Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Watch Wednesday: Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth Review

Broadcast last night on BBC2, this documentary follows six Hindu pilgrims as they prepare to and travel to Allahabad in India to be part of the Kumbh Mela festival, which centres on purification rituals in the Ganges river itself. The festival happens every 12 years and is special because it happens at a place where two sacred rivers are thought to meet. The Kumbh Mela claims to be the largest gathering of humans ever. The documentary is a fascinating way of dealing with the the culmination of one of the world's largest and oldest religions, its philosophies, beliefs and traditions. A beautiful way of learning about a festival and a religion possibly distanced from many Western viewers. The characters are lively and the photography engaging.
My final thought was that there should be more religious documentaries on TV. Maybe documentaries are a way to bring intercultural and interreligious dialogue to the forefront of political debate?

Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth, BBC2, 9pm, Tuesday 30th July 2013 is available on iPlayer until Tuesday 6th August 2013

Carpe Diem xx

Monday, 29 July 2013

Makeup Monday: No.7 Airbrush Away Primer and Triple Protection Tinted Moisturiser Review

A double makeup review day! Yay! I love testing products and particularly products from No.7. So here's what I thought of them (after testing for 3 days each).

No.7 Airbrush Away Primer:
A really nice non-silicone texture. Smooth and a nice light finish for my dry skin, especially good for those with oily skin who don't want to cake on their foundation over the top. Masks pores and is a multi-tasker and time saver! Helps foundation and face makeup to slip on and stay on for longer.
Not much bad to say about this product, apart from the fact that I can't afford to use tons of it regularly as it is on the premium side of the primers available.

Boots No.7 Airbrush Away Primer is available full-size from Boots for £19.50

No.7 Triple Protection Tinted Moisturiser:
Hypo-allergenic and with UVB SPF 15 and 5 star UVA triple sun protection, this tinted moisturiser is great from the go! I was slightly surprised to find a touch of foundation as I didn't see it advertised on the packaging but found that it was perfect for minimal summer no-makeup makeup. It slid on nicely but I found I needed more than a pea-sized amount to blend it out properly. Perfect for days when you don't have the time to spend a long time on a full face of makeup, which is most of the time at the moment for me, and don't want to blend with a brush for ages.
The only downside was slight oilyness and shine on the T-zone after 4 hours wear, but considering I have been testing it in the heat wave it has been amazing! A dewy finish that isn't too shiny. A great multi-purpose product again!

Boots No.7 Triple Protection Tinted Moisturiser is available full-size from Boots for £11.50

Swatches: Airbrush Away Primer (left), and Triple Protection Tinted Moisturiser (right)

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Thought For Your Day: None Go So Far....Living Like Cromwell

"None rises so high as he who knows whither he is going" - Oliver Cromwell

Excuse the diversion and I hope you'll enjoy a little Sunday morning inspiration/motivation. I heard this quote, supposedly from Cromwell, the other day and the more I thought about it the more I liked it. At first you might get lost in the old language, but what it essentially means is that those who don't have a long term plan or goal are likely to 'go further' than those who do. So take from this what you will, but I  take comfort in the idea that living life in the moment, enjoying little adventures and grabbing opportunity with both hands is better than worrying about a future that hasn't happened.

Happy Sunday!

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 26 July 2013

My Graduate Gap Year Update: Moving On and Growing Up

A quick update on my at-home graduate gap year: 
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about deciding to have a kind of at-home graduate gap year where I would focus on things such developing transferable skills, blogging, work experience and travelling in the UK. 

This is my original blog post:

I graduated last week. For the first time in my life I don't have a permanent paid job, am not in education or training, and I have no idea where I'll be in a years time. Have I become a NEET? Here's a quick update on the way my plans are going at the moment:

Travelling: Still not enough savings to go to Asia, but I have two holidays in the UK planned for the next month, so I'll be blogging about those adventures soon!

Work: For the past month I've been volunteering 2 days a week at my local charity shop, yesterday I helped hand out Meals on Wheels to housebound people, and all of next week I working at a children's holiday club. I never really expected to be volunteering so much of my time for free but the experience is amazing and it is very fulfilling work.

Blog: As some of you might notice there are a few changes here! There are now ads on my blog and I'm blogging around 6 times a week. I love writing and hope you all enjoy reading.

Here's to uncertainty!

Carpe Diem xx

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Eat Like an Italian: A Pick of Summers Best (Foodie Favourites)

12 years ago on a family holiday I discovered a love for Italian food and and everything Mediterranean really. I've been eating pizza and pasta ever since (who hasn't) and have dreams of living there one day.  The truth is that Mediterranean diets are scientifically proven to be some of the healthiest in the world, full of fresh fruit and veg and monounsaturated fats (the healthy fats). Families in some parts of Italy (such as Sardinia) regularly live beyond 100. Parmiagana melanzane is an aubergine and mozzarella dish and is up there as one of my favourites!

For a simpler summer salad that isn't all green lettuce and rabbit food (can you tell I'm not fond of the stuff?) try a basic Caprese salad by slicing mozzarella and tomato, sprinkling with olive oil, salt and pepper and adding basil leaves.

Frittata or quiche are other options for using up veg and eggs without eating lettuce all summer long. This is a sweet potato and green bean frittata made by my mum.

Strawberries and blueberries are great but peaches have to be the best of the summer fruit, right?

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe even got some ideas for your shopping list or menu. Ciao!

Carpe Diem xx

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Small Room Organisation: Tips and Tricks

1) Make use of shelving that reaches the full height of your rooms, saving you floor space and making use of available storage

2) In small rooms every inch counts, so whether its doors hangers or hanging wall storage make the most of behind the door storage

3) Freestanding storage and organisation, bookshelves, dressers, etc. can be the best way of adding a load of extra storage space in one, keeping unwanted or unsightly things in storage and out of the way

4) A lot of people use under bed storage but often not effectively. Try clear linen and extra free storage boxes to keep your things off the floor and safe

5) Microorganisation, or organising within drawers and boxes with smaller boxes and containers, is the most effective and underused organisation trick out there. A place for everything and everything in its place!

Carpe Diem xx

Monday, 22 July 2013

What's In My Shower: Wetroom Edition, The Little Bubble Co. and More

So welcome to my first ever What's In My Shower Post. I don't actually have a bath in my house, but a wetroom and shower. So here's what I've been using in the heat wave to stay cool when a hot shower is the last thing you want!:

TRESemme 24 Hour Body Shampoo (and Conditioner), £5.49
The Little Bubble Co. Coconut Creme A Very Quiet Bath and Shower Gel, £2.99
Radox Moisturise Shower Gel
Korres Japanese Rose Shower Gel, £8.00

Ok, three shower gels is excessive for anyone, but I like to alternate and review different brands! In terms of quality and long lasting moisturising, I definately feel happier with the more natural ingredients and higher quality of the Korres shower gel, plus it smells amazing!


The Little Bubble Company Coconut Creme products both smell and feel so amazing that I've also been loving their hand wash (very lovely!). Not only super moisturising but leaves your hands smelling of coconut for a couple of hours - what more could you ask for (unless you hate coconut that is)?

The Little Bubble Co. A Very Lovely Hand Wash, £2.99

I hope you're all staying cool and enjoying my daily blogs!

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Reasons Why BBC Sherlock Series 3 Is One To Watch

1) With wit, class, and the razor-sharp cheekbones and paleness of a vampire, Benedict Cumberbatch is the best modern take on Sherlock you'll ever watch.

2) Andrew Scott as Sherlock Holme's arch nemesis Moriarty is cruel, cool and calculating. The most talented undiscovered actor on the series even if his appearances are infrequent.

3) Although there are sadly only 3 episodes to each of the past 2 series, each is 1 hour 30 minutes and as cinematic and well written as any film.

4) Each episode is so well directed and packed of the small details you could easily miss first time that it is worth watching them at least twice.

5) Writers Stephen Moffat (Doctor Who, The Adventures of Tintin), Mark Gatiss, and Stephen Thompson know how to put a modern twist on each Conan Doyle tale.

6) The occasional comic dialogue between Holmes and Watson (Martin Freeman) adds a perfect realism to their relationship that is not forced.

7) The use of annotations in each episode to explain the information whirring around in Sherlock's mind as he deduces the answer to each crime, which we would otherwise miss, is clever and adds to the audiences resonance with his character.

8) If you've watched the last two series then you'll have to watch just to find out if/how Sherlock faked his own death.

9) Tea and biscuits.

10) He's a high-functioning sociopath with amazing eyes, and thus supremely cool.

11) This Sherlock has a blog. Need I say more?

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 19 July 2013

Weekend Vlog: Romeo, Romeo and Chillin' from a Height

Romeo turned up at my window at 7am this morning (how rude) in the form of two painters. Ok, they were on scaffolding and sheltering from the sun, but a girl can dream? In other news, I've turned the platform outside my window into a temporary elevated sunroof, which is actually pretty cool and makes me wish I had a permanent balcony there. 

How are you chilling this weekend?

On my toes: Barry M Indigo

Carpe Diem xx

Fashion Thursday: Summer Graduation OOTD and Boho

Dress: H&M Black Skater Style
Ceremony Shoes: Clarks Black Ballet Flats
Spare Shoes: Office Blue and White Striped Canvas Flats

Necklace: Dew Silver Star Necklace
Bracelet: Blue Silk (gift)
Earrings: Dew Silver Star Earrings

Mascara: Avon Supershock Black
Lipstick: Revlon Pink Pout
Eye Shadow: Maybelline Mocha Duo 

We also popped into Boho cafe in Canterbury for dinner before the ceremony (it was a late evening ceremony), which was amazing. I'd been there a couple of times before and had to have one of their amazing burgers (both the beef and the veggie ones are great) with homemade chips. I went for sloppy Joe sauce this time!

Would you like to see a graduation series?

Carpe Diem xx

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Avatar 2009 | Film Review

Yes, confessional time; it is 2013 and I am writing my review of Avatar (2009) having promised myself I would see it for four years now. It was only when I was ill at the weekend, when I had no energy to do anything other than lie on the sofa, as these things sometimes happen, that I got the opportunity to watch and review Avatar for you!
The 2009 science fiction action film both written and directed by James Cameron (of Titanic 1997 fame), starring Sam WorthingtonZoe SaldanaStephen LangMichelle RodriguezJoel David MooreGiovanni Ribisi and Sigourney Weaver. Set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are mining a precious mineral prophetically named unobtanium on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi people, humanoids indigenous to Pandora. The title refers to a genetically engineered Na'vi body with the mind of a remotely located human, used to interact with the natives of Pandora and thus to colonize them and take control of the area of mining land on which their sacred 'Tree of Songs' sits.
Avatar thus alludes to the greater themes and deeper philosophy of Cameron films, as images of American military parading around an alien land machine guns in tow are reminiscent of the Iraq war and other conflicts. The plight of the Na'vi is that of long-indigenous countries across the globe and unobtanium is the collective fossil fuel resources that we sadly deplete rapidly on an hourly basis. 
What can Avatar mean to us? Does Cameron fulfil a greater intention of bringing global understanding to environmental issues in writing this film? Or does it make individuals take notice of their actions and consequence on the earth? I can't give the answers to those questions but what I can say is that with its beautiful cinemtography and mix of CGI and action sequences Avatar is bound not to disappoint, even if it is lengthy. Bring out the blue body paint and let me be a shiny, glittery nature humanoid too!

Carpe Diem xx

Monday, 15 July 2013

My Oral Hygiene Routine for Fixed Braces and an Update

I've largely been lucky with my fixed braces since I got them on a year ago, but recently I've had a few issues to deal with, which has led me to spread the word on the best oral hygiene products and my daily routine for keeping teeth sparkling!

Morning: Brush teeth and Mouthwash rinse
Corsodyl Daily toothbrush
Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening Fresh Mint
Colgate Plax Multi-Protection Antibacterial Mouthwash

Midday: Rinse with mouthwash
Colgate Plax Multi-Protection Antibacterial Mouthwash

Evening: Brush teeth
Corsodyl Daily toothbrush
Sensodyne toothpaste

Anytime: (I have small teeth and a small jaw so interdental brushes are a must, but get the disposable sticks because the normal brushes are expensive!)
Boots Expert Dental Disposable Interdental Sticks (contains 100 sticks per pack)
Orthosil Orthondontic Wax

Update: I can happily say my treatment has gone well so far. However, I did have a cover orthodontist adjust my brace last week. She left a small amount of wire on an upper and a lower bracket sticking out. While this is not a big thing, it has led me to have cuts in my gums and to develop ulcers, so I'm off to a walk-in clinic to get it sorted out! 

I hope some of this helps you out if you have braces too, good luck!

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 14 July 2013

What is Anthropology? My Degree Explained

Taking the name simply, anthropology comes from the Greek 'anthropos' (man) and 'logia' (study) and in its basic form really is the study of humans and human culture. The discipline is as broad as it gets in terms of its versatility, which is largely why I was attracted to it in the first place, and I cannot do justice to its many forms in this one blog post. However, what I hope to convey is that anthropology is useful. Power comes from knowledge and knowledge comes from study. Therefore anthropology can be a way of generating the power of understanding, communication and the ability to change lives for the better, between cultures and individuals. When I started my degree I blissfully ignorant of what anthropology really was and why I was doing it, but luckily I had an understanding of its offshoots and moving away from home to study for a degree in it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Even after three years of study and graduating with a Bachelors degree I cannot condescend to having some higher knowledge or understanding of humans or the study of the species, which ranges in culture from Amazonian tribes to Wall Street stock market traders. What I have gained, through experiencing and living the degree, is an ability to think critically and break down life's curiosities into some sort of comprehendable answer. Why do some men in the Western world wear clothing that reveals part of or all of their underwear? How do humans develop as the result of environment and genetics? How universal is status and hierarchy in society? Anthropology might not have all the answers but its discussions hint at the location of the key.

Carpe Diem xx

Saturday, 13 July 2013

How To Improve Your Photography: Get The Most From Your Camera

1) Framing - Look at framing your image in different ways by using your surroundings and environment. A well-framed photo is much more aesthetically pleasing!
2) Angles - Take a series of photos of the same thing from different angles. Angles create interest in photography and diagonals can make or break a photo. Build a diagonal into your photo and work on the 'rule of thirds', with the central focus of your image in the bottom right hand corner third.
3) Lighting - Natural light creates the optimum conditions for taking a photo while the light in dark rooms or on sunny days can be either took dark, bright or synthetic. Try taking your camera outside on a sunny spring day for ultimate photography. Try it and you will perfect the Facebook profile pic!
4) Close ups - some of the most innovative and interesting photos are ones which focus on the mundane, small details of life that otherwise go unnoticed. Use a close up setting on your camera to take photos of small patterns, the texture of animal skin, etc.
5) Back ups - to get the most from your camera make sure that you print copies, back up on your computer with Google Dropbox (the Cloud), or save onto a USB drive so that you never lose your best shots. In the age of the digital camera it is all too easy to lose a photo forever.
6) Handbag - keeping a small camera in your bag or handbag is a great way of making sure you're always ready to capture a special moment or inspirational scenery. I have a Sony Cybershot for on the go and a Fujifilm Finepix for 'professional' shots.
7) Intention - Finally and most importantly, before picking up a camera think about what you want to photograph. Not the landmark or person but what you want to convey and why you want to take it (as a memory, for sentimental reasons, etc.).

Carpe Diem xx

Friday, 12 July 2013

5 Easy Ways to Do Shabby Chic

Learning a craft (knitting, crochet, etc.), or using the labours of others in your home, can really add that vintage feel and become a fun hobby at the same time! This bear was knitted by one of the ladies at my local hospice.

The best vintage and retro design containers, pots and jars can be free or found in old cupboards. Upcycle them and they become the perfect shabby chic organisers!

Old picture frames and pictures can really add to a room. Why not try reusing an old one and transforming it? It turned the picture in this frame over and used the blank side to create a collage of some of the vintage postcards that I've collected for years.

White is the shabby chic colour (or tint). Why not give old furniture a facelift by painting them white and giving them a distressed 'Les Mis Chic' look?

Fairy lights of all shapes, sizes and colours are the perfect finishing touch to a shabby chic interior, creating cosy decor and the effect of dramatic underlighting.

Carpe Diem xx

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Watch Wednesday: Horizon: The Truth About Personality Review

Confession time, I'm definately a geek when it comes to Horizon documentaries. Michael Mosley is especially understated in the hour long BBC2 programme, which was aired last night. The scope of the investigation is far broader than could be condensed into one hour, but it was nonetheless fascinating, giving an insight into the latest research in genetics and neuroscience. The focus was primarily personality and specifically optimist/pessimist cognitive bias, which while it might seem depressing or degrading for some to be told they are naturally negative people, came alongside the news that we can change. Our personalities and characters can change, with the help of brain training and practice. To always see the positive, to adopt a stiff upper lip when approaching even the harshest of situations is at the very difficult if your not that way inclined, but as Mosley shows, is not impossible. Mosley's guide to happiness is revolutionary in parts and insightful in others, and for those suffering with anxiety and stress this programme is a must see. From now on I am adopting meditation!

Horizon: The Truth about Personality, 9pm BBC2, Wednesday 10th July

Carpe Diem xx

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

(Re)Organisation Series: How I Organise My Fiorelli Clara May Bag

I have badly needed to update my handbag collection (literally, not as in I've got 100 and am missing a purple tote with glitter sparkles) for about a year, so of course instead of buying one bag last week, I bought two. I bought the Clara May bag by Fiorelli (I'll get onto the name in a minute) from the Debenhams website and after waiting excitedly by the front door, it came in four days. 
I'm impressed with the quality and the design is long and flat like a sausage dog, making the bag Tardis-like and deceptively roomy. Confession time: I did slightly fall in love with it when I saw the name; May being my birth month and Clara being the Latinized/Italian version of my name! It also slightly reminds me of Chanel totes. What do you keep in your bag?

Here's what I keep in it permanently, shuffling the contents when needed:
Wet Ones
Fiorelli Purse
Tote/reusable bag, The Body Shop
Plastic wallet, Muji
Clear ziplock bags (actually pretty handy)
A pen
City Lights makeup bag, Boots

Fiorelli Clara May Medium Shoulder Bag, Debenhams

Carpe Diem xx

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Beauty Drawer: My Makeup Storage and Organisation, Benefit, Models Own and More

It's kind of a sin to admit as a beauty blogger that you don't own or use a ton of makeup, and even worse to admit that you don't want to, but I have to admit that my storage and organisation is even more important because of the small space I have to store it in. I keep a small but regular supply of products I generally know and like, as well as samples to try, so enjoy having a nose around my beauty drawer!

Striped Box, Accessorize: samples (Benefit 'That Gal')
Secrets Tin: 100ml travel bottles, travel makeup brushes (Real Techniques), Zinc tablets (Holland and Barrett)
White Wicker Basket (from set of 3), John Lewis: extra makeup sponges, spare toothpaste (Colgate)
Gaudi Mug, Barcelona: current lip products to use up (Rimmel Stay My Rose lipgloss)
Spare tissues (Kleenex Balsam travel tissues)

Yes, it does need a sort out, any ideas? How do you organise your products?

Carpe Diem xx

Monday, 8 July 2013

Vintage Makeup Collections, Compacts and Coming of Age in the 1950s

Collecting vintage compacts and cosmetics can be an exciting and fun way to bring social history and beauty together in one hobby. The history of the cosmetics industry as well as women's social history can be told through the cosmetics and packaging that have been sold to us. 
1950s post-war Britain saw a boom in the production and marketing and cosmetics and specifically handbag-friendly lipsticks and compacts. The glamour of a red lipstick or a flawless powdered complexion doubtless helped Britain and other countries on their feet after the austerity and trauma of war, during which much cosmetics production was given over to war paint. This is the Marks and Spencer mirror and powder compact that my granny was given when she turned 21 in 1953.

Have a look at Lisa Eldridge's 2-part interview with vintage makeup collector Madeleine Marsh on YouTube
Have a read of my review of Madeleine Marsh's 'Compacts and Cosmetics', a guide to the history of cosmetics and vintage makeup collecting 

Carpe Diem xx

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Weekend Bake: Celebration English Cupcakes Recipe and Tips

Whether it's a birthday, an unbirthday, a summer barbeque or the Wimbledon final, it's always great to get baking and try an English version of sweet American cupcakes. With more flour and less sugar, these cupcakes are more Victoria sponge and work perfectly for tea parties.

3 eggs
6oz self-raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Cream together butter and sugar
2) Fold in flour into the mixture in stages
3) Break in the eggs
4) Spoon into cake cases
5) Bake in a Gas Mark 4/350F/180C

Chef's Tips:
1) Sift flour and icing sugar fully before combining
2) Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture for extra taste sensation
3) Combine all the ingredients until smooth
4) Leave to cook until bouncy and golden
5) Decorate with chocolate and other flavoured icing, when cooled, by adding cocoa powder to icing sugar and water

Carpe Diem xx