,A couple of months ago I got a call from old school friend, it seemed another face from our school days (Isla Mcleod) was going to be involved in some sort of protest at the houses of parliament. Apparently she was planning to get naked (as you do) and needed some body paint, would I be able to oblige?
well certainly I replied, 'please give her my number and tell her to come over'.
Sadly as the days went by I heard nothing, maybe they decide that the chilly March weather wasn't ideal for getting your bits out!
Then one evening as I made my way home I picked up a copy of the evening standard and there on the front page I saw the news that a group of 6 protesters had walked into parliament stripped naked and glued themselves to a window I looked closely at the picture and sure enough there was Isla centre stage, boobs out for the world to see. Great way to make a statement! However as looked at the group I couldn't help but think how substandard their body painting efforts had been 'Should've come to me'.
I thought smugly.
Fortunately it wasn't long before I had the chance to put my money where my mouth was
when I was invited to do some make up for an Extinction Rebellion fashion show in Oxford Circus The rebellions HQ was a surprisingly smart office building in central London, the office area could have belonged to any start company. Except for the clothes and make up piled on desks as people rushed about getting ready for the show.
I got chatting with quite a few people who came to me for make up and one thing that really struck me was how Extinction Rebellion had attracted people from so many different backgrounds, all of whom had come together 'To do something for a good cause'. Whatever you think of Extinction Rebellion and their tactics in the world we live in I think anything that can unite people towards a common goal has got to be good thing.
I promised myself I wasn’t going to do this again…. about 6 months ago I decided to go for wander round liberties, their make up section is basically a tiny branch of Space NK shoehorned into a cupboard on the ground floor ‘Hmmmm….’ I thought, ‘Not much to see here’ I was about to leave, little did I realise I had fallen into a trap… because you are now in a small enclosed space the sales assistants have got you cornered THERE’S NO ESCAPE!!
What followed was one of those light headed sales experiences where the assistant demonstrates the product in such a way that buying it seems to be the only logical thing to do, and its only when your back on the high street clutching your super expensive new purchase that reality kicks in and you suddenly think what the hell just happened there?
So that was me and my brand new Vanilla Chantecaille Anti Smog Tinted Moisturiser: A slim silver and purple tube that set me back a whopping £64.
Yes you read that right £64 for a tinted moisturiser, £64!!! It’s ridiculous that such a thing should exist, there are children starving in Africa for gods sake, no one needs this, and what do they even put in the Damn thing that would cost so much?? But hey I’ve brought it so I’d better bloody well use it right?
The problem I then discovered is its actually REALLY good, the level of coverage is much better that most similar products I’ve tried, it blends into your skin very nicely, not only that but the dodo tears and unicorn blood or whatever it is they put in it actually seems to work, over the last few months I’ve had complete strangers come up and compliment me on how clear my skin is (although the girl at the check out at M&S was visibly taken a back when I told her the price of my youthful radiance)
One other thing which is definitely worth a mention is that because its consistency is quite thick you don’t need to use very much for each application, which is why even after buying it in May its only now in early December that the tube has finally run dry, so it lasted about 6 and a half months in total.
So if we say 30 days in a month 6x30+15=195 So 195 days, Then 195 divided by £64
It works out about 32p per day which is really not so bad right?
And so I find myself wandering sheepishly into a local branch of Space NK to pick up another tube.
Oh well its expensive but the quality is worth it and what is life with out a few luxuries right?
A good friend of mine who is also in the beauty industry recently recommended me for a free facial at ‘Smooth You,’ skin care and anti ageing Spa London. Woohoo!! Happy days if theres one thing I love its a beauty treatment, especially if it has free in the title! So I wasted no time in getting myself booked in. The phone the service was great they even let me cancel and reschedule with no problem
The Smooth you spa is centrally located in in Great Portland Street, The decor was fairly standard stylishly white and spotlessly clean with lots of ‘before and after’ ads for the various treatments on offer, the staff were friendly and of course all looked absolutely stunning, you know that kind of lighting effect you get in the beauty sections of department stores where the staff all look fabulous and you look like withery old prune? yeah that. So of course you are completely taken in when they do a pre treatment diagnostic and tell you that oh dear god your skin is horribly dehydrated and in terrible condition. They asked if could describe my skin care routine and beauty routine. I explained what I do for a living and how as a result skin care is very important to me and when I told them this and mentioned some of the brands I use I’m pretty sure I saw little dollar signs flash before their eyes! Oh well then clearly I would be interested in their VIP non surgical anti aging treatment, an amazing, unique, organic, all natural, vitamin enriched, nano technology as used by Nasa (Now I know your probably reading that sentence thinking ‘alright love calm down’ however I shit you not that is pretty much exactly how they described it)
But lets be real for a moment, if you are being offered a free facial in an expensive beauty clinic it is clearly going to be a sales pitch, and when it comes to beauty treatments I’m quite amenable to being sold to. So I had the treatment, and I have to say it was very good, the facial itself was relaxing rather like a massage and my therapist Kate was professional and friendly talking me through each part of the process, my skin felt great afterwards and the next day as I write this I can definitely notice a positive difference.
So taking all this in consideration when the treatment was over I listened as Kate described the various products and packages the spa was selling fully aware that she was most likely on commission and fully prepared to spend slightly over odds on a face cream or booking another facial maybe as a gift for my Aunt or Mother. However the quoted prices were EYE-WATERING, all the packages on offer were into the thousands. Sorry love but that ain't gonna happen, even with a monthly payment plan of 12 easy instalments of £187 and free beauty case to go with it.. So at this point I’m afraid I suddenly noticed I was running late for a very important thing that I had to do and ran for the door!
Overall great treatment from Smooth You, you can find their website HERE, if you can get the free facial I would recommend taking advantage of this, just be aware that they do come on a little strong with the sales tactics, I hope the staff are on a decent basic wage!
Recently I was having lunch with a friend and of course the topic turned to make up. ‘Whats your favourite liquid eyeliner? she asked ‘Oh Chanel’ I said ‘I have been through pretty much every brand out there and their eyeliner pen is definitely the best one I’ve found’ ‘ Nah‘ she replied ‘ I think Lancome is better’.
‘Mmmm yeah the Lancome art liner is good I’ll give you that but it ain’t no signature du Chanel’
‘No she said they have a new one now its called Grandiose its wayyy better, it even has a handle you can bend so you can get a better angle when your applying it’
‘ok’ I said 'well i’ll test it out next time I get the chance;
Chanel V's Lancome
Anyway as it so happened my treasured Signature du Chanel eye pen was reaching the end of its life span and I was looking forward to a forth coming trip to Switzerland as an opportunity to take advantage of the duty free make up counters and restock. However it turned out the Chanel counter was extremely limited with not a liquid eyeliner in sight, however the neighbouring Lancôme counter seemed to be doing roaring trade, so I thought, ‘what better time to give it a go?’ The lady on the counter gave me a wonderful demonstration and what can I say I was converted. The adjustable handle is a genius idea and I love the long thin pen, ideal for outlining the curve of an eye lid, plus they have clearly changed to formula as the product applies much better than previous generations of Lancome eyeliners. Not only that but but it lasts all day!
Verdict: Lancome you have a new customer, Chanel you snooze you loose
Above: how it should be done. Below: portrait of the artist attempting multitask, eyeliner application + selfie = urrgh!
Why? Well we all know that if beauty blenders have a fault it’s that they do eat rather a lot of your precious foundation. Silicon applicators are supposed to be the next step: giving you a flawless finish without wasting too much product, and given that I am currently using the excellent but ruinously expensive ‘Just Skin’ tinted moisturiser from Chantecaille this definitely seemed like a good idea.
After receiving my silicon Applicator courtesy of Alibaba.com my first thought was that it had been packaged in a plastic wrapper although on closer inspection this didn’t peel off, but appeared to be part of the applicator, this plastic wrapping gave the applicator a weird baggy texture that really didn’t help with application, even if you stretch it tight, it just smears foundation onto your face but doesn’t really blend it in and leaves a lot of streaks.
Although the it has be said the edges of the plastic are very good for removing any foundation that gets trapped in your eye brows
After various experiments cutting a section off a section of the applicator with a knife and bending the cut edge outwards to apply foundation did yield fairly decent results, but frankly it seemed like more hassle than its worth, when there are so many decent reasonably priced applicators out there you don’t need to go resorting to a Blue Peter DIY job for the sake of saving a few pennies.
Verdict: Nice idea but fall way short of the mark. For best results with foundation stick to a brush sponge or finger
Does anyone else ever get it where suddenly they go from having nothing new to show for their efforts for months and then suddenly loads of things get released at once?
well thats just happened to me, so expect a few developments on the the website over the next couple of weeks!
But first of all I would just like to share with you these lovely images from a shoot I did all the way back in November.
Photography: Helen Sikk www.helenasikkphotography.co.uk/#0
Model: Ray Alexander @rayyalexportfolio
After the success of the first Shibari shoot it seemed only right that there should be a sequel, but how and when where and what and why and who?? - Oh gosh so many questions! I asked rigger Helen who of course was only to keen to grab some rope and spring into action. After a lot of asking around and putting up ads on various websites I was contacted by musician and model Jenny Maxwell who I have previously collaborated with on a few videos and shoot wanting to know if she could get involved - perfect! my long time friend and very talented hairstylist Sonya Park Howie was very intrigued by the concept and promptly volunteered to style Jenny's hair if only as a reason to be around to watch what was going on!
The search for willing photographers was tricky but whilst putting out feelers for willing participants I ended up getting two for the price of one Dario Srbic and Laura Marques all 6 of crammed into my ridiculously tiny studio and much hilarity ensued especially when photographer alura decided she wanted to get in on the action and have a go at being a 'rope bunny' (see below right) turns out she looks pretty good on the other side of the camera as well!
Jenny and I have a long standing tradition of using a pomegranate as a prop when ever we work together and this shoot was no exception, I think it made addition to this shoot adding to the sexual undertones of shibari. The idea was to try and create some pre raphelite style imagery as this had captured my imagination following a visit to Tate Britain (painting with light exhibition may-sept 2016) And if the image below is anything to go by I would say we nailed it! Many thanks to everyone for giving up your time to get involved
All back in august 2015 I did a bit of work at a festival called Boomtown down in hampshire, while I was there I met a very talented lady by the name of Mikki Anderson, it became the start of a face painting collaboration and we since worked at various festivals and events around the country.
Now a year and half on following a very successful new years party we have decided to formally set ourselves up as business and have launched Glitter Girls with a Facebook page and everything https://www.facebook.com/girlswhosparkle/ if you could take the time to give us a like that would be great.
And of course it goes with out saying...
HIRE US FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT!!!
reasonable rates, London based, will travel.
And now we've got the business side sorted lets get back to the art....
As there is not a huge call for face painting at this time of year we have been trying to keep the momentum going and hone our skills by painting ourselves. (See below) I have learnt that is incredibly tricky trying paint and photgraph your own body so am on the hunt for willing victims... If think you would would be up for being painted do drop me a line!
This is a very long overdue write up for which I do apologise!
So, several months ago a friend convinced me to come accompany her to an introductory workshop into 'Shibari' the art of Japanese rope bondage. It was something I had vaguely heard of, and although I don't have any desire to get tied up, I thought it might be interesting to watch and so agreed to go along, not really sure what to expect and ready to run for hills if any big sweaty BDSM types came at me with a set of manacles!
As it turns out I was presently surprised, the people running the class were friendly and very willing to explain the different aspects of their 'hobby'. Plus I enjoyed learning about the patterns made by the different ties and the way the practitioners used it to support and accentuate different parts of the body.
All in all I felt that this was crying out for a photo shoot, and as luck would have it in the interval I got chatting with veteran rigger Jessica Wabbitt who was all in favour of collaborating. Jessica was first introduced to rope 6 years ago and discovered it quickly went from hobby to all consuming passion, she now teaches classes and has since attended rigging working shops around the world from Berlin to Tokyo!
She was very positive and so we swapped details and began plotting!
Buoyed with enthusiasm I went off to explain the idea to fashion photographer and occasional collaborator Chris murray he was a little skeptical to start with but eventually agreed on the basis that it would tie in (excuse the bad pun) with some other projects he was working on http://chrismurray35mm.com/projects-2016
The only problem was finding the right model - for some reason if you try to go through the usual channels people get a bit funny when you say 'Japanese bondage' and tend not to return your calls! Fortunately I was lucky enough to run into artist and model Beth Guiness who was entirely unfazed by the prospect by the prospect of being tied up and hung from the ceiling and so we were in business!
The day it's self was a bit surreal but a lot of fun about as far from the '50 shades of grey' fetish idea as you can possibly imagine! Jessica invited us into her home and we spent the day exploring the various aspects of her special rope tying room, she even made us a delicious dinner. Plus I think we got some wonderful images, but you'll have to judge for yourself……
for anyone invested in learning more... about rope tying the place I went to was called Anatomie studios in south London then run regular workshops and you can check them out here https://anatomiestudio.com
One thing I really love about this job is the variety over the years i've ended up working with everyone from Irish travellers to Philipeno beauty queens so when I saw an advert on model mayhem looking for someone to work on a photoshoot for up an coming islamic clothing company 'The Cloak' I thought 'oh why not' and applied not thinking any more of it. so I was pleased when a few days later I got a reply from company founder Kahlida inviting me to work with her...
On the day of the shoot I rocked up with my wheelie case not really knowing what to expect and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. They were lovely bunch to work with, not only that but every single person seemed to have an interesting back story, khalida in addition to her career as a fashion designer also juggles motherhood with working as midwife.
for the models part Jamaican part arabic Sharea (above right) is an actress by trade who has had some interesting career highlights as well a lead role in 2004 British gangster movie 'Bullet boy' she is currently gracing your collective consciousness as the lady who gets groped on the tube in an advert for TFL. check her showreel here http://shareasamuels.com
Sophia (above centre) in addition to having a physics degree is also a trainee human rights lawyer working currently working to get people off of death row in Pakistan,
and When she's not in front of the camera Hong Kong born Suky instagram @Sooki_P is forensic scientist for the MET!
My fellow make artist on the shoot Nusrat @nusratkhan13 is also a maths teacher and I was impressed with her multitasking abilities as she marked pupils homework in-between touch ups!
Although I think the star of the show was Aneesa our Hajib stylist (Yes that is actually a thing!) Check this lady out on instagram @lookamillionhijabstylist and be seriously impressed by what she can do with a headscarf and a few pins...
The Photography was done by Katherin Werner currently studying at London college of communications if her website www.kathrinwerner.co.uk is anything to go by this lady is going to be very much in demand in a couple of years time (so book her quickly while she's still affordable!)
I have to say the robes looked extremely elegant, and when surrounded by these very demure yet immaculately turned out muslim ladies it definitely made me feel that the white people were letting the side down a bit and perhaps we should be taking be a leaf out of their book.
Although I have to say I will not be pulling a Nigella and taking the veil any time soon, when 'The Cloak' has its official launch in June I will definitely be checking out their range of beautiful long jackets and flowing skirts.
Putting make-up on people since 2010