Friday, 22 March 2013

Decorate! DIY pastel painted wardrobes

My idea for this home decor project was to 'bring a bit of Miami to our home in Glasgow'. Yes, this is something I actually said to my husband when I dreamed this plan up. He was very polite and let me get on with it.

Our flat is a work in progress which we're tackling slowly as it had some dodgy decor when we moved in and we've been trying to make it ours without huge expense. The previous owners left us these huge wardrobes that I initially wanted to dump, but once we got our clothes into them we realised how useful the hanging space was. This is when my upcycling plan was born.

The original wardrobes, looking a bit 'blah'

Project makeover in full swing

All we had to do was to lightly sand the surfaces then wipe them down with a dry cloth, leaving them primed for painting. I took the doors and drawer fronts off so that I could do my dirty work outside. We used 2 coats of Dulux satinwood in the shades atlantic surf 4 (above left) and amethyst showers 3 (above right). Don't you just love the names they come up with for paint colours?

Ta-dah! The finished job.

And in situ.

I am really pleased with my wardrobes! These pastel colours really cheer up our bedroom. Now, armed with Pinterest and my Kirstie Alsopp book, I just need to find something else to upcycle!

Quick make-up for day

Being someone who has always had dodgy skin and therefore dreads going out in public sans makeup, I always find a few minutes in the morning to apply some of the stuff to lift my complexion. Here is one simple routine I've been doing the past couple of days with a new foundation I got on offer at Boots.

The products:
Bourjois healthy mix serum foundation in shade 52 vanilla
Bourjois healthy mix concealer in shade 51 light radiance
Benefit Dallas blush
Chanel illusion d'ombre eyeshadow in shade 82 emerveille
17 eyeliner in shade coffee (used as a liner and brow pencil!)
Benefit they're real mascara in black
Clarins rouge prodige lipstick in shade 116 coral tulip

My face with baby and baby paraphernalia in background. I love products that multitask and can be applied quickly! Selected Bourjois products are currently on a 3 for 2 offer at Boots, hence my purchase of the healthy mix foundation when I needed to replace my concealer. How is it performing? So far so good! This brown 17 liner is also doing a good job doubling up as a brow filler - not bad for such a low cost pencil. And I mentioned the Dallas powder before but I like how it sort of gives the effect of a bronzer and blush at the same time. All nice products for a quick makeup look!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Long-term relationships volume 1

Think of all the cosmetics that come and go in a lifetime. All those bottles, pots and tubes that shuffle through our bathroom cabinets and make-up bags in an endless quest for 'the one'. That powder or potion that will finally make our beauty routine perfect.

I have found it!

Well, not quite. But I do want to share some of the products I have had the longest-term relationships with. These are a few of the things I have repurchased year after year simply because I just love them and have never found a better alternative.

1. Soap and Glory Flake Away
This is the best body scrub I have used and I love everything about it, especially how drastically better it makes the skin on my legs. I've been a fan of it for about six years. My shins are the only place I get dry skin, and the oil in this scrub provides more than enough moisture without having to use a lotion too. The dense scrub particles also do a great job of banishing any little bumps and imperfections. Hello smooth and glossy legs!

2. Benefit beauty powders
I think Dallas was the first of these I ever used about eight years ago. Coralista is my favourite ever blush and Hoola is probably my favourite bronzer. Although the cardboard box packaging is a bit annoying, these cheek colours are ones I have bought repeatedly for their amazing skin-brightening magic! At the moment I am wearing either Dallas or Sugarbomb almost every day.

3. Dior Forever
This foundation is simply the best one I've ever found for my oily skin, and I've tried a lot of foundations! I discovered this about five years ago and although I've tried various other ones in between I've never found anything to rival this little beauty. It lasts, it looks natural. For my pale face, shade 020 is best.

That's enough for now, but if you have any long-term faves that you'd recommend, please do share them!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Ode to a beautiful basic: the Gap essential short-sleeve crew T

Once I find a good quality, well-priced wardrobe basic I love, I tend to stock up on it in a variety of colours. Friends and family have often laughed at me for constantly appearing in the same skirt or pair of jeans in a variety of shades or washes! But if I love the way something looks and feels I just want to wear it again and again.

When spring and summer roll around (or at least as we get closer to it - it snowed here today!) I always find myself searching for new tees in bright colours. Last summer's offerings seem a bit washed-out and misshapen by this point and I want something fresh and crisp-looking. Enter this year's tee:

Soft, lightweight cotton and its easy shape hang really nicely and its length is perfect for wearing with skinny jeans, or anything really. The neckline is ideal for me as my toddler son is always pulling at my collars, so I like to wear them higher these days! I got these 2 reduced to around £6 each in a Gap store in Glasgow, which I thought was a bargain. Tried them on at home and decided I may need more and to my delight when I looked online yesterday these were going for £2.98 each. Surely a mistake? But I ordered 4 more colours and my order seemed to go through ok, so perhaps it was meant to be!

The tees are available here, currently priced at £5.97, and the colours shown in my photo are the neon blue and neon pink. Soft neons rather than all out day-glo, I'd say, so they work with my pale skin. Oh naughty Gap - that's another great basic you've got me hooked on!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Green Miu Mius

No, this is not a post about a spectacular new pair of heels! But I did get myself a lovely (necessary?) treat which I am very pleased to have.

So last week I had my six-monthly visit to the optician to check all is well with my eyes and my contact lens prescription. My glasses have been mostly relegated to indoor wear in recent years as they are so old, bent and generally awful. I had been avoiding the expense of new ones for ages but when I recently suffered a bout of conjunctivitis and had to reveal my specs to the world, I was so embarrassed by them that I did begin to think it might be time for a new pair. My optician was also horrified by the outdated prescription I'd been wearing and I was persuaded a little more when he showed me what I could have. When I discovered that my branch of Black and Lizars has become an outlet for bargain designer frames the purchase finally became a no-brainer!

Here's what I went for

Beautiful packaging as standard from Miu Miu

Looking a bit goofy, but pleased with my new specs!

The frames only cost me £39 and all in with lenses the total was I think £109. What a great price for new glasses. If you are in the market for some new specs or sunnies I would recommend taking a look in Black and Lizars outlet shops. My nearest is Albert Drive, Glasgow. Lovely helpful staff too!

A family Sunday lunch: Tagliatelle with beef ragu

There are few weekend rituals that I enjoy more than cooking a big meal then having lots of family come over to share it with. I'm often inspired by cooking programmes on TV, but I have a habit of adapting what I have seen as I am not one to follow recipes too rigidly! Last weekend I fancied cooking this wild boar pasta dish that looked so good on the BBC's Food and Drink show, but I used some rump steak I had instead of the wild boar meat. This was a great way to serve some lovely slow cooked meat in the kind of big hearty meal we crave at our family gatherings.
 The ragu ready for the oven

One glass of wine for the pot, one for me!

Ready to serve

Our hall, which occasionally doubles as dining room

Lunch is served!

The tagliatelle was lovely sprinkled with some parmesan and served with salad, crusty bread and red wine. What are your favourite meals to cook for your family and friends?