With stock in the ever-fabulous Tea & Sympathy in Colchester, soon to be in the gorgeous Make, Do and Mend in Chelmsford, supplying goodies for a friend’s daughter’s pop up college shop and four fairs starting Wednesday evening, it has been a little manic here at Ducking Fabulous HQ for the last couple of weeks.
Some of my printed domino necklaces in progress – I’m very excited about this batch!
I’ve also been working hard on Ink Drops Boxes with Annastasia from Midorigreen, which has been lovely, and punctuated by hilarious Skype chats involving unintentional Lucozade highs. If you love all things handwritten, pop over and see the site and our blog, and if you’re struggling for presents, why not have a look at the shop – a surprise box of beautiful stationery might be the answer!
Christmas preparations are also starting – this weekend I will be at the Betty Blue Eyes vintage and handmade fair in Leigh-on-Sea (and visiting two lovely friends who live in the area at the same time) on Saturday, and at Mum & Dad’s sorting out Christmas trees and decorations on Sunday… they have bought a new tree for their new, higher-ceilinged abode, and I get the old one, which will fit beautifully into my flat… somewhere. I’m excited for sorting through decorations, most of ours have stories – will try and post about some of them nearer the time.
Right now I am mostly revelling in the incredible feeling of being surrounded by likeminded people and full of inspiration… it’s a feeling like no other!
Other things that have made me happy this week…
A rainbow on my way to work | Househunting | Tentative plans to borrow a greyhound | Dinner and Christmas decoration making at Mimi’s | A fabulous night with family for my aunt’s 40th birthday | puppy cuddles | the Free Range Festival | a festive Saturday in London with some of my uni girls | chocolate muffins | stories of my parents’ lives and travels before I arrived | starting on the overhaul of this site | getting my boudoir shoot photographs back | tassel making workshop and learning to twirl – the best Thursday evening I’ve had for ages! | Contrariety Rose’s mini-boutique in Creative Crafts in Reading | roof-down driving on a Tuesday evening | impromptu dinner and giggles with my parents | fairy lights | stocking up on Lush’s amazing seasonal soap | treating myself to a couple of books I’ve wanted for a while | MAC’s lip primer
So an all round fabulous couple of weeks! I am trying very hard to resume regular, twice a week posting – watch this space 🙂
A week or so before I left my last job, one of the lovely ladies I worked with organised a beauty and pamper evening for us, which was run by make up artists from bareMinerals.
I have always been fairly dubious about the coverage of mineral foundations, and so was excited to have a chance to try it. The format of the evening was drinks and nibbles, followed by a demonstration we would follow along with, learning to use the products on ourselves. The artists who looked after us were from the Covent Garden branch of bareMinerals – Alex, Natalie, Maridelle and Lauren. They were all lovely, really helpful and generally fab to have around.
Set up and ready to go:
Being a brush addict, this was an exciting place setting…
The skincare range was also provided for us to use, test and try out.
For each step of the make-under (cleansing, moisturising, priming, foundation and then eyes, cheeks, contouring, lips), Alex demonstrated on Kim at the head of the table and we all followed suit, assisted by the bareMinerals girls.
Here’s me all smiley after having been colour matched for foundation –
Natalie and Charlotte applying eyeliner…]
Decision time for Mandy and Tracey, and some expert assistance for Yemisi…A happy Becky and me, showing off our entertainingly different skintones…
And the finished products! Me in my original liquid lipstick, and when I discovered the red one – which I have since bought, I LOVE it!
And with Kim who organised it (blonde) Tracey (short dark hair) and Alex our make up artist on far right:
It was a great night, the products were fantastic (and I will try to do a separate post on the glorious eyeliner and liquid lipstick I bought and have worn every day since), the girls were knowledgeable and helpful but not in any way pushy, and it’s all very reasonably priced. And all-natural, which is always good.
Coverage-wise, I was pleasantly surprised by the foundation – it felt light on my skin, but was easily buildable to cover problem areas. I’m not sure I’m a total convert as I do love my liquid, but would definitely consider buying one to try out on an everyday basis when my current stash runs out.
I know I haven’t posted a beauty review for absolutely ages, partly down to my 100 days of non spending challenge. Which is now over – woo hoo!
Mimi at Little Sips of Tea mentioned coconut oil and its wondrous properties a while go over on our other blog, and as I had half an hour to kill at Liverpool Street waiting for a train, I decided to buy a pot.
Boots’ version comes in a pretty glass pot, and is a bargainous £2.54 (or 254 points) for 100ml.
Coconut oil is solid above 23 degrees or so, and melts on contact with the skin. Mine has been in a continuous liquid state for the past week and a half, because it lives in my bathroom and my bathroom resembles a sauna. Or perhaps a steam room. Perhaps now winter is setting in, it will be more solid, more of the time?!
I wasn’t initially sure what to do with it first – it can be used as a body moisturiser, facial moisturiser, hair conditioner… so I tried all three.
As a body moisturiser, I am in love. It glides on, it doesn’t irritate my exceedingly sensitive skin even straight after shaving, it makes my legs glossy and lovely and it feels and smells amazing. General wisdom is that you should apply to damp skin to lock in the moisture, but I find just as effective to rehydrate parched skin.
I then tried slathering it on my feet (my feet are a disaster zone) and putting cotton socks on overnight. Although not quite a miracle worker, it was certainly as effective as my Body Shop hemp ointment.
*You’re not getting a photo of my feet, sorry*
As a facial moisturiser I sadly wasn’t as struck. I have naturally very oily skin, and though I think it probably needs more hydration than I give it (not to mention my Pepsi Max habit, which probably isn’t helping), putting oil on it instead of moisturiser wasn’t the most successful of experiments… it just slid and felt oily.
However, I know that Mimi finds it very effective as a facial moisturiser and says her makeup sits better when she uses it, so horses for courses (or skin types) – I’d certainly say give it a try.
As a conditioner I also liked it very much – I used it more like I would a hair mask, by washing and conditioning my hair as usual and then slathering it on the (very dry) ends and going to sleep. Washing it out in the morning it felt noticeably softer, and was swishier although still tangly all the next day. My hair is always tangly so I don’t think that’s a negative point, I’d be interested to know what other people have experienced using it this way).
I have been using it regularly as body oil and a hair mask and I am still less than a third of the way through the jar. All in all, a very well spent £2.54, my new favourite go-to product, and I have plans to try it during a manicure and on my elbows…
Full product name and brand: Boots Ingredients Coconut Body Oil
Buy from: Boots
Packaging: glass jar, paper label. Fully recyclable (or reusable as a candle holder) – ten out of ten!
Price: £2.54 or 254 Boots Advantage Card points
Alternatives: Superdrug (£2.29 for 125ml), Holland and Barrett (50% off sale on a huge jar, now £7.50 for 453ml, and claims it can also be used for cooking. Do not use the Boots or Superdrug versions for cooking!)
Rediscovering my pointe shoes…
Makeup trial for the wedding (done by me) – this is look one, neutral eyes with sheer-ish red lips. Shocking phone photo and my glasses obscure my eyelids, I know. More of these to come before the actual wedding. Skin’s looking clearer though – Nars illuminator is magical stuff!
Challenging myself to sew something for the Popular Crafts Union Jack swap… here’s my finished needle book 🙂 Will be posted with a treat and a cross stitched card!
Munching the cake I bought for a friend’s BBQ that was abandoned due to rain. I suspect the diet will be back on when I’m back at work, I’m maintaining weight but there’s so much yummy food involved in this week… lol! These cakes, stocked in our local Wyevale (Colchester Stanway and Braintree) are my favourite fallbacks if I don’t have time to bake, they taste homemade!
Sorting bookshelves and installing a ballet barre *cough perfect height clothes rail cough* in my living room – if I’m going to be ready for this burlesque cabaret in October, I need to strengthen my long-neglected dance muscles and improve my flexibility. Removing my glove with my foot is, as expected, somewhat trickier than it looks on stage! My intention is to try to do 10-15 mins of stretches and barre work each day even if I manage no other exercise. Combined with burlesque each week and hopefully cycling when my bike eventually arrives, plus skating which I do whenever I can but usually once a week, I should be trimmer, fitter and more flexible in no time. Yeah. I live in hope. But I’ll at least enjoy myself in the process!
Also managed to paint my toenails (my feet are not fit for photographing so here are the colours I used) and ogling the Pashley Poppy on the front of this month’s Homes and Antiques. Cannot WAIT for mine (it’s the blue, rather than the pink, version) to arrive – hopefully in a little over a month. Squee!
Footnote: I’m aware that wearing pointe shoes while not a trained dancer can damage your feet; I’m also aware mine should have ribbons attached for support. They’re mostly decorative and I intend to wear them for a photoshoot. I doubt I will ever again dance that level of ballet!
It’s been a while since I did a beauty post! Just thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of the the beauty-related things I’ve bought or rediscovered in the last month or two. Post 1 of 2 as while I’ve been typing I’ve remembered some other stuff I should have photographed *blush*.
MAC lipstick in Ladybug – my favourite MAC colour, this was a Back to Mac swap (you take in 6 empties and you get a lippie free – can’t be bad!)
Urban Decay eyeshadow set, a present from the lovely Ellie a while back – I have used this but sparingly as I rarely seem to go anywhere that requires pretty eye makeup. However, now I can wear more exciting makeup to work, I foresee it getting lots more use – I LOVE Urban Decay shadows.
NYX glitter palette – bought this for my work do, for the grand total of £4, and I have to say it’s fabulous – proper review at some point, but having different glitters in a creamy/gel formula is great, means you can accent makeup on special evenings.
And finally (for this post at least), my brush set from Groupon. Made by Louise Walsh International, it took almost nine weeks to arrive and has a RRP of £99 (I paid £19 via Groupon including P&P). When I was trying to chase my order, I came across a few really bad reviews of the brushes’ quality when other people had received them, so I wasn’t expecting wonders. Interestingly enough, although I wasn’t impressed by the speed of delivery, the brushes are lovely – soft, a good range and easy to clean. The only thing missing is a foundation brush, but I have one of those that I don’t use that often so it’s not a problem. Here they are – have to say the roll is not the best quality but it’s easy to clean and is handy to cart them around in!
So there’s a bit of my haul – still to come, my Space NK samples, some Barry M effects nail polishes, a gorgeous chunky eyeliner, creme brulee vaseline… I need to stay out of Boots!!
I feel like I should copy this post across to Project Pin Up, it was so very vintage and pin up-esque! (edit – collage pic is over there with a link back here and to Mimi’s post!)
Last Saturday, the lovely Lou from Contrariety Rose came to stay, and after a morning of revamping her website and eating chocolate, we met Mimi for our first workshop at Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford. Mimi’s lovely husband Carl drove us there, and when we arrived some of the other ladies were already there, drinking tea and chatting.
Set up so that we were all around the same table, with an individual mirror and shared bottles of setting lotion and water spray, we started with pin curls and victory rolls. Hannah (who owns Make Do and Mend) showed us how to reserve a section of hair for the victory roll, and then to pin curl the rest. Once this was done (Mimi’s was most successful, Lou’s hair is very short at the moment and mine is incredibly long, thick and unruly) we wrapped our hair in scarves and let it dry. Hannah explained that usually this would be done before sleeping. Clearly, as it was mid-afternoon, sleeping was off the agenda, and more tea and biscuits while swapping stories and tips with the other girls was definitely on!
Here we are putting our pin curls in.
We then set to work on the victory roll section. Those with very short hair or a fringe had a helping hand from some of Hannah’s vintage roll-safety-pin contraptions (sadly you can’t buy these any more new) and the rest of us rolled and pinned and unrolled and rolled and pinned… and repeated. I eventually discovered, after several attempts, that I was trying to roll far too much hair at once. Ditching some of it (extra pin curl, anyone?) meant I finally got a roll/quiff type structure, which I promptly drenched in hairspray!
We then moved on to makeup, with Hannah showing us how to do a 1940s eyeliner flick. This is a brilliant concept which I really struggled with, was fine on my right eye but rubbish on my left – without my glasses I can’t see much at all out of my right eye so have always struggled (and with my day to day makeup, pretty much do it by feel). However, practise makes perfect and I at least now have the technique to work on!
Winged eyeliner, red lips and sweeps of blusher done, we were ready to unpin our pin curls. These had varying degrees of success, depending on the type of hair, the tightness of the curl and whether or not we’d actually let it dry properly (if you unwrap a damp pin curl, it will just go straight instead of springy and bouncy).
To no one’s surprise, the majority of my hair refused to curl, so I put it up in a fifties style ponytail which looked pretty good with my roll/quiff contraption. Mimi’s hair fell in soft waves, and Lou’s curled around her head in a surprisingly ruly fashion (her hair is so short in places we weren’t sure it would work at all!)
We met the lovely Karen of Essex Vintage Weddings, and lots of other ladies too – I hope to go back and do another workshop now I’ve had my hair cut and it’s a bit more manageable. Invested in some setting lotion at the weekend too so I could practise… quite when I’m going to fit this in to my ridiculous schedule I don’t know, but I’d love to be able to do vintagey hair more often 🙂
A double dose today, as I don’t think I was organised enough to do a post last week…
Unexpectedly meeting Val for lunch at Nandos
Corsets – hehe, see my posts on Project Pin Up
Tentatively enquiring whether our drunken ‘yeah, let’s do a rally round Ireland’ could become reality and getting a very enthusiastic response from the other teams. Hey, plans made at 3am in an obscure part of Europe under the influence of alcohol are clearly the best ones!
Spending an entire evening talking boys and horses with Lizzy
Type-writing a letter to Dan (another one – I’m improving!!)
Treasure hunting with Mum
Awesome numberplate on a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream van
Deciding we should drink the last bottle of Romanian rum and toast Rusty sometime
Starting my Vivien of Holloway dress fund.
Lunch with some of the girls from work last Friday, which was fab, as I got to speak to some of the ones I never see during work time
Going through the R2R photos again and reliving the whole thing
Mum coming round and making me soup after a truly hideous migraine on Tuesday
The sense of achievement that comes from having almost built a whole website for a dear friend
Vintage hair and makeup workshop (I really need to blog about this separately too) at Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford with the lovely Mimi and Lou, led by the equally lovely Hannah
Spotting a hedgehog under a tree on the way home from work one evening
An unexpected, glorious, sunshine-filled, warm roof-down blast round the Suffolk countryside on Sunday afternoon
Extended phone and text conversations – I have wonderful people in my life
Finally booking a haircut – I don’t want to lose any of the length but it’s long overdue, it’s lost its swish!
Lights near Bishopsgate in the evening
The general soaring happy feeling I’ve had most of this week 🙂
Fully aware I should have photos in this post but I’m absolutely shattered so may have to add them tomorrow. But really can’t go two Thursdays in a row without posting or next week’s will be utterly ridiculous!
Because I haven’t blogged with photos for a silly amount of time, because the last post was highly uninteresting to anyone but me (and possibly Mimi from Little Sips of Tea), here is a photo of me with three of my gorgeous friends who came to visit at the weekend 🙂
Left to right – Holly, Val, me and Anna
(And look! My Sleek Pout Paint with added blue!)
I’m completely broke and shouldn’t be buying anything but essentials. Yet somehow, I found myself in Superdrug this morning eyeing up the Sleek Pout Paint, which I’ve heard rave reviews about. Unsurprisingly, three came home with me (they had a 3 for 2 promotion)
I’m stupidly excited to try them out, especially the blue, and to do some mixing 🙂
Next (well actually bought earlier in the week) were two No. 7 blue nail polishes (with the £5 off voucher Boots are so kindly doing at the moment) in Betty Blues (the dark sparkly one) and Poolside Blue (which matches my Pout Paint gorgeously, doesn’t it?!). I also indulged in a hideously expensive but (I’m told) well worth it OPI Start to Finish, which will keep my manicure chip-free for a good week, even if I wash up. And I may have accidentally bought a Barry M black crackle polish too, just to see the effect 🙂 Photographed with my Marie Claire Ciate in Wait Until Dark, which I know has been reviewed on a fair few beauty blogs already.
My apologies for the ridiculously bad photos, incidentally – but really wanted to get a blog up at some stage this weekend and I think this is going to be my only opportunity!
Also indulged in four bottles of Aussie haircare – two shampoos, a three minute miracle conditioner and some Luscious Long leave-in conditioner which smells amazing… so hopefully my poor mistreated hair will soon be in the peak of health.
I actually had a weird craving to dye it dark red again earlier, but I’m not sure I’d get away with it for work… maybe I should do it for the rally and then it’d have time to fade before we get back?!
I promise to try and blog properly soon – no idea what’s happened to my life in last few weeks!
I’m not usually allowed to have painted nails at work. Or at least, I don’t think nail polish per se is banned, but the multicolour nails I favour (I almost always have at least two colours on my fingers and two others on my toes) are not compatible with my day job. However, as the boss is away and I am seeing precisely zero clients while he is… here goes! This is #1, done at my cousin’s house on Sunday afternoon with Avon Arabian Glow polishes. Which I forgot to take photos of. Beauty blogger fail.
The second set, done about ten minutes ago and drying as I type, has been done with my Marie Claire Ciate freebie (the dark purple one) and a No 7 I’ve been dying to try out, Stay Perfect in Betty Blues. It’s a very dark blue with a hint of sparkle. Photos in daylight tomorrow 🙂
The fab title of this post is courtesy of the lovely craftyguider – it made me smile all day (no mean feat!)
Baking and a new lipstick 🙂 Recipe(s) and review of the red lipstick gorgeousness coming soon 🙂