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Sell me a story: Top 5 emotive adverts

SELL-ME-A-STORY-3

I really expect something special from an advert nowadays. Be that print, radio or television, It’s irksome when I see the same BORING and PREDICTABLE content being churned out again and again. Of course there are certain standards that should be met regardless; good design, good copy, good use of space but there are a few extras that I think should simply make best practice.

I want to FEEL something from an advert, that doesn’t necessary have to be a passion for the product or brand, but just a feeling in general. Humor is a great one but is often attempted through archaic stereotypes and terrible actors and tends to work best when it is a bit random and instantaneous, think the new Mercedes ‘Chicken’ advert.

I believe adverts should always attempt to think outside the box, I think they should be responsive and relevant, they should tell a story and evoke an emotion. We often don’t need a product explained to us, we want to connect to the Brand selling the product. Adverts invade our personal space and lives everyday – so it’s only fair to have expectations.

On the note of Emotive adverts I picked a few of my recent favorites which I feel have gone for an inspiring / emotional angle and all come together quite nicely! Enjoy and please share your all time favourite Ad campaigns in the comments below!

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n ‘ | I n s t a g r a m | P i n t r e s t


RAM Trucks ‘Farmer’ YouTube


Dove ‘Real Beauty’ YouTube


Guinness ‘Basketball’ YouTube


Bell’s Whisky ‘The Reader’ YouTube


Schwarzkopf  ‘You – A Declaration of Love’  YouTube Continue reading

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STOP EVERYTHING you’re doing and watch the new Game of Thrones S4 sneak peak

You can imagine my delight when I Buzzfeed’d my way across this 15 minute beaut whilst enjoying some mid-afternoon online procrastination. It’s only the MOST WE’VE SEEN OF ACTUAL SEASON 4 FOOTAGE so far, plus some lovely and funny insight from the cast and crew themselves! Holy Moly.

Excitement overload subsiding. Since dedicating the later half of 2013 to completing the Game of Thrones books I’ve been left with a Westeros shaped hole in my life. Judging by the five years it took Martin to complete the fifth volume A Dance with Dragons I’m not holding out hope for the sixth to grace my life anytime soon, so the return of the equally gripping HBO TV series is the perfect way to fight off withdrawal symptoms.

Knowing what’s going to happen does not spoil the excellently crafted TV show it just makes me eager to see how they choose to bring the complex story threads to life. It makes you feel like your in a position of privilege and I’m sure this is a feeling I share with other fans of the novels.

Game of Thrones entire novel series
As for the exclusive video sneak peak: What do we find out?
Game of Thrones Season 4: Ice and Fire: A Foreshadowing
We are introduced to new character Oberyn Martell which will ignite the Dorne thread of the series I’m really looking forward to. We get to see Rory McCann who plays ‘The Hound’ speak for the nation as a he lovingly describes King Joffery as a “wee prick” and a “mummy’s boy.”

The beautiful Emilia Clarke who plays ultimate heroine and Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, discusses the conflicts her character faces in the upcoming season as she struggles to rule over Meereen in the wake of her slavery revolt. It looks like we’re set to see more breathtaking scenery out this way (one clip shows the shadow of a rather larger wing span across Slavers bay which can only mean DRAGONS!) and of course in the snow blitzed unknown beyond the wall. PS Expect to find Jon Snow’s character quite changed as he returns to The Wall post Wildlings escapade.

Gwendoline Christie, who plays one of my favorite characters, the tenacious Brienne of Tarth is quite frankly hilarious in video as she describes the ‘mental storylines’ including the ripping off of Hoat’s ear. Meanwhile whilst we’re still left reeling from the Red Wedding that climaxed Season 3 we see no time is wasted in preparing for the extravagant Royal Wedding at King’s landing. But in true Game of Thrones style we better be expecting the unexpected…

I’m delighted to say that Game of Thrones returns with its 4th season 6th April 2014!

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n ‘ | I n s t a g r a m | P i n t r e s t

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A crisis for Copenhagen Zoo

Marius Giraffe Copenhagen Murder Zoo

Image Source: Buzzfeed

I think I share the opinions of many when I say that there were a few bad decisions made at Copenhagen Zoo over the weekend. When Bengt Hols, the scientific director for the Zoo, made the decision to destroy Marius the 18 month-old healthy giraffe, against a 25,000 worldwide-strong petition, a media frenzy obviously followed suit. I say destroy here because I believe ‘euthanize’ is not contextual. When I think of euthanasia I think of pain and suffering and the alleviation of such, not of a healthy animal being killed for having an undesirable gene pool.

You can read more about the Zoo’s decision here, here and here, but in short the young giraffe, described as ‘surplus,’ was shot dead before being dissected in front of a crowd of children because he was not suitable for breeding due to a ‘well-represented’ gene pool. The decision to kill Marius sparked backlash and debate that quickly escalated globally. In the lead up to the demise of the Giraffe an online petition to save his life quickly collected over 25,000 signatures with outrage being exchanged and shared by the masses. More fuel was added to this inferno when Yorkshire Wildlife Park publicly offered to take in Marius and house him with their other male giraffes, including Marius’s brother who came over from Copenhagen in 2012. Now following the incident, firmly backed by the Zoo, Marius remains have been fed to the Zoo’s Lions and the public continue to rage.

Why Marius?
So why has this incident in particular sparked so much controversy? The culling of healthy animals happens daily and The Zoo defends its ultimate decision wholeheartedly, asking if this would really be the center of a media frenzy if it was a pig. Well no it wouldn’t but then it isn’t a pig, it’s a giraffe. The reality of the situation is that in this instance the public identified emotionally with the animal and whilst all animals should be considered equally they just aren’t. I really believe the problem here was not the reasons the Zoo claimed were behind the decision, but the way in which the whole thing was communicated. It is without doubt that the Copenhagen Zoo have a PR crisis on their hands now as they try to sedate a lot of people whose wishes they went against. The incident is still trending on Twitter worldwide more than 24 hours later with many calling for a boycott against Zoos as this opens up the wider debate about keeping and breeding animals in captivity.

Whilst the Zoo is going for consistency in their belief and resolve behind the decision their means of communication have been poor. Deciding to dissect the creature that had captured the hearts of those petitioning to save it LIVE on video stream, in front of children, was probably not one their wisest moments. They quickly gave ammunition to the media in the form of graphic imagery and then continued to defend this poor decision making as educational. Yes just what I missed out on when I was nine years old, a baby giraffe being butchered two feet away. Damn my educational flaws!

Copenhagen Zoo Giraffe Marius PR Crisis

Image source: Facebook

Maintaining control:

They have made a few halfhearted responses to the backlash via social media but damage control seems low on their list of priorities, as does sensitivity. Why should they listen to people in the first place? Because public opinion matters. Because the public are the people who pay to visit their Zoo. Because people care about animal welfare and it is a HUGE topic of controversy. This was an ordeal poorly executed (excuse the irony) from start to finish and it will be something I’ll watch closely over the next few days. It’s interesting to see how similar establishments, such as Dublin Zoo have already issued personal opinions in response to the incident. Meanwhile the Copenhagen Zoo’s Facebook page suffers a avalanche of bad reviews that will dent their online reputation for a long time to come as people share their outrage. The internet is not to be underestimated when people care, and the Copenhagen Zoo signed its Public Relations death wish when it put a name to that cute face.

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n ‘ | I n s t a g r a m | P i n t r e s t

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Last Week #3

SiobhanAlfordLastWeek2013

♥ OOTN Parrot crop tee, skinny jeans, heart necklace | Red lips & Nails | Barry M Coral with Red Wine tips | OOTN heeled trainers ♥

Sorry that this post is late! Bloody useless haha. But without further ado here is my latest ramblings and happenings complete with Instagram best snaps of the week.

♥ T H E  G O O D ♥

Outfits & Nails: So I’ll work backwards and start with the weekend : ) I went for a couple of drinks with John’s housemates & friends on Friday night to New Cross. I wore a cropped tee shirt that I’ve had for ages. It’s navy blue with little bright parrots on, subtle but with a small pop of summer colour. It also has lovely scallop edges including the sleeves which makes it a bit more interesting for a casual evening outfit. I wore this with my super skinny jeans (the type you have to wiggle in to – but luckily they have an elastic waist instead of a button!) and brown, heeled trainers from River Island. I wore red lips and painted my nails a deep coral with dark red tips (both Barry M).

aprilphotosupdate

♥ A handful of ratties | Lovely midweek sandwich | Sleepy | Homemade lasagne & wine  | Samples | Becks arty labels
| Makeup and Nails | Late night chicken burger | Hangover mission, fry up for five ♥

Work: The week itself was uneventful, I did some reception work in Farringdon Monday and Tuesday, John made a really nice Lasagne which was a surprise on Monday so that was dinner for 2 days >.<

Samples: Collecting dust amongst my beauty products are numerous samples and freebies, those you tend to accumulate every time you get a nice shop assistant or in a beauty bag free when you spend a certain amount on a brand. These little mini versions are often overlooked, I tend to already have something else on the go so put them aside. But I dug them out the other day and I thought why not!? I’ve been using them all everyday for the last week so for their miniscule size they pack in quite a bit of product. I’ll get a full review up soon, but here’s what I’m trying out: No.7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum, Estee Lauder Idealist Skin Care Illuminator, Dior Capture Totale eye serum and eye cream.

photosoftheweek

♥ Underground | Greenwich Park | Neutral nails for work, O.P.I Alpine snow | Buskers in Greenwich | The Market | Johno in the park! ♥

Sunday: On Sunday we walked in to Greenwich because the SUN was out, yep that long-lost friend of ours that’s been hibernating for, oh, only about 8 months!! It was a really nice day, had McDonalds, walked to the top of the hill which has a pretty good view over London and sat and drank some cider. The Market in Greenwich was pretty nice for a wander around, there were lots of unique patterned tops and crafty necklaces I’d have probably treated myself to if I’d had money!

Sometimes I can’t believe how fast a week flies by! I’m starting a new temping job role next with as a Communication assistant for a Hotel brand. Wish me luck! It’s scheduled to last a few weeks but we’ll see! What have you been up to now the sun has surfaced?!

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

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March Favourites | Product Reviews

march favourites

Well better late than never! Here is a round up of products that have all brought something g o o d to my life during the bitter month of March 2013! As this is my first ‘favourites’ post I’m going to chuck in some mini reviews as well. As you probably know (I moan about it enough) I don’t have any money at the moment, it’s all going on bills and my flat, so (most of) these aren’t new products for me but still products that have worked a little magic lately.

♥ Beauty Favourites ♥

SOAPANDGLORYFAVOURITES

S k i n C a r e | Soap & Glory: Hocus Pocus
Soap & Glory’s ‘Instant visual flaw-softening’ Hocus Pocus works as a kind-of primer, kind of-highlighter, kind-of skin tone evener. I say ‘kind-of’ because it doesn’t really come across strongly as any of these. So why do I like it then?! Good question, I’ve always had a penchant for the S&G brand, I love their shower products, moisturisers, the floral fun scent they have going on and the packaging too. They are mid range price wise and in Boots there is a never ending 3 for 2 offer going on which makes stocking up cheap and easy. Even though I can’t pin down exactly why I enjoy using Hocus Pocus I’ve kept going back. This March it has been a life saver in brightening up my dull, red skin. I mix it with moisturiser and it gives a radiant finish. I’ve also opted a few times to mix it with foundation which makes my heavy coverage foundation (Nars Sheer Glow) a bit lighter and a bit brighter (yes, I don’t really find this foundation ‘bright’ despite the name, we’ll save that for another time!) Hocus Pocus comes in a dinky but heavy glass bottle that just screams quality.

S k i n C a r e | Soap & Glory: Instant Radiance Energy Balm
Another one from S&G, so same applies as above. Again it’s a radiance product and promises (as S&G tend to do a lot) BIG things, primarily ‘Beautifully luminous skin.’ I don’t think this balm lives up to all its claims, there is nothing particularly ‘instant’ about the benefits either. But then that’s the way it goes with beauty, it’s best just to blank out anything written by the brand itself and look at user reviews instead. What I will say about this is it is a great moisturiser for flagging and tired skin, whilst it doesn’t give me luminosity, it absorbs well and tackles dry areas, smells nice and has been a regular go-to for me in March.

skincarebest

S k i n C a r e | La Roche-Posay: Effaclar Duo
You will definitely have seen this product on the YouTube and Blogging circuit lately! I bought this after hearing rave reviews online from some trusted beauty gurus, It was accoladed as a skin-savior for blemishes, redness and pesky pores a bit more open than we’d like them to be. The consistency is not fragranced, quite watery (definitely not heavy or seemingly moisturisng) but surprisingly does not dry out skin at all. I’ve been using this for about five months and more often than not it is the only product I use after my cleanser. Which means it’s already ticking a lot of boxes, good moisturiser, good make up base. Sometimes I find a bit more product is needed than I’d like to cover all dry patches, but in these instances I’d suggest prepping with a beauty serum, mixing the Effaclar Duo with a moisturiser or following up after with one. In terms of results I can say without a doubt it has improved my blemishes, I have a more even skin tone, break out less and when I do get hormonal/stress spots (I never seem to be able to avoid these) they reduce and fade a lot quicker than before. I won’t stop using this little gem any time soon.

S k i n C a r e | Korres: Body Butter Guava
This was a present that came as part of a set I got at Christmas and I have to say I’m majorly impressed. I’ve been using two Korres body products, this and the Body Milk: Coconut Milk. I find they both moisturise great and smell DELICIOUS. A fragrance that lingers as well so you feel fresh all day. I’ve picked the Guava body butter as my favourite this month because I think it just tops the other (it’s close), it’s a bit more of a heavy weight moisturiser so really tackles dry bits and lately my skin has needed this. I tend to use on my arms, elbows, neck and chest area and walk around feeling like I’m on holiday whenever I get a whiff!

nailcarefavouritesmarch

N a i l s | O.P.I: Nail Envy
Recommended by my friend Daisy I purchased this off Ebay (worth checking out it was £9 compared to the £18 it goes for in Boots). I was desperate for any sort of nail saviour after suffering for a long time with short, brittle nails that can’t quite make it over the edge of my finger. I’ve mentioned this product in more depth h e r e but to cut a long story short this is a base coat nail product that has improved the condition of my nails dramatically! They are currently all sporting (small) white tips and are healthier looking than they ever were before March and the before the start of my love affair with Nail Envy.

N a i l s | Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Another nail life save saver for me, this is the best top coat I’ve ever tried. Big claims?! Well I’m pretty darn impressed. I used to find my nail polish would be chipped to the point it looks tatty and I’d have to take it off almost instantly! I’m quite clumsy as well so find it hard not to ruin nails as soon as I’ve painted them. This little beaut flash dries nails and greatly improves the resistance of the polish.

N a i l s | Shades of the Month: Barry M
Pastels have been dominating the nail trends recently and I can’t get enough of lavender/lilac shades. I’ve been using Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine: Papya and Barry M: Berry.

MAC COLOUR 3

M a k e U p | Mac: Colour 3 Eyeshadow Quad
This was another steal off of ebay (£11 I think I paid) and is a cool toned, purple eye shadow quad. The shades are (from top left): Mink Pink, Brusied Plum, Black Tulip & Jungle Moon. Purple may not be everyone’s first choice of eye colour, I do usually tend to stick to my brown, beige and gold, But purple is a colour I think suits my skin tone and eye colour (hazel) and I couldn’t resist this well ranged palette that allows me to create a soft ‘barely-there’ hue of pink or build a dramatic smokey eye with Jungle Moon in the crease and along the lower lash line. I’ve been wearing this heaps during March, if you can’t find spring, you gotta bring it to you!

♥ Fashion Favourites ♥

otherfavourites

B a g | Primark: Aztec Rucksack
Since I haven’t bought any new clothes thought I’d share this cute aztec print rucksack I got from Primark for £9. It’s a lightweight bag that is just adorable. I think these mini rucksacks are bang on trend and are actually a really practical alternative to a handbag : )

S c e n t | Tu: Orchid and Sweet Coconut
At £4 you can’t go wrong, a delicious summery scent I’ve been burning a lot this month.

♥ Other Favourites ♥

currentlyreading

B o o k | In The Woods Tana French
Currently reading so can’t review just yet but enjoying so far! It’s been a while since I read a crime thriller and they are always good to get really engrossed in. This story focuses on a pair of detectives trying to solve the murder of a 12 year old girl, however protagonist Detective Adam Ryan must face some hidden memories from his own past and races against time to remember what happened when he was 12 when his two best friends disappeared. I’m about half way through so will let you know how that goes.

B o o k | The Pocket Muse Monica Wood
I dug this little gem out of my book case recently, it gives ‘ideas and inspiration for writing.’  I bought this a few years ago to help me with my dissertation in which I created a series of short stories each based on a central motif. I was reading some blogs that featured a lot of creative writing and was thinking how I’d like to start a series of weekly creative fiction posts. This book is great at giving you scenarios to work off, beautifully presented with some great imagery inside it offers tips on writing, lets you read some fiction, and offers you a starting point – word, idea or question, on which to base your piece. You’ll see more of this book once I launch the weekly creative posts, watch this space!

So they were the items that rocked my world more so than usual in March.
What has been rocking yours lately? Any suggestions what I should read once I finish this book?

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

4

Liebster Blog Award

So last night I received an email from the lovely Beca off of Those Moments of Serendipity nominating me for the Liebster Blog award… Lobster blog award?! I was intrigued! After a little bit of reading and research I found out that the Liebster (duh) Blog award is to give recognition to up and coming bloggers with 200 followers or less. It’s a tool of encouragement, not an ‘official’ award but a way of finding, sharing and communicating with blogs & bloggers you may not have been familiar with before, (how sweet!) I must say I’ve had a great time today just exploring Blog Lovin’ finding blogs in the furthest corners. I’ve read about peoples lives, seen photos and read poems. If this is not what sharing is about than I don’t know what is. So without further ado I will jump in to the requirements of the Liebster Blog Nomination!

♥ R e q u i r e m e n t s ♥

1. Share eleven things about myself
2. Answer eleven questions provided by the nominator
3. Nominate eleven blogs (under 200 followers) that deserve the title
4. Think of eleven questions to ask these nominees
5. Thank the person that nominated me and link back to their blog

I absolutely l o v e the way this works on a question and tagging system, not only does it give me some content to ramble on about but it connects me with other bloggers >.< and there’s nothing like a bit of networking to help boost a blogs morale (go us!) so if you find yourself tagged by me (you’re welcome) then it’s because I’ve found something special in your writing and I hope we can stay connected.

headerpanda

  1. I’ve lived in Cornwall, Bournemouth & London (all in the UK)
  2. I believe love truly makes the world go round
  3. I used to be addicted to World of Warcraft
  4. I regularly sleep talk
  5. I  flick between being really tidy and really messy
  6. When I find time I like to make and edit videos
  7. I adore all things cute
  8. I enjoy graphic design and making things pretty online
  9. I love Anime and Manga
  10. Cheese makes most things tastier
  11. I can sometimes be very socially awkward and shy

  1. What is your all time favorite product?
    For practicality it’s got to be concealer! I find Mac Studio Fix gives great coverage
  2. Do you prefer Boots or Superdug?
    Boots
  3. What do you do as a job?
    A bit of everything, currently Receptionist/Office Administration
  4. If you had to never use either makeup or hair products again (including shampoo!) which would you keep?
    Make up (in the hope my hair would wash itself, that happens right…)
  5. Do you have any pets?
    Two rats: Pandee & Brie
  6. What is your dream job?
    Realistically: Marketing/Communications
    Unrealistically: Freelance Writer, in a little studio in my (dream) sunlit house
  7. Do you prefer pants of skirts?
    Skirts
  8. Do you prefer twitter or facebook?
    Facebook
  9. What is your favorite genre of movie?
    Drama/Intense-plot-twisty type
  10. Cakes, brownies or cookies?
    Cookies
  11. What is your favorite flower?
    Pansies

I did some hunting high and low to compile this blog list, I’ve picked a variety of different blogs, writers, poets, photographers, those that share thoughts and those that share beauty & style. It would be great if you went and had a gander at their sites, leave some comments and connect with the content, after all that’s what this award is about!

  1. C o r n i s h  B e a u t y
  2. S i m p l e  B l i s s
  3. R e a d  M y  M i n d
  4. T h e  R a i n  G i r l
  5. M y   F a i r y t a l e  B o n e s
  6. H o w  I  D w e l l  N o w
  7. Y o u n g  G e o r g i a  L o v e
  8. T h r o u g h  a  C a t s  E y e s
  9. C a l v i  R o s e
  10. A z t e c  D o l l
  11. D i v i n e  C h a o s

p. s. In my recommending you please don’t feel any obligation to carry on the tag, it can be an honorary award : ) Also I think some of you nominees have received a Liebster nomination before – I hope you know this just means your page is loved + apologies if you have more than 200 followers, it’s hard to tell sometimes, I just went off BlogLovin’ figures : )

  1. Night or Day?
  2. Favourite quote?
  3. Girl Crush?
  4. 1 word, choose wisely:
  5. The best place you’ve ever visited?
  6. When do you feel h a p p y?
  7. What are you most looking forward to right now?
  8. 1 secret, choose wisely:
  9. Hot or Cold?
  10. 1 goal in life, choose wisely:
  11. What are you most grateful for?

Thanks for reading guys, what hidden blog gems do you think deserve the Liebster award? Make sure if you are nominated to write in the comments below if you’re going to answer my questions – I’m intrigued! : )
p.s Did you like my seal titles above? too cute!

 ♥ I was picked by Beca of Those Moments of Serendipity check out her stuff and you can find her on Blog Lovin here 
(Thanks Beca!) ♥


T w i t t e r  | B l o g L o v i n  | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

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I ♥ Cute Things – David & Goliath

Okay so here is another I  ♥ Cute Things Post! I hope you enjoy. I’ve rounded up a selection of goodies from the cutesy brand David & GoliathI absolutely adore their products and clothes. They are bright, fun, quirky and H A P P Y. I particularly like their T-shirts to wear in bed or lounging around the house and if your everyday style is not as bold or cartoon-y as this then try just grabbing a few accessories for a splash of fun amongst your everyday fashion choices. My most wanted on this list is the iPhone Case, the dinosaur T-shirts and the Hoodie (I’ve wanted this for yonks) CUTE ♥

Button Badges: £1
T-Shirts: £20
I I ♥ Nerds Hoodie: £29.99
iPhone Case: £10
Vans Heart Shoes: £40
Skull Leggings: £10
Sushi PJ Shorts: £15
Veggi USB Snap Bracelet: £15
Key Rings: £5
Panda Flat Cap: £25

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Last Week #2

♥ T H E  G O O D ♥

TV Roundup: Game of Thrones, New Girl, Dr Who: *spoiler alerts* *spoiler alerts* 

Well Game of Thrones season 3 is here!! There was a huge buzz about its return and I think the first episode didn’t disappoint! I’ve only recently become addicted to this series but as you can probably tell I can’t stop raving about it. Definitely one of the best television shows out there at the moment and I do stand by my belief that atypically for its genre it appeals to a wide audience so if you don’t think this will be your cup of tea you may be surprised. Me and John become so engrossed each episode that we are often literally shouting at the screen and you feel such a huge rush of pride when one of the ‘goodies’ triumphs! (Although the line between the ‘goodies’ and the ‘badies’ is always thin in GOT.) Things I cant wait to find out in the upcoming series, When will Daenerys (who I did love but seems to be quite a brat recently) make it to Westeros and will she have any allies? Will Jon Snow become a traitor or will there be a allying of the Wildlings and The Wall as they fight the white walkers? P.S best quote from him in S3E1: “I want to fight for the side that fights for the living.” Also how is Arya going to get on and Bran (they’re two of my favourite characters)?! I’m thinking I have to start reading the books, they seem right up my street plus I just want to know more about the world and the characters. The only downside to the return of the show on TV means I can’t watch them back-to-back anymore, a week is so loong (yes I’m impatient).

Other things I’ve been watching this week are the latest Dr Who episodes. I quite like Clara as a side kick. She seems brave, curious and kind-hearted  (and I’ve got a bit of a girl crush >.<). Plus I’m very interested to find out about her parallel versions. I also caught up on New Girl. I kinda get why they are dragging out the Jess/Nick romance, (its hard to imagine where they are going to go with it’), but I think it opens up a lot of avenues and am rooting… so just happen all ready! Schmidt still continues to deliver epic quote after quote: (to Nick) “Here are some things you want to hide about yourself on tonight’s date–you’re cheap, you’re a heavy drinker, you’re broke, you have a problem with anger” (S2E21).
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Socialising: For the past month I’ve been being good on the weekend and staying in, trying to save money, and except for my trip to Cornwall for Lucy’s birthday, I’ve been achieving this. However with Lucy out over the weekend and John back in his hometown Oxford I thought I better get out and about and see some friends. Surprisingly I managed to have two really great budget nights! On Friday I went in to Leicester Square with my friend Charlie and we had a few (4 large each…) glasses of wine at Yates. It was one of those nights where it was just really fun to get drunk together and have a natter about whats been happening in our lives and it was only £6.30 a round (which Charlie mostly bought because she’s amazing like that.) I ended up falling asleep on the last train home though which is never fun! On Saturday I met up with my ex work colleagues (and beautiful friends) who worked with me in my last restaurant. It was a guy’s birthday which he had reserved an area for, there was wine, there was jugs of cocktails and there was prosecco… yum! Here’s some piccys from the night! I stopped myself getting a taxi back and went for the night bus home so all in all a pretty cheap night : )

♥ Saturday Night | Friday Night outfit: Skinny Jeans, heeled boots, denim shirt done up, grey vest | Bus Friends
| Make up Friday | Birthday Present | Cecilia & Vlad | Me and Beautiful Tara | Make up Saturday | Birthday Boy & Us ♥

♥  T H E  N O T – S O – G O O D  ♥

Hangover Hell: With the joy of going out and having a good time usually comes the dreaded HANGOVER day! Of course you can argue that days such as these would easily be avoided if you didn’t drink to excess the night before, but in all fairness I don’t think I do. Sometimes I can escape with a minor headache, or a general grotty feeling but both nights out this week left me feeling rotten the next day. The hangover miracle cure I swear by is drinking tonnes of water, (in fact I’m a bit of a water obsesso in general), but as always I don’t always follow my own advice. Instead I stupidly passed out in bed as soon as I got home, no water was drank, no make-up removed (ouch poor skin). This meant I missed out on a really nice day Saturday, I stayed in bed all day mewing and feeling sorry for myself watching too much YouTube and New Girl until I finally dragged myself to Tesco. After some Lucozade, Innocent raspberry and apple juice, tea, soup, bread, pringles and dip (I always have the weirdest cravings when I’m hungover) and a shower I felt marginally better and dragged myself in to town for round two. OH the things we do to our poor bodies! It’s safe to say I’m going to be taking it easy this week and making sure I’m being a bit more healthy.

Window Shopping: Is the only shopping I can do right now *cry* I had a browse around Urban Outfitters in Spitalfields the other day, so many cute things I want! Nice mugs (I love buying mugs) nail polishes, coasters, candles and quirky books (don’t even get me started on the clothes!) Oh well a girl can dream.

Buses: Neither good or bad but I found it quite amusing when I was walking down The Strand the other day and saw seven buses in a row… you know the saying >.<

Do you have any miracle hangover cures? Have you been watching any of the TV shows mentioned, thoughts please! : D

photo credits ©:  BBC | HBO | Fox Broadcasting

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Hand & Nail TLC

My nails are not in the best shape, they are flaky and brittle and every time they get close to having a respectable “white” tip they crack and break. It’s a very frustrating cycle to be in! Last year I worked in waitressing which meant I put a lot of pressure on my nails. I was often polishing glasses and cutlery, cleaning surfaces or washing my hands, (nails HATE water), which meant even if I tried to look after my hands at the start of a 12 hour day they were a bit worse for wear by the end. In saying this you don’t have to give up on achieving your dream nails if your job (or other aspects of your life) take their toll on nail maintenance! As much as I blame my old job for the state of them, I equally blame myself and how I would always slip out of the ‘get-nice-nails’ routine that was giving me results. Anyway this is what works for me, it may work for you too if you’re struggling.

Know your hands/nails:
I have friends who have gorgeous nails no matter what, (some even worked in the SAME job as me), this is just the way it is. Sometimes they look after their nails more (hand cream, base coats, more calcium, vitamins) but unfortunately it can just be in your genes, (I say unfortunately because I’m jealous, of course). Anyway my point is, know which type you are. Are your nails falling apart at the seams because you’re neglecting them? Overworking them? Or are they just naturally weak? The cracks in my nails began through neglecting them and now the condition they are in perpetuates the cycle. Once they start to creep over the edge of my finger the splits and layers say NO and I will inevitably end up breaking them. I have brittle nails that I need to work on strengthening, directly linking to this I often get dry hands which I know adds to the problem, a lack of moisture in the hands can lead to a lack of nail growth (plus it doesn’t feel or look too good either).

Moisturise and Condition:
Once you establish the key problem areas invest in a good hand cream (or a few). I have about four hand creams on the go, partly because they have different strong points but mostly because I like to make sure I have a tube with me at all times and I am notoriously bad at leaving things in different places, if I took my handbag hand cream out I would most definitely end up leaving it beside my bed when I went to work. I think it’s good to have a light hand cream you can top up throughout the day, I use Vaseline Healthy Hands + Stronger Nails or for a treat I use my Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Hand Creme because it smells delicious (even from a distance!) I believe it’s also good to have an intensive hand cream to really work into your cuticles, bare nails (especially after stripping them of polish) and between the fingers, which is where I get dry patches. In the past I’ve used The Body Shop Almond Oil Nail & Hand Cream and I’ve tried Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (which leaves hands SO soft). Don’t just take my recommendations, there are so many creams out their to get your hands on (haha) so go experiment, not much can go wrong apart from some may be a bit greasy for the day time and some may not tackle dry spots efficiently. Look for something that smells great, absorbs quickly and leaves a soft finish then apply it REGULARLY! My biggest sin in this department is being too lazy (isn’t that always the biggest beauty sin!?) I’m lying in bed and I can feel my hands are dry from washing up or cleansing my face, but my hand cream is somewhere else in the room… so I just fall asleep. It sounds silly but times like these bring me back to square one and it’s important to always maintain the routine that helps your nails to strengthen and grow.

Base & Top Coat
I’ve always heard good things but only started using O.P.I. Nail Envy base coat a couple of months ago and I LOVE it. It really does work wonders, not only has it greatly improved my nail condition and length, it dries in seconds and is really nice and glossy for a nail strengthener. Although it is important to let our nails breathe I try not to stop regular coats of Nail Envy because when nails are bare they can split really easily. When I wear coloured nail polish I make sure I’ve always got this on as the base so it can be working its magic beneath. Which brings me on to my latest purchase (recommended by my flatmate Lucy) which is the Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. Seeing as I’ve only just started using this I shouldn’t be on the best authority to start dishing out recommendations, however, you only need to work this in to your routine once to see the benefits. It keeps nail polish chip free for a LOT longer and helps you avoid ruining freshly painted nails, plus it adds a healthy shine to any coat of colour. All well and good, but how does this actually help the condition of your nails? Well for me it means I don’t have to be stripping my nails of all their polish so often. Whereas before my nails would be chipped the next day (meaning the ends would be venerable to water damage and cracking) and I would have to put my nails through the ordeal of being stripped down with remover. However, now my polish lasts so much better, I get a good 3/4 days out of polish – sometimes longer, I can give them a rest.

ETC:
There are other reasons why our nails suffer. It could be something lacking in your diet, your nail polish remover might be too harsh or it can even be certain other things that our hands come in to contact with such as washing up liquid or a harsh cleaning product. Try swapping different aspects of your daily routine to see if there is any changes, use the Fairy Liquid that is kind to hands, or even better wear washing up gloves. Get some more calcium, zinc, Iron and B-12 in your diet (try looking up which foods these can be found in, or opt for supplements) as nails love a dose of these vitamins and minerals.

Get some incentive:
Treat yourself to some new nail colours, It’ll give you a boost that may just keep you on track with your nail care routine. These are my favourite picks for spring (All Barry M – Normal/Gelly). Pease share your nail care secrets as I’m still on the search for the best tips and tricks to ensure healthy, vital nails!

1.Papya     2.Prickly Pear     3.Berry     4.Mint Green     5.Coral

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I ♥ cute things – Spring / Happy / Yellow

iheartcutethings

Here’s a little sample of a few things currently on my Artbox wishlist! We’ve been trapped in this endless cycle of bitter, winter nastiness for the past 6 months (doesn’t it feel like forever!) so I think it’s about time we got some S U N S H I N E in our lives. The colour yellow is uplifting so it is inspiring this little cute mood-board.

I love buying things for my kitchen (or more often lusting over things for my kitchen) hence the cute mug and bowl (would make cereal and tea a bit more bearable at 7am!)

I couldn’t resist adding the panda T-shirt and adorable socks and the Mario toadstool rucksack, well that’s just a bit of fun (think beach bag!) Ahh I want spring to finally arrive.

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It’s not just you…

I had a great time reading Thought Catalog’s  humorously entitled “15 Things That Make Us Paranoid… Or Is It Just Me? Crap, It’s Probably Just Me!”  Whether on not we all share the same irrational niggles in the back of our minds there are always some that overlap. I find there’s a great sense of community in reading personal anecdotes or thoughts from others that make you want to turn and nod to anyone nearby whilst you virtually scream ME TOO!!! in your head. I often feel that same sense of shared experience from stand-up comedians who focus on everyday life (their wives, children, commuting politics) as opposed to extreme comedic anecdotes that are more fiction than fact.

Glamour Hey It's Ok

This is me…

The quips they follow with vary from the self-indulgent: Hey, it’s OK to laugh at your own jokes…they’re hi-larious the irrational: Hey, it’s OK to be a little offended if he’s not completely all over you every single time you get undressed to those habitual, guilty things we find ourselves doing: Hey, it’s OK to switch off instantly the second
someone says, “I  had such a weird dream…

Best of all they make your actions feel completely excusable! Enjoy some more below courtesy of the Glamour Pintrest page! I’m thinking I might write a few posts detailing some of my own guilty confessions and irrational habits!

hey its ok starbucks

hey its ok audrey

Hey Its Ok to...

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The Host

If you are a twi-hard fan then back in the day you may have read Stephanie Meyer’s other novel, The Host (2008). However you may have stumbled across this book just as a lover of Young Adult sci-fi as it’s a pretty damn good read. I ended up flying through this book in one of those intense all night reading sessions after I’d bought it for a mixture of the two reasons above. It caught my eye because of the publicity it received, being from the author of the Twilight sensation, but it also fell into a genre I had a tendancy towards already.

There’s been a huge surge in dystopian fiction aimed at teenagers, to name just a few novels that have recently been gracing the ‘Top Seller’ lists internationally: The Uglies, The Maze Runner and Divergent. The genre, bench-marked by classics such as Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, has exploded in fiction aimed at young adults. Perhaps its popularity stems from a fascination about the state of our planet and a growing awareness of political and social fractures that might cause a modern-day dystopia. However not all dystopian themes mirror a future that could be possible many steering towards a very fantasy or sci-fi direction and might serve as pure escapism and indulgence in some pretty dark themes. Either way the genre is open to a lot of different themes and interpretation and if your looking for some good reads to ease you in then check out my recent post on some dystopian fiction I read when I was younger.

The Host is set in a future where a race of parasitic alien ‘souls’ have taken control of the majority of humans left on Earth, all except for small pockets of resistance. It is in the journey to find such a free community that the still-human protagonist Melanie is captured and taken over by a soul. The narrative centres on the battle of free will as Melanie refuses to completely lose herself to the ‘soul’ whose mission is to inflitrate the resistence and also the soul’s own conflicts of conscience. Along the way there is naturally love and heartbreak and a touch of action. Due for release later this month (March 29th 2013) I’m intrigued to see how they’ve adapted the novel for the screen.

In a similar vein the hugely successful trilogy The Hunger Games hit the big screens with its first installment last year. I always have mixed views when a novel I love is made into a movie. “They don’t look like that?! what happened to that bit!” are phrases that will often pass my lips after I’ve watched a movie adaptation. Preconceptions are shattered and that indulgence you share with a book in being able to visualise the words and characters and themes in your own way is ultimately gone. I’m not against it completely and there will be movies I watch where I’ve yet to read the novel and perhaps later do and enjoy in a different way. However for the most part I tend to seperate them as best I can. I personally felt that The Hunger Games movie was not a touch on the novel but can see why. There is afterall a complex world and fast paced plot to capture in 90 minutes or so.

Whilst The Host may be one I save until DVD release (which seems to come around so fast these days) I’m keen to check it out and hopefully be plesantly surprised! You can watch the trailer below.

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Tumblr! “Motivation”

I have a Tumblr account which I use sort of like Panda Pop but with less structure and as and when I feel like it! I’m thinking about sharing some Tumblr posts on here every now and again. Here’s an example of a typical ramble you may expect from me…

Motivation?

Where does it come from, and more importantly where does it go. Just when I feel like another rare day off is slipping into night, (when so little has been achieved that getting out of my pyjamas has definitely NOT been accomplished,) It suddenly overcomes me. Not for long mind, just a sudden urge to do one thing on my seemingly endless “Things to do” list. Today of which was número uno, TIDY MY ROOM. An obvious objective to find neglected on a to-do list but one that I’ve been neglecting for just a tad too long. (Think dead monster spiders under every item of clothing I own – on the floor.) So I won’t lie my intention of getting out of bed was at first to vacate to the sofa bringing with me my laptop for last night’s TOWIE and with a feast in mind. But once up, I just felt this sudden drive. To do one thing today seemed necessary. So I start cleaning a corner of my room, I clean my rats out – an unpleasant to-do also long overdue. I Hoover, I dust, and I can’t stop until I’ve finished. Believe me there was plenty of moments my bed called back out to me, whispering my name like the comfy temptress it is. But I carried on. And hooray because the feeling after is so satisfying, and as I sit down for TOWIE, I feel like it is a reward. And as for my feast it is now deserved. I can unfortunately say these bursts of motivation don’t come around too often. I am a serial putter-offer, an offender of the organised. Weak minded or perhaps just lazy! But whichever way I look at it I’m glad they appear once in a while if not to keep me sane then at least to keep my room non-toxic and habitable! 🙂


www.tumblr.com/siobhanalford

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World cup 2010 here we go…

Its only a matter of hours until we’ll be cheering our lads on to the pitch, fresh and ready to take on the Yanks in the first England match of the tournament. I’m no football fanatic, hell I’m not even a fan, but its hard not to be whizzed along with the wave of world cup madness that is engulfing the nation. I have to wonder now where I even was in 2006 because my interest never peaked then – all I knew is that we were knocked out by those pesky Portuguese in the quarters. But the hype that surrounds the 2010 world cup is intense. Social networking site Twitter is alive with avid tweeters and football fans alike tweeting predictions, reporting live on the matches and offering support to their teams. The world cup kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony yesterday followed by South Africa vs Mexico (1-1) and then Uruguay vs France (0-0) But what we are all waiting for is the first England match and I’m looking forward to my first football-watching-in-a-crowded-pub experience! I would say wish me luck (you know amid all the testosterone and beer) but I think its safe to say all of the country’s luck today lies with the England squad! 🙂

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Eclipse soundtrack listings released!

Yesterday the much anticipated soundtrack listings for the latest installment of the Twilight saga, Eclipse, were released and boy are they good.

1. Metric“Eclipse (All Yours)”

2. Muse“Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)”

3. The Bravery“Ours”

4. Florence + The Machine“Heavy In Your Arms”

5. Sia“My Love”

6. Fanfarlo“Atlas”

7. The Black Keys“Chop And Change”

8. The Dead Weather“Rolling In On A Burning Tire”

9. Beck and Bat For Lashes“Let’s Get Lost”

10. Vampire Weekend “Jonathan Low”

11. UNKLE“With You In My Head (featuring The Black Angels)”

12. Eastern Conference Champions“A Million Miles An Hour”

13. Band Of Horses “Life On Earth”

14. Cee-Lo Green“What Part Of Forever”

15. Howard Shore“Jacob’s Theme”

The list was released via myspace over the course of the day and has already riled quite a few people. Twilight-haters are believed to be fuming over such good bands being used in a movie franchise as big as this:

“It’s weird how such an obnoxious, mainstream , over-exposed movie franchise goes out of their way to pick really subtle , unknown Hipster bands for their soundtracks.”

quotes one unknown individual on Perez Hilton’s comment thread. Personally I think its great that some really good bands are getting a chance to shine and make some money out of what they love doing. It really grates me how pretentious some people can be especially when anything remotely successful, popular or mainstream is involved. If people like it, then these people immediately don’t. Which when you think about it is petty and childish.

I loved the Twilight books and enjoy watching the films, I’m not gonna be dissuaded any other way just because they are too ‘mainstream’ for some and as for the soundtrack I’m loving the choices and can’t wait to see how the songs are incorporated into the forthcoming film.