Decanting Cream Foundations

Hi Tory,

When I first bought Benefit's Some Kinda Gorgeous cream foundation, I'll admit that I wasn't a fan. I'm used to liquid foundations and somehow my usual tools just didn't work with the new texture. And the foundation is in the higher price range, which meant that I'd wasted money big-time. But then I got the beauty blender sponge and the cream foundation made sense. Then I fell in love with it... until it began to run out, leaving a thin little line of foundation around the edges that tools, fingers and sponges just could not reach. I needed a nifty solution!

then it hit me - eye shadow pans are perfect!

The foundation is on a shallow, thin pan, which enables you to pick up the product evenly. I figured that I'd need something similar, just in a smaller format. Then it hit me - eye shadow pans are perfect! I grabbed an MUA one (which is only £1) - you can decant the shadow for later use as a nail polish, giving you two projects for the price of one. Don't say I'm not generous!

  • You'll need a clean, dry and empty shadow pan - you don't want any pesky bits of shadow all over your face! I cleaned mine out with a bunch of makeup wipes and then left it to air dry. You'll also need a scraping tool (I used a metal cuticle stick) and a relatively flat knife.
  • Scrape as much of the product out as you can - really get into the sides and grooves
  • Transfer the product into the smaller eye shadow pan - I found that it helped to use the knife as an additional scraper and went back and forth between the two... product off with the cuticle tool, excess off the cuticle tool with the knife
  • Then use the knife to very gently smooth out the product in the new pan - try and keep the concentration in the middle
  • If you have a large amount of product in the new pan, you can also gently heat the knife and use that to smooth over the top of the foundation to make everything neat and tidy. All done!

Hugs and kisses,


Custom Nail Polishes

Hi Tory,

Sometimes you end up with shadows that you never use, or you use and then don't like, or you find ones in the bargain bins that cost pennies but are shattered beyond repair.

the beauty of making your own polishes is that you can use any colour

The colours are really pretty but you can't find a use for them... well now you can! I picked up a totally destroyed MUA shadow in a gorgeous duotone purple for just 10p, and used half a bottle of MUA's clear gloss, which was just £1 - fab!


The beauty of making your own polishes is that you can use any colour and you can mix colours to make custom blends - you can even add in a bit of glitter to make a Frankenpolish.

Keep it at a 50/50 ratio of shadow to clear polish and make sure that you shake it up thoroughly. You'll probably need to put a coat of clear gloss over the top as shadows tend to come out matte, and always give it a little shake each time you use it as the pigment will probably settle. Have fun!


  • Break up your chosen shadow so that it's pretty much pulverised and powdered - you don't want it to have any big lumps
  • Keep the ratio at half a bottle of polish filled up with shadow
  • Use a paper cone so that you don't end up with eye shadow all over the table (like I did here!)
  • Gently tap all of your chosen shadow into the half bottle of clear polish and shake the crap out of it! Put on some RuPaul and go nuts - you want it to be thoroughly mixed!
  • Paint your nails - you can keep it matte or put on a coat of clear gloss like I did here, which also helps to protect it. Try experimenting with coloured shadow in coloured gloss... add glitter... the sky's the limit!

Products Used

  • MUA Single Pearl Shadow in Shade 10
  • MUA Nail Polish in Shade Clear
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,


Review: Maybelline Color Tattoo

Hi Tory,

High pigmentation... Long lasting... You really can't go wrong with Maybelline's range of Color Tattoo Gel-Cream eye shadows. You need the tiniest amount and they stay put once you've blended them out. If I'm in a rush, I'll blend it over my lid, smudge some black gel eye liner on my lash line, and with a coat or two of black mascara I'm good to go.

high pigmentation... long lasting...

These make great stand-alone eye shadows, or you can use them as a gel base for a layered look. They have all the blendability of a cream shadow but with the staying power of a gel and that's a winning combination for me! The colours range from bold turquoise and purple, through metallic golds and bronzes, and on to pale shimmers and a deep, dark, matte black.

The penny short of a fiver price tag is a winner too, and it wouldn't take you long or hurt your pocket to build up the whole collection. The purple is the only minor disappointment with a much more crumbly texture that doesn't seem to blend as well as the others, but the rest of the shadows really are a dream to apply.


In terms of the colour range, they do differ depending on which side of the pond you're from - for example, we have a purple, where the US has more of an aubergine. They also have a new metal range that I'm hoping reaches us soon! All in all top marks from me - Superdrug currently have 3 for 2 offer on all their Maybelline products so grab yourself an added bargain!

Top Right: Eternal Gold, Timeless Black, Endless Purple, Pink Gold, Turquoise Forever
Bottom Left: And On Bronze, 25K Gold, Permanent Taupe, Immortal Charcoal, Light in Purple, Eternal Silver

One More Thing...

  • Comes in 11 different colours
  • Available on the Superdrug website here
  • A nice mix of shimmer, metallic and matte textures
  • On and On Bronze is a go to neutral for me!

Hugs and kisses,


Here's The Thing...

Hi Tory,

I took a week off from blogging so that I could work on a painting that had a scarily looming deadline, and that was fine and dandy. Redecorated the kitchen as well, jolly good, chilled out a bit over the weekend, and set my alarm for bright and early this morning so that I could get back to my blogging schedule. I had plans. Big plans. A nice little review today of the Maybelline Color Tattoo Gels... some videos... a DIY tutorial. All good stuff.

First of all, my alarm did not go off. Well... truthfully, it did go off but in my blurry sleepy haze I somehow managed to hit dismiss instead of snooze and then sat bolt upright in bed abruptly two hours after I was supposed to be getting out of bed. A pot of coffee later and I still wasn't awake. Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of the house wearing fifteen separate layers of wool because it is Arctic here, as I had giveaway goodies to buy and photographs to take, and on and on.

I got all the way into town... and I'd forgotten my camera. No camera to take pictures of the thing I was supposed to be reviewing today. I forged on regardless - I had giveaway goodies to buy. The store was out of one of the products with no viable replacement... I had to go to another branch on the other side of town. The clock is now ticking down ominously and I haven't even started any blogging.

By the time I got home, I was frozen, exhausted and really REALLY grumpy. I have no review photos. My feet hurt. My head is so cold that I can't concentrate properly. I am a bag of moaning grumpiness.

I could carry on and do a rubbish job of everything, but that doesn't sit well with me. Instead, I'm going to sit down for a bit and gather myself together and if everything is a day late... it's a day late. I'm sure that you understand! I'd much rather be useful and funny and interesting, than grumpy and whinging and whiny. Cake will be ingested...

Hugs and kisses,


Tip: The Skin Blend

Hi Tory,

you're trying to achieve a seamless blend between either a bold or a dark colour and your actual skin tone

I thought I'd follow on from my earlier tip of the blush blend by doing a similar technique of the skin blend. The skin blend differs in that you're trying to achieve a seamless blend between either a bold or a dark colour and your actual skin tone.

This differs from the blush blend which is all about warming the look up and toning it with the rest of your makeup. The trick with the skin blend is to use a fairly matte colour that more or less matches your skin tone, and do a two step process: base + skin, and then just skin. Hope this helps!

  • Apply your base colour all over the moveable lid
  • On a clean blending brush pick up a small amount of your base colour (A) and an equal amount of a colour that matches your skin tone (B)
  • Apply this in the crease to make a transition colour on the edge of your base colour
  • Now apply just the skin tone colour with a blending brush slightly above the crease
  • The finished look with the fuzzy transition from your base colour to your skin tone!

Hugs and kisses,


Throwback Thursday: Bobbie Gentry

Hi Tory,

The first thing that you need to know is that I am a huge fan of Bobbie Gentry. She's most well-known for her breakthrough 60s song Ode to Billy Joe, an amazing exercise in storytelling, and credited with kick starting the whole Southern Gothic genre. I totally recommend that you check out Fancy as well - she's just incredible.

put on mississippi delta, turn up the volume, pile on the lashes!

The next thing is that it's really struck me how you can instantly know what A Sixties Eye means (high contrast, thick black eye liner, big eye lashes), but that the more I research into different women's takes on it, the more variation I see. Raquel Welch's 60s eye was very straight across and fantastically feline. This week, with Bobbie Gentry, her 60s eye is slightly down turned and sad, which fits her music perfectly.


She also has a healthier, more peach coloured look - less of the nudes and the stark black and whites of the era - so I tried to get as much of that into this as possible. Big eye lashes, of course, and big hair, but with a kind of sexy country feel - all peach pie and sexy secrets in the hay but in a high glam way.

Bobbie was very high glam, and naturally she ended up doing shows in Vegas, and then just as glamorously vanished from the scene where she now lives in happy obscurity. Put on Mississippi Delta, turn up the volume, pile on the lashes!

Products Used

  • Sleek iDivine Palette in Oh So Special
  • Collection 2000 Big Fake Lash in Black
  • Barry M Blink Precision Eye Liner in Black
  • MUA Lipstick in Shade 11
  • 2true Fake Lashes in Glamour
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch (including palettes and lashes) and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,


Dotted French Manicure

Hi Tory,

I went ahead and invested in a set of dotting tools. You can make do with old pens, and pins on the ends of pencils, and they do a perfectly good job too, but given the number of nail tutorials I do I figured it was time to go pro!

this French manicure is a nice little twist on the traditional technique costs

I got mine for £2.50 and no shipping on eBay - just do a search for nail dotting tools. I got a set of five with different sized heads and they are fab. I usually keep a bottle of nail polish remover on hand just to dip the dotting head in and keep it clean between applications. You get about three dots or so before the nail polish starts to go gloopy and you need a fresh blob, so bear that in mind.

This French manicure is a nice little twist on the traditional technique and gives it a bit of interest with gradients of dots leading down form the white edge.

You could also ring the changes by having a bright colour as the base and making the free edge black or metallic - try different combinations!


  • Apply a clear base coat and let it dry completely
  • Paint the free edge of the nail with a white or off-white polish using the rubber band technique, and let this dry completely
  • Using a dotting tool (or an old pen) make a line of large dots in the same white or off-white polish half on the free edge and half on the bare nail
  • Make a second row of slightly smaller white dots below this, and then a third row of even smaller dots
  • Seal the whole thing with the same clear coat you used for the base. Done!

Products Used

  • MUA Nail Polish in Clear
  • MUA Nail Polish in All Nude
  • Dotting tools or pens
  • Rubber band
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,


Bold Double Liner With Glitter

Hi Tory,

Once you've mastered the art of doing your eye liner and a flick, you're limited only by your imagination. The great thing about the double liner technique is that it's a handy way to introduce a pop of colour or sparkle into your makeup, or maybe try out a new, bold liner colour that you might feel a bit shy using all over.

you could also ring the changes by using a bold metallic liner or a colourful gel liner

I've talked about the Collection 2000 Glam Crystals before. You get a selection of highly pigmented, super sparkly colours in a wand that are infinitely versatile - I've used them in nail art before - and so couldn't wait to use them in the double liner.


Because the eye part is so bold, you'll want to keep everything as neutral and polished as possible - tidy your eye brows, do a flush of subtle colour on the cheeks, and have a slick of a neutral sheen on your lips so that the eyes remain the stars. I kept the eye base neutral as well, with a wash of a pale nude all over the lid, and a slightly darker neutral in the crease to define it.

Take your time with the eye liner using small strokes and using the side of the brush or felt pen (I really do recommend felt pen liners as they're so easy to use). You could also ring the changes by using a bold metallic liner or a colourful gel liner - a splash of violet or teal would look amazing. Let your imagination run wild!

Products Used

  • Sleek i Divine Palette in Oh So Special
  • Barry M Precision Eyeliner in Blink
  • Collection 2000 Glam Crystal Eye Liner in Le Freak
  • MUA Mascara in Black
  • MUA Blush Perfection Cream Blusher in Blossom
  • MUA Lipstick in Shade 14
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch (including palettes), and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,


Chickpea Review: MUA £1 Lipstick

Hi Tory,

The MUA lipstick range is a bit of a story of two halves. On the one hand you have some fantastically pigmented lipsticks (with a secret lip gloss on the end), and on the other some horribly over-frosted, over-chunky glitter shades. Of the entire range, only shades 4 and 5 fail on the pigment front - the rest are exactly what you see in the bullet, and that's a major plus point. The £1 price tag is excellent - you could buy the whole range of 16 shades for slightly less money than a single MAC lipstick which is pretty mind-blowing.

you could buy the whole range of 16 shades for slightly less money than a single MAC lipstick

To break down the textures:

  • shades 1 to 4 are cream sheens
  • shades 5 to 7 are a frost texture
  • shades 8 to 10 and shade 12 are full on, uncomfortable, chunky glitter
  • shades 11, and 13 to 16 are a matte sheen
I would strongly recommend avoiding the frosts and the glitters - they're far too uncomfortable and drying, and the amount of full-on frost in them is quite dated and overwhelming (unless you're Jordan or Jodie Marsh). But 1 through 4, #11, and 13 to 16 are lovely colours, comfortable to wear and give fabulous pigmentation.


So how do they perform? This is where the £1 price tag sadly comes into play. The colour I reviewed didn't even last the pitta bread - in fact it gave up the ghost half way through. This makes me sad because the colours are really nice, and it's also somewhat confusing to have something that pigmented which doesn't at least stain the lips a little bit.

MUA have just recently revamped the £1 lipstick range - some of them now have names along with the numbers, and the lip gloss compartment screws off easily (a common complaint with the old packaging), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they tweak the formulation as well. I wouldn't give up on them - the colours are too good to pass over completely!

  • Comfort: 3/5
  • Longevity: 0/5
  • Pigment: 4/5
  • Two Chickpeas out of Five!

One More Thing...

  • Comes in 16 different colours
  • Available on the MUA website website here
  • The most expensive item in the MUA range is the £8 Immaculate Palette, which features a staggering 24 colours
  • MUA is garnering quite the reputation as a solid and affordable High Street/Drugstore brand with a very low price tag coupled with really good quality and pigmentation

Hugs and kisses,


Tips: Decanting Eye Pencils

Hi Tory,

I hate sharpening pencils of any description. If I use a knife, I'm terrified of cutting off one of my fingers. If I use a sharpener, something invariably gets stuck or breaks off. Don't get me started on plastic casings either - I have yet to find a sharpener that actually works on them. Frustration Central.

i hate sharpening pencils of any description

I avoid using pencils wherever I can and love the dial up pencils you can get for lip liners and the like. But, you can't always avoid the conventional stick, so decanting is a major boon in my book. It's such a simple, easy process as well - basically you're reversing the steps of filling the pencil in the first place. Apply some heat, let the filling come out, and you've got an easily accessible pot of colour - it's also a lot easier to see what you've got!

  • Grab a takeaway coffee or soft drink lid - the kind with the straw hole in the top. (You can ask nicely and snag one for free.) Make sure to wash it if it's been sitting on top of your latte!
  • Slot the pencil through this hole so that the pointy end is visible on the underside
  • Pop the lid over the pot you want to decant the pencil into - you might have to tilt the lid slightly. The lid basically helps to steady the pencil and stop it from falling over. You can get a stack of plastic pots here - anything like this will do.
  • Pop everything in the microwave and do full power bursts for ten seconds at a time and check to see the pencil's progress. Once it melts you'll see it oozing down and you don't need to apply any more heat. Don't let anything burn.
  • Discard the pencil casing and let the liquid cool completely before use. Done!

Hugs and kisses,


Jellybean Nails - with Sharpies!

Hi Tory,

I really enjoyed doing the heart-frame nails for Valentine's Day and wanted to expand on the technique a bit. Framing the nails in black like that gives them a cool, graphic quality - almost like a Batman comic, so I've been playing around with some ideas.

try out some bright jellybean colours - maybe do a different colour on each finger

This one actually came out of an accident - never dismiss your mistakes! - where the brush slipped and the line came out too thick. I kept going and that's how Jellybean Nails were born! (I bought a set of fine detail art brushes at The Works and I'd totally recommend it as they're perfect for nail art and they don't cost an awful lot.)


The finishing touch was using a Sharpie pen to do all the details and make the rounded corners - my caveat is to let the nail polish underneath dry completely or the Sharpie won't stick.

Also then let the Sharpie dry or the top coat will smear it. (The great thing about using Sharpies in nail art is that if you make a mistake you can just wipe it off with some surgical spirit and it doesn't ruin the nail polish.) Try out some bright jellybean colours - maybe do a different colour on each finger. Fun!


  • Put on a clear base coat and then your background colour (I used two coats) and let this dry thoroughly.
  • Do three sides of a black frame using a small art brush and black nail polish - I found it easiest to do all the left sides, then the bottoms, then the tops. Leave the right side free, and I also kept my Bourjois remover pot on hand to clean off the brush.
  • Paint just over one half of the right hand side of the nails with black polish and leave this to dry completely - you want your Sharpie coat to stick!
  • Round the corners of the rectangle you have left using the Sharpie - you can make it as deep or as shallow as you like but you want to end up with a lozenge shape. You can also use the Sharpie to fill in any gaps in the black polish.
  • Use the Sharpie to make three small dots for the jellybean highlight and let the Sharpie dry completely. Put on a clear topcoat and it's finished!

Products Used

  • NYC In a New York Minute in Grand Central Station
  • MUA Nail Polish in Shade 9
  • 2True Glossywear Polish in Shade 39
  • Sharpie in Black
  • Prices based on what I paid for the whole look from scratch, and correct at the time of posting

Hugs and kisses,


Putting on False Lashes: Part Two

Hi Tory,

Here's the concluding part of how to put on false eye lashes. I had a fabulous response to the first one, so now we can get really glamorous with some demi lashes and some full strip ones too. We're using the same budget lashes that we were using in the first tutorial, so pick up the ones that you put to one side along with your tools and let's get started!

  • Invest in some overlocker tweezers - you will have loads more control that way
  • Invest in some tube glue - the little vials you get with lashes are far too fiddly and messy
  • Start off practising on lashes that have either very thin or invisible lash bands - these are far more flexible and easier to work with
  • Measure everthing to fit
  • Practice with small sections of lashes first, work up to demi lashes and then you will feel a lot more confident with a full strip of lashes
  • Keep practicing!

Hugs and kisses,


Chickpea Review: Collection Lasting Colour

Hi Tory,

The Collection 2000 range has always been a bit of a winner with me - a fresh and funky collection of really affordable products that updates fairly regularly.

affordable, pigmented, long lasting

I've raved often about their Glam Crystals, and love their gel liners as well. This is the first time I'd bought one of their lipsticks and chose Shade 1, Queen of Hearts, from their Lasting Colour line - a gorgeous retro red. For a budget lipstick it goes on extremely well with a fabulous amount of pigment that's true to the bullet.


And it lasts! It almost has a slight staining quality to it and really does stay on. The only downside is a hint of tackiness to the texture, an almost plastic feel, but this gets more comfortable as the day goes on, and could perhaps be counteracted by a lip balm underneath.

All in all it gets a massive thumbs-up from me - affordable, pigmented, long-lasting. A winner!

  • Comfort: 2/5
  • Longevity: 4/5
  • Pigment: 5/5
  • Four Chickpeas out of Five!

One More Thing...

  • Comes in 11 different colours
  • Available on the Boots website here
  • SPF15

Hugs and kisses,


Tip: Straightening Eye Lashes

Hi Tory,

I have ridiculously curled eye lashes on my right eye. This is something you'd think would be a boon - no eye lash curlers! - but they are pretty much flat against my eye lid. This means that anything from drawing a neat eye line, to putting on mascara, to putting on false eye lashes is difficult if not downright impossible. And there are loads of tutorials out there on how to curl your eye lashes and make them flirty and cute but practically zero on how to do the complete opposite. I looked, believe me.

the basic principle of the technique is the same as when you straighten your hair

Now normally I do the tips section as photo instructions but this little techniques really needs me to get up close and personal with you, hence the video. The basic principle of the technique is the same as when you straighten your hair - you use some kind of protective fluid (clear mascara in this case), an instrument, and some heat. Now one caveat: this doesn't last for a long time, but gives you just enough wiggle room to get your liner and your lashes on. By the time your real lashes have curled back up, the makeup is in place, so you're good to go. Hope this helps!

  • Coat your lashes with clear mascara (I used MUA's basic mascara, which costs £1)
  • Gently heat a spoolie with a hairdryer until it's warm
  • Test the temperature of the spoolie on your wrist
  • Place a tissue on your under eye area to protect your skin from the heat
  • Comb the spoolie down through your lashes until they're straight

Hugs and kisses,

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