Tuesday, 23 September 2014

In Conversation: Gary Cockerill

I was offered the wonderful opportunity of interviewing celebrity makeup artist Gary Cockerill last week, so naturally I jumped at the chance! I'd prepared a few questions in advance and was poised and ready with pen and paper at hand to jot down his answers. Here's how things went down.

What inspired you to become a makeup artist?

To be honest, it's something I fell into. I worked down the coal mines for 6 months just after leaving school. When they shut down I saved and decided to move to London. I studied graphic design and illustration and had a job painting mannequins' faces, I then realised I'd probably earn more painting real people's faces so I decided to that!

There are now a huge number of aspiring makeup artists as well as those who are already qualified trying to get their career started. What advice would you give them to help them stand out from the crowd?

I was doing a very pretty look when everyone else was doing a grungy look in the early 90s so I stood out. I got booked for magazines like Loaded and GQ and it all happened overnight. Of course, things are very different now, my advice would be to find your niche. Try and develop your own unique style and don't copy what other people are doing. Work really hard and don't give up, it's a great profession!

What is your favourite makeup brand?

It's far too difficult to pick one! My kit is a mix of lots of different brands. I think having healthy, well prepped skin is really important, for that I love using the Facacia skincare range which is antibacterial and great for acne as well as using the Silk and Sonic Face Brush which gives skin a deep clean.

If you were restarting your career today, what would you do differently? If anything!

I wouldn't do anything differently! It just happened for me, it was never planned, but I'm so glad it did!

What/ Who do you look to for inspiration?

Anything and everything, from walking down the street and seeing someone to a magazine, someone's life story, anything interesting or original.

Who is your favourite celebrity to work with?

I've worked with so many great people, it was great working with The Coors when they started out as well as Liberty X and Eva Longoria. One of my highlights was definitely working with David Beckham when he did the speed boat scene for the Olympics opening ceremony. I still get a real buzz from working with stars!

Which is your favourite magazine to work with?

I love working with women's magazines but I love working with men's magazines even more. The men's glossies like GQ and Esquire are favourites. I love doing sexy glamorous makeup and I often get to go to different locations for the shoots.

Who is your favourite photographer to work with?

It was amazing working with David Bailey. it was like working with an artist. The pictures always looked like they would belong more in an art gallery. I loved working with Clive Arrowsmith too, I worked with him solidly for 5 years. I loved working with the old greats, they don't rely on digital. People are far too reliant on post production now. I miss the days of polaroids and contact sheets.

What inspired you to bring out your own range of lashes?

I always did eyes well, it's what I'm known for. On shoots I always ended up combining different kinds of lashes to get the look I wanted. I was then approached to design a range of my own, they're made of natural hair and are very lightweight.

What is the worst thing someone can do when it comes to their makeup?

Not adapting their look to suit them! I see women in their 40s and 50s still wearing their makeup the same way they did when they were 21. Every now and then you should go through your makeup bag, get rid of anything stale or out of date and give the whole thing a refresh. People often think it's the only look that works for them but that's not true, they should have a little fun with it and experiment more!

Thanks so much for answering my questions Gary!

I hope you all enjoyed seeing something a little different here on the blog!

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Monday, 22 September 2014

New to the Mix: Skincare

Recently, quite a few of my skincare products ran out at once, I had a rummage through my stocks and luckily found a few products that I thought would fit into my routine nicely. I'll do full reviews once I've been using them a while but here's a quick snapshot of what they are and what they do!

A calming, soothing and plumping spray on skin tonic with a rose water base. I absolutely love this, it's so cooling and refreshing on the skin. I've been using it the last few mornings and occasionally during the day too! 

I'd been using this earlier on in the year but it went neglected when the weather got warmer and I needed something a little lighter. It's an eye cream I seem to go back to every autumn/winter for a bit of extra moisture and this year is no exception. 

Seeing as I've recently run out of my usual moisturising mask, I thought I'd give this one a go. I've used it a couple of times so far and was surprised to see my skin definitely looking plumper. This will definitely make a good 'pre-party' mask!

I'm really looking forward to trying this one, I love using facial oils in my routine, especially with the weather getting colder. This one is described as an ultra light blend of 10 natural oils plus vitamin E and C. 

Have you added any new products into your routine recently?

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Saturday, 20 September 2014

Object of Desire: Rachel Zoe Shiloh Cutout Jumpsuit

It's no secret I love pieces I consider to be 'wardrobe essentials'. Although a jumpsuit isn't necessarily something that would fall into that category I absolutely love this one for how versatile it is. It could easily be dressed up or down and I can definitely see it becoming something I'd wear for a long time!

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

A Day at Kew Gardens

Kew gardens is such a beautiful place, I'd been there once before a few years ago and loved it so thought it would be nice to go again. I took quite a lot of pictures and had a really hard time narrowing them down for this post but there are still so many! I hope you like them!

Overall it was a lovely day, especially because the weather was good. We spent the entire day walking around and were thoroughly exhausted. I still can't believe there's such a huge garden in London! The restaurant is really good too, we had lunch there in the afternoon, I had roast vegetables with goats cheese and barley in a coriander pesto and it was absolutely delicious. I'm definitely going to be attempting to recreate it at home! Later on, just before we headed home, we popped back in for tea and cake, we had treacle tart and chocolate cake and they were both equally scrummy! 

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Current Skincare Loves

I seem to be on a bit of a skincare roll at the moment. My skin is by no means perfect but it does look the best it's looked in years. I think it's mostly down to the fact that I've been more compliant with my skincare routine and I've found some products that have been working really well for me. Here are a few of my favourites!

A really great 3 in 1 mask that decloggs, exfoliates and moisturises. I've been using it twice a week and my skin always feels clean, fresh and moisturised afterwards. 

This has been my cleanser of choice for the evenings, particularly when it comes to removing makeup. It's easily massaged on and rinses of as a milky liquid taking all the day's grime and makeup away with it. It also leaves my skin feeling super soft and nourished.

I absolutely love this night cream, it's definitely the best I've ever tried. It leaves my skin feeling so plumped up, soft and just generally very healthy. It's expensive but very much worth it, I opened this tub 3 months ago and I still have over half left!

A toner that contains glycolic and lactic acid which exfoliates the skin and helps improve skin radiance. I've been using it every night and loving the results, my skin looks brighter and my pores less noticeable.

I've yet to review this one in full as I haven't been using it quite as long as the others. Don't worry, a full review is in the works! This stuff is truly amazing, I've only been using it for a month and my dark marks and pigmentation have almost completely disappeared! I honestly can't quite believe the results! My skin looks so much clearer and even toned, I really wish I'd taken some 'before' pictures!

Are there any skincare products you've been loving lately?

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Good Things Manuka Honey Mask

I've not had the Good Things Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask for very long but I can honestly say it's one of the best I've ever tried. The best thing about it is that it's a 3 in 1, it contains white clay, which like any clay draws out impurities and helps unclog congested skin. Papaya extract, a natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid which chemically exfoliates the skin making it look more radiant and finally Manuka Honey and Beeswax to nourish and hydrate the skin. Being someone who frequently buys and uses all 3 of these kinds of mask, finding an all in one is such a great time saver!

I find my skin looks and feels so much fresher, brighter and softer after using it. I use it about twice a week which has been working really well for me. It definitely helps with unclogging and radiance, if I can feel a few spots coming on I find using this can nip them in the bud and any blocked poses around my nose look a lot better. I think the addition of honey/beeswax makes it a lot more comfortable on the skin and doesn't leave it feeling tight and dry afterwards but it's not a mask I'd reach for if I was specifically looking to add more moisture to my skin as it's not the most moisturising. It is still a clay mask after all! 

I think it's a great mask all round mask for all skin types but I'd particularly recommend it to those who either don't have time to faff about with lots of different masks, if you're on a budget or if you're new to masks as it's a great all rounder. I'd be quite happy to use this as my only face mask as I could always just use some facial oil if I felt my skin needed some extra moisture. It's also such a bargain for only £5.99 from Boots!

What are your favourite face masks?

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Monday, 15 September 2014


I've decided to rename my nail posts #ManiMonday! They were previously NOTD but seeing as I don't do nail posts everyday I though it was maybe a bit misleading. Either way, it's still a post all about what I'm currently rocking on my nails!

Today I decided to try out a bit of nail art, I've dabbled in the past but never really blogged about it. I usually try out some fancy design and then end up removing it as soon as I'm finished. Usually because I'm not happy with the finish (I like it to look really neat) or because I decided the design isn't very 'me'. This time I thought I'd try something simple, clean and minimal and I'm actually relatively pleased with the result! It's still not as perfect as I'd like it to be but I think with a bit more practice I can get there!

I applied Avon Nailwear Pro in Loving Lavender to all of my nails and then used one of my favourite polishes, Sephora Colour Hit Nail Colour in Will You Jump? on just under half of the nail on my ring finger. I used a piece of cellotape to get a neat line but it's still not quite as crisp as I'd like. I think the trick is to wait till the nail varnish is completely dry before removing the tape. I love the design as well as how the colours look together and I'll definitely be trying out a few different variations in the near future! 

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Beauty Product Storage

If, like me, you're a bit of a hoarder when it comes to all things beauty, you'll be in need of somewhere to store it all. Seeing as my bathroom is a bit on the pokey side and I'd been previously storing it all on the windowsill I decided to invest in some storage drawers. Especially since products don't keep as well if they're exposed to sunlight.

I went for these sea grass/wicker ones which I got from Amazon here, they do a few different ones with either 2, 4 or 6 drawers which can be pulled out and used separately if you need to. I went for the one with 4 as I thought it was a nice height. I think they look really good in the bathroom and I much prefer them to the flimsy plastic drawers I've had in the past, they're just so much prettier! The space inside each drawer isn't huge but it's enough to put things away and keep everything looking neat. At the moment I have skincare in the top one, bath, body and hair products in the second, the boy has been given the third one and the last one is for things I like to refer to as 'boring spares' like toothpaste, cotton pads, mouthwash etc. 

I'm so glad I got them, I think they look really nice in my bathroom, especially with some flowers on the top, and they're very practical! How do you store all your beauty products?

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Lee Stafford ArganOil Anti-Frizz Serum Spray

I feel like I'm forever going on about Lee Stafford styling products here on the blog but I just can't help it, they just perform so well compared to other hair brands, high street and high end.

Today I thought I'd shine the spotlight on their ArganOil from Morocco Anti-Frizz Serum Spray, I've mentioned it quickly in a few favourites posts but I've never spoken about it in detail, so here we go. As the name would suggest, it's a hair serum but in spray form, simple yet genius. I don't know why other brands haven't done this. It does everything a regular serum does, moisturises, smooths, calms frizz and adds shine but the spray allows the product to be distributively very evenly and finely. So there's no chance of accidentally adding too much serum in some areas and ending up with hair that looks a bit on the greasy side. Another thing I love about it is that it doesn't 'disrupt' your style, if you've already curled or styled it in someway you can just spritz a bit where needed so there's no need to run your fingers through. It's particularly great for naturally curly girls to use as a touch up product to refresh curls.

You also get a huge 200ml for £9.99 which is great value compared to other hair serums. This is definitely a product that will be going on my 'forever repurchased' list!

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Revlon Photoready Skinlights in Bronze Light

These days I find myself reaching for lightweight, barely there bases more and more. Gone are the days when I used to pile on the heavy coverage foundation on the daily! I tend to go for tinted moisturisers, BB creams and CC creams the most and occasionally, a light coverage foundation if I'm having a bad skin day. I find that in combination with a good full coverage concealer, only where needed, looks a lot more natural. 

In conjunction with these products I've been using the Revlon PhotoReady SkinLights Face Illuminator in the shade Bronze Light. It's a sheer illuminator with very little pigment and a lot of glow that seems to work like magic on the skin. It doesn't necessarily cover imperfections, it doesn't have enough coverage to do that, it just blurs them making skin appear more naturally even rather than looking like makeup has been applied. Perfect for minimal makeup days on it's own or layered under/mixed with your regular base product is gives the skin a fantastic radiance and glow. Great for days when you're feeling tired and sluggish and it's showing on your skin. The third way I like to use it is as a bronzer/highlighter hybrid tapped into skin over the top of makeup. It warms up the skin tone this way and gives even more of a glow. Although this way is probably best avoided if you have naturally very oily skin. 

It comes in a few other shades too, mainly lighter ones in champagne and peach tones that would be best suited to fairer skins. I'm thinking of getting my hands on the shade Bare Light to mix with this one as more of a 'winter shade' for when my skin is a bit lighter as this one is a bit darker than my skintone already. Have you tried any skin illuminating products?

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Pixi Mesmerizing Mineral Palette in Emerald Gold

If you're a neutral eyeshadow lover who occasionally likes to dip your toes into a bit of colour the Pixi Mesmerizing Mineral Palette  in Emerald Gold is a good one to try. It contains 4 neutral tones and a couple of greens, all of which have a really smooth and blendable formula. They aren't the most pigmented but sometimes I like that for when I want more of a subtle look. They create a nice tinted sheen across the lids which is so flattering. Of course they can also be built up very easily for a more intense block of colour. 

At £12 for 6 shades I think it's a pretty good value for money palette, although if you like a few matte shades thrown in you'll be disappointed as they're all shimmers. The brush, as always with eyeshadow palettes, will never get used but at this price I don't really mind as I have plenty of eyeshadow brushes anyway. 

I've been particularly loving the bottom most shade blended all over the lid, it creates a subtle bronze toned smokey eye that isn't too in your face but still looks like you've made a bit of effort with your makeup. I'm planning on doing a makeup look with this palette soon here on the blog so keep a look out if you fancy seeing it in action! 

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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

NOTD #30

I always love a good neutral nail varnish, they're definitely my fail safe. Usually I tend to go for the slightly lighter, skin tone-esque shades but today I went for a slightly darker grey toned brown in the form of Barry M Nail Paint in Mushroom. The cooler tones in this shade some how make it seem more seasonally appropriate now that it's autumn. I'm expecting to get a lot of wear out of this in the coming weeks as it goes with everything and the formula is pretty good too!

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Ireland - Part 2

Day 3 was spent mostly recovering from the sea sickness of day 2, so apart from a nice dinner and a quick wander around a pretty town called Kinsale, there isn't much to report. Day 4 however was one of my favourites, we went to The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary which was the half way point on our drive from Cork back up towards Dublin. 

The site has a vast amount of history and is breathtakingly beautiful, far too much to try and explain in this blogpost! If you go to one heritage site while you're in Ireland, make sure it's this one! 

After a bit more driving we reached our next destination, The Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Lougahaire, near Dublin. The building was beautiful, both inside and out and the food was fantastic. The rooms weren't as spacious or luxurious as I was hoping but I guess that's what you get being nearer the city. 

Day 5 was spent wandering around Dublin on a self guided tour, we followed the one in Rick Steve's book and it was fantastic. We also went on a live music pub crawl in the evening which was probably the highlight of the entire trip!

Our final day was spent leisurely wandering around Dalkey, taking in more beautiful views and enjoying some lunch al fresco.

I throughly enjoyed the trip which was full of great food, history, natural beauty and of course good company! I'd definitely recommend a trip to anyone, particularly from London as it's just a short 55 minute flight away! 


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Ireland - Part 1

I went on holiday to Ireland a few weeks ago and was blown away by how beautiful everything was so I thought I'd share a few of the pictures (taken by my lovely friend Maggie) here on the blog. We arrived at Dublin airport, rented a car and started driving south. 

When we got to a beautiful little town called Midleton in County Cork we stopped off at the Jameson & Son Whiskey Distillery for a tour and lunch.

We then drove a bit further, to Cork and checked into The Maryborough Hotel, which was absolutely stunning. The grounds were beautiful, the rooms were luxurious and the food was delicious. They have a great spa too, we managed to sneak in a couple of hours of relaxation into our packed schedule! 

We woke bright and early the next day and headed to the seaside town of Baltimore.

Hopped onto a boat, 

 and were blown away by the stunning scenery. 

We also spotted some dolphins and seals!

But unfortunately couldn't fully enjoy the experience as the sea was very choppy that day and we got extremely sea sick! By the time the boat trip finished I was glad to have my legs back on dry land! 

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