Monday Amusements 9

Some products I've been loving recently and will review soon!

It's a very short one this week as I've not had much time to pore over posts, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless! If you want more, investigate the archive!

I'm not a daisy lady but I loved seeing this post about them at Daisies and DMs as it reminded me how much I love roses - definitely a subject for a post of my own! I've been collecting rose hair clips for years and last week bought some beautiful black and purple rose print fabric that my mum is going to make into a dress for me. I know once it's finished I'll struggle to convince myself to wear anything else!

 I've been an M&S tight addict for years now but haven't bought anything in the last few seasons as all the fashion tights have been the thin, one-use (two if you're lucky) variety, whereas I like opaques or at least durable lace! I'm starting to look elsewhere for my tights fix, and I loved this outfit post at sparklyvodka, those tights are fantastic! I like the black ones but they're not very opaque so I wouldn't get much wear out of them, still tempted though!

Phyrra's Best Cruelty-Free Beauty Brands list is an excellent resource, there are loads of companies on there whose products I've either already tried or am longing to try. I'm really pleased that she's included international shipping details on the listings so that I don't click through only to be disappointed.

I loved SillyGrrl's post How to get off the blogging bandwagon. I've never felt a strong need to blog in the same way as someone else, but I feel that this is something I want to remind myself of now that blogging has become so popular. I don't see the point in creating a tutorial if someone else has already made a wonderful one for the same item or look, and there are some memes I love as they provide a great jumping off point but others I avoid as its too easy to find yourself repeating what others have said. Even in these Monday Amusements posts I try to provide some sort of commentary on every link I include because otherwise I might as well just  tweet the links and be done with it! As a reader, I'm not going to follow a blog just because I know the person from another site or because someone else recommended it. If it's a fashion or make-up blog, I need to want to imitate the person's style, at least sometimes, because I read for inspiration as well as community. No matter how good a make-up blogger is, if all their looks feature neutral eyes and nude lips I'm not going to subscribe to their blog, because it's not relevant to my interests.

Finally, if you haven't seen this video of a pug getting excited over the ending of Homeward Bound, you must!

Fashionable Fiction 1: Edie, from Diary of a Crush

Me again, trying to stay true to my word and post more often! This is a new series that I've been planning to start for ages, partly inspired by all the blogs that create outfits for film and television characters, but instead I will be creating outfits for fictional characters based on the descriptions in their books!

Over on my book blog, this fleeting dream, I've been celebrating the re-release of one of my favourite teen fiction series, Diary of a Crush, with a themed week, and today I decided to take it over here and create some outfits for Edie, the diarist herself, based on her own descriptions in the books. If you want to know what store or brand an item is from, click the book/date link to go through to Polyvore.

Edie is a bottle-blonde with a Sixties fringe and a love of vintage hunting and eBay shopping. She went to secondary school in Brighton (where she must have acquired much of her wardrobe - Brighton has great shops), but then moved to Manchester to do her A Levels at college. She loves dressing up and swapping clothes with her friend Shona, though Shona seems to borrow from Edie more of the time!

French Kiss, November 9th

Edie, November 9th

Edie goes to a gig with Shona, and wears a Sixties cherry-print dress and a little red cardie. Alas, I could not find a dress that matched the description, so I picked two that I thought would work. I added in an eyeliner pen, so that she could do her eyeliner to match, and glittery red nail varnish like she wore to college when she first met Mia. Finally, it is a gig, and Edie loves her Converses, so I couldn't resist including red and black options!

French Kiss, first morning in Paris
Edie, first day in Paris

The trip to Paris features a lot of outfit changes, and after a chaotic first evening, Edie wakes up early the next day to get dressed in plenty of time. In the new edition of French Kiss she wears a Nordic sweater dress but I didn't like any of those on Polyvore so I went back to my 2004 copy for inspiration. I replaced the pink cord miniskirt with a skater skirt to make it more up to date and added some accessories, including a striped scarf as worn in the 2013 version!

Edie, 5th March

Edie wears a vintage floral dress for a date - of course there isn't much in the way of vintage on Polyvore so I picked a couple of appropriately-styled new dresses to go with the headscarf and boots.

Edie, 20th July
It's the end of college party, and Edie dresses up in a pale pink Sixties shift dress, which again, I couldn't really find, so I picked out another couple of dresses that, combined with the hair slides and nail varnish, would make anyone look a bit like a 'strawberry milkshake'!

None of these outfits are much like my normal style, but I do really like them! Maybe I'll be taking a leaf out of Edie's book (groan) and trying to pull off one of these ensembles in the near future. What do you think?


Review: E45 Moisturising Lotion

As I described in my earlier post,  I recently received a free bottle of E45 Moisturising Lotion to try thanks to the company BzzAgent. I won't repeat everything I wrote before, so this will be a much shorter review!

Although I prefer to use the slightly richer E45 Nourish and Restore on my feet, I've decided that the E45 Moisturising Lotion is more comfortable to use on my arms and shoulders as it feels a little bit lighter.

As with the Nourish and Restore I won't use it on my hands because the residue is too hard to clean off, but I do like this product slightly more because it's unfragranced, which means I can use it for one of my favourite cosmetics tricks: making expensive, beautifully scented lotions go further. It's also good for altering the consistency of a product that I don't like to make it a bit more runny, and if I want it to be more moisturising, I just add a few drops of olive oil.

Out of the two products, this is the one I'm most likely to purchase once my sample bottle runs out!

Review: E45 Nourish and Restore

As I've reached my mid-twenties, I've noticed that my skin has been getting drier, especially on my arms, and at its worst, it can become quite itchy. I also have to work with a lot of paper in my current job, which I find is really drying on my hands. I've been trying various different products over the last few months and I'm planning to post some short reviews in the next few weeks for those of you that are also in the market for a good lotion or cream.

This product I actually got to try for free thanks to a company called BzzAgent, which runs word-of-mouth campaigns based around providing members with money off vouchers or free products and encouraging them to spread the word. You are encouraged to give only your honest opinion, so I would recommend that you check out their website and consider signing up if you'd like to try some products out for free or a discount. I'm quite fussy about the campaigns I accept, as there's lots of stuff that I'm just not interested in (disposable razor campaigns seem to come up a lot), but if you have a wider range of interests than me you could get a lot out of it!

I received two full size bottles for this campaign one bottle of the well-known and popular E45 Moisturising Lotion, and another of the new E45 Nourish and Restore, as well as lots of samples to give to family and friends. I decided to try the E45 Nourish and Restore first, because the skin on my arms was really dry and itchy at that time and it sounds more moisturising than the original lotion. My first impressions were good, it has a mild but pleasant scent and the skin on my arms felt much better straight away. I applied some more of the lotion on my feet before putting on cotton socks, and rubbed some into my hands before going to sleep.

The next day, my hands, arms and feet all felt much softer, and they always do the day after I've used this product. However, it's not as good a product as it could be, and I think it's down to the high mineral oil content. From what I've read, mineral oil works like a barrier on your skin, preventing moisture from escaping, but it doesn't really do much else, and because it stays on my skin rather than being absorbed, there is still a residue the next day.

I wear contact lenses, and in order to put them in I need completely clean, dry hands, and I can't get clean and dry hands after using this E45 lotion as a hand cream the night before. My hands feel slightly sticky when dry, and after I wash them they feel really sticky and I have to use loads of soap to wash the remains of the lotion off. I haven't had this problem with any other product that I've used on my hands at night, usually just having a shower as normal leaves my hands clean enough to put my contacts in. I'm not going to use this lotion on my hands at night again, and will wash my hands thoroughly after I've applied it to my feet and arms. I get the same residue on my arms and feet but as I'm not putting my contact lenses in using my arms or feet, I'm not concerned.

However, I'm a bit lazy when it comes to applying body lotion, and I prefer to apply something intensive and rich once a week, rather than apply every day, as I have to in order to prolong and maximise the effects of this lotion. Despite the name, it is a fairly light-feeling product, and when I stop using it, again, I suspect due to the mineral oil, my skin returns to its previous condition after a couple of days.

I am trying not to be so lazy, but I suspect that I won't be repurchasing this for regular use, just because it's more convenient for me to use something really rich when I have plenty of time so that I don't have to bother when I'm in a hurry! I think I'll just continue to use it occasionally when my skin is sore and I want it to feel instantly better.

I will post my review of the other product I was sent to try, the E45 Moisturising Lotion, later today.

Monday Amusements 8

Hello! Remember me? I hope you do so, and fondly, because this blog is coming back to life in a big way. I've got a lovely spreadsheet schedule sorted out, and one of the first steps I'm taking is to bring back my Monday Amusements posts. I'll be posting Monday Amusements here every other week, starting today, and doing the same (but reading and writing themed) on this fleeting dream, which I started last week. Therefore you can expect my next Monday Amusements post here on the 27th May. Coincidently, this Monday Amusements post and my last Monday Amusements post on this fleeting dream have the same number, which I think is quite nice.

Just as I have on this fleeting dream, I am going to try to credit my sources when I didn't just find a post or article myself via RSS feed, website e-mail newsletter, 'surfing the web' (as I believe the kids called it in 1998, I should know, I was one) or the publisher's twitter. Previously, I'd just bookmark the piece and by the time I got around to putting my Monday Amusements post together, I'd have forgotten how I discovered it. From now on I will bookmark the relevant tweet or Facebook post instead, so that you can find and follow interesting people too!

One thing I'm going to stop is sorting the links into categories, as I did with the original posts. I'll still group them into paragraphs where it is appropriate, but I found that my attempts to stick rigidly to one template for all the posts failed, because I go through different phases (or obsessions, if you will, haha). For example, while some weeks I'll want to share loads of craft tutorials, other times I won't have bookmarked any new ones, so having a 'Craft' section doesn't work, and it's the same for almost every other section I was using. Except for 'cute'. I can always manage to find something adorable.

Any feedback on this would be much appreciated, so do leave a comment. I'd also love to know which links you find the most interesting, as that will help me decide what to include in future. Now, on with the links! 

The Beauty Milk has a feature that I really enjoy, and kind of wish I'd thought of first, called Try It Out Thursday. The most recent post in this series is about using tape to help create blunt-edged winged eyeliner looks. I am definitely going to try it out, although I'm quite happy with my eyeliner technique at the moment.  I usually blend my eyeshadow out and then draw my eyeliner on top, so the eyeshadow goes out past the wing, and I want to find out what it looks like when the wing marks the edge of my eye make-up. I'm not sure it'll work because the natural brown colour of my eyelids extends past the edge of my preferred wing position, and I usually use eyeshadow to cover it up, but I could try covering it with concealer or powder afterwards instead.

On a similar note, if you're attracted to coloured eyeliner but are not sure how to wear it, Anitacska at Pleasureflush has three different ideas. Three is the magic number this week, as Robyn shows us how wearing a different lipstick can alter the overall effect of a make-up look, at Stay Beautiful. And on the subject of 'different' lipstick (I've got to stop these corny segues), Leanne at Do Not Refreeze reviews Illamasqua ESP, a surprisingly wearable purple lipstick. As I wrote in the comments, with the Boost lipgloss it reminds me of Lush's Passionate lipstick, a bright pink with a blue/purple duochrome effect, as well as the ancient Rimmel purple lipstick that I mentioned here.

As you may know from my tweets, I am currently obsessed with dyeing - more on this in an upcoming post. I don't have any shoes at the moment that are suitable, but I will definitely revisit the Dreams that Glitter tutorial on DIY Ombre Dip-Dye Shoes.

It's finally starting to feel more like Spring here in the UK, after about six months of alternating rain, snow, and freezing cold weather, but I like to be prepared, and Owl Girl's post How to dress on windy days! is really useful.

My favourite area of study at university was cultural studies, so I love reading posts that explore the social and political implications of self-presentation, such as this post about beauty/fashion 'rules' and stigma, from The Beheld. I also enjoy fashion history, and I wanted to visit the 'BIBA and Beyond' exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, but never got around to it. It's finished now, so I'll have to settle for revisiting this review at Lipglossiping. I love that purple patterned dress with the bell sleeves and the lilac halter-tutu dress in the photo below it. I also enjoyed Victorian Aristo Tattoo Crew on the pamflet blog, and Stylist's 50 Style Icons of the 1920s - a decade I love reading about in books, as frequently mentioned on my other blog.

Finally, some cape eye candy from The Cherry Blossom Girl, and the traditional 'cute' inclusion, with a not-so-traditional animal: Snake as hair scrunchie.
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