Tag Archives: beauty

Continuing journey

I received an absolutely lovely comment on one of my Flickr pics recently:

What a pleasure to see the subtle but striking changes from your first photographs to this one, you have changed into such a pretty woman 👍

Looking back on my photos over the past 10 years (have I really been on Flickr that long?), I have to agree – I have come such a long way since those initial faltering steps on my journey towards being the person that I really am.

I can’t help wondering, though, whether I am reaching my peak. I’m not getting any younger and old age is going to start to catch up with me soon. 🙁

But then I look at the wonderful pics that Janet Rainer posts and it gives me hope that an older woman can still look wonderful. So who knows what the future holds?



Posted by on 31st May 2018 in Diary, Transgender

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More laser hair removal (pew pew anew!)

More laser hair removal (pew pew anew!)

In a previous post I mentioned that I was re-commencing laser hair removal after 3+ years, and since then I have had several sessions so I thought it was worth posting an update for those that are interested.

I’m going to go into some fairly intimate detail, so if you might be offended by such things then you may want to skip this post.

But, if you’re happy with it, then read on…

Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 11th November 2017 in Diary, Hair Removal, Health and Beauty


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Colour-correcting Concealer

A good t-girl friend of mine recently asked me for recommendations on concealer, particularly one able to hide shaving redness and beard shadow. And although I replied immediately in email, it has inspired me to write a blog article on it to go into more detail in case it is of benefit to others too.

Until I had the laser hair removal, I suffered from really bad shadow. Even after wet shaving really closely I’d have dark shadow that normal foundation and concealer couldn’t hide.

I found two systems, both by Kryolan, to be extremely effective. Kryolan are a German company who specialise in make-up for the film, theatre and television industries. But their products are also widely used by people who need serious concealer coverage.

Dermocolor Camouflage System Tester Kit

Dermocolor Camouflage System Tester Kit

The first is Kryolan’s “Derma Color” Camouflage concealer range. This is marketed as

“A paramedical makeup line developed by Kryolan, a world leader in cosmetic manufacturing. Dermacolor is designed to correct skin disfigurements or discolourations whether they are accidental, dermatological, surgical or congenital.”

Dermacolor concealer in D4

Dermacolor concealer in D4

It’s suitable for covering tattoos, scars, skin pigmentation issues such as Vitiligo and, of course, beard shadow! The concealer comes as a creme and can be bought in individual shade pots (pictured), palettes, compacts, and also a handy Tester Kit (pictured)

The tester kit contains Camouflage Cream in 7 shades, Fixing Powder, Cleansing Cream, Moisturiser Cream, Cleansing Lotion, Cleansing Milk and makeup remover. Of the kit, I think I have only ever used the camouflage cream and fixer powder. The rest are rather superfluous, in my opinion. But it is an inexpensive way to dip your toe into the Dermocolor range.

However, my personal recommendation would be to get one of their palettes as these are refillable and have more long-term use. I actually have one of these – a 12-colour palette – but I can’t find it right now so can’t take a photograph of it for you. The one I have is rather retro; it’s in a metal case and looks like a watercolour paint set I owned as a child. You can also get palettes in 3, 5, 6, 12, 24, and any number of others (I’m not going to do exhaustive research on this. Let’s just say “a variety of palettes are available”).

TV Stick by Kryolan

TV Stick by Kryolan

However, if this proves not to be enough, you can wheel out the really Big Guns of concealer and try Kryolan’s “TV Stick” (oh! the irony in that name!) which is a very heavy cream concealer that looks like a Pritt Stick, and is only slightly less gunky. This stuff is seriously thick & creamy, and covers even the most stubborn beard shadow. It would make even Homer Simpson look clean-shaven (although I don’t think Kryolan make it in yellow). I found that dabbing it directly onto the skin and then blending in with a damp cosmetic sponge was the way to go. I then put normal liquid foundation on top (such as MAC’s excellent Studio Fix) and then fixed with translucent loose powder. Be warned that you run a real risk of looking like you are wearing a face mask with this stuff, but it really is the way to go if you have problem beard shadow like I used to have.

Edit: I’ve had feedback emphatically agreeing that TV Stick can end up looking like a face mask (well, I did say that!). I really can’t emphasise enough that it is vitally important to blend this with a damp latex cosmetic sponge and also to use a loose powder to fix it. This really is extremely effective in making it look more natural to the point I would say that it is essential.


Links & Further Reading

Extreme Makeup
UK seller of Kryolan products, including both TV Stick and Dermacolor

Kryolan UK
Kryolan’s UK website

Vanity Treasures review
A review on the TV Paint Stick.

Makeup and Beauty review
A review of Dermacolor concealer.



Posted by on 13th July 2014 in Cosmetics

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Getting my eye back in

“Got my eye on you” on Flickr

Yesterday I finally got myself motivated to put on my makeup and go out in girl mode.

I gave liquid eyeliner another go, and it came out pretty well I think. I used an old Virgin Vie liquid eyeliner on the upper lid, and on my lower lid I used a Maybelline ‘Master Drama’ black Kohl pencil, which I then smudged with a cotton bud. I wasn’t so happy with that so I got a pointy cosmetic cotton bud and dipped it in makeup remover liquid and removed a lot of the smudging again which left a narrow and well-defined line of black. Then on the water line I used a white eyeliner pencil by MAC (A62 ‘Fascinating’). I then finished off the look with MAC’s A23 “False Lashes” mascara on both the upper and lower lashes. For the lower ones I used a fine mascara brush rather than the one that comes with the mascara, because I find it more accurate.

I used MAC’s ‘Lingering’ eyebrow pencil, which is my absolute fave despite the fact that it breaks easily and is quite expensive. But it always gives me great results.

The foundation is MAC’s NW15 ‘Studio Fix’ liquid foundation, and I also used NW25 Studio Finish concealer. Then finished with MAC’s ‘Prep & Prime’ translucent loose powder to fix it.

Finally, although you can’t see it in this pic, the eyeshadow is B53 Painterly and A43 Espresso.



Posted by on 6th July 2014 in Cosmetics, Diary, Photos


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Star Spangled by ORLY

I got this sparkly red nail polish on the front cover of a magazine like Cosmopolitan. I forget which one it actually was. Anyway, this is the first time I have worn it. It went on pretty well and looks nice so far.

I do have to giggle at the name “ORLY” though, being a bit of a geek, because it is a well-known internet meme. Although I do know that ORLY predates the meme.



Posted by on 29th June 2014 in Nails

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MAC Attack!

On Thursday I had a make-up lesson with MAC Cosmetics in Guildford. MAC do a number of offers like this, from a taster, to a makeover, to a full 90-minute tutorial / lesson which is what I went for.

It costs £50 for the 90 min lesson, but you get that money back as credit against MAC products, so is effectively free (or a discount on products, depending on how you do your maths).

Made over / up

Made over / up

I decided I wanted to concentrate on eyeshadow for this session, and particularly a shaded look. So that’s what we did, although we covered other things too.

With these sessions, the artist does one side of your face and you do the other under supervision. We went for me doing the right side of my face (my right, so the left as you look at the picture) and her the left (my left).

For the eyeshadow we used a primer, and then quite a pale cream colour (“grain”) on the inner part of the eyelid, then a bronze on the middle, which is also mirrored on the lower eyelid, and then a black (“carbon”) on the outer edge of the lid both above and below, all blended in of course.

For eyeliner we started with some gel eyeliner but then got talking about various eyeliner techniques; I’ve used pencils, gel and liquid before now, and she showed me a fourth option. Using the carbon eyeshadow and an angled brush, you can use that to do an eyeliner. And it has the advantage of being quick and not dragging, and also giving a softer smokey look. I think I may experiment further with that.

For the lashes, we used MAC’s “Extended play” eyeliner. Normally I use their false lash mascara which has a much chunkier brush. But she showed me how to use a small separate mascara brush held vertically to do the lower lashes and I discovered lashes I never even knew I had! I was so excited about that discovery. She’s given me some of those brushes and it is possible to buy more so I will definitely be using that technique in future!

On the eyebrows, I usually use MAC’s “Lingering” eyebrow pencil and then blended with an angled brush. The disadvantage is that the pencil is very thin (it’s a propelling pencil) and doesn’t last long and also breaks very easily. But we explored an alternative (and cheaper) option. Using an angled brush and MAC’s “Espresso” eye shadow you can achieve the same effect on the eyebrows as the pencil, plus it comes out a little softer too which is exactly the effect I wanted. So I’m really pleased with that and will start to do that in future rather than replacing my pencil when it runs out.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Another tip I picked up is to do eye makeup before doing foundation. Usually I do foundation first to create a “blank canvas”, and then move on to my actual makeup. However, eyeshadow often falls onto your cheeks when doing your eyes. By doing the foundation after the eyes, you can wipe off any excess eyeshadow that has fallen on your cheeks, and then cover it over with foundation.
We used Fix Fluid NW15 (which is what I normally use) and NW20 Pro Long liquid concealer under the eyes. Normally I use a solid concealer in much the same way but I may get the Pro Long at some stage.
On top of that we used MAC’s “prep & prime” translucent fixing powder which is something I use anyway.

For blusher we used Dainty, which is a lighter pink with lovely sparkly bits in it, applied to the tops of the cheek bones.

So, at the end of all that we got to what you see in the pic above. I’m really happy with it and it’s definitely “me” and a look I would regularly wear. If you want a full breakdown of what we used then be sure to click the pic on the right.



I mentioned at the start that the lesson was £50 redeemable against product. I decided to go for the primer, the espresso and carbon eyeshadows, an eyeshadow holder, and the dainty blusher, which came to £61.50 (it adds up so quickly). Depending on how you do your maths, that’s £61.50 of makeup with a free 90 min lesson, or £50 for a 90 min lesson with a professional make-up artist and £61.50 of make-up for £11.50, or perhaps something in between.

Sadly I couldn’t afford the rest of the eyeshadows, or the amazing brushes we used (the dual bristle foundation brush was gorgeous but was £27), so after I left I confess I popped next door to Boots and took advantage of their ‘buy one, get the 2nd half price’ offer in their No.7 range, and got a ‘chocolate fondant’ quad eyeshadow compact, a foundation brush, concealer brush, and eye contour brush for a total of £30.87 (a saving of £8.88 due to the deal). Yes, the brushes are nowhere near as nice as the MAC ones and may be a false economy but I simply can’t afford the MAC ones right now. I didn’t buy angled brushes as I already have two.

Also whilst in Guildford I did a little clothes shopping and picked up a couple of bargains in New Look’s sale. A nice black & green velvet flock dress, and a really cute short pleated skirt for £4 (yes, £4!!!). When I got home I just had to put a schoolgirl outfit together with it but more on that another time.


Posted by on 11th January 2014 in Cosmetics, Diary, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

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Apparently sane


I had a very productive session with the Counsellor today.  Mostly it just confirmed what I already knew and had already worked out; that perhaps you don’t need to have a destination in order to enjoy a journey. And if I’m happy, and enjoying the ride, then what’s the harm?

One thing that I did take away that helped a lot was about the upset I feel about my mum’s “it’s only dressing up” comment. As if dressing up is some kind of worthless, childish, irrelevant thing. But I have long been of the belief that people who have “grown up” have lost something. There is an emptiness in them left by losing their sense of childish fun, which is something I have never done. My philosophy is “Growing older is mandatory but growing up is optional”. So I came away holding onto some wise words the Counsellor said. It was along the lines of “Even if it is dressing up, then so what? What’s wrong with that? It isn’t a negative thing”. I derive great pleasure and vain pride in looking good and dressing well, and if it gives me pleasure then who is anyone else to judge me on that? But, of course, it is way more than ‘just’ dressing up because this is me. I’m a girl and I love being one.

Here’s a few more pics from today.

Apparently sane In your face Independence of the Seas


Posted by on 7th September 2013 in Diary, Opinion, Photos, Transgender

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Ma heeed

I’ve got an appointment with a Counsellor who specialises in Gender Identity issues this Saturday. Probably no prizes for guessing who they are since it’s a very small world.

I’m not entirely sure why I made the appointment, to be honest, but it’s mostly to do with the fact that sometimes I wonder why I’m doing all this; the clothes, the make-up, the shoes, the Voice Coaching, the laser hair removal, the everything. My parents are fairly unsupportive of me and my mum told me “it’s all just playing ‘dressing up'”. Although I know she is wrong I suppose the seeds of doubt inevitably take root. Since I made the appointment I have come to realise that I love the clothes and everything so why the hell not, but it’s an awful lot of money that I’ve been spending and I suppose I have to question what my final goal is in all this. Once I have a convincing female voice and a hairless body, then what? What am I going to do with it? The journey is all very fun, but what is the destination? Am I really just playing ‘dressing up’ after all?

I guess it doesn’t help that I have a birthday coming up. Another year older, another year closer to the grave. And, of course, the inevitable musings on what one has achieved and whether the year that has passed has been of any worth. Also I have learned today that a good friend and ex-colleague has recently been found dead, very likely suicide (the title of this post is a dedication to him as it is a little joke we used to share), so I suppose my head (or ‘ma heeed’ as we used to call it) is not in the best place right now.

Ho hum.


Posted by on 4th September 2013 in Diary, Opinion, Transgender

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Pew!Pew! Six

laser-symbolI had another session of laser yesterday. It hurt just as much as the last one but I just gritted my teeth and got on with it. The pain is only transitory and the redness and swelling goes down really quickly with me. By the time I left I didn’t even look like I’d had laser, even on my face. I guess I’m really lucky there because some people are inflamed and blotchy for several days after.

I’m really pleased with how it’s going so far. My arms are completely hairless now, as are my legs apart from the odd rogue hair here and there. My back is also looking really good too, to the extent that I’m now confident about wearing tops and dresses that show your back. My tummy and chest are pretty good too, although there are little clumps of hairs here and there still. Hopefully this latest session will have nobbled some of those. We’ll see over the next few weeks.


Posted by on 1st September 2013 in Diary, Hair Removal, Out & About

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Deeper Underground

Notting Hill Gate

Yesterday I went up to London for another Voice Therapy lesson. As usual, I drove to Hammersmith and parked up, then jumped on the tube from there to continue the journey. It works well for me as I know the Hammersmith area and also the street parking is free on the weekend.

I got to my appointment with  plenty of time to spare, and the lesson itself went very well indeed. I can really feel and hear the beginnings of a change in my voice. We still have a way to go, of course, but there are encouraging signs. Having said that, when she recorded me and played it back I totally cringed and thought I sounded awful and camp, but she reassured me that this is normal and just part of the transition.

After that, I walked down to Oxford Street as I needed a replacement MAC eyebrow pencil, and I know there is a MAC outlet in Selfridges. Gosh it was busy in there! You could barely move for people. I managed to snag an assistant to find the correct pencil (as I’d forgotten to bring the old one with me), and then queued for ages to have it fetched for me and to pay. I have to say they were a little disorganised and had only one girl on the tills with loads of other assistants seemingly milling around at random. I realise that the tills aren’t very interesting, but in order to get customers’ money you have to give them the opportunity to pay. Certainly I seriously considered just leaving it as the wait got longer and longer, but I stuck with it and got my eyebrow pencil and also a white eyeliner pencil. Total cost of £27. Ouchies.

After that I wandered round Selfridges for a little more, ending up in the food hall because I knew there is a branch of Yo! Sushi there. Another long wait in a queue, made all the more frustrating by the fact I was on my own and could see at least two single seats at the bar. Eventually a member of staff realised the same thing and called me out of the queue to one of them.

Following the sushi, I looked for the loos in Selfridges and eventually found them in the basement (I thought that it was a requirement to have toilets near to eating facilities? Evidently I’m wrong on that), took one look at the enormous queue and thought “I’ve just about bloody had enough of queueing in this bloody shop” and decided to hold on.

Emerging onto Oxford Street into light rain and full pavements, I decided I had had enough of all this and just wanted to go home. So I hopped onto the tube at Bond Street to make my way back to Hammersmith. This was a poor choice of tube station as it put me on the Central line. But I figured that I could hop onto a District, Circle or Picadilly train and get across that way. So I changed at Notting Hill Gate (which was where I took the photo) but once on the train realised it wasn’t going to Hammersmith and I had to change again at Earl’s Court. But finally I got myself to Hammersmith.

By now I was completely fed up, so made my way to the car, tired and footsore, and drove home.


Posted by on 18th August 2013 in Diary, Out & About, Shopping

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