Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My Hair Curling Arsenal ~ 5) Bendy Rollers

Oh hai there comrades! How be all of thee? Well I trust.

Here we are with this months instalment of the my Hair Curling Arsenal. 
If you are new here (hello!), then you can find all of my previous posts here.

These came into my life after a look in the good old £1 shop. 2 packs later and I was off home to relive my youth of an uncomfy nights sleep and frizzy hair. Or so I thought. 

These bendy foam covered stylers surprised me to say the least and are now a firm favourite  on the what-to-curl-my-hair-with circuit.

I have found that I prefer to work with the longer ones out of the pack, especially for the back of my head as they are just that little bit simpler to use.

I wet my hair before I commence -  usually with mousse, leave in conditioner (as in this case) or setting lotion. Always on dry hair.

I roll the hair downwards and then bend the ends upwards to hold them in position. If you tend to roll your hair upwards then you shall have to do the opposite - but I have found this a little digging to sleep on.

 I have been curling my hair for a good few of years now and have found my own pattern to work to -  so this is not a structured set.

One thing I really like about these is the amount of hair I can get on them. They are completely adaptable to my mood (read: enthusiasm level) as I can grab great bit wodges of locks for loose waves or much smaller sections to give a much tighter result.

 I then cover it all in a headscarf and get me to sleep. Which I find really very comfortable. I remember these from the early 1990's - when crimping was out and foam rollering or plaiting damp hair was in  - and sleep worthy they were not. 

However -  I also do not remember ever sleeping in a headscarf to keep them all in check and I had a penchant for slumbering on a selection of my favouritist teddies as opposed to an actual pillow. I feel all of these attributed to my former unfavourable feeling towards these devices.

The next morning - and they are all dry and ready to be unwound and styled.
Before I set to it with a brush - I run my fingers through it all to separate the curls. 

I then pull my "aaargh my curls!!" face -  which results in my nostrils going into over drive.

A bit of gentle brushing and it is all soon sorts itself out. I do not tend to use pomade -  it does very little for my hair other than weigh it down. I rely on hair spray and pins. My hair always drops - it is a fact I have have had to get my grumpy oh-but-its-not-FAIR!!!! self used to. 

It's just the way it is.

I find that a set using these lasts me a good couple of days with at least some shape. I tend to re-roll large chunks of dry hair at night to keep the shape longer.

For a couple of quid, they were well worth the punt and have become a firm feature.

Ease of Use:  8/10

Comfort when Sleeping: 7/10

Longevity of Curl: 8/10

Friday, 16 November 2012

New Foresting

We are lucky to have friends who live in amazing places. Chums who are happy for us to kip over for the night, or a weekend or a week. Budski's who ask for a nominal fee for a phenomenal stay.

A small cottage on the edge of Lyndhurst, in New Forest, is one such place.

The wandering and -  for the most part -  friendly wild ponies greet you right outside the gate.  I have never, ever lost my childlike entrancement when it comes to all things equestrian. Although I long ago gave up the mucking out, the brushing down, the tacking up and the hacking about the woods, they still make my heart flip.

I am always respectfully wary of them - just as  I would be an old mare who is as placid as can be. Them beasts all have big old teeth and long, kicky legs.

But, the smell of them, the noises they make and their gentle presence is, for me, one of the delights of walking in a damp forest on an Autumn day. 

After such a walk, albeit not brisk by any means, but cold, undulating and long, it is only right and proper that copious tea, cheese on toast and cake is slurped and chewed.

Faces drawn in the condiment of your choosing are compulsory.

There is much village-ness to be had in Lyndhurst and out of season is always, for us, far more glorious than the height of summer. It meant a peaceful and unhurried visit to an old graveyard with a not-as-well-know-as-she-should-be inhabitant.

It was not until recently that  I read the original book for the first time.  The Disney version of events is all I have ever known. Not, in my eyes, a necessarily bad thing, but it is always nice to read the actual story as intended.

After a chillsome pootle in and out of the charity, antique and chocolate shops, it soon becomes time to return to the cottage. 

Via the pub. Naturally.

As the night draws in, the fire is lit by The Beard and I am able to potter about in a galley kitchen making hot food for cold tummys. 

And generally trying to hatch a plan so that we can live somewhere like this full time.

My lottery win just keeps on missing me. Motherhubbards!

That said, it is nice to know that a top up of all things forest are not too far away.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Winter Sun

It sure is getting dark early these days. You know me well enough by now to know that I love this time of year. However, the brightness of the sun as it dips down behind the houses is sometimes a little too much. Especially as our front room is south facing *squint*

But. It sure makes for a pretty picture.

It highlights the whispy clouds with colours that I have not seen in any felt tip pen set. And if I tried to recreate them, I would end up 1) with brown and 2) using too much of said felt tip and ripping through the paper.

I realise that there are many paints to be had, should I feel myself particularly arty, but there is something alluring about a long set of felt tips. I still have a hankering for an A3 flip board and a set of thick, unfailing markers so I can pretend to be Rolf Harris.

Fret not, summer lovers. If the world does not end when we enter the Age of Aquarius at the Winter Equinox, the days will get a few seconds longer before you know it.

Whilst they are like this, I shall relish every one of them.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Church of Gramps

I am in Ypres, Belgium for this year's Remembrance Sunday.

But last year was no less special.....

The weather was bright and unseasonably warm . And I was up and out by 8.30 of the AM (shudder) on my way to London to attend the annual service at the Cenotaph. 

A veteran friend of mine was laying a wreath on behalf of the ATS and, although I failed to get anywhere even near the Cenotaph, I did see him on a big old screen from about half a mile back.

After the silence, followed by the pomp, The Beard and I headed off on a trip to somewhere new to me, but a place that would have been all too familiar to my Great-Great-Grandfather, who is known to us as Gramps.

During his extensive research, my Pops had found out a lot more about him than I could have ever imagined. Namely, the area he lived in when he joined up. That was enough to floor me.

But then he told me about the church my Great-Grandfather had been christened in. 

Walking past a pub where he possibly drank, through what is now a housing estate and arriving at these gates left me feeling a bit weak and watery-eyed.

But to actually be able to go in, left me stunned. 

It had nothing to do with the jumble sale that was being organised by busy members of the local community. That is not to say that I ignored the vast amount of tat that was just begging to be rifled through. Thankfully, (or frightfully?), none of it was for sale until the next Saturday.

What left me so speechless was the small plaque on the wall. To all the men and boys from the parish who had perished.

Of which my Gramps was only one of many. 

To see W.E.French on a commemoration plague here in the UK, that I could touch and stand next to? Let's just say I am pleased I wore waterproof eyelash goo.

Just as in France, his name was on a wall with people he knew. People from the same locality. Neighbours. People of acquaintance. Friends.

A stark comparison to the great, white walls at Arras, but no less poignant. In fact, a little more so as every one of the men mentioned would have been a member of the church I was now standing in.

I had to let The Beard take over the explanation to a friendly, but slightly bemused, lady who had helped us locate the plaque.

Now. As I have come to write this, it has spooked me slightly that I am wearing the same dress in France by his name, as I chose to wear that day. This was not pre-meditated at all, I literally grabbed a frock I felt comfy in. Odd.

It was only as I left the coolness of the church and came back out into the sunshine of that November day that it really hit me. And it was standing on the threshold of church that reduced me to big, gulping breaths. 

The very same threshold that he would have carried each one of his 3 children, the eldest one being my own Great-Grandfather, over to be christened.

I had to move away and lean on a wall.

We then decided to try and complete the last leg of the visit to the small street that still, to this day, contains the house he lived in.

It is a moments stroll from the church, a reminder of how close knit communities were back then. We know from our research that one of the men listed on the commemoration plaque lived 2 doors up from my Gramps and his young family. 

Did they join up on the same day? Did Gramps hold the arm of the younger man as they waved goodbye from this street?

If all of this -  the pub, the church, the spooky dress thing and being outside his home, standing on the cobbles he would have trod -  was not enough...

.... then there was this on the floor.

Spelt in the way I used to spell my name, granted (Charly is a shortening of my real name. And no. It's not Charlotte *wink*) but still.

My name. There. In the floor.


I don't know how many smokes I smoked whilst standing in that street. It all kind of rushed at me. Like a scene from Christmas Carol when the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge by the hand and down the tunnel to see what has been before.

After I had semi recovered from my wobble, I had to use all my resolve to stop myself from knocking on the glossy black front door of the property and trying to explain the situation. 

I am sure it would have weirded out the current tenants. But, would they mind if I just had a look, could they just spare 5 mins...? 

I didn't knock. I didn't actually go anywhere near the door.

I might let the postman do that for me...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Down Whitstable Way

We are lucky enough to not live too far from the coast ourselves. It is usually Brighton that we head to when we have the time. We love the cold wind and the bleakness of the seaside when it is off season. 

We are also blessed to have friends who live in the wonderful Whistable. 

Oh my. If I were to move near to the sea -  I feel this would be the place.

There is a comfortable ebb to Whistable. Yes, come the summer, it does get busy, and the narrow walk ways become a gauntlet of thank you's, sorry's and oncoming traffic dodging.

During the bright, cold weekends of Winter, this is no different. Whistable is a popular place. Even if you are not a fan of oysters -  for which they are famed.

With a shingle beach that you would not want to traverse barefoot, the seafront walk is breezy, no matter the season. Thankfully, I am a fan of  both pebble beaches and chilling winds.

The town is dotted with antique, junk and charity shops. There is particularly wondrous place on the sea front is the aptly names Vintage-on-Sea. This small shop, carved out of the space next to an old boat workshop, is incredibly inviting with it's frocks all a fluttering on a washing line. It catches my attention every time I visit. 

Each time I walk up the sea path, I get to the end and want to turn round and walk straight back instead of hitting the hustle of the town.

People walk their dogs. Kids ride their bikes and push along scooters. Gulls swoop and screech.

All of it makes my face do this.

Oh. I would give a lot to live in one of these cottagey delights. And I think I would certainly have to. Whistable is one of those places that is popular with London folk. Out-of-towners.

Although the people who are lucky enough to live here do have people, in a steady flow, travelling past their glorious front doors daily, it must be wondrous to gaze out first thing in the morning, before anyone else has awoken and all you can hear is the sea and the birds.

The thing I love most about Whistable is the severe lack of usual seaside fare. There are no amusements. It is not a pleasure beach, but a working one. Boats are always in and out of the harbour. Oyster shells are in abundance. Lifeboats are doing practice runs.

There are parts of the beside the seaside stroll that are a little dilapidated. Whenever I have passed this house in the last couple of years, I am always left wondering what I would do with it. After I had removed the resident pigeons who have taken to calling it home. It saddens me that it is left uninhabited. Not that I have a spare x amount of grand down the back of the sofa. 
But oh, if I did. I would clean it's higgledy-piggledyness up quick smart. 
I might learn to paint. And drink only loose leaf tea with lemon.

There is a delicate element to Whitstable. Beach huts are dipped in pastel paints and have people pottering about them in sun and shade.

Further away from the front, there are little convenience stores to be had. That sell tea and cake and serve water in stone jugs to keep it cool. I now need a stoneware jug in my life. 
The thrifting search continues.

And if all this were not enough to convince me I do love the place -  there are classic, ornate reminders of past residents hidden in plain site. 

When can we move?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Singin' in the Rain


I don't actually remember the last time I saw a musical at the theatre. I had practically forgotten their existence, on account of high prices and nothing that has really piqued my interest. That was until I was invited to see Singin' in the Rain at the Palace Theatre.

I had heard about the production, and even caught sight of a bit of it on this years Royal Variety Show. I mentally kicked myself for not ever having seen the film. I know, I know. I am sure there is some law against my peepers not spying "classics" -  but buying a box set with the intention of watching must count for something? 

So. I entered the theatre with no expectations at all.

I loved the theatre itself. Built in the late 1880's, it has been home to many a play and musical.  When I am in an old theatre in London and am waiting for the show to start, I have a good old look about. I wonder about the people who once graced the boards before me, the laughter or gasps of shock that rang through the seats, the smoke that would have once hung in the air. I have to say, I wandered off into my own little dream world about it all.

My attention was soon restored to the present with a big old, rootin' tootin' musical number. I do love grand opening. There were dancers all over the shop. And what dancers they were. I was making eyes at hair do's that were staying put (were the glued in place?) and shoes that looked retro and comfortable. I glossed over the 1940's looking 1920's ladies frocks (not dissimilar to the film, I am reliably informed) because, honestly, that dancing!

The main character were all fabulous. It's a tough job up on that stage. No retakes or editing. And the performance was pretty much flawless. For me, the part of Lina Lamont- played by Katherine Kingsley - was my bestest. I do have a love of a New Yoik accent. She was like the love child of Betty Boop and Janice from Friends.

The assembled cast made the show for me. They made me really feel like I was seeing a show - an old time show. Made me long for real dancing to make a return to life as a pastime for all.

And as for the water - all those 14 tonnes raining down? Which is cleaned, recycled and reused for each performance? Amazing. I was worried about where I might be seated -  as I was not aptly frocked for a soaking. Once I knew I was safely out of the way, I actually would have quite like to be in the stalls, nearish to the front. It looked like a whole lot of fun to be part of the show in such a fashion.

It made me smile from start to finish. I wanted to applaud at the end of each major routine -  and wholeheartedly did. I even stood up at the end and clapped and clapped.

I feel that you could be sitting in the Gods or right at the front within sniffing distance of the stage, and you would enjoy it equally. If you are ever in town -  it is definitely worth a look in.

Singin' in the Rain is showing at the Palace Theatre. Ticket prices start at a mere £15.

Now. Where's that box set?


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