Three Bright New Lipsticks And An Old Nude


What’s a girl to do when she is desperate to freshen up her look, but either has no time to roam the shops or is light on spending money?  Head straight to the make-up counter, that’s what!  It’s how I came to up my pout action this winter.


The quickest, easiest way to make you feel a bit perkier, more confident and a whole heap better when you have zero time is to slather on a new lippy.  It can be a total game changer, not just to your face, but your whole appearance.


It started when I was working at an event one evening in Bath last Autumn.  Greeting guests I wanted to look smart, welcoming and professional, but I didn’t have lots of time, so I dressed in my usual ‘smart PR uniform’ and ran out the door.


Getting closer to the venue, I realised I had 10 mins spare, so I quickly nipped in to the nearest store that I knew had a MAC counter (luckily opposite where I was working) and caught the attention of the nearest assistant.


Here’s the tip if you’re going to make a purchase with confidence and not dally around, ask for help.  I briefed the assistant on the look I wanted to achieve (I want people to ‘see’ me) and voila, within three minutes I was wearing Tropic Tonic, a matte finish high power coral.


Thrilled that I was finally out of nudes and not wearing Rimmel Heather on loop I ventured back to MAC, this time in Bristol, and asked the assistant to help me identify which shade of red would suit me.  We should always have at least one good red in our armoury, don’t you think?


I have a range of red lipsticks in my make-up kit, none of which I’m entirely confident with and I really wanted a look that had stand-out and add some brightness to the amount of dark winter colours I would be wearing.  Boom.  This is Mangrove, a bright, matte finish, red.


Both colours get me through Christmas and now I’m on a roll, so I go through my make-up drawer and find that I’ve empty make-up containers of MAC cosmetics.  A quick look online confirms that MAC still run a fantastic recycling campaign – take six empties back and you can pick up a brand new lipstick for FREE.  Off I go to John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway on the lookout for a new pink.


Looking for a hot pink I’m disappointed when the assistant advises against anything that has a ‘blue’ tone (it won’t suit my skin tone, which needs more warmth), but once the assistant pops Twig on my lips I quickly change my mind.

I love this pink and I can dial up or down the depth of shade it is by layering, blotting and re-layering it on my lips.  This brownish-pink lipstick has satin finish and is more creamy than the other two.


Three new looks and I feel really happy with them.  So much so that I am throwing out a number of lipsticks that I purchased a few years which don’t really do that much for me.  You know, the ones that you keep for when you get some colour?  I have a bunch of them!


One nude that is staying the course is Velvet Teddy (in Matte).  It is quite a rich deep-toned beige in the stick, but I was surprised how light it looked in this picture.

A great everyday lipstick, Velvet Teddy is my kind of nude.  I would love to wear baby pinks and creams, but they absolutely drain my face, so I think sticking to brighter colours is the way forward for me, particularly as I’m getting older. I want colour to lift and brighten face that make me feel good, inside and out.


Perhaps try this trick next time you need a little lift.


Have a fun weekend.


Gail xx


Do you like to wear brighter lipsticks?  What brands do you love/hate?  Please share your thoughts below…


Holiday Make-Up Made Easy

I look dreadful without make-up.  I’m not one of those women who wears make-up at night or jumps out of bed before her husband wakes so that he never sees her without war paint, but I know I need it during the day and I’m happier, more confident when I have a little ‘slap’ on.


I’ve recently reverted to ‘carving out time’ to put it on, as I did in my youth.  In my thirties, there was no time, or maybe I thought I didn’t need as much time, and my face was done in minutes.  Now, as I get older, I’m building up the drugstore again and I’m starting to think I might end up like Barbara Cartland as my bathroom overflows with colourful goodies.


Hopefully SP will stick around and forewarn me of graffiti-style war paint wearing as I get older, but that’s down the line and my immediate problem lies in the holiday make-up bag, which is a bone of contention between us.  It all started when we couldn’t carry anything over 100ml in our hand luggage and I couldn’t hide ‘all that stuff’ in a tote.  I know it’s for a good reason, but now all my make-up is visible in the shared suitcase (obviously where I’m going wrong) and ‘make-up control’ guidelines dictate very serious restrictions. The trouble is SP considers said make-up kit a luxury, I consider it First Aid.


Without make-up my head looks like a spud and it’s particularly worse when I expose my skin to the sun.  I do not have summer-friendly skin.  I’m naturally pale and really have to stick at the sun worship to gain any colour, always being mindful of how long I’m out in it,  as I can scorch like a tomato on a grill.


I wear high factor protection on my face the whole time I’m away and then add a swish of MAC Bronzer to give my face a sun-kissed look of an evening.  These items are non-negotiable, but with make-up space at a premium I need to limit myself with the rest of the ‘equipment’ and not take the complete drugstore, which is how I found myself fine-tuning my kit to the items below for my last holiday.


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Wearing high factor protection is great for your skin, but try standing next to a bronzed beauty in the Med, it ain’t so hot.  So I always take foundation and powder away with me.   This time I wanted to find a 2-in-1 product that also didn’t break the bank.  Chatting to beauty bloggers on Twitter and doing some digging around I found a 4-in1 product, True Match Genius by L’Oreal.


A primer, concealer, foundation and powder in one compact, it comes with a built-in mirror and application sponge.  It’s creamy to touch, but transforms to a matt texture with a satin finish once on the skin.  It offers medium coverage and because it comes in a small case I could take it with me everywhere and touch up should my skin get ‘flushed’.  I really liked the result, but I think I’m going to go a shade darker this next holiday to give me a little more colour.


I was also advised to try eyeshadow sticks or crayons, which meant I didn’t have to take any brushes with me – hoorah – see saving space comes naturally to me!  I found these by Max Factor.  They aren’t new in the world of beauty, but certainly a fresh idea to me.  These are 2-in-1 Gel Shadow Liners.  They offer a high pigmentation and I bought a light brown/gold colour for day wear and a metallic grey for an evening.  In truth they are quite chunky sticks so I didn’t wear them as a liner and drew over the whole eyelid, but that suited my needs.  I think you’d need a pretty steady hand to just use them as a liner.  I loved the colours and coverage though.


There are some nights of course when you want to add more sparkle to your look and for that I bought Urban Decay’s Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner that I kept reading about all last year.  I bought Midnight Cowboy which offers a wash of gold glitter that can be delicately worn on the outer rim of your eye, or hell-for-leather over the whole eyelid.  It depends on what you’re looking for and whether you’re going to an Abba tribute gig or not, but I found a tiny amount really makes your eyes pop in a pretty way.  I wore mine with Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara (not pictured), which is my currant fave.


Lastly, I had a sample (must have been from a magazine) of Benefit’s Hoola Lip Gloss.  It does say Ultra Plush on the packaging, but I did find it really quite heavy to wear and it took a little getting used to.  It’s pretty much nude on the lip, but does offer some shimmer.  I’m not convinced that it did much for me, I’m too pale and need colour, so I will be reverting back to a pink gloss for the next holiday.  But if you go a gorgeous nut brown (please don’t stand near me) then this could be a gloss for you.


And that was it, my holiday ‘look’ with just a few products.  I literally got a gold star from SP.


Don’t worry, I got my own back. I more than made up for it with shoes!!!


Have a nice weekend.


Gail x


Looks, Lipstick & Lisa


A couple of years ago I woke up out of the fog of my, far too busy, early 40’s and didn’t recognise the face in the mirror.


A pretty tired, plain, quite indignant face was staring right back at me.  After I got over the initial shock, I started to root around the bathroom cabinet looking for ‘tools’ to repair the damage and realised it was a baron playground.


I have always loved make-up.  My mum bought me my first ‘how to wear’ make up book and as I got older and was hitting the nightlife I would buy magazines and experiment by copying the different looks while watching the Brookside Omnibus.


Of course, nowadays you can find everything you need online, so upon realising action needed to be taken I spent a few lazy-ass Saturday afternoons indulging in some research.  I came across a bunch of make-up bloggers.  They had helpful tutorials, listed their favourite buys, and talked about new trends.  It was far better than taking my cue from an advert.  I’ll never look like Eva Longoria, but the girl next-door, I might have a chance.


When MAC first came to the UK I was in my twenties.  Its first store was on the King’s Road and my friend and I caught the train to London just to go shopping there.  Now you can find any brand you want in any major city and buy online.  It’s much more accessible and so much cheaper than the train fare.


So, when I chanced upon these new breed of make-up fans on the net I scoured for MAC lipsticks.  You got to start somewhere and with a flick of mascara and a fab lipstick you can be good to go.  It felt like a good starting place as I was a bit anxious about the process, as post-fog my face had changed, a lot.


You can find tons of posts on Top 10 favourite MAC lipsticks and I picked out a few shades that I thought might work and placed an order.  I was very excited to receive Hue, Angel, Shy Girl and Crème Cup, which are all pretty variations of nude lipsticks.


Unfortunately for me the zing didn’t happen and I was a bit disappointed in myself for making the mistake.  They looked great on the girls!  There’s the clue, of course, I was trying to duplicate a youthful face.  Young and/or tanned faces will suit nudes all day long, but if you want to give your face a boost, you’ll need a little more colour.


So when the nudes didn’t nail it I bounced right over to the bright red brigade, however that just seemed to turn the clock back to 1985 and I looked like I was going to crash a Robert Palmer video.


Not givin in, I returned to the net and started to search make up for women in their forties and was delighted to find that make-up artist and beauty genius, Lisa Eldridge, who I recognised from magazines when I was young had her own YouTube site.   Lisa is an absolute expert in her field; she’s passionate about make-up and very well respected.  She works with celebrities such as Kate Winslet and her channel, with tons of free tutorials, is viewed by over 1 million followers, to she’s doing something right.


I found her video on Simple Evening Make Up for Mature Women to be really helpful and she has a new one on How to Pick and Wear the Perfect Nude Lipstick For You that’s really useful too.  See I’ve not given up on the nude shades; I just needed to adjust my perception and pick out a better shade.


Armed with more info I have gone back to the shops.  I’m currently wearing and enjoying MAC’s Velvet Teddy, Kinda Sexy and Viva Glam V for daywear.  The first two are matt nudes and the last one has a shimmer.  I nearly always use a lip liner for more definition, as your lips seem to appear thinner as you get older.  I use one from Top Shop called Ceramic.


I’m also loving the rich burgundy shades that are in vogue this season, less harsh than letter box red, and I really want to get one for night outs so that I’m not completely invisible.


Hey, no-one puts baby in the corner….



Gail x