Thursday, 21 March 2013

Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities

 Hello everyone! I thought it had been a while since I posted anything bookworm-ish. Having just completed my assignment on this novel, it has actually made it all the more interesting to me. This is one of Charles Dickens's more experimental books, and yet it encompasses everything I love about Victorian literature!

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Urgh, amazing. At the moment I am studying a module on Dickens. I must admit, it has been difficult, as the author was not known for his brevity! At some point in my life I would like to do a Victorian Literature MA, as it's just so interesting. Although a lot of people claim that all Victorian literature is a bit "samey" I think it's wonderful! I believe that every author of the period has their own Twist (like what I did there?). I'm currently writing my undergraduate thesis on degeneration in Victorian literature, and I find it incredibe that connections that I find in the majority of the books can be made with authors such as Dickens and George Eliot.

This is the one book that has really stuck out for me on the module so far. I'd recommend it to anyone. Although it is a story set during the French Revolution, it is so accessible and enjoyable to read! It's full of loveable characters, and truly evil ones! My favourite character is definitely Miss Pross, who wears a hat that resembles a piece of Stilton on her head, ha!

The language is beautiful, sensitive and simple - and especially during the last few pages. I was blubbing to my heart's content, so make sure that you keep some tissues handy by that point! After six hundred pages (in my edition) you become quite attached to many of the characters. Reading is like sleep, it is one of the few solitary acts in life that allow you to befriend those present in your imagination (except this is obviously much longer than a nap!). The book has definitely made me want to delve into French history again once I graduate. I went through a phase a few years ago in which I was completely obsessed with Marie Antoinette! I find it interesting that Dickens chose to go back to the French Revolution, as I hadn't really come across many texts since I took my Romanticism course (oh, Byron). Ah well, enough of that! I shall finish my digression!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Barry M Lip Gloss - Toffee (2)

Hey everyone! Long time no see. I hope you're all well! I've got a mini review for you this week.

After I finished my shift at work today, I went into Superdrug for a wander. I wanted a lip gloss to wear for work, as I never feel glamorous enough with a dash of vaseline! I've had major problems with lip glosses in the past. Always too sticky or smelly! Even worse, they taste awful! So I went through some of the testers and found one I liked!

Barry M is a makeup brand I've known for years. I always see it as being the Lush type of brand, in comparison to ones like Maybelline or MaxFactor - which are like The Body Shop. When I was vegan for five months during my teens, it was the only high street brand I could use as all of their makeup is vegetarian-friendly, and a lot of it is vegan too. There's absolutely no animal testing, which is very important to me (sorry to digress, but I'm so happy the EU laws have changed! Happy animals). When I was vegan, I used one of their pink glosses in a tube, and I remember it smelling amazing - like coconuts. I love scented products, they make me feel all pretty

The lip gloss costs £4.49 however I paid less because of my beauty card (make sure to get one, it's so good!). As soon as I opened the packaging: the smell! Wowwwww. It smells like toffee! It's incredible. It really is. It's not too strong, but if you don't like toffee then you won't like this!

The best thing about this lip gloss is its moisturising properties. My lips haven't chapped at all, which makes a change! It gives a hint of colour, is shimmery and looks very pretty. I like that it is subtle enough that you can apply it on the go, and even without a mirror.
This lipgloss will be in my handbag forever now!

So yes, I'd definitely recommend it. The packaging is nice, the smell is gorgeous, the product lasts like any other lip gloss really. I prefer it to be a normal lip gloss, unlike the long lasting ones on the market. I remember Bourjois had a nasty tasting one out when I was in my first year at university. It tasted like bitter mint leaves because of the menthol, and it dried out my lips so much! I went to a job interview and I looked like one of Dracula's brides by the time I left!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

A Much Needed Update

I cannot remember the last time I immersed myself in art. I felt revitalised yesterday, after taking many photographs of any subject that momentarily interested me. I'm always imagining taking photographs when I see things in my everyday life, as if my eye is like the camera lens itself and each blink represents the shut.

I went to the Courtauld Gallery to see an exhibition called 'Becoming Picasso'. For some reason, my mind changed yesterday, it was as if a reset button had been pushed. I was looking at these paintings and I could completely understand them when I couldn't comprehend any meaning before. I saw what he had to say, or at least an individual interpretation, and felt that I had something to say too. Although I never aspire to reach the heights of fame that Picasso has, his work has made me want to photograph again. A part of me even feels an urge to have a go at painting. Yesterday, I felt a hunger to be creative, not because I was inflenced by the moment, but because it's a major part of me. His works are so open to interpretation that, unlike writing, it does not have the limitations of a formula that is the result of the viewer's/reader's requirement for explanation. Something registered in my mind yesterday.

I studied A Level Photography. In my A2 year, I received consistent A grades for my theory and practical work, which was wonderful considering I'd never studied Art in my life. I was in my element. I had the chance to learn among other people interested in the medium, and who had a passion for it. I learnt about other artists, would spend hours in the darkroom mixing chemicals and producing prints, went to exhibitions, went on photo shoots at two in the morning, wrote essays comparing and contrasting my own work with others. I even went to New York to visit galleries and wander in Times Square to take pictures. I was constantly developing.

Here's a picture of me being all happy and taking photographs. This is how my friend sees me:

Here is an image I took yesterday. The subject is of one of my oldest friends at university. When I see my friend Diana, I take into account the red background that matches her trousers. I take into account the repetition of the lines, which add perspective to the image. I take into account the contrast of the dull grey with the bold red. Life is beautiful.

Which is why I feel it is necessary to take a break from this blog before anything else happens. I've got Dior products to review, but I feel that life has so much more to offer you and I. Go out, be creative: watch good films, read good literature and magazines, learn to paint, write a story even if it's bad, go to concerts, listen to music, buy a polaroid if you can't focus your subject and take wonderful photographs, travel, play many musical instruments, write a poem even if it doesn't rhyme but shows expression, go to many exhibitions, learn to knit and crochet jumpers for your future children or grandchildren, write letters to relatives you don't see often, volunteer, go to the theatre, learn a language, and most importantly - do what makes you happy.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Emma Loves: March 2013

1. Garnier rose enriched facial wipes

I used to enjoy the luxury of using lotions, toners and moisturisers but as I'm quite a busy bee at the moment, I find that it takes too much time! I found these in Sainsbury's reduced from £3.50 to just £1.75 and thought I should give them a go. I find that a lot of wipes are very drying, but these are so moisturising! I believe there are two doses of lotion per wipe, which means that for us sensitive ladies it makes for a perfect formulation. The pink packaging is also very sweet!

2. BeneFit dandelion powder

I love dandelion powder, as it's so complimentary on my pale skin tone. Perfect for achieving the English rose look! It's quite pricey at £23.50 but if you buy it as part of a box set then you can have other cosmetics with it too. It lasts a very long time, and it's a good investment! I love it with Posie Tint for a night out, too!

3. Vaseline cocoa butter

As I have quite full lips, I tend to suffer with chapped lips as soon as the temperature drops. Vaseline is the only product that saves my lips during these times. I can't even wear normal lip glosses, as they just dry up instantly, and it looks gross! The cocoa butter version smells gorgeous, and it's a bit nicer than the normal one just because it does smell like chocolate! The rose one is nice, but I prefer the scent to this one, and because there's no tinted colour it means that you can apply it without a mirror. For £1.99 you can't go wrong!
4. Dermalogica tinted moisturiser

I received this amazing product for my birthday. Demalogica's tinted moisturiser is a 3-in-1 product that provides hydration, sun protection and sheer coverage to the skin. I apply it when I leave the shower, or have wiped my face with a facial wipe straight away. It gives a dewy look to my skin, and for one my skin feels clear and extremely healthy. If you find that you do need coverage, however, I do think that you might need to stick to a foundation. At the moment my skin seems to be behaving itself! It's quite pricey, retailing at roughly £30.00 but I'd buy it myself, I think, just because it agrees so well.

5. River Island Owl watch

I'm hoping to buy this watch at some point in the future. I had one just like this from Urban Outfitters that I received a few years ago, but I have no idea what happened to it! My current watch it a boring black one from Argos that cost me under ten pounds last year, and it is on the verge of it's end! This one is from River Island, but if I get it I'll buy it from Asos, as student discount and free delivery means it will only be £13.50 - not bad!

6. Asos floral skirt

Spring is officially here, which means that the sun will be visiting until late in the day - and dresses and skirts can start exiting our wadrobes! Hooray. I love this one from Asos, which is £16.00 on their website. It's quite short for my liking, but I wonder if it's because the model is very tall! The pattern is gorgeous, though.

7. The Princess Diaries (2001)

I watched The Princess Diaries with my boyfriend a few weeks ago. It's another girly feel-good film about a girl who reminds me of my former self (pre-college) and discovers that she is a princess! (which doesn't remind me so much of myself ...) It's a lovely film and it's perfect to watch by yourself, with your loved one or your girly friends.

8. Lindt creme brulee chocolate

 Need I say more? Lindt have brought out a creme brulee flavoured chocolate, and it tastes AMAZING. I haven't bought another packet since my first, as they're devoured in seconds.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

On my birthday I bought this edition of Jane Eyre from a local Waterstones. It's such a beautiful edition, and it's a pleasure to read. I'm definitely one of those people who appreciate special editions of books, I'm not quite sure why. It changes the experience to go from reading a Wordsworth Classic to a Penguin Deluxe Edition, I think. A night spent in my chair, with a blanket, curled up eating creme brulee chocolate and reading this - perfection.

10. The Staves - Self Titled Album

I think it's wonderful that there is a decent girl band in the music industry right now. This happens to be The Staves. Their acoustic and harmonic sounds fill me with happiness. Their sound is soothing and fun, and they make me look forward to summer! Definitely check out their album if you haven't yet!