Monday Musings

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 26 - 2012

Apologies for the lack of posts toward the tail end of last week and over the weekend… let me explain…

I broke my car, tied the bumper on with tinsel to get it home (it was all I could find in Ikea), caught a stinking cold, dragged my snotty self to London and back (like it’s the Antarctic or something), lost my wallet while in London, broke my Dad’s car (the one that I had borrowed to replace my car), and discovered that Leila had come down with a hefty dose of chickenpox on Friday night.  The poor little mite is now absolutely covered, even her eyelids… my heart is breaking for her.  And just to compound the bad luck, my family are over from Australia (as since a 4am airport run yesterday *yawn*), and we can’t take her to visit them until she’s non-contagious because my nephew’s never had the pox!  I mean, c’mon!  Give a girl a break already.

Because of all this palava, I didn’t get to make it to Hyper Japan as I’d planned this weekend, gutted much?  Also, can I have some cheese with my whine?

So anyway, them be the reasons for being AWOL for much of last week.  I think they’re quite good ones, better than “dog ate my homework” at least.

Because I know you’re all dying to know what I got up to in London, YOU ARE AREN’T YOU? *puppy eyes etc. etc… just nod, I’ll be off soon*… here’s a quick mishmash of snaps hinting at the kind of posts you’ll be seeing later in the week.

How “speshul” do I look getting my makeup done?  I swear to God that’s a perfect mix of bemusement and pity on the makup artist’s face right there.

On a more positive note, I got the chance to stock up on my favourite chocolates from Selfridges, indulge in a little Guerlain purchase, buy three of those Miss Sporty Metal Flip polishes for a global giveaway, AND treat myself to a Diptyque candle.  Also a washing machine, but I won’t bore you with that one.

How has your weekend been?  Did my lovely U.S. friends enjoy Thanksgiving?

On a side-note, can we get Thanksgiving over here please?  Not the religious/historical bit, that would be a bit like suggesting we all celebrate 4th July, awkward.  Just the being thankful for what you have, no gifts, massive turkey thing.  I’m down with that.  Also, it might stop the supermarkets shoving CHRISTMAS in our faces from late September?  I think we’re being shortchanged a fairly acceptable holiday opportunity.

What say you?


Lip Glossip

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 14 - 2012

I was supposed to be in London today but instead, I’m on a course of antibiotics and quaffing cranberry juice like it’s going out of fashion.  No prizes for guessing what’s wrong with me.  To alleviate the desire to drown myself in Tayto crisps and sorrow, I’m doing a blog instead.  “Doing a blog”.  That sounds elegant.

1).  The Boots Christmas advert!  Where have “the girls” gone?  I know they got a bit annoying after the novelty had worn off but it’s a bit like getting rid of a Chrimbo icon!  Have you seen the new one?

I won’t deny, it gives me the fuzzy feeling you want from the Christmas ads BUT, is it just me… can the rest of you understand what the Scottish chick is saying?!  It probably is just me, let’s face it… if I lived any further South, I’d be in France.  What do you think of the ad?  Does it make you wanna rush out and take advantage of the annual 3for2 gift frenzy?

2).  Following my weight whinge last week, I’ve set up a Twitter list of equally unmotivated types.  Shout me on Twitter if you want to join in… we have a Google Docs thing setup where we can publically shame ourselves into eating more healthily and attempting various forms of excercise.  We’re not sure where we’re going with it but it’s nice to be congratulated when one of us does a sit up.  Yes, just the one.

3).  Harvey Nichols are offering one of their spectacular gift with purchases at the moment when you spend £95 instore in Beyond Beauty.  It seems like a lot, but let’s face it – if you’ve got Mum, Sister, Nan and favourite Aunty to buy beauty things for, you’re gonna clear £95 in no time at all.  Wanna get down to the nitty gritty and discover what’s inside?

Percy & Reed Foaming Treatment Mousse, Blinc Mascara/Eye liner – 0.7g, He Shi – Exfoliating Body Wash 50ml, Ren – Frankincense Night Cream – 15ml, Dr Hauschka – Make Up (Product may vary), Aspects – High Tech – Lash Extender 13ml, Ole Henriksen – Truth Serum Booster 15ml, Fake Bake – Tinted Body Glow 2oz, GHD – Final Fix Hairspray – 75ml, Strivectin SD Cream 0.75oz, Macadamia – Oil – 10ml, Mario Badescu – 30ml Moisturiser, Soap & Glory – Nude SMP Lip Gloss.

What do you think, worth it?

Also, whilst on the subject of Harvey Nics… the new Beauty Bazaar is now open in Liverpool ONE (and what a fabulous shopping arena that is).  Three floors of products, brands and services to fulfill your beauty-loving heart’s desire.  Blimey.

4). If you’re South of the Watford Gap… there’s still some shopping excitement available courtesy of Selfridges Beauty Workshop (which Istillhaven’t visited!).  The self-appointed “beauty playground” boasts over 150 products and services and now offers a Beauty Card which can be purchased and redeemed against various services and gift packages.

5).  Still on the subject of shopping (is there any other?)… who’s going to Hyper Japan this year?  I wanted to go in February but couldn’t persuade Mr. L into giving up his Saturday.  I’ve played it clever this time and told him that Konami and Namco Bandai are there… he told me I had a deal.  Me?  I’m just gonna enjoy the pretty kimonos, kawaii accessories, and well… you know, food.  Tickets to the UKs biggest J-Culture event are £12 in advance or £15 on the door and the show runs from the 23rd – 25th November.

 

Right then my lovelies, that’s a little round up of the best of my email inbox and the worst of my brain.  I’m off to go feel sorry for myself a little bit more, I haven’t had enough cups of tea delivered to my bedside yet today…. and you know, I need the liquid for medicinal reasons – not just because it’s tea.  Made for me, by someone else.  Nuh uh. x

Bonfire Night, Alresford, Hampshire

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 6 - 2012

Please excuse a photo post, it’s not Wednesday yet so I can’t even excuse it with a “wordless” prefix.  However, it is 3am and I’m yawning in time with my keyboard taps.  Thank you so much for your amazing comments on my post yesterday, it’s so good to hear that even in the most ridiculous of situations, there are always people keeping me company by doing exactly. the. same. thing.  You idiots 😉

Anyway, we promised Leila a trip to see the fireworks this bonfire night.  Last year, I was a bit more organised and we went to the big display in Winchester – which I thoroughly recommend.  This year, after a quick shout-out on Twitter, I discovered that the town of Alresford (about 14 miles away) was having a display, so after picking Leila up from pre-school, we hot-footed it up the M3.  £14 for two adults?  Ok, I know it’s for charity and you mustn’t grumble (I still grumbled) but don’t they know there’s a recession going on?!  AND there was no Starbucks this time.  BOO.

It was an “ok” display, hampered by a change in wind direction which meant that most of the whizz-bangs were let off from behind a great (or “gurt” as we say in this neck of the woods) big tree. We probably wouldn’t do this one again…

Here are some photos – they’re handheld and not the best, there was less people and subsequently less light than at last years display – you’ll notice I got busy with my fisheye again!

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

bonfire night alresford 2012

Did you get the sparklers out last night or over the weekend?

When you want something, you work hard and you achieve it.  That’s the way things are supposed to happen.  And if they don’t happen this way, then you only have your lazy-ass self to blame.

Which is why I’ve been feeling quite cross with myself recently.  You see, over the last few years, I’ve lost a lot of weight – around six stones in total and in that time, I’ve hit plateau after plateau, fell off the wagon repeatedly, and sailed down the scales with the wind behind me when the going’s been good.

weight loss

When you’re very overweight, it can take a long time to notice that you’re even losing the excess baggage.  In my experience, it’s only when I get to the level where I can see the effects of developing muscle tone that I start to feel properly trim… I also put myself under a lot of pressure, and it’s frightening how quickly I shift my goalposts of what is an “acceptable” weight/fitness level.  I can definitely appreciate how people get sucked into the “just one more stone” weight loss mentality.

But my problem is, I’m on my way back up the scales.  Not just a glitch… I didn’t fall headfirst into a plate of roast potatoes too many times last month.  I’m simply creeping steadily back to my tunic tops and over-sized jumpers.  My fitness levels have also plummeted… earlier in the Summer, climbing the stairs to my front door felt like nothing, literally.  Not any more!

Weight Watchers was great for me, and I’ve just signed on again last weekend… but the disruption after moving house in the Summer completely shifted my mindset from “eating well”, to “eating cheaply” and although I’m certain those two things aren’t mutually exclusive – it feels like I have to work a lot harder to create inexpensive, filling, and healthy meals for the family.  This is part of it… the other part is that the area we’ve moved to, isn’t really the kind of place I feel safe to be running around in, at least, not after dark.  Throw in the plummeting temperature, the fact that all my “skinny girl” clothes aren’t fitting me, and I’m in a huge motivational slump.

This sounds like a massive pity party, it honestly isn’t.  It’s an admission to myself.

weight loss

I haven’t admitted to myself that I’m unhappy with the way things are heading again.  Sure, I’ve moaned about my clothes being tighter, done the whole “boo, I’m getting fat again!” thing (three times a day), but truly admitting that the current situation is having a massive effect on my daily mood?  No.  Because I don’t like admitting that I am so defined by this issue.  I want to be defined by the way I treat my family, how good I am (or not) at my job, hobbies, and passions… even just my smile.  I don’t want this to have such a huge impact on who I am and how I feel about everything.

But it does, and I’m admitting that here and now.  Because, you know what?

It’s ok.

My weight, and more specifically, the way I deal with food, is not a problem that’s going to disappear when the scales magically hit the 10 stone mark, I have issues with food and exercise that are so entwined around my 31-years of existence that I can’t possibly expect them to evaporate.  Certainly not overnight, and possibly not ever.  My current issue isn’t even really about my increasing weight, it’s the anger I’m feeling at my apathy toward challenging myself again and my attempts at pretending I’m ok with it.  When I’m not.

I will not deal with unhappiness by suppressing it, any fool could tell you that won’t end well.

But in the meantime, does anyone have any practical tips (think: rocket up bum) for digging oneself out of a hole of imagined indifference?  Hard work I can do (when I put my mind to it) but this is like fucking treacle.

How entwined is your current emotional well-being with your current physical shape?

Prague: My favourite things to see and do! (part1)

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 31 - 2012

I first visited Prague about 7 years ago, my brother had just bought an apartment in the city and was keen to show us around the areas he’d fallen in love with.  It didn’t take long to catch the bug and before the 4-days were up, I was already planning a return visit.

Three visits later and I’m still as firmly in love with the place as I was back the first time round.  Having said that, even in the short space of seven years, a lot has changed and it feels far more tourist-orientated than it did back in 2005… it’s also a little more expensive but thankfully, charm still oozes from every back-street, pivnice, and cobbled alleyway.

Pick up any tourist guide and you’ll be directed to the most popular sights: The Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, and the Castle.  But Prague is so much more than that and if you stick to these major attractions alone, you will miss the hidden gems that make the city so magical!  Here are a few of my favourite things to do in Prague.

Drink.

Well you don’t go to a country and not immerse yourself in the local culture do you?! They say that the Czechs drink more beer than any one else in the world, and when you compare both the price and the taste to the stuff we get in this country, you can see why.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s generally cheaper to buy a glass of beer than a bottle of water.  In the tourist areas, you can expect to pay anything up to 50/60 CZK (£2.00) for half a litre but if you step just a little off the beaten track, you shouldn’t pay any more than 35CZK (£1.20).  It becomes a bit of a challenge finding the best-looking drinking spot for your money, and if they serve authentic Czech food as well?  Even better!

Prague Czech Beer

There are many varieties when it comes to beer in Prague and all of them far less gassy and more drinkable than ours: Gambrinus, Pilsner Urquell, Krusovice, Kozel, Budvar, and Staropramen are the ones you’re most likely to come across but if you’re a real beer buff, there are microbreweries to be found allover the city offering their own unique blends. My favourite? Well it changes every time I visit – I suggest you give them all a chance 😉  Na zdraví!

Walk.

Yeah, yeah, the trams are cute but I’m a firm believer that you can only begin to understand a city once you’ve walked across it.  Prague is very walkable, if a little hilly in places!  Cobbles are everywhere so don’t even attempt it in a pair of ballet flats, your feet will not thank you.  If you’ve got an iPhone, download a walking guide and give it a go, this one isn’t too bad, particularly as you can add your own tour to the itinerary, it’s also cheaper than a guide book!  You don’t get these kind of views just from sitting on a tram guys!

I’m happy to admit that I sometimes need a little motivation to pull on my walking boots and drag myself away from the shops.  If you’ve got a camera, start a little project to capture the city’s beauty in less conventional ways.  A city like Prague offers a wealth of quirks, some of you may be aware of my door fetish!  Capture the spires, the gargoyles, statues, or the graffiti (there’s lots!) – do whatever you need to do to keep on walking, it’s the easiest but most rewarding way to get a feel for the city.

Explore the lesser-known delights of Petrin.

Once you’ve done the Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock and the Castle… don’t just assume you’ve done it all.  My favourite things to do in Prague are none of those – infact, I get people rage in the built up areas (Y U WALK AT 0MPH!!!)  Intolerance is my forte.  Seriously though, for a little taste – here are some of my favourite places to visit in just one small part of Prague, high up on a hill… an area known as Petrin, the green lung of the city:

1. Grab the furnicular to the top of Petrin (appreciating the view on the way up) and head for the Petrin Tower.  It’s a mini replica of the Eiffel Tower and is well worth the climb!  You can reward yourself with an ice-cream when you get back down but beware – if you are unfit, take your time on the ascent.  I power-walked it and literally couldn’t move for about three days afterward!  The best view is from halfway up, so if you are feeling a little lazy – take solace in the knowledge that the very top of the tower smells of B.O., has scratched perspex for windows and isn’t “open” like the first level – you could skip it… but then you don’t get the satisfaction of knowing you climbed all the way up!

2. Get a sense of size at the Strahov Stadium.  The Strahov Stadium is probably the biggest thing you’ve never heard of. That would be because it is the biggest stadium. In the world. Seating 250,000 people and holding 8 full-size football pitches, it’s a behemoth of an arena, nowadays only used to host the occasional concert. Its dilapidated state only adds to its Soviet-esque “charm” and it was indeed, used as a bit of a regime showpiece for mass gymnastic displays watched by millions of spectators during the country’s communist era. Worth a peek before it falls into complete disrepair.

 3. Get a sense of proportion at the Museum of Miniatures.  A great “distraction” not far from Petrin and the Strahov Monastery is the Museum of Miniatures. A two-room display, featuring some wonderful tiny masterpieces including The Lords Prayer written on a human hair and even a flea wearing golden horseshoes! To appreciate the finer details in all these mini-marvels, microscopes are set up along the display cabinets. Entrance is only around £2/£3 each and although it won’t keep you entertained for hours, it’s one of those places that will instill a sense of childhood wonder and plenty of “how did they do that?!”

4. See the stars at Stefanik’s Observatory.  Sitting atop of Petrin stands Stefanik’s Observatory and its two publicly-accessible telescopes. If you want to be charmed by Saturn’s rings, faraway nebulas, and the brightest stars in the sky, it’s well worth forking out the minuscule entrance fee (around £2) for an expert opinion and a close-up view. If you can’t make it up there at night, the observatory also offers daytime observations of the sun and its solar flares and hotter-than-hot sun spots. One of the most-underrated activities in the whole of the city.

5. Get historical with The Hunger Wall and The Memorial to the Victims of Communism.  Looking up at the hill from the impressive Most Legii (bridge of The Legions), you’ll see a stone wall running up the side of the hill. This is the Hunger Wall, over 1200 metres long and built in the 1300s to add to the defences of the nearby castle. The construction of the wall provided a livelihood for the city’s poor, thus earning itself its name. At the base of the wall, and indeed, the base of the hill – is a memorial commemorating the victims of the communist era, and featuring seven bronze figures in various stages of human decay. It’s a poignant reminder of those who were impacted by the regime. If you’re feeling up to walking back down the hill, this is a good place to finish your journey!

This is just a tiny, tiny, look at some of my favourite things that Prague has to offer… I haven’t talked about the shopping, food, or indeed anywhere else other than a very small part of the city. It’s not my usual posting and I’m all too aware that it might be horribly boring – but as I instagrammed my way around the city last month, I received some questions and requests for a little guide – so hopefully this was, at least, semi-interesting in parts.

Don’t worry, I won’t be doing it for all my holiday destinations and I’m not about to branch out into travel blogging(!) but Prague captures my heart, and is the one place in the world I could see myself living, other than in the UK. Part two coming when I get around to it!

Have you been to Prague?

Sunday Summary and Halloween chez Lipglossiping!

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 28 - 2012

Morning!  I’m not quite sure how Saturday managed to fly by so damn quickly but here we are, with a week of half-term (and Halloween!) stretching ahead of us.  Leila hasn’t been settling in to nursery too well and things came to a head this past week so I, for one, will be pleased to give her a week in which to recharge her batteries, gather as many cuddles as she needs and emerge the other side feeling a little more capable of facing all these new challenges, hopefully.

Now, on with the summary of bits and pieces that didn’t fit in to this week’s scheduling!

1.  This video from Eve Lom demonstrating how to use their iconic cleanser… is a bit duh obvious (massage it in, wipe it off) but I really liked the visual demonstration of some of the lymphatic drainage techniques you can easily incorporate into your routine. Check it out below…

2.  U.S. beauty brand Smashbox are taking the UK by storm as they launch into Boots nationwide – even my local store has stock (and that never happens!).  If your nearest store has its finger slipping from the pulse, not to worry – you can still check out the brand’s latest products online at boots.co.uk.  I’m itching to get down to my local store and get a colour match for the Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation.  Hydrating foundation in this weather? Yes please!  What are your favourite Smashbox products?

Smashbox Studio Skin 15hr foundation

3.  I had to share this product image from new luxury brand on the block, Mila.  Doesn’t it look beautiful?  Apart from being one letter away from my favourite brand of chocolate, Mila’s fragrances have been two years in development and their debut Scuro scent promises a lovely warm, spicy fragrance, with earthy tones of clove bud, frangiapani, vetiver and moss – the perfect Christmas gift?  Available now from milafragrance.com

Mila Fragrance

4.  Finally, We had a little Halloween party on Friday night.  It involved two under 10s, a never-ending supply of Monster Munch and enough Appletiser to make a 3-year old quite, quite giddy with excitement.  I’m not into trick-or-treating, so instead we watched Scooby Doo and stayed up ’til almost midnight (and paid the price the next day).

There may also have been a pumpkin (or two) involved.

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Halloween 2012 Lipglossiping

Hope you’ve had a lovely weeked, tell me… what are your plans for the spookiest night of the year?

Anxiety

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 23 - 2012

I’m going to write about something that’s a bit out of character for me.  I’m not really sure why I feel a compulsion to do it, it’s not that it’s hard for me to talk about… it’s just that I don’t usually like to piss on your cereal with anything too heavy nowadays.  I also don’t like to be judged unless I know that I’ve explained myself accurately, beautifully, and usually to the point of exhaustion – something that I’m not entirely brilliant at doing.

For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking more and more frequently about an episode I endured over a two-year period between 2007 – 2009, perhaps it’s because a few of my blogging peers and friends have opened up to share their experiences with the tougher times in their lives and the frequent rounds of depression they’ve battled but whatever the reason, I’d like to begin by apologising to anyone who recognises a bandwagon jump when they see it – I’ve surely been inspired to write this, it’s definitely not something I’d actually sit down and compose out of choice but I can’t shake off the compulsion and if I’m completely honest, I’m afraid that if I don’t use this as an exercise in ridding myself of my demons, they may come back to bite me in the ass.  Longest sentence ever.

I was 25, had been married for 2 years and was content with how life was panning out.  Aside from my PCOS (and the related-issues this brings), I had nothing wrong with my health either physically or mentally and yet, I started to feel uneasy.  You know how some days, you wake up and can’t shake off the feeling that something isn’t quite right?  That became my every day, the worst kind of groundhog day.  I rarely had the kind of panic attack that needed a paper-bag to alleviate the pain and only once did I manage to work myself into such a frenzy of fear that I temporarily lost the feeling in my arms, which hilariously (with hindsight), made me freak out even more.

I had the sort of anxiety that left me feeling in partial control, failing at not being able to shake off the dread, nor pull myself together.  My first thought upon waking was to immediately assess my levels of fear/dread – I’d run through a series of checks: steady heartrate? (check), palpitations? (check), breathing? (check), shaking hands? (check).  Of course, when you’re so damn focused on taking your pulse and analysing any little chest flutters, it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you’ve got an undiagnosed heart condition.  I’d spend evenings lying across Paul’s lap, sobbing that I just wanted to go to hospital so that they could run a shit load of tests – truth be told, they could never have run enough tests to convince me that I wasn’t dying.  I didn’t go to hospital, I was too afraid of making a fuss and being branded a hypochondriac (which to be honest, I was) – but I did go to my GP who prescribed me beta-blockers.  Worst things ever.  My heart rate simply ran at odds with the speed at which my mind was travelling and that in itself left me feeling constantly nauseous and even less in control than before.

I read up on anxiety, Google was my friend but all I found were people on forums who felt as hopeless as I did – taking blind steps toward a normality that seemed like a distant memory.  I’ll say for certain that I never found myself out of options, but exploring them exhausted me and I don’t mind admitting that sleep was my greatest comfort – you don’t feel frightened when you’re sleeping.  Or anything at all.

My worst moment came at my Nan’s funeral in 2007, she’d lived with us and had endured Alzheimers for over 10 years, a stronger lady you never did meet.  When I sat outside the crematorium, certain that the symptoms of panic literally wouldn’t let me go inside to say goodbye properly – well, I’ve never felt so much anger in my life.  I ended up withdrawing from normal life more and more, it’s one thing to feel a tide of panic rising when you’re at home… quite another when you’re out shopping, surrounded by strangers.

I’d like to say that I slowly overcame the anxiety, addressing each symptom with thought and reason through some kind of cognitive therapy that provided answers and the tools to fight back, but the truth is that I had very little input into its resolution.  Recovery happened more quickly than I would have dared to anticipate and with each passing day, I slowly forgot to assess how afraid I was at any given moment in time, something that undoubtedly helped a great deal.

The episode remains a mystery to me, I sometimes think about the possibility of it returning… I like to think that it was, indeed, caused by an infection or something hormonal affecting my psyche (I’m only too aware of what a urine infection can do for a patient with dementia) and although I may be wrong, thinking of it in more physical terms brings me comfort and gives weight to a condition that feels so damn abstract when you’re going through it.

The only thing that I can be certain of is that having someone who would listen to me being completely unreasonable, time and time again, without judgement… anchoring me, both physically and mentally, helped me more than he could ever know.

Sunday Summary and a mascara question…

Posted by Lipglossiping On October - 21 - 2012

There’s a few things I want to fit into today’s Sunday Summary… so I better get straight to the point…

1.  Can someone please come round and sort my makeup out for me?  I keep looking and not knowing how to organise… I have a 6-drawer Malm.  The 2 Helmers neatly held everything that I wanted but this Malm is all cumbersome and dark-in-the-corners.  I might be able to fit more mascaras inside but I’ll be damned if I can fish them out from the depths without cursing and picking up a concealer by accident.  I want my old storage back but there’s just no room for it in the flat.

2.  Fragrance fans, you may be interested in dropping in to Selfridges (London) for a chat with Union creative perfumer, Anastasia Brozler who will be celebrating the launch of the brand’s new perfume stand in-store on the 23rd & 24th of this month. The uber-exclusive frags are unique in their use of ingredients and notes sourced from the four-corners of our great British landscape.

Also on a related-Selfridges note… it might be a bit early to get your skin pampered in prep for any Christmas parties but luxury skincare brand Omorovicza are offering their deep-cleansing and pore-refining facial as part of Selfridge’s Beauty Workshop next week.  The 60-minute facial costs £85.00 but is fully redeemable against the purchase of Omorovicza products – you can book a facial by calling 0800 138 7425

3.  I doubled my recipe and made my salted-chocolate cupcakes into a salted-chocolate layer cake this week.  I’m going to hell in a very large coffin.  This and Calamity Jane have been Leila’s highlights of the week.

4.  Talking of cakes… did you know that you can win a cake made of Carmex (won’t taste as nice as mine but IS less fattening) in celebration of their 75th anniversary?! – more details are on their facebook page

5.  Non-beauty related – does anyone wanna see my Christmas Eve box? (not that kind of box, don’t worry)  I won’t show you if you’re gonna throw things at me for being organised though…

6.  Can I ask you guys for your thoughts on the Boots No7 Lash Adapt, I went to repurchase this week and they’ve changed the packaging from my old one…

I didn’t like it to begin with… but the formula has dried out a bit and I’m loving it but it needs replacing very soon!

I also still love the No7 Exceptional Definition one as-well, though nothing beats my HG Benefit They’re Real – except that the pennies won’t stretch and I want to save my Boots points for something SPECIAL at Christmas!  Anywayyyyy, I get scared when a brand changes its packaging… has anyone tried the Lash Adapt recently?  Have they changed the formula?  Will I still get lashes like in the below picture?

7.  Finally, my camera has been put to some non-makeup-taking-photos use this week and I’ve finally been learning about shooting with a 2-light studio setup.  I was keen to get a human under the lights but unfortunately one of my favourite subjects had the ‘pox and wouldn’t play model for me.  It’s just dresses (very, very lovely dresses!) but you can have a nosey here at my first attempt at high-key commercial shooting if you’d like.  My mannequin dressing/posing needs some serious practice.

 

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend, it feels like the weeks are literally flying by at the moment and for once, I don’t mind too much as it means that I’ll be seeing my sister again soon!

The secret lives of beauty bloggers…

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 26 - 2012

Hi, my name’s Charlotte and I lead a double life.  In my spare time, I take photos of doors.

I’ve just returned from Prague, they have a lot of doors, cool doors.  Look…

I hope I haven’t blown your mind too much.  I am so much fun to go on holiday with.

Do you have any “interesting” hobbies you’d like to share in order to make me feel better about myself?

 

* but seriously, isn’t that sunflower door AMAZING?

** no, really

Celebrity Perfumes? Worth the shelf space?

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 14 - 2012

When was the last time you discovered a really good celebrity perfume?  I can tell you mine… it was such a relief to discover that it wasn’t completely shit and I will totally hold my hands up to totally buying it because of the celebrity it was associated with.  The fragrance was Covet, by SJP and I hugely appreciated the vintage, vegetal, and quite sharp opening that grabbed me, shook me violently and screamed “LOOK, I’M NOT YOUR USUAL CELEBRITY PERFUME!”

It’s true, I find Covet to be the least celebrity, celebrity perfume I’ve ever smelled and perhaps that’s why I hold it in such high regard.  It’s a love it or hate it scent and if I’m honest, the majority of people I’ve introduced to it, hate it.  But, it’s not the usual celebrity mainstay of vanilla, fruit, caramel, and air.  And that’s got to stand for something, reflecting the quirkiness that SJP posesses herself – you smell it, and you can see that there was some real thought put into its creation.

This is what I find so irritating about celebrity perfumes.  I’m not opposed to the idea of them, but I am opposed to the laziness and disregard for the people who might actually want to purchase them.  It’s a privilege to find yourself in a position where you can put your name to something that will represent you on the shelves of every high street in the land, why waste the opportunity? *cough* Lady Gaga *cough*.

Imagine if these celebrity fragrances really did reflect the (stereotyped – of course!) celebrity behind it?  How amazing would that actually be?  A Bear Grylls Cologne? (woody, animalic?), Stephen Fry (cherry tobacco (though I believe he gave up smoking a few years ago), whisky, books!), Julie Andrews (spoonful of sugar?), Meryl Streep (oooh that would be tricky!).

Who would you like to see represented in a fragrance?  And whose wouldn’t you buy?!  Do you have a favourite Celebrity fragrance?

Back from our holiday! Liverpool & Manchester

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 27 - 2012

I’m a huge fan of holidaying in the UK.  When L was born, I don’t mind admitting that I was too nervous to take her out of the country but now that she’s grown up enough for me to be able to cope with the flights, we’ve gotten used to being able to sling everything in the back of the car and set off up the motorway instead.  I’ve never been a fan of beaches, I find them too boring for words, coupled with the fact that I roast instead of tan and an all-inclusive just isn’t my idea of fun.

We always stay at the budget hotel chains: Travelodge, Etap and Premier Inn – as-long as they’re clean, the beds don’t make me itch (my biggest fear!), and there’s a working telly in the room – I’m happy.  We use our room as base camp, nothing more – it gets too messy to want to spend time in it with Leila about!  I also don’t usually pay more than £12 a night for a Travelodge room, taking advantage of their frequent sales.  I’m sure now that Leila is about to start nursery, we’ll find ourselves more restricted to school holidays but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it – I’ll still sniff out a bargain!

We usually book around 5/6 day breaks, and the deals often run from a Sunday – Saturday (if you’re lucky enough to get the Friday night).  We’ve literally travelled all over the UK in the past three years and have been able to double our spending money simply by compromising on our accommodation, though I know that wouldn’t sit well with everyone.

Anyway… today, I’m sharing a few Instagram snaps from Liverpool and Manchester.  We spent 3 nights in each city (Liverpool Docklands Travelodge & Manchester Salford Quays Travelodge) – both hotels were fine, the location for Liverpool was a little out of the way though and the walk into town wore us out each day!  On our way in, we noticed a Hotel Formule 1 and an Ibis right opposite Albert Docks and would probably try and stay in one of those next time.

01: A ‘proper’ northern kebab – on naan bread and everything! (down with soggy pittas!)

02: Manchester Town Hall has the most incredible interior ever, the main staircase looks like it should have come from Hogwarts!

03: Leila was a little bit excited about her first tram ride.

04: Manchester Town Hall

05: Paddy’s Wigwam in Liverpool, a.k.a Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

06: Leila just being my silly little goof!

07: So many lovely tweeps and readers recommended Tokyou Noodle Bar in Liverpool, I couldn’t ignore it. Yum, yum Chicken Satay!

08: L and me on the Hope Street Suitcases!

09: Liverpool Cathedral (Anglican). So. bloody. impressive.

10: The Museum of Liverpool has some pretty corners.

11: Well, when you’re in Liverpool… you just have to, don’t you?

12: Ice cream and sequins.  Girl heaven.

13: Ferry across the Mersey. Yes, I AM a total tourist.

14: The Liver Building, I can’t even tell you how excited I got when I first spotted the birds from a distance.  I swear, I’d been scouring the horizon since Runcorn.

15: The Hope Street Suitcases (again)

16: Leila the Victorian street urchin, exploring Lark Hill Place at Salford Museum.

17: The National Football Museum in Manchester is basically brilliant. Unless you hate football.

18: Stained glass and neon at Liverpool Cathedral.

19: You haven’t been to Manchester if you don’t see at least one Lowry, obviously whilst simultaneously singing “…and he painted matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs”

20: We looked and looked for Fred’s weather map! At Albert Docks, Liverpool.

21: Shadows!  We were really lucky with the weather, who knew it didn’t always rain in the North West?! 😉

22: Welcome to Manchester!

23: And on the sixth day…

24: Manchester Town Hall (bit obsessed – sorry!)

25: Someone please explain this one to me!

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Enough holiday rambles and photos… though you should be pleased that we have the internet ether separating us because I’m one of those irritants who would tie you to your chair until you’d looked through every. single. picture.  Twice.  And commented.  My poor family.

I’ll finish with my holiday highlights, just incase anyone is googling and wants some down to earth tips.

1.  The museums – both cities have amazing museums, many of them completely free (though donations are always appreciated).  You can literally fill your cultural boots and then some.  Or, you could just go around pressing all the buttons like me and Leila.  I thoroughly recommend the People’s History Museum in Manchester, it was a real trip highlight.

2. The eats – there is so much choice, but I am partial to a curry cafe and a kebab.  I know, a disgusting habit – but in my defence, I nearly always choose a spinach-based curry (that’s at least a vegetable right?!) and a chicken tikka kebab (never got drunk enough for a lamb doner!)  Our favourite curry cafe has always been Little Aladdin Cafe, behind the Arndale in Manchester… it’s tiny though, so be prepared to wait and don’t leave without ordering a cheese naan.  Got it?

3. Walk, walk, walk – Other than a couple of obligatory tram rides, we walked everywhere and saw SO many hidden gems and shops that we wouldn’t have discovered from inside a bus.  Both city centres are nicely compact and most sights are within easy walking distance.  Plus, we saved some money and didn’t feel so guilty about those curries as a result!

4. Don’t judge a book by its cover – Cathedrals?  Town Halls?  Yawn right?  Mr. L dragged me into Manchester Town Hall half an hour before it closed (I wanted to go to Starbucks), but I’m so pleased I succumbed.  Keep an open mind and make little detours into sights you don’t think will interest you if they’re close by.  Again, that’s the beauty of walking a city – take a chance on the unlikely attractions and more often than not, you’ll be rewarded with some great memories.

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Hope that wasn’t too boring for you, it’s ok – I’ll let you out of your chair now.

What are your favourite holiday haunts in the UK?  I’m always looking for new inspirations!

Selfridges launch a one-off beauty box special!

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 19 - 2012

You only need the quickest of peeks at the iconic flash of yellow below to see where the latest in beauty boxes is coming from…

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Image courtesy of vexinthecity

Yes, iconic store Selfridges are releasing a one-off beauty box (filled to the brim with niche and luxury brands for us to sample) in celebration of the launch of their new Beauty Workshop.

The box costs £15 to buy but contains items worth that value many, many times over.

I can’t divulge the contents, so instead you’ll have to head over to my good friend Vexinthecity for that grand reveal.

The main thing to remember about the Selfridge’s Beauty Box is that numbers will be extremely limited and are likely to sell out faster than a certain Mr. Bolt could do a lap of the sportswear department.

Will you be buying the Selfridges Beauty Box? If so, you’ll need to sign up here – and be quick about it!

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