When Communication Fails

Today we live in a world filled with communication methods, especially those of us in affluent countries such as my homeland of the UK. We’ve got email, texts, video-conferencing, faxes, telephones, the list goes on (somewhere in there is meeting face to face for a chinwag too). Yet some could argue that our communication skills are worse than they have ever been. Take this for example, here I am communicating with people I’ve never even met when I’ve got friends I haven’t even spoken to in months…what is that all about???

It seems that with all of this communication, we are so busy making our stamp and ensuring we’re heard above the rest that we’ve somewhat forgotten how to listen. I don’t just mean read a Tweet or “like” a Facebook post, I mean pick up on the subtle signals of those around us and really understand and respond to what they are trying to tell us. I thought I was listening and I thought I was trying to help someone very close recently and in my heart, I honestly was but by golly I was being stupid about it. I kept on tapping away at the problem in the only way I could think of until I became part of the problem myself. I completely missed some of those subtle signals that would have helped me tailor my message to get it through and now I’m paying for it.

Now, I’ve never been the best at picking up on subtleties, I think I should have been born a man, I can be such a bull in a china shop it’s insane! What’s not helping though is that people like me are spending ever more time “communicating” on a global scale on the web where we have time to think about what we are doing, so we’re not honing our instinctive reactions to what real people in the same room as us are saying and doing. It’s breaking up our real-life human interactions and forcing us further into the cyber world; how do we break this cycle? Well, I for one am going to start actively listening to those around me; not watching TV at the same time or writing my blog or even cooking the dinner, I’m going to devote my whole being to listening when people are talking. I think a well-known tea company are onto something with their current advertising suggesting we get together with friends over a cuppa to talk about the really important things. Count me in! x

Friday Lust

This week’s Friday Lust is simple, classy and bold all in one and it costs far more than I can afford. This really is one to watch out for in the sale. Coming in at £165 from Oasis is this Leather Cutwork Detail Dress:

Zoomed in, check out the detailing at the top

If you’re a classic pear like me / bordering on the athletic when you’ve not eaten too many choccies then this dress is very flattering. I’ve always wanted to own a leather dress and this one actually looks wearable, I could totally imagine myself in it. Oasis clothes also tend to be cut to flatter so I can’t imagine this being anything other than perfect.

This is a serious lust piece for me and I’ve got everything crossed I can nab one at some point in the future. I just LOVE how they’ve made the leather look so delicate and feminine 🙂

Oh how I love window shopping!!! x

Review – Chanel Inimitable Intense Mascara, Purple

The lucky devil that I am, my bf went to the USA this week for work and brought me back a Chanel mascara in a purple colour without even asking because he knows that I LOVE mascara and that my eyes are my favourite feature. Ashamed as I am to say this at 26 years old, this was my first ever Chanel product of any kind so for me it was doubly special 🙂

The mascara he bought me is the Inimitable Intense mascara in shade 50, purple. If you want to get your hands on one of these, Debenhams currently have them as part of a savings event so they are £20.70, rather than the usual £23.00.

First thing’s first, let’s look at the brush:

As the picture shows, the brush is small, thin and spiky; for me this is the perfect type of mascara brush. I know some people probably don’t like this but I find it makes it really easy to build up volume depending on the occasion and these types of brushes are good at separating the lashes.

The colour is a deep, plum purple which would be ideal for the AW season with all the berry tones out there, if it wasn’t for the fact that actually it comes out pretty much black when you apply it. I thought maybe it was the light and I needed to be somewhere brighter than my energy-saving bulbs would allow but no, you really just cannot see the purple tone when it’s on lashes as dark as mine.

The second picture is a bit darker as I had to turn the flash off but I wanted to show you what my lashes looked like when I wasn’t sleeping! You get the gist though, no purple on those lashes!

However, if you take the purple out of the picture, I love this mascara, it made my lashes curly nicely and I felt a little bit like I was wearing falsies as they were so long and nicely separated. The staying power is great too, I put that on in the morning before work, worked in a hot office all day, came home to add more eye shadow then went to the theatre and then to Tesco afterwards and still my lashes looked amazing without even a tiny smudge to add to my already epic dark circles! Now that is some feat that not even my precious Lancome mascara has managed.

In all honesty I’d never looked at Chanel make-up before, I’d just assumed the price tags would be so hefty that I wouldn’t be able to afford it. This mascara has totally changed my mind though; having to look at the price tag for this blog post has made me realise what an amazing product it is for the price. They do need to do some work on their colourings but if you were just out to buy a standard black mascara then this is one I would highly recommend. You get the butterflies of owning a brand like Chanel and then you get beautiful lashes to flutter as well – bargain! Anyone else a fan of Chanel’s mascara? Can anyone recommend any of their other products which are particularly good? x


Review – Calendar Girls, Progress Theatre

Calendar Girls has finally made it to the stage and no doubt regardless of where you live in the UK, you’ll be seeing amateur dramatics groups putting this new release onto their stages left, right and centre. I’m very proud to say that in the Reading area, Progress Theatre are the first to get in there and the show has now been open for 2 nights. I went along tonight with 2 female friends and I have to say I loved it!

One of the challenges with a play such as this is that one element can easily overshadow the rest of the piece, or at least take too much of a central role. In Calendar Girls, this is of course the nudity…real women actually taking clothes off on stage! Tricky to direct to say the least and I’m sure I’m not too far off the mark in saying it’s tricky to remember to act and not just panic when you’re actually the one doing it. Well I think Progress pulled it off perfectly. We had a good old giggle and they played up the humour in the scene beautifully but it was just 1 small piece of a much larger play and I don’t in any way feel like I “sat through” the rest just for that bit.

A huge array of emotions are conveyed by the various characters throughout the piece and as a member of the audience, I can say I felt all of them. There were some very touching moments when I could feel my throat tightening, something which doesn’t happen too easily to me in a theatre. It wasn’t just me either, the friends I was with also thought the production was fantastic. The casting was spot on, the characters were really believable and part of me wants to go and find myself a WI to join at the grand old age of 26 because I so bought in to the sense of community they were selling!

It’s not by chance that this play has hit the stages of Britain like a tornado, sucking in everyone around it, it’s a really well written play and when theatres such as Progress breathe life into it, it really does become a must see. Ticket sales have been phenomenal but there are a few left so if you haven’t got a ticket yet and you want one, I suggest you hot-foot it over to the Reading Arts website and buy one now. The show runs until Saturday 22nd September so you really have no excuse not to see it unless you’re too slow off the mark with the ticket purchasing!

Much love! x

Friday Lust

This week the weather has been very up and down and definitely much cooler first thing in the morning and in the evenings; all of that has got me to thinking about snuggling up in the winter. I tend to live in skinny jeans and leggings with big, chunky cardigans in the winter and my old cardies are looking a bit bobbly so I need to find myself an oversized replacement… I think I’ve found it when pay day arrives! Courtesy of Boohoo.com, here it is:

Evelyn Chunky Knit Fairisle Long Cardigan

For a mere £25, this looks like a whole lot of winter warmth and I love that the sleeves look really long. I know this isn’t the most chic of garments but for me, a good portion of winter is about wearing clothes that are good for your soul and make you feel cosy. There are tons of parties to wear sequins and body con; when I’m on my sofa watching a movie, I want something just like this. Hopefully they’ll still have my size in 2 weeks 🙂 x

Hot to Trot

Recently I have been even more shoe mad than ever…literally cannot stop looking at (and buying) shoes. Now, this can be very bad for the bank balance but every now and then I stumble upon a bargainous shoe that I don’t even need to feel guilty about buying. Today’s bargainous shoe comes to us courtesy of Forever 21, here it is:

Rhinestoned Platform Heels, £29.75

I just LOVE these shoes, they’ll see you right through party season and they’re just such a bargain. They also come in a very tempting light pink  but my money’s on black to match with AW’s moody tones. Sparkles, heels and a platform, so much girly glamour wrapped up in one shoe and much cheaper than many of the other similar shoes on the high street. Grab yours here!

Anyone else spotted any fab, yet budget friendly party shoes??? x

Stamp Out the Stigma

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day or Suicide Awareness Day, whichever name you wish to give it. As such, there was really only 1 thing I could write about as this is a cause that is not just close to my heart but controls my heart every day.

11 years and 11 months ago, I lost the closest person to me and the centre of my world to the most deadly of illnesses; depression.  The person I lost was my very own mother after a long and fitful battle with something that many of us really have very little understanding of. It was no secret that my mum was ill and she was following the paths of therapy and drugs, etc. which no doubt helped keep her with us as long as she was but essentially, we still knew nothing about it.

In the ensuing (let’s call it) 12 years, I’ve had some pretty dark days and thought some pretty dark thoughts. I even had a period of 6 months where I felt something like what she must have felt for years. It was horrible and I was lonely but I talked. I picked a trusted person and I talked to them because I knew I wasn’t mad, I was just ill and now I’m fine.

Unfortunately, I knew I was ill rather than mad because of my past experience whereas luckily most people have very little experience with depression so they don’t understand it when it happens to them. The fear is that friends, family, work colleagues will all cut them off, treat them differently because they’re mentally ill…mental. In some cases this does happen, it feels completely insane when I write that but it really does happen. Today, I’m asking you all to help me and the others working on this same campaign to Stamp Out the Stigma. Get talking, understand mental illness and get wise to the symptoms of depression; you might just save a life! x

If you struggling to cope with something and need a friend to speak to, contact Blurt: http://blurtitout.org/

Blurt offer a mentoring service for anyone who needs a friend. It’s free of charge and you don’t need to give them any information you don’t feel comfortable with sharing.

For more information on depression, have a look at the NHS website. It includes information on how to recognise it in yourself or others and how to get help: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Hair of the Moment – Topknot

Having fine hair and being a fan of the bleach, my hair can easily get frazzled, dried out and breakable so every now and then I have to change what I’m doing to try and give my hair some time to recover. So far this year I’ve only had my highlights done twice and am currently rocking a half head of highlights to try and reduce the bleach impact. I’m also considering changing my colour for A/W, but that’s another story!

What I am also conscious of is unnecessary washing and straightening as both of those activities can strip my hair of it’s moisture. However, having such fine, straight hair, I usually overindulge in both washing and heat styling to try and give my hair some texture and shape and boy can you tell! My hair starts breaking and frizzing every few months when it needs some TLC so I’m trying to be more proactive and prevent it getting into that state; right now I am on the case!

The topknot is my style of choice as it allows me to get an extra day out of each wash, (it gives my hair more texture) and of course there is no heat styling required. Love, love, love! What I also love is how easily chic it is; it doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact it’s better if it isn’t and it takes next to no time to create. The topknot is everywhere at the moment so if you haven’t jumped on board yet, you need to, it literally suits everyone! Here’s how messy I wear mine: