Monday Amusements 24

Arranging my Christmas cards. My micro hifi, which I've had for about twelve years now, makes a great stand!

I've been so busy for the last week that I've hardly had time to look at the internet, but I'm finally starting to get all my Christmas stuff pulled together and soon it will be time to relax in front of the Doctor Who Christmas special!

On Tuesday I went to BB Bakery in Covent Garden, where the crockery is very pretty.

They have some really lovely cups and saucers and teapots, but it the decorations are almost too twee! Luckily the food is delicious, if pricey, a perfect lunchtime treat.

Afterwards we headed to Liberty to look at makeup. I didn't buy anything because I'm under a self-imposed make-up buying ban. I've been sticking to it fairly well, I haven't made any Aromaleigh or Fyrinnae orders and have resisted all but the most brilliant nail polish offers! However, I watched Lisa Eldridge's Colourful Glitter Party Eyes tutorial last night and now I really want everything she used! I have almost used up a couple of glitter eyeliners, so maybe...

I have been really enjoying the Dreams That Glitter 'Shop a Handmade Christmas' posts. I love discovering new independent online shops and daydreaming about placing large orders! Makeup Savvy's Christmas Decorations 2013 post also helped ensure I got my weekly quota of eye candy. One day, I will have my own tree...

Caroline Hirons, skincare expert, is hosting what I personally believe must be the greatest cosmetic-related series of giveaways ever, the 12ish Days of Giveaways.

Finally, Theo and Thea's Christmas 2013 in New York (via Cute Overload). Theo and Thea are cats :)


Monday/Tuesday Amusements 23

Christmas tree stage one!

Advent has begun and I've been so distracted worrying about presents and planning outfits I completely forgot about posting my Monday Amusements yesterday! And I'd been doing so well since I decided to make it weekly! Anyway, I realised earlier today and quickly put together a small but brilliant (I hope) selection of links for you.

'Tis the season to be sparkly, fa la la la la la la la la, and I want to make the most of it. I've been documenting my nail polish experiments on Instagram as usual, and greedily reading make-up blogs in search of festive inspiration. I'm wearing blue right now but will have gone gold by the end of the week, a la Blush. Feathers. Lipstick.'s Golden Fairy Dust Christmas Nails. I was planning to work my way through my greens and reds after that, but after seeing Do Not Refreeze's Snowflake Nail Art, I might go straight back to blue! Maybe if I practice I might be able to manage one nail's worth of snowflake art!

Next up, a few lists! Makeup Savvy has a list of all the gifts with purchase available when shopping in Boots this Christmas season. I will definitely be checking it when planning my shopping trips! Isn't it great when you get a GWP when buying things for other people? You can give them something extra for no cost...or keep it for yourself!

I may have posted this before as it's a year old, but it's amazing! 7 Ways To Spike Your Hot Chocolate as shared by Zoetica Ebb.

Less frivolous is A Thrifty Mrs' list, Gifts that will make a difference to those who are living on a tight budget. I think the suggestions are fantastic, I love slow cooked dinners, the meat is always so soft and delicious.

Finally, a corgi on a carousel! I doubt you'll want to watch the whole four minutes, but I couldn't stop laughing, the corgi seems to love it so much!


Nails of the Month November 2013, featuring Revlon, MUA, and Models Own

Revlon 'Star' (discontinued, I think, but try eBay)

I begun the month by applying two coats of 'Star' to cover up the mess that was Revlon 'Rock'. I see what they did there, releasing these two together. I don't think the combo really worked - 'Star' is made up of silver and dark purple glitter and the dark purple is difficult to see over 'Rock'. I decided to try it over white or lilac next time.  

MUA Shade 1 (discontinued but still available on the Superdrug website for £1)

This is a beautiful black blue with very fine bright blue glitter. Unfortunately it took three coats to look good, so next time I'll try using a black polish for the first coat, to try to make the bottle last longer and stop tipwear from occuring so quickly. 

Models Own 'Banger' from the Fireworks Collection (£5)

When the chipping got really bad I covered it up with this. I was surprised by how much I like it though it looks really 80s (bar glitter always does to me). It is pretty easy to apply, though sometimes an extra coat is needed to get an even amount over glitter over the nail. It also needs plenty of time to dry to avoid the smudging you see here! I bought a whole load of Models Own nail polishes to try when they had an offer on, so expect to see a lot more of them in Nails of the Month posts!

I'm not great at drawing so I won't be trying any complicated nail art, but I'm looking forward to wearing a lot more glitter in December! Will you be attempting any festive nail designs?


Monday Amusements 22: The 'Help! I need to write a Christmas list' Edition

I've been too busy to read blogs for the last week as I've been redecorating! Would you like to see?

Okay, that was just a peek as it's not quite done yet - I need to empty the boxes and arrange everything to my liking. But to my great relief, the wallpaper hanging, the painting, the curtain hanging, and the carpet mending is OVER. I chose Dulux Violet White for my walls, with the exception of the "feature" chimney breast, which is Purple Pout. My curtains are from John Lewis and I'm really happy with them. In my mind, I was quite attached to the idea of having velvet curtains but I couldn't find any ready-made anywhere, so in the end I went for these, which have an almost metallic look and complement the rest of the purple stuff perfectly.

Anyway, I've been spending my free time working on my novel and occasionally sparing a few moments to look at pretty things online.

I saw this cute brooch featured on sparklyvodka, and even though it's not my style, I went onto the Ginger Pickle website anyway. I love the glittery cat necklace featured in the photo with the black one, but it doesn't appear to be on sale, and now I've seen the glittery one I could not possibly settle for plain black. The Minimalist Silver Moon Necklace would be the perfect gift for one of my best friends - if I didn't want it myself. Dilemma.

I then went straight to Eclectic Eccentricity, a online shop I have bought from before. If you like gold-toned jewellery, you must check it out as they have some really lovely designs. Unfortunately, I am all about silver, and the only thing they've got that I like is this ring, which I really like, but it's adjustable, and when I bought a adjustable ring from Eclectic Eccentricity before, it was a bit too small. It's very pretty, but I can't wear it on my index or middle fingers, and I usually wear another ring on my ring finger, so it doesn't get much wear.

Clothes! I have bought a couple of dresses from Phase Eight secondhand, and I have loved wearing them so much that I now regularly find myself looking longingly at all the pretties on their website. They have a store near me, but it never seems to get the good stuff and I hate buying clothes without trying them on first. I'm currently completely obsessed with the Flavia dress. I also love this dress from Monsoon.

Ahhh! I keep looking at things I don't need - dresses and jewellery - and avoiding items that might actually make it onto my Christmas list, mostly because I have no idea where to start.

For instance, I want a backpack, but a pretty one, not a sporty one. Yes, it needs to be pretty big and pretty sturdy so that I can haul it across London to my boyfriend's a couple of times a week. But I also want it to go with my clothes, so it must be looks-pretty too, preferably in purple, black, or grey. If you have any idea where I might buy such a thing, please leave me a comment!

I also need a new winter coat, preferably in bright purple or red and made of wool. I've been happily wearing my 'smart' red winter coat for the last five winters. But then I took it to the dry cleaners a couple of months ago, and it shrunk. I can still wear it, but I won't be able to get all the layers under it that I need to keep me warm, so it's been relegated to the autumn coat leagues. I am always going to buy at least one size up in future. This must not be allowed to happen again! I'm afraid that the coat hunt is going to be even worse than the backpack hunt as I have very long arms. Any suggestions? PLEASE.


Monday Amusements 21

I've been rediscovering old Aromaleigh samples.

I loved seeing Hellcandy's glove collection! It definitely makes me want to collect more gloves and wear them all the time! At the very least I need to knit another pair of fingerless gloves - it's gotten very cold very fast here.

Give and Makeup has a new posting address for their just-launched Shoebox Campaign.

We Were Raised By Wolves has a giveaway running - the prize is a Lip Butter from The Body Shop.

The Midnight Violets review of the Seventeen Deconstructed Collection was intriguing - the nail studs look great! I also recommend Hannah's review of the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette, because it made me realise that I don't need it! The pinks look beautiful but there are five brown shades in there that I just wouldn't use, so it would be wasted on me! However, the Darling Girl Spectral Shifts, as reviewed at Stay Beautiful, are just perfect. I love cool-toned, pale duochromes.


Nails of the Month October 2013, featuring Maybelline, Barry M and Revlon

I didn't do a Nails of the Month post for September, because I was so busy I hardly had a moment to apply nail varnish. I kept putting on clear base coat with the intention of applying a coloured polish later, but never getting around to it. But this month I've made more of an effort!

Maybelline Color Show Polka Dots in 'Speckled Pink' (£2.99)

I think these dotty polishes have sold out now in the UK, I haven't seen one anywhere for weeks. It looks purplish in the bottle but comes out pure pink, and it looks best after two coats. It’s difficult to apply, especially to the tips, because of the speckles - it’s almost impossible to get an even coverage without getting too many speckles on the edges. They overhang and scrape off easily, so tip wear occurs very quickly. But it's very pretty once you get it right and while it lasts!
Barry M 'Raspberry' (£3.99)

One coat provides really good coverage, it only looked patchy in a few places, however, I did get a little tip wear after one day. It's a very dark pink, as long as you're looking at it in natural light. In artificial light (florescent tube, light bulb) it looks dark red and not as nice.

Revlon 'Rock' (discontinued, I think, but try eBay if you really want to try this)

A lovely colour but pretty horrible to apply. Usually I wait a day or so before doing a second coat as it covers the first day's tip wear and applies more easily, but the first coat was horrendously patchy so I had to apply another straight away. It looked much better with two coats but took ages to dry and in the two days after it acquired many dents and smudges. It also stuck to my cuticles and I had to scrape it off, which left the gaps you can see here. I might try adding some thinner to see if that improves the formula. In the end I applied a glitter top coat, Revlon 'Star', so that I could get more wear out of it. But I took that photograph on November 1st, so to see that you'll have to wait until next month, or check out my Instagram profile


Monday Amusements 20: Halloween Special!

Bat necklace from Callooh and Callay. I wear this almost continuously throughout October and November.

I'm only going to one Halloween party this year and will otherwise be having a bit of a quiet one - reading lots of spooky books and maybe watching an episode or two of Buffy! I still haven't decided whether I'm going to wear a costume or just lots of black, but I've loved looking at all the fantastic make-up tutorials that have been made recently!

My family went to a fancy dress party together once when I was a kid. I can't remember what I or my sister wore, but my dad dressed as a character from Space Precinct (Anyone remember that show? *tumbleweeds*) complete with felt police badge, and my mum was an incredibly convincing Morticia Addams. As her natural hair colour was almost black anyway, all she had to do was put a long black wig on her head and wear a long black dress, but I thought she looked awesome. I didn't only love the Morticia tutorial on xoVain because of that memory - Alle is my favourite xoVain writer. Hmm. I wonder if that wig is still around or if I trashed it trying it on all those times as a teenage demi-goth.

Alternatively, I could pull on my stripy tights as Robyn suggests and copy her awesome Last-Minute Works-With-Everything Halloween Look, as part of a witch costume. Or take inspiration from Makeup Savvy's Halloween Mix & Match Nail Art Ideas.

If I had more time, I would love to follow Angelina L. B.'s stunning Skeleton tutorial:

If you are going out in London, and want to seriously dress up, check out this list of the best costume shops by Time Out.

Finally, 20 Cats Who Deeply Resent Their Halloween Costumes.

Are you celebrating Halloween? What are you going to wear?


Monday Amusements 19

Though I love autumnal nail polish, I don't really do autumnal lipsticks. I've been trying to use up these two for about ten years.
Recently I've been going through the Oxfam fashion blog archives. My favourite posts so far are the DIY posts. I love this customised blazer - using a patch from a shoe - and the idea of using buttons to embellish knitwear.

Game of Thrones fashion ideas! I have been longing for a dragon ear cuff for months now and this article has made me want one even more. Just imagine, wearing a totally ordinary non-alternative outfit...with a dragon ear cuff. It would be awesome.

It's far too early to be thinking about this, but maybe I'll forgo the chocolate this year in favour of the Boots Beauty Advent Calendar.

If you live in London and are aged between 16 and 24, check out the V&A fashion festival, it's free!

A GEEK Against Gok is a really interesting post about what really happened when its author, Zoe Burgess, went on Gok’s Style Secrets. Although it's not that surprising to find out how her story was manipulated for television, it's a shame that the producers felt that the truth wasn't exciting enough and tried to portray her interests and hobbies as freakish and unattractive. (via @thefworduk)

I enjoyed reading the comments on Have you ever been in trouble at work because of your makeup?, a recent weekly feature/open thread at Temptalia, though I've never been in trouble for wearing makeup at work. As much as I love bold, sparkly eyeshadow and bright lipstick, I'm not going to wear them when it's not appropriate!

On that note, I'd never wear this glitter dandruff look for work, but I would definitely try it for a big night out, though I'm not it would be as cute in my dark brown hair. Maybe it's for pastelheads only. I also loved this article about matching your makeup to your clothes, which is something I am obsessed with. I feel so much better when my colours are co-ordinated and my outfit has a theme.


The Best of Both Seasons?

My style calendar goes like this: I embrace dressing like a witch in October and November. In December I wear a bit of gold and red and green but mostly I put on as much glitter as possible. In January and Febuary I go back to the jewel tones and berry shades for a while but by March I'm desperate for some sun and start trying to pile layers on under summer dresses and wearing as many bright colours as I can.

I never really want summer to be over. I love summer. I love not being cold. I love barbeques. I love not having to wear a vest and more than one pair of tights. I love long days. I love bright colours. At the moment I'm clinging to summer, even as the days get shorter and darker. Autumn doesn't really exist, in my opinion - where I live, all the deciduous trees seem to drop their leaves at once, over the space of one day. And it will be raining at the same time, so that there is no crunchiness, only a soggy mush. The 'slight chill' will last a week, and then it will be properly, horribly, cold. Until June. I don't drink coffee, but I put cinnamon in my hot drinks in winter too. And apple pie? Okay, I'll give you that one, but otherwise the only thing that I really like about autumn is the biennual fashion-discovers-goth phase, which happened last year, so this year the main trend is something else. Chunky knits? Baroque? Stereotypical Russian style? Oh, I don't know, and I don't care. The important thing is that it's not goth, so hopefully people will be taking all their lovely Autumn/Winter 2012 clothes to the charity shops for me to buy, as soon as my mind is done with its current tug of war.

I want to resist the cold with the aid of bright pink and purple and turquoise, but I also love the more autumn-appropriate berry shades - dark purples and reds and blues and greens. I've decided to deal with this dilemma by getting out all of my most autumnal nail polishes. I will keep wearing my summery pink cardigans but paint my fingernails dark purple. My bright violet skirts and dresses will go perfectly with dark raspberry nails. Most of my hats and scarves are dark berry colours, or grey, so I can co-ordinate with those.

 And by the time I'm bored of this combo, it will probably be Christmas time, and I can bring on the glitter!

How do you feel about the coming of winter? Or are you one of those lucky people in the southern hemisphere, who still have summer to look forward to this year?


Monday Amusements 18 and today's charity shop find!

Look at this amazeballs skirt that I just bought! The bathroom mirror photo does not do it justice, I assure you. I only went into the charity shop to drop off some donations, but when I turned away from the till I saw this beauty. I looked at the tag, saw that it is a size 14, and was saddened until I took a step back. Polyester? I thought. Tulle underskirt? I detect...'80s. A 1980s size 14 is about equivalent to a 10, or a small 12. I have a couple of skirts that my mum used to wear with size 14 tags and I bought a Laura Ashley dress a few months ago that is an '80s 14. I looked at the price tag - £4.50 - and decided that I might as well try it on. And success! It is now mine and makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland and/or a Disney princess. I love it.

I also popped into Superdrug to take a look at the Revlon Colourburst lip glosses. After reading Robyn's review at Stay Beautiful, I couldn't resist seeing how bright pink Adorned really is. It is extremely bright.  Maybe it's too bright. I loved it, but I'm too intimidated to buy one right now!

Lots of bloggers have been posting their autumn wishlists, but my favourite so far comes from Hannah at Daisies and Dr Martens. I love how she explains her choices and picks out accessories to wear with the clothes.

I loved reading this review of Nail It! magazine at Do Not Refreeze, it sounds great. I am also very intrigued by the review of the 2True Pro Sequins Nail Polish range.

I am determined to autumn-clean my blogs, and will definitely be working through SillyGrrl's 10 Things that shouldn’t be on your blog list. Sorting out my tags will take ages and I don't think I'll get it down to 10 - I want to keep brand name tags here and author name tags on my book blog, because they're useful, but I really want to simplify things.

Finally, the cuteness this week is actually supplied by two bloggers! Kate at ghostparties shares some kitten advice and some adorable pictures, whilst The Girl Who Looks Like a Cake shows off her beautiful black cat.


4 Make-up Products That I Can't Get Excited About

I am thrilled by the sight of colourful, sparkly eyeshadows. I love reading perfume reviews, even though I want to smell perfume before I buy it. If a blogger has reviewed a new lipstick range, I feel kind of like it's Christmas. However, there are some products that I just don't care about. I may not be using the Best Ever version of that product, but I can't be bothered to ruthlessly hunt it down.

1. Foundation

I only wear foundation because heavy eyeshadow and under-eye concealer looks really weird on me if I don't have something on the rest of my face. When I was a teenager, I was obsessed about covering my spots and freckles, but now I rarely get massive spots and quite like my freckles. Unfortunately, even the thinnest layer of foundation seems cover to them up.

I have tried four foundations in my life. The first was a Rimmel stick foundation. I went through several tubes because they were often on sale for only a few pounds at my local pharmacy. Then when that supply ran out, I moved onto Stay Matte because it was the cheapest. Finally, I tried the Cool Matte mousse foundation in the lightest shade, but it oxidised and went orange just the same.

Finally, I was old enough to own a debit card, and I orderedsome samples of Lily Lolo's foundation. I found a good enough match in 'Porcelain', and haven't bought another foundation since.

2. Bronzer

I am resolutely pale. I bought a bronzer once, in my teens. I applied it so sparingly to my face that it didn't show up. I used it as an eyeshadow a couple of times, then passed it on to my sister.

3. Blush

I own four blushers. A light pink one, a really light pink one, a darker rose one, and a bright almost florescent magenta. This is already two more than I actually need. I do read reviews of blush, and occasionally I bookmark one, but every one I like is an almost-dupe for one of the four I already own. I don't see the point in buying them, so I don't.

4. Mascara

I love mascara. I always have and always will, but it's just not exciting. I've yet to find a realy great purple mascara, though I always have three black mascaras on the go. One that I've had open for a while, for 'natural' lashes; a newer one, for when I'm going out; and a double-ender, for when I want extra volume.

I've found that the brands don't really matter. As long as the mascara is of the 'volumising' variety, it usually works fine. I really like the Benefit Bad Gal mascara, but that's only because it is the least clumpy mascara that I have ever tried. I don't think that it's any more volumising or black than any other I've tried, but it's so clump-resistant that I can wear three coats without it looking ridiculous. I pulled out the stopper on this tiny sample about a month ago and it's still not really going clumpy. I'm not sure I'll be buying the full size any time soon, as it's £17.50.

Do you love all types or  make-up products, or are there some things that aren't your cup of tea? Can you get excited over these basic items?


Monday Amusements 17

The Girl Who Looks Like a Cake spent the weekend on the Isle of Wight and all her talk of charity shops, vintage books and a Doctor Who themed shop (!!!) is making me want to go there.

Midnight Violets has a new feature - What's new on the Highstreet? - and I'm delighted to be able to live vicariously through someone else's trips to Boots and Superdrug, though I might have to make a sneaky visit to Superdrug myself, after reading this intriguing review of their Konjac sponge at Blood. Feathers. Lipstick.

Dramatis Personae has an amazing post about personal uniforms. I don't think I have a uniform yet, but I feel as if I'm starting to develop one. I've always repeated outfits that I like multiple times, and I'm in the process of working out what makes me wear certain combinations over and over. I'm trying to buy more clothes that I can wear (almost) all year round, and that means, for the most part, dresses with longer skirts (but not so long they drag on the floor and get in puddles) and higher necklines, so that I can wear long tops underneath them. I like separates, but I don't think that I look as elegant in them, and I find it more difficult to find long skirts that I like, and to find interesting tops that work well with trousers.

I love Stay Beautiful's guide to make-up shopping in London. Usually I avoid central London and stick to the Westfields (Make Up Store, Inglot, and Beauty Base at White City, and Kiko and Beauty Base at Stratford) but this guide made me feel like I'm missing out!


Monday Amusements 16

I haven't tried all three of these yet. Why am I thinking about buying more nail polish?

I love this take on the 1920s make-up style by Viola of Killer Colours. I did something similar for Prohibition last year and kind of regretted it, as it didn't look that good on me. I knew it would be unflattering, but it just didn't really work. But maybe if I practice I can look as good as Viola does!

Fringing is usually not my style at all but I love this DIY Festival Fringe Bag on Dreams That Glitter, I think it looks really glamourous and would make a great evening bag.

I am really jealous of Ashe right now. 'It’s Never Too Early to Plan for Halloween: Vivo Handcrafted Masks' SO. STUNNING.

I haven't bought a pair of trainers since I was in secondary school, and have been wearing the same pair to work out in (indoors) recently. They've still got plenty of life left but I have been wondering what I'm going to do when they bite the dust. I know next to nothing about trainers, but I do know that Selina's new kicks are stunningly pretty and they offer me some hope that I will be able to find a pair that I don't hate!

I am supposed to be on a nail polish no-buy right now, but I just discovered that a pharmacy near me has a big Mavala stand! I managed not to buy anything despite the BOGOF offer, though I'm sure that I will return and buy a few. I'm also lusting after the Models Own Velvet Goth collection, as reviewed on Makeup Savvy, which is even more hard to resist!

Finally, some cuteness, from good old Cute Overload: an armful of puppies! Ahhhh so cute!


Nails of the Month August 2013, featuring Barry M, Sinful Colors, and L.A. Colors

I love nail polish. I have a lot of it. I've wanted to write more about it for some time but the Nails of the Day or one-polish-review format doesn't really suit me, as I often keep the same nail varnish on for about a week, adding extra coats as it wears down, or piling glitter on top. I started Instagramming my nail varnish this month, and have decided to post a regular monthly round-up of all the photos, with more detailed reviews. Let me know what you think of this format!

I'll warn you in advance - I have short nails, and slightly raggedy cuticles. If this offends your sensibilities, I suggest you skip my nail polish posts! I always keep my nails short because if they get longer than my fingertips they start to annoy me.

I've found that short nails chip less, so nail polish tends to last longer on me than on the average wearer, even though I use my hands a lot. I get tipwear quickly but that can easily be covered with a new coat of the same polish.

I use Barry M's clear basecoat/topcoat. I really like the consistency and it has two ball bearings in the bottle so it stays smooth.

Barry M's 'Lilac Foil' (£3.99)

This picture shows one coat after three days wear. The tip wear was not overly noticeable but on day two I acquired a few dents in the middle of the nails which looked a lot like smudges although the nail polish had been dry for ages. After taking this photo I gave one thumb an extra coat to cover up a really obvious dent. Despite this, it's a beautiful colour and I would buy it again. It surprised me as I usually don't like metallic-effect polishes very much.

Sinful Colors' 'Let's Talk' (£1.99)

I am in love with this colour! It's definitely my new favourite purple polish. I took the photo with a bar (okay, a bit of a bar) of Cadbury's chocolate so that you can more easily judge the colour, but it's bluer and brighter and better, in my opinion, than the Cadbury's purple shade! The photo shows one coat, I'd been wearing it for four days. There was some tip wear and the polish had worn quite thin on my thumbs, I could see the natural colour of my nails through it. I gave the thumbs a second coat, and then I applied:

L.A. Colors' 'Jewel Tone' (99p)

I've never liked this polish all that much - it's just purple, magenta and turquoise-blue glitter in a clear base and it doesn't look very impressive alone or over dark polish. However, on top of Sinful Colors' Let's Talk, it looks brilliant. I will definitely be repeating this combo. It applies easily, although the brush is on the small side, and dries fast. After a few days wear I've found that the colour starts to come off the glitter near the tips. I'm still wearing it now, and I keep admiring my nails!

Have you tried any of these polishes? I was so excited when Boots started to stock Sinful Colors, but 'Let's Talk' is the only one I could find from my wishlist, and now the stand seems to have vanished.


Ten Ways To Keep Your Cosmetic Collection Under Control

As much as I love watching videos and reading posts about other bloggers' enormous cosmetic collections, I want to avoid acquiring similarly massive stashes of make-up, hair and body products myself. My reasons:

1. Space - I live with my parents and most of my stuff has to fit into one room. Even when I move out, I'm unlikely to have the space for chests of drawers entirely devoted to cosmetics. I have a large collection of books and plenty of clothes, and a desktop computer and keyboard (as in musical) to make room for.

2. Money - I don't want to acquire loads of stuff that I will never use, simply because I'd rather spend the money elsewhere. Five lipsticks could be the difference between a weekend spent indoors and one one spent going out.

I've been in love with the colourful world of make-up since my teens, and am easily tempted by sparkly things, so I've tried and tested various techniques to stop myself from going overboard. If you too want to restrict your cosmetic collection, read on for my advice!

Take stock

Get out all your cosmetics and look at them. Make a list of what you've got, if you want to. I have a list of all my bath and body products, because I keep them in different places - some under my bed, some in my cupboard, some under the desk and others in the bathroom. Without the list, I would forget what I have, and buy more. Having a list also gives me the satisfaction of crossing products off when I use them up.

I don't have a full list for my make-up because it's all in one place and I like to get it out every now and then to visually remind myself of how much I have. I have counted everything though, so that I can easily remind myself that I don't need any more lilac nail varnishes, as I already have 10. It's also good to know that I have three unopened mascaras, and two unopened black kohl pencils, as new versions of these products come out all the time and as I use them a lot, I can think that I can justify getting new ones. Knowing exactly how many I have - enough to last me the next two years - gives me no excuse for new purchases.

Use what you have/Shop your stash

If you read a lot of beauty blogs, you've probably heard about shopping your stash before. I have no idea who gave this concept its name, as so many people have written about the idea. There are lots of different methods to use, but I like to get everything out and look for items that I haven't used recently or have never used. I pick out one of each type - one eye pencil, one lipstick, one eyeshadow, et cetera - and put them into a box. Next time I'm getting ready to go out, my challenge is to look in this box, and if I can find a way to use one or more of those items. I'm not allowed to change the selection until I've used all of the items. Often I discover new favourites this way, so it can definitely be worth doing.

Notice what you use

The best way to do this is to keep a cosmetic diary, and/or take photos of your make-up every day. I know that I wear lilac eyeshadow a lot. It's easy to wear and appropriate for almost every occasion. I can buy more lilac eyeshadows if I want - though at the moment I won't because I have taken stock and know that I already have about eight or nine. However, as much as I love admiring sparkly dark green eyeshadows, I just don't get that much use out of them, and I'm not allowing myself to buy any more unless I hit pan on one of the three I already have. If you've never or barely used a product, and you've had it for a year or more, it's probably time to:

Give it away

If you don't use it, and don't like it, stop hoarding it and pass it on to a relative or friend who will. Alternatively, donate it to an organisation like Give and Makeup.

Sell or swap it on

If you could use some extra cash, or want something in return, host a blog sale, or find someone who has their own pile of unwanted make-up and set up an exchange.

Avoid temptation

Just don't go to the shops. This is a technique I employ successfully to stop myself buying piles of clothes, books, and basically everything else. I don't shop recreationally, or even to fill in time between activities. If I'm meeting somebody in town and they're late, I go to the library or a museum instead.  But what about the internet? How do I cope with all those recommendations I get from friends, blogs, Twitter and YouTube? Well, I...

Have a wishlist instead of a shopping list

Whenever I see a review for a product that sounds great, I bookmark it in a folder I've made for my make-up wishlist. I have subfolders for different types of product.  Then, when I have the space and the money for that product, I can find it again. For example, mascara. When I've used up all the mascaras that I have at the moment, and want to buy a new one, I can open all the reviews in my mascara folder and decide which one sounds best. I usually pick the one with the most positive reviews. It's much better than getting carried away by one particularly glowing review and rushing out to get something now, just because it's new.


I have regular no-buy periods, during which I am not allowed to buy anything at all. It takes a lot of willpower to stop myself from taking advantage of sales, but the strict no-buy helps. It's all too easy to decide to buy one product and then find myself adding extra products to my basket to take advantage of free postage or other special offers.

Shop smart

Google everything. This isn't a flawless plan, as sometimes good reviews can convince me to buy something I hadn't planned on purchasing before. But if you're on the fence about an eyeshadow, for example, seeing swatches can help you decide that it's not quite the colour you're after, or that it's too similar to something you've already got. And it's better to find out that it creases horribly on oily eyelids before you've wasted a fiver on it.

If you also know what you have already, you can avoid duplicating products. For example, I love Sleek's iDivine eyeshadow palettes. I think they're fantastic value for money. I have eight. But the last one I bought was the Glory palette last summer. Every other colourful palette that they've brought out recently has contained eyeshadows that I'm pretty sure I've already got in other palettes. Looking at the swatches posted by other bloggers confirmed this impression.

Project 10 Pan

This is another way of making a game out of using what you already have. You pick ten items and decide that you aren't allowed to buy any more make-up (within reason, most people have exceptions for foundation or mascara or other everyday products) until you have hit pan (got to the bottom of the packaging) on all of them or used them up completely. I'll admit that I've tried this a few times but have always given up - time to try again? Possibly with some of my 18 lilac eyeshadows?

Have you set limits on how big you're going to allow your cosmetic collection to grow? How do you stick to them?


Monday Amusements 15

My nails last week! Going to add some glitter now.

I'm currently rejoicing because M&S have some new coloured tights in stock! Or they might do. The colour squares on their website are utterly unreliable, so I'll wait until I can look in store.

Lately I've been loving the hair tutorials at xoVain. Not all of the looks they've featured are original, but I'd never seen a tutorial for this braided ribbon crown or this Edwardian style roll before! I need to buy a hair band for the roll, and my hair's too long for the braided ribbon crown, but as soon as I get a haircut I'm trying it!

Usually these lists contain nothing all that surprising, but before reading Company's 11 Weirdest Beauty Tips EVER I hadn't heard that Lady Gaga recommended using sticky tape to remove glitter or that you can curl your eyelashes with a spoon.

I loved Lipglossiping's post Overhauling my dental routine before it’s too late! I'm becoming increasingly aware that my youthful resilence won't last forever and that I should probably start regularly doing things like exercising and flossing in order to help maintain my health as much as I can.

Today's cute link is just a tweet, but it contains a picture of a golden retriever festival. Enjoy!


Review: Batiste Smoothing Conditioning Mist, and Why I Don't Use Conditioner

Conditioner makes my hair completely straight. I'm sure there are people out there who wonder what the problem is and think this sounds great, because sometimes I thought it was great! Sometimes straight hair was actually supposed to be part of a look I was going for. Plenty of late 1990's/2000's magazine models had straight hair, falling in a sleek curtain over their shoulders, or hovering just above.

Once, I had a bob. I dried it with a round brush so that the ends curled in. Several times, I had my hair 'feathered' around my face. Again, I tried to copy teen magazine models and blow-dry it so that the ends flicked in. When my hair was long I looked at the pictures and reasoned that if I carefully blow-dried my hair and kept brushing it all day, this time it might stay perfect. At least once a week I left conditioner on my hair ten minutes before rinsing it off, desperate to have perfectly soft, straight hair.

My hair was soft and straight but the 'look' never worked. The ends would not stay flicked in. Half an hour later they were pointing resolutely downwards and you couldn't tell that I had my hair feathered at all. If I carefully blow-dried my hair and kept brushing it all day, it was hideously greasy by lunchtime. At university I took advantage of my en-suite shower and washed my hair every day so that it always looked clean. I noticed that if I used 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner instead of separate products, my hair had more volume and was slightly less oily the next day. When I decided to try Reincarnate shampoo from Lush, in a bid to add some red to my hair, I noticed that it was supposed to be conditioning and I decided to skip separate conditioner.

After a few washes, my hair developed all those things adverts talk about - body, volume, 'full-of-life'ness. It looked a lot better. No wonder I never managed the sex-kitten look - flat hair didn't suit my long face, and all my attempts to blow-dry volume into it had failed as it was too heavy. It was a revelation. At first I was shy and used conditioner twice a month, but in the end I gave it up completely.

Admittedly, my hair has gone a bit frizzy in the last year or so. It's only really noticeable in stark bathroom lighting, but my mind has turned to the possibilities offered by smoothing products. When BzzAgent sent me some products from Batiste to try, I was not immediately excited about the Smoothing Conditioning Mist, a dry conditioner. But my sister tried it, and she quite liked the results, so I decided to give it ago, the night before a hair wash, and see if it helped the frizz. Before:


You can't really see a difference, can you? Looking in the mirror it seemed that it had generally smoothed my hair, but it didn't affect the frizz, which actually made it look a bit more obvious. I don't think this will be a product that I use regularly, although there are some things I do like about it.

The Smoothing Conditioning Mist does make my hair feel noticeably heavier, but it's lighter than it would feel had I used wash-in conditioner. It feels damp for the first few seconds after application, but dries quickly. It's only £3.99. My hair was easier to brush after using it. I quite like the scent, which is unexpected, as I hate the smell of Batiste's dry shampoos. I would have loved to have this pre-smoking ban, so that I could go out the morning after pubbing or clubbing without having to wash my hair first.

If you have the hair type that could benefit from a lightweight, easy-to-use, dry-feeling leave-in conditioner (so many dashes) by all means give the Batiste Smoothing Conditioning Mist a try. I'll be passing on my sample can to my sister, and moving on to the XXL Plumping Powder, which should be much more my kind of product!


Monday Amusements 14

I've been engaging in the other version of window shopping (oh, the pun) a lot this week! I loved seeing Phyrra's swatches from the new Sugarpill collections. As she says, I think I might 'need' Elemental Chaos, the purple. Candycrush and Frostine look amazing too. Frostine reminds me of this pretty but aggravating Boots' Natural Collection cream eyeshadow that I have had for at least 10 years. It's always creased horribly but I can't bear to throw it away as it looks so pretty when swatched. Maybe Frostine will end my dilemma!

I also enjoyed The London Beauty Review's post about the Too Faced Return of Sexy palette. I was a little tempted to buy it, as it would be such a bargain but I have loads of similar eyeshadows.

I'm more likely to consider this MUA highlighter, as reviewed by Bleeding Beauty, though I have been trying out some of my less-pigmented pastel eyeshadows as highlighters, in order to use them up.

I haven't worn dark sparkly or shimmery blue and teal eyeshadows for a long time, despite loving the way they look on me. After seeing these looks from The Beauty Milk and Glitter is my Crack I feel really inspired to get them out and experiment again.

I've read a couple of negative reviews of the Real Techniques Duo Fibre Brush Collection, but I still found this review on Midnight Violets really intriguing. I am on the look out for a reasonably priced blush brush, and I'd like one that makes pigmented blushers easier to apply, as I have a really bright blush from Sleek that I hardly ever dare to wear as it's so difficult to blend properly.

If you have any other recommendations let me know!


Festival Make-up and Other Cosmetics

I like to keep my festival kit as minimal as possible. I worry that all my stuff will get stolen, or that I'll drop something expensive in a cow pat. I prefer to wear cheaper clothes, take a second-hand book to read, text from the Nokia that only cost £10 (and that, several years ago), and severely limit the contents of my make-up bag.

Packing for Latitude Festival was a bit of a challenge. Even when I was in my early teens I took far more make-up than I ever used on holiday - I tend to pick one look at the start and then repeat it, maybe with a few tweaks or refinements, for the rest of the trip. When there are places to visit and sights to see, even I am reluctant spend time being creative with my cosmetics. So I gave myself a stern talking to and only took items that I thought I would definitely use. I might have been a bit too strict, actually. It was annoying to only have one lip colour.

I have labelled all the items so that you can see what I am talking about!

1. No brand purple eyeshadow quad, probably from one of those catalogue make-up sets. This was passed on to me by my sister just before I went to Latitude. I think I used a bit of the brightest shade, in the top right. The pigmentation is pretty bad and I wished that I had a brush so that I could apply it wet.

2. Kolor (old Superdrug own-brand) purple and silver eyeshadow duo. I always take this away with me because I really like both both colours and they apply easily with a finger tip. However, my standards for make-up quality have gone up a lot since the last time I went away anywhere and I quickly realised that the pigmentation and staying power of these eyeshadows isn't very good, even over Urban Decay Primer Potion. I could have tried them with Pixie Epoxy but I didn't bring it or a brush! Instead, I applied one layer of the silver, covered my lids in the MUA glitter eyeliner (5), and then applied another layer of the silver. It looked okay in the end, but not fantastic.

3. Rimmel black eyeliner in Black Magic. I don't think I used this.

4. Urban Decay Primer Potion. Apologies for the state of this particular sample bottle (from the NYC Book of Shadows), which is shedding its plastic coating. Sometimes it comes off on my fingers and won't budge, no matter how many soft furnishings I wipe my hand on. This is amazing, and I'm glad I took it.

5. Benefit Bad Gal Mascara, sample size. This was free with Glamour Magazine at some point and I have been using it on and off since last May. As there isn't much left and I love it, I decided to take it to Latitude. Wise decision.

6. MUA glitter eyeliner. This product only cost £1, but is not a good purchase. Even when I first opened it the glitter clumped together. Te brush is a white plastic spike and absolutely useless for applying the product with any sense of control. The best you can do is press a thin layer against your lash line, and forget attempting a flick. I've tried two other MUA glitter eyeliners, the turquoise and the purple, and they don't clump in the same way but they have the same brush, so I wouldn't recommend those either. To make this wearable I until I mixed in the remains of an old Rimmel silver glittery eyeliner/mascara which I always found too thin. The consistency is much improved but the brush is still rubbish. I took it to the festival in a bid to use it up. I tried using it as eyeliner but it was barely noticeable so I spread it all over my lids and then applied some more silver eyeshadow on top, basically using it as glue. I am tempted to bin it now I'm home.

7. Colgate folding travel toothbrush. This is great, though as far as I can tell it only comes with soft bristles, and I prefer medium.

8. Colgate Maxfresh travel-size toothpaste. It has chunks of glitter in it, which is odd. Otherwise, I quite like it.

9. The Body Shop blotting paper. I've had this little reel of blotting paper for years and it's still going strong. Fantastic for mopping your forehead during a day of sun and sweat.

10. Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon in Fuchsia Libre. This is a new product that I bought especially for Latitude, because it's SPF 15 and is more of a stain than a straightforward lipstick. It wears off more subtly than a traditional lipstick, isn't drying on me, and feels really lightweight on the lips. I love the product but I'm not sure about the colour, I think the shade is a little too light to suit me. I wore it the other day with some Benetint lip stain underneath and it looked lovely, yet on its own it doesn't look quite right. If they bring out some deeper, darker shades I will definitely buy them, but for now I'll make do with investigating the similar chunky lipstick crayons produced by Revlon, Seventeen and half a dozen other make-up companies.

11. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair. I usually use mineral foundation and concealer from Lily Lolo but I didn't want to have to take all my pots and brushes so I bought this popular and fairly cheap concealer instead. It's easy to apply on top of sunscreen, and really does last all day. I'm very impressed, especially considering the low price, and although I'll stick to my Lily Lolo products for every day, whenever I wear sunscreen I'll be reaching for this to conceal my dark undereye circles and any other blemishes.

12. Body Shop nail file. I didn't use this at all.

13. This looks like a Lily Lolo foundation but actually it's just the pot. I made my own setting power with the dregs of old pressed powders (mostly Rimmel and L'Oreal), a bit of Lily Lolo foundation, a bit of Lily Lolo's green concealer, and a tiny sprinkle of their highlighter, Star Dust. On top I popped an old circular sponge. I used this to make my face less shiny after applying sunscreen, carefully patting it onto my face so that I wouldn't wipe off any of my precious factor 50!

14. Barry M 'Touch of Magic' lipstick. This is that lipstick that looks green and applies pink. I don't like the shade of lipstick that I get from this, but it makes a great cream blusher. I drew a line on each of my cheeks and then quickly rubbed it in.

15. Marks and Spencer Hand Sanitiser. I bought this for 50p in a M&S outlet. I only used it once, when there was none of the provided hand sanitiser left at the toilets, but I would definitely bring it again!

16. Lush Lemony Flutter sample tin. I love this product but didn't use it.

17. Lush Vanishing Cream, in sample pot. Again, I love this product and was supposed to use it at night after taking off my make-up, but I was naughty and once I'd taken my make-up off I invariably felt so tired that I couldn't be bothered doing anything else but brushing my teeth and going to sleep.

18. Virgin Vie Guardian Angel. This is basically a tiny lip balm that I got for free on holiday years ago, and I mean years, maybe ten or more! I didn't use it because it didn't fit in the bag I took to the arena with me and I was reapplying the Bourjois Colour Boost Lip Crayon every couple of hours anyway.

All the make-up items fit snugly inside the little make-up bag I usually carry around in my shoulder bag, and everything else was stashed loose inside my rucksack. I think I did a pretty good job at guesstimating what I would use. Next time I will definitely take a red lip stain and an eyeshadow brush, and leave the extra lip balm, black eyeliner pencil, and nail file at home!

What make-up and other cosmetics do you like to take to festivals, or on mini-break holidays? How similar are our choices? If you would like to read my review of Latitude Festival, it's here at my other blog.


Monday Amusements 13

I had another fortnight of being obsessed with cosmetics! This IMATS recap at Do Not Refreeze is total eye candy. Colour and sparkle abounds.

Stay Beautiful features 'How To: Create an Eye Look With One Eyeshadow'. I used to do something very similar almost every day for years.

I'm drooling over these Kiko eyeshadows, featured at The London Beauty Review.

'A Guide to Buying Indie Cosmetics' - essential reading for anyone who is feeling like dipping a tentative toe in the lovely, highly pigmented waters of indie make-up.

Lisa Eldridge features a heat-proof make-up tutorial, with some really helpful advice for everyone sweltering in the UK at the moment!


Magazine Review: Company July 2013

I don't pick up magazines very often, though I love finding a great one, and I think that it's sad that their audience is in decline. The obvious reason for this is the rise of blogs and online magazines offering more specialised and free content, but I think that magazines still have a place in the world.

I was obsessed with magazines when I was a teenager - just read my love letter to J-17 on my book blog! I absolutely love the free magazines that we get at stations in London, ES and Stylist. I find the high prices of some magazines off-putting, for sure, I was tempted to buy July's Vogue for the Helena Bonham Carter feature, but just couldn't bring myself to hand over the £4.99.

But one thing that puts me off, even in the case of cheaper magazines, is not being able to browse before I buy.  Even when magazines have a very clear purpose and style, their content can vary so much from month to month, and with many UK magazines being bagged up with a gift so you can't try before you buy, often I think I'll save the few quid and stick to blogs. Often I find this so offputting that I don't even bother looking at magazine stands.

When I read Amy of Stripy Tights and Dark Delights' recommendation of Company Magazine's October 2012 issue, I was intrigued, so I found it at my local station newsagent, had a flick through, and ended up buying it! I hadn't bought Company in years, and I never would have had it not been for her magazine review post.

So I've decided to start doing mini magazine reviews, to help you decide whether to buy an issue or not and also in the hope that more people will share what they think of the magazines they read, and help me! First up is this July's issue of Company.

The gift:
  • A cute little make-up bag available in three designs - green and yellow flowers, white with blue dots, and black and white stripes. It took several visits to different newsagents for me to find the black and white striped version. My current handbag make-up bag is falling apart and this one has two compartments, so thumbs up for the gift!
  • In some branches of WHSmith you can buy Company in a bundle with two other magazines and no gift. Either way, the magazine is bagged up so you can't read anything before you buy.
 The good:
  • The column about stag/hen nights made me smile.
  • The piece about how retail businesses are adapting to the 'unseasonal' weather was really interesting.
  • The interview with Skins' Kaya Scodelario, Lily Loveless and Hannah Murray is pretty short but funny.
  • The beauty shoot is all about bright colours, which I love.
  • I also thought that the sunscreen quiz is really useful as I need to go shopping for sun cream.
  • I liked the 'Age Whatevs' piece, in which a 16 year old and a 63 year old answer the same questions. It would be great if older people were featured more often. I think Company is aimed at women in their early to mid-twenties, and I'm 26 so probably on my way out of their target market, but I like the style and approach and can find it a bit alienating if a magazine doesn't feature anyone for me to look up to.
The disappointing:
  • None of the fashion features really appealed to me, but then I'm not really a fan of any of the current trends, or typical Californian style, which is a major theme for this issue.
Overall, this month's issue was a miss rather than a hit for me, but only because I have quite specific taste and the fashion features, which make up most of the magazine, weren't my thing at all. If I could have flicked through it first, I wouldn't have bought it. I will definitely lend it to my sister though as Californian style is much more her kind of thing! I much preferred May's issue (which I have read several times), and the other two issues of Company that I've bought, October 2012 and December 2012. I especially loved the interior decoration feature in October 2012's issue and am really disappointed that I haven't seen anything similar in the other issues I've bought.

Have you read any great magazines lately? Have you read this issue of Company? What did you think?


Monday Amusements 12

Yay! Sandal weather!

When it comes to lipstick, I only suit two colours. I don't really mind though, as they're the best two - bright pink and bright red. I prefer red in the winter, but now it's summer and I'm all about the pink, so I loved Lipglossiping's Five head-turning pinks to get your lips looked at!

This look by Zoffe has me itching to wear more blue and green. Am I the only one that loves to match their make-up to their outfit? My clothes are often dictated by my nail varnish - I won't wear something that clashes with my nails!

I also really liked Katie's silver and black liner look. I've got a discontinued Bourjois liquid eyeshadow that looks similar to the Rimmel one featured, so I'm planning to try it with that.

I loved these Gay Pride Rainbow Nail Designs at Do Not Refreeze - and there's an fantastic giveaway at the bottom of the post. For another amazing giveaway, check out another of my favourite blogs, Daisies and Dr Martens.

I'm going to a festival in a couple of weeks and have started planning what I'm going to be taking in my make-up bag. It was great to see another blogger's choices at Cut-Throat Beauty and I will definitely be posting about the items I decide to take!

Anushka Tay's review of Honest Burgers in Brixton made me feel really hungry. I've been meaning to go there for about a year but every time I'm in Brixton long enough to get dinner they're closed!

Hope you're having a good Monday! I'm off to listen to comedy cricket music. I know almost nothing about cricket, but I still manage to find it endlessly hilarious.


this pastel obsession

They're a regular spring trend, but this year I was obsessed with pastels like never before. I mostly stuck to lilac, because I get bored of other pastels too easily, and as I don't think it suits me that well, I balanced it out with lots of black and bright pink. A couple of times I went for petrol green instead. I love purple and green together.

I wore this pale pink badge and brooch on my grey jacket almost all the time, and chose that lilac shirt to wear to work almost once a week.

I wore Aromaleigh's Penelope eyeshadow so many times I lost count. Often several times in a week. It's rare for me to become that devoted to one product.

I got out all my nail polish, picked out all the pastel shades, and put them in front of the box in my cupboard, for easy browsing, but mostly I wore the Colour Collection lilac from a Christmas set, sometimes with L.A. Colors' Flurry on the top for some sparkle.

I have been choosing to wear brighter shades lately, as it is now definitely summer, and I'm sure I'll go back to jewel tones as soon as soon as I feel the first chills of winter, but pastels have won a place in my heart and my imagination. I've spent a lot of time lusting after long floaty lilac skirts. I have yet to find the perfect one, even after a lot of eBay trawling, but I'm still hoping that it will materialise.

How do you feel about pastels? Did you follow the floral trend instead? I picked up a really cute dress that's pink with blue flowers in a charity shop, and had a few floral favourites already.


Monday Amusements 11

I hope your Monday is treating you well! Mine has me ill for the second week in a row so I apologise for the shortness of this list!

As Google Reader is about to load its last I've been spring cleaning my RSS subscriptions and finding some new blogs to follow. It's been a while since I've subscribed to any new (at least to me) fashion blogs and it's been a lot of fun exploring new sites. I've scrolled through several pages of Undercover Dress-Up Lover, and my favourite post so far is Lolita without online shopping, even though I am too tall for a lolita dress, there are some amazing boots in that post that are actually still available in my size! I am doing all the online surveys the internet sends with the goal of being able to afford them.

I've also been catching up on The Girl Who Looks Like a Cake, I've loved her DIY: Make your own collar and A Guide to Fabric Shopping In London posts.

I'm obsessed with eyeliner tutorial videos. Here are my current favourites, which show how to achieve three quite different effects:

Cat-Eye Tutorial from Rookie on Vimeo.

A tip for the last one - if you find it impossible to do this with an eyeliner brush and eyeshadow - ie if you're a contact lens wearer and can't risk getting powder in your eye - try it with a pen eyeliner instead, I did today and it looks great!

Finally, Mad About Dachshunds is the Facebook page to like if you want your news feed to be filled with all manner of cute sausage dog things.


this dyeing obsession

After my successful shirt-dyeing session last year, I became obsessed with Dylon Intense Violet and started to plot further dye-based adventures. I went through my wardrobe and picked out all the things that I liked, but didn't love because they were white, pale pink, a pale shade of grey, or otherwise Not Purple Enough.

I wrote down the fabric composition of each item, and then I loaded up the Dylon website and added to my list the best type of dye to use for each item. I decided to start my quest for purplefication with three items. This was mostly because Hobbycraft only had one box of Intense Violet machine dye left, and after the tedium of stirring last time, I decided that I would avoid future hand dyeing whenever possible, so I picked out the items that would get better results from hand dye and resolved to do the rest in the machine.

I checked the weight of the fabric by putting it into a jug on top of electronic kitchen scales. Do not attempt to use bathroom scales to weigh your fabric. They are too imprecise. The first item I chose, along with the scales and jug:

This cardigan was a faded pale pink hand-me-up from my sister and had quite a few random yellow or brownish stains. It's a really good fit though, so I didn't want to throw it away. Perfect candidate for purplefication, and 100% cotton so ideal for machine dye. The other two items I forgot to photograph before I'd already put them into the bowl, but I did take a picture before adding the dye. 

The grey angora/wool/nylon blend cardigan, according to my research, was better suited to hand dye because of the natural fibres. I had no idea how it would come out, because of the nylon content. The other item was a white leotard, or as Topshop (and other brands) insist on calling them, 'body'. Come now. A body is the thing that goes inside the leotard. As you would expect, the leotard had lycra in it, and apparently lycra does not get on well with high temperatures and agitation, so hand dye was again the best option.

So onto the results! The cotton cardigan came out beautifully.

In the photo it looks like the middle section is pinker, that's just my camera. It's actually the same fabulous shade all over. All the stains have disappeared and the whole thing looks refreshed and ready for many more years of wear. A+++ would dye again.

The grey cardigan turned out much better than I was hoping. It's came out more of a pinkish shade, but it's still pretty uniform.

Again, the glowy pinky section in the middle is down to my camera.

The leotard did not come out as well. It's quite patchy, especially by the seams, and the thread it was sown together with didn't take the dye (it's probably polyester), so now it stands out, white as before.

This time the colour variations are not down to my camera. It actually looks like this.

I'm not really concerned though because a) I was never going to wear it as-was, there were too many stains and b) I'll probably wear it under a cardigan or another top, which should hide the imperfections.

All in all, I'd say that this session was very successful, and I look forward to even more adventures with dye! I'm going to write a post with all my fabric dye tips, so if you have any questions, leave a comment or tweet me!

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