Sunday, December 14

Christmas Nails!! - Snowman and Santa Claus

It's Christmas time and for an easy-to-wear Christmas manicure, just wear these cheeky little chappies on your right and left thumbnail. Christmas nail art that doesn't scream but nevertheless smiles and adds a touch of festive cheer to your manicure.

If your nails are very stained you may want to begin with a creamy base coat but to be honest my nails were quite stained today and they look fine. Use a dotting tool or kirby grip for the white trim of Santa's hat if you find the brush tricky. For the finishing details a toothpick does the trick or again use a dotting tool or kirby grip - if you don't have black polish any dark colour will do; I used burgundy. Finish the snowman's hat with a swipe of glitter and of course you'll want to seal it all with a topcoat. 

I love these little guys, they make me smile over Christmas and everyone wants a closer look - especially kids! 

I usually paint the nails on my Santa hand red and on my Snowman hand blue. It's more subtle than a lot of nail art out there but nonetheless is cheerful and attention-grabbing - without screaming!

I hope you're all having a lovely festive period - I'm just watching a bit of Disney's Christmas carol with Jim Carey; my favourite Christmas Carol adaptation.

Merry Christmas for now,

Saturday, December 13

Promising Yellow: Gorgeous Vintage Fashion at the Manchester Gallery

The waists were even teenier in real-life!
Whilst in Manchester for the wonderful Christmas market (and delicious mulled wine!!) we stumbled upon the 'cotton couture' exhibition! A gorgeous collection of catwalk pieces from the 1950s made entirely of cotton!

Dear reader, I was drooling. I was in heaven! I felt like Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and Rita Hayworth were suddenly in the room with me. I have a deep deep love for that time period - the movies, music, singers, celebrity personalities and of course the style!

For those of you who don't know, Manchester is more than just the hometown of Daphne from Frasier, it's probably England's second biggest city and has a rich past in cotton manufacturing. While the American South was busy growing the cotton the merchants in Manchester were busy dyeing it, spinning it, weaving it and making all sorts of beautiful fabrics to drape over our sometimes grey-day world. At one point Manchester manufactured nearly 50% of the world's cotton! 

But you didn't come here for history you came to gaze in wonder at these beautiful pieces.

The exhibition runs until 14th June 2015. The outfits were all designed to challenge the image of cotton as simply for summer dresses, kidswear and underwear;

"The Cotton Board deliberately challenged these established views by commissioning ball gowns, cocktail dresses and tailored suits, all in a striking range of different cottons." (from the Manchester Galleries website)

The details on this white gown are B-E-A-utiful!! and it's hard to believe it's not the finest lace or brocade! This is definitely my favourite <3

Would you wear this walking around town to keep warm? It's a coat! Can you imagine buying a coat with a 3 foot train?

What really struck me was how teeny the waists were! We always think of our models today representing dangerously thin and unhealthy ideals whereas the women of yesteryear were curvy and healthy and had hips etc. . . but looking at these pieces the models of the 1950s were just as small as our size zeros today, if not quite so tall. I suppose we look at movies where sirens like Jane Russell and Rita Hayworth sashay around with dangerous curves and happily put on our rose-coloured glasses!

My favourites - just gorgeous!

Each dress has a little info board showing a model wearing the dress and the year and designer.

You'll have to excuse the blurriness, my little point-and-shoot doesn't do well in dim lighting!

It's a beautiful exhibition so if you happen to be in Manchester over the next 6 months or so pop in and have a look, it's free gallery with lots of different exhibition rooms. For more information about the exhibition and how the dresses came about click here to go to the Manchester City Galleries website.

Which is your favourite? What can you see yourself wearing?

Ciao for now

Wednesday, December 10

Know your blackheads, KILL your blackheads!!

nose strip, bentonite clay, deep cleanse pore mask and innisfree blackhead out balm
You've Googled and clicked and masked and exfoliated to get rid of your blackheads. Masks and nose strips are supposed to 'draw out the impurities, lift out the blackhead,' but none of them work and you're wondering what's wrong with you. 'Why does it work for everybody else but not me?'

Simple! - We all think we know what a blackhead is but in reality we're only halfway right!

I recently wrote this post about a DIY clay mask to deep clean your pores. It's a great mask and will improve the appearance of your blackheads (or comedones) - but, just like a nose strip, it cannot remove them completely. When it comes to blackheads, nose-strips and facemasks will only remove the gunk at the very top of the blackhead, the clog that's closest to the surface. That's good because blackheads won't protrude or seem as big.

But the real problem, the 'root' of the blackhead (comedone) is much deeper in your pore; where the oil gland meets the pore (learn more about pores here) and mixes with dead skin cells that have not been properly 'shed' a hard 'plug' forms. It is not a simple case of a bit of oil, old make-up and dead skin cells just under the surface, there is actually a 'plug' in the pore. It is hard and deep and cannot be simply 'drawn out' by a mask or pulled out by a nose-strip.

I'm not too sure if I've experienced this but it's said that when you get a blackhead plug out of your pore the oil that's built up behind it will suddenly be free-flowing (a good thing); sounds disgusting but strangely satisfying right?

The only way I know of for sure is physical removal (dun dun dunnnnn!)  - but removal of blackheads is another post for another day! (a day that will come soon!). In the meantime 'buyer beware'! Just because it says the product removes blackheads, doesn't mean it can and the phrase 'improve the appearance of blackheads' does not mean 'removes blackheads'.

Blackheads are an absolute pain in the backside and will not just go away on their own so be strict with yourself!! Follow the anti-acne rules and routine to keep your face clear, stick on a bentonite clay mask every week and most of all remember - blackheads are very small, although you may see them each time you look in the mirror, they will not be that noticeable to other people so please don't them take over your life or make you feel self-conscious.

I'm pretty sure everybody - and I do mean everybody - has a few blackheads tucked away down the sides of their nose or over their forehead or on their chin, somewhere. We're all on the quest for clear pores together!

See you soon for some removal tips!

Ciao for now