(tea)spoonful of sugar...

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Two years ago, when I was still at university and suffering from a particularly desperate cashflow situation, I entered a competition to win £250 to spend at Warehouse. It was fairly straightforward - you just had to make a list of your top five 'must-have' items from the website and then the lovely people from Warehouse picked their favourite list. Amazingly, I won! It was all quite exciting, especially because I literally had no money to spend on clothes at that time and it meant that I could actually buy a coat to see me through the winter months. Had I not won that competition, readers, I'd probably have died of hypothermia. Really.

Anyway, last week, ASOS were running the same sort of competition, except you had to pick three items and the prize was £1000 to spend on the site. Yep, £1000. That's a whole bunch of clothes. Even though I didn't actually come across the comp until the last minute and there was already A LOT of entries (understandably), I figured I'd give it a go. I mean, who doesn't want to win £1000 to spend on ASOS? In fact, who doesn't want to win £1000 to spend anywhere? I'd probably have entered if the prize was £1000 to spend at Millet's.

The thing is, picking three 'must-have' items from ASOS is really quite difficult because there are literally hundreds of beautiful things to choose from. And of course, because it was a competition I wanted my list to be unique. I spent a long time clicking through lots of different dresses, shoes, jackets, tops etc etc and in the end I went for three items that (I think) were suitably fabulous but not too obvious. The winner was supposed to be announced on Friday but I just looked on the ASOS Facebook group and it said the winner would be announced next week so I'm keeping everything crossed! Seriously, ONE THOUSAND POUNDS!!!

If you're interested, here are the three items I chose;

I'm loving maxi dresses at the moment so I went for this gorgeous printed one by Aqua Couture;


I wanted a pair of fabulous shoes on my list, and I thought these Carvela bondage-inspired platforms were really striking;


The final item I chose was this bejewelled bandeau bodice (hello alliteration!) by One Teaspoon;

I love this!!!

I remember when ASOS was first launched (back in 2000 when I was a wee 12 year old!); ASOS, in case you don't know (though I'm sure you do) stands for 'As Seen On Screen' and the whole concept behind the site was that it sold clothing 'in the style' of celebrities, so basically, things that you've 'seen on screen' and want to copy. Now, ten years later, while you can still buy celeb-inspired stuff, the site is no longer all about copying celebrities as ASOS stocks countless brands, both designer and high street, which are stylish in their own right and not just because Ashley Olsen was seen wearing them.

I've mentioned before that I don't often buy clothes online, for the simple reason that my size varies depending on where I shop and I can't be bothered with the hassle of sending stuff back if it doesn't fit. Because of this, I don't really visit ASOS very often, however, after spending a bit of time there for the competition last week, I'm definitely reconsidering! In addition to all the well-known labels you can find on the site, such as French Connection and Oasis, ASOS also stocks loads of independent and new designers which I doubt I'd have come across otherwise.

One of the labels that caught my attention was Australian brand One Teaspoon, which I noticed while I was weeping over the bandeau top above. I think the clothes are similar to the stuff you get at All Saints, although slightly more toned-down. The collection on ASOS features a selection of cute tee-shirts, tops and a couple of dresses; all quite simple but with a casual, urban feel to them. While it's not cheap (some of the tee-shirts are £40 and that bandeau top is £120!), I reckon that if I did have that kind of money I would definitely be spending it on this brand, as all the pieces are so unique but wearable. Here's a few more of my favourite items from the brand;

Beaded Tie Dye Maxi Dress, £70

Lace Bodice, £55

Sergeant Pepper Oversized Tee, £45

Studded Leather Waistcoat, £190

What do you think? Worth the money?

(all images from ASOS, click product names to go to their page on the site)

Candy for cuties

Friday, 26 February 2010

"Zeerust: the particular kind of datedness which afflicts things that were originally designed to look futuristic" - The Meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams & John Lloyd

Before you read the rest of this post, please, please watch the video - it's very important! And you'll enjoy it, I promise...

I could quite happily watch this all day long. I love the idea that in the 1930s, a woman's biggest concerns were bagging a man and maintaining a comfortable temperature...

While some of the predictions are completely bizarre and off the mark, a couple of them are actually more than a little bit accurate. I don't think they've ever been a massive trend (and hopefully won't ever become one), but you can buy trousers with zips on the lower legs that turn them into shorts (I think they're quite popular with outdoorsy types who go hiking and climbing etc) and, when I was little, I owned a bubble jacket with removable sleeves. It was the height of sophistication, let me tell ya! Also, the 'cantilever' heels, have actually been a trend for years; I've seen vintage 'floating heel' shoes from the 1970s for sale on eBay and more recently, after Marc Jacob's inverted heels on the Spring 2008 catwalk, a lot of designers have experimented with inverting and even removing heels altogether!

Antonio Berardi, Marc Jacobs and Nina Ricci. Does anyone own shoes like these? How do you walk in them?!

Despite a few similarities with modern-day fashions, most of the outfits in the video have (sadly) not been made a reality in the noughties. I find it interesting that the designers in the video seem to have concerned themselves more with designing clothes which performed several functions rather than trying to predict actual trends for the future, but then I suppose that's quite a difficult task; if someone asked me what I thought people would be wearing in 70 year's time, I wouldn't have a clue! Even so, when it got to the point where that woman had a big torch tied into her hair, I did get a little bit hysterical with laughter. And the man! That poor, poor man! He had a phone strapped to his chest!

It got me thinking about some of the trends that actually have made the catwalks recently and what the people of the 1930s would have thought of them. If the concept of a dress made from 'transparent net' seemed whacky, imagine their reactions to these beauties;

(for your entertainment, I've added a mildly sexist narrative to accompany the photos, imagine it being spoken with a very clipped, RP accent.)

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2007

"This fine filly doesn't leave much to the imagination in a dress made completely from steel. Unfortunately for her husband, he may need a can-opener to get her out of it."

Viktor & Rolf Spring/Summer 2010

"The ruffles on this jacket act as an excellent muffler for even the most delicate of ears. Now you can play your Glenn Miller records as loudly as you like without having to worry about deafening the little lady!"

Gareth Pugh Fall 2008

"The fabric of this gown is both flame-retardent and water-resistant. Perfect for even the clumsiest of cooks!"

Valentino Spring Couture 2010

"Eve may not have a very good sense of direction when she's out and about but you'll be able to spot her from a mile away when she's wearing this brightly coloured ensemble. Think you may have gone a bit overboard on the makeup there, Eve. Haha, silly Eve!"

Commes des Garcons Spring/Summer 2009

"A hat that covers most of the head and face will allow Eve to spend less time fussing over her appearance and more time worrying about what's really important, like tonight's dinner."

Haha, those foolish women, when will they learn?!

That Friday Feeling

It's Friday afternoon, whooooo yeah!

Let's have some music to celebrate;

Zooey Deschanel = Babe

Clean as a whistle

Friday, 19 February 2010

In case you hadn't noticed from some of my recent posts, aside from being dangerously obsessed with clothing, I'm also a bit of a beauty junkie. There is never a time when I don't 'need' some kind of cosmetics and every trip into town will generally end up with me wandering around Boots/Superdrug/Lush looking for something wonderful to buy. I've been thinking for a while now that since I spend so much time buying and messing about with makeup and stuff, I should write about some of my favourite products on this here blog. Hopefully people will find them useful, you know, a kind of "I try before you buy" type thing. Except, it only works if you're planning on buying things that I already own/am going to buy anyway. I really don't have the money to do requests. But if you want to send me things, that's fine. Or send money. I'd be ok with that too.

Ultra Bland - "The most thorough of all cleansers" from Lush

While something that proudly claims to be 'ultra bland' may not sound particularly appealing, blandness is actually a very good quality to have in a cleanser; all too often cleansers and facial washes are full of chemicals and perfumes which are harsh on your skin and strip it of its natural oils, but this stuff does no such thing. Appearance-wise; Ultra Bland is a thick, yellowish, oily substance which smells vaguely of peanuts, (NOTE If you have a nut allergy, you probably shouldn't use this as it contains peanut oil. It contains 'fresh iris extract' too so you should also avoid it if you have an issue with irises) so it clearly does differ from the majority of Lush products which are colourful and interesting and smell of joy. However this is their best-selling cleanser and I can absolutely see why; it leaves your skin feeling super clean and soft AND it's incredibly gentle, so you can use it to remove your eye makeup without worrying about going blind in the process.

The directions for use say to rub a small amount all over your face and then remove with damp cotton wool, but I found that the oiliness of it meant that I had to use a lot of cotton wool to remove it all, so instead I've been using a face cloth, which works just as well (just make sure to wash your face cloth regularly - hygiene is important!). What's great about it is that you only need a very small amount to get the job done so it lasts for ages AND, while a lot of Lush products have a use-by date because they contain fresh ingredients, Ultra Bland doesn't expire for over a year (I bought mine just before Christmas and the use-by date isn't until 2011) so you probably won't have to throw half a tub away because it's expired (I quite often do that with the fresh face masks from Lush because I put them in the fridge and then forget about them).

All in all, an excellent product. I can't remember the exact price but I think it was probably around £8, which is pretty reasonable for something that's going to last you a long time and makes your skin feel all soft and delightful.

As with all of their products, there's also the added bonus of knowing that Lush only use organic, vegetarian ingredients and don't test on animals, so you can wash your face safe in the knowledge that you are not only going to have lovely skin, but are probably going to Heaven too. Who said angels had dirty faces?

I love you, I do

Friday, 12 February 2010

So Valentine's Day is just over a day away and while couples across the globe will no doubt be getting all gross and romantic and exchanging gifts covered in hearts/shaped like hearts/made out of their own hearts (eeeew, hopefully not the last one...) my friend 'Sheniqua' and I will be taking our hot, single selves to the cinema to see, what else, Valentine's Day. Now this is probably a bad idea as there's nothing like a good old fashioned rom-com full of beautiful, shiny people to remind you just how sad and alone you are. And being sad and alone on the one day of the year when it seems NOBODY ELSE IN THE WORLD is sad and alone, is really very sad indeed. Thank goodness I've got Sheniqua.
Anyway, while I may be sad and alone, I still have eyes, which is always a good thing, as you need eyes for looking at stuff. And you know what's really good to look at? Hot men, that's what. So without further adieu, I give you my Top 5 Fictional Valentines. Ta da!!! (I chose fictional characters, because more often than not I tend to have a crush on the character rather than the actor themselves. Plus, a fictional character is never going to disappoint you).
Number 5 - The Lovable Rogue
Sawyer, Lost (aka Josh Holloway)

The return of Lost to our TV screens is exciting, yet frustrating. I'm probably one of the few people that has actually stuck with it all the way from the beginning, because quite frankly, after about halfway through season 2, it became fairly clear that the writers were just making it up as they went along. But goddamnit, I've invested too much time into watching this show and I have to know how it's going to end. I have to. Sadly, we're now at season 6 and I feel no closer to knowing what the bejeesus is going on, in fact, after watching the first two new episodes, I'm even more confused than ever before. I can only assume that some kittens found their way into the basket of metaphorical Lost thread and had a good old tangly kitten time. Fortunately, there is always Sawyer, who is probably just as confused as us, but is so darn sexy it doesn't even matter. Nothing matters. Nothing at all. Only him. And the way he always calls Kate 'Freckles'. I have freckles, Sawyer, lots of them. Just say the word.

Number 4 - The One Who's Too Beautiful To Be A Real Human
Nate Archibald, Gossip Girl (aka Chace Crawford)

The thing about Gossip Girl is that everyone in it is stupidly pretty. Even the occasional tramp that's accidentally wandered into the background is still about ten times more beautiful than any of the normal folk sitting at home watching the show, going "look there's a tramp standing in the background! Wow. That's one attractive hobo". So I quite often find myself fancying every person in it. For a long time, it was all about Chuck, with his brooding and arrogance and smooth, smooth voice, but recently, he's gotten a bit boring, and he's really quite short. (Fickle? Me?!) And you see, Nate is so beautiful it's like he's been sculpted out of some kind of really delicious substance. Like the creamy icing you get on a Costco sheet cake. And I really like Costco cake. Plus, in the latest episode, he totally came out as the hero. Go Nate!

Number 3 - The Bad Influence
Daniel Desario, Freaks and Geeks (aka James Franco)

Just before Christmas, I discovered Freaks and Geeks; a show set in the 80s which came out in 1999 and only lasted a season but is quite literally one of the most brilliant teen drama/comedies to have ever existed. I don't understand why it got cancelled, because it was wonderful. James Franco (of Spiderman/Pineapple Express/Milk fame) played Daniel Desario, the stupidly pretty (and pretty stupid) stoner who tempted Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) over to the dark side of the 'freaks' aka the kids at school that your parents really didn't want you to hang around with. There's not much to say about this one; he's just very, very cute. Even though he frequently looked as though he was in desperate need of a good wash.

Number 2 - The Brilliantly Hilarious One
Cappie, Greek (aka Scott Michael Foster)

If there's one thing I would change about uni, it would be introducing the 'Greek system' to the UK. Seriously, it just looks like so much fun! If I could go and join a sorority right now, I would. And I'm not even at uni anymore. What makes Greek so brilliant is the man himself, Cappie. When you first watch the show, you don't even really pay him much attention, but then suddenly, without realising it, you're in love with him. Really though. In love. He's the epitome of the guy that everyone fancies and you don't immediately understand why, but then you have a conversation with him and it all becomes clear. He's awesome.

Number 1 - My Vampire Valentine
Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries (aka Ian Somerhaulder)

As far as I'm concerned, 'hot' and 'vampire' have been as synonymous as "Costco cake" and "delicious" since the dawn of time; ever since Angel skulked out of the shadows in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was pretty clear that there was something about the bloodsucking undead that was actually very appealing. But over the past couple of years, vampires have become BIG news, with the Twilight 'saga' leaving a trail of weeping, shaky girls in its wake and True Blood stepping over them all, like its big (filthy) older brother. Well quite frankly, Edward Cullen can piss right off; aside from the fact that he spends about 80 percent of the Twilight movies seemingly fighting the urge to be sick (which is understandable really), it has recently been pointed out that he bares quite a strong resemblance to the Jedwards. If that's not enough to get you swallowing cloves of garlic whole and bathing in holy water, then nothing is. Anyway, there is a much better vampire in town and his name is Damon. The Vampire Diaries is crap, I'll admit it, but as you may have guessed, crap is a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine so I continue to watch it, regardless. The premise of the show is pretty much the same as all the other vampire stuff that's out at the moment; ordinary girl meets handsome vampire, they fall in love, trouble ensues. Except, in The Vampire Diaries, the handsome vampire, Stefan, is actually incredibly boring and things don't get remotely interesting until his brother, Damon, (also a vampire, obviously), rides into town and does some killing. Another stupidly attractive fellow, Ian Somerhaulder is a model-turned actor who played Boone in the first season of Lost, and was killed off in a tragic abandoned-aeroplane-falling-off-cliff-accident (although he made a cameo in the first episode of season 6, yay!) He's now rocking it vamp style as Damon, who combines smouldering good looks with a brilliantly sarcastic wit and a cruel callousness that means he might kill you just for a laugh. Perfect heartthrob material. Every now and then though, we get a very brief glimpse of the 'good' Damon, who's a bit heart-broken and damaged, which makes the character all the more appealing. He's currently the desktop wallpaper on my laptop. Yeah, it's pretty serious.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. I think I watch too much TV.

Whiter shade of pale

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Bonjour mes petites chatons!

To those of you who don't randomly break into French every now and then just to make yourselves sound a bit more exciting (not that I'd ever do that...), that means "hello my little kittens!"

Lesson over.
Anyway, feeling a bit French tonight as I've just been looking back over the photos from the Dior Couture show. I meant to post this over a week ago but then I got distracted by the colourful hair over at Chanel. Je suis desolee...
Now, don't get me wrong, the clothes over at Dior were stunning, in fact, I pretty much would have eaten some of them because they were just so ridiculously beautiful (and it's not often I consider eating clothing, contrary to popular belief), I mean look at this, THIS was the final piece;

Aaaaaaaaaaargh!!! "You are so beautiful to meeeeeeee"

However, as with the Chanel show, I actually got a bit more excited about the hair and makeup than the clothes, which seems insane considering, well just look at THAT dress!!! But you have to understand, the models just looked so PRETTY and I'm a big fan of pretty. I hold my hands up, I'm not really as edgy as I like to think I am; when it all comes down to it, I do like things to look girlie and pretty and well, sometimes, SOMETIMES (Jesus H Christ it is ALL coming out tonight) I like pastels ok?!

So I think you need to just take a look for yourselves;

Magdalena, this is getting silly. Stop being so damn beautiful!!!

Look at the hair! Will you just LOOK at the hair! Are you looking? I mean REALLY looking? With your eyes?

You see? Pretty right? I literally want to touch their faces. Just touch them a little bit. Gently, so as not to smudge the makeup. Oh and the hair! Even though those coiffs have probably been backcombed and sprayed like crazy, they just look all soft and whispy and well, yeah, I want to touch them too. Basically if we've learnt anything here it's that I want to touch the models at Dior. Now I never really had high hopes of ever actually being invited to a Dior show, but I think I've pretty much ruined my chances now haven't I? Nobody wants to be strutting down a runway, all fabulous and Dior-ified only to be accosted by a curly scouser who proceeds to stroke their face do they? Well they don't do they?

But all I can say to that is that the folks over at Dior shouldn't make their models look so touchable. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to touch them. In fact, I'm certain of it.

Actually, the person who was responsible for all this touchability (well the makeup part anyway, I've no idea who did the hair - they should really put show credits somewhere) was makeup artist extraordinaire, Pat McGrath. Now I've only just learned about the existence of this woman, but she is seriously AM-UH-ZING. It appears that she does a hell of a lot of the big fashion shows, and she actually created this look for Dior Fall RTW 2008 which I've been a tad obsessed with ever since I first saw it two years ago;

I like to call this look 60s-drag-queen-o-rama

So yeah, Pat McGrath = very good. Pat, you've got The Little Curly Girl's seal of approval. You'll go far my friend.

While the general styling of the Dior show was leaning more towards Edwardian, those white powdered faces and big bouffant-y hair dos, combined with all the pretty pastels, reminded me of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette;

I'll be honest, Kirsten, I don't really understand why you're famous because to me you are just very boring, but I did like this film. And I liked Bring It On. And Interview with the Vampire. And Little Women. Ok, so I like a lot of your films, but I do not particularly rate you Kirsten, I'm sorry, but I just don't. And Mona Lisa Smile.

Funnily enough, last Halloween I went to a fancy dress party as Marie Antoinette and I won best costume! It was pretty much the highlight of my year. Fairly easy costume actually - old dress from a ball I went to at uni, bouffanty hair with lots of talc in it, white face powder, a few little accessories etc SORTED.

Looking back, I think I could have afforded to have gone even bigger with the hair. I'll bear that in mind for the next time I dress up as a dead french queen.

Here I am with my award - I was so happy!

Weirdly, I actually really enjoyed having a super white face. Considering I'm usually the queen of bronzer (not literally, that title clearly would go to Donatella Versace), it was quite refreshing to look in the mirror and see a ghostly-white reflection staring back. Maybe it's because white powder actually makes your skin look really good - it kind of covers everything up and gives you a really smooth, even base. Plus, I loved having a beauty spot. Anyway, if that kind of makeup suddenly became a big trend (fingers crossed that it does!!!) I would be very much in support of it!

In the words of Art Attack's Neil Buchanan - "try it yourself" - white powder. It's the past future.

(all images from style.com, except the ones of me, obviously)

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