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.

*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*

CSSB Guest Post: Getting Started With Makeup

This guest post was written by my good friend Monica, who recently put together a little ‘starter kit’ for her 15 year old cousin who was beginning to express an interest in makeup. Everyone has to start somewhere, make up is no different. Have a look at what she has to say and her recommendations and if you have any interesting stories or recommendations about where to start with makeup, I would love to hear from you too!

First, a little backstory.

When I was a teenager, I was a makeup disaster area.  As I began to forge my own identity, I wanted to exert more control over my image (and hide my acne as best I could).  Little goth/grunger me was a big fan of black lipstick, poorly applied black eyeliner (without mascara) and layers of foundation that did not match my skintone in an attempt to hide my acne.  The foundation was probably the worst part, for which I put the blame entirely on Sarah Michelle Gellar.  She appeared in a campaign by Maybelline, and her foundation shade was listed next to the picture.  Aged thirteen, I desperately wanted to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so wearing her shade of foundation was obviously how I should begin my transformation, disregarding the fact that SMG is a California girl with clear sun-kissed skin and flowing blonde hair, and I am a brunette Londoner with skin the colour of slightly stale milk.

My family weren’t very helpful either – I had no older siblings or cousins I was close to that would take me aside and teach me the ways of skincare and makeup, my mother wasn’t interested and the rest of the adults in my life disapproved of makeup entirely for some reason – I dimly remember the words “loose morals” being thrown around regarding lipstick.

That was fourteen years ago, and these days I’ve got the makeup game pretty well figured out.  Somewhere along the line I ended up with a younger cousin (currently 15) that comes to me with all sorts of questions and crises, and as she expressed some interest in makeup, for her last birthday I put together a “makeup starter kit” for her.  I had a good long think and set some rules for buying for a teenage makeup newbie.

  • Affordability – the intended recipient should be able to replace any items once they’re finished out of their own money, if they want to.
  • Availability – items should be available on the high street, not internet-only products, as a teen probably won’t have a debit/credit card to order online.  Sadly, this immediately disqualified E.L.F, who would otherwise be perfect.
  • Quality – must be products I’d test-run or have reliable reviews.  Cheap doesn’t have to mean bad.
  • Ease of application – Perhaps not an obvious one, but for a makeup newbie ideally you’re going to want products that can be applied with fingers or included applicators, otherwise you’ll have to think about decent brushes and sponges and all sorts of things, which can get both expensive and complicated.  Keep it simple!

All together, this might add up to a decent little chunk of money, but many of these products will last a long time, and will form a solid backbone for a newbie makeup kit that will hopefully reduce the chances of the recipient walking around looking like a sad clown for a few years (as I did).

So here’s my shopping list – it’s not set in stone and there are plenty of equivalent products, so shop around and see what’s on offer!  I get most of my high-street buys from Boots as they often have 3-for-2 offers on makeup, and I use my points card pretty frequently, but most of these are available in other shops.

  1. Start with a decent moisturiser with SPF.  I am fond of Olay Sensitive Skin day cream (spf15) as it doesn’t aggravate my skin.  It’s usually £9.99 in Boots, but I tend to find it on offer in Sainsburys for £5 fairly often.  In my opinion, it’s never too early to start taking care of your skin, and the added SPF will help prevent any sun damage on the days when unexpected sunshine happens.  It’s not remotely as good as sunscreen, but it’s better than nothing.
  2. Make sure you pick up a proper makeup removing facewash – an essential item in any makeup kit, newbie or pro.  I like Garnier’s “Pure Active” 2 in 1 gel (£3.33 in Boots right now).  It’s very gentle and gets off even waterproof mascara without fuss.  They have a few different ones in the range – the oily skin one is my favourite, but think about the skin type of the person you’re buying for.  Get your recipient into the habit of removing makeup properly before bed as soon as possible, as sleeping with eye makeup on can cause all sorts of exciting eye infections (and get mascara all over the pillowcases).
  3. A concealer for blemishes.  Witch hazel and tea tree skincare/makeup products *do* work…  Eventually.  But they’re no good for the “I have a huge red spot and need to leave the house in an hour to meet my friends” panic.  For that you need a green concealer, like the Natural Collection Corrector Stick (£1.99 at Boots).  Apply and gently blend in to the problem area, and the green of the stick will help neutralise the red colour of the spot.  It won’t make it disappear, but it’ll help tone it down, which would have done wonders for my confidence as a teen.
  4. A tinted moisturiser or BB cream.  Teenage skin usually doesn’t need heavy coverage foundation, and applying foundation correctly is a skill many people never quite master, so skip that altogether and go for a lighter, easier BB cream.  My pick of the bunch for teenage skin would be Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream (£6.99 at Boots), as it contains ingredients that help calm down acne and I love products that multitask.  If that’s a bit pricey, Boots’ “Natural Collection” range has a selection of tinted moisturisers for £1.99, to name one I’ve tried and liked, but plenty of others are available.  Make sure you get something that matches the skintone of your recipient as best you can, to try to avoid looking like an oompa-loompa.
  5. A lip tint.  You could go for a traditional lipstick if you like, but my aim was to try to keep things subtle and fresh (to avoid getting my cousin into trouble at school), so I went for a tinted lip balm.  There’s approximately a billion different types, but my current favourite is Maybelline Baby Lips in “Pink Punch” (£2.99 Boots).  It’s light, easy to apply, SPF20, and gives a nice natural-looking tint.
  6. Mascara doesn’t have to be big, bold and spidery.  A clear mascara, such as Boots Natural Collection in Clear (£1.99) will help define eyelashes and make eyes look a bit brighter, and won’t get a teenager in trouble at school for wearing makeup.  If you want to include a dark one for party-time and weekends, I would strongly recommend Max Factor Clump Defy (£10.99 Boots).  Max Factor is the sister brand of Covergirl USA, and Clump Defy is the British branding for the venerated Clump Crusher mascara, which is considered to be the Holy Grail of mascara by beauty reviewers all over the internet.  In Ronseal style, it does exactly what it says on the tin (well, tube), and does not clump.  At £10.99 this is the most expensive product on the list, but it is totally worth it.
  7. Eyeliner.  It took me years to overcome my eyeliner-disaster phase, probably because felt tip eyeliners didn’t exist back then.  Collection 2000 felt tip eyeliner (£2.99 Boots) is basically perfect.  It’s cheap, really easy to use and lasts for ages once applied.  I’ve tried several more high-end versions and keep coming back to this one, none of the other high-street brands really come close for staying power.  Sadly, they don’t do it in brown, so for a less dramatic alternative, get a nice soft brown kohl pencil like Model’s Own Eyeliner (£4 Boots) – it comes with a smudge sponge and a sharpener.  I’m also fond of the Eye Definer pencils from the Body Shop, as they are the softest eye pencils I’ve ever used, but at £8 they are a bit pricey for a newbie.
  8. Blush.  I’d consider this optional as it’s so easy to get blush wrong, but I got one for my little makeup-newbie so she could play around and see if she liked it.  If you’re using a liquid base layer (like a BB cream) you’ll want a cream blush (powder will often cake up and look weird over a liquid base unless you have both the skill and the correct brushes).  MUA Blusher Perfection Cream in “Dolly” (£2 Superdrug) would be my recommendation – it’s a nice gentle peach colour that should suit most skin types.

I haven’t included any eyeshadow in my makeup starter kit as I consider eyeshadow to be a more advanced technique (and specific eyeshadow brushes are all but essential in my opinion).  I’ll probably put a little eyeshadow kit together for my cousin’s next birthday (including diagrams), but for the time being this is plenty of stuff to get started with.  While this was put together with a teenager in mind, it’s just as applicable for anybody of any age who is entering the world of makeup and feeling a bit lost.

*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*

CSSB: Mr Shandy Says So Again!


After the success of his first posting, which was the most viewed post for a while on CSSB, it would seem rude not to ask Mr Shandy to continue his awesome entries for the Mid Week Man’s View. So it’s time for Mr Shandy to say so. All over again.

Ok kids. Time for Mr Shandy to tell you a story. So is everyone sitting comfortably?


So, in case you were wondering, I consider myself an incredibly lucky man. There are many reasons for this but one of the main reasons is that I managed to ensnare Mrs Shandy. I am not sure how I manage this, she insists that it’s because I’m essentially a good guy and because I know how to cook. I maintain that it must be that hypnotism class that I took.

Mrs Shandy is obviously a beautiful woman and I will defend that opinion against all comers but every so often, just occasionally, something will happen that will just drive that point home to me in a way that just knocks me senseless. Most of those circumstances aren’t really relevant in this particular arena, but there is one circumstance that is particularly important because of what I want to talk about today.

It was relatively early in our still growing relationship. It wasn’t the first night that we’d spent together but it was certainly one of the first few times that we had shared a double bed. So picture the scene, waking up the morning after the night before, blinking furiously at the sunlight coming in through the window and trying to track down the relevant memories that will tell you why you’re staring at a strange ceiling. You go through the various panicked responses of checking that you have all four limbs, your head (sometimes a negative in these circumstances depending on how much you drank the night before) and your genitalia (It’s a man thing). Deciding that all of these things are fine and in their correct positions (don’t ask), the next stage is to look for clues.

Please understand that this process normally happens fairly quickly in the panic of dawning consciousness.

Then I turned over and there was Mrs Shandy and it was like having an affectionate and loving hammer hit me between the eyes.

She wore no make-up, no fancy hair-do. She had some bed-clothes on but there was no designer label on them. No hand-bag or shoes. In fact she lay there asleep with her hair in disarray and her arms thrown akimbo in the sleep of someone who is used to sleeping alone.

She looked amazing.

Ok, for those of you that are female I will just wait a few minutes while you go off and make that noise that only women can make, normally when seeing small furry animals or someone else’s children.

Then few more moments for you to show these words to the man in your life and say something like “why can’t you be like that?”

The secret is that he is, he just doesn’t like saying it aloud.

But I’ll wait here while you do that.

Take your time.




So what was the point of that?

The point of that story was that a woman is already beautiful and to point out that you don’t need all that crap that so many people insist on smearing all over their faces or submitting their poor innocent skin to.

I’m talking about too much badly applied make-up and tanning in its variety of forms.

I’m going to talk about tanning first of all.

First of all sun beds.

I once worked with a lady who was obsessed with her tan. In fact I’ve worked with several ladies that have been obsessed with their tan, or rather obsessed with their utter lack of tan. But the lady that I’m thinking of took it to a completely different level.

She was a nice looking girl, pleasant to talk to. Good looking if not particularly attractive to me in the way that you can look at a wonderful painting, appreciate that it’s a wonderful painting but not want to hang it in your living room.

One day she came back from her lunch and was sat at her desk and she was fidgeting, obviously uncomfortable and I asked her what the problem was. It turned out that she had spent a little bit too long on the sunbed that lunch time and had accidentally burnt herself.

“But,” says I in my male ignorance. “Don’t those places have rules about how many times you’re allowed to visit each week and how long you’re allowed to spend on the bed at any one time?”

“Well, yeah,” she said looking embarrassed.

Sensing more to the story I moved in for the kill,

“So what’s going on?”

“Well, It’s not getting the job done fast enough, so I actually go to two different sunbed places so that I can ignore those rules and go six times a week rather than the three times a week that each will let me,”

I was horrified.

“Aren’t you worried about little things like, Oh I dunno, SKIN CANCER??”

I bellowed, somewhat embarrassingly,

“Nah, besides I need to get a tan so I look good.”

I swear that I didn’t make that up.

However sun-beds aren’t as bad as the other great evil perpetuated against a lady’s skin tone, that being spray on tan.

Just for the record. I’ve never not been able to tell when someone’s wearing fake tan. It looks disgusting, as though the lady in question is wearing gravy. For all I know they are. Cheap gravy at that.

It looks horrible, in no way attractive and is downright repulsive.

Taking things to their logical conclusion. You and I are getting hot and heavy in the club, we’re both hot and a little sweaty after all the kissy-face and snuggling and whatever else you kids are calling it nowadays. I go to the bathroom to relieve myself of all the beer and tequila that I’ve drunk, look in the mirror and realise that I’m now wearing your fake tan.

Let alone if I take you home and the stuff gets smeared all over me, my sheets and shower.

God, even the thought of it makes me want to puke.

Here’s the thing. Different women have different skin tones. Some times women can have pale, almost translucent skin, and that can be very attractive. Other women can have darker, olive skin tones and that can be just as attractive. Nature made you that way for a reason, enjoy it.

I can guess why women do this leading into summer as well though. Starting in spring, department stores, sun-bed shops. All kinds of places put up the shots for their spring and summer collections and every single one of them, without exception, show these bronzed, beautiful, airbrushed models showing off their fabulous skin tones, that for all I know are airbrushed as well. So clearly this is what you must look like to be beautiful and so you do your best to get into that kind of shape to reflect that.

It’s simply not the case. Your skin looks at it’s best at its natural shade.

Trust me on this.

I also want to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about make-up.

Now, I’ll be the first person to admit that I know Jack and Shit about make-up. As far as I’m aware these strange things emerge from women’s hand-bags, powders and creams and such-like and then for all I know, MAGIC happens and then the woman looks exactly the same while at the same time looking that little bit more beautiful than she did before. For some reason this takes an immense amount of time and the only way I can understand it is likening it to the way that knights would prepare themselves for battle, strapping each piece of armour to their bodies before carefully moving on to the next piece of armour and so on. This coupled with the fact that some women describe this as “putting their war-paint on” makes the comparison fitting.

I know nothing about make-up.

However, I do know what it looks like when it’s done badly.

I call it a toffee hammer face.

For those people not knowing what this means, a toffee hammer is a tiny little hammer, maybe the same size as a small kitchen knife used to break up the sheets of toffee in old-fashioned English toffee shops. You lightly tap the surface of the toffee and then it shatters into pieces.
These girls have so much make-up on that it looks like they’re wearing a mask of porcelain that if I walked up to it with my toffee hammer and tapped her on the cheek then the entire mask would just shatter.

This is not attractive.

I’m always worried that if I looked at the girl in question after she’s laughed then I will see the wrinkle marks where the make-up has rolled up in the corners.

Which is why they don’t change their expression.


Who would want to date a girl who never laughs?

Not me,

Remember that list I talked about last week, the top list of sexy attributes and I mentioned confidence.

Remember what the other one was.

I thought so.

That’s enough for this talk/rant, but I understand that Mrs Shandy tags these posts, “because Mr Shandy says so,”

I can now only follow that up with.

“And that’s the bottom line.”


*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*

CSSB: ‘Flaws are Ok’

So the lovely Becky sent me a link to this article today:


A lovely young lady called Lorde called attention to the photo-shopping of her skin to remove acne marks.


The caption: “i find this curious – two photos from today, one edited so my skin is perfect and one real. remember flaws are ok :-)”

Now I need to go find out who Lorde is. Searches online Oh right that’s who she is.  Fair enough. I’m not really into celebrity culture, but I am all for a young woman in a visual industry who is willing to tell people that ‘flaws are ok’ and point out when she has been photo-shopped to within an inch of credibility. Especially when she draws the line between ‘perfect’ and ‘real’. That sort of honest is commendable.

So far, no rant worth material.

Right up until you spot this below the article:



Do you know what Cellulite actually is? It’s dimpled flesh. Usually found around your legs and hips. It’s caused by fat deposits under the skin which occur after puberty is over.

A whole industry has sprung up around this natural bodily occurrence, offering ways for women to remove Cellulite from their bodies. However, not one of them has been scientifically proven to work.  Not the treatments, not the removals, not the exercises, not the special drugs or supplements or vitamins. None of it.

Why do they want to convince you that you can remove this cellulite?

Because they say that it looks bad.

And you know what the greatest con of all is?

Cellulite is normal. And not harmful. It does not actually need to be removed.

An entire industry has sprung up convincing women that they should take expensive action (that doesn’t work) to remove and reduce parts of their body (which are completely normal and not harmful at all) just because they say that it doesn’t look very nice.

And this website has the audacity to put an advert for this underneath an article apparently praising a young celebrity woman for maintaining that ‘flaws are ok’ and highlighting how ridiculous it is that photographs of her have been manipulated to remove naturally occurring marks from her skin.

The double standard strikes again. Look, look! It’s ok to be normal. But we’re going to thrust this advert under your nose to remind you that we don’t think it’s acceptable for you to look ‘real’ and instead you must strive towards the fake standard of ‘perfect’, by means which are expensive, unreliable and unnecessary.


Oh and by the way… The best way to prevent cellulite occurring include wearing looser fitting clothing, eating a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoidance of stress. So it’s not hard to see why celebrities who work long hours, eat at weird times, don’t get enough nutrition due to enforced diets and spend most of their time squeezed into tight clothing are amongst those who are the most likely to develop it.

Can I suggest that you start reducing your stress by stopping reading any fashion industry articles which claim that you should be removing cellulite? Just an idea.

*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*

CSSB: Dove Summer Glow

Spring is here, which means Summer’s on its way.

And if you’re like me and pale skinned, unless you’re a sunbed addict or able to afford tropical holidays all winter (and if you’re able to afford those, why are you reading a fashion-on-a-budget blog?), you’re probably looking as white as a milksop under all those layers.

By the way I really wouldn’t recommend sun beds. You’re much better off with this instead:

I used to use the Nivea Sunkissed Skin product for this, but I am damned if I can find it anywhere on sale in the UK any more, It’s not even available on Amazon right now. However, I have used this before. It’s currently £2.49 in Boots.

This produce is not a full tanning lotion, it’s a moisturiser with a tint, it just adds a gentle shine to your skin and it’s available in fair to medium, and in medium to dark skinned varieties. The colour is discrete, I certainly don’t find the smell offensive and I haven’t experienced any streaking or staining of my clothes or sheets. Do make sure you wash your hands after putting it on though, or you will get orangey cuticles.

Another reason why I like this product is that my skin doesn’t react to it, even after shaving, which is saying a lot!

Either way – it’s a lot better than increasing your risk of getting skin cancer. Or looking like an orange troll. Both of which should be avoided at all costs.


*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*