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November 17, 2013 / dottybelle

Dotty’s First Solo Furniture Transformation!

Husband and I moved to our first House in June this year (we also became pregnant later in the same month, but that’s another story!) and I had been itching to get going on some furniture overhauls.

We started by painting our pine bed frame, which was made maaaaany years ago by my father in-law. Husband helped me with that and another blog post will follow.

Shortly after, I took on my very own project, inspired by Annie Sloan’s book, Colour Recipes.This was bought for me by my Bother A’s friend, who had just restored a lot of furniture and adores the book. My Brother told her all about me, my new house and my love of craft and she literally ran out to get me a copy, despite never having met me. So sweet! Thank you very much Simone, I love the book!

I had heard of Annie Sloan’s paints but hadn’t yet used any so I ventured to Sally Bourne Interiors, a stockist who is fortunately close to my home, and picked up some bits to get me started:

1 litre Old White Chalk Paint £16.95
1 litre Old Ochre Chalk Paint £16.95
500 ml Soft Clear Wax £7.95
Small Bristle Brush £12.95

The item to be painted was a chest of drawers that Husband had in his bedroom when he was a little boy. I think his Mum even gave it a facelift when he was still young and now it was my turn!

After a quick wipe down I started with a coat of Old White. No sanding required with these paints, amazing! As I was painting on a glossy surface the first coat went on lovely and smooth. Next I did a coat of Old Ochre, this time because I was now painting on a coat of chalk paint there was more friction and I had to use more paint to get the right coverage and an even finish.

Once dry I used part of a scourer (DIY shop was closed!) to chip some of the top coat off of some edges, revealing the Old White underneath and giving an aged look. Lastly I used a soft old towel to work in some soft wax to protect the furniture and then added on some new handles from Ikea, which were cheap, but look lovely I think!

I’m all about 50 shades of beige at the moment and am loving the muted, calming tones in our bedroom.


October 15, 2013 / dottybelle

The Simple Things…

This morning I really enjoyed the crispness in the air and I feel I’m really ready to welcome autumn and put some knits on!

I’ve picked up the latest issue of The Simple Things magazine and am looking forward to reading it while cosy in bed. Bliss.


September 6, 2013 / dottybelle

Today is Full of Possible

Today is full of possible

A friend posted this to Facebook earlier in the week and I saw it first thing in the morning. It’s stayed with me and made me feel more positive, so I thought I’d share 🙂

September 4, 2013 / dottybelle

Fauve – The Best Bras EVER!

I am a girl and I have boobs.

Do you have boobs? Big ones? Small ones? Medium ones? The average size in the UK is now 34D so you may be more average than you thought!

Well, what ever size you are, you’re sure to love Fauve bras by Fantasie. These are truly the best bras I have ever worn. And I have an awful lot of bras.

They are pricey (around £50) but you can pick them up on eBay for between £15 and £25, with a lot of the sellers being lingerie shops that will handle returns if items don’t fit.

I find a slightly padded balconnet style is the key to uplift and support and my favourite is the Emmanuel padded half cup. Don’t let the half cup bit put you off, these have decent coverage. If you have big boobs you’ll know that the cups can be the most supportive in the world but it still won’t be comfortable if the straps are thin and dig in. Spaghetti straps? Forget it! Fauve have obviously thought of real women (I wish more brands would!) and their straps are slightly thicker than most while still looking glamorous and not at all ‘matron’.

As well as the style, fit and beautiful looks the materials used are top quality and soft against the skin meaning all day comfortable wear.

For me they are a dream come true. I love them so much that I now have eight of them and my other bras don’t get a look in anymore!

Here’s my favourites:
Emmanuelle padded half cup 30B – 38GG. I have it in three colours!

fauve evangeline

Evangeline padded half cup. I have it in two colours!

August 29, 2013 / dottybelle

Eyelash Extensions V RapidLash Serum

My eyelashes have always been pretty average. Not stubby. Not bambi beautiful. They seem to grow in phases where some weeks they’re fuller and longer than others, which I think may be pretty normal.

For my wedding day I tortured myself by getting eyelash extensions. This consists of an hour (or more!) of laying completely still on a bed fighting the urge to open your eyes because you know that’s the last thing you actually should do (unless you want glue in your eye). The extensions did look great on the day and for a few days in to the honeymoon. But shortly after (five days max) I had a nice full amount on my lefty and righty wasn’t looking too pretty, with only three sporadically placed lashes left. FYI This was probably to do with how I slept, rather than any weird favouritism to my left eye!

Eyelash extensions are glued to your real lashes individually and in theory they should fall out with your natural lashes, but you do need to take good care of them when removing make up etc, which I found pretty tiresome (I am the original lazy girl).

My experience with eyelash extensions is that they’re only worth the money and time invested if they last the advertised 4 weeks or so. This wasn’t the case for me this time.

Once all the extensions were gone and I was back to Blighty, I noticed that my natural lashes were looking worse than a normal bad lash day. As I had enough boots points (this was straight after the honeymoon!), and had heard good things about RapidLash Serum I picked some up. It retails for £41.

You apply it last thing before bed and stroke it across the upper lash line, just like liquid eyeliner, but a lot less dangerous. I used my night eye cream on my under eye area as normal and was careful not to put any on my eye lid (it needs to go on clean skin).

The product is clinically proven to give up to 50% longer and 75% more voluminous looking natural lashes*. It’s an innovative high performance eyelash enhancing serum which conditions lashes to look stronger, fuller,and longer in as little as 30 days.

I used it for a month and the results were incredible. My lashes are longer than they’ve ever been. In the past I’ve found that the outer corners have shorter lashes where they should be longest, but now that’s no longer a problem for me. My lashes don’t seem much thicker however, so I do need to use a volumising mascara on top.

I love this stuff and wish I’d used this as wedding prep instead of getting the extensions. I’d definitely recommend it as prep for a special occasion, or if you just fancy a flutter at the shops 😉


August 22, 2013 / dottybelle

Dotty is Back!

Husband and I moved into our very first, co-owned home at the beginning of June. Since then my blog has been pretty quiet.

I’ve been busy decorating, buying and painting furniture. So I have lots of blog posts backing up, if I could just get round to writing them!

I also have a few draft posts that are getting old so I’ll start by finally posting those. It’s going to get busier around here, honest!


June 18, 2013 / dottybelle

Make a £4 Bunch of Spray Carnations Go Further…

By using some old jars, as well as your favourite vase.


I picked the carnations up from ye olde Tesco and the Tea Cup vase is Laura Ashley.

May 23, 2013 / dottybelle

Make Up Brushes. Look After Your Investment Like a Pro!

Make up brushes can be expensive. Really good make up brushes can be verrrrrrry expensive. But, great brushes really do make the difference when applying make up, especially foundation, powders (setting powder, bronzer etc) and eye shadow.

I’ve oohed and aahed over the softest, fluffiest powder brushes in store to later get them home and find that past the first couple of uses they only closely resemble what I was sold, and they no longer feel like a baby bunny against my face. FYI Baby bunny against face is totally the aim I’m going for, but I wouldn’t want a brush made out of baby bunny, obviously. And not just because it would likely be extremely expensive. I love bunnies. I used to have one called Fluffy.

Back to the brushes… I have recently found where I’ve been going wrong. And it’s how you take care of your brushes that makes the difference.

It’s not like I never took care of them before, I’d wash them with baby shampoo once a week (once a fortnight if I was feeling lazy…which is often). And that simply isn’t enough. When I bought my amazingly lovely award winning Bobbi Brown powder brush (for £47 yikes!) I upgraded the shampoo to Bobbi’s conditioning brush cleanser (£10.50). But although this is more effective at removing product from the brush, the end result was pretty much the same. i.e  lovely for the first use and then clogged up and rough on my skin until the next wash (which could actually be THREE weeks if I’m feeling very lazy). Just. Not. Good. Enough.

So, I got to thinking “What do the girls at the department stores do?”. And my answer came from a very lovely lady at the Estée Lauder counter in boots, Brighton. She sprays cleansing solution on the brushes after every single use. You then swirl (or wipe for foundation brushes) on tissue until there’s no trace of product left. This takes a small amount of time (around 30 seconds) and means that the next time you use the brush it feels and works as good as new! You still need to wash it with brush shampoo every week/fortnight/month (delete according to your laziness) but in between washes the brush will work as intended. She sold me their own brand product which was £11 for 235mls. It’s big so is lasting well! It also sanitises brushes which means you won’t transfer bacteria in-between washes. Good bye unnecessary extra spots!

Let me know if you have any other tips for keeping brushes in tip-top shape.

And if you wash your make up brushes once a day and therefore don’t have this problem, you deserve a medal (and should probably get out more).

Brush Cleanser

You can buy Estée Lauder’s Makeup Brush Cleaner here.

May 14, 2013 / dottybelle

Prima Spring Makes Magazine – Miles of Inspiration

I must confess that I haven’t read Prima magazine previously. But the other weekend I picked up a copy of their Spring Makes magazine and I’m so glad I did. I ripped out exactly 27 pages(!) of loveliness. Yes, I’m a magazine ripper and am currently in the process of sorting a filing system for the things I decided I love so much I needed to keep them. The alternative would be a home piled 6ft high of magazines! On this occasion I wish I hadn’t ripped the pages out!

The magazine includes 100 makes/projects utilising a whole range of crafts and Basic DIY. I’ve added so much more to my ‘one day’ to do list from here than any craft book I’ve ever bought. My favourite projects include the tea towel cushion covers, chair and chest of drawer makeovers, cute bookmarks, a neutral coloured alphabet patchwork and yummy lavender cake.




I picked mine up from a Tesco superstore for £3.99, but you can buy it online  here with free p&p.

Have fun!

April 29, 2013 / dottybelle

In a dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street…

“In a dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street
and in the dark, dark street there was a dark, dark house,
and in the dark, dark house there were some dark, dark stairs
and down the dark, dark stairs there was a dark, dark cellar
and in the dark dark cellar…
three skeletons lived!
there was a big skeleton.
and a LITTLE skeleton.
and a dog skeleton!”

There’s been a power cut in my house and street for the past couple of hours and it got me thinking of these words from Funny Bones which I used to watch as a child.


Brought back some fond memories:

Back then I wouldn’t have been able to do much in a power cut, let alone watch a clip from 15/20 years ago and blog about it! Wow, have times have changed!