Sunday, 6 November 2011


Last month I was mostly loving:
High Street Make up

In recent months I have re-discovered a love for high street make up. I've always been a make up addict. I'm a complete product junkie. I need it all. Want it all. Love it all. As a child, I'd spend all my pocket money on high-end cosmetics. Saving up pocket money for trips to Selfridges and the magical make up counters. On holidays, the minute we were through airport security (back in the days before toiletries had to go in sandwich bags, and you could still take a massive vanity case of toiletries on as hand luggage) I would sprint towards the duty free make up and spend about 90% of my hard-earned holiday money on designer make up, saving the other 10% for a post card to my grandparents, and friendship bracelets for all my buddies back home.
I'm still obsessed now, a trip to Space NK of a lunchtime can leave me starving until the next payday. And I keep trying to delete myself from the MAC, NARS and Bobbi Brown newsletter distribution lists… I do, I really do.
It was a dream come true when my friend Liz started working for Estee Lauder – can you imagine 75% off the whole company range (which included Bobbi Brown, Prescriptives, MAC… you name it) but also a special Staff Shop where you could get the most amazing treats for only a few quid. I'm not going to tell you the tantrum I had when she announced that she was going to travelling for a year… so selfish of her!
Recently, however I've been making attempts at saving money. It's not going well, as my friends and family can attest. Holidays, clothes, trips, parties. I have however reigned in the high-end make up purchasing and have started using *GASP* highstreet brands for the odd occasion. A little bit of research on Make Up Alley and some well-placed articles by leading make-up artists will confirm that quite a few products live up to their more high-end cousins’ hype. Some of them don't but on "three for two" in Boots, who cares? I've been back to the old school with some Rimmel lippie (Not heather shimmer!) but The Kate Moss collection in shade "02" (how imaginative?). It doesn't have the staying power of NARS but it's a cool colour I get compliments on it all the time so it's a keeper. I found a great matching lipliner from Barry M in "dark pink" (also imaginative, no?)  , and the "fuschia" lip liner is a perfect match for my fave NARS lippie in "Schiap". Way to go Barry M.
I've always been faithful to the Barry M glitter dusts and nail varnishes, so there's nothing new there, but I have also discovered the uh-mazing staying power of the Rimmel lycra nail varnishes as well. They totally out-last anything by OPI, Chanel and Jessica. I have to say that Essie still remains to be my fave nail varnish though – those little bottles are too cute – and when applied properly (i.e. not in the car en route to a party, but in the Cowshed spa, in a snuggly chair complete with blanket and champagne) the varnish can last over two weeks! Special mention for the scented nail varnish too. So clever. Strawberry Shortcake-scented nails? What more could a girl need? Nice work Rimmel!
The Autumn Trash TV schedule
Particularly the Sunday night offering. Saturday nights snuggled up with the girls, or my boy, watching Strictly and X Factor and providing our critical analysis (I always agree with Craig – is that bad?) with yummy snacks and bottomless cups of tea and interspersed with chats and gossips in the ad breaks. But Sundays – well, Strictly (thankfully without dear old Brucie, less of Tess and more of the lovely Claudia), X Factor with some proper performers selling their wares, some dreamy outfit and accessory lusting on Downton Abbey and then a good old chortle at our resident pantomime characters on TOWIE finishes off the evening perfectly.  Then during the week there's all the other cool stuff like Glee, Made in Chelsea and Pan Am is on it’s way. Yay!
Caramel KitKats
*new chocolate obsession alert* (to replace last week's Burnt Toffee chocolate from green and Black's).
I knew they were out there but I never indulged, until two of my besties dressed up as a Kit Kat for a recent birthday party. They required a few logos to stick on things so they bought numerous Kit Kat variety packs, and then handed them out throughout the day. I got a whiff of the caramel one about ten minutes in and then proceeded to scoff at least one an hour until home time.
My new Swatch watch
I lusted after it in Heathrow duty free. I located it in Istanbul airport. I sought it out in Athens. I resolved to purchase it in Santorini, but was scuppered when they didn't have it in white. I got to Athens airport en route home and attempted to buy it, but the Swatch stall was the wrong side of security and I was scuppered again. My obsession with it grew as I was unable to make a purchase, and then I found it by mistake in my hometown but, on finally getting my hands on it, I just didn't love it as much. I think it was because it was white. I have an obsession with white watches in general but this one just didn't work. Then on a trip to the new Westfield (we didn't bond, sad times) I tried on the blue version, and I quite liked it. Only thirty quid and quite quirky. Done. It makes me feel sporty when I wear it. You know, like I should put on some trainers and go for a run or something. I won't though. Don't worry. It hasn't changed me, just enhanced me…
It also ticks really loudly, and this keeps me (and others) awake in meetings. Bonus!

Cold weather clothes

Ugg boots. Scarves. Snuggly jumpers. Hats. Mittens. I keep getting all excited, and then as soon as I put something snuggly on the weather throws us a curve ball and kicks out some summertime temperatures and I find myself sweltering like the old witch from Hansel and Gretel. Phew.
I started writing this earlier in the month when I was scouting out the best winter woollies and then Florence Finds went and wrapped them all up (excuse the pun) in a neat little article here. In the mean time I went ahead and purchased
  • this snuggly snowflake jumper by Fearne Cotton for Very (my girl crush probably played a big part in the sale though)
  • This cute little fitted jumper from Dorothy Perkins 
  • A super-cool floppy Cynthia Rowley hat with diamante bow from TK Maxx for a BARGAINOUS £14
  • And three, yes three pairs of suede and leather boots from New Look. These were so cheap it was rude not to purchase them in teal as well as black and I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of riding boots for about three years now, and although these aren’t perfect, they’re very close, and they were less than £70. Literally a steal compared to the other, less perfect, ones I’ve been trying on.
  • This sparkly party dress from the new New Look collection. Though, I don’t look anywhere near as good in it as Kelly Brook and I can’t help thinking of Britney in her “Toxic” video, or the really bad tribute from this year’s X Factor… you know what I’m talking about. So I think this one needs to be returned.

Dressing up

Kim, Katie and Neil turned 30, and Jo turned 21. There were parties, there was fancy dress, there were hangovers.  There will be memories forever! Great times!!

I also said to stop "bugging me" about my final outfit, and here it is. It was an Ugly Bug Ball hen do (see below) and I started off as Lady (Gaga) Bug" but there was just too much polyester going on. So I had a wee re-think, sprayed a whole can of Batiste big and bouncy dry shampoo on my hair, went wild on the backcombing and just went as a slutty ladybird instead. I'm from Essex, it was halloween, what can I say?
Last month I went all arty and visited the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy, saw Warhorse at The New London Theatre, and if it still counts as “arty”, saw Britney at the O2. Read my thoughts here
Cake pops
I made cake pops. Lots of them. Round ones with glitter on! Just call me Nigella!
Caro Emerald’s new album

I love the Puppini Sisters, they make my daily commute bright and bouncy, but after three years of playing them non-stop I needed something new. Caro Emerald’s “Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor” fits the bill perfectly. She ticks the quirky, vintage and retro boxes but is also funky and modern at the same time. Her tunes are so catchy. I love “That Man” for the morning and “Back it up” for the way home and a special mention to her rendition of ”Bad Romance” (obviously!) which sadly doesn’t feature on the album.

The Ugly Bug Ball
So twenty of us headed off to Bath for Sarah's hen do, and it was fun fun fun fun! We started off with croissants and coffee at Chief Hen's house and then drove in convoy to Bath to take up residence in a massive 20-bed cottage just outside of the city. We spent the afternoon drinking, chatting, playing games and then trying to avoid making eye contact with the naked man that turned up for our "life drawing" session! Even this chief prude thought it was funny! Thankfully we ate hotdogs before the willy came out, and had SUPER yummy lasagne for dinner, handmade by Mummy Hen, Anne!

The drinking went on in to the night, continued after the pyjamas went on and only when we had significant injuries and had drunk the fridge dry did we go to bed. The next morning we held off the hangover with a breakfast free-for-all in the kitchen before jumping in our mini bus for a trip to the Thermae Spa. We recovered from the night before with some bobbing around in the rooftop pool in the blazing sunshine (hello strange October weather!) some steaming, and some showering and we soon felt human again.

After the spa we had a spot of lunch and a pre-scavenger hunt briefing. Chief Hen and I sent the others off on their way, meeting them at the halfway point for a cocktail and then at the finish line where we totted up the scores over lychee and grapefruit cosmopolitans before heading back to the cottage for pizzas, wine and general tarting up for our big (or "bug") night on the town (see above).

Later that night, after plenty of vodka shots, cocktails and dancing we all piled in a taxi bus back to the cottage to catch up on X Factor (cue a roomful of crazily dressed women screaming insults or support at the telly for a while) and then crashing out.

The next day we had an even bigger hangover breakfast and a small presentation ceremony before hitting the road and I got home in time for Sunday dinner, sofa snuggles and trashy telly with the boy.

A bugtastic weekend!!!

And as promised to Claire Wacey, here are some outfit photos. Special mentions for the bug-on-board and the winning outfit - Alison's Caterpillar!

A ladybug, spider (with bug on board), Lady of the Flies (our bride), a Caterpillar, Black Widow, an ant, Amy Wine-hive
... and November
I'm now SUPER excited for November to get going - more birthdays, afternoon tea at the Soho Hotel, girly nights in, and the best bit? Planning for CHRISTMAS!!!

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