Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Reaction to THAT Zoella Article

Zoella, Zoella, Zoella, What a whirlwind this girl is. 

At 24 years old, this blogger/vlogger/internet fashion guru has taken the world by storm. 

Even as a blogger myself it's hard for me to comprehend her fame. With more social media followers than some of today's biggest celebrities, and multiple appearances on chat shows, it was only a matter of time before the doom and gloom parasites of today's media latched onto her success, and turned it into something bitter. 

In case you haven't read it, I'm referring to this article by Chloe Hamilton on the Independant's website. Written only a week ago, it's already sparked huuuuge debate on the topic, however I wanted to dedicate a bit of time to thinking through my response before I got involved, seeing as my instant reaction was one of pure rage (there would have been many an expletive). 

As I have such an angered and passionate response to this article, I thought I'd break it down by responding individually to specific ridiculous notions Hamilton throws out there, in the form of a good ol' bullet point list, otherwise this would be one long, illegible rant. 

  • 'Her eyes are enormous. She looks like a startled bird; albeit a bird with the gorgeous, flowing locks of Rapunzel, the high-pitched giggle of Tinkerbell, and a name so irritatingly Disney-fied it makes my stomach churn: Zoella.' 

Firstly, Hamilton, remember your article is all about 'role models'. I can't help but feel that these insults disguised as backhanded compliments contradict your entire premise about body image, considering your opening sentence is a dig at Zoella's looks. Not well disguised either may I say, as the venomous tone here stings as you read. Also, seeing as you're not aged between 10 and 14, you're not Zoella's target audience so of course she as a brand doesn't appeal to you. That's like moaning that the Disney store is too immature for you. Fine, if that's how you feel. Don't go in, don't buy the stuff, but there's no need to so bitterly announce your opinion to the entire world. 

  • 'Zoella is a beauty and fashion vlogger – the latest creation spat out by the YouTube machine [...]'

So I take it Hamilton's not a fan of Youtube. I find it so odd that of all the things 'spat out' by 'machines' that are apparently bad 'role models', Hamilton chooses as her journalistic prey a 24 year old girl who has built her brand from scratch to not only give young girls advice and support, but to be a mental health ambassador. For Hamilton to write this whilst X Factor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and America's Next Top Model are to this day exposing young girls to a world of competition, objectification and popularity seems laughable to me. 

  • '[...] she’s trodden an easy-peasy path to fame and fortune.'

Please oh please tell me what this point is based on! Firstly,it's taken Zoella 8 years to get to this stage. As with most 
bloggers, such as myself, you have to start from the bottom and get your name out there. Turning your measly old self into a nationally recognized brand isn't something that happens overnight, and speaking as someone who's only just got a toe on the ladder, it isn't easy either. Sure if you've only just tuned into the Zoella hype it seems that she's come from nowhere and is living a life of luxury, but don't for a second think she didn't dedicate hours upon hours to making those videos and writing those posts and getting herself out there. You know what is easy though Hamilton, sitting at a desk being paid to rip to shreds other people's successes and hard work. 

  • '[...] she told a reporter that if she could give her teenage followers one piece of advice, it would be to fret less about their appearance [...] as though unaware that she’s forged an entire career by prattling on to young girls about how to look good '

Steady on Hamilton. Will you look at the bigger picture for goodness sake! Look at the world we're living in. Young girls will ALWAYS be interested in make-up and hair and clothes. It's a part of growing up. Even in the days where there was no internet or TV, little girls would watch their mum's wearing sparkly dresses and lipstick and wish to imitate them. I would much rather young girl's watch videos of how to achieve a hair style or a smokey eye they've always wanted to do ANYWAY from someone like Zoella, who also promotes a healthy mind and attitude to life, than some of the so-called 'role models' out there e.g Beyonce . If  with each of her video's there's one less girl watching Nicki Minaj on MTV and one more watching Zoella, then things are going in a good direction I feel. Call Beyonce a female role model / feminist as much as you like, but the moment she gets on that TV screen dressed in next to nothing knowing there are young girls watching her, admiring her, that whole notion goes out the window. 

  • 'It’s maddening that a girl who has made it her business to tell teenagers how to put make up on, or get their hair just right, now feels she’s in a position to admonish them for “fretting” about their appearance. '

Has this woman even watched Zoella's videos? Does she even understand what blogging even is? The whole premise of blogging / vlogging is sharing with the world YOUR thoughts, YOUR likes, YOUR interests, YOUR way of doing things. Not THE thoughts, THE likes, THE interests , THE way of doing things, as Hamilton makes out. That's why there are so many fashion and beauty bloggers, because each one has their own way of doing things, their own way of thinking. Being a blogger and reading blogs is a realm in which inspiration is shared on a huge scale, If I don't like the way Zoella does her top knot, I can go on Youtube, type in 'top knot tutorial' and find a way of doing it from another vlogger that suites me. Just like in Zoella's anxiety videos, she specifically says that she's not giving people advice or instructions, she's literally sharing her way of coping, in the hope it may help someone. 

  • '[...]if she feels so strongly about the pandemic of insecurity raging through the tweenage generation, doesn’t she vlog about going to school without make-up, or encourage kids to spend their pocket money on books or days out with friends, rather than on the latest liquid eyeliner to hit Boots’ shelves?'

If, from the moment Zoella decided to blog, she'd only written about not wearing make-up and spending pocket money on books, there's no way in hell she would have become this successful, not that she set out to be this successful in the first place. Like most, it was a hobby that developed. With that in mind, as a hobby, why the hell shouldn't she write about what she wants to write about. The fact that there were people out there interested in her hobby has worked in her favour. Massively. But she's not squandering the exposure she's been given. Instead she's using it to promote mental health awareness, which is actually a hell of a lot more than the twonks in Parliament have done about the subject. Without her content matter, there would be no fan base, and there would be no way of reaching such a large group of young girls with such a positive message. But then again Hamilton, you wouldn't have been able to produce this appalling article. Swings and roundabouts. 

  • 'She wants young girls to worry less, but she unwittingly exacerbates their body anxiety as they strive for her level of perfection, often falling short.'

Stop right there *Angry Holly Willoughby voice* If Zoella didn't exist, young girls would soon find someone else to admire / desire to look like .OK, Zoella's pretty, and thin and has nice hair and a decent life that she works for. But that's it. She doesn't have butt or breast implants, she's not starving herself on some ridiculous diet, she doesn't have a stylist running behind her everywhere she goes, or a 24hr personal trainer. Whether Hamilton likes to admit it, of all the women young girls look up to nowadays, Zoella's one of the most real. You can't discredit her just because she's pretty and skinny. Also Hamilton, you can get off  your high horse, because it's your bloody industry that has instilled this need to have these unattainable looks in young girls. Newspapers are constantly belittling women for the way they look, and then the next minute parading them on front pages. Newspapers and magazines fuel the fire, so don't take it out on Zoella when the industry you work for has created something that 'infuriates' you. 


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Outfit of the Day: Autumnal Hues


Primark Fedora Hat - £8
H&M Dappled Purple Split-Hem Maxi Dress -(sold out) 

It's been so long since I last did an Outfit of the Day post, which I apologise for. I also want to apologise for the fact that almost half of the items I'm wearing in this post are now sold out. I only bought the dress two weeks ago, and the other dress I bought with it is still on their site, so I was a bit baffled by that. 

Anyhoo, despite that, I hope this post has been in some way a source of style inspiration. I'm not adjusting very well to Winter layering after a good 4-5 months of a basic capsule Summer wardrobe. 

I'm loving the long open-knit cardigans that are about at the moment. I've never really been a cardigan person, but the casual yet textured blanket styles that I'm seeing are more my kind of thing. 

I love split-hems, and I'm trying to make mine as winter friendly as possible with the help of some statement tights, however on those really cold days, I'm layering up with as many opaque pairs as I can find. 

I don't think I'll ever tire of these River Island Cut-Out Boots. They're from River Island's Autumn/Winter  2013/14 collection, and I can't get enough when it comes to chunky black shoes, so these will probably be staying with me for life. 

I may be a bit late on the hype, but I've fallen head over heels in love with Forever 21. Whenever I step foot in their i'm never disappointed by the range of trends they have on offer, and they're not expensive at all, so you can expect to see a lot more of their stuff on here in the not too distant future.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mary Kay 'At Play' Collection

Make-up time! I haven't done a make-up post in a while now, so I was quite excited about this one. A few months ago Mary Kay sent me their At Play collection, and since them I've been having a good play around and getting used to them. 

I think the best way to sum this collection up is FUN! When I first saw this collection it did remind me of some of the make-up collections I'd get in my free Go Girl magazine back in the 90s. There definitely is an element of nostalgia here. But then it dawned on me that there's no reason why adult make-up shouldn't be fun. The colours featured here are bright, but Mary Kay have carefully created shades that stand out whilst complementing an adult look. 

All of these eyeliners look amazing with eyeshadows in complementing hues, but I thought I'd show you what they're like in their purest form. 

   Gold Metal: This shade really brightens up the eye and goes with absolutely everything. Perfect for        
   Christmas. I've tried it with a few pinky eye shadows too and it works so well.  

  The Real Teal: I'm not entirely sure if this shade of green suits my skin tone, as it is quite cool. However 
    this would look amazing on anyone with a paler complexion. It's a subtle burst of metallic colour. 

    Blue My Mind: This is the only matte shade out of the four, and I love it. It's so striking and dramatic. Make 
    this your statement piece of make-up, and make the rest of your face as bare as possible. 

    Hello Violet: This one is my ultimate favourite. With Halloween coming up I could see a lot of creative 
    potential, but at the same time, I thought it made such a nice change to the normal black eyeliner. 
    Feminine with a grunge twist. 

    Triple Layered Tinted Balms: (Top: In the Plum Bottom: Atomic)  
These are perfect for those times when you just want a hint of colour on your lips. They're incredibly moisturising and smell amazing. I can see these making lovely 
    stocking fillers. 


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Marks & Spencers Autumn / Winter Collection

 As a 22 year old, when I think of Marks and Spencers, I think food. Amazing, innuendo inspiring food (those adverts are coming back by the way, prepare yourself) that gives Nigella a run for her money. 

Never in my life have I seen M&S as a trend-setting brand leading the way in high street fashion. I don't even think M&S saw itself like that, but it wasn't for want of trying. Just last year, they hit the headlines with a massive drop in profit due to a disappointing fashion range. It goes to show that you can put anyone from Twiggy to Ellie Goulding in your adverts, but if people walk through your shop or look on your website and aren't inspired, the whole thing is a waste of time and money. 

Now I've taken many a venture through the M&S clothing department, but admittedly it's only ever to get to the food section for a cheeky meal deal, BUT there have been times (depending on what store I'm in) where something has caught my eye. The more I've paid attention to them, the more I've come to the conclusion that M&S do have fashion potentioal, and yes, I do mean for people my age. 

I'll say now that they are god awful at marketing their fashion and the styling on their website leaves a lot to be desired, but I don't think our high streets can cope with another major chain going bust. There are so many of us that are disappointed and apathetic towards our high streets, when really it's only us that can change things around. 

So in true Mary Portas fashion, I thought I'd show M&S how it's done (in a non-braggy way of course). 

Using the amazing Polyvore collage creator, I've put together 5 outfits that consist solely of M&S's A//W 14 collection. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, because I want all of it. 

School Girl Chic

Floral Elegance

Winter Pastels

Merry Gothmas

Quilts and Pleats


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Autumn / Winter Nails with Topshop

At the risk of being unpopular here, I'll just say it: I'm enjoying this weather. I'm loving wrapping up warm and getting all cosy on the sofa with the boyfriend and watching movies.
I'm also really into this season's colour palette. When it comes to nail varnishes, I really prefer A/W colours, They have a depth to them that I love, and considering I'm a monochrome addict, they go with the majority of  my wardrobe. Some of my favourite additions to my nail varnish collection have been from Topshops latest A/W collection. I received these for my birthday, and have worn them non-stop. 
These three shades in particular work so well together, and individually. 

I can never own enough black varnishes, and if there's glitter in it I want it even more. I love that there's an iridescence to the glitter in this which gives it another dimension. The only issue I have is that it requires multiple coats before you get a good, opaque coverage. However when you do, it's worth it.
 A good top-coat is needed for any glitter varnish, just to stop it being so rough to the touch (I use Models Own 5 in 1 Top & Base Coat). Once that's applied, you have a really sleek black nail with a feminine twist. 

Miss Dazzle 
This is surprisingly my favourite of the bunch. It's so easy to use because it's so thick. One coat is enough to get a full coverage, and the colour is really striking. This is quite a chameleon colour in the sense that it changes depending what light you're in. It can range from a burn orange to a browny-red all of which have a cosy, warm glow. I wore this varnish for an entire week, doing baking and decorating my boyfriend's bedroom, and it barely chipped. This is the only varnish I've found that's lasted that wrong, so I'm going to cherish it with all my heart.

A varnish like this is a staple for any nail varnish collection I think. Personally, I'd use varnishes like this as a detailed coat on top of another varnish, but I took a picture of it on its own so you could see the size of the glitter. I actually didn't think it looked too bad on it's own. It's very subtle and dainty. However I like something with a bit more oomph. In fact, I actually used Magpie on top of Glitter for my nails at London Fashion Weekend. My nails looked like a Gothic disco ball. 
How many coats you need all depends on how much glitter coverage you want, but it dries so quickly that you wont be waiting around long.

*Nail Painting Tips*
- Ever been frustrated that the colour on your nails differs from that in the pot? Paint your nails white before using the colour you want. The pink of your nails adjusts the shade of the varnish, whereas white brings out it's true tone. 


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bohemian Pinterest-Worthy Weddings

There's nothing more grown up than receiving a wedding invitation through the post. This September, I had my very first experiences of that, as two close friends of mine tied the knot at two magical weddings.

     D'Mello - Pearson Wedding

     Ward - Tizzard Wedding

The last time I was at a wedding, I was a gawky monobrowed teenage bridesmaid at the Greek wedding of one of my cousins.  Now if you've never experienced a Greek wedding, you're missing out. Packed full of tradition, it's definitely a service you won't forget. Now with my Dad being one of 8 siblings, I've been to my fare share of Greek Weddings. My Aunt's on my Mum's side was the only British wedding I've experienced, and as a 7 year-old flower girl, I don't remember much. 

So when I received my invitations, I had no idea what to expect from the weddings of my generation. We see on a daily basis the weddings of the rich and famous, and eventually, they all start to blur into one dramatic, empty display of wealth rather than love. Who needs a Venetian boat convoy for God sake? 

However, you only need to go on Pinterest wedding boards to see that the wedding generation of today are leading a bohemian revolution. Now that sounds like I'm categorizing these weddings into one group, but that's the beauty of the word bohemian - it's the complete opposite of that.

Both the Pearsons and the Tizzards are stunning on the inside and out, and value the relationships they have with their friends and family more than anyone else I know. Of course I'm biased here, but my point is, these weddings showed me what it takes to make them one's you won't ever forget. Both of these weddings brought the love of the couple as well as the love they have for their guests to the forefront through personality and character. 

The D'Mello - Pearson Wedding

Set in the rural heritage site of Bromham Mill, nature was allowed to do it's magic on this gorgeous day. As me and the boyfriend walked through an arch in the ground's hedges, we were faced with an enormous Tipi. The surrounding area consisted of a photo booth and face-painting stations for the children which was such a nice touch. It's lovely as a guest at a wedding to feel like you can get involved in the memory making process. 

This was a wedding full of unique touches that made you go wow at every step. The groom's brother had designed a little branded logo for the wedding that featured on the invitations, order of service, bar and favours, whilst the bridal party, relatives and friends had all pulled together to make lampshade lighting displays and floral tokens that hung from the branches of the majestic tree underneath which the head table was placed. 

University friends worked the bar which was made out of a huge wooden crate, serving cocktails in jam jars, whilst dozens of relatives served up their homemade food in a marquee. 

Of course it's not just about the visuals when it comes to a wedding, but having a good time. With gorgeous rural surroundings, during the day we got to walk around the grounds and take in the scenery, but it was at night time when the fun really started. Speeches done, the tree lit up the grassy dance floor, and an acoustic band got everyone up with their own rendition of Clean Bandit's 'Rather Be. ' 

The night was rounded  off with a 'sparkling' farewell, as the bride and groom ran through an arch of sparklers held up by all the guests. 

The Ward - Tizzard Wedding

This was another rural wedding, set in the picturesque village of Elham in Kent. Driving through, it's literally like being in the Peak District.

 I would describe my friend Becca as a bohemian princess, so the style of her wedding wasn't much of a surprise to me, it was more the atmosphere that had everyone beaming from ear to ear. 

Again, everyone pulled together to create decorations in Becca's favourite colours - orange and purple - from the bride's bouquet to the detailing on the wedding cake. 

The view from the grounds of Elham Village hall was like something out of a Wordsworth poem and was a perfect natural setting for pictures with friends and family. It was just so lovely to see that whilst the bride and groom were having their pictures taken, all the guests were catching up and getting to know one another in the midst of this fairy tale setting. 

When it was time to eat, this atmosphere continued, with the food being on a bring and share basis. It gave everyone an opportunity to be involved in the wedding in some shape or form, whether you brought brownies or a salad, you were contributing, and that was such a good feeling to have. 

The tables were in long horizontal rows, which is a simple but really effective touch for a wedding with a lot of guests. There was such a huge community vibe, and with so many people making friends, the day was full of conversation and laughter. 

Again, the favors were really cute. As you can see from board in the picture above, they were little vials of sand from the beach where Jonny (groom) proposed, with a tag featuring a very apt Bible quote. 

When I think about what weddings are really about, I'm so grateful that my first grown-up wedding experiences were these two. It made me realise that wedding's aren't about pomp and circumstance, but getting everyone you invite to feel the love you're celebrating by being as involved in the celebration as possible, whether that means getting hands-on or by making it their own personal, memorable experience. 

Congratulations Gabrielle and Matt Pearson and Rebecca and Jonny Tizzard, you beautiful people.