Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Up to August 3, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 7:09 pm

Browsing at Boden
Boden’s new season clothes are now online. I’ve actually never bought anything at Boden, but I like to look. The pages where they do ideas for outfits are very useful. This season I’ve got my eye on this velvet jacket, in brown.

Wearing Dollymix, by MAC
I went into MAC to look at the blushers, and had in mind a very natural dusky pink, to replace a Body Shop one I have that has been discontinued. I came away with Dollymix, possibly the brightest, strongest pink I have ever seen – the make-up lady persuaded me it was a good choice (even though they had one that looked exactly like my discontinued Body Shop one). And I think she was right – it looks quite natural on. I hope…

Considering buying new brushes
After I left MAC I went to Body Shop, where they have new make-up brushes that I’ve now got my eye on. As ever with Body Shop’s brushes, they are made of synthetic fibres, and look and feel to be of excellent quality. The bristles are more tapered than the older versions, and they have a new eye shadow blending brush. I’d like that and a blusher brush, so that I can apply my shocking pink MAC blusher with impunity.

Watching the new X-Files film
I think if you enjoyed watching the X-Files, you’d enjoy the film – I certainly did. One thing I found weird was that, because I have recently been watching old episodes of the show, the way they look in the film was a huge contrast. They are now perhaps 10-15 years older than they were in the episodes I watched only last week, and it is unsettling to see what the passage of time is doing to us all. They both look good, just older. Which means I look that much older too. Unsettling.

Reading about plastic
Chris Jeavans is going for a month without buying plastic, and it’s very interesting – she is struggling. You can read the background on the BBC, and then she is keeping a blog.

Wanting to make pin cushions
Heather Bailey’s pin cushion pattern looks like a good project for using up little bits of fabric – I can see me making a few of these for little gifts.


Up to: make-up edition June 18, 2008

Filed under: Cosmetics,Shopping,Up to — lauravw @ 8:12 pm

While we were on holiday in Seattle (which sadly seems like months ago now…) the very favourable pound to dollar exchange rate was all the excuse I needed to treat myself to a few new goodies.

First up was a blusher by Neutrogena. It’s OK but not outstanding – I think I bought it mostly because of how it looks (a dozen little squares in various shades of pink), but I think to get it to sit in the container in that arrangement, they had to really compress the stuff – so much so that it’s more of a solid than a powder, and as such not that easy to put on. You live and learn, I guess.

Next were two tinted lip balms by Korres – they sell their bodycare range in Boots, but I’d not seen the cosmetics in the UK. Their website is all flash based so I can’t link straight to the lip balms, but they are called lip butters, and I bought quince and wild rose. Both of these are nice, and very moisturising – they don’t have a sticky texture, which suits me. I really like these.

I got three (THREE!) eyeshadows from MAC. I let one of the members of staff there do my eyes for me, which was really helpful in terms of teaching me new techniques (I could do with going back and seeing them again), but the products they used on my eyes were not colours that suited me, and the finish was a bit glossy – not an everyday look. Nevertheless, I bought the shadows they used, worried about it for several days, and then sheepishly returned them and chose some colours myself. On my second visit I think I was a bit embarrassed to be returning things and as a result didn’t make the best choices, but the three shades I bought are nice. One is a pale pink, which unfortunately has led to me being asked if I have hayfever/allergies. The texture of the shadows is excellent though – they are very soft and easy to blend.

While the MAC lady did my eyes, she showed me the brush she was using, and suddenly it became very clear to me that a round, tapered brush is the way to go for blending eyeshadows. I didn’t buy the MAC one because it’s made from animal hair, but I was able to find some good quality alternatives pretty easily. A very helpful sales assistant pointed me in the direction of Origins, whose brushes are all synthetic. This is the one I bought – it’s not quite the same shape as the MAC one, but it works well.

Finally I needed to get some sunscreen for my face. I’ve never bought Clinique products before, but I’ve been very pleased with the City Block Sheer. It says sheer, but it’s a bit tinted and opaque really – which means it covers a few blemishes while it protects your skin. It’s not a moisturiser per se, so I’ve been putting a bit of moisturiser on underneath it every day. I’ll definitely buy some more of this when it runs out, though it looks like it will cost me 25-35% more in the UK. Perhaps I need another holiday…


Up to May 21, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 7:08 pm

Laughing while reading The Times:

“I’ve taken up running. Hahaha – I know, I know. I can totally confirm that I look like a Womble being chased off someone’s front garden, having inadvertently wandered over looking for buns.” (Caitlin Moran, essential Monday lunchtime reading)

Admiring the gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, through the so-extensive-I-can’t-find-time-to-watch-it-all coverage on the BBC. I love this countryside garden, especially the lovely hedge – they showed the craftsman who prepared the hedge, and he said the thing he likes best about that type of hedge is that it provides a larder for birds in the autumn and winter. Won me over immediately. You can take online tours of the gardens at the BBC, which is useful because they’ve been showing much of other aspects of the show on the TV this year and I’m most interested in the gardens.

Thinking about buying a piping bag and nozzles so I can make the Tiramisu cookies from last month’s Martha Stewart Living. (In fact, thinking about those cookies frequently.)


Up to: radio edition May 13, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 12:22 pm

One of my birthday presents this year was a new digital radio. I have had a digital radio for a good few years now, and like to listen to it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The new one has a sleep timer function, which means I can set it to turn itself automatically around about the time I expect to have fallen asleep. No more getting out of bed in the middle of the night to turn off the radio.

I’m a big fan of digital radio in general (there’s a lot of information on it here), but I hope someday someone invents a Tivo for radio – yes, you can use the BBC’s listen again feature to listen to radio programmes through the computer, but I would love to listen to radio programmes I like at a time that suits me without having to turn on the computer. Quite a few of the programmes I enjoy are on late or at weekends, when I don’t always manage to catch them, so this would really be useful.

If you’ve not got a digital radio you might not have listened to 6 Music, which is a shame – especially if you were born in the late 1970s and like indie music. Luckily you can get it online. The Gideon Coe show is my favourite, and I also enjoy Adam and Joe, and Bob Dylan’s theme time radio hour.

Saturday Live on Radio 4 is always interesting – where else could you hear stories about farmers doing tai chi in front of their cows in order to increase their milk output?


Up to February 26, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 7:30 pm

Enjoying: my new dressing gown from the White Company
This is a very early birthday present from my mother – she wanted me to have it while the weather is so cold and frosty. I love it – it’s a pale coffee colour (they call it Smoke), similar to the quilt she got me from there for Christmas (which they don’t seem to stock any more).

Wearing: Gap’s Spun Orange Blossom perfume
I bought this almost two years ago when we visited Seattle, along with a bottle of the peony scented version. I have a tendency to save things up for a rainy day lest they run out, which is a very silly thing to do with perfume because it goes bad after a while. I saw this in my drawer the other day and realised that I have had it two years, and should really just open up the shrink-wrap and enjoy it. I hadn’t realised just how nice it smells, which is a shame because they don’t make it any more… Luckily it seems there is a market for Gap perfume at ebay and other such places, and I’ve read that this one smells similar to a Jo Malone fragrance (I’d better get saving up for that one).

Planning: for a day out in London tomorrow
In the Rough Guide to London, I read that you can visit an enormous roof garden on the top of a private members’ club in Kensington, with views across the city. I rang up to check, and it’s open tomorrow (the public can’t go in when events are on, but because the building/garden are listed, it means they have to let you have access at other times). Very excited about this! We’re also planning to go to the National Portrait Gallery, where we can see the Vanity Fair exhibition.

Learning a bit more about taking pictures
Alicia wrote some easy to understand tips about taking pictures. I don’t think my camera has all the same options as hers, but it’s still going to be filed under ‘will come in handy some day.’

Looking forward to the relaunched Blueprint blog
With more writers and more content – launches in early March, which is only a few days away.


Up to February 12, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 1:18 pm

Waiting for my Ocado/Waitrose delivery to arrive

This is a once in a blue moon treat, and should arrive tonight between 7 and 8. I’ve been doing my grocery shopping online for the past few years and I’ve been starting to take it for granted a bit, but it is a wonderful thing: no queuing, no need to contend with other people doing their shopping, no venturing out in the cold. We usually get Sainsburys deliveries – there’s no Waitrose near us, but they have a giant UK distribution centre that they do their deliveries from. That makes me feel a little uneasy (the thought of my groceries coming from near London doesn’t sound too green to me), but they use environmentally friendly vehicles and claim it’s greener to have one distribution centre…

Thinking about buying some more Rosti homewares

I have five mixing bowls made by Rosti, and I’m very attached to them. The first two I bought came from Paris – there was a small cookware shop opposite a hotel we stayed in there several years ago, and each time we passed it I would peer through the window and covet the bowls. I bought two (one pink, one green) and had to carry them on my lap all the way back to England. It was totally worth it. Since then I’ve bought three more from Amazon (yellow, blue and a huge orange bowl). I’ve now found that, in addition to the selection of Rosti products on the Amazon UK site, you can buy them at a German site called Cookfunky.


Up to January 20, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 7:25 pm

Trying: Sanctuary face wash

More than I usually spend on face wash, but Boots are giving away £5 vouchers for Sanctuary skincare products, which means you can pick this up at the moment for £0.95. I’m enjoying using it, and my skin feels good after using it – though once I run out, I doubt I’ll be able to bring myself to spend almost £6 on what is, essentially, soap.

Eating: Fran’s Deep Milk Chocolate

This is delicious. We’re visiting Seattle later this year, so I’ll be able to pack a few of these in my suitcase on the way back. Which will also mean I won’t be able to eat them all during the flight.

Listening to: The Go! Team – Proof of Youth

I put this on when I’m washing up – it’s cheery, and sounds like it’s recorded by a really enthusiastic and talented group of people.  Plus the music part of their website is set up to look like a cassette player and a stack of tapes, which is fun. You can listen to lots of their music on the site.


Up to January 8, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 10:18 pm

Jumping on the bandwagon for this one I’m afraid, but I enjoy people’s posts about what they are reading/consuming/listening to, so I’m shamelessly joining in.

Reading: I Like You, by Amy Sedaris

Lots of fun to read, so much so that I was a little disappointed when I thought I still had a good chunk of the book to go, but it turned out the whole last section is recipes. Not that there’s anything wrong with recipes, but I was really enjoying reading the book. And I was pleased that, for the UK version, someone had gone to the trouble of converting the oven temperatures to our British ones. My only complaint is that a book with this many recipes in really needs an index so that you can find them.

Eating: Toffee Pecan Meringue Roulade

From Marks and Spencer. I think this is the nicest dessert I have eaten all year, possibly even including 2007. HIGHLY recommended – it’s in the freezer section of the shop, costs about £5 but is worth it.

Playing: Yahtzee

I got this for Christmas and we’ve enjoyed playing it – plus I have won both times so far, which made me like the game more.