Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Packaging: This striking translucent bottle houses 100 ml of gorgeous golden fluid. It almost looks like a bottled golden fleece. The aesthetic of the product is part of what makes it so tantalizing. Its eye catching, warm and a beautiful product to have on your shelf.
Scent: A very subtle, gentle, warm scent. If silk had a smell, this would be it. Nothing overpowering or provocative but it does add a pleasant musk to your hair.
Texture: Smooth, soft and silky, like warm honey in your hands.
Bang for your buck: This is my absolute favourite hair product in the world. 3.3 oz is plenty as you only need to add a little oil to damp hair (although I also add a little to dry hair and find it doesn’t cause the hair to become greasy at all).
The product is incredibly light weight so it does not feel heavy on the hair. It has a penetrative effect on the hair shaft enabling it to seal in moisture and softness and also has a protective effect against heat styling and harsh sun rays. As such it is an all purpose product that you can use on your hair every time you wash, or just any time you fancy. Protective, restorative and maximising, this really enables your hair to reach its full potential.
I’m a huge fan of using oils on hair. You can really notice a difference in hair quality and texture and this has to be my favourite oil for so many reasons.
Does it work?: My hair has been softer, silkier and just looked better since I have begun using this. It brings out the colour of my hair and just makes it feel wonderful to the touch. I feel better using this product. I really notice the effect when tying my hair back in a ponytail and running this oil through it. Shine and softness are maximised.
Does it last?: The bottled product itself will last you a long time if you use as directed. I tend to use twice; once on damp hair and once on dry hair and it’s still going! Realistically, you don’t need to use the product this often so it can potentially last even longer.
As for the lasting effect of the product, your hair will feel the benefits until your next wash and I truly believe the overall quality of my hair has improved as a result of using this.
Would I repurchase?: 100% yes. I absolutely adore this product and I will most certainly be trying the rest of the range.
FINAL VERDICT: 9/10
Thursday, 22 August 2013
If you thought the title ‘Alpha Papa’ meant a close, Super nanny style look at Alan’s parenting style of Denise and Fernando Partridge, well then you’re ruddy bloody wrong. Not every television series has an easy transition to film. As much as I love the Partridge television series, part of me did wonder how this transition was going to work. Nonetheless, Steve Coogan (Alan himself) is such a comedic genius that I never truly doubted his abilities to make this work.
Of all Coogan’s creations, Alan is the most popular, which is interesting, as he is actually incredibly repugnant. He’s egomaniacal, selfish, crude, rude and to borrow a phrase from the man himself, ‘a bit odd’. What’s brilliant about Alan is that he is never completely unbelievable as a character. It’s quite possible you could meet an Alan in the wilderness of your real life. Perhaps in Tesco.
We pick up with Alan in his favourite setting...the studio. This time he seems to have acquired himself a young, slightly dim-witted sidekick named Simon (Tim Key) who sits in on his sessions and contributes meaninglessly to Alan’s chagrin.
In the fast paced, cut throat world of commercial radio, North Norfolk Digital is being slowly coaxed into the hands of a ruthless conglomerate and transformed into ‘Shape’. That means some dead woods gotta go. Said dead wood is emotional rollercoaster Pat (played in a superbly downbeat fashion by Colm Meaney) who does not take the news well. Instead he transforms the office party into a hostage situation, accumulating conglomerate scum, a new bit of skirt (Monica Dolan as Angela), a random cleaner who appears to utter only one line, and fellow radio staff, Dave Clifton (who enjoys regaling the others with stories of his days of alcohol, drugs and prostitutes in a voice dripping with pseudo-delirium) and some young blood that everybody wants to punch in the face...and repeatedly do.
Now that the station is under siege, Pat will only agree to communicate with the police through Alan. Cue the hilarity of awkward Alan trying to a) remain calm and b) not ramble.
This is darker than your traditional Partridge fare. But then, Partridge has always had a little darkness to it. Driving to Dundee in his bare feet, gorging on Toblerone, living in a travel tavern...Alan’s had many ‘low’ moments. The addition of fresh characters to an already much loved cast (yes loyal Lynn and Geordie Michael do make an appearance) keeps this recognisable and real.
There are enough jokes to keep you laughing throughout the entire film. Our cinema screen barely had a quiet moment. Alan works on the big screen surprisingly well. It gives him a chance to be the James Bond he has always wanted to be. But it’s not just about Alan running around telling jokes, facts of the day and sarcastic quips. There is humanity for Alan to discover too...oh and there’s also some truly Partridge dancing and hard core dance music. What’s not to love?
Part comedy, part thriller, part action movie, all Alan, all that’s left to say is A-HAAAAAAA!
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
This teeny bottle is a Barbie dolls dream. Delicately curved and emboldened with a hot pink hue at the base and a lighter pink lid. The iconic Lacoste symbol with a snapping crocodile above it sits atop the bottle.
This is a really girly spritz. It's strong, summery and sweet. If you prefer a subtler scent you might find this a little too powerful. This is one of my favourite perfumes because it is bold, sweet and highly feminine. You might ask, what does pink supposedly smell like? Well it doesn't smell like Barbie and Paris Hilton melted down into liquid form. It's designed to appeal to younger women, not that this should off put you. As such, it's an energizing, 'busy' fragrance. It's the kind of scent you can imagine wearing to play tennis in the park, go on picnics or meet your crush at moonlight. It's flirty, joyful and happy. It just embodies the fun and girlishness of being a young woman.
Long lasting scent that softens into a delicate more ethereal concoction as time passes.
Does it last?
Yes, mine's been going and going for a mighty long while!
Would I re-purchase?
The only fault with this perfume is that it is so popular you won't be the only woman wearing it, although it's possible that nowadays newer scents have become the latest teenage craze. For me this fad has remained a favourite and I would definitely repurchase. I'm a little in love with it!
Overall rating: 9/10
Monday, 19 August 2013
The ideal image to encapsulate the essence of Dogtooth. Here, 'Bruce' occupies a pool of water whilst blindfolded. The element of water is closely aligned with the subconscious and all that is unknown to ourselves. 'Bruce' has been raised in an atmosphere of ignorance and misinformation. As such she is both metaphorically, symbolically and literally blind. She is unable to hold a factual adult conversation as her use of language has been so warped in it's teaching, as such she is unable to understand and 'see' the world as it actually is. Her senses are defunct in enabling her to interpret the world around her. The fact that the bind is colourful suggests that the intention for the binding is not altogether one of abuse, but one of adults who have deeply rooted issues of there own. The straps of her costume appear to be red. She is a symbol, a target, representative of danger and lust. The parents are afraid for there children, particularly there daughters, to develop a sexuality as this could potentially draw there loyalty away from the family unit and beyond the home. 'Bruce' flounders near the side looking disjointed and confused, literally cast adrift in a vast unconscious, a child in the womb.
Clothed in conservative, feminine attire, the two sisters prepare to dance for the family. The brother is to the left of the still playing an instrument. The celebratory decorations adorning the home looks childish and out of place, even tacky (note the Christmas lights to the right). The colourful balloons gathered on the floor appear to be straight from a child's birthday party. There is an awkward, visible disconnect between the cheery decorations and the expressions on the faces of the three children. All three look stifled, anxious and deeply uncomfortable, as well as rigid and physically stuck. The sisters almost look like they are awaiting execution, so visibly unhappy do they look.
3. Sneaking Up
For this family, cats are a dangerous enemy. Here, the son, a victim of childhood brainwashing prepares to confront this deadly foe. The gorgeous greens of the garden represent an Eden-like haven. The cats pose looks un-expectant. The son looks fearful but purposeful, slowly inching forward with his weapon downcast at the ready. The contrast of such Suburban bliss and such an unholy, bizarre act is truly surreal and is almost a replica of original sin - a dark, disturbing act that may expulse the innocence from this scene.
4. Father and daughter
Here we can see where the balance of power lies. The father is angry with 'Bruce' for procuring videos from the outside world. As he wishes to cocoon the children in the family home, this is not good news for him. He looks like a harmless, ordinary dad. Nothing particularly sinister or cruel about him. That is what makes him all the more creepy as a character. He is elevated above 'Bruce' on the comfy sofa whilst she sits obediently and submissively on the floor awaiting her punishment. The room looks sterile and clinical. There are two thin blue vases on the table. Water is frequently used throughout this film. The element of water when free flowing suggests freedom but the children are trained to use water competitively, constructively, in a contained and supervised manner. The vases on the table are representative of this contained water, this stifled sense of freedom, a pre-meditated existence.
After Christina's visit, the sisters have a very warped introduction to what sexuality is. Knowing female genitalia only as a 'keyboard', here the girls exchange there idea of what a sexual favour is for some paraphernalia. This intimate, inappropriate pose shows the siblings desire to please and also the extent of there indoctrination. They have no concept or understanding of ordinary, or appropriate sexual relations. 'Bruce's' rigid clasped hands look almost like a deranged prayer. The younger sister by contrast looks ethereal and peaceful. She has always been the more submissive and the more indoctrinated of the two. As such, she is happy to play along. The girls are shown naturally here. These is no gratuitous, exploitative use of nudity or sexy underwear.
6. Authority Knocks
When Christina is first introduced to the girls, she is a bit of an enigma. She works as a security guard at the fathers company and for some reason, agrees to visit the family and sleep with there son. Bored of his sexual inexperience, she soon makes a play for one of the sisters in exchange for some videos. Christina represents a destabilising force in the house. Firstly, she is from outside. Secondly, she has a position of some authority in the outside world, as we can garner from her uniform and the fact that she wears this to the house (she brings her outside authority with her). Thirdly, she is at least bi-curious which deviates from the fathers control of his children's sexuality. Through sex, dependent on your stance, she either brings corruption or liberation to the house. Thanks to Christina, 'Bruce' is able to make an exchange and see videos of the outside world which piques her curiosity to leave the home whatever it takes. For the father, Christina would be a corruptive force, forcing his baby away from home. This is almost an updated garden of Eden situation where curiosity and temptation will expulse and expel the children of God from there parental garden. Is this better or worse for the children? Especially given there upbringing and ignorance. Christina looks confident and controlled in this photo whilst the sisters are huddled together, impressed and unsure. Christina is an example of a powerful, independent woman. The sisters are dependent and mentally embryonic and undeveloped. Christina, with her dyed hair, make-up and uniform looks worldly and contains knowledge. The most important knowledge she imparts to the girls is her sexual knowledge. The sisters matching haircuts and dull grey tops regress them making them symbiotic and colourless.
7. Removing the Dog Tooth
Those familiar with the film will know that the children are only permitted to leave the family home once their dog tooth falls out. Of course, there is no such thing as a dog tooth and it will never fall out. This lie gives the children hope that maybe one day they can leave whilst also preventing them from escaping sooner. After all, 'one day' the dog tooth will fall out. 'Bruce', inspired by sexual contact with Christina and the films she procures from her, decides to remove her own dog tooth once and for all. This is a courageous move for freedom. This act of self-violence for liberation mirrors childbirth, the loss of ones virginity or menstruation. The marking of passing into adulthood from childhood is almost always connected with loss of blood, especially for women. Here 'Bruce' looks downcast with vibrant red blood on her jaw. She has made her own decision to grow up. She has taken control. This marks the end of 'Bruce' as a child. She is a woman now.
To fortify the idea that a sense of innocence has been lost, the room and 'Bruce's' attire are virginal, angelic white. Everything is clean and pure, sweet, cosy and girly. The only difference is the spattered blood on the mirror and 'Bruce's' wide, mutilated smile. In the mirror 'Bruce' has finally achieved some sense of self-actualisation and self-recognition. She acknowledges herself as a woman and smiles. This scene is reminiscent of a ceremony or right of passage. As mentioned previously, it could be the loss of virginity or the start of menstruation. It signifies a transformation. As 'Bruce' is in control of this change, she is joyfully happy. She smiles brightly for the first time.
9. The cat did it
In this macabre, surreal piece of play acting, the father pretends that he was attacked by a cat. He uses cats, independent, free and curious, to represent a very real danger and encourage the kids to stay home. This exaggerated display of the cats threat chills the children and causes the son to later kill one in the garden. The beautiful, bold greens of the garden, again Eden-like, viscerally clash with the slash-fest red. The father has done his best to dishevel himself for maximum effect.
10. Christina waits
Waiting to be picked up to go to the house, Christina stands on the corner of the street. Street corners are usually associated with prostitutes. We know that Christina is complicit in the fathers scheme in as far as she does not report him and she sleeps willingly will the son. This picture represents Christina as an independent, lone figure, a free figure. Is she really any better off than the sisters? The world around looks sparse and empty, in contrast with the house which seems vivid and bright. Is this the world as the father sees it?
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Friend or foe?
Catwomans ambiguous moral stance is perfectly encapsulated by her depiction in this still. At a glance, she appears like a cat in a cage, pawing at her freedom and glancing out at a world she cannot be a part of. There certainly is a large component of escapism to her character. The fact that she masks herself and has created a separated identity from her factual persona of Selena Kyle shows that she, like numerous other Gotham inhabitants, enjoys the fantasy of an alter ego. We also know that Catwoman is only operating alongside Bane because she is biding her time to get out. In actual fact, Catwoman is looking on, both curious and concerned, as Batman finally confronts Bane. Her gloved hand on the bars almost looks sympathetic and tender as if she could be reaching out to assist him. In this still, she is both a captive cat and also the captor. The ambiguity and polarisation of her character, is she or is she not on Batman’s side, is captured here.
The Pit is a prison where bad men are sent to be forgotten. It is also the site of an unlikely love story. The ‘catch’ to this particular prison is that the prisoners are stuck in the dark, dank confines below whilst eternally tortured at the prospect of freedom poised precariously above their heads. The circular entrance and exit is like a brilliant, blinding sun forcing them to recall the world beyond that is excruciatingly, and tantalisingly just out of reach. We always see the pit from below where it seems impossibly high and distant. The dark cyclical walls contrast with this hopeful beacon above. The effect is expansive, vast and dizzying.
Bane the Beast.
This is one of my favourite images of Bane in the entire movie. Here he is not encased in his usual uniform. This still is a powerful representation of his sheer strength, brutality, menace and tenacity. There is an intense rebellious authority to the character of Bane. His mask makes him appear almost half octopus. He looks alien, robotic, even animal. This low shot establishes him as something gigantic and bulky – a real force of reckoning for Batman.
Posture and body language are such powerful indicators of a characters inner motivations. Here Bane looks celebratory, predatory, assertive and completely in control. Batman, by contrast, looks small and shrunken despite the look of insistent rage on his face. Bane is the focus here, perhaps to emphasise his size and status. The flow of water is a powerful elemental surge. Water represents the subconscious and perhaps is indicative of Batman’s own blocked dam of inner turmoil. The fact that it is bursting forth represents a clash, a pouring forth of secrets and emotion, a conflict, a rising.
Unmasking the bat.
Wielding the broken mask of Batman whilst his body lies beneath, Bane is victorious and has established himself as a true force of reckoning. Rain water is pouring. Gotham is literally weeping for Batman. A change has taken place. Again Bane is the focus here. Batman has been usurped.
The child in the pit.
Initially, the identity of the child in the pit is inferred, but not confirmed. The gender of the child is ambiguous. The features are large and expressive but the head is shaved and the clothes are genderless. The child’s expression is one of both vulnerability and purpose. The child is clearly about to lift there hood and head off into the desert. What is the future of this child? The still speaks of uncertainty.
The unmasking of Talia.
This is an interesting still of Talia which tells us much. She almost looks like a character from the masked ball of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. Her subtle Venetian style mask indicates she too has something to hide, an identity that is not quite ready to be conveyed. Batman is so much about masks, concealed identities and alter egos. It would be natural to infer that Talia too has her secrets. Of course to begin with, we do not know that this woman IS Talia Al Ghul, we know her as Miranda. If Bruce Wayne has Batman and Selena Kyle has Catwoman, then Talia has Miranda. The difference is that Miranda is not a flashy superhero, but a respectable business facade that enables her to fulfil her father’s legacy. Talia wants to create a normal alternate persona, rather than a glamorous facade. The lowering of her mask and the sly, assertive expression on her face indicates that all is not as it seems with Miranda.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall.
After stealing Batman’s pearls, Selena looks at herself in the mirror. Beautiful, glamorous, sultry, the mirror is another way of hinting at the importance of alter egos and alternate personalities. Selena’s assertive, confident gaze indicates she knows who she is and where she is going. She is only mysterious and enigmatic in the eyes of the other characters!
He’s behind you!
This is a not so subtle way of showing the re-emergence of Batman as a prolific Gotham figure. Bruce is bringing Batman out of retirement, and Batman is also something inescapable for Bruce. His and Batman’s identities are fused. Bruce cannot escape being Batman – he is forever lurking in the background of Bruce’s life and psyche. The bat suit looks sinister and menacing here – something Batman is often confused as being to the inhabitants of Gotham.
Haggard, dirty and exhausted, Bruce staggers to the top of the pit for his freedom. This still is a symbol of determination, courage and hope. Bruce is emerging and evolving into his bat form, gaining higher and higher until he established his freedom and merges with his alter ego once more. The narrow ledge shows how precarious and uncertain his position is. The darkened pit below and the luminous ledge reveal the vast distance between plunging backward into darkness and elevating into the light.
Thursday, 15 August 2013
1. Victoria Beckham
The Beckham's are bonded over their mutual love of excessive ink. Victoria's delicate and dainty frame suits this intricate Hebrew neck lettering. Supposedly her tattoo is an excerpt from 'The Song of Solomon', a beautiful love poem.
2. Lea Michele's Gold Star
In homage to her GLEE character Rachel Berry, Lea tattooed herself with this subtle gold star. The colour really pops in this bubble-gum pink dress.
3. Eve's kitty cat paws
Often duplicated, this provocative tattoo really appeared to fire up the flare of numerous copy cats! Hard to miss and hard to conceal, this fiery, feisty seductive design is suitable for the mischievous, wild rapper.
4. Dianna Agron's nursery rhyme
Dianna is the embodiment of girlishness, elegance and class and her tattoo does not detract from that. An excerpt from 'Mary had a little lamb', Dianna's mother was named Mary and the tattoo is representative of there close relationship.
5. Paris Hilton's red butterfly
Butterflies might be a little overdone but Paris Hilton's scarlet butterfly embossed upon her neck suits the human Barbie, adding a little fire to the airy, mercurial socialite.
6. Cara Delevingne's Lion
Embossing her finger with a bold, striking lion, Cara Delevigne was unknown to me until I saw her tattoo. The playmate of Rihanna and Rita affronted Prince Charles with this unusual, unforgettable design.
7. Angelina Jolie's Tiger
Angelina Jolie was the poster child for raunchy rebellion before it became a mainstream fad. Her dynamic back tattoo of a tiger is a powerful representation of the wild woman herself and not for the fainthearted!
8. Lea Michele's Musical Notes
Delicate, dainty and wonderfully girly, Lea's shoulder tattoo indicates how important and instrumental (excuse the pun) music has been in her life.
9. Rihanna's Isis
To celebrate her birthday, Rihanna added to her body art with this interesting placement of the Egyptian Goddess Isis. It most definitely draws even more attention to the singer!
10. Kat Von Dee's Eye Stars
Heavily tatted Kat Von Dee is a little overly tattooed for my liking, and though stars are by no means unique she really rocks this painful placement. What can I say? It suits her!
1. Lock and Key
An unusual, somewhat romantic and mysterious choice, this is an interesting selection of placements for the lock and key design. As standalone pieces they are a little evasive, but together they create an interesting story.
2. Crescent moon
The moon is representative of feminine power, changeability and cyclical behaviour. Choosing to adorn yourself with the moon is a way of claiming your femininity.
3. Musical Note
Lea Michele’s musical note is by no means a unique design, but the shoulder placement is very sweet and subtle and perfectly appropriate for a Glee star!
Rihanna’s gun might be particularly unfeminine and representative of some darker changes to her former sweet girl persona, but it definitely suits her and sums up her attitude!
Mad cat ladies will be fawning over this one.
6. The red heart
This small, red heart is beautifully emphasised by the darkened, bold border and red necklace. A romantic, feminine placement.
7. WFF Panda
This might not be to everyone tastes, but animal lovers will appreciate the sentiment.
8. Love heart 2
Another love heart...but what a unique and adorable placement!
This slinky cat tattoo might not be too tiny, but it is tempting!
10. Small seahorse
The thick bold lines compensate for the subtlety of this adorable seahorse!
So what’s the fuss about?
L’Occitane is the exotically unpronounceable French brand that has been heralded as one of the best brands for the skin. This product is 50ml of precious cleansing foam shielded in an ocean blue bottle. The back blurb announces that the product is “enriched with organic immortelle floral water” which both cleanses and banishes impurities. Firstly, the packaging looks both enticing and luxurious – the combination of bold blue and striking gold looks regal and rich. It looks mighty attractive on the shelf!
What’s in it?
Aqua, glycerin and an assortment of other unpronounceables!
What does it smell like?
This product smells like fresh meadows and ocean breeze. It really does smell wonderfully lush, cleansing and natural. It does not smell artificial whatsoever. It has a calming, relaxing scent.
How do I use this?
Apply to damp skin twice daily. The product will foam easily. Spread over the face and wash clean. Recommended as suitable for all skin types.
Does it work?
As a cleanser, i.e. to remove daily impurities and make-up, this works really well. It is so soft to apply because it is a simple, fresh foam. It is equally easy to remove. You can see and feel when the product is gone. It leaves skin looking and feeling fresh. I simply looked more youthful and awake after I’d used this. I would recommend for all skin types, except severe problem skin and for those who suffer with acne. Although this is a gentle cleanser and acne should not be treated abrasively, a different kind of cleanser should be recommended for such skin.
Would I repurchase?
Yes, most definitely. Although my skin can be problematic, I like the fresh, gentle, easy way that this product cleanses. A very quick, and yet thorough cleanse.
L’Occitane products do not come cheap. Perhaps you’re paying extra for the exotic French name but at £18.50, it’s not the cheapest of cleansers. It is most definitely worth it though, should you have the cash to spare.
Overall rating: 9/10
To learn more about L’Occitane products click here: http://uk.loccitane.com/about-us,83,1,35526,358131.htm