Giant eagles, you guys!!

| by Bel | 2.13pm NZ time |

I've had this article open in a browser tab for the last week, so I can re-read it each day and be amazed.

Because I love shit like this:

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association has raised concerns about whether sea eagles could differentiate between children and their natural prey.

The Scottish government said it was not aware of any attacks by sea eagles on children in other countries and did not think a public inquiry was necessary.

A Scottish sea eagle has a wing span of up to 8 feet, you guys! It's bigger than me! That is so kick ass! I totally think that could attack a small child if it wanted!! And the eagles are endangered so NO COMPLAINING.

(And did I nominate the Very Reverend Hunter Farquharson, attacked by a giant eagle whilst trying to defend a goose, for Name of the Year? Yes, yes I did.)

How to write a letter.

| by Bel | 10.59am NZ time |

Know that you need to write the letter.
Someone will tell you that you need to.
Spend five years not writing the letter.
You think that you will write the letter.
Someone will tell you that you need to.
Think about actually writing the letter.
Congratulate yourself for these thoughts.
Spend a week not writing the letter.
Write an outline of the letter’s structure in your journal.
Spend another week not writing the letter.
Write ‘write the letter’ in your to-do list on today’s page of your journal.
Find a refill pad like you used to have at school.
Rip one sheet off and fold it down and down.
You now have the same number of folds as there are sections in your outline.
Write the title of each section at each fold.
Fill in the sections titled ‘Greeting’ and ‘Ending’.
Take your pants off so you are more comfortable.
Now all you need to do is write the letter.
Write the letter.
It will only take you half an hour. It feels like five years.
Write out a second copy which doesn’t have the folds and the titles.
Show it to someone.
Someone who knew you needed to write it but didn’t tell you to.
Tell them you don’t want to know what they think.
They will read it and say a job’s not worth doing if you can’t do it with your pants off.
Put your pants back on.
Put the letter in its envelope.
Send it.

Nail polish question:

| by Bel | 11.35am NZ time |

Is this colour ugly-in-a-cool-way or just ugly?

It is Butter London Fash Pack. They says it's "putty meets mushroom" and in the bottle it has a golden sheen which doesn't really translate on the nail.

I did a top coat of Sally Hansen Anti-Chip after it was recommended on Jezebel. I'm getting my beauty advice pretty much exclusively from Jane Marie of the Hairpin these days, so we'll see how that goes.

And if you know of a nail polish colour that is a solid pastel pale cappuccino tan, please let me know and put me out of my misery!

Update: Hair crisis and make-up boredom

| by Lou | 12.04pm UK time |

In the aftermath of the hair crisis, KGB who I bought the voucher from have told me they will refund the money I paid. A strongly worded email to the hairdressing salon garnered an apology and an offer for free colour treatments (which I will not be taking up).

The colour is okay, but I don't particularly like it. It looks like a glowing beacon in daylight (though as London is plunged into typical overcast darkness that might not be a problem), and then looks okay in the evening time.

Excuse the terrible photo, but this best shows the luminous roots and also my all-important accessories (sparkly clutch from Bel, Diana F+ camera, glass of bubbly):

I reckon I'll leave it a couple of weeks to recover a little bit, then put a darker red through to try and tone it down a bit (though the roots coming through might do that anyway).

To liven up my extremely boring life of make-up I bought a blue colour palette and have gone back to liquid eye-liner (and found it's so much easier to use than on previous attempts).

I did feel a little bit more lively in the photos than my usual pale canvas, though that might have been the rosiness of high wine intake and a very successful matchmaking attempt by the bride:

Hair crisis: when ginger goes bad

| by Lou | 5.10pm UK time |

This is a story all about how AM Beauty Salon in Knightsbridge ruined my lovely hair. If you've stumbled upon this post via googling them, take my advice: DO NOT GO THERE. I have aged 10 years in the last 24 hours dealing with the catastrophic result of their absolute incompetence.

Let me set the scene. This is me on Sunday - dyed red hair, with a bit of regrowth. (And new £5 sunglasses, which I love - aren't they hilarious? I found them in an emo teen shop in Edinburgh.)

I had wanted to get my hair refreshed for The Wedding Of The Year on Saturday, so jumped at this voucher offer from kgb deals:

£29 for a half head of highlights or a full head of colour plus a wash, cut and blow dry worth £235 at A.M Beauty Salon - save 88%

I went in and said "I'd like to dye it ginger". The hair-dresser expressed some reservations. I said I would be fine to keep it red if it wasn't going to work. He brought out colour samples and pointed at the vibrant ginger. I said that was what I was thinking, but that I would be okay with the darker ginger if it wasn't going to work in my hair. He said he was going to give it a go.

Here is where is starts to get a bit fishy. He made up the dye and applied it to my roots. Just my roots. And left it for at least 45 minutes. It might have been an hour. Then put it through the rest of my hair and left it for at least another 45 minutes. It might have been another hour. By the time it was washed out I had read 100 pages of my book and my scalp was starting to go numb.

They rinsed it out and sat me down in front of the mirror. My roots were a luminous peroxide-orange colour. The rest was a dark ginger. I was stunned. Mortified.

He seemed to say something about the lightness being brought down through my hair "next time". I didn't really know what this meant as surely if it was a two-stage process you would tell the client that at the beginning. I said he needed to make the roots darker. He said wouldn't I want to make the rest lighter to get the colour I wanted? I said I didn't care, whichever was easiest, I just needed to have one single coloured hair as I have a wedding on Saturday.

He took me back to the sink and spent approx 20-30 mins rubbing the hair dye in to the next section of hair. During this time I had rising panic that nearly led to tears. I can't go to the wedding looking like a clown! But I reassured myself that of course he would sort it out. He's an expert! He knows what he's doing!

He rinsed it out and took me back to the chair. And commenced with the cut (a bit of a trim really - I think it took all of 15 minutes). And then blow dried it.

The roots were still a luminous orange. The next section was just a little bit lighter to slightly mask the difference. He insisted that the salon lights were emphasising it, and that it really wouldn't be noticeable in all other lighting. And that next time the light colour would be pulled through the rest of the hair.

I was so convinced (or so wanting to convinced) that, having been there for 4 hours by this stage, I tipped him. £10.

This morning I woke up to this:

Not so bad, you're thinking.

But allow me to emphasise the difference in colours:


How did this happen?

How does an "expert" do this?

How does a salon let a client leave looking like this?

And how could this possibly be worth £235?!

Suddenly everything he did became clearly inept in retrospect:

  • Putting the colour into the roots so much longer before the rest of the hair. What the fuck! I'm no hair expert (hence trusting him), but even I know that untreated hair (ie the roots) reacts more strongly to colour than treated hair. When I or a hair-dresser has ever dyed my hair in the past the roots are done, and very swiftly followed by the rest. No 45+ minute gap. WHAT THE FUCK.
  • Telling me that in the "next stage" the lighter ginger would be brought through the rest of my hair. What the fuck! I asked for ginger hair, not an inch of ginger hair. Who in their right mind thinks that someone asking for ginger hair is saying "I want an inch of ginger hair"? And why on earth act as though it needs more time for the colour to work in the rest of my hair when he himself was the one who put it on the roots for so much longer? WHAT THE FUCK.

He had become progressively quieter during the time I was there. I realise now that he was probably panicking. He had been scratching at my hair when the dye was in to see how it was working. He really scrubbed that dye through the second time round after I'd expressed discontent. He knew that it was awful.

In blind panic I got two boxes of my trusty usual hair dye, thinking that even if it dyed my roots a bright red they would at least be the same colour as the rest of my hair. I enlisted a friend to put it through and she says that the "expert" hadn't even evenly fucked my hair - some roots were lighter than others, some bits at the back had been missed.

Thank god for Schwarzkopf Live Colour XXL Red Passion. I shall go to the ball.

Shame that even after five (5!) conditioning treatments my hair still feels like straw, and my scalp is very irritated.

I have sent a Very Strongly Worded email to the salon with a photo, have requested my money back from kgb, and am never trusting a British hairdresser ever again.

Cheeky make-up: the why & wherefore of blusher

| by Bel | 11.30am NZ time |

An example of my varied style inspiration. Source

Blusher is a quick fix. It brightens you up literally and somehow figuratively too.

Even if you're in a super hurry, slathing on facial moisturiser and then a quick brush of blush will stave off comments such as, "You look tired, dear. Are you doing too much?". (I hate people who tell you you look tired, neglecting to follow it up with "Here is a voucher for a massage, I'll complete your tax return while you're gone".)

Sometimes after I've carefully applied non-wobbly eyeliner, coated my lashes in goop, and puckered up for lipstick, I wonder why I'm still looking wan after all that effort. A swish of blusher does the trick.

Powder blush in 'Sweetness' by MAC

Absurdly bright and lasting, this is my favourite. I've already blogged about how economical it is to use and the dollface look it brings.

I dab a little on the apples of my cheek and sweep it back a little for a retro pin-up girl look. It's easy to go overboard but I imagine that if you chose a more neutral shade, that would be less of a risk!

I have brushed this on in the morning and then rubbed it off at the end of the day after having sweated for an hour at the gym and everything. It's a real trooper!

Shisedo Colour Stick in 'Bronze' (cream blush)

A cream blusher is a bit quicker and easier to apply and less risky to carry around than a powder. I never would have chosen a shade called Bronze if it hadn't been recommended by the make-up counter lady, but this one really does work on those of us with darker eyes and hair.

I apply the stick directly to my face, making a dot on each cheek. Often I am tempted to stop right there and spend the day looking like an over-excited anime character:

But I resist that urge and instead use my fingertips to blend the colour high along my cheekbone.

I'm sure if I had a bit more skill, I could somehow use it for contouring highlights in that way the magazines all talk about, promising us that dramatic bone structure is just a trick of the light. But thus far it has just been used to create a healthy glow, bringing colour to my face which is sometimes without tinted moisturiser and always without foundation.

The Body Shop in 'Raspberry Pink' (cream blush)

This isn't on The Body Shop website and perhaps isn't available any longer. Probably a good thing, because it is more of a vanishing cream than anything else. On application, you get nice rosy cheeks, but within even an hour, there is not a trace of colour to be seen.

I would recommend instead The Body Shop 'Brush With Fashion' Cheek Tint. I don't own this, but have seen it in action on the lovely Steph's face as part of a demo of the limited edition release:

Grabbing the hot pink Tailored Cheek Tint (RRP $30.00), Derbhal explains to us, her eager pupils, that it changes colour by reacting to body temperature. She also recommends its versatility as a lip stain: “And better yet, it doesn’t budge, no matter what you eat.”

I squeeze a little from the tube – it comes out completely clear, but within a minute or less, I have a rosy daub of striking pink on the back of my hand. I think this was my favourite of the lot – a magical process and staying power.

I'm not sure if that range is still in store or not, but its definitely worth keep an eye out for!