Sunday, 27 November 2011

Splurge/save - Topshop

As you may have been able to tell by now, I love all things shiny. Glitter heels are everywhere at the moment, but I've also spied sparkly dresses appearing in time for the festive season. Topshop are offering a few different options, but these two are my favourite from two ends of their pricing spectrum. Although I'm sure magazines would advise you to keep everything plain with a sparkly dress, I think it's more fun to play with textures and colours.

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

Friday Frock!: Scarlet Safari

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:

Necklace, Accessorize

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

Rabbit Reading

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!)

Monday, 21 November 2011

FOTD - 1990s

Welcome to a retro-FOTD. I got all nostalgic when I did this look, because this is pretty much how I used to do my makeup in 1996 when I started wearing it - I had a cool-toned purple and light lilac duo shadow from Rimmel that was almost exactly this shade (I also had a matte chocolate and dark gold one, and those and a liner and Max Factor 2000 Calorie, were pretty much all the makeup I owned then). I wanted to try out my new brick-toned Max Factor lipstain, so despite the fact that it didn't go with my eye makeup, I wacked it on. The Max Factor lipstain tastes revolting and makes my lips very dry, so it's back to Revlon Just Bitten for me. The next on my list is Twilight, the really dark one - I'm in the mood for a deep, near-goth stain!

The pencil hasn't shown up very well here, but it's a very pretty new addition to the Bourjois Line - one of the Effet Smoky pencils in Sparkling Navy. It's described as navy, but I'd say it's a very cool purple, with a shot of gorgeous lilac glitter. It doesn't show up as well as I'd like on my skin tone, though, which is a shame, but I'd really recommend it to paler readers.

MAC Moisturecover Select concealer

MAC Paint in Bamboom as base
Bourjois Effet Smoky pencil in Sparkling Navy on top lid and lower lashline
Avon Supershock pencil in black on waterline

Estee Lauder Blushing in Port Passion
MAC Brow in Spiked

Max Factor Lasting Lip Tint in 05 - which is apparently "Marshmallow" and a pink-nude, but weirdly brick red on me?

Now I want to go and watch Reality Bites, which I was obsessed with then, and still know all the lines to. Ahem.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

NOTD: Fozzie Leopard

I was very restrained and only ordered two polishes from the OPI Muppets collection, despite being a glitter and Muppets freak. One was Rainbow Connection, which we have seen, and the other was Warm and Fozzie, which is not the kind of polish I usually go for (glitters or dusty cremes), but which intrigued me. The dark burnished gold is a polish I thought would be useful for my Asian outfits (especially on my toes when wearing gold strappy sandals - possibly the only occasions now when gold strappy kitten heels get an outing are at Asian functions?) I find most metallic polishes yawnsville so the complex mix of shades that makes up Warm and Fozzie piqued my interest.

It is a lovely polish, and the red and green sparkles in the burnished gold shade make it quite fascinating up close. That said, on its own, I'm not sure it suits me or is quite my thing.

I said on its own. Because when I transformed into into a leopard manicure (my first major foray into nail art post-Pistachio Burfi nails) I fell totally in love. This makes for such a cool leopard mani - gold leopard's just about as trashy as you can get and it's brilliant. First, I dotted Warm and Fozzie with a caramel coloured creme Mavala polish:

And then used a marker to draw on the black "u" shaped markings, topping off with Seche Vite:

And I said just about because the red tones in this polish have given me an idea for another nail art experiment: Warm and Fozzie is the perfect base for a TIGER print manicure.

While your minds boggle at the idea, let me leave you with my favourite Muppets song (which for the longest time I thought was  actually "Phenomenon," and which I thought was rather profound):

Friday, 18 November 2011

Missguided About Sizing

I don't often rant on this blog, but I've had a disappointing shopping experience featuring a well-known online brand that's been doing the rounds of blogs and I thought I should raise this just in case some of my curvier readers were considering a purchase.

So Missguided (see what I did with the title there?) has been featuring in lots of blogs for its cute little skater dresses. But alas, despite their PR tweeting me that most dresses come in sizes "6-14," alas, "little" appears to be the word when it comes to their dresses. I bought this style (though maybe I should have not opted for a style only available in 2 sizes, never a good sign for a curvy blogger).

I ordered this dress in a M/L which according to their sizing chart is apparently a 12-14. But as a 14 in every high street store, I would say this dress is 10-12 at most.

Here it is next to a Topshop size 14 skater dress:

And here it is on me (sorry for the terrible picture, my camera battery died after this shot and my sister has my charger...)

As you can see it is SO tiny that it is an indecent length on 5ft nothing me. (Bartimaeus said it looked like a tutu. It's only marginally longer than one).

I suppose it's Missguided's choice to market their dresses to slim girls, though it's a shame because skater dresses look nice on curvy girls. And because a 14 is the UK average now, and it's surely not unreasonable to expect dresses to come in size 14 and 16 (at the very least) across the board.

But either way, this dress doesn't even conform with what I would consider a size 12-14. And my experience with this dress has been further soured by the fact that they don't do free returns, and it will cost me £3.10 to return a dress that is unhelpfully labelled and sized.

I know lots of bloggers love Missguided, but I won't be ordering again for fear of other dresses being equally as tiny. And I'll be signing up to Retro Chick's Campaign for Clearer Sizing. It would've saved me £3.10 in this case, a trip to the Post Office, and the less-than-pleasant feelings we all get when we try a dress we like but that's far too small.

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Looking over this list, it's clearly the time of year when my inner goth comes back to the surface - my mind's full of deep red and black, smoky fragrances, and fantasy fiction:

A cropped black fairisle cardigan

A empire line black fairisle knitted dress

Black knitted tights with grey polka dots (as my M&S ones have departed to the great tights haven in the sky after endless wears)

Lots of new fantasy books to snuggle up with over the holidays, including A Discovery of Witches, Rivers of London, and Fly By Night.

Moomin tealight holder (because surely the only things better than moomins are spinning moomins?)

Le Bunny Bleu bunny adorned ballet flats

Grey leopard flats

Patent black mary jane or T-bar flats

A haircut (well, after self-cut fringe disaster #3954874 grows out)

An oud based perfume (or some oud)

Ellis Faas lipcolour in Ellis Faas red (first high end product I've craved in a while!)

Glitter Gal holo polishes and Cult Nails Unicorn Puke polish (it's always fun to hanker after stuff that hard to get...)

A dark red (not maroon, or burgundy) dress - Dorothy Perkins has a wrap dress that's the perfect colour but wrong shape and fabric

A proper red riding hood coat (just like Jordana's from the film Submarine, please)

Warehouse black silk pansy print dress (a bit 40s, a bit goth, very pretty)

A moody winter floral dress in black with a print in deep greens, plums, purples

So, um, not much then...
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

FOTD - Super-natural

This is a FOTD from a while back (I have been meaning to get back to the blog for a while!) when I acquired the Garnier Caffeine Roll-On concealer in its newest "Dark" shade. I'd been hankering after this for a while, but was so sad to see that only two shades were available, both far too light for me. I was a bit tentative when I bought shade "3" because I thought it would probably still be too light (I'm shade 5 in YSL Touche Eclat). But it's perfect! I often go without makeup when I'm working from home, but with this light concealer I feel just a bit more perked up (I really hate my dark circles). I wanted to try it with a natural makeup look to see just how little makeup I felt I could get away with and still look ok. (For a fully made up look, I still use my MAC Moisture Cover Select concealer as the roll-on only gives sheer coverage). I felt confident enough to wear this to work; which is great because it's a practically no-effort job.

I've always envied those girls (and my mum) who can get away with just a slick of lipstick - with the Garnier concealer, I feel I can go almost as makeup-free. (Not that I do!!! Makeup is fun for me, and when I wear it, I love to wear it, and both the application, and the effect, are enjoyable for me.) Seems a bit cheeky to post as a FOTD when there's barely any face to it, but it's a bit different for me (and not having my signature flicked liner felt a bit odd to me!)

By the way, I really do love this gloss, one of the Poppy King for No 7 glosses. I know that many bloggers didn't like the pricing, but I got mine on one of the 3for2 deals, and the texture and shades are so much nicer than any other glosses I've found on the high street (which are usually sticky and in cheap, shimmery colours). These are shiny, creamy, and totally non-sticky. I heart!

Garnier Caffeine Roll-On in "Dark"
MAC MSF in "Dark"

Avon Supershock gel liner in black on waterline
Maybelline Colossal mascara

MAC Brow in Spiked

Poppy King for No 7 lipgloss in Seduction

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Irrational loves

Aldo Trejos shoes, £70

These amazing shoes, because I would never be able to walk three feet in them.

Monsoon Fusion jumper, currently reduced to £28

This jumper, because I mostly wear printed dresses and patterned kooky jumper+quirky dress is just a bit to early-Ugly Betty, even for me.

Topshop rabbit print pencil skirt, £42

And this Rabbit skirt, irrational ONLY because it's blue and white, my least favourite colours. (Topshop, why not a purple/forest green and cream version, why break my heart so!!!?)



Friday, 4 November 2011

The Rabbit is Back! (and Fireworks NOTD)

I don't know how to apologise for the ridiculously long hiatus! I moved house, and have finally become a full-time employee by getting another 50% part-time research post. Juggling the two and commuting between the new house has taken up a lot of time, and in my spare time I've been nesting like a mofo. (Cos that's what mofos do, isn't it? Nest?)

Anyway, thank you all for sticking with me. Part of my new plan of action to make my life truly fulfilling is not to feel guilty about blogging (all that time I could be writing academic stuff) but to commit to it as something I really enjoy and which I hope some of you might enjoy reading.

As part of this, I think I'll be doing more book reviews and thoughtful posts as well as keeping up the outfit and face of the days - and I'm going to be introducing you all to a small part of my jewellery collection in a non-very-elegantly alliterative series titled Charm Tuesdays. I've also added to my dress collection (a particularly Rabbit OOTD coming up shortly!)

So to start things off with a BANG!, this is a manicure that's been in my head ever since I purchased the now legendary Revlon Facets of Fuchsia. The little bright glitter pieces glinting in the dark jelly base made me think of pink fireworks in the sky, and got me thinking about a "sandwich" manicure with a multicoloured glitter. Along came the OPI Muppets Collection a couple of weeks ago, and I've finally got a decent substitute for the much-lemmed Deborah Lippmann polish, Happy Birthday, at almost half its price. I cannot wait to do some layered manicures showing Rainbow Connection in all its glory (I'm thinking over bright purple Illamasqua Jo'mina and over OPI Jade is the New Black) but I couldn't wait to try this combination out. Please excuse the poor photos, as my Panasonic Lumix has given up the ghost and is having focusing issues, and I've had to revert to my old 5MP Ixus. Most phones have more pixels! But it'll have to do for now...

So what we have here is a base coat of Nail Envy Matte, followed by one layer of Facets of Fuchsia, then one layer of Rainbow Connection, and another of Facets of Fuchsia. I love the way the bright sequins of Rainbow Connection are somewhat muted and only ping out at you at certain angles.

If you're going to see fireworks this weekend - have fun!