Sunday, 19 September 2010

Autumn Lust List

Yes, just  who's fallen in love with Mulberry's Alexa. I love the proportions and the way the strap means you can carry it over your shoulder but, actually paying £100 more for the oversized version would be more practical for me, but that would be if a £695 price tag was practical in the first place!
I was on my way up the moving stairs in Fenwick the other way to check out the second wave of the new Kurt Geiger collection and this shiny, shiny jumper in Whistles caught my eye and I instantly fell in love; a bit of luxe comfort, totally up my street! I love Whistles half to death, but I don't actually own anything from there yet...
I grabbed a flyer for this in Selfridges as I was passing through to get across to Oxford Street, but I only just managed to get to try this out at my local Benefit counter. As a Benefit junkie I try out every single new product they come out with but after seeing miraculous and instant results with this under or over makeup matte balm I think I'm sold!
Finally another Selfridges find, from my favorite label N.W.3 by Hobbs. I ove the way this dress crosses over and clinches in the middle, and blue is one of my favorite colours. The carmel stripes will also match up to so much I have in my wardrobe right now!
What pieces from the new collections do you covet most at the moment?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

My Nice And Simple Beauty Regime

Something people always ask me at fashion events is how I get such clear skin, and inspired by Fee over at Makeup Savvy's recent post on going back to basics with her beauty regime I thought I'd share my everyday face, hair and skin routine with  you all!
Clinique Superdefence SPF 25 Age Defence Moisturizer. I know I don't need age defence, but I love the cream and the fact it's SPF 25 so I buy it anyway! I originally tried it as a Clinique bonus time sample without realising it was anti ageing so I fell in love before I even knew all about it! I dont use this every day; just when I feel like my skin needs it!
Clinique Comfort On Call Allergy Tested Relief Cream. I hardly ever use this, and when I do only usually around my eyes. I have quite bad allergies to quite a lot of makeup; especially eye makeup. The worst reaction I've ever had was to Lancome silver eyeshadow; the area around my eyes bled. This is a special cream from Clinique which is one of their more back shelf products I have to ask for in store and I don't think they even have it on the shelf; I originally read about it in Vogue and asked at my local counter. I got quizzed by the woman so much why a teenager with good skin wanted special cream for stressed and damaged skin but she sold it to me in the end! The moment I apply it the affected areas stop stinging as much, and the moisture helps my eyes feel better faster; if you have skin problems it truly is a lifesaver!
Clinique Deep Comfort Body Butter. The best and only moisturizer I use everywhere that's not my face, though it does actually work ok on my face too. Buttery, clean smelling and actually moisturizes first time without a need for reapplication. This is the only one I use, except for the Love & Toast hand cream I carry around in my handbag, but that's more of a luxury rather than part of my regular routine.
Neutrogena Visibly Clear face scrub. I don't really go in for what face scrubs are supposed to do, but I settled on this one because I like one with beads in, it doesn't sting my eyes, removes my makeup and doesn't leave my skin feeling tight!
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. I used to choose shampoos and conditioners for what they did for what they were supposed to do to my hair; for brunettes, for curls, for volume. Then I went to the shower and forgot my hair stuff and my friend had left this in the shower but I had no choice but to use it and beg her for forgiveness later. That was when I fell in love with the orchid and coconut smell, and since it left my hair smooth, shiny and glossy with it's usual waves I never looked back!
Shine Shock by John Frieda. I use the Brilliant Brunette version of this hair serum. I have used so many different hair serums a I like to wear mine wavy and glossy, but this is still one of my favorites, even though I don't use the shampoo an conditioner that goes with it anymore. I find as this is nice and thick when used liberally it gives the bet glossy effect that is not too sticky, doesn't make my hair clump and can be used on wet or dry hair for different effects.
Seven Seas Calcium Tablets. People my age usually don't need to take extra calcium, we should be getting all the nutrients we need from out diets; but I'm semi-lactose intolerant so though it's not a beauty product, I count it as such as it keeps my hair and nails strong and healthy because I physically can't do this any other way without making myself unwell. Since I started taking these I have noticed a big difference in the health of my hair and nails and thee ones don't taste too bad; just a bit lemony and chalky which is ok if you chew them with water. However, I still only take one of these a day instead of the recommended!

Which products are an integral part of your beauty regime?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

How To Write An Album Review

A question I have been asked, by quite a few people quite a few times is how to write an album review. I absolutely love music, and, for me, there is nothing better than getting my hands on the latest album from my favorite band.
This actually happened to me recently (as you can see below) when I got asked to review (and sent 8 tracks from!) Maroon 5's up and coming album Hands All Over, for VenusZine. I had such a lot of fun writing the review and I was 100% in my element - it's one of the best assignments I've ever had. However, as you can also see below I had to review another album, this time a record that I absolutely unconditionally hated. I showed you this, because I think it's important that (unless you're reviewing albums for your own blog) you know you won't always be writing about music you love!
So starting off with an album that, at first listen you really like, where do you go from there; the initial listen? Before you think about doing everything else, you need to make notes on the album that you can work from when you are writing your review.
I tend to do my notes for all articles I write in my moleskine notebook, and album reviews are no exception. These are my notes from the Maroon 5 review once I have listened to the album/ tracks made available to me at least 5 times (yes, 5 times. I usually put them on my iPod so I can listen to the album over a couple of days while I'm walking to and from places) I listen to each track through a again listening closely scribbling down how the songs mae me feel, what they remind me of, and how they are similar different to the rest of the album/ the artists earlier work.
Once I have these initial (usually messy!) notes I write them up again into a set of bullet points for each song. These bullet points are what I work from when I'm writing the review.
Next I suggest if you're writing a review for publication on a blog or a website you read quite a lot of reviews in this format (preferably of the same genre of music an if you can from the same publication) or if it is for a magazine read magazine music reviews, also preferably printed in the publication you're going to be writing for.
The most common format is that of the two reviews I've had printed above; an introduction, a line or two on the album as a whole, talking about a couple of individual tracks then a conclusion.
The introduction is generally withe something witty or clever (see my reference to Jane Eyre in my Songs From The Red Room review) or something clever (see Lake Geneva in the Hands All Over) review.
When you are taking about the album as a whole try and sum up the whole sound, what makes similar tracks on the record that fit together well meld? That's the glue that holds the whole album together and that's what you ned to be taking about here. Try Googling or checking out the bans website to see if they have done any interviews taking about their feelings when they were making the new record, or what they have said their influences were; this information acts as the perfect springboard to start writing; especially if you don't particularly like the album and you're not sure what to talk about!
When you are choosing the tracks you will actually name in your review, it's usually best to choose the first single from the album as that's the song that people will have probably already heard, talk about that, then choose one or two more tracks that you think will be the next singles, or sum up the whole sound of the album quite nicely. Talk about lyrics, sound or vocal hooks; whatever it was that made the track stand out and make you want to single it out. Also, if there is an interesting collaborative track (as there was on the Maroon 5 album, their duet with lady Antebellum) make sure to mention it and why its special (if it is!) This track, and whoever the album artist is collaborating with may encourage people who are not regular fans to take a listen and perhaps discover their next favorite band, or for fans of the album artist to be introduced to new artists.
Finaly, when you come to write your conclusion try to sum the album up again; one liner always work well and give a sense of closure; winding the review up nicely and bringing it back to the point where you started.
You actually apply the same formula when reviewing albums you dislike or even can't stand, but remember you have to write a fair and balanced review. You'll have no problem finding and giving justification for why you love albums you've enjoyed listening to so much, but you have to justify why you dislike albums you hate so much. When you're making your initial notes bear this in mind, and also try to find some redeeming qualities for the album; no record label would sign a band and fund them to put out an album that no one can say anything at all good about!

Alternatively, if you are writing for your own blog or website you can make the format up as you see best; for example I like to run through most or a couple of the tracks and talk about them individually on this blog!

Which up and coming (or just released) album would it be your dream to receive to review for your favorite music magazine?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Dream Holiday Destinations

I've started to think about what I'm going to do next summer, when I finish school but before I hopefully head off for university, and this has got me thinking about dream holiday destinations; places that I'd really love to visit in the next couple of years money allowing!
New York
The city I most want to visit in the world is New York. Though I'm hopefully going skiing, then to San Francisco at Easter, I've never been to America before and to me, New York seems absolutely magical...
Though I've been once before, it was only for a day trip so Paris is where I hope to head to next July when I finish school. I want to go shopping, go back to the Louvre to have a better look around, sit and write in cafes in the Latin Quater, climb the Eiffel Tower and eat macaroons and pastries! Oh, and visit Chanel. Visiting Chanel is a must!
I really, re want ally to visit Asia, and I don't know why but Thailand holds some sort of appeal for me... I love Thai food and it would be fantastic to try the local fare, the photography opportunities will be incredible and I think it will be such a great cultural eyeopener!
Los Angeles
Boulevard may be that I watch way too much television, but visiting California would be incredible, seeing the Hollywood sign, Sunset Boulevard...Then being able to see the city all up in lights and just soak up the atmosphere...
Where do you most want to visit?

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Product Review: Coco Rose London Shoes

I recently won the British Style Bloggers design a logo competition, and the prize was a pair of shoes from Coco Rose London. Actually, I wasn't very excited about this because pumps never stay on my feet so I don't actually own any - but when they arrived the other day and I tried them on I was absolutely blown away!
Coco Rose shoes are little cases of fold up pumps to slip in your handbag so when your heels are hurting your feet at the end of the evening you can slip them off and into the pumps to give your feet a break on the way home!
I was sent this pair in Aqua (£35 from Coco Rose's website!)
They come helpfully folded up in this beautiful little case that is 100% small enough for your handbag! It's also pretty and made of really nice fabric which I just want to keep on running my fingers over!
Inside the shoes come folded up neatly, and these ones are a nice durable black, made of really good quality material I must say, with a really nice pale green grosgrain ribbon at trimming. I also love the gold interior, and the suede Coco Rose label - very chic!
Also in the back of the case there is a little pouch that contains a little fold up bag you can detach to carry your heels in while you walk - handy!
And as you can see they actually fit, they're comfortable and they stay on my feet when they walk! I never really have a prob;em walking in high heels for extended periods of time, but I'm learning to drive at the moment and I'm pretty sure once I have my licence I won't be able to drive in a pair of four inch heels, so these beauties are going straight into the glove pocket of my car to change into when I'm going out! My car is even green, so it's a perfect match! These will also be great next time I go to London if I want to wear heels that aren't wedges somewhere which involves using the tube - I can slip into these while I am commuting!
Would you use a pair of Coco Rose shoes?