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Hotel adventures

In my previous post I mentioned that I was considering staying in a hotel mid-week to break up my long-distance commute a little. A local Spa Hotel had a special rate last week where they had 20% off their standard room-only price, so I thought I would give it a go, just for one night.

I decided that it might be nice to take advantage of the different surroundings for some pictures, so when Tuesday night came around I spent ages packing up all my make-up, some outfits, and all the stuff I felt I would need. In the end I filled a small suitcase and also a shoulder bag. It’s absolutely no word of a lie that women need more luggage space than men.
I packed a nice silk (or silk effect anyway) black corset and some fashion tights, a nice dress, some shoes to go with it, and a PVC corset, PVC boots and PVC skater skirt. It wasn’t really my intention to take any photos for public consumption with the PVC outfit, but I just thought it would be a little fun.

I arrived at the hotel at about 5.30pm, checked into my room, unpacked and hung up my dress, and decided that I would have a little walk around the grounds. So I grabbed my camera and went for a wander. The hotel and grounds were nice enough, but there was a bit of an air of “faded glory” about it all. I managed to take a few nature and architecture photos, but none that I was happy with or wish to publish.

Returning to my room, I thought I’d get my swimming gear together and go down to the Spa and use the facilities. I have to confess that I’m not much of a swimmer or a bather, and I’m not really into saunas, so it was little surprise that within 20 mins I was bored and had enough so decided to return to my room.
Barely an hour had passed by now, and already I was very bored and realising that this hotel idea was probably not working out. Yes, it’s all very convenient not to have to drive 50 miles to get home, and the same back the next day, but being away from all the amenities of home is a big down side.

Hotel adventures

“Hotel adventures #1” on Flickr

I’d brought a bottle of wine with me, and also a box of sushi, so I had the sushi and a glass of wine whilst surfing through the channels on the telly, then after that I thought maybe I’d do my nails (bit of a frivolity to do that only to take it off again a few hours later, but I thought it would look nice for the pics). That seemed to take ages, but I did it whilst watching a Dave Allen compilation show on BBC iPlayer on my tablet, although it tended to buffer every so often which was rather frustrating.

After my nails were finally dry, I started getting my makeup on although it initially didn’t go very well and seemed to take twice as long as usual. Also I made several mistakes trying to do eyeliner wings, and ended up taking ages and getting rather frustrated with myself. Also I discovered that the eyeliner pen that I mentioned in my previous post was useless – it was far too narrow.
By now I was starting to get really rather upset and was very close to taking it all off again and not bothering, but I was exchanging emails with my friend Sarah whilst I was doing this and she encouraged me to keep going. So I stuck with it, then got dressed, and finally felt I was ready, then took the set of photos of which I chose to publish the one above.

Hotel adventures #2

“Hotel adventures #2” on Flickr

After that, I changed into the PVC outfit but wasn’t at all happy with how it sat on me; it looked awful, and none of the photos I took are anything that can be shown. Not even in private, so don’t bother asking. However, I did take a few head & shoulders portrait shots whilst wearing the PVC corset and I was quite pleased how this one came out. So that got published too.

By now I was really weary of the whole thing and I really didn’t feel like changing into the dress that I had also brought with me. Besides, the time was getting on by now and I needed to start thinking about bed, which meant planning enough time to get my makeup off, get unchanged, and get everything packed up again. So that was that.

The plan had been to have a lie in the next day, but I slept badly and woke earlier than usual and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I decided to get up, have a cup of tea, check my emails, Facebook and Twitter, and then check out and go to work. I made it in to work for 7.15am. Eeeps! Still, at least that meant I was able to leave mid-afternoon having done my hours.

Will I do this again? I don’t know. If I do, I will plan my entertainment a lot better – perhaps bring my laptop along with some DVDs and other offline content, so as not be so reliant on patchy Wi-Fi. Maybe a good book too. And if I do take pics in girl mode again, it’ll be less ambitious (with no nail varnish). We’ll see.

 

 

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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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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.

Tadaa!

Tadaa!

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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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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Latest photos

So, moving on from my earlier post, I took these pics when I got home from Salsa.

Me! by Jo.Boyd

I’ve started doing my eyeliner slightly differently. I think it opens my eyes a little more and I’m really pleased with how it came out.

 

Per Una

The dress is the Per Una dress that I mentioned a few weeks ago, which I bought on eBay for £8.50. It fits me really well and I am over the moon with it. I love it when a bargain comes together!

 

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