Sunday, 16 December 2012

My Winter Favourites

I picked up the January 2013 edition of Company magazine, having loved it's refreshing approach that cuts out the sex and health advice and celeb gossip of more mainstream magazines. Not only did it combine fashion with research for my dissertation on new media and the phenomena of blogs and vlogs, but it didn't disappoint and delivered a series of interesting articles. 

As a moisturiser obsessive with dry skin I'm forever searching for the perfect formula that keeps my skin fresh enough without being overly oily, and this is a new favourite! It's one of those products that you know is making a difference when you look in the mirror and notice a difference in your skin and think "Wow, what have I been using?". Although I have only used it for 5 days, I can say that my skin looks visibly clear and brighter and feels softer. 

I got this scarf 2 years ago on a holiday to Scotland and, being 100% lambswool, it is really cosy! I feel a connection to the Scottish part of my family whenever I wear it, because it is the 'Ancient Hunting Stewart' tartan, the tartan that they have worn for hundreds of years.

My Topshop Petite leather jacket has come into it's own in the winter as a way to add interest to boring winter layers. I wear it over 2 or 3 thin layers, add a scarf, hat and gloves, and it becomes surprisingly warm!

Happy Christmas-time!
Carpe diem xx

Saturday, 15 December 2012

War Photographer | Film Review

“War Photographer” both begins and ends with quiet, atmospheric images of world-famous photographer James ‘Jim’ Nachtwey taking pictures amongst fire and smoke and collapsing buildings. This, with the use of slow music, the sounds of the crackling fire and the photographer coughing as he struggles to breathe amongst the billowing smoke, introduces the first-person character of Christian Frei’s 96 minute 2001 documentary film, which follows Nachtwey’s work over two years.
The use of interviews, samples of Nachtwey’s black-and-white still photography, and first-person scenes shot on the single-system video camera that was fastened to Nachtwey’s body whilst he was shooting, make up a documentary that appears more compelling than those on other photographers such as Annie Leibovitz (Leibovitz, 2007) and Henri Cartier-Bresson (Butler, 2003). As the film follows Nachtwey across four war zones – Kosovo, Rwanda, Jakarta, and South Africa – and during the editing process at STERN magazine headquarters in Hamburg, Germany – it is “effective in allowing others, especially other photographer’s, to see how Nachtwey sees. The first person camera allows photographers to see what his eye is hunting for and his sense of timing” (Sone, 2011). The use of the camera attached to Nachtwey, alongside scenes which follow him as he travels between five main locations, creates a personal, informal diary format film, which focuses on the photographer and his work, and thus affirms the statement that “it’s not the camera, but the man that makes the photograph” (Sone, 2011).
Interviews with those who know or have worked closely with Nachtwey provide a similarly personal insight into the life and work of the serial award-winning photographer, who is described as being a ‘loner’ and someone who has given up the possibility of a ‘normal’ life or romantic relationships for the sake of dedication to his work and his vision. It is insights such as this which have lead critics to describe the “quiet, engrossing film” as “a sad and stirring testimony to this vision and to the quiet, self-effacing heroism with which Mr. Nachtwey has pursued it” (Scott, 2002). The insights revealed by the personal approach of the film create an understanding of Nachtwey’s ‘simple’ approach to photojournalism, along the lines of Robert Capa’s philosophy, illustrated in a quote of his from the beginning of the film: “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”.
Frei’s documentary reveals the motivations and intentions behind the photographer’s frequently life-threatening work. First motivated to start war photography by seeing the truths revealed in first-hand stills of the Vietnam War, which contradicted popular news accounts of the time, Nachtwey reveals that he wishes to in some way help bring about the end of war, through the ‘antidote’ of photography. Nachtwey is attempting to “shake people out of indifference” by evoking a sense of humanity in his stills, in stark contrast to the inhumanity of what is portrayed within them, by illustrating the reality of war zones, where “normal codes of civilized behaviour are suspended” (Nachtwey, 2001).
In touching on relationships of power and domination, Nachtwey’s work introduces one of the key themes of visual anthropology, that of photography and sociality. The uncompromising truth behind any photographic work in war zones is revealed by “the very fact that people are photographed is part of their history, their changing existence in a broadening world” (Edwards, 1992:12), and that, throughout history, photography and colonialism have supported and subverted each other. Behind the frontiers of the documentary film is the question of to what extent photography alienates us from our collective social experience. If photography is a form of mirroring, reflection and analysis of our selves, does that mean that photography is never a reflection of our true selves? The social comment and distance from sociality implied in photography, makes us consider the deeper meaning of Nachtwey’s work, as well as its position as a mediator or negotiator for peace.
Nachtwey’s mediatory role as a war zone photographer mirrors that of anthropologists such as Pierre Bourdieu, whose influential work on the ‘depeasantization’ and ‘proletarianization’ of agrarian peasant communities during the 1954-1962 Algerian War (Bourdieu and Sayad, 2004) illustrates cultural bias and the reality that in visual anthropology, as in anthropology, “by telling the story, you define the story”. Edwards refers to this bias as the ‘photographic moment’, that “the cultural circumscription which enabled an image and determined and validated the photographic moment expresses at least a cultural ‘partiality’, a conception of what is ‘photographable’” (Edwards, 1992:7). It brings into question the role of photography in war, as it has with the role of anthropologists in war. Do visual or social anthropologists have a role in war zones? If so, what is it? Such work might ultimately be seen in terms of colonial aims, of a ‘them’ and ‘us’ approach.
Frei’s approach to this issue is a reflexive one. He lets Nachtwey’s personal journey as a photographer tell the story of war and leaves the rest up to us. Frei’s documentation of two years of the photographer’s work, cut with insights into his life from the photographer himself and those close to him, is its own narrative. Subtitling is merely used a tool to aid the audiences understanding of the audio. This, I believe, gives “War Photographer” ethnographic integrity and realness, the evocation of deep emotion and empathy caused by the ethnographic subject and not by synthetic narrative. Thus Frei’s documentary reveals how the location of ethnographicness in the ‘event’ (the subject), and not in ‘intention’, has the power to create powerful anthropological film and give meaning to the hopefully developing use of visual anthropology as cultural translation. 

Bourdieu, P. and Sayad, A. (2004), “Colonial rule and cultural sabir”, Ethnography 5:4, pp.445-486
Butler, H. (2003), “Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye” documentary, director Heinz Butler
Edwards, E. (1992), Introduction, “Anthropology and photography (1860-1920)”, Yale University Press: New Haven and London
Leibovitz, B. (2007), “Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens” documentary, director Barbara Leibovitz
Nachtwey, J. (2001), “War Photographer” documentary, director Christian Frei
Scott, A.O. (2002), ‘War Photographer (2001) FILM REVIEW; Witnessing the Witness: Looking Over a Shoulder at War's Deprivation’, New York Times, A.O. Scott (19/06/2002), available at , [accessed 25/10/2012]
Sone, D. (2011), ‘Review: “War Photographer”’, Daniel Sone (16/07/2011), available at, [accessed 28/10/2012]

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Arnold Schwarzenegger Motivation!

Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a truly 'American' style motivational speech at a college graduate ceremony. 
He reveals six top tips for motivation, success, or whatever you want to call it. Whatever they are, they are great tips for getting the most of your life and becoming a content person. Watch!

Carpe diem xx

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Top Inspirational/Motivational Influential Icons

For sticking it out. For being themselves. For believing in themselves. For believing in others. For being the best. For changing the world. For making the world a better place. For striving for the best. Here's to these inspirational people:

J. K. Rowling

Stephen Fry


Steve Jobs

Marie Curie

Carpe diem xx

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Back To School: Stationary Haul/Supplies

Sticky Notes:
I like Post-Its for daily to-do lists, sticking in agendas/academic diaries, or writing down key information for revision.

Fineliner Pens:
I use coloured Staedtler fineliner pens mostly for revision.

Colourful Stickers:
Great for marking tasks when they're completed, revision, or generally brightening up your notes/agenda.

Index Cards:
I love using colourful flash cards to summarise and learn key information during revision. As a dyslexic I find it particularly focuses my mind on what I need to learn for specific exams. I keep them in a plastic folder to keep them clean and neat when I pop them in my school bag.

I find Uni-ball pens the only ones that I use daily for work, mostly because they flow properly and encourage me to write more. Always a bonus!

Carpe diem xx

Monday, 17 September 2012

Packing for University/College: What To Bring

The list can become ridiculously long, and does change with the type of accomodation that you are moving into at university/college, but here are some of the main things that I'm bringing for moving into my new off-campus house. Hope you find it useful :)

Duvet and pillows
2 sets of duvet and pillow covers + sheets
Decorative cushions
Cosy blanket/throw
Waste paper bin
Photo collage
Clothes horse/drying rack

4-plug adapter extension cords

A lot of (cheap) T-towels/dish cloths
Kitchen towels
Food storage boxes
Cooking utensils
Pot and saucepan
Can opener

Body, hand and face towels
Toilet roll

Here's the link to the Bed, Bath and Beyond Beyond Campus packing list that I used:

Carpe Diem xx

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

My Top Favourite (Free) Smart Phone Apps

My recent top favourite free smart phones apps:

Wunderlist - as soon as I got my phone I was searching for list maker apps, being list obsessed! Wunderlist allows you to create and edit as many lists as you want.

Instagram - it's great to share snapshots of your day with friends, family and followers.

Pinterest - I'd heard a lot about Pinterest before I downloaded it and now I realise what the hype was about. Being a visual person I love searching for inspirational pictures to 'pin' and making mood/inspiration 'boards' for fashion, makeup, decor, etc.

Any DO - start a to-do list of tasks that you want to complete by the end of the day, tick them off as you complete them, and continue the next day by adding new tasks alongside those you didn't complete the day before.

Angry Birds Rio - a completely addictive app that turns your phone into a toy, with a series of levels of increasing difficulty.

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Style Confidential: Pale and Interesting Celebs!

In my opinion tans are too often over-rated and over-faked. These celebs illustrate beautifully how you can pull off the 'pale and interesting' look with different fashion and makeup looks.

Kristen Stewart: red carpet chique

Taylor Swift: stunning ballgown

Lily Cole: natural no-makeup makeup

Karen Gillan: everyday vintage glamour

Christina Hendricks: feminine sophistication

Carpe diem xx

Friday, 31 August 2012

Dyslexia: My Top 5 Back to School Learning Tools

Add colour to notes or essays everyday or when revising with different colour highlighters. 
Tip: choose a different colour highlighter for each of the different sets of information that you want to highlight.

Use coloured index or flash cards to summarise revision notes and test yourself. Using colours will help to store information in your visual memory. 
Tip: Get family or friends to test you on your notes in a quiz game.

Smart phones are great for helping you organise your revision schedule and exam timetable and stay on top of work.
Tip: Research shows that regular texting actually helps practice language skills.

Mini whiteboards are a cheap and fun way to record to-do lists or test yourself on what you have just learnt. 
Tip: Having two whiteboards means you could team up with revision buddies and have a competition on what each of you can remember.

Dictophones are great for recording lessons or lectures so that you never have to worry about missing out on crucial facts and figures when you feel bombarded with information overload.
Tip: During revision time listen to lectures, lessons, or revision notes when travelling gets boring.

Carpe diem xx

Thursday, 30 August 2012

August Favourites: The Body Shop, John Frieda, and Organisation....

Technology: My new Sony Xperia Tipo! I finally replaced my old Sony Ericsson with a smart phone, after 4 years!

Reading: I got 'Girl With a Pearl Earring' (Tracy Chevalier) from the library, and am really enjoying it. It's classic historical fiction set in the 17th Century Dutch home of painter Vermeer.  

Skincare: I've been testing different moisturisers for dry/sensitive skin and really like this Vitamin E Moisture Lotion (SPF 15) by The Body Shop. It's a nice light moisture layer for the summer.

Haircare: Before blow-drying my hair I've been using John Frieda Frizz-Ease Heat Defeat protective styling spray. It leaves a nice glossy shine.

Homeware: I bought a 3-set of white wicker organiser baskets for my room and really like them. £20 from TVC.

Clothes: I've been loving the lace-trim jersey tank tops that I found in H&M for £7.99. I got one of navy blue and one in black. Abercrombie look for less!

Carpe diem xx

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Style Confidential: The Fashion Tag!

I wasn't tagged to do this but thought it looked interesting!

How would you describe your style?
Classic, tailored and semi-formal, but also quirky and colourful!

What are your wardrobe essentials?
Leather biker jacket, riding boots, either a chunky knit scarf or pashmina, oversized sunglasses....and skinny jeans

Most expensive item in your closet?
Kurt Geiger Carvela black Nordic wedge boots (£90).

Most wanted item?
A Mulberry bayswater handbag - £595!!

Favourite designer?
Since his death I became particularly interested in what he had designed. Being part Scottish I love the way he encorporated his heritage into his work by using tartan and tweed. I also love Vivienne Westwood's quirky, original designs.

How much do you spend on clothes?
Never more than £50 a month probably. I buy sporadically!

What are your favourite places to shop?
H&M and Topshop, and also Next recently........

Favourite fragrance?
Dior J'adore Dior.

What's your favourite way to do your hair?
My hair's getting pretty long so I like to have it down but clips the sides off my face.

What is the most prized possession in your wardrobe?
Actually an accessory - my Vivienne Westwood silver drop-pearl pendant necklace.

What's your go-to outfit for when you don't know what to wear?
Skinny jeans, tank top, waterfall cardigan and scarf :)

Who are your style icons?
Classy and feminine looks from Eva Longoria, Hilary Duff, and the old Olsen twins style.

Hilary Duff styling:
Carpe diem xx

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Brussels Haul: Belgian Pharmacie, T-shirts and more

I took the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Bruxelles Gare du Midi and spent 10 hours exploring Brussels! Here's what I brought back (not all for me :)

Rensonnet Marzipan Fruits - these almond paste 'marzipan' sweets are all delicately molded into the shape of different fruits. Yum! - 9,90

La Roche-Posay Hydrating Anti-Redness Moisturiser - I've never really tried French skincare but La Roche-Posay is meant to be good for sensitive skin so I can't wait to try it out! - 15,96

I Love Tintin T-shirt (Rue de la Colline) - I got this in the official Tintin souvenir shop, on a street just off the main Grand-Place

Titans Comic (1978) - comic-strip art is a big thing in Belgium and there's even a whole museum dedicated to it. I got this vintage one cheaply - 2,00

Beer Revolution T-shirt - to add to my collection of oversized tourist t-shirts! - 12,00

Carpe diem xx

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Style Confidential: Marilyn Monroe Casual

I've always been a little bit obsessed with all things Monroe ever since I was young, and I think these surprisingly modern 1950s and 60s casual fashion shots of Marilyn are inspirational.
Carpe diem xx

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

August Empties: Beauty Products I've Used Up

Dove Summer Glow: I love this gradual self-tanner but stupidly bought the one for normal to dark skin  when I should have got light to normal! Definately won't repurchase that one.

Simple Clear Skin Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash: A nice oil balancing exfoliator and face wash with witch hazel. However, I'm trying out other one's and won't repurchase soon.

Aussie Limited Edition Take The Heat Leave-In Spray: Great spray and works well, like the other Aussie products I've tried. However, also trying other brands such as John Frieda.

Olay Essentials Complete Care Plus Light Moisturising Cream: I've loved this tinted moisturiser for ages but recently felt that it's starting to give me spots. I have sensitive skin and think there must be an ingredient in this that is irritating it. Not for sensitive skin!

MaxFactor False Lash Effect Mascara: Love this mascara, which really does give the effect of false lashes; perfect for someone like me who doesn't like the hassle of putting them on! Repurchasing in waterproof :)

Vaseline Rose and Almond Oil Lip Therapy: Loved Vaseline as an essential forever, but I do think they gradually dry your lips out so I'm weening myself off it!

Nivea Visage Daily Essentials Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes: Great for sensitive skin and good makeup removers.

Carpe diem xx

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

July Favourites: Peaches, Company and more....

I know.... it's very late! But here's a seasonal, summer-themed July favourites. 

Food: Peaches; they're in season and I absolutely love them! I usually have them as part of my breakfast to kick the day off with a smile on my face :)

Foundation: Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation is a brilliant medium-coverage high street/drug store foundation with shimmer and sparkles! Creates a great summer glow

Skincare: I've been loving these samples of Benefit's new skincare range b.right Radiant. Particularly the eye cream for counteracting dark circles 'It's Potent!', and the thick glossy texture of the moisturiser 'Total Moisture' for a barrier against summer aging. 

Reading: My new favourite magazine for the summer months has definately been Company magazine.  It is a slight alternative to the glossy covers of Cosmo and Glamour, particularly focusing on fashion. September's issue features Whitney Port's in stunning flowing locks and glowing summer makeup, as well as a brilliant article on Vlogging, which includes lifestyle vlogger Anna Saccone. Thumbs up from me!

Carpe diem xx

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Top 5 All-time Book Series for Children and Young Adults

The Worst Witch - Jill Murphy
A series of books about the adventures of trainee witch Mildred Hubble at Miss Cackle's Academy. Great for all those obsessed with everything witchcraft and wizardry.
Reading age: 7-9 years

Sherlock Holmes - Conan Doyle
A series of short stories, first published in 1892, telling the mysteries discovered and solved by Sherlock Holmes in the words of his faithful friend Dr Watson.
Reading age: 13+ years

Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
World-renowned 7-part book and film series charting wizard Harry Potter's and friends progress through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and his battle with The Dark Lord. Can be read on many levels and great for children and adults alike.
Reading age: 11+ years

Thursday Next - Jasper Fforde
Literary crime detective Thursday Next's adventures in BookWorld among fictional literature-related crimes. Great fantasy fiction and intelligent plots.
Reading age: 13+ years

The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkein
Bilbo Baggins out-of-the-ordinary adventures as told in Tolkein's classic trilogy of 1937. Like Potter, can also be read on different levels by children and adults.
Reading age: 11+ years

Carpe diem xx

Summer OOTD: Biker Jacket and Flip Flops

Biker jacket - Topshop Petite
Blue sailor stripe dress - H&M
Gold hoop earrings - Accessorize
Black flip flops - Accessorize

Carpe diem xx