Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Quick Winter Glamour | Makeup Look

It would feel somewhat more ironic to be posting a winter glamour makeup tutorial on a grey, rainy Wednesday morning in January, if we hadn't already had weeks of grey, rainy Wednesday mornings. January, and winter in general, can make you feel blue, Christmas and summer holidays seem distant, fond memories, so why not glam it up with a simple, low-key, quick makeup look (and let's not talk about the terrible picture above, snapped just before going out a week or two ago).

Foundation: Rimmel Wake-me-up 'Sand'

Red lip: Revlon 'Fire and Ice' (the 1950s classic) lipstick and Revlon 'Bordeaux' lip gloss

Eye shadow: Maybelline Mocha Mirage

Mascara: Maybelline Rocket Volume 'Black'

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Review 2015 No. 3 | Live And Let Die by Ian Fleming

“You start to die the moment you are born. The whole of life is cutting through the pack with death. So take it easy. Light a cigarette and be grateful you are still alive as you suck the smoke deep into your lungs. Your stars have already let you come quite a long way since you left your mother’s womb and whimpered at the cold air of the world.” 

With these words in his second James Bond book, Ian Fleming reminds us of something. In the majesty and mystery of the world of the secret service agent - the films, the long-limbed actors, the wealth - we lose sight of one pertinent fact; Fleming was more than a half-decent writer. Here Fleming works with a fundamental of writing - write about what you know - taking Bond on a journey through Harlem, Florida and Jamaica, places he knew well. This novel has all the best bits of the films and more - scuba diving, an international baddie chase ('Mr Big' in Live and Let Die), a Bond girl - and I would argue it is a difficult card to trump. If Fleming follows a trend I strongly believe in - that writer's tend to release the majority of their creative energy in their first book or two - then it will be. The jury's out, as I still have 10 or so of the other Bond novels to digest. I say SAY YES to this one!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Body Shop Vitamin E | Skincare Review name is Clare and I'm a moisturiser addict. Okay, all hilarity aside - but seriously I do have 5 in my wash bag - I have dry skin even in summer, so needless to say winter brings a few skincare treasures of its own. Winter brings colds, cracked hands, red faces, and, for those few who possess dry skin, random breakouts and a dull complexion. As I have mentioned before I now have a minimal and more environmentally-friendly makeup regime and choose to focus on moisturisers, so when I saw this Vitamin E gift set on sale in The Body Shop, I jumped at it. The most sensible of impulse purchases. I've been trying it for four weeks now, so you can say this is post was a long time in the making. Details below!

Vitamin E Cream Cleanser - Massage into the skin with your fingertips (but careful not to use too much!). Remove with a clean cotton pad or muslin cloth and feel the skin-softening effects of the wheat-germ oil and shea butter.

Vitamin E Hydrating Toner - Soak the alcohol free toning liquid onto a cotton pad and sweep across your face to remove excess oil, cleanser or makeup. This part really prepares your skin for the moisturiser part later on.

Vitamin E Moisture Cream - For those who vacillate over the qualities of face creams - this is a light one and probably not for the perennially dry skinned.

Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil - WARNING Do not try to use this while drunk! I am clumsy - so when trying to put 3 separate drops of the serum on my cheeks and forehead, I knocked half the bottle down the sink. Beware! The serum, when massaged in, works very effectively though.

Unfortunately I cannot find the Vitamin E gift set on sale any more. This is a link to the small, but complete, Vitamin E Skincare Kit:

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Review 2015 No. 2 | Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie

Picardie's biography of the infamous fashion designer Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel starts well. The opening chapter takes us to the heart of Chanel - on a literary tour of Chanel's private Paris apartment. As the story of Chanel's life and lies (for instance she frequently claimed to be younger than she was), and her ambition to rid herself of her poverty-stricken upbringing, is told. The style is somewhat sycophantic, and the tale and times of Chanel's life tapers off towards the end of the book, mirroring the designer's demise. The result was that, despite interesting anecdotes on her relationships with Misia Sert, Churchill, and other celebs of the time, which went off on extended tangents for many pages, this book became a chore to finish. I'm sorry I can't be more positive. Maybe my mood reflects Chanel's own disappointment with her life, one in which she cut herself free from the Aubazine convent to dedicate her life to fashion, only to simultaneously shatter any permanent familial or romantic connections. 

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Ambition and Aspiration | 2015 Reading Challenge and TBR

On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin - I have a slight obsession with butterflies on book covers, and butterflies in general, at the moment.
Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life, Justine Picault - This is an entrancing read that I found in the library. I'm nearly finished.
Shakespeare, Ivor Brown - This year I am challenging myself to do a Shakespeare course in order to fill some gaps in my literary knowledge. Back to school!
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou - A well renowned autobiography and author. I've never read anything by Angelou and so decided to start in the middle of her series of autobiographies of her life.
From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming - Since getting the entire James Bond box set a year ago I still have 12 of 14 to read. Oops!
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak - I'm bringing some much needed YA into my reading list with this one. It's a classic and widely appreciated so hopefully it won't disappoint!
A Woman in Your Own Right, Anne Dickson - Also with the aim of continual development and learning for life, this is an almost-feminist take on assertiveness training in the 21st Century.

The above represents some of what I hope to achieve in reading this year. I have dropped my reading challenge from 80 as, conversely, the more free time I have the less I seem to read. Now that that minor haul is out of the way, here are my loose reading goals for 2015:

1) At least 52 books/1 per week, to include:

2) At least one back-to-university book (feminist, anthropology, etc.)

3) At least one autobiography (e.g. Coco Chanel).

4) At least one historical non-fiction book (e.g. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor).

5) At least one back-to-school book/play (e.g. Shakespeare's Hamlet).

6) And, least one science non-fiction book (e.g. Sherlock Holmes).

What are your reading goals for the year?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Daydreams and Dinner Dates | Photo Vlog

Where are the days in January going? It seems only yesterday that New Year and Hogmanay wound their way round again, so here's a flashback to some of my Yuletide feasting and frivolities...

Check out my fashion, food, film and book posts on my Pinterest page:

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Review 2015 No. 1 | Girl Online by Zoe Sugg


Welcome, welcome to 2015 (on the blog that is)! I hope you had a great Christmas and are having a good New Year and all that. Having been sidetracked with a hectic schedule in the final months of 2014 I didn't manage to read much at all, which has lead me to decide to read and review at least 52 books in 2015 (that's at least one blog post a week! :)). Without further ado, seeing as it is the end of the first week, here are my thoughts on Girl Online.

If you are au fait with all things blog/YouTube/book in the world then you'll probably know that on 25th November 2014 Zoe Sugg, or Zoella to her 6 million+ YouTube subscribers, released her first novel, Girl Online. Everything was going well, the book had rave reviews and had the highest ever first-week sales for a debut author (78,109) since records began in 1998. That was until it came out that Zoe hadn't written the book 'on her own'. Zoella and her publishers Penguin Random House eventually confirmed that Girl Online had been ghostwritten.

So now that the elephant, or penguin, in the room has been dealt with I can say that I don't think it matters. Surely the quality and reception the novel receives is more important? The novel is a form of semi-autobiography, telling the story of a female UK blogger who, like Zoella, lives in Brighton. A love story ensues that leads us through the side roads of Brighton and New York and into the mind of a teenage girl dealing with anxiety disorder. I won't spoil any more of the adventure, but I will say that, whether or not she wrote it herself, Zoella came up with the idea and has used her experiences to empower rather than put down young people. For that, I think she deserves credit for creating one of the few Young Adult books worth reading this year.

Reviews and comments below! Cx