Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Last week, a lovely girl in Canada interviewed me about my idea of beauty and the way I look. I’ve spoken before about my struggle with my appearance and this girl got in touch as she’s struggling with her own and wanted to delve deeper into how I built my self esteem and why these concepts of beauty are so important to us. It was a really great conversation that really got me thinking. In true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, ‘I couldn’t help but wonder’ who created these conventional beauty ideals and why do we place so much value in them?
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Probably since the camera was first invented, there was some woman saying ‘Wait! Let me just retouch my lippy!’ before allowing the shot to be taken. And so, through the ages, women have shied away from the lens and a new study by Photobox confirms that the laydeez are just not fans of the snapshot. So, what are the underlying reasons why?
Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
I guess I’m lucky that my long hair is in such good condition. Hairdressers are constantly surprised that I manage to maintain the length and keep it pretty damage-free. To be honest, I don’t even do anything that special to my hair. Once every few weeks, I’ll put almond oil in it and keep it in overnight, just to keep it looking shiny and nice, but that’s about the extent of my skills. Recently, Jo Hansford salon invited me in to try out their deep conditioning treatment and I figured my hair would thank me for it.
Monday, July 30th, 2012
Myself and Simone Daley-Richards are back with another episode of Yadda Yadda. This time, we’re talking about what lies beneath the weave and why we should just embrace who we are.
Check it out, enjoy, comment, share and let me know what you think.
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
It’s rare that I write about beauty-related stuff (alright, it’s never that I write about it really), but I love this place so much that I just had to tell you about it. If you’re ever in Leeds and need to be pampered, Shrine is the place to do it.
I first discovered it on my quest to find some place that does Lycon waxing (which thankfully Shrine does). I’m allergic to regular wax and came across Lycon waxing when I lived in Japan. It’s quick and believe it or not (and many people don’t when I say this), it’s painless! It’s a clean, quick and easy technique (that doesn’t bring me out in the terrible rash regular wax does), slightly more expensive than a normal wax and isn’t offered in a multitude of places. So, when I found out Shrine do it, they pretty much had a loyal customer in me instantly.
The treatment room is large and comfortable and the beauty therapists are always super friendly and put you right at ease (we all know the potential for awkwardness that someone faffing around your downstairs department can bring). I’ve always had a thoroughly pleasant experience when I’ve been there.
Tucked away on that stretch of road between Hyde Park and Headingley, it may seem an odd location, but once inside, it really is a sanctuary.
Check out their website to see the range of treatments they offer and let them know I sent you.
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Well, it’s been quite a year in Bangs World. I moved back to England at the end of ’09 after six years of galavanting in various cities around the world and wasn’t quite sure what lay ahead. Then 2010 started and my luck took a crazy turn. As the year rolled on, something more and more mind blowing would happen each month. I couldn’t quite take it all in myself. But I sure have had some great times and as always, documented them here on this blog.
Well the universe must have been listening, because in February, I won a competition to have Idris Elba call me on Valentine’s Day. It was a joyous, momentous occasion and I stand by my theory that Idris totally wants me. I made this video, which I was later told, he watched. Mortification!
On came March when I caused a bit of a hoo-ha by declaring that Europeans Dress Better Than Americans – that made for an interesting comments section. I also talked about how much I hate runners – oh how that came back to bite me in the ass later in the year.
In April, I got some Jimmy Choos and was oh so happy about it.
In May, I shared probably one of the more personal posts I’ve ever done on this here blog, where I talked about my struggle to come to terms with my looks. It sparked some great discussion and yes, reading the comments made me cry, multiple times. I still get emails about that post and am so moved that it touched other people the way it did.
In June, one of my readers questioned whether I hate women – how could I not respond to that one?! I flung maxi dresses into a category with Uggs boots and Crocs – an opinion which lead to someone who had been very keen to work with me refusing to do business with me at all. Seriously. So very professional. The Sex in the City 2 movie came out. I was unimpressed.
In July, I wrote an open letter to parents, letting them know that the sun does not actually shine out of their child’s ass. Surprisingly, parenting groups didn’t call for my beheading. A group of bloggers got together to write about the shambolic Mac/Rodarte collection which lead to the line being scrapped – blogger victory! Then I stirred up a bunch ‘o shit by writing a post called Woman Law: Being a Lady - behold the hate it garnered!
In August, I got fed up with people asking me to write for them for free. I got up on my soap box, wrote a post called Blogsploitation and it turned into a kind of protest march with bloggers from all corners coming out saying they felt the same – some really great comments that show how much of a solid community bloggers are.
I had quite a few requests from my American readers who thought it’d be funny to hear me rap and so, in September, I debuted Bangs Goes Rap with my pretty epic rendition of Jay Z’s 99 Problems. I am waiting to a) become a YouTube sensation and b) get a record contract. I was also nominated by my beautiful readers for a Cosmo Blog Award and came runner up in my category, which was totally amazeballs.
October was a landmark month for me. After being approached back in May to run a half marathon, D-Day arrived on 10th October when I actually ran 13 miles and didn’t die. Hands down one of the most amazing moments of my life. I then wrote about the drama I had going on behind the scenes with the PR company who’d asked me to do the half mara and caused a bit of an internet shit storm.
In November and totally stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote about my acne and my lovely commenters surrounded me with love and support like never before. I celebrated three years of the blog and wrote a Beginner’s Guide to Blogging to help out anyone who might be thinking of taking that step into the blogosphere. I also signed up for the Paris Half Marathon. I put a call out on Twitter to see if anyone wanted to do it with me and overnight, I had 19 girls signed up. Team Bangs on the Run was born!
It has been one helluva a year, but it would’ve been nothing without the support, encouragement and love I’ve received from you, my readers, my lovely blog family. Thank you so much for laughing with me, crying with me and sharing my joy. It really does mean the world to me.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store!
Monday, March 16th, 2009
Regular readers here will know that I live in a rather colourful area of Toronto, one that I like to call ‘Transvestite Prostitute Central.’ I am now used to the high volume of street walkers that grace my street with their thigh high boots, fishnet tights and five o’clock shadows.
During the winter months, they disappear. Rightfully so, because those temperatures will make their balls literally freeze right off (which, I would have thought is what a lot of them wanted, but hey). But, this past weekend, as I made my way home from movie night at my friend’s house, I saw Tina Turner and Jennifer Aniston (I name them based on their wig selection), trying to turn a trade on the corners. More power to them. The weather took a slightly nicer turn over the weekend, so I can’t blame them for getting back in the saddle (ugh, bad choice of words) when they get a chance.
But all this got me to thinking: during the uber cold winter months, what are they doing? House calls? Massage parlours? Drag acts? Phone sex? Enquiring minds want to know. Some of these ladies are a little worse for wear. All right, all of them are, so they can’t keep this $20 hand job business up forever. I decided to compile a list of things they can do to better occupy their time (I plan to present these to them in Oprah-esque fashion at some point in the coming months):
Work at Starbucks
Seriously, when I went in there Sunday morning to treat myself to a bacon breakfast sandwich, the guy who served me seemed to be the happiest person alive. And he works at Starbucks. He was so happy, he made me seriously question my own life choices. Now, if I were a transvestite prostitute looking to get out of the game, shouting ‘Grande Mild’ all day might just be the way forward. At some point I will go back to that Starbucks and ask that guy if he was so happy because he loves his job, or if he had, in fact, been hitting the pipe moments earlier.
Working in a beauty shop
The ‘ladies’ on my street clearly like to (try) to make themselves pretty (unsuccessfully). Doing mani/pedis and waxing eyebrows on other people, may just help them get a better grasp on the look they are trying to achieve.
Mach 3 demonstration person
Again, on account of the amount of 5 o’clock shadows I see, demonstrating how to use a powerful man’s razor might underline the importance of shaving your face when trying to look like a woman.
Become a ‘Real World’ cast member
Right now, they have a post-op transsexual on there. If they threw a transvestite prostitute in the mix, it would clearly be more exciting.
Become a TTC worker
According to the stats, Toronto’s transit employees get attacked pretty regularly (most of the time they probably deserved it, because being a complete asshole is a job requirement). If they had transvestite prostitutes running shit, attacks would go down. Why? Because no one argues with someone wearing eye shadow, blush and a beard. That’s why. It’s all just too intriguing to get angry about.
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
We get people from this one salon coming into my workplace all the time, trying to flog a package of every salon service known to mankind for just $47. They come in with these flyers and expect you to fall out of your chair in amazement at this offer, hand over your money and a pat them on the back.
$47 will get you:
Make up application
Complimentary toe sucking
Bitch please! I’m of the opinion that you get what you pay for. A good haircut will run you $80, highlights – $70-100, mani/pedi – $30, massage – $100, facial – $70, make up application – I have no idea why your lazy ass can’t just do that yourself. My point being, there is no way I’m getting nearly $400 worth of service for $47.
If you’re lucky, this is what you’ll get:
Haircut – trimming two of your split ends off
Highlights – someone will spray a used bottle of Sun-In in your hair and hope for the best
Manicure – clear polish, no hand cream (it costs too much)
Pedicure – two minute foot rub
Massage – karate chopping your shoulders for ten minutes while waiting for your nail polish to dry
Facial – someone throws a bucket of water at your face
Make up application – by someone sent from the Amy Winehouse school of crack face
What makes this whole bogus offer worse is that the last chick they sent in to try to sell it to us was a hot mess. She had peroxide blonde hair with roots so black she looked like a zebra, pores you could see from space and chipped nail polish. The more she was talking about how great the salon services were, the more my mouth hung open. I looked her up and down. If that’s what $47 gets me, I think I’ll pass, thanks. She saw me looking at her and said ‘oh I know, I need to get my nails done.’ You need to get a lot of things done, sweetheart. You better hustle a little harder for that $47. I love how I didn’t even need to say that to her, the look on my face made her get defensive enough. It’s a good thing, because if I’d started to tell her verbally, I would have run out of air.
Now when they come in, as soon as they say ‘I’m from the salon…’, I shut them down. Though I’m sure, one day, some desperate, ugly, broke sucka will take them up on their offer.
Sunday, May 18th, 2008
I’ve been on a search for the perfect mani/pedi. I’ve tried countless salons and I’ve noticed the more things change, the more they stay the same. There are certain things that all salons have in common.
Firstly, they are all called, a variation of, ‘Beauty Nail’, because apparently, we only have one. Plurals are a big no-no in the nail industry.
Then, when you sit in the massage chair and slip your feet into the water, it’s either:
a) hot enough to give you third degree burns
or c) has so much foam in it you look like your legs were amputated at the knee
Your friendly pedicurist will get to work on your feet. At various points throughout the pedi, she will call over her coworkers to look at your feet and they will then proceed to laugh and talk loudly, between giggles, in their native tongue. You will smile and nod awkwardly, because you have no clue what they’re saying, but you’re fairly certain it’s not complimentary. You always have a bitch slap ready just in case your Korean language skills (which are a) rusty or b) non-existent) kick in and you understand something. The only thing that stops you lashing out is remembering what happened to Foxy Brown when she did.
When the laughter dies down, you relax a little and take in some of the salon reading matter. It’s a mixture of tacky tabloids and one Elle magazine, none of which are more recent than September 2007.
But a six month old gossip rag is better than staring at the salon decor, which always consists of either pale pink or magnolia coloured walls, with one solitary picture of a hand, taken in the 1980s, sporting acryllic nails painted with all the popular colours of that era. You could get lost wondering what ever happened to the guy who took those photos. Did he die in the 80s? Is that why there are no recent pictures of hands in the salons of the world? Did he ever get to shoot anything past the wrist, or was this his life’s work?
Once the pedi’s done, you move over to the manicure table. Now you don’t have the September 2007 edition of Elle to fall back on to avoid the awkward silence. With just inches between you and the manicurist, you pretend there’s an invisible wall there and you don’t want to disturb her while she works her magic. She starts with the trimming of the cuticles. She will usually trim some much you start to wonder if you will see bone soon. She puts oil on the nails, trims them, files them and then comes the massage.
Massage under any other circumstances is relaxing. But there’s something about a hand massage that just hurts. Dependent on which school of massage/sadomasochism your manicurist graduated from, it usually amounts to:
a) her limp hands rubbing hand cream into your hands while watching the clock. You can do that yourself at home and it doesn’t cost you $25
b) she interlocks her fingers with yours, like she’s about to arm wrestle you. She then pulls her hand away, sometimes breaking your fingers in up to three places
c) using the bottom of her fist to pound your arm all the way up to your shoulder and back down again. Unless you requested to look like a battered wife, I’m not sure what this technique achieves.
The applying of the polish is quick and painless and almost erases the memory of the painful massage. Since, at this point, you’ve been in there about two and a half hours, you’re really just looking to pay and get out. But you have to wait for the polish to dry. Depending on which part of town your salon is in, it’ll either have one of those professional dryers, very futuristic that you stick your hands in and your nails are cooked in about 10 minutes. Or, they pull out those mini fans, that you never see other than at the salon. You may as well have an army of squirrels blowing on your hands for all the good those fans do. Expect to be there another 30 minutes if you get lumbered with those contraptions.
Eventually, with your powder fresh fingers and toes, you’re ready to hit the road. But make sure you get out of there before you overhear them bitching about the lousy tip you left. It’s never too late to pull a ‘Foxy’.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2007
While on the job hunt, I randomly meet this woman. She said she was looking for people, could she interview me tomorrow? Great! I said. She said she would come see me at home. This seemed a little odd, but if it saved me a trip, I was all for it.
The next day the doorbell rings and I answer it to see Carolyn, all smiles and ready to interview me. I invite her in and as she strolls past me, to my horror I see her wheeling a small suitcase behind her. Sweet baby Jesus – I’d been duped! As the reality sunk in that I was about to be introduced to the wonderful world of direct selling/pyramid schemes, my palms got sweaty and I frantically searched for ways to get her out of my house.
Before I knew it, she was setting up shop on the kitchen table. I reluctantly sat down and she said she would pamper me for a bit before showing me ‘the program.’
She took a folding mirror out of her kit and set it up in front of me along with a rather sad looking palette into which she had squeezed various lotions.
She began by showing me the cleanse, tone and moisturize stage. Taking her time and showing me how to do it myself, she annoyingly never deviated from her script. “How good does it feel? Great. How easy is this? It’s so simple.” Here she was just laying the groundwork for a day of questions she would answer herself. Having known for quite some time how to wash my face, I doubted we would make any groundbreaking discoveries during this ritual humiliation, but I ‘oooh’d’ and ‘aaah’d’ my way through it.
With that stage completed, she then subjected me to a series of ‘1-5 scales’.
“On a scale of 1-5, how does your skin feel? One being: ‘fabulous’ and five being: ‘not quite what I’m used to’. On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate the moisturizer? One being: ‘I’ve never felt anything like it!’ and five being: ‘I’ve used better’’.
On to the make up stage! First: the foundation. As there isn’t a shade called ‘pasty Irish’, she had to make her own concoction by mixing a few colors together to get the right blend for my skin. She smoothed some on my cheek and pulled me to the kitchen window to check it in the natural light. Unsatisfied with the natural light there, she marched me through the apartment and out the front door to the street. As she pondered over whether or not the tone was right, I was just praying none of the neighbors would see me with this crazy woman.
Finally content with the shade of foundation, she took me back inside and plastered layer upon layer of hideous make up on my face, all the while raving about how beautiful I was. When she was finished, I looked in the mirror to see that I had been transformed into a second-rate drag queen. ‘How fabulous is this? You look great!’ she cooed as I tried to keep myself from gagging.
At least now that the make up was done, I thought the end was in sight. But no, she then spent seven minutes (yes, I was counting) giving me a ‘hand facial’, which basically consisted of her putting hand cream on me. She kept raving about the lotion, asking and answering her own questions and then busting out the trusty 1-5 scale.
So, I now had a clown face (but extremely soft hands) and figured she was going to wrap things up. But no, I had to sit there for another 35 minutes, while she told me the story of how she got into the business and showing me ‘the program’. She’d pepper her script with random 1-5 scales. I’d made my own series of 1-5 scales in my head which mainly revolved around the theme of ‘on a scale of one to five, how badly do I want you out of my house right now? One being I would rather claw my own eyes out than listen to you utter one more word, five being….oh no, wait, that’s the only option.’ I sat there with one eye on the clock letting my mind wander to far more important issues; what would I have for dinner? Should I get a pedicure today? Do I need to buy milk? Could I take my second-rate drag queen show on the road?
When I snapped out of it, she was asking me if I could envision myself doing this. Clearly my tactic of being polite in the hope that she would go away quicker, was not working. There was no choice, it was time for some straight talking. I told her, I really couldn’t see myself doing that. I’d just moved here and I had full confidence in the fact that I would find a job in my field soon.
Seemingly not content with my answer she tried one last 1-5 scale to win me over. ‘OK, so on a scale of 1-5, what would it take for me to change your mind? One being: ‘I’d rather jump off a bridge before doing this’ and five being: ‘I will come to a group meeting to hear more about it?’
I decided to stick with my policy of straight talking. ‘Where’s the bridge?’
At long last, after an hour and a half of holding me hostage with nothing more than a mascara, she took the hint and left.