CSSB: Classic beauty?

Classic beauty. What does that even mean? It implies something timeless. Something unchanging. An ideal which remains fixed throughout history.

Recently, this video has been showing up everywhere on the web. It’s worth watching. And it’s worth shoving under the nose of anyone who ever uses the phrase ‘classic beauty’. How can there be a standard of ‘classic beauty’ when the notions of beauty vary between country, era, racial type and culture? These ideals shown in the video are just a few examples, and it’s worth remembering that they are – with the exception of two early ones – white standards of female ‘classic’ beauty.

I was all set to head off on a rant about this video, but earlier today I realised that someone else got there before me and covered issues I’ve blogged about myself in the past on CSSB. Such as how we feel obliged to blame our bodies for things which are only problems in the eyes of the media or fashion industry. And how people assume that those who are ‘blessed’ with a thin body type don’t understand suffering. Or how being thin is something that should be  intrinsically associated with celebration.

Learning to love our bodies is a difficult process, because it stands in opposition every message we hear from the media. Of all women, if all girls, learned to love their bodies in ways which couldn’t be challenged, whole industries would collapse, because they would fail and be pointless. Entire industries and business empires are founded upon the principle of training women to want to be something different to what they are. You achieved the plump and curvy look? Congratulations – ‘stick thin’ is the new thing, go lose all that weight you just treasured. Just had breast implants? Tough luck girls, Twiggy is the new fashion icon. Managed to make your skin colour translucent beyond porcelain paleness? Off to the tanning salon with you and don’t come back until you’re the colour of cinder toffee!

It’s the same with clothes and makeup too. No sooner have we invested in mini skirts, than maxi skirts take over. We’ve just learned to love boot cut jeans and suddenly skinny jeans are everywhere. Neon colour one season, pastels the next. It took me 15 years to get over the hell of leggings in my teens but now suddenly they’re back in fashion again. From lip gloss to lipstick, from eye liner to eye shadow, from manicures to false nails – changing trends only exist for one reason; to remind women that they can never achieve perfection and never reach satisfaction in terms of the way they look

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CSSB: @ELFCosmeticsUK New advert language – Pearl, Cream and Champagne :)


SO much better!!

Thanks for listening!



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CSSB: Reply to @ELFCosmeticsUK – tackling #racism in the fashion and beauty industry


It was so good of you to finally get in touch. I know some people think I might have taken things a bit personally about your recent tweet:

See, truth be told, I never know when to shut up and when I see something that’s unfair, even if it’s not unfair to me, I have to say something. And it was the use of that word ‘nude’.

I’ve spoken about there sorts of issues before on this blog and recently got into a chat on Twitter with the Media Diversity crowd about it and this is a bit of an issue.

Using words like ‘nude’ and ‘natural’ and ‘flesh’ to be synonymous with tones which you only find in the ‘white’ sections of society is fundamentally racist. It implies that any other skin tone is not ‘natural’ or ‘flesh’ or shouldn’t be associated with someone who is ‘nude’. And while using them isn’t a sign of overt racism, it’s a sign of blind acceptance of white privilege, something that the fashion media are notoriously bad at, it has to be said. Which is a real shame, because after the international and sustained success of models like Naomi Campbell and Agbani Darego, you think that they would have learned by now that beauty comes in more than one colour, even if it’s still being convinced to strive towards one body type.

Your tweet didn’t offend me on my own behalf, ELF, but it reminds me of my own white privilege and I am trying really hard to remember that these things I have been told by society, such as the correlation between ‘nude/natural’ and a pale beige colour tone, aren’t inclusive of everyone. In fact, they’re only inclusive of white people. And this has got to stop.

What shocked me so much was that you’re normally so GOOD about this sort of thing! For years I have happily been buying my ‘Apricot Beige’ products from you, knowing that you meant them to match my relatively pale skin tone, and I’ve never seen any use of the words natural, nude or flesh in your tonal descriptions. I’ve recommended you on my blog, promoted you online and never once thought that you’d stumble into this trap of unintentional but privileged racism. I expect better from you because you’ve always been better than that. To the point where I had assumed it was your policy to avoid these words.

I’m sorry, but I had to protest at. If the entire world sat silent in this type of situation, we would never challenge any stereotypes or make any progress. And it was nice to get a response from you:

  I never thought that you would intend to cause offence. But friends tell friends when they’ve done bad and expect better. I mean, you deliver all over the world, there is no way that you only have white customers.

Call it what it is. Beige. Champagne. Cream. Stone. Sandy. But please – don’t call it nude, or natural, or flesh. That isn’t true for all of your customers, after all. 

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CSSB: Wardrobe Clearout!

Bon Jour my little fashionistas!

Yes, I’m back and after a MEGA wardrobe clearout and some really serious sales shopping and Charity Shop hunting, I’m back with a whole new range of clothing and accessories. Two big bin bags of clothing were dumped at the St John’s Hospice charity shop this morning and now there’s room for everything in the wardrobe. Poor old Matalan and Sainsburys clothing departments haven’t known what’s hit them this month, and I’ve had the pick of the Charity Shops in Lancaster and Chorley over the last couple of weeks.

I love having a good clear out. I don’t think I have bad taste in clothes, but there’s something about wearing the same garments over and over again which just saps your spirits. Colours fade, bobbles form, things get a bit shapeless from washing, the odd pulled thread and loose button manifest here and there and before you know it, your stylish selection of clothing has all been reduced to ‘ugh’.

This month was tax rebate month, a delicious little bonus from the HMRC arrived in my bank account just as those lovely big 70% off signs were appearing in all my favourite stores and the charity shops started knocking prices down to start raising money faster for the Gaza Crisis.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be reviewing the new items, along with their outfit combos, accessories, prices and quality, so stay tuned for some lovely new posts.

Adios Amigos!

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CSSB: I Love Sally Hansen

2 days later after several rounds of washing up, showers, laundry and general wear and tear – and there’s not a single chip or flake on any of my nails. Am absolutely delighted with this stuff, can’t recommend it highly enough!

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CSSB: Sally Hansen Pink Diamond Manicure

Welcome back to Champagne Style On A Shandy Budget. As mentioned in my recent blog update, things may be a little more ad hoc in terms up updates in future, but it does feel good to be back at last.

And to start off, let’s see my brand new manicure.

My nails have been a source of great dismay. One of the visual signs of my anxiety when it rockets out of control is consistent nail biting. I had thought I had conquered this habit at points during the last couple of years, but this has been the worst relapse for quite some time.

Not only were my nails bitten to shreds but my skin around the nails was damaged pretty badly too, which meant I couldn’t paint them with any varnish at all. So it has taken a long time to let those heal and get control over my issues enough to break the habit of re-nibbling them. As of this week, they’re back to a presentable standard, if not my previous length. I hope that will come in time.

Nails 13th July





Not bad for the first one in a while! I really like this nail varnish. I bought it ages ago but it’s great to finally have the nails to use it at last. The lime green one might have to wait a while before I get chance to test it out, but if it’s anything like this it will be a startling shade that really makes an impact.

I will be keeping an eye out in places like B&M in future for more Sally Hansen nail varnishes; being able to pick up such a good quality and reliable product for as little as 99p is definitely something I could get used to!

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CSSB: Assumptions about women and shoes

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

I don’t have that many.

No, really, I don’t have that many. That wasn’t code for ‘not that many for a woman’.

So here’s the role call:

Black work shoes (slightly broken, but still wearable, I wear these most days)

White pumps (bought to wear with summer clothes)
Black slip on pumps (bought to wear with summer clothes and around the house)
White patent pumps (My wedding shoes)

Black lace up tennis shoes (bought for wearing on the canal boat – lightweight and sturdy)
Black trainers (bought for working on a summer scheme, now used for the gym)

Black fur lined winter boots
Brown knee high boots (bought for me as a gift)

Black high heels
Brown heeled court shoes
Purple heeled court shoes

I also have a couple of pairs of flip flops for use when I go swimming and some slipper socks for the winter.

My husband thinks I have too many shoes. Sometimes when I’m tidying them up and putting them away, I agree with him but given that they are all useful for different purposes I would struggle to choose which ones to throw out. Many of them cost less than £5, some of them were from charity shoes, some were bought from supermarkets. I don’t really go in for the expensive shoe shopping thing.

Truth is, I find shopping for shoes intensely frustrating. I’m an annoying size, 6.5 – size 6 is too small, size 7 is too loose. So just finding some that fit comfortably can be difficult. I don’t wear that many outlandish colours, I know what suits me and what colours are in my wardrobe, and they are fairly easy to accessorize – brown, black and white does the trick pretty nicely.

I don’t understand the compulsion that drives some women to have a pair of shoes to match each outfit. How many colours can there possibly be that need an exact match? I mean, black goes with most things. For ten years I had one pair of black high heeled shoes from Barratts which served me for every wedding, party, every night out, fancy dinner, college ball and social event. I wore them until the elastic in the ankle strap snapped and then replaced them with another pair, as similar as I could muster, purchased for £3.99 on Ebay.

I really don’t get the fascination that the media paints the women as having with shoes.

My female companions, being practical geeks, may not be the best straw poll of examples, but I don’t know anyone who obsessively collects shoes. If anyone does, it’s generally the vintage variety for larping and period costumes. But everywhere I turn in the Media, there’s an assumption that a women desires, more than anything, new shoes – it’s literally become a caricature in the form of Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahnik obsession.

I mean, makeup I can kind of understand because it’s on your face. It’s in everyone’s eye line. The impact you create with a smile, with a first glance, with your expression, can all be enhanced with a little colour, powder and texture. I can also understand clothes. I mean, I blog about clothes – clothes are great, I love buying new ones, I love feeling comfortable in them and knowing that I look good. But shoes?

They’re on the end of your feet. They’re down on the floor. More often than not, they’re half concealed by your trouser ends or long skirts, or they’re tucked under tables or hidden under chairs. Shoes do not make that much of an impact. I never look at people’s shoes. My husband claims he doesn’t either, and I believe him. Do you know how many people have ever passed comment on my shoes since I left school? Not one. That’s why I don’t really bother changing them that much.

I did get some bullying at school over my shoes. Mostly because I wore trainers that were more than three months old and liked wearing sandals in the summer rather than mules. But truth be told, if I had changed my shoes those people would have found something else to pick on me for. When I wore boots instead, it was my Manchester United scarf that attracted comments. When it wasn’t my scarf, it was my hairstyle. When it wasn’t my hairstyle it was the fact I was often upset and depressed, especially after the death of my grandfather and grandmother. The problems I endured at school weren’t really to do with my shoes, they were to do with assholes looking for an emotional cut to rub salt into.

What is it about shoes for women? I honestly would love to know, because it seems like something about being a ‘Woman’ is eluding me in not understanding this. Anyone got any theories?

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CSSB moves to Project Shandy

Champagne Style on a Shandy Budget is in the process of moving to Project Shandy, which will become its permanent home. You can now access the archives and most recent posts of CSSB from Project Shandy and search for any specific posts you want to find.

CSSB will soon redirect to this page but the original site will stay active for a while to enable people to find its new home.

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CSSB: saveonmakeup.co.uk

Ms Moo introduced me to this place and it is one of my favourite places to go and indulge myself. It sells of ‘designer’ makeup are really cheap prices. Seriously cheap prices. It’s a great place to stop by if you’re got an occasion coming up and you just want one or two bits to liven up your makeup selection without going bankrupt in the process.

While ELF will always be my go to place for stocking up on day to day essentials, this place is like the Charity Shop of makeup stores. One offs, end of lines, ridiculous reductions and never the same stock twice. It’s like stepping into Aladdin’s cave.

These are some of the offers they have on this week, just to give you an idea of what I mean:

Rimmel Lipsticks

RRP £6.49. Save on makeup price 69p

Clinique lipstick

RRP £17  Save on makeup price £4.99

Maybelline Foundation

RRP £9.95 Save on makeup price £3.99

What this site does is bring the big brand names of makeup down to the sort of price where I would actually consider paying for them. So if you have any sort of brand loyalty about the decorations you put on your face, you definitely want to make friends with this site. You can search by product or filter by brand, whichever you would prefer. I also like the fact that they give you the option to pay by paypal rather than requiring your card details. Much safer in this day and age.

Don’t depend on finding the same products here next time you come by though. The range really does change on a multiple-times-per-week basis and there’s no guarantee they will be back. Also some of the products might turn up in tester cases, but they are new and haven’t been used, they’re just surplus stock.

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CSSB: Bodycare

Favourite Store: Bodycare

I love this shop. It’s possibly the one remaining chain store in the world which doesn’t have a website, but that’s part of the charm for me. I have to actually go into town, have a rummage, read the packaging and choose what I want there rather than slobbing in the comfort of my own armchair with a laptop.

Bodycare is a bit like the economy version of Superdrug, only without the pharmacy bit. I bet your town has one, they all look the same. Big black and white sign outside, huge clear glass windows and the walls are stacked up to the ceiling with all sorts of colourful bottles. Anything to do with haircare and hair styles, skin care and makeup, teeth hygeine, nail maintenance and varnish, deodorant, basic medicine, sanitary products or perfumes can be found in this shop for very, very cheap prices.

Things I regularly pick up from here include the Alberto Balsam shampoo and conditioner, Sure deodorants, Impulse body sprays, lynx shower gel and spray (for hubby), sponges, flannels, cotton wool, sanitary stuff and condoms (seriously – cheapest I have ever found Durex on sale!), but I do love to have a good search around and occasionally pick up other things. They’re my go-to place for tights, I sometimes get my hair dye there and they’re good for gift sets of what my teenage friends and I used to call ‘smellies’ in the run up to Christmas time.

The only thing I have found that Bodycare isn’t worth shopping at for is makeup. By and large I find it pretty cheap and nasty to be honest – the eye-shadow rubs off quickly, the face powder all looks orange, the mascara comes out clumpy and the lipsticks are guaranteed to smudge within a few nanoseconds of application. I guess it’s not bad for pre-teens with a bit of pocket money wanting to buy bits and pieces to experiment with at sleep overs, but this stuff shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone who wants to actually look presentable rather than like a cheap clown.

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