Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Lunch at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium

On Sunday I headed over to Shoreditch to try the much anticipated Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium. I first became aware of London's first cafe probably about a year ago when it first started making news in its crowdfunding attempts, and I was really eager to try the cafe out to see what it was all about. I'm not a big cat fan, I much prefer dogs, but I still liked the idea of having a little furry friend in my lap whilst I enjoyed some sandwiches so I was curious to see what it would be like.

From outside, first impressions were pretty good. I love Shoreditch but not so much the particular area the cafe was in, but I enjoyed looking in and seeing a few cats sleeping in the window. We entered, and opinions went down a little bit. It seems that the first bit when you walk in is a food preparation area, but they just told us to wait there a moment, so we all awkwardly waited in silence for about five minutes waiting to find out what they wanted us to do. Impressions went down a little here as it was an odd atmosphere and the area just wasn't that pleasant to be in - it was like it was a much older, cheaper cafe, not one that has only been open for a couple of months and one where you have to pay to enter! We then went through into a small area where we washed our hands and were told the rules about the cats, and then we were allowed to go through.

There are two public areas of the cafe. The ground floor is much more like a regular cheap cafe, the main difference being not so much the cats but the fact that you get to discover what it feels like to be in the zoo as all sorts of people crowd around outside the window and stare in at you and the cats and try to take their photos. The downstairs area is much nicer, but we weren't able to stay there as there were no spaces. This was another part of the problem - I can see why they've done it this way, but they don't reserve seating or tables or anything despite it being a requirement to book. This would be fine, but we were a group of eight that ended up a bit scattered about, and it would have been much nicer for us to just have a table or an area. The areas were nicely designed though, with lots of cat hidey holes and toys.

The food was...okay. I thought it was pretty expensive for what it was - you're looking at £2.80 for a cupcake, and my hot chocolate with a vegan tart ended up costing £9 which was sort of ridiculous considering how average it all was. The menu isn't at all extensive and none of it really appealed to me. They had a good selection of cakes, but as I'd already had cake that morning I wanted something savoury and there really wasn't much available. Service wasn't the friendliest either. One of the people in my group got snapped at for something she asked, which made for a very awkward atmosphere afterwards. None of the staff members seemed happy. And there was a staff member in each room who basically just observed you the entire time. I particularly remember towards the end when we found a playful cat, the entire time we were playing with it this staff member stood nearby with a very fed up expression and just stared at us. It was sort of uncomfortable. Who knew cats had bodyguards?

But that's okay right, because you're going to the cafe to see the cats and not eat the food aren't you? Well... okay, before I booked I remember thinking it was a strange choice because I have only ever known one cat that actually desired to interact with people. But then I thought that surely they would choose cats that were the overly friendly variety. Well, we were there for our two hour booking. The cats remained asleep for pretty much all of the time. Every now and then one would get up and stretch and everybody would descend on it with toys and cameras only for it to lie down again immediately. The only two times the cats were doing anything was one cat that remained sat on a window sill staring at a pigeon in the garden outside, and a couple of times the cats made a run for the door for the staff only areas. When we had ten minutes left to go we were the only people left in the cafe, and at that point one of the cats decided to start playing with us and a few others woke up too. But nowhere near the vision of friendly, happy cats that I had imagined.

Overall? Give this one a miss. My friends who absolutely loved cats were satisfied with the minimum level of cat time they got, but I was left thinking that cats were pretty much the least logical choice of cafe animal. The atmosphere is not worth the amount you pay to get in and nor is the amount of cat action you get, the food is fine but overpriced, and the staff just give a horrible atmosphere to the place. Disappointing for how unique of an idea it is, but too many things have just conspired to make this place nowhere near as good as it was supposed to be.

If you'd like to visit, you can view the website here.

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Body Shop: Early Harvest Raspberry Collection

It sure seemed like fate to me that The Body Shop were bringing out their raspberry range right around my birthday so that I had the perfect excuse to go a little bit crazy with products - especially with my free gift for being a member!

I headed off to Covent Garden at the earliest oppurtunity to try out the new products. I wasn't entirely sure how I'd feel about them - you see, raspberries are my absolute favourite fruits. I can get through a whole punnet in a matter of minutes, and do so with worrying frequency! But while I love raspberries for their taste, I wasn't sure if the scent of the Body Shop's products would catch my attention.

Unsurprisingly - they did! The new products are soooo nicely scented that it actually took me a good fifteen minutes of standing there with my friend going backwards and forwards about which one I wanted. Honestly, the body butter (£13) is probably the nicest smelling one and it does feel lovely, but I decided against it. That was definitely the one I loved the most, but I own so many body butters that I don't use all that frequently that I just couldn't justify getting it, although it is such a deliciously scented product that I'll probably return! The raspberry body lotion (£8) is probably the next nicely scented, but again, I didn't know when I'd use it. The body scrub smells great and has a nice texture to it though if I had to choose between this and the blueberry one I'd say that the blueberry one feels nicer on the skin (though of course the raspberry scent is the superior one!) The only product I didn't like, oddly, was the eau de toilette. With how much I loved the rest of the scents you'd think this would be the perfect product for me and I was so excited for it - but I didn't like it at all! There are all sorts of weird scents in it, I can't quite describe it but it smells very artificial with a noticeable amount of alcohol, so it became my least favourite of the products.

The other product available was the one I ended up buying - the shower gel! I seem to be buying slightly too many body shop shower gels lately but they just smell so nice that at £4 I can't help myself! This one is by far my favourite though, I just love everything about the scent and I can tell I'll be getting through this bottle quickly.

There is also a new peach collection - the smell was pleasant, but I found it smelled like peach yogurt rather than peaches themselves! Either way, I ended up getting this cute little peach sponge which I'm very happy with :)

Finally, not a new product at all but I finally gave in and got a fruity lip butter! I'd been putting it off for a while as I have three butters that I bought in the boxing day sales which are all still about half full, but, it's about time I had a fruitier spring/summer scent isn't it?

You can buy the raspberry collection in body shop stores or online here.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book Review: The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is, in short, the story of Don Tillman, a socially challenged genetics professor on a quest to find true love.

With the help of his only two friends, Don begins The Wife Project - the main focus of which is a very detailed questionnaire that he has created in order to find a compatible woman for him to hopefully become his lifelong partner. After numerous dating failures and the fact that he has never been on a second date, The Wife Project seemed like the perfect idea for Don, who thinks it will stop him from wasting time on incompatible people - as, in his opinion, only the person who answers his questionnaire correctly is the one for him. This stops him from wasting his energies on people like Rosie, who is a smoker, always late, a vegetarian - all of those issues that The Wife Project is designed to weed out.

However, Rosie ends up having a specialised project of her own that she needs help with that Don is more than able to assist in - and so, The Rosie Project becomes the story of the developing dynamics and relationship between the pair as they attempt to complete her quest - to find out who her real father is.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. It is entertaining, light hearted, and the character of Don is very endearing and charming. I enjoyed seeing the world through Don's eyes, constantly causing me to think about things in a different way, and I enjoyed the adventures that he ended up getting into and how he thought about them - portrayed in a way that is always different from the norm, yet perfectly logical when you think about it. Don's character is strong throughout, and for the most part so are the other characters - however towards the end I felt that Rosie's actions became very unrealistic and seemed rushed for the sake of finishing the story. I understand that the book has to come to a conclusion, but there are much better ways of going about it!

I've seen this book compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and I wouldn't really agree with this comparison - while they both are told by characters with Aspergers, I personally found The Rosie Project significantly more enjoyable. I found The Curious Incident quite irritating throughout as to me a lot of it just seemed forced in order to make some sort of point, but The Rosie Project felt much more real to me, and the characters and messages it contained were much more interesting and entertaining.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy and heartwarming tory that's a little out of the ordinary. I've had a hectic month but I found I always had time to pick up this book and read a couple of chapters despite how absolutely exhausted I've been lately, so it's also a good one if you don't have that much time to dedicate to a book!

You can order The Rosie Project through amazon, here.

Right now I'm reading The Shock of the Fall - feel free to join me on GoodReads!

Have you read The Rosie Project? What did you think?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Review: Lifehouse Spa & Hotel

  It's my birthday weekend, so I decided to spend Friday and Saturday over in Essex at the Lifehouse Spa and Hotel! Doing six day weeks with constant exams and whatever else for the last couple of months has been absolutely draining, and as this was to be a four day weekend I decided I wanted to spend it at a spa. There are so many spas available around London that it took absolutely ages to narrow it down to what I wanted, but eventually I decided that I wanted a place where the entire emphasis was on the spa and that I wanted to spend at least a night there. After many weeks of narrowing it down, off I went to Liverpool Street Station to get the train and then bus to Thorpe-le-Soken, in Essex.

  Lifehouse is an adults only health spa offering all sorts of treatments and facilities for the guests - all located within 12 acres of English heritage countryside, which ended up being one of the main reasons I ended up choosing it. The other thing that appealed to me about Lifehouse is that it's mobile phone free - you're actively encouraged to switch your phone off and keep it in your room! For me this wasn't a problem, as from the second I checked my phone in Thorpe to look up a map I discovered that I didn't have signal anyway, and didn't get it back until our bus arrived in Colchester!

  At Lifehouse you have three choices of room; you can have a contemporary, a garden, or a signature room. We chose a garden room and were really glad that we did as it offered us fantastic views of the gardens and we could hear the ducks all the time, which I loved! There was even a little sign on the windows reminding you that if you left the doors open ducks were likely to come in. Outside each room was a little table with two chairs, and I was so disappointed we didn't spend an extra day so we could have taken more advantage of having it all right there! The room was a good size and came with all the facilities you'd expect, and the bathroom was lovely as well - really good size, loved the scents of the toiletaries! Of course, the first thing we did was change into our robes and slippers which we remained in for as long as possible. By the way - the third picture down in this little set is the view from inside our room when the doors are opened!

  After this, we had a quick walk around some of the gardens, which were beautiful and varied. I'm also going to take this oppurtunity to say that I'm a bad blogger and brought the batteries for the wrong camera with me so my camera died shortly after this - so the rest of the photos will be of the grounds rather than the food etc, sorry about that! But hey, at least they're pretty. We also had a walk around the woods which was really nice, we spent probably around an hour there and it was such a nice walk - there's a part where suddenly everything becomes purple, and a couple of different water features in there which were all surprisingly varied. There were many more ground options and walks available, sadly we didn't have time to explore them but if we'd had an extra day we definitely would have. You could also hire bikes for free if you'd like to go exploring further. Sadly at the time we went you couldn't use the bikes to explore the grounds and we were in no way good enough cyclists to go on the main roads - but for those who were, you could use them to go exploring further, including to the beach! We'd have liked to have done that if we were a little more able!

  Treatments available are varied, including all sorts of massages, facials and wraps - you can also get lifestyle and nutrition consultations! There are a large amount of treatment rooms and they're all really nice, spacious rooms which are kept very clean and attractive. Our package included a 20 minute treatment which we both decided to use on back massages - mine was quite painful, but then I generally find them to be! I also bought an ESPA personalised facial which I very much enjoyed - it included a cleanse, exfoliation, facial mask and moisturiser, alongside a facial and shoulder massage and a scalp massage. At the end you get a little booklet where your therapist has labelled the problem areas of your face along with recommendations of products and a list of the products they have used on you. I really enjoyed this, the massages were really nice and my face felt really nice when we left - and still does the next day! The products are all probably way too expensive for me to continue using, but hopefully the facial has given me a bit of a kick start anyway.

  There are plenty of group classes available at the spa - we did a meditation class which actually worked for me better than I thought it would (but made my friend go insane with boredom) and a yoga class. There were plenty of other options like zumba and step aerobics but we didn't have time for these! The exercise studio is a good size and attractive and the instructors were of a good standard. The spa facilities themselves were also good, and they were never too busy which was something I worried about. There's a hydro pool which was definitely my favourite part although it was seemingly random in the order that it did things! There's a swimming pool which was of a good size, a cool plunge pool (unsurprisingly no one appeared to spend more than about a second considering this one), a sauna, a steam room, and a salt inhalation room. I enjoyed all of the latter three but unfortunately didn't really have enough time to dedicate to them! There's also a small gym, which I didn't use!

  Our package included a two course dinner at the restaurant - honestly, disappointed! The restaurant itself was really pretty but I didn't enjoy either of my courses so left feeling pretty hungry! I had the soup of the day and a mushroom and mozarella carbonara which I loved the sound of as it's basically a combination of my favourite foods but just didn't enjoy. It also included a breakfast buffet which was really good - I mostly went with typical full English breakfast foods which were all really tasty, along with some bread and fruit which again were very nice. For lunch we headed to the cafe and juice bar, where I had a nice juice and then cancelled everything out with a delicious chocolate cake! There was a buffet option there as well which looked really good but we had mostly run out of money by that point!

  Overall, we had a good time at the spa. There are so many facilities and things to do there and the entire place seems so peaceful - there's all sorts of different lovely scents in the corridors and of course there's something about being able to spend as much of your day as possible just wearing a robe that seems to make it so much better! We wish we could have spent an extra day there and did actually enquire as we were checking out if we could have another day in a garden room as we didn't appreciate it enough but unfortunately the price was way too expensive as the prices are higher on a Saturday! We got there 3pm on Friday and left at 3pm on Saturday and our time was basically filled the entire time - ideally we'd have had two nights because there was so much more we wanted to do, just sitting on our little garden table, exploring more of the grounds, and spending more time in the hydro pool and swimming pool! We stayed on the Love Life break which includes an overnight stay, dinner, breakfast, a 20 minute treatment, your robe and slippers and full use of the facilities. I'd recommend going if you'd like a proper spa stay at a much better price than you'll find anywhere else around London - but if you're like us and want to do lots of different things, if you can, stay for two nights! You can view the website and book your stay here.


Friday, 18 April 2014

My Celebrity Style Favourite: Taylor Swift

Today I wanted to share some outfits of my current favourite celebrity style inspiration; Taylor Swift. I suppose unusually for a celebrity style crush, it's Taylor's casual/candid outfits I'm in love with. Despite them normally being my favourites for other celebrities I find her red carpet style a little bland, but her casual tastes are absolutely spot on. So with that being said, here's a little glance at some of my favourite looks of Taylor's...
Taylor somehow manages to look great even when she's just going to the gym - something I most definitely do not even try to do! I really like the contrast of the oversized top with the smaller shorts and I think she manages to look really cute in what could otherwise be quite a lazy outfit.

I really like how Taylor manages to put together some seemingly contrasting outfits to make such a pretty outfit. I love how this outfit stands out so much yet looks really simple at the same time. I'm also super jealous of her ability to make that hat look cute, especially with her hair - I look tragic with a hat on, making it extra unfortunate that I have to wear one as part of my uniform!

But it's this outfit that has to be my favourite of Taylor's. Again, I like how she manages to combine so many colours and styles and yet it doesn't look over the top at all. I'm a fan of dresses and tops with contrasting colours and patterns but I'm nowhere near brave enough to try and create a complete outfit with such difference - if I did I would undoubtedly look ridiculous! 

What do you think of Taylor's style?


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Lunch at the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie

On Sunday I headed over to Chelsea Harbour for a set lunch at Chelsea Riverside Brasserie. I arrived an hour early because I wanted a chance to have a little explore and ended up finding a bench to sit on, giving me the above view of the Thames! It was a nice and peaceful place to have a watch of the river, until suddenly a group of fifty or so canoes rowed on past - still not entirely sure what that was about!

Above is a view of the boats in the harbour - and of the hotel and restaurant itself! That big building in the left is the Grand Chelsea Harbour Hotel, and if you can just about see some giant umbrellas on the first level - that's the brasserie! It was a nice little area, very pleasant to be in, and personally I think the hotel and surrounding apartments are really nice to look at as well. I was surprised the boats were a little dull though - when I lived in Sardinia I used to love going and looking at what boats had docked up that day as they were usually these enormous extremely expensive things (I once found one that cost at least three times my house) and I assumed Chelsea would have the equally expensive ones, seemingly being London's land of the Lamborghini - but never mind!

The hotel itself was really nice as well. I absolutely love the interior of it. It's large and spread out but really really beautiful. The inside of the restaurant was equally attractive, with lots of giant paintings all over the place - on the walls and in the dividers! I really liked it, it was so bright and pretty. You can tell the hotel is a pricey one from the second you walk in but it's not at all overly posh. I was worried the restaurant would be a little stuffy due to location but it was actually very relaxed and chilled out, and it was a nice place to spend time.

Due to the weather, we were seated outside. This was a little hasty - it looked bright and sunny but it was so cold! It made for great photos, if you ignored the fact that by the half way point most of us had our coats on because it was just too chilly to be sitting there without. Okay - on with the food!

Starter - Heirloom tomato tart
I'd gone out wanting a healthy meal, and so I definitely felt like I was off to the right start with this tart! It tasted lovely and fresh and you could tell the ingredients were of good quality. The other options were a crumbed fish cake (which I am told was lovely!) and a pea and smoked ham soup - None of us went for the soup, though honestly this was the most appealing to me, I just have a habit of being super slow with my soups so decided to spare everybody else some time!

Main - Freshly caught seared gurnard fillet
I am an absolute lover of fish. I sometimes feel bad that no matter where we go, I will probably order fish if it is on the menu. And, being on the riverside, it seemed wrong to choose anything else, so fish it was! I was a little disappointed with this option though. The most healthy, sure, but it wasn't at all filling and I didn't really feel like I was getting the value for money. It was all a little bland, and it did not escape my attention that the people choosing the other options seemed to get triple the amount I did - their meals were at least double the size of mine and also came with a side of potatoes. Hmm. The other options were beef bourguinon (everyone who had this spoke very very highly of it!) and a wild mushroom risotto.

Dessert - Apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream
None of us seemed overly impressed with the desserts, though I think I got the luckiest choice! My tart was enjoyable enough, though I wouldn't order it again - I have nothing much to say on it as it was just basically okay! A few people had the sticky toffee pudding and were really disappointed with it as it was basically just a pudding with a grand total of three drops of toffee. The other option was a Belgian chocolate truffle mousse, which none of us took.

Honestly? Disappointed.

The area was lovely. The hotel was lovely. The brasserie was lovely. The meal and experience itself? Eh...

Okay, the service was friendly. The waiters were all very nice, polite and helpful. But service was really slow! I will support the brasserie and point out that there were eight of us so if you went as a pair or with a smaller group you'd probably have a better time of it, but really there was no excuse for it to be that slow - I'd booked six weeks in advance so it wasn't like we surprised them and the restaurant wasn't even a quarter full. It took an hour for our starters to come out, and our meal that started at 1:30 didn't finish until 4:00. Okay, I did go out wanting a relaxed Sunday lunch, but the portions were much too small to have us take that long there!

I found the food disappointing as well. The food wasn't bad, it was just okay. There's nothing more detailed I can put about it really - it all seemed very ordinary to me, which I was disappointed by as I'd wanted to go the brasserie for such a long time. I didn't really feel like I got good value for money at all and as I left I was already contemplating where I could go for more food! 

I'd still recommend you visit - but not for the food, unfortunately. It's really a lovely little location and on a sunny day it would be perfect, but based on my experience I can't honestly recommend the food to you as I just don't think it offers the value. However, I would recommend you go there if you'd like a glass of wine with something light, or if you'd like cocktails! The food was disappointing to me so I wouldn't return for that, but the setting was great - I imagine a cocktail there or at the ajoining harbour bar & terrace would be lovely!

You can view and book the Chelsea Riverside Brasserie here. The food reviewed was part of their set menu of £30 for three courses and a prosecco, a main course from their regular a la carte menu averages around £25 and can be viewed online!


Monday, 14 April 2014

All About... Yoga!

I've been doing yoga and pilates once a week for a few months now, and I thought it was about time I made a little post about what exactly the two are, the different styles available, considerations, and what I consider the benefits to be. I'm soon to start some new fitness classes, so it's about time I made a little post about the impact (if any!) these classes have had on me. I'm going to start with yoga in this post, as it's the most popular of the two, and if there's interest then I'll put up the second on pilates :)

Yoga is an ancient practice, traditionally combining physical, mental, and spiritual practices in order to attain a peace of mind in order to experience one's true self. Though this sounds a little bit silly, this was actually my main reason for deciding to try yoga - I'd been in a negative place for quite a while, nothing seemed to be working, and so I decided why not try the practice that is supposed to help restore peace of mind? I went into the experience pretty doubtfully because it all did sound rather silly to me, but hey, I was willing to give anything a try at that point.

For those wary of exercise, yoga is very much a different approach. For starters, when you enter your yoga studio you are likely to find the other participants all in there just lying on their backs with their eyes closed whilst they wait for the class to start. Some of the classes I have tried have even been with all of the lights off with the exception of a cluster of small fairy lights! It is also by no means competitive in any way - you are encouraged to simply achieve what you can. If you cannot do something, or do not want to do something, then nobody is going to try to make you.

Types of Yoga
There are several different types of yoga, and if you're interested in trying then it's recommended that you try a few until you find one that works best for you. The first form I tried was Hatha yoga, which is quite slow paced and based more around relaxing stretches with more meditation. And, I'll be honest, I hated it. I found it annoying. I remember having to roll around on my back whilst people around me made strange breathing noises that just irritated me, and I remember us doing 'laughing yoga' which is basically where everyone forces laughter for a couple of minutes! I found the teacher to be infuriating and the whole thing actually had the reverse experience for me, because I ended up thinking of all sorts of negative things out of irritation. However, if you are someone who prefers meditative experiences and slower movement, then perhaps Hatha is the one for you - and I'll add that despite my irritation throughout, I did feel better afterwards! On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Ashtanga yoga, which is fast flowing and physically demanding. My housemate really enjoys this one as she gets a good workout from it - but it's not really for me. There are of course many more fulfilling different needs in the middle, and my personal choice is probably one that any yogi will hate me for - I really enjoy my freestyle yoga class. The instructor takes aspects from the different styles and mixes them together, giving me a combination of slower breathing stretches and more physically demanding ones, with a little bit of meditation mixed in. Personally this class works really well for me as I don't get bored and I get both a workout and a bit of a break.

On which note - don't worry too much about the stretches. I'm not really flexible at all and I'm usually inbetween two people who seem to be able to just go into any pose with no effort whatsoever - I also always find someone to catch my eye and have a giggle with when we're both trying desperately to get our leg to move where it's supposed to go or someone to smile at when they manage to lose their balance and go head first into the mat! I know my friends are worried about not being able to do the stretches and - well, you probably won't be able to at first! But there's always different levels for each stretch and most instructors will explain them to you. I'm perfectly happy doing the lowest ability levels, I'm usually in the minority in the class doing them but I never feel judged for them and they work for me which is what matters!

At this point, I can't really say that yoga has massively improved my flexibility, but it's very early days. I can say that it is beneficial for my health in several ways - my mental health does feel more stable, and I look forward to it each week. And if nothing else, I will make excuses after a long day of work to not go to the gym - as yoga is a little bit lighter, it's much harder to find an excuse to get out of it, so I'll always go to my class unless I'm sick! I find it fun, and relaxing yet challenging at the same time, and I enjoy this about it. I'm going on a spa retreat soon and one of the things I'm actually most looking forward to whilst there is taking my friend to his first yoga class because it's something I think will really benefit him!

Want to Try?
Yoga is available pretty much everywhere right now. I do live in a very yummy mummy part of London, and off the top of my head there are at least three gyms that do it and at least three dedicated yoga studios. I can also think of several in the surrounding towns, and there are inevitably loads more that I don't even know about! Unfortunately, because it has become a bit of a trendy thing to do, it's not at all cheap. As I stated above, unless you know exactly what style it is you're going to enjoy, I would really recommend shopping around a bit first and not signing up to anything that is basically a course in one particular style of yoga - if you don't like it, then that's going to put you off spending any more time trying any other variants! I simply do mine at my local gym - it's the most cost effective option by far for me, and they have six different styles on offer there so I'm able to mix it up easily enough. Most yoga studios will specialise in exclusively one or two styles, but give them a try if they're not going to insist you sign up for a bulk package straight away! You can also find yoga starting at all hours - I do mine in the evening because unfortunately the gym's morning sessions are either way too early or would be a massive rush to get to work afterwards, but I think it would be a great thing to do at any time!

If it's too expensive for you, there are plenty of websites available offering you yoga poses for free. I'd personally recommend that you attend a class first to be able to get you more into the feel for it, personally I am nowhere near as committed when given a series of stretches on a website, but if that's something that works for you then go for it - my local park is always filled with people doing yoga stretches in it now that the weather is getting warmer! Have a look around and give it a try, whether it's for your mental health, your flexibility, your relaxation or just because you're interested, I know a lot of people are curious so why not try it?

What do you think of yoga? And would you be interested in a similar post, but focused on Pilates?
PS. All of the images in this post belong to Ursula Le Guin - unfortunately, none were taken or edited in any way by myself!

Friday, 11 April 2014

TAG: The Beauty Scenario Tag

It's been a little while since I've done a tag post, and I thought this tag that I found on Natalie's blog was a great idea! I'm not going to tag anyone, but feel free to tag yourself and link me to it if you do it! 

1. You have to get rid of all your foundations and you can only keep one high end and one drugstore, which do you keep?
I actually don't really wear foundation, so already I'm off to a bad start with this tag! I only own drugstore foundations which I sort of switch between, but right now I'm wearing Loreal's Infallible powder and it seems to be working for me, so I guess I'd just keep that!

2. You go for an interview and the lady interviewing you has lipstick on her teeth. Do you approach the subject or ignore it completely? 
I would ignore it entirely. Well, that's not technically true - I would no doubt be unable to resist the urge to just stare at it throughout the interview! But I'd still keep it a secret from her and then deny all knowledge if she later found out about it!

3. You're not feeling yourself and need a pick me up. Which lipstick do you put on to make yourself feel beautiful?
I don't wear lipstick! Or any coloured lip products really. So to give an answer that somewhat fits with the question, my current go to lip product is the Body Shop's coconut lip butter!

4. You go back in time for a day to your teenage years, how would you do your hair and makeup differently?
I was a goth so there are many many things I'd do differently, haha. So, for make up I had black lipstick and neon coloured eyeshadow. And actually, I don't totally regret that at all! I probably looked ridiculous but it was fun and I was happy with that, especially with the neon eyeshadows - I was pretty young when I started buying the higher end eyeshadow because they were the only brands that came in the bright colours that I wanted, so I got pretty good at doing rainbow effects quite early on. I had fun with that, so I don't regret it at all, but I'm sure the black lipstick was a bad look so I should probably have got rid of that! 

For my hair...Well, I used to dye it reds and gingers a lot and that really suited me, but then one day I dyed it purple and I HATED it. I gave it about two hours and then went to a hairdresser. The only thing they could do for me was to dye it 'dark brown' which was actually jet black, and of course there was no getting rid of that! It was horrible, it didn't really suit me, and it took SO LONG to grow out and was of course very very obvious at each stage of growth. If I did it again I would try to keep the purple a bit longer because I would probably have gotten used to it, and if not I'd have gone for any colour but black to try and cover it up!

5. You ask your hairdresser for a shoulder length Pixie Lott hair cut, but they hear wrong and give you a pixi cut. Do you a) Smile, say thank you, leave and call your mum hysterical b) Cry in the chair and things get awkward or c) Complain to the manager and demand a refund.
I can tell you for a fact that I would awkwardly smile and say thank you and then burst into tears the second I walked through my door. I really hate having my hair cut anyway, I find the whole experience a bit awkward and I don't really like looking in the mirror so I spend the whole time trying to work out where to look. I've tried once before to explain to a hairdresser what I actually wanted, but he was a douche about it so I just quietly nodded and went home and cried - then went to another hairdresser the next day to save it! Naturally, that first hairdresser was the most expensive haircut I've ever had too.

6. Your friend surprises you with a 4 day city break and you have 1 hour to pack. Which 'do it all' palette do you pack in your makeup bag?

I would go for Sleek's Au Naturel pallette, as that's lots of naturals that look good with anything!

7. Your house has been robbed, don't worry everyone is safe, but your beauty stash has been raided. What's the product you really hope is safe? 
My Body Shop Vitamin E moisturiser! Okay, it's not expensive and I could get another one easily - but my skin has issues with moisturisers and that's the only one that works for me!

8. Your friend borrows your makeup and returns it in awful condition. Do you a) Just pretend you haven't noticed b) Ask them to repurchase it or c) Secretly do the same to something of theirs.
If it was mild, I'd ignore it. If it was in awful condition, I'd feel no shame about asking them to repurchase it!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Film Review: Divergent

Before I start this review, I should tell you where I'm coming from; I first saw a trailer for the Divergent movie about a year ago and thought it looked absolutely awful and had a silly plot. Then, a few months ago I read the book and surprised myself by discovering that I absolutely loved it to a stupid extent, finding myself reading it at every opportunity - including whilst waiting for my yoga classes to start! I watched the trailer again after the book and STILL thought it looked bad, but wanted to watch it purely out of my love for the book.

So how was it?

Well... I really liked it! To start with, I thought the actor choices were spot on, with the exception of for Peter; absolutely no idea what they were thinking there, but then I could say that about pretty much every other aspect of his character which was a shame. Shailene was a good choice for Tris, Zoe was great as Christina, and the most important one for me? Theo was absolutely perfect as Four. Okay, I don't normally lust over actors, really, I don't! But this was sort of an important one for me as whilst reading the book I absolutely loved how the developing relationship between the two was described and loved finding out more about me. I had a total schoolgirl crush on Four and I genuinely don't remember the last time I felt that in a book. (Okay, I'm lying. Draco Malfoy, but only in the first book. Shut up. I was 11.) Seeing the pictures of Theo on the sides of the buses at the moment just saddened me as he didn't capture the character of Four how I'd expected - but in motion, he very definitely does. Gorgeous and has the character down perfectly.

I also felt that the plot was true to the book, for the most part. I'd say the first half of the movie I found really accurate and I was really happy with how they'd portrayed things. There were a few things that were changed, and with the exception of the ending which I thought was much better (I hardly even remember the ending of the book and I only read it a few weeks ago, that's how dull I found it) I generally thought it was for the worst, but that didn't ruin the movie for me in any way, I just found it a little disappointing. I would also say that not enough time was spent developing the relationships between the characters; In the books Tris, Christina, Will and Al are a big part and you enjoy seeing how they do. In the movie, the same events happen as in the book but without any of the closeness or the building up of the characters, so you lose a lot of the impact because you just don't really care about the characters. In the books you do, but in the movies you see the other three for about two minutes in the entire movie so when anything happens to them you sort of don't care because you haven't really seen them before.

Visually, I thought the movie was great; the world looks great, the wall looks great, the fairground looks great, the factions look great - very happy with all of that! The only exception for me is Dauntless' main area which I thought was disappointing and bare. It sort of looked like an empty room for me, even the famous drop off seemed like an afterthought! The rest of it looked great though. I also can't say I was a fan of the soundtrack, but it didn't really take away from the movie at least.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie but am glad I read the book first as it allowed me to have a much better understanding of things and also made me care a little bit more about what happened to some of the more minor characters. I thought it moved well, was exciting throughout, had the action well spread out and was just interesting to watch. I really enjoyed it! It's also worth mentioning that I went with a friend who knew literally nothing about the books or the plot and was there purely because I wanted to go - he enjoyed it as well, though he needed a bit about the end explaining to him because the movie really doesn't explain what's going on! If you were a fan of the books I would recommend you see the movie as I feel it does do it justice, and if you didn't read them, I'd still recommend you see it!

If you're interested in reading my review of the book, you can do so here :)
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