Sunday, 17 November 2013

A New Chapter

I've not been feeling myself for a good year and a large part of that was due to being in a job where I felt unhappy. I felt trapped; on paper there was nothing "wrong" with the job as it was varied and the salary was decent. I almost felt silly for feeling the way I did and ignored that nagging voice telling me to get out and do something else. The thought of another job didn't inspire me in the health field - there was nothing which really got me going and I felt disillusioned with it all. I felt that I would be wasting a degree I slogged and paid for and felt silly for having a second career change yet still feeling dissatisfied. So I stayed where I was. I thought it was just me being ungrateful. I felt ashamed of moaning when others were facing redundancy and tried to focus on all of the positives the job brought me. So I kept it all bottled up and got on with it. But in myself I felt worse and worse.

The past couple of months have forced me to face the situation head on. I stopped exercising, I got fatter by the day, I drank more wine, I cried more for no reason and I was alarmed at how physically and mentally I was heading downhill. The voice screamed "ENOUGH!" I knew I deserved better and I really needed to take charge of my life again as I have always done. It had scared me how I had allowed my situation to control me since I had always considered myself a feisty, go getting gal yet I could barely decide whether to go to a spinning class never mind make a life changing decision.

My husband, sister and friends all listened to me when I needed to talk about it. My fabulous best friend was on hand to guide me and begin a process of talking things through properly - something I've not been accustomed to being a coper. It felt strange and liberating at the same time. I'm learning to be more honest and it feels great. I was desperate for some guidance and kept praying and asking. Along the way I met two women who had resigned from jobs they hated. Deep down I knew they were sent to me to nudge me but I didn't have the courage to do what they done. For me to do that would have been irresponsible.

Day after day I tapped into my intuition. I realised that I was fed up of moulding myself into something I wasn't for an employer. I'm a vibrant, energetic, creative, loud, caring, camp, compassionate and intelligent woman with lots of makeup and funky hair. Yet I was having to contain myself and suppress a lot of who I was and toe the line to suit an organisation. I just wanted to be me and have felt for a long time that being self employed would be the only way forward for me. Since meeting my artist husband I have experimented with more creative pursuits including my writing and a spot of photography. I have also loved upcycling furniture. Being covered in paint and transforming a drab wardrobe into an eye catching beautiful piece has been wonderful and I wanted to turn it into a business. But I was too scared. I had an academic background. I had always lived to think that any career path could only proceed once a relevant qualification was under my belt. I had ignored the idea and passed it off as a silly whim. But it kept nagging at me.

Exploring my creative side
I met two more women who told me that had resigned from jobs they hated without having another job lined up. And they were fine, if not even better off starting a business and going into consultancy on their terms. I was asking for guidance still and thinking nothing was showing up - HELLO!! I eventually woke up and took notice. My gorgeous husband sat with me while we worked out finances together. Yes I could afford to work part time and start a furniture business. It would be really tight but do-able. Too scared. I carried on.

A new lease of life
I felt out of sorts emotionally. One day I would decide to leave, the next I was staying  but considering dropping my hours part time, the next I was looking at other full time but dull jobs. Intuitively I felt I would benefit from a reiki session. After telling the reiki healer about where I was at the time she asked me to pick and angel card. When I turned the card over I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I knew it was time to change when I read this:

Three days later over a text conversation with my sister and my rock, she was brutally honest with me, backed me into a corner so I could no longer hide and forced me to decide what I was going to do. Shit. Enough. I'm going. And I did. I was scared. Two weeks ago I handed in my notice. I took charge of my life. I thought I would panic but in reality I had never felt so calm or so certain. The minute I made the decision I felt that everything would be ok. The next day I had another reiki session. I chose another angel card:

People ask me what was so awful about my job to make me feel that unhappy. There are a few tangible reasons which don't really seem like much and apart from feeling like I couldn't be myself I knew it was more than that and something spiritual. It all made sense yesterday when I read an exerpt from Iyanla Vanzant's book 'Until Today':

" For no reason, you are suddenly unhappy being where you are or what you are doing. Yet for some reason, there is a gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that where you are no longer serves you. You may even feel bad because you have no logical explanation for it.........When God's grace and blessing have been lifted from a situation, you will no longer be able to stay there. Once you have fulfilled the purpose, once you have grown, learned and gifted all that is required of you, according to God's purpose then grace is lifted. When you are in a good situation, the lifting of grace may make you feel guilty. You may want to stay because you don't have a good reason to leave. Here's a good one: to stay once God has let go of a situation may take you out of grace with God."

As I type I have two pieces of furniture upstairs waiting to be waxed and photographed before they go online in the hope they'll sell. I have no idea how it will all go but what's important is that I'm trying it. I'm following my heart and doing what makes me happy. If it works then awesome and if I fall on my arse then that's cool too - I'll survive. Don't get me wrong; there are days when I'm crippled with self doubt. But equally they are days where I feel inspired and excited more and more. I'm slowly feeling more like myself. I'm laughing not crying anymore and I'm starting a brand new chapter in my life which is authentic and on my terms. I will never ignore that voice again.

Work in progress - just like me
To all of you who have been there for me, thank you from the bottom of my heart - you know who you are.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Weight No More!

I don't tend to watch much TV but when I do I love anything that inspires me. Sunday is one of my favourite days as I feed the spiritual part of my soul with the awesome Oprah's Masterclass and Supersoul Sunday. Mid week I loved Sky Living's Fat: The Fight Of My Life. I adored watching people overcome psychological barriers that held them back when it came to eating and exercise while they take control of their lives and recognise potential they never knew they had.

One episode really stuck with me and that is the story of Sarah Le Brocq. I saw a beautiful and intelligent woman when she appeared on the screen yet she said she hated herself which made me so sad. As the episode continued, Sarah lost 8 stone, regained her self esteem, reclaimed her life and ended up taking part in an Olympic distance triathlon! For me, although her weight loss was incredible the thing that stood out was the fact that she competed in the triathlon still at 17 stone proving that you don't have to be a size 8 athlete in order to achieve ambitious health goals. Most people including myself would think "maybe when I'm a size xxxx and after training for xxx years then maybe I'll consider it. Nope, Sarah took the bull by the horns, embraced the challenge and smashed it. The message I'd like to give today is never wait to be a certain weight - live NOW!! I'm thrilled to host her on the Vivi blog and we talk changing health habits with a bit of glamour thrown in of course.

Sarah at the start of the show

VV: Welcome Sarah! Goddam you're looking HAWT! I believe you were up at 5am every morning to train for 2 hours. Hardcore! Was it evil and what kept you going?
SLB: I was indeed, up at 5am with Val my trainer knocking at my door at 5.45am 5 days a week. It took a while to adjust to the early starts as I am not an morning person, but eventually it just became a way of life. I just changed my routine, bed by 9pm so I still got my 8 hours sleep. My body ached lots initially, but again adapted over time. I am a very driven person, so once I had made my mind up to be on the programme, nothing was going to stop me because there was no way I was going to fail.

VV: Go girl! How did you find radically changing your diet? Were there times when you just wanted to jack it all in and eat a huge pizza?
SLB: The change in the food I ate took a little getting used to, as I was a big carbohydrate and sugar fiend. However, I managed to find lots of healthy tasty meals that satisfied my taste buds, so the food side wasn't a big thing for me in the end. It just became a way of life. I think the important thing long term is not to deprive yourself of things you love for instance pizza, I love Pizza, I just now have a couple of slices with salad rather than a large Dominos like I used to.

Sarah striking a pose looking gorg

VV: I was so sad when you said at the start of the show that you hated yourself but I think many women can relate to that. How are you feeling about yourself now and how have you achieved a shift in mind set (if it has changed that is)
SLB: I definitely don't hate myself anymore, I like myself but I still have a way to go until I love myself.......but I'll get there! It's important to remind yourself how far you have come on your journey, taking photos at the start is a great way to do this. I still have to keep revisiting my photos at the start.

I think the shift in my mind set is down to the amount of intense hard work I have put in to get to this point and a combination of positive thinking and daily positive affirmations. There is still work to be done here, and probably always will be. Persistence is key!

Oh so pretty!

VV: Good advice. What have been the personal high and low points of your journey?SLB: Personal high point will have to be completing my Olympic Triathlon. I loved every minute of it! I honestly can't think of any specific low points, the high points most definitely out weigh the lows.

VV: That triathlon - I bow down to you. What was it like?
SLB: The triathlon was AMAZING! I was on such a high the whole way through. The mile swim was great and I completed it quicker than I thought which helped my confidence going into the 40K bike ride. The bike ride was tough at times with some nasty hills, but every time my energy dipped I reminded myself why I was doing it and the amazing support from my friends, family and Jessie, kept me going! The 10K run was a killer at the end, my feet went numb, but nothing was going to stop me from completing it. The feeling as I crossed the finish line was euphoric, but also very emotional. I was very proud of myself! I am planning on doing the Jersey triathlon again next year.....I have a PB to beat now ;-)!!

VV: Wowzers! Now forgive me, I’m going to be crass. How on earth could you exercise when you have the HOT Jessie Pavelka standing in front of you?

SLB: Ha ha! The beautiful Jessie, I'm not going to lie the first time I met Jessie, I did find it hard to focus, however his lovely personality and sense of humour soon make you feel at ease. He is very down to earth and he soon becomes Jessie your friend, rather than Jessie the heart throb!!

Sarah rubbing it in she's BF's with JP!

VV: Well I don't know if I could be that cool - I would have dropped a kettle bell on my foot and spilled carb drink down my top with nerves. What was it like working out with such male loveliness?

SLB: We didn't have many opportunities to actually train with Jessie, the majority of our training was with our local trainers. Mine was Valentine Rawat of Rawfit.
Of the few times I did train with Jessie, I tried to make sure I maintained my dignity! Ha!
Yes Sarah I get the drift.....I'm so jealous!

VV: We love a bit of glamour in Vivi land and you’re a bit of a glamourpuss Sarah. Tell us about your style clothes, makeup beauty must haves and style icons.
SLB: Being over weight I could never really focus on designer clothes etc... Because nothing fitted me :-( so I focused on nice shoes, hand bags and accessories. I'm sure most people spotted my good old Chanel sunnies in most shots, I can't live without them! Ha!
I am looking forward to experimenting with different designers and clothes as my journey continues. I am a big fan of the Ralph Lauren, Barbour Coat style look for the future. I have always spent a fortune on keeping my hair nice and using nice make up, as these were a great distraction from my horrible body......well so I thought! My fave pieces of make up are my Chanel foundation and bronzer and I couldn't go anywhere without my YSL touché eclait!

VV: I'm so there with that one! Fantasy dinner party – who would you invite dead or alive?
SLB: This is an interesting question.... The first person that springs to mind is Karon Brady, I admire her strength and tenacity in the footballing world and her amazing achievements. I also love her glamour and style.

Tom Cruise is my dream man, so I would love to meet him to see if he really is that short? (I don't think he is!) And also to see if he is as mad as people make out.
And Finally Lord Sugar, I have been a big fan of The Apprentice for many years, in fact I applied to take part and reached the audition stages twice!! I really like Lord Sugars no mess attitude, he says it as it is, so you always know where you stand. I really like that about him.

VV: What’s next for you health goal wise?

SLB: My next health goal is to get to my goal weigh/dress size. I say that because my goal is to be a size 12, and I have no idea how much more weight I have to lose to get there. I am currently a size 16/18. Something Jessie used to stress was not to focus on the numbers and I understand that now, I think this is a healthy attitude to have.
Looking radiant - go Sarah!

VV: If anyone reading this wanted to make mind, diet and exercise changes where should they start and what are your top tips to keep going?
SLB: For anyone wanting to make changes, they have to be completely committed, because unless their mind is focused, it won't happen. There is no quick fix, I had a personal trainer, counsellor/mentor and amazing support from friends and family and these were crucial to my focus and progress.
I guess what I really wanted people to take away from my show, is that anyone can achieve anything they want to if they rely put their mind to it. I proved that by completing an Olympic triathlon at 17 stone!

We are the owners of our own destiny, the choices we make and decisions we take are completely in our control. Don't be your own worst enemy. If you want to change your life, you CAN!!
Feel free on twitter @Sarah FTFOML, I try to tweet motivational quotes through the week and I am happy to answer any questions.

So what are you waiting for? Don't wait one minute more. Dream about your goals and go for them!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Too Much On Your Plate?

I was blown away when last year I discovered a fantastic website called Too Much On Her Plate which aims to help intelligent busy women to make peace with food and end stress eating and overeating. It’s the first website I’ve seen which offers practical and realistic advice without being patronising and rather than focus on calories and exercise, looks at feelings of overwhelm and overload as a contributing factor to feeling unable to control eating.

The inspiring Psychologist Dr Melissa McCreery tells us that many of her clients are professional intelligent women, who for example are able to run a hugely successful business while juggling motherhood yet feel disempowered when it comes to food and eating. I’ve found this website incredibly helpful personally as there is plenty of brilliant advice and various tools you can read and download. Melissa offers various services from personal telephone sessions or online programmes. What’s more is that Melissa has been through all of this herself so understands the issues both personally and professionally. I follow the blog religiously and I was so excited to hear Melissa has written a fantastic book just released today (blog review to follow). Check out amazon to get a copy. There is also a fanastic offer at the end of this post. feel honoured to feature such an awesome woman on the Vivi blog.

Welcome Melissa! Tell us how Too Much On Her Plate came about.
Hi Vivi! I created because I saw too many women struggling with what I now call the 3 Os – overwhelm, overload, and overeating. They were feeling stressed and overloaded from trying to “get it all done,” feeling unsuccessful when it came to feeling healthy, happy, and balanced, and were beating themselves up for not being able to make it all happen. The weight loss industry tends to preach food plans and willpower and that doesn’t address what’s really going on. Those 3 Os can create a vicious cycle and traditional diets and weight loss plans can make it worse. I wanted to be able to teach women that there really is a way out – and it usually brings more ease and joy as well as success.

You’ve also had struggles with food and eating yourself. Are you able to tell us about that?
In my book I say that when I talk about my struggles with food and eating, sometimes I feel like a fraud. That’s because, although there was a time when fighting with food made me miserable and took up far too much of my time and energy, I won that battle and it almost seems like a lifetime ago. I made peace with food over 27 years ago, and unlike a diet or a plan that relies on willpower and determination, my peace has never faltered. It’s rock solid. People who know me now don’t really believe I ever had “issues,” but there was a time when I was owned by the scale, I never knew if my pants would fit, and I was happy or mad at myself depending on how I’d eaten that day. My message is that it is possible to move beyond that – and to leave that way of thinking, struggling, and living behind – forever. You asked me about founding Really, I got serious about that when I heard one-too-many women tell me that they knew they would always struggle with food and that they just needed to adjust their expectations and get more willpower. That’s such a myth and life is simply too short and too precious to spend it struggling with food.

I so agree. Why do busy women struggle so much with food and eating?
It can be a pretty compelling trap. Busy women are often facing a lot of things that can make overeating pretty appealing. Things like exhaustion, stress, limited time, and high expectations can all be recipes for overeating. Couple these with a reluctance to take time for yourself (either because you can’t find the time or don’t feel like you “should”) and food becomes an easy, available way to try to take care of your feelings, reward yourself, or amp up your energy without taking away from anything else.

I’ve written about being a Nutritionist yet gaining a fair bit of weight and feeling like a fraud. Do you have healthcare professionals with similar concerns?
Vivi, I love that first post you wrote on this issue. I believe you helped a lot of women by writing it. I’ve worked with many nutritionists, healthcare and fitness professionals, coaches, and leaders in their industries who told me how embarrassed and sometimes ashamed they felt because this was their struggle. There is a misconception that a) this is as simple as “just eat less and move more” and b) everyone else has it figured out and there is something wrong with you if you don’t. The truth is, the shame and guilt make things worse, and overeating struggles are common – and a major reason why most weight loss attempts fail.

 Sometimes it seems there is literally too much on our plates – where would one even start if we were thinking of tackling food and eating issues? Most of us would go on a diet and hammer the gym. What would you say to that?
Vivi, I just made a whole series of videos on why this is definitely not the best first step! They are free and are available at The short answer is that you are going to build more success if you start by tackling the reasons you are overeating before you focus too much on the food itself. Then, stifle your overachiever and start making small changes that feel absolutely do-able.

Ah - the overachiever! That's a biggie. How have your clients changed after using your services?
More than one client has said to me that when they made peace with food they also made peace with their lives. It’s true. When you tackle emotional eating and the reasons that you are struggling with food in the first place, whether it’s stress or frustration or loneliness or a shortage of me-time, you are going to start creating lasting solutions that are much, much bigger than food.

Your website says you were a PE dropout at school now you’re training for your tenth marathon – wow that’s amazing! How did that come about?
I never ever thought I’d be a runner, but it turns out that running in the beautiful places where I live is one of my favourite things. It’s important to start thinking of our bodies as a place where we feel good instead of as this thing that we have to control and mold. I run for quiet time and to untangle my thoughts. I run to be outdoors. I run on the weekend to have time with my friends. I never thought I’d be a runner and I never thought I’d be a marathoner, but it’s kind of like life. You just start taking steps and over time, when you keep taking them, you go farther than you thought you could go.

Inspiring! Fantasy dinner party – who would you invite (dead or alive)?
Oh boy, great question and I’m the woman who goes blank when I get hit with something like this. I think Michelle Obama, Katherine Hepburn, Betty White, Brené Brown, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ellen Degeneres and Oprah would make a great women’s night out though!

I'll be gatecrashing - especially if Oprah is there. Your new book is out today - it's awesome. What made you write it and could tell us a bit about it.
The Emotional Eating Rescue Plan for Smart, Busy Women is available on It’s a day-by-day rescue plan for emotional eating and overeating designed specifically for high-performing, busy women ready to take control of their eating and their weight. It’s based on over 20 years of work with smart women struggling with these issues. I wanted to create a guide that women could use to move beyond vicious cycles and diets that don’t work to create a peaceful relationship with food.

If my UK sistas felt that they could do with a spot of Melissa in their life apart from your book what would you recommend they tap into from Too Much On Her Plate?
Go right to the website and sign up for the free stuff! Right now, my Smart Solutions to Overeating 3-part video class is free for the taking at and I have a free audio series: 5 Simple Steps to Move Beyond Overwhelm with Food and Life
Refreshing and inspiring or what? So ladies, ditch that diet, get Melissa's book, sign up to her website and use the tools recommended. Also, you can take advantage of this brilliant offer - buy the book between today and 21st September and receive loads of bonus resources. Click here for information.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

It's All Good and a Bit of Food Philosophy

My lovely sister bought me Gwyneth Paltrow's fab recipe book It's All Good. Sadly, the book had sat on my shelf for a couple of months. Of course I've read it and mmmm'd at all of the delicious recipes but as magazines were being posted through the door or given to me by friends also calling me to cook their recipes, one can reach saturation point with recipe overload. As hard as it is, I've made a promise to myself no more recipe books for a while as I want to try out the recipes I already have.

Given my current lack of physical pazazz, I really craved something with decent nutrition but something that was bursting with flavour. I really wanted to boost my energy levels and this book appealed to me as Gwynnie had a similar experience to myself in terms of inconsistent eating approaches; one minute super healthy and the next glass of wine and takeaway. Poor Gwyneth actually ended up pretty poorly and thought she was having a stroke one day while suffering from a really severe migraine and panic attack brought on with stress and exhaustion. It turns out her body's biochemistry was out of whack showing up in blood tests with anaemia, a vitamin D deficiency, and high levels of stress hormones ravaging her system. After following a strict and clean diet Gwyneth relaxed it a little once she was restored to full health and It's All Good brings us some of those cleansing yet gorgeous recipes which aren't boring and meagre like some of these "cleansing" recipes ie beansprouts and air. Ugh.

So Sunday I was home alone and thought I would give myself the gift of a nourishing meal. I chose the greens and pea risotto which was SO easy to make, try it here. I love risottos but I find while eating out they can be overloaded with cream and a little sickly. When I make them at home however  I have to ditch the cream. This recipe is also made without cream and has onion, leek, spinach, peas and lemon which is so fragrant and light. I did worry that just rice and veg wouldn't satisfy me alone so I bought a lovely piece of hake which I roasted in the oven with some fennel.

My tasty risotto sans fish so you can see it

It was absolutely gorgeous and I really recommend it. It would be lovely on it's own but equally would work with fish, seafood and chicken. I'm definitely making it again.
And with the fish and fennel - utterly delighful!

If you haven't got the book there are a few of the recipes online if you want to try before you buy but I love the philosophy of the book. Dr Habib Sadeghi's piece is my favourite. He points out that instead of using our passion to enjoy food we over complicate it, over think, analyse and intellectualise it. One of my favourite parts is when he says about food:

"It thrills us, lights us up, and reminds us what it feels like to enjoy something from the soul level.....we feed our bodies through food, but we feed our souls through what makes us happy, through pleasure. Because food brings us so much pleasure, it's not just essential for a healthy body, but for a healthy spirit too."

How beautiful is that?  I'd share my risotto with Dr H any day! If you try it let me know how you get on. What meal nourishes your body and soul?


Monday, 22 July 2013

Cheshire Rocks

Just over 2 years ago I moved to Cheshire and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Since being a little girl I had always yearned to live in the countryside as I need space and green to keep me sane. It is like total therapy for me and now I know what homesick feels like when I've been away from home too long.

Cheshire is such a gorgeous place and one of the many things I love about it is the local produce. Although I don't live in a rustic cottage overlooking farmland (not yet!) there are a few farms nearby that have wonderful shops attached to them. The farmers I have met so far have all been women which is awesome and I have such much respect for the hard graft they put in to feed our hungry bellies. Also there are so many local businesses producing wonderful meats, fish, veg as well as sauces, jams, chutneys....I won't go on but it really thrills me to be living somewhere where there is a passion and respect for food.
Loving Country Living
I love nothing more than a good old rustic country pub and there's so much to choose from in Cheshire; they seem to be on every corner. I was recommended one called the Black Swan in Lower Withington which I visited recently as I was told both the decor and the food were to die for. I wasn't disappointed. I wanted to move in to be honest! It is one of the most beautiful pubs I've been in. Apparently the owner designed it and every little detail is just wonderful. I took some photos but they don't do it justice and I encourage you to look on the website if you're a country homes kinda person. Kooky, bright patchwork fabrics on the chairs and lamps, quirky wallpaper, gorgeous wood and open fires gave the place such a vibrant, welcoming and cosy feel. I wanted to curl up with a magazine and a glass of wine and just relax there all day. My whippet decided to do just that!
Teddy my whippet loving the fine fabrics
So onto the food. It took me ages to decide from the plethora of potential offerings. From wood fired pizza, to good old beer battered fish and chips; my brain was in turmoil as to what to choose. I pondered over Cheshire sausages with sage and spring onion crushed potatoes with sweet cured bacon and caramelised onions (next time I think) and tantalised my taste buds with the thought of marinated beets salad with crispy goats cheese, caramelised red onion, pine nuts and honey.
Gorgeous spicy lamb flatbread

A closer look at this badboy!
I settled for the flatbread with spiced shoulder of ham,harissa, sticky red onion, charred red pepper, feta and tzatziki. It was incredible. The lamb was so sweet, melt in the mouth and all of the flavours married together so well, The flat bread was lovely and warm with a beautiful texture. Mr V opted for the Cumbrian steak which of course I had to try and it was delicious.

Cumbrian steak
I really wanted to try the mars bar cheesecake for sheer decadence but I was too full to be honest but I shall try my best next time. We sat outside afterwards in the sun and the outdoor area has plenty of tables and a huge sandpit for the kids as well as a covered area with lovely bunting. I honestly can't wait to go back there and it will be as equally as fabulous in the winter with roaring fires and candle light. If you're near the area, I insist you go. If you do, let me know! I'll leave you with some pictures of the decor if it floats your boat.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Besame Lipstick Review

I almost fainted with excitement when the lovely Lisa Oakley from Lotty Blue asked me to review one of the Besame lipsticks they're currently stocking. Yes my blog is food orientated but you may have gathered from my pictures I'm also a fan of makeup and vintage glamour, so how could I say no to an opportunity to try a new lippy, especially one of this calibre. So excuse me while my blog goes off piste for this post. Put down your knife and fork and listen while I tell you about this wondrous find.

The brand Besame is from the US of A and founded by Gabriela Hernandez who was inspired by her Grandmother to bring back old style glamour. The lipsticks carry the exact shades worn by golden era Hollywood stars with Red Hot Red being Marilyn's favourite.

The colour I tried is called Besame Red. Firstly the packaging is to die for; vintage luxe and something you would imagine Garbo to have on her dressing table. The box is beautiful and Lisa will vouch for the fact that I was hyperventilating when I undressed it from the box to reveal a velveteen pouch which encased the lipstick. The lipsticks are styled into 1940's gold plated bullet shapes which are just beautiful.

I first applied it on the evening of the National Vintage awards so it's debut was highly appropriate. The colour is beautiful, a real rich, vibrant red and more on the blue toned side. I'm really pale so it suits my skin tone really well. It's really creamy upon application and clings well to the lip without it being heavy. It's really moisturising which is welcome since my lips are really prone to drying out with the corals and reds I tend to wear. Ingredients are natural and include vitamins A, E and C, aloe and green tea.

It's mega durable and I found that after a full night out and a fizz or two later it still held on. That said it doesn't take heaps of makeup remover to get off either. I always blot after one application and apply a second coat but one day I was in a real hurry and just put on one coat and that's all you really need. It doesn't slide or bleed which is always a bonus when trying to avoid the Courtney Love look!

Just one coat!

To be honest I've worn it most days as I'm in love with it. On Sunday I went out for a lovely walk followed by lunch and a couple of drinks. It had worn off slightly after the meal but not as much as other brands I've worn (Rimmel, Clinique) and even if you had (God forbid) forgotten to bring it out with you to re-apply, you can get away with what's left as it holds really well.

Besame for my Sunday walk
The price tag may make you gasp slightly at £29.75 but I honestly think that it is such a treat as well as being excellent quality and it really goes a long way since you only need one coat. If you can't face parting with the cash then definitely ask for it as a gift. After all, we're saving cash by topping up our wardrobes with Matalan and Primark frocks which is great but sometimes a girl needs a little luxe to light up her life and I think a Besame lippy does just the job. Every time I get it out it's little bag it makes my day that little bit nicer and makes me feel like a movie star! We just don't get makeup like this anymore, most packaging looks it all looks so modern and futuristic so it really looks beautiful on your dressing table.

Besame while dog walking

Besame for a street party

Still holding strong after a couple of tipples
In conclusion: pricey, yes but definitely worth the investment. Excellent quality and a must have for any Vintage beauty queen.

Check out Lotty Blue's website for the Besame range.


Monday, 29 April 2013

Why I'm Dancing To Victory

Today is a vintage inspired post. As you may know I’m a real vintage lover and even more so when it comes to cooking. We may have the creative chefs of today knocking out amazing dishes that look like they should be hosted in an art gallery, but for me I shall never fail to be impressed with the efforts from the everyday household cooks from the second world war. Those cooks had to make dried egg seem appetizing – try that one Masterchef! And rationing. Jeepers – I’m ALWAYS hungry and love thinking about what I’m going to make for my next meal. I can’t think of anything more bleak than having to divvy up 100g of bacon between a family for a week and go without a large claret.

But really, I tip my 1940’s veiled hat (with a feather – stunning) to the mighty Land Girls or officially known as the Women's Land Army. They were hardcore women who grafted relentlessly to provide nutritious food for our nation in WWII in tough conditions, heavy manual labour and long hours. And I moan about motorway driving and sitting at a desk to earn a living. I know. (Slaps one’s own wrists). They produced 70%  of food in Britain so I never fail to be blown away by these gals’ efforts to feed the country. The Spice Girls didn't invent Girl Power. The Women's Land Army did and then some.
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Yesterday I bought tickets for an exciting event Dance To Victory which not only looks awesome but the cause is truly important. Organised by the gorgeous Lisa Oakley of vintage fabulousness Lotty Blue of and Sharon Taylor of Always Red Events, these creative ladies are supporting the Staffordshire branch of the Women's Food and Farming Union. Funds raised will pay for a well-deserved memorial for the Women's Land Army and I feel proud to be there supporting the event. It's an evening of music and dance entertainment including the beautiful and talented Lola Lamour. I will feel in Vintage heaven. I’d love to go to the day event Pitch In For Victory too but I’m otherwise engaged but I strongly recommend you check it out and get your tea dress clad butt over there pronto! 18th May, Stafford.
Gorgeous Lola Lamour

I hear the food will be WWII inspired which I will look forward to. So what did families eat during those tough years? Well due to rationing which began on 1940, cooks had to begin to get used to less butter, eggs, milk, meat, sugar, rice, wheat – ok practically everything. Yes chocoholics – the mighty cocoa bean too! Rabbit, game, chicken and fish thankfully weren’t rationed but fish was increasingly difficult to buy as the war continued and families were offered whale meat and tinned snoek (a type of fish from South Africa) which went down like a lead balloon.

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Therefore tinned meat such as spam and corned beef, dried eggs and home-grown produce were an absolute godsend. The Dig for Victory campaign saw the country making veg plots out of any spare patch; including tennis courts! Some even kept chickens and goats and bred rabbits and self-sufficient living became the norm.

 I’m astounded at some of the make do recipes when forced to go without; mock cream (cornflour, milk, butter) eggless batter, boiling fruit peel to glean sweetness in the absence of sugar.The Government’s Ministry of Food ensured that rationing met nutritional standards and produced leaflets and booklets to teach the nation how to get the best out of the meagre rations. Marguerite Patten was part of the MOF and her popular radio show “Kitchen Front” used her creativity to show British households how to whip up delicious meals using very little. Some of Margerite’s recipes included tripe mornay, bacon and potato cakes, lemon sponge, cheese pie and 8 minute doughnuts.
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Although some people found the Ministry a little nanny state-ified, many a person had big love for Lord Woolton who was the MOF Minister, so much so he has a pie named after him. What an accolade! This pie was made with veggies such as carrot, swede and since flour was rationed, pastry was made with flour and potato; a crucial ingredient to top a variety of pies as well as the LW variety.

Soups and casseroles were frequent meals since they stretched out slow cooked meats and the veg would bulk the meals out. Yet over time, as men and women served in the armed forces, they began to learn more about more exotic cuisine. The nation became more adventurous with their menus serving up hamburgers, curries, goulash and moussaka. I was surprised about this as I thought they were “modern” dishes but those spices were a godsend to pimp up otherwise bland ingredients.

As horrendous as the war was, it’s played a huge part in how we eat today in terms of food technology ie canning, preserving and also nutritional science. Let’s never take for granted the abundance of food we have today and forget the tremendous efforts of our wartime sisters the Land Girls. If you’re around on the 18th May it would be fantastic so see you at the Dance To Victory event or do pop along to the day event and pay tribute to these amazing women.
EM Arts & Vintage Photography