Month: August 2015

My final Boohoo bargains

So you’ve seen my Boohoo jewellery, and you’ve seen my Boohoo flares (swoon!) Here’s the round up of the rest of my purchases from the sale.

Boho laid back hippiness with this viscose top. The colours are vibrant without being OTT. This will definitely come to Italy with me. It needs a tight fitting bottom (oo-er) to balance out the voluminous-ness.
 Boohoo bright boho tunic top
Boohoo bright boho tunic top 2
Pointed assymetric heels. I’ve been after a pair of black shoes like this for ages but they’re either not quite pointed enough, or not quite high enough. These are perfect. And a very purse friendly £10.
Boohoo black pointed heels
Boohoo black pointed heels 2
Grey studded belt. I love the heavy buckle detail on this. £4.
Grey Boohoo belt
And finally, a totally unseasonal and, some might say, daft purchase is this coat. It’s not thick or heavy, in fact it’s not lined – it’s more like a soft felt blanket in a dressing gown shape. But I love it. It’s very glamorous and flattering and draped. Will be cool worn with all black in winter.
Boohoo mocha wrap coat 2
Boohoomocha wrap coat
Not that I want to even think about winter right now!
 

Piercings

My new nipple bar turned up today (the ball fell off my previous one!) so I thought I’d talk piercings.

Piercing chart

I like piercings. A lot. And I like tattoos. Even more. What I don’t like is stretching. Ugh. Starts as a piercing and then gets stretched into a hole.

a) I don’t get it

and

b) I don’t get it

I mean, what’s attractive about putting holes in your body? Piercings are pretty – they add interest and sparkliness.

Holes aren’t pretty.

Ear stretching

Even if you try to make them so with coloured tunnels

Ear stretching with coloured jewellery

And what about when it goes wrong?

Ear stretching gone wrong

Ear stretching gone wrong

Vom!

Anyway, this post wasn’t about stretching. Back to piercings.

I currently have my belly button, nose, ear lobes and ear cartilage pierced. I’ve had other piercings that I don’t have anymore. And each of them was a different experience.

Lobes
I don’t remember the first set. I was about 18 months old. I know some people have a huge problem with that and think parents should leave kids to make their own decision when they’re older. I think it’s fine. Babies look pretty with stud earrings. So shoot me!

I had a second set of holes done when I was about 22. I had them done on my lunch hour and they basically got them wrong – they weren’t level. So I had to take them out and wait for them to heal, then get them redone straight! No surprise I went to a different place…

Cartilage
I had my right ear cartilage, at the top, done when I was 16. It was done in a hairdressers, which is incomprehensible now, but was the done thing “back in the day”. They did it with a gun, which is now illegal as it shatters the cartilage. Boy did I suffer with that piercing. It used to swell so much you couldn’t see the stud. It filled with pus. Sometimes just the slightest touch would make it ooze green gunge. Would I take it out? Would I hell as like! I was proud of that piercing! It wasn’t very common at the time and I felt very cool with it done (even with bloody goop just under the skin). It took around 2 years to heal properly. I couldn’t sleep on my left side properly for about 18 months, I had to put my hand between my ear and the pillow. That’s how dedicated I was!

Belly button
I had this done when I was 18. It was a fairly new piercing at the time, not very common, and I was desperate to get it done. This was the first time I went into a “proper” studio. I felt way too uncool to be in there with all these alternative kids with bright hair and tattoos. Laying down on the bed, I flinched massively in pain, only to be told that was just the cold numbing spray, ha ha! The piercer applied the clamp, jabbed the needle through, threaded the bar and that was it. I was so pleased that I went shopping to try bikinis on immediately afterwards, even though it was only February. I had some mild discomfort afterwards but it’s always behaved well. I can’t see me ever taking it out.

Auricle
Next I had an auricle piercing (I’ve only just found out it’s called that, I just called it half way up my ear!) Just on one side, the left. I mainly wear a stud, but lately have been wearing this on a night out, which is pretty cute.

Diamante studd ear cuff

I don’t remember much about that one at all, so it can’t have been too traumatic.

These were all pre-husband. The next two I hold him entirely responsible for (in a good way).

Nose piercing
Firstly, I was drunk. You shouldn’t get pierced when you’re drunk, and a piercer shouldn’t pierce you when you’re drunk. But again this was just an independent jeweller. With a gun. I shouted “fuck”, very loudly. The pre-cursor to this is that we were having a weekend away at the British seaside and, predictably, it rained a lot. By the third day of rain we took refuge in a pub for most of the afternoon. And my husband, spotting the shop opposite, dared me to get my nose pierced.

Responsible huh?

I remember going back to work and not making eye contact with anyone because I didn’t think a nose piercing was a very corporate look. But no-one has ever said anything, and I’ve never regretted it. I swapped to a ring earlier this year and can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. I love it.

Nipple piercing
This was something I’d previously never thought about much, and certainly wasn’t on my wishlist. Husband has his pierced, which I like. Then a friend told me she’d had hers done and that put the seed into my mind, which husband encouraged. I went from not really ever thinking about it to “I must have it done” within about 2 hours one Friday night. Needing to strike while the iron was hot (i.e. before I backed out) I phoned round and round on the Saturday to find somewhere I could have it done.

When I went into the studio I didn’t want to make a big fuss about the fact I was going to be getting my boob out, so I sat down and pulled my dress down straight away. The piercer didn’t look up, but carried on prepping, getting clean needles and jewellery and the like. I thought if I then covered up I’d look prudish, so I just sat there with my right boob hanging out for an inordinate amount of time, talking away like it was the most normal thing in the world. It was cringey! This was another mega painful one. There were swear words. I didn’t feel well afterwards and actually went to bed for an hour. To clean it I had to dangle my boob into a mug full of salt water. Good job I’m not blessed in the breast department, or I’d have needed a bigger mug.

The final piercings are all down to me, and all a bit stupid really (not stupid piercings, just stupid for me). I don’t have any of them anymore. Read on to find out why

Hand piercing
I took my little sister to get her belly button pierced and the guy in the studio had a microdermal next to his eye, all sparkly and pretty. I expressed an interest as I’d seen them before and they looked nice. I was told that it’s a really simple procedure, they just make a little hole with a holepunch type thing and feed the jewellery into the hole. It’s anchored in because of the shape and then your skin heels over it. The jewel bit just screws onto the anchor that’s in your skin.

Microdermal jewellery

“It barely hurts” they said.

They lied.

I wanted it in my hand. There were scalpels and skin peeling and all sorts of horrific pain. I didn’t think I could stand it. It was horrendous. But it looked so very very pretty.

Hand microdermal

It was a bit awkward and I was wary of catching it on things and again of people’s comments at work. I caught people looking at it but no-one ever said anything.

This one came to a rather abrupt end in a shopping centre. I was getting off an escalator and someone cut across my path, catching my hand with her handbag. As I walked away I thought that my hand felt sore, looked down, and the anchor bit WAS HANGING OUT. I went a little bit woozy and weird and tried to push it back in. But it wasn’t to be. I had to yank it and break the bits of skin that had started to grow around it (which sounds more horrendous than it was). I vowed to get it redone once I’d heeled, but in truth I was too wuss!

Triple forward helix piercing
Ah, the internet, purveyor of all things pretty. That’s how this one came about. This exact photo.

Triple forward helix

Love love LOVE the look (still do now). But impatience led to me wanting it to look like that immediately. So I asked for all 3 piercings to be done at once. The piercer did say it wasn’t advisable, but obviously I knew better, right?

Wrong.

The bars they used were too long, for a start, so I didn’t get the look I wanted (the picture above uses labrets which are more like studs). The healing didn’t go well and one came up in a lump, so I had to admit defeat and take it out. After a couple of months I conceded that it was an experiment that had gone wrong and decided to remove the others. Once came out fine. The other one was cross threaded. I couldn’t remember which way was loosening and which way was tightening so I wasn’t even sure I was doing the right thing to try and get it out. In a fit of exasperation I tried strong nail clippers to cut through the metal. It didn’t work (obvs). I had to go back to the piercer and get them to remove it.

I’m not sure I’m done with this piercing yet and might revisit it. But definitely only one at a time.

Lip piercing
Perhaps my most stupid of ideas and one I blame firmly on hitting my mid-30s and having a crisis! There can be no other explanation. In my defence I had always wanted my lip pierced, and always held back due to work and appearances and the fact that it would probably be frowned upon by management. I finally got fed up of toeing the line and decided it was a box that needed ticking. So I had it done on my birthday, when I’d broken up from work, a few days before Christmas. I was assured that there was no reason it should affect my eating or impact my enjoyment of Christmas dinner (food is always on my mind).

We nearly had a repeat of the wonky earlobes piercing, when the lady in the shop marked the dot ready for the piercer. “That’s not in the middle I told her”. She said “sorry, we’re supposed to line it up with the middle of your top lip but yours is slightly unlevel”. Er, thanks.

The piercing itself was not as traumatic as I feared. The skin under your bottom lip is pretty thick and I had visions of multiple bodging to break through, but it was done in one push and that was that.

This photo was taken on the day I had it done. You can see the lump inside my lip!

My lip piercing

Did it affect my Christmas dinner? Yes! Gutted.

Did it affect my job? No-one said anything. I think by this point they were used to me being a bit left of centre.

I never loved it though, it didn’t look how I’d hoped. It lasted about 6 months and then I took it out of my own volition. I found out afterwards that no-one had ever really liked it, and it put my husband off kissing me.

So, that’s my piercing journey!

So far…

Twit of the Day award…

…goes to anyone who, when referring to the torrential rain we’re having, says “well it’s good for the garden.”

Fuck the garden! Get a ruddy hosepipe. It’s summer for god’s sake.

Rain rain go away

I have a love hate relationship with British summertime. As in I love summer, and hate when it’s a let down. Summer is, without doubt, my favourite time of year. It gets me through winter. I love the lighter nights, the warm air, sitting outside in a pub beer garden until it’s dark, chilling on my balcony with a book, eating al fresco, not needing a coat, wearing sandals, driving with the windows down and music blasting.

Rain stops all that. It’s like the spoilt kid in the playground who ruins the game when everyone else is playing nicely. Like the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle you’ve been working on for ages going missing. Like reading a really really good book and then being disappointed in the ending.

Rain ruins festivals, cancels barbecues, forces the use of tumbledryers and floods rivers/fields/houses.

In short, it’s crap.

I can handle anything apart from rain.

I read something the other day that gave me a slightly different perception of our summertime, in the free Boots magazine (highbrow). It was the words of a born and bred Aussie who has lived in the UK for many years and was comparing Australian summers to British. She said that in Australia, because it’s always sunny and hot, you don’t get that sense of excitement that you do in the UK. You’re always wearing sticky sunscreen and sitting next to a fan at every opportunity. In the UK, because our sunshine is few and far between, we go mad for it! We sit outside at lunchtime, we eat ice creams, we wear as few clothes as possible. We get excited at the prospect of wearing new flip flops. All from a sense of making the very best of it. And I guess in a way that’s kind of cool.

But rain. Not cool. So do one.

I’ll be there for you…

…as long as you can get to London that is…

If you read the blog title as the tuneful refrain of the Friends theme tune then have a point (there’s no prize, but recognition is good).

Cast of Friends

I was only thinking to myself this morning just how much Friends is part of every day life and how I refer to the characters almost like acquaintances from real life (“you know, Joey from Friends“). A colleague at work is in the early stages of pregnancy and I mentioned this morning about when Ross and Rachel had the first scan and Rachel couldn’t see the baby. I thought everybody refers to Friends in that way, but judging by the way she looked at me with confusion then obviously not.

Friends is always on. Always. And it’s still always funny! I can’t think of any other programme that has such a level of longevity and is watchable over and over again. Sometimes it’s even funnier because you know what’s coming!

And of course there’s the age old deliberation of who’s your favourite. I veer from Joey to Chandler to Rachel. It all depends on the episode. But I do know that Ross is my least favourite! (although I also know that his annoying side is one of the foils that makes the other characters so likeable).

At the weekend we ended up watching 2-3 episodes back to back, even though we’ve seen them before. Friends is like a comforting hug. When there’s nothing else on TV you can easily sink into it’s warm familiarity and you know it will leave you with a good feeling.

So it was with a sense of excitement that I saw a news article this morning that Comedy Central is bringing a Friends Fest to the UK! It will feature replicas of Monica’s apartment, a Central Perk coffee shop, the fountain from the credits – how exciting! And knowing how much my husband loves Friends, my first thought was “I’ll grab some tickets”.

Foiled – it’s only on for 5 days, in London. From a Wednesday to a Sunday.

Issues I have with this:

  • We’re in Cornwall for a long weekend
  • We don’t have any spare annual leave to facilitate a mid week visit
  • It would involve a trip to the capital

The last one is perhaps my biggest gripe. LONDON IS NOT THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE!!!

Londoncentric

Phew, I already feel slightly better. It’s so annoying that London seems to get everything. I know it’s the capital city, and has loads of tourists and loads of citizens and all that jazz, but it’s just not fair. I mean technically (apart from the Cornwall thing) I can get to London fairly easily. Not cheaply, by train, but that’s another story (damn you National Rail and your corporate greed). But what about people in Scotland? Or Northern Ireland?

I know this is nothing new, and I also know it’s unlikely to change. But it would be good if organisers considered that people outside of the capital city might want to take advantage of such things without needing to take time off work and remortgage their homes to raise the costs of a return train fare where they’ll probably have to stand all the way home.

Anyway, the tickets apparently sold out within 5 minutes (the only good thing about the whole thing is that it was extremely reasonably priced at just £5 per ticket) so whether I’m away or not makes no difference.

And neither does this post!

Who’s your favourite Friend? Let me know!

EDIT:

O.M.G

Look at Chandler and Joey now!!!!!

Joey and Chandler Friends

A bright lippie from Barry M

I’ve never bought cosmetics from Barry M, only ever nail varnishes but, fancying a bright pink lipstick for summer (a colour I never wear but had a hankering for), a quick scoot of my local Boots revealed that BarryM was the best bet in terms of shade I liked at a reasonable price (accounting for the fact there’s a good chance I wouldn’t wear it again after the first time).

Barry M pink lipstick

It languished in my bag for ages because I kept forgetting about it (and also because I keep reaching for red since discovering the fabulous Natural Collection one) but I finally got round to debuting it last week, and it was a huge success!

Even the husband, who generally doesn’t like bright coloured lippie on me (not that I take any notice at all, obvs) commented on it in the affirmative. High praise indeed.

The shade is 145 (or is it 446? I don’t know!) and it’s really vibrant and summery. I love love LOVE the feel of the tube (fnar); it’s got a rubbery smooth matte-ness about it that I could just sit and stroke (double fnar) although I don’t, because that would be really weird…

Barry M pink lipstick 145

Application is good, staying power is ok, and I’m impressed.

Barry M pink lipstick on my lips

Pink lipstick pose

Pink lipstick funny face

I will be investigating more of Bazza’s make up range forthwith!

The life/enjoyment balance

I never say no to doing stuff on the grounds of no money. I never have (that’s how I ended up with almost £5k credit card debt and a part time second job in a pub when I was in my mid 20s – a great life lesson in getting into, and out of, debt). I’m very afraid of missing out and feeling regret. I’m very of the mindset that life is for living, you can’t take it (it being money) with you, and other clichés which justify my commitment to spending (or occasionally overspending) all of my wages each month.

It’s not all about money. Of course most things have a cost associated with them, but there’s also the time factor. I worked out that between now and the end of November we only have 4 free weekends. Not all our weekends are full from beginning to end. But there are only 4 where we have absolutely nothing to do. And that scares me a little! The commitment of having to be somewhere or do something can be overwhelming at times, especially during a busy week when all you want to do when the weekend arrives is sit in front of the TV in pyjamas.

Life balance

This weekend of chilling at home has made me remember that time doing nothing is as precious as time doing stuff.

It just so happens that lots of things fall together. There are special birthday parties and weddings. There are bands that we want to see who don’t play very often (or, in the case of Motley Crue, ever again) who we feel we can’t miss. There are places to visit and things to see and the need for a holiday to relax that we also need to squeeze into the equation. And all of these things, and the fear of missing out, have led to an overstretch of money and time this year.

It doesn’t help that we have both changed jobs – husband through choice and me through the necessity of redundancy. We have both taken salary drops, not massive, but enough to make a difference. In real terms – happiness, and commute, and job security – we are richer for it. In disposable income terms, we’re not!

I’m very much a want-it-all type of person. I think many people are these days. And I can see no better use of money and time than travelling the world. Making memories. Having experiences that you will enjoy not only at the time, but in years to come. I have never craved a big house, I prefer to invest my money in enjoyment rather than bricks and mortar (oh, and in my wardrobe too!). I’m already thinking ahead to next year, and what to do and where to go on holiday. Always wanting more.

Maybe it’s an only child thing (any excuse to not take responsibility for my own actions!)

At some point, something will have to give. Our home has taken a back seat to our travels in the last couple of years but, having lived there for 10 years, it’s in need of some TLC – which is going to need the time and money that are currently in such short supply! So if bands could stop touring, and friends could stop getting married, and people could postpone their birthdays – just for a few months next year – I’d be most grateful.

My weekend in pictures

I’ve had a stunning weekend of doing very little. Weekends like that are few and far between – we seem to have so much on this year. We were supposed to be out for a birthday on Saturday night but we were both feeling pretty burnt out from work and family stuff and just life so we made the decision to stay home for some much needed R&R. It was a good decision.

Here’s a pictorial round up!

Baked lamb with potatoes and stilton – I’ll post up a recipe for this, it’s so so good.

Baked lamb with stilton and potatoes

Breakfast on the balcony

Breakfast on the balcony

Enjoying the view

Balcony view

Reading chick lit in the sunshine

Reading on the balcony

Still on the balcony, even in the dark, just add hoodie and burner!

Balcony by night

Popping to the local shops, wearing straw and stripes

Me in straw hat and stripes

Owl spotting – check out the Big Hoot (most of the owls are in the city centre and I haven’t had chance to get there yet but there are the odd few dotted around on the outskirts, these are in Kings Heath).

The Big Hoot Owl and the Pussycat

The Big Hoot Owl of Athena

The Big Hoot owl selfie The Big Hoot Athena owl selfie

Sunday papers (yes I read the tabloids, no I’m not sorry – it’s all about trash and escapism at the weekend!)

Sunday papers

Pruning my bushes (fnar!) – a bit of a tidy up of my balcony pots which I’ve shamefully neglected somewhat this year

Watering can and gardening tools

Pink petunias

Purple balcony flowers

Sunday roast – one of my favourite meals to cook

Sunday roast

Strawberries and cream!

Strawberries and cream

Flare-enough

Flares are my new current favourite thing. Not only because they’re mega mega cool, and easy to wear. But also because they’re uber flattering (according to my husband, who I actually trust implicity when it comes to clothes). They’re slimming and leg lengthening and generally just great.

This Pinterest image was a source of inspiration to me right from the beginning of this summer. I know I can’t pull the look off exactly – I don’t have the waistline for a start! – but I was keen to do my own version. It just oozes cool.

Pinterest flares and hat

So here are the patterned flares I’ve gone for – the perfect skinny to knee and wide of flare legs. I want to wear them everyday. They’re pull on (like leggings) and very fitted to the knee, then flare out massively. Because they’re stretchy and don’t have a waistband or zip fastenings they need to be worn with a long top to avoid any camel toe issues. I’ve only had them two weeks and already worn them twice. They wash lovely, don’t need ironing and are a good length (essential for flares – nothing worse than ankle flappers). I’ve been wearing these with platform wedges.

Boohoo print flares

These are the same style but different colours. I wasn’t sure if they were a little bit bright, but toned down with a black top I think they’ll be fine. Because the evenings will be cool when we go to Italy in October they’ll be an ideal outfit, and brighter colours always work better on holiday than at home.

Boohoo aztec print flares

I just love the retro prints and I think they’ll work well into autumn with a sloppy off shoulder jumper, as long as I can match the right shoes to them.

Both are now on sale – just £6 and £7 respectively on the Boohoo website.

Mellow Yellow

I seem to be having a bit of a yellow moment right now. Which is strange because it’s not a colour I usually wear (I can’t actually think of anything in my wardrobe that’s yellow).

It started with this dress, from H&M H&M yellow chiffon dressI have a special occasion 40th birthday party to go to next week, where the dress code is long dresses (only for the women, obvs) and I couldn’t decide what colour to go for. Then I had a brainwave that yellow would be a nice change. Spotted this dress on the H&M website and thought it might look nice with my new dark red hair. And it bloomin’ does as well (at least I think it does, so ner).

Followed then by this yellow bikini, Matalan sale (although not online), a bargainous £7 for the set.

Matalan yellow bikini

I only ever wear plain bikinis, as I don’t like the clash of patterns against my back tattoos. This is a nice zingy bright yellow, and half price too. I probably won’t get chance to wear it this year, although may shoehorn it into our Italy trip, weather depending.

And then this dress from Tesco F&F

F&F 60s style yellow dress F&F 60s style yellow dress back view

Which isn’t really me at all, AND it has the offensive gold hardware in the form of a visible back zip (but it’s a subtle gold and I can’t see it!) but it’s so cute and kooky I couldn’t resist. I need to resist the urge to look like an extra from Heartbeat when I wear it!

What I look for in a blog

I posted a few weeks back about my experiences of blogging so far, and not having a niche, and lots of other potentially whingy stuff about followers and the like. I’ve seen a few things in the past couple of weeks that have made me revisit those thoughts – not in terms of myself, but in terms of others. What makes other people’s blogs attractive to me.Blog image

The first thing was this post from Misha Khan. I was drawn to it via one of her tweets, and she sums up a lot of what I feel about blogging. It’s the writing that I love, and writing is kind of different to being a blogger. And that’s ok.

The second was a Twitter exchange with Suzie81, based on a post I’d made about it being harder to make a success of a blog (in traditional “success measuring” terms) without a niche.

Twitter screenshot

Suzie commented that I should go with how I feel. Which is exactly what I’m doing anyway, as I can’t do anything else!

And the third was this from fashionbeautyacne, which sums up what I tried to say previously about numbers and followers and whether they’re that important. The answer to that one, I suppose, is what you want from your blog personally.

Niche blogs seem by far to be the most popular. I suppose some people want consistency, and like that in depth knowledge/opinion on one subject.

Me? I’m the opposite. I’m nosy. I want to read about people and their lives, their everyday comings and goings, their thoughts and opinions on everything. Not the fancy “I wore this and went here and received XYZ from such and such PR”. Sure, they’re ok in moderation. But being a bit of a cynical, critical and slightly bitter person (I’m nothing if not very aware of my shortcomings), they piss me off. Do they make me jealous? Maybe! (ouch).

I’m not a model, a clothes horse, a beautician or a professional photographer. I’m too self conscious to pose for photos to share with the world. I’m not knocking anyone that does. But I have too much of the “who do you think you are” mentality to do it myself. Sure, I’ll share pics of myself here and there. But I couldn’t build a blog on it. I couldn’t go to a public place and pull a multitude of poses then add filters and whittle down scores of snaps to just a handful. I don’t have the time or patience. It’s also just not me.

And perhaps that’s the reason I gravitate to blogs that I do. Because humour and experiences are way more up my alley. I like to read anecdotes. What people have been up to. What people think about a current issue (doesn’t have to be deep). Look at pictures of clothes, not 7 very similar perfect pictures of a person wearing those clothes. Read about travels and days out. See real accessible people talking about real accessible stuff, like a bargain lipstick or a new pair of sandals.

Maybe I’m just too old for the aspirational stuff. I’m never going to be flitting around to fancy locations in fancy clothes that have all been sponsored.

But that’s the beauty of blogland. There’s something out there for everyone. And that can only be a good thing.

On that note I’m going to name check a couple of blogs. Both of which I have found very recently, and both of which I genuinely love and look forward to new posts appearing.

Ellen Marie Writes. Lists. Always in 10s. Always brutally honest, with humour and real life language. Love it.

Disasters of a Thirty Something. Real life laugh out loud experiences. I love reading about funny stuff happening to people.

I see a lot of myself in both of these blogs – both content and writing style. Which leads me to believe I’m a blog narcissist. I actually want to read about me! (tongue firmly in cheek here, for anyone not getting the humour).

Oh, and apologies for sounding like a bitch! II’m really not! But I always promised myself that the blog would be true to me, and I like pondering stuff on here. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts too.