Christmas is a funny time of year for tradition flouters like us. We witness London draw into itself and dissolve into silence for one day only.

We like to go for a stroll on Christmas afternoon. We peer through the windows of the merry-makers and shuffle about the forsaken streets.

Said Hari to I; "Please don't wear that mask Sumi. It's scary".
Said I to Hari; "I like it".
Hiro smiled knowingly.

Much love from your slightly creepy but often very nice curator.

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Pastel Palette

Sorry for my absence of late. I have been spending time with the loved ones. I didn't want to leave you in blog reader limbo so I have a little giveaway to help keep the cobwebs at bay.

As you may know Unii palettes have recently landed on our frostbitten shores of Blighty. These are my favoured customisable palettes for multiple brand shadows/blush etc.

I am rather fond of their multi coloured exteriors/magnetic interior/rubber seal to prevent leakage/secure clip closure/magnetic stick on pad to allow non magnetic pans to work.

I have two palettes. One that I use to assemble stray singles. One to corral the colours I want to take with me on a journey, this way I don't have to amble about with the extra bulk that my various palettes add.

// The 2 up for grabs:

Win yourself one of the above (turquoise or lilac) Unii Palettes.

How to enter:

Leave a message in this posts comment box letting me know which colour (turquoise or lilac) you would like to win.

International entries welcome.

You do not have to be a follower. Just be nice x

Giveaway end on New Year Days 6pm London time.

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Spirit of Christmas Now

Christmas is traditionally a tumultuous time in my head and heart. For many many many years, I have found myself unable to shake the pertinacious ghosts of Christmas past. Troublesome demons that inhabit memories that should be long forgotten but just wont let go.

Christmas times with my extended family left blistering scars that have never really healed.

This year I spent Christmas Eve's eve with wonderful people. I laughed so much and and enjoyed myself so fully that I thought that I may burst.

We had a delicious supper. We built a house. We played with shadows. We spooned raisins out of our mulled wine and had some joulu torttu.

"I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"
Ebenezer Scrooge
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The Glossy Smooch

YSL has gone and rocked the lip stain boat with their newly released Glossy Stain.

I bought #1 and #17 which are 2 contrasting shades in rather sleek looking plastic packaging with little peep holes for convenience.

The Glossy Stains are exactly that = long lasting lip colours with a high shine polished finish. I love the fact that they do not contain any shimmer at all just pure wonderful mega pigmented flat colourfulness.

When applied, the stains leave a rather waxy feel to my lips. Not sticky...just waxy and somehow creamy. This probably helps the colour to cling fast with the high shine glossiness without being drying.

The applicator is a brilliant bit of kit. The slanted wideness of it ensures a precise smooth, even application.

Shade 1 is a deep purple berry hue and shade 17 is a blue toned pink.

Both can be toned down for a subtle look or layered for a more intense looking smoocher.
I am very glad that I like these as Chanel seem to be in the throes of discontinuing their Rouge Laque that I loved and YSL have provided me with a super and vastly improved alternative. I hope to seem them more widely available in the future.

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Gotta keep my toes toasty in the chill. Once a year I indulge in some fine Tabio socks:

Keep it cosy my people.
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A Bloody Good Read

Getting into a Nick Cave book is like immersing your brain into a solution of the finest gin and then setting it alight then dancing around the flames and fireworks. Is that a good thing? I shall let you make up your own mind.

I am currently lapping this up:

His brilliance for me lies in his hazy slicing prose and tender observations. He can touch on the suggestions of humanness without degrading them into negations. No contrived word salad nonsense here.

Fucked-up. Slightly psycho. Beautiful.

I would also recommend his debut literary offering And The Ass Saw The Angel:

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The Stories of Cire Trudon

Cire Trudon is one of my most favoured chandlers.

Their story opens with its founder Claude Trudon in 1643 and is a tale steeped and thoroughly intertwined with the history of France. By 1687 Calude's son Jacques entered into the court of the Sun King Louis XIV as the personal apothecary and distiller of Marie-Thérese, queen of France. Trudon went on to supply candles to the French court and to many of the most important churches throughout France until the demise of the monarchy when it continued its survival by supplying candles to Napoleon. Today, through the company's resilience and continual provision of excellence, Cire Trudon is the oldest and most prestigious wax candle maker in the world.

I have owned two of their candles. Both were bought to mark sentimental anniversaries and both served me very well.

//Spiritus Sancti. The scent of my childhood memories of being forced to sit through mass each Sunday stewing in my doubtful malaise . A Catholic mass distilled into flickering wax. This is heavy with smoking incense, rife with the dusty smell of bibles of old. A fragrance of mischief hidden behind heavy velvet and of confession boxes and of course prayer candles burdened with the hopes of the faithful.

//Dada. Quite a revolution in scent. A mix of tea, earthy vetiver sodden with muddled mint and eucalyptus leaves. This is like a cocktail of fresh confusion and it brought an intriguing resonance into the room each time it was lit.

Cire Trudon candles are made with vegetal wax and are biodegradable. They burn evenly and last a long long time releasing fragrance even when unlit.

Some candle makers produce some lovely illustrated brochures to accompany their candles. These are not given away willy-nilly but if you ask for them they are there for the taking unless you are in the Paris shop when you may get a miserable old mare regarding you with a most disdainful leer.

The current brochure is illustrated by Lawrence Mynott and is is a joy to behold. I am very glad that I have one.

\\Listening to Go it Alone by Beck:
"See me down at the station
By the lane
With my hands in my pocket
Jingling a wish coin
That I stole from a fountain
That was drowning all the cares in the world"
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The Little Chimney Sweep

I am continually charmed by the work of Lotte Reiniger. In my artless way with words, I call her a shadow puppeteer. She was a film director and silhouette animator that is unsurpassed in her field even today.

Lotte drew inspiration from the ancient Chinese art of shadow puppetry and adapted it into a workable film medium. She trained herself in paper cutting and honed her skills to the point that she was able to create free-hand silhouette portraits at a whim.

Here is her rendition of the Tale of the Little Chimney Sweep that was completed in 1954.

Charlotte Reiniger was born in Berlin in 1899 and her works have continued to inspire and influence the work of many artists long after she died in 1981.

[ See Lotte Reiniger's fascinating Biography from the BFI here ]
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Plied With Ponderosa

The word "ponderosa" is derived from the Latin for ponderous or heavy. Quite an irony for this is a shadow not best applied with a heavy touch as things can get messy.

NARS single shadows are so cute! I just wish that the rubbery finish of the packaging wasn't such a magnet for all things grubby. Moaning over, on with the review.

Ponderosa is a deeply delicious looking chocolate brown. It is more milk chocolate than dark chocolate and it does have some deep red and bronze shimmer that certainly makes it more interesting. The shadow is very light on the eye and easily manipulated so that I found it simple to apply with my little finger.

NARS cream shadows don't seem to work for everyone. There are raves out there. There are also some less than happy wearers that report much creasing. Thankfully, these work well on me. I apply the cream shadow on top of the NARS Smudge Proof Base (reviewed here) and then follow with a quick sweep of a suitable shadow and this seems to set everything in a budge proof manner for at least 9 hours.

This is a quick more office friendly approach to Ponderosa. I applied it very lightly and swept a little Voyage (also by NARS) over it for some seasonal gleam.

I am glad that I got this as it is a Limited Edition and just the kind of thing that I would kick myself over missing.

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London in Dream Shades

My Polaroid Supercolor and I are companions inseparable at the moment. People often ask about the availability of type 600 film. YES, buying age old Polaroid type 600 film will bite into your wallet with no mercy BUT The Impossible Project are doing a fine job of creating some impressive film that allows for the capturing of some wonderful images.

Here are some photographs taken recently in London using the Impossible Project Colour Shade PX 680 film:

I think that it is fair to say that this film has some "behavioural issues", this may irritate some but I happen to think that this only adds to the charm and wonderment of the end result. The quirks seem to depend on the weather, light, temperature amongst other considerations.

I am very pleased with this little set of pictures and hope to share more with you soon.
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I now have my grabby hands on my second Canmake Tokyo Creamy Touch Rouge lipstick. I loved the colour/texture/finish of the Sweet Cherry version so much that getting another shade didn't really require a second thought.

//This is the Marshmallow Pink shade:

This is a very creamy baby pink semi matte shade. It is highly pigmented, creamy to apply, long lasting and moisturising just like the Sweet Cherry shade.

I can't help loving this pink!

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| Architecture | Calatrava's Lisbon pt 1

Calatrava's structures blew me away. The architect is a master of his style. The lines of the Gare do Oriente were sublime. There is a purity about it that stands it's ground amidst all the concrete.

Above photographs were taken with my Polaroid Spectra camera using Impossible Project's Silver Shade film. I am so happy with how they turned out.

Hiro's photos above show lithe looking pillars and how they mimic palm trees. It is almost as though the station were an oasis against the bright Lisbon sky.

I have gained a new respect for Calatrava. It is not often that one encounters the work of an individual skilled in architecture AND structural engineering. Boy oh boy...how wonderful an experience it was.
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| London | Always Watching

Hiro took this photo in Dalston a few weeks ago. We are being watched at every turn here in London.

If that doesn't give you a case of the collywobbles at some point, then I just don't know about you.

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Black Ki

I like these opalescent nail varnishes that shine their different colours at different light angles.

This is Ki by Zoya:

Sometimes it's purple. Sometimes it's green. Like peacock feathers or oil on water.

This was a gift from my darling friend Vicky from //Vanity Fashionista//

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