What Miss Wednesday Learned On Her Holidays, Mostly About Mascara…

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Apr 192015

Okay, “holidays” is a bit of a misnomer.  Miss Wednesday hasn’t been on actual holiday since 2005, when she sneaked in a couple of nights at The Best B&B In The World (Howling Hill House) in Ross on Wye on the way back from a friend’s wedding in Conwy.  All other trips away have been either for the purposes of relic-checking, house-hunting or pretending to be a musician.  The latest trips have fallen into the last category.  And we’ll get this over with now, the group she hangs around with – The Changing Room – had a great time at the Falmouth Folk & Cider Festival at the end of March and then swept the board at the Pan Celtic Festival in Derry just after Easter, winning Best Traditional Group, Best New Song in a Traditional Style and the actual Pan Celtic Song Contest itself.  Any jokes about Eurovision will be met with a very hard stare.  The win was entirely down to the amazing talents of the other musicians in the band, with a little assistance from Miss Wednesday’s WM full circle, black leopard flock skirt.

So that’s that over and done with.  Until the next gig.  And the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany in August, which will be awesome.

Whilst travelling from Cornwall up to Derry, Miss Wednesday had a rather traumatic time.  Nothing to do with having five adults, their baggage for a week and five sizeable and delicate musical instruments stuffed into a BMW X3 (thank you very much to Ocean BMW for their kind sponsorship and loan of that lovely vehicle) but everything to do with a Tragic Mascara Fail.  Yes.  That.  The awful realisation when you glance into a mirror that your mascara has made big dark smudges underneath your eyes and you look for all the world like a tragic emo adult after a particularly difficult night out at a party with people you don’t actually like, including the ex who never really was that into you and his latest squeeze.  Not a pretty sight.

Miss Wednesday has always been very particular about her mascara and when she discovered Besame Cosmetics, she was determined to stock them in The March Hare.  The 1930s Mascara was the best selling product.  Its packaging was stunning, the brush excellent, and the formulation was a total winner, being smooth, buildable and smelling absolutely divine.  The last one in Miss W’s stash ran out a while back and when she found that they were once again available in the UK, she gleefully ordered a new one.  Only to be more than a little disappointed when it arrived.

Gold mascara packaging and wand applicator

Besame’s reformulated 1930s Mascara, showing the new wand.

Gone is that excellent lash coating and separating brush, to be replaced with a straight and barely ridged “wand” that just doesn’t work.  The thing with Besame was that when a blob of it landed on your lashes, all you had to do was brush it through and – hey presto! – all was smoothly-coated loveliness.  Well, that doesn’t work with a straight wand and no bristles, does it?  Not a chance.  Blobs stay blobby.  Or go smeary.  Fail.

And the fragrance, which was difficult to pin down but always reminded Miss W of spring flowers, has disappeared entirely and all that is left is a slight chemical smell.  Not enticing.  The fragrance had actually come from the cinnamon oil ingredient, which is also – handy in a mascara – a natural anti-bacterial.  It was a major selling point.  Oh dear.

But the worst part is that what used to be a wonderful, waterproof, run-proof, flake-proof and smudge-proof, failsafe product has now failed spectacularly and runs like Usain Bolt.  There is more to life than having to constantly check for black smudges and the emo look is not the least bit acceptable on a 47 year old fashion hag.

Sorry, Besame, you’ve really screwed up what was a pretty flawless product.  That one’s going in the bin.  Twenty five quid down the drain.  (Incidentally, it was ordered from the UK distributor, VHL in Southampton.  The price the website checked out at was less than the subsequent Paypal transaction charged, although both quoted Sterling rather than Euros.  An emailed query – not a complaint, just a query – has gone unanswered.)

Of course, this tragic failure left Miss W in a bit of a quandry.  She couldn’t go on stage with – gasp – no mascara, so she paid a little visit to the Derry branch of Debenhams and, remembering that her wonderful elder niece had extolled the virtues of Benefit cosmetics, toddled up to the relevant counter.  The assistant couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful and recommended a “They’re Real!” mascara.  Guaranteed not to smudge or run, apparently.  Well, it didn’t.  It did cause some consternation when shrieking was heard emanating from the bathroom, but this was soon ascertained to be screams of sheer joy as Miss Wednesday discovered lashes she never knew she had, all smoothly coated and separated.  Her one worry with the product was that things that are designed to stay put come hell and high water do tend to resist removal and the last thing a tired and emotional old bat like Miss W wants to do is spend an age scraping off gunk from her lashes at the end of an evening.  The excellent assistant had kindly supplied some trial sizes of the special remover but Miss W was delighted to find that not only does the product do exactly what it says on the tube, it is also pretty easily removed with a sensitive skin baby wipe.  Can’t ask for more than that!

Mascara with brush

Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara

So there you have it.  Besame’s loss is Benefit’s gain.  The packaging may be funkier than Miss W would normally choose (Besame packaging is still unlikely to be beaten on that front) but it’s fun and the product is fantastic and therefore scores 10/10.

A Small, Scarlet Miracle

 Cosmetics, Style  Comments Off on A Small, Scarlet Miracle
Feb 222015

A couple of weeks ago, Miss Wednesday was finally forced to venture into the Looe branch of Boots the Chemist.  She took Miss Sara as backup and they carefully checked whether The Assistant From The Depths of Hell was behind the till.  She wasn’t, so they confidently approached the cosmetics aisle.  It’s only a tiny branch of Boots and doesn’t have a wide selection of anything, but there is a small stand of Bourjois cosmetics, which is an old brand that combines history, excellent quality and very reasonable prices and Miss Wednesday likes it.

There was a dilemma.  As per usual, Boots had a 3 for 2 offer on and Miss Wednesday required 3 items, 2 eyeshadows and a concealer.  The problem was that the range of little round pots of eyeshadow appeared to have been greatly reduced and neither of the requisite colours were there.  They did, however, have the Smoky Stories Quad Eyeshadow Palette, which had 2 of the right colours and another 2 more exciting ones to boot, so that was a result.  Except that took the total of products to 2.  So what was Miss Wednesday to pick for her freebie?

She narrowed down the selection to a choice of 2 lipsticks.  One bright red and one very nude.  Did Miss Wednesday really need another red lipstick, bearing in mind that she’s very, very picky about red lipstick and usually gives them away after one wearing, even when they come from Chanel?  But could she pull off the nude lipstick look?  If you’ve ever witnessed her behaviour when (the very lovely) Claudia Winkleman appears on the television – “Claudia, darling, you’ve forgotten your lipstick again!” – then you’d probably say no.  So she put the red lipstick in the basket, dealt with the (thankfully) very nice lady behind the till, and added the lipstick to her cosmetics stash when she got home.

Weirdly for Miss Wednesday, the lipstick sat in the box for a couple of weeks.  Normally she can’t wait to try anything new but this winter she’s been devoted to her Dior Rouge Nude Illusion 779, and just couldn’t bring herself to forsake it.  But at last she did.

The new one is a Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick in colour number 13, Jet Set.  It’s red.  Very red.  Doesn’t appear overly blue- or orange-based, but the very pale Miss Wednesday can wear either and it is actually a very nice red.  The packaging is mainly black plastic and doesn’t look particularly swish and the product smells like, well, lipstick.  Nothing out of the ordinary so far.  It’s not going to beat Besame there.  Goes on smoothly, nice texture, good colour and coverage over a base of a red Max Factor lip pencil and face powder.  So far, so good.

Red lipstick

Bourjois Rouge Edition Number 13, Jet Set.


The lippy went on at about 10.30am.  Miss Wednesday’s day involved a rampage over the moor with the Alfhound, the making of a couple of frocks, several cups of coffee, some nuts from her Graze box and one perfunctory re-application before leaving work.  At nearly 9pm, after a cup of tea and dinner, she glanced in a mirror and was stunned to find that the colour was almost all still there.  But there was something else, something even more amazing.

It was all still on her lips.  This one, ladies and gentlemen, is not a bleeder.  Not even a fine feathering.  And that, on a 46 year old is little short of miraculous.  Or witchcraft.  Either way, she won’t be parting with this lipstick in a hurry and suggests that if you’re keen on a red lippy but struggle with the bleeding issue, you might want to give this one a try.

Miss Wednesday is not connected with Boots or Bourjois in any way, shape or form.  But she does love good make-up.  And a bargain.