Leila’s Instagram Poster (and a download for you!)

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 9 - 2013

I decided to put my (many) Instagram photos of Leila to good use and create a framed poster for her bedroom.

Unfortunately, most of the Instagram printing services based in the UK are rather expensive and/or prohibitive when it comes to creating customised prints, some would only allow me to print x-amount of my most recent photos and not pick and choose just the ones that contained Leila!  I also knew that I wanted a square poster to fit an inexpensive IKEA RIBBA frame and custom-sized printing usually pushed the price way up!

So, I went for it and made my own template, here’s the finished result.

Instagram Poster1

Instagram Poster2

Instagram-Poster3

I’ve created a Photoshop template for anyone wanting to do something similar which can be downloaded here (let me know if the downloads stop working as I’m using a free service/may need to sell my soul for more bandwidth).

It will allow you to create a 50cm x 50cm poster (when having it printed, ensure that you select “full bleed”) containing a total of 81 instagram photos.  The PSD consists of a simple two-layer template, all photos should be resized (to roughly 540px) and placed on the bottom layer, you can then arrange/drag the images however you wish within the template.  Before saving, ensure that you’ve converted it to a CMYK file (Image>Mode>CMYK Color) for printing.

I had this printed at my local printers who I’ve used a few times, they charged me only £8 to have it printed onto 120gsm paper (not fly poster paper) and I collected it two days after uploading my image to them.  The total cost, including the frame, came to £17 – I’m really pleased with my bargain!

Would you consider making a poster of your favourite Instagram photos?


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

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!

A little catch up (and an excuse to talk about my holiday)

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 5 - 2011

I’ve been away!  Did you miss me?  Of course not, because you were kept in extremely good company thanks to my brilliant guest bloggers last week.  In-case you missed their posts you can catch up by clicking through to: Amrita, Robyn, Lily and Liloo.

Anyway, I’m back!  Although, it’s not with the vengeance I would have liked.  Leila has been hit with a mega-cold on-top of a poorly chest so we’ve been sleeping upright at night which as it turns out, doesn’t actually involve much sleeping at all.

Other than that, I have been dodging the piles of emails that amass whenever I turn my back for a second, trying to get unpacked and look after other work (you know, the proper stuff that pays the bills).  What I’m trying to say, in a really convoluted way is this…

Here, please have a look at my holiday photos instead of a proper beauty post.  I’ll get things back on an even keel before the week is through!

Clockwise from Top Left:

1 Kemble Street (a.k.a Space House) – I love the architecture when walking around London.  From impressive Victorian terraces to stately granite-clad frontages.  Futuristic glass walled skyscrapers to concrete, Brutalist obelisks.  The landscape is rich and varied!

Flatbread at Patogh Edgware Road – Just off Edgware Road is a tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Persian place called Patogh.  It has about 7 tables in total and if you wanna get in, you better get in early.  If you do, you’ll be treated to heavenly sesame-seed dusted flatbreads and minced lamb kebabs to make your mouth water.  We paid £16 all in and walked out with full bellies.

Tate Modern Chimney – I’d like to pretend that I’m all cultured and stuff but I’m really not.  I walk around the Tate Modern as a child might, devouring the cool stuff and not bothering to ‘understand’ anything.  Still, I love the building.

Leila and Me in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern – We were contemplating where we could go for cake/ice cream/chocolate – or all of the above.

Clockwise from Top Left:

Leila and the Mega Towers – At Canary Wharf, they’re kinda piddly towers compared to other cities across the globe but they’re still pretty impressive to look up at from street level.  I like Canary Wharf, I like to sit and watch everyone doing busy stuff while I have nothing in the world to do but watch.

Bargainista Afternoon Tea – We didn’t plan to stop for a proper Afternoon Tea and many would be horrified that I even dare call this an Afternoon Tea but tough.  The John Lewis Bistro on the 3rd Floor of the store in Oxford St does a fine spread for less than £10 each.  Attentive service, relaxed surroundings and you barely need to leave the beauty hall.  Good stuff.

Back when Barbie was Cool – At the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, I discovered a super-cool Barbie.  Still impossibly well-endowed, she can work those cat eyes sunnies better than most.

Mudchute Farm – Bang in the middle of the Isle of Dogs, overshadowed by the towers of Canary Wharf is an Urban Farm project.  They have giant pigs that made me rethink my love for bacon, sheep that looked just a tiny bit mutated (perhaps from all those inner city fumes) and a petting corner that included ferrets!  A wonderful green lung in the middle of the city.

Clockwise from Top Left:

The Elgin in Ladbroke Grove – If you are/have ever been a Clash fan, this establishment will mean something to you – if not, it’s just a pub in West London that used to play frequent host to the greatest front-man ever.

Ghost-rider at South Bank Skate Park – I can never walk past this place without slowing down to see if anyone falls off their bike or skate board.  I was treated to a spectacular tumble on Saturday which had the gathered crowds “ooooohing” before a big cheer when the rider jumped up with a wave!

Turbine Hall at Tate Modern – Despite the hustle and bustle, this is such a peaceful place… a huge expanse that plays host to frequent exhibitions.  I remember a few years back, they installed a giant slide… too. much. fun.  Sadly, it was a little sparse when we visited.

Millennium Bridge/St. Pauls – The juxtaposition of the old and the new is around every corner.  Don’t they sit comfortably together?  I love this view.

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Well, now I’ve given myself the post-holiday blues! Sigh. I’ve got a couple of days away to Brighton coming later in the month so I’ll just focus on that instead.  I hope you all had lovely weekends – down with Monday mornings!

The last person in the world to discover…

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 29 - 2011

…Instagram.

See, I thought it was just like Hipstamatic which I don’t use because it’s kinda slow and kinda clunky and not very social.  On the internet, I’m all about the social.  In real life, I’m all about the social… leprosy.

Combine this with my slowwww iPhone 3G and the fact that I was always too lazy to hook my iPhone up to the computer to download pictures, I just didn’t use it for photos, at all.  I mean… I have my camera anyway right?  Well since Mr. L bought me an iPhone4 for my birthday and I always feel a bit of a tit walking around London with my camera slung across my body, I thought I’d have a go at using it with my photographer (read: girl with a camera) head on when I was in London a few days ago.

It’s clearly all about tilt-shifting the shit out of your images and cross-processing them until they cry out for mercy.  Style over content baby.  But nonetheless, I’m no ‘tog snob and it brought a huge revival of love for snapping what I see and trying to think inside a square frame (easier said than done!)

One thing I am GUTTED about though is that I didn’t realise you had to ‘process’ the photos there and then.  I was taking snaps, then clicking ‘back’ thinking I’d fanny about with the filters later on.  In reality, this meant that I was taking a photo, deleting it, taking another photo, deleting it 4 seconds later.  You can imagine my face when I got on the bus home and realised that I’d ‘apparently’ only taken 8 photos that day.  I spent 2 freaking hours on the Southbank with this thing!  Oh well, lesson learned *sniff*

If you’re one of the last remaining people on earth who owns an iPhone4 without Instagram lurking in one of the folders, you should really consider giving it a go.  A ridiculously satisfying way to take, play with and share your photos!

Do you use Instagram?  Leave your link below if you want!

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