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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Friday, 1 November 2013

Make-up: top 5 red lipsticks

Red lipstick is my instant pick-me-up and favourite finishing touch. I have so many now after years of collecting them, that I even have a top 5.

L-R: So Chaud - Mac; Red Laquer - Revlon; Heat Wave - Nars; Hot Rod Red - Rockalily; Chili - Mac

Although some of these look very similar in their tubes, there are subtle differences when on...

Top L-R: Red Laquer, Heat Wave, Chilli
Bottom L-R: Hot Rod Red, So Chaud

I definitely wear different ones for different occasions.

The best all-round classic - Heat Wave (Nars semi-matte lipstick)

Nars Heat Wave lipstick review

My absolute favourite, this warm-based red on me comes over as the classic pillarbox shade. Very pigmented and long-lasting, Nars call this a 'semi-matte', but I think it's quite matte really. I sometimes wear this dabbed on for a less in-your-face colour, but generally it's my go-to for so many occasions that call for a red lipstick. Here's my full review.

The subtle working red - Red Lacquer (Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick)

Revlon Red Lacquer lipstick review

What looks like a strong, bright red in its tube, is quite sheer on application. I call this a 'working' red because it is my favourite red for the office. It has a slight gloss to it which I don't personally like that much, but can be largely absorbed by blotting. Again, I've written a proper review before.

The glamour puss - Hot Rod Red (Rockalily lipstick)

Rockalily hot rod red lipstick review

This lipstick is now hard to come by as it depends on when Rockalily has stock, but is worth getting hold of if you can. It has a lovely texture, and the colour is a deep bright red with a slight sheen to it that you can see here. It's the one I reach for when going out in the evenings. It is a close shade to Heat Wave, but it's definitely slightly darker, richer and glossier. Rockalily states it is warm-toned. Full review here.

The weekender - So Chaud (Mac matte lipstick)

mac so chaud lipstick review

My first ever red lipstick purchase, this Mac matte shade is still one of my all-time greats. In these photos, it looks most similar to Heat Wave, but is definitely both a lighter shade and more orange. I would call this a classic pin-up shade and it's one of my favourite weekend day-time shades because it lasts so well.

The winter berry - Chili (Mac matte lipstick)

mac chili lipstick review

This lipstick is red - and I've seen it look more red on others than it does me - but it's dark and has a definite brown tone that makes it great for autumn/winter, especially if you have warm colouring. It's definitely a colour that's best suited to the cold days and darker clothes. I've seen it look amazing on redheads.

I hope this has helped you find your own favourite :)

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