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Staycation: Update 3

Following on from Staycation: Update 2

Thursday. The plan for this day was to get up at a reasonable time, get ready in girl mode, and then head over to London to do whatever in the morning and then meet up with two girl friends for lunch, and then after that do whatever. Various options were available for the two “whatever”s including the V&A museum, shopping, and the like.

My make-up area

My make-up area

I set my alarm for 8.45am but woke just before. I can’t say that I tore around in a hurry getting ready, but I didn’t overly dawdle either. In truth, though, had I really applied myself I could have left the house earlier than the time that saw me finally out the door. If I’d planned the journey the night before, I’d have had a better idea of the hard “leave by” time that I had to aim for and would have got my skates on. As it was, I thought I had more time in hand than I did because I was relying on past experience rather than journey planning. Also I really should have planned my outfit the night before (I had a rough idea what I was going to wear), and also got my handbag ready the night before too – I usually use a brown handbag and I knew that my outfit would need a black handbag so I really should have done that. But at least I did my nails the night before.

Another thing I had not planned for on the day was ripping the seam of my dress as I put it on, and having to sew it up again. I also spent ages on my make-up and wasn’t totally happy with it – I felt I put too much eyeliner on and that it was a little wonky.

So, anyway, I set off at just gone 11am with a view to parking up at Westfield Shopping Centre (since it is convenient for me to get there, and also is £6.25 for the whole day to park there), and Google Navigation immediately told me my ETA was 12.07pm, which was a bit of a shock as I was estimating 40 mins. Considering I had to be at L’Anima Café on Appold Street, EC2 for 12.30pm, I immediately knew I had a really big problem on my hands. There was nothing to do but press on as swiftly as possible, and I arrived at Westfield at pretty much bang on the ETA – Google Navigation is scarily accurate on that. The plan had been to get on the Central Line at Westfield (Shepherd’s Bush) and go to Liverpool Street Station, then walk. Because I was running late, and I am a complete rube (or, rather, it has been far too many years since I lived in London) I thought it would be quicker to hail a cab. This was a MASSIVE mistake. As the time counted down, and the money ticked up, I alerted the girls as to where I was via Facebook. At about 12.25pm, as I was nearing Paddington in appalling traffic, Beth phoned me and told me I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting there any closer than Christmas (ok, she didn’t *actually* say that – she said it would take me another 45-60 mins), and that the restaurant were chuntering them to order already. I told her that I realised that and was getting really stressed about the whole thing. She asked if I wanted to abort and reschedule, and I thought it was polite if I said yes, but told her and Jay to go ahead and have lunch without me since they were already there. I then told the taxi driver to just take me to the nearest tube station.
The taxi driver, bless him, told me that he would take me to Baker Street tube station and I should take the Metropolitan Line to Moorgate, if I still wanted to make my lunch date. He also said that he would only charge me £12 (the meter was already on £18-odd). When we got there, the meter was showing £19.80 and he still insisted on £12, so I gave him £14 and thanked him for being so sweet to me.

Baker St.

Baker Street.
[Public Domain image]

I had a bit of a cock-up at Baker Street and ended up on the Circle Line rather than the Metropolitan Line (it was confusing as to which Metropolitan platform was which, so I asked a Guard and he directed me to the signs for Moorgate, which took me to the Circle Line platform). And, whilst that did take me to the same stations, it was a slower train with more stops. In the meantime, I’d alerted the girls via Facebook that I was still coming, if that was ok, if only to catch them as they were leaving in order to say hello, and Jay responded that I should get off at Liverpool Street rather than Moorgate, and that the Metropolitan Line was definitely better. However, I was already on the Central Line train by then, although the info about Liverpool Street was definitely worth having. Anyway, finally Liverpool Street Station came up and I got off.

Now, if you haven’t got a clue where you are and have no GPS signal due to being in a station, Liverpool Street is a bit difficult to exit on the correct side and, in keeping with my run of cock-ups, I exited on the complete opposite side to the one I was meant to be on and it took me a while to orient myself, during which I initially headed off in the wrong direction (*sighs*), losing yet more time.

Finally, at around 1.30pm I arrived, and explained to the Maître d’ that I was meeting friends there. He naturally wanted to know if I was sure I was at the right place (there are two L’Animas), in whose name the reservation was, and the like. I knew Beth had booked the table, but he couldn’t find her name, so I phoned her but the phone rang out. I was just wondering what to do, when Beth spotted me and waved and the Maître d’ was happy for me to go over to them.

Beth and Jay had eaten by now, and had just ordered a pot of tea to finish, and I had no appetite. So after greetings, I just asked for a bottle of water. We chatted for a short while, during which I briefly recounted yesterday’s failure to find open Antiques shops and Beth told me that I really needed to go down to Old Spitalfields Market. In no time at all (it seemed, but was probably 15 mins or more), Beth very apologetically said she really had to get back to work as she had meetings, which I quite understood – I knew she was at work that day. Jay too had to get back but wasn’t under such tight time constraints. So she and I were able to talk for a little more after Beth left, and then she walked me down to the market and we parted.

Old Spitalfields Market

Old Spitalfields Market
[Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0]

I had a lovely time wandering round the stalls there. As Beth predicted, they had exactly the kind of stuff that I was hoping to find at the Antiques shops the day before. I found a couple of things I liked, but they were too bulky for me to want to carry them all the way back to where the car was on the other side of London. I also found a lovely Art Deco style necklace that I really agonised over buying but ultimately didn’t.
There were also some really interesting and eclectic people there – all sorts of dress styles including hipster, gentrified, rockabilly (I confess I’d love a rockabilly dress), Bohemian, and the like. But then, it’s close to Shoreditch so this isn’t entirely unexpected. But it was all new to me as I don’t really get into London much these days and certainly not into the hip areas.

I was getting pretty hungry by now, having not had a thing to eat, and the market had loads of little kiosks selling all sorts of food. One did oriental and I noticed they did Singapore Noodles which I absolutely love. So I ordered that and they were some of the best Singapore Noodles I have had in ages – all the ingredients I like, none of the ones I don’t (I find that many people put way too much onion and Pak Choi in, since they are cheap ingredients, but there was little or none in this one), and a decent portion too. Outstanding. Sadly I completely forgot to take a photo.

After that I wandered round the market some more, and the surrounding shops, but eventually decided it was time to head back.

In keeping with my day of navigational cock-ups, I headed for what I thought was the nearest tube station but which turned out to be an overground station – Shoreditch High Street. In fairness, Google Maps on my phone did use the underground symbol rather than the overground symbol. That’s my excuse anyway. I couldn’t see any way of it taking me anywhere near to anywhere I wanted to go, so decided I should walk all the way back to Liverpool Street Station. Still, at least it let me browse the popup stores of the Shoreditch Boxpark, I guess. And it was good exercise.

At this point I should mention that I was starting to get the impression that I appeal to older guys. I was getting checked out a lot – and I don’t mean in a smirking “look at the tranny” way, but genuinely checked out. But only by older guys (as in 50+). One oriental guy in a van stuck in traffic gave me a good look, which I saw. I looked away, and then I looked back, and he gave me a big friendly appreciative grin – I was half expecting a thumbs-up too from his grin. I have to confess it kind of made my day a little. I was getting pretty much ignored by younger guys though. I noticed a number of girls look at me, then look me up and down, before looking away. I don’t know if I passed whatever test they were submitting me to though.

Broadgate Selfie

Broadgate Selfie

Eventually I got near to Liverpool Street Station, passing under the amazing Exchange House at Broadgate. I love the architecture of a building seemingly built into an iron span bridge. Whilst under it, on the edge of Exchange Square, I took several selfies, none of which I am particularly happy with, but this one is the best of a bad bunch. As I walked on to the station, a guy in a yellow High Vis jacket stopped me and asked me if I’d taken good pics. When I looked at him quizzically, he said he’d seen me taking my selfies and that he’d have been more than happy to have taken the photos for me. Which was very sweet of him. Although he must have seen me from quite a distance, though, as where he stopped me is about a quarter of the way down the building on my left shoulder (on the right-centre of the pic), past the trees you can see.

So, finally, I got down onto Liverpool Street Underground and a train arrived. And it was rammed. I stood for part of the journey but eventually got a seat and in not too much time arrived at Shepherd’s Bush, thus confirming what I should have done in the first place when trying to get to my lunch date – Central Line from Shepherd’s Bush to Liverpool Street. In fact, with hindsight (and knowing where to go), I doubt I would have been more than 15-20 mins late for lunch if I had done that. That’s hindsight for you.

Westfield Selfie

Westfield Selfie

I wandered round Westfield Shopping Centre for a little, but really my heart wasn’t in it and I was tired, so I decided to head on home. Although not before taking another selfie. 🙂
It was about 5.20pm by now, which I knew was probably the worst time to be setting off.

Being in the underground car park, I had no GPS signal so I set off whilst Google Navigation was still waiting for a lock (you can see where this is going, can’t you?), and promptly turned the wrong way and hit solid traffic. I had to queue all the way down to the roundabout, round it, and back up again, before I got back to where I’d been (which took a good 20 mins) and then picked up the A40, then the M40, then the M25, and finally the M3. The traffic cleared pretty quickly once on the A40 and I had a good run home.

I had a quiet evening and an early night.

There’s not much to say about Friday. Despite the weather seeming to be fine, when I called about the gliding I was told that the Chief Flying Instructor felt the clouds were closing in and he was cancelling my flight. The rest of the day I spent pottering around, including writing the previous blog post, quite a bit of this one, and also watched the film Edge of Tomorrow, which is like Groundhog Day but with guns and Exo-Suits. I love Exo-Suits, Gear, Power Armour, Mecha and the like, so it was right up my street.

I don’t have any more plans for the rest of my time off.

Anyway, sorry for the length of post. I hope it wasn’t too boring.

 

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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.

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 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.

 

 
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Posted by on July 6, 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.

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

 

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Image

Lashes

Lashes by Jo.Boyd
Lashes, a photo by Joanne (Hay Llamas!) on Flickr.

I played around with some subtle false lashes over the weekend. I’m quite pleased how they came out, although I think I need a little more practise on them.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Cosmetics, Photos

 

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Image

A compact post

A compact post

I bought this gorgeous Stratton loose powder compact at an Antiques Fair for £18. I don’t think it has ever even been used as it had no traces of powder in it.

I must confess I had never even heard of Stratton before I bought this, but no matter; I totally love it. And from what I can gather on-line, I have done well here and Stratton is a good brand.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Cosmetics, Photos, Shopping

 

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