Thursday, 31 March 2011

Make Up No Spend Month

Hello lovelies! Hope you're enjoying the sunshine even if it is blowing a gale out there!

I don't know about you, but since I started beauty blogging, I've bought way more make up than I've ever bought in my life.... I have drawers full of pretty coloured pots of loose eyeshadows, glass bottled of foundation strewn about all over the place and more lipstick and lipgloss than I can shake a stick at, not to mention the trillions of eyeshadows palettes neatly stacked in boxes. And do I use most of it on a daily basis? No. Weekly basis? No. In fact, it's a very rare occasion at the moment that my makeup of choice involves more than a Bobbi Brown foundation, Mac Ripe Peach or Bobbi Brown Apricot Blush, a little mascara and some ELF felt tip eyeliner with a quick slick of lipstick.

And yet.... I still keep buying it. A blusher here, a cheap eyeshadow palette there... it's just sitting and collecting dust! The worst thing for me is blog sales.... I always manage to find something that I want! But not this month, no no - this month is my Make Up No Spend Month :)

Who's with me?
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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Getting back on the horse

Hello lovelies! As some of you will know, the reason why I haven't been blogging over the last couple of weeks is because I've been a massive huge ball of stress whilst waiting to hear back from my GTP (Graduate Teacher Programme) interview... well, yesterday I heard back from the Consortium and I've got a place on the course :D Hurrah!! However, now I have to start to apply to the schools and go through a whole stage of school interviews, so it's not 100% set in stone that I'll be training in September but it's looking pretty likely!

So why have I called this post Getting back on the horse? Three reasons really...

1.Getting back on the teaching horse
Not many of you will know this, but I actually completed two years of undergrad Primary Teacher Training before changing half way through to a degree in English Language and Linguistics. I had to leave my course for a lot of different reasons (nothing to do with not liking teaching or failing the course itself, but health, finance and general emotional wellbeing - it was a tough year to say the least) and I was pretty much convinced that I'd never be accepted for a Teacher Training course again (they're reaaally funny about taking people on who've failing to complete initial teacher training before) - but THEY DID!! This is the only part where they might have rejected me for that and yet they chose to take me on! I feel a lot more confident about the school interview stage than I did about the course interview stage because I know that the place where I'm most "me" is in front of a class of kids - they really do bring me alive (as opposed to in front of a panel of two adults where I become some sort of idiot... I genuinely can't believe they took me on after some of the hilarious (read as stupid) things that happened in my interview)

2. Getting back on the running horse
Well, you know, not a literal running horse, but the horse of running.... or something like that. When I get stressed or anxious, I just shut down. I eat (a lot... and man have I eaten a lot over the past week) and I sleep, maybe cry a little but that's literally it. I've been going to bed at 8 or 9pm everyday this week just so that I don't have to think. I've also been avoiding running (well, exercise in general) because all I've wanted to do is sit and think and worry. Stupid really, but hey - it was only a week or so, and we all have our bad patches. I'm going out for a run with Peter this afternoon and I'm going to book in a training run with a colleague of mine who is also running the Great North Run at some point this week. If it gets to Wednesday and I have mentioned a run - shout at me! I also really need to start cycling to work again - I've been channeling a lot of my GTP anxiety into excuses for not cycling... partially because my route is long and on a road and I think when your brain is all over the place, it's not the safest place to cycle. But this week I can buck up my ideas and just get on with it!

3. Get back on the blogging horse
When I'm stressed or anxious, my blog is pretty much the first thing to go out the window for two reasons - partially it's because I can't actually focus my brain for long enough to write anything but it's also a confidence thing. I've spent a lot of time over the last week convincing myself I'm a failure and that doesn't lead to healthy blogging thoughts either! So I'll be picking up the blogging pace a little over the next few weeks again :)

How are you all? I feel so disconnected from the blogging world. Hugs, kisses and chocolate hearts for you all xxx
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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tropical Shine Nail Files Review

Hello Lovelies!

Just a quick video review for you of Tropical Shine Nail Files! Have you given them a try yet? They come in 12 different colours, with each colour matching how rough/smooth the file is - fabulous! I love the fact that these are so sturdy and reusable. Tropical Shine have made a really great contender for the nail file world! Enjoy xx

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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Inspirational Interview - Funny Face's Place

This week's Inspirational Interview is with the fantabulously talented Lilian from Funny Face's Place - a wonderful blog full of swatches, reviews and stunningly creative looks!

Thank you so much for letting me interview you! Firstly, can you tell me a little bit more about yourself please?
Thank you so much for asking me, I'm honoured! I'm Lillian, I've just turned 23 and I'm an artist and illustrator (though let's just say work is slow :P). I live in London in a crazy houseshare with my Mum, older sister and girlfriend and a myriad of animal friends. I have social phobia/social anxiety disorder which effects me very severely so in real life I'm a very shy, timid person. Other than that I'm quite silly, perhaps a bit odd, a little arty and pretentious, a tad lazy and obsessive. 
How long have you been blogging and what was it that inspired you to start a blog?I've just checked and I started my blog in August 2009. I had just graduated from art college and to be honest was feeling a bit lost. I can't remember how but I came upon some beauty blogs and something just instantly clicked with me. I loved seeing all these girls (and some guys) chatting about products, sharing tips and looks and reviewing so others can read up before they buy. So, seeing as I have more makeup than should be allowed by law, I decided to start my own. I was absolutely overwhelmed by how lovely and supportive everyone was towards me, and I still am.
What are the best and worst parts of being a beauty blogger?The best part is meeting people who read my blog, interacting via comments or reading their blogs if they have them and learning more about them. And it makes my day when I learn that I've written a post that is interesting or helpful to someone.
The worst part to me is feeling guilty when I haven't posted enough or haven't replied to comments. 
You took a bit of a break from blogging for a little while - is it good to be back? It really is! I never planned to take a break but the fact of the matter was at one point I was putting my blog ahead of things like my painting and spending too much time on the internet was making me feel very unmotivated and unhappy. I love my blog but obviously I can't let it take over my life. Luckilly now I think I've managed to get everything in perspective. I love writing in my blog, it's fun and I love interacting with the whole beauty blogging community and I really missed the friends I made blogging on my break. 
One of the things I love the most about your blog is the creativity behind so many of your looks - where do you find your inspiration for them?Thank you! It's very hard to describe where I get my inspiration from as usually ideas just pop into my head. But I think my looks all come from a combination with my obsessions: certain movies, pop stars from the 70s and 80s, bad sci-fi films, Pantomime Dames, Silent film stars, music I love, Dr Seuss, 1700s fashion, Pop art, magicians, circuses,  music hall performers, makeup styles from the 20s to 80s and of course beauty blogs and makeup artists.
You often post pictures of your amazing outfits as well - where you do you find such unique pieces of clothing?Oh goodness, unfortunately the answer to this is 'everywhere'. Quite often I get my clothes from regular high street stores (H&M, Topshop and Miss Selfridge are probably where I shop most often) I'll just pick up the most garish, over-the-top items they sell and pair them with my other garish over-the-top items :P I love which often has quite quirky unusual pieces and is generally affordable. I also buy handmade stuff on etsy, vintage on ebay and the occaisional expensive piece from Bettie Page Clothing, who make fantastic faux-vintage clothes. Also my girlfriend and I both sew, so a lot of my clothes have been made by us.  
You're a big fan of indie makeup companies - what is it that you love about them and who are your current favourites?Well the first thing I love about indie companies is the prices! Nearly all of them are in a similar price range to high street brands despite the fact that they're being handmade by people. That's anothing thing I like, with indie brands you can actually interact with the people who make the products, most have blogs or are on twitter. If you follow them not only do you get to learn about them as people but it gives you an insight into what goes into running a cosmetics business.
And I like the idea of supporting a small business. Also basically all the indie makeup I've tried has been incredibly high quality.

My current favourites are Fyrinnae, who made some of the most complex shadows I own (you would not believe the multichromatic joy of some of their colours), Morganas Minerals for their wild coloured lipsticks, Hi Fi cosmetics for lovely shadows and hard to find glitter, shimmer and gel products, Sugarpill who make some of the most pigmented and beautiful eye products I've used and Haus of Gloi for fantastic body products. There are still hundreds of amazing looking companies I need to try and more popping up all the time!
How do you spend your free time when you're not blogging?
 Well firstly I'm sort of the housewife in our house, I cook dinner basically every day, do the majority of the cleaning and I walk our dogs twice a day. Then I paint, sculpt and draw and sew clothes. But for fun I love playing video games, going out dancing, shopping, watching films, comedy programmes and Eastenders, going to gigs, reading and generally sitting around on my bum being unproductive.
Am I right in thinking that you recently had some of your illustrations published? What was the book and how did that come about?
Yes! It was very exciting. The book I illustrated is called Cox's  Fragmenta it's a collection of odd and funny newspaper articles from the 18th and 19th centuries. I have about 5 or 6 ink drawings in the book illustrating the articles. I was browsing Gumtree looking for work and the author had left an advert asking for an illustrator. So I replied, sent him a link to my website and he liked my work! Then I was sent selected articles to illustrate and I would send him back the finished work. It was all done by email which was great for me because of my shyness. Some of the drawings that made it into the book don't represent my best work, some of my favourites were left out and it would have been great to get paid (I did it for the experience) but overall it was a great experience and I'm very proud of myself. My Mum gave copies of the book to various people as presents this Christmas, which was a bit embarrassing! If anyone's interested you can get it here:
You post about quite a few different things - do you have a favourite type of blog post that you enjoy writing (e.g. swatches, FOTDs etc)My favourite type of post to write is positive reviews, I love gushing about how wonderful something is and sharing pictures of great products! I'm not a writer but I studied English for A level and do like writing, so reviews are good because I can waffle on for ages :P I also like posting really creative FOTDS and tutorials, only I think I've only ever written one!
What can readers of Funny Face's Place look forward to in the next few months?I've been inspired to document my entire collection of lip products to make a kind of database. I'll be posting them both by brand and colour. But because this will involve me doing lip swatches of (what I guess is) well over 200 lipsticks/glosses/pencils it's gonna take me a while! I've got some reviews and swatches of indie brands coming up shortly and other than that I'll just be continuing my usual reviews, FOTDs and OOTDs and the occasional rant :P
Ok time for some quick fire questions:
3 Favourite Items of Make up:Lipstick
Liquid eyeliner
3 Favourite Foods:Ice cream
tomato pasta
meringue and cream
3 Desert Island Items:A computer with internet dongle, all my music and favourite films loaded on. Or if that's cheating then I'll have some Durex lube and just indulge myself :P
Sketchbook and pencils
An endless supply of factor 50 spf 

3 People who've inspired you:
My friend Foz
Dr Seuss
Liselotte Eriksson
3 blogs you'd like to recommend:Don't make me pick just 3! D:
One of the first beauty blogs I ever encountered was Mizz Worthy's and it holds a special place in my heart. Also she's just a great blogger!
 Sparklz and Shine is an amazing woman and often does amazing avant garde makeup looks:
Messy Carla is an amazingly, wonderfully fun fashion blogger

3 words of advice:Make life magic :)
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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

What are you giving up for Lent?

Hello Lovelies! As you may or may not know, today is the first day of Lent - a time when people traditionally give things up, and, for Christians, a time to remember Jesus, his journey to the Cross and what the meaning of his death on it is for our lives. As a Christian, I always try to give something up (or sometimes take something up) that will make my life better, maybe make the world a little better, improve my relationship with God and try to help me grow in my faith. There's been a whole range of things since I became a Christian - reading my Bible every day for the whole of Lent, praying every day.... the most significant would be the year when I gave up wheat and discovered that it would completely change my quality of life if I remained wheat free.

This year I'm giving up something that has crept in to my life gradually over the last few years (well, since I came to Uni really). It's something that I originally gave up when I was 16 and dating a straight-edge vegan guy. Dairy? Nope (although I try to eat as little dairy as possible). Alcohol? Nope (To be fair, I drink about once every 3 or 4 months so this would be pointless). No, this year I'm giving up swearing. I hate the fact that I've become such a casual swearer. I hate the fact that in an argument, the first things that comes to mind is to swear instead to try and be constructive. I hate the fact that I use it to express my opinion instead of trying to find something more eloquent and lady like. I find it hypocritical that I tell children off daily for using bad language but I use it daily myself.

What (if anything) are you giving up this year?
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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Recipe: Homemade (mostly) Raw Choc-o-nut Cereal

Hello lovelies! Another super quick and easy recipe for you this morning! Since going wheat free, I've found it incredibly difficult to find cereal that a)I actually like and b) isn't full of utter rubbish. So instead, I've decided to create my own yummy breakfast cereal - full of good things and nutrients and with absolutely no rubbish! It essentially tastes like a delicious chocolate and coconut fudge too which is never a bad thing in my books!

Ingredients (yields around 6 servings):
1 up brazil nuts
1 and (just under)1/4 cups dates
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup cocoa
1-2 tsp agave
Teeny tiny pinch of salt

Pop your brazils and salt in the food processor and blend until chopped small but not completely powdery. Gradually add your dates and blend blend blend. Now add you cocoa, oats, coconut and agave and blend some more - don't over blend it at this point, you want it to be just mixed.

Now grab a spare lunchbox or plastic food tub and squish all the yummy cereal mixture into it - you want to pack it down pretty tightly. Pop the lid on, store it in the fridge and then use your spoon to hack it out when you want a bowl - this way you end up with some big yummy chunks and some smaller bits too! Deeelicious!

I serve mine with a chopped banana and soya milk - it's also really good as an ice cream topping, a layer in a sundae style dessert, as a mix in with overnight oats.... or just eaten in massive handfuls straight from the food processor. Enjoy!

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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Recipes Page

Hello lovelies!

Just a quick post to let you know that I've added a new "Recipes" page to the top of my blog - I'll be updating it everytime that I add a new recipe so that they're a bit easier to find :)

I think my blog will slowly be moving more and more towards food. craft and exercise blogging as these are the things that really get me excited at the moment, although there will still be good bit of beauty and makeup related stuff too... I just find that I'm starting to run out of things to say as a beauty blogger and part of that is because I'm at a place in my life where I don't actually wear that much makeup! Either way, I'll still be here waffling on and I hope that you'll keep reading :D
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Inspirational Interviews - Susan from Darling Girl Cosmetics

Morning Lovelies! Today I have a super exciting Inspirational Interview for you - it's the gorgeous Susan from Darling Girl Cosmetics. As you may know, I utterly adore Susan's products and Susan herself is an absolute sweetie! Sadly, her shop is closed until April 1st as she's in the middle of a huuuge move, but I still recommend you make a trip over there and get your wishlist ready for her big re-open! 

Thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you! Firstly, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself please?
Your welcome and thank you for asking me to take part in this. 

Let’s see, my life story in a nutshell.  I am an only child and an army brat, so we moved around quite a bit, but I spent most of my youth in PortlandOR which I miss dearly.  It is so pretty, green and there is just so much fun stuff to do there.  I have been married for twelve years and have two wonderful boys, 15 and 12 and we are currently living in South Texas and a little town called McAllen about 10 miles from the Mexico border, which has it’s pro’s and con’s but I do love the tropical climate.

How long have you been making makeup and what inspired you to start?
I have been making makeup for about a year and half now, at least seriously.  I have always played around and tweaked existing eye shadows or blushes that didn’t quite work for me and making lip glosses and such for years.  I love makeup 

What are the best and worst parts of running your own indie makeup company?
Oooh, let’s see the best part…I can work in my pj’s if I want to LOL all kidding aside the best part is I am finally realizing my dream.  I have wanted to do this for a very long time, but the situation or timing has never been right, but I finally decided to take the plunge last year and have been having the time of my life and have met, well virtually anyway the nicest women. 

This doesn’t really pertain to now, but in the beginning I really put in a lot of time to my blog and posting looks and swatches and sometimes I felt like I was talking to my self and wondering Is all this worth it? But it has all paid off in the end and I love my blog and being interactive with my customers.  It’s something I hope to never lose. 

Now the worst part would be trying to juggle work, family time and regular household obligations.  I pretty much work 24/7, like any mom I guess. 

You create incredibly beautiful complex colours in your eye shadows and lots of other gorgeous products - what inspires you as you're creating?
I get inspiration from many things from some of the very tropical foliage we have here in Texas to reminiscing about things we have done in the past.  Equinox, Fireside, Cozy Nights, Scarecrow and Cider were all made from looking at photo’s of past trips to the pumpkin patch when the kids were little.  I also get inspiration from looking at magazines and blogs. 

If you could choose only 5 products from your current collections to use for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Oh my, just 5….let’s see Crème Brulee & Butter Rum lip balm, I love my lip balms and wear them more than lip color. Impetuous Sweet Cheeks Blush because it gives me a pretty pink in from the cold look and also doubles as a lip color, Pretty Pampered primer powder for those quick no foundation days and Cider because it’s a lovely one color wash for me, oh and I need Tarnished, so I guess I have to get rid of Butter Rum, darn. 

Had you tried many other Indie Makeup Companies before you started making your own makeup? If so, where were you a frequent customer and did anything about them inspire you in making your own cosmetics?
I have been using indie makeup for years.  My first company that I purchased from was Everyday Minerals and then somehow I stumbled upon Silk Naturals and was a pretty loyal customer for years.  Oddly enough I only discovered all the other wonderful Indie companies after I started making my own, or I guess really when I started blogging. 

I don’t know that the makeup from these companies inspired me, but I know that some of the women that run these companies have.  Karen from Silk Naturals is just a nice genuine lady and I always knew that I would want to run my business as she does.  Openly and honestly and keeping involved with my customers and there wants and needs.

What does your average working day look like?
I would say I work 7 days a week, but weekends is generally research and development kind of stuff, so it’s fun and doesn’t seem like work.  An average day, let’s see, I start out around 8:00am by checking and answering emails, then I print and fill orders, when time allows I post looks on the blog or updates on what is going on in the world of Darling Girl.  I do all this until about 4:00 and then get all my packages to the post office and cook dinner. ;)  I usually end the day around 6:00 or 7:00 by checking/answering emails and perusing various blogs and responding to comments on my blog.  Although, I usually do this from the comfort of bed while watching a little boob tube.  One of the perks of the job. LOL

How do you enjoy doing in your free time when you're not making makeup?
Lot’s of family time.  We like to play board games, go the movies and really enjoy trips to the beach.  There is a nice aquarium there, so we usually pack the picnic basket and spend the day walking around the beach shops and seeing the marine life at the aquarium.  I can’t get enough of the sea otters. 

Which are your favourite products to make?
With out a doubt eye shadow!  There is just no limit to the colors you can make and I find the color theory fascinating.  I love making lip glosses too, but I tend to do that in spurts when I feel inspired.

And your least favourite?
Making the color correctors is pretty boring…no fun colors to play with, but necessary.  I have had a few requests to get into foundation, but honestly it I love playing with color and foundation is boring, although I imagine at some point way down the road I will get into them.

What can Darling Girl Cosmetic's customers look forward to in the next few months?
There will be a mini Valentines Day release, trio of eye colors and a lip-gloss.  I am also working on a new formula for my eye shadows that will be a melding of pearl/shimmer and matte for some work appropriate looks, as well as some more pigmented lip colors.  I really want to work on cleaning up and organizing the shop and working on some new labels that will include the ingredients on them and just making everything look as professional as I can. J

Ok time for some quick fire questions:

3 Favourite Items of Make up:
So hard because it changes every week, but right now I would say my brand new Urban Decay Naked palette.  It was definitely worth the money.  Let’s see I haven’t really been wearing much other makeup so, I am going to go with Darling Girl Boy Toy Kiss Me Tinted Lip Balm and Yes, Virginia! Soft focus blush.

3 Favourite Foods:
Authentic Mexican tacos
Cheesecake, well really any dessert
Fried rice

Kind of an odd trio of likes, but that’s me an oddball.

Desert Island Items:

Lip balm
Body lotion

…and my family. LOL

 3 People who've inspired you:
My father.  He was a hard working single father, but he was always there for me, supported me and great shoulder to cry on when needed.

My husband.  N
ot only is he my best friend but he has really given me the confidence and encouragement to pursue my dreams.  Darling Girl might not be here if it weren’t for him.

One of my long time friends Paulette because she never let’s anything get her down.  She has had some rough times but through it all has still maintained her great attitude towards life and doesn’t let anything keep her down.

3 blogs you'd like to recommend:
Just Peachy- Jill is just the nicest sweetest lady in the world and she does some great product reviews and swatches.
Eyeconic Makeup- I love Heather for her honest reviews and she is a doll!
Swatch Storm-Cait does really awesome thorough reviews.  I always look forward to her reviews J
3 words of advice:
Be who you are and you will be great!
Follow your dreams.  Nothing is impossible.
Live, laugh and love with your family and friends as much as possible because you never know how long you will have them in your life. 

Thank you so much Susan for agreeing to be interviewed - I really do love your products and can't wait for you to re-open. In fact.... we kinda guessed that you'd all be desperate to try her lovely treats, so stay tuned tomorrow for something very exciting indeed!
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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Some blogs to explore

Hello lovelies! It's all quiet on the Sparkle and Shade front at the moment, and for that I apologise. Partially it's that I'm settling back into the new term and schooly things. Partially it's that all that's in my head is running and cooking and I don't want to bore you all... I don't really have much beauty and makeup inspiration at the moment (even then I have what feels like a pile of a gazillion things to swatch and/or review) but I'm sure some will come back with the sunny weather. It also doesn't help that the salon who were supposedly employing me to work freelance with them and said they'd "call me in a couple of days" to confirm wedding dates have never called me back....I did think it was a very quick interview and I think they've probably had second thoughts about me as I really don't have that much experience, but you know what? That's ok. Partially it was just nice for someone to look at my website and think I was good enough to do it :) Life is pretty busy right now with Great North Run training and GTP stuff so I'm not going to chase after them - if its meant to be, it'll happen, if it's not, it won't :)

So whilst I wait for some beauty related inspiration, let me share a few blogs I've been enjoying recently:

enjoy :)

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