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.

Sep 072014

It’s been quite a week at WM Headquarters.  What with numerous fabric issues – some insurmountable – rearing their ugly heads, plenty of stitching for orders required this month, someone chasing a frock that had already been delivered (I knew I sent that one Special Delivery for a reason!) and a major hurdle just blown out of the water, it’s no wonder I eventually woke up this morning very, very late and with a horrid, dull headache.  Thankfully, the Mr Tigglesworth (aka The Ginger Whinger) kept most of his disapproval to himself (mainly because I fed him immediately and even he finds it difficult to yowl with a gob full of Royal Canin) and the chigguns were more interested in corn than giving me grief.  Funny how feeding things usually puts a stop to whinging, isn’t it?  It works with everything from poultry and cats to children, teenagers and men.  Obviously, with teenagers you have to factor in the accusatory looks, stabbing with a fork and obligatory “Are you trying to kill me?” glares but provided you’ve coped with their latest vegan/no green stuff/if it doesn’t come with breadcrumbs I don’t want to know sensibilities, you’re still on to a winner.

After a bit of gentle pruning* in the garden to see if a spot of fresh air would help, I gave up and donned my trusty Toggis for a rampage over the moor with Alfred.   And here’s the shocker; I didn’t bother with make-up and my hair wasn’t exactly sleekly groomed.  I know.  I’m sorry, I should have warned you.  Used as you are to the image of Miss Wednesday never leaving her dressing room without being fully frocked and with a full face of maquillage, this is a bit much for you.  But, truth be told, she does occasionally – usually on Sundays – skip the eyeliner and bright lipstick.  Today there was just a coat of Besame mascara and a smear of Besame cherry lip balm, because without those she really is frightening.  On days when all you want to do is put your head under pillow in a darkened room, a full face of makeup is just not happening, public image or no.

Inner Goddess:  Oh no!  What if somebody sees me?  What will they think?

Inner Realist:  For goodness sakes, you’re five foot feck all and 46.  That makes you invisible.  Nobody’s going to even see you.  Especially if you hide behind the dog.

So Alfred and I went over the moor, hoping for a nice quiet rampage with no extraneous people.  Alfred had been fed and I’m not a people person so there really was no need.  Naturally, this meant that we saw plenty of people out enjoying the sunshine and blackberries.  And what did I hear, when I’m trudging along, feeling like a bug-eyed mutant whilst attempting to control a huge, manky deerhound who has his eye on a big bag of freshly picked fruit?

“Oh my goodness, that is a GREAT dress!”

Excuse me?!  Here am I, wandering, sans maquillage and heels, traipsing over Beastly Bodmin Moor with the Hound of the Baskervilles and a random bloke notices my frock?

“I’m sorry, but it’s fabulous.  And I do like to compliment wonderful things.”

Well.  Thank you, sir.  Thank you very  much.  Your compliment is much appreciated.

Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you shouldn’t compliment a stranger.  It’s not sexist – women are just as capable of appreciating a well cut suit as men are a decent frock – and quietly telling the wearer of your approval is always appreciated.  And there’s nothing whatsoever stopping a woman from telling another woman she looks amazing, ditto a chap.  (“Suits you, sir!”)  Just as enjoying what you wear makes life more fun for you, having other people appreciate your effort just adds to that happiness.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that by dressing well, we aspire to enrich the lives of others.  Isn’t it nicer to see people dressed beautifully than slouching along in gratuitous sportswear?  Of course it is.

And it just goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of a good frock…

Tiered sundress in tropical fruit and flower print

The frock in question, the prototype Bardot, in a tropical print. The refined version – in a pale pink rose print – will be unveiled at the Goodwood Revival next weekend. See if you can spot it!


*  For ‘gentle pruning’, read ‘wholescale destruction’.  And be grateful I didn’t train as a hairdresser…