Sunday, 24 February 2013

Songs for my unborn #2: Gabriel (Lamb)

Lamb are one of those groups who are iconic for a certain part of the generation who went to university when I did, I think. (see also: U.N.K.L.E., Tricky, Massive Attack).

I was obsessed with their album Trans Fatty Acid for my second and third year and I still consider Gorecki one of the most perfect epic love songs ever written. (It's so very recognisable that when my friend mentioned a particular track that came on as the first dance at a wedding she attended, I immediately knew that it was Gorecki).

Then all went quiet on the Lamb front. After a year or so, towards the end of my MA, I was in Topshop Bluewater with my sister, and a song stopped me in my tracks. There's no mistaking Lou Rhodes' voice - it's deep, thick, guttural and there's something quite primal and raw and yet so beautiful about it. I just knew it was them - but I raced to a monitor to check. Sure enough - and the song was Gabriel. I loved it from that moment, when in the most unlikely and least spiritual of places, it raised the hairs on my arms with its magic. When I first found out that I was pregnant, I just wanted to hear it again.

For me, pregnancy is a miracle, one I have prayed for all my life, and a gift that I have been given that I am thankful for everyday. The lines resonate so much for me now. My little boy is that light that I crave (and indeed, the name we have chosen means light), and even though I know have I managed in my life until now. everything is better, enhanced, and I am stronger, knowing that he, our Jibraeel*, is going to be in our lives in a few short months.

*not his actual name!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

FOTD: Interview Makeup feat. MUA Undress Me Too palette and MAC Plumful

It's been a while since we've seen my face around here, isn't it? Luckily we're getting some lighter days now so I can actually take some makeup pics that look ok.

For job interviews, presentations and the like, I nearly always wear a version of this look. It's polished, pretty (the last thing you want to be in an interview, unless it's for a makeup artist or other creative post, is edgy), and just makes me feel confident.

I can't quite believe that before Charlotte's post drew my attention to an inexpensive taupe shadow, which I then snapped up. that this colour was totally lacking in my eyeshadow collection. It's the perfect soft shade for brown eyes, and goes really well with purples and plums. Suffice to say, I'm obsessed with the colour now. I've always thought Elizabeth Arden makeup was boring and poorly pigmented but after seeing Charlotte's swatches and finding out it was THREE POUNDS FORTY NINE PENCE I ordered it. It's more purple in tone than MAC's Satin Taupe and is a beautifully soft, pigmented and high quality shadow. It's still in stock, too!

I managed to pick up the new Makeup Academy paletty Undress Me Too which is generally agreed to be an Urban Decay Naked 2 dupe. I passed on both Naked palettes and the MUA take on the original Naked because I have a lot of eyeshadows, am drawn to colour more than neutrals and the first Naked palette and its dupe had far too many grey-toned shadows for me to use. If there's a guaranteed way to kill my skintone dead and make me look tired, it's a dark grey eyeshadow. (Taupe, on the other hand has warmth to it which means it works with my skintone rather than against it).

The Undress Me Too palette is just lovely - the shades are all warm and wearable for me, and I'm so, so impressed with the textures of the shadows in this £4 palette. I thought the shadows might fade but after eight hours they looked as good as when I applied them. It's absolutely incredible value - and I'll be job-lotting this as gifts for my aunts and cousins the next time I go to Bangladesh.

I've waffled about Plumful before but now you get to see it on me. HOW pretty is it? It's now my most worn lipstick and one of few I would actually repurchase when I finish the tube.

L'Oreal True Match concealer in Cafe Creme under eyes
NARS Sheer Glow foundation

Urban Decay Primer Potion (Original) as base
Elizabeth Arden shadow in Smoke all over lid
MUA Undress Me Too shadow in Obsessed (cool matte brown) blended in socket and outer corners
MUA UMT shadow in Reveal (cool silvery shimmer) on inner corners of lids and on brow arch as highlighter
17 Lacquer Liner in black for upper lid lining and flick
Avon Supershock pencil in black on waterline and to tightline
Maybelline Colossal Mascara
MAC Brow pencil in Spiked

Sue Moxley blush in Breath of Plum
NARS Albatross as cheek highlight
Rimmel Stay Matte powder in Translucent

MAC Plumful (Lustre) lipstick

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Bejewelled Tuesday: Orelia

As I have documented, I love delicate, dainty, girly jewellery. There was a period when Urban Outfitters was doing the cutest little charm necklaces (including tiny wishing wells!) but generally, the daintier the piece, the harder it is to come by at high street prices.

My favourite brand of costume jewellery has to be Orelia. I stumbled across a stand in Topshop Oxford Circus (I think it's also stocked at the Westfield branches) and just fell in love with the delicate, pretty range.

You can also find it on ASOS, and their own website, which currently has free delivery and stocks a host of other lovely accessories.

Here are my favourite of the new season's range, which features beautiful green and seafoam stones, colours I'm a complete sucker for.

I love the tiny facets on the stones of this beaded bracelet, and it would look lovely and delicate on its own and pretty layered.


I love the tiny facets on the stones of this beaded bracelet, and it would look lovely and delicate on its own and pretty layered.

And these earrings just exude vintage glamour:


Monday, 18 February 2013

50 Random Facts

This tag has been doing the rounds and I thought I would take part, mostly in order to cheer poor Charlotte of Lipglossiping up who is recovering from pneumonia. Feel better soon!

1. I grew up wanting perfect teeth and had them for a bit, before they all moved about leaving a gap on one side. But now I love that gap.
2. There's a novel in me, but I need to make time to write it.
3. I love to cook but would live on cornflakes and toast if I lived on my own.
4. I have forgotten how to ride a bike.
5. I had many different nicknames as a child, including Polly. It's a Bengali thing.
6. My favourite chocolates in the world are Ferrero Rochers.
7. I used to collect gemstones and still know quite a lot about them.
8. I look rubbish in all shades of blue (teal and turquoise excepted), and white.
9. I was bullied at school for being short and brown.
10. I predicted my sister was a girl, my brother a boy, and my baby a boy. Just call me Mystic Meg.

11. I passed my driving test on the fifth time but I have a social phobia of driving which means I haven't yet used my licence.
12. When I was fifteen I could sit on my hair and it made a plait I couldn't get my fingers round.
13. I've been able to do a perfect eyeliner flick since I was 17.
14. I have always had a secret dream to be a jazz/blues singer.
15. I can't swim.
16. When you come to my house you will be offered a myriad of different hot beverage options.
17. I own about 150 bottles of nail polish.
18. And three bedside cabinet drawers of makeup.
19. My sister is my best friend. But I love my bro too.
20. But I'm also blessed with a small circle of friends I've had for years now. There was a time I didn't have any at all.

21. I hated everything except learning at school.
22. I used to be ambidextrous but was told off at school for showing off when I used to write with both hands.
23. My chilli paneer is better than Sakoni's, Wembley (legendary).
24. I once cried because the heather in the New Forest had made the whole landscape purple and I was overwhelmed by how lovely it was.
25. Bartimaeus and I have a rather wistful, romantic love story that one day will be made into a Bollywood film.
26. Said film would star Saif Ali Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma.
27. I'm meaner than I seem.
28. Having a medic sister means I'm not very squeamish.
29. I could be tidier.
30. But I'm awesome at finding things people have lost and I never forget anything.

31. Once most of my makeup was high end (MAC, NARS) but now it's probably 75% high street.
32. I live opposite a tiny synagogue and consider myself its out of hours guardian.
33. I have a high squeaky speaking voice, but my singing voice is alto. It means the only songs I can sing along to on the radio are ones sung by dudes.
34. I used to never be able to watch horror films but really like (non-gory) ones now.
35. I am a fantasy and sci-fi nerd, and PROUD.
36. But I've never got into computer games because I'd get too addicted.
37. I'd rather have a glass of Coke than wine.
38. I love my Kindle even though I spent years debating getting one.
39. I'm not a very fussy eater but I am a slow one.
40. Most of my books are still at my mum's because there's just so many of them and I wouldn't know where to put them all.

41. I think there are two types of people in the world - Burger King and McDonalds. I am the latter, and I judge the former.
42. If I'm scowling at you, the chances are I'm grinding my sensitive tooth.
43. I'm a real scaredy cat.
44. I have the most pathetic veins ever and only specialist nurses and doctors can manage taking blood from me.
45. My mum was obsessed with me not being under five foot tall. Luckily, I just made it over.
46. Six years on, I am still completely fascinated by everything my sister's cats do.
47. I do appreciate a nice biscuit.
48. I don't look like me without a side fringe.
49. I loved my uni years.
50. I've always wanted to be a mother and am so excited that I'll soon be able to fulfil that part of me. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Friday Frocks: 500 Days until Summer

I had to reference one of my favourite films there, sorry. It's been a gorgeously bright and sunny day here in Southampton - but frosty as hell too. But there are green shoots in my garden, daffodils on my table and that suggests to me that spring is perhaps nigh. And after spring, comes summer, no? A lot of online shops are getting their summer collections in even though it'll be months before we can wear them without being drenched/suffering hypothermia, and you know summer dresses are my absolute FAVOURITE. Even though this summer I will most be in a mumu/PJs/maxi dress and won't be sporting any of these, who am I to keep you away from all the loveliness? Let's hope it's not 500 days until we get weather warm enough to wear one, eh.

People Tree, £60

Rai of the fabulous Blarge Fargle drew my attention to this charming People Tree frock - I love the colour and the elegant cut, as well as the fact that it has bicycles on (even though, ahem, I can't ride a bike...) plus I know from my beloved Orla Kiely for People Tree teacup frock that their organic cotton is absolutely exquisite to wear, especially in summer.

Fever Designs, £75
I can never resist a rich floral on a black background - there's something so flattering and alluring about them. Especially if you're dark of hair, I think. This is courtesy of Fever, one of my favourite frockmakers, who feature twice here.

Yumi, £45

Yumi/Uttam/Mela 9whatever they are called) can also always be relied upon for a sweet little dress. This polka dot confection is no exception (I'm rhyming!) It would be just gorgeous with some red accessories.

Fever Designs, £85

And finally, a second bout of Fever. I have been on a hunt for the perfect black broderie anglaise 1950s frock for TEN years (I really have), and it's just not happened yet. Alas, this comes in navy, rose, white and this fabulous rust shade, but not black. Rust looks gorgeous with sunkissed skin though, and this would be beautiful with a cream cardigan and a burgundy or maroon beaded necklace.

Le sigh. Now, don't forget to wrap up warm when you go out...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Songs for my unborn #1: Here Comes the Sun (Nina Simone)

Our baby is due at the end of June, a summer baby, like me, and this song has been played a lot in our house of late. I've always love Nina Simone's version of Here Comes the Sun. To me, it's more reassuring and optimistic in tone than the Beatles' original, simply because of the gentleness and warmth of Nina Simone's voice. When she near-whispers "it's all right", it's almost as though she's speaking just to you, and you believe her. I've had a tough year emotionally, and have learnt a lot about myself. The darkness descended last winter, and I feel like I'm only just emerging from the dark and the cold. I can't wait for our ray of sunshine to come into our lives - our sun.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bejewelled Tuesday

I have a confession. I'm not really a rabbit. Nope. I'm a magpie. I have so much jewellery. It's an affliction I've inherited from my mother, as I've mentioned before. But especially now that most clothes are off the menu, I'm really enjoying all my necklaces, earrings, bracelets and baubles. I've only just come up with this as a weekly feature - but I thought I'd start profiling some of my favourite pieces, both in my collection and things I've seen on my virtual and real life travels.

Two of my most precious, cherished pieces are Alex Monroe necklaces given to me by my lovely sister. Here I'm wearing them layered - one is the tiniest butterfly with an even tinier green sapphire droplet, which she gave me for my Ph.D. graduation. The second piece was a pre-wedding gift, a charming little scene of branbles, a curious little mouse and a book. I wore it for my vintage afternoon tea-hen do.

Alex Monroe's pieces are everything I love most about jewellery - delicate, whimsical, pretty beyond words. There are so many pieces I love, it's hard for me to even pick some, but the piece I would dearly love to add to my collection next is one that has particular emotional resonance for me with my own little family in the making:

Birds and Nest Ring, £135

All this means I'm very excited that Alex Monroe is collaborating with Evans on a costume jewellery collection titled Miss Alouette, inspired by William Morris' nature designs. Of course, the daintiness and detail of his fine pieces is hard to replicate at high street prices, but this is still some of the prettiest fashion jewellery you will find out there. I'm impatiently awaiting the launch date to be announced!

Monday, 4 February 2013

A tribute to the best olives ever

Nocellara [Olive] Green

No, I'm not yet eating them with ice cream or anything so ridiculous. But I need to tell you about Nocallera del Belice olives.I am partial to a good olive, and stumbling across these stunning, bright jade green olives in Asda a while back, I've developed something of an obsession with them.

The olives are not like many you've probably tasted. They're buttery, creamy, rich, rather than bitter or aggressively piquant. They are exceedingly, exceedingly, moreish and I urge thee to get thee down to thy local Asda, Sainsbury's or Pizza Express to try some.

I can't quite capture nor describe the beautiful green colour of these olives. But they're pretty much the same shade as this dress. Which is funny, because when I showed the olives to Bartimaeus the first thing I said after breathlessly cooing about their tastiness is the fact that I'd love a dress this colour. Clearly the designers at Louche have a CCTV camera somewhere in my kitchen.

In tribute to the prettiest dress I've seen in a while, I put together this moodboard. It's such a beautiful, simple design, letting the colour speak volumes, with such a lovely neckline detail, that in contrast to my usual add-unpredictable-colour-to-the-mix approach to dressing, I've kept it very simple with tan, cream and a little pop of complementary citrus. (Olives and lemons, born to go together, by the way). That said, I can also see this dress working with magenta, violet, fuchsia...

Friday, 1 February 2013

Hopping back

Well helloo there! Much has been going on over the last couple of months at Rabbit-Bartimaeus HQ. Most significantly, we are, as the above image suggests, expecting a new arrival in June! I've generally been struggling with sickness, nausea (er, I'm well into the second trimester and I am supposed to feel "amazing" now?) which partly explains yet another blog hiatus, but other than that I am well and we are so excited.

I've not yet gone crazy with baby purchases but I did have to pick up a couple of things from the Peter RABBIT collection for Baby Gap. I used to read the story of Peter Rabbit to my brother when he was a baby (it began a lifelong dislike of chamomile tea, which was unfortunate as I used to have to drink it for my migraines, bleurgh). I especially like the babygrow, because, being the spawn of Bartimaeus, there's a good chance the Mini Bun is going to add substantially to my grey hairs.

I've been reigning in the clothes spending, for obvious reasons, but I am really enjoying makeup at the moment so expect nail posts and pictures of my mug coming up soon. I've also been putting together a compilation of songs for the baby, and have been reading a lot more, so reviews and bits of music may also find their way here.

How are you all?