Things of a beautiful nature

With it being that time of the year where people ask what I'd like from Father Christmas, I've had to have a think about what I NEED rather than what I'd like (diamonds. furs, world peace, a small white kitten etc.) This has led me to thinking about the stuff that I use on pretty much a daily basis, you know, vanity stuff. So this list is more for me than you, this way I will remember what to ask my loved ones for as a gift and I WILL NEVER HAVE TO PAY FOR MY VANITY AGAIN.

Daily Stuffs

My hair gets DRY. So dry that my hairdresser told me that if I dyed it again, it would essentially turn into chewing gum. I didn't want this. So I started using Argan Oil. Of all the Argan oil on the market, this Avon range is my favourite. It smells beeeeautiful and is a very good price indeedy. I use the shampoo, conditioner, hair mask and oil and my hair is once more hair and not confectionary.

I believe that if I were to be stranded on a desert island, there would be nothing I couldn't handle if I was in possession of a lifetimes supply of Batiste. I have extremely fine hair that is greasy at the roots and prone to dryness at the ends (As discussed above!) so this stuff is the greatest hair invention to have ever been...well...invented...
I've always used these and I find now that anything else dries me (and my purse...) right out.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING hydrates me and makes me smell as good as this stuff does. I use it after every bath and it goes soooo far, even on my extreme expanse of leg...

Prior to this, I used the Benefit moisturiser which I still adore, however, it costs roughly 10x as much as this one and I truly think this is so near as damnit in smell, feel and effect that I'd sooner pay less.

Stuff in order to look like I got ma shizzle together

I've been using this for about three years and swear by it. It lasts all day and acts as a perfect base for other colours if needed. Day to day I wear it by itself as it gives my eyes just enough oomph.

Isn't this mascara magic? I have never found such a gentle yet effective mascara. My eyelashes are blonde and pitiful and this makes me look like a 60s film star. A total essential through and through.

I can't get across how devastated I was when Boots briefly discontinued their mousse foundation. IT IS WONDERFUL. Gives such a light flawless coverage and stops any shine. It's like being airbrushed. Thank goodness they brought it back and all is now good in the world.

Stuff to make me look slammin'
I've only started using a primer in the last year, I bought this initially but when I ran out I thought "oh, a primer's a primer, I'll buy this cheap one" I WAS A FOOL. A primer is NOT a primer. And no primer is as good as this one. Fact.

My first and favourite red. Enough said.

I love an eye quad, you can take it everywhere and there's something for every occasion. This one is well fit, the maroon brings out the blue in my eyes and the lighter shade doubles as a highlighter - WIN.

I'm pretty new to the idea of contouring and have only just got over the idea that I'm not simply just drawing my own skeleton onto my face. I was recommended this by a pro MUA and it's fab. Plus it's handbag size which is ideal for me as I have a handbag and I like stuff to fit in it.

I'm never knowingly without eyeliner but as I'm getting older (*wah*) it seems to crack on my lash line. This one lasts all day and stays as intense as when I first put it on. I worried that it may be harder to apply but its exactly the same as the standard liquid liner. The only issue is removing it...

I use this on my eyebrows and the shade is totally spot on. It looks sparkly in the picture but it isn't actually sparkly because as snazzy as I am, even I cannot rock sparkly brows. And trust me, I've tried.

If you have these items in your house, I could quite easily move straight in. Bear that in mind because it could happen......HIYA!

I'm not going to say "What couldn't you live without?" because that is extremely flippant and I would expect nothing less than:
> Oxygen
> Food
> Water
> My cats

SO instead, I will ask: What are your dessert island beauty items? (Take into account that I was going to go for three items...Look how this ended up....)



OOTD - Simply Be and Junarose

When I first saw the Ombre Fit and Flare dress on the Simply Be website I was rather excited for many reasons, the main one being the sleeves. These sleeves look long enough AND wide enough for my magnificent wingo-bings. SO I did my usual, put it in my shopping trolley and didn't actually buy it because that would necessitate me making a decision and I'm simply not good at that. Then I saw the hottest of all the hot things Danie Vanier wearing it over on her blog and my heart went all of a flutter once more.

So I did a buy at it. And here it is:
Dress: Simply Be
Boots: Simply Be
Tights: Primark
I seriously love this dress, the sleeves ARE spot on, the colours seem to really suit me (ginger tones and all) and the fact that it is fully (and well) lined just rocks my world.
A gratuitous feminist face selfie
Lipstick: Chanel Velvet Alure in La Favorite
Eyeshadow: Maybelline 24 hour tattoo in On and On
Necklace: Primark
I was also extremely lucky to be gifted this flaming beautiful Junarose coat by the delicious Hanna from The Wardrobe Challenge.
Coat Junarose
Dress: As above
Snood: Primark
Boots: As above
Bag: H&M 
The coat is so, so soft, warm, smart and it has TOGGLES - What more can a woman want from a coat?!? The gold detailing also makes it a bit biker jacket-y and we all know you can't go wrong there. Thank you ever so much Hanna and Junarose for this little beauty - It's made my Winter!

As you can see, I'm not holding my camera in these pictures. It is balanced on top of a spaghetti jar, on top of the fireplace...on a timer that doesn't entirely work... You'll be delighted to know that I am getting a tripod for Christmas. Sadly, the tripod doesn't come with a house that is long enough for pictures or a wall that isn't covered in crap (as evidenced below). Would it be wrong to rent a storage space purely for pictures.....,.?


Bigfoot and The Hender-Smyths

As many of you will know (because I mention it on a regular) I am tall. Not the tallest, very tall or ever reeeaallly tall but tall nonetheless. I'm six foot without heels, and I like it a lot, to the extent that I am relatively happy in any heels that I don't immediately fall off/through/over.
Dream shoes (Don't go up to Smyth size....) from Bait Footwear
I also have big giant feet, which are all the better for walking on. I joke that I have big feet or I'd fall over which is both hilarious (!) and ironic as I actually fall over my stupid big feet more than anything else there is (Although I did once almost lose a foot by getting tangled up in a stray bicycle spoke in a way somewhat reminiscent of a dolphin getting its face stuck in a beer can plastic loop thing that Blue Peter always told us to CUT THE HELL UP OR ALL THE ANIMALS WILL DIE)
My feet are a size nine, or a wide eight. Or in the case of my bridesmaid shoes earlier in the year; a seven with my toes curled through the peeptoe and under my foot.... Years ago being this size was a massive issue. Now, not so much.
Most of my shoes are from Primark - The reasons being:
Every now and then though, I want something different and I would like to share with you now my go-to places and why they are as such, All shoes pictured are instore at the moment and available in size 9 or an 8 wide fit:
Oh Topshop Topshop Topshop, WHY YOU COST SO MUCH?!?! Topshop's shoes are flaming beautiful, they're always so fashion forward and well made - My biggest issues are: The cost - These shoes ARE 'spensive, but I must confess, you get what you pay for. The sizing - Be careful with Topshop 9s, they vary HUGELY in size..
Most of my shoes that aren't from Primark are from New Look. Again the range is huge, the only thing I find is that the quality becomes less as the size increases... The sizing is generally spot on though, and the price is always fantastic (Leather boots for £25 anyone...?)
I used to live in Faith shoes as they were one of the first companies to do fashionable shoes in a size 9. Faith is stocked by Debenhams and ASOS now and the range online is pretty extensive. The quality is great but the larger sizes tend to be out of stock prrretty quickly.
I must confess, I've not bought anything from Clarks since I was young enough to put my feet in the squeezy foot measurer. However, on doing some investigationing THERE ARE LOADS OF SIZE NINES GUYS. As you'd imagine, the quality is amazing, which is reflected in the price...
Ive always found Next a bit blah, but their shoes are actually very nice, when it comes to occasions, its become my go-to place. Definitely worth a look.
ASOS is doing a cracking job of size 9s at the moment - Just look at these babies (I NEEEED the silver cut out laceups please!!!) I've never bought shoes from ASOS though and would be intrigued to know about the sizing and quality. 
Evans shoes are absolutely lovely, the different width fittings means that you can pretty much get a bespoke fit. The prices are spot on for the high street and they occasionally have some really good styles. The biggest issue I have is that the styles simply do not change enough, even if the colours/finishes do. But then, if it ain't broke, why fix it...?
I'm so pleased I found Simply Be, its really opened it my shoe shopping opportunities. Once again, the variety of width fittings mean that there are so many more options. I bought my beloved over (under on me) the knee boots from here and my Winter was saved! 
This was the shocker for me - Zara do size nines! They are under the rather...er....endearing....(?!) heading of "Special Sizes" and haven't yet tried any but once again, I've had my options expanded and look forward to giving them a go.
Some others to give a go are:
My dream shoes would be vintage look, possibly with glitter, definitely with a block heel...one day...one day...
Any other bigfoots out there? Where do you shop? And more importantly, link me to your dream shoes!!!!


Turning 30 - THE HORROR

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen that I have done my back in. AGAIN. This is just another thing in a long list of terrible aging things that have happened to me in my swift approach to 30...
Now I know a lot of you are over 30 (And not because you look it, because geeeeez you guys, there must have been some pretty easy paper rounds in your ends...) and you are all doing a magnificent job of it. My issue is not, as many people assume, that I think 30 is old, because it isn’t, it really flipping IS. NOT. The issue is that by 30 I thought I would have achieved something.

 A lot of people  I know have said the same, my Mother was horrified at turning 30 (Even though she had a three year old version of me and a month old version of my sister which I’m sure we can all agree, is all that anyone can truly aspire to.) My Husband threatened to do a Forest Gump and never stop running the night before his 30th and one of my closest friends had a full on meltdown which saw him trying to leap from a moving taxi into a hedge...
Don’t get me wrong, in a typical list of achievements, I’ve done pretty well;  
H I worked my arse off and bought a House at 21 (Which will financially
        cripple me until my late 80s at this rate but HEY it’s MY house and I love it
        when it’s not covered in cat sick and hair...)

I’ve been happily married for three and a bit years to a wonderful, (and
            I'm sure you can appreciate why this is important) tolerant man.
: I have a job with a company that I think extremely highly of and which
           has given me some cracking professional opportunities.

©     I have my health (Minus the back/jaw/stomach things which are all very
          minor in the grand scheme of things).
This is me: ACHIEVING 
I am very fortunate, I think we can all agree. The problem is that at the back of my mind I can hear nine year old me...
"You work where?!?! IN AN OFFICE?!?! What a Loo-ooo-serrrrr"
"You did a media studies degree? What even IS that..?!?!"
"You said we'd dress better by now..."
"Where's all those books we was going to write?" (Nine year old me is still in Hull, hence the grammar problems..)
"Our house should be bigger"
"Why don't you do more fun things?"
"Why don't you do more CLEVER things...?"
"Shit. I've still got a fringe.." (This bit isn't really true because we I love the fringe)

I just thought that I'd be some incredibly successful business woman, with a stay at home husband, an exciting job, a house with more rooms than cats and be feeling thoroughly chuffed with myself right now. This is all self enforced pressure, nobody else is pushing me in any direction, although my Husband does like the idea of being a full time house-cat-father...

So what I did to attempt to deal with all these completely irrational issues, was to set myself the challenge of giving myself EXPERIENCES.

Things I have experienced in my 29th year:
I’ve been to Milan, Venice and less glamorously...Benelmadena
I didn't realise until last year just how important a holiday is for my mental wellbeing. This year has been flipping full of them due to family events and bloody brilliant parents who like to be in foreign countries with us. (Or at least are willing to pretend) Venice was simply spectacular, I'm planning to go again, potentially by myself - Gonna get mah tortured poet oooon. 
I started driving lessons again...
Driving Take II...The less said the better...
I did a catwalk... You can see more of this HERE
This did my confidence the world of good. I don't exactly come across as shy and retiring but when it comes to what I think about myself, particularly with body image, I need quite a lot of boosting. As I've said before, Plus North did just this.
I went on stage and accepted an award*
This was awesome because I never ever thought that I'd get to go to a Black Tie do, yet alone be collecting an award that I worked towards.
       *On behalf of the Trust I work for but IT WAS ME** ON THE STAGE GUYS
** And two other people...
I started this blog
This has probably been one of the things that's pleased me the most, I'm writing again. And with the writing comes meeting other people and having my eyes opened to the big old world that's out there!
I aim to continue with setting myself the challenge of experiences, I set myself one last week which I'm already thoroughly regretting but I'm going to stick to it nonetheless.

A couple of things I have at the back of my mind already:

ü I'm not going to be frightened to explore when I go abroad next year
µ I'd really like to have a photoshoot done, not in a narcissistic way (You
        know how I loathe this word) More in a YOLO way.
® I want to go to an Opera
¯ I am going to find a flamenco dance class
)   I WILL LEARN SPANISH for crying out loud

Have you experienced something that you think I'd love? Tell me! It may make my list yet...




Shops, babes and PORK

A shedload of pictures here everyone! Last Sunday I went on a fabulous jaunt to Meadowhall with some total hotties; Leah, Lolly, Rachel and Bee. The day went as so:

Leah and Bee being total cuties


Lolly, Bee, Rachel and Leah 

All of us being winners in a big gold mirror 

It was a cracking day and I slept really bloody well when I got in.... Thank you ladies!



Channeling The Hendricks

So this is a purely vanity based post. After lustily admiring the gorgeous Christina Hendricks for around 17 hours last night, I decided to give her look a go (minus all the wonderful parts that make her but plus some of the "different" things that make me....)
Isn't she breathtaking? Like a magic statue.
I liked dressing up as Christina, it was nice and sexy and altogether a better way of life. Maybe I should start being actually classy?!?!? Classy ladies drink Ribena right...? And I'd still be allowed Pringles...?

I fully recommend this exercise for anyone a bit bored and also a bit cold (I pushed the wrong boiler button and hot's not currently an option...) You can dress up an ANYONE YOU LIKE; Tomorrow I might try Chris De Burgh.....


Bloggity blog blogifying

If you follow my blog, I assume it's because you are vaguely interested in what I have to say. Or it's because you really like looking at badly taken photographs of tall people in clothes that they've had a really long time. In a badly lit attic. Surrounded by more clothes they've had a really long time. And cats. Always with the cats. 

Or maybe, like me, you're not entirely au fait with the internets and just click on whatever's green on the page (Because: Green for go) and there was a green bit near my follow button and your fingers were a bit slippery from some cheesy Wotsits and now you don't know how to unfollow and are stuck reading this (Hiya).
Well today, I noticed that I had over ten followers. That's over ten people who have one of the tendencies listed above. 

Then I felt SCARED. Because despite what I put across, I'm pretty private. WHAT IF ONE OF THESE FOLLOWERS IS A REAL LIFE PERSON I KNOW? WHAT IF THEY REALISE I'M EVEN MORE SHALLOW AND VACUOUS THAN I APPEAR IN THE COLD LIGHT OF REAL LIFE DAY?!?! Most importantly, what if I spell something wrong.... (I just changed then to than to then to than with this thought in mind)

I've always wanted to be a writer; more specifically, to be an author of children's books. Part of the reason I started blogging was to get back into the habit of  writing stuff, of putting actual words on actual electronic device screen. It just so happened that I also like clothes, lipstick and taking bad photographs of myself. So this is sort of what my blog has evolved into. 

Is this sustainable? I don't know. 
I'm not sure I buy enough clothes for a start. I try them on, I window shop my arse off, but overspending in my youth and buying a house far too young have left me in a place where I am extremely happy but also extremely interested in a lottery win/job that pays more (preferably one where I can also work in my slippers and sit in a beanbag). 
I lose focus quite easily don't I?!? I was trying to explain my anxiety around people I actually know reading my blog and I've slipped effortlessly into beanbags...So back to that.

The way I write reflects what I'm like as a person. Lazy, light-hearted, simple and ultimately a bit all over the place. I imagine that anybody who knows me would use at least one of these words to describe me (plus they wouldn't be wrong in adding stroppy, over-dramatic and massively inept....) so my blog wouldn't come as a vast surprise in that sense. 

The thing is, it just seems terribly narcissistic. I must stress stronger than the strongest strong thing here that I never, ever, EVER read another blog with this opinion. I read blogs because I want to know about other people and their lives. The blogs I hold in highest esteem are the ones about people, about aesthetics, about escapism really. I suppose you could say its voyeuristic. Or is it aspirational? I don't know. I just know I like them. 

However, when you're writing about yourself and you become distinctly aware that you're not really very exciting (except when you're doing the worm across the floor of an empty pub at 7pm on a weekday night) or stylish or actually all that interesting, it all becomes a bit silly. And then people read it. And it's awesome wonderful incredible because these fabulous people don't hate your spewing of words. And then, as I said, it becomes scary. You want to say "DONT JUDGE ME!" but really, I'm putting these words out there to be judged aren't i? I want people to read my blog objectively, which is hard to do if you actually know me. 

For example, imagine a friend ringing you in the morning and saying "I'm so sad today, my job's terrible, I'm worried about the apocalypse, my monkey's just swallowed my canary and I think I've got nits". You then casually look at their blog and there they are in a leather bikini, false smile and paragraphs extolling the virtues of Sparklebum eyeshadow. You'd be screaming at the screen "But this isn't you!!! You're sucking your thumb on the settee and moaning about picking canary feathers out of your monkey's teeth!"

I'm sure a lot of us do this (not the monkey teeth bit), like I say, it's escapism. I choose these photo angles and light topics to leave behind the real life day. A bit like a virtual shower. 
I just hope that people realise this. It's all really for my benefit. Other people liking to read it is a huge bonus. Just please don't think me a fraud, or any more of a narcissist than I am. Take it for what it is. Or leave it. Up to you.



A weekend in Whitby - Yarrrrrrrrrr!

Yeah yeah yeah, I know it's not Halloween yet, but I'm a busy woman with important stuff like eating and sleeping going on so I "celebrated" this weekend with a group of wonderful friends, both old and new, in nautical Whitby.

Scary shizzle isn't it?!? My friends are master costume makers, nobody let the side down, even my miserable fancy dress hating husband managed to make the semblance of an effort. 

I was meant to be a terrifying siren, luring poor sailors to a watery grave. Unfortunately my stick-in fangs were having none of it (I must have slippery teeth) so I was just a mermaid with some red on. 

It was a cracking weekend, I've got the heartburn to prove it. Dressing up isn't for everyone, but I've come round to bloody loving it. What's been your fancy dress success story?
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