Category: Looking Pretty

Hard to bear hair

My hair is the current bane of my life (I know, first world problems). Seriously though, it’s driving me to distraction. I’m so pre-occupied with it that it’s actually impacting on other stuff. Like on Saturday night when it wouldn’t go right no matter how much I messed with it, I felt like crapola when I went out. On Monday I got caught in the rain and, because it’s naturally curly but still short-ish, I ended up looking like one of the Golden Girls for the rest of my workday. When I got home my worst fears were concerned, with the reaction being “Good god, what have you done?!” Yeah, thanks.

It’s a funny length, a funny shape, a funny texture (not strictly true I suppose, only when damp) and I’m fed up of the colour. I feel like it’s making me look old and dragging my face down. It might also be responsible for unrest in the Middle East and rainforest destruction. That’s how bad I feel about it.

When I started deliberating about what to do lengthwise I was still unsure. Now I’ve made my mind up that I’m growing it, I want it long again. Now. Unfortunately, nature being what it is, I’m going to have to show some patience (not one of my strongest traits) and work with what I’ve got.

Last time I was growing my hair out was around 11 years ago, and I bought clip in hair extensions which I had matched to my colour at the time. They helped bridge the gap between long and short and I don’t remember it ever being this painful (I could be looking back through rose tinted glasses though).

This is the current colour and length.


The plan that was forming to change the colour was scuppered by the ineffectiveness of the colour remover I used two weeks ago. That isn’t to say the product was ineffective (I know it isn’t, as I’ve used it before), rather that my hair didn’t respond as I wanted it to (much stamping of feet). I know that black dye is notoriously difficult to strip, which is why I’ve only been using semi permanent colours, but with some porosity I assume that the colour might have soaked in (technical hairdresser term). I think I expected too much based on previous stripping. Last time, when I got rid of the red, my hair was left a light brown colour. But that would be because the red dye I’d been using had also bleached it over time as well. This time the removal was much more subtle. I’d say that the black has pretty much gone. But it’s still very dark brown (with a few springy sprouty greys – damn you aging hair follicles!)

So, what’s next? .

I’m helping it to grow with hair vitamins (whether these actually work, or are just a marketing ploy to placate desperados like me I don’t know).


I’m cleansing it to within an inch of it’s life with clarifying shampoo – removing as much build up as I can…


…before I strip it again (it’s safe to do so, you can use up to 3 of these treatments each time without damaging you hair).


And then, regardless of what happens, even if it’s still dark, I’m going to stick a colour on it. Because even non bleach colours will lighten hair a little bit.

My dilemma is this:

Do I go for a lighter (than my current) brown with a view to heading towards a more summery look? (which will inevitably end up with messy roots and probably a hideous shade of orange). Or have I bought this dye because I’m seduced by the pretty girl on the front with the gorgeous eyes and long lustrous locks? (and also because it says age defy, and I’m all for that!)


Or do I go for red for a kick in the ass, brighten my look, shock to the system? (It won’t go this red, ever, but I need something very bright to show up on/over the brown).


I won’t get the immediate result with either of them from just one application, I know. With the red, especially, it needs to build up, so I’d probably dye it once a week at first, with careful conditioning and maintenance to avoid damage.

Because, the other thing is that it’s only 3 weeks until Download Festival, and naturally I want to look my best because there will be SO MANY PHOTOS that will circulate ALL YEAR LONG until the next one. So I need to act quickly.

No pressure then. What could possibly go wrong…?


Tattooed glamour

Tattoos can, and do, get a bad rep. Potentially even more so on women. To judge a woman as a slut or stupid because she chooses to have ink on her body is ridiculous, but I have seen evidence of such accusations online. Recently a Facebook group called “Your Tattoos Make you a Horrible Mother” was received very badly – and rightly so. How physical appearance affects your ability to care and nurture is beyond me. Anyway, I digress.

One of the ways I love to see tattooed women is dressed up and glamorous. The contrast of the highly polished look with the edginess and often unexpectedness of inked skin is such a beguiling juxtaposition.

Although only temporary, Cara Delavigne embodied the look at the Met Gala this week.

Cara D

She’s received some criticism because they’re only temporary, but she does have real permanent tattoos as well so I think that’s perfectly fine. While I’m not a fan of hers, I do love that she’s strong willed enough to go down the permanent route, in spite of the fact her appearance is her job. It’s two fingers to convention, and doesn’t seem to have done her any harm. Plus, anyone who is promoting visible tattoos as completely ok is doing a good thing.

Here are some great images of glamorous ladies in all their inked glory.

Tattoo 1

Tattoo 3

Tattoo 4

Tattoo 6

Tatttoo 5

Tattoo retro 2

Tattoos obviously go with the territory when you’re a tattoo artist yourself.

Hannah Aitchison

Tattoo 2 Hannah Aitchison

Tattoo Hannah Aitchison

Kat von D

tattoo Kat Von D

Tattoo 2 Kat Von D

Megan Massacre

Tattoo megan massacre

Tattoo megan massacre 2

And of course the odd few celebs (using that term loosely when it comes to Jodie Marsh, obvs)

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library
Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Tattoo angelina jolie

Tattoo jodie marsh

And I adore these retro pin up styles

Tattooed retro Tattooed retro 2

Retro glamour is just cool full stop though – tattoos or not!



April showers

I’m a 100% shower girl. I never have baths. Very very rarely, if I’m in a hotel and feeling indulgent then I might, but generally I think the idea is better than the reality. Getting the water to the right temperature is a faff, and then it goes cold, and it’s difficult to wash your hair because the bath is too short to fit legs body and head, plus you can’t rinse shampoo suds and conditioner off all in the same water. As I said…faff.

When it comes to shower gel I don’t believe in paying big money for something that, essentially, gets washed down the plug hole. Maybe I’ve never tried the right quality or the right brand, but to me shower gel is for feeling clean and smelling nice. If I want soft skin I’ll use moisturiser. There’s no substitute for body moisturiser anyway, so you can’t substitute it.

Anyway, I digress. I’m something of a fragrance whore when it comes to shower gel. I love a good smell. So I’ll flit between Nivea Happy Time (orangey), Free Time (star fruit, very zingy), Coconut Crème (does what it says on the tin…well, plastic bottle) and Harmony Time (rose scented).

Nivea happy time Nivea free time

Nivea coconut Nivea Harmony time

I generally pick them up from Poundland, where they cost (d’oh) one pound each, or from the supermarket during the weekly shop when they’re often even cheaper.

I’m also a fan of Original Source, and will sometimes buy them when they’re on special offer. My first OS experience was with Mint and Teatree. which is refreshing but can be a bit too “oooh” round the nethers! And it leaves underarms feeling weirdly cool. Not one for everyday use (for me, anyway).

Original source mint

Vanilla milk and raspberry is nice and creamy, but not quite smelly enough for me. And chocoloate mint is just odd. Smearing brown goo on your body to get clean doesn’t feel or look right. It’s more of a novelty shower gel.

Original sauce vanilla milk and raspberry Original chocolate

Most recently, while browsing in Bodycare (which I’ve only just really discovered in terms of value – it’s soooo much cheaper than Boots) I found these. Never heard of the brand, and even Google doesn’t throw much light on it, but apparently you can buy them in Iceland?! (the food retailer, rather than the Northern cold country). But you know what, they’re fab. They smell delicious, they come in the 500ml bottles (twice the side of the Nivea ones) and cost just 99 pence.


The mango and papaya one is actually the second bottle, and the only one I’ve tried in the shower (I like it that much). The lid is missing because my husband pulled it off in frustration because he finds a bog standard flip lid difficult to use (much rolling of eyes).


I’m especially looking forward to trying the cherry and wild fig one, it’s a rather grown up smell.


And the raspberry and pomegranate looks good enough to drink!


The range also comes in vanilla and macadamia, and coconut and honey. A Google search also reveals a lime and grapefruit flavour. Now that I would be all over! (or it would be all over me).


Flashback Friday – the hair edition

I had a dream last night that I decided to have some last minute highlights prior to going to a wedding. The hairdresser asked how much I wanted cut off my hair and I insisted on just the slightest of trims. But she cut my shortest layer to around 1 inch all over the top of my head.

Thank god it was just a dream!

My hair has been on my mind (figuratively as well as literally) for the past few days. Following my brain meanderings a couple of weeks ago, I’m kind of at the “let it grow” stage; probably influenced by a quick straw poll of friends and family (weak minded, easily influenced, indecisive wench that I am) where the general consensus was it looks better long. Swines. Of course I could buck the trend. But I’m not really sure myself. So I’m going to try a lob (snigger). Long bob, not anything rude.

Strangely, this morning, I’d been wondering how to inject some life into my barnet during this dull in between stage; concluding that dark red might be the way to go. Coincidentally I then exchanged some texts with my mobile hairdresser friend who I mentioned previously, who I found out reads my blog (“Hi Cookie!”) and, without prompting, she suggested going back to red.

I haven’t been red for around 3 years. Because my natural colour is pretty dark, I can’t go bright bright red without bleach (a step too far for an amateur hairdresser like me), but I reached a pleasing hue with regular dye. It’s a faff to keep up and white towels are a no no, and I ended up going back to dark/black as red lacked shine, but I’m craving a change.

So, here’s my Flashback Friday gallery. I may be harking back to some of the hair colours because I look so young. I’m very partial to the blond streaked front, but I was a decade younger then. It’s the face I’m craving, as much as the hair!

FB_IMG_1429300015970 Hair

FB_IMG_1429300108485 FB_IMG_1429265639491

FB_IMG_1429265578203 Red

FB_IMG_1429299986858 FB_IMG_1429265324753

Obviously the much shorter length will make a difference this time around. So watch this space!


Treat for feet – Emjoi Micropedi

I’ve been meaning to buy a micropedi for ages in an attempt to get rid of the hard skin on my feet. I’ve tried lots of things in the past – foot files, ped eggs (like a cheese grater for your feet), hard skin remover cream and socks overnight, but nothing has been as effective as I would like. Towards the end of summer especially, after wearing flat heel revealing sandals they can be pretty awful, and painful too.

As I said, I’ve thought about buying one before. They’re not hugely expensive but I’ve usually frittered away my money on other stuff instead, like more shoes to squeeze my trotters into, and promptly forgotten.

Last week the husband asked what I was going to treat myself to with my redundancy payment. As there’s nothing I need (she says, having yet another pile of online shopping to return today), I proudly declared the same. Then I remembered the micropedi.

Hardly a wild and crazy frivolous purchase (as I am wont to do do) but hey ho,

Well, what can I say? Wild and frivolous it may not be; life changing it most certainly is. I don’t say that lightly, as generally these kind of gadgets tend to be all mouth/no trousers, but this really is ace. It’s so simple I can’t believe it’s never been done before (I mean as in eons ago, I know it’s been around for a while). It’s handily shaped like an electric razor.

20150408_084629 20150408_084649

With a replacable roller made out of a cross between pumice and coarse sandpaper that literally sands away the hard skin!


It makes a rather satisfying noise on contact, a bit like a lightweight angle grinder, and you can see your skin coming off in powder format (sorry if TMI). You can feel the difference even from first use.

The micropedi comes with one replacement roller and a small brush for cleaning away “residue” (i.e. powdered skin).


Changing the roller is easy; there’s a small clip at the side which you push up, and the roller just slides out.

20150408_084714 20150408_084707

I paid just £23.99 with free P&P via Amazon, although I notice it’s now down to £19.99, grrr. And you can buy 4 replacement rollers for around a tenner, although I don’t think these are official manufacturer ones, they’re about a tenner for 2 (I think I’m going to need these sooner rather than later, as I’ve already been using it on hubby’s feet, and am trying it out on my Mom later too – perhaps a new career is in the making – not! Working with people’s feet all day? Yuk!) Replacement rollers also come in extra coarse for those particularly hard to beat bits of skin. I might buy some of those too; I reckon with constant use I could drop a shoe size by summer….


Tonsurephobia – fear of haircuts

Not quite the right terminology for my own circumstances. Mine is a fear of hairdressers. Seriously, I would rather go to the dentist and get work done than go to a hairdresser. One of my close friends is a mobile hairdresser and has offered to come to my home, be really patient, do exactly what I say. But no. No way!

The reasoning for this? I’ve had so many disappointments over the years.When I was 11, I had really long thick hair. But I wanted it curly. So I went on and on and on about it until my Mom gave in and I was allowed to get a perm. Because of the thick weightiness of my hair, the perm didn’t take properly so the hairdresser suggested we come back to the salon to have some layers cut in. And that was the start of the problem.

I never truly loved it after that, although I continued to get it permed and layered until I was 16. Then there was the time I got highlights that ended up a horrible yellow colour. And, most recently, when I asked for a sweeping side fringe and came out looking like a librarian. I cried all the way home.

The truth is, no-one knows my hair better than me. I know that cutting it when it’s wet is a mistake because of how it will spring up once dry. I know I have a cow-lick on the right hand side. And so now I cut it myself.

We’re not talking just a trim. Most recently I went from bra strap length to above shoulder in just three haircuts. I have gone from no fringe to full fringe. I have put layers through the length and the front. I’ve coloured it, stripped it and recoloured it. So I’m not afraid of haircuts. I like experimenting with my hair, I like it to look like I have a style. I don’t just leave it to grow and grow. I just take on the role of my own personal hairdresser.

The results? Well no-one has ever laughed at it or told me I should wear a hat. My husband always checks it over when I’m done and expresses incredularity that it’s straight and level. Even my hairdresser friend looked over my most recent short cut and couldn’t see any major flaws.

I started off last October going to just below shoulder length. My inspiration was Claudia Winkelman, but without the fringe.


Then I decided I would do a full Claudia, and go for a fringe. Mistake! Every time I cut a fringe I like it for about 3 days, before deciding that it’s too much like hard work (my fringe hair is too springy and wavy to behave how a fringe should). Meanwhile I went slightly shorter in the length.

And my fringe has now grown into face framing layers, and I have gone a bit shorter again in length. And I like it. I really do. BUT, I can’t help wonder whether I should grow it again? Everyone seems to be getting their long hair cut (most recently Mylene Klass and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini) and my husband actually asked me if I was doing it “to be trendy” (what a cheek! Then again he’s very vocal in his love of long hair, I think it’s a man thing). I’m at a cross roads now – it’s getting to the point where I either need to commit to this length and style and trim it again, or bite the bullet and grow it. I’m all set for keeping it short until I look at old pictures of myself with long hair and realise I loved it long (although it was more of a pain in the butt that it is now; made me too hot, took ages to dry). And also I can’t get it quite right. I’m struggling to achieve the wavy look that I really want, in spite of experimenting with tongs, mousse and curling with straighteners.

Here are some of my current hair-spiration pics.- the worry is separating the hair from the face. I’m never going to look like one of the Olsen twins, even if I shaved their hair off and stuck it on my very own head.

Olsen wavy bob

The colour is what makes this – you wouldn’t see that level of definition on my black hair

Wavy bob 5 Wavy bob 2

Slightly longer – again I think the colour is important (maybe I need to change my colour??!!)

Wavy bob Wavy bob 4

This is probably closest to my look

Wavy bob 3

And then I’d love to be able to do this, but plaiting your own hair is difficult.

Plaited bob

But then I miss this, especially now summer is coming. Accessories don’t seem to work as well on shorter hair.

Bandana 2  Feathers

Hairband 2 Hairband Long hair


To conclude – there is no conclusion. I’ve actually confused myself even more. Maybe I should stick with the length and experiment with colour. Stripping the black dye and going for a mid brown might be a place to start…