So I had a long black wig and Morticia was too easy for the first use of the black wig (plus I need something resembling an evening dress before I can do Morticia), so I decided to do a hair, make-up and costume tutorial for a Wednesday Addams cosplay which I uploaded to Youtube.
Travelling on Interrail south through Germany from Belgium (read about Belgium here), the trains never ceased to amaze me. German trains are a marvel of engineering precision, and comparing them to English trains would be like comparing a BMW to a pony trap. Yes, the pony trap is an important part of our heritage, and it will (usually) get you to where you’re going eventually, but the BMW is the more comfortable ride and, let’s face it, more appropriate for cross-country travel. The BMW doesn’t have to throw everyone onto a bus at Sheffield so it can go to sleep for the night.
Let me tell you about German trains.
The internal doors are made of sliding glass panels; there are small compartments containing conference rooms for business executives; the dining car has seats and tables so you don’t have to walk the length of the train with your food; the seats are reasonably sized and oh so very comfortable; but none of this is the best bit. The suspension likes to fool you into believing you must be travelling very slowly, to feel so few bumps and corners, but then you look out the window and realize you’re going at over eighty. But that’s not the best part either. The best part is, in front of you, wherever you sit, there is a piece of printed paper with the heading “reiseplan.”
And that piece of paper tells you when you will arrive at each of the stations between where you are and the train’s terminus. Not only that, but it tells you what trains are departing from those stations in the next hour or so after your arrival. On a longer journey, the stewards will bring more than one Reiseplan to you so that you know exactly what is going on at all times.
The train passed through several stations, I had a short stopover in Frankfurt (where I ate a Frankenfurter – aka hot dog) and I made a couple of changes onto other, equally well-endowed German trains, and thanks to the Reiseplans on the German trains, I was able to very efficiently plan a route all the way down to Zurich in Switzerland. I’d expected (when I awoke that morning in Brussels) that I might get as far as Stuttgart by the end of the day. Arriving at Zurich was a total coup and a sign that the trip was improving. Now, again, I had a shot at getting to Venice.
The scenery across Germany could be described as cloudy on top with fields underneath, punctuated with the occasional town or city. As we got closer to Switzerland, the clouds seemed to press together, accumulating, a crowd of clouds awaiting entry to some great event, perhaps a thunderstorm concert, on the other side of the Alps. This was a place which held onto the clouds with the first of the Alpine mountains, keeping them safe so the Mediterranean could enjoy sunshine.
I looked up accommodation in Zurich using the directory of hotels that I’d acquired in Paris, and I phoned them on the final leg of the train journey, making a reservation for a room in the Zurich Etap. I conducted the entire conversation in French, and from the train I took a taxi to the hotel, then went to the desk that had a picture of a French flag and started checking in. Out of the corner of my ear, I heard a conversation in English then realized the hotel also had an English-speaking check in desk. D’oh.
Being stubborn, I decided to finish check-in in French, handed over my passport so they could take a copy, then got my key and went to the room. It wasn’t fantastic, but there was an ashtray and a couple of beds, as well as a tiny plastic en-suite bathroom which had probably looked cutting edge in 1998. I had a shower, a smoke and a snack then went to bed. There was nothing to do in the hotel and I wanted to be up early because Zurich was just a hitching post on my journey into Italy.
The next morning, I intended to go straight to the central station. Somehow, this didn’t happen. That’s a story for next time.
I’ll be back on Monday or Tuesday as I’m going away for Easter with my bunnies. Here’s my face of the day:
Want more blue lipstick inspiration? Here’s the David Bowie themed rainbow make up look with blue lipstick (Youtube). I do love my blue lipstick. I never linked to this when I put it online because I had done way too many beauty posts that week but I haven’t done as many this week so here you go. I was so happy that this year’s 2016 beauty trends indicated that lipstick was going to be HUGE this year.
I know my task for the week was to get Instagram but Google Play and my phone aren’t talking to each other so I’ll have to make it next week’s task or maybe it’s time for a new phone lol.
Oh WOW this photo challenge was hard! I decided to do a photo story called The White Rabbit. I hope you like the story and theme. It’s only 250 words long (because the photos really tell the story) and it’s told with photos and in the captions. The photo challenge was Snapshots.
Note on the story:
The theme of this story is Alice Through the Looking Glass, but only with the chasing a white rabbit motif. I wanted the White Rabbit to be a girl, with ambiguity as to whether she’s chasing herself or whether the narrator is chasing her, like in the beginning stages of a relationship. I wanted to combine a narrative of Alice with the bizarre surrealism of a Kafkaesque landscape that I found on a walk when I went to the Scottish Borders last year. It is Border Country in a lot of different ways, the interchange between England and Scotland. I wanted this to be ambiguous and open ended, to give it a sense of mystery and open interpretation.
I would appreciate any feedback as I don’t usually share my creative writing on here, although the words were really just to tie the pictures together to explain why I arranged them like this.
PS The pictures are of myself but for the purposes of the story, the person in the pictures is not the narrator telling the story.
This is a Haul and First Impressions video of my MAC, L’Oreal and Collection make-up shopping trip last week, with some exciting new cosmetics including the MAC pro-longwear concealer and the Collection highlighter. I did upload this last night but decided to take it down, re-do a couple of the swatches, then put it back up again, so it’s just gone live on Youtube! I’d love if you right-clicked and watched it over there so it counted towards my stats (they don’t count embedded views on the Youtube stat counter, WTF), but more than that, I’d love if you watched it!
Seconds after writing this and publishing it, I found out that Brussels airport and metro have been attacked in the last couple of hours by terrorists and it’s still unfolding. I am completely shocked and disgusted that this has happened. Nobody deserves this but Brussels is such a lovely place, nothing bad should ever happen there. I hope everyone can get to safety and that they catch the monsters responsible. Terrorists are so utterly evil, but how could even they do this? What has Brussels ever done to offend anyone? I am crying right now because this is so shocking. My heart goes out to everyone in Brussels and all of Belgium right now, and everyone affected by this in any way.
Okay so I may have gotten one tiny detail wrong last week. I didn’t get straight on a train with the intent of going to Belgium from Paris. The Parisian Lecher was basically trying to get me to stay in Paris with him and I told him that if there were no trains to Venice then I would just go back home, and I bought a reservation to Calais. After making myself feel less disgusting in the train bathroom I pored over my maps of Europe and tried to work out a route over the Alps to Italy. I wasn’t going to let one bad experience ruin the whole trip.
I jumped off the train at Lille (France) and continued to Mons (Belgium), which was the interchange to Brussels. As soon as you get into Belgium it’s really obvious that you’re not in France any more, because the Belgians are really big on their art-deco style, and you can see it everywhere. It’s so classy and 1920s, and it’s very easy to see why this is the land of Hercule Poirot. I was relieved I didn’t have to go all the way back to Calais, and after the stress of Paris, Belgium was just delightful. From the moment I stepped off the train in Brussels and saw signposts in English, I knew I was somewhere friendly.
From my travel journal:
“…They have an open tourist information centre, which is in the train station (which has a shopping-centre-like layout map) and it can reserve hotel rooms and give you area maps. It’s dead good. So I’ve had a long, thorough shower, changed my clothes and am sitting on an actual bed in an actual hotel room. And there’s a delicious box of Belgian chocolate truffles in reaching distance.
This evening I plan to have a meal out then plan my next move – likely to Luxembourg or Stuttgart,maybe Cologne. I won’t continue to wax lyrical about Brussells. All I will say is firstly, Belgium deserves its reputation for food and chocolate (they even make the vegetables taste amazing)* I ate a boiled chicken and seasonal vegetables meal with a creme brulee dessert. Secondly, the architecture of Brussells is way underrated. The city’s up there with the big tourist centres as a really beautiful place – only Brussells is totally friendly. I am staying at the Argus Hotel near Metro Louise, amongst the high-end shopping area (Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Sonia Rykiel etc), and it’s tariff says E110 on the door but I paid significantly less.
Later still: I have looked over my map and decided to go to Stuttgart tomorrow from Bruxelles (via Frankfurt) aiming to be on the 11:59 (lmao) train from Bruxelles Midi Station (just in case I forget tomorrow). This will give me plenty of extra time to buy a necklace and also to postcard-shop and take some photos, although if I keep snapping I’ll run out of disposable cameras!”
*At the time, I wasn’t the biggest fan of specific vegetables. Looking back, I genuinely have no idea what I was eating. Fast forward 6 months and vegetables were all I ate, because I went vegan!!
What I learned in Belgium:
One of the things that really surprised me at the time was how lovely Belgium is, and it’s completely underrated among the under 30’s. Having seen more of the whole country now, I think it’s a delightful destination and well worth a visit if you like a classy travel experience (rather than a non-stop party). If that sounds duller than a dry white wine, Brussels (or Belgium for that matter) probably isn’t the place for you. I did actually go back to Brussels in 2014, when my husband and I just dropped into Brussels for dinner (we were hungry, and I’ll link the story here when I get to it), and I still think it’s an incredibly sophisticated destination with unparallelled food. In terms of ambience, it’s probably how Paris was forty or fifty years ago and it makes for a good romantic getaway because it’s not packed with tourists but it’s still very ambient.
The main thing I learned though was that there’s a reason people don’t use disposable cameras any more. At the time, I thought it was the amount of space they take up. Actually, I didn’t learn about the photo quality difference for several years – I have always believed that film-cameras are way better than digital, and I think I was right until the last couple of years, when digital cameras finally started having a good enough resolution (number of megapixels) to be able to produce better pictures, and we finally got a unified digital storage method (SD cards) with a reasonable amount of storage per card, at an affordable price. There was a long time when there were so many different types of memory cards for different cameras and devices, that it was pointless buying either cameras or cards because as soon as they stopped making the cards, the camera was useless, and as soon as the camera broke, you had to buy a new set of different cards for the new camera, it was all the most ridiculous situation because of compatibility (and that’s if we don’t get started on those stupid wires we had to use to upload stuff – how many different connectors does the world need? I’m so glad that 99% of everything uses a micro USB these days).
There’s a world of difference between a disposable camera and a regular camera, however, and one of the key differences is aperture. Disposable cameras (and those cheap non-disposable fixed focus 35mm cameras that everyone used to have) have a fixed aperture that’s optimized for daytime holiday shots in the sort of light you get in the Mediterranean. That’s why these tend to come out acceptably on them. But they’re really not useful at all in low-light settings such as evenings or indoors in certain places.
Nowadays, I use a DSLR camera and I have a bridge camera as my backup. Yes, a DSLR is heavier, and OH MY GOD it was so expensive, but it’s worth it to get stunning pictures first-time-every-time when I’m on a once in a lifetime trip or at a concert.
Read part 3 of my Interrail journey here
To see my articles on photography, click here.
So I’ve been nominated by Brandie at The Striped Coyote to do the Beauty Blogger Tag!
Thanks to Brandie for nominating me for this tag! I’m going to try to answer the questions as best as possible!
The Rules for this Tag:
Tag the blogger that nominated you
Answer the questions you were given
Nominate 10 bloggers whose blog is about beauty/lifestyle/fashion
Name 10 questions for your nominees to answer
Inform the bloggers you chose that you nominated them.
Have you ever done yoga and did you like it?
My primary school used to do yoga so I did it with the rest of the kids (it was a very small school with a total of 32 pupils in the entire school) whose parents couldn’t pick them up straight after school. It was okay. I think people like most things at that age. I incorporate some yoga moves into my warmup/cooldowns for my workouts nowadays, but I don’t even think about where they came from any more! I’ve never taken a proper grown up yoga class though!
What products do you splurge on?
Nothing really. I’m flat broke at the moment so I can’t really afford anything fancy. When I do have money, I tend to buy high end primers and concealers because they’re the most important thing to get right. Oh, and good hair products of course!
What products do you save on?
Eyeshadow! I bought a pallette called the Jazooli pallette for £14.99 about 2 years ago, and it’s got literally every colour of the rainbow, so I use it in pretty much all of my Youtube tutorials, especially the most outrageous ones! I’d like some fabulous high end eyeshadows but this will do for now. Apart from my Laura Mercier neutrals, that’s all the eyeshadow I own!!
What is your best tip for maintaining healthy skin?
Drink lots of water. I know it’s a cliche but it totally works.
What do you use to remove your makeup?
I use cotton wool and rosewater, but I get the stuff that’s in the cooking aisle at the supermarket, not the stuff that’s in the drugstore, because I want the one that’s just 100% water and roses!
How do you maintain your eyebrows (example, threading/waxing)?
I did a video on Youtube on this last week. I shape them myself then draw the brow in to fill it out.
What is your favorite mascara?
L’Oreal Million Lashes. I’ve got the MAC Extreme Dimension as well, and it was my favourite when I first got it, but over time I’ve found Million Lashes still looks perfect at the end of the night, whereas Extreme Dimension always needs topping up. Also after about 6 months Extreme Dimension started burning and flaking, but Million Lashes still doesn’t do that and I’ve had it for over a year.
Where do you buy most of your makeup?
All over the place! Basically I just buy it wherever I see it – I got to like four different department stores because they all have different counters, I go to three different drugstores and two independent beauty shops as well as Amazon and other online retailers. Sometimes I buy at the supermarket as well. It totally depends who’s got the item I want.
What is your favorite shade of lipstick?
Nudes. If it’s got “bare” or “nude” in the name, chances are good that I love it. I also really like brown shades because they suit my complexion WAY better than pinks (I’m neutral toned, bordering slightly on warm toned).
What is your favorite perfume?
That’s such a hard question to answer! I honestly don’t know which one I love the most. I love so many different ones for different reasons. I guess Glow by JLo will always have a special place in my heart, it’s so fresh. I also love Chanel No. 5 (because it’s the polar opposite to Glow), and Avon’s Perceive has been a longtime favourite. I like something understated for daytime and something that matches my outfit for evenings! I think wearing one perfume all the time is like wearing the same pair of shoes – it’s just not going to go with every outfit or situation!
Do you prefer matte or dewy foundation?
What’s your favourite high end product?
What’s your favourite drugstore bargain?
Do you spend more time doing your hair or your makeup?
Do you co-ordinate your shoes/purses?
If you could only use one brand of makeup for the next month, which would you choose?
What’s your skincare routine?
Would you ever/have you done the no-poo shampoo method? If you’ve already done it, what were your results?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found about blogging?
Name your go-to lip balm?