Monthly Archives: November 2017

On… a make-up stocking

It’s the most wonderful time of the okay never mind let’s get on with it.

Guys, I have written about Christmas stockings before, so you know how much I love them. This year, my sister and I decided to give each other beauty-focused Christmas stockings. Each of us is confident (in a slightly competitive way) that she will nail it. We capped it at $125, which is a totally arbitrary number, but also the kind of number that is important because it buys a perfectly nice sweater from J Crew or a TRUCK LOAD OF AWESOME MAKE-UPPY THINGS FROM EVERYWHERE.

This is what I’m getting her. (If she is reading this, SPOILER ALERT.) (No seriously Anika stop reading this.)


1. NYC Professional Make-Up Illuminator Lid Lingerie Eye Tint $7

When it comes to improbably cheap eye make-up, I tend to test it on the back of my hand, stare at it and make a little ‘mph!’ sound, wander around the store, examine my hand again ten minutes later, try to smudge it, and if I’m sufficiently intrigued I go back, try it on my eyes, and then carry on with my day. THEN, at about 9pm that night, I make my judgement. Yes. It is a nine-step process.


I had glowy, almost-but-not metallic, almost-but-not glittery eyelids, ALL DAY. They didn’t crease. They didn’t smear. They didn’t wear unevenly. They didn’t make me look crusted with paint, like one of those sweet-but-oh-so-sad make-up obsessives on the Anastasia Instagram feed. They just did what they said they would do. They were like a really good boyfriend.

I went right back to buy them, and many many days of wearing them later, I still love them. So will you.

The secret is to choose two colors and combine them on the back of your hand – I like the silvery Fame & Fortune combined with the dark taupe-ish Night Glow - then tap them on your eyelid with your ring finger. All over your eyelid, out to make a little wing, underneath to add drama, everywhere, you can’t mess it up.

This stuff is so great that you could apply it drunk, standing at a dirty mirror above a bathroom sink in a crappy bar, with one eye closed, wobbling slightly, while you simultaneously listened to your best friend, who is taking a slash at the same time, shout under the stall about her ex – and you would still nail it. If I was in my 20s, i.e., with the kind of life where getting drunk might happen anytime, anywhere, at any point in December, then I’d stash this in my bag for the entire month. They are instant party.

(BTW if you’re in the UK or elsewhere, try ASOS for all your NYX needs.)


2. Benefit Dandelion Blush $15 

The perfect everyday blush: Benefit Dandelion Blush in its adorable mini size for $15 or splurge on the full-size for $29.  This will give you a sort of a flushed glow – a bit of contour, a bit of highlighter, a bit of color, all at once. Don’t use the dinky little square blush brush it comes with, though, because it’s simply ridiculous. Instead, use:


3. Morphe #E51 Deluxe Angle Blush $17

This is the blush brush you have been looking for. It never complains. It never shreds. It never collects make-up and looks all defeated and cracked-out, like my Sephora brushes. It’s just a good little workhorse that delivers a perfect cheek time after time, and it will never let you down.


4. MAC Ruby Woo Mini $10

Whenever I can, these days, I buy a mini lipstick rather than a full-size. Why? Because [lights cigarette, looks you right in the eye] full-size lipsticks are [points cigarette at you to emphasize her point] bullshit.

No one is ever going to use up an entire lipstick. It’s never going to happen. Ever. If you use up an entire mini lipstick, then buy the full-size one with my blessing. But you will almost certainly not use it up. Because favorite lipsticks, like favorite songs, have a shelf-life. And one day, you will be sick of them. Trust me. I used to wear MAC Syrup lipstick while drinking Godfather cocktails, eating chocolate-covered brazil nuts and listening to The Ting Tings and all those things make me want to fall asleep now. Everything changes. (Apart from perfumes, those are forever. Except the ones that remind you of your exs. Obviouslah.)

Even better? Mini lipsticks negate the need for a separate lipliner. They do the job for you.


Here’s the thing about Ruby Woo. It is a wondrous red. It truly is. It makes your teeth whiter and your skin smoother and your eyes whatever-they-may-be-er. It works on every single person in the entire world.

It is also drying as fuh. It looks cracked and patchy after three hours. And it takes your lips down with it: they take a day to recover. So in order to even consider wearing Ruby Woo, you need to get:


5. MAC Prep + Prime Lips $17.50

This prevents your lips from chapping, while keeping bold matte lipstick in place, all day. Guaranteed.

Yes. A lip primer is an odd choice for a Christmas stocking, because it’s not particularly interesting. But just wait until you use it. Then you’ll understand. I discovered it a couple of years ago, when a very gorgeous young woman walked into an elevator I was in, and I said ‘LOVE THE LIPSTICK! Ruby Woo?!’ and she said ‘Yes!’ in a kind of scared way, and I said something like ‘I love Ruby Woo, but it dries my lips out, woe is me’ and she fished the MAC Prep + Prime out of her purse and said ‘This is the secret! This is the only lip primer that does what it promises to do! It’s the only way to wear Ruby Woo!’ Then we left the elevator and Fox was like ‘oh man, she was so scared of you’. Ha. I think she liked me. Whatever. Side bar: I wonder how many lip primers she tried to get to MAC Prep + Prime. More than ten?


6. Mothermade Snail Masks $17

On a hangover, the concept of a snail mask is enough to make me retch. But when I’m just feeling a bit dry and ordinary – and frankly, when aren’t I? – then the snail mask is my favorite pick-me-up. It’s also unusual enough to make up for the boringness of the MAC Prep + Prime, too. A good Christmas stocking addition.


7. Grace and Stella DePuffing Collagen Eye Masks $17

I bought these on a whim and I ADORE THEM. They really do make the entire under-eye area look brighter, smoother, more moisturized. And smarter. Yeah. I think they make me look smarter. (Funny how we only use positive words in beauty copywriting, huh? What I really want to say is ‘less haggard and wrinkly, less puffy and bloated, less dumb’. But then by the time I get to ‘dumb’ we all want to crawl into a hole in the ground and wail. We should not wail. I just finished this wonderful book and honestly I’m just so glad I’m not living through the Terror in France after the Revolution, with thousands and thousands of innocent people being guillotined left right and center and the streets running thick with blood, that I will never wail again.)

How much does that come to? $125? More or less, depending on how many NYX lingerie tints? I’m not a numbers guy. Right. That should do it. 514S7e4b8WLWhatever I have left, I’ll fill with a British chocolate she loves, called Revels. Revels all look more or less the same from the outside, right? Little chocolate ball things of various sizes. But inside might be raisins, an orange-y thing, a coffee crumble thing, a malteser-type thing, plain milk chocolate or toffee. YOU CAN NEVER TELL UNTIL YOU EAT IT WHICH ONE IT’S GOING TO BE. What kind of a MONSTER invented this?!?! This chocolate STRESSES me OUT. (Yes, I am too much of a control freak to handle the uncertainty of surprise chocolate. In every other way I am perfectly normal I swear.)

Happy nearly-Christmas! I will post more in December. I promise.







On… Lady Bird

I saw this movie over a week ago and it’s WONDERFUL. I can’t stop thinking about it. So smart and funny and human… it’s perfect. I cried. I laughed. I cry-laughed. I’ll go see it again this weekend. Whenever I love a movie this much, and whenever I know that my ticket will make a difference to future movies like this getting made, I try to see it over and over again on the big screen (I did it with Everybody Wants Some, too).

This is also the reason I almost never ever see a cookie-cutter boring-as-fuck superhero movie in the theatre (Wonder Woman and Deadpool being the only exceptions, though even they succumbed to four-endings-and-too-many-explosions-itis).

The world needs less superheroes and more Lady Birds.

Greta Gerwig is a damn genius, I think I might love her.


On… Liz Meriwether

I have been a Liz Meriwether fan a long time – scroll back five or six years and you’ll find a slavishly adoring post on The New Girl episode about braking for birds. And now she’s making a show with Erin Foster. I don’t really know who Erin Foster is, but my friend Joanna told me she was very funny on Instagram, so I followed her, and lo and behold she is veh veh funny indeed. When I found out Erin and Liz were making a show together I felt like I had somehow been involved in them meeting. This is how self-involved I am. That’s okay.

Anyway, Liz also writes beautiful and hilarious things for places like New York Magazine. Read this and then read this. See? She’s the best.

On… Squalene

Okay gang, so a while ago I wrote a post that had a line about not knowing what the fuh squalene is or does. And I got some lovely comments and emails from people saying ‘no, dude, seriously you NEED to give squalene a chance, it sounds like something that should be lanced but it’s really AMAZING’.

And it’s true.


I picked this up for $11, and narrowed my eyes at it suspiciously. I threw it on before bed a couple of times, and thought, ‘hmm maybe’. THEN I tried it on this morning before taking Errol to school. I hadn’t brushed my hair, my eyes were bloodshot because three-year-old-plus-daylight-saving-equals-worst, and my only other make-up was a quick splodge of this old Armani blush that I throw on now and again (a soft rose-brown shade that warms up my natural ‘touch of consumption’ skin but was inexfuckingplicably discontinued, I’m sorry, I know how annoying that is, when I eventually run out I’m using MAC Blushbaby – I used to recommend MAC Blush All Day but that TOO was discontinued – or FACE Stockholm in Sunkissed). I had already put SPF on, but I always do, I do it early early before I brush my teeth. And I was wearing that No.7 Deep Raspberry lip balm. But nothing else. I looked in the mirror on the way out the door and said to myself ‘THAT IS SOME GOOD GODDAMN SKIN TODAY, GEMMA’. (I talk in all-caps to myself.)

My next thought, because I’m a dorky little joiner, was ‘everyone needs to know about this’.

It’s also worth pointing out that putting on a powder blush over a liquid moisturizer/primer/whatever squalene is was a wild risk on my part, but squalene just manned up and fucking OWNED it, and there was no chalky weirdness. That is a product I can respect.

And though I’m not really the type to put photos on this blog, because seriously there are better things for you to look at, I had to share. No filter, nothing fishy, and that’s the overhead hallway lighting in our apartment.Slide1


Note that my nose is too big to fit in the selfie.

Anyway, throw squalene a bone, people. It’s worth it.