The Blogmopolitan Quiz

Friday, 25 July 2014

LAZY FRIDAY POST. Except, well, not THAT lazy as I actually put a fair bit of effort into it! I picked this little snippet up from Becky's blog; I haven't done a tag in a while and love nosing at other people's answers, so thought it would be a kinda fun thing to fill out! Erin over at Two Thirds Hazel has created an awesome tag based on the Cosmopolitan celebrity quiz that's in every issue - so here's my contribution! If you want to take part, check out her original post here.

If you do it, share your links in the comments! =)

Valeur Absolue - More Than Perfume

Thursday, 24 July 2014

When I popped along to the House of Fraser Christmas (gulp) press day last week, I couldn't help falling a bit in love with these Valeur Absolue perfumes. I'm a bit rubbish when it comes to having a 'perfume collection', mainly as bottles are pricey and I have tons I still haven't got anywhere near getting through. In fact, I rarely buy scents, and my annual Christmas bottle that my parents put under the tree usually gets me a good way into the year. However, these Valeur Absolue scents have more to them than just smelling nice. They contain natural active ingredients which work to boost your mood and create a sense of well-being.

Really great for a summery day, Joie Eclat contains grapefruit oil to create a zingy fruity scent, with a more woody and floral underlying scent from the base notes of vetiver and white woods. It's a bright and uplifting fragrance, and the bottle also contains encapsulated diamond powder - how fancy!

Represented by soothing blue packaging and amethyst stones in the bottle, this one's about creating - yep, you guessed it - a sense of harmony and calm. The top notes are slightly citrus-y, with bergamot and orange peel included in the mix. However, the heart of the fragrance mixes neroli and jasmine with Earl Grey Tea. I really like the slightly offbeat ingredients of this one, they're not all scents I'd expect to be mixed in a perfume, but the result is a grown-up, relaxing scent that's great for work as it's not overbearing or too sweet.

Sensualité, as you might be able to guess from the name, is an interpretation of women's sensuality. I'm not talking in a pervy bloke sense here - it's as seen by women and for women. The floral, musky scent has top notes of Sicilian bergamot and white pepper, leading down to musky base notes of cedarwood and amber. The bits in the bottle are mother of pearl, the symbol of femininity - and this is definitely a great perfume for when you want to feel all ladylike.

Smell in general is an amazing thing for evoking emotions and feelings of well-being, and these ones are perfectly crafted to boost your mood. The use of natural active ingredients and exciting mixtures of different notes create some absolutely gorgeous smelling fragrances. I mentioned to the lady demonstrating them that they were unusual, that I hadn't smelt anything quite like them in your usual run-of-the-mill fragrance outlets. The bottles retail at £59 for 45ml, which is more expensive than most perfumes I buy, but considering you get an unusually unique fragrance with natural ingredients that will definitely have strangers sniffing you on the tube, it's not a bad price. The pretty bottles mean they'd also make really great gifts for someone who likes a little bit of (affordable) luxury in their lives!

Available from House of Fraser: Joie Eclat // Harmonie // Sensualité

Vinyl Wishlist

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Honestly, I was never really that into the idea of vinyl until recently, when my housemate picked up a turntable and some LPs. Since then, I've developed an understanding of the experience of listening to music in this format - the almost ritualistic, exciting feeling of putting a disc onto your turntable and letting it just play. I may love Spotify for RIGHT NOW listening, but when it comes to albums I love, picking them up on vinyl has There's no easy skipping of tracks, which I can be guilty of and not giving some tracks on an album a proper go. Plus the history and cultural value of vinyl is something that is definitely ingrained into the music scene, and there's something emotional and primitive about it all.

I don't have a turntable of my own (yet), but I absolutely love this Crosley Keepsake Turntable. As much as the sound quality is important, I feel like turntables in themselves can be really beautiful items, adding to the loveliness of listening to your favourite record. I also love the real excitement I've seen from friends who've been to Record Store Day and picked up an amazing limited edition find, and just the whole culture of vinyl listening. I feel like when picking my records, I'd go for ones that feel a bit special - like there's a type of record that translates amazingly well to the whole vinyl experience. Here are a few I'd like to pick up, with a mixture of old favourites and newer releases.

The Wonder Years - Suburbia, I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing // Alkaline Trio - Damnesia // Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties - We Don't Have Each Other // Brand New - Your Favourite Weapon // Jimmy Eat World - Futures // Say Anything - Hebrews

Book Review: Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Late to the party, I know, but hearing about the film reminded me I still hadn’t read this book. In fact, despite hearing the title mentioned a lot and seeing ads for it, I didn’t actually have any idea what Gone Girl was about, besides the title giving away that it was probably something to do with a missing female.

The story itself begins with Nick Dunne finding his wife Amy has disappeared under suspicious circumstances - and as the tale unwinds and he ends up framed for her murder, it appears that there's a lot more to the couple and their marriage than initially let on. Told through the eyes of both Nick and Amy, the ‘two sides of the story’ aspect is a really interesting one and a major part of the book's appeal - changing the reader’s perception of the characters as the story goes on. Flynn creates great individual voices for each character. I really enjoyed how my empathy and allegiance with the characters was turned on its head as the story continued. Flynn's writing style has a genuine ability to build suspense and sometimes completely shock the reader with a twist they never saw coming.

Gone Girl was certainly darker than I was expecting, and from watching the trailer, I’m quite looking forward to the movie as it seems to have captured the almost noir-ish, menacing feel. Although I’m also rather intrigued, as while the trailer seems to show the film being very true to the book, according to Flynn the ending has been changed “quite drastically”. 

At the beginning of reading this, I wasn’t expecting too much from the rest of the book, as particularly from Nick’s side, there are times when it feels like not a lot is actually happening to propel the story forward. But as the plot continued, I found myself more and more invested in reading on, and it became quite the page turner. By the end, I understood the hype around Gone Girl – it’s a great, dark thriller, with engaging character development and a powerful message – how well do we REALLY know the people we love?

Have you read Gone Girl? What did you think? Are you looking forward to the film adaptation?

Polka Dot Tights

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The other day I was having a much-needed wardrobe clearout (side note: Ebay is rubbish for selling these days) when it came to me - all I ever wear is bloody black tights. It's 25 degrees, and my legs are encased in 60 denier. I don't really feel comfortable having my legs out - not because I don't like them, they look great in a pair of tights, but they're pale and a bit lumpy looking and shaving is hella effort sometimes. Despite this, I wanted to branch out a little in the hosiery department, and found these polka dot babies floating in the H&M sale bin. They're not too FAR OUT pattern wise, and they go fabulously with summer dresses. Plus, the tights themselves are quite thin, meaning they still work well for the hot days. Excellent.

As an added bonus (just because I love this dress okay), here's what I wore them with. Dress is from H&M as well - can you tell what the only affordable clothes shop near where I work is?!

Cheap London: The Website, The Twitter Feed & The App

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

London is easily the most expensive city in the UK. Rents are probably higher than anywhere else, all your spare cash ends up being fed into Oyster machines and it's easy to pay over £4 for a pint (it's okay though, there's always Wetherspoons). But there's always something exciting going on, and if you're living here or just visiting, you definitely want to make the most of it. Despite some things being expensive, there are often free and cheap things going on to help Londoners on a budget enjoy what the city has to offer. There are the obvious choices, such as the numerous free Museums, and if you're looking at heading to a big attraction, it pays to look online for discount codes and 2 for 1 offers - they're always floating around. On a smaller scale though, there are tons of quirky events and activities going on that aren't as widely advertised as the 'biggies', today I share my top website, Twitter feed and app to help you find them!

The Londonist
For a comprehensive guide to free and cheap events in the city, The Londonist’s ‘Free and Cheap’ section is a great resource for all kinds of attractions and goings-on that won’t break the bank. As well as individual reviews and previews, they also put out a weekly roundup of things to do for a fiver or less. With talks, poetry, comedy, music and sport, there’s bound to be a bit of something for everyone.

Skint London is a Twitter account run by journos Janie and Gary, who ‘do the legwork so you don’t have to’. Great for smaller and more niche events, they also regularly tweet about free food giveaways (although you usually have to get in for these pretty sharpish, as they’re usually very limited and first-come-first-served). They also do the odd tweet about things generally going on in London – such as the recent industrial strike. Great for those who are looking to do something a bit different with their evening.

For those who like their evenings out a little spontaneous, YPlan is a great app that features theatre, film, comedy, music and more. The events on offer range in price, but there’s plenty around the £10 mark and they often negotiate special deals for YPlan users – as well as often having free events. When you sign up, you can also grab £7 free credit by using my code, MILLYYOUNG, and if you get your friends to sign up and book too, you can earn credit for yourself.

What are your favourite free/cheap things to do in your city?

Benefit Hoola Bronzer

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

For a long, long time I stayed far away from bronzer, figuring on my rubbish pale skin I'd end up looking like I'd accidentally stood in front of a fence someone was painting with creosote. Not a good look. A while ago, I picked up Benefit's Hoola bronzer, and it's actually changed my mind on bronzer completely. Yes! My face can now look sculpted and bronzed and like I should be on the cover of a magazine that isn't the Casper The Friendly Ghost the graphic novel series.

Hoola has been the UK's best selling bronzer for five years, and it's not hard to understand why. It's great used lightly all over the face to give a bit of a bronzed look, and can also be used for this whole 'contouring' business (that I'm still not very good at). I really like that it's a colour-only product, so there's no sparkle or shine - meaning no risk of accidentally looking like an explosion at a glitter factory, which I've found to be the case with anything even vaguely shimmery that goes near my face. The shade is a warm, brown-bronze, and can be built up depending on your skintone and how much colour you want to use. It works really well with my quite pale/dark hair colouring, giving a lightly sunkissed rather than mega tanned look.

The one thing I did feel is that the brush wasn't great for an even application, so I've taken to using a big fluffy kabuki brush instead, which distributes the product a lot more evenly. As I'd expect for the £23.50 price tag, it stays on the face well, and isn't drying or powdery in the slightest.

If you've never tried bronzer, I think Hoola's definitely a great place to start!