Friday, 30 September 2011

I am now using Twitter!

I've had a twitter account for nearly 3 years. I've made a total of 8 tweets since then and 2 of them were today.

Loveaudrey gave me a nudge yesterday, so I'm going to be brave and jump in.

Follow me, I'm @m4dswine.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Twenty six things you need to know about me

Spotted this on the lovely Leopard Anchor's blog this morning, and thought that it'd be a good way to ease myself back into blogging now my assignments are done. Seeing as I'm going back to the beginning again, I'll start by sharing these little nuggets of info!

A. Age: 28
B. Bed size: Currently a double, but we're planning to buy a King size next year.
C. Chore that you hate: Washing up.
D. Dogs: I don't like them... I'm even a little scared of them :S
E. Essential start to your day: Hitting snooze, then giving The Beard a cuddle.

F. Favorite color: Hot Pink. Because black isn't a colour.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver, and plenty of it! 
H. Height: 5’10.5"
I. Instruments you play: Piano, bassoon, clarinet, recorder.
J. Job title: Business Support Officer.
K. Kids: None of my own. A small gaggle of nephews who are cute as anything though :)
L. Live: Exeter, for the moment.
M. Mother’s name: Pat. She's really Patricia, but noone ever ever ever calls her that.
N. Nicknames: Other than m4dswine, nothing original, although Lanky, Elon and Fern have featured in my past.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Two ENT and one tooth removal before the age of 10.
P. Pet peeves: People talking while I'm watching TV!
Q. Quote from a movie: 'There can be only one!'
R. Right or left handed: Right
S. Siblings: 1 younger sister. We're a bit chalk and cheese. 
T. Time you get up: Usually around 7am - I have to leave for work at 8ish. 
U. Underwear: A delightful array of plain tshirt bras and comfy pants. I am so over frilly undies.
V. Vegetable you hate: I can't think of any that I won't eat, but I wouldn't immediately go for a plate of green beans. 
W. What makes you run late: Doing my make up! 
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth, finger, arm, hips (that one was pretty cool).
Y. Yummy food that you make: My fish pie is the stuff of legends.
Z. Zoo animal: Penguins. I freakin' love penguins!

I'd love to hear about you lot!!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

REVIEW: Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman Stippling Brush

Real Techniques is a range of make up brushes by make up artist Samantha Chapman, one half of Pixiwoo. The entire range is made from synthetic materials as Samantha is a vegetarian, and they have been made with quality and value in mind.

I bought the Stippling brush after seeing Nic and Sam use it numerous times in their videos and seeing rave reviews of it on the internet. It's been a few weeks now and I have a verdict for you!

The description:

This dual-fiber brush is the trade secret for creating airbrushed, high-definition results with all types of makeup:
  • look pixel-perfect even in harsh light
  • ultra-plush, synthetic taklon bristles are hand-cut and 100% cruelty-free
  • self-standing for easy storage
  • extended aluminum handle is light and easy to use 
The verdict: This brush is possibly the holy grail of foundation brushes. I currently own 5 foundation brushes, of varying types and sizes, but this is by far the best. It is similar in density to the MAC 130 brush, but the brush head is larger and the bristles slightly shorter. I've used the MAC 187 for ages to apply my foundation, but this puts that in the shade. Because the bristles are synthetic, it doesn't absorb product like natural bristles do, meaning you can use less and spread it further. This brush provides excellent blending and product application, and really does leave a pixel perfect finish. I've got some fairly visible pores around my nose and on my cheeks that foundation has a tendency to pool in but after using this brush, that doesn't happen.

I love this brush so much I want the rest of the range. If I didn't already have a whole load of brushes, I would, because the price point is pretty darn good as well!

Where to buy: Go to for the full range, and shopping options in the UK and USA. I think in the USA you can buy them in a specific drugstore, but in the UK they are mail order only.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Yet another metal rant...

I've previously posted rants about the world of metal and its at times rather narrow minded nature before.

Today I have been pissed off by a post on Metal Sucks - a blog who previously have earned my respect for their calls to boycott Burzum due to Varg Vikernes' anti semitic, extreme views. Well it seems that their desire for harmony in society doesn't stretch to women. Why I expected anything better I don't know, anyone who has spent any time with a bunch of people who like metal will know that women in the industry are often sneered at and presented as mere sex symbols, unless they either behave like men, or make less ear splitting brand of metal (oh, sound familiar? Yeah, its just a reflection on the rest of life).

Well, today Metal Sucks published this post. And do you know what? It pissed me off. I read it. Then read it again. Then tried to work out whether this was written completely tongue in cheek. Then I decided that if it was, it was way too subtle. So I decided to make a comment (yes that is me on there, getting berated for not having a sense of humour). Because ok, it may be a bit tongue in cheek, but honestly? Honestly is there any place in the world for THAT kind of image or that kind of post?

As Caitlin Moran says in her book, ask yourself, are men doing it? And no, I don't see any metal bands (or any others for that matter), putting pictures of men in prone positions on their album covers. So, while I don't think that the album cover should be banned, because I don't believe in restricting self expression, I reserve my right to say that images like that are NOT ok.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Weight is a funny thing

I try to love myself, I really do. But ultimately, the numbers on the scale can't keep creeping up the way they do. And loving myself is all about taking control of my weight and ensuring that it doesn't get any worse. Which ultimately means changing the way I eat.

I'm guilty of being a full on foodie, and I love cooking. So, while the amount of shop bought pre packaged food is relatively low in our household, I do like cooking everything properly and I do love cheese. As a result I have found myself at 14 stone 10 lbs. Or *does sums* 94 kgs for you metric people (actually that is less than I thought. I have been overestimating in the gym).

I have oodles of friends and colleagues who have had great success with Slimming World, and last week I was chatting to a colleague who happens to have an underactive thyroid, something I am under monitoring for (mine is underactive but my body is coping with it, the medics think, its too early to tell). She was raving about SW and made it sound so easy (not that my friends didn't, but, well, you know).

So yeah. This week I am trying out the sample menu available on the Slimming World website and if I see a little loss this week then I will hand over my money to them. I have decided to do it online only, as I am so busy most of the time that meetings will be difficult to schedule in.

So far so good, the meals this week haven't been that different to how I would normally cook, just with less oil and buttery things. I even had a little bit of cheese on my spag bol tonight!!

My target is going to be 13 stone, or 83 kgs. So not much to lose, and should put me back at the weight and size I am in the photos that I look at and like. And my clothes should fit better, but it isn't so much weight that I'll be dramatically smaller.

My target date for the loss will be December sometime, but I hope to start seeing the benefits sooner.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Going back to the beginning

I'm going to be a bit sporadic with posting over the next month - I have 2 essays due in in the next fortnight, and then I have my exams a couple of weeks after that. I intend to write some posts, but there will most likely be long gaps between posts!

Once that is all over, I'm taking the winter off studying before I start my dissertation next spring. Which will leave me more time to do the things I enjoy doing, like writing and playing the piano.

I've been thinking a lot about the direction that I want to take this blog in and now I feel more comfortable with blogging as a concept and have a much better idea what is out there, it is time to go back to the beginning, to the very reason I started blogging in the first place, which was to fill what I see as a very real void in style blogs.

When I started the blog nearly 3 years ago, I had just got into this arena of the internet and was slightly frustrated that there seemed to be very few style blogs written by goth/alt. types. I have found a couple, but whether it is the penchant for all black clothes, or the surprising uniformity of the culture (I've always found it odd that a bunch of people who pride themselves on individuality could be so conformist amongst themselves) but there is so little out there it is quite frankly not on. This epiphany did come to me when I was discussing style blogs with some friends, and someone said they didn't like a particular one because the style wasn't to their taste.

I read a few style blogs and none of them really reflect my personal style. But regardless of that, they do offer me the opportunity to see other styles, and pick up items that I may not have considered before, or ways of pairing garments. I feel more comfortable in my own skin, and my clothes, than I did this time last year and as I mentioned before, a fair bit of that has come from the blogs I read creating positive reinforcement in me. I hope you'll bear with me just a little bit longer while I get to the pause in my journey that will allow me to grow and expand this little corner of my universe!

After all, black doesn't have to be boring!

In the meantime, enjoy a little Larry Lurex.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Weekword: Wonder

Weekword is a blogging circle thing where someone picks a word and, after commenting on the pickers post to say you're joining in, you write a post inspired by that word. You can do anything with it - a quick note, photos, drawings - whatever thoughts the chosen words evoke in you.

This week the word chooser is the lovely Sally at Sow and Sew, and she has chosen 'wonder'. So here goes...

The word wonder conjures up Del Shannon's "Runaway", with that repitition in a funny voice in the bridge! This song was on a Sound of the Sixties compilation that we had when I was growing up - it was one of my sister and my favourite albums, thanks to our obsession with Heartbeat, the ITV series that followed the lives of PC Nick Rowan and his wife Dr Kate, as they moved to a rural North Yorkshire community in the 1960s. It was a proper Sunday night family drama, one that we'd all settle down in front of. My parents were teenagers in the 1960s, so often provided us with their memories of the era. Music was a big part of the show, and I think my parents enjoyed sharing the music they listened to when they were growing up.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Oh I am so glad to have black hair again!

Apologies for the slightly grainy photo and the wistful look!

So, after my previous post about my hair, and a bunch of lovely comments about my changing hair, I decided to dye my hair black. I couldn't get the colour I used to use, and it has gone up in price a lot since I last bought it, so I plumped for Schwarzkopf Live XXL Rockin Blacks in Electro Red 96. I am pretty pleased with the result, which has developed a bit since I first did it into a lovely reddy black.

Elissa from Dress with Courage wrote a post about the effect our hair has on us a while back, and I am totally in agreement with what she says. All the time I had pink hair, whilst I absolutely loved it, I never felt quite 'right'. The new black hair however, feels right. I feel liberated and free, and it is interesting to note that every day I've styled my hair since I changed the colour, I've styled it sleek, as opposed to flicky and wild. I also feel like growing my hair longer is not something that I'm not sure about - whether that is the colour or it has finally hit a length that actually looks ok to me, who knows, but suddenly my hair looks good all the time!

One of the best things about having a more neutral hair colour is the ability to play with my make up more. I quite like having a neutral pallette to work with, both with my largely all black clothes and my dark hair. I particularly loved wearing some burgundy lipstick today and it not being the same colour as my hair! (I'm wearing MAC Hung Up in the picture above).

I have a new spring in my step, a new found confidence. A change is as good as a rest, or something like that. I'm having my eyebrows tinted next week to make the change even more smooth. Although I pencil my eyebrows in dark, quite a lot of the hairs are really blonde so its a little weird - hopefully tinting them will sort that out!

I hadn't realised how much changing my hair colour would change how I feel and see myself!!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Key Fashion Trend for A/W: Lady Goth

As Instyle magazine call it anyway.

Basically, for yet another winter, the mainstream fashion set is going into a gothic frenzy. Leather and lace will be in abundance in the shops. I've already spied a couple of pieces I like, but the considerable skint ness is preventing me from buying ANYTHING.

However, I will be searching for bargainous fabrics and turning my hand to designing some gothic inspired pieces myself. I am, after all, a bit in love with gothic stuff, particularly Victoriana type stuff.

My aim this winter is to shop my own wardrobe as much as possible. I don't have the largest, most extensive wardrobe in the world, but there is enough in there, and with the addition of a few pieces that I have in mind, I should be able to maintain a decent level of sartorial style without sending my dear Beard running to the hills for fear for the household finances. Besides, I have exciting things to look forward to. Hopefully it won't be long before I can reveal all....

So for now, I'll leave you with some of the inspiration I've picked out of this month's InStyle (UK) and Marie Claire (UK).

P.S. Aren't those photos of Josephine de la Baume fabulous? So wonderfully gothic!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Saturday Night...

My friends and I used to know all the dance moves to this song. I kid you not.

(actually, if you got me on a dancefloor with a few drinks inside me I might find I still know them all)

How To Be A Woman, Normal Gets You Nowhere and the Seven Deadly Sins

I've been enjoying having a little space to read some books for fun recently. I'd purchased all three of these books some time ago but have been slowly working through them when I have time. I liked them enough to write a little review of each of them for you!

"How To Be A Woman" by Caitlin Moran

I've always loved reading Caitlin Moran's columns, so when I spied this review in my paper of choice I knew I had to buy the book.

I actually think everyone should read this book. I suspect a few people I know will be getting this book for Christmas from me. Moran manages to combine hilarious ranting with a pretty serious and important message about feminism, and her anecdotes often had me letting rip a heart laugh!

What Moran manages to do really really well, is strip feminism back to its bare bones and build it up in an accessible way - no academic edge, no man hating, no insinuation that we can't carry on with the make up and the fake tan and still maintain our feminist credentials. It has inspired me to be a better feminist, to really think about everything that little bit more. Which in the general scheme of things, can only be a good thing.

That ability to inspire is why everyone should read this book.

 "Normal Gets You Nowhere" by Kelly Cutrone and Meredith Bryan

This book was an interesting one - I picked up on it through the Illamasqua Blog; Kelly Cutrone is their US Brand Ambassador amongst other things, but I'd never actually heard of her before reading about her there - apparently she's quite famous!

The book is about.... well, I'm not entirely sure to be honest. I think it is about passion, honesty, beauty and peace. It struck me as being very much aimed at the US, where the culture is so very different, and maybe it is aimed at an audience that I don't really sit within. I did enjoy it though, and I certainly came away feeling like I had been inspired to do something. As an accompaniment to Moran's book, it worked well. Both books are along similar lines and have similar messages - mainly that being yourself is the greatest thing you can be, and women should be proud to be who we are.

So, I'd recommend it to you - it was an easy read, with enjoyable anecdotes that made me laugh out loud at times. It is smart, sassy, intelligent and passionate, all of which are infectious. Give it a go.

"Seven Deadly Sins" by Corey Taylor

I only bought this book because I have a massive crush on Corey Taylor. Plus it sounded like an interesting proposition for a book and I'm always curious to read rock star biogs. One of the things I really love about Taylor is his voice - just listen to the spoken word track at the end of the first Stone Sour album and you'll see what I mean - and his way with words. One the second count, this book does not disappoint - the prose is poetic and rhythmic with the same lyrical quality that Taylor's music has. On the first count, well, according to his Twitter, he is recording an audio version of the book. I will definitely be getting that!

The book is basically Taylor analysing the relevance of the Seven Deadly Sins in modern life, with his own "unique and cantankerous spin" on it (p2). He regales on topic anecdotes from his life, some funny, some shocking. To round it off, he presents his own ideas about what our modern day 'sins' should be.

I've never really been one for the Seven Deadly Sins. Brought up in a largely open minded with an atheist slant household, there was never really a place for them beyond their usage as the basis for Judeo-Christian law as we have in Britain. The most I've ever needed to know about them was when analysing the film Seven in my first year at 6th form. Still, I was interested to see what there was to say. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked and I was inspired. Not to do anything in particular, but to just be me, to the best of my abilities, to fill my life with as much passion for living as Taylor evidently has. Oh, and it made me want to sit and drink JD, even though I don't like the stuff.

I'd definitely recommend this to you all, it is full of passion and honesty. And the guy spoke at the Oxford Union, which is a pretty big deal.  Go read this book. It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Beauty Wishlist

Ok, this is more like my 'to purchase' list. And I really shouldn't be spending money. Oh well...

Real Techniques Stippling Brush (£10.99 + P&P) - I have been after one of these for a while now and I am slowly being converted to synthetic brushes thanks to Eco Tools. This brush gets rave reviews on MakeUpAlley, which is a good things, so I took the plunge. I'll review when it arrives!

Sleek i-Divine pallette in Au Naturel (£6.49) - This will be mine. I have been convinced by a legion of good reviews, the low price point, some friends and the fact that I feel in need of a bit of a make up 'pick me up'. You know, I've been using the same 3/4 pallettes of MAC shadows for getting on 4/5 years now (don't worry, I only use clean brushes and I do disinfect my pallettes regularly). I'm quite good at putting together looks with them, but it doesn't hurt to add something new into the mix right? 

Sleek Pout Polish in Bare Minimum (£4.30) - I'm quite tempted by this too, although I have read it is rather like MAC Boy Bait Cremesheen which I do own. However, I'm interested in the consistency of these as they are designed as tinted lipbalms and I think that will suit my lip balm loving ways down to a T!

Some brush cleanser. I have a good system of cleaning my brushes with baby shampoo etc, but I could use a spray on cleanser. I'm trialling loads at the moment, still on the hunt!!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sorry about the absence...

The Garden @ my parent's. Picture by Swedish Pete.
 You've not even noticed, have you?

Ok, so I haven't been away for that long in the grand scheme of things and certainly not in terms of my posting frequency!!

Today we have returned from a lovely relaxing week away in Cornwall, staying at my childhood home. The weather has largely been perfect, and we managed to pack in some sightseeing to lovely places (Heligan, Pendennis Castle, St Michael's Mount and The Royal Cornwall Museum), plus lay on the beach a couple of times, I braved the sea twice (despite it being cold it was tolerable and most rejuvenating), ate a load of pasties and fish and chips and generally rested.

Unfortunately back to work tomorrow, but I feel relaxed and ready to do battle with essays and the office. I also have some new ideas for posts and stuff, so watch this space!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...