowdries, the whole thing of having juniors wash your hair while the mistress of the blowdryer is fed grapes and waited on by teenagers until the client is caped and ready isn’t my bag.  The salon is bright, airy and clean, without a hint of a hard sell on products, another plus.

The blow dry cost £30, which isn’t cheap but it was SEVEN AM I think that justifies it to be honest, I may find harder to justify during the days when other salons could blow dry for a tenner less, but I think I like the fuss-free-walk-in style of Blow enough to warrant the cost.

You can find more about Blow Limited here .

For the love of winter lips @carmex

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While I am a new convert to the restorative power of the red lip for a woman of a certain age, my life is too fast to allow the constant touch up and mirror-time to keep the bold lip during a normal day.

So while browsing the high street beauty aisles I picked up this Carmex Moisture Plus lip balm with a deep berry hue.  For just a shade over £4 here  this is a deeply moisturising lip balm with sheer colour.

Usually when a pack states sheer colour you’re left with the faintest wash of a shade which disappears before the mirror is back in the handbag, however this Carmex balm seems to have better staying power than most.

The packaging is obviously modelled on a lipstick, the balm itself is harder than the usually more gloopy balms that come in tins and I find I prefer this hybrid balm as it doesn’t mean my lips smack noisily and slippily together on application.

I tried to get hold of ingredients, I’d thrown the blister pack away, however couldn’t manage to pry a copy of the press release from the recalcitrant PR.  As a PR myself I avoid PR bashing but I do understand the beauty bloggers’ gall when a simple request goes ignored.

 

When did working for free become OK? #interns #beautypr

As a beauty PR with over 20 years in the industry, boy have I seen change.  Like an old village elder I could sit here with my pipe telling y’all how it was in the good / old days, but let’s face facts it wasn’t and isn’t all that interesting – unless you were there.

But one great big change which has kind of revolutionised the way small PR agencies are run is the advent of the internship.  In the olden days people, gulp, expected to be paid for working.

All those sepia toned years ago I sure could not have worked for free, I needed the, admittedly small, pay packet to pay rent and food – how decadent of me.  Today however the industry seems to be skewed towards employing juniors who can afford to work for nothing, or rather whose parents can afford for them to work for nothing.  I certainly couldn’t have got a foothold on the ladder if I’d have been asked to work even a few weeks without payment, I would have shuffled off to an industry which paid.

Recently I advertised for an intern, and was inundated with girls who were wide-eyed and amazed when they found out it was a paid for post.  The girl that won the post had just come from a three month unpaid internship from a very well known fashion and beauty agency, (I probably shouldn’t say their name although it is tempting….), at the end of the placement they’d asked her to stay on, for another three month unpaid placement – but she just couldn’t afford to do so.

What gets me as much as the fact girls are devaluing themselves, and the less well-off are cut out of opportunities is the freeconomy that PR agencies are exploiting – for their own gain.

I know that the directors of that PR agency are no strangers to Selfridges, they own large London homes, and enjoy all the trappings of running a successful business – and why shouldn’t they?  They should enjoy every moment of their success – however, call me old fashioned but they shouldn’t be letting young women (and it is generally women in beauty PR) pay for their designer wardrobe.

If the agency can’t afford to employ juniors then change the business structure so you don’t need them.  Or if the company profits are slightly depleted at the end of the year then that’s the price that comes from offering everyone who works for you a living wage.

In my opinion this exploitation is the truly ugly side of a beautiful industry and I wish more people would try and change it.

Discovering the faux-dry with @blowpro_ny @superdrug

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I don’t know the Blowpro brand but according to the PR blurb it’s a salon in New York that specialises in blowdrying.  It’s new into Superdrug so I snapped up this Textstyle Dry Texture Spray just for the reason that I have never used a dry texture spray before.

There’s lots of information out there on the science behind this but what I found is that it’s kind of like dirty hair in a can – in a really good way.

When my hair is just washed it’s just too clean and floppy to do anything with, a few blasts of this at the roots and then brushed through give some lift, some oomph and seemed to capture that look that I get the day after a professional blow-dry… the time I best like it.  I don’t particularly like the salon fresh look, it’s a little Russian trophy wife for me.  I prefer the debauched morning after look.

Price – £10.99, there’s a similar dry texture spray on sale at Space NK for £38 by Oribe.  I haven’t tried it but just looking at the price Blowpro looks the bargain

Packaging – like it, green and shiny and with a good weight in the hand.  Not one for the handbag

Fragrance – not too much but an interesting scent that’s not got the tang of hairspray

Buy again – oh yes.  Dirty stop out look in a can -what’s not to like.  I’ve just checked and it’s currently buy one get one free at Superdrug.com so worth snapping up before the Christmas party period.

 

 

A little crush on @TheBodyShopUK lipstick

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Since my conversion to a woman who wears red lipstick I’ve been continuing to add new products to my red lipstick collection.

You would have to have been living under a large remote rock to not seen The Body Shop Colour Crush lipstick launch.  As a PR person working with the tiniest budgets known to the marketing world I gulp in shock and awe at their activity knowing that they’ve really thrown some big money behind this launch.

So I thought, it must be good?

Price – it’s £10 so sitting firmly in the mid range.

Packaging – this is a funny one, it looks quite cheap but actually has a nice feel in the hand, has a nice clunk and there is a nice big gap at the top so the stick doesn’t bash against the lid if you don’t fully wind down.

Smell – I’m not a huge fan of scented lipsticks and this has a faint floral fragrance, but not too much like smearing pot pourri on your lips

Colour and coverage – I chose the reddest in the range, obviously, 101 Siren.  It’s actually a great true red shade, with a creamy matt finish.  It smoothes on very easily and, although I did line my lips, it didn’t bleed.

Staying power – I applied, I drank tea, I ate cake, I talked (a lot), I checked my lips in the mirror… the lipstick was still there but needed reapplying to get proper depth back.  But to be honest, I kind of like reapplying the red lip, jut adds to the fun and the colour has staying power but just loses the nice creamily matt finish.

So yes, this is staying in my makeup bag.  Oh and yes, as always massive thumbs up to The Body Shop for its cruelty free commitment (though let’s not talk about its parent company ahem).

Finally I spotted this video from The Body Shop which has the old stalwart Chase Aston giving application tips.

The fragrances we’ve been waiting for @CommodityGoods

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I’ve been waiting to write about this new fragrance company until the website was up and running for orders, but I can’t hold myself in any longer.

Commodity is a whole new way of selling fragrance, bypassing the stranglehold of the department store and selling these genius sample packs online.  The thought being that you wear the fragrances in isolation without being bombarded by thousands of conflicting scents in a beauty hall, wearing the scents during your average day and appreciating how they develop on your skin.

I was given a tester pack for both men and women recently, each containing ten vials of fragrance with names such as Whisky, Gold, Cloth or Moss.

Both my husband and I dove in and it’s a fair assessment to say we have both fallen deep for Commodity’s scents, there haven’t been any yet that jarred, however our favourites are Cloth (him) and I am a little obsessed with Pinot.

It’s a rich floral with these notes (Bergamot, White Peach, Orange Flower, Bulgarian Rose, Creamy Musks, Amber, Indonesian Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver Haiti, Vanilla Bean).  You know when you’re wearing a fragrance and you can’t help yourself sniffing your wrist or burrowing your head into your scarf hoping for a hit?  Well that’s how I feel about Pinot.

I keep returning to the website but ordering isn’t live yet (https://www.commoditygoods.com/collection/women). In the meantime I’ll console myself with a nice cold glass of pinot grigio!

 

Hotel bathroom goodies, the good, the bad and the mean

I’ve been away for a few days and stayed in a couple of different hotels which made me think about the lure of the hotel bathroom.  I love a freebie, and trying something new, and as I packed my bag I omitted the shampoo, soap and bubble bath in the happy knowledge I’d have some new things to try.

First stop Babington House.  5/5!  A bathroom packed with Cowshed goodies to try, all the favourites and a few branded essentials too.

Then Watergate Bay Hotel, 5/5.  Like Babington the hotel uses large bottles in the bathroom fixed to the wall so you can be generous and not have to worry about eke’ing out a little bottle. I bought some of the products to try at home and will report back.

Finally… oh dear.  Bedruthan Steps.  Now Bedruthan Steps is a family hotel, that’s good as I had my children with me so I didn’t feel left out in the whildwind of children swirling through the hotel.  Running the bath for the little one I looked around for bubble bath… er nothing.  And shampoo… er nothing.  Hold on what was this… a bar of soap, and a bar of eco solid shampoo.

OK I know it’s an eco hotel but I think it’s about time Bedruthan caught up with the green movement, eco doesn’t have to mean being hair-shirted, eco today means naturally luxurious, especially in a hotel room which was costing £400 a night – I KNOW!  So the children and I had to bathe with no bubbles (I know it’s not ‘real’ hardship but stay with me) and then used the shampoo bar from the Cornish Soap Box Company.  It smelled lovely and you know if you have very short hair and were uber eco this would be great for you… however if you have long hair like me and my daughter and the hotel doesn’t offer conditioner to offset the shampoo, then you’re hair is going to look very very echo indeed- like straw. So the score for Bedruthan Steps Bathroom 0/5.