AX Paris dress - wedding OOTD


As I said in my last blog, we went to a wedding on Saturday, which was amazing.
Here are a few photos (camera phone shots) of my outfit, taken by my hubby.
Dress from AX Paris & cover up from Simply Be
Fascinator from Peacocks (a few years ago)
I do have feet - honest! My hubby's camera phone had dust on the lens, oops.
I included this shot of me so you can see a peek of my handbag
I coordinated the feathers on my fascinator with the handbag, which I bought from eBay, and was pleasantly surprised to see they were almost a perfect colour match. I'm a bit anal about details like that.

I think this is my favourite outfit I've ever worn to a wedding.

Dress AX Paris Curve
Cover up Simply Be
Handbag eBay

My experience with AX Paris was somewhat spoiled by the hideous delivery courier they use, Yodel, who took 9 days to deliver the dress after it was received at their depot. Simply awful. The dress is lovely, a fab price and great quality, but if I needed an outfit in a hurry I'd have to look elsewhere. Sorry AX Paris, change your delivery company and I'll be a loyal customer.

This wedding was a Greek wedding. Have you been to any weddings from different cultures? What was it like? What fun customs did they have?

A catch up of Instagram photos and a lovely wedding


Here is this week's selection of Instagram photos. I didn't take many photos this week, which is most unlike me!

 L - out in the sunshine, Mid - bunting up in the sun room, R - a snack in the car.

 L - one of the tables at this weekend's wedding, Mid - my mother and father-in-law, R - the happy couple doing the traditional Greek money dance.

L - there was lots of booze on the tables, Mid - one of the decorations, R - coming home over the Dartford bridge today.


Yesterday my hubby's brother got married. Weddings are always lovely, that goes without saying. Yesterday was a really fun wedding. My hubby's side of the family are all happy, game for a laugh, smiley people. The family my brother-in-law got married into are a warm, generous and thoughtful Greek-Cypriot family who know how to have fun. The booze flowed, the music was great, and we talked, laughed, sang and danced for hours. The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome, both families proud and chuffed to bits.

The really great thing about uniting two people is that it unites two families under one big umbrella of squishy feelings. Just under 4 months ago when J and I got married I inherited his hundred-strong family of lovely people, and yesterday we inherited a bunch of lovely almost-inlaws, and their friends, who are all warm and welcoming. Our social circle just exploded and I've gained so many more people to care about. A rich life is one surrounded by wonderful people, not things. Happiness in life comes from love given and received. My life is richer for having more lovely people in it. Since we got married I think I've warmed a bit as a person. I really see the importance of spending time with friends and family above all else now. Although there's a buzz from buying pretty new things, lasting joy comes from being with those we love and who love us, so I aim to spend less money on fripperies, and more money on travel to see the people in our lives.

It's all about me striking a balance, attempting to be slightly less shallow and materialistic, and remembering who and what really matters. Yes, a marriage unites more than two people.

If you'd like to share any of your favourite wedding memories, either your wedding or someone else's, please feel free! I'd love to hear them.

Be Here Now - The Andy Whitfield Story


Have you ever seen Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the show about Gladiators starring John Hannah, Lucy Lawless and Andy Whitfield? If you did, you might know that Andy - who played the role of Spartacus - sadly passed away last September from non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, leaving behind a wife and two young children.

I can't actually define what affects me so about Andy Whitfield's death. People die all the time, but some deaths affect me more than others. I loved S: BAS from the outset - it's a violent show with lots of action, nudity and sex scenes - right up my alley as a viewer. There was something mesmerising about Andy, something immeasurable - he was a star, pure and simple. He shone in the role and I thought he had a bright future ahead of him. To my mind, he WAS the show. Some performances from actors just wash over you and make no impression, but Andy's work made its mark on me, a testament I think to the heart and soul he put into the role.

When I found out Andy had died I was upset, as any loss of talent weighs heavy on my heart. Because I can imagine how distraught I'd be if my husband died, I felt for Andy's wife and kids. As the months went on I thought about Andy every time I was reminded about S: BAS, which was often as I saw re-runs advertised in my Sky TV planner on an almost daily basis.

A couple of months ago I became aware of a fund-raising campaign to raise money to tell Andy's story in a documentary. Film-makers had followed Andy since his diagnosis, and the money the campaign needed was to ensure the documentary came to fruition. I'm very proud to say I am one of 5,265 backers who have funded the heartbreaking and inspirational story of Andy's final weeks and months. Initially, the campaign asked for a total of $200,000. It actually raised $302,810 by the time the deadline closed, which was earlier today.

Here's a trailer for the documentary:

I've watched it a few times over and it never fails to make me cry. There is a quote in the clip which touches me deeply.

"In my heart, I'm convinced that this is all meant to be ... And I'm open to the journey and to the discoveries and to the adventure of all of this. 'Be here now' is all about being present and not fearing what you don't know."

What an inspirational man to have said that in the face of terminal illness. R.I.P to Andy and all those taken too soon.

I will be keeping an eye out for developments to do with the documentary and you can check yourself here

My wedding outfit is coming together

I wrote here about my outfit for the wedding hubby and I are going to next weekend - in fact, it's his brother's wedding.

Yesterday I bought a lovely handbag for the wedding and some footless tights, both from eBay. I can't wear tights with 'feet' in with any kind of heels as my feet slip down the shoes and my toes get crushed at the bottom. Does anyone else have that problem with tights? I find them so slippery! I've even tried tights or pop socks with grip bottoms but they don't work for me. I need a bit of skin action to stop my feet slipping down my shoes. I'll take plenty of plasters with me just in case I get blisters and I'll probably use those gel cushions for my feet to grip as well. I'll take a pair of emergency flat shoes for the evening just in case I'm in pain.

I bought the handbag for £9.49 including postage. It's 10 inches long, 5 inches high and comes with a long silver chain so I don't have to worry about holding it all day. It'll be big enough to put my essentials in - phone, mirror, make up, etc.

Here is an Instagram shot of the fascinator hair band I'm wearing to the wedding. (This photo was also featured in my weekly Instagram photo catch-up, but you can see it better here, anyway.)

I picked out the blue handbag to go with the blue in the fascinator. I'll keep my nails and jewellery fairly low key so I don't stick out like a sore thumb.

Have you got any weddings or other special occasions this summer? How do you plan an outfit?

I often plan an outfit around an accessory - in this case the I knew I wanted to wear the fascinator, so I planned everything else around it.

Nails Inc Eden Grove NOTD


This is my most recent mani.

I was about to reach for yet another purple shade when I stopped myself as the last few NOTD's have been purple. I really love this colour and think it's quite unusual.

Nails Inc Eden Grove swatches
Nails Inc Eden Grove swatches
Nails Inc Eden Grove nail polish swatches

I've snipped my nails down as they look better this way. My hubby will just have to scratch his own back. Seriously, that man wants me to rake his back off every day! I've never known someone be so itchy.

It took 3 goes to get this right. The first time I forgot my quick dry spray and started doing my tea, so I smudged 3 nails. I seriously considered photographing my 2 fingers, but they weren't even next to each other! The second time round I remembered the dry spray but had a packet of crisps and got crumbs in my nails. I've heard of the flock mani, the salt mani, the caviar mani, but never the crisp mani so off it came again! Hahaha. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Hair cut time and my hair history

I had my hair cut a couple of days ago and I'm really happy with it.

Like most women, my hair is a big deal to me. If my hair looks bad or if I have split ends, it affects my confidence. My mum cut my hair for the first 15 years of my life. My first 'proper' hair cut was saved up for not long before I left school. Once I started work I could afford a fancy hair dresser, and my hair was great (well, great for the 90s!) When I left my home town, I didn't find a new hair dresser for a couple of years so I cut my own hair.

When I finally did go to a posh salon in my new home I was talked into having a really short bob by a slightly overenthusiastic stylist. It was so short the back of my head was shaved up level with my ears and the bob part at the front reached just above my ear lobes and that was it. That was the shortest I've ever had my hair. I didn't go back again. I found another salon when I moved to a town a few miles away. I went there for many years, as my hairdresser was friendly and did a great job.

When I moved into the county I live in now (in a different town) I went back to cutting my own hair for a few years between hairdressers. It was only after I moved to my adopted home town (where I am now) some years ago that I started to make enquiries with my workmates about who was good at hair . A lady at my work always had lovely hair, so when she recommended I call her hairdresser, I was confident things would be OK. That was 5 or 6 years ago now and I'm so relaxed with Helen I just let her do her thing. She could close her eyes and still give me an awesome hair cut. Before I had my hair dye allergy Helen used to dye my hair all kinds of funky colours too.

I'll be going to Helen as long as I live here and as long as she's cutting hair. It's not just that she's good at hair, she's hilarious and we always have a good old natter over a cuppa every time. I always look forward to getting my hair cut, and my hair always looks good even with no styling. I'm a lazy beeyotch and a hair cut has to be low maintenance!

Enough waffle - on to the pics!

Mint and ink EOTD


I've decided to try to be more daring with my eye shadow choices as I'm a bit of a wuss. I did a look today I'm really happy with.

I used my NYX eyeshadow kit, which I got from TK Maxx a couple of years ago.

I used:
Primer: Too Faced Shadow Insurance
Eyeshadows from the aforementioned NYX kit
Eyebrows filled in with Buck from the Urban Decay Naked Palette 1, and tapered off using Body Shop  brow and liner kit in shade 02
Mascara on upper lashes: Avon Supershock Max in black
Mascara on lower lashes: 17 Waterproof mascara in black (to avoid panda eyes)
Eyeliner on waterline, tightline and upper lid (smudged): Barry M bold black waterproof liner
Contour under cheekbones: MUA shade 2 bronzer
Blush: e.l.f. Natural Radiance blusher in Glow
Facial highlight: e.l.f. blusher in Gotta Glow
Foundation: Avon Smooth Minerals loose powder in Ivory
Lip gloss: BeneFit Back to the Fuchsia

Top L-R e.l.f. Natural Radiance blusher, Avon Smooth Minerals loose foundation, e.l.f. Gotta Glow blusher
Middle L-R 17 waterproof mascara, Avon Super Shock Max mascara, Barry M eyeliner
Bottom L-R MUA bronzer, Body Shop liner kit, Benefit lip gloss

That's quite a lot of stuff really! Phew.

Rye Nature Reserve revisit


The weekend before last the hubby and I paid a second visit to Rye Nature Reserve in East Sussex. We went there last year with my mum and step dad but went back on our own so we could do a longer walk. As we left home in the car the rain was torrential and we were starting to think we were crazy to go out for a walk. By the time we arrived in Rye there was no rain at all, and it stayed dry the whole time we were there.

The Nature Reserve lies within a large triangle of land extending south from Rye, along the River Rother, past Rye Harbour to the sea, westward to Winchelsea Beach and northwards along the River Brede.

Wild bunnies
A yellow poppy, which is quite rare apparently.

A wind farm in the background
Least Lettuce and Stinking Hawksbeard, which the bunnies munch.

Least lettuce is a wild lettuce, so no wonder the rabbits love it. Stinking Hawksbeard resembles dandelion. More tempting rabbit chow!

Over there is the beach, which is shingle like the sides of the path.

There were all these thoughtful little paths to the beach.

I was fascinated, as you can tell!

Looking in the opposite direction (with the sea at our back) and back to the start of our walk.

It's a great walk if you can't do hills, as it's all flat.

These heavy chains were near the beach, perhaps to secure a fishing boat.

Smiley hubby
 It was terribly grey and overcast, which is why there aren't any panoramic shots of the scenery. I'm sure we're all sick of the greyness we've been having this 'summer', so I didn't feel the need to share any grey views with you :)

We did a 3 mile walk then stopped off for fish and chips, which went down a treat. There's nothing like tiring yourself out in the fresh air then having a well-needed sit down and a good feed.

Where's your favourite place to walk?
Or do you prefer to exercise indoors?

I prefer exercising indoors as my Fibromyalgia means walking for any distance really hurts my joints, but it's more than worth the pain to be outside in nature, especially when the sun shines. According to the weather reports, there's going to be some sunny weather soon. YAY!

If you ever feel small, step away

I'm human, I'm fragile, and sometimes I just need to step away from things which make me sad.

Why step away?

If I ever start to compare myself to someone else and wish I was them, it's time to step away.
If I ever look at someone else's lifestyle and wish I had their disposable income, their ability to travel the world, their awesome wardrobe of the latest fashions or their humongous collection of make up, it's time to step away.
If I see a pretty girl in the street, in a magazine, on the internet and start to feel less than in comparison, it's time to step away.
If I ever start to buy into the bullshit in the media about the size of a person's body determining their worth, it's time to step away.
If I ever see someone who CAN and start telling myself I CAN'T, it's time to step away.
If I start to feel unhappy in any way at all by the things I see online, in a magazine or in any other place, it's time to centre myself, stop comparing my situation to someone else's, and step away.

To compare ourselves to someone else is like comparing a rock to a pineapple. We're all unique.

If you ever wonder what your place on this earth is (as we all do from time to time) and think you're of little consequence, you sell yourself short. Sometimes I feel as if I blog to the ether, like no one would notice if I disappeared into a puff of smoke, but yesterday when I was leaving my family and my cousin's 6 year old daughter buried her head against me and said 'I don't want you to go!' I felt 100 feet tall.

Perspective is all that is required - a reminder of what really matters. Sometimes the things that matter most to us aren't the things right in front of us. Sometimes we have to go searching for the things that matter, because they can get buried in the day-to-day.

It's easy to feel worthless when everyone else seems to be having a better time of it and when you feel like no one knows you exist, but those things really don't matter. None of us knows what goes on behind the facade in another person's life. The grass always looks greener on the other side but is it really? Is it Astro Turf or the painted plastic grass people put in the bottom of their fish tanks?

If you ever feel less than, step away. Just for an hour. Do something which takes you away from the things which make you feel down. Do something that reminds you how special you are. Re-read birthday cards or other reminders of how much you're loved. Focus on a photo of yourself when you look really happy. Email a friend. Phone someone. Connect with the real things of value in your life.

It doesn't make us weak to acknowledge sometimes there are things out there which test our ability to love ourselves and feel secure in ourselves. It makes us human. It makes us normal.

Hugs from me to you if you feel less than right now. This started as a pep talk and I thought if it could reach one sad heart it'd be worth it.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given and who was it from?

My biggest beauty blunders

I was inspired to write this post by a talk on Temptalia, Christine's blog.

My beauty blunders are many and hilarious and I'll illustrate them where possible. I'm going to try to do this fairly chronologically, from the age of about 14 when I got interested in hair and make up.

Aged about 14 I got hold of make up - any make up - and splashed it all over regardless. We were dirt poor and I was just so happy to have some make up finally. This lead to bright blue shadow up to the eyebrows and hot pink lipstick! A cheeky chap at church once asked me if I'd been beaten up as he thought my eyeshadow resembled bruises. I thought I looked amazing, as you do. I started wearing blue mascara to school at about the same period, which got me told off every day as we weren't supposed to wear any make up, let alone electric blue mascara! At about the same age I started to use Sun In on my hair, which made my naturally dark hair eventually turn into white straw which had to be cut off. For the uninitiated, you could put Sun In on before you went into the sun or activate it with a hair dryer. I had no idea of moderation at the time so I used it all the time.

I had my first proper hair cut when I was 15 or 16. I went to the same hairdresser my friend went to. It turned out to be rather embarrassing as the hairdresser yelled across the salon 'Who's been doing your hair? It's one and a half inches longer on one side than the other!' I sheepishly said my mum had been cutting it, and you know how embarrassing it is at that age to even admit your parents exist.

Again, when I was at school we were so poor I had no nail polish, but I used to put Tippex on my nails and colour them in with highlighters. (Mum found the money for stationary somehow.)

The perms! Oh Lord. I had 3 in about a year and totally frazzled my hair. When I got my first boyfriend he liked to buy me perfume, so I'd go out REEKING of Poison. It's a wonder I didn't kill someone as I used to douse myself in the stuff.

I could devote a whole blog to the state of my eyebrows through my lifetime. I didn't pluck my eyebrows for years at a time which led to caterpillar brows, as I'm very dark.

Then for a long time I over-plucked my eyebrows, so it looked like I had a pair of paretheses over my eyes.

Then on a PMS-induced whim I shaved my eyebrows off altogether last year or the year before. The photo below was me having a go at drawing them on for the first time and making a hideous bodge of it. It got better, but it was ill advised to begin with. You live and learn.

Ye gads!
Then there are the faux-pas with foundation shades through just about my whole life - it has only recently occurred to me I'm extremely pale under all the freckles. Usually a company's lightest shade is too dark for me, so I've always had a lovely orange tidemark!

Let's not forget the lifetime of strange hair do's I've had. I had it so short once I kept getting mistaken for a boy from behind! I even cut my own hair for a long time, but I thought it looked good. Oh dear I will dig up some more photos of some crazy hair and my perms to show you. Everyone did it at the time. Frazzled hair was the norn. I mean, I lived through the 80s and 90s fer gawd's sake!!

What have been your biggest beauty blunders? 

Thursday Photos - the last of Cornwall photos

Hi all.

I realised a day or two ago I hadn't posted the end of my Cornwall photos. There are only a few left, so it'd be rude not to.

Here's one of me. There aren't that many full length photos of me around!

The rest of the holiday photos were taken in Charlestown, which is just lovely.

How good a view those houses must have!

Everywhere had bunting up, everywhere we went. I love bunting!

Here's a gif of me swimming in the pool.

Here are some photos from some make up I did last month and didn't post. Green and a smidge of gold. I can't remember exactly what I used, but I *think* the green is from a Vivo Trio and the gold is from the first Naked Palette.

I hope you're having a grand week.

Barry M Navy 292 NOTD


This is the Barry M Navy 292 polish I won recently. Onto the pics without ado!

Barry M 292 navy nail polish swatches.
Barry M 292 navy nail polish swatches.

Pretty, isn't it? I really love the formulations of Barry M polishes above all others, which is damn skippy as they're so cheap. You can buy yourselves a bit o' Bazza from Superdrug and the Barry M website.