Friday Fun with the luck of the Irish

Apologies for the lack of blogging this week. I could write a lengthy excuse, but will instead provide you with a list of words from which you can draw your own conclusions: Downton, eggs, work, wine, insomnia, studying…

Tomorrow is one of those curious holidays which the rest of the world appears to celebrate far more than the nation it was intended for does. I speak, of course, of St Patrick’s Day. Usually the limit of my participation in festivities is turning my nose up at a pint of Guinness and, if I’m really in the mood, attempting to recreate a bit of Riverdance (either the dancing, or the song – or, if things are really moving, both simultaneously). Illustrating the international nature of the holiday, one of my favourite St Patrick’s themed pieces of fun this week was a Chinese American small child providing the world with an Irish make up tutorial:

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across Madison, as The Hairpin is quite a fan. She has a blog and is a veritable beauty guru. If ever you’re feeling a little low and need some make up inspiration, spend a little time working your way through her archive. It’s very special.

In the office, we’ve also been getting in the mood. Yesterday, we had a frenetic half an hour in which we were inspired to decorate our bigger-than-life-size photo of our worship leader for the season. [What? Does your church not have a large photo of its worship leader affixed to a pillar in your office? In our defence, it was a joke for Chris’ return from 3 weeks away and we’ve now decided to augment it according to holidays and world events…] How better to theme it than by turning him into a leprechaun and fulfilling so many stereotypes that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to show my face in Belfast again:

We already have a list of ideas for Easter, St George’s day (our patronal feast day), the Queen’s jubilee and the Olympics. If you can think of anything else, do le me know!

As St Patrick’s Day hasn’t actually happened yet, most fun things haven’t emerged. But, if you’re not really in the mood from Irish stereotyping, here’s something a bit lovely to send you on your Friday way. It’s my lovely friend Jenny performing a duet of Coldplay’s Paradise with Benedict (who I’ve mentioned before) and it’s really rather delightful:

And with that, I’m off to make the most of my Friday morning off – there are eggs to hunt in St James’ Park!

Of handbags and gladrags

Yesterday, my handbag (of the huge variety) told quite a story. Its contents (usual handbag stuff plus: folder of music, spare tights, make-up, glittery shoes & a bottle of red wine) spoke of performance, glamour and possible alcoholism – especially when a second bottle was added later on.

And what of my clothes?

At 8am, hurrying to the tube station the dressed-upness of my carol service outfit seemed totally out of place. In fact, the glances I got made me realise that I looked as though I was doing the walk of shame – albeit with fresher make-up and hair. It’s like when you have to leave early to get to a wedding and the rest of the world is in jeans whilst you’re clad in a pink cocktail dress…

Lunch was an amazing example of how to do Christmas dinner for 25 (and brilliant organisational skills in delegating tasks to the guests), but quite frankly, I was over-dressed. I’m self-conscious at the best of times, but put me in a dress (and blue tights – what was I thinking??), much sparkly eye make-up with curled hair and place me in a room full of people in ‘normal’ clothes – awkward. Do I want the people I met for the first time to think I’m the kind of girl who regularly wears a diamante headband in her hair? [Because I’m not – honest!]

In context, the clothes were perfect. It’s the rule for the carol services that you dress up, put on the bling – to quote the e-mail instructions: “And of course girls, bling bling bling – either silver, gold, blue or green!”. So dress up we did, and got our groove on…

As an aside, do you know what else makes me feel self-conscious?
Being filmed.

What happens when the two things happen to coincide?
One rather uncomfortable Liz, who grins and bears it for over four hours. Think I got away with it though – apparently I was one very smiley alto and the restricted stage space perhaps concealed my lack of moves. I’m going to try not to think about my face, on a large screen, for a long period of time…

Cosmetic Frustration

You know how some things in life are beyond our control?

The weather; the TV schedule; the dominance of Federer at Wimbledon…
You can try to resolve them, but often they simply leave you frustrated and searching for answers and solutions.
Currently I am facing a major frustration that is totally beyond my control:
Clinique have discontinued *my* mascara.
Seriously, this is a big issue! (Don’t even think about suggesting that it isn’t!)
For years I struggled with mascara, getting poked in the eye with wayward wands (honestly, there is little in life that’s more painful); having it run down my cheeks in streaks of brown/black when crying or in a rainstorm; rubbing off at the slightest touch…
The biggest problem is that I have super sensitive eyes (I’m generally a rather sensitive person, don’t you know) and a lot of eye make-up aggravates them. It also means that they run frequently – in the wind, in hayfever season, in the sun, when I’m tired, when I’m emotional…
Discovering Clinique’s Gentle Waterproof Mascara solved all these problems and I’ve been using it for nearly two years. (It also propelled me into the world of ‘proper grown up make-up’ which saw me spend just under £50 at the Clinique counter a couple of weeks ago – I only bought 3 things!)
And now they’ve gone and discontinued it. I’m not happy. Neither is my mother (we have the same eye issues). I complained, but got little help in return, so I’m stuck. I might have another couple of months use out of my current mascara, but then nothing. I’m left with a few options:
Do I continue the battle with Clinique in the hope that they’ll bring it back? (They have u-turned in the past.) Do I begin searching for another waterproof sensitive mascara knowing that there are very few on the market? (My first trial at the weekend, at the Benefit counter, was disastrous.) Do I buy up all stock left in Clinique’s ‘Gone but not forgotten’ programme?
Or, do I accept that this is simply a beauty product that makes me conform to gender stereotypes; one that I don’t need because my eyes are amazing regardless (!); and that there are far more important things going on the world that I should be firing off angry e-mails about – like Gaza, famine, debt, terrorism, poverty, trafficking and climate change?
But honestly, anyone got any mascara recommendations??