The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Monday 14 December 2015

Independent Islington - A Christmas Angel's gift list!

Ah Christmas shopping! Are you one that loves the experience? Pootling/scrolling the shop wares, peacefully choosing bits and pieces for loved ones, no?  Oh well anyone that knows me knows I love it.  I've been happily singing carols and working out what to buy people since the second the fireworks stopped on November 5th. That said I get its not all rainbows and unicorns for everyone and can result in a fruitless search for that one awkward member of your family.  You know like a father that asks for a shirt in a shade of I’m-not-really-sure-it-exists-but-I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it’ silver/grey.  Or a grandmother who has had 91 Christmases’ already and therefore says ‘nah’ to everything single possible idea of a present you could come up with.  

While I admit to doing some of my shopping in that place where, this year, they’ve sent some poor old sod to the blinkin’ moon just to film their advert, I do try to get at least a few of my presents from independents.   This year I’ve discovered the adorable shops of Camden Passage in Islington and highly suggest you get yourself down there if you're looking for something a little less main steam (hang on to your baubles, it's a picture heavy post!)

Modern Times - I can honestly say my images didn’t do this place justice.  The genuine vintage 1950’s trio sets (cup, saucer and plate) are stupidly cute.  They do vintage wedding lists as well should you be up for gifts from not the ‘moon advert’ people.

Spice Shoes - Independent shoe shops are a bit of a weakness of mine…. OK ANY shoe shop is a weakness of mine but the accessories and footwear of Spice, with their cosy, chic designs and reasonable prices is a proper find!

Annie’s Vintage - My favourite shop on the road.  It has a sort of Narnian style winter coat vibe mixed with the elegance of the 1920’s. This shop is a museum of joy even if you’re not that into vintage. 

Japanese Gallery – Open since the year after I was born, Japanese Gallery has contemporary and traditional styled art to suit many a pocket.  These images would make any wall feel a million dollars…. If walls had feelings… and cared about currency.

Stalls: Glynis E.M. Brown & Nigel Smeeton - For that seriously difficult older giftee a 17th Century book from Nigel or individual kitchenware from Glynis may be just the trick.  And if not you’ll probably want to go back anyway just to see what else they've picked up since your last visit. 

Home & Pantry - The kind of shop I could spend years and thousands in.  Cute little decorations, trinkets, bobble hats and inscribed kitchenware.  Home & Pantry couldn't be any cuter if it was filled with baby rabbits. Okay that would be cuter but possibly a tad chaotic after a couple of minutes. 

Designer Outlet by Eve - All unused or returned items, Eve’s is a bit like an Aladdin’s cave. If I'm honest the wares aren’t all my cup of tea but that, conversely, is what I like about it and what makes it so interesting!  She caters for a whole heap of different styles and has both high end high street and designer items at a fraction of the price.  Dig around and come up with a gem.

I’ve not even spoken of half the stores along this passageway, not to mention the stands which pop up over the weekend. So there’s nothing for it, I’ll just have to go back and do another post.  All in the name of research obviously.  No no, don’t thank me, I live to serve.

What’s your favourite independent?  

Friday 4 December 2015

Curls: to Covet or a Curse?

I never really thought much having curly hair, it was what it was but then I saw The Lost Boys.   If you’re under 30 look it up, it’s a classic film that, apart from starring Jason Patrick, Kiefer Sutherland AND Corey Haim gave me my first girl crush. Her name was Jamie Getz and she had the most beautiful hair ever.  It was big, beautiful and most importantly curly, like mine. 

She so purdy!
13 yr old me looked nothing like my idol but as I got older it was pointed out to me that curly hair is something that people found attractive (I'll wait you here while you barf in a bucket at this myself comment). That said I wasn't particularly good at styling it back then and ever since have been on the look out for that perfect product.  So when a rep from Umberto Giannini contacted me to ask if I fancied trying out their Curl Friends products I jumped at the chance.  And they were generous enough to send me the whole range. 

I've tried them all over the past month and not just in a cursory way.  The products are empty and I mean 'water added and bottle shaken to try and get one more use out of them' empty. I was instantly enamoured with the scent which was fragrant but not in the least over powering.  It reminded me of the suntan lotion I used as a kid, so good memories!

I was looking forward to the intensive conditioner as using dryers, curlers (for a more-Lorde-less-birds-nest look) and when I fancied a change GHD's, meant my barnet has been through the mill.  This felt super smooth on application but in truth wasn't quite so salon ready the next morning and I'm still not sure it actively helped the condition.

The nourishing oil worked well when applied (sparingly) to damp hair and small sections twisted to aid the natural curl, But it's the scrunching jelly that proved to be my favourite product.  It can leave your hair a little sharp in texture, as pretty much any other holding product I've found that works so you may not be able to run your fingers through long hair like they do on the adverts without some scalp pain. But it does hold a beach wave all day which is quite the feat in itself.

Then I went and did an odd thing, I got all my hair cut off.  Seeing as I hadn't had short hair since I was 3 it was quite a big step so my hairdresser and I discussed a long bob to ease me in.  Then with the dual persuasions of him basically knowing better and a glass of prosecco I got talked into a shorter do. 
I’ll admit to being a little concerned at the wet look version of my new style, but with encouraging comments from the staff at Adamson Berekoff and watching my natural curl rise from the weight of 35 years of the same style I found myself feeling empowered.  Rebelling against the value of attractiveness I held/had been taught, shorter hair seems to be a hit with friends, family and more importantly with me.  I'm very much enjoying the extra time I have as washing and styling it takes minutes not hours, plus it's much less sweaty at gigs! 
Shorter hair is where Umberto Giannini scrunching jelly and mousse come into their own. These products give a controlled curl without looking too 'done' and the length means I can run my fingers through my hair without scalping myself.  While at times I do feel a pang of conscience when I see images of a pre chopped me all in all I'm feeling... well like this: 

What are your best styling tips?
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