When I break up with my makeup…


I had an epiphany today and it all started when I went to have my passport photo taken and I forgot to take some makeup with me. I had applied it before I left, but a biting wind and cold weather meant that my eyes watered really badly (which happens ALL THE TIME. So much fun.) All my concealer disappeared in a puff of smoke. On the plus side, at least I can see what my mugshot will look like when I’m arrested for murder in twenty years’ time= tired with massive under eye shadows. Delightful.

I’ve been wearing makeup fairly regularly since I was sixteen. Back then, it pretty much consisted of liquid eyeliner and mascara, with the odd bit of Rimmel Hide the Blemish when I needed it. My mum didn’t wear makeup and I was never really interested in it before I started college and going out. My basic makeup has evolved from this starting point, but boy has it got complex: I counted that, on a morning, I can use anything up to FOURTEEN different products on my face- and that’s only if I use one shade of eyeshadow (I sometimes use up to three.) That’s skincare and makeup, by the way: serum, moisturiser, primer, foundation, powder, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow gel, blusher, highlighter, lip balm, lipstick. Some mornings I even put a bit of oil on my face before a serum even touches it. This has been a gradual build up of stuff over the years that has only recently got to this size.

I’ve always loved playing with makeup and its ability to transform me at 5.30am from looking like a very tired builder called Graham to, well, a better version of me. But who’s to say that is a better version of me? And do I just look tired because I’m an insomniac who, at least three times a week, gets up at 5.30? Could I actually live without less makeup? Could I maybe get a bit more sleep if I didn’t wear as much makeup? And who exactly am I doing this for?

I got seriously into makeup around the time D was born; I think I was trying to re-establish my identity and not just be ‘mum’. My makeup was also armour at a time when, emotionally, I felt weird. I had the deadness of post-natal depression battling with the hormonal weirdness of new motherhood. Makeup helped me put a brave face on a difficult time and helped me to distinguish between home and the outside world.

Lately, though, makeup is a bit of a chore- and an expensive one at that, even though I don’t buy expensive makeup. I told a friend that I was looking forward to the summer because I knew I wouldn’t have to wear makeup and I’m finding myself desperate to get home at the end of the day and wipe everything off. In fact, after the passport photo, I did just that. I went out with a bit of moisturiser, concealer and mascara on and that was it. I can’t remember when I ever did that before. No one looked at me weirdly and my skin felt amazing for the first time in ages (because apparently stress and makeup are crap for your skin. WHO KNEW?)

So I think I’m adopting this for work. Skincare stuff, a good SPF- let me know if you recommend one, btw-plus very basic makeup and that’s it. Will it be weird? Probably. But in the long-term I think it will really pay off. And of course, I reserve the right to wear more makeup on days when I want to, I just don’t want feel like I have to.


The Thrifty Knitter (and Reader… and Other Things Too)

I am at that awkward stage of the month where I have enough money to get to and from work-with maybe the odd Diet Coke thrown in- and to pay my phone bill. It’s OK, though, because I don’t need anything extra and the house bills are paid; I know I’m in a fortunate position. I have started thinking though, because D is now in nursery, which is more expensive than our previous childcare and we don’t get the extra help that comes when he turns three (in October) until January. So, with birthdays and (whisper it) Christmas on the horizon, I’ve been thinking about how to save a bit of money. I have form for this- when on my maternity leave three years ago, I had to do some financial gymnastics- but now we own our own house, have a car and live further out of town, so things are a bit more complicated. I’ve written in the past about my love of eBay shopping for clothes, but here are some more ideas I’ve had.


For example, take knitting and my other crafty pursuits. I have loads of basic materials- yarns, needles, fabric, patterns and books. Do I usually buy more without too much thought? Yes. Could I instead think about what I have and use that instead? Yes. I have tons of knitting books and yarn stashed in most rooms of the house (and garage). I need to start using this up instead of automatically going on Ravelry to find something and then buy new wool. If I don’t have the wool, I don’t make it. Simple. I am going to finally start knitting the jumpers I’ve promised D and finish off a few WIPs.


I am a huge believer in libraries. I credit them with helping me through the dark days of early motherhood, when often the library was the only place I could get to. Most of the books reviewed on my book blog are library books and I’m lucky that Brighton and Hove has a brilliant library service. I also have TONS of books on my shelves that have yet to be read. But still, I am a compulsive book buyer and I buy every book with the intention of reading it. People buy me books too, as they know how much I love them. So my goal is to read more of what I have. I’m thinking for every three of my own books for every book I bring into the house- library or new.


One of the hangovers from maternity leave is that my makeup budget is still quite modest. I generally buy cheaper brands (but, oh, I dream of owning a Chanel lipstick in the ‘Pirate’ shade, because who wouldn’t?) I do have a tendency though to go a bit mad when the new A/W shades are released though… so this year, I have decided that I won’t buy anything new until something is used up. Also, one of the first things to go in any lean period is my Lush habit. I can forgo bubble bars!

These are small ideas and kind of buy into (ha! PUNS!) the idea of consuming less, which is always a good thing. I’ll also be thinking about when and why I go into town- if I want to see friends, can I invite them here and bake a cake, instead of going out and buying a slice for the same amount it would’ve cost to make a whole one? Do I need more tea if I have some at home? I’m finding myself questioning whether I NEED or WANT stuff and find that, often, I can take or leave what I’m looking at. If I can leave it, then I can save a bit more money.

What are your thrifty tips?

Pretty Honest- Sali Hughes

I’m going to start with a bit of a disclaimer- I am a MASSIVE Sali Hughes fangirl and have been since she started writing her weekly column for the Guardian. It’s because of Sali that I got into lipstick and I credit her for my makeup obsession. So of course I bought her book.

Pretty Honest: The Straight-talking Beauty Companion (Oct)

What I love about this book is that it’s not a simple ‘how-to’ book; Sali talks passionately about beauty, skincare and self-esteem with wit and friendliness. I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager and when I was getting ready to get married (there are helpful chapters on both), as it’s almost like having a friend talk you through everything from hair to how to deal with pushy sales assistants.

The photos inside are chic, without being intimidating. As I read the book and looked at the pictures, I found myself nodding my head and making a mental note of things I wanted to buy or needed to change.

And don’t think that the products and brands recommended in here are super pricey, either. Sali recommends a range of brands, from the familiar ones you’d recognise to the more expensive ones you might not. I think it’s this acknowledgement that super luxury doesn’t always mean that it’s the best is why Sali is so trusted in the beauty world.

I warn you though, it’s not unusual to spend quite a long time buying flannels after reading this. Or was that just me?


Makeup Revolution Awesome Eyeliner Felt and Kohl

The one piece of makeup that’s always been a staple in my repertoire and I’m a big fan of the felt tipped variety in particular; it’s easy to use when I’m applying my makeup at 6.30am. Makeup Revolution have been massively hyped recently- two of my favourite beauty writers (Jane at British Beauty Blogger and Sali Hughes at the Guardian) have both been impressed with the range. I ended up buying two things- the Gwen Stefani inspired What You Waiting For? eyeshadow pallette and the Awesome Eyeliner Felt and Kohl.


Although on the cheaper end of the price scale at £3.50, I’m seriously impressed. I’ve been wearing the felt eyeliner for most days since I bought it at the start of August and it’s long-lasting both on my eyelids and in terms of usage- it shows no signs of running out just yet. Also, unlike some more expensive felt eyeliners (*cough* Bourjois *cough*), it’s not scratchy when applying. The line is sharp and precise and it’s easy to apply.

I find kohl a bit too heavy for everyday wear on the top eyelid (and I’m married with a substantial mortgage these days- I rarely go out to places that require a ‘smoky eye’ or ‘day to night’ makeup.) Instead, I’ve been lightly sweeping it below my lower lashes- and then promptly forgetting about it and rubbing it off. Thankfully, it’s easy to apply! However, if you are into dramatic eyes, you could have a lot of fun with this.

This is definitely a repurchase item.I love how handy it is, how easy to apply and its all round usefulness. Fantastic.

52 Weeks/52 Polishes: #11 Models Own Iced Neons in Luis Lemon

After having a bit of a hit and miss experience with the last Models Own Iced Neon I tried, I decided to have another go. Although yellow is not usually my colour (it can make me look more than a tad jaundiced), I figured that a bright neon yellow would be perfect for the summer we’re currently having.


I have a couple of issues with this polish:

1) What’s with the name? There are loads of adjectives you could use for a bright, neon yellow (yes, my camera hasn’t done it justice. Trust me, it’s BRIGHT.) Luis Lemon is the best they could come up with? Right-o.

2) This is very, very sheer and streaky as hell, although it does dry out evenly. That there in the photo is three coats. You can still seem my nail (and again, I’m at pains to point out they’re not as grubby as the polish makes them appear to be.)


3) The colour is actually glorious and didn’t make me look washed out.

4) The longevity of the polish is OK.

I also changed my topcoat from this week. The heat seems to have made my Seche Vite go a bit thicker than I would like, so I’ve switched to Revlon Quick Dry Topcoat, which isn’t as thick, but still dries quickly to a high shine. It’s also a bit cheaper!

Colour: Luis Lemon

Day applied: Sunday

Day of first chip: Tuesday

Day of removal: Wednesday

52 Weeks/52 Polishes: #6 butter LONDON in Dahling

I love butter LONDON polishes and this is well documented both on the blog and on Twitter. The colour I wore here isn’t usually my sort of colour, but I fell in love with it almost as soon as it hit my nails.


I’ll admit that this isn’t a brilliant photo for showing the colour, but I would describe Dahling as a 50’s pink, the sort you could imagine your grandma wearing when she was a young lady. It’s a traditional pink, more on the dusky rose side and it looks amazing on my pale digits, although I don’t think it would look bad on anyone!

Here I have helpfully taken a picture against the carpet at work.

Here I have helpfully taken a picture against the carpet at work.

As with my previous experiences with butter LONDON, the formula is lovely, although I would say that this colour is a tad streakier than previous colours. I put two coats on, but I think three would have been better. The first chip (albeit tiny) appeared 24 hours later, with chipping continuing to worsten over the next three days. However, because the colour was so pretty, I kept it on. This is unheard of for me! A lovely colour, as long as you don’t mind it being a bit fragile!

Colour: Dahling

Day applied: Wednesday

Day first chipped: Thursday

Day removed: Saturday



52 Weeks/52 Polishes: #5 Models Own Iced Neon in Pukka Purple

I love the colours in the Models Own Iced Neon Collection, but I found this polish really disappointing on a couple of levels.


Firstly- it is really tricky to apply. You can see my cackhanded job above (also- apologies for horrific cuticles.) I found the formula quite thick and could only bring myself to to apply one coat. It was opaque too after that single coat and I couldn’t face having a gloopy nail! As usual, I used the sticky sandwich method, but to avail, it seems.

Secondly- this chipped as soon as it dried. I haven’t had that with any other polish so far. I don’t know if it’s a combination of how I applied it, the thickness of the polish or what, but that’s what happened. I kept it on for a couple of days anyway, just to see how it wore. This pained me, as I hate having chipped nails, but I’m willing to suffer for my art.

I will be giving this a second go though, as I love the colour; the photo doesn’t do it justice. If it’s still a bit temperamental, I’ll use it as a nail art polish, so it will still have a lease of life.

Have you used this?

Colour: Pukka Purple

Day applied: Friday

Day first chipped: Friday (extensive chipping occurred over the wear period)

Day removed: Monday