Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fear and exhilaration in equal measure

** Warning – waffly post, no photos and may not even appear because has been scheduled. My fingers are crossed.

I am having a feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway phase in my life at the moment… with a whole plethora of things in both my work and my personal life. Taking the plunge and just doing something, and leaving my comfort zone way behind, seem to be the order of the day.

This is not a bad thing, but it’s not particularly restful either… my naturally fretful side (which is usually eclipsed by the laid back, anything-goes side of my personality, but which does rise to the surface during times of stress) is having an absolute field day worrying and analysing and generally freaking out.

However, I am doing these things regardless and I have to say, afterwards, it’s a fabulous feeling! We’re talking a relatively long list of things ranging from wearing red (proper red) lipstick and a vintage dress to work on dress-down Friday, to starting skating again, to organising the company’s Staff Day (which is a massive undertaking I would have sworn I wasn’t able to do, but have actually managed ok so far, touch wood) to my biggest piece of madness to date, agreeing to go on this utterly mad rally.

It’s going to be exhilarating and freeing and liberating, and it will be a massive sense of achievement when I’ve done it, knowing I can drive abroad and sleep in cars and cope with not knowing the language and be in a different country every day and make new friends and let’s not forget talk to blokes on an even footing (as opposed to melting into a terrified puddle every time one approaches). There are all these positives and I am still terrified.

But sometimes, life really is too short not to do things that scare you. And that kind of mood comes around so infrequently (to me, at least) that I’m embracing it and doing things I definitely wouldn’t normally.

On the list of things I would like to do while this mood continues are things like attend a vintage themed event, set up another collective, this time with a theme (that’s an ongoing project anyway, but is going to take courage and luck to actually launch), finally get my shops back up and running, make a start on the book, read my old diaries, have a jumping lesson (on horseback), drive through London, etc. They’re all quite small individually but looking at the things I’ve done, I do and I want to do, and comparing the girl I am now to the girl I was just a few short years ago makes me realise how far I’ve come and how much I am, now, the girl I want to be.

Here’s to adventure and happiness… and a healthy dose of recklessness! (Hell, I’m in my 20s – it’s practically compulsory!)

What do you do that’s unusual, that scares you or that you know might not be entirely sensible?

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Filed under Absorbing, Adventuring, Driving, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Life Plans and Goals, Loving & Living, Personal Development, Planning, R2R 2011 (Banger rally), Thinking

My week in pictures

Beautiful skyscape on my way to Mersea with the family last weekend:

 

Lunchtime in the Barbican centre – I go here probably 3 lunches out of 5, it’s a wonderfully calming space and has a gorgeous library.

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Books from Barbican library – retro wrapping paper, bookbindng for beginners and fashion from the 50s.

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Taken during a break while rollerskating in Hyde Park with Jess:

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This is London in August.

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Finishing off the (working) week with cocktails and Karen :)

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Filed under Photography, Recording, Week in pictures

Whoops – this week’s haul

I’m completely broke and shouldn’t be buying anything but essentials. Yet somehow, I found myself in Superdrug this morning eyeing up the Sleek Pout Paint, which I’ve heard rave reviews about. Unsurprisingly, three came home with me (they had a 3 for 2 promotion)

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I’m stupidly excited to try them out, especially the blue, and to do some mixing :)

Next (well actually bought earlier in the week) were two No. 7 blue nail polishes (with the £5 off voucher Boots are so kindly doing at the moment) in Betty Blues (the dark sparkly one) and Poolside Blue (which matches my Pout Paint gorgeously, doesn’t it?!). I also indulged in a hideously expensive but (I’m told) well worth it OPI Start to Finish, which will keep my manicure chip-free for a good week, even if I wash up. And I may have accidentally bought a Barry M black crackle polish too, just to see the effect :) Photographed with my Marie Claire Ciate in Wait Until Dark, which I know has been reviewed on a fair few beauty blogs already.

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My apologies for the ridiculously bad photos, incidentally – but really wanted to get a blog up at some stage this weekend and I think this is going to be my only opportunity!

Also indulged in four bottles of Aussie haircare – two shampoos, a three minute miracle conditioner and some Luscious Long leave-in conditioner which smells amazing… so hopefully my poor mistreated hair will soon be in the peak of health.

I actually had a weird craving to dye it dark red again earlier, but I’m not sure I’d get away with it for work… maybe I should do it for the rally and then it’d have time to fade before we get back?!

I promise to try and blog properly soon – no idea what’s happened to my life in last few weeks!

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Filed under Beauty, Hair, Haul Posts

Things that make me happy, ahem, Friday – I missed yesterday (26/8/11)

Successfully trimming my own hair – I’ve never taken scissors to my own hair in my life, and I’m (I think justifiably) proud of the length and condition of my hair… but it was desperate for a trim and I have neither the time nor the money to go to a hairdresser. Soo, with the help of Lily (@beautysbadhabit) Lizzums (@talei), whose conversation I was eavesdropping on on Twitter, I did it myself – and it looks ok! :)

Seaside happiness – a large chunk of my extended family went to Mersea for the day last weekend, along with my cousin’s boyfriend’s two sisters, so I could meet them (are you following who is related to who closely? There will be questions later :P) It was gorgeous – I relaxed and walked and photographed and chatted and played and caught up. And it was so lovely to be around someone (one of the sisters, Sarah) who understands my book obsession (that’s a whole post in itself!).

Sweet treats – lunchtime hot chocolate and gossiping with a friend.

Skating in Hyde Park. It felt like I’d come home – although I’m still pretty wobbly at times, so many other people there were on skates that I felt completely normal :) Was lovely to spend some time with Jess away from work too, we can never chat properly in the office! This will, weather dependent, be a regular thing from now on.

Lovely comments from lovely Naomi about my blog *warm fuzzies*

My Twitter friends – they’ve been fabulous this week and made me smile when that was the very last thing I wanted to do.

Eating outside – it was Dad’s birthday on Monday and the weather was so nice, we BBQed and sat outside instead of going out for dinner, it was too nice an evening to waste indoors. A lovely week – only slightly marred by being at work instead of at home having fun, lol!

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Overheard at Liverpool Street Station this evening

“Aaaaah, I’m wearing the wrong bra for running in!”

Ok, so it’s juvenile and immature, but I snorted with giggles – and the girl who said it heard me, caught my eye and giggled too!

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Just occasionally, I’m right in the zeitgeist

Yesterday, within another post, I posted a brief introduction to the Pinup Project. This is my attempt to look better all the time, and therefore feel better and get further. I do not subscribe to the thin-is-everything look, but I do want to be healthy and happy and yes, to turn heads on occasion. It’s my attempt to be a more polished version of myself, which I hope will have a positive effect on my life.

I’ve long thought that you can be strong, independent and career-minded, look fabulous while doing so and still ultimately want more traditional things like a partner and/or children. I can be quite forceful, when the subject arises among friends, about our rights to choose what we want – just because I’m not yet sure I want children, doesn’t mean I want to be a ballbreaking career woman married to the boardroom either. It’s all about the balance. And for women who are working, particularly in the City, I think it’s really important to hang onto your femininity – among the many things we can do equally or better than men, that’s the one they can’t even compete with.

I don’t think we should be ashamed of dressing up and wearing pretty things, be those things shoes, clothes, jewellery or makeup. It doesn’t affect our ability to work and it should differentiate us from the men who do similar jobs. A close friend of mine always wears a vintage dress, curled hair and red lipstick to work on dress down Fridays, and gets a lot of stick for being ‘so dressed up’ – when actually, that’s how she would like to dress all the time and only conforms to the office dress code in the week because it’s required in her contract. It’s as though turning up in anything but a shapeless suit during the week, or a tshirt and jeans on Fridays, is somehow against feminism. And I really couldn’t disagree with that more.

So it’s rather nice, all of a sudden, to find that my views are being backed up by Dr Catherine Hakim from the London School of Economics. She’s dubbed it ‘erotic capital’, and there is a halfway decent article on it here, written by Bryony Gordon (with whom I used to work in my design days).

The last time I was this close to the zeitgeist was when I wore a tshirt under a strapless dress because the air conditioning in the office was cold. I spent all day fending off compliments about how on-trend I was. But it is a good feeling to know there are others out there who feel the same way as I do on this particular issue, whether or not it’s a trendy topic or not.

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Filed under Absorbing, Overheard, Reading Matter, Recording, Thinking

Some random musings on the future

Ducking Fabulous has sort of become my online identity rather than the jewellery brand it started out as. I don’t think this is a bad thing, and I wouldn’t change my lifestyle and beauty blogging and general waffle about life back to solely craft and/or jewellery. However, I do miss making and selling things, and now I have the studio in my flat, there really is no excuse for me not to kick myself into gear. It’s probably only ever going to be a hobby, but there’s only so much jewellery one girl can wear!

I’m also wanting to experiment when my new sewing machine comes from the lovely colleague at work who no longer wants hers; and I have several pairs of shoes to customise; and there’s the vintage bits and pieces I’ve been collecting for a year or so, I think it’s about time that the pieces not on display went on sale so they can have a better home.

So I’m thinking of opening two Etsy shops – one as Ducking Fabulous, for handmade things by me, and one for vintage things. I have a name, which I won’t disclose until I’ve checked if it’s available and if the banner idea I have in mind works! I’ve been playing with category ideas and collections – it’s a great way to pass the commuting time!

However in order to do this, I need to seriously overhaul my life – I’m far too busy at the moment to be efficient with sales, and I’d want to have proper packaging and everything sorted out if I did do it. It’s still a bit of a pipe dream, but maybe in 2012… I’d need time set aside to photograph and list everything, as well as making new stuff and packing and posting anything I sold.

We shall see – I’d love your comments and opinions and thoughts if any of you have done similar things, and if there’s anything I’m overlooking in my thoughts (although I do use this blog as much as a notebook for my own thoughts as I do for writing articles to be read… feel free to ignore this random waffling!)

 

Relatedly, but sort of separately, I have two bigger projects in mind – the first is Project Pinup, which is an overhaul of me and an attempt to be more elegant, more ladylike and more pin-up-like. Not necessarily in shape or size, but in the way I am and the way I present myself to the world. I am thoroughly fed up of doing my makeup on the train and brushing my hair out from wet and then just leaving it, but equally I don’t want to get up at 4am to try and make myself pretty before I leave for work. I also want to differentiate between my work look (which must be sober and subtle) and my look on my own time (which will vary over a range of styles, not just pin-up, but is, like the real me, much louder and more dramatic, without being in-your-face. I hope, anyway.

 

The second is Project Thrifty Chic, which I know is unimaginatively named, but is more essential. As I’ve taken over the flat, I have a LOT less spending money each month than I used to. I have raided my savings down to almost nothing to fund the rally (which I don’t at all regret, it’s going to be the trip of a lifetime and I’d far rather do that than go backpacking, but it does mean I don’t have much in the way of backup money anymore) and I go into my overdraft most months. This is not a situation I’m happy with, but I refuse to give up the car and I can’t give up the flat for at least another five months (and I’m so happy here, I don’t want to relinquish that either). So the solution is to stop with the random spending and try to economise, but as Mimi says, being thrifty rather than frugal – it’s amazing how different the words can make you feel. My intention is to still have a fabulous look and a fabulous life, but spend less doing it – and I think this is perfectly possible, especially now I have the flat to myself as entertaining space, I can actually persuade people to my house instead of out for dinner on occasion! I love thrifting for clothes and homewares anyway, so it will be an extension of that. I don’t intend to ban myself from buying new things, but I will try to re-use and recycle or buy secondhand whenever I can, as it’s greener as well as being cheaper. And with the car I drive, I really should make every effort in every other area of my life to be kinder to the environment. It’s all about balance.

Watch this space – and congratulations if you got to the end of this post, it ended up being somewhat of a stream of consciousness!

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Filed under Business Wafflings, Life Plans and Goals, Planning, Projects

When the cat’s away, the mouse will have a manicure…

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I’m not usually allowed to have painted nails at work. Or at least, I don’t think nail polish per se is banned, but the multicolour nails I favour (I almost always have at least two colours on my fingers and two others on my toes) are not compatible with my day job. However, as the boss is away and I am seeing precisely zero clients while he is… here goes! This is #1, done at my cousin’s house on Sunday afternoon with Avon Arabian Glow polishes. Which I forgot to take photos of. Beauty blogger fail.

The second set, done about ten minutes ago and drying as I type, has been done with my Marie Claire Ciate freebie (the dark purple one) and a No 7 I’ve been dying to try out, Stay Perfect in Betty Blues. It’s a very dark blue with a hint of sparkle. Photos in daylight tomorrow :)

The fab title of this post is courtesy of the lovely craftyguider – it made me smile all day (no mean feat!)

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Two things that make me happy…

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Baking and a new lipstick :) Recipe(s) and review of the red lipstick gorgeousness coming soon :)

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Filed under Baking, Beauty, Thinking

Subscribers – apologies

Just a quick note to anyone who’s subscribed either by email or via Google Reader – it appears the title of my blog has vanished and it comes up as ‘title unknown’. I am working on fixing this but it may take me a few days to perfect!

Lots of apologies…

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