Eyeliner · Eyes · Makeup · Personal challenge · Uncategorized

Make up your mind – The end of my personal challenge

For those of you who follow my blog, I hope that you have read my post Make up your mind! (Part 1 of my personal challenge) and know what this post is about. If you haven’t, basically, what started as a thought about seasons and makeup colours ended up with giving myself a challenge to only use the same eyeshadows (4 different shades of blue) for 2 whole months! The 4 blue shades were these:

Blue eyeshadows

I started this on the 9th of May so on my birthday (9th July) I could finally be free! Because having to use the same colour eye shadows day in, day out is not fun! I know it’s a challenge I set myself and it’s no-one else’s fault I came to this decision but there was a reason I decided to go for this ridiculousness.  I wanted to use up certain products which take me ages to go through. Makeup junkies like me would know that with the exception of your staples (such as  foundation, concealer, face powder and maybe a couple of eye pencils), all other products, especially when you have a variety of them, can last for years.  I own eye-shadows, lipsticks, eye gels and blushers that I’ve had for over a decade.  I even have an original 70s Mary Quant golden shimmery eye shadow that my mum passed down to me when I was a teenager and I still use it occasionally (maybe once every 5 years)!

I’m sure manufacturers will say that it’s unhygienic but trust me I haven’t been poisoned or infected by any of my products yet.  I think the makeup industry is trying to make more money by trying to convince us that their products have an expiry date. Mascaras I do try to use up and throw away quickly as they can cause eye infections but everything else is fine, in my humble opinion.

My point is, when someone who loves make up like me accumulates loads of lipsticks, blushers and eyeshadows it’s very difficult to use them up and a strategy needs to be followed.

Exactly a month after setting myself this challenge, I posted my 2nd part of this “mini-series” (which unfortunately I somehow managed to delete without keeping a copy somewhere else) where I mentioned how using the same eyeshadows day in, day out was a bit boring but also convenient. In a way, it took out the having to think what to “wear” for makeup at work question in the mornings. And also, it made me become more creative with how I used the eyeshadows and how I combined them with different blushers, lipsticks and eyeliners.

On some days I used only 1 of the 4 colours, on others I would mix them up, on some other days I would use them all and sometimes I would use just the darkest colour as eyeliner.  Using different brushes made a difference to the final look as well. For example, I would use a blending brush when mixing the colours or use an angled brush to apply the eyeshadow as if I was using a gel eyeliner.

Here are some examples of the different looks I created in the 2 months of my challenge:

So what was the outcome of my challenge when my birthday arrived?

Firstly, it was an exercise of patience which paid off by finally seeing a difference in the Cien eyeshadow pot. After 2 solid months of usage it finally started to look used up with a a lot of product gone. So mission accomplished in that respect.

Secondly, it was an exercise in living more minimalistically – a useful lesson now that I’m shipping my belongings back to Cyprus and I have to live off one suitcase for 6 weeks while I wait for my stuff to arrive.

Thirdly, it was an exercise in creativity where I learnt to “play” with different brushes, lipsticks and blushers to combat my boredom of using the same eyeshadows.

Funnily enough, when my birthday finally arrived, although I was relieved that my challenge was over my first attempt at makeup that day made me look like a clown! I was so looking forward to using more vivid colours that I just went overboard. So I had to remove my makeup, remind myself that less is more and took it easy the second time around 🙂

award · Coffee · exam · inspiration · interview · Makeup · nominations

LIEBSTER AWARD (2nd and 3rd nominations)

Still relatively new to blogging after 3 months, with a small following of 76 people on WordPress and 79 on Facebook, I have had the honour to be nominated for this blogger award twice again. Soon after I posted about my first award LIEBSTER AWARD (Q+A Plus 11 Facts about Me)I was nominated again by Jade Mayhead but time constraints kept me from responding to her nomination. In the meantime, a 3rd blogger, Sam Avalos of the makeup armor blog nominated me a couple of days ago.  So I thought I can’t procrastinate this any longer and I might as well kill two birds with one stone here.

So firstly I would like to thank both ladies for appreciating my blog and nominating me again. Jade blogs about all things makeup and her life and I love her Makeup Collection series. Sam’s blog is beautiful in content and layout and I absolutely love her photos and how fresh her blog looks and feels!  I am honoured that both these bloggers thought I was worthy of mention and I hope you check out their blogs and enjoy reading their posts.

So what is this Liebster Award? It’s an opportunity for bloggers to promote their blogs as well as informing their followers and readers of other bloggers by continuing the nominations further.  The rules of the award 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!

Firstly, brace yourselves for 11 (not very exciting) facts about me:

  1. I have dimples in my cheeks but they are not symmetrical.
  2. One of the questions from Sofia in my first nomination was “What useless talent do you have”? I couldn’t think of one at the time but shortly after publishing my post I was reminded at work, after I accidentally startled my colleague Rebecca for the 5th time, that I am very talented at startling people without meaning to!
  3. When my then boyfriend/ now husband and I first moved to the UK we were besotted with hedgehogs and wanted to get one as a pet. But we soon discovered that although they are the cutest of creatures, hedgehogs are also quite filthy. So we changed our minds and got a hedgehog garden gnome instead.
  4. I was never interested in cooking until I turned 30 when I was working in Athens. Living abroad by myself made me miss and appreciate my mum’s and grandmother’s home-cooking which is why I started asking my mum for her recipes and trying them out. My Cypriot dishes are now my husband’s favourite food.
  5. Last year I took a calligraphy class. It wasn’t easy.
  6. I am currently moving from Manchester back to Cyprus to re-start my life back in my homeland and I just realised this would be the 6th time I’ll be moving from the UK back to Cyprus.  The first time I was a toddler, 2 times I returned to Cyprus after my UK university studies and twice before I was seconded to work in Southampton and then returned home.
  7. I love spas, spa treatments and pampering and cannot for the life of me understand people who don’t like massages.
  8. Even though I’m an absolute coffee addict and only drink tea if I have a sore throat or a cold I do like English teahouses and I enjoy afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches once in a while.
  9. I love colours – experimenting with colourful makeup, clothes and accessories.
  10. I used to love red wine but about 10 years ago I suddenly developed an allergic reaction to it that gives me awful headaches. So now I drink mostly white and sometimes rose wine but avoid red.
  11. Did I mention that I love makeup and blogging about it?

Now, on to Part 2 and onto the 11 questions from Jade and the other 11 from Sam. Jade’s questions were:

1. What has been your favourite experience this year?  Taking a makeup masterclass and passing my MUA exam.

2.  How many siblings do you have? Two. A sister and a brother. I’m the middle child.

3. What 5 makeup products are your holy grails? If I was only allowed one makeup item it would be concealer. So my first product would be a good under-eye concealer such as Kat Von D’s Lock It.

A full coverage foundation (such as Estee Lauder’s Double Wear) would have to be my second.

A nice shimmery highlighter such as MUA’s or MAC’s strobe cream for an under-foundation skin glow would be my third.

My current mascara, Maybelline’s faux cils Push up Angel is the best mascara I’ve ever had for its unlikelihood to smudge my short eyelashes. It separates and gives them a naturally defined look without creating a mess.


Finally, my MAC No.227 eyeshadow brush is the best brush for blending EVER!

4. Do you prefer a bold lip or a natural lip? I’m recently liking lip glosses but I’m usually inclined to go for a bold red or fuchsia lip so natural lip is definitely not my style.

5. What is the story behind your blog name? Funnily enough the name From Vanity to Sanity just came to me without much thought. I wanted something catchy to capture the spirit of my favourite past time, makeup. I thought beauty is vain but writing about it somehow makes it more sane! Does it make sense?

6. What is one makeup product that you regret buying? There’s a few makeup products I invested in over the years without reaping any benefits. One of them was a silver Bobbi Brown glittery eyeshadow. It was hard-pressed so not easy to apply but once applied it was just a messy mass of glitter everywhere.


7. Do you have any pets? Not at the moment but looking forward to owning a house with a garden one day, rather than a flat, so that I can have a few different pets.

8. How would you describe your wardrobe? Colourful.

9. In what order do you apply your makeup? I start with primer, concealer, foundation (if I have time: contour and highlighter), followed by blusher. If I have time I will apply eyeshadow and eyeliner. If not, I skip that step and just apply mascara before my lip gloss or stick. I end with a fixing spray.

10. Are you a brushes or a sponge person? I use mostly brushes but sometimes use a beauty blender for foundation and concealer.

11. Do you have any superstitions? When I’m scared I might hear bad news I knock on wood.  Sadly it doesn’t work.

Next are Sam’s questions (with my answers):

  • What is your favorite movie?

As a child I loved The Sound of Music and watched it over 30 times. As a grown up I never thought of a favourite film.  But one film that really moved me and made me think and I would like to watch again was American Beauty with one of my favourite actors, Kevin Spacey.

  • Coffee or tea?

As I already mentioned earlier in this post and in my first Liebster Award post I am addicted to coffee so you may have known the answer to that already.

  • What is your favorite step in your makeup routine?

I enjoy the whole ritual of putting on makeup but my most favourite part would be the last one – applying a pop of colour on my lips, in the form of a lipstick. Even if I don’t have time to apply other products such as eyeliner, mascara or blusher, a red lippy will always save the day!

  • What made you create your blog?

I was inspired by a makeup masterclass I signed up for in April and by my instructor, owner of the KLMA Makeup Academy, Kiera Louise Harrison. You can read my 3-part interview with her from my previous posts Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 1), Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 2) and Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 3) and you can see for yourselves why I was so inspired.

  • Your spirit animal and why.

Like the ancient Egyptians who considered cats to be deities, I too am fascinated by these creatures. They are elegant, sophisticated, smart, independent and very-very cute.

  • All time favorite band/singer?

Kate Bush of course. I already mentioned this in one of the facts about me in my first Liebster nomination post.

  • Any quotes that keep you motivated/happy?

I love the quote that goes “I could stop buying makeup but I’m not a quitter!”

  • Last movie/show you saw on Netflix?

Orange is the new black.

  • What is your favorite summer trend?

As I brace myself for the 40+ degrees heat in Cyprus I will have to endure going back in the peak of summer, I think the slick hair side parting will be my go-to look for going to work with freshly washed hair every day.

Slick side part

  • Favorite makeup brand?

I love NYX for their affordability and range of products, vivid colours and range.

  • Who is your style icon?

Audrey Hepburn – the ultimate symbol of elegance and class.


Now that I’ve answered Sam’s question I have to nominate 11 other bloggers to do the same. My 11 nominees are:



Sydney Rose




Jenny’s Way


Simple Serenity

Lucie Seviour


I enjoy reading each one of these blogs, whether their subject matter is makeup, lifestyle, internal or external beauty and often feel inspired by them. I hope you check them out too.

The questions I want to ask them are:

  1.  What inspired you to start your blog?
  2.  Who is your favourite beauty icon / celebrity of all time?
  3.  In no more than 5 words, what is it that you love about makeup?
  4. How much time do you spend blogging weekly?
  5. Which is your favourite genre of music?
  6. Which makeup product can’t you live without?
  7. Which person has influenced you the most in your life?
  8. What is your favourite drink?
  9. How much time do you usually spend on your daily makeup routine?
  10. Which is your next travel destination?
  11. Which is your favourite book and why?

I hope you enjoyed reading this post (even though it was pretty long). I hope the nominees have fun answering my questions and continuing the nominations!


#concealer · brunch · Coffee · exam · Food · foundation · Friends · Makeup · Makeup academy · Shopping · Uncategorized

Ladies who brunch and go makeup shopping (Part 2 / Manchester)

Even before meeting my friend Asha in London for a girls’ day out in May (the topic of my Ladies who brunch and go make-up shopping (Part 1 / London) blog post, we had planned that she would come and stay with us in Manchester for a weekend at the end of June.  It so happened that the joyful event coincided with some very positive news for me and my husband as well.  I had arranged to take that Friday off and shortly before my friend’s train was due to arrive I received a phone call from Cyprus. I was very nervous and anxious about it because I had done 2 interviews via WebEx with an international company based in Cyprus in the days leading up to it and I really wanted to hear if I had gotten the job.

Thankfully I was offered the job and was thrilled and very excited.  I told my husband and that’s when it both hit us! What we both had been wanting for some time now, to return to Cyprus, was finally happening!! So when I met my friend at the train station an hour later I told her the good news and of course we had to celebrate.  We went to my all-time favourite brunch place in Manchester for a late but massive brunch and from there I Vibered the good news to my family back home and my best friends.

My favourite brunch place is Moose Coffee . I love it so much that I have to take everyone who visits me there and give them a taste of the good life! Here is some evidence of what I’m talking about!

Asha’s visit was the weekend before my exam at the makeup academy so we were discussing about practicing a few makeup looks on her face in preparation for it. I also told my friend that my makeup instructors had mentioned that the Kat Von D makeup line had finally arrived in the UK and was only available in one place in Manchester, at the Market Street Debenhams branch so we just HAD to pay a visit before heading home.  During our previous day out in London I was saying to my friend that I thought her MAC foundation colour was a bit too dark for her skin tone (putting my newfound learning from the academy into practice) and so she wanted to see what else was out there.  For years I’ve mostly used Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation as it was the one product I could find that supposedly does a good job of full coverage so I was intrigued by the Lock It products from Kat Von D that promise full coverage (to the extent of even covering whole tattoos).

We both had a makeover to try on the foundation and ended up buying a couple of products. Asha got a foundation and I think a highlighter (it’s been 3 weeks so I may be wrong on that one).  I bought a foundation, concealer and under eye powder from the Lock It line.

I have tried all 3 of the products but currently only using the concealer on a daily basis and I have to say that I am very pleased with it! (Once I get a chance at a later stage, after I’m settled back in Cyprus I will do a proper review of all 3 products).

Once home, we opened a bottle of Prosecco to celebrate the new job/country move while all 3 us helped prepare dinner (a Greek dish, of course) and talked about what it would take to organise the move.


Brunch the next day was at home followed by the makeup trial. We kept it to a pretty much nude look although I did manage to convince Asha in the end to let me try a bit of burgundy and purple colours on her eyes. I think she eventually grew to like the outcome but sadly I forgot to take a photo of the look.

At 3 pm we had cake and coffee planned at my local Italian coffee place where we met another friend from our university years, Caroline.  Asha and Caroline are in regular contact but apart from the occasional Facebook chat I hadn’t seen Caroline in more than a decade and it was lovely to catch up with her and also finally meet her daughter, her partner and his youngest daughter. The meeting was topped off with some FaceTime with another university friend, Ange from USA.  It was very sweet even though brief.

Our evening plan for Saturday was dinner and drinks at the nearest Solita restaurant, another favourite of ours, that specialises in massively portioned delicious burgers.

Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re at Solita’s Prestwich enjoying massive quantities of delicious burgers

The realisation soon came to us that moving back to Cyprus meant that seeing my friend would be less frequent. We have, over the years  though, always managed to stay in touch and visit each other in our respective countries.  Asha even visited me in Athens when I was working there for 2 years.  So we know we won’ lose touch. We may even arrange a holiday somewhere else together the next time.

And who knows? Perhaps we may even throw in a makeup shopping spree somewhere in there…

inspiration · interview · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Uncategorized

Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 3)

With all the recent changes and excitement in my life I had somewhat neglected my blog recently even though I had a lot of material to write about.  One of them was the completion of my interview with Kiera Louise Harrison, my inspirational makeup teacher. You can read Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 1) and Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 2) here.


It took me a while to transcribe the interview from my recorder but the worst part was that halfway through typing it up on WordPress initially I accidentally found out that this platform will not allow posts to be over a certain word length! Which is why I had to cut up the interview in 3 parts. But here it is finally ladies and gents: Part 3 of the interview. I hope you enjoy it. I know I had fun doing it!

Q: What makeup look do you like the most?                                                                            A: That’s a great question and what a difficult that one is! I think if it’s a signature look that I’m gonna wear myself as well, I am so obsessed with skin. I think that getting the skin right is the most important thing.  I love a glowing, dewy skin, showing health and radiance. I like makeup to be flawless, buffed lovely and well-blended. Personally, I love warm tones, like your rich chestnut browns, bronzy colours; really wearable and beautiful looks.

Q: What makeup trends do you dislike?
A: There isn’t a makeup trend I don’t like. The only thing I don’t like in makeup is when the fine details aren’t articulated. For example, if the blending is sloppy or not choosing the right colour for the client’s skin tone. Especially if you are working with darker skins, you can make them look great or you can take that radiance away from them. Makeup should be used to enhance your features and make you feel amazing not leave you washed out or looking a little bit dead!

Q: Which are your favourite products?
A: I love MAC Fix+ Spray, BECCA skin perfecting illuminators and I love MAC Face + Body Foundation.

Q: What are the new trends to look out for in makeup?
A: That’s a great question. I suppose at the minute in the catwalks it’s all about using one product on different areas of the face. For example, using lipstick as eyeshadow. It was all about texture. So, making sure that brows have texture and seeing the hairs on the brow for example. They also had quite colourful lashes, like blue mascaras, a pop of colour on quite minimalistic skin.

Q: Who is your makeup idol?
A: I’ve got a few. One of them is an Australian lady who now lives in London. She’s called Val Garlant. When I was working on Fashion Week she was my key artist and wow! did she inspired me! She’s really cool.

Another one is Pat McGrath – her work is absolutely insane if you’re really interested in photographic stuff. She again is such a massive name at all fashion weeks globally, not just London. She’s also got her own makeup products that have launched now.

I suppose looking at Instagram makeup artists you’ve got Mario who is Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist. I’m also quite a fan of Adam Burrell’s work who is artist to a number of celebs such as Little Mix and James Molloy as well.

Q: And finally, my last question – What would you advise people who are thinking of becoming professionals in makeup artistry?
A: First and foremost, I think the biggest advice I can give to anybody who wants to become a makeup artist is to invest in yourself. Invest in your training. Although initially It can be quite daunting thinking about the outlay you’re paying but obviously from working in a government funded college and then having quite a lot of experience and seeing that contrast there’s just no comparison with it. It is worth finding people whose work you are inspired by and perhaps seeing if they have an academy, if they offer one-to-one training and train with them if possible. There’s no better investment than in yourself.

The second piece of advice is, you need to work on your portfolio. Whether that’s digital but I always think it’s good to have an actual handmade book as well to take with you and showcase your work if you’re introducing yourself, knocking on those doors. It shows that you’ve taken that time to prepare, it will make you move higher up in their estimations.

I think a big thing as well, and I can definitely speak from experience, is that you have to be resilient. There will be times when you’ll get knock-backs, you’ll be told “no”, you’ll be told “you’re not good enough” and it can upset you. Don’t let that knock you. You just have to think “Ok, every no is closer to a yes. I may not be good for you but I might be perfect for somebody else”. Keep on going with it. Practice, practice, practice!

You can view Kiera’s work from her makeup academy’s Instagram account here


Beauty · certification · exams · inspiration · interview · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Uncategorized

Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 2)

I am really excited about my personal challenge (Make up your mind! (Part 1 of my personal challenge) coming to an end in 24 hours but in the meantime I have a lot of unfinished blog business to catch up with. It’s been more than 2 weeks since I last posted and I have a lot to share before I launch into Part 2 of my interview with Kiera.

  1.  I passed my exam!!! I am officially a certified makeup artist myself now. But I know I have to practice, practice, practice before I feel confident to put my certification into use.
  2. As a qualified and certified MUA I get to get professional discounts on certain makeup brands! Now that’s definitely something worth celebrating for!
  3. To add to all the stress of the exam, I was also preparing for job interviews for a job I really wanted back in Cyprus. A few days before my exam I found out I was successful! So in less than a month I am returning home to work for a great company and I am very excited but also consumed and overwhelmed by all that comes with arranging a move to another country in a matter of weeks.

With all my news out of the way let me dive back into the interview with Kiera. In Part 1 (Interview with my MUA teacher (Part 1) I covered how Kiera started taking an interest in makeup and how she became a professional artist. Following on you’ll find out more about her professional journey in her continuation of her answer to my last question. I was asking Kiera what prompted her to qualify as a makeup instructor and what steps did she take to meet that goal.


Kiera started telling me about being offered a teaching job at a local, government funded college and here’s the rest of her answer:

A: That for me really was such a big eye-opener in the sense of the things that the students were being taught was so dated. It wasn’t really industry relevant, the girls didn’t feel confident in applying makeup; they didn’t have the basic makeup knowledge. Teachers would come in and literally just play a YouTube clip and that was the lesson.  It wasn’t hands on, they weren’t getting constructive feedback. The turning point for me was when I had a job opportunity to offer to one of my students.  I was going to work on a photoshoot for one of JD Sports’ campaigns and I needed an assistant.  So, I decided that I was going to set a competition for my students at the college and whoever’s luck won could then come and be an assistant for me which was an amazing opportunity and everyone was really excited for being able to produce some great stuff.  Then, just 2 days before the shoot was due to commence, the Head of Year pulled me to one side and she told me that there was a Safeguarding issue with the college not allowing me to take the students on work experience.  I was baffled because the students were adults, they were older than 16, with parental consent, this would be a great opportunity for them. So I just thought, you can try and make it better but no-one wants to do it. I felt upset for the students because I remembered just how much I wanted to just get out there and start making progress.  That’s the only way you learn.  After that I thought “You need to do this now”. That was my motivation really.

Q: How many students have you taught so far?

A: I don’t know actually. It’s been quite a lot. The academy will be 2 years in February but before that I taught for a year at my friend’s salon. So I would say a couple of hundred.

Q: What would it take for someone to fail your classes? 

A:  For somebody to fail it would literally be them not articulating the look correctly. So if they’re not following the technique and the steps that they’ve been shown.  For them not meeting  good standards of hygiene (i.e. turning up with dirty brushes, not sanitazing their hands, using products that would cause adverse reactions for clients’ skin).  Also, not following what the client asks.  Because essentially in makeup artistry although as an artist we have a free reign to be creative to produce this look it’s also paramount that you actually listen to your client. It’s all well and good if that’s what we want but it’s all about them.  I think that’s something that a lot of people really need to be conscious of.

Q: Apart from teaching others to do makeup what else do you do as a makeup artist?

A: As well as teaching, I have a large client base.  There are a lot of party and occasion makeups, I do a lot of weddings, I do quite a lot of Asian Bridal, I did used to be represented by Nemesis Agency in Manchester so I used to do quite a lot of editorial and photo shoots. I don’t really do as many now with the academy being my main focus now.

I’ve also worked in Ibiza doing body painting. I worked with Zoo Project and Kiss my Fairy and that was quite cool. I used to do all the makeup for the acrobats and the dancers.  It was very out there and creative. I’ve done a bit of everything really.

Q9: What does your average work day/week look like?

A: Gosh! I won’t lie to you. This year, since January I have a Sunday off. I work 6 days a week and I work from 9 am until 9 pm pretty much most days. It is long hours but I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Every day is different. There’s such good variety with it and I always feel that I’m so  blessed that I can do something I enjoy.

Q: I’m jealous! What makeup look do you like the most?

To find the answer to that and the rest of my questions you’ll have to tune in to Part 3 of the interview!

I hope you are enjoying this interview series.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

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!