Saturday, 14 December 2013

London at Xmas Time

Had a lovely catch up at Le Pain Quotidien in Covent Garden today with some good friends today. It was needed after a really difficult week. Here are some pictures from my day out.
*click on the photos to view them in full!

Our Makeup and Photoshoot in London

Bonjour à tous, I hope that you are having a lovely weekend. Today I had a whirlwind of a day in Covent Garden in London as my friend as I went to have a makeover and a photo-shoot done. This was at ENVY salon on Row Street, Covent Garden. Before they got started, we had to pick out a list what style of hair and makeup we'd like. I went for smoky and sultry, my friend, natural and glowing. We had to bring some outfits with us and I decided on my Graduation dress and another favourite dress of mine.
We had our nails, makeup and hair done by some professional makeup artists which was amazing and then ushered into another room where we had the photographs taken. It was a really fun day with a friend and is perfect for Birthday ideas to surprise someone. We wanted to take some after the photo-shoot as well as we weren't able to buy all of the photos, but we did get these 3, and the two others are from the rest of the day to show off the smoky makeup look! Please let me know what you think!
black and white
clare and sophie edited

Why Success Can Sometimes Be Our Worst Eneny

If any of you have seen the film 'The Devil Wears Prada' starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, I'm sure the first thing that comes into your mind is Fashion, Magazine or New York. However, after watching the film for the second time last night and also being much older than the first time I watched it, I realised how significant the storyline is to our lives in the adult working world and the long-term effects it can have on the people around us.
Side-by-sideAndrea, before and after her transformation
For those of you who haven't seen 'The Devil Wears Prada', it relates the story of a twenty-something budding journalist, Andrea, who wants to be a writer but ends up applying for a job as the assistant to the Editor in Chief of America's number one fashion magazine, 'Runway'. This job changes her and in turn, changes the relationships she has with everyone around her including her long-term boyfriend. The constant battle Andrea faces is whether these changes are happening because she can't control the demands of her job or on the other hand, if she's not decided to quit the job, then surely it's her choice towards her change in direction. Either way, the fast pace of her job, means that she barely has any time to realise what is going on and how to stop it.
This film got me thinking about jobs and life and about how each job that we take on, also bears the responsibility of a certain lifestyle and also a certain identity.
The importance of our careers can force us to question our morals and our commitments - for example in the film, Andrea ends up missing her boyfriend's birthday celebration because she has to work late; she betrays her rival work colleague by taking her place on a trip that her colleague has been so excited about for years, so much so that she starves herself on a diet just to look 'good' for it, and after all the stress of her deteriorating relationship, she sleeps with a sexually-persistent famous writer of whom she needed a favour from for her boss. This film shows that people are willing to do a lot for their job, so much so that it its importance is placed above anything else.
The glamour and importance of her place at Runway meant that there was no time for 'downtime'. No time for relaxing, no time for laughing or having fun. The only fun she was having was when people were telling her how brilliant she looked after she dropped a dress size, or when her Boss made the effort to call her by her real name rather than the ex-Assistant's name. This quickly separates her from everyone else in the world who is not involved in the Fashion world such as her best friends in New York, but also shows that it will be very difficult for Andrea to ever reach out to anyone who is not part of the same niche as she is. What's more, she wouldn't have time to do that, and probably wouldn't care as she is so involved in her career. From the day she started working there, she has been moulded into a specific kind of person to meet the requirements of her position, and almost a product of her surroundings. This therefore changes her and destroys the relationships she has with other people.
Obviously this does not apply to every job out there, but I think it's important to consider the social lifestyles that are involved with particular jobs and whether they are worth it in the long-run. Committing yourself to an intense career, means that you are likely to change. I know people who have been constantly pestered for modelling opportunities but feel that the competitive and heated atmosphere involved is not something they'd agree with. I also know people who would give anything to work in the Fashion industry even if they feel they might have to sell their soul to the devil to get ahead in life, because they want it that badly.
I guess this also opens up the question of whether these commitments can stem from a greed for money and how someone deals with the confidence boost that affects your ego. Working in a big business feels good. You feel like you've been accepted amongst other people who are important for the job, the company needs your skills and your hard work on a daily basis in order for the business to strive. Why on earth wouldn't you feel good? And I'm sure if you're getting along well with the Boss that you'll receive a gold star from your ego too. Flying high on the career train changes your perspective on things. What once seemed an achievement, now seems insignificant. What once seemed like fun, now seems boring and dissatisfying.
"The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure."
- Sigmund Freud
This quote by Freud shows how our ego can sometimes work against us in difficult situations. When given the choice to defend the ego through our current commitments or delve into opportunities that were to damage our egos, then most of the time we'd stick to the option which satisfies our ego the most, even if it means losing important parts of our lives. As the old saying goes: It's sad but it's true. Buddhists believed that the 'ego-self' that we cling to is the root of most of our problems. Yet, our ego is what drives us forward in life and everything else along the way are just counterparts. Is this selfish thinking? Why, of course. But that's why sometimes people need a reality check. Much like Andrea, who ended up leaving the job at Runway after she realised that her efforts were not fully appreciated and that she didn't like the person who she'd become.

Feeling Hungry?

Ever since I can remember, I have always loved food. And when I say love, I really mean love. Everyone around me, friends and family know this of me too. When I was about 13/14 I became interested in nutrition, good food and eating well and it became a big part of my life since. I am not a fan of fast food - do I really need to explain why? But try and get me to stop myself from eating a piece or two of your chocolate cake, a good pasta dish or a freshly well-made pizza and I assure you, that you will have a hard time whilst I rip it out of your hands before you can speak.

Here is a non-cringy photo of me through the years with the 'love of my life'. This took a lot for me to put this up!
Although I would class myself as a food addict, (and I know my mother sure would too), I love to eat healthy food as much as I can without the sneaky odd chocolate bars or chocolate digestive biscuits. To my peers, I am known as the cringy one who has a better relationship with my Instagram account than real people and so I thought I would show you some of my meals if you are conscious of what you eat for inspiration during this cold winter. If you are here from NZ or Aus, then you can chuckle to yourself, celebrate your warm weather and go for a run without your nose or ears going numb.
Perhaps the number of these photos will illustrate the extent of my love. Please leave a suggestion if you'd like any recipes or tips for any of these meals, some are already listed on the website. Happy nomming!
Take a look and follow me on Instagram: BelleJeunesse on Instagram
1. Porridge
Porridge2. Fruit with Natural Low-Fat Yoghurt
Fruit with Yog3. Eggs with just about anything, mostly toast, low-salt bacon and lower in fat sausages, and smoked salmon.
Eggs4.  Salmon - cooked or smoked
salmon5. Seafood
6. Chicken with Veg, Chicken with Rice, Chicken with Sweet Potato
chicken7. Wraps and Salads
wraps and salads8. And all the desserts along the way! This would not be a true representation without them!Desserts

Nominated for the Sunshine Award

Well hello there. I'm very happy to announce that I received a message from CityMermaid at saying that I have been nominated for the Sunshine Award. The Sunshine Award is an award for bloggers who 'positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.'  Shucks, I'm honoured if you think that!

As we have to pass this award on, I will need to start choosing my winner and my nominees.
However! First I have some questions to answer that CityMermaid has listed for all her nominees.
Here are her questions:
  1. What/who is your inspiration?
    My inspiration comes firstly from all of the other bloggers out there who put in so much time and effort to their sites. However, I am also really inspired by all the latest trends, at the moment, all of the new Online Shopping Sites like, and ohmylove London. They seem to have the coolest website designs right now. 
  2. Coffee or Tea?
    I much prefer tea because coffee to me is like heroin to a drug addict. I'm all over the place and my body wants more of it. 
  3. Favorite Song at the moment?
    Favourite song at the moment is probably Gaga's new song Venus.
  4. Favorite blogs?
    My favourite blogs are LiterallyDarling (they are amazing), Vivianna Does Makeup, JoytheBaker, TheBakingBiatch, Lily Pebbles, FitSugar, Bakerella, ThugKitchen (has to be the coolest idea)
  5. Where do you hope to see your blog in a year?
    I've always wanted my blog to inspire others so I hope that a year from now that people will be visiting it regularly and that it will be somewhere where people can learn some interesting things about other people and the way I see the world. 
  6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
    I have dreams as everyone does. Right now, I'll say New York or Paris. But for now I'm happy living in London.
  7. Where do you do most of your online shopping?
    I usually check out MissGuided, ILoveMyBag, DaisyStreet, ForeverUnique, Motel, MissSelfrige, Boohoo and Little Mistress.
  8. Lipstick, lipgloss or lip balm?
    Lipstick all the way. 
  9. Favourite skincare product?
    I have really sensitive skin so the less I use on my skin the better. It seems that if I don't use skincare products/foundation, then my skin is nice to me. However, from what I have tried and tested, TheBodyShop never goes wrong with their TeaTreeOil Range, Nivea has beautiful, light day cream with SPF 15 protection included and also Nivea do a tinted moisturiser as well which is great.
  10. Favorite makeup brand?
    Can anyone choose just one! At the moment, I really like NARS & Chanel for the more expensive choices and Maybelline or Rimmel always have great essentials too. 
  11. Favorite hair mask?
    My favourite hair mask is the Moroccan Oil hair mask.

Original Mississipi Mud Pie

Say hello to my little friend. The Mississipi Mud Pie. This has got to be THE most moreish creation that I have ever tasted. When I was 7 years old, my aunt and cousins showed me this recipe and this is all I have left of what I remember of it. It is extremely easy to make and is brilliant if you have children and want to make something simple with them. It takes less time than a cake as there is no baking involved. You simply leave each layer to set in the freezer for 15 minutes each time.
Serves: 10-12-15 as a small piece is filling enough (Party size)
Preparation time: 15 - 20 Minutes
Chilling time: 15 Minutes for each layer = 45 minutes
You Will Need:
MSMP Ingredients
DSC_06741. Place all the cookies in a bowl or a plastic sealed bag and smash until all the cookies are as crushed as they can be to form the base.
DSC_06802. Soften the butter in the microwave until it is completely runny and pour into the mix, if you feel it is not enough butter you can add a bit more.
Mix it in until it is completely stirred through.
DSC_06853. When the butter is all mixed in like this, take any tray or dish and start to layer the bottom of it with the biscuit mix.
Smoothing it round with a spoon will really help. Try to make sure there are no gaps.
DSC_06964. This is what it should look like when the mix is all pressed down for the base. Place this in the freezer or the fridge for 15 Minutes.
DSC_06975. Break up the pieces of chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
DSC_06996. Get some hot water boiling and pour in a cooking pot about half way in. Place the chocolate bowl on top and wait to melt and stir.
DSC_07137. When the chocolate is completely melted through, take the base out of the freezer and pour the chocolate on top.
Then put in the freezer to set for 15 minutes again.
DSC_07288. Do exactly the same with the marshmallows and add the condensed milk. These will take a bit longer than the chocolate to melt.
When it has melted, pour the next layer over the biscuit and chocolate and leave in the freezer for another 10-15 minutes.
DSC_07599. This is straight after it has come out the freezer and I have decorated it. Leave to melt a little, which makes it easier to cut into.
Bon Appetite!

Meet Lil'Bub

Whether you are a proclaimed 'Cat' person or 'Dog' person or 'Horse Maniac', nothing will prevent your heart from melting at the sight of this cat. Meet Lil Bub. She is currently the world's most famous cat who shot to fame after her owner started posting photographs of her on the social website Tumblr. As you can obviously tell, Bub is not like most other cats. She was born with osteopetrosis, dwarfism and her short lower jaw means that her tongue hangs out.
Because of her osteopetrosis, her little leg bones are curved and disjointed, (unlike normal straight cat bones) making it hard for her to walk. For this reason, her owner carries her on his back and she is happy to be carried around in public. She is in fact very healthy despite her disabilities and takes medication to help the pain of her arthritis.
Mike Bridavksy offered to take Bub after a family found a litter of kittens in their shed. It was obvious from birth that she struggled compared to the others. Now Bub has been on TV with interviews on 'Good Morning America','The View', she has her own Documentary on VICE: 'Lil Bub and Friendz', her own website and is now  the star of her own show Lil BUB’s Big SHOW  which features an appearance from Whoopi Goldberg.
Check out the trailer for her documentary here:
Or her documentary on VICE: Lil Bub and Friendz Part 1

Interview with Abercrombie and Fitch Model

I'm sure you've heard of the name along with many other leading Designer brands like Ralph Lauren or Lacoste: Abercrombie and Fitch is one of the biggest names in retail also owning Hollister and Gilly Hicks. Originally an elite outfitter for expensive shotguns and fishing rods, A&F currently brands itself on the 'All-American' 18-22 year old Natural and Youthful Beauty that promotes luxury casual and outdoor wear. However, the store has been attacked for often displaying their clothes on semi-nude models, usually showing off a very muscular man and slim and tall women in a sensual pose that is then photographed, framed and hung in every store.  Despite the company's phenomenal success, it has come under fire on numerous occasions: A&F have been accused of promoting the sexualization of pre-teen girls by marketing thongs to 10-year-olds and padded bikini tops to 7-year-olds, in 2004, the company was sued for giving desirable positions to white applicants and in 2011, the Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism started an investigation into A&F's hiring and remuneration policies. It was suspected that they only hire staff under 25 years old, making heavy demands on the physical appearance of its staff and rewarding a premium to male models that work shirtless. If you didn't already know, the start of Abercrombie and Fitch's shopping experience is the opportunity to have your photo taken with an attractive male model at the front of the shop. However, the latest outrage at the brands' ideals and policies was when the CEO, Mike Jeffries said:
" In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.’”
However, despite these controversial issues, A&F have not been affected by the thousands of fans who visit every single day to see what the shop is all about and the brand still continues to produce good-quality and attractive clothing.
They have two types of staff - the Models (not Photographic models, who are  Sales Assistants and who model the different outfits throughout the store) and the Visual Assistants who help with the stock and the presentation of the Store. I caught up with one of Abercrombie's models to see what all the hype is about.
Kinga1Kinga Odor, Second-Year French with English Student at Kings, Works at A&F. Oh, and might I mention, full-time Cutie Pie too.

How long have you been working at Abercrombie and Fitch?
I think I've been working there almost a year and a half now.
So you're a 'Model' at Abercrombie, what does that mean?
That basically means that  we have to wear the clothes and that we represent the brand.
You're almost like a walking mannequin then? (laughs)
Yeh! Kinda. But that doesn't mean that you have to be a real model. They expect us to be really, really, really friendly to customers. We have to be extremely nice and chat to them. We want every customer to feel that they have been acknowledged and feel welcome in the shop. We have to greet every single customer and say "Hey, How's it going?", it's something that they want us to do to everyone to show good customer service. But I find that a lot of people don't like it.
Why is that?
Because if people want to go shopping by themselves or with friends, they want to be left alone and sometimes you don't need help at all. If you do, you would just go and ask. Some people are like "Yes, I'm fine",  "Just leave me alone" or "Give me some space" and you have to respect that.
Is there anything that you're expected do other than greeting the customers?Everything that comes with clothes shopping  - we help them with the sizes, we call the stock room if the items aren't there. The shop is pretty large and dark, so for some people it bothers them. Sometimes, when we don't have enough cashiers, they ask us to step in.
With the brand being so popular and being an All-American Brand, what kind of reaction do you get from the customers? I'm sure some of them are very excited.Oh yeh! You wouldn't believe how some people are. Especially young girls, like the 11-14 year olds who are so excited and happy to be there. They have a photo for a shirtless guy and it seems like it's the best thing in the world for them. At the same time, there are some people who seem rather disappointed. I remember I had this old lady about a year ago. I think it was a Saturday because the store was really busy. She was freaking out and she came to me and she was like: "How do you get out of this terrible place, oh my god it's like being in Hell. Please help me."
And she was genuinely frightened and shocked because of the loud music and the crowd. I could see the fear in her face. A lot of people complain about the loud music and because it's dark.
Why do you have the darkness in the shop?
I'm not sure, I think it's to give the idea that you're in a club. Because we have the loud music, it seems like you're at a night club. They want to be unique as well, for example with the perfume that has to be sprayed on all the clothes.
What's been the most stressful day at work.
It was last summer during the Olympics. It was crazy. I was working pretty much every day. For a lot of tourists, Abercrombie is an icon and they want to see it alongside Big Ben and they want to take photos but they're not allowed.
Are you a big Abercrombie fan yourself or do you just enjoy working there?
Well to be perfectly honest, since we don't have A&F in Hungary which is where I'm from, I hadn't really heard of it before. When I came here I had a Hungarian friend and she told me about the store and I had no idea about it but I desperately needed a job. I went in and asked for an interview and I was really lucky as my problems were solved in terms of finding a job. The clothes are expensive but they are good quality.
Do you have a lot of friends there? What are the benefits of working there?
I've been really lucky with making friends at work. One of the benefits is that most of the people are my age and they are all so nice. First I was really, really anxious, especially when I did the training. I don't know why I was so scared because everyone turned out to be so nice. I have friends from Germany, the States, Australia, Italy and France. They have the Abercrombie Parties, sometimes they have them with Hollister as well. I don't really go because I'm not much of a clubber but I've heard they're really good. I did go once and it was an awesome night with free drinks and a great DJ.
What do you think of the idea of queuing outside for a photo of a shirtless man? Are you friends with any of them?
At the end of the day when you think about, that shirtless guy is someone like you. These young girls treat him like he's god. I think it's funny.
Do you have an idea about the type of job you want for the future? Does working at Abercrombie make you want to continue in retail?I don't see myself working in retail, that's for sure. But, I think it will help me with the fact that I have experience and my level of organisation. I don't know what I'll do in the future but at the moment it's perfect for me and it's flexible. I don't see myself doing this for a long time though, maybe for 2 or 3 years and then sadly say goodbye to Abercrombie.

Did you hear about the comment that the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch made about his customers and the type of people wearing his clothes? How does that make you feel about working for his company?
To be  honest, it makes me feel really sad. Because by working for the company, it looks as if I support what he's saying when I don't. I'm really grateful for the work, but at the same time if a smaller and larger lady comes to me and asks for an XL, I have to say I'm so sorry but large is the largest size we have in the store. You can see how sad they are and I just feel so bad, it's the worst feeling the world. I feel like I'm hurting their feelings. People have been asking me what I think about this policy. But I cannot really criticise it at the same time because I'm working there.
In three words, what comes to mind when you think of A&F?
Fierce, fun and boredom. Fierce is the name of the fragrance. When I come home, all of my clothes smell of it and after a year and a half I'm sick of the smell. Fun is because I really enjoy my time at work when my friends are there. We secretly meet up sometimes, until the manager comes.. And the third one is boredom because there are some mornings when the store is empty. I have a rule that I cannot check the time but our new role says that we cannot have our phone so I can't check the time now anyway.

Outfit Post October 2013

Hello to all you Fashionistas out there. I wanted to show you my favourite new outfit that I bought recently from their new A/W line. I don't usually shop at Miss Selfridge as I find that their clothes are sometimes a bit extravagant, whereas I prefer more simple but bold designs personally. I wanted to find a smart and classy 'go-to' outfit for any important events and was so pleased to find so many different things to choose from with their 20% off Student Discount. I've always been a girl for fitted pencil skirts as I have quite an hourglass shape and they compliment a curvier shape. If I don't wear something fitted, I look about 10 sizes bigger so outfit shopping can sometimes be a bit of a mare!
Here's a some links to some of their best clothes this season.

miss selfridge outfitIf you'd like to take a look at my outfit online, here are the links:

Interview with Tracy Cheon: Fine Art Student

Last weekend I was lucky to catch up with Tracy Cheon to talk about her art work and her plans for the future. Originally from Korea, but with an upbringing in the U.S, Tracy's Artwork clearly shows the influence from the changes to her surroundings and the impact that it has had on the questioning of her own identity. Her work features a lot of sketching of the female form, Self-Portraiture, a vast range of mediums and different applications, Acrylic, Black Ink, Collage work on a large scale and her recent love for Self-Portraiture Photography.
Tracy's Workmiddle: Explosion, 2012
Tracy's Artwork 2(Left: Suffocation from Memories, 2013) *All photos displayed here are from Tracy's Intuart Facebook Page.

At what age did you start to draw and paint?
The very first time I started to draw was when I was very, very young, I was about four. I was in Kindergarden, (she laughs) or a Daycare Center and I had this friend who was so amazing at drawing and I wanted to have that skill. She was drawing a girl with a pretty dress with pink crayons and I can remember thinking "I wanna do that!".  I would mimic stuff from other people such as the way they draw or the way they handle their crayons.
Was Art an instantaneous satisfaction or did it take a while before you decided that it was something you wanted to pursue?
I didn't really think of that - I just enjoyed every moment that I was drawing and  I decided that was all I wanted to do. I didn't really have any thoughts about whether it was something that I liked to do. If the pencil and paper was there, I would throw myself into it and nothing could distract me.
Did you have any other ideas of what you wanted to do as a career or was it always Art?
It was always Art. Since Elementary school it has always been Art. It might have steered in other directions because I wanted to be famous or some shallow reason like I wanted to become a Singer even though I was not even good at Singing. Even though these jobs seemed like a cool idea, it never changed what I wanted to do.
What purpose does Art give you?
Art releases all the stress and other junk thoughts that would consume me in a negative way and it's something that I can be completely focused on for a long time without feeling any pain. At school, I would listen to teachers in class, solving Maths problems which was painful for me because it was something that I didn't enjoy. Art was something that I could go to when I was having a bad day. It was therapeutic and meditating for me to express and cope with my feelings. It would be shown on the paper - even though it didn't mean much to other people, it meant so much to me and I would be falling in love with those works.
Do you prefer Modern or Classical Art
I like Modern Art more than Classical Art, however I do value the skill that comes from Classical Art. It's part of history that in order to have Modern Art, we had to value Classical Art. I think every single subject of Art has a different level of importance - it has a lot to do with the time and the audience.
If you could describe your Art in three words, what would they be?
Thoughts, feeling and action.
Out of all of your emotions, which one influences you the most towards producing Art?
All of my negative emotions.
What are your goals for the future with your Art?
I wish I had specific goals that I wanted to achieve, but every time I make certain goals, they never turn out the way it's planned to be. Often it turns out to be something completely random from the original idea so I don't want to have goals anymore, because I get frustrated if they don't turn out the right way. The only thing I can control is the way I think and the way I draw things. An everyday goal for me would be trying to be neutral and non-judgemental.
If you were an outsider, what themes would you extract from your own work?
I know a lot of other artists know what they are interested in, some people like Environments, some people like Politics, for me it's more about myself and how I feel. I want to know more about my mentality and my thoughts - just noticing how I think about certain things is so important to me. For example, if I feel frustrated or depressed, just the fact that I notice that I feel these things itself is already such a big thing. So many people just complain about how they feel but I really try to ask myself how am I going to use these thoughts. I just wanna cherish them and get something out of it. That's why my Artwork gives the sense that it's all about me. I'm interested in the way my brain works and my mental state of mind.
Where do you you get a lot of influence?
It can be from anything - nature, trees, parks or a pretty flower. It doesn't have any limit to it because it depends on how I feel. When I get depressed, I can get inspired just by random colours. Going to galleries such as the ones in London definitely helps though. It definitely improves the way I think about Art.
Do you have any favourite artists that you always look back to?
I would say Picasso - he is just so brilliant and so amazing. A lot of people would say that because he is a symbol of Art. He said that "I spent 8 years of my life training myself to master the skills needed to draw a child." We're growing older and we become arrogant because the more we know, the more we think we know too. Just because you're good at something, doesn't mean you should stop and don't have anything to improve on.
Do you have a favourite medium?
Acrylic Paint. Because it's easy to work with, it has some really pretty colours and it has a limit to its texture. I like Etching and drawing with Pencil and Chalk too.
What is it that drives your Art? There seems to be a link with exploring Self-Identity?
Yes definitely. I think that's a journey for everyone to see who we are and create who we are every day. But at the same time, we can't be ourselves today without our history. My history has definitely built up my identity and what has hurt me in the past has taught me to become a stronger version of myself and to put that in to my Art.
Aside from Picasso, what is your favourite Art Movement?
I love Cubism. I definitely like Abstract work and Expression also. Surrealism too. But it's more abstract work for me now. University has changed me so much. In a way that Still-Life is not everything - they taught me about the unlimited size of the work and the texture , how different it can be and the the different ways you can present it.
Your work features a lot of Portraiture, what is your attraction to the human form and faces?
I'm a big fan of Body Building and Fitness, and I feel that the female figure is the most beautiful thing in the world. We were all created differently and in our own unique way. Our mentality has such a strong connection to our physicality. Our level of health is linked to our physique. So the healthier you are the, the healthier your mentality will be.
Check out and Like Tracy's Artwork on her Facebook Page
Or her Youtube Channel

Friday, 13 December 2013

Meeting Sir Trever Mcdonald at Kingston University

I have just come back from what I can easily say was an absolutely superb evening at Kingston University to hear a talk by Sir Trevor McDonald, who is the ITN News' first Black News Presenter and also an astounding Journalist, hosted by KU Talent at the University's Penrhyn Road Campus.
The plans for this event began at 2.30am this morning when my housemate was locked out of the house after she forgot to let us know she would be out late and therefore not lock the door. Whilst half asleep, she explains to me that she'd won a competition to meet Sir Trevor McDonald and wanted to invite me to be her "plus one". "Oh and wear something good for the cameras" she added. With a 6.3oam wake up call for my French Oral class at 9am in London, the idea of having to go straight from a 5pm finish to an event where I needed to look great in front of a camera or perhaps meet a very important person didn't seem so great to me. However, I made the effort to ensure that I was wearing something nice and that I arrived on time and in good spirits.
It turned out that my housemate was in fact a VIP to this event. She and I (although apparently I wasn't supposed to be) were sat on the front row in direct view with Sir Trevor and had the best seats in the auditorium. To enter the competition, my housemate and 600 other applicants submitted their own questions that would potentially be addressed to Sir Trevor at the end of his talk by the student who wrote their own question. My housemate's question earned her this reward and so we took this privilege to the full (amongst 300 others) by really engaging with Trevor's stories and taking away as much advice as we could.
The first thing I noticed about Sir Trevor, was the immediate connection he made with his audience through his witty and funny remarks about himself that brought him down to a level that dissolved any negative connotations surrounding his position as someone superior or famous. Throughout his talk, he explained some really fascinating stories about his initial expectations whilst travelling and interviewing important people such as Saddam Hussain, George Bush, Nelson Mandela and how these findings have shaped the way he sees the world today. A significant point he made to the big crowd of young people sat in front of him, was that when you are young, you think you know everything and you'll only be surprised at how things do not always turn how you'd expect. Do not pre-judge anything beforehand.
His advice was incredibly inspirational - so much so that on several occasions, I almost stood up, put my hands in the air and burst into a Gospel Choir number and shouted AMEN. My favourite piece of his advice was that "you should never listen to anyone who tells you that you can't do something. If people have their own limits, do not let them project it on to you. You can achieve anything in life through hard work and commitment. Do it."
Another point I found very interesting was his opinion on Britain's attitude towards change and progress. He explained that in America, they have a very ''can-do" attitude, always focusing on the positive and really believing that they can make things happen. Whereas, in the U.K we still lack the motivation perhaps, to take risks and get things done.
After he finished answering the winners' questions, we were led to a room where we had some drinks and food and were able to chat with Sir Trevor and have some photographs with the professional photographer. I realised when in the same room with him that I have a thing with celebrities or famous people where  I don't like to get too cosy with them (as I'm sure most would) as it takes away the magic of their identity and their professionalism. I prefer to just admire and respect them from afar, like a committed band-lover or theatre-goer. Or maybe it's because I feel I wouldn't have anything interesting to say to them and feel a bit overwhelmed by their prescence. Either way, just to be amongst the company of a truly inspirational, iconic and kind man was such a privilege and a real treat. Well done to KU Talent for producing a lovely evening that ran so smoothly and I hope there will be more to come.

Here's Sir Trevor on This Morning speaking about his documentary on Death Row

My 20th Birthday and Beauty Product Review

The 15th of this month marked the day that I would no longer be a teenager. With so much going on at the time, I was worried that it would go by unnoticed. But to my surprise, and thanks to my nearest and dearest, it turned out to be the best birthday I could have ever wished for.
Surrounded by my Mum, my Boyfriend and my Best Friend (also my housemate and a close family friend) I opened cards from my family and read all the lovely and touching messages. Unfortunately my dad couldn't join us as he was working abroad. However, the present opening was followed by lunch with up to 18 members of my family and then a return back to my house to eat all of the delicious cakes that my mum and I had baked.  Growing up in the UAE, meant that I didn't get to see as much of my family back in the U.K, so it was a really special day for me, especially as some had travelled to be there. I wanted to show you some pics from the day and also review some of the gifts that I've been desperate to try out.
This is the vintage Cath Kidston tea-set that my mum gave me. It came with the tea pot, 2 mugs, 2 bowls and a saucer
for milk. I absolutely love vintage chinaware and looked at getting the Royal Albert sets but absolutely love these too.
Let me introduce to you the best fragrance in the whole world. Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle has forever been my ultimate perfume.
My other favourites have been Gucci's Flora, Juicy Couture, Vera Wang's Princess and YSL's BabyDoll. When given the
chance to pick a perfume as a gift and after seriously considering the best value for money, my confidence certainly lay with Chanel.
The two items I bought were the Body crème, not the Body Lotion and the Eau de Toilette Spray. The Body crème was around £12 more expensive than than the Body Lotion but the concentration is significantly higher which means that the fragrance stays on the body for a long time and you therefore do not need to use so much of the perfume spray. It was not oily, but soft and easy to apply.
It soaks in immediately to the skin and the smell lasts all day long.
For the spray, I needed to choose between the Eau de parfum and the Eau de Toilette. The Eau de parfum which is the strong perfume, was around £15 more expensive than the Eau de Toilette spray.
The Eau de Toilette is a lighter liquid which combines perfectly with the body crème when it is applied to the body beforehand as a base. Without the body crème, I would worry that the fragrance would not last very long and so I would recommend getting the same duo as I have or buying the Eau de Parfum alone.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Body Crème - 5/5
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Toilette Spray - 4.5/5
My second collection to review is this trio of BarryM nail polish which were priced at 3  for the price of 2.
BarryM are notorious for their fabulous, bright and bold colours which are always on trend. They also have a great selection of glitter polishes that you can add to a favourite colour.  I decided to buy these three colours.
The third item on the right is from the new Gelly Hi-Shine collection at BarryM and I was keen to see how well
it applied to the nail and how long it took to dry. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed. I applied the Gelly Hi-Shine colour first and found that
it didn't apply easily to the nail, coming out a bit sticky and finding that the first coat was almost transparent. After doing a second coat, I found that it took ages to dry and smudged which showed that the polish was very thick.
I then tried the teal metallic colour (first left) and found this applied more smoothly but again the colour was not as matte as I would have liked. It did look great with the glitter coat on top and I had no problem with that.
I decided to take off the Mint colour and re-apply it. I found that it worked better with lighter applications but maybe up to 3 coats. The colour was excellent, and it got lots of thumbs up from family and friends.
Gelly Hi-Shine Mint Colour Polish - 4/5
Teal Metallic Colour Polish - 3.5/5
Glitter Nail Paint - 3.5/5