Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Wednesday Wish List

Jumpsuit - H! by Henry Holland at Debenhams | Hat - Topshop | Sunglasses - Giorgio Armani via House of Fraser | Shoes - Red Herring at Debenhams

Earlier this week, on my belated Mothers Day shopping trip, I may have treated myself to this gorgeous jumpsuit by H! by Henry Holland. Me and my mum were looking for a top for her to wear to her presentation evening at work so I decided to try on this jumpsuit. Whilst I loved the print I was convinced that jumpsuits didn't suit me so I was a little shocked when I put it on and fell utterly in love.

While the toucan and parrot print is definitely something I would wear, the actual jumpsuit is a long way out of my comfort zone. I'm still a little unsure whether or not I'll actually wear it, it might be a little much for me, so I'm trying to style some outfit ideas and get some opinions before I decide whether or not to keep it - outfit pictures will be up soon!

I really love how effortlessly glamorous this jumpsuit is. Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't help but feel awesome wearing this - although I haven't worked out the practicalities of wearing all day yet! I've tried to create an everyday casual yet glamorous look here, complete with an oversized hat and a gorgeous pair of sunglasses. 

I've been trying on these sunglasses pretty much everyday for the last month at work. They are so beautiful and effortlessly glamorous - you can't help but feel like a rock star when you're wearing them! I really want to get them in time for my trip to Paris but I'm not sure how far my budget can stretch for June creeps up on us. I'll just have to make do with trying them on and lovingly staring at them at work!

The final touch to this outfit is this beautiful pair of shoes! I found them whilst wandering around Debenhams after buying the jumpsuit and couldn't believe how perfectly they went together. I really like the chunky heel on these shoes and the colour is amazing - so perfect for spring/summer!

What do you think of the jumpsuit? I am desperate for opinions, I love it but I don't know if it's a little much for me.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I'm going to Paris!

Last week Josh and I officially booked our trip to Paris and I am so excited! I've been to France twice before but I've never visited Paris, despite having had a fascination with the city for many years.

We've got a couple of months before we set off across the channel so I've been busying myself with planning our trip; working out wear we want to visit and what we want to do while we're there. So far I've got a list of sites I want to see as well as museums and galleries I'm keen to visit. Thankfully I've found out that a lot of places give people under the age of twenty six if you're a European Union national - which is fantastic!

I've also been gradually picking out places for us to eat, with La Laduree and Les Deux Moulins being at the top of my list.

Having never been to Paris I'm really keen to get some tips or recommendations from anyone who has been. So if you have any advice I would be so grateful! Is there anywhere that you would recommend visiting or eating, or even anywhere that you wouldn't recommend too highly - any ideas would be hugely appreciated!

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Book review John Green Looking for Alaska

After falling head over heels in love with The Fault in Our Stars my dad very kindly treated me to the John Green collection; a box set containing five novels including my latest read: Looking for Alaska.

Another young adult novel, Looking for Alaska follows Miles "Pudge" Halter; a teenager from Florida who is about to join Culver Creek, a private boarding school in Alabama. Despite his parents belief that their son is secretly very popular Miles' leaving party is an unsurprising disappoint with only two people briefly turning up before leaving and calling an end to their awkward conversation.

Shortly after moving into his dorm in Alabama, Miles meets his room mate known as The Colonel; a headstrong mastermind of mischief with a reputation for pulling off some of the most elaborate pranks in the history of Cluver Creek. In that first afternoon Miles in ironically nicknamed Pudge, and is introduced to the enigmatic and incredibly flirtatious Alaska. After surviving a potentially fatal Weekday Warrior prank on his night first at the school, Pudge finds himself swept away in a plot to take revenge on the wealthy half of the student population.

Over the course of his first year at Culver Creek, through a series of many pranks and counter pranks, Pudge is absorbed into the misfit group of friends and falls ever deeper in love with Alaska, despite her insistence that she is in love with her boyfriend. This tragic and yet hilariously funny story is simple and yet incredibly engaging as we learn to navigate the politics of boarding schools and watch as the class divide is bridged in an attempt to make Culver Creek history and honour those who have escaped the labyrinth. 

While Looking for Alaska didn't leave the same impression as The Fault in Our Stars, I really enjoyed this book. The characters are easy to relate to, capturing every teenagers fear of not belonging, and lead the kind of rebellious and yet slightly romanticised teenage life that I loved watching whilst growing up. 

Amongst many things I liked about this book, Looking for Alaska really gave me a chance to reflect on my teenage years and how I have grown in the years since entering my twenties. Between the main four characters John Green has managed to capture so many different realities of teenage life, making you empathetic to both their highs and lows. 

Like The Fault in Our Stars, this book also contains a lot of references to other literary works - largely through the life library of Alaska. While this doesn't appeal to everyone, I love reading about how influential text can be over people and, as in The Fault in Our Stars, John Green really manages to capture the power of literature and left me with a list of people to look up and books to read; this time I'm desperately keen to read The General in is Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Despite really enjoying this book and the increasingly risky adventures the characters embarked on, I struggled to grow attached to any of them individually. While I liked them as a group, as individuals I didn't feel particularly drawn to any of them. This isn't to say they weren't likeable characters or were poorly developed; they each had baggage they were trying to overcome and secrets they were trying to keep, things we gradually discovered as they began to open up to Miles, but something prevented me from becoming too invested in their lives. I think it was this lack of investment that made me feel rather distant from the story when disaster struck. 

Although I was keen to find out what was going to happen and how the characters would recover, if at all, I didn't feel as moved as I was expecting. In hindsight, I'm rather grateful. As I largely read this book at work I didn't fancy having another emotional breakdown like I did after reading The Fault in Our Stars, but I was hoping to feel a little bit more than the general curiosity that I was left with here.

Over all I really enjoyed this book and I think my issues with the story and my lack of investment to it is largely due to bad timing. Had I not read The Fault in Our Stars just a few weeks before or perhaps if I hadn't put John Green on such a pedestal, maybe I wouldn't have had such high expectations for this book.

Book review John Green Looking for Alaska

I would definitely recommend this book, it is a great read and very entertaining. So many people have recommended it too me and I will certainly be reading it again in the future.


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Sunday, 23 March 2014

The No Make-Up Selfie

Over the last week my Facebook feed has been filled with dozens of no make-up selfies and just as many people criticising them. I've read a lot of mixed opinions about the craze, with some people fully backing the campaign and others furiously commenting on the objectification of women and the slacktivist nature of the whole thing. My opinion of the no make-up selfies has swung back and forth between these extremes so I thought I'd take the time to put my thoughts in order and explain why I posted my own make-up free photograph.

Before I get too stuck in to this I should probably give you a heads up and explain that this post is largely going to be about women and the affects of this campaign. This is not to say that men do not face the same pressures as women, but as this campaign was largely aimed towards women I'm going to focus on them.

When the first few selfies appeared on my timeline, I'll admit I found them rather annoying. It seemed to me an opportunity for women to proclaim how hideous they are only to be endlessly flattered by their friends. The pattern was then repeated over and over again as people nominated their friends to post an image of their bare-faced self and receive the same praise after first listing their own flaws. 

This is where my issues first arose. Firstly, why should women feel ashamed or even embarrassed to upload a picture of themselves without wearing make-up? It further emphasises the unrealistic expectations women place on themselves to look a certain way and be flawless all of the time. Equally, those women who did not want to post a picture on themselves without make-up were judged for not taking part in the craze. If someone feels more comfortable with a full face of make-up who are we to judge? For many people make-up acts as a kind of comfort blanket and taking that away can be scary - we should respect their wishes to wear make-up, it's their prerogative and let's face it, there are other ways to support a charity,

After my frustration of the actual photograph passed I starting thinking about the charitable act of posting the picture. A lot of people I saw that were getting involved seemed to spend more time criticising their own appearance than actually discussing the cause they were trying to raise awareness for; some people didn't mention Cancer Research UK at all! In my opinion, the whole point of this campaign was to raise awareness for a great charity and not wallow in self pity.

But then my opinion started to change. The no make-up selfie raised over £1 million in just twenty four hours, which is pretty amazing. Regardless of whether people were focussing on the cause or the image it's hard to argue with that amount of money. Also, while I don't agree with peer pressure or advertising your supposedly altruistic actions, if posting a picture and your donation on Facebook can motivate someone else to also donate and raise awareness for the charity, the campaign can hardly be a bad thing can it?

While I agree that this does encourage a arguably lazy kind of activism, the simple act of posting a picture of yourself - no matter how annoying to some - has raised a lot of money that perhaps otherwise wouldn't have been raised and when it comes down to it, if the selfies encourages just one person to check themselves for signs of cancers and helps them catch the disease early - I think it was definitely not in vain.

So, almost a week after my first nomination, I finally posted my no make-up selfie. I also included an image describing how to check for signs of breast cancer. While this campaign has annoyed a lot of people I think it is so important to get the message out there, and if Facebook virals work then so be it.

What are your thoughts on the no make-up selfie? Has it worked or has it undermined the cause it is supposed to be raising awareness of?

If you want to donate to Cancer Research UK just text "beat" to 70099 to donate £3.

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