Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Royal Wedding, what else?

I am not a fan of the Royal Family. I don't have a problem with them existing and being a figure head for our state but I do have a bit of a problem with the powers that the Queen theoretically holds in her hands. Still, I love a good wedding and so I settled down to watch it yesterday with my morning cuppa.

The moment the fashion world has been waiting for: That Dress. I held my breath as her helpers tucked her into the car, taking in the small details that could be seen at that moment. The lace was beautiful, the shape of the top stunning. Huw Edward's comments on the dress were making me chuckle too!
Then she arrived at the Abbey and stepped out of the car. I held my breath again and Huw announced that it was Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. I nearly cried with awe at the beauty of the dress, so perfectly understated for these austere times, but so wonderfully glamourous at the same time.

Coming on top of the majority of the guests being dressed in outfits from a variety of British designers, it was the icing on the cake. Despite the Beard commenting that from above she looked like a giant spat, I think she totally owned that Abbey right then and there.
Reminiscent of Grace Kelly and the Queen's wedding dresses, it had a perfect vintage echo with a modern twist.

 And doesn't William look handsome in his uniform?

My favourite outfit of the day was by far and away Samantha Cameron. She eschewed a hat in favour of glittery hair jewels, which has made her the talk of the press - how dare she be bare headed in front of the Queen? She doesn't strike me as a hat person (I'm not one either) so good on her for not succumbing to some ridiculous head gear for the sake of it.
Her dress was Burberry, and elegant and understated. The orange scarf clashed and complemented the dress beautifully, and her shoes..... oh god her shoes.....

I love her shoes, did I mention that? I managed to find out where they were from. Aldo. And they are on sale. I'm sorely tempted except I can't think where I'd wear them, they are thin stillettos and my crappy ankles make anything that thin impossible and I really shouldn't be spending money on frivolous things. I'm also not sure they'd fit.

But if you want to wear those beautiful shoes, then they can be yours for £49.90 from Aldo.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Life has been very hectic!!

It has been a bit hectic in my life for the last couple of weeks. I'm technically on holiday, but that just means I don't have to go to my day job!! With local elections and the referendum looming next week, plus my end of module exams, time is a bit precious at the moment!! It is in some ways good that the sun has decided to rain down on us and we have had days of constant sunshine, because it means I can go and sit out in the garden at the end of our block, away from the wireless and the distractions of the internet! 
Yesterday we had all the carpets replaced in our house, and it now looks so much better. I think everyone who has seen our house before and after all the work that has been done will agree that it has gone from being a bit neglected (no fault of mine) and tired, to a nice modern and cosy house. I have had highlighted to me the amount of stuff we actually have through the carpet replacing process and we are only half way through putting it all back!! This morning I have taken a lot of stuff to the tip, so the decluttering is going well. Unfortunately our vacuum cleaner decided to give up the ghost yesterday afternoon, so I had to go out in search of a new one. 
I ended up buying one from Tesco, an upright pet one with a good suck rating. Seems like it sucks well. I cannot recommend buying from the Tesco buy and collect though.... sooooo SLOW!! Still, the 40 mins it took me to get the thing was worth it for the value I got at £56. 

My next few days (once we've got the house back to normal) will be spent frantically revising for my exams next week (thank heavens for my mind map notes!) and delivering leaflets for the elections. The weekend after the elections I will be heading to my parents for a much needed weekend of R&R with my Mum. 

I do have a load of blog posts in mind, but I want to do them justice and right now I don't have the time to do that. I'd rather write nothing than rubbish, so there will be extended periods of radio silence from me until I manage to find some time! 

See you on the other side!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

On the occasion of the marriage of Barbara and Ritchie


Another fun filled weekend and my brand new dress!

It has been another fun and alcohol filled weekend, this time celebrating the marriage of 2 dear friends. We had lots of fun - meeting new people, catching up with those we haven't seen for a while, eating loads, drinking plenty, and laughing lots! It was by far and away the funniest wedding I've been to, but what do you expect when the bride and groom are both a little bit nuts?!
Unfortunately I've also not been feeling well, I have a bad sore throat which decided on Friday night to spread into my ears (a point of weakness in me) which has left me with slightly impaired hearing. I may well have been shouting at people all weekend, but given my throat is pretty crap right now that probably didn't deafen anyone! 

My outfit for the wedding garnered plenty of compliments, which I was pleased about given the blood, sweat and tears that went into it (not literally, although there were a lot of pricked fingers and swearing)!!
So here it is! 

The shoes are from Nine West, I bought them just before I graduated from uni, but they were absolutely perfect with this dress. I did pair it with a pale pink cropped cardigan from M&S but it was so warm that I took it off early in the day and didn't need to put it back on again. I did switch out into Converse later on in the evening, and ditched the voluminous underskirt (I was having to be a bit careful walking past things in case I knocked them off tables!) but the dress looks just as good! 

I've finished my edit of the photographs we took, and I'm sure the Beard will be doing his own soon. Meanwhile, I'm eating cupcakes, watching Stargate Universe and nursing my sore throat.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

International aid in the wake of a disaster

It's an ant farm Japanese Flag!

It has been a month since the devastating earthquake in Japan. My various feeds have seen posts about buying this product to help the Japanese, go to this gig to raise money. Buying a certain product will contribute money to an organisation sending volunteers etc.

I haven't bought anything raising money for Japan. I haven't donated any money as yet. I donated as much as I could afford in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti. So why haven't I donated anything this time?

My reason is simple - it hasn't really been asked for. When the earthquake hit Haiti last year, the Haitian government immediately asked for international aid. In the UK it was coordinated largely through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) who coordinate the donation of funds by the public and donors on behalf of 12 charities in the UK in the event of need. The public were asked to donate money via the DEC so it could be distributed to the charities that would be working on the ground, or who would redistribute to smaller charities who provide specialist assistance (like search and rescue, shelter etc).

Japan is one of the largest donors of international aid. They have good infrastructure, and a strong government, with plans and procedures. The Japanese government have asked international organisations not already working in the country to stay away, as a sudden influx of people in the areas affected would not be conducive to coordinating recovery.

The British Red Cross, Save The Children, World Vision and Oxfam are working to support their colleagues who are already in Japan. At this time though, only the British Red Cross and Oxfam are still accepting donations.

I think it is a natural urge to want to help people, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I can't shake the feeling that a lot of people who are trying to do good and raise money are forgetting that Japan is a pretty advanced country with stable government and infrastructure. We aren't dealing with another Haiti, or another Indonesia here, where the scenario is completely different. The result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan may be that Japan for a time is no longer a large donater of overseas aid, as it redirects its aid budget internally to rebuild and restore its own infrastructure. If this turns out to be the case, then the impact on the rest of the world is where I think donations should be focussed.

(image originally found here:

Monday, 11 April 2011

Tired now, bed please!

The Mr and I have just had a fab, but tiring weekend. We've been up in Yorkshire celebrating my best friend's birthday, with glorious sunshine, ice cream in Sainsbury's, drinking and dancing, and a massive kebab! I have no pictures, because like an idiot I forgot to take my camera. I do have an achey neck and am still shattered from the 4am bedtime on Sunday morning, with a 10am wake up, then all the driving.

I think I shall be taking it slightly easy today, nothing too strenuous, and I think time to catch up with Holby City. There is of course housework to be done and I really really must finish my dress project and go and source a shrug to pair with it for the weekend. I have a couple in mind but just need to go and have a look.
Sadly the weather has become gloomier today, I am going to blame the colleague who sent me an email that used the word Sunny in the subject. Jinxing the weather...

I am quite excited because the first set of study materials for my next 2 modules of my masters arrived last week, only a month until I start those!! I'm quite looking forward to this one, it is called War, Intervention and Development, and is all about the positive and negative effects of civil wars and armed conflicts on the process of development. My other module is about institutional change, which is less exciting but as a compulsory module there was no way out of it! Still, I have still have to revise for my forthcoming exams in just under a month's time.

But first... breakfast.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

At the stroke of the brush....

I have a lot of make up brushes. One of my least favourite activities is cleaning them all, it takes so long!! Keeping them clean is really really important though, so I just have to suck it up! I do tend to wash them as I go along, as washing 5/6 brushes takes a lot less time than washing 30!!

Good make up brushes are important and it is worth paying money for good brushes. They don't have to be expensive though, and if you take care of them, they will last for years.

When choosing brushes it is important to think about what you will use the brush for, whether you need to carry it around, what sort of product you will be using it to apply, and whether you prefer a synthetic or natural brush.

The synthetic/natural brush debate will probably rage on forever. I have both in my collection, but in all honesty I prefer natural bristle brushes to synthetic ones. I do try and seek cruelty free brushes these days, but I can't vouch for my previous shopping. The reason I prefer natural brushes is the way they pick up and react with product. I find synthetic brushes useful if I am applying something cream based, like a MAC Paint Pot, as that is a fast drying product and natural bristles have a tendency to suck all the moisture out of a product. Which makes them excellent for applying powder products, as they keep the product dry. I really think it is a personal choice though, and you will find what works best for you. 

Cleaning brushes is really important, they harbour so much bacteria if you don't! Since I started washing my brushes every time I used them, my skin has been a lot clearer. To clean, just run a sink of warm water and add a good squirt of shampoo - I use baby shampoo most of the time. Dunk your brush in up to the base of the bristles and swirl it around on your hand. If your brushes are quite dirty you might need more shampoo at this stage.
Put them to one side, then when they have all been through this phase, empty the sink and clean it out. Run another bowl of warm water, but leave it pure. Repeat the previous stage with the clean water to rinse the brushes. Shake out over the bath/shower and place on a towel. Once they are all rinsed and shaken out, fold the towel over and press gently down on the brush heads to remove the excess water. Reshape and stand up in a pot to air dry.

Let me show you around my collection!

Face brushes

MAC 189 Foundation Brush (far left): I bought this on a bit of a whim after the MUA used it on me at a MAC session a few years ago. Unfortunately it was a limited edition one (it certainly isn't available now). I like it because it is a fuller, wider foundation brush than most, and sort of a cross between a stippling brush and a foundation brush.
Sephora Professional long handled Kabuki brush (centre): I bought this brush in Prague and it is a brilliant brush for finishing powder. It is wonderfully soft and dense.
Ecotools concealer brush (centre right): I bought this because I needed a new concealer brush and I likes the fat head on it. It is like a mini foundation brush!
MAC 130 Foundation Brush: This mini stippling brush was released with the Mineralise Compact foundation last year and is like a mini 188 with shorter bristles. I have to be honest, I don't get along with this brush at all - I bought it on a whim but I find it really hard to make it work for me. It is quite good for blending concealer into foundation but that is about it. I find it utterly useless as a foundation brush, and it isn't special enough to warrant being a special concealer blending brush!
MAC 224 Blending Brush (far right): This is supposed to be an eyeshadow blending brush, but after seeing it being used to blend concealer on Pixiwoo, I have started to use it that way too. It is especially good for blending under eye concealer.
Jemma Kidd Kabuki brush (top): I bought this years ago as an alternative to the MAC 182 Buffer Brush. I think it was £10 in Boots and it is really dense, really soft. It is brilliant for buffing in mineralise skinfinish or translucent powder.

Blusher Brushes

MAC 187 Brush x 2 (left): I loved this brush so much after I bought it that I had to buy another! It is an extremely versatile brush that I have used for applying foundation, powder, blusher (which is its current usage).
MAC 188 Brush (on top of 187s): The baby brother/sister of the 188, I use this brush to apply highlighter powder as its thin head makes it good for skimming along cheekbones.
Tesco Angled Cheek Brush: Tesco Make Up is made by Barbara Daly, who I have been a fan of since she was the creative vision behind the Body Shop's make up. This brush is pretty old now (around 10 years I think) but it is still going strong.
Tesco Powder/Blusher Brush (right): Soft and well shaped, this brush is great for light touch blusher application.
The Body Shop Powder/Blusher brush (front): This brush is I think about 16 years old. It was one of the first 'proper' make up brushes I bought. This is what I mean about brushes lasting a long time. It has long bristle and isn't particularly dense but it is lovely for a whisper of blusher.

Eye Brushes

Eye brushes make up the bulk of my collection - I like to have a wide range of choice in brushes and have a habit of buying whatever I need. For that reason, I won't go through every brush in detail, otherwise this will be the longest post ever!

Tesco brushes on the left, Ruby & Millie in the centre and Ms Mascara on the right. 

Ancient toothbrush for eyebrows, Revlon next to that, then a Sephora Professional Eyeliner brush, Body Shop in the middle (wooden and recent handles), H&M and a few more Ruby & Millie.

My MAC eyeshadow brush collection: from left to right: 249, 217 x2, 239 x2, 213 x3, 228, 266 x2, 209 x2, 210 x2, 225 (now discontinued).

The brushes I use most on my eyes are probably the MAC ones, but it very much depends on the specific thing I need a brush for. Certainly the MAC eyeshadow brushes I own form my core collection, the ones I use over and over again, and would be lost without.

Many other make up brands make brushes that are just as good - Chanel, Bobbi Brown, Illamasqua to name but a few.


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