31 October, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #30

Book #30 -- The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin

This week's book is chosen by my Pa :)

What he says: "The narrative is fairly fast paced & keeps moving throughout; there's a lot of good twists & turns. I also enjoyed how things didn't necessarily work out for the protagonist just because of his profession. It's very much a formula, but it's very well written."

Amazon blurb: 'Malcolm Fox and his team are back, investigating whether fellow cops covered up for Detective Paul Carter. Carter has been found guilty of misconduct, but what should be a simple job is soon complicated by a brutal murder and a weapon that should not even exist. A trail of revelations leads Fox back to 1985, a year of desperate unrest when letter-bombs and poisonous spores were sent to government offices, and kidnappings and murders were plotted. But while the body count rises the clock starts ticking, and a dramatic turn of events sees Fox in mortal danger.'

Have you read any of the Fox series or other books by Ian Rankin? If this isn't really your cup of tea let me know what is, either in the comments below or via twitter, & you could suggest next week's book :)

Happy reading, lovelies! 


29 October, 2012

Monday Review: Garnier Olia

Hello lovelies!

As my roots were in need of a touch-up I decided to try Garnier's new Olia dye. I've used their dyes many a time (my current favourite being their foam dye, mentioned in my June favourites), and so I was excited to try their new "innovation".

What Garnier say: The first oil-powered home hair colour: For the first time in home colour, oil does more than condition, it boosts the colouring process. A breakthrough in home hair colour: A new era begins with Olia – the first oil-powered permanent home hair colour. Contains 60% oils with natural flower oils and no ammonia. Sensorial application process: The drop-shaped bottle fits perfectly into the palm of the hand, allowing for controlled application. Velvety cream texture and a luxurious subtle fragrance, Garnier has helped transform the colouring routine into a new beauty ritual.

The first thing that I found strange about the contents of the box was that the developer cream was in a separate tube to the applicator, this meant I had to add both the developer & the dye colorant to the applicator bottle, rather than just the colorant like most at home dyes. I'm not sure what Garnier's reasoning behind this is but the process was quite difficult (the developer cream was quite gloopy & even when I thought I'd squeezed it all out, a steady drip continued to fall from the bottle). Once both parts were in the applicator, & had been thoroughly shaken, the actual application was very easy. As I've previously mentioned, the last few times I've dyed my hair I've used Garnier's foam which is really easy to use as it doesn't run off your hands & scalp. The consistency of the Olia dye is definitely liquid but it's closer to a really thick cream, this meant that at times the dye was a bit hard to rub into my hair but it also meant that there was no running & coverage was easy. The long pointed nib of the applicator was also really good at dividing the hair to make sure all of it was covered (this was especially helpful at the back of the head).

The colour result was really even & my hair was incredibly smooth & shiny; definitely happy!

Overall rating...
Overall I would give Garnier Olia 
As per the blurb, I did find the dye had a really nice subtle fragrance which was a lot more pleasant than most hair dyes, the conditioner was especially nice smelling.
The dye is available in 21 different shades, a large chunk of those shades being blonde tones. I used shade 5.0 Brown. One thing I didn't like about the packaging was the inability to actually see which shade was lighter & which was darker; I originally picked up shade 4.0 Light Brown as, surprisingly, it looked lighter on the box than shade 5.0, however, there was also a shade chart next to the dyes with little synthetic hair samples which showed that 5.0 was lighter, go figure?! I'm really happy with how the colour has come out but I'm still not sure which colour would be lighter.

Have you tried Garnier Olia? How did you find it & what shade did you use?


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26 October, 2012

A Grey Day in Cardiff #OOTD

This Wednesday the boyf & I took an impromptu trip to Cardiff, here's a few snaps of what we saw + an outfit post containing the fluffiest jumper I have ever come across! (*picture heavy!*)

 Coat: New Look (last year's stock) // Jumper: H&M // Bag: River Island (old) // Boots: Primark

 The River Taff
 Cardiff Castle


25 October, 2012

Autumn Leaves #OOTD

OHAI! I'm lucky enough to have my lovely boyfriend staying at the moment & so I twisted his arm to take some outfit pics for me (I'm sure you're all aware of the pain in the arse that it can be, doing it on your lonesome: blogger problemZ!) So this is what I wore on Tuesday afternoon to go & have a mooch round the shops...

Blazer: Primarni (last year's stock) // Fur collar: H&M // Jewel & pearl jumper: River Island (old) // Bag: River Island (old) // Navy skinnies: Topshop Leigh // PU moccasins: Primarni (old)

I hope you like it, let me know what you think in the comments below :) What are your staples for this autumn? I love this new fur collar from H&M, it goes with everything & is so soft & warm!


24 October, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #29: The Vogue Edit

First of all I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who follows my blog, I've finally reached 100 followers on Google Friend Connect & am so excited for you all to see the giveaway that I've been planning, more on that to follow...

Anyway, back to business with this week's suggestion(s), yes, I'm trying yet another way to branch out & diversify this list by selecting books that are recommended in November's issue of Vogue (who said you can't be a fashion addict and an intellectual?)

So I recently discovered Vogue's 'Books Round-up' which I was pleasantly surprised by (I'm an Elle girl all the way, I happened to buy Vogue as it was on special offer in Tesco but that's another story!) The feature rounds up the hottest 19 books on the shelves right now, my favourites from the list were:

01. Colm Tóibín -- The Testament of Mary

I'd read some of Tóibín's essays on W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, & the Abbey Theatre recently I really enjoyed what he had to say so I was instantly drawn to his newest book.

What Vogue says: 'In powerful, spare prose, the Irish writer reimagines the Virgin Mary as she moves through savage grief to moral rectitude in this short study of exquisite humanity.'

Amazon blurb: 'In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.
As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.' 

Buy The Testament of Mary from Amazon.

02. J.K. Rowling -- The Casual Vacancy 

There's not much that hasn't already been said about this author & having been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series I'm really intrigued to see what her new work is like.

What Vogue says: 'The literary sorceress conjures her first grown-up drama in Pagford, a town riven with quotidian drama over a battle for a seat on the parish council. Wizards are not welcome here.'

Amazon blurb: 'When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.'

Buy The Casual Vacancy from Amazon.

03. Joseph O'Connor -- Where Have You Been?

O'Connor is another author who I have mentioned repeatedly on here (Star of the Sea, you little beauty!) He has finally released a new collection of short stories which will certainly be on my Christmas list (and did you know he's Sinead O'Connor's brother? Ooohhh!)

What Vogue says: 'In his first collection of short stories for more than 20 years, O'Connor's deftly poignant prose unites tales of old New York, the ghosts of the Celtic Tiger and yuppy London.'

Amazon blurb: 'Where Have You Been? is award-winning novelist Joseph O'Connor's first collection of short stories in more than twenty years. Ranging from urgently contemporary London and Dublin to New York's Lower East Side in the nineteenth century, from dark comedy to poignancy, from the wryly provocative to the quietly beautiful, these stories offer a gathering of dreamers and lost souls who contend with the confusions of living. Here are men without women, children parenting parents, residents of the uncertain country that is post-boom Ireland, emigrants, travellers, cheats and lovers, families, friends and foes. The focus is on those moments of the everyday when possibility seems to appear. A football match becomes an occasion of hard-won acceptances. An old acquaintance re-encountered plays mind-games in a bar. A fling between people who have almost nothing in common alters their lives forever. In Dublin, a desperately ill woman meets a tour guide in a hotel. A civil servant drives his father into Wicklow to say a final goodbye. A boy comes of age in a seaside town where everything is about to change. Where Have You Been? is a powerfully moving, entertaining and life-affirming read, from the internationally acclaimed author of Star of the Sea, Redemption Falls and Ghost Light.

Buy from Where Have You Been? Amazon.

The second half of Vogue's 'Books Round-up' includes nominations from well-known, nice people of their literary highlights of the year & there were two that I felt I had to include: one because I think think the "recommender" is hilariously brilliant, and the second because it's one of my favourite books & an absolute classic in more than one sense of the word.

01. Columnist & author Caitlin Moran recommends:
My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding, 'whose brilliant Olympics coverage alone will surely see her made a dame in the New Years Honours. Her wry, geeky memoir charts her journey from posh, no-nonesense rider of the Queen's horse to national treasure.'
Buy Clare's book from Amazon.

02. Author David Nicholls nominates the brilliant Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Nicholls has written the screenplay for the upcoming film adaptation)
What David says: 'Read a book at a certain age, and it will stay with you for a life. For me, it was only ever Great Expectations. How, I wondered, did someone writing in the mid-nineteenth century know exactly how I'd feel in a small south coast town in 1980? Of course, loving a book isn't necessarily the best reason to adapt it - with only 120 minutes of screen time, some painful surgery has been involved - but I wanted our film to act as a corrective for those who think Dickensian means sledgehammer satire, grotesque caricature, absurd coincidence, sentimentality. Great Expectations is a lean, tough, passionate book. It has one of the great plots - if you see the first twist coming, you won't see the second. It is dark and thrilling, tense and violent. It is psychologically subtle and strange, and contains some of the most vivid characters in literature. It's a love story. Most of all, it's an intensely moving story; Joe Gargery's disastrous trip to London, Pip's final words to Magwitch, Miss Havisham's confession... These are wonderful, emotional scenes. Dickens was writing with all his heart and at the peak of his powers. I hope we can do him justice.'
Buy Great Expectations from Amazon.

So, there it is, Vogue's recommendations of the best reads about at the moment. Like I said, I was pleasantly surprised by such a large feature dedicated to literature in such a fashion dominant magazine but it's actually made me want to buy it regularly. Who knows what they might recommend next?

Have you read any of these books or have any thoughts on Vogue's other recommendations this month? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!


22 October, 2012

Halloween Inspiration

If, like me, you're struggling to find something this year for halloween, or you're just not really a fancy dress kinda gal, I've put together some outfit suggestions that are distinctly halloween but can be incorporated back into your autumn/winter wardrobe after...

 Give Anne Hathaway a run for her money in this super sexy black cat/cat woman ensemble.

 Revamp the classic sexy devil with this gorgeous wine coloured velvet & lace dress.

 What's more halloween than a good old skeleton? Give this old favourite a modern twist with crystal eye tattoos & to-die-for heels.

 Of course the perfect party isn't complete without some brilliant decorations. I loved this halloween bunting & matching cupcake kit :)

Finally, if you're just not that into halloween and/or dressing up why not go for something a bit less costume and a bit more chic?

Have any of you already decided on your outfit for halloween? Will you be purchasing any of the above? Let me know what you'll be wearing & what you thought of my suggestions in the comments below :)


19 October, 2012

♡ Label Lust ♡ -- Kenzo

This season Kenzo has made my eyes go WOW! With their simple shapes, beautiful bold colours & striking patterns, what's not to love?

 My absolute favourite is this green tiger sweatshirt (seen on absolutely everyone at every Fashion Week going!) No surprises that it's now sold out everywhere :(

 A few final absolute beauties from the AW12 collection; if these pieces don't cheer you up on a dull autumnal day I don't know what will!

What are your thoughts on Kenzo? Until very recently I wasn't particularly aware of their designs or pieces but I absolutely love everything I've seen after a bit of delving :) patterns ahoy!


18 October, 2012

Liebster 2.0

OHAI! So I've been nominated again for the Liebster award, this time by the lovely Hannah @ aprettymessuk.blogspot.co.uk :) everyone by now I'm sure knows the dealio with Liebster awards, if you're unsure have a look at my last one.

So, Hannah's questions for me:

1) What's your dream job?
My dream job would be a mixture of everything that I love, so if someone paid me to travel, read books, lust over amazing fashion finds AND write about it all I'd be pretty darn content :)

2) Whose make up do you see and become the green eyed monster?

Ummm this is a hard one! There's no one whose makeup I really admire but I am addicted to makeup tutorials (see more about that here). I love anyone who can create a fresh-faced look; simple dewy skin, cat eye eyeliner & big lashes are my absolute faves :)

3) If you could only read one blog and that's it... whose would it be?

This is another hard one... for outfit posts probably shoesandsashimi.blogspot.co.uk & anouskaproettabrandon.com, photography would definitely be styleheroine.com, & for some literary fodder fo' sho' my mate Matthew @ itwouldcrumble.blogspot.co.uk. Sorry, I wasn't very good at just picking one!

4) You're on a deserted island and a hot guy/girl is coming to save you. What 3 make up items did you save?

Foundation, eyeliner, mascara. Hands down!

5) What product do you live by?

I think the best staple product is a good foundation. If it gives me good, natural (very important) coverage then I will pay a hefty price for it. I think the most money you spend should be on your foundation, everything else (eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick etc.) can be bought cheaper. It's very hard to find a good, cheap foundation -- trust me I've looked far & wide!

6) Your motto?

You have to love yourself & who you are before anyone else will love you.

7) Favourite film?

Oooh toughy! Probably American Psycho there's not one thing that I don't love about it.

8) What's your favourite cocktail and place to drink it?

Does Sangria count? My favourite place to drink it is wherever my friends are: amazing party drink :)

9) What's the most played song on your iTunes?

John Mayer 'Slow Dancing in a Burning Room', if you don't know it then you need to!

10) What's your most viewed post?

Until recently my most viewed post was about finding the perfect bikini, I think everyone has that dilema! Nowadays it's MUA vs. Urban Decay -- Palette Wars, the Undressed palette vs. the Naked palette.

11) Who makes you the happiest?

My boyfriend, closest friends & family (& my cat of course, she's a babe :))

Have any of you been nominated for a liebster award? (I'm sure a lot of you have.) What are your thoughts on them? How would you have answered these questions, let me know in the comments below :)


17 October, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #28

Book #28 -- Tales of the Gypsy Dressmaker by Thelma Madine

Chosen by lovely blogger, Shannon @ raspberrykiss-raspberrykiss.blogspot.co.uk :)

What Shannon says about the book: 'Now I won't lie, I'm a massive fan of anything that has to do with Gypsies and Travellers. It's kind of my guilty pleasure. I find learning about the traveller culture truly fascinating as it's not something that's exactly brought up in a causal everyday conversation. I won't lie, I LOVED Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and the most recent programme, Thelma's Gypsy Girls. So when I received this book for my birthday I was chuffed. I've come to the conclusion that if something has the word Gypsy or Traveller on it, I'm near enough sold. I could listen to my traveller friends talk about their ways of life all day and night, yet still be eager to hear more, so instead of bugging them to tell me stories, I thought I'd give this book ago. If like me, you're borderline obsessed, I think you'll really enjoy this book. The book it's self is about Thelma Madine, the Gypsy Dressmaker and her struggles in life, how she began working with travellers, made it big and what not, which is lovely to read how she worked her socks off and overcome so many hurdles that life threw at her but she also shares her stories about travellers, I think it's fab to see from a none travellers point of view. When reading the book, I felt proud of Thelma despite not even having spoke to her during my 18 years of life. I also felt like I could really relate to her. It just shows with hard work and determination you can achieve a heck of a lot. Personally, I loved this book just as much as I loved the television series. Once I started the first chapter I found it near enough impossible to put it down. It was very easy to read and one of the best gifts I've ever received. Thumbs up from me!'

Amazon blurb: 'Tales of the Gypsy Dressmaker is the much-anticipated memoir from Thelma Madine, the dressmaker and breakaway star from Big Fat Gypsy Weddings [...]. From 200ft trains to 20 stone skirts, hundreds of LED lights to thousands of Swarovski crystals, gypsy girls spend their childhoods dreaming of fairytale dresses. Thelma is the woman who makes these dreams come true. Left with nothing, after a messy divorce, Thelma has come a long way from her humble dressmaking beginnings, making and selling dresses on a market stall in Liverpool. Back then she knew nothing of gypsies. Until one day she was asked by a traveller to make some dresses like the ones in Gone with the Wind and before she knew it had dozens of other traveller women gathering around asking for similar ones. A few years later she was asked to make a wedding dress for a young traveller… then she was hit with the request for a 107ft train and 18 elaborate bridesmaid dresses. And she hasn’t looked back since.
It hasn’t been an easy journey though and behind her warmth, compassion and nature, Thelma is hiding a life of struggles and personal heartache: a journey that includes financial breakdown, a four-month stint in prison and a very unhappy relationship.'

I absolutely loved Big Fat Gypsy Weddings when it was on tv, as Shannon says, it's an addictive guilty pleasure. I thought her review was really interesting as, so far, all the books that are on the 'one book you must read' list have been fiction & it's nice to also include (auto)biographies & non-fiction.

Have you read this book or seen either of the traveller tv series that Thelma's been a part of? What did you think? Let me know your 'must read' book in the comments below or via twitter, and thank you very much to Shannon for letting me use her suggestion :)


Buy from Amazon.

14 October, 2012

Classics Redesigned by Doedemee

I came across this amazing collection (100 to be exact) of new covers for classic/iconic books; 28 artists from around the world have created new artwork for some of literature's best loved works to raise money for a charity that works to fight illiteracy: brilliant!

These are some of my favourites, you can see the full 100 here.

 1984 by George Orwell & Atonement by Ian McEwan
 Catch 22 by Joseph Heller & Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes & The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
 The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford & Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
 Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie & (The Strange Case of) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy & L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
 The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera & Little Women by Louise May Alcott
 Lord of the Flies by William Golding & Moby Dick by Herman Melville
 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee & Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez & On the Road by Jack Kerouac
 A Passage to India by E. M. Forster & Tin Drum by Günter Grass
 The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope & Ulysses by James Joyce
Last, but not least. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The covers are also available as posters. I think they're stunning, what do you think?

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