Friday, 27 December 2013

Review: Dinner with Mr Darcy

I have to say I was quite excited about receiving this particular cookery book, put together by the editor of Penguin's Great Food series. The title alone sounds amazing, after all, who wouldn't want to dine with Mr Darcy?

Jane Austen's novels and letters are lightly sauced with dishes, dinners and picnics... [that] let us put together a wonderful idea of what life tasted like at the time...

Pen Vogler's expedition through Georgian dining is an intimate culinary investigation that seeks to recreate the classic dishes that defined this era and revive those that are now estranged from the modern-day British menu. White soup, venison in white wine and strawberry tartlets all sound quite lovely but would you be up for trying braised beef cheek, or say, calf foot jelly? Though Vogler saves us from the hassle of extracting our own gelatin from a real calf foot and tells us to use gelatin leaves instead, unless you can stomach it, in which case, boil away. Another great thing about the book, or perhaps the Georgians, is the enthusiasm that surrounds cooking game and the creativity that goes into cooking such meats as we begin to make it more fashionable today. 

However Vogler provides more than just your usual recipe book that is page after page of confusing instructions and measurements. Readers are treated to a dining experience with some of Jane's most loved characters, like breakfast with General Tilney and Christmas with the Musgroves. And the feast doesn't draw there as we are given recipes for a selection of Jane's own family favourites, discovered from her letters to her sisters and friend Martha Lloyd, who later released her Household Book which recorded some of the many dishes that Jane ate with family and friends. 

Visually the book is beautiful, retaining a touch of grandeur and delicacy that simulates the extravagance of the Georgian dining table, that which is "exceedingly handsome" and set to impress. For the Georgian banquet was an elaborate kind of affair, intricately prepared in order to avoid any 'promiscuous seating' (yes, that really was a thing) and filled up with so much food that any rash movement would send a platter of savoury roasts flying across the room and onto the brand new oriental rug bought just last week for this very occasion. Yes, eating dinner was serious business and was crucial if one was to assert their social prominence. In Pride Prejudice, for example, upon inviting Mr. Bingley to dinner, 'already had Mrs Bennet planned the courses that were to do credit to her housekeeping'. 

In a line, Georgian eating was all one big massive showoff and Vogler details this wonderfully with pages dedicated to explaining table arrangements, kitchens, the role of the servants and the function of the pantry. 
Each dish is conveniently contextualised for our pleasure, (like who knew French toast was once known as the 'Poor Knights of Windsor'?) and for the sake of authenticity she alludes to recipes from a range of key Georgian cookery writers - the Nigella and Jamie of the day -with excerpts from the likes of John Nott's, who famously wrote The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary, and Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery for Private Families- the first domestic cookery book in British history.   

And so here we are with what is a thoroughly enjoyable and insightful read and a delectable compilation of time-honoured and sophisticated recipes made accessible.   

Dinner with Mr Darcy is available for purchase from for £16.99

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Preview: It's a Punderlife Life

They're often thought of as one of the more lowly forms of humour and a literary device absolutely exhausted by all newspaper sub-editors seeking their next big headline, like that one from The Mirror that read 'from Russia.. with gloves' (haha?).

But puns have been around for centuries, let's take Shakespeare, for example, the most renowned of all in English Literature when it comes to poetry, play-writing and, yes, puns. Even the Bible, one of the oldest books known to man, features puns and, let's be honest, if a pun is done well who can't help but grin a little at its charm?

That's why I'm SO excited to get my hands on Gemma Correll's next book, based on her hilarious online series, Monday Punday, she has bound some of her best and most ingenious illustrated puns to bring us It's a Punderful Life: a fun collections of puns and wordplay.

The book is said to feature some of her most popular illustrated puns as well as a a collection of brand new and never seen before illustrations. Luckily, as huge fan of Correll's drawing style (if you haven't already guessed) I've managed to get hold of just a few that will be featured...


Bitter coffee is clearly peed-off at the utter length of its name while the complimentary colours are all about the flattery... 

The refined sugars are somewhat of the upper class with their wine and poetry but really the surprise is with M&Ms... who knew they where bondage lovers?

Well, the rotten egg says it all really... 

Aren't they great?! 

It's a Punderful Life by Gemma Correll is due to be released in February 2014 by Dog 'n' Bone books and is available from 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Lady Gaga - ARTPOP

Lady Gaga's highly anticipated third album, what she described as "a reverse Warholian expedition",  ARTPOP was finally released early last week and was introduced to the world in all its glory, living up to its title through artRAVE, an exclusive art-music event to party its release.

Upon the cover, designed by Gaga's favourite, Jeff Koons, is some large blue orb sitting encircled by a naked Gaga's legs who is sitting behind it, holding her breasts with a poker face stare and a long, blonde boxed-fringe wig (her signature do back in The Fame era). Behind her is a rather artistic montage combining the The Birth of Venus by 15th century artist Sandro Boticelli and Gianlorenzo Bernini's sculpture of Daphne- the love-struck nymph- provoking images of rebirth (another era), femininity and sexuality.

It's quite telling that the orb is a reflective object that, if you look closely, exposes the set and the camera men. That shine on the orb? Yeah that's the flash from the camera. Here we are allowed a small insight into the reality behind the art- that of which is supposedly embodied in her music.

Gaga opens the album with Aura- I killed my former/Left her in a trunk on highway 10/Put the knife under the hood/If you find it, send it straight to Hollywood as it then proceeds with a few seconds of evil laughter from the lady herself. It seems Lady Gaga's only gone and killed Yuyi the Mermaid in her departure from her previous album, Born This Way, as she sings "Enigma popstar is fun". So everybody say Yaaaaaaas Gaga- as she introduces another set of alter-egos in her art-pop endeavor.

Let's start with Venus in her seashell bikini and garden panties- Gaga becomes a goddess- a sexual one at that as we see in songs like Sexxx Dreams. And then there's Mary Jane Holland; her other pot-loving alter ego: The grass eats up my insides and my brunette starts to sprout/Introducing ladies and gentlemen/Mary Jane Holland!

The album is 100% pop goodness with oh so many catchy hooks and electric, synth popping melodies like that of Swine and Donatella that it'll have you singing along in no time.  But it is clear that Mother Monster plays around with different genres throughout the album, with a hip-hop track Jewels and Drugs featuring T.I, Too Short and Twista, not to mention her collab with R. Kelly on the R&B inspired track Do What U Want.

Another song, entitled Dope, the only slow tempo melody, expresses Gaga's relinquishment of her weed addiction as she sings "I need you more than dope".

The album ends with Applause, ironically her debut video for this album, which allegedly refers to her perseverance during her last tour, encouraged by the applause fans gave her after each show whilst performing with an unknown broken hip.

Gaga's attempt to combine art and popular culture in ARTPOP is definitely evident, more so than her previous albums and is definitely a change and, though pop, holds a different and varied kind of sound.

I have to admit since I bought the album I've been listening to it non-stop (yes, I'm a fan), it's artistic in the sense that Gaga does pop music well. I can't wait to see the music videos that come with it. Personal favourites include G.U.Y (I wanna be the Girl Under You), Gypsy, where Gaga proclaims in repetitive glory: I'm I'm I'm I'm I'm I'm a gypsy gypsy gypsy hey! Mary Jane Holland and Fashion!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Pug's Guide To Dating by Gemma Correll.

"Wrinkly of face and fragrant of backside, the pug is one of nature's most romantic creations..."

Following on from A Pug's Guide To Etiquette, self-proclaimed pug guru Gemma Correll is back with her latest installment of doggy self-help, this time in matters of the heart, for the lovable "twenty pound, wheezing, farting lothario".

As always with Correll's nifty little guides it is filled with cute and funny illustrations of wary and silly looking pugs- undoubtedly inspired by her two muses, Mr. Pickles and Bella. The book is a hilarious parody of modern dating and a great look-book into her signature drawing of the funny little canine.

And so for the pug in love, or indeed for the pug who is devoid of a mate, A Pug's Guide to Dating is the ultimate love-bible, covering the basics of the dating game from charming chat-up lines; "did you just roll in fox poop or is that your natural aroma", to how to perfect first impressions and chance encounters.

We are introduced to the philosophy of love- it holds no boundaries over size, colour or breed as Correll offers pugs in want of love everywhere tips on grooming and what to wear on that all important first date: "an enlightened pug knows how to make the best of whatever he has to work with".

And for those looking to inject some romance into their current relationships, Correll suggests some rather fanciful activities like stargazing, serenades or sharing the love over pan-fried tissues in an organic peanut butter jus and a "Yellow Snow" margarita.

Suitable pet names for your amour.. 

And then, as is life, the book delves onto the more fragile topics of relationships and how to come out successfully on the other side because "there are more plenty more dogs in the park".

All in all, this works as a great gift for any Gemma Corell fan and is also great as a little coffee table book as we are guided through the world of canine love. Go on human! Pick up your copy of A Pug's Guide To Dating from Ryland Peters & Small for £9.99

Monday, 14 October 2013

My attempts at being healthy are (severely) lacking...

OK so I haven't been for a run in a week and a half because life has been crazy- AKA I love my sleep when I'm having to work 7 days a week. WHAT'S MORE my lovely mother and awesome baker has not been helping my case. Check out these treats she's been cooking over the last week:

Starting from the left: Home-made apple biscuits, Baclava and Bread Pudding

Yes, that's right, ALL THIS in just 7 days. And that Baclava you see there, yeah, that's the second batch. God help my sugar levels for I think I need a dose of willpower. 
I can safely say I never knew my mum was such an avid baker but it's certainly not helping my efforts at being healthy.

SO I've decided that this is the plan:
- Enjoy my birthday week.
- Get back on running next Monday.

Fair enough, right?
I probably will have to start from the beginning when it comes to my running/walking times. Even though it's been a little over a week my inactivity will probably make an (unfortunate) impact on my fitness level.

In interning news, I'm really enjoying my time at BA Highlife and it's spurring me on to save and get my ass a NCTJ diploma.
Today I finished writing copy for a piece going in the December issue and I got to sit in on a production meeting. I also did some admin work sorting through a load of competition entries of drawings sent in by children- they were so adorable!

Friday, 11 October 2013

The BA Highlife

I finally managed to land internship number two, this time at British Airways Highlife Magazine. Today marked the end of my first week a the magazine and what can I say about my time there so far? It's a really good experience, no really. I'm not just saying it because it's an actual REAL-LIFE PROPER INTERNSHIP, I actually feel like I'm learning a lot from my time there. Why? Well firstly I'm not just sat there, ho hum, twiddling away my fingers as the forgotten intern with nothing to do but wait to make tea and deliver people's post.
Secondly, the folk at Highlife seemed to have chucked me in to the deep end with a variety of tasks sent my way, from the usual admin-y stuff to sub-editing, transcribing, research, etc to actually being allowed to sit in meetings. How cool is that?! In my experience I've never been allowed to sit in meetings and to seriously contribute ideas.
Thirdly, everyone is super friendly and welcoming which is just what you need when you're the intern with little clue into the everyday workings of the magazine.
And finally, I'm coming to realize that travel and life style are areas I'd love to write about.
I definitely recommend getting involved with BA Highlife if magazines and travel writing is your thing. The only downside is that the internship is only two weeks which is incredibly short. But I'm hoping to make the most of my time there (and secretly hoping I'll land a job too).

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Walking the red carpet: Filth movie premier

On Monday night my lovely and wonderful friend Teresa invited me along to the premier of the new James McAvoy flick, Filth. We had the pleasure of walking the blue carpet (yep, no red carpet here!) and sitting only a few inches away from the stars of the film, including its director, Jon S. Baird. It was such a great night and a pretty surreal experience. I mean how often do you get to sit in the same room as James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell and Irvine Walsh? I mean wow.

Teresa managed to get a photo of James McAvoy. We were so close she had to lean back to be the photo! 

Now the film. 


Unsurprisingly now Scotland's current number one film, this comedic yet gritty crime drama, based on the novel by Irvine Walsh, is set in Edinburgh with McAvoy fronting the show as corrupt cop Bruce Robertson.

Sex, drugs, violence and the disturbing reality of alcoholism and addiction are the obvious themes of a story concocted by Walsh. I mean, who could forget Trainspotting? Filth stays in line with these themes, it's in the word- a massive hint for what's to come.

The film opens with the brutal murder of a Chinese student- cue the entrance of
Sergeant Robertson and his colleagues. But the record is soon set straight as the film becomes much more than just a mystery murder case. Robertson is out for the demise of his colleagues as the film follows him on his ventures of (rather creative) plotting and scheming in his bid to attain that all important promotion. 

Robertson is cunning and conniving but, like any successful villain, his charm is flawless as Mcavoy delivers a charismatic character who knows how to get what he wants. But that is no compliment, for Robertson is the ultimate anti-hero; sexist, racist, violent and psychotic which manifest as we find out more about our detective sergeant. He is a part of "The Pigs" which becomes emblematic of his amorality. But Robertson is all too aware of this as he is haunted by the face of an ugly, squealing pig upon looking in the mirror. Bruce Robertson is Filth.

As the film goes in we witness his mental and physical deterioration as his cases are left unsolved and his drug abuse festers. This film is ultimately about his downfall which McAvoy has portrayed on such an astute level. 

On a whole I would say that Baird's visualisation of Walsh's novel is brilliantly entertaining and creative. Admittedly some scenes had me feeling somewhat uneasy as it transcends in to the mind of Bruce. We hallucinate with him and follow his every evil move, experiencing his highs and his lows that come with his drug abuse and the grief after losing his wife and daughter. Multiple hints are dropped throughout the film that Bruce's problems stem from his childhood after the death of his brother but nothing is wholly explicit. The film is almost a tragicomedy with scenes that'll have you laughing out loud at Robertson's ingenuousness but may have you turning away your head as the film reaches its bitter close. McAvoy has done well. 

If you're going to watch this film, be prepared. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Stella's Crafts update and ruby fruit nails

Hey y'all,

It's been a while since I've posted about my mother's woollen creations so I thought I'd showcase her latest project.

What with the winter now on its way and the cooling temperatures the time has come to stock up on our favourite winter warmers to get us through the cold months.
Inspired by her love of floral motifs and the warm autumn colours comes these cute little crocheted slipper socks.

These are only a prototype but they have turned out beautifully. You can see the multicoloured flowers attached to the front of the sock made with a mixture of rich autumn colour to suit the season. In keeping with the foliage-inspired theme is the green ribbon strung through it to add that delicate touch. 

Speaking of winter, yesterday I bought a new nail colour from the new Maxfactor 'Glossfinity' collection. 

I kept having those moments, y'know those ones where you want something so bad you feel like you see it everywhere? Yeah, so when I couldn't find a cheaper alternative for this exact colour (ruby fruit) I caved.
The pigment is so lush, it reminds me of mulled wine which is rather fitting with Christmas on its jolly way. Glossfinity promises to give a glossy finish- which it does. I didn't even need to use a topcoat, I love it! 

Monday, 23 September 2013

my trainers are cool, right?

So I got myself up early this morning and went for another run after a decent warm-up session, (I refuse to go through the horrid leg pain similar to the one I endured over the weekend again).
I'm really trying to get in to this habit of just getting up and going for a run instead of trying to mentally motivate myself every time but, of course, it's motivation that gets things done. Apparently one can change a habit within 21 days.. Though I wonder how accurate that theory really is...
My run lasted for approximately 30 minutes (again walking and running in between) and I think I'm going at a fairly good pace. The burn in my chest wasn't as bad this time around which can only be good, I guess. I have to admit, it can be quite difficult to keep tabs on my timing and often end up approximating my running and walking time. I'm tempted to wear a watch!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Post-summer pounds... eek!

After a fairly gluttonous few weeks I've decided some fitness is in order.

I've always had issues with my diet and my weight, being overweight as a child and a teen. I have successfully managed to shed the pounds over the last few years, taking up slimming world during uni to avoid the terrible habit of eating out, as well as just generally cutting back on all the guff- though I admit this was hard during deadlines!
Lately though it's become difficult to keep up being healthy, what with moving back home and no longer in charge of the shopping so my good eating habits have somewhat dropped. I can safely say I'm so done with my gut and I've had enough of my lingering low body self-esteem. Alongside all this there's a tiny voice in the back of my head that is just screaming at me to fix up my diet and work on becoming fitter and healthier. So I want to immerse myself in running- a cheap exercise option that doesn't require the pricey gym contract (until I can afford it).

I admit, running has always been something that I've never taken that seriously, going only so often and rather sporadically.

So I'm starting out with a running routine that I'll (hopefully) do 3 times a week in order to help develop my overall fitness levels and my running ability that I got off The Runner's World Get-Started Schedule for beginners. It's an 8-week plan that is geared to help beginners build on their fitness levels, so by the end of the 8 weeks they should be able to maintain a continuous run for 30 minutes. It sounds like a suitable plan that could work for me if I put in the right amount of hard work and dedication. I've decided the only real way I'll stick to my fitness routine is by recording it and sharing it.

In fact, I went on my first run this morning with the running gear I bought a while back and my playlist.
I only managed half an hour, walking and running in between, with a painful chest pain by the end of it. I might've overdone it (because lord knows I'm terribly unfit) but I've been told this can be normal if you're out of shape?  I plan to go again on Monday morning, sticking to the Runner's World routine.

Wish me luck guys!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Book Review: The Really Hungry Student Cookbook

The infamous student diet is most typically associated with carb-concentrated frozen dinners, alcohol and greasy takeaways. Oh and let's not forget the comfort foods during exam time! Let's be honest, living on a student budget can leave us feeling uninspired when it comes to cooking. Sometimes it's just a lack of know-how when it comes to basic kitchen skills but more often than not, it can be down to a lack of time, what with deadlines and socials, and a serious lack of money, meaning that we often stack up on cheap eats and fast-foods to get us through our days at university.

However, if you're looking for some culinary inspiration and to cook up something besides your usual frozen chips and pizza, The Really Hungry Student Cookbook is any student's go-to guide for getting up to speed on delicious, quick and easy recipes that aren't so harsh on your pocket.

The cookbook is packed with 'stress-free' and easy to follow recipes designed for healthier eating and home-made dishes on a budget. Recipes range from indulgent breakfasts and desserts to home-made comfort foods and light lunches. It also offers an array of delightful vegetarian options and goes on to cover party snacks and foods that'll show your mates that you actually care about your palate with a section of 'posh nosh foods'.

Some of us have tried (unsuccessfully) to whip up an impressive meal for our hall mates to envy only to conjure up something that actually appears inedible due to an admirable amount of guesswork and some questionable substitutes. Well, not to worry as the book offers an entire section dedicated to kitchen wisdom (removing odours from your Tupperware?), kitchen safety (how not to use a microwave) and a list of handy ingredients to store in your cupboard so you can master the realms of your student kitchen and the art of cooking well.

So if you're a hungry student wishing to change your eating habits, dodge your Goodfella's pizza and make yourself some mini 'pizzettes' or add some variety to your usual pasta dish with a puttanesca sauce (my personal favourite).

The Really Hungry Student Cookbook can be found at Ryland Peters and Small for £9.99

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Ciao Venezia!

Hey everyone!

After spending a lush week away in the sweltering heat of Venice I've returned, ready to get my job/internship hunt on! (Wish me luck folks...)

But anyway, onto the real details. Of course Venice was just lovely, unique as it stands on its waters with beautiful, classic Venetian architecture towering above, adding to the character of this already enchanting city. Wooden shutters provided some mysticism as we wandered through the narrow alleyways of Santa Croce, a quiet neighborhood hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Venice's main attraction, San Marco.

We stayed at the Carlton on the Grand Canal, a four star hotel that came with really good service, though maybe a little over priced as we ended up paying 6,50 euros for a large bottle of water... Oops!
We mostly walked everywhere, staying away from the busy water buses, as there really is so much to see and take in- old churches with awe-inspiring frescos of magnificent detail, vacant Venetian masks haunting every "calle" from tourist shops and artist boutiques and then these grande, flaking buildings ridden with vines and shrubs.
Curious smells hung in the air from the waters of the Grand Canal soon to be overtaken by the all too familiar smell of freshly made pizza from a small risorante or the smell of freshly baked bread from an artisan bakery in the corner.

On our third night, we went on a gondola ride at a hefty price of 100 euros! Pricey it was but you just can't beat the peaceful ambiance that comes with this intimate boat ride. I mean, you've got to try everything once, right?
The food was beautiful but I have to say, I think I've had my fair share of carbs for at least a month with all the pizza, pastas and breads you can eat! Like the city, the food is Venice is rich!

I feel a little nostalgic already, it was a really great getaway!

Venice I miss you!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Women on Bank Notes: there is a point.

If you haven’t heard by now, 2017 will see the release of a new £10 note featuring the portrait of one of the most prominent British female writers in literary history, Jane Austen. Her face will go on to replace that of the current Charles Darwin and while some see this as a huge success for women everywhere some are not so convinced, asking if there was any real point to kicking up such a fuss about a woman on our bank notes and if Jane Austen was really a worthy candidate.

The Bank of England made the decision after a series of protests lead by feminist activists, namely those from The Women’s Room, after they announced they would be removing Elizabeth Fry from our bank notes, Britain’s only female historical figure to date that isn't a part of the monarchy. Fry's face would cease to appear on the five pound note, only to be replaced by another male.

While Jane Austen’s novels may not be for everyone, with certain critics deeming her work dull and over-rated, a “chronicler of petty squabbles and small lives” - some have questioned if there’s any real point behind the Bank of England’s decision.  

However, I’m inclined to think that a majority do regard her works as quality pieces of fiction, after all, Austen is a definite part of our literary canon whether you like it or not. Her novels are renowned for their stark humour towards upper class sensibilities, not to mention their witty observation surrounding the everyday conventions of female life in the early 19th century. These themes are perhaps amplified in Pride and Prejudice, one of Austen's most loved works, as she mocks the genteel snobbery of the Bingley family and equally the ignorance of characters such as Mrs Bennet, a boisterous mother whose only ambition is to marry off her daughters to wealthy suitors.Writing in a time when the woman's place was mainly at home, Austen mocks the mundane trivialities of domestic reality.  

On the face of it, Jane Austen was herself an ordinary person; there was nothing particularly unusual about her as one of 8 children and educated at home by her father, a clergyman. Her vivid imagination and her ironic humour are perhaps what marked her out from other writers in her time as her novels were such a success they equivocated her to her male literary peers. But alas, in her lifetime Austen's novels were supposedly that of some anonymous Lady. Her talents were acknowledged posthumously with her author identity kept hidden until her death in 1817 when her brother, Henry, announced it to the world. 

As a woman who couldn't even take credit for her own works to now being the face of the new bank note surely this counts as a huge achievement for Austen and British women. With less than 25% of women making up our parliament today, Jane Austen's recognition only shows that, actually yes, the British do have more female representatives out there. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Summer update!

Hey everyone!

It's been a rather eventful couple of months what with my first internship, my graduation, job hunting (!) and my planned travels! It's been a little difficult to keep going with my blogging so I apologise for my terrible lack of posts- I know there's really no excuses!

Next week I'm off to the lovely Venice with my boyfriend and I cannot wait to explore this beautiful flooded city that is really so unique. I've heard that it's a great place to take long walks and just get lost in the culture there. As always I'm excited to try the local fare and get in with some real authentic cuisine. I'm going on quite a tight budget but hope to fit in a gondola ride somewhere along the way! I've heard that they can cost 80 euros in the day alone and are even pricier at night when romance can reach its peak! So I guess we'll just see what happens.
If any of you guys have any suggestions on some sights, attractions or things to do in the city please feel free to leave a comment!

I'll try my best to blog while I'm there but can definitely promise some snaps of my time there!

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Painted Lady: The Art of the Female Body.

The archaic opinion of the tattooed woman as a freak or a misfit is on its way out. In the twenty-first century, the tattooed woman is a successful business owner, a fashion icon, an actress, a lawyer, a musician, an artist... 

Written by Dominique Holmes, this beautifully illustrated little book traces the origins of feminine tattooing from the days when the painted lady was nothing more than a character in a freak show, to her evolution in today's modern world as a valid and prosperous counterpart.

As a tattoo artist herself, Holmes provides expert knowledge on the art of contemporary, feminine tattooing with back stories on such vintage greats as the pin-up girl, hearts, roses, butterflies and nautical imagery. She goes on to explore styles that have been particularly popular amongst women, like the intricate designs embedded within Mendhi tattoos, floral motifs and the vibrant glory of Japanese compositions.

The book also showcases the tattoos of women who explain their personal 'story' and give an interesting and enlightening perspective on the meaning of their body art.
As someone who is actually considering getting her first tattoo I can say that Holmes book has definitely given me some insight in to the world of tattooing and makes the idea of getting a tattoo all the more appealing.

Today we are inundated with strong, successful and brilliant tattooed women who grace our screens, our stereos, our bookshelves, and our minds; their body a part of who they are. 

With such graceful imagery throughout, this book would a beautiful edition to any bookshelf and is perfect for those searching for tattoo inspiration. Dominique Holmes extensive knowledge and experience in the industry also makes this book great for those who want to get up to speed on the meanings that lie behind some of the most popular designs in contemporary feminine tattooing.

Pick up your copy today from Ryland Peters and Small from £9.99. 

Friday, 28 June 2013

My first internship

Hey everyone!

So I should probably fill you in with what's been going on recently. Two weeks ago I got a long awaited and rather unexpected email from Now magazine inviting me for an internship. After a year of waiting I seriously thought my application had been discarded to the trash folder long ago so it was a pretty pleasant surprise. It was the best news and just what I'm looking for now that university is over *sob*.

I'm working in the web department and my duties certainly don't involve making cups of tea for my superiors! A typical day consists of transcribing articles and helping to produce online content for the magazine's website. Like today I practically spent the whole day researching baby shoes (I don't have my own column just yet!) and compiling pictures for a Royal birth themed gallery (yes, most of my day was spent oohing and awwing at uber cute mini footwear).

If I've learnt anything so far it's to never underestimate the work that goes into producing an online article. You assume it'll be simple and quick (which it can be) but these tasks really involve double, if not triple checks, scrutiny and attention to detail because even the smallest of errors can be fatal. It's also so easy to become lost for words, even if it's writing something small like a caption; you just sit there asking yourself whether you really did spend the last three years of your life completing an English degree. Thankfully, there's and practise does lead to the eventual formation (never perfection) of a sentence that won't be totally lost when subbed.

Well anyway, the experience has been a real eye opener into celebrity and web journalism and I'm learning something new everyday. I've been lucky enough to attend one press event. On Wednesday I got to go Fern Cotton's launch of her new home ware range for Her pieces were very pretty, very girlie and quite vintage chic (if there is such a thing) with a running floral motif on most of them. She's released everything from sofas, cat inspired lampshades to rugs and pillows.

I have loads of pillows on my bed so the cat pillow caught my eye, plus its probably the most affordable piece... 

I'm going to end this post here and will update again soon. I'm still waiting for my laptop to return from repair, it's been 2 weeks to too long!! 

Thanks for reading x

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Hola Chicas!

Alas I have returned from my too-short a trip to Malaga. As you could probably guess, the weather was lovely out there and I practically spent two days lying on the beach and roaming around the city. My friend, who is currently there for university, lives in the old town which is quite a central location, filled with history and bustling with shops, its own botanic garden and numerous restaurants. It also contains some rather beautiful Renaissance architecture and is centered around a massive Cathedral.

I was definitely in need of a little getaway after all my uni deadlines and this was just the perfect treat, lapping up the sun, sand and sangria...  I miss it already! That said, the weather here in Britain has somewhat improved as of late.

While I'm here, I thought I'd also show you something I picked up during my trip because it's always SO difficult to resist the temptations that come your way whilst browsing in the duty free section. That's all you really want to do- just browse until it's time to board the plane, because god knows you need to save every last penny for when you're actually at your desired destination, enjoying your holiday. At least that's what I wanted to do, until I saw this:

As a massive fan of the brand I just could not help myself, especially after wanting this for a whole year; the Urban Decay Naked Palette, numero 2. The shades are said to be perfect for everyday make-up and also brilliant for the more dramatic and smokey-eye looks. I finally have it and cannot wait to start using it!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Book Review: Vintage Beauty Parlor by Hannah Wing

Are you longing to wear your hair like Brigitte Bardot? Flutter your eyelashes like the doe-eyed actresses of yesteryear, Anna Karina and Marilyn Monroe? Or perhaps you're wanting to strut the glamorous allure of Marlene Dietrich... 

Well great because Hannah Wing will show you how with her practical little manual with step by step guidance on how to master such beautiful and iconic vintage styles of the 20th century.  

As a professional make-up artist and stylist who runs her own business, Bellus Femina, and just so happens to write beauty and style blogs for The Vintage Festival, Wing is certainly the expert when it comes to vintage fashion and beauty.

Her book is an essential go-to-guide with tutorials which cover basic make-up and hair styling tips alongside several chapters dedicated to recreating looks from every decade, from the classy, sultry look of the 1920s and the 1930s debutante, down to the disco divas of the 1970s and the bold punk looks of the '80s. Every decade comes with its own colour palette (how useful is that?!) and suggestions on how to complete your look with suitable fashion pieces, accessories and even fragrances!

Wing goes on to provide readers with expert knowledge about each era and how the prevailing trends came about, like the stylish, yet practical victory rolls of the 1940s, inspired by the desire to stay feminine in the workplace as women took over the British workforce during WW11.

This book is great if you're wanting to spruce up your every-day look and add some glamour to your wardrobe and equally as good if you're in need of some advice for a fancy-dress do.

Treat yourself and order Vintage Beauty Parlor from Ryland Peters & Small for a modest £14.99.
I would especially recommend this book for any vintage fashion enthusiasts and fashionistas!

Monday, 13 May 2013


So last Tuesday was my last ever hand-in AND THUS THE END OF UNIVERSITY AS I KNOW IT- *dun! dun! dun!*

3 years of hard-work has amounted to this moment.. 
I can't believe it's all over, I've had a brilliant 3 years and have met a bunch of really great people that I hope to be able to call my life long friends. My time at university has seen some serious highs and a fair share of lows- but that's the point of all, right?

I'm eagerly awaiting my results (eek!) and look forward to graduation! In the meantime, I have a trip lined up to Spain, only for a couple of days, to visit my friend whose taken a sandwich year abroad. I'm looking forward to seeing how she's doing out there and also to escaping this fickle British weather and getting some actual solid sunshine!

In other the news, the job hunt is on! Bring on LIFE!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Review: So You Think You're A Hipster?

What happened to your local area? Where did all these twenty-somethings in beanies and ripped skinny jeans come from? Why does the air hang thick with the foul stench of soya milk lattes and organic cupcakes?

In her delightfully satiric manual, Kara Simsek provides the low-down on the modern-day phenomenon, the so-called elite of today's young urbanites: The Hipster.

If you're gunna be a Hipster you need to be a flap-back wearing, non-prescription wayfarer owner with a set of seriously sweet garms and a moustache. 

Brilliantly illustrated by Paul Parker, her guide leads us through all the Hipster sub-categories (if there ever was such a thing) with 50 witty and insightful observations of the self-proclaimed, "cooler than cooler" ghetto embracing youth of today.

Simsek covers the basics for any aspiring Hipster like how one should tend to their facial hair (I personally dig "the hulkamaniac"),  on how to cater to their diet (all fresh and locally sourced organic foods, obviously), haircuts, glasses, tattoos and even dogs.

Flicking through the pages you'll also find the detailed explanations of such Hipsters like, The Urban Hunter: "the all action city woodsman", the Goth Lolita, the Cupcake Baker, and the Aspiring novelist...

She's so accurate that I can't help but recognize some of them, especially that blogger one...

All in all, this colourful little book works great as a gift (heck, give it to a Hipster friend!) and is just generally a really quick and funny read. Published by Dog 'n' Bone, you can pick up your copy here for the not-so Hipsterish price of £9.99.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Day four: Clogs and Cheese.

And so, after many a waffle, pancake, and beer came the end to a long and eventful Easter weekend spent in brisk Amsterdam.  Alas, all good things must come to an end, right?!- Ahhh but not before a quick visit to the Rembrandt Hoeve cheese and clog factory!

Situated just outside Amsterdam is this traditional little farm, which dates all the way back to the 15th century, and is one of four that specalizes in the production of clogs and delicious, organic cheese. The strong scent of cheese mingled with wet wood was only too noteiceable upon entering the place. The tour demonstrates the making of traditional dutch cheese as well as the signature clog shoe. At the end of the tour you are led into the shop, faced with a variety of sample cheeses at the ready- including garlic, pepper, and even smoked cheese and bacon. The man who conducted the tour - the farmer himself - was quite a funny, eccentric sort of character and it may be useful to note that this is not your average show and tell kinda deal. This guy is just full of the jokes and won't hesistate to make you a part of them! But one must not take him too seriously- he was certainly entertaining and actually a really great laugh.

Lots and lots of cheese!

And lots and lots of clog shoes!
The visit to the farm was a nice way to end the tour, especially after the boozy night beforehand, to take in the peaceful pastoral scenery in the dewy morning air. After the tour we were homeward bound and boarded the coach back to Calle.

Overall the Topdeck-led-Amsterdam-tour was a great experience and really good fun. It was a weekend crammed with activities that encompassed a range of tastes and preferences which bodes well for anyone who may want a certain experience of the city, or better yet, for those looking for variety. Again I'd like to thank Topdeck for this brilliant opportunity.

Vaarwell Amsterdam - It's been a blast!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Day three: pancakes and such...

Happy Easter everyone!

So I thought I'd do a brief post before our last activity tonight.

Today we started the day off with a trip to the Keukenhof flower gardens. Because of the prolonged cold snap this year much of the outside display consisted of bare turf and the small beginnings of a flowery bloom. Inside the greenhouses however were a magnificent collection of large, brightly coloured flowers in magnificent displays with a sweet aroma in the air. It was a really scenic environment and I think I spent the majority of my time taking pictures more than anything.

The rest of the day was free time which was a great opportunity to try out some more food!
Being the last full day here in Amsterdam and still not having tried Dutch herring or Pannenkoeken (pancakes) today was officially the day to pig out! That's right, I got both and I have no regrets. Both were excellent dishes. The herring is like a snack food, smoked and served with raw onion and gherkins, bringing about an overall rich and salty mouthful of yummyness. You can get it served as a sandwich or on its own at any stall that reads Frens Haringhandal. I braved it and chose to eat it on its own and truthfully I can say it was quite the authentic treat.

We then headed off to Pancakes! This place is practically featured in all of our guide books so we just had to try it out. Being small (25 seats) and also a favourite here amongst locals and tourists there was an hour wait outside in the cold. But the feeling of misery was only short lived once we were inside and our meals were ordered. The eatery offers a scrumptious array of sweet and savoury pancakes. I personally ordered one with bacon, which were inside the cake, with beautiful triangles of Camembert and dollops of plum compote. It was definitely worth the wait.

Tonight is our last night here in the city and most of us our heading out for an all you can drink cruise (hence my blogging now...) and I can't wait!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Day Two: Proost!

From the early hours of this morning me and my fellow Top-deckers have been up and at 'em!

Starting the day with a bike tour with Mike's Bike's around the city at 9am, the group was brought to life with the chill of the bitter wind and the lovely views of the city before the bustle of the afternoon. The tour took us through the some of the main sights like the 'I Amsterdam' sign in front of the famous Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank house (which had a massive queue outside) and the (fake) lizard park. We cycled over a lot of canal bridges which was a work out in itself! And halfway through the tour we stopped off at this lovely little rustic cafe to grab some coffee. It was my first time ever doing a bike tour and I can safely say the company cater for all types of riders, like, say, the short novice... Also the guide was really knowledgeable and friendly with the tendency to crack jokes throughout the tour. It was really good fun.
On a general note, if it's one thing you'll definitely notice upon entering Amsterdam it's jut how much cyclists have a reign over the streets. According to urban lore they are at the top of the transport hierarchy, which probably explains why there are so little cars driving around and also why everyone around here seems to be a pro at riding a bike.

After that some of us went to the Heineken brewery which was pretty cool. Personally my favourite part was this 4D interactive visual experience where we were "brewed and bottled", becoming a part of the making process, with bubbles coming out from the ceiling and a trembling platform. All in all the museum was quite quirky and displayed the long history of the Heineken brand- I would say it's generally a good activity to do but great for beer lovers as you get a beer tasting session and then 2 free complimentary beers at the end of the tour! Awesome, right?!

The latter half of the day consisted of a tour through the red light district. Two of us decided to take up a tour with the Prostitution Information Centre who offer insider knowledge on the district. It was actually really informative and educational, shedding light on probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of the city. We were also given useful tips like to never stand in front of a window because it makes the workers angry as it could deter customers. Loitering could indeed result in pee, water, or even a dildo thrown at your head. Don't do it!
And then came the optional activity that no doubt everyone signed up for: the sex show. All I can say (and will say) is that it was a very theatrical type of show, probably one of the more accessible shows geared to attract more than one type of audience... There were several different acts which were all good, if not a little tacky, but overall the show was at times really funny and entertaining with some awkward parts. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but if you think you'd be up for it it's definitely a to do whilst at the red light district.

Tomorrow should be another fun filled day with yet more exploring and a trip to the flower fields lined up in the morning! I can't wait.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Day one: the journey begins...

My, it's been a long day. What with over 12 hours of travelling from London all the way here to Amsterdam I am well and truly zonked out! We set off at 7 this morning but had to get a ferry 2 hours later than our expected time and so naturally the order of the day was slightly disrupted. I can safely say, however, that despite all that the day has been a generally good one. Everyone's been getting to know each other, making friends. I've made plans with some fellow solo travellers of the group already which is great- I was slightly apprehensive about potentially having to explore the city on my lonesome but now all is right with the world (yay, friends!).

I was also worried about just what exactly it was that I was going to do once here as nearly ALL the museums are sold out over the Easter weekend. Luckily Top Deck offer some pretty cool optional tour activities that you can take to coincide with your trip (really helpful!!). So I went with that.

So, tomorrow will be jam packed with activities, starting the day with a bike tour around the city, followed by a trip to the Heineken brewery. After that I believe we will be going to watch a sex show in the eve which should be interesting, to say the least....

As for now, I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep!


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Amsterdam bound!

At last Easter has arrived and whilst for some that means indulging in several chocolate eggs over the weekend for me it's spending 4 days in the lovely city of Amsterdam thanks to Top deck travel and Student i magazine. 

I could not be more grateful for this brilliant opportunity. Not only do I get to go on this trip but I get to write about it too and have it featured in the Student i magazine. 
I've never been to Amsterdam or the Netherlands so naturally, I am beyond excited to explore this city. Infamous for its red light district and known for such landmarks like the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House and Rijksmuseum-  I can't wait to visit them and also check out what else the city has to offer. I'm eager to try out the local fare and hope to squeeze in a trip to the Heinekein experience (for a cheeky beer,obv). More importantly I just want to have a good time and make it a really memorable experience. 

In the meantime I've been trying to do some homework on the city itself and purchased this little number today to read on the coach tomorrow. 

My journey starts at 5.30am tomorrow so I should probably get an early night. 
I definitely intend to blog whilst I'm out there so watch this space! 

Also - if anyone has any suggestions of sights to see in Amsterdam please feel free to leave the comment :-). 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Just to let you all know I'm still here..

Yes! Sorry guys, I know my blog has been hideously un-active for while now. There have been a lot of things going which means my blogging has taken a back seat. This won't continue for long and I will make more of an effort to post!

Otherwise, here's a little update on what's been going on/will be going on:

  • Third year at uni... *cries* 
  • Work, work and more work.
  • I'm getting ready for two MA journalism interviews later this month which, quite frankly, I'm VERY VERY (very) nervous about. So I've been prepping for those by reading the news everyday and trying to memorize some of the important events that have taken place in media land. I might even prepare a little speech.. who knows. My first one is next week, eek! Wish me luck!!!! 
  • I went to see the Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate Modern on Friday with the boyfriend. The exhibition as a whole was great. Lichtenstein's use of primary colours, heavy outlines and his mimicry of comic cartoons was what really defines his work and being able to get up close and personal with them was pretty cool. In particular I really enjoyed his Art about Art series of works which featured his own interpretations, or parodies, of great masterful pieces which incorporated elements of pop imagery, deconstructing their classical stature to make it his own. I loved his interpretations of Picasso's works. I definitely recommend a visit for any pop-art enthusiast. 
  • I'll be going to Amsterdam at the end of the month, courtesy of Top Deck travel to do some travel-writing. That should be fun! I can't wait to explore and discover the city, I'll be looking out for some cool places to eat for sure. Apparently it's the thing to try a raw herring? There are also a few places in particular that I want to see, including the Anne Frank House and the Amsterdam Museum. I also hear that there are some good art museums about. A trip to the red light district might also be on the cards...  Does anyone have any recommendations of somewhere to visit while I'm there??
  • Right now I should be getting ready for work so I'm going to end this here. 
Shall update again soon! 

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Pug's Guide to Etiquette by Gemma Correll.

Introducing probably THE only Pug's guide to etiquette by Gemma Correll... 

Having discovered the wonderful illustrations of Correll on Tumblr (naturally) I've been quite the enthusiast, keeping up with her stuff around the internet and seeing her works flourish. Now her designs can be found on the shirts of Urban Outfitters -  you know the ones 'Pugs Not Drugs' and 'Pug Life' - and on the jewellery of Chocolate and Steel. Her website provides a lovely insight into her daily blog and her portfolio as well as all the other marvelous creations she has for sale. So anyway, my point being is that I just LOVE her drawings and was eager to grab my copy of A Pug's Guide to Etiquette.

"The pug is a creature that plays by his own rules. When you want him to sit, he stands; when you want him to stay, he goes; and when you want him to stop eating unidentified substances off the floor, well..." 

As an owner of two Pugs herself, Correll demonstrates her expert knowledge on the etiquette of these cute little creatures. And of course what's so great about this little book is that you don't even need to own a Pug to enjoy it. I mean, I haven't got one anyway...

Filled with brilliantly humorous illustrations and a witty intelligence on the ways of the "proud, handsome, and fragrant" Pug, Correll supplies a fun, educational compendium on the grounding rules for how to be a Pug in Polite Society. From the rules surrounding how one should look in Personal Appearance & Grooming which covers the distribution of Pug hair (a generous gift left by any well-bred pug) right down to the gritty details of how one should toilet in the most elegant of manners, this nifty little manual prescribes the best solution to all Pug woes.

Correll ensures to mention other such important topics like table manners and how a Pug is to entertain their owner, which she states, is obviously through the passing of wind after dinner or the stealing of things from the washing basket...

A dutiful Pug should always perform parlor tricks for their human.
The guide continues to offer advice on how to pass time with sports and recreation. Correll warns against the farce that is fetch- no Pug should EVER reduce their standard to those "creatures of the lower social standing" (such as Labradors and humans).

Finally, of course, Correll offers readers the strict Etiquette of the Street and how any self-respecting Pug should carry themselves alongside their peers. Or indeed, with how to deal with the ignoramuses of society that simply do not understand their nature as sophisticated dogs: to drop and roll in anything that appears to be dead or rotting. Classy.

All in all, this lovely little guide is an excellent assemble on all the essentials for any Pug doggy and it certainly makes a great gift for any Pug-loving human or, in fact, ANY human who enjoys Correll's style.
The guide is available to purchase at a modest £9.99 from all good book retailers.