FILM: The Year In Review

December 30, 2015

2015 was the year I finally decided to give the film industry a go, and boy am I glad I did. Though my new years revolutions for the past two years have centered on actually watching movies, this year is the first time I can actually say I completed my target of 25 new films in 365 days, and I'm happy about that. Here's the films that have shaped my 2015:
Kicking January off with a bang, I sat down to watch The Theory Of Everything, the Stephen Hawking biopic based on his life and that of his wife Jane, and I'm so glad I did. Exiting the cinema with tears in my eyes, it was one of the first films I saw this year that I felt had a profound effect on me and my outlook on life, and as I currently read the book that the movie is based upon, I feel those memories resurfacing as four girls sat in a busy cinema screen, completely mesmerised at what we were seeing unfold. In January I also saw Unbroken, based upon the true life adventures of Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner who was captured by the Japanese in World War Two and forced to endure prisoner of war camp life after his plane crashed into Japanese waters. When we weren't jumping out of our seats due to scary as hell sharks, we were enthralled by the atrocious ways real men and women were treated just because there was a war raging on.

February came and so did the giant megaseller that was the Fifty Shades Of Grey movie, which was just how I expected it to be, a film version of a fan fiction, and based on that, I really enjoyed it. Men, Women and Children soon became the weirdest film I'd seen this year, as it slammed social media, the one thing that was making it popular, and its constant flashbacks to space were unnecessary but I suppose it's a film I did not forget in a hurry, maybe because I spent £10 for the luxury of being confused and laughing at something rather than with it.

With May came Pitch Perfect 2 and Unfriended, two completely different films that both made me laugh hysterically - I'd even come close to saying that the second Pitch Perfect film was much better than the first - and Unfriended was so bad it was good, I mean who doesn't want to see a teenage boy putting his hand into a blender and filming it on Skype? 

In June I saw Spy, the Melissa McCarthy comedy to cheer me up after sitting probably one of the hardest A Level exams I had to take, and the laugh a minute jokes really made me smile as I sat in a practically empty cinema screen on one of the hottest days of the summer.

During one of the most hectic months of the year, aka August, me and my friends slotted in a trip to our local Vue to see the opening of John Green's Paper Towns, which although good, was a little boring and felt as though it did not have a proper ending. Me, Earl and The Dying Girl on the other hand was the film I expected Paper Towns to be, it was funny, well paced, indie whilst also being so uber mainstream, aimed at teenagers but then at the same time universally likeable. The Man From U.N.C.L.E was great if a little confusing but the fashions were gorgeous and once the film was explained to me, it suddenly seemed a hell of a lot better (thanks Laura).

Starting off Autumn, we popped into see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails, which was an odd choice bearing in mind I fell asleep in the first film of the trilogy. This one on the other hand kept me on the edge of my seat as we hoped that Thomas and the Gladers wouldn't be killed by the evil bad girls, even though we knew somebody had to survive for them to make another film. Oh well. No Escape provided me with the tensest film I have seen in my life as I hoped that the Dwyer family would make it out of Asia where they were being hunted down simply for being foreigners, whilst also making me think because though this was fictional, it could so easily be real in this heated international climate.
In October I managed to see The Intern alongside a KFC, as a film I really enjoyed it and didn't even consider the parallels to The Devil Wears Prada until a friend mentioned it as we were leaving, the whole scenario is some place that I want to get to in the coming years so it really struck a chord with me. Pan, the recreation of the classic Peter Pan story, made me smile as I sat in a 12 seat cinema screen, but I can't remember a lot of it as I fell over in front of the whole screen on the way back to my seat and I'm still dying from the embarrassment.. 

November brought what should have been the film of the year, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, but I over hyped it and for that, I am so so mad at myself. Looking back on it, it was a very good film but the exhaustion of the characters in some ways exhausted the audience and that was something I noticed very early on into the film. Yet as an ending to a very long series, it was worth seeing and I will see it again and again. Crimson Peak scared the hell out of me, as did everybody's screaming and repeating of the word FUCK every five minutes when the tension rose. The costumes were God damn beautiful and it totally made me want to see more horrors, as this was what I would call proper horror rather than the slapstick comedy most horrors have turned out to be. 

I rounded off 2015 with a film marathon like no other, watching a record five films in a fortnight. December brought Bridge Of Spies, the Steven Spielberg directed blockbuster about the Cold War, in which Tom Hanks negotiates the safe return of an American spy in return for a Soviet, a film that I found both exciting and informative, so much so that I had to go home and read up about the true story on Wikipedia. I saw an early showing of Joy, the newest Jennifer Lawrence film about Joy Mangano, the lady who invented the Miracle Mop, and I was so affected by it I had to watch it again (there will be a full length review about this as I can't get it out of my head) whilst also managing to see Room, the Brie Larson indie about a girl who was kidnapped and forced to bring up a son in her confinement - the only place that her son thinks exists. 

Non 2015 releases I watched for the first time this year include Taken In Broad Daylight, a fast paced documentry style movie that details the life of a teenage girl who was kidnapped from a shopping centre and subsequently attacked until she was found by police due to intelligent clues left for the authorities to find. I also saw The To Do List, a cringe filled film about sex which I really enjoyed because of how cringe and cheese based it was, Silver Linings Playbook for the simple reason that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about regarding Jennifer Lawrence's acting skills and The Social Network, a movie based on the creation of Facebook which I found both interesting and inspiring as it shows that something that's so involved in everybody's life is can come from frankly anybody. 

Just as a warning, here are the films I saw in 2015 that I never, ever wish to see again: Serena, the Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper leading drama about a family who cut down trees for a living and want to murder each other, and The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the incredibly disappointing second film in the Divergent trilogy, where Katniss, sorry Tris tries to defeat yet another evil government but still can't do it - actually she might have been able to do it but as I couldn't bear to sit through to the end, who knows? 



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The Ever Consuming Fear Of Being Shit

December 16, 2015

THE EVER CONSUMING FEAR OF BEING SHIT
 
The title of the post sums my ineloquent thoughts up - I have a huge fear of being shit on the internet, a place which in the last five years has manifested itself into something that makes the American Dream look like a nightmare, with the way ordinary people can make millions and how unhappy people can suddenly appear to be having the time of their lives. Just like the American Dream, the internet gives faceless individuals across the globe something to inspire to, something to strive for. Yet at the same time, the American Dream can be negative, as it pushes people to fight each other and compare each sliver of their lives until they lose sight of the reason they aimed to achieve their dream in the first place. Although my dream is on a much smaller scale that this, this is what happened with me in the blogging world.
 
Even as I write this, my heart beats strongly against my chest and I feel a lump forming in my throat that threatens to tackle my fingers from the keyboard as I will myself to just. keep. going. I've felt inferior on the internet for years now, even as a fifteen year old fan of girl bands I just never felt good enough, I felt that no celebrity would want to send rubbish emoji filled messages to me as I wasn't important enough, my tweets weren't excitable enough or my selfies weren't edited well enough. For years I guess I've felt like an awful piece of dirt on somebody's shoe.
 
Yet this feeling just amplified as I joined the blogging world, so much so that I couldn't even blame my fear of writing on 'bloggers block', the only way I can describe it is feeling mute. I felt like I had a lock over my mouth the second I attempted to transcribe my thoughts onto the internet, although whilst sat in a photo kiosk at work I could easily pour every feeling and opinion onto hastily torn receipt paper in such a way that made my jibberish sound beautifully articulated.
 
But these beautifully articulated words never left that torn piece of paper, were never transcribed onto the keyboard of my laptop - and yes, I am ashamed of that. I am ashamed that I told everybody that this year was going to be mine, this year I said I was going to publish my favourite pieces of work online and that people would actually read them, instead those words were shredded last Friday amongst paper phone bills and junk mail.  
 
Even thinking about it now makes my whole body shudder, as the realisation of what exactly took place this summer comes to mind. It really was one of the best summers in a long time, but for the first time in many years, I had given up on my ability to make people think. Instead of letting people read what I had to say, I stuffed scrap paper into my pockets and jumped out of my skin when fellow members of staff saw me doodling my thoughts in fear that they'd want to read the silly ideas I'd conjured up. And that's wrong. I shouldn't have let that happen to me. I should have given them the paper, let them read my inner workings, because they were meant for the internet anyway, weren't they?
 
And the reason why? As the title says, it was my ever consuming fear of being shit. The fact is I really don't want to be shit, I want people to read what I have to say and go HELL YES! I just want to write something that either entertains or makes you feel or think, I want to be proud of my own work and go 'yeah, that's me' whenever anyone mentions my blog.
 
And that's not going to happen unless I pick up the pig by the balls or whatever the unfortunately rude saying is, unless I just do it and tell people and stop letting my fear of other people thinking I'm crap get in the way. So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm going to write, and I'm going to publish what I write even if the niggling thoughts in my brain are telling me that I am never good enough. And you want to know why? Because if I don't, I will never write again and the thought of that makes my heart beat faster and heavier than it did when I was fearful of posting online. So I guess there's my answer.
 
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MUSIC: An Essay On Music And Inspiration

December 11, 2015

Gazing at the mobile that a fellow blogger kindly branded 'the typical blogger phone', I realised that my blogging game has deteriorated so drastically in the last few months that I felt ashamed to even call myself an author of my own words, let alone a blogger. I felt disgusted at myself, at the way I'd let a hobby such as this fall to the wayside when it should have been flying high, which is something I have drafted into a post escaping from the clutches of my 'to be posted' folder in the coming week.
 
A large problem of mine is that I am unable to fight for something unless it pulls at the beings inside of me, unless every thought of its existence brings out a feeling from the bottom of my lungs that will not escape until I do something about it. Yet another problem of mine is that I rely heavily on senses to bring out that feeling inside of me, I rely on pain and glee and similar hard hitting emotions that float in between, I rely on chords and spine tingling notes to bring my senses alive.
 
These are just a small selection of the songs that bring my senses alive. Many are there in a sense to operate reverse psychology on my heart - notably So Stupid by The Saturdays, a cringe inducing song that for lack of a better word, tells me how stupid I really am (even though it is meant to be aimed at an idiotic boyfriend.) Best Of Me, Victorious, Live Life Now, On A Mission, Bet On It, Wake Up, Grown and Confident all exist in their basic form to help you persevere, no matter what life is throwing at you, whereas the remainder of songs included in the playlist are there as they all hold a personal connection that I fail to understand sometimes.
 
La La Land reminds me to laugh at celebrity culture as I get in an internal debate with myself at its soaring pros and ridiculously disgusting cons, whereas the end instrumental from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, titled There Are Worse Games To Play / Deep In The Meadow / The Hunger Games Suite is included as it somehow relaxes me - I don't know why either. Perhaps the symbolism behind the orchestral piece has struck a chord, or maybe its because I know what the song represents to me, what has happened in my own life in the four years that this single track takes inspiration from. Misery Business and Fuck You are songs for the fighter in me, whereas Happy Hour sends me back to a time where I idolised a fictional character and this song was the musical version of her, thereby influencing my decisions as I think of what this character achieved. Hoxton Heroes and Live And Let Die also give me memories that force me to continue, inspire me to keep moving on.
 
If you wish to listen to my Inspirational Songs playlist, you can do via the Spotify widget below.


 
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HOW TO: Recreate Jennifer Lawrence's Mockingjay P2 Premiere Look

November 25, 2015

 
 
HOW TO: Recreate Jennifer Lawrence's Mockingjay P2 Premiere Look
With the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and the media storm which surrounded it, Jennifer Lawrence has been on our TV screens and infiltrating our news feeds more often than laughing cats recently, so it's no surprise that her life and her outfits have been under more scrutiny than ever. If you know me, you'll know that I'm a bloody huge fan of the tell-it-like-it-is star, so much so that I probably know more about her embarrassing red carpet moments than I do about financialisation, which I'm meant to be writing an essay on right now. Whoops.
 
HOWEVER this means I have had ample opportunity to scour the net to find which beauty products our top #bae uses in front of the cameras (do people still say bae? No.. okay) and then subsequently had enough time to check my bank balance and decide that there was no way I was going to be able to afford any of the stuff on the list... you can breathe a sigh of relief now, bank balance. 
I managed to raid my make up bag and complete this look in only 10 minutes this morning and at a cost of a whole £1 for the lipstick which was picked up yesterday in Superdrug, which I think is pretty good going bearing in mind I have mid length brown hair and spotty skin which Jennifer Lawrence doesn't... unless she's in full on Katniss wig and everything and fighting for her life which here she is not. (Unless you count the disgusting treatment of celebrities which is a topic for another time.)
 
So without further ado, here's my high street heroes which helped me recreate Miss Lawrence's look from the New York City premiere without the designer budget:
For the face: Rimmel London Lasting Finish Foundation, Rimmel London SunShimmer Bronzing Compact Powder
For the eyes: Collection by Little Mix 'All About The Eyes' palette, Collection 'Eyes Uncovered' Nude Palette, Collection Fast Stroke Eyeliner, Rimmel London ScandalEyes Retro Glam Mascara (much better than Benefit) 
For everything else: MUA Lipstick in Shade 2, (bought especially for this and so worth the £1) Babyliss Curling Wand
 
And here is my face after I removed all of the purple and orange-ness from my face, aka it's natural and bare, just how my Grandma likes it. Hopefully you liked this attempt at me trying to look like Jennifer Lawrence but instead looking like myself with slightly curled hair and purple lips, if you like semi decent writing please check out my other posts as they're much better than this one as I've become a blogging avox (yes, nice Hunger Games reference there) aka for months on end I've been unable to write anything on the internet, I've become mute. Yet just like Panem I've had a rebellion in my head and my drafts posts folder is growing back together like Katniss and Peeta so expect proper, well written posts soon. Yay.
 
 
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Abandoned Marvels Theme Park, Scarborough UK

October 13, 2015

A few months ago, after a rather crap day at a local theme park, I along with three friends took a trip to Scarborough to visit the abandoned remains of Marvel's Adventure Park, a resort which closed in 2002 after many a year of money troubles. Once featuring rides such as the Big Dipper, a dragon ride, a water area and at one time a zoo, it broke my heart and fascinated me in equal proportions how much a single site can deteriorate in so few years. Once a haven for adults and children alike, the park is now desolate, home to rusting metal, broken alcohol bottles and little else as nature begins to reclaim the area.

After a treacherous trip over crumbling paths, we arrived at our destination, expecting to see ground work and small mementos embedded into the ground, yet the only visible artefacts detailing that fifteen years previously, the area was home to a bumbling theme park was the steel chair lift hangars standing tall into the sky, complete with red crumbling paint as the wind echoed around its skeleton with a force to chill any body.

After exploring the chair lifts' main structure and the remaining wiring, cables which at one point powered families through the sky to the North Bay promenade, we took a moment to adjust to our new surroundings as it dawned on us that the ground ahead of us was not a natural part of the habitat, the sand and fibreglass filled mound in front of us was in fact the remains of the buildings in the park which had been crushed together to create something so strong that four of us didn't even realise it wasn't normal rock until we were close to falling off the edge into the trees and rotting buildings below. 

Below the rock mound was yet another chair lift pole, alongside a mysterious blue square hole in the ground which we later found out was once home to sea life, paraded to paying guests in the form of daily shows, yet now the land was desolate. It was a funny feeling yet at the same time it fired up my desire to visit more off the beaten track locations to see what is lurking underneath the main promenades of town centres across the country. 

Twenty artsy shots gazing into the sunset later, it was time to begin walking back to the car as we looked back on the theme park that no longer was. You can find Marvels Theme Park on the North Bay of Scarborough Seafrontt. 

What did you think? Have you ever visited any abandoned locations? Tweet us your thoughts at @olivia_curls or comment below.
 
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Paper Towns UK Film Review

August 23, 2015

paper towns film poster, paper towns uk, paper towns book, cara, margo, paper towns uk review, uk film, uk cinema
 
SYNOPSIS:
Young and shy Quentin (Nat Wolff) is in for the night of his life when Margo (Cara Delevingne), the most popular student in high school, recruits him to help her play mischievous pranks on the friends who betrayed her. The next day, however, the mysterious Margo is nowhere to be found. With help from a few buddies and some cryptic clues that she left behind, Quentin embarks on an obsessive mission to find the girl who stole his heart and made him feel truly alive.
 
REVIEW:
As I stepped into the movie theatre, I could feel the air of excitement rush over me as over a hundred young people sat in anticipation for what was said to be the teen movie of the year. Released to rave reviews over in the United States, the whole screen sat through countless damn Compare the Meerkat advertisements in order to witness what was meant to be the best teen film since, well the last John Green movie. Except that wasn't what it turned out to be.
 
Talking with friends afterwards, we decided that it was overhyped as in reality, the book wasn't that good to begin with. Not that I've read the book, something which some will look down on me for, yet I believe that for me to give a proper review based on the film it would be better to be viewing the storyline with fresh eyes. And I did.
 
At times, the movie felt a little like a hair commercial, courtesy of Cara Delevingne's slow motion hair flicks and model like poses which were over exaggerated by the zoomed in camera angles and focus on her fluid body movements. Yet in some respects, I do believe that this attention to detail in the camera shots was what made the movie special. It felt curated rather than just filmed, but then at the same time because of this, the film didn't feel like it had a clear beginning, middle and ending, it just flowed through and before you knew it, the credits were rolling.
 
I did enjoy the friendship between the three boys, Quentin, Marcus and Ben - as did the whole cinema screen it seemed as there were a few laughs to be heard as Ben urinated and puked up in both a vase and a can whilst drunk, and I enjoyed the feel good vibe the film gave out yet I just don't know whether I loved it.
 
The storyline was enjoyable yet at the same time forgettable as it had few strands which needed to be tied up at the end as every part of the movie was focussed on finding the main character Margo - although this was the films purpose, it in some respects was its downfall also. Perhaps by having side storylines which weren't discussed once and never again would have improved the film.
 
I would probably give it a 6.5/10 as although the acting was good, it isn't a film I'd choose to buy on DVD unless it was in the bargain bins.
 
Have you seen Paper Towns? What did you think of it?
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Organisational Items I Can't Live Without

August 22, 2015

 
ITEMS FEATURED:
Personal Planner A5 Diary*
Casio Gold Digital Watch
IPod Nano
IPhone 4S
Primark Flower Tipped Earphones  
 
To be frank, my life is a mess at the moment. Ten thousand dreams, plans and momentous occasions are currently crammed and swimming around my mind at a hundred miles an hour as I begin to comprehend the change I am taking in my life in a matter of weeks. If it wasn't for the following items, I honestly would have no idea what I would be doing with my life - amid driving lessons, two jobs, collecting A Level results and organising life post compulsory education, I have also enjoyed days and evenings out with close friends and eaten so much good food - yet I still haven't got everything planned and sorted and that's where the products above come in handy.
 
I first featured my diary (from Personal Planner) in a post detailing the importance of writing your life to retain precious memories (you can read it here) and five months later the sheets of paper are still as prevalent in my life as they were when the post was written. As a child who was unable to stick to one notebook for too long, I am proud of myself for maintaining usage of this diary rather than throwing it into the back of a draw after the honeymoon period was over. The large pages with ample room to detail thoughts and plans are perfect for my adventure filled days, and though I hate to say it, the pink and white shaded pages allow me to maintain the perfect Tumblr aesthetic - something that obviously is important to me hahah *cowers in embarrassment*
 
As a teenage girl, I am expected to be glued to my mobile device at every moment, yet I love my IPhone for many reasons other than those that involve communication. Though the camera is shoddy and the battery life is abysmal, it's something that I can call mine as it is completely personalised to my very needs, even if that does mean I haven't done an 'important update' since I bought it and never will. My IPhone is there when I need music yet don't have access to my IPod - aka it's out of battery - and is ready to pounce if I find an Instagram ready landscape that is crying out to be photographed. My IPod on the other hand doesn't do anything apart from play music, which I adore as it means I can shut out the world for hours on end with a simple tap of the start button. I believe it has the capacity to upload photos - but who wants to see photos on a music player? Not me for sure.
 
So these are the items I use everyday to keep my life on track - are any of these similar to what you use? Tell me in the comments or tweet me your responses to @olivia_curls!
 
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Goodbye Sixth Form

July 23, 2015


Goodbye Sixth Form.

32 days ago my life changed. For the first time ever, I could wake up on a morning and breathe a sigh of relief, in the knowledge that I never had to enter the place I unwillingly absorbed information ever again. Until the early months of this year, life at sixth form had been getting me down, so much so that I dreaded entering the large and foreboding glass doors, fear and apprehension clogging up my insides as I stepped across the footpath into my sixth form. But things got better, as they always do, yet those few months where nothing was going right will stick with me forever as I remind myself of the limits of the mind and realise that in the grand scheme of things, nothing is as bad as it seems and 11:11 dreams will come true.  

Some of the past two years at sixth form has been harsh and unforgiving, packed with compulsory coursework and rigorous examinations yet between the rapid ingestion of content and caffeine lay two years of laughter and enjoyment, the photos attest to this notion as I comprehend how far we've all grown up. With friendships becoming stronger, and relationships becoming gossip, life has changed for everyone and it won't stop now. In two years, I have become a working girl, organised tax payments and money transfers and more importantly, become a woman as eighteen tears of existence passed and I became a fully fledged adult, ready to take over the world without restriction. This year I visited both New York City and Washington DC, two places on the bucket list of adventure that I wish to complete in the next 10 years, alongside trips to far-flung destinations and closer to home hotspots, learning to favour the unique over the crowd, something which I think describes my sixth form experience perfectly.

As a sixth former, I came to realise how stupid social standing was and how little I cared for it, something which looking back on I'm happy about as without our #squad, (yes, I went there) Wrapped Up wouldn't have been the sound of the winter and i wouldn't have realised how much I sucked at bowling. Selfies aside, imagery from the past two years has captured spontaneous laughter, dancing to 90s music, Das Sound Machine sound caps in English lessons and cake on Fridays which materialised a whole zero times, and it is these memories that will take me to my hospital bed aged 70, not those of annoyance at the state of education and rants which was the focus of November 2014. 

32 days ago I realised that as I walked out of the exam hall and out of people's lives, I would never live the same day again. I wouldn't walk into sixth form smiling, but I wouldn't walk into sixth form stressed either. New chairs would be placed in new, even more inappropriate areas so that I fell off them, new hiding places would be found - and as I stepped out into the big world and said good bye to 7 years of compulsory education, a new chapter would begin also. I'm climbing that flaming mountain higher than anyone can see and I'm gonna reach the top.

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BEAUTY: First Impressions #1

June 25, 2015

 FIRST IMPRESSIONS #1
 
FEATURING:
Collection Little Mix Love: All About The Eyes Palette
Collection: Eyes Uncovered Nude Palette
Benefit: They're Real Mascara
Ted Baker: Pout And Prejudice Lipstick in 'Red'
 
At first, I loved the Little Mix Love eyeshadow palette as it featured a lovely range of different shades which all worked rather well to accentuate my eyelids, yet after a while I suddenly developed a hatred for it, perhaps because many of the colours are shimmer based and therefore more suited for a night time look rather than a day base - and also because I finally got my hands on the newer Eyes Uncovered Nude Palette which is like a godsend to my eyelids. Retailing for only £2.99, it's a bargain in a box as it's purpose can be multi functional, something that unfortunately the Little Mix Love pack failed to become with its shimmery tones, because unfortunately, glittery eyebrows work for nobody.
 
The Benefit: They're Real Mascara is one that's been hyped up and then hyped up ten times more, so I bought it. What a big mistake. I hate it. It's clumpy, it's ugly, it refuses to come off and when it does come off, it takes an eyelash with it. The big selling point for this is the long lash look, but I did not once sense that my lashes were longer than if I'd plastered a bog standard Superdrug alternative on my lashes. In fact, my other Benefit mascara, the Rollerlash, elongates my lashes much more that this waste of £25 could ever do. I'm sure it's great for some people, but I wouldn't even wish it on an enemy. It's awful.
 
I don't have amazing first opinions of the Ted Baker: Pout and Prejudice Lipstick either if I'm perfectly honest. I liked the colour, as it's more of a coral red whereas my normal red lipsticks are usually royally red and it's stickability is good, my Rimmel lipstick usually disappears the second I eat food yet this one stuck around for a few hours yet its downfall is the texture. Nobody has perfect lips and the second they begin to chap, this lipstick is useless as it accentuates it and personally, I would rather hide my chapped lips rather than show them off.
 
Do you like these sort of posts and have you tried any of these products?
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MUSIC: June Playlist

June 23, 2015

June Mixtape · Via Youtube
 
This month's playlist is rather generic which surprises me because according to my head, all I've listened to this month is alternative jazz and folk - yet my most listened to record disputes this fact and according to trusty Itunes, these are my tracks of the month. Fifth Harmony have grown on me indescribable amounts in the past few weeks, and their Spanish version of 'Don't Wanna Dance Alone' is now a new favourite for sure, I've even gone as far to learn the lyrics which I'm proud about. I went to see The Vamps on Saturday with two friends who were amazing (round up post to come) and the Thong Song needs no explaining right? IT'S SO CATCHY. As I said in this post here I believe music can chance a situation and shouldn't be taken for granted, so here's the songs that made me happy and want to be alive this month.
 
Taylor Swift - Safe & Sound
Fifth Harmony - Worth It
Rixton - Thong Song
Charlie XCX - Sucker
Fifth Harmony - Que Bailes Conmigo Hoy
Little Mix - Black Magic
Das Sound Machine - Light Em Up
Camp Rock 2 - Can't Back Down
The Vamps - Move My Way
 
You can listen to the playlist here.
 
See you soon! 
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a little update from a revision filled teen

May 20, 2015

With two of my seven exams over, and every single piece of coursework sent off, I've finally got a chance to sit down and write for this blog. My weeks have been spent frantically putting finishing touches to essays which will never get me an A, whilst attempting to keep my head above water and my eyes open as exams rush up and disappear around me, much like the waves in the sea. It's funny really, how two years of extra curricular revision and motivation is being regurgitated and splurging out of my head in a somewhat coherent way to give me a mark that decides whether I am able and lovely enough to pursue a career that may not exist right now.
 
In the midst of this, I have curiously watched election broadcasts and read manifestos until my inbuilt common sense could take no more, resulting in my vote actually meaning something rather than being a simple tick in a box. My bank balance has lowered after the introduction of student discount in H&M (thank you Uni Days!) alongside a beautiful spring / summer Miss Selfridge drop, whilst over in drinks land I have found both my favourite alcoholic concoction and soft drink choice - the former being vodka and pineapple juice and the latter shown above in the form of an Oasis bottle. Nonetheless, I'm still a firm advocate of Diet Cola and will be for a long time, much to my thigh's dismay.
 
On the topic of thighs, Olivia Curls will continue to mention slightly controversial topics alongside weird teenage rambles and well thought out notes when I return to 'proper' blogging after my final exams in June. I've got two mini projects that I'm working on currently, and have an idea for Youtube videos that makes me laugh every time I think of it so hopefully I'll get around to embarrassing myself again on this little corner of the web sometime soon. Good luck to those of you facing the peril of exams, hopefully we can join each other in a virtual 'thank goodness you made it' high five when I'm back from this little break (well, I say break....) #revisionqueen
 
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HAPPY INTERVIEW: That's Groovy

May 08, 2015

 
That's Groovy, written by Sophie is a new find of mine, and I'm glad I was linked to it. Sophie's blog is filled with fashion notes, whether this be a wish list lusting over crochet, or an outfit post filled with delightful pictures showing off Sophie's eclectic style which would be at home on a hipster's Tumblr dashboard. Here's Sophie's happy interview!
 
What makes you want to get out of bed on a morning?
I love the thought of being able to make the day exactly what you want it to be and create experiences that you did not foresee yesterday. If it's sunny which it has been lately that alone can get me out of bed, I can just run outside and soak up the vibes...
 
Which five music tracks are destined to put a smile on your face and why?
1. Suffragette City - David Bowie // I love this is song so much and it makes  feel smile every time I listen to it.
2. Do You Love Me - The Contours // How can a person not be happy when listening to this?
3. Blue Monday - New Order // I first heard this at a party last year and since then it's always been the one I put on to get people moving.
4. Hit That Jive - Gramatik // Old yet new, definitely one to dance to.
5. When You See Me Hurt - Carl Lester // A rare beauty, soul-filled goodness, just try listening to this without smiling.
 
Name the best experience you've had so far in your life and why.

When I saw the Rolling Stones live at Glastonbury in 2013 is by far the greatest experience I've ever had. I was with my brother surrounding by hundreds of thousands of people all together and I just felt so happy! The whole weekend actually was possibly the best of my life, there were so many people and being a festival - it's always going to the best place in the world. If there's one thing I could recommend, it's Glastonbury festival.
 
Where do you see yourself in five years time?

That's a hard one! I'm not really sure for now but hopefully I can see myself being at an arts university, perhaps living in  a city and still blogging of course! I want to do a lot of travelling in the next few years and see even more of the world, and also it would be nice to keep contact with a lot of my close friends I have at the moment.

What do you do to pick yourself up after a bad day?

I usually go home, cook myself some comfort food and sit in bed listening to David Bowie on my record player. Tea also. However, I like to believe that there is no such thing as a bad day because there are positive moments in every day that may take a little bit more concentration to notice. Either way, Bowie and food and my bed is still a groovy thing.
 
Finally, what is happiness to you?

Happiness to me is bringing everyone together, intertwining lives and experiences and making the most of what you have. If I ever have negative thoughts I just have to stop and think about how lucky I really am in life to be surrounded by such amazing people and experiences. I also like to think about the small things in life too, like a ray of sunshine or a compliment from a friend, which can help me get through the day. And happiness is all around, you just have to look for it.

Thank you Sophie! If you would like to complete a happy interview, contact me at xoliviamae@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as possible!

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HAPPY INTERVIEW: Gingerly Pale

May 01, 2015

Gingerly Pale is written by Jess, a rather fabulous Irish lass whose happy outlook on life was one of the inspirations for creating the happy interview series, even in the face of adversity Jess' posts are always filled with happiness and that makes me smile rather a lot. Filled with lifestyle posts, book reviews and frank discussions, Gingerly Pale is the place to be if you wish to spend a few hours perusing through thought provoking content with a cup of tea, I especially liked Jess' post on Scottish universities which you can read here. Here's the happy interview!
 
What makes you want to get out of bed on a morning?
I would simply say that my motivation mainly comes from the opportunity to seize every day as it comes and the fact that I'll never get the same twenty four hours back - life is precious, and I think it would be seriously ungrateful of me if I chose to ignore that. Also - this year is one of the most important of my life, so every day brings the potential to learn new things, to make new memories and to try and to be a better person, and I can't do that happed up in my room asleep!

Which five music tracks are destined to put a smile on your face and why?
'Pocketful of Sunshine' - Natasha Beddingfield:
This song is one that brings back a shedload of memories from the summer of my third year in high school when I spent every day travelling somewhere different and going on adventures with my friends - it was a summer I look back on with such fond memories and hearing this song takes me right back to those summer barbecues and waterfights.
 
'Just Be Held' - Casting Crowns:
I will go to Casting Crowns when I've had a bad day - the chorus, 'if your eyes are on the storm, you'll wonder if I love you still...but if your eyes are on the cross, you'll know I always have and I always will - is enough to make me remember that I am loved unconditionally and that I am valued beyond words. It's one of those songs which gives me confidence in myself and that I have a purpose - even when I feel overwhelmed or even a little lost. 
 
'Pieces' - Ella Henderson:
You know those songs which you blast and proceed to dance around your room as if you're a professional? This ballad is one I'll stick on when I'm frustrated with life and it never fails to make me feel empowered and better about myself.
 
'Shake It Off' - Taylor Swift: 
This is the ultimate carefree song - Taylor just has this amazing ability to encourage me to shake off my worries and to embrace who am - and to live simply and to pursue my dreams as if I could do absolutely anything I set my mind to.
 
'Don't You (Forget About Me)' - Simple Minds 
I love love love this song. It makes me smile every time I hear it as it increases my self worth a colossal amount and it just has that happy (can I say retro?) vibe to it. 

Name the best experience you've had so far in your life and why. 

Two summers ago, I went on a road trip beginning in America and ending in Canada. They were simply the best two weeks of my life as I was able to soak up the polar opposite cultures of the bright city lights and the amazing solace of the 'lake life'. I can't put into words just how content I felt canoeing down an incredibly beautiful part of the world, but it felt like I was on top of the world and it was dream like. I met the most incredible people and made the most wonderful memories - I want to go back so badly!

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Hopefully having completed my Masters in English and in a job I love - and having finished watching The Office, bought a Kitchen Aid mixer and still going after my dreams. 

What do you do to pick yourself up after a bad day?

I buy myself a patronisingly labelled 'share bag' of Tayto Spirals crisps, eat all of them and look up videos of cats. I pray, turn to my bible, spend time with my amazing friends and try to shrug off the hurt by trying to see the bigger picture. 

Finally, what is happiness to you?

To me, happiness is contentment. It's that feeling when everything seems completely right in that moment, and you wouldn't want to change it for the world. It's when you can't keep the smile off your face, the ugly laughter when you can't speak and you're crying real tears and it's when you're not worrying about a thing, because you know that every little thing is going to be alright (and I definitely didn't steal that last part...).

Thank you Jess! If you would like to be involved in the happy interview series, email me at xoliviamae@gmail.com.
 
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REVIEW: Marina and the Diamonds, Froot

April 27, 2015

As I've mentioned before, I fell in love with Marina Diamondis the second I saw her video for 'Hollywood' back in 2010, and continued to love her through her Tumblr-esque Electra Heart era, which every hipster and their best friend adored. I don't know what it is about her, whether it's her unique vocal sound, frank opinions or rather baffling vocal range that keeps me coming back for more. Her third commercial album "Froot" was written completely alone, a rarity in the pop world that I admire extremely, and from the lyrics you can tell that it was therapeutic to write and enjoy. Here's my review!


HAPPY: Happy is an emotion filled ballad which as an opener to an album, is a rather perplexing choice because it doesn't exactly make you want to smile, yet I think the point of it was to force the fans to listen to the lyrics rather than the beat - and the lyrics are rather poignant, showing how Marina is finally 'happy.' Knowing Marina, the choice of ballad over a heavy beat is probably so she can juxtapose the sadness and happiness.. but what do I know!?
FROOT: Froot, on the other hand, was the one song that made me incredibly excited to hear this album. Reminiscent of 70's fruit machines, Froot is 5 minutes and 27 seconds of electro goodness, using the basis of nature to explore love. With a slick production and equally cool remixes available online, Froot may be one of the most versatile songs I've heard all year.
I'M A RUIN: I'm A Ruin was one of the Froot of the Month tracks, and at first glance it reminded me heavily of the aforementioned Happy, which didn't exactly please me. The opening verse appears drab, but by the minute mark the song explodes into a plethora of keyboards and soaring vocals which continue throughout the record. It's a grower, but after a week you will fall in love. Trust me. 
BLUE: Just like Happy, Blue certainly doesn't live up to its name. The hook of "Give me love, give me dreams, give me a good self esteem, give me good and pure, what you waiting for?" is fabulous and threads the whole track together, actually making me want to get up and dance.
 
FORGET: Forget doesn't have an opening charade to prepare you for the chorus, preferring to jump straight in to the soaring vocals of Miss Diamondis. The whole song is very I'm A Ruin esque yet so much better, this is probably a hated opinion but it makes I'm A Ruin look like a demo track and this is the perfect finished product. Worth a listen or hundred.
GOLD: Sticking with the colours for track names theme, Gold won't win any awards but it is nice to listen to on a late afternoon.
CAN'T PIN ME DOWN: I'm heavily biased here, but Can't Pin Me Down is my favourite song on the album along with Better Than That. Marina also sounds pretty fabulous swearing which shouldn't be a reason to like a song but when you don't expect it, she sounds hilarious yet incredibly upper class which makes me smile - 'you can call my bluff, tie my back up motherfucker.'
SOLITAIRE: Solitaire would be a perfect ending to a angst filled movie, the extended opening would lend itself well to a slow fade out on the big screen while the darkness of a cinema would allow the listener to truly appreciate the production. It's not a song I choose to listen to on a daily basis, yet if I came up on shuffle I wouldn't leap for the skip button.
 
BETTER THAN THAT: As I mentioned above, I love Better Than That. Some are saying that it's written about Ellie Goulding, yet I don't really understand why. It's a mid tempo electro infused jumpy record which lends itself quite nicely to my voice very early on a Monday morning when I'm wanting to wake everybody up with my horrendous singing.
WEEDS: Weeds is another ballad which I can give and take. The chorus is nice, but I'm not in love or anything, I wouldn't choose to put it on but I'd listen to it if it came up.
SAVAGES: Savages is a song that I do like. This will sound completely ridiculous, but you know when every word sounds like a new sentence as its so choppy? Yup, this is what this song sounds like but I rather like it.
IMMORTAL: Immortal is yet again a weird ending which I enjoyed but didn't expect to. It makes me feel kind of melancholy, it makes me want to reflect on each crevice of my existence and I don't know whether this is a good thing or not but it makes me feel weird. Like I can see the world flashing between my eyes but at the same time I'm engrossed completely in the present. Maybe my head's just fucked up. I don't know.
 
Overall rating: 7/10
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HAPPY INTERVIEW: theweekendertrender

April 24, 2015

The Weekender Trender is written by Georgina, a West Yorkshire based blogger whose writing and blog has been somewhat of a constant within my mini blogging career, I honestly cannot remember a day when I haven't been reading Georgina's blog. From the brief spell in 2013 when she posted a photo every single day for a month to the trip to Disneyland in early 2014, Georgina's writing has made me smile for a good few years now. Her blog, mixed with outfit posts, holiday images and lifestyle notes is one which I can lose myself in for hours and I wholly recommend you check it out. Here's Georgina's happy interview!

What makes you want to get out of bed on a morning? 
The thought of living another day to the fullest and doing something that will contribute to my future, the thought of making memories (especially now that I have a memory jar to put them all into) and the thought of eating breakfast helps too... in fact I'm getting hungry now just thinking about it!

Which five music tracks are destined to put a smile on your face and why?

My favourite tracks swap and change unbelievably often, but at the moment it's 'Nobody Love' by Tori Kelly, 'Sugar' by Maroon 5, 'From Eden' by Hozier, 'Research' by Big Sean featuring Ariana Grande, and 'Lips are Movin' by Meghan Trainor. I'm aware that I have a pretty varied music taste but these are all the ones that I usually can't help but start jamming to as soon as I hear the first few beats!

Name the best experience you've had so far in your life and why.

There hasn't been a singular event that's changed my life in particular, rather a collection of little moments that have defined who I am and my personal happiness, so I'm just gonna list a few if you don't mind! Playing the principal role in my college's musical production, overlooking my anxiety and beginning to drive, hitting 1000 blog followers, winning 'best customer service' at my work, meeting Rixton and Lawson (two of my favourite bands), completing an internship at a fashion magazine, and being offered a place on my first choice uni course!

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I'd like to think that in five years time I'll have completed a degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and will be working in the industry as an editorial stylist, based in London or abroad. I will also hopefully have ticked off quite a few places on my travel bucket list and my blog will have continued to grow. 

What do you do to pick yourself up after a bad day?

I try to think of something positive that occurred to counteract the negativity, and if that doesn't work I get in my pjs and pamper myself, make a tumblr-worthy hot chocolate/cocktail, sing a little, watch videos of puppies doing funny things and read a motivational book.

Finally, what is happiness to you?

Wow, what a question. Happiness to me is being fully at ease with who I am and being complacent with my life, my achievements, my decisions, my appearance and my flaws. To not be bothered what others think about me as I have confidence in my own ability. To not depend on affection from others and instead to consider love as a welcome addition to my life and something that I can feel for myself, not just gain from other people. Happiness is living without fear and instead embracing the unknown and the daunting for everything it could add to my life, not detract from it.
 
Thank you Georgina! If you would like to be involved in the happy interviews series, email me at xoliviamae@gmail.com and I will get back to you! Have a lovely week!
 
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