UK Fashion and Lifestyle Blog.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Portsmouth: The Victorian Festival of Christmas

As refreshing as it is to create new traditions, it can be just as lovely to keep some past ones.  For three consecutive years now, I have been making my way to The Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth Dockyards - an event running this year from Friday 28th November to Sunday 30th November, 10am - 6pm.  So, if you're anywhere near the area, tomorrow is the last day of admission.. although there's always next year!

Although I've gone most of my life with a camera glued to my side, this was the first year that I have approached Christmas with a DSLR camera, which so far I've found makes each experience all the greater!  Upon arrival, we made our way towards the smell of fish and chips, however by the time we'd finished eating and adjusting to our surroundings, we walked out of the cafe/restaurant to see one of the most beautiful skies imaginable.  The burning, warm colours of the sky seemed to contrast perfectly with the cold, steely colours and materials of the marine setting below.

The obvious thing to do when visiting the Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth, is to take a boat trip.  The second most obvious thing to do is to wrap up very, very warm!  The boat trip was both entertaining and informative, as the narration blaring from the speakers on the boat was pretty funny.  Humour aside, I learned a huge amount more than I thought I would as we glided past numerous ships with facts filtering their way through the speaker - for example, did you know the UK alone eats four million bananas every three days?  Because I sure didn't!  Knowing that the wind chill factor in Portsmouth is greater than surrounding areas from my own experiences, I opted to wrap myself in multiple layers - as briefly shown on my Instagram.  We're talking thermal vest followed by a lace vest, covered by a GAP sweater and all of that heat sealed in with a Ralph Lauren puffa jacket.  I bought my Ralph Lauren fur-hooded jacket last year and I can't see myself investing in any other jacket purely for warming purposes now, as nothing could compare to the warmth of this feather-filled jacket!  The grey jodhpurs are a past season style by Zara and the knee-high boots are by Carvela, as shown in a previous outfit post.  Finally, the red cashmere gloves offer a much needed pop of colour to an otherwise dark look, and were purchased last winter in Germany.  

HMS Warrior, Portsmouth Dockyards
There was such a lot to look at and learn about at Portsmouth's Victorian Festival of Christmas and so you can't help but return home with facts spinning around your mind.  The dockyards at this event take on a strong sense of historic pride, which can only be a good thing.  There is nothing greater than visiting somewhere and being presented with not only great sights, but also some information to back up those sights.  A photo of a ship becomes much more and a simple line of sight through the lens of a camera is no longer 2D.   

Needless to say, it was very cold.  I mean, really cold.  I'm probably not the best person to ask to assess the weather considering I'll declare it freezing until the temperature is over 20oC (causing obvious problems living in the UK at the best of times)!  Nevertheless, as we glided along on the boat and my hood was nestled around my head, everyone was excitably taking photos of the surrounding views and warm drinks were taken around on a tray available for sale, I couldn't help but tell myself off a bit for having initially moaned about the cold weather.

Returning to the Christmas theme, after we had filed out and off the boat and reached our starting point once more, the Christmas theme was evident from the very beginning.  From Victorian-themed dressing to Christmas carollers, if I wasn't already feeling festive, I certainly was after spending a few moments at the dockyards!  I can't remember the last time we had a white Christmas here in the UK, meaning it must have been at least a good few years ago.  Thankfully, the snow machine shooting out realistic snow (helped along by a natural Portsmouth wind), helped me to imagine how lovely it would be to have a white Christmas once more.  It was certainly a lovely touch..  


Obligatory photo by a point of interest!  When you see historic sights, it's so easy to run your eyes over them with little assessment and quickly return to modern living.  It's only when you stare long and hard at something for a considerable length of time and imagine how many lifetimes those historic items/settings must have seen, that you truly appreciate them for what they are.  My blog focusses predominantly on the 'bright and beautiful' and so before you view some of these photos as an unusual fit for A Glass Of Ice, I've love you to open your mind to how they may also be bright and beautiful in an admittedly less conventional way.

HMS Victory, Portsmouth Dockyards


There are so many separate spaces to The Victorian Festival of Christmas, that it could be easy enough to miss out on some features.  It was only towards the very end of the day that we stumbled across the beautiful ferris wheel, as shown above, and a series of more Christmas market stalls selling interesting items such as festive wooden ducks wearing hats, knitted Christmas pudding tea cosies and intricate decorations to hang on the tree.  Just as the announcement came through the speakers that the event was closing for the day, we had also discovered a food van selling delicious sugared donuts, which we ate straight from the paper bag.  There really is so much to explore and discover at the dockyards, and one final surprise even came at the end for us as we were leaving, that was delivered in the form of a beautifully illuminated HMS Warrior.  Christmas is here! 

HMS Warrior, Portsmouth Dockyards

With love,

Gabrielle x


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Clinique's Perfectly Real Foundation

So, I guess you could call this my first beauty review on A Glass Of Ice and so of course, in true festive, celebratory style.. candy canes had to be involved.  Christmas has already started to work it's way into my life through festive cupcakes, Destiny's Child belting out 8 Days Of Christmas and the annual 'turning on of the lights' at more places than I can count on my hands.  With this in mind, it made sense for a touch of the festive season to creep into this post..

''I thought maybe we could make gingerbread houses and eat cookie dough and go ice skating and maybe even hold hands!'' - Buddy the Elf

Before I go off on a tangent and start discussing Christmas decorations, chocolate yule logs and carol singing, I'll get down to business.  I only started experimenting with foundation a few years ago, however up until quite recently I had been using mineral powder foundations.  In my opinion, the wall of disapproval I was met with for using a powder foundation was warranted.  I have naturally dry skin and so the powder highlighted this and aged my skin cosmetically in appearance pretty badly.  This isn't to say that powder foundations aren't just as good, if not better, than liquid foundations and instead it's purely to say that they simply do not suit my skin.  A couple of casual skin consultations later and i'm introduced to Clinique's Perfectly Real Makeup Foundation..

Once I had managed to overcome my excitement at having found a foundation that was light enough to match my skin tone, I was able to form a first impression.  The packaging itself is fresh, appealing and accompanies the brand's concept of keeping appearances natural with an understated beauty - one that doesn't wave it's arms around to be noticed.  Upon trying Clinique's foundation for the very first time over a year ago, I was worried at how dark the bottle seemed and wondered how the hell I wasn't going to look like an orange-flavoured lollipop.  Thankfully, there was no need to be alarmed as the pale shade of foundation that had been recommended to me was perfectly suited to my skin tone, which is just as well considering the brand propose this foundation makes 'skin look real but better' and 'more even, perfected, healthy'!      

Only a very small amount is needed for considerable coverage and the liquid effortlessly covers blemishes and undesirable marks/bumps.  Clinique claims their Perfectly Real Makeup Foundation is a 'weightless foundation that provides the perfect match and a natural finish' and I can quite happily confirm this!  Another positive of this foundation in comparison to other liquid foundations I've tried samples of, is the smooth touch to the skin even after application - there is a definite 'second skin' appeal.    

The foundation shade shown here is 01, their lightest shade.  Overall, I've been hugely impressed with this foundation and so much so, that since trying it for the first time over a year ago, I've not looked at another foundation.  If I had to rate the product, I'd be giving it a solid 10/10 and ten golden stars to hang on Clinique's Christmas tree!

With love,

Gabrielle x

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