Monday, 28 February 2011

Don't Call Me Baby...

I have been married to The Husband for nearly 17 years. There are many perks to being married but apparently one that I hadn’t considered until recently. That is, he has a title; a description that lets everyone know exactly who he is and how he is related to me. I hadn’t been aware of the immense advantage that this gave me until talking with my office colleagues one afternoon.

“I never know what to refer to him as when I’m talking to people I don’t know” one of the girls bemoaned.

And there’s the problem. Because what exactly do you call The Man You Are In Love With if he doesn’t slot neatly into the title of husband or fiancé?

Partner seems to be the general default of most although this is not without its disadvantages. Conjuring up images of lesbian lovers or someone you have bought a half share in a racehorse with, it is not exactly the most romantic of descriptions.

Next on the list is Live In Lover but what about if you share a bed but not a house? It also has a touch of 70’s sitcom. Boyfriend sounds ridiculous to anyone over the age of 30 whilst Manfriend doesn’t even warrant a mention. Friend appears to be the hot choice of the over 60’s but doesn’t imply any level of commitment.

For clarification, Fluffy Froggy or any other pet name should NEVER be disclosed in general public!

So what’s the answer? Seems there isn't one.

“I just call him by his first name,” my friend retorted when pressed further “And hope that no-one asks.”

Friday, 25 February 2011

Wardrobe Organisation

I have become obsessed with wardrobe organisation. Granted it’s not in the same league as many addictions; I doubt that I would get applause and nods of admiration if I stood up in a crowded room and professed my love of matching coat hangers; but none the same it is starting to take over my daily thoughts. I find myself lusting after wardrobe interiors in the glossies- eyeing up the carefully colour coded racks of clothes and shoes laid out by style and heel height.

But here’s the problem. English wardrobes are tiny and that’s basically because English houses are tiny. Unless you have a footballer for a husband or are descended from Royalty you are only likely to have an average double wardrobe at your disposal. And that’s probably come from Ikea. American wardrobes or closets as they call them over there are huge. In fact there appears to be whole rooms set aside for the storage of clothes which leaves me with a total feeling of inadequacy. (One of my favourites is Emily Schuman’s walk in closet at Cupcakes and Cashmere, an American blogsite.)

Emily's Amazing Closet (Cupcakes and Cashmere)

I tried to persuade The Husband to convert one of our bedrooms into a walk in affair a la Sex and the City but he just walked off muttering something about reducing the house value and how I already have most of the hanging space in the house.

So as a space challenged nation, how can we arrange the small amount of space we do have available? One of my favourite websites currently is Practical Princess which claims to be able to “bring the luxury of complete organisation to your life”.

An interior styled and organised by Practical Princess

Their premium service involves a Personal Princess coming to your house and going through each piece of clothing within it. They can then advise you on what doesn’t work, how to wear your remaining items together and what gaps you need to fill when you next go shopping. But at £375 per day for a Deputy Princess, with an additional £175 for an assistant if you have a lot of sorting to do, this is not a cheap option. Surely if I want someone to go through all my clothes and give me an opinion I could ask The Husband, although everything would be “looks alright”; or if I was feeling really brave, Mini-Me, but her opinions are often brutal. But that’s the beauty of getting in the experts; imagine that getting paid to nose around someone’s wardrobe and tell them with some glee that all of it’s contents make the owner look crap; they give an honest but professional opinion with great advice that leaves you motivated into action not crumpled into a sobbing heap on the floor. So whilst this does seem an expensive option, how many clothes do you have hanging in the wardrobe still proudly displaying their tags? How often do you moan that you have nothing to wear or struggle to put your individually chosen pieces into great outfits? How much of your expensive purchases over the years have you actually worn? Put into this context, employing someone like Practical Princess could actually save you money in the long term.

But if this is still well outside your price range how do you achieve similar results on a budget? Again PP comes to the rescue with a great page of tips on how to get organised.

In the last few weeks I have started to put what I’ve learnt into action. Old clothes have been thrown away or donated to charity and anything that no longer fits or is beyond repair has gone. Whilst this has been a cathartic process I can now see just what things I have left that are actually wearable. (It has also highlighted that I seem to have a small obsession with purple tops). Shirts and blouses have now been hung in colour coded order above bottoms with a new section built by The Husband for dresses. I am still coveting the wardrobe interior pack from the girls at Practical Princess but things are definitely starting to take shape.

Now I just need to hit the shops and fill the gaps…

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Today I'm Loving...Babyliss Big Hair

Throughout my adult life I have fought with my hair. This is because we have a Major Difference of Opinion – it wants to lead a kinky existence and I want it to be straight.

Growing up, before the invention of good straighteners, this meant long tortuous blow drying; taking it section by section and wrestling it around a barrelled brush. Hours later, with aching heavy arms, it would still not look sleek.

Then a miracle happened in the form of GHDs. Women like me everywhere saved an hour every day and finally had the straight glossy hair we yearned for. But like playing with the devil, eventually this came with a heavy price – dry broken hair and unattractive split ends.

I have finally had to admit defeat and have been experimenting recently with different ways to style my stubborn mane.

Firstly, my hairdresser has cut layers throughout the length which works with the kinks creating natural flicks. Secondly, I have discovered the Babyliss Big Hair styler. This innocent looking hot brush has totally transformed the way I style my hair. 

I admit I was sceptical, having already tried every curling tong on the market without much success. But with a huge amount of Boots points, a legacy from the vast amount of Christmas shopping, it was essentially free. I would however pay double if necessary as it is THAT GOOD.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t exactly do what it says on the tin. It doesn’t give me big hair which would initially appear to make it a complete failure. It does however give me smooth, shiny hair that looks like I’ve had a blow dry in the salon. Swishy, bouncy and full of life; and it takes less than half an hour to wash and go. Result!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Lusting After...French Connection Capsule Wardrobe

The last item I bought from French Connection was one of their slightly rude t shirts. My grandmother was not amused. Since then, whilst I have wandered around from time to time nothing else has really caught my eye. Until now. Their new collection for Spring is simply gorgeous with the designs all about pared back, contemporary style. Shunning the rest of the High Street’s obsession with bold colour, these clothes are muted and classy – a sure sign that you will be wearing them for more than just one season.

So if you’re hankering after a new capsule Spring wardrobe, make French Connection your first stop with these adaptable separates:

4. Bravo Sir Wide Leg Trouser £87               
5. Frankie Floral Shirt £52                 
6. Orchard Jersey Dress £57

Throw in a pair of your favourite jeans and there's enough pieces to make a different outfit every day for a week. Add some hot pink lips or bright coloured shoes and you've got the neon vibe covered too.

I want them all!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Today I'm Loving...New Choos

Smell and feet are not normally two words that should be used together in polite company but it appears that Jimmy Choo has overcome this social faux pas perfectly with the launch of their new fragrance, imaginatively titled Jimmy Choo. The Eau de Parfum “expresses an aura of strength and beauty. Glamourous in attitude, confident, intelligent and with a sense of fashion and fun, the fragrance is a modern Fruity Chypre with warm, rich, woody depths. It’s a fragrance inspired by modern women” Wow! Not sure what all that actually means but the perfume smells divine.

Jimmy Choo Perfume: available from The Fragrance Shop

Now normally I’m a Chanel girl through and through. In fact so loyal am I to this particular perfume brand that I literally looked over my shoulder in Selfridges when I bought this in case someone saw me!

“I don’t normally buy anything other than Chanel” I whispered to the woman behind the counter.

“Don’t worry” she answered conspiratorially, “you’re not the only one - we’ve had a lot of Chanel customers buying this”

Still to be sure I bought the smallest bottle in an I’m not showing this any commitment just dabbling so don’t think you’ve enticed me with your posh shoe brand because you haven’t  kind of way.

So now whilst I don’t have the fabulous shoe collection of Tamara Mellon, Jimmy Choos Chief Creative Officer, I definitely smell like her. And I can honestly say that my dressing room has Chanel and Jimmy Choo side by side – even if it is on the dressing table and not in the wardrobe!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Baby Don't Care for Me...

Call me old, call me behind the times, call me whatever I used to call my mother for not being “with it” but I just don’t get Facebook. In particular I don’t get relationships on Facebook. As a society we’ve learnt a lot in the years since I was a teenager. We’ve learnt to make mobile phones smaller, carry our whole music and film library around in our pockets, straighten curly hair and google our exes but we haven’t learnt not to air our dirty washing in public. When I was dating, if things weren’t working out you dumped or got dumped with a simple “it’s not you it’s me” chat. Everyone knew where they stood and more importantly; and this is the big difference; knew before everyone else.

At one of Mini-Me’s dance rehearsals recently I started talking to one of the other mothers – an attractive girl in her mid 20’s. “My boyfriend and I have been having some problems recently” she confided, “but I think things are back on track because he’s updated his Facebook status to in a relationship” What? You need to check Facebook to confirm that you actually still have a boyfriend? Have you thought of just asking him?

Love Through Facebook

I have friends who, still seething from the latest arguments with their other halves, let out vents of fury on their Facebook page. But here’s the thing that everyone seems to forget – this page is public. That means that OTHER PEOPLE CAN SEE IT. And while you may have calmed down, forgiven and forgotten, your friends and his may not be so accommodating. Because the drunken ramblings you posted on your Facebook page have been viewed - even if you hurriedly remove them in a fit of remorse the next day. So what started out as an argument between two lovers quickly escalates into an all out war, with friends and relatives all getting in on the act.

So ladies, next time you have a major domestic with the other half, throw plates, scream, cry, slam all the doors but please back away from the keyboard! 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Today I'm Loving...Coastal Scents Palettes

Anyone who knows me will know I have a small obsession with MAC makeup. Actually small obsession doesn’t quite do it justice – I am a complete MAC addict. The colours are so intense and perfectly matched to the season’s fashions that there are few other brands that can compete. MAC are very much a fashion led company and keep their followers interested by launching new collections every couple of weeks in exciting new packages.  But here’s the major problem – this is not a cheap option. At £11.50 for a single eye shadow it doesn’t take much of a splurge to break the budget. That’s why I got so excited when I discovered Coastal Scents 88 Palettes cunningly named because each palette contains 88 – yep count ’em – individual tiny eye shadows.

Whilst Coastal Scents are not a brand widely recognised throughout the UK, the palettes have become a minor sensation on YouTube amongst the makeup gurus who post there (more on these soon). My current favourite is the Warm Platte which contains a myriad of usable colours from the palest blues through to the deepest browns, hitting mossy greens, golds, bronzes and mulberry colours along the way. There are also a wide range of highlighter colours for the brow bone and inner eye. Whilst each colour is only the size of a 5 pence coin, they will last for ages as the colour is so intense and pigmented. Over an eye shadow primer, they did not move or crease all day. A perfect compliment to my Mac collection.

There are not many stockists in the UK but I picked mine up from Ebay for around £29. The brand is also stocked by

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Today I'm Loving... Spring Nails

Last week saw a rare glimpse of sunshine that had me yearning for brighter clothes to escape the dull greys, blacks and purples of winter. Luckily I didn’t splurge on too many items as we are now firmly back into the depth and gloom of February. Somehow when its cold and wet outside wearing that new season tea dress just seems wrong no matter how many cardigans you throw over the top. To counter this and to give me a quick Spring fix, I’ve invested in these cute little nail varnishes from Barry M.

Barry M Nail Varnishes

They sum up the prettiness of the season ahead beautifully and yet at only £2.99 each won’t break the bank. Not only that but they go on well with a nice coverage, dry very quickly – important when you want to change the colour several times through the week - and don’t chip too easily. Perfect. Now my nails are on trend even if my body remains encased in its winter wardrobe; which is perhaps not a bad thing as:

  1. The excesses of Christmas are still loitering around my middle
  2. My skin hasn’t seen any sun since August and has taken on a bluish tone
  3. My legs could give the left back player at Charlton Athletic a run for his money – waxing definitely required!
Hmmm seems there’s a lot of work to do pre Official Springtime but at least my nails will look good!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Worth More Than a Cheap Hair Colour...

I blame Cheryl Cole. To be fair, if I was offered loads of money by L’Oreal to change my image I would probably be very tempted; but did she really need to choose that hair colour? Do these celebrities really understand the consequences of their actions?  One pop of a flashbulb and the image descends upon the magazines to be devoured by impressionable young women everywhere. And this is where the problem starts. Because unlike the clothes, handbags and shoes adorning the glamorous Miss Cole, this hair colour is well within the affordability of most. One quick visit to Boots later and half the country seems to be showcasing the ubiquitous Castings Crème Gloss shade 550. This wouldn’t be a bad thing in itself if the colour wasn’t so absolutely awful. I remember dying my hair the same sort of shade when I was 15 (and getting sent straight home because schools didn’t stand any messing in those days - OMG I sound old!). Hair products weren’t so sophisticated either with the choices limited to mousse, to increase the height and width of your perm; green watery gel to wet look your curls; and a Shaders or Toners wash in wash out colour which,  no matter which one you picked, would give a burgundy hue closely akin to Miss Cole’s latest look.

This shade is also extremely high maintenance. Just like dying your hair bright red it needs work to keep it looking fresh. Conditioner, masques and colour safe shampoos are a must, as this intensity of colour literally fades before the eyes when exposed to any kind of light. This is where so many have got it wrong. So while Cheryl Cole has moved on to her next new look the rest of her avid followers are left sporting slightly pink coloured hair with dark roots on full show. Surely we’re all worth more than that?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Lusting After...Bee Necklace by Alex Monroe

Given that we are in the depths of a financial crisis I have been trying to avoid temptation for anything other than essentials this month. That was however until I discovered the website of jewellery designer Alex Monroe. Alex’s designs have been extensively featured in the press and have even been worn by Emilia Fox’s character in Silent Witness – that style icon of  yummy mummies - Nikki Alexander.

Bumblebee Necklace by Alex Monroe

I am now lusting after this gorgeous bumblebee necklace  (in 22 carat gold plate over silver). This is somewhat unfortunate however as:

  1. It fulfils none of the criteria I have set myself for the definition of an essential purchase i.e. I don’t have one already that needs replacing, life would not be impossible without it, it costs more than £10.
  1. I am scared to death of bees. Even the slightest drone from one a mile away in the summer can make every muscle in my body tense with fear and cause my heart to literally stop beating for a second
  1. I don’t normally wear gold jewellery.
That aside I still want it. I have tried the advice that wise professionals give other shopping addicts – walk away before you buy it and see if you still need it tomorrow or the day after -  and I still want it. I have now book marked the page and look longingly at it on a daily basis. Perhaps I could justify it as therapy to conquer my bee fear…..

Monday, 14 February 2011

Beginning at the Beginning....

So here it is  - my first blog. I suppose you may be wondering what the point of all of this is going to be or worse still you may not even care which to be honest doesn’t put us in the best position. But let’s start as we mean to go on and hopefully by the end you’ll be popping back on a daily basis for a quick update.

Assuming that you haven’t yet flicked onto another website and supposing that I have your attention for a little while longer let me explain what I hope Pink Kitten will be all about.

So what interests me?

  1. Fashion. I am however slightly different to any other so called fashionista in that whilst I know every trend, designer and hot piece of clothing for every season I don’t have an extensive wardrobe, although my 8 year old mini-me can’t say the same!  And I lead a pretty normal life so my clothes need to be practical and beautiful. Currently sharing my age with Kylie and Jennifer Aniston gives me a glimpse of what women of my age could look like (although granted they are a) millionaires and b) neither of them have had any children which is my number one favourite excuse for why anyone can still have the body of a 20 year old) and this inspiration leads me onto the quest for the Perfect Clothing Item.

  1. Beauty Products. My experience with beauty products is so extensive that I can honestly say I rival Boots in terms of stock. I am always searching for that elusive magic product that will transform me into a hotter version of me –well to be honest will turn me into Jennifer Aniston but I don’t think that particular scientific formula has been invented yet.

  1. Hot accessories. Both for me and my home. Along with all other women on the planet I love shoes although I am always gravitating towards the most impractical uncomfortable pairs. So beautiful have today’s shoe designs become that I have a friend who actually uses her shoes as ornaments in her dressing room as they are “just too gorgeous to spoil by wearing them”. I am also a massive handbag addict. And I love jewellery. And scented candles. And cushions. And beautiful wallpaper. See the problem?

  1. Self improvement – by that I mean anything that makes me feel better about myself or look better because of it so I am often on the quest for fulfilment.

  1. And as you will see I love lists!

My blog will cover all my purchases and I’ll give an honest review of products so I hope you will come back and see how I'm getting on with it all. You may find a dream product from my searches, get some fashion inspiration or learn something new and who knows we may have a laugh along the way!

Welcome to the World Pink Kitten!
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