Friday, 27 January 2012

Running things up the flag pole & blue sky thinking, from outside the box.

I went on a sales training course yesterday, could you tell?  I can do the 3 f's on you and you won't even notice, although you might end up with an unexpected warm glow.  I am of course talking Feel, Felt, Found not the 5 F's much loved by school boys everywhere! I learnt that in the colour quadrant by which personality is measured I am a red. This means I am pushy, loud and like pushy and loud people and my motto is "get out of my way".  Or I could spin it the other way and say this makes me a dynamic leader with little time for small talk. More importantly I learnt that my boss is a yellow.  He wants to be my friend. Allegedly. 

I was beyond scathing at the idea of sales training, not because I thought I knew it all (well, ok I sort of did a bit - I have been doing freelance sales for 16 yrs) but also because I felt that having had the misfortune to have been spoken to by some spivvy wide boy in pointy shoes in the past, who could put positive spin on his entire family being wiped out by a hideous plague, I would rather cut out, grill and then eat with ketchup, my own tongue than speak in "sales speak".  

But I am here to say I was wrong.  I have been floundering around a bit lately with my job and in spite of being exhorted by the cast of  Glee to do otherwise had stopped believing in the product and my ability to sell it.  I was bored and spent most of my time online reading blogs and tweeting rather than picking up the phone and chasing business.  Today I have a renewed enthusiasm for the day job, which is why this post is short and to the point. That and because I am a red person, remember - no time for small talk!  Sadly its a little indicative of the real crux of the issue that the sales training came a week after one of our biggest sales opportunities of the year and months before the next for those engaged in the subscriptions side of our business, bit of a re-jig from those further up the food chain and who knows what might have been achieved last week!

Anyway I just wanted to say that I feel that you had missed my posting, I knew you felt I had abandoned my blog and that I hope you have found this post interesting.  Tell me you saw what I did there?!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Illamasqua Fatal

Spot of post Christmas Shopping in Leeds with a lovely friend, Hi Anna! and high on my list of must visit was the new Illamasqua shop in Leeds Victorian Quarter, beautiful location for a beautiful shop tbh.  Everyone knows about Illamsaqua SA's already don't they?  The girls from the MAC counters without the MAC attitude, they are friendly, helpful and don't look at someone over the age of 40 with pity and insist that the blusher the purchaser knows they want and need is the wrong colour (MAC Selfridges Trafford Centre, I'm looking at you).

So after Anna and I had had a peruse of all that was on offer downstairs the lovely SA asked if we wanted to see the sales section upstairs? Illamasqua make up at discount prices, nah we'll leave it thanks love. Not.

Ooh the pretty.  Instantly purchased Em some amazing blue false eye lashes (must take pic) for £5.  Then decided I needed a £7.50 eye shadow.  I was really taken with an amazing bright blue (googles Illamasqua site - it was Victim and its still on sale on their site and I waaaaaant it now) but chickened out and opted for a safer bright purple, Fatal.  I had reservations about wearing colour and asked the SA what she thought, God she was brilliant! Her advice is to do my usual neutral eye and then add a pop of the colour just on the corner of the mobile eye, so that initially you don't look as if you are really wearing colour, until you blink and then "pow" there it is!  

Usual purple photo nightmare - it is brighter than this really

Of course I couldn't wait to give this a whirl and I was really pleased with how well it turned out.  

I used Virgin from my beloved UD Naked all over my lid just to give an even base and to help with blending.  Then put Naked into the crease and finally Fatal onto the mobile lid, up to but not into crease.  I used Fatal with my flat eye liner brush to push it into the top lash line and then on a small round brush to smudge into lower lashes.

Having tried this with Fatal I decided to dig out my MAC Fig. to see if I would now be able to use this as well, after craving it before my holiday and then being really disappointed in it when I got it.  This is the same look but using Fig. instead.

If anything Fig. works better as it is a bit more pigmented.  Close ups for comparison:
Illamasqua Fatal

MAC Fig.
 Here's how they compare in the pan and swatched

Fatal and Fig.
Fig has more redness to it that Fatal in the pan and swatched but on the eye I don't think there's much in it.  I like both but am not blown away by either, neither are as opaque as I would like, they take some building up although I guess thats a benefit if you are trying to be subtle! If I had one wish for 2012 it would be that Urban Decay would bring out a matte palette of colour and nudes!  Do you need both Fatal and Fig.?  Personally I'd say not.

I had a play last night and this technique worked really well with some of the other colour shadows I have but am scared to use and I discovered that if I layer the bright blue from the UD Peacock palette, Pain Killer, over my Revlon matte navy I am getting close to the bright blue of Victim, although that worked better with the darker Buck on the crease than Naked.  Then I put Creep in the crease and that was fantastic with the bright turquoise!  So lots more to try out and lots more photos to be taken.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Boy to man

This time 18 years ago I was sat in a hospital ward feeling euphoric.  After the trauma of Em's birth 18 months earlier I had delivered Tom with the help of a fantastic midwife and the support of my husband, no medical intervention, no ventouse delivery, just me, 3 minute contractions and a bit of a sting; at one point, when delivering my 9lb 2oz son and being urged to push by the midwife I said "I can't, it stings" understatement, much?  Tom arrived after a mercifully short 6 hour labour and a ten minute third stage - the hard bit where you have to push an elephant through the eye of a needle.  My first thought on seeing Tom sat at the other end of the bed was "dear god, is there a child attached to those testicles?" Man-sized balls on a baby is something to behold!  He was utterly silent as the midwife lifted him into my arms and as I moved him up onto my chest he let out the most massive roar and then snuggled in and lay there looking at me, eek am welling up typing this, I remember it so well!  I had made a boy! I was quite convinced that Emily Louise was going to be joined by Laura Jane, not Thomas Oliver - thank god it was a boy as Laura Jane looks painfully twee now with the benefit of hindsight!  Tom was born at 5.57am on Sunday 9th January 1994 and we took him home later that afternoon and began life as a family of four.

Sweet jesus, check out my hair! This would have been around 6-8 weeks before he arrived.
 Today Tom turns 18, my little blond boy is a man.  Watching your daughter turn into a woman is easy, you know all the stages, you can plot when each change is happening and you know what the outcome looks like.  As a woman seeing your son turn into a man is quite odd.  One minute he's a warm, squishy bundle of boy that wants to sit on your lap and have cuddles and the next he's taller than you and in need of a shave.  That said I did once ask Tom how old he thought he would be when he would decide he was too old to hug his mum, he replied that he would never be too old to hug me and I said "I want that in writing".  Half an hour later Tom handed me this: 

Bless him! And he's been as good as his word, I still get hugged! 

This is Tom and I on the Tuesday after he was born, so he would be 2 days old. Note to new mums, shopping trips with a toddler & a 2 day old are never going to end well!

I look so young!

Emily was very proud of her baby brother.
Tom was possibly slightly less enamoured of his big sister.
In the PeterRabbit outfit his grandma and grandad bought him, aged about 11 days.
And that boy is his daddy!

Oh he was gorgeous, those chubby little cheeks!
With his big sister.
Matching chubby cheeks and gormless expressions!

Oh god, I can feel this smooth little head, which was prefectly hand sized, oh I miss him this small!

These melt my heart, his 2nd Birthday when the Thomas the Tank Engine craze was at its height!

With his friend Joel, making good use of my new tea towels in the playgroup nativity!

 My favourite ever photo of Tom, taken when he was about 3 at playgroup, bless him he had cried and cried and the photographer was getting to the end of his patience and I decided to say the one thing that at the time that could make Tom laugh without fail "Donald, where's your trewsers?" in a very poor Scottish accent - I said it, he smiled and the photographer got the pic, if you look close up you can still see the remains of a tear in his eye!

The blond curls from his first hair cut, clearly making sure he was looking nice for our trip to Cornwall for his first Christmas.  The next day he knocked one of his first teeth out and we had an emergency trip to the dentist to try and cement it back in, it didnt work and you can see the gap in his smile in the pic above!

And now my baby looks like this:
My gorgeous baby has become a handsome man. 

Happy Birthday Tom! xx

Huge thanks to Grandma for scanning loads of photos from her very precious family photo albums so I could include them in this post, thank you mum xxx 

UPDATE - few pics from the Birthday cake and card session.  Thank you for all your lovely tweets and comments xx

Thursday, 5 January 2012

NOTD - China Glaze Stella

Quick NOTD, last night filed my nails to the minimum length possible as part of my January "assume it's broken and darn well fix it" programme of self improvement.  My nails are pretty ok at the moment, even the hideous full length flake on my right index finger is pretty much grown out (tempting fate or what?) but they are still getting lots of attention.  My regime of Nailactan nightly after an application of Mavala Cuticle oil, hand cream all day long and twice weekly applications of Scientifique is still ensuring that my nails are looking good, I might not be the biggest fan of Mavala polishes but I have yet to find nail care products that deliver other than these.  If you have flaking, peeling, weak nails you need this trinity of nail care in your life imo.

So China Glaze Stella vibrant purple with red shimmer to give a high gloss magenta finish.  Application is all you would expect, perfect formula, fantastic brush that whilst long is still easy to use even on my very small nails.  Wear is brilliant with this and whilst I was hankering after a burgundy cream polish this morning this one caught my eye instead.  I am definitely going to apply a coat of Nails Inc London Bridge before I take this off just to see how it looks!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Nails Inc Glitterati

Whilst I am sure none of you doubted it for a moment the following post is proof of my fabulty as a mother.  My sister and I swop cheques and purchase presents for our kids that we know they will love and there are occasions when that has massive benefits.  Like when you buy your daughter a collection of nail varnish you know she will adore and will also of course be obliged to SHARE!! 

Ladies I give you Nails Inc Glitterati collection: 


Are they not 3 of the most glorious glitters?  This post is seriously picture heavy (see previous post re new camera)
London Bridge

Chelsea Embankment

Hatton Garden

So good it gets another pic!
In spite of reservations regarding the removal of glitter polish and because I am a martry to my blog I decided I would swatch all three in a glitter ball, nail bling marathon.

First up Chelsea Embankment.  This is a gold base with a mass of tiny bits of gold glitter so much so that it looks like a metallic foil when you get to 3 coats.

1 coat
2 coats

3 coats

I love this and the whole metallic nail finish it creates.  I wore it out recently as an accent nail on both ring fingers with a deep blue polish on the rest of my nails and loved how it looked.  

Next up Hatton Garden.  


 Oh dear Lord. Is that not to die for?  I think this really is my absolute favourite, a real walk into walls and crash your car cos you cant stop looking at it winner.  This is a clear polish with large holographic and silver glitter, its chunky and clunky and still I refuse to hate.  I rarely would never wear a sheer polish but I actually rather like this with just one coat to give bare nails a bit of sparkle.

Every collection has its problem child.  Meet London Bridge.
Blue polish with the most gorgeous fuschia glitter, the glitter is larger and less dense than the gold and smaller than the silver.It is beautiful but it's a total mare.  I was swatching and didnt want to let the coats dry completely as was hoping to get these off with minimal nail damage so maybe if I had let each coat dry really well I might have been able to even out the glitter better on the 3rd coat.  No glitter post is complete without some layering.  I decided to layer these on top of Illamasqua Eclipse, a recent sale purchase that I will blog soon. 

Index - gold, middle - silver, ring - purple

Index - gold, middle - silver, ring - purple

I think had I been a bit more sparing with the gold this might have looked really good, as it was I was too heavy handed and the layering thing went out the window.  Of course the silver layers like a dream, a clunky chunky dream but guessing a good top coat would smooth things out - although your polish would be mm thick.  London Bridge is killing me, it could look so nice but it just refuses to play ball.

Removal of these was not the trauma I had feared.  Admittedly I didn't let them dry completely and went at them with a litre of polish remover and its possible that left to dry fully I would have needed to go down the tin foil glitter polish route, I will update this post when I next wear them properly to let you know.

I paid £25 for this collection but it is on sale for £21.25 with free delivery at or £18 from the Nails Inc website, delivery extra.  I know the season for glitter is now behind us but maybe a bit of sparkle is just what we need to get us through the dull old months of January and February, what do you think?

UPDATE: It is with great sadness that I have to report the untimely demise of hatton garden. Not 2 hrs after completing this post our smallest dog, who will be henceforth known as "that bastard dog" knocked it off my desk and broke it.  Allegedly.  There is a conspiracy theory kicking around (Emily saying it like it probably is!) that my husband, actually broke the polish and blamed "that bastard dog" (which is far more likely in my opinion) but sadly that cannot be proven.  That said "that bastard dog" has no money and OH does, so it will be OH that pays to replace hatton garden and not tbd anyway!



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