Thursday, 27 May 2010

Frugal Friday - Cheap Make-up Review: Tesco's All About Face range

Tuesday morning, I was a mile from Site when I brushed some dried mascara from my eye and realised that I'd forgotten to pack my make-up.  I had a lipstick but nothing else so, after work, I headed into the nearest major town and went to the supermarket.

It's ages since I've bought make-up base, so ago long that I'm not even sure what is on offer now.  Several years ago, I struck gold on the clearance shelf at Boots The Chemist - 6 bottles of their "17" brand make-up base, in my shade, at 50p a bottle.  I thought they'd last, maybe, a total of two years.  Instead, each bottle lasts about 10 months (and I've still got one left!).  Also in my stockpile at home are a couple of containers of Max Factor Pan Cake (perfect for hot, humid weather when regular make-up vanishes in your sweat), and a tube of Pan Stick*.

On Tuesday, my goal was to find the cheapest suitable products in colours that suit me.  I wandered up and down the make-up aisle in Tesco and checked out the special offers.   As a minimum, I needed make-up base, powder, blusher and mascara.  Oh, and a make-up sponge, possibly brushes too. 

After a couple of minutes, I noticed a small range of make-up that wasn't in the glossy display cases: Tesco's All About Face range.  At £1.49 a product or £3 for three products, it was the cheapest too.  They only had a couple of shades to choose from and no testers.  However, I figured the worst thing that could happen was that I'd waste £3 and be back there the next night buying products from a "known" range.  So I purchased a base in Ivory, a powder blusher in Rose, and translucent compressed powder (no shade specified).

They had a black mascara, too, but it isn't waterproof so I opted to buy my regular Maybelline mascara (£4.99) instead.  And I bought some own-brand make-up sponges (£1.50) and a Tesco make-up brush set (£4.79).

So how good it is?  Well, the make-up base is light and a good match for my skin.  I didn't use a massive amount, just dotted it on my cheeks, nose, forehead, and blended with a sponge. The powder covers well and is the same shade as the base.  The blusher goes on lightly with a brush, spreads out well and blends in.  The make-up holds up well to daily wear and tear.  And doesn't look cheap and nasty.  I asked a friend for her opinion and she thought  the colours were great on me and that it still looked fresh at 3 in the afternoon.  She was surprised when I told her how little they'd cost.

So, if you don't have much money and are looking for some decent make-up, do consider Tesco's All About Face range.  It's very good value for money and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

- Pam  (the brushes are very nice, too)

(Edited later to add: Skip the makeup base. It beads on the skin and isn't easily absorbed. When it does dry, it dries blotchy. The product that does all the work to get a good finish is the powder, so just buy that.)

* To use Pan Stick and not feel like you've applied a heavy layer of lard to your face or have it come off, apply as follows:
  • Draw a cross on your forehead.
  • With the angle pointing towards your nose, draw a ">" on one cheek and a "<" on the other.
  • Put a one inch line across your chin.
  • Dot once on each side of the tip of your nose.
Using a make-up sponge, spread the Pan Stick over your face.  Dust with loose translucent powder to "fix".

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Telekenesis anyone?

One of the stranger side-effects of all our building work is being without a stash.  Virtually all my yarn is in a storage unit, with the majority of our belongings.  The stash is corralled into at least two boxes, two baskets and a pine blanket box, in the furthest corner of the unit, behind everything else.

When we were packing up, I set aside the wool for the Brown Cabled Cardigan, as well as two pair's worth of sock yarn.  I've finished three pairs of socks since then (I had one pair on the needles).  Since I'm going "cold sheep", this lack of yarn has made me think about what I'll do with the little bits I have.  At home, I'm knitting on the cardigan, so that's a no-brainer.  I have a long neglected travel knitting project, the Bolero Cardigan from the Summer 2008 edition of Verena, which gets centre stage now that I'm out of socks.  I'll get very close to finishing it this week, while I'm at site.

Right now, I have three partial skeins of sock yarn left and they aren't compatible so can't be combined into a pair of socks.  (One is DK; the others, 4ply.  The colours wouldn't mix either.)  I could really do with a session rummaging through that dark brown basket, which is full of single skeins and sock yarn.   I don't want to do a big raid - I'd just like to extract a skein of Lisa Souza's Sock!  in Ecru, so that I can knit contrasting feet onto the remnants of the 4-ply.  (Sorry, I know I haven't posted photos yet.  I will get around to them when I post my Sit.Rep at the end of the month.)

More importantly, there are a couple of skeins of pink Alpaca buried in there that I'd like to give to a friend's mum.  She's a knitter and she's not very well and I'd like to give her something special to play with.  I reckon it will be another six weeks before we clear out the storage unit and I don't know if I can wait that long.  I'm wondering if I can persuade DH to dig it out for me.  Knowing my luck, it won't be in the brown basket (probability it's in there = 70%).

In my heart of hearts, I know can't really ask him to do it.  There are dozens of boxes in the way as well as a couple of pieces of furniture.  I wish I could TK the damn basket to the front of the unit and save all the effort needed to move boxes around/out of the way.

- Pam

Friday, 21 May 2010

Cooking in the danger zone (and more house photos)

This evening, as I was cooking dinner, I kept banging into things.  It occurred to me, while my sandal caught on the shoe rack residing in front of the draining board, that I'm cooking in a danger zone.  Everything is temporarily in a different place to where it was before the building work started, and more and more things have found their way into the kitchen because there was nowhere else for them to go.

This is my kitchen at the moment - stove view:

That picture was taken before all the dust and a lot of the stuff migrated in. And as it is now...

Absolutely everything covered in dust and everything is in the way, including Spikey (the yucca plant), the uplighter that is our main source of light downstairs at the moment and the shoe rack that earlier tried to mate with my sandal.

Frankly, I'm just glad I can cook in this kitchen, even if it does mean moving everything out of the way and washing the dust off everything before I start cooking.  Tonight, I found myself in the crazy position of holding onto the microwave to prevent it banging against the hot cooking pot when the washing machine went into spin cycle.

Looking the other way:

Yes, everything ends up on the kitchen table, because there is nowhere else to put it.  We can't put it on the floor because the roof now has a tendency to leak in new and exciting places every time it rains.

One of the things that found it's way "into" the kitchen is a new doorway.  You may remember the original doorway was rather low. (Turned out to be at least 6 inches lower than a regular doorway.)  It was also, annoyingly off-centre when compared to the picture window on the other side of the kitchen.   When the builders stripped off the plaster, they found this:

The doorway was inserted into a much larger space, which looked like it had once been a glass door flanked by two smaller windows.  The lintel was miles up and very long.  If you look more closely, you can see an arch built above the existing doorway.

I asked the builder if he could move the doorway about a foot over to the right.  Two Mondays ago, I came home to find this:


The doorway had vanished.  Sorry, they're a little blurry.  (In case you're wondering, Spikey isn't sick.  He's been decapitated because he was much too top heavy and we're waiting for him to recover from the shock.   We chopped his "head" into two parts and both Baby Spike and Posh Spike are doing well, according to their recipients.)

I took those photos just before I rushed out the door to go to Site last Tuesday.  When I got back on Friday, the new doorway had been built.

And from inside the kitchen.

By this time next week, it should even have French doors on it!

- Pam

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

It's over

Gordon Brown resigned yesterday as Prime Minister and the Queen appointed David Cameron PM.  The new government will be a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. I failed as a sear.  My predictions for the cabinet were rubbish.  The only things I got correct were Cameron as PM and Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister.  However, according to the  BBC, I did get the right the names of some of the main players: 

Mr Cameron has already begun the work of appointing his first cabinet, with the Tories' George Osborne as Chancellor, William Hague as Foreign Secretary, Liam Fox as Defence Secretary and Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary.
- Pam ("normal" blog service will resume shortly)

Sunday, 9 May 2010


I don't think I've written about Football before, but today was a rather momentous day - my team, Chelsea, won the Premiership!  And  I went to the match.

 This morning, we had a one point lead over Manchester United.  And one game to go - a home match against Wigan Athletic.  We had to win the match in order to win the title.  A draw wouldn't do.  When the players walked out onto the pitch, you could have cut the tension in Stamford Bridge with a knife.

Everyone was jumpy.  And the ball wasn't going where we wanted.

Six minutes into the game, Anelka scored!  The stadium erupted. We had the goal we needed to win the match and, as long as we could keep our lead over them, we'd win the Premiership.

But Wigan refused to lie down.  They came back at us again and again.  At about 30 minutes in, a Wigan player cut down a Chelsea player in the Wigan goal mouth.  Penalty!  Frank Lampard faced the Wigan keeper.  And scored!

The third goal was Salomon Kalou's.

The fourth and fifth took Didier Drogba to the top of the table of goal scorers and won him the Golden Boot.

On the fifth goal, Chelsea achieved the milestone of 100 goals in a season.   The first team ever to do so.  By the eighth goal, we'd set another record - our biggest win EVER.  Plus, our Keeper, Peter Cech won the Golden Gloves for the most clean sheets of the season.

Congratulations Chelsea FC.

- Pam (Stick that in your pipe ManU and smoke it!)

Friday, 7 May 2010

Well that makes things interesting

Yesterday was the British General Election.  As predicted by me a month ago, it was the Conservatives for the losing.  The Labour Party have been resoundly defeated in government, losing 91 seats whilst the Tories have gained 97, and the Lib Dems have surprisingly lost 5 seats.   As I type, the Conservatives have 305 seats, Labour has 258 and the Liberal Democrats have 57, with 2 seats left to declare.

However, with those numbers, it is impossible for the Conservatives to win a majority and govern in their own right.  They needed 326 seats to gain the majority and to be an effective government they'd really need another 20-30 on top of that (to allow for dissent, disaffection and deaths among their MPs).   So now the horse-trading has to commence and that will make things interesting for a while.

So far, David Cameron has made a public offer to the Lib Dems inviting them "to work together", whatever that means.  It could be as simple as a pact buying the Lib Dems off so that they don't vote down the Budget and the Queen's Speech (without which the government fails), or it could be a full coalition with Lib Dems occupying key ministerial posts.

I think it would be in the country's best interest for the Conservatives to invite the Lib Dems to form a coalition government, otherwise after six or twelve months of paralysis we'll be facing another election.   And we can't afford 12 months of paralysis - Britain's deficit and national debt are huge, many people are still facing job losses and unemployment, personal debt burdens are immense, and large sections of the population never benefited from the boom in the first place.  Also, a coalition government will temper the more "lunatic fringe" ideas on both sides, since no politician wants to risk losing his government job if he can help it.   Politics here is frequently more about applying the latest political theory or dogma and less about taking a pragmatic approach to problems; a coalition would help prevent that.

Here are my ministerial predictions for the future Conservative-Liberal Coalition:-

Prime Minister - David Cameron  (C)
Chancellor of the Exchequer - Vince Cable (L) (the only politician who can say "I told you so" over the banking crisis/credit crunch)
Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister - Nick Clegg (L)
Home Secretary - William Hague  (C)     
Industry Secretary - George Osborne (C) (actually, I might swap him over with William Hague)
Health Secretary  - Dr Liam Fox (C) (it'd be a pleasant change to actually have a medical doctor in charge of the NHS)

As for the rest of the posts, I'm not sure.  For now, I'm just glad it's over.

- Pam

PS:  I think this was the largest voter turnout for decades.  Certainly many polling stations were ill-equipped to deal with the number of voters and there were many queues.  Several polling stations closed their doors in voters faces at 10pm (when the law says they have to close), denying the voters their right to vote.  One polling station in Lewisham did the sensible thing - they corralled the queue inside, so they could vote, and then shut the doors.  It's probable there will be a few legal challenges arising from the disarray and possibly a couple of by-elections.