29 October 2014

IMAGE


"I value people who walk into an image, rather than attempting to replicate another." - Harry Hitchens

I feel like that quote pretty much sums up everything I have to say. I'm inspired by Harry Hitchens on a daily basis and things he's said before run through my head as I do the most mundane tasks, but it's that quote in particular that I really love. Until a couple of months ago, I was struggling to work out who I was and who I wanted to be and now that I think about it, I was putting way too much thought into it. It was only when I heard Harry Hitchens' spoken word "I'm tired of posers", that I realised I'd been over-thinking everything. I'd been having a bit of bother with image and personal style but when I heard him say "I value people who walk into an image, rather than attempting to replicate another", I literally paused the video and just sat and thought about it for a couple of minutes. I'd been doing it wrong. I'd been thinking about who I wanted to be and was trying to manipulate my attitude, style and life in general to suit this image, when I should've just been doing whatever I wanted to do. Image comes naturally and it's the people who simply "walk into an image" that wear it best. For the past couple of months, I've been doing whatever I feel like doing, wearing whatever I feel like wearing and giving no thought whatsoever to 'image'. I'm more than happy to do this because I know it'll come in time and when it does, I won't think twice about it. 

Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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25 October 2014

Review: MAC Ultra Darling Sheen Supreme Lipstick

MAC's Sheen Supreme lipstick in 'Ultra Darling' - £16.50

I always have similar problems when I'm writing make-up reviews because I really feel like make-up is very personal and subjective. Everyone has completely different opinions when it comes to make-up and I sometimes wonder if there's much I can say which would be of any use to anyone. There's more to life than lipstick, after-all. Saying that, I do really like this lipstick and it feels pretty good to put this on in the morning before I go and tackle real-life stuff. Makes me feel more put together than I actually am. I feel like a kick-ass business woman even though I'm just going to school or out to get a chai latte. That's the most important thing you need to know about MAC's Ultra Darling: it makes you feel like you could become the CEO of a major corporation. Okay, so that might be a slight exaggeration but this is one empowering lipstick.

When it comes to lipstick, I tend to lean more towards the matte end of the spectrum but Ultra Darling is the complete opposite of that and, surprisingly, I love it. I got it for my birthday in August from a friend and have been wearing it at least a few times a week ever since. It's a very wearable, everyday shade of medium pink with no shimmer or anything. The 'sheen supreme' formula makes it lovely and moisturising and although it isn't as long-lasting as a matte lipstick, it still lasts for a good couple of hours before you need to top-up. Unlike a lot of glossy lipsticks, this one doesn't slide all over my face and my hair doesn't stick to it which is definitely a bonus. Overall, I really like this lipstick. There's not much more I can say: it's a lipstick.

Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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22 October 2014

Recent Reads: September & October

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart // Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson // Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins // Matched by Ally Condie // #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso // One More Thing by B. J. Novak 

I've been in a bit of a reading slump for the past couple of months so I haven't actually read very much. What I would usually read in one month has taken me three... At the end of the day, it's about quality, not quantity and I can definitely say that the books I've been reading recently have been of a pretty high quality. I have a feeling that a lot of you will have read some of these because there's a few really popular ones in there. Let me know if you've read any! 

A couple of weeks ago, I did a full review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart which you can see here but the bare-bones of the review are that it's brilliant, full of mystery and suspense and is unlike anything I've read before. It's not amazingly written and the character development is lacking but I genuinely didn't even notice that when I was reading it. It's a great book and just a quick read so I'd highly recommend giving it a shot.

I mentioned this next book in Currently I'm...#17 so you can have a look at that to hear a bit more about what I thought of it but, basically, Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson is the ideal book for a lazy weekend, when you just want something light-hearted and kinda romantic. It's nicely written and has a great, pretty original plot. I actually enjoyed it a bit more than I was expecting to and will probably re-read it in a year or so (I think it would be a lovely book for Summer). 

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is another book which has a full review a few weeks back, so if you want to read a post full of brain mush, with me just rambling about how much I love Stephanie Perkins, you can see that here. I will undoubtedly be re-reading this, probably a good 5 or 6 times over the next few years. Anna, Lola and Isla are three of my all-time favourite books and I genuinely believe that Stephanie Perkins is the Queen of YA. 

I'm really late to the party on this one but I finally got round to reading Matched by Ally Condie. Not much to say about it, just that it's a really quick read with a great plot, pretty good writing and nice characters. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads and I don't see myself re-reading it but I'm glad I gave it a go and, overall, I really enjoyed it. 

The next one is a good one. A really good one. Again, I've talked about it more in Currently I'm...#17 so you can check that out to hear more of my thoughts. I'll keep this short: #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso is one of the best books I've read. I've never been so inspired by a book before... If you haven't read GirlBoss yet and are a little skeptical because it's not what you'd usually read, I'd really recommend reading it anyway. Such a good book.

I've already talked about One More Thing by B. J. Novak in two other posts: Currently I'm...#12 and I've Been Book-Buying #4 so again, I'll keep this short. I'm a massive fan of B. J. Novak (Ryan's my favourite character from The Office. Controversial, I know) so I was super excited to read his book and I'm happy to say that I wasn't at all disappointed. One More Thing is absolutely brilliant and freaking hilarious. You should definitely give it a shot. :D

What have you been reading recently?
Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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20 October 2014

Currently I'm...#17


Reading:
In Currently I'm...#16, I said that I was in a reading slump and hadn't picked up a book in a good few weeks. Luckily, my reading slump ended pretty quickly after the post went live. Since then, I've read Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson and #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso, both of which were absolutely brilliant. Since You've Been Gone is the ideal book for a lazy weekend because it's a quick, easy read but it's still well-written. I got through it in a few days and enjoyed every second. #GirlBoss was even better, though. I can't remember ever being so inspired by a book before and it has literally altered my outlook on life. Dramatic? Yes...but I'm being serious. If you haven't read it yet, you really should. Now, I'm reading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Watching:
I'll let you in on a little secret: I go through my YouTube history when I'm writing these posts because I literally can't remember what I've watched over the past few days. One video in particular that I really loved was Tom Law's most recent video about his views of social media and how he is kinda (but not really) leaving it all. It really made me think and I've cut back on my social media use since watching it. You can see it here.  Also, Glue. It's on E4 on a Monday night (9pm or 10pm, I think) and it is honestly one of my all-time favourite shows. So good. Oh my gosh.
 
Loving:
The other day, I was researching some photographers for my higher photography unit when I came across Larry Clark and found out that, as well as being a photographer, he's a director. I watched his 1995 film, Kids, to see what his style is like and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. Kids is literally one of the most thought-provoking and slightly disturbing films I've ever seen. It's just shocking, to be honest. I've said before that I love being shocked by a film, TV show or book and Kids really delivers with that so, naturally, I loved it. I really wouldn't recommend watching Kids if you're under 16 (and that's pushing it) because it really is shocking. I'm not trying to be a kill-joy; it's just genuinely very mature. Saying that, Larry Clark is one talented director and is pretty damn brave to make a film like Kids.

 Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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15 October 2014

On Abusers Returning To YouTube

The fourth post in a series about YouTube culture.
The 1st: Losing An Idol


Imagine that you're a shop-keeper in a quiet little corner shop, in a tight-knit community. Everything's going on as normal until, one night, someone comes in and robs the till, threatening you with a gun. You're left feeling terrified and unsafe, and continue feeling this way for months (if not years). Then one day, 6 months later, that same person starts to come back to the shop as a customer, like nothing ever happened and no one tries to stop it from happening. How would you feel? You'd feel unsafe and threatened, wouldn't you? Now apply this to YouTube. YouTubers like Alex Day, Ed Blann and Jason (VeeOneEye) were all outed for being sex offenders and are now coming back to YouTube like nothing ever happened. The people they hurt are seeing the person who abused them making videos again, manipulating thousands of people. It doesn't take a genius to work out that sex offenders shouldn't be allowed to return to a position of power but, unfortunately, there's nothing to stop them.

Recently, Alex Day posted a half hour-long video called 'The Past', where he danced around the subject of the abuse allegations and talked about how he's a better person now. He kept saying how he's in a good place now and is 'content' and, in all honesty, some of what he said made me forgive him, until I realised who I was watching and what I was buying into. Since making that video, Alex has continued to post videos every few days and it's becoming incredibly obvious that he just wants people to talk about him. He doesn't care how negative the opinions are, he just wants people to talk (funnily enough, he's actually screening negative comments). You can watch the videos if you want but he's monetizing them so it may be best to read a transcript or watch response videos. A lot of people are saying that they're just happy to have him back and I can partially relate but if I can move on from Alex Day, anyone can. 

It's not just Alex Day, though: Jason (VeeOneEye) recently posted a video about his new tattoo, essentially turning the whole situation into a sob-story and saying that YouTube is all he has. It's almost impossible to feel no sympathy whatsoever for Jason after seeing that video but just remember that that's his intention. Ed Blann has also made a return to YouTube and is making videos like the past year never even happened. Unfortunately, I'm also pretty certain that Sam Pepper will return in no time at all. I can understand why you'd be happy to have your favourite YouTuber back but please just stay level-headed and really think about what's happened before you jump to forgive them. 

As always, I'm going to direct you all to some brilliant videos about this issue because I'm really not in the position to go into any real depth about it. Neafcy made a great video about why he doesn't believe Alex Day, where he analyses what Alex says in his video - here.  ThisIsNotHolly made a video back in June, specifically about Ed Blann returning but it now fits the general situation of abusers returning to YouTube - here. The Third Pew made a video addressing the YouTube abuse situation as a whole - here - and Gary C made one which is more aimed at the victims of sexual abuse - here. BriBry made a video about Jason, who he shared mutual friends with - here. And finally, TheGeekyBlonde made an amazing video about the YouTube abuse situation back in March which is honestly one of the best videos addressing it - here. If you're not up to date with the whole issue, you can have a look at the master-post.

Like I said, I'm not really in the position to talk about this in any real depth but it's so important that people keep talking about this. It can't just be swept under the rug and ignored because it's a real-life issue which is hurting people. Just keep talking about it, keep yourself up-to-date and educated, and stay safe on the internet. 

Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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13 October 2014

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.

Quite an empty synopsis, I know, but I really feel like it's best if you go into this book knowing very little about what it's about. There was a ridiculous amount of hype surrounding We Were Liars but as I picked it up, I realised that I knew next to nothing about the plot. All I knew was that there's a twist and it's well-loved. For that reason, I'm going to be super vague in my review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

First things first (I'm the realest...), this book is unlike anything I've ever read. It's a slow-burner and the first half isn't anything special but, for some weird reason, I was enthralled and couldn't put it down. Although it was pretty ordinary to start with, there was a kinda promise and I could just tell that it was all leading up to something. I kept reading and finished the full book in one sitting. As I put it down, I was literally trembling and, even now, I don't know why. A few weeks have passed and I still don't know exactly what I think of We Were Liars. It's so weird but it's only when it's all over that you realise how much you cared about the characters. It really is unlike anything I've ever read. 

That's all I'm going to say about this book because I really don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it yet. If you have read it, though, and want someone to fangirl with then I am very much available. Just DM me on twitter or something and we can ramble about it together.  


Have you read We Were Liars?
Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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11 October 2014

Letters To Autumn

Dear Autumn,

You're my favourite season. I hope you feel loved because, recently, I've been realising just how important that can be. I've been having moments where I start to doubt my importance to people but I snap out of it when I realise that I have the best family and friends a girl could wish for. The other night, I had a down moment as I scrolled through Snapchat and saw everyone out getting drunk, as I lay in bed teaching myself Dutch. It was only when I woke up the next day that I realised I had forgotten what is really important. I had let my priorities get all twisted and Autumn, you're gradually straightening them out. 

Lots of love, Cat
xxx

 (Inspired by the wonderful Carrie Fletcher)
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8 October 2014

Currently I'm...#16


Reading:
This is absolutely terrible but I've got to admit, I haven't picked up a book for a couple of weeks now...unless you count my dissertation books or Antony & Cleopatra for AH English, which I totally do. I'm studying The Catcher In The Rye and The Wasp Factory for my dissertation which are two of my favourite books so reading them isn't exactly a chore. I'm really hoping that this reading slump ends soon because I'm so sick of not being able to get into any books. 

Watching:
The Mighty Boosh. A lot of The Mighty Boosh. I've loved it for years but for some reason, I kinda just forgot about it for a while. A few weeks ago, I 'borrowed' the DVDs from my sister and have just been watching them non-stop ever since. The Mighty Boosh is amazing and so freaking weird so if you haven't tried it yet, you really should. Vince Noir is pretty much my style icon and role model. 

Listening To...
I actually made an Autumn playlist last night with 70 songs I'm loving at the moment. I do this every year because I feel like there are certain types of music that just scream 'Autumn' to me and this year's playlist is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Obviously I won't list all 70 songs here but it has a lot of Bombay Bicycle Club (especially stuff off I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose), some George Ezra, Jamie T, Fall Out Boy (obviously), lots of Jimmy Eat World, some TEAM, a bit of 5SOS and, naturally, The 1975, along with a load of other great stuff. ♥

Drinking:
I recently got a Breville Blend-Active so I've been drinking a lot of smoothies recently. It's an amazing blender and is so easy to use which is definitely encouraging my smoothie-making. I make a lot of smoothies...

Loving:
The fact that it's Autumn, basically.

Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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6 October 2014

Ticked Off The Bucket List - See A West End Musical

That's right, I saw Les Mis. I didn't realise just how much I love it until I saw it on an actual stage with actual professional actor people in an actual theatre in London. I also didn't realise how much I was going to cry until my face was soaking wet after a mere 20 minutes of being there. Words can't even describe how amazing it was and although it still isn't my favourite musical (because nothing will ever replace West Side Story), I can now safely say that it's my second favourite musical, and potentially my favourite soundtrack.

When I saw the film version of Les Mis, I didn't actually cry. Now don't get me wrong, I loved it and did feel really emotional afterwards but for some reason, I just didn't cry. This definitely wasn't the case when I saw the stage production because, although it's obviously the same musical, it is so different in so many ways. I was completely sucked in and for a few hours, I was just utterly enthralled in what was happening on stage. It's an amazing experience. The acting and singing was flawless, the staging was absolutely breathtaking and the feeling of sitting in a building as stunning as Queens Theatre is just wonderful.

I really wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did but oh wow, it really was unlike anything I've ever experienced. If you ever get the opportunity to see Les Mis (or any musical) on stage, take it. I really feel like everyone should get to see a musical on stage at least once in their life. And yes, I did get to see Carrie Fletcher as Eponine. She was amazing. ♥

Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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4 October 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

It's no secret that I am a massive fan of Stephanie Perkins. I've raved about Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door a ridiculous number of times and since reading Isla, I've mentioned it on all the social medias... To me, Stephanie Perkins is the Queen of YA.  In Anna, my favourite character is Josh (a bit of a weird choice, I think) so when I heard that he was going to be the main guy in Isla, I was incredibly happy. He doesn't get anywhere near enough attention in Anna and the French Kiss but we finally get to know him in Isla and the Happily Ever After. Talking of characters, Isla is one of my favourite female protagonists; she is absolutely hilarious, she's strong and independent, and she is so real, unlike a lot of female protagonists in contemporary YA. Stephanie Perkins is amazing at building up her characters and Josh and Isla are no exception. 

Needless to say, Isla and the Happily Ever After is beautifully written. I seriously adore the way Stephanie Perkins writes; she sets the scene perfectly, develops every character seamlessly and creates simple yet beautiful plots that pull you in from the first page. I love Anna, Lola and Isla equally, all for different reasons and I know that I'll be re-reading these books for years to come. A very easy 5 stars.

Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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1 October 2014

September 2014


Overall, September has been quite a stressful month. I've had to start looking into university, going to open days and dealing with the whole process of UCAS, despite uni application deadlines being in January. It feels like I've just started 6th year and I'm having to think about uni already. I'm just having to keep reminding myself that the future is more exciting than it is scary. 

I kicked off the month with a university open day in Glasgow (full post here). The actual open day was great; the uni was beautiful and it made me feel a bit better about university in general but it was everything else that made the day so wonderful. I've always struggled with public transport but that day, I got the train and the subway and felt pretty damn proud of myself afterwards. It was just a generally lovely day. To top it all off, a lovely reader recognised me at the uni and came to say hello. ^_^

On the 6th, I went to a party for my friend's birthday and had a freaking brilliant time. I messaged Holly when I got home but I couldn't even understand the voice messages when I listened to them back the next day... Who knows what she thought was going on with me. :'D

I had another lovely day in Glasgow when I went on a trip with my Advanced Higher English class. We went up for the Mitchell Library but my teacher had planned it over freshers week so we could pass as students and get free food... We went to the library, a beautiful bookshop called Voltaire & Rousseau (which is seriously amazing) and Kelvingrove, which is easily my favourite art gallery/museum. I love Kelvingrove and have done since I was really little so it was super lovely to go with my English class.

I hope September treated you well! Happy October ♥
Lots of love, Cat
xxx
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