Burn Black

That ain't a vulture, that's a fucking pigeon…

The Devil and Idle Hands…

It’s been hectic as of late I’ll give it that.  You wouldn’t think I’ve just came back from a week in Spain.  Literally all I did there was eat, drink and with the exception of a jaunt to Barcelona one day, pretty much remained horizontal with a fag/Gin in one hand and my Kindle in the other (Yeah I’m smoking again).  The weather was glorious and it’s good to know that my GCSE in Spanish, along with any swear words I’ve picked up on on the way still serve me well.

 

On the way home I hammered the Duty Free and bought the Naked palette by Urban Decay.  I’ve had it nearly 2 weeks now and in that time I haven’t even looked at any of my other eyeshadows.  This is how pleased I am with it.  What’s also good to note is that my eye makeup has never looked the same in all of those days too.  The brush is ace and the shadows themselves have A LOT of pigment in them and so last all day and blend into each other beautifully.  All in all I’m over the moon with it which is just in time considering my long time love affair with M.A.C. is now officially over.

I’ve used M.A.C. for pretty much all of my adult life purely because I a) was (well still am) a massive goth and the colour shades available were like nothing else I’d ever seen at the time, b) I knew that M.A.C. never tested on animals and c) their customer service was always great.  Most things however must come to an end it would seem.  The last few times I’ve visited their counters have been sub standard in terms of customer service.  Friends have said the same with one friend even emailing a complaint to M.A.C. only to receive a generic standard reply back.

Where once their stance on animal testing was a solid “we do not test on animals” it is now  “The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. is committed to the elimination of animal testing. We are equally committed to consumer health and safety and bringing to market products that comply with applicable regulations in every country in which are products are sold”, which is a total sell out in my eyes.  The main reason behind this change of heart?  Well it seems that M.A.C. are now trading in China which require, under some arcane law that every single ingredient/product must be tested on animals before it goes on sale.  I feel betrayed if im honest, and angry.  It’s ridiculous to think that in this day and age companies, who once prided themselves on being against animal testing are now going back on this just to make a bit of extra cash and are quite happy to piss off a lot of their regular customers in doing so.  Therefore it’s time for other companies such as Urban Decay and E.L.F. (who are cheap as chips and vegan friendly to boot) to fill the M.A.C. shaped void left in my make up box.  I’ve also been intrigued by Illamasqua for a while too so I highly doubt I’ll be missing out.

This all came about around the same time that Lush (who I work for and who have a very strong anti animal testing policy and have no shops in China for the very same reasons I’ve mentioned above) launched their Against Animal Testing campaign.  If you haven’t already signed the petition then I urge you to do so here.

Music Mondays: Amanda Palmer – Astronaut.

I’m currently catching up with housework after I had a friend stay at Hagwarts for a few days (we partied a lot, my flat is a mess as a result, plus I need to catch up with my laundry and make some meals for the week ahead).  Whilst raking through my music collection I noticed this gem.  It’s been a while.

My Ruin – Legends 27/01/2012.

In true typical fashion the photos from this gig have been on my to do list for months.  A few reasons have made me delay this however, namely the fact that I no longer have access to Photoshop (because I stupidly upgraded to OS X Lion which meant my really old copy of CS3 no longer works and I can’t afford an up to date copy) and secondly confidence.  I felt like an arse after this gig.  I love the band and this was the day after my birthday.  As a result I got fairly munted thanks to all of my pals who more or less poured Jack Daniels down my neck.  In true ladylike form I ended up falling asleep in the taxi home and promptly vomited as soon as I opened my front door.  In essence I felt I could have done better.  A valuable lesson has been taught however and from now on I’m not allowed to take any gig photos whilst “under the influence”.

Hairy Tails Pt2…

Well after 4 hours I’ve washed the henna out and MY GOD!!!!  It’s gone somewhat lighter than what it was beforehand which I didn’t think it would do but I’m not complaining.  It feels amazing, it looks so shiny and I can run my fingers through it no problems.  It’s gone pretty much Jessica Rabbit / Daphnie from Scooby Doo ginger so all in all a success.  It was a bit of a pain to wash out however but I just used a load of shampoo and then conditioned it as normal and the remaining bits of henna just disappeared from my head down the plughole.  I bought two blocks just in case but I think I’m going to leave it a few days and see what the final colour develops as and if need be I’ll re-do it again for a longer time period later on in the week.  My hair feels thankful. 😛

Hairy Tails…

I’ve finally had enough of bleaching my hair and abusing it by dying it weird colours.  It was nice while it lasted but it’s time for a well earned rest for these follicles.

I’ve been debating using the Henna we sell at Lush on my hair for what seems like aeons and over the last few weeks I’ve been washing my hair at every available opportunity in attempts to wash as much of the blue hair dye out as possible.  It was looking really dire and after seeking advice from a hairdresser friend she suggested doing a bleach bath to try and lift some of the dye from my hair.  I did this and it went a fantastic Lady Gaga esq minty green.

It was fun for about a day but I couldn’t hack leaving it like that and so yesterday I popped a commercial auburn/red dye over it which essentially will act as the “undercoat” for the Caca Rouge which is currently weighing my head down as we speak.  I’m leaving it on until about 21:00 (it’ll have been on for 4 hours then) and fingers crossed my hair will be amazing. 😛

If I end up with hair the same colour as Jessica Rabbit I’ll be ecstatic.  Fingers Crossed. ;P

Sub Dermal Ink Injections…

Anyone who knows me in real life will have noticed the huge tattoo that covers all of my right arm. It’s been a work in progress by Bez at Triplesix Studios for over 3 years and back in January it was finally completed. It’s took just over 100 hours in total and a lot of name calling on my part but it’s ace and I love it. It was entered in the Female Sleeve category at the recent Peterlee Convention and it won which was rather nice. I now just have to get all of the lasering done on my other arm so that we can get cracking on that one now.

 

Bootcamp…

I found out at the end of last year that I have gallstones after two hideous attacks that left me crippled in agony and as weak as a kitten.  One night the pain was that bad I ended up in my local A&E.  Therefore with impending surgery on the horizon I’m in dire need to shift some weight and overall become a healthier, fitter person (better late than never eh?).

I already do kickboxing (I’ve got an orange belt – babysteps innit) but since I’ve moved house and due to my finishing times at work I’ve found it difficult to get back into the swing of it which is a shame really as I love it.  It’s the only exercise I’ve ever did where not only have I sweated buckets and ached all over but more importantly I’ve enjoyed, plus learning to kick the shit out of any would be assailant is always a handy skill to know in my book.  One of the things on my list to do this week is to rectify this so I can go back as I love the club I go to.  The instructor and everyone who goes are top notch and super friendly.

Alongside this a friend started going to bootcamp sessions three times a week and invited me to tag along.  I hate the cold so this didn’t sound appealing whatsoever but a month later and she’s looking a lot better for it and with advertising like that I decided to at least try it and went along last night.  Frightened by the weather I had leggings on under my tracksuit bottoms and on my top half wore a vest, t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt and a hoodie.  When we arrived I was freezing and remained so until I had to start jogging around a huge field in the pitch dark.

It got worse from then on and then easier(ish).  I did slowly warm up and I got to do some sparring which made me happy (and more determined to get back to kickboxing).  The well earned long soak in attempts to warm up once I’d returned home was well worth too.

However I woke up this morning and deary me.  I ache.  My ankles, shoulders, and back all hurt.  It’s that weird good hurt however that appeals to the masochist in me so yeah I do think I’ll go again because I feel, like anything, it’ll get better/easier the more I go.  No idea if I can commit to it 3 times a week but going at least once a week has got to be better than not going at all.

Jamming…

I’ve been going through a bit of a preserve phase as of late.  In the last week I’ve not only made my own Lime Pickle (it blows your socks off it’s that hot) but have also made a batch of Seville Marmalade.  I had some on toast for my breakfast today and no word of a lie it’s fucking amazing.  I’m never buying shop bought ever again.  I’m now demanding that friends and family save me all of their old jam jars as I can see this new past time consuming me big style.  I decided against buying brand new jars as it’s much more environmentally friendly if I can just scrounge ones otherwise destined to recycling/landfill.

Traditional Seville Orange Marmalade

Ingredients

  • 1kg of Seville Oranges
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2kg of Granulated Sugar (You can also use the type with added Pectin if you like)
  • 4 pints of water
You’ll also need
  • 1 huge heavy based saucepan
  • Muslin
  • A funnel
  • Sterilised jam jars (this recipe makes around 6-8 jars)
First add the water to the pan, then cut the lemon and oranges in half and squeeze the juice out of them. Add the juice to the water and place the pips and any bits of pith (the white spongey bits) into the square of muslin (laid over a cereal bowl).

Cut the orange peel into thin shreds (this is quite time consuming and will hurt your arms after a while).  Add any further pips or pith that you come across to the muslin.  (The pith contains a lot of pectin which helps the marmalade set therefore is essential.  Also don’t worry about any pith and skin that clings to the shreds as this will dissolve).  Add all of the shredded orange peel to the pan.

Tie up your muslin so that it forms a little bag and tie this to the handle of the pan so that the bag is suspended in the water. Bring this concoction up to simmering point and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 2 hours until the peel is completely soft (test a piece carefully by pressing it between your finger and thumb). Stick 2 saucers in the freezer.

Once the 2 hours is up, remove the muslin bag and leave to cool back in the cereal bowl (or hang it from a cupboard door handle with the bowl underneath as I did). Pour the sugar into the pan and stir it over a low heat until all of the crystals have dissolved.  Increase the heat to very high and squeeze the muslin bag of pips over the pan to extract all of the sticky, jelly-like substance that contains the pectin. As you squeeze you’ll see it ooze out  (as gross as it sounds it’s like squeezing a huge massive zit). If you like you can do this by placing the bag between two saucers but I found using my hands worked the best (be careful not to burn yourself). Stir your pectin jelly into the pan (a balloon whisk is pretty good).

As soon as the mixture reaches a really fast boil, start timing. After 15 minutes spoon a little of the marmalade onto one of the cold saucers from the freezer, and let it cool.  If the marmalade has reached setting point you’ll be able to push the mixture with your finger and it’ll go wrinkly.  If it doesn’t then continue to boil the marmalade and give it the same test at about 10-minute intervals until it does.  This normally happens around 220-222°F/105°C.  If you have a jam thermometer then use it but make sure you stick it in the pan at the beginning.  My thermometer cost about £6 from a Bargain Books store.

Once your marmalade has reached setting point, remove the pan from the heat and leave it to settle for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime you can sterilise your jam jars.


Sterilising your jars is really easy.  Make sure all of your jars and lids are washed and dried and then place them in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes.  All thats left to do now is to pour the marmalade, with the aid of a funnel or a ladle, into the jars and seal them whilst still hot. Label when cold and store in a dry, cool, dark place until time to slather onto toast.

This song always pops in my head whenever I’ve indulged in making preserves.  Weird really since I don’t really like reggae.

Home Sweet Home…

I’ve been rather quiet as of late I know.  This is purely because I’ve recently moved home and am no longer residing at FCHQ.  Service will probably resume once my life has returned to a state of normality.

My New Bathroom.

Sunna – After the Third Pin.

It arrived a week or so ago but I only managed to give it a listen yesterday.  Its pretty good but what I’m finding pretty sweet is that it arrived autographed and my name is listed in the CD sleeve for being one of the nice people who parted with their cash and pre-ordered it ages ago.  If you’d like to buy it for yourself then you can do so here.

I’ll leave you with this blast from the past.