The Big Smoke

When I become fixated on something I find it hard to shift. For example, my current preoccupation with a 70’s inspired bohemia has set in and I’m unlikely to move onto something else for ages. A soft, free-floating look calls for something tough to ground it. Whether it’s a beaten up leather jacket, a pair of chunky boots or smokey make-up; floral femininity requires edge. This is a fairly classic smokey eye, but instead of starting with eyeshadow I’ve set down the base of the look with black eyeliner worthy of a racoon. It’s easier to create sooty intensity with smudgy eyeliner. As well as a chocolate brown eyeshadow from Charlotte Tilbury’s Sophisticate palette, I’ve used a khaki green shade with flecks of gold that brings out the hazel in my eyes. I think […]

Spring Gold

A part of my daily ritual is listening to music while I do my make-up. I get hooked on a particular song and I do my face accordingly. It can be unfortunate if I become obsessed with David Bowie or Alice Cooper – I leave the house looking very strange indeed. However, at the moment I’m into gentle folk music, The Staves and First Aid Kit have been on repeat. I intended to do a short and sweet video, but because I can’t leave well enough alone, this look became more elaborate. Please excuse my shoddy sound editing, I had to play the song twice in order to fit in this lengthy make-up. Mid-way through this video my cat Cleo upstaged me with shameless glee. I love to use highlighter on my cheekbones and […]

Make-up Therapy

I rarely get time to myself, even though I work from home a lot, I’m usually occupied with the business of writing my book. Anyone who’s written a book will understand how tiring the process is – to quote Ernest Hemingway, ‘There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.’ Not that I consider myself to be in the same universe as Hemingway, but the great man had a point. I like doing my make-up and listening to music as a form of therapeutic release. At the moment I have Hozier’s album on repeat. This season there’s a big trend for purple eyeshadow. It’s actually not as scary as it seems, soft shades of lilac and lavender with touches of purple are rather flattering. I like to apply a cream eyeshadow as […]

Beauty Blush

In the last few years I’ve become a beauty junky; I’m always on the lookout for the next hot product. Clarins Instant Concealer is a recent find and it’s brilliant for disguising the murky shadows under my eyes. Right now I’m hankering after a radiant cream blush to add some dewy colour to my sallow, winter ravaged skin. Here are some of the my favourites on the market right now.  

Bare Faced Cheek

Some of the men in my life have recently insisted I look better without make-up. Whilst it’s a flattering assertion, I’m not sure I believe them. It seems absurd that old acne scars, grey shadows lurking around my eyes and sparse, droopy lashes could be preferable to a made up face. I’m not talking statement lips, smoky eyes and Kardashian contouring, but a little foundation, artfully applied concealer and a few coats of mascara make a world of difference. I can understand why men find dramatic make-up off putting – it looks intimidating and untouchable.  However, I don’t do my my face for men, I do it for me. I love the ritual of applying products and gently blending powders and creams. I find it soothing, in the same way that some people may find comfort in painting with […]

Modern Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe has been appointed the new global ambassador for Max Factor. I’m not sure what I think about Marilyn’s posthumous new job – particularly as the brand is taking credit for the iconic Marilyn ‘look’. This is a dubious claim with little corroborative evidence. The credit for Marilyn’s make-up goes partly to her first agent Emmeline Snively, who suggested she dye her hair platinum blonde, her make-up artist of many years, Whitey Snyder, and Norma Jean herself. However, there are some tricks from Marilyn’s classic look that are still relevant today. Whitey Snyder used to pat a little white powder to the centre of her lips to make them look plump and luscious. I’ve utilised Whitey’s secrets and dabbed Ambient Lighting powder to an orange-red lip. I love sharp, winged eyeliner to complete the classic, retro look. […]

January Blues Makeup

January sucks. No matter how I try to put a positive spin on the first month of the year, it’s inevitably rubbish. Rather than shoehorning myself into a fake good mood, I’ve decided to embrace January and wallow in the wistful melancholy of winter. I’m hauled up at home, working from my kitchen table and listening to poignant country songs. I’m a fan of First Aid Kit and this version of Emmylou is one of my favourites. They’re playing in London at the end of the month. Despite my self-indulgent, Country-Western inspired sorrow, I find doing my make-up cheering. I’ve gone for gold and bronze tones to lift my vampire skin and a feline flick to match my guest star, Cleo the kitten. Here’s the list of products I’ve used: Nars Sheer Glow […]

Smoke House

Over the last couple of years I have become obsessed with makeup, in fact a friend of a friend who has been following my blog asked if I had indulged in a little plastic surgery. This isn’t true, I haven’t gone under the knife or had botox. I think the reason why she might have thought that I had work done is because I have got to grips with the transformative power of make-up. Unfortunately, all of my favourite brands are on the expensive side – Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, Lipstick Queen, Nars, Kevyn Aucoin, and Tom Ford line my fantasy make-up bag. If I had the money, I would be constantly buying the latest and greatest products on the market. That said, there is loads of excellent stuff available at a lower price point – […]

Wine-Oh

There’s something about Autumn that calls for dark lipstick. Merlot and berry shades feel too heavy for summer but the as the nights draw in and halloween being around the corner, it’s the perfect time for gothic lipstick. I personally like a matt finish – I’ve tried glossy berry shades but I’ve always ended up in a sticky mess with it smeared all over my teeth. Those of you who are less accident prone than I am might have more success with a shiny wine-red. The trick to finding the perfect shade is to contrast the colour with your skin tone – I have yellow tones in my skin so I need cooler shades with blue, pinkish undertones. My current shade is Entourage by Lipstick Queen. If your skin is of a cooler tone […]

Musical Makeup

When I put my makeup on I always listen to music and end up singing at full belt. It’s a little disconcerting for whoever happens to be in the house – I’m a one-person gospel choir. I love this track by Ray Charles because it reminds me of my best friend. I’ve done a super simple look that only uses four products and is in three simple steps. To make it even more user friendly, I’ve only used . I used Chanel Vitalumière-Aqua which is easy to build a smooth, light coverage. I applied a thin layer and then gone back in around my eyes and nose and used it as a concealer. I lined my lips with Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat in Pink Venus. I love all Charlotte Tilbury products and this lipstick from […]