CF Beauty: Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipstick in Private Party

2014-01-18 16.37.572014-01-18 16.41.27I walked into Space NK in Bristol on Saturday for a quick nose around and walked out 10 minutes later with this glorious new velvety matte lippie from the Lipstick Queen. It comes in a midnight blue velvet box, then a rather glamorous gold casing. The bullet itself has a really silky, mousse-y texture, it’s really lightweight and although it is matte, it goes on smoothly and doesn’t dry out (it does have a rather off-putting minty, tingly smell/feel that I’m not that fond of, would have rathered a rose/floral scent to go with the old-school Hollywood glamour feel). When I swatched it on my hand in the shop it left pigment on my hand for the rest of the day and I’ve been wearing it since 8am this morning and it’s nearly lunch and it’s stayed pretty well I think:

2014-01-19 11.50.31Because of the texture it does have a tendency to bleed slightly (Lipstick Queen does a great invisible lip liner to fix this) and I have found the best way to apply is either with my finger, just blotting it into my lips for more of a ‘wash’, or in a dabbing motion to build up the colour gradually.

It is a classic pretty raspberry, but not too cold. I have been wearing Tom Ford’s corally ‘Ginger Fawn’ and pillar box ‘Smoke Red’ pretty consistently this winter, along with my beloved Laura Mercier palette but I think this is going to be my staple spring lippie this year.

Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope lipstick in Private Party, £35


Treasured possessions: Laura Mercier lip palette

Could this be the most loved Laura Mercier lip palette?!

It was a press gift many moons ago and didn’t even make it to the beauty cupboard when I got back to the office, it was a firm staple in my handbag from first sight and, as you can see, has been well used ever since.

The larger pan on the far left was a lip conditioner that you applied pre-lippie, it was brilliant for ensuring the colour went on smoothly and gave it a great, glossy finish.

As is rarely the case, all the colours are fab (bar the sludgy brown, bottom left). I particularly like the two coral-y shades along the bottom, but the hot fuschia pink on the top row is fab too. Unexpectedly, the almost flesh-tone shade at the top is brilliant for toning down the bold shades into a more pastel, natural look.

I love the massive mirror (before it broke) and I often used the pinkier shades as a cheek tint for touch-ups on the go.

So, my plan is to take my rather beloved palette to the Laura Mercier counter next week and see if they can match up a couple of the shades with their traditional bullet-style lippies. Unfortunately the label on the base has worn-off long ago, but it should be do-able? From the website the Tangerine and Sunrise look promising…

On a separate Laura Mercier note – I *seriously* hope I’ve been good enough this year to find this creme de pistache souffle body creme in my stocking on Christmas morning. A-MAZING.

Current Obsession: Zatchels mini barrel satchel

I’ve been hankering after a cross-body bag for a while. Since we ditched the buggy a couple of months ago, trying to wrangle a toddler who seems to RUN everywhere, plus shopping, nursery kit etc… let’s just say, the days of carrying my handbag in the crook of my arm and a latte in hand are OVER.

So, it was with utter joy that I unwrapped the daffodil yellow barrel bag from Zatchels at the weekend. A pressie from my best friend because, well, she’s the best:

It was immediately strapped to my body Sunday morning and accompanied us to the Wildlife Park where, despite it’s diminutive size, managed to hold my purse, phone, keys various and some bird feed.

You wouldn’t immediately think that a bright yellow bag would be that versatile, but with my mainly muted winter wardrobe it offers a very pleasing pop of colour:

As regular readers will know, I am passionate about championing British design and manufacture and Zatchels certainly fits the bill. I love that the two guys behind the brand (yes they’re men!) are based in Leicester and are traditional leather workers by trade, Zatchels was born as they wanted to create good quality, ‘hand-made in England’ leather bags that showcased their skills and that they could be proud of. What better reason to go into business?!

As a child of a professional book binder I often spent holidays being dragged around the leather suppliers of Europe, so do have some ability to spot ‘good leather’ and these bags are beautiful. So well constructed, with traditional nickel silver buckles and hardware.

So proud are Dean and Brian of their wares that they offer a lifetime guarantee. If the strap breaks or the stitching comes undone, send it back up to Leicester and their craftsman will fix it. How amazing is that?

As I get older I really appreciate the ethos behind buying something once and then servicing it and getting it repaired – my Cross fountain pen, Le Creuset pans, Kenwood Chef mixer and now my Zatchels bag… surely that’s the way it should be? Invest in something that will last a lifetime and with love and TLC it will last 100x longer than it’s cheaper, ‘throwaway’ cousin. I have a sneaking suspicion that me and my Zatchels bag are in for a long and happy friendship….

Treasured possessions: Le Creuset volcanic orange cookware

I’ve featured a variety of my treasured possessions in this series of posts (as an antidote to my otherwise rather fervent love to buy, buy, buy) – from heirloom jewellery to my beloved Kenwood Chef mixer. Next up is an item that in one brightly coloured item of kitchenware, manages to stir up 30 years worth of foodie memories – from childhood Christmases to my husband and I’s first date – the Le Creuset volcanic orange cookware range.

Le Creuset started making their porcelain enamelled cast-iron cookware in France, in 1925. When I came along in 1983 our kitchen in Devon was already filled with their pots and pans, from huge casserole dishes to three-tiered steamers that weighed more than me. I remember my mum cooking everything from slow-cooked stews to fruity jams in these cheerful, heavy-based pans – with me stood on a chair dutifully at her side, stirring and watching.

Fast forward 20 years and one mortgage later, my parents bought me a collection of pans as a moving in present for my first home. As a singleton I only needed the basics, but it was a comforting reminder of home when I was 200 miles away in London.

I love their reassuring weight, their ability to retain heat and cook things evenly – the thickness of the pans means you get that gentle, referred heat rather than a ‘flash in the pan’ type of cooking that lets flavours develop slowly. Also, in a world of constant consumption, they come with a reassuring ‘lifetime guarantee’.

A few years on and I arrived on the Bristol doorstep of a brooding Italian I had met through a friend, for our first date. It was New Year’s Day 2005. 12 hours later, and not quite able to break the spell of a perfect day together (Clifton Zoo, cosy pub lunch, trashy NYD TV) the Italian lured me into the kitchen with the promise of a bowl of homemade pasta before I went home and there, sat on his hob, was an array of Le Creuset volcanic orange pots. Perhaps not a conventional sign that someone is, The One, but a sign none the less. The Italian and his collection of Le Creuset moved in with me 8 years ago and we have been adding to our little cookware family ever since.

In another twist of fate, we have moved relatively near Street and the Clarks Outlet Village. Beyond the Whistles, Gap, Barbour and Jaeger delights, is a brilliant Le Creuset outlet store where we have picked up pie dishes, a salt pig, mugs and measuring bowls, all at a heavily discounted price. Yes, they are not cheap bits of kit, but when you consider some of our treasured pans are older than us (30-something), that’s pretty good going, I reckon.

CF Style: Tights weather

So, I’ve been resisting it for a while but it is well and truly tight weather in Devon.

Because I am a general klutz and end up ripping anything less than industrial strength denier, I have given in and embraced the more robust end of the hosiery spectrum and invested in these three pairs for this winter:

These soft merino wool ribbed tights from Falke (£28.50) are my annual, without fail, purchase when it comes to tights. They are every shade of brilliant. Cosy, comfy and with a chambray shirt dress and chunky chestnut leather biker boots (I’ve had my eye on these from Michael Kors for a while) – the epitome of autumn.

These 100 Denier beauties are also from Falke (£22.95). The OH’s Nonna has them in every jewel-like shade (yes, she is a very chic Italian octogenarian) and I love how they add a hint of colour to a monochrome outfit. The Barolo burgundy and Deep Sea inky blue, are both beautiful:

For £10, I couldn’t resist these thermal tights from Pretty Polly – at a whopping 200 Denier they are fleecy lined and promise to be super cosy on my 6am starts when I commute to work in Bristol. On an icy January morning I think these are going to be just the thing…

CF Buys: Ash studded metallic leather sneakers – from The Outnet

Be still my beating heart.

It is not often that a piece of clothing makes my pulse quicken but by George did I get palpitations when I clapped eyes on this pair of beauties:

As the photo suggests, I ordered them IMMEDIATELY and they arrived today – on sale at The Outnet down from £155 to £80. I wrote about my ASH wedge trainers in spring and I have worn them to death, so feel quite justified in snapping up this vajazzled, seasonal update.

I cannot tell you the love I have for these leather sneakers. The rose suede trim, matte silver studding, metallic sports-luxe leather… the only thing I’m not sure about is the ‘pre-loved’ sole that has been discoloured/scuffed so they look worn in. To me they just look grubby, but hey-ho.

It hasn’t dampened my ardor that much… if feet could talk these would be VERY happy indeed.

Ash studded metallic leather sneakers, £80 down from £155 at The Outnet now.

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