Thursday, 12 September 2013

Doin' it Librarian Style!

Well, folks, this is my first outfit post for a very long time! I have been woefully slack for which I apologise, I haven't even shared (until now) the exciting acquisition which is... my new glasses! The Boy says they make me look like a librarian, which is apt since I work in a library... To play up the librarian angle I am posing in my Gramps' study, which is filled with... wait for it... books! See what I did there...?
I have been supposed to wear glasses since childhood. They were the bane of my life from my very first pink Minnie Mouse frames until university when I found liberation as I ventured into the world of contact lenses. I gave up on those after a relatively short time, however. Apparently my eyes don't respond well to foreign objects. Quelle surprise. So I just... stopped wearing anything. I know, I know, but it was not 100% vanity that caused years of sub-par sight; it was at least 32% clumsiness after I trod on my glasses and broke them, then 23% laziness as I never bothered to get a new pair! We could even attribute a good 7.5% to stinginess- glasses ain't cheap, you know! BUT, now I have these beauties! Which, as previously mentioned, make me look like a librarian- and a pretty freakin' fashion-forward librarian, I'd say; thankyou, Tommy Hilfiger at Specsavers! Love a bit of preppy...

 My check-tastic outfit (check is big for AW13/14 in case you've been living in a cave since before fashion week) comprises a Next-via-ebay midi skirt, which is good and full, great for twirling. I've teamed it with some black crocodile loafers bought last year for £4.50 from Cancer Research on London Street, along with black tights (usually good ol' M&S) and a pink cashmere jumper which I bought as a cream-coloured jumper from a market stall in Sheffield for £4 and recently hand-dyed with a dylon sachet in 'Flamingo Pink'. I have layered two necklaces, one (the sparkly one) in a recent New Look sale for a couple of pounds, and one in a mega Topshop jewelery sale at Outfit, Riverside, about two years ago where they were selling millions of items for £1 each! I wear it loads- it's really good for layering under a shirt collar.
The piece de resistance is my tweedy blazer, bought for about £2.50 in a sheffield charity shop. It has a gorgeous red lining which you can't see very well but means it looks good with the cuffs turned up.

And here I was, ready for my close-up... I took longer than five minutes to do my make-up, an occasion which I thought should not go unmarked! I tend to just use a BB cream on my skin, with a touch of powder on my (distressingly shiny) T-zone (still, oily skin gets fewer wrinkles, right?) which is what I have done here. I've been using a maybelline BB cream over most of the summer which contains salicylic acid, which my skin responds really well to. I have groomed and drawn in my brows with a Rimmel pencil in brown/black. I could probably go slightly lighter, but I've used the side of the pencil with a light touch and haven't strayed much from the natural shape of my brows; I'm intending to dye my hair darker for winter so this will be a good colour for then, and I can experiment with groucho-marx-esque brows! I have left my eyes very neutral- just a sweep of nude shadow and a coat of maxfactor exaggerate mascara on the top and bottom lashes (I always do my bottom lashes, I feel like it opens up my eyes more) and a touch of maybelline cream blush on the apples of my cheeks, leaving the drama to my lips. I have mixed two lipstick shades to try and match to the pink of my jumper but I still don't think I've quite got there... Can anyone recommend a good, statement pink lipstick?

It's good to be back! Hope you enjoy!
Much love, Kate Xx

Monday, 22 April 2013

First Summer outfit of the year!

Well, folks, this weekend we Norfolkians experienced something that could be described as Sunshine. See how it partially blinds me in this image...? It was rather magical, and prompted me not only to shave my legs, but to get them out, too!

 For me, there is one colour which typifies bright, sunny days: the colour of summer toenails across the globe- Coral!
Something about it just makes me happy. Sure, it looks good with a tan and not so good against stark white (I'm referring to my legs, here) but I actually don't care. The sun came out, which makes people do all sorts of crazy things (like walk around in public practically naked- I'm sure you will hear some rants from me on this topic as the temperatures rise!)...

My fun-in-the-sunshine outfit comprises this gorgeous oversized coral blouse, bought from a charity shop for a couple of pounds, teamed with this Topshop-via-Ebay polka dot cream skater skirt.

 I am also wearing some Topshop-via-Ebay nude-coloured wooden-heeled leather sandals. I had gone to all the trouble of painting my toenails coral with a glittery topcoat during Made In Chelsea the previous Monday evening, and this was their first outing! Peekaboo!

I love a good classic polka dot, but I particularly like the kind of 'smudged' stitch effect on these ones!

(Eek! That's one startlingly white leg, there!) I have only recently emerged from the shower in these pics, so my hair is towel-dried with several spritzes of sea salt spray (I have just used a Superdrug own-brand for £2.49 here being on a rather tight budget at the moment!) and a slick of mattifying moisturiser on my face. Other than that I am au naturel (hence no close ups!). I hate the feeling of wearing lots of makeup in the summer, particularly powdery kinds, which is inconvenient since I tend to be perma-shined during the hotter months.
BB cream is a great invention and I don't tend to feel like I'm wearing makeup with it on, but i will be on the lookout for some shine-control products as the weather gets warmer! keep you posted...

Hope you enjoy!
Muck love, Kate Xx

Monday, 8 April 2013

Historical Sauces Vintage Beauty School

 Yesterday was my second Historical Sauces event experience, Held at Olive's Bar on Elm Hill.
The event was a retro beauty masterclass, entitled the 'Vintage Beauty School'. The idea was to create a generic 'vintage' look, after first taking us through the traditional method of cleansing and preparing the skin, using cold cream!

This is the stuff we used, folks! My skin tends to be rather oversensitive (by which I mean breaks out/flakes off/turns neon red) to pretty much everything except The Body Shop Vitamin E range so I was slightly nervous when we applied such a thick, rich product all over our faces and rubbed in with our fingertips to cleanse the skin. In preparation for making-up my face I had not applied any make up prior to the class, which was a shame as it meant I didn't get to evaluate how efficient the cold cream was as a cleanser. However, there were many foundation-coloured Kleenex (developed, explained the lovely Lucy, as a product for removing cold cream, until marketers realised that people were also using the tissues as disposable handkerchiefs) piling up around our table when it came to cold-cream-removal, so I am assured that the cream is effective!

Also, my skin is break-out free today, and any product-related catastrophes tend to occur soon after using said products. The cream, despite being rich, does not appear to have clogged my pores. This may be due, in part, to the second element of the cleansing process: that of sweeping the skin with Witch Hazel using cotton wool pads. Witch Hazel is an astringent with which I have a certain level of experience during my breakout-filled teen years. But then I did also used to cover my skin in surgical spirit (not recommended- ow!) to dry up my spots. That was a bad time...
 I am one of those people who does not quite feel clean without soap and water, so I get through bottles of toner much more quickly than cleanser purely because I tend to douse my face in it to feel non-greasy. I thought that after using such a thick product on my skin I wouldn;t feel quite clean afterwards (i can almost feel my pores becoming overloaded. Is there something wrong with me...?!) After a quick sweep of witch hazel, though, my skin certainly felt non-greasy. Also the richness of the cold cream which had been left on my face for a while counteracted the drying tendency of the Witch Hazel. And I felt like I had really pampered myself through the process of massaging and wiping clean the skin!

Here I am, cleansed and ready to go!

We began with the base, after a quick application of moisturiser. Lucy recommended Simple, which has been going since the 70s, apparently. I used my Body Shop Vitamin C skin reviver, because I find it acts as a great make-up primer.
The make up base consisted of a layer of Pan-stik (which you can pick up in Boots for £6.99), which I had never used before- I tend to only use a BB cream on my skin unless it's a special occasion. A vintage look requires a flawless, 'porcelain' complexion, so thick coverage is needed. Next, a layer of powder: Lucy recommended Maxfactor loose powder, I used my own Maxfactor Creme Puff, which gives even thicker coverage. I would normally just use in on my T-zone to prevent shine, but I used it all over my face.
We then groomed and coloured in our eyebrows. Lucy suggested that we merely follow our natural shape rather than to to recreate an era-specific shape. My brows are quite dark and the general shape is quite good and is very natural, but they are patchy due to over-plucking during younger years, so I use quite a dark pencil to fill them in.
Finally came the winged eyeliner.

Now, I have never successfully achieved this look before. I had believed, until yesterday, that this look should be possible in one clean stroke of liner. This, apparently, is not so.
The key is firstly to use a good brush, and I shall certainly be investing in one. Lucy used a thin brush almost like a paintbrush to paint on her liner. The brush is dipped into the liquid liner bottle and excess product is removed to avoid a 'blobby' look. Lucy told us to place a tiny dot in the outer corner of each eyelid as a quide to show where the line should stop. Next, she told us to begin to draw along the lash line from the centre of the eyelid (in line with the pupil) out towards the dot. The centre of the lid should be where the line is thickest, thus if any 'blobbing' occurs with the first touch of product, it isn't devastating.
When my line was drawn the beginning in the centre of the eye was very obvious. Lucy told us that if this was the case we should work from the inner corner in small strokes from the point at which the line looked more natural. 
Finally: the flicks! Lucy showed us how to measure a line from the corner of our nose to the corner of the eye, and that this line should continue to create the flick, which can be as long or short as desired/as suits the eye. Depending on the flick, some filling in may need to be done to create a triangle between the corner of the eye, the end of the flick, and the lash line.

These are my final eye flicks! I am very excited because I have never managed to create this look on myself before, and I love it!

 Finally, we applied lipstick and blusher. Again, rather than try and create an era-specific lip shape, we followed our natural lip shape, but took the line in at the corner of the mouth to avoid looking 'clowny'. I am wearing a Besame Lipstick in Marilyn Red. We first lined our lips in pencil, and then filled in the lip with pencil to create staying power for the lipstick, then filled in the colour with lipstick using a lipbrush. With the blusher, Lucy encouraged us to stick to the apples of our cheeks and use a pinky colour. She also explained that we could even use lipstick to create rosy cheeks.
This is the finished look! What do we think? I can't wait to try it again!

The evening would not be complete without a picture with all of the Sauces! Left to right we have the petite and gorgeous Kerry, Aka Missy Vintage complete with very adorable cheesy grin; me, adopting the famous pose; the beautiful Lucy, aka The Glamourologist, who, incidentally, has basically perfect skin without make-up and the loveliest voice- it was a pleasure listening to her instructions; and the fabulous Gemma, aka the famous Retro Chick.

I also purchased a very gorgeous new Besame lipstick in Cherry Red, on which I received an exclusive Historical Sauces discount!
I can't wait to try out a 1920s look with it! Watch this space!

Hope you enjoy reading! Much love, Kate Xx

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Norwich Vintage Fair!

This Sunday was a most joyous occasion, for it saw St Andrew's Hall in Norwich transformed into a veritable Mecca of vintage delights! I was lucky enough to pay a visit with my lovely cousin, Liz, and we spent a wonderful couple of hours perusing dresses, skirts, blouses, knits, coats, shoes, bags, homewares, and all manner of other retro paraphernalia! Check out this amazing VW camper bearing the vintage fair banner- this could only herald good things...

The fair was running between 12 and 5pm; we arrived at about three, which we discovered was fortuitous as stall owners were starting to reduce their prices. Who doesn't enjoy finding a bargain?! Here are some of the pretty things I found...

Vintage briefcases!

Rows of fur coats! I already have a brown one and a black one so I didn't linger, it could have been too dangerous...

I thought this little guy was very cute, and looked very comfortable on his flowery cushion...

Too many pretty things to count!

If only gorgeous vintage handbags did grow on trees like this...

I really loved this skirt, it was black and gold striped, pleated and shiny (I am part-magpie); what is not to like? I did manage to restrain myself, however. (not fully, though, as you shall see...)

If the excitement of so much gorgeous vintage-ness was not enough, there were also beautiful cupcakes courtesy of Biddy's Tea Room who were providing the refreshments for the day. I, sadly, have given up sugar for lent (!) so I indulged in an Earl Grey to sit and watch the merry vintage shoppers go about their day. (And grill Lizzie about the new(ish) man in her life ;-) ...) These lemonade cupcakes were looking especially tempting, though; loving the addition of the little straws, adorable!

Now, I did hint that perhaps my sojourn did not go entirely purchase-free...

That is because it didn't... I bought two very exciting and wonderful items. The first being...

...This dress! It was a mere £5, and I love the adorable puffed sleeves and candy-coloured stripes. It will look great with tights, a belt and some little ankle boots. And it will be great for summer with bare legs (I hope! Lets petition the nice-weather fairy, everyone!). Apologies for my messy room in the background...

I did also purchase what is probably the best bomber jacket in the world ever. I may go as far as to say it is simply the best thing in the world, ever. I saw it and fell in love, and that was that. We will not mention the fact that it cost me £28 (It should have been £30, I managed to haggle off £2 which eased my conscience slightly...) that I should not really have been spending on bomber jackets, including those which may or may not be the best thing ever... Nonetheless, I can't wait to wear it!

I am not going to post a picture now, in order that you all may be sufficiently prepared within yourselves for its wondrous-ness, I shall wait and post the first time I wear it that you may see it depicted in all its glory... So stay tuned!

Hope you enjoy reading!

Much love, Kate Xx

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Feed Zooey cake, stat!

So, I have been spending a lot of time recently re-watching 'New Girl' episodes. This has had the following effects:

1) I have developed a serious girl-crush on Zooey Deschanel. I mean, lets face it, she is gorgeous, funny, has the best hair I have ever seen, she's in 'Elf' which is basically the best Christmas film ever made, and if you didn't actually think she could get any cooler, she sings in a band. And they're good. I think it's true love, folks.

2) I have developed a serious wardrobe-crush on Zooey Deschanel. To the point that I have spent hours trawling Ebay for high-waisted skirts, shorts and pussy-bow tops. I think the picture above illustrates my point: the artful print-mixing, the tiny cinched-in waist, classic red/white/blue colour palette, a good polka dot is always a winner, and those gloves... Wow. 10/10 for originality, overall presentation and blow-dry skillz. She looks gorgeous, I love it. I love her. Zooey, if you're out there reading this one day, I love you and I truly believe we could be best friends. How about it...?

The thing is, on my Zooey-search via google images, I came across this picture which disturbed me greatly... Take a look:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Zooey appears to be slightly less of a woman in this picture. A good stone-and-a-half less. I mean, don't get me wrong, she is still gorgeous. And her outfit is very cute. But... Am I alone in thinking that Ms Deschanel looked about 100 degrees hotter in the previous image? And not just because Zooey's silhouette in the previous image is a semi-attainable one for us mere mortals; I actually, genuinely believe she looks better with a bit more meat on her. Which is a big statement from a past eating-disorder-sufferer (that's me, guys) to make! If she and I were best friends in actuality I would promptly feed her cupcakes...

I would welcome others' thoughts and comments on this? I don't know what the chronology of these images is, but I hope the next time I see Zooey on screen she's looking more like this...

Gorgeous! What do you all think?

Much love, Kate Xx

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Swishing at The Library

Well, folks, last night was a food-and-swishing extravaganza at The Library restaurant in wonderful Norwich! My lovely friend Gina and I first sampled the delights of the Winterfest menu; you can enjoy two courses and a glass of wine for only £10 per person! Very reasonable, one might say. I went for salmon and hand-cut chips, which was a very large plate of food; definitely not stingy on the chip front! We like this...
Gina went for the vegetarian option comprising leek and potato dauphinoise and roasted veg. She isn't a vegetarian (and never will be!), but unfortunately she doesn't like fish (this is quite a gross understatement... I, on the other hand, adore it, which is partly why I still eat it despite giving up meat...) and the carnivorous option involved lamb's liver, which did not appeal. Her dish was apparently delicious, but not quite substantial enough (a chicken breast would have rectified the problem a treat, apparently), but due to my extremely generous chip-portion we filled her up a bit!

We both were recommended the chocolate tart for dessert. And here it is, in all its glory... wow! It was a definite good shout- very delicious. I have decided to give up all refined sugar for lent, so this was a sort of last hoorah! The only comment I would make on this is that it would have been even more amazing warmed up!
This, we must bear in mind, though, is coming from someone who used to put chocolate gateaux in the microwave... (nb it collapses and the sponge disintegrates a bit. This is something my friend and I used to do quite often and then eat the whole thing. I feel slightly sick thinking about it now!)

Anyhoo, next came the swishing!

The swish was in aid of Leeway , a domestic abuse charity in Norwich, so it was a pleasure to help support the amazing work they do, and even more of a pleasure that we could do this involving fashion!
This is a picture of my haul! I managed to grab 3 dresses, a light coat from Principles and this awesome pair of high-waisted 80s style Gap jeans. I've added the belt and I intend to wear them with a tight or logo t-shirt tucked in and doc marten style boots. Can't wait!

This is a polka-spot Forever 21 dress that fits me quite well. Polka-dots are always a favourite, but I do intend to change these buttons. They are actually a kind of sludgy colour, despite looking like a sunny yellow in the image...

This is another Forever 21 polka-dot dress! This one is a bit larger so it will either be worn with a belt or passed on to someone with bigger boobs than me. Which is not difficult...

Awesome 80s jeans rolled up at the bottom! Am I slightly too excited about  what could be argued is quite an unattractive item of clothing...?

Principles light-weight 3/4 sleeve dress coat. I think its quite exciting and if nothing else the fabric will be useful! I will post pictures if and how I wear it!

Finally a Mango dress still with tags on! It fits quite nicely and the colour looks good on me, I think I shall wear it for going out with a coral lipstick. Keep you posted!

All in all a very successful evening! We did proceed to go home and eat two pancakes apiece... All that swapping is very energy-draining, youknow?

Hope you enjoy! Much love,

Kate Xx

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Jumble sales and blueberry muffins!

Well, Last weekend was full of Norwich-based fun and frolics! The first note-worthy event was the bi-monthly Jumble-Up sale on Saturday at the Norwich Arts Centre! This was my first jumble-up as a seller and by golly, twas a fun and joyous occasion! Here's a sneaky shot of my wares, and my very lovely money tin which I was not prepared to sell...

 I have discovered that not only are these events a treasure-trove of thrifty and fabulous fashions, especially if your style is a bit 'vintage', but that you can make loads of friends too! Lots of the people I chatted to are regulars and all know each other, and were more than happy to fetch me Earl Grey and suchlike, which in my book is the basis of a life-long friendship!

 I thought this was lovely! Ros, the vendor of this lovely book was selling amazing genuine vintage stuff from her granny's house! And her very gorgeous two-year-old son was with her and kept us all entertained with his scary dinosaur impressions! Cue 'awwwww'...!

 Shoes, glorious shoes...!

And handbags, my my, this green and navy Chiltern one on top caught my eye straight away! I managed to restrain myself, though. I did intend not to buy anything... But I couldn't resist coming away with a high-waisted Levis sailor-style skirt, for £4, which I have worn practically every day this week, and a long black faux-fur coat that the lovely stall-owner Rose sold me at a discount for £8! How could I say no...?!

Some lovely green dresses! I saw the girl who bought the chinese-style dress (just seen) try it on and she looked amazing!

Making clever use of some wiring to hang more clothes!

Does everyone remember these? I used to collect trolls when I was little! I had one my Gramps brought me back from Denmark on business which started the whole thing. You used to be able to get little ones that sat on the top of your pencil...?

Anyhoo, all in all I had a lovely time and I managed to make a tidy £50 into the bargain selling off some of my old detritus! I will definitely be at the next one with a spending budget for bargains! Prices seemed to be a lot cheaper than even charity shops, the ladies opposite me were selling a rail of (really good quality) clothes for only £3 each and as the day went on they were selling more and more stuff off at 50p! My advice to y'all: get to the Norwich Arts Centre website and find out when the next jumble-up is (psst, its March 2nd) and I'll see you there!

After a night spent in a cardboard box for the YMCA (this deserves a blog post of its own!) on Sunday The Boy and I took a little trip to the Cherryleaf Coffee House on St Giles. I had never been before but had oft' walked by and gazed through the windows with the intention of visiting one day...

This was that fated day!

I went for eggs benedict with smoked salmon, which came on a toasted english muffin. The eggs were poached to perfection, there was an impressive amount of smoked salmon, and the food was all made and brought to table within about 5 minutes! Great if you need a speedy snack, plus the eggs-and-salmon-combo kept me full for hours! It was good, too, how the hollandaise sauce was served on the side, rather than all over the food, as it meant I could add as little as I liked. Look how delicious it was!
My meal was accompanied by a pot of Earl Grey tea, and then The Boy and I shared...

 ...The Best Muffin In The World. 

It was banana, blueberry and maple syrup flavoured. It was moist, sweet and delicious. I am a little bit in love. With a cake... I highly recommend everyone in the world samples this! Mmmmmm. We were chatting to the owner after we'd eaten and apparently she injects the muffins with extra maple syrup after they're cooked for extra sweet maple-y goodness! Wow.

The whole place is actually very lovely and the sort of coffee shop where you could sit with a book and relax. Which is something I intend to do very soon!

I also intend to sample the homemade soup! The day we went we missed out on mushroom and leek. Next time, next time...

What a wonderful weekend in the Fine City of Norwich!

Hope you enjoy reading! Much love,

Kate Xx