Thursday, 30 June 2011

MUSIC: Trivium

Nearly two years into blogging and i've never once written about music - which is odd seeing music once was and still is if somewhat decreased massive part of my life. I thought maybe I should do random posts about bands I love or got me into certain types of music styles even if its just a way of making myself remember what I was loving once and/or still do. First up I guess is Trivium - yes I like metal which many find shocking.  I'm not really sure why. Maybe because perhaps I don't stereotypically dress like I like metal. Who knows.

Its easiest to define Trivum as merely "metal" but they can be considered anything from hardcore to trash depending on which album your listening to and how firm you believe the boundaries between genres should be. What is more set in stone is them being American, and on the verge of releasing their 5th album In Waves on August 8th. I first came across Trivium via getting into Avenged Sevenfold, reading Metal Hammer and listening to Kerrang radio, it was when their 2005 single Dying in Your Arms from the Ascendancy album even got a play on day time Radio 1 - well the edited version at least. I heard a song, thought they were good, brought the album and that was that. Six years down the line I can still play that album and be nowhere bored. Plus they have some incredible ink between them.

Seeing them in April 2007 was the best gig i've ever been too - it was fixed with problems of support bands guitar strings breaking numerous times and interference through the local radio coming through the speakers between song. That and being in Newcastle City Hall - a venue with fixed seats - very interesting for metal bands and mosh pits. Yet the rapour between Matt Heafy (lead guitar/vocals) was amazing, you can generally tell when a band wants to be playing (for the reverse see uninterested singers in indie bands like Razorlight) through their crowd interaction and full on smiles.This still continues through their updates on Facebook - they keep that personal going, you can somehow see that they care about their fans.

To like a band like Trivium you have to be open to changing styles - they are still young guys (well my age) pushing and playing with the boundaries of music. Often they've fallen to criticism but i'd rather love a band that was trying new things then getting lost in a musical rut. I would love to see them again and hopefully this time i'll get to take Joe and it'll be in a huge venue with proper pits going. Until then I can't wait for their new album and if you fancy hearing them their new song is below:

Images taken from Trivium's facebook albums and In Waves from YouTube.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


The [slow] speed of the visa processing as been making us rethink the timing of our honeymoon - that and where we're off to spend our first few days and nights of married life. Going by averages and other peoples experiences, we have a minimum of three months of waiting plus having to work my notice. Gah. This leaves us looking at September/October [hooooopefully] before I can think about moving. Gutted. Unfortunately this would mean sorting out a road tip for November - dark nights and chilly days doesn't open much forgiveness for lazy days outside and tourist season seems to wind down at the start of October.

Plan B or C was required. Do we do B - postpone the honeymoon until next Spring or C - find somewhere else. I guess the attached photograph gives you a bit of a clue ...

To say I wasn't slightly gutted at postponing the honeymoon is an understatement. The planning and the thought of this road trip has been one of my key things in keeping me strong through this visa process. It would be our first holiday in our new life together as Mr & Mrs. I kept thinking if we didn't do the honeymoon as soon as we married we never would. That it wouldn't make the wedding special if we didn't do it straight away.

Plan C was finding somewhere else more city based that still offered us plenty to do if the weather was grey and had things to do of an evening. Chicago's our next big city and at a five hour drive away, makes it reachable for long weekends. So plan C it is - we're off to pop over to tour neighbouring city and splash out on a posh hotel for three nights, enjoy the theatre, some posh restaurants, have afternoon tea, hit some museums and the pier.

Last weeks moment of spoiling ourselves was getting the Rough Guides book to Chicago, it seems so full of maps, information, guides, tours, hotels and restaurants that we could spend weeks in Chicago and not see or experience it all. It looks such a clean city, one mashing old and contemporary so well together.

We  will do our road-trip. - I'll make darn well sure of it, and if anyone has any Chicago suggestions we'd love to hear!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

LIFE: 28 Degrees

Looks like summer may have finally arrived - most likely only for a day but it was enjoyable being able to sit outside and freeze or get rained on. Even with a couple of  clouds in the sky it was nice just to watch the world go past and read. I think when we weather finally turns hot like this us Brits aren't really too sure what to do.

Has anyone else been watching the Glastonbury highlights? Mumford and Sons were fantastic - i've heard bits of them before but never sat down and listened properly to them but i'm a fan for sure. When I had my NME days Glastonbury was a fesstival I longed to go to - and still do in a way. I still would given the chance. We're been eyeing up Chicago's Lollapalooza festival for next year but we'll see what the headliner's are first, being in Grant Park next to Lake Michigan there's no camping and I can only guest at how busy all the hotels will get that weekend. 

My heads been stuck in Bill Bryson's Made in a America book this past week; its not really about American history as such but it tells it in passing in a very amusing way. It's the tale of the American language and how it forms it's culture, how and why America uses the words it does, the people that said things, invented things and wrote things down. From the instance of the term penguin coming from Newfoundland but no one really knows why; that side-walk is Colonial America and that fall for autumn is a term us English were using first. Who'd of thought.

Hope your all enjoying the sunshine wherever you are x

Saturday, 25 June 2011

MUA nail quake

I'm still rather attached to the nail effects trend that's going around - perhaps somewhat obsessed and I'll eye in on all the other brands that are bringing out versions too - even to the point of noticing New Look having a version. While being in Superdrug time-wasting on my lunch I noticed that MUA have additionally launched a version. I could rave around MUA nail varnishes for ages - I couldn't recommend them higher - a brand who's "normal" varnishes come in at a mere £1 yet lasted a whole week on application. Which is outstanding for any brand especially with the hell I put them through at work. 
They've named the effects "nail quake" and comes in a range of six colours each retailing at £2.99. With colours featuring jet black to rosy pink to purple, each I chose the Shattered Ice shade - a shiny silvery. I've found it a lot less gooey [if that's the right term] then other versions of similar products, it was therefore a lot easier to apply. The brush is a lot thinner too - which some may see as a cheap thing - but it actually aids the application process - limiting the chances of overlapping and letting you add a thin little line down the side. The affect occurs just like the others but it occurs is a more linear way and in larger groupings - a look which is very impressive and does make a good statement.
Shattered Ice MUA Nail quake over No 17 Royal Indigo.
What's everyone else's experiences with MUA?

Thursday, 23 June 2011


The first attempt in a very long time - its a work in progress, Honest. Just ignore the back bit and the fact it needs dying again!
I got a bit down lately with my hair - I haven't had it cut in ages and it eats up hair dye like a hungry monster. Because of my job - [dispenser in a pharmacy] in a dull starch white uniform being aside from the norm isn't given air time so I rarely try to do anything "nice" with my hair. Yet I would love to be more vintage - I love the eras, the clothes and the culture - yet I don't partake in it myself. Through growing more into myself and who I am its an avenue I want to venture down a little further. That and getting married - for which I do want a vintage hair style,  the dress is somewhat vintage but quirky in design, I have my eyes on red t-bar heels and there for sure will be red lipstick.

But rolls and my hair don't go well, I think its all the layers, bits fall out, rolls go lopsided or die within an hour. Then my arms start to ache, I get frustrated and then don't try again for months. Waking up on Tuesday morning [my day off] I was determined to give it a proper go - armed with hairspray, bobby pins a bottle full of determination and a flowery bobble it ended rather well - for a first go;
A bit of alreet for a first go?
I'd love to know how to do the more complicated and stylish rolls - but I guess it all takes time and learning but wearing it this way for the past two days seems to have gone down well at work with lots of lovely compliments. Having spied Belinda Hay's Style Me Vintage - Hair on Amazon, it that looks like it might be worth a try - has anyone used it? Or perhaps know any more sources for inspiration and guides for the novice that I am? All the videos i've come across on You Tube make it look so easy and I suck at interpreting it!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


The Sunday Times and Waterstones have been teaming up for the past couple of weeks offering readers a voucher to acquire books off the Times Contemporary classic list for a mere 99p. I noticed this offer rather late - apparently it's been going every week since mid May (if not earlier). My dad gets this newspaper every Sunday but it even past us by, after seeing a little cardboard display in my local Waterstones I thought I'd make sure I looked out, and grabbed this weeks offer. Each voucher which last a week - comes with the addition of one new book - this weeks its The Wonder Boys but you can backtrack and use your voucher on the older book selection from previous weeks.

I ended up buying The Vagrants by Yiyun Li - a tale set in the late 1970s centring on the execution of a revolutionary girl in communist China and how her death affects her home village. Its not going to be light hearted and does seem a deep but I love books that get you thinking and are set away from the lovely dovey.

Amazon blurb

If there's an end to this offer it's not being published nor are all the details on forth coming books or the "contemporary classic list" they are being picked from but it keeps part of the excitement going! I do love how these offers get you thinking and buying books you might not normally buy and while I am meant to be getting through and decreasing my book collection - I need something new to keep my interest going. Excuses ... excuses ...

Any recommendations for any other good books out there at the moment?

This post was off my own back and hasn't been at the hand or enticement of Waterstones or The Sunday Times - merely me trying to highlight an offer that so nearly passed me by.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Part 6. Paper cuts

Its the hellos the goodbyes, the kisses and the hugs, the last glimpse over your shoulder and the not wanting to part and walk away, but knowing someone has to make that move. The places where you're reunited in an long distance relationships can become the places you dread when you have to go your separate ways. Parting stings; hurts, everyday your counting down the hours left. Paper cuts. I can't wait to see Joe and know we never have to part ever again, knowing he'll be there when I wake up, to know there's not thousands of miles between us. Apparently it takes five weeks to get my bundle of paperwork from the centre its being worked at in America to London Embassy and then to me to get onto the next step. Five very long weeks that's going to be.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Last week I read an interesting post on Melanie's blog about accumulating general stuff and what you could possibly do with it. This "stuff" is the items that make up the memories of your life - the tickets, cards and letters we might happen to keep in memory of your past. I started properly collecting/hoarding when I started university in 2005. In my first year room in halls I covered my pin board, then for the rest of university experience the walls or attic ceilings with gig tickets, club adverts, train tickets and cards recording my memories week by week. When I moved home I shoved everything into two huge boxes and left it at that. Now, with planning on moving the time came to think what should I do with it all. They were importance each once to warrant being shown and then being kept, they were my happy times, do they warrant enough important to move with me?
This sums up my memory box and all it is, is a sample peek inside. It's mostly filled with gig tickets, cinema stubs, train tickets, photographs - often spare passport or identity ones, old birthday cards, letters, postcards and newspaper clippings some of which I wrote myself when I did work experience at my local newspaper.
When I was 4 we were all asked to draw a picture of our face at school. These faces from the entire school were complied and transferred onto a tea towel to go on sale to our families. The towel my parents brought they actually used but my gran kept hers in mint condition and I grabbed it after she died. I can remember sitting down and being asked to draw my face - I also did it wrong and drew more then one version of me. I've never done well listening to instructions!
And this is just a sample of me from my old senior school tie - a delightful green and yellow the cottons of which I use to sit and pull out. Once more its filled with old photographs from me giggling in my paddling pool, to a photograph from one Christmas with me wearing a natural mass of curls, to my adventures being blonde and my BA graduation photograph. I guess you can still see Newcastle and University still means a lot to me - it does its just a shame I seem to have wasted both of my degrees currently.
I'm still not overly sure what i'm doing with them all, most of the photographs, university things and gig tickets will be moving with me. I've thrown them all into my "I heart KR" [as in Krakow] bag and i'll throw that into my suitcase. I was contemplating doing a scrapbook but I don't have the attention span to pull it off and the idea of sticking them all down and trapping them doesn't appeal. I have an wanting to find an old suitcase and make that mine and Joe's memory case - morph our individual collections from our childhood and add to the memories already complied there with our joint ones as we start out life together. 
Image from Weheatit

What do you all do with your old things?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Clipped black

I have a slight addiction - that being Barry M instant nail effects. I blogged [here] about treating myself and buying the blue version, but after seeing other peoples attempts I had to return and buy the black the other week. For some odd reason the black seems to look and apply better - maybe its just my eyes. Perhaps because its dark it makes more of a statement especially against lighter colours. I do love the blue version, but the blacks caught my eye a little more and got me back into being bothered to paint and redo my nails. I can't do too much at work because I wear a dull uniform that isn't of my making and or choice so having random weird nails is the only thing I can do to personalise myself from the sea of others.

Superdrug is fast becoming my shop of choice and I gave in and got myself one of those Superdrug beauty cards - even though I work for the rival high street brand I do buy a lot from there - they seem to have decent offers on the hair products I use and offer much more reasonable priced make up. What is brilliant about their beauty card is that you can do part payment with points and cash although I think you have to spend your points in lots of £1 (100 points). Ended up slightly splashing out and buying Superdrugs own brand Natural Shampoo for coloured hair which smells utterly lush and leaves my hair really soft and shiney - which is outstanding when you only pay £1.20 odd for it. I also decided to try some £1 MUA pale green nail varnish and Bourjois Health Mix foundation.

Spent this afternoon finishing off another book and watching Jane Eyre on some ITV freeview channel while it pours down. Today's my only day off for the week and it's back to hell tomorrow but with my mother around you can't be lazy for long. I feel like doing a huge ranting post sometime soon about the delights of still living at home when your 24 - there's not many delights for sure. Anywaaaays ... 

What other brands and or colours of nail effects would people recommend?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Part 5. The visa saga and an approval

Last night JJ heard from The Visa people - see I made them sound as super life-changingly-important. We weren't expecting to hear from them for ages and even last night we'd been talking about pushing the honeymoon back 'till Spring. After our delay for more information we were going by their website claims suggesting we might not hear anything for up to 60 days while they processed all the extra bits. Apparently we were being cynical in our thoughts and last night we heard that the stage one petition for my visa had been approved!

Because of the visa was "suspended" for two weeks while we went around crazy getting all the information - the crazy American sized pastport photographs and so on, we thought we'd missed the 5 month average. Perhaps not! Even with the detour we've come in under the five month part one average which is rather impressive, well four months, three weeks and two days if we're wanting to be spot on. 

No one at work really seems bothered about our news, at my end at least - for some reason they seem all against me going or perhaps think I'm going for the wrong reasons, yet other changes at work show i'm very much replaceable and the job I have was never on my plan. But that's another rant for another day. Maybe they think I'm nutters for upping and leaving everything; going to a country I've never visited, leaving friends and a job behind. My response is that life's merely too short not to go.

So the next steps all are down to me. I get so nervous and scared I'm going to mess this up - the future rests of me doing this right and there's three parts of it going wrong; a police check, medical (the scariest part) and finally an interview. Gah all so big and scary. I know I should tackle every part individually and do it step by step just to get my head around it rather then stressing like I am. Luckily some of the real life cases I've read about have stories stating people have been able to get through this last stage within eight weeks - so maybe, just maybe in three months (after working my boring notice out) I might, just might get to move. Here's to hoping but for now I'm just thankful we got through the first stage!

This news has totally set off my weekend, shame i'm working tomorrow and Sunday looks like a total washout! Have a lovely weekend xx

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Something blue

If you follow the old rhyme a bride on her wedding day should wear something blue, this is alongside the old - our wedding rings from Joe's gran, the something borrowed which because Joe looks at this I can't reveal and the something new - maybe my dress counts[?] to bring her luck. I'm slightly stuck on the something blue - and searching the net doesn't reveal too much inspiration;
A blue tattoo - being a tattooed girl I could see the appeal I just don't have any designs currently that warrant adding blue to them and the more I look at this picture the more fake the tattoo looks.
Brides wedding garter within something blue 1920s inspired from Etsy - not sure why but garters don't appeal to me.
Vintage blue flowered hanky - now this I could do and may have to investigate. So pretty isn't it?
Now i'm a huge fan of wearing coloured shoes for your wedding and i'm planning on wearing red for my own - I pretty much grew up wearing red shoes and they've always been my favourite.
For me I guess adding blue into the jewellery might be one of the easiest ways to go - I haven't really thought about jewellery as of yet but I love this necklace - it's very accesorize-esque.
What would be better then going off to your reception - or even on your honeymoon in a vintage blue car?!
So i'm really not sure and i'm not sure what most people do - I guess what adds to the mixture is that red is probably after cream/white is the main colour - because of my shoes being red and i'll be working around that. So I guess it has to be a blue that goes with the vintage bright red you see on the nails and lips of your starlets. 

What would you do, or what for your own wedding day did you do to celebrate the old something blue?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Margaret Rose

Newgate Market in York is a daily market full of your normal fish, vegetable, clothes and knitting kind of stalls but there's also two or three junk, thrifty vintage seller that visit the site a couple of times a week. I often go for a wander on my lunch break so I thought i'd go for a nosey and stumbled across an elderly lady selling a mixture of vintage jewellery, compacts, plate wear and books. While they weren't the most exotic or big named compacts they were going cheap - all under £7.50 which is an utter bargain and after posting last week my complete vintage compact collection I have been having craves to had a new one - even though I'm meant to be money saving. But that when to the side. The first compact that caught my eye was the £4 marked, poorly, tired flapjack compact I posted about the other day, the second was this cameo Margaret Rose 1950s compact - priced at £6 it was more then reasonable.
Pre cleaned - the Margaret Rose compact with it's little feminine cameo.
The bottom pan of the compact is often how they are dated, with Stratton's they can often be dated by the pattern design. In this instance due to the small hole in the bottom right of the compact we can be sure that this is a post 1950 compact. This hole was designed a way of removing and therefore replacing the powder pan once all the contents had been used. As clearly marked the makers Margaret Rose is enamelled into the bottom followed by England indicating is country of origin.
A glimpse inside the cleaned compact - the white pan would have once been removable therefore allowing the lady to keep her compact. The original shifter with cardboard edging is covering the original puff.
Sometimes it pays off to have a good little rumble in all the corners of a market. Sometimes you come away with nothing worth looking at and then others you find little marvels that just need a little loving. The compact may not be as old or as "stylish" as some of my counterparts but its different and offers another glimpse at what was once a named and known English compact brand.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Fish 'n' chips

One thing I'll miss about the UK will be being able to eat Fish n chips out of either their newspaper wrappings or the joyous polystyrene boxes on a chilly summers day at the seaside. I'll miss my fish and chip shops - chip butties use to be my treat at university on random Friday nights with a bottle of Irn Bru. Love has to be even given to the crazy wooden fork that never seems to pick any kind of food up. Sadly the typical blowy English summer weather came back while we went to Flamborough Head on the Yorkshire coast today - typical when its my day off the sun hides itself.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Attack! Attack!

Sometimes I think me and Ed are on the same wave length - often a weird statement seeing she's a cat all the way over in Detroit. But by the look of the above photograph we have the same view on transformers. She attacks transformer models - well this one at least, my boy collects them and he's currently out doing my compact collection. For some particular reason Edder's hates this one Transformer the most.I may feel her pain after seeing all the new film versions of cartoon superheroes too.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The instance of trying to fix a compact

This is the case of trying to save a compact and perhaps getting it a little wrong. I first wasn't going to blog about this, i'm slightly filled with guilt and was going to hide it away, never admit to doing it and end up never blogging about this compact. But I feel like I should - we all make mistakes and perhaps this is an instance of when you shouldn't try and mend all vintage things. Sometimes their past and their stories are engraved in the dirt and mess that comes with them. But let me get to the point and introduce you to one of my new compacts;
Before being cleaned - showing the markings and discolouring to the metal
It's an over sized flapjack compact approximately  4 inches across - its size indicating a compacts of the 1950s era when they had been growing in diameter since the fashionable tiny compacts of the 1930s and limited metals of WWII. While its unbranded it is gold toned, engraved with a shell like grain with a outer circular band of flowers and leaves, in it's centre a blank cartouche possibly left for an initial to be engraved. The lid lifts up to reveal a fixed in large mirror with a sifter and original puff under a flap - the latter held in place by a metal lever.
The bottom of the compact pre cleaning - containing sellers price label, lipstick/make up marking and black stains to the metal
I half fell into buying the compact because of it's state - it felt like it needed loving and cleaning and I somehow thought I could make it better, or at least try. At £4 you couldn't go wrong - I was either going to end up with an amazingly well cleaned and fixed compact or one that was a bit tainted, worn out and tired, but one that I hadn't broken the bank for. Even a quick glance you can see what I was up against - there was clear discolouring of the metal on the compacts top surface - the appearance of a gold tone of copper was starting to show through, on the bottom stickers markers came up against old make up and black stained dots and spots. Cleaning this wasn't going to be easy.

When it comes to cleaning compacts you don't need anything fancy - normally just cotton buds and a duster to remove any loose powder, furniture polish sprayed onto a duster to give any [metal] compact a shine and some window/glass cleaner for the mirror. The key is to be gentle and take your time. Now this fail safe method I've used on all my compacts and it's one that's recommended on countless websites and books - but there's always an instance when things can fail. But once part of the metal casing had started peeling sometime in its former life, any even gentle rubbing of a cotton bud isn't going to help matters and sadly resulted in only more of the metal surface being removed.
The after - a now slightly pink compact - oops.

Don't get me wrong I'm glad I tried to clean it - and in you do only see the extreme in the metals in the brightest of lights - weirdly the back and the insides of the compact have cleaned up marvellously - the mere downside is that is the part you see has been affected by its past [and me] the most. This compact was never going to be the star of the show but I'm hoping I saved it from a trip to the junk yard or worse a mere bin. Sometimes you should leave things be if they've already had a hard life, but I don't have the heart to throw it away. It's part of my story now.