Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Night Song #20 & A Thank You

Well lads, it's my 20th SNS - imagine how many it'd be if I didn't keep forgetting about it. Le sigh.

Anyhoo, before I get into that, I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who's followed this blog - I recently passed 100 followers on GFC and I appreciate and thank every single one of you for clicking that little 'follow' button. I might even do a little giveaway soon, watch this space for details.

Back to the SNS - it's a cracker. It's not the kind of music I really listen to anymore, but on the rare occasion that I find myself in a nightclub, this is the one I request. I've only recently recovered from the shock of realising that this version is over 12 years old, and the equal shock that there's a 2012 version out there. I know how the Michael Sembello fans felt back in 2000, disgust doesn't even begin to measure it.

So, here's to you guys for being awesome, to the only dance tune that doesn't drive me out of my mind, to my first clubbing memories, to the looks all the yungwans give me now when I almost flatten them trying to get to the dancefloor when this song comes on, and to the only tune that makes me want to go out on a Saturday night - here's Maniac.

Rock it rock it baby baby...WHAT a tune.

Have a fantastic Saturday night,

S xx

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Amazon UK are currently running a deal -  two paperbacks for £7 - so finding myself the proud owner of a wee Amazon voucher a few weeks back, I picked up two. I got Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black" and this one - "Before I Go To Sleep" by S.J. Watson.

SJ Watson is an English author, and this is his debut novel (I thought he was a woman until I googled him, apologies there Steve). HE was accepted into the first Faber Academy "Writing a Novel" course in 2009, and this book is the result. It won a couple of prestigious awards (The Crime Writers' Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year). Here's the back cover spiel:

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

I have to say, now that I know SJ is a man, I'm even more impressed with how the main character of Christine is written. SJ has a powerful writing style, and has written a strong female character with lots of personality. She's extremely engaging and likeable, and I found myself rooting for her all the way through. It's also lovely to read a book where the main character is in her forties - I can't think of too many others like it.

Basically, Christine suffered a trauma a few years back, and now suffers from severe short-term memory loss. She can remember up to the trauma, and she can hold her daily memories for the duration of the day, but by morning, all is lost and she begins the day over again not knowing anything about her life. Her husband, Ben, has to remind her of who she is every single morning.

This arrangement seems to work for them..... until a doctor gets involved and encourages Christine to write a journal. He calls her every day to tell her where the journal is, and so Christine spends a good chunk of her days reading up on what's been happening and what she's been feeling. The book is split into three parts - The present day, the journal, and the present day again. The tension is slowly built up as you read the journal part, and you know something's coming, but you're not exactly sure what.

What does come is a brilliant sequence of twists and discoveries - some good, some bad - and I promise you, you won't be able to put it down. Is everyone in Christine's life being honest with her? Is she going mad? Can she trust anyone? Can she even trust her journal - herself? The whole lot builds up into an explosive revelation, one that I have to admit I didn't even see coming.

I began this book at 10.30pm one night last week while I listened to a concert on TV in the background, and I could not put it down. I tell a lie - I put it down twice - once, to have this conversation: 

Himself: What's that concert?
Me: Slash.
Himself: Guns n Roses?
Me: Well, yeah, he used to be with them.
Himself: But he's not now?
Me: No.
Himself: Who's the lad singing? 
Me: Myles Kennedy.
Himself: He's not from Guns n Roses?
Me: No.
Himself: Do you like that kind of music?
Me: Sure you know I do.
Himself: Oh right. So which one is the lad from Guns n Roses?
Me: Here, take the remote, I'll finish me book in the kitchen.
Himself: Ah no stay there, but which of them were in Guns n Roses? (patience - gone)

The second time I put it down was to sing along to Sweet Child O' Mine. I mean, you have to, don't you?

Anyway, it's a brilliant book, a seriously impressive debut, and the rights have also been acquired by Ridley Scott's production company so I would expect to see it in movie form some time in the future. It's too good not to moviefy (yes, that's a word. Maybe.)

Any reading recommendations for me?

S xx

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Night Song #19

Hey guys! Hope this Saturday finds you all well and enjoying the weekend.

This week's SNS is by one of my favourite bands, Metallica - my favourite song of theirs is Turn The Page, but this is the one that made me buy my first Metallica albums as a teenager. This is my favourite version, performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Here's Enter Sandman.

I can't post that without posting this next video - I've done a post on mondegreens before, and sometimes when I need a laugh I look up misheard lyrics on YouTube. I discovered this one a few years ago, and for this reason and this reason only, every time I hear this song I wonder what Juan Ayoben looks like. It's silly fluff, but it's funny silly fluff. Enjoy! (skip to 1:04 if you hate the intro)

Have a great Saturday night!

S xx

Monday, April 16, 2012

In The Name of Fashion

Firstly, I'm telling you now, I'm going to talk about some very, very disturbing pictures today but I am not putting them on my blog. I don't want to unnerve or upset anyone and they are (to me) very, very unnerving.

Lately, there seems to be an emerging trend in photoshoots: Violence. While it's true that I will never understand the fashion world, I can understand most concepts - this is one that really baffles me. Why would I want to own the same skirt as the "victim" from this photoshoot? (Crystal Renn is the "patient" and Karolina Kurkova is the "nurse").

I'm not sure if these are NSFW or not, to be honest. There's no nudity as such, but there's one picture that comes close. They're all disgusting, imho. It's a photoshoot from Interview magazine called "Institutional White", and it can be found here:

This was shot by Steven Klein, which doesn't come as a great surprise to me - I am not a fan of his work, and he comes second only to Terry Richardson on the list of photographers I don't like. I'll say no more. The stylist on this was Ludivine Poiblanc, who frankly should know better - she is responsible for some really nice styling, including a recent campaign for H&M.

What's your opinion on shoots like this? Do you think I'm making a big deal out of nothing? I'd love to hear your take on it. I don't see how a photoshoot like this even gets published, did nobody think it was disturbing? Or does anyone give a damn anymore? Is that where we're heading, the more disturbing the better?

Recent pictures of Justin Bieber might suggest that this IS indeed where we're heading. I'm not a fan, but he doesn't bother me. I can appreciate him for what he is - a young talented guy making a career for himself. He has what can only be described as an army of teenage fans. Bieber and his management know who their market is. So who thought this shoot for Complex Magazine was a good idea?

Sorry, but personally, I don't want to see an 18-year-old lad getting the living shite kicked out of him, fake blood or not. It's actually a really good interview, but I cannot fathom why that was the direction they decided to go in with the shoot. I get the concept, but it could have been done in a less... blood-splattering way. The photographer on that one was Tony Kelly, an Irish photographer based in L.A. Tony is another one of these... "unique, boundary-pushing, non-conformist" photographers. In this piece from September 2010, Tony is quoted as saying:

"I do like to shock people. I hate when people say to me, 'it's a nice picture'. For me, that's a failure. I like to get a reaction. And I do like people to have a giggle as well. It's pop art, essentially, isn't it? It's not to be taken too seriously." Irish Independent, 19/9/10

I don't know about the rest of ye - but I'd love to see something that's NOT trying to be bold and shocking for once. I cannot understand how anyone can judge any of these photographs as "Sooo hot" or "My favourite, soooo sexy". My god, is this what's sexy now? This is only two recent examples - there are thousands. Why is it alright to portray a pretty young model as a vulnerable, scared, trapped victim? Why is it alright to show a good looking young guy being beaten to a pulp?

I'd love to know what you think. Am I turning into a prude or has this "shock photography" trend gone way past shocking and into disgusting?

S xx

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Am The Cheese

Right, if ever there was a picture to sum up the state of the country at present, this has to be a contender.

A humongous slab of cheese (half the size of the cover of Glamour magazine, to be exact) with "EU Aid" on the front and this fetching label on the back:

Not for resale? Dammit, there's free listing this weekend on eBay too. 

You may remember this bright idea from back in 2010 when it was announced that the Government was going to distribute cheese to the needy rather than milk because it was "easier". You can read an RTE article from that time HERE

Today, this cheese was being passed around to the people who use the local community rural transport scheme in our area. Not the intended recipients, I'd wager, but it was passed round none the less. My future mother-in-law was handed this whopping great slab of the stuff as she boarded the bus for her journey home. I thought this was a bit of a joke when it was originally suggested, but now that I see it, it just makes me angry. "EU Aid". EU Aid?! What's helpful about a huge lump of cheese that has no nutritional information, no description, no origin - I've no idea where this came from or what's in it. She doesn't eat cheese, she thought we might use it - if I was dying for a bit I wouldn't use it. We're not back in wartimes, I can't see how in the name of god this could benefit anyone classed by the Government as "needy". 

"The E.S.B is due, we have no oil, and we're running out of groceries. But HALLELUJAH, Praise Jesus, we have CHEESE." 

I would never incite violence but if I were anywhere near the person who thought that this was a good idea, they'd be picking rennet out of their hair for a week.

I'd also like to mention that this is still going on, as you can see from the date on the production label up there - and remind the people of Ireland that at the time, our present Government had this stance:

"The initiative was immediately attacked by the opposition Fine Gael party, who called it an insult to the country, which is suffering the worst financial crisis in its history" (From The Guardian, 5/11/10)

But it's not as if we needed any more proof of what we've elected, is it?

Don't worry, I haven't gone all political on yo' asses, but I just thought this was too good not to mention. You can substitute the word "good" there with any of the following: Embarrassing, degrading, bizarre, laughable, etc.

Resisting the urge to type Cheesus Christ and failing,

S xx

P.S: Here's the Glamour shot. It's BLOODY ENORMOUS.

Wondering about the title? Wonder no more. HERE.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NOTD: Cute as a Button

All I've done so far in April are nail posts, so this will be the last one for a few days - I have lots of rambly rants coming up so stay tuned (or be warned, whichever). Today I have the glorious task of weeding the backyard, so before my nails are in bits, I want to show you this look. I was making a baby card the other day and came across these buttons - I think they came in a cross stitch kit a while back. I really wanted to use the buttons on my nails but I couldn't get them to stay on - so I painted them instead. Here are the buttons and polishes I used:

L-R - Essie Sexy Divide, Essence The One And Only, Catrice Enter The Undergrowth,
Essence White Hype, Barry M Blueberry Ice-Cream and Essence Sundancer.
Inspired recently by a lot of white-based manicures including Ciara's Emma Bridgewater look and Esther's Black & White challenge look, I decided to give the white base one more try. Mine usually bleeds like bejaysus, so this time I took my time between coats and sealed the whole lot with a topcoat before I added colour. It worked! Yay! Here's the finished mani:

I like it, it reminds me of either a multi-coloured dalmatian or a load of pastel pigs snouts. Either's good. Another look? Okay:

One of the eBay goodies I ordered back in 1946* FINALLY arrived from Hong Kong yesterday, and in one piece too! Isn't is cute? I got it here for less than one euro. I do love my cheap gaudy animal rings. 

So, that's the last NOTD for a little while, I've a haul post coming and I'm also working on a nail polish collection post - okay, in truth, I'm waiting until after Friday in case I buy more. Also lots of non-nail related things in the pipeline, stick with me, I'll get there eventually!

Hope you all had a lovely Easter, 

S xxx

* Slight exaggeration. But it felt that long.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NOTD: Easter Nails

Hey guys!

I did my Easter nails early this year, because I'm going out at the weekend and I didn't want to go to an engagement party with pastel bunnies and eggs on my nails! When my little boy saw me heading off with bundles of polish bottles in my arms, he asked me if he could do the designs on them. We compromised - he'd draw them on paper and I'd paint them. Here's what he came up with:

And here's what I eventually ended up with (after being specifically told NOT to do the black one, because that was for Halloween...)

He was suitably impressed. After I removed that, I did this:

Which turned out like this:

Still can't draw a straight line, and I really, really wasn't happy with the majority of them. I changed some, added some, and did this:

Much better! I loved doing the multi-coloured polka dots to tie all the nails in together.

About four seconds before this photo was taken, poor Mr. Bunny had an accident. I was banging on about toast crumbs on the floor and was a little over-zealous with the dustpan.

RIP Bunny :(

Still, something else made me smile - when I went to get my notebook to do my shopping list (the levels of excitement in this house are shocking at times) - I saw the other little additions that the 7yo had made:

It's all about the little things, isn't it?

If you want any info about any of the polishes used, just shout.

S xx

Monday, April 2, 2012

NOTD: Nails Inc - Electric Lane

Heya lads & lasses.

I saw this online a few weeks ago and went on and on about it to anyone who would listen (mainly my poor Mammy) and it arrived out of the blue in the post last week. She'd only gone and ordered it for me as an Easter present (or to shut me up, one or the other). It's an absolute beauty - Nails Inc Special Effects Topcoat in Electric Lane. Here it is over black.

Inside, with flash:

Outside, without flash:

It's when the lights hit this little beauty that it comes into its own. Check out the sparkle.

At first glance in reality, I thought it would be a bit like GOSH Holographic, which I hate with a passion (it looked ridiculous on my nails, so I flogged it on eBay) but it's totally different. It's a gorgeous topcoat that still lets you get a good look at the polish underneath, and doesn't look like you covered your nails in that old-school holographic book film that everyone in my class had on their mechanical pencil case circa 1993 (not that there's anything wrong with that, it just doesn't suit my skin tone AT ALL).


This is gorgeous, and I can't wait to try it over other colours. I may or may not have bought an Essence polish yesterday just to see what this polish looked like over it. 

SO much better than an easter egg!

S xx

Sunday, April 1, 2012

NOTD: Catrice - Fred Said Red

Catrice are fast becoming a contender for the brand with the best nail polish names - I always thought that O.P.I had that market cornered, but with recent Catrice releases like "Browno Mars" (brown), "Pinky and the Brain" (hot pink), "Salmon and Garfunkel" (salmon pink) and this one, "Red Said Fred" (orangey red), I find myself drawn to the Catrice stands just to check the names out (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it). This is a gorgeous summery polish, and it was opaque after two coats. It's not exactly a creme, but it does have a creme-like finish. Catrice have also changed their brushes - which I was delighted to see. The old brushes worked fine for me, but these new ones seem to make it easier to get a neater line near the cuticle. Here's the polish:

Here it is after two coats, inside first:

And outside:

Then, when I was looking through my polish stash I found my nail art pen, so decided to jazz it up a bit:

It's a lovely rich summer colour and I'll definitely be using this one again - I'm glad that it caught my eye in the shop, because I've never been a "red" girl. The only downside is having Right Said Fred's "I'm too Sexy" in my head every time I see it, but it's a small price to pay for such a lovely colour, and as with all Catrice polishes - at €2.79, you can't go wrong.

What's your favourite colour for Spring/Summer so far?

S xx