My first pair of Irregular Choice: Disney ‘Whoa’ Daisy and Donald Duck glitter flats

I have admired and loved Irregular Choice as a brand for years. Not only do they make ridiculously beautiful, different shoes but the attention of detail that goes into each shoe is amazing – every shoe I’ve seen from them has truly been a work of art. I remember the first time I saw a pair of Irregular Choice with my mum. It was the Alice in Wonderland collection I think and we were both immediately captivated by the uniqueness of the shoes. Unfortunately, for us Irregular Choice shoes don’t come cheap so despite wanting to own a pair for a long time now I hadn’t been able to afford the price tag.

However, when I saw that this pair were in the sale on Schuh I just couldn’t resist! They were about half off the original price (and then I managed to get student discount on top of that!). I also am planning a Donald and Daisy Duck inspired Disneybound when I next go to Disneyland Paris in June (hopefully!) and I knew these would be perfect for that – now all I need is all the other components including this beret that I can’t wait to drop from Just Peachy.

I think a lace dress would look cute with this in either pale blue, red or white – let me know what you would think look best in the comments!

Anyway, back to the shoes – they are stunning! I’m glad my first pair of flats because I am totally useless at wearing heels though one day I will get my hands on the pink rain bunny heels (I SHOULD HAVE GOT THEM IN THE SALE I AM AN IDIOT).

These flats I would say are pretty true to size. I tried on some of the Muppets collection in the Irregular Choice store not that long ago and had to size down and was actually worried these would be too big but luckily they weren’t, as the size I got was the only ones left! The fit at the moment is quite painful because they’re very stiff at the heel (you can probably tell from the photo that they are quite narrow there). They are however a little wide in the middle of the foot though I have about normal to narrow feet so for other people that may be perfect. I reckon with some wearing in these will be quite comfy.

All that doesn’t matter to me as much as it would to other people because of how happy I was when I opened the box (seriously I need to hurry up and Youtube lol because it would have made a good unboxing video).

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The box is definitely one to keep, I actually like to display my shoes on top of it as a feature piece because I think it looks quite nice. Also, I loved how the wrapping paper to keep the shape of the shoes even had the Disney theme – it’s that attention to detail which is why I love Irregular Choice!

Irregular Choice wrapping

The quality of the actual shoe itself was also great – I mean look at the glitter in the photo below!

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I also really love the lilac stripe heel detail – it really reminds me of warm summer days (which is apt at the moment) and ice-cream, which is probably deliberate as I know there is a bag in this collection featuring Donald Duck eating an ice cream (which I can’t find anywhere and is the stuff of dreams!).

Irregular Choice back details

Also, prewarning I’m quite blasphemous and I’ve worn them without sole protectors. I think for future shoes I definitely would invest in some but for these provided they don’t get too battered I can live with it. Either way please don’t hate me that I forget to take pictures of the soles before wearing them!

 

As you can see under each shoe is a pattern featuring the character on the shoe. I love how one has hearts and one stripes, as they mismatch in that just right way.

So here it is my first shot at a first impressions post (kind of – I’d seen this shoes but never tried them on) of my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes (that’s a lot of firsts!). I know these shoes have been released for a while but I just couldn’t resist sharing my first Irregular Choice haul with you all!

Here’s a picture of my wearing them in my mess of a bedroom that I took in a mad dash as I was heading to work (I feel like this outfit needed a pastel pink or blue top to bring it together more though)! Hopefully, one day I can take some nicer pictures at Disneyland with the Donald/ Daisy Disneybound of my dreams.

Irregular Choice shoes

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Book review: Ready to Fall by Marcella Pixley

I am more than a little bit late with my review of this book (this book was published in the UK on March 15th) but my life has been very hectic recently so I didn’t have time to properly sit down and finish this book till now.  I also just want to quickly mention at the start before I start this review that I was very kindly set my copy of the book by the book’s publishers*.

The plot of the book is as follows:

Following the death of his mother, Max Friedman comes to believe that he is sharing his brain with a tumour. As he becomes focused on controlling the malignant tenant, he starts to lose touch with his friends and family, and with reality itself – so Max’s father sends him off to the artsy Baldwin School to regain his footing.

Soon, Max has joined a group of theatre misfits in a steam-punk production of Hamlet. He befriends Fish, a girl with pink hair and a troubled past, and The Monk, a boy who refuses to let go of the things he loves. Max starts to feel happy, and the ghosts of his past seem to be gone for ever.

But the tumour is always lurking in the wings – until one night it knocks him down, and Max is forced to face the truth.

-Mild spoilers ahead. There are no big plot spoilers here but I usually keep my reviews almost spoiler free so I wanted to flag-

I’ll start by saying that it took a bit of warming up too but I did enjoy parts of this novel. It reminds me a lot of books I would devour as a teenager. After all, who doesn’t dream of going to an artsy school where the teachers are cool and there are loads of quirky characters. I think this is also my main issue with the book, it feels very much like what you expect a novel for teenagers to read like – it’s basically screaming no one understands you if you’re quirky! This isn’t a bad thing, and there is books I love that apply the same techniques (*cough, cough, John Green*); however, there is still a uniqueness to the writing style that this lacks.

Don’t get me wrong there is real heart within the novel. The bits of the writing that truly resonated with me and managed to cut through the teen novel stereotypes where the parts where Max discusses his relationship with his mother, father or grandfather. The way Max’s grief is depicted felt raw and honest and kept me going with the novel, even when other parts grated with me a little.

I also loved the advice in the creative writing class about use of the 3rd person instead of 1st in certain instances, as it pinpointed an issue I’d had when reading my own writing and others in the past but couldn’t quite put my finger on. It even has influenced the direction I want to go in terms of my own novel, highlighting why I will always love reading – there is also something new to be discovered.

The characters in the novel I may not wholeheartedly love as much, but I was not completely uninvested in them – I just thought they could be a little more. Fish, the main love interest of the novel for example, very easily falls under the ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ stereotype. However, I have always felt two-fold about these characters. Yes, they are often used almost as a prop for the male characters to project all the angst onto and ultimately to ‘save’ them, but they are often the best, more empowered and memorable characters. Fish is somewhere in-between, she is strong and resilient in the way she strives to confront her own emotions and helps others too as well; however she doesn’t completely shake the idea that she exists purely to help Max through his pain.

In regards, to Fish, her past relationship with Monk also wasn’t really explained enough for me to invest in it. I could understand why Max didn’t seem that fazed by getting in the middle of it. However, at the same time I’ve witnessed relationships like that where you’re always aware of a small spark between two people existing, but deep down they both needed to just let each other go because they just don’t work (it would have been nice for more detail of the ways Monk and Fish didn’t work).

Another part of the novel that didn’t sit right with me was the way in which Max was repeatedly drawn to Fish’s self harm scars. Self harm scars are not something anyone should be ashamed of or feel they have to hide; but it felt like the novel was implying that was something almost romantic about them. Especially by the way Max obsessively went back to them again and again.

Overall, while I definitely had issues with this novel; something about it made me not want to stop reading. The novel had sparks of greatness in the way it treated grief and mental illness; I just wanted that little bit more from the characters.

*To be clear I was not paid for this review, which I think may be obvious may be its content.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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P.S. SPOILER AHEAD

Max’s creative writing teacher, Dr Cage was completely in the wrong in regards to what happened at the restaurant. You shouldn’t drink in front of a pupil full stop, especially not to the extent where you’re a bit too drunk to notice that said pupil is taking massive gulps from your drink.

March Favourites

i.e. things I bought last month. 

I really want to keep up with this series so I decided to write a little post about things I’ve been loving last month. As usual it’s a bit late but mainly because I kept debating with myself if I had enough to discuss to warrant a post – my innate stubbornness persisted and I decided that I did!

Film 

Black Panther 

What can I say that everyone else hasn’t already said?! It was amazing and everything I’ve wanted to see in a superhero film. The women were terrifying and brilliant – I just can’t wait to see more from the characters introduced.

It still upsets me when people say representation doesn’t matter, especially as I’ve honestly never seen as many black people in the cinema with me before as when I saw this film. I also saw a black man holding his daughter on his lap, pointing out the characters to her – showing her what role models she know had to look up to on screen.

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Image: Black Panther/ Marvel

TV

Nailed It! 

This is a new baking show on Netflix and I think the best way to describe it is, imagine if you got people on a show who can just about bake and then gave them crazy hard baking challenges and see what happens. As you can imagine a lot of the results very much resemble viral internet fail images (which, is essentially the concept of the show). I quickly sped through the season and honestly what made the show for me is the great host Nicole Byer (and the romance I personally ship between her and crew member Wes), as well as her co-host noted chocolatier Jacques Torres.

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Image: Nailed It! / Netflix

Accessories 

Magical Maidens pins 

I treated myself to some mystery pins from the Etsy shop Magical Maidens who do a whole host of pins of popular characters but as if ditto from Pokémon had transformed into them. I chose the seconds (for those who don’t know seconds refers to pins where the colours may be slightly off or the pins have minor damage, which means they can’t be sold for full price) pins – these pins were a mystery except for one design (if you order 3 or more you can chose one design you’d like – I chose Kiki, as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I love Kiki’s Delivery Service). In the end I received Kiki, as well as a Sailor Moon and Ditto pin. I was really hoping for the Sailor Moon pin so this made me really happy! Most people would also not be able to tell the pins are ‘damaged’ in any way; I would definitely buy some of these again.

Magical Maidens

Fandom items 

Sailor Chibi Moon pop figure 

I don’t have many Pop! figures, mainly because I am hesitant to start too many collections because if I start a collection; I have to complete the set for the fandom but I already have two from the Sailor Moon collection so decided I needed this (ha, ha). Essentially, I’ve really been wanting my hair pink again so I think that is where this stems from.

I bought mine from my local comic book store but you can pick this figure up from Amazon, Forbidden Planet, HMV and I’m sure a few other places!

Chibi Moon

Lumberjanes/ Gotham Academy 

I haven’t finished this series yet so please don’t spoil it for me if you have but what I’ve read so far I love! I just need to get my hands on issue 5 (which, I ordered from my local shop) and 6 (hopefully they’re going to be able to order this for me). What I’ve read so far has made me want to try out Gotham Academy as a series as well (so if you’ve read any let me know your thoughts) I hadn’t actually read any Lumberjanes going into this but knew that I wanted to (mainly because of who was involved in bringing the comic to life and because there was a ginger character called April) and this mini series definitely encouraged that sentiment more! It’s fun, it’s got a 80s theme and is packed full of loads of amazing female characters – there’s nothing not to like! I may have also bought Lumberjanes volume 1 after this but that is a potential favourite for next month!

Lumberjanes Gotham Academy

Music 

Hayley Kiyoko 

I’ve been hearing everyone talk about Hayley Kiyoko for a while now (especially on Twitter) and everything I heard sounded awesome. I eventually stopped being an idiot and checked her out. Her music is not 100% my taste (I’m not too heavy anything with too much of an electronic vibe) but the songs I’ve heard have stuck in my brain. It’s not surprising she’s become a bit of a queer role model and I know so many people who her music videos and her existence would have helped growing up. Her style is also great – essentially it’s that effortlessly cool look I’d never pull off!

Organisation 

Flying Tiger shelves 

I recently decided I needed to just organise my flat (and life) so I picked up some shelves to display my POP figures and other figurines I have (as well, as some of Martin’s). I spotted a cute lilac set in Flying Tiger for only £15 for a set of 4 different shelves, which are now proudly displayed on my wall (thanks to Martin’s family!).

Flying Tiger shelves
They’re not uneven – it’s my wall/ flat.

I also decided that I needed a cacti display shelf (if you read my last blog post you’ve probably already seen it!), as I wanted plants but knew anything else I’d kill. The one I picked up was also £6 and was also from Flying Tiger, and the cacti were £4 I think. Martin picked the colour, I wanted the pale blue but relented because sometimes I have to be fair (ha, ha). This probably looks so ‘basic’ but I love it so don’t care.

Cacti shelf

Picking up from last month’s monthly favourites, I still haven’t watched The Shape of Water; however, this month Avengers: Infinity War comes out and I am beyond excited. When I watched the trailer I had to keep pausing because I literally couldn’t handle it all at once – that’s how pumped I am.

Other than that I am going to try and get through the month without trying to be too confused when people say the month and don’t mean me and go into a The Last Jedi bubble as soon as the DVD comes out (I love it and don’t care what anyone else says lol).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

Blog: Dodie O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert 1/04/18

First of all, look at me spoiling you all with content so close to each other (I am going through a ‘writing’ phase so enjoy it while it lasts). Also, secondly welcome to my first ever concert review. Well, it’s not a review but more of a recap of my experience. So last night I went to see Dodie at o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It was my Christmas present from Martin – who also very kindly joined me at the concert despite it not having a mosh pit, which meant he consequently didn’t know what to do with himself the whole time.

My experience really started before the concert even began with some awesome food from VX London. I’ve wanted to try this place for a while and it didn’t disappoint. The food for London wasn’t too expensive; it had lots of garlic (which, along with spice I love) and it was quiet because it was Easter Sunday so we had seats.

VX London

I had the Meatball Sub (£5.50) with just plain chips (£2.50) and Martin had a Pulled Pork sub (£7.00) with cheesy chips (£3.50). Also, just because I realise not everyone will know everything at VX London is vegan! In terms of the food I’d definitely recommend the cheesy chips (I made a mistake not getting them!) and the meatball sub I had was great. The pulled pork sub was also nice but it was meant to be spicy (for me it wasn’t, ha, ha) and I prefer pulled pork options with bbq sauce.

Meatball sub
I don’t have a picture of Martin’s food because I was too scared to get in-between him and food.

We also shared a slice of rainbow cake (£4.20), which was amazing, the icing was beautiful and the cake wasn’t too sweet, which is sometimes an issue with rainbow cake for me. We couldn’t finish it because VX was just so filling (which I sometimes find to be a struggle with some vegan options because we both eat a lot!). This would be a great spot to grab some subs in the summer to take to have a picnic at Hyde Park or down at the canals near Camden. My only criticism would be is that it felt like something I could have made (minus the incredible cheese sauce on the chips, which I’ve been trying to crack in my head ever since) but that is one of my favourite types of food to eat out because I’m lazy. And by what I can make, I mean stuff I can cook but done in a lot of ways better.

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I’ve also been trying to pick up more souvenirs from trips out so I picked up this pretty awesome ‘I Love Vegan Junk Food’ sticker to stick on the side of my comics box.

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After the food we headed to the concert and arrived at around half 6 (doors opened at 7). Unsurprisingly there was a long queue and after walking for what felt like a mile down the queue we eventually got to the end, and parked ourselves outside a house that said ‘St Martins’ so I decided it was fate (for those not in the know my partner in crime is called Martin). We quickly felt very old as most people looked about 14 (and there was a lot of very ‘done’ parents waiting with people in the queue – but also a mum in a flower crown in flower crown solidarity with the people she was taking to the concert).

We also noticed the queue was generally older the more you got towards the back (I think with the decline of our youth us oldies also have lost the enthusiasm to queue). However, the girls in front of us in the queue I swore were like 16, but then started talking about university and smoking (I wanted to rip the cigarette out of their hand and tell them they weren’t old enough, ha, ha). Martin was also the tallest person there, which although is common at other places we’ve had contenders and I think it kind of highlighted the age of the audience. It was also unsurprisingly a female audience, as I think Dodie is brilliant in capturing the feeling of what it feels like to be a girl growing up. It did however mean once we were inside there was virtually no queue for the male bathroom in comparison to the ladies.

After going to the loo and listening to some of the first support act Fenn Lily (who I wish I could have heard more of – I’m going to have to check them out); I bought my merch (after a long conversation with Martin, which I’m sure he loved about what I should buy). In the end I went with the Party Tattoos jumper (£35) and pin (£5( because I love that song and I wanted to get things I knew I hadn’t seen on the online shop. The jumper however does run smaller than the Promises one, which runs quite large, so that’s something to take into account.

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The next support act Skinny Living were great and another one I’m going to have to listen to. I can only hope they bring the same energy to the recordings, as they do their live performances.

And then there was Dodie.

I’ll start by saying try as I might I couldn’t see a lot of what was going for the majority of the concert (perils of being small). Also, the bar was in front of where I was trying to see (why would you put the bar there?!). However, I will say the set was beautiful, there were flowers hanging from every mike stand and from the ceiling and it looked like a ethereal dream. The lighting was also brilliant and emphasised the performances, which I think can be a hard skill to do.

I also loved hearing Dodie’s songs with the weight of her band behind her (the violinist was also ridiculously good). The atmosphere was also a very nice inviting place (I saw lots of pride flags, which made me happy). Martin was very happy as well when Dodie closed on ‘The Middle’ as that was the only song he knew. I was just happy to hear the song meaning confirmed (it’s about a threesome).

My only ‘con’ was that sometimes it was actually difficult to hear the band over the screaming crowd (though they all could hold a note!). I can understand the enthusiasm though, I think it was just the oldie in me tutting whenever there were screams when Dodie spoke. I also think because a lot of Dodie’s songs are quite chill (or sad as she put it) I’d like to have had a seat (I can’t remember if that was an option – shoot me if it was). Also, the meanings behind of the songs obviously made me brew a little – after all, I am the queen of just letting life pass me by.

Because I’m me I was upset as well that I didn’t get to properly see Dodie’s outfit.

As for Dodie’s April Fools moment. I’m personally not a fan of April Fools at all so it wasn’t for me (I just don’t see why you’d want to raise someone’s expectations and crush them/ I wanted to see Demi Lovato, ha, ha). I think it didn’t help that Martin got genuinely excited for a minute as well, which upset me more. I managed to calm down by the time the next song ‘Absolutely Smitten’ had finished though. Overall, don’t get me wrong I can see why it’s funny and harmless – I just really don’t like April Fools (also it was after 12pm so my guard was down).

Other than that my only other con was the rain afterwards, which obviously was not Dodie’s fault but meant my merch got wet, as well as me. Plus, as I told Martin rain is only acceptable in Paris (though I will admit the noise is nice and I like the snuggling up in a blanket bit afterwards but that’s it).

Overall, I think I would love to see Dodie again but be able to have a seat (and hopefully see the stage more) or alternatively see her play at a concert in the park (I think Dodie and a picnic would be a great combination). It was though a deliciously good day and I am grateful for my annoying-but-wouldn’t-want-to-go-with-anyone-else company. The experience also made me love concerts again – I need to see Paramore and loudly scream Rose Colored Boy (I will use the American spelling only because Paramore are American).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

Book Review: How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

I’ll start by saying that it feels like forever since I’ve written anything for this blog, and while forever is a bit of a stretch; I have not been sticking to my regular once a week programming (you know if we actually pretend I ever have). This is to be honest due to my regular scheduled bouts of ennui (which are regular even if nothing in my life is).

However, I’m back, ready to write, review, take awful blog pictures and keep pretending I’ll have the courage to put my face on YouTube one day.

This week’s quality content is a review of How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. I know this is not a new release by any means but I borrowed it to read for a book club at work so thought I’d do a little review about it. The book follows Tom Hazard, who looks about 41 years old but has been alive for centuries. He’s seen it all from Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, to New York to the South Seas. To avoid being caught he is constantly changing his identity to stay alive. We follow Tom as he starts to teach history at a London comprehensive (delightfully of course pulling on his experiences to teach) and is searching for why he still keeps going after all the centuries he’s lived.

You can kind of tell from the premise that the book is going to be a page turner and the prose aids this beautifully – it’s relatable in that way that has often been sometimes caused books to be dismissed as ‘beach reads’; but in fact just gives you breathing room to think. I also ferociously belong to the camp that believe that something doesn’t need to be long-winded to feel like a classic.

How To Stop Time however does not belong to the classic camp (in my humble opinion).  Don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely read and it will force you to enjoy life a little bit more, especially if you’re like me and have a tendency to get trapped in your own head a lot. It also will make you remember why you love history (or get you at least a bit excited about it if it wasn’t your subject at school), as this is definitely written by someone who fiercely loves history. Unsurprisingly, when I looked up Matt Haig I found that he studied English and History at Hull University.

Flaw wise (without trying to give anything away) the novel suffers from the trait I’ve been noticing in a few of my reads recently; the tying up of all plot holes as speedily as possible in the last chapter or so. Maybe, I just don’t like novels to end and maybe I would wrongly draw things out too much. But something about the thoughtful nature of the book makes me want it to be less rushed; after all the book does exude the theme that we have to learn to live in the present.

Some people will probably criticise the amount of famous cameos but really considering the amount of time this character is supposed to have lived; I don’t feel it’s too dramatic. I also feel like the people who are constantly open to new things and wait to see where life takes them are always the ones who find themselves drawn to people like that – like moths to a flame. Also, if you’re going to do any sort of narrative with time travel or travelling through different periods of time; your audience is going to expect the obligatory celebrity cameo.

The treatment of colonialism within the book is also a little bit fleeting and probably could of done with a bit more development than the two pages I saw. Especially, considering the way the novel reflects on casting someone as ‘other’ and witchcraft.

Overall, I did like this novel and would recommend it, especially if you’re a lover of any piece of fiction that looks at different time periods like me. Don’t go in thinking this is all guns blazing however. It is after all a story of an Englishman (well French, but shh –  and there is an argument to be had for that at least a little by the way in which the character sees themselves at being at home within London). If you need a bit of optimism and want a well written tale; you can’t go wrong with this one.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

February Favourites

I was watching my daily dose of YouTube and came across Pixielocks ‘February Favourites’ video and realised quite quickly that I had completely forgotten to do a February Favourites post. I considered just not writing a post to be honest because I couldn’t immediately think of a lot of favourite, but after pondering a little bit I realised there was a few things I got that I haven’t talked about yet that I’ve really enjoyed.

The first thing I really love is actually a Valentines day present from Martin. It’s a claddagh ring that I not very subtly hinted that I wanted from a local vintage jewellery shop where I live. It’s a tiny bit small as Martin didn’t know my ring size so used his little finger instead (which, to be fair isn’t far of), but I actually prefer wearing it as a necklace.  Also, I’ll admit I’ve wanted someone to give me one of these ever since watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer so thank you Martin for making my Buffy dreams come true.

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Claddagh ring

Princess Leia and Han Solo mugs

Another Valentines day present from Martin because I will forever NEED anything that features Han Solo and Princess Leia. If you’re like me and more likely to use a giant mug for noodles than tea or coffee- these are perfect! I considered letting Martin use one of them but decided strongly against it, as I couldn’t decide which one he could use as I love them both.

P.S. I know Martin got these from Clintons if anyone is interested.

Betty Boop Heart kimono 

So this was an impulse buy; I’m not going to lie. It’s cute and I hesitated putting it in my favourites as I’m not sure 100% how to style it but I still think it’s cute and I paid half of retail price (hence the impulse buy) on Depop so am happy that I tried something I wouldn’t have otherwise bought. It will also be great for some super cute outfits for next Valentines day (because I love an excuse to cover myself in heart print clothing). I also really, really want the matching denim jacket and jeans set from this collection (even though I am very certain I won’t be able to pull it off and I already mentioned it in my January favourites).

Betty Boop Kimono 1

Monki heart pillow 

Although this was a Valentines day aesthetic buy; it’s also really cute all year round. The material is super nice and velvety and I don’t know what else I can really say it’s a good pillow! I think it was around £7.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Brooklyn 99 is something I’d seen a few episodes on when it happened to come on TV but never fully embraced, but I am now very much loving,  It’s a great show to help me switch off at the end of the day and the characters are brilliant too! Definitely a new comedy favourite.

Superdrug B Beauty range 

I recently had to pick up some micellar cleansing water as the bottle I was using ran out. I knew I wanted something cruelty free but couldn’t afford something super expensive (and didn’t want to wait for something to be shipped either) so was delighted to see that I could pick up a bottle from my local Superdrug for £2.19 (currently reduced). I don’t wear heavy makeup but my experience with this has been nothing but positive, would definitely recommend as a affordable cruelty free option. It also made me want to try the rest of the B Beauty range, as if I’m not mistaken most or all of it is vegan (all of it is cruelty free). If a B Beauty range review is something you’d like to see let me know!

So here it is a very small favourites list. I considered adding the banana pancakes I’ve been making (recipe here), which literally just contain porridge oats, plant based milk and a banana so have been a healthy sweet option I’ve been loving; but I’m useful at making aesthetically pleasing food posts.  I also love the new dessert pots by Alpro (I love everything chocolate hazelnut that they do). I’ve not finished it yet but I love every episode of Sanrio Boys I’ve seen so far – I definitely need to hurry up and catch up with that series as well as The Ancient Magnus Bride (I also really want to read the magna for that series). The Winter Olympics were also amazing – I need to binge watch Yuri On Ice all over again, speaking of Yuri On Ice and the Olympics, I am still in shock that happened and incredibly jealous because I will never be able to do that myself (my ice skating skills are the total of one trip where I refused to let go of the edge of the rink).

This month I am going to finally watch Blank Panther and The Shape of Water, as well as read some books I’ve really wanted to read – so expect some reviews shortly. I’m also planning a London trip so might do a food blog post if I try anywhere super nice. Happy March everyone!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

This One Summer: Graphic Novel review

Main image: © Jillian Tamaki, used with permission.

This also happens to be my favourite piece of artwork from This One Summer (Jillian and Mariko Tamaki). 

This One Summer is a collaboration between cousins Mario Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, it follows the story of Rose, someone who is starting to nosedive into the world of puberty. The story takes place across the summer of her annual trip with her family to Awago Beach, where her friend Windy is always there to meet her. While previous summers have always been amazing; this summer Rose has to confront family problems, as well as the pains of growing up. 

If you want something that captures the feelings of summer holidays; this is it. For someone like me who has now decided that they are ancient and is missing the carefree  leisure of summer holidays; this book is equally a delight and a weird kind of torture.

The whole read perfectly captures the dreamy wistfulness that captured my summer holidays – the same could be said for the content of the graphic novel. Not a lot happens but a lot happens at the same time. Growing up isn’t always something that is a dramatic adventure and this is the real genius of the graphic novel – it captures exactly that.

The artwork as well is beautiful- if I could frame the front cover I would. I just love when soft colours, especially lilacs and a watercolour feel is applied to artwork- and I love, love, love how that theme contains on through the graphic novel.

tos1

Image: © Jillian Tamaki, used with permission.

However, it wasn’t the stunning artwork that initially drew me to this graphic novel; it was that I was talking to the lovely shop assistant in my local comic book and they recommended the graphic novel based on my other choices. When talking about the graphic novel they also discussed how it was difficult to order in because it had been banned in the US. The reason it was banned I discovered was due to that it was deemed to contain ‘vulgar language’. And to be honest if a book is banned I automatically want to read it more. All I say about the ‘vulgar’ language is this: this is a book aimed at teens who are going to use and hear this language – that is just the reality of life.

And capturing the reality of life is what the graphic novel does best, especially the brutal reality of being introduced to the world of growing up and adulthood. However, along that pain is the joy of friendships. I have to say Rose and Windy’s friendship was probably my favourite thing throughout This One Summer because it has been a long time since I have read a friendship that didn’t feel stylised but just captured the messy reality of friendship. Sometimes, like Rose does to Windy, you mess up when talking with you friends. But most of the time being with a friend feels freeing –  something which Windy does beautifully.

tos3

Image: © Jillian Tamaki, used with permission.

I’m not going to lie, I see a lot of myself in Windy but I also see a lot more power in Windy than I felt I had at that age. She says what she thinks is right, even when it can be hard, especially when you friend is older (as is the case for Windy).

I hope by keeping this review short and sweet I capture the spirit of the graphic novel a bit – in that the graphic novel didn’t need to say a lot to be impactful. The artwork and storytelling fills in the gaps for you. The graphic novel’s strength is also its only weakness – not a lot happens but the characterisation is some of the best I’ve seen. We have a central character who the author is not afraid to show mess up in her journey to grow up as well as highlight how her infatuation with the teenage lothario of Awago Beach, Dunc sways and influences her judgment.

The adults too are not one-dimensional – we get to see Rose’s mum, Alice’s pain and understand her actions, as well as understand why Rose would react the way she does to her mum’s behaviour. Essentially This One Summer is a snapshot of the reality of growing up, but it’s genius is the way it paints that snapshot – bright, vivid and deeply immersive.

If you’re interested in This One Summer you can buy it on Amazon, I’d also recommend this review in The Comics Journal, which inspired some of the points in my review, particularly the line: ‘Immersion is This One Summer‘s strength’. However, it’s important to note that the review is not spoiler free.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

Superdrug vegan cruelty free drugstore beauty haul

I am very passionate about my beauty products being cruelty free and vegan but sometimes this can feel like a pretty expensive task. However, a lot more brands are embracing being cruelty free and labelling which of their products are vegan; making it easier for people like me who are mostly clueless. One store I’ve noticed more and more that stocks brands that are good at this and do it themselves is Superdrug- all the range made by Superdrug themselves I’m pretty sure is cruelty free (however, when shopping online is you search cruelty free you can narrow down the cruelty free brands on the site as well).

I was very excited then when I heard reports that Superdrug’s own brand shampoo and conditioner is £1.99 each and is cruelty free and vegan. However, it was difficult to find confirmation of this online except in the ‘Questions’ section of the product where people asked if the product was vegan. However, when you actually purchase the bottle it states clearly that it is cruelty free and vegan – something, which I can confirm for the bottles I bought which was the Coconut and Almond shampoo and conditioner, and the Raspberry and Macadamia conditioner.

I’ve also had a week or two trying these products out now and can confirm that while they are not terrible, they are not really heavy duty enough for my very winter-dry bleached underneath hair that needs a little extra care. However, I’ve found if I use the shampoo, then the Raspberry conditioner and finally the Coconut conditioner (making sure to leave them on as long as possible) the results are quite good. This also I think largely isn’t a fault of the products as I’ve found the shower water where I live compared to other parts of the country really makes my hair feel dry. I need to try soaking my hair in coconut oil for half an hour when I wash my hair again and see if that makes a difference.

Overall, for the price I will definitely be buying these again. Especially as they were on buy one get one free when I got them (and I think they still are) so I got four bottles, one of which was a repeat of the coconut shampoo, which is why I didn’t mention it earlier. However, I might try indulging in a more heavy duty conditioner (maybe one from Lush) – as shampoo’s go though the Superdrug one definitely does the job (I’d recommend the Raspberry one because the conditioner I have smells very nice).

Barry M  

I’ve always ruined my nails within minutes of them being painted (or done an awful job in the first place) to the point where I’ve barely ever worn nail varnish. However, when I saw the new colours at the Barry M stand; I knew I had to make an exception.

Barry M Nail Varnishes

Especially, when I saw that one was scented (spoiler alert I didn’t notice anything – I think nail varnish because of the strong smell is a bit too hard to scent).

However, the colour is beautiful and better yet Barry M is cruelty free and a lot of their products are vegan (not all however – I wanted to try a mascara but sadly they were not) so make sure to check. From what I could see most if not all of their nail varnishes are vegan and it is really easy to check on the Barry M site, as you just find the product you want, click on the ingredients list and there will be a sticker on the list if the product is vegan.

The shade from the Candy Culture collection I got, ‘Coconut’ is vegan, as well as all the varnishes in that collection. The other shade I picked up from the ‘Under the Sea’ collection, which has the absolute cutest packaging (I definitely need all the shades in this collection – especially the blue), called ‘Jellyfish’ is also vegan, as are the other shades in the collection.

As I spent more than £7 (I think it this amount) at Barry M (the nail varnishes are an affordable £3.99 each) I received a free Shimmer Strobe Cream. I picked up the shade galactic because I thought it would be a nice white highlighter from what it looked like in the tube – there was unfortunately no samples to swatch. It is however a pretty lilac colour (which, still suits my skin tone so yay). I find this a little hard to work with because I’m not used to cream products but it also seems to work really nice on one cheek and then awful on the other. However, if you want to pick one of these up they are only £4.49 and when I looked on the site all 4 shades are vegan – I personally am considering picking up the pink toned shade ‘Frosty Pink’ though I think my face is pink enough already (not that has stopped me before).

The only thing I would make sure to stress with Barry M is look up the product on their website, as although the nail varnishes were labelled as vegan, the shimmer stick wasn’t even though it was – so make to check!

Makeup Revolution 

I have to admit a love a bit of Makeup Revolution, especially when you want to play around with colours that are a bit ‘out there’ for you but don’t want to commit to buying an expensive palette. The two palettes I got were £4 and £10 respectively, and although there was some shades on the cheaper palette I got that were a little hard to blend; it was nothing I couldn’t work with.

Re-loaded palette 

The first thing that caught my eye was that this palette has a few similar shades to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette (well at least to me) and the second thing was that it was only £4. So far I’ve only tried a few of the shades, one of which just refused to blend and the other which wasn’t as bright as I hoped but did layer nicely – I think used by someone willing to show more love than me, i.e. setting spray etc. these shadows could look great. They did though have staying power, which is the same as some of my more expensive palettes on my eyes. If you look on the TAM beauty website (who looks after Makeup Revolution) in the description it states that the product is vegan, cruelty free and gluten free (this confused me a bit at first but fair enough if this is a concern for coeliacs). Tam Beauty also states that none of their brands test on animals so this includes the other brands they stock like Freedom and I Heart Makeup.

Makeup Revolution palette

On the first image my swatches start from the  bottom left and then I follow the palette left upwards. 

As you can probably see in the swatches, some shades are a bit fuzzy and those are the shades that are harder to work with. One thing I really noticed is that the shimmer shades for both palettes swatched really nicely – especially the gold shades. Also, apologises about the mark on my arm on the second picture – it flares up now and then and basically there is something I’m allergic to but I don’t know what.

I also got the Soph eyeshadow palette, as I occasionally look at her videos because her eye looks are lovely and very accessible – I like how she works with cheaper and more expensive products as well.

I haven’t used many of the shades yet in this palette but all that I did use worked well, and the swatches for some of the shades in this palette are just gorgeous. This palette was a bit pricer at £10 but still for a Youtuber collaboration that’s really good and there is a really nice mixture of shades in the palette. The packaging is also cute – though I’ve already stained the palette itself as it’s one of those materials that every little finger print shows up on. I’d also love to do a more detailed review of this palette, as another post to add to my reviewing Youtuber products series (which is just books at the moment).

This palette like the other Makeup Revolution eyeshadow palette is cruelty free, vegan and gluten free. I’m not sure how many of their products are and aren’t vegan but when I did quick check by clicking on one of their mascaras I noticed it wasn’t vegan.

Soph palette
You also get a mirror, which is a nice touch. 

First picture starts from the top left of the palette and then I work my way down right and go down each row like that. 

So this is my mini cruelty free and vegan drugstore haul. I’d love to do more posts like this and make it a series maybe, as I’d love to show off some affordable options as well as more premium ones.

April

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90s Witch Fashion Haul

I feel like this could also be titled ‘I got paid and spent money on clothes’ but since I noticed that a lot of my purchases could make outfits that I’d define as ’90s Witch fashion’ (and by this I mean as depicted in TV shows, i.e. Willow in Buffy, The Craft, etc.); I thought it would be nice to collect those purchases together and do a little bit of a show and tell.

I also want to try out a little something different this time so am going to show my purchases through outfits. I lack the skill and patience for cute flat lay posts so am going to showcase my outfits instead through what I will dub ‘hanger lay’ (which will never be a thing).

Outfit 1: Forever pretending its Autumn 

Autumn 1

Brown Beret: Primark

Jumper: New Look (in the sale- couldn’t find link)

Dress: Asos

Boots: Topshop (old)- would look amazing with some vegan Dr Martens

Autumn 2Autumn 3Autumn 4

Outfit 2: Trying my hardest to be ‘Tumblr’ 

Tumblr 1
The cardigan is not laying exactly right in this photograph, which annoys me, but not enough to muster the effort to take the photograph again.

Beret: Topshop

Top: Little Viking Vintage

Dress: Asos

Cardigan: H and M

Necklace: A gift I’ve had a while, you can find an official one here

Tumblr 2

Tumblr 3

Tumblr 4

Outfit 3: 90s film witches need a bit more pink 

Pink 3

Jacket: Topshop (from the Christmas sales)

Dress: H and M (couldn’t find exact online)

Boots: Primark

Pink Outift 2

Pink Outfit 1

Pink boots 4

So there it is a short and sweet post where I try something a bit new! If I manage to have the time and or can muster the effort I’ll try to post some pictures of me wearing some of these outfits on my Instagram (so be sure to follow me there, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Ethics and sustainability of the clothes featured:

This section is not to shame anyone (including myself) but just because I think its good to remind ourselves where our things come from. Although I try in little ways to be more ‘ethical’ and sustainable; I am very far from perfect in this regard so please don’t feel guilty from this section.

The top from Little Viking Vintage is vintage, which is therefore very environmentally friendly!

Topshop, H and M and Primark are known for being ‘fast fashion’ brands that range in affordability but are all what are considered ‘high street’ brands. They then tend to be problematic generally in terms of ethics, with all facing accusations of ‘sweat shop labour’. Personally, the items I buy from here I keep and mend for many years (with the exceptions of jeans- as they just wear down very quickly on the thighs for me) so I try my best to keep the ‘fast fashion’ element out of the things I buy.

Asos’s private label is generally considered to be ‘middle ground‘ in terms of ethics and sustainability. They do however have a section on their website labelled ‘Eco Brands’ which shines the light on environmentally friendly brands.

Wool: The beret and cardigan are likely to be a wool blend. The ethics of wool can be supsect but it is possible to buy more ethical wool- you can read more on this here. If this is something you feel passionately about your best bet is to check to see if you can find the credentials for where the wool in your clothes has come from (buying vintage wool is also a good bet)- something I need to get better at, though I’ll be honest sometimes this can make shopping a bit of an expensive minefield (and I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting that).

 April

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January Favourites

It’s been a little bit of a ‘dry’ January for me so this list might be a little bit short on purchases. However, I’ve done a lot of watching of things this month because of my lack of money, so expect to see a lot of suggestions for ways to occupy your time instead of a lot of clothes (though I suspect next month this list will probably contain a lot of clothes).

I’m going to start by talking about something that I’ve not actually bought anything from but I think is super cute and that is the Lazy Oaf x Betty Boop collection. I always loved Betty Boop as a child because of her stint in Roger Rabbit and because I  always saw her in vintage and alternative shops meaning that for me she always stood as a symbol for someone who liked to dress alternatively. And as someone who has always admired (even if they were at times too scared to dabble in) alternative fashion; Betty Boop always seemed pretty darn cool to me.

The showstopping piece from the collection (just to be clear I’m referring to the ‘Women’s’ collection because I’m not a fan of anything in the ‘Men’s’ collection) has to be the white double denim set, which I’d love to attempt to pull off- with the red beret and top as below- maybe with some red converse as well. However, the pieces are about standard for Lazy Oaf collaboration collections and would set me back £120 for the jacket, and £79 for the jeans. So, these pieces are definitely going to have to go on the back burner of things I like at the moment- plus there is no guarantee I would be able to find a pair of the jeans that would fit because of my waist to hip ratio.

I also wish I could style the pieces anywhere near as cute as @skumbagg_ did on Instagram. 

Also, @skumbagg_ highlights probably my favourite piece from the collection the red sheer heart jacket. And this is not only because I really love hearts but because this would look amazing in a Valentines day lookbook (which, I hope to do but don’t think I’ve got another outfits to pull it off- maybe then it will be a Valentines Outfit Of The Day).

My other favourite pieces are the stripe boatneck top (the top pictured below is actually a bodysuit, you can find it here) which would look so cute tucked into a skirt or high waisted trousers or of course the cute pin up jeans they have with the collection (see below- click to the next image to see the amazing bow detail). There is also an adorable crop top, which I love but also have no idea how I would style.

Betty body and blue bow jeans 🎀👖〰️#bettyboopxlazyoaf

A post shared by Lazy Oaf (@lazyoafs) on

The crop top!

The one piece from the collection I do know how I’d style is the dress, which is the cut of my favourite Lazy Oaf dress pieces, which is referred to as a ‘Sally Sack dress’ (see below to see how one of my favourite Lazy Oaf wearers @reina_roo on Instagram styles it). This is the one piece I’m super tempted to get from the collection, as I know I wouldn’t regret it -I’m hoping it will still be available in March (but I know that’s a long shot with Lazy Oaf pieces- if you like a Lazy Oaf piece I very much recommend buying it then and there whenever possible because they only stock limited runs and finding the item after that can be hard and pricey).

So basically the one piece of the collection I am definitely going to invest in is the cute Betty Boop pin, as I like to try to have something from every Lazy Oaf collection (though that’s not being going well recently) and I love and am trying to collect more pins.

Little Viking Vintage

Now that I’ve sufficiently obsessed over the new Lazy Oaf collection let me talk about things I’ve actually bought. All of these are from the lovely Little Viking Vintage, so are unique to me, which I love, and as always were purchases I’ve been wearing again and again.

My favourite purchase was a beautiful silver and black onyx necklace. I got this because I’ve been noticing more and more how terrible I am at accessorising and wanted to change this. This looks amazing with a playsuit and crop top combo I bought recently (and basically is the only outfit I ever post about).

Ginger Hair Don't Care

I also got this pale yellow blouse for £9! It’s see through so I’ll wear a tank top underneath it but would look totally lovely I think with a nice long flowing skirt for when spring arrives.

Yellow blouse

The final thing I got is this bucket bag. It can’t hold a lot of items or weight because of its design but it makes me look a lot more fashionable than I actually am, and I love it. Also, I’d rather it get reused personally than waste it- see this post if you a bit confused about what I’m referring to.

Bucket Bag

Grace and Frankie Season 4 

I’ve been a fan of Grace and Frankie since the start. First of all, I love anything with Jane Fonda in, and second of all the show itself is hilarious and beautifully written. It’s not often (or more like barely at all) you see shows targeted at or featuring people over 50 on TV, and although I know why, it’s really a shame. I might be a while until I feel some of the problems of ageing but doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what they are or that I find them any less engaging than other problems I can’t relate to. I mean the majority of shows targeted to my age group would have me confronting someone at a masked ball, which I think somehow is unlikely to happen!

The show keeps up its momentum this season though I hope the show talks about it the way in which the children of Grace and Frankie approached the main issue of the season in a way that was not completely fair, next season.

Tofu scramble

Most of my attempts at cooking tofu at home have been fine, acceptable, but not as nice as the tofu I have eaten out. This recipe though I really enjoyed, though I only followed it loosely. For one thing my scramble isn’t yellow because I didn’t have any turmeric and instead of shallots I simmered garlic instead, and just had chilli powder, salt and pepper to flavour mine- it was however delicious (I also used soy milk as my milk substitute and it’s was great- soy milk is definitely my favourite milk substitute I’ve tried).

 

Tofu Scramble

I had mine with dairy free butter and spicy sriracha (a spicier version- I’m not saying Sriracha is spicy in itself). 

Turtles All the Way Down 

I have already wrote a review on this, however, I wanted to mention it briefly here, as I really enjoyed this book. I would also definitely recommend it for people both suffering with mental health issues or those who are not- it does a very good job at showing how both people cope with situations that arise in the life of someone who has mental health issues.

Turtles all the way down

Hamilton soundtrack 

This has been my favourite for more than a few months now and I keep forgetting to proclaim my underlying love for this soundtrack. Seriously, I probably listen to it at least once daily. I am very eagerly waiting for the day when I can finally get tickets to go see it in London.

The Women’s March 2018

I just want to give a shout out to everyone who attended the Women’s March both this year and last year. I couldn’t spare the money to attend this year (for the train ticket to London) but I very appreciative to everyone who took the time out of their day to make sure the important issues the march stands for were heard. Next year, I will be part of that crowd.

So there it is- my January. It’s been a bit of a long and cold one. Both mentally and literally. Here’s hoping there will be some more warmth coming up (though not too much as I am not ready for full on summer sun yet or ever- I’m thinking more Spring weather would be nice).

April

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

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