SO are you ready for tomorrow then? Eyes sparkling, heart a flutter, lips puckered up for all those kisses? What with Valentine's Day tomorrow and a leap year day in a fortnight -when we can forget our maidenly inhibitions (ha!) and propose to the man of our choice - a girl's going to have to look her best. Which includes, of course, luscious lips.

So we've been checking out the warpaint, hunting for a lippy that will last the course and still look good.

BAD NEWS (1) is that most long life lipsticks are more like glue. They keep their colour because they clag to your lips. Instead of feeling gorgeous and kissable, you feel as though you've had a close encounter with a Pritt stick.

BAD NEWS (2) is that once you start looking for long lasting lipsticks, you immediately limit your colour choice. There just aren't so many. The hardest colour we found - or failed to find - was the classic scarlet. They'd look OK until you got them in the light, when they immediately transmogrified into a particularly nasty orange. Not nice. Does anyone actually look better with their lips that colour? No one we know.

GOOD NEWS is that some of our best buys were the cheapest.


COLLECTION 2000 £2.49

Colour so faint as to be virtually undetectable. Soaked in almost immediately and was more like a lip balm than a gloss.



Went on quite nicely but gradually seemed to get stickier and stickier as the day went on and made lips feel dry.

TESCO £4.50

A sticky sort of a lipstick. Stayed on well, but seemed to suck all the moisture from lips, leaving them very dry.



Good colour, good texture, good appearance, but lasted less than an hour and wore off before we'd even found anyone to kiss. At this price, deeply disappointing.


Went on smoothly - and came off just as smoothly. Wore off after an hour - and that was before the cup of tea.

BOOTS 17 £3.75

Looked good, felt nice but didn't last long.


L'OREAL £7.99

Smooth texture, fairly long lasting. Sparkly and shiny - definitely one for evening rather than daytime.


A wand affair that was a bit tricky to be precise with - not good on bright glossy lipstick. This lasted reasonably well but gradually went bitty - not very appealing.

BOOTS No 7 £7.50

Went on smoothly and lasted well, but eventually made lips dry.


Felt good, looked very good and lasted quite well.



Goes on very thickly - you have to mop it a bit or you look like Dame Edna. But it sticks like glue and lasts all day.

RIMMEL £2.99

One of the cheapest and one of the best - felt lovely, smelt nice, looked good and lasted very well. And at this price, you can treat yourself to lots of different colours.

Happy Valentine's Day. Enjoy yourself!

Staying over with

the Smiths

And while we're feeling romantic, here's a hotel guide with a difference. The Mr and Mrs Smith Collection gives details of just 41 hotels that they consider the best in the UK and Ireland, each one pretty special - and ideal for romantic weekends.

The reviews are quirky, individual and lengthy, telling you about sumptuous food, brilliant bars, creaky beds and the disappointment of a child not being allowed in the swimming pool. Judging by the hotels in the guide that we know, it gives you a genuine flavour of the place, though we're still trying to work out the comment: "If Proust had directed erotic films, the Portobello would have been on his speed dial."

The guide tells you prices, food, best rooms and local attractions "worth getting out of bed for". Among the recommendations are two in our region - Seaham Hall - "More feng shui cred than you can sake a perfectly honed limb at" and The Star at Harome - "Out of Africa meets Yorkshire barn".

Rates for hotels featured in the guide range from £50 to £250 plus for a double room. A loyalty card gets you some extras, maybe a bottle of champagne, a late checkout or a hamper of goodies.

Mr and Mrs Smith Hotel Collection (Spy Publishing £19.95)