Hello, I write to you cannily with aching abs and even more aching buttocks, for I have joined the church of exercise-mad, squat jumping, active wear encased Londoners. The gym behind my lifestyle change is very aptly called Evolve and it’s the best gym you could wish to be a member of.
Since Evolve is on my road, I spent months walking past and peeking in through the window like a snooping neighbour, wondering if I could brave a class full of lean, sweaty bodies. It looked so hard-core! The members were a mixture of ages, mostly women with some attractive men shouting at them. It seemed premium and niche, lacking the usual crowd of half-arsed people you find in commercial gyms, wearing ill suited, cheap trainers from Sports Direct and a full face of make-up. Evolve is very much a purist gym; it has classes, but 100% not Les Mills classes and it has PT sessions, but not like “so what would you like to work on today, Deborah?” sessions.
Prior to joining, I was unlucky to have the worst case of glandular fever my doctor had ever seen, which resulted in the rare secondary complication of hepatitis. Bleugh. I felt absolutely horrible for months and you can read about it in detail here. Eating and resting made me feel better so I got a little… fluffy, shall we say. Basically my body started to resemble the beginnings of a collapsed trifle with muscle atrophy and undulating wobbliness. This was followed by many all-nighters working at a brutal advertising agency, still feeling so unwell. Like all sensible people, when life gets too much, I threw another challenge into the mix and got myself back into dancing. To my surprise, I successfully (but rather painfully) auditioned for a TV role alongside superstar dancer and now good friend, Zec Luhana. Sadly, after an exposure to bullying and constant bitchiness in my dance company, a lifestyle shake-up was in order.
I used to work at Space NK head office for almost three years, a place where I found my footing in the beauty industry, making contacts that have resulted in amazing work since. I can’t imagine working in any other industry and am so grateful for my experiences.
I was lucky to befriend the YouTube beauty community too! Wayne Goss was one such YouTuber who I fondly and often went to visit from Paddington to Newport with a bag of goodies. Off the train I got and into a taxi taking me to his beautiful converted church where we made fun videos as friends first and industry colleagues as a second. I would apprehensively donate my face for acne covering, contouring and general silliness. Such fun. Wayne is a real darling and would kindly bestow me with his brushes, palettes and potions before I went home. I still use many of them now and think back to how thrilled I was to receive these generous gifts.
This video came into my suggested YouTube playlist, and it made me really laugh!
From a pure make-up standpoint this cover is industry gold. It is the encouragement and celebration of FASHION make-up that Vogue covers of late have been missing. Pat McGrath is the artist responsible for this 1970’s meets Studio 54 look, a bold, colourful move away from the commercial no-make-up covers. Thank you Pat McGrath, for invigorating my industry. A make-up dominant cover is a breath of fresh air for what was becoming a very safe, samey commercial outfit. Vogue is first and foremost about fashion so this cover looks and feels much more on par with Vogue Italia, the undisputed coolest of Vogue magazines. Rather interestingly, Enninful was a contributing editor to Italian Vogue in the 1990’s. Hopefully this can only bode well.
Gracie died just before 2pm on Wednesday 1st November. I am broken, in physical pain.
At the time, I was sat oblivious to this earth-shattering news, on my own in Gatwick Airport having a much needed cappuccino and catching up via Whatsapp, with my old friend Ash. With financial reckless abandon, I tapped my card on the barrier to get the Gatwick Express home, happy to be back in London and after 10 days in LA. I’d spent my final days enjoying shopping and solo cycling adventures. I felt free and strong with the wind in my IDGAF hair, like flames encircling my burrito-bloated face. After a 22 mile cycle ride along the coastline, I inhaled cali-mex food to replenish my stores and slept like a log. Life was really great.
Hannah Martin is one of the most respected bridal specialists in the British beauty industry. I love her intensely pretty make-up style, warmth and good humour. The first time we met, I was so excited I flew through the door of the Charlotte Street Hotel, face-planting into the wooden floor, ripping my tights and grazing my knees (leather pencil skirts are the enemy), before wiggling inelegantly through to the restaurant to meet her with burning cheeks and look of complete childish embarrassment. Many people in our industry would be mortified by such an entrance but we laughed so hard, I knew a friendship had begun.
2016… It was like that scene in Jackass The Movie, where Steve O gets strapped inside a portaloo (or porta potty for my American readers), attached to two bungee cords, before shooting up into the air. This horribly confined environment filling up with faeces, going all over the place. It was mad, nonsensical and utterly masochistic. The sort of horror you don’t like, but can’t help watching, can’t stop watching. Much like a pussy-grabbing celebrity businessman becoming the next president of America, 52% of voting Brits making the politically disenfranchised choice to leave the EU, lots of well-loved creative people dying and ISIS doing more terrible things. Shit. Flew. Everywhere. Thankfully, the messy portaloo has landed on the ground and a fresh, unsoiled year is upon us. Many of us are still alive and will most likely be ok. With a sense of grit and camaraderie, we must crack on.
In my own little world, not too removed from the wider world, shit primarily centred around my family, friends, health, career, hobbies, interests and lovers (same for you huh?). I learnt an awful lot of stuff and have to write it all down so I don’t forget. This is becoming an annual post – read about 2015 here. In a nutshell: I got really unwell in April, recovered by the end of summer and re-prioritised. I developed a positive relationship with my body after watching it get better, and therefore liked my curves after 26 years, now feeding them regular servings of broccoli and Joe Wicks’ protein pancakes. I danced a lot and set myself free from many invisible pressures. This cleared room for more positive forces, inspiring growth, happiness and overall enjoyment of my life this past year. There must be a crystal pendant I could wear to represent my developments as a deep and pensive human being, but alas I’m yet to find one. Here is a definitive, but not complete list, of 20 things I learnt in 2016:
I am prone to the odd hormonal break out, and it it has taken me several years to find products that ACTUALLY work to get rid of unsightly blemishes. This is the sort of post I wish I had read before spending a fortune on so much skincare. Having super clear skin is a combination of luck, lifestyle, hormones, happiness AND skincare. I have written all about my holistic 360 approach to skin. I recommend you read this post if you are suffering with your skin.
For a more “yeah just tell me what to put on my face” approach, keep reading… these blessings are made by the beauty skincare gods. I guarantee that if you have spots to try any one of them, you will most likely be delighted by the results.
I had the pleasure of working on some fitness shoots this year. My star products for sweaty conditions have been the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer and Khiel’s Micro Blur Skin Perfector. These beauties worked very well together to create a photo-friendly base.
Mascaras don’t come much more full-on than this one. Two coats will have your lashes blacker than Donald Trump’s soul, and longer than the list of people he offends.
I am late to the party with this highly coveted, top seller for YSL. Nic and Sam from Pixiwoo raved about this to me, so I decided to grab one… and see if it lived up to all the hype. My previous mascara loves are all tubing formulas, simply because I am really fussy about ZERO smudging. No panda eyes in the morning for me please. Some mascaras let you think you have removed your eye makeup, only to leave you with black smudgy peepers the next morning, à la Jack Sparrow. This is genuinely one of my biggest concerns, and I am thrilled to tell you that YSL Effect Faux Cils Mascara does NOT budge or leave panda eyes. Hurrah!
Shades from right to left in order of most-loved: Eclair, Vanilla Cream Pie, Merengue.
I’ve been meaning to tell you about my love affair with this product for MONTHS. When I run out of people to tell IRL, this is usually the tipping point where a product love becomes a blog post. My flatmate is now also a convert and my mother is perusing the NYX counters like a mad woman with a secret tip off. This brilliant product from NYX has really changed the way I look at “affordable” beauty products…