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Friday 13 November 2020

Friday Fizz: A Beauty Box Winner and the Return of Epicure Piccalilli


Over 50s blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton tries out the My John Lewis x Hannah Martin beauty box - and likes it

Welcome to a new monthly post, Fizzing on Friday, where I'll feature a beauty update and other news and updates. In this first post, I'm praising a beauty box - after saying I wasn't going to buy any more - and the return of an old favourite, Epicure Piccalilli. Plus some other random thoughts.

The contents of the My John Lewis x Hannah Martin beauty box

My John Lewis x Hannah Martin Beauty Box

I was buying something online in beauty at JLP and I noticed this beauty box, a collaboration with makeup artist Hannah Martin. I pledged a few weeks ago I wasn't going to buy any more beauty boxes or beauty Advent calendars or Easter eggs because once you've done it a few times, you get the same products, some of which haven't been selling well. But this box intrigued me because the products looked carefully chosen, and some of them are very well rated.

The box retails for £95 but is worth £160. The products are:  Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, 50ml; MAC Mascara in Extreme Dimension Waterproof, black; By Terry Terrybly  Eye Pencil, black; Charlotte Tilbury The Queen of Glow Luxury Palette;  Clarins Natural Lip Perfector, Candy Shimmer and Rose Shimmer, 5ml; NARS Blush in Deep Throat (I hate the names of those NARS blushers - cringe city).

There's a card in the box where Hannah Martin explains why she chose each item.  This box really delighted me because the items are so good. The mascara doesn't budge, and is noticeable on my puny eyelashes. The blush is a soft pink with a gold undertone, which imparts a pretty, soft flush.  I have a few Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palettes and the high pigmentation and dazzling colors always impress me. I'd forgotten about Clarins Natural Lip Perfectors, but used to love them - and I rememer why; they make the most lined and wrinkled lips look smooth and luscious with just a hint of colour. 

I had to be convinced about the eye pencil because I've tried a few By Terry products and never rated them, but the kohl is very soft and glides on easily. It did transfer to the lower lash after about 30 minutes, which was irritating, but I dabbed it off.

The products create a soft pretty look with emphasis on the eyes.  I didn't use the eyeshadow palette for this picture, or indeed the Bobbi Brown enriched face base, because I'm using other products right now. But my "Bobbette" friends on Instagram rate the face product very highly so I'm looking forward to trying it.

Graham Norton Leaving BBC Radio 2

I've always enjoyed Graham Norton's Saturday morning show;  it's relaxed with interesting guests (he attracts a higher calibre than the usual Z listers) and I enjoy the "Grill Graham" slot and his banter with co-presenter Maria McErlane.  Unfortunately it was announced this week that after 10- years, Graham is giving up his show.

The BBC said it was his own choice, but we later learned that the BBC wants its presenters to talk less and to play more music. 

Back in the day when I worked in BBC local radio,  there was a high cost for royalties called "needle time", so they would substitute free-of-charge music called "radioplay"  (I would describe it as muzak or not by the original artists).  

I had hoped the BBC was going to regain some common sense now it has a new Director General who overturned a couple of daft decisions. But no.  They pay Graham Norton a lot of money to be Graham, which means a lot of chat and laughter.  I can't understand why they'd want to play more music, unless it's another futile attempt to make Radio 2 attractive to younger listeners, who already have Radios 1 and 6. 

A welcome return for Epicure Piccalilli 

A jar of Epicure Piccalilli which is back on the shelves after a very long absence

Back in 2008 on my old blog, I wrote a post "It's thick and yellow" about my passion for piccalilli and my search for a replacement to Epicure's distinguished product, which had been discontinued a long time before 2008.

I was recently contacted by Jason Beaumont, managing director of a company which has revived the Epicure brand. Epicure Piccalilli is back on the market! 

I was quick to purchase a jar of piccalilli from Ocado.  The verdict?  The color is a deep gold, perhaps a little more lurid than I remembered, and there were fewer silverskin onions. But the balance is exactly right. 

Jason told me: "We researched brand archives in a bid to find out what set Epicure Piccalilli apart from the rest.  With piccalilli it’s all about getting the right balance of the key ingredients - chunky and crunchy veg and gherkin - not too much, but then again absolutely not too little and thin.  Pack a tangy punch with the mustard dressing - again not overpowering and definitely not too acidic to strip the back of your throat."

The piccalilli is a harmonious blend which will be perfect with the Christmas cold meats, pork pie and cheese board. 

Those who remember Epicure will be pleased to know that a wide range of products is now available and you can see them on the Epicure website, including a Christmas pudding and mince pies, honey, tinned vegetables (artichokes, asparagus spears and so on), ingredients and home baking.  Buy the products at Ocado and in farm shops, delis, and supermarkets, not just in the UK but also in Ireland. 

More good news: Cummings is leaving

We'e been spoiled this week with good news: the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines for Covid are on their way;  we're getting a bank holiday in 2022 for the Queen's Platinum anniversary, and now the loathsome Dominic Cummings, Machiavellian advisor to Johnson, is said to be quitting after Christmas.

You may remember he ruined lockdown by flouting the rules, "testing his eyesight" in a trip to a castle, and then lying about it on TV.  Johnson should have sacked him but was too cowardly and selfish. 

Instead, the government did everything it could to "move the debate on", ie, close it down. Historians will remember that period as the moment the public saw this government for what it is - contemptuous of us, with different rules for them - and a turning point in the public's good will in upholding lockdown situations. 

Ironically Cummings is quitting now after some petty spat involving the firing of the PR chief.  Shows their priorities doesn't it?

Prince Harry got it right this time 

More stick in the papers for Harry and Meghan for their lone photo call in a US war graves cemetery to mark Remembrance Day. Apparently Harry had wanted a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph in London on his behalf, but the royal family refused. How long is this boring feud going to drag on?  Harry and Meghan have made their bed but surely there's a bit of room for compromise every now and then. 

I applaud their Remembrance Day effort because young people need to be educated about remembrance and why we do it, and the younger (trendier) royals will do a better job in conveying this than Charles and the Queen. 

I would caution William and Kate to remember what happened to the  Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII, who abdicated for the love of (another) American divorcee. Bored and idle, spurned by his family, he was a Nazi sympathizer who was apparently involved in a failed plot to overthrow the British crown during World War II.

Hope you enjoyed this first Friday Fizz. Nothing was gifted for this post. I'm back on Wednesday with #WowOnWednesday and a long cardigans style up.

Sharing this post with Not Dresssed as LambMy Random Musings, Fancy Friday at Nancys Fashion Style, Fabulous Friday at Lucy Bertoldi, Beauty by Miss L,  and Shelbee on the Edge 


There's a fashion or beauty post every Wednesday with the #WowOnWednesday link-up. Stay in the loop: follow Is This Mutton? on Bloglovin or Feedspot. I post extra goodies on the Is This Mutton? Facebook page. Check out the Is This Mutton? Pinterest boards, including boards on other bloggers in fab outfits plus beauty, jewellery, hairstyles and fashion picks. Is This Mutton? is also on Twitter and Instagram


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