Thursday 30 December 2010

Well Another Year Over and A New One Just Begun......

Sound familiar?  John Lennon's Happy Christmas Song (War is Over) and whilst the lyrics are as poignant as ever, somehow the battle has changed between who’ll win for the most sofa ads over the festive season ...... since when have these ads changed from promoting family values, everyone watching TV together on the latest Italian leather masterpiece with cushions to match to 3 scantily clad “babes” in underwear, provocatively prancing around to Duran Duran's song "Girls on Film" ???!!! ...... AND not one of the “babes” had a tape measure to make sure the sofa wasn't too big for their lounge, there wasn't an eager Sales Assistant with a clip board of "interest free orders", fabric chart and recommended cleaning products in sight. There was no promise of a delivery date anywhere in the backing track and with the drop in temperature to minus 8 degrees, I think the “babes” are going to need more than a thermal vest and Simon le Bon warbling on in the background to keep them warm!!  Anyway the ad must have caught my hubby’s eye as he turned to me and said "do you think we need to update our sofa?"  I don't think for one minute he was admiring the “babes” soft focus technique.....  "Mmmmmmmmm” said I and called his bluff ….. “'re on..... we'll go looking when Man Utd play next!".  He’s still thinking about it…….

Whilst we all have a tendency to over indulge at this time of year it's also important to invest a bit of TLC in yourself. There's loads of products out there, in fact the shelves are crammed, however fear not, we can highly recommend a couple with the emphasis being to hydrate your skin and hair. 

The recent harsh weather conditions and everyone's friend at the moment "central heating" has probably taken its toll on your skin – certainly has ours (albeit it the odd Pinot Grigio as well!). So we’re the first to admit we don't drink enough water, the only daily intake coming in the form of soda to compliment the aforementioned “Vino Collapso” and the 15 cups of tea the following morning... and yes, we know it's not good enough.  We've read lots of features about the benefits of drinking more water; improves the skin tone, helps with weight loss and generally, maintains good health - after all over bodies are 60%- 70% water. Not forgetting also that increasing our water intake suppresses hunger – that’s some water intake for me and Debs!!!  So, amidst the many New Year Resolutions, we’re making drinking more water a top priority.

Making sure you cleanse, tone and moisturise your skin properly is also a must for ensuring clear, blemish free skin.  One of Debs favourite facial products is Cleanse & Polish by Liz Earle. This original, multi award-winning hot cloth cleanser quickly removes daily grime and make-up to leave skin clean, soft and radiant. The 100ml pump starter kit retails for £13 which includes a muslin cloth to remove all traces of make up and gently exfoliates the skin, leaving it feeling cleaner and looking healthier.   My first encounter with Liz Earle products came after a weekend jaunt to Amsterdam where Deb’s had proudly laid out her purchases in the bathroom, complete with the muslin cloths which come with the starter pack – there they were, draped like some homage to Tutankhamen’s Tomb and at one point I thought  I was going to be “mummified”…..yikes!!  However, those ancient Egyptian’s were certainly onto something, because Deb’s refuses to cleanse her skin any other way, regardless of whether she uses the Hot Cleanse & Polish or another brand.

The Instant Boost Skin Tonic retails for £11.50 for a 200ml bottle - gentle and alcohol-free, this heavenly scented, non-drying floral toner revitalises, soothes and brightens skin and finishing with Skin Repair Moisturiser which comes in three formulas; combination/oily, normal/combination or dry/sensitive retails at £17.25 for 50ml.  
I'm more of a  "Simple” Gal - no witty comments please!!   I don't have sensitive skin, however I like the simplicity of the products and the affordability, I've even introduced my daughter to the range.  

Hair also takes a battering at this time of year – if the weather, central heating and lack of water intake doesn’t damage your flowing locks, then the heated appliances will probably finish them off!!!  Deb’s latest beauty find which she’s raving about is from the award winning range by renowned Tricologist, Philip Kingsley who has over 45 years of experience of treating the locks of the rich and famous, including Renee Zellwegger.  

Being our very own “Bridget Jones”, Deb’s decided to try out the renowned “Elasticizer” after one too many uses of her hair straighteners coupled with her ever changing hair colour (Jordan, eat your heart out!). Retailing around £20, this isn’t a cheap product to use every day but as a weekly pre-shampoo treatment, it promises to put body and shine back into damaged hair …….and boy, does it!! If your hair’s over processed and feeling a little dry or damaged, this is the product to put back what your GHD’s have taken out! If your budget can’t stretch to Philip Kingsley products (and whose can these days?), then my fabulous Hairdresser has written a piece below about how to care for your locks without snapping those already over-stretched purse strings! 

Hi, my name’s Andrew a.k.a "The Ginger Snipper" and I’ve been tending to Mrs Savage’s tresses for over 22 years.   

Well, the Party Season has nearly finished, how was it for you?? A big build up and then a big let down? Did your extensions stay in or did they get caught in your stilleto`s at some ungodly hour in the morning.  Did the Christmas hair-do survive the recent weather, or did it collapse before you got your starter?

As a professional hairdresser, these questions are something you would ask your clients’ next time you saw them, we would do our best to make sure everything was ok but people are human and  guess what, so is your hairdresser!!! Speaking personally I’ve never had a "DO" collapse (that I know of!!!!) If you know different please don’t respond…… after all, your hairdresser is for life not just for Christmas!!

On a more serious note, this time of year can play havoc with you hair, chemically treated, over use of heated appliances, and believe it or not central heating dries your hair out too. As a home remedy (and very cheap!!) once a week after shampooing your hair, heat a small amount of cooking oil for a few seconds in the microwave (probably best to avoid the flavoured oils such as garlic!), apply to damp hair massaging in well, wrap your hair in a towel and leave for at least 10 minutes. Now the important bit, do not just rinse your hair (remember, oil and water do not mix!!!) apply neat shampoo as this will emulsify the oil, massage in gently and then rinse.  Your hair should feel softer and this process should eliminate some static that can be present.

It`s important to keep your hair moisturised at this time of year and a particularly good range of products I can recommend is " L`anza", which can be purchased from salons appointed to stock them or online at

 Thanks Andrew, great tips - hope you become a regular beau-blogger!!

So, it just remains for Deb’s and I to wish you all a very Happy New Year, we hope you'll keep to your Resolutions and that you've enjoyed reading so far and follow our blog in 2011.
Savvy & Appy xx

Sunday 5 December 2010


On Sunday, 28th November 2010 we attended a master-class at Selfridges, Manchester hosted by Illamasqua’s Creative Director, the ground breaking Make-Up Artist, Alex Box, whose work has featured in publications around the world including Vogue. 

Alex has created looks for designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and  Alexander McQueen to name but a few and has become one of the most influential make-up artists of our time.

Illamasqua is a new London-based brand which celebrated its second birthday in 2010. What makes Illamasqua products so completely different and unique is that it brings truly professional make up to the high street to provide a high performance look to anyone who wants to self express and accentuate their look beyond the norm and to bring out your alter ego.  The Autumn/Winter 2010 Collection “The Art of Darkness” contains products which are rich in colour designed to bring intensity to your make-up palette.

Illamasqua promises that its products are “designed to be colour intense, colour-true and long lasting” and both Debs and myself can confirm it certainly lived up to the hype.   After the Master-Class had finished, we were invited to test the products and redeem the cost of the class against our purchases.

Easier said than done!  We were like two kids let loose in a sweet shop, trying product after product and blown away by the quality and intense colours of the eye and lip products. Should we buy lipstick, eyeshadow, lip gloss, foundation???? No…. lipstick, get lipstick… gloss….what, gloss and lipstick? Yeah, get both…..noooo, foundation, definitely foundation……oh and an eyeshadow!!

After much deliberation, Debs purchased the Rich Liquid Foundation and I bought the Cream Foundation which comes in a handy compact. 

Debs wore her foundation the following day and fell completely in love with it – after using other quality brands in the same price bracket such as Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, Clinique, MAC, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder (you name it, she’s tried it!!!!) she’s now a convert to Illamasqua. She found the coverage second to none which suited her combination skin perfectly as it wasn’t greasy or too heavy.  We’re both used to applying foundation professionally using brushes, but Deb’s felt the warmth of her fingers helped her apply this make-up slightly easier and commented on how little she needed to achieve maximum coverage.   
As well as the foundation, I wanted to try and find a highlighter which could be used for Bridal Make-Up, ensuring it could last throughout the ceremony into the evening, with a subtle shimmer but not over-sparkly.  I found the ideal product in Pure Pigment and chose the colour “Future” after Phil, the Counter Assistant assured us the product had been used on Kylie – SOLD!!!!. 

Check out the Art of Darkness Make-Up Video on YOU TUBE.  It’s the most fascinating video promoting the use of make up we’ve ever, ever seen.  It’s totally mesmerising and the music definitely sets the mood!  The concept of the video is revolutionary. 

Although I don’t what we would do if we came across such a sumptuous scene whilst walking my Boxer dog “Tito” – he’d probably bounce about, lick his chops and jump on the table.  I think Debs has a soft spot for “Wolfman” and she’d see off that Wanton Woman dancing around the table!

After watching a true artist at work, it was a pleasure to have a chat with Alex and introduce her to Savvylash.  We would highly recommend anyone to attend Alex Box Master Class - you won't be disappointed as Alex is not only highly talented but also an incredibly friendly and approachable person.  We are now true converts to Illamasqua products and can't wait to bring out our Alter Ego's........even when we're out doing our Christmas shopping and dog walking!!!! 

Sunday 21 November 2010


Having been educated at Christian Ladies Finishing School (Ye…right!), we’re completely averse to sinning, however from time to time we’ve found ourselves dipping our beautifully pedicured toes into the dark side………… and occasionally liked it!! Admittedly most of this has involved alcohol, dancing like an idiot, rolling around the bottom of a black cab looking for the house keys and Michelle thinking she’s Kylie Minogue with a bout of selected memory loss the morning after!

……In attempting to re-create the infamous Kylie video to “Can’t get you out of my head” Michelle improvised Ms Minogue’s white hooded-outfit with oven mitts over her head complete with mike in hand. Her husband, cowering in the corner, tried his very best to ignore her and pretend the performance of a lifetime in his own lounge wasn’t really happening. Easier said than done until his eardrums started bleeding from not-so-delicate shouts of “Maaaaaaaaark…..! Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark…….! I’m Kylie….. look Mark, look…..Mark - why are you not looking??!!”

So the next time the Prince of Darkness tries to tempt you into sinning, be strong and remember the Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty are easier to avoid than any alcohol-assisted sins we’ve (allegedly) taken part in…….

Applying face bronzer or blusher at 100 mph over and over and over is a look even Heidi Klum would struggle to pull off!!
TIP: Apply bronzer with a professionally designed make-up brush. Starting at the side of the temple, imagine the numerical figure “3” at the side of your face and sweep down, underneath your cheekbone and carry down underneath your jaw line. Repeat on the opposite side with the number “3” movement and move onto the centre of your face. Lightly brush down from the temple where the sun would naturally kiss the face! NOW STOP!!! Remember, bronzer compliments the make-up you may already have applied ie, cheek highlighter and blusher.

Look after your tools of your trade by cleaning your make-up brushes regularly. Not only will this help to apply make-up better and ensure your brushes last longer, but will stop the build up of bacteria and keep your skin in tip top condition.
TIP : Remember to tap the brush gently on the back of your hand to remove any excess powder before applying - NEVER BLOW ONTO YOUR MAKE-UP BRUSH like a severe weather warning in your bedroom!  We wash our brushes in liquid soap …hold the base/root of the brush tightly when washing and try to avoid water getting down the connection where the handle and brush meet - as this will affect the glue and loosen the bristles. Once washed and thoroughly rinsed, gently reshape the bristles and lie flat to naturally dry off.

Just because the new product on the market claims to banish cellulite, get rid of wrinkles, give you that flawless skin we all want - doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be right for you, your skin and your wallet!! From our experience, the only product worth splurging on is a quality foundation.
TIP : We can highly recommend LancĂ´me’s Photogenic Foundation as used by the make-up artists on the BBC1 drama
Waterloo Road
when Michelle visited the set to promote Savvylash. As Volunteers for the Charity “Look Good Feel Better” at Manchester’s Christie’s Hospital, contained within the fabulous beauty packs kindly donated by The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), we found that the foundation donated by Estee Lauder, appeared to suit all skin types on the inspiring ladies who attended the workshops.

Botox…fillers….lip-plumping…over-tattooed eyebrows……!
Now ….We’re not against a bit of tweaking or “helping Mother Nature” and since we’ve both turned 40, by God have we asked for her help, however she appears to be busy helping others - some a little too much!!
TIP : To avoid that permanently surprised and going through a wind tunnel look, remember a little bit of what you fancy does you good……..WE SAID A LITTLE BIT!!

We loved the 1980’s - it was definitely our era of growing up and indulging with big permed hair, big earrings, big shoulder pads and big statement make-up…. COOL or SICK as the young ‘uns say today! Some how saying “nauseous” doesn’t have the same impact!

I’ve heard on the grapevine (via her mother) that Debs aspired to be one of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” “glamorous guitarist chicks” - I’m glad for the good people of Bury that Debs didn’t take up a musical instrument …..I’ve heard her sing and never more apt the saying “If you are going through hell, keep going” by Sir Winston Churchill!

Anyway, back to Robert’s Video, (and Deb’s look) – back in the day, slicked back hair, heavy dark made-up eyes and deep red gloss lips was considered alluring - on reflection, it’s really best practice to avoid this over the top look.
TIP; Choose a focus - either eyes or lips! If it’s the eyes, have the lips in soft nude, barely there pastel colours and alternatively, if you want strong lips have neutral eye shadow.

Now we all know the feeling – it’s daft o’clock, we’re trying (not successfully) to tip-toe around the house to avoid waking our nearest and dearest after a night out, the prospect of removing 15 layers of long-lasting lipgloss about as appealing as Ashley Cole’s marriage vow “Forsaking all others”….!

I have to confess….I’ve committed this cardinal sin however in my defence, it involved a colleague’s retirement party, a taxi with very slippy seats– how else could I have ended up rolling around the floor of said cab - and my front door key which refused to stop moving around when I went anywhere near it with my key. 

Debs rang the following morning to check that (a) I was still alive and (b) my hubby hadn’t noted the scratches on our 4x4 which apparently was used as a prop to get me up the driveway.  Upon hearing my mobile ring for the 144th time, I sat bolt upright in bed and opened up an eye….the other was stuck together with day old mascara.  Debs spent the next 10 minutes reassuring me I hadn’t developed cataracts.  I looked down (with the one eye that was open) and found I had clothes on,,,,..astonishingly, the very same ones I’d gone out in the night before.

“Oh My God!” I cried, distraught beyond belief.  Debs was just about to dial the last “9” for the emergency services when I confessed. …..”I’ve committed the ultimate sin……” followed by a very (some would saw “overly”) dramatic pause followed by the immortal words “I left my make up on …………. (another pause) …………ALLLLLL NIGHT!!”

So, regardless of how late it is, always, always remove your make-up before collapsing into bed, even if it means holding on for dear life to the bathroom mirror as it spins around whilst desperately trying to focus!  Skin needs to breathe at night and take in oxygen, provide nutrients and get rid of pollution built up during the day.  Leave your make-up on and watch your skin break-out faster than Usain Bolt from his starting block……….
TIP If, like Michelle, you’ve committed the cardinal sin, absolve your self by using a gentle face scrub and a face-pack to purify and hydrate your skin. A clay-based mask will draw out impurities and leave your skin feeling slightly better than your head!

Is best defined as an EMOTION, usually from a sense of low self-esteem or maybe a distorted self image, which to be honest can easily happen with this Image conscious society we are living in. We’ve all experienced this unsavoury feeling at one time or another….. But that is exactly what it is …. A feeling and it can be one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.
TIP; We can’t resolve everything …..but….please believe us …… make-up is a powerful tool. Red Indians used war paint to rally themselves for battle and frighten enemies, in the way sports teams wear their kits. Now we’re not suggesting you have a battle around the MAC counter with your favourite lip stick in hand as a lethal weapon...Noooooooo - BUT applying make up ….. for you ….. to feel better and good about yourself WORKS….. even if it’s a quick tickle of mascara and a lick of lip-gloss … invest a little bit of time for you.

As in the words of L‘Oreal……. You’re worth it!

As we’ve already had two quotes we’d like to finish with another ……

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”    Albert Einstein
……Oh wouldn’t you love to blog Albert if he was still alive today?

Today we've had a great morning trying on clothes and jewellery at Bouti, which is a newly opened boutique in Ramsbottom, Bury (World Famous Market not open today!).  The sole owner of Bouti, Anne made us feel relaxed, and no pressure to buy but allowed us to indulge ourselves by trying on the fabulous and affordable clothes - you made parting with our money a little less painless!  It was refreshing to just glide through the rails and see something completely different than the usual High Street fashions.  My teenage daughter couldn't wait to visit.......... so that's Christmas sorted!! We wish Anne every success and look forward to visiting again soon!

Thursday 28 October 2010


..... but don't go overboard with the Tango-reen!!

It's that time of year when everyone will be dressing up as ghouls, goblins or at the very worst.......Pete Burns on a bad day! 

So what better way to link into self-tanning, than sharing some tips and recommendations so you don't end up looking like an over-ripe Pumpkin!

The first product we were professionally trained to apply was using the St. Tropez 3-Step System which included exfoliator, moisturiser and lotion. 

Picture the scene: We both turn up at the local beauty college to begin our training.  We were surrounded by gorgeous, nubile and very young (not that we weren't!) females.  The Instructor asked for a volunteer to demonstrate on which basically meant stripping off in front of the whole class.

Debs and I avoided eye-contact and stared at the floor, ceiling, nails and exit until one of the nubile goddesses put her hand up. 

Phew... although we did note she may have had pert breasts and cellulite-free legs, she had not a hint of a personality unlike our good selves. Jealous, us? Never!

Onto the demonstration and the most important advice we can pass onto everyone is exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate and avoid using deodorant prior to application - unless you want to look like Grotbags the Witch (basically, your skin will turn green!)

Second step is to wash off the residue from the exfoliator and apply moisturiser to any dry skin areas such as knees, elbows, ankles and heels.

Wearing latex gloves, apply the lotion liberally to cover any white bits and emulsify into your skin using brisk, circular movements so there are no visible streaks - if there are, just apply a small amount of moisturiser and gently blend.  This part of the process is referred to professionally as applying the "guide colour".

Don't use the lotion neat on your face, mix 50/50 with moisturiser and blend around the hairline, ears and back of neck. 

Using either the St. Tropez mitt or your dad or husband's football sock (preferably before the Sunday game!) and buff off the residue after allowing the lotion to dry for approx 15-20 minutes.  You then have to allow at least 4 hours for the colour to develop so best to leave it on overnight - bear in mind that the guide colour will come off on clothes and bedding until it's washed off in the morning.

Sounds easy enough and it was ..... on the volunteer, however Debs had me and to say she struggled to get to my body, is a slight understatement.  After several tussles with the towel and cries of "Michelle, as mad as this sounds, I actually need to get to your body to apply the lotion to have a stab at turning you into the bronzed goddess with pert breasts albeit no personality over there", I decided to chance an ankle out of the corner of the towel to preserve my modesty (cellulite).

Debs, by this time was sweating profusely before she'd even begun to apply and emulsify!  She somehow managed to apply the lotion to my body in time for lunch which was provided in the college canteen. 

Whilst queuing up for a bite to eat and deciding between the quiche or curry, it suddenly dawned on both of us why self-tan should only be applied at night in the comfort and privacy of your own home.  This avoids you coming into contact with members of the general public who firstly have absolutely no idea why your face resembles Stig of the Dump and secondly can never love you regardless of your appearance as only a mother could.....

Having said that, my appearance in the Canteen can in no way rival Deb's decision to go shopping after her application of the guide colour prior to it being washed off for a pair of WHITE linen trousers - never has the question "Can I try these on please?" posed such a challenge to various startled shop assistants....

Since training, we've both used various other products but by far St. Tropez gives the most natural results, however if you're on a budget, try L'Oreal Sublime which provides a fabulous colour and is just as easy to apply.  Just use the same principles of exfoliate, moisturise and blend...

Let the lotion develop overnight and shower off in the morning, removing any excess lotion to reveal a natural Halloween Glow!!!

Thanks for reading - enjoy Halloween and enjoy self-tanning!

Monday 11 October 2010


....or as my husband hilariously (in his own mind!) stated, the Chilean Miners will be out and blogging before you and Debs get started!!

To say we had a few technical difficulties in getting started is a slight understatement, however as the title indicates - Rome wasn't built in a day. 

Without giving our ages away, Debs and I are from that era where we text every word in full without having to resort to "dis", "dat" and "dudder" and don't start every sentence with "Mi Julie" and end it with "innit". 

Apparently blogging is the future and not wanting to be left out of anything, we decided to hop on board and embrace technology....unfortunately it didn't want to embrace us the first couple of attempts!!

Attempt 1 : bottle of wine, hummous, olives and some cut-price flap-jacks that were on offer.  We didn't get further than "password not recognised".

Attempt 2 : two bottles of wine, hummous, olives and garlic roulade (flap-jacks no longer on offer).  Stumbled on "What name shall we give ourselves?", settled on Savvy & Appy (Debs didn't like dappy, something to do with NDubz, lawsuits and "I don't think I look like a dappy Michelle?"), stumbled again on password protection, when asked what historical figure to remind us of our password, Debs came up with Martin Luther King...................I suggested "Diana" - Debs replied "as in Dors?" Noooooo, I replied "Princess...."

You begin to get the picture of how the rest of the evening panned out.....

Second bottle of wine later.... still on the password page where we were asked to type in the encrypted word....Debs forgot her glasses and was by now squinting at the screen, wine glass in hand.  I was furiously trying to work out whether it was a "q" or a "p" or a "g" or an "i".......we were timed out and banned for 24 hours.

So onto introductions...

My name is Michelle Savage and I'm the inventor of Savvylash, the eyelash separator which I sell via the website at £4.99 + P&P.  Please see my news and press page on the website for details.  Ideal stocking fillers for the fast approaching festive season!!!

My good friend is Debbie Appleton who I met when we trained as beauty therapists some years ago and she has agreed to be my bella-blogger.  More of our exploits later (and we've had many!)

We intend to do a weekly blog on beauty products, what works, what doesn't work, our new product finds and guest bloggers (our mates for now until Cheryl Cole decides to come on board!).

So in the words of Julie Andrews, these are a few of our favourite things......!

MAC LIPGLASS - Deb's current favourite - this is the perfect product for creating shine that lasts.  It's pigmented, very shiny and can impart subtle or dramatic colour.  Here's the Science bit...... it contains Jojoba Oil to help soften and condition the
lips.  Her male colleagues stop what they're doing to watch her when she applies this every lunch-hour - it's show-stopping!!

Retails at £12. 

An Oldie (like Rod Stewart) but goodie is Benefit's High Beam - a firm favourite for any beauty kit.  The technical jargon reads "luminescent complexion enhancer" which basically means "killer cheekbones" and "Bette Davis Brows" (ask your Nana who she was!)
                                                                                            Retails at £17.50

We're open to (clean) suggestions, and welcome your beauty tips and recommendations and look forward to hearing from you.  Please forward our blog address onto your friends...

Thanks for reading, ta-ra for now! xx