Inspirational Instagrams

I don’t know about you, but I am a self-proclaimed Instagram junkie (there are worst things to be addicted to….) The first thing I do in the morning, and the last thing I do at night (apart from wonder if my cats are okay) is check Instagram. Sometimes, I just aimlessly scroll through, without even acknowledging what I’m supposed to be looking at, that’s how bad I am !

The only thing I will say in favour of my Instagram addiction is that my own Insta-portfolio is NOT permeated with pictures of my wonderful self, showcasing my new shade of lipstick or my perfected pout. Not that I’m against the selfie, hell I’ve taken the odd few and some of the most iconic Insta-photos are of a pouting face, but I find that the ones that really capture my attention are ones that encapsulate the beauty of everything that surrounds us.

There is little doubt that the Instagram app has revolutionised the photography world – its various filters can make even the most technophobic person seem like a budding photographer, not to mention that it has made our viewing of all the wonderful things in this world much more accessible. I mean, before Instagram, who knew that Pugs were capable of working so many different looks (pugsofinstagram), or that it is the ideal place to get propositioned by famous actors (ahem James Franco) ?

Anyway, back to the point; I find that a lot of ideas and thoughts can come just by looking at one single picture, and Instagram is practically THEE haven of pictures. It doesn’t matter whether the photo you’re looking at is taken by a inexperienced-photographer somewhere in the middle of nowhere, or a professional in the heart of the city, I believe that having a good old look through Instagram can inspire the despondent, and cheer up even the grumpiest of people.

So, I’ve gathered a few of what I think are the most uplifting Insta-photos out there to hopefully put a smile on your face 🙂

 

Chinchilla
@instagram

Daisies
@instagram

Cat Hairnet
@catsofinstagram

Thanks mum
@cathkidston_ltd

Pandas
@natgeo

Prom
@instagram

Easter Cat
@catsofinstagram

Smile
@irablockphoto

Coffee Cat
@love_food

Joan
@joanrivers

pug
@pugsofinstagram

Penguin
@natgeo

goat
@awwclub

Most of these are animal-related which only means one thing…..Animals really can make you smile 🙂

 

 

 

Vintage Disney

IT’S FINALLY HERE !!

Okay, so ! Having been bed ridden all day with a very infuriating chest infection, with nothing to watch but the bloody snooker, I decided to complete some of the sketches that I’ve been working on for the past two weeks 🙂 After all, you need cheering up as much as I do !

So the idea behind the sketches was to combine two of my favourite passions – Disney and Hollywood Vintage. Most of you might have already guessed from my second post that I am a proud Disney fanatic, but only those who very close to me know that I absolutely adore old Hollywood; that is, any film that features the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardener, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Vivien Leigh etc, you get the idea ! To me, not only are many of the older Hollywood films amongst the best that have ever been created for the screen (Gone With The Wind anyone ?), but their actresses are some of the most beautiful women to ever exist. You only need to step in my bedroom once to see that I have a slight obsession with Audrey Hepburn – most of my wall is adorned with pictures of her incredible almond shaped eyes and flawless bone structure; to me, she is the most extraordinarily beautiful, sophisticated, feminine, graceful woman that has ever existed

Anyway, I can’t remember where I heard or read it, but apparently a few of the designs for the Disney Princesses were based on the appearance of vintage Hollywood actresses, for example, Cinderella was inspired by Grace Kelly, Belle by Audrey Hepburn etc. So, I decided to do a few sketches of how the Disney Princesses would look if they were dressed in some of the most iconic dresses worn by these beautiful Hollywood actresses 🙂

It’s a bit silly I know, and I’m not the greatest artist in the world (notice the state of the hands !), but it’s an idea I’d been toying with for ages, and I’m quite proud of them to be honest, and I hope you will all like them too ! At the moment, I’ve only done 5 of the 10 Disney Princesses (I’m not including Merida or the Frozen sisters, sorry !), so you’ll have something to look forward to for next time 😀

 

1. Belle as Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 18.59.07

2. Cinderella as Grace Kelly in Rear Window

Cinderella Grace

3. Rapunzel as Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Rapunzel Marilyn

(Note: Yes I know Rapunzel’s ‘Marilyn’ dress is VERY similar to Cinderella’s dress, but by the time I realised I’d already finished the drawing and it’s one of my favourites ! Besides, I think Rapunzel is far more Marilyn-like than Cinderella ! She’s fun, flirty, and sexy ! Cinderella’s a bit boring…apart from her affinity for wildlife….)

4. Sleeping Beauty/Aurora as Kim Novak in Vertigo

Aurora Kim

5. Jasmine as Hedy Lamarr in Samson and Delilah 

Jasmine Hedy

So there we go ! The inspiration for the look of the Princesses came from the Disney Designer Collection that was launched in 2011….despite not managing to get any of the merchandise that came out of that collection, I thought that the designs for the princesses were simply beautiful and so elegant:

Disney DesignerTo create the Vintage Hollywood dress, I used Edith Head’s sketches as my template…as I said, I’m not an artist by nature so I need something to go by ! I absolutely adore Edith Head’s fashion drawings so it was hard to choose which ones I wanted to use ! Rapunzel and Belle were the only ones whose dresses weren’t based on an Edith Head design (I drew them straight from the real-life photos), but here are the other sketches for you to look at:

Kim Novak Hedy Lamarr Grace Kelly

 

10 Reasons Why You MUST Watch ‘Game of Thrones’

So my last post, which hinted at a very fabulous drawing-inspired post-to-come, is taking a little longer than I expected. As you can probably tell by my ever so detailed sketch, drawing is not my forte, but the drawings I’m working on are something I’ve wanted to do for ages so I’m going to continue with it, and hopefully you’ll all be able to see the outcome in a few days time 🙂

Alas, to fill the void I’m sure you’re all feeling, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to a television series that I’m certain is close to all of your hearts…..GAME.OF.THRONES.!!!!

Unless you’ve literally, and I mean literally, been living under a rock since 2011, you should at least be vaguely aware of HBO’s Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s fictional fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (I’ll not even venture to question why you haven’t watched it. The shock of someone not even witnessing one episode is too much for my heart to bear).

Admittedly, the series on first glance seems a bit daunting – the sheer size of the cast whose characters’ interwoven plot lines are set against a backdrop of beheadings, torture, prostitutes, and revenge points towards one word: INTENSE. Not to mention that it does appear perhaps too much inclined towards the fantasy angle – here there be Dragons who can destroy and conquer Kingdoms quicker than The Hobbit’s Smaug can roast a Dwarf, and the land is coated with vast castles, most of which would make Hogwarts literally look like a lego set. For someone like my friend Antonia, who feels physically sick at the mention of anything medieval or fantastical (such as the word ‘goblet’….), it’s understandable why something like Game of Thrones would send her, and those like her, running into the syrupy sweet arms of Glee, or into the fashion-forward, retro world of Mad Men.

However, despite a thick layer of fantasy spread onto an over-stuffed cake of blood, sex, incest, murder, and politics, Game of Thrones is most definitely a sweet treat that you won’t get sick of in a hurry; if you can will yourself to power through the first couple of episodes, which do require a certain level of patience (not to mention a strong stomach), you’ll likely find yourself taking BuzzFeed’s ‘Which Game of Thrones Character are you ?’ or ‘Which Game of Thrones House Do You Belong In ?’ the very next day.

So, for you GoT lovers out there, I’ve compiled a list to remind you why you love this series so much, and for you GoT virgins (shame on you !), this list is to show you exactly what you’re missing out on. Everyone needs a slice of the Game of Thrones cake, even if your slice does taste a little like blood and incest.

#1 – Hot Men (This is definitely the most important reason) 

ImageRobb Stark

#2 – It’s got it’s priorities in order

Cersei DrinkWine gif

#3 – It teaches you very valuable life lessons

Bronn

#4 – The Hair

Cersei Hair Daenerys Hair Daario Hair

#5 – Jerome Flynn from 90s pop duo ‘Robson & Jerome’ is in it. And he’s very witty. 

Bronn Quote Robson & Jerome

#6 – The Opening Credits 

#7 – Strong, bad-ass women

BIJvD7NCYAA-ySrAryaDany Quote

#8 – Did I mention the hot men ?

Jaime Gif Daario newRenly

#9 – Violence, violence, violence

POYTJoust Death

#10 – PETER DINKLAGE/TYRION LANNISTER

Tyrion

 

 

SS14 Solutions

There’s no denying that I love summer. Living in Wales where it is known to rain on occasion and be generally miserable the rest of the time, there’s no greater sight than the sun, and no greater feeling than that first real warm day of the year which usually pops up around Easter time. From that day forward your eyes will be subject to masses of Brits flashing more skin than is necessary to bear in temperatures that the majority of Europe would consider positively arctic. Out come the sandals, t-shirts, sunglasses, and very short-shorts (basically most things beginning with the letter ‘S’).

Yet, despite the glorious feeling of the sun on my face, the endless summer parties, the long-awaited trip to the beach, and the tentative dip in our sub-zero waters, I find myself longing for the winter season. The idea that I can once again cover up my legs with my thick, woollen tights paired with a dress that has a neckline so high I’m surprised I don’t choke to death, finished off with Victorian-inspired little booties makes me weak with relief. This is because I hate, absolutely hate, wearing summer clothes; I hate wearing shorts, I hate wearing t-shirts, and I hate wearing sandals – until I possess the body of Lara Croft I will always hate anything that shows off my bare legs or anything which reveals any trace of my figure.

So when that warm weather begins to make its appearance, the euphoria of finally witnessing sunshine is suddenly destroyed by the question I dread asking myself every year: What do I wear ?

If, like me, you are apprehensive about what to wear in the coming summer months, or if you are simply unsure about what new additions you might want to add to your SS14 wardrobe, I have compiled a few of my favourite pieces which will hopefully provide some insight and inspiration 🙂

Warehousehttp://www.johnlewis.com/warehouse-triangle-print-midi-shirt-dress-black/p1241197

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 00.06.45http://www.johnlewis.com/warehouse-lace-insert-cropped-shirt-light-blue/p1219172

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 00.09.14http://www.johnlewis.com/ted-baker-vioneta-tapered-trouser-beige/p1301173

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 00.10.52http://www.johnlewis.com/ted-baker-daisy-print-shirt-cream/p1297173

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 00.12.36http://www.johnlewis.com/french-connection-marilyn-chiffon-shirt-dress-party-pink/p1195578

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 00.13.48http://www.johnlewis.com/french-connection-zoe-tote-handbag-blue-cornflower/p1129199

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 00.15.47http://www.johnlewis.com/dune-black-helen-leather-brogues/p1116174?colour=White

(All pictures taken from www.johnlewis.com)

A Girl and her Disney Dolls

For all you Disney lovers out there, this post will be more welcome than Mickey Mouse himself turning up on your doorstep with a large chocolate cake baked with magic, love, and a little bit of pixie dust. Okay maybe not (although personally if this happened to me I would call Scotland Yard immediately). Regardless, fans of Disney, especially collectors, will understand why I find the Disney’s Limited Edition Dolls such a wonderful curiosity.

Not only was starting my Limited Edition Doll collection the inspiration for creating this blog, but I just find them so beautiful and oddly compelling. To most people, these things are just dolls – children’s play things that you either ripped the heads off or cherished for the entirety of your youth; either way, you eventually threw them aside in favour of growing up. However, these dolls are not something you play with. If you rip the head off one of these things, you will probably hear the sound of thousands of collectors’ hearts breaking, not to mention the anguished cries of hungry eBayers who could have sold it for thrice the price. Honestly, some of these dolls, are worth hundreds, some even thousands. And I mean thousands. Shocking right ? But whilst the dolls themselves usually retail at £60 each, it is not hard to see why their value rapidly increases once that ‘Sold Out’ button appears; the detail that goes into creating these dolls and bringing them to life is breathtaking, especially if you are a lover of Disney (as I am…did I mention that?) Also, these dolls are fairly big, standing at 17 inches tall as opposed to the usual 12 inches that dolls typically are. The size of them allows for the intricate, gorgeous detail that perfectly replicates their moving counterparts.

I will be writing future posts related to various Limited Edition Disney Dolls, but the first doll I want to look at is the beautiful Anna from Disney’s latest movie, Frozen. If you haven’t yet seen Frozen, then I advise you do so immediately. It will warm even the most frozen of hearts.

Image

This is the second Limited Edition Anna doll to be released and she is one of 5000 – there was another released previously in November along with an LE Doll of her sister, Elsa, both one of 2500. The second was released March this year, again with her sororal counterpart. Unfortunately, I was unable to purchase the March version of Elsa, despite being up well before they went on sale at 8am and waiting patiently in front of my MacBook, refreshing the Disney Store webpage every 10 seconds. Of course, both dolls sold out in seconds (rumour has it they sold out before they even went on sale to the general public thanks to yet another Disney Store screw up), but luck was on my side that day, and before I even knew how I’d managed to do it, I had secured myself an Anna doll with an email confirmation and a receipt to prove it. The day the courier knocked my door and handed me my parcel was just like reliving Christmas morning all over again. 5 minutes later, after carefully removing her from her cardboard confines, I knew that this doll was a definite keepsake. As most collectors will know, all four of the Frozen dolls are among the most valuable of all the LE Disney Dolls, though this particular Anna seems to be the least popular out of the four. Personally, however, I find her to be the most beautiful. Let me show you why 🙂

ImageImage

Here she is in her box. Some collectors, not all, seem to prefer deboxing their dolls and displaying them on the stand that they come with. However, I consider this a cardinal sin ! Not only does removing them from their box decrease their value should you ever plan on selling them, but it is a waste of a box that is almost as beautiful as the doll itself.

The beautifully detailed box, individually styled to each doll, shows the name of the princess written in detailed font along with her edition size, and the background on the inside of the box against which the doll is set is stunning (and, again, is uniquely crafted to each doll).

ImageImage

The back of the box is just as detailed as the front, if not more, for the back displays a short blurb about the doll and what her costume is made out of, as well as a silhouette version of Anna (which also appears on the November edition), and the name of the movie:

IMG_0022 IMG_0019IMG_0020

Here she is without her plastic coverings – whilst the entire box is no doubt beautiful, I think you can only truly appreciate the true exquisiteness of this doll when she is like this:

IMG_0018 IMG_0001 IMG_0002

As you can see, her auburn hair with the one white strand is braided into two separate plaits, and she has a lovely smattering of freckles over her nose and cheeks, just like she does in the movie itself 🙂

20130630094743!Disney-Anna-2013-princess-frozen

However, one of my favourite things about this doll is her adorable little mittens ! They are a bright sky blue colour, and are adorned with little diamantes. They look so cosy….I wonder if they’d fit my cat….? The same goes for her little booties (cats can wear boots right….Puss in Boots?!) It’s such a refreshing change to see a Disney Princess wearing boots instead of those fragile, sparkling heels they usually have:

IMG_0005IMG_0004

She also wears her signature pink cape (the box says it’s burgundy but let’s be honest, it’s clearly pink), which is embroidered with little gem stones, lace detailing, and tassels, finished off with a metal, heart shaped fastening. I would actually love one of these capes for myself. I’ve always wanted a cape, especially for winter, but the looks I imagine I would get slighty puts me off such an idea…. The cape is only an accessory to her beautiful silk shirt and velvet bodice which is also decorated with tiny gems and lace embroidery, matched also with her blue velvet skirt which follows the same intricate patterned detailing:

IMG_0003 IMG_0006 IMG_0011

However, what I love most about this doll is her charming little pink fur bonnet ! Because even princesses get cold heads sometimes.

IMG_0010

As you can hopefully now see for yourself, this Anna doll perfectly captures the Anna we come to know and love throughout Frozen – I think this is why I believe this doll to be the most beautiful out of all four Frozen LE dolls; she is the most colourful, and is full of the personality that endears us to Anna. Like I said, if you haven’t seen Frozen…..DO SO NOW !

 

Bonjour !

Hello to everyone who may or may not be reading this blog ! My name is Katie Mcloughlin and I am a self-confessed obsessor, daydreamer, tea-drinker, and book-lover.

I studied English Literature at Cardiff University as an undergraduate subject for my BA, and then took my love of books further by studying the same subject for my postgraduate Masters degree. After four years of solid reading, analysing, and writing pages and pages of fairly intellectual and academic thought, you would think that writing a blog would come easy to me. However, this blog is not only intended to share with you all the things in this world that I find quirky and interesting, but it will also allow me to develop and cultivate my writing skills. After all, what good is doing English Literature at University if I don’t intend to do something with it? In fact, one of the things that I would most love to become is either a magazine journalist, or an editor (or a fashion buyer….I wouldn’t be disappointed with either!)

Yet, sadly, my writing skills, despite my literature background, are lacking; unfortunately, I am rather used to writing in a very academic, coldly blunt, straightforward manner. Unlike one of my closest friends Olivia, who started her own cooking blog (oliviasbuns.blogspot.com), I am regrettably unable to write in a tone that inspires fun and laughter whilst also arousing interest.

Hopefully, what may start out as the typical, uninspiring musings of an average 22 year old with a penchant for books and cats, will eventually develop into a beautiful, fun, delightfully different place where you can come to be entertained and inspired.

So, to ironically use a phrase that I normally detest, ‘watch this space’ . This blog will mainly be dedicated to anything that I like or simply find interesting – I thought about having a ‘niche’ kind of blog but I love too many things to do that ! So yeah, I will just be posting about whatever takes my fancy, little ‘curiosities’, if you will 🙂 If you have any ‘curiosities’, please share them, and I will do some research and post my findings and opinions back here !

Hope you enjoy reading all the wonderful posts to come, but if you don’t, or if no one actually reads it, I can always blog-stalk myself. 🙂 xx