Sunday, 29 September 2013

Links à la Mode: 26th September '13

I'm a bit late with LALM this week because I was completely unable to find the post, so I suspect it doesn't exist? I went to a party last night - I usually hate parties, because it's nice being able to hear my own thoughts in my head - but this one was fun because I knew most of the people there. After serenading Taylor Swift's Fifteen to my friend (who hates Taylor Swift) before leaving at 10pm (my bedtime) I am happy to announce that this morning my voice has fully returned!



Cozy Up

For all the talk about when autumn is officially here, there are two real things that christen the season for me: 1. turning the heater on and 2. getting a cold. Since both those things happened this week, it's super official. What does that mean? Time to cozy on up! Cozy up with what you ask? A good book? Your blogs? That snuggly sweater you invested in for the season? Why not all of the above? This week we've got the perfect round of links for an autumn afternoon, one blogger shares her experience braving the crowds for the 3.1 Philip Lim for Target collab (did I say BRAVE?) another shares what she learned from NYFW, and we finally get the answers to whether it's "plaid" or "tartan"... Lord knows we wouldn't want a clash of the tartans!

Links a la Mode: The IFB Weekly Roundup

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Brain Matters: Adventures of a Brain Surgeon

Katrina S. Firlik, 2006

"Controlled trauma" - a deceptively simple phrase which encapsulates what surgery really is. American neurosurgeon Katrina S. Firlik begins her book by assessing the accuracy of the similes used to describe the texture and the feel of brain. Toothpaste? Tofu? I, and most of her readers, will never know from experience, but through her lucid and insightful account of her seven-year residency, we can take an exclusive peek into the reality of her profession.

I actually want to be a dentist. Looking for something intelligent to read, I found myself in the health section of the library, quite sure that I would find nothing teeth-related. I was right, but brains are interesting too. On the back of this book is a picture of a young woman in scrubs holding a file and a cup of coffee. Her eyes are bright, and her smile is quietly confident. I took the book home and was immersed in neurosurgery's front line.

To me, this book is valuable because it's shown me the kind of person it takes to succeed in such a demanding career dominated by men. I already have a lot of respect for those willing to devote their youth to medical and surgical training, and Firlik just leaves me in awe by her commitment, compassion and acceptance of tragedy.

The last chapter is quite weird, different to the rest of the book. Firlik imagines a scene in the future, where the patient is really a "client" looking for a "brainlift". Scientifically realistic? One day, maybe. But a more immediate warning to British readers may lie in seeing the way USA's healthcare system works. It's all about the insurance. Is that what the NHS is going to end up like?

Conversational but informative, her writing is so easy to read, I'm confident to say that Brain Matters can and should be read by everyone, whatever you want to be.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


I don't mean the overpowered ones from League of Legends.

Inspired by Kate Gabrielle's minion-themed outfit, I think it would be adorable to do some casual dressing-up on a daily basis. The only disadvantage is that, unlike Makise Kurisu and the X/Y Pokémon trainer, Despicable Me is far from obscure and you'll probably get some odd looks and small excited children pointing at you!

Kate Gabrille on LB

I found the pictures on this page absolutely hysterical, especially the Assassin's Creed and Minecraft ones.

By GoEndiku

Saturday, 21 September 2013

"Don't dream too far"

Suddenly the weather has become very warm! Summer's second wind? I didn't do anything today except go to orchestra and do grocery shopping. I hope you're having a more interesting weekend than me.
Cardi: mum's wardrobe
Necklace: DIY
Dress: M&S
Boots: Safiya, China

Don't dream too far
Don't lose sight of who you are
I'm Not That Girl, Wicked

Ambition is important. It's easier to work towards something if you have a sense of wanting to get somewhere in the first place. Once you get there, what do you do? Can you change your goal as easily as setting a destination on a sat nav? I don't see why not. We can chose to stand still, and we can choose to reach higher.

But I think it's more important to know yourself: know what you want, and why, and how far you will have to go to achieve your goals. You may have to do things you'd rather not, and make sacrifices, and you'll have to be realistic about whether you can take it.

Thursday, 19 September 2013


I'm always months, seasons, years late with fashion trends, but I remember the rise of capes coinciding with the new interest in all things Holmsian. While BBC Sherlock renounced his cape and deerstalker for more modern garb, I think there is something essentially stylish in the cape - the silhouette, the expanse of fabric, the billowiness.

Throw your cape over trousers and boots, or over a little dress. Try a dress or skirt with a pretty hemline - lace-lined or patterned - so it peeks demurely out from the bottom of the cape. Counter the largeness of the cape with skinny jeans and heeled boots.

You can give the deerstalker a miss... or not.

From Fashion Rat

Monday, 16 September 2013

Tartan ribbon shoelaces tutorial

When I first bought my Docs I contemplated changing the colour of the laces, just to be interesting. I considered red because that's the colour I wear most, but I found out that red laces used to mean to some people that the wearer had killed someone. Which is just not what I want.

I was shopping with my friends when we saw a newly-opened Doc Martens shop, so we went outside to goggle at the beautiful boots and not buy anything. But I didn't come out the doors with nothing. One of the boots on display was laced with tartan shoelaces. I love tartan. I love ribbons. Tartan ribbon shoelaces would be perfect for my boots!

Ribbon shoelaces are so easy to make and look awesome. Keep scrolling down to see them in my boots.

You will need:
  • tape measure
  • tartan ribbon, about 15mm wide
  • scissors
  • thread
  • clear nail polish

Before you embark on your ribbon-obtaining mission, first unlace the shoes you want your ribbon laces on and measure how long the original laces are with the tape measure. For my fourteen-eyelet boots I needed 4m of ribbon, so that's 2m for each boot. It was 45p/m from the haberdashery at my local indoor market.

Take a length of thread around 30cm long and fold it in half, then in half again. Roll up the end of one of your ribbons as tight as you can lengthways, ready to be wrapped into an aglet. Now follow the instructions from Ian's Shoelace Site to wrap the string around the end of the ribbon. At a glance it seems quite complicated but if you just read it and understand it, you'll have no problems at all. To keep the ribbon taut, pin down the other end of the ribbon under your knee.

Cut off your loose ends and trim the end of the ribbon if needed. Coat in a generous layer of the clear nail polish, and repeat the process on the other three ribbon ends. Once the nail polish has dried, the aglets will be quite hard, and it will become super easy to lace up your boots with them.

I really think the big bows look really cute, especially on my chunky, manly Doc Martens. I even picked a tartan design with a little yellow in it to match the Docs' trademark yellow stitching.

Friday, 13 September 2013

"You wear your best apology"

Collar: New Look
Jumper: New Look
Skirt: Next
Bag: 'Made in Italy'
Boots: Safiya

This look's kind of inspired by otome kei, which is like toned-down lolita without the petticoats and the definite rules.

Having nuked all my homework earlier in the week, I've just spent the last couple of hours filling up my Pokedex, and catching as many Axew and I encounter in the hope of finding an adamant or a jolly one. Gotta love dragon types.

This weekend I'm going to be checking out a uni I might want to go to. Maybe it will be the one for me? I've heard it's really lovely there so I've got high hopes.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Links à la Mode: 12th September '13

I've only been back at school for a week, and I'm already face-deep in homework. Maybe it's because I'm wasting too much time playing Pokemon? I would love to give you a rundown of my devastatingly boring life these past few days, but I need to practise Vivaldi and plan an essay on King Lear. Have a pleasant week.



September is always weird. The leaves start changing colours, thejumpers  and coats are in the stores, we’re back to school, summer’s over… but it’s still stupidly hot! I’ve always been so excited about fall, I’d be sweating in my boots, and wearing jumpers anyway. What a girl does for fashion, right? Well, this week, we have all kinds of transitional posts. Transitioning from teenager to adult, summer to fall, day to night, and the call for fashion week to transition to the next level. We also have a hilarious post about 20th century fashion as predicted in the 19th century, it’s so spot on – not. Either way, pull up a tall iced-tea (remember, it’s hot out!) and take a look through these links.

Links à la Mode: 12th September

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Autumn tartan

I am very happy to see lots of tartan in the shops right now. My sister's old school uniform skirt is wool and tartan so I have asked my mum to think about where it might be, as perhaps I might be able to wear it. I hope she remembers soon because I love getting new clothes without having to spend a penny.

Have you tried Tartan Monday yet? Because you've got no excuse.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pokémon pencil toppers

Oops - I have not been a very good blogger this week. It's because I started Pokémon White this week, which immediately takes up all of my free time, especially when a quiet-natured Solosis just refuses to appear. I'm sure my fellow Pokémon trainers can empathise. The rest of you, on the other hand, don't stand a chance.

Around three or four years ago, our local Farmfoods - now bust - sold Kinder Surprise eggs for a few weeks. The surprise was a super amazing Pokémon pencil topper. Seeing as there were twenty different ones and we got ten, not counting repeats, I think we did pretty well. I don't even want to know how many eggs we bought in total, but every time we went to town in that time, we bought about four.

The monster Pikachu isn't from one of the Kinder Eggs.
I do apologise for the dodgy camera-focussing, but as you can see, they're pretty detailed and well-made. Each is about 2cm tall.

Though I've picked grass-type starters before, I really forgot how hard the beginning of the game is with just a Snivy. The abundance of bugs and birds who would just love a tasty chunk of my poor Snivellus makes for a very stressful time. It's all good now because I have a Darumaka to incinerate anything Snivellus can't handle.

The newest addition to my permaparty is the hard-caught Solosis I mentioned earlier. I'm used to having a psychic Pokémon around, and when I finally caught a quiet one, I had to call it Mayushii. My Darumaka is obviously called Daru. Both Pokémon are of opposite gender to their namesakes, but Steins;Gate is no stranger to gender-bending.

Cel very kindly found me a Feebas in his game, though it was a little overlevelled for me (fifty-two. Fifty-flipping-two.) so he made me an egg. One day I am going to have a beautiful snakey tanky Milotic! Isn't Pokémon exciting!?!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

High-waisted shorts

Whether it's summer or winter, there is always a way to wear high-waisted shorts. I really like the ones with a column of buttons, which is why I DIYed my own. Why don't you try it? Here are some of my favourite looks I found that rock this kind of shorts, as well as some tips on how to style them yourself.

  • High-waisted stuff is all about accentuating the waist, so tuck that top in!
  • If your shorts don't have a vertical line of buttons, you can instead add a belt.
  • Sometimes your top tucked in just doesn't look right, but all is not lost. Maybe a cardigan or chequered shirt, not done up, flung over the top will fix it.
  • For a casual look, try your favourite graphic t-shirt with some trainers and funky socks.
  • To look more elegant in your shorts, a pretty blouse, tights and ankle boots will do the trick.
  • If you feel as if you've got too much of your legs out, shorts are a great opportunity to show off some over-the-knee socks or knee-high boots.
  • When it's winter and you want to wear your shorts, you know you'll have to face the ultimate clothes contradiction: shorts with tights.
  • Black tights with dark-coloured shorts is a sleek and playful alternative to black skinny jeans.
  • If your shorts are black or navy, there's nothing stopping you from wearing brightly coloured tights with it. Try wine red, ocean teal or mustard yellow.

More of this outfit

Monday, 2 September 2013

High-waisted jeans to shorts tutorial

I wanted some navy high-waisted jeans that go with everything and fit me perfectly, so I don't need to faff around with belts. Most shorts I saw in shops were too short or not high-waisted or just too expensive.

So, with the express intent of chopping them up, I bought some £4 high-waisted jeans from the children's sale rack in New Look. The legs fit me awfully - I think they were supposed to be skinny, but they really weren't - but the waist and crotch was perfect.

Shorts look better when the legs aren't too tight, so to make them seem a little looser I've put some little slits at the sides. If you've found non-skinny jeans to cut up, then you won't really have that problem. Let's get started.

You will need:
  • high-waisted jeans
  • fabric scissors
  • seam ripper
  • berry pins
  • needle and thread
  • sewing machine (optional)

First, chop the legs off your jeans 5 or 6cm longer than your desired length. If in doubt, always cut less rather than more, because in real life, there is no Ctrl+Z.

To make the side slits, use the seam ripper to unpick the stitches of the seams that are on the outer side of your thighs. Unpick up to 3cm higher than your desired length. Pull out the oose threads to neaten it up a bit, and if needed, sew the edges of the denim back in on itself.

Roll up the legs twice, as in the photo above, to your desired length. It may be easier to put the shorts on and then do the rolling so you're sure it's the length you want, and everything's all straight. Then pop in some pins to hold it in place, then very very carefully take them off again.

If you're lucky enough to have a sewing machine, now it's time to sew it in place. If not, it shouldn't take too long to do it by hand. Take out the pins as you go along and do your best to sew parallel to the edge.

Finally, manually sew a few stitches right above the slits where I've drawn the pink zig-zag, inside and outside for good measure. This will stop the slit from ripping further and further up the shorts. That's it! Not bad for £4.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cornish Adventures

How have you been keeping? It's almost time for school again, and I have no idea how I am going to go through it for another whole year and I really wonder how I've done it before. But I just got back from a family holiday to Cornwall so here are some boring pictures for you to not look at.

We put jelly in the Phone Microwave (name subject to change) and it came out as JELLY. How mind-blowing is that? And it tasted really great too.

And because we are all so obsessed with Steins;Gate still, we made Daru in the sand. Mir did the face, Cel did the feet and I did the outline and the moobs. My dad made the left hand and we worked together on the rest.

We went to an aquarium where we saw lots of cool stuff, like a giant octopus with long tentacles and a massive wobbly brain, and a rock fish which can secrete deadly neurotoxin, and lots and lots of clownfish and regal tangs. It's impossible to walk through an aquarium without hearing someone exclaim "there's Nemo!!"

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