What I Got For Christmas

These kinds of posts can be conflicting. A lot of us (all of us, come on) enjoy having a nosey at what other people buy, enjoy, and receive as gifts. Taking an interest in that stuff is part of the reason so many of us read blogs. I love watching hauls on YouTube and the like, particularly when I'm really broke, as it kind of helps me live vicariously and plan what I WILL treat myself to one day, when I have the cash. We shouldn't feel guilty about this habit or desire. Christmas, admittedly, is a bit different, and is still a really sacred and special time for a lot of people, even if they aren't religious. For me, Christmas isn't all about the presents, although they are fucking great. I love the time with my family, the food, and how pretty we make our surroundings at Christmas. I love the thoughtfulness and the generosity. It seems odd not to share the things we receive as gifts out of some false sense of humility, and equally strange to brag. So I decided to just show you a few things; not the biggest or most expensive, but a selection of the cutest, kookiest, and most interesting presents. There's even a sex toy in there, so Happy Christmas to me.

 photo IMG_6173_zpsspfzqgkv.jpg

I've been after Prada Candy for SO LONG and obviously this didn't go unnoticed by Cosy Bean (thank you Sophie!). It smells absolutely delicious and has shot straight into my "wear every day because yolo" perfume spot. 2016 is going to be the year of smelling fucking amazing every day, because I got another perfume from my Mum, LUSH's Gorilla Perfume, Kerbside Violet. I tested this ages ago and fell in love with it's dirty, grassy, violet scent - not sickly sweet like parma violets, but just sweet enough with a hint of wet earth, like violets would really smell in the wild.

 photo IMG_6130_zpswlzmwkg9.jpg

As most of you will know, I am a fan of the unicorn. And I mean, LOOK AT THIS. This LED unicorn lamp comes with a battery already inside so you simply click it on and it glows a series of bright, pastel and neon colours. I've had it beside the tub when I'm taking a bath and it is the most relaxing thing in the world. When it glows red it is literally like being inside a giant unicorn womb. Wait, what?

 photo IMG_6198_zpst4apqbqr.jpg

Recently, I wrote about getting bra-fitted at Boux Avenue (you can read it here if you missed it!) and shared some of the styles I tried on, including this Isabella set. These were a present I kind of knew about already, because I'd had to try them on and I pointed out my favourite colours, but I was still over the moon to see little Boux Avenue boxes under the tree come Christmas Eve. The Isabella bra is a deep plunge with lace and diamante across the band, and has a gorgeous, sparkly matching thong.

 photo IMG_6224_zps7oac2yfb.jpg

Most people that know me, know that I struggle to relax and de-stress in certain situations. I'm pretty anxious about travelling alone, paperwork, and anything even remotely official or interview-y, although I'm fine in a social context. I've always had trouble sleeping properly and I have a sleep disorder called sleep paralysis, which tends to rear its ugly head when I'm really at my limits physically or emotionally. Colouring is something that I've wanted to try for ages as I've heard it helps so many people deal with similar issues, and this book is designed for people who have trouble sleeping. It's full of intricate, repetitive and detailed patterns that are relaxing and soothing for the eyes. You can pick up similar ones in WHSmith!

 photo IMG_6236_zpsamhdnlhd.jpg

I've tried Hitachi wands before, but this one from Lovehoney is a cut above. It has no batteries and is plugged in at the mains instead, which means it reaches an insane level of intensity. Wands are really versatile toys and a fantastic piece of kit for couples, as they can be used in loads of different ways. They feel great applied to bare skin or on top of fabric, and can be used to massage any area of the body, not just your junk. They can even be doubled up with butt plugs by placing them against the base of your plug to make the whole thing vibrate. To add yet another option, I was also given this g-spot stimulator attachment that you wrap around the head of the massager, so that you can have internal and external stimulation at the same time. Safe to say I feel spoilt rotten, in many different ways.

Christmas Morning Rituals

 photo 319914eb-b894-4331-ae8d-9dba28ac5951_zpsmujkv5lg.jpg photo IMG_6016_zpsmgg3kvko.jpg photo 1887ecd7-7eb1-4d12-88d4-094c276a5b3d_zps1gwhfda2.jpg photo fatface2_zpsnsfr7rbv.jpg photo 1cec0995-b668-400d-a28f-ee6883847340_zpsqldmhwpk.jpg

Jacquard dressing gown, star and moon print trousers, slippers (just seen) all FatFace 

I always spend Christmas morning the same way, every single year. The rituals that I wake up and perform, almost innately, instinctively, have been with me for as long as I can remember. Even though I'm nearly 25 and I've spent Christmas in lots of different places, some things always remain the same, and I can't imagine it ever being any different.

I get up very early. And I mean early. So early that it used to reduce my poor mother to tears. She tells me that one year I woke up so early that she had only been resting in bed for 30 seconds, having just finished wrapping all our presents and putting them under the tree, when I ran in declaring that Father Christmas had been, and that I could see lumps in my stocking. Because of this ridiculous enthusiasm (lack of self control, potato, po-tah-to) we made a tradition that I would go to my brother's room first, and we could open our stockings together as early as we liked. Because my bro and I share an apartment now, we still do this, and I sit at the foot of his bed like I did when I was four. When we're married we'll probably still do the same thing, and our unfortunate spouses will just have to remember to wear pyjamas.

I stay in my pyjamas all day. I've tried to get dressed up in "Christmas outfits" a few times, but it never lasts long. I always eat a chocolate breakfast and chocolate breakfasts do not mix with rose-gold sequin skirts or velvet dresses. I usually put some make-up on so that I look quasi-human in any photos, and then we gather together wherever my mother is, and open all our presents. I'll try and give her more than 30 seconds sleep this year.

This post contains pr samples/sponsorship, please see my disclaimer here 

How To Fall Back In Love With Blogging

 photo 034_zpsx1gzjxrq.jpg

When I was 21, I developed a sudden urge to document my life online. I never thought this is what I would end up doing with my days, but there you go. It just sort of happened. I fell in love with blogging out of the blue. Sometimes, just as inextricably, we fall out of love. It happens for so many different reasons, but it doesn't have to mean the end. The first step to getting back in the beautiful romantic blogging bubble, is to find out WHY you have fallen out of love.

Hating The Look Of Your Blog Or Template: Ahh, the old "sick of my blog" syndrome. It's easy to get bored with the look and feel of your blog when we're constantly changing as creators, and always exposed to new blogs with gorgeous designs. It can all get a bit overwhelming and we end up confused about what we want, only sure of what we DON'T want. If it's just a small tweak that you need, a new header or some graphics might do the trick. I'd recommend Jemma Dorkface or Ella Masters for that. If you have fallen out of love with your blog entirely, and don't think you can get the fire back, then do what I did, and start all over again. Make a list of blogs whose designs you really like, and then either check out who did their template, or keep your list in mind when hunting for your own. Pipdig and Minty Fox are both excellent for designs and will help you along the way if you have any questions or worries about installing.

Unhappy With Your Content: Sometimes we don't so much fall out of love with blogging, but with our subject matter. It's hard to keep a beauty blog going if you've lost your interest in make-up, or maintain daily food posts when you're turning into a peanut butter on toast kind of person. It's good to remember that you're under no obligation to be the blogger you were yesterday, if I may bastardise a lovely truism. Consistency is great and all, but it's worth nothing if you don't like your own blog. As soon as I gave myself permission to write about things I'm SUPER interested in just for the sake of writing it (namely, sex) my passion for blogging came back overnight. Think of new topics you would really love to explore on your blog, just for you, and even if you add them in slowly amongst sponsored posts/things that bring you more views, you will feel more excited to create. For more tips on creating content you love, check out this post and this post.

Blog Envy Or Comparing Yourself To Others: This is a killer. It's not something that can be wholly avoided if you wish to read blogs and take part in the community, but you can limit your exposure to the ones that make you feel like pants. When really trying to create, try to take a little break from consuming even your most beloved blogs. You can come back to admiring other people's work once you have done your own. It is a cliche, but you must never compare your Chapter 1 to someone else's Chapter 20.

Exhausted With The Community/Blogging Drama: If you are active on Twitter, then no doubt you come across a feud or drama on your timeline once in a while, or you might have gotten caught up in one yourself (if a friend is involved it can be hard to just let it go). Sometimes it doesn't have to be full-blown drama that gets you down, it could be anything; the promotional aspect of blogging gets to me, as does the expectation that bloggers have limitless time to interact. Most of us don't have time to do those things and live a full life, so cut yourself some slack. Unfollow or mute the accounts that you need to. Try creating Twitter lists of your favourite accounts and scrolling that feed instead of your main one, and you'll miss most of the bullshit. Give yourself the space to create, away from the ups and downs of human relationship, and you will amaze yourself.

Unicorn Wishlist/Gift Guide

 photo 006_zpsg4mc97kr.jpg

Pastel hair dye, Bleach London at Boots // Rainbow Fun, LUSH // Unicorn iPhone 6 case, SkinnyDip London // Slippers, Topshop // Jewel Collection jelly beans, Jelly Belly // Socks, New Look // Pastel Notebooks, Moleskine //

We all love unicorns. I remember taking a quiz on Buzzfeed a while back that was supposed to tell you what magical creature you were. I think the options included mermaid, vampire, unicorn, ghost, fairy, and a few other things. I came out as a unicorn (kind, aloof, gentle) with a side of mermaid (fond of luring men to their watery deaths for the lols) and was quite chuffed with that mix. I have a few undeniable vampiric traits, but let's not talk about those. This post is about what to get a girl who loves unicorns, or who is one, only in disguise. If you are truly lost, I'd start at LUSH and go from there.

Size Matters: Getting Bra-Fitted At Boux Avenue

 photo 015edited_zpsf7iexfjt.jpg photo 030edited_zpshppvgskt.jpg

Before I ever had a bra-fitting, I never knew quite what to expect. I'd heard women tell all kinds of different stories, some who said it was life-changing and gave them a huge boost in body confidence, and others who couldn't forget the horror fast enough. Some friends had such horrible experiences with nasty sales assistants making fun of their bodies or humiliating them that they left in tears. Others were showered in compliments and amazing service and left feeling like goddesses. I've come to believe that getting your boobs measured is a lot like going to the hairdresser; brand means nothing, and it just depends on what member of staff you get.

For my most recent fitting I went to the Cardiff branch of Boux Avenue. I hadn't meant to go in for a fitting, and was just hovering around admiring things when the manager came over and asked if I needed help. I realised I had no idea what size I was any more, and told her as much. I walked in wearing a 32C, but when I took my jacket off so she could see my shape, she told me I'd got it all wrong, and was definitely no bigger than a 30 or even a 28, and that I needed a bigger cup. Less back, more rack.

As I was wearing a dress, an assistant asked me my trouser size and kindly picked me up some pyjama bottoms to change into for my fitting. I was left to change and told to keep my bra on. When she came back she took two measurements; the circumference of my back whilst taking a deep breath, and another when I let all the air out. She took a good look at my chest, then asked what cup size I was currently wearing, and brought two Isabella bras to try on, in a D and a DD. What a lot of women still don't know is that cup size is all about proportion, not mass. Cup size increases as the back size increases, so the cup in a 32D will be bigger than that in a 30D. If you were wearing a 32C, as I was, but you needed a tighter back and for the cup to stay the same, the size you would try would be a 30D. One thing I had gotten right was the style of bra I was wearing. I've always gone for plunge bras to create cleavage and make my shape look great under lycra-mix t-shirts, which I wear almost every day. I'm also drawn to longline bras and bralets (like this Emily set above) when I fancy something more romantic.

The whole thing took about ten minutes, and my tits look immeasurably better now. I left wearing a 30DD (A DOUBLE D, PEOPLE) and I plan on showing you a few of the sets I got in later posts, which is probably the closest I'll ever come to being a VS Angel. Sob.

The Cassell Family Christmas Tree

 photo 088_zpsy0lkgzbr.jpg photo 072_zpsvz7eewem.jpg photo 084_zpsktjcpiub.jpg photo 114_zpswl3fqphv.jpg

My Mum has always been amazing with Christmas trees. When my brother and I were really little, I remember her sending us upstairs to wait while she put up the tree. We used to play with our toys impatiently and ask each other if we thought she might be finished yet. She brought the whole thing together flawlessly and quietly, as if by magic. When she called to us that she was done we would run downstairs and come to an awestruck stand-still in the doorway. As we grew up, we began helping her decorate each year, but I am glad I had those times as a grubby-fingered child when it was done by unseen magic. 

My brother and I are grown now, and every year we have our own tree to decorate. We've inherited some pretty gorgeous ornaments (some of them as old as I am, or older) as well as adding in new magical decorations (mostly from Paperchase or John Lewis) with our own stories behind them. Our tree is always slightly smaller than hers, to fit our smaller home, and it feels like a little offshoot, sprig, or baby to her mummy tree. We try and stick to a rough theme or outline; one year it will be metallic and glacial, and the next it will be a woodland with little foxes and hedgehogs. This year we went for a delicate yet opulent look, with rich jewel tones, velvet, and glass. What do you think?

Goth Tsum Tsums

 photo 6dd11187-f1dd-489b-ad21-394e0db96628_zps1vkgl6bp.jpg

I am super specific about the Tsum Tsums I buy. I know it's supposed to be a pile-them-all-in-together kind of thing, but to me, they have to have stand alone quality. I held out from buying one for so long that I only feel vindicated getting characters that I'm properly obsessed with or that have a real sentimental meaning for me. The first one I got was Jack Skellington; adequately goth, and my BFF got his mate, Sally, so it was perfect. For a while he was all by himself, but then the other day I went in search of little Sadness from Inside Out. Sadness was a character I fell in love with almost instantly while on a really fun, romantic trip to the cinema that I'd like to remember.

I have plans to buy more (namely Zero, Elsa, Bambi, and Ariel) but I kind of like just having my two goth Tsum Tsums sitting on my dressing table together. I like to imagine they are conspiring about very dark, miserable things, and becoming the best of friends.

Christmas Gift Guide For The Kinky Girl In Your Life

Some people are hard to buy for. I am not one of those people. I have so many hobbies and make my wants so known to the people around me that I rarely end up with a present I dislike. I never grew out of that childhood habit of running up to things I like in a shop and making puppy dog eyes at whoever is with me, even though I'm 24 and have my own money.

That being said, getting a sexy present for any girlfriend, lover, or wife can be difficult if you don't know where to look, but most especially if her tastes are quite unusual or specific. I adore receiving presents that encourage my kinky side, because it shows the giver has really thought about who I am on an intimate level, and that's very impressive.  So, I'm gonna help you out with a gift guide for the fetishy female, for those of you who don't know where to start. My picks range from £5 to £280 (with a good few reasonable £30-£50 pressies in there) so there's something for everyone. Even a girl who wants to be a unicorn.

 photo sextoy_zpsgvuu2kpa.png

Recycled fur rabbit mask, Coco de Mer // Unicorn tail butt plug, AhaLife // "I fucking adore you" greetings card, Coco de Mer // Agent Provocateur Eau de Toilette, Agent Provocateur // Linen bondage rope, Coco de Mer // Pearl rabbit vibrator, Ann Summers // Rose gold clit and nipple clamps, Ann Summers // Rose gold bullet vibrator, Coco de Mer //

Why Getting A Better Camera Won't Make You Happier With Your Blog

 photo 9181e2f1-6d92-439f-8b27-2515f6f83043_zpsq0jqwcvg.jpg

A couple of months ago, I was at an event for People Tree and a fashion photographer said something to me that stuck, and changed the way I think about blogging. He said that getting a beautiful camera will always show you what an ugly photographer you are. It sounds harsh, but what he went on to explain was that good equipment will always highlight where your skills can be improved.

When I started blogging, I had nothing that would help make blogging easier. I lived in a boring little town, in a dark little house, and created my posts using moments of snatched cafe WiFi and a compact camera. Over the years my situation has changed and I've gathered the tools around me that should make blogging simple. Am I better satisfied with my work now then I was then? No, I am not. Back then I had to work ten times harder to publish a post, but my passion, obscurity, and complete lack of goals meant I was always happy with what I produced.

As resources increase, our excuses for "failure" become less and less obvious to us. Not having the best camera ceases to be a good excuse for unsatisfying photography when we have a new Olympus Pen sitting on the table. That app everyone uses to get perfect selfies? Well, downloading it takes that excuse away as well. As you acquire more and more tools to create, eventually you run out of excuses and are faced with a painful, existentialist question: Perhaps I am not capable? Perhaps I am simply, not talented or skilled enough to produce the work I have in my head? This is the question we are all running away from, but if we focus our energy on gathering the THINGS we think we need, instead of honing the skills that are really essential, that sense of being "not good enough" will only grow. 

It reminds me of Alain de Botton's thoughts on status anxiety; we develop depressive thought patterns and anxieties as a result of not fulfilling what we see to be our potential, or making the most of all the privileges we know we have (the expensive camera, the spare time, the extra cash, the beautiful photo opportunity). We experience guilt and self-doubt as a result, constantly dissatisfied with our efforts because we believe that someone with all our advantages should be doing so much better. The thing about status anxiety, is that it only increases as our circumstances improve.

I see a lot of bloggers going through this, and either obsessing over the perfect equipment, or feeling guilty for not producing what they wanted once they have it. I go through it with every post I write. But as with all things, awareness will take the edge off. We can't magic ourselves into feeling happy with our blogs, but we can learn to recognise what will really change them for the better. Most of the time, we already possess it.

Princesses of Instagram

 photo 042_zpsncv2segv.jpg

Fairytales are big on Instagram. Whether it's Disney, Grimms, the latest tsum tsums or Funkos, I like looking for people running otherworldly, fantastical, or imaginative accounts. Some of the coolest peeps I follow are small art/kink accounts that are fairytale-influenced. It's taken me ages to find a group of people to follow whose pictures always inspire me to be more creative on Instagram and not just use it to share my breakfast. Here are a few I think you'll like.

Sugarpea - I love everything Heather does so I'm probably biased, but I think she has the coolest Disney/cute stuff/fairytale/Funko themed account around. I love how she throws in pictures of her tsum tsum collection with some really goth stuff as well, it satisfies the 90's kid in me.

Megan McMinn - This is obvious, but still. If you aren't aware of Megan's account and you like Disney, cosplay, princessy things, weddings, baking, or anything in that general ballpark, you will LOVE Briar Rose and all her adorable work.

Apollonia Saintclair - This incredible NSFW art account features ink drawings depicting imaginative, surreal and disturbing sexual fantasies. Some of my favourite drawings are about The Minotaur (the beast that roamed The Labyrinth in one of my favourite Classical myths). Go here if you want something seriously refreshing when you get saturated with rose gold homeware!

Lillipore - This account reminds me of a modern Little Red Riding Hood. It's sexy, bold, mildly kinky, and her aesthetic is tight as fuck. And she takes a fab mirror-selfie.

Natacha Birds - I kind of want Natacha's life. The stunning designer/blogger/artist lives in Paris with her two sons and some gorgeous pets. Her work is always immaculately magical, and she could make any place on earth look like a palace; full of intricate details and childlike wonder. I don't think anyone could NOT like her account.

First Snow

 photo 047edited_zpsfibu5sgu.jpg

You know that kind of skin you see in period dramas where a heroine in a corset (usually at a masked ball or hovering around a piano) has sparkling shoulders? Well it's hard to get that in real life. It's even a kind of silly thing to admit to wanting in real life. How do you go up to a sales assistant like, hey, I'm looking for something to give me that glittery-shoulders look off Downton Abbey, fam. The only place I would even consider saying something so strange is Lush. I have a feeling they would understand. That's not how I got their new winter release, First Snow, by the way, but that is how I would describe it. You dust it on after moisturising your skin (I like to use LUSH's Strawberry Feels massage bar beforehand, which mixes so well with the citrus scent of the powder and leaves you smelling like a strawberry cheesecake) and it'll absorb the excess oil, leaving you dry, smooth, and sparkling.

Fairytale Nightwear Wishlist

 photo fairytale nightwear collage_zpsmkkohl8j.png

Eye mask, Debenhams; Gown, Myla; Monster booties, New Look; Beauty and the Beast pyjamas, Topshop; Rose twinkle lights, New Look; Ariel Socks, Topshop.

Fairytale-themed nightwear is something that is super-duper easy to find these days. Whether we want to go to bed referencing our favourite Disney Princess, or feeling as if we actually ARE one, there's loads of pretty stuff available, both on the high street and from luxury brands. Topshop is always a good place to scout out cartoon pyjamas, as is Primark (obviously) but if you want something more decadent, like this gorgeous Cinderella dressing gown from Myla, but without the hefty price tag, check out Ann Summers, M&S, or H&M. They all have stunning nighties and gowns this winter. To complete the experience, don't forget to work some magic in your room with a garden of rose fairy lights (minus the thorns, obvs).

Black Friday OOTD with Boohoo

dress and boots, both boohoo // kimono, topshop (from years ago)

Happy Black Friday, everyone! Is that a thing? I don't think that's a thing. Black Friday isn't something you celebrate...more like, endure, or ignore completely, depending on your preference. I remember last year, people texted me to ask if I was okay, and warn me not to go outside, like it was the zombie apocalypse. It seems fitting to dress up all in black (not that I wear very many other colours anyways...) to mark this occasion, It's like the death of our dignity or something. Not that I'm at all bashing a good bargain hunt. I'll probably go in search of new lingerie and bodycon dresses after finding this gem from Boohoo. It's the tightest thing I own and I've always found tight-fitting clothes strangely comforting. Now I want a whole wardrobe of Morticia dresses.

This post contains pr samples/sponsorship, please see my disclaimer here 

Witch Cake

 photo ffcf17b7-b7c1-4973-afd1-876d8de9af42_zpsr9kyba9v.jpg
 photo 6e8dc842-229b-427b-9474-f9bd770290d6_zpsmp1udila.jpg

A witch cake is a bizarre concoction that was made during the Salem witch trials. They would take the piss of a young woman thought to be a witch, and bake a cake out of it. Her fate was decided by how the cake turned out, and by how it tasted.

Witch Cake will be an alternative lifestyle blog. I say "alternative" (even though the word is loaded with ambiguous and sometimes cringey connotations) because I want to give myself license to write about topics that aren't usually thrown in among make-up reviews, but rather sectioned off into their own dark corner of the internet. I'm going to write about the fashion I really wear and adore. I'm going to strive to be cruelty-free, and I'm sure I'm going to fuck up along the way. I'm going to write about kinks and sex and fantasy, because those things are a huge part of my lifestyle. I am going to require you all to tolerate my complexity and my incoherence, because I cannot fit into a niche. I will never be a "beauty blogger", or a "fashion blogger", or a "sex blogger". If I have any niche, it is fantasy. It is fairytale. That is what I look for in my daily life, and where I feel most inspired. I want to use Witch Cake to see how a fairytale heroine might live if she had my flesh and my life. I see parallels with fairytales everywhere, and references to archetypes in the most mundane of places (even in Primark, or on my Twitter feed) and I want to show them to you.

There's no need to say goodbye to The Persephone Complex. Most of my archive is still here, and although I have a new name, in a way I feel like all I'm doing is getting closer to what my blog was always meant to be. There are still loads of changes to make and tweaks to be done, nothing is perfect yet. I don't know how it will turn out, or how it will taste, or what it will decide for me. I like thinking about how random it all is, and in that sense, my new name is perfect. We are all just taking bites, and cheating fate.

Cute Halloween Wallpapers For Your iPhone

We take Halloween real serious 'round here. For a lot of people it might mean dressing up and going out for a night, but for me, Halloween is a lifestyle. It feels like the only time of year when other people get what I'm on about. I like to spread the spooky vibes as thickly as I can over all corners of my life, including my phone. Here's a few of the cutest and most original wallpapers I found this year to spookify your device (I love the sexy little vampire teeth *squeal*). All these wallpapers are available on Pinterest, and I've left the links for you below!

Treat Yo' Self (Another LUSH Haul)

lush haul

Okay, so, I buy far too much stuff in LUSH. I just can't fucking help myself, okay? I really can't. I've never regretted any amount of money I've spent in LUSH though, as to me, bath-time is practically sacred. I'd rather spend a fiver on a bath bomb than on a cinema ticket, because there's honestly a better chance of the bath bomb keeping me entertained.

Some of these products I got in my goodie bag from LUSH Cardiff's last event, and a few I bought for myself just because. Let's start with the shower gel. Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair isn't the kind of smell I would normally go for, but now that I've used it, I'm a big fan. It has guava and lavender in a blood red, sparkly goop that makes me feel like I'm in a horror movie shower (that's a good thing, by the way). The little hand treatment and the Strawberry Feels massage bar are still yet to be tested, but I do know they are making my house smell fantastic. I adored both Milky Bath and The Experimenter (so darn colourful) and will almost definitely be repurchasing the latter due its amazing smell. I can only describe it as like a sexy church kind of smell? Like incense and old books mixed with flowers and vanilla. And best for last, the Cup 'O Coffee exfoliating mask. If you have dry skin and/or pores that get easily clogged, this stuff is a legit godsend.

There will no doubt be another post like this real soon, as all the Halloween and Christmas products have just dropped, and I am all about that life.

Cutie Pantz

There's never much to write about art - which is a funny thing for me to say, considering I used to make a living exclusively by writing about art. I suppose what I mean, is that there is nothing to say about my own. If art is the beginning of a conversation, then whatever I do must be the end of one. It is a physical manifestation of words I whisper only to the gods, to an empty house, or to a dead telephone line. I only ever make pages for dead things. It's a scrapbook of eulogies for what I never said out loud. A kind of counter-necromancy, just showering glitter over fresh graves.

Zandra Rhodes X People Tree Launch // Girl Power: Roses, Lipsticks and Bows

There are times when I simply cannot believe my luck as a blogger. I've been fortunate enough that even though my blog is quite small and obscure in comparison to some, it has opened some wondrous doors for me, and taken me places that a teenage Holly would never have believed she could go.

Recently I was invited to attend the press launch for Dame Zandra Rhodes's S/S16 collection for People Tree, titled Girl Power: Roses, Lipsticks and Bows. It was held in Dame Zandra's own penthouse overlooking The Shard; exactly the kind of wonderland you would imagine, full of colour, fabric, Mexican artwork and palm trees. Basically my dream home, with a few extra awesome things I hadn't even thought of. I could have spent the whole night just photographing her stuff, but there was so much to see and do and so many creative people to meet that I only had time to get a few shots. 

The evening kicked off with a talk from Lucy Siegle, the author of To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? and regular writer for the Observer and Guardian. She spoke of her love for People Tree, the importance of what they do as a brand, their uniqueness within the fashion industry, and the life-changing experiences she had in Bangladesh with Dame Zandra and Safia Minney (People Tree's inspirational founder and CEO). After that we heard from both Minney and Rhodes on the design, production, and aesthetics of the new collection, as well as Minney's new book Slow Fashion. The beautiful Rebecca Pearson, model and ambassador for People Tree, was also there to represent the brand.

After listening to everyone's incredible stories about the origins of the collection, we were free to mingle and go and feel the clothes for ourselves. I helped myself to some (a lot) of Dame Zandra's wine and bumped into Don Carlo, photographer for Glass Magazine (who teased me for having a Canon but reassured me I looked like a true professional) and went to give Safia a huge hug and thank her for such an amazing night/starting one of my favourite brands. She was even lovelier in person than I had hoped, and I came away from the whole evening feeling so unbelievably privileged to work in the industry that I do, and totally motivated to making ever more ethical, conscious fashion and lifestyle choices. That night felt like more than just a press event - the People Tree team is more like a little family than anything else - and I am so, so glad I got to be a part of it.

Aria Montgomery #FOTD


I've said it before, but autumn make-up is the bee's knees. In the summer I can barely be bothered to wear a bit of concealer and some blush, for fear that it will all slowly slide down my face in a very expensive avalanche. I get ridiculously excited for Halloween-time and being able to dress how I really want to - which usually means all-black and red lips. One thing I'm particularly excited to try out this time around though, is Aria's make-up from Pretty Little Liars. Aria is my fave PLL character, and I wasn't even watching the show last year so this is my first real opportunity to try out her style! She has a pretty glamorous look and always wears false lashes (I used the Lashlorette ones by Esqido and my Naked 3 palette) as well as beautiful highlighter, rosy lipsticks, and some darn fancy kohl work. 


Pretty much everything I'm wearing to recreate her look is from NARS at House of Fraser. First, to get her perfect skin I used Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia (my new #1 foundation, without a doubt) with Deep Throat Blush dusted over the top. On my lips I used the famous Anna lipstick from the NARS Audacious range. Anna is unsurprisingly a really beautiful shade, the kind of understated dusty-pink colour that I always compliment on other people but never think of getting for myself! I think shades like this are going to be huge for autumn - at least, they will be for me. I might just give up my Ruby Woo for something more Rosewood (Wink wink, see what I did there? I'm hilarious). Also, as a final thought, all the brands I used for this post are cruelty-free, so happy bunnies all round.

All make-up NARS at House Of Fraser; rose gold bracelets, H&MThis post contains pr samples/sponsorship, please see my disclaimer here 


LUSH Oxford Street Comes To Cardiff

There are only a few people I know who don't like LUSH, and to be honest, I don't like any of them very much. The company is quite close to my heart, and I'd say there's a sort of "love me, love my LUSH" unspoken rule in my head now. Until a couple of days ago I had never actually been to one of their blogger events, so I didn't know what to expect from the Cardiff launch of their #SummerIsHere Oxford Street range (although I was familiar with the products, as I wrote about some for this post), but I knew I wouldn't be leaving my wallet at home.

I went there straight from the gym, teaming up with Sophie to nosh down a sushi dinner at Mt. Fuji beforehand (my fave place to get vegan sushi in Cardiff! Their tamaki tofu rolls are delicious). 

The staff were absolutely lovely and super helpful. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Laura, who remained our guide throughout the event and treated us to demos of all the new products, hand massages, and mini LUSH treatments. We were each handed an adorable little flute of sparkling strawberry soda, and offered fruit and biscuits from a cute little snack table. After a while we noticed that Charlotte from Red Lips, Real Life had arrived and ran over to say hello. We all had a great giggle over everything from the realities of what it's like being good at massages (everyone takes advantage and then falls asleep - not cool, dudes) to unfamiliar-train-journey anxiety. 

LUSH is like Wonderland for a mermaid like me, who spends whole evenings soaking in the bath, dreaming of a home she can't remember. I want literally everything that sparkles and softens the water, but I limited myself to picking up a few absolutely necessary (cough) items, which I'll show you in yet another haul post before too long! You must be getting sick of them, but I'm afraid you're going to have to lump it - I was given a super generous goodie bag to take home as well, so my bathroom is overflowing with stuff right now, and a girl's gotta blog what a girl's gotta blog.