Sunday, 27 March 2011

Dear Maybelline...

Dear Maybelline,

A while back I blogged about your amazing 18 hour lipcolour.  I really thought that I had finally found my perfect lipstick; a rich true red that lasted through the eating of greasy food and stayed looking pristine through long nights out on the tiles.

So imagine my excitement when I saw you had brought out a nerw improved version, a 24 hour lipstick, no less! I hurried to my local drugstore and bought myself one. 

What have you done?  This new product is terrible.  The colour does not go on smoothly, partly down to the change in the shape of the applicator.  It takes longer to dry and looks patchy.  It also flakes after just a few hours wear, dries the lips and transfers on eating. 

I am so very sad.  Who did your consumer testing?

I will not be buying this product again.

Yours in disappointment


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Full wave bangs - first attempt - a good fringe day

Well, it has been a while since I last set my hair and so, as I could finally move my arms above my head yesterday, I thought I'd give a new fringe style a go.  My fringe has grown out to around 7 inches long now, perfect for a style called full wave bangs. (The word "bangs" for fringe always amuses me, does anyone know how it came into usage?).

This is a deceptively simple set and is best done on wet hair with a little setting lotion (I favour Motions foamy set for wet sets).  First you need to separate the fringe area into a rectangular section. You then need to roll three rows of standing pin curls.  Most diagrams show each row to consist of four pin curls but with my fine hair I could only manage three per row.

I tend to roll standing pin curls around something - a mascara tube usually works well, and just slide the curl off and pin at the base through the curl with a single bobby pin.  You could also use a very small barrelled curling iron, hotsticks or perm rods to make these curls.

The row at the back are rolled forwards, toward the face, the middle row and that closest to the face are rolled facing backwards, away from the face. (see diagram).  These backwards facing rolls help to form the curl and to bulk up the fringe giving it height.
 picture courtesy of

When the set has dried (or cooled completely if using curling irons) you need to first brush out the curls upwards, preferably with a natural bristle brush.  It will look like a huge frizzy mess at this point, don't panic!  Brush through a few times and then place your hand under the hair, on your forehead, and start to brush the hair over the hand.  After a few brushes the wave will start to spring into place, as if by magic.  No, really.

 picture courtesy of

When you are happy with the shape of the fringe just remove the underneath hand and use your fingers to hold the wave where you want it and then spray.  I always press the wave in again while the hair is slightly damp from the spray as this helps set it into place.

This is a versatile early 1940's fringe style for when your bangs are in the growing out phase and it looks good with either the rest of the hair curled and put back with combs, with side rolls, a snood or even with an updo.

Sadly the rest of my hair did not want to play ball today and turned into a frizz ball, ignore it, I think I set it too wet.  Look at the fringe and not the rest.  :-)

This was only my first attempt and I'm going to keep working on this until it is perfect.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A Spring clearout

Hurrah - Spring has sprung - and as the first shafts of sunlight burst through the curtains my thoughts have turned to clothing for the changing season.  I have started reviewing my wardrobe, gathering everything that either doesn't suit me, doesn't fit me or is not precious in some way and am either selling it or donating to charity.

As such I have a whole bunch of items listed on eBay for your perusal -  here is a link to my shop and below are a few items I have on sale.  Not everything on there is vintage by the way, please do not think less of me for the 80's and the modern.  *wink*

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Old Movie Madness: Wife vs. Secretary (1936)

Being laid up at home I have had plenty of time to watch some films, so it ain't all bad.  One of today's selection was the sweetly romantic "Wife Vs. Secretary" from 1936 starring Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Myrna Loy as well as a young Jimmy Stewart.

This is a classic 30's romance of misunderstanding and is beautifully played by the majority of the cast.  Gable is advertising executive V.S (otherwise known as Van or Stanhope) who lives an affluent lifestyle with his adoring wife of three years, Linda (Loy).  The film opens on their wedding anniversary with V.S pretending to have forgotten while secretly having placed an extravagant diamond bracelet in their breakfast.  This opening scene is interesting as the dialogue hints heavily at the couple having spent the night together, casting Loy as a sex symbol rather than just "the wife".

Next we see V.S. at the office, striding through confidently greeting everyone, clearly a man who loves his job.  As he walks into his office we see a curvy young lady stood on a chair hanging a picture of him above the desk, she jumps down and greets him fondly.  This is Helen "Whitey" Wilson, his secretary (Harlow). Van's mother fears Whitey will be a temptation to her son and she wastes no time in warning Linda of her feelings.

Whitey is a beautiful and very intelligent young blonde, engaged to the earnest Dave (Stewart), we next see her at the dinner table with her family ready for a night out, wearing a classically Harlow white satin gown.  Unfortunately V.S. calls her and she goes to work leaving poor Dave to go to the theatre alone.

Whitey delivers the papers V.S requested to a party, and still dressed in her theatre outfit the blonde causes quite a stir among Linda's friends who all assume V.A. is having an affair and make their assumption obvious to Linda who still professes that she trusts her husband implicitly.

Dave asks Whitey to marry him and she refuses as she does not want to give up her career, or perhaps the opportunity to be close to V.S., and when he entrusts her with his latest business secret and takes her with him to an out of town meeting tongues again wag.  Things escalate when V.S has to attend a meeting in Havana and takes Whitey with him.  They have an innocent but drunken night out together to celebrate their successful business meeting and get in at 2am.  The phone rings and Whitey answers, Linda hears her voice on the line and hangs up - now convinced that her husband is having an affair.

Linda wants a divorce and V.S starts to turn to Whitey for comfort, however she does the decent thing and tells Linda that she would be a fool to leave him.  Linda finally returns and Whitey decides to settle with Dave.

The film has some sterling moments - my favourite being close to the end where Whitey is explaining to Linda that she cares for V.S and is in fact willing to be second best but that she thinks they would be happier if they got back together.  It is strongly and earnestly played by Harlow.  Also interesting is the underlying message about gossip, this being the damaging this in the couples marriage, V.S having never really noticed Whitey as a woman, as evidenced by the nickname.

The wardrobe isn't amazing, there are some distinctly odd garments worn by Loy, especially around the house, including once very long slightly oriental looking dressing gown with a wide leather belt.

Stewart's acting is very laboured and wooden, but then this isn't the relaxed sort of role he excelled at.  Gable is quite slimy and irritating, it definitely takes a while to warm to him, and his clothes have a brash nouveau quality which adds to this (checked tweed suit and polka dot tie - ouch!) and while I do adore Harlow I find it hard to see her as a sex symbol with her cutesy dimpled chin and Kewpie doll features (perhaps it is my modern eyes). Interestingly though she isn't really acting the vamp here, there is no swanning around in underwear or sleazy wisecracking and the only scene where she is dressed sexily (her theatre outfit) shows her looking awkward and uncomfortable as V.S helps her with her coat.  Quite a departure from her earlier roles.  In fact this was a deliberate move, Harlow even darkening her hair a few shades for the role.

Not a just a fluffy comedy but a good solid romantic film with a heart and a message.  Very worthwhile viewing.

Monday, 21 March 2011


So, I am back and despite being in rather a lot of pain from slipping over when completely sober, I am feeling pretty rested after my hols.

France was amazing, we were staying at Naomi's family home in the hills of the village of Valbonne and while the weather was not perfect (three days of sun and four days of rain, roughly) the holiday itself was.

We managed a lot in a week, museums, markets and lots of reading and eating, the rainy days being a perfect excuse to do nothing.  I do love doing nothing, it is one of my specialist skills.

I won't bore you with long descriptions of what we got up to as the fabulous Miss Jeni wrote a great summary of our activities on her marvellous blog and it is much better than anything I could put together.  Instead here are some pictures.  Yes, I am one of those people who likes to show others her holiday snaps.  :-P

 my leopard print suitcase ROCKS!

 Our first amble into the village

 Beautiful market stalls

 Gale force winds in Cannes

 The view from the top of the hill in Cannes

 The museum where we took shelter from the gale

 Monacos and Nutella

 I wasn't the only one who fell over!

 I love this pic of the back of the girls hair and their Heyday! Fleur dresses

 A Wendy house, what larks!

 The vintage paparazzi were out in force


The graveyard was very beautiful

It is impossible to look serious in a cherry jumpsuit...

A pretty little violet.

Well, that is it peops, hope you enjoyed the show. 

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Old Movie Madness: Bachelor Mother (1939)

OK - I have decided - 1938-1941 are the ultimate years for fashion in my eyes, and this film, made in 1939, may be the ultimate film for fashion too. 

Bachelor Mother stars an incredibly lovely Ginger Rogers as Polly Parrish, a salesgirl in the toy department of John B Merlin & Son, a large department store in New York City.  It is the end of the Christmas season and she finds that she is about to lose her job, so she pops out during her lunch break to sign up at an employment agency.  On her way back to the office she spots a woman leaving a baby on the doorstep of the foundling hospital.  Concerned for the child she approaches it and when the door of the hospital is opened the staff assume she is the mother, refusing to believe her when she says she is not.

The hospital follow up with her employer, speaking to the young David Merlin (David Niven looking delicious), and saddened by the tale of a young mother unable to support her child he gives her back her job and a raise.  Despite her continued protestation no one believes that she is not the mother and so when the baby is returned to her she decides to bring up the child.

David spends an increasing amount of time with Polly and the baby and once New Year's Eve comes around he invites her out for the evening, they have a wonderful time and a rather passionate kiss but David is still reluctant to take on a ready made family.

Eventually David's father J.B Merlin himself (played by the ever wonderful Charles Coburn) finds out about the child and assumes his son is the father.  J.B is thrilled, as he has long been waiting for his playboy son to settle down.  David realises he really does love Polly and the baby and asks her to marry him, letting everyone believe that the child is his son.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, Ginger, as usual, was a joy throughout and the building romance between herself and David Niven felt very believable.  This is a light comedy movie about a very serious subject and, interestingly for the time, little mention is made of the shame of single motherhood. There are some very funny set pieces including Polly pretending to be Swedish which did make me giggle.

It also looks beautiful, I want all of Polly's wardrobe, not surprisingly as the costumes were by Irene.  Here hair was also set in the most perfect pageboy...sigh.  Here are some of the best pictures I could find.

I strongly advise watching the film though, to see the costumes to full effect.

I love the cross detail here

 and I can always go for a little asymmetry

 A lovely jabot

 This dress is incredible, the waistband detail and the tiny buttons - swoon.

Here is the original movie trailer.  I would have added in a visually excellent fan trailer I found on YouTube but it shows all the best bits of the film and has annoying music so I resisted.  Go watch this movie, please.

Monday, 7 March 2011

My new train case

I wanted to show you pictures of my new train case, but apparently it belongs to the felines