30 September 2015

Chanel Makeover with Debenhams Beauty Club

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the fabulous guys over at Debenhams to see if I wanted to go in to their Meadowhall store to get a makeover and pick up a Beauty Club Card to boot.  Strangely enough I had been into Debenhams the week before to pick up my favourite Illamasqua Skin Base foundation and meant to pick up a Beauty Club Card while I was there, but as usual I totally forgot!  Talk about good timing!  The Beauty Club Card works much like the famous Boots card, but there are occasionally other rewards too such as samples and in-store makeovers.  

I was given the option of having my makeup done by Dior or Chanel, and to be honest I didn't know enough about the products of either to make a solid decision, so I took to the internet and Chanel came out the definite winner.  Now, before this I only really knew Chanel for their perfumes (outside of their fashion line of course) so I had a lot to learn.

The women on the stand were all really lovely and helped me to choose a look to go for.  I was pretty open and went for something autumnal ready for the upcoming months.  The staff were really great and could answer all of my questions and were super knowledgeable.  I absolutely loved the completed look!

I won't go through all of the products, but here are my faves:

Eclat Luriere Conclealer- I am very fussy when it comes to my under eye concealer and this definitely cut the mustard; huge coverage and much more moisturising then my current go to Mac.
Bronze Universal- This was my absolute favourite product from the day I think, it was used as a contour and looked so striking yet completely natural and it required so little.
Ardent Eyeliner- This is the gold eyeliner you can see under my eye in the bottom left picture - subtle yet striking.
Rouge Noir Lipstick- Really moisturising and the perfect colour for autumn. 

And here is the before and after of my finished look, what do you think? My wish list just got a lot longer!


21 September 2015

#Sassybooks : The Opposite of Loneliness Review

This month's Sassy Books read is coming to you super early for two reasons.  1) it is the shortest book so far and I actually finished it over a week ago and 2) I'm off to Barcelona in a few days and didn't want to miss out on getting my review up!  This month's choice is The Opposite of loneliness, the first non-fiction selection from the Sassy Books group.  It is actually a collection of writings from Marina Keegan, who tragically died in a car accident just after graduation.  After her death her essay went viral.  Described by the publishers as:

Marina Keegan's star was on the rise when she graduated from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. As her family, friends and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, 'The Opposite of Loneliness', went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord. Even though she was just 22 when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina's essays and stories that articulates the universal struggle we all face as we work out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

To be honest with this kind of book you are going to get a mixed bag, as it essentially a collection of short stories and essays that weren't meant for publication and this is definitely what you got.  The main essay is only 4 pages long and personally it wasn't as strong or as memorable for me as it seemed to be to other people.  The book from there is split into fiction and non-fiction.  As expected, some of them are better than others but there was definitely some great talent there.  A lot of people commented that her fiction could be pretentious at times but I actually really enjoyed it.

There is no doubt that Keegan was a great writer and could have gone on to great things, but it's something we will never really know.

14 September 2015

Why I was never going to be ready for Funeral for a Friend ending

On Monday the 14th of September, at 10:14 my heart broke.  

I logged into Facebook and saw a message from friend Clare, but before I had a chance to read it I'd already seen the image pop up on my screen.  An announcement that my favourite band for over 10 years, Funeral for a Friend, were calling it a day.

I have been meaning to write about the band on here since I started this blog, I've had ideas swirling around in my head for over 2 years.  Yet is has taken this announcement for me to finally sit down and type.  The thing is sometimes a band isn't just a band, sometimes a band is such a large part of your life you feared the day this would come.

In 2003 I was 15, sat in a Science lesson trying to act cool.  Listening to Blink 182 on my C.D player between lessons, a guy I had a huge crush on asked me what I was listening to, knocked my earbud out and announced it was time I listen to something better.  The album he played me was the newly released Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation.  I only heard a few seconds but as I fancied the guy I went out and bought the C.D with a few of my friends at the next opportunity.  I have a distinct memory of putting it into my parents Hi-fi and blasting it as loud as possible.  When I got to track Escape Artists Never Die I was hooked.  I listened to that one track on repeat for ages before I continued with the rest of the album.  It was official, I was obsessed.

As quickly as I could I was hunting out older E.P's in HMV, putting posters on my wall and buying every interview I could in Kerrang.  By the time they played the Octagon in Sheffield my friends and I were bouncing with excitement.  I still remember that gig so clearly.  That was the first gig in so many, my music tastes are open and ever changing, but Funeral for a Friend remain my most watched band to date, and I doubt they will ever be topped.  I have seen them all over the UK, from headlining festivals to Barrow in Furness of all places.  I traveled to see them and every time I loved it.  I can honestly say I have never been to a Funeral for a Friend gig I've not loved.  

My love of the band can be split into two periods, the first one lasted until just after the release of Tales Don't Tell Themselves.  I started a relationship that was very destructive and controlling.  Once of the things he stopped me from doing was seeing live bands and he didn't like me listening to any band he deemed too attractive.  I still listened to the old stuff but their other albums were banned.  When we finally ended, going to see them live was a big part of the recovery.  I remember the feelings of freedom and nostalgia as I watched them again, their album Conduit had just been released and I'd fallen in love again.  I'd traveled to Nottingham dragging my friend Leigh along with me with a suspected collapsed lung.  I was seriously ill, and yet I managed to forget it all when they played.  I met the band for the first time after that show, but never could find the right words.  From here on in I became a one woman marketing machine telling everyone I knew to listen to their new releases.

There are two recent gigs that really stand out for me.  One I attended in Leeds last year, it was the anniversary tour for Hours and as soon as they started playing the first track, one I'd never heard live, I was in tears.  I was alone and surrounded by groups of drunken lads and it was embarrassing.  The second was the last gig I went to see.  I saw one of my dreams com true, my favourite band played my favourite venue, Corporation in Sheffield.  I am glad it's something I managed to tick off my wish list, it's one I never thought I would.

Other little moments such as sweat dripping from the roof in in a student union gig, and being front row at Download, helping me solidified some of my longest friendships, are things I can never forget.

When I got my first ipod I went out of my way to make sure Casually Dressed was the first album I added to it, and every subsequent ipod/iphone since I have kept up this tradition.  This year when I got my first car, their latest album Chapter and Verse was the first C.D in there, and I've annoyed everyone to death in the past months playing it non-stop.

When I read the news I wasn't completely shocked.  It was something I have been expecting for a while and had been warning my friends about the awful mood I would be in if it happened.  When I read the news at work I went into practicality mode ok how do I get the money together to afford tickets for the farewell tour.  A little later it really hit me.  Honestly, I cried.  At 27 and at work I cried over a band splitting up, I actually felt dizzy.

If this post had a full title it would be "Why I was never going to be ready for Funeral for a Friend ending, but I totally respect their decision and will enjoy their music for the rest of my life", but that's not as catchy.  I can't afford it but I will be there at their final gig in London in April, and hopefully a couple more besides.  I'm sad it's gone, but I am mostly glad it happened.  Thank you guys.  Thank you so much.

11 September 2015

"We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes" Alice in Wonderland Cosplay

I'll be honest, I kind of just want to let the photo's speak for themselves and enjoy me pretending to be someone else for the day, but that would not make a very good blog post would it?

Now there are a few things going into the reason behind this post.  One is that I've always wanted to do cosplay but never had the nerve, sewing skills or opportunity to try it.  The other is that I am some what obsessed with Alice in Wonderland.  I don't think I've mentioned it on my blog before but I collect all sorts of things Alice-related, especially the Disney version and have at least 10 different editions of the book.  So when I decided to join Amy and Bel at Sheffield Film and Comic Con last month I finally had the chance to get stuck in.  

As I mentioned, I can't even sew a button so I had a godsend in the form of Bee who has just opened up her shop Closet GeekAs I mentioned, I can't even sew a button so I had a godsend in the form of Bee who has just opened up her shop Closet Geek.  If you head over there you will see she makes fantastic character inspired bows and clothes for children, a lot of Disney and Harry Potter especially, but she can also be commissioned for adult cosplay such as this.  I've got my eye on a couple of bows for myself after payday - tae a look and support a fellow blogger. 

 If you are thinking that this dress looks a little bit different from the Disney Classic version then you would be right, because it is actually based on the Disney Parks version.  There are a couple of small but key differences, a slight difference in colour, longer and puffier arms and the apron is more embellished.  I picked the Park version simply because I preferred this style. 

Now no look can be completed with just a dress, so I got a cheap one online.  I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment so I knew I wouldn't be able to get a decent wig, but for under £15 I don't think this was bad.  It isn't perfect but it didn't look too much like a tacky party wig either, although it does sit a bit high on my head.  The famous headband is an old one I've had for ages but you can get similar all over the high street - Clare's Accessories is usually good place to start.

The white tights I got from eBay for just less than £3 and the petticoat was another bargain from Amazon at £9.99.  I did deliberate about this for a while and I had thought about getting one from Lindybop but once more it came down to cash (or the lack thereof).  I was a bit disappointed when I first saw it - the quality isn't the best and I thought it would give my dress a strange shape, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  Lastly, the shoes are from M&S and they're a pair I've had for a while.  I spent a long time looking for a pair in this style before I remembered I already had some, for such a simple style they were surprisingly hard to replicate.  I would recommend M&S as they've had some in this style recently, and luckily with Alice being such a young girl she doesn't have too many accessories or extravagant make up so it was a good look for dipping my toe into the cosplay pool.

What do you think?  I really enjoyed running around after the White Rabbit for the day.

P.S note to self, maybe don't take blog photo's on a really sunny day when all you can do is squint at the sun!

9 September 2015

Barking Rad. Subscription Box for Dogs (Review and Giveaway)

If there is one trend that has taken over the blogging world in the last few years it has to be the subscription box.  You can get them for everything from makeup, to skincare, to Japanese candy, to nerdy goodies, and lately pets.  I had been aware of a lot of cat subscription boxes but until now I hadn't come across one for dogs (possibly because most of the blogs I follow belong to cat people).  Now if you follow me on Instagram you will know my Springer Spaniel Willow is one of my best friends, she has her own unique personality and the cutest face this side of the dog park ( I know I am biased but seriously look at her little face!).  So when Barking Rad contacted me to see if I wanted to review their September box I couldn't stop myself from saying yes so I could spoil my pooch!

The unique thing about Barking Rad is their policy that handmade in the UK with no hidden nasties or chemicals, which is a big plus for looking after our pets.  Here is what we received in the September box:

 Harry's Treats Gourmet Sunday Roast

These treats are handmade in Edinborough and contain no artificial colours of preservatives.  Most importantly as far as my dog is concerned, they taste like a Sunday Roast and she is a big fan.

My Person Loves Me- Soft Toy Moustache

Can I just start out by saying how cool is this company name?  This moustache was handmade from corduroy in Lincoln.  I'm not going to lie it's not Willow's favourite toy as it's a little boring (she likes toys with faces) but I do like the handmade aspect.

Coconut Blush Paw Salve

Don't worry this isn't makeup for dogs like I initially thought, it's a salve with Hemp oil to help pups with cracked paws or dry noses.  It's scented with peppermint and lavender and it's safe for your dog to lick at.

Arton & Co Dog Doughnuts

Lets face it, us pet owners love sharing out favourite treats with them even though we know we shouldn't.  It's because we just want to share the love!  However now you can guilt free with these doggy doughnuts, Willow loved this treat although the sprinkles did get pretty messy!

Barkers Brew

Lastly this dog beer (which is actually more like a dog gravy) is actually Willow's favourite from the box.  You simply pour it over dry dog food for extra flavour.  Now Willow isn't a big fan of her dry food, she just eats it when she needs to, but the minute I put this in she rushed over and ate it all straight away, and didn't even come up for air.  If you knew my dog you'll  know this is unheard of!

If you like what you see here, Barking Rad have let me give a box to my readers!  To enter, please follow the instructions below (please note the box you win might contain different items and it is only available to UK residents)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


7 September 2015

August Reads 2015

This month the Sassy Books read was pretty big so I didn't think I would get many more read, however the last Tuesday of the month was pretty early on and I had a weekend of traveling to do so I managed to squeeze in another three.  I also finished a book before my Sassy Books read so this makes a total of five, so I think I'm getting my reading mojo back!  I forgot to picture one of them however, I blame my constant sleep deprived brain!

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham. 

He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He’s a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody.
I got this book ages ago in a local library sale and shelved it, unsure if I would actually get around to reading it.  However for some reason this month it called out to me so I thought I'd give it a try, and I'm glad I did.  I don't know what I exspected but it was a very real, very sweet story set in such a heartbreaking time.  The lead character did seem a bit unbelievable at times as he was so nieve and innocent but I really felt for him.  The use of childhood nicknames and descriptions of the Nazis were very striking and you could tell that no one really knew the true extent to what was happening at the time.  Not an unmissable story but still good none the less.


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
This is last months Sassy Books read, it was a little slow at times but beautifully written, check out my full review here.


Habeas Corpus by Alan Bennett 

I forgot to take a photo of the book, and I can't find the blurb anywhere.  Massive blog fail.  Anyway this is a play text, a typical 70's style farce given a Bennett twist.  It's hard to read a farce without seeing it unfortunately as the humour is lost and this did seem dated although it made me laugh a couple of times.  I wouldn't have read it if it wasn't part of a Bennett collection I already have.


Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King 

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

I've been wanting to read some A.S.King for years after hearing some really good things and I finally picked this up to read last month.  I have gone off Y.A in general however you can't beat Y.A when it's done right and has strong characters, this definitely has those.  It was a read that was both dark and light, with a bit of humour thrown in.  I didn't love the characters but I think they were fairly well developed even if some of the lead character's actions I couldn't really rationalise.  I'll definitely be reading more from this author.


Lost at Sea by Brian O'Malley

Raleigh doesn't have a soul. A cat stole it - or at least that's what she tells people - or at least that's what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it's just what she needs - or maybe it can help her find what she needs - or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.

This is a cute, quirky story told via some beautiful, sometimes simple art.  It isn't O'Malley's best work but it has all the qualities in it that made Scott Pilgrim so lovable.  It has an edge of nerdiness, humour and ultimately reliability that makes his stories so great.

Don't forget you can follow me on Goodreads or Instagram using the hashtag #karissreads2015 to keep up to date with everything I'm reading this year!

2 September 2015

#LetsGlow Blogger Bingo

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by Ladbrokes to a blogger bingo night with a key difference, it was glow in the dark!  Now I'd only played Bingo once before, so I had some idea what to expect but the glow in the dark aspect did leave me wondering.  I was concerned it might look a bit lacklustre but I have to say the team went all out!  When I walked into the room we were all stunned, it was pitch black and full of UV lights.  It took some time for my eyes to adjust but the effect was wonderful!

I grabbed a drink and had a chat with the other bloggers, who were lucky enough to get some amazing UV reactive face paint designs.  I have never seen UV face paint done so well.  The make up artist did a really good job, everyone had something unique, I opted out as I thought I would receive some very interesting comments on the train journey home but there was also some UV manicures on offer!  I was defiantly up for that but unfortunately I ran out of time due to all the chatting I was doing (it seems to be a running theme at these events!)

Drinks in hand we were soon ready to play, there was a lot of giggles as always and some amazing prizes.  Smaller wins for getting a line, and three huge prizes if you were lucky enough to score a full house!  Unfortunately I missed out on the big prizes but I did manage to get a line and won myself a box from Soap and Glory.

The games took up most of the evening but there was a stop for pizza and cake mid-way though.  This wasn't your ordinary take away food however, the guys at The Belgrave Music Hall had really brought their A-game food-wise, and there was tons of it!  By the end I was completely stuffed.  

Altogether it was a really fun day, some of the girls and I  have even suggested having a bloggers bingo night out to carry on the party?

Have you ever played Bingo?

Blogger Template Created by pipdig