Wednesday, 29 April 2015

New Look Spring Picks

Bonjour,

Today I thought I'd share my spring picks from New Look with you. I adore New Look and I shop there all the time, and in fact I'd say it's probably my favourite clothes shop (with the possible exception of Forever 21, which we sadly no longer have in Brussels). It's affordable and I always find things I like, and it's also great for basics and accessories. So, inspired by Rachel Coco, here are my spring favourites:


Blue Denim V Neck Patch Pocket Tunic Dress / 24,99 €
I love this dress, I think it definitely has the 6-year-old vibe which I am all about. And pockets! I'd wear this with chunky sandals and socks.

Gold Heart Stud Sunglasses / 7,99 €
'Baby put on heart shaped sunglasses, cause we gonna take a ride' as Lana would say. I have a pair of cheap black plastic heart-shaped glasses, but these ones are absolutely beautiful.

Stone Crochet Panel Backpack / 29,99 €
I normally don't really like backpacks much, although I do own one (which I've used a grand total of once), but I really like how girly and pretty this one is. It's not really my colour, but if they had it in black it would be a winner fo' sho'.

White Laser Cut Out Front Purse / 17,99 €
I always obsess over the purses in New Look, but since I tend to carry small bags I know I would never use one that big so I have to resist the temptation. But this one might be an exception to the rule...

Yellow Daisy Print Strappy Dress / 22,99 €
I wear a lot of dresses and arguably I have quite enough, but who cares, this one is so bright and spring/summery, it just cheers me up looking at it.

Shell Pink Waffle Textured Balloon Midi Skater Skirt / 24,99 €
I'm slightly afraid of midi skirts because I don't think they flatter me at all, but this one is such a pretty baby pink I can't help but love it. I think I would wear this with a little lace top and some heels to a moderately fancy event.

Black Scuba Floral Print Skater Skirt / 22,99 €
I think I mentioned a while ago that I was loving florals on black, and nothing's changed there. I think it's just a great halfway step between emerging from dark wintry colours and embracing the summer brights.

Black High Neck Sleeveless Crop Top / 14,99 €
I've seen a couple of people at school really rocking these kinds of tops lately, so I'm tempted to get myself one when I next go shopping. In my opinion they look so stylish and chic, just the thing for days when its warm but not quite hot.

Black Leather T-Bar Flared Heel Sandals / 49,99 €
Allow me to introduce the shoes of my dreams. Seriously, as soon as I saw these I realised they are all I have ever wanted in a shoe because the possibilities are endless: dressing a fancy dress down, dressing jeans up, with or without socks, summer or autumn, etc. I just love them so much!

Are you tempted by any of my spring picks?

x

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Olympia Le-Tan Book Clutches

Bonjour,

Today I'd like to talk about one of my very favourite things at the moment: Olympia Le-Tan book clutches. They are essentially handmade and hand-stitched clutches in the form of books, both classics and modern titles, and they're so beautifully done I can't help obsessing over the incredible detail of each. It's pretty much a dream of mine to own one of these, but since they cost upwards of $1200 I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon - I suppose I will have to content myself with ogling over photos on google images, or perhaps splashing significantly less cash on an Etsy imitation.

Here are a couple of the ones currently available in the collection on Olympia Le-Tan's e-shop. They're a Disney theme and remind me a lot of vintage-style movie posters. I love the little details like the sparkles on Cinderella's dress and the horses' tiny glittery bridles, there's really just so much going on and it's amazing to think it's all hand-embroidered:


Past collections have included more of the classics, such as this one of To Kill a Mockingbird, which I love because of the colour scheme and also because I adore the book. I also really like the Jane Eyre one, especially as you can see the inside and the gold edges on this image I found:




Perhaps unsurprisingly, I desperately want to own the Lolita one because the Olympia Le-Tan version looks exactly like the first edition of the novel when it was published in 1955 by (wait for it) Olympia Press! Here are some incredible photos from Alix's beautiful blog The Cherry Blossom Girl (I really recommend you check out her blog, it's beyond amazing):


Photo creds to www.thecherryblossomgirl.com

And finally, here are some shots of celebrities rocking book clutches on the red carpet, courtesy of google images:


I honestly can't express how much I love the whole concept of having a clutch which looks like a book - the only thing I can think of which might trump it is a clutch which is actually made out of a book or rather its cover, which is the case of most of the ones on Etsy. I'm currently deliberating over this gorgeous one I found, but I'm not sure if I can justify buying it to myself right now - I might wait until my exams are over in June and get it as a celebratory purchase - watch this space!


x

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Wanderlust Tag

Bonjour,

I saw Gemma do this tag on her amazing blog Touch of Belle and it looked really interesting so I decided I decided to give it a go myself, as I haven't done a tag post for quite a while. I hope you enjoy reading my answers! I also thought I'd share some of my favourite holiday snaps at the end of the post, just for something visual.

1. Where was your first plane to?
According to my mum, my first plane trip was just from Belgium to England when I was about three and my brother was a baby, even though we've gone by car every single time before that and since. Apparently she wanted us to have the experience of going on planes early on in life, but to be honest I don't remember it at all! The first trip I actually remember was probably our trip to the US in 2007 - we flew to California via Chicago to visit my family who live out there.

2. Where have you travelled to that you would love to visit again?
I would absolutely LOVE to visit Iceland again! I went with some people from my school about this time last year and it was definitely one of the most interesting and breathtaking places I've ever been. I really loved walking round Reyjavik and seeing all the interesting buildings and shops, it was probably my favourite part of the trip. I'd also really love to go back to Rome someday.

3. You're leaving tomorrow, money is no object, where are you going?
Ok, first of all I am NOT the type of person to ever go on a spontaneous holiday - I am a planner, and I like to know exactly what I'm doing and where I'm going at all times. But if I absolutely had to go on a surprise trip, I'd probably go to Australia or somewhere else really far away,

4. Preferred method of travelling?
I'm not really that fussed, and obviously it depends where I'm going. I really enjoy car journeys as I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat in a car, but if I was going to say Spain on holiday I'd much prefer to hop on a quick 2 hour flight than drive across Europe. I wouldn't say I particularly enjoy plane rides, but neither do I really have a problem with them so in general I would probably say plane.

5. Top 3 travel items?
I feel like this is another one where it really depends where you're going - for Iceland the essentials were thermals, knitwear and hiking boots, but for a beach holiday in Spain I'd pack my flipflops, floaty dresses and suncream. But I think overall I'd consider a camera and (several) books pretty essential.

6. Favourite travel website?
I'm not really sure what this means, but I just booked a holiday through the travel agency Neckermann so that I guess? Other than that I would probably say Instagram for looking at people's holiday snaps.

7. Where would you travel just to eat the food?
Italy, definitely. That's probably quite a standard answer, but who doesn't love pizza, pasta and ice cream?

8. Is there a place you would never go back to?
I'm not planning to go back to the Cevennes in France for a long, long time, but that's because I associate that area with the failure that was my Gold DofE expedition. But in terms of actual holiday destinations, I think I would happily go back to all the places I've visited.

9. Can you recite your passport number?
Nope.

10. Do you prefer the window, aisle or middle seat?
Probably the aisle, but that's from years of having to let my little brother have the window seat and then a parent sitting between us.

Javea, Spain
Niagara Falls, Canada
17 mile drive, California, USA
Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland
Mont Saint-Michel, Normandie, France
Bari, Italy

 x

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Film Review: The Breakfast Club

Bonjour,

The other day I finally got round to watching the 80s classic The Breakfast Club, and as I haven't done a review in a good long while I thought I'd blabber on briefly about it here. It's probably a bit unrealistic to call this a 'review', so instead let's just say here are my thoughts on and immediate reaction to the film.

First of all, I had a lot of expectations for this movie, not least because of the sheer number of gifs and screenshots Tumblr has yielded of it over the years. I knew I was getting myself in for some angsty teenage all-American drama, which is pretty much what it is at the outset: the premise is that a group of five students, who aren't total strangers but all come from different cliques, have to turn up to school on a Saturday morning for detention. They seem to have nothing in common - there's the beautiful Claire Standish (a 'princess'), the state champion wrestler Andrew Clarke (an 'athlete'), the bookish Brian Johnson (a 'brain'), the reclusive outcast Allison Reynolds (a 'basket case') and the rebellious John Bender (a 'criminal'). But as the day goes on they begin to open up to each other, talking and often arguing, eventually discovering more secrets than they ever imagined they could be hiding. But no spoilers: this is a review, not a plot summary.


What I wasn't quite prepared for with this movie was the sheer intensity. There were so many scenes where I was on the edge of my seat or hiding behind my fingers, just from the incredible tension between the characters. I assumed they would all fit neatly into the stereotypes that so neatly sum them up at the beginning of the movie, and to a certain extent they did, but at the same time they seemed so much more real than my first impressions - their reactions to the various situations were so unexpected and genuine, but at the same time totally relatable as a teenager. In my opinion all the actors did an incredible job of capturing the essence of teenagerdom: sometimes they're moody and sullen, sometimes they act irrationally, sometimes they're just bored and sometimes - to use Tumblr lingo - the feels are too much.

Aside from the really well done character exploration and development, maybe I was missing something but I felt like the movie didn't really go anywhere, despite the few marginally out of context scenes of them all running around the school, which provided some much needed physical movement for the visuals - it was all very much about the characters as people and not so much their actions. That's not a criticism, since I very much enjoyed the psychological depth it went into as a consequence.



I was also pleased to discover that the movie deals with a number of social issues, such as stereotyping, class inequality, bullying, social pressures to perform etc etc, basically everything everyone who has ever been a teenager will understand, but dealt with with such sensitivity and realism that it didn't seem stereotypical and forced. It wasn't so much a movie about these issues as a theme, but they were introduced in a very realistic and personal way, namely through the characters' own honest and often painful confessions.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend The Breakfast Club to anyone who has ever been a teenager or really just wants to watch something with a healthy dose of realism and good acting.

Rating: 8/10

x

Thursday, 16 April 2015

UK Haul

Bonjour,

As I said in my last post, I was in the UK last weekend and I (naturally) did a bit of shopping along the way. Here's a quick mid-week haul so I can justify my purchases by photographing them and putting them on the internet under the guise of a blog post...


The Red Queen and The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, $2.99 each

It won't come as any surprise that the first section (I use the term loosely) I looked at when I found myself in a tiny secondhand bookshop full of higgledy-piggledy stacks of books was the historical fiction. I spotted these beauties which I've been meaning to get for ages, and for £2.99 each I thought they were a bargain.

The Glam Guide by Fleur de Force, £8

I have to admit, I wasn't intending to buy this, as I still have both Tanya and Grace's books to read on the 'Youtuber' section of my bookshelf, but I couldn't resist. I really do like Fleur, I think she's both very professional with what she does in the beauty world but also able to fit into the more general 'friendly Youtuber' category. I've flicked through this a little already and it's essentially all the useful advice bits from her videos compiled into one aesthetically pleasing book - honestly, what's not to like?

Seventeen Stay Pout Lipstick in Infared and Kiss Me Quick, £4.49
Seventeen Maximum Volume Mascara, £4.99



I was actually on the lookout for a red lipstick as I didn't have a decent one, and a new mascara as my old one was drying up. I'm really happy with both: I tested the lipstick and it stayed on a good while, and the mascara is possibly my favourite one I've ever tried, it does wonders with both volume and length. Best of all, they were on a 3 for 2 so I got another lipstick as well in this really pretty pink colour!

Next Gold Eau de Parfum, £14

I had lots of time to kill in Next, so I headed to the accessory section and ended up spraying myself with all the perfumes. I really love Next perfumes, they're very affordable and in my opinion generally smell lovely. This is the Gold one, which (according to the box) has a base of musk and amber, a heart of ylang and muguet and top notes of grapefruit and mandarin - basically it smells quite sophisticated and unflowery, it's gorgeous.

Striped Clam Bag, £12

Not the most exciting purchase perhaps, but I bought this pretty washbag to replace one I've had for ages. It has two zipped sections inside so I should be able to fit everything I need, and I really like the summery colours.

And that's what I got on this trip to the UK!

x

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Day Out in Hastings

Bonjour,

This weekend I went to the UK for a wedding, which was all very nice, a lovely family occasion and a chance to catch up - until we all got food poisoning/norovirus/who even knows. But anyway, on the long drive back home before the sickness set in we stopped off in Hastings on the south east coast for a wander around, as it was a beautiful sunny day. We always drive through Hastings in a hurry so it was nice to have some time to explore the town a bit, and we finally did something we've always been meaning to do, which is go up the cliff on the funicular railway, also known as the East Lift. The views from the top were stunning as we could see right over the town to the next cliff with the green on top and out to sea, where the pier is still sadly standing derelict since it caught fire a few years ago.



Then we walked through some of the pretty little back streets of the town, where there are all sorts of quaint little vintage shops like these ones which have been built into what looks like old railway tunnels.



Next we spotted a secondhand bookshop, which of course I wasn't going to walk past without having a quick browse through, and it turned out to look like this on the inside which is pretty much my idea of heaven. I got a couple of books, which I'll probably put in a haul post in a couple of days because I managed to acquire quite a few odds and ends over the weekend.



It was a really lovely day for it, as you can see from that blue sky. I hope to go back to Hastings soon, as this weekend I was sadly feeling too ill to sample some of the traditional fish & chips that the English seaside is so famous for!

x

Thursday, 9 April 2015

My 2015 To-Read List

Bonjour,

I know it's already April and 'goals for 2015' type posts are long overdue, but I suddenly felt the need to officially reassess my bookshelf situation and figure out exactly what I definitely want to read this year, and what can easily wait until 2016. This definitely isn't my extensive 'to-read' list for this year as I always get sidetracked into new discoveries, but these are the ones I definitely want to be able to add to my 'read' section of Goodreads before the year is over.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

This has been sitting on my bookshelf for what seems like years, to the point where I can't even remember where I got it - which is rare for me, since my books are little treasures I collect everywhere I go and in my mind each one has a story behind it. Anyway, I'm really interested to read this because I just noticed it says 'in the bestselling tradition of Angela's Ashes' on the cover, which is one of the books we read for English this year. I can't say it was my favourite thing ever, but for a schoolbook I did enjoy it, so I wonder if A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will be a more Americanised version of it...


The Selection / The Elite / The One by Kiera Cass

Ok, this was a series I had on my to-buy list for absolute ages before I finally got round to ordering them at Christmas, and now I feel like I might have made a mistake. I've been assured they are excellent, but I have the distinct feeling 14-year-old me might have agreed, while 18-year-old me might beg to differ. In any case, they look short and easy so I plan to read them before I get entirely too old.


Go Ask Alice by anonymous

Basically I'm just desperate to read this, there's not much else to say. I haven't had it that long either so it's saying something that it's made it onto this list!


Catch 22 by Jospeh Heller

I've skim-read the blurb of this one, but to be quite honest I still don't really know what it's about - it's a case of literary snobbery on my quest to read as many modern classics as possible.


Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Another one where I have no idea what it's about, but frankly I don't care because I went mad over Ruta Sepetys's novel Between Shades of Gray and I'll read anything with her name on it. Also it's one of the most aesthetically-pleasing covers I've seen in a long time.


The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

Need I say more? I can't believe I haven't read this yet, but to be fair it's one of my most recent acquisitions and there's a long line to make it to my 'next to read' pile.


The Tudor Court series by Philippa Gregory

Given my obsession with all things Tudor, it's a mystery I haven't yet got round to reading this series, but equally given the sheer number of books it's quite an ordeal to embark on. It's funny, I used to be disappointed if a series wasn't at least 10 books long, but these days the thought of even a trilogy gets me all stressed out that I won't be able to finish it before I have to read something else for school or whatever.

And that's what I'll definitely be reading this year -  let me know if you've read any of these and would recommend them!

x

Monday, 6 April 2015

Orange Is the New... Everything?

Bonjour,

I think I've just started following more fashion/haute couture-orientated blogs on Tumblr lately, because suddenly an awful lot of catwalk looks have been popping up on my dash and I've found myself reblogging them in quite the frenzy. I don't know what it is about runway fashion, but even though my knowledge about it is minimal I can get extremely excited and often start weirdly obsessing over one particular collection or trend (see this post).

I was thinking about this the other day, and I really think an analogy can be drawn between fashion and literature in this context. If your average everyday highstreet store fashion is equivalent to contemporary fiction (the Harry Potters, Twilights and Hunger Games of the book world), and quirky thrift shops are those odd alternative novels no one has ever heard of but can blow your mind, then haute couture is equivalent to the classics, the Great Gatsbys, Pride and Prejudices and Anna Kareninas that are respected and analysed and compared to other great works to within an inch of their lives. While I enjoy your average New Look, H&M, Pull&Bear and Forever 21 fashion trends on a material basis, meaning I actually wear them, there's just something about fashion that has been constructed by hand from start to finish that reminds me of the deep-rooted reverence I have for the classics - it's a whole new level.

Analogies aside, something I've noticed a lot and have rapidly become obsessed with is the whole deal with orange, and specifically orange fur. Now normally orange is one of my least favourite colours, but oddly enough I really, really like it when styled in a particular way, such as in Shimps' A/W 15 collection. Now I'm not gonna lie, I had never heard of this designer/label but I quickly googled it and:

"Shrimps is a faux-fur fashion label from the young London-based designer, Hannah Weiland. With a background in History of Art and a diploma in textile design from the London College of Fashion, she takes her inspiration from the witticisms of modern art and a playful engagement with pattern and texture. Using carefully sourced fabrics that emphasise colour, Shrimps creates beautifully crafted pieces, perfect for the forward-thinking customer with a taste for the fun in fashion."

Ok then. As I said, in my ignorance I don't think I have anything to add apart from to say that the following is the object of my obsession and a couple of other places where I'm currently loving orange:

all photos from Tumblr


Shrimps, Autumn/Winter 2015
Lara Stone by Alasdair McLellan for Vogue Paris April 2015
Prada, Spring/Summer 2015/16

Christian Dior, Spring/Summer 2004

x

Friday, 3 April 2015

Whoops Another Haul

Bonjour,

Yesterday I went shopping again, and unusually enough I had an actual idea in mind of what I was going to get. Usually I waltz into a shop and casually browse the rails, but this time I was very much on a mission: namely, to get a dress for my cousin's wedding next week. Of course, I'd kind of forgotten that outfits for weddings are never quite as simple as you think: there's not only the dress, but some kind of jacket/blazer (vital for spring in the UK), shoes, jewellery, a bag etc. Not that it's always necessary to buy all these items for every occasion, but I didn't have anything that would go with the dress (except the shoes in my last haul post), so I ended up spending quite a lot in total. Oh, and I may have splashed out on a couple of other things, because, you know, I never go shopping or anything...

Purse, H&M, €9.99
White & gold necklace, H&M, €14.99
Silver spikes necklace, H&M, €6.99
Bourjois mega liner in ultra black, Di, €11.99

First I decided to pick up a new eyeliner, as my Rimmel one that I raved about so much a month or two ago is already beginning to dry out at the end, which is just another unnecessary problem when it comes to the ordeal of winged eyeliner. This Bourjois one was not what you might call an educated buy - I didn't look it up beforehand and read reviews, but I certainly did once I'd bought it and they were all very positive, which is excellent. I tried it out this morning and it's absolutely fab, it makes doing the flick so easy because it has a really thick nib, kind of like a highlighter pen. I just hope it lasts a while!

I also got two necklaces, one of which I bought specifically to go with the dress for my cousin's wedding (the gold one), and the other I bought with the vague idea of wearing it to a ball I'm going to soon, but in actual fact I don't think it fits the neckline of my dress at all - which doesn't matter because I love it anyway and would definitely wear it on everyday occasions.

I really love this white bag I got too, because it can be either a bag with a strap or a clutch, as the strap is removable. Another element of the wedding outfit, but again I'm sure I'll get lots of use out of this in general.

Top, New Look, €11.99

And we come to the slightly random purchase of this haul. I really loved this top when I spotted it in New Look, but I've come to the realisation that it's really not me at all - it was in among all the festival, hippie-chic, relaxed and boho collection, which I have on occasion attempted to emulate with varying degrees of success. Also, it's not as white as it looks on the photo, it's more of a grey/been washed too many times colour, which is going to be interesting to incorporate into my wardrobe comprised mainly of black, white, burgundy, khaki and blue. Still, we'll see, and if all else fails I think it will go nicely with denim dungarees.

Plaid mini, New Look, €7 (sale)

A skirt? In plaid? And a dark colour? This is much more me. This purchase was a no-brainer, especially as it was only €7 in the sale, much cheaper than the Topshop equivalent I'd been eyeing on their website.

Red dress, H&M, €17.99



And we come to the actual dress that a bunch of these things are supposed to go with. Yes, it is red, and yes, it is tight and figure-hugging, and yes, I will be wearing it to an English wedding where most people will probably be in florals and pastels and feathery fascinators. And I'm fine with that.

Blazer/jacket, H&M, €19.99

This is the jacket/blazer I'm going to wear over the dress, and I call it a jacket/blazer because it isn't really one or the other. It's slightly fitted and leans towards a blazer cut, but equally it's lightweight, much less structured and has this whole flappy thing going on at the front which makes me think jacket. But then again the overall effect does scream blazer. Whatever you want to call it, I love it and I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it.

Sheer maxi dress, H&M, €25.99

Please excuse the poor photo quality - I was struggling to get the whole dress in shot! I'm planning on wearing this to a ball I'm going to in a couple of weeks (not the one I mentioned above, a different and less formal one), with the black heels and kimono from my last haul, and a black choker - the effect will be majorly gothic and witchy, hopefully.

And that's what I got on this (quite extravagant) shopping trip!

x