Wednesday, 24 February 2010
This was my face yesterday. I usually go for a flicked liner and lipgloss look but I haven't done a smoky eye for ages, plus I have FINALLY found the (near)perfect nude lipstick and wanted to try it out! 5N from MAC's All Ages, Races, Sexes is almost perfect for my pigmented lips, but it's a touch too blue. But I put MAC Jubilee over it which I never wear (an SA said it was a perfect nude for me but it's way too pale and peachy! grrr) and it becomes totally perfect. I just wish I could combine the two!
I can't really do a black smoky look because it makes my skin look ashen so I usually opt for purple or green. It doesn't look as dramatic here but it was pretty smokey for a day look!
What I wore:
MAC Moisturecover Select concealer
Urban Decay Primer Potion
MAC Nanogold eyeshadow over lids as wash (from Cult of Cherry quad)
Bobbi Brown plum shadow from a random smokey eye palette I got from the Bicester CCO ages ago in socket and on lashline
MAC Rave Pearlglide liner over the top of plum shadow
L'Oreal HIP cream liner in black over that
MAC Vanilla pigment in inner corner of eyes as highlighter and on browbone
YSL Faux Cils mascara
MAC MSF in Dark
MAC Breezy blush
MAC Spiked brow pencil
MAC 5N lipstick with a bit of MAC Jubilee lipstick on top
Even with Seche Vite I always ruin at least two nails on application!
Monday, 22 February 2010
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
(all of which are Bartimaeus faves)
I used tinned crab for the linguine because I couldn't find fresh. I've come across lots of recipes that use tinned crab (I think Nigella uses it) but I've always been quite sceptical - given fresh crab can be quite fishy-smelling I thought tinned would be way worse. It was much more reasonable (£2.09 a tin, which isn't sardine priced but not bad) and was expecting a fishy, tuna-y mush. I was so surprised to see little claw-shaped whole white chunks when I opened my tins finally (I'm left handed in everything but writing and I really struggle opening tins!) which looked like pearls! Now I'd definitely recommend tinned crab as a cheap way to get more seafood in your diet.
The recipe was one I tweaked as I went along, and goes something like this. Can I just emphasise that the parsley is pretty much essential to this dish, as is the rocket - both lift the flavours and cut the richness. It tasted kinda bland and overrich until I added both - when suddenly it transformed to deliciousness.
8 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red chilli or 1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes
1 large glass of white wine
2 tins of white crab meat, flaked
200ml double cream
juice and zest of half a lemon
1 large bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped
bag of rocket leaves
Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a pan and fry 1 clove of chopped garlic and the chilli over medium heat. Add the crab and mix through. Leave to one side.
Fry shallots in olive oil over low heat until softened. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic. Turn up heat and add glass of wine. Let it bubble, and smell it - when it doesn't smell of alcohol anymore, it's all evaporated. Turn the heat right down and stir in the cream. In another pot, ass linguine to boiling salted water (it cooks in 6 minutes so keep an eye out and drain when al dente!) Add the crab to the cream sauce and season to taste. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir well, and chuck in the parsley.
Plate up, and serve with generous amount of rocket leaves and a lemon wedge.
This is the easiest thing ever to bake, the only thing you have to do is make sure your butter is soft (I microwave mine on the lowest setting for 30 seconds at a time because our kitchen's so cold it'd stay rock hard even if it wasn't in the fridge!)
Makes about 15 small or 10 large biscuits
125g butter, softened (I used salted because I like my shortbread salty but it's up to you)
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour
Preheat oven to 190C (gas mark).
Beat the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy. Stir in flour a bit at a time until it mixes to a crumbly dough.
Flour your work surface and roll out the dough gently. Cut into fingers, rounds or novelty heart and butterfly shapes depending on cutters available and how twee you are. Place on greaseproof paper, prick each shape with a fork a couple of times, and sprinkle with some more caster sugar. Chill in fridge for 20 minutes and then place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden.
Don't remove from paper until fully cooled or they'll crumble!
My Fluffy Chocolate Mousse
Now this is a Gordon Ramsey recipe I tweaked so much I feel no shame in claiming it as mine. Whilst I do like a dark, rich chocolate mousse sometimes, I much prefer a lighter fluffy creamier kind. Plus Bartimaeus' favourite pudding is dunking shortbread in mousse for which, obviousement, you need a dunkable mousse. A thick chocolate pot type isn't going to get you very far, and may result in broken shortbread (gasp).
Sooo this is my version. Some of the measurements (well, the cream) are approximate because I whisked, tasted, added until I was happy with it.
100g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
500ml double cream
2 large egg whites
50g caster sugar
Place chocolate into large bowl. Boil 150ml of the cream and pour over chocolate, stirring until it is all melted (if it doesn't all melt, put in microwave for 30 seconds at a time and stir every interval until it is). Cool chocolate cream over bowl of iced water.
Add rest of the cream and whisk to soft peaks (don't overwhisk or the next bit will be difficult!)
Whisk the egg whites, adding sugar, tablespoon at a time until you get stiff peaks. Fold this into the chocolate cream very carefully so as not to whip out any air.
Spoon into glasses or heart shaped ramekins, again depending on how twee you like to be with your special occasions (me, much!)
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Which means I'll be going to Turin for a week in late August. My expenses will be covered and Bartimaeus is going to come with! There are some panels I'll have to attend but it'll be part-work part-holiday, in a place I wouldn't usually be able to afford to go to! Academic conferences should always be held in beautiful holiday locations (take note, Postcolonial Studies Association, who held theirs by an industrial park in a less than idyllic part of Ireland...)
Had an exhausting day yesterday and have had another one today involving my 5 hour Kent commute and 2 meetings, so am very much looking forward to watching this later, reading my bumper fashion issue of Grazia and marking
with Findus Crispy Pancakes! (Except they're made by Green Isle now). I usually make proper pancakes but tonight I'll be way too shattered so we're taking a trip down memory lane instead!
Pearl Encrusted Bow Earrings
I bought them from Miss Selfridge and love them! I can't really do the pastels and nudes that are in season, but these are perfect to sweeten my outfits (because they're, um, so tough and edgy otherwise). They're very flattering too.
I am taking my my mum to watch the Shah Rukh Khan blockbuster My Name Is Khan tomorrow. Shah Rukh + Kajol = best Bollywood couple ever, so stay posted for a review!
It's getting light so much earlier in the mornings and I no longer have to force my eyes open! My energy levels are increasing noticeably with it. Looking forward to seeing daffodils soon.
Failed my umpteenth test last week and really getting fed up of the whole thing. Plus it's leaving me completely brassic this month. I'm a good driver in my lessons but get so so nervous under test conditions, and Rescue Remedy's not helping. I seem to be
it shall be, next Monday, since my dad passed away. They say it gets easier with time, but in some ways it also makes it more painful when marking anniversaries, because of all the things they've not been there to share.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
Thursday, 11 February 2010
I'm saddened that we'll see no more.
Rest in peace, Lee McQueen.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
I've been telling myself it looks better on lighter skins, that on me the brown tone wouldn't look as good. I'm only half convinced.
So, to console myself I've worn the closest thing I have to it, which isn't that close, but is my favourite nail polish: OPI Parlez Vous OPI. It's a lovely smoked lavender and so flattering on my skintone. And I'm now contemplating You Don't Know Jacques, Over the Taupe and Lenny Deighton's Supermodel as Particuliere alternatives.
Saturday, 6 February 2010
Friday, 5 February 2010
I love it because one of my favourite things to do it put my clothes together in new and different ways, and try out unpredictable combinations. Polyvore is a much tidier way for me to do this! I find I've been using it to "test" out things that have caught my eye - putting the item with different colours and accessories to see if it is versatile. You can't really do that in a changing room, so I believe it's helping with the shopping curb too!
Anyway, this smock dress really caught my eye in New Look but I looked terrible in it, so I virtually "wore" it instead in the way I envisioned. And it seems my preoccupation with Edwardian fashion continues, as the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this dress with its petticoats was "The Railway Children."
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Burnt Shadows, a novel that traces the interconnected lives of two families, and in doing so encompasses Nagasaki, partition, and the Afghan war, had moments of that kind of brilliance and beauty, moments that had me scrabbling for a pen and ruler (I always use a ruler). But at the same time, there were the kinds of sentences that are very obviously designed to get a reader scrabbling for a pen - over-written, with unnecessarily extended images, nestling uncomfortably with the rest of the prose and dialogue. Ones where you can visualise the author sitting back with a smug satisfied air, thinking, ah yes, that'll get them. There's a fine line between the two, and it's a subjective one. But when I come across these latter sentences, I just bristle with irritation (I did a lot of this whilst reading God of Small Things. Heck, I was just one irritated bristling thing throughout). And the spell is broken.
So I can't quite join in the critical frenzy that has occurred over this novel. This isn't to say it's not good - it really is, and at points I was moved to tears, hissed with anger, and at several points, really physically wanted to shake one of the characters. I'm also intellectually intrigued by it: it's a fascinating tale of migrations - but unlike some postcolonial texts, Shamsie's rendition of migration is the very opposite of celebratory. Her characters are forced to move, and hate doing so. They adapt, for sure, but she demonstrates how adaption exists alongside sadness and loss that do not dissipate with time. She also sets up an international network of people that span India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan and New York, but again, at no point does this seem a joyous example of globalisation, but is fraught and tragic, resulting in as many misunderstandings as insights into cultural difference. And the novel's denouement is devastating, and politically savage.
But it's just not quite brilliant. I'm a hard reader to please, perhaps, but there's just too much uninspired dialogue, with the odd overwritten sentence thrown in to pep it up. It's a shame, because the novel's vision is really quite ambitious, and Shamsie obviously has the skill to have written the entirety of it very well. So I bristle as much in irritation about what this novel could have been as I do over its odd overwritten sentence.