Sunday, 30 September 2012

Vintage style: out and about in Paris

The other day I hopped aboard a train with L and we pretended we were Parisian for just a little while.  Oh, what a life.  The food, the wine, the amazing architecture!  Of course, ideally you need to be rich.  But nevertheless, endless photo opportunities to be had in the most stunning settings.  It was time to take vintage style out and about on the streets of gay Paree!

Ok, I say 'vintage style' but what I really mean is 'my usual clothes' - but as I love categorising everything it's been shoved into this post series.  But if it helps, I did make an little extra effort - it's Paris, after all!  And I may have been let loose on L's hair a couple of times...

If you can't abide other people's holiday photos, look away now!

Stripes at Sacre Coeur

Rockalily Vintage Vixen and Hot Rod Red visit the Eiffel Tower...

Marie Antoinette's Estate, Versailles.  Pink marble has to be the best backdrop for some shots of pencil skirts.

Hair rolling at Versailles

We were a big fan of macs this holiday

And even bigger fans of healthy milkshakes, even if they did cost us 7 euros.

Ah, where next...

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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Make-up: Mac's Marilyn Monroe range

My enduring love affair with Marilyn is probably a bit more fanatic than most saner people can comprehend, but this time I'm not the only one excited about Mac's new make-up range, out October in the UK.  It's a Marilyn Monroe range!  For all Marilyn's flaws and foibles, if there's one thing that woman got right it was her make-up.  Precision-applied and perfectly suited to her dramatic colouring, but maybe I'll skip the hours it took her to apply it (allegedly)...

I think when I first heard rumours of this range I wasn't expecting quite as many items, so I'm very pleasantly surprised.  Some of them are reissues, but lots are brand new.  And many have great names, I particularly like the lipgloss named 'Phiff!'

It's on sale October 4 in shops and from September 27 (tomorrow and very happily for me, pay day) online.

Let's break some of them down!

The lipsticks
L-R: Love Goddess (satin pink-red), Charmed I'm Sure (dark true red), Deeply Adored (matte scarlet red), Pure Zen (Cremesheen warm nude), Scarlet Ibis (bright orange-red)

Starting with what I'm most excited about, I have my eye on that nude pink and the orange-red.  Because owning 8 different orange-reds (two of them Mac) just isn't enough.  (This is, of course, sarcasm. I do realise I'm mad.)

The eyeshadows

L-R: How to Marry (soft white), Preferred Blonde (pale champagne beige), Showgirl (dark blue grey), Silver Screen (true silver)

Blushers and beauty powder

L-R: The Perfect Cheek (neutral pink beige matte), Legendary (pale soft coral satin),  Forever Marilyn (sheer pale peach)

Nail varnish

Not sure of the order: Vintage Vamp - Rich deep retro wine (Cream), Stage Red - Dark berry red (Cream), Flaming Rose - True red (Cream), Kid Orange - Coral (Cream), Rich, Rich, Rich - Glittery gold (Pearl)

Lipgloss, mascara, brow marker, eyeliner and lashes

L:R: Little Rock (soft sheer white with pearl), Phiff! (sheer yellow peach), False Lashes Extreme Black-Carbon Black,  Brow Marker Universal - Natural warm taupe-brown, Eye Liner Rapidblack, 35 Lash

I won't be able to resist buying as many products as my poor bank account can tolerate, so expect reviews to come!

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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Make-up: Rockalily Vintage Vixen review

I was overjoyed to hear that Rockalily were going to revive their lipstick range, if anyone's been reading this blog from the start you'd have seen my early rave for their Hot Rod Red.  Before I had chance to also rave about my favourite pink, it had disappeared from the market owing to the owner's choice to wind down her pout-pleasing activities so that she could focus efforts on starting her hair salon business.  It wasn't fair to review something that wasn't sold anymore, but now, thanks to the revival of Rockalily lipsticks - albeit without their original packaging - I can!

What makes the Rockalily brand so successful, in my opinion, is the way the nail has been hit so firmly on the head with regards to the colour range.  There's several reds, of course, but now that I own red shades into the double figures, I'm much more interested in a more subtle palette that also serves me well for work and Rockalily provides.

Step up, Vintage Vixen!

Vintage Vixen - artificial light

Vintage Vixen - natural light

  • A flatter-all pink that seems to work with both pale and cool skin-tones
  • Non-drying formula
  • Good staying power
  • No nasty taste or smell
  • You support an independent company by buying one
  • Transfers easily (although you don't lose much colour when this happens)
  • Has a slight sheen, so not matte if that's what you're looking for, although can be blotted to be matte
  • Slightly pricey at £13
  • Packaging is very basic (the only way Rockalily could continue selling it), which doesn't bother me but might some
  • Can be tricky to get hold of as it relies on when Rockalily has stock - and being very popular I'm sure will sell out frequently

All in all, I think it's a lovely pink for creating 50s and 60s daytime looks, so what are you waiting for

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Saturday, 8 September 2012

Outfit: sunshine + capris

Sometimes you're in a sea of bad days. And that's just all there is to it.  Crappy weather does absolutely nothing to lift your spirits.

But joy! Here comes the sun for one last weekend - and suddenly everything's just a bit brighter!  And when you're not feeling at your best, sometimes it helps to try to look your best.

Remember my vintage style post on capris?  I bought those lovely Collectif ones...

Marilyn Monroe style capris
Top - River Island (last year), capris - Collectif, sandals - Swedish Hasbeens Braided Sky Highs in pink (but they've hugely faded and are kinda nude colour now, which I love), lipstick - Rockalily Vintage Vixen

Sadly these capris are no longer on sale, but Collectif always have a range of them on offer.  I think they can be great for the strange warmish weather we have between summer and autumn.

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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Bake: Super massive chocolate birthday cake

Ok people, I've finally worked out why my thighs are so big. Everything I bake, I eat. There in lies the problem.  And this super massive chocolate birthday cake was no exception... but I only had two slices, I promise!

This one comes from the Primrose Bakery cookbook. It's one of the few cake recipes in the book as it's mostly cupcakes, but it's by far the best chocolate cake recipe I've tried. And the icing, although looks sickly, is so creamy and moreish.

What you will need...

For the sponge:
8inch sandwich tins x 2
230g dark choc
170g unsalted butter
350g light soft brown sugar
3 large free range eggs
370g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
500ml semi skimmed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For buttercream:
175g dark choc
225g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar
Assortment of sweets and decorations

The method...


- To begin, pre-heat the oven to 170°C (fan). Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.

- Break the chocolate into pieces and either melt in the microwave in 30 second bursts, making sure not to burn it!

- Once the chocolate is just melted, set the bowl aside to cool a little.

- Meanwhile cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth. This takes 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer.

- Separate the eggs so you have a cup of yolks and a cup of whites.

- Beat the egg yolks in their separate bowl for several minutes, then slowly add them to the creamed butter mixture, beating well.

- Add the cooled chocolate to the mixture, beating well again.

- Sift the flour into a separate bowl and then combine with the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

- In a jug, combine the milk with the vanilla extract.

- Add one third of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and beat well. Follow with a third of the milk, beating again. Repeat these steps until all the dry ingredients and milk have been added.

- Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites in their separate bowl until soft peaks start to form.

- Carefully fold the egg whites into the main mixture with a metal spoon. Make sure not to over-beat as you will take all the air out of the mixture.

- Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and place in the oven, for 30 minutes.

- After 30 minutes the sponge should be done. Remove from the oven and test with a wooden skewer. If the stick comes out clean then the sponge is done, if not then they need to go in for a little longer.

Leave the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, sandwich together with the chocolate buttercream....


- Melt the chocolate in a bowl or plastic jug in the microwave until smooth and a thick pouring consistency. A general guide would be to heat at 30 secs intervals on medium, stirring in between, to avoid burning the chocolate. Leave to cool slightly.

- Beat the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla with an electric hand beater in a bowl until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until thick and creamy.

- I topped off with hundreds and thousands, halved walnuts, broken up galaxy caramel and crumbled cadbury's crunchie. Nom Nom!

Marie ♥