Tuesday, 31 July 2012

OOTD: grey and white

I figure seeing as I have some time on my hands that I can do these kind of posts more regularly. Although at the moment I'm often hanging out in a bikini, so I won't be posting masses of those pictures!

I've been out shopping for food today, and having a wander around the shops. Didn't buy anything other than the food, so nothing exciting to report! The weather started off cool and bright this morning but the temperature has been increasing steadily as the the day has progressed. Right now at 5.30pm the sky is clear, and it is pretty warm.

So, on to the clothes (and the make up):

I've had the most horrendous cystic acne outbreak in the last week, which is finally healing up. Thanks to the excellent advice and information from Caroline Hirons on her blog Beauty Mouth (the acne and dry vs dehydrated cheat sheets are essential reading), I've managed to figure out some of the problems and am working to rectify them.

Skirt: made by me from a pair of jeans
Tshirt: H&M
Shoes: Converse All Stars
Necklace: Silver Celtic Knot from flea market in Truro, thick snake chain from Silver Scene in Taunton

Make Up
All MAC unless stated
Eyeshadow: Paint in Bare Canvas; Brule, Shale and Arctic Grey
Eyeliner: Fluidline in Blacktrack
Mascara: Alverde Precizion + Schwung in Schwarz
Eyebrows: Stud and Clear Brow Gel
Base: Matchmaster in 1.0, Studio Fix Concealer in NC15, Pressed Powder in NC15, Transparent Finishing Powder
Blusher: Pink Swoon
Lipstick: Creme Cup

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The party just can't go on....

This morning I am resolving to do something positive. Since moving here, I have been indulging a lot. Regular readers will know that I joined Slimming World at the end of last year to lose some of the weight I'd put on over the years of fun with my bf. I reached my final target sometime in February.

The thing is, I've been unemployed for several months now and those months have been one long party. Which the scales now say has got to stop. I haven't put a lot of weight back on, but I have gone back to my original target. My skin is suffering as well and I just don't feel as good as I did.

I know the culprit. It is alcohol. When I was doing Slimming World in the UK it was easy for me to stop drinking except at weekends - I was always out and about somewhere in the evenings and I usually had to drive. And if I didn't, I'd volunteer to drive anyway. I sold my car when I moved and because the public transport is so good here I don't need one. It is all too easy to have a beer here and there. And because beer is so cheap but good, and wine is so cheap, there is usually some in the house. The endless supply of cakes and bread isn't helping either.

So it stops. We're going out tonight and I shan't be drinking. I shall stick to water. I will be eating some of the apricot frangipani tart I made last night, but that will be accounted for and offset by the swimming I hope to do this afternoon, or tomorrow morning. And no more mid afternoon doughnuts....

Sewing Social on Twitter!

In keeping with my personal pledge to get more involved in sewing and stuff, I am going to take part in the 2nd Sewing Social on Twitter this Sunday night.

Many of you will have seen the Beauty Bloggers chat on Sunday nights, and this follows the same principle. Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons has organised this, and this month's topic is Learning to Sew.

The hashtag for the event is #sewingsocial, and you can find more information over on Tilly's blog.

I shall be there (I missed the first one because I was watching the football) and hope to see you too :)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Within Temptation Elements!

I am so so excited!! Within Temptation are putting on a special concert for their 15th anniversary this year and I have just bought tickets!! It is at the Sportpalais in Antwerp on November 13th and the band are promising that it is going to be very very special. Having seen the DVD of their Java Island concert a few years back, and their Black Symphony DVD, I am certain it is going to be immense.

I'm going with The Beard and my Mum, and we still have to work out the logistics of getting to Antwerp from Vienna, but come November 13th I'll be rocking out in Antwerp!

Now I just have to spend the next few months figuring out what to wear.....

More details about the event can be found on www.within-temptation.com.

Finally settling in: The living/dining room

 Our living room is a the biggest room in the house, and incorporates the living area, dining area and kitchen in a roomy, open plan layout.

The kitchen is open ended, which makes it perfect for social occasions and gatherings. The layout of the room meant that it was quite easy to achieve a 'zoned' arrangement, that provided a mental separation between the study area, living room and dining area.

This room is actually much more like I'd imagined our living room would be, mainly because The Beard and I actually agreed really quickly on dark furniture that would match the piano.

We achieved this zoning with a variety of Billy bookcases, and a couple of Vika Amon desks from Ikea. One of the good things about the desks is the customisable nature of them - because of The Beard and I's height, we bought adjustable legs so that we could make sure the desk is high enough for both of us. Unfortunately we're still working on a proper chair for the desk! The desk both covers up the server and all the equipment underneath, while at the same time providing additional desk space and a partial barrier. The wall space above the desk houses The Beard's choice of artworks - we ended up bring a lot of pieces with us!

The sofa was an important item of furniture to buy, as we spend a lot of time on it. We had already decided that the two things we'd spend the most money on would be the bed and the sofa. We had quite a lot of discussion and sitting on sofas before we settled on one. We both loved the Tidafors range when we first sat in it - the high back makes it perfect for us tallies - but we had our heart set on the corner unit initially. The problem is, it is massive. If we weren't putting an office corner in then it might have been possible, but there was no way we could fit it into the room with a desk and everything else we wanted. We eventually agreed that the two seater sofa and a footstool would give us the comfort that we wanted (being able to stretch out is really important to us, and the footstool provides an extra seat when needed) without compromising on space.

The dining table was a second hand purchase and took us a while to find. When buying furniture we agreed that we would only buy things that were right, we wouldn't make do. We looked at a lot of tables in Ikea, but just couldn't settle on a single one. I found this one on Kijiji.at, the Austrian equivalent of Gumtree. It is a lovely solid table and the chairs are very comfortable.

Lighting was also quite important as although the ceilings are higher than our old house, we wanted to make sure that it didn't reflect on the tv and that we could get enough light around the room. It also had to be nice to look at... function is one thing, but aesthetics are important to us too! We found this number in Bauhaus, one of the big DIY chains. The great thing about it is that the lampshades are purchased separately, so if we get bored or change the colour scheme of our living room, we can just buy some new ones.

I think our TV/Bookcase wall is my favourite parts of the room - it pretty much sums up everything we are: TV nuts, collectors, cocktail fans and film nuts. And we have a beautiful painting above the TV painted by The Beard's mother in 1969 as man landed on the moon. How cool is that?

The TV unit is a Bestå unit with drawers, which has all the space we need for consoles, boxes etc, and all the cabling behind.

We both really love what we've done with the place. We're already at capacity with books though so at some point we might have to add more storage, or I could just stick to buying books on my kindle...

There is still some work to be done - I need to cover the arm chairs with an appropriate fabric, and we need to think about curtains, although I'm still not sure about that because of the radiators being underneath the windows. We have blinds as well as the external shutters, so it isn't a desperate need, and the view at night is so lovely that I'm not sure I ever want to cover it up!

There are a few more pictures to hang up - I have some space over the piano for my collection of Rosina Watchmiester prints, and there is space on the dining room wall for some photographs of Cornwall to sit nicely alongside the two John Miller prints already hanging up.

There isn't much to see in the rest of the flat, we've hung more pictures up in the hallway, and added a blue shower curtain to the bathroom. So we're pretty much done. And it feels like home :) 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Nova Jazz and Blues Nights Festival: Wien Gasometer 20/07/12

My friend invited me to the Nova Jazz and Blues Nights Festival in Vienna and although it is quite different to my normal musical listening choices, I do like most types of music and I love to dance.

I decided this was an opportunity to dress up a little and wear something that I haven't worn for a while. I did wonder whether it would be a bit too dressy, but then decided so what, I just like being me!

So, here is my outift and make up for the afternoon/evening:

Lace top, TKMaxx; Corset, Burleska; Skirt, TKMaxx, customised by me.

EYES: MAC Pigment in Sweet Sienna mixed with Water Based Mixing Medium; MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack; Alverde Schwung + Präzision Mascara in Black. LIPS: MAC Lip Pencil in Vino; MAC Lipstick in Media

The festival was at the Gasometer, an old gas storage facility that has been renovated into flats, a shopping centre and concert halls. It was a little odd being at a concert in the middle of the afternoon, knowing it was still light outside but being inside a completely dark hall!

The first band were just finishing up as we got there, so we had a bit of a wait until the next band, Blitz the Ambassador, who combined jazz, blues, afro beats, hip hop and dance music. They were really good and the song below got the crowd up and moving really quickly.


Next up was Jazzanova performing with Paul Randolph, who provided a set of infectious, smooth soul which was great to dance along to.

Nneka was one of the main headliners, and whilst her set was a little bit more soulful and deep than the other bands, but it was an excellent performance nonetheless. Nneka has a fantastic voice, really powerful and with an incredible range.

The final band of the night was Italian band Jestofunk and whilst they gave a strong, tight performance, there wasn't much in the way of variety. They had a couple of guest vocalists, CeCe Rogers and a woman called Wendy whose last name I have totally forgotten.

All in all it was a fantastic night, I was pretty tired by the time I got home though!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Finally settled in: the bedroom

When we moved we didn't bring anything with us apart from our personal possessions, my piano, a lamp (mainly because it had a clever dual plug and we liked it) and a chair that was once my grandmothers. Which meant we basically had to furnish our flat from scratch. Cue a long and very very tedious trip to Ikea, during which me and The Beard nearly came to blows over a sofa and we all decided we never wanted to set foot in an Ikea again.

One of the things about starting from scratch was that we could choose stuff together. Now I had a vision in my mind of what I wanted our flat to look at, but in the end not much of it made it into reality. Particularly in the bedroom!

I had had visions of some pseudo cliche luxurious goth bedroom, all bedecked in black and purple. I was somehow going to make this work with the cream built in cupboards and oak floor. Hmm. You can see my ideas on my Pinterest.

So now we finally have a light fixture, I can show you what it looks like (I am so glad to be rid of what they call the "Russian Chandelier" - a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling by its wires). 

The bed is the grey brown Hemnes in the 180cm width (we figured we had the space, we may as well have a giant bed!), the bed covers (chosen rather surprisingly by The Beard) are Alvine Kvist, again in the largest size. We have a lovely lightweight down duvet and down pillows of different firmness. We also bought gigantic feather pillows (the grey one you can see peeping out under all the rest) for those lazy Sunday mornings in bed with tea and breakfast. The beside tables are Rykene, the bedside lamp one of the things I brought with me, it is Ikea but I've had it for a long time. The rug is a Persby - its a synthetic flokati rug. I've always wanted a flokati but I'm slightly allergic to wool. Besides, this one can be thrown in the washing machine if it gets dirty (always a risk with a white rug and a cat).
All the pictures above the bed are ones we brought with us, they were all in the bedroom at our old house, and they fit perfectly with bedroom here.

I didn't want anything particularly fancy for a dressing table, and the Vika Amon work table fit the bill perfectly. I got the smallest one because there isn't space for much bigger with the bigger bed. I bought some Rektangel vases to store my make up brushes. They were pretty much the only thing I found that wasn't too tall for my brushes and had a nice heavy base. I think that Pixiwoo might have mentioned them a while ago as good for brush storage. The best thing is that if they get a bit dirty or dusty you can bung them in the dishwasher. The mirror above the table I brought from the UK, it matched our old bed, but I loved it so much I couldn't leave it behind.

I'm still working on getting adequate storage for my make up - my Stanley organiser that I've been using for years is not really big enough any more, and at the moment I have to keep it on the floor to protect my make up from the sun that streams in our window! After a bit of research online and looking through the Ikea website extensively, I've decided on a white Helmer unit and some Godmorgon draw organiser trays (if they fit; more here and here) for all the little bits of make up, and I should be able to store all my nail polish in there as well. And by putting it by the side of my dressing table, I can use the top to store all my perfumes. 

The flat gets very very warm in the summer, due to 3 outside walls. When the temperature was above 30C for nearly 2 weeks with very little wind and variable humidity we spent many uncomfortably warm nights huddled in the path of the stand fan we have. We were still looking for the perfect light fitting and struck upon the idea of combining the two things we needed into one convenient package. We ordered this one from Ebay

One of the great things about our bedroom is the vast inbuilt storage - although it does restrict the layout of the bedroom somewhat, it did mean that we didn't require much additional furniture. The double hanging rails are great, and there is a longer length one in the cupboard next to the one in the top picture. I didn't have much to put on the top hanger because I don't have much in the way of clothes that need to be hung up, but the rail proved very useful for storing scarves alongside my coats (especially seeing as we're still working on a coat rail in the hallway). The cupboards above the door aren't as easily accessible, but that is perfect for storing towels and clean bedding which you don't need access to every day. Even I'm not tall enough to reach that top shelf (and some of the ones in the kitchen) so we have a small set of steps to help (you can just see them under the mirror in the picture below). 

I settled on a plain mirror for the wall because I felt it fitted best. There is a handy space by the door for the laundry bin, but we need a new one as it is starting to look a little worn and battered! We also have a nice blank wall for which I have some lovely art work I picked up in Sweden a couple of years ago. I'm just looking for the perfect frames for them, and then all will be finished.

I'm really pleased with how it has all turned out, I think the room reflects our personalities well enough, and exudes an air of calm and comfort. We still need some curtains, but as it is summer and we have outside shutters it hasn't been on the list of priorities. Also, the radiator is under the window and I'm not sure how I feel about shorter curtains. The nets allow for privacy at the moment, and we may get a wooden blind or something once the winter sets in.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Vienna: Three Months Post Move Update

Can you believe we've been here for 3 months now? It seems like only yesterday we were packing up our things and driving through Europe. So what have we been up to lately?

Well, The Beard got a job. Pretty much the first job he applied for he got. Because he is awesome. I'm not having much luck on the job front, but thankfully his salary is enough to allow us to live reasonably comfortably. Hopefully I will get a job, I've been applying where I can, but for the time being I am a housewife and erstwhile writer. I will also be resuming my studies in a few months, so I'm starting to think about that as well.

We've been enjoying the beer and wine that the city and country has to offer, possibly too much, but it doesn't seem to be having any negative effects so far! As well as Nova Rock we've had two sets of visitors from the UK, which has been absolutely awesome! And meant nights out at our favourite bar, Barflys.

Swimming has featured quite a bit in our activities - when the weather is good we can often be found lounging by a pool somewhere. I've purchased a Monatskarte for the city pools - for the princely sum of €18.70 a month I can have unlimited usage of any of the indoor or outdoor pools/swimming areas in the city. And there are a fair few! Considering that a days usage is usually around €5 mark, the Monatskarte works out as a really good deal as long as you use the pools at least once a week. So I've resumed my swimming for fitness type activities, and have been working on building up to going 3 times a week, with the aim of swimming at least 40 lengths on each visit. I'm also trying to work on my technique a bit, as it has been quite a few years since I have swum seriously.

I'm getting better and more confident at German - it is a slow process, but I'm steadily getting there. The best thing for me I have discovered is to just get out there and speak. And now The Beard is at work during the day I am having to manage on my own a lot more. I can manage shops and buying food quite easily now, and can keep up with quite a lot of conversations in German, even if I can't join in in anything other than English for now.

We've met some other ex pats as well, and have been meeting up occasionally to socialise, which often involves drinking beer! This last week we have been out with a British couple to see Pavarotti and Friends, which was showing at the Rathaus Film Festival. It is also the Vienna International Film festival at the moment and there is an open air cinema in the Augarten, which is a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute bus ride away. I'm hoping to catch a couple of classic movies there in the next month.

All in all, I don't have a single regret about moving here. It wasn't until we got settled that I had a chance to reflect on everything and realised just how stifled my old life was making me feel. I think I can safely say The Beard felt the same, loads of people have commented on how different he is after a couple of months away. I get to walk to the shops every day to get fresh bread and marvel at the architecture, and how much different the atmosphere here is to the UK. There is always so much going on, and we live near enough the city centre to be able to participate, that I'm sure we'd never get bored!

Coming up over the next week I'll be posting some pictures of our flat, as I'm sure you'd like to see the palace!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Street Art in Vienna

One of the things both The Beard and I love about Vienna is the street art. Along the Donaukanal there is a myriad of different styles and art painted along the walls, art which changes regularly and always provides something interesting to look at.

Last week we took a little walk along the canal to photograph what was there that day.

This is only a selection of the pictures we took that day, so there might be a Part 2 post in a little while, once The Beard has finished tidying up the images!

All photographs copyright of Swedish Pete.


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