Hello from 'The Tease Maid'. I am woman...hear me POUR! Read on for my general make-up musings and my plan to make the world a better place with nothing but cuppas, cupcakes and cosmetics. There's a weekly 'Tuesday Tip' and a 'Vintage Vault', and of course information on where you can find my next "Cake It On" event... Hope to see you at one soon xox

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Black Dahlia (Part 2)

Cake It On! Black Dahlia Special
Following a seminar I had in my pathology museum (which is what I do 'by day') I decided to look deeper into the persona of Elizabeth Short by reviewing her make-up choices. They actually tell a lot about her personality at the time of her death and I became particularly interested in discoverying why after I read a blog post on Vintage Powder Room by Joan Renner http://vintagepowderroom.com/?tag=black-dahlia 
The BEST part is that I actually got to dress like her using an inexpensive wig I found on eBay and the infamous 'black, tailored suit' which I already had. After popping a Dahlia in my hair and squirting myself with our Cake It On! favourite: Lily of the Valley, I genuinely began to feel like a different person. See what you think:
For this particular cake It On! I created a little gift to give away which included Elizabeth's favourite blood red nail varnish and lipstick as well as AVON favourite Magix Face Perfector which I LOVE for vintage looks as I get a flawless, matte effect. There was also a mini 'Little Black Dress' perfume because if anyone was going to wear a little black dress it would be Elizabeth Short, and also some black dahlia earrings. The way to win this was to answer as many questions in the quiz about The Dahlia, various depictions of her in popular culture and the circumstances surrounding her death.
AVON prize - the bag itself is vintage AVON from eBay
 I had my lovely friend Kay do vintage half-moon manicures on the girls who attended as that was a popular style in the 1940's (and has of course been made popular again by the lovely Dita Von Teese)
The four nail products used in the manicures
And of course the girls got to try the products they wanted to purchase which is the reason I love AVON and which is why I do these retro AVON tea parties! There's nothing better than being able to smell the products, take samples home and even return them if you're unhappy with them which is something you can't do with most cosmetics. Try going into Boots and saying "I'm unhappy with this fake tan/moisturiser/lipstick - take it back and give me a refund" and believe me, you won't get far!
Of course the other reason is that we get too just hang out and have fun:

The next event is March 5th so it has a bit of a Mother's Day theme: Mother's Ruin! (Think gin-soaked 1950's housewife!)
Tuesday March 5th at Crimson Heart Cafe from 6:30pm (87 Leonard Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4QS) Nearest Tube: Old St

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Black Dahlia (Part 1)

Unusual Make-up for an Unusual Lady
In the wintry Los Angeles of 1947, better known for its glamorous film stars and Hollywood lifestyle, Elizabeth "Beth" Short became the victim of one of America's most brutal murders.
At only 22 years of age, Beth had spent much of her early adult life with a wistful desire to be 'in movies'; drifting from the East Coast to the West and back again, melancholy and lonely yet picking up admirers wherever she went.
During this exact week in that fateful January, Beth was being brutally murdered by someone who still remains unknown, and her mutilated, bisected body was discovered on a vacant lot on January 15th.
In my capacity as Pathology Museum curator I have organised a sell-out seminar which can be seen at www.tinyurl.com/bartsdahlia. However, in my other life as AVON lady I have decided to dedicate my next Cake It On! event (February 5th) to the memory of Beth.
You see, what struck me most during my research into the case reading various books was how often her make-up, perfume and clothing were mentioned by witnesses and how her style deviated from the 'norm' in post-war America - ultimately earning her the nickname 'The Black Dahlia' prior to her death.

Another woman with the same double life as me (paradoxically interested in both make-up and the macabre!) is Joan Renner who runs the two blogs: Vintage Powder Room and Deranged LA Crimes. Her magnificent post on Beth's make-up can be seen here: http://vintagepowderroom.com/?tag=black-dahlia and it was this which really got me thinking about the 'darkness' which resided in Beth and whether or not it could actually influence the manner of her demise...

Joan is a writer, lecturer and social historian with an expertise in historic Los Angeles crime. With her insider info and thorough research she has created a 'personality profile' of Beth based on her clothing and make-up choices. I'm going to use that profile, and some of my own research, to discuss how The Dahlia's choices differed from other women of the time and really made her stand out.
Perhaps that's why she caught the eye of someone with insidious intentions and dark desires?
I'll be giving away a 'Black Dahlia' inspired make-up kit to the winner of the quiz and also a pair of black Dahlia earrings to the winner of the order form raffle. So come along and don your blackest dress and darkest lips and learn some of the lesser known facts of the Dahlia case:
Wednesday Feb 6th at Crimson Heart Cafe from 6:30pm (87 Leonard Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4QS) Nearest Tube: Old St

Friday, 21 December 2012

Festive Make-Up

Red Lipstick is for life - not just for Christmas!
There used to be a time when women would wear bright red lipstick whether they were cooking dinner, heading out to the shops or picking the children up from school. In fact there are still some glamorous ladies who do exactly that, such as Gwen Stafani. Her signature red lips can be seen in every single pic of her whether she's wandering round Primrose Hill or singing on stage.
Historically red-lips have represented patriotism and glamour - worn either to show support for troops during the 40's or as a nod to Hollywood sophistication in the 50's.

Nowadays however, red lips seem to be relegated to the festive season when it becomes 'Christmassy' to don crimson lips and nails. It's considered a 'night-time' colour or worse, the colour of harlots and femme fatales!
I say that grey drab days in the UK certainly call for a pick me up in the way of a flash of red on the lips and we should return to daytime glamour. However, it is true that red lips can be more 'high maintenance' than a nude gloss or balm, or a lipstick in a paler shade.
There are several ways to combat this - the first is to not actually use a lipstick! I tend to favour Maybelline's "Superstay 24" duo in Cherry Pie, particularly if I'm going to be eating or drinking a lot. The colour stains and grips your lips, and you can simply keep re-applying the clear topcoat so your lips remain moist. Also if anything is going to rub off on a wine glass or cup it will only be the clear topcoat and won't leave a nasty red smudge.
However, I am an Avon lady and I do love their Extra Lasting in 'Eternal Flame' which is one of the best vintage reds around. Using a matte lipstick like that (and if I go red I only EVER go matte..) means that the colour will stay on. Also, if you follow these tips from Lisa Eldridge it will ensure you have a lasting finish.
Plus, there is a lot to be said for that retro favourite Lipcote which works really well and yes it is still available (along with setting lotion, talcum powder and other seemingly forgotten favourites...) 
The only thing left to do is choose a colour that's right for you and this is why I like AVON so much. Most of their lipsticks can be ordered in sample size for 25p! Also, if you order a full size and then decide you DON'T like it you can actually send it back. Have you ever tried to do that at Boots or Superdrug? They won't take back cosmetics that have been used, but AVON will.
So come have a wonderful Christmas and I hope to see you at the next Cake It On! on January 17th at Crimson Heart, Leonard Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4QS to browse the catalogues, try the samples and order to your hearts content until you find the perfect red for you. 6:30pm onwards - see you there! xox

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Return of Cake It On!

Cake It On! (Campaign 18) - Hair
Attempting '40's glam using pincurling
I've had a little break, post-surgery but my next Avon Tea Party is on Wednesday 28th November. We have a Christmas campaign coming up after that so the theme I've chosen for the next Cake It On! is vintage hair. I get a lot of questions about how to do vintage hairstyles and believe me I am NO expert but I can certainly share a lot of the tips I have from experimenting and through trial and error.
Being 'Rockabilly' for The Vintage Fair
Different things work for different people so I can let you know what works for me, and I have also ordered several AVON hair products for people to try: hair spray, heat protector etc. Sometimes you just want to know what things smell and feel like before you buy them and that's something you don't get to do in shops!! That's why AVON ladies are the best way to purchase your beauty bits and pieces ;)
I hope to see you all there on Wednesday 28th and remember there will be the usual quizzes, games and prizes (including AVON products) so get yourself to Crimson Heart, 87 Leonard Street, Shoreditch at 6:30pm next Wed xox
Handing AVON 'Vintage Glamour' Shower gel to the winner!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cake It On! (AVON Campaign 14)

The Naughty 90's!
I'm so happy that I chose the 1990's as my theme for the last vintage AVON party: my hair really badly needed to have the roots bleached and I think I rocked the 90's grunge look fairly well because of it...

Add a few plastic flower clips and a retro tee and the look is complete. Of course the make-up was all AVON, specifically my favourite matt red lippy which is the Lasting Finish in 'Eternal Flame' and I pretty much use it for everything.
All the other ladies made an effort too: 

Hello Kitty, side ponytails and plastic clips were rife, and we all looked the part while playing Dream Phone and listening to 1990's hits.
Of course the main premise of the evening is to look through the newest AVON catalogue and see what takes your fancy, and I have my trusty vintage cosmetic case full of samples for people to try.

It's a great way to try new products without committing and that way you don't have to take my word for it about the performance of a product - simply give it a go and see what you think. The next Cake It On! will be on October 2nd, and as it's the only October one I'll be doing, it will be a Halloween Horror Heroine Special. Also it's the Campaign where the famous AF-33 cream becomes available!! 

You may have seen this all over the TV the day the news first broke. Here is a link to a report from the press: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2201893/Avon-wrinkle-cream-Women-convinced-need-cosmetic-surgery.html and it's actually only £20 in this campaign with a FREE gift :)
Put the date in your diary and I hope to see you there xox

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Naughty Nineties are back!

The next "Cake It On!"
I think I have started considering the 90's vintage because when you look back on that time things really were SO different! I have memories of covering myself in Impulse body spray and reading 'Just Seveneteen'... especially the rude problems at the back :) I loved Hole and Babes in Toyland at the time but also Shampoo and Alisha's Attic. Everything was pink and bubble-gummy and we all wore plastic flowers in our hair and wanted to be Drew Barrymore. So my next Cake It On! just has to be 1990's

For me it's the marriage between girliness and grunge that is summed up by the era but of course it depends on how old you were at the time. Those around my age will know exactly what the above pics are of!
So come down to crimson Heart in Shoreditch on September 4th (87 Leonard Street, EC2A 4QS) at 6:30 on September 4th. Expect a picture quiz on 1990's heart-throbs, 'Truth or Dare' and many prizes to be won, as well as my home-made 1990's playlist.
There'll be makeovers and samples to try and you can bring booze and pay a corkage, or have a cuppa and a cake. See you there! Here's the Facebook link:

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cake It On! (AVON Campaign 13)

The Warring 40's!
"I'm not taking these rollers out til my man gets home from The Front.."
In a secret underground bunker (well...Crimson Heart in Shoreditch) we all gathered to learn the secrets of 1940's make-up and eat cakes which we'd made from our saved up and pooled together wartime rations. There were quizzes and competitions for fabulous Avon prizes, such as the one below: Attempting to draw stocking seams on your own legs in a 1940's style!

There were vintage manicures and hints and tips about some of the Avon products such as this. (This has a very naughty titbit of info to go with it so you'll just have to come to the next Cake It On to find out what it is!!)
And in general we just all decided to have fun and be idiots :)

Of course you can try the products when you're here and that's one of the benefits of Avon. Flick through the catalogue and if anything takes your fancy have a look through my vintage cosmetic case and grab yourself a trial size version. If I don't have it I'll order it in for free for you next time.
According to Grazia mag, you get a LOT of satisfaction with 2 pumps and a squirt...!
Cake It On happens once every 3 weeks in Crimson Heart and the next one will be a Marilyn Monroe special to coincide with the 50th anniversary of her death. You can expect fun, games, vintage hints and tips, tutorials for Marilyn's look, prizes, freebies and some of this:

So what are you waiting for?! Keep checking back here for the date of the next event and I hope to see you there xox

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Tuesday Tip #8 - Vintage Nails

The EASY way to get that Half-Moon Manicure
This look is now instantly recognisable as being the one favoured by Dita Von Teese. True to her 1940's style, she has always sported her perfect red talons with the half-moon at the cuticle free from polish. But not many people know that this look actually originated in the 1920s.

The 'manicure' itself was invented by a make-up artist at MGM Studios and it wasn't only the half moon that was left clear of colour - the tip of the nail was too.

This look had 2 functions: 
1) It made the nail polish last a lot longer (we all know the first place your polish chips is the tip, then it looks weird as it grows up and away from the cuticle) and -  
2) It had the added benefit of being a tricky and delicate paint-job that had obviously been done by some-one else (i.e. a manicurist) so it was in that way a good indicator of social status.
By the 1940's, the trend was to cover the tips too, although there was a brief resurgence of unpainted tips which can probably be attributed to the war and sparsity of nail polish.
There are many tutorials that tell you how to get this look by using those nail-tip stickers you buy for French Manicures but I have an even better way to do it.
Those manicure stickers aren't sticky enough and the curve is a bit too wide - instead use hole-punch reinforcement stickers from stationery shops and cut them in half. They're cheaper, they're stickier so they don't allow polish to leak beneath them, and the curve is smaller and tighter. Perfect.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

'Cake It On!' and Cake Club

Bake, Brew and Blend...
My two main enterprises 'Cake It On!' and The Clandestine Cake Club are meeting at the end of this month in one big cake-y/cosmetic-ky proper make-up bake-up.
This is because of my Avon campaign dates and mental personal schedule all falling around the same time. So while I'm still on this charity ration diet, what better way to pay homage to the women of the era by not only re-creating their recipes but also re-creating their look and having one big Blitz extravaganza! If your'e not a member of Cake Club and want to be then click on the pic below and join the network in general, then look for my Shoreditch group:
And if you want to attend the event you don't HAVE to bring a cake! This is a joint event so you can do either. In fact what I find at a lot of Cake Clubs is that we have soooo much cake left over. We cakey people are sharey people so come along anyway, have a bit of cake and just have fun. There's a war on after all :) xox

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tuesday Tip #7 - Ration Fashion

Mmmm How To Get Edible Stockings...
It's common knowledge that during WWII, many women had to 'Make Do And Mend' and even though my month-long charity ration diet only extends to my food (thank God!) it still gets me thinking about other products, especially toiletries.
During the war, Max Factor stopped making their normal cosmetics and instead made camouflage make-up for troops, Stratton stopped making lipstick casing and instead made munitions casing... I wonder how we'd feel if our favourite mascara was suddenly just unavailable and we had to mix charcoal and Vaseline together to put on our lashes instead?
But the really big one is stockings. Remember, it wasn't only fashionable for women in the 1940's to wear stockings, it was proper. They didn't walk around like women do nowadays with their thongs sticking up over their Juicy Couture tracksuit waistbands or with their skirts so short you could see what they'd had for breakfast... They were more modest. To not wear stockings meant you were half undressed - a bit like like going out in your work-clothes and slippers.
That's why wartime women went to such great lengths to achieve the look of stockings. Initially, with nylon being rationed, a leg-tan cream was produced (by Max Factor). It had the added benefit of being manufactured too thick, so it went even further because it could be watered down by the consumer. Eventually Max factor caught on and thinned it down.
But soon even that was too difficult or expensive to get hold of so women were very industrious and used gravy browning or tea bags to stain the legs, then drew a 'seam' down the back with eyebrow pencil or eyeliner. You could either get a friend to do it or rub the pencil down something long and straight, like a 30cm ruler, and 'press' it into the leg. It seems the gravy browning method was more popular, despite the fact that it used to attract flies in the heat! Also you'd have to wash it off before bed. We all know the biscuity horror smell of 'fake-tan' sheets...imagine if that was gravy?
I also do like the modern interpretation of this, a tattoo of a stocking seam on the back of the legs. 
I'm obsessed with the idea of getting it done, although I won't because it would limit my stocking selections and I'm obsessed with them too. Perhaps I should just draw them on sometimes.... As if I have that kind of patience!!
New Look!

It just goes to show the utter determination wartime women had to be seen as feminine and to Keep Calm and Carry On despite all the struggles. Think about how we feel when we have an 'off' day. I can't be bothered doing my hair or putting on make-up sometimes. I'm not sure I'd have the kind of strength to cover my bloody legs in gravy, especially if my fella was off fighting a war somewhere. Jeez, when I don't have a boyfriend I don't even bother to shave my legs!
So this post is for the women - determined, resourceful inventors of the Victory Roll, we salute you xox
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