This week I’ve been reading #21

It’s time for another round up of articles, blog posts and stuff from the internet that caught my attention this week.

Ed Sheeran covers Christina Aguilera’s Dirty in the BBC Live Lounge –

INFOGRAPHIC: A Map of the Literary Genres

*New Music Monday* My Version of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”

Books themselves serve as the ultimate self-help book for reading is a great cure

“Regret and mistakes make us human and as lovely as it would be if we could sail through life on ‘la la la la la’ mode, we can’t.” – Regret and Mistakes

“Like every young man, I refused to believe there was anything wrong with me. I drank, I exercised, I didn’t need tablets, and yet the crying didn’t stop.” – Opening Up by John Connell

“My brokenness was born of a current that had coursed through me for a very long time. At first the current was small. At first it wasn’t a current at all – it was a reservoir, placid until one day something tapped at its edges, creating a tiny crack that opened it, ushering the current on its way.” – How to Soften a Fall: On Brokenness and Recovery

“If I have a witty or profound thought and I don’t tweet or Facebook it, have I somehow failed? Is that bon mot now diminished, not quite as good or meaningful as it would have been if laid bare for the public? – ‘Pics or it didn’t happen’ – the mantra of the Instagram era

“While trans women are being murdered in the streets and it goes largely unreported – visibility still matters.

While we battle for marriage equality in every state and country around the globe – visibility still matters.

While LGBT people are being hunted, beaten, and jailed in countries like Russia, Egypt, and uganda – visibility still matters.” – Op-ed: Yes, It Matters When We Say ‘Gay’

Dustin Lance Black | How “story” is the most effective way to change hearts and minds –

Green Girl by Kate Zambreno

Green Girl

Have you ever come across a book that is a few years old, but suddenly you hear lots of talk about it? That’s what happened to me with Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl. Some friends recommended I read it and then I came across it in Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist.

Ruth is a young American women living in London. She sells perfume in Horrids (her name for it). Her days are spent spritzing people with Desire. Her nights are spent trying to find her way in the world; navigating her way through anxiety, friendships, relationships, nights out that involve drinking too much and the male gaze. More importantly, Ruth is desperately trying to make sense of the space between where she is now and what she deems to be proper adulthood.

I think I came to Green Girl too late. If I read it in my teens or early 20s I imagine it would have affected me in the same way that Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Jean Rhys’ Good Morning, Midnight and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway did. That visceral and sometimes gut wrenching way that leads me to re-read those books regularly even though I know them inside out, yet, I am always drawn in as if discovering them for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong, Zambreno is a talented writer and Green Girl is worth adding to your to-read list. It’s just that it unexpectedly hit on something I have been thinking a lot about lately; how the time, place and state of mind you are in plays a part in the reaction you have to novels, films and music. I may save that thought for another blog post.

 

Three Products – Hyaluronic Acid with Indeed Labs, Lacura and Vichy

Lacura Aqua Complete Serum, €4.79. Hydraluron, €32.99. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum, €24. No press samples included. Full disclaimer here.

Hyaluronic Acid Serums

Hyaluronic acid is having a bit of a moment. It has become a staple ingredient in many people’s skincare routine and mine is no different. My skin drinks the stuff up and looks plumper and less dehydrated as a result. Something I am grateful for.

I bought the Lacura Aqua Complete Multi-Intensive Serum last year after reading a number of positive reviews and deciding that for less than €5 I didn’t have much to lose if it didn’t suit me.

This is just as well because, unfortunately, this serum didn’t agree with my skin. The first couple of days seemed fine, but I soon noticed white bumps along my jaw and hairline. This is a telltale sign that a product is not for me.

The serum itself is light, smells fairly strongly of Aloe Vera and sinks in really quickly. The friend I passed it on to is now a big fan and has explored more of the Lacura range as a result.

The mini size Hydraluron was kindly sent to me by Kat from SophistiKat (go read her blog), it gave me a chance to try out the product properly before splashing out on the full size tube.

At first, I wasn’t a fan of this. It didn’t seem to be doing a whole lot for my skin other than making the products I put on top if it go bally. I tried using a smaller amount each time I used it. This solved the problem for evening use, but the problem persisted during the day. Eventually I figured it was interacting with my sunscreen, so switched to the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum for daytime.

Vichy is one of my favourite pharmacy brands, so I was looking forward to trying the Aqualia Thermal Serum. Of the three this is the most versatile for me because I can use it day and night without any hassle.

It is the one I reach for the most and I can see myself having a bottle of this on my dressing table for the foreseeable future.

The only gripe I have with the Vichy serum is that it is quite heavily fragranced, more so than any other Vichy product I have tried. It’s not an unpleasant scent, but it is something to be aware of if fragrance is an issue for you.

Do you use Hyaluronic acid? What are your favourite serums? Let me know in the comments.

This week I’ve been reading #20

It’s time for another round up of articles, blog posts and stuff from the internet that caught my attention this week.

This Neighbours tribute to Eastenders

A Controversial Ranking of Mr Darcys

Serial Season 2 Parody Tackles the Brian Williams Story

Artifacts show a Rosa Parks steeped in freedom struggle from childhood

CHILDHOOD’S END: DEATH AND GROWING UP IN THE BOOKS OF RAY BRADBURY

The Rise of Joan of Arc: How a Visionary Peasant Girl Defied a Dress Code and Challenged the Patriarchy

This looping cello version of Crazy in Love -

A new short story by Haruki Murakami – Kino

“We have a critical, if poorly understood, place in the spread of information and images on the social web. The value of journalism, as a means of separating news from noise, has never been more vital.” – The Journalism of Terror: How Do We Bear Witness When Everybody is a Witness?

“I took the case so no other woman in Ireland would go through the double tragedy. Other women and men have been braver and have spoken publicly about their different circumstances. We are all more saddened by having to repeat our stories until something is done.” – Nine years after my case, mothers and the ‘unviable unborn’ are still being let down

“On her desk is a blue glass teacup emblazoned with the likeness of Shirley Temple filled with the number two pencils that she uses to write her first drafts.” – Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134

This Kanye West, Beck mash up –

Review: Giorgio Armani Sì EDP

Sì EDP (30ml), €56. Sì EDP (50ml), €79. Sì EDP (100 ml), €106. Personal gift included, but no press samples. Full disclaimer here.

Si EDP by Giorgio Armani

If you’ve ever been anywhere near a perfume counter with me you’ll know I am particular about how I shop for perfume. I won’t sniff more than five at a time because after that my nose can’t tell what’s what anymore. I spray the ones I like on pieces of cardboard, which I have already written the perfume names on, place them in various pockets in my bag and coat so the scents don’t get mixed up and proceed to sniff them at different points throughout the day. I’ll take notes about the perfume notes, which ones are coming through for me and how the scent makes me feel. I’ll often leave the pieces of card for a few days, smell them again and see if I still like the fragrances.

The next step is to start spraying the scents I like on my skin. If I like them all, this can include five separate trips to the shop to try them. Again, I’ll take notes about how the scent is wearing on me throughout the day.

When all that is done, I go through my notes and decide which one to purchase. Most recently I was choosing the perfume that I intend wearing on my wedding day, so the numbers increased.

My initial thought was to stick with favourite perfume, Isabella by Isabella Rosselini. However, I am on my last bottle and since it is no longer available repurchasing it wouldn’t be an option and I like the idea of always having a bottle on hand to trigger memories of the day.

In the end, I tried about 15 perfumes over the course of a few months, but choosing Sì was an easy decision to make. It stood out, for all the right reasons.

I have been intrigued by Sì since reading Katie’s post about it last year. On paper this doesn’t sound like my kind of perfume at all.

With top notes of Bergamot, Mandarin Oil and Cassis it sounds like it would be overly fruity. The middle notes lean towards the floral; with Freesia, Rose May and Jasmine. I’m still getting to grips with whether I actually like floral scents or not, but rose and I don’t have a great track record (as seen here). Sì’s base notes are where my heart lies. They are Patchouli, Amber, Vanilla and a blend of musky woody tones.

When applied to my wrists, the first scent that is noticeable is the Cassis. The scent of blackcurrant fills the air in a way that is intoxicating without being overpowering. The blackcurrant is soon joined by the Bergamot and Mandarin, which mellow the Cassis out.

Over the course of an hour or so the fruitiness is joined by a fresh scent. I know this is the floral notes coming into play, but on me they aren’t particularly distinguishable from each other. They simply add another dimension to the Cassis, which happily sticks around much longer than I expected.

The vanilla starts to come to the fore here, so you have a gorgeous blackcurrant and vanilla cocktail. From there the amber and musky woody tones develop.

The Cassis remains present throughout, but it never becomes overpowering nor does it get lost in the depth of the dry down. It proves itself the perfect note for taking on elements of those around it. I love it and I never thought I would say that about something so obviously fruity.

Sì has pretty much been my go-to fragrance since I got it at Christmas, but I am looking forward to wearing it on the day itself. This one is definitely a keeper.

I have said before that scent is subjective and notes that come through on some people won’t on others, but I adore Sì and am wondering what took me so long to try it.

Which perfume are you loving at the moment? Did you wear perfume on your wedding day, if so what was it? Let me know in the comments.