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Don’t look down on me

Ok, not the best title for this picture, but it was the best I could come up with. :o)

“Don’t look down on me” by Joanne, on Flickr

 

I took this pic with my tripod on its maximum height, looking down on me sitting down.
There was quite of a lot of perspective distortion which I had to correct post-production, and there is still some even now but this was about as much as I could do without it starting to look odd.

 

Fashion card

Top – Marks & Spencer (Woman range)
Jeans – Marks & Spencer (Indigo range, skinny fit)
Boots – Timberland
Accessories – I really can’t remember I’m afraid.
Makeup – as per my ‘Getting my eye back in” post

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Clothes, Shoes, and Jewellery, Photos

 

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MAC Attack!

On Thursday I had a make-up lesson with MAC Cosmetics in Guildford. MAC do a number of offers like this, from a taster, to a makeover, to a full 90-minute tutorial / lesson which is what I went for.

It costs £50 for the 90 min lesson, but you get that money back as credit against MAC products, so is effectively free (or a discount on products, depending on how you do your maths).

Made over / up

Made over / up

I decided I wanted to concentrate on eyeshadow for this session, and particularly a shaded look. So that’s what we did, although we covered other things too.

With these sessions, the artist does one side of your face and you do the other under supervision. We went for me doing the right side of my face (my right, so the left as you look at the picture) and her the left (my left).

For the eyeshadow we used a primer, and then quite a pale cream colour (“grain”) on the inner part of the eyelid, then a bronze on the middle, which is also mirrored on the lower eyelid, and then a black (“carbon”) on the outer edge of the lid both above and below, all blended in of course.

For eyeliner we started with some gel eyeliner but then got talking about various eyeliner techniques; I’ve used pencils, gel and liquid before now, and she showed me a fourth option. Using the carbon eyeshadow and an angled brush, you can use that to do an eyeliner. And it has the advantage of being quick and not dragging, and also giving a softer smokey look. I think I may experiment further with that.

For the lashes, we used MAC’s “Extended play” eyeliner. Normally I use their false lash mascara which has a much chunkier brush. But she showed me how to use a small separate mascara brush held vertically to do the lower lashes and I discovered lashes I never even knew I had! I was so excited about that discovery. She’s given me some of those brushes and it is possible to buy more so I will definitely be using that technique in future!

On the eyebrows, I usually use MAC’s “Lingering” eyebrow pencil and then blended with an angled brush. The disadvantage is that the pencil is very thin (it’s a propelling pencil) and doesn’t last long and also breaks very easily. But we explored an alternative (and cheaper) option. Using an angled brush and MAC’s “Espresso” eye shadow you can achieve the same effect on the eyebrows as the pencil, plus it comes out a little softer too which is exactly the effect I wanted. So I’m really pleased with that and will start to do that in future rather than replacing my pencil when it runs out.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Another tip I picked up is to do eye makeup before doing foundation. Usually I do foundation first to create a “blank canvas”, and then move on to my actual makeup. However, eyeshadow often falls onto your cheeks when doing your eyes. By doing the foundation after the eyes, you can wipe off any excess eyeshadow that has fallen on your cheeks, and then cover it over with foundation.
We used Fix Fluid NW15 (which is what I normally use) and NW20 Pro Long liquid concealer under the eyes. Normally I use a solid concealer in much the same way but I may get the Pro Long at some stage.
On top of that we used MAC’s “prep & prime” translucent fixing powder which is something I use anyway.

For blusher we used Dainty, which is a lighter pink with lovely sparkly bits in it, applied to the tops of the cheek bones.

So, at the end of all that we got to what you see in the pic above. I’m really happy with it and it’s definitely “me” and a look I would regularly wear. If you want a full breakdown of what we used then be sure to click the pic on the right.

Tadaa!

Tadaa!

I mentioned at the start that the lesson was £50 redeemable against product. I decided to go for the primer, the espresso and carbon eyeshadows, an eyeshadow holder, and the dainty blusher, which came to £61.50 (it adds up so quickly). Depending on how you do your maths, that’s £61.50 of makeup with a free 90 min lesson, or £50 for a 90 min lesson with a professional make-up artist and £61.50 of make-up for £11.50, or perhaps something in between.

Sadly I couldn’t afford the rest of the eyeshadows, or the amazing brushes we used (the dual bristle foundation brush was gorgeous but was £27), so after I left I confess I popped next door to Boots and took advantage of their ‘buy one, get the 2nd half price’ offer in their No.7 range, and got a ‘chocolate fondant’ quad eyeshadow compact, a foundation brush, concealer brush, and eye contour brush for a total of £30.87 (a saving of £8.88 due to the deal). Yes, the brushes are nowhere near as nice as the MAC ones and may be a false economy but I simply can’t afford the MAC ones right now. I didn’t buy angled brushes as I already have two.

Also whilst in Guildford I did a little clothes shopping and picked up a couple of bargains in New Look’s sale. A nice black & green velvet flock dress, and a really cute short pleated skirt for £4 (yes, £4!!!). When I got home I just had to put a schoolgirl outfit together with it but more on that another time.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2014 in Cosmetics, Diary, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

 

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I’ll get me coat

In my previous post I mentioned that I really wanted to get a ladies overcoat and I have now managed to find one.

Click to view in Flickr

Click to view in Flickr

I went over to Camberley on Sunday and had a good wander around, especially in House of Frasier (née Army & Navy). I saw this coat by Kaliko almost immediately, and the price was definitely right and I quite liked it.
The colour wasn’t what would have initially chosen, and they only had it in a size 10 (too small) and an 18 (I’m a 14 now). So I left it and moved on.

£79 from £249

But the more I thought about it, the more it kept coming back to me, so I decided that at the very least I should try the 18 on. After all, women’s sizing is all rubbish anyway and an overcoat has to go over all your other clothes. At the end of the day, it’s just a number and the important thing is whether it actually fits or not. So I tried it on.

The length in the arms was just right, it fit well across the shoulders without being too wide, and it looked smart. And you certainly can’t argue with that price. It’s the definition of a barrrrrrrrgain! And you know how much I love a bargain!

So I bought it. Yay.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Clothes, Shoes, and Jewellery, Diary, Photos, Shopping

 

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Fashion update

Recently a catalogue (a real, actual, dead tree one) popped through my letterbox from the French company La Redoute. I’m not entirely sure where they got my details from, but no matter. I confess I haven’t heard of them before.

La Redoute - Soft Dual Fabric Round Neck T-Shirt

La Redoute – Soft Dual Fabric Round Neck T-Shirt

I had a quick flick through and saw a t-shirt top I absolutely adored and just had to have. And what’s better they were giving an introductory offer of £15 off my first order so long as I spent more than £20.

So, the t-shirt was a must. But what else to buy to make the minimum?

La Redoute - Short-Sleeved Lace Dress with Elasticated Waist

La Redoute – Short-Sleeved Lace Dress with Elasticated Waist

Then this lace dress caught my eye. Yay!

Total price for the two of them together, after discount, was £22.99 (inc delivery) which I thought was fairly reasonable.

A few days passed, and then I got an email proudly proclaiming the “good news!” that my order was being prepared for despatch. I don’t know about you, but after 3 days I would expect an email apologising for the fact that it was only now being despatched. I’ve since had a further email the following day saying that it had now been despatched and they hoped I had got the items by now and that I was happy with them. Well, no such luck as if they’d looked at the courier’s tracking site like I have they’d see it was still in transit. That was yesterday (Saturday) so hopefully I will get it tomorrow or Tuesday.

A google search of La Redoute shows some real horror stories with frequent delays in delivery, and even worse experiences with Returns & Exchanges, so hopefully I will be one of the lucky ones and it really will be with me soon. Just got my fingers crossed now that I don’t need to do a return.

Update: The items arrived today and I’m absolutely over the moon with them! So I guess that either I was one of the lucky ones, or La Redoute have addressed the criticisms that the internet is awash with.

 
 

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Fashion Roundup

Not much to report on my recent purchases, but there are a couple of things I wanted to share.

DUO - Aralia

DUO – Aralia

First up is to say how brilliant the Customer Service is at DUO Boots. I bought their Neva boots, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but felt that I wasn’t totally happy with them. I won’t go into detail, but DUO couldn’t have been more helpful. Julie, the person I corresponded with, helped me choose a pair that had a narrower ankle fit, which turned out to be the Aralia boots I had almost gone for anyway, authorised a free return (usually £3.99) and also applied a 10% discount to the price of the Aralia boots as a gesture of goodwill meaning my boots ended up costing me £148.50 – I honestly couldn’t be happier with how they handled the whole thing and I will definitely be buying from them again.

The turnaround felt like forever (it was actually only a week), but the Aralias finally arrived with me last Saturday just as I was getting ready to go out. After a quick try on I decided they were definitely keepers so I wore them when I went out. They proved to be pretty comfortable even when walking around IKEA for an hour or two, but they did give me little warning twinges that these are not boots to go shopping in for hours on end. At least not without gel pads for the balls of the feet or maybe insoles. I will investigate that.

Rocket Dog - Satire

Rocket Dog – Satire

Another company that gave me a painless refund was Amazon. I ordered these absolutely gorgeous Rocket Dog ankle boots a couple of weeks ago. Since I’m on Amazon Prime they arrived the next day, I tried them on, and it was immediately clear they were way too small (and I don’t just mean a little, I mean like 2 sizes too small despite being clearly labelled as my size). So I went to my computer, called up the order, clicked the Return button, printed the pre-paid returns label, packed the boots up in the box & bag they came in, applied the label, and popped down to my local Collect+ dropoff shop which happens to be open until 10.30pm. By the time I got home, Amazon had credited me a full refund. Fantastic. Such a shame they didn’t fit though, because they are so cute.

Tulip heart necklace

Tulip heart necklace

Finally, I was at an Antique & Vintage Fair at Sandown Park Racecourse last Sunday, and this beautiful silver necklace caught my eye. The seller wanted £15 for it and I managed to get that down to £12, which I consider to be reasonable. I haven’t worn it yet, but I look forward to doing so soon. I’m going to be going to the big Antique and Collectors fair at Alexandra Palace this Sunday so I may wear it then.

 
 

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Balance restored

I wrote previously that I had spent £50 on a pair of shoes I didn’t like, and completely undone all the savings I had made from bargain hunting. Well, balance is restored! I went into my local branch of Barratts today and they were more than happy to process a full refund on the shoes. Yay!

So by my reckoning, I now have £50 to spend on shoes. Woohoo! \o/

 
 

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Madam… madam… sir

Had a rather odd day today.

I needed to go up to London for a Voice Coaching session today, but there was an Art Deco & Art Nouveau fair in Woking this morning and my appointment was in the afternoon, so I detoured via Woking on my way up to London. It’s sort of on the way.

The fair was a little disappointing, although I think that was more down to my mood than anything, plus the realisation that I don’t think I am as “into” Art Deco as I initially thought I was. I didn’t stay long; after 45 mins I was done and back on the road to London.

Westfield Shopping Centre

Westfield Shopping Centre

I got into London in good time and, instead of parking up in Hammersmith as usual I decided to drive a little further to Shepherd’s Bush and park up at the Westfield Shopping Centre for a little shopping. Also it’s a flat £5 for the whole day to park.

Whilst there I grabbed this sneaky selfie.

After a little shopping I hopped onto the Circle line to get myself round to the Voice Coach’s office. As we passed Notting Hill, there were announcements that stations were closed due to the Carnival and as we passed you could hear the music thumping and look down at how crowded and busy it was.
When I arrived, I was a good 25 mins early so I popped into a local wine bar and had a cheeky glass of white wine. £4.40 for a small glass is par for the course in London but still galled a little as it tasted little better than plonk you could buy for the same price per bottle. Still, it was nice enough.

So, suitably refreshed, 2pm came around and I went up to my Voice Coach’s office. Knocked on the door, and no answer. I checked my emails, checked my texts, sent a text to her checking the time was correct, then availed myself of the loo to freshen up, then checked back. Nothing. By now I guessed something was up, and also realised that my gmail account was no longer linked to my phone as I recently switched to 2-Factor authentication on that account, so laboriously started to reconnect it on a 2G+ data connection and finally, after 20 mins, had it. And there was an email sent at 12.30pm cancelling the appointment due to ill health. Crap. Or, rather, vomit apparently. Ewww.

So I decided to go to the Science Museum. Don’t ask me why, I just wanted to. Now, first mistake was to go to Baker Street (since it was close) and try to head West. Heaving. Absolutely packed with Carnvival-goers. There were police everywhere and the train that arrived as I did was stuck for ages trying to leave because it was unable to close its doors due to people messing around. I got on the next one but felt really uncomfortable with the pissed-up people on board, plus a group of guys near me were blowing up balloons from capsules and inhaling them. I’m guessing that was Nitrous Oxide (aka Laughing Gas)?
So at the next stop switched trains to a different line, not least because the train I was on wasn’t going to where I wanted to go. LOL.

Eventually I made it to South Kensington and started to walk the underpass to the Science Museum. Now, if you have never walked this route in heels my advice would be “don’t”. By the time I got there my feet really hurt. And after wandering round the Science Museum for about 40 mins they REALLY hurt, despite several rests at convenient seats. But I bravely carried on, and then went next door to the Natural History Museum. However, after about 20 mins of that I felt I wasn’t going to make it. Hobbling outside I jumped in a cab and asked to be taken back to Westfield. The helpful cabbie informed me that it was pretty busy due to the Carnival and we could be delayed. Yeah, ok, whatever; this seat seems pretty comfy right now.

We eventually got there, and I decided that shopping was very much in order but that shoes were a must. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything I liked at a sensible price, but each step was getting more and more painful and I was getting more and more desperate. I was also taking more and more frequent breaks. Basically I was hobbling from one seating area to another at this point. I was in agony.

At some stage in this fog of pain, I swung near a shop and some girls in the doorway of one started to try to get my attention, calling “madam… madam… madam…. ” in that ‘can we just have a moment of your time to try and sell you something’ way that people do and then when I ignored them and swung away from them, switched to “sir”. Then laughed uproariously in an “OMFG!” way when I finally looked round (I did so in case they were trying to tell me I had dropped something). These were members of staff, remember! WTaF?
Sadly I didn’t note the shop and I was in too much pain to do much, otherwise I would have gone back to enquire what was so funny and whether a P45 was equally funny. Great way of winning customers, eh?

Finally I went into yet another shoe shop (I think it was Barratts) and told myself I was buying something no matter what. I found some Rocket Dog shoes I really liked but they didn’t have them in an 8, only a 7. There were also some Hush Puppies that I didn’t really like but were in an 8, so I got them to bring me the other one for those. I then went through pair after pair of shoes until I got sick of asking “do you have these in an 8?” and started asking “so what DO you have in an 8?”. Eventually, I though “f*ck it, I’ll get the Hush Puppies”. So took them to the till and they rang up £50 which did not seem at all right as I had been looking at shoes in the £30-£40 range. But that was the price. However I was close to tears now and couldn’t bear the thought of having to put my heels back on. So I just paid. So, basically, I paid more than I wanted to pay for a pair of shoes that I didn’t like. FML. That totally undoes the bargains of my last post too.
[Update: I managed to subsequently get a full refund on them at my local branch of Barratts a week later]

Still, at least I could now walk so I considered going to Yo! Sushi but realised I couldn’t really spend £30 on sushi when I’d just overspent on these shoes. So I went to the food hall and had Singapore Noodles at Bamboo Basket for £7.50

After that, and a little more shop wandering, it was now 7.30pm and I really had had enough. So I wandered back to the car and hit the road to come home.

 

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Bargains Galore

Regular readers will know that I love shopping, especially when I get a good bargain. Well, in the past week or two I’ve had a positive orgy of shopping resulting in a Smorgasbord of items arriving at my house.

Crew Clothing - Marie dress

Crew Clothing – Marie dress

First up is an adorable dress from Crew Clothing, which has a bit of a story behind it. I first became aware of this one when I saw a colleague at work wearing it. I don’t know her that well, but plucked up courage to ask her where it was from under the pretence of it being for ‘a friend who I just know would adore it’. She was more than happy to tell me, and to try to find the link for me and was really helpful. I don’t know whether or not she was convinced by my cover story, but she has played along with it ever since and hasn’t pried. Which is nice.
She had bought the dress in the sale for £35 (reduced from £65) but sadly they weren’t listing it. However, a bit of googling found the original page and the price had been reduced further to £26. However, they didn’t have my size. Another online retailer was reselling it for £45 but I didn’t fancy that price. So I set a watch on eBay and hoped for the best. A few came up but never in my size, but in the meantime I realised that I was getting into some size 14 dresses when trying them on, so when a size 14 of this dress came up on eBay as “brand new without tags” I bid, figuring that if it didn’t fit now I would slim down into it and at close of bidding managed to secure it for £24 including postage, which I was pretty happy about. And what’s more, it fits perfectly. I’m so happy I’m beside myself, and I intend to wear it tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday) to London for my next Voice therapy session. Needless to say I’ll be wearing a jacket and also tights, given how the weather has gone lately!
[Update: There is now a pic of me wearing this dress here!]

Friday On My Mind - Belle

Friday On My Mind – Belle

Whilst I was waiting for this dress to come up on eBay, I was keeping an eye on a similar dress from Friday On My Mind. I’d almost done a ‘Buy it Now’ on a brand new one at £45, but had decided against it and then regretted it, so when another came up, I decided not to let it go. The seller described it as ‘Used but never won’. Unfortunately bidding got up to £37 (inc postage) before the auction closed, which was a little more than I wanted to pay but it’s very cute.

F&F - Tulip dress

F&F – Tulip dress

Another dress I got on eBay, this time in ‘Used, but great condition’ is this tulip dress by F&F. I can’t say I’m that keen on it, to be honest. But at £13.50 inc postage, it didn’t break the bank. I can always put it back on eBay if I find I don’t wear it.

Superdry - Vintage dress

Superdry – Vintage dress

Another bargain was a ‘last season’ offer from TK Maxx on this cute vintage dress from Superdry. I fell in love with it even though it was a Medium and I wasn’t sure that I have the figure for it. It was £16.99 (RRP £44.99) so I thought I had to give it a go. As it turns out, when I got it home, it actually fits (yay me!) but it’s very figure-hugging and I think I really want to get a flatter tummy before I can wear it out. Maybe next summer, since this one is almost over.

Tu top

Tu top

Next up is this top by Tu. It’s nothing special, but it was half price and was included in Sainsbury’s 25% Off sale. So it came to a grand total of £5.25 which in my book is a total bargain. Tops like this are always useful for casual wear.

Body con skirts

Body con skirts

Finally on the clothing front are these two body con skirts I got on eBay. The tan one is H&M and cost £4.45 inc postage, and the black one is Top Shop and cost £5.35 inc postage. Neither have arrived yet so I can’t comment on condition but they look ok in the photos.

Duo - Neva

Duo – Neva

And, at last, the grand finale. I love knee length boots. Always have. However, I have very slim calves so it’s often hard to get boots that fit. My Doc Martens are fantastic but I don’t think I would have the nerve to wear them out in public, so I decided it was time to buy a pair of Duo Boots. If you’re not familiar with Duo, they sell boots in a variety of styles, sizes and calf sizes. So I was able to choose slim calves that fit perfectly.

Unboxing

Unboxing

These are Duo’s Neva boot, which currently sell for £180 (with free shipping). The only trouble is that now they have arrived, I have found the ankles to be very baggy and I’m seriously considering sending them back and trying a different style. Their Aralia boots looks like they may be a contender and are slightly cheaper at £165. Only trouble is that I had been planning on wearing my Duo boots tomorrow, but if I’m going to send them back then I obviously can’t.

Well, I think that’s all of my recent purchases. It’s quite the little haul isn’t it!

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Clothes, Shoes, and Jewellery, Diary, Photos

 

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Blue & White

I had some friends over on the weekend, which was nice, and I wore this outfit. I’ve not actually worn the skirt before but the girl of the couple who came over suggested it would really work with this top and she was right!

Blue & white

Blue & white

 

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Anklet

A good friend recently persuaded me to buy an anklet and always wear it, just to remind me who I am.

It arrived on Monday, and I haven’t taken it off yet. I’ve never owned or worn an anklet before and I really like it. You can just about feel it’s there even when wearing socks, and nobody would know you were wearing it. And she is right; it is a constant and nice reminder of my femininity.

I think I may be buying more of them in future!

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Diary, Shopping

 

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