Make-up for a Court Appearance

Wondering what sort of make-up is good to wear in court? This video is for you! Bringing together my day job as a patent attorney with my make-up hobby, I show you how to look polished and confident, whether for a courtroom or the office.


2022 – Year of the No-Buy

Like most kids who grew up in the 80s, I loved to collect stuff. First it was stamps, then novelty erasers and then ABBA records. As children do, I eventually lost interest in collecting each set of objects and quickly moved onto the next thing to collect.

When I became interested in make-up in 2016, I didn’t expect this interest to reignite my obsession with collecting stuff. However, I soon became like the proverbial kid in the sweet shop, the beautiful packaging and colours of make-up drawing me in and making me want to buy more and more with each new release from a brand.

I have a particular love (or, some might say, problem) with eyeshadow palettes. Maybe it’s because I also like painting and art but there’s something about the rows of different shades, the buttery soft mattes and glistening shimmers, all displayed in a grid within a beautifully designed box, that draws me in. This means that I now own over a hundred palettes from most brands on the market: Charlotte Tilbury, Pat McGrath and Natasha Denona being my favourites. More than I could need for a lifetime, unless I become a professional make-up artist (I can dream).

Of course I realise that this sort of consumerism is not good when trying to cut down on production and waste, for the sake of the environment. Furthermore, I’ve completely run out of space. Of course I could declutter my old palettes to make some room but that would also be a waste. Although palettes are supposed to only last about three years, the truth is that most powder make-up will last a lot longer than that. So, I’ve decided to enjoy the make-up I do have, instead of using each item a few times before moving on to the next shiny new product release. I mean, I’m not too the beauty editor of Vogue, for goodness’ sake!

A side effect of this is that I should be able to save a decent amount of money, which I can save up or use for other more useful purposes.

Of course I probably will be tempted when Charlotte Tilbury comes out with a beautiful new release but we’re off to a good start so far in January. I have been enjoying “shopping my stash” and rediscovering old items at the back of my cupboard. I’ll let you know how I get on…


21 Great Products from 2021

Here are some of my favourite and most used products from last year in body and hair care, skin care and make-up. Note that not all were released in 2021. Some are also old favourites that have stood the test of time and work better than anything else I’ve found since.

Roughly in the order in which I use them to get ready, here are my 21 favourite beauty products from 2021:

  1. Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel £1.75 for 500 ml Let’s start off with a brilliant drugstore product and fantastic bargain! Despite my love of luxury beauty products, I have never found a better shower gel. Gets you clean and with its trademark tingle wakes you up better than a double espresso. Sadly only available online here in Germany since Brexit, I usually stock up in Boots at Heathrow or Gatwick on my way home. Tip: for a luxury spa experience, use as bubble bath – you’ll feel amazing afterwards!
  2. Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector £24/€28 for 100ml 2021 was the year I went blonde again after 15 years. Thanks to vastly improved colour technology, and really looking after my hair with this stuff, straw-like strands are a thing of the past.
  3. Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion £23/€27 Since using this I have had silky smooth arms and legs. It performs better than any other body lotion I’ve found – gets rid of ingrown hairs and scaly winter legs, leaves skin feeling hydrated and soft days after using it. As the active ingredient is lactic acid, the original formula can smell a bit like yogurt. Special edition Rose and Winter scents disguise this, while having all the advantages of the original.
  4. The Inkey List Oat Cleanser For the same reason I object to paying a lot for shower gel, given that it ends up down the plug hole, I love a bargain cleanser. Balm or oil cleanser used with a hot cloth or flannel is what you need for removing make-up and SPF in a first cleanse, but until this came along there were very few on the market for less than £30. This isn’t fancy but it does exactly what it’s supposed to for under a tenner, leaving skin soft and hydrated afterwards.
  5. Cerave Salicylic Acid Foaming Cleanser This is what I use for a second cleanse in the evening and to wash my face in the morning. Cerave have several great reasonably priced cleansers for all different skin types. This is the one to use if you’re prone to breakouts like me.
  6. Hado Labo Premium Multimolecular Hyaluronic Acid (Beige bottle) This is the best value hyaluronic serum ever. A huge bottle for about 20 quid. Once I got the Dr. Barbara Sturm Multimolecular Hyaluronic in a Cult Beauty goody bag as a gift. It was very nice indeed but I wouldn’t buy it myself, given the extortionate price tag. This bargain version does the same job of effectively hydrating skin in my opinion. Apparently Hado Labo is now sold in the UK in an English Language bottle. I get it from Japan via Amazon.
  7. La Roche Posay SPF 50 Best SPF ever and the only one that feels nice on the skin. Only about 15 Euros. If you get the tinted one it makes your skin look perfected and glowing. Great under makeup as a primer and doesn’t pill.
  8. The Inkey List Retinol A fabulous retinol serum to use at night. Only 10 quid, didn’t make my skin flake at all and cleared up an ongoing breakout (I was blaming the masks but it was probably hormonal) I had last year. Also contains hyaluronic acid so you don’t need a separate serum in the evening.
  9. Auric Glow Lust $45 in Selenite I really don’t like foundation and the only times I wore it this year were to get my passport photos done: once for my British and once for my German. (In my opinion, foundation is for most purposes unnecessary and it’s far more cost effective to use your concealer – see below). Instead, this is the base product I wore most last year, from the make-up brand Auric of the fabulously talented Samantha Ravndahl. It’s quite similar to Hollywood Flawless Filter by Charlotte Tilbury, in that you can use it as a radiant primer or a highlighter. However, I slightly prefer the texture of Glow Lust – it’s not too metallically shiny, but rather gives a “lit from within” glow. It also provides a certain amount of coverage and helps to disguise breakouts somehow. The only downside is that the cap is an absolute nightmare to remove so I never put it back on again. The pump is secure enough without it though.
  10. Dior Forever Skin Correct Concealer €22.90 The best concealer I have ever used. Covers dark circles, doesn’t crease or settle into lines. I also dot it all over my face and buff it in like a foundation (see above for my dislike of foundation).
  11. Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Powder The first entry for my favourite make-up brand (and artist) of all time. I’ve been using this powder for the last 5 years and I’m probably on my 7th or 8th one. Sets concealer under eyes without caking and minimises pores, while beautifully setting base.
  12. Saie Liquid Blush (Shades Poppy and Rosy) As far as I’m aware, this is a fairly new brand. I definitely much prefer the naturally flushed look that liquid or cream blusher gives compared to powder, although I’m going to give an honourable mention to Jamie Genevieve’s Vieve Sunset Blush, which has a very cream-like finish and did come close to converting me this year. This Saie liquid is very pigmented, as I found out the first time I used it, so a little goes a long way. Dotted on the cheeks and blended out, it makes you look as if you’ve just been for a bracing winter walk.
  13. Wayne Goss Bronzer Wayne Goss is probably the nicest, kindest, most lovely and genuine person in the beauty community. As a make-up artist he’s tirelessly focused on technique and is determined that make-up should suit all ages. With this in mind he has developed his own make-up line available through Beautylish. 2021 saw the addition to that line of a waterproof mascara and two beautiful eyeshadow palettes, Pearl and Tourmaline, which are two of my favourites. His bronzer also launched last year, which is very conveniently a bronzer and contour duo. The texture of both powders in the palette is beautiful, silky and not too pigmented, which is perfect for heavy handed people like me! I like to sweep the bronzer all over my face where the sun would catch it, then go in with the contour under my cheekbones and jawline.
  14. Benefit Gimme Brow Shade 2 An oldie but a goodie for perfect looking brows in an instant. Just brush through and bald patches are filled in, hairs set in place. I use Shade 2 since I’ve been dying my hair blonde but used 4 when I was a brunette.
  15. Pat McGrath Eyeshadow Quad in Venus in Fleurs. Although there are only four shades in this palette, you can get so many looks out of it by using different brushes. As with all Pat’s eyeshadows, the texture is silky and buttery, the pigmentation awesome and the metallics without fallout. It’s possible to wear this to the office (remember those days?) in a neutral daytime look or achieve a dazzlingly glam look for evening.
  16. Vieve Eye Wands I love eyeshadow palettes more than anything else and there is no other item of makeup that makes me feel so happy and gives as much joy. However, my collection of palettes is so huge* that it can be very overwhelming. Many times last year, I found myself instead reaching for these matte eye wands, either smudging them over my lid and blending them out for a quick eye look, or using them like eyeliner under the lashline.
  17. 3ine Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Brown I got this in a Look Fantastic box one month and instantly loved it. It’s pigmented and has a sharp, flexible tip that’s really easy to use.
  18. Revitalash Advanced Lash Serum This product should really be in with my skincare, as I apply it right after my retinol at night. The thing is, I don’t really have a favourite mascara. I have mascaras in my collection that give good volume and thicker looking lashes, but inevitably end up under my eyes within an hour. Then I have tubing mascara that lasts all day or all night, until you remove it easily with warm water, but doesn’t really give such impressive length or volume to lashes. I am also diabolically rubbish at applying false lashes. Since I have been using Revitalash, however, none of this has mattered. After just a few weeks of using the serum, my lashes looked noticeably longer. Now after 6 months, they are long, curly, in great condition, and it doesn’t really matter which mascara I wear because all of them look good (although I tend to go for a tubing one to avoid the panda eyes).
  19. Victoria Beckham Lipliner No. 2 A perfect neutral lip liner with a lovely creamy texture that I very often just wore alone with gloss last year. It also goes with most of my other lipsticks, regardless of shade or texture.
  20. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Sweet Blossom (Lunar New Year 2021 Edition) Just muted enough to look neutral and go with most looks, but with a slightly reddish/coral hue, this was definitely my most worn lipstick of 2021. In fact probably 90% of the lipsticks I wore last year were from Charlotte’s fabulous Matte Revolution formula, however…
  21. … I also love a red lip sometimes. The trouble is that I also love to eat and drink – a lot – and thus most red lipsticks completely disappear very early on. We’re going to finish off as we started, with a great drugstore bargain, because the only red lipstick I’ve found that fits the bill in terms of colour (bright orangey red), texture and longevity is L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature in shade 113 for only €10.95.

*Honourable mentions go to Charlotte Tilbury Smokey Eyes Are Forever and Natasha Denona Retro if you were looking for a palette recommendation.