Three (more) things I’d buy a million times over, and one I wouldn’t bother with again …
Back in February last year, I wrote this post about three things I’d buy a million times over, and two I wouldn’t bother with again. So, back then I was thinking about some of the products I’ve purchased as a result of online “hype” and whether or not that “hype” was actually justified in the product itself. I’ve decided to do an updated version, but I only really had one that was just not worth buying again.
So – here are three things I would definitely buy over and over again …
Maybelline FIT Me foundation
I love this stuff …
a) It’s cheap – $24 odd in New Zealand – I got mine on sale for $16.
b) It’s readily available – I bought it in the supermarket.
c) It applies like a dream and leaves you with a gorgeous, dewy, medium-coverage finish – apply more and you’ll get full coverage.
d) It lasts super well.
e) It has a sunscreen in it – SPF18.
f) Did I mention it’s cheap and works just as well as its more expensive counterparts?
The drawbacks (don’t worry – they’re minor) …
a) It can get a bit shiny, but I believe they have a very good (and again, cheap) powder to finish it with.
b) It doesn’t have a dispenser which is a bit annoying.
c) There weren’t any testers at the supermarket *wink* – I’m sure department stores would have them though!
So go get it!
The Balm “The Manizer Sisters” palette
I reviewed it here (and wow, a LOT of people have read that post!) and I STILL love it to bits. I have all but run out of the Cindy-Lou Manizer so am going to be buying the full size version of that one very soon. Buy it – you won’t regret it.
And having said that … I know this is a sneaky fourth thing, but The Balm Instain Blushers are GORGEOUS. Amazingly pigmented and such pretty colours. I currently have two – Pinstripe and Argyle – but I WILL be collecting more.
I LOVE the packaging by The Balm too. So retro and pretty.
GlamEyes Liquid Eyeliner by Rimmel
This is an everlasting love of mine … the brush is fine, so it’s easy to apply and gives a lovely “flick” for those of us who love cat eyes (which in my case have to be bat eyes); it’s a lovely opaque black; it’s cheap, readily available and stays on super-well. And despite staying put so well, it’s easy to remove at the end of the day – *bonus*.
And here is the product I’ve bought lately that I definitely wouldn’t bother purchasing again.
Chi Chi Eye Brightener
Honestly, just don’t bother. I know I’m old and my eyes are probably not easily brightened, but I found this product basically useless. Which is sad, because I really wanted to like it. It didn’t apply easily; it didn’t make any discernible difference to how bright my eyes appeared and it didn’t last very long either. Now possibly I was expecting a miracle, but it sure ‘aint that – I’m just thankful it was under $20, so not a greatly expensive waste of money, although a waste of money all the same. Anyone reading have better results?
Have you ever given in to the hype, purchased something and then wondered what all the fuss was about? I’d love to hear about it!
Mumpty always has a number of things on her phone’s “watch list” – i.e. a list of purchases that would be made if there was lots of spare money running around in her wallet! Here is July’s list:
Black Opium by YSL – I am about to run out of my current perfume, and recently I caught a whiff of this one. Let me tell you – it is DIVINE. And by the way – have you heard about Makeup Your Mind (MYM Cosmetics)? It’s a new online makeup site that allows you to lay-buy your purchases – well actually, I guess it’s hire purchase, because once you’ve paid the first instalment, they’ll send you your goodies and you just keep paying each week until you’ve paid them off. Fabulous and tempting, yes – dangerous, maybe!
The lemon Jenny dress by Pinup Girl Clothing – of course there will always be a PUG Jenny of some description on my want list – and this month it’s the lemon one – which is due for release next week. I also want the red. OK – and the pink. And the blue.
BAIT Robbie Purple Starlets – because, purple and because, sparkly. And they will look fab with my purple Jenny, not to mention you can never have too many shoes. Ever.
Range Rover Evoque – OK, so this is definitely a Lotto one, but I would be out purchasing it like a shot if that were to happen!
Lifeproof case in purple – so, keeping it a bit more real, one of these. In my colour du jour – well, of the year really.
This post was inspired by the “summer essentials” tag I did last summer. Anyway, because I enjoyed putting that one together so much, I decided to do a winter version … and here it is!
1) What is your ultimate winter party season lip product?
Jeffree Star’s Velour Liquid Lipstick in Red Rum. Sooooo good for that glamorous pop of red that is absolutely necessary for a winter party outfit! If you’re interested, I did a review on it a while ago and it gets viewed over and over again!
2) What is your essential product for winter?
Agadir Argan Oil spray treatment – I LOVE THIS STUFF! I have very fine hair, and I can use this beautiful light spray liberally and it never seems to weigh it down or make it look oily; but it does leave it looking shiny and silky and holds the flyways down. I get it from my hairdresser and it’s a godsend. It also smells divine.
3) What’s next on your wish list?
When I saw this Shiseido Synchro Skin foundation on makeup blogger, Kirsty Leigh, from Makeup Obsessives, I knew I had to try it! I have been a Shiseido user from way back and have always loved it, so I popped into the Shiseido counter and got a wee tester. And guess what? It is BRILLIANT, so I’m off to buy the full-sized version …
4) Name one beauty essential that is never missing from your handbag during the colder months. A Nivea Lip Butter of some description – I HATE having dry lips, so I always keep one of these in my handbag. My current favourite is the Vanilla Macadamia one, but next up is going to be the Caramel Cream for sure! There’s just one minor irritation with these cute wee tins – sometimes they’re hard to open so they’re probably not ideal if you have false nails.
5) What are your winter weather skincare saviours?
Regular home facials (I alternate between the Manuka Doctor apiclear Purifying Facial Peel and the Manuka Doctor apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask) and lots of moisturiser! I use Nivea Soft moisturiser because it’s cheap, but it’s also the best one I’ve found for my skin, so why turn your nose up just because it’s cheap right?! I also do an at-least-weekly hair mask – I like Lush’s H’Suan Wen Hua mask – it leaves my hair feeling fabulous.
6) What is winter going to smell like this year?
It’s smelling like Viktor & Rolfe Flower Bomb!
7) What’s your favourite winter makeup tip?
If you’re using a foundation brush to apply your foundation, buff it in as much as you can with your brush, and then follow up LIGHTLY with a slightly damp Beauty Blender to make sure all the little nooks and crannies are smooth and blended.
8) What are you greatest winter indulgences? ♥ Soy cappuccinos at Punnet and Two Birds @ Narrows Landing♥ lazy internet browsing ♥ Snuggling up on the couch in a soft blanket reading a good book ♥ Watching Crime TV on a Sunday afternoon while doing the ironing for the week ♥ B.A.I.T shoes in jewel and pastel colours ♥ Winter frocks ♥ Emerald Dita cardies.
9) LUSH winter – your top pick?
A French Kiss Bubble Bar … this looks and sounds like a real treat! It has calming rosemary and lavender which is perfect for potentially stressed and dry winter skin.
10) Name one (or more) random winter essentials. ♥ Beautiful pashminas in gorgeous jewell colours to add warmth and pizazz to your outfit, without bulk. ♥ Jewell-coloured berets – I have a teal one winging it’s way to me now! ♥ Polkadots on everything! ♥Brooches – always gorgeous on winter ensembles … here’s my latest one – the Audrey brooch by Deer Arrow – she even has a sparkly crown!
Mumpty loves a bit of fiction – she also loves a bit of burlesque. So here’s a wee combination of these two loves – and who better on which to base some light-hearted stories, than four of Auckland’s curious creatures of burlesque: Duchess deBerry; Lilly Loca; Heidi Heart and Leda Petit.
The Duchess was French of course. She owned a small, 17th century chateau named La Roche-Sur-Yon, but she refused to live in it because it didn’t have a private theatre – and what use was a chateau if it didn’t have a private theatre? Of course she could have applied to her local “consiel” for consent to add one, but that seemed tiresome, and the Duchess didn’t do tiresome.
So instead she spent her time wandering gaily around the world with just her credit card, a hat box and a battered Louis Vuitton suitcase. She attended the opera in Versaille and the bull-running in Spain but found neither to her taste.
So she took up singing in smoky jazz lounges; the seedier the better – the money was poor, but it was good for her soul. And anyway – she’d had the forethought a couple of years earlier to marry a very wealthy art collector. He had lovely manners, and was therefore happy to share his fortune with his young and beautiful wife, while not requiring her to share much of anything with him.
The Duchess smiled happily as she ordered a champagne cocktail – her set had gone well and now she was back in the bar of her favourite hotel in Naples chatting to an alarmingly handsome stranger – she really did love her life these days.
Lilly Loca was a time traveller. She’d travelled from 1920’s New York – where she’d been a luminary of stage and screen, performing to packed audiences and leaving a trail of broken hearts everywhere she went – to Auckland, New Zealand, 2016.
One evening in 1924, after a lot of very expensive champagne, she’d taken a wrong turn down a long, dimly lit hallway of the New York Baltimore Hotel, and had found herself in a musty room that smelt like it had been locked for centuries. Just as she turned to find her way out, she had spotted a glorious-looking red door with a gilt frame which practically begged her to turn the handle. And Lilly, being both adventurous and tipsy, did exactly that.
After falling for what felt like ten minutes, she jolted to a stop and found herself in a very strange, yet familiar-feeling place. Blue, tube-like things proclaimed her destination in twirling writing as “Privé” – it looked very much like the Baltimore’s “Kiss Bar,” but there was lots of stuff called “technology” that Lilly wasn’t used to. Still, everyone at Privé looked and behaved in pretty much the same manner as her 20’s theatre family had, so she decided to stay.
Being an adaptable soul, Lilly soon adjusted to her new environment – she got herself an iPhone, a FitBit and even one of those new-fangled Spotify playlists where she played Bowie’s “Lazarus” on endless repeat.
She just had a niggling worry that she might have left her diary on the hotel bed in 1924, and there were things in there she’d kinda wanted to keep secret …
Heidi Heart had a very dark secret. It was something she’d tried hard to resist and she’d certainly never planned to tell anyone – it was HER dark secret. The problem had arisen when Valentine, her husband, had come home to their New York apartment early one day from an interstate trip and found her. The look of sheer horror on his face – before he turned and headed wordlessly for the door – haunted her even now, three years later.
Shaking, she’d packed it all away when he walked out and prepared herself for the inevitable fallout when he told their friends. She knew her social position, if not her entire life, would be ruined – but she’d known there was that possibility right from the start – and she had been prepared to take the risk.
Valentine never told their friends – he was probably too embarrassed – and they’d never discussed it; not once. Their marriage was now just a marriage in name though.
In her darkest, most self-destructive moments since Valentine’s discovery, she occasionally thought bitterly that it had been in the privacy of her own bedroom hadn’t it? It hadn’t actually hurt anyone. It wasn’t fair that he had rejected her so completely since that fateful day. Although, in her more lucid moments, she’d had to admit to herself that it wasn’t just that one time. She’d done it before – why she’d even performed a seductive striptease wearing men’s clothes as part of the fantasy. But there were worse things than that weren’t there?
Yes, Heidi – there are – but not many. Can you guess Heidi’s secret? Well, I’ll tell you – she’s a bloody Justin Bieber fan.
Leda Petit was an assassin. Only two people in the world knew this – which, when you’re an assassin – is a very good thing.
She hadn’t meant to become an assassin, it’s just that she’d had a boyfriend once who had proved very, very hard to shake once she’d got sick of him and in the end, she’d had to just “make him disappear.” A few months after that, she got a call from a mysterious gentleman who offered her $200K to make another gentleman disappear – he’d been good for the money and Leda rather liked her new $195K Mercedes (she’d spent the rest at Louboutin) so the next time he called, she was happy to “talk turkey,” so to speak.
The lifestyle wasn’t all bad actually – she seemed to spend a lot of time in bars drinking champagne out of shoes, smoking and looking authoritative, while she kept an eye on her “mark.” She loved the feel on her skin of the cold blade under her garter belt, and had grown fond of it’s reassuring weight. She also rather enjoyed the seduction, particularly if her mark was good-looking, but in the end there was a job to be done, and Leda was a consummate professional in that regard.
Leda always bought herself a little something special after each hit; a big solitaire here, a Birkin handbag there – she did it out respect for her mark really. She was nothing if not respectful, our Leda.
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.
These are the things Mumpty loves this week – 25/05/2016
Well, well, well – it’s been quite a while since I posted here on MumptyStyle … I’ve been a busy little thing! Sooo … in order to right that wrong, I decided to kick things off again with a good old MumptyLoves. So let’s get into it!
♥ My new Paris Jenny dress by Pinup Girl Clothing
Who wore it better – Doris or Mumpty? Haahhaaa … I know it was Doris, but still – it is a GREAT dress and I love it to bits. One feels a bit like a princess in it, and really – I think it needs to be worn in Paris right? Goals …
♥ The Balm – The Manizer Sisters palette
I’m going to share the love again for this little palette because it really is the.bee’s.knees. I use it every single day and wouldn’t be without it. For a while – before they did the palette and I got all three – I was really confused about which of the Manizers to get, but now I know for sure – it’s Cindy. The others are beautiful, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that Cindy rules and I hit pan on her waaaaay before the other two. Also, the review post I did on this palette seems to get loads of views and that is exciting!
♥ Maybelline Lust for Blush lipstick
I got this in a Beauty Box from Makeup Obsessives (you can read about them here) and oh.em.gee – it is THE BEST! I like to think of it as one of those “your own lip colour but better” colours. Now I might be being overly optimistic about my own lip colour but look – if you can get your mitts on it – do it! You won’t regret it.
♥ These pics …
This picture … whilst it’s a pretty terrible one of me, it is gorgeous one of my beautiful friend, Miss Monique Sweet, at she and Sam’s engagement party recently. I love it because it’s so happy. (Thank you wonky belt – you really add that something special to my look.)
And speaking of happy … here is one of the happy couple:
And … their engagement cake – how cool is that?!
♥ The Cherry Dollface
The Cherry Dollface. Because she’s just cool. And I am SERIOUSLY jealous of that “do” of her’s. And … she travels the world doing pinup hair and makeup and that’s not the worst job in the world is it? And also, she was cool enough to agree to an interview about Nerdy Tudor Stuff with me and I love her for that!
♥ The obligatory Louboutins …
Yes – every MumptyLoves MUST have a pair of Louboutins. And here they are – the Soustelissimo.
These shoes make Mumpty’s little heart sing. Because:pink. Because:heel. Because:flash of red sole. Because: gold glitter. Because:hot pink patent. Dear God.
On Wednesday, the 13th of April, M.A.C launched their first ever “counter parties” in New Zealand. There were nine parties in all, held across the country and hosted by local beauty bloggers.
Mumpty was lucky enough to attend the Hamilton #macmakeupparty, with her daughter, hosted by beauty blogger, Kirsty Leigh of Makeup Obsessives.
We were greeted warmly by the gorgeous M.A.C artists (Natalie, Baillie and Lochie) at the M.A.C counter in Farmers, Centreplace – and what total babes they are. Their makeup? You guessed it … immaculate. You can truly see the artistry right there on their faces!
So after a few wines and nibbles we got started. The three M.A.C artists were teamed up with (in our case) three lucky VIP guests, and we were each given the opportunity to choose two things we’d like to get some advice on … so, brows, lips, contouring, eyes – that kind of thing.
Our artist was Lochie – who was FABULOUS. Lochie does a lot of M.A.C’s training and is also part of their artistry team, so he does Fashion Week; photo shoots – all that glam stuff. So I guess we were pretty lucky right?!
Kirsty went first and she asked Lochie to do a subtle, understated look to suit her personality. Actually that’s not true – she asked for ALL.OUT.KYLIE.JENNER – contouring so sharp it could amputate your fingers and nude, ovvvvvverdrawn lips! And Lochie, bless him, delivered.
Kirsty and I were BLOWN.AWAY by the contouring tips Lochie shared with us – whilst it was slightly mortifying to know we had been doing it all wrong, the excitement of having cheekbones more than made up for it! And by the way – M.A.C Harmony blush seems to be the shiz when it comes to contouring – Lochie says “it’s ashy, so you won’t get that orangey look you see so often with contouring.” So you have been told – get on it ladies.
When it comes to the lips, he had some great tips about rounding the lip out and making sure you NEVER overdraw into the edges of your mouth because THAT’s when you start to look like a clown. Keep it nice and tight to the line in those corners ladies!
I’m pretty sure, but not 100% sure, that he used the ol’ favourite blogger combination for Kylie lips; M.A.C Whirl lipliner and M.A.C Velvet Teddy – or he might have used Soar. Either way, #soKylie. M.A.C have helpfully put together a section on their website called the Original Perfect Pout – which details all the products you need to get that Instagram-worthy, nude look.
Mumpty’s daughter was next – now obviously she is very young and so doesn’t wear makeup yet, however, she does love to practice on me, so when Kirsty offered her a spot on the team, we couldn’t really refuse now could we? And how many chances do you get to have a M.A.C trainer do your makeup huh?! And plus – it was nice for me to have an evening out with my girl.
So, my daughter opted for a very natural, dewy look and Lochie showed her how to apply a base to even out her skin tone and then he showed her how to enhance her beautiful eyes. Lochie applied some gorgeous natural colours to her eyes, which I don’t remember the name of – whoops! However, I do remember that he used Sushi Flower which is a really pretty shade on. Pro tip: if you have pink eyeshadows and you’re not sure how to use them; use them over top of a brown or neutral colour to warm the colour up.
Lochie also used an eyeliner just half-way in on the tops and bottoms of her eyes, which he then went back and smudged to soften the lines. And hey presto: beautiful!
And then it was Mumpty’s turn! Now I was going to show you how I looked when I arrived (we were asked to turn up with only foundation and concealer) but I don’t think that’s really necessary – for either of us, do you? I mean, I don’t know when you’re reading this – you could be having dinner for goodness sake! Suffice to say, it wasn’t my best look.
Anyway … so I asked Lochie to help me with my “wings.” My favoured makeup look is pinup, and of course, pinups have wings don’t they. And being that I’m a slightly “mature woman,” I draw on the most delightful wings, and when I open my eyes again; they disappear – like little magicians!
Lochie’s answer to this dilemma? Bat wings! I did wonder if he was teasing me, but no – he was deadly serious. As you can see from the picture above, my wings were really pretty. But … this is how they looked up close and looking down so you could see them:
See there’s like a little kind of step thing? You draw two points; line them up so both eyes are the same; then join the dots. Whilst it might look a bit funny with your eyes in this position (and really – how often do you do that?) it does mean that when you close them, your wings don’t disappear!
Lochie also helped me with my brows – I didn’t even realise, but one is TOTALLY higher than the other. Lochie said this is pretty normal though – the things you don’t know huh. Anyway … he showed me how to even them up and told me that the only place to have a defined line is on your BOTTOM browline – the top should be very diffuse and soft, otherwise they’ll look harsh and drawn on, which is ageing.
Speaking of ageing … I asked Lochie if he had any tips for minimising those frown lines between the brows. His immediate and helpful response? Botox. Bless. Sadly, there’s no other cure. #CaciClinichereIcome.
Anyway … I then had my lips beautified by a rather glamorous application of M.A.C Ruby Woo – which is, quite simply, divine. I now also want to try M.A.C Red and Lady Danger.
So once we’d all achieved some extremely glamorous looks, we lined up for the obligatory M.A.C Wall pic …
And that was a wrap! Until … on the way out, Laura and I spied this and being the dedicated little MUOs that we are, we decided we simply MUST swatch it.
How do you get your own M.A.C Makeup Party?
Call or visit your local M.A.C counter – the parties/lessons are $90 each and you get one M.A.C makeup artist per three people. The $90 is redeemable on product on the night, and believe me, you’ll want to be buying all.the.things.
Well and truly M.A.C-converted, and slightly in awe of Lochie …
Sooo … I entered a writing competition again! This is the second time I’ve done it and it’s exciting, a wee bit nerve-racking and lots of fun! Anyway … the theme this year was “A convincing lie” and it was only allowed to be 2,000 words. You may or may not know this, but I am a Tudor history geek, so of course, I was inspired by that! See what you think …
Sentinel & the Galleon
Well, Elizabeth thought grimly, it appears I need to remind Robert of our disparity in rank. She arched one finely plucked ginger eyebrow and observed the tense set of Robert’s neck as he stalked away. His behavior would certainly not do –one should never turn their back on the Queen and Elizabeth had seen the shocked looks of the courtiers when he had done so.
Elizabeth and Robert had been childhood friends – he had stuck by her through the tumultuous and the downright dangerous times, but now she would have to remind him she must be seen as regal and unquestionable – the Virgin Queen, respected by all and beloved by most.
But that unpleasant little conversation would have to wait – Elizabeth and Robert had a “situation” to deal with. One neither of them could currently see their way around, and one which wouldn’t go unnoticed much longer. Her allusion to that was the reason he had left so abruptly.
Of course everyone in their inner circle knew Elizabeth and Robert were lovers. The concept of the “Virgin Queen” was a lie – so far as her people believed, a fairly convincing lie – but a lie nonetheless. However, before you jump to conclusions and assume Elizabeth was pregnant; she was not.
Robert, you see, was a thief. A fraudster. That was the problem. And very soon, it would not only be Elizabeth who knew it, but the whole of the English court and beyond.
The situation was grim, and frankly Elizabeth was furious with Robert. As Queen, she had bestowed great favours and offices on him – she’d had to really, but that wasn’t how people would see it. Whilst he was descended from a very wealthy family, the tiresome Lady Jane Grey saga – which had resulted in his father’s execution – had rather drained the family’s purse and Robert couldn’t be expected to carry out his role as the royal favourite without the means to do so.
The crux of the matter though, was that Robert had become greedy and his accompanying lack of integrity had landed them both in this unpleasant predicament.
It had started with Sentinel. As Master of the Horse, Robert came in contact with some spectacular animals and when Sir Francis Knollys arrived one morning on the magnificent black stallion, a covetous gleam appeared in Robert’s eye and he determined that Sentinel must be his. Sir Francis wasn’t interested in selling Sentinel at first, but Robert made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. An offer Robert also couldn’t afford to make, so he purchased Sentinel out of the purse he’d been allocated as Master of the Horse. From there, it was a logical step that the same purse paid for Sentinel’s upkeep. Robert knew no one would have the temerity to question why Sentinel was available only to him and wasn’t part of the courtier’s pool of horses.
But it hadn’t stopped at Sentinel. God knows if it had, Elizabeth thought, I could have made it all go away. There were numerous other transgressions; a painting here, an expensive wall tapestry there, even a water closet in his quarters at Whitehall – all on the public purse. But it was what came next that threatened to bring both Robert and Elizabeth into disrepute and eventual ruin.
The Galleon Leicester – where it all started to unravel for Robert. Rather than paying for the galleon from his own private funds, he fraudulently commissioned, built and fitted her out from his purse as Lord Steward of the Royal Household. The galleon was a vain folly and an expensive one at that. Robert wanted it for reasons threefold; the more noble reasons being to increase England’s sea power and to offer Elizabeth a quick means of escape, should that be necessary; and the third being simply that Robert felt his position in the realm warranted it. While the Galleon Leicester was not designed as a pleasure craft, it was entirely suitable as such, and Robert embraced that use wholeheartedly, hosting many a magnificent soiree onboard, with Elizabeth as guest of honour. On one particularly extravagant occasion, he had Sentinel spirited onboard before his guests arrived and greeted them from the stallion’s back. Impressive, but risky – Sentinel soon registered his distaste by whirling round, rearing and nearly throwing Robert off the side. Robert dismounted and Sentinel was led off – but not before the impressive spectacle had been witnessed by all, and was talked about for months afterward.
Those were the glory days for Robert and Galleon Leicester, and Elizabeth had no idea of his deception. She believed he’d paid for the galleon out of his private funds and indeed, she’d been impressed by his generosity in commissioning her partially for Elizabeth as a means of escape. She doubted such means would ever be needed, but she was flattered all the same. Flattered that is, until Robert knocked on the door of her privy chamber late one evening, his face pale as a ghost. Elizabeth dismissed her ladies at once and watched in horror as he fell to his knees in front of her, his shoulders wracked by silent sobbing. “Robert,” she asked in a hushed and terrified tone “what is wrong?” In the half hour that followed, Elizabeth ran the full gamut of emotions; from horror to disbelief; sympathy to anger and finally to the current feeling of dull dread that had resided in her chest for the five days since his confession.
Not only had Robert been duplicitous in his use of the Royal Household purse, he had used Elizabeth’s royal seal to authorise it – something which Elizabeth would never have allowed, had she been asked. Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s Personal Secretary, had taken Robert aside that evening and questioned him about where the money had come from for Galleon Leicester and a number of other expenses. Robert had denied using the Royal Purse of course, but Walsingham had solemnly promised him a full investigation would ensue over the next few days. The use of her royal seal meant Elizabeth was mired as deep in this mess as Robert and she knew full well there was no point in disassociating herself and claiming she had no knowledge of it – no one would believe that, given the closeness of their relationship. She was also under no illusion that Walsingham would ensure that particular approach would be wholly ineffective.
So that is how the current situation had come about and Elizabeth was furious she had spent the days since Robert’s confession worrying herself sick trying to find a solution, only for him to turn his back on his Queen and stalk away in anger. That behaviour would be addressed – mark my words, she thought to herself. But first things first. She was going to have to come up with something for Walsingham and it was going to have to be good. He was no fool and furthermore, he was no supporter of Robert, nor she suspected, herself. If the latter were true, he would certainly never admit it – that would be treason and treason meant a forfeiture of his life. Which, Elizabeth mused, would certainly be the easiest way out of this mess.
No, she had to come up with something or they would both be ruined – he rightfully so; she, through no fault of her own. She would be seen as a silly and thoughtless Virgin Queen who had allowed a man to turn her head and take advantage of not only herself, but the people of her realm. She may as well abdicate then and there, and Elizabeth had no intention of doing that.
And so the lie was conceived and Elizabeth went about the task of ratifying it using the formidable skills of state she had inherited from her father, King Henry VIII and her mother, Queen Ann Boleyn.
The ensuing lie was convincing indeed and Elizabeth delivered it at its dramatic pinnacle when Walsingham came calling the next morning. She was rather proud of her performance really; the wide-eyed surprise when he deferentially yet smugly laid out his accusations, followed by her scathing delivery of the lie itself. Her subsequent arrogant dismissal of Walsingham, accompanied by a thinly veiled threat that it would not be in his best interests to question her ever again – it was all rather good really. The most gratifying moment was the dawning recognition on Walsingham’s face that he’d been hoodwinked by a far superior opponent.
Half an hour later, Elizabeth tucked a stray lock of firey red hair back under her crown and in a voice of steel, requested her page bring Robert to her. It was time they had a conversation.
This was my second year at VVDO and this time I had my daughter in tow, which was a lovely outing for the two of us.
Our main reason for attending this year was to watch the Miss Pinup New Zealand competition, having featured all the lovely ladies on my Pinup Platoon series. I was also really keen to meet my Pinup Platoon sponsors, Esme from Moxie Mama Wear and Adele from Pinned On You, in person – which I did – and they are lovely!
First and foremost though, I’d like to congratulate Fran Robertson … our new Miss Pinup NZ 2016. What a dream contestant she was and oh-so-popular with the audience! A much deserved win. These are my two favourite pics of Fran from the competition.
It was an awesome moment when she stepped onto the stage in her “oh-so-Dita” tuxedo for the evening wear section; but even better than that, was her talent and those glorious butterfly wings – I think both outfits were made by the talented Linda McCarthy Costumier (correct me if I’m wrong.) However – it was the fact Miss Opal admitted to having to overcome crippling social anxiety that impressed me sooooo much. I think it was an incredible thing for her to do in that case and my gosh – you would never have known it watching her from the audience – she did a cracking job! I’d love to interview her about the inspirations behind her outfits, so fingers crossed she’ll oblige. In the meantime; BIG ups to you Miss Opal.
So that, in the most brief possible way, was Mumpty’s 2016 VVDO experience!!!
The winner of the spectacular Voodoo Vixen cocktail dress in emerald green from Esme at Moxie Mama Wear is …
Miss Lola Turquoise
Whoop! Congratulations Miss Lola … please message Esme via her Facebook page and she will organise getting your dress to you.
The winner of the gorgeous sparkly Deer Arrow Happily Ever After brooch from Adele at Pinned on You is …
Miss Honey Bee
Congratulations Miss Honey Bee … please message Adele via her Facebook page and she will organise getting your brooch to you.
And lucky last … the winner of the Erstwilder Pinup Picnic brooch from Adele at Pinned on You is …
Congratulations Danya … please message Adele via her Facebook page and she will organise getting your brooch to you.
So that’s it for this year’s Pinup Platoon! Hopefully we will do it all again next year! In the meantime, I’d like to once again thank the delightful Esme at Moxie Mama Wear for the gorgeous dress. And if you’d like one for yourself, or something equally delish, visit her website: www.moxiemamawear.co.nz
And I’d also like to thank the sassy Adele at Pinned on You for the funky brooches. Again, if you don’t want to miss out on all the quirky, fabulous designs, visit her website: www.pinnedonyou.co.nz