Wednesday 18 September 2013

I Wish: Urban Outfitters

So lately I've been ridiculously skint, and even though student loans are due next week as well as is my rent, meaning I'm likely to stay penniless for quite some time. 

Therefore I can't go on my usual "FUCK YEAH ITS LOAN DAY, LETS SPEND IT ALL NOW!" shopping spree :( 

So instead, to fulfil my need to online shop, whenever I get the urge to buy something, I'm just going to post a wishlist and not actually buy them. 
That way, you lot can buy them and I can live vicariously through you! 

All these items are from Urban Outfitters, which is one of my absolute favourite shops. I would kill to be able to go into the Leeds store and spend about £200 like I normally do on loan days! But nevermind.

These are just a few of my favourite things from there at the minute.

1. / 2. / 3.
I really like tartan print and own quite a few items adorned with it, but I like how relaxed and comfy both the shirt and the dress look. 
One of the reasons I love UO is because their prints are beautiful, and while I have dresses and leggings from there, I've yet to own a skirt - this could be the one!

4. / 5. / 6.
I absolutely love turtles, and I have another turquoise turtle pendant from UO so it'd be nice to own this one too! 
I've seen this watch loads of times and have been eyeing it up for ages, I love the map on the face.

7. / 8.
I've got a bit of a thing for fairy lights at the moment but my cheap Poundstretcher and Dunelm ones have just about seen their full potential so I need to upgrade to something a bit more girly like this. 
The hipflask is actually on my birthday list, so hopefully if I've been a good enough girl, I might just get it? Fingers crossed!

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Arctic Monkeys - AM

Arctic Monkeys have been one of my favourite bands since 2006, when my dad reluctantly lent me his copy of Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Of course, I'm extremely biased, as they hail from God's own back garden, Yorkshire, like me. But that aside, I think they're fantastic and like many other fans, I have been patiently awaiting the release of their fifth album, for almost 2 years.

When they burst onto the music scene with their triumphantly successful first album, they were just shy adolescent boys that most of the country, let alone the world, could barely understand - five albums later and they are arguably one of the biggest bands in the world at the minute, with a hugely dedicated fan-base.

Over the last year, Arctic Monkeys have cleverly teased fans, rationing them almost, by drip-feeding new material and live performances bit by bit. The release of R U Mine? back in February 2012 sparked early excitement for the new album, showcasing not only a sharp new look, but also an interesting and incredibly appealling new sound for the band. Their next single Do I Wanna Know? was released early this year, ahead of their amazing headlining set at Glastonbury, which reminded us just what it is we love about Arctic Monkeys.

(Image found @

A few months later and we finally have what we've been so eagerly anticipating, their fifth studio album, AM. On first listen it is apparent that those mere adolescents who introduced us to I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor have grown up a hell of a lot; presenting us with an edgier and much more matured sound. Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, who collaborated with Arctic Monkeys on this record, describes it as "a really cool, sexy, after-midnight album" and you can certainly understand his point as there is something undeniably cool about this album. The album opens with Do I Wanna Know? -  a single that I personally have over-played this Summer, because of its catchy beat and dirty sounding riffs. Following this is last year's hit, R U Mine?. I love both of these songs but I have to admit, opening with 2 big tracks like this, obviously leaves the rest of the album with a lot to live up to.

Like most albums, there are some tracks that I instantly liked, and others I wasn't so sure of, but after a few listens some of those songs have grown on me. Personal highlights for me include Knee Socks, I Want It All and Snap Out Of It - three of the faster songs on the album. The band had many different influences during the production of this album, from Black Sabbath to OutKast. While these are at opposite sides of the music spectrum, they have helped Arctic Monkeys create an album that contrasts sounds of rock and hip-hop. As mentioned earlier they had one particular collaborator who helped to nurture this sound, the only man who could ever make being ginger cool as fuck, Josh Homme. He is reported to have worked specifically on One For The Road and Knee Socks but I find his influence to be apparent in many of the songs. Badass QOTSA-esque harmonies and riffs accompanied by Alex Turner's kitchen-sink lyrics and broad Sheffield twang are a winning combination and pure pleasure for the ears.

While I find some tracks on this album to be completely different to anything Arctic Monkeys have done before, there are a few bluesy tracks on AM that also wouldn't sound out of place on Suck It and See, such as No. 1 Party Anthem and Mad Sounds. Alex switches into crooner mode on these two tracks, which have a soft vintage sound in comparison to songs such as Do I Wanna Know? and Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?

"I wanna be your Ford Cortina, I will never rust" 
"Let me be your leccy meter and I'll never run out"  
 - I Wanna Be Yours. 

One thing I really love about Arctic Monkeys is how real they are. Since their first album, they've told life exactly how it is through their songs. Alex has a real knack for creating lyrics that are effortless but absolutely genius. And this album is no different. I also love the constant references to popular culture in their songs, such as "Shes got a Barbarella silver swimsuit" from Arabella and the reference to Mean Streets and The Ronettes in Knee Socks. 

While there are bound to be many mixed reviews of this album, due to people's opposing opinions on the Arctic Monkeys and their development as a band, I personally found AM to be a gem. It fulfilled the Arctic Monkeys shaped whole in my life, and I'm currently playing the hell out of it. Some songs can be easily overlooked, but the rest are modern masterpieces, and I have no doubt that many of them will be big hits (especially Arabella). To put it simply, this album got me through a twelve hour night shift, and that is all the judgement I need. 

Safe to say, I've always believed the hype!

Friday 13 September 2013

A few Friday favourites!

As its Friday and I have an unheard of but very well deserved day off work, I thought I'd do a small review and share some of my current favourite products!

Boots Coconut & Almond Intensive Hair Mask - £1.99
The first product is not actually a 'recent' purchase, I've been using it for over a year now, but I've never raved about it other than to my close friends. Boots Coconut & Almond Intensive Hair Mask retails at only £1.99, which is amazingly cheap for such a brilliant product. I use this as an alternative to regular conditioners and have found that it not only smells beautiful but it also leaves hair feeling light, clean and silky soft after every wash. The reason I initially bought this is because my hair was in need of a deeper treatment than regular conditioner as I had been dying and bleaching my ends for quite some time, leaving it in a dire condition. However, after using this product a few times, I found my hair had been repaired somewhat, feeling much more nourished and a lot less frazzled! Since then, I have carried on using it and I can't see myself changing back to conditioner anytime soon. I have recommended it to all my friends and some work-mates who have also bought it and had the same results.


Lee Stafford Treatment for Hair That Never Grows Past a Certain Length - £7.99
The next item is another hair product, which I'm sure most bloggers will have heard of by now, if not tried for themselves. Lee Stafford Treatment for Hair that Never Grows Past a Certain Length, is a treatment that promises to 'fertilize' hair follicles in order to help hair grow to its full potential. It is quite an expensive buy, at nearly £8 and I had read many mixed reviews before purchasing,  but with such a promise, I felt the need to test it out for myself. I have hair that struggles to get past my shoulders and therefore flicks out really annoyingly, so anything to give it that little push is worth trying in my book. 

With this product, you shampoo your hair as normal, and then whack some of this on and leave for about 5 minutes, massaging it into your roots and ends while you wait. You then rinse it off and condition as you normally would. The instructions suggest that after using it for a while, you should decrease usage to once a week, but I have been using it with just about every wash for the last month or so because I wanted to see results. While I knew I'd be waiting a while before I saw any growth, the condition of my hair improved instantly, leaving my hair feeling glossier and healthier after the first use. 

Now to the vital part - has it made my hair grow at all? To be completely honest, I do feel that it has grown a little. Some days its really noticeable and others not so much, but thinking back to when I first started using it, I believe that it has grown more than it usually would. I'm not in any way claiming that after using this you will suddenly be a rival to Rapunzel, but for me personally, there has been a slight change. I have just about finished this tub now and if I can conjur up another £7.99, I will be repurchasing, so hopefully after two tubs, I will be able to give an even clearer indication of hair growth. Overall, worth trying if you can afford to do so!


T-Zone Clear Out Nose Pore Strips - Around £2.99 (I could be mistaken) 
I found these at work (Poundstretcher) and decided to give them a go, as I have massive pores that often get clogged, especially around my t-zone. With this product you simply wash your face, making sure its sufficiently soaked, and place one of the strips over the top of your nose, leaving for about 10 minutes or as long as it takes for it to dry. As the strip dries, it becomes quite solid and stiff, which might alarm you, but this is how it drags the bacteria out of the clogged pores. You then quickly peel off the strip like pulling off a plaster. If like me, you are a little bit gross, you can see just how much grubbiness the strip managed to pull out by looking at the other side. I was amazed to see just how much bacteria these strips pulled out, and because of this, I now regularly use them after showering. Because of the great results these strips gave me, I am dying to find something similar but for my whole face. If anyone knows of any cheap face masks made of a similar material that can be pulled off in the same sort of way please let me know! But in all seriousness, if you also have blocked pores around the nose, give these a go.

Soap and Glory 'The FabPore' Cleansing Wipes - £3.00
On the subject of pores, I came across these Soap and Glory cleansing wipes in Boots. They contain something called 'Poreshrink-4' which is supposed to help minimise pores for a fresher face. I am already a big lover of Soap and Glory products so I decided to try these wipes out, as like I said earlier, I have huge pores which could definitely do with minimising! The instructions tell you to use the wipes in any areas which cause problems blemish and spot-wise, but I just used them all over like a regular face wipe. After about 2 minutes my face started burning a little which alarmed me at first, but after reading the packet, it does warn that the face might tingle due to the presence of 'Poreshrink-4'. Despite the tingly feeling, once my face dried, it did feel really soft and fresh. I have only used these a few times up to now, but I really like the softness of my face afterwards. As for the minimised pores, I will have to report back after more regular use, but I have every faith in these beautiful smelling cleansing wipes.


Seventeen Off the Wall Graffiti Nail Effects in 'Monochrome' -  £3.99
The final product I've been loving lately is one that I only bought this week, but I have used it 3 times already! This Nail Effect paint from Seventeen is a clear polish with big bits of black and white confetti in it, which makes for a great effect over your favourite nail colour. Here are some examples of colours I've teamed it with:

I love the finish of this polish, and would love to see Seventeen bring out a bigger range of these Graffiti Nail Effect paints, such as a gold/silver or a pastel one that would look great over black polish. The only criticism I have of this is that it is an absolute nightmare to get off. Like glitter polishes, it takes a lot of scrubbing. But other than that I really like this and if you're a polish collector like me, you should definitely invest!

Thursday 5 September 2013

Telly Obsession: Orange Is the New Black


( Image found at: )

A couple of weeks ago, after watching episode 9 ('Blood Money') of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I sat slumped across my bed, feeling gutted that I had to wait another week to watch the next installment of my favourite tv series. In true Netflix style, something random started playing all of a sudden and instead of getting up to turn it off, like I normally would - I found myself intrigued by what I was seeing.

It was the promotional trailer for a new Netflix original series called Orange Is the New Black. After watching this trailer, I decided to give the series a whirl and before I knew it, I found myself binge-watching episodes everyday until the ungodly hour of 4AM.

I would describe Orange Is the New Black as an American version of the UK hit show Bad Girls, only slightly less harrowing and a lot funnier.

OITNB follows the life of Piper Chapman, who is uprooted from her 'normal' happy life with her fiance, Larry Bloom, when she is summoned to serve a 15 month sentence for a crime she committed in her earlier life. The series focuses on her time in prison and the trials and tribulations she faces when trying to 'fit in' with her fellow inmates and earn their respect. Piper makes some friends straight away such as Nicky Nichols and Lorna Morello, but others prove harder to connect with, and Piper finds herself out of her depths when trying to build friendships with them. In another unexpected twist, Piper finds herself face to face with her ex lesbian lover, Alex Vause, who is also serving time in the same prison. Alex was the reason for Piper's arrest, as they were both involved in an international drug smuggling scheme, and therefore Piper is initially raging when she sees her. However, over the course of the series, sparks fly chemistry-wise and the two find themselves seeking solace in each other.

What I personally love about this programme is the complexity of it. While Piper Chapman is the main character, and we follow her story, we also get to know the personalities of other characters within the prison. You will find yourself loving even the scariest of characters as you are shown their background and upbringing in a series of flashbacks which show the reason for each inmates arrest. My personal favourite characters are Tasha 'Taystee' Jefferson and Nicky Nichols. Yet I find myself enjoying the crazy and slightly scary characters of Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren and god-fearing Tiffany 'Pennsatucky' Doggett.

While Orange Is the New Black has some fantastically funny moments, it also explores themes like rape, drug addiction and homelessness in a realistic manner through its clever intertwining stories and flashbacks. Each character tells a different story but when stripped back, many of them are very similar. Because of this, the series also contains inner morals and values which become apparent when a character has a lesson to be learnt.

OITNB is one of those programmes you will be glued to. I found it impossible to watch just one episode and am now lost after finishing series one. While no date has been set for series two yet, it has been reported that Netflix commissioned a second series before the first had even aired, and we can expect this sometime in 2014.

I would seriously encourage anyone who is a fan of dramedies to give this show a chance. Even the opening theme 'You've Got Time' by Regina Spektor is incredibly catchy and will be stuck in your head for days. Get yourself a Netflix account - or borrow a friends like I do - and get watching the first series, I guarantee that by the end, you will be itching to watch the second!

Tuesday 3 September 2013

My long weekend in Scarborough

Last Summer, I spent five days visiting one of my best friends, Jade, in her hometown of Scarborough in North Yorkshire, (blog post here) and I had so much fun that I decided to visit her again this year.

Scarborough is my absolute favourite seaside town, don't ask me why, but I just love it! And for some reason, everytime I visit Jade, we get lucky weather-wise and therefore get to do loads of fun things. I stayed with Jade from Thursday to Monday and we did something different everyday.

My chosen journey soundtrack, High State - Tear the World Apart (buy it here), Scarborough's South beach looking from St Nicholas Gardens and one of my favourite things about Scarborough - a lemon twist ice cream from Harbour Bar

On the Friday, we went to Whitby, another quaint little seaside town in North Yorkshire. Whitby is well-known for its intriguing sights such as Whitby Abbey, but also for its cute little boutique shops selling everything from seaside souvenirs, Whitby Jet jewellery, confectionery and even home-wares. I hadn't visited Whitby since I was a little kid and my family used to go on Sunday day trips, so it was really nice to come back and reminisce.

A steam train on the way into Whitby, holiday makers enjoying the Sun on Whitby beach and the entrance to Whitby Harbour

Friday night was the highlight for me, because we got to see McFly at Scarborough Open Air Theatre. Anyone who knows me will know I'm a massive McFly fangirl (or Galaxy Defender for any fellow fangirls/boys) and have been for 10 years since they first got together. I've seen them so many times, but never at a venue quite like the Scarborough OAT which is situated outside, and features tiered seating and a lake/pond in front of the stage. Its a really unique venue but I really like it, as you can see perfectly from anywhere in the arena and its incredibly easy to get up and get a drink from the bar at anytime, while still enjoying the gig. The gig wasn't my absolute favourite one that I've been to but its the first time I've been slightly intoxicated at a McFly show and therefore made for a very interesting night! McFly played a fantastic set as always, even though they were only on for a short period of time compared to most shows and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

McFly doing what they do best and me and Jade in front of the stage loving every minute of it!

On Saturday I was feeling a little fragile following Friday night's events, but it was nothing a bit of breakfast and some fresh air couldn't sort out. After coming back to life a little bit, we went to a beautiful waterfall called Falling Foss situated in the North Yorkshire Moors national park. We had a walk through the forest and saw the waterfall which was beautiful but the highlight was Falling Foss tea-gardens. The tea-garden is a small cafe situated in the gardens of a cottage in the heart of the forest, with lots of outdoor tables and seats and a small cabin which serves tea, coffee and freshly-baked cakes. The garden is beautiful and has lots of activities for kids such as a wooden play area and giant jenga. With it being hidden in the depths of the forest, many people probably aren't aware that it exists but anyone who visits should spread the word because it is such a pretty place to sit and take in the surroundings with a warming cup of tea.

The two pictures I did manage to get of Falling Foss

On Sunday we stayed indoors and recuperated while Jade did some university work and I watched trashy telly, accompanied by a beautiful Sunday roast made by Jade's mum - just what we needed after an exciting weekend!

Before I left to catch my train back to Huddersfield on Monday, we hit the beach for a few hours. We indulged in some of our favourite seaside traditions - spending too much money on 2p slot machines, a massive plate of fish and chips from the best fish and chip cafe in Scarborough - The Harbour View Cafe, and my final Harbour Bar ice-cream of the weekend. The perfect end to a perfect weekend.
A couple of snaps from my final day: Scarborough Spa bridge, boats in the Harbour, Scarborough Lighthouse and the best prize in any 2p machine ever - Fun Snaps!