Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Metalic eyes


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

On Christmas day I thought I would go all festive with metallic eyes. Only the instructions in the December issue state that with silver you don't wear mascara. This has it's pros and it's cons. The cons were that I just looked a bit odd. I love mascara, in my head its that little touch that makes me look feminine. The pro however, is that at 2:30 am, when husband was still awake playing Wii after drinking countless beers and 1/3 of a bottle of limoncello - I hadn't rubbed my mascara all over my face as usual when I'm tired.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Banoffee Pie


I made the Carnation cheat's banoffee pie last Saturday to take round to Blondie's for the X-factor semi final. The only problem was, Blondie had laid on such a great savoury spread with hot apple brandies. The thought of desert filled us up, so I left it there... and have on good authority from Blondie that it was very nice. Not bad, especially as it was the sort of pudding my mum could make, and she's not cooked since 1995.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Getting a head(band)


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

Today I have decided to dress up as Madonna for work, Net headband.. check (as per this month's fashion pages), blue mascara - check.. now where did I leave that Toblerone bra?

5 point plan to survive the party season


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

I tried to follow the advice on how not to get too drunk at a work party on Wednesday. Clad in my little black dress, with my bag on a chain in metalic shoes (So far, so Marie Claire), I had every intention of having a glass of water between drinks, sticking to long drinks and not letting anyone fill up my glass. I also started to keep a tally (as advised) of all the booze I was drinking.

As you can see, the first drink was between the hours of 12 - 1 (Vodka and coke), then a beer between 3pm - 4pm. I picked up the pace a little with a vodka and a wine between 4pm and 5pm, then really built up speed between 5-6 when the table ran out of water.

After 6 it all went a bit wrong, it was taking the bar so long to serve people I decided to bulk buy 6 Vodka and cokes so I didn't have to go back an queue.

The next thing I know, husband had come to pick me up armed with half a chicken split and I insisted we go to Kendals and buy each other perfume??!! What the hell??

Hence the question mark from 7pm - 8pm onwards. Maybe this is something I need to get the hang of?!

Clothes Show

Last Saturday was my maiden trip to the Clothes show live. My friend Mrs Z is a clothes show veteran, so I contacted her a while ago to see if I could meet her down there and we could go round together.

I wasn't sure what to expect, I though that the Clothes Show was all high end designers showing off their new collections and as a result be crawling with fashionistas in outfits that look like they beaten half to death with a rolled up copy of Dazed and Confused magazine. So what better place I thought, to don my tartan jumpsuit. Surely this of all places is where such a an outfit would be accepted... embraced even?!

My day started at 6:30, dragging myself out of bed to get ready and be out of the door for 8am. I was supposed to be at the Clothes Show for 10 in order to catch the fashion show, but a nice little traffic jam on the M6 put a stop to that.

As I got off teh bus and walked into the NEC, it dawned on my that the Clothes Show is less of a fashion event and more of a trolley dash. The majority of girls were wearing clothes built for speed. Footwear that can get you from one discount brand store to the next, buying up bags and bags of stuff you didn't know you needed.

I felt, like a big tartan twat.


Mrs Z and 3 of her friends met me after the show and we quickly formulated a plan to get to Irregular Choice in a methodical fashion. This was Mrs Z's 6th year, so she was armed with cash, had booked our table for lunch and knew exactly what to do and where to go to get the best out of the gazillions of stores.

After promising myself I wouldn't buy anything, I was caught up in consumption vacuum! There was no walking away from the stalls and counting to 10, there was no forming a 5 point plan on how to get out of debt.... only me, squealing that I'd managed to negotiate my Sister's and my cousins Christmas pressies for over 50% less that they should have been.... then trotting off to another store to buy essential items such as the "Hair Boustier"... yes that's right a plastic thingie that helps you create a beehive. At the time of purchase, I faintly remember mouthing to the the sales woman "Wow, what an amazing piece of product design". For fuck's sake - someone punch me now!

After a morning of shopping, and a heroic amount of time spent by Mrs Z in the irregular choice store, we went for lunch (Thanks for my treat Mrs Z!!) in the prefab restaurant. After lunch I needed to get back on the road as I was off down to Devon, but managed to get lost for a further half an hour in the maze of clothes and inappropriately dressed teens.

Next year I'll be taking 2 essentials - money and comfy shoes.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas List


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

Husband has been having trouble knowing what to get me for Christmas, even with massive hints such as "I like this, in this colour, from x website" etc etc. The December list urged me to put a black bag from next on my Christmas list - so I have, along with some other ideas for Husband. (most outside of our £50 budget!). I'll send him the link to this page and see what appears on Christmas day!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The December List

Fashion
Give your scribblings a high fashion spin with a beautiful, limited edition Smythson notebook by hot London designer Erderm, from £115…. No all you sane people out there – that isn’t a typo. That is a cool ton for a notebook. Maybe all you poor sods that have been made redundant in the worst recession ever to be seen by this country…. can trot off and buy one to take notes in your next interview? What a joke.

Put this amazing bag on your Christmas list – Referring to a £28 faux croc painted black bag.

Sequins are big this month for the party season. I already have some muted ones, maybe I need some sparkly ones? Maybe I can customise something with sequins as I’m quickly running out of cash.

Justify your Whistle’s Love – le sigh, so pretty and so outside of my budget.

Shoe Heaven: Metallic shoes – Phew, I have gold and silver so will get them out!
Dance-Floor Hits – this winter’s classic black heels adorned with delectable detail. I have a pair of black shoes adorned with a bambi – take that for detail!
Colourful soles: Put the bling back into your step with these bright buys. Or I could get my lovely bright green KG heels for a little party.
Prety Pumps: Keep your feet firmly on the ground without compromising on style. Bummer – having one size 6 and one size seven foot always means you have to compromise on style – because you need to be strapped in.

Get aheah – get a headband. I already have a great one, with a net Madonnaesque bow. It can come out for a little trip.

Brocade parade: Give your outfit instant opulence without a flashy price tag. There is a £34.99 borcade skirt in River Island that I could get.

Seduction: Turn up the heat with these stylish but sexy looks. Referring to a mass of sequins, draping, tailoring

Get seriously glitzy for Christmas at marieclaire.co.uk/diamante

Cocktail Hour: Referring to partying in style in an LBD, lace accessories and dramatic sparkle.

Finishing clutches: From sequined to feather, oversized to petite, these chic bags are sure to make your outfit dazzle. For more great party shopping picks go to www.marieclaire.co.uk/shopping. I shall be getting my oversized clutch out then!

Discover my Jewellery personality

From Dusk till Dawn fashion story

Let it shine fashion story
Give thanks for Spanx – I certainly will, I love my stomach sucker inners!










Beauty

Culture
Meet our newest blogger, Lianne Gutcher – read blog.
Watch this face – Lilly Collins (Phil Collin’s daughter) – I’m following on twitter, at least I think it’s her!

Follow the Hot Metal make up looks

Follow the Glow Getters top to toe radiance guide.

Follow the easy party eyes guide.

Add a daring flash of colour to your LBD (referring to red lippy)

How to look expensive: Eighties Glamour.

Follow 5 steps to beautiful hands

Channel Lauren Bacall (not going to happen with my hair!)

Spoil your senses by:
Meeting friends for afternoon tea. I won’t be doing it in London as suggested because I have no free days to get there.
Enjoy a beauty treat: It suggests recreating sultry eyes, I shall get Mac to do this for me.
Cosy up: A new scarf updates your look – that’s lucky as I bought one from Gap a few weeks ago!




Competitions

Win a shopping trip to New York – Done
Win a spar day for 2 – Done
Share your shopping tips at mareiclaire.co.uk/accessory awards – Done (Ugg Australia comp)

Relationships
Find a new friend – This refers to a website called fridaynightsucks.com. A website for people who have moved to a new city and want to fins some people to go out will. I’d invite someone to come out for my birthday – but it’s a London centric website.

Share my infidelity experience at www.marieclaire.co.uk/infidelity

Share the pleasure: Get £10 off a Phillip’s (Yes, the same guys that make shavers and tellys) sex toy. At £60 I would want it to make me a brew afterwards!


Home
Entre the face of Habitat Competition.

Visit the Christmas Tree Man – this is a fantastic Idea. You can order a tree which is delivered via an environmentally friendly courier service, then they take it away after new year’s day, replant it and then you can get it again next year. I LOVE this idea, the question is can we afford it 

Visit canon.co.uk/takestories

Cook the mini banoffee pies in the Carnation advertorial.

Cook Kimberley Walsh’s Christmas Menu

Follow Jane Packer’s Festive home tips.
1. When choosing festive flowers, go for big blooms like hydrangeas.
2. Introduce a new colour or style of bauble each year. It makes the season feel so much more exciting!
3. Always hang a festive wreath on the font door as it ads a nice welcome to your home.

Cook the chocolate and pear tart recipes


This is in relation to a story on Peru and how climate change is devastating the local communities:
Walk to the corner shop, buy energy saving lightbulbs and turn the thermostat down 1 degree. Visit direct.gov.uk/actionco2 to see other ways to reduce our carbon footprint and support Oxfam’s appeal to get the government to back a UN deal that will avoid temperature rises. In order to do this I need to got to a March in London on the 5th of December, but in this same issue, Marie Claire has stated I mustn’t miss the clothes show live, which I have a ticket to on the 5th!


Health
In relation to an article on how to avoid the Christmas minefield and not crack up..
To avoid dodgy gifts: According to Glenn Harrold, my hypnotist friend on Twitter, the best thing to do is laugh it off to diffuse the situation before starting work on him so he gets it right for next year. I know husband has got it right for me this year, because I went out and bought some stuff, brought it home and said “This is what you have got me for Christmas” Simples!

To avoid getting too pissed: Don’t drink on an empty stomach, eat a sarnie before I go out and don’t start drinking before I get to the party. There is also a 5 point plan to stay on the right side of disaster.

1. Stick to long drinks – wine as a spritzer, draft beers, or well diluted vodka tonics.
2. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or low cal soft drinks
3. Don’t allow your glass to be topped up before you have emptied it.
4. Find out about how many units of alcohol is in my drink
5. Pace yourself, be aware of how many drinks I’m having an hour.

To avoid piling on the pounds

Plan ahead – thing about how many dinners lunches and parties you are going to. Cut out snacks and treats (there goes the 5 small meals a day then!) and when it comes to canapés avoid anything with pastry and fill up on crudités without the dips. In addition to this, go out for a daily walk and don’t veg in front of the TV.

To avoid money problems
Dr Holden advises: To avoid spending, on anything, walk away from the shop and count to 10. Once the spending urge has finished, write a 5 point list of my biggest financial worries and pledge to get to grips with them and write a debt busting plan after Christmas. The advice then goes on and tells you to buy Dr Holden’s Book “be happy” for £9.99…… I am walking away from my computer….. I am counting to 10… I am thinking it’s a bit of a joke to tell you to buy something to help you stop buying er…. Things.. FOR GOD’S SAKE!


Travel

Other
5 things not to miss

Children in Need – Oops! Missed it!
The Nutcracker @ the Royal Ballet. There is NO way I can make this between now and the end of the December.

Christmas lights switch on – Did it! See photos on previous post.

David Hockney 1960 – 1968 a Marriage of styles: Hmm this is in Nottingham, again not sure when I’ll have any time to do this.

Clothes show live: I have my ticket and will be meeting Mrs Z on Saturday in my jump suit!

Watch Bright Star at the Cinema

Listen to Robbie Williams: Realty killed the video star

Watch the Queen on channel 4 – bah , the last episode was today and I missed it! (So I’ll watch Gavin and Stacy as advised instead)

Read a book – any bloody book!

Dream a little dream

Sometimes, does your brain weird you out? Often, I wake up from particularly obscure dreams and wonder how my brain came up with such fantastically weird situations.

I believe that you can learn things through your dreams, but I’ve never taken the time to really analyse them. So I was happy to see that part of November’s challenge was to keep a pad by the side of my bed and write down my dreams when I woke up. I then had to work through them to fathom out what they all meant.

The ones that particularly stood out to me over the 30 days were really vivid. They included watching a colony of Puffin / Toucan like birds with my mum. I figured that was likely because the Life program on BBC 1 had been about birds that week.

I also dreamed I was stood in a shower, throwing wine glasses at Husband (who kept morphing into Sharon Osborn) whilst I stood in a shower shouting at him. This was easy to work out, he was supposed to be getting up early that morning to go to the glaziers an pick up a table top… but he was down stairs, completely drunk at 5:30 am listening to music. So even in my sleep I was pissed off at him! (No – he didn’t get up at 7 like he was supposed to.)

The one dream that stood out to me was only a couple of nights ago though. Lodger and I stumbled on an old disused room in a mill. For £2 a week we could rent it out as an art studio, so we did. We loved it in there and were arts and crafting to our heats content – then we left the room to go and find our friend’s to show them. But when we returned, we got totally lost, no matter where we looked we couldn’t fond the room…

What does it all mean?

I feel like I’m losing my creativity! And I bloody well do! I took creative routes all the way through my education - right up until uni. Then I got a job in Media, and slowly but surely I’ve become deskilled and stifled in the areas which I’m most passionate about. It hit home quite a bit and it’s got me thinking about flexing my creativity again. I don’t want to be end up as one of those old ladies that knits dolls to go over loo rolls just to express myself.

3 Course Disaster





This month the 3 course diner party menu came courtesy of Anjum Anand and I fucked it up royally:

Tandoori wild mushroom and goats cheese salad: Um, I forgot 3 ingredients and plated up enough to feed 6 rather than 3.

Prawn Biryani: After coughing my guts up whilst cooking all the spices and covering my top in the sauce, I eventually served up a plate of charred food looking like Rab C Nesbit.

Buttermilk panna cotta with blackberries: Although this is my favourite pudding from all the menus so far… I didn’t use buttermilk because I couldn’t get any and Husband found a massive lump of solid gelatine in his..oops. When I added the warm blackberries, it melted the top of the pudding and it all started to curdle together. As appealing as baby sick.

I still smelled of the burned biryani nearly 24 hours later and I haven’t dared put it in my food diary due to the heroic amount of oil involved. Bless Lodger, she ate everything without complaint, Husband on the other hand approaches meals as if he were a judge on master chef. I got a full critique of the meal whilst daydreaming of happily shoving a panna cotta up his jacksie.

Monday, 30 November 2009

My Flora Heart Age

I've just been on the Flora Heart Age calculator to calculate my heart age.... Oh dear - it's 6 years older than me! Looks like I've not managed to escape my misspent youth after all. :-(

What can I do to help reduce this? Well according to Flora, the first thing I can do is.. "Cough" eat "cough marketing ploy" FLORA.

Sod off Flora, I'm Bertolli all the way!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Cape and Chain Bag


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

The November list gave me another reason to get out my bargain cape that I picked up 2 years ago for about £25 in a French Connection sale.

I really like it, but as I found out today it has its limitations. For example, putting on a seatbelt turns into a task with limited arm movement. I also picked up a really cool soft fabric bag, with a big bling chain attached as advised by the November list. Accessing the bag turned into a pain, when in order to do so you have to poke your hands through 2 tiny slits and you look like you are doing some obscure game on the Cristal Maize.

Other than that, and the fact I looked slightly like a French policeman, I really like my cape. And as Husband and I found out at the market, so did our fantastically pervy Butcher – flattery got him everywhere as we walked away with a pack of sausages and 2 sausage butties.

Bad Hair Month


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

My hair has been a bit of an issue this month. The first issue arose as we filmed a home makeover show at the beginning of November. We were fortunate to be selected to have our dining room made over, and 2 of the filming days included shopping for things to go in said room.

On the first day we had our pictures taken for the sake of continuity, and were asked to wear the same clothes for the next shopping day after the weekend. But over the weekend, I had a particularly bad hair day which resulted into a morning messing about with the Maire Claire makeover tool, then an afternoon down at the hairdresser’s having 5 inches cut off.

It was only as the last few strands were being blow dried into a shoulder length do – that I realised having 5 inches removed from my hair was possibly not what the TV crew had in mind by means of continuity. Luckily I was wearing pigtails and a hat, so only the geeky should notice my plats moving up and down in length throughout the show.

The other hairstyles were all a bit of disaster. The bird’s nest pony tail effort turned into more of a backcombed mono dread. In Husband’s words I looked like a “17th century serving wench” and it was “The worst hairstyle he had ever seen”.

All the other attempts at the styles turned out nothing like the pictures, largely because I don’t own velcro rollers the size of tires or long lovely straight hair any more. I think I need to work with what I’ve got when it comes to my mop at the moment, and for husband’s sanity leave the backcombing out.

One thing that amuse me highly with this article, were the anthropological references that were associated with some of the styles.

“On a basic anthropological level, leaving hair unrestrained signifies a relaxed, free spirit” (Or someone who can’t find their bobble) “A glossy, low – maintenance style shouts health and fertility.” That’s good! So when I really can’t be arsed to even brush my hair, like today, that signifies free spirit rather than a big slob. Yay – off the hook thanks to basic anthropology!

Re the 17th century serving wench / birds nest do…

“In Japan, the back of the neck is considered a woman’s most erogenous zone. Jake Davis, senior stylist at John Freida, says that revealing this area can elongate the body and give an elegant silhouette.” The only silhouette this god awful style will give you is that of Shaft standing directly beside David Seaman.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Retrocising!

Lodger and I did some Retrocising today. It's brilliant! Today was mad Lizzie of TVAM, tomorrow is Mr Motivator.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vMJMw19iyk

The Result


The Result
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

The aim


The aim
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

"Wowing" at work and dodging the fashion police

Quick! Someone call the fashion police!
This morning I had the great idea of throwing together a few different looks that Marie Claire has published over the last few months. This included: Rolled up chinos and boots, a studded waist belt, a statement necklace and some muted sequins. Now - the issue we have here is instead of looking stylish, I have walked out of the house looking like a cross between a Communist assassin and one of Aerosmith's road crew. What I have completely forgot to consider, is how this mish mash of styles makes my body look. My party arms are not ready yet, and after inputting it into my food diary, my stomach is bloated from 1000 cals of hot apple and rum cocktails. I've got no makeup on because I'm taking a coarse of sunbeds to try and sort out my zits and as much as I love these chinos, they make my arse look massive.

My hair is a bit of a disaster too. I got up an hour early today to try and make it look like the picture above (The aim). - As you can see (The Result) - it doesn't really capture the "Born Free" look. According to Marie Claire I was going for an "Unrestrained" look which "signifies a relaxed, free spirit. A glossy, low maintenance look style shouts health and fertility". Erm OK. What I achieved was a frizzy look which signifies someone that clearly can't style their hair properly, a style that shouts "perm" and "busy".

To combat the dodgy hair and clothes at work, I've skipped down to Kendals on my lunch hour to douse myself in on of the perfumes Marie Claire recommends to "wow at work". I figured I could distract people from the way I look today with the way I smell. I chose... and I quote "Today's shoulder-pad substitute" Nina Ricci's Ricci Ricci.

So I'm sat here..

Typing....

Wondering when the wowing will begin.

So far nothing.

I'm being ignored.

People are busy eating their dinner and checking facebook.

I'm sure the wowing will start soon. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

So I joined the debate


Should Kerry katona be left alone by the press?

20 Clever Money Tips

I consider myself fairly good with money, I try to live within my means, earn bonus points where I can and pay off my debts every month. I’m still too much in debt to warrant saving, but the point is we are moving in the right direction.

So when I saw the article on 20 clever money tips, I assumed I would already be doing the majority of what the article advises. But there are still a few more things that I can do to clamber out of the debt I ran up as a stupid drunken student.

1. Keep updated.
I already receive thewww.moneysavingexpert.com weekly email, if you don’t get it – SIGN UP! It’s brilliant. But I don’t get www.moneyweek.com and www.moneymagpie.co.uk. So I have signed up to these now.

2. Build a cash back stash
OK, I’ve now got search engines coming out of my ears. A few months back I was to sign up to a search engine that paid money to charities. Now I’m to sign up to a couple of search engines that pay cash back. Can’t google buy www.quidco.com and www.cashbackings.co.uk, along with all the other clever search engines and have just one great big wondrous mega searcg engine that does everything for you? I’ll end up using search engines to find other search engines at this rate!

Saying that, both sites look amazing! I’ve set up an account so will see how much money I ear with my online purchases over the next 6 months.

3. Dine with a discount.
Ah! Something I already do. I’m always swayed by the 241 offers at the local restaurants when it comes to choosing where to go.

4. Dress for Less
This advises you on online outlets where you can buy designer where that is still out of my price range. Thumbs down.

5. Get Savings Savvy
Not yet Marie Claire! Indirectly quoting Martin Lewis – the oracle that runs Moneysavingexpert.com. Until your debts are paid off – there is no point saving. I still have £4k to go.

6. Find a clever card
Already done. I have the Amex suggested in the article.

7. Become a book trader.
Woohoo! I can swap a book and get back the one I lost hopefully on www.readitswapit.co.uk.

8. Fill a Virtual Basket
I did this today on www.mysupermarket.com. See last post.

9. Know your worth.
This is a great Idea to work out your hourly rate, then work out how many hours of work it will take to buy something. It kind of puts you off buying anything, I need to work for 7 solid hours just to pat for all the alcohol I drank yesterday.. OOPS!

10. Sweep up any excess.
This relates to saving again – sweeping any money left in your account at the end of the month into a savings account. This NEVER applies to us!

11. Cut your chat.
Rather than calling expensive 0870 numbers, I can visit www.saynoto0870.com and find cheaper alternatives. I like this, sticking it to the man!

12. Bling up on the (Relatively) cheap.
Advising readers to visit auctions to buy their bling rather than shops. I may not be in the market for diamonds. But I am interested in selling some things at auction. So I’ll visit www.ukauctioneers.com and see if I can find somewhere local.

13. Stop the holiday hurting
This relates to a prepaid Mastercard called a Caxton card. You load it up with your spends before you go, and there is no charge for withdrawals. I think I will be getting one of these for our holiday to Egypt!.

14. Don’t be a credit tart.
OK – I won’t!

15. Think long term.
I’ve been thinking long term since I was 23, hence why husband and I are just about doing OK.

16. Swipe your coffee.
Meaning get a Starbucks swipecard… or don’t pay a 5 billion% mark up on a coffee, and make your own maybe Maire Claire?!

17. Share you wheels.
This relates to ditching your car and joining streetcar.co.uk. Not applicable if you have a company car.

18. Make your insurance work out for you.
Again, this doesn’t apply as I get health insurance through work.

19. Go for a car boutique sale.
Something told me these may be few and far between in the middle of December. But I’ve checked out www.yourbooty.com and there are quite a few all year round in the local area. As an avid user of Freecycle, I tend to give stuff away so I can receive. It will take me a while to gather enough stuff together to have a decent table at a car boot.

20. Fly Right
Use Skyscanner when booking flights – I do this, I’m a big fan of skyscanner!

Animal Print and frugal shopping


I’ve just spent the last few hours wanting to smash my laptop against the coffee table. I took the advice of Marie Claire and one of the 20 tips to save money, by doing my shopping on mysupermarket.com. It is a great site, and I’ve used it before. Today I saved £10 against Asda and over £30 against Waitrose, I earned Ipoints, Tesco clubcard points and swapped and saved foods to save not only money but calories. BUT, I’ve sat on my fat backside for 3 hours doing this because my little laptop with its goldfish memory kept freezing.

Anyhow, I bought all the ingredients for November’s 3 course meal which I plan to cook on Saturday. If anyone is free and would like to come round to eat it with us – email me.

I’m not massively up for leaving the house today anyway. Mini Wix came to stay with us for the weekend, so we decided to show her the Christmas markets. Animal print is big business in November, and I was a little hung over from Friday night – so I decided rather than spend ages trying to make my hair look acceptable, I would pin it up and tie a leopard print scarf round my head. I love wearing a head scarf in this way with a big bow, it reminds me of hip hop videos from the 80’s.

We started with a drink in a bar called the North Pole, then wandered to Kendals to swap some belts and bags. After buying, trying and returning 5 belts and 2 handbags, I’ve finally found some accessories that make my tartan jumpsuit look OK. From there we made our way into the thick of the Christmas market for food, but in true Manchester style, it was shitting it down – so we then wend back to the North Pole

Where we stayed.

For 6 hours.

Drinking.

We drank ourselves sober, then got drunk all over again.

When I entered all the drinks into my food diary this morning, I realised that I had drunk over 1000 calories in warm toffee apple cocktails. Shit the bed! Time for some “Retrosize” next week. I think I’m going to try and find old Youtube videos of Lizzie from GMTV circa 1985, doing scissor kicks with a troupe of old ladies in spandex tights and a mohair jumper.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Everyone has gone a bit Jimmy Choo!

Well I wasn't going to queue for 14 hours!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Five things not to miss - Breakfast at Tiffany's


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

Saturday was not just about Jimmy Choo, I headed down to the big smoke to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s with The Lady. I’ve not been to see a play for ages, and I’ve not seen the film or read the book either… so hadn’t really got a clue what to expect.

I knew it was starring Anna Freil, and Lady told me there was a real life cat in it. But as the curtains rose, this was the depth of my knowledge.

It was absolutely brilliant! I loved the story, Anna Freil (and the cat) were fantastic and the theatre was spectacular.

One thing I hadn’t bargained for though, was a full frontal “here is my lady garden” flash from Anna. Granted, she has a fantastic figure and her character, Holly Golightly is a bit of rum one, but really.. is it necessary at 3pm on a Saturday?

It just made me a bit depressed actually, I’d love to have Anna Freil’s figure. And face come to think of it!

When I got back to Manchester, I was aware I had got a bit hot and flustered on the tube and train. But this was confirmed when at home, husband was positively repelled by my impression of a Gregg’s potato and meat pasty. One day, I will learn how to be cultured and sexy at the same time. Like Joanna Lumley.

Five things not to miss - Jimmy Choo at H&M


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

I went to London on Saturday, to catch a show and see the new Jimmy Choo collection at H&M. When we got to the store on Oxford street however, there was a really long, none moving queue. Look at the picture - you can see someone reading the paper! Have you ever had to take reading material with you shopping before? It's Insania!

So we never made it into the store unfortunately, but I wasn't planning on buying anything anyway. I've spent all my spare money this month on a tartan jumpsuit that makes me look like a large Scottish baby, by order of Marie Claire of course.

Food diary and fertility


Food diary
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

One thing I’ve learned with this experiment is that often – it’s not what Marie Claire is telling me to do that is the interesting story. It’s the people I meet and the things that happen along the way.

As I sit here writing from the usual hotel that I stay at in Bristol, I’ve got myself into a bit of a funk. I wasn’t doing great with the food and exercise advice to begin with, but I’d lost a couple of pounds in the first few months and things were starting to shape up. However, incidental exercise doesn’t seem to be cutting it. Taking the stairs and chasing people down the street isn’t going to be enough to reverse the bulge.

And there is a bulge – I’ve just caught sight of it in the mirror.

This links back to one thing leading to another I suppose. In each month there has been some sort of diet advice. Eating 5 meals a day, hypnosis, asking myself why I want chocolate every time I reach for some etc. This month is keeping a food diary. My food intake has rocketed. It’s disgusting. As I flick through the pages of the last week, it’s no surprise that I look and feel the heaviest I’ve ever been.

Looking at the diary my food intake has rocketed, for 3 reasons.
The first is that there has been a flurry of chocolate being brought into work recently. Left over trick or treat treats, treats brought back from holydays etc.
2. Is that I’ve had a lot of social and work meals recently.
3. Is my mood. I’m stressed out, and when I’m stressed I eat.

October’s Marie Claire ran an issue on fertility. It urged the reader to run some checks as it were to see if all is present and correct in there. So rather than spend the money for a fertility test, I decided to go to the Doctor and have them do it for me.

I had 3 blood tests to begin with. One showed my Rubella antibodies were fine. One showed that I was slightly anaemic and the lab lost my third one. So I went back and had another 2 tests. These tests are to test my progesterone levels, these levels indicate if I am ovulating or not. 2 weeks ago I called up for my results.

Me: Hi, I was just calling for my blood tests results.
Receptionist: OK, what’s your name?
Me: Mrs T
Receptionist: OK, well it just says, 4&5 – erm, I don’t know what that means so you will have to call the nurse tomorrow.

Being of an impatient nature I couldn’t wait 24 hours so decided to search on Google for what it all meant. My heart sank as I read forum after forum of stressed out women, claiming to have the same results as me and it meaning trouble.

So I called back the next day to speak to the nurse.

Me: Hi, I called yesterday for my blood test results.
Nurse: Ahh yeah. It’s a 4 and a 5 – erm, it looks like you didn’t ovulate.

Phone goes down – hand reaches for Chocolate. Did I stop to ask myself why I was reaching for the chocolate? No. I didn’t bother, because the answer was bloody obvious.

My ovaries being on strike answers a few questions though! Why has my skin been bad, why is my weight being hard to control, why have I managed to get away with 8 months of no contraception and not be on the bake? Etc.

It kind of put a few things into perspective though. Health and wellbeing especially. Maybe if I start looking after myself a bit better, I can convince the eggs to venture out once in a while.

So thus far, I have only been doing the incidental exercise and keeping the Food Diary. I’ve not tried combining everything.

Maybe if I eat the 5 small meals a day (each with some lean protein) and one with some full fat dairy. Make sure one of these meals contains celery, try to eat before 7 (this is the hardest!), listen to my hypnotherapy MP3, ask questions about chocolate AND keep a food diary this will help?

I also attempted my first little run on Sunday. Admittedly it was from the Sun Bed shop home, all of about a minute and because I wasn’t wearing makeup. But none the less, it was a jog, and it was one more jog than I’ve done all year. It made my throat burn!

But maybe that’s the key, maybe everything needs combining to work? I’m not sure when I’ll get time to write, work live or breathe. But it’s worth giving it a go for at least a week to see what will happen.

Keep your fingers crossed, I’ve got 2 more blood tests this month – I’ll shake those bloody eggs out with the help of Glen Harold, Jogging and Marie Claire’s diet club if it’s the last thing I do!

Five things not to miss part 2 - Manchester Christmas Lights


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

The Lady tried to tease me a couple of weeks ago, boasting - yes that’s right Lady… you were definitely boasting.. That Jim Carey was switching on the Christmas lights in big old wonderful London where you live… and, wait for it…. Shane Ward off of X factor was switching on Manchester’s.

2 things to note.
1. It doesn’t matter if a naked Robert Pattinson, covered in cream offered to Switch on London’s lights, then offered free neck nibbles to anyone that wanted one.. Wait I’m getting carried off into a fantasy here!.. The point is – Nothing will convince me it was a good Idea for Lady and the Tramp to up sticks and move to London, for purely selfish reasons (as in I miss them loads).
2. She was wrong.

As Marie Claire’s December issue (Yes jumping ahead a little bit but stay with me), pointed out. Alex off of X Factor was actually switching on the lights, infinitely more famous with much better thighs.

So last Thursday, Blondie, Blondie’s sister, Blondie’s Boyfriend, Lodger and I decided to make a bit of a night of it.

In true Manchester style, on the one evening we really needed dry weather it was one of the wettest we had experienced for a while. But, what makes the Mancunion spirit wonderful is mums and dads, kids and teens had collectively thought – “Fuck it! If we didn’t go out in the rain, we wouldn’t bloody do anything up here”. The town hall square was full of people huddled under their brolly’s and it brought a proud smile to my face.

First on the agenda was to get through the crowd to bar number 1 for a cocktail. Blondie, being wondrously efficient was at the bar when I walked in and ordered me a “Sex on the Sofa” I am… ALL CLASS.

That went down a treat, and then we moved on to the restaurant for wine, food and more wine. By the time we stepped out into the town hall square to catch Alex marching her thighs up and down the tiny stage – we were tipsy to say the least. The rain had stopped and we (well not Blondie’s boyfriend) were warbling along to whatever song was playing.

Alex pushed the button and the lights were on - Woohoo. But sod that, it was the fireworks we were really there for, and they were amazing! I took loads of wicked pictures on my phone, well I thought they were brilliant at the time – I was the next Rankin. Now I have seen them sober I have realised they actually fall into the “just about in focus” category!.

Fireworks over, it was time for another bar and another glass of wine. So we sauntered down to Room, for another bottle.. and then another one. Lucky for us, Blondie’s boyfriend was driving, so he got Lodger and me to our door safely. Once delivered safely home by one man, there was another lovely shining beacon of a bloke (being husband) welcoming us to the couch, where he tucked Lodger and I under a duvet and gave us both a brandy and coke. This coupled with the Game On DVD box set of Lodgers should have been the end to a perfect night.

This was not the end however. The brandy and coke was that drink. You know the one I mean. The line crosser. The drink that takes you from manageably pissed, to absolutely minging. So my night ended with my head down the loo. The only question remaining, do I know cross the earlier dinner off my food diary?

I've bloody lost a load of stuff again!


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

I accepted defeat with Dorian Grey, after I had seen the film - I kind of lost interest reading what I already knew about. So it got shelved. I decided to select a new book from the recommendations in the November issue, Her Fearful Symmetry.

I managed 3 days of reading, then not only left the book, but the November issue of Marie Claire in a hotel room in Bristol. I'm back at the same hotel today, and they are denying that I left it.... yeah right! I bet if I look in all the cupboards, I'll find a member of the hotel staff with their nose in the book!

So November may well be a bit of a disaster. I've tried to order a back copy of the magazine from the internet - but this was nearly 2 weeks ago and nothing has turned up arrrggg!. I shall do my best to do as much as I can without the magazine, but it may mean my own interpretation of a birds nest with a ponytail hair do. Hmm can't wait.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

National Chocolate week.


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

October was the month that hosted National Chocolate Week. I realised a couple of months ago, I kept missing the 5 things not to miss, because they were always in the month prior to the cover date of the magazine. So November’s issue was telling me not to miss 5 things in October.

I checked out the national chocolate week website and found out that Hotel Chocolate had got involved. Roping in Milnoids, we trekked over to the shop one lunch hour. There was someone handing out samples in the store, and we found that if we filled in a card with out details, we could take a little chocolate bar with us.

A couple of days later, I took a friend down to the soup kitchen in Arndale market for some lunch. We had to pass Hotel chocolate on the way there, and I kept thinking about the little bars of chocolate. When we were done, we went into the store and filled out a card, in my case for a second bar of free chocolate. Not wanting to be totally taking the piss, I decided to put my mum’s name and email address on the card. It’s a good job it was chocolate week not chocolate month, or there would be a whole host of you now receiving random emails from Hotel chocolate - and I would be in a corner with chocolate all over my face wearing my best “ I don’t know how they got your details?!” face.

Make Over Tool


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

It has been mentioned a few times in this blog that about a year ago I managed to talk my hairdresser into giving me a perm. I love my hairdresser, she’s ace and I’ve trusted her for the past 5 years to work magic with my fairly unremarkable hair.

She was reluctant to say the least when I insisted that she perm it. But I was convinced it would be my lazy way to long, flowing romantic curls. I hate having to do anything with my hair. I hate washing it, I hate drying it, I hate brushing it – but I knew that shaving it off wasn’t an option, so have reluctantly gone through the motions with it since I was little.

Perming it seemed to hold the answer. I was convinced I could just wash my hair and it would dry on its own looking like I had just stepped out of a Salon. As a kid I begged my mum to let me have a perm. All the hard and popular girls at school had the same cork screw curls, that from my perspective was where all their power centralised and resulted in them being an instant willy magnet.

I was convinced that unless my hair resembled the scored ribbon off a badly wrapped present, I was going to die a social death with no friends or boyfriend to speak of. As I grew a little older though, I realised that the actual reason these girls were willy magnets – was largely because they were slags. More alarmingly, the actual reason I couldn’t get a boyfriend was because my love of horses had resulted in me smelling like one. No self respecting boy with an active sense of smell would want to be within 10 feet of me!

To cut a long story short, the perm didn’t produce the low maintenance long flowing curls I imagined. My hairdresser warned me it wouldn’t, but I was utterly convinced it was the right thing to do. So since then, my washing, drying and brushing has taken twice as long as it did before, as now I need to straighten what was once bone bloody straight in the first place.

November’s issue urges you to use the makeover tool on their website in order to test drive new hairstyles. I had a play around and realised that if I went for a long bob, I could cut most of the remaining perm out of my hair. My regular hairdresser is miles away, so I called up a place in town on the off chance they had an appointment free. Luckily they did, and within a couple of hours I’d had 5 inches of hair lobbed off.

It looks – Ok. It’s not the best haircut ever, mainly because my hairdresser knows my hair and how to make it look like hair rather than a loaf of Hovis. But emergency hairdresser didn’t do a bad job and Husband really likes it for some odd reason!

Interiors


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

I’m slowly turning my living room into an ode to Biba and 60’s / 70’s inspired kitsch. To give you an idea of just how slow, last month I bought a cushion and this month I’ve bought a small orange plastic bowl from habitat. The bowl is featured in this month’s interiors feature and goes (or clashes) brilliantly with our big purple couch. I’m aiming to have this room finished sometime in the next 20 years at this rate. The feature is all about Barbara Hulanicki and her passion for interior design. I’d already spotted some wallpaper that I wanted for my living room by her a while ago, so was more than happy to follow her recommendation of a bright orange plate. However, when I got to habitat, I saw the bowls and figures I could keep a constant supply of chocolate in said bowl – you know – for guests.. *cough – me – cough*.

Layered Knits


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Originally uploaded by mariecandme

Layering up knits seems big in Marie Claire’s A/W fashion agenda judging by the past couple of issues. So I gave it a go! It’s right up my street as I could involve a massive pair of socks so it looked and felt comfy. In fact, I’ve been trying to involve a massive pair of socks in every outfit since.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The November List

Write a letter to the editor

Enter Win an Italian Island getaway Competition – Done

Enter Win a Luxury Spa Break Competition Enter Remington Spa break competition www.remingtongifts.co.uk/marieclaire - Done

Test Drive your next haircut. Log onto www.marieclaire.co.uk/makeover

Vote online for my favourite Timeless fashion piece - I voted for Touche Éclat, as I get palpitations when mine runs out.

Do some Retrocise! Any excuse for some 80’s style aerobics.

Fashion – As many as will fit into my budget.

Check out the new statement necklace collection at Oasis, Aldo’s Swarovski collaboration and Banana Republic.

Jumpsuits – yes – you bloody read that right,. All in one, looks like a baby grow, JUMPSUITS. I’ll need some advice from my friend H who knows how to rock a jump suit.

Animal Passions – From leopard to python, wild ones will love the prints that roared down the run way. YES – my leopard print headscarf lives to see another month!

Caped Crusader – The ultra-chic, classic cover up rocked the catwalks.
Yes, Yes, Yes! I bought a black cape 2 years ago in a sale, got it home and thought “What the fuck am I going to do with this?!”

The Chain Gang - Break out of bag rut with the new must have style: a tough-luxe chunky chain strap.

The 9-5: Shake up your work wardrobe with fashion forward looks that scream promotion.
I’m glad to have a job at the moment, and there is nowhere for me to be promoted to – so this is low on my fashion priorities

Daytime Sequins: Why save the shimmer for after dark? Team matte, muted sequins with casual basics for chic everyday dressing.
I like the idea of this, “muted sequins” it sounds like an artistic metaphor for Manchester.

New Heights: The alternatives to Sky-high wedges and vertiginous platforms?
Not for me, with one size 6 and one size 7 foot – I need to be strapped in.

One Shoulder wonders: A little bit demure – these dresses are sure to make an impact.
I have my hot pink one from French connection that I was advised to buy in September,. Woohoo – this is getting like fashion bingo!

Retro Glamour: Embrace the Lady within you, with a modern take on classic feminine tailoring. This time the look has a French feel, so wear heels and certain je ne sais quoi.

Trend Watch – Accessorise your favourite catwalk look with a watch that fits your fashion mood. Tone at work bought loads of bright watches from Argos the other week, maybe he will lend me one?

Country Living: make like a modern day lady of the manor with immaculate tweed, luxe knits and a little bit of frippery.

Shape Shifters: From sculptural skirts to futuristic sleeves, this season’s power dressing is all about playing with proportion.

Read breaking fashion news at marieclaire.co.uk/news.

Sex – Try out on of the top ten selling sex toys on the market.
I’m loving my friend’s new job in a sex shop – I may actually go into said sex shop this time!
How to say and do the right thing (in the context of telling him personal things)
1. Remember to answer Yes to “Am I the biggest you have ever had”
2. Create a shared sexual history together
3. Don’t judge his past
4. If I’m just interested in casual sex, avoid cuddling as it stimulates the cuddle hormone Oxytocin which can lead to inappropriate bonding.
5. Don’t scream out the wrong name in sex. I’m more likely to scream “Have we left the oven on?” or similar.


How to be a bloganista: Want to be an online sensation like Lauren Luke? Marie Claire will tell you how.
Find a niche – Done!
Create your blog using the blogger.com site – DONE!
Be on the lookout for business / marketing opportunities… maybe this is the month I should contact Marie Claire and monetise the blog.
Be Strategic. Check for most- searched –terms and find out how people are arriving at the site.

November is a bloody good month so far!

How to avoid Failed Potential Syndrome (when you think you missed the boat when all your mates are flying high)

Celebrate your achievements – Maybe I can have a little party?!
Don’t dwell on what you haven’t done.
Change your perspective.
Set Clear Goals
Know when you are procrastinating
Remember you can have your own version on “having it all”
Avoid stalking on social networking sites? WHAT? What will I do all day?!
Concentrate on yourself
Spend time with people that make you feel good.

The New Addictions
Email – Apparently some people can’t log off – this definitely applies to me. I’m connected 24 hours!
Set Boundaries - switch off my blackberry for 10 mins every night, then progress to an hour, until I’m comfortable switching it off when I get in.

Find a chartered psychologist specialising in technology addiction – well I wouldn’t go that far!

How to learn from your dreams
Write down the details, concentrating on the dream’s main symbols.
Write down the adjectives that come to mind when you think of each symbol.
Write down the emotions you feel when you think of each symbol
Bring the elements together.
Noting like a bit of pop psychology!

Follow the 20 clever money tips: You can carry on spending and still save with these tried and tested ways to make the most of your cash.

Check out the restaurant deals at www.marieclaire.co.uk/mealdeals (Again, link isn’t working)


Mark 14th November in my diary as the Jimmy Choo and H&M collaboration launches.

Beauty
Get a 7 day trial of Complexion a la carte from Lancôme

The Light Fantastic: Discover state – of – the art technology that helps you achieve long- lasting, silky smooth legs.

Follow all of the hair suggestions including some sort of nest crossed with pony tail and Kate Bosworth waves

Hi Tech Heroes - The only thing I can afford from this article is an anti aging pen for £6.99 so I’ll buy that.


Fragrances
Boost your brain power – Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Luxe edition
Wow at Work - Acqua Di Parma Magnolia Nobile
Make a statement – Jo Malone pomegranate Noir fragrance Chronicle
Be super confident – Neals Yard Rose absolute essential Oil.
Feel cool calm and collected – Jil Sander – Jil

Take a trip down memory lane with Marie Claire’s classic fragrances www.marieclaire.co.uk/classicfragrances - This link doesn’t work!

Four Week Power Lashes – Get eyelash extensions.

How to look expensive: Sultry eyes.


Watch This Face – Anna Paquin – In TURE BLOOD – Awesome, sex and vampires, I am addicted!

Join the big debate on Kerry Katona and her latest drug scandal www.marieclaire.co.uk/thebigdebate - Done, I’ll post when published.

Diet / Health
Follow the Imigran recovery diet tips of never skipping meals.
Keep a food diary

Cook the 2 meals on the fairly advertorial.

Cook Anjum Anand’s 3 course meal

Calculate your Heart Age (Flora Advertorial) www.floraheartage.com

Media
Album of the Month: Alexandra Burk
Film of the month : The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Yay! This looks Ace!
TV of the month Margot, BBC4, but under “Don’t Miss” The Family is also listed.
Book of the month: This is a bit of a lost cause with me at the moment, I need to finish The Picture of Dorian Grey, though I did go and see the film, so maybe I can move on? The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern looks quite good.

Five things not to miss
1. London Film Festi 14th – 29th Oct : I was aware of it, but couldn’t make it down.

2. Fight Hunger Eat out Month 1st – 31st Oct: I did this, having 2 meals in Carluccio’s where a proportion of my bill went to the cause.

3. Pop life: Art in a material world. At the Tate modern. 1st Oct to 17th Jan.


4. The Rise and Fall of Little Voice from 8th October at the London Vaudeville theatre. Lady, do you fancy another trip to the theatre?

5. Sheffield Comedy Festival 1st -31st of Oct: I didn’t make this unfortunately/

Celebrate Chocolate week 12th – 18th of October: I did, with numerous visits to Hotel Chocolate, bordering on stalking.



5 Affordable get-aways
Visit nationaltrust.org.uk for strolls through sites such as fountain Abbey – or go to Ellin’s
Find a pub with a stunning view at innengland.com
Take a walk by the sea – goodbeachguide.co.uk
Mix art with exercise and go to a sculpture park
Hole up at a Hotel Du Vin or Malmaison. – I did this in October on a work trip with Tone. I’ll write up in due course.

Interiors
Its all about Babara Hulaicki the founder of Biba this month. I nearly weed with joy when I read the article. I LOVE her style and the story behind all of her pieces and designs. I want my living room to look like she lives here!

Her top tips…

Don’t rush the way your home looks. – No chance of that, it’s taken me since April to strip the hall way!

Paint a sample on every wall and see how the light affects it.

Materials make all the difference. Faux suede dress fabric is as sturdy as sturdy as that you would find in a furniture store.

Be careful, using too much glitz can really kill the mood. Too many gorgeous things in one room can look dreadful. No fear there then as I can’t afford too many gorgeous things!

If the idea of a colour overhaul is too scary, start on a smaller scale bringing in a few pillows or a brightly coloured stool.

Stars
Although you may not have decided what you want out of life, your ruler Jupiter should now be helping you work out what you don’t, so you are almost there. None productive types around you might not see it that way. Tough. They won’t be around long enough to cause you further concern.

October Round Up

The October List Round Up

Send a letter to the editor – Done, I’ve written about an article published in this issue about donating wedding dresses to Uganda.

Log on to Marieclaire.co.uk/fashionweek - Done

Catch up with the Marie Claire Blogs – I’m lost

Enter the “Win The Ultimate VIP Party” competition
I’ve done this – maybe this will be my lucky month? I get finger ache typing my details into all these bloody competition forms. Surely I’m due for a win soon!

Watch this face: Carey Mulligan.
Apparently she is in a Brit film called The Education this autumn. If you want to come watch it with me drop me a line. It’s just coming out now.

Fashion: I managed to recreate the following.

Fabulous Fuchsia: I tool my pink tights for a spin (see post)


Buckle Up: “Striking and detailed, a fabulous belt will keep you elegantly wasted.”
See post re the ASOS belt.

Absolute ASOS: Justify your ASOS Love
See above!


What to wear for the weekend: I manage to but 2 lovely tops from Gap, but failed to find a small dog to cart around to complete the look.

The chunky knit: I’ve not managed to write a separate post for this yet, but I layered chunky knit tights, socks, a floaty dress, long scarf and hat. It looks wicked, I’m loving the chunky knit look, all I need is some autumn leaves and a golden retriever.
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Sweeping Statements: See post about my Marika King statement necklace. It needs a few beads putting back on, so I will repost when it’s fixed.

Glam Grunge: I just bought a black dress with zip details from FCUK as the basis for some “Glam Grunge”. I also used the discount code in Marie C for 20% of at FCUK. The only problem is, it’s not forgiving around the old tummy, so I can only wear it if I don’t eat.


Easy Street, embrace this season’s laid back elegance in relaxed modern tailoring: I’m still rocking my Crombie Jacket.

Lost Weekend: Fall in love with autumns romantic chiffon and chunky knits. I’d love to, but I can’t find a chiffon dress for love nor money at the moment!

The Extra Factor: This fits in with the statement necklace again.

So that’s 10 this month – not bad!

Beauty

Dark dramatic eyes: I managed all of these looks apart from the powerbrows. I don’t know if its because I already have dark eyebrows, but the eyebrow makeup I have defines them, but doesn’t make me look like Ming the Merciless

My Space – Book your bathroom for a 5* pampering session.
See post re Le Spa Mrs T

Bobbi Brown are doing free make up lessons in John Lewis and Selfridges: See post.

Book a Giorgio Armarni make-up class in Selfridges. On the index page it says this is free – but when you get to the article you realise it’s actually £30 redeemable against products… sneaky! - I called to book and they had sold out.

How to look expensive – sexy shimmer. I asked the Makeup lady at Bobbi brown to recreate this. But I forgot the page so her interpretation of the brief was a little different. Still though, I found a fab red lipstick that I’m wearing all the time now.

Post a question to the Beauty editors at marieclaire.co.uk/askthebeautyeditors – I posted more of a plea rather than a question about my perm. They ignored me. I probably deserve it!

Recreate Kim Basinger’s hair in LA confidential. I tried and failed miserably. My hair wasn’t budging. It was depressing. This has nothing to do with the perm, it was this stubborn when it was straight – resulting in me torturing it with a perm to teach it a lesson.


Interiors
Use cushions to bring different looks into a room. (mix and match) – Done, see post.

The best way to bring light into a room is to paint floorboards off white. I’m planning to do this with my stairs, but once you gloss floorboards there is no going back, so I’m leaving the main rooms to look natural.

Scented Candles are very personal and add atmosphere: And also singe your stupid cat. Open flames are not a great idea when you have a deranged cat that would try to eat the candle.

Chandeliers spread light into a room, customise them with coloured glass paint: See post for my practice attempt.

Food
Cook Jayne Middlemiss’ 3 course meal: Done – Never again apart from the starter.

Cook the 2 butternut squash recipes on the Fairy dishwasher tablets advertorial: As I write this, husband is cooking the recipe. I couldn’t go back into the kitchen after doing the 3 courses last night, so he’s agreed to help me cheat!

5 things I must not miss
Mercury Prize - too late – I missed it, but I’m very annoyed the wonderful Florence and the Machine didn’t win!

High Street Fashion week – I missed this too. This is the problem having mags cover dated the month after they are published.

Harvest at Jimmy’s
I actually got tickets to this! But it’s a 6 hour drive so gave them away because logistically we couldn’t manage it that weekend.

Jane Austin Festival – missed this too – um not doing too well so far!

Breast Cancer Awareness month – Phew this is firmly in October between the 1st and 31st. Wear it pink on the 30th of October… I turned up to work with my hooker lipstick.

Media – When it comes to what to watch and listen to, I’m only going to concentrated on the featured items. Otherwise I would be permanently in front of the TV.


Featured Film on the Month: The Soloist: I’m watching this tonight.

Album on the month: Pixie Lott, Turn it up: It’s OK, nothing special.

TV Program of the Month: Small Island BBC 1: It’s not been on yet.

Local auctions can be a treasure trove for furniture. I’m going to some in the next few weeks, so I’ll keep you posted on any finds.

Read Year of the Flood or Juliet Naked – I’m still reading Dorian Grey from August so I need to get a move on!


There is an article in Octobers issue about a shop that provides wedding dresses to refugee women in Uganda. This is the first article I’ve read in the magazine that has solidified a massive lump in my throat and inspired me to do something truly worth while. See the post where I donated my wedding dress. The most significant thing to come out of this project so far.




What you can do to boost your fertility:
See post, but at the time of writing I’m not on the bake.

Visit mynewhair.com and make a donation. This is a charity that provides wigs to those who have suffered medical hair-loss. Still need to do this.

Follow the rules of making friends
See post, I managed to make a tit of myself rather than make friends.

5 ways to enrich your love life
I managed all of this, other than doing it with my socks on. It just feels so wrong!


Dove Advertorial: 4 weeks to Party Perfect Arms
I’ve followed this to the word, my arms are not party perfect but at least I’m doing some exercise. I’ll carry on doing this, because if I don’t Systems will have something to say about it.



Stars
The Stargazer suggests you demand lots of space this month. Claustrophobic feelings are looming. Rather than pulling the pin on a promising twosome, make your misgivings known a colleague or lover may need time out too.

I know it’s the way they are written, but this seemed very relevant in October.

Le Spa Mrs T

In October, Marie Claire advises you how to recreate a spa in your own home. The only problem with most of the “treatments” is the initial outlay for all the products was more than twice as expensive as a spar weekend in Darlington.

The affordable and luckily most relevant “facial” for me, was the one designed for problem skin. As I read the instructions I became puzzled. It read as if the treatment was just washing your face then putting on spot cream, the only difference being that you moisturise with a vitamin A moisturiser whilst your face is still wet.

Maybe I was missing something? Maybe if I actually carried out the “facial” I would understand that this was something worth paying for in a spa. So I did.

I washed my face with the right kind of face wash. I then toned, followed by the vitamin A moisturiser and spot cream.

Yep – it’s just washing your face!

There are also instructions on teas to drink, dubbed the “tea spa”, so I’ve been drinking green tea and Skin purify all month with no significant difference to shout about.

The only other suggestions I could afford in turning my home into a Spa was taking a really hot bath, followed by a really cold bath. I have to hold my hands up and admit I’ve chickened out doing this. Would you?

Lastly was a massage. I roped husband in to giving me the invigorating massage, which consists of lots of vigorous sweeping movements all over. It worked actually, I did feel invigorated in the mildest sense, but not enough to get out of bed on a Saturday morning and fell back to sleep soon after.

Over all though, thumbs down to this article. It was about as affordable and practical as a chocolate fireguard and I would rather take the same amount of money and get away from it all at a real spa.

Customise a light with glass paint


IMAG0160
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

I had a go at customising an old glass light with glass paint, as recommended in the interiors section by Pearl Lowe. More than anything, it was nice just to do something arts and crafty. It’s turned out ok, but it was just a practice before I shelled out on a nicer light and painted that. Husband and I are doing our house up at the moment, and I wanted a funky colourful light for the hall. So now I have had a go, I feel a bit more confident to do it with a nicer light shade when the time comes. Which, judging by how long it has taken us just to sand down the stairs, will be about 10 years time.

Something for the weekend


Something for the weekend
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

Luckily for me, Gap not only has an abundance of stripy long sleeved tops in at the moment, they also reduced them. Woohoo! So I bought a couple for the “What to wear for the weekend” fashion pages. I couldn’t find a dead cat hat to wear on my head or a small dog to carry as the picture of the model suggests.

The one in the picture is lovely, but has lost it’s shape already and goes really baggy throughout the day. But I’ve also bought a grey slash neck one that looks really nice and I will be wearing a lot… even in the week.

The social class of a vegetable.




The three course meal this month was provided by Jayne Middlemiss. Learning my lesson from last month, I gave myself a whole day to cook it and had a quiet word with the cat, asking him not to bring any dead things in this time.

The menu looked relatively simple; Seared Tuna with guacamole and a wasabi dressing, rack of lamb with celeriac and potato dauphinoise finished off with a citron tart. Easy eh?!

Alarm bells started to ring early in the day, when Jayne just happened to be on Saturday Kitchen, cooking her “Food Hell” which was John Dory. She told the celebrity chef, that she loved eating fish, but not the “meaty” variety. Ummm what’s Tuna then? The vegetable variety? So I wasn’t convinced Jayne actually liked her own suggested starter, great start!

My second challenge came when I had to go and buy a celeriac. Now I love my food, and my veggies, but I have somehow managed to live my 28 years without actually knowing what a celeriac looks like. On my hunt for a celeriac I discovered 2 very significant things. 1. The celeriac is possibly the ugliest vegetable on the planet. It looks like someone vomited up wood. 2. It’s a vey middleclass vegetable.

I don’t live in the most affluent area, but nor do I live in a place where there are more Take Aways than residents and cooking from scratch is a foreign concept. It seems that our local Tesco feels that a celeriac is something a resident from my area wouldn’t require, even though it has a great and extensive world food section – the celeriac is evidently far too out there for us.

So I drove a mile down the road to the local Morrison’s. Now this is the same Morrison’s where a shop assistant lapsed into palpitations when I asked if she could point me in the direction of a vanilla pod some years ago.

“People round here wouldn’t eat vanilla pods” She exclaimed.

Which I repeated to Morrison’s complaints line and got enough vouchers for some tangerines, due to being mortally offended at being told I am not worthy of a vanilla pod simply down to my breeding.

So you can imagine the blank, vacant response I got yesterday when I asked for a celeriac.

“I’ve never heard of one”

“It’s a vegetable”

“Erm – hang on a minute”

At this point the young assistant sidles up to another staff member and I can see confused looks and head shaking.

“Err yeah, we’ve not had any of err those for ages”

Bloody fibber.

So I got back in my car and racked my brains as to where to look next. The next suburb on from me is a fairly aspirational middleclass area. The sort of area that has a couple of wine bars with funky names such as “Damson.” An area that counts for a disproportionate amount of sales of contemporary damask wallpaper and Kath Kidson tea towels.

So I drove another couple of miles to the greengrocer there. Realising when I got in there that I didn’t quite know what I was looking for. Sheepishly I sidled over to a funny looking vegetable and tentatively held it up to the assistant.

“Is this erm a..”
Realising it wasn’t a celeriac half way through the sentence….

“Fennel?”

“Yes love”

The assistant looked a bit bemused at me walking in and naming random vegetables. So I put it back.

“Do you have any celeriac?”

“Yes love”

The assistant pointed to a crate, with a big red sign underneath that said “CELERIAC”.

Now I felt like a prize turd. I should know my place; I evidently don’t come from a celeriac kind of upbringing. If we all at the celeriac, who would be left to buy up the turnips? The politics of this vegetable were becoming clear, so I bought it and legged it… refusing a bag, carrying my ugly status symbol down the road in full view of all to see. That’s right people, I eat celeriac.. I have arrived!

Once home, I started to create the 3 courses outlined in the magazine. The pudding was really fiddly. Making pastry, then chilling it, then rolling it, then chilling it, then baking it, then filling it, then baking it again… I got bored by the end and ended up burning it.

The dauphinoise were also a bit fiddly, lots of peeling, grating, chopping, mixing , baking… then baking again. Far too much effort as far as I was concerned, especially when you take the results into consideration.

The starter of seared tuna and guacamole however was a total winner. Totally my kind of cooking, quick, easy, looks and tastes good and relatively healthy. Jayne Middlemiss has claimed she has given up drinking, and recommended I bought some posh fizzy adult pop to go with the meal. Half way through cooking it though, all I wanted was a large glass of wine. I now understand why Keith Floyd needed all that wine to get him from the start of a meal to the end… its stressful!

After a total of 4 hours in the kitchen, Husband and I both agreed that this menu wasn’t worth the time it took to create. However I learned a lot going through the process, from how to cook a rack of lamb - to the class system of the vegetables kingdom.

PS: I was supposed to wear a red dress, but as this time it was just husband and I, I figured it would clash with my red face so didn't bother.

How to get pregnant Marie Claire Stylee

1.Check your Fertility
Marie C suggests buying a £179 fertility test which tests the hormone levels and quality and quantity of eggs in your ovaries. I’ve decided to go down the traditional route and go to my doctor. I had a blood test, which the hospital lost. Wonderful! So I’ve ended up having 2 more blood tests, the results of which I get next week. These measure my hormone levels to see if I am ovulating.

2. Ask Mum
“If your mother had her menopause in her 40’s, it’s likely you will do the same” Mother, I know you won’t like me admitting this to the world on a blog, but you created me – therefore you have to take some of the responsibility. My mum is not in her 40’s, and over the past year it’s become quite relevant that wine is no longer the only source that makes her go bright pink and a bit ditzy. So it looks like I’ve got until my 50’s.

3. Stop Smoking.
Women who smoke go through the menopause 2 years earlier than those who don’t.
I’ve done it! I have been told I was the worst kind of smoker – I never bought my own cigarettes because I classed myself as a none smoker. But as soon as I had a glass of wine in my hand, I was poncing cigarettes of anyone within proximity. I would promisethat I would get them a packet of cigs one day to pay of my accumulating poncing debt – sounds like the words of an addict to me! This month though, even with the wine, I withheld. It was really hard! I enjoy a cigarette with a glass of wine, and would stare wistfully at those who were enjoying my guilty pleasure. But now, the mental craving has all but gone – I am smoke free! Thanks Marie Claire!

4. Cut out trans-fats
So for the whole of October I needed to look for “Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat” on food labels. I think trans-fats must be a rarity now a days. I couldn’t find them in anything to cut out in the first place.

5. Get a (fertility friendly) life.
This means maintaining a healthy weight, cutting back on sugar and refined carbs. Eating more fibre, take daily exercise and eat one serving of full fat dairy a day.
I’ve tried to go for a walk at least once a day at lunch time, I’m within my healthy BMI, I’ve been eating fruit and fibre for breakfast and I’ve eaten some full fat dairy every day. But, alas, no baby yet folks.

Belt up


Belt up
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

I contacted ASOS via a snotty email this month, my belt hadn't turned up after 2 weeks and it simply wasn't acceptable. They emailed back and said that it had been lost between them and Royal Mail and they were sending a new one.

The second belt didn't turn up either - so I wrote snotty email number 2 including my address details again, you know, so the fools couldn't make the same mistake again.

But who IS the fool? The answer is ME! Being a complete dope, I realised I was sending stuff to my old house because I hadn't changed my account details. Doh!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Interiors


This month I need to collect cushions to decorate my sofa - so I have!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Oysters and Champagne


Another Marie Claire tip for feeling rich in bed, was to sup on champagne and chow down on some oysters. Ahh oysters, those little love molluscs that look like someone phlegmed up in a shell, and taste…well… like someone phlegmed up in a shell.

A few years ago, I attempted a romantic evening with oysters and Husband. I envisaged a wondrous evening; we would stare deep into each others eyes, declaring our love followed by lots of romping.

Having never bought oysters before, I toddled off down to Waitrose and sought out the advice of one of the staff there on how to get started. The staff member, which I now know to be a completely unreliable asset to that particular Waitrose, told me that before swallowing the oyster – I had to bite it first to kill it. If I didn’t do this, it would be alive in my stomach and have a little party in my gut.

This sounded fairly barbaric, but never the less I was hell bent on harnessing the aphrodisiac powers of these little creatures - and subsequently having a great old time with Husband that night in the bedroom.

Husband isn’t the biggest fan of shellfish on the best of days, so I was apprehensive to say the least when presented with the two slimy snot-like molluscs. I knew I had to lead by example and knocked one back, biting down on it first before I swallowed to make sure it wasn’t going to set up home in my tummy and breed.

Husband, grasping the shell looked unconvinced at my strained “mmmm” pat your tummy, yummy face. He put the shell to his lips and tipped the oyster in. Then came the romantic bit, the aphrodisiac bit, the bit that made Husband irresistible. He started to choke on the oyster, his taste buds and throat rejecting the salty snotty flesh. Running to the sink, he manager to perform his own mini Heimlich and flobbed the oyster back up into the sink. Where it slid around, in its own little puddle of salt water and spit.

This my friends, is not sexy. My libido, along with Husband’s did not kick into overdrive, rather recoil and beg for mercy. When I read out to Husband that oysters and champagne featured this month, neither of us were jumping for joy.

So we compromised. Using the saffron butter recipe from the Marie Claire September Issue, I fried off the oysters with some added chilli and ginger for good measure. Both husband and I managed to get them down with little fuss, made easier with a champagne chaser.

I must say, I did feel fruity that evening. But then I don’t know how much of that was down to the alcohol rather than the oysters. I don’t think oysters will be a regular addition to our menu - raw or fried. Husband knows that all he needs to do is have clean ears and haircut and I go to jelly, though if he turned up with a bottle of champagne more often, that certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing!

Bye bye Turbo Arm!


My friend Systems is not only very organised (hence how she earned her blog name), but also buff. She’s one of those annoying people who gets a buzz out of the burn. The enjoyment of exercise is a totally foreign concept to me. In order for me to enjoy it, it needs to be hidden or repackaged as something else. So a bike ride for example, is only enjoyable if it’s a romantic outing with husband. Swimming is only fun if it involves going to see lots of nice fish and running – well – I’ve still not managed to go for a run, going for lots of lunch time walks / shopping instead.

In the October issue of Marie Claire, there is an advertorial on how to get the perfect arms in 4 weeks. Week one is to use Dove hair minimising deodorant. This I can do! The second week ads in some cardio (lunch time walks as mentioned) and resistance training. Week three introduces exfoliating from head to toe and week four is giving oneself a good fake tan.

I decided that if I was going to do this properly, I needed to enlist the help of an expert regarding the exercise. Systems used to have a personal training business, so I went round to get some tips. Systems being Systems had not only devised me a plan, but had kindly gotten me a big ball and some sort of elasticised exercise band that would look better placed in a sex shop than a gym.

I nearly cried when we compared arm muscles. I have what is known (mainly by Scouse) as “Turbo Arm”. Turbo Arm often pops up on pictures where your arm is caught side on by a camera. Due to the arm being as toned as bowl of rice pudding, it sort of spreads out against my side, looking similar to a ham on the bone rather than a lovely toned bicep.

So two or three times a week I have been doing arm exercises with the rubber band and ball whilst watching TV. I don’t know the real names of the exercises because I managed to leave my plan at Systems’ house. So in order to remember them I have given them descriptive names such as bondage curls and sex face lifts, appealing to the memory banks of my incredibly immature brain.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Jireh Women - The best thing to come out of this project so far.


You have probably gathered that I love cake, Husband and booze by now. But one thing I really love that you may not have picked up on thus far… is old people. Old people warm my cockles, they seem to be the last generation with manners and their take on life the universe and everything is usually both wise, and more often than not hilarious.

I used to live next to a little old man called Sid. He was a super star. Everything about him is lovely. So much so that I’d get a burning urge to give him a great big cuddle every time I saw him (which I had to fight so I didn’t get into trouble for cuddling old people against their will). Then we moved, and there are no old people on my new road, no one that wears a shirt, tie and hat on a Sunday.

That’s why I was over the moon today to meet Gladys. I had arranged to meet Carol from Jireh Women http://www.jirehwomen.org/ at a local Church where she was giving a talk to the Women’s Fellowship. Gladys is the secretary and from the minute she sat down to talk to me, it took me all my power to not cuddle her senseless.

When Gladys realised why I had turned up, she sat with me right up until Carol arrived, introducing me to all her friends as “Josy” (which isn’t my name) and telling them why I was there. Her friend Elsie took great delight in telling me that she had stored her wedding dress in a Kwik Save bag for 40 years and that she could still get into her dress on her 40th anniversary.

The reason for Elsie’s subject of conversation was because I was sat there with Gladys and a very large suitcase. In the suitcase was my wedding dress, and I was going to give it away.

In October’s issue of Marie Claire, I read the first editorial piece so far that genuinely moved me so much so that I had to act. The report is about a western lady who lives in Uganda, who organised a mass wedding to give the women and men in the camp hope. The dresses were donated by women in the U.K. and enabled a handful of women and men to move on from their past of unthinkable atrocities, and begin working towards a happy future.

Jireh Women is an organisation that is collecting wedding dresses to send over to Uganda for a new project. A wedding dress hire shop, the proceeds of which will go to Ugandan women to begin building their own business, enabling them a means to their own independent sustainability.

After reading the article I didn’t think twice. I love my dress, but it’s been hanging in my mum’s wardrobe for the last 2 years as a reminder that I’ve put on a stone since I got married. I can no longer get in it without spilling out of all the nooks and crannies and so my only reason for still having it was pure sentiment.

I’ve thought of a number of uses for it over time from selling it, to making teddies and blankest out of it for my first child. After reading the article however, I knew that this was the destiny of my dress and contacted Carol at Jireh Women to arrange getting it to her.

As luck would have it she is local, and even luckier still was in my area tonight. So I went over to the church she was speaking at after work and got more than I bargained for. Not only did I meat Carol and Pearl who were lovely, I also met Gladys and friends who I could have spent all evening with if I didn’t have other arrangements.

This is probably the most significant event to come out of my year long project so far. It was emotional giving away my wedding dress, I was sad to think I would never see or touch it again. But the thought of that dress working to contribute to future of the women I read about made it easy to hand it over.

I did consider replacing the dress in my suitcase with Gladys, but quickly reminded myself what was socially acceptable and lawful when it comes to the abduction of little old ladies, so returned empty handed and cuddled my cat once home instead.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Financial foreplay


Finances
Originally uploaded by mariecandme

Apparently sorting out my finances will improve my sex life; make me feel “richer” in the emotional sense. Last month, Husband and I took our eye off the ball financially, and it kind of got us into a bit of hot water. This is unusual for us as I am pretty stringent with our money in v money out, mainly due to sorting out the 4 years of money out and no money in that was my time at uni.

I’m not sure how this will affect our sex life though. Last month I was a bit footloose and fancy free with the finances. Buying my lunches rather than making them (ooh the danger), putting the odd thing on my credit card, and generally overspending because we let our hair down a fair bit (lock me up I’m TOO wild). This bad financial behaviour didn’t then transfer into some parallel sexual energy though. I wasn’t dancing around in naughty undies, getting Husband to talk dirty to me by spelling out naughty words on an upside down calculator. 58008 anyone?

My finances needed sorting anyway, so I’ve spent the last couple of hours sifting through the money in v money out for this next month. Working out payments, arguing with Husband, depressing myself with how little we have each to spend on fun stuff this month. Now forgive me, it may be a malfunction in my libido so you must not take this as red - especially from a measly sample of one. But quite frankly, the last thing I want now is to go and do rude things with Husband.

1. I’m pissed off at him because we just had a pointless argument about money.

2. I’m depressed at facing the truth, November is going to be no fun.

3. My eyes and brain hurt from all the working out

4. I’m in a bad mood, and when in a bad mood I want wine and cake, not rudies.

Maybe there is a lag time? Maybe I will wake up tomorrow feeling a weight has been lifted and pounce on husband? Maybe my calculator has nothing to do with my Libido at all.