Cutty Cargo! Your chance to see Miss Polly Rae for free!

Cutty Cargo

Miss Polly Rae

Well that has certainly got your attention hasn’t it? Yes, that’s right, I said you could get to see the amazing Miss Polly Rae for free.  All you have to do is apply for tickets to the only place you should want to be next Thursday evening (12th Sept);


CuttyCargo PosterSo what’s it all about?

Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky launches Cutty Cargo – a tour of the world’s major cities including London, New York and a city in Spain yet to be revealed, to discover some of the best home-grown creative culture and talents.

First stop is London on Thursday September 12 2013, where the hottest talent from across the city will be brought together in one place for one night, inside a giant reproduction of a wooden cargo crate, used to smuggle Cutty Sark whisky into America 90 years ago.
JessieWareMercurySinging sensation Jessie Ware will join London’s finest from across food, art, design and photography as part of an evening designed to inspire people to discover more.
Jessie Ware comments: “London is my city.  It constantly surprises and gives me pride to be a Londoner.  There is always something new and exciting popping up, whether it be a new culinary / pop up restaurant venture, a new night in some hidden gem that you may have passed many times before, or an emerging artist in any of our brilliant galleries, or even on the streets; London always surprises me.  There is always something to inspire around every street corner and that’s why I’m so excited to be part of the Cutty Cargo event, people can expect to experience the best sounds and sights of the city all in one place.”

Performances taking place inside the Cutty Cargo crate include:

  • South London born soulful songstress and Mercury Music Prize nominee, Jessie Ware. Jessie will return to her London roots as she headlines Cutty Cargo, singing tracks from her outstanding debut album Devotion.
  • London based DJ and producer Duke Dumont. The man behind the popular house hit Need You (100%) will be dominating the dance floor with a high-energy set.
  • Pioneers of the current London restaurant scene, MEAT Liquor and creator and star chef, Yianni Papoutsis will be serving up their famed burgers. The hottest restaurant in central London will be in attendance giving people a diner-style treat, which is hugely popular among the capital’s foodies and celebrities.
  • London’s hottest cocktail bar, situated in north London, 69 Colebrooke Row, will be creating Cutty Sark bespoke 1920s inspired cocktails in the secret Speakeasy in the Cutty Cargo crate venue. The UK’s pioneering drinks creator Tony Conigliaro, founder of the bar, has developed the cocktails, using the latest Cutty Sark blended Scotch whisky ‘Prohibition Edition.’
  • MissPollyRae FanPerformances will take place from Burlesque sensation Miss Polly Rae, best known as the star and creator of West End and international burlesque cabaret extravaganza ‘The Hurly Burly Show™’.
  • London based international music photographer Tom Oxley will be showcasing his groundbreaking exhibition of moving video portraits of prolific musicians. Each moving portrait is accompanied by a music track chosen by that artist. The exhibition will allow the audience to get up close and personal with influential artists including Liam Gallagher, Jake Bugg and Azealia Banks.
  • Art lovers can marvel upon an installation of mini Cutty Sark crates that have been customised by a collective of up and coming artists recommended by ‘It’s Nice That’, a leading online blog magazine dedicated to modern design.
  • The Shanty Theatre Company, a group of famed storytellers who are regulars on the London theatre scene, will take the audience on a fantastical journey as they perform a bold, love tale laced with iconic images. Mysterious twists will dazzle the audience as well as immersing them as the plot unravels.
  • Flat-e, a London based design studio, will be utilising the latest developments in technology and realtime programming as part of their immersive light installation. Their design will stretch across the roof of the wooden cargo crate creating a unique visual display unifying the creative space.
So, if that alone has not convinced you, WATCH THIS VIDEO (Cutty Cargo launch video)!
…and then WATCH THIS VIDEO of Miss Polly Rae (Miss Polly Rae prepares for Cutty Cargo London).
So, now you are desperate to go and hugely envious that I’m on the guest list (sorry, just had to drop that in there!), you need to know how to make sure you can be there too.
To find out more about the Cutty Cargo London event and how to attend visit
Hope to see you there!  🙂

The wonderful Amber Topaz!

Amber Topaz at Showzam festival 2012 by Thomas R Grady

‘An explosion of charisma and stage presence unmatched, between music and songs, comedy and seduction’ GQ Magazine


The first time I saw Amber Topaz was early 2010 on a night out at Proud Cabaret with my Hubby.  She came out on stage wearing a stunning red evening dress with sparkly red shoes and sang Jessica Rabbit’s ‘Why Don’t You Do Right?’.  She had the audience completely captivated as she worked her magic around the room.

Part way through her song, she placed one of her beautiful shoes (still attached to her foot, might I add) on our table right in front of my husband as she sang to him for a few moments, before leaving him to find her next victim.

The next time I saw her we were both walking out of the Leicester Square Theatre after watching Miss Polly Rae’s ‘Hurly Burly Show’ and I decided to be brave and speak to her and tell her how great she was at Proud.

I next saw her at ‘An Evening of Burlesque’ and this was the first time I had actually seen her do a burlesque act and take her clothes off!  WOW!  She has SO much energy and is a proper cheeky minx.  She is great at getting comedy into her acts as well.

I was then completely bowled over to be given a two hour masterclass with her as a birthday present from my hubby who was probably still cooling off from his encounter with said smouldering songstress.

It was so great to meet her properly and spend time throwing about ideas for acts and picking up lots of great tips.  Unfortunately the two hours flew by, but it was a hugely inspiring session and I will always remember it very fondly.

Soon after a group of us went to see her in her own show at Volupte Lounge in London and had a fantastic evening.

So, it’s fair to say, I am a big fan of not just a fantastic performer, but a truely lovely person as well.  So, I asked her if she would answer a few questions for us.

Here are her answers. Enjoy!

Amber Topaz pin-up by Neil KendallHow did you get into burlesque?
I was pin-up modelling for photographer Neil Kendall back in 2002 (see right lingerie shot) and he suggested I perform burlesque.It was a few more years & shoots later before I took the plunge.

Who is your biggest burlesque inspiration?
Amber Topaz performing in the 'Miss Exotic World' pageant 2008I first attended & performed at ‘Miss Exotic World’ Burlesque Hall of Fame weekender in Las Vegas in 2006. This was a master class in burlesque. I witnessed every type of burlesque, classic striptease to comedy & circus, from the bizarre to the ridiculous. British comedy & Musical Films have massively  influence my work too.

What has been your favourite job to date?
I have had so many wonderful experiences, they are incomparable. I’ve been fortunate enough to perform a couple of times at the historic ‘Blackpool Tower Ballroom’ (see top photo by Thomas R Grady) it’s such a magical venue a true home of variety.

Also, I was Sir Terrence Conran’s 80th birthday surprise from his wife Lady Conran.

Amber Topaz by Lorenzo Paxia Mary Quant was one of the guests who was screaming with delight. This will stay etched in my memory forever. (Black costume worn for Terence Conran photographed here by Lorenzo Paxia)

Where can we see you in the near future?
I am currently working on some new projects including my one woman show ‘Storm in a D Cup’.I always keep my website up to date with up and coming shows

Tell me 5 things about you that most people (especially fans) don’t know?

  1. I am intolerant to many foods including wheat, dairy & tomatoes. I often perform in Italy so as you can image this being their staple diet it’s tricky to feed me so I always carry many snacks in my luggage.
  2. I meditate. It keeps me grounded & sane.
  3. I am amazing at manifesting. For example, if I am creating a new act, I will literally be guided to go somewhere, and I will find what I need. I often get upgraded in hotels with out requesting it.
  4. I love to travel unrelated to work,though I can’t do beach holidays apart from the fact I turn into a lobster, I actually get bored. I love an adventure.
  5. Amber Topaz Milan stage dive by Marco KascoOn my birthday last year I headlined ‘Royal Burlesque’ produced by Voodoo Deluxe in Milan. At the end of the show I did a stage dive. Something I’ve always fancied doing. It was hilarious. I was so full of adrenaline I couldn’t sleep. (Stage dive photo by Marco Kasco)

Thanks Amber! x

Botox! Why the big secret?

(I am going to apologise now, about the awful photos of me, with no make-up on, looking truly shocking.  Cannot believe I am going to share them, but hey, here goes.)

I am quite horrified by the fact that I turn 38yrs old in November, when in reality I don’t feel any different to how I felt when I was 25yrs old.  One thing I have noticed however, is that since having my two babies (now a 2.5yr old crazy lady and a desperate to walk by himself 10mth old baby boy) I spend a great deal of time frowning.  The fact that I have been massively sleep deprived for months is a large contributing factor (our son has only just started sleeping through the night) but also just the challenging day to day of trying to get little people to comply has resulted in much frowning. In fact, I think more frowning time than not frowning time.

Laura Lawton frowning before botoxFor years my Mum has said to me, ‘don’t frown, you’ll give yourself wrinkles’, but more recently ‘don’t frown, you ARE giving yourself wrinkles’ would have been more appropriate.

I’ve been lucky in that I don’t have lines on my face yet, but I was getting frustrated by make-up collecting in the lines where I frown, giving the impression of wrinkles that I don’t even have yet.  It was becoming more and more clear that the lines I have when frowning, would be a permanent feature if I didn’t relax a bit or get a little help.

So, Botox………..what’s it really all about?  My friends and I have joked about needing it, but I decided maybe it wasn’t a joke anymore and I needed to look into it, so I booked myself a consultation at the Skin & Laser Clinic in Tunbridge Wells.

Royal Tunbridge Wells Skin & Laser ClinicThey are market leaders in facial aesthetics and anti-aging.  I made sure my appointment was with the Clinical Director and Cosmetic Doctor, Dr Nina Sheffield, who I have dealt with before.

I read their website information about Botox, which I found really helpful, so have a read yourself. Still, there is nothing like sitting in front of a professional to get the information and reassurance you need.

My Botox Consultation

I have to say I was a bit nervous as I’d been told if I was happy with what Nina said, I would be able to have the treatment straight after the consultation, as it only takes 10 minutes.

Laura Lawton smile lines round eyes, before BotoxSo, in I went.  Nina is such a lovely warm and approachable lady, so had me at ease straight away.  I showed her my frown, raising my eyebrows and smiling, for her to see the three typical Botox areas and she confirmed Botox would help in all three areas to prevent me giving myself wrinkles.

I have to say, my biggest concern was what it would be like afterwards.  Being able to move my face and express myself in a cheeky way, is vital for Foxy Burlesque courses.  How am I going to teach ladies to use their faces to express themselves and tease their audience, if I can’t show them how to do it?

Nina reassured me I would still be able to move my eyes and mouth and express myself properly in that way, but that no I wouldn’t be able to frown or raise my eyebrows anymore…. It was a concern, I have to say.

The really important thing that Nina explained to me was that I should think of wrinkles in the same way as a bruise.  If a bruise was continually being knocked it doesn’t get a chance to go, just as skin which is regularly being creased in the same place, doesn’t get a chance to smooth out and in time the crease becomes permanent.  By having the Botox you can no longer crease your face in those typical areas and so the skin has a chance to smooth out. Fantastic!! Can it really be that amazing….?

What really made me smile was when I asked Nina if she has Botox.  Her answer was ‘of course’ and then explained that every one of their therapist has it too.  In fact I would apparently be amazed by the number of woman and also men that have Botox, but for some reason it seems to be a secret thing that no-one talks about, but so many people are having.

Nina explained some very important aftercare points:

  1. You MUST keep your head up (so no lying down, looking down at a book or laptop etc…) for 4 hours after treatment.
  2. No vigorous exercise for 24hrs.
  3. No facials, exfoliation or massage to the areas treated.  Make-up application and gentle make-up removal would be fine, but nothing requiring more pressure for 10 days post treatment.

I had appointments with the hygienist and dentist straight after, so I knew having the treatment would have to be another day.  Also it would give me time to have a good think before taking the plunge.  So, before I left, I booked my treatment in for the following Monday.

The freakiest thing happened as I left; I got a message from a distant friend asking me if I’d ever had Botox or if my friends had, as she was thinking of having a consultation. Now I have never before discussed it seriously with anyone and at that point didn’t personally know anyone who has it, that I could have talked to myself, so this was beyond strange.

I filled her in on my consultation experience and she soon after booked her own, local to her.

My Botox experience:

So the big day arrived.  In the week leading up to it, I had thought long and hard, but decided to just go for it.  If I couldn’t express myself as much as I wanted or needed to after, it would wear off before long and I could then be more particular about areas I wanted done next time.

Before anything could be done Nina went through the aftercare with me again and I completed the necessary forms.  I didn’t have any questions, so Nina got to work.

Laura Lawton Botox injection marksFirst she wiped the areas clean and took photos, then she used a white marker to mark the areas where she would be injecting.  Some areas are more sensitive than others (round the eyes and between your eyebrows), so Nina gave me an ice pack to hold to the area right before injecting, to help make it more comfortable and to reduce the risk of bruising.

The needle used was tiny (30g) and each injection only lasted about 3-4 seconds.

Laura Lawton of Foxy Burlesque having Botox injectionOnce the needle was removed each time Nina wiped the area clean of any blood and the white dots, which were no longer needed.

I was a little alarmed to see in the mirror that each injection point now had what looked like a hive, so I had a bumpy forehead, but Nina explained it was perfectly normal and the liquid takes about 10-15mins to disperse.

For anyone reading this who may be concerned about my mention above about blood, don’t worry, it was only a tiny bit.  I did ask Nina about it though and got the following advice for people:

  • If you are on your period it will be more painful, so it’s worth avoiding that time if you have a low pain threshold.  Also at this time you bleed more and are therefore more likely to bruise.
  • If you are taking Aspirin, your blood will be thinner and again you will bleed more and are more likely to bruise.
  • Likewise if you are very nervous and your blood pressure is high.

Laura Lawton of FOxy Burlesque straight after BotoxOnce the final injection was done and the area wiped clean, Nina applied Arnica gel to soothe and calm the skin more quickly.

And that was it! All done! It was just a case of waiting to see the results gradually take effect.

My BOTOX results:

I have to say for a couple of days I did experience the very mild headache described in the Botox information on the Skin & Laser Clinic’s website, but that was it and it certainly wasn’t bad enough that I needed to take anything for it.

Laura Lawton of Foxy Burlesque after BotoxOtherwise, it was just the pleasure of seeing the change slowly taking effect.  In all it took about four days and each morning I would wake up and look in the mirror and see the difference from the day before and have a little hop, skip and jump with joy!

Here is a picture of me post Botox and with some make-up on, I’m sure you are pleased to see!  There are definitely less creases round my eyes and my forehead and between my eyebrows are noticeably smoother and more relaxed (well they are to me, anyway!).

Oh and for those of you who have read my semi-permanent make-up posts (I have had my eyebrows and lips done), I have no lipstick on in any of the pictures in this post.

My Botox conclusion:


No I can’t frown or lift my eyebrows enough to crease my forehead and when I smile I don’t crease my eyes as much as I was doing, but yes I can still express myself very well and don’t feel my ‘burlesque face’ has in anyway been hindered (THANK GOODNESS!).  I look happier and more serene.  Just asked my hubby and he says I look more relaxed.

One massive completely unexpected bonus on top of the new non-frowning face, is my face IS relaxed and calm.  It’s made me realise just how much tension and stress I was holding in my face before. It’s so nice and refreshing to not feel like that anymore.  I just need some Botox in my shoulders, neck and back now and I’ll be completely chilled out!

I gave my friend my feedback and told her to go for it, so she went for her consultation and had her treatment there and then.

So, Botox…Why the big secret?

We know all the celebs have Botox and we all think they look great.  We spend our time looking at pictures of them in magazines, wishing we looked as good as them, yet somehow, there is a stigma for us non-celebs…?

Once I started talking openly about Botox, I was amazed how many people then opened up, that they either have it, want it and/or know friends who have it.  It seems everyone is having it! …….But no-one talks about it, until someone else does.  It’s a bit like the commuter trains.  No-one talks to each other, until they have a clear shared topic of conversation such as a massive delay.

My friend’s feedback on her Botox is much like mine.  She is delighted with it and feels much more confident.  BUT, she has only told her mother-in-law.  Her hubby doesn’t even know, though she was delighted a day or two after treatment when he told her she looked younger.

I asked her why she hasn’t told anyone and she said much what I feel myself, ‘it’s nobody else’s business and people can be very judgemental’.

She is a Mummy of two, but she is also a very successful woman, who keeps herself fit and healthy and takes great pride in doing the best she can with what she was given.  How is that a bad thing?  Yet like her, I feel people will judge me and think I’m vain.

I actually feel a bit sick about posting this out for everyone to read, but I’m doing it as I hope it helps anyone who is thinking of having it, to just go for it and not care what anyone else thinks.  If it makes you happy and you feel great and it’s not hurting anyone, how can it be a bad thing?

Go for it, it’s bloody wonderful!  Also, if you are local, then I couldn’t recommend Nina at Royal Tunbridge Wells Skin & Laser Clinic more.  She is wonderful, highly qualified and experienced and a truly lovely lady.  They also offer many other treatments, so definitely worth looking into ladies.

My 5 ‘Summer Striptease’ favourites!

Summer Striptease line-upNow, I’ve already told you a bit about the wonderful Leanne Rice aka Ruby Woo, plus she wrote a guest post for us ‘4 of the prettiest things spotted at the Big Burlesque Day Out‘ back in May.

Well, I finally got to see the lovely lady performing her own act at Cue Tease Burlesque‘s Summer Striptease.

It was a great evening and here are my 5 favourites:

Ruby Woo at Summer StripteaseFavourite Act

Well, Leanne’s of course!  The beautiful Ruby Woo is a bit of a comedian, truth be told.

Dancing a cheeky farm girl act to The Wurzel’s ‘Combine Harvester’, she strutting her stuff, while working her way through a bottle of Scrumpy Jack before, revealing her straw covered pasties.

Mimicking Dita Von Teese’s champagne pour, her act culminated in her cooling off under the remainder of her Scrumpy.  So proud to be her burlesque Mamma!  She did such a great job and didn’t look at all nervous.  If you get a chance to see her performing, snap it up!

Calibre Blue at Summer StripteaseFavourite Costume

Calibre Blue’s sassy fast paced American act was beautifully polished and fun.

Dancing with fans and chewing gum, while emblazoned with stars and strips, she whipped up a storm.

Can’t wait to see her again, performing a different act.  I get the feeling she has some beauties up her sleeve!

Beulah Belle at Summer StripteaseFavourite Dancer

For me, Beulah Bell is a very special burlesque dancer.  I haven’t seen her perform before but her act was truly classy and professional.

I can be quite picky about the acts I like and this one was a real treat.

She had a fantastic costume, danced with red fans and even had a cheeky mini fan on her hat, which was used to hide her ‘dignity’ for a couple of seconds.  Hope to see her again.

Isabella Bliss at Summer StripteaseFavourite Style

As for Platinum Blonde pin-up Isabella Bliss, you can imagine her drinking expensive champagne with the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield.  She has the Hollywood icon look, down and dusted.

Her act was more classic and alluring, which I guess is more my kind of style, so it was lovely to watch an act I could imagine having choreographed myself.

Sadie Sinner at Summer StripteaseFavourite Comedian

Well, actually favourite comedians, the evening’s hosts Sadie Sinner and Miss C.

Miss C at Summer StripteaseGetting the hosting job done right is so important, as the audience really need to be relaxed but also united and excited by the acts to come.

These ladies did a fab job.  They had us ‘whoop’ing, ‘cheer’ing and even ‘hell yeah’ing, with plenty of quick wit and one liners thrown in to the mix.

Down points

We had a great evening, but the venue was not great and unfortunately this is often the way.  Finding a venue suitable and cost effect, when you have a number of acts to pay is no mean feat.  I just wished I could have transported these beautiful glamourous ladies to a more classy and luxurious establishment.  In the ideal world though.  Not necessarily very realistic.

The only other things that was a little disappointing was the number of people in the audience.  It was such a great night and there were a nice crowd, but the organisers and the acts, so deserved a bigger crowd.

Is this because of the venue?  People just not understanding burlesque enough to give it a try?  Or, maybe it’s down to the challenge of marketing such an event?  I certainly know marketing is my biggest task.  Getting your name out there is hard work.

Whatever, they deserve a packed room, so ‘like’ their facebook page and look out for their next event, so you can support this great team of cheeky lasses.

Li-Anne June at Summer StripteaseInspirations

Well, I have wanted to do a belly dancing burlesque act for a while and seeing Li-Anne June do hers, gave me the kick up the behind that I have needed.  She was absolutely captivating.  It was beautiful, sexy and cheeky.

So I had my first intensive 1-2-1 belly dancing lesson this morning and I’m looking forward to the point when I have enough skills to choreograph a dance of my own.  Thank you Li-Anne.

Oh and did you see Isabella Bliss’s boa in the picture above?  I now have to have a boa with sparkling balls on it!  I NEED one! 🙂

(You can see that the lovely pictures I have used are by Scarlet Rose Photography.  To see more of her beautiful photos, check out her Facebook Page)

Our First Vintage Hair Workshop

Foxy Burlesque's FIrst VIntage Hair WorkshopOn the last week of our courses we always take course photos.

For this our students turn up all made up and looking fantastic, BUT it’s fair to say getting the hair and make-up to look authentic is always a challenge, so I decided it was time to find a solution.  We needed a Vintage Stylist!

To find someone, I sent messages to people in the know, plus put messages on Facebook and Twitter.  I also did a Facebook search and that’s how I found the hugely talented Kelly-Marie Saunders.

After a few messages back and forth and a good chat on the phone, we had a Vintage Hair Workshop planned.

Surprise, surprise, I had no problem at all selling the 10 places, which were snapped up by Foxy Burlesque students in no time at all.

Kelly-Marie Saunders MUAKelly-Marie Saunders MUA

So let me tell you a bit about Kelly-Marie.

In her own words:

‘I started out really just doing vintage hair and make-up on myself, as I was obsessed with the era and usually dress that way.

Then my friends started asking me to help them out with hair and makeup too.

At the time, I worked for Tunbridge Wells Halifax as a financial advisor, but hated having to keep my hair colour and style more formal and having to cover up my tattoos.  I didn’t feel like I was myself. I had to pretend to be someone else every day.

Eventually the call of the creative was too much, so I decided to leave my job as a financial advisor and go freelance with hair and makeup.

So, I studied vintage hair for TV and film, learning the original ways to do all the styles and how to make them true to period rather than with a modern twist.

I also worked at Mac cosmetics for three and a half years, before leaving to go freelance full time.

I now work twice a year at London Fashion Week, I’ve worked at The Brits and at Goodwood, I’ve worked for various magazines including ‘Vintage Life‘ and ‘Best of British‘ and I have done vintage hair at various different events.’

The first Vintage Hair Workshop

Pinned curls at Foxy Burlesque's Vintage Hair WorkshopKelly-Marie’s idea for the workshop was perfect.

Each lady was asked to bring whatever she would use at home to curl her hair (whether tongs, straighteners or heated rollers) along with a dressing out brush (back combing brush) and a mirror.

The workshop was very much hands on, with the participants doing each of the three hairstyles on themselves, with their own tools.

This way they got to try out the styles with an expect at hand to guide them and answer any questions, which would then hopefully give them the confidence to go home and recreate the styles unaided.

'S' curl at Foxy Burlesque's Vintage Hair WorkshopThe ‘S’ curl

First up was the ‘S’ curl.

I know I am not alone when it comes to envying Dita Von Teese’s beautifully manicured hair.  Being able to replicate it would be fantastic.

Kelly-Marie got to work teaching everyone the tricks behind the perfect pin curls (above), making sure you are curling the hair the correct way etc, and how to then pin the curl properly to allow it to cool so the curl holds.

Then came how to brush the curl out properly, to then pin it again getting the ‘S’ curl shape (above right).  As Kelly-Marie explained, it is a true art and needs practice to get it right, but everyone’s first efforts, were great!

Speed Beehive at Foxy Buelsque's Vintage Hair WorkshopSpeed beehive

Kelly then showed everyone how to do a ‘Speed Beehive’.

Wow!  Such a glamourous look and yet so quick and easy to do.

Great with a simple scarf tied round it to dress it up, or down, depending on the occasion.

It also looks really cute with a hair band.

Victory Rolls at Foxy Burlesque's Vintage Hair WorkshopVictory rolls

Next, was what everyone wants to master, when it comes to vintage hair; Victory Rolls.

It was so nice to have a professional explaining the victory roll properly and then demonstrating it so perfectly.

Did you know, to do an effective Victory Roll you need to back comb the section of hair until it stands up independently?

It made for a good few laughs on the night, but it Back combing at Foxy Burlesque's Vintage Hair Workshopcertainly makes it a whole lot easier to work the hair into the roll you need.

Kelly-Marie, then covered pinning it properly, so no pins show and so the roll is a cone shape, as you shouldn’t be able to see through a victory roll.  Did you know that?


The evening flew by and everyone appeared to have had a great time, but being our first Vintage Hair Workshop, feedback was really important to us both.

I’m very pleased to say we had nothing to worry about!

Here is just some of the great feedback from the ten ladies who attended the workshop: Victory rolls at Foxy Burlesque's Vintage Hair Workshop

‘Really enjoyed it and I’m amazed at how effective really simple techniques can be.’

‘I couldn’t believe my hair would go into such lovely styles. Any spare time will now be spent back combing!! Thank you Laura for organizing a great evening and thank you Kelly-Marie for your time and patience.’ Nicola Bright at Foxy Burlesque's Vintage Hair Workshop

‘Brilliant evening. Lots of fun. Very informative. Kelly was fabulous. Leaving feeling confident to try the styles at home.’

‘It was fab! It was a fantastic workshop and Kelly-Marie was a fab instructor. I would definitely recommend her and would definitely attend another course. She was knowledgeable and approachable. I can never do my own hair and was nervous about trying but the styles were great and explained perfectly. I will definitely be trying them again at home.’ Kirsty Low at Foxy Burlesque Vintage Hair Workshop

‘I have now realised that my hair can be manageable. Yay!’

‘I haven’t become a hair expert but I know that if I go home and practice then I can make my hair look really nice. As with all burlesque stuff, it’s given me more confidence to have a go!! Kelly was lovely and didn’t mind if I didn’t get it straight away.’

‘Really good time. Learnt a lot.’

Future dates for Vintage Hair and now Vintage Make-up Workshops too!

All 10 participants were keen for Kelly-Marie to come back to do a Vintage Make-up workshop as well, so the first one takes place this Wednesday (24th July) and was again fully booked with no effort at all.

I will of course be back to tell you all how it went and there will be future dates for Vintage Make-up confirmed before long, so keep a close eye on the Foxy Burlesque Facebook page for that.

I am also very pleased to announce that Foxy Burlesque’s next Vintage Hair Workshop will take place on Monday 9th September 7:30-10pm.  If you would like a place, get in touch as soon as possible.  As, again there are only 10 places on each workshop and they are proving VERY popular!

The talented lady behind ‘The High Tea Cast’!

Miss Ruby Woo at Burlesque Fever Tunbridge WellsFor those of you who enjoyed Leanne Rice’s guest post 4 of the prettiest things spotted at the Big Burlesque Day Out, I decided it was high time I told you a bit more about this very talented lady from The High Tea Cast, so I asked her a few questions for you:

The High Tea CastHow did The High Tea Cast come about?
About two years ago I was contributing to a production company’s podcast with my own monthly five minute chat slot. The producer knew I was interested in journalism and radio as he knew me through my university years, so thought he’d give me a shot.
Every month I’d listen to the podcast, and there was another contributor on there that I’d never met but who I really loved to hear called Sam Sparrow. We started tweeting each other, and continued to do so for a good three months – we couldn’t believe how much we had in common!
The High Tea Cast nominated for the European Podcast Awards 2012Finally we got to meet at a party for all the podcast contributors. We got along so well that the team persuaded us to do a one off show.
After consuming much cake and way too much Jager, we came up with The High Tea Cast – a chat show packed with girl about town adventure, plenty of laughs and great music.
Skip forward two years and we’ve been nominated for two European Podcast Awards, are the only all-female produced show in the UK top 20, have a radio show on Hoxton Radio and run a team of 28 writers at – our beautiful digital magazine! It also houses my burlesque column, Ruby Off The Rails.
How did you get into burlesque?
Miss Ruby Woo Leanne RiceI have a friend called Tigz Rice (no relation – I wish there was!) who I met at university when I was 20. At the time, she was starting out in burlesque photography and had got her first event commission for the World Burlesque Games at Cafe De Paris, Leicester Square. She offered me her plus one, and as soon as I saw women like Chrys Columbine perform, I was hooked.
They were so perfect, manicured, beautiful and feminine. At the same time they were fierce, sexy and powerful feminists – completely in charge of their own bodies and able to flaunt their sex appeal without fear or judgement. I was captivated. I didn’t sign up to a class for a couple of years, but when I found Foxy Burlesque School near my hometown I came into my own, guided by my wonderful teacher Laura (or Felicity Fox). I had the time of my life – I honestly don’t think Laura will ever realise quite what those classes did to help me in terms of confidence, happiness and the option to change my life.
By the time I’d started learning burlesque, Tigz Rice had become an internationally renowned cabaret photographer.   
How did you choose your burlesque name?
The beautiful Leanne RiceI was drawn to Ruby because I wanted to make a feature of my red hair. After all, it’d been such a living nightmare to be a redhead child during my school years, I figured it was time it got some love.
I picked Ruby Woo after the album by barbershop trio The Puppini Sisters, called The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo. They were my first real introduction into the world of 1940s fashion and, indeed, 1940s style music – my first taste of stepping away from dictated mainstream style. Ruby Woo is also the name of MAC Makeup‘s best selling red lipstick – it fitted perfectly!
What performances have you done/are coming up?
Miss Ruby Woo at Burlesque Fever Tunbridge WellsMy favourite place to perform is in Tunbridge Wells at Chantilly Lace’s Burlesque Fever Show.
Chantilly is a sweetheart and total inspiration – and is teeny weeny! I’ve performed at Burlycamp, at universities to raise money for student graduation shows, at private events and all sorts.
In July I’m dancing at the launch of an underground speakeasy on The Strand in London, and performing my much-loved farm girl routine at Summer Striptease in Essex.
In October I’ll be back in Essex, possibly performing a grand total of three routines… watch this space!
Five things people don’t know about me.
Miss Ruby Woo Leanne Rice1. I like performing comedy routines the most because being silly makes me feel sexy.
2. I have a massive crush on Alice Cooper.
3. I hate wearing trousers.
4. I’ve dated the guy who does the voiceover in that really annoying Trivago advert.
5. I’m dying to learn a fire routine!
Pretty damn special isn’t she!? 🙂  Beautiful, funny, talented and the ultimate tease!  I certainly can’t wait to see her performing at the Summer Striptease on the 13th July, yes, this Saturday coming.  I will of course tell you all about it after, but maybe I’ll see you there? Tickets available here.

My semi-permanent make-up experience! Part 2

*This is part 2. You may want to read part 1 first* 

Well, four weeks had passed since the first stage of my semi-permanent lips procedure, so last Thursday I headed back to Canterbury to see Helen for stage two.

Semi-permanent Lips stage 2 anaesthetic cream onYou have to wait the four weeks for the full colour to come out, so here is a ‘before stage two’ picture, with the anaesthetic cream taking affect and the lovely cling film in place. As you can see my lip line is nicely defined and I have the blush look I wanted, which is basically the liner colour blended into the lip colour.  I have to say, I love it already. It’s very natural looking, but at the same time my lips are ready to go, without any effort at all.  I’m really looking forward to getting the final result four weeks after stage 2.

So, back to cling film. I saw a few people find my stage 1 blog post from searching the web with questions about the cling film stage.

So, why cling film?  I asked Helen, so I could report back and the cling film is put on the lips to starve the skin of air, so the anaesthetic cream and the pigment are drawn (sucked) in to the skin more.

Semi-permanent lips liner tool headAnyway, we chatted about the colour and agreed it looked really nice already, so it was decided to stick with the shade from stage 1, but to just intensify the colour by repeating the process.

First was the lip liner, which uses a smaller head on the tool.  Here’s a picture of the tool itself and below is a picture of the tool in use.

Semi-permanent lips liner tool head in useA bigger head (below right) is then used when it comes to the ‘blush’ (blending the colour from the lip liner, into my natural lip colour).  Helen kindly kept me nice and clean for the pictures, but if you do look at yourself in a mirror when you are mid procedure, you could panic.  The good news is, it’s not blood all over your face, it’s the pigment.  It’s quite a messy business, but easily wiped clean.

As you can see from the pictures, Helen works on one lip while the other has the anaesthetic cream and cling film on, and then she changes that around, to work on the other lip for a while, while the anaesthetic cream is again left to do it’s job.  That alternating continues a few times throughout the procedure.

Semi-permanent lips large tool head in useHelen was surprised too, but I actually nearly fell asleep for the second half of this stage.  The anaesthetic had worked wonders and the buzzing of the tool was helping me drift off.  I really had to fight it.  I do also have to be honest and admit, I am massively sleep-deprived and could probably sleep standing up on hot coals right now.

Semi-permanent lips large tool head in use 2So, about 40 minutes later, Helen was finished and it just the healing process ahead of me.

One thing, I didn’t go into much in my stage 1 write up was the immediately after phase.  Both times, once the anaesthetic had worn off, my lips were really uncomfortable.  They felt like they are burning.

Semi-permanent lips immediately afterHere’s a picture and if you look you can see they are pretty angry looking.  You can see a red line outside of my lips, which is nothing to do with the treated area, it’s just the product of being very sore.  I actually popped into a shop and got some ibuprofen this time.

The great news is, this is very temporary and as with stage one, after two hours, I was aware of the pain easing off. A couple of hours later, I started applying Bepathan (nappy cream) as you need to keep the area moist and protected.

I had this stage 2 treatment late in the afternoon and, as you can see below left, by the next morning they were no longer looking angry.  They look a bit odd, as the Bepathan is a creamy colour, but they look calmer.  They were still a little sore and sensitive, but the painful bit really was just that first two hours each time.

Semi-permanent lips day twoI’m sure if celebrities have this done, they manage to hide away for a few days, but for me, there was no such option, so life as usual continued, I just felt rather self conscious about my very over the top lip colour.  As I mentioned in my stage 1 write up, until the lips are healed and the scabs have gone, the colour is about 50% stronger, than the end result will be.  It was very much a case of ‘here’s my lips and the rest of me is coming’.

Semi-permanent lips day three

I don’t know about you, but I have this ridiculous need to explain things.  I could kick myself every time, but before I knew it, I was apologising for my strange looking lips, which to me seemed HUGE.  Reality is, no-one probably even noticed, until I started prattling on about it.

Anyway, by Saturday (above right) you can see my lips were looking a little darker as the scabs had formed.

Semi-permanent lips day three 2Here I am heading off to teach my Saturday morning Pump class, looking like I’m still wearing last night’s make-up.

When Sunday came, the scabs were on the move and you can see here (below right), some have come away already.  I did spend the day looking like this, so I would highly recommend anyone having this done, aim to have the treatment at a time that means days 4 and 5 will be days you can avoid seeing too many people. (When counting, day one is the day of the treatment)

Semi-permanent lips day fourYou have to keep applying your aftercare cream, but as the scabs form, it’s more tricky to apply it carefully without disturbing the scabs, which you MUST NOT knock, pick, or wipe off, before they are ready to come off naturally, as it will affect the look of the end result.

The great news is, by Monday all but a tiny bit of scab had gone (below left), so I was much more able to take my 2.5yr old to nursery without feeling like a circus performer.

Semi-permanent lips day fiveThat last little bit was gone in no time and I am now the proud owner of very beautiful lips, with zero effort.

I really couldn’t recommend it enough.  I love how they look already, so I’m excited to see what the final result will be in four weeks.

I will of course update you then, so keep a look out!

In the meantime, if you are reading this and you are in the UK (ideally the South) and you are planning to get some semi-permanent makeup done, I couldn’t recommend Helen at Evolution Skin Studios more.

Helen Porter of Evolution Skin StudiosShe was filming the day after seeing me, so you might even see her on the TV sometime soon.  Oh and just so you know, Helen is understandably a lover of semi-permanent make-up herself.  In this stunning picture of her, the only make-up she has actually applied is mascara.  She has semi-permanent eyebrows, eyeliner and lips.

Now, if that isn’t an advert for everyone to have it, then nothing is.

So, to summarise, my tips for you, if you have semi-permanent lip colour done are:

  1. Eat and drink something substantial before your treatment, as you won’t want to for a while after.
  2. Give everyone special a kiss, as you won’t be able to kiss them for a few days.
  3. Have ibuprofen to hand, as you may want to take some.
  4. Arrange your treatment so days 4 and 5 are days when you can avoid seeing too many people as you will look ridiculous.
  5. Try out your aftercare cream before applying it to the treated area, as it’s not fun if you have a bad reaction.
  6. Smooth aftercare cream on, don’t dab or pat, as it pulls the scabs off.
  7. Do your research. Don’t see just anyone!

As I said, I’ll be back to show you pics in four weeks, so you can see the final result, but in the meantime, if you are local and fancy boosting your confidence, reminding yourself how sexy you are and having a lot of fun along the way, you need to get yourself booked into a Foxy Burlesque dance beginners course.  For course dates click here. x