Wednesday, 23 May 2018

May Playlist

Hello again guys; I feel like I’ve really lost the plot with uploading posts to the blog recently for no particular reason. However, in my day to day life, I do still love listening to music for whatever reason; whether it’s a journey to work or the shops, getting ready after a shower or simply to settle down and relax. If you’ve read my blog before, then you’ll definitely know that I’m open minded when it comes to musical genre; I listen to more or less everything as well as languages other than English too (even if I don’t understand) as I just love the way that music can make you feel even if you don’t understand a language. There’s just so much to love about music. At the minute I’m enjoying positive, upbeat songs and in a way that matches my current good mood - over the past few months my mental health has really improved and listening to positive songs really helps to add that extra something into my everyday life. The list of songs below aren’t in any particular order, they’re just the fifteen songs that I’ve listened to the most over the past month. What songs have you been loving this month? Let me know in the comments! :)

1. Howl - Florence & The Machine
2. We Can’t Stop - Miley Cyrus
3. Five Colours In Her Hair - McFly
4. No Tears Left To Cry - Ariana Grande
5. Crying in the Club - Camila Cabello
6. Touch - Little Mix
7. Unstoppable - Sia
8. What About Us - P!nk
9. Pillowtalk - Zayn
10. Échame La Culpa - Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato
11. Reggaetón Lento (Remix) - CNCO & Little Mix
12. Crashed The Wedding - Busted
13. Come & Get It - Selena Gomez
14. Now - Paramore
15. Shape of You - Ed Sheeran

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Book Review: The Sun and her Flowers

After surprising myself by loving Milk and Honey, it made sense to read Rupi Kaur’s second collection of poems. This time the collection is segregated into five parts; ‘wilting’, ‘falling’, ‘rooting’, ‘rising’ and ‘blooming’, clearly intending to explore the notion of love in all of its forms. One of the reasons that I love Kaur’s work is that it feels so intimate due to her not only writing the words, but also providing the illustrations, allowing further insight into the workings of her mind. It’s easy to see why her poetry has been such a literary sensation as the contents are relatable to an incredible extent. This collection, The Sun and her Flowers isn’t a direct continuation of Milk and Honey, but ultimately some of the themes are very similar. For example, love is a clear outlier from the offset, alongside the similarities in both her writing and illustrative style throughout both books. However, Kaur’s style has definitely evolved; there are fewer short poems and more in depth explanations of situations and feelings, joined together but visual and literal techniques, although there were moments where I felt that the poems didn’t flow as well as I would expect. Her visual style is definitely minimal, tumblr-esque and constrasting between soft, flowing illustrations alongside typed, rigid words. The overall theme running through this collection of poems is ‘love’, although the notion of love is a tricky one; it’s not just one thought or feeling, which is displayed through Kaur’s descriptions of heartbreak, loss, sexuality, grief and empowerment are only a few of the ideas that shape this collection.

The exploration of the self, ones ancestry and feminism are all themes that can be understood by anyone, although as a woman myself I find many parallels between her feelings and my own. Having never felt wonder about my own culture, I loved reading about how her roots have shaped her life; it was interesting to read her perspective on growing up as an immigrant, something which was mentioned a little in Milk and Honey, but receives more attention in The Sun and her Flowers. The growth of child to woman is something that was beautifully transcribed throughout the poems, alongside that that of heartache; both of these themes explain the difficulty of life, how it is not always easy which is presumably why so many have loved this collection as it hits home truths hard. Kaur is as fearlesss as ever in her portrayal of her life; this is a very personal text, using past experiences to replicate into words on a page. ‘Rising’ was the part that hit home the hardest for me, a positive message of overcoming issues and finding confidence. There is definitely relatability for the majority of people within this text, but as I’m currently in a good place, ‘rising’ was the part that I found to be the most influential, the part that encouraged me to think further. Some of the smallest poems from this collection read more like statements, which I liked. One of the things that I’m starting to like about poetry is the opportunity for creativity; no two poems have to be same, read the same or convey the same message or have the same intention. The use of fluid illustrations allow for further creativity, as well as adding another perspective to each of the poems, although I must admit the illustrations are what make me love Kaur’s works so much.

The thing to remember whilst reading this collection of poems is to not compare this book to her first book. Yes, the themes are similar, as are the illustrations and the writing style, but ultimately they are separate entities and need to be read as such. Overall, I did enjoy this collection of poems and many of themes and situations I could fully empathise with; one of things that I love about Kaur’s poetic style is that it’s so relatable and personable. In all honesty, I did prefer Milk and Honey, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy The Sun and her Flowers. It was dark, difficult and brutally honest in places, showing a lot of negative imagery; alongside loving, sexual nature and the world in a positive light with more imagery. This is not a book that is easy to read per se, but it has a very specific outcome, through stylised, simplistic poetic style and beautifully juxtaposed illustrations. There were some excellent comments that explored immigration and ancestry, which is always an interesting read. I loved the down to earth way in which Kaur describes her life and opinions, it feels real but unfortunately I felt that the structure of this collection of poems didn’t have such a solid foundation as her previous collection did, although it didn’t make it any less of an enjoyable read. For me, this book was a good read so an easy 4 stars as th e were so many elements that I really liked but ultimately there was just something missing for me that made it miss the final star. I’m looking forward to exploring poetry a bit more over the next few months. What are your thoughts on this book?

Friday, 11 May 2018

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hello guys! I know that I’ve previously spoken about wanting to explore the world on the blog, as my goals for this year heavily featured wanting to travel and capture memories for years to come. For a few days in April, I celebrated my 25th with my boyfriend in Amsterdam and it was such an experience; after having some issues with the original hotel, we ended up staying in a completely different place and not quite in Amsterdam, but in the overall region so it was easy enough to travel into the center with minimal hassle. As much as I’d read up about the city, I do feel like it’s definitely a busy city to the point that even as a Londoner I was a little overwhelmed! Two things: bikes and strange road layouts. Being from London, I’m used to seeing bicycles but this was to the extreme! Literally thousands of bikes line the streets and because of Holland using left hand drive I was so confused by simply crossing the road at times because of bikes, people, trams and buses being seemingly everywhere. I feel like myself and Piotr managed to pack a lot of activities into 4 days but at the same time, I do wish we had seen more as there’s just so much to see and do in Amsterdam. That being said, I don’t think I’ve taken so many landscape photographs in months; everything about the city just transfers so well into imagery, perfect for good memories!

Arguably the best thing that we did was a Canal tour at sunset; it was such a lovely way to see the city and it was great to hear about the city from a local guide as you learnt not only about Tourist hotspots but also everyday life. We also visited the Rijksmuseum, Tulip Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Red Light District, Sandvoort Gallery (inside Amsterdam Centraal Station), Cheese Museum and the Hash, Marihuana & Museum and Gallery. It doesn’t sound like much, but honestly it felt like a lot alongside various cafés, restaurants and wandering the streets. The Library in the Rijksmuseum literally took my breath away, as did Odelle’s dollhouse, the inspiration for one of my favourite books, The Muse. The museums in general were insanely good. I was disappointed that we couldn’t visit the Anne Frank House as there were no tickets available, but that does feel like a good excuse to revisit the city again as Piotr fell completely in love so I know that we’ll definitely be visiting the city again at some point. We were also there for Kingsday, a celebration of the Kings birthday which results in a massive street party in the centre of Amsterdam with street performers, dancing, drinking, music and more. It was an experience to say the least; the Dutch definitely know how to party hard, whereas I just found it exhausting! The city is so photogenic and there is so much to do that it was completely worth the ridiculous price of food, attractions and travel but if you do visit the city, try and take more money than you’ll think that you will need as it is very expensive, unfortunately. It was a lovely way to spend my birthday and spend time with Piotr; however I’ve definitely caught the travel bug so I can imagine travelling a lot more over the rest of this year, which I’m not sure my bank balance will love, haha. Until my next trip! 

Monday, 7 May 2018

Beauty Review: L’Oréal Paris Paradise Mascara

Hello again guys; it feels like a while since I’ve done a beauty related review. Over the past few months I’ve worn make up a bit less (or less make up, at least) however it definitely feels like time for a new review. There was so much hype surrounding this mascara on blogs, YouTube and simply in general that I felt like I just HAD to buy it. The mascara that I’m reviewing today is the L’Oréal Paris Paradise Extatic Mascara in the shade 01 Black. Priced at £11.99, it is a more expensive drugstore mascara however the packaging does also match that; with a rose gold cardboard outer that reminds me a lot of Benefit packaging, this mascara is definitely marketed and aiming for the drugstore high-end and it does look absolutely lovely. The actual mascara packaging is just as nice as the cardboard outer with the main body in a matte rose gold and the lid is a shiny rose gold with constrasting white typeface across the main body with the mascara name. At first glance, I wouldn’t have guessed that this was a L’Oréal product, visually it is very different to their other mascara ranges, a couple of which are shown in my photographs below. As much as I love the packaging, I do feel like this is a lot of money to drop on a mascara, but as I wear mascara more or less everyday I guess that isn’t too much but it is more than I would usually spend, to be honest.

One of the reasons why I was so excited to try out this mascara is that it has been constantly compared to the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, which is a product that I’ve personally never tried but have always wanted to. I did have some reservations as generally I do prefer plastic bristles on a mascara wand and this mascara has a soft fibred wand which I do find harder to work with but that said, I do have naturally full, long lashes so any wand does the job for me. The outer packaging boasts that this mascara gives Intense Volume and Spectacular, Long Lashes as well as being a Pleasure to Apply. Basically, a lot to live up to as all of those things sound pretty desirable. Personally, I like my lashes to look very full, separated and long; I love it when a mascara is visibly on my lashes and very dark black to stand out against my green eyes.

The wand is a fairly unusual shape; a curved hourglass shape, it is larger at the top and bottom and thinner in the centre so should be great at opening up the eye shape and lengthening the edges. Below it is the mascara wand on the left side, the centre mascara is Maybelline Lash Sensational and the mascara to the right is Maybelline The Colossal Big Shot, pictured together to demonstrate the clear differences in mascara wand shape, size and material. Personally I’ve found that plastic bristles grip to my lashes better than fiber bristles, but I can work with either kind if I have to. I was a little disappointed that the wand on the L’Oréal Paris Paradise Extatic Mascara is fiber as I was expecting a plastic wand (not sure why I thought that...) but I’m dreaming of long, full lashes with this mascara regardless of the less preferred style of wand. Generally, I am quite a messy applier of mascara and this wand is pretty thick, so unfortunately I’m expecting a very messy look with this mascara; I’m terrible for having an unsteady hand whenever I apply mascara, oops. I’m hoping that this mascara won’t be a regret as I do feel like I was drawn to buy it due to all of the hype that surrounded it, but I’m planning to try it out everyday for a week with a number of different base looks to give it a fair chance as although already I’m having some reservations, I do want to be impartial to start with. Plus, the packaging is stunning so there is that to be positive about!

The formula is very thick, which I like in any mascara as that helps create a fuller look when on the lashes. However, it’s also a very dry formula which makes it difficult to work with; once it’s on the lashes that’s it. It doesn’t budge. In theory, that could be great, but for me that is an absolute nightmare because as I explained previously, I’m a very messy mascara applier; I need time to work the mascara into my lashes to achieve the shape that I like (long, full and separated; basically real lashes that look fake) and with this formulation that was impossible. The shape of the wand was actually pretty nice, I just wish that it was a plastic bristled brush as I feel like I could’ve worked with the mascara much better that way but obviously this was never going to be my favourite mascara because over the course of a week, I felt like chucking this mascara in the bin. As I’ve said, the mascara doesn’t budge once it’s on the lashes; it literally doesn’t budge to the point that it’s so hard to take off at the end of the day it hurts. I felt like I was pulling out my lashes each day, which is a definite dislike for me. This isn’t even the waterproof version, it’s the standard one! It looked nice on my bottom lashes but on the top... They just looked short and stubby, clinging to each other and overall I’m just not a fan. It’s not the worst mascara in the world, but it’s definitely one that I’ll never be reaching for ever again. 

The packaging is simply beautiful, but that’s not enough to make me want to give this mascara another chance. I hate the formula and the way that it makes my eyelashes look; for £11.99 I was expecting it to be so much better. In all honesty, I’ve used £3.99 mascaras with better results so I’m super frustrated with what I’ve spent for what I’ve got. In fairness, I do prefer plastic bristles so that may be one of the reasons why I hated this mascara so much as the fibers didn’t seem to grip my lashes fully, but at the same time I do love some other mascaras such as the Maybelline The Colossal Big Shot and that has a fiber brush so perhaps it’s more an issue with the dryness of the formula. I definitely won’t be using or buying the L’Oréal Paris Paradise Extatic Mascara again and that’s a bit of a shock for me as usually I love L’Oréal products so I’m genuinely really disappointed as it was more than I would usually spend on a drugstore item. I also hated how difficult it was to take off when needed; my lashes actually hurt so much after scrubbing at them with micellar water, make up wipes... Not impressed. I’d give this mascara a 2 out of 5 simply because the shape of the wand was nice and the packaging is lovely, but the price is too much for the quality. Let me know your thoughts on this mascara in the comments!

Back To Top
Designed By Hello Manhattan