Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Conserve Cash October

In book, cinema, food, gym, shopping on September 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

So, it’s the end of September. It’s been a great month – not least because of the amazing weather we got to see the month out. I’ve caught up with a ton of friends I don’t see enough of and it’s been wonderful. I don’t realise how little I see them until I do start seeing them, and then I realise how much I’ve missed them. From catching a chick-flick with Marv, to dinner with Donna, to Sunday coffee with Nicky to a networking-cum-free-champagne-turns-into-cocktails event with the girls and a night of crazy dancing to live music at the Jam House, I’ve gone out more over the past month than I normally do in three, particularly when you count the fact that Adam and I go to the movies and for dinner every week as a matter of course.

Plus, obviously, I’ve had a birthday, which means I went out for even more meals, and of course had my fantastic weekend away with more cocktails, fab food and posh afternoon teas. And I have loved it. It’s been brilliant to let my hair down and remind myself how many fantastic friends I have and how lucky I am. But, on the down-side, well, I have spent a bit. I’ve not been too bad on the shopping front (though I did get the gorgeous coat I was coveting. And the evening bag to match the birthday shoes. And some new gym stuff. And bedding. And candles and stuff to match. And a bit of jewellery. Okay, I take that back…) but I’ve spent a fortune on food and drink, generally being a social butterfly, and it’s made me take a pretty stern look at my finances.

I’m not going to dwell on it, because it’s been an awesome month and one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but I’m going to endeavour to make up for my loose purse-strings over the next four weeks. In fact, I’m going to take a leaf out of the book of Helga Henry. Helga’s coming to the end of what she dubbed No Shop September – which entailed exactly what you’d expect – and I am going to nick her idea and launch Conserve Cash October.

Less pigging out, more piggy bank

That’s with the obvious exception of two key direct debits – I can’t default on previously agreed commitments, they’ll send me to prison – which I’m going to really maximise to help me achieve my goal: my monthly gym membership, which I plan to step up a notch (I need to go some to shift these scones and daiquiris, believe me) and my unlimited cinema card.

The last movie I went to see was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and I’ve gone a decent amount this month, watching the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Friends With Benefits and I Don’t Know How She Does It (not on my cinema card but as part of a treat from Marverine so that doesn’t count), but with a host of new ones I have my eye on, including Abduction, In Time, The Three Muskateers and The Help, being due for release, I should be able to keep busy, and I’ll have to strive to ignore the lure of the various pizza places, bars, tapas restaurants and, naturally, the sweet counter, that stand between the car park and the screen.

Adam’s currently training for the BUPA Great Birmingham Run, which takes place in three weeks time. In theory, he’ll be on a mission not to eat too much before that to make sure his efforts are worthwhile, so with that in mind, I plan to work out a home-cooked menu (I envisage a lot of home-grown tomatoes playing a part) to boost energy levels and have him fighting fit, leaving both our wallets and waistlines thanking us for our dedication.

It’s only 31 days after all. From then on, with Christmas – so sorry to use the C word this early – skateboarding ever closer, it’ll be a case of going back to my common sense approach – always choosing somewhere to eat with a voucher code offer, or treating ourselves to a posher restaurant after a tough week, but making the most of our Gastrocard subscription to save some pennies.

My final cutback – and one I had never envisaged would be so out of hand – is that I WILL STOP BUYING E-BOOKS IN THE AMAZON KINDLE STORE. I’ve had my kindle for 16 days and I’ve spent getting on for £100 on books. happily, there’s a good 12 or so I’ve yet to read, so I figure if I spend the whole of October working, watching movies, working out and reading my way through my Kindle library, then it should be November in no time.

I suspect the harder part will be keeping those pennies somewhere sensible, rather than somehow hemmorhaging them elsewhere, as I am wont to do…

So there you go, I have announced an intention, and I shall try to fulfil it. However, there’s one more day of September left, and luckily for me, one more afternoon tea to be had. This one’s in aid of Acorns Hospice though, so my conscience, for once, is clear.

Living the Langham Life part 2

In fashion, Holiday, Hotels, London, shopping, Travel on September 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

The best thing about the Langham, better than the crystal glasses in the bedrooms, the branded mineral water, the luxurious complimentary toiletries, better even than the enamelled pink and gold pens (I won’t nick stuff from a hotel so was so chuffed when they gave me one to keep!), was the bed. The gigantic super-kingsize bed was easily the best I’ve ever slept in. Comfortable enough for me, with my rigid agenda, to consider abandoning the whole of Sunday’s plan in favour of just lying in its cloud-like loveliness until checkout.

I didn’t though. Instead, we hot-footed it to South Kensington for breakfast, then visited the V&A museum. Again, a magnificent building with superb details that have you wandering around with your head spinning, the museum has more than 2 million pieces in its collections. Through Asia, China and the Islamic Middle East, we moved onto the cast courts of Europe, the Medieval and Renaissance, Raphael and sculpture collections, before heading to theatre and performance. Here, we visited famous costumes and the temporary Annie Lennox’s House exhibition, celebrating her music, her costumes and her humanitarian work.

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Ridicule is nothing to be scared of...

From ’80s glam we moved on to sacred silver and stained glass, gold, silver and mosaics, and jewellery. The jewellery collections were my favourite – a vast, glittering, dimly-lit collection including emeralds worn by Napoleon’s wife Josephine. The plethora of richly-coloured precious stones, diverse shapes and sizes of the pieces, and rich heritage surrounding them only compounded my desire to go and see the Crown Jewels on my next visit.I was disappointed to see that the fashion exhibition is closed until spring 2012, but it’s another excuse to visit. The beautiful John Madejski Garden is a gorgeous retreat in the centre of the museum, the perfect spot to enjoy a drink by the fountain to break up the tour, and inevitably the viisit ended with a browse in the V&A shop, packed with fabulous cards, souvenirs, crafts and gifts. I’d been pretty determined not to buy anything if I could avoid it on this trip but I was inspired by the jewellery collection to buy a pair of violet shimmering drop earrings – they may not be as dazzling as Josephine’s emeralds but they’re quite sparkly enough for me – and a Christian Lacroix journal…I do like my snazzy stationery.

A short stroll down the road inevitably leads to Harrods, where we had plans. First, inevitably, came the scout around the Food Halls, admiring the stunning chocolates, the biscuits, teas coffees, olives and ice creams, before heading to the fourth floor and the sophisticated Georgian Restaurant, where we closed our trip with a decadent afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, scones, green-apple macaroons, raspberry frangipan, fresh fruit tart, afternoon fruit cake and chocolate slices, served with specially blended teas and champagne… it was absolute bliss, and a real high to end on before trooping back to Euston.


It’s very difficult to keep a promise to yourself not to buy clothes when you’re in one of the fashion capitals of the world, but that’s intensified somewhat when you’re there during London Fashion Week and every single shop has pulled all the stops out to put together alluring shop-fronts to entice you inside. I did hold firm, and – apart from my V&A earrings, journal and some Harrods biscuits – I didn’t indulge. I didn’t even set foot into a clothes shop despite Adam trying to pull me into French Connection every time we passed it and I gasped with desire for the gorgeous coat in the window.

You can imagine my chagrin on returning when I discover that, not only is the coat far less expensive than I thought, but it’s also called The London Coat, and is a limited edition piece to mark London Fashion Week. If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what was. Let’s see how strong my willpower really is…


We’re already planning our next weekend of decadence and culture. Next time, maybe we’ll stay at a Travel Lodge, and we will go shopping!

Grand Designs – part 1

In decorating, home, shopping on September 22, 2011 at 12:04 pm

A month or so ago, I announced that I’d declared war on The Boy’s house, and was preparing to turn interior designer for a while. We’ve had a few discussions about it, and the quotes for the plastering are in – they’re not cheap, and it’s going to take a lot of time and money to revamp our sitting room the way we plan to.

Adam is one of those people who goes by the ‘if it has to be done, do it properly, or not at all’ mantra. That’s fine, but when budget issues dictate that you can’t rip out a kitchen and start from scratch along with everything else, to my mind, a refresh is perfectly acceptable – a coat of paint, some new details, and a change is as good as a holiday. He’s still not on board, but I’m working on it.

I’m making headway… he was adamant we weren’t touching the bedroom – remember my plan to get rid of the boring white embroidered bedding, the non-descript pottery vases and vamp up the blah lilac wall with a rich damson shade? Courtesy of the Next vouchers I was given last week for my birthday, I bought deep aubergine bed linen and velvet, textured and Mongolian cushions, along with rich damson candles and diffusers for a vibrant contrast against the white woodwork of the window ledges. I made up the bed, arranged the candles, and didn’t say a word…

Grape stuff

“WOW” – that was the word he used when he came across it… Not “Er, I thought we’d agreed not to do this,” not “I don’t like it”, “It doesn’t work with the white” or even “You could’ve consulted me,” – just “WOW”. He’s now agreed that the room looks great and is happy for me to finish it off for the full effect. I’ve roped my rather meticulous mate Mark in to paint the wall for me, and I’m aiming to have the room finished within the next month, by which time, I’m hoping that we’ll have started stripping the sitting room walls and be one step closer to completion.

One down… two to go. Watch this space.

Living the Langham Life – part 1

In food, Holiday, Hotels, London, Travel on September 21, 2011 at 11:50 am

Last weekend Adam treated me to a luxurious weekend in London as my birthday surprise. While that might not sound so special, after all, we’ve all been to London, what’s so great?, we really went to town. For a start, Adam had booked one of the city’s grandest hotels, The Langham, for our stay. I’d never been to The Langham before and from the moment we arrived, admiring its chic, classy interior with its luxurious furnishings, marble pillars and pink and gold livery, it felt like we were in a fairy tale. Located at the top of Regent Street, it was also a perfect base to reach the rest of London, and with a strict schedule and a travel card, we were armed to see and do.

I’m not great at relaxing. I’m a nightmare on weekends away as I’ll draw up an itinerary that doesn’t allow for lingering or toilet breaks, so we wanted to get the balance right between making the most of the visit and chilling out. One of my favourite places in London is Covent Garden and we chose to go their first to browse the markets, enjoy the sounds and smells and have lunch, before heading to South Kensington to visit the museums. To my shame, while I’ve been to London more times than I can count, I’ve never visited the V&A or the Natural History Museum. I wish I had sooner, and I’m glad I have now – the history museum is superb. I loved the mix of entertainment vs information – something to keep everyone happy, whatever their age, whatever their reason for visiting. There’s a common belief that it’s little boys who have a fascination with dinosaurs, but that’s unfair – I defy anyone not to be awe-struck at the skeletons, models, fossils and information the museum shares. Moving through mammals and fish (I gave the reptiles a miss) it was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, and what struck me as most impressive of all, was that it was free. Tne Museum of Natural History in New York costs around $20 a person, so to have this wealth of culture at your fingerips for the price of a discretionary donation is a great asset – well done London, you’ve done us proud.

By the time I left the museum I’d realised that wearing my never-worn before Reiss boots was a massive error of judgment. Suggesting we stroll up the Kings Road for coffee, having forgotten how long the Kings Road is when your toes are mangled, was another.

The evening saw me kick off the cursed boots in favour of sparkly shoes for an exciting evening – cocktails in the Langham’s exquisite Artesian bar, followed by Thriller Live at The Lyric Theatre, followed by dinner at The Criterion Restaurant.

The Alice In Wonderland


The mixologists in the Artesian Bar really are masters of their trade – it’s probably why the bar won the World’s Best Cocktail Menu accolade. I’d already chosen by cocktail before I left home, selecting the Alice in Wonderland – created to celebrate the famous novel first published in 1865, the same year that The Langham opened its doors to London’s high society. Made up of Bombay Saphire with peach meringue and fresh lemon, the drink is a sweet and sour sensation, and was served with a coating of rose salt – pink scented salt that coated the glass, adding a whole new flavour. I LOVED it.

I also loved Thriller Live. Whatever you may have thought of Michael Jackson’s personal life (for the record, I believe that he was merely thevictim of poor advice given by greedy associates who cared more about the bottom line than his health or reputation), you can’t fail to know, and most probably enjoy, his music. While I was never a big fan of the J5 or the Off The Wall era, Thriller and Bad formed a massive part of my youth, and I just hoped that the production would include Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal – my all-out favourites. And I was NOT disappointed. A stellar cast of singers and dancers brought MJ’s catalogue to life once more, with glittering costumes, audience participation and the kind of abilities that can only have been honed after days and days and days of watching, learning and replicating his work.

The outstanding performance of the night was without question Smooth Criminal – where the various ‘Jackons’ all took to the stage and were so, so good at performing the various layers of the song that I couldn’t work out which one was singing which part. What was clear though, was that the Jackson not singing was the one leaning, twitching, grabbing, moonwalking, and essentially bringing that entire gangster persona to life.

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You could just see the audience shuffling their feet, desperate to get into Leicester Square and have a bash at moonwalking again – heads up, if you couldn’t do it when you were 14, you won’t be able to do it now. And while the encore – that glittering single white glove appearing through the darkness, followed by the opening beats to Billie Jean and the steps lighting up with each step – didn’t quite top the moonwalking gangster performace, it was pretty close.

It goes without saying, my tootsies didn’t get the reprieve they’d been hoping for.

Post-theatre supper at the fabulous Criterion restaurant is a treat – and an affordable one when you choose from their set menu – tasty moules mariniere, salmon in chive beurre blanc with sauteed samphire, and strawberries and cream with meringue and basil granite were all delightful and light enough, before a stroll back up Regent Street to ‘home’. New York has the status of the city that never sleeps, but I love London for the same reason. You’re never on your own.

Feet screaming for mercy, and contact lenses itching, we ought to have called it a night there and then, but, with that fantastic bar standing between us and our room? Can you blame us?

My nightcap of choice was the Russian Spring Punch – fresh berries with Snow Queen vodka, fresh lemon and Creme de Casis served long and topped up with champagne. Every bit as luxurious and delicious as it sounds.

And with that, I curled into my bed – made of clouds and big enough to sleep four men – and gave my feet the sweet relief they’d been craving for the past 12 hours…

Book review: The Woman He Loved Before: Dorothy Koomson

In book on September 21, 2011 at 8:15 am

I’m very grateful to my friend Jade for introducing me to Dorothy Koomson’s novels three or so years ago. I devoured Marshmallows For Breakfast, My Best Friend’s Girl, The Cupid Effect and The Chocolate Run at high speed, loving the beautiful writing, the complex layers of the characters, the sensitively handled plots… and it’s hard to believe, but Koomson just gets better and better.

Goodnight, Beautiful remains to this day the most heart-breaking book I can remember reading – it’s certainly the only book that I’ve had to sit and cry for a full hour afterward, and been unable to summarise to anyone without welling up. And last year, The Ice Cream Girls explored new teritory, tackling a controversial topic, once again, one that I’d never really dwelled upon to make me sit back and think about the perception we have of authortity figures and boisterous teenagers. The thorough understanding, the careful layers of the plot that show the extent of the research, of the empathy that the author puts into her work, is eye-opening and jaw-dropping.

I’m not being helpful – I’m not telling you what the topics are, why some of the novels are so harrowing – I don’t want to ruin the reading for you, that’s why. Koomson’s been described as a new queen of chick-lit – but I think her novels go way beyond an enjoyable read. Parts are distressing, and all are thought-provoking, leaving you whizzing through the pages, anxious to find out what happens next, who did what, why they did that, if everything will be okay.

The Woman He Loved Before is the latest jewel in Koomson’s literary crown – one of those books that you close after reading the final sentence and sit and think ‘What if...’ What if I were LibbyWhat if I were Eve…Could I do that, would I be able to do that?

Libby is a very beautiful woman, with a husband she loves very much; Jack. Before he fell in love with Libby, Jack had been married to Eve, who had died. A car accident in the opening of the novel throws Libby’s life into sharp relief – everything she is, everything she thinks, is questioned. Police investigating the accident wonder how Jack’s second wife so narrowly escaped death, narrowly avoided ending up the same way as the first. And there are niggling memories, things that Libby can’t quite put her finger on, as she comes to terms with the effects of her accident, the scars it has left, and the damage it has caused to her relationship.

Recuperating at home, she comes across some personal possessions of Eve’s, revealing the life of the woman Jack loved before, and making her question everything she has been told, everything she’s ever thought and believed about her husband and his past.

The subject matter of the book makes grim reading at times – and it’s a credit to Koomson’s skills that it’s not easy to simply dismiss the plot as fiction. We know that this is a fictional novel, but we know that Koomson has lifted the lid on terrible things that happen to people that we tend not to dwell on, prefer not to think about. Like picking at a scab to expose the woud underneath, Koomson nudges away at the layers of Libby’s discovery and Eve’s secrets – it could have been left alone, but once it’s been started, however painful it is, it has to be finished.

I must’ve come up with eight theories as to what was going to happen at various points in the book. When one of those theories was correct, I gasped with horror; I’d hoped my imagination was running away with me.

Gripping and chilling, Koomson has explored an unpleasant, taboo world; the kind that we occasionally read in distressing newspaper reports and sleep a little less easily for.

This is a book that stays with you long after you reach The End, and one that presents a whole series of ‘What if’ questions about what you might be capable of under different circumstances. Luckily for most of us, it’s something we’ll never need to find out.

Book review: Before I Go To Sleep: SJ Watson

In book on September 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I have got to stop reading thrillers when I’m in bed – it’s not conducive to sweet dreams. I started Before I Go To Sleep on Sunday night, and after a couple of hours, as I turned the light out, was so tense that I almost just carried on reading. Last night, as I reached the final ‘pages’ – this being a Kindle it’s fair to say I had 20 per cent left to read – and shouted out my latest theories (poor Adam has to endure this with everything I read, I have to tell him what’s happening and what I think the outcome will be, just in case I’m right an can’t prove it) as the ultimate cliffhanger kicked in…the flashing page saying I’d run out of power appeared, leaving me on a knife-edge until 6.30am today.

(FYI, I was right about a bit of my theory, but very, very wrong in the main)

SJ Watson’s novel is a cracking debut – Christine wakes up to find that she doesn’t know where she is, and that she has no recollection of the night before. Turning over, she sees an older man wearing a wedding ring sleeping beside her, and creeps into the bathroom. Disgusted with herself for sleeping with a married man, a stranger, she tries to work out how to leave as she washes her hands… hands that are older, with a wedding ring on. Christine finds out, as she does every day, that she’s been married to Ben for 20 years, and that she has amnesia; every morning she wakes with no idea of who she is or who those around her are, all recollections of what she learned the day before erased…

A telephone conversation with the man who tells her he’s her doctor, that he’s been working with her to recover her memories, leads her to the journal she’s been keeping, and from there, Christine begins to find out who she is. Or is it who she’s been told she is?As flashes of memory strike out the of the blue, Christine records them, reading back over days and days of entries to piece together the life she had before the events that caused her memory loss, and to find out why it happened at all.

A chilling account, I was really drawn into this novel, desperate to find out what had happened, what accounts were true, which were lies, if the lies were to protect her, or to prevent her from moving on, who she could trust, and who even really exisited. A tense, tense thriller that really keeps you guessing, and then twists unpleasantly just as you think you’ve got your head around it.

This would make a great movie, so it’s no surprise to learn that Ridley Scott’s already earmarked it for production. I look forward to Watson’s second offering.


Shoe in

In fashion, shopping on September 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

A while ago, I blogged about a pair of marvellous shoes I had my eye on. I’d been waiting for them to go on sale, but, alas, Dune were wise to my online predatory stalking and failed to rise to the occasion.

Last Monday was my birthday, and I was inundated with annoyed friends and family members muttering about the fact that I was impossible to buy for because I just buy what I want if I want it – the reason for that’s simple enough – I was turning 36, not 21. I don’t think that really warrants gifts on a great scale.

So spretty. So high.

However, turns out people actually read this, because a few days before my birthday, I opened the door to a courier and he had a Dune shoe-box in his hands. I was so excited I shut the door in his face. I obviously re-opened it and apologised, I might add. Sure enough, my best friend Donna had gone way above and beyond and bought me the fabulous stripy shoes I’d been coveting.

The next 40 minutes were a little tense as I discovered that the matching clutch had sold out online across the board – Dune, John Lewis, House of Fraser… all of them had a little ‘out of stock’ footnote beside the bag.

I tore into Solihull to John Lewis and was told by a lovely saleswoman that they too had sold out of the bag. She contacted every other branch of John Lewis, and they sadly confirmed that they too had sold out and couldn’t have it sent to the branch. Alas. Perhaps I was destined not to be well co-ordinated. No, I don’t give up that easily.


I called House of Fraser in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. No joy. And then, I remembered that there was a HoF in Solihull, I never remember it as it’s tucked away from the main shopping area.

Quest complete

I shuffled over and up the escalators to the shoe department, and half way up the moving stair, I saw it. On the top shelf. Gleaming in the lights, its jewel colours vibrant and all striped and silky and lovely. I think the assistant thought I was barking as she confirmed that it was the last in stock and wrapped it up for me, but she was under no illusions that she’d made me very happy.

The boyfriend was somewhat bemused at my endeavours that night, you’d think he’d get it, but he doesn’t. I showed him my treasures and watched as his jaw dropped and he erupted. It seems, after all that, that the reason John Lewis in Solihull had sold out was because his family had bought me the shoes and bag.

While they were then returned, I did feel guilty, but it just goes to show, not only am I damn lucky, but one way or another, if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it. Sometimes twice.

Kindle convert

In book, Uncategorized on September 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

Over the past couple of months I’ve debated the pros and cons of a Kindle:


  • No gorgeous tactile, vibrant, glossy covers
  • No more crisp scent of fresh, unturned pages
  • The loss of that feeling that there are only a few pages left before you’re bereft…


  • No more airline charges due to excessive baggage
  • No more watching helplessly as pages fall out and drift off due to overuse/hot and dry climates as the glue melts!
  • Not needing to allocate yet more space under the bed/in the study/in the attic/in my parents’ house

So, on my birthday last week, I was delighted when my boyfriend’s parents bought me a Kindle and I could stop procrastinating and mincing and just get on with it. And I am now very, very much in love with it.

The first realisation is I have a new, significantly more dangerous pro and con:


  • No longer will I have that sensation of ‘what to do now…’ when I come to the end of a book and don’t have anything new to try… a quick flick through the Kindle store and I can have a whole new selection delivered to my device in seconds courtesy of wifi and whispernet.


  • This is going to cost me a freakin’ fortune. Already, I’ve unwittingly spent around £60 on titles in just six days, and I’m usually fairly sensible on the book-buying front. Now, whenever I read a recommendation or a review, I’m going to act immediately, rather than making a note and remembering to browse Amazon or head to Waterstones.

Case in point – this week on Twitter, Jane Green recommended SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep. I was in the middle of Helen Smith’s Alison Wonderland at the time, so quickly hit the Kindle store, bought the kindle book, and resumed my reading. Last night, on finishing Smith’s novel, I began Before I Go to Sleep. I’m hooked – my mind’s already played out 20 different endings and I can’t wait to resume it tonight.

I think I’ll have to get into the habit of limiting the amount I order, but next on my list is either Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – which I wanted to re-read before I watch the movie this weekend, or The Sick Rose by Erin Kelly – having finally read The Poison Tree last week, I can’t wait to read her next offeirng.

Oh, it’s going to be problematic, I can just tell. In the meantime, my parents can throw a party to celebrate getting their spare room back.

Made up

In cosmetics, shopping on September 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I made a brilliant discovery this week. To me, Amazon has been the place to buy myriad books and the odd CD to cram into my already bursting boxes/shelves/space under the bed. But what I didn’t know, never having looked, is that you can buy make-up!

As someone who is an advertiser’s dream, and always buys the latest resins/primers/glossers etc etc, this was a revelation, and I’ll tell you why: As every woman knows, the day your concealer runs out is generally, without question, the day that your eyeliner, mascara, lipgloss and tinted moisturiser run out. And while that’s all fine and dandy, because what could be better than shopping for lovely, clean, shiny new cosmetics, it works out hideously expensive.

I digress. Anyway, I now find that I can actually save not just pennies, but actual pounds, by ordering through Amazon.

Arriving in a fat little package this morning was my Benefit Hoola powder (RRP £23, to me: £9.99 –  I KNOW!!) and my magical Ooh La Lift eye brightener (RRP £16.50, to me: £6.99!!!). In the next day or so, I shall receive another fat little package, this time containing three gorgeous Urban Decay eyeshadows, which had I just bowled down to my friendly neighbourhood department store, would have cost me £39 but has in fact cost me…wait for it…£12!








It’s a bloody revelation, I tell you. Enough to render my Boots Advantage Card obsolete if I wasn’t so obsessed with accruing points for ‘a rainy day’.

Of course, the down side is that I’ll now end up buying all of the gorgeous things I manage not to ‘because I don’t really need it, and I’ve never really tried it’, on the basis that, well, why the hell not?

My quest for the Sindy-doll style dressing table becomes ever more important. After all, all this stuff is soooo pretty, I’m hardly going to shove it in a drawer am I?

PS – don’t you actually go and buy any of it, I don’t want them to sell out.