Monday, 13 July 2015

Interior Inspiration

I've finally graduated from university (with a first class degree, might I add) and moved out of my god awful accommodation... Seriously, my halls were nicer than my house. We had mice. The whole area had rats. We were lucky.
So now I'm back in Blackpool making coffee after turning down a graduate job at the other end of the country because I was £1,000 into my overdraft and needed a car for day one and accommodation. This next year will be dedicated to getting out of my overdraft and starting to save up for a deposit on my own place. I want nothing more in life than to be able to hold my own mortgage WITHOUT a man *sassy finger clicks*. In order to keep me motivated on my job hunt, here are a few pictures of the style of home I would love to own.
(All images sourced from Pinterest)

Bathroom: Wooden step ladders to place towels on and tall candlestick holder... Because one day, I will like baths.

Kitchen: Don't know how to describe the kitchenware on the left but I want that kinda thing. Wooden shelves to store beautiful bowls on.

Bedroom: Low down bed with lots of cushions and throws. 


Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Indie World of Alice Urbino

Back in March 2015, I interviewed an up-and-coming comic artist for my university project. I thought I would share it here as her work is brilliant and she was very kind to agree to the interview so why not spread her name a little? This is the draft version. I am too worried to post the original in case I end up plagiarising my own work!

Alice Urbino knows all too well of the stick women often face in the comic book industry. The Brighton-based oil painter and comic artist is on the brink of breaking into the indie, small press world.

“The comic industry, in general, is a hugely male-dominated industry,” the 21-year-old explains. “It depends on what sub-genre of comics you are honing in on but as a woman, you do have to deal with a lot of crap - especially in the superhero genre.” But Urbino has been focusing on the indie side of the comic book world where she says women make up a large part of it.

“I think women kind of dominate in this genre to be honest. There are so many comic collectives out there specifically made to promote female artists and it has really become a big thing in recent years,” Urbino says. “But it's easy to think you are accepted in this area and forget about how misogynistic the other 90 per cent of comics can be. The indie scene is so progressive but the mainstream comic media still has a long way to go.”

But despite the comic book industry being an unofficial men’s club, Urbino, who graduated from Staffordshire University with a degree in Cartoon and Comic Arts, has come far in promoting her work. She has received lots of positive feedback from big artists and more recently, a write-up on renowned web-magazine Broken Frontier. “I don't think I've reached my ultimate goals yet by far but I think being put in a list of six small press creators to watch in 2015 was really exciting. From that article I'm getting a big push from certain people who are interested in moving me up to the next level.”

And Urbino really will be one to keep your eye on throughout 2015. Proving herself to be an artist of many talents and a woman with a witty mind, she insists that the key to success in the industry is through networking. “It’s all about the people you know. I had artistic inspirations I wanted to meet, I met them and I became friends with them. I really think networking is the one thing that can really make or break you,” she explains. “Once people are aware of you, and like you as a person, they want to give you chances and opportunities. Be passionate about what you do and people respond to it I guess.”

And it is through her talent, persistence and attitude that she landed a spot in Comic Book Slumber Party: Fairytales for Bad Bitches and subsequently, a book signing at GOSH! Comics, in London. Urbino says she became friends with Hannah Chapman who runs Comic Book Slumber Party - a small publishing company and comic collective.

“She has turned out to play a huge part in me getting some exposure. When she asked me to be in her latest book, my art was bundled together with a bunch of other big, named artists and all of a sudden I was being treated like I was one of them,” says Urbino. “And because Hannah worked at GOSH at the time, she had set up a launch party for the book where me and Donya Todd [another artist] sat behind a table and signed them. It was very surreal for me, being this small time name and being treated like I was something bigger. It took me a while to get over my shyness. There was lots of free champagne so that helped too.”

Urbino, who will be moving to Bristol at the end of March, began drawing cartoons as an infant and always told people she wanted to be a cartoonist. It wasn’t until more recently that she decided to focus on the comic side of drawing after realising that she had a lot of friends who created comics. “To be honest it just seemed like the natural direction for me to go - I think I just fell into it.”

She now has had three pieces published in anthologies with other artists in the small press. “I'm at a point in my career right now where I'm at the very cusp of becoming something bigger so I'm sort of in this limbo mode at the moment,” she says. Most of her work is self-published but she is currently in the works of having a book of her own published by Comic Book Slumber Party and is talking to several other publishers about getting her longer, on-going comic Dimension pushed out to a bigger audience.

The idea behind Dimension came to Urbino while she was studying at university. The story - which has two issues published to date - tackles themes of depression and anxiety. Terry Kempinski begins to isolate himself following his break-up a month prior to the events of part one with girlfriend, Jess. The 20-something man is still unable to return her things and can no longer take pleasure in writing. His childhood friend, and housemate, is struggling to justify Terry’s isolation to their social circle.

In an attempt to relax, he decides to clean out his dirty bathtub and take a soapy soak. But he is soon pulled from his calmed state when he is swallowed down the plug hole and lands in another dimension.

“My tutor didn't like the idea when I first pitched it to him,” she laughs. “But it was really the only idea I was interested in doing. It's something I feel like I have to do and it's very personal to me.” The project has recently blown up, receiving several positive reviews online which Urbino believes stems from the subject matter being so relatable. “I use it as a way to express myself - I hope other people can see themselves in it too. I use a serious subject matter and tried to add a fantasy/paranormal element to it where the lines between dreams and reality kind of blur. Certain games, shows and comics have really inspired me over the years and from realising what material I was drawn to most helped me determine what kind of comic I wanted to write. It’s just a big mixture of a bunch of different things I've been heavily influenced by over the years mixed together with my own personal issues.”

While many artists would struggle to tactfully convey themes of depression in their art, Urbino knows that the best art often comes from your own feelings. “I see Dimension as something I do for myself, and if other people relate then that's good too. I know that whatever I put down isn't wrong because I am experiencing it. The art I admire the most is raw and truthful, so I try to follow that as much as I can. I just draw whatever I'm feeling.”

But the 21-year-old doesn’t always find it easy to sit down and draw her feelings and confesses that she can’t seem to find motivation at the moment. “I’m probably the slowest person I know. Dimension takes a lot longer than the anthologies as they are only ever three pages,” she explains. “I've got a lot of future projects I've agreed to take on but I'm struggling to come up with ideas for them. It's like I've got more work opportunities than I am capable of. I have one or two ideas in the making but most of my ideas are spontaneous things I have to do when I feel them - I guess I just have to wait until I feel them again.”

Urbino’s biggest career goal is to be published by a bigger company and have a successful book that will be in shops around the world. “I think I will be down here in the small press world for a while longer until then.”

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Mini MAC Haul

It was my 21st birthday on April 16 and to celebrate, I met up with my mum in Manchester. Although I had asked for money towards a car, I decided to spend a little bit of it. I hadn't tried a new makeup product for a while and with summer round the corner, I felt I needed a seasonal uplift. My Auntie had booked me in at MAC to have a makeover and then receive store credit to spend on anything I liked.

The first thing I wanted was a more bronzey blush as I always opt for those which are matte and orange-based. The above photo makes me look quite tanned but don't let it fool you - there isn't even a hint of sunkissed colour in my cheeks. I went for Cheeky Bronze which I actually have found works as a highlighter if lightly applied. The product lasts all day without using a setting spray or powder and the colour is really beautiful and rather natural despite the shimmer.

When I picked this, the lady also told me I could use it as a bronzer but I much prefer a natural, matte bronzer which isn't too dissimilar to my natural skin colour. It was £23, but as I don't wear makeup everyday it will last me a long time. I'm not into the whole Kardashian contour look. In fact, I'm not so sure I even suit it... Which leads me on to my next purchase.

I picked up one of the natural mineralise skinfinish powders in the colour Medium Golden. Again, this was £23 but should last me a while unless I get a little brush-happy and annihilate it.  It sets my foundation beautifully and I've even used it as a light bronzer to add slight colour to my cheeks when I'm not wearing a base.

The next few products are (surprise, surprise) for my lips.
I was actually bought these as a gift from my stepsisters. The first is a Cremesheen lipstick in the colour Pure Zen. It cost £15.50 (I looked it up).
I'm sorry for the bad picture - it isn't metallic like the picture below looks but it does have the slightest shimmer which looks far more like a glossy shine.

Pure Zen is actually a frosty, warm-toned nude. The Cremesheen lipsticks have a rich creamy texture and a great colour payoff. 
The next colour is MAC Red from the Satin collection. Again, this was £15.50. I have never bought a Satin but I definitely would now I have tried it. MAC Red is a blueish-red shade and semi-matte. It lasts longer than the Cremesheen but not quite as long as the Retro Mattes. It doesn't bleed into the skin around your lips - an issue I often have.

The final thing in the haul is a £12.50 lip liner in the shade Redd. It goes perfectly with the MAC Red lipstick (above). It's super long-lasting and helps the lipstick to stay on for longer. I usually fill in my entire lip as well as lining the outside just to keep it on longer and help the colour pop.

Monday, 15 December 2014

ELLE Insider Mystery Serum || Day Eight

I missed posting the last few days due to a family issue, end of semester work and a birthday so I have a fair amount to say today.

In case you haven't read my previous posts, I applied to receive a free sample of a mystery serum from ELLE magazine a while ago. It arrived on Monday, December 8, much to my surprise!
The product came in a plain bottle with no hints as to who created it and I have been using it two of three times a day since Monday.

Today is day eight of using it and I still have over half the bottle left. So here is my complete round-up of the product over the past eight days...

Results: Wow. Eight days and my skin is noticeably smoother - even my friend noticed that my cheeks looked smooth which is incredibly impressive. My skin does feel firmer but then again, I am only 20 and there probably isn't that much loose skin for it to sort out. It feels like such a light formula and my sensitive skin doesn't react at all to it. Over the eight days, I tried my Clarins Daily Energiser cream, Estée Lauder Advanced Time Zone moisturiser, Garnier Moisture Match and a Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser. The serum worked wonderfully under all of them but I definitely found it worked best under the Clarins one. I tried applying this over my make-up a couple of times. This was a little strange for me as I have never applied a serum over make-up. I was worried that I would rub off my foundation or that it would smudge or melt. Apart from it feeling a little alien, I found that I looked a little shiny afterwards. Initially, I thought it was because I had done a lot of walking but the second time I wore make-up (day 5), I had the same result. This wouldn't bother someone who carried a make-up bag and you don't HAVE to apply it over make-up - it's just an option.

Price Estimate: This is a complete guess as I know absolutely nothing about the product or who made it but I would imagine it would retail at around £55 - £60 for a 50ml bottle.

Smell: As I have mentioned in previous posts, it has a soft, rosy scent and it is absolutely beautiful. I never opt for floral things but it is so subtle and sweet that it really does not bother me or make me feel nauseous.

Texture: Originally, I moaned about the texture because I did not use enough of it so I felt it was a little too jelly-ish. It isn't like this at all. I realised that on the first use, I squeezed out blobs which were full of air bubbles, not the serum. I have now found that the texture is totally fine, not sticky and my skin absorbs it nicely.

Brand: Like I have said, I still think it could be Clarins except for the fact that I am almost certain Clarins have recently brought out a serum. I then thought it could be Estée Lauder but they already have some wonderful serums so I'm not entirely sure about them either. I feel like I should have been able to guess by now but i really really can't! I think I'm leaning more towards Estée Lauder though.

Overall, I would definitely spend my money on this product. I have loved testing it out for ELLE and I would recommend it to anyone with old or young skin. If I notice a difference on my skin, then I can only imagine what it could do for someone who had rougher or older skin than I do.

Thank you, ELLE. This has been a brilliant opportunity <3

Thursday, 11 December 2014

ELLE Insider Mystery Serum || Day Four

It's day four of the mystery serum and I am absolutely loving it.

My skin feels incredible.

I applied it to a clean face at about 8:40am. I used a different moisturiser (Garnier Moisture Match) and found that I needed a tiny bit more than usual. Like I said in previous posts, this product could be Clarins because it just works so well with my Clarins moisturiser.

I would like it to be something like Kiehl's or Charlotte Tilbury or some other brand that I am desperate to try but can't quite justify on my student budget but hey-ho. I doubt it.

I reapplied it at around 1pm and then again before putting on my make-up to go for a meal at 5:50pm.

My skin feels unbelievably smooth on my cheeks and I definitely think it is a little firmer too.

I haven't taken any photographs today because I received some bad news and I'm a bit blotchy but I'll definitely have some snaps up tomorrow!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

ELLE Insider Mystery Serum || Day Three

Even the best of us sometimes go to sleep with our make-up on.

In an attempt to test this mystery serum to its absolute extremes, I made a conscious effort last night to sleep in my make-up from the day. When I got up, instead of using a face wash, I had a good old scrub with a make-up wipe. I also didn't go to sleep until 5am. No reason for this. I just wasn't tired & I was socialising.

I basically reenacted the morning after a night out when you wake up and realise you're late for something and your daily beauty regime just doesn't fit into your pressed schedule.

I know this isn't good but I wanted to be a little harsh on my skin to see if the serum is actually any good at all.


To say my skin looked pretty weathered for a 20-year-old this morning, I actually feel a little more alive this evening. I applied the serum twice today and I definitely feel that it has pulled my skin back into shape after I pulled at it with the wipe.

My skin also feels a heck of a lot smoother which is amazing. I'm having a bit of a pimple-problem at the moment. I have been feeling really bobbly on my nose and forehead but the serum has definitely helped over the last three days.

I'm still loving the mystery product from ELLE.

I'm starting to doubt my initial thoughts of this being a Clarins product simply because I don't associate rose scents with Clarins. I feel like they usually opt for a clean, cream smell.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

ELLE Insider Mystery Serum || Day Two

Day two!

For those who may not know about the mystery serum, check out yesterday's post here.

I got up nice and early this morning as I had to go to crown court to report a sentencing. So I made myself a nice mug of black coffee, washed my face, got back into bed and applied the Elle mystery serum.

Yep, that black line at the bottom of the second image is my boob. I don't own a tripod and I had no where to rest the camera apart from my chest. I'm sorry. I'm not a professional photographer!

Today, I changed I used three blobs - one less than yesterday. I found that yesterday, each drop of serum was quite small so I was a little more generous today and it was fine. It spread beautifully and I no longer have an issue with it being a gel.

After the serum, I applied the same moisturiser as yesterday which was the Clarins Daily Energizer Cream. It works so well with the serum that I didn't want to try anything else today!

I then applied some make-up. I wore primer, foundation, concealer, highlighter on my cheekbones, mascara and eyeshadow. I was going to apply bronzer and blusher and everything else but as I was going to court, I did not want to overdo it.

 So here I am, ready for the day and forever unable to take normal photographs...

I reapplied the serum over my make-up at about 1pm - it spread far easier over my foundation so I was a little scared that it would rub off. I applied it in more of a patting motion than a sweeping motion this time.

I did not notice much of a difference today. The very first application did make my skin feel a little more plump but nothing as dramatc as yesterday. The second application showed no visible effects but it is only day two and I have five more days.

I still love the rosey smell and as I have already mentioned, the texture is far better now I'm not being so stingy.

The only issue I have today is that I did feel it added a slight shine to my face after the second application. Maybe this was because of the serum, maybe because of my make-up or maybe because I had been walking a heck of a lot. I never carry a make-up bag with me so I did not have anything to blot my face with.
The photograph below shows me at 2:30pm.

Overall, it is only day two and I am still liking this mystery serum enough to know that I would part wih my money to buy it.