July Books 2011

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket

Another busy month for getting a lot of reading done. I always seem to read a lot more in the summer months, perhaps it has something to do with the longer days? This month I have read:-

No Room For Secrets by Joanna Lumley: her memoir where she takes the reader into her home and visits each room, one by one. It sounds like an interesting concept but becomes quite tedious as the book progresses. I expected so much more from this fascinating woman who I have long admired and was left feeling disappointed. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: is a bleak and depressing take on a burnt out post-apocalyptic America, I loved it. Thin by Grace Bowman: is the author's memoir of growing up with anorexia. It's insightful and emotional but the changes of first and third person were a little annoying.

Marley and Me by John Grogan: cute and heart-warming memoir which recounts a couple's life with a naughty dog. Keep The Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell: I found this quite a tough book to get through because the protaganist/antihero Gordon Comstock is simply one of the most miserable characters I have ever encountered. Stick with it though, it is quietly brilliant in its own way. Gerald's Game by Stephen King: good psychological horror about a woman who is handcuffed to a bed for a large portion of the whole book. Brings up all of those 'what would you do?' sorts of questions.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk: pretty close to the film, definitely read it if you've watched the movie a million times like I have. The Story of Babalou Roy by Amelia Fergusson: I won this via a Goodreads giveaway and it's amazing. A collection of eight short stories which showcase some of the worst sides of human life and the sad parts too. The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark: a really weird novella, seriously it's odd. Read it for 1001 Books You Should Read before you Die book club.

Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris: I was expecting a satire on the mundane lives of office workers but this was pretty boring. It has some good parts in it but the first third of it really dragged. Prep by Curtis Sittenfield: great coming of age story set in a boarding school, enjoyed this a lot and the author did a fantastic job of getting into the head of a teenage girl. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P Lovecraft: collection of short stories that span a variety of genres including horror, paranormal, sci-fi and fantasy.

All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland: wanted to like this but just found it annoying. A silly cartoonish caricature of a dysfunctional American family that was trying way too hard to be cool. Poems on the Underground by Gerard Benson: a good mix of old and new poems, one of those books which would be nice to dip in and out of or give as a gift. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I'm not the biggest Austen fan but I did enjoy this. It was much better reading it from the perspective of an adult than it was when I was forced to read it at school.

Add me on Goodreads for more reviews and books :)

NOTD: Barry M - Cyan Blue

Friday, 29 July 2011

Photobucket

If I could only wear one nail colour for the whole summer, it would probably be this Cyan Blue, which stands out a treat from all of the corals and hot pinks about at the moment.

love you long time

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Photobucket

Photobucket

You've gotta love eBay, these days you can buy anything on there (even human children are listed sometimes!). It's not often that I care much when a product is discontinued but when Avon stopped releasing this pot of skin softening goodness, I was sad.

Luckily, I picked one up via eBay for the bargain price of £2 and it arrived this morning. Happy days. It may look like something the dog did in the garden, but trust me, it smells heavenly and works so well.

Lush Haul & reviews

Monday, 25 July 2011

Photobucket

I bought a couple of bits from Lush recently with the last of the vouchers I received for my birthday, back in June. It's save to say that I now have enough Lush products to last me until Christmas!

Here's what I picked up:-

Fair Trade Foot Lotion
- I've repurchased this so many times. It's a lovely spearminty lotion that makes my feet nice and soft. I use it almost daily and this big pot will last me a good couple of months.

New shampoo bar - I've tried this out twice and my hair hates it. Too drying for me so I'm going to swap/sell it on I think.

Tea Tree Toner - Bought the small size to try it out. I wish I had gotten the bigger size up now because it's so good! I find that the best way to use this is by spraying it all over your face, leaving it on for a moment and then removing the excess with a cotton wool pad. Lovely and refreshing and seems to be helping to calm my combination/oily skin.

Creme Anglaise hand & body lotion - They had these next to the till for £1 so I decided to try it out. Smells great, absorbs into the skin quickly with no greasiness, really like it. May invest in a big pot when I'm feeling a bit more flush and have used up the other 10000 body lotions in my room.

American Cream conditioner - This is one of their 'double strength' hair conditioners so I thought I'd give it a go. Oh. My. God. This smells amazing! It's a nicely balanced (not too overpowering, yet not too weak either) sweet vanilla scent that lingers in your hair for hours afterwards. It conditions really well, no heavy product feeling at all and left my hair shiny and soft. Will definitely be repurchasing in the bigger size.

Ciate lipgloss & Marie Claire

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Photobucket

Free with this month's Marie Claire is a Ciate lipgloss in two different shades, a nude and a fuschia pink. Typically as a lover of all things neutral, I picked up the nude one which is called 'St Barts'. Smells very sweet, application and texture is quite thick, but it's a bit too sticky for my liking. Colour and finish wise, it's super, super glossy and rather sheer, you have to put on a lot for it to show up nude.

Ciate are a young brand who seem quite desperate to be high-end in mid-high priced cosmetics. Their main selling point are their cutesy bow tied nail polishes (fans of Glossy Box and past magazine freebies will have one lurking about in their collections somewhere), and whilst their polishes come in a great range of colours, I'm not one to be duped for paying £9 for a nicely packaged nail polish. Likewise, their lipglosses are also priced at £9 which seems ludicrous for such a sub-standard product.

I don't know, I'm not convinced by them just yet. I might pick up one of the nail polishes they're giving away with next month's Marie Claire and see if their formulas have improved.

10 Films list

Saturday, 23 July 2011


Photobucket



Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket



1. Biutiful (2011) - Slow paced but incredibly watchable Spanish film set in crime-ridden Barcelona.
2. The Mechanic (2011) - Jason Statham action thriller, says it all really.
3. Threads (1984) - Nuclear disaster documentary style, courtesy of the BBC. Scary!
4. Marley and Me (2009) - Cutsey chick flick with a labrador.
5. The Killer Inside Me (2010) - That controversial film that has a handful of explicitly violent scenes in it, not the kind of thing you'd want to watch twice.
6. Slyvia (2004) - Based on the troubled life of Slyvia Plath and her husband Ted Hughes.
7. Funny Games (2007) - If you don't already have anxiety, you'll probably develop it after watching this, but it makes addictive viewing.
8. Vamp (1986) - Grace Jones as a scary painted stripper vampire anyone?
9. The Fountain (2006) - Love this film so much, it's absolutely beautifully shot by Darren Aronofsky with a musical score by Clint Mansell. AND Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz are in it, just perfect.
10. Pandorum (2010) - So-so space dystopia/sci-fi flick.

NOTD: Velvet Underground/Warhol banana inspired nails

Friday, 22 July 2011

Photobucket



I've been having an epic tidy up this morning and my clean up soundtrack has been courtesy of The Velvet Underground. As a little tribute (and because I was bored), I painted my nails with little Warhol inspired bananas! They're a bit messy and look better from a distance, but I'll probably be changing my nails again for the weekend anyway.

Photobucket



Photobucket

How to:-
1. Use a basecoat, I used a Chanel one, purely because I'm using it up at the moment.
2. Paint on a white polish, I used two coats of one from Barry M.
3. Once that has dried, paint little banana shapes with a yellow nail polish. Again, I used one from Barry M. You could use a paintbrush if you're more creative and less rushed than I am.
4. Allow to dry and then use either a black eyeliner or a nail art pen (mine's from Models Own) to outline the banana shapes and add a bit of definition.
5. Use a topcoat or spritz on a quick dry spray, the one I used is Avon's Liquid Freeze spray.
6. All done!

Elf haul: reviews & swatches

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Photobucket

I ordered some products from Elf on Friday and they arrived yesterday, their delivery is excellent! I took advantage of one of their promotions and bought some things I wanted to try out. The only products from Elf that I've tried in the past have been disappointing (nail varnishes and the HD powder), so I was a little wary of what to get. I bought four products from their studio line (prices are around £3.50 each) and two products from the normal range (£1.50 prices).

Photobucket

I'll start with the good stuff first. Their Blush and Bronzer compact is amazing. I've seen this talked about in various blogs and it was the first item I put in the basket. The blush is a lovely everyday pink with a slight gold shimmer, ideal if you want a natural looking flush. The bronzer is great for contouring and blends quite easily after some buffing. It doesn't suit me that much as an all over the face bronzer (I'll stick with Hoola for that) as it is quite muddy looking, but for contouring cheeks it's perfect for me. As with most of the studio compacts, it's packaged in hard matte plastic casing and has a nice big mirror.

Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket

My second favourite product was the Conditioning Lip Balm with SPF 15. The packaging for this is a HUGE cube, I've never seen a lip balm in something so big! The formula is thick and creamy, with a subtle vanilla type scent to it. It conditions lips very well - I usually find cheaper brands of lip balms/tints to be the opposite and quite drying, so I was pleasantly surprised with this. I bought it in 'Nice & Natural' which is a subtle pink nude shade.

Photobucket


Photobucket

Having looked at their £1.50 range, I decided to try out one of their liquid eye liners. I bought 'Plum' which I was hoping would be dark purple (you know, a plum shade), but as you can see from the swatch I did below, it's almost black. I wasn't too fussed by this having recently used up my last black eye liner, so I tried it on the lids and was impressed. It applies easy enough, didn't smudge and lasted for several hours, so not bad for £1.50!

Photobucket


Photobucket

In my package, I received this pencil as a freebie. It doesn't appear to be on their website but it looks identical to their shimmer eye liners. It's OK, a nice creamy white/silvery liner but the attached sharpener in the lid is useless.

Photobucket

Also from the £1.50 range, I bought the Clarifying Pressed Powder in 'Honey'. The shade is much too dark for me and the powder itself didn't sit well on my combination skin.

Photobucket

Now for the two products that I really hated. This Complete Coverage Concealer palette in 'Medium' was a nightmare. The shades looked promising at at a first glance, but when I swatched them, I knew they weren't going to work for me, only the third shade seemed OK. The formula has a very hard waxy consistency, that then turns creamy on the skin. They supply a little brush with the compact, but it's impossible to use it. You'd need to use your fingers or a sponge with this to warm it up. On the skin, the third shade didn't quite match me under the eyes and creased immediately, even when I used a primer. Wouldn't recommend.

Photobucket


Photobucket

Lastly, I didn't get on with the Corrective Concealer palette. It has the same formula as the one above so was a nightmare to apply and the colours just weren't pigmented enough to cover anything up. I've seen a lot of people rave about this product but it didn't work for me.

Photobucket

I'm happy with the products that I did like, especially the Blush & Bronzer duo. The concealer palettes were a major let down but as they were only £3.50 each, I don't think you can be too disappointed. The main problem with Elf is that because they are a cheap-as-chips online only company, you're dependent on online reviews and swatches to see what their products are like.

My advice if you're thinking of buying from Elf:-
  • Take advantage of their frequent promotions (20% off deals, free shipping etc).
  • Stick to a set budget - it's easy to get carried away and end up spending more than you intended because everything is 'cheap' - it all adds up!
  • Check out swatches & reviews online.
  • Buy only one item from each section e.g I probably wouldn't have purchased a second concealer palette if I'd already tried out the first one.
To leave on a happier note, here's my Elf face with the products I did like:-
Photobucket

Tresemme haircare review

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Photobucket

I bought these Tresemme products about two months ago to try out. They were on sale at Wilkinsons for £1 each so I thought, hey, why not?

First one that I tried out was the Instant Refresh Waterless Foam Shampoo. I'm one of those people who washes their hair every other day but on that second day, my hair doesn't look too good. This product was perfect for de-frizzing and adding a bit of shine to my dry lengths, but it wasn't so good for removing oil at the roots (made it look more greasy when applied there - not good!), so I mainly just use it for the lengths. I have just past shoulder length hair and needed one pump of foam. The scent is OK, a typical chemical 'hair product' sort of scent. I'm not sure if I would buy this for full price, I'll use this up first and then see how I feel.

Next up, I tried the 24 hour Body Volume Shampoo with silk protein and collagen (black bottle). I wasn't expecting much from this product because volumising stuff doesn't tend to work for me, (my hair wants to stay flat!) but I'd ran out of shampoo at the time and decided to give it a go. I found this shampoo very heavy (you have to squeeze out the excess before washing) and a bit difficult to wash out. Didn't do anything for my hair either so I'm passing this on to my sister who seems to love Tresemme.

Lastly, I tried the Salon Silk Smooth Conditioner with vitamin H and Almond (white bottle). This is one of their deep everyday conditioners that you leave on for three minutes and then wash out. It was great for the first month that I used it, it made my hair extremely soft and silky, though still a bit frizzy. During the second month, my hair suddenly began to hate it and became dry as straw after it had dried. I'm not sure why this happened but I stopped using it and will be using up the rest of the bottle as a shaving cream instead of binning it.

So I didn't have a great experience with Tresemme, they seem to be very much a marmite sort of brand. I also think a lot of people may buy their products due to their huge size bottles (the ones I bought were 900ml), which are great value if they work for you, but a big waste if they don't.

NOTD: Rimmel 10 day black polish

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Photobucket

Well Rimmel, your 'up to 10 days' nail polish lasted around two days before chipping into one big old mess. The polish itself is pretty good, but marketing claims that fail to deliver Annoy Me. Think I'll stick to my trusted Urban Decay's 'Perversion', next time I fancy dark nails.

Topshop drops skinny model ad after pressure from eating disorder groups

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

When it comes to highstreet fashion, Topshop has marketed itself perfectly as a much desired brand of 'hipster cool'. But its crown may be slipping. Whilst it still has its devotees, choice on the highstreet has never been so wide or affordable. And let's not forget the renewed interest in genuine vintage clothing and accessories, as well as those choosing to shop in independent shops to avoid looking like a 'Topshop clone' (that £75 parka suddenly doesn't look so hip when a hundred other girls are wearing it at Glastonbury) . Fashionistas and activists alike have been complaining for some time now over Topshop's ever increasing prices, its shoddy quality on certain lines, poor pay and conditions for its staff and of course, its fat cat owner Philip Green and his notorious tax-dodging.

Yesterday, Topshop disgraced itself again, after it was forced to drop an ad which featured a very skinny model, but only after pressure to do so came from eating disorder groups. The original ad below features the Australian model Codie Young:-

Photobucket

Helen Davies, from anorexia charity Beat, was one of the campaigners who said the image could encourage the eating disorder in young girls. “For girls to see pictures of models who are this thin suggests that it’s OK to be like that but it’s clearly not. Images like this are affecting young girls more than ever before. Topshop needs to take some responsibility and use healthy models.”

Another campaigner Karen Easthall, who runs a support group in Norfolk, suggested the model “clearly looks like a size zero” and could influence youngsters to try and look the same way. “The girl looks ill. I dread to think how she looks under her clothes.”

So what did Topshop have to say? Well...

Topshop has defended Young, saying she is “a healthy young woman”, but admitted that the original photo “accentuate[ed] Codie's proportions, making her head look bigger and neck longer in proportion to her body”. They also added that Young was a British size eight, but that some of the clothes she wears in the catalogue are size ten, so “they may look a little looser than normal”.

The ad was then replaced with the image of Young below.

Photobucket

What is worrying the most, is that Topshop thought it was perfectly acceptable for the original ad to be shown to it's increasingly younger target market. Had it not been for the campaign pressure, it would have stayed. Their ads have always played up their ideal image of a skinny, usually pale (diversity isn't really Topshop's thing now is it?), long haired, sulky looking female - this is what Topshop promotes. Do we, as consumers, still want this?

Source & photos

10 Films list

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket




1. Gran Torino (2009) - Clint Eastwood is 80 and still kicking ass!
2. Paranormal Activity (2010) - Why did this movie get so much hype? Scary? Really?
3. Letters to Juliet (2010) - OK chick flick w/ Amanda Seyfried.
4. Ginger Snaps (2002) - I would have loved to have watched this when I was 16. How did I miss this until now? Brilliant.
5. Machete (2011) - Good in a trashy sort of way.
6. The Green Lantern (2011) - It was alright.
7. Dear John (2010) - Another chick flick w/Amanda Seyfried, bit of a tearjerker.
8. Predators (2010) - My main reason for watching this is because Adrien Brody is in it.
9. Lost Boys 3: The Thirst (2010) - If you're thinking why you've never heard about a Lost Boys 2, let alone alone a Lost Boys 3, then you have a much better taste in films that I do. This was awful, but in a mildly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek, naff way.
10. 28 Days (2000) - Dreadfully boring rehab film w/ Sandra Bullock. So dull.
Next Post Next Previous Post Previous
Powered by Blogger.