Monday, 25 June 2012

Movie Style: Lolita

My favourite novel OF ALL TIME is Lolita. It is challenging, subversive, perverse, beautiful, nostalgic, darkly funny, romantic, poetic & disturbing. In orther words, perfect, and probably one of the greatest novels of our time. There have been two films based on Lolita. The first, filmed in 1962 was directed by Stanley Kubrick and the screenplay was written by Nabokov himself (or so it was claimed, Nabokov was later seen to not exactly be a massive fan of the film or the finished screenplay). It's an absolute classic, and is where that iconic image of Lo in the heart-shaped sunglasses comes from.

 l-r: gaga, lana & marianne love their heart-shaped shades

The version I kind of prefer though is the 1997 version directed by Adrian Lyne, starring Dominique Swain as Dolores/Lo/Lola/Lolita, Jeremy Irons as Humbert, Melanie Griffiths as Charlotte & Frank Langella as Quilty. Even though it's not as critically acclaimed, I personally feel that the whole hazy vibe of the movie feels much closer to the romanticised, lyrical quality of Nabokov's prose. It has been accused of not containing as much black comedy as is in the novel, but I disagree- most of the scenes with Lo trying to impress Humbert & gain points over her mother (her modern dance creation is a favourite) or being huffy & rude (writhing around restless & bored on the hotel bed, or general bickering with Humbert) are both hilarious & uncomfortable.

The performances are spot on too- I think Dominique is perfect as the stroppy, impetuous, flirty, tortured & sad Lo; & Jeremy Irons manages to capture the charm & likability of Humbert that is so monstrous & hard to digest. Part of what I find fascinating about the book is that Humbert is such a great character that you almost forget at times what he's done- he's completely believable as an unreliable narrator, and it's in the small moments that we get a glimpse of Lolita's true unhappiness that  it hits you like a ton of bricks when you realise you have been sympathising with a monster! Irons is perfect at capturing that balance between charismatic charmer & totally monstrous deviant.

I also love Lo's wardrobe in Lyne's version of the movie. It's soft & girlish & feminine yet grown-up & flirtatious, helping to convey how Lo is stuck in a weird limbo between wanting to be a woman yet still needing to be a girl.

A Lolita-inspired wardrobe is full of 40s floaty silhouettes & prints- things like this teadress are the perfect embodiment of that, & I think the red, strap, peep-toe sandal with a slight heel add a bit of light-hearted fun & modernise it a little with a bit of colour-pop clashing.

A sailor-style playsuit is a great summer look, with white ankle socks & saltwater sandals. It would be a good outfit for a bike riding excursion- extra points if your bicycle has a basket in the front!

The final outfit is a small step away from the Lolita- vibe, but with Lana Del Rey-type Americana overtones of gas stations, vegas & dive bars.

Red lipstick, cherry soda, a pastel satchel, vintage luggage, a braided crown, plastic sunglasses & a nameplate necklace would complete any of these looks.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Nail Art: Ombre Glitter Manicure

models own polishes l-r: coral reef, grey day, juicy jules

So I made my first attempt at a gradient manicure & I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I found it quite hard to make the polish fade because of the way it kept building up on my sponge, but I think with practice I will get better at it. I also think starting with two very different colours made it a little harder, as it is easier to notice the blending. Next time I will probably try it with orange & pink, or baby blue & lavender, so that the two blend better. The glitter topcoat was added because I left my Seche Vite at my mum's & I felt I needed to put something over it. It looks better in the flesh than the photo but next time I won't bother with glitter just because it's easier to see the ombre effect without it.

It was actually relatively simple to do & quite fun too- definitely something I'll be trying again.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Playlist: City Nights

If you're like me, you need a playlist for every occasion; every mood. This is the playlist I use when walking through the city at night. It suits night lights & quiet streets. I like the sense of isolation you can get in a city, yet still be surrounded by people- you're never really alone but it's easy to retreat into your own space. As someone who cannot function without alone time at least once or twice a week, but who still enjoys being social, I can honestly say I was made for city life.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Everyday Makeup Products

I tend to be pretty loyal to the products I use every day. After years of trying & testing, these are the core products I use day in day out, and the ones I repurchase the most.

I'm sure I've gone through thousands of bottles of foundation on my lifetime, and Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour is the only one that lasts all day for me, especially at work. When I put this on at 5.30 in the morning before going to work, I need to know I don't have to touch it again & it will still look pretty good at 3 in the afternoon when I finish. My absolute favourite foundation of all time is Estee Lauder Double Wear but at £26.50 a bottle it is completely out of my price range- by comparison the Rimmel is £6.99! I also need a powder for the top of my foundation just to set it in place & give it extra staying power. I like to use a loose powder as it gives a more flawless finish than a pressed powder- Collection 2000 Sheer Loose Powder is my powder of choice- it smells nice & the £2.99 pricetag doesn't hurt either.

My favourite blusher is Mac's Dollymix but it's £17.50! I can't believe I used to not even blink an eye at the price. I have since substituted it for Barry M's Rose (BL2) as it's only £4.59 & it has a really great colour payoff- meaning it lasts for an absolute age. The other battered little pot is the BEST highlighter I have ever used, Tophop Glow in Polished but I am devastated to report that it was limited edition & has now been discontinued. Sadface. I still have about half a pot left, and I am using it very sparingly- I will be bereft when it runs out!

I am always changing mascara- but this is my favourite I've used in ages, and the first one I will be repurchasing in a long time, which suprises me as I normally prefer a smaller brush. Rimmel Scandal Eyes Mascara in Black is only £4.99- bargain! Something I never change is eyeliner, and up until I bought this very pot of Rimmel Exaggerate Liquid Eye Liner in Black about 2 months ago, I was a diehard Mac Fluidline in Blacktrack fan & used it for about 4-5 years. I will never buy it again thanks to this liquid liner. It is AMAZING- really easy to use plus nice & black. It also lasts all day without any movement & comes off easily with a makeup wipe. It's really a magical product.

I have really oily lids, so a primer is a must-have for me. There really only is one acceptable eyeshadow primer obv & that's Urban Decay Primer Potion. It's £14.50 but does last FOREVER. I use a very light brown-neutralish shadow on my eyelids to help my eyeliner stay in place & a dark matte brown to fill in my eyebrows- Wedge & Embark by Mac are my two faves. I find cheaper shadows don't last as long as these, although I would like something a little more portable than my massive palette. Next time I will probably just by the singles than the refill pan.

And those are my staples! I try & keep it pretty basic because I don't like to spend too long on my makeup in the morning because I generally like to sleep as long as possible. I also don't like to spend too much money on the things I use the most either as it costs too much to constantly replace them- besides I think a lot of the makeup you can buy at the chemist can be just as good.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Movie Style: Double Indemnity

I absolutely love film noir. I thrill over the hardened private detective drinking bourbon in his smoke filled office; the seductive femme fatale breaking hearts & taking names; dark alleyways; & fractured, sultry lighting.  One of my all time favourites, & my introduction to the genre, is the all-time classic, Double Indemnity. If you've not seen it I urge you to asap! I definitely think everyone should watch it at least once in their lifetime. Barbara Stanwyck is an absolute babe as the femme fatale, Phyllis Dietrichson, and her wardrobe is the prime example of what every femme dangereuse worth her salt should be wearing.

The femme fatale vibe is perfectly powdered, flawless skin; glamourous blouses; a sleek silhouette; poised posture; red lipstick; statement jewellery; cat-eye sunglasses; trench coats; & good quality bourbon.

Outfit one is a classic trench, black patent mary-janes, & dark cat-eye glasses. This is totes perfect attire for slinking about in the shadows to meet your detective lover & convince him to do your bidding. Since there won't be a lot of light, make sure to wear a sultry scent to ensure maximum male intoxication. It is also advisable to carry a solid gold lighter to light the cigarette at the end of your holder, plus the light from the flame is super flattering in the dark- bonus!

The second outfit is a bright pussy-bow blouse, classic black peplum pencil skirt & floral courts. This is to ensure you give off that 'respectable secretary' vibe in order to fool everyone into thinking you're morally incapable of illegal activity, yet the colour pop & statement print shoes make sure you remain unforgettable to the poor schmuck you decide to emotionally blackmail.

Our last outfit is a super classic cream knit sweater with simple black skinnies & quilted flats. Perfect for a more casual late-night encounter, or planning your next deadly move. It also makes you seem less high maintenance than you really are, yet teamed with a chunky statement necklace everyone will still know how chic & rich you obvs are.

Lastly, never ever be caught without your red lipstick; a perfect eyeliner flick; or with cheap booze.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Outfit Post: Puppy Love

I'm on holiday from work at the moment, (hence the flurry of updates), and I'm spending it at my parents home on the North Coast of Ireland as I'm bridesmaid for my cousin who gets married tomorrow! I've got my hair cut & my nails did- I was pretty excited to get my hair done because now I'm feeling all bouncy & swishy! It's been a LOOONG time since I had a hair cut, one of my worst beauty crimes is the length of time I go between cuts. One of the last things to do for the wedding is attend the rehearsal this afternoon. We're keeping it pretty casual so I decided to just dress comfortably.

Tee: River Island
Skirt: H&M
Denim Shirt: Thrifted
Shoes: Primark
Belt Stolen from my sister (sorry sis!)
Bracelet: Thomas Sabo

Nevis, my dad's beagle puppy was feeling a bit left out and was pretty enthralled by the camera shutter sound so we decided to let him join in. He's such a cutie- he's asleep on my legs as I type this, but he's a little terror too, in a few minutes he'll probably be trying to eat my shoes!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Recipe: Breakfast Waffles

Breakfast, as everyone knows, is the best & most important meal of the day. You can eat breakfast in your pyjamas, or even in bed & it can be savoury or sweet depending on your mood. Breakfast is amazing. One of my favourite breakfasts to make people is waffles- they always go down a storm. Waffles aren't as ubiquitous here in the UK as they seem to be in America- so maybe it's this that gives them part of their appeal, although I like to think most of their appeal stems from the fact that I make a mean waffle.

You can get inexpensive waffles irons quite easily these days, and I really recommend having one- I get loads of use out of mine. Not only that but waffles are SO easy to make- so it takes relatively little ease to make something quite impressive.

You can serve your waffles with all kinds of things- golden or maple syrup, fresh fruit, icing sugar, whipped cream, nutella- the list is endless. If you have a big group for breakfast waffles are perfect too, because you can make a bunch of different toppings & then your guests can choose their own. I also think waffles would make a great, fun dessert if you were having a 'breakfast for dinner' themed dinner party!

To make waffles:

1&3/4 cups plain flour
2 tbsps sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
1&3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

(If you don't actually own cup measuring spoons, you can use a teacup instead)

- Combine all dry ingredients
- Beat the wet ingredients together and add to dry.
- Beat both together until it forms a smooth pancake-like batter.

And you're done! I transfer my batter into a jug for easy pouring into the waffle iron. This waffle batter will also keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Outfit Post: Mum's Advice

When I was a difficult teenager, and I was a difficult teenager- cringe, I used to clash with my mum a lot over my choice of attire. She still sometimes  rolls her eyes now at a few of the things I wear, but over the years my tastes have changed, as have hers, and she now mostly likes the outfits I choose. My mum is my bff, so I always ask for her advice when trying things on, (although she would be the first to agree that if I decide I like something, even if she doesn't, I'll go ahead & wear it anyway!) But one thing she did always used to tell me that it didn't matter what I wore as long as I never mixed the colours black, brown & navy. Well, sorry Mum.

Dress: Peacocks
Shoes: Primark
Bag: Primark
Jacket: Topshop

Actually, I'm not really that sorry because I like brown & black together- and the orange & navy dress helps bring the two together I feel. Sometimes rules need to be broken, especially when it comes to sartorial choices. And it turned out my mum agreed with me because she liked it too.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Movie Style: The Virgin Suicides

So it's no secret that my favourite, number one movie of all time is The Virgin Suicides. Absolutely love everything about it. I love everything Sofia Coppola does (SO excited for The Bling Ring)- and this film had a huge influence on me as a teen. I think the whole 70s vibe of this movie is so alluring, and the wardrobe helps play a huge part in that.

The Virgin Suicides vibe is all about hippy skirts, delicate florals, flower power, fringing, moccasins, rosaries, stacked bracelets & 70s rock.

I chose a lace maxi skirt for the first outfit as it reminded me of Cecilia's vintage lace wedding dress. A simple t-shirt with a floral/woodland print gives it a modern take. A rosary-style wooden necklace & some beaded mocassins complete the look.

For the second outfit I went for a floral playsuit. It gives off a great 'flower child' vibe and is ideal for a hazy summer. Finish off with some chunky Chloé-esque block wedges with thick 70s-style straps & a simple daisy-chain headband.

Scent your summer with heady florals, like Chloé eau de parfum & listen to Dreamboat Annie on repeat.

Recipe: Simple Penne Arrabiata

I like cooking- but I am a much better baker than a cook. I have a handful of things that I can do really well though. I'm mostly only good at comfort food- the kind of stuff my mum made me when I was a kid- because that's the kind of food I like best. I mostly just cook for myself so it doesn't really matter what I make most of the time because it's only me eating it, which has resulted in some rather strange meals at times (the constant amusement of my flatmates at uni). Every so often though I'll fancy something a little nicer- or if I have others to cook for- and so I have a few meals that I turn to time & again. Penne arrabiata is one of them- it's perfect for a chilled out, cozy dinner if you're having friends over for a movie & some wine. It's also really easy to make & a lot of the ingredients are store cuppboard staples (a common factor in most of my favourite recipes because I'm poor).

To make penne arrabiata for 2 people you will need:

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
225g of minced beef
225g of penne pasta
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chopped red chilli
dried oregano
salt & pepper
1 beef stock cube
grated cheddar cheese & parsely (fresh or dried)

  1. First off, turn your hob to a high heat & heat up your pan with the oil in it & boil the kettle for the pasta.
  2. Add your beef, garlic & chilli to the pan & cook until the beef is cooked through. (I use the lazy pre-chopped red chilli that comes in a little jar- it's a lifesaver. Never the garlic though- get a garlic press & always use fresh garlic.).
  3. This would be a good time to start cooking your pasta. Cook with a good pinch of salt until al dente if you want (or if you're super uncool & don't like your pasta al dente, like me, cook until totally soft).
  4. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer until it has reduced slightly- about 3 mins over a high heat, then add the stock cube & stir through until it has disappeared into the sauce. The stock cube is not particularly au fait I suppose, but I do think it is the most vital ingredient to tasty arrabiata.
  5. Add the tomato puree, oregano & a large pinch of pepper or two, give it a good stir & simmer for roughly another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve sprinkled with as much cheddar as you can fit on your plate & some parsely! You could use parmesan if you want but I prefer cheddar & it's what I normally have on hand anyway- same for the parsely- you can use fresh but I never have it to hand, I do always have dried though.

Now this is my idea of PERFECT comfort food. Rich & sauce-y arrabiata with a little heat from the chillis & plenty of cheese, served with some nice cold wine. Yummm.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Outfit Post: Junebilee

So in case you hadn't heard, it's the Queen's diamond jubilee weekend. I will not be attending any jubilee parties or putting up Union Jack bunting, not because I dislike the Queen, (which I don't- who could dislike such a snappy dresser?), but because I live in Northern Ireland and things like that can be a little bit trickier to navigate. I don't really want to make any big policital statement to be honest, I just want to eat victoria sponge & drink pimms & have a bit of a celebration. I'm just a fan of festiveness in general really so I'm feeling a little bit left out- sadface. Also I really like the word jubilee.

So I decided to just have a jubilee themed outfit instead. Not as festive as a bunting-filled garden party but at least I can feel totes jubes too.

Although my nails aren't quite as jubilee appropriate- I still think HM Liz would approve. Although she might not be too impressed with my horrendously nicked & scarred hands- my job as a barista has ruined any chance I may ever have had as a hand model.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Home Tour: Living Room

Next stop on our tour of my little home is the living room. I live in a furnished rental so I can't really do anything with the walls or furniture, so I try to add my own touch to things with trinkets, artwork & furnishings.

I love my world map but I want to get it framed when I move into my new flat- it looks a bit too student-y as a poster I think. I also won't be able to take most of my dvds with me- as well as being on the shelving unit & propping up the cherry light- there are more stacked under the coffee table- plus a box beside the tv, (which I didn't bother taking a picture of). I definitely don't need that many though! Photographing my home like this has made me realise how many things I have that I don't even really want, never mind need, so I am actually looking forward to shipping a lot of it off to the charity shop!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Home Tour: My Bedroom

I finally found a great flat! Fingers crossed that my application goes through without a hitch because I have already completely fallen in love with it. It's in the loveliest area, beside a bakery, greengrocer & an independent food shop & ABOVE A COFFEE SHOP. Lattes any time I want. Dream come true. It's a LOT smaller though so I will have to majorly streamline my belongings aka 'give everything to a charity shop'. I was already planning on de-cluttering anyway so this will just give me more motivation. I've spent an awful lot of time over the past couple of days on Apartment Therapy looking at the Studio Tours & it's giving me loads of ideas.

So before I move out of my house I thought I'd give you a little tour of inside, starting with my bedroom. It's probably my favourite room in the house & was the first room I completed decorating after I moved in.

And that's my little bedroom. As you can tell- I like florals (you may notice a pattern appearing throughout the rest of the house). Over the next few days I'll show you round my bathroom, living/kitchen area & the guest room!

Oh & if you're wondering about the paper pom-pom (which normally sits on top of my wardrobe alongside a smaller one), I got the instructions on Martha Stewart's website.

You will need tissue paper and 24-gauge floral wire.
  1.  Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue. Make 1 1/2-inchwide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.  
  2. Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist. With scissors, trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes.
  3. Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.
  4. Tie a length of monofilament to floral wire for hanging.
When I move to my new flat I want to hang a bunch from the ceiling in the corner of my room- I love paper pom poms.