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Glamorous Getting Ready!

Glamorous Getting Ready!

Feeling so excited to be off to London – we were up at 5.00am!



Hello dear Reader, a warm welcome to Gloriously Vintage today. The post Glamorous Getting Ready has been simmering nicely in my thoughts for some time.  It is a joy to commit these thoughts to this post now. 


This photograph was taken at 7.10 am. We had got up at 5.00am to be ready for our trip to Buckingham Palace to see the State Rooms and the Fashioning a Reign Exhibition of HM The Queen’s clothes.  I will be posting soon about that amazing Day Out.  Feeling very excited and with a very early start –  wearing pearls – I tried to make getting ready for this wonderful day as glamorous as possible!

Do have a look at this book “Your Beauty Mark” by Dita von Teese and Rose Apodaca.



My favourite Beauty Book!




It is featured on the Gloriously Vintage Books Page. Last Christmas I gave a copy to myself as a Christmas present.  The book has been a great source of confirmation for me because it is written clearly and with honesty about all aspects of beauty, hair, makeup and nails – it is all covered with a sense of humour too.  A great read.

I have found myself saying “yes, I do that”, or “yes, what a great idea”, many, many times as I worked my way through the book and took in all the lovely photographs too.


We all need to be glamorous sometimes.  Glamorousness is there for us all to enjoy – accessing it can be tricky if life gets in the way as it frequently does.


The idea from the book that really leapt out at me on first reading was the way Dita gets ready. She knows her makeup routines inside out.  Although her look seems very high maintenance, it is not.

You could look at my hairstyle and say “high maintenance”, but it is not. The initial “set” takes time but thereafter it is quick to brush up to be ready to go out.



Essential combs for the “Brushing Up “


The secret here is knowing how much time you need to get ready and vary it depending on the day or the occasion.

Dita explained beauty routines for going to work out, going to dinner and getting ready for her performances.


The great idea she follows is she uses a playlist.


When I am getting ready I have different approaches depending on what I am doing. Usually it is:

  1. Getting ready to go to work
  2. Getting ready at the weekend to be out and about
  3. Getting ready for a date or a special event – then it is the full works!

I have always loved to listen to music when I am doing jobs and often when getting ready. I sit at my dressing table and then make an important choice.



Just add makeup!



The appropriate playlist, dear Reader is essential to my sense of purpose and feeling glamorous! I love The Rat Pack and especially Frank Sinatra, sometimes I will have music from Hollywood musicals, it all depends on my mood!


Since reading this book I have started to look at playlists differently. It is not a random collection of loved tunes.  Now it sets out the available time at the dressing table – usually 8 or 10 tracks.


I am relaxing into the songs and know exactly what stage I should be at with my makeup and hair. Dear Reader, I have clocks in strategic places too.  Time is important; I like to be on time if possible.  Planning my time to get ready is usually an important stage in agreeing with my husband how our mornings unfold.

When you follow a beauty routine, very quickly it is possible to grasp how long each element takes. It then follows that you can group these elements into chunks of time.  The result is that the same tasks repeated daily can be achieved in a set time with no surprises to make you late!

I can get my hair brushed up; add a touch of hairspray too in 15minutes or 10minutes if it is closer to the initial “set”. My make up routine can take 10 minutes, 20 minutes or 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on where I am going.


Speed can certainly be achieved with specific practise. It is not a case of practise makes perfect – more that practise leads to accuracy and speed.


As you are experienced at making up your face, so you can expertly apply moisturiser, foundation , concealer, powder and the base is ready for the fun part – the colour makeup. I spend as long on applying the base and the colour makeup.  It goes on accurately because it goes on almost every day.

When I want a new tweak to my look I set aside time to practise- to save oodles of time later on.  You have a beauty skill-set that makes it possible to cut corners when needed and relax into a lovely pampering time to get ready – it is all there because you know exactly what you are doing.


Looking at a clock continuously can be stressful, do you agree, dear Reader?


Listening to music has the opposite effect.  So a playlist is a marvellous way to work through your chosen tunes and you quickly know where in the routine you need to be on song 3 or 4!  I have been doing this unconsciously for a long time.  It is only thanks to Dita von Teese that I have captured this idea and really started to use it to help me get ready, feel so happy because of the music and be finished on time!  I also feel much more glamorous because of the music.

Tracks vary in length but the music of the 1940’s and 1950’s are often 3 minutes in length. This helps when choosing.  I put on the music and get ready – if it fits into my routine I take note of how many tracks it takes.  Then I know with each one what I need to be doing to be on time.

Apart from the oasis of calm I experience sitting at my dressing table, the music enables me to relax and not have to keep clock watching.

One of my favourite CD’s is the one I have of the Glamophones.



Such a happy photograph of me with the Glamophones



It has 8 tracks –

  1. In the Mood
  2. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
  3. Chattanooga Choo Choo
  4. Johnny B. Goode
  5. Why do Fools Fall in Love?
  6. Umbrella
  7. Britney Spears Mash-UP
  8. Uptown Funk

I used these 8 tracks to help me get ready for my Day Out. Timing was so important as we were going on a coach tour and could not be late!


When I am giving myself longer pampering time I will increase the selection or play it twice. It works!


Have you used playlists like this, dear Reader? If you are tech-smart it is all probably easy for you.  You are possibly doing this with playlists in a number of contexts.  The advance in accessing music is one of the wonderful marvels of change in my lifetime.

I grew up with 78’s as a very small child and then collected 45’s and LP’s on vinyl all through my teens. At 18 years old I had a portable cassette player for my birthday.  That gift was absolutely wonderful.  I used it so much I wore it out!  The Walkman was also a great way to have music anywhere.  The access to music now is totally amazing.  I have over 3000 tracks on Spotify in creative playlists.  My next step will be to have a more elaborate phone to play them on.

As a teenager in the 1970’s I always had music on. I started with a love of Motown as a young teenager, Elvis and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  I still love all that music enormously.  I love new tracks too and keep up with the most played new music on Spotify!


Glenn and I both love the music of Glenn Miller.   Glenn is actually named for Glenn Miller.  He was born the year Glenn Miller tragically disappeared.  He was called Alan Lewis Glenn.  After the disappearance his mother started to call him Glenn.  So dear Reader, Glenn is Alan at the Bank and at the Doctors and Glenn to everyone else!


We were fortunate to go and see the Glenn Miller Orchestra in the UK, led by Ray McVay.  It was near our wedding anniversary and I emailed the orchestra and requested “String of Pearls”.  When they played it for us I said excitedly “That’s us!”  It was a magic moment.


I am listeningto the CD of the Glenn Miller Orchestra now and fitting the tracks into my beauty routine. It always feels glamorous as I hear the music -remembering that magic moment and what I wore.  The music adds a layer of glamour to getting ready in a way that clockwatching can never do.


I would love to hear from you about your playlists for getting ready. Is this a new idea for you?  Have you been doing it for years?  Do chat in the Comments!


A big thank you to Glenn for taking the photographs.

Tales From the Dressing Table – The March of Time – Skin Care

Tales From the Dressing Table –  The March of Time – Skin Care



Well dear Reader, the one thing that is certain in life we are all getting older with each day that passes!  I am a great planner and apply logic to most situations to find a solution to circumstances whenever possible.  So if skin is aging daily – it makes perfect sense to look after it – daily!


Welcome to this post which is the fourth one in my Series Tales from the Dressing Table.  The title for this post came to me in a light bulb moment as I pondered on why skin care matters so much to me.  The routine I follow is interwoven into my days and provides a major part of the framework that shapes every day.  I do not fear the march of time because I take care of myself and try to make the most of what I have at each stage of life.  It is my belief that women become more fascinating as they age.


May I ask do you have a skin care routine?  If you do, it would be lovely to chat in the comments.  If this is something you have yet to work out, please feel free to get in touch any time and I would love to help in any way – I urge you to start, now.


I should say I work to a budget with my skin care and believe that the discipline of following the routine that you settle on is as important as the products you like to use. 


If I want to find out about something I will search the internet but also I will get a book, read it and take from it the useful bits and apply them.  I have done this with reading beauty books and am always learning and finding out different information about skin care specifically.


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This book published in 1994, has been my “skin care go to” ever since finding it in a charity shop about 15 years ago.  There are recipes for home made skin creams and wonderful advice about looking after your skin and how to keep it smooth.  I am continuously dipping into it and using the helpful tips.  I started mixing my own variations on my skin creams and hand creams by mixing them 50% skin cream and 50% Vaseline because of this book.

Mixing a night cream this way gives a heavier cream for the top lip and dry skin patches or all over for extra moisturising in the nights before a special event.



This book published in 2008 was a Christmas present to myself that year.  Twiggy is world famous and looks wonderful as she is getting older.  It is a good read and for me the advice I heeded most was about the need to moisturise more as skin gets older.




Again a book that is not new – it was published in 2002 – but a great read and Chapter One especially is informative and full of great tips.  Kathleen Baird-Murray is a beauty editor so she really knows what she is writing about!

Please check my Books page for some of my favourite beauty books that have shaped the regime I use currently.


The thing that prompted this post was actually the photographs in the post on vintage hair.  I noticed that my skin looked better now than in some of the earlier photographs which did not really surprise me.  Latterly I have tweaked my skin care routine and the changes have brought better overall moisturising and texture to the skin on my face, neck and décolleté.





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Changes to my skin care routine are often prompted by a special occasion that I want to look my best for.  The most profound change came because of my granddaughters wedding in 2013.  This is when I started to use Almond Oil as a morning cleanser.  I also introduced a heavier night cream for my top lip and the skin around my mouth.

So what is my skin care routine?


Here it is –





I use almond oil generously all over my face neck and décolleté.  Creating a good “slip” I massage my face daily for a few minutes.  I then rinse it off with a clean face flannel 3 times so that the skin feels clean and soft and free of oil and night cream.  I put my hair in a shower cap so it is held back but not squashed and keep the shower cap on until my makeup is complete.

I have been doing this daily since 2013 and believe it is one of the reasons why my skin looks more smooth and moisturised now.  In my early 50’s I did not do this – I would use a foaming face wash in the morning.


  1. Eye cream – I use L’Oreal Age Perfect
  2. Serum – I like Boots No. 7 Lift and Illuminate triple action serum
  3. Day skin cream L’Oreal Age perfect Day with SPF 15
  4. Primer – to prepare for makeup -L’Oreal Lumi Magique




  1. Remove eye makeup – Simple Eye make up Remover
  2. Remove make up with homemade skin lotion cleanser
  3. Refresh skin with 50% witch hazel and 50% cooled boiled water
  4. Apply Eye cream
  5. Apply Night cream
  6. Apply heavier cream to top lip
  7. Apply hand cream 50% Atrixo and 50% Vaseline


My homemade skin Cleanser is very easy to make 500ml:

  • mix equal parts pink and white baby lotion to get a soft pink mixture
  • add rosewater and glycerine to thin the mixture so it will work in a pump bottle
  • Add extra glycerine 1 – 2 tbs (or more as desired) to increase the moisturising effect.

By experimenting with the amount of glycerine added it is possible to get a mixture that removes make up when applied on a cotton wool pad and leaves the skin feeling soft.  I have used the witch hazel mixture for years.  It is not expensive to make.

I am working hard to keep the vertical lines around the mouth at bay.  These can be reduced with heavier moisturiser used at night.  For this I blend 50% night cream with 50% Vaseline and apply it to my top lip.  I have been doing this since turning 50 years old.  I have used eye cream in the morning all through my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and 50’s.  In this 60th decade I am using it at night too and seeing a difference in the way my make up goes on in the morning.




For skin problems I turn to Bepanthen which is a nappy cream!


After reading in Harper’s Bazaar that Helena Christensen had been advised by a dermatologist to apply it to dry skin on her face I decided to give it a try.  It works for me dear Reader and seems to sort out small spots and red patches overnight very well!

I have followed the basic cleanse, tone and moisturise skin care routine since I was a teenager.  during my 30’s I chose lighter moisturisers and after 40 years old used heavier ones.  Using products for mature skin ahead of time have helped my skin to stay smoother.  It is important to try out creams and assess the results.  Drinking water daily has helped me – I aim for 2 -3 litres a day.



I will end this post with a quote from Kathleen Baird-Murray:


 Drink lots of water.  Get lots of sleep.  Try to be happy.  Cleanse.  Moisturise.  And try not to worry too much about getting old.  It happens to us all.”



Thank you for joining me on Gloriously Vintage!  A big thank you to Glenn for taking the photographs.



Tales from the Dressing Table – Blending Lipsticks

Tales from the Dressing Table – Blending Lipsticks

Hello and welcome to Gloriously Vintage, today dear Reader, I am sharing with you one of my pleasures in wearing makeup – Blending Lipsticks.



What do I mean by Blending Lipsticks?

There are a number of ways to blend lipsticks.  Here are three ways; some are more successful than others!

You can actually mix lipsticks together, thus creating a new colour, in a small pot.  I have tried this with the last bit of a couple of lipsticks, in the past.  It is hard to get a good colour because the outcome is practically unknown.  There is a risk you will end up with a sludgy mess!  It was not successful.  I do not do this now.

You can actually mix colours on the lips using a lip brush.  This can be very successful and allows for very interesting effects.  Using darker shades at the outer edges and outline, blending to lighter shades on the centre on the bottom and top lip, it is possible to make lips look fuller and really gorgeous.  It takes time and practice and is often referred to as advanced lipstick application in beauty books.  I do this for very special evening events.



In this post, I am sharing with you dear Reader, blending lipsticks by layering lip colour from lip pencil and lipsticks to create new colours that come very close to matching elements of your outfit.


I love to do this to find a match with a scarf, handbag or a piece of jewellery.


The principles work with all shades of lipstick.


I will be illustrating them here with shades of red and coral.




In the photograph above I am wearing a lipstick blend.  It is made up of:

Lip Pencil + Base Colour +Additional Colours =  NEW (Desired) SHADE

Bobbi Brown Sangria lip pencil + Revlon Red + Max Factor Chilli + Revlon Candy Apple =

A colour that matches the colours in the scarf very well.



Why Blend Lipsticks?

Well my answer to that question is twofold.  Firstly it is fun to blend two or more lipstick colours together to create new shades that are unique.  Blending lipsticks together extends the range of the single colours and the results are extremely satisfying because of how they look and wear.  Secondly, dear Reader, if you have a colour or tone in a scarf, handbag or outfit it is fun to blend lipsticks together to get as near a match as you possibly can.  This gives a level of elegance that is not difficult to achieve.  You can then get the blusher, nail varnish and the rest of your makeup to be perfectly in tune with the total look you are creating.

Matching lip colour to tones in accessories is something we see sometimes on the Red carpet at the BAFTA Awards, Golden Globe Awards or the Oscars.  I particularly remember Angelina Jolie Pitt wearing an elegant full length gown that was very simple, carrying a red clutch bag matched perfectly to her lipstick.  This was very striking and memorable.


My husband often says to me, “Your lipstick looks amazing”.  I usually reply, “It’s a blend!”


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 In this photograph you saw on my last post I am wearing a lipstick blend.  It is made up of:

Bobbi Brown sangria lip pencil + Revlon Red +Max Factor Mulberry =

A lipstick that complimented my party dress and would be unique at the event

Shriener earings and brooch

Looking very happy on my 60th Birthday, wearing a blend to match the Schreiner Demi Parure!

Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil Red + Revlon Red +Dior 999 =  A very bright, warm red that tones well with the jewellery and the scarf I am wearing.



If you are wearing vintage style clothes why not go a step further and really work on the lipstick to complete your look?

Sometimes it is possible to blend a red lipstick that is just the right shade, texture and finish so that your finished look is simply incredible.  The blending principles I am discussing here can be used with all colours to get the tone required.  I am illustrating this post with shades of red because love lipstick, especially red tones.  Blending is what I do most days. In A/W my reds are a warm red/wine base colour and moving to berry and purple, mauve tones.  I also love to blend russet, chilli tones into my red in the A/W.  At the time of writing it is May and S/S is here!  So dear Reader, let’s take a look at reds and corals to be ready for S/S!



What do you need to get started?

You need:

  1. Two or more lipsticks that you like and really know the colour. Think – is it bright, flat, pinky, bluey, does it suit me?  Does it make me happy to wear it?

  2. Lip pencils in a number of tones. When you are young lip pencils just sort out the outline of your lips, over 40 years old I think it is important to outline and full in the lips to give an excellent base to then fill in with lipstick.

  3. Good Quality quilted toilet paper for blotting. I have tried tissues, cotton handkerchiefs, blotting papers; you name it and have found this to be the best.  The quilted toilet paper sheets will take 3 or 4 blots and do not separate on the lips.

  4. A good moisturizing routine to keep your lips and the skin around your mouth well moisturized.

  5. A face flannel for exfoliating the lips regularly. I use a clean face flannel everyday to wash my face in the morning.  Then I like to use cleanser, toner and moisturiser at night with cotton makeup remover pads.  If your lips are kept well moisturised and you are following a good routine, they will look great.


It is worth following a disciplined skin care routine for life.  If you do not do this – start now.  I have cared for my skin religiously over my life and am keeping deep wrinkles at bay, for the moment!


How to get a great result

Here is my step by step guide to a great blend:

  1. Preparation of the lips is vital. Moisturise lips and then wipe away the moisturiser.

  2. I like to put a thin layer of foundation onto my lips to start.

  3. Follow this with a little powder to create a matte surface

  4. Outline lips with your chosen coloured lip pencil

  5. Fill in the outline with lip pencil.

  6. Apply the base colour.

  7. Blot on quilted toilet paper, 3 times. You will see the strong colour in the first blotting.

  8. Apply again and blot 3 times

  9. Apply another colour that will take the base colour up or down in brightness or toward coral or red. Blot again at least twice.

  10. Go on layering colours until the desired match is achieved. Blot each application at least once or twice.  Four layers, each blotted should stay on well.

  11. Use the blotting on the sheet to match with the outfit , scarf or even jewellery.

  12. Try on the finished outfit with your blend; enjoy the result – a truly individual look that is specific to that outfit. The perfect finishing touch!

Your new shades

When you practice the above is possible to create formulas or codes to enable you to collect blends that really work for you.


Lip Pencil + Base Colour+ Additional Colour(s) =


When blending it is very important choose a base colour.  This is the colour you apply first.


It can be a favourite you know looks great on its own, mine is Revlon Red.  It is a staple colour and has been available for many years.  It is a red with warm tones.

Find out if you suit reds with a blue tone or a more tomato tone.  I suit the warmer reds.  Bluey ones do nothing for me at all.  Search and try out testers in shops – go outside and look at the colours in natural light.


Texture and Finish

It interests me greatly how the texture of lipstick goes in and out of fashion.  Now I am older I follow the beauty pages of both Vogue and Harpers Bazaar.  I love to see how the lipstick textures are going to play out each season.  Sometimes it is matte or satin finish and of course glossy lips dip in and out of fashion.  These fashions can determine what colours and types of lipstick are available to buy.  Dita Von Teese advocates stocking up on your favourites.  The most annoying thing is when marvellous colours are discontinued and are unavailable.

Last year I bought 2 Revlon HD lipsticks in Poppy and Gladiolus.  I wore them in blends all summer and had great fun with them.  Thankfully they and still available and I am just now buying them again for this year!


Season by Season

Once you master this blending principle, there is nothing to stop you making many, many tones from your lipstick collection.  Why should you restrict yourself?  Blotting and layering the colour makes lipstick stay on to eat and drink and to just last well through the day.

I wear a uniform to work.  So every day I practice my blends when I do not have to match anything in particular.  I try out blends and assess how they have stayed on during the morning or afternoon.  I am using that work time to prepare great lipstick looks for the outfits I am planning to wear at the weekend or to attend a special party or event.

Some Lipsticks stay on better than others due to the amount of pigment in them.  Max Factor are excellent, L’Oreal Reds are lovely , I like Blake’s and Eva’s.

This summer I am also using Dior 999 and Bobbi Brown Parisian Red.  I will enjoy them on their own but will also be experimenting with some amazing blends!


Here are some examples of my favourite blends:


If I want a good warm coral I turn to:

Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Red + Revlon Red + Bourjois 10 Rouge Buzz




This is one of my absolute favourite summer blends!  I wear this many times because it is bright, strong and a warm summer red that stands out well with a lot of my clothes.

Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil Red + Revlon Red + Revlon  HD Gladiolus



For a bright summer blend that comes out slightly more red than the one above I use:

Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil Red + Revlon Red + Bourjois 13 Jet Set




You can find inspiration for your look in many places. Dear Reader, please talk to me and share some of your inspiration in the comments.  As I love lipstick and wearing it, mine starts with the classic Hollywood film stars.  I look at Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, June Alyson, Rita Hayworth, Doris Day, Cyd Charrise and Lauren Bacall to name a few.  They all looked so glamorous and beautiful.  On Facebook there are groups who share wonderful photos of these film stars.

Images in magazines are helpful as you can find looks you like.  It is possible to emulate this style and put your own personal twist on it.  When I was in my early 20’s I read the beauty pages of Vogue magazine avidly and copied some of the makeup looks, learning all the time what worked and certainly what definitely did not!.

I also find inspiration now in my jewellery and scarf collections.  Can I blend a lipstick to match or to tone really well?  I am also inspired by the colour of handbags.  I have a bright tomato red modern handbag that I always wear with a specific blend.  I have to say I feel marvellous when I wear it!


Here I have used:

Bobbi Brown lip pencil in red + Revlon Red +MAC Lady Danger +Revlon HD Poppy = A good match to this handbag



Matching tones to a scarf will always produce a very “finished” and polished look.  If the scarf is near your face, it makes perfect sense to blend a lipstick to go with it.


Here I have used:

Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Red + MAC Lady Danger + Revlon HD lipstick Poppy = A lovely bright colour to wear with my scarf!


To go with this lovely silk scarf I blend:

Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Sangria + Revlon Red + Max Factor Mulberry =

A more purple tone that works for S/S because the Revlon Red base colour stops the Mulberry coming out too dark.  The Mulberry shade has little gold sparkles in it which adds an interesting finish.



A big thank you to Glenn for taking these photographs.

I hope you are thinking now about having a go at blending and creating your own blends to match your outfits.  Summer is ahead of us with plenty of opportunities to be out and about looking very glamourous. 


It’s been great to get together on Gloriously Vintage – drop by again soon!

Tales from the Dressing Table

Tales from the Dressing Table

Launching my first series on Gloriously Vintage writing about Beauty. 

Welcome to Gloriously Vintage today, dear Reader.  It is exciting for me to begin this new series of posts which will enable me to write about Hair, Makeup and Beauty related subjects, close to my heart. 

Where do you put on your make up?  How do you get ready to face the day?  Dear Reader, I would love to know the answer to those questions.

The one thing I can never be without is my Dressing Table.

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Sitting in front of my Dressing Table, Christmas 2015, ready to go dancing!

It is so important to me that, I have one I can use for travelling and if I am staying in an hotel and there isn’t one I will create one as a matter of priority.

What is a dressing table or vanity as it can be called?

It is the place to sit and apply moisturiser, make up, to dress the hair, apply touch ups and to create the makeup “look” vital to the day’s activities.  It can be simply a table and a chair.  It does not have to be elaborate, but it allows you to have everything needed, easily to hand, laid out like an artist preparing to paint a picture.

This love of a dressing table started at the beginning of my life.  My mother had one.  A solid 1950’s design with drawers and a very large triple mirror.  Here was space to keep makeup, perfume, hair combs and drawers for handkerchiefs and lingerie.  She would sit at her dressing table to put on makeup.  So dear Reader, I learned at an early age what a dressing table was for!

 Today I am so blessed to have the most glamorous dressing table.

It is by far the most beautiful incarnation of my 60 years.

It is a Georgian dressing table with a large oval toilette mirror on top.  There are two turn of the century crystal lamps either side of the mirror.  Finding those lamps is another story.

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The Geogian toilette mirror

Just sitting up to it on my Victorian piano stool makes me feel wonderful.


The small cut glass vases holding lip pencils and brushes on a glass tray.  I made the mat when I was a teenager

I go through my makeup routine so quickly because everything is laid out on the dressing table and in the wide drawer that houses my colour make up, moisturisers for daytime in fact, everything I could possible require is in there ready and waiting.


Tools at the ready!

 My make up brushes are in cut glass vases and containers, separated by use.  The lip and eye pencils are also in small vases just waiting to be applied.  The order that I see on the dressing table is calming.  It enables me to create the look I want – be it a simplified version of my look for work, or a more carefully crafted makeup and hairstyle for going out.

There is also a Georgian chest of drawers with another toilette mirror on it to my right.  I share this with my husband.  Here is a photograph of my tray.

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Mag glass

You can see my powder box, beautiful sterling silver hand mirror engraved with an “E”, a favourite lipstick, “Parisian Red” by Bobbi Brown and my magnifying glass.  The tray is from the 1930’s and I have matching candlesticks to go with it.  I have found some of  the vases and trays in charity shops and vintage fairs.


 Sitting at my dressing table is where I think about “me”.  Nothing is allowed to spoil those precious minutes sitting there getting ready.  My day always starts well, after sitting at my dressing table.  No matter what else is happening or tasks clamouring for my attention, when I am at my dressing table I am making my preparation to create the appearance that will complete what I plan to wear.


Of course not every single day is planned so precisely.  I have make up free days and days when I just wear casual “house clothes” that are clean and comfortable.  For days when I am dressing up – well that is when the Dressing Table comes in to its own!  Even when I am not using it – I can see it there, ready, the very glamorous space where I can make myself look how I want.  Wearing makeup for the sheer love of it, not to hide from anything, but as an expression of who I am.

Fashions and ideas for interior design change.  In these modern times having a dressing table and giving space for one is not the main concern it used to be.  Without one there is a clear choice where to apply makeup.  This can be in the bathroom where the light is usually good.  I will always check colours in the bathroom because of good light there, but I would never forsake my dressing table, in front of the window with maximum natural light and the arrangement of the bedroom it dictates.


So this occasional series is called Tales from the Dressing Table. Stories of adventures into style and image that will enable me to write about hair and beauty.  This is another area of wearing vintage style that means a great deal to me.  I have loved wearing make up since I was 13 years old.  Actually I was 9 years old when my face was powdered for a formal portrait photograph.  I was amazed at the effect that powder had on my skin, it looked so creamy and so different to just being “scrubbed”.


I have always loved to read books on makeup and style.  The stories of the founders of the great makeup houses, Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubenstein, Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and Este Lauder to name a few have fascinated me.  The changing make up styles through the 20th Century is also of great interest.  My dressing table embodies this activity, this influence and how I interpret it in my make up style today.


Make up application is an Art.  To do it well it is essential to have brushes, applicators, sponges, in fact many tools. I have collected a lot of brushes over my life, and now have the best kit ever, due to the passing of time and moving to a stage of life where I can set the pace.  This is rather than having it set for me by the school run!  When my family was young I would get up at 6.00am to have time at my dressing table so I would be ready and dressed first.  There to assemble the troopes!


It is important to keep developing, reading, looking – trying out testers in shops and constantly updating your makeup look.  I wear a Marilyn Monroe inspired make up look now, that is complimentary to my 1950’s style. Following experts like Bobbi Brown and Lisa Eldridge and I am very interested in the makeup look of Dita von Teese.


Your make up can change and develop with your lifestyle and age.

BB Books

Bobbi Brown is one of my favourite writers

SMV Book

This book is great fun


I love this book – am still reading it!

One great bonus of being 60 years old and wearing vintage style is the pleasure of freedom.  I have nothing to prove now and am not competing with anyone or anything.  I can be me.  I can look how I want, develop statement looks at will.  What could be better?

The look I have now, I intend to tweak and play with forever.  Thus achieving a sense of timelessness.  This is what HM The Queen has done, and it is working very well for her at 90 years old!


How do you feel about hair and makeup? Do you keep changing your look?  I would love to know.  The next tale from the dressing table will be about blending lipsticks, especially red lipstick.  I hope you will join me on that post coming soon to Gloriously Vintage.


It’s been great to be with you today.

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