Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mothering Monkey Sunday

Today is mothering Sunday, so I went for an elegant lunch at a posh restaurant with my family. The surroundings were all lovely and genteel, that is until I arrived with my parents, brother, grandparents and my nan's cousin from Spain.

My nan and the Spanish cannot hold their wine at all, despite 50 years of practice, so they were really pissed. They can, therefore, be excused for their ridiculous stories and drunken screeches. My grandad, however, was the designated driver, and therefore the reason for his telling the following Karl-Pilkington-Worthy story are unclear. Apart from he is amazing.

"When I used to work at the animal rendering plant, we used to get all sorts in. We had monkeys, an elephant..."


"Yeah, a small one. Anyway, there was this bloke, Bob Nugget, who was as lazy as anything. He'd always be going over to people saying 'Oh, he's a lazy one, that Barney McBurger, he never does any work,' but he was the one who never did anything."

"Anyway, we found out that he was always sneaking off to the toilets, so over a few weeks we found out which was his favourite toilet to go in."

"So as I say, we used to get monkeys in, so one day we got this big bugger in, so we put it in Bob's toilet. It had clothes on, we'd put trousers on it and it had a cigarette hanging out of its mouth. We waited until the time that Bob would go to the toilet and put it in there."

"Now it was quite dimly lit in the toilets, so Bob went in, shut the door and everything and then went to sit down..."

"...and he sat on somebody's lap..."

"... and he turned around and it was the monkey, sat on the toilet, with his cigarette."

"So he yelled the place down and came out effing and blinding at us, asking who it was. But as I say, we used to get all sorts. There was an alligator once."

And that is how I spent my Mothering Sunday.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Comedy Comedy Comedy

For those of you that don't know, I perform comedy sometimes. I don't say "I am a comedian" because that implies a level of dedication and professionalism that I am just unwilling to commit to. However, I performed some yesterday at Laughter at The Lounge for the first time in ages and it was such a blast I thought I'd share it with everybody.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

El (n)Ombré*!

The biggest hair trend of 2011 is hotly tipped (excuse the pun...) to be the ombré style of high-lighting. Often confused for dip-dying or even grown out high-lights when seen on its celebrity advocates, the name ombré comes from the french verb ombrer which means 'to shade'. The clue to the concept is truly in the name; hair that is graduated from a dark shade to a lighter colour at the ends.

Celebrity fans Leighton Meester, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Biel

This look is a perfect combination of laid-back beach style and romantic, flyaway glamour. It's a look that grunge queen Alexa Chung has been sporting for several years to glorious effect, but it was with Drew Barrymore's dramatic roots' first red carpet appearance that really interested me in the look.

Due to work, laziness and an exploding dog I haven't had my hair cut and styled since December. Waking up to my first day off this week to glorious sunshine and unseasonal heat this morning, I knew that today was definitely the day to take a step towards this low-maintenance look....

... read the rest at my new Style and Fashion Blog, Sartorial Tyrant

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

More Evil = More Murders = More Attractive


Example One - The Master from Doctor Who

Before Murders - Adorable

After Murders - Insane and weirdly sexy.
Example Two - The Perfumer from Perfume

Before Murders - Weird sniffy baby; creepy

After Murders - Scruffy yet dashing (and really owning the royal blue)
Example Three - Draco Malfoy

Before Murders - Slick hair, Snape's bitch. Seems a bit whipped by his Pa.

After (Attempted) Murders - Erm, excuse me for a moment
Example Four - Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Before Murders - William the Bloody, so called because of his bloody awful
poetry (and hair, I assume)


After Murders - Totally badass.

Example Five - Sweeney Todd (as portrayed by Johnny Depp, not Ray Winstone*)

Before Murders - Bold outfit, but not able to own it.

After Murders - Even blood splattered and about to throw HBC on a fire (problem, spoilerfags?) I still would.


And then again with yours.

Actually, now that I have done this extensive study into this I might actually just find people covered in blood sexy. Although that sounds wrong. So I'll stick with the murderers thing.

*No offense, Ray, you just don't tickle my pickle.

Monday, 7 February 2011

(7) First week finished!

Purple and Silver Scarf - Florence and Fred
 I wish I had time to take a photo that showcases these shoes better as they are the most beautiful and comfortable thing I've bought this year. They're tan suede wedge desert boots.

Busy day today. I started a DAFNE course which is all about diabetes and now I have to walk the dog before meeting Mr M to ring in his 21st birthday at midnight (because 2 parties this weekend is apparently not enough). I'd also just walked home before this photo so that is genuine wind-swept hair and british winter cheeks.

My pose remains pretty awkward but at least my face doesn't look so gormless, and I kinda like the cheeky collar pop.

I'm wearing a different outfit tonight, what's the protocol for two outfits in one day?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

(6) - Keep it cool, Keep it warm

Scarf - Liberty for Comic Relief
Seriously loving this scarf, buy yours here
Also, Comic Relief T-Shirts here. I got Queenie.

Busyish day today. I went to the gym this morning with Mr Good and then had lunch in a supermarket cafe (his choice). Then home and cleaning out the rabbit shed.

You know, I love America's Next Top Model. Seriously, love it. I've seen every cycle. And every cycle there is at least one girl that gets criticised for 'forgetting her face' - her poses are great, but her face is vacant. Every single cycle I've been like "WTF dude?? Just look at the camera all serious! How hard can it be?"

Seriously, why am I so stupid at taking pictures of myself? Here's my process;
  1. Turn on crappy camera. Put on anti-shake, flash and self-timer mode.
  2. Balance camera precariously on something. Step tentatively back.
  3. Realise camera will definitely fall. Move it to somewhere more solid.
  4. Press shutter button to begin 10 second beeping countdown.
  5. Rush back to the agreed* photograph area.
  6. Arrange body into casual/hopefully non-awkward stance.
  7. Wait for camera to take photo.
  8. Watch flash.
  9. Realise did not do anything with my face in the photo.
  10. Review photo. Be disappointed in my face. BAD FACE
Seriously, man, it's hard.

That aside though.

I bought some new wellington boots from the supermarket, they were only £12.50 and they're really comfy. They're a softer rubber then my old ones, and have more of a Hunter-esque molded foot, as opposed to old-fashioned boot-style wellingtons. I decided to take Darcy for a muddy walk to test them out. I took my camera and got a few pictures of myself enjoying the cold weather.

Waterproof Coat - Marks and Spencers (Similar)
Wellingtons - Asda
I adore these wellies. I had a proper squelch in the mud while Darcy minced around it, not wanting to get her feet wet. I think I might get some pink rhinestones and bedazzle them a bit, just on a couple of the swallows perhaps.

Pretty dubious accessory choice but I always do this so I leave my pockets free.
Lead, worn as belt - Jollyes (always a good selection, this particular number was on sale!)

Ear muffs - Christmas present, so ask Santa ;)
Scarf - $5 from a guy on the street in New York

What do you think? Should I bedazzle my wellies? What do you think of my practical, dog-walking look?

Afternoon at Affleck's

Today myself and my new resident photographer (a role she has taken on against her will) Miss J travelled from our industrial town to Manchester for a bit of shopping on a rainy day. After hitting the high street (and hard) we made our way off the beaten track and found ourselves entering Affleck's Palace, a quirky department store that caters to all people of all persuasions and budgets.

  There's a lot to notice in Affleck's Palace, so basically a big round of applause to the following to catching my discerning eye.

Vanisha's Design Boutique - 2nd Floor (near the body piercing shop)
The first thing I noticed about Vanisha's Design Boutique was the reassuring clattering of a sewing machine. As Miss J had a browse I went to the corner of the store and met Vanisha, who sat tucked in a corner embroidering a beautiful pattern onto a t-shirt.

At first I was confused, as the machine was sewing circles into the pattern without her moving the fabric by hand. Instead, she explained, there is a handle underneath the machine that moves the cloth while the sewing head stays in the same place. The result is a beautiful, delicate chain-stitch that can be used to create fantastic curved lines.

Vanisha draws the pattern on the fabric and then follows the lines with the machine.
I love the peace symbol/heart here

Her pieces really remind me of Laura Lees' designs and she's very unafraid to use pattern or designs over images that are already printed.

She also had notices around the store saying that she is happy to discuss ideas with people for custom pieces which I think is a wonderful idea; if you have a dress that you love the shape of but hate how plain it is, or if you want a name adding onto a gift item Vanisha is happy to do so.

Vanisha also embroiders her own labels which I find completely adorable.

Wanderland Boutique - 3rd Floor

As soon as we entered Wanderland we were offered champagne and told that the boutique was celebrating its second birthday and invited to look around and try on anything we liked (a changing room is a rare and welcome thing in Affleck's, so a big thumbs up for that alone).

Of all the store areas in Affleck's Palace, I enjoyed the layout of Wanderland the most. They are lucky to have windows, creating a really light and airy space amongst the series of cluttered areas. The store makes more of its space by having less, which gets rid of the jumble-sale aspect that I find some vintage stores can have.

There are several shelves and inglenooks that are used perfectly to display select items. I loved this way of highlighting individual pieces, grouping looks together and also giving the store a really quirky, homely atmosphere.

Another thing I loved about this store was the prices, which were incredibly reasonable for the quality of the items on sale. On accessories they had group sales promotions on the already inexpensive pieces, so you definitely get more for your money.

I love this suitcase, used here to display earrings.

Wanderland strives to stock only the highest quality and most beautiful handmade, vintage and brand new items, which means they have a lot of variety in a small, ecclectic area.

One Man's Trash - 2nd Floor

I loved the selection of vintage, up-cycled and bespoke items on offer in this store and I especially loved the name as well as it speaks volumes about vintage fashion.

The shop was another one with a glorious layout, displaying clothes, accessories and various homewares clearly and with character. They also don't mind when you try things on.

"You look like Elton John" - Miss J

There were also a lot of places that had bits and pieces of Jewellery on display, a lot of it using handmade fimo clay pieces and some using new, found and vintage charms. Unfortunately due to the jumbled nature of Afflecks I was unable to get brand names for these items but I'll update as soon as I find out.

Love these fimo clay charm bracelets, especially the fruit and Peanuts characters!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

(5) Manchester Presents...

Today I went to Manchester with Miss J to get a present from Miss H, whom I'm soon to visit in Germany.

I enjoyed playing with patterns today, wearing lace and florals together. I think it was subtle and worked well. I was originally going to introduce another texture to the outfit by wearing my leather jacket and converse pumps with this outfit, but as it happened the weather disagreed. I ended up wearing my boots and my mum's mac from about 1993.

Coat - Marks and Spencer (Vintage)

Out of my hatred for paying £10 for parking in the city, we got the train in, checked Primark for what I needed to buy later and then went along to TK Maxx to buy some Red Nose Day merchandise (it's for charideee).

Edmund Blackadder ♥

We had lunch and then went to Selfridges. I bought a couple of bits from the groceries section, got myself a yellow bag and then headed for the beauty counters. Since reading this post I've really wanted to try Benefit's newest blusher Bella Bamba I asked Miss Benefit Counter about it and she gave me a quick demo. She first used Hoola to warm up my face, put Bella Bamba on the apples of my cheeks and then finished with Girl Meets Pearl (couldn't find GMP on UK site... odd) to highlight my cheek bones and eye area.

Chubby face - Nature and Nurture
Paloma Heart Necklace - Tiffany and Co
Pearl Necklace - Grandmother's
Scarf - Liberty for Comic Relief
Even though the flash has washed me out a little in the above photo, I definitely think that the blusher stands up to its claim that it creates the illusion of sculpted features. Bella Bamba was a really pretty colour on the cheeks and Hoola is a gorgeous bronzer that I definitely want to try again; it's so rare to find a bronzer that is neither glittery nor orangey!

I then made Miss J embarrassed by insisting on painting each of my nails a different colour using the testers at the Nails Inc counter.

Shades L-R - Shoreditch, In Style London Sky, The Hurlingham,
Montpelier Square (metallic), Neal Street (matte), Chinatown, Union Street (matte),
Seven Dials, Belgrave Place, Carnaby Street

I've used a lot of Nails Inc products before but I had a lot of fun just playing at picking up bottles at random. Even though I only managed to splat on a quick, single coat I got surprisingly good coverage. I'm really impressed with all of the colours here except The Hurlingham, which is an orange red which just doesn't really suit my skin tone. I was really excited by both of the matte colours, as this is a look I haven't tried before. I really want to invest in Shoreditch, which is a true Barbie pink, Carnaby Street (a totally fitting bright yellow) and London Sky.

I picked up the presents I need to buy and after all this our feet were getting to that stage so Miss J and I headed home as soon as I was finished photographing her Jack Wills bag.

I also went to Afflecks Palace for the first time in about two years time, I'll post a follow up about that later.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Mercy Me, I love Alliteration

So this is my first time participating in the Fashion/Beauty Friend Friday.... here goes.

1. With all the blogging events out there how do you determine which ones to participate in and which ones to avoid?

As I'm still only really starting out in blogging, I'm still really eager (perhaps overly so) to join in with these events. For instance, just this February I am participating in Frugal February, The 30 for 30 Remix, and The Shoeper Shoe Challenge. However, this is in no way jumping on the bandwagon. All of these events are things that I think will help me achieve what I want to do, be it getting more out of my wardrobe or curbing unneccesary spending. I think that if participating in any event begins to feel like a chore then that is when I won't get involved; I blog for fun.

2. Be honest, have you ever jumped on the bandwagon of some blogging movement/event for the wrong reasons? How did that turn out?

Not yet... fingers crossed I remain strong, although almost certainly mid-March I'll find myself doing 5 challenges, writing guest-posts every week and suddenly realise I haven't posted a stupid drawing of my dog since January.

3. How do you give your own flair to a blog event while still maintaining the general mission and purpose?

As the 30 for 30 Challenge was my first fashion blogging event, I was keen to make sure I keep the stamp of my blog on it. Instead of photographing all of my items, I drew them all instead. It was arduous and made my hand ache, but it kept my blog looking like my blog and, therefore, kept it unique.

4. When determining the best content for your blog what criterion do you keep in mind?

The most important criteria for content that I post is whether I will be able to write it in my own voice. While I do blog about Fashion and Beauty, I blog for myself, it's somewhere for me to say what I think and feel. I do love the sense of community and I have learnt more from fashion blogs about style than I ever have from the thousands of magazines I've read over the years.

5. While everything will not suit your blog, how do you try and support your fellow bloggers who are participating in something worthwhile but not your style?

If I am following a blog it is because there is something in it that I like; it might be the author's way of styling their outfits, or their voice, or the way they always respond to comments. I always find new posts interesting and exciting and, where I can, I comment or tweet. I also always re-tweet my favourite posts and bloggers. It isn't about you-scratch-I-scratch-yours; I just want to share things I enjoy with my followers and hope that they get pleasure from it.