dimanche 31 janvier 2010

Anthropologie - you're expensive, but I do love you

I paid my first visit to the the first London branch of Anthropologie yesterday. I was a regular visitor when we lived in New York - often just to ogle and admire so I'm thrilled it's reached the UK.

Less impressive though, are the prices. Though they sell lovely stuff, I think a lot of what they sell is over-priced, and if you then translate those prices into £, and jack them up a bit because it's London, then a lot of it is very expensive.

Plain cotton cushion - £65?! And that's the cheapest..most cushions are nudging three figures, or well over. It's quite an inspiration to get the sewing machine out.

Despite all my griping, there is some really lovely stuff there. We picked up some wine tumblers. My french penfriend's family always used small chunky tumblers for wine, except on special occasions. I don't know if it's a particularly French thing, or just a them thing but I like it and I've been searching for ages for some I like. Et voila!

and in daylight:

£6 each for pressed glass. I bit my tongue and coughed up because I love them.

The shop is a joy to wander round - spread over three floors (and two mezzanine levels) with one a 'living wall' made up of various grasses and plants. And the staff seem to be friendly and knowledgeable.

The branch on Kings Road is due to open in about 7 weeks and will be more focused on purely homewares they told me. I can't wait as it's much closer than Regent St.

I'm considering gradually replacing all our crockery which is super cheap stuff and not particularly special.

I'm in love with this dinner service. Simple, a little French and antique looking:

And wouldn't having your Coco Pops from a bowl like this brighten up your morning?

The main reason for going there was to buy my brother this birthday present...

"covered with vintage French book pages", don't you love it? Alas, none in the shop - gutted!

dimanche 24 janvier 2010

Look up!

You know what they say about looking up, or you'll miss the best things?

Well, it turns out it applies even when you're somewhere you know well. I've lived here for a year and never noticed the beautiful golden ballerina, forever doing an arabesque on top of this theatre just round the corner from us.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Foundation Nightmares!

I thought I'd take an audit of all the foundation I've bought over the past few years. I managed to lay my hands on 6 bottles of it. So a little swatching and comparing and is it any wonder I consider tearing my hair out with frustration at how I can't find one that matches my skin? Look at the huge variation in colours below:

In case those labels aren't big enough to be legible, we have from left to right:
MAC Select Tint - NC20
MAC Select Tint - NW20
Estee Lauder Double Wear - 1N1 Ecru
MAC Studio Fix Fluid - NW15
Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid - Ivory 010
Revlon ColorStay Combination/Oily - 150 Buff

To my eye, none of these comes close to a perfect match for my skin. Now - I know it's my arm not my face, but they're not that different in colour, I promise you.

The ironic thing is, the worst matches are the Estee Lauder, and the Studio Fix (er, my current orange-face foundation) both of which were matched by a supposed professional!

The ColorStay is easily the best match for me, but a week of using it left my skin in such a bad state that I just don't dare risk it again. If only......

It's strange too how NW15 in SFF is actually darker than NW20 in Select Tint. What's up with MAC and their colours- why is there no regulation of shades across the different formulations? Also, I wish they had a wider range of shades.

Are there any other pale skinned ladies out there who have the same problem? Have you managed to find a foundation that matches you? If so - please share!

jeudi 21 janvier 2010

5 things making me smile right now

Radio 4
It would be a gross exaggeration to say I simply couldn't exist without Radio 4, but I'd be less well informed, more boring and I'd miss it dreadfully. For any US readers, Radio 4 is a radio station with purely spoken word programmes - from art and culture to current affairs to drama and comedy. And, I'd be lost without The Archers, its daily rural soap that's be running for 60 years! My ipod is never without a ton of radio 4 downloads.

William Eggleston
I went to see an Ansel Adams exhibition in the Hayward years ago, and included in the entry fee was a smaller exhibition - William Eggleston. Though I loved Adams work, Eggleston's photos grabbed me the second I walked in and wouldn't let go. I ended up spending far longer than I intended and when I was about to leave couldn't resist touring the whole lot one more time.

He has a way of photographing the ordinary and somehow creating an atmosphere. I have a couple of books of his work. The wonderful thing is he's still working even now and has a show on in London at the moment, details here. I'm really bad at putting it into words, but here are some of my favourites:

I hope I'm allowed to post these - all images copyright of course, from http://www.egglestontrust.com/

Are you in awe?

Uncle Ben's microwave-able rice
This stuff is wonderful - I take some steamed vegetables and tofu into work, then at lunch microwave some of this, combine and ta-daa delicious and reasonably healthy and cheap lunch! Uncle Ben - thank you for feeding me these past 2 weeks

Chanel Coco
My Ma has worn this scent forever, and I've always loved it, but always thought it was too 'grown-up' for me. She very kindly gave me the dregs of her current bottle and I tried it and fell deeply in love.

It doesn't seem to ever be discounted anywhere though, surpise surprise, so I'll have to cough up full price some at some point.

Laphroaig single malt (quarter cask)
Again - I feel like I'm a *proper* grown up now I like scotch, and boy do I like this scotch. Seriously..nice heavy glass, couple of ice cubes and a decent measure of this and I'm in heaven. Smokey, spicey, delicious!

mercredi 13 janvier 2010

Tag - Products I'm loving right now

Following Muhsine's example and doing an update on this tag as it's always a fun one

I alternate between Tresemme 24 Hour Body and MOP Lemongrass - I have a horrible feeling they don't make this one any more which is a shame if so as it smells divine and gives me a bit of volume.

I'm afraid I still don't. Perhaps that should be one of my 2010 beauty resolutions

Shower Gel:
Iris soap from Farmacia Santa Maria Novella. Unfortunately it doesn't smell nearly Iris enough for my liking, but it's nice nevertheless.

Styling Products:
Charles Worthington volume boosting mousse. So long as you blow dry the hell out of your hair after applying this, then it works very well. And seems to maintain a bit of volume the next day too.

Body Moisturiser:
Aveda Replenishing body moisturiser or Nuxe Huile Prodidgieuse - both smell gorgeous and do the job very well.

Vaseline active fresh

Fake Tan:
None. Pale and interesting

MAC Studio Fix fluid in NW20. Still not the right damn shade though. I loved Estee Lauder DW, but they didn't have a perfect shade either. And so the hunt goes on... Anyone else super pale had the same trouble finding something that matches? Best I've found is a Revlon Colorstay one, but my skin freaked out with that.

MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural

Barbara Daly one for Tesco, or Sleek Hide It

Milani Luminous, MAC Redhead MSF or NARS Orgasm multiple. After years thinking I couldn't wear blush, 2009 was the year I finally started to embrace it.


Barry M Natural Dazzle or MAC Strada for contouring

The lightest strip of the Redhead MSF or NARS Copacabana multiple

MAC and Inglot are mostly used. I'm having a bit of an about turn on Retrospeck - I've tried using it wet and am much more pleased with the results.

Clinique High Impact. I know it's lots of women's desert island essential, but - admission here - I often don't bother as I hate taking it off.

MAC Patisserie or Stila Ariel

Barry M toffee

Nail colour:

OPI Cajun Shrimp - normally I'm all about the dark colours in winter but this perfect splash of colour.

I have a vast collection of perfume - I just love to buy it. But - this winter you'll smell me wearing Diptyque Opone or Chanel Coco (original, not Mademoiselle).

I tag you if you haven't done this for a while!

mardi 12 janvier 2010

Craft delights

So when I'm home alone I basically hook myself up to the internet and wallow in all my favourite websites while my eyes become ever squarer and squarer. With nobody about at the moment to scream 'Bedtime!' at a certain hour I just lose track. I could read till dawn if I wasn't careful. What a geek.

Anyway - I found myself on Chrisine's wonderful blog Jane Avion the other night. Lots of wonderful ideas for things to make very helpfully explained with instructions and diagrams. I urge you to go take a look for yourself.

So, the sunday papers were lying around, waiting to be recycled so I thought I'd have a bash at making the recycled paper basket.

1. Required...

2. In progress...

3. Ta-daaaaaaa!

Mine's a little flimsy, as I made it with newspapers and not something sturdier, but it makes a very good catch-all area and our dining table is looking a lot tidier now all the odds and ends that were previous scattered about are sitting in this.

So, when I need to find say a pair of mittens, a small makeup bag, hand cream, sock rings, a necklace, hairbands or an unopened pack of dusters then I know where to come!

Incidentally, this is the third pack of dusters I've bought in as many months. Whenever I see them they seem like a good idea. The fact I haven't so far used any speaks volumes to my idleness!

ELF goodies

A parcel arriving from ELF in the middle of a hectic and slightly lonely week is a very welcome surprise.

I dashed off an order the other day, without paying too much attention - I find this is the downside of such low prices - I do more impulse ordering. I bought:

- brush shampoo
- Mineral lipsticks in Nude Delight and Rosy Raisin
- Studio High Definition powder
..and got a freebie mini makeup collection palette.

My thoughts...


I bought the brush shampoo thinking (despite the word shampoo..I know - I'm not very bright) that it was some sort of daily cleaner I could use without going the whole hog and washing brushes.

I am L-a-z-y...with a capital L when it comes to looking after my brushes - cardinal sin, I know but I tend to just wash them with normal shampoo. However, I've just washed the gang with this and it definitely gets them a lot lot cleaner than ordinary shampoo did. Especially my foundation brush which I just couldn't seem to get completely clean. Thumbs up for this one!


Both top and bottom photo: L - R Nude Delight, Rosy Raisin

I don't know why I bought something with 'nude' in the name - I haven't yet found a nude lipstick that doesn't make me look grim, and this one continues the tradition.

Rosy Raisin however I do like. It turns out I have rosy raisin coloured lips - this is one of those MLBB shades and matches mine precisely but it's nice.

Theyre both curiously odourless - I suppose that's a good thing, fewer ingredients and all that but I quite like it when lipsticks have a feint fragrance, but hey ho.

THE FREEBIE - mini makeup palette


Some close-ups. The 10 lipglosses:

Bronzer and blush, 9 eyeshadows and 1 cream eyeshadow:
The 'tools' section, and the brow powder:

I haven't spent long with this, but I'm pleasantly surprised after a quick look. The whole contraption - although a nice idea - is pretty clunky and I have a feeling it wouldn't take much to break it, but the colours are pretty neutral and use-able and the pigmentation seems good.
More thoughts once I've had a proper look.

I can swatch the whole lot if anyone's wants to see them. Let me know.

As for the fabled High Definition powder from the Studio line, I haven't had a chance to use it. I can tell you it was a real mess when I took it out the box though - loose powder everywhere, tut tut. Anyway, I'll give it a go tomorrow and will let you know what I think.

lundi 11 janvier 2010


Some proper (probably make up orientated) posts coming soon, but in the meantime a story that might amuse you:

Mr C is overseas on business - Brazil to be precise, and he left on Sunday. In a nutshell he's there to big up a system he's created, so lots of presentations.

They're only 2 hours behind us, so this afternoon I was thrilled to see him sign in to yahoo messenger.

I messaged him some loving abuse (we're very childish) and he quickly wrote back "Hey. I'm on the projector"

Turns out he was just starting up one of his presentations, so he'd signed in and messenger had loaded automatically. Attendees were treated to a large onscreen greeting from me.

I'll admit I blushed....even though I was thousands of miles away. Gulp!

mercredi 6 janvier 2010

Super healthy, super easy, super cheap

Mr C and I have been sick as dogs the past few days - let me tell you, there's nothing like a bout of food poisoning to counteract any extra poundage caused by Christmas over-indulgence.

Since we're both still so delicate and still lacking in any decent appetite I've been making some warm and cosy soup. Super healthy, super easy and super cheap and a very small bowl is just what's wanted in our fragile state.

Wonderful Vegetable Soup
3 large carrots
1 parsnip
1 leek
1 sweet potato
2 sticks of celery
750ml ish of decent vegetable stock (I use Marigold)

Chop that lot, then bubble in the stock until soft then whizz in the blender (or rather with a hand blender...our kitchen being too petite to house large lovely appliances like blenders)

I end up topping up with extra liquid once I've whizzed it, as it's usually super thick so just dilute as much or little as you like, tasting along the way.

It's seriously one of the simplest most delicious soups I know.

This seems like an opportune moment to post a clip from THE GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIME (which is, of course, Seinfeld). Behold...the soup nazi

dimanche 3 janvier 2010

Tag - getting to know you...

Shamelessly stole this quiz from Lipglossing - a wonderful blog I just discovered today

1. Mood
- relaxed

2. Left or Right handed - I'm leftie!

3. Where do you consider home - this is a tough one. I still find it hard to stop calling my folks' place home..but I do very much also think of home as in London, with Mr C

4. Three things you're grateful for - my family, my boyfriend and my friends. Cliched? Perhaps, but very true.

5. Eyes/Lips/Cheeks - nada. Trying to go without on lazy weekends. My skin deserves a couple of days off too.

6. Have you ever studied abroad? - if only..

7. Do you collect anything? - old cigar boxes, handbags (both vintage and new)

8. Last text you sent... - to my brother.

9. Outfit - cashmere v neck (good old Uniqlo, making cashmere affordable) and jeans

10. Weekly goals - quite a few: get into work early rather than scraping in at one minute to 9, restrict Mocha consumption to once a week, remember to make and take in lunch every day, tidy up a bit, continue the wardrobe purge of clothes I no longer need/wear. Well, that's enough to be getting on with for now.

Happy 2010 everybody! Now, I tag you...