Thanks to Laura, who is well-connected in the book world, I have been given a sneak preview of a new beauty book called Babushka's Beauty Secrets (Hachette Book Group). Despite its folksy appearance, Babushka (or at least her granddaughter) is Raisa Ruder, brow tamer and esthetician to the stars. With an all natural stack of beauty recipes culled from raiding the larder and fridge, she promises to make us glamorous for a fraction of the price of all those potions and lotions based on her Ukranian granny's tips and techniques.

One of my favorites is what Raisa calls her alternative to Revitalash (the eyelash growth stimulator that uses a glaucoma drug as its active ingredient). Raisa's Revitalash is quite simply castor oil. She admits that it takes patience to see results. But at least it won't cost much to give it a try. And while you are about it, you can blend some olive and canola oil for a budget, but efficient mascara remover.

Some of her remedies require time on your hands. I liked the idea of her apple and butter solution for lips until I realized I was supposed to massage my pout with a slice of apple for five minutes before bed. This is not going to happen. Others require fortitude. Here's one that I'm only going to try if a) I am in agony and b) sleeping alone for the night. When Raisa's feet are killing her after a day in 4-inch Manolos, she slather's Vick's VapoRub on her feet and dons a pair of socks before hobbling to bed.

There are plenty of little gems though. How about slicing a grape in half and rubbing it on your crow's feet every day. Or mash up some banana for dark under eye circles. A slice of potato works well too apparently. I also like the sound of a body scrub with rolled oats, brown sugar, aloe vera and lemon juice. Less so, spicy mustard and vodka. Talking of which, vodka has a multitude of uses that I was until now unaware of such as cleaning the lenses of my glasses, removing adhesive and extending the life of razor blades.

Raisa is also a big fan of vitamin E. Mixed up with some olive oil, she swears by it for stretch marks. And she even keeps a bottle of olive oil in the shower. Along with these, her "key" ingredients are honey, milk and egg yolks with smatterings of papaya, carrot and cocoa. Hmm, I feel the urge to raid the fridge, whip up a mask and raise a glass of antioxidant wine to Ms R and her granny.

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