Saturday, September 30, 2017

La La Land in Concert

La La Land in Concert Review Birmingham Symphony Hall

I first saw La La Land back in January, when it was first released into the UK cinemas and as I wasn't really blogging at the time, I didn't bother to write a review. Not that another review was needed anyway, as there were more than enough of them floating about for months and months after. La La Land is a film that people seem to either love or hate. You either 'get it' or you don't, but no matter your thoughts on the film, you can't argue with the fact that it's one of the most successful films of 2017, with them winning over 200 awards; including five BAFTAs, seven Golden Globes and six Academy Awards, which saw Damien Chazelle become the youngest person to ever win best director. (And we'll just completely skim past the whole Best Picture mix-up saga.)
Friday, September 29, 2017

Let's Talk: The Worst Hotel Stay I've Ever Had

Britannia Hotel Birmingham Review 2017

Once upon a time, I would never book any hotel or accommodation without spending hours upon hours researching and looking at online reviews, before I booked anything but these days I try and be a little less of a control freak and let the other people I do things with decide instead. However, I would soon learn this to be a huge mistake. 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

40 Thoughts I Had While Watching Doctor Foster

Although it gives me actual anxiety attacks and trust issues, Doctor Foster is my current favourite tv show. So, I thought I'd do a post of the thoughts I had while watching the latest episode, instead of spamming it on my Twitter account.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Autumn Themed Phone Wallpapers

Autumn/Fall iPhone Backgrounds/Wallpapers 2017

Autumn has always been my favourite season. I just love everything about it and as a result, I always find myself to be happier and more optimistic this time of year. My love for autumn is so huge that I recently nearly spent a stupid amount of money for a very cute autumnal phone case, but sadly they didn't make it for my phone (sob, sob) So instead, I will have to stick to just changing my phone's background to something pretty and fall related. Here are some of my favourites that I've found. 

One - Link
Two - Link
Three - Link
Four - Link
Five - Link
Six - Link
Seven - Link
Eight - Link
Nine - Link
Friday, September 22, 2017

YouTuber Spotlight: Reneé Dominique

Reneé Dominique YouTuber / Singer / Songwriter

At the start of the year, I wanted to start a new segment on my blog, where I shared my top five favourite YouTube videos of the week. However, some weeks my subscription box just looks pretty bleak and I didn't want to force it and say I loved a video just so I could write a blog post about it, so I only ended up doing the one. Recently though, I'm finding so many YouTubers that I absolutely adore and they're primarily ones with a smaller subscription count or ones that I don't see often get mentioned on social media. So from now on, whenever I find someone that I love and I feel like you all should watch too, I'll do a little post about it. There will probably be a lot of singer/songwriters because that's what I seem to watch the most at the moment!

Today's YouTuber is 19 year old 
Reneé Dominique. She's a singer/songwriter from the Philippines and her channel mainly consists of covers, her own original songs; chatty videos such as: Q&A's and vlogs and the occasional makeup look, current favourites and challenge videos. She's incredibly talented and can play the drums, acoustic and bass guitar, piano and the ukulele; as well as having the most beautiful, calming voice. She created her channel back in 2012 and since then has gained over 11,682,345 views. If you're a fan of the likes of dodie and love the acoustic style of music or ukulele covers, I think you'll really love Reneé too!

Top five songs:

Reneé has now also released an original song in collaboration with Asch, called Idk - I Don't Know and is available to stream and download from Spotify and iTunes.

scriber Count: 165k 
Social Media Links: 
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / SoundCloud / Tumblr

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Let's Talk: Social Media

Ever since I first joined social media, I've always found it to be a very toxic place. Obviously there are positive aspects too, such as the ability to find and make friends with like minded people and now you can even have a career as a social media influencer, which is amazing! But on the whole, it's not usually a tool that is used to make you feel happier and better about yourself.

When I was thirteen, I made a group of friends online and everything was great. We would meet up in real life too, but not as frequently because we lived in different parts of the country. I spent so much of my time talking to these girls online and I felt like I had a bigger connection to them, than my friends at school. I finally had friends that had the same interests as me and just understood me, I no longer felt like the odd one out. Time went by and the friendships just became slightly toxic. They knew me and knew what to say to make me feel awful about myself. I started to become really unhappy every time I came online and was extremely depressed, so I decided to just stop coming online for a while. I went completely cold turkey and wouldn't use any form of social media for months and months. If they texted me, my Mum would slyly delete it, so I wouldn't see it. I think it was during this time period where my obsession and love for Harry Potter really began. It brought me so much joy and it sort of put all the broken pieces back together again. By the time I came back online again, I was stronger. And I never spoke to those girls again.

Since then, I've haven't had any form of a social media break. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that I'm now completely addicted and I hate it so much. I'm currently not in the best place with the mental health issues I suffer with and I feel like social media does not help this at all. Wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I can't go very long without checking the usual apps and constantly refreshing. I see others that are the same age as me having their lives completely together and it just seems so perfect, so I start to tear myself apart at the comparisons and I think what I could change about myself to become better and more like them, which becomes very soul destroying.

The part I hate the most is that thing we're all probably guilty of doing. Going to a certain person's page, where we know we will definitely see something that will hurt us, but we do it anyway because we just have to be fully aware of what's happening. I'm so guilty of this, it's almost like a thing I have to do now, or I feel anxious. It's like, I'd rather know certain things before someone dm's me to tell me themselves (and gloat) It's constantly just a lot to take on board and deal with. Sometimes, it just gets too much and I tell myself enough is enough and I need a social media break but I think having a break and coming back and seeing everything in one go would just be too much to handle.

People's behaviour on social media can be so odd. Some of us are the same online as we are offline, but there are others just are just completely different and it's so strange. For example: There are people that I know that are in committed relationships in real life, but online they completely act like they're single and even send other girls sexual messages, telling them how good they look in their recent selfie and how they want to kiss them. In normal everyday life, this would be classed as cheating and a huge no, no, but because it occurs online, they think it's normal behaviour that is okay? Others don't even bother to communicate with you anymore. If a problem arises, they'll always opt for an indirect tweet, rather than actually speaking to you about it at all.

Another thing I despise about social media is how no one even bothers to try and get to know you and find out the real you anymore. They quickly search for one of your social media accounts, scroll through your updates and simply judge you purely on your online presence and how much of a following you have. They'll read a few tweets and start to create this idea in their head of who you are, without even speaking one word to you. I met a guy on a dating site a while back and when I started to tell him little pieces of information about me, he just replied with "Yeah, I know. I saw it on your Twitter." WHICH I HADN'T EVEN GIVEN TO HIM!! 21 century dating is not fun at all. I also had a situation with an individual that only knew my boyfriend, but would keep checking up on me on all forms of social media. Of course, they would never say a word to me, but still made sly little digs to other people about me. Again, such strange behaviour because I know they wouldn't act like this in person, so why is it okay because we're separated by a screen?

I've been thinking a lot about my social media usage recently and I realise that I mostly find it to be quite unhealthy. As I try to improve my state of mind, I'm definitely going to try and cut down the amount of time I spend scrolling and refreshing. Instead of wasting hours upon hours of my time looking at things that make me unhappy and crush my self-esteem a little bit more, I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to do something much more worthy of my time. I also think I'm going to start using my private Twitter a lot more because I think it's healthy to have a place to be able to vent all your thoughts and knowing that they won't affect or harm anyone else.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wishlist #9: Fenty Beauty

Today marks the first beauty post I've written in two years, which is completely crazy to me, as my blog used to just be primarily a beauty blog. I think I mainly put it down to makeup lines and products being less exciting than they used to be, or maybe I'm just desensitised to it all now after blogging on and off since 2011.

However, when I heard about Fenty Beauty and how much of a game changer it is for the beauty industry, I was actually really excited, so I thought I'd make a little wish list of all the items that I'm most intrigued about. I think most of you will be aware of all there is to know about the range already, but for those who don't... Fenty Beauty is the debut make up line from Rhianna and it's launch has been highly anticipated. Shimmer, highlight and glow were the key elements for the line and as a result, it's heavily complexion based; with her releasing foundations, powder highlighters, contouring and highlighting sticks, brushes and a makeup sponge, a primer, a matte powder, a lipgloss and blotting paper. No lipsticks, mascaras, eyeshadows or eyeliners in sight.

“There’s so many different shades… you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like ‘Oh that’s cute but it only looks good on her.”

However, the thing that sets this makeup range apart from the rest is just how much it celebrates and promotes diversity. The entire range has been designed for all skin types and skin tones. The 'Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation' comes in 40 different shades, which is incredible. We've all once been in a situation where all we want to do is just buy a new foundation, but the shade range has just been dire and nothing actually matches your skin tone, no matter how much the girl on the makeup counter tries to convince you otherwise. For years, we spoke about how much we just wished that a brand would bring out foundations and concealers with a wide shade range, who would of thought that Rihanna would be the one to do it and bring the change that was so needed in the beauty industry.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

IT (2017) Review

IT (2017) Movie Review

I'm not sure what it is about the horror genre, but I just absolutely adore it and would probably consider it to be my favourite. I was first introduced to it as a child, with the likes of Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? and I became completely hooked on that little adrenalin rush you get. Since then, I have watched far too many horror films to even name; the good, the bad and the ones with the incredibly lazy writers that favour jump scares over a decent plot line. However, one of my favourites is IT (1990). Technically, it's not even a movie at all and is instead a mini-series that was aired in two parts, but as I've only ever watched it on DVD in one go, it just feels like a film to me. Unfortunately, as it's over three hours long, it's not something I tend to watch a lot because who has that attention span? Not me. When the remake was announced, I was very much looking forward to it, but also slightly worried that it would be turned into a CGI mess.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Zoella Lifestyle: The Christmas Range

Zoella Lifestyle Christmas Range 2017 Boots

I'll be honest, I'm not typically one to buy products that YouTubers release. Mainly because it never seems the best quality and all pretty similar to each other, (there's only so many hoodies you can store in your wardrobe, am I right?) but the 'Zoella Lifestyle' line is something I actually genuinely like. It has all been very much to my taste and wouldn't look out of place in my room. So when I saw the new Christmas range had been released, I was excited and it didn't disappoint.

12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar | £50 | Link
Hot Water Bottle & Eye Mask | £20 | Link
Stationery Box | £12.50 | Link
Pencil Case | £6 | Link
Tins | £12.50 | Link
Journal | £14 | Link
Desk Calendar | £10 | Link
Mug | £8.50 | Link
Festive Cookie Candle | £12.50 | Link
Hat and Travel Mug | £18 | Link
Socks & Cosy Christmas Candle | £18 | Link
Weekly Planner | £10 | Link
Reed Diffuser | £14 | Link 

I think my top five from of the collection are:

001: The desk calendar - I think it would look perfect in my room and I kind of hate the conventional calendars that hang on the wall, so this would be perfect.

002: The mug - I have a complete mug obsession and really need to stop buying more but one more won't hurt, will it? Soon I won't have anywhere to store them, but it's FINE.

003: The hot water bottle and eye mask - I am obsessed with hot water bottles, I have them all year round and they all end up breaking because I just have them TOO MUCH. I've also wanted to buy an eye mask for a while now because I think it might help the getting to sleep process.

004: The candles - I have a huge love with festive themed candles and want them all, please and thank you. 

005: And lastly, the hat and travel mug
- I got the travel mug last year as a gift and I completely adore it and this one looks so adorable too!

I definitely think a few of these items will make their way onto my Christmas list. What are your favourites from the collection? 

(P.S: Yes, a Christmas post in the first week of September. Would you expect any different?)
Monday, September 04, 2017

Let's Talk: Gender Labels

John Lewis Remove Gender Labels 2017

During the past week John Lewis have made a lot of headlines, as they made history by becoming the first major UK retailer to remove gender labels from their children's clothing section. The new gender-less labels will read as either "Boys and Girls" or "Girls and Boys" and this applies to all of their own-brand clothing from newborn to 14 years. The only exception are the school uniforms, which are set to change to unisex labels. As well as this, they're also introducing a non-gender specific clothing range. The head of the John Lewis childrenswear Caroline Bettis, said: "We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear."

In my opinion, I don't believe clothing especially children's clothing should be sectioned and divided off, to let you know what you should and should not buy to fit in with the social constructs of the gender you identify as. Not only that, but I hate the sexist quotes that you see on children's clothes. Boys will get a quote or fact about space, or maybe football whereas girls will get a sad emotional quote like "More issues than Vogue" or "Training to be Batman's wife" It's just awful giving that mind set to young, impressionable people. Obviously, you can buy things from different sections and no one will stop you but I can only speak for myself and know that when I was a child, I was very aware of the social norms and would feel like I couldn't wear something if it had a "boys" label inside. There have been times where I had wanted something and saw that it was targeted at boys and as a result, would be left feeling deflated, but now children can buy something due to their likes and tastes, not just forcing them to stick to certain gender categories.

When I first heard the news, I was really happy and even posted on Twitter about how great I thought it was but since then, there has been a huge backlash that I've seen all over social media and various news outlets. With people branding the move as pandering and political correctness gone mad. Whilst others have claimed that it will make the shopping experience just plain confusing. I found the backlash pretty shocking because I think I must surround myself with people that share the same political and social beliefs as I do, but when a certain story blows up and goes viral, other people's opinions are filtered through and end up in your little circle, which kind of shows you that even though we're now in 2017, we still have a long, long way to go for acceptance on a lot of issues.

I think it can be good to see other people's opinions, even if they don't match up to your own as it creates a discussion and we really need them about topics like this, otherwise they just don't get spoken about. Personally, I think the move by John Lewis is 100% right and don't see it as pandering in the slightest and I really do hope other retailers will take notice and follow suit. I firmly believe that gender roles start very young, such as things like clothing, toys and activities all being gender specific, which could lead them to believing that can't like or do certain things as they grow up, which honestly is just completely damaging. It's crazy to me that people actually think the move is insane and are talking about boycotting the whole store, all because of a loss of a label.

Ultimately, we don't need labels for clothes. We just don't. Some boys like floral prints, pretty bows and Disney princesses. Some girls like dinosaurs, space and football. As parents, I think you can either chose yourself what you think is suitable for your child. Why do you need a label for that? Why is that so confusing to you? Or, maybe allow your children to express their creativity and individuality and allow them to pick what THEY like and would feel comfortable in. I believe it's important to allow children (and everyone else in general) to be who they are and want to be, not who you want them to be. Children aren't pieces of clay that you can mould into your idealisation of the perfect child. Forcing them to be someone they're not has proven to lead to mental health issues and it just needs to stop. Colours, toys, jobs, hobbies, and prints and patterns do not and will never define someone's gender. Let people be who they want to be. Just let people be happy.