Wednesday, 29 December 2010

deviantART: =armene

I'm getting much better at frequently doing my deviantART entries now and a few weeks ago, I came across armene. I usually blog about artists I have had saved for quite a while, but armene's photography really blew me away, and that rarely happens when it comes to photography!I think the first piece of my entry was what caught my attention, titled 'Sea Dreams'...I just thought it was such a beautiful, contemporary and clever idea...completed understated and something I would love to have blown up and put on a wall in my home. The next piece called 'Medusa' (I knew it was Medusa influenced before I read the title!) was again, such a clever idea...in fact, a lot of her pieces made me think, 'clever!'.The best and also majority of armene's work is when there is subtle nudity involved, which due to the fact of wanting to keep my blog open for all, I won't be placing here. However, I feel it is completely harmless and should be fine anyway, but I won't take the risk! These pieces are tasteful with plenty of humour, and if you like the pieces I have featured here, you will absolutely love the rest of her work, so be sure to check her gallery out!Armene has definitely helped open my eyes to the world of photography, which has never been something I have completely appreciated, but I definitely am keen on finding more now!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

ASOS Marketplace.

When I first heard about ASOS Marketplace a few months ago, I really felt that it would be one of the most exciting things to happen online this year and I could not wait for it to launch, which happened last month (beta mode). I have been shopping quite a lot on ASOS.COM as I just don't get time to look around in physical stores, so the opportunity to also be able to browse handmade, one-off vintage and independent designer pieces through an extension of the site would be brilliant!From a seller's point of view (I have been selling my own handmade things online for a few years now via Etsy), I saw this as an excellent (additional) platform as not only does the site look very sleek, but it is also very easy to navigate (as it is similar to the main ASOS.com layout ) and I am sure the amount of traffic the site receives will also be a huge bonus! I am also chuffed at it being based in the UK as I can't think of any other UK site that offers this. However, only people in the UK can currently sell (while it is in beta mode and any issues can be dealt with easier than if it was launched worldwide!) but I did read somewhere that it will expand next year.
There are two ways of selling on Marketplace, either as an Individual Seller or a Boutique. To have a Boutique, you need to submit an application and it will cost £50 a month plus commission fees - which is actually a great deal, especially if you do it full-time - just think of the traffic and think of what you would be paying if you had a physical boutique!! The Individual Seller option is for those who may just want to list every now and again (for free!!!) or don't really have a proper 'structure'...so you don't have to pay anything unless you sell something. I'll be opting for this as I'll be offering both my wardrobe clear outs and handmade things... but maybe in the future I will have a Boutique!
It seemed like the Jewellery category was most populated when I first entered the site so I went to have a proper look and was so impressed at the things listed so far! One of the things that ASOS Marketplace asks for (to sell on the site) is that photography is shot 'street style'. I love this idea as not only does it encourage the seller to think about styling (which at the same time helps the buyer!) but everything on the site then looks succinct and easy to browse. This small rule also ensures that things for sale are not shot 'eBay style' where garments are so hard to see or shot in an unappealing way. I love knowing that pretty much everything I browse on Marketplace will be 'on' someone (like the main site) which is also great for judging size. There is also a rating system where people can 'love' items, which also enables buyers to filter by 'most loved'...which again, should encourage great photography and styling! I think this also dictates what it is on the front page etc...
One of the first boutiques that caught my eye is by Susan Caplan who offers vintage jewellery. The photography looked fantastic and gave Marketplace a really great start in first impressions. My screenshot also shows how items are displayed on a page, and as you can see, it is so clean and easy to follow.
Marketplace only currently offers Clothing and Accessories but I do hope that in the future, it becomes more 'lifestyle' and I'll also be able to browse other things like Art, Furniture, Books and Beauty. This site could seriously become huge!
Once I am ready to start listing my own things (I have a lot of clothes I'd love to sell - so I can buy more!), I will type up another blog post to review the listing process!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Secret Santa.

As a Christmas treat from my place of work, my colleagues and I went ice skating at the Natural History Museum (really lovely!) and went for a nice meal. We also did 'Secret Santa' and I received this amazing Paul & Joe lipstick, where it is shaped as a cat's head! I will need to carefully use the back of its head as I wouldn't want to ruin it! The tube is also decorated in a beautiful print on paper. This makes a wonderful gift!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

New Shoes - ASOS TROUBLE.

Yesterday, I received an email from ASOS.COM notifying me of a 'flash sale' they were having between 12-2pm where selected footwear had a 50% discount. I thought I would check it out even though I assumed I wouldn't find anything I liked... until I came across 'TROUBLE' which really stood out amongst a ton of courts! It was originally £110/$174, and was down to £55/£87 which I thought was an absolute bargain!
I have ALWAYS wanted a pair of Vivienne Westwood-esque platforms and these were good enough for me! I literally got them delivered about 2 hours ago (don't you just love Next Day Delivery?) and absolutely love them! I would definitely only wear them with socks, in this case - fishnet. They're quite comfy but admittedly, I am weary about wearing them outside, but I think I just need a little practice! When I opened the box, I kept thinking of Naomi Campbell's iconic fall when she was modelling for Westwood!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Beauty Review: Soap & Glory Hand Break.

If you have ever looked through my Hair & Beauty category on my blog, you will notice that I am a little obsessed with the Soap & Glory beauty brand! One of my most recent purchases is their hand care set which I originally bought as a gift...but, I decided to keep it for myself! I know I know, it's a terrible thing to do, but I really really wanted it! It features a classic metal rack which holds Hand Food™ Hydrating Hand Cream 250ml (which I had previously purchased in tube form a few months ago, but I prefer it so much more in a dispenser!) and Wash Your Hands of It™250ml Hand Wash.I already knew that the hand cream would be wonderful and had no doubt that the hand wash would be wonderful too. Like the rest of the Soap & Glory products, the scent was amazing and I'm sure I always end up lathering my hands with it longer than one needs to! Having both products side by side is also great as it encourages me to use the hand cream (which I really need to as I do a lot of hand-work in my full-time job and hobbies) which I can sometimes forget until my hands start to feel papery, which is horrible!
Like my original reason of buying the set, this makes a great gift (and it is only £8)...in fact, I have noticed that Soap & Glory offers many gift-like products (via ASOS.COM) which is so important for beauty brands and I often get frustrated at being unable to buy 'mini' products of brands I like as gifts or as a tester...and in the end, it is their benefit to offer this as it only takes a small amount of product to possibly gain a customer for life - like it did with me!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Shopping at London MCM Expo 2010.

If you've been following my blog, you will know that back in October, I attended the MCM Expo in London, which is a comic/gaming/Manga/Anime event. You can read about my visit here, which I enjoyed very much!
I didn't get round to mentioning the things I bought because the blog post was already getting ridiculously long! So here are some of my purchases!I have always been interested in Manga and Anime but often felt overwhelmed by it as there is just so much and I never knew where to start...so I usually only settled with watching mainstream Anime. My sister is completely obsessed with it and helped filter down the 'good' Manga for me to buy as there was so much of it at the event! I will be reviewing them at a later date.
We then came across an ArtBox stall, which I love but it is so out of the way for me to get to in London that I never really get to go. It has adorable stationery, gifts and clothing..I could easily spend a lot! I took the opportunity to buy the cutest notebooks as they were pretty inexpensive and my mother bought a few for herself too.
Overall, I thought the event was great for gift purchases and I'll definitely be spending more next time!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

MOO.

I hadn't placed a 'big' order from MOO.COM for a very long time, so I was very surprised when I received my order from a couple of weeks ago (there was a 30% discount promotion!) as I could really see how much they had grown! Below are my new 'minicards', which was actually one of the first products I ever got from MOO.COM about 2 years ago, and what first caught my attention. They originally presented minicards in an optic white, plastic box (which I still love and often utilised which you can see here) but this time, I received my minicards in their upgraded white card box with a flash of orange and MOO branding...it definitely looked a lot more professional! I had previously received newsletters from them explaining their new packaging but I never really paid much attention so I was thoroughly impressed! Also loved the 'mine', 'theirs' and 'favourites' dividers although I rarely ever get minicards from people I buy from...hopefully some time in the future they will become much more common!!
As you can see, I went for a very simple design on my minicards... my little illustration and website on the back - another thing I love about MOO.COM - you can print on the back with no additional (ridiculous) cost! You can also have all your minicards completely different, you don't just have to settle with the one design...a real rarity when it comes to commercially printed products.The next product I got were the standard business cards, I didn't really need these but I couldn't resist the 30% discount! Again, packaging was lovely and the dividers will surely come in use eventually. It was really late when I was designing my cards, and I had forgotten that I could have several different cards, which is incredibly useful for me as I sell such a variety of things in my shop...so I only have the one design, which I don't mind too much! Card quality is excellent and MOO.COM is always the first place I think of when people ask 'where to get nice business cards'! I will be keeping a look out for the next discount...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

deviantART: *ravenskar

I've been trying to stick to blogging about my favourite deviants over on deviantART every month but I haven't done so in ages! I promise to try harder as there are so many amazing artists I want to shout about! On this occasion, I will be shouting about *ravenskar.I first spotted her work back around January when the above piece, titled 'something like an astronomer' caught my eye as it was part of the Daily Deviations where pieces are chosen and featured. I loved the feisty look of this character and the flushes of pink in her hair. I also thought her hands looked great, which was always something I often struggled with when studying Art & Design at college, so I always appreciate it when other people get it so right!Next is 'dj goh goh' which was a commission, and the black and purple colouration was just so beautiful! Again, I loved the character which I later found out is a mix between a Go-Go dancer, cheerleader, DJ and my most favourite part, ninja!! I can completely see this even though it isn't even a full painting!And lastly, '400,000 hits' which ravenskar painted in celebration for the 400,000 hits to her deviantART page. I thought she was absolutely adorable and I'd love to see her as an animated character! If you look on ravenskar's page, you will see that she has a variety of drawing styles, but the ones I have featured on my blog are my most favourite!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

New Product.

I've always loved the idea of rings being used as pendants so decided to add some to my Etsy shop! The rings and chains are about 10-15 years old which my father left me as he used to make, buy and sell jewellery in his own shop. You can see and purchase them here!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Beauty Review: Glad Hair Day Ultra Shine Daily Shampoo.

If you look through my Hair & Beauty category, you will notice how much Soap & Glory products I have been using, all completely bought by myself! When I first started buying them, there wasn't much, but I seem to be finding a new product each day! My newest one is the Glad Hair Day shampoo which I was very excited about using because Soap & Glory products smell so delicious...and I was not let down! It had a yummy, fruity smell which I assume is from the 'raspberry fruit vinegar' ingredient. It isn't bad for £5 which you get a tube of 250ml...but it is still about 50% more expensive than what I spend on standard shampoo of a similar amount and I wash my hair every day.However, the smell is super addictive, my hair is so soft and smooth after use and most importantly, my hair feels clean...there are no negative aspects in regards to the actual product that I will continue to use it! This won't be as expensive as I initially thought because I like to use about 4-5 different shampoos in a week (I find that my hair is in better condition if I don't stick to the same shampoo) so, as long as I don't buy another 'higher' priced shampoo, there shouldn't be much difference! I know it sounds like I am trying to convince myself to continue using it (maybe I am)...but if you try it, you would understand my dilemma!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Film Review: Clash of the Titans.

I watched the much anticipated Clash of the Titans when it was released back in April (I know I know, this entry is SO late!) and thoroughly enjoyed it! I could not remember much of the original one as I had only ever watched it as a child so did not really have much to compare with. However, over two decades later, I'm sure there would be a lot of differences, especially with the effects! One of the first things that impressed me about the film, was the cast. Sam Worthington (Avatar), Liam Neeson (one of the most suited actors to play Zeus), Ralph Fiennes, Pete Postlethwaite, Polly Walker (loved her in 'Rome'), Jason Flemyng and more!
I definitely had my eye on the acting skills of one particular actress, Gemma Aterton. I had never really understood the fuss about her being the next big actress from the UK. I had found her quite irritating in 'St Trinian's' and felt the same when she played Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace. However, my opinion of her completely flipped after watching her in Clash of the Titans, I thought she was a very convincing actress and that her role as Io was perfect for her.Mads Mikkelsen as Draco was also brilliant, but then again I do always associate him with 'fighter' type roles which he consistently does a great job at.The thing I love most about remakes (although I hate remakes of current films that are perfectly fine as they are, such as 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'!!) is to see how prominent characters are interpreted, and for Clash of the Titans, it had to be the Stygian Witches! They absolutely terrified me as a child, but I was glad to have felt amusement when I saw them in the new Clash of the Titans, instead of fear! In fact, I was rather humoured with my afterthought of them looking as though they were related to The Ephors from '300'.The main storyline is that Perseus wishes to destroy the Kraken, which is Hades' creation and Hades' had previously caused the death of his adoptive father, Spyros. However, by the end of the film where Perseus has a battle with the Kraken, I was left rather unsatisfied as not only did the Kraken look like a deformed Godzilla, but it was also very short. The most exciting parts of the film is when Perseus meets all these different creatures and monsters, my favourite being Medusa who I have always found interesting. I loved the way she looked in the film and actually later found out that she was portrayed by Natalia Vodianova (one of my favourite models)...I'll need to watch the film again to try and see how obvious this was!Overall, it was a great film with an excellent cast...anyone interested in Greek mythology will love this!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Film Review: Daybreakers.

I really wanted to watch this at the cinema when it came out several months ago but didn't get the chance to, so I was super excited to finally watch it on DVD!
Daybreakers is set in 2019 where a plague causes most of the human population to turn into vampires. I don't think I have seen a film set along this idea before (and I want to watch ALL vampire films ever made!) so I thought it would be quite good, and it was.
Back to the plot, Ethan Hawke plays Edward who is a vampire hematologist and is under pressure to create an alternative to blood as humans have pretty much become extinct, therefore the vampires will eventually not have anything to consume!

There are three parts of the film that are most memorable. The first is when they are testing out a possible blood alternative which seems to work at first but then prompts the testee to literally explode. I was not expecting this to happen and it made me jump! The second is when a gargoyle-looking creature is the result of a vampire who has not been able to feed. I thought this was a great idea (instead of them simply withering away) and wished that they had a much bigger part to play in the film because they looked brilliant!The third is when the viewer is introduced to a possible cure for a vampire to become human - and again, I don't think I have come across this idea before in films. The cure is simply direct exposure to sunlight for a short time. Even though this idea is part clever, part ironic (as sunlight would eventually kill a vampire) and almost humorous, I felt that it should have been much harder!
Overall, I felt that the film was great and if you enjoy vampire films, you will like this regardless of some obvious shortcuts in the storyline. The film rating is a 15, but I think they should have had more 'gargoyles' (to take over the entire city and to cause much more chaos!) and definitely more blood and gore to push it up to an 18.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Beauty Review: Soap & Glory 'Clear Here' Oil Control Daily Moisture Lotion.

As I sit here typing up my review on Soap & Glory's 'Clear Here' Oil Control Daily Moisture Lotion...I wonder why I ever bought it?! My skin is nowhere near oily, in fact it is dry/sensitive...this was completely an accidental purchase which goes hand-in-hand with the fact that I love the Soap & Glory brand so much that I wanted to try everything out! So, I think I must have only seen 'poreshrink' and 'skin perfector' which prompted me to buy it! For £8, it isn't bad if it does what it says, which unfortunately I have not had the pleasure in seeing for myself due to the wrong skin type - but I have high hopes. Although, when I did use it, I didn't really like the smell or the feeling of it on my skin, but as I mentioned - wrong skin type.
I will be passing this onto my sister to use as it seems like it will suit her skin much better than mine especially with the 'mattifying' finish it may give as she is always blotting the oil off her skin which I think is ridiculous as she is only 14! Anyway, I will give an update on this product at a later date.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

London MCM Expo 2010.

I previously mentioned the London MCM Expo, which happened on the last weekend of October. I attended the event on the Saturday (with my little sister and my mother) and it has to be one of my highlights this year...I wanted to post my photos immediately but never got round to it until now! I mainly wanted to go to see costumes, check out any new art to add to my collection and to see what new computer games were out...and it was so much more exciting than I thought it would be. I actually felt like I was 10 years old again - and possibly acted it at some point of the day...which I will reveal later on.I was very curious to see how many people would be dressed up or shied away like myself (although I did wear a Star Wars t-shirt!!) but I was absolutely shocked at the amount of people who arrived in full costume, and shocked at how amazing they were!! The first characters we saw were from Star Wars which I later realised was most probably organised by the event as I saw Storm Troopers everywhere after that! I then came across Alien which looked excellent!I had a list of characters in my head that I desperately wanted to see and the Dragonball Z fighters was definitely one of the many! I saw a group of them within 10 minutes of leaving the station and as I shyly asked if I could take their photo, they were all so lovely and immediately got into their character stances which I was not expecting at all! I was so impressed and almost giddy about it!!Inside the venue, there were many gaming booths and I came across Dragonball: Raging Blast 2 which looked amazing!! I used to play a lot of games when I was younger, but working in Fashion as a full-time job completely takes over your life! But I am hoping to make some time for gaming soon as I really miss it!! If the queue wasn't so long, I would have waited to play Dragonball, it looked like the actual Anime, just in game form! I think that was probably the most negative thing about the event, there were not enough gaming booths and groups of people (teenage boys) were really hogging them! I'm pretty certain that they only came to play unreleased games for the entire day!This next person is dressed up as Noctis from Final Fantasy Versus XIII and I thought it was a great interpretation!I first saw these Victoriana girls hours before I took this photo of them but I was too shy to ask! I didn't want to miss the chance again when I saw them a second time, so asked for their photo which they seemed happy about and I thought they looked adorable together!Next is a guy from Portugal who won the Euro Cosplay competition! I didn't stay long enough to watch the competition which consisted of actual performances (I won't miss this next time!) but I had taken this photo of him before it started and I was sure he would win. There was a lot of work put into his costume as Cain Nightroad from Trinity Blood so he completely deserved it!You can't go wrong dressed as Domo, period.Next was another fantastic costume but I don't recognise the character, so if anyone knows, please enlighten me! I got frustrated with the guy hovering beside her but while I was preparing my photos for this blog entry, I think he was actually acting as a prop-holder for her!As I made my way through the venue, I spotted a booth that didn't have a crowd, so I had a proper look to see what the lack of fuss was about, and there was John de Lancie who I recognised as 'Q' from Star Trek! This was quite exciting as my boyfriend and I have been making our way through all the Star Trek series, so his character is still quite prominent to me...although it seemed like hardly anyone knew who he was, hence the empty booth! However, there were a few older people (possibly journalists) taking photos of him from a distance but I decided to ask him if I could take his photo as I thought it was quite rude to just take a photo while he is simply sitting there!Now this is the bit where I thought I behaved like a 10 year old because I asked if I could take a photo and he was very lovely and said I could...he then leant forward (I assume because when people ask for photos, they want to be in it as well...and to get an autograph?!), prompting me to step back (otherwise I wouldn't be able to get him in the frame), took two snaps, said thank you and ran off! Judging by the look on his face, I think he thought I was very strange and it must have been the fastest 'fan' meeting he has ever had! My 14 year old sister then told me off for being 'rubbish' and that I should have made conversation...which is completely true of course! The thing is, I wasn't starstruck at all, I've never been starstruck...but I guess this is because I live in London and I see celebrities all the time. I think it was simply because I wanted to be polite and get a photo of an actor who is in a program that I have been watching, end of!! Another actor who was sat next to John de Lancie was Tony Todd who I recognised but could not figure out where he was from. I later found out that he was also in Star Trek (as an older Jake Sisko and Worf's brother, Kurn) and several other films! Anyway, I felt so foolish with my meeting with John de Lancie, I wouldn't have dared go back to the booth!There were a couple of stalls selling Manga and this one had an abundance of them! My sister was in her element and we spent ages browsing! We finally left after about 15 minutes with some new books to read! Below was a delightful costume which again I don't recognise, so if anybody knows, please tell me as I'd love to see how accurate her costume was! She may have been one of the best as she literally looked like she jumped straight out of an anime!My sister spotted 'Joker' and started snapping away and I didn't realise (I can be very slow) that this 'Joker' character was playing Batman on the Wii! I thought this was hilarious and proceeded having a fit of giggles again. The guy seemed a bit embarrassed and stopped playing his game to pose for us, but my sister instructed him to continue with his game...and I get told that I'm bossy!Next are characters from Assassin's Creed which were stood in a triangle (there was a third character stood next to me) and moved very slowly as if they were about to attack each other, very dramatic!I think the Assassin's Creed gaming booth also had the longest queue, so there was no chance of me getting a go although it looked like fun!This Queen Amidala costume had to be one of my favourites! I spotted her from a distance and there was no room for me to be shy so I immediately asked for a photo to which she was delighted about and instantly got into her pose which was perfect!Ryuk from Death Note was another character who I really wanted to see and I saw plenty! However, I wasn't impressed enough to ask for a photo until I saw this guy as I was leaving the venue. He could easily portray Ryuk in a film and his pose was so spot on!! Ryuk is a death god who likes eating apples...I've probably made the anime sound incredibly rubbish but it is just amazing! Well, I actually haven't read the manga, but I've watched the film and it has to be one of the most unpredictable films I have ever watched!
Overall, I had a wonderful time at the event and will continue to attend every time it is on now! I have also learnt that I must buy tickets beforehand as we were waiting for an hour and a half in the queue! I would also interact a bit more, such as queuing to test a game out, attending the costume competition (I've seen videos of this and they looked amazing) and spending more time in the Comic part of the event. This was where artists were seated and I definitely rushed through it. There were also several artists offering to do a portrait of visitors which was something I really wanted to get done!!! I also did a bit of shopping which I will leave for another blog entry! I hope my photos make you want to attend the event in the future because you will be thoroughly surprised at how much you will enjoy yourself!