Monday, 4 November 2013

Haul/Recently Purchased Items

Bonjour,

It feels like insanely long since I last posted here, wow. I've been so busy with school and everything, I've had barely any time to just sit back and type away. This past week I've been in the south of France, hiking and camping for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Thanks to my amazing group I think it's safe so say I haven't laughed as much in a long time, but there's no getting around the fact that there was a lot of pain, cold and misery in places. But on the whole it was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting, and I had an amazing time, especially on our journey back home.

Anyway, enough about that - today I wanted to post about a few new things I've acquired recently, just to show you lovely people who've taken an interest in my blog. I wouldn't quite call this a haul, it's more just a few random things.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

Wowowow, I haven't been as excited to read a book as I am to read this in a long time. I won't give too much away, as I plan to do a proper book review at a later date, but let me just say it's a novel about The Lady of Shalott, written in Tumblr-style poetry. Oh my days, have you ever read such perfection?!

Happy Ever After by Adele Geras

When I was about seven I went through the ballet phase most girls go through at some point, and for ages I was obsessed with Adele Geras's series about a ballerina called Louisa. I loved those books to death - there was something about the storytelling, the lovable characters and the beautiful illustrations which captivated me, and made them one of the more memorable reads from my childhood. So a few months ago I was just idly googling the author, as I couldn't remember the names of all the titles of the Louisa books and it was bothering me enormously, and I saw this book. Now, I have to mention the cover, because although you should never judge a book by its cover etc, how gorgeous is this? 'Oh so fairytale' was my first thought, and I was delighted to discover that it is in fact a retelling of three classic fairytales in separate volumes: The Tower Room (based on Rapunzel), Watching the Rose (Sleeping Beauty), and Pictures of the Night (Snow White). I've been really into mystical, fairytale-type things recently, so I decided to order this and give it a go. I was a bit concerned it would turn out to be way below my age group, but there's a note on the back that says 'unsuitable for younger readers' so I'm pleased about that. 

Scarf from Carrefour, €9.90


Since there was no school today, I went to the supermarket with my mum and brother and I saw they had a display of really lightweight and soft scarves, and since I only own chunky knitted ones, I really wanted to get one. There were loads of them, but eventually I settled on this kind of greyish green print - I wouldn't quite describe it as animal print, but I suppose there is some leopardish bits in there. There were quite a few green ones I liked too, but since all the coats and jackets I have are green I didn't want anything too matchy-matchy, so hopefully this will be perfect for the autumn/spring weather where a big cosy scarf is sometime a little too much.

And that's it! Look out for a book review of The Song of the Sparrow coming soon...

x

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Monthly Favourites: September

Bonjour,

It's that time again- the end of an old month and the beginning of a new. Time for my second ever monthly favourites post, where I'll be talking about all the things I've been loving this month. Let's get cracking...

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Just like last time, I'm starting off with my book of the month - or in this case, trilogy of the month, as there are three books: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. I got these books off Amazon just over two weeks ago (which I included in this haul), and it's taken me that long to get through all three of them, thanks to all the reading I've been doing for school that means my own personal reading has to take a back seat. But anyway, I think I'll be doing a separate, more detailed review post on these books because they are just that good. I recommended them to my lovely friend Elisha, who I'm thrilled to say has added A Great and Terrible Beauty to her Christmas book wishlist!



Emilie Autumn
Although I posted yesterday about my obsession with Lorde, that's really only been in the last few days, and my main music obsession for September was Emilie Autumn. I'd forgotten just how amazing her music is, and I'm happy to say I had a total rediscovery moment this September. I just love the variety of her songs - we're talking anything from goth rock to mellow, lyrical music.



Hair doughnuts
This month I've really been loving the hair doughnut I bought recently from H&M, and it's become my go-to hairstyle for just chilling at home. I used to use a big clip to keep my hair up and out of the way, but I find just whipping it up in a doughnut so much neater and more convenient.

ihadnocaresinthe1990s.tumblr.com
I made this Tumblr a while ago to be somewhere to reblog stuff that I really loved, but didn't want to mess up the look of my main blog (call me picky, but there you go). This month I've been reblogging a whole lot of stuff to it, a lot more than I have done in the past. It's full of things I find funny, relevant or just generally interesting, which covers a whole lot of stuff. So if you like being surprised and never knowing what might come up next on your dash, why not follow ihadnocaresinthe1990s.tumblr.com?



The Great British Bakeoff
Baking is one of my favourite things to do, so The Great British Bakeoff is my idea of heaven. It's a British TV baking competition, where a group of amateur home bakers compete with three bakes per show to win the title of star baker and avoid going home. I love seeing what the bakers come up with each week in their attempts to impress judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and above all the unbelievable drama as a result of what seems like a trivial problem.



And that's just about it! For me the biggest thing that happened in September was going back to school, so I was totally focused on that, which meant I didn't have as much free time to enjoy doing my own thing in. Hopefully October will be slightly less manic, but somehow I doubt it very much...

x

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lorde

Bonjour,

So almost another week has gone by without another blog post, sorry. But today I'm posting about a new favourite artist of mine: Lorde. Quite a lot of Australian people I follow on Polyvore have been raving about her music for quite a while, so I finally decided to see what all the hype was about, and I really regret not doing so earlier.


Wikipedia says:
Ella Yelich-O'Connor (born 7 November 1996), known by her stage name Lorde, is a New Zealand singer-songwriter. She released her first EP, The Love Club EP, in March 2013 and her second single, "Tennis Court", in June 2013. The artist's début album, Pure Heroine, was released on September 27, 2013.

I love the feel of her music, it's so mellow and deep, though her genre is supposed to be electropop - I've heard her likened to a cross between Lana Del Rey and Marina & the Diamonds, two of my absolute favourite artists. But the lyrics are just out of this world - I can't even describe how beautiful and evocative some of them are, not to mention the fact she's only 16! Her song Tennis Court is my absolute favourite of all time, I can't even express my love for it.

Here are my favourite songs of hers - enjoy!

Tennis Court

Royals

Team

Million Dollar Bills

Bravado

Thanks for reading!

xx

Monday, 23 September 2013

Green Tea Can DIY

Bonjour,

Yes, I'm aware I haven't blogged in over a week, but things (aka homework) have been so hectic recently and the weekend seemed to slip away so quickly that I didn't get round to writing any posts. But I'm here today with a quick DIY!

So when I was in the supermarket the other day, I happened to buy one of those Arizona green teas, mostly because I'd never tried green tea and I wanted to know whether I liked it or not. I was going to get a bottle of it, but the can was just too gorgeous to resist...


My opinion on green tea aside (not sure if I'm a fan or not), I decided the can was too pretty to just throw away, so I came up with a really simple DIY to turn it into a pretty decoration for your room.

You will need:
♥ an Arizona green tea can
♥ any sort of liquid glue, kids glue works fine
♥ nail varnish
♥ sequins & sparkle


1. Wash out the can to make sure it's completely clean, and then leave it to dry.

2. Paint the bottom rim and the top with nail varnish. I used a bright Barbie pink colour from Topshop because it matches the flowers on the can exactly - plus I would never wear it, so at least it's been put to some good use!

3. Stick sequins onto the branch on the can, to add dimension - it looks best if done randomly.

And hey presto! This is the kind of thing I think I could easily go to town on - it wants glitter and wire flowers and silver doodling, but I kept it quite simple for a first go. Who knows, perhaps I'll have to buy another few cans to try out more ideas with.


Oh, and if by any chance my photos look better than usual, it might be because I discovered the 'auto-fix' option on my phone - what a hidden gem! But I should be getting an actual camera for Christmas anyway, so hopefully there'll be a more noticeable improvement then.

xx

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Books Haul

Bonjour,

Today has been a lovely, rainy September day, and I've spent it sitting at my laptop wearing a big woolly jumper and furry socks - alright, so I've been doing my homework all day, but who's counting?

Anyway, today I'm posting a book haul, as a huge box arrived from Amazon yesterday, and this is my portion of the goodies.

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Firstly, I got this trilogy by Libba Bray. I really can't remember where I first heard about these books, but they haven't actually been on my wishlist all that long. Set in 1895, the main character is Gemma Doyle, who is shipped off from her life in India to a boarding school in England, where she discovers her power to attract the supernatural. I think was interested by the odd mix of historical fiction, school story and fantasy these seem to involve - they're also described as Gothic novels "touched by modern conceptions". Despite (or perhaps because of) this bizarre mix of genres, I think I'm going to enjoy this trilogy a lot.

Bright Young Things and Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

Surprise, surprise - it's historical fiction. I first read Anna Godbersen's series The Luxe a year or two ago, and I remember being thrilled to find out she had written another similar series set in the 1920s. Especially after reading and watching The Great Gatsby, I think it's safe to say that the roaring twenties are a favourite period of mine, so I really hope these books live up to my expectations. I got the first two books from the series because these were both available for about £2 each, and the next one was over £5, so I'm going to wait for it to go down in price.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Rose Under Fire is Elizabeth Wein's second novel set in World War II, after Code Name Verity which was an incredible read that I reviewed back in July. It's about an American ATA pilot who is captured and sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp - if it's anything at all like Code Name Verity, I cannot wait to read this!

On a bit of a departure from the historical fiction theme, Glow is about two teenagers called Waverly and Kieran who are part of the first generation born in space. The blurb gives very little away about the rest of the plot, but that was enough to convince me! I saw this in a bookshop in the UK over the summer and decided to buy it online. To say one more thing about it, I just love the cover - it's so beautiful and it has a really tactile, waxy feel to it.

Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
Greek Tragedy

These are actually two books I need for school, but I thought I'd include them here anyway. I don't know much about Alan Bennett, but this book has some raving reviews on the back cover so I assume that means it's good, ahaha. The one on Greek tragedy is because we're going to be looking at tragedy and comedy over the next two years, and as my English teacher said "You really can't talk about tragedy without going back to the Greeks, can you?".

And that's it! Even though I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more books until I'd read everything on my bookcase, I have made some decent progress over the summer and I just needed something to keep my spirits up in the face of a whole year of school. I spent less than £20 in total (not counting the ones for school), so I'm pretty pleased with myself for getting finding them for such good prices. I'm really excited to get stuck into all these - I may review one or two if they really catch my interest, so look out for that.

x

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Emilie Autumn Obsessions

Bonjour,

Even though it's only the second week back, school is keeping me more than busy and I realise I'm not going to have a whole lot of time for blogging, to say the least. But I will try my best to keep it up, even if I only post short things - such as this post.

Emilie Autumn is only of my favourite artists of all time, and after a Marina & the Diamonds stint I've recently got back into her music. I might do a full post about her and what I love so much about her music at some point, but today I just want to post a few songs I'm utterly addicted to at the moment.

Rose Red

306

I hope you enjoy the above - please comment if you know Emilie or love her music too!

x

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Top 5: Science Fiction Novels

Bonjour, 

A while ago I posted about my top 5 contemporary teen fiction books, and today I'm doing something similar with my favourite science fiction books. I'm counting science fiction as separate from dystopian fiction, which is coming soon, and also I haven't read a huge amount of sci-fi so I'm not all that knowledgeable on the subject. But anyway, here are my top 5:

The H-Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter

First up is The H-Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter. It is essentially a science-fiction novel, but told in such a way that sets it apart from the rest of Stephen Baxter's more high-tech, futuristic novels. Set in Liverpool in the early 1960s, The H-Bomb Girl is the fictional account of 14-year-old Laura Mann and her role in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The story starts off fairly normally and is easy to follow, but before long the read is thrown into a jumble of potential bomb-threats, parallel realities and criss-crossing timelines (which Doctor Who fans will know is something to be avoided at all costs). I won't give away much more, as it's hard to do this incredibly confusing yet also fantastically brilliant novel.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the comedic genius which is Douglas Adams always has been and always will be one of my favourite series ever, regardless of genre. There are five of the original books (the trilogy of five), as well as another instalment penned by Eoin Colfer for the thirtieth anniversary of the books. The story follows Arthur Dent, who wakes up one morning to find his house is about to be destroyed to make way for a motorway. Soon he has bigger problems, when he finds out the Earth is about to be destroyed by a fleet of vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Along with his old friend Ford Prefect, who he suddenly discovers to be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, Arthur travels the universe armed with only his trusty towel, in a series of books universally acknowledged to be one of the best works of sci-fi comedy ever written. If you haven't read these books, you won't regret it!

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy. I remember before I read these books I kept seeing The Knife around all over the place, as it has won various awards, and never really knowing what it was about. It's the story of two characters: Todd Hewitt, who is running from his home town to escape the Noise and the secrets being kept from him, and Viola Eade, whose spaceship has crash landed on Todd's planet. There's a lot more to the story than that, but I've only read this a few times so the details escape me - but it was very, very good, I can tell you that much.


172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon, by Johan Harstad, was recommended to me by my lovely friend Elisha. It's been over forty years since man first landed on the moon, and the interest in space travel is slowly fading. NASA decide to launch a worldwide event where three teenagers are chosen to travel to the moon for a stay of 172 hours. But there's a reason nobody's gone back to the moon before now, and something evil and destructive waits in the darkness... 172 Hours is easily the most chilling, disturbing and generally terrifying book I have ever read, which is quite some achievement. It actually reads very much like an episode of Doctor Who, even to the point where I found myself hiding behind a cushion while I was reading it, which I'm aware makes no sense. If you love an eerie sci-fi novel bordering on thriller, this is definitely for you.


0.4 by Mike Lancaster

I first read 0.4 by Mike Lancaster because I was intrigued as to why a book would have a number as a title - several chapters in, I got my fairly satisfactory answer. Kyle Straker has a story to tell, and an editor's note tells us that the book is a transcript of tapes recorded by Kyle in the early part of the 21st century. One perfectly ordinary day, Kyle takes part in a hypnotism act, but he wakes up to find the world has changed, big-time. 0.4 is one of those books which is very difficult to talk about without giving away the ending, so I won't try to. What I will say is that this is one of the most I-can't-put-it-down books I have ever read, and I finished it in a couple of hours. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

And that concludes my top 5 science fiction novels. You'll notice that none of this could be classed as hardcore sci-fi, and that most of them are aimed at a YA audience, but I've only ever read one heavy duty sci-fi novel (Space by Stephen Baxter) which I wasn't a huge fan of. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed another top 5 post, please comment down below if you've read any of these!

x

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bizarre Mini Haul

Bonjour,

Last weekend I went shopping with my friend Joolz, and as the title suggests I bought an odd mix of things - usually I get some clothes or shoes, but although we went in a few clothes shops, I was totally uninspired. I'm also trying to limit my shopaholic tendencies by only buying stuff off a list every time I go shopping, which probably accounts for it as I didn't find anything I set out to get. Anyway, here's what I ended up with:


Burgundy tank top from H&M, €4.95
I wanted a plain, simple tank top in a reddish/purple, as the one I have has stopped being stretchy and gone a funny shape. I just love this colour for autumn and winter, and it goes with a lot of my clothes.

Hair doughnut from H&M, €2.75
I've always been fascinated by these, but I never really understood how they worked. My friend Joolz quickly educated me, so I decided to buy one and have a go myself - and I have to say, it took me several tries before I even remotely got the desired effect! But I love how it looks, and I know this is going to be my new favourite hairstyle for autumn.

Sparkly nail varnish from New Look, €3.99
This is perfect for giving your nails a snazzy top coat - it's clear with added glitter, and it looks amazing in the bottle.

Stick-on gems from HEMA, around €3
I'm going to use for craft projects and cards, as I finished up my last packet a while ago.

Wire beads from HEMA, around €3
This was a bit of a strange purchase, but it was that kind of shop. I originally thought these were those little beads you can assemble into shapes and then iron to create a kind of plastic design, and it took me a while to realise that the idea is to customise the wire on your earphones, by attaching the little beads to it.


Here's what the finished effect looks like:


I absolutely love these! I haven't seen them anywhere else, and it's such a fun and novel idea. I slotted mine on fairly randomly, but you could do it in a pattern if you so desired.

And that's it for my slightly random haul!

x

Monday, 2 September 2013

Last Hurrahs of Summer

Bonjour,

I go back to school tomorrow (Tuesday). I know that lots of people have already been back for a while, but I decided to put together a quick list of 'Last Hurrahs' for the summer holidays, or just summer itself. Why not spend your last days of freedom and/or sunny weather doing a load of stuff to make the most of summer? Enjoy!


Have a picnic
Chase butterflies
Go blackberrying
Watch an old movie
Tie-dye an old t-shirt
Have a movie marathon
Go for a walk in the forest
Build a den in your garden
Bake something with fruit in it
Play Monopoly with real money
Go to the park and read a book
Eat as many ice lollies as you can
Make covers for your school books
Have a mini fashion show in your bedroom
Draw a picture that represents your summer
Make a scrapbook page about your summer
Challenge a friend or sibling to a game of Mario Kart
Go shopping and challenge yourself to spend under €/$/£20
Put a bikini on and run through the hosepipe spray in your garden
Make a PowerPoint presentation of your favourite summery photos
Draw on the patio or the pavement outside your house with coloured chalks


(pictures from Polyvore, not my own)

x

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Back to School Oufits

Bonjour,

As I said not too long ago in my Back to School Advice post, choosing what to wear for the first week back at school can be tricky, but today I came up with a few outfits that I think would be good for wearing at school. I put the outfits together on Polyvore, and I've done four ideas each for warm and colder weather.


Outfit 1
This outfit is for quite cold weather, as it includes a winter coat. Creepers are some of my favourite footwear for school, as I find they go with anything, especially the black ones, and add a touch of grunge to any outfit. I love the colours here, and I hope the items go well together without being too matchy-matchy.  

Outfit 2
I am a huge fan of these kind of loose trousers I've been seeing a lot in shops lately. I have a pair myself from Pull & Bear, and I love them so much! They're ideal for the back-to-school time of year when summer is just turning into autumn, and they come in a huge range of colours. I love the brown satchel bag too, and the black jellies (which could be worn with socks) are a quirky finish.

Outfit 3
I've been shopping a lot in the past few weeks and I've noticed a lot of tartan clothes, particularly in shops like Bershka and New Look. I personally love it, and I think these shorts are a great way to wear it - a statement piece, yet without being over the top. Paired with a simple t-shirt and Dr Martens, the result is a comfy autumnal outfit which I think would be fab for school.

Outfit 4
This combination of leggings, a simple top, a shirt and lace up boots just screams practical school attire (or it does to me at least!). I think every girl should own at least one pair of brown or black lace up combat style boots, as they go with almost everything. I love the skeleton print leggings oh-so-much, and I've been looking for something similar to them for absolutely ages.


Outfit 5
This is so girly and feminine, and lovely for just before the weather starts to turn. Denim shorts are a foolproof choice for school, and the knee high socks add a slightly vintage twist.

Outfit 6
I love everything and anything with the USA flag on! I also like clothes with the Union Jack, but I prefer the stars and stripes for school as it's a bit more neutral and doesn't single me out as being British. Anyway, I love the lace shorts, which being black with go with so many different things, and could be worn with tights underneath in colder weather. The shoes (Jeffrey Campbell Coltranes) probably aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely adore these, and if I had a couple of hundred dollars to spare, I would definitely buy them and wear them to school!

Outfit 7
Another thing I keep seeing in the shops is this slightly rococo/baroque print, and in thin, floaty material shirts. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but I think this particular shirt (or indeed any other patterned shirt) would look great under a pair of dungarees. I love the shiny bag, although it would probably be too small for school, and look, more jellies!

Outfit 8
Last but not least, this quirky style is something I've been loving recently. It's all about bright colours, denim, glitter and crazy elements (which pretty much describes my Tumblr, actually) and everything about it screams summer. I put yet more jellies with this outfit, as I think they characterise this style perfectly.

I hope you enjoyed my back to school outfits, or at least found some inspiration. I would personally wear all of these to school, but then again I'll wear just about anything :P

x

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Monthly Favourites: August

Bonjour,

It's the end of August and I only have two days of holiday left - where did the summer go?! It seems only yesterday I was looking forward to over two months of nothingness, and now school is just around the corner.

Anyway it's time for my first monthly favourites post! I planned to do this at the end of July, but I was poorly and away on holiday so it didn't really work out. The idea is that I ramble on about a few thing I've been loving this month, which can include anything from clothes and accessories to books and TV shows. In the style of YouTubers such as Zoella and dailygrace, here's my monthly favourites for August:

Historical fiction
I've always loved historical fiction, but I've never been quite so into it as I was during August. I reread most of my collection of this genre, which is rapidly expanding to include more adult books and less YA fiction, and I enjoyed it all immensely. I love both reading and history with a passion, so historical fiction is ideal for me! My favourite read of the month was definitely The Rose of Sebastopol, by Katharine McMahon.I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a dose of Victorian life, or is particularly interested in Florence Nightingale and nursing.

Mini Review:
Set in 1854, The Rose of Sebastopol follows the main character Mariella Lingwood and her friendship with her cousin Rosa Barr, as Rosa follows her dream of becoming a nurse and travels to the Russian Crimea to work on the front line. When Rosa vanishes without a trace, leaving only a trail of whispered rumour and scandal behind her, Mariella travels to the heart of the conflict by request of her injured doctor fiancé, in her quest to uncover her cousin's secrets, while navigating the dangerous landscape of the ravaged Crimea. 




Polyvore
I've been on Polyvore for over two years now, but this past month I've acquired a ton of followers (I hit 1000 not too long ago!) and received a lot of likes on my sets. I'm so happy, as I really enjoy putting together sets and collections and it's something that takes up a lot of my time.



Death in Paradise
I don't watch a whole lot of TV (mostly due to the fact that the only two channels we get in English are BBC1 and BBC2), but recently I've been loving the series Death in Paradise, on BBC1. I love crime fiction, and the series is described as a crime comedy-drama. I haven't seen a whole lot of episodes, but I love the characters, the setting, and above all the highly clever plots which I rarely see coming. So far I've only watched repeats of past series, but I'm super excited there's a new season airing next January!



Primark sandals
I spent over a week of August in Spain, and the rest back home where although it wasn't baking hot, summer gear was definitely required. When it comes to summery footwear, I do have quite a lot of ballerina pumps and flipflops, but by far my favourite thing to wear on a walk down to the beach or out to dinner are these sandals I bought a couple of years ago from Primark - they were £6 and have lasted remarkably well for that kind of money. I wear them with everything, from floaty maxi skirts to leggings or denim shorts.


Acid wash denim studded shorts
Speaking of denim shorts: one item of clothing I've found myself wearing a lot this summer are my acid wash shorts from Primark. These were about £12, if I remember correctly, and I got them from Primark for the same reason I buy so many things there: I loved the look of them, but I wasn't sure whether I would enough use out of them to spend a lot of money on them in another shop. But it turns out these were a fantastic purchase, as I've been wearing them a lot this summer! Being denim, they aren't great for wearing in very hot weather, but they're perfect for when the temperature is around 20-25 degrees. They have a lovely pale acid wash effect, with slightly lethal-looking metal studs on one half of the fabric.


Vlogs
Now you may or may not know that I watch a lot of YouTubers. Some of my favourites include Zoella, SprinkleofGlitter, dailygrace, Emma Blackery, danisnotonfire, RoseEllenDix and Tanya Burr - I just love watching the videos they put together, and I really appreciate that so many wonderful people spend their time providing free internet content for the likes of you and I. But something I've found myself getting really into in the past month or so is watching vlogs. Thanks to YouTube events such as Vidcon, there has been no shortage of vlogs of late, and I've been loving watching the little details from people's lives as well as the main videos they make.

Marina & the Diamonds
It's no secret that I love Marina! This month I had quite an obsession with her music, and I spent most of the time sitting at my computer with her album Electra Heart on repeat.

And that's it! Probably a kind of boring/pointless set of favourites for this month, but I'll work on it for September, okay?

x

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Film Review: Lolita

Bonjour,

At the weekend I went to one of my best friends' house for shopping, hanging out and a sleepover, and it was amazing and wonderful and I enjoyed myself a lot. While I was there we watched the film Lolita, which I've been wanting to see for oh-so-long, and I was thrilled to finally see it - so much so that I've decided to write a review of it, in a similar style to my book reviews.


The Basics
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Producer: James B. Harris
Starring: James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon, Peter Sellers
Country: US/UK
Release date: June 13th, 1962

Why I Saw It
A few months ago I read the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, and fell into a twisted sort of obsession with the unlikely love story it portrays. Lolita is not an easy book or film to write about, but I'll try to sum up the plot in a few lines: the story is centred around a middle-aged man, Humbert Humbert, who becomes obsessed with 12-year-old Dolores Haze, the daughter of the woman at whose house he is lodging. After marrying her mother to get closer to Dolores (who is also called Dolly, Lo, and Lolita in the novel) and her mother's accidental death, Humbert ends up taking custody of Lolita.

I originally intended to watch the 1997 version of Lolita, but after a happy mistake at the DVD rental store we ended up with the 1962 version, which was probably a lot more tame and low-key. I don't regret seeing the early version, however I'm still keen to watch the later version if I ever find it.


What I Thought
As I said, I'd wanted to see Lolita for quite a while, long before I read the book, and I definitely wasn't disappointed. Although at first I was a bit wary of it being in black and white, before long it was barely noticeable and I really don't think it would have been the same in colour. The film started off pretty slow and unclear as to what was happening, and even having read the book before I wasn't quite sure what was going on - but the story soon picked up and from then on I thoroughly enjoyed it.


I haven't seen that many old films, but I think Lolita was quite typical of the 60s era in the acting and screenplay. The background music just screamed 'old movie', and the way the scenes ran into each other and told the story definitely belonged to a bygone age. 



In conclusion, I enjoyed Lolita a lot - there was just something about the authentic vintage feel that I loved, in addition to the storyline, obviously. I would recommend the film to anyone who has heard of Lolita or likes slightly risqué plot concepts.

Rating
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

x

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Back to School Advice

Bonjour,

If, like me, you're in the last week or so before you go back to school after the summer holidays, you'll know exactly how horrible and disheartening the prospect of school starting up again is. Going from the lazy routine of getting up whenever you like, doing whatever you like whenever you like, and going to bed whenever you like, getting back into the school routine is always a chore. Here are some hints and tips for how to make your transition back into term time as painless as possible:


1. Get organised
Needless to say, organisation is everything. If you have to buy your own school books, make sure you have everything off the list at least a week before school starts, so you'll have time for them to arrive if you're ordering online. Sort out any stacks of books or papers that might be hanging around from the last school year, and either recycle them or put them in labelled boxes to store. Make sure your gym kit is washed, and that any other supplies you need are ready to go.

2. Get more sleep
When it comes to sleeping during the holidays I'm not the worst culprit by far, but my summer sleep routine is very different from during school time. I tend to wake up around 9am during the holidays, whereas I need to be up by 6:45am for school - my plan for the last week of holidays before school is to wake up 15 minutes earlier each day, which will hopefully help prepare me for the shock of being conscious before 7am. The same thing applies at night: try and go to sleep a bit earlier each day. I rarely get to sleep before 2am during the summer, so my ultimate aim is to be out before midnight.

3. Deal with stress/apprehension
It's okay to be nervous about going back to school, whether you're going back at the same place with people you know, starting at a totally new school in another town or country, or going to high school/secondary school for the first time. Remember it's highly likely there will be other new people too, and also that the school will probably have a tour day so you can have a look around before the actual first day. I've been at the same school for ten years now, so I know the place like the back of my hand and I have tons of wonderful friends, but every year I get butterflies on the night before the first day back - what if I get this or that teacher, who I really don't like? What if I'm in a class with no one I know? What if this turns out to be a terrible year? For me this really only lasts up until the first lesson or so, when I realise I feel totally comfortable to be back, especially as there's no homework or tests to study for yet. If you're at a new school it might take a few weeks to get used to it, but I guarantee before long you'll feel at home and make new friends.

4. Plan ahead
If you're feeling stressed out by the idea of school, it will help a lot not to be rushing and panicking on the first day back. You want to be calm and put together, not running around looking for things or doing last-minute outfit changes. Shower the night before so you have more time in the morning, and pack your bag. Make sure you have everything you need - for me that's a purse with money, my caf card and last year's school exit card; my pencil case with new pens and pencils; a bottle of water; an umbrella; tissues etc etc. Unless you know which subjects you'll have on your first day, there's no need to take in schoolbooks on the first day. However, I always have a stack of books and exercise books about a mile high, so I tend to take in a few every day for the first week, and put them in my locker, rather than carrying the whole pile in all at once.

5. Decide on an outfit
Another thing to do the night before is plan what you're going to wear - if you wear school uniform this is a no-brainer, but I know only too well the crucial decision of deciding your outfit, weighing up the pros and cons of each item of clothing and finally running out of time and settling on any old thing. I'd say keep it low-key and not too anything, if that makes sense: don't try too hard, but make an effort to look presentable, as you want to make a decent first impression and your clothes can say a lot about you. Unless you're sure of the impression you want to give off on the first day, stick to jeans, plimsolls or Converse, a nice top and a cardigan (depending on the weather of course - I'm planning a separate 'First Day Back Outfits' post soon). Make a note of what other people tend to wear, but don't change yourself and your style just to blend in. If your school has any rules on what you can and can't wear (e.g. no makeup, no heels, no shorts etc), make sure you're aware of them and that you dress appropriately - I'm lucky that my school has no rules whatsoever!

6. On the morning of the first day
Wake up as early as you can bear, to allow for oversleeping and anything you haven't already anticipated the night before. Eat a decent breakfast (cereal, toast, fruit - whatever you need to give your brain a kick start and keep you going till lunchtime). Make sure you leave some extra time for getting to school - if you're going to a new school, practice the route you'll take beforehand so you don't get lost. If you take public transport allow time for delays, and if you go on a school bus be aware that on the first day the routine isn't quite so defined, so the bus isn't likely to be on time - get to the stop extra early just in case.

And that concludes my back to school advice! I hope it was marginally useful to you, and I wish everybody good luck for the new school year.

x

Quick Haul

Bonjour,

So I know I haven't posted in a short while, but I was at my friend's house at the weekend and this week I've started a summer job which is basically childminding, but it means most of my afternoon is gone and I was too tired to post afterwards.

Anyway, I went shopping at the weekend and here's what I bought:

 Black Woolly Cardigan from New Look, €24.99

Excuse the weird lighting on this picture, it's actually quite difficult to photograph black clothing properly, and this was probably my 5th or 6th attempt! Anyway, I'd been looking for a cosy black cardi to wear in winter for some time now - I have similar ones in grey and cream from Primark, but I always felt like I needed a black one. So I was so happy to find this in New Look, even though the price was double what I paid in Primark for something very similar. This will be perfect when it gets colder, as it's warm and snuggly, without being too itchy.

Grey Knee Socks from Bershka, €7.99

This is another thing I'd been looking for for a while: knee socks. I've looked in so many shops over here in Belgium, but very few seem to do knee socks, which is kind of odd. But I finally found these in Bershka, and I'm fairly pleased with them, as they'll go perfectly with skirts and creepers in autumn.

And that's it. Yup, I only bought two things, which I suppose is hardly worth doing a haul post for - but never mind, since I've already written it :P

x

Thursday, 22 August 2013

MS MR

Bonjour,

I've been meaning to post this for a while, so hooray for me finally getting round to it! In the same vein as this post I wrote about Marina & the Diamonds, I'd like to share some more of my favourite music with you lovely readers. This time I'me featuring the band MS MR, and here's a quick summary from Wikipedia:


MS MR (pronounced Miss Mister) are a New York-based American duo consisting of vocalist Lizzy Plapinger and producer Max Hershenow. The duo are signed to IAMSOUND and Columbia Records. After both members graduated from Vassar College in 2010, MS MR released two singles, "Hurricane" and "Fantasy". The music video for their debut single "Hurricane" was released on 26 April 2012, with the single released on iTunes on 10 July 2012. MS MR's sound has been compared to Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey and Kavinsky.





I discovered MS MR through a friend who posted about them on a blog I used to write for, and I was instantly hooked. Their music is so addictive and a lot of the lyrics are chilling and a little disturbing, which I think is part of the appeal. Wikipedia describes their music genre as indie pop, alternative rock, dream pop and dark wave - quite a range. I can't personally tell what's what, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the music! I think what I most love about this band is that all their songs are so different and conjure up completely different images in my head.


Here are my favourite songs of theirs:







I hope you find you like MS MR as much as I do!

(all photos from Google images, videos from YouTube)

x

Another H&M Haul

Bonjour,

Although it may not seem like it, I do occasionally do more things than shop and blog, but I love both so blogging about shopping is my idea of heaven. Today I went to H&M again, because my mum was going to the local shopping centre and I decided to tag along. The photos I took are even worse quality than usual, as it's a kind of bright-but-grey day today, and the light is doing something funky with my phone's camera.

 Cardigan from H&M, €14.95

I absolutely love this cardigan, in fact I'm wearing it as I type this. I have quite a lot of cardis, including a dark purple one and a brown one, but this is a gorgeous 'oxblood' shade, somewhere between purple and brown. It's a great length too, as it's not too long to make an outfit look out of balance or show at the bottom of a jacket, but neither is there any danger of it shrinking in the wash, which is what seems to have happened to a lot of my other cardigans. 

Grey Skater Skirt from H&M, €9.95

Terrible photo alert... But anyway, this skater skirt is a lovely dark grey colour, and nicely weighted so it swings a little. I'd say it's a bit shorter than your average skater skirt, but I don't mind that. I was so pleased to see it was only €10! I actually went out looking for a grey skirt, as I have two black ones but I find that I tend to wear them with black tights in the winter, which ends up overloading slightly on the black, especially as I normally wear them with my black creepers or black boots. But this should be great with dark tights - I do feel like I'm wearing school uniform in it though!

Black Satchel Bag from H&M, €24.95

As usual, I was in dire need of a bag for school. I usually buy cheap ones from Primark, New Look or H&M, which are wont to fall apart after a few months, which is the case of my current school bag, which cost £9 from Primark and is ripping at the base of the straps. Hopefully this is a slight step up on the quality front, (although you can't tell from the photo, it actually looks quite high-quality material) so should last a bit longer, and it's also exactly what I had in mind - black with a long strap, and with enough room inside for everything I need for school.

Hair Bows from H&M, €2.95

I rarely ever do anything more interesting with my hair than straighten it (with my beloved ghd straighters) or leave it in it's natural crazy state which is somewhere between curly and wavy, with a great deal of frizz for good measure. But I saw these little bows on hair elastics, and thought "Why not?". I only really like the black one, but I might be a daredevil and wear the jazzy leopard print one someday...

And that's it! Not a particularly exciting haul, but I just about managed to tear myself away from these imitation Jeffrey Campbell Litas to buy some autumn/winter staples.

x

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Reasons to Smile

Bonjour,

I was inspired by my friend Joolz's recent blog post (go check out her blog please!) to make a list of 'things to be happy about' - or, as I've called mine, 'reasons to smile'. Some days it's so difficult to maintain a positive attitude, so I hope that by making this list I can do something to keep my own spirits up in the times I need it most.

1. The crisp smell of new books
2. Velvet creepers
3. Deep texting conversations at 2am
4. Jaffa cakes and jammy dodgers
5. Retro typewriters
6. Rainy days
7. Scrolling through your Tumblr dash
8. The smell of baking
9. Having an impromptu fashion show in your bedroom
10. Ice lollies on hot summer days
11. Internet friends who know you better than anyone
12. Rewatching episodes of Doctor Who
13. A new school year to start afresh
14. Glitter foam shapes and sparkly sequins
15. Marina & the Diamonds
16. Writing poetry at 1am
17. Dungarees and knee-high socks
18. Watching YouTubers do crazy stuff
19. Shopping online from the comfort of your bed
20. Lazy days in summer
21. Best friends who will be there for you no matter what

x

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Top 5: Contemporary Teen Fiction Books

Bonjour,

Yesterday two of my best friends in the whole wide world came round to my house. We had a lovely catch up session and talked about what we've been up to so far this summer, and what we're hoping for in the coming school year. It was really nice to see them after so many weeks, as even though we'd kept in contact via email (sort of), I don't think it compares to seeing people in the flesh.

Anyway, today I'm starting a new series of posts on my blog: my top five of anything. It's a really simple idea, where I basically pick a category and show you/write about my top five of something, whether it's clothes, bags, perfumes, stationery or YouTubers (watch out for that one!). Today I'm going to be showing you my top five contemporary teen fiction books - if you know me at all, you'll be aware that books are one of my favourite things in the universe, and I have a lot of them, which is why it was practically impossible to narrow it down to my top five favourites. However, I managed it in the end, and came up with a list of my current favourite single novels, i.e. books which aren't part of a series.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin 

I first read Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin several years ago, and since then I've reread it again and again. The book is told from the point of view of 15-year-old Liz, who has just become the victim of a hit-and-run accident which killed her. She finds herself in a place called Elsewhere, where people age backwards from the point at which they died, and are eventually reborn back to Earth. Elsewhere is a wonderful novel that puts an original and above all hopeful spin on heaven and life after death.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is one of those books that made me cry buckets and reach for the tissues. Lennie Walker's sister Bailey has just died, and the story is about the impact her death has on the family left behind, and how they cope with their overwhelming grief. For Lennie this means writing poetry to her dead sister and finding comfort in the arms of her sister's boyfriend, while her family slowly fall apart around her. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, as it's one of the more little-known books of this type I've read.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I found The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold at a second-hand booksale a few months ago. It sat on my book shelf for weeks, until one day my friend Elisha mentioned it and I had an odd sense of deja vu (or should I say, deja acheté) and decided to read it. The Lovely Bones is narrated by 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who was brutally murdered by a serial killer on her way home from school. Over the next few years Susie keeps watch over her family and friends from her version of Heaven, as her siblings grow up and experience everything she never got to. Chilling and sickening at times, The Lovely Bones is a dark portrait of grief in the aftermath of tragedy.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is another stunningly poignant tale of grief and depression, told with originality and flair. Clay Jensen finds a mysterious package containing several cassette tapes - they have been recorded by his classmate Hannah Baker, who committed suicide not long before. Hannah explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself, and thirteen people who will receive the set of tapes and listen to her story.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green is one of the most over-quoted books of the moment, with the possible exception of The Fault in Our Stars by the same author. However, there is a reason why so many people are obsessed with it, and that is that it's a novel that many people can relate to, told flawlessly in the voice of a teenage boy falling in love for the first time. When Miles Halter moves to Culver Creek Boarding School, he meets Alaska Young, who enthralls Miles and steals his heart. But Looking for Alaska is a lot more than just a love story, it's a tale of friendship and grief that has captured the imagination of countless readers across the globe (and also on Tumblr, let's not forget).

I hope you enjoyed my brief summary of each of my top five contemporary teen fiction titles. Please leave a comment down below if you're read any of these, or if you have any recommendations for me in the same genre.

x