21.12.12

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hi Tory,

have a very merry christmas and a wonderful and safe new year and let's all have a blast in 2013!

Here we all are at the festive season again, so it'll be a pause from me over the holiday period whilst I eat far too much Christmas pudding and watch way too much TV, in my pajamas.

I'll be back on January 7th, 2013 with a whole bunch of new features and posts, and more tweaks and updates to the blog and YouTube channel. In the meantime, here's wishing each and every one of you a happy holiday season and a truly peaceful and joyous New Year. May you be blessed with love, joy and glamour!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

19.12.12

Product Reviews: New Lipstick Feature

Hi Tory,

it occurred to me the other day, as I was ploughing my way through yet another delicious tub of chickpea goodness, that this would be the best test of a lipstick

I don't know who invented houmous but they are a personal hero of mine. I could quite happily eat my own body weight in houmous - and that's a lot of houmous, believe me. Now, it occurred to me the other day, as I was ploughing my way through yet another delicious tub of chickpea goodness, that this would be the best test of a lipstick... which got me to thinking about a brand new feature that I'll debut in the New Year - The Chickpea Scale. Yes, people, I will test every lipstick I have, and continue to test lipsticks by eating a bit of pitta and houmous and then seeing how the lipstick holds up, and then awarding it from one to five chickpeas based on performance.

Because we all see reviews with texture and price and colour and pigmentation and finish, but no one ever really shows you staying power. And as someone who has had a lot of problems in the past (and even now) with lipsticks fading on me after five minutes, this is something that I really need to know.

So that's the first of a slew of new and shiny regular features that the New Yaer holds for all of you, my lovely glamorous peeps. I'll be updating with them one by one as we head up to the soft relaunch of February 2nd, but for now look out for the chickpeas!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

14.12.12

Product Review: NYC Mousse Foundation

Hi Tory,

I've used Maybelline's Dream Mousse Foundation in the past before and to be honest with you, I absolutely hated it. So although I was curious to see that NYC do a range of mousse foundations, I was also a little bit reticent, and if it wasn't half price, I probably would have steered clear. All mousse or whipped foundations were pretty much the next generation of face products, boasting a lighter-than-air texture and flawless coverage particularly for visible pores, which I have in abundance.

I've yet to find a foundation that doesn't boast flawless coverage, but I decided to press on. The shade of NYC's Smooth Skin Mousse Foundation I got is Natural Rose, which is a little pale and oddly yellow for my skin tone - but the full range only includes three shades so I didn't have much to work with. As you know, I'm currently researching foundation shades in the drugstore brands for the lightest and darkest skin tones, so NYC scores a huge zero on that front. You get a beige, a pinky beige, and a slightly darker beige. And that's it.

The Facts

  • product contains 14g
  • You get a beige, a pinky beige, and a slightly darker beige. And that's it.
  • it's enriched with vitamin B5
  • it does NOT have an SPF
  • the shade range is 701 Natural Beige, 702 Natural Rose, and 703 Sand Beige
  • product comes in a small clear pot with plastic lid
  • current retail price is £3.99
  • from the website: "The formula is enriched with Pro-vitamin B5 that is known to help moisturize. This clever little pot contains oil-absorbing properties for a soft matte look. Skin perfecting coverage that last up to 9 whole hours. NYC Smooth Skin Mousse Foundation will keep you covered from your breakfast meeting in the Village all the way to your cool party in Brooklyn. Dermatologist tested."

Why would you opt for a mousse foundation? In general they offer a mattifying effect, which is a bonus for oily or combination skins. You also don't need much product so a little goes a long way, and they feel remarkably comfortable on the skin - so the light-as-air boast is pretty much on the money. So how did the product actually measure up?

The Verdict

  • The little goes a long way idea is very hard to judge on account of the all the air in the mixture. When I first put it on, using my damp beauty blender dupe, I used far too much product and the whole thing looked cakey and masklike.
  • The texture is strange... really strange and has a weird grittiness about it that I just couldn't get used to, no matter how much I blended it out.
  • It also clogged my pores, and quite visibly so. When I cleansed after the first try-out, there were disturbing beige plugs of foundation all over my skin that needed a good massage with facial cleanser to remove.
  • Any dry areas (the winter has been unkind to the area around my nose for example) were magnified about a hundred times, and no amount of blending got rid of it.
  • It felt light as air and soft to the touch, but the product moves. A lot.
  • On the second try-out I used tiny dabs of product and applied it with my fingers in circular motions, smoothing it afterwards with the damp beauty blender dupe. It was still cakey, still settled in my pores, and still had a masklike appearance - on the plus side it covers redness and dark areas.

Here's where I realised where it could in fact be useful - for me it's a terrible foundation, but it does actually make a pretty good concealer. It covers incredibly well, is lighter in texture than most concealers and so would be smooth, and you can dab it better than most concealers. As a foundation though I give it one out of five - and that's only because it was on special offer.

Full product details and shopping here.

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

12.12.12

Foundations for Light/Dark Skin Tones?

Hi Tory,

I have a couple of tutorials that I want to put out there involving foundations from the paler and darker ends of the colour spectrum... and you know that I try and use the more affordable brands wherever possible, which largely means drugstore and High Street brands. When mum started experimenting with makeup and I watched in the early to mid 70s, the choice was incredibly limited - namely beige. And about three shades of that, if you were lucky, in a very heavy panstick formulation.

the colour spectrum remains a thorn in the side of most women

Things have progressed in terms of texture and finish, but the colour spectrum remains a thorn in the side of most women - beige has never been and will never be the standard for skin tone. If you go to the upper ends of the price range, and look at companies like MAC and Illamsaqua, for example, there is a much greater range in skin tones, catering for everybody from the palest of porcelain to the darkest of ebony. At the moment, I'm researching foundations in the drugstore range, and will do a full post on that with swatches, but it's not very heartening reading.

So, as a kind of preamble, I wanted to enlist the help of all you lovely readers and viewers out there and find out what your experiences are like.

  • Are you mixing colours to get a match?
  • Do you find that you are forced to shop in the more expensive ranges?
  • Is there a High Street/drugstore brand that has out-performed itself for you?
  • What has been your experience with customer service?

I'm going to try and get this up, with swatches, next week, but any and all feedback is most gratefully appreciated - you can comment down below, or on the Facebook Page. Would love to hear from you all!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

10.12.12

Happy First Birthday! Sort of!

Hi Tory,

A little over a year ago, I decided to put some videos up on YouTube to do the Big-Sister-In-Another-City thing and give out some makeup advice. Like most things in my life, I pretty much put it out there and made it up as I went along without thinking too much about blogs or designs or schedules.

It's the Boho way of doing things, trust me

So now we're at that Just Past Annual point - yay! one year old! ish! - I figured it was a good time to start doing some spring cleaning. In December. (It's the Boho way of doing it, trust me.) Over the next few weeks you'll see little and not so little changes here and there on the blog and channel to make it easier to find things, easier to see things, and easier to play along.

I'm also announcing something kind of big and kind of fun on February 2nd - so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, look out for:

  • more in-depth blog posts
  • more whys with the hows
  • more comprehensive categories
  • easier navigation
  • regular features
  • more ways to connect
  • little design changes here and there
  • photos! photos! photos!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

7.12.12

Morning After Makeup

Hi Tory,

there have been girlie nights with wine and movies, numerous parties, and the occasional missed train

I will confess. I have not always been the pink-cheeked Paragon of Virtue you see before you. (hem hem)

Several years as a journalist, staying up 'til all hours and interviewing drunk rock bands has prevented me from ever joining a nunnery. And, there have been girlie nights with wine and movies, numerous parties, and the occasional missed train. The end result is always the same - wake up on the couch with a crick in my neck and makeup that is a cross between a panda and Alice Cooper.

This is never a good look.

I don't advocate carrying a trunk of cosmetics around with you, particularly not in your neck of the woods of Central London. And although it would be nice to have the Pixiwoo sisters on call for such emergencies, real life isn't like that. (Sam! Nic! Help!) What I tend to do - after a lifetime of practice - is take a small but strategically stocked cosmetics bag with me so that I can fix what needs to be fixed, cover up the results of a hangover, and get myself to the bus stop looking like a human. It's what they now refer to rather euphemistically as The Stride of Pride. ;)

Products Used

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

3.12.12

Makeup Haul: Nail Polish and Other Delights

Hi Tory,

we made it!

We made it! Part Three of the great Albert Hall of makeup with polishes and sundries this time around... there's also Part Two and Part One. Next time I won't leave it so long ;)

Products Featured

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

16.11.12

Let Me Know!

Hi Tory,

contact me!

I'm looking for an avalanche of ideas and requests for tutorials, reviews and looks for the YouTube channel, and there are loads of ways to do that :)

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

14.11.12

Rihanna Nails: You Da One Video

Hi Tory,

let each layer get bone dry before doing the next one

You asked me to do a how to tutorial for Rihanna's sharp and spiky nails in the "You Da One" video, and I said yes... and that I was working on it... and that it would be up the following week... and that it would definitely be up the following week... and here it is. Finally. I hope you like it. ;)

One thing I noticed when I was researching the look in the video, is that there are actually two nail designs - both triangular, but one is black/white, and the other is black/white/grey. I found a million tutorials for the former but none for the latter, and to be honest, it's the more interesting look of the two. It's pretty straightforward to do as long as you let each layer get bone dry before doing the next one, and make sure that you pull the tape off as soon as you've put on the polish.

I'm also liking the Clockwork Orange look she's rocking in the video - you can never go wrong with spiky lashes and a bowler hat. And check out Canada's Next Top Model. Seriously.

Products Used

  • MUA Nail Polish in All Nude
  • MUA Nail Polish in Shade 2
  • Primark Nail Polish in Light Grey... this is probably no longer available as they tend to switch up their makeup pretty fast, so a good substitute is NYC's In a New York Color Minute in Prey of Grey
  • NYC In a New York Color Minute in Grand Central Station
  • Micropore or sellotape
  • Total Cost = £5.58
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

12.11.12

Makeup Haul: Liners and Shadows

Hi Tory,

this week it's all about the eyeliners and eyeshadows

Part Two of the Albert Hall video - lips, blushes and brushes from Part One are here.

This week it's all about the eyeliners and the eyeshadows - some you may have seen in previous tutorials and some will turn up in future ones... stay tuned!

Products Featured

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

9.11.12

DIY Gelly Polish

Hi Tory,

jelly has always fascinated me

Our Auntie Jan introduced me to the joys of jelly cubes - not making jelly, but actually eating the raw cubes on their own. (And for our American cousins, when I say "jelly", I mean Jello, not jam. And Jello comes in powder form, so you'll have to use your imagination!) I've now passed this particular fetish on to your lovely niece CJ, who will quite happily munch her way through an entire packet of Sainsbury's strawberry jelly cubes without blinking.

Jelly has always fascinated me - bright colours that are still see-through without losing any of the punch. You've probably spotted the trend for gelly polishes, as just about every company now has a range of them. (Barry M have just launched theirs as I write this.) Gelly polishes are sheer, punchy with pigment, and very glossy - and they work extremely well in nail art when you want to layer colours or sandwich glitter in suspension (called, not surprisingly, a Gelly Sandwich). And, I have no idea why you eat Jelly with a J, but paint your nails with Gelly with a G. Answers on a postcard please.

So, what if you have a favourite nail polish and you'd like to gellify it? Or, you have a whole bunch of leftover odds and bits of polish that you'd like to extend the life of? Making your own gelly polish is really simple - the proportion is 75% clear polish to 25% colour polish, mixed vigorously and with gusto, preferably to something like the Miami Sound Machine or very loud disco. I digress. I made up a batch of the Cadbury's purple polish in the video for a forthcoming tutorial... Batman fans take note. ;)

Products Used

  • NYC In a New York Color Minute in Grand Central Station
  • NYC In a New York Color Minute in Prince Street
  • Spare, empty nail polish bottle
  • Total Cost = £3.58
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

5.11.12

Makeup Haul: Lips, Blushes and Brushes

Hi Tory,

I'm renaming this one the albert hall video

Normally, I do a makeup haul once a month - my semi-legendary Annie Hall videos that have a small assortment of bits and bobs that I've acquired along the way. What with one thing and another I haven't made an Annie Hall video for a while, nor even a Daryl Hall video (which is when it's bigger than a small assortment but not huge).

Many months have passed and it's become so big and so pressing that I do this, that I'm renaming this one the Albert Hall video. Some of the bits and pieces have appeared in tutorials but I didn't have a chance to talk about them, and some of them will be appearing in future tutorials, just to whet your appetite. It's in three parts tho' - you might want to make a cup of tea...

Part Two coming next week, with eyeliners and eyeshadows!

Products Featured

  • MUA Professional Mozaic Bronzer in Natural Glow and MUA Professional Blush Perfection Cream Blusher in Yummy
  • Sleek Blush in Flamingo
  • 2True Crystal Lipgloss in No 3 and 2True Colour Drench Lipgloss in No 10
  • MUA Professional Lip Boom in Bring It and MUA Professional Intense Kisses in Stolen Kisses
  • NYC Lipstick in 410 Plum Rum
  • Barry M Lipgloss in No 9
  • Bloom Lip Definers in Trace and Outline, Lipstick in Deep Plum and Swing - no longer available
  • MAC Marilyn Monroe Collection Lipstick in Deeply Adored - this is Limited Edition
  • Samantha Chapman Real Techniques Brushes in Fine Liner, Setting, Stippling, and Blush
  • Boots No 7 brushes in Contour and Smoky Eye

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

24.10.12

Cramps Nails for Hallowe'en

Hi Tory,

the great thing about this look is that you don't need a steady hand and you can be really creative with it

Hallowe'en is my favourite time of the year. Like, major league, in your face, can't wait, breathless excitement favourite time of the year. I love scary movies, gore, candy, cold nights and general witchiness. And I love psychobilly music too, so I figured that I'd put the two together and come up with some funky nail art for the season, based on the screaming neon colours and dripping lettering for the old Cramps and Misfits posters. The great thing about this look is that you don't need a steady hand and you can be really creative with it.

On a side note, my first ever Hallowe'en costume, at the age of four, was a paper tiger. Seriously. A rectangular paper tiger shape that went over my head. Couldn't eat, couldn't sit down, hot as hell, and I looked like a dork. Mum thought I looked cute - ask her about it and I bet she uses that exact word. Every year after that I was a witch with a mouth full of chocolate. I was a smart kid. ;)

And if you ask anyone of my generation who also happened to grow up in North America - "Do you know anything about orange UNICEF boxes?" you'll see a lot of eye rolling. We all had to carry them around to collect charity money, and they got in the way of candy, which is all kids really care about. And no one ever donated anything...except when my friend Susan dressed as an orphan and sat in the shopping mall with her box for the entire day looking sad and deprived and winsome. She made $50, dumped the box at home and went out and had a candy frenzy in the evening. On reflection, I wasn't a smart kid... she was. She's probably a CEO of a major corporation now. Thumbs up Susan wherever you are.

Products Used

  • Primark Nail Polish Set in Neon... these may not be available any more, so good substitutes are the Barry M neon range
  • MUA Nail Polish in Shade 2
  • Primark Nail Art pen in Black... again, this is probably no longer available as they tend to switch up their makeup pretty fast, Claire's Accessories do a range of nail art pens, or you could use an old pen nib and the MUA Shade 2 to create the freeform blobs and drips
  • NYC In a New York Color Minute in Grand Central Station
  • Total Cost = £5.79
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

22.10.12

Confessions of a Beauty Guru Tag

Hi Tory,

are you a spender or a saver?

Here's a YouTube tag that's doing the rounds where Beauty Bloggers such as yours truly get to chit chat about how they do what they do - all YouTubers, without exception, like to chit chat. It's part of why we do this. That and producing blooper reels ;)

Okay... so I wasn't actually tagged for this, but it looked like fun and I like to talk, so I thought I'd sneakily take part and hope that no one would notice the missing tag bit. I do tag a bunch of people in it to pay it forward so that helps my karma along I guess. ;)

The Questions

  1. How many hours a week do you spend filming/editing videos?
  2. Are you a spender or a saver?
  3. When is it easiest for you to film?
  4. What makes talking in front of the camera comfortable for you?
  5. What's your worst makeup/hair habit?
  6. One quote that you wish the world would live by?
  7. How long do you spend getting ready every day?
  8. Your favourite video on YouTube?
  9. A YouTuber that you watch who deserves more views/subscribers than they have?
  10. One thing you're excited about in the upcoming year?
  11. Your most awkward filming moment?
  12. How long does it take you to prep for a video?
  13. Are you wearing pants/jeans/skirt right now or are you actually wearing pyjama bottoms?
  14. What are you most proud of in your life?

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

15.10.12

Using Gel Liner as a Base

Hi Tory,

I've always been obsessed by elizabeth taylor

While I was getting ready to do this tutorial I sat looking at one of the pots of gel liner (as you do) and thinking back to when I first started dibbing and dabbing makeup on my face.

Kohl liner was the thing - I mean, really The Thing. I was fascinated by it. I've always been obsessed by Elizabeth Taylor, so the whole Cleopatra thing loomed large in my consciousness, but suddenly there was this stick of black joy that made your eyes look dangerous and edgy. It was the time of Punk, and then the New Romantics kicked in (or flounced in really) and I was away with the fairies. It smudged all over the place and lasted about two seconds but it was pretty hot stuff.

And I was thinking all this as I sat gazing at the gel liner and pondered: "If kohl was amazing, I probably would have spontaneously combusted with gel liner." It really is quite incredible stuff. You can line with it, smudge with it, put it under shadow as a base, line your lips with it, do face art with it. And it doesn't budge or crease or smudge or end up on the pillow after a hard night's gigging and drinking. (I don't do the latter very much any more. I wear a lot of eye liner though.) So think of this tutorial as my inner teenage self spontaneously combusting somewhere with joy at the endless possibility a small pot of colour can bring. Although, on balance, that pretty much covers ALL cosmetics and makeup. Heigh ho.

Products Used

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

10.10.12

Review: Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

Hi Tory,

I wish I had some kind of jedi mind power that would just think it off

I love nail polish. I change my polish almost as much as I eat - and I eat a lot, as you know. If I could put nail polish on my body, I probably would. On my eyes even. I'm not going to though because... well, I'm just not. I still think about it. What I don't like is taking nail polish off - I wish I had some kind of Jedi mind power that would just let me think it off, so I could put another colour on. No mess, no fuss. Now in my pursuit of this Jedi experience I have tried:

  • nail wipes - just as messy as remover and cotton pads quite frankly, and they tend to dye your fingers in the bargain
  • cotton buds soaked in remover - a nightmare of smelly, aggravating, time-consuming proportions. Recommended to me by a friend a long time ago and not worth going anywhere near
  • nail polish remover pots - little things with a spongy interior and remover. Dip in, pull out, nail polish gone. Except it never usually did. And they smell bad.

So, Bourjois up and bring out their version of the last item on the list - the remover pot with the sponge etc. "Uh oh," I thought. "Been there and done that. Prepared to be unimpressed."

But a lot of my friends and fellow beauty bloggers were trying it and loving it. Hmm. I bought some, mainly so I could sneer and be smug when it failed... but it's actually pretty good. It doesn't take the one second that it claims on the bottle - it takes you longer than one second to get your finger inside for starters - and it is deeply pornographic to use. I'll say that again - deeply pornographic. Perhaps it's just my filthy mind. Filthy mind, clean nails - not a bad result.

Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover is available here priced £4.99.

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

3.10.12

How to Get Fuller Lips

Hi Tory,

there's a theory in economics called the lipstick factor

One thing I've always admired about you is your ability to rock a lipstick.

You have this amazing collection of corals and reds and pinks, and even when you couldn't wear eye shadow because your eyes were a bit sensitive, you still had a splash of fabulous colour on your lips and it really does make you look polished. Funny isn't it?

There's a theory in economics called The Lipstick Factor - no matter how the economy is doing, women still go out and buy some lippie. When the economy is depressed, you need cheering up with a splash of colour. When the economy is booming, you want to go out and treat your self to a new shade. It's the only cosmetic product that never suffers in a recession. True fact.

And there's the whole mania for collagen and fillers and goodness knows what else to give you that perfect pout - whatever that is - but I hate needles and I'm not into putting gunk inside my face, so I decided to do a little tutorial to enhance nature in a kinder, yet still impactful way. You can see that on a middle-aged old bird who smokes, I still manage to end up with a decent pout, so if it works for me, imagine what it could do for everyone else, right?

It's a clever little technique that works on artistic principles - dark colours recede, light colours advance. Shade the corners of your lips in a darker colour, shine up the fleshy parts with the lighter one, and suddenly your lips look plump and luscious. You can do it with any colour as well, just as long as the outer corners are about two shades darker than the lipstick - it even works with nude shades. I don't believe in the knife - unless it's for putting marmite on my toast - but I do believe in a little tweaking with the makeup box of tricks. Go and pout for Britain!

Products Used

  • MUA Lip Boom in Bring It!
  • MUA Intense Kisses in Stolen Kisses
  • Elite Lip Pencil in Dark Brown - now discontinued. A good match is MUA Lip Liner in Brooding Plum.
  • Total Cost = £6.00

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

1.10.12

Barry M Blue Sparkle Nails!

Hi Tory,

I kept hearing that barry m's blue glitter was quite possibly the greatest shade of polish ever invented

You may or may not know this, but back in 1973 Mum went to modelling school. It's true - our mum strutted her stuff on catwalks in Vancouver, and very good she looked too. She'd go off every day all nervous and excited, and come home with stacks of notes and photographs and a list of products to acquire. One week I was off school with a cold and mum had no babysitter for me - it was pretty short notice - so I was allowed to come in on one of the classes. (I always cite this as the beginning of my obsession with makeup and cosmetics.) The class I sat in on left three very large impressions on me:

  1. Our mum is a secret stunner
  2. Models are the plainest creatures with no makeup on, except for Twiggy, who is the most gorgeous person who ever lived
  3. I am addicted to nail polish

The first bottle they opened that day... I loved the smell, I loved the colours, I loved the way it looked... everything. I have subsequently painted my nails every colour and texture under the sun, greedily embracing nail art along the way, and will quite happily change my nail colour several times a day if need be. Until they invent Nail Polish Anonymous, I shall continue to do so.

Skipping through nail blogs as I tend to do in my never-ending search for new colours, new textures and new designs, I kept hearing that Barry M's Blue Glitter was quite possibly the greatest shade of polish ever invented. I was intrigued. I went out and bought some. I did the above nail art. It was so pretty that I actually got emotional looking at it. What can I tell you? I have a deep-rooted addiction and there is quite simply no cure. They don't make a purple glitter though, which irks me. I may have to start pestering them...

Products Used

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

28.9.12

How to Clean Up Nails

Hi Tory,

you get a lovely degree of control and it fights right in where you want to clean up the mess

The last holiday I had - aside from occasional day trips to Eastbourne, don't judge - was going to the States and having a really rather fabulous time. North Carolina and Tennessee are gorgeous, beautiful places and the people are super nice.

They also do a spectacular manicure there. Oh yes. I had a French manicure done by this amazing lady who not only took just 20 minutes to do it, but gave me something that lasted a month. I was suitably impressed. What really impressed me, aside from the speed and the longevity, was how she cleaned up any lumps and bumps and spills.

I know that recently you've been trying out some nail art - and very good it looks too - but have had a nightmare cleaning up those occasional wrist slips when the polish tips over on to your skin and you end up crying and wondering why you even bothered. And I know that you've tried the standard "use a cotton bud". They taught us to do that in beauty college. "Use a cotton bud," they said. "Or a cuticle stick wrapped in cotton wool." Bad idea. Very bad idea.

For starters, the said article is WAY TOO BIG. There's no way you can get into the crevice between your nail and your finger much less anywhere near your cuticle. Also they shed fibres all over the place and you end up with unintentionally flocked nails. That makes you cry as much as slipping with the nail brush in the first place. I know. I've been there. It's not pretty.

The nail technician back in the States (remember her?) used an eyeliner brush dipped in nail polish remover. I watched her in fascination, thinking how obvious and logical that was, and wondering why anyone in their right mind would use the bear's paw that is a cotton bud. You get a lovely degree of control, it fits right in where you want to clean up the mess. Brilliant. I would absolutely advocate that you get a separate brush which is only for nails though. You can clean the brush but with the best will in the world I wouldn't want that anywhere near my eye. No sirree, Bob.

Products Used

  • Thin eye liner brush
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Cotton pads or cotton wool

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

26.9.12

Woodland Gel

Hi Tory,

all I can think about at the moment is sludgy palettes and autumn leaves

There are masses of Biba posters all around town for the exhibition. You have to come down and see it with me, or I shall have to come up to London and drag you back down on the train. Seriously.

So I've had a lot of Sarah Moon haziness to look at, and the weather is getting a wee bit greyer and a wee bit chillier, so all I can think about at the moment is sludgy palettes and autumn leaves. (Mum and I went in to Big Biba at Derry and Tom's in the 70s. Mum says we didn't but I'd lay good money out that there were absolutely categorically no other shops in London at the time with Art Deco interiors and that much purple and brown going on. We were there. I know this to be true.)

And I wanted to do something with gel liner as a smudgy base, and I'd just recently picked up this rather gorgeous little MUA one that's a lovely dark chocolatey brown with some copper sparkles in it... so I started thinking of browns and coppers and khakis and berries... and here we are. You could probably fuzz it out even more and add some spiky false lashes if you really wanted to rock that King's Road in the Seventies vibe. I think that everyone should rock that vibe at least once a year - now is the time! I have decreed it!

Products Used

  • MUA Gel Eye Liner in On The Move
  • Beauty UK Eye Palette in #4
  • Collection 2000 Eye Definer in Brown
  • MUA Mascara in Shade 4
  • MUA Bronzer in Shade 2
  • 2True Glossywear Lipstick in Shade 10
  • Total Cost = £11.97

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

24.9.12

Biba and Beyond Retrospective

Hi Tory,

I remember going into boutique after boutique of utter grooviness

I've mentioned before that Mum and I went to Big Biba when it was the department store of dreams in the old Derry nd Tom's building on Kensington High Street. This was the summer of '73, when Mum had done her stint at modelling college, and we had an unlimited train ticket and a holiday to explore the wonder that was Glam Rock Britain.

I remember going into boutique after boutique of utter grooviness, without realising at the time that Barbara Hulanicki invented boutiques of utter grooviness. And then the moment came when we stepped into the hallowed halls of Biba... purple and black and gold and ostrich feathers and loud rock and impossibly thin creatures, and the most beautiful makeup in the most staggering colours.

Biba launched their cosmetics in 1970, featuring the famous "Auntie colours" of mustard and brown and sludgy green and purple and navy and black. Now this was the thing - these colours did not exist in cosmetics pre-1970 and outside of the theatrical world of Kryolan. Even Mary Quant with her paintboxes and face crayons, innovative though they were, did not have mustard and plum and the like.

So the exhibition at Brighton Museum blew me away for many reasons: memory, seeing iconic clothes for real, marvelling at how the impossibly thin and gorgeous creatures like Twiggy and Marianne Faithfull really were impossibly thin and gorgeous, and the makeup.

Even with Illamasqua and MAC and Urban Decay and so on, Biba colours still stand out. I actually caught my breath in front of the makeup cabinet and got quite emotional. Barbara Hulanicki was and still is a genius and an innovator - I am dragging you down from London to see this exhibition cos I know how you much you also love Biba and Twiggy! ;)

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

Biba and Beyond runs at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery until April 2013.

21.9.12

Primark Rant

Hi Tory,

Like I say in the video - I do feel a little churlish ranting about a bargain basement product, but customer satisfaction still matters even when the product is low cost!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

19.9.12

Art Brushes

Hi Tory,

whether you're painting on canvas or painting on a face, brushes tend to be pretty much standard shapes and sizes

Buying a full set of makeup brushes isn't always easy when you're starting out or expanding and have a limited budget, but this is where art supply stores and University art faculty stores come in handy. Whether you're painting on canvas or painting on a face, brushes tend to be pretty much standard shapes and sizes - but the price difference between, say, a MAC brush and an art brush can be pretty astounding, especially when you're watching the pennies!

I've got a future tutorial scheduled where I use ONLY art brushes, but for now here's a quick guide to saving some money!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

17.9.12

Beat the Blues!

Hi Tory,

Despite some bits of bright, sunny weather here and there, the autumn is definitely starting to close in, so I thought I'd do a look with a splash of pretty blue in with the stormier navy skies along with some sparkle to take us into the slightly more chilly days.

Products Used

beat those oncoming winter blues!

Beat those oncoming winter blues!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

14.9.12

My Makeup Storage

Hi Tory,

I've managed to build up a good makeup storage system

When I started out with makeup, I pretty much had one big basket where all my supplies lived. It kept things clean and tidy but was a nightmare when I needed to find a blusher or a mascara in a hurry. Over time, and using a little lateral thinking, I've managed to build up a good makeup storage system so that everything is to hand and in a logical place, and here is a mini tour.

Always be on the lookout in charity shops and 99p stores for glasses, cups, baskets, plastic units, files and so on for your storage, and keep your eyes peeled for junk items like drawers and small units - I keep my nail polishes (not in the video) in an upturned old drawer from a unit that was used to house cutlery. A lick of paint and no one would know the difference! I'll also do a how to at some point in the future for my homemade lipstick storage. ;)

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

12.9.12

Review: Boots No7 Foundation Match

Hi Tory,

finding your right foundation colour has to be the biggest gripe of any and all makeup lovers

Aside from finding the perfect red lipstick, finding your foundation colour has to be the biggest gripe of any and all makeup lovers. I've resembled a consumptive Goth clown, been way too orange, and looked like I'd been bronzed far too many times in the past.

I first heard about the Boots No7 foundation matching service from a Lisa Eldridge video - as well as being a fantastic makeup artist, she's also the Creative Director at Boots No7 - and then I watched a Pixiwoo video too, and decided to give it a go. At £17.50, it's more of a mid-price foundation but it is SO worth it! I've got the Lift and Luminate formulation which is comfortable, blends really well and lasts throughout the day, but they do six other formulations to suit just about every skin type and need, with a staggering 17 different colours.

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

10.9.12

Back Again!

Between my beautiful and much-adored sister getting really, REALLY sick (much better now and on the mend - YAY!), and me not being 100% with my own issues, and then the netbook having its own breakdown, not a lot of blogging and vlogging took place. I know that in the blogosphere one day equals about five years in the real world, so I have much lost ground to catch up on! There WILL be tips, tricks and tutorials a-plenty, my gorgeous lovelies - full steam ahead!

25.7.12

How To Cover Eyebrows

Hi Tory,

sometimes a retro look needs a very specific eyebrow shape

Sometimes a retro look needs a very specific eyebrow shape, particularly pre-War ones with pencil thin brows, and for that you need to completely blank out your existing brows using cosmetics. All you need is a glue stick and a little know-how!

Products Used

  • Solid glue stick
  • ELF Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium
  • Miss Sporty So Clear Powder 4

Hugs and kisses,
xx

18.7.12

The Lipstick Series - 20s Vampirella

Hi Tory,

Here's the next tutorial in my Lipstick Series - this time we're going all vampy and 20s with a smoky dark eye and matte burgundy lips for a close-up worthy of Valentino!

this time we're going all vampy and 20s with a smoky dark eye and matte burgundy lips

Products Used

  • Bourjois Healthy Mix Gel Foundation in 52
  • ELF Complete Coverage Concealer in Medium
  • Miss Sporty So Clear Powder 4
  • MUA Brow Pencil in Brunette
  • Sleek Ink Pot Gel Liner in Dominatrix
  • Sleek iDivine Palette in Bad Girl
  • Collection 2000 Big Fake Lash in Black
  • MUA Blusher in #2
  • MUA Lip Boom in LMK

Hugs and kisses,
xx

13.7.12

Products I'm Currently Loving

Hi Tory,

yes there's a some MUA in there!

I thought I'd do a counterpoint to my previous post on products that I didn't like by telling you about the ones that are currently in my go-to bag - and yes, there's some MUA in there!!.

Products Mentioned

Hugs and kisses,
xx

10.7.12

The Lipstick Series - 60s Bardot Jet Set Thing

Hi Tory,

beautiful people who trotted about the globe having a marvellous time and looking terribly glamorous without appearing to spend much effort

Not so long ago, I bought an assortment of lipsticks and glosses, and realised on closer inspection that each one sparked off a particular decade in my head. This is how The Lipstick Series was born! So, today I'm starting with a 60s nude one that I'm calling That Bardot Jet Set Thing - a look inspired by those St. Tropez beautiful people who trotted about the globe having a marvellous time and looking terribly glamorous without appearing to spend much effort. It's like the earlier structured Mod look of the decade with a slightly slapdash sex kitten, devil-may-care twist.

Products Used

Hugs and kisses,
xx

9.7.12

How to Stain Your Lips

Hi Tory,

a really easy and quick technique that gives a nice hazy retro effect

Sometimes you don't want to go through all the hassle of a lip pencil followed by your colour on a lip brush, or you want something a little more informal and a little less structured. This is where lip staining really comes in to its own, and it's a really easy and quick technique that gives a nice, hazy, retro effect. We do like our retro effects here. ;)

Hugs and kisses,
xx

4.7.12

Clumpfree and Fluttery Eyelashes!

Hi Tory,

it's a little labour intensive but a boon to those of us not blessed with long lashes

I've been raving about the makeup artist Wayne Goss for ages now - he has a fabulous YouTube channel chock full of useful tips and techniques and some gorgeous tutorials. He's also very easy on the eye! ;)

One of his tutorials which really impressed me was his trick to get clumpfree spidery lashes using just your ordinary mascara and a lash comb. It's a little labour intensive, but a real boon to those of us not blessed with long lashes - you can really work on the bottom lashes too without any mess.

Give this a go, tell me what you think and do check out Wayne's channel!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

28.6.12

How to Reanimate a Gel Liner

Hi Tory,

Gel liners are quite possibly one of the greatest makeup inventions ever. They go on smooth and don't budge to give you that perfect kitten flick. They range in price according to where you shop, but I'm currently loving the Sleek Ink Pots which come in around a fiver, particularly the lovely inky black Dominatrix, my go to shade.

gel liners are quite possibly one of the greatest makeup inventions ever

Now, recently I got quite the haul of three Sleek Ink Pots in Polar, Denim and Stone Cold respectively for the princely sum of 49p each and was very happy about that... until I saw how dried out they were inside the pots.

This is a common thing with gel liners unfortunately. Every time you open the pot, they start to dry out - so what do you do? Is there a solution? Well, yes as it happens and quite a few. I'm doing the hot water method today, and following that up with the eye drop method in a week's time (plus checking out the progress of the experiment to see how it's holding up). There is hope! Do let me know if you have any tips and techniques - the more the merrier!

Hugs and kisses,
xx

26.6.12

A Tribute

Hi Tory,

I've had a small break from making videos after the passing of our cat, Cleo, and wanted to do a short video by way of a tribute and also so that I could get back on track with the tutorials and some sense of normality - you never get over such things, but you eventually get through them.

Hugs and kisses,
xx

25.6.12

Tutorial Annie Haul

Hi Tory,

Our local Superdrug was having an insane clearout this past week with a whole bargain bin full of products that I assume were part of a discontinued thing, and all at 49p each. I nearly fainted when I saw those prices, particularly when part of the haul were Sleek Ink Pots - oh yes! I already have their black Ink Pot, which is a gel liner (terrible little brush that comes with it, mind you) and love it, so was really excited that I managed to bag Denim (a lovely inky blue), Glacier (a flat white), and Stone Cold (a gorgeous metallic grey).

I'm especially excited about the white gel as this now means that I don't have to trawl eBay looking for a NYX Milk pencil. ;) Now, as you can see from the photos the gel liners, although brand new, have already started to dry out, but fear not! This week there is a tutorial on that very subject with tips on how to reanimate your crunchy, crispy gels.

Next up are a couple of lip pencils by a company called Elle, which I don't know much about - maybe something to do with the magazine? I'm not sure... I snagged a deep burgundy (which goes perfectly with the MUA Lip Boom I bought recently) and a chocolate brown. This got me thinking about more tutorials, which brings me on to my last purchases (although they weren't in the Bargain Bin of Joy).

I've had my eye on some MUA Out There plumping lip glosses for some time now and picked up two really lovely nude shades at £2 each - Nude and Buff. Really nice texture, good pigmentation, excellent price and they do plump up those lips. (Brace yourself for the sting which comes from the cinnamon oil. Oof. It's worth it tho, trust me.)

ALL of my purchases were geared around tutorials... between the Lip Booms and the Out There glosses I started hatching some ideas for retro looks which I'm going to call The Lipstick Series. They'll be coming next week. :) The gels get their own series, starting the week after, and I'll fit the lip pencils in hither and yon. If I tell myself that I'm buying makeup so I can make tutorials it staves off the pangs of buyer's guilt. That's my fiendish plan anyway. ;)

Hugs and kisses,
xx

Swatches from left to right: MUA Out There plumping lipgloss shades Buff and Nude, Elle Lip Pencils in shades Dark Brown and Fig, Sleek Ink Pots in Stone Cold, Glacier, and Denim.

18.6.12

Review: MUA Lip Boom

Hi Tory,

I'm a little late to the MUA Professional Range Lip Boom party, but I bagged two over the weekend and figured that it was high time to review them!

MUA Lip Boom are a range of 8 fashion shade lipsticks created by singer Alexandra Burke in conjunction with the MUA team. The double-ended container has a matte lipstick on one end and a coordinating glossy highlighter on the other, with the potential to create four different looks from a product that retails for only £4.

The four looks are as follows:

  • The lipstick on its own
  • The lipstick with the gloss as a central and cupid's bow highlighter
  • The lipstick with the gloss worn all over for high sheen
  • The lipgloss on its own

So far, so good!

Now, out of the entire MUA range, the lipsticks have always been my least favourite - I find the texture a little too gritty and have never been able to get the secret matching lipgloss part of the container open. But I have to say that the Lip Boom lipsticks are really good. They go on smooth, last for a long time, are really nice matte textures and have a high pigmentation. I went for two shades: Bring It, a dark coral red, and LMK, a gorgeous dark burgundy.

What I didn't like so much were the coordinating glosses. They have HUGE pieces of glitter in them so they feel overly clumpy and scratchy on the lips and the gloss part dilutes the lipstick too much. Even worn on their own they're just too gritty for me, which is a shame. What I did experiment with was putting them in other places - as cheek highlighters and so on, and they seem to work better like that, so all is not lost. Even as a stand alone lipstick, £4 is still a really good price for the product, so I'm quite happy to keep buying them for that reason only. They also smell GORGEOUS!

The 8 different shades are:

  • It's a Situation - a dark rose
  • LMK (Let Me Know) - a dark burgundy
  • OK.com - a nude
  • Vibe - a toffee
  • Cheeky - a baby pink
  • Doing Good - a coral
  • OMG - a kind of coral pink
  • Bring It - a dark coral red

What do you think of them?

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

14.6.12

Mailing List

Hi Tory,

all you have to do to get started is click on the tab menu above

Did you know that you can sign up for a monthly, themed Makeup Tips for My Sister newsletter? Courtesy of the lovely folks over at MailChimp I can send you out tasty tidbits, videos, posts and more with additional info directly to your Inbox. How's that sound?

All you have to do to get started is click on tab in the menu above, enter your details and away you go. (You can also sign up from the Facebook Page.)It's quick, it's free and it's fun!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

13.6.12

5 Products I'm Not All That Impressed With

Hi Tory,

I do have a tendency to rave about the products I love on the blog (and I will be doing an updated Love Review soon), but I thought it would be good to balance things out with a list of the five products that I'm currently not so crazy about. If you've had a better experience with them, or have ones that you'd like to add, do comment below!

My Meh List Five

  1. Dry Shampoo: This is one of those products du jour that a fair number of beauty bloggers seem to rave about... and to be honest, those of us who are older and have long memories remember the sticky, flaky nightmare that was dry shampoos from the late 70s and early 80s and may well have approached the new generation of products with more trepidation. They don't work. Full stop. And yes, I've followed the directions, and yes, I've done all the blow drying, teasing and so on, but they just don't work. And the aftermath, when you do finally wash your hair, is really quite horrible. The first stage was dirty hair with dark blobs of cornstarch in it, and the second stage was wet hair with residual blobs of dark cornstarch in it. And frankly, if you're going to go to all the trouble of blow drying, teasing etc, you might just as well wash your hair in the first place.
  2. I thought it would be good to balance things out with a list of the five products that I'm currently not so crazy about
  3. MUA Lipstick: I really wanted to like these. For £1 you get a lipstick at one end and a coordinating lipgloss at the other, and the colour range is pretty good. The trouble is... the lipgloss part is almost impossible to open, and the lipstick itself is really grainy and unpleasant. To be fair to MUA, this is a rare dropping of the ball for a product line that's proving itself to be more than a match for the big boys.
  4. Revlon Colorstay Foundation: I've tried a LOT of drugstore foundations (I eventually settled on the Bourjois Healthy Mix Gel Foundation) and did a lot of research beforehand, going on reviews and other blog posts to compile a trial list. There's a lot of love for Revlon Colorstay out there. I have no idea why. I found the smell really off-putting, the range of shades limited, and the oxidization really rather alarming - I was a good two shades darker about 15 minutes after application. It smells like emulsion paint, it feels like emulsion paint, and it covers like emulsion paint. Not happy.
  5. Neutrogena Wave Duo: God knows I tried with this in my search to find an affordable alternative to the Clarisonic. What I discovered is that there is no affordable alternative to the Clarisonic. The Duo irritated my skin beyond belief and it took a good two months for it to return to anything like normal. Anyone with sensitive or oily skins - avoid.
  6. False Eyelash Applicators: This is one of those products that demonstrates that money doesn't reflect anything - cheap or expensive, this product just does not work. At all. I ruined a pair of false eyelashes trying to demonstrate it, and to be honest you'd be better off investing in two good sets of tweezers and practising. Fiddly but worth it in the end.

Which products have failed to get your love vote recently?

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

12.6.12

June Makeup Haul!

Hi Tory,

I've been doing some digging in the mark down bins in Superdrug as well as regular shopping and came up with some tasty bargains for this month's haul!

So first off, I'm dyeing my hair - REALLY dyeing my hair! Bleaching underneath and then colouring it purple (hence this purchase), and then dark chocolate brown on the layer above so I get this funky, punky two tone thing going on. I'll be photographing the process as well, don't worry!

Collection 2000 have brought out four gel eyeliners at a really affordable price of £4.99 each. Along with the standard black and brown, they also do a pale gold, and this GORGEOUS teal which I just had to buy, a) because it's beautiful, and b) so that I can show you how to do a great smoky eye using a gel liner. ;) I'm really impressed with the texture of these gels, and the staying power is tremendous.

Again from Collection 2000, I got these twist up eye definers, which go on like a gel and last for a really long time - they are excellent for tight lining and highly pigmented - plus they're a bargain at only £1.99 each!

I needed all my how to tips on repairing eyeshadows for these bad boys... but it was worth it! TWO Sleek palettes - Bad Girl, and Oh So Special - and ONE MUA Professional palette in Starry Night, and all of them half price. :: (I spent £8.98 on the three as opposed to £16.98.) I am currently OBSESSED with the Sleek Bad Girl palette - all these fab black black blacks shot through with intense colour. Tutorials ahoy!

And last, but by no mean least, I finally got the E.L.F. bug, and it was definitely worth it. :) Two wonderfully creamy concealer palettes (I got the medium and the dark, just waiting on the light to come back into stock), and two really nice brushes - the sponge smudger and their blending brush. All really affordable and pretty good quality, plus the delivery was quick! (I also bought an art brush, which I'm using for makeup and I'm doing a special tutorial on that later)

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

29.5.12

Private View and a Pause

Hi Tory,

No blog posts from me, as I've got a private view and show coming up from this weekend as part of the Adur Arts Trail, so it's full tilt boogie in the studio getting all the last minute artwork done, labels printed, and pieces hung. It's all go around here!

I will be back from June 11th tho with a bumper crop of videos and posts, so enjoy what you're doing, and I'll see you all then! xx

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

15.5.12

April/May Annie Haul!

Hi Tory,

It's time for a mini haul - and this time I thought I'd do it in a pictorial style with some quick notes and links - enjoy!

This is a before shot to show you the condition that some of the half-price, damaged palettes were in when I bought them... applied the surgical spirit trick and got myself several bargains. (Yes, some of the shadows are missing - but half price is half price!)

Here's the after shot of the MUA Professional Palette in Starry Night, Sleek i-Divine Palettes in 658 Oh So Special, and 596 Bad Girl. All half price!

Two Collection 2000 Eye Definer Lasting Colour wands in Black and Brown - both are fantastic for tight lining and waterlining as they go on smoothly and don't shift, smudge, smear or dissolve.

I'm a sucker for gel liners, particularly coloured ones, as you can do some really outstanding smoky eye work using a gel liner as a base, so I was pleased to find that Collection 2000 have started doing ones in gold and this gorgeous teal - expect some tutorials!

I also FINALLY succumbed to e.l.f. and got the medium and the dark Complete Coverage Concealer sets, the Professional Blending Eye Brush, and the Professional Smudge Eye Sponge (plus a Daler Rowney art brush for some push eyeliner work - another tutorial to follow...!).

And finally... I've decided to go back to purple with my hair again, so I got a streaking kit from Superdrug. After two weeks of persistent health issues, I figured it was groovy cheering up time. Yay!

Hugs and kisses,
xxx

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