30 May 2014

Coal not Dole: Women against Pit Closures @ Experience Barnsley

Being from Barnsley, anything to do with the miners strike becomes a punchline, an easy dig and a joke, and as the town ages, the true meaning and importance behind these events starts to get lost.  With this year being the 30th anniversary of the miners strike, Experience Barnsley put's it's own stamp on the commemoration by looking specifically at the role of Women during the miners strike.

The miner strike is an easy target to poke fun at northerners for if you don't know the history or didn't grow up in an area so deeply effected.  For me personally it has always struck a cord, I am too young to have experienced it directly but I have learnt about the history, seen the documentaries, and live in the shadow of what happened 30 years ago.  The town is still in recovery and plenty of people believe it will never be the same as it once was.  When I was younger I visited the National Coal Mining Museum and I distinctly remember seeing a Barnsley Women against Pit Closures t shirt in a display and it struck me really deeply.  The thought that women in my town could hold such an important role really stuck me and I was surprised at how strong my feels were, so after a long time trying to find the time I finally found my way to this exhibition on my lunch break.

The exhibition is small but powerful.  The centrepiece is a video composed of various interviews with women who were part of the movement that is well worth a watch in it's entirety.  Around the exhibition there are various artefacts and powerful photographs that really highlight the women's role, and it is more important then you might think.  For many women this was there first taste of independence, and many didn't look back.  For women in these town's it was arguably the biggest push for women's rights in history.  Family's were close to starving but communities stood stronger then ever, this exhibition aims to show the great, and the negative, that came out of this infamous strike.

This exhibition draws people in for a number of reasons, the social history, local history, women's rights, politics etc and I may or may not have cried, luckily no one was around to witness it!  The exhibition is free so you really should drop in if you have the chance, however I haven't given you much warning as it ends this Sunday!

Kariss xx

P.S you can check out my post on my first visit to Experience Barnsley here.

29 May 2014

Perfect weekend Haul

Just a quick post to share a couple of things I picked up in York this weekend, I think they make the perfect recipe for a relaxing night in this weekend, what do you think?

Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Angels on Bare Skin, Lush
H'suan Wen Hua, Lush
Charity Pot tester, Lush

Have you read these books?  Tried these Lush products?  They are all new to me so I'd love to hear your thoughts 

Kariss xx


28 May 2014

Wieght Loss Wednesdays: The Beginning #WLW

You may have noticed I have had a busy month, and boy are the scales telling me I had fun!  I have been trying to stick to a diet for over a year and when it works it really works but when I go off it...well....put it this way. I am currently the biggest I have been since I was 16, possibly ever!  So, in order to try and get my head in gear,  I am joining Twice the Mum's Weight Loss Wednesday's.  I am hoping that putting this out there will give me the motivation, and a little pressure,  I need succeed!  I currently have a wardrobe full of Summer dresses I can't wear and it's getting me down, so let's do this!

First up let's talk about goals, I don't want to be too specific in some sense but I'm aiming for around the 9 stone mark.  I like the idea of aiming for 8 stone 11 1/2 because that's exactly 2 stone 7 pounds away!

So let's start of with the initial weigh in:

Start Weight: 11 stone 4 1/2 pounds
Waist: 32 inches
Hips: 41
Thighs: 42

I'm not going to put all my measurements on here so I will leave it at that for now.  The only real thing standing in my way this week is a food review I am doing at a restaurant on Saturday, so I will just have to be really good all week to make up for it and make smart choices.  I know I am probably aiming a bit high but I would love to drop 3 pounds this week.

If you want to join in let me know, it would be good to have some buddies to do this with, and don't forget to check out Twice the Mum

23 May 2014

Is Makeup Important?

I don't normally wear makeup day to day, so I don't really think about how it looks to the world.  I never wear it to work and I only wear it on weekends if I'm going on a night out or going for a meal etc.  However on Monday, after work, a family friend needed someone to do bridal makeup on for her course so I stepped up.  I took this 'before' pic for my own amusement (most unflattering pic of the century!) and then another after to show my boyfriend.  I didn't think much of it, I know what I look like with makeup on, it was only afterwards when I compared these pictures side my side that I noticed the difference!  Look how much younger, more awake and refreshed I look, it got me thinking should I wear makeup everyday?  Does it look more professional? Does people's opinion of me change?  Does it make a better impression?  I'd love to know what goes on in peoples heads.  I'd also love to say I had some deep meaningful reason for not wearing it but the truth is, I'm just not a morning person, and getting up any early then I absolutely need to just doesn't happen.

On a separate note I hadn't realised how strange it would be to have someone else do your makeup using completely different products and techniques!  It was really relaxing and I have to say she did a really great job, I never normally wear eyeshadow unless it's crazy, over the top, bright colours for goth/alternative nights, so it was really different to have neutral colours.  I think it looks really nice but I don't think I'd even know where to start!

I would love to know your opinions, how much of a difference do you think it makes wearing make up?  Can you face the world makeup-less, or do you like o have the perfect face?


21 May 2014

Blackhead Killer peel off mask: Review

Who doesn't like a bit of pampering on a weekend?  Every Monday I curse myself for not just chilling out, painting my nails and relaxing in the bath, and a key part of this is, of course, a face mask.  So when I was sent these to review I figured it might actually convince me to slow down for a bit, so Sunday night that's exactly what I did.  I was sent 5 of these so I talked my sister and her boyfriend into giving it a go too, why have one opinion when you can have 3!  

When I opened it I was surprised by just how dark it was, I was expecting it to be black but this was really black!  It looked like oil, super shiny!  This meant it was very easy to put on, it glided over my skin easily, with no drips or stickiness.  I much prefer peel-able face masks for this reason, and there much easier and cleaner to wash off.  Now for the all important mid face pack shots!

Don't we all look super, sexy, cool!  Word of warning, this face mask can be very messy!  As much as it doesn't budge when it is on your face it can be kind of hard to get off your hands as water just slides off and anything you will touch will have a black residue (I have the towels to prove it!) however it dose not stain.

It smell's lemony which made it feel extra cleansing and it dried pretty fast.  Unlike other peel-able face masks I've tried you don't get that horrible dried out skin feeling, where you can't move your face for fear of cracking!  In fact after the allotted time I didn't even think it had dried properly till I tried to peel it off.  It came off really easily,and felt the same as when you would peel PVA glue of your hand when you were a kid (that wasn't just me right?).  It all came off in one big section rather then little bit which was really satisfying.  It was kind of painful in certain areas off your face as you pulled it off but this is what helps to pull out the blackheads/oil.

Afterwards my skin tingled for quite a while and after it had settled down it felt really soft.  None of us really suffer from blackheads but my skin can get pretty oily and this seemed to get rid off the access oil without over drying it which can be really hard to achieve.  My sister loved looking at the face mask after she'd pulled it off so you can see anything and she loved the cleansing feeling.  Her boyfriends opinion was 'ouch, why do girls do this' followed by 'actually that feels quite nice'.

Blackhead Killer peel off mask costs £14.95 for a pack of 5 and you can get it here.  What's your favourite peel-able face mask? 

19 May 2014

Infinity Drake: The Sons of Scarlatti- review and giveaway

A few weeks ago I was contacted to see if I would like to review a couple of children's/ young adults books by Harper Collins, of course I couldn't say no to an opportunity like that!  Infinity Drake grabbed my attention strait away with its eye catching cover design.  In fact the whole design is amazing, it's one of my favourite book designs ever, especially with it's young audience in mind, so before I get into the book itself lets start with that.

First up the bright yellow and contrasting black really stand out, and obviously symbolise the scarlatti in it's colour scheme.  A Scarlatti is pretty much an evil wasp, this is explained much better in the book but I don't want to give anything away so for now, thats all you need to know.  The pages have black edges, and I think I may have mentioned it on here before but I am a sucker for coloured edging on books!  It makes me unexplainably excited! Inside the jacket the hardback had a nice looking white spine contrasting the black background.  However my favourite part of the book deign is...

...this!  As it's in the blurb I don't think I'm giving too much away by saying the lead character ends up being shrunk, and when I was flicking through the book I quickly noticed the silhouette of a man on the righthand size of each page, I then realise it get smaller on each page, shrinking as you read it till at the end of the book it's tiny.  I thought this was a really cool touch, and now, onto the content!

Infinity Drake – aka Finn – is off on holiday with his mad scientist uncle when they are summoned to a crisis meeting. Scarlatti, a lethal bio-weapon – an Ď‹ber-wasp killing machine – has been released by a pitiless villain, with incalculable consequences for mankind.
UNLESS Uncle Al can shrink a military team to track down and kill the beast. But then disaster strikes – sabotage! Finn gets shrunk to 9mm and has to jump in a tiny Apache helicopter with three soldiers in a desperate race to destroy the beast that's out there, very angry and many times their size…

I was pretty sceptical when I first read the blurb, it sounded a little silly, an uber-wasp?  However the book design drew me in, and once I picked it up I actually really enjoyed it.  There is a lot of action and it is genuinely hilarious.  I don't mean 'I can see that is meant to be funny' I mean 'I am actually laughing out loud in public at a children's book' funny.  The whole book has a very British feel and the humour is the same and I LOVE this. I can't remember the last time I read a book that had such a strong British identity, it made everything very easy to visualise.  

The characterisation in this book is probably my favourite thing about it.  The lead character, Fin, is intelligent, funny and quick witted, his uncle AL also has amazing wit and seems like the perfect father figure for Fin, getting him into trouble but making sure you he always has the most fun while doing it.  There aren't many women in the book on the whole however the ones that are in here are all very strong characters.  They weren't presented as titillation at any point, they were strong, experts, protecters and providers in their own right.  It was very refreshing.  One of the girls, Delta, is a pilot and a gamer, and it's possibly the one female gamer character that hasn't come across as really cheesy.  In fact the book handles all 'modern' things very well, something that often makes me cringe when authors try to get 'down with the kids'.  Another thing I think this book does very well is explain what could be complicated scientific theories, to a young audience without over simplifying it or talking down to it's readers.

I really think that this would make a fantastic summer film, perfect amount of action and laughs with that unmistakable British touch. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Jonny English, I can totally see David Tenant playing the uncle with a host of other great British actors.

I do read quite a lot of young adult however this is more an older children's book then young adult (I would estimate it was aimed at the pre-teen market).  This did mean that although I enjoyed this book, especially at the start, I did start to loose interest about 3/4's of the way through, I do think if I was younger I would have enjoyed it more.

Now you've seen my opinion it's time to have a chance to make your own, I've got a giveaway on this action grabbing title, so if you want to add it to your collection, follow the rafflecopter instructions bellow.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

16 May 2014

Story Leather Iphone 5 Case

Some of you might remember a few weeks ago when I accidentally made the super smart decision to take my Iphone for a bath (I didn't complain about much.....) and ever since I finally got a phone back I've been looking for a suitable case.  Luckily a few weeks ago I was contacted my Story Leather to see if I wanted to review one of their red leather Iphone cases, so of course I said yes.

Story Leather pride themselves on there handmade items, all of which are the made from 100% real leather (not the fake plastic leather often seen on sale).  They also specialise in custom orders, both adaptations of there existing designs and your own.

What really surprised me when was the packaging, this is possibly the nicest product packaging I've ever received, and who would have thought it would be for a phone case!  It looks very decadent and looks like the packaging you would expect from an expensive jewellery company.  The box itself was lovely and I was really surprised when I opened it to find that the phone case was wrapped in lovely soft material.

As for the phone itself the first thing I noticed was how sturdy it is.  I had expected the leather to be soft however it is actually quite stiff and ridged, which makes it feel more solid.  It has a magnetic clasp to make your phone extra secure and it fits the phone perfectly, no fear of any accidents.  I love that it has a pocket on the inside for cards as I always use my phone for transporting my staff pass and sometimes my bank card ( I know I probably shouldn't but it comes in handy!).  I also love the design inside the case, it's a shame this part gets hidden by the phone.

My only criticism is that for a phone company that has so many unique selling points the case design itself is very simple.  It's very smart looking but I feel it for such a creative company they could go for something a bit more interesting looking, however as you can design your own case I guess this problem is easily solved!

If you could design your own leather phone case, what do you think you would go for?

Kariss xx

15 May 2014

Long time no see!

It's been almost 2 weeks since I last wrote a blog post, I think that might be the longest hiatus I've had since starting this blog in July!  The last time I posted was on my birthday, and since then that's what I've been busy with, celebrating my birthday with family and friends.  My boyfriend came up to visit me for a week, we had a family party to celebrate my cousins engagement, friends headed over from Lincoln and before I knew it a week had passed without giving me a chance to write a thing!  Then just as I was starting to recover I went away with work on a few battlefield tours so this is the first opportunity I've had to sit down and get writing.  Frankly, I've really missed it!  I have so much to catch up on I can't wait to share it with you all, but in the meantime I thought I'd share with you what I got up to on my birthday weekend.

On my actual birthday I woke up early and opened my presents before my family rushed off to work and college.  I won't share everything that I got with you, I'm getting a little old for lots of gifts and that's not what matters to me, however I thought I'd share with you a couple of things I received.

My friend Leann got me this lovely Alice in Wonderland Manga and my other friends from lincoln got me a bucket of lego!  My mum got me this amazing Caterpillar from the Disney Traditions collection that I've wanted since it was first announced (I have so much Disney Traditions stuff, but this is defiantly my favourite).  Harry's family were nice enough to get me Debenham's vouchers so next time in Meadowhall I'll have to try and decide what make up to spend it on!  My sister got me lots of cool Harry Potter and reading related stuff and a Cath Kidston candle, Harry got me Settlers of Catan (woo!) and hand crafted me this amazing Harry Potter wand!  It has my name on it, and butterfly's (the cutie mark of my favourite My Little Pony).  He even researched what kind of wand I would have had and wrote my Hogwart's letter ( Willow, 13", Unicorn hair if you're interested), he also wrote me an amazing letter.  I have to say I felt unbelievably lucky and thankful!  My younger sister even wrote in my card that I was one of her best friends, it was very touching.

Despite it being my 26th birthday *sobs* my Mum got up early to hang Hello Kitty bunting in the window (which I swear I took a photo of but I can't find it!), and my sister got me these Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse balloons.  Harry made me the amazing meringue cake (that boy knows what I like) and Easter nests, later my friend Leann came over with this incredible Pokemon cake, seriously that thing was huge!  In the evening I went for a meal with my family and Harry, then we came home for cake and champaign served by my dad, before cracking open more drink to play a tipsy game of Settlers of Catan.

Saturday we got up early and headed to Cannon Hall farm, before heading onto Cannon Hall park for a picnic and then into the museum there before having a walk around the grounds.  I won't go into too much detail because I think this day deserves a post on itself but it was a really great day and I was amazed how we managed to fill a full day here so easily!

Saturday night my whole family went out to a family party to celebrate my cousins engagement, even my older sister who had traveled from London.  We had some drinks and danced a lot (my family were the only ones on the dance floor most of the night, my dad took over with his 'signature' moves), it was a lot of fun!  We came home and Harry decided to hug the dog, she was really happy about it as you can tell!  We then settled in for more drunken Settlers of Catan.

Sunday I had a lazy morning before heading to Wagamama's for food with some friends where I had my first ever chicken katsu curry.  Then we headed off to watch a small unheard of band called MCBUSTED!  Honestly you can mock me but Busted have changed my life in ways I can't even imagine, my friends from school (2 pictured here) are some of my oldest friends and why did we become friends?  Busted.  They also opened up my world to all the much heavier bands I got into later. I might have never discovered metal, punk, industrial and all the rest without this band, and music is what a lot of my friends and relationships have been based on.  I'm not going to lie I was pretty sceptical, we are all much older and I'd heard a megamix they'd played on tv and wasn't impressed, maybe I'm too old for all this stuff right?  And then the lights went off and I didn't stop jumping around and screaming for an hour and a half, it's amazing how music can take you back to a different place and time (I'd seen them in the same venue 10 years perviously with the same friends).  For those of you interested, Dougie and James, always ;p.

Monday was when I had my main celebration with friends, I didn't take any pictures other then the above two which I really regret because I saw some friends I don't get to see very often and it was such a fun day.  It started off with laser quest which I was a bit wary about but I ended up loving (even if the 12 of us adults nearly did get in fights with children on several occasions!).  After the very sweaty group of us headed for food at the Handmade Burger co.  We had a lazy, chatty lunch before heading to the arcade ( I have a major love for 2p machines).  After some fun here I gathered my tacky winnings and headed into Sheffield for drinks, however we never made it further then the Weatherspoons.  It was really nice to just sit, drink and have a laugh while slowly getting drunk, one of the hardest things I've found about moving home is I don't really have any friends around here and none I can really hang around with like this.  Where I know I'm guaranteed a rant and a laugh without fail.  After this I headed towards Corporation (birthday tradition) for a drunken dance session, which resulted in me getting a girl thrown out of a toilet, loosing my phone, finding my phone a few hours later, checking lego into the cloakroom putting my hand in a toilet!  Friends came and went throughout the day to make the bits they could attend and it was great to see so many people.

Tuesday was a much more mild manner affair, we took the dog on a 4 hour walk and just chilled out, it was really nice, then I came home and finally built my Back to the Future Lego set I got for christmas, it was such a lovely relaxing day.

So that's my birthday!  I feel very happy and lucky this year to have so many great people in my life who've made the time to spend with me, and those who couldn't who wished me a great day.  I had a pretty horrible birthday last year, it was very lonely, this year I felt very loved.  I've been dealing with some hardship in my life away from my blog (that has hopefully started to elevate a little) so having this little break away from worrying about everything felt amazing and was very much needed.  If you made it this far thank you!  Normal blog posts will resume shortly!

Kariss xx

2 May 2014

Janine Basil Black Mini Crown

It's 3am on the morning of my birthday, and what am I doing?  Writing a blog post, I must be crazy!

You'll probably recognise this from my outfits of the weekend: Resistanz festival post and wondered where this baby came from.  Well a couple of weeks ago I was stalking the Janine Basil website, clocking up a basket I could never afford, drooling at all the glitter, complaining to myself that I couldn't afford everything I wanted.  Then I thought why not treat myself!  So I  narrowed my choices down to one of her beautiful glitter crowns.  I argued with myself over colours before finally settling for black, because lets face it black goes with everything, and I had 2 goth festivals coming up, so this could not have been more perfect!  (I only actually ended up going to one of them boo!).  

It arrived quickly and was packaged beautifully, I'm a sucker for tissue paper, pretty cards and bows, and I love all the little touches you get when ordering from a person rather then a big company.  You can tell it's handmade with love rather than factory made.  

Wearability wise it's perfect, comfortable to wear, you can't even tell your wearing it, which is surprising given it's size.  It just slides on with an elastic headband, which is easily hidden by my hair, and feels very secure.  When I wore it for the festival I was worried that it wouldn't stay put through 12 hours plus of bands and energetic dancing (ok drunken flailing) so I attached 2 bobby pins to the elastic each side of the crown and it didn't budge all night!  It's super sparkly and defiantly stands out and I got loads of compliments and people asking me where I bought it from! 

I don't think this will be my last order, I'm currently eyeing up the Unicorn Headband, maybe next pay day if I've got some spare cash!  What is your favourite piece from her site?  Here's a bonus picture of my mum photo bombing me:

P.S I made a couple of changes to my blog based on some twitter suggestions, I made my blog smaller and my photos bigger (starting with this post).  I'd love your thoughts on these and any other suggestions you might have.  Right I'm off to bed, I have a busy day of eating cake and trying to forget I am now closer to 30 then 20 *sobs* 
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