Friday 23 May 2014

Movies, Meerkats and Dressing a Long Torso.

Another week has zipped by. I was out catching up with girlfriends on Saturday at Beale Park a halfway point between us all. The idea was to find somewhere with monkeys but in the end we found the next best thing, a sort of mini zoo come wildlife centre. 

They advertised shooting a bow and arrow which I was most excited about. Sadly when we got there it turned out to be the kind for children with a fuzzy board and Velcro on the end of the arrows which is no good at all, there has to be some kind of threat to life at the very least. 

We decided to give it a miss and go on the mini train instead which was ace. I swear this is the only way to go round a safari park, except for the danger of possible mauling obviously.
Without boring on too much we had a fab day out.There were geese that reduced us all to hysteria with their bizarre coordinated honking, a shouty bird from Australia that hid in the tree until you went past then scared the be-jesus out of you, (ok maybe that was just me.) 
There was a snoring pig that had us all weeping with laughter again, some very pregnant meerkats 
and lots of activities for kids that we managed to talk Katy into doing them all. Like hanging from a bar for as long as you can, running as fast as a cheetah or flapping your arms more times a minute than a hummingbird flaps it’s wings. Not the kind of thing you would get me doing on a roasting hot day!
 It was boiling hot that day which meant ice cream was a must yet I ended up eating chips for my lunch which was a bit naughty not to mention mental on such a hot day but there you go. (I did have a lovely piece of lemon sole with roasted tomatoes for my tea to sort of balance it out.)

All in all a fun day out and somewhere I would highly recommend to people with children they need to entertain, there was so much for them to do with adventure playgrounds, a swimming pool a giant sandpit and soft play area, Stamps to collect on a card, as well as the animals and the train.

Sunday saw me beavering away in the garden despite the heat, mad dogs and Englishmen indeed!
I dug the last 3rd of the veggie patch and planted broccoli, beetroot lettuce and beans. Watered everything and then collapsed inside with a big glass of chilled white wine.

This week has also seen me at the cinema twice. First was to see The Two Faces of January for Orange Wednesday.

I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I didn't have a fricking clue what the hell it was about either. It was kind of disappointing, you get the feeling the book really wasn't done justice by the film. The Greek Islands looked lovely though.

Last night it was The X-Men, which I was just a little bit excited about.
It was an enjoyable film, not outstanding but good, and of course it had my favourite bit of eye candy (apart from Mr Magpie of course) in it.

That plus some amazing 70's fashions and Hugh Jackman's bum. What more could you want?

I also found time to clean the handbag I bought in Bournemouth
From this
To this.

I also ended up buying another couple of bags on the bay of E whilst I was browsing for a new work handbag, I'm very particular about the bags I use for work so it's always a hunt to find the right thing.

The brown one is Clarks and the map one I just liked the look of. This is a shot post cleaning also which really brought up the map design. I'm thinking 1980's for that bag for sure.

Finally, randomly today being dress down Friday at work had me thinking about the outfit I put on and how I have learned to adapt the cut of average high street clothes to fit my (unusual) body shape. 

I am tall but don’t have particularly long legs, most of my height is in my torso which can prove challenging at the best of times. 
Most off the peg frocks will not only be too short, but the waist will come somewhere up on my ribcage rather than my actual waist, which has the rather depressing effect of making you look much, much wider than you really are. Built like a brick outhouse is not a look I aim for as a rule.

Having said that there are some exceptions, which is why if I do see a pretty frock I’d like to own, I will always try it on, because it might just work. 

When it comes to anything with a belt, without exception, I do have to take the belt loops off as they are never, ever on my actual waist. Sometimes I will move them down a couple of inches but mostly I just chop them off and do without.
Dresses that do work well are ones with a higher waist as this comes just below my bust and gives a lovely empire line effect. 
Another trick I have learnt is when a top has a tie back waist, try tying it either to the front or the side, again this does depend on where the waistband comes on my torso. Like the dresscometop I am wearing today for example.
The ‘waist’ actually comes right under my bust, so tied to the back and I look like a hunchback but tied to the front and combined with a gathered neckline et voila, I suddenly look like I have boobs = Result!

Yes, yes I took this photo at 7am and was as bleary eyed and dazed as I look!

Another trick I have found is want a pair of ¾ jeans or Capri pants? Buy your usual size but in a ‘short’ and you will have some! Today’s trousers are actually from Dorothy Perkins and a short leg length, instant cropped trews.
I have no idea what I was doing, as I say it was 7am but you get the idea.

Right I am off to bed. 

Friday 16 May 2014

Lipstick Powder and Paint.

It's been one of those week's, you know the kind where life has kicked the shit out of someone very dear to you and you are left helpless on the sidelines.
I was meant to be meeting my lovely friend Ash in New York in September, we were both super excited. We haven't seen each other for 5 years and had made all sorts of exciting plans.
This week I found out we had to postpone, I'm not going to go into the details, it's not my story, but she's got one hell of a fight ahead of her these next few months and I'm heartsore I can't see her or be with her when she goes through it. Some times life sucks badly.

So I have found myself welling up really easily all week which is not like me, I'm usually a stony hearted mare unless it's to do with a baby elephant or something.

Talking of which Vix get yourself down to the West Midlands Safari Park and blow kisses at the new baby elephant for me please!
Elephant Story

So what else? I bought a lovely pair of lacy tights in my usual size. Now as I have said more than once me and tights do not see eye to eye but this is getting beyond a joke
I mean seriously WT actual F???  (That's a pair of my usual length tights on the left for comparison.)

I swear the tights are trying to break me.

Yesterday I had my barnet cut. Happy, happy day I was actually allowed to have just a few blonde foils in the front.

It has actually taken me by surprise how dull and flat and unlike, well, ME I have felt these last few months not being allowed to colour my hair.
There is still a way to go before I'm at the point of doing whatever I want with it but even those few blonde lights in the front have made me feel like my old self again!

Mind you I say that.

The cut Caron has given me has more than a hint of the Julie Andrews about it. indeed I'm whipping up a set of matching curtain outfits whilst singing about a lonely goatherd even as I type.....

What the heck has all this got to do with the title of my post I hear you cry.

Well I got so fed up with the crap brush on the Bourjours Clubbing mascara I mentioned a couple of posts ago I flung it in the bin in a fit of pique and opened the luscious sparkling red Boots No.7 one.

Well I did it again didn't I? I was seduced by the red glitter sparkles and the special offer price and yet again am left bitter and disappointed.

If you have also been tempted don't do it, save your pennies, WALK AWAY. Just walk away. It's pretty rubbish as it goes.

Having said that it does have this one magical quality, sort of a mascara clock of invisibility.
You paint it on and yet it looks like you aren't wearing any mascara at all no matter how hard you try (which is a bit distressing when you have the kind of eyelashes I do)

Somehow within 2 hours you not only have eyelashes that look naked, you also have great black smudges under your eyes!?!

The great mascara hunt plods wearily on.

Next to be tried is Rockstar lashes by Rimmel as created by Kate Moss no less.
I have this gut feeling Kate and I will be having words.

All of this left me thinking about make-up and my pretty much life long love affair with it.

I started wearing make-up when I was 13. It all began when I bought a foot long navy blue eyeliner from Doncaster indoor market for not much money, and wore it often, and applied it with a liberal hand.

Then I got spots, that meant a concealer of some description was needed fast. Back in those days you had the heady choice of 3 shades Fair, Medium, Dark.
It came in a stick and had the consistency dried out paint. It not only was a bugger to put on, it immediaetly flaked whilst also somehow making your zits look more radio active than concealed.
 A bit like drawing a black circle round them with a big arrow next to it saying 'LOOK!!! SPOTS!!!' 

As you can imagine that and the lashings of blue eyeliner were the sight to behold. Not the greatest of starts but I was not deterred. I tried all the different techniques Jackie had to offer and all the different shades (yellow pink and blue anyone?) until I discovered what suited me.

Around the age of 17 a very glamorous friend of my Mum showed me how to apply eyeshadow and blusher properly, from then on there was no looking back. I was a fully fledged, signed up member of the I love make-up club.

This is my make-up drawer as of this morning
Full and in desperate need of a good tidy!

I don't sick to brands other than my foundation (Max Factor) Concealer (Rimmel) and powder (Cornsilk) I am an absolute sucker for special offers, special editions and new brands. Thankfully my skin has never had a bad reaction to all my experimenting. Though I learned hygiene lessons the hard way, more of that in a moment.

On the whole I have found a lot of the cheaper brands work just as well and often last longer than the more expensive. I can say this with authority, believe me, I have tried the lot. From Chanel to MU (where everything in the range is a £1) The one place I would recommend spending the money is on your brushes. Cheap ones are all very well but once you have some really good quality ones you will never look back trust me. If you look after them, they will make you beautiful for many many years and be worth every penny.

My real weakness seems to be eyeshadow pallets. I have many, way, way too many. More than I could ever wear and yet I still buy more.
This is my latest purchase.

I am religious about my make-up hygiene after having painful infected eyes at one point. I clean my brushes regularly with baby shampoo.
Mascara goes after 3 months (if it hasn't already run out or been binned in a fit of temper because it's shit) or the moment it changes smell or consistency.
An opened eyeshadow pallet hits the bin after 2 years and I always sharpen my eyeliners to keep them bacteria free. 

Anyone else a make -up junkie?

Sunday 11 May 2014

Old Harry Rocks and Molly's Den.

This weekend was Himself's birthday and as he categorically refused to celebrate or let me buy him anything we decided to have a long weekend on the Dorset coast, as it is one of our favourite places in the whole wide world.
Of course the minute we were due to go away the weather took a turn for the worst and we left on Thursday in pouring rain. Were we downhearted? were we heck, we shoved our waterproofs in our bags and headed out into it, so desperate were we both for some time away.

By the time we reached our hotel, unpacked and had a hot drink the rain stopped and we managed to avoid it completely for the rest of our stay. The holiday fairies were clearly on our side.

We went straight out for a mooch by the beach, it might have been cold and somewhat wild and wooly but I can honestly say my cares just melted away.
   The wind made amazing patterns in the sand
We wandered about with no set plans, ate chips as you must when you go to the seaside, before heading back to our hotel for the night content.

Our plans for Friday were to walk the costal path to Swanage past Old Harry Rocks and we were determined to do it no matter how wet the weather. As it turns out it wasn't wet at all only very, very, VERY windy.
It looks glorious and walking up towards the cliff was fine.

The views at the top were stunning

As were the flowers
but the gale force gusts of wind were not fun. I had packed for wet weather but not for the wind. Ever since I was a small child I have always suffered from terrible earache in cold or windy weather.
I was in some pain at this point and we still had a way to walk out on the open cliff top.
I was having to walk with my fingers in my ears, (which must have looked very strange to all the other hikers!) and was cursing myself for only having a cap with me and not a wooly hat. When I finally had the brainwave of putting on my cagoule and pulling the hood tightly round my head to protect my ears.

It worked but it did restrict my vision somewhat, which is not really what you need on a windswept cliff top!
 It was a relief when the path finally stopped going uphill in the open and we were at last in the shelter of trees and hedges again.
When we reached Swanage it was bathed in blissfully balmy sunshine so we enjoyed an ice cream, ambled around the streets and had an alcoholic beverage or two before catching the bus back to Bournemouth, footsore but very happy.

On Saturday I had planned to meet with my friend Alison and as the weather was not meant to be too great she had suggested a visit to Molly's Den and I was only too happy to agree.

Not only was it lovely to catch up with Alison again, it was heaven to go round this amazing warehouse with someone who is as interested in browsing vintage/antique bric-a-brac as me. It meant that we were both equally as happy to take as long as we wanted.

Molly's Den is a warehouse full of individual shop units covering two floors. The downstairs was mostly furniture and household goods whilst the upstairs was predominantly clothes. If money were no object and I weren't travelling by train I could have happily filled my boots.

I particularly loved these saucepans
a shot of the upstairs, not designed for tall people that's for sure, we were both pretty much bent double the whole time we browsed. Some booths were more chaotic than others. There was a real mix of eras, quality and prices but there were definitely great bargains to be found.
This was not one of them
                                         1990's plastic shiny yukiness.

obligatory blogger deers, what was the one at the back used for? Anybody know?

Did I buy some goodies dear readers? damn straight did I.

Two fix-up project dresses

A lovely autumnal pussy bow dress that needs to be taken in a bit. £9

A pretty floral cotton dress that I plan to alter, it might or might not work but it was only £8 so I decided to take a punt because I loved the print.
It was sold as 1950's but I'm not so sure.

A lovely bag that I just couldn't leave, the inside is immaculate but the outside needs a good clean. £8
Finally this pretty little trio for £6
The place actually closed around us so we had no choice but to pay up and leave.

That evening I took Himself out for a birthday meal. We went to a little Italian place we had been recommended. It was packed, very noisy and the food was wonderful, though possibly the most garlicky I have ever eaten.
The garlic bread was not only seeped in garlic butter it had chunks of chopped garlic on the top, it actually caught your throat and brought tears to the eye.Yum!!
Having said that 24 hours later I'm still tasting it so maybe not so good! Also bizarrely for such a compact venue there were 3 other people celebrating their birthday as well.So it was cakes and candles all round.

All in all a wonderful short break but now it's back to reality, piles of laundry and work. Sigh.



Monday 5 May 2014

When World's Collide or Bloggers Meet - A Day out in Sheffield.

I wanted to get a Def Leppard song title in there somewhere and Pour Some Sugar On Me didn't seem appropriate somehow!

So yes I was up painfully early on a Saturday to get glamorous before jumping on a train to Sheffield. As this is me, the moment I left the house the elastic in my tights went (the curse of wearing vintage tights!) and hayfever hit, but only my left eye. By the time I got to Oxford to change trains I was having to hold my tights up and one half of my face was paying tribute to Alice Cooper.


As I was anticipating some manner of tight disaster (me and tights, we don't get on) I did have a spare pair, what I didn't have was an eyeliner.


This meant the lovely once matching flick on the other eye had to go. I repaired to the toilet to repair myself before my connection got in.

The journey was uneventful, the train was packed, the girl next to me snored which made me snigger, the usual stuff of train journeys.
Once off the train in Sheffield I was looking round getting my bearings when I spotted a colourful flock of ladies sitting at the coffee stand. Bingo!
We did introductions and hugs and presents and then it was off to the town hall for a vintage fair.

Now Sheffield and I are not unacquainted, As a teen, I used to live not so far away in Doncaster and made a few shopping forays to Sheffield with mates from school. I also went to my first ever concert there as a wide eyed 13 year old (Tears for Fears at Sheffield City Hall in case you were wondering) but I have to say I recognised none of it. Not a brick, not a building, not even the city hall, how bad is that?
Vix, Curtise and Sara ready to shop!

The fair was way busier than I expected but we gave it a thorough going over. I nearly bought a bag, tried on a couple of 'Definitely Not!' frocks and finally bought a cute repair job dress and a brooch.

By the time we had exhausted all the fair had to offer I was more than ready for lunch, I was very glad everyone else felt the same way too so we headed to Wetherspoons.
Ladies on a mission! Vix, Curtise, Em, Tania and Sandra
 and chips
the perfect refuel.
We raised a glass to Krista and wished she were with us.
we also wore something pink in her honour, no easy thing for me, pink and I are not friends. I cheated by wearing a dress that had a few pink flowers on it and bringing my monkey bag.
Krista I hope you approve ;-)
After we had fed and watered we visited the Vintage shops. I think we all found something that wasn't to be in Mooch
for me it was a Mapin and Webb handbag that was just a little too expensive to justify.

From there to Cow where I tried on 3 more 'Definitely Not!' dresses. We also went to a couple of other shops I have forgotten the names of. Vix found a fab little frilly number and a frock with monkey's on it
Emma and I admired the girl behind the till's amazing tattooes but nothing else found it's way into my shopping bag.
 Suddenly it was time to take Sandra back to the station and fit in one more cheeky glass of wine sitting in the sun before heading home.

Emma and I were on the same train as far as Birmingham and talked everything from mortgages to Michael Fassbender whilst trying not to listen to the phone conversation of the lad opposite.
Charlie if you are reading this, get a grip woman, you are clearly the love of his life but  he can't see you tonight because he is going to his Dad's birthday party and it would upset his Mum if he didn't go - OK????

Other than having to wait an hour at Oxford, a member of the train crew was late due to a 'trespassing incident' I know in all likelihood that meant someone on the track but I did have a bit of fun imagining..... and on the plus side it did give me time to buy a huge bucket of tea.

I was finally home to a large rum and coke and a jam sandwich, I know how to live.

Thank you ladies for a great day out and some fabulous pressies.