Thursday, 13 February 2014

Musical Interlude: No Angels

Thank you Sarah.

Listening: No Angels - Bastille feat. Ella

Sunday, 19 January 2014

If happy little felt birds fly...

...beyond the rainbow,
why, oh why, can't I?

I've been adding to the window, sewing up little felt birds for the post twelve days edit. I even went as far as to design the pattern for myself, as I couldn't find one I liked online/was too cheap (cheap) to buy one.

So I've made robins, gold finches, cardinals, bluebirds and lots of randomly coloured birds, which are already in, but mum has decided she would like to try and embroider on a few of their teeny, tiny wings.

Easier said than done when they're only a couple of centimetres square.
What do you think?

I'm proud of them, like I said, I couldn't find a shape I was happy with, they were either too pointy or too ball like, but what I wanted was fat robin shape, all belly. Bit like me. So it's luck more than anything else that they actually fitted together!

I like this part of my job, sitting with a pile of craft supplies, a cup of coffee and a bag of wadding.

Between these and the Great British Sewing Bee, I've got this urge to try and make a teddy bear. Possibly that will be a little too advanced for me at this stage. But it's an idea that's stuck in my head now, which means I should probably have a go even if I end up with some sort of deformed creature.

Perhaps, however, if I managed it, we could do another teddy bears window. Just an idea.

Listening: Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole

Friday, 17 January 2014

Emily had a little lamb...

 ...its fleece was glued on tight.
And every fleece Em glued on, she burnt her hand just twice.

I'd like to introduce you to my little flock of sheep, which I made for the window at work last year. They've been in the window since last March and have had two makeovers, once for the Relay for Life where they got purple and pink fun run style gear (the one in the tutu is one) and then again at Christmas. These are mostly their Christmas incarnations, so for the winter season they were given knitted and crocheted hats, scarves and earmuffs. 

Three of them even got glittery antlers.

They're all hand made, so no sheep is the same and I love them, walking into work and seeing them makes me feel proud and I've had a lot of positive feedback and a few people ask if I'm selling them.

What do you think?


Wonder if I should name them? Any suggestions?
Listening: At Night I Dream Your Bedroom's Crammed With Ducks - Merz

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Dulux Colour of the Year 2014: Teal II

Teal Trivia! The first recorded use of teal as a colour name was in 1917 and it is believed to have been named after the muted blue-green feathers that surround the eye of the dabbling-duck known as the Common Teal.

So the colour has only been known as Teal for ninety-seven years. It's practically a baby. It will also be known dabbling-duck in my head now. And so you know, a dabbling-duck is a duck who feels mostly from the surface of the water rather than diving.

Now, we have the traditional nail polish, which you know I can't resist; heels and a dress; makeup and a mug; comfy, comfy sneakers, that have a double tongue which I've never understood, but are my comfiest pair and heels I may well be able to walk in and there's also a ring which is a planter and my new glasses, which I admit are very, very borderline teal, but after seeing some interpretations of the colour, I'd count them, though I am biased.

So here they are, my Dulux Colour of the Year 2014 list of teal toned treats:

1. Bleach Super Cool Colours in Sea Punk from Bleach London | Link
2. Color Show Nail Polish in Superpower Blue  from Maybelline | Link
3. Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Electric from Stila Cosmetics | Link
4. Kebaya Mug in Turquoise from Anthropologie | Link
5. Pepe Jeans 'Avery' aka my new glasses from Clelland and Boyd Opticians| Link
6. Teal Blue Origami Paper Cranes Ladies Scarf by Talented Apple on Etsy | Link
7. Zodiac Glitter in Cancer from Lime Crime | Link
8. Wearable Planter Icosahedron Ring in Teal by Wearable Planter on Etsy | Link
9. Teal Polka Dot Classic Satchel from Mozzypop | Link
10. Converse Allstar Low Double Tongue Mrrcn Blwt Smu from Office | Link
11. Editor Teal Heel by Not Rated from | Link
12. Pigment in Teal from MAC | Link
13.Globe 10" in Green by Found by Fab | Link
14. Daymee Dress in Teal from Coast | Link

The fact that dabbling-duck wavers between green and blue makes it a relatively easy colour both to find and wear. You just pick the tone that suits you, or at least that's the story I'm sticking too since my collection does wander kind of carelessly through the spectrum.

You can be daring and relatively bright or safe, neutral and muted, but either way, it's a good colour and would look particularly nice with bright blue pinks, corals (which is the complimentary colour of choice) or even with a bit of Radiant Orchid.

Lucky that!

Link | Dulux Colour of the Year 2014
Listening: Sleeping Sickness - City and Colour feat. Gordon Downie

Monday, 13 January 2014

Pantone Colour of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid II

See, this is the fun part of the Pantone Colour of the Year post, finding loads of lovely bits and bobs which are approximately that colour. Radiant Orchid was actually a hard one to find matches for, because it's neither a very blue purple or a very pink purple, it's also strangely bright and muted at the same time. But I have done my best to find fourteen lovely items which are approximately the right colour and I love, to the point where, I have worn no.1 and when no.4 came into work, I was seriously considering them as my new set of specs, plus I spent a lot of my time at uni with part of my hair dyed with no.6 as well as other colours (but this is definitely the closest to Radiant Orchid).

See, I even have tried and tested colour match ideas for you! The rest I will just lust after from now on...

1. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Fishnet from Urban Decay | Link
2. Devonshire Row Nail Polish from Nails Inc | Link
3. Hearthstone Scarf in Purple from J. Crew | Link
4. Pepe Jeans 'Eleanor' Glasses from work | Pepe Jeans Wesbite
5. Moleskin Coloured Professional Notebook in Pink from Moleskin | Link
6. Manic Panic Semi-Permanent Hair Dye in Mystic Heather from Manic Panic | Link
7. Closet Purple Printed Band Hem Skater Dress from New Look | Link
8. Lime Crime Zodiac Glitter in Libra from Lime Crime| Link
9. Converse Ct Lite Ox in Iris Orchid from Office | Link
10. Slight Seconds Leather Boho Pop Mini in Ultra Violet from Bohemia | Link
11. Jessica Simpson Given Jazzberry Suede Heels via | Link
12. Konstsmide 80 LED Berry Lights in Purple from Amazon | Link
13. Satin Shelley Tea Cup and Saucer in Purple from Coastline Imports | Link
14. Lime Crime Eyeliner in Orchidaceous from Lime Crime| Link

After finding all these bits and bobs, to be truthful, I'm actually a little sad about this colour. I genuinely don't think it will suit my skintone (though it will suit both my sisters), so any Radiant Orchid in my life will be in accessory form alone. Perhaps a nice nail polish...

Link | Pantone Colour of the Year 2014 - Radiant Orchid
Listening: Crazy - Ray LaMontagne

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Dulux Colour of the Year 2014: Teal

Books Inspiration by Unknown (via Pinterest)
Another Time by Sarah P on Flickr
Teal Flower Crown by Unknown {Original via Pinterest / Colour Manipulated via Pinterest)

I think Pantone and Dulux have been conspiring this year, because actually, they've picked two colours which work very well together.

This years Dulux colour of the year is Teal, 90GG 19/151 P0.20.40, if you're desperate for it's assigned code, which is not as snappy as Pantone's but hey, they don't have people dropping into B&Q with colour charts.

I love teal, turquoise, aquas, peacock and sea-foam kind of colours, where they're not quite blue, but not quite green either.

"The top trend colour for 2014 perfectly combines the natural harmony of green with the tranquillity of blue. Reflecting the overriding trend of unlocking, this muted teal has a gentle character and is a favourite in the world of design. Deeper and more sophisticated than turquoise, teal has a subdued richness which is often used to describe tropical seas of shimmering bluish green." (Source)

Yeah, they say it better, but I made a moodboard, so neener.

Link | Dulux Colour of the Year 2014 | Colour Futures 2014
Listening: Do You Know How Lucky You Are (Acoustic) - Keaton Henson

Pantone Colour of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

Chinon Bun by Elizabeth Messina {Original via Wedding Chicks and Photo-manipulated via Pinterest}
Purple Tulle by Unknown {via Pinterest}
Radiant Orchid Door by Unknown {via Pinterest}
Berry Cheesecake Icecream by Linda Lomelino at Call Me Cupcake

At the start of the year, which is all of twelve days old, Pantone announced their Colour of the Year for 2014.

Is it sad that I love the idea of assigning a year a colour? I like the idea that someone's sat down and decided, yes, hmm, yes this year feels purple...yes, 2014 feels purple...but slightly pink, but not too pink...but not too violet either...I know, Radiant Orchid! Of course, it should have been obvious! 

Radiant Orchid 18-3224, is actually a really pretty colour choice for this year. It's not too bright, but certainly upping the hue from the pastel colours which have been around for the past few years, like a slightly muted pink violet. In fact what it reminds me of most a traditional gift in our house.

Every Christmas, my gran buys my mum a box of Violet and Rose Creams. Now my mum doesn't have a sweet tooth. She'd choose savoury over sweet every single time, but for some reason she loves these dark chocolate covered fondants, with their candied petal crowns.

I like them too, and that's only slightly because they have the pretty petals on top.

I'm swayed by sparkly flower petals apparently.

Lucky 2014 is the year of Radiant Orchid!

Link | Pantone Colour of the Year 2014
Listening: Sleep - Sivu

Sunday, 5 January 2014

On the 12th Day of Christmas...

...this blogger have to thee...
...twelve drummers drumming...
...eleven lovely lacquers...
...ten bugs and beasties...
...nine feather sculptures...
...eight bits of telly... shoes to choose from...
...six fancy dresses...
...five gold rings!..
...four fancy fish...
...three granulations...
...two bits of wood...
...and a calendar made of tea.

So, that's it again for another year. How in hell is it 2014? When did that happen? I swear it's only five minutes since 2013 began!

Anyway, as the song says it's time for twelve drummers drumming, so I've got a mixture of the songs I've been obsessively playing throughout the year, most of which are new for last year, some of which may be a bit older, but I've played more than any other tracks.

I know not everyone has Spotify, all of these songs are on Youtube, but I'm going to try and add some clips from Soundcloud for you, as it's unfair is you can't play this either...

 Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons

The first time I heard this song, I will admit, I kind of ignored it. I thought it was good, but I didn't get hugely excited, that is until I saw the video. Mumford and Sons made the marvellous move of having actors Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms and Will Forte perform their parts, and it's hilarious. They mime the song throughout know what, watch it! It's just up it!
 Closer by Tegan and Sara

This song is kind of ridiculously eighties, in a great retro way that has had me playing it all of last year and it is the kind of song that you need to have on, really, really loud as you bounce on your bed or dance around the house like a mad thing. It's that kind of song.
Strong by London Grammar

I had a confession. I didn't start listening to London Grammar until the latter end of the year, but I just think that Strong is beautiful...which is why it's slightly annoying that on the playlist I embedded above, it's not them, but someone else covering the song, thus explaining the video above. That said, there is something even more beautiful about this song and Hannah Reid's voice when you see it alongside the music video and a man dancing in a firework suit. 
Fineshrine by Purity Ring

Fineshrine was used in a clothing advert last year. I kept hearing it and the line, 'come a little closer, let fold, cut open my sternum and pull, my little ribs around you', it lodged in my brain alongside the beat. I kept hearing it and thinking I've got to remember and search for this song, which I never remembered. Eventually I found the clip on YouTube and mentioned it to my sister and she exclaimed it was a band she loved. Typical she was never in the room for me to ask before that!
I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick of Time by Bon Iver

Oh god I love Bon Iver. This song has been out for a couple of years, but I just couldn't stop playing the Bonnie Raitt cover. Adele also covered of this song in 2011/12 and it's great, but Bon Iver...ugh, my heart breaks every time I hear it. There are a few songs in the world that I can only describe as feeling in my chest, like my breathing and slows down and I can feel my heart beating clearly. Small Hours by John Martyn, with its ambient guitar echoes is one...this is another. Even writing this is hard because it's playing and I just want to listen. I could listen to Bon Ivers voice forever.
Tennis Court by Lorde

Royals was probably Lorde's biggest song of the year, which was in contention for this list, but I figured it would be everyones choice. However, Tennis Court is my favourite track I think, at least from the few lists I've given the album, plus, I find the video fascinating. There's something really fascinating and alien about Lorde wearing brown contact lenses over her blue eyes and that strange electronic distortion they add over the word 'yeah'. Again this song won because of its video.
 Hey Little Bruiser by Ed Harcourt

Ed Harcourt's album The Beautiful Lie (2006) has some of my favourite songs on it, but this song, I have played it over and over again and can't quite get over. I love the repetitive piano throughout and the pain in his voice. I've been saving this one for you all for this list, it's been that much of a favourite...if only I'd had the forethought to do the same with James Blake.
 Tessellate by Ellie Goulding

Last year I rediscovered my love of Ellie Goulding, I also found my love for ∆ (Alt-J)  This could probably be my favourite cover of the year and also the perfect way to get two artists I've been playing a lot in without sacrificing something else. I also love her interpretation.

 Biblical by Biffy Clyro

'Baby if you could  would you go back to the start?' Okay, so the start with Biffy for me is 2003. Biffy were one of the best things to come out of my final year at school, they released their first album that year and it actually became one of the albums which we played over and over again in the common room, despite everyone's varying tastes. It is the sound of that year for me, the good parts and the bad, and while everything changed, that album has followed me through the next ten years. As have their subsequent ones such as this. I love Simon Neil's voice and the fact that his Scottish accent doesn't disappear or become comical like the Proclaimers.  Doesn't hurt that he's damn handsome either!

Unbelievers by Vampire Weekend

This was the CD that was in the car stereo for pretty much the last six months. Not that I could decide on a track to pick with all that listening time. In the end, I let my sister hear a couple of minutes of both and made her choose.
 To Your Health by Keaton Henson

In March last year, the BBC showed In The Flesh, a drama which centred on the reintegration of Keiran, a re-animated ex-zombie teenager, to his life in a small town, devastated by the zombie apocalypse. Now, I don't know if Keaton Henson's songs were the only ones used for the soundtrack to this drama, but they certainly were the most prominent and the most heart wrenching for this particular subject matter. Make mine a pain in the neck, here's to you, you old wreck, and mine is a thorn in the side, drink up so we can both finally die. This is becoming another feeling in my chest song.

Pure Imagination by Fiona Apple

We all know this song. Anyone who has seen the original Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, knows this song. But, for the Chipotle ad, Apple has re-imagined the song to fit in with the dystopia which mass production and industrial farming has created. It's beautiful and haunting and a lot of that is to do with Apple's voice. I'm already a huge Fiona Apple fan - I waited for years with baited breath for her third album to be released, but her fourth studio album still hasn't grabbed me, this song however did.

Dance Apocalyptic by Janelle Monae

So, we've just finished 2013, so I though I'd give you a bonus track, number thirteen. Dance Apocalyptic, which is a bonus for me because it meant me keeping in Bon Iver and for you because Janelle Monae goes insane her video Tina Turner style. This, like Tegan and Sara's Closer, is another bounce on the bed, dance around like a moron kind of song. We all need those sort of songs.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with dancing around like a moron, in fact, one of my favourite memories is singing and dancing around our kitchen at home, with my mum and my sisters, when we were still little enough to have no shame, to Wings of a Dove by Madness.

If only I could get the house to myself I'd probably still do it.

Well that's it, the Christmas decorations have come down, the lights are off, the festive season is over and normal life will resume. I hope you all had lovely festive seasons, ate, drank and were merry and that 2014 is good to you all!

Listening: Wings of a Dove - Madness

Saturday, 4 January 2014

On the 11th Day of Christmas...

...this blogger gave to thee...
...eleven lovely lacquers...
...ten bugs and beasties...
...nine feathered sculptures...
...eight bits of telly... shoes to choose from...
...six party dresses...
...five gold rings!..
...four fancy fish...
...three granulations...
...two bits of wood...
...and a calendar made of tea.

So my obsessive collecting of nail polish reached a head this year, when I realised that every time I had a bad day, I reached for the supermarket nail polish stand as a cheer giving treat. At least it's better than comfort eating or biting my nails the way I used too.

But for the 11th day of Christmas, I thought I should pay homage to my obsession and give you eleven of my favourite nail polishes. Now I will give a wee disclaimer, I had intended not to do swatches, the colours, never, ever come off  right when you take photos, I don't have the prettiest of nails, plus I also took a huge chunk out of one of them, (past the quick) with a knife while cooking before Christmas, so they look pretty gnarly. But today the post looked pretty shoddy, so have spent the day trying to pick and pic the colours I apologies for how pathetic and badly applied they are!
Now, here is my list of loveliness..
  Maybelline Colorshow in Lavender Lies
Turns out, this is the perfect colour to begin with. Lavender Lies, it's the colour - in my opinion - of a purple Smartie. Almost chalky but still with a good shine if you don't bother with topcoat. But the reason it's perfect to begin with, is it almost exactly matches this years Pantone Colour of the Year, 18-3224 - Radiant Orchid.

Now my opinion the creme colours are better than the metallics in this range, but Maybelline Colorshow are among my favourite drug store brands. They're cheap at £3 a pop, they have excellent pigmentation, this one only needs 2 coats and the brushes are really reliably good in both size and quality. They're a wider brush, but not chunky and that'a s a very good thing. As is the fact that they are 3-Free!
 Barbara Daly @ Tesco in Once Upon A Time
 I love a good, bright pink crème nail polish. For years I hated pink, avoiding it at all cost and my pet hate is still Barbie pinks, baby pinks and pinks with blue shimmers, but a good bright magenta, that's just about perfect. Pink is gorgeous in the right shade and Barbara Daly from Tesco is perfect bar one thing. They discontinued Flamingo for Once Upon a Time and while they're basically the same, I still prefer my original - now slightly claggy - bottle of Flamingo which sits on my shelf. They have a standard brush, they're only little and this shade takes three coats as it's quite sheer and as far as I know Barbara Daly polishes are at least 1-Free.

 Nails Inc in Piccadilly Circus
 Ahh, my first love when it comes to Nails Inc. I can't really afford £11 a pop for nail polish, but Glamour and Instyle magazines have them as a free gift now and then, and I will spend £11 on four magazines to get four polishes. Piccadilly Circus was the first of their polishes which found its way into my pathetically manicured hands and cemented my love of them (and possibly my addiction to nail polish full stop). It is a deep, dark pink, which while it dries darker than the bottle, is glossy and basically the colour I had my bedroom for a decade. Plus, it takes two coats, but even one has sufficed before. Nails Inc, I adore you despite your price!
 Maxfactor Max Effect Mini Nail Polish in Fantasy Fire
 So pretty I bought it twice (well, actually, I bought one, my lovely dad bought me the second bottle as a present - my pater has excellent taste!) This polish is a beautiful she purple with golden, almost orange favourite eye shadow, discontinued over a decade ago, was called Trifle and was purple with orange glitter, it sound wrong but it works. And it works with this polish too. As I said it's very sheer, and quite a watery polish and you can wear it alone, but you would been lots of layers. Put it over a plain purple polish and it takes two too get a nice even layer of sparkle to admire in the sunshine.
 Rimmel London Space Dust Collection in 005 Total Eclipse
 I only bought this at the start of November, I saw it and it reminded me of my favourite eye shadow and I bought it without realising it was textured. I am not a fan of textured nail varnish, I don't even particularly like the feeling of very glittery polishes on my nails - they feel like sandpaper - so avoid them like the plague, but this one is actually lovely! If you like textured/glitter polishes I have a sneaky second recommendation, which is Barry M Textured Polish in Countess, I've been wearing it since New Years Eve and love the colour. Countess, is an odd colour, a mixture of burgundy/purple and gold glitter, which is dark, but has enough twinkle to make it wearable. Downside again is the texture, it feels like I have emery boards on my nails, which isn't my cup of tea, but I have gotten used to it. It also chips, but because of the texture patches well and dries quickly. They're both tricky to remove, but easier than expected for a glitter, though I am covered in fine sparkles now. 
 Gosh Nail Lacquer in 627 Denim Delight
 Gosh, while not new to me for most other make-up is new to me when it comes to nail varnish, and this is maybe not my favourite, I have a holographic one I don't wear but bring out to gawp at occasionally, however, Denim Delight is my most worn, I wear it to work, where it looks grey enough to be smart but blue enough to be unusual. I wear blue polish a lot as you will notice, and it still gets odd looks occasionally, but also gets nice comments too. 
 Orly Mini Mani in Hairband
 This for me is a Nails Inc dupe. Glamour Glitter is a top coat, it's a clear polish with two very fine sizes of silver gold glitter suspended in it, which was from a magazine a couple of years ago. It's perfect, but not available. And as I've said above, I don't wear a lot of glitter because of the texture, gut this is one I use a lot. But you can't get it, and I made up the rules, so here's a couple of dupes. If you like gold gold, go for Orly in Hairband, which I plumped for Hairband today over a black base as it has two sizes of the glitter particles. If you're more fond of the silver side, Barbara Daly in Wizardry

 Nails Inc in Queen Victoria Street
 My gran bought me this for Christmas, otherwise I wasn't going to have a second Nails Inc on my list, but it's a really bright crème jade green, which will probably become a favourite this year. It's the same as Piccadilly Circus, standard brush, good coverage etc, but most of the Nails Inc I've tried have been of a high quality. It also looks like last years Pantone Colour of the Year, 17-5641 Emerald.
Revlon Nail Enamel in Posh
 Posh is a bright British racing or snooker table green (which both photos fail to show, my is especially unreliable) and while I have lots of aquas and I have no bottles I would consider green green, bar this one. On my last post about nail varnish, where I showed a portion of my hoard, a follower mentioned she'd been buying a lot of greens, which of course spurred me on to find my own. This is a great shade, standard brush, two coat coverage and a big bottle, but stains a bit when you remove it, so you need to take care not to smear it over your skin because it takes a while to get off.
 Rimmel London Professional Finish in 420 Aqua Cool
 I wear this colour more than any other.
 Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Greenberry
Another of my favourite inexpensive brands at £3 a pop and also 3-Free. I used to actually hate Barry M polishes, don’t get me wrong, the colours have always been fab, but the application, at least the few I tried, were streaky, thin and slow drying. Not so slow now, the Gelly polishes are particularly good and have incredible shine. I've got a good few of these colours, and Greenberry is very me. Aquas and pale blues are my safety colours.

Ok, so bonus time, mostly because it's my secret weapon and oh my god is it worth the money. My secret weapon for my nails is Sally Hasens Insta Dri, which is the best top coat I've every used for three reasons,

1. I got it for a steal while the supermarket was selling them off, if only I'd bought more than one!
2. It's got an incredibly glossy finish, which makes me rub my nails on my clothes like one would an apple, just to see how shiny I can get them and
3. The most important factor in this being a secret weapon. It is a quick dry top coat which sets your nails in a few seconds. Which means (unless your nails are really thickly applied and you don't give it any time to dry before applying the topper) no more smudging, no more looking insane trying to pick things up without messing them up and no more bed sheet imprints!

Is that just me? I tend to do my nails in the evening before bed, if they're not set, I get fabric imprints in my nails and there's only so much extra top coat that can help!

So that's it, the 11th day, I reek of nail varnish remover, under my nails are all different colours and I've only made one little felt bird today. 

Now for a cuppa.

Link | Maybelline Color Show in Lavender Lies
Link | Barbara Daly in Once Upon a Time
Link | Gosh in 627 Denim Delight
Link | Orly in Hairband

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Part twelve tomorrow...
Listening: Royals- Lorde
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