Monday, 25 August 2014

Last night Liz Earle saved my face

You're going to have to forgive some of the pictures in this post, I have two black eyes. This is due to me dropping a saucepan on my own nose. Don't try to understand the logistics of this, there is literally no point. I could live in a world without gravity, corners and the ability to be injured and I'd still be covered in bruises (I broke my arm playing badminton for crying out loud). ANYWAY, any injuries are entirely unrelated to the items I'm discussing.

About three months ago, I made the decision that I needed a skincare regime. I'd previously been using Lush which I maintain was a brilliant and necessary change from generic facewipes which had been leaving my skin raw and sensitive after years of use without issue. I still adore Ultrabland, it's a lifechanger, but I wanted something a bit more decadent, something grown up and befitting a lady of my mature years and sensibility. I asked around on Twitter, I spoke to friends, I had many a fruitless trip to department stores (I am invisible to sales advisors, it's like they can see through my handbag to the 17p and Costa card in my purse) and the name that kept being repeated was Liz Earle.
I have a fairly classic combination skin, prone to dry patches but with a frequently oily T-zone. These oily bits have been providing me with some spectacular breakouts and what a lovely lady at the spa referred to as "congestion" (I can only assume that these are miniature traffic jams in my pores). Most of my friends have finally got past this teenage skin behaviour and it's all a bit new for me, meaning I was convinced that what's working for everyone else, wouldn't work for me. However, I'm all for a bit of peer pressure and slunk into John Lewis under my cloak of pauper invisibility to the Liz Earle counter.

Firstly, I must announce to you all that I WAS NOT IGNORED. I was even allowed to sit down on the little green stool. I then spent a genuinely interesting 20 minutes with a wonderful advisor who took me through the story of Liz Earle, the ingredients, the principles and the philosophy which is as follows:
> Products that really work on every skin type by harnessing the potent powers of the finest quality ingredients
> A simple, no fuss and dependable routine, which is also a pampering daily treat
> An affordable choice with everything beautifully packaged
> A commitment to first class service
> A caring, award-winning team who make it all possible
I don't know about you, but I really like this as a philosophy; quality, value, ethics and service. I could see from this introduction to Liz Earle just why they have such brand loyalty.
My advisor then took me through a frighteningly simple three step regime of cleanse, tone and moisturiser, which I decided to pur-chase with a spring in my step and dreams of the skin of Charlize Theron in my heart... I've been following the skincare regime for six weeks now, I wanted to give it a good run before I wheeled it out on the blog (knowing my luck, I'd say how awesome it was and then my face would fall off) and I feel that I can now legitimately say: YES. THIS IS THE SKINCARE FOR ME.

I'm using the Hot cloth cleanser which I massage into my face and then rinse off with the muslin cloth provided, instant boost skin tonic and the skin repair moisturiser for normal/combination skin. It's that simple. I'm really enjoying spending a couple of minutes every day just taking care of myself and being a little bit decadent, it smells beautiful and seems to help me get off to sleep.
I'm really sorry to say that I don't have any good pictures of how my skin was six weeks ago, it was by no means horrid but I had a lot of "lumps" beneath the surface and my forehead felt constantly slimy (no black eyes though). My skin now feels much fresher, softer, cleaner and dare I say; younger! So sorry friends, but you're going to have to deal with me continuing to leave nights out early because I'm looking forward to taking my makeup off (as well as the kebab. Obviously) but in return, you will soon have a Charlize Theron lookalike as a mate...

Em x

Monday, 18 August 2014

Single white female in a Lindybop Frock

Now BEFORE YOU SAY ANYTHING; Yes, these pictures are shocking but in my defence, I don't take my tripod everywhere (my handbag is a HAND bag, not a back bag) (I realise that's more commonly known as a backpack but it doesn't serve to make a point), I was alone (not that it helps when I'm not because everyone else manages to make me look like How I ACTUALLY look and not how I THINK I look) and also I was in a rush SO GET OFF MY BACK ALRIGHT.
This is just a quick post really to show you my magnificent new Lindybop frock. This is a frock I am VERY pleased with. Very pleased indeed. 

I have to tell you how I ended up with this little baby; I was a GIANT copycat. 

Last month I went to a beautiful, beautiful wedding in Sheffield, at this wedding there was a plethora of lindybop dresses (Because I have friends with style, you get me?!?) but the one that made me stand open mouthed was the one worn by the mother of the bride, the one that you see before you; The Grace. 
First things first, the dress is more navy than it looks online and I was very pleased about that (matching blues is hard innit?!?) Another thing to be aware of is the following: The zip is not fabulous. My clothes work hard for me, I do a lot of dancing, fidgeting, flailing, sitting, standing and more often than not; falling over. I initially bought this dress in a 16, put it on, the zip burst into flames, I sent it back. The 16 was an absolute perfect fit but I knew there was no way the zip would survive a night with me (not many things do to be honest). So I ended up opting for the 18 which was looser around the waist but less of a hazard to the general public. 
This dress is excellent for people with a large/wide bust. There was no gaping or having to fold boob bits in under my arms. The sleeves are also super flattering in my humble opinion.

Another thing about this dress is the length (*insert smiley with love heart eyes*) The Grace is mid calf on me. NOTHING is mid calf on me. It was glorious. I had a mild issue in that we got the tail end of Bertha in Yorkshire that weekend and a few more people than I would usually like got a flash of my knickers (the one time I wasn't wearing my super cycling shorts...).

Not only did I entirely emulate the dress look of my Friend's Mum, I also copied her hat/fascinator wotsit. Mine is slightly different but not enough for us all to be 100% sure I'm not going single white female on her ass.

This was mine, A Camilla Shantung Bow Disc fascinator from Accesorize. This is also available in cream as well as blue and maroon felt and I was SO tempted to get another one to wear around the house... I accesorised with my tan wedge sandals and clutch bag - Kept it simple, perfect for a day of prosecco, croquet, Icecream, dancing and just general joy. 
As is standard for such an occasion, I had an epically bad skin day. To counteract this, I put on all my foundations one on top of the other in the hope that, as one slid off, there'd be another underneath (always thinking me). That's why I'm an odd shade, some may say yellow, I'd say "waxy". Anyway, I got my eyes on ok and my lips were VERY well behaved - Thank you Mac "Lady Danger"

I couldn't possibly finish this post without giving you a glimpse of the two gorgeous brides and their respective weddings. Look on in admiration:
Mr and Mrs Quinlan
Mr and Mrs Hargrove


Em x

Monday, 11 August 2014

On being 30 and a half.

Some of you may recall my post about approaching the big 3-0, I was a wee bit anxious. This is because I'm a bit of a "catastrophist" (I like this word, it sounds terribly important). So this is just a small update. Because obviously you all care deeply about how much of a difference 6 months has made to my life (Spoiler: Not a huge amount)
I'm going to be hella predicable here and talk about health, wealth and happiness. I have to let you know that it gets pretty deep in parts and I really wouldn't judge anyone for tuning out and back in when I'm back onto a pretty dress post. We all have the odd tough day and I don't want to kill anyone's buzz. 


Babies are lovely aren't they? They're all small and innocent and get away with stuff because they don't know better yet (allegedly...). They fit into adult people's life plans in different ways; Some people's plan is not to have one through choice, some people plan to have one after marriage, others before, some people plan to make this little living thing and then can't and change their plans and are extremely happy. 

Well, my life plan isn't exactly a life plan, it's more of a day-to-day try-not-to-get-hit-by-a-bus, remember-to-brush-your-hair plan, so where do babies fit in for me? In March, I fell pregnant (not accidental, not deliberate, I'd just not thought about it) "WHOA" I thought, "MAYBE THIS IS WHAT I DO AT 30?!?". I wasn't scared, I wasn't excited, I wasn't happy, I wasn't sad. I was just up the duff. I'm not going to go into too much because that's for the man that put the baby in me (my husband as luck would have it) and me to know and think about and sometimes maybe dwell on) but we ended up, two months down the line, being pretty interested in this little womb based development. 

This is where it went a bit Pete Tong, I had a miscarriage, which was crap. I don't talk about sad things on this blog, it's not me, I write happy because generally I AM happy. So don't worry, this isn't going to be sad and you won't need to feel concerned for me (no more that you usually do anyway...). The inpregnator and I are just fine. Physically I came out of it remarkably well and I have some frankly MARVELOUS friends, who, having been through similar occurrences, kept me and my shit together and supported me like the hardcore Smyth scaffolding that they are. My family are also magnificent, they closed ranks and kept me in a warm cocoon until I felt prepared to get my dancing shoes back  on a couple of days later.

Here's the thing, if anything, this event got my brain back in the game. I've never had such clarity. There's no rush with anything, even if we decide a baby isn't for us, or if it doesn't happen for another reason, I have A LOT of other things in my life. Blogging for instance! 

I'm financially the opposite of wealthy (I have moths loving in my purse but credit in my simply be account so that's just Kool and the gang with me) but in terms of the emotional wealth I am A-OK. Since my last post, I've had some glorious times with friends and family. I've seen people I've not seen for too long, I've joined my Dad in enjoying a very very well deserved retirement, I've seen my sister become happier than she's ever been in her life. Finally, I've distanced myself for other people's shit. Save your drama for your llama guys.

I'm happy. I'm proper happy. There's things I want to change but they're no biggies; work, creativity, holidays (more please!!). This happiness has been due in large to learning a couple of things:
> Breathe: Really BREATHE. Stop and breathe and clear your mind and just be about you.
> Being tired isn't being lazy: If you're tired, rest. Don't feel guilty. We're living in a world that we are not designed to exist in. It's busy, it's tough and you need to look after yourself.
> Don't get into the boxing ring with yourself: When your brain gets all up in your grill, ignore it. Sometimes your brain wants to cause you stress you don't need. It's natural. If you know you're turning something into a disaster, take a minute and say "thanks for that brain but I'm gonna try something different here".

So being 30 and a half; WHAT'S NEXT FOR ME?!? 
> I'm back at the gym, I like the gym. When I can be bothered to go. So I've started at one near work which has reeeeeeeally excellent air conditioning and an excellent music channel. You know, the important things. The gym really helps with my levels of work place aggression which is mostly internalised, resulting in sporadic swearing and my shoulders being higher than my ears...
> I'm saying no less. If someone asks me to do something, I don't just go "sorry no, I'm too old/tired/poor/lazy/haven't shaved my legs/need to feed the cats/don't want to interrupt my skincare regime"
> Speaking of skincare regime, I now have one. It's evolved from Ultrabland and the inside of my pyjama top to the Liz Earle three step thang which is making a huge difference. I'll blog it when I've been doing it long enough to securely recommend it and guarantee my skin hasn't spontaneously combusted.
> I've made some decisions re taking other peoples shit onboard. If someone doesn't like me, or thinks I'm too fat/thin/rich/poor; that's their beef, not mine. My beef is more important and should therefore take up all of my time, not have to squeeze in at the side. 
Being 30 and a half is pretty great guys, 30 year old me knew NOTHING....

Just for a serious moment, I mentioned in this post that I'm VERY lucky to have some chuffing brilliant friends and family. Suffering a miscarriage is a very complicated and weird time and everybody works through it differently - If anybody reading this ever needs an ear to listen on this subject or ANY subject come to that, please feel free to email me on or DM me on twitter @thesmyth
Em x

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Wherein I pretend I'm not a married

As you know from my previous post; EVERYONE IS GETTING MARRIED.

I've been to some beeeeeautiful weddings in this last 12 months and have some yet to come. 
Photo Credit: Caro Hutchings Photography 
My wedding was four years ago now, but when I was pointed in the direction of Loverly, I couldn't help but get a bit wistful. 

Loverly is a one stop shop for anyone planning a wedding and I spent at least two hours on it EVEN THOUGH IM ALREADY MARRIED. Procrastinator?!? Me?!??

I was set the task of putting a look together based on a choice of venues. My wedding was in the countryside and was quite eclectic/mixed up/like a unicorn had vomited on a marquee. It was perfect for me but for the purpose of this task I decided to go for the polar opposite and plan a look for a stylish rooftop wedding somewhere cosmopolitan. Like Barnsley. 

Here's what I went with:
The Dress:
This dress is by Dolly Couture and I think it's just fab - fitted in all the right places, straps to avoid the hoiking (you know I hate a hoik) and such a sexy neckline. My dress was strapless and as much as I loved it, I look back and kinda wish I'd gone with straps. 

The Shoes:
The shoes are AMAZING, I went with The Vivs and a pair from Debenhams which I've actually got quite a bit of wear out of for my big day. I really struggled being tall and big footed, plus wedding shoes are GRIM. I wish I'd known about Loverly before because it really opened my eyes to shoes that aren't just satin grandma shoes...These quilted numbers by Hey Lady wouldn't have worked with the length of my dress, I'd have been on my arse within seconds but they would look just stunning with the Dolly Couture dress and the veil that I'll come onto now.

The Veil
WOW. WHATTA VEIL. It's by Emilliner Bridal and I just love how different it is. I must confess though, it's not a patch on the veil I wore. Mine was by DC Bouquets and I know I've mentioned it many times before but by heck I adore it.

What can I say? I'm all about the Hendricks. In fact, I dyed my hair this evening from a box dye that is the EXACT colour you see below. Except on me it's marroon. Purple in fact. Sigh. Anyway, this hair is PERFECT. Imagine it with the veil above. I just can't even talk about how perfect it would be. I'd weep at the sight of myself (I'm only half not serious....)
Well, I'd probably wear my own face. Just a better version of it. Please now see below, I think (duck pout aside) this is the best face I've ever had. This was done by a pro MUA when I was my beautiful friend's bridesmaid. The contouring is just phenomenal and I love how glowy I look. 
Frilly bits:
I don't like white underwear. At. All. It does nothing for me (but looks bloody good on Jennifer Aniston). I had an all in one body suit for my big day and by the end of the day I was basically sliced in half (graphic, I'm sorry). The beauty of a dress like the one above is that I wouldn't have to wear control wear underneath it which is SUCH a blessing when you're eating, drinking and generally being the coolest chick in town.
I had a great couple of hour whisting away my time on Loverly. Even if you're not planning your big day, there are some beautiful dresses/shoes/reasons to divorce then remarry and have another wedding on there.

What would be your fantasy big day? I certainly don't think it has to be a wedding, just a day that is all about you and where you get to dress like the bombshell that you are.

Em x
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