Know the basics – Makeup Primer


makeup primerI was asked this weekend by the lovely “Friend of the store” Allison (it’s a new thing for us – go with it !!!) if I could write some articles going over some Makeup basics, which sounded like a great idea to me !!!

I thought for this series of articles, I’d start with (naturally enough) makeup primer. If you’re one of the many ladies who don’t use (or have heard of) this little gem, this essential is a worthwhile addition to your makeup bag. So, come with me into the store and let’s have a play !!! After all, that’s how I roll !!!)

Younique Touch Glorious Primer
As you know, I present for Younique and their version is called “Touch Glorious primer” which you can find here. If you’ve not tried Younique, or prefer a different makeup brand, don’t worry, pretty much all of what I’ll be talking about here is equally applicable to other brands products, so you won’t be losing out, except when I’m talking about ingredients, which I know a lot of girls are interested in, particularly when it comes to using a product that is cruelty free. So let’s get that out the way first shall we ? Are you ready ? Here comes the sciencey bit !!
Younique’s primer contains the following ingredients. Isododecane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid and Tocopheryl Acetate. That’s a lot of chemistry !!! But you needn’t worry, like a lot of cosmetics suppliers, Younique is cruelty free and I’m sure your preferred brand will be too.
Most primers contain silicon-polymers which help flatten out or smooth the skin, so you’ll probably notice your products ingredients will be similar to the above. Taking the above list as an example though, if like me, you have sensitive skin, the ones to look for are Dimethicone and Retinyl variants. The reason for this is that they can cause some skin irritation, or in extreme circumstances and allergic reaction, so it’s worth getting a small sample to check before you start using, particularly if you suffer with acne or eczema.

How do primers work ???

Unlike a moisturiser, which you apply to soften the skin, a primer smoothens the skin, improves the adhesion of your makeup and hence it’s resistance to coming off through the day. When used over nourished skin they create a thin, weightless film on the surface of your skin, which provides the key for your foundation to stick to. It can also help keep your foundation in place in wet or humid environments (it can even help if you tend to sweat your makeup off during the day !!!)

How to apply your primer

Apply your primer in a circular motion over your skin
You should apply your choice of primer onto clean, dry skin, but you don’t need a lot. This is definitely a case of less is more !!!! A spot the size of a 5p coin (or similar) is enough for most people. All you need to do is massage it into your skin with your finger tips in a circular motion. Some people find it easier to apply under their eyes using a small, thin brush (like an eyeshadow brush) but I don’t find a need to do this personally. Some people also find the area under their eyes to be a little more sensitive than the rest of their face and will use a specialist, gentler eye primer, but, even with my sensitive skin, I don’t tend to find I need this. The key after application is to allow it to dry on the skin for a 2-3 minutes to get completely dry before you apply the rest of your makeup.

Advantages of Using Makeup Primer

As a makeup artist, makeup primer is an essential piece of kit, which I always keep to hand in my makeup bag of tricks.  Why ? Well, here’s my top 3 reasons……….!!!
  • It reduces the appearance of pores – I’m not proud of it, but just to the side of my nose, I have a large pore (You could probably serve dip out of it at parties, gross but true). If like me, you have the occasional deep pore, you’ll find that using a primer will seal, fill and reduces their appearance. Even if you’re one of those lucky women who are blessed with small pores, you’ll find that it a useful to use a primer, particularly if you use a liquid foundation, which can sometimes magnify their appearance.
  • It smoothens your skin and evens its tone – Using a primer will make your skin smooth and soft to the touch – Glorious !!!! (See what I did there ?) If you have redness, burst blood vessels, moles or freckles on the face, a primer will help minimize all these. Using a Primer, gives your skin a smoother more even tone. It will also help with evening out fine lines around the eyes or edges of the lips.
  • It makes the makeup more resisilient – The main task of a primer is to make your makeup more resistant. A primer helps reduce sweating through the pores; it helps the makeup remain longer held in its place. A primer also acts as a certain shield for dust, water, and dirt, which erases makeup.
So, finishing up, a makeup primer is really simple to use. It dries instantly without leaving a sticky sensation. And reduces the appearance of fine lines, pores and skin redness. Don’t think of it as adding more time to your daily beauty ritual. Think of it as adding 2-3 minutes, which will give you extra confidence that smudged makeup is a thing of the past, as well as the need for constant re-applying !!! (And if you are worried about the 2-3 minutes, use it to work on your nails with some lovely Jamberry Nail wraps !!!!)
I’d love to know what your experience of using makeup primer is, or, if reading this you’re tempted to try it – why not pop me a line and tell me ?
Love always

2017 UK Pride dates


Eleanor popped us a message on Saturday, asking if we knew when a pride event was happening in her area, so we created this little list of the main 2017 events to share with you – if you’d like some help looking fabulous for your big weekend – be sure to let us know !!  You can contact us through our main page at


This years pride events !!

  •  Belfast Gay Pride                              2017-07-28 to 2017-08-06
  • Website :-                                 
  • Birmingham Gay Pride                   2017-05-27 and 2017-05-28
  • Website :-                                 
  • Blackpool Pride                                 2017-06-11 and 2017-06-12
  • Website :-                                 
  • Brighton Pride                                   2017-08-04 to 2017-08-06
  • Website :-                                 
  • Brighton Trans Pride                       2017-07-21
  • Website :-                                 
  • Bristol Pride                                       2017-06-30 to 2017-07-09
  • Website :-                                 
  • Burnley Pride                                     2017-05-26
  • Website :-                                 
  • Canterbury Pride                              2017-06-10
  • Website :-                                 
  • Chester Pride                                     2017-08-19
  • Website :-                                 
  • Coventry Pride                                  2017-06-10 to 2017-06-11
  • Website :-                                 
  • Cymru Pride                                       2017-08-25 to 2017-08-27
  • Website :-                                 
  • Doncaster Pride                                2017-08-19
  • Website :-                                 
  • Dublin Pride                                       2017-06-24
  • Website :-                                 
  • Durham Pride                                    2017-05-29
  • Website :-                                 
  • Eastbourne Gay Pride                     2017-07-22
  • Website :-                                 
  • Essex Pride                                         2017-06-24
  • Website :-                                 
  • Exeter Pride                                       2017-05-13
  • Website :-                                 
  • Exmouth Pride                                  2017-07-01
  • Website :-                                 
  • Flintshire Pride                                  2017-05-27
  • Website :-                                 
  • Gloucestershire Gay Pride            2017-06-10
  • Website :-                                 
  • Hampshire Pride                               2017-02-25
  • Website :-                                 
  • Hereford Pride                                  2017-07-29
  • Website :-                                 
  • Herts Pride                                         2017-09-02
  • Website :-                                 
  • Hull Pride                                            2017-07-22
  • Website :-                                 
  • Lancaster Pride                                 2017-05-20
  • Website :-                                 
  • Leeds Gay Pride                                2017-08-05
  • Website :-                                 
  • Liverpool Pride                                  2017-07-29
  • Website :-                                 
  • London Pride                                     2017-06-24 to 2017-07-09
  • Website :-                                 
  • Manchester Pride                            2017-08-25
  • Website :-                                 
  • Newcastle Pride                               2017-07-21
  • Website :-                                 
  • Norwich Pride                                    2017-07-29
  • Website :-                                 
  • Oxford Pride                                      2017-06-03
  • Website :-                                 
  • Plymouth Pride                                 2017-08-05
  • Website :-                                 
  • Pride Cymru                                       2017-08-25 to 2017-08-27
  • Website :-                                 
  • Pride Sheffield                                  2017-07-29
  • Wesbite :-                                 
  • Reading Pride                                    2017-09-02
  • Website :-                                 
  • Rotherham Pride                              2017-07-15
  • Website :-                                 
  • Sheffield Pride                                  2017-07-29
  • Website :-                                 
  • Southampton Pride                         2017-08-26
  • Website :-                                 
  • Sparkle                                                 2017-07-07
  • Website :-                                 
  • Totnes Pride                                       2017-09-02
  • Website :-                                 
  • Walsall Gay Pride                             2017-08-26
  • Website :-                                 
  • Warwickshire Pride                         2017-08-19
  • Website :-                                 
  • Weston Super Mare Pride            2017-07-29
  • Website :-                                 
  • York Pride                                           2017-06-10
  • Website :-                                 

Body image and losing weight


shutterstock_114975982Even if we’re not intending to transition, as trans women we’re frequently intense observers of female behaviours in our quest to achieve that elusive ability to be able to “pass in public”.  While there are lots of facets to this “ability”, for many, this is felt no more acutely than the difficult topic of “body image” or more specifically “weight”.   The media bombards us with perfect images and articles on everything from “the benefits of dress size” to “how to achieve the perfect body shape” with all the negative connotations for our self esteem that come with them.  So how can we get to overcome these stereotypes and be happy with who we want to be ?

For many, addressing excess weight or unwanted muscle mass is a key part of the transition process and with the power of the internet at your disposal, within a few clicks, you can be left with a bewildering array of options.  Don’t get fixated on losing weight though, the key thing to a successful transition when you think of it, is being happy with the skin you’re in, whatever shape size or colour it is. Remember, a real woman is whatever she wants to be and so can you be too.

But if you do want to lose weight in a healthy way without resorting to starvation or anorexic behaviours, here are some tips from Vicky and me to get you going in the right direction.

  1. Be Patient, you’ve got time.  The transition process itself takes time and so does  losing weight.   You don’t need to rush either.   Most diets we looked at targeting an average weight loss of between about 2.0 – 2.5 pounds per week  (That’s about a Kg in new money).  This is only an average though, when you start you may lose more (a lot of the additional weight loss will be water weight) and some weeks, you’ll plateau and not appear to lose any.  Both are perfectly okay, relax !!!
  2. Weigh yourself at the same time each day. When you weigh yourself (and record the associated weight) you want the record to be as consistent as possible.  Doing this will take a lot of the swing and emotion out of your efforts which can lead to a loss in motivation.  I personally weight myself weekly because I find it more of a reasonable and better indication of success.  Remember, it’s  a health game and not a numbers game !!!
  3. Plateaus are normal !!!.  A weight loss plateau is a stall in your weight loss, where your body is overcoming latency.  Although its frustrating, don’t lose your motivation.  You’re doing all the right things and you don’t want to change your routine with drastic actions such as starvation.  Just be patient and continue what you are doing and you will break through when your body is ready.
  4. Oestrogen will take care of your shape. While there are lots of exercise products which claim to target specific areas, these claims are mostly not true.  Oestrogen however will redistribute your body fat and reduce some muscle mass, you only need to concentrate burning calories and eating healthy.
  5. Consider Yoga and Pilates.  Its easy to get fixated with losing muscle mass to the point where they will avoid any form of weight training because they see it as a form of “bulking up” which is the last thing they want.  The truth is though that it takes bodybuilders mad amounts of time in the gym to bulk up.  Exercise regimes like Yoga and Pilates help “sculpt” and “tone” muscle leading to a better shape and posture.  You’ll actually develop metabolically active muscles without the fat they are helping you burn.  You will actually get a little smaller.
  6. Make use of a personal trainer.  Lying to yourself and making excuses are easy ways out when you’re struggling, particularly when you are trying to do things on your own.  Taking advantage of your gyms personal trainer is a useful way to make a commitment to your goals and getting support when you need it.  Those things are just secondary benefits though, their primary benefit is to help you make the most of the exercises you are doing and use the equipment safely without damaging yourself.
  7. Whatever you do, exercise should be something you ENJOY.  Ideally, you’re looking for three to four exercise sessions a week (more if you can manage)  So you’ll likely be spending quite a bit of time doing it.  If you’re going to stick to it, it makes sense that you should enjoy it.  If you absolutely hate exercise, it will become to skip sessions or worse quit altogether.  Even if you do enjoy your preferred routine, mix it up every now and again to prevent you from falling into a rut and just “going through the motions”.
  8. It generally takes about 30 days to form a habit.  When you start changing your lifestyle for the better, each change, whatever it is will take time to become “normal” Remember what we said at the start, you have more time than you realise and there are no quick fixes. Transition is a long term plan you’re looking at and losing weight is just one part of the journey.
  9. Take an interest in cooking.  The more you cook for yourself and prepare your own ingredients, rather than microwave a meal for 4 minutes or so, you’ll start to appreciate your food more.  It also is a great distraction from just sitting in front of the TV with a plate on your lap and can be tremendously social too.  It also feeds through into your shopping habits too, when you start to think about cooking something and preparing your own meals, you go through the supermarket with a plan and a list, rather than hunting out bargains and “two for one offers” which tend to be unhealthy food choices.
  10. Don’t think of it as a diet, more of a change in lifestyle. Once you reach your goal weight, going back to your old lifestyle will only take you back to where you used to be.  Your transition and routine needs to be a real lifestyle change. Continue living healthy with good food and great exercise.  Between this and the Oestrogen, you will pull off a healthy woman’s appearance into the rest of your life.


So, there you go, that’s our tips – what are yours ?  Let us know – who knows, we may even try them out and get back to you !!





More than just a label

LabelsKeeping support meetings fresh and interesting for the people who come can always be a challenging proposition, particularly when the group is well established.  You tend to find people migrate to their familiar friends and cliques inevitably form which can make the group seem intimidating or unwelcoming for “nervous newbies” when they first come. This month at the Stratford upon Avon meeting I support, I thought I’d try something a little different, just to mix things up a little, based on the perennial hot topic of “labels”.  The reason for this being that we not only get a number of helpline calls on this subject, but I knew of two people who were coming were struggling to understand the various labels they were coming into contact with.  Far from an ideal situation and one that was creating other problems diverting from the core issue.

In the end, Wednesdays group meeting had five “newbies” to welcome.  So, after everyone had settled down and got themselves drinks and munchies, I split the meeting into two groups, distributing the newbies among them, dimmed the lights and put up a screenshow……..

“More than just a label….”

Cue the groans.  “Hey, you can’t pre-judge a whole evening on just 5 words, stick with it.  I think you’ll find there’s something for everyone in this.  It will certainly get you thinking and talking” I said as I distributed handouts, pens and post-it notes.

The idea behind the presentation was pretty simple, each slide had a written profile of a person next to a blank outline of a body. No pictures, no clues as to gender, just the words of the profile.  Everyone would then get 2 minutes to write a word on a post-it and then attach it to the blank outline.  No guessing, just based on the profile that was presented.  The persons picture would then be revealed in the next slide and we would share thoughts on the labels we had attached, discussing any that people wanted.  Five slides in total.  The next slide was a blank outline with some hints on writing a personal profile.  Five minutes in total (after all, who knows more about being you than you ?) I would collect them up and then redistribute them among the group for another two minutes and then present for discussion.  Crucially, this was all anonymous, with no judgements.  The presentation then ended with a slide containing each of the common words used within the trans community and then an open discussion as to what each of these words meant to our group.

If you’re interested, you can download an updated version of the presentation here.  (I’ve updated it based upon the conversations we had in the group)

There were some interesting points that came out of our groups meeting that evening

  • It’s really difficult to label a person with just one word !
    • It was interesting to hear the discussion on this point and how it developed.  Initially, people were hesitant, “its unfair”, “how can I ?” were common observations.  It got even harder when everyone’s personal profiles were distributed.  People suddenly became aware that they could potentially upset someone in the room, through the choice of an inappropriate word.  Fortunately, two of the more established group members chipped up at this point and asked “why would the words we choose be negative ?”, another chimed in and asked “if we’re finding it difficult to choose one word to label people we either don’t or barely know, why do we get hett up on one word to describe ourselves, without seeing the damage it can cause ?
  • No-one labelled any of the personal profiles as trans*
    • Kind of weird – it would have been an easy label to attach.  When I pointed it out though, one person commented “you said we could only label based on the profile the person shared and they didn’t say that about themselves”  To which someone quickly replied, “I’m also all those things too, I guess, those are the things I would like people to recognise about me as I do myself.  The trans label, it’s as unimportant as male or female.  Its only part of who I am not the whole.”
  • Trans people can be unaware of their communities Icons, community, history and culture
    • Three of the profiles I showed were of leading trans people through the ages.  People who were either leading activists, public figures or supporters of our community and rights. When we talked about these people though, the conversation seemed to fixate on “who are they ?”, “why have you picked those people ?” or even “That person doesn’t know anything about me, or my struggles, why do they feel they can speak on my behalf ?”  Izzy, one of the new girls stepped up to the plate on these points though and asked “We want to feel we aren’t alone, that we’re part of a community, but look at what we do to those people who put themselves out there on our behalf, shouldn’t we be supporting them ?  These people are clearing a path out in the real world, so that I can lead my life more easily in the open.  They deserve everyone’s respect, but especially my thanks ”  Not everyone agreed with this, but for me, I really thought this was a positive, outward looking perspective, which I really admire in people.
  • Trans people often don’t even agree on the definitions of the labels themselves
    • Oh my golly, if you want to cause confusion, try to get a group to agree on a common definition of labels.  We spent almost 10 minutes talking about this, going round and round before Ester, one of the quietest people you could ever wish to meet stood up and had the following conversation with Michelle
      • Ester :- “If even we can’t agree on this, what’s the point ?”
      • Michelle :- “But they’re critical.  Doctors use them all the time to prescribe our treatments”
      • Ester :-  “are you a doctor ?”
      • Michelle :- “no”
      • Ester :- “So why are you worried then ?”
      • Michelle :- “What if they use the wrong word and it prejudices their diagnosis and my treatment ?
      • Ester :- “Tell them they’ve got it wrong and to try again.  they’re labelling themselves as Doctors not infallible”
      • Michelle :- “That’s easier said than done”
      • Ester :- “nothing worthwhile ever is easy.  Being you shouldn’t be one of the things that is hard though”
      • MIchelle :- “I’m not going to win this am I ?”
      • Ester :- “No dear, if you want a label, try tea lady.  Milk with sugar please”

After the slideshow, a few people came upto me and thanked me for the presentation.  Three of them thanked me for the talk, Sarah even said “thanks for making me concentrate on me and not the label used by others to frame my transition”.  I’ve since had some emails too.  My favourite one said

“Thankyou for this evening.  I had become so fixated on what label to attach to myself it was affecting my health and ability to be happy with myself.  I was quickly becoming consumed with what am I, thinking I needed it as part of my identity, but after hearing everyone tonight, I realised that I could let that go finally and say, I’m me and concentrate on being me.  I like that”

It takes a lot of trust in the group to do this sort of thing and for people to share, but I’m glad I felt I could do it and that people joined in. I can honestly say, I’m really privileged to know such wonderful people, who are prepared to take a chance and support each other.


Transgender Day of rememberance 2013


Although it’s natural at this time of year for our thoughts to turn to events like the Rotherham weekend, thanksgiving and ultimately Christmas, there is another event in the November calendar which is significant for our community. I’m talking of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which is held internationally on 20th November.

TDOR was the brainchild of Gwendolyn Ann Smith to commemorate those victims who were killed simply for expressing the gender they knew themselves to be inside. For being honest and open about who they were, confronting transphobia and prejudice. Initially, the event was held in honour of Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 led to a candle light vigil in San Francisco in 1999. (Rita Hester’s murder, like most transgender murder cases has yet to be solved.) From this humble beginning, a web project called “Remembering Our Dead” was launched which grew in turn to the TDOR.

TDOR is now a significant worldwide event, in particular in Brazil, the USA and Honduras. Why these countries ? The answer is frighteningly simple. More than half of all transphobic murders worldwide occurred in Brazil. In Honduras, trans people are routinely killed at the rate of one a week, all in a country with a population smaller than London. Many people suggest that recorded figures from these countries are actually the tip of the iceberg, since many crimes of this nature aren’t actually recorded. Further, even the published figures don’t record the stories of trans people who took their own lives as a result of transphobic bullying.

But why should we in the UK be concerned with what appears such a remote event ? Again, the answer is very simple. Nearly 200 transphobic murders were painstakingly recorded last year by the Transrespect vs Transphobia project (TvT research project (2012) “Transrespect versus Transphobia worldwide” This project recorded and gave names to victims of transphobia across Europe. Here in the UK, we should see TDOR as an opportunity not just to remember the names and lives of Andrea Waddell, Sonia Burgess and Destiny Lauren, but also to raise awareness of the wider issues of trans-discrimination and transphobia.

Fortunately, we are privileged to live in compassionate times, sensitive to hatred based violence. But even now the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored by the media. TDOR therefore serves several purposes. It mourns and commemorates the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. It gives our community the opportunity to show the love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference. TDOR puts names and pictures and reminds us we are their brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. Lastly, it gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil.
Each year, there are a number of TDOR events held throughout the UK. Not just in the traditional centres of LGBT population like Manchester, London and Brighton, but also places like Sheffield, Birmingham, Gloucester and Edinburgh. You can find a list of services at both the Beaumont Society website news pages, and also the Facebook and twitter feed. Why not take a visit, to see if there is one near you ? The QR Code will take you to the news page of our website, with links to various events in November. Add you voice and show your support.

I’d like to thank the wonderful Adam Bouska and his work with the NOH8 campaign for the use of the photograph at the top of this article. To learn more about this great organisation – follow the link
You’ll be glad you did !