Life Lately – June

June has flown by, which is weird considering I’ve been out of the house a whole…one time! I’ve been very grateful for the, frankly shite, weather Manchester has had this month, as it’s been a well needed break from the crazy heatwave of May.

Pride Month

My love and respect goes out to the LGBTQ community as always, whatever your sexuality and however you identify. I’ve always been proud that I live in a city with year-round acceptance (in a general sense) and awareness. I think this is thanks to the The Gay Village, plus a great Pride Parade and festival.

Food

Been switching all month between having cups of tea with sausage and mash to having a cold beers and mezze.

Independent Artist or Business

GDBEE Art is by Geneva who makes the most gorgeous graphic art of women of colour. She’s also created the webtoon Hovergirls, about two alien fighting cousins who work in a coffee shop by day. The entire Hovergirls series is available to read on phone/device or PC.

Lifestyle

I’ve changed my bedroom from being the place where stuff gets dumped, into a place where I actually want to spend time. a) I’ve had a big clean and tidy b) I’ve brought in more storage c) Updated a dark toned LOTR poster to a lighter toned and very neat dragon canvas d) I’ve reduced the amount of Funko Pops and books/papers piled everywhere.

Reading

The Getaway Girls by Dee McDonald is roadtrip comedy about three rather different friends, all past middle age, who decide they are unhappy with their lot and want to start a new adventure through France and Italy. I’ll review it once I’ve finished reading. I’m a third of the way in and enjoying it!

New Fringe

I was sick of my giant wavy fringe which needed cutting constantly and was way too hot and wide. I watched Birds of Prey (which I loved, but thought the bad guy was just plain annoying) and cut myself a new punky, shorter fringe. Freshly cut it looks a little too perfect but it does naturally have a lot of movement and looks spikey if I apply styling putty.

Here is me as a kid in the 80’s with a very different kind of fringe lol

I hope you’ve all been finding things to make you happy, in these turbulent times!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

How I’ve Brought More Colour Into My Wardrobe – Part 2, Styling Tips, Tops & Jewellery

As I mentioned in part one of this post, since the start of the year, I’ve been on a mish to slowly replace darker coloured items with more upbeat and vibrant one’s. I’m mixing and matching so not chucking owt out, unless it’s seen (much) better days.

What if you tend to stick to basics though?

Well, from the start I decided that all of my colourful clothes would be basics! I build the outfit around them by adding neutral colours. A camisole/vest top can dress up anything (like jeans and trainers) and a tee can dress things down (like maxi skirts or fitted pants). Then you have that band tee, maxi skirt and trainers combo, which I love on others but haven’t tried yet.

The Accessories Rules

I was finding that including bright accessories too was a bit confusing so decided on these rules.

  1. Pick a bright accessory, either the same colour as your outfit or a flattering, contrasting colour that subtly ties in somewhere else (like blue dress and yellow bag with gold jewellery).
  2. Wear several bright accessories but only with a neutral coloured outfit (greys and neons look awesome together)
  3. Have bags, belts and shoes in metallic silver, gold and rose gold, which are fancy neutrals.

Here’s the original top that inspired the idea. I’d love to know what this pattern stitch is called?

Ideally Summer is like….

But honestly, it’s more like this…

But when this Covid craziness is mostly over, I’ll be going out more, as well as wanting to look more cheerful indoors.

(From top – bottom)

1st Column

Stay Wild Moon Child tee – Bellelily (an Insta add which reeled me in!)

Nirvana tee – EMP

Sakura unicorn tee – Tokidoki

Tiger racer back vest – Brave Soul London

2nd Column

Butterfly tunic (cropped into vest) – Joe Browns

Orange camisole – Boohoo

Grungy tie dye tee – Veronica Fever (Ebay)

Tie dye racer-back camisole – Persephone Apparel (Etsy)

3rd Column

Lime green vest – Not a clue!? Either I was drunk or half asleep when I ordered this, ha! (Edit) Really versatile day-night item as it turns out, yay!

Neon tie dye tee – Brave Girl Official (Ebay)

Teal green tee (cut into tank) – EMP

Most of these earrings are from Claire’s Accessories apart from the owls which were a gift, the blue and silver raindrop ones were from EMP, the pink drop earrings I made from guitar plectrums and the peace sign earrings I got from Moss-side Caribbean Carnival.

Being able to pick a colourful item of clothing and accessory each morning is making such a difference to my moods, especially on dull days. I look forward to getting up and getting dressed now, rather than it being a chore.

As always, I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration or you’ve simply enjoyed having a nosey at my stuff. ✌🏽🤘🏽

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Your Fave FOOD Photo’s From The Last 6 Months

(Clockwise)

Veggie black pudding with beetroot sauce and salad from Vertigo, Mcr.

Gf Seeded Nairn’s crackers with vegan Flora, Violife original ‘cheese’ and green olives and capers.

Veggie stew of everything from the back of the cupboard, the fridge and the freezer.

Mashed spud made with vegan Flora, Linda McCarneys gf Red onion and Rosemary sausages, green beans and peas with Bisto (happens to be gf) caramelised onion gravy.

Salad with Original Tofoo and tamari (gf soy sauce).

Salad with Smoked Tofoo, Gosh! falafel and Siriacha sauce.

Oomph! Kebab Strips, rice, pea and sweetcorn with chilli oil.

Smoked Tofoo covered in toasted sesame oil and grilled, with Helmans mayo and 1/3 tin of Co-op mixed bean spicy salad.

(Centre)

Gosh! Falafel and Violife White Block (taste and consistency of goats cheese not feta) salad with home made hummus (lots of tahini and olive oil).

I hope this has given you some ideas for simple and tasty veggie and gluten/dairy free food. 😋

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Your Fave LIFESTYLE Photo’s from the Last 6 Months

I post a selection of photo’s from this blog onto my Instagram and share a few general images everyday. Come follow me if you don’t already @vamp_it_up_mcr

I’ve gone through which photos got the most likes (on Insta) and divided them up into four categories, Lifestyle, Style, Food and er, Me!

Lifestyle

(Clockwise)

Gap Between Buildings When you walk down Whitworth Street heading to Oxford Road, you cross over a tiny bridge without realising and that’s the view of the canal and swanky apartments to your left.

Baby Jay I’ve only ever seen a Jay twice before so this little’un sitting right outside the window was lovely surprise.

Sorting my makeup and storage I chucked out anything old or crap and arranged everything here into one bag and base coverage and tools/brushes into a wicker basic. I indulged my left over OCD traits and lined up everything colourful for this photo; so satisfying!

Pins I have so many pins I have to rotate them on bags and coats. I need to make space on my pin board to display them all properly.

Skincare Routine After setting myself he challenge to get healthier skin in one month, I narrowed down my products to these and found a consistent routine and it worked!

Street Art This is a very old photo of the side of a block at the start of The Northern Quarter. The beautiful art (subject now replaces by Mcr bees) is by Faunagraphic who’s responsible for all of the nature inspired, pastel or brushstroke effect street-art in town. Check out that pretty fire-escape too.

Narwhals Narwhals Swimming In The Ocean (the pre-curser to the baby shark song) My Bloke got me these slippers last Xmas.

Bench In Our Tiny Backyard All my Dads work. I offer to help with our yard but he always refuses as he loves doing it so much. He’s like me, if he gets an idea in his mind, he knows exactly how he wants it. I’m not arguing as it comes out looking lovely every time ^_^

(Centre)

Sustainable (what used to be referred to as Eco) Purchases I got everything here from an online shop called Ecologue. Metal flask, really light but efficient; Bamboo toothbrush, the most comfortable one I’ve ever used and biodegradable; Cleansing pads, also made from bamboo and machine washable!

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts…

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Featuring – Callybo Creations

Abi at Callybo Creations creates cute key rings and bracelets, with uplifting and loving messages. Just the thing that someone might really appreciate right now. All profits are donated to Mind UK the charity which supports mental health.

Here are two I got sent for review and then later purchased/donated because most of us need a helping hand with our mental health at some point in our lives so it’s a vital charity to support. I gave the key ring to my Dad and the bracelet to my Bloke, both of whom thought it was a lovely surprise.

Hop on over to Facebook to request and buy your perfect Callybo Creations.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Trying to Get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 4

Products

  • The Body Shop, Vitamin C, Cleansing Polish
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Micellar Cleanser
  • Pixi! Glow Tonic if at home or The Ordinary, Lactic Acid
  • Ecologue Bamboo Face Pads
  • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rosehip Oil

On the rare days I wear makeup I use the Vit C Daily Glow (by foaming it up, rather than massaging with the scrubby bits). I only use the Pixi Glycolic or The Ordinary Lactic Acids every other day. I use the micellar cleanser, moisturiser and oil everyday. Read previous weeks routine and diary

Monday

Did full skincare routine. Forgot oil before bed last night but still looking quite radiant this morning.

Samosa for dinner and big bowl of Daal (lentil curry) and oat cakes for tea.

Tuesday

Used The Ordinary Lactic Acid, moisturiser and lots of oil today.

I woke up feeling so thirsty and wanted hydrating foods so Saag Aloo (spinach and potato) with rice for lunch and aubergine curry for tea (and a random samosa for super).

Wednesday

When I woke up my skin felt and looked like I didn’t need to do any skincare at all! Still did my routine though. My lips are really smooth and nourished as well (I think it’s the oil).

Had four beers but hydrated before and after drinking.

Thursday

My skin was dry, so more inside and outside hydration was needed.

Had a salad for dinner with shredded carrot and beetroot, cucumber, ice berg lettuce and seeds and cashew nuts, had mushroom Satay for tea.

Friday

My skin felt quite grainy and looking quite matte so I applied Pixi Glow Tonic, left it on for 15 minutes, rinsed it off with a wet face pad and then moisturised. Much better!

Having a drink again tonight so I’ve eaten a big salad and replaced my coffee with a nut milk protein smoothie instead. Left my Rosehip oil by the bed to remind me to use it.

Saturday

Considering I ate a huge bread crumb coated veggie burger with spicy curly fries (certainly not wheat free) I’m impressed with how I look just after waking up today. A bit pink, rather than red, my skin isn’t really dry and I don’t have loads of water retention at the side of my nose, chin or eye bags, like I normally would after drinking and having wheat. Draining massage everyday when applying skincare really does work!

Sunday

Here I am (with no product on my skin) in the one bit of week sunshine we had that day, before it disappeared behind clouds again. My skin would have needed a filter to look anywhere near this smooth and radiant a month before!

The Conclusion of my Month Long Challenge

Positive Changes

It feels great to just be able to casually take a no-makeup selfie, without reaching for the foundation and even then, deleting so many rubbish shots. I also leave the house bare faced now and with confidence because I know people won’t be staring at my puffy, blotchy face anymore but wondering instead how I look so glowy, when it’s not even sunny!

What I’ve Learned

  • Oil can balance oily skin as long as you find the right oil for your skin and use it at the right time of day/night
  • What you put inside of your body has a huge effect on the outside, it might just take several days or weeks to notice, which can be confusing so keep a diary.
  • Before you touch your face for any reason make sure you wash your hands first. I always forget this when applying makeup, usually because I’m in a hurry or being spontaneous.
  • Yes, you should cleanse your skin in the evening but don’t beat yourself up if you forget now and then.
  • Get used to you! Your face maybe having a bad day but that’s life and you’re still you behind it. After all, it’s your personality that’s he point!
  • All of this facial massage and staying hydrated and getting enough sleep advice actually does work, if you stick with it.
  • The Realistic Road to Success

    If you don’t have, or are already on top of a medical/allergy related skincare concern (for me it was spots, oil and a huge amount of redness in the past), then yes, it is possible to get naturally healthier looking and skin in a month! It does take patience to find the right skincare routine and diet for you and the tenacity to stick to it though.

    Do you think my experiment over the past month might help you?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    What Happened When I Didn’t Wash My Hair for 2 Months

    I hate the idea of going to the (considerable) effort of washing my hair…until I’m actually sat in the shower feeling all relaxed, wondering what the hell I was making a fuss about. Being on lock down with The Bloke who only has a bath (and Juses shower gel instead of shampoo and conditioner as he has a shaved head) was the perfect excuse. “I can’t wash my natural hair with shower gel, it will turn to frizzy straw, I’ll just have to wait.” The fact, he could have bought some from the local shop, along with the bread and milk, thankfully wasn’t mentioned.

    So the challenge began!

    Me with freshly washed hair before lockdown

    I oiled my hair when it was wet but didn’t bother to ‘twist-out’ my curls into shape so it dried into very thin wavy curls like ramen noodles. It was quite frizzy in places as I didn’t add any curl cream. That’s my natural hair after washing.

    Week 1-2

    Curls loosing any definition but turning into thick waves. Looking rather frizzy and dry but surprisingly shiny.

    Week 3-4

    Getting more natural oils back and looking nice and smooth with defined waves, apart from slight fluffy bits at the front.

    Week 5-6

    Looks and feels really healthy. Not dry or greasy in any way.

    Week 7-8

    I’ve been really pleased with how smooth, defined and healthy looking my waves have been the last month but alas, it’s getting greasy at the roots now. Could be fixed with dry shampoo but it feels heavy and it’s itchy. I need clarifying shampoo (stuff with SLS in) and a deep conditioner ASAP!

    Conclusion

    When I wear my hair down in winter, I love my natural kinky curls, which are only reactivated by soaking it in the shower. So I’ll co-wash often and then only use shampoo every three weeks.

    When I finally washed and conditioned my hair it felt smoother and silkier than I’d ever felt it! Maybe giving it a chance to reset every so often is a great idea!

    Let me know what you think in the comments.

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Trying to get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 3

    I’ve realised that the first two weeks were about finding the best products for the job and how best to use them. See week 2 here.

    On the rare days I wear makeup I use the Vit C Daily Glow (by foaming it up, rather than massaging with the scrubby bits). I only use the Pixi Glycolic or The Ordinary Lactic Acids every other day. I use the micellar cleanser, moisturiser and oil everyday.

    • The Body Shop, Vitamin C, Cleansing Polish
    • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Micellar Cleanser
    • Pixi! Glow Tonic if at home or The Ordinary, Lactic Acid
    • Ecologue Bamboo Face Pads
    • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
    • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rosehip Oil

    Monday

    I can see that I’ll be sticking to the above skincare routine from now on as there’s everything I need but it’s still nice and simple. My skin is looking slightly radiant even when I’m not standing in full sun, which is a first. Had crackers and ‘cheese’ with caramelised onion for dinner. Salt and pepper tofu for tea with chilli oil.

    Tuesday

    Had quite a few beers in the evening and forgot to take my makeup off because I forgot I was wearing any. Doh! Had veggies and cashews in black bean sauce with egg fried rice for tea. At least that was healthy!

    Wednesday

    Even though the Rosehip oil doesn’t smell great, I prefer it to the rose scent my other oils/balms have and it’s supposed to even out the texture of skin and really nourish it. We’ll see!

    Spicy beans, falafel, iceberg lettuce, humus, Violife ‘cheese’ chunks, peanuts and lime pickle for a picnic type tea.

    Thursday

    The Body Shop Vit C Cleanser removes makeup so easily and leaves my skin so soft and moisturised. Never had a cleanser as good as that before! Had mushroom and onion stir fry with Satay sauce for tea.

    Friday

    Making a bigger effort to drink enough water, not just energy drink and ‘milky’ coffees. Skin feeling very grainy today as I’ve not used either of the exfoliating acids for the last two days. So doing full skincare routine today.

    Had kebab strips with rice, sweet corn, peas and green beans with Soy sauce for dinner and then with chilly oil for tea.

    Saturday

    Before, when I’d massage in any skincare my face would get so flushed it would stay red for about 30 minutes but now it doesn’t react at all! After weeks of massaging it looks more toned, with a lot less water retention.

    Sunday

    To sum up at the end of the third week

    • A lot less redness
    • Less puffy and more toned
    • Actually radiant
    • Smoother
    • Balanced so it’s not going from dry when I wake up to slightly greasy on my T-zone before bed anymore.
  • Free-from pesto and pasta for tea.
  • If anyone has any tips, recommendations, or opinions, I’d love to hear them!

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Trying to Get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 2

    Week 2 Routine (at the start, changes through the week, see bottom of post for final product changes). See week 1 here.

    Morning I cleanse with Neal’s Yard Micellar Water, then I use the Nip+Fab Hyaluronic Acid and The Body Shop moisturiser (apart from when I’m in the sun, then I use the Murad Moisturiser). At night I cleanse with the Micellar water again and use Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Rose Balm so my skin doesn’t wake up dry. To exfoliate I’m using The Ordinary Lactic Acid.

    Monday

    Desperately need to cut my fringe and not rub my eyes when I’ve just applied products!

    I’ve been applying The Ordinary Lactic acid with a wet face pad and it really is gentler than Glycolic Acid.

    Tuesday

    Did a quick cleanse with Neals Yard Remedies Micellar Water and moisturiser combo today as I was in a rush. My skin is producing its own natural oils more, hurrah! Keeping my hydration levels up and getting lots of Omega oils in my diet so not ashamed to say I ate onion rings, baked beans and smiley faces for tea. Cleansed face but forgot Rose Balm before bed – oops!

    Wednesday

    Salad, falafel and humus for dinner and (dairy free) lasagne for tea. Gently massaged The Ordinary Lactic Acid into skin with my fingers today and left it on for 15 minutes before removing with a wet face pad. Applied The Body Shop Vit C moisturiser and Herbal Dynamics Beauty face balm.

    Thursday

    Feeling a lot more confident about just slapping on some tinted lip balm, rather than medium coverage foundation to cover redness and highlighter to make me look alive again. I’m realising my face is more neutral toned with warm yellows and natural cool pink tones mixed together.

    Friday

    My eye bags hardly exist anymore (I’m gobsmacked) and my chins are also benefitting from the massage my face gets when I apply skincare. Being a good bunny and treating myself to vegan and gluten free takeaway.

    Saturday

    This is me, shortly after waking up before my daily skincare regime. I really do need to lighten my touch when massaging around my eyes as you can see from the slight bruising under them. Had a spicy, tomato and bean salad for lunch and Daal (lentil curry) for tea.

    Sunday

    I’ve used a facemask and my pores are clear and a little smaller but still really noticeable, especially now my skin is reflecting more light. Hmmm.

    Products I’m stopping using

    Nip + Fab, Hyaluronic Acid as my skin doesn’t needs it any more, The Ordinary, Lactic Acid isn’t too drying so I have enough moisture. I’m nixing the Murad Cleanser as using the Lactic Acid instead is quicker and simpler. The Clay Face scrub didn’t work great as a mask (I admit I didn’t read it properly) and I certainly don’t need anymore exfoliating!

    Products I’m introducing

    Here’s what the Neal’s Yard, Micellar Cleanser looks like. I’m using classic face masks from Montagne Jeunesse now. Here’s a lip balm from Yaoh! as I forgot to mention this last week.

    Trying to Get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 1

    My Skin History

    In my teens and early twenties I had terrible skin, with lots of tiny bumps under the surface as well many active spots. I wouldn’t say it was full blown acne but it was close enough for my GP to say it was hormone related and to put me on pills aged 16. They did nothing. Then at 28 the spots were mainly on my T-zone and only around four at a time by now but I’d still look bright red without full coverage foundation, so I went on the contraceptive pill. It helped my crazy oily T-zone and therefore my spots, as well as being a handy form of birth control. Age 30 after a lot of research online about hormones and inflammation and healthy diets etc. I took a food intolerance test. I tested a big positive to milk and gluten. After cutting way down on gluten my tummy and face was less bloated and my eyes less puffy. After cutting way down on dairy my skin cleared completely! I stopped waking up with a bright red face as well, which was such a relief!

    These days I usually have fairly blemish-free skin but it’s actually very dry and dehydrated. The texture has always felt grainy (even though you can’t see it) as if my skin doesn’t produce enough natural acids to melt away the dead skin. I also go randomly go bright red every now and then, due to dust allergies and water temperature sensitivity.

    Goals

    • Stick to my skincare routine (exfoliation/cleanse, tone, serum, moisturiser, oil)
    • Hydrate enough in general
    • Eat more fruit and veg
    • Avoid ALL dairy for a month (surprisingly tricky)
    • Blemish free skin
    • Even toned skin
    • Moisturised skin
    • Hydrated skin
    • Plumper skin

    Products

    • Murad, Age Reform, AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
    • The Ordinary, Lactic Acid 5% Superficial Peel
    • Nip + Fab, Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Acid
    • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
    • Murad, Essential C Moisturiser, SPF 30
    • Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Revit Age, Concentrated Face Balm
    • Love Beauty Foods, Clay Face Scrub

    [I will use The Ordinary Lactic Acid Peel if I’m too tired to use the Murad exfoliater as it takes a lot of massaging and rinsing. I also have a weird sensory-avoidance thing about splashing my face with water some days!? I will use the Murad moisturiser if I need any sun protection.]

    Week 1

    Monday

    My skin is very dry and dehydrated. My oil/balm seems to just be sitting on top of my skin. Need to keep on top of my healthy eating better.

    Tuesday

    Still feel dry and dehydrated, even though I’ve done all of my skincare routine but at least I look a little glowy. Existed on watered down energy drink and takeaway today so not the best but it was vegan and so dairy free.

    Wednesday

    I have 7 spots which could be due to previous dairy intake. After three days of gentle exfoliation, my skin is absolutely sucking up the moisturiser and facial balm. Had a big protein salad and drank all of my water bottle.

    Thursday

    Made a fresh banana milkshake with a very ripe banana, some hazelnut milk and a stick blender. Spots are still lingering and I’ve run out T-tree gel and Witch Hazel so I applied a little Savlon antiseptic cream instead!

    Friday

    It actually worked! Spots look much calmer and smaller. I somehow managed to forget to do any of my skincare. I got up mid-afternoon and just couldn’t keep track of what time or even day it was, all day.

    Saturday

    Woke up looking rather red, which I think is because I’ve been sat on the sofa that gets four hours of sun all week. This might be a little much for my skin when it’s got the Glycolic or Lactic Acid on it. I’ll be applying the Murad moisturiser with sun protection the next time I do this!

    Sunday

    Before I’ve even applied any skincare my skin feels softer and smoother (apart from my stubborn nose) than I have ever felt it before, as if I’m wearing a really good primer! I’ve (mostly) been keeping hydrated and I’ve been eating little salads before meals to get some fresh veg everyday.

    I’ve no idea what that big chunk of blonde hair is trying to do!?

    Week 1 Conclusion

    I was so sceptical that I would stick to this routine with my brain fog but I did, apart from just one day. It made me feel better about myself, because I’m actively doing something for my health and well-being.

    After just one week, I didn’t expect my skin to feel and look good before I’d applied any products but it’s already working and my eye bags (I’ve had since I was a teen) have virtually gone!

    The scar I have below my nose and mouth has flattened out more and looks smoother too.

    I’m going to introduce a micellar water from Neal’s Yard Remedies next week to be able to cleanse without water if I wish and to get rid of any left over exfoliator gritty bits left around my hairline, which is where I think some those spots came from.

    I forgot to do the face mask oops!

    As always I love hearing what you think and if you have any tips, advice or similar experiences.

    💛✨Chrissie✨💛