Sunday, 13 May 2012

Movie Style: Practical Magic

I have an undying love for the movie Practical Magic. It is one of my favourite films of all time- there is nothing about it I don't love. I first watched it as a kid & fell in love with it then, but only watched it a few times after that and then sort of, forgot about it. Until one night, during uni, over a bottle of cheap wine or three, I watched it with a couple of my besties on an old VCR my friend bought in first year because tapes were cheap in charity shops- bless her. I have since watched it more times than I can count & it's my go-to movie when I'm feeling a bit blue & need cheering up.

There are so many things to love about this movie- for a start, Sandra Bullock & Nicole Kidman are GORGEOUS in it- Kidman's hair is probably the most perfect hair since Ariel  from the Little Mermaid; it's got Stockard Channing & Dianne Wiest being absolutely flipping amazing as two batty aunts who drink all the time, eat ice-cream for breakfast and walk around town with parasols; the house that the Owens ladies live in is probably my dream house; & lastly, I loooove the bohemian, 90s, witchy style of the two leads- maxi skirts, quartz jewellery, velvet, bare feet, macrame tops, dark lace & paisley prints- actual perfection.

Outfit one is more of a Gillian look- skinny jeans & a form-fitting velvet bodysuit with some chunky boot-style heels & round sunnies- definitely inappropriate to wear to your sister's PTA meeting, but perfect for a roadtrip with your mysterious & exotic lover of the week.

Two is Sally-inspired- if you're going to be a small-business owner, you can't be trekking round town meeting with botanical suppliers in platform heels- so flats are a must. The lace-on-lace coat & dress combo is sensible enough to not disturb the other mums on the school run, but still stylish enough to cast any just-passing-through-town hottie under your spell.

Number three is something that could be worn by either sister- motorcycle boots tough enough to do the gardening in, and a long swishy maxi skirt is ideal to float around your beautiful mansion.

Ensure to wear plenty of floppy straw hats to keep the aunts happy, magical jewellery (plenty of star shapes, obv), co-ordinate your cat with your outfits and make sure you never run out of tequila, (preferably bought in a supermarket & not the stuff left on your porch by a stranger), because you just never know when you might need a margarita.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

DIY Embellished Sunglasses

One of my fave things I've seen recently was when blogger Gala Darling tweeted an Instagram pic of herself wearing a pair of sunnies with some serious embellishment going on- gems & jewels of various sizes all over the frames. From that day on they have occupied a little space in my mind- I keep thinking about them in little quiet moments knowing that I would eventually make my own pair.

I haven't really seen a DIY blog post crop up yet so I figured I would go ahead and make my own.

You will need:
  • an old or inexpensive pair of plastic sunglasses
  • costume jewellery you don't mind taking apart
  • pliers
  • superglue (or an epoxy rubber-type glue like E6000- in fact this would prob be better but I don't have any)
  • old fabric to cover your surface
  • something to rest your glasses on- I used an old plastic wineglass
  • old tweezers you don't mind getting ruined

Cover the area you're working on with fabric and rest your glasses on an object, wide enough that they sit flat, and tall enough the legs can hang down. Use the pliers to pick apart your jewellery- I used old necklace & bracelet charms, earrings, plastic pearls from a ring and small lengths of a chain with pearly beads on it. I also used some nail jewels to fill any gaps.

Superglue your chosen bits & pieces round the frames- I stuck the charms across the tops of the frames & the pearly beaded chain along the bottoms. Take care not to stick your fingers together/to the glasses- this is where the tweezers come in. Please don't use your Tweezermans or anything like that as these will be ruined once you're done. Mine are a pair I use to stick gems to my nails so they're wrecked anyway.

Et voila!

I am so pleased with how they turned out- I got a little bit of glue on the right lens which I will try cleaning off with WD40, but you would barely even notice. It was really cheap as well- I already had everything, so it was technically free, but for a rough price breakdown: the sunnies were £1.50 from a cheap high street clothes shop last year, the jewellery was mostly stuff I bought in Topshop everytime they did a 50p sale combined with a 'buy one get one free' (I always go way overboard & spend about a tenner on jewellery I never wear when one of those pops up) & the superglue I bought in the £1 shop. Bargain, really.

Definitely try it for yourself- not only is it enjoyable, it doesn't take very long, and you end up feeling super proud of the result when you've finished. I think I will prob do this a few times- using lighter coloured glasses, more jewels, little plastic flowers- the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tulips & Free Lensing

Yesterday I went into town to pay some rent at the bank and do some other boring errands- vom. So I popped ino M&S on the way home and picked up a bunch of tulips for the house so my trip into town wouldn't be totally boring. I always go in there for fresh flowers because the bunches that are marked down in price still have a decent lifespan once you get them home. I always feel grown up buying myself flowers for my home. I think it's something everyone should do more of- you shouldn't have to wait for other people to buy them for you!

When I got them home I trimmed them and removed a lot of the leaves before arranging them (not very artfully) in a vase. I also remembered reading on the a beautiful mess blog about a cool technique for taking pictures called 'free-lensing' where you basically take the lens off your camera & experiment with holding it closely to the camera whilst moving it about a bit- tipping it here & there. You end up with a photo where the focus is quite selective- some parts clear & others quite blurry.

I definitely think that with practice this could be a really awsome technique- I still don't know much about my camera and with time & patience (the latter of which I have very little ha) I could learn to get some really awesome photos- ideally the parts in focus should be much clearer than what I managed. Still- I'm really pleased with how this turned out & I can't wait to keep trying & see what I can come up with. Plus it gives me an excuse to keep buying myself fresh flowers- always a good thing!

Lavender Syrup

Lavender is one of my favourite plants- it's really easy to grow and smells amazing. The best part though is you can use the dried flowers to flavour different foods with.

One of the easiest ways to flavour things with lavender is to make a simple syrup with the dried flowers which you can add to lots of things.

To make lavender syrup you need:

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
2 heaped teaspoons of dried lavender flowers

Heat the sugar, lavender & water together until all the sugar has dissolved. Bring the syrup to a boil and then remove from heat immediately. Once the syrup has cooled enough to be safe to handle, strain it through a sieve to remove the flowers and store it in whatever container you have chosen. I put my syrups into old glass bottles and use an oil dispenser stopper in place of a lid.

Now you can use the syrup to add a hint of lavender to anything you want- it's great in iced tea, lemonade or even champagne. You can drizzle it over ice-cream or fruit too.

You can also use this basic recipe to infuse other herbs as well- I have some lemon rosemary I want to try, and I make vanilla syrup all the time with vanilla extract for my homemade iced coffee- this stuff is life changing.