Sophie's Choice

My Bleach London hair story

Anyone who knows me, will know that I have always been very experimental with my hair. I have had many hair high and lows. Recently I have been going through some sort of mid-life hair crisis of not knowing how I wanted my hair to be.

I’ve had red hair, pink hair, yellow (not on purpose), black, ginger, blonde (you get it right?).

For about 2 years I have had the same hair colour and cut, so I thought it was time to do something a bit different. Over the past month I have discovered the brand ‘Bleach London’, generally their products are decent and reasonably priced. Whenever I am looking through their products, I always coo over their non-permanent hair dyes (they range from orange to blue), questioning whether I am quirky enough to pull it off. About a week ago I decided to have a quiet word with myself and give it ago. So I purchased;

Bleach London – Total Bleach
Bleach London – White Toner
Bleach London – Violet Skies

and this was the result

Not bad ey? If you are thinking of using any of their non-permanent hair dye, I would really recommend bleaching and toning your hair first, especially if it’s quite dark else the colour just won’t attach to your hair. What I liked about Violet Skies is first that the dye itself if a creamy thick liquid which makes the dye pretty easy to apply and means it doesn’t run. Also, it’s a 150ml bottle priced at £5 and can be used multiple times so touch ups isn’t expensive. It says on the bottle to apply onto wet hair for 15 minutes, as I never listen to any instructions especially those written on a bottle of hair dye, I applied onto dry hair for half an hour. (everything turned out alright in the end)

I have mid length hair and I didn’t use the whole bottle, coverage wasn’t the best, it didn’t like to attach too strongly to my roots, but enough to not look like a botched job. I was pretty happy.

The dye is advertised as a cream that fades with 2-10 washes, which is a bonus for me, as I can change my hair colour again soon. And the fade leads to quite a nice ashy-silvery colour 

 

Book Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Before I start to go into detail about Alissa Nutting’s debut novel, this has to be said. This novel is not for the shy reader, if you are somewhat of a sexual prude and cringe and the thought of even the word “vagina” being read then do not read this book!

Tampa is the story of Celeste Price an 8th grade high school English Teacher in Tampa. Celeste on the surface has it all, she is devastatingly attractive,  smart, wealthy and has a doting cop husband. But Celeste has a deep dark secret, she has a painfully strong sexual desire for 14 year old boys. Throughout the novel Celeste ruthlessly manipulates several of her 14 year old boy students into bed. Celeste is obsessed with having sex with these boys, when she’s not having sex with them in a classroom or car, she’s masturbating on her school desk about having sex with 14 year old boys. She will do anything to appease her sexual needs. It consumes her and she doesn’t care.

The main issue that Tampa explores is the current gender view on sexual relationships. Loosely inspired by Nutting’s fellow high school pupil Debra Lafave who was convicted of having sex with 14 year old boys, and famously dodged serving any prison time as she was labelled “too pretty for prison”.

Tampa is written from the perspective of Celeste, so the reader gets a graphic, perverted and sociopathic insight into her attitude and behaviour, and believe me she is nothing less than a sociopath. Whilst reading this book, as a reader you will experience outrage that society and the law would allow Celeste (and Lafave) to not serve any prison time due to her appearance.

Tampa reminds us of  the issue that society still makes the assumption and generalisation that women are the passive aggressive gender, and males are the aggressors. Society still finds it hard to imagine a woman sexually abusing a male, granted it doesn’t happen a lot, but it STILL happens.

If a 14 year old girl was sexually abused by a male teacher, he would be described as a raping pedophile that sickeningly manipulates a passive victim with no sexuality of her own being used. However if we flip this around like in Tampa, questions and doubts are raised – “Is this not the perfect teen male fantasy?”,  “He must of wanted in some sort of way?”. The media tends to blanket over the mental and emotional manipulation and focusing on the physical abuse instead.

I have to admit that the language and the graphical content left me uncomfortable throughout the novel and I constantly found myself thinking “what the actual fuck am I reading? Am I sociopath for even reading this?”, but I personally feel that this was Nutting’s intention, to make you fully realise Celeste’s animalistic and disgusting appetite for prepubescent 14 year old boys. Celeste needs to be a monster and a sexual predator to show that it is possible for women to be monsters and that they go unfairly unpunished due to just being a female.

I read quite a few reviews on this book before I wrote this, and I noticed that a lot of people were comparing it to that of Lolita. I don’t think these books can even be closely compared as they explore completely different views on society. In Lolita you feel slight sympathy to Humbert as he loved Lolita. I can guarantee that you will feel no sympathy towards Celeste as she is no way in this for love, she is purely driven by the thought of sex. This is not a novel about love or romance, Nutting makes no attempt to convince the reader that Celeste is in this for an emotional reward, it is just sex with 14 year old boys.

It’s not the greatest of novels but i’ll give Nutting credit, it is a very brave first novel and explores issues that haven’t been fully addressed. Also, the book is sickeningly funny in a ridiculous crude way.

P.s. Maybe purchase as an e-book as the front cover of the book just reminds everyone of a vagina and I found it quite hard to cover with my hands on the train to work.

 

Black Mass

Scott Coopers Black Mass has been heavily labelled as Johnny Depp’s big comeback, although I don’t think he went that far away as everyone is making out. A career as productive as Depp’s he is bound to have some dry spells (The Lone Ranger) . However, in Black Mass, Depp successfully carries this big, brash horribly watchable true-life crime drama which has valid insights into the political roots of 1970’s Boston gangsterism.

Depp plays Irish-American Boston wise guy James “Whitey” Bulger, leader of The Winter Hill Gang who’s murderous, racketeering and other criminal activities heyday was in the late 1970’s. With his slicked back hair and lizard blue eyes, Depp’s Bulger is a fully paid up sociopath.

Politically supported by his Massachusetts State Senator brother, Billy Bulger, is played smugly by Benedict Cumberpatch who adopts the ‘cat-that-got-the-cream’ gleefully. Billy can only really be described as the political wing of Whitey’s organisation.

Conveniently, Whitey’s best friend is John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) who is an ambitious FBI agent who gives Whitey immunity of prosecution is exchange for valuable intel regarding the Italian Mob. But as murder, drugs and IRA weapon smuggling become a federal embarrassment, Whitey soon becomes more of a liability than an asset, his closeness to Connolly brings the Bureau into despair and  disrepute.

Edgerton steals the show for me, with his bullish bravado and walking that ever so thin line between police and criminality, when watching his performance you know what his fate will hold without having any prior knowledge to the real life outcome. You see his character transform from ambitious FBI federal agent to thugish, wife neglecting traitor.

Yet the talented females of the film such as Juno Temple, Dakota Johnson and Julianne Nicolson are completely sidelines by the boy’s own affairs which really didn’t sit right with me. I felt that it left little room for high calibre female input, disappointingly.

Depp is barely recognisable with his prosthetic nose, artificial receding hairline, replacement eyebrows, fake rotting teeth and a topcoat of sickly green make-up. All this artificial work felt unnecessary, perhaps it was to enhance the evilness of Whitey and his monstrous activities yet I found it more distracting, I kept wondering whether his nose was going to fall off in all his close-ups. Take Jack Nicolson in The Departed, his character was heavily influenced by Whitey Bulger, yet all he inherited was slicked back hair and a strong goatee.

In all fairness, Depp commits to the character very well and truthfully that you can envision how truly evil Whitey was, I felt no likability towards him. Compared to Tom Hardy’s portrayal of The Cray Twins in Legends, where I couldn’t help like and root for them. There is no good in sociopath Whitey Bulger.

All in all Scott Coopers has done a good job at portraying the true grittiness and criminal underbelly of Boston in the late 70’s and is heavily complimented by a colourful supporting ensemble from Kevin Bacon, Peter Saarsguard and Corey Stoll.

 

 

 

A skin boost – Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser (The Body Shop)

When it comes to my skin care I have always been simple, no seriously I have always used ‘Simple’ products. I have a strict skin care regime like most girls and the only time I stepped away from it, my face turned into that of a girl approaching puberty.

I can’t really complain about my skin complexion, it isn’t oily or scaly and I have never been spot prone. However I do suffer from very dull pale skin with very prominent heavy duty bags under my eyes that just don’t budge no matter how much sleep I have. Being told on a daily basis “Awwwwh you look tired Hun” was really starting, to well, tire me, so I went off on my mission to seek skin reincarnation.

I have never been one to shop in The Body Shop, but I decided to be all open minded and have a snoop. I was instantly attracted to their Vitamin C range which included the Glow Boosting Moisturiser, and after the sales assistant schmoozed around me and told me it was full of loads of lovely nice antioxidants I handed over £16 (stay with me)

TBS product description;

Say goodbye to grumpy, dull, fatigued looking skin with our Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser. This gel cream moisturiser helps:

  • Boost glow: Skin is clarified, revealing your natural healthy-looking glow

  • Energise: Fresh, lightweight formula fights signs of fatigue, with an invigorating fragrance

  • Hydrate: Infuses skin with juicy moisture

HALLELUJAH, LORD HAVE MERCY, MY SKIN IS ALIVE.

So this moisturiser is the actual shit, like the best I’ve ever had, and here is why

  1. Texture: it’s a lightweight gel that feels so cool and soothing when applied, and it absorbs fairly quickly
  2. Smell: It has this gorgeous citrus and orange smell, but the smell doesn’t linger once applied so it doesn’t feel like too much facial fragrance (cause that can dry the skin)
  3. Non irritating: Caused no breakouts, hurrah!
  4. Long lasting: I haven’t even had to consider buying a new pot yet
  5. Packaging: It’s pretty to look at
  6. Vitamin C: the key ingredient! It’s great at improving skin texture and tone and increases collagen productions.

After using this moisturiser for several months I have definitely noticed a difference, and not in the way that if I stare at my face long enough I just convince myself it’s worked. My skin feels brighter and it has really helped lift those ugly bags from under my eyes. I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone who needs some more sparkle in their skin.

Perfect Preparations – M.A.C PREP + PRIME FIX +

Prepping and priming has become one of the most important parts of the make up world now. It’s all well and good having a decent make up face, but as we’re working longer hours and in more demanding jobs, it’s pretty vital that this makeup actually stays on our face for at least 12 hours. Yes there are all these foundations and lipsticks that claim that last 6000 days, but realistically (and in my experience) it never usually stays lasts longer than 7 hours without looking in the mirror and thinking “I swear I put make up on this morning, wtf has it gone??”.

I’ve always used a primer, but never really considered a finishing spray before. After my very good friend mentioned how good this M.A.C product was I thought OK, lets try it.

M.A.C. describes this product as “a lightweight, mineral rich finishing mist that refreshes the skin and finished make up. Helps create an even surface for a smooth application surface”. Basically it’s advertised as an alcohol free spray that contains nice healthy stuff that can be used pre/post (or both) make up application. I use this product as a finishing spray as I already use a pretty decent illuminating primer. Also what makes this product even more amazing is that it can be used as a “touch up”, so relieves the hassle of touch ups and reapplication.

So the product is;

  • Alcohol free (wahoo)
  • suitable for any skin type
  • contains no irritating ingredients
  • contains antioxidants (ooo)

So does it work?

Oh yeah babeh. It gives a lovely dewy finish to make up, it really helps to keep your shit together (not life unfortunately, just the make up), and it prolongs the make up daily life span. It hasn’t caused me any break-outs and I think that is due to it containing a lot of fancy nice stuff (green and chamomile tea) and it’s packaged nicely (like pretty much all  M.A.C products). I would absolutely recommend this product for anyone, it lasts a decent amount of time as only a few sprays are needed for a glowing dewy finish.

I’m just living for some new foundations – Lancome Teint Idole ULTRA 24 hour foundation

Trying to find a long lasting foundation that doesn’t feel like heavy duty is something of a holy grail in the foundation world. I work in a job that isn’t office based and I spend a lot of the time outside, interacting with the public facing all the wonders of the British weather so a durable foundation has been a mission for me to find. I had recently been using Lancome Teint Miracle, which was a beautiful foundation that really matched my skin complexion but I was still searching for something that just stayed put a bit longer than an unwanted one night stand.

So, I decided to broaden my Lancome horizon and try Lancome Teint Idole ULTRA 24 hour foundation. It advertises to be

  • Full coverage
  • comfortable
  • blendable texture
  • velvet matte
  • lasts 24 hour

My verdict – in short, does what it says on the tin but not fitting for what I want in an everyday foundation

Pricing/packaging/availability

This foundation is reasonably priced at £29.50 for a high end foundation. It’s available at pretty much every single high street store that sells cosmetics, so it is easily available. It comes in nice packaging, contained in a nice, classy frosted glass pump, the project is aesthetically pleasing.

Finish & Coverage

A good factor of this foundation is only one pump is required for full face coverage and it does spread evenly. However the foundation is completely matte, there is no dewiness to this foundation and it does feel like you’re wearing a “face full of make up”. I wouldn’t recommend this foundation if you have dry skin, as it could dull your skin down even more. However this foundation is good if you have a lot of blemishes and an uneven complexion due to it’s thick consistency, it has a strong coverage. For me personally, I prefer my daily foundation to have a skin like finish. This foundation is more suited for parties and special occasions when you can’t be bothered having to touch up and you’re 8 glasses of wine down and you can actually look back and photos and go “Oh wow, my face actually looks alright”. Cause it literally doesn’t budge.

Wear time

This foundation has an excellent wear time, I wouldn’t go as far as it’s 24 hours because, well, who wears foundation for 24 hours (if you do please go wash your face). But it does last a good 12 hours in my job, granted it doesn’t look as good as the first application but it’s still there on your face.

Shade

There are 28 shades for this foundation, which is pretty overwhelming, so it was a challenge finding the best shade to suit my skin complexion, and to be honest the colour I was recommended was still was too dark (my face is so white). I have to admit, the variation of shades wasn’t to complementing of the paler shades, and they all seemed too dark for me.

Overall

My overall thoughts on this foundation is that it is too heavy and thick for an everyday foundation, however it isn’t a bad product as it does exactly what is advertised. It’s long lasting, full coverage and does give you an even skin complexion. It is definitely suited for normal to oily skin, but I wouldn’t use it for dry skin due to it being matte. The only thing that really annoyed me was that it states it isn’t transferable, but it is (you should see the inside of my work hat =/). I’ve had to start mixing my moisturiser into the foundation just to ease the thickness of it. I think i’ll be going back to my Lancome Teint Miracle and continue my search for the durable long lasting foundation.

This is England ’90 Episode 2 – “Summer”

“We had a year of happiness”

Shane Meadows awarding winning drama continues with a skillful balance of light and dark.

Episode two opens again with the secret weapon that is Harvey (played by Michael Socha), with his laugh out loud comedy (“It’s a f**king bag inside a bag dude”) and his charming, charismatic presence that is difficult not to love. It could be said he is the new Woody, leading the new youth group on the convoy to a rave in a wood.

It’s the summer of love, rave culture is taking England by full storm and Meadows delivers sunshine and happiness. He shoots and scores for big bouncing laughs and is delivered perfectly with the support of Flip and Higgy (even though Joe Dempsies underplayed and quietly funny idiocy is far more effective than Perry Fitzpatrick’s more obvious antics).

However all this happiness feels sickeningly temporary, as viewers we are waiting for the inevitable turn and we are all pretty certain it is going to be in the form of “stuggling” Kelly. Chanel Cresswell gives a superb performance as Kelly. She was never a central character in the original film and previous series but it is evident that her character is the first to crack and will serve as a catalyst for the impending doom to face the clan. Kelly is stuggling with life with the cloud of her abusive father following her around. She tried to subside this struggle with a unhealthy dosage of drugs, alcohol and barely consenting sex with very questionable men. A massive praise to Chanel Cresswl who does a good job and portraying this difficult and uncomfortable material. We also see a surprisingly and emotional transition from Gadget who drops his dopey, hapless persona to a friend who tries to hard to reach Kelly but fails, this shows beautifully how Meadows gives his characters a new dimension.


It is evident there is a divide in the group. The youths (Kelly, Trev, Harvey, Gadget, Shaun) all seem lost and are struggling to find their place in the world. And the adults (Lol, Milky, Woody) all seems to play happy families by holding a family BBQ with under cooked chicken, ghetto blasters and arm wrestles. There some parts of that scene which I think were over played but on a whole portrayed what is seemingly a normal existence.

Shaun is the winner again for me in this episode, We can see that he is burying his feelings and is struggling to cope with his inability to manage his depression. There was a beautiful scene between Shaun and a 47 year old travelling hippy woman where he really opens up about the loss of his father and his difficulty in connecting with his Mum. It all feels so real that he truly is a lost teenager not knowing what path to take. And it is so easily relatable we’ve all had teenage angst so worse than others.

The descent into darkness is fast approaching, the happy nirvana bliss turns into something difficult to watch, with Kelly unable to handle herself, being coaxed into taking smack and subsequently being taking advantage of. The whole scene becomes uncomfortable to watch, Kelly’s pain and struggle is all too real – “Gadget, I’m a slag”. And this is all before Combo’s return which could replicate the result of a nuclear apocalypse( which we know is pending as he calls Lol expressing his concerns over where to live with his parole appoaching).

The only let down so far me is the portrayal of the aftermath of Combo’s vicious attack on Milky we have yet to see how this really effected him. But I’m sure there will be some sort of show down between the pair. “Summer” ends with an electrifying shot of Combo (played by Stephen Graham) looking out of his cell window awaiting his release.

Stephen Graham in This Is England '90

With a sneak peek into the next episode “Autumn” it is evident that the darkness has arrived and falling upon everyone like leaves to the ground. Can’t wait.