Sunday 25 November 2012

DIY: Dip dye customised shorts

What you will need:
- Pair of shorts (they don't have to be a specific brand/type, mine are simply Papaya from Matalan and cost me about £4 from Ebay)
- Fabric Dye in 2 different colours (I used Dylon, but other brands would be fine too)
- A bowl to dye the fabric in (I used my flatmates, which was just a washing up bowl that she bought specifically for dying in)
- Warm water (packet said 500ml, but I just improvised)
- Salt

To begin with, make sure your shorts are quite damp and then decide what colour you want to do on the bottom, as I did the bottom first. I decided to use this one:
Dylon Burlesque Red - £2.99 - sold in most fabric stores
I filled my bowl up just under half way with warm water, like I stated earlier, the packet says to use 500ml but I'm not one for following instructions so I just judged it myself. Add about a tablespoon of salt (this is supposedly to make the colour stick to the fabric better) and then sprinkle in some of the dye. Just enough so that the water turns a deep colour, then stir for a good 10 minutes. 

Once the concoction is mixed and of a rich colour, decide how far up you want the colour to go and simply dip in your shorts up to that point. Keep your shorts dipped in the dye for about 20 minutes/half an hour, if you don't want to stand there for that long then somehow lean the shorts over the bowl so that they won't drop in and then you can go about your normal business until they are ready.

After that time, take out your shorts and rinse with cold water until they water begins to go clear. This took me some time, I would recommend rinsing for about 10 minutes at least. After this, wring them out a bit so they aren't dripping wet. At this point you need to either dispose of the dye you've used or store it in a bottle or tub if you intend to use it again, but I wouldn't personally store it for a long time.

You then need to wash out your bowl and repeat the first process but this time with your second colour (the colour you want the top of the shorts to be). I used this one:

Dylon Velvet Black - £2.99
Decide how far you want the colour to go and then dip in your shorts, top first so that the already dyed part is out of the liquid. Again, leave them for a good 20/30 minutes and then repeat the rinsing process.

Once this is done, you will need to leave them to dry. I left mine overnight, however be sure to check them from time to time as mine burnt slightly in some places. I found that it added to the effect of my shorts but this might not be the look you desire so make sure you keep your eye on them. Bear in mind that the shorts will be slightly brighter when dry so the look you get straight after dying might not necessarily be the end result.

When my shorts were dry, I customised them further by adding studs. You can add these in whatever design you wish, I just improvised again. I bought my studs from here. Mine are 10mm Gunmetal studs:

I added these around the pockets and sides of the front of the shorts and put 3 on the back pockets too. You simply just push the spikes of the stud through the desired spot and fold over the spikes at the back to add them to your shorts.

I would advise hand washing, at least for the first few washes, to be sure that the colours don't run. Studs also tend to be quite temperamental in the wash to so its better to just wash them in the sink anyway.

But there you have it, your own customised shorts. These babies are going like wildfire on Ebay at the minute, along with other DIY items, so bear that in mind if you have the equipment lying about and are in need of a few extra pennies coming up to Christmas!

Friday 23 November 2012

Frank Turner: O2 Academy Leeds, 12/11/2012

Frank Turner is a man of many talents. Once a member of hardcore punk band Million Dead, Frank successfully made the transition from one genre to another, both at opposite ends of the music spectrum.While his roots are still obvious, through his lyrics and the atmosphere/energy of his performances, he now sits comfortably at the folk/acoustic end of this 'spectrum'. With his trusty backing band, The Sleeping Souls, Frank embarked on a tour of the UK at the beginning of November, and on the 12th, this tour ascended on the O2 Academy, Leeds:

Support came from Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun and Tim Barry. The first of which, weren't particularly my cup of tea but they went down well and seemed to warm the crowd up considerably while people took their places ready for the headline act. Tim Barry on the other hand was mesmerising. I had never heard of him before the gig, but was pleasantly surprised after hearing his set. Much like Frank, Tim was once the front-man of a punk band, and now tries his hand at more folksy-acoustic music. Also like Frank, he does this extremely well. His songs are humorous and stimulating, especially Dog Bumped, which was a personal highlight for me.

The academy didn't take long to fill up, and a quick scan around the room made it evident that Frank Turner appeals to a large range of people. From teenagers to the middle aged, everyone was ready and in good spirits....some more than others! When Frank appeared on stage, the reception was epic. I Am Disappeared, was the opener and a great way to kick start the gig. The faces of people in the crowd beamed as the devoted fans yelled every lyric back to Frank with the same enthusiasm he delivered to them. I have to admit, I'm not the most devoted fan by any means, but one of the things I love about the songs of Frank Turner is that, you can listen to one that you've never heard and a minute in, you've grasped the chant-like chorus and its suddenly your favourite song. A highlight for me was The Road. One of my favourite songs anyway, but as its a song about being on tour and feeling free, hearing it played live on his tour, really put it into perspective.

Another thing I adore about Frank is that some of his songs are extremely relaxing and light-hearted, while others are edgy and fast-paced - but no matter the pace or point of his songs, every single one is uplifting and motivational. One that particularly emphasises this is Reasons Not To Be An Idiot. The energy throughout this song from both Frank, The Sleeping Souls and the fans was second to none. Turner has an inspiring ability to bring a whole venue of complete strangers together in unity. Though the crowd are alien to one another, a glance around during one of Frank's choruses just shows that they are all united in their love for such a talented artist.

Frank premiered a new song later on in the main set - Anymore - a simple song, just him, his guitar and some emotional yet beautiful lyrics. Being the big softy I am, this song moved me to tears and was actually the most memorable part of the gig for me. A prime example of what an amazing songwriter Frank really is.

I Still Believe marked the end of the main set, before Frank and the band returned for my favourite song, If Ever I Stray, which got a brilliant reception. A real crowd pleaser, due to its chant-like chorus and catchy lyrics, the fans lapped it up. Frank played fan-favourite Photosynthesis, before a brilliant finishing performance of Dan's Song. In which he took to crowd surfing, and subsequently disappeared for 5 minutes amongst the fans while they basked in his company. He finally returned to stage somewhat dishevelled and missing a shoe, but still smiling and thankful for the loyalty and adoration of his fans.

Overall, the gig was amazing, as expected. Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls delivered a gig, which was up there with the best of the best. I exited the venue with a smile on my face and a new favourite artist. After the gig, I actually met Frank and this point was just reiterated. Clearly dazed and recovering from his epic gig, he still found the time to pose for pictures and meet his fans waiting outside. Frank Turner truly is, a wonderful artist and a wonderful human being and I for one, can't wait to see him tour again.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint

As a self confessed nail geek, its virtually impossible for me to go in Boots or Superdrug without coming out with at least one new nail varnish. I am by no means a great nail artist, in fact I'm quite the opposite - where others spend their time carefully painting on their polish, I tend to whack it on in any which way and spend the time neatening them up with a cotton bud instead. For this reason I like polishes with a thick consistency and quick drying time. Collection 2000 Hot Looks are my usual favourites due to their cheap price and fantastic quality, and therefore I generally buy them in bulk!

However, I'm quite partial to a Barry M Nail Paint every now and then, and their new Gelly Hi-Shine range caught my eye. There are a range of colours, and they promise to be thick and shiny - which is why I like the Hot Look range, because they are exactly that. I think this range is supposed to give the same finish as you would expect from a Shellac manicure so, at £3.99, you can't really go wrong. With this in mind, I decided to try them out and picked up a few different colours.

The three shades I bought from L-R: Plum, Prickly Pear and Pomegranate

The one I tried first was Pomegranate, I started out with a Natural Collection clear coat to make sure my nails didn't stain, as its quite a bright vibrant shade. After one coat, my nails were covered, the polish is nice and thick so I knew it wouldn't take many coats, however I applied a second just to complete the look. I finished with another coat of my Natural Collection clear polish, which was just force of habit, but I probably didn't need it. The hi-shine finish was fantastic and visibly more glossy than a regular polish, giving the illusion of a Shellac nail. The shade was beautiful, a really deep pink, but not too tacky, and the polish its-self dried in seconds. To add to this, I found that the polish was a lot more resistant to chipping than others, and therefore lasted longer, even with work and uni everyday, any chips were barely noticeable.

I can't wait to try the other colours in the range and would definitely recommend them to others. A bargain at £3.99 and a fantastic cheaper alternative to Shellac. Definite must-have for nail geeks like me!

Scarbados Shenanigans!

Since the beginning of this year, I have been counting down the days til my holidays. By holidays I mean my week in Scarborough with my two best pals, not by any means exotic, but staying in a place I love, with two people I adore is my idea of an awesome time.

Well last week the time finally came and after months of being apart, me and my bestests, Hannah & Jade finally got to catch up when we went to stay with Jade in her house in Scarborough for a week. For days before I'd spent my time cursing the weather for unleashing its torrential rain right before I was due to go to the coast, however as I left for the train station, the sun was beaming and I was beyond excited!

I got on the train in Leeds where I met 'our' Hannah and after some confusion about our seat reservations we just slouched in any old random seat and caught up on each others lives since we left Huddersfield. Our resident barbie, Jade, picked us both up from the station and drove us to her lovely little seaside home. Gotta admit though, it was so weird seeing Jade drive, but she's a right little cruiser really! As for her lovely little seaside was adorable! So homely and just as predicted her room is fit for a princess - pretty, pink and cosy.

As I'm already a lover of Scarbados, I knew what the place was like but as Hannah hadn't visited before, the first thing we did was go on a little walk down the seafront to show her what she'd been missing out on. Anybody would think that as Jade lived in Scarborough, she would be fed up of the tourists and holiday-makers, but she was in fact quite the opposite, and relished the opportunity to show us the sights and souvenirs of her home town. We began our day by embarking on the exciting adventure that was a journey on an open-top bus - a first for me! The sun was shining and the beach was full of families, so we took the opportunity to visit some shops.

Me & Jadey on the open-top bus on the way into Scarborough

With all the excitement, me and the girls were exhausted and melting from the heat, so we decided to cool down with an ice-cream from the infamous Harbour Bar. And lets face it, its just impossible for me to visit Scarborough and not have my favourite - a lemon-top ice-cream.

One of the best things about the Yorkshire Coast - lemon-top ice-creams!
After we'd stuffed our faces, we visited some more souvenir shops. This is one of my favourite things about the sea-side - the utter rubbish you can spend your money on. The bracelets/key-rings and personalised mugs, depicting how much you <3 Scarborough, are a complete waste of money in hindsight, but a great way to remember your visit in years to come. With that in mind, we bought a bracelet each, in different colours, 'friendship bracelets' if you like, because to be frank, we're sad like that!

After an exhausting but lovely day in the sun, we headed back to the open-top bus and went back to Jade's abode. We were all aching and tired out from the sea-air but it was nice to be back, watching Coronation Street and feeding on a feast of pizza fingers and smilies, courtesy of Jade's dad, who works for McCains and therefore, they have an endless supply of treats.

On Tuesday we had a nice little lie in and then went back into Scarborough, for the compulsory sea-side dinner at the Harbour View cafe (Jade's boyfriends family cafe.) And, I have to say, it was the best chippy dinner, I have ever had, without a doubt. We met Jade's boyfriends family, who were really welcoming and friendly, I will definitely be re-visiting for another epic dinner!

Best fish and chips, you'll ever eat!

We then burned off the massive 'scran' (a Hannah term) by walking the long way down the beach to the Sea-life centre. The beach was packed and it was our first opportunity to get on the sands and paddle in the sea. However, it slightly put a dampner on events, when I thought I was extremely clever and marched down the beach steps into a pool of seaweed - which at first glance looked like a few weeds, nothing to be bothered about...

....That was until I stepped into it and went in above my knees...meaning I had to walk to rest of the beach with soggy shoes stinking of seaweed. Not my brightest hour! With that aside, we carried on down the beach and enjoyed the sun and sand.

Colourful chalets defining Scarborough beach

I sincerely want a turtle...

We arrived at the Sea-life centre, extremely excited and spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the sea creatures before returning to Jade's and enjoying a gorgeous curry cooked by Jadey herself.

Jade being a pro-chef
On our final day in Scarborough, Jade drove us into York. York is a really beautiful place, even more so when visited with your two best friends. We spent the day shopping and taking in the beautiful sights such as The Shambles and the petite and quirky boutiques that adorn the centre of York. I was in a bit of a huff as I was due to get paid two days later and therefore couldn't spend much money, but I didn't let it put a downer on the day.

The Shambles
John Bull sweet-shop

The one thing I did purchase was something I'd been looking for, for ages, a vintage army jacket - much like the ones being abused by fashion lovers at the minute. However mine wasn't a £48 TopShop special - it was the real thing, complete with patches and badges and perfect for customising - for, wait for it........£5! Hannah persuaded the market-trader to let me have it for peanuts and my day was made! We saw Jamie Oliver's restaurant and visited the Disney store, where Jade was in her element and then headed to Wetherspoons for some food and the essential when visiting any 'Spoons - a chocolate fudge cake!

If I could marry a cake...
Later that night, we got dolled up, had our usual half a bottle of cider or Lambrini (ever so classy). And Jade showed us the night-life of Scarborough. It wasn't particularly busy but it was nice to be on a night out together again, skanking to Sean Paul and chanting Blue Moon - the three musketeers were back on top form! But as we headed home, the blues were kicking in over the fact we were leaving tomorrow.

The next day, we got up and had dinner, before dropping Hannah off at the train station as her train back to Manchester was before mine. We said our goodbyes and then me and Jade went back to hers to chill for a while before my train. That was until I got out my train ticket half an hour before I was due to set off, only to realise I'd got the wrong tickets and accidentally got my return for the day after instead. Panic set in as Jade was due to go to work later that afternoon and I had to be back in Wakefield for work the next day. Luckily Jade was nice enough to let me stay at her house while she went to work, and I arranged to get a coach back to Castleford the next day at 7AM. I spent the day relaxing and even took the chance to have the best bubble bath I've ever encountered in Jade's posh bath (which she still brings up now...). When Jade got home from work we went to sleep ready for our early start the next morning.

When I got on the coach the next morning I was upset to leave but found solace in the fact that it wouldn't be long before we were back in Huddersfield living life to the fullest (or knitting and watching Coronation Street at least!). It was one of the best weeks I've had and can't wait to do the same next year (hint hint Jade!). Holidays with your friends are the best kind....even if it is only North Yorkshire! Viva Scarbados!

(Photos courtesy of Hannah Hutton & Jade Wrigglesworth)