Beauty · Diary · inspiration · interview · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Uncategorized

Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 1)

As promised, today’s blog post is an interview with the lovely Kiera Louise Harrison, my talented makeup teacher.  From the moment I met Kiera, enquiring about her Make Up Artist Masterclass I felt inspired!  The 12 week course I am taking with her takes an absolute makeup beginner through to the professional level but the makeup academy Kiera has founded also provides a number of other makeup and hair courses. Check out her Facebook page here.

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A couple of weeks ago, I asked Kiera if she wouldn’t mind giving me an interview for my blog and she happily accepted. So I made a list of the things I was dying to ask her and arranged to talk with her last week half an hour before the start of our last lesson. Tomorrow we will have our practical exam (eek)! So, because the interview is a bit long (and transcribing from a recorder is taking much longer than I thought it would) I’ve decided to produce the interview in 3 parts.

So let’s dive in Part 1 of the interview, shall we?

Q: Kiera, you are a successful, young entrepreneur, owner of a professional make up academy and a professional makeup artist. What is the secret of your success?

A: Wow! What a question! I suppose there isn’t one secret. I would probably say that it’s a combination of lot of different things, the main thing being continuous hard work,  continuous research about the industry and continuously striving to be better I suppose.

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Q: What is your first memory of make up?  

A: I was a tomboy growing up.  I was never interested in makeup, I played football, I was more interested in building a tree house than lipstick and then I suppose growing up as I got into my last year of high-school all my peers and friends were all starting to look really glam and I thought “Ooh, I need to start doing this” and I saw my mum applying some bronzer and I tried it and from then I was just “Wow, I love looking tanned” ; and to be honest that was all I ever used to really wear.  A little bit of bronzer, a little bit of lip gloss. Then it was only as I went to college, I went to uni and I started working part time in a photo studio that is really when my love for make up really started to come out and progress really.  I loved watching the transformation of people and I really loved seeing how happy they were once they saw themselves. I suppose that sparked the passion for it really. It was working at that studio.

Q: Is that how your make up love affair begun?    

A: Yes. I’ve always loved art and I’ve always been quite a creative person. So I suppose makeup for me then became a form of expression for painting the face, if you like. I’ve always been experimental with colours and liked playing with things that stereotypically you wouldn’t be taught, just to create beauty really.

Q: When did you become a professional makeup artist?

A: At 18, working at the photo studio part-time while I was at uni studying Media Styling. Then I got the opportunity to work at the BBC as a makeup artist and that’s when it begun to flourish and I decided that that I want was the avenue I wanted to go down professionally as opposed to it being a hobby.

Q: What prompted you to qualify as a makeup instructor and what steps did you take to meet that goal? 

A: I was working at MAC Cosmetics and during that time I was working on various different roles.  One of those was working in the Events Team and I came back from London Fashion Week they approached me and asked me to become a Trainer. I wasn’t sure if it would be something I would enjoy but decided to give it a go. And when I stepped into it and started learning more about the products and showing people how to use them (I was also a product specialist so basically my job was to use the new collections that came in and design a look with them and showing the team how to wear it). So I suppose that came hand-in-hand with my art background and my creativity, which I really enjoyed. I loved teaching people. Found it so rewarding, watching somebody grow from knowing nothing to then being that expert so that sparked another trigger in me.

So I talked to my dad about this and said “I’m really enjoying this” and he asked me “What do you see your future? Do you want to stay at MAC all your life”?And I said, “No, I want my own make up academy but I always thought it would be in my early 50s like before I’d take that plunge”. And he said, “If that’s the goal that you would like to do, then I think you need to get a teaching qualification”. Initially I thought I had had enough of uni and it wasn’t all I thought it would be as I was sick of academics, but I went back to uni and did my PGCA which is a teaching qualification. I did that part-time while I continued to work and while I was there I got offered a teaching post at Bolton College teaching make up to young students. I decided to drop my days at MAC, going part-time while still being present in the industry and picked up 2 days teaching at the college.

To find out more about Kiera’s experience of teaching at college and how she was motivated to create her own academy stay tuned to my blog for Parts 2 and 3 coming up soon.

For now, I’ve got to go and study and prep for my exam tomorrow.  Wish me luck!!!wp-image--1383816572

Diary · Father's day · inspiration · Makeup · Personal diary · Uncategorized

My make-up classes – Dedicated to my father

The inspiration for starting this blog came from my spur-of-the-moment decision last April to enrol in a makeup academy which is within walking distance from my place of work. As I have mentioned before, I’ve always been fascinated by make up and colours and spent a lot of money in products so I thought that taking up professional classes was a good idea.  I still don’t know where the makeup artist certificate will take me (if I’m good enough to pass the exam at the end of the month) but it’s always good to learn a new craft.

I had first seen adverts and short articles about this particular makeup academy (KLMA) by Kiera Louise in local publications in the Greater Manchester area.  I had even enquired about Kiera’s classes shortly after I moved to the UK with my then-boyfriend/now-husband 3 years ago.  For some reason I didn’t take the plunge then but recently decided to go for it.

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I work in HR. I’ve been in the profession for 20 years now and I think my father was proud of my career choices and progression; even though in recent years I struggled to find work in Cyprus, due to the economic crisis and moved to the UK in search of new career opportunities.   My dad was the person who convinced me to study Human Resources Management without giving up my idea of becoming a Psychologist as a teenage student. While I was dead set on becoming a Psychologist, without really understanding what it would be like, he didn’t push me to give up the idea although I knew he wasn’t thrilled by it. Instead he came up with an alternative which he thought I would like. He was right! He told me that some universities allowed for dual courses​ so that I could give both subjects a go at the same time. And that’s how I ended up in the HR profession.

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My late father, unlike me, was an intellectual. He read a lot, liked poetry, history, current affairs and studied encyclopaedias and languages. I always admired him for his thirst for knowledge that does not come so naturally to me. Apart from having inherited his love for traveling and a condition that makes me easily perspire profusely (and suffer from it like he did) I don’t think we had very much in common.  But just a few days before he passed away suddenly last year, I was in Cyprus preparing for my wedding. I was talking to my mum and mother in law about my bridal makeup and hair trials, things I thought were trivial and superficial to him but my dad showed real interest and wanted to see the photos. His face actually lit up and I am happy we shared those moments as he didn’t make it to my wedding but he was part of the preparations.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that although the makeup classes are my indulgence I would like to believe that he approves and doesn’t think it’s silly. That he can see the potential in my “vain” decision and agrees with me for giving it a go.

I enjoy the makeup masterclass. I’ve learned the basics of skin types and skin undertones, the use of different brushes, hand and brushes sanitation, identifying different face, mouth and eye shapes​.  All these are paramount to know when putting makeup on other people. I quickly realised that working on other people’s faces is quite challenging. I am working on my techniques and have experimented with different looks.

Here are some examples of my learning so far:

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Next Tuesday we will have the last lesson before the final exam and I have asked Kiera, the owner of the academy, to do an interview with me for my next blog post. Though she’s only a young entrepreneur, she’s a success in her field and an inspiration to a lot of women. So I wanted to get the chance and learn more about her and share with you too.  Thankfully, she happily accepted.

So, do you have any questions you would like me to ask a professional makeup artist and teacher? Now’s your chance!

award · Beauty · Coffee · Diary · Food · inspiration · Love · Makeup · nominations · Personal challenge · Shopping · Uncategorized

LIEBSTER AWARD (Q+A Plus 11 Facts about Me)

I am new to blogging, with just passing over 50 followers on WordPress and 75 on Facebook so far so I was really surprised but also honoured to be one of the 11 bloggers recently nominated the Liebster Award by Sofia whose blog is A no one’s diary.  Sofia likes writing about life, random stuff and make up and you can click on her link here  https://anoonesdiary.wordpress.com/ to find out out more about her and her lovely blog.

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The Liebster Award gives bloggers the opportunity to grow their followership by telling other bloggers a bit more about themselves and engaging with fellow bloggers through nominating them further.  It helps promote each others’ blogs. So thank you Sofia for the opportunity and I’d like to pay it forward too!

The rules are:

  • The nominated blogger must acknowledge who has nominated them and also share their links
  • Share 11 facts about themselves
  • Answer the 11 questions that they have been asked
  • Nominate 11 more bloggers whose blog they recommend
  • Ask 11 questions that they would like those bloggers to answer
  • Let the bloggers they’ve nominated know that they’ve been nominated.

So here it goes!

11 Facts about me:

  1. I started Flamenco dance classes (and took them for about 5 years) after I was inspired by watching live Flamenco dancing in Barcelona while travelling there with friends as a graduate student.
  2. I am a huge Kate Bush fan. My lifetime dream to one day see her perform live became a reality 3 years ago!
  3. When we bought an Espresso coffee machine with my husband about a year ago we started a tradition without even discussing it which we continue to this day. Everytime we open a packet of espresso coffee capsules we stack them next to the coffee machine in different formations. Every time one of us uses a capsule or adds more capsules to the kitchen counter we change the shape of the formation. I don’t know if what I’m trying to explain makes any sense so here are some photos to show you better some examples of our formations.

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4. I was a ferocious nail biter from a young age until I turned 22. Just before going to graduate school I woke up one day and thought to myself “Kiki, you’re too old to be biting your nails. Grow up and grow your nails already”. After that I grew my nails really long and have managed to quit my bad habit for good. I now love having well manicured nails and painting them different colours.

5. I love travelling and made it my goal a few years ago to travel to new destinations every year and visit as many different countries as possible. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to do this lately but so far I have visited 30 different countries (if I include my homeland Cyprus) in my 42 years of living on earth :

  • Greece
  • UK
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Luxemburg
  • Switzerlan (only passing through though)
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Malta
  • Ireland
  • Austria
  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • The Netherlands
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • UAE
  • USA
  • Egyp
  • Israel
  • Hungary
  • Czech Republic
  • Latvia
  • Australia (I don’t know this one escaped me. A friend who read the blog just notified me to add it)

Hopefully I will get to visit another 30 in my lifetime.

6. I once won a karaoke contest in a bar in Patra (Greece) while on a weekend get away with friends. I won singing the song “Black Velvet” by Alanah Myles. It was the highlight of my singing career.

7. My husband and I became Wombassadors ever since we came back from Sydney (Australia) after we spent 6 weeks there in 2013. Wombats are animals native only to Australia, less known than koalas but equally cute. Australian organisations that care for them depend on charity to pay for their needs and we are happy to give a donation every year and buy promotional materials as gifts from them. We also hope to hug a few wombats one day. They’re adorable.

8. I love attending live concerts. Last night I had the opportunity to watch Robbie Williams in Manchester. It was so much fun!

9. I played the cello in highschool. Even though I was pretty much useless I really enjoyed being in the symphonic orchestra.

10. In case you haven’t realised already I love make-up.

11. I am a big foodie so I have been struggling with my weight for most of my life. Dieting is a real challenge for me. So in order to look nice for my wedding (which was in October 2016) I purposely ordered my wedding dress a size smaller. Setting that goal was the only way to lose weight but I still had to join a gym and exercise 2 hours a day, every day in the month leading up to the wedding to fit in it. Thankfully the hard work paid off and the dress did not rip when I wore it on the big day.

Now, on to Part 2. The questions assigned to me were:

  1. What’s your guilty pleasure?

There’s so many to choose from. From chocolate, coffee, cakes … but the one that my husband finds worrying is my fascination with murder mysteries whether they are real life or fiction (reading about them or watching series and documentaries). He thinks I’m disturbed.

2. Describe your first kiss.

I am over 40 so it was a very long time ago but I’m sure it was awkward and I probably didn’t breathe during my first kiss as I wouldn’t know what to do.

3. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I love this question! When I was a child I wanted to be a fashion designer. Then I grew up, studied Psychology and HRM and followed a 20 year career in Human Resource Management. Growing up even further my dream I guess would be to become an exceptional and renowned make-up artist.  But it’s probably only going to stay just a dream.  But dreaming never hurt anyway so I’ll keep on dreaming.

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4. Most cringey situation.

I think I’ve had quite a few of those that I’d rather forget or have a selective memory of!

5. Tell us a secret!

When I was doing my Master’s degree as a graduate student I wanted to dye my hair bright red (the Coca-Cola can colour kind) but was too scared I wouldn’t be taken seriously. I resorted to going for 1 blue strand instead. I thought it would look cool against my dyed blue-black hair. It was a botched attempt at the dormitory. I tried to bleach a strand of my (already dyed) blue black hair and then dying it blue on top. I ended up looking ridiculous with a patch in the middle of my head looking orange/purple! After my perplexed university tutor asked me what I’d done to my hair I dyed it back to black.

6. What is the worst purchase you’ve ever made?

I’ve made a few bad purchases in my life, from buying beautiful, very expensive shoes that turned out to be uncomfortable and unwearable to make up products that turned out to be rubbish. A recent bad one that comes to mind was a L’Oreal hair spray product that’s meant to cover grey roots. It just makes a mess! I’d rather dye my roots every fortnight than use that product again.

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Sorry L’Oreal, I do like you as a brand in general but I wasn’t worth THAT product!

7. What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can’t think of any. I’d like to think that any talents I may have are useful in one way or another.

8. What trends do you hate?

Throughout the decades I’ve hated trends like shoulder pads and straight fringes on afro hair but the latest trend I can’t get over is “scouser eyebrows”.

9. Have you ever messed up, but no one ever found out it was you?

Hmm. I’m pretty sure I always fessed up to things I messed up. I’m not one to deny a mistake I’ve made. I sometimes even tend to apologise for things I didn’t do wrong rather than try to argue that I haven’t. So that’s something I need to work on.

10. What’s the worst habit you have?

Picking my spots. I don’t have the patience to let them go away naturally. I know it makes things worse but I can’t control myself. I know it’s a disgusting habit but you asked, sorry!

11. What’s your dream travel?

Going to the Seychelles. Ever since I saw a documentary from the 70s on the Seychelles islands with their dreamy beaches I’ve always wanted to go there one day for a romantic holiday.  At some point I decided that that’s where I would go for my honeymoon if I ever got married.  When I got engaged I told my (now) husband that this was my dream honeymoon destination but he wants to do a grand tour of Australia instead as he’s not interested in sitting by a beach for 2 weeks. To comprise, we’re planning (a very belated) honeymoon comprising of 2 or 3 days in Bali AND go on an adventure around Australia.

My nominees are:

  1. Ephemeral to stay
  2. maddy loves life 
  3. Life with Meg

  4. Cats and contours
  5. the girl with an accent
  6. Kim Styles Cards
  7. cassixmakeup
  8. Tales of Belle
  9. the lil beauty bean
  10. whos that girl blog
  11. hollife

and the questions I want to ask them are:

  1.  What inspired you to start your blog?
  2.  What is your favourite vice?
  3.  If you were a colour which one would it be?
  4.  How lucky are you and why?
  5. Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
  6. What was the last gift you gave someone?
  7. What is your most favourite thing about humanity?
  8. What is the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently?
  9. What inspires you?
  10. If a genie granted you 3 wishes what would you want to wish?
  11. If you were a tree, what would you be?

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that those nominated have fun answering my questions and continuing the nominations!

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