Monday, 30 January 2012

Outfit of the Day ~ Graffiti heart

It’s like graffiti on my heart
Do you know you left your mark
I cannot escape you anywhere I go
Somehow everything I do
Now is tainted by you.
~ Kelly Buchanan

Recently I've been really into mostly black, slightly gothic outfits (and who can blame me when people like this make it look so cool). I've been planning on doing this outfit for a while but me and the boyfriend couldn't find any graffiti that was cool enough, I wanted to find a good contrast of epic bright against all the black I'm wearing, I think it worked out well, right? I feel like I'm surrounded by huge grafitti giants .

As you can see, my hair is mega faded but after 2 1/2 months since I dyed it (Directions - Plum) with only one tiny top up I am so impressed with how long it's lasted. It's fading quite nicely as well, in some place (focus more on the lilac/grey than the yellow/brown). I'm already planning my next colour so look out for an inspiration post and then eventually a new hair post!
Hat: Ebay
Lips: Rimmel - Kate 04
I am so crazy about this lipstick at the moment. I love that it (sort of) matches my hair, in fact I have been subconsciously dressing with hints of purple a lot more as of late. I love how it's nearly black but has enough colour to be quirky and interesting - nothing wrong with a black lip though (hint: future post coming very much centered around black lipstick).
 Eyes: L'OrĂ©al Super Liner Carbon Gloss
Foundation: Olay Complete Care Touch of Foundation
Mascara: Rimmel Volume Flash Mascara
 Bracelet: actually a necklace from New Look
Top: bought from a little fabric shop in a random country village (with my gran - so cool). Ignoring my goofy smile, I love the pattern of the crochet.
Trousers: Fashion Union (I love cords. End of.)
Shoes: New Look. These boots are my life. They are my "go to", they totally suit my generally casual, grungy look even if my boyfriend and my mum hate them. I will be sad when they eventually, inevitably wear.

As you can see I'm finally getting back into the swing of blogging which feels really good. How is everyone doing? Had a go at gothic recently? It's a tricky look, it's easy to go overboard I think. Looking forward to seeing a lot of new people at the #ZOMGbloggersbash, so look out for a post about that. I think that's all for now! 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Book of the Moment ~ What Shall I Wear Today?

I know "moment" is a bit of a cop-out but I don't know how often I'll do a little feature like this (which I'd like to do with some fair regularity) so "month" or "week" may not be appropriate.

Now to the actual review.
No doubt many of you have heard of the oh so fashionable rabbit that is Fifi Lapin, she even has her own fashion blog where she submit "photos" of her in the most recent designer looks. About a year ago she bought out a book called What Shall I Wear Today? I had thought about buying it but was a bit skint at the time so instead my beautiful boyfriend surprised me with it as a random gift.
First of all, I love this book! But of course I do, or else I wouldn't be featuring it now, would I? It is just such a perfect combination of funny, informative and cute. I love seeing a rabbit dressed in the most cutting edge designers whilst giving me fashion advice and the advice given is sound; good makeup, DIY and styling tips that every girl should know. All this is given in lovely illustrated forms, because if there's one thing this book has got going for it it's the visuals, from the fashion drawings to the bright geometric backgrounds it's a feast for the eyes.
Another great thing about this is it's one of those books that doesn't need to be read cover to cover (although I have), you can open it any old where and read as much or as little as like you, or you can just browse the pictures and take inspiration. All in all a really lovely, unexpectedly insightful book and worth the £12.99 RRP. Perfect as a birthday gift for the fashion loving friend.
 On a slightly unrelated note the voting for New Look's Style Star competition is still open so if you've got 2 seconds I'd really appreciate you voting. Tell me if you do as well! You can vote for me here.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Nail of the Day ~ Racing Green

I felt like being a more adventurous with my nails (not that I haven't been before but I've never really taken photos of most of my...'experiments', apart from the firework nails). I've been seeing a lot of this "half moon" business about so I thought I'd try it out myself. I thought I'd go for a bit more of subtle choice of two tone, but I think I went a bit too subtle since it's pretty hard, even in real life, to see the difference, which also made it a nightmare to photograph (for my boyfriend, I just had to sit there).
I used one of my favourite shades at the moment; Barry M's Racing Green, which is a gorgeous, dark forest green with a lovely black and dark green shimmer. It's so nice (and subtle)! The black is unremarkable, it was one of the first nail varnishes I bought and it was from Claire's Accessorises and it isn't very nice. However, a black I would like to try is A England's Camelot, which I have heard nothing but good things about (this praise extends to their entire collection, which is gorgeous).

So, what's your favourite black varnish?
And have you tried half moons? Did they come out better than mine? Show me!

Also, it would be super awesome if you could vote for me in New Look's Style Star competition that's happening at the moment - you get a chance to win £50 in vouchers if you vote, so if you've got 5 minutes please do, it would mean so much to me! You can vote here. Thanks ♥.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Dry Shampoo Review ~ Batiste Special

After I posted "Dry Shampoo, The Stand Off" the lovely people at Batiste said I could choose some of their dry shampoos to try out and talk about, which was really exciting since they have several different kinds that I've never tried before and I don't know many people who have either. I wouldn't have been so interested if it was just a matter of different scents, because we all know they work equally well and the smells are just a matter of preference but of no real consequence. I feel that trying these other kinds out and telling you about my (and my friends') experience of them might actually be quite insightful, especially if you're like me and are afraid to try something new once you've found something that works for you.
The dry shampoos I picked were: Gold Shimmer, Light & Blonde, Medium & Brunette and XXL Volume. I will also be reviewing Dark & Deep Brown which I didn't get sent but thought I'd include for completion's sake.

(took this photo from the website because I forgot to take photos of my actual ones before giving them to my friends)
Because I don't have a natural hair colour (this is my current colour) these products are wasted on me so I asked the people around me whose opinions I value to try them out for me instead. All in all, I have an opinion from every sort of person; a long time user of Batiste (Hannah), a long time user of the coloured kind (Nic) and a complete novice (my mum) who's opinion would be fresh perspective since she's never used anything like this before.

This I gave to Hannah, who has long, bleached blonde hair. She's doing an English degree so I trusted her to word her thoughts eloquently, which she did:

"Shampoo - Good, as in still as wonderful as the ordinary stuff (so great at de-greasing and generally giving flat hair a bit of a boost). The colour element was good because it didn't make my hair white/grey like excessive use of the ordinary one (i.e. my usual amount of use) can do. However the colour was a bit too yellow for my hair which is a more platinum blonde. Even for darker blondes it seemed the colour was a bit superficial. All around a good product though, I would buy again if the colour was altered, but if not then (because mine's too platinum) I'd stick to the normal stuff. A good idea though to have the different colours."


This one I gave to my mum. I decided to ask my mum because she is such a busy person and always complaining that her hair needs a wash but she has no time during the day that it was a no-brainer to make her try it. Her hair is dark brown and very thick.

She said she thought it worked well at making her hair feel clean but that because she has naturally frizzy hair, using it made the frizz come out in a big way. This probably isn't too much of an issue if you straighen your hair, but my mum doesn't so she found it to be a problem. As for the colour side of things she said that even though her hair is more reddy-brown it blended well and wasn't obviously sprayed on colour.

This is one I didn't get sent but since my dear friend Nic already uses it on a regular basis I thought I might as well include it. Nic has short, dark chestnut brown hair and very acomplished in the art of words, so here's what she thought:

"I find the coloured dry shampoo preferable to the normal stuff because you're always bound to miss a bit when you brush it out and the dark brown colour was just right for my hair, eliminating that problem. However, I would advise making sure none of it is on your forehead as the brown tint really shows up against the skin. Also, coloured dry shampoo with more choice of scents would be welcome. All in all, I think it does what it says on the tin and is worth it's higher price tag."

And now to the things that I actually reviewed myself. Looks like I barely did any work for this post, don't believe it! (Also, don't you love the floating cans in the photos! That's the boyfriend getting creative, you can find more of his stuff on his tumblr!)

BEFORE USE: I was interested to try this out because I had found that normal Batiste already had a certain volumising quality to it but I was also dubious considering hairspray (which is what usually gives you volume) generally does the opposite of what a dry shampoo is supposed to do, in that it makes it stiff and afterwards it generally needs a wash.

AFTER USE: Having used it I found that it did indeed make my hair look cleaner and definitely added volume as well as some hold, but this came at a price in that my hair felt quite matted and clumped together as if it was covered in hairspray. This is fine unless you intend to replace using this with washing your hair. So, I'd recommend this product if your hair is looking a little limp (or, like me, your fringe is always awkward and needs putting in place a bit). I'd only use XXL Volume during the day but wouldn't replace it with washing your hair in the evening.

BEFORE USE: This is the one I was most excited to try out, I had a feeling even before I tried it it might be perfect for adding a little bit of razzle-dazzle in a more stylish way than just glitter. I even entertained the idea that it might be fine for every day use, if subtle enough. On the other hand I was a bit afraid it might be completely over the top.

AFTER USE: My worries about it being over the top were put top rest the moment I sprayed in onto my hair, the glitter is so small and fine and the effect on my head was really subtle. I really like this stuff, it does the usual job on top of adding a slight golden shimmer - the name is exactly right for the product. I would absolutely recommend this if you're going out and you want to add a bit of glamour without looking like a toddler's art project, in fact I'm even tempted to wear it during the day.
As you can see below is literally the best result of my trying to show you what the glitter looks like, the fact that it's hard to see is pretty much a good thing, it stresses just how subtle the sparkle is.

All in all I wasn't surprised at all about the fact that Batiste continues to be my top choice for dry shampoo and these variations are great and effective for the specific needs that their catering too. Batiste dry shampoo can be found in most Boots and Superdrug stores. I would seriously recommend you try it out, even it's just the normal range.

Disclaimer: I really must stress that I was not paid to do this. I would hate for anyone who visits this blog to think that, all I want to do is provide you this honest insight.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cute Shopping Haul!

I know a haul is meant to be when you've had a massive shopping spree and all the items have been bought at the same time, but recently I've been buying loads of small, cute things seperately and I just wanted to bring them all together and share them with you!
Also, excuse that first photo, it was taken before I redyed my hair.

 Unbelievably cute stickers from Paperchase! I've also got a matching sharpner. My favourite has to be the little rabbits at the bottom.
This is the kind of thing that is so cute I don't even want to use it. Bought from a little shop in Brighton called Aha which has loads of sweet Japanese themed things. It was only £1.99!
I feel like I'm over-using the word "cute", I need to deviate. Bring me a thesaurus! These darling little elephant candles were from Snooper's Paradise. I'm in love with the yellow one at the end.
I bought these at a clearance sale at Acrylicana. They are so pretty! Originally there were loads of them and it was an actual mission to choose my favourite...and as you can see in the end I had to get two.
Again from the Acrylicana clearance sale. Loads of adorable little charms. This is the kind of thing I buy to hang up in my room and just stare at sometimes.
 These adorable stickers came free with the above purchases. I'm not sure how I'm going to use them but until I figure it out they can just hang about, looking cute.
 I can't bear how freaking adorable these are! Gotten at from a stall set up by ArtBox which just sells an endless amount of cute stuff, including Carebear and Hello Kitty merchandise (for those of you who are inclined toward the "kawaii".

So that about sums this simple little post. Do you have any recent purchases that are particularly cute? Where's your go-to place for all things adorable?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Shoes Lust ~ Petrol Head

I just need these shoes, even though they're actually men's shoes (because what other kind of shoe starts at a size 8?).
I am loving the petrol effect. Unfortunately I do not have £130 lying around. Nor size 8 feet (and I don't think the boyfriend would like them very much). Ah well, a girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Outfit of the Day ~ Winter Sun

white fur hood

I dreamed of the snowmaiden,
white and soft,
of endless warmth

her face was veiled
her mind cleared
of prejudice and hate

worry became my boast,
that the love we shared
would fade like snow 
- Len Webster

The main reason I wanted to do this outfit post was because I wanted to show you all my amazing new (relatively, got it about a month ago) hood. I am such a supporter of buying handmade stuff (which is why Etsy is such a common haunt of mine) and when it turns out to be local as well then it's doubly awesome. 
The hood was made by JeSuis Hoods who I first found out about whilst perusing a little vintage shop above a much vaster antiques and  knick-knack shop (Snooper's Attic in Snooper's Paradise for those of you who are familiar with Brighton). There I found some of the pre-made hoods and decided I wanted one but when I came back later the one I wanted was gone so I took a business card and emailed Jessie, who makes them. She provides about a million different colour choices, including different lining materials and optional piping as well and sizes (S, M and L).  
It took me ages to decide what I wanted and in the end I just had to get the boyfriend to make some of the decision for me (as you can see we settled on black with white fur lining in medium, for just £26, which the boyfriend offered to pay for, bless him). If you're interesting then either (if you're near Brighton) go to Snooper's Attic and have a look or go to the JeSuis Facebook page and contact her through there (you can also see some other hood combos and material swatches). It's so snug and warm and perfect for the cold months.
white fur hood
white fur hood
Me and the boyfriend went to Nymans, which is a National Trust place for this shoot. We both have National Trust memberships which means there's always somewhere close by where we can take a walk around some nice gardens, even if at this time of year most things are dead.
white fur hood
I can't believe this is the only photo of my tights! I layered burgundy ones from Tye Rack with white, lace ones from New Look, I quite like how it looks.
white fur hood
This hood makes me feel so freaking cool, like some kind of arctic nomad. It's was pretty windy and pretty chilly that day but it kept me warm, which was nice, 'cause my ears always get so damn cold.
white fur hood
So that's about it, sorry I haven't posted much recently but I'm getting back into now that my life has become less hectic. Coming up will be a quick book review, some product reviews and a few other things. Watch this space!

As always all photos were taken by the talented Harry Tilsley (a.k.a the boyfriend), you can find more of his stuff (which is beautiful) on his Tumblr.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

My boyfriend and I went to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo last Friday and I thought I'd post a mini review, spoiler free.

First off the opening credit sequence was so imaginative and an interesting way to start the film, I loved how dark it was and how well it set the undertone of the film (in fact there is a whole article on one of my favourite websites about the symbolism of it, check it out if you're a fan of the books or want to watch the actual sequence) and the visuals were actually gorgeous (which isn't a word I would expect to use in reference to this film), it was set to an awesome track as well (a cover of the Immigrant song). In fact throughout the whole thing the music was subtle but very atmospheric, at points it was almost soundscape but was still really effective. The visual style was also powerful but descrete at the same time.
Something I noticed was just how well the suspense was built up, thanks to the music, acting and the subtlites of the director I was constantly on the edge of my seat (and clawing at the boyfriend), tiny things put me really on edge which isn't something I usually experience with films. Because of this the two and a half hours of the film flew past without me once thinking about anything else other than what was happening on screen. And it kept you guessing (unless you've read the book), you had no idea what was going to happen next and when it did happen you believed it, it was believable, it wasn't a twist for the sake of a twist (unlike a certain Doctor Who season finale I could mention), each twist was one that worked entirely as part of an amazingly well written plot.
Speaking of well written, it wasn't just the story but the characters as well. Such rich, layered characters, Lisabeth (the leading lady) especially was a perfect and absorbing mix of deeply troubled and nessecairly strong. The relationship between her and Mikael was again, like the plot, believable, thanks in part to the writing but also to the phenomenal acting.
As well as the acting the directorial choices were unflinching without being gratuitous, the brutality of certain scenes was nessecary. Nothing was glamourised but a message was conveyed. Sometimes a film needs to bring these issues to light in a way that will really open people's eyes and get taboo subjects that need addressng addressed, this book may be a fictional one but the stories told within in it are stories that many people around the world have sadly lived.

All in all amazing film that I definitely recommend you go and see. It won't be a completely pleasant experience but it was definitely get you thinking.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2011, a photo summary.

This is my living room (we haven't taken our decorations down so it's still much the same).
2011 was a hard and challenging year for me but it was also the year I started this blog (in October) which has bought me a lot of joy letting me express myself creatively again. These are just some photos I didn't have to space to put in previous posts that I thought I'd share with you all now.

 I started my first year at university and bought my boyfriend that bonsai tree at a plant sale there. I also got a rose plant which subsequently died very soon after purchase.

 This year I started to give my nails more attention (I still have a lot to learn, including neatness, as you can see).

 I had an awesome Guy Fawkes' weekend that also involved a vintage fair.

Me and my boyfriend spent a lot of time in Brighton this year, including during this oddly sunny November day for an Outfit of the Day shoot. As you can see, because he lacks fringe (or bangs for you American folk) he also lacked the ability to look into the sun and smile.

We also ate a lot of Krispy Kremes (this a customised box I presented to him one day), especially during Halloween.

 We introduced two more members into our (slightly cat obsessed) family.
And I did have, despite everything, a merry Christmas. 
I hope you did too.
(I love how that photo shows the reflection of all the lights in my living room, which me and my boyfriend decorated together. He always makes Christmas that bit better.)

 As always, all photos are taken by aforementioned boyfriend, find him here and on his tumblr.

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