Beauty · elections · Eye pencils · Eyeliner · lipstick · Love · Makeup · Makeup artist · MUA · Sanity · Shopping · Uncategorized

Impulsive makeup buys

Hands up who else is also guilty of trying a new brand of lipstick, eye pencil or shadow, liking it, buying it, only to discover when they get home that it’s almost an exact replica of a product shade they already own. This has happened to me multiple times. I must have accidentally bought at least 3 identical shades of red and 2 dark purple lipsticks around the same time; two similar blue/grey eyeshadow palettes​, 3 exactly the same shade of green eyeshadow in wet and dry form and 4 different types of purple shadow which on application ended up looking pretty much the same.

That’s because I am what you might call an “impulsive buyer” sometimes.  Does that happen to you too? Always going for the same thing just in slightly different packaging or with only a minor (unnoticeable to others) difference?

I am also guilty of absolutely detesting the idea of throwing useful things away. Even if they are not useful to me! It’s a conservative streak I have always had.  For one, growing up I was taught that throwing away leftover food is a sin. And it makes sense to not waste food in a world where there are people starving.  Similarly, I hate getting rid of belongings​. My mum actually told me off once for wearing an expensive jacket (which I thought still looked amazing years after I bought it) that was worn out.

So if I end up with lots of similar makeup products which I impulsively bought they usually just stay in my possession, collecting dust. Unless they are that bad that even I have to chuck them out eventually.

Needless to say that I own way too much makeup for my own good.

Testament to this is when four years ago I decided to have a 1-2-1 makeup lesson with a well known Cypriot makeup artist to perfect doing my own makeup. The poor guy didn’t know what he was in for when he suggested I bring along the products I have to our session. He probably thought I only had one makeup bag. Instead, I showed up on his doorstep with 4 big plastic carrier bags full of palettes and vanity bags filled with all kinds of makeup products. Even he thought I had far too many products for a non professional.

And that’s one of the reasons I decided earlier this year to do something about this and take the MUA course which in turn inspired this blog.  So at least something good (I think at least) came out of my impulsiveness 😏

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#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.

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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.

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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…

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!

liebsteraward2017

Beauty · Coffee · Diary · Food · Friends · Makeup · Shopping · Uncategorized

Ladies who brunch and go make-up shopping (Part 1 / London)

I hadn’t seen Asha, my good friend from uni, since my wedding in Cyprus last October. She lives in Surrey (but commutes to London for work) and has a busy schedule so although we now live in the same country again, meeting up is not that often and requires some planning.  We keep in touch regularly, sending each other messages via social media but so far since 2014 we managed to see each other about twice a year. She was due to visit me in Manchester at the end of June but in the meantime she suggested we arrange a meet-up for the day in London sometime in May. So, I booked my train ticket a few weeks in advance to avoid the ridiculously extortionate prices that the Manchester-London trains sometimes charge and off I was yesterday for a girly day out!  We planned to do the things we like the most: eat nice food, chat, have coffee, talk about make-up, look at make-up and eat cake!

We met in Euston train station and took the underground to Covent Garden where we were booked to have brunch at Bill’s in St Martin’s Courtyard.

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Asha in Bill’s

Our nice, filling late breakfasts (Asha had the veggie breakfast and I went for a yummy avocado on toast with poached eggs and streaky bacon) were followed by a cup of coffee and a stroll around the make up stores in Covent Garden.  We had been having a running debate about whether Asha’s foundation number/colour was too dark for her skin tone and we wanted to check it out in MAC where she buys it from.

First off though we visited the Charlotte Tilbury shop. It must have been a very new shop there because although it was very busy with people more than half of them were staff members!  The staff to customer ration seemed to be 3:1! The staff were very eager to service customers but I’m not sure how many sales were being made. We had a good look at the face creams and make up products and asked about the prices (which were a bit high) but we didn’t find anything that we couldn’t live with so we left without any purchases.  I then spotted, on the opposite side of the street, a KIKO store. I first had heard of this Milanese brand in Sweden on a 2009 trip there where while at a shopping mall with my friend Maria we stumbled across it and bought a few colour correcting/concealer products.  Asha hadn’t heard of it before so we went inside to have a look there as well.  KIKO prices are very reasonable and they had a good range of quality make-up brushes and I ended up buying an eyeshadow pencil brush at half the price of a MAC one as well as a loose face powder and a powder puff.  I also bought a few make-up goodies a late birthday present for Asha, one of them was a very promising highlighter.

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Kiki, the happy KIKO shopper

3 shops to the right was the MAC store which felt really crammed and the staff on the first floor were too busy to attend to all the customers.  We almost left with nothing when we realised there was a basement floor. I am SO glad we took the stairs down. It was not busy and that’s where we found a make-up artist who finally put mine and Asha’s debate at rest (the correct foundation number apparently is somewhere between the one she has and the number I suggested).  The make-up artist/assistant even gave Asha a freebie with the suggested foundation to try the lighter tone at home (woohoo!) and I was overjoyed to finally be re-united with the eyeshadow brush no. 227.  It is by far the best blender eyeshadow brush I have ever used.  I had bought it from the Cyprus MAC store 10 years ago and it was stolen from my car in Cyprus 2.5 years ago when someone broke into it at Christmas time and stole my make up bag. Since then I had been mourning that brush more than my expensive sunglasses and other items taken from my car as I was unable to find the same brush in the Cyprus or Manchester MAC stores I looked into.  I couldn’t find it in the UK online MAC store either. So I shrieked with delight when I saw it in the Covent Garden store. The shop assistant there who heard me couldn’t believe how happy I was over a brush!  So the MAC visit was a win for both my friend and I!

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My KIKO and MAC purchases

The last thing on our day’s To -Do list was a must visit to Hummingbird in Soho.  We wanted to have some cake but also take some treats back home but we were still quite full from our brunch so we only bought cupcakes to take home.  Although we both have a sweet tooth we still could not have cake in the afternoon so we decided that we would have them as dessert after dinner at our homes. I chose Carrot, Dark Bottom, Salted Caramel and Red Velvet to share with my husband back home. (He loved them so much he now wants me to go to London again just for the cupcakes).

All in all, it was a lovely day, catching up with my friend, doing some shopping and enjoying yummy things!  Even the weather wasn’t too bad with sunshine most of the day. We ended up using our umbrellas only for a minute as the showers were sporadic and we were indoors most of the time.

Having one last cup of tea at Pret-a-Manger before taking our respective trains back we decided that we could meet more regularly in different towns to shorten the distance between us. However, the next time will be a proper visit in a month’s time when my friend comes to stay over in Manchester to spend some quality time and be make-up guinea pig . So part 2 of ladies who brunch and shop for make-up will be in Manchester at the end of June!

P.S. I do have to try some different eyeshadows for my course homework but I am continuing with my personal make-up challenge and was wearing the MAC Deep Truth and Cien’s sky blue eyeshadows on my London day trip.