8 October 2014

Book Review: The Master and Margarita

“But what can be done, the one who loves must share the fate of the one he loves.”
The Master and Margarita took me two attempts to read. The first time I tried I just could not get past the first chapter. I now put this down to the fact that I wasn't concentrating. I love Russian literature but sometimes the names cause me a bit of a headache as I have to keep going backwards to check who's who. I think that's what slowed me down with this novel the first time round. 

1930s Moscow and the devil decides to pay a visit. With his motley crew in tow old Satan wreaks havoc on the townsfolk of Moscow teaching them lessons about greed and corruption. The novel takes place between Moscow and Jerusalem with two stories running parallel, that of the Master, Margarita, the Devil and his crew and that of Pontius Pilate and Yeshua (Jesus). The two stories are intertwined and both are relatively interesting. I probably enjoyed the main thread in Moscow a bit more than that in Jerusalem as the characters were so great. 

My favourite character by far was the mischievous Behemouth, the cat. I know what you're thinking, "you only like him because you're a crazy cat lady". This is only partly true. I do love him because he's a cat but I love him more because he is ferociously sarcastic and loves Vodka. What's not to like? 

I am not going to go into too much detail about the actual events that happen in the novel because it is far too complex to put into few words. I also think it should come as a surprise. I don't know why I picked up this novel; I think it was because it was £2 in HMV and is published by Vintage who I adore. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for but I'm so glad I picked it up. 

By the time I finished this novel I wondered why I hadn't read it sooner; I frickin' loved it. It is bonkers in the best kind of way. It is surreal and satirical and made me fall in love with Russian literature even harder. I wouldn't recommend this if you aren't a fan of the fantastical as this certainly has some unbelievable moments but if you want to try something different, The Master and Margarita is the book for you. 

Rating: ****

6 October 2014

Payday Tiger Haul

I couldn't resist popping into Tiger on payday to have a little look at their nick-nacks. As per usual I came out with a few things that I probably don't need:

1. Copper Tealight Lantern, £3 I love this little lantern. So much so that I bought two! They have that kind of rustic home feel that I love for our living room. 
2. Ceramic Bird Print Tealight Holder, £2 This was too cute to resist! I don't even use tealights all that much but I suppose I better start what with buying three holders and all. 
3. Braided Basket Box, £3 I have so many little bits floating around that I am constantly looking for boxes to put them in. I love this one, it has a kind of vintage primary school quality about it. 
4. Natural Notebook, Pack of 3, £1 I always carry a little notebook around with me for post ideas so I couldn't resist these simple ones. Such a bargain - three for £1!
5. Hobby (PVA) Glue, £1 A bit of an odd one it may seem but PVA is a useful thing to have for nail art. Brush on around the nail to protect skin when water-marbling or creating a gradient mani. 
6. Post-It Pad, £1 I definitely do not need these but I can't resist handy little post-its. I use them to stick in magazines or in my notebooks when I want to flag an idea.
7. Dutch Waffles, £1 I don't need to explain how much I do not need these! It's a sickness. If you're also afflicted with waffleitis please note that these are not as good as the large Starbucks ones. 

I love browsing around Tiger. It's like the little bits section of Ikea but slightly cuter. If you're into stationery and art supplies - canvases in particular - then I would highly recommend having a look around your local store. 

30 September 2014

Autumn 2014 Nail Polish Picks


Last autumn I was all about the demure pastel shades but this year I am feeling a different vibe for my nails. There are still some subtle shades in my top five - Little Bo Peep I'm looking at you - but they aren't quite so feminine. I threw some different finishes in the mix too: Burgundy Crush is from Barry M's AW13 Matte collection (you can still buy it, don't worry), and Mercury is a kind of metallic/duochrome finish, one that I don't usually enjoy but this is a beautiful colour. 

What shades are you going to be wearing this autumn?

28 September 2014

Eleven Years

Yesterday was my eleven year anniversary with the boyf. We don't tend to buy each other big presents as we have so many other things to spend money on but I was pleasantly surprised this year when I got a Kate Spade 'Emma' notebook and some Charbonnel et Walker truffles (my faves). 
The notebook is so pretty that I don't want to start writing in it! I feel like a notebook this nice should have something poignant written in it, like the start of a novel or something but no doubt it'll end up housing my random little thoughts which will materialise into not much of anything. Then it can join the thousands of other random notebooks I have!
A bit about me and the boyf. We find it very difficult to take a decent photograph with each other. I would not be surprised if memory cards were thought of with us in mind because if we had to rely on film we would just not take couple pictures. Above are some of the good, the bad and the damned-well ugly (I include only myself in this category as it seems most pics are destroyed by me pulling some sort of hideous face). I'll let you decide which are good and bad. 

Love

22 September 2014

August Beauty Buys

I'm not sure what happened last month. I was supposed to be good and not spending very much but turns out there were so many beauty products I needed! Technically I only needed three of the products I bought but we all know that nobody just buys the things they actually need. 
Lancome Buys
Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation in 005 (the palest shade available!)
Galatee Confort cleansing milk

Free gift: Bi-Facil eye make-up remover, Hydra Zen moisturiser and eye cream, Advanced Genifique serum, red lipstick, Hypnose mascara (not pictured)
Drug Store Make-Up
Sleek Eye Palette in Au Naturel
Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Peach Club and Ole Flamingo
Models Own nail polish in Beach Bag
Nars Buys
Eyeshadow Duo in Bellissima
Creamy Concealer in Vanilla
Topshop Buys
Lipstick in Trigger
Matte Lip Bullet in Call Me Queen Bee
Bronzer in Mohawk

Let me know if you want to see a review of any particular product otherwise I shall throw a few at you in the coming weeks. The Lip Bullet is definitely getting an in-depth review as I am in love with it!

24 August 2014

Lucky Bunny

I love the shop Tiger. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, it's kind of like a mini Ikea where only the tidbits are sold. They stock home accessories, art supplies, food, and other random bits 'n' bobs at very reasonable prices. The main reason I like it is that there is a great selection of kitsch items for very cheap. 

I went in there recently to look for a canvas as they sell these at their usual low prices. However, I was miles away from home and soon realised that getting the canvas home would be a bit of a mission. As I was there I thought I may as well pick up some more stuff that I have no real use for. Cue this cute little lucky cat purse! It has a bell and everything! I think it was £2. Bargain.
Next up in the basket was the world's sweetest little bunny lamp. I managed to capture this in its best state - white light - as it changes to some very questionable colours (red, green, blue). They don't induce a calming atmosphere but he looks cute when not lit up so I still have him on display for all to see! The bunny lamp cost a mere £3. 

I actually didn't go too crazy during this trip. I think I probably bought a few more things but they weren't particularly photo worthy. Have you picked up any great bargains recently?


21 August 2014

TBT: Stonehenge

heritage
I had great expectations for Stonehenge. I thought it'd be this huge, impending formation that evoked a certain mysticism. Unfortunately, it was a lot smaller than I had hoped. There's also a little rope barrier thing guiding you around which annoyed me. I don't like being told where I can and can't go at the best of times let alone when I am out in the big wide open! 

Worth a visit I suppose but photographs really make this heritage site look a lot grander than it is. 

15 August 2014

Book Review: Bonjour Tristesse

"One afternoon I had wrapped myself in bath towels to look like a Hindu, and was sitting cross-legged staring at myself in the mirror..." - Cecile

book review

I read about this book on the Penguin website and instantly wanted to read it. I love a scheming heroine and Cecile is definitely that. Summering with her father and his young girlfriend in the south of France, Cecile is enjoying her holiday. She drinks and dines with her father, romances a young local boy and avoids any thought of her failing school grades. That is until Anne shows up.

Anne is an old friend of Cecile's fathers and proves a formidable force for the young hedonist. Watching the attachment forming between Anne and her father, Cecile starts scheming to destroy their relationship. The results are devastating and unexpected.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I found it hard to sympathise with either of the females. Cecile is manipulative and lazy but she is also young and hormonal. Anne on the other hand is sensible and meddling, bossy and rather annoying!

It's an interesting short story which really made me want to go on holiday to the South of France again!

Rating:****

13 August 2014

MAC Lovelorn Review

I am a terrible beauty buyer. I rarely have a specific product in mind when I shop for expensive make-up I just know that I need something and then I end up impulse buying a number of things that I'm not too sure about. In particular, this is how I shop for MAC make-up. 
On my last trip to the MAC counter I was in search of Vegas Volt when I spied this gorgeously girly pink and, without trying, decided to bring it home. Is it bad that I never try lipsticks in the store? 
I am so glad that I picked this shade up as it is now my go-to for everyday wear. The formula is 'Lustre' which is a bit sheer and very creamy but still pigmented. It doesn't last as well on the lips as something like Ruby Woo but that's because Ruby Woo is pretty much glue. Despite this I still really like the formula as seems more nourishing. 

This was one impulse buy that worked out well. I have many that have not been quite so successful - maybe I'll show you one day!

9 August 2014

Home Tour: The Bathroom

After a year and a half of owning our own home the boyf and I have almost finished decorating one room. Yup. One room. Out of five. A little bit slow going we know but we chose a dilapidated house which needed some TLC so didn't expect it to be easy. 
We had to do the bathroom first because it wasn't really functioning all that well. The bath was falling off of the wall and there was a dreadful damp smell coming from the rotten wooden floor. 
We ripped out the entire thing before getting a plumber friend in to work his magic on the pipes. Down went a new wooden floor, in went a new suite from Victoria Plum and it was nearly my turn to get cracking on the decorating. I am, unfortunately, not great at DIY. I am happy to try my hand at things but I usually get it wrong so don't tend to bother. Plus I don't want to ruin my nails! Luckily the boyf is good with tools and things otherwise it would've cost us a small fortune.  
I am so happy with the room now that it's nearly finished. It looks a little bit girly but I assure you that the boyf loves it too! I had an image of the design for the bathroom in my head way before work started. I think the room would have looked like this no matter what house we bought. 
My fave part of the process has been adding all of my little knick-knacks. They just make the place look a little bit more lived in. I painted a pic for the room of some lovely legs in a bath. I think I saw a photograph like this on Pinterest and rather than just making a print of it I thought I'd do my own It's not perfect but I got a certain sense of satisfaction having created something. 
Here are some of my fave bits in the room. The cactus is a tad on the phallic side but I love it. It's from Ikea. The Feu de Bois candle by Diptyque doesn't actually smell right in this room so I think I shall buy another to light whilst I'm in the bath.

I hope you enjoyed the little tour of our bathroom. Maybe next year I'll show you another room!


7 August 2014

Tiny Topshop Haul

I found myself wandering around High Street Kensington after work this week and popped into Topshop for old times' sake to see what had changed since the days I used to work there. Turns out a lot changes in nine years! I looked a bit creepy walking around so thought I better buy some things. 

I ended up with a pair of Jamie jeans which are a great fit. They are high-waisted and super skinny with ripped knees. The Jamie jean comes in range of colours but I went for black as I didn't have a decent pair in my denim collection. 
I also picked up a new nail polish - standard! I went for this beautiful pastel blue colour called Birthday suit. I also picked up the cute heart shaped midi ring and hexagon necklace for a bargainous £2,50 each. I very rarely buy Freedom jewellery at full price as it always go down loads in the sale. I learnt this from working there for a year. 

I don't pop into Topshop all that much any more as the prices a tad too high for my liking but I do still love their stuff. 


4 August 2014

Start Spreading The News

The boyf and I first ventured to New York in 2006 and instantly fell in love with the place. This time around was our third and my love of the city has not dwindled. 
This time around we went with my mum and her friend. My mum has never really ventured outside of Europe so this was a big adventure for her. It was nice to get to share one of my favourite places in the world with one of my favourite people. As it was her first time we revisited a lot of tourist traps like the Empire State Building, Grand Central, and Brooklyn Bridge.
One thing we hadn't seen before was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum as they weren't there last time we visited. It's amazing how quickly the new building (Freedom Tower??) went up. In 2009 the place was very much a building site. The fountains in the old World Trade spots were calming, the perfect place to reflect on the events of 9/11. The museum itself was fascinating in a morbid way and well worth a visit. I had to drag the boyf out as he was so engrossed (he was in there for over two hours!). 
It was incredibly hot during our visit so we ended up casually strolling around looking for cold drinks and ice-creams a little bit more than we usually do. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring Central Park a bit more, that place is huge!
Naturally we did a tiny bit of shopping during our trip. I didn't actually buy all that much, just these three things really and Nylon magazine is hardly a big treat! The Michael Kors watch was an absolute steal from Bloomingdales though. I got it for $86! It was on sale and there was a freak extra 50% off promotion that week. Random. The jeans are amazing acid wash Levis which were about $90. 

Still in big time love with New York. Would still probably abandon ship and live there given half the chance. Otherwise I'm happy to be an absent resident. 

1 August 2014

Wetlands


One boring day at work we were randomly discussing books - I think on the back of a Fifty Shades debate - when I mentioned that I liked controversial/disturbing novels. That's when my colleagues recommended two books for me: The End of Alice and Wetlands. I have now read both and will do a review of The End of Alice at a later date. For now....Wetlands. 

I wasn't sure what to expect from Wetlands but I certainly did not think it would be anything like it was. It was pure filth and not in a sexy way. Helen, our protagonist, is bedridden in hospital following an operation on her anus. Whilst bed-bound she has plenty of time to muse the inner workings of her body as well as the reunion of her estranged parents. 

Do I have anything in common with Helen? Weeeellll not much really. I suppose I also have an unashamed way of speaking about certain topics - sex, periods, poo - but this was a bit much even for me. The ass chat was fine, the sex was actually quite tame, but the home-made tampons left around for people to pick up, the avocado births, and the pus eating left me feeling a little bit sick. 

The book read quickly because it was well written and despite feeling completely grossed out by the main lady you kind of want to know what's going to happen to her and her ass. I liked that Roche tackled topics I haven't really come across in literature before but I don't think I will be recommending this to many of my girl friends. 

Rating: ***1/2

30 July 2014

My Lipstick Collection

I can't believe I didn't showcase my lipstick collection at any point last year. I blogged about it in 2011 and 2012 but my collection grew to epic proportions last year. This year the collection has grown even more although I am slowing down a bit. Get ready for some pics...
 Charmed, Nevada, All About Me, Innocent, Legend, Chuck
 129, 418, 414, 153, 419, Genie 
 01, 03, 31, 30, 110, 113, 107, Let's Get Naked
 Vegas Volt, Rebel, Ruby Woo, Sunny Seoul, Lovelorn, MAC Red, Scream 2
 Icon, Riviera, Icon (again)
 Couture, Carnation, Plum, Baby Pink, Strawberry Shortcake, Candy Apple, Macaroon, Sorbet
Melba Blush (M&S), Glam (No7), 19 (YSL), Inimitable (Chanel), Cranberry (Natural Collection), Cherry Bomb (Look), Rosewood (Max Factor), Lips to Thrill (H&M), Dare to Kiss (H&M)

Current faves are MAC Sunny Seoul, YSL 19, and Topshop Innocent. 

What are your fave lipstick brands?