Saturday, 30 October 2010

NOTD: M&S Essentials Emerald

I'm not a shimmer gal when it comes to nail polish. I like the simplicity of cremes, and think they look more expensive.

However, this polish has inspired a bit of a rethink. I've been searching for a decent deep forest green polish, and in cremes I'm not sure the kind I'm looking for exists. Green tends to go flat in creme formulations whereas I want one that's shiny shiny.

Cue M&S Essentials Emerald. This polish is very subtly shimmery - in some lights it almost looks like a creme, but it has a gloss and depth you wouldn't get with a creme. It's gorgeous! (and if you can't afford/find the recent MAC Fall Trend polish Jade Dragon, it's a very very good alternative - it has a teensy bit less of the teal microglitter but it's still there).

Closeup of microglitter (pic isn't great but I hope it gives an idea):

It's big 3-free and £2.50. In terms of consistency, it's runny and requires 3 coats, but dries fairly fast. It has an amazing gloss on its own, even without topcoat. Wear is not too bad - 3 days without chipping. Love!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Ups and Downs


My iPod shuffle.
My iPod nano's battery is dead and and I lost my shuffle charger so haven't been listening to music on my commute for over a year. Sounds bizarre I know! But I didn't realise how much I missed it until I found my charger and rejigged my playlists. My commute is so much less stressful now. Today I've listened to Hindi pop, Gaslight Anthem, and Zoe and Idris Rahman's beautiful Bengali-jazz collaboration. Eclectic's the word for my little shuffle.

Polka dot woolly tights
Thank you, Primark and M&S, for finally making these available in adult sizes and colours! I've always coveted the kids' ones in Monsoon and I now have my very own pairs in grey and black. So much more fun than plain black!

After finishing in March 2009, I finally graduate with my doctorate at the end of November! I'm so excited, it'll finally feel real that 5 years' work paid off. I only wish the Oxford D. Phil. gown wasn't a hideous combination of royal blue and scarlet - I mean, how are you supposed to accessorise that?


I'm taking a lot of them at the moment, which is a bit exhausting. And my experience has been patchy at best. Perhaps a quarter of them have been on time? I feel so cross that prices are going to rise with the support of this government. I must also invest in some hand sanitiser as I keep getting colds from my travels.

End of BST
I hate it when the clocks go back. The days feel so much shorter. I definitely notice a drop in my energy levels and just want to hibernate.

Amongst all the cuts that are going to make life so much harder for people thanks to this government are cuts to higher education funding that basically mean the privatisation of my field, humanities. I worked so hard to get my qualification from one of the best universities in the world, and I'm really not sure what the future holds. It's such a grim time for so many, and I keep feeling angry with every person who voted for these ideologues to take power. I'll be talking with my feet at the UCU protest on November 10th.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Return of the Quirk Factor

My style's always been a bit offbeat: at uni I was a goth, but with an Asian fusion edge: bright embellished dresses and skirts, over massively wide jeans with clumpy Acupuncture trainers, lots of heavy dark eyemakeup but with a big smattering of glitter and stacks of bangles on both wrists. Then kooky librarian-chic during my PhD in chilly soggy Oxford: big bright beads, bold colours, tweed and cord full skirts, cute mary janes and T-bar flats.

Recently I've got a bit boring though, lapsing into a endless cycle of floral empire line dresses and cardigans. Much as I love my dresses, I've started to look like pretty much everyone else out there. Not a bad thing in itself, I suppose, but not very me.

However, over the last two weeks I've become much more inspired by accessories again. And it has made all the difference to what remains a fashion-diet that consists mostly of floral empire line dresses. In particular, I've made the following discoveries and rediscoveries:

*Knitted headbands - more comfortable than Alice bands and a little cooler too (though I still love bow hairbands!)
*Woolly polka dot and brightly coloured tights - (especially polka dot tights worn with printed dresses)
*Unusual handmade necklaces and earrings - Etsy has been my friend
*Coloured kooky flats
*My burgundy DM 8 hole boots that are now older than I was when I got them ("embellished" with gold paint from my GCSE art exam) worn with floral dresses
*Leopard print - especially my headband and new furry cropped jacket from Primark - worn with ditsy floral dresses
*Printed/jersey scarves (great and snuggly way to liven up a black outfit or even a printed one - on the lookout for a soft fairisle print one)
*Beanies - I have a teal one but would really like a cream chunky knit one too.
*Printed/embroidered cardigans - lovely way to up the kook in a vintage inspired style with colour block outfits and simple patterns

Looking at the list I'm not quite sure how I'd label my current style apart from being "me". It's now a combination of all the things I love: secretary chic, gothic/grunge, girly floral prints, whimsy, Indian jewellery, soft tactile fabrics, a dark jewel colour palette, a bit more whimsy.

Have you ever got out of a style rut? How did you do it?
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Match of the Day: Black Forest Florals

My second MOTD!

The outfit (dress, cardigan, tights and vest come to a princely £13)! I ummed over this dress (no idea why, it was £5 in the sale!) but I'm loving it more and more. It has pockets and a zip front and is very A-line in shape. I adore the print. It has thick straps so I'm wearing it with cardigans now, and then when it's colder I'll put a long sleeved T under. Perfect all-seasons dress!

Dress: Strawberry Bunny, cardigan: Primark, tights: Primark, vest: Primark, pumps: Hush Puppies.

Closeup of print:

And the matches:

Earrings: Bina Geyer, Etsy

Necklace: Puffluna, Etsy
Knitted headband: made by me! from an old Urban Outfitters hat

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Orly Cosmic FX layering experiments, or, She Wore Nails of Many Colours

There have been many blog posts about the Orly Cosmic FX nail polishes and their MAC Venomous Villains dupes. Posts from applications pros, with awesome cameras, managing to capture all (or at least most) of the multichrome wonder of them.

So when mine came through and I swatched them, I thought I'd do something different and use different colours under them. They're sheer so perfect for layering. And the results were pretty awesome. I feel like for 3 polishes I'm actually getting so many more! My experiments have also informed me that the FX polishes are also amazing layered with each other. Please excuse the terrible application and smudges, I wasn't going to post them but the results were too cool not to. Check out my findings below:

Thumb - pinky: Orly Space Cadet over Orly Galaxy Girl, Orly Galaxy Girl over OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, Orly Out of This World over OPI Lincoln Park After Dark, Orly Galaxy Girl over Boots No. 7 Totally Teal, Orly Out of This World over Chanel Black Satin

Pinky - thumb: Orly Space Cadet over OPI Parlez Vous OPI?, Orly Space Cadet over Boots No. 7 Totally Teal, Orly Space Cadet over Chanel Black Satin, Orly Space Cadet over Orly Out of This World, Orly Out of This World over Orly Space Cadet

My favourites of the bunch?

Orly Galaxy Girl over No. 7 Totally Teal: this totally transformed GG. I do love it on its own, but layered like this it has so much more depth and intrigue. The photo doesn't do it justice, it looks like a plain dark teal shimmer but if you look at the very edge of the nail you can see the glint of plum. That's how the whole nail looks - teal shimmer suspended murkily in plum (whereas in GG on its on the teal shimmer sits on top of the plum, if you see what I mean?) And it changes a lot in different lighting - utterly fascinating.

Orly Space Cadet over Parlez Vous OPI?: using a greyed purple base makes the mauve and pink tones of Space Cadet ping, and the warm pink/ cool purple duochrome is very pretty, somewhat ethereal.

Orly Space Cadet over Orly Galaxy Girl: woah this is a sparklefest! I think the sheerness of the polishes is really a positive for me because I love to layer. Here Galaxy Girl's teal and blue sparkles shine through the warm pink, gold and copper sparkles of Space Cadet. It looks like a sunset on a nail. If the sunset was on Jupiter.

If you own any of the MAC or Orly polishes (and especially if you're a bit peeved at their sheerness), I strongly encourage you to have a play with different base shades with these.

The alternative title of this post is derived from a song I was fascinated by as a super-daggy child. Anyone guess what it is yet?

Friday, 8 October 2010

MAC Fabulous Felines Inspired FOTD: Burmese Beauty (but without any of the products...)

Although I tend to refrain from MAC limited collection hype, I really thought the Burmese Beauty look was stunning.

As I have recently bought MAC's Club shadow on a whim, and read that it's a better-pigmented dupe for the brown/green shadow that features in the BB quad, I thought I'd have a play at my own take on the look.

Club is a gorgeous green/brown duochrome shadow, but on the lids it needs a sticky dark base to really shine. I used a MAC Greasepaint Stick in Dirty, and blended, and blended. I also added Urban Decay's Money shadow from Book of Shadows 3 in the inner corners - this is fast becoming one of my favourites in the palette, on my skintone the green in this grey/green shadow comes to the fore (it's a brilliantly appropriately named colour!) and it's both muted and unusual. UD should really consider bringing out solo versions of most of the shades! It goes really well with Club.

So here's my take (together with smug, self-satisfied and very cat-like smile):

Closeup of duochromey goodness:

MAC Moisturecover Select concealer

Urban Decay Primer Potion
MAC Greasepaint Stick in Dirty as base over lid
MAC Club shadow over lid
Urban Decay Money shadow in inner corners of lids (BOS 3)
Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black to line top lid and waterline
No 7 Metallic Pencil in Green on bottom lid
Maybelline Colossal mascara in 100% Black

MAC MSF in Dark
Estee Lauder Blushing in Port Passion
MAC Brow in Spiked

MAC Slimshine in Prudeaux

Sunday, 3 October 2010

OOTD: Rainy Day Florals

For once, a proper outfit photo! I've been experimenting with self-timers and ladders. (Note to self: stand up straight!) This would have been a Match of the Day, except that my ears are suffering at the moment and all I can wear are a pair of tiny silver and pearl studs. Boo.

The miserable autumnal weather has warranted the bringing out of my beloved burgundy M&S boots, which is a bit of a consolation. I love these so much - I hate most black and brown leather boots (boring! unimaginative! mumsy!) but other colours are hard to find, especially when one has hillwalking calves. These go with pretty much everything in my autumn wardrobe, have biker-y straps that add a bit of an edge to my girlie dresses and remind me of my beloved burgundy DMs (NOT cherry red  - these were darker and I never saw another person in them!) that I lived in from ages 15-20 (and which I still have!) Yes, reader, I was a grungy goth - and - proud I am of it too.

Though not one for pinks usually, I'm taken with the print of this dress. I'm very pleased that that the print contains burgundy, as well as teal, hot pink and cream. It makes for a very versatile dress, and it goes beautifully with the boots. Also doing a bit of print-mixing here - if you look closely you'll see the cardigan has polka dots on it. This cardigan was originally my sister's, until she got sick of my constant pawing and cooing and sorrowful cat-from-Shrek eyes and gave it to me.

Dress: Oasis, tights: Superdrug, cardigan: H&M Divided, boots: Autograph at M&S.

 close of up boots - the scuffing looks worse with the flash, but seriously, I am so clumsy I don't think I have one pair of unscuffed shoes!

Friday, 1 October 2010

NOTD: Beauty UK Smokey Violet

I was inspired to purchase this £1.79 polish by Helen Nice Things, who also has a lot of love for the grey-purple colour spectrum of polish. I don't have a pale grurple, and am considering doing a gradient manicure at some point, so it was a perfect choice. I tried it out for my interview nails to go with the pale plum look I did.

It's such a pretty, delicate polish. Thanks Helen for the fantastic recommendation!