what I know about make up- a short post

Before girls went away on their travels, Bookclub buddies wondered why I wasn’t going with them to Poland. Was I falling behind in my duties? Not, you understand, my mummy duties. My shopping duties. Think of the opportunities I’d be missing. (I’d rather be on the beach). Kileen, ever wise, said ‘I bet Poznan has a Sephora‘. Oh. I hadn’t thought of that. (Still, beach.) For the uniniatied, Sephora is a European chain of incredible loveliness. All the make up in all the colours. It’s a bit overwhelming, a temple to beauty products.

Needless to say, girls returned laden down with Sephora products and gloating. Look, Mummy, here I am with my Sephora mascara. Isn’t it lovely? Have you seen my Sephora bronzer?

Hmmm. My late mother, Herself, would be delighted at the interest her granddaughters have learned to take in their appearance, through doing a lot of performing. They have worked out foundation and fake tan and blending and concealer in a way that I have yet to do. It’s unlikely at this point that I ever will.

I did buy make up this summer. It came from another European chain- the discount supermarket Lidl. Nail varnish, mascara, lipstick and BB cream. BB cream, you wonder? I thought it was a fancy tinted moisturiser, but apparently it’s meant to be a wonder product, “promoted as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock.

Lidl beauty

I did have some fun playing the the bundle of cheapy products, and my expert reviews are as follows…

Lip gloss- too sticky.

Mascara (regular)- grand, but nothing special.

Mascara (waterproof)- horrible, stings.

Nail varnish- 2 coats needed. Red is fab.

Lipstick- good colours, doesn’t last for ages, but fine.

BBcream- needs a primer (or the Nivea after shave balm) to stop it from going all bally.

That’s it, chaps. That’s my make up reviewing done. Maybe I’ll get the girls to write the next one.


Sadly, this post was not sponsored in any way by either Sephora or Lidl.


adding a little something red

I have pale, pale skin, and pale, pale hair. Drastic action is needed to avoid being a big white blob. I am experimenting with red lipstick, to apparently hilarious effect.

IMG_5598 April16 It turns out that red lipstick produces a whole new set of challenges, unforeseen by one who normally wear anonymous sorts of colours.

There are many many shades of red, ideal for those with much much money. It may take some time to find the right one.


It’s RED, look at me, brimming with confidence, in your face, RED. It is not subtle.

It neeeds careful application otherwise it goes everywhere, and crucially, can’t be wiped off cleanly. It’s not a matter of simply applying red stuff to one’s lips. Apparently I need a matching lip pencil (nope) and tutorials. Seriously, people, can you imagine the reaction doing this at home would provoke?

red lipstick tutorial


So far I’ve only bought one lipstick, a drying sort, and a gloss, which stays on, but doesn’t stay glossy. I could get into a habit, fooled by lists and brand names. All of the internet raves about this one, so in interests of research I may hunt it out. Once I bought a fancy Chanel nail varnish because the internet told me to. The internet is never wrong…


faking it

It’s not news that I need to stick to routines- remember when I went to the caravan without the handbag and therefore the keys? Or when I went away without some of life’s little essentials? Long term readers may even recall that I went to work one day and left the front door wide open. All day…

I thought I was organised in Dublin. I’d made all the lists. I’d done the resting. I set the alarm to give me plenty of time in the morning. I had everything I needed- even the teeny ipod and speaker to keep me sane.

All would have been well had I just followed my normal drawing on a face routine. Why would I think that this was a good time to try something new? By starting with eyeliner, I scooted through eyeshadow, mascara and, ta dah, done! I always finish with mascara. Even, it seems, when I’ve changed the order. I forgot about the start. No foundation, no blusher. No dewy complexion or shape.

People, I chatted to patients, policy big wigs, and professionals. I sat on a panel. My face has been recorded for posterity.

RDWB patient input

With only half my make up on.

No mask to hide behind. No facade of confidence.

No pretending to look ‘together’ or ‘coherent’. Just a blotchy pale face, pores and the Rudolph spot exposed to the world.

I would have freaked out if I’d known. There would have been panic and tears and all sorts of anxiety at being so exposed.

Happily, I didn’t realise until bedtime. Not paying attention to the mirror has unexpected advantages.



A week on, I’m still fascinated by this. I didn’t need to have make up on to feel respectable and as if my voice needed heard; I just needed to think I had make up on. I would never in a fit, have done it deliberately, but it happened and the world didn’t end. Nobody laughed at my pores or dismissed me because I was blotchy. People were interested in my experience, in what I had to say, not in my half drawn on face. I don’t need the fake face to feel confident and valued.

Even so, I’ll not change that routine again.