A quick one eyeshadow look using Accessorize

Hiya lovelies!

I've been making much more of an effort on my blog recently and as such I've been doing lots more things for the blog, including looks and swatches.

Here's a quick look I did a few days ago using one eyeshadow, the merged eyeshadow in Cocoa from Accessorize. It's £3.95 (currently) and is available from Superdrug and larger Accessorize stores. It's a huge eyeshadow, too, coming in at 3g. 

I highly rate all of Accessorize's make up and nail polish and think they offer fab quality for a good price. I have a few eyeshadows, a few normal single eyeshadows, a baked blusher and 6 or 7 nail polishes and they're all really good.

Onwards to the photographic evidence!

Other things I used:
Dermablend concealer tester (from Glossybox)
Urban Decay Naked Palette shade 'Buck' to fill my eyebrows in
Avon Supershock Max mascara in black
MUA bronzer shade 2 as contour
e.l.f. blusher 'Glow'

Although the eyeshadow is primarily brown, in has purple tones in it. It's a really lovely shadow, richly pigmented and so easily blendable. I have 2 more of these merged shadows to show you soon, which I bought about a year ago for the wedding and never showed you.

Have you tried anything from the Accessorize make up range?

Look using MUA Undressed palette & new Avon foundation


Almost the weekend, whee!

I did a look with the MUA Undressed palette today to see how it compares to the Urban Decay Naked palette.

Top row L-R = Shades 1-6
Bottom row L-R = Shades 7-12

I used Shade 1 as a highlight under my brows
I used Shade 2 on the inner corners of my eyes
I used Shade 8 on the main part of my eyes and blended outwards
I used Shade 11 on the outer corners of my eyes blended up and out

I also used:
Avon Supershock Max mascara in black
Avon Supershock gel eyeliner in black (on waterline)
MUA bronzer shade 2 as contour
e.l.f. blusher 'Glow'
MUA lipgloss Shade 1

So, how do they compare?

The colours may be pretty similar to those in the Naked palette, but they're not as pigmented. I needed to use more product to get the same effect as I would when using Naked. Having said that, at a fraction of the price, using more product is no issue for me. It may be an issue for you if you're time-limited, as obviously more product application means more time.

I'm using a new foundation. Avon were doing a deal last week where I got a foundation, a mascara and an eyeliner for £12 when it should've cost £30 in total. I read the reviews on Avon and this foundation seemed to be highly rated. I didn't have high hopes as every foundation thus far has been too dark for me (underneath the freckles and ruddy red cheeks my skin is actually ghostly.) Never fear, Avon to the rescue. This foundation is amazing. A little goes a LONG way (I can do my whole face on less than one pump), it hides redness brilliantly and the shade light pink is perfect for me. I didn't need to use any concealer at all. It feels moisturising. The only place on my face it stuck to some dry skin was between my eyebrows, which is always parched as I pluck there regularly to stop the monobrow taking over my face. Ha.

(Edit, I discovered Avon test on animals now so I no longer buy from them.)

In depth - Covetous


I hope you're all having a lovely weekend.

A new catalogue came through the door from Simply Be this morning and I started to circle round the things I like with a purple marker pen. Before long it occurred to me that I must've circled about a thousand pounds worth of clothes and shoes that I have no hope in hell of ever buying.

Again, as I have before, I started to muse about why it is I'm so covetous. Maybe it was my childhood. I was brought up below the breadline in abject poverty and never had nice new things. If I did get something 'new' to me, it was surely bequeathed by someone else or purchased with my mum's desperately cobbled-together pennies from a charity shop. We were so poor we had things donated to us at Christmas time by the Salvation Army - blankets, etc., as we lived in a freezing hellhole, water heated by a coal fire, with no double glazing and no central heating - in fact the only source of heat we had was the gas fire in the living room and the sooty coal fire in the kitchen, which we dared not huddle around. 

At school I felt like a bit of a pariah at times. That's not to say I didn't have fun, but there was always a feeling of inadequacy in the back of my mind. I went to a grammar school, the first person in my family to do so. Wealth and intelligence often go hand in hand (due to the access to 'better' schooling) and many of my peers had rich parents - usually two of them - nice houses, and expectations of good things to come. I was a wild card, I guess, an anomaly. A reasonably intelligent kid who came out of a crap school and a broken family, but one with half a brain. There weren't many kids of divorced parents at school, much less ones who were so poor they had to rely on the state for free school dinners, another sense of daily shame.

I left school at 16, not expected to stay on by my teachers, crushed by their lack of faith in me yet burdened by the need to find work and bring some money into the household. At last I had money to buy things for myself and give my mum housekeeping, but the stigma of feeling dirt poor may never leave me, even years after I left real poverty behind. Of course there have been tough times since, but none so bad I've had to starve like we did when I was a kid.

OR there is the possibility I could just be a greedy, materialistic ho-bag who craves excitement through a never-ending series of new purchases. I suppose it's natural to be buoyed up by sparkly new things. I just wonder if I'll always be like this, if there'd ever be enough money to satisfy my shopping urges. I'm sorry if this is a bit deep. I'm quite keen on trying to work out why I am the way I am.

Do you get excited by the thought of new purchases and sparkly new things? If so, have you ever considered why?

To me, it's like there's this hole inside of me which constantly needs filling (no sniggering, dirty minded sausages!) and no matter what happens, I always want more. It's quite sad actually. My husband finds ways to make money and I find ways to spend it.

Your thoughts?

My husband and I


Insomnia can be quite productive. As I was laying in bed last night I was thinking about doing a quiz type thing about me and my hubby, and which would be nice to ask my readers too.

Where we met: We met at a rock pub in London called The Intrepid Fox.

When we met: April 2003, on my birthday night out.

How old we were: I was 29, J was 22.

My first impression: I wasn't at all impressed at first. J was a friend of a friend and asked to borrow a hair band to tie back his long hair. I know for a fact this was an excuse to talk to me, as he never ties his hair back when he's out because he's so vain about it. I thought he was a bit wishy-washy character, and don't actually know why we ended up kissing. Blame it on the booze! Now I thank my lucky stars we got together.

Our first kiss: This is a matter of debate. As it was my birthday, I was quite tipsy and can't remember!

Our first date: We met up at a pub in London, then went to The Intrepid Fox again.

Our first year: Our first year was very challenging. We were 70 miles apart, only seeing each other at weekends, which was a small inconvenience compared with what was to come. 3 months in, despite being on the pill AND using condoms, I fell pregnant and had an ectopic pregnancy. I didn't know I was pregnant until I was dangerously ill. I spent 3 days in hospital and the baby died in my tube. It was a bit of an ordeal really, but not as bad as last year's ectopic pregnancy, by any means!

Our first home: After J and I had been going out for about 18 months, he left London for sunny East Sussex! I'd recently moved into a tiny studio flat by the seaside and J joined me and started job hunting. Since then we've lived in 3 more flats, and are very happy where we live now.

Our engagement: There was no romantic evening, no going down on one knee. Prior to January of last year, we had no plans to get married. I didn't think J was the marrying kind. When I collapsed in hospital last year when my fallopian tube ruptured, J had a real scare. He didn't think I'd make it out of theatre alive (neither did I.) I came out of hospital and one night in bed soon afterwards I started talking about the possibility of getting married. There had been a few suggestions from people while I was pregnant that J should make an honest woman of me, so I kinda said 'Why not?!' Our friends in Sweden kindly offered to help us with the costs if we did get married, so with that little bit of security behind us, we decided to get spliced. It gave me something positive to focus on while I was in pain, which was a bonus.

Our wedding: We got hitched in April this year. We had help from both sets of parents and our Swedish friends Pete and Marina. It was a wedding on a shoestring, but one full of love.

Our goals as a couple: To be parents, pure and simple! To have some fur babies.

*   *   *   *   *

I don't want to leave out my single readers, so if you're single, tell me what qualities you look for in a man or lady friend. (This is absolutely a gay friendly blog.) Do you have a type? Describe them! Tell me your famous crushes!

New Look jewellery BOGOF bonanza!


When I fell face-first into New Look the other day, I also bought some jewellery as it was on BOGOF (buy one get the cheapest free.) Of course the temptation was to go mad and buy loads of stuff, but NO. I do have some control....just not much.

This ring was £3.99

£4.99 for 6 pairs of earrings is pretty good....even if they probably will turn my ears green. Ha! The two items cost me £4.99 altogether.

Girls (and guys if there are any reading) - how do you explain away a splurge to your other half? Do you get into trouble? Do you hide your purchases at the back of the wardrobe? Or is your money your own so you can do as you please?

I'm very lucky, hubby is pretty forgiving as long as I don't go too mad.

Someone save me from myself (and New Look.)


I went to town to meet two of my girlie mates today and I knew I wouldn't be able to resist falling into New Look. In fact I positively avoid going to town to try to stop spending money.

Alas.....I came out with a sale top and a new top. This little bobby dazzler was £10 in the sale. It's got a lovely sheen to it in the light. I can't find it on the website any more so it looks like it's only available in stores.

The top below is new and was £14.99. I don't have anything lace at all in my wardrobe, so this had to be addressed, obviously! A rock chick with no lace?! Outrageous!

As I have a tattoo on my right boob and a big colourful tattoo on my back this will show them both off nicely.
I think I should do a post soon where I show off my 4 tattoos. What do you think?

I don't know why I keep buying tops. I really need bottoms. Bottoms, bottoms, bottoms! I need a high-low skirt I think, then I can show off the knee high boots hubby bought me for Christmas last year.

Do you buy loads of tops, loads of bottoms, or a bit of both?

MUA Dusk Til Dawn eyeshadow palette swatches


Like I said in my last post I've decided to swatch all my MUA eyeshadow palettes. They retail at £3.99 each. All swatches are done dry on bare skin with no primer. You will get more vibrant and more long-lasting shades if you use an eyelid primer. I use one by e.l.f. (which is SO cheap - it's just £1.50!) and one by Too Faced. Urban Decay do a very good one called Urban Decay Primer Potion, but I can no longer use it because it makes my eyes as sore as hell. Virtually every company will do an eyelid primer so shop around, read reviews and maybe try a couple if they're nice and cheap. Other cheap brands in the UK who do one are VIVO (from Tesco) and MUA.

The colours don't have names so I call them Shade 1-12
Top row L-R = 1-6
Bottom row L-R = 7-12






My stand out shades in this palette are 4, a lovely highlight colour (which would also look great over the tear duct area to make your eyes look all bright and WOW!) 5 - which is a taupey-silvery-lilacy shade, 8, 9 and 11. You get 9.6 g of shadow altogether, .8 of a gram for each colour. MUA products are available to buy from Superdrug stores, Superdrug.com and the MUA Store.

Stay tuned, 5 more palettes coming your way!

Have you tried MUA? Who's your go-to eyeshadow brand?

Thanks for reading!

MUA Heaven and Earth eyeshadow palette swatches

Hiya sweet peas!

I've decided to swatch all 7 of the MUA eyeshadow palettes I have. I thought I had 6 of them, but another one was hiding at the back of the drawer.

All swatches from these 7 palettes are swatched dry on bare skin with no primer. You will get more vibrant and more long-lasting shades if you apply using a damp brush and/or use an eyelid primer. I use one by e.l.f. (which is SO cheap - it's just £1.50!) and one by Too Faced. Urban Decay do a very good one called Urban Decay Primer Potion, but I can no longer use it because it makes my eyes as sore as hell. Virtually every company will do an eyelid primer so shop around, read reviews and maybe try a couple if they're nice and cheap. Other cheap brands in the UK who do one are VIVO (from Tesco) and MUA.



The colours don't have names so I call them Shade 1-12
Top row L-R = 1-6
Bottom row L-R = 7-12

Now, about my swatches. When I had the memorial tattoo for my lost tummy nugget, I failed to take into consideration that my left inner forearm was the place I did all my eyeshadow swatches. Because I'm right handed, that's where they have to go. My outer forearms and the back of my hands are so freckly that I can't really swatch there, so I have to make the most of the room I do have left. Also, please bear in mind because I'm SO deathly pale, I absorb colour like no one's business. When I do my make up and take a photo of it it's always way less pigmented than in actuality. Far less English Rose, more like English Casper the ghost!

As you can see there are a mix of super-pigmented shades and some which are less so.

1, 2, 5, 9 and 10 are my favourites from this palette. 1 is particularly lovely as a highlight. Really, for £3.99 these palettes are a great way to experiment with colours and have a bit of a play. You get 9.6 g of shadow altogether, .8 of a gram for each colour. MUA products are available to buy from Superdrug stores, Superdrug.com and the MUA Store.

Look out for another palette swatched tomorrow! Till then...

Me wearing clothes! OOTD post.


Yes, here I am in an actual outfit. I know, calm yo' tits! ;)

This was taken on my camera phone this weekend when we were in Birmingham spending time with the bereaved boyfriend of my friend who passed away 2 months ago, so I wasn't overly concerned with my appearance. I changed my shoes before I went out.

Dress New Look
Sparkly cardi Debenhams (a few years ago.)
Leggings Very
Tiger pumps Asda

I really need to wear a belt with this next time as I do have (a bit of a) waist, honest! I'm rubbish with belts. I have a small collection (about 5) but always forget to wear one. D'oh!

What's the one thing you forget to add to an outfit? Something I'm great at adding to my outfits is STAINS! Hahaha.

Thanks for reading!

Recent MUA purchases


When MUA had their 25% off and free delivery offer recently I bought some bits and bobs. All photos clickable for larger images.

Undressed palette

This palette is a shade for shade duplicate of Urban Decay's Naked palette. I've yet to use or swatch it yet but that's next on my agenda.

Starry Nights palette

Glamour Days palette

I've used shade 16 and it's amazing. It's a hotter pink than reflected here - I had trouble capturing its true colour. It goes on thickly and smoothly, dries at lightning speed and doesn't chip any more or less than far more expensive polish. It doesn't smell hideous like some polishes do, either. Brilliant! I'm a convert.

I'll have swatches of the palettes coming up for you ASAP!

Did you snag any goodies while the 25% off offer was on? 

Olympic closing ceremony

Hello lovelies.

Did you see the Olympic closing ceremony last night? I did and thought it was absolutely wonderful.

My highlights were:

The Who, who I've loved since I was a kid

Eric Idle, who gets props from me for singing 'shit' during the closing ceremony

The bhangra dancers. I love bhangra music.
Muse, epecially Matt Bellamy's epic sequinned suit.

Queen, but not so much the Jessie J parts, as I'm at about saturation point with her.

Emeli Sandé, who is just bloody amazing. Thankfully she's stepped into the breach to fill the void Adele has left in going off to be a mummy. Love her voice!

Kaiser Chiefs. Who knew Ricky Wilson sounded so much like Roger Daltrey?! Not me, obviously! They did a grand job of Pinball Wizard.

Lord Coe's speech, which brought a tear of pride to my eye.

Timothy Spall as Churchill.

The mini London backdrop.

Russell Brand's turn at Willy Wonka and The Beatles.

And of course, the cauldron.

I missed out on tickets to the games and didn't go to London to take in the atmosphere, so I have less to say about the 2012 London Olympics than many who did get to see events live and did go to London and the other Olympic venues across Britain to soak up the joy of the events. When we were in Manchester last weekend there was a giant screen in the city centre and people sat and watched the events whilst sitting on rows upon rows of deckchairs. Could you get any more British than that?! I know there were screens up in public places all over Britain so everyone could feel a part of the Games.

What I can say is I think the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics this year have been the perfect antidote to last year's riots. A way of saying 'Yes, we are sometimes troubled, and yes we are facing economic difficulty, but together we can do great things.' I've never been as proud to be British. I know there was a lot of negativity in the press before the Games started about the armed forces having to stand in as security for the event, but who better to look after the nation's capital than our wonderfully dedicated servicemen and women? (As long as they get a good rest before they're thrown back into armed combat abroad.)

As soon as the Games began all 'Woe is for for I am British' negativity disappeared from the newspapers to concentrate on happier things, and I'm sure this in turn had a knock on effect on the mood of the British Isles. I've read reports of people on the Tube smiling at each other and saying hello, for God's sake! This is monumental :) All jokes aside, wouldn't it be wonderful if this wonderful feeling of unity could only last? Although the Games were held in GB, of course it was a worldwide Games, shaped and flavoured by every single participating country. I hope there was a feeling of hope and pride to be sensed all over the world. I had a tear in my eye as the cauldron went out, I must say. Life goes on, but hopefully this good feeling will linger a while yet.

If you live outside of Britain, did you get a sense of the warmth and unity of the Games? 
Did you enjoy the opening and closing ceremonies?  

I preferred the closing ceremony.

Photo Blog - belated Olympic Torch Relay and Red Arrows


I realised tonight I hadn't posted my photos from the Olympic Torch Relay which came through my home town about 3 weeks ago (17th July). Oops. I also forgot to post photos from when The Red Arrows put on a gorgeous display here a couple of weeks ago (22nd July.) There were all sorts of activities going on, food and craft stalls and bands playing near the seafront.

A candid of my friends

This chap was buoying up the crowd and entertaining us
He reminded me of a cyber Mr Tumnus!

We missed the 'kiss' - the torches being lit one from another - as a lorry parked right in front of us at the vital moment and there were too many people in the way to move. We went home and had a look on the website for the live feed to see the kiss, but the live feed had failed so we never did see it and never will. Never mind, there was a lovely atmosphere and it was really great to be there. We left on a real high.

The Red Arrows did a display here on Hastings Pirate Day. We had an unbeatable view, living as we do up high alongside the sea front. I took all these photos from our sun room windows, believe it or not. Talk about birds' eye view!

 This next one is what you call the money shot. It was pure luck.

I love the Red Arrows and got a bit choked up watching the display. Their skill and precision is utterly amazing and the fact the RAF have a squadron especially to do displays is just wonderful. I love air shows. I used to go to the Biggin Hill Air Fair with my mum and step dad for many years and loved it.

Did you watch the Torch Relay in your town? If so, how was it? 
Have you ever been to a summer air fair?

I'm particularly fond of seaside air shows, like the Southend and Eastbourne ones where you settle down on the beach for the day and get a sore neck from looking up at the sky all day long whilst catching some rays.

I went to a Simply Be store for the first time

... and came out empty handed!


Hello lovelies. Last weekend when I was in Manchester I was SO excited to visit the Simply Be store in Bury, especially because hubby had told me I could treat myself to something. He very rarely says this, so I was gagging at the bit! Simply Be do clothes in sizes 14-32 and up until last year, was a catalogue only.

My photo of the front of the Bury store

Alas, it was not to be and I came away sans purchases. I think I went at the wrong time - there was a big sale on which took up approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the rails, so there was nothing new that took my eye at all :( I was bummed but I know there's LOADS of stuff in the Autumn/Winter catalogue I want, as I've already circled loads of things in the catalogue. (I think it was too early for A/W stuff to be in the store - the sale was probably running to clear the decks for some autumnal goodness coming in.)

I probably haven't said this before, but Simply Be is the 'place' I go to if I can't find what I want anywhere else. I've been shopping there so long I hardly ever think about it any more - it's as natural as breathing to me! I can always rely on the catalogue to come to the rescue. I've been buying from them for years and years and have the hideous account balance to prove it. I'm not being paid to say this, by the way.

When was the last time you went out to buy something but came away empty handed?

Am I the only one who's really excited about Autumn/Winter stuff coming through? Because we had such a long wait for summer to arrive I started looking forward to Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas. I'm glad summer is here now but I still can't fight off the urge to look forward to cosy nights reading, wrapped up in my leopard print slanket and listening to the wind whistling off the double glazing. Talking of leopard print, I noticed there was a leopard print onesie in the A/W catalogue. I must have it! I love leopard print, as I may have said a time or twelve before.

Photo Blog - a journey through the Peak District


On the way to see our friends in Manchester on Friday, we took the scenic route through from Mansfield and passed through the Peak District. We'd never been there before and were blown away by the gorgeous views. It was a beautiful sunny day and we stopped off at a wonderful country pub called The Lamb Inn in Chinley, in the High Peak area.

Farm wall/road sign and moody sky/sheer cliff faces/stunning view

Yet another gorgeous view/outside the Lamb/collection of Toby jugs/cosy woodburner

The Lamb Inn is gorgeous inside and out. I'd love to go there in the depths of winter and snuggle near the fire. There were candles burning on every table, cosy tartan cushions on every seat and a lovely warm atmosphere which just makes me want to go back again and again. Although we stopped off at the pub and at another vantage point to stretch our legs, we barely touched upon the beauty of the Peak District and really want to go back again next summer, perhaps for a week.

Me inside the Lamb/a well-worn table, the pub sign, me outside the Lamb

Great clouds, sideways/zooming by in the car/an ad for the Lamb in an old newspaper

Although I love going on holiday abroad (when funds allow) there are so many beautiful places to visit in the UK. I'm happiest by far when out in the car with the wind in my hair, the sun on my face and gorgeous views zooming by.

Where is your favourite place to visit at the moment? What makes you happiest?