Monday, 27 October 2014

What I've Been Watching #1

American Horror Story Freak Show
Despite being an absolute wuss, I’ve been addicted to AHS from the start. The stories, the characters and the overall weirdness just suck you in entirely. Now in it’s fourth series, Freak Show looks as though it’s going to be just as creepy as Asylum (The Cover was a bit disappointing, so we’ll not go there) and I’m only on the second episode. Probably not one to watch when you’re in the house on your own though…

Gilmore Girls
Without a doubt one of favourite TV series (thank you Lauren). Gilmore Girls is one of those programmes that you end up going through the emotions with the characters - you feel their happiness, their sadness and their frustration. Rory and Lorelai aren’t your typical TV family - Lorelai is a single mum from a teenager pregnancy and their relationship is more like best friends than mother daughter. Throw in Melissa McCarthy as Sookie and other hilarious characters along with the cutest town on TV and you have a seriously addictive TV programme. 

Ru Paul’s Drag Race
Oh. My. Lord. These ladies like to throw some serious shade. A girl at my work has been obsessed with this for months and I wish I’d listened to her sooner - I’ve basically been binge watching this non stop lately. It’s basically America’s Next Top Model for Drag Queens so think seriously fierce makeup and hilarious personalities. What more could you want?! Halleloo!

The Maze Runner
I’ve recently spoken about finishing the book series so I was really looking forward to the film. Thomas wakes up in an lift with no idea who or where he is. He finds himself trapped in the Glade surrounded by The Maze as part of a community who seem to have given up hope of ever escaping. When a girl shows up with a note saying that she’s the last one they know they have to make their move. It’s fast paced and keeps you thinking. My boyfriend hasn’t read the books and really enjoyed it. As someone who has read the books, I did enjoy it but I had the usual frustrations at how much the film deviated from the book. I understand that film adaptations need to adjust for the cinema but this is quite an extreme example. In it’s own right, a good film but I wouldn’t say it’s a very good adaptation. 

This week Criminals Minds and Grey’s Anatomy are back on Sky Atlantic too - I’m probably more excited than I should be for TV just now.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Body Shop Haul

The Body Shop Top Picks

The Body Shop have been absolutely killing it with their offers lately. Last week they were offering £25 off with orders over £50, I went on to have a look at their exfoliators but ended up with a basket full. 

Shea Body Scrub £13 - These scrubs are fab. They smell amazing and they give a proper exfoliation without leaving the skin feeling raw. I’m really excited to try this to see if the Shea Butter variety offers a bit more hydration.

Shea Body Butter £13 - Believe it or not but I’m actually down to my last Body Shop Body Butter from this post. The Shea Body Butter is perfect for dry skin, it’s one that I favour mainly in the winter when my usually dry skin is even drier. 

African Honey and Beeswax Hands and Foot Butter £10 - I’ve heard Essie Button rave about this stuff and I certainly understand why. It’s super rich without feeling to sticky and leaves your hands and feel super soft. I’m already planning on repurchasing this and I’ve only been using it a week. It’s that good.

Body Brush £8 - I’ve heard so much about dry brushing but I’ve never tried it. After finishing Clarins Body Lift, I feel as though I’ve been missing something to help control the cellulite on my legs. When I don’t plan on getting my legs out any time soon I would grudge paying the small fortune for the usual lotions and potions so I thought this would be a good option. I’ve only been using this a week so I haven’t seen any difference with the cellulite but it certainly does well exfoliating. I’ll get back to you in a couple of weeks. 

No More Rough Stuff Foot Smoother £4 - I’m really not a big feet fan so without going into any gross details, this does exactly what you would expect it to and for £4, it’s reasonably priced.

Mango Shower Gel £4 - This was actually a random add on to take my order over £50, I’ve never tried shower gels from The Body Shop. I’m using Lush Snow Fairy just now so I haven’t tried this yet but it smells AMAZING. 

Have you tried any of these? Is there anything else I should try from The Body Shop?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Zoella/Independent Article - My Thoughts

“Too much of her inane chatter reinforces the age-old premise that women must be beautiful if they are to lead happy lives, and that what we care about, above all else, is how to do a flawless festival-ready top knot” – this is a quote from “Sure, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella” which appeared on The Independent online. Not only has this article infuriated me due to the fact that the author seems to know very little about Zoella, the fashion and beauty blogging community, the fashion and beauty industry as a whole or even teenage culture in today’s society. And let’s not even go into modern feminism.

Her main issue with Zoella seems to be with how she “instructs young girls how to paint on the perfect smoky eye or red lip”. Yes, Zoella is first and foremost a beauty blogger and has numerous hair and makeup tutorials (along with numerous other videos which discuss her issues with anxiety). Zoella’s personality, which the author quite rightly describes as “very Disney”, makes her very popular amongst the pre to early teen group – i.e. the age that young girls are going to look at celebrities on TV and in magazines and ask themselves why they don’t look like X, Y or Z. The same group who have been used to worshipping Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and One Direction (great role models right there…). Zoella’s approachable and simple take on makeup using a mixture of luxury and drug store products once again makes her a good option for the younger fashion and beauty consumer who obviously don’t have the disposable income to buy high end products but might look to save up for that special lipstick.

So my question – what’s the issue? Surely the author’s problem is more with gender identity - why do young girls feel the need to look to fashion and beauty? The way I see it is that young girls are going to be interested in makeup. From a young age we’ve watched our mothers, aunts and grandmothers put their makeup on. Young girls enjoy playing with colour and I don’t see why that’s a problem. From the business side of things it’s a multi-billion pound industry which puts a hell of a lot of money into the British economy. It’s not about painting your face or trying to look pretty for that cute boy - it’s about empowerment.

Or is her issue with today’s culture which is heavily based on consumerism? Marketers make potential customers feel that they need the latest iPhone, the latest designer handbag or the latest wonder product which is going to make you look 10 years younger. Unfortunately, this is what our economy is built on. Blogs and YouTubers do have a lot of influence when it comes to making or breaking products, particularly in the world of fashion and beauty. This in itself does bring to question the full ethical issue surrounding sponsored content/PR samples but this is an issue for the full blogging community not just Zoella.

Both of these are big sociological issues and hardly seem like something a 24 year old, who until recently blogged in the bedroom of her parent’s house, should worry about. Zoella is not openly smoking, drinking and doing god knows what like Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. She’s not going through relationship after relationship like Harry Styles. She’s a normal girl who starting videoing herself talking about something she is passionate about. She’s worked hard and has managed to make a living out of doing something she loves not to mention the fact that she’s working with mental health charity mind, so once again, what’s the issue? Surely this normal girl is the type of person you’d want as a role model for young girls.

You go Zoella! You take over the world! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Coloristiq - LoveFilm for Nail Polish Lovers

As I’m sure you’ve seen, I’m a bit of a nail polish addict (ok, that’s a bit of an understatement). I know I’m not the only one who has more nail polishes than they’re ever going to use and although I hate to say it, it is quite wasteful (and expensive). Coloristiq has just launched their “LoveFilm for nails” service where you create a wish list from a variety of Essie, OPI and China Glaze polishes. You’ll be sent 3 polishes a month and when you’re finished using the polishes, you send them back in the same box using the protective covers and then post it using the prepaid sticker that’s included. Simple as that.

Coloristiq already have a great range of colours and textures (you can see them all here), so it’s great for trying something different without the risk of wasting money. It’s also a great chance to try different brands, I’ve never actually owned any China Glaze polishes so I’m really excited to see how they compare to my beloved Essie. 

For £14.49 a month it’s certainly good value considering the price of a single polish from the brands that they offer retail at anywhere between £8 - £14. My biggest concern with this would have been related to hygiene but they assure their customers that high hygiene standards are maintained and when every polish is returned each bottle is sanitised. If you have any other concerns their FAQ can be found here

Coloristiq were also very kind and have offered the chance to get your first month free here. Just register as normal then email quoting NIKKI1 and they'll refund your first payment.

What do you think of Coloristiq? 

PR Sample

Sunday, 19 October 2014

What I've Been Reading #4

What I've Been Reading
I read the first Maze Runner book a good few months ago and for some reason it was only this month I picked up the rest of the series. Unlike a lot of similar teen dystopian series, The Maze Runner Trilogy didn’t leave me with that feeling of disappointment and frustration (Divergent, I’m looking at you), the three books flowed well and I really became attached to the characters. If you haven’t read the first book, I don’t really think I can go too much into the story without ruining it but if you’re like me and love a bit of teen fiction, it’s definitely a series to read.

Daughter - Jane Shemilt
I love a thriller and Daughter seems to be the thriller of the moment. The story is told from mum, Jenny’s point of view as she sees her perfect family break apart after her teenage daughter disappears. It’s full of the usual twists along with the usual revaluation that her perfect family is not as perfect as it seems. Although I was quite surprised at the ending it just doesn’t stand out from the other thrillers I’ve read recently.

The Mangle Street Murder - M. R. C. Kasasian
Set in the 1880s, Sindney Grice and March Middleton take on the pre-Holmes and Watson detective duo to solve a murder. The relationship between the characters is hilarious and the story is gripping but stays light enough that it’s still funny throughout. I really enjoyed this book, it’s one not to take too seriously, it’s almost like a humorous take on Sherlock Holmes but it’s quirky and fun.

If I Stay - Gayle Forman
Mia has a lot to love in life. She is a cellist who could be on her way to Julliard. She has a wonderful, loving, and supportive family. And she has a boyfriend who is perfect. But as wonderful as Mia's life is, she has choices to make. Should she go to Julliard and leave everyone behind?
When a terrible accident occurs, Mia suddenly finds herself with only one choice left - should she stay?
Oh lordy, this was an emotional book. I was completely in love with the characters - even the relationship between Adam and Mia (I normally hate overzealous relationships depicted in teen fiction). I was completely sucked in to this story - it’s definitely one to read. 

Filth - Irvine Welsh
Following Welsh’s typical style, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is a repulsive and corrupt police officer in Edinburgh. Filth is equally disgusting and brilliant. I found Trainspotting quite hard to read (despite people in area actually speaking like Renton, Spud and Sick Boy), but I had no trouble with Filth - it still uses the local dialect but it’s definitely a lot more toned down. I’m looking forward to reading more Irvine Welsh books, I have no idea how it’s taken me as long to see the fascination with him. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Essie The Perfect Cover Up

This colour is very much out of my comfort zone. As much as I'm a nail polish addict, I'm all about the pinks, purples and reds. It was actually my mum who picked this up in an attempt to get me away from the 3 for 2 offer in Boots (not as easy task, I'll tell you that - I'm a committed shopper). The Perfect Cover Up is described as "powerful peacock teal" but it's one of those colours that seems to change. In some lights you it's more green/teal and in others it's more navy/teal but either way it's beautiful on the nails. It's definitely a lot nicer on than it is in the bottle and it's a lot more wearable than I thought it would be. The actual formula seems thicker although still the amazing wear time that you expect with Essie. This photo was taken on day 4. I kid you not.

What do you think of The Perfect Cover Up?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Autumn Wishlist #3 - Boots

1 - 2 - 3
4 - 5 - 6

I live in ankle boots so I'm currently on the hunt for a pair that are pretty and comfortable but will also last the 9 months of Autumn/Winter in Scotland.

Have you been getting excited about Autumn shopping too?