Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Farewell, 2013!

This has been an up and down year, but the one thing that has remained constant for me has of course been this blog. Looking through the year's posts is quite a nostalgic exercise for me, as each one, even when about superficial things like clothes and make-up, has a context I don't always share here.

So here's a favourite photo for each month that reminds me of what's changed - or stayed the same! - as I say goodbye to 2013! Each photo links to the original post.













CiCi x

Monday, 30 December 2013

Vintage style: styling a modern LBD

For a Christmas/New Years Eve party dress, I found myself oddly drawn towards the popular modern bodycon bandage dress from French Connection (you know the one). It's well known for pulling your figure in in all the right places, which I just couldn't resist. I view it as a modern take on a wiggle dress - I think if Marilyn were alive now it could be the kind of thing she'd go for. And although the dress is modern, I think it's possible to create a more classic look with the right accessories...

Most importantly, hair and make-up. I've gone for large curls swept and pinned to the side, with a big flower, teamed with my usual red lips and eyeliner.

Add a nice frame bag...

And borrow the mid-century penchant of matching shoes to things... (in this case to the flower)

Hair flower: Accessorize (old)
Dress: French Connection
Shoes: Limited Collection/Edition, Marks & Spencer
Lipstick: Nars Heat Wave

... And I think this is a nice twist on a very modern dress.

By the way, this dress is my hot tip for fellow petite ladies - whereas on normal height girls this is probably mini-skirt length, as you can see, on the short of us (I'm 5ft 2"), it's decidedly not.

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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Photo diary: Christmas 2013

This Christmas, so far, is all about...

1. Only one dog at home this year :(
2. A rather fetching young 'turkey boy'
3. Our little (largely pink) Christmas tree
4. Classy Christmas studs (er, sort of)

And, of course, lots of fun non-posey times that don't come out quite so well in photos (I'm mostly talking about the face stuffing).

Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Outfit: Christmas Jumper Day

I'm a little late to the party, because Christmas Jumper Day was technically Friday 13 December, but better late than never and I DID wear my jumper on the day itself.

Here's my offering for this year's charity day to support Save the Children... I did eye up endless options but decided in the end, I couldn't resist snow pom-poms. Who could?

Beret: Primark
Jumper: New Look
Jeans: ASOS
Boots: John Lewis (own brand)

The spots on the pudding and the holly berries are all sequins.

And if you want to donate, text WOOLY to 70050 to donate £1 - more info here.

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Friday, 13 December 2013

Hair how-to: easy, glamorous side roll

There's a common theme to every hairstyle I ever do - they're a lot quicker and easier than people usually tell me they look. And even though I haven't worn this one myself (well, not in a photo posted on this blog, which is kind of the same thing), I saw it online and wanted to give it a go.

It is a large side roll that weaves around your head - very elegant. And good for parties (tis the season).

I would think you could probably do this on most length hair, from shoulder length on. The longer it gets, the more clips you'll need to use to secure the rolls, but that's the main difference.

You will need:
  • Hair brush
  • Lots of kirby grips in similar colour to your hair (probably at least 10 - 2/3 per roll)
  • Hairspray
  • Pomade (optional - it helps to create the curls though)
1. Hair down, brushed and given a big side parting

This style will be easiest in terms of rolling your hair if it has a curl to it, but as long as it isn't straightened it should be manageable. Make sure you sweep your hair into a side parting - extreme ones work well with this look.

2. Letting the rolling commence...

This is as tricky as a 'tricky part' gets. This look is created by making many smaller rolls and joining them up to look like one. More on that in a moment. If you have pomade, run a small amount through each section of hair you work on, particularly on the ends, before you roll and it will help the roll keep its shape.

So, take a section of hair about 2" wide and nestle two fingers at just below ear height as in the first picture (closer to ear/head and you'll find it hard to roll). You'll now have a loop of hair with the 'end' hanging over your fingers (left picture). Wind this end round your fingers and tuck the ends in to form a neat circle of hair. Now roll the circle of hair up towards your head and hold it where you want to pin it with the hand that won't be doing the pinning - it's easiest to do this by leaving your two 'holding fingers' inside the roll, but now pressing the hair in place against your head.

3. Pinning the roll

So now you've got your fingers on one hand holding the loop to your head, you just need to pin it. To do this securely, I slide a pin into the middle of the loop - which you can just about see in the left picture. I then slide one from the opposite direction on the other side of the loop. If I can, I overlap the clips slightly to make them even less likely to budge. Now, use your judgement of how loose the loop feels and how neat it looks.

If you need extra hold or have a bit of hair poking out the top, slide as many kirby grips as you need into the top of the loop, against your head. And you'll end up with the picture on the right, hopefully!

4. Roll and repeat!

Now, all there is to do is repeat the first process with the next roll of a similar size on the side of your head. As you go to pin it, try to get the loop in line with the first one, but slightly lower towards the nape of your neck. Neaten up again with some extra pins if you need to.

5. Just a couple more...

Now do another couple of loops - 3 if you have hair left! - and you should be able to gather it all in and finish approximately halfway round the back of your head.

You can see in my picture on the left that my last roll wasn't the neatest thing, but actually, that's ok. The general look is still quite special.

Et voila

Now, where's that Christmas party!

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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Outfit: stars and stripes

Continuing the knitwear theme from my last post, I've been after a stripy knitted dress for a long, long time... And then I found one - but it also had a little something extra... strange star elbow patches. 

And I just can't tell if I like them or not. It makes me feel kind of like I have starfish on my elbows.

Dress: ASOS (Petite)
Boots: Clarks

The next time you see it it may not have them at all...

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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Vintage style: knitwear all over

This winter, I am determined not to get as downright cold as I did last year.

So, I'm on a quest to find knitwear, lots of knitwear... but the kind that isn't going to make me feel shapeless and frumpy. And oh yes, I have got next to no spare money to achieve this aim!

Fortunately for me knitwear is currently everywhere, and you can quite literally dress from head to toe in it...

So I have, and cheaply too. Both of the below outfits (excluding shoes) came to less than £30 (although most of the below I've had for years). I've linked where stuff was new.

Beret: Primark
Jumper: H&M
Skirt: Peacocks
Belt: free with an ASOS skirt
Tights: Peacocks
Shoe boots: Clarks

All as above +
Belt: free with a New Look dress
Shoes: Next

And the good thing about thin jumpers like the above is that you can get away with a cardigan over the top if it's really cold.


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Friday, 22 November 2013

Make-up: Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Kiss Me Coral

I am on a quest to find a dupe for my favourite red orange from Ruby & Millie, sadly discontinued now.

I haven't quite got there yet, but this one is a step in the right direction that I thought worth sharing. As reddish orange lipsticks go, it's a good one and for some might be the subtle lick of orange you're after. In the tube, it doesn't actually look all that orange...

And where it differs to the Ruby & Millie one is by not being quite as bright or quite as orange as that lipstick, but it's quite close. And for the price, I think it's worth checking out...

  • Subtle orange red colour that is difficult to find in most lipstick ranges
  • Moisturising - nice texture, not sticky
  • I like the packaging - see-through lid makes it easy to find the colour you're looking for in a bag of many!
  • Good price at £7.49
  • Not the best staying power
  • This is supposedly a 'glossy' lipstick, while I don't think it's super shiny, it's more so than I like, although you can blot this away mostly

I also really like the Red Lacquer shade from this range as I've said before. It's worth checking out.

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Outfit: check wiggle dress

This outfit post is full of new - new dress, new tights AND new shoes - and it's not even Christmas yet!

Today, though, I'm going to tell you all about the dress. Because, for the first time in my life I considerably shortened and re-hemmed an item of clothing all by myself. Thus, transforming a cheap dress that wasn't quite right into something I can wear and not look awful in.

My lovely new dress started out life like this, and what was just below the knee on the website's model, was of course a much more modest Victorian-length gown on my 5 feet 2 inches...

But a pair of scissors, some pins and hem tape later, here it is 6 inches less later. Custom made, practically. Using hem tape was a bit fiddly but really quite easy - I have no technical ability at these kind of things whatsoever so if I can do it literally anyone can.

Dress: Boohoo (shortened considerably)
Belt: New Look (old)
Tights: Gypsy, from ASOS
Shoes: Clarks 'Ali Katelina'

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Saturday, 9 November 2013

Hair how-to: 5 minute alternative bun

I recently put up a post with some of my standard hairstyles that I often use to get my hair out of my face for work. One of them I do all the time because it's so quick and easy.

It's essentially a bun - but with a twist in the front and a smooth finish it looks a bit more polished and along the lines of a more elaborate up-do from the mid-century. Well, at least, I think so.

Here is a somewhat messy version on me...

But now to show you the quick, easy steps to do it yourself, using my usual glamorous model.

You can do this on most lengths hair and as I go along I'll explain why. To prove my point, my hair is pretty long, but my model's hair is shoulder-length. I think this is probably the shortest you can get away with, especially if you have layers. 

You will need:
  • Hair brush
  • Hair bobble strong enough to hold a ponytail in place
  • About 10 'hair-coloured' kirby grips, depending on how thick your hair is
  • Hairspray, if you're so inclined

1. Hair down and brushed out

This style will be slightly easier to manage if your hair has a slight wave or curl... it will definitely be trickier if you've straightened it. L's hair was blow dried without styling. It's quite straight, so made some of the rolling action a bit trickier, but we managed.

2. Section off hair for the front twist

Grab a section of hair from the front of your head, that goes back about an inch, pull it over to one side. Now back comb near the roots of where you want the twist to land to give it a bit of height and purchase.

2. Make the twist - or faux roll

Twist your hair around a couple of fingers to make what is essentially a curved mini quiff. Pin just behind this - you can see in the above photo it's not especially neat, but it's holding firm, which is what I need it to do.

3. Make a ponytail

Brush your hair into a secure ponytail and fix with a bobble. You can put this anywhere on the back of your head that you like, just with any bun - but you need about the length of ponytail above or longer for the next stage to work. We've gone for mid-way down, but I often do this near the top of my head too (see pictures below).

Once your ponytail is in, if you want some volume, tease out tiny 5-10mm wide sections from the back of your head, piece by piece all around (see the picture on the right). We didn't add in two much volume for L, as we wanted a more sleek look. But in the pictures above you can see I've created a bit of volume for mine - helped by lightly backcombing the hair before it went into the ponytail. This method of adding in volume retrospectively tends to give a slightly messier look than if you were to build up height another way, but it is probably the fastest.

4. Loop the ponytail and pin down

Grab hold of the ponytail in one hand (probably your left) and loop it round the fingers of your other hand from about midway down the tail to make a nice big circle with the ends tucked in. If you want to cover the hair band, keep a strand of hair about 1cm thick out of the loop and pin this round and into the loop either before or after you've secured it (before is easier, but I forgot to do this here!)

Pin down the loop by inserting kirby grips in horizontally at either side of the loop, pinning to the back of your head - see the picture on the right where you can glimpse a kirby grip. Thicker hair will need 2-3 strong clips.

To make this into a rounded bun, once the loop is secure, fan out the sides gently with your hands and pin the outer strands of hair once or twice on either side. Now it will look like a smooth, round bun. You might find the odd strand in the loop doesn't want to stay in neatly, in which case insert kirby grips vertically underneath the bun from the bottom to secure.


It's also possible to wear this bun higher up on the head as I mentioned, just by starting the ponytail up at the top of the head...

And if you ever make a mess of pinning it, accessorise!

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