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Discovering the perfect blue hair dye

It’s been a long journey of wanting, wishing and waiting, but in February this year, just after my 28th birthday, I finally booked an appointment to have my hair dyed blue.

Several hours of bleaching, foils, and inadvertently making both of my hairdressers look like they’d been busy murdering Smurfs, it was done. Eeek!

But because my hair doesn’t hold anything (colour, curls, shape), I found myself having to re-apply the dye twice in the first week. At £9.50 per tube for the (admittedly pretty) Fudge blue colour, this quickly became unworkable. So I did what I always do when I have a problem, and asked the internet for help.



This pretty much summed up everyone’s advice from all over the internet – try Directions. It’s also, as far as I can tell, vegan, which means the lovely Annastasia at Not The Vegan Police will approve!

So I trooped into town, bought a pot each of Atlantic Blue, Midnight Blue and Lagoon Blue, and proceeded to re-dye my hair.

The results:

Atlantic Blue is by far my favourite, and caused more than one colleague to exclaim “Carla! Your hair! It’s SO BLUE today!” which I think can only be a good thing.

Lagoon Blue, while much lighter in colour, has actually lasted almost three weeks and has faded to a bright turquoise, which is absolutely acceptable and will probably be my summer colour of choice.

Midnight Blue I’ve not yet been brave enough to try, as I’m scared it’ll be too dark – but I’ll give it a go soon.

I’m yet to master decent lighting for photos, but here are a few:

I’m over the moon with my new hair – and it was summed up best by two of my friends. Josh told me it was “mermaid hair”, and Naomi’s is still my favourite comment – “it’s the hair you were always meant to have”. That’s definitely what it feels like!




Vintage Goodness at Goodwood Revival

Good-ness… see what I did there? Yep, ok, I was definitely not cut out to be a stand up comic.

I had another one of my trademark weekends, full to the brim with friends and exciting experiences. Life is definitely starting to be more about what I do than what I have, and these few days were enhanced even more by pretty cars and very little kittens!

Here’s Merlin, exploring my book bag when I arrived at Em’s house.


Sunday morning, after a night with the kittens, and a 6.30am fight with victory rolls (patience, kirby grips, at least two people and a LOT of hairspray) I set off for Goodwood.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Revival, it’s a vintage event at Goodwood Motor Circuit, and visitors are encouraged/required to dress in period costume – in this case 40s, 50s or 60s. Rob and I chose a hybrid of late 40s/early 50s and though neither of us had a clue what the other was wearing until we met up at the gate, I think we managed to co-ordinate brilliantly!

Here’s me. Dressed more or less as I often do at weekends, only with the addition of proper hair and less ridiculous shoes. Huge thanks to Lou at Contrariety Rose who was utterly wonderful and got my dress to me just before she went on holiday – it will be forever appreciated!


Here’s Rob doing an excellent impression of a vintage gentleman. Complete with pipe.


Mobiles are strongly frowned upon within the enclosure, and everyone puts a massive effort into dressing up, so there was a real sense of stepping back in time – vintage heaven!

There was so much to see I actually took very few photographs, but was quite pleased with this shot of old bikes in the French quarter:


And it chucked it down with rain as we walked the track, so by the time we returned to our cars (having nearly lost mine in the mud along the way) we resembled drowned rats. I’m pleased to announce that the victory rolls held!!


A fabulous bareMinerals make-under evening

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… DSCF0169

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…DSCF0179DSCF0198A happy Becky and me, showing off our entertainingly different skintones…     DSCF0183

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!

DSCF0184 DSCF0199

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.

Coconut oil – my new favourite beauty product

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…

Essential statistics:

Full product name and brand: Boots Ingredients Coconut Body Oil
Buy from: Boots
Size: 100ml
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!)

Beauty haul :)

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*.

Here goes:

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. IMG_6895


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! IMG_6896 

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!!

Red lips and victory rolls

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!

IMG_6399 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 🙂

When the cat’s away, the mouse will have a manicure…



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!)