Monday, 10 March 2014


As mentioned in my previous post, I have been on a sort of blogging hiatus for the past couple of weeks now - hopefully this post will mark the beginning of a more frequent and regular routine. As promised, I'm back with another film review - this time I'll be sharing my thoughts on The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is a film that I'd been waiting to see since before Christmas. Wes Anderson is one of my favourite film directors, so I had high hopes and expectations for this latest caper - and it certainly did not disappoint.

For those of you who don't know what the film is about, here is a brief synopsis taken from IMDb...
The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune - all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is about as star-studded as they come - and despite such a large cast, each character is endearing in their own way and played very well; I couldn't find much fault with any of the actors in this film at all. The cast is lead by Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H, a character who is the charmingly camp and comedic concierge of the titular hotel. Other supporting players include Jude Law as a young writer, Adrien Brody as the antagonistic Dmitri, Edward Norton as the police inspector Henckels and Tilda Swinton as the ill-fated Madame D. - and that's just the start of the cast list.

I found the film to be very comedic, as deadpan and black humour is something that I personally find very funny. While it can be said that the comic timing is similar to Moonrise Kingdom, the higher age rating means that you can expect more violence and little gore, which really accentuates the darkly humourous tone of the film. That's not to say that the film itself it hugely gritty or violent - there are merely glimpses of darkness that slip through the candy-coloured world every now and again to remind the audience of the political backdrop of the film.

The production design and overall aesthetics of the film are well worth a mention; as can be expected from an Anderson film, the visuals are absolutely stunning, with painfully precise cinematography and beautifully bold colouring. This lends itself well to the glamour and sophistication that the hotel aims to allude, but also keeps the tone from straying too far from comedy - it would be some achievement to make a dark crime saga with a colour scheme like this.

Overall, I would highly recommend a trip to the cinema to see this film - it is one of the best that I have seen in quite a long while. Even with its precision and loaded cast, it certainly does not feel like one of those money-grabbing blockbusters, but rather a genuine and charming film.

Saturday, 8 March 2014


I thought it would be a good idea to update you all as to where I have been for the past three or so weeks, since I feel like I haven't posted anything in quite a long time. For the last week I haven't been able to use my laptop since it's being repaired, which is kind of annoying because this means that I can't access any of my photos to use in my posts. Fortunately, it should be fixed sometime next week, so I can upload my February Favourites post (complete with all of the photos) and hopefully a film review for all of you.

I apologise that my blog has been a bit sparse as of late, but I promise that it will be business as usual as soon as I get my computer back.

Until the next time...

Monday, 10 February 2014


This week I thought I'd post a belated January favourites, seeing as I hadn't gotten round to doing it before. I know I'm quite late in posting my monthly favourites, but I wanted to take all of the photos outside and once again, the British weather has let me down for the past week. So, with some admittedly make-shift photographs in place, here are the things that I enjoyed this January.


I haven't had the Naked 3 palette for very long, as I got it for my birthday, which is at the end of January. When compared to the other two Naked palettes, this one is quite different from the other two, because of its pinky hues - I personally really love these new colours, as they really bring out my blue eyes. There are also more matte and satin colours than there were in the previous palettes, which I prefer for everyday wear.


In the pan, this blusher does look like quite a scary colour, as it is a very vibrant hot pink. The pigmentation of this product is amazing, as I have apply the tiniest amount of the product for a nice flush of colour. Because it is so vibrant and pigmented, I reckon that this shade would look good on almost any skin tone - however, if you have pale skin like me, you do have to be a bit careful not to apply too much!


My favourite kind of nail polishes are normally nudes - however, this polish from Nails Inc. is an exception to this rule. In the bottle, the colour of the polish is quite difficult to describe: it is a duo-chrome, but it has hints of gold, green, and pink it. I was expecting this polish to be very bold on the nails, but it is actually a surprisingly subtle colour. This means that the shade is very versatile, as it can be worn during the day or on a night out.


I mentioned this lipstick in my last post, but I felt that I had to put it in my January Favourites as well. Normally I don't go for pink or nude lipsticks, but I saw this one in Boots and thought that it looked like a good everyday lip colour. The shade itself is definitely a 'my-lips-but-better' shade, which is great for everyday wear but also to wear with a smoky eye makeup look. This is also the first matte lipstick that I've ever bought - I have been put off buying them in the past for fear of them drying my lips out too much, but this product has a nice creamy formulation that is also quite hydrating.


If I'm going to be really picky, Sherlock technically isn't a monthly favourite of mine, but rather an all-time favourite. However, as the third series was aired and released last month, I'm going to include it in the list anyway. Overall, I really enjoyed Series Three - His Last Vow was my favourite of the series, as it had quite dark undertones as well as being thrilling and tense throughout. On the subject of tense programmes, I started watching Breaking Bad this month -  I think it's safe to say that I am now addicted to this show. I'm about half way through Series Four, and I can see why it is so hyped up - it is very well written and the characters are amazing because they always flit between good and bad.

So that concludes my belated January Favourites - I hope you all enjoyed this post. I've decided that my weekly posts will be published on Mondays from now on, so keep an eye out next week for a new post!

Monday, 3 February 2014


On Saturday night I went out for dinner with my friends to celebrate my eighteenth birthday, which was on the 28th January. I thought I'd do a Get Ready With Me post because I've never done one before and it seems like quite a fun little post to do. So without further ado, here is my first ever Get Ready With Me post!

Boots Botanics Cleansing Cream - Clinique Clarifying Lotion - Simple Vital Vitamin Day Cream

Before I put my makeup on to go out, I always redo my skincare routine. I start off by using the Boots Botanics Gentle Cleansing Cream and put it all over my face like a mask. I let that sit on my skin for a couple of minutes before washing it all off with hot water and a flannel. After that, I use the Clinique Clarifying Lotion (for skin type two) on a cotton pad and apply the product all over my face. Finally, I use the Simple Vital Vitamin Day Cream to moisturise my skin - I like using this particular product because it is light on the skin and is non-greasy.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum - Urban Decay Primer Potion - Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer

For my base makeup, I stuck with my tried and tested Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation. I love this product because it can be built up to medium coverage but still gives the skin a lovely healthy glow. For my under-eye concealer, I used the Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer - I haven't had it for very long, but I still think that it does the job well. I chose not to powder my skin, as I wanted a dewy finish rather than matte. After that, I prepped my eyes for eyeshadow using the Urban Decay Primer Potion.

Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

I decided to use my Naked 3 Palette for my eyeshadow and did quite a smoky eye look. I took the shades Factory and Mugshot and made a wash of colour across the lids. I then took more of the Factory shade together with a touch of Blackheart and smoked the colour almost up to the brow bone. While this may sound pretty dramatic, I should point out that I have hooded eyes, so the colour was just visible above the hood. I then took some of Nooner and blended it along my lower lashline, taking the colour quite low, as I think that the technique works well to create a dramatic look on a hooded eye shape.

Rimmel Glam'Eyes Liquid Liner - Clinique Quickliner - Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara

To finish off the eye makeup, I used the Rimmel Glam'Eyes Liquid Liner to create a very thin line along my top lash line. I didn't want to make it too dramatic, as I wanted the focus to be on the shadow on the upper half of the eye. I then used the Clinique Quickliner to add some definition to the lower lash line - as I mentioned before with the eyeshadow, I think that bold under-eye makeup works well with a hooded eye. With all of the eyeliner in place, I then added a few coats of the waterproof version of the Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara. I like to wear waterproof mascara on nights out as I know that it will stay in place and won't smudge anywhere.

Soap and Glory Archery Brow Pencil - Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipstick in Socialite

Onto the last of the makeup now - I finished off the look by filling in my brows with the Soap and Glory Archery Brow Pencil. I filled them in a little heavier than I would normally to balance out the strong eye makeup. Finally I chose the Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede Lipstick in the colour Socialite to wear on my lips, as it is quite a muted pink colour - it's almost like a my lips but better kind of shade.

Skye Satchel from Oasis - Dress by Apricot - Shoes from

Finally for my outfit - I picked out one of my favourite dresses for the occasion, which is by the brand Apricot. I managed to get it at half price just before Christmas in a sale, so I'm not sure if it will still be available to buy. I paired the dress with some opaque black tights and my studded boots from, which, again, I got in the sales so they might have sold out by now. The handbag that I brought with me is still available to buy, and I absolutely love it - it is the Skye Satchel from Oasis and it costs £25.

So, there you have it - my first ever Get Ready With Me post. If you enjoyed this type of post, leave a comment below and let me know if I should do them more often. I'll probably be posting a slightly late January Favourites some time this week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


I went to go and see 12 Years a Slave almost a week ago, but I've only decided to review the film now, after I've had time to form a proper opinion. I would begin this review as I usually would, stating that it is spoiler free. However, as this film is based on true events, there aren't really spoilers as such. With that being said, I won't ruin the ending of the film just in case. 

I would say that this film is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing films I have ever watched. Don't be put off by that statement - the film is extraordinary and moving, but be prepared to wince at the very least at certain parts of the film. As the title suggest, the premise of the film focuses on slavery in the southern states of the USA. Taken from IMDB, here is a short synopsis of the film...
Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

As has been announced fairly recently, many of the cast members have been nominated for Academy Award this year - and when you look at their performances, it isn't hard to understand why. Lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor makes his portrayal of Northup very interesting, as his defiance of his oppressors is almost empowering. On the flipside, his character slips effortlessly into despair, which can be heart-wrenching (for lack of a better word) at times. However, the real stand-out performance for me comes from Michael Fassbender, whose plantation-owning character genuinely scares at times. Even when off-screen, the mere threat of his character instills dread into the audience - one particular instance is when Solomon tries to smuggle a letter out without being caught, and the tension and sense of danger is palpable. Another noteworthy performance in the film comes from Lupita Nyong'o, whose portrayal of Patsey - a sexually abused slave - is harrowing and especially impressive when taking into account that 12 Years a Slave is her feature film debut.

The visuals of the film are, surprisingly, quite artistic - there are certain shots in the film that are beautiful to behold, yet this serves the purpose of making the action onscreen even more horrific. Some of the worst instances are when one of the characters is being tortured in the foreground, yet others in the background seem oblivious to this. The music in the film helps to heighten the sense of shock in scenes like these; Hans Zimmer's soundtrack is, once again, a perfect fit for this film, although in my mind it did sound strangely reminiscent of parts of the Inception soundtrack.

So, overall I'd say that 12 Years a Slave is well worth a watch, even if it isn't the most comfortable film to view. The violence always shocks but is never over-the-top, and the acting is first rate - I'm expecting this film to win big at the Oscars this year. Let me know in the comments if you've seen this film and what your thoughts on it are.

Sunday, 19 January 2014


Once again, I'm going to start this post by apologising for the lack of activity in the past week and a bit. Once I sort out a new posting schedule, I'll be back to posting at least once a week on a regular basis. That aside, I wanted to do a post dedicated to moisturisers - which, admittedly, does sound like quite a strange topic. However, the cold and rain in England has really been getting to my skin recently, so I thought I'd share what products I use to combat the forces of the winter weather.


I haven't had this product for very long, as I got it in a Soap and Glory set for Christmas. Nevertheless, I would still recommend this product because it keeps skin moisturised for a prolonged period of time. I wore this body butter to a New Year's party - usually, I find that body butters sink into my skin too quickly, and my skin becomes dry again by the end of a night out. This was not the case with this product - it lasts for a long time, is light on the skin, and smells gorgeous. The Righteous Butter is another body butter from Soap and Glory that works really well on dry skin, but I prefer the packaging of this product, as I'm not overly keen on body butters that come in tubs.


Of the two facial moisturisers that I've included on this list, this is the cheaper alternative - that does not mean that the quality of the product is compromised by any stretch of the imagination. Like the Clinique moisturiser (listed later on), this product leaves a lovely, non-greasy feeling on the skin. Better still, this product is great if you're on a budget, as it costs only £3.99.


I'm having to include another product from Soap and Glory in this list - this time, however, it's something a little different. You would be mistaken for thinking that this product is a body scrub; it's actually a scrub for your hands. I haven't seen anything like this product before, but this stuff is a revelation. Throughout the year, I get quite bad dry skin across my knuckles, and this has been exacerbated in the winter months. This hand scrub is wonderful, as it smooths and preps the skin for hand cream without being too harsh or abrasive on the skin. An additional bonus of the scrub is that it smells amazing, as its orange and mandarin scented.


As you may or may not be able to tell by the picture, I have pretty much used up all of this moisturiser. I've had this little sample for quite a while and I absolutely love it - unfortunately, the full-sized product is pretty costly. This moisturiser leaves such a lovely feeling on the skin; it feels like it is hydrating but isn't greasy at all. I can confirm that this works very well in the winter, as I took it with me when I went to Iceland last year in April, and it worked fantastically well in even colder weather.


This product is a new edition to my hand cream collection - which is growing at a rapid rate. As I got this hand cream for Christmas, I'm not sure how much it costs. Regardless of price, this is a great product because it doesn't leave a greasy feeling on your hands. The only negative point that I can make about the product is that it is unscented - while this may appeal to some people, I personally like hand cream to have a nice scent to it.


Finishing off the list is yet another Soap and Glory product. It probably seems a bit biased of me to include so many of them, but I honestly think that their skincare products work really well. Hand Dream is pretty much the same as its more famous counterpart Hand Food, but supposedly this version has extra vitamins and other goodies in the formula. I haven't really noticed much of a difference between the two hand creams - both are non-greasy and wonderful smelling hand creams.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my recommendations for dry skin in the winter months. Let me know in the comments if you've tried any of these products or if there are some that you would recommend.

Monday, 6 January 2014


*This is a spoiler free review!*

I apologise for not posting on Sunday as I would normally do, but I wanted to wait to write this film review rather than make a rushed favourites post (which will probably come later on in the week). I mentioned in my November Favourites and Top Five Films posts that I am a big fan of Silver Linings Playbook. Naturally, when I found that David O. Russell was releasing a new film with pretty much the same cast, I was immediately interested. I went and saw American Hustle last night, and overall, I have to say that I'm very impressed.

Taken from IMDB, here is the plot synopsis of the film:
A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock the USA, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that's as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving's unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down.

The cast-list that American Hustle offers is hugely impressive, with plenty of Oscar nominees and winners. Of the cast, Christian Bale offers the most entertaining performance - what is hugely ironic is that he cons the audience into believing that he is truly a conman. The relationship dynamics between Bale's and Jennifer Lawrence's characters is possibly one of the most comedic aspects of the film; what's more, the arguments and humorous exchanges somehow manage to make the marriage seem more believable. The rest of the cast also manage to walk the tightrope between comedy and drama very well, although sometimes the two genres become indiscernible from one another. One of the slight issues that I have is with Amy Adams' English accent - as a Brit myself, there were times when I did question how accurate her accent was.

In terms of editing and cinematography, American Hustle has all of the qualities that I loved in Silver Linings Playbook. A lot of the shots are very idiosyncratic of David O. Russell's films; there's almost a shakiness to the camera-work, which somehow makes it feel as though you are stepping into the lives of the characters onscreen. Surprisingly, I also love the way that Russell includes music in his films and rarely uses a score - for this film, it makes it seem much more in-keeping with the era in which it is set.

To round off, American Hustle is well worth a watch - I'll be surprised if there aren't any Oscar nominations from this film. One thing I will say is that the plot might get a little confusing to some viewers at some point, but the zealousness of the cast makes for an enjoyable film regardless of understanding.