Friday, 22 May 2015

Growing up Goth - after the phase cements.

I'm in my mid twenties.  I've been dressing in corsets, lots of black, impractical boots and too much eyeliner since my late teens when I finally got full rein on my wardrobe, and I've never once regretted it.  I was in medical school without image-related issues for three years before transferring to Psychology (finished my third year exams today, booyah!)  So today, on World Goth Day, I'll impart a few quick, positive affirmations off the top of my head for all those of you leaving school and wondering if you will need to sacrifice your sartorial preferences to pursue your career, rather than changing just because you want to (or even sticking with it, like I am).

  1. It's not as bad as they say - you won't have to stop having your own style.  I only needed to make small adjustments in medical school. I dressed how I pleased to class and only toned it down for ward visits and patient interactions.  A deathhawk and cyberdog outfits will not fly in some environments, but the NHS and many other employers are increasingly relaxed about dyed hair so long as it's neat, tattoos as long as visible ones aren't offensive, and eyeliner and piercings provided makeup and body mods don't pose a hygiene issue.  Just exercise common sense.  You can find fantastic goth-friendly clothes which are well suited to boardrooms and consultations and save your 12 inch platforms for off-duty wear.  In Psychology, we come in a range of shapes, sizes and styles, and researchers in particular can wear a relaxed wardrobe.  I had a massively goth friend who has a degree in law and did well in the courtroom (obviously she had to wear the robes like everyone else, but her suits were fabulous).  Look at your career plans and invest in clothes you love that would be acceptable, but there's no need to throw out the black and purple in favour of an all-grey wardrobe of cookie-cutter suits and a sensible brown-with highlights chic bob. (Though if you like that look, no judgement, and carry on rocking that bob, you sassy, saucy person.)
  2.  Be a good colleague and you'll likely be accepted.  This is me right now.  I'm accepted by students, lecturers and others because I act in a friendly, helpful manner, pull my weight and join in.  If you're a good person to others, no amount of unusual style choices will make you an outcast.                                                          
  3.  YOU CAN GET A JOB.  I've had a few.  Some are more accepting than others, but as I mentioned before, everywhere's getting more accepting.  I've worked in IT, in shops and bars alongside my studies.  And you can keep your social life.  And the modelling on the side, and your hobbies, and everything else.  Your life can be flexed into the shape you desire.  There are grown professional goths out there with careers and families who I still see on the occasional club night or at gigs.  Work out what you need, how you can have it and plan ahead, and you can balance that work and life.
  4. Always make choices that work for you.  Never be shamed for quitting something you didn't like or that wasn't working.  Don't take grief for pursuing your own ambitions.  Whether you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a tattooist, a jewellery maker, a novelist, a stay-at-home parent or a professional costumer/re-enactor, find out what you want to do and go for it.  Don't look back on life and regret it because you spent all your time being what other people want you to be.
  5. Above all, look after yourself, be with people who make you happy, and keep on being you.
Happy World Goth Day!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Budget Cosmetics: Collection "Gothic Glam" range.

I was in Superdrug today picking up some more eyeliner pens and, as I grabbed a couple of my favourites at the Collection stand my eyes drifted upwards to land on an addition that has clearly been timed to coincide with the Hallowe'eny part of winter.  Just a few products, three nail polish shades and three lipsticks, but with everything being under £4 and me looking to add a little more variety to my usual makeup staples I grabbed a few, swatched the rest and headed home.

Yep, those are my go-to liner pens there.  I'll add a review of those later if you want - I know Ali didn't rate them highly for their longevity but surprisingly, considering my own seriously oily skin and difficulty finding liners that stay, I've found nothing better amongst the high-street brands.

At the time of typing this up I couldn't find any mention of this range on the Collection website and there was only one obvious google hit for reviews (Oh To Feel Pretty has swatched the nail polishes) so I had no idea how these would measure up agains tmy usual favourites.  Starting with the lipsticks:  here are the swatches I took in the shop.


 Top: Shade 2 "Scorned", Middle: Shade 3 "Revenge", Bottom: Shade 1 "Seduction".

Shade 2 got a little rubbed off before I got home but seemed to be a pretty close match for the Rimmel Kate lipstick in shade 04, hence why I didn't buy it.  I already have two bullets (yes, dark purple lips are a 'day' look for me), no need for another matching lipstick just yet.  I bought shade 3, the bullet for which is pictured above.  I have never been able to wear red lipsticks as they look clownish on me (a dark, cool red might work but I've yet to find a suitable affordable shade) and pink colours are also a bit off, but this one looks like it might strike a decent balance as a very slightly more plummy shade.  Packaging-wise, the bullet is nice and study and snaps together quite satisfyingly, no worries about the lid falling off in your bag.

Forgive my slightly gaunt face in the following shot, I'm awfully tired and it's beginning to show. You might also notice the reason for buying new eyeliner/brow pens, my old ones have ratty tipes now so the lines aren't very sharp.  Still good for my lids though!

One layer was definitely enough!  This went on very smoothly straight from the bullet, no greasy feeling or smeariness.  I left it on for about half an hour before I had to go out again and I had to remove it (wasn't feeling like being overly made-up for a lab), usually vigorous rubbing with a finger removes cheaper lipsticks but this took a few attempts to get everything off, which is a good start for a test of longevity.  I'll add a note to this post later when I've tried this out 'properly'.

Onto the nail polishes.  I got two shades, 1 Dramatic (the red one) and 3 Deadly (black/gold).  I'm wearing that second shade just now and I'm very impressed - usually cheap glittery nail polishes go on thin, feel like sandpaper and need thre or four layers to reach full opacity.  Two coats of Deadly and I was good to go; the drying time was about average, not too long, and it feels almost completely smooth when dry.  It looks exactly as it does in the bottle, surprisingly!  I have high hopes for the other one I bought and I may buy shade 2 at a later date, which looks similar to another favourite of mine, Barry M Vivid Purple.

As before, I'll add to this review when I've worn these a little more and can rate their staying power.
Overall I'm impressed with my purchases and will definitely have a look if more comes out for this range.  The lipsticks are £2.99 and the nail polishes £3.19 each.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Killing Time: the Freak tag.

I try not to engage with these things as I want this blog to be focussed, however my posting has been so near to non-existent recently I reckon I can justify it this one time.  I got this from Ali at Zombies Wear Eyeliner, who does makeup reviews for cheapskates (almost everything is pharmacy brand stuff) and thus is someone I endorse.  Check her out.

1. What's a nickname only your family calls you?
They don't anymore, but my mother used to call me 'Leggy Lucy' all the time, for the imaginative reason that I have fairly long legs and am taller than average.
I'm not called Lucy.

2. What's a weird habit of yours?
Hrmmm.  Not sure if this counts as a 'weird habit', but I guess it's an odd ritual for me, a person with no religious affiliation, spirituality or belief in an afterlife.  I regularly light incense or scented candles and sit by my window chatting to my deceased grandfathers.
Oh, I'm also a compulsive kitchen dancer.  This also extends to my walks around the block with the dog, if I think no-one's watching.  Usually ends with me sheepishly pretending I stumbled or something as I notice someone rounding the corner up ahead.

3. Do you have any weird phobias?
Not really.  After spending various periods of my life dissecting cadavers, climbing up trees, jumping into the sea and rooting through the undergrowth for minibeasts, I certainly don't have much of a phobia about anything... except a sort of oddly-specific claustrophobic that only triggered once when I was squeezing between two rock faces out in the mountains.  I've been locked in trunks and use elevators with impunity, but that reduced me to a sobbing wreck.

4. What's a song you secretly love to blast and belt out when you're alone?
I have no shame about any of my music collection.  Also, when I'm alone I actually quite like the silence and I keep the sound down around other people so I don't have any one song saved for such an occasion.

5. What's one of your biggest pet peeves?
 "I would of/ should of/ could of..."  Look, I get that the shortened 'would've' sounds like that, but when people specifically pronounce or spell out that 'of' I want to break things.  It's HAVE.

6. What's one of your nervous habits? 
When I'm stressed or nervous, my body starts to switch off and I begin to zone out and, eventually, fall asleep.  Whilst this is a great way of calming me right the way down, it usually leads to more stress later as I realise I have lots to do with a nearing deadline - then I start to shut down again.  I am still trying to stop this happening.  A milder symptom of nerves is a sudden fascination with bits of fluff stuck to my clothes.
7. What side of the bed do you sleep on?
Next to the bedside table, on the left.  My bed is a queen-size (fits two with a small amount of room to spare), but the side against the wall is directly beneath a shelf that I can easily whack my head off.  I have tried sleeping in the centre of the bed before but inevitably end up rolling onto my side, towards the edge.
8. What was your first stuffed animal and it's name?
Oh, err... Bruin, a little brown teddy bear with a red neck bow, I think.  Mum also knitted me a 'topsy-turvy' doll, but she doesn't count as an animal.

9. What's the drink you always order at Starbucks?
I don't go to Starbucks.  I hate their drinks and the prices they charge for them.  Their hot chocolate is disgusting, I'm not a huge coffee fan and their tea's nothing to write home about either.  COME AT ME, BRO.

10. What's a beauty rule you preach, but never actually practice?
I don't preach any beauty rules per se, but whilst I know it's bad to touch your face constantly I can't help it - I'm forever checking for oil and obsessing about whether my eyeliner's running off the waterline.

11. Which way do you face in the shower?
EVERY WAY.  Sometimes I just sit in the bottom of the bath and look grumpy.
12. Do you have any 'weird' body 'skills'?
I can feel my pulse in any part of my body if I sit and concentrate.  Does that count?

13. What's your favourite comfort food that's 'bad' but you love to eat it anyway?
There is no such thing as bad food.  If you mean on the less healthy scale, I'm a bit of a biscuit fiend, and I will never turn down a pork pie, which as far as I'm concerned is never for sharing even if it's the size of my head.

14. What's a phrase or exclamation you always say?
'Marp'. Or, on the angrier side, 'WHY CAN'T SHE PUT HER ******* WASHING AWAY JUST ONCE?!'  I say that a lot.

15. Time to sleep, what are you actually wearing?
OH-HO-HO, JAMMIES ADVERTISING TIME!  Often just a large t-shirt and pyjama trousers, but my favourite is this mid-calf-length white Victorian-style nightie, and I'm not averse to wearing bloomers, be they long or small (like in this set, which is cute as buttons and I couldn't resist buying.)

16. What did you used to wear that you thought was cool but now you realize it wasn't that hot?
I had a collection of bad zippy tops and blue boot-cut jeans throughout my high school years.  They are no longer in my wardrobe, for good reasons.

You're tagged if you want to be. :)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

WASH YOUR BLOODY FACE - a crash course in the Oil Cleansing Method

Right, you 'orrible lot, you're all getting spotty and trying to hide it with badly applied foundation and it's NOT WORKING!

Yes, spotty skin is a big bugbear of the goth community, particularly among those who like dramatic makeup but are stalled in their aspirations of Amaranth-like flawlessness by blocked pores and oddly lumpy chins.  Now, if you're a teenager or, like me, possessed of rather oily skin with enlarged pores as you enter your twenties, thirties and beyond, spots and dots are par for the course - you can do your best to minimise them but you have to accept that the occasional blemish will arise, and you deal with it.  If you want that pimple to remain occasional, though, you need to know how to keep your skin clean - and with waterproof eyeliner and heavy foundation, that's a bit more of a challenge than those cheery young beauties splashing their faces with water in all the adverts make out.  Wet wipes will not do - you need to remove everything properly and thoroughly.  And I'm about to recommend something that seems really counter-intuitive - wash your face with oil.

Yes, oil.

See all those cleansers that boast of being oil-free?  Stuff 'em.  They're great for daily cleansing and getting a bit of food off your face after a long, messy session at the buffet, but nothing removes stubborn waterproof-based formulations and sebum-based plugs from your pores better than oil.  This is because, as all good Chemists know, 'like dissolves like' - water-based and 'hydrophillic' things dissolve in water, whilst fats, oils and other 'hydrophobic' things float on the surface of H2O and repel it whilst dissolving far better in other oily substances.  Whilst water is repelled by your hard-wearing makeup, a lot of it will come right off with a creamy or oily cleanser.

Now, I'm not saying you get a greasy chips wrapper and rub it on your mug.  When I say 'oil'  I'm talking something like olive oil, jojoba oil, castor oil etc.  You *can* use baby oil but, being derived from petrochemicals, mineral oils aren't the best thing for your skin or the planet.  You can apply those oils to a bit of cotton wool and wipe off your makeup before washing your face as usual or you can follow a more thorough routine called the Oil Cleansing Method.  This has done miracles for me, your results may vary.  For this, you need:

  • A CLEAN facecloth
  • An oil blend of your choice - I HIGHLY recommend jojoba oil due to its non-clogging properties, you can blend it with a little castor oil to thicken it up and help draw more gunk out your pores or use as-is.  Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is also a popular choice, particularly for those with dry skin, and has the bonus of being widely available.
  • Plenty of hot water.
To start, take a bit of oil in the palm of your (clean) hand - about the size of a two-pence piece - and massage it over your DRY face. Be thorough - get into all the nooks and crannies around your nose, on your chin etc.  Do this until your face is saturated and your makeup dissolved, then take your flannel, soak it in hot water and hold it over your face until it cools.  This'll steam your pores and help loosen anything stuck in them. Massage the oil on your face again before wetting your flannel with hot water again and gently wiping it off.  Use a clean part of the flannel for each wipe.  Rinse the cloth off when necessary and keep it nice and hot.  Continue wiping until your have removed all the oil, splash your face with cold water.  Done.

Now, that was a very brief crash course in the OCM, I recommend looking it up for more info - here's a more detailed page from  As I mentioned I have exceptionally oily skin and at one point followed this routine once or twice a day, every day, for a month - at the end my skin looked amazing, it was not oilier and I certainly hadn't developed lots of blockages.  Some people do this once or twice a week as a deep-cleansing treatment.  Finally, if you have a skin condition like eczema or cystic acne, this might not be for you, so check with your dermatologist if you have one or perform a skin-test first.

The above is a bit of a faff, of course, and there are more convenient (and costly) options.  You can buy special cleansing oils that emulsify in water allowing you to just rinse them off.  DHC has an AMAZING one with a tiny ingredient list, but at £20 for a large bottle I don't recommend it for regular use if you're on a budget - if you do wish to try this I recommend signing up for DHC's free mail-outs, they always include samples from their range and you'll eventually get some of this magic stuff in a little sachet.  (I have one of the smaller bottles for travelling, mighty convenient if you don't wish to lug a makeup remover and cleanser around with you.)  L'Oreal have just released a much cheaper option (on offer in Superdrug now) and my first impression is that it definitely does the job - but, alas, it's probably not for those with sensitive skin, containing both mineral oil and fragrance (whyyyyy?).  Both of these rinse off beautifully, though, which can't be said for some other oils - I recall a Smashbox version that didn't dissolve makeup properly left a residue no matter how much your rinsed, nasty stuff.

For those who want to stick to more common methods, here's what you should be doing every time:

1) Remove makeup with a specialised remover prior to washing your face.
2) If you use a cleanser rather than a facewash, cleanse TWICE if you were wearing makeup.  A good deal is still left after the first pass, so clean again.
3) Always moisturise.  Even if you have oily skin.  If you dry out your skin, it'll get irritated, produce more oil and generally look a lot more annoyed.
4) Exfoliate once or twice a week.

There you go.  Two very general methods that have both served me well.  Get scrubbing.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

More Budget Goth - the £20 makeup challenge

Please forgive the greyness at the start, it disappears after a few moments.  I don't know why it happened!

This is a really basic face that I usually do better but I wasn't feeling terribly good when I filmed.  I apologise for the sniffling!

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour foundation in 100 Ivory - £6.99
Stargazer pressed white powder - £3.99
MUA matte black mono eyeshadow - £1
Bourjois Kohl & Contour 16h eyeliner pencil in Noir Expert - £2.99 from
Angled brush - £1
N.Y.C. Liquid Lipstick in 438A Betti Ann - £1

Total: £16.97

I did this one by raiding my own stash and checking receipts/shops/site where I originally bought the products for prices.

Friday, 27 July 2012


I do apologise for the unannounced hiatus., dear readers.  I had a lot of work to do regarding sorting funds and debts for university and am also organising an event for our city's wonderful Steampunk society, so I have had to pt my blogging on the back burner.  I'm now drafting an introduction to the Sisters of Mercy which, for simplicity, will be a text post with accompanying videos for their songs rather than a vlog.

For those who are reading for fashion/makeup/general style purposes, here was my hair and face-a-me-doo for last night's Danse Macabre, a monthly night co-run by my partner with the theme of Goth/80's/italo/disco (I know, right?).  It's a brilliant evening.  All the makeup aside from the powder was from high street brands at the lower end of the price range, hairspray was the utterly amazing got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray.  It's the strongest stuff I've ever used, and my word, does it do the job.

 I forgot to adjust my webcam for this one, apologies for blurriness.

Foundation: Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation in 100 Ivory 
Powder: Gothic Geisha white mineral makeup (eBay).
Eyeliner: Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama gel liner
Mascara:  Maybelline Great Lash
Eyeshadow - MUA Matte Eyeshadow shade 20 (black) & white shade from beautyUK eyeshadow collection 4
Lipstick: Rimmel Lasting Finish in 128 Starry-Eyed

Thursday, 26 April 2012


I have no eyebrows now.  This could take some getting used to (and getting up earlier each morning)...