Sunday, 1 December 2013

Interview with Rachel Wood, Head Makeup Artist at The Clothes Show Live 2012

On Friday Birmingham will host The Clothes Show Live!  Last year’s clothes show was a lot of fun (post). I saved some juicy posts to publish in the run up to The Clothes Show Live 2013.   Here I interview Rachel Wood, head makeup artist, about fashion shows, makeup, how to forge a career as a makeup artist, tips, tricks, what products she uses.. oh and male models….
The gorgeous and talented Rachel wood (L) chatting to me!
 At 5 foot 2 Rachel said she often feels like a short girl stuck in a tall girl’s world as she is constantly surrounded by models.  She is the head makeup artist for the live show.  Not only does she design the looks for the catwalks, she also looks after the presenters, speakers, celebrities, bands, giver talks and demos, blogs, tweets AND found time for a chat with me!

Firstly congratulations on the live catwalk show.  It was really vibrant, colourful and entertaining.  I personally loved the Sicily photo shoot section.  How do you come up with the ideas and looks for the show?  What are the challenges?
Thank you! I loved the Sicily part too!  We have a really great team.  Karl (Willett) is the stylist and works with an amazing production team.  They come up with some concept themes and then email them to me so I can come up with some ideas.  It’s a very interesting show to design for as they try to have models and dancers who look like everyone- pale, blonde, tall, darker skinned, red hair, every type of nationality so they can cover all bases.  Obviously they are all beautiful!  The dancers bodies are amazing!

It’s not like a fashion show where you are designing for one designer’s collection.  There are 10 different scenes, models of all different nationalities and complexions, and you have to find something, which goes with it all.  Plus the fact the fashion theatre fits 6000 people so it has to be stage makeup but then there are huge screens of their faces, so it has to look good up close. It has to look fashiony, it has to look current- and because it is Christmas we always have to have a little be of sparkle!  A touch of glitter.  (CG: I remember the amazing glitter lips of 2011!)  I don’t use makeup glitter.  There is a an amazing art store in New York called Pearl Paint ( and I buy craft glitter from there.  It’s the kind that people use for artwork.  It’s great because the glitter is chunkier- little glitter wouldn’t pick up as well.  I attach it with eyelash glue.

Rachel at work (Photo credits to her website)
I wanted to give it a vintage feel because Karl’s styling has a lot of texture, and texture is just as important as colour in makeup.  I always do one look for the models and one look for the dancers.  The models have almost 1930 movie star feel, rubbed in red lip, lots of contour with benefit hoola in the cheekbone- its matte so a lot of matte products between the eye sockets and cheekbone.  Then I use benefit highbeam on the apple of the cheek and cupids bow above the lips, chin and nose.  On dark skin I use benefits sunbeam, which is great with a tan too.  I use benefit bella bamba blush, but also make sure the sides of the nose and chin are really powdered so that shines where its needed and where it is matte there is contour and shadings.  For a stage this size its about texture.  The dancers have a blue glitter flick and the models have black eyeliner with the craft glitter we mentioned earlier.

Its important that the people in the front tier can see just as well as the person in the back tier.  I always go to the back and do a makeup check to see if they have enough glitter on.

What is it like backstage?  Do you have a routine?
It is very busy!  This is my 6th Clothes Show Live.  I have 11 assistants backstage.  We get here everyday at 7am and all the models, dancers, celebrities, boybands, presenters are all under my care.  This can work out between 60 to 80 people per day through the makeup chair.  (Rachel wakes up at 5:45 every day and leaves the hotel at 6:45- allegedly fuelled by coffee on IV drip!)  I like to be ready to start at 7 and I’m nuts about time.  I have various assistants who run different things- one team does the model side, one the dancers side.  I have different artists that will go out the style stage and make sure the presenters are touched up.  Also I go to the stage a few times and do some demos, give out goodie bags, pull people out the audience and talk about what we do backstage…. (pauses and grins) moisturising the male models and putting glitter on them mainly- (CG: A very tough job!)

What are your go to winter trends?
I really love a metallic smokey eyes.  It’s so sexy.  I love movie references- Metropolis black and white underworld kinda feel.  I love bronzes and crushed golds, and there is a colour by benefit that Ive been using on Grace Woodward- Skinny Jeans creaseless cream shadow (link). (CG: I have that too- I love it)  I like to press a bit of glitter on the top of it to add dimension.  I love makeup that looks like you went out partying, fell asleep with it on and then woke up the next day, touched it up and went to brunch!
Benefit Creasless Cream eyeshadow in Skinny Jeans.  A go-to winter staple for Rachel

What winter look would look good on me?
A berry, wine red lip.  You have great super pale skin, long flowy hair, light eyes- a very pre-Raphaelite look.  Makeup Forever and Chanel have some gorgeous dark lip colours.  Mac Burgendy lip pencil over your whole lip.  Lots of mascara, curl your lashes, deep wine lips.  Nicole Ritchie wears this look quite a lot.  Cheryl Cole too.  A great winter red carpet look especially when worn with lace.  Coppery shimmer pencil and rub it over the eye.  Interesting but simple way to do makeup.

As a makeup artist you must love a good canvas.  Do you have any insider skincare tips you could share?
I love the feeling of taking my makeup off at night!  Don’t overdo it on the products.  Everyone’s chemical makeup is so different.   A lot of people really love one brand and stick to it.  I consider myself a lab rat for beauty care as I am allergic to everything.  Your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside so topical creams, moisturiser etc are great but the best thing for your skin is water, water, water, no alcohol, watch your salt, boring stuff like that!  Creams are nice, but its kind like putting a band aid on the problem.  I really struggled with my skin last year. I was suffering from really bad breakouts- which were hormonal, so I had acupuncture and its helped by 95%.  It didn’t hurt- I'm a big fan.  Ive been on 60 something planes this year for work, and all the different time zones, beds, foods, climates affect the body.  I'm all about preventative measures- vitamins, exercise, lots of water, alternative medicine.  I don’t get sick.  If you're sick, you don’t work.  I cant afford to get ill!  I also love Yoga to relax as I can do the stretches in my hotel room.
"Creams are nice, but its kind like putting a band aid on the problem."

What are some of your beauty bug-bears?
People don’t clean their brushes and sponges enough and then complain that they are breaking out.  My other pet hate is when people wear the wrong foundation colour and then complain that it worked in the summer- you have summer clothes and winter clothes, sometimes you need a summer foundation and a winter foundation!

You can put foundation on with your hands first and then buff it in with a brush to avoid the Kabuki eating up all your foundation.  I hate it when people use sponges for foundations.  You might as well throw half your foundation in the garbage because it eats it all up.  Put the foundation on your skin and then use the sponge to blend.

Broken products!  Here is a tip! If you ever have a product like a pressed eyeshadow, powder compact or lipstick that breaks, then go to Muji and get a few little jars.  You can use them as a loose powder or lipstick.  It’s still the same product!

Obviously you really love and live your job.  Tell me about one aspect that you really like?
I'm a really big fan of teaching people simple ways to do makeup.  If people hire me to do makeup, I'm going to bring a big box and create lots of things.  If I am going to teach someone to do makeup I'm going to give them 4 things than they can do super well.  Their fingers as the most simplest brush.  There is nothing worse than going to a store, buying something fabulous, and then it sits in your draw to die!  So many people don’t use products because they aren’t sure how.

When you see things in a magazine you have to remember that there is a stylist, hair dresser and makeup artist touching it up every few minutes.  I like things that are nice but wearable (don’t take things straight out of the magazine!)  Its easy to make a beautiful model look good, its more of an art to work with people who have oily skin, a teenager with spotty skin, someone with scars, ageing skin.  I see beauty in everyone and love making people feel special.   That’s what I do on Plain Jane show on MTV.  I love finding features in people’s faces to bring out and make more of.

Rachel in TWO Magazine (C) TWO/Rachel Wood.

I wasn’t planning on doing this, but I appear to have got my makeup bag out so shall we go through it?!  Whats in my makeup bag?  (With comments from Rachel Wood as I pulled things out!)
I love going through people’s stuff and finding new things!  Real Techniques brush.  Samantha Chapman- big friend of mine.  (Rachel has appeared in and written for TWO magazine several times).  Mac eyebrow pencil, Mac Darkside, Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation Their illusion d’ombre eye shadows are insane.  I'm a big fan of Chanel because they are one of the few luxury brands that make their own products.  A lot of other luxury brands buys their makeup from someone else and put their stamp on it.  People who cant afford other things from the range, buy the makeup thinking hey are getting the brand- when they aren’t.  I feel that Chanel are amazing.  YSL glossy stain I like their lipsticks, but sometimes they don’t taste very nice.  They need to sot that out!!  Max Factor False Lash effect.  They don’t sell that in the states anymore, and I used to love the 2000 calorie mascara.  Coralista blush I used that on Grace Woodward today!  Coralista is like a more sheer Nars Orgasm!  Daniel Sandler’s Peach Puff blush.  Oh cool Ive not seen this before.  I love that is is so cheap.  Crown Kabuki.  I love using a Kabuki brush for my foundation.  That is how I put the foundation on the models.  I love buffing in the foundation with that.  Bourjois concealer.  Those mini pencils they do are amazing- the eye pencil they are great on a budget!  Aveda inner light concealer.  Very creamy!

Rachel is a fan of Chanel makeup (as am I).

What brands do you like?  What products do you normally carry around in your handbag?
Benefit is fun and for people who aren’t good with makeup, its easy to use- its not scary makeup.  Its not too heavy, too coloured, so it’s more about making the natural you. you can pile it on and not look too scary .  Brands like Mac, Illamasqua, Inglot are very heavy colourful which is great, but can be daunting for some people.  Chanel I love because the products are just amazing,

I always have 2 bad gal lash mascara, short or medium eye light false lashes and duo glue,  eyelash curler from Shu Umera, black track MAC, Charles fox angles eyeliner brush, Dark brown zing from benefit with 266 brush from mac, I'm a 3 concealer type of girl!  I use Mac  NW35 SPF35 concealer to cover dark circles, then a couple of dots of benefit erase paste and then I finish with a little YSL on the cheekbones to highlight. Chanel light pink blush and bronzer,  Nars bronzer and blush in gina (peachy). I love blush and bronze.  I have olive skin so I can wear both.

I have MAC Embark on today.  I love chocolate smokey browns.  I normally just wear eye pencils/liner to add colour but today I have a shadow on.  I have benefit Hoola gloss- I’m obsessed with the texture because they are not sticky.  It makes me feel like I am on a tropical holiday!  I wear lots of lipsticks- chanel are good but Tom Ford is my favourite.  I have almost every shade.  They do break the bank but if you want a lipstick, out of the brands, they are worth breaking the bank.  The texture, colour, pigments are amazing.  Lancome make some really nice sheer ones, but I prefer more opaque satin and matte textures and then added shimmer where I want it.
Rachel's work- combing art and makeup. (Property of e

Was this a career you always wanted to do, or was it something you fell into?

I went to art school as a teenager in New York.  I was always very involved in theatre, I liked painting, museums, singing music, movies, costumes, plays.  I studied theatre at university and I got really into the makeup side of it.  I went to performing arts camps in the summer where there were lots of Brits.  I came to England to visit and found out about all the great makeup schools here then ended up coming to makeup school here.  I stayed and ended up assisting.  I learnt a lot through assisting.

There are a lot of shoots now that want you to do hair, makeup, nails for free or for a low budget. I think it is very hard to make a career out of it, but I was able to find my niche.  If you don’t find your niche then you can drown in the business.  I was lucky because I used to teach in makeup schools and met many people along the way.  I have such an amazing team of assistants backstage here that are all so talented in their own right.  They all work with celebrities.  I have to have that here.  I have to trust them 100%.  I check everyone in the chair at the end, but I teach the assistants the look perhaps once and they get it.
Rachel's work in TWO Magazine.

I love what I do and I feel so blessed and lucky to be able to travel, and be creative, and meet amazing people and wake up every day loving my job.  No matter how tired I am, I’ll never complain that my biggest problem over the last few years is that I’m working too much and haven’t been home enough.  That is a good problem to have in this economy.  I'm very lucky and I did struggle for a long time.  I wouldn’t ask anyone to do what I didn’t do.  Life is what happens when you are making plans for other things.

If you had told me when I was younger that this year I would have been to the Artic Circle, Morocco, Istanbul, LA, Miami, and heading a show of 80 people- I would have laughed.  I'm just a kid from NYC.

Finally Rachel, out of all the places you have visited, are there any you would like to go back to?
Tuscany- I stayed on a vineyard this year and they put Chianti in all of our rooms!  I also liked Madrid.

Thank you Rachel for being a great sport and answering all my questions!  It was great chatting to you!

Rachel has a website, and a fab blog called Mascara Memories (link).  Also she is on twitter and is happy for anyone to tweet her makeup questions (@rachelmakeup73) and she will do her best to answer!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Haul: Rose gold glitter iphone case.

I'm on a glitter overload this week on the blog.  I had to share this purchase with you.  If you read Thursday's post then you will know how much I like sparkly, shiny, glittery things.  (I am not Gollum).
My phone is getting a new outfit for Christmas :)
 As soon as I saw this phone case, I knew it had to be mine... precioussssss... Introducing the rose gold glitter iphone 4s case from H&M for £3.99.  Yes it is tacky and the glitter will probably leave a trail- however it is sealed with glue at the edges and has lasted well from being in my bag thus far.  It came in a Christmas box with a tag saying 'To...... From....'.  I filled both spaces in with "ME".  Now I just need to find a nail polish to match..... (even if it will be a nightmare to remove)!   Every girl should have glitter.
My preciousssss
Can you recommend a rose gold glitter nail polish?  Or even gold glitter nail polish?  Glitter phone case- yes or no?

Disclaimer: Purchased by me.  I love glitter.

Friday, 8 November 2013

How to wake up on cold dark mornings. (Lumie light Review)

I dislike getting up in the dark.  There is somethings VERY unnatural about getting up before the sun does.  Getting out of bed in the dark falls into the same category as 'washing my makeup brushes', and 'telephoning people'.  These are things I know I have to do, I will feel better once these actions are done, but I still dislike them.

When I thought about it, there are three things I dislike about getting up in the dark.
  1. The fact it is cold.  My bed is warm and I want to stay in it as long as possible.
  2. The fact it is dark.  An alarm suddenly starts beeping away and you are supposed to spring out of bed, fresh as a daisy.
  3. The fact I am tired.  MY body tells me I should be asleep.  In my nest, hibernating.
It looks liek something the Jetsons (link) would have.
Well, I wont say all my gripes are solved, but they have got ALOT better due to the purchase of a Lumie Light.  (Sadly emigrating for the winter was not an option!)  It is an alarm clock that simulates sunrise (i.e. lights up slowly for 30 minutes before your alarm time).  This means your body is able to gently wake up meaning that you arent pulled out of deep sleep when your alarm goes off.  (Waking up when you are in deep sleep will generally leave you feeling very groggy, disorientated and tired).

Don't get me wrong, I still feel tired but its not heavily exhausted which is what I was feeling before using the Lumie light.  I also love waking up in the bright light and then turning on the bedroom light, rather than waking up in the dark and having to will myself to turn on (and adjust to) a bright 60W lightbulb on one sudden click.

I don't think this guy has slept yet.  His hair is too tidy!  See the pretty sunrise?
I have the lumie bodyclock starter 30 light (link), which is the baby of the group.  Recommended for suffers of SAD and endorsed by Good Housekeeping magazine, Starter 30 simulates sunrise and sunset.  It can be used as a light, has a dimmer for the clock face and alarm noise (which I dont use as I prefer the music on my phone).  I believe the other 3 models (Go, Active and Elite) have these features but with more variations (slower sunrises, different alarm sounds, MP3 options, radio, 7 day programming etc).  I find it easy to set up and use.

The starter model retails for £59.99 new which is an investment, however I have not regretted it.  I found these on Boots recently with a 10% discount (link) making it more affordable (and with the added bonus of tonnes of Boots points.  If you are thinking of purchasing one of these for yourself and want to save a few pennies then I'd suggest looking this ebay link as I have seen them go for £20, or check out the lumie website (link) for refurbished models with a discount.  If you are very unsure then Lumie offer a 30 day trial so you can 'try before you buy'.  Worth a look if you hate the dark, dreary mornings and struggle to wake up.

So this deals with the dark issue, and most of the tiredness.  Im not sure I can tackle the cold in the same way but let me know if you have any ideas!

How do you wake up in the mornings?  Have you tried a light clock?  If you have any suggestions or questions, just leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: Bought with my own money.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Haul: Sparkly Sequin Makeup Bag Bargain (M&S)

I am a magpie for sparkles.  Despite the fact I do not need another makeup up bag, I found myself purchasing this at the weekend.  I can totally justify it by the fact it was on a 3 for 2 offer at Marks and Spencer so I lumped it together with two other purchases.  It was £5 on it's own but I think I got it for free!  (I just noticed M&S have the 3 for 2 on AND 20% off online today so this is £4!)
Marks and Spencer sequin makeup purse (link)

Sequins remind me of making things at primary school.  We all used to make hats for the Christmas party and sometimes you were lucky enough to find a sequin or two in the scraps box.  Sequins are quite clearly jewels to 6 or 7 year olds.  I haven't lost that feeling!
Sequins.  Shiny, happy, sparkly sequins!
 Aside from the obvious shiny sequin factor I like this bag because it is compact but wide.  A number of previous bags have been so slim that they can't hold chunkier products such as my beloved Chanel foundations.  Now we are getting into the party season I normally end up having to be a social butterfly and carry a few extra items in my bag for hair and makeup transformations.  I also like this bag because its harder to loose inside my handbag.  The Sparkles are easier to locate- even in the dark!
My current bag (left) wont close.
If you are not a fan of gold, then this bag also comes in red (think Wizard of Oz shoes!), and silver.  I plan on filling a couple of these bags with items to make Christmas presents for a few friends.
All of this fits on my new makeup bag!  Chanel, Guerlian, Clinique, The Body Shop, Elf, MAC etc. AND it closes!

To see more of my sparkly gold makeup, accessories and jewellery click HERE to see an older post!

Marks and Spencer Sequin Makeup Bag- Do or Don't?  Do you use a makeup bag?  Any recommendations?

Disclaimer: Bought with my own money because I like shiny sparkly things.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunday Service

Just a round up of tales, games, adventures, posts from this week.

My Muppet Show.  It's a free Disney app game and I'm loving it!  You collect the Muppets and add them to the stage.  Each Muppet plays an instrument or dances/sings so you end up with a cool band playing variations on a theme.  You also have to feed the Muppets and buy them gifts (with pretend money).  Something to while away a rainy afternoon (and take me away from Bejewelled with I have an unhealthy addiction to!)

I joined Google+ officially this week although I currently don't have many friends on there- so feel free to click the button on the right and +1 (or whatever it is you do with google+) and leave me a note so I can find you!  My page is Computergirl for those of you that want to find it on your own!  Hopefully I'll understand how to use Google+ soon!

Makeup with staying power for oily skin or hot days- full of products and tips.  Take a look!
My blog turned 4, and this is the first giveaway to celebrate that! Some awesome ceramic hair straighteners perfect for travel!  Please take a look.  It's easy to enter and you have nothing to loose!

Finally I'm looking forward to seeing the second 'Percy Jackson' film.  I saw Percy Jackson and the lightning thief' (IMDB Link) a while back and loved it (well worth a watch if you like clean adventure films with a twist!)- I hope the second film is just as good! 

That's all for today.  I hope you have had a good week and weekend.  Let me know what things you have discovered recently, or if you can recommend any other films similar to Percy Jackson!

P.s. Don't forget my blog sale!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

4th Birthday Giveaway! It's here!!

You lucky things! I have a few prizes lined up for Computergirl's Musings 4th birthday.  Everyone likes presents!  The first giveaway birthday giveaway is.....

Neon Goddess Straighteners and Starlight tweezers!
...A pair of mini Neon Goddess Elie Ceramic straighteners.  They are travel friendly and come with a heat proof travel bag.  The ceramic technology allows them to reach temperatures of 195 degrees allowing them to effortlessly style, curl and straighten your hair.  If you are like me, then they are also useful for depotting makeup i.e. Mac eyeshadows (depotting post) PLUS they have dual voltage for worldwide use.  If you are travelling then these will make a perfect light addition to your suitcase.

These straighteners are small enough to allow you to make small defined curls or larger sweeping waves.  Plus the bright colour makes them hard to loose!

Elie have also donated a pair of starlight tweezers- angled tweezers with a light making even the smallest hair easy to see!  They also come with a sturdy case that will fit in your handbag for day to day travel.

Starlight tweezers in a star box!
Thank you to Elie Beauty (link) and The Clothes Show (link) for donating these wonderful prizes for Computergirl's Musings 4th birthday.

This giveaway is only open to those in the UK due to postage restrictions.  Sorry.  There will be other giveaways so stay tuned!  Compers will be disqualified as this is open to genuine followers only.  Please read the rafflecopter rules and requirements carefully- it's easy to enter (and easy for me to verify and pick a winner!).  Competition closes at the end of the month.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.s. If you havent had a chance to check out my blog sale then there are still some items left.  Also don't forget to have a look at yesterdays post on tips and products for making makeup last in hot weather (or just making it last on oily skin)!  Lots happening on the blog this week!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Hot Weather Makeup

Some of the products I have been using this summer.
I thought I would do a bit of a round up of the products, types of products and tricks I have used this summer to try and stop my face melting off.  I wear less makeup in the summer because a) it's hotter and it doesn't stay well and b) because it's hotter I look more alive (and therefore don't need as much makeup). I have oily combination skin which can cause makeup to slide, but this has been worse in the dry/hot weather.  I try to wear as little as possible, but some days I need a polished look....

First off, facial sprays, primers and tinted moisturiser!
FACE After I have cleansed etc I begin my routine by spraying a little face mist or water spray to counteract the harmful Ph of tap water on the skin.  This also helps to cool my skin so it is easier to work on- hot = red, oily, open pores, sweaty 'glowy' which means products wont settle and its harder to judge colour balance!  I have a couple of sprays I use, but today I used Avene Eau Thermale.  After this I apply a primer to create a barrier.  This stops my pores eating the makeup and my skins oil disturbing my makeup.  Generally I use Witch* as a day to day product (especially if combating spots), or Chanel Le Blanc for special days and fighting redness.  (Weirdly Le Blanc is £1 cheaper at Boots than House of Fraser!)

Tinted moisturisers are great in the summer.  I often find a foundation too heavy at the moment and find myself reaching for Alpha-H's Tinted Moisturiser with Sun Filters* (link).  It illuminates while blending fine lines and giving a hint of colour and improving the appearance of age spots.  Perfect

Concealers, illuminators and bronzer
TIP: If your base starts to dry out in the hot weather before you have finished your look, spray some MAC Fix+ or face mist on it to revive the foundation or concealer to a workable medium.  Both MAC and Avene come in small handbag sizes for refreshing during the day!  Or just to try before purchasing the full size.

Concealers- I like Benefit It stick (£3.49 link) for a workable concealer with powder finish.  Liquids I still reach for my Aveda Inner light (in depth post) as it can work into problem areas a little easier than harder concealers.  To illuminate under the eyes, nose etc then I use pens by The Body Shop or Guerlain.  I'm quite careful about sun exposure (everything in moderation) but should I need to even out any tan then it has to be Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel, a sort of cream with powder finish link.  (I can't believe I havent done a post on it)!

Blush, blush and more blush!
CHEEKS With a little more 'colour in my cheeks' from the sun, I find I don't need as heavier colours in the summer- however I have been using creams and stains a little more to combat the summer 'melt'.  The trick with creams is to never apply in a rush, or you will look like Aunt Sally.

Illamasqua Betray (link) is super pigmented- apply a little at a time and build.  I have a number of Illamasqua products are they are all highly pigmented and well recommended!  Jelly Pong Pong Love Rouge duos are currently sold out but they are good kit additions should you get the chance to buy them.  I also use their Jelly flush Stain which is light and adds a healthy glow.  I found one on ebay for 99p the other day.  (JPP made the infamous Supermodel Stain too which is worth a look if you find one!)

If you can work quickly then I'd recommend Daniel Sandler's Watercolour Blushes, though I do find the liquid is drying quickly in the hot weather.  I use my fingers, not the accompanying brush (which is good for applying powdered highlighter).  I wrote a previous post on my visit to Daniel's counter, a makeup look and this blush HERE

TIP: Set your cream blush with a powder blush is a close colour.  It will seal the product in and help it to last longer.  I generally use my MAC blushes.

Powder, eye primer, eyes...
EYES I like to keep my eye makeup simple in hot weather.  My lids get oily on normal days, let alone in hot weather where I am constantly putting on and taking off sunglasses.  I use Urban Decay Primer Potion (link to travel size!).  I have not found any product that matches this as an oily lid primer yet (but please feel free to recommend others to me).  I prime, then add some dots of Avon supershock gel eye pencil along my lash line to fill out my lashes (blog review post here).  I'll curl lashes, add some natural look mascara (Max Factor False Lash Effect* pictured above, but I also use Avon Supershock mascara regularly).  Next I powder, powder powder!  Elf Complexion Perfection lives in my handbag because the compact has a mirror though I'll use Witch blemish powder in the morning.] with my Crown Kabuki.

TIP: To set eye liner pencils or gels, use an angled eye liner brush with a bit of matching eyeshadow.

Summer lips. Balm, bright and bold.
LIPS As I barely wear eye makeup in summer, I try to go with bright lips.  If I am able, I'll have a no-makeup day and just wear tinted balm.  This Burt's Bees Rose tinted balm lives in my handbag.  It's soft, pigmented and moisturising. I think everyone should own one at least.  They are on offer a lot, though currently £5.10 at Feelunique (link) and come in many different colours.  Essential product.

Mid balm and lipstick comes Clinique's chuby sticks.  My summer bright is Grandest Grape.  Grown-up bright!  However one colour I really love for summer 2013 is MAC's Girl About Town- a bright Fuschia (I posted on it here although was sad to see the price increase on Debenhams earlier).

TIP: To keep your lipstick/chubby stick in place while you eat lots of ice lollies/frozen yoghurt/sip cool cocktails, use a layer of Lipcote over the top to lock the product in.  I find my lips will stay perfect for hours :) (More info at Boots)

I hope this has been useful.  I'd love to know what products you are using and any tips you have to stop makeup melting off your face in the summer heat?

Disclaimer: All products were purchased by me apart from those marked with * which were press samples sent for consideration.  All words are my own and products are only included at my discretion with honest thoughts.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Computergirl's Musings! Giveaway time!

CM is 4! How did that happen?  We got through the teething troubles, terrible twos, confusing threes and now we are F-O-U-R!  We will have to star thinking about which school to go to!!  4 years of writing about skincare, beauty, fashion, shopping, random things... I'm not going to gush but I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that read my blog, and an extra special thank you to those of you who take the time to comment or tweet.  It's really appreciated!  Another huge thank you to those who have been around since the start and still continue to read :)

There will be related blog birthday events this month- namely giveaways so just a heads up to stay tuned! For now I'd like this cake.  It looks amazing and yummy- I found it on Driftwood Dreaming- a lovely shop and blog if you like crafts and natural designs :)

What cakes do you like?  Any cake inspiration blogs or designs?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Etiquette 101: The RSVP

Unless you live under a rock, the chances are that sometime in your life you will have received an invitation to a special event with the letters ‘R.S.V.P.’ on it.  Yes, in the world beyond Facebook where events require a simple click ‘Yes/No/Maybe’ there is a whole social phenomenon where people write things on paper and send them (by hand or snail mail)!  As we are in summer (!) and wedding season I thought I would explore what these letters mean and the etiquette behind it.

To do: R.S.V.P.
R.S.V.P. stands for ‘r├ępondez s'il vous plait’, which is French for please respond.  It means that someone thinks a lot of you and wants you to attend a certain event- however to aid their planning and to help them not turn into a stressed out crazy person they want to know if you will be able to attend or not.  (I think all of us have, at some point, invited some friends to dinner/birthday meal/celebration/wedding etc and then had a moment of panic where we fear NO-ONE will turn up and we will look like a sad loner, or that too many people will turn up and there won’t be enough cheese and pineapple on sticks to feed everyone….)  This is where the R.S.V.P. comes in handy.  You can keep inviting different friends and family until all the spaces are filled OR you can ensure the catering meets the number of people and you don’t end up with a) lots of grumpy hungry people fighting over the cocktail sausages on sticks or b) you don’t end up having to live on left over food for 3 weeks having massively over catered.  (I have experienced both of those scenarios as a guest and grumpy hungry people are not fun!)

Did you know that the R.S.V.P. appeared in English culture in the late 18th Century.  By the 1920’s American etiquette writer Emily Post noted that ‘anyone receiving an invitation with an R.S.V.P. on it is obliged to reply’.  It was deemed to be in inexcusably rude if you did not reply- let’s hope fewer letters were lost in the post back then!
R.S.V.P. to France!

Nowadays many invitations are still sent with a separate R.S.V.P. postcard allowing the recipient to easily indicate attending or ‘with regrets’ for a non-attendance.  This allows the host to follow up any missing replies.  However the invention of email has lead to many events including an email address or telephone numbers for replies.

When should I reply?
Traditionally the convention is that you send your R.S.V.P. 1-2 days after receiving it.  I think this rule has been relaxed a little however it is advisable to reply 7 days in advance of any R.S.V.P. date.  If not you might end up with a frazzled phone call from a bride/event planner or, even worse, loose your place at the event!

I think I under ordered for 30 people....
Etiquette essentials:
  • If you are unsure of your attendance due to external factors (i.e. a shift rota) just drop your host a message to explain.  They will usually hold your place. 
  • If your invitation is also your R.S.V.P. (tsk!), don’t forget to photocopy the invitation part for future reference. 
  • Put the dates in your diary immediately.  There is no excuse for sending an attending R.S.V.P. and then not turning up due to double booking. 
  • Don’t forget to add any dietary requirements for you (and your guest) with the reply.  There should be a space for this information. 
  • Remember how many people the R.S.V.P. is for, and don’t turn up with extra guests.

Although some etiquette is badly dated in 2013, I think the simple R.S.V.P. is a sign of sticking to your word- something which should never be seen as outdated!

Are you off to any events this summer?  How long do you leave an R.S.V.P?  Do you prefer a written card, email, phone call or facebook R.S.V.P?
A huge thank you to London based Collection 26, event and wedding planners who have sponsored a post on Computergirls Musings.  As always, the topic and words are my choice and not influenced by the blogger or company.  Please take a look at for photographs of their past events (and gorgeous wedding dresses) or to read their tips for planning a party or event!

If you are a blogger or company who would be interested sponsoring a post on Computergirl's Musings, please get in touch for a list of forthcoming posts which have space for sponsorship.  Spaces are limited.  Please note that positive reviews, or content can not be purchased and all sponsorships are disclosed.  Thank you.


Friday, 5 July 2013

Take 5: Part 4 (A nosey post into my life)

In the last 7 weeks I didn't blog much at all so I thought I would post a few snaps of what I have been up to!

It's been most work, overtime work, travelling (for work stuff) but I did have a birthday and manage a few social trips, saw some family, and sadly got sick!  I'm currently recuperating from a cold which has made me very congested and achey (from coughing so much).

Getting lost in a hedge maze.
I love mazes.  I believe they were installed in mansion grounds as a fun way to force people to get exercise.  I do know some tricks to get through them quicker, but half the fun is getting lost or racing someone else to the middle.  The best mazes don't have a quick exit from the middle, but force you to go back the way you came!  Advice: Take water, wear sunscreen and visit a loo before you go in!

Afternoon tea! 
What a great British tradition!  Set up to give a little nourishment between meals.  This lot filled me up and was a meal!  The apple shortbread was yummy!

Post for the blog!  How exciting!
I still love getting post.  I love sending (and receiving) cards.  I don't think email will ever replace the thrill of getting a handwritten note!  One of these parcels contains some hand designs cards I bought for my card draw.  The others are blog goodies!

Elle Woods went to Law School in 'Legally Blonde'.
I love this film.  It seems to be on tv most weeks but I still watch it.  The outfit above is one of my favourites Reese Witherspoon (Elle Woods) wears.  Smart and beautiful :)  Sometimes the path to what we think we want leads us to a better goal.  (It amuses me how in the photo all the guys look bored/mad apart from the one to the left of Elle- he looks a little in love!)

Weston-Super-Mare and Kites!
A lovely British seaside town, full of tradition and Victorian buildings.  I was there when there was a kite festival- which made me think of Mary Poppins!  I haven't flown a kite for years (more pictures to follow if you want them)!  I caught the sun a little despite covering up!

What have you been up to?  Do you like Mazes, afternoon tea or Kites?  Are you a handwritten card fan?  Legally Blonde- good or bad?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dreams Nail Polish & Disney

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream
I mentioned this in my last 'Take 5' post.  I wrote a nice paragraph on this in that post so I don't want to repeat myself too much As it really is a pretty polish I thought I would share a few more pictures.  It's colourful, sparkly, shimmery- I think they looked at Ariel's tail from Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' (the version where they live 'happily ever after'- slightly different to the original tale).
Two coats- it's like those speckled Illamasqua polishes, but with shimmer and glitter instead.

Square bottle.  Win!
I love the square bottles because the store so neatly.  The colour is gorgeous although removing glitter nail polish is always a chore.  The one thing I'm not so in love with is the price.  These are a little on the pricey side- but an occasional splurge wont hurt right?  There are some really unusual colour combinations in the range.
Even with one coat it looks good.  Also worth trying over a coloured base like Gold, champagne or teal!

You can see the full range at House of Fraser online (link) or find some at slightly cheaper prices on ebay (If any of you can recommend reputable sellers, please leave a comment below).

Do you have any Deborah Lippmann nail polishes?  Would you recommend them?  What is your favourite Disney fairytale?

Disclaimer.  This item was a personal gift.  I mentioned it because it's pretty and I like pretty things.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Take 5: Part 3: Bargains, Nails, Food

 Food, H&M, La Roche-Posay bargain alert, Apivita and Deborah Lippmann all make an appearance to keep reading :)

La Roche-Posay, Deborah Lippmann and Apitiva.
I found La Roche-Posay Effaclar K reduced from £13.00 to £6.50 in Boots.  A number of items in the range were reduced so I hope this doesn't mean La Roche-Posay are downsizing their range in the UK.  (I am asking my contacts!)  I'm not opposed to a bargain, but we only just got the brand so I hope it isn't leaving so soon!
£6.50 Bargain!

I haven't not tried the Effaclar range so I'm not sure what to expect.  This product makes up part of the cult Effaclar Duo product, but part K just targets bumps, blackheads, deep congestion rather than the surface spots.  If you want to read more then Boots have it online and currently have a 3 for 2 offer.
Apitiva Natural Serum
I'm really loving Apitiva Natural Serum for Radiance.  The Greek company Apivita makes a range of ethically sourced natural products.  There are 4 serums in this range, and they recommend them according to your age.  This one has bilberry, vitamin C, Lycopene, Wild Rose, Pomegranate, Coenzyme Q10, Propolis, Lemon, Orange & Neroli essential oils and Green Tea infusion in it.  Lots of good, super food ingredients.  It smells delicately fruity (which is good- I'm not a fan of overpowering face products).  I also like the simplicity of the application, which involves a pipet.  Apivita is available online and in most Marks and Spencers stores (and online).

Mermaid's Dream.  So pretty!
Deborah Lippmann nail polish in Mermaid's Dreams.  The nail technician famously discovered by Bobbi Brown has a gorgeous range of polishes.  This one is teal green littered with gold shimmer and green/Teal glitter.  It's very pretty and builds well.  I have worn it on it's own or over other colours.  The polish lasted to the 3 days mark when I had to remove it for other reasons- and the gorgeous colour was worth the faff of removing glitter nail polish ;)  I'm very into mint green this season and this polish compliments my new mint green H&M jumper perfectly.  You can find this range with a recognition points offer at House of Fraiser (although these are a little pricey and perhaps a treat for most of us).  (Side note- LOVE the square bottles for tessellation and ease of storage).

Yum.  A firm cake favourite.

Salted Caramel Millionaire's shortbread.  I made a batch of this earlier in the week for and event where I had to bring and share.  They went down really well, but I forgot to photograph them before they went.  However if you want the recipe I used this one.  They taste so good, but just don't look at the amount of sugar and fat in them!!

Jennie Runk for H&M beachwear campaign.
I came across this image for the H&M beachwear campaign, featuring Jennie Runk.  I thought it was a really beautiful shot. Jennie is in fact a 'plus size' model.  To me that doesn't define her, or this photograph.  I just see a happy, healthy, beautiful model in a lovely dress and a stunning location.  I wrote a little more about Jennie on my fashion blog

So there is another edition of Take 5.  I hope you are enjoying these little snippetts.  As always, if you have anything thoughts I'd love to hear them :) Bloggers always like a comment or two :)

Have you tried any of these products?  What is your cake weakness?  Do you think H&M got it right?

(Disclaimer: Items bought by me apart from Apvita which was a sample, and Mermaid's Dream which was a gift.  All words and thoughts my own).

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