CANDY GAL

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Hey y'all, I'm back in the Motherland, cursing Easyjet for it's slowness, and shivering slightly at the chill in the air.

I want to say a big thank you for all the support for yesterday's post, this is mainly a blog of light-heartedness and silly things, so I do worry a bit that it won't be well-received whenever I put my serious hat on.

This is what I spent my remaining euros on...

21 lollipops. Despite this, my ear still popped. Plus I'm totally looped on e-numbers, so obviously I'll be a total delight in Miss B's car this afternoon, on yet another road trip down south.

A huge thank you; you guys truly are the best (and no, it's not the E130 talking).

Mona.

NATIONAL CLEAVAGE DAY

Friday, 30 March 2012

[This will be a ranty one, and I will be swearing. Consider yourselves warned.]

Another day, another God-awful "holiday" being passed off as being "by women, for women". Today, we are encouraged to wear our push-uppiest bras and take photos of the gap in between our mammary glands, and if we have LOADS of self-respect, to post them on Twitter or Facebook, in celebration of National Cleavage Day. Here's my contribution:


National Cleavage Day is sponsored by Wonderbra (quelle surprise). Samantha Paterson, who was the Brand Manager for Wonderbra in 2002, when this annual abomination started, claimed that "It gives women a chance to be beautiful and glow in the furtive, yet appreciative, glances their cleavage evokes from men."

Bollocks. Women, if you need men ogling your tits to make you feel beautiful, you really need to get your head examined. 

Maybe National Cleavage Day is aimed at the same kind of girl as National No Make-Up Day? Well, guess what? That girl isn't me, nor many of the women that I know. I don't need make-up to feel attractive or empowered, and I don't need the general public eying up my boobs to feel beautiful.

The Sun claims that "NCD is held annually to celebrate women's independence and power in their careers and relationships." I'm not entirely sure how that's supposed to work though. 

The Twitterati view NCD slightly differently - here are some of my choice faves.

Today is "National Cleavage Day" -___-...fat girls, please dress like it's Winter."
National Cleavage Day?! :D come on girls, get your tits out! ;)
This ugly ass bitch posted a picture on Facebook with her nasty looking boobs hanging out for "national cleavage day" ..  

Feel empowered now?

Please tell me that none of you participated in this event. Although it's hailed as being "a bit of fun", it's just another excuse for men to objectify women, and for Wonderbra to boost their sales. I don't think it's ok to make pervey old men feel justified in panting over your tits. In fact, I think it's really-really-fucking-not-ok.

Rant over.

Mona.

HERO & CAPE

Thursday, 29 March 2012

So. Twitter. I was quite a reluctant tweeter to begin with. I started, in December, having been convinced by quite a few people that it's not actually that confusing, and that it's invaluable for networking with other bloggers, and that actually, it's quite fun. So I hesitantly agreed to give it a try. 

Three months down the line, and I'm no prolific twit. Last week, the boy had to explain to me what hashtagging was for. To date, I have sent 183 tweets, follow 73 people, and have 39 followers (one friend, lots of other bloggers, a few brands, and oddly, a man who claims to be the Deputy Editor of Men's Health. #Weird).

However, I do love Twitter. Here are a few reasons.
  1. It's actually a really fun and convenient way to chat to other bloggers, and find new blogs to read
  2. It's a great way to find out about promotions and deals (hello, ASOS free delivery...)
  3. Mondo Guerra re-tweeted me. This made me massively excited.
Yesterday, whilst browsing the intershopz, I came across a t-shirt from Hero & Cape which really tickled my pickle, bespectacled nerd that I am.


I tweeted Hero & Cape to tell them how much I liked the design, and they got back to me this morning, telling me that for I could get 25% off the RRP (£22) with the discount code MEGAMARCH. 

So I bought it.

If you're not aware of Hero & Cape, they're a British label that use hand-drawn designs and individually print them on top quality cotton t-shirts. And for the next two days, you too could save yourself 25% with the code MEGAMARCH.

So, what are you waiting for? Get over there and give their shop a gander! 

And if you'd like to get involved in some tweetage with me, you can find me @monatheninja.

Mona.

GRANNYCHILD

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Yeah, so, I wore Granny-Child clothes again today, which I spent wandering around marvelling at the beautiful architecture in Malaga and pretending to be cultured in the Picasso Museum... The museum was actually really interesting, I wasn't the biggest fan of Picasso's more famous work, but I really warmed to it after seeing a chronological exhibition, which gave me more of an understanding of the his artistic process.

Anyway, here are the clothes:

Hat - Topshop; Scarf (worn around hat) - Thrifted; Sunglasses - Bottega Veneta; Top - Topshop; Skirt - ASOS; Socks - Topshop; Loafers - Russell and Bromley; Rucksack - Topshop

I enjoy the fact that I look quite a lot like a tablecloth, but I'm not too sure about the length of the skirt. I'm considering taking it up... What do you think?

I also massively indulged and had churros for breakfast (because I'm a big fatty!).


Needless to say, my skirt was uncomfortably tight all day, but it was totally worth it. I'm planning on learning to make churros, and the fantastically thick, not too sweet hot chocolate that the Spanish are so very good at!

Mona.

BOY STORY 2

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Howdy Cool Cats,

As much fun as I have showing you my clothes, I feel a bit like constant outfit posts are (1) a bit lazy, and (2) not entirely what you guys signed up for. Don't get me wrong, I could put on slightly odd get-ups and coerce my pals into taking photos of me looking dorky and awkward for ever, but according to my stats page, what you guys really like is when I pen type down my neuroses and reveal to the Blogosphere what a mental person I actually am, particularly when it involves my love life. So here goes. A little bit more about the boy (If you missed the original post, you can see it here).

It's been going... Well? I'm not entirely sure. We've been seeing each other once or twice a week, and when we're together, it's pretty great. He hasn't been repelled by my social awkwardness (on the contrary, he seems to find it quite endearing), or by the fact that I'm a massive geek with a penchant for linear RPGs and knitting. If our little romance was a movie, this part would be a sickly sweet montage to a happy nu-folk song. Seriously. He cooks amazing meals. We lie on the grass in his garden and watch squirrels chasing each other through the trees. I sit in his bed and write my blog, wearing one of his shirts, slamming down the lid of my laptop whenever he gets too close (because if he read it, that would be the worst thing ever). Hell, we even spoon - which is a big deal for me, terrified as I am of intimacy. It's pretty bloody idyllic, really.   

So what's the problem, I hear you ask?

The other five or six nights a week, when I just don't hear from him, are the problem. And, no, I'm not one of those mental girls who wants to know what he's had for lunch, or sends messages going "What are you up to? Xxxxxx". I basically use text messages as a means of organising my life. If I want a chat, I'd much rather call or Skype. But I literally will not hear anything from him. We'll half-arrange something, and I'll text or call to find out what the plan is... And radio silence. Zilch. Nada.

Which is making me slowly turn into this:

Yeah, my phone has bunny ears. And what? 
The mental person who stares at their phone, willing it to receive a message (that isn't from my Ma). Not fun. I much preferred being cool-as-a-cucumber, always in control Mona with regard to my dating life. This new, insecure, "OH-EM-GEE, why hasn't he texted me back?" model of myself that is coming out of the woodwork totally disgusts me. 

He always comes through at the last minute, in that "Oh I'm so sorry! I thought I replied to this yesterday! This is the plan...", endearingly scatter-brained way which my friend B - who I'll tell you all about sometime - claims is just typical of "artsy" people. B tells me that we un-creative types cannot comprehend or change behaviour like this, but that we must just accept it. He says I just need to act cool, like it doesn't bother me, and learn to just go with the flow. 

Well bugger that for a bunch of bananas. I am neurotic. I am insecure. I NEED MORE THAN TWENTY MINUTES TO PLAN AN OUTFIT WHEN HE SUDDENLY RINGS TO TELL ME HE'S TAKING ME TO A FANCY RESTAURANT.  

So last week, I snapped, went a tad psycho-bitch on him, and explained to him in a cool and collected manner (just kidding, I went all shrill and startedspeakingreallyfast) that no, he could not see me that evening, as he hadn't gotten back to me, and so I had made alternate plans. He seemed a bit shocked by my mental-ness, but we saw each other later in the week, and as usual, it was wonderful; the usual rom-com worthy affair.

We then both left University for the Easter Holiday. I just expected to see him in three weeks, when we both head back to Manchester. To be honest, I was kind of looking forward to not having to worry about making plans with him, to a little interlude to the gut-wrenching angst I feel when I know we're doing something, but I don't know what, when or where (what can I say? I like plans).

Then I started getting texts from him. Little, chatty messages, which aren't actually planning anything (obvs, as I'm in Spain) but just want to know what I'm up to and if I'm having a nice holiday.  

Boys are weird.

If you could explain this MENTAL behaviour to me, I'd sure appreciate it. 

Mona.

OUTFIT

Monday, 26 March 2012

Needless to say, what with being on holiday, I'm feeling a little lazy this week, so instead of actually writing something, I figured I'd just show you another outfit...

Garland - the Earl Mountbatten Hospice Charity; Bolero - Banana Republic; Bikini - Urban Outfitters; Shorts - Blue Rinse; Sandals - Topshop
I look a bit like a flower-child pole-dancer, but I'm kind of okay with that... If you can't do it in Malaga, where can you, ey? I'm also LIVING in my two pairs of Blue Rinse shorts, I'm trying to mix it up a bit but they're just so comfy and flattering! 

Today was another spectacularly lazy day, mainly consisting of sunning myself into a stupor and doing a bit of swimming. I'm rereading Brideshead Revisited for about the fiftieth time, so I'm not feeling like such a dreadful heathen. 

Hopefully I'm hitting the Picasso museum sometime in the next few days, so I can actually show you something a little bit cultural...

Mona. 

BEACH

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The sunshine was ever so slightly more forthcoming today, so like any dreadful "Brits on tour" stereotype, we donned our bikinis and headed to the beach. The locals kept looking at us like we were mad (they were still in coats), but as far as I'm concerned it was perfect sunbathing temperature, and I'm pleased to report that my tan is coming along nicely!

I really do worship at the Alter of the Sun. The reason for this is that, when I'm pale, I don't get that pretty, delicate, almost translucent porcelain skin. I inherited my Ma's Chinese skintone, which is quite olive when tanned, but too many months without the sun and I start to look really sallow and unhealthy. Bleugh. 

Here's what I wore today:

Hat - Topshop; Sunglasses - ASOS; Top - ASOS; Shorts - Blue Rinse
After a busy day stuffing my face with paella and playing winning at beach football, I'm having a quiet night in introducing Miss B to Game of Thrones, which she's never seen. I think it's pretty essential that she's up to speed before season two starts (which, incidentally, I'm manically excited about).

Mona.

O.A.P.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

I'm in Malaga. Whoop whoop! I'm here due to flatmate three (who I've rarely mentioned, because she's a bit interweb shy - it's a shame, because she's cracking), whose grandparents kindly gave us a week in their timeshare for her twenty-first Birthday, and our little pad is beyond my wildest dreams. Why, you may ask? 

It's in a retirement village.

This is excellent for several reasons. (1) It has crazy golf. For free. (2) It has those mobility chairs everywhere, so I can kiss goodbye to climbing in and out of the swimming pool or walking up and down stairs for a week. (3) I don't have to fight my usual urges to dress like a slightly eccentric, hermaphroditic old aged pensioner. 

Hat - Topshop; Sunflower Garland (just seen) - the Earl Mountbatten Hospice Charity; Sunglasses - Urban Outfitters
 Cardigan - Glamourous; Shirt and Collar Tips - Blue Rinse; Leggings - Zara; Loafers - Russell and Bromley
So it won't be the most glamourous holiday, but after what seemed like a particularly long term, I rather like the idea of being out here, playing giant chess with three of my wonderful friends, and shocking old men with my short shorts. If we're feeling particularly mental, it's only a ten minute walk into town.

The weather is set to pick up over the next few days, so my outfits may have to become slightly less senile and slightly more exposing, if I'm to work on my tan. Why oh why didn't I just stick to my holiday diet?

According to my Twitter feed, today is a glorious day in the U.K. I hope you all made the most of it?

Mona.

JET-SETTER

Well, not really... Up at three to catch a sickeningly early flight to Malaga. I've taken my enormous duffle bag, which I found for three pounds in a charity shop on High Street Kensington. It's possibly my favourite thrift find ever! It's extremely ambitiously packed, containing practically only bikinis and short shorts, so please keep your fingers crossed for me that the weather will stay on my side.


As per the usual, I didn't make it through duty free without a little indulgence... Jo Malone is just my ultimate weakness, and I'd resisted the call of Blue Agava and Cacao for too long.


Please excuse the shoddy formatting, I'm blogging off my iPhone but will tweak it as soon as I can get my laptop online. I'm not sure what the wifi situation in our holiday pad is like, but I'll hopefully manage to post every day from Sunny Spain!

And I hear the UK is set to hit 21 degrees this weekend! So get down to your nearest beach, park, or lake and enjoy the sunshine! If you're anything like me you've been stocking up on summer clothes since January - it's finally time to enjoy them!

If you've been to Malaga, do you have any good recommendations for me?

Mona.

NATIONAL NO MAKE-UP DAY

Thursday, 22 March 2012

As you may be aware, today is National No Make-Up Day. Women are encouraged to forgo the slap for a day, and we are asked, "Do you dare to go bare?" This is a day that splits opinions among women. Here is where I stand. 

Superficially, I see the value in National No Make-Up Day, especially in regard to younger girls. Seeing images of what we all look like, what we all really look like, could be really helpful to developing a balanced image of yourself, as opposed to the self-esteem crushing "Why don't I look like Lara Stone on the cover of LOVE?" feelings that girls are apparently feeling from as young as eight years old. From a feminist, Stop-Men-Objectifying-Women point of view, I suppose that it's a sound idea, too, in a "Hey, men, here's what we actually look like, deal with it" way.

Here's where I object, though.

First of all, the tagline "Do you dare to go bare?" offends me a little bit. Yes, I DO "dare to go bare", and I object to the implication that my natural face is such a horrendous image that it requires daring to leave it as it is for one day. Actually, if you go through my archives, you'll find quite a few barefaced shots. Because a lot of days, I just can't be arsed with make-up.

Here is a picture of me fresh out of the shower this morning: not only am I not wearing any make-up, I haven't even cleansed/toned/moisturised yet. Gasp!


Are your eyes bleeding? Or are you ok to continue reading?

Secondly, some of the magazines and websites that promote National No Make-Up Day spend the other 364 days of the year publishing photos of bare-faced celebrities, criticising them for their haggard faces or wrinkley knees. If you want women to feel comfortable in their own skins, then stop.

In general, the make-up industry is hugely important to the UK, to the extent that it has experienced growth through times of recession. But this is not because women feel the need to mask their faces; it's because make-up is a fun, relatively easy on the wallet means of self-expression.

So, while I appreciate the sentiment and general ideas of National No Make-Up Day, I'm not playing. Thank you for letting us know that it's ok to look, well, how we actually look. But, actually, I think that I (along with most women) already knew that, and highlighting it by suggesting that we let our natural selves shine through is actually a little damaging.

So, instead of going au natural today, I look like this:


Where do you stand on NNMD?

Mona.

WEEKLY CLINIQUE-LY

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hey Cool Cats,

As previously mentioned in this post, I like skincare. No, that's a lie. I have a very unhealthy, very expensive, totally dependent relationship with skincare. But I'm cool with that.

I have different routines, using different products, for the morning and the evening. Despite all my male friends telling me that it's all rubbish, and that they're the exact same things in different tubes, I like to think that my morning routine is for keeping my spots in check (my general skin profile is that I'm extremely blackheady, full on Vesuvian spots cover my forehead, and I'm susceptible to the odd lurker on my chin. Plus dry bits. And oily bits. Nice.), where as my evening routine is a pre-emptive strike against aging. Once a week, I use my three favourite Clinique products to deep-clean my face, and also to attempt to hide the huge gaping chasms masquerading as pores on my forehead, nose and chin.

I like to do this on Tuesday evenings, when I also read Grazia, eat chocolate in bed, sing along to Adele, and do my nails (Secret Single Behaviour, anyone?). I'd definitely recommend using these products in the evening, if you do try this at home, as it can leave you a little blotchy for a few hours.

Meet the (previously unsung) heros of my face; Clinique Seven Day Scrub, Pore Minimizer Refining Mask, and Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion.

Starting with the Seven Day scrub - this I simply massage into make-up free skin. You can then either rinse or tissue it off. I like to tissue, because then I can stare in avid, horrified fascination at all of the grime that actually comes out of my skin. I suspect that, deep down, I'm not actually a girl, but a mutant hybrid that was bred in a sewer. Seriously, it's disgusting.

When all of the Seven Day Scrub has been removed, I then apply a thin layer of the Pore Minimiser Refining Mask...

Enjoy five minutes of running around your flat, flapping your arms and shrieking, and scare the bejeezus out of your flatmates' gentleman callers. Alternatively, mime really badly. 
After five minutes, when the mask feels dry (giving your face that weird, tight feeling) rinse it off with warm water, and pat face dry. Then use the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion.

I honestly cannot recommend these products highly enough. This has been part of my skincare routine for four years. The products last forever, and are all utterly fantastic. The scrub leaves my face feeling squeaky clean, the mask literally zaps the pores off of my face (for a couple of days), and the moisturizer leaves my skin feeling super-hydrated, but without the greasy sheen that so many products seem to leave behind.

Basically, they're all great, and well worth investing in (although they've been known to make my friends spontaneously stroke my face. But that's... Nice, right?). The whole process probably takes about ten minutes, and is guaranteed to leave my face feeling soft and smooth, and looking almost airbrushed in comparison to how it was before. I think that all of the products are totally worth the rather hefty price-tag, especially the mask, which I honestly think has unrivalled results.

Have you used any of these products? Were you impressed by them?

Mona.

[NOTE: I have never actually bought the Seven Day Scrub, or the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. They are always part of the free gift when you buy two products at Boots, and I'm also (conveniently) an enormous fan of their High Impact Mascara.]

SOMEBODY STOP ME

Monday, 19 March 2012

Brain: "I'm going to Spain on Saturday. I must be thin, and beautiful. Right, no food until Saturday."

Belly: "Let's make cupcakes!"

Brain: Absolutely not. I must be thin."

Belly: "Red Velvets?"

Brain: "Fine. For the others."

Belly: "Yeah, sure. For the others."


Belly: "You should probably try a bite."

Brain: "NO. Naughty belly. Stop it. I'm trying to starve you. So you will be flat and lovely, and I won't look like a beached whale in the Spain photos."

Belly: "But how do you know they're not poison? You should check - for the others."

Brain: "Good point. One quick bite, while no-one's looking."


Belly: "Wow, that didn't take you long, did it, Fatty?"

Brain: "Shit."


Does anyone else have these kind of problems?

Mona.

FACE

As suggested by my blog title, I know next to nothing about personal grooming. I am a nightmare of bristley legs, dry skin, ingrown hairs, one of the shabbiest set of nails you'll ever see, lips that bleed because I can't stop chewing them, and one and a half very unkempt eyebrows (one and a half due to a recent fringe cutting catastrophe). 

The re-growth period is proving itself to be both long and boring. 
I've never done a FOTD post, because (1) I'm not really very comfortable up-close and personal with my camera/Photobooth, and (2) because I know next to nothing about make-up and do basically the exact same thing every day. 

However, my love of skincare boarders on the maniacal. It's quite alarming, the amount of crap I put onto my face - I like to call them my lotions and potions. I change it up quite regularly, but at the moment I'm using Burt's Bees Radiance range in the morning, and on the nights that I can be bothered, Estee Lauder. Once a week I use a scrub and a face-mask from Clinique. Luckily, these combined seem to keep my skin in check. 

There are two reasons why I worship at the alter of skincare - the first being that I smoke and love the sun, and therefore feel the need to strike pre-emptively against wrinkles, and the second being that I can't do foundation, or cover-up. I just feel like they make my face look super-weird, so it's important that I have ok skin as I don't know how to fix it with make-up. Miss B (or Beets, as I've taken to calling her in my mind) made me buy both foundation and cover-up, back in November. In all honesty, I've probably used them about four times. 

Anyway, I thought I'd show you my first FOTD, and would like to request feedback, in the form of hints as to how to do my makeup properly? Because you lot are SO MUCH MORE face-savvy than me. I look at your FOTDs, and weep, because I don't speak blending/contouring/applying make-up properly language, that you all seem so fluent in.

So, yeah... Sorry about awkward face... Again...
I've got Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Liner in 100% Black on my eyes, and lashings of MaxFactor False Lash Effect Fusion (also in Black) on my lashes. On my lips I'm wearing Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Tint, in 100 Endless Blossom. Which is new! I'm not going to try and talk about it, because I frankly don't have the vocabulary. Instead I'm going to send you over to read BDP's review of it (she's one of my favourite bloggers). The only thing she didn't mention is that it smells like strawberries. But that could just be me. 

And... That's all, folks. I'm trying to learn to mix it up a bit, primarily by reading blog posts, so if you know of any blogs (including your own!) which have good make-up tutorials, please leave me a link the comments thingy below, and help me achieve my dream of becoming a Real Girl!

Also, I was wondering if you'd be interested in reading skincare reviews? Because that I can talk about quite extensively.

Mona.

MOTHER'S DAY

Sunday, 18 March 2012

If you're based in the UK, then I'm sure you're aware that today is Mother's Day (if not, then shame on you). Therefore, I think that it is only fitting that today, I share with you a little bit about my Ma. 
My Ma has a thing for expensive coats from Joseph and Davidoff Cigarillos.
A very popular post on the Blogosphere has always been that "a letter to my sixteen year old self." I find these posts fascinating... The warnings of heartbreaks to come, the promise that you will find the strength to recover, hints of wonderful friendships that will be made, pleas to study harder, and everything in between. In all honestly, however, I think mine would just say: 

"Stop being such a bitch to Ma. When you get over your teenage angst, you'll discover that she's your rock, your best friend, your closest ally in life, and you will never really forgive yourself for all the hurt you caused her, even though, luckily for you, she will."
But she's also partial to bumbling around in a kigu.
At the age of twenty two, my Ma is everything to me. My emotional (and financial) support, my best friend, my shrink, my shopping buddy, an occasional referee between myself and my brothers, and my favourite person to grab supper with. I hate that we're living in opposite ends of the country, but I love knowing that home is still there, waiting for me. 
We share a passion for Burger & Lobster - and she'll always split with me, so I never have to choose.
I look back to the past, and I am aware that all of my successes are due to my Ma. She has allowed me to become who I am today; never by being overbearingly moulding or controlling, but by letting me figure it out for myself, and gently guiding me back whenever I have strayed too far; for this, I am seriously grateful. 

I look to the future, and despite rising graduate unemployment, the nightmare of getting on the housing market, and the frightening thought of how much debt I'm getting into at university, I'm not afraid. Yes, it's daunting, but I know she'll be there as I muddle through it, as she has been through everything. 

So basically, this post is a huge thank you to my Mother, just for being bloody brilliant. I think I may even let her read my blog for the first time, because I want her to know how much she is appreciated. 

Thanks for everything, Ma. You really are the best.

Lots of love,

Mona. 

OUTFIT (BLOOPER)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

A very basic outfit today (pretty dress and granny shoes), so much so that I wasn't sure it was even worth posting... It's not even green! But I accidentally left the flash on my camera, and the results made me chuckle, so i figured they were worth sharing with you.
Dress - Urban Outfitters; Kneebrace - Elastoplast
Shoes - Russell and Bromley
As you can see, my kneebrace straps have high-vis tags on the ends, and with flash photography they shine through my tights. It looks like it's going to be on for a while too, shining iridescent through my 100 Derniers and highlighting to the world the fact that I am, in fact, a cripple. My kneebrace means that I have to hop/hobble instead of actually walking, and it seriously cramps my (already highly questionable) style on the dance floor. If I wear dresses or skirts, it is glaringly obvious - if I wear trousers, it looks like I just have  a really fat knee. I should invest in some more maxis. 

Kneebrace, you are not my pal. Knee, please get better soon, and you and I shall run, and jump, and dance badly together, and revel in your emancipation from Kneebrace. And it shall be a wondrous occasion.

Mona. 

TRENDY?

Friday, 16 March 2012

I've always lived under the impression that I am a massive dork, accepted into the childhood, and later adult, "cool gangs" due to the kind of court jester role that I've always inhabited, rather than any genuine street-cred that recommends me to them. Seriously. I play chess, I have an enormous collection of cuddley toys, and I dress like a granny-child. Most of the pictures of me look like this:
Or this:
I know nothing about music, less about dancing, and most of the time, I'd rather go home than go hard.  I use Klout, and it's told me I'm influential about one topic - tea. I really should just join the W.I. and be done with it. Recently, I've started to feel like somewhat of an impostor, because a lot of my friends are very trendy, and I seem to have fooled them into thinking that I'm quite trendy, too.

Maybe it's due to the advent of programs like New Girl, and the influence of people like Alexa Chung, but my particular brand of geekiness has been severely misinterpreted recently, and is read by people as being quirky, and yes, I've even had the word trendy thrown my way a few times. Granny-child is in! Mouse ears are fantastic! Enormous, eye-magnifying, tortoiseshell specs? So Milan, darling.

It's utter madness. And when you try and argue your case, they say things like "You're too trendy even to ADMIT you're trendy! Ha ha ha!" and go off into bouts of maniacal laughter.

Thinking about it, I don't know why I'm always so adamant in defending my super-neek status that I'm certain I deserve. I feel that it would be fraudulent, almost, to allow them to keep believing that I do trendy things, like finding new alternative bands on Spotify, as opposed to what I'm actually doing (watching videos of angry hamsters on YouTube. On repeat). But maybe times are changing, and being a total dork has become trendy... What do you think?

So I've given up on the insistence that I'm not a bit cool, and have a deep and certain belief that I deserve to be socially ostracised for my strangeness. If they want to think I'm trendy, I will just let them, smile knowingly, and go back to playing Pokemon Red on my Gameboy emulator.

Because I'm just a big freak like that.

Mona.

ORANGES & LEMONS...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

... Said the bells of St. Clement's.

Here is the promised recipe, finally perfected. Just to warn you, this will make an enormous cake (as requested by Miss B), so consider halving or even thirding the ingredients if you plan on fitting into a bikini this summer, which I, evidently, don't. It seems far too early to be concerning myself with trivialities such as diets when the sun hasn't even really started shining... In the spirit of full disclosure though, this light, citrusy creation is basically four layers of cellulite, sandwiched with clogged arteries. But it's pretty mega-tasty.


INGREDIENTS:

CAKE:
Grated rind of 6 oranges
12 oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
12 oz caster sugar
12 oz self-raising flour
6 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla extract

ICING:
900g Philadelphia
375g icing sugar
6 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 jar good-quality lemon curd

METHOD:
Preheat over to 180 degrees celsius. Cream sugar and butter until smooth. Mix in baking powder and vanilla extract. Beat eggs and add to mixture. Add flour and orange rind. Pour mixture into four round, pre-lined and greased tins (I only had two, so I did this bit twice). Bake on lower shelf of oven for 20 minutes, or until cakes are spongey and spring back to the touch. Allow to cool on wire rack.

To make the icing, simply mix the Philadelphia, icing sugar and lemon juice. Easy squeezy. When the cake is cooled, sandwich each layer with lemon curd and a thin layer of icing, and then cover the entire creation with the remaining icing.

For decoration, I'd keep it pretty basic. Grated lemon or orange zest is a nice touch, as is Dr. Oetker's citrus sprinkles, but anything too crunchy, or flavoursome might be a tad too much, as the citrus and cheese are a lot of flavour. 

This would be pretty perfect for garden parties, tea parties, birthday parties, picnics, or if you just fancy a rather large mid-afternoon snack. Basically, it's good. Make it.

Do any of you have any MAD cake recipes? I'm considering making this bad boy but Kaffir lime leaves are pretty difficult to come by in Manchester...

Mona.

P.S. I totally forgot to say - perfect for Mother's Day! (This Sunday, have you sent a card yet?)

HAPPY BIFDY MISS B!

As you probably know, Miss B is my flatmate in Manchester. However, I don't think I've ever divulged quite how far we go back... How far, you may ask? Well, further than this...
Aged 15
We have, in fact, been pals since the tender age of twelve, when our parents saw fit to lock us in the same Convent School in deepest, darkest Dorset. Today, Miss B turns twenty one (again), so here's to a decade of friendship! A boarding school tradition, I'm now going to show you some choice pics of the Birthday Girl and myself (this will demonstrate many haircuts, colours, and questionable faces on both our behalves. This may well end in her crazy-murdering me for posting so many horrendous snaps on the interwebs, but I just feel it's so neccessary.).
Aged 18 
The First 21st
Bestival 2011
The Second 21st
Please all wish her a Happy Birthday and maybe she won't be so inclined to stab me in the face for doing this to her! Also, if you haven't seen her blog, it's well worth a visit.

Happy Birthday, Miss B. Have a fab one, eat lots of the ENORMOUS CAKE I made you (recipe imminent), and here's to many more decades of silly hats, silly dances, and knowing all the words to In The Navy. Ooh yeah.

Mona.

SHORT SHORTS

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I saw the boy again yesterday. Cue me becoming mega socially awkward. I'm so good at socialising on a big scale, but put me in an intimate, one-on-one situation, and I fall to pieces. Does anyone else get like this? I was quite good, though. I managed to hold his hand! In public! This is a huge deal to me, I normally freak out, can't breathe, and snatch it back. (Ok, it was in an empty cinema, in the dark, but STILL COUNTS!)

For more info on my social awkwardness with the boy, click here.

Anyway, I think I may be in danger of selling my soul to the hipsters. I shopped in the Northern Quarter, I drank expresso, I ate vegetarian food, and I watched The Artist. And I liked all of it. What is this madness?

Anyway, I was hoping to get your opinions on a new pair of shorts, from Blue Rinse in Manchester. This is a very cool little shop, which sells remade vintage pieces. These are dreadful pictures, be warned, but I can't find my camera charger, so back to Ol' Reliable, Photobooth. You can't really see, but they're fringed down the sides. 



These are not returnable, but they are exchangeable. But what do we think? Too indecent? Can I possibly bare this much skin, come the summer? Or do they just make me look like a Cowgirl-Hooker?

Thanks girls!

Mona.

LAST NIGHT

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Coco Chanel claimed that in order to avoid over-accessorising, women should look in the mirror when they've finished getting ready, and remove one thing. This is stellar advice, which, needless to say, I did not follow last night. I looked in the mirror, and thought;

"Something's missing. Of course - a TOP HAT!"

Last night was somewhat of a mixed bag, style-wise. We saw Black Tie (yum), we saw jeans, we saw cravats. Miss B started in a full-on Downton Abbey spectacular gown, and executed several outfit changes throughout the course of the evening. My accidental style inspiration was Wednesday Addams - I packed in an enormous rush, and ended up with an outfit that I liked, but that isn't that, well, me. But Wednesday's a total babe, so I'm actually okay with that. 

Miss B wears Dress - Very. I wear Dress - ASOS; Jewelery - gifts; Wedges - Kurt Geiger; Top Hat - A Miss B Heirloom
A little bit far off from my usual Sophisticated-London-Hobo-Gal vibe, but there you go. Sometimes, a girl just wants to dress like a creepy doll.

I know that I promised you all a St. Clement's Cake recipe yesterday, but unfortunately I wasn't happy enough with the results to post it today. I plan on playing around with the recipe a bit this week, and I'll get back to you. I am, however, somewhat of a baking perfectionist, and it was actually quite good, if I do say so myself. In any case, the whole thing was polished off in the middle of the night. I don't know who was responsible for such an abominable act...


... But the fiend had the audacity to leave the crumbs all round my mouth. Disgraceful. 

My weekend will be finished by riding in Miss B's car (shotgun, natch), back to Manchester, screeching Journey at the top of my voice whilst attempting to rehydrate myself out of the somewhat fuzzy state my brain is in this morning.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends,

Mona.

BRIDESHEAD

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Just a quick check-in today.

It's Miss Beeton's Birthday on Wednesday. Like a true Birthday Prima-donna (I say this with total approval - I dragged everyone off to London for my 22nd), she insisted on a convoy down from Manchester for a weekend in Dorset. It feels very Brideshead down here. There is an Oxford student (the very clever younger brother), a tortoise (sadly not jewel encrusted but we can't have it all), and glorious rolling countryside, topped off by sunshine... At last!


Swing by tomorrow for an outfit post (it's a fancy dress for Mona tonight, folks) and a recipe for St. Clement's cake, which I'm making for Miss B tonight... We were all in the mood for something summery.

Please excuse my tendency to draw literary illusions to my life. Hopefully I won't end up as Julia Flyte. 

And I hope you all appreciate the (brief) post, finding wifi out in the Sticks is somewhat of a mission. 

Mona.

OOPS

Thursday, 8 March 2012

... I did it again. I cut my own fringe. I didn't want to, but everyone else refused on the grounds that it was just too much pressure. And I can't find a hairdresser in Manchester who will just trim a fringe, without charging me for a full-on haircut. Which seems a bit mean, but there you have it. 

I thought that, this time, I'd done quite a good job. It's only a little bit wonky, and it isn't mega short, so I thought I was on to a good thing this time. So much so, that I considered cutting the rest of my hair, as I am clearly so skilled in the hairdressing department.

Not bad, right?
Then I noticed that I'd cut off quite a substantial amount of my eyebrow.

Oops.

Also, please excuse the big red line on my forehead. I may or may not have walked into my wardrobe door this morning.
Ok, fine, I did it.
So I suppose it's lucky that I have a fringe, to hide my one-and-a-half eyebrows, which I got... from cutting my fringe. Deep thoughts, hey? I'll have to discuss this with my flatmates (they both study philosophy). 

Back to the drawing board on how to keep my fringe in check, then. 

And thank the Lord for Barbara Daly eyebrow pencil in Dark. 

Any Manchester-based people know any hairdressers who offer cut-prices for just-the-fringe? Or anyone else, any tip-top methods on how to do your own, without giving yourself a permanently surprised expression? Please help me, I do desperately want to be an attractive, cool girl, with a normal fringe and a matching pair of eyebrows, but my bank-balance and cack-handedness with the scissors simply won't allow it.

Mona.

BOY STORY

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A few of you have been kind enough to take an interest in my dating life, so I thought I'd let you know that things with the boy are going surprisingly smoothly. So much so, that he may soon stop being the boy, and become... The Boy. 

It's going shockingly well. We are glaringly different (he is massively trendy, I am massively weird; he is a master chef, I burn cheese on toast etc.) but despite this, I think it's looking pretty good. He likes my glasses. I like his laugh. And if he's noticed that I don't look like this...
image source
... in the morning, but like this...
Sadly no image source needed - this is actually me.
... then he's been polite enough not to mention it. And that's just fine with me. 

I seem to have done a remarkably successful job of convincing him that I'm sane and attractive, despite wittering on to him about Space-Cowboys (which he thought were cool) and Final Fantasy XIII (which I think he thought was less cool). I doubt I'll be able to keep up the facade for long though, so I'm just going to have to try and make the most out of this current, alien feeling of being so happy I literally walk around grinning like a loon.

I suspect I've become an annoyingly happy person, to the extent that Miss B may soon get totally sick of it, and give me a - well deserved - poison cupcake (not really, he brought round nice wine so she totally approves).

Mona.

#KONY2012

Howdy Kids,

So I know this isn't what you signed up for when you started following my blog. However the atrocities of Kony have just come to my attention. It amazes me that such crimes against humanity can continue for so long, and the vast majority of the public (myself included) can live in such total ignorance. This blog was not created with the intention of being a social or political platform, just a place to talk about silly, frivolous things that make me happy. 

Rest assured, this does not make me happy. However, websites such as Klout inform me I have quite a substantial amount of online influence, and in particular an engaged audience.  Please engage with this.

If you could take half an hour out of your day to watch this video, and do what you can to share it, well then that would be just wonderful. 


I have read so much about the many problems of the internet, and the negative effect it has had upon our generation. Sometimes I'm inclined to agree - dreadful attention spans, a total inability to entertain ourselves without technology, and a loss of the distinction between social networking and actual socialisation; these are traits I notice amongst my peers and myself, and more so among my younger siblings' friends. However, we are the first generation who can really keep this in the public awareness, if our attention spans can hack it, (already #KONY2012 has stopped trending on Twitter, to be replaced by the admirable cause #youowemehead), and that could just make all the difference. Let's please try and use social media to raise awareness, which will hopefully instigate change.


I'm not going to tell you what cause you should be fighting for, frankly it's not my place. But if this is for you, then the youtube video has links to all the ways in which you can make a difference; mostly awareness-raising and an online petition. And maybe see some of you at Cover the Night, Manchester. 

Thanks guys,

Mona.

A LITTLE BIT 90'S

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Today was honestly a case of grabbing clothes and chucking them on, without much thought of the finished outfit. The result..? I'd say one part 90's Grunge to one part Full-On Hobo. But actually, I'm kind of diggin' it to be honest. 

Sunglasses - ASOS; Leather Jacket - Zara; T-Shirt - Daydreamer LA at Urban Outfitters; Dress - Topshop; Shoes - Converse; Rucksack - Topshop
Not exactly flattering, but quite functional. It seems to be one of those opinion-dividing outfits. Two girls told me they liked my look (the ultimate compliment), where as Miss B keeps telling me that I look like a hobo (she lacks appreciation for the homeless woman aesthetic. I counteract this by having it in abundance).

The shoes I continue to wear stubbornly, despite the fact that they're actually a size too small and make my feet bleed (I got them from the child's department when I was working in Russell and Bromley, with the staff discount I got them for just over £15!). I tried to stretch them out, but the only effect it has was to make loads of the sequins fall off. Bumout.

To complete the 90's throwback, I rediscovered the joy that is Double Dip today. Verdict? The cherry sherbert is amazing - the orange leaves somewhat to be desired.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks so much to all my followers, I can't believe I've crossed the 100 mark! I'll get my arse in gear very soon and organise a giveaway to show my appreciation to y'all for reading this rubbish.

Mona.

EASY PEASY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Monday, 5 March 2012

[Note: Does not contain peas]

This is easy to make and totally delicious. Whipped up this afternoon for a friend's birthday tonight, this is a firm favourite in the flat, and is also perfect for satiating the monsterous 'Time of the Month' beast whenever it rears its ugly head.


Ingredients:

Cake:
175g self-raising flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
150ml sunflower oil
150ml semi-skimmed milk
2tbsp cocoa powder
2tbsp golden syrup

Icing:
150g unsalted butter
350g icing sugar
6tbsp cocoa powder
a drop of milk

Method:

I'm super-lazy with this one. Using sunflower oil removes the "is the butter soft enough" stress from baking, so feel free to whack all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Line and grease two round 9" cake tins, and put in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for 18 minutes. Remove cakes, and place on wire rack to cool.

In a smaller mixing bowl, cream the butter until... creamy..? Add the cocoa powder and icing sugar in small amounts, adding a drop of milk whenever it becomes too dry.

When the cake is cool, ice away, and decorate however you see fit. I chose Smarties today. Om nom nom. 

In other news, some of you have recently been bored kind enough to take interest in my romantic endeavours with a boy, who I have ceremoniously dubbed "the boy" for the purposes of this blog. If you would like to hear about how I failed to woo him with my crap cooking skills, check out my flatmate Miss B's blog post (some people don't embarrass themselves that regularly, so they write about me embarrassing myself instead. Nice, huh?).

I hope you all had wonderful weekends. Needless to say I'm feeling particularly bitter about those of you who had sunshine. 

Mona.
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