Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Ginger and Bette's day out

A few weeks ago, @DitaVonTeese posted a twitpic of something called the Silver Swan, and I thought "Ooh, how pretty", assumed it resided in Paris or LA or one of the other exotic locations Dita hangs out, and thought nothing more of it.

THEN, a girl I vaguely know, who lives in the general Newcastle area, re-tweeted Dita, saying something about being taken to see the swan all her life.  "Huh?" thought I, "That swan thing lives in England?  In the North East?  Then I must go there!"  I clicked the link and learned that the 17th century lifesize automaton is housed in the Bowes Museum in County Durham, just a short journey from where I live.

THEN, I stumbled across a post by Pink Bow, a North-East blogger whose amazing style I very much admire, about her trip to see an exhibition of Vivienne Westwood shoes - at the Bowes Museum.

THEN I had a random Monday off work, and THEN my friend Kayleigh got fired for having dodgy wisdom teeth, and THAT is how I came to take a road trip to the Bowes Museum yesterday.

The museum is GORGEOUS, but Kayleigh and I were actually a little underwhelmed by the exhibits, for which we had paid nine whole pounds AND been heavily hinted towards a donations box upon our exit.  A lot of the everyday exhibits were packed up while the rooms were being repainted, or were back on display, still partially wrapped up.  As for the Vivienne Westwood shoes, they were quite astounding, but the exhibition seemed kind of unfinished - the shoes seemed to have been hastily pushed into a room already half-filled with the textiles exhibits, some of the display cases were only half-full, and some information (other than the short biography of VW) about Westwood's collections and inspirations and the evolution of the brand would have been nice.

I really liked the swan -  I was surprised by how fast its silver neck moved, all jerky and violent like a real swan, and the creepy, twinkly music that played while it dove for, caught and gobbled up its silver fish gave it that sinister magical realism that I spent a joyous dissertation-season obsessing over! (Oh Freud, you and your theories of the uncanny and the unheimlich...!)  I did think that it had been bigged-up a little too much, though- the extent of the "Come and see our silver swan!" publicity didn't do the actual swan any favours.

Kayleigh and I, having exhausted our capacity for looking at antiquities within half an hour, were also disappointed with the museum's facilities for children.  How are we supposed to colour in an ancient Roman plate when the pencils are all blunt and you don't provide a rubber?!  Or, for that matter, how are we to play the amazing-looking 3D snakes and ladders game in the shape of the actual museum, without counters or a dice?

HOWEVERRR, the day was not a complete wash-out, because we indulged in what is definitely my completely absolute all-time favourite activity, behaving like a loony and posing for silly pictures at local places of interest.  Since I was geektastic and spent yesterday evening organising my shambolic My Pictures folder by event, then month, then year (way to end a holiday in style, Hamer), here are some of my favourite silly memories, featuring some of my favourite silly people.

To start with, here's Simon in Stratford-upon-Avon, imitating some of Shakespeare's best-loved characters:

Above; as Falstaff and Lady MacScottishPlay.  Below, as Hamlet, with Hannah as the skull.

Stephanie and I as very serious sentries at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen:

Me trying to push Hannah into the Serpentine...
...and as a pair of pixies in the shrubbery:

Hannah is the best person to take silly pictures with.  Here we are having fun in the children's playground:

Children have the most fun in museums.  Stephanie and I loved the secret mouse hole at the Hancock.

Ruth, Alice, Matt and me on the steps of the cathedral in Liverpool:

Impersonating Billy Fury, also Liverpool:

Me making friends with a lion doorstop at Kensington Palace:

Me having a bath at Beamish:

And here's some more from the Bowes Museum:

Kayleigh working hard on her loom.

 * P.S. First two pictures courtesy of the Bowes Museum website, and by "courtesy of", I mean that I Prnt Scrn-ed and stole them, but I will take them down if they ask me to.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Cherry lips and oily fingers

As you probably already know, Revlon recently relaunched some of their classic nail and lip shades, the iconic Cherries in the Snow and Fire and Ice.

Being a sucker for anything with vintage appeal or retro charm, I obviously bought myself a KER-POW PINK Cherries in the Snow lipstick.

Hazard of riding a pretentious girly bicycle:  Your chain slipping off mid-journey, going KER-PLUNK and leaving your feet spinning frantically, forcing you to kneel in the ditch for several minutes, vainly trying to hook it back on with increasingly blackened fingers, before giving up, wheeling the machine back home and engaging your long-suffering flatmate to unscrew the chain guard and pedal to sort it out before he'd even got in through the door.

According to Simon; "This is what you deserve for wearing ridiculous sock/shoe combinations."

In other hilarious news...

Simon and I went to a party, where we proceeded to carry on text conversations with each other, whilst in the same room, about various other people in the same room, who were all probably clearly aware of this, since my lit-up phone could easily be seen through my chiffon pockets, and whenever I sent Simon a message I would alert him to this by yelling "PING PING!" in imitation of his i-Telephone message tone.  Then we realised we couldn't text accurately anymore so we moved on to speaking aloud in code.  Simon's German is much better when he's drunk; he could manage accusative and dative agreements.  Also, how DO you spell "tashing on"? 

Over and out, beautiful people.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Clown Smiles


Thanks for teaching me how to fight like a boy, and for giving me a penknife and books that were far too old for me, and for putting us in the wheelie bin and in the bath fully clothed.  I promise never to tell Mum about that thing we're not allowed to tell her about Stephanie and the tequila.

Miss you.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

How much is your face worth?

Attention please! (x2, if you like)
I apologise to my male readers, all three of them, but this is another post about make-up.  You may wish to skip this toast post entirely.  And actually, this has turned into a rather lengthy post, so I have just saved you at least ten minutes of your day,  You're welcome.
(Although really, Simon only reads a toast post if he's checked that his name does appear in the tags at the bottom, Matt just scrolls through and looks at the pictures, and I'm certain Steven only reads the G&S-related ones, not that I blame him!)

Anyway, feminine readers, make-up is brilliant, isn't it?  I am totally besotted with the stuff, and if you are like me you may wish to run right out and buy a copy of July's Glamour magazine, because they're giving away free mini Benefit products with every one.  I may have bought three copies.

You only get diddy bottles of the three products, but they last forever, and I consider it a humongous bargain - you can buy these smaller sizes from Benefit at around £10 each, and Glamour only costs two quid.  (Which is pretty good for a magazine, considering Vogue costs four bleeding pounds.  Not that I buy Vogue, you understand.  I've got no interest in looking at pictures of designer clothes that I can't evereverever buy.  I like the likes of Glamour because they stick to highstreet clothes, which I can at least covet using my mantra of "You can have it when it comes into the sale"!)  Anyway, magazine tangent over, I've used Benetint before, and loved it, but I was interested to try the paler pink Posietint.  I wasn't convinced I was going to like it, because lately I've been enjoying BRIGHT colours on my face (see below!), but I tried it out yesterday, and it does give a nice, fresh, sweet complexion.  Looks nice on the lips, too.  High Beam does exactly what it says on the tin - a gorgeous, dewy highlighter that makes you glow!  I haven't quite figured out how to forge myself cheekbones with it yet, but it's great under the eyebrows to lift your eyes, and in the inner corner of your eye to make you look all sparkly!

Face (and Boring Outfit) of the Day

I went for totally unsubtle coral and bright blue on my eyes today, to match my dress.  They're both from a Sleek palette.  I've also got Posietint cheeks and Benetint lips, and please do overlook the horrendousness of my eyebrows at the moment!

I'm thinking that I need to wash those filthy plimsolls!

Tunic:  Dorothy Perkins (I had a 20% off discount code last week, and for once it was redeemable on sale items (Is it me, or has Dotty P's got vastly more expensive recently? Forty squid for a dress? Who do you think you are, Oasis?!) so I had a little shopping spree.)
Denim trousers: Peacocks
Belt: River Island, six and half years ago - I remember buying it with some of my 18th birthday dosh!

Anyway, back to Make-up...
Here's a fun game:  How Much Is Your Face Worth?  I've seen bloggers such as Sailor Jennie do this little exercise so I thought I'd have a go myself.  I always feel very poor and/or smug when I read beauty blogs, because it seems that it's allllll about Estee Lauder Doublewear, MAC Paint Pots, NARS blusher and Smashbox primer.  On every face.  I, on the other hand, am a big fan of cheap make-up (and also FREE make-up!) - however, I bet that when I count up how much my daily face costs I'll have a nasty surprise!

The idea is to choose your most-used products and count up the price of them all, leaving you with the exact cost of your beauty!  (Ooh, I'm getting a flashback to my bullshitty Master's degree... I'm sure I wrote an essay about beauty as commodity.  It somehow, in my usual sidetrack-y way, managed to feature lots of vintage magazine adverts and a section about Bette Davis' star persona.  As you do.)

I've decided to choose TWO products in each 'category' that get the most wear, then I'll just do the average price. (Eek. Maths.)  I'll use Boots.com for price info, because I buy all my frivolous paints and potions in Boots, because Boots Advantage Card points are AMAZING.  I'm also very fond of the 'Spend £X on a certain cosmetics brand and receive a million and five Advantage Card points and a goodie bag with lots of free products in' offers they frequently do. Okay, here we go!


I have two foundations on the go.
1) Max Factor Lasting Performance in 102 Pastelle - £9.99
I don't hugely love this.  I find it kind of patchy to apply, and difficult to blend.  Don't think I'll buy any more when this one runs out.
2) Max Factor Colour Adapt in 70 Natural - £9.99
This, on the other hand, I adore.  According to Max Factor, this stuff "adapts to your individual skin tones to provide a flawless finish that is perfect for you." - and it does!  I can see it lighten into my skin colour as I apply it, it blends seamlessly, it lasts well, it leaves me with a really silky finish as though I had used a foundation primer, AND it smells like bakewell tarts.  As you can see, this was a freebie sample size, so cost me NUFFINK, but I'm going to count the 9.99 price because I think I'll definitely buy some more of this after my sample runs out.

As for concealer, I've been using
1) Maybelline Cover Stick in Ivory - (Not on Boots or Superdrug website! ARGH! Have they discontinued it?? Noooo!)  I'm pretty sure it's around £5.99.
for years.  I like the creamy consistency, and it's a good match for my skin.  It doesn't last all day, but it's cheap and easy to reapply.
2) Collection 2000 Illuminating Touch Light Diffusing Concealer - £4.99
For the old bags under the eyes.  My sister recommended this one to me as it was "the best thing ever" but sorry Stephanie, I disagree!  First off, Collection 2000?  Is that not what 12-year-olds use?  Also, I think it actually makes my dark eyes more noticeable!  If they're not too bad, it covers them up just fine, but if they're particularly unsightly I think the illuminating, light diffusing shizz actually accentuates the problem!  I won't buy this one again.


I didn't think blusher would be my biggest extravagance!  Well, leaving aside my new friends Benetint and Posietint for the moment, most of the time I use
1) Benefit Dandelion - £23.50
Good old Dandelion!  I've been using this for years (although it has got considerably more expensive in that time, hmmm Benefit!), although recently I've started using Dandelion as an all-over complexion brightener, and colouring my actual cheeks with
2) Too Faced Brightening Blush in La Vie En Rose - £16.50 (although mine was a Christmas present, so again, freee!)
The flash on my camera washed this one out; it's actually a darker pink than the Dandelion, with sparkles in!


Eyeshadow - I wear at least two colours of eyeshadow daily.  I like painting on different combinations and using my eyelids to create colour 'links' in my outfit.  That sounds stupid.  I mean I may wear a turquoise belt, and then a bit of turquoise on the eyes to match it all together.  Or I like totally clashing.  Make-up is FUN.  ANYWAY, if I wasn't so obsessed with the 'Retro Colours' filter on Lunapic, you might actually be able to see the colours of the two eyeshadows I have chosen. *D'oh*
1) Maybelline Expert Wear Mono Eye Shadow in Pink Fizz - £4.09
Silly name - it's actually more of a mauvey pink, which I think looks rather nice with my blue eyes.  It shimmers, too, and looks good built up and blended with purple.
2) No.7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow in True Gold - £8, but mine was a goodie bag sample, so FREE!
Surprisingly versatile, this one, and not just for dazzling night-time make-up.  I blend it with bronzes and browns, or even with greens.  It looks amazing, in an 80s disco sort of way, worn with pink and turquoise eyeliner.

1) Maybelline The One by One Volum' Express in Black - £8.49
Another stupid name.  What's with Volum'??  Anyway, the only reason I've got so much Maybelline at the mo is because of a 'buy three items, get a millionty-seven points' offer.  Can't remember why I chose this one, it's pretty good, no complaints.
2) Max Factor Masterpiece MAX in Black - 9.99, except this one was another freebie!
I was pleasantly surprised by this one!  I would never have picked it up when in the market for a new mascara, because the tube isn't brightly coloured and a funny shape, and I haven't seen it on adverts claiming to be the new mascara revolution because of its bubble-shaped, backwards, self-heating, collapsible wand, or whatever.  However, it made my lashes appear really long and fluttery, and it doesn't go all clumpy.  Do like!

1) Rimmel Glam'Eyes Professional Liquid Liner in Black Glamour - £5.29
Love this.  I buy more of this same eyeliner every time I run out, which is often, because I use tonnes of the stuff every day.  I find the flat brush the perfect shape for painting on my 'wings'.
2) All About Face (Tesco) pencil eyeliner in Black - £1.49
I can't be doing with liquid eyeliner on the lower eye, so I use pencil.  There's nothing amazing about this one but it does the job and I like the sharpener in the lid.


Both 'daytime reds' here, a lipstick and a lipgloss.  I have a squillion different lip products, but these are probably my two favourites.
1) Max Factor Colour Collections Lipstick in 804 Hint of Red - £7.99
This is quite a subtle, glossy lipstick, with a slightly sparkly finish.  Very lovely.
2) Bourjois Effect 3D Max Lip Gloss in Framboise Ardent - £6.99
I like this because it doesn't have the stickiness of most lipglosses.  It can be a bit gloopy, so you have to be quite sparing. 

(How monosyllabic have my 'reviews'/explanations got?  You can tell I'm getting bored! Nearly there...)

Last but not least, my slightly obsessive area, Eyebrows:

Good old
Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil - £2.99
in either 002 Hazel or 001 Dark Brown, depending on how scary I want them to be.  Usually sharpened to a point for drawing precisely, but I appear to have been slacking on that front.

OKAY.  So, by doing the old 'add them all up and divide by two' routine, I have found that on a daily basis my face costs roughly  £55.64.  Shit!  That's more than I thought!  It's a rare day when I could say that my whole outfit, shoes included, cost more than £55.64!

Well, there you have it.  Has anyone else done the 'How much is your face worth?' game?  Show me a link to it if you have, I'm nosy!

Signing off for now.  My very expensive face and I might go and tidy up this pig-sty of a house.  (And since Simon isn't reading this one, I can tell you that we are currently having a fight about Washingupgate and I will win because I am more stubborn than Simon, even if we have to start eating out for every meal because there are no clean plates left!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

She could very well pass for forty-three, in the dusk with the light behind her.

 For a change, here is a Face of the Day.

Max Factor Colour Adapt foundation in Natural
Maybelline Cover Stick concealer in Ivory
Sleek Make Up blusher in Flamingo (It got washed out in the picture, but in real life it's KER-POW PINK!!  I've only got the tiniest touch on and it's good 'n' bright.)
Rimmel Professional eyebrow pencil in Hazel
Barbara Daly eyeshadow in Taupe
No. 7 Stay Perfect liquid eyeliner in Jewel (I love this)
Max Factor kohl pencil in Black
Max Factor Masterpiece Max mascara in Black
Sleek Make Up Pout Polish in Pink Cadillac

And, oh, I was trying to be less boring with the old Boring Outfit Posts, and just ended up looking silly...

Cardi: Car boot sale
Dress: H&M via jumble sale
Leggings (AGAIN, I swear, I do wash them from time to time): New Look
Sandals: Hush Puppy
'Miss Hamer' necklace: Sunday Girl Accessories

Toodle-oo.  Going to pub.  Must excel at pub quiz this week, or else do badly enough to win the booby prize.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Slime on the Tyne is All Mine, All Mine

Gloomy day today.  Gloomy enough for trousers and long sleeves. (Also gloves and raincoats, but I didn't discover that until it was too late to turn back)  I went down to the Quayside market to look at the stalls.

There were stalls of things I didn't want, like pet toys and dreamcatchers and cupcakes made of soap. 
There were stalls of things I did want, like retro metal signs and second-hand books and cupcakes made of cake and icing and edible glitter.

I didn't buy a thing, and soon I got to the end of the market and thought "Well, since I'm here I might as well go for ride along the river, since it's flat."  It put me in mind of another day, last summer, just as gloomy as today, when I went to the Quayside market with my friend Alice, and after we'd bought some cupcakes to take home to Simon and Ruth, we walked miles and miles up the river, and the landscape got gloomier and grimmer the further we walked, and I took lots of gloomy pictures of the grimness.

  This derelict building makes me giggle.  It's a lubricants factory, of all the greasy, smelly, dismal things, but it's painted bright 1950s turquoise and pink, with snazzy stripes and cheerful bubble lettering for its logo. 

Anyway, I didn't get as far as Elswick, Grimness Capital of the North East (I don't think the sun ever shines there, based on my experience) because it began to rain, and also adventuring wasn't as much fun without Alice to talk to, so I came home, chilly and slightly damp, with achy legs.  I think a nice vintage film is called for for the rest of today.  Hmm, black-and-white to match the grey tones of the river, or kitschy '50s in honour of the Ovoline factory?!
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