Smoke Out

As a self confessed beauty junky, I often find myself scanning the web for new products. The latest Naked Palette from Urban Decay is generating online buzz, but why does anyone need another eyeshadow palette, one might ask? The previous Naked offerings were focused on colour stories; the first was bronzy with a touch of blue, the second was made up of cool, taupe tones and the third was full of warm, blush-pink shades. The previous three are useful additions to any beauty kit, although one would probably be enough. However, the Smoky has piqued my interest because it’s devoted to creating a sultry, sexy eye look. Rather than running from lightest to darkest, like the last three,  the colours are ordered with mattes on one end and the shimmers on the opposite. It’s difficult to say without getting a […]

A Big Cover Up

Throughout my teenage years I had exactly 9 spots. They were usually around the side of my nose and they’d show up once a year. In what feels like a cruel hormonal twist of fate, I get way more spots as an adult than I did back then. I’ve learnt to cover them pretty effectively with foundation and concealer. The key is to apply a very thin layer of foundation to even out the general tone of the skin and then attack any blemishes with clever concealing. All concealers are not created equal and it’s taken me a fair amount of trial and error to ferret out the best products. One of the most overrated concealers, in my opinion, is Touche Éclat by YSL. It’s often used under the eyes to cover up […]

Charlotte Tilbury’s Cleopatra

I’m always keen to try new beauty products and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow, Eyes to Mesmerise. I went for a the beautiful peacock green shade, Cleopatra. It’s a stunning colour but this is not one of my favourite Charlotte Tilbury products. This isn’t to say that it’s not a good eyeshadow, it goes on smoothly and if you want to achieve a gentle wash of colour it’s great. I was looking to build up a strong statement look and it goes streaky if you put on too much. After a lot of blending I achieved the desired effect. It’s has a slightly wet, gel like texture, rather than the creamier, firmer consistency of Illision D’Ombre by Chanel or Cream Crush by Kiko.  If it […]

Unbreakable Roses

It’s nearly a year since my Dad died and I’ve been spending a lot of time in the company of my memories. I remember one occasion when I was a teenager and had my heart broken by some silly boy, I came home in floods of tears. Both Mum and Dad tried to comfort me  with the usual spiel about me being too good for an idiot like that. However, I was too deep in sorrow for their words to have the desired effect. The next day I woke with red puffy eyes after sobbing into my pillow all night. I trudged to the kitchen, Dad was waiting there with a cup of tea and a CD; it was the new album by Aretha Franklin. ‘Listen to this love.’ With that he bustled off. The first track was ‘A […]

Home Workouts

I have certain daily rituals that make me feel good, exercising at home is one of them. I use a website called Fitness Blender; the videos vary from benign yoga to barbarous HIIT cardio and weight training. When I’m done with the hard core workouts I can taste blood in my mouth and I sweat from every pore. Despite the brutal punishment that I subject my body to, I feel better for doing it. I try to do my home workouts every day, my mood improves and I’m much easier to live with. I can’t abide the gym, I find using the equipment tedious and the thumping monotony of ‘motivation’ music gets on my last nerve. I prefer the privacy of home and having control of the playlist. Another of my everyday practices is listening to my favourite music and doing my […]

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 […]