Film: Bridget Jones Baby

Bridget Jones Baby

Who doesn’t love a romantic comedy? Even when you enter the cinema full well knowing that said rom-com is going to be both a charming and chaotic nightmare. You would not expect anything less from Miss Jones.

Bridget Jones (played by Renee Zellweger), first stole our hearts with her relatable and ditzy ways back in 2001 in Bridget Jones Diary, a single woman in her early 30s searching for love in all the wrong places. The first movie beautifully playing out the yearning for the notorious bad boy (Daniel Cleaver, as played by Hugh Grant) versus the oh-so-conservative, Mr. Nice (Mark Darcy, as played by Colin Firth). During which time, the leading lady relentlessly strived towards being the epitome of feminine beauty and health, of course.

After we presumed a happy-ever-after upon the closing scenes of Bridget Jones Diary: The Edge of Reason of 2004, the emotionally-constipated Mark Darcy is no more, the engagement has been called off and he has married another woman. The callous cad!

We’ve skipped forward more than a decade with the belated Bridget Jones Baby, the teenagers, and adults of the noughties filled with wonderful nostalgia and optimism for Bridget as she celebrates her 43rd birthday. The diary is long gone (hello subtle Apple promotion of the iPad), Bridget is a ‘respected’ career woman, still single (WHAT? Yes, you heard it. Single!) and secretly yearning for a future of motherhood. The ‘normality’ she sees in her friends who surround her with busy family schedules is a perpetual reminder of where she should be in life, the heart of a nuclear family.

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On the verge of breaking point, she is tricked into a rambunctious trip to Bestival, meeting a somewhat narcissistic American (Patrick Dempsey as Jack Qwant, a multi-millionaire mogul – where on earth does she meet these men?!) for a night of no-strings-attached fun in an attempt to lessen her woes. This is shortly followed by an intoxicated rendezvous at a baptism after-party with a devilishly handsome (if I do say so myself) old flame (Hello again, Firth). With these fleeting and haphazardous intimate moments, the damage is done.

Obviously, there is a baby involved somewhere in all this madness, and the now pregnant Bridget must determine the father, having got herself in said pickle with some out-of-date vegan condoms (now there is a lesson to play responsibly, kids).

Going through the pregnancy the two men fight for her affection, doing so in a verging on patronising fashion, both desperate to be the father. Unlike the previous films, genuine heart touching moments are plentiful and you really do see the maturity and vulnerability of the characters throughout the film.

‘Sometimes you love a person because of all the reasons they’re not like you. Sometimes you love a person because they feel like home.’

Without risking spoilers, Bridget Jones Baby is a wonderful film in its own right and should be praised as the concluding chapter of the wonderful Miss. Jones life. It was not nearly as Mamma Mia as I presumed and was a touching reflection on the life of a modern day heroine/hot mess. If you are a fan, Bridget Jones Baby is definitely worth a watch.

Beauty: NYX Lip Cream Copenhagen

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I have found a new love in the form of lip creams. NYX, where have you been all my life?

The NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream collection features a wonderful variety of 19 shades, each quirkily named after a capital city (I think that is pretty cool myself).

My first adventure with the collection? Well, no other than the wonderful NYX Lip Cream Copenhagen.

Now, the soft matte lip cream is a tad confusing, it is not quite a lip gloss and not quite a lipstick. It is, in itself, a wonderful combination of velvet textured application, immensely pigmented and vivid colour, with a sensationally bold matte finish. At the end of the day, what is not to love?

Oh, and as for the colour of Copenhagen, it is to die for, almost like a burnt burgandy shade. Although it is very stand out – for all the right reasons may I add – it works in the daytime as well as the night, encouraging an array of complementary comments and questions. Yes, it really IS a fiver.

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However, this vivacious beauty product has a slight flaw when it comes to its lasting power, it isn’t amazing but it is in no way terrible. Considering the absolute steal when it comes to the price of the product, one can hardly complain. A few silky smooth applications throughout the day and this can be quickly overlooked.

Another wonder of this lip cream is that unlike many other similar products, it does not dry out your lips! How it can leave a pristine matte finish and hydrated lips is a tad baffling, it would seem that the lip cream gods and goddesses at NYX are certainly doing something right!

The NYX website is currently being revamped, but fear not, you can grab your own lip cream at Boots or ASOS.

Unfortunately, for now at least, this is as close to the city of Copenhagen as I am going to get. It would appear that my wanderlust will have to be satisfied with more NYX lip creams, but that is hardly a bad deal, is it?

Have you tried any of the NYX Lip Creams? Which shade is your favourite?

Stephanie xox

 

 

Technology: The Instagram Algorithm Change and the Importance of Hashtags

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In this digital age, it has become apparent that using social media is a societal norm nowadays, with people in the UK spending around 1 hour and 40 minutes online daily.

Saying this, when it comes to a select few social media platforms some users find themselves rather perplexed by the use of hashtags (#) and their ultimate purpose.

Hashtags are extremely important to attract engagement to your posts, building both your traffic and audience. It is imperative to utilise hashtags in your posts as part of your social media strategy.

Instagram are about to make some serious changes to their algorithm so the need for engagement on your posts is now more important than ever. With over 400 million users and a massive looming change due to occur, what tactical changes do you need to make to the way you post to Instagram?

The algorithm change will place precedence on posts that Instagram deem you to be most interested in, bumping them up your news feed. It is all centered around engagement and is causing many to worry.

This is similar to that of its parent-company Facebook, which cleverly analyses its users behavior and presents its users with a curated and specifically targeted experience, providing tailored content in which they are most interested in.

This targeted and tailored content has been proven to enhance user experience by driving further engagement. Hence, subsidiary Instagram will face the same looming changes to their current operation, wave goodbye to the traditional chronological ordering.

In simple terms, continue to engage and then engage some more, with other users. This way, you are far more likely to appear at the top of the non-linear feed when the algorithm updates come to surface. The order of content will inevitably be affected, but the relevance will be drastically improved.  Be savvy and remain relevant, and your blog, brand and marketing should not be affected.

Engagement on social media comes in many forms, be it liking other users posts, commenting on pictures you adore, mentioning your friends via tags or following other quirky and fun users. It is determined by how you interact with your followers and the audience you draw to your posts via carefully crafted use of hashtags (among other things).

In using hashtags, you will always encourage further engagement by directing potential users to your profile. Therefore, it is imperative that you utilise them, in order to expand and grow your audience, otherwise your followers will remain pretty stagnant when the change does occur.

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So, what hashtags do you use? What are the most popular? It is pretty easy to check this on social media platforms, just a quick type in the Instagram search box will reveal the numbers.

However, going for the obvious ones may actually hinder you, there is far too much competition and your posts may in fact be overlooked. Do note that on Instagram particularly, you are limited to a maximum of thirty hashtags per post.

You have to find the hashtags that work with your content and note them down as you go along. For example, if you are a blogger in the UK, #ukbloggers (around 60,000 hits) may be of great use to you. It is a little more niche than the generic and heavily-used #fblogger, #bbloggers and #lblogger tags (although I am guilty of using those myself, oops).

If you are really dedicated to your research, then take a look at followers of your own with similar interests and posts, and replicate their hashtags. Utilise the correct hashtags and you will soon see your following across a variety of social media platforms grow. By categorising your posts, you make them far easier to find and people will soon recognise you for those types of posts.

Take a peek at the AdNews guide by James Towers to surviving ‘Instageddon’. He states that quality and not quantity should take preference. In reducing the frequency and being vigilant of your posts when necessary (predicted to be particularly important to brands with the upcoming change) you will learn to quickly adapt, focusing on fantastic and relevant posts, remember some consistency will be key.

To sum things up, use hashtags cleverly, understand those most relevant to your niche, present them with content they will inevitable engage with, and you should remain successful and on top with the new ranking-based Instagram algorithm change, deserving to rank higher in Instagram feeds. It works for Facebook, let’s hope it does for Instagram also.

What do you think of the Instagram algorithm change? What is your favoured social media platform?

Stephanie xox

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Lifestyle: Life with a Pug Puppy

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As a kid, everyone wants a pet. Be it a hamster, cat, dog or reluctantly accepting the utterly shoddy compromise of a goldfish (we have all been there).

Growing up, I managed the hamster, I convinced my mother with the cats (shout out to Jachibo, Princess and Rogue) and I even got the goldfish (goodbye to my sickly fairground win).

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My years of begging did not work when it came to a dog though. Oh, and I begged relentlessly. However, only when I secured full freedom, as a fully-fledged adult and graduate, did I get my little pug puppy.

Rudy (known frequently as little bork – he borks, not barks) came bouncing into my life with a bump. Make that numerous bumps, he is a floppy little thing for something so sturdy looking.

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As he has settled these last few months I have convinced myself that he is half whippet (or half something). Pugs are hyper, whatever may be said about the breed being lazy, I object wholly. My little munchkin has boundless energy and he needs long walks each day.

Pugs require a lot of time, love and affection. For all intents and purposes, they are lap dogs, and very needy of those closest to them. As I type, Rudy is leaping all over me with his toys and will continue to do so for the rest of the evening. It’s kind of like having a toddler.

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On that note, be aware. They can be stroppy and manipulative little things, proving to be rather smart indeed. They will try and catch you out if you give them the slightest opportunity and you will give them it often, no doubt about it.

True manipulation is seen whenever food is in the vicinity. Pugs need good quality food. The main reason for this? Other than the fact that you love them unconditionally? Well, it is certainly not pretty or pleasant fact, but, they fart. A lot. It isn’t nice, but it is the truth.

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Therefore, good food is a must, it maintains their weight, keeps them healthy and ensures the result of their bowel movements remain ‘consistent’ and a little nicer to deal with. You will thank me for the heads up.

Be wary that pugs are also greedy. This little fella has ravenously gobbled through my cats food more than once now (much to the distress of my boyfriend, I find it all pretty hilarious). Rudy has a special affinity towards eating moss too. Maybe it is the pug version of kale, perhaps he is simply trying to remain trim.

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Aside from the minor annoyances (like eating through our PS4 and laptop wires), pugs are quite possibly the best breed of dog in existence and head tilts will forever remain the cutest thing ever.

If you dream of having your own snorting, snoring and snuggly friend, then remain cautious that they are a lot of effort. You get out exactly what you put in when you choose to love something right. For further pug information, have a look here.

What is your pet like? Have you ever considered getting a pug?

Stephanie xox

Beauty: VICE4 Palette, Urban Decay

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I fell in love with the VICE4 Eye Shadow Palette by Urban Decay  the moment I saw it, referencing my desperate need for it in a post before Christmas.

Well, my Christmas wishlist was well and truly satisfied, as thankfully, I am blessed with a wonderful boyfriend who (reluctantly he ensured to add) bought it for me and surprised me with it on Christmas day!

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The limited edition VICE4 Palette is just beautiful, with “20 addictively gorgeous, never-before-seen shades of iconic eyeshadow.” I have said it before, and I will say it again, I love the mix of neutral and vivid tones, offering demure daytime to perfect-to-party looks in a flash.

It is truly a wonderfully colourful and vibrant palette. Unlike some other Urban Decay palettes, VICE4 handily comes with a huge mirror, double-ended shadow and crease brush and coordinating bag (even the casing and packaging makes my heart bleed, it is just so beautiful).

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I have to admit, the shimmery greens (Grasshopper and Arctic) and orange (aptly named Flame) shades are my favourite, used alongside the flattering matte shade Framed. Although, with the variety of colours, the possibilities for different looks is endless. Check out some of mine here.

This is my favourite Urban Decay eyeshadow palette to date, even more so than the Naked ones. The variety of pigmented matte and shimmer shades just does it for me and they all blend together and remain on the face so perfectly.  I just need to get my eye make up application  down to a T!

What do you think of the VICE4 palette? Which Urban Decay palette is your favourite? 

Stephanie xox

 

Fashion: Powerpuff x Moschino launches S/S 2016 collection

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Every 90’s kid just screamed a little. Yes, Moschino (headed by Jeremy Scott) and The Powerpuff Girls (Cartoon Network) have collaborated as part of their spring/summer 2016 collection.

Moschino has successfully mixed high-end fashion with sugar, spice and everything nice. Not a hint of Chemical X in sight!

The Powerpuff Girls x Moschino collection launched in Los Angeles earlier this week featuring an array of adorably kick-ass clothing, leisure wear and accessories.

Emblazoned with images of cutesy Bubbles, sassy Blossom and boisterous Buttercup (everyone had a favourite), demonstrating pop-culture at its finest and igniting some serious nostalgia on the runway.

Some of the Powerpuff x Moschino collection is already available to shop on the Moschino website.

I am being truly optimistic in hoping I will get my hands on the green short dress. At £371, I would be so lucky.

Let’s face it, every 90’s girl and boy wanted to be a superhero after binge-watching this terrific trio and this collection is utterly fabulous.

What do you think of the Powerpuff x Moschino collaboration? What’s your favourite item in the collection?

Stephanie xox

 

Lifestyle: Christmas Wishlist ~ Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle

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I am actually down under for most of the festive season, so this list may seem a little redundant until I return from the land of Aus. I am actually hoping to pick a few of these up from duty free (hello lack of VAT).

Firstly, the Statement Black Spinel Pandora ring. I have actually fallen in love with this beautiful gemstone ring, circled with clear cubic zirconia. It is going to be a definite investment, a girl can never have too many rings (I say this already wearing four).

Now onto makeup, I fell in love with the limited edition VICE4 Eye Shadow Palette by Urban Decay as soon as I saw it, promising “20 addictively gorgeous, never-before-seen shades of iconic eyeshadow.” I love the mix of neutral and vivid tones, offering demure daytime to perfect-to-party looks in a flash. Unlike some other Urban Decay palettes, VICE4 handily comes with a huge mirror, double-ended shadow and crease brush and coordinating bag (even the casing makes my heart bleed).

Swinging to beautiful works of writing, Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet is a book I have been eyeing for a while now. I think he is a wonderful writer, I adore his short stories and poems of dreamy romanticism with a dash of eroticism thrown in. I have always been a bit of a sucker for tales of love and after reading many a page already, I just know I will get lost in his book.

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The Victoria’s Secret PINK Mock Neck Ultimate Deep Zip pullover in Black Orchid/Marl looks so ridiculously cosy. Everyone is optimistic about their January health plans and if (when) these fall through, at least I will be super snug. I love the deep zip, flattering slim fit and stretch fabric. Hey, it may even entice me to actively go outside.

Okay, so the velvet matte lipstick in Diva by Christian Louboutin, is a tad extortionate (okay, VERY extortionate), but isn’t is just beautiful?  This lipstick captures “the essence of the iconic red sole. Housed in a stunning metal bullet case threaded with a gold ribbon.” Diva offers a matte finish and contains “a complex of natural oils and seed butters enhance moisturisation for up to four hours.” It is a serious case of want, need, want.

What is on your Christmas wishlist? Are you doing anything special over the festive season?

 Stephanie xox

Nail Care: My First Experience With Acrylic Nails

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By 22, most girls are well accustomed to vigorous nail care routines. I am a bit useless with all that, I guess some things never change.

I love having pretty nails, but mine are so horrendously weak that as soon as I get some length to them, they snap. It is not a good time in the slightest.

After seeing my friend Anna get her nails done, the envy crept in. I had enough of being frustrated with trying to maintain my nails and had to get them done professionally, so I booked an appointment the next day.

I went to Amy Nails, in the Oxford town centre, enticed more so by an offer for acrylic nails for a very reasonable twenty pounds. She confirmed this would be the price (it wasn’t) and began to clip away.

My manicurist was a bit of a witch if I am honest, she didn’t talk much, tutted at me far too often (I clumsily smudged my nails at one point, oops) and was very efficient but miserable. At least she got the job done I guess.

I opted for an OPI varnish, which I found to be very similar (almost identical) to my favourite nail varnish, Arabian of the Aquarium Collection by Barry M.

All dried and finished I have to admit I love my new lengthy nails, she brushed them down with some oil and asked for twenty six pounds. I obliged and left, never again.

I have to admit, these acrylics have taken a little bit of getting used to but here I am typing away now. Just don’t ask me to open a jar…

Have you ever had acrylic nails? What is your favourite nail varnish?

Stephanie xox

 

Politics: Should Europeans be shamed for unification in a crisis?

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After attacks across the world this past week, many are left in a harrowing and mournful state.

The focal point and centre of attention amidst all this crisis, were the Parisian attacks, in which as many as 129 people were killed and more than 300 injured after three groups of armed men rampaged the French capital last Friday.

In light of this coverage, many are rightfully angered that the Middle East was clearly not represented enough in comparison, a disparity of coverage was quite evident.

Devastation and attacks were seen also with ISIS bombings killing 43 in Beirut and 26 in Baghdad, among countless other cities falling victim to relentless terrorist attacks, igniting the belief that ‘are some tragedies more tragic that others?’

This was illustrated dramatically when Facebook opted not to add a ‘Safety Check‘ to these Middle Eastern locations although its use was prominent in France, the feature enabling those in areas of tragedy to mark themselves as safe, making their family and friends aware.

These actions have led to huge debates online and across the media. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has since promised to enable the Safety Check feature more following these accusations of a ‘Western bias‘, saying: “we care about all people equally, and we will work hard to help people suffering in as many of these situations as we can.”

However, despite these selective actions of social conglomerates, this should not mean that the people within Europe (and globally) should be penalised for mourning their losses, or any losses for that matter.

It is ludicrous that in a crisis, people are being shamed for their solidarity. This is about death, death close to home and, of course, all lives matter.

Further accusations of ‘Western bias’ and ‘selective grief’ erupted as the social media website offered its users the ability to change their profile picture to a French flag overlay. Most on Facebook inclined, I did so myself.

Many an opinion piece has circulated the internet, with a fair few condemning the changing of profile pictures to represent the French, seen by some as a portrayal of jumping on a bandwagon of ‘corporate white supremacy‘, so to speak.

I am not French of course, I do not claim to be and I do not have family living in France. But, like many other Britons, I holiday in France, a ‘tourist’ within Paris often, and I have a great affection for the city. France is, after all, my neighboring country, I am European.

The atmosphere in my home city of Oxford the following morning after the widespread attacks was somber, with the minute silence yesterday being undeniably and widely respected across the UK.

Of course, I reiterate that all lives are equal, matter and should be represented as such. A degree of ignorance does remain, and we must remain vigilant, respectful and unified to the ongoing terrors worldwide. To all those affected by ongoing global crisis, I offer my deepest sympathy, no one should ever feel unsafe.

Let us hope that the tragedies of the paris attcks last week will continue to unify, and those whose voices reach the furthest will promote a more global and respectful representation in the future.

Fashion: Balmain x H&M Collaboration ~ Launches Tomorrow

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When a beloved high-street and designer fashion duo meet something beautiful is destined, there is no way that Balmain x H&M can fail to impress.

I have been obsessing over this collaboration for months now and will be one of those individuals who will be eagerly at H&M’s doors tomorrow morning awaiting the store to open.

The only scary factor about all of this (other than how long everyone has had to wait) is the price tags. Although an absolute steal in comparison to Balmain’s usual prices, some items are not exactly high street affordable.

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I have two personal favourites, the longline beaded jacket and the emerald green dress.

The secrets revealed! My outfit tonight is one of the first pieces from the H&M x Balmain designer collaboration! #HMBALMAINATIO @balmainparis @hm

A photo posted by Kendall Jenner (@kendalljenner) on

The beaded jacket was first seen on Kendall Jenner when the collaboration was announced at the Billboard Awards back in May, coming alongside a price tag of £299.99. The detail on this jacket is just exquisite, and although I desperately want it, the emerald dress will have to take precedence.

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The emerald green dress is a little more friendly (I said little more) on the bank balance at £119.99. This beautifully detailed sequin dress is perfect for the festive season. However, its plunging neckline does bring with it fear, tomorrow will reveal just how risqué it really is, if I even manage to try it on that is!

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The most affordable item of clothing in the collection is the Balmain T-shirt at £24.99. This logo T-shirt has gendered versions with similar styles being sold by Balmain for around £150.

The Balmain x H&M collection features both fashion and accessories and will be available online here and  in selected stores from tomorrow. But really, you should already have had November 5th in your diary from May. Take a peek at the full collection here.

What do you think of the collection? What would be your go to item?

Stephanie xox