vendredi 26 juin 2009

New dress!

I have a couple of weddings to go to over summer. Last 5 (yes, 5 count 'em) weddings I've gone to I've worn the same dress so I'm overdue a new one.

Times are tight, so behold Haute Couture de Matalan - what you reckon of this for under 30 quid?

Not sure if I'll wear that belt or the skinny black patent one that comes with the dress. Think I'll wear some more glam shoes too, but not bad for a bargain eh?

p.s. Yes, the pose is ridiculous!

mardi 23 juin 2009

This and that

I've been so busy with work I've been wickedly neglectful of this blog recently. Being back hard at work, nose to the grindstone is taking some getting used to be as my work has been sporadic recently.

Perhaps most challenging of all is running the gamut of the tube everyday - a smellier hotter more crowded place I can't think of. I'm going to have to do a little shopping soon with some of my hard earned cash so a haul post will hopefully be along soon.

Anyway on to nicer things - the lovely Nelle from Lady Tells All gave me this cute little award
so before I start catching up on what everyone's up to I must pay it forward. Apologies if you've already received it, but here are some lovely ladies whose blogs I always enjoy reading
Miss Adorably Distracted


mardi 16 juin 2009


I have a few weeks work starting tomorrow, so I went on a premature spending spree. Well - Primark, so that's allowed, since it's so super-cheap.

A cute pair of quilted ballet flats with patent toes. A little (and I use the term very loosely) Chanel-esque. Hey - anything quilted you can pretend is Chanel inspired, right?

I imagine they'll stay cream for about a day before they start to look slightly grubby, but I like them nevertheless. And they make my feet look tanned.

Another little Chanel inspired goody:
Tell me ladies, can you tell the difference between that and the Chanel Fil de Camelia original?
Ok, I exaggerate, but it is sweet isn't it?

This weekend I'm seeing the little birthday girl I made some presents for recently so they need to be wrapped up. I found this gorgeous wrapping paper to do the job. I feel sure I'll end up going back for another sheet as I can think of a million crafting uses for such lovliness.

lundi 15 juin 2009

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

After 2 weeks of using this every day, I am hoping it's safe to give it a review. First up big thanks to Gail for alerting me to how great it is!

First off, if you're interested I'd strongly recommend going to an Estee Lauder counter, asking them to colour match you and then asking for a sample to take home and try so you can be sure of the colour, and sure that your skin isn't going to react. It's something I used to be reluctant to do, but if you're going to spend £20+ on a foundation, then the least they can do it let you sample it first.

So - it's considerably thicker in consistency than previous foundations I've had, but then the coverage is of course more thorough. I know others have success using a 187 brush to apply this, but I haven't tried using mine yet as I've been happy using the 190 foundation brush. After applying I buff it in a little with a kabuki - it seems to just make sure there are no streaky bits and it generally 'softens the edges'.

The one thing I have found with this is that you need to make sure your skin's really well moisturised before applying. I found I had a few slightly dry patches I hadn't taken much notice of until I started using this, however E45 cream has worked miracles and everything works very well together now.

It gives a matte finish, and my skin really has never looked so perfect. I did find the first few days I was appallingly vain and kept examining myself in mirrors.

I'm also very happy to report that (touch wood) I've had no adverse reactions to this - no breakouts or anything else - and my skin really can be a little sensitive which is why I was reluctant to try MAC's Studio Fix as I'd heard of so many break out horror stories.

So, overall a big thumbs up from me for this. If you want a medium to full coverage foundation, definitely give this one some consideration.

samedi 13 juin 2009


Tagged by the beautiful and oh so knowledgeable Hele

What's your favourite makeup look?
I summed it up the other day I think - Blair Waldorf. So subtle eyes, with perfect eyeliner and mascara, a touch of blush and highlighter and coral/red-y pink lips. I am still trying very hard to learn how to emulate this look. If and when I finally go to MAC for that makeup lesson I've been banging on about I will be taking photos of her with me and asking for help. Sad but true.

Do you have a beauty vice?
To be honest, the thing I've unnecessarily bought most of over the years has been perfumes. I have way too many and flit between them all. I rarely buy one I end up disliking, but I do go through phases. I manage to stay fairly even-handed in my makeup buying.

What part of your body do you love?
I have pretty long legs which I am grateful for - I hate wearing short skirts with no tights though so the pins don't come out much in summer but in winter they get a lot of opaque tights and leggings exposure.  I've always been obsessive about looking after my hands too - I used to play a lot of music so was always very conscious of people looking at my hands so they've been moisturised to the max all their life!

Who is your beauty icon?
Not one in particular.  There are many women whose beauty I admire though - Erin O'Connor, Natalie Portman, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Tatou

What beauty product makes you feel instantly sexy?
I suppose these days a slick of eyeliner is something I love.

How do you look after your skin?
I drink a ton of water.  I always wear sunscreen. I always take off my makeup in the evenings. And I try to 'listen' to it when it objects to something!  I'm thinking it might be time soon to enter the world of preventative wrinkle measures...

What is your signature scent?
As I said I have way to many, but there a few core members of the gang who've been with me for years. I can't imagine being without Chanel's Cristalle, Jo Malone's Wild Fig & Cassis, Michael Kors and Lolita Lempicka

What are your hair care secrets?
I've never had my hair dyed as I like my natural colour which is dark with some coppery type highlights. I've also learned to love and cope with it's natural personality, which is a bit wavy. I don't straighten too often which I think it thanks me for.

How do you pamper yourself?
I love having massages, but they're way to expensive to be a regular thing at the moment. Same goes for manicures (London - why can't you be more like New York?). Both those are a lovely treat.

What is your beauty pet peeve?
I'm not mad keen on stripey chunky highlights, too much orange fake tan or really long nails.

What would your desert island must haves be?
Lots of sunscreen, Nuxe's huile prodigieuse, lip balm and a moisturiser.

Finally, do you have a beauty philosophy?
Do the best with what you have!

Ladies, if you haven't done this one - do it now!

jeudi 11 juin 2009

Cocktail of the week

I feel my favourite cocktails are seasonal. I find classic gin martinis very winter-y (this isn't based on logic - just personal history) and I can't imagine a long hot summer without lots of mint juleps, but I'm always ready to try something new.

My cocktail of the moment - and I feel like it's a spring cocktail since the weather's still pretty spring like - is the Elderflower Martini. Yum.

There seems to be disagreement among all the recipes I found online as to the quantities, but the one that works for me is simple 1:1:1 - nice and easy to remember!

The cast:
Elderflower cordial, Tanqueray gin, dry vermouth and some lemon juice.

Put equal measures along with a squeeze of lemon and lots of ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake it baby, shake it and then.....
The Final Cut:

I like to top it up with a little tonic water - I'd prefer soda water but I'm all out.

Give it a go.

What's your favourite cocktail?

Tag - The Omnivore's 100

A fun foodie tag to start the day.

Bold the items you have eaten, and put into italics the ones you would never consider eating

1. Venison
2. Nettle Tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hotdog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blinis
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at 3 star Michelin restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Well, 37 things I haven't so far tried, and only 1 that I don't think I'd ever eat.

What can we deduce from that? I fear it makes me more of a gourmand than a gourmet...

Why not give it a go if you haven't already?

mercredi 10 juin 2009

A life without power

We were without electricity for two entire days recently. While this made me furious (I don't even want to get in to the 'work ethic' of the hilariously named emergency engineers who eventually turned up Monday morning and who interupted their playing with their mobile phones, smoking cigarettes and chit chat with the occasional bit of work) it also was an interesting little experiment in doing without.

No cooked meals, very brief very cold showers, going for a walk in the dusk and playing backgammon in the fading light while drinking red wine (instead of watching rubbish on TV) made for unusual activities, but some of them I think we should do more often. There was something quite nice at going to bed when the sun finally did set - I suppose it's the way we ought to be operating.

And......the power cut defrosted my freezer for me rather nicely and efficiently - a job I'd been dreading for weeks!

mardi 9 juin 2009

Review: L'Oreal lipstick and Prestige blush

Two little items of makeup hopped into my shopping basket on the weekend:

Firstly the L'Oreal Color RicheShine Gelee in Shiny Grapefuit (what a mouthful). I've been eyeing this one up for ages, and discovering that Boots is selling them for £5-something at the moment (£2 off RRP) was the final push I needed.

I know everyone talks about 'my lips but better' as the holy grail of lip colour and it's generally a nude colour they talk about. I guess I have quite highly pigmented lips and is much more similar to my natural colour, which is something I like. It feels a bit like a balm and seems to last well.

The formulation is very creamy and has a faint fragrance that's not offensive at all. There are a few sparkles in it, but it looks and feels very natural on. The only thing I don't like is the ugly tube it comes in. It's bulky and I don't like it!

Secondly, a blush by Prestige - Skin Loving Minerals Baked Mineral Blush in 01 Pink. I seem to remember Prestige being a bit of a bargain grab in Duane Reade, butover here it seems to be towards the upper end of 'drugstore cosmetics' in price. This was £7 or £8. Bit steep.

That said, I still like it. It's very subtle and gives a very true light pink with a pretty sheen. You can layer it up of course for a stronger look. I'm cautious with blush though - I fear looking like Aunt Sally so this is fine by me. Cute packaging which I like a lot, and a strange smell..not unpleasant at all - it kind of reminds me of a.... photocopying shop? Hmm, well it's unusual, but I don't mind it.

vendredi 5 juin 2009


I love tags, so thank you to Winter Blossom for this one!

Where I Blog
I'm not sure about posting a photo of home - perhaps one day. I will say that it's at a table, by a window, overlooking lots of gardens.
What I'm wearing..
Just got home from a chilly day outside, so I changed into cosy clothes - a Mets t-shirt and Mr C's tracky bottoms
Last thing I read...
I have the luxury of time at the moment so I'm immersing myself in books. Most recently I finished Kill Your Friends by John Niven. It's viciously funny...but not for those with a sensitive disposition, I warn you.
Do I nap a lot...
Only when I'm jetlagged - I feel like it's a dangerous habit to get into otherwise. Sleep is one of my very favourite simple pleasures and I could get very used to a siesta, but then I'd be heartbroken when the opportunity was taken away
Last person I hugged...
Mr C
Current obsession/addiction...
Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation.Review to follow shortly - I'm just giving it a full week first. Also, I'm currently obssessed with interiors and design websites - Apartment Therapy, The Storque, The Selby, Design Sponge. Hugely inspirational.
Now me and Mr C are a couple of old fogeys, Saturday night is no longer 'going out on the lash night', it's Seinfeld and pizza night.
Last thing I bought...
A new blush and lipstick (details to follow)
Listening to right now...
Vampire Weekend
A superpower...
The power of flight. It's a classic for a reason.
Favourite weather and why...
Sunshine. It cheers everyone up.
Time I usually get up...
7.30 at the moment.
Most challenging goal right now...
Finding a job I like :-(
Something to the person who tagged me...
I love the mix of clothes and makeup on your blog!
Favourite item of clothing...
Can I choose an accessory? My Rebecca Minkoff MAM - I am so in love...
Favourite pair of shoes I go back to over and over again...
Too many to chose from. An ancient pair of havaianas, silver flats from Century 21, some ancient (bit of a theme..) snakeskin 4 inch slingbacks from Kurt Geiger, Frye campus boots
One thing I can't live without...
I couldn't possibly chose one. Family, Mr C, friends and Marmite
10.30 - I told you I'm an old fogey..
Wake up anywhere it would be...
New York, with Mr C
I tag...
Just Playing Pretend
Adorably Distracted

Apologies if any of you have already done this and I missed it!

jeudi 4 juin 2009

'My' makeup

I've been thinking about shelling out for a makeup lesson at my local MAC store. From what I can find out online it looks like it costs £50 and I believe (you would hope, wouldn't you?) that that fee is redeemable against anything you buy.

Though youtube has been a revelation in terms of teaching me a huge amount about how to apply my makeup, I still feel I'd like to know more. And I feel I need help in terms of the colours to use. If at the end of it I have a better understanding of how to make the best of myself, then I think it would be money well spent.

Have you ever paid for a makeup lesson?

In my eyes, the picture of perfection is Blair Waldorf (and I do mean Blair, not Leighton Meester, who though jaw-droppingly beautiful, never looks quite as perfect in real life as when she's being Blair). Ideally I need to kidnap the Gossip Girl makeup artist and hold him/her hostage until they've taught me all their secrets. But that could be tricky.

mercredi 3 juin 2009

This makes me sew happy

I've just finished making presents for my best friend's daughter whose birthday is coming up soon. Seeing as it's her 1st birthday I had to rely on her Ma for suggestions and she duly requested a pyjama case or a quilt for her doll.

I'm feeling smug as I've had time to make both! They've been half done for ages now, but I've been lacking a few essential things needed to finish them so I headed town to the huge John Lewis on Oxford St and then round the corner to MacCulloch & Wallis on Dering Street. Haberdashery Heaven, the pair of them. Though M&C is perhaps more charming - it reminds me of the shops I used to spend so much time in, in the garment district near our apartment in New York. Little bit run down but stuffed to the gills with everything you could possibly want.

So, finally we have one patchwork quilt for a doll's pram. Won't she be cosy with that keeping her warm?! I'm going to try and bribe Isla into naming the the doll named after me. Let's see how far I get!

and one giant envelope style pyjama case (lined, I promise - you just can't tell in this photo). I'm not thrilled with the way the colour combination turned out. Though it's pretty I feel I should have chosen a different fabric, but hey ho. It will hopefully do the job and I think it's quite pretty in its own way.

mardi 2 juin 2009

New foundation

I am in need of a new foundation. I think I've whinged about this before. Then the other day I watched Gail's Ode to Estee Lauder Double Wear and realised after hearing such deep love from someone for a product I had to give it a try.

So today I coerced a very grumpy and reluctant sales woman in House of Fraser into finding a shade for me and giving me a sample to take home and try for a couple of days. Her attitude wasn't great, then she amused me when colour matching me, when she sighed and said "I'm afraid you're going to have to be the lightest shade".....should I be ashamed of my pale skin?!

Trying a new foundation really terrifies me - the prospect of it breaking me out is a scary business, but so many work for some people and not for others. You can read reviews until you have them coming out of your ears, but the only way to really know is take the plunge. Hopefully I will love it and soon be back handing over cash for a proper bottle of it. I will report back.

So, Estee Lauder Double Wear in I come. Please be kind to me. I feel like we could become great friends.


There was a wondeful little series of articles in the Times online called Meet The Food Bloggers, which I was reading avidly the other day. Among them was Orangette whose blog I've stumbled across before and enjoyed reading very much. The article asks all the bloggers a few questions about what their readers like and dislike, what type of articles garner the most comments and what other blogs they read.

She mentions how her husband's chickpea salad which she posted a few years ago has been one of the most simple, but most loved recipes she's posted.

So - high time I gave it a try. It is indeed somehow (magically?) greater than the sum of its parts and more delicious than you could even hope. And so simple even an idiot could throw it together. Whether you're and expert or an idiot in the kitchen, I recommend you try this. It's perfect for summer.

You will need:
a tin of chickpeas
olive oil
salt (must buy some Maldon..)
parmesan (or if you're me, substitute grana padano)
lemon (missing from picture - where did it wander off to?)
and I added some pepper because I add it to almost everything.

Check Orangette's blog for exact measurements but basically you just throw it all together and are rewarded with a bowl of deliciousness.