About Me

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Vegan. Ex-makeup artist. CFS/ME sufferer. Cares about human rights, equality, animal rights, conservation/climate change.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

M.E Awareness Day, The Princesses & M.E

I'm taking a break from beauty related posts to write about something more serious,  and a lot less fun. Today, 12th May, is ME Awareness Day. As an ME sufferer, I wanted to share with you my story, and what it's like to have this disease. 

I first began suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, in 2008. Onset is usually triggered by a viral infection - I caught cold sores that didn't heal for six months, accompanied by a constant feeling of being run down and worn out. After a plethora of tests and referrals, I was finally diagnosed with CFS/ME. In the early days of my illness, I ignored it as much as possible. I was functioning at about 60% of full health - throwing myself into my work and occasional social life, and sleeping or resting every spare minute I got. 
Then in late 2010, one week into a three week TV series shoot, I fell ill with suspected swine flu. The stress of the long hours, combined with the shock of a sudden death in the family, made me particularly susceptible. Since then, I fluctuate between 50% and 20% of normal functioning.

So what does it feel like to have CFS/ME? Think of a time when you've had a really bad flu or virus, and you're over the worst of it, but you aren't better yet. You're weak as a kitten, your muscles and joints ache, and simple tasks like getting out of your chair, washing your hair or preparing a meal take monumental effort. This is daily life with ME. 

'Hang on,' I hear you say, 'you can't be that ill, I saw you down Romford/ doing makeup/ up the pub' (delete as appropriate). Let me explain to you the concept of 'spoons'. 
Physically, I feel like lying down or sleeping 24/7. Mentally, I want, no I have to do stuff otherwise I'll go completely mad. 

So in order to do anything at all, I have to use willpower and determination to get myself moving, when really I feel like curling up in bed. But when I do any physical activity, I'll pay for it the next day. This is where 'spoons' come in. Imagine energy is measured in spoons (don't ask why, just go with it.) A healthy person has 10 or 15 spoons a day to spend on activities, until they run out and feel tired. With CFS/ME and some other illnesses, you might only get 5, or maybe 3 per day. 'Wait,' I cry,  'that's only enough for breakfast, showering and getting to the bus stop! What about the rest of my day?'  
'Shh,' says the devil on my shoulder, 'just push through it, borrow some spoons from tomorrow.' 
I try to go about my day, walking slowly, needing to sit down here and there. 
Then tomorrow comes and I feel even more like hell than usual. I spend the day in bed, I don't get up to eat, I barely manage to drag myself to the bathroom. This is known as spoon deficit, but doctory types like to call it post-exertional malaise.

It's not recommended to push yourself or overdo it, but what choice do I have? The other option is staying in bed every day, and that gets boring and lonely very fast. I have ambitions, I want a life. And so do the millions of other sufferers around the world. However, there are currently no biological treatments offered for ME. Because the disease is so poorly understood, sufferers are only offered therapy or counselling to help them cope, along with painkillers or antidepressants (because, let's face it, this disease sure sucks the fun outta life). Some doctors until recently even thought the disease was psychosomatic, or 'all in the mind', but research has proven there is a real biological cause

Lives are ruined by this disease. Most never recover, some are left bedridden, some even die from it. We need more research to find effective treatments, and maybe even a cure, for this debilitating illness. 
This is why I am joining The Princesses and ME, to try to raise money for ME Research UK.

It started when a group of friends with ME started comparing themselves to princesses. 
The similarities - (taken from Me, Myself and M.E)

"Sleeping for a very long time like Sleeping Beauty
Being really uncomfortable in our beds and the slightest things annoying our conditions like the Princess and the pea
Feeling like we've been locked away  in a tower like Rapunzel
Wanting legs that work like Ariel (find me Ursula now!)
Being out past midnight is way too late for us to stay out like Cinderella and just like her brainfog would probably mean we left something behind
We have a large propensity for hope
The bed head of Princess Anna from Frozen (anyone else love that moment and think hey she's just like me)
And we are in search of a fairytale"

In order to raise money for ME research, I will be dressing up as a princess! I did aim to do it today, but in true ME fashion, I felt too ill - I had a stinking cold to contend with, on top of everything! This is also why I am posting it at 11pm at night!

I tried to take a quick selfie, but I look as ill as I feel! So take this fancy princess pic of my teddy, Theodore, as an IOU, and watch this space for fabulous princess Emma!

It would mean such a lot to me if you could make a donation. It doesn't matter how small, every little helps! The charity I've chosen does not test on animals, and funds research working towards effective treatment or a cure for ME.
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
Thanks for reading,

Til next time,


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Review: Lunatick Cosmetic Labs Cool Contour Palette & a Brief History of Contouring

Apart from my birth (obvs), one of the great things that happened in the 80s was the rise of the contour. The art of sculpting the cheekbones using makeup moved from stage and film, into fashion and everyday wear. Women and men were using colour to give their faces definition and enhance their features. It was awesome, but in the bold blush colours of the day, it didn't look natural. At all. 

What do you mean? We woke up like this! (Pics via Google Images)

In the 90s, the contour trend waned a little, although makeup god Kevyn Aucoin was giving celebs and top models the sculpted look, using lighter and darker shades of foundation to add light and shade.

Technique diagram, from Kevyn Aucoin's Book 'Making Faces'

Fast forward to the 2000s and it was all about the tan. Everyone and their Nan was on the sunbeds and fake tan. People smelled of dirty biscuits, and calling a girl 'pale' or 'white' was the harshest of insults. Contouring was in again, and this time it was done with bronzer, applied in an orange-brown stripe under the cheekbones.

Britney, being a Slave 4 Bronzer. Pic via Google Images.

The problem with all of these techniques is that they don't take into account the colour of actual shadows. Shadows are not hot pink, bronze, or even a darker foundation colour. They are a cool greyish taupe. And this is where I think Lunatick Cosmetic Labs has got it spot on with their Cool Contour Palette.

The palette itself is coffin shaped, and is decorated with Ouija boards, ghouls and monsters! But even if you're not a fan of creepy kitch, the 5 shades inside will more than make up for it.

The shades don't have names, so I have imaginatively called them, from L-R, 1,2,3,4 & 5.
I think the lightest shade, 1, is supposed to be a highlight. With shades 2-5, you can create a truly real looking contour on the lightest to the darkest of skintones. It doesn't look like makeup, it looks like shadow, a true hollow in your skin. 

The colours are extremely pigmented, so you only need a little on your brush. They work wonderfully as eyeshadows, too. They have a silky texture, which means they blend easily into the skin with little effort.

One swipe, no primer.
I've really enjoyed using this palette, but I'm afraid this can't be a 100% glowing rave review. When I first received it, I noticed there seemed to be a little powder that had leaked between the outside of the palette and the plastic it was wrapped in. Uh-oh. This was what I found when I first opened it -

As you can see, the powder has leaked a little and made a mess inside the palette.  Each pan came with a glass counter on top to help you re-press the powders. Hmm, this doesn't bode well. You see, as soon as you touch the surface with finger or brush, the powder turns from pressed to loose and goes everywhere! Massive pain in the bum! I was worried the powders would break and go everywhere during transport in my kit, but luckily they have stayed intact so far. I've put one of the counters in my kit so I can re-press them before I pack my things away. I've tried spritzing them with alcohol before pressing them, to see if they would stay solid longer, but as soon as I touched them with a brush, they turned powdery again. 

Does this put me off the product? I think the colours and performance outweigh the negatives, but I kind of wish Lunatick Cosmetic Labs had just made them loose contouring powders, and sold them separately, with an option to buy the full set. I do think it's worth having all the colours though, because they do all work wonderfully as eyeshadows, too. Plus you can blend them together to get the shade that is right for you. 

Keep an eye on my Instagram, I'm going to post a pic of this in action in a day or two!

Til Next Time,


This product was purchased by me. My reviews and opinions will always remain unbiased and impartial. Please see skimlinks disclosure in the sidebar.