Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Baby Shower

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You may remember me sharing the news a while back that I was going to become an Auntie, and as part of my duties I was enlisted as Baby Shower host.  Let me start by saying that being a hostess of any kind is way out of my comfort zone, and something that I'm just no good at, so to say I had my doubts was an understatement.

Whilst looking for ideas, it quickly became clear that traditionally, baby showers are predominantly a day of pastel shades and chintzy decorations.  Now while I do love a bit of kitsch, the ideas I found bored me and I even wording the invitations was a chore.  Somewhere amongst my googling I discovered the suggestion of requesting that each guest bring their favourite childhood book to the party and from that my storybook-themed baby shower was born.

I made invitations that looked like a page from a fairytale book, printed them on parchment paper and rolled them into a scroll secured with a ribbon.  We then started planning the menu; children's book-themed food.  In the end we went for Gruffalo (aka apple) crumble, a chocolate Hodgeheg cake, chocolate brownies (or Mud Pie), Tiger Who Came To Tea cupcakes, a Teddy Bears' Picnic complete with Pom Bears for decoration, a Mad Hatter's Tea Party and mocktails under the guise of George's Marvellous Medicine.

For decoration I used images from The Hungry Caterpillar as bunting, and made a nappy cake in the shape of a castle to give as a gift.  A book was passed around for people to write down words of wisdom about parenthood and we played three games; Who Knows Mum-To-Be Best?, Guess The Baby Food and Guess The Baby Photo, with candles given out as a little prize to the winners.  We also had cupcakes to give away as little party favours to everyone who came.

The giving out of favourite books was a real bonding experience between the guests and gives Baby F's library a jumpstart.  It also meant that everyone was spending about the same amount and there was no sense of competition when the presents were opened.  I've been to a baby shower before for someone I didn't really know so got a pack of baby gro's and sat feeling really awkward when some real extravagant gifts were presented.  Asking everyone to bring a token gift meant this didn't happen and also helped my sister feel more comfortable accepting presents knowing that people hadn't had to spend a lot. 

Now I know this post is a touch on the long side but I was stumped at the task before me, and I think that unless you're a seasoned pro at attending or throwing baby showers it can be a little daunting.  Hopefully anyone planning a shower of their own can find some inspiration here.

What do you think of the new Baby Shower culture?  Have you ever been to one? 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Autumn Lipsticks: MAC Russian Red

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Russian Red is a firm favourite of mine, and definitely the perfect red for me.  Its blue undertones mean it doesn't make teeth look too yellow, and it's described by MAC as an "intense bluish red".

This is a must for Autumn when you don't fancy an obvious berry-toned choice.  I wear it with a red Rimmel liner underneath to increase its longevity.  It has a matte finish, so lip balm before and after wear is essential.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Diary of a Spendaholic 09

Sunday
A completed unrelated photo this week because....I did it!  I didn't buy anything for myself!  I did buy a few Christmas presents from The Book People, but haven't actually paid for them yet because I was off work so Mum put the money in for me.  So that still counts as not having bought anything right?  Speaking of which, I think being off sick was definitely the key this week; it completely wiped out two days of the week which meant I wasn't tempted to spend!

Total for the week: £0 I think my motivation this week was looking at my bank balance; despite making a real effort to spend less I've managed to spend a crazy amount this month and don't seem to have much to show for it.  I did have to pay for my MOT this week and buy a few bits for my sister's baby shower that I hosted, but for now the point of these diaries is to curb my unnecessary spending on myself.  Once that's under control I'll move onto stopping spending so much on the "necessities"; like I said last week I spend way too much on just being a grown up, so I think there's certainly room for improvement there!  

Friday, 26 October 2012

MAC Gilt By Association

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This is my first Mineralize Eye Shadow, and isn't it lovely?  I'm not sure how long the swirling patterns will last with me smudging my brush across, but for now I'm happy to sit back and bask in its prettiness!

Sam used this in her Helena Christensen tutorial and I fell in love.  I told myself that I didn't really need it, that my mundane life didn't call for something as smokey and glittery as this, but as always I cracked.  I'm glad I did, because despite its predominantly black appearance in the pan, this transforms into a beautiful golden brown shade.

On my eyes however, this maintains its brown golden tone on the lid, but in the crease the black shows through.  When I swatch it on my hand, in no time at all its all fallen away and I was worried that it wouldn't last on my eyes.  I wore it out the other night though, and I'm pleased to report that this didn't happen.  It could be down to my drunken urge to reapply every time I went to the toilet to avoid this happening though...

This leads me to another plus point.  Gilt By Association is incredibly easy to use and wear and despite my intoxicated top-ups it didn't create a mess.  It formed the best and easiest smokey eye I've ever done, and I'd say everyone needs to pick it up!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Autumn Lipsticks: MAC Media

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Media looks soooo much scarier in the bullet!  In real life it's even darker than it looks here; more of a true brown shade, yet when applied it's completely different and a deep plum tone.  MAC describe it as an "intense reddish purple".

I picked this up a while back before the vampy lips trend really took hold, and neither my friend nor the MUA at MAC fully understood why I was desperately swatching all the lipsticks and declaring them not dark enough.  This is definitely not a workday lipstick, and I only wear it when I'm feeling particularly brave....I'd go as far as to say it's bordering on man repellant!  That said, it looks great with dewy skin, bronzed cheeks and a subtle golden sheen on the eyes.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Mango Kate Moss Blazer

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So this is the cheeky blazer purchase I spoke about the other week.  I love it, and at £29.99 it was such a bargain for a blazer in general, let alone one from the Kate Moss campaign.  Can you imagine how much a Kate Moss blazer would have been in Topshop?  This is amazing quality for the price and I'm really surprised it's not sold out already.  Get yours here.

I'm currently suffering from the nasty cold which is doing the rounds at the moment.  I'm going to sleep and waking up with a throat that feels like it's swollen shut, and suffering with the most itchy and uncomfortable ears ever.  I'm secretly pleased though; this is the last week of an 8 week term at work which is longer than ever for this time of year.  I usually get sick during half terms, so I think perhaps my body has given up early which means hopefully I'll get it out of my system this week and be ok for my week off!

My plans for the week off include two baby showers, a birthday bash, a trip to Westfield, hopefully meeting up with Blue October and getting my hurrr did.  It shows up incredibly ginger-toned in photos which isn't true to life at all, so I'm going for a much cooler, lighter brown/borderline blonde.  At the risk of sounding like I'm copying Lily (I'm not!  I was asking my sister about this and showing her the exact same photo Lily linked to) I'm wanting to head towards Cara Delvingne.  Or my favourite Instagrammer - MissyElz.  I can't wait.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Diary of a Spendaholic 08

Monday
Amazon - £5.99
I was planning to hold off on making this purchase; I have about five books still waiting to be read on my kindle, but for some reason they just weren't doing anything for me.  I spotted the paperback version of this book in Tesco and it really grabbed my attention so I figured I'd just go for it and download.  I've said it before, but spending money on literature really doesn't count, right?

Saturday
I'm actually feeling immensely proud of myself today.  Ed wanted to go shopping so we hit our local TK Maxx/Outfit complex and then went into town, and I managed to avoid buying anything!  Perhaps I've turned over a new leaf...

Sunday
This week's diary is really thin on the ground because.....I've been good!  That said, somehow I've still spent a crazy amount of money this month.  I checked my bank balance and felt slightly sick and there's still my MOT to be done.  This may be a case of wanting tmi, but do you go into your overdraft at all?  I read so many blogs and watch so many YouTubers who seem to have neverending supplies of money to fund their shopping sprees.  I certainly don't have wads of cash at my disposal and I'm always feeling guilty when I see my bank balance sink lower and lower, but I suppose I should be happy that I never spend what I don't have and manage to stay out of my overdraft.  It still doesn't feel good realising I've spent too much though!  I've got my eye on a pair of River Island pants, but I'm going to wait until payday and track them down in store to see what they look like in the flesh.  I also remember Lily saying the stitching in hers had started to come away after only a few wears so maybe they should be avoided? 

Total for the week: £5.99  Wow, the lowest figure I've had since I started this diary!  Of course it doesn't take into account the ridiculous amount I seem to spend on the way home from work some nights by stopping off for cat food or a potato (I obviously get sucked in by Co-Op's special offers and buy a whole lot more).  Seriously, I swear that's where 80% of my money goes.  It's ridiculous, being a grown up sucks.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Autumn Lipsticks: MUA Shade 1

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I got this at the same time as Shade 10 and it looks great underneath that as a base.  This is a real red shade in the bullet form, although next to MAC Russian Red it's much darker in tone.  When swatched however it looks far more pinky, almost raspberry, than red.

This has the same inoffensive fragrance as Shade 10, and again only cost £1.  This wears nicely with a good few hours of staying power.  The lid doesn't click shut properly on this one however, but for £1 you can't really complain.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

If you go down to the woods today

The fir tree got me more than a little excited for Christmas, and does anybody else see a deer when they look at the log in the last picture?

Sundays in Autumn were made for woodland walks.  These lovely woods aren't as close as when we were living with Mum so we have to drive to them, which makes it a bit of a pain to take Dudley cos he's big and get the car all muddy.  Look how big he's got since last year!

Speaking of how big he is, it really makes me nervous walking him.  He was off the lead playing with Ed when a little jack russell wandered along.  Dudley instantly ran over to play and the little dog started snarling and yelping.  Dudley didn't even touch him, but he's a big boy and I'm well aware that he could do some damage if he wanted to.  The thing is though, Dudley never wants to, but this dog was about the size of our cats and unlike Coco and Beau just ran underfoot rather than away.  My worst nightmare would be for Dudley to hurt somebody or another dog by accident, but I know his size always makes situations like this always look so much worse.  It could just be me panicking, but I hate the thought that people will think we're irresponsible dog owners purely based the fact that he's big and wants to play with anything that moves.

Do any other dog owners have this problem? 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Autumn Lipsticks: Up The Amp

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This is reminding me of Snob here, although in real life it's much more of a deeper violet shade than Snob's pastel lilac hue.  It's a lovely bright purple colour, described by MAC as a "lavender violet".

Lavender is definitely the right word for this, and its Amplified Creme finish makes this an intense colour.  I have quite full lips, and I often worry that this is just too much on my face and that it's making me look a bit like a corpse.  I had to include it though, because when Blue October tried (and bought) it on our shopping trip it looked lovely on her.  She patted it in to her lips to make it less vibrant, which I'll have to give a go.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Diary of a Spendaholic 07

Sunday
House of Fraser - £29.99
Warehouse - £3
I've been bad.  I wasn't even going to own up to this (hence why there's only one entry in this week's diary) because: a) I'm ashamed and b) I paid on my Recognition Card so won't have to pay until next month - so does that technically count as spending this week?  So yes, my "I'm not buying any more clothes in October" is a big fat fail, but as ever I have an excuse....
That damn blazer was reduced down to £27!!!  I was so tempted, but out of principle I resisted.  Well, and the fact that I remembered another beautiful blazer by Mango that I'd spotted.  In a moment of weakness I placed an order when I could very well have held off for a few weeks, and simply out of defiance and my refusal to buy that other one.  I do love the blazer though and it was definitely worth the money - £29.99 for a good quality blazer with shoulder pads (I always judge quality in a blazer by the addition of shoulder pads, even though I hate them) really is a bargain.  Just a shame I let myself down by buying it.
I did however wander around the local retail park and only buy a £3 hat which was reduced from £15.  There were loads of other things that caught my eye, including some beautiful notepads in TK Maxx, but I think my guilt stopped me from spending.  But I think that fact that I went shopping and was strong enough to say no to stuff is a good sign.
I also spent a small fortune in Boots, but since that was all on toiletries and the fact that no make up made its way into my basket means I've decided not to include that and written it off as a necessary spend which I don't have to feel bad about.

Total for the week: £32.99  This isn't a bad total and the only reason I feel so bad is because I was doing really well and had made it all the way till Thursday without any spending.  There's always next week though I suppose...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Colour Xtreme Hair Art Spray

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Sorry for the iPhone shots! 
When I was sent these Colour Xtreme sprays to review, there was only one person I could think of with hair good enough for the job.  Meet my model Jess, my friend's lovely daughter with the ultimate Rapunzel-esque locks.  We used the shades pink and purple to get this dip dye look.

The sprays were really easy to use and reminded me of the glitter hair sprays we used to use as kids.  The pressure of the spray did have a tendancy to lift the hair whilst trying to apply, but I found that being less timid and just committing to the spray and really going for it worked best!  It is a bit messy - I wore gloves and we managed to ruin an old coat she was wearing - but that's to be expected with this sort of product.

Jess' younger sister also wanted a go with these, so we went for just purple in her hair.  The quality of the look really does seem to depend on the hair colour and type though; Jess has lovely natural blonde hair, whilst her sister's is more of a borderline brown colour.  The purple was visible, but didn't really have the same effect.  She also suffers with easily tangled hair, meaning the spray turned slightly crispy in her hair, whereas in Jess' thicker hair it wasn't as knotted and on the whole you couldn't really feel it. 

These sprays are really cheap (RRP £3.99 for a single spray or £12 for a set), and a fab way to get a temporary transformation.  They may not work as well on every hair colour though, so that's something to bear in mind.  On the whole I'm really impressed and think they're a great idea.  Even better is the fact that you can use stencils alongside these to get patterns applied....leopard print hair?  Yes please! 

Colour Xtreme sprays are available at Boots, ASOS or Amazon.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Autumn Lipstick: MAC Girl About Town

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Girl About Town was my first-ever MAC purchase, and allegedly a favourite of Cheryl's.  It appeals to me as more of a grown up pink and is still one of my favourite shades.  It's described by MAC as a "fabulous fuschia"....I couldn't agree more!

I do find that this has a tendancy to make my teeth appear more yellow, but the intense colour pay off and the added extra it gives to an otherwise plain make up look more than make up for this.  This is my go-to Autumn pink shade!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Floral Leggings

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- Shirt: Primark - Leggings: H&M - Coat: River Island - Necklace: F21 - Shoes: Primark -
You'll probably recognise these leggings from my wishlist.  This print is absolutely everywhere thanks to the Lana Del Ray campaign, and as soon as I saw these I fell in love.  The blue versions which originally caught my eye were much more of a cooler tone IRL, and although they'd be good for Spring these ones are great for this season with the mix of pinks, purples and the hint of burgundy.

I wore these on Sunday when Ed's Mum came down to visit.  Despite spending pretty much every weekend for 18 months up at her house in Norwich I'm still not so good at the whole impressing the in-laws thing.  We went round to my Mum's afterwards and with his ridiculously naive comments Ed is so much better at charming my family than I am his!  Still, it was lovely to see them (they drove 3+ hours just to come for lunch and say hi!) and it's really got me homesick for Norwich.  I never thought I'd fall in love with a certain place, but Norwich is a beautiful city and holds so many memories for me.  And I don't know why, but it's always this time of year that I start feeling wistful....maybe it's the cold nights I spent huddled up in a single bed with Ed....and I'd give anything to go back there.  It's just such a chore with Dudley and the cats though but fingers crossed we'll be going back soon!

Did you all have a good weekend?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Autumn Lipsticks: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush

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I love my Revlon Balm Stains, and this one in the shade Crush is definitely my favourite.  It's a beautiful berry shade that gives a good few hours of wear and leaves lips feeling nourished throughout.  Lipstick doesn't tend to wear well on me, but I can wear this confidently without worrying that throughout the day it's making my lips look a mess.  And as for it's staining-ability, I've found that the morning after having worn this there's still a plummy tinge to my lips.

As with the other Balm Stains, this one does come complete with the standard minty fragrance.  Some people like this, I on the other hand really don't.  Although I have found that applying this straight after brushing my teeth means I can't detect its scent!