Some visual fragments of my week

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 8 - 2013
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the first step in making my bathroom look a little prettier

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two new lipsticks from opposite ends of the market

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growing my own salad on the windowsill

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a special treat for a special little girl

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currently playing on my mind – the fact that this lot needs a sort-through

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a vintage perfume procured for my Mum

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my Mother’s day gifts that someone couldn’t wait ’til Sunday to give me

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my first foray into supplementing.  I will remember to take them, I will!

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getting frustrated with my weight watchers pedometer

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booking tickets for my first gig since 2001

Don’t forget that my Escentual.com French Pharmacy giveaway is closing tonight, entry is open worldwide so do get ’em in before midnight GMT.  I’ve got another exciting giveaway going live over the weekend, so keep an eye out for that also.

I hope that you’ve had a lovely week and are looking forward to winding down this evening.  My aunty (who is more like a second-mum), has been allowed home from the hospital after a week under observation following a collapsed lung, special Mother’s Day hugs for her this weekend.  My Mum and Dad are coming over tomorrow for an early Sunday dinner, I’ve got to get to grips with cooking pork tenderloin – it was on offer at the supermarket and I can never resist a bargain!

Whatever you’re doing this weekend and whoever you’re spending it with, have a lovely one.  The weather looks set to turn vile again on Sunday so I’ll be throwing open the windows tomorrow and making the most of any remaining bright spells.

xx


Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes!

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 2 - 2013

I may be steadfastly clawing my way back onto the healthy-eating wagon but in just the last couple of weeks, I’ve developed the most horrendous sweet tooth known to man.  My sneaky way around this intrusion into my angelic lifestyle *cough* is to fatten everyone else up instead.  Yes, I have become the ultimate feeder.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not so saintly that I don’t taste my creations but the trick is to have one and then GET THEM THE HELL OUT OF THE FLAT.  It’s the only way I can do it, heaven forbid I still have cake in the house come night-time.  You can be sure that it wouldn’t still be there the next morning.

My latest dabble has been with cupcakes (again).  Leila has decided on the theme that she wants for her fourth birthday party in May (she’s a planner), and that theme is “ballerina”.  She wants ballerina cupcakes, which will thankfully save me a whole lot of stress because anything has got to be easier than last year’s “steam engine cake”.

And so with my raging sweet tooth in hand, I headed into the kitchen to reacquaint myself with a bit o’ cupcake nurturing.  The actual baking, I can do with my eyes closed… the icing?  Well, to be honest, I usually trowel it on with a spatula and I’m done.  I don’t enjoy the faffy bits in baking… which is probably why I’ve always preferred home-style cooking over anything more delicate.

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These Earl Grey Tea cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery book caught my eye mostly because I’ve discovered a new-found love for Earl Grey.  I’ve been a tea-drinker for about 10-years, I used to hate it as a teenager and it was only through meeting my husband (ultimate tea drinker) that I developed a taste for it.  While he’s a simple PG Tips man, I have enjoyed dabbling in loose leafs and the clean-tasting, subtle Earl Grey has become a real pleasure.

I won’t print the recipe here for fear of getting my hands slapped, so instead, I shall link you to the lovely Laura Ashley website who are hosting a copy of the Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes recipe with permission of Hummingbird Bakery.  Incase you’re curious, it’s from their Cake Days book… the sweet-toothed girl’s bible.

The only change I made to the original recipe was to use loose leaf tea instead of teabags, which I steeped in a cup with a tea infuser.

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You may have noticed that my icing didn’t go to plan.  I got a phonecall mid-bake and when I returned to the kitchen, my scales had reset themselves!  I don’t think I put quite enough icing sugar into the mix but seeing as these were going to my Mum and Dad, I knew they wouldn’t mind my collapsed swirls!

Actually, if anyone has a failproof frosting recipe, I’m all ears… I’m not a huge fan of the HB one (which generally makes too much for 12 cupcakes).

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Either way, the flavour of the cake is beautiful with just a hint of bergamot to lift the sponge, it’s very spring-like and delicate without being perfume-y.

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Are you planning on baking this weekend?  How would you make “ballerina” cupcakes? Throw all your cupcake/icing tips at me, I’m gonna need them!

Fragments of the last few days…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 26 - 2013

Go and fill the kettle. I’m on one.

With the weather refusing to admit that Spring is around the corner, I decided to give it a little encouragement with the brightest scarf I own. Out of all the colours in my wardrobe, yellow is not one you will usually see me wearing. It’s bold, brash, completely cheerful, and worthy of attention… all the things I do my best to avoid. Fashion blogger I ain’t, but Mr. L reckoned that I didn’t look like a total knob teaming it up with a navy blue Breton stripe, and that was good enough for me.

I may have inadvertantly created a bit of a monster, I have my eye on this one now. What colour are YOU going to commit to wearing this week? Go on, I double dare you…

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I also noticed that for a beauty blogger, I was in dire need of a bit of pampering, so I used the Oscars as a major excuse to get serious in the bathroom. Sunday night, just before the red carpet parade, I was on a mission to scrub, pluck, polish, tan, dye, exfoliate, cleanse, paint, and moisturise my way back into the land of the living.

Since rediscovering my tube of Sugared Almond Shower Gel (£4.07), Organic Surge have been on my body-beautiful agenda and I’m confident in recommending their new Million Dollar Brown Sugar Body Polish* (£32.00) as the ultimate scrub to ensure your tan has the perfect canvas. I must admit that I balked at the price but the best way I can describe this is as a 3-in-1 product that combines a scrub (a strong one at that), a shower oil (think Aromatherapy Associates style), and an in-shower moisturiser (like my beloved LUSH Ro’s Argan Skin Conditioner) which does help justify the price somewhat.

Talking of LUSH Ro’s Argan Skin Conditioner (£15.50), I still can’t resist its rose-scented goodness, so I employed it this morning during my shower to keep my skin supple and enhance the longevity of my Xen-Tan Transform Luxe Daily Self-Tan (£18.95). I have to admit that I don’t tan frequently… but basically when I can be bothered, for as long as I can be bothered… until I get bored with the upkeep. It’s lovely while it lasts!

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I talked yesterday about alleviating some guilts, and after a fortnight of too many takeaways (which in my defence had a lot to do with the fact that I was so poorly), I kicked things off with something I’d be meaning to try for a long time: courgette/zucchini spaghetti. What a revelation! You see, when people tell me that healthy stuff can taste as good as its less-healthy counterparts, I don’t believe them. Kale chips? Piss off are they like eating crisps. Cauliflower pizza bases? Not on my watch. But this… this…

It might help that I do love courgette… but it was a bloody delicious substitute! Ok, it doesn’t taste like pasta but it delivers a tasty and filling alternative. I’d read that one courgette would produce enough “pasta” for one person but next time, I’d use two and ditch the side of bread. It’s probably worth splurging on a proper pasta sauce (or make your own with fresh herbs) to enhance the flavour but I can honestly say that I’m over the moon to have found a viable guilt-free alternative to something that I’ve been a little wary of eating.

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This has been the first Winter that my Raynaud’s has fully dictated how I dress when the temperature plummets. I can no longer wear ballet flats with thick tights and dresses, instead I have to reach for a pair of sturdy boots which means that the pair I bought last year, has seen better days. I picked up these waxy rug leather Fly London boots on Amazon last week for a measly £19.50 – yes, I got the bargain of the century and went to sleep with a massive smirk on my face. They’re a beautiful petrol hue, with a chunky wedge heel and good grippy soles. I’m not sure how I’ll get on with the elasticated laces but I’ll work them out eventually.

If you want to keep an eye on potential Fly London discounts, you can check here – I’m sure there’ll be some more reductions now that Spring is almost upon us.

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I’ve been spending many evenings recently neglecting my blog and curling up on the sofa instead with Mr L. We’ve been working our way through the Bond back catalogue (how awful is License To Kill?) and finishing off the Desperate Housewives (sob) series that we started watching the week we came back from our Honeymoon in 2004!

I’m a little bit ashamed to admit discovering a winning combination in a glass of wine and a tub of Choc Dips. It’s like my 11-year old self has met my 31-year old self in the best possible way. Have you had any guilty pleasures this week?

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As much as I’ve been a bit of a squinny over the past couple of weeks, my daughter has done her best to show me how to get through a bout of the lurgy in true style. While I’ve been ensuring that everyone within a 5-mile radius can hear me coughing up a lung, she’s been dealing with a bout of croup with a braver face than I’ve ever witnessed.

She’s had a cough since the New Year, and one which a previous doctor hinted could be indicative of a future diagnosis of Asthma (fully expected seeing as both Mr. L and myself are Asthmatic). The coughing got worse, until I couldn’t take it any more and stood my ground in the local surgery on Friday demanding she see someone before home-time. Thankfully, this second opinion quickly recognised the symptoms that I’d missed and prescribed her a high, single-dose of steroids for croup. Three hours later and she’d made a miraculous recovery and was finally getting some much-needed sleep for the first time in 72-hours.

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After what had been too much excitement for all of us, we enjoyed the laziest of weekends. There’s nothing quite like going for an aimless drive and in my case, I ended up heading back to my home town… and more specifically, the street I grew up on. I mentioned in my “50 things about me” post that I have an enduring fondness for my childhood home and I like to do a drive-by every now and then, is that weird?

I may have left it back in 1988 but I think there’s more than a little piece of me still there. The house was converted into flats many years ago, and one of them is currently up for sale. Oh, if only I were a rich woman!

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Well, that’s what I’ve been doing (through the eyes of my instagram)… if you’ve got an account, link me up. Failing that, tell me what your highlights have been this last week.

* press sample

The idiot’s guide to getting well again…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 26 - 2013

When you’ve been unwell for longer than a few days, it takes time to find your feet again. Although your body may have valiantly shrugged off the last of the lurgy, it can take your emotions a little bit longer to recover.

I don’t mean to sound emo, I’m actually feeling quite chipper on the surface, and yet… definitely not back to normal. Pile onto that a bit of guilt at not being up to par blog-wise, work-wise, diet-wise, even mummy-wise and the need to re-balance becomes essential.

I know that I’m more of a review/swatch blog, but lately I feel a little more like just… talking, or even just exploring what else I can bring to the blogging table. Please don’t feel as if you need to listen, I talked on here (and my old blogs) before I knew any of you, and I’m sure I’ll continue long after you get bored with me. I’m just feeling a little disillusioned with blogging, it’s been that way for longer than I’d like to admit but I’m not sure how to mend it. If I took my own advice, I’d probably have a break… step away from wordpress, twitter, my online existence for a while. Except, how does one box up their online life until they’re ready to rediscover its contents when it’s such a huge part of who they are?

Eleven years ago, I wrote my dissertation on virtual communities, I met my husband-to-be in a chat room, he makes online flash games for a living, and I… well I contribute to the household income by writing a blog. Approximately 93% of my friends, I met online and communicate with… online. I’d need a fucking big box wouldn’t I?

The blogging community I was once proud to be part of has evolved into something different, as things tend to do. I’ve never blogged for fame or with any desire to be a blogging it girl and I have never been comfortable pr-ing myself. I’ve never been part of a blogging network and I’ve never seen this as a stepping stone to something better. I rarely attend events because I hate networking and putting on a facade of confidence which positively drains me the next day. I tried upping my competitive nature for a short while but it made me unhappy. The only undercurrent of a desire except for the enjoyment of blogging has been to earn enough money so that I can do it without being a drain on my family. I’m not sure that this is entirely possible without a legion of You Tube fans or at the very least, one hell of a killer instinct.

So, instead of taking a step back, I’m just going to accept that I may need to diversify as the year progresses. Will I have to go and find a “proper” job? Maybe. Do I want to? Hell no… I’ve loved enjoying spending so much time with Leila, it’s been a privilege that I don’t want to give up. But, she’ll be starting school this year and I do miss blogging for nothing other than the sheer love of it, so perhaps it will be for the best.

I think Winter does this to you, I’m aching for the warmer weather that signals the start of our geocaching season. Now that Leila is bigger, she will hopefully, finally show an interest in some wonderful weekend-long treasure-hunts with her Mum and Dad. Moving into the flat meant that to a certain degree, last Summer was a bit of write off… we were so busy fretting over starting our new life, that we forgot to actually live it. Christmas was amazing, as it always is but when my sister returned home to Australia, I think she took a bit too much of my heart with her.

You see, I’m not really sure what I’m saying… but I’m glad I’m saying it. The perils of wanting to be a pro-blogger without wanting to always conduct yourself in a professional manner are playing havoc with my blog relationship and as with any relationship, they all require hard work and a lot of honesty.

Don’t reply. I’m not fishing for comments… I’m just alleviating a bit of my blogging-guilt. Tomorrow, I’m building Leila a wendy house from the huge cardboard box that her “big girl’s” car seat got delivered in, and who knows… I might even bring myself to give away that massive bar of Fruit & Nut Dairy Milk that’s been doing nothing for my diet-guilt.

Down with guilt x

Beauty Marked.

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 24 - 2013

Do you have a tattoo?  Do you want a tattoo?

I always said I’d get one… one day.  As if by some divine intervention, inspiration would finally strike and point me in the direction of the tattoo.  That elusive mark that I could call my own, permanently etched onto my skin to tell my tale to the world.  It’s not happened yet.

This doesn’t surprise me if I’m honest with myself.  Afterall, I am the girl who keeps her options open.  Remember in High Fidelity, when Rob talks about how it makes more sense to commit to nothing, to keep his options open?  I’ll ignore the bit where he goes on to call that frame of mind “Suicide. By tiny, tiny increments”.  I think there’s a lot to be said for keeping your options open.

Where was I?

Oh yes.  Well, if I do ever commit to a tatto, I’ve always said that I’d go large or go home.  I’d want it big and I’d want it colourful.  Maybe something like this…

Isn’t it beautiful (in a Laura Ashley kinda way?).

My husband isn’t a fan of tattoos, neither on men nor women… not that I’d let it stop me if I decided that I couldn’t live without one.  It does give me pause for thought though, and that’s probably not such a bad thing.

Especially when I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t last five-minutes in the chair…

Tell me about your tattoo(s), do you have any? Want one but feel apprehensive?

The Midas Touch: Gold in Skincare…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 20 - 2013

Eternally revered as one of the world’s most precious metals, gold has been a highly sought-after commodity from the earliest of ancient civilisations right through to the modern day.  Much of its worth has been built through socially-constructed symbolism rather than via any intrinsic financial value, but the rare metal has nevertheless proven useful in some fields thanks to certain unusual properties.

Gold is extremely durable, stable, and for a metal, unusually coloured making it a perfect exhibition of wealth.  It holds a strong continuity of value over time, and looks just as beautiful when first laid in a treasure chest as it does 20, 30 or 50 years later.  It’s an element that is difficult, dangerous and laborious to mine and rarity has always held a value when it comes to the importance of status within our society.

The Midas Touch: Gold in Skincare...

But what about in practical use?

We regularly see gold put to good use in the field of electronics, to plate connectors and prevent oxidisation.  As a metal, it conducts electricity extremely efficiently (though interestingly, not as efficiently as silver).  In dentistry, the metal is valued for its malleable attributes which can be used to easily construct fillings, crowns, and bridges.  Its chemically stable nature, makes it a suitable, nonallergenic material which has thus far proven to cause no adverse effects on long-term health.

But what about the usefulness of gold within the beauty and skincare industry?  Let’s take a look at some products today which seek to employ the midas touch…

The Midas Touch: Gold in Skincare...

1). Nahbi Pure Repair Gold Essence contains 24ct nano gold and gold leaf extract which claims to help stimulate circulation, cell renewal and the removal of toxins from the skin.  Nahbi use colloidal gold (suspended in liquid) and nano-technologies to increase the likelihood of physical absorbtion.  The particles are rated at 1.5nm, which is tiny indeed when you consider that the thickness of gold leaf is rated at a rather chunky 125nm!  The full range includes masks, serum, toner, a moisturiser and a cream. priced from £25, beauchoix.co.uk

2). Jamela offer a range of gold-infused masks that combine “active gold” and plant collagen with other, more recognisable ingredients including hyaluronic acid.  The masks have been designed to contour various body parts to deliver their collagen-boosting benefits including: eyes, lips, face, and even breasts!  I particularly like the idea of wearing one of these masks overnight before throwing it in the bath with me the next morning, they dissolve in hot water to release any remaining goodness!  priced from £24,50, jamelaskincare.co.uk

3). Chantecaille are well-known for their high-end formulations so it comes as no surprise to see an entire Gold Collection from the U.S. brand.  Their Nano Gold Firming Treatment is not simply content with exploring the supposed anti-inflammatory effects of nano gold, but hedges its bets on another recent “technological breakthrough” in the form of Swiss Apple Stem Cells which claim to deliver the creme-de-la-creme of antioxidant benefits within skincare.  For all this technology, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny.  priced at £280, uk.spacenk.com

4). Focusing on exploring the links between the precious metal and its soothing, anti-inflammatory benefits.  Omorivicza’s Gold Eye Lift uses gold ferment in an attempt to repair micro-damage and strengthen the delicate skin by renewing lost elasticity and as you would expect, the Hungarian brand remain true to their spa roots with the infusion of mineral compounds and their globally famous thermal waters rich in copper, zinc, calcium and magnesium.  priced at £110, selfridges.com

5). For the “gold standard” (geddit?!) in gold-enriched skincare, look no further than Swiss brand La Prairie for their Cellular Radiance Concentrate Pure Gold which claims to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles and help regulate discoloration.  The gold, suspended in a colloidal gel promises to help prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin whilst illuminating the skin with a stunning radiance. It will certainly lighten your wallet.  priced at £408, urbanretreat.co.uk

6). For something a little more tangible, not to mention… affordable, Zoya’s Gilty Pleasures trio contains an 18k real gold flake top coat which will transform all your manicures into something a little bit special.  priced at £29.60, nailcareclub.com

7). ByTerry’s Or De Rose Elixir Extreme is a rose-tinted primer which delivers instant radiance thanks to its blend of 24-carat pink gold micronized particles and light-reflecting prisms.  More of a cosmetic radiance-giver than a skincare marvel, coming from the queen of highlighting herself… that ain’t no bad thing.  The closest I’ll get to being a gold-dipped bond girl.  priced at £108, uk.spacenk.com

 

So, the question remains… can the benefits of gold be applied to anti-ageing theories?  Scientists and dermatologists are frankly divided on the issue and serious research is ongoing on the potential health benefits of using gold in the fight against cancer and the relief of rheumatoid arthritis.

To my mind, there appears to be a somewhat necessary leap of faith in order to believe that something so valued for its chemical inertia can also posess such life-changing, tangible benefits but there’s no doubt that this is one debate that will run and run.  Especially while it continues to give cosmetic companies such a wonderfully marketable element of luxury and privilege.

What say you? Are you interested in unleashing the power of gold on your skin, hair and nails?

50 Random Facts About Me

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 18 - 2013

I need to apologise for my absence.  If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already know the reasons behind my blog neglect.  I’ve been suffering with pneumonia and after no less than a full week, I’m finally on the mend.  My brain is not in the “blogging” place right now.  At least, not in the way that I’ve come to expect from myself so I’m easing back into things with a simple “50 Random Facts About Me”.  An exercise in self-love and vanity.  Would you do me the great honour of leaving a comment with some random facts about yourself?  Or if you have a blog…. perhaps, a link to your list?

I’d truly appreciate it.

50 Random Facts About Me

1. My first name is hyphenated but I never use the second part of it except on official documentation.
2. I got married when I was 23 but I’ve been with my husband since I was 18.
3. Our daughter is named after my favourite au pair as a child.
4. My little finger is so badly broken that I can stretch an octave on the piano with no bother despite having small hands.
5. I have Dermatographic Urticaria (“skin writing” skin) but it was worse when I was younger.
6. I’m left-handed and turn a page on its side to write on it.
7. I met my husband in a chat room in 2000 and crank-called his mum more than once to check that he wasn’t an axe-murderer.
8. My idol in life is Joe Strummer.
9. I know my way around the city of Sydney better than I do my home county of Hampshire.
10. I honeymooned in Manchester, of all places. [br] [br]
11. I’ve only recently become semi-comfortable with my inner freak.  Older age is suiting me.
12. I used to travel all over the country to watch Southampton Football Club play.
13. I was a foreign languages prefect at school.
14. I desperately want to do a road trip across the U.S. (who doesn’t)
15. I have recently conquered a massive fear of lifts (elevators).
16. My favourite thing on a menu is usually the nachos.
17. I’ve been blogging in some shape or form since 1999. Anyone remember Deadjournal? (Livejournal for angsty types)
18. I build beautiful houses on The Sims but never “live” in them.
19. I only moved out of my Mum and Dad’s house last year at the age of 30.
20. My first boyfriend “came out” to me.  It wasn’t my doing. [br] [br]
21. Top five bands? The Clash, Stone Roses, The Black Crowes, Blondie, Pulp
22. Top five artists? Prince, Janis Joplin, Doris Day, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper
23. I did literally everything I could to avoid a planned c-section whilst pregnant. I had an emergency c-section.  It was ok.
24. I still miss the house I grew up in.
25. And the city.
26. I hated university but I got what I needed to get.  And then never used it.
27. I try to add jalapenos and spice to everything.
28. I’m a night owl, and always have been.
29. I only play computer games on God mode.  I appreciate a good story more than a challenge.
30. I didn’t attend my graduation, I still don’t regret missing it. [br] [br]
31. I love Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers and have seen it no less than 6 times in my life.
32. I’m not motivated by money.  In the slightest.
33. I’ve been told that I can come across as prickly, sometimes even “mysterious” in large group situations.  I’m not… I’m just hyper-aware of talking crap, so end up not saying much.  One-on-one though?  You can’t shut me up.
34. I’m too scared to have another child incase he/she isn’t as perfect as my first.
35. I desperately wanted Leila to be a boy, until I met her.
36. I love bum chins, and dimples… I have neither.
37. My husband has a bum chin, my daughter has two dimples on the same cheek.
38. We had our first dance to “Sea of Love”.
39. I think that arms are the sexiest part of a man’s body
40. I’m rubbish at arguments, I just get aggressive. [br] [br]
41. I’d love to be more ambitious.
42. I owe everything to my parents but I don’t revere them as I should.
43. Gherkins.  Always the gherkins.
44. A nice coat is worth spending (lots of) money on.  Shoes?  Not so much.
45. I was too upset to go to school the day I found out that Kurt Cobain had killed himself.
46. If I could go on a giant geocache event dressed as Emma Peel, I would probably be in my element.
47. I’m a fantastic drunk.
48. I like to clean the flat to the sounds of Pat Benatar and the Divinyls.
49. I started going grey when I was 17.  Around the same age I started sprouting a full-on beard.  Thanks PCOS.
50. I struggle to commit 90 minutes or more to watching a film.  But usually enjoy myself when I do.

How about you?

At what point do blogs become purely paid advertisers?

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 3 - 2013

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: monetising a blog is a tough job. Walking the line between speaking your own words with undiluted thoughts and keeping brands happy when you’re building relationships? Not easy. Throw money into the equation and that shit gets harder. Which is why I’ve never and will never accept money to review a product. The sample issue is different, expectations from the start are different and brands are well aware that you may not review a product favourably or even at all just because you received a sample. Bloggers who call in their shopping lists can piss right off though.

I’m talking about accepting money…

I accept money to feature products, state their existence, bring awareness to brand campaigns and promotions. But to trial a product and report to you on its efficacy? To tell you whether or not I believe you should go and spend your money on a product because it’s fab (regardless of whether or not it is) when I’ve had my pockets lined to do so? That’s something I don’t feel comfortable doing.

On the way up, bloggers took every opportunity to blast magazines for their bias toward advertiser’s products. We promoted the medium of blogging as an impartial, independent and unbiased alternative but just this last week, I’ve received two sponsored post pitches from big brands, both requesting that I review the product they’re interested in promoting. It honestly killed me to turn them down, not least because I probably would like the product anyway (or at least, not dislike it), but frankly because I can’t afford to turn down opportunities like that when this is my main source of income.

The thing that’s prompted me to write this shitty Blog God post (and I kinda hate myself for doing it) is the knowledge that there are bloggers who have already accepted the type of sponsored posts that I’m turning down more frequently, thus giving justification to brands and agencies who are delivering these shitty proposals. It’s not that I want to shame the bloggers or even really question their motives, I just want to say: “You don’t need to accept these opportunities from a brand or agency”.

As bloggers, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate who we are and what we’re doing. Without our readers, we really are nothing when it comes to making any pennies. Our words aren’t read and our pictures aren’t flicked through because we’re so damn aspirational. Our opinions aren’t trusted because we’re experts in our field, hell… those bloggers are few and far between. It’s simply because we’re relatable that we’re valued.

Don’t let brands and agencies who haven’t targeted their campaigns properly, damage what you’ve built. They’re not being sly… they’re not being underhand, but sometimes I think it becomes clear that they still don’t quite get what blogging is about. It’s not about having a million 12 year old You Tube fans or being the coolest kid on Instagram. Or (and now I’m doubting myself), if it is… then I don’t want any part in its future.

It’s about creating pockets of communities online, sharing common interests, and making a connection. That thrill of getting a new comment, the fear when you post something like this… finding a reader who leaves you such a hilarious comment that you think they must be your long-lost twin and you hunt them down on Twitter for lifelong companionship… what?!

If you are wanting to monetise your blog (and you do it carefully, with full disclosure, it’s something to be applauded – doing what you love and getting paid for it? BEST. JOB. EVER.), you think brands won’t want to provide sponsored post opportunities if you don’t review their products? Bullshit. They still want their Facebook competitions linked, their You Tube videos embedded. They want a human voice to give context to their latest campaign, plough through all that Brad Pitt crap that no-one normal thinks is anywhere near as amazing as those who created it do. This is why blogs exist and why they thrive so well alongside magazines and other media.

But you cannot physically accept payment to review a product and then call it “shit” on your blog. And if it is shit? What do you do. Not write about it and still keep the money? Not bloody likely.

If a sponsored post opportunity doesn’t deliver true value to the brand, you, AND your reader – it isn’t worth doing. Make brands and agencies work harder at creating something amazing for this relatively unexplored (commercially) blog medium, paying for reviews is the easy option for them. Not for you and certainly not for your readers. By all means, sell a legitimate service but don’t sell yourselves.

What Father Christmas got me!

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 4 - 2013

How do people get back into the swing of things after a break? Before Christmas, I went to a log cabin in the wilds of the New Forest (about as wild as one of those carousels with teacups) and had NO INTERNET. Yet, I still managed to blog daily via a non-3G connection on my phone doing the classic standing on a chair and holding the phone at a 37 degree angle until I saw a bar (“I’ve got a signal!! I’ve got a signal!!”) thing…

Fast forward three weeks: introduce a bottle of vodka, GTA IV and the leftovers from the Celebrations tin and it takes me all the effort in the world just to get a wash.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m feeling delicate. And a bit slow. And this is my rubbish excuse for only now posting about my Christmas pressies when the rest of the blogosphere are planning their Valentine’s gift guides, the bastards.

Anyway, I must have been a very good girl this year because Father Christmas was extremely kind to me. Not as kind as he was to my husband who got a 46″ telly, a graphics tablet, AND a book about space. Sexual favours I expect… but regardless of my husband’s devious ways of ensuring that old St. Nick favours his stocking, I did very well indeed. Wanna nosey?

What Father Christmas got me!

Mr L got me this beautiful silver necklace from Etsy, it’s so delicate and perfect <3 – who knew he was capable of such good taste anyway?! I don’t usually wear much jewellery – I still haven’t even taken my wedding band to be resized – but I’ve barely taken this off since I unwrapped it on Christmas morning.

What Father Christmas got me!

He also bought me a Heart Rate Monitor for running… in theory, this should help me work out my perfect pace for burning calories vs. being able to actually prolong the workout! When I was running last year, I had a habit of starting off too hard and fast and exhausting myself well before 5k, hopefully this will help me find a suitable pace.

He also got me a running buff, kind of like a neck/throat/mouth warmer… my asthma hates this cold weather for any kind of exercise and last year, I was running with a fleece scarf tucked around my gob – I looked like a uncoordinated ninja!

To rebel against all this fitness malarky, I also got a beautiful red lipstick from Estee Lauder, you can be sure of a FOTD soon!

What Father Christmas got me!

This one’s a bit cheaty because these sandals were a bit of a present to me… from me! I’d been craving them since I saw them in Selfridges early last Summer, I even instagrammed them! I eventually spotted them at the KG outlet in Gunwharf Quay while I was having a bit of a shop with HelenJNT, and snapped them up for a bargain price. Now I’ve just got to wait for the sun to come out!

Christmas Presents_05

I told you I was a spoilt girl, I got a new phone! Usually, I’m about 2 years behind everyone else when it comes to phones… but we justified the splurge on the fact that if Mr. L is going to port his games onto iPhone, he totally needs an iPhone5 in the house so that he can bug test. I’m giving him my iPhone4 and he’ll retire his HTC. It’s actually killing him a little… he is not much of an Apple fan… poor love. WHATEVER!!! I’VE GOT AN IPHONE5! MOAR INSTAGRAM.

I’m currently baby-ing it and being laughed at because I’m refusing to remove the plastic covers until my screen protectors get here!

Leila got me (thanks Mr. L!) a beautiful candle which she found in T.K. Maxx, it couldn’t actually be more perfect – it’s rich, woody, and a little bit masculine (just how I like ’em!) It’s both warming and calming with the tiniest hint at incense… honestly, the girl couldn’t have chosen better.

My last gift (which you may have spotted at the back there), is a new lens for my camera! Woohoo! It’s the Canon 40mm 2.8 pancake lens, so it’s really slimline and will be great for taking out and about with me. It’s a beaut and very reasonably priced!

What Father Christmas got me!

I also got a cake pop maker (yeahhh!), a cook-book, a lovely scarf, some socks (essential) and some money. I don’t think there’s any way that I can be possibly be well-behaved enough to beat this haul next Christmas, I’m a very lucky girl.

What did you get for Christmas? Tell me!

Happy New Year

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 31 - 2012

Dear friends,

I wish you all the best that 2013 has to offer and I want to thank you for reading my words over the last twelve months, I really hope that you’ve enjoyed my efforts at entertainment.

I’m not sure what the next year will hold for lipglossiping.com (more makeup than you can shake an eyeliner brush at is my guess) but whatever I blog, I sincerely hope that you’ll be with me every step of the way – you enrich this experience and make it so very enjoyable for me.

Have a good one x

Wotcha! Christmas 2012! (photo heavy)

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 30 - 2012

Did you have a good Christmas?  Did Father Christmas prove that you’d been a good girl this year?

I won’t apologise for my absense because it’s been a lovely – if unintended – break from the blog.  I couldn’t believe that it had been over a week since my last post when I checked last night and I got the immediate guilts before breaking into another packet of dry roasted peanuts (diet starts next week, thank god), reaching for the orange juice (and the vodka) and settling down to a late-night blast of GTA IV with my husband.  You see, before L came along – we loved nothing more than playing video games late into the night and it’s something that we don’t do anymore… until this Christmas.  Cue lots of bleary-eyed mornings with Leila jumping on the bed and us begging her for five-more-minutes.  Kids are the toughest nuts to crack, the gestapo wouldn’t have broken her resolve, so we’ll need to get back into our normal routines again very soon before we die of sleep deprivation!

But, it has been nice… and I can’t wait for next Christmas… (don’t shoot me!)

I said goodbye to my sister and her family a couple of days ago when they flew back to Australia, it always rips my heart out a little… she emigrated when I was 8, you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I always get a bit melancholy over a sister/sister relationship that we’ve never been able to cultivate due to the distance (and the fact that I’m rubbish on the phone!)  Anyone else have a similar bittersweet Christmas experience when it comes to relatives?

Anyway, Christmas is all about kids and I hope that I managed to make Leila’s magical.  As a three year old, I feel that this is the first Christmas that she’s really understood and I’ve layed it on as thick as I could.  The best Christmas gift I can give her is that unadulterated Chrimbo excitement that will hopefully follow her into her adult years so that she can pass it on to her children one day.  Having said that, she did have a plate of cocktail sausages for her Christmas dinner, so it might not be quite as fully traditional as I’d hoped!

Here’s some photos from our first family Christmas in our new home together, the first I’d had away from my Mum and Dad in 31 years!

Christmas 2012_01

Christmas nails with Butter London Knees Up and The Full Monty

Christmas 2012_02

Slightly healthy mincemeat and apple pies (but only ‘cos I didn’t make enough pastry for lids!)

Christmas 2012_03

Our first family Christmas tree!

Christmas 2012_04

Our 2nd Christmas tree (a mini 3ft one for the sitting room)

Christmas 2012_05

Our poundshop angel bought in panic when Leila decided life couldn’t continue without a tree angel after we’d bought a star *sigh*

Christmas 2012_06

Our mini tree – the only one we could squeeze in the sitting room!

Christmas 2012_07

Decs and cards!

Christmas 2012_08

Reindeer in the New Forest

Christmas 2012_09

Leila visiting a winter wonderland in the New Forest

Christmas 2012_10

She wasn’t too keen on Father Christmas, cool threads though!

Christmas 2012_101

It’s not Christmas without a dirty chicken tikka kebab…

Christmas 2012_103

… and a few episodes of The Avengers! (especially “Too Many Christmas Trees”)

Christmas 2012_102

Our bargain Christmas lamp from Tesco!

Christmas 2012_104

Packing up the Christmas Eve box full of excitement-making goodies

Christmas 2012_105

It’s CHRISTMAS EVE!!!

Christmas 2012_106

Christmas Pyjamas at my Mum and Dad’s house!

Christmas 2012_107

Someone is excited!

Christmas 2012_108

Don’t tell anyone, but we ran out of Mince Pies!  Father Christmas got the “pick” of the Celebrations box though…

Christmas 2012_109

JUST. ONE. MORE. SLEEP!

Christmas 2012_110

Nearly there!

Christmas 2012_111

We might be family, but all niceties are off when it comes to bowling.

Christmas-2012_12

My Christmas ballerina.

Christmas 2012_208

Christmas Dinner and Crackers!

Christmas 2012_207

Leila’s new coat! (and Calamity Jane outfit + Christmas Jumper!)

Christmas 2012_206

Christmas Dinner (pyrex jug for gravy = classy bird)

Christmas 2012_205

onion rings = even classier bird, what?!?!

Christmas 2012_204

Baileys in a Guinness glass…  I’ll just stop pretending now shall I?

Christmas 2012_203

…and he did!

Christmas 2012_202

No chimney here, thank God for magic keys!

Christmas 2012_201

Merry Christmas from us xxx

Seeing: Is it a contact sport?

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 2 - 2012

After 26 years of pretty good vision, it came as quite a shock when I visited the opticians and was told that I’d need glasses.  Growing up, I’d had a lazy eye and was one of those poor kids that looked like an extra out of Pirates of the Caribbean with my NHS-issued patch.  Thankfully, I only had to wear it for a few hours a day… but I remember being assured repeatedly that it meant I wouldn’t need to wear glasses when I was older.  It’s funny how those things stick in your mind, as plainly untrue as it was, it did its job and I wore my patch dutifully.  Sometimes.

When I sat in the darkened optician’s cupboard 20 years later and read all the letters on the bottom line of the Snellen chart incorrectly, I knew I was done for.  I’d made a valiant attempt at guessing them, which made it look all the worse as he then encouraged me to repeat the next line up just in-case I’d gotten extremely lucky.  I eventually left the opticians clutching my prescription, hating all the glasses that I’d been shown by his assistant.

contact lenses

I found three pairs of frames online… even nabbing myself a cool vintage pair on the ‘bay, and sent them off to be fitted with my prescription lenses – the difference they made to my vision shocked me.  I guess you could say that I simply hadn’t noticed how much I’d been missing out on.  I remember the first couple of weeks wearing them, I’d keep lifting them to check out the difference between looking at things.  Sharp, blurry, sharp, blurry.  Simple things, simple minds and all that…

I now have three beautiful pairs of glasses.  And I rarely wear them.

They look ok on me, I think they’re kinda fun to wear as they force me to change up my makeup and I can’t help but feel a little bit smarter in them(!) but you know, they just don’t feel like ME.  I feel like I’m playing dress-up in them.  I work on the computer A LOT and I wonder if I’m going to regret my lackadaisical attitude to my eye-wear when I’m older.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t wear the glasses they’re supposed to, I’m sure that I should have grown out of this childish-ness back when I grew out of the eye-patch.

The obvious alternative is to become accustomed to contact lenses.  Out of my friends, I’d say that the glasses/contacts split is around 50/50 and I wondered whether that trend continues online?  Do you wear them and if you do… how did you make the transition?  I’m keen but apprehensive!

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