Sunday, 28 October 2012

Vintage style: one pencil skirt, three ways

I'm somewhat amazed that in all my time writing this blog I've never once posted about the humble pencil skirt!  Doubly ironic considering I live in them 5 out of 7 days every single week.

Time to rectify this cruel oversight.  So, let's start with a simple skirt...

Tara Starlet Side Button Skirt, £50

I've chosen this skirt from Tara Starlet for its classic retro length and mine's in a neutral grey colour that literally goes with nearly everything, although I really like this tan version too.  Tara Starlet doesn't sell my grey one anymore but have it in other colours - I advise if you're between sizes you go for the bigger one.  However, if you don't want to spend this much money, just choose a similar length and shape from a cheaper store - easy!  My bargain favourites Tesco are currently offering some staple skirts in their Autumn/Winter range.

And here are three 'office' looks that could be kept as they are for dramatic styling or you could choose elements of if you're not comfortable with going all out or if you'd like to try a daytime look instead.  I've put in links where products are still available.

Look #1 - 40s

40s pencil skirt with blouse daywear

40s pencil skirt office look

A draped shirt smartens up this look and gives it some wartime chic.  The yellow t-bars are perhaps a bit funky for the 40s and could certainly be switched for something more demure. And if you prefer flats, why not add some brogues!

Greta shirt, Collectif
Seamed tights, Marks & Spencer
Yellow t-bars, Next

Winged liner and deep red lipstick (Mac Russian Red)

Two faux victory rolls in the front and a roll around the back using a stretched out bun roll from Boots.

Look #2 - 50s

50s pencil skirt officewear

50s look daywear

A nice preppy, pastel-coloured round-neck cardigan, court shoes with a thin curved mid-heel and ponytail bun give this a classic 50s twist. Catseye glasses are, of course, optional! This would be an easy one to dress down for casualwear with some pumps instead of heels and toning down the lipstick.

Coral cardigan, H&M (old, but this one is similar)
Black 'Damson Jam' courts, Clarks
Catseye glasses, Love 748 in brown tortoiseshell, Lensway

Classic winged liner and bright ruby red lips (Rockalily Hot Rod Red)

Simple ponytail bun with a small side roll in the front

Look #3 - 60s

mad men office wear office outfit

60s pencil skirt and blouse

This early 60s (think Mad Men) themed look is centred around a nice poofy 'do and a peter pan collar blouse. If I had a nude bag I would be matching it to my nude shoes to finish the outfit off.

Blue lace collar top, Topshop
Grey cardigan, H&M (similar)
Nude stilettos, Limited Collection, Marks & Spencer

Bouffy french twist in lower half, hair rolled under itself and pinned for height in upper half

Liner and peach lips (Revlon Super Lustrous Matte, 013 Smoked Peach)

There, three different looks with the same skirt!  Do you have a favourite?

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

For the love of craft: jam jars

It's really not that long until Christmas, especially if you're someone who likes to make all their presents (which can't be done in a last minute rush on Christmas Eve). So over the next few weeks, I'm going to share with you some low cost crafty Christmas gifting ideas.

First up - Upcycling Jam Jars!

Start saving your jam jars, because there are so many great things you can do to turn them into the perfect gift.

Herb Garden or storage


Attach jam jars to the wall and fill with herbs - great if you live in a flat with little space for planters.
The Not Just a Housewife blog explains how to make these. Or, use the same method to create storage jars for craft materials.

Cakes in Jars

There are loads of recipes and ideas for these on the internet, but here are a few of my favourites...

Cheesecake in a jar. Great idea for dinner parties. Or a gift to take along to a dinner date at a friend's. Check out My Baking Addiction for the recipe.

S'mores cake in a jar. Love this for halloween, or bonfire night. Take it along to the fireworks with you! Recipe is available  at How Sweet Eatshere.

Mini pies. A yummy winter warmer and a really cute gift. There are loads of different flavours and recipes over on the Pizzazzerie blog.

Cookie recipe in a jarBakerella shows you how to make really cute cookie recipes in a jar - great present for kids. They even have printable labels to help you jazz up your jars!

Tea Light holders

Wrap strips of pretty fabric, glitter or paper round jars and cover with pva to make cute tea light holders.

Hanging vase

Attach a wire handle and some pretty ribbon to create hanging vases.

Picture frames and 'scrap books'

Put old picture in jars to create unique picture frames. 
Put oil in the jar to give it a vintage feel...

Memories jar - fill jars with tickets, shells, memories of your favourite holidays - like a 3d scrapbook!


If you're feeling really clever, drill holes onto jar lids and create hanging lanterns for your garden - great for parties!

Match jar

Cut a hole out of the lid and replace with sand paper - fill with matches, et voila! Check out The Burlap Bag for instructions.

There are probably loads more amazing ideas out there for jam jars - who knew you could do so much with them? Don't forget to share ideas or makes with us on Twitter @ciciandmarie.

Marie ♥

Monday, 15 October 2012

Make-up: Mac Marilyn Monroe Love Goddess lipstick review

In my defence, I bought this lipstick from Mac's Marilyn Monroe range for my mother, rather than adding to my own (ridiculous) collection (with the caveat I could try it, of course)!  As a pink, it's not really the kind of colour I usually wear, tending not to suit them.  I made an exception for Pure Zen in this range because I wanted a new daytime lipstick - but this lipstick is certainly not in that category!

I have to say I really liked Love Goddess for a change, although it didn't work as well as reds do with my warm skin-tone.

Love L748 glasses tortoiseshell

So there it is - a deep, bright pink with a slight sheen (it's from Mac's Satin range).  I think it is quite blue-based, so is probably going to suit more neutrally toned ladies better than it does me.

  • Strong, striking colour
  • Colour lasts well
  • Feels nice on
  • Stains lips (although some people might want that!)
  • Although the texture is nice, it's drying - a problem I find with a lot of Mac lipsticks
  • Like all of the lipsticks in this range, it costs £15.50...
  • Doesn't really work that well blotted down - the colour goes a bit patchy

If you like a pink and you like Marilyn, it's worth investing (if you can find one!), but other than that I'd give this a miss personally...

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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Make-up: Mac's Marilyn Monroe Pure Zen review

This review almost didn't happen - Mac's new Marilyn Monroe range is selling out so quickly I only just got my hands on this lipstick, Pure Zen.  Which I found out in the shop is actually a reissue rather than a completely new colour, but would I have bought it normally? Probably not, there's definitely a much stronger appeal now it has Marilyn's face on it.  So Mac know what they're doing!  I also got my hands on Love Goddess so do check out that review if bright pink lipsticks are your thing.

But to be honest, pale and nude lipsticks aren't usually my thing.  I like statement vintage make-up and my beige skin tone can look strange with nudes.  But now that I have over 10 bright red lipsticks, including one I consider to have ended my search for a classic red (Nars Heat Wave), I need to find more colours for work and times I want to eat without spreading red all over my face.  So I turned to this new limited edition range for something a bit different - a casual Marilyn look, if you like!

So here it is, courtesy of my new iPhone's camera (I had no idea how bad the last one was until I saw these pictures!)

The box

The lipstick, complete with Marilyn case


And now a couple of photos that capture the colour in different lighting...

Marilyn Monroe Pure Zen review

Mac Marilyn Monroe Pure Zen swatch

  • Lovely texture, feels soft on the lips and not drying like so many Mac lipsticks are - perhaps because this is one of their Cremesheen lipsticks
  • Beautiful colour that enhances your natural lip colour
  • Great packaging, although let's be honest that's the main reason I bought it

  • Not cheap at £15.50 (I believe Mac lipsticks are usually more like £11 - so this is especially outrageous considering you're paying for a colour that exists already in the range)
  • Slightly too transparent for me - I love the colour in the tube but as you can see it doesn't really come out like that, it heavily depends on your own lip colour

But all in all, I'm impressed and very pleased I managed to get my hands on one before they completely sell out.  If you want your own, you'll have to hunt one down in a shop as they're out of stock online.  Quick, run!

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Make-up: classic 60s face

Poor L, she'd rather just be a reader of this blog but she made the unfortunate mistake of living with me and thus becoming my living doll.  This time, my living 60s doll!

The 60s is all about the eyes, which I knew would suit her lovely large green peepers wonderfully.  The following look takes very few products and is actually pretty simple to do - but you need a steady hand for the eyeliner!  We've gone with a Twiggy theme...


Foundation: Essentially Natural by No.7 in Cool Vanilla

Easy peasy, just put a foundation of your choice on your face!  Paler ones probably work better with the dark dramatic eye make-up of the 60s and pale lips.


Eyeshadow: Lancome Color Focus Quad 350 - silver

Really, you just want a pale shadow here.  The 60s liked neutral colours, pale blues, pale browns, greys like this one here... but then there are examples of bright colours being used with heavy liner too, so you can have fun with it!  I put this all over her eyelids, right up to the eyebrows.

Eyeliner part i

Eyeliner: Collection 2000 Fast Stroke in Black

You're drawing two thick lines here.  One is along your upper lash-line and unlike the 50s, you're not flicking upwards, but just following your natural line to the end.  The second line is thicker still and follows the crease of your eyelid, ending in roughly the same place as your other line does.  I think if I were to do these again I'd make this a bit thicker, as it all but disappeared on L's eyes when you want it a bit visible really to make an impact.


Lashes: Eyelure Naturalites Eveningwear 101

The bigger the better for the 60s.  In fact, they were said to often layer several pairs up, but perhaps they didn't have the huge range of super thick lashes we have these days.  I only had one pair in the house, so one pair it had to be.

Eyeliner part ii

Same liner as before and now you're just painting on tiny triangles to look like thick fake lashes.  The smaller they get the more they become lines rather than triangles, but from this image you should be able to see how I did it.  It's not hugely hugely neat - it's hard when your victim is fighting instinctual urges to swat your hand the heck away from her eye - but actually unless you're this close I don't think you'd notice as you'll see below.


60s Twiggy make up

Lipstick: No.3 Lasting Finish by Kate, Rimmel

First we put L's foundation over her lips to make them paler because the 60s liked a nude or pale pink lip.  Then we swept over a nude lipstick, following her natural lip-line, to keep the focus on her dramatic eyes.


And now for some arty shots, just 'cause...

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