Thursday, 16 December 2010
What am I wittering about? Mac do some .5 shades in foundation, but they're only available in India. I am very excited about this collaboration and collection by MAC and Mickey Contractor. Particularly as MAC foundation and concealer shades never look quite right on me and I've been wanting to try the .5 ones I've read about for ages.
The colours in the collection also sound fantastic. Much more excited about this than the yawnsville Tartan Tale! Oomph shadow sounds amazing as do the teal and green Fluidlines.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
I was ridiculously pleased by this interview with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, being a diehard X-Phile who went to see the first film four times in a row, and who joined the Leicester Square Odeon audience of X Philes in clapping at the end of the second one (there was a disproportionate number of pairs of glasses, long leather coats and black clothing at that, funnily enough - and I felt right at home!) I'm currently working through the series from start (on series 5 at the moment, my favourite) simply so that I can re-watch the two films in proper sequence. But the interview, they just seem like such good friends, and that warms the cockles of an X-Phile no end (because said X Phile still refuses to acknowlege the distinction between the characters and actors). As does their enthusiasm for a third film! (please, please, please!)
You may mock, but it really was a formative TV event for me during my teens (and erm, beyond). The postmodern-lite (well, I now recognise it was lite) vision of Chris Carter captivated a pretentious Heart of Darkness-reading teen Rabbit. Anyway, its impact is evident in a TV and film legacy that was spawned of smart, philosophically-minded, epic science fiction/fantasy/crime crossovers. (There'd certainly have been no Lost without The X Files). And not to mention one of the best Simpsons spoofs ever.
I'm a massive Whedonite too, (and have just finished watching all seven series of Buffy again) but that's rather painful to be right now, with a Big Bad of epic proportions looming for the Buffyverse. (It's like another language. Great, isn't it?)
What TV series were you obsessed with as a teen?
Friday, 26 November 2010
Isn't it hideous? And kinda wonderful.
I hope to add a little Rabbit factor with a fishtail black skirt and mary jane heels.
And also this, a graduation gift from my lovely sister.
(In silver. And yes, it clashes with the blue and the red, but I don't care.)
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Ah Purple Grey. I bought it before the whole Paradoxal shenanigans took place (smug much, me?) but it was late spring (yes there was such a time) and it didn't feel seasonally appropriate. Well it sure as hell is appropriate now.
Personally, I think I prefer it to Paradoxal (though I don't have it to compare). I think the absence of shimmer enables the complexity of the colour to shine. It's a beautiful polish in its own right, really, soft and feminine, but moody too. Wear was excellent - 4 days+ without chipping, and I think I could've got away with two coats.
I layered it a few days later with a Max Factor Mini polish in pewter. This is a shimmer (yes I'm a hypocrite I know) but when I bought it what mesmerised me was the green microglitter suspended in the grey shimmer. I layered it very thinly over Purple Grey - not because I wanted to dupe Paradoxal but because I thought the interplay of colours would be nice. It was - but did my camera capture this? Nope. Actually it makes it look pretty horrible. But it wasn't, believe me!
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
I wash my hair every third day - as I said it's very dry and doesn't need washing more than this. I don't have a very recent picture of just how long it has got at the back, but this picture, though rubbish in quality, shows how thick it is:
And this is my regimen at the moment:
I am an SLS-free convert, as I've mentioned before. At the moment I am using a customised mixture of Waitrose Organic Moisurising shampoo with Naked Colour Protection shampoo. On its own, the Waitrose doesn't foam at all and is really runny but is very gentle and non-stripping (not something that can be said of all SLS-free shampoos, alas). But adding the Naked helps it clean the hair better as well as helping to preserve colour.
For those who've asked (The lovely, ultra-creative Bibbitybob!) I'm very interested to try the Liz Earle shampoo after my mix has run out. Having tested a fair few (Dr Organic: drying; Trilogy - contains AL; Lavera - drying) the best SLS-free shampoo I've tried has to be Daniel Galvin Junior: it's light, foams well, doesn't strip the hair dry, and smells lovely, and costs about £4. It's available from Waitrose, and the only reason I don't use it all the time is because I don't live near one!
Here's where it starts to get complicated! My hair is at different stages of dryness at its different lengths and thus requires different conditioners.
Firstly - scalp/roots: I know a lot of people don't condition scalp and roots but I have very dry skin, my scalp flakes and itches if I don't. I also colour my hair (I have a lot of greys, thanks to both of my parents who went grey very young), so I use a basic colour save conditioner on my scalp and roots. At the moment it is Herbal Essences which I find is working well and leaves my hair shiny and my colour definitely boosted.
Secondly: mid-lengths: my mid lengths are dry, but get weighed down with super-rich conditioners so I use Aussie Luscious Long 3 Minute Miracle here. It prevents knotting and is a fantastic high street conditioner!
Finally: ends: very, very dry. I should really get them cut! In the mean time, I'm using Dark & Lovely Ultra-Rich Hair Cholesterol on them, a product for Afro hair but which beats pretty much any high street conditioning mask I've tried for softening and moisturising my dry ends. But it's too rich for all my hair so I just use it on the ends.
When my hair is towel dry, I load it with a series of products to make it look straight and sleek. I realise this is a heck of a lot of 'cones, and perhaps a little hypocritical or at least contradictory given how evangelical I am about SLS-free, but this is what works on my crazy hair!
First: a tiny amount of Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Hair Moisturising Lotion on the ends. Less than a pea-sized amount, but keeps it soft.
Secondly: a pea-sized amount of L'Oreal Liss Control Cream combed throughout hair. (This has been an HG for me for years, and is always on the Instyle Beauty Awards, rightly so I think!)
Thirdly: a spritz of heat control spray (I spray two sprays into my palm and smooth over my hair to prevent it getting sprayed in one place only): I'm using Lee Stafford stuff which is fine.
Finally: a pea-sized amount of Aussie Take the Heat Control Cream throughout my hair. This stuff is my newest discovery and has made such a difference to my hair!
Then I blow dry it when it's dried naturally a bit, and brush with my massive Denman brush and I'm good to go (ha! so low-maintenance, isn't it?) Sometimes if it's looking a little lacklustre, I'll smooth over the tiniest bit of The Body Shop Coconut Hair Shine over it, but this tends to make it greasy more quickly so I only usually do this for going out or special occasions.
I've just experimented with a minimalised version of the styling products, using just the Aussie Take the Heat cream. It looks really smooth and even thicker than usual, but it's a little dry. I wonder if it's the Liss Control Cream or the Lee Stafford spray that makes it softer? Hmmm.
So there you go.
What's your hair routine? Do you have any HG products?
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Naked Love Me Rose Shower Gel
This is a good shower gel, if you like rose scents. I like my rose scents on the foodie, Turkish Delight side, rather than the floral, but this is a definite fresh, floral rose and really pungent. If you like that kind of thing, it's lovely. It's also not as moisturising as I'd like and leaves my skin feeling a little tight before I slather on the Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion for Extra Dry Skin. But the £4 bottle lasts an absolute age. But it's not one I'll rebuy - I've bought the Coco de Mer one to try next instead.
Waitrose Organic Reviving Body Wash, £3.90
I love the scent of this stuff! Like chocolate orange with a hint of spice - a milk chocolate version of Green & Black's Maya Gold, if you will (it's very sweet rather than bitter, hence milk rather than dark chocolate). So few SLS-free products smell sweet and edible - generally scents seem to be of the lavender, geranium or citrus varieties (I imagine these essential oils are most intensely perfumed). But this - it's delicious! It's really comforting, and I used it up really quickly because I loved it so much. It's rather runny and doesn't foam well but I don't care. The next time I'm at a Waitrose, I'm picking myself up 3 of these babies. It's going to make my 6am starts in winter a lot more pleasant.
Cowshed Lazy Cow Shower Gel, £16
No, I didn't spend £16 on a SHOWER GEL. I got it free with Marie Claire and used it on holiday in Turin. As you can tell by now, I'm not a fan of floral or musky scents: I like mind sugary sweet, so I wasn't looking forward to using this jasmine and sandalwood scented gel. But I actually really liked it -it was heady and exotic and somehow very soothing and relaxing. I do really love jasmine flowers and it's a true representation. It left my skin moisturised too. If Cowshed shower gels had about £10 knocked off their price, I might consider purchasing but at £16, I'm not going to. Shame, as the scent will always remind me of one of the best holidays of my life.
Anyone else out there converted to the ways of SLS-free? I would really love a vanilla or gourmand scented showergel that is SLS-free, can anyone suggest one?
Sunday, 21 November 2010
I've loved this season's fashion. It's been a breath of ladylike and work-appropriate air after years of tacky 1980s reruns. For a while I was getting a bit worried about where I might source replacements for some of my worn out clothes from a few years' back, as everything in the shops looked so hideous! But thankfully, this year thanks to Mad Men, Louis Vuitton and Prada's influence on the high street, I've managed to replenish a tired and worn wardrobe with simple, grownup dresses, decent quality cardigans, and some cute accessories. Here are my highlights:
Zara has been a great friend with these brilliantly-priced £23 dresses, of which I now have three in black, leopard, and plum rose print. They are jersey (so comfortable and easy to wear) but the tulip shape is a great one for curvy girls (as evidenced by Joan Holloway in practically every episode of Mad Men!)
And Clarks have provided me shiny "school" shoes that are comfortable and yet click like heels.
Finally, it's a little silly how much joy this necklace has given me. The globe, it spins! One side is burgundy enamel and the other is dark green, two of my favourite winter colours. The land masses do correspond vaguely to a proper globe (I'm geeky like this!) And it makes me think of the time turner in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (except that I fancy my pendant is more of a geographical transporter than a time machine...). I was wishing I had a globetrotter friend I could buy it for, but then reasoned that as I work in world literature it should be mine - and more importantly, the globe, it spins!
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Firstly, I've been dreaming up trio and quatro-chrome nail polishes that mimic the iridescence of beetle wings and petrol in water. And lo and behold, along come Orly's Space Cadet and Out of this World.
Secondly, I loved a rabbit print scarf in Oasis but disliked the pale pink base and wished it would come in a more wearable colour. Lo and behold, it is now available in cream:
Thirdly, I've been dreaming of a loukhoum ("turkish delight") scented fragrance that is more attainable than Serge Lutyen's exclusive Rahat Loukhoum (only available from his Paris boutique). Lo and behold, Jo Malone produces Rose Water and Vanilla.
Fourthly, I was impatient for the 80s fashion trend to be over and for a return to feminine fashion. Lo and behold, a season dedicated to all things Mad Men.
Finally, I conceived of an ever-replenishing wallet that immediately replaces the notes taken out of it. Still waiting on that one...
Saturday, 30 October 2010
However, this polish has inspired a bit of a rethink. I've been searching for a decent deep forest green polish, and in cremes I'm not sure the kind I'm looking for exists. Green tends to go flat in creme formulations whereas I want one that's shiny shiny.
Cue M&S Essentials Emerald. This polish is very subtly shimmery - in some lights it almost looks like a creme, but it has a gloss and depth you wouldn't get with a creme. It's gorgeous! (and if you can't afford/find the recent MAC Fall Trend polish Jade Dragon, it's a very very good alternative - it has a teensy bit less of the teal microglitter but it's still there).
Closeup of microglitter (pic isn't great but I hope it gives an idea):
It's big 3-free and £2.50. In terms of consistency, it's runny and requires 3 coats, but dries fairly fast. It has an amazing gloss on its own, even without topcoat. Wear is not too bad - 3 days without chipping. Love!
Thursday, 28 October 2010
My iPod shuffle.
My iPod nano's battery is dead and and I lost my shuffle charger so haven't been listening to music on my commute for over a year. Sounds bizarre I know! But I didn't realise how much I missed it until I found my charger and rejigged my playlists. My commute is so much less stressful now. Today I've listened to Hindi pop, Gaslight Anthem, and Zoe and Idris Rahman's beautiful Bengali-jazz collaboration. Eclectic's the word for my little shuffle.
Polka dot woolly tights
Thank you, Primark and M&S, for finally making these available in adult sizes and colours! I've always coveted the kids' ones in Monsoon and I now have my very own pairs in grey and black. So much more fun than plain black!
After finishing in March 2009, I finally graduate with my doctorate at the end of November! I'm so excited, it'll finally feel real that 5 years' work paid off. I only wish the Oxford D. Phil. gown wasn't a hideous combination of royal blue and scarlet - I mean, how are you supposed to accessorise that?
I'm taking a lot of them at the moment, which is a bit exhausting. And my experience has been patchy at best. Perhaps a quarter of them have been on time? I feel so cross that prices are going to rise with the support of this government. I must also invest in some hand sanitiser as I keep getting colds from my travels.
End of BST
I hate it when the clocks go back. The days feel so much shorter. I definitely notice a drop in my energy levels and just want to hibernate.
Amongst all the cuts that are going to make life so much harder for people thanks to this government are cuts to higher education funding that basically mean the privatisation of my field, humanities. I worked so hard to get my qualification from one of the best universities in the world, and I'm really not sure what the future holds. It's such a grim time for so many, and I keep feeling angry with every person who voted for these ideologues to take power. I'll be talking with my feet at the UCU protest on November 10th.
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Tuesday, 19 October 2010
Recently I've got a bit boring though, lapsing into a endless cycle of floral empire line dresses and cardigans. Much as I love my dresses, I've started to look like pretty much everyone else out there. Not a bad thing in itself, I suppose, but not very me.
However, over the last two weeks I've become much more inspired by accessories again. And it has made all the difference to what remains a fashion-diet that consists mostly of floral empire line dresses. In particular, I've made the following discoveries and rediscoveries:
*Knitted headbands - more comfortable than Alice bands and a little cooler too (though I still love bow hairbands!)
*Woolly polka dot and brightly coloured tights - (especially polka dot tights worn with printed dresses)
*Unusual handmade necklaces and earrings - Etsy has been my friend
*Coloured kooky flats
*My burgundy DM 8 hole boots that are now older than I was when I got them ("embellished" with gold paint from my GCSE art exam) worn with floral dresses
*Leopard print - especially my headband and new furry cropped jacket from Primark - worn with ditsy floral dresses
*Printed/jersey scarves (great and snuggly way to liven up a black outfit or even a printed one - on the lookout for a soft fairisle print one)
*Beanies - I have a teal one but would really like a cream chunky knit one too.
*Printed/embroidered cardigans - lovely way to up the kook in a vintage inspired style with colour block outfits and simple patterns
Looking at the list I'm not quite sure how I'd label my current style apart from being "me". It's now a combination of all the things I love: secretary chic, gothic/grunge, girly floral prints, whimsy, Indian jewellery, soft tactile fabrics, a dark jewel colour palette, a bit more whimsy.
Have you ever got out of a style rut? How did you do it?
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Sunday, 17 October 2010
The outfit (dress, cardigan, tights and vest come to a princely £13)! I ummed over this dress (no idea why, it was £5 in the sale!) but I'm loving it more and more. It has pockets and a zip front and is very A-line in shape. I adore the print. It has thick straps so I'm wearing it with cardigans now, and then when it's colder I'll put a long sleeved T under. Perfect all-seasons dress!
Closeup of print:
And the matches:
Saturday, 9 October 2010
So when mine came through and I swatched them, I thought I'd do something different and use different colours under them. They're sheer so perfect for layering. And the results were pretty awesome. I feel like for 3 polishes I'm actually getting so many more! My experiments have also informed me that the FX polishes are also amazing layered with each other. Please excuse the terrible application and smudges, I wasn't going to post them but the results were too cool not to. Check out my findings below:
My favourites of the bunch?
If you own any of the MAC or Orly polishes (and especially if you're a bit peeved at their sheerness), I strongly encourage you to have a play with different base shades with these.
Friday, 8 October 2010
As I have recently bought MAC's Club shadow on a whim, and read that it's a better-pigmented dupe for the brown/green shadow that features in the BB quad, I thought I'd have a play at my own take on the look.
Club is a gorgeous green/brown duochrome shadow, but on the lids it needs a sticky dark base to really shine. I used a MAC Greasepaint Stick in Dirty, and blended, and blended. I also added Urban Decay's Money shadow from Book of Shadows 3 in the inner corners - this is fast becoming one of my favourites in the palette, on my skintone the green in this grey/green shadow comes to the fore (it's a brilliantly appropriately named colour!) and it's both muted and unusual. UD should really consider bringing out solo versions of most of the shades! It goes really well with Club.
So here's my take (together with smug, self-satisfied and very cat-like smile):
Closeup of duochromey goodness:
MAC Moisturecover Select concealer
Urban Decay Primer Potion
MAC Greasepaint Stick in Dirty as base over lid
MAC Club shadow over lid
Urban Decay Money shadow in inner corners of lids (BOS 3)
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black to line top lid and waterline
No 7 Metallic Pencil in Green on bottom lid
Maybelline Colossal mascara in 100% Black
MAC MSF in Dark
Estee Lauder Blushing in Port Passion
MAC Brow in Spiked
Sunday, 3 October 2010
The miserable autumnal weather has warranted the bringing out of my beloved burgundy M&S boots, which is a bit of a consolation. I love these so much - I hate most black and brown leather boots (boring! unimaginative! mumsy!) but other colours are hard to find, especially when one has hillwalking calves. These go with pretty much everything in my autumn wardrobe, have biker-y straps that add a bit of an edge to my girlie dresses and remind me of my beloved burgundy DMs (NOT cherry red - these were darker and I never saw another person in them!) that I lived in from ages 15-20 (and which I still have!) Yes, reader, I was a grungy goth - and - proud I am of it too.
Though not one for pinks usually, I'm taken with the print of this dress. I'm very pleased that that the print contains burgundy, as well as teal, hot pink and cream. It makes for a very versatile dress, and it goes beautifully with the boots. Also doing a bit of print-mixing here - if you look closely you'll see the cardigan has polka dots on it. This cardigan was originally my sister's, until she got sick of my constant pawing and cooing and sorrowful cat-from-Shrek eyes and gave it to me.
Friday, 1 October 2010
It's such a pretty, delicate polish. Thanks Helen for the fantastic recommendation!
Thursday, 30 September 2010
I am loving Urban Decay's YDK shadow more and more. In hindsight it was perhaps a bit too sparkly for interview but it's such a pretty plum-toned neutral shadow. It really makes my eyes look huge! I think it's the major shimmer and brown tones.
What I wore:
MAC Moisturecover Select concealer
Urban Decay Primer Potion
Urban Decay YDK shadow
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black
Maybelline Colossal mascara in 100% Black (really impressed with this, review coming up!)
MAC MSF in Dark
MAC Breezy blush
MAC Brow in Spiked
NARS Lipgloss in Metis (an HG nude gloss for me! and Sheenie!)
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
This is the outfit:
The print, so delicate and lovely I think!
And I wanted to go for a whimsical enchanted forest type theme, so accessorized with the following:
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
I do hate spiders. I'm terrified of them after years of getting rid of them for my arachnophobe sister (it's true, phobias can be contagious). But I'm completely fascinated by spiderwebs, which I think are beautiful. (When I was a goth, I even had a fishtail long skirt made from black spiderweb lace. Boy I loved that skirt).
I'm not the greatest photographer, and I certainly don't have the greatest camera (perfectly fine, just none of that HD SLR business), but I had to take some pictures. Sorry, fellow arachnophobes, for the spidey pic, but he looked so proud sitting in the middle of his web I couldn't resist. I think I'm less scared of spiders in their habitat (OUTSIDE) than I am indoors (WHERE THEY SHOULD NEVER EVER BE).
Thursday, 16 September 2010
I watched Notes on a Scandal two nights ago and Judi Dench's character said wistfully how we are all searching for our Other. Bartimaeus looked at me, and I looked at him. We both smiled.
Feeling like I'm getting so much momentum and confidence work-wise. Looking forward to teaching an exciting course this year (though I'm a bit nervous) and have a lot of ideas for new papers.
It's official: I'm now an autumn-winter person. I'm in tights, a dark purple floral tulip dress and cardigan today and I feel great.
Clubbing together with my sister on 3for2 on Urban Decay at Boots means I got the Book of Shadows 3 at a bargainous price whilst she got that and Naked. Swatched two of the darker shades instore and they were stunning, I can't wait to play.
Stomach feels flatter and waist is definitely more defined. It's great to finally see some results!
Pakistan Flood Apathy
I read a lot of twitter comments about 9/11 where people were in tears about it 9 years on. But are people in tears about the floods? Hardly at all. The economy of disaster is so skewed it depresses me. I'm Bangladeshi and usually the floods devastate my country. If it was Bangladesh suffering right now, I can't imagine how angry I'd be at global indifference. I'm not Pakistani (heck we have some difficult history) but I am depressed and angered, nonetheless.
Yesterday I was in Asda, behind a really young guy who had his passport at the ready and a five pound note in his hand to buy a four pack of Stella. Nothing else, just that. At 12pm. He was clean-shaven, not a tramp. But he was shaking. This morning my train is delayed because a young guy was passed out, at 9am. They have the whole of their lives ahead of them, but clearly don't feel they do.
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Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Origins Incredible Spreadable Ginger Scrub, £21.00
I got this for my birthday, and it's amazing stuff. It smells like a ginger and citrus cordial - it's spicy but definitely sweet and gourmandy too (just how I like my scents). It's oil-based so I do have to wash the tub down properly afterwards (my mum has osteoarthritis and an Origins induced fall would not be good) but it's fantastically moisturising as a result. The scrub grains are very scrubby - just right. It's not one I'd repurchase because it's too pricey for me to use on a day to day basis, but it's excellent and I'm going to struggle to find a better one.
Bliss Body Buff in Vanilla and Bergamot, £28.00
This is like a scrub, but used on dry skin before you shower. I actually think this might be a good technique if you end up buying a scrub that's quite lame (as I have in the past) - on dry skin you get a lot more friction and scrubbability. (Hey I have a PhD in English, it's practically a license to coin words). It's a fine-textured scrub but using the dry skin method it's really smoothing. It feels like there is salt in it, because it washes off very easily and my skin was left satiny-smooth. The scent is wonderful, like vanilla rooibos tea, soothing and aromatic, and it also lingers on the skin for a few hours. A lovely gift to receive, but um, not one I could justify purchasing for myself. £28? For a scrub?
Boots Extracts Fairtrade Mango Sugar Body Scrub, £7.75
This is a product "dupe" for Body Shop's Mango scrub, but at almost half the price for a LOT more product. In fact the scent is nicer - the Body Shop one smells a bit like rotten mangoes to me. But despite that bargainous fact, this scrub left me "meh" because I don't actually like either. It's not scrubby enough and the oil leaves an unpleasant film on your skin (the Origins one doesn't do this). It's a big tub but I wouldn't repurchase.
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
So here are some of my most beloved prints in my collection:
The very bottom grey animal print (my beloved Paul and Joe Sister dress I ordered all the way from Paris), the fourth rabbit print (obviousement), the second bug print (which looks like an innocuous leopard print from afar, and is much creepier up close) and the fifth Liberty print are my absolute favourites.