Skull Bracelet

I have found a fetish! Feast your eyes on these little babies.

 

This from 8.L.A and is called Cece – priced at £46. I love the Pirates of the Caribbean feel it has and how it subtly rocks!!

 

                                                             Second favourite is from Amanda Marcucci’s range and it is so cute that the goth association of a skull totally vanishes. Priced at £27 it is the cheaper of the two and the colour is especially brilliant. It comes in several different variations so I say pile them on!

 

 

Peace xx

 

Forties Glamour is Making a Winter Comeback

You only have to take a look at this year’s A/W catwalks to realise that forties fashion is this season’s hottest revival. From pussy bow blouses and fedoras at Gucci to fur and pearls at Donna Karen and feminine florals at Miu Miu, elegance is everywhere. And with a new generation of young actresses embracing the femininity of a forties silhouette, the look has made a modern comeback.

From Scarlett Johansson’s side-swept Hollywood wave hairstyle to queen of the hourglass Dita Von Teese’s entire wardrobe, forties glamour is no longer confined to pin-up magazines. Madonna, Diane Kruger and even pre-pubescent model Elle Fanning are also indulging in sophisticated shapes, sporting longer hem-lines and whimsical forties-inspired dresses by designers including Marc by Marc Jacobs and Milan fashion house Vionnet.

This season the look is a key feature on the high street too, with Miss Selfridge and Warehouse mass-producing forties-inspired accessories like faux-fur collars and long leather gloves. Statement midi skirts take to the streets and prove that covering up can be sexy too, especially when coupled with a sheer blouse or heeled loafers.

Of course, the revival of forties fashion did not arrive suddenly, in fact the circumstances of WWII created trends that are now seen as wardrobe staples – everything from female suits, a-line skirts, shoulder pads and wedges. Katherine Hepburn shocked the nation when she constantly wore trousers and used her defiant femininity to create a new kind of sex appeal. Long, rolling curls have always been on the Hollywood red carpet ever since Veronica Lake tried out the hairstyle in the early forties. Christian Dior created his voluptuous New Look collection and changed the shape of fashion, delivering soft shoulders, tiny waists and billowing skirts to his ‘flower women’ as a way for them to accentuate their curves and try something new after years of war, brutality and hardship.

Paul McCracken, head of ladieswear at Rokit, a true vintage clothing brand, admires the fashion of the forties. “Women still managed to look glamorous in spite of everything happening in the wider world, things like wartime brides making wonderful wedding dresses out of recycled parachute silk, tea staining their legs and painting seams up the back to imitate hosiery!” Rokit sells both original forties treasures – mostly tailored pieces like jackets and dresses – and pieces which are inspired by the forties, like the Rokit Designer’s Guild occasional hats, handcrafted by Bee Smith using forties patterns and trimmings.

Paul says that; “Throwaway fashion seems to have had its day; I think many people see vintage as the antidote to mass production both ethically and aesthetically. By buying something second hand you are not contributing to environmental damage caused by the fashion industry and as an added bonus you know you won’t be seen in the same outfit as anyone else.”

The torch for ladylike forties glamour is being carried by a tribe of committed vintage fans. “The early 1940s was a creative period for women due to the era’s military issues and there was (and still is) a lot from the period to take inspiration from. says Bella Stefani, the owner of retro-fashion site Rag and Magpie. “I love a 1940s style day dress. It’s easy to slip on and makes you instantly feel feminine and glamorous.”

“Men, women and children [from the forties] in retrospect appear much more glamorous in contrast to today’s tracksuit or jeans culture, living a vintage lifestyle or dabbling in it can be seen as escapism.”

To escape from today and achieve the forties revival trend invest in a flirty tea-dress like the vintage shapes designed by Fearne Cotton for Very, accessorise with a ladylike bag and Mary-Janes to truly embrace a classic look. For the less daring add a subtle touch of Hollywood glamour by pairing a faux-fur stole or pearls with last season’s coat for an automatic ‘40s revamp – you’ll scream Gucci.

Result!

A hair style that I can change depending on my mood. 🙂

Hair Dilemma!!

I know I haven’t blogged in a very long time, and I feel like such a failure of a human being for not doing so, BUT I am having a serious meltdown. I turn 19 on Saturday and I feel so bummed. It will be my last year as a teen – it sounds Waaayyy to responsible and frankly, I don’t think I can handle the pressure. On top of that I am getting my haircut tomorrow and I have no idea what look to go for. For about four years now I have had the same hairstyle. Dark, curly, long with a side fringe. As much as I love my just-rolled-out-of-bed, scruffy hair I really think change is good.

So the question is what should I get? Three and a half years ago (when I met my boyfriend) I gave up the right to have a short, straight hair-cut – Rory loves my long, curls and would cut my head off if I cut them off – so basically I have little options available. What I can work with is fringes, layering and volume. Change of colour is even a no-no, Rory is a brunette type of guy! Some friends have suggested that perhaps I should go for a straight centre score and work the beach look. Others tell me I could pull off a full fringe. But I am so worried that it won’t suit my face shape.

This is me on the right.  

I have been looking at various hairstyles and these are the finalists.

I need some serious help! Any suggestions??

x

x

PS. I know this blog post has been particularly over-dramatic, and yes I am a huge exaggarater (if thats a word!) I am not a vain, deluded person it is done for effect. Pinky promise.

x

Day Two for the Idealist Serum

 

My skin feels the same as it did yesterday. Very soft, very clear and tighter. The serum claims it will minimise the look of pores – but my pores look bigger today. I don’t know if it is a gradual process, but if I’m paying £50 I want to see instant results!

Today I managed to go without make-up so the serum is obviously not too bad!

When I asked my mum if she would like to try some out she replied “Oh no. I wouldn’t feel right putting something THAT expensive on my face!” As if she would turn in to Queen Lizzy herself if she dared!

Peace. x

Starting the Portfolio

 A big sigh of relief is needed because I am very nearly finished my first year at Edinburgh Napier and nothing has went drastically wrong, I have passed all of my assessments (so far!) and the enjoyment involved really made it fly by! This semester was far more difficult than the previous one, because I was given the task of beginning my portfolio (eek!). For someone who has little hard-news writing experience this was a huge challenge and it meant I had to find stories, interview sources, write articles in a structured way and remember all my news values.

As you can probably tell from this blog, I am not a very structured person – in fact I feel like the organisation involved in “being a journalist” is far greater than most people realise! You have to structure your time so that you are meeting your deadlines, you have to make sure you keep spare time to deal with any possible problems that arise AND you have to organise all your notes and interview scripts in the SAME PLACE so that you don’t lose anything – you’ll learn for next time Julia!

Another thing I didn’t realise before I began this portfolio-process was that journalists are on the phone a hell of a lot! I am the type of person that would always rather speak to someone in person, or text/email them, rather than have to go through the awkwardness of a phone call. The danger of speaking at the same time, over-emphasising, under-emphasising, putting on a clearer voice that really sounds nothing like you but more like a shrieking Helena Boham-Carter. So I had to conquer my fear this semester as I nervously wrote down everything I would need to say on a piece of paper in front of me – reading a script is something that comes almost second nature to me so…

Hello there, my name is Julia Carstairs and I am a student journalist writing for the Edinburgh Napier News. I am currently writing a story about the Borders Railway and I am aware that your house has recently been compulsory purchased. (breathe….) Would you be happy to speak with me?

It was only when I encountered an embarrassing situation where a very snotty Borders Council employee asked me to “slow down” and “repeat everything” I had just said, that I realised that this scripted way of using a phone was not helping. My plan had failed and I ended up looking very silly. After about the fourth phone call I began to get the hang of using a phone naturally, so-to-speak, and it was much easier after I gained that confidence.  

For my first article my interviewees were terrific. All my interviews were done over the phone because I was short of time and I really couldn’t cram in a 30 minute bus journey. The first person I interviewed didn’t want me to record the conversation, which is fine (personally I would say it benefits him just as much as it does me, as it means I can’t misquote him or put words in his mouth, as he could just get me done for liable, and there would be a tape to prove it), so I couldn’t directly quote him in great length, but I did get some fantastic information that I used in my article. My second interviewee, you could tell was experienced with interviews, and he had A LOT to say, and made very good points. His attitude and manner was very helpful and appreciative and as he was a community councillor, it made my article all the more credible. After coming off the phone with him I couldn’t stop grinning, I was so pleased!

One thing that didn’t please me – in fact it did the opposite – was contacting the council. I was diverted all over the shop, given different phone numbers, different names until I finally reached someone who did have two minutes to spare (in Glasgow – nowhere near where the railway is being built!) and she gave me a great email address! The first problem I came across was that the council will always try to dwindle their way out of things so that the journalist is not given the information that will make them look bad. That may seem obvious, but when they gave me a piece of legislation (Data Protection Act) as a reason for not giving me information I was blown away. I eventually found that piece of information for myself in the LOCAL library – yes, sure, very Data Protection Act, indeed.    

The second time I phoned the council I was only giving them the right of reply, which I thought they would appreciate and use to their full advantage. But no, instead they sent me a link to the “Borders Railway” website and told me to look up benefits. As if that wasn’t the first place I had looked when I began my article….but hey, they probably thought I was just a student journalist or something…hmm.

Hopefully for my next great news story I will have the “Edinburgh Evening News” name behind me. Wishful thinking but I’m guessing that will make things easier.

Links to the two articles I wrote for my portfolio:

http://edinburghnapiernews.com/2011/03/31/the-borders-railway-line-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen/

http://www.playstosee.com/page.php?sad=play&id=119

10 Day Idealist Challenge with Estee Lauder

 

As I popped into Boots yesterday, to continue with my weekly rummage around the beauty counters, I was approached by a very friendly Estee Lauder employee, Fiona. She was keen for me to try out this new Estee Lauder wonder product ‘Idealist’. So she invited me to take part in a 10 day test challenge of the serum, which claims to “minimise flakiness and pores”. The deal was that I would receive my 10-day sample (usually worth around £7.50) for free if I wrote a “diary” about how my skin was coping with the product and if I can notice a day-to-day improvement. My skin is usually quite dry around the T-Zone and I often get very rosy cheeks, especially after a few drinks (ahem!) So according to Fiona this serum will help my skin exfoliate for itself, whilst giving me a more even-toned appearance. Result!

I cannot lie. As much as I want to say this serum is a fraud and a rip off (priced at a gobstopping £50! eek!) after just one day I can feel the effect. I was advised to apply the serum in the morning, underneath my daily moisturizer, and to notice the immediate softness to my skin after application. The smell is divine, my skin feels tighter and looks clear – I am yet to feel a huge difference to the larger pores on my forehead and chin, but I am hoping that will improve over the week. I am due to return to Boots on Thurs of next week, so I am hoping that because of my helpful participation they will offer me a bottle for free! Doubtful but I can pray, because this poor student cannot part with £50 for a 50ml bottle! A pound a millilitre people!

I’ll use my blog to keep my “Idealist” diary up-to-date – but so far no problems, just worries that a naive, push-over of a Julia will come over all gracious on Thursday and end up spending way too much money! Common sense hold me back please!

Peace! x

‘Brush with Fashion’ at The Body Shop

The Body Shop have just launched a new brand of make-up called ‘Brush with Fashion’ and it claims to be cruelty-free make-up – which makes a happy change! This brand was created in collaboration with London College of Fashion, and it has a very hip/edgy feel to it, focusing in one the key make-up trends for Spring/Summer 2011.

Yesterday I attended the launch party of the brand with my ‘Love Your Body’ card (I recommend any Body Shop fans to sign up for one of these – you will not regret it!) and was invited to try out this new make-up and also indulge in some much needed cupcakes. The store on Princes Street was absolutely buzzing with people, and with a free Carbon Eye Definer worth £9 when 2 make-up products were bought, everyone was interested in the Body Shop’s make-up for once, not just their body butters!

87603m_lA very friendly sales assistant told me all about the new brand and said she was happy that customers were coming in for the make-up for a change! Although all the ‘Brush with Fashion’ range looked great, it was the Illuminating Face Base (£14) that caught my eye first. The lovely lady offered to try the product out on me, and used the base on one side of my face so that I could really see the difference, then finished me off. I have to say that the impact was astounding – my skin is usually very clear so there is no need for me to cover up with layers of foundation – but this base gave me such a summery glow that you would think I was back from the Caribbean. The first application of the product does feel quite thick and heavy on the skin, but the cream absorbs into your pores very quickly and leaves you looking very fresh. You could get away with wearing just this on a lazy day and it does wonders for your skin, what with its Fair Trade Marula Oil ingredients. The application couldn’t be easier – the face base comes with a brush and you twist the bottom of the tube so the cream spreads evenly over your face. The quirky design of the tube was a hit as well.

87593m_lAlong with that purchase, I also bought Tailored Cheek Tint (£10), which can be used on the cheeks and lips. This product is very clever as it adapts to your individual pH, so it can never look wrong. It comes with a little brush as well, but for even coverage you are probably best using either your fingers or a blusher brush to apply it. It is a clear gel, that changes to pink when it makes contact with your skin. It is quite similar to Bourjois’ Rose Exclusif (£6.99) lipgloss, but is the first cheek tint that I have ever seen produced this way.

So with my 20% discount, and my free eyeliner it was a visit well worth while. Unfortunately I couldn’t make today’s student day with 30% off for all students. But maybe next time, in fact, definitely next time.     

Scottish Dining At It’s Best: The Howgate

The Howgate Restaurant and Bistro is situated 10 miles from the centre of Edinburgh (Scotland), 1 mile from Penicuik, at the Leadburn side of the picturesque village of Howgate. Please click here to enter the site.

Before eating here I would never have believed that Midlothian had anything good to offer in terms of fine dining. The Howgate Restaurant & Bistro is located just off the A70 to Penicuik and it came as quite a delight to find out that a restaurant so classy was so close-to-home. My boyfriend and I wanted to celebrate our third year together with good food and a relaxing evening atmosphere to enjoy each others company. The Howgate definitely offered us that.

The Howgate Restaurant and Bistro is situated 10 miles from the centre of Edinburgh (Scotland), 1 mile from Penicuik, at the Leadburn side of the picturesque village of Howgate.

The restaurant itself is very cosy, what with its low ceilings and candlelit rooms, and the decoration is very classic, with leather chairs and dark walls in the lobby and dining area. The building has been converted from stabling for race-horses into this warm restaurant so the feel of the place is very traditional and rural, but don’t worry there is not a sniff of manure in the air. The smells are very enticing, and even as a vegetarian I found the smell of the cooked beef sublime. 

The menu offers a variety of food, from traditional dishes to more modern ideas, and there is definitely something for everyone. Upon entering the restaurant we were greeted with friendly staff, who were not too intrusive or pally, but remained professional throughout our visit. We were given a main menu, and also a “Dishes of the Moment” menu, which had all the restaurant’s specialities and more popular dishes listed, giving a fussy person even more options. The Howgate Restaurant

The Howgate Bistro

There are two areas to the Howgate, the bar area, where we were seated, and the restaurant. Both offer a secluded personal feel, and although the restaurant seems to be more grand the bar is actually just as comfortable. I managed to fill myself with three courses and I literally fell straight asleep once I had returned home – full to the brim. Each course was divine, and the flavours of each dish were extremely pleasing.

For a starter I had grilled goat’s cheese crouton on a salad bed with cherry tomatoes. The creamy taste of the goat’s cheese contrasted with the crunch of the crouton made for a delicate but flavoursome course, and the salad had a lovely dressing, which complemented the cheese very well. For someone who is not a fan of pungent cheese I took a risk with this dish and it definitely paid off as it was truly delicious.

My main was a pan-fried duo of king prawn and sea-bass with asparagus, baby potatoes and a bed of rocket with saffron sauce. The prawns and fish were extremely well cooked and the sauce added a slight sweetness to the dish which was unexpected but very well received. The asparagus was slightly crunchy, and I prefer mine a little more done, but the rocket was pleasant and again worked nicely with the sauce.

Lastly, my desert, which was out of this world, it truly was special. I have never been a big sweet-tooth, but Howgate’s Nutella and white chocolate cheesecake with Luca’s Nutella ice cream was to die for. The consistency of the cake was perfect, with the stickiness being just right, and the flavour of the Nutella and white chocolate hitting your taste buds at different times. The crunch of the base was surreal, with the texture feeling almost like popping candy, but without the crackling. The ice-cream settled my tummy after the thickness of the cheesecake, leaving me with a huge smile on my face.

With the meal coming to just over £50 it is not a overly expensive night out, and one I am sure to repeat, so that I can try all the other tasty treats they have to offer. Very happy. Thanks a bunch. 

‘This Charming Girl’ Certainly Charms the Hell Out of Me!

If you want to embrace antique-gold, brass finish, vintage feel jewellery then this site is a must to add to your favourites! ‘This Charming Girl’ was launched in 2006 by fellow-Scot Jacqueline Currie and is now a thriving jewellery business, having stockists absolutely everywhere, shipping worldwide and offering a selection of jewels that would make your granny proud! (and that is a great thing!)

The feel of the jewellery itself is so unlike anything on the high street, that the rough finish most pieces have make them all the more loveable and kitsch. All of the jewellery is made from recycled vintage pieces, so that you can really feel the history behind what you are wearing. I think the style of jewellery is for a specific taste and may not be fully appreciated by, say, the more punk of us. But Jacqueline clearly has style and direction and does not offer too much with regards to different jewellery genres. 

The website has a very inviting feel to it, with its header catching your eye and clearly illustrating what the site has to offer us lucky ladies. It is also well informed, making sure its customers have all the knowledge they will need; including return policy, ordering information, a blog and a section on how to care for your jewellery – which is a huge plus! The variety of jewellery available is satisfactory, but as a girl who loves choice, the more the better! This site seems to be a shining example of WHAT TO DO and WHAT WORKS.

Difficult choices to make but here come my three favourites:

Image of Ribbon

This cute as pie bow necklace is called ‘Ribbon’ and comes on a 18” chain (£10.50) and as a mini-version (£9). What with bows making a come-back this year I think that this deserves a place in every girls jewellery collection. The ruffled appearance of the bow make it seem almost untidy, which gives it a childish edge. This piece is timeless and one you can wear whatever the weather. Personally I would opt for the larger of the two, making a bigger impact but only costing slightly more.

 Image of I'm Late, I'm Late brooch (as seen in BLISS & LONDON LITE!)

As a huge Alice in Wonderland fan this second choice was very easy. I don’t usually wear brooches and this safety-pin like design is not one I would usually go for, but the subtle inclusion of the gold rabbit and the ticking mini clock make me melt. ‘I’m Late, I’m Late Brooch’ is so unique and unlike anything on the high street. It could be pinned on to the pocket of a military blazer, used to hold a wrap cardi together, even pinned into your hair! The possibilities of where to put this baby are endless. Like Mr Carroll himself, use your imagination and find a place to pin this little gem – please! At £8.50 you would be silly not to love it!

 Image of Nest Egg

Last piece (*weep*) is this stunning ‘Nest Egg’ necklace. This beauty I think may not appeal to everyone, as the egg design is quite clear and makes the piece lose its vintage touch slightly, but I love it. The combination of the white in the egg, and the gold of the swallows complement each other so well, and really make the necklace seem delicate and fresh. This would be a fantastic present for an expecting mother, two birds carrying such a precious gift. Symbolic as well as pretty – guaranteed a little giggle nonetheless. Priced at £13 it is the most expensive of the three, but the one I am most likely to buy. Oh well beauty is pain, pain to the purse-strings.

What a wonderful jewellery brand – one I am sure to use in the future. Now please ‘This Charming Girl’ get making some vintage rings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

x

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