Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day 7: Reader Q&A

Forgive me for this photo being two years old, but I've run out of photos and this one shows my natural hair colour quite well.  I'm having a cuddle with my nephew Micky.


Anonymous asked:

I am envious of your gorgeous hair- looks so healthy! Can you tell us how you care for it and how you tend to style it? Any helpful tips you can share will be so appreciated!

That’s really nice of you to say, Anonymous, and it makes me laugh a little bit because my hair is often my biggest source of stress.  Will it go frizzy today?  Should I colour it differently or let it go natural?  How can I heat-style it to look nice without damaging it too much?  Is this way I do it too young or too old?  So many questions.

But let’s start from the beginning, in the shower.  I’ve tried fancy shampoos in the past, and found them no better than less expensive ones (in my opinion).  I’ve been using L’Oréal Elvive shampoo and conditioners for a while and really like them.  They are a great price at the supermarket and I even pulled an extreme couponing move this week when I bought a $6.59 bottle of shampoo on special at $4.00, and I had a $3.00 manufacturer’s coupon.  $1.00 total!  I was so proud of myself.

I used to wash my hair every second day but thought I’d try every third day to not overwash.  So far so good and I’ve been doing it close to a month.  I don’t feel so bad about using my hairdryer and occasional flat-irons now.  I do have good quality appliances.  My mum bought me, at my request an Italian Parlux hairdryer for my fortieth birthday, and I have a set of GHDs which have been in use for several years now (bought through a hairdressing salon) so no complaints with the longevity of these.

Something else I have that I love, is one of those micro-fibre turbans.  It’s so nice to comb my wet hair and then put that on.  It means I can enjoy my breakfast without wet hang dangling around my neck.  And when I take it off to blow-dry my hair most of the moisture is gone.

I use a very light hand with hair products before blow-drying because my hair is very fine so it easily gets weighed down.  Sometimes I use nothing and sometimes I use a light serum or gel/cream.  Just a tiny bit and I comb it through, then start drying it with the hairdryer using my hands before I move onto a round brush. 

Depending on my mood I might dry my hair entirely with my hands for a natural slightly wavy look, or I might section starting from the bottom, holding it with a beak-type clip that hairdressers use, and straighten it out one layer at a time.  That certainly makes it nice and shiny but takes a while and by the time I get near the top of my hair my hairdryer arm is aching.

I used to let my hair dry naturally but it does me no favours.  The type of hair I have is lots of it but fine, and it dries a bit woolly with curly and wavy areas.  I feel like the coloured areas are a bit wrecked on the ends (and I’ve just had it trimmed), so I’m going without colour for a while for a change. 

Air-drying amplifies the grey hairs I have, since they’re a more wiry texture, and I don’t want to look like one of those crazy ladies (you know the ones).  Blow-drying definitely blends in grey hairs, both in colour and texture, and I tell myself that my natural colour is a highly expensive and rare, extremely fine, priceless in fact, shade.

After my last trim and blow-wave my husband asked if I’d had colour, which just tells me I need to keep on blow-drying to not want to go back to damaging colour.  Blow-dying makes your hair look better which is quite ironic since it’s not better for your hair than air-drying, in fact a lot worse.

I always reserve the right to change my mind about colour though.  I go through phases.

Last time I had some colour the hairdresser did ‘high-lift tint’ highlights rather than colour/bleach highlights, so if I feel like a boost, then I may get a handful of high-lift tint highlights scattered over the top.  Usually I had a half-head of highlights/low-lights (it was about every three months) done very naturally so I didn’t have obvious regrowth.  The underneath colour is completely natural.

Ways I like to wear my hair are:

-         Down, parted on one side or the other
-         A sleek ponytail, high or low
-         Half-up, with the bottom down and the top looped up at the back with two bobby pins crossed over to hold it

I haven’t worn my hair in a chignon for a while.  Even though I say I feel French in it, I actually feel like a grandma.  And even though technically I am a cat-grandma, I don’t want to dress or look like one (a customer did actually say that to me yesterday, without the word ‘technically’ or ‘cat’ in the sentence).

One thing I can’t live without, and that’s hairspray.  I use it every day.  I used to buy supermarket hairspray but always wanted to try Elnett.  I finally got some, in a big gold can and it’s wonderful.  It looks and smells glamorous and I love using it.  A big can lasts for so long too, I think I can forget the price and treat myself.

I hope you’re not too bored by now, I know I am listening to me go on about my hair, but if there is anything else you’d like to know, ask away.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Day 6: Reader Q&A - Suzi



Suzi asked:

I enjoy your beauty related posts, so would like to read about: your make up bag; travel skincare/make up; beauty heroes etc.

Like a lot of things in my life, I like to keep my makeup and skincare simple.  Currently all my products are low-cost, and I think if standards remain as high as they are I may never go back to expensive products.

I love the Maybelline products I have, and also use a few Avon products.  In my makeup bag is Maybelline Superstay Better Skin liquid foundation, and I use a light dusting of translucent powder (I also touch up during the day as I get a shiny t-zone).  I have a bronzing powder but don’t often use it, instead preferring a glowing pink blush. 

I use an Avon ‘Blonde’ eyebrow pencil, and eyeliner sometimes top and bottom, sometimes just bottom.  The colours I prefer are brown, dark grey and dark blue.   

On my lips I prefer sheer colour. Often I’ll put a lip balm on, then some lipstick, then lipgloss.  A little bit of each creates a nice sheer colour. 

I have to force myself to take my time to build up mascara, because I’m impatient to get finished with my makeup.  But I know that my eyelashes need help so I make sure I do a couple of coats.  Then tidy up with a cotton bud (q tip).

I’m not loyal to any one brand, and sometimes buy items on special if I like the colour.  Makeup seems to last for ages, so it’s rare I will run out of anything.  Probably mascara and eyebrow pencil are the items I seem to buy most regularly.  My most recent favourite mascara was Maybelline the Colossal Volum’ Express Smoky Eyes in a bright yellow container.

When I travel, I take the same makeup items I use at home.  I’ve learnt that even though I think it’s a good idea taking products that I don’t use at home on holiday, I don’t use them there either.  Now I take just exactly what I put on at home. 

With skincare I will decant bigger items such as shampoo and conditioner, cleanser and toner, but usually take the moisturiser that I use at home, unless I have a sample size to use.  I don’t save samples for travel though, I use them as I receive them.  By the time I travelled again they would be out of date…

Beauty heroes?  Hmm, no specific brands, but products I can’t live without?  All of them!  I love wearing makeup.  I like it sheer and subtle with a little bit of oomph, that’s my style.

Thank you for your question, Suzi!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 5: Reader Q&A - A day in my life




My day starts at 6am, which I always do whether I’m going to work, staying at home or am on holiday.  I started doing it years ago and I love it so much I've kept it up.  I've already written about this practice here and here.

Maybe if I was retired I might have 7am as my getting up time, but 6am it is for now.  I feed the cats and make myself a hot tea with trim milk (Earl Grey or English Breakfast) and read email and blogs, and do some writing.  I really love this guilt-free computer time.

If I’m having a day at home, about 7.30am I’ll go for a walk around our neighbourhood for 45-60 minutes depending on which way I go, listening to a podcast or audiobook on my iPod Shuffle with noise-cancelling headphones.  I bought the headphones about one month into my iPod purchase as the ear buds were causing me ear pain, both from the hard shape of them but also from the loudness.  I didn’t want to send myself deaf so I bought some headphones.  They are luxurious to wear and loads of people use them so I don't feel too conspicuous, although one of my friends did call me a hipster when she saw them.

When I get back I have a big glass of water and a shower, then have my yummy breakfast of chopped fresh fruit, raw nuts and/or my favourite Ceres paleo breakfast mix and plain full-fat yoghurt, then I’ll have a home-made café latte made with Bialetti espresso coffee and full-cream milk heated in the microwave.  Yes, I have to have both types of milk since I like skinny milk in tea and creamy milk in coffee.

My luxury when I have a day at home is to watch television with breakfast and lunch.  I just finished the 1985 tv mini-series of Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives which I took a couple of months to watch in this manner.  It is so cheesey and 80s glamorous and romping fun, just glorious.  And everyone is in it.  Check out the cast list on IMDB.

After breakfast I’ll hang some washing on the line.  We have an outdoor line and a line under our carport, so I’ll choose whichever one based on the weather forecast.  We don’t have a clothes drier.  I donated it to the cat shelter because we hadn’t used it in years.  I often fold the washing and put it in the airing/hot water cupboard before I put it away.

I might do some website work for our store when I’m at home, it’s nice to work undisturbed and I’ll likely do some writing too.  Lunch is on the sofa with a bit more of my current tv programme.  My favourite lunch at the moment is cheese and crackers with a side salad.  Afterwards I have a coffee and a biscuit or piece of cakey slice.  I have a couple of purchased gluten-free ones in my ‘cake tin’ at the moment (it’s a Tupperware container but cake tin sounds better).

If I need another half hour of television I do a bit of knitting.  I’m knitting a cot rug for my cousin’s baby who is due to be born in London in the next week or two.  But the rug isn’t flying over there until my Mum and Aunty go there in July.  Just as an aside, my cousin and his partner priced the Lindo Wing for the birth, but at 30,000 English pounds a night they decided on their local (free) hospital.

In the afternoon I do different things depending on what needs to be done and what I feel like doing.  I might do a spot of garden weeding and tidying if it’s fine weather, or take a letter to the post.  I do my housework and some light pottering.  I might pick an area to declutter and tidy, adding the decluttered items to my outbox (literally an outbox, it’s a cardboard box) in the guest room.

Then I put dinner on and light the fire between five and six, for my husband to arrive home a bit after six.  I used to like to put my laptop away before dinner and then not get it out again, but I’ve been so into my writing lately that I itch to get typing, so that hasn’t been the case for a while.

I serve up dinner around seven.  We very rarely eat out because we both just love being at home so much, plus working with the public we like our own space.  We watch a tv programme together and then I read or write before retiring to the bedroom to wash my face and read some more before lights out at 10pm.  I like to play a relaxing cd really, really softly to nod off to.  Sometimes I don’t, if I’m bone-tired or if it’s raining.  Rain on the roof is better than any relaxing cd.

And that’s a day in my life!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 4: Reader Q&A


I'm answering today's reader question with a video again. They're fun to make!  I didn't entirely get away without being video-bombed like my first video - Nina Cat features in the background later on (such a bonus I know).  She is almost identical to her mother so it will look like the same cat to you.

Anonymous asked:

Would love to know more about your thoughts on time management; financial "chic" responsibility (love your posts on money!); long term goals and planning; and organization.


I answer this on the video.  If you would like me to clarify or expand on anything I say, please ask, and I can do that in the comments.

As always, thank you for your questions, I'm loving doing these posts.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 3: Reader Q&A - Tracy



Just for fun, I'm doing my first video blog today.  I'm answering Tracy's question.  Tracy has a great blog Have Less, Do More, and she also published her first eBook recently.  We were eBook buddies and helped each other get inspired and face the fear!


Tracy asked:

How do you come up with all of your chic ideas?


Miss Jessica co-stars while I answer this question, because honestly what's a video blog without a housecat.  You'll see her having a good scratch near the end.  What can I say, she's such a lady.  And don't even get me started about her tipping the camera over.

Edited to add:  You can also watch this video on YouTube if you are having trouble viewing it on the blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chic Inspiration eBook



I am excited to share with you my second eBook.  ‘Chic Inspiration’ is a compilation of favourite inspirational posts from this blog (both my own and reader favourites).  They are put together in chapters and I have tweaked and updated some of them.

One of my lovely chic readers in Singapore is not able to order Kindle eBooks (they are not available in Singapore at all, how bothersome is that), so I emailed her an advance copy.  She said it is even better than my first eBook, and I tend to agree.  I really, really love everything in the Chic Inspiration eBook.  It is also 70 pages long versus 59 pages in my first eBook.

And, I worked out how to install an interactive table of contents where you click on the heading to go straight to that chapter.  I’m rather proud of myself for that.

As with my first eBook, it’s priced really inexpensively so you can enjoy portable inspiration on your Kindle eReader, and if you are a member of Amazon Prime you can read it for free.

If you don't have a Kindle eReader and would like to read my eBooks, you can download a Free Kindle Reading App to your computer from Amazon.  I did this a while back since I don't have an eReader, and it's been great to be able to download eBooks that I couldn't have read otherwise as they are not in print.

You can see my Ebook and the link to download a Free Kindle Reading App on Amazon here.

A huge THANK YOU to those of you who downloaded my first eBook.  Amazon has sold ten times as many copies as I'd hoped to – so thrilling!