Sophie Elliott – how her death could just as easily have been your own – or your daughter’s …
On 9 January 2008, this beautiful and intelligent woman, with a wonderful childhood behind her and a promising adult life ahead of her, was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend … in her own home, while her mother was there.
Now – 8 years later – one NZ woman still dies every 26 days at the hand of a violent partner – which means that over 100 women have died since Sophie’s murder. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world.
Recently I attended “An Evening with Lesley Elliott.” Lesley is not only Sophie’s mother, she is an incredibly brave and strong woman who has made it Sophie’s legacy to raise the awareness of all young women, and their families and friends, of the signs of partner abuse through the Sophie Elliott Foundation.
Lesley says at the time of Sophie’s murder, neither she nor Sophie really understood that Sophie was in an abusive relationship. She didn’t like Clayton Weatherston and neither did any of Sophie’s friends, but they didn’t realise Sophie was actually in danger – until it was far too late.
Now Lesley travels the length and breadth of the country helping make young women and their families aware of the signs of abuse that she and Sophie missed.
I implore you to visit the Sophie Elliott Foundation website and to find out more about what they do – there are all sorts of valuable resources on there and I have singled out a few that really hit home for me with a young daughter who ***OMG we’re not ready for that*** will be dating in the not-too-distant future.
Check out the “Power & Control Dating Wheel” below – it summarises the characteristics of an out-of-control relationship
How Sophie’s murderer personified these characteristics …
Power and control– he told Sophie she wasn’t bright enough (she earned a first class honors degree in Economics); needed to lose weight and inferred she wasn’t good-looking enough for him. This was Sophie below – hardly overweight was she? And although I wouldn’t grace him with a photo here, let’s just say he was way out of his league with Sophie in the first place.
Possessiveness – he wanted to know where Sophie was at all times, yet didn’t feel she needed to know anything about his whereabouts.
Isolates you – he isolated Sophie from her friends – none of whom liked him. I’d like to say here – if your family and friends don’t like him, there’s a good chance you shouldn’t be in a relationship with him.
Threats – he was emotionally and verbally abusive to Sophie on numerous occasions.
Suicide threats – I don’t know about this one, as of course I never knew Sophie and am only going on what Lesley told us at the meeting, but men who make suicide threats and say things like “If you leave me, I will hurt myself” are often only trying to manipulate you to suit themselves.
Changeable/volatile behaviour – Sophie never knew whether he really liked her or not. He was into the relationship one day, then cold as ice the next. Nothing was ever his fault – it was always Sophie’s. Lesley said Sophie couldn’t understand him, and always wanted to try and change him.
Sexual– on one occasion, only days before Sophie’s murder, he tried to force her to have sex with him. Thankfully Sophie escaped, but sadly, didn’t press charges.
Physical abuse – nothing needs to be said here, considering Sophie is no longer with us.
Communication– he was haphazard and unreliable – he wouldn’t reply to Sophie’s texts for hours and wouldn’t always answer her calls. She felt insecure because of that behaviour.
According to the Sophie Elliott Foundation website, 15-24 year old women are at the most risk of psychological, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a partner.
The Sophie Elliott Foundation, in association with the New Zealand Police, also runs a full-day educational course for Year 12 students called Loves-Me-Not (a play on the “He loves me; he loves me not” game.) The course is very interactive and is designed to make students aware of what a healthy relationship looks and feels like.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lesley Elliott – no one would blame her if she just sat back and grieved for Sophie – and of course she and her family will do that for the rest of their lives. What is amazing about Lesley is that over and over again, she re-lives that horrible day and she does it so that other families won’t have to.
Sophie and Lesley were very close, and if two highly-intelligent women like that weren’t able to see the signs of an abusive and dangerous relationship, then there are going to be others in the same situation. The signs often start subtly and build from there. In the book that students receive free of charge via the Loves-Me-Not course , there are two blank pages; one to write down what you see as the characteristics of a healthy relationship and the other to revisit and write down the characteristics of your current relationship as a comparison. If it doesn’t compare well – get help.
Thank God for the Lesley Elliott’s of this world – they are courageous enough to try to make change in the face of an horrific personal situation. It’s just unbearably sad they were put in that situation in the first place.
Do yourself and your family a favour … visit the website and educate yourself so that neither you, nor your daughter, ever end up like Sophie.
Are apps and Photoshop ruining your self-esteem without you even knowing it?
Many of you will have seen this “un-Photoshopped/untouched” image of Cindy Crawford that’s been making it’s way around the internet lately. Whilst I applaud Cindy for this, let’s not forget she is a supermodel who has made exorbitant amounts of money from her face and body FOR YEARS, so even without retouching, her “look” is quite unobtainable for most women.
When I originally planned this post, it was going to be a sneaky little share of some apps that you can use to de-wrinkle, brighten and smooth yourself out! When I came across them I squealed with delight; used them on a couple of photos (see below) and then realised that actually, I didn’t really want to do that any more, because that isn’t me – I do have wrinkles, blemishes and teeth that aren’t glaringly white, but you know what? I don’t hate those things. And I’m 46 – and I’m not embarrassed about that – so they are pretty much a fact of life.
Anyway … this post is actually going to contradict itself a bit! Firstly I’m going to mention three little apps you can use if you want to enhance yourself a bit for your photos – and why not? That’s your decision. But the other part of the post is going to talk about whether or not these apps (and Photoshop) are actually destroying your self-esteem without you even knowing it.
Ok … so the first app is called FaceTune – you can get it for free in the App Store. See how my skin is so much smoother on the right? The blemishes are minimised; the dark shadows under my eyes aren’t nearly as apparent and my neck looks miraculously younger and less lined? So that’s FaceTune for you! I did try to suggest the two images weren’t that different, but my daughter rapidly assured me they were!
Another app that does a similar job is moreBeaute (again, free from the App Store) … this one allows you to adjust brightness, smoothness, detail and tone via the use of a slider and you can view an instant “before and after” to help you make the adjustments. Kinda cool … and here’s another example (and yes, it does feel strange putting these massive pictures of myself on here!) …
With this one, you can see I’ve smoothed EVERYTHING out and it looks like I’ve had a bloody good holiday and am all relaxed (OK – it looks like it was a winter holiday, ten years ago!)
So those are two apps you can use for your face shots. But … there is another, I believe, almost frightening app that allows you to “plastic surgery-ise” your body as well! Now this one I have never used – as in, I’ve never uploaded a photo having used it. However … I did download it for a play and goodness, if you knew what you were doing with that particular app, you really can edit the hell out of yourself! This app is called Plastic Surgery Simulator, and I just got the free “lite” version which only allows you to shrink or expand things – and I’ll leave it to your imagination as to which bits you’d want to expand! Anyway – bearing in mind this is the lite version and I don’t really know how to use it, here is a before and after of what you can do with this type of app:
OK, this photo is embarrassing – I took it to show off that I was in Auckland in a swanky hotel, however can you see how much I’ve managed to shrink my waist? And I don’t even really know how to use that app! Now I know it’s kind of obvious if you know what you’re looking for and you have the “before” to compare with, but if you didn’t … I could just about get away with that right? And imagine if I’d FaceTuned my face as well? I’d be barely recognisable from the original! Of course there are all sorts of filters and things on Instagram too, and artful ways of cropping things to maybe get rid of that squashed arm that makes you look obese, or cropping your photos off at the forehead so those pesky wrinkles don’t show etc – they’re all tricks of the trade and are fair and reasonable things to do I suppose!
So – as you can see, these apps can do pretty good, and relatively subtle (or not!) things to your photos. But as I said earlier, I am also going to look at whether or not these apps and Photoshop are ruining your self-esteem without you even knowing it.
Have you ever looked at a girl you admire and marvelled at her tiny waist or her flawless skin or the fact she doesn’t have any wrinkles and there’s never a hair out of place? Sometimes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! And all power to her if that’s what she wants to do – but you wonder how she feels about meeting people in real life (IRL) knowing full well she doesn’t really look like her photos.
And as for Photoshop – you only have to look at these images below to see that even the girls who are a) genetically blessed; b) have had their hair and makeup done by professionals and c) are shot by professional photographers, with the most sophisticated equipment under the right lighting and with all the other tricks of the trade – they STILL get Photoshopped at the end. So realistically, even THEY don’t look like them! I mean just look at this shot!
And that’s not even considered “serious editing” in the industry apparently! Hmmmm …
So where do you sit on this issue? Do you think “why not, each to their own” or “oh my gosh – we have to stop this for our daughter’s sakes?”
My thoughts are that it’s been going on for years now and I don’t know that we can ever stop it. So I’m trying to act “locally” by sitting my ten-year-old daughter down and showing her these “before-and-afters” so that she knows that what you see, is not necessarily reality. And I will keep doing that. The other thing I try really hard not to do, is to moan about my weight, or if I’m having a bad hair day or whatever, in front of her. Sometimes I slip up, and in those cases I try to make a joke about it and flounce off saying “oh well – it could be a lot worse!”
I believe the pinup and burlesque “scenes” have a pretty good attitude to body acceptance and that’s one of the reasons I love them so much. They celebrate curves and angles and everything in between. And don’t forget – lean girls can have their feelings hurt just as easily as bigger girls. We’re all beautiful and whatever the body you have, it’s yours and you need to love it and treat it right.
Let me know what you think about all this – either by leaving a comment, or by e-mailing me at email@example.com
Love, laughter lines and generous waists …
Extra for experts: check out this video – amazing and frightening all in one go!
Imagine if you will, someone who, on one of her Facebook pages describes herself as a “retired locomotive engineer” and on the other, as an “entertainer” – more accurately, a burlesque entertainer.
From who she was, to who she is; this is the story of Miss Chevious Cinders and how she became the Grand Dame of New Zealand burlesque.
When she’s not “in character” as Miss Chevious Cinders, she is simply known as Cindy. Born in Takapuna, Auckland in 1936 (yes, she’s 78!) and bought up by her grandparents, Cindy says she always knew she was “different.” And different she is … in the very best of ways!
Cindy now lives her life as a transsexual woman and is actively involved in the NZ burlesque scene. She says she has never been happier, but it wasn’t always that way …
As early as the mid-60’s, Cindy says she was cross-dressing, but only in the privacy of her home – she took photos, but developed them herself, scared to take them anywhere in case she was found out. She started working for the railways in March 1954, where she fired steam locomotives and drove steam, diesel and electrical trains until her retirement in November 1990. Cindy lived in the NZ Rail Hostel for thirteen years, and in 1965 went to her first “vice versa” party where she said she “had a lot of fun.” In 1975 she met her future wife whom she married three years later and fathered two girls – Cindy thought her cross-dressing days were over. Unfortunately for Cindy’s marriage however, they weren’t – she returned to her cross-dressing ways; got found out and got kicked out in January 1994!
During that period, Cindy started to cross-dress more often and when she discovered the internet and typed in “cross-dressing” on her computer, a whole new world opened up for her. She joined transgender groups, re-named herself Cindy and met her long-time friend, Dot. Cindy and Dot started going out together dressed as women, mostly after dark, and mostly to the late night pictures. Cindy felt she’d worked out what had been “bugging” her all those years and in 2002 started hormone treatment as the first step in her journey to becoming a woman. A year later she officially changed her name to Karen Cindy Jane and after selling her home in 2004, found herself with some available funds and decided to pursue sexual reassignment surgery in Thailand. She and Dot flew over on the 20th of March 2005; Cindy had the surgery and they had a holiday together in Thailand. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, nearly ten years later, Cindy has firmly established herself as one of the most colourful and loveable characters on the NZ burlesque scene and is actively involved in the pride movement too. She says all transgender people really want is acceptance; not to be treated differently or to be changed, but just to be accepted and loved for who they are.
Cindy credits her happiness in the last few years since she had her sexual reassignment surgery to the level of acceptance she’s found from the people in the community she’s created for herself. As a woman who has accepted and embraced her true self, Cindy is finally living the life she deserves. She’s one of the lucky ones too – her family have accepted her as she is and she enjoys the company of her two daughters and eight grandchildren, who call her Gran.
At 78 years old, Cindy is showing no sign of slowing down! She’s a regular performer on the burlesque scene, and not just in Glamilton either – Cindy travels all over the country, and often overseas as well, to perform and to be an extremely supportive and enthusiastic audience member. There probably hasn’t been a major burlesque show in the country that Cindy’s missed for a long time and there’s a photo of her and nearly every international burlesque performer who’s ever visited NZ on her “wall of fame.”
She attends workshops too and this year was invited to perform at the NZ Burlesque Festival in the Promenade event – a performance for which she was proud to receive a standing ovation from her adoring audience. Her Pink Panther routine has reached almost iconic status here in New Zealand, and has been performed for many lucky audiences – I’ve personally seen it several times, and each time, it makes me happy and so proud to be a friend of Cindy’s.
Cindy’s Facebook status updates show a woman on a mission! She’s hopping a bus to a show in Palmerston one minute; then she’s back for a few days, then catching a plane to Australia to attend a festival somewhere. Then she’s off up to Auckland to watch a show and attend a workshop, then back home. She shows up regularly at burlesque class and often has a new set of fans, or another addition to her costume wardrobe to show us!
She appeared in the “Bring Back Burlesque Christmas Show” at the Riverlea Theatre in 2013 and has overseas trips and plans booked all the way out to April next year!
At the NZ Burlesque Festival this month, Cindy earned the title of “Industry Groupie” which was an honour very fitting indeed! Aside from her groupie activities, she spends time with her friends and family and the boys down at the Workingman’s Club! Phewww … I can only dream of having that much energy now, much less at 78!
So all in all, Cindy would say it’s been a good life so far and there’s still lots more fun to be had; lots more shows and workshops to attend and lots more international burlesque stars to be photographed with!
Acceptance and love … they really do make the world go round … and characters like Cindy, aka Miss Chevious Cinders, add that extra layer of sparkle and character.
Extra for experts:
If you’d like to watch the short film Cindy has made about her transition from male to female, you can click here.
Click here to watch Cindy’s peformance at the 2014 NZ Burlesque Festival in Palmerston North.
The curious creatures of Auckland burlesque: revisited
A little while ago, Mumpty wrote some fictional stories on a few of her favourite Auckland burlesquers. And this Friday night, she’s done a wee update. Do enjoy …
Remember that saying:
Always be you … unless you can be a fierce, intergalactic alien queen. Then, always be a fierce, intergalactic alien queen.
No? Seriously? Well, it was inspired by Duchess deBerry, known simply to her nearest and dearest as The Duchess.
The Duchess had always been interested in space travel and so when her dear friend Sir Richard Branson (who rather fancied her) offered her the opportunity to accompany him on one of the first Virgin Airways trips to the moon, she jumped at the chance. What antipodean temptress wouldn’t really?
Soon after the initial excitement had died down though, The Duchess’s mind turned to more practical matters – what would she wear on the moon? She had no intention of wearing one of those ridiculous Michelin suits that’s for sure, but her current wardrobe didn’t inspire either. As always though, The Duchess had a plan, and that plan involved her illustrious pals at Asphyxia Couture and a brief to put together a little something something for her soiree on the moon.
She rather liked what they came up with – it was certainly a statement piece, but practical too she thought. Her hands were free and she had plenty of things to tie moon rocks and that kind of thing onto. Sure, she could have done with a handbag, and it might get a bit chilly, but she wasn’t going to be outside on the moon for long periods of time was she? She assumed she’d be able to pop in and out of the space shuttle at will – I mean even though she wasn’t paying for it, this was a commercial flight, and surely Sir Richard wouldn’t allow a passenger to get cold on the moon? That would be ridiculous.
No, this little number was perfect and The Duchess shivered with delight as she settled down happily into the seat beside Sir Richard, gratefully accepting the glass of Cristal he handed her. #suchfun
Lilly Loca: disrupted
Lilly Loca, as we know, is a time traveller. Just last year in fact, she travelled from 1920’s New York to 2016 in Auckland, where she spends a great deal of time pirouetting seductively on stages around that fair city wearing the showgirl’s version of an itsty-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikini and a purple-hued “do” Ru Paul would be proud to own. But that isn’t enough for Lilly’s outrageous soul, so in an age where “disruption” is a buzz word in business circles, Lilly has decided to try a bit of disruption herself, and thus Gary Krumbert has emerged onto the scene.
When I say Gary has emerged onto the scene, I mean more that he has BURST onto the scene and not in a glamorous, overnight-sensation kind of way; but in a more clumsy, goofy kind of way. Because that’s the kind of guy Gary is; he’s a goofy drag king, born of the always glamorous, and sometimes androgynous, Lilly Loca. He’s been around a while, but more recently has begun to make his presence known.
One might be forgiven for assuming Gary is the quieter side of the Loca/Krumbert duo, and indeed he does tend to fly under the radar a bit. I think his slightly nerdy persona engenders a level of trust in people that allows him to get under their skin without them really even knowing it.
For Gary is most certainly not the quieter side of the duo. Recently a naive judge referred to him as the “Veteran Virgin King” – well, let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. Gary, in fact, is quite inspired by that raunchy, ginger-bearded Tudor King of old, King Henry the VIIIth. So much so, in fact, that he has a set of silk stockings and a hat set with a feather on a jaunty angle that he brings out on certain occasions, and it really does drive the ladies quite mad with lust; as you can imagine I’m sure.
So this one time, at Drag Camp, Gary did something quite naughty – even for Gary. He TOOK Lilly Loca’s rainbow-hued “do” and used it onstage as a “costume piece” shall we say. To make the situation much, much worse, the costume piece was a merkin (uuuuuuuggghhhhhh – I know, right!) Lilly, as you can imagine, was LIVID when she recognised it from her front-row seat in the audience. She leapt out of her seat, scaled the stage and advanced upon Gary with a look in her eye that inspired sheer terror in his. Such terror, in fact, that he scuttled offstage at the speed of light with Lilly’s “do” flapping between his legs and Lilly in hot pursuit. The audience squirmed uncomfortably as a loud slap, a shrill squeal and a muffled thump could be heard backstage. A few more thumps and squeals occurred and a couple of audience members burst into titters of barely suppressed nervous laughter, before the EMCEE Felicity Frockaccino hastily took over and began to belt out a rather raucous version of “I will survive” in a trembling vibrato.
Rumour has it Gary was EXTREMELY lucky to get away with just a broken leg and he’s currently overseas on an extended vacay while his poor, battered body recuperates. Reliable sources say he’ll be back when the heat dies down and Lilly has calmed her farm. #suchfun
Leda Petit: the rise and fall (and rise) of an assassin …
When last we left Leda Petit, she was doing well as a secret assassin, making money by the bushel and lurking in bars, drinking champagne out of shoes and fraternising alluringly with her marks before she made her final, lethal move.
But things have gone rather downhill since then …
Sadly, our Leda has become a little too fond of the high-rolling lifestyle she can now afford as a result of her prodigious “hit” rate. It’s a never-ending cycle of a whiskey here, a cigar there – a line of coke up her nose; “but never before lunchtime darling – I have standards.”
One particularly snipey member of the Auckland paparazzi could almost be excused for comparing Leda’s behaviour to that of Amy Winehouse at her worst. But really, that would be unfair – as she says, Leda has standards, and she would NEVER go on stage and deliver a less than stellar performance like Amy did on the odd occasion.
Yes, while these days Leda is having a lot more fun than your average punter, she is also getting the job done. I mean really, when you think about it, she’s living a glamorous Old Hollywood lifestyle that rivals that of Frank Sinatra and his cronies. Of course, she’s doing it Her Way (do you see what I did there?) and I have it on good authority that despite the heavy nights and the early morning stumbles home to her apartment, Leda can be relied upon to be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to mingle come midnight when the “respectable” bars open and Leda’s marks await. Why look …
See what I mean? She really is a consummate professional, our Leda. #suchfun
Hello bloggy-verse! So I haven’t done a “taking stock tag” for a while now – in fact the last one was here – and I do so enjoy them, so here goes – please enjoying reading along to see what’s happening in Mumpty’s little world!
Making: 9 page weekly newsletters for my daughter’s netball team. She has a super-coach who is taking our team ahead in leaps and bounds and the newsletter is my little contribution. Cooking: peanut butter banana chocolate brownies (shhhhh … it was one of those endless video recipes off Facebook that I save and then never make – but today I did, and oh.so.good!) Drinking:if only! Actually, I am rather enjoying long blacks with full cream – they are ketogenic too! Reading:“The Shadow Year” by Hannah Richell. I have just finished it and it is one of the BEST books I’ve read – ever. Read it – you’ll love it! So twisty-turny and full of promise! Wanting: someone I love to get better quickly. And I’m always wanting more frocks and more Louis of course – that’s the shallow, frivolous part of me. The serious part of me wants the world to be a safer, happier place for my daughter and her generation to grow up in. Looking:for opportunities. Playing: on Facebook and Instagram before I go to sleep. Pretty sure it’s bad for my circadian rhythms, but oh-so-good for my social little soul! Wishing: the person alluded to above a speedy recovery. Enjoying:my weekly coffee/catchup with some beautiful people I love. I’m also enjoying the way our front door looks – we painted the white door navy and doesn’t it look great!
Waiting: why wait? Just go out and do it! Liking: the way my fat little tummy is shrinking as a result of my ketogenic diet (well, mostly anyway!) … and also the way this eating plan makes me feel in general. Wondering: how we best ensure our daughter has an amazing life. Loving: soooo many things. Mainly my family, my friends and my home. Pondering: processes. I find it fascinating how once you embark on a process, it takes over, everyone does their little bit and amazing things get achieved. Considering: whether or not I should take up pistol shooting, thus revoking my status as a Pistol Club widow?! Watching:Facebook Lives with Deborah Murtagh of The Ketogenic Switch; so much passion. Hoping: it’s a secret – I’ll tell ya later! Marvelling:at just how cool having a daughter really is!
Needing: a money tree! Wearing:frocks, frocks and more frocks! Following: my dreams. Noticing: that as much as I love pretty and expensive things, they’re becoming less and less important as I get older. Instead experiences are important; time with family, coffee with friends – that sort of stuff. Although don’t get me wrong … I still want a massive collection of Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin – I’m not fully evolved yet! Knowing:that self-confidence is not the same as confidence, and although I am self-confident, sometimes that doesn’t translate into confidence, meaning I don’t always “sell myself” when I should. Oh so convoluted! Thinking:that I should be doing more of what I love. Admiring:the many and varied talents of my family and friends. Sorting: ways to turn my dreams into plans.
Buying: a new school uniform for our baby because she got into the school we wanted her to get into … whoop, whoop! Getting: good vibes about new directions. Bookmarking: ketogenic recipes. Disliking:running a wee bit behind on some life goals. Opening: my heart and mind. Giggling: at three-way text messages with my daughter and my partner. Feeling:anxious about one situation and excited about another. Snacking:on two squares of 90% cocoa dark chocolate. So lush. Coveting:this BEAUTIFUL handbag. The Louis Vuitton Speedy in Monogram Empreinte.
Helping: by doing my small part to help good netballers become great netballers! Hearing: when I should be listening!
What have you been up to? Feel free to do your own version – tag me in if you do – I’d love to have a read!
Maybelline Dream Cushion liquid foundation review …
I was given this foundation by a beauty blogger friend of mine and I was pretty grateful I have to say – only the day before I had scraped the very last of my Maybelline FitMe from the bottle and hadn’t had a chance to pop down to my local Warehouse and splash out the big bucks for another one! So it was with great excitement (OK – “excitement” may be overstating it, but I am always intrigued by new products) that I opened it the next morning to give it a whirl.
I have to confess right here and now – before I tell you the embarrassing part – for some reason I had it in my head that this product was called Dream Mousse foundation and not Dream Cushion foundation. Which makes this next disclosure only slightly less embarrassing: I was initially blown away by the texture of this product (thinking it was a really thick, aerated mousse – duh!) and even went so far as to rush in to my daughter’s room to show her this wondrous new product! It wasn’t until the following day that I realised it was just a foundation-impregnated sponge!!!!
So, my ridiculousness aside … I do actually really like this product. Of course I didn’t read the instructions (which were to apply it with the little sponge thing that comes in the compact) and used my foundation brush instead, but I found it applied really smoothly and evenly and gave a pretty good, reasonably buildable coverage on my normal to dry, 48-year-old skin. It also lasted pretty well throughout the day, despite me forgetting most days to use a primer first. In the interests of full disclosure, I applied it with the foundation brush first and then did a little bit of blending at the end with my fingertips, which seemed to work well.
Below there is a picture of me wearing it – not because I love including pictures of myself, (because I REALLY don’t) but because people seem to like to see the product being reviewed in action – go figure! I’ll admit this picture doesn’t necessarily show it like other beauty bloggers might, but I am wearing Dream Cushion foundation in this photo and my skin looks OK!
Overall impression then, is good. And it’s a good price point – here in New Zealand, full retail is $29.95 – which is not bad for a product that really does perform quite well.
There were a couple of drawbacks however that I will mention; #1 I don’t think the longevity of the product is great. It only lasted me about a month before it started getting pretty thin on the ground. Because I threw the lid out (see below), I’ve had to rely on the internet for this following piece of information, but according to the internet, it contains 14.6g of foundation. Is that much? I’m not sure – my FitMe contains 30ml – I did try to do a conversion, but I’m not sure they convert really – and, too hard. Also – do people really care that much?
Back to the drawbacks: #2 – the lid broke off without me even being unduly rough on it. But living on the edge as I do, I threw it away and continued without the lid – which really wasn’t as unhygienic as it sounds because my version of the compact has a little internal plastic lid that covers the product (which doesn’t appear to be on the stock photos I’ve found – hmmm.)
So there you have it – Mumpty’s review of the Maybelline Dream Cushion liquid foundation. For further information and swatches and stuff, you’ll need to do some more research or visit someone else’s blog! Mumpty’s not big on facts and swatches and details (although sometimes I’ll do it) – I’m more about trying it and telling you what I think.
Would I buy it again? Probably – but I’d wait till it was on sale to be honest.
She freakin’ did it! Congratulations to the new, pinup perfect,
Miss Viva Las Vegas 20 …
… Miss Monique Sweet!
Congratulations to Monique – I am so, so, so proud of her! What an incredible couple of weeks she’s had – first her long-awaited wedding to Sam (she is now Mrs Kimber-Bell) and now, winning the highly-coveted international title of Miss Viva Las Vegas 20. And let’s just talk about that frock for a second – so spectacular – it was her wedding gown. TDF. Made by Judy at Curvy Couture by Judy Dee.
Here is her spider-inspired “Meet n Greet” outfit by Devel Branded.
And her Car Show outfit …
Anyway .. well done Monique – you ROCK! And congratulations to Sam too – what a fantastic way to celebrate your honeymoon. (Which seems to be a bit of a tradition with Kiwi pinups – remember when Miss Victory Violet won Miss Viva Las Vegas 18 back in 2015?
When I first posted this back in February 2016 I was unprepared for the flood of comments, shares and views that would result from it. People were obviously blown away by Monique’s courageous and terrifying experience during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
This year Monique is getting married and she is also competing for the title of Miss Viva Las Vegas 20 (to vote for her – click here, scroll past the “submissions closed” bit and click on her photo to vote.)
If you’ve read this before, read it again! If you haven’t read it, grab a coffee (or a wine!) and settle down and have a read. I think you’ll be both surprised and horrified. So here we go …
Anyone know what this is?
Well I’ll tell you … it’s a body tag.
And we can be incredibly grateful it is a green body tag. Because look who it belongs to:
Yep – it belongs to this incredibly vibrant and courageous woman, who I am proud to call my friend – Monique (pinup name: Miss Monique Sweet)
What many of you may not have known about Monique is that she is an earthquake survivor. In fact, she beat 50:50 odds and came out of the PGC Building on the 22nd of February, 2011 – ALIVE.
To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake, Monique has agreed to tell her story. And let me tell you, it is harrowing. I challenge any of you who know Monique not to be a) horrified and b) in awe of her.
So … here is Monique’s earthquake survival story, in her own words. But before we start, I just wanted to show you this image of the building Monique was in when the earthquake happened.
Why hello there!
It took me a while to decide how I should approach this story … do I gloss over the hard stuff and spare people the gruesome details, or do I tell the REAL story – the one people might not want to hear?
I decided this story deserved 100% honesty – I have seen, heard and felt things you cannot even imagine in your worst nightmares and I don’t want to minimise that fact. Shocking? Yes. The cold, hard truth? Also, yes. Consider this your warning ….
To many people I am a confident, outgoing and bubbly individual, whose personality exudes passion for life. However, to honour and commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquake, I want to introduce people to Monique – the Earthquake Survior. I also want to celebrate how far I have come as a human being and to commemorate those who were unable to continue this journey with me over the past five years.
Four years ago – in the midst of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) – I was not the person I am today. In fact, I remember a time when I sat on the side of the road, looking at oncoming traffic and willing myself to jump into it. Yip, that’s right – bubbly, confident me. And that wasn’t the only time either. But to explain all this, we have to go back further – to February the 22nd, 2011.
For me, that day began like any other – I woke up and had my usual self-debate; stockings, no stockings? Umbrella or no umbrella? At the time I was working at Perpetual Trustees, based on the 1st floor of the Pyne Gould Corporation Building at 233 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch.
I lived at the top end of Manchester Street and didn’t own a car, so always had a lovely walk into work with my iPod – I often passed the odd hooker or two still working their corner! The walk to work that morning was just like any other morning of the four months I had lived in Christchurch (I moved into my flat the week after the September quake.)
At that time, I was on a health and fitness kick and had spent the hour before lunch debating whether or not to go for a run as I’d planned. If I’d gone, I would have left at 1pm, as per our usual running group time. However, it was raining and I was hungry – I distinctly remember looking at the clock on my computer and the time was 12.50. My mind (influenced by my growling stomach!) decided “aaaaaaaah, screw it!” So I got my lunch out of my bag, left my desk and walked the 5 – 10 metres to the cafeteria, where I said hello to Stacey, Lisa and Alec who were all eating, and placed my lunch in the microwave.
The earthquake hit …
As I pressed the button to heat my lunch, the microwave started making a funny noise. “What the hell is wrong with the microwave?” I thought.
And then the ground started to shake.
And in a short period of time – maybe 5-10 seconds, my life got shaken around and, quite frankly, turned upside down. I can now date my life as “pre-earthquake Monique” and “post-earthquake Monique” – but more about that later.
I tried to steady myself, as this particular shake started off like any other aftershock. But then the violence hit. I was thrown left; I was thrown right and the building started taking mountainous jumps. There was no time to think – my mind just went blank from utter confusion. I turned to the others, who had moved under the table. Of course I was still being thrown around – not really consciously realising what was happening – I mean what do you do when a massive earthquake hits and you’re in the middle of the room? Suddenly I saw it – the wall collapsed toward me and I threw myself at the table the others were under. I’m talking a Superman dive – if Superman was awkward and falling! Even with that Superman dive, though, I didn’t make it under the table. Instead, a door fell on me – that’s how quick everything came down.
In the next half-second, everything went pitch black and all you could hear was the rumbling of the earthquake and the shattering of glass, accompanied by the loud, dumping sound of things collapsing around you. I had something on my back – my legs were out straight – and the pressure on my back grew and grew with the shaking, until my head was a couple of centimetres from my knees. To this day, I have absolutely no recollection or understanding of how I came to be in that position – I had literally done a 180 degree turn to face the opposite way, with my legs flung out underneath me.
The shaking stopped and the realisation of what had just happened set in … and so did the panic.
Something was on top of me – it had cut through my merino top and was cutting into my back. It was HEAVY and that feeling is something I can still feel to this day. My head was basically on my knees – the pins and needles started running through my legs almost immediately and I was struggling to breathe.
The first thing my brain conveyed to the rest of my body was “you have to move – there will be an aftershock” – which was the only certainty I had at that time – hence the panic. How do you move, when you cannot move?
There were noises coming from other people and I could tell someone close to me was not ok.
It was pretty quickly established who was in our area. The “Cafeteria Four” had turned into the “Cafeteria Five” – Chris had started running as soon as the ground started shaking – he’d made it close to the cafeteria, but then a metal beam went into his foot.
My panic was instant – I HAD to move. I somehow had to get my legs out from underneath me – Lisa and Stacey said all I had to do was get out from where I was and I could join them. Fortunately, at this point I wasn’t hysterical – I had a job to do, and that job was to MOVE. The unfortunate part was that it was impossible for me to move either of my legs with the room I had. Thankfully, my legs went numb pretty quickly as I knew I would probably need to break one of my legs to get it out from under me.
The weird thing was there was no “should I?’ I just knew instantly and instinctively that I needed to move quick. So I told everyone what was about to happen, then moved my right leg underneath me, held back an outburst of tears as I grabbed my left leg with my left hand and held my knee with my right. And then I pulled it as hard as I could pull.
I did what I had to do, and fortunately, my leg didn’t actually break. Don’t get me wrong though – it’s taken a huge amount of work to get it back to the state it’s in today.
The relief when my legs came free was incredible. In fact, I would have happily broken both legs for that relief. The weight also lifted off my shoulder as I moved into the foetal position, thus regaining the feeling in my legs and the glorious ability to breathe freely, albeit in masses of dust.
I had survived the first two(ish) minutes after the earthquake.
But it didn’t end there …
Once I had grasped the horror of the situation and returned myself to reality a bit, I started talking to the people around me. We decided the roof must have collapsed inward and if we were in this position in a newish building, we would have to prepare ourselves for a long wait to be rescued.
Stacey had found her cellphone and we worked out there was a cellphone-sized gap between where she was and my foot. I needed to see where I was, but I was too afraid to move as I knew I didn’t have much space and I didn’t want to do anything that might reduce that space. This is where the long onslaught of sheer terror started.
The incredible relief that came with the opportunity to see where I was, quickly diminished when I realised my perilous situation. My legs were now underneath a chair and my head was inside half a recycle bin. But here’s the kicker … there was a giant concrete beam coming down across me and that beam was being held up by a chair. I shimmied my body two inches or so toward the chair. At this point my knees were in the foetal position, coming up to my face, because I’d had to move my body closer to my legs to get my body under the seat).
I placed my top leg into the gap in the drawers that had fallen onto a 45 degree angle. I also moved my head outside of the bin onto the side so I could try to get it under the chair.
At this point, I started the fun game we earthquake survivors like to call “which limb can I live without?” I had this theory that it was ok to lose my legs – I could live without those – I could even live without a portion of my back – but I needed to protect my internal organs and head. So if I could shove my head under the chair, that would be the safest position I could be in at that stage.
It was at this point also, that I realised I was going to die.
And that is when I started to fall apart. I tried to text, then call a friend. The first time I got through to her, all I did was tell her the information I would end up yelling for hours on end: “There are five of us – we are in the PGC building in the cafeteria on the 1st floor – please send help.”
Aftershocks were fun – and yes, I am being hella-sarcastic here. As each aftershock hit, I would move my head upwards; rip some hair out (due to the jagged edge my head was resting on); clench my fists; shut my eyes tight; hold my breath and cry hysterically – it was just pure terror.
Once the aftershock was done, I would start up my broken record again … the “Cafeteria Five” would get used to this over the ensuing hours. Hysteria mixed with panic and “I/we are going to die.”
The first aftershock was not the best …
Remember how the concrete beam was resting on the chair – and I was under the chair? Well the chair started to buckle under the pressure and I went from having “wiggle room” to being pinned down by my waist. Thank God I moved myself under that chair though yea? Now THAT was intuition!
Anyhow … that tiny space was where I would call home for another four plus hours.
I had to make another phone call – this time to my Grandma. I knew my situation had deteriorated and I thought death was imminent at this point, so I wanted to make sure I at least said goodbye to someone.
Can I just add … in times of crisis it is bloody hard to remember phone numbers! However, I will always remember this conversation:
Me: “Grandma, I am in the PGC building – I am stuck under a chair. I just wanted to call to say I love you.” Grandma: “Oooo hello dear (in the chirpiest voice imaginable) I was wondering how you were going! Did you feel the earthquake?” Me: “Grandma, I have to go. I love you.”
And hung up … and it was at this point I entered full-blown hysteria. I had to pass the phone back and I wasn’t allowed to make any more calls – they were making me worse.
Waiting for death …
After calling my Grandma, I quite literally thought I was lying there just waiting for death. At that stage, the odds were stacked (by four storeys) against me.
It was pitch black. There was only silence and a breeze we could feel coming through the building. I was pinned down and was at the mercy of the chair, the building and the aftershocks. I knew I was going to die, the question was – how long would it take?
It is true what they say about death – your life does flash before your eyes. Even if you are still alive, but worried that death is imminent in between aftershocks, panic attacks and trying to breathe.
The first sign that we might be rescued was an oxymoron; we thought they were right there about to come up the stairs and through the doors (that no longer existed) but they didn’t. They found a man close to me – the only other person I could hear in the building outside of the “Cafeteria” group. The man had been moaning since the first earthquake – we didn’t know who he was but he kept groaning and that groaning got more and more intense until we heard someone speaking to him. The sound of another voice started up my broken record again; “Help! We are in the cafeteria, there are five of us, we are on the first floor.” I was literally screaming and begging for help until a man yelled back. His exact words were “help is coming shortly, hang in there.”
The groaning continued until it eventually stopped – we did not hear from that particular male voice again. It wasn’t until much, much later we found out why he was groaning, and why the man didn’t come to our rescue. There are some things you can’t really prepare for; finding out you listened to another human being getting their legs amputated is one of them.
There is something that people don’t tell you about hope – and I’m talking about the hope that man gave us when he yelled back to us. In an earthquake, hope fades very fast. When someone gives you hope – only to have it shaken away from you by another aftershock – it makes you feel like you are in a final destination film. You think you have evaded death once – but now death is still going to get you, in some sort of cruel, twisted fate. That is what it was like for me. I had hope until the next aftershock hit and then I had refreshed panic – panic they would not make it in time. The chair was dipping lower, the pressure was getting more substantial and the fear was something words cannot describe.
Not everything was bad in there though – there were many kinda cool things that happened while we were all there together, sheltering under our various debris. The best part was that we all supported each other – when I was panicking, Stacey would grab my foot and Alec would grab my shoulder to comfort me.
We found out I had the beer fridge crack open next to me and I was able to pass around a cider through the various little spaces we could find – Alec was less than impressed that I couldn’t find any beer!
There was also a plate of cakes I’d found, but was unable to reach after the first aftershock. We had joked (?) if we needed to save water, we could use it as our pee plate!
Our first sign of rescue came after what seemed like ages of hearing only hammering and helicopters. I thought I heard a voice so I started my broken record “help, there are five of us etc, etc.”) This time, though, the rest of the group were less than receptive; a few expletives may have been directed my way! But here’s the thing … I am a determined person and half way through that long stretch of silence I had decided I wasn’t going to just wait for impending doom and was going to do everything within my power to stay alive.
The rescuers started talking to us from above – there was quite a lot of confusion as we couldn’t understand why they didn’t just come down to the first level (we didn’t know at that point that the first three levels were now one.) Another rescuer came to talk to us from the bottom, trying to pinpoint our exact location. Things moved pretty fast from there – rescuers tried to come at us from the top, however what they thought was the first floor, was actually a couple of concrete pads above us. When they shone their torches, thinking they had got to us, I imagine it would have been as disheartening for them as it was for us when we couldn’t see their light.
It still brings tears to my eyes, when I think about Michael calling out to us. Not only did we have people trying to rescue us from the top and the bottom, there were also people trying to find a path to us through the gaps – that was Michael’s job.
Michael – an Average Joe – who decided he could help when he felt the earthquake, so he came into town. Like an angel, he just happened to land on our building, worked his way through the nooks and crannies and found us. He cut a hole in the fridge and found Stacey and Alec. Stacey started flirting with Michael as soon as he had broken through, offering him some milk!
As glad as I was to see him, there was this underlying feeling that an aftershock was about to happen, and it could be a big one that I didn’t think I’d make it through – it was kind of like death was still going to get me in the cruellest way possible – just as I was being rescued.
He got Stacey and Alec out and for me, there was instant renewed panic – he was going to leave me. In hindsight, I totally understand why he would help them make their way out, but what ensued was the meltdown of the century! I didn’t want him to leave me. I didn’t want to be alone; I didn’t want my only shining light of hope to crawl away from me.
He didn’t – bless him, he was such a sweetheart. I remember telling him not to bust down the drawers because I didn’t want everything to collapse around me/him. First thing he did (as I was screaming at him) was bust down the drawers! Which ushered in the first element of relief – I could place my legs on the ground again, instead of having them stuck through drawers. His next step was to get me out from underneath the seat. He grabbed one of my legs and yanked and pulled me free. This got me into a space where I could get onto my hands and knees, but it also dragged my skirt up around my neck! Reason # 1 to always wear pretty undies – you never know when a rescuer might inadvertently drag your skirt above your head!
Words cannot express the joy of seeing the glimmer of light that meant potential escape and getting out from under that chair. I was a bit rude at that point – I didn’t say thanks – I was in a state of shock. And to be fair, my whole goal at that point was to get the hell out of that building!
Crawling out through wiggle space only, felt like I was trying to get through the underground caves in Waitomo. It was at this point I started to realise the true extent of the damage to the building. Crawling through it meant making your way over solid, compacted debris (concrete, glass etc) mixed with a shit tonne of paper and splashes of blood.
I would like to say I cried when I came out at the end via the ladder, but I didn’t. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, then threw my shoes off the building – they were the last thing I was worried about.
A man was helping us down the ladder, however being extremely independent, I snuffed my nose at it, but was forced to accept his help and THANK GOLLY GOSH I did. I was shaking so violently I could barely hold the ladder and he had to coach me to move my body.
I felt immense relief when I got to the bottom of the ladder. Someone had collected my shoes and had them waiting there for me. Someone else held me up until I was passed onto the ambulance officer who again, had to help me to walk out. Looking up at the building, I was like “holy.fuck.” There were no feelings – there was just numbness.
I looked at the people but I didn’t say thank you … I couldn’t talk. We walked around from the back of the building and turned the corner to the side of the building, where I had been sitting 30 seconds before the earthquake. It was a pancake. All four levels were sitting literally on top of my desk.
At that moment I let out an excruciating howl; dropped to the ground and started crying hysterically. The ambulance officer basically dragged me over to the emergency ambulance bay where I was greeted by James – a member of my team (who, about a second before, I had thought was dead.)
The weirdest part was being body-tagged and waiting to be able to leave the site. It was seeing the rescue workers and the bleak look in their eyes. It was telling Michael (my rescuer) I loved him.
Ten people from my work passed away that day, with another eight from our building. Two of our team made it out that day – one with significant injuries. The other two, unfortunately, passed away. We have since been told that every person who made it out alive that day had a 50:50 chance of doing so – thankfully I was on the good end of that ratio.
To read about the aftermath of the earthquake, and the ongoing effect it had/has on my life, come back for post number two – coming soon.
The quirky Kiwi pinup …
(let’s vote for her for Vegas)
Check out this gorgeous babe. Her name is Miss Monique Sweet, and she is a very good friend of mine. She is also one of the funniest, sweetest, and yes – quirkiest – women I know!
With an amazing sense of personal style – that mixes vintage, modern and glamour on the daily – she is, as my daughter would say, “goals.”
You may remember her from such posts as Moonshine Dreamin‘ (wherein we detail her preparation and lead-up to the Miss Moonshine Pinup Competition – which, of course, she won!) and A girl, an earthquake and how she survived it (my most-read post ever, in which we look at how she survived her terrifying ordeal during the Christchurch earthquake).
Anyway … Miss Monique Sweet is getting married in April, and if all goes to plan, she will also be competing for the title of Miss Viva Las Vegas 20 at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. She will be there with her new husband … now wouldn’t winning one of the most coveted pinup titles ever, be a FABULOUS way to start a pinup/rockabilly marriage?! Miss Monique Sweet has won her way through to the voting rounds, so in order to help her get through to the onstage section, we need to vote and we need to vote lots! Believe me, if we can get her to the stage, that girl will knock their little socks off!
To cast your vote for Miss Monique Sweet, click here. Once you get there, scroll till you find this pic:
and then hit the vote button! There’s no signups or anything like that – they’ll just send a confirmation e-mail to your e-mail address (they won’t add you to any lists or anything – it’s just for verification) … click that and you’re done! Every vote counts, so share her around (in the nicest possible way!)
The lovely Danielle from Devel Men & Women has just done a fabulous post on why Miss Monique Sweet will be getting her vote for Miss Viva Las Vegas 20, and they’re all bloody good reasons, so read about them here! And because Danielle has said so much of what there is to say, I am going to say it with photos and captions!
So here goes …
Number one: she is not afraid to make a dick of herself!
Number two: she is not too princessy to get on a bike and cycle frantically round the Avantidrome in her active wear.
Number three: she is bloody funny.
Numbers four and five – she is bloody pinup-perfect.
So that is why, my friends, we must vote to get our quirky little Kiwi pinup onto the big ol’ stage in Vegas so she can do us all proud!