ON WEARING RED

18 Sep 2017

Widely used as a feature of symbolism in literature, the colour red has captivated for years. Its historical fascination transcends popular culture, as well as the natural world, and perhaps the allure relates to the colours dual identity. While it has often been a symbol of fertility, love, and lust (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood), red is also regularly associated with danger, anger, and sin (The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne). 

Flashback to February of this year, and New York fashion week pronounced red to be the colour of A/W 2017. Seven months later, and the temperature is undeniably dropping - so how will you be wearing the most conspicuous colour of the season?


Hoodie and bra: both Weekday


1. Tonal Blocking


Obviously, red is about being seen, and there's nothing that will smack people in the face like a head-to-toe outfit in one colour. Not for the faint-hearted, committing to this bold look is v. brave. Take advice from Pandora Sykes in this Man Repeller feature, and make sure one item you're wearing doesn't match. It'll break apart the outfit, and you won't look 'like a crayon'. 


2. Denim


Ruby bought this H&M red denim jacket, now she and the jacket have become one and she is slightly closer to her dream (probably) of becoming the SOS emoji. Then, I got this ASOS denim skirt (which I can only describe as spicy), and I now feel incredibly dull if I go out wearing anything but. I think the only thing red denim has taught us here is that it is extremely addictive. 

3. Accessories


If, for some reason, you don't feel like walking around town in a head-to-toe ketchup outfit, there are more subtle ways to wear the trend. Statement red accessories such as a pair of earrings, a red hat (military-chic), or cross-body bag mean that the colour can be incorporated into any wardrobe without being so audacious. 

4. Beauty


An obvious way to introduce a bit of red into your beauty routine would be on nails or lip colour - which is fine. However, red on the eyes is much more interesting. Re-purpose a liquid lipstick such as this Gerard Cosmetics one, and apply a wing using a thin angled eyeliner brush.  Alternately, sweep a gold shimmer over your entire lid, and use a bright red shadow to highlight the inner-third of your lower lashline a la Solange.



Disclaimer: If you're going to opt for the fully red outfit, don't stand next to a post box with your mouth open. 

EARRINGS ARE ALL THAT MATTER RIGHT NOW

10 Aug 2017

There's a very fine line between chav and chic, and it's a line I like to walk dangerously close to - much to the disapproving looks from my own mother. I remember being 13, and all I wanted was a pair of chunky gold hoops from Elizabeth Duke at Argos. My mum hated them, and I didn't have the finances. Eight years later,  I think I've got some sort of complex, because statement earrings still make me feel the same kinda way.


A woman at the forefront of this trend; Eastenders' Pat Butcher has been mocked for her courageous jewellery choices. Although earrings have a much longer and more complex history than most people realise, the iconic Pat might be the catalyst to statement earrings being all over SS17 catwalks - and I'm not ready to let go of the trend just yet. 

 
[Pictured] A small sample of my superfluous collection. The yellow pair were the first I bought which could be categorised as 'statement', and I wear them when I want to feel more like Frida Kahlo. Since then, I've become more partial to a bolder look - hence the green and pink pair being a more recent acquisition.
N.B. Lemon not worn as earring, obvs. 

   

A statement pair of earrings has the same magical ability as a bold lipstick - creating the illusion you made much more effort than you really did. Pulling your hair into a bun takes two minutes, but adding earrings makes the look night-out-worthy. I honestly can't remember the last time I went out without a pair, so maybe I should give my earlobes a break... probs won't though.



JANUARY TO JUNE READING LIST

6 Aug 2017

BEST READ - The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

After reading and loving the author-establishing Interpreter of Maladies for my degree, I decided to explore more of Jhumpa Lahiri's writing. The Namesake is her first novel and, just like her debut collection of short stories, is inspired by her Bengali heritage. 

The novel begins with the story of the Ganguli family as they leave behind their life in Calcutta to settle in Massachusetts. When their first son is born, Bengali tradition says Ashima and Ashoke's new baby will be named by Ashima's grandmother, and she will send her choice by post. When no letter arrives, Ashoke settles on Gogol - an ode to the Russian dramatist whose work nursed him through an accident years prior.

Conflicted between his parents' Bengali ideas and traditions and the North-East American world he's growing up in, Gogol Ganguli becomes Nikhil. The story resonates Lahiri's own experiences, teaching otherwise unknowing readers of her own culture and struggles as the daughter of Bengali Indian emigrants. 

Crafted with pleasing language and an unpretentious narrative, The Namesake has deservedly received a plethora of positive reviews and a number of awards. 


UNFINISHED READ - Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood


My first encounter with Margaret Atwood was in 2013 when I read The Handmaid's Tale, and have since re-read twice. Atwood's writing was enthralling, and the novel shocked me. The opening book of a three-part series, I intended to feel the same way about Oryx and Crake and its two sequels, yet I gave up 3/4 of the way through only the first novel. 

Surrounded by a post-apocalyptic world, Snowman (previously known as Jimmy) is struggling to survive. He narrates the stories of his life before mankind was consumed by plague, including his infatuation with Oryx, and the death of his best friend Crake. 


For me, the narrative of the life of Oryx (and Snowman's relationship with her) was unusually tragic - it seemed almost ill-fitting. As the novel progresses, the science fiction themes become increasingly prominent, which is maybe what caused me to lose interest. Margaret Atwood's writing is engaging and thought-provoking, but the genre of this book just wasn't for me. 



OTHER PUBLICATIONS - Oh Comely


I've read magazines my entire life, but towards the end of last year I'd fallen out of love with my numerous subscriptions. I wanted to read something inspiring, joyful, and refreshing; then I discovered Oh Comely.

Oh Comely claims to be 'a curious, honest and playful independent magazine'. Each issue is centred around a theme, and it comes together with the submissions of readers all over the country. Their latest issue, 'Touch', is inspired by feeling. It features an interview with Josie Long about our political climate, life models' experiences, and instructions for making origami cranes. It's a bi-monthly magazine that encourages readers to be unapologetic, to create, to learn, to live - and each issue is printed on the back with #onegoodthing to be grateful for. 


Issue 38 is already with subscribers, but will be in shops from August 10th. 

PLAYLIST: FEBRUARY 2016

6 Mar 2016

All through February, I've spent a lot of time working, as well as travelling between Hull, Manchester, and Newcastle. We're into the second term of university, ergo most of this month's listening has been during my daily commute, and on many long train journeys. It's been a short but busy month, and this is the music I've been listening to through it all.



1. Fool's Gold LA - I'm In Love (Poolside Remix)

Fool's Gold, an LA-based band, released this in 2014, and I'm a bit disappointed about how late I am to it. This version has been remixed by Poolside, a duet also based in LA. I can't say I've ever been too much into music from the U.S, but this is funky.

2. Flume - Never Be Like You feat. Kai

Flume is baaaacccckkk, and just as commendable as ever; this electronic track is first-rate. Flume has firmly established his signature style, making his tracks instantly recognisable, and resulting in me using words such as 'Flume-esque' to describe other music.  

3. Pools - Summer Sunday

There's not much I can tell you about Pools, but it won't stop you enjoying this mellow track. Its name describes the perfect time for this song to be enjoyed, but I don't wanna save it just for then. It's relaxed and smooth, and will leave you lusting for warmer afternoons. 

4. Kenton Slash Demon - Syko

Denmark-based Kenton Slash Demon have recently produced this unique track, and some of the comments suggest it to be quite Burial-influenced. I found this through recommendation of Flume, and if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me. The Harpe/Skyo EP is out now with Future Classic, and there's a music video for Harpe here.

5. Ida Engberg & David West - Abataka

This is something really different. The track is supporting a charity project called 'It Began in Africa', which was set up to aid children in their fight against poverty. The description states that "All profits made from the sale of this compilation will be donated to The African Children's Choir and their further projects; i.e. building schemes, the founding of nurseries, and schools to help children get away from a life on the streets." The message behind this is amazing. 

6. COEO - Back In The Days

This track comes from duo COEO, and it's much more 'deep house' than I'm usually into. I like how the energy grows throughout, and we're kept hanging on till the last minute; 2:34 is where it really peaks. Released by Toy Tonics at the end of January, this one will be on my party playlist for a while. 


For more of my playlist picks, check out my Soundcloud profile

Playlist artwork by Gunta Stölzl

NOTES ON WINTER BEAUTY

10 Feb 2016

The north of England has been bitten by the frosty Winter bug and I'm shrivelling into a dry prune. As with a lot of people, my skin is much dryer this time of year, which creates a plethora of problems. How can I moisturise without being oily? I don't want my skin to look dull etc. Alongside my flaky face: dry hair. I need nourishing products to assist me from November through to March; here I've compiled a list of examples which work for me. 

1) Eucerin Replenishing Face Cream

My daily morning moisturiser, Eucerin Replenishing Face Cream with 5% Urea, is specifically tailored for dry skin. Urea is a humectant naturally produced by the body to keep skin hydrated. However, as we age our skin tends to produce less - resulting in dryness. Eucerin have created a product that reintroduces Urea back into the skin to make it soft and bouncy, while also suitably preparing the skin for makeup application.

2) Jojoba Oil

Each night, I like to moisturise with oils. Jojoba oil is what people in the biz call a carrier oil, and I add tea tree and lavender oil to the mixture (a relaxing ritual before sleep). I'm not loyal to any particular brand, but the one I'm currently using is Balm Balm Jojoba Oil. It is 100% organic, inexpensive and suitable for the most sensitive of skins. 

3) Lush Mask of Magnaminty

A product popular with many people and for a very good reason: it really works. This inexpensive minty mask is self-preserving and smells refreshing. According to the packaging, it 'does everything it can to fight eruptions and outbreaks and return skin to tip top condition'. Its combined effects are rarely found together in one product: fighting outbreaks, brightening, non-drying and balancing. I tend to use this once a week.

4) Milk_shake Whipped Cream Leave-In Foam

For a long time I've used the spray version of this product, but since early January I've added in the more heavy duty Leave-In Foam. It balances oils in the hair and maintains colour integrity (something you may be interested in if you use dye). Suitable for all hair types, this is a product that moisturises without making hair look greasy. Apply from mid-lengths to ends of wet hair. Milk_shake products are limitedly available in a cute pink bottle for their breast cancer campaign.

5) Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist

Containing Rose Water and Green tea, this product is incredibly nourishing.  Applied before or after makeup (I tend to after), Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist adds a soft focus finish and really locks makeup into the face. It hydrates and balances while tightening pores, it also can be reapplied throughout the day to refresh the skin and makeup. Pixi are unsurprisingly famous for their skincare products, including the famous Glow Tonic, which I am also a huge fan of.





What are your winter beauty essentials?