Saturday, 31 December 2011
Hope you've all had a lovely Christmas - mine has been very cosy and relaxing, and wonderfully restorative. Some of the lovely gifts I received included a Flowerpot Tangle Teezer which has been a revelation, and a bottle of L de Lolita Lempicka perfume from Bartimaeus, which is utterly bewitching.
The title of this post is a bastardisation of Tennyson, but seems apt when applied to a vintage post published on New Year's Eve! Allow me to introduce you to my first piece of vintage. I've written before about my reservations about the "retro revival" and full-on 1950s nostalgia. Nevertheless, there is a romance around the 1950s for me I will never shake, which goes back to my childhood watching Douglas Sirk films with my mum (there's something very Bollywood I think about his lush sentimental melodramas), all the films of Elvis, and pretty much anything that was filmed in Technicolor. And as a result I continue to aspire to recreate a different kind of vintage in makeup and outfits from time to time, a look that is part whimsy, part 1960s Bollywood, 100% Rabbit.
But I find vintage shopping difficult - the chaos and disorder of a lot of vintage shops, the forbiddingly tiny waists of proper 1950s frocks. Still, a few weeks ago I visited Bedford Place, a little street of independent shops, salons and eateries very close to my house in Southampton, and I stopped by Hepwrights', a vintage shop that's become the heart of this charming, quirky little corner of Southampton. I left after an hour and a half, after chatting to Mama Hep and Sophie for ages about Asian fabrics and vintage, and browsing and coveting away. It's such a warm, welcoming place, and Sophie and Mama Hep know pretty much everyone who drops in. Two Year 7s stopped by to just try dresses on in their break, two students stopped by just to say they'd handed in coursework, and I just fell in love with the place (as my presence there for 90 minutes attests!)
There are some amazing dresses, coats, shoes, as well as some pieces by local craftspeople (I love the rows of little wooden cottages representing the area I live in). But the magpie in me was attracted to the jewels in particular. I was restrained, picking up a reworked silver owl bracelet for my sister for Christmas, and this necklace for me. It is strung on silver chain which gives the clear beads a greyish tinge, which I love. They look like faceted pieces of ice, and I've been wearing this necklace for all my many Christmas social engagements (all three of them) and pretty much every other day. It goes with everything, but I particularly love pairing it with my marcasite snowflake earrings from Istanbul. The combination makes me feel very glamorous and wintry.
I sometimes daydream about the woman/women who wore it before me - did she wear it for special occasions, or was she a magpie like me, happy to wear sparkly stuff during the day? Which special occasions did she wear them to? Did she have a daughter who used to play with it covetously? And that's the magic of vintage, really, the tales bound up within the pieces, the unspoken histories...
Anyway, happy New Year's Eve, everyone! I'll be spending mine at home with my mum, as it's my dad's birthday and I never feel much like doing anything else on this day. We'll be having a Downton Abbey marathon and I'll be having a mega-Chinese roast duck fest (duck pancakes and roast duck and rice, my favourites). Hope you all have a lovely time ushering 2012 in, whatever it is you're doing.
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
So get entering, if you haven't already!
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
|check out the stripy hair!|
|Impossible to capture its complex loveliness, the interplay of gold, silver, pewter and purple...|
MAC Moisturecover Select concealer
Urban Decay Primer Potion as base
Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in Purpura
Avon Supershock pencil in black on waterline
Maybelline Colossal Mascara
MAC Brow in Spiked
Sue Moxley Breath of Plum blush
Revlon Just Bitten lipstain in Twilight
Enter my giveaway for sparkly Kiko goodies!!!
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
P.S. don't forget to enter my giveaway!
|blurred, but sparkly!|
please ignore the sheet marks :/
Saturday, 10 December 2011
So finally, the giveaway I've been promising. This is to thank you all for sticking with me through my long absence earlier this year, for your lovely comments, and for being wonderful people in general. I went back to Kiko Cosmetics in Stratford Westfield (the only store in the UK at present) and picked up the three items I'd picked for myself from the range on my previous visit - for you! It's a nice bit of seasonal sparkle, and a bit special as you can't really get hold of it that easily. You've heard me waffle about two of the three, but here's the lineup in full...
So what is in the purple shiny bag of shininess? Ta-da!!!
Two nail polishes, Kiko Hologram Polish no. 354 and an amazing layering polish Sparkle Touch no.270 (looks amazing over greens, blues and purples, and contains large and small hex iridescent glitter):
A reminder of the Hologram polish on the nail:
And a Double Glam liner in 05:
1. You must follow my blog (just click on the Google Friend Connect button on the right hand side)
2. Leave a comment telling me what your "holy grail" eyeliner and nail polishes are!
3. If you RT the giveaway (my Twitter ID is nazneen372) include me in the RT to get another entry.
4. If you blog about this giveaway put a link in the comments on this post for another entry.
5. Leave your email address/blog address/some way for me to contact you!
6. This giveaway is open internationally, to everyone and will close a week today on Saturday 17th December at 22.00 GMT.
So get thinking about those HG products!!!! I look forward to reading about them (and then hunting them down, trying them, and probably buying them...)
The two shades you get, both equally stunning:
And a comparison of the teal shade with MAC's limited edition Pearlglide Intense liner in Undercurrent, my favourite liner of all time:
|L: Undercurrent, R, Kiko|
Friday, 9 December 2011
But, just how amazing is this Orla Kiely for People Tree dress? Green/maroon teacups on a crisp, thick cotton, 50s style with a bow at the waist, and POCKETS (which were a surprise, as they weren't even advertised on the description - why wouldn't you mention that a dress has pockets? it's a total dealmaker in my opinion).
|Dress, People Tree, petticoat, Ebay, cardigan, New Look, ballet pumps, Office, earrings, Etsy.|
My mind almost explodes at its perfection. I call it my "patriotic Bangladeshi teacup" dress, as the colours of the cups are so similar to the Bangladeshi flag (for this reason I wore it to see Akram Khan's Desh, I'm a bit literal with my outfits!)
Here it is summered up with a lovely yellow cropped cardigan, but I've worn it more recently with rust coloured tights and an oatmeal cardigan too. It reminds me of the quirky Anthropologie I used to love from afar, and this outfit reminds me a lot of some American fashion bloggers I follow.
It's for People Tree, so impeccably ethically made. And the quality and relatively affordable price has inspired me to buy their recently published book, Naked Fashion, because I'd like to know about the production chain and the process behind making ethical clothes. At this point in my life, I can't afford to shop 100% ethically, and I'm not sure if I would ever fully do so, but it's something I would like to know more about.
I accessorised this outfit with one of my favourite pairs of earrings, which I bought from Etsy a few years back. All the stones are semi-precious or precious, and just putting them on is like putting on a bit of sunshine. I'm 32 but I still love rainbows.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
For ages I've been looking for a great purple glitter pencil liner, one that would be what I'd hoped MAC's Rave liner would be. For swatches of that, check Temptalia. It's pretty, but gritty and not as pigmented as I wanted.
Finally I've found it. It's actually the other end of the Kiko pencil I travelled to Stratford Westfield to purchase, the dupe for my all time favourite eyeliner, MAC's Pearlglide Intense in Undercurrent (please bring these back, please!) But not only is the teal end of the dual ended pencil a perfect dupe for Undercurrent (hallelujah!), the purple is amazing too. It's almost too soft, so this first look is a bit wobbly, but amazing colour payoff, and once set it doesn't budge or flake (so one better than even my MAC pencil). It's quite pricey at £9 for what are ostensibly 2 small pencils, but so very lovely. The only drawback is that you can only get Kiko from the Stratford store at present in the UK (but I might have a little surprise coming up shortly that might compensate!!! shhhh!)
Two other notes - I'm wearing a lipstick that everyone in beauty-blog land has raved about, namely Boots 17's Mirror Shine lipstick, mine here is Belle (though I've acquired a few others). These are indeed amazing - particularly if you don't want full on colour and want something more moisturising and glossy (like my beloved MAC Slimshines, RIP). Belle's a pretty, plummy nude pink shade, and as close as I can get to nude without looking dead, weird, or dead weird. It's a v useful nude shade for pigmented lips, hard to find on the high street.
Also hard to find on the high street, apart from at Sleek, are decent blushes for darker skins. But this Sue Moxley one is really pretty - again, plum, my favourite. I remember swatching it against a MAC plum blush and it coming close to duping it, so I opted for this one. I'd definitely recommend, the only thing I've tried from the range, but I'm really impressed. It's got a little strip of shimmer that's useful to change the look from matte to sparkly, too.
|crazy eye, but check out the sparkle and pigment!|
MAC Moisturecover Select concealer
MAC Paint in Bamboom as base
Kiko Double Glam pencil in 50 (purple end of course :) )
Avon Supershock pencil in black on waterline
Maybelline Colossal Mascara
MAC Brow in Spiked
Sue Moxley Breath of Plum blush
17 Mirror Shine On Lipstick in Belle
Wednesday, 7 December 2011
The week before last I was kindly invited by the lovely Rhamnousia to an awareness event, which turned out to be for a thought-provoking and interesting project. Give As You Live is a way to give to charity simply by shopping online. Click-through advertising has been used for a while to benefit charitable causes, but with Give As You Live, the amounts donated by companies are linked to what you spend, and as a result are much more substantial. The company has raised over £2million for charitable causes to date, though Polly Gowers and her team are aiming for £120million - the amount it is predicted that will be spent online in the UK this Christmas alone.
What's really impressive is the wide range of retailers the Give As You Live team have got on board. Pretty much everyone from Amazon to Topshop and so many more, are participating and will donate to the cause of your choice if you spend money with them online. It works on the same principle as some other online points or rewards systems, but there's a neat addition in the shape of a downloadable Everyclick app that syncs with your browser, collecting money for the cause of your choice as you spend online without you having to even click through anything (I don't know about you, but I often forget to go on rewards sites before ordering stuff, only to kick myself afterwards!)
I'm just about to place a mammoth order with Amazon including the Kindle I've agonised over for so long, as well as most of my Christmas shopping, and I'm hoping it will raise a good sum for my charity of choice, which is Marie Curie Cancer Care, who offered my dad and my whole family so much support during his illness. But you can choose from any one of the many, many charities registered with the Charity Commission in the UK - including lots of smaller charities who do amazing work and would be really benefited by donations.
It's really a fantastic social business model that's really making a difference, and at this time of year, when we're all much spending so much anyway, I'd urge you to have a look, register, and pick a charity to support. The URL:
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
For fans of fantasy fiction, the Harry Potter/Twilight phenomenon has been a poisoned chalice. It's great that fantasy writing is now gaining the attention of mainstream publishers and that inventive new fantasy books are now coming out all the time. On the other hand, I feel like some books are now being "fantasied" up - given a quirky veneer, a bit of magical polish to sell, rather than containing and introducing the reader to an other world that feels and reads as if real.
The Cabal books are a case in point. The novels revolve around the figure of Johannes Cabal, a necromancer creation whom his author is deeply in love with. Cabal, the narrator repeatedly informs us, is a brittle, unlikeable fellow with an absence of ethics whose main characteristic is sarcasm. The narrator has to frequently remind us of these things, because the novel is so poorly put together that it's impossible to gather them from Cabal's actions or dialogue. (Also, is Jonathon L Howard a moody pubescent, that sarcasm is such a beguiling characteristic in a protagonist? Dry Sherlockian humour, perhaps, but sarcasm, really?)
Whilst the first novel focused on a diabolical circus and a play on Faust, this second novel hardly features any actual fantasy. Here Cabal is placed at the centre of an utterly improbable locked-door political murder mystery, a situation so contrived that you can positively hear the plot cracking under its strain. Only three examples of anything remotely necromantic or fantastic takes place in the novel - and one of those is in the clumsily dashed off addendum. Were it not for being frequently informed of Cabal's profession and the horror! horror! of it, and the fact that the countries at the heart of the political saga are Made Up Places with Weird Names, this would just be a tedious addition to the crime genre. It's so overwritten I could barely breathe while reading, as if the author believed layering adjectives and clauses would maximise the humour. The Agatha Christie-parodying gets old very, very quickly. In a series ostensibly of the fantasy genre, there's simply no magic. In terms of charm, flair, or even subject matter.
At this point, let me address the matter of Cabal's necromancy. I've read my Garth Nix, whose Abhorsen trilogy really renders necromancy as a terrifying and evil thing. But here, although we're frequently told that Cabal's occupation is evil, that he could be punished in horrible, horrible ways for what he does, that his experiments are beyond ghoulish, this horror is not embodied in what actually happens in the novels. The things Cabal does do not inspire horror in the other characters, or us. They're run-of-the-mill actions of a run-of-the-mill anti-hero in a mediocre book.
Which makes me think the pitch for this series went a bit like this:
Jonathon L Howard: I've got this great idea for a character.
Editor: Oh really?
JLH: Yeah. He's a misanthrope. And sarcastic.
E: Sarcasm, you say? Well, sarcasm's cool! Really cool. But... Jonno - I can call you Jonno, right? - we need MORE.
Jonno: More? Isn't that enough for a novel series? Ok... How about - that he's... amoral.
E: Amoral, misanthropic, sarcastic. Yup, readers will lap that up. But why not Twilight it up a bit? A sorcerer or something? That shizzle sells.
Jonno: Um, a sorcerer?
E: Yeah - maybe someone who brings back the dead or something?
Jonno: Er, ok? But he brings them back misanthropically and sarcastically, right? I really care that he's misanthropic and sarcastic.
E: Absolutely. He doesn't even have to, you know, bring them back. That's just gross. We'll just say that's what he does. They'll lap it up. Awesome. So here's your 5-book contract and massive advance.
Jonno: Er, ok... Great!
What's peculiar to me are the masses of highly positive reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and elsewhere. Am I missing something, it makes me wonder? Do long tedious descriptions of slapstick situations really "witty" make nowadays? It's a hard, hard thing to write funny. But it is possible, and because I know it's possible, I know this isn't it. Mr Jonathon L Howard, may I point you to another Jonathon, Mr Stroud, and suggest you try to learn something from the master of truly comic and truly fantastic comic fantasy.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
Saturday, 3 December 2011
One of my dear friends, knowing my nail obsession, asked me if I'd found the perfect manicure to go with the ring yet, and though meant half in jest, it did get me thinking. What WOULD be the prettiest polish for this ring? Would it be a simple silver? A purple with silver glitter over the top? Join me on my journey of discovery...
As my first in this series, let me introduce you to one very special polish. I was very excited about the Kiko store opening at Stratford Westfield, because I'd read that Kiko does a dupe of my favourite eyeliner of all time, MAC Undercurrent Pearlglide Intense. And on that front, Kiko didn't disappoint (more on that to come). But generally it's a welcome addition to the makeup market - lots of different products and colours. Like Inglot, it's a bit overwhelming at first with so many products and ranges, but of course I gravitated to the nail polishes. I picked up two (very restrained Rabbit) and I've already worn this twice, I love it so much. It's a stunning lilac/gold duochrome foil that also has tiny red and green sparkles in it. It's mesmerising. In different lighting, it can be a metallic bronze, lilac, and a mix of both. The green sparkles are my favourite, and make this polish quite ethereal, but in a flashy kind of way. Totally Tinkerbell (who was very much ethereal in a bossy, flashy kind of way).
Wear and texture is pretty fantastic. This is two coats, and it's not too thick or too thin. It's the kind of foil that's diminished by a thick glossy topcoat, so I went without and it lasts chip-free for three days on me.
Obviously, it's also totally impossible to photograph in its glory. In real life, it looks like this but prettier. So much prettier. It's not the perfect polish for the ring, because it's gold rather than silver-toned, but still, I think they do look pretty together.
Sunday, 27 November 2011
|Rainbow Lurex Stripe Cross Back Dress, Dress Up, Topshop, £80|
|Multi Lurex Flippy Dress, Topshop, £30|
Though both would be amazing for a night out, I think the most fun to be had with a sparkly dress would be to wear the £30 during the day, with a long-sleeved T layered under, a big scarf, longline black cardi, and jewel coloured tights. Shiny!
Friday, 25 November 2011
|Dress, Primark; vest, M&S; cardigan, New Look; belt, Dorothy Perkins; tan ballet flats, Primark.|
The series (which I realise has been inspired by a number of bloggers who also post dresses on Fridays) is back!
And yes. It might come to your attention that these pictures were not taken that recently. The clues would be the intense, bright sun, the bare legs (it already feels like quite a while since I donned tights, despite our October heatwave) and the lush vegetation of my mum's garden.
Nevertheless, as we enter the dark days of winter proper, it's nice to remember exactly how lovely the rare real summer's day in England can be (this is totally the reason, and not the fact that one of my cameras is having lens issues and the other has a dead battery and no charger, nope). This was a work outfit - I love cotton shirtdresses in summer for work, as they look relatively smart but are also cool and comfortable. I love the deep red shade of this dress - the best kind of red on me - but I find red tricky to pair colours with, as I usually dislike pairing it with black. But I think the safari-inspired palette of creams and tans works nicely here with it. If you notice, the cardigan has black polka dots on it - I love this cardigan from New Look so much! It adds interest and quirk to any outfit.
To emphasise the explorer vibe, I opted for my beloved spinning globe pendant:
And some lovely drop earrings I got years ago from Sainsburys, of all places! I like little drop earrings a lot, they frame the face very flatteringly, and aren't too much for day:
|Earrings, TU at Sainsburys|
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
|Quentin Blake, Matilda|
As you all may know, books are a huge part of my life - both in terms of work and fun. Last week, I ordered all my reading for the Christmas holidays - the time of year, apart from holidays proper, when I allow myself much more time than usual on reading for pleasure. (Last year, I finished Wicked in three days.) And they've all arrived, all crisp, pretty paperbacks. I'm not sure I can replace the feeling of stacking up shiny new books (and secondhand gems) with the immediacy but virtual nature of Kindle-books. I've been going back and forth on Kindles, and I still cannot decide! I love the physicality of books - this afternoon I was sat cross-legged on my sofa, with a cup of tea and a huge history hardback cropped on my knees. I felt a deep sense of contentment, just like Matilda (surely the best ode to reading ever, including Walter Benjamin's essay "Unpacking My Library").
I've agonised about it so much I wish I'd just been given one rather than having to commit to the purchase myself. I can't quite bring myself to buy one myself!
Anyway, this is all a bit of a tangent to what I'd intended to write about, which was a short run down of what I'm reading at the moment, and what turned up in my little Amazon order of joy.
Ranajit Guha, Dominance Without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India
I say currently reading, but it's actually waiting for me at the British Library to be read later in the week. And I say 'read' but I'm not sure anyone's ever read this book (or many of his Subaltern Studies colleagues' works) cover-to-cover. Still, it gives you an idea of the stuff I have to read for work.
John Marriott, Beyond the Tower: A History of East London
I'm reading this as background for a project I'm working on on diaspora, religious faith and East London - but it's so well-put together and fascinating that it scarcely feels like work!
William Goldman, The Princess Bride
Bedtime reading at my mum's when I'm staying there during the week for work. I've read this countless times, and I still laugh out loud at points, and am completely charmed by this cult novel. If you've not read it but seen the film, you MUST read the book. It's so much better, and I love the film.
Jonathon L. Howard, Johannes Cabal the Detective
Bedtime reading at my house. I'm coming to the end of this second novel in the series, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'll be ordering the third. But more of that in a proper review soon!
Awaiting me over the holidays are:
Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of London and Moon over Soho
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches (the one I'm most excited about I think - I mean, magical academia??? written for me!)
Carol Birch, Jamrach's Menagerie (came upon a report of the real menagerie this novel is based upon in my research the other day, and had to add this to my order - it counts as research, right?)
Safia Minney, Naked Fashion: The New Sustainable Fashion Revolution - from first glance, perhaps not as text-heavy as I'd hoped but I hope it'll be an interesting introduction to People Tree and to the world of sustainable fashion, which I'm getting interested in both in terms of my buying choices and possible projects.
So, that's a few of the books in my life and the moment, and coming up. I'll do a review of the fun books as and when I finish them - the Cabal novel should hopefully be up very soon! (I really want it finished and done with!)