Thursday, 6 March 2014
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
I wore my vintage peach dress with the white stripes and added the little aqua belt as planned. The humidity was not doing my hair any favours, and neither was my centre parting. I must remember that I can only part my hair in the middle when it is a fair bit longer. Damn. In fact the humidity and heat weren't doing me any favours in general, and I can't remember which came first, my headache or my bad mood! Coffee is very much required in these circumstances. We went, again, to our regular breakfast place, which long time readers will know is Mixed Business. Making a note to myself: try more places this winter! But it's easy to stick to the same thing when it is always good. And anwyay, I don't always like trying new things, as I don't want to waste my time on something that's not so good. Still, I think I can have a try every now and then! The sky was dark, dark grey, but it wouldn't rain. These were more fun to look at. A bit of colour and cheer among the grey, what an amazing effect it does have after all! That said, I LOVE me some stormy skies... but I like it colder, too! I always, always have food envy with John. He picks savoury things, and, as part of my sudden note-to-self that I've deciding on literally as I type this, I am going to do that, too.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Having been on something of a roller coaster ride for the past 18 months or so, my hair is in need of a bit of TLC. Well, a lot, actually. My hair, which is incredibly (luckily, considering all I've done to it!) resilient, despite being so fine, has never been so damaged. Never. I've never been too concerned about shampoos – some work better than others, but I've never had something like a miracle happen, so will use whatever, to some degree – I go by whichever one smells the best – and conditioner was something that just made the bath slippy and so was skipped, until I went platinum and used lots of it to do my hair pastel pink, blue, lilac and so on.
Now, on my fourth time of colouring my very pale bleached hair back to something more natural, it's been all about the conditioner. And the treatments. I'm patiently growing it out, opting to have inches cut off at a time (since I went red I've had about 6 inches lopped off) which has been a hard decision to make, as I really want to grow my hair longish again. It's that time-old question: to save damaged ends for as long as you can, or to chop them all off?
I am doing a bit of both. I've found a few treatments that actually really do make a massive difference to my hair. And I have finally tried some oils, too. I wasn't too sure about oils at first; anything that gets that much hype rarely lives up to it and anyway, surely using oil in your hair must make it a bit greasy and yuck.
I got the chance to try out two oils, a Macadamia treatment with Aragn oils, and Moroccan oil. I've been using them alternately for a couple of weeks now, on damp, unconditioned hair after I've washed it. Both were different from what I expected and both were very good. The Macadamia Luxurious Oil Treatment contains the Argan Oils I was interested in, and has a nice, fresh smell – somewhat zingy, and less cloyingly sweet and cake-like than I thought it would be. It works in very quickly and doesn't leave any kind of oily, stuck-together-y bits, which is the one thing I thought oil treatments might do. In fact it leaves my hair very conditioned and soft but also very light, which I really like – there's no weightiness to hinder any curling. It leaves behind a subtle, fresh scent and hugely improves my dry lengths. It also doesn't make my roots greasy and doesn't leave my hands gunky and gross afterwards either. Win win win. I sometimes need to add a touch more to the very ends of my hair to help seal, albeit temporarily of course, my split ends.
(Yes I have split ends even after last months' 3 inch chop. Or was it 4? Like I said, patiently growing it out...)
One thing I saw that surprised me was the line on the front saying it is "...enhanced with beneficial silicones" – silicones have had a bad rap when it comes to hair care for years but to be honest, if they make my hair that much nicer, I'll use 'em. And, in this case, they do. Fine. The other oil I tried was the one I have seen big displays for here and there, The Moroccanoil Treatment. This one has an ever so slightly stronger, sweeter smell, and a slightly heavier feel in my hair – after smoothing it in, my hair is silkier and more together, if you know what I mean. It feels a bit richer, both on my hands when I'm putting it in, and then in my hair, too. It also smooths down any frazzled ends quickly. I really, really like this one. I'm happy to use either one to replace a traditional conditioner when washing my hair.
The verdict? Erm, I really like both of them. The have slightly difference results, but that's only if I'm being very picky. They both massively improve the look and feel of my hair. Massively. I would definitely buy either of them again. I'm curious how they'd go in less damaged hair, now... I'll find out when I am using them in a year or so. Bring. It. On.
And you – do you use hair oils? What do you think?
Monday, 3 March 2014
Much more exciting is the fact that Saturday was our first official (ridiculous notion but I'll take it anyway!) day of Autumn! Happy joy joy and dancing all round. It was beautifully clear and sunny but with enough of a chill in the air to make the change really noticeable and it was heaven. Absolutely gorgeous. The plants and trees are just starting to come back to life, too, and are all vibrant colours glowing under that slightly lower sun. It is all rather lovely and makes me very happy.
On Friday night we met a couple of friends at Mr and Mrs Howell in Brunswick for drinks and snackies, deciding that the anchovy on pesto toast was very nice (as were the fritters) and enjoying being looked after by the lovely staff, before going to a second place where apparently the wine was very good (I was driving so I didn't have any) but not much else was. I drove everyone home afterwards which always makes me feel healthy, frugal and useful and therefore very saintly. Will DESERVE vino and taxi next time, having earned it, obviously. To mark the onset of Fall, I painted my nails a burnt orange, topped with dusty rose hued glitter of differing sizes, and then admired how they looked with my new, huge sparkly ring that I bought from Lovisa last week when I had to go past the shop on the way to the post office. I then realised that maybe, just maybe, the green stones might match the velvet of the vintage opera coat that I've had for years but not worn much, and the nails would match the lining... and lo and behold, bingo!
The dark orange colour is by ORLY which makes me think of owls (YA SRSLY etc) and I think it is very good. This colour is extra nice, kind of metallic-y with tiny shimmery bits, and has an almost shot fabric finish, with subtle olive and a touch of yellow showing when you turn your hands left and right. The glitter is by Essie, and the perfect pale pink colour, and it does last for ages but is a bit of a faff to get off. Totally worth it, in my opinion. I'm so excited about wearing cold-weather clothes again, and have started to go through my wardrobe to see what I want to wear first. This is one of my all time favourite vintage dresses, bought years ago now, and it needs a little bit of love and care before I can wear it again. I've hung it in my living room to remind me to do it when I'm watching TV in the evening but this trick hasn't actually worked so far... it will get done, soon, though, as I want to wear lots of dark, plain colours – navy, blacks, dark grey etc – this winter and this dress fits the bill perfectly.
On Saturday, John and I drove up to a farmer's market in Bundoora that we hadn't been to before, trailing bags and backpacks and hoping for good fresh veg. And we weren't disappointed; all bags were loaded with crisp goodies plus bread, cheese and some beef to roast later in the week. Yum. We also met this ginormous dog. Isn't he beautiful? Quite often I think I'd love a great big dog. I don't think Babycat feels the same!
Saturday, 1 March 2014
We checked out the just-opened Chianti Bar and Bistro in North Fitzroy. It's the new baby of the owners of one of our absolute favourite cafes (going out for breakfast always seems much more acceptable, for some strange reason) Mixed Business, which is just down the road. We've always liked what they do in the am, so trying out some after dark stuff seemed like a pretty obvious, and safe, step.
It's a small place in a strip of cafes and restaurants in a part of town we don't think of going to for night time stuff, and it's charming. It's got neon lights on the windows, exposed brick walls and, the best, I think, bits – old doors between the various rooms. It looks as though a lot of the more structural things haven't changed since, say, the 1940s. I have a real thing for places that keep their character (and fittings, where possible) and I love the cosy, familiar feeling it gives me. It's a friendly spot, somewhere to go to for quiet nights of carb-loading comfort that I think I will enjoy even more when it's properly cold outside.
Speaking of carb-loading, we gave that a very good go – the zucchini flowers were the only green thing we put in our mouths the whole evening. Next time I must remember to order a salad and not just think about it; I rather conveniently forgot as I shoveled fluffy, crispy batter and orecchiette into my face. Don't know how that happened!. We took breaks from eating to get through a carafe of red, which is enough to get me sparkly-eyed and warm, and enjoy all the "moons" outside, and helped make the tram ride home that much more bearable too. Actually, it was completely fine – dare I say it, but we might just have found a sort of local here.
Friday, 28 February 2014
We've had to cleear out a few pieces of furniture in the past couple of years, including my vintage dressing table. It was incredibly practical, with those six drawers to store smalls, hair products, and so on. I liked being able to have some of the nicer looking things out on display, and it felt very luxurious to have a tiny vintage vase with a single stem, too. It wasn't perfect, though. There was a space in the centre for a glass shelf, which it still had, but I couldn't put it in place in case Babycat leapt on it – she would – and smashed through it. It also had a wooden shelf below, which was part of the base, and while it was good for more storage, it meant that I couldn't sit with my legs under the glass shelf, and had to twist and sit side saddle instead. Not ideal for putting on makeup and putting in pin curls, or doing any of those things that take more than a couple of minutes to do. The mirror had to be propped into place, and was rectangle – I love the round ones. I did love its deco styling, the dark wood with the details in the feet and the overall idea of it. It just took up too much room, and the dark wood, which I love, was just too heavy for our late 1960s built home with its nods to mid century ideas, regular height ceilings and small rooms. It had to go. One day, when we move into a period house with rooms that little bit bigger and ceilings a little higher (with ceiling roses, please!), I will again have a dressing table, with a perfect round mirror with scalloped edges, an all-wood table top I can tuck my knees under, and of course the glorious practicality of all that storage, too. Bring on the day!
In the meantime, I've commandeered the green-y blue Ikea metal trolley from its job in the kitchen of storing vegetables and spice bottles, and wheeled it into the back bedroom to house all my makeup things. I keep all of it in separate bowls, cups and bags, to have some kind of sense of order to them. Brushes in a dark green patterned cup from an op shop (one of a set of four that became three within minutes of me getting them home, damn), lipsticks and pencils together in a blue and white tin, blushers in a little bag, and hairbrushes in an, erm, plant pot. Basically it was whatever was to hand, as it all felt very temporary at the time and kind of still does, even though I don't think we'll be moving house any time soon.
It might not be my all time ideal, but it works. I like having my brushes stored like that, so that when they have their weekly bath I can just pat dry their plastic bodies and pop them back in the cup and leave them basking, fluffy heads up, in the sunshine, to dry properly. I don't have to search for a blusher that might be buried under a pile of eye shadows that then gets knocked over and spills all over the floor. Dainty and pretty and nestled among scented candles and roses and photographs is just going to have to wait. Sigh.
I would love to know how you store your makeup. I always like seeing people's collections and their ways of keeping it all together. Do you have a dressing table or vanity unit, or use drawers, or is it all just wherever it ends up after you've used it? Let's have a nose!
Thursday, 27 February 2014
It was a nice, cool late summer evening, although I got too hot (and completely saturated) on the long drive through the city's rush hour traffic. Yuck. I wore this vintage pink dress, which I got for last summer (as always, it was bought with the intention of being worn for years, not just one season) and got loads of wear out of, but then the zip broke. I finally fixed up the zip (tedious task, oh YAWN) just in time for the final few sunny weeks we've got left.
And I am so glad I did. To look at, I find the hot pink and white swirly print quite bright, but it's actually really easy – and nice – to wear. I'm chuffed to have it back in rotation. You can never have too many cotton sundresses! I would love to grow just some vegetables at home, and might be able to get a couple of small-ish pots going out the front this Autumn. Nothing like this, though. Look at these zucchinis! We are lucky as a lot of them get sent our way, maybe even too many... just how many things can you cook with zucchini? I love the flowers, too, and must remember to get some if we can. I popped my head over the fence to say hello to the ladies. And I always check to see if there is an egg waiting to be collected. Of course there never is, as John's mum picks them up in the daytime, but I am forever hopeful to find a fresh one, warm in the straw and ready to join the little mountain of them in the kitchen, or the cardboard boxes we use to take home two dozen at a time. (I am getting lots of practice at cooking the perfect creamy omelette.) Home grown salad is amazing, and anything from the supermarket is incomparable. The rocket is so peppery and kind of green, as in fresh, tasting. Yum. Every year, piles of wood are dried out, a fire is lit under the 44 gallon drum, and tomato salsa is made: fresh tomato cooked with salt and a basil leaf, and put into cleaned beer bottles collected in the months beforehand and then boiled overnight to preserve it all. It lasts about a year in a cool dark place. We are so lucky to get to take armloads of these home afterwards. We've helped make it a few times, too, but not this year. In fact, here is the grand total of my assistance with it, sitting on the wall by the fireplace and looking ethereal. Phew. It's a shame, in a way, as it's really fun to make, and I love the smokey fire smell – but it does mean getting going at 5am or so. Sleep-ins on the weekend are stiff competition, really! After admiring the garden it was time for dinner. We're spoiled with home made pasta, chicken schnitzel, and tomatoes and salad from the garden. No fancy food styling for the camera here, this is just as it was, with clingwrapped sliced cheese from the fridge (we all have our quirks), olives served in the little plastic tub they live in, and pre grated parmesan from the freezer. There's also always lots of fresh slices of bread to turn everything into a massive sandwich. Delicious. We finished with cups of tea (coffee would keep us up all night, although I don't think that's so very bad) and home made biscottini, chopped very thin and with just the right amount of squish. I love these, and like to pretend that I am eating something really quite healthful and virtuous, before greedily reaching for a second one. Still, I am taking no responsibility for the almost empty tin, it was like that when I got there! They do go down so easily.