In 2012 I watched some amazing movies, listened to some great albums and songs and watched some really addictive TV shows. After finally discovering how to stream TV shows online (totally late to that party, I know) I spent the greater part of the latter of the year engrossed in working my way through series upon series in a matter of weeks.

Below just shows a few of my faves. I could never possibly include everything, that'd be insane! There are still so many amazing things I've left out but this is just for starters.

  1. Film: Pretty Woman – one of my all time favourite movies. I finally bought the DVD so I no longer have to wait for it to be showing on Sky to be able to watch it.
  2. TV show: Tia & Tamera – the stars of Sister Sister. It was great to watch this and find out what they're up to now since I grew up watching that show.
  3. TV show: Gossip Girl – for years I avoided watching this because I couldn't understand why evertyone was so obsessed with it. Now I have, I'm so sad the final season is already over. RIP Gossip Girl.
  4. CD: Bruno Mars – Unorthodox Dukebox – I bought this CD for my mum for her birthday and she loved it. It's safe to say once she had finished playing it I borrowed it to load up on my own iTunes.
  5. CD: No Doubt – Push and Shove – Gwen Stefani is probably one of my favourite women in the world and I've loved No Doubt since I was a child. So this album was long awaited!
  6. Film: Pulp Fiction – I was so late to the party about this film but I watched it for the first time in 2012 and absolutely LOVED it. Definitely need to buy it on DVD.
  7. CD: Rihanna – Unapologetic – while not everyone is a fan of Rihanna, I liked the fact that this album is completely different to her others. Seemingly more grown up too. Got to love her performances of some of the songs on her 777 tour.
  8. TV show: Plain Jane – I luckily had the opportunity to meet Louise Roe in February 2012 at a Stylistpick event. She's got to be one of the people I admire most career wise and aspire to be like. Out of loyalty and love for this stylist woman, I always tune in to her styling show.
  9. TV show: Breaking Bad – so while I was late watching this (sorry USA people), I was certainly the first of a fair few over here in the UK. I started watching this back in August and managed to finish up to the break point of the final season by the end of October. It's got to be one of the most gripping TV shows I've watched in a long time.

 

 

Remembering 9:11

It’s crazy to think that today is the official 11 year anniversary of those tragic events on 9/11. A date that literally changed the world as we knew it.

While I’m not American myself, I do have American family, friends and an overall love for the country. I remember I was just 13 when it happened. I came home from school, dropped my bag and went to the living room where my mum was sat staring at the television. Then I watched the news. It definitely didn’t feel real. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what those people must be going through.

Every year I watch the annual shows on the survivors of the events, and just think to myself how brave they really are. How moving it was to see everyone come together to try and help with the recovery process.

My thoughts go out to all of those involved, their families and friends as well as all of the emergency services who were on call that day. You’ll never be forgotten.

Victoria Beckham landscape

Spice Girls perform at Olympic Closing Ceremony

I was always compared to Posh Spice in school because of my accent and my typically straight, brown, shoulder length hair with a fringe (or bangs as the Americans call it).

I went through stages of each one being a favourite at some point over the years. I was always in awe of their bold personalities, but I never seemed to shake the “posh” comparison.

One thing’s for sure, Miss Victoria Beckham, is a babe and so is her husband – as I soon found out in LAX airport. Such a nice guy, and he didn’t mind having a quick chat. Now I rarely, ever comment on such things. But the fact that he’s practically a worldwide football superstar, his wife is a former pop star and now fashion legend and they have THE CUTEST daughter known to man – you’d assume the guy has a reason to have an ego. Yet he’s as down to earth as my next door neighbour.

I have a huge amount of respect for Beckham and his family. Regardless of the amount of fame, money, talent and lifestyle they have, they still seem grounded. And that’s what I like. Posh Spice is definitely my fave!

Having a front row seat to my television watching the Spice Girls reunion was amazing. I only wish – aside from being a super fan as a child – I actually saw them live back then.

London Riots

As everyone – seemingly across the world – is aware, the riots that have taken place over the last few days (starting on Saturday 6th August 2011) have been a shocking outrage to us all.

I suppose one might question, where did this all start? Some have associated it with the recent death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, whose family and friends were involved in a peaceful protest on the day, wanting answers about why he was shot. The Duggan family has even said that they do not and will not allow their name to be associated with such violence or criminality. And fair play to them really when after all, they were and still are grieving over the loss of a person dear to them, without all of this unnecessary, ridiculous behaviour.

Secondly, others are associating it with a racial issue. This in itself seems like another ‘scape-goat’ excuse that everyone uses when they can’t think of anything else – “why not pull out the race card?” It seems unfair to discriminate against “black youths” in particular – as they have been described, especially as the CCTV footage shown on numerous channels identifies some of the culprits from a variety of races, including – as disbelieving as this might sound – our own Brits. This just goes to prove that this is a problem that lies far deeper and everyone should really think before using excuses that really do not cut it.

Thirdly, a lot of those who have been interviewed for television have stated that they assume the real root to the riots is anger. Anger because of cuts to EMA, student fees for university students being increased and the rates of unemployment for those aged between 16-25 have increased, including for graduates.

As a graduate myself, I think this is an absolutely pathetic excuse. I went to school because it was a given for someone of my age, and I actually enjoyed learning. I get that not everyone enjoys school, that’s always going to be situation we’re aware of. But I fail to see why, when something such as education, which is put in place – FOR FREE and thoroughly taken advantage of – purely to assist young people with bettering themselves and create a good life for them, should NEED something such as EMA to coax them into attending? What happened to the hard and fast rules of years ago? If you fail exams you end up with a dead-end job? Whilst EMA had its plus sides, it should not be the ONLY reason why these 16-18 year olds get up every weekday to go to college.

With regards to university fees – yes it’s unfair, but it was even unfair while I was at university. My year has always been the guinea pig year – the year before us got the last tuition fee of £1500 per year. Mine was the first to be charged £3000. The fact is I wanted to go to university so I did what I had to in order to go. I took out a student loan, and I’ve had a part-time job throughout my university until now while I further my experience until I can find a suitable job where I can put my skills to good use. Yes, £9000 per year is an extortionate price to pay, but for such huge fees, there’s bound to be something in place to aid those affected. If not, simple – don’t go to university. Having a degree is not the be-all-and-end-all of getting employment these days, it’s experience. I’ve learned this one the hard way, as I have a degree in English, and I’m still stuck working part-time in retail – something I didn’t quite imagine would ever happen, or at least for as long as it has. There are means and ways around everything, so if you want something badly enough you will find a way to get it. These excuses for the anger these youngsters have are cop outs.

Throughout all of this, a lot of the public have made their feelings of the government and Boris Johnson very clear. Did he come home too late? Should he have been here sooner? Whilst I have my own opinions on this, one thing I will say, is that I think his speech would have been far more believable if he sounded like he was actually prepared for it, rather than just “blagging” it and saying what he assumed we wanted to hear. With regards to our Prime Minister, the only question I would ask – was it necessary to state that you were giving the rioters and looters an extra 48 hours to do their damage because Parliament are going to take the time to “debate” the issue on Thursday 11th? I highly doubt that debating is even worth it – perhaps that time spent could be used more productively? We have a variety of technologies these days, video conferencing, video phones, etc. Why could these not have been used to conduct an urgent meeting with the country’s leaders when this first started? That said – I didn’t realize that being a leader of the country was only a 9-5 Monday-Friday job. And lets all remember that these are the people who will be the under the most protection whatever arises in our country.

While they did a good job in lowering the amounts of riots on Tuesday night in London, this was because they called upon police officers from outside – thus causing other areas in the UK to become vulnerable and further, more violent crimes and riots have taken place in these unprotected areas because of this. It’s a definite catch 22 situation. There have been hundreds of arrests, and we’ve been told by the news that our cells in London are full – does this make us all feel calmer? To answer that simply, no it doesn’t. I hope measures are put in place regardless of this situation so that these morons are not put back out onto the streets without punishment for what they have done.

A huge minority have made a disgusting amount of disruption that has caused families and people to become homeless, their livelihoods and businesses destroyed, and their beliefs in humanity shattered. It is never okay for people to feel unsafe walking in their streets going about their daily tasks. It is never okay for people to think they can abuse peoples’ trust by frightening them in the daylight or night-time. It is never okay to enter and destroy peoples’ homes, belongings or public property to “relieve” anger or any distress they are feeling. It is unacceptable and intolerable behaviour.

Riots in Croydon – Reeve’s Corner with peoples’ homes above destroyed in the blaze

That said, I want to say a huge thank you to all of the police officers, firemen and ambulances that have aided us by protecting us and our streets since this has begun. And to all those who have come together as a community to clean up the mess, you’ve proven that humanitarianism in our country still exists.

Whenever I go to the US, I always hate coming back home – usually due to the great weather, the politeness and kindness of the people around me and just the general fact I LOVE USA. When I first started taking vacations (or holidays if you’re British) over there, I noticed how different the fashion and beauty styles are straight away. Not only that, but of course a lot of our popular high street shops we have here in the UK aren’t available in the US so it took a few turns to find the ones I truly enjoyed.

Here’s some of my faves – thankfully they’re usually dotted around most states (or at least I’ve seen them in the ones I’ve been to which include NYC, LA, New Jersey).

Nordstrom

A great department store with everything you could think of in mens, womens and childrens fashion and accessories along with a beauty area and bags, shoes etc. Think of it like our version of Debenhams.

Bloomingdales

For fashion, beauty, shoes, bags, accessories and anything you could possibly think of or want, THIS is your store. I’d say it’s equivalent to our House of Fraser, except sounds a lot more classy!

Macy’s

I always give this one a visit, though I don’t prefer it to the ones above. It’s kind of one of those ones that you’ve got to visit because it’s so well-known by everyone. It’s probably the American’s version of our John Lewis.

Sephora

This shop is absolutely great! It’s my American Beauty Mecca! It can vary in size but it’s THE place to purchase all things beauty: make-up, tools of the trade, make-up storage, skin/body care. We used to have one here in the UK but now I’m on the hunt to find another one.

Neiman Marcus

Well I’ve only been in this store once – and that was to make my MJ (aka Marc Jacobs) purchase, BUT it is great. It’s another department store, however it seems like it caters for the higher end. Think a cross between House of Fraser mixed with Harrods.

More stores, plus images to follow soon throughout my journeys!