In My Makeup Kit: No Longer Reliant on the Kindness of Strangers

Zuca Bag

Anyone who’s been following my Twitter feeds this past week or so, knows that I’m crazy about my new Züca bag, and today I’m going to tell you why.

Carting a suitcase full of makeup all over town goes with the territory of being a makeup artist, especially in London where you need to be prepared for pretty much anything. But when it weighs about two thirds of what you do it can get a bit out of control, and eventually the inevitable happened and my overburdened body gave out and I ended up at the doctor’s. Months later after my ligament injury I am finally recovering, but I’ve had to seriously re-assess my work life. Enter Züca.

Designed by an engineer for a daughter with a back problem (due to carting around too many school books – I’ve been there, too!), it’s a simple idea – a bag with a seat.

A seat I tell you! So no matter where the studio, the location, the train, whether I’m waiting outside a Winnebago whilst the star is getting dressed, or in a field all day watching the shot on location, I can sit down if I want to. Already I’m sold!

It also has special square mesh bags that maximize the space available. Because they’re flat and zip open, you can stack them in the bag, put them out on your work surface and away you go. I separate different areas with smaller bags inside, and it makes unpacking and re-packing super easy. Zuca Bag and its individual pouches

Then there’s the wheels that you can push up and DOWN stairs, since it pushes forward as well as it rolls backward, and I no longer have to heave the whole darn thing up when I reach a flight of stairs (and anyone who’s worked anywhere in East London knows just how many steps there can sometimes be!)

It’s not a huge bag, but now I’ve decanted everything, it doesn’t need to be. And really I’d rather be a bit more organized with a LOT less stuff, and still have a body that can do makeup for years to come.

For more information on Züca bags, check out

Current Obsession: Mad Men

I just can’t get enough of this American series set in an ad agency in New York, in 1960. From the enigmatic title character Donald Draper and the complex, interwoven relationships shared by their wives and secretaries (or “chickens” as they are so charmingly referred to in an episode) to the vision of a vanished world on the cusp of extinction, it’s pretty much perfect television.

 From a beauty and styling point of view it’s spot-on as well – the lipstick is that amazing, Technicolor orange red beloved by Grace Kelly and the nails are all perfectly manicured in that long, elongated 60’s oval shape. The sets are a sea of Dacron and you can almost hear those man-made fibres squeaking as they walk around.

 A word of warning – if you’re trying to give up smoking this ain’t the show for you since pretty much every character in every scene is smoking or drinking something. (Morning meeting? Let’s have a scotch! At the doctor’s office? You can both smoke there! Ooh, after 3pm? It must be Cocktail Hour.) Good times!


The Great Escape

Growing up in Sydney, Australia in the 70’s and 80’s was like living in a big glamour deprivation tank. It was the land of acid wash stretch jeans and scrunchies, in a time before mullet hair was even remotely ironic (hello Jason Donovan, I’m talking to you!) and a fluoro pink sweatshirt with a screenprinted koala on it was considered the height of chic. Even Kylie Minogue was daggy in those days, playing a teenage mechanic on Neighbours.neighbours1 And anyone who’s seen the Locomotion video knows she didn’t get fabulous until long after she left those sunny shores.

From when I first started getting pocket money I started buying makeup (baby blue Aziza eyeshadow of course, to go with my blue eyes, naturally!) By the time I was fourteen I was just a little bit obsessed with fashion, wallpapering my room with the supermodels at the dawn of their era. I yearned for a life where people pronounced ‘Chanel’ in the French way, not ‘Channel’, where the women were 8 feet tall with perfect whiplash hair and clad in skintight, dominatrix Versace. A world where white leather cowboy boots Did. Not. Exist.

So after doing an Arts degree at Sydney University, I left for London where I worked in marketing and fashion PR. turlongtonBut eventually the siren call of makeup became too strong to resist, and on returning to Sydney I decided to pursue makeup as a career.

Over the next few years I assisted in Sydney and Paris, and moved to London in 2007. Long having been an admirer of her work, I was lucky enough to be taken on as first assistant to the amazing Kay Montano whose extraordinary makeup skills and brilliant sense of humour make going to work every day a pleasure. And sometimes at work, surrounded by couture as I prepare a long-legged Russian beauty for the camera, I have to pinch myself and realise that those fuzzy koala sweatshirts are a long way away.