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The Book List #11

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Eating by Peter Singer and Jim Mason | The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

I've read countless books on the food industry and I don't think I will ever get bored of the subject; Eating by Peter Singer and Jim Mason takes a different approach to exploring our eating habits by following three families including indifferent omnivores, compassionate carnivores, and devoted vegans. The most interesting aspect of this book was the chapter on "Eating Locally," discussing whether buying locally grown produce is better for our environment (as would be assumed) or worse. The results are surprising.

Margaret Atwood has become one of my absolute favourite authors yet I didn't quite warm to The Edible Woman as I have with her other books. The story follows Marian who, as soon as she gets engagement to Peter, starts feeling as though her body is becoming separate from her self. Marian endows food with human qualities causing her to identify with them and thus, discovers she is unable to eat. The Edible Woman is an intriguing novel and I feel perhaps I could judge it better if I returned to the book at a later date.

{ the book list #1-10 }

What To Wear #6

Saturday, March 29, 2014

necklace | cardigan | shirt | bag | shoes | lipstick

A few things to wear with the Tetra necklace

{ more things to wear }

Little Miracles

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Nothing in science can account for the way people feel about orchids. Orchids seem to drive people crazy. Those who love them love them madly."

I cannot pass by a flower shop without stopping to smell the roses or scooping up tiny potted succulents and cacti to decide which ones to bring home. I think pansies are just adorable to look at, their naturally blooming faces always make me smile.. but there is one flower I am obsessed with. One flower I am deeply, madly, truly in love with.

Orchids are ancient living flowers that have adapted to every environment on earth; they outlived dinosaurs to hybridize, mutate, and crossbreed into thousands upon thousands of orchid species. They are considered to be the most highly evolved flowering plants on earth; the number is uncountable, it is constantly changing as new varieties are discovered and even more are crossbred in laboratories. Orchids are not just beautiful they are peculiar and bizarre, they are ugly when they are not flowering, and curiously pretty when they are. Some orchids are microscopic while others have flowers the size of footballs, their colours can be solid or veiny, neon or spotless, brilliant white or hot pink, even burgundy and black. Some look like dogs, others like monkeys, there are orchids that pretend to be birds, others that want to be octopuses, and some event mimic insects. Orchids are strange yet undeniably beautiful.

Orchids grow slowly; they can take years to mature, flowering briefly and then resting for months. They are one of the few things in the world that can live forever. Cultivated orchids are often left in the wills of their owners, passed on through the generations.

I finally purchased a tiny delicate orchid for the new apartment, a beautiful lilac-pink and white miniature phalaenopsis (moth orchid) and after leaving three huge orchids back in Kent, she makes the apartment feel like home.

I would highly recommend reading The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, it's a phenomenal book that is as much about plants as it is about the human condition. It's one of my absolute favourite books and thoroughly encouraged my love for orchids.

The Five Steps To Building A Minimal Wardrobe

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

To begin creating a minimal wardrobe you first need to spring clean your old one. Do this regularly (and ruthlessly) to make sure you're not overlooking anything or hoarding items you never wear.

Five Steps To Editing A Wardrobe
1 | Empty: Take everything out and start sorting into two ('to stay' and 'to go') piles
2 | Analyse: Try everything on, be honest and be critical; define your style
3 | Organise: Identify basics and establish outfits; organise the space so clothing can be found easily
4 | Modify: Isolate items that need fixing and make the repairs (or be prepared to get rid of the item)
5 | Say Goodbye: Be ruthless; keep only items that make you look and feel good

Questions To Ask Yourself
1 | Do I wear this regularly? If not, why?
2 | Does this item fit into my overall style?
3 | Can I create various outfits with this one item?
4 | Is it comfortable and flattering? Do I feel good wearing it?
5 | Do I love wearing this item or do I just like the way it looks on the hanger?

Only keep what you enjoy wearing, what is in good condition, and what makes you feel comfortable. If you haven't worn something in six months you probably don't really like it all that much and since the goal is to own only pieces of clothing that you wear regularly and love, then it's wise to get rid of anything unworn.

The Five Steps To Building A Minimal Wardrobe

Colour Coordination

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I've always been the pedantic sort that strictly adheres to the time-tested method of organising books alphabetically by author; going so far as to separate fiction and non-fiction, then reserving a spare shelf (or several) for "yet to be read" books. That was when I had the pleasure of sprawling my collection across several large bookcases, having the luxury of a miniature (yet ever-growing) library at my fingertips. Since moving I've had to downsize my collection considerably (weep) resulting in a mere two modest bookcases to shelve the remaining favourites.

While my vintage book collection is organised by height, housed above a small collection of graphic novels (also organised by height requirements), in a separate room, hidden from prying eyes (and fingertips); the rest of the collection has been organised by colour.. for no other reason than it looks rather lovely. I might never find any book I want to read ever again since adopting this pretty yet haphazard organisation system (not so much now but definitely when my collection begins to grow again), but at least the shelves make for a colourful addition to our living space.

Other ways to organise your books:
1. Alphabetically by Author (the most sensible option, of course)
2. By size
3. By topic, genre, or type
4. By the status (read/unread) or frequency of use
5. In gigantic piles, everywhere; stacked all over the place

Diet & Beauty

Friday, March 21, 2014

My number one principle is “what goes in your body is more important that what goes on it.” I've never understood why some people worry so much about what they put on their skin, when very little concern is given to what goes into their bodies. I am under no illusion that this isn't a rather privileged point of view to hold; my skin is 'normal', I barely suffer blemishes, my skin isn't oily and doesn't have dry patches, there is no threat of acne and generally speaking, I've got it good. So while I can centre all my attention on diet, I understand why it’s not quite that simple for others.

What goes onto my skin is important too but anything that can be wiped off does not have the same effect as something that is consumed. My skin care is carefully selected, minimal yet adequate, I rarely wear heavy make-up, and I often go without, remembering to remove it as soon as I am done with the day. So in regards to taking care of what gets put onto my skin, I think I have that covered.

While nutrition is one of many factors in keeping your skin healthy, I personally notice a major difference when I have made bad food choices. My plant-based diet is naturally wholesome because of the conscious choice to omit certain ingredients. Although there is enough scope in a plant-based diet to allow for heavy consumption of sugar, preservatives, dyes, and saturated fats, if you're not careful. Bad choices are always there to be taken.

Generally speaking I eat well; my diet is full of leafy greens, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and pulses. Although the reliance on more processed foods is easily done and lately, I've made some extra little tweaks to my diet to improve it. I've mostly been playing around with portion sizes from each of the main groups, bulking some up and minimising others for a healthier balance. I've been omitting any processed foods such as tofu as often as possible, switching from soya to almond milk, pushing as many leafy greens and vegetables onto my plate to bulk up meals, incorporating more nuts and seeds for protein; I've been avoiding bread unless it's homemade (Jack's sourdough is just irresistible) and trying to ignore the lure of heavy carbohydrates such as pasta. Sugar has been my main target though, it's hidden everywhere and if you're not careful it's easily consumed without realising. I've completely removed fruit juice from my diet, instead relying on eating the entire fruit, and have increased my consumption of green or herbal teas and water.

I would say I've noticed a drastic difference within an incredibly short time and that's despite already having a healthy diet to begin with. A few simple changes and my skin is naturally more radiant; nobody can tell me diet doesn't play a huge role in the condition of our skin.

Who Owns Whom

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Seven global corporations own almost all the beauty products you see on the market. It’s important to know who owns what because the same patents and formulas are regularly used to produce products for both the high-end and drugstore markets. Meaning some cheaper products are almost identical to their higher priced counterparts, with very little difference on the ingredients list.

If you have felt a little snobbish towards certain drugstore companies (I know I have), you might discover that the company you turn your nose up at actually owns your favourite high-end brands..! I've discovered there is a reason behind why I seemingly love anything Vichy, La Roche-Posay, Shu Uemura, and Yves Saint Laurent produce - they're all owned by L'Oreal, a company I had previously ignored.

Learning who owns your favourite brands can also throw into question any moral or ethical reasons why you may or may not wish to support a particular brand and the company that owns it.

Untangling what companies own which brands can be incredibly difficult, which makes this list far from complete.
If you would like to query/add/correct anything, please do so.

The Minimal Wardrobe

Monday, March 17, 2014

I want to create the perfect capsule wardrobe: a compact collection of high quality, minimal pieces that are versatile and timeless; a wardrobe where every piece is a favourite, where fabric and quality is more important than quantity. To do this, I've decided to introduce the five piece wardrobe technique into my life.

The rules are simple:
1. Every season buy only five items of clothing
2. Basics, lingerie, socks, and accessories don't count
3. Coats, shoes, and bags count

There are some guidelines on what constitutes the core basics (such as skinny jeans, smart trousers, trainers, and a leather jacket) most of which I do not wear. I wear only dresses, skirts, and blouses; I'm either in chunky DMs or slipper shoes and occasionally creepers; you won't ever find me in jeans, a pair of trainers, or a leather jacket, so I will be creating my own 'core basics' based around my own clothing preferences.

{ the minimal wardrobe series }

The Book List #10

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell | Goddess by Anthony Summers

This was the second time I attempted to read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and the second time I gave up; I felt there was little use in wasting my time reading a book I wasn't enjoying. I can't comment too much on the book since I barely put a dent in the five hundred pages and judging a book on the mere two hundred read wouldn't be fair. All I will say is, I couldn't submerge myself in the narrative style nor the characters I found within it.

I recently watched Love, Marilyn and it made me so unbelievably sad, I couldn't stop thinking about Norma Jeane Mortenson and how the Marilyn Monroe persona consumed Norma's life. So I rescued Goddess by Anthony Summers from the top shelf of my bookcase (the shelf usually reserved for unwanted books) and started reading. It's hard to know what to believe about Marilyn (Norma Jean); on one hand I saw the victim of the media, a woman who was desperate only to love and be loved, and on the other I saw an incredibly provocative woman with serious mental health issues. I feel no closer to understanding the legend of Marilyn Monroe, however, both the book and the film were incredibly captivating, as was Marilyn herself.

{ the book list #1-9 }

What To Wear #5 : Lingerie

Saturday, March 15, 2014

one | two | three | four | five | six

Some people are typically into bags or shoes, stuffing their wardrobes full of either (or both). Well I'm not, I reserve my wardrobe space for lingerie and little black dresses. I can't help myself. Kallisti, Huit, and (ahem) Princess Tam Tam are three brands that grace my collection and each produce some amazing lingerie. & Other Stories, Journelle, and Lonely Hearts have been catching my eye lately and I've become besotted with a certain piece by Agent Provocateur..

{ more things to wear }

Nail Care

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

nail file | hand & nail cream | almond oil | cuticle remover | tools

Keeping my nails in good condition has always been a struggle until I realised the less I do, the happier they are. By following a few simple yet effective steps and ditching "strengthening" products I've found my nails are far more likely to grow strong and healthy.

Avoid Negative Nail Products
Nail polishes containing formaldehyde should be totally avoided; while quite a few nail products (including nail strengtheners) contain this chemical and can make nails harder, they can also make them stiff and brittle making them break more easily. Through experience I have found nail strengtheners actually cause more damage than good; I find it much more beneficial to leave my nails bare and simply give them some time to grow.

Limit the Use of Nail Polish Removers
Alcohol and other solvents found in nail polish removers dry nails out, making them weak and prone to breakage. By limiting their use less damage is done to the growing nails. It's claimed you should "let your nails breathe" by leaving them bare for a few days to help nails grow stronger, however, what's really happening here is you're not exposing your nails to the damage caused by solvents. Nails do not breathe.

Moisturise Regularly
A good hand and nail cream is essential for nail care. Nails are subject to environmental drying effects just like your skin, so you may find in winter the condition of your nails worsen. Avoid soap, detergents, and harsh chemicals, and use hand cream regularly, applying more frequently in the winter months. Sweet Almond Oil can strengthen and hydrate nails making them less prone to peeling and breaking. Massaged into the nails and used in place of cuticle oil, it cares for rough, ragged cuticles, and helps deliver fatty acids, replacing the moisture balance lost during cold or dry weather and the drying effects of soap.

Protect Against Damage
Over washing your hands, exposing them to harsh chemicals and detergents, and pulling instead of clipping nails can cause damage. Using the right tools and avoiding exposing them to unneccessary stress all helps keep them strong and healthy. Clip nails properly (don't pull or tear), use a crystal nail file to gentle file without pulling or snagging, and avoid using products that cause dryness by moisturising regularly.

Eat Healthy
Nothing is more important than a healthy diet; incorporating a mixture of biotin/vitamin H, vitamin A, omega-3, protein, and zinc into your diet will help your nails grow strong and healthy. If you're unsure what to eat for healthy nails I suggest fruit (bananas, apricots), vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots), nuts (peanuts, walnuts), leafy greens (spinach), beans, lentils, and whole grains.

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Celestial Powder

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Celestial Powder

The Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Celestial Powder is a super lightweight, sheer, champagne-tinted powder that creates a veil of illuminating shimmer. Working like a soft-focus lens to blur imperfections, accentuate cheekbones, and illuminate the face creating an subtle, ethereal glow. Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Celestial Powder is a universally flattering shade for all skin tones.

Seeking a highlighter can cause you to venture into treacherous territory; I own very few highlighters for this very same reason. Many are too heavy for fair skin, contain vile glittery flecks, and can cast an overwhelming (and unflattering) sheen. A sweep of Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Celestial Powder is all that is needed to give the skin a healthy, dreamy glow. The powder is finely milled, highly pigmented, and incredibly buttery to touch. The velvet powder feels comfortable on the skin, doesn't settle into fine lines, and looks nothing less than natural. I generally apply a light sweep to my cheekbones for radiant luminosity, although it can be applied to the forehead, cheeks, temples, chin or decollete, and even in place of a blush for a surreal, ethereal appearance.

If you've been searching for the perfect highlighter, I would say Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Celestial Powder is the one.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

For a while now I've opted for a more subtle look by using a brown gel liner to frame my eyes; since things got a little hectic and I become a little lazier, I wanted a liner that would fit into my "keeping it simple" mantra. Something quick to apply and lasts all day.

I've never been a huge fan of liquid liners, you are literally drawing on your eyeballs with a felt tip pen and for the most part, I prefer the more natural look that is achieved with a dark brown gel liner. However, I think the classic black flick can really add something to a look when all you're wearing is minimal make-up.

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is unreal; the tip is flexible enough to neatly curve around the eye but firm enough that it's easily done without any mistakes. The tip allows for a thin, precise line or a heavy, bold flick depending on your style. The pigmentation is amazing with a true black finish to the ink and it lasts for as long as you need it to. Despite being waterproof, the liner is easily removed with cleanser but doesn't budge if you get caught in the rain (something which is happening a lot lately). There is no flaking, smudging, or fading and the finish it achieves is amazing.

I've personally steered clear of Stila products because the branding has always put me off; I'm not massively keen on the plastic packaging of this liner, however, the product itself is outstanding and I couldn't recommend it enough.

Paul Smith Fairfield Glasses

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Paul Smith Fairfield Glasses*

I have to wear my glasses every day because I am super short sighted and although I absolutely adore my vintage frames, it's nice having a couple of options to change with outfits. Unfortunately my older frames now contain outdated prescriptions and a lot of opticians refuse to fit lenses in my awesome pair of multicolour vintage frames because they do not have a CE stamp.

So the Paul Smith Fairfield Glasses have become my new substitute; these gorgeous burgundy frames are a nice alternative to, what can be rather harsh, black designs. I steer away from entirely black glasses as they can sit rather heavy on the face and tend to jar rather than compliment facial features. These frames feel comfortable and sturdy yet lightweight, with large (but not overly so), slightly squared off lenses. The Paul Smith Fairfield Glasses are very similar in style to my previous pair although slightly smaller in size; a classic design I feel would suit most people.

I had my prescription lenses fitted by Boots, however, Pretavoir would have been happy to do this for me.

Paul Smith Rose Eau de Parfum

Monday, March 03, 2014

Paul Smith Rose Eau de Parfum

I know we're all looking forward to warmer, slightly less (hopefully) wet weather and the first sightings of the sun, and as much as I personally think spring is the most wonderful of seasons, it is not spring so can we please stop pretending we don't have a month left of winter?

Regardless I have been dreaming of those rather lovely crisp spring mornings where the sun in shining but the air is still fresh and cold. I've been wearing Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 all of winter; it has a deep, woody scent that is ideal for the cold early morning and long dark nights. Yet for spring I want to transition into something lighter, fresher, with more life.

The smell of roses is something I feel passionate about; the scent of freshly cut roses is divine and, I find, incredibly nostalgic. Zoe recommended Paul Smith Rose Eau de Parfum to me quite a while ago and it's been on my wish list ever since. After reading a few reviews I was undecided, perfumes are so personal it was hard to tell whether this would be a true rose scent or a cheap imitation.

Browsing the perfumery I discovered a bottle of Paul Smith Rose Eau de Parfum. The scent was incredible; fresh violet, rose, and green tea top notes blended with Turkish rose, magnolia, cedar, and musk. This is a true rose scent that isn't antiquated nor pungently overbearing. The perfume is fresh, clear, and light; the fragrance starts off strong (but not overly so) with an incredible floral aroma, developing quickly into a soft, gentle rose perfume that lingers all day.

Paul Smith Rose Eau de Parfum is the most perfectly appropriate perfume for the coming spring time and I so glad I finally own it.

The Book List #9

Sunday, March 02, 2014

I absolutely love reading about the food industry so as soon as I heard about Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery I knew I had to read the most current book about food production and eating practices. Farmageddon not only covers factory and organic farming, Lymbery also investigates the knock on effect of food production; everything from environmental consequences such as wildlife devastation, to the health side effects including not only obesity but the concern over antibiotic resistance and the rise of super bugs; pollution, GM crops, supermarket chains, economic concerns, poverty, and possible solutions. Everyone should know where their food comes from, how it's produced, how that production effects the economy, the environment, and the population, and whether those methods are morally and ethically acceptable. I cannot encourage you enough to read this book.

The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession by Chandler Burr details Luca Turin's scientific battle against the scholarly establishment to have his new (and controversial) theory on the human sense of smell as a recognised and valid concept. An absolutely fascinating read that was much more to do with Turin as an enthusiastic and passionate lover of perfume than simply a book about the science of smell.

{ the book list #1-8 }