31 October 2015

Creepy doll make-up tutorial

Happy Halloween!

How are you celebrating tonight? Will it be a costume party? A night-in with popcorn, a carved pumpkin and your favourite scary movie? Or will you be hiding in bed until it's all over? 

I've been listening to my Halloween playlist on repeat this week, so it's fair to say I'm in the spooky spirit. Something ghoulish simply had to go on the blog. 

So, after last year's costume extravaganza, I thought I'd focus on a make-up tutorial. And, as luck would have it, my little sister has started to get into special effects make-up. In fact, she's just started her own YouTube channel, The Purple Orange Project, as a hub for all things creative. Her first video is a Halloween make-up tutorial -  you can watch her create a rather gruesome stitches effect on her wrist.

I thought it was really cool. So I asked her to create something similar, but on my face.

I think our special effects session would have made a hilarious video - but we were feeling pretty tired this evening and editing a few photos seemed a lot less effort than editing a video! Maybe next time, eh?

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let's begin.

Step one: Wax

Kate's using Snazaroo wax, which she informs me is incredibly cheap to buy from Amazon. It's also surprisingly simple to use!

Just take a small amount, roll it around in your hand until it's warm and pliable and then mould it into a sausage shape. Kate then stuck it to my face and smoothed down the sides until I had a waxy line on each cheek.  She then grabbed my foundation and added a layer to each cheek, to blend the wax in with the rest of my face. 

Then all you need is a pointy implement to create a line down the middle of your face wax (see picture). Kate used a tiny whisk. I don't know where she gets these things from. 

Paint inside the dent you've just created with a dark face paint (we used black). It doesn't have to be particularly neat. 

Step two: Staples

I think the technical term here is: 'pull the ends off a few staples and bang what's left on your face'. Then paint a small black dot at the top and bottom of each staple stitch to make them look like they've gone through the skin (ew). 

Step three: Crazy face

Now you're free to play with the rest of the make-up. We went for a classically creepy dark eyes and lips.

Before you jump in with the black eyeshadow, decide whether you're going to be a sweet stitched creation, like Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, or a creepy, dark doll. I looked kind of sweet until the black eye make-up came out. Then I definitely joined the dark side.

And once you're happy with your make-up, you're done! This look is incredibly quick - but looks hella creepy! Side note: the wax comes off really easily - you can literally wipe it away with tissues! Great news, because there's nothing worse than lingering Halloween make-up. 

Wow, I even scared myself a little there. I think it was mostly from editing the close-up shots of my face.

Have a fantastic Halloween - let me know what you've got planned in the comments! If you attempt a creepy doll look tonight, let us know on Twitter! @nikki_mcmullen and @officialtpop xx

23 October 2015

Being teetotal

Hi, I’m Nikki, and I don’t drink. 

That’s not usually how I introduce myself, I promise. But after reading all the Go Sober for October statuses and tweets, I felt it was time to broach the subject on my blog. But it’s a bit of a weird, personal one, so bear with me… 

My story

I’ve been teetotal since I was a teenager. Whenever I tell people this, the first thing they want to know is why. I'm imagining you're wondering the same thing. It's a fair enough question - and I have a lot of different answers:
  • I’m a bit of an odd’un. For me, drinking results in almost instant nausea and dizziness - which isn’t usually a recipe for a fun time. 
  • I was never really into the taste and wasn't bothered enough about drinking it to push past the barrier (ditto coffee). 
  • I was quite a nervous teen - and drinking made me super anxious. 
  • I’ve got the sober personality of a drunk Sorority girl. There is absolutely no need to add alcohol to that mix. 
  • After not drinking for most of my teenage years and the whole of University (except the odd sip of Pimms and Quad-Vod) it’s just become a part of who I am. 
These answers are all true. But they’re not very exciting, are they? 

So I’m not always truthful with my answers - because, just occasionally, it’s more fun to lie. Especially if the person asking is annoying me. Here’s a few of my favourite responses: 
  • ‘I have an addictive personalty. I’ve been sober for fifteen years now’ (cue puzzled faces as they mentally subtract a decade and a half from my baby face). 
  • ‘It’s against my religion - I’m a mormon.’
  •  ‘I’m on some pretty strong medication right now…’ (feel free to go into the details of your mystery illness here)
Although I mostly just avoid having to explain. Life is much easier when people think you’re drunk. And they do. Most of the time. 

But I don’t really mind that. I'm quite proud of the fact I can go out and enjoy myself without drinking. I enjoy blending in with the drunkards. 

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for surviving sobriety. Whether you’re thinking about trying Dry January, you fancy a night out sans hangover, or if you’re just curious, enjoy: 

Nikki's Top Tips for Surviving Sobriety

The other drunks

When I talk about not drinking with my friends who do drink (i.e. everyone who isn’t me), their biggest concern is about hanging out with other drunk people. 'They must be unbearable if you’re sober!' they worry.

Well, let me tell you, hanging out with drinkers is all about perception. If you think of drunk people as annoying, they’ll be annoying. Approach the situation with humour (drunks are basically giant babies with slightly worse coordination) and you’ll possibly have one of the funniest evenings of your life. 

My advice? Just join in. 

Sing out-of-tune with all the songs, run down the street, dance like a maniac (I do this one a little too well) and insist on greasy junk food at 2am.  

Drunk conversations can also be hilarious. I do like an abstract chat that defies logic, social convention and moral barriers. Hands up who ever’s reached the 10 minute point in a conversation before realising the other person is drunk… Just me?

Remember the benefits

After 6 years of nights out, I’ve compiled a little list of all the non-drinking benefits: 
  • No hangovers. 
  • No vomming in your hair at 1am. Stay classy, guys. 
  • Saving money. Like, a lot of money. 
  • You’ll sleep better. 
  • You’re generally a bit healthier (I’d really hate to see the state of a drinking-Nikki in that case). 
  • You’re normally the one with the camera full of potential blackmail. I’m not suggesting you blackmail your friends. But y’know, if you had to, you could. 
I cannot guarantee no regret. I’ve yet to log onto Facebook after a night out and not cringe at a photo of me. There's at least two videos of me rapping. To Eminem. And Lady Sovereign. Whilst wearing pyjamas. And that was only last month.

So, maybe you won't have a night of no embarrassing moments. But at least you’ll remember it clearly.

Grab yourself something delicious! 

Guys, you’re not limited to water or soda. Most bars offer some pretty tasty non-alcoholic alternatives. I’m no mocktail master, but here are a few good recipes I’ve spotted on Pinterest, just incase you find yourself hankering after a tasty non-alcoholic bevvie.

I won't judge you, so don't judge me

I'm the only teetotaller I know. And although being sober has been incredibly easy for me, there's still a few difficult moments.

There are the times you get included in a round at the bar before you've had a chance to explain you don't drink (and once people have started necking Jaeger Bombs, it's totally the wrong time to tell 'em), there's the people that don't understand and think you're a massive weirdo, the people that make it their life's mission to get you drunk (bellends, as they're otherwise known), and the people who get super self-conscious and worry that you'll judge them.

I find the last one the hardest sometimes because, I swear, I never judge. The thought 'God, that person is awfully drunk' has never crossed my mind. I enjoy it when you start talking slightly too loudly, get a bit over-emotional and huggy, dance like a lunatic (hey, I'm doing that too) and I won't even notice when you repeat yourself. 

So, I won't judge you. And hopefully you won't judge me either.  

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