Norfolk gets injection of beauty

LORNA MARSH The concrete floor of the exhibition hall at Norfolk Showground was carpeted throughout in pink at the weekend and the distinctive smell of straw and animals that greets visitors to the Royal Norfolk Show was replaced by the scent of sweet perfume.

LORNA MARSH

The concrete floor of the exhibition hall at Norfolk Showground was carpeted throughout in pink at the weekend and the distinctive smell of straw and animals that greets visitors to the Royal Norfolk Show was replaced by the scent of sweet perfume.

But it was not only the hall that has been treated to a revamp. Everywhere women of all ages were undergoing the kind of treatments most of us have only seen on television programmes such as Ten Years Younger and Extreme Makeover.

And the less brave were crowding around to witness their makeovers.

This was the first time Aztec, organisers of huge-scale London beauty shows in Olympia and Earl's Court, have ventured on to Norfolk turf and Matt Upson admitted it was a gamble - but it has paid off.

Thousands of women - and men, some reluctant, some not - poured through the doors and the exhibitors were overwhelmed.

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The show was so successful, says Mr Upson, that it is not only going to become an annual event but will have to be made two or three times bigger - 95pc of exhibitors this year had already booked again for next by yesterday lunchtime.

Specially discounted prices on a range of treatments from the increasingly popular Botox and facial fillers to semi-permanent make-up and manicures drew in women of all ages.

Girls in their young teens tried on the realistic-looking hair-pieces and had manicures while their mums treated themselves to 'non-invasive' surgery - a catch-all for fillers and Botox - and even looked into more extreme measures.

But it was not just the cash savings that was persuading women who have only dreamt of surgery before to take the plunge. Mr Upson's brother and fellow organiser, Steve, said that the informal atmosphere coupled with the immediate availability of the treatments, or at least a consultation, were a major attraction.

It was a sentiment echoed by Peter Stratton, executive director of the BMI Sandringham Hospital, which has brought all three of its surgeons to the show to talk to women in person informally and without pressure.

Carole Clayson, 57, from Norwich, had been thinking of have semi-permanent eyeliner to define her eyes for a long time and finally succumbed to temptation at the special show price of £250, a reduction of £150.

“I came to the show with the aim of getting it done and I thought if I don't do it now I will chicken out.”