Sunday, 6 September 2015

DIY Boho Festival Fringe Dress

While the festival season is still going on, I thought I would share with you a very quick and easy DIY using just an oversized t-shirt.This project requires a sewing machine; whilst you could sew this by hand, it would take a lot more time and as this dress is more of a bodycon shape - it does need to be sewn securely to allow for stretch and movement, especially if worn during music festivals where there is a lot of dancing. Depending on how oversized the t-shirt is, this could either be a dress or top. You can easily find plain XXXL t-shirts on eBay.

What You Will Need
- Oversized t-shirt
- Sewing machine
- Fabric scissors
- Dressmaker's chalk
- Ball head pins

Step 1
Lay your t-shirt down on a flat surface, making sure the seams are all in line with one another.

Step 2
Use a sample dress as a template for your t-shirt and draw around it with your dressmaker's chalk. Make sure this template dress fits exactly how you want this new dress to fit.

Step 3
Remove the template dress and pin the two layers of fabric together with a ball head pin perpendicular from the chalk lines.

Step 4
Place the template dress back over the t-shirt and mark with your dressmaker's chalk where the arm holes are. Bring these lines down the sleeves of the t-shirt with a curve.

Step 5
Sew along the lines making sure you don't sew directly up to the neckline. I would recommend using an overlock stretch stitch setting on your sewing machine. Turn the dress inside out.

Step 6
Using your fabric scissors, aim to cut out the existing seams. You should be left with two flaps of fabric down each seam.

Step 7
Cut perpendicularly to the seam to create fringes. You can make these however thick or thin you like, I think the thinner the fringe the better effect and movement when you walk.

Step 8
Cut around the neckline to how you want it to sit. The t-shirt had a v-neck so I cut it into a scoop neck.

Step 9
Flip the dress over and using the dressmaker's chalk, sketch out a line where you want the bottom of the backless detail to hit. Then draw a line down the centre from the nape to this line and two lines from either side of the neckline to meet the same point.

Step 10
Using your fabric scissors, cut down the centre line to meet the bottom line. Then create the fringing by cutting perpendicular lines from the centre to meet the lines at the side. While it has been drawn as a V shape, it will fall like a scoop back.

This is the finished result! I added a strip of fabric and attached it to either side to stop the sleeves falling down off each shoulder. This dress literally cost me nothing to make as a friend had kindly given me this oversized t-shirt. I wore this for this year's Parklife festival and literally made this the night before.

This is an incredibly easy way to upcycle something you would otherwise throw away. Rather than adding to a landfill site, why not completely change an existing top and make it into something you will wear over and over again? There are plenty plain t-shirts in the Oxfam online shop, why not try recreating this project and making a festival-ready fringe top? Choose a patterned t-shirt to add a bit of character or a top made from a different material.

Landfills remains the primary method of dealing with waste in the UK, their methane gases contribute to 40% of Britain's total methane emissions. With emissions running high and space for landfills running low (don't forget that it takes a long time for waste to decompose), there's no better time to start recycling.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Carnivore Club | Cured Meats Box Review

I'm no Heston Blumenthal - Gastronomy is not my forte. But I will say this, I am a huge fan of anything remotely edible and have a palette only a black hole can rival; I thank my father for this. I was sent a box to review by Carnivore Club which is a cured meats subscription service. Carnivore Club will send a box to you every month, filled with a selection of meats from a particular supplier. 

The box comes in a very sturdy and impressive faux-wood shallow box and comes with card leaflets to explain the meats included inside and information about the month's supplier. This month, the supplier was Great Glen. In this month's box, I received a selection of Venison salami, bresaola and chorizo in 5 different variations; Venison and Pork Salami, Venison Salami, Venison Bresaola, Chilli Venison Chorizo and Venison and Pork Chorizo.

Since all of the meats were a variety of venison, initially - I did think this was a bit of a con. But then I realised that the way the meats were cut and the variance of flavours, meant that there were endless combinations and dishes to be made from these. For a month's supply of cured meats that have a great shelf life, I found that these lasted me a very long time. I made sandwiches from the salami, omelettes from the bresaola, egg and avocado toasties for breakfast and sides and snacks from the chorizo (think eating Peperami while watching Game of Thrones). The possibilities really were endless. The omelette that I made was actually created one morning when I had almost no food left in my apartment. I looked in the fridge and literally made the omelette from whatever I had left in my culinary graveyard of a refrigerator. 

In conclusion, I think this is perfect for those looking to discover more about food, as it really does inspire you to think on your feet in terms of making a dish from a few selected meats. I also think this is ideal for those who are always out and about, in and out of home who are looking for quick and easy snacks. Food should be fun, inspiring and enjoyable so it's always important to take care of what you put inside your body, for you are only given the one.

Use coupon code 'SCIENCE20' to get 20% off your next box!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Make Me Feel Good Box Review

The lovely creator of Make Me Feel Good reached out to me recently to try their letterbox-friendly subscription box, serviced by Premurosa and comes in the most elegant what I can only describe as Cadbury's purple, packaged box.

The Make Me Feel Good box sends you a handful of items packed neatly into this little box that is designed to give you a little pick me up. Something I had been in dire need of lately. Inside came four items that had been laced with clear and purple crystals.

I received a set of koi carp bath fizzers, handmade soap, chocolate and two packs of incense sticks of different scents. The bath fizzers were immediately unopened, they floated on the surface of the bath water just as if they were real fish - something incredibly soothing to watch. The soap I was quite apprehensive about. I find a lot of soaps like this leave a drying residue, making my skin feel rubbery. This was definitely not the case with this soap and it is lasting me a long while. The chocolates are sent with every themed box and are a lovely little addition to the box. I  absolutely loved the two packs of incense sticks that came in this box. I'm a huge lover and practiser of yoga and this just warmed and calmed me as soon as I lit them. Needless to say, a lot of them have been used already.

This box is £20 a month but Jo at Make Me Feel Good has kindly offered my readers £7.95 off your first box if you type in the code 'MMFGSCIENCE' at the checkout. 

I love how this box leaves no clutter in my home. I am beginning a journey of minimalism and I loved the fact that everything in this box will eventually be enjoyed, used up and recycled. Perfect for any minimalist out there. I should have known this was going to be a great box because it was hand delivered to me by a woman I did not know, who told me after reading the name of my blog on the package - that I make a lot of people happy. We all have moments of doubt and moments of self-depreciation, but when a grey cloud covers you as far as the eye can see, sometimes all you need is for a stranger to remind you just how brilliant and beautiful you are. 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Valentine's Day Daring Box Review

I was approached quite some time ago to review a rather personal type of subscription box, back in February - just in time for Valentine's Day. Daring Box is described as "The French erotic couple box" and is sent on a bi-monthly basis to customers who wish to infuse a little more passion and excitement into their bedrooms. This little black box came with a black drawstring dustbag with five items inside which included a candle, a couple's lollipop, an erotic challenges coupon book, silk handcuffs and a red satin gift bow bandeau/halter. It also came with cards with a run down on all the products, tips and also a music playlist.

Firstly, I noticed the item that was weighing down the box the most was actually an amber candle by Maison Close. This itself retails for £19 and I can see why. It comes in a black and gold Art Deco themed box and jar and smells like no other candle I have scented. The wick is perfect and it burns very easily and evenly. As this is a massage candle, the front of the jar is tipped so you can poor out the wax for massaging.

Next we have a set of black satin handcuffs with velvet embossing. These came in a very similar looking box, easily mistaken for a pack of cards. With instructions on the side, these are a great little addition to the box. They are long black satin pieces of fabric with black velvet text embossing and have "button-holes" at the tip so you can thread one end through the other. These may seem like nothing but the ends have been very carefully over-locked on a sewing machine, a sign of good needlework. These retail for about £8.

Some lovely little extras included an Erotic Challenges coupon book which is printed in several different languages and a couple's lollipop. The largest item in the box seemed to be a rolled up piece of fabric by Happy Lola. When I opened this up however, it turned out to be a red satin bow bandeau/halterneck. The first thing you notice about this is the quality. It's almost as weighty as the candle. The fabric is not cheap and thin, but opaque and what I can only assume to have a high thread gauge. The bow only comes in one size but is adjustable by the ribbon tails. If you pull on these, the bandeau bow gets tighter. The halterneck can either be worn, removed or tucked in. The bow retails for £16. 

I'm hugely impressed by this box and it's by far one of the highest quality boxes I have ever received, with the Happy Lola bow and Maison Close candle being my favourite items. I calculated this box to be worth about £50 which isn't bad for a box that is £39. I also love the fact that this comes every two months, because for the contents, it would take around 2 months to try the items anyway. This makes the box roughly £19.50 a month and even cheaper if you subscribe for the year. 

Daring Box is an exciting concept that bring couples closer together. Something I think is hugely essential, if not vital in relationships. In a world that fixates heavily on body image, I think it's important that an individual learns to accept and love their own body, and love other's in return.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Undead | Zbox and 2.8 Hours Later Review

Now, I am no geek - but I sure do love a good zombie (mind the paradox). Whether it's The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later or just toying with the idea and perhaps possibility of the undead. I was approached in February to review the Undead Zbox themed around zombies but waited until I had completed 2.8 Hours Later before I wrote a review on them both. 

Zbox is a subscription box by Zavvi (yes, they're back in business) themed around all things geeky. Past boxes include: Marvel, Cosmic, Retro etc.. (No doubt there will be a Star Wars one out when the new film is released later this year). A typical monthly Zbox includes several items based around that month's theme, February was the Undead box which was themed around a zombie apocalypse.

As I was in Mexico for the best part of February, I didn't get to try this box out until March which worked out well as my boyfriend had just began a 5 week intense training course and needed a bit of a pick-me-up, so I surprised him with a zombie themed weekend which included trying the Zbox out, a zombie documentary courtesy of Zbox, a night in watching Crazies, attempting a Secret Lab escape room (think 28 Days Later) and zombie-related snacks.

In addition to the box, I had baked some brain cupcakes, sprayed green edible spray onto popcorn to mimic what Pinterest tells me is "zombie snot", pickled a human head (actually printed paper suspended in green-coloured water inside a jar), coloured lemonade green and stuck red triangles of pepper on pizza strips to fake zombie fingers.

Unlike a lot of subscription boxes, the magazine/product list was actually not a bore to read. It included a run down of the items inside and also had recipes for zombie cocktails. We ended up making the only non-alcoholic cocktail into an alcoholic one (typical) and blended a bunch of berries with vodka and lemon juice which created the look and consistency of actual blood, not that actual blood contains remnants of pomegranate seeds. If they do, I would consult a doctor immediately, or tap your back with a spoon and hope all the seeds come out.
The box itself was a treat; containing a total of eight items - the box had a wide variety of tidbits. From socks to vinyls to candy. First, I came across some green zombie socks which fit my boyfriend perfectly and two Walking Dead Mini Mates figures. I'm a big fan of The Walking Dead and have watched it since it was first aired so this ticked all the boxes for me. You get two figures out of seven collectable, I received Amy and a stabbed zombie. I would have loved Michonne as she's my favourite Walking Dead character but beggers can't be choosers! 

Next, I found two discs; one being a green coloured vinyl of John Carpenter's The Fog which I have yet to watch and a DVD documentary of the history of zombies. While zombies may be in our eyes, fictional - there have been "accounts" of the undead in past history books although I'm sure these accounts were probably made by the delirious and massively diseased. I'd say that you need to watch this with a sceptical mind as a lot of it is documented by American zombie fanatics who desperately want to believe the apocalypse will soon be with us. Although with David Cameron puppeteering us for another 5 years, I don't think they're far from the truth! While I have never seen The Fog, this vinyl will take pride of place in my ever growing collection of extremely random vinyls that I own but will never play until I find a fully working antique His Masters Voice gramophone.

Also included in the box was a graphic t-shirt with an amazing zombie print illustrated by Dan Mumford. Very soft and of excellent quality, I was very much expecting this to be C grade but it exceeded my expectations greatly. Some added extras included a Brain Licker which is a flavoured tongue roller. Coloured blue, I could only describe this as concentrated squash. It really quenched my thirst and was really handy when I wanted a sugar fix at home, as I would probably look unusual and not to mention inappropriate if I did this at work. In addition to this was a vinyl sticker and a set of badges. 

What I really loved was that the box itself had been printed with the theme in mind so you know that the brainsssssss behind Zbox really go that extra mile for you. It's comforting to know that people aren't just shoving goodies into a standard box on a monthly basis in hope that its desirability meets if not, exceeds overall value. A very impressive box and probably one of the best that I have ever tried.

Tickets for 2.8 Hours Later were bought for my as a birthday present and I couldn't have been more over the moon. I had been wanting to go ever since I had heard about it, a colleague of mine shared with me his and his wife's experience and it only made me more eager to go. At £48 each, these tickets weren't cheap and I had high expectations that were luckily met. 

The idea is that you use a map to make your way through several points within the game. The story changes yearly and this year's game was called Ruin, although I don't quite know why it was because the story was about getting a vial from a lab that possibly had an embryo in it. Anyway, I digress...I loved how this game took part right in the centre of Manchester and literally right outside my door. As I drove to pick up my friend, I could already see zombies outside my apartment - it only made me more hysterical than I already was, bearing in mind I had just listened to Screamo music to get me in the mood. 

The story began by the prison and you are given a coordinate and a road you must go via. Said road is filled with a mass of the undead. At first, you try to conjure up a tactic - but the sinking realisation is that there is none. There is a mass of zombies in front of you and you just have to run through them. I found that swearing really helped; like really. I have never ran so much in my life and by 'life' I mean since I did the last 100 meters in the 1500 meter race in school, except this time I had no Lucozade tablets. Zombies would vary from being chained to a post that you needed to use, to amputee zombies, to giant zombies who apparently used to be a basketball player as I discovered at the zombie disco at the end. You get to go in groups and as my group only consisted of two girls, we joined forces and met some lovely people. Although you would assume eight people could work out how to read a map; nope. When you get tagged by a zombie (as in the game tag where they touch you), you are marked with a UV pen that doesn't necessarily work. It is only when you go into a UV tent at the end where you find out if you've been infected.

The game ends with a tent for the infected where you enter to get your makeup done like a zombie. If you haven't been infected, be warned - you may feel left out! After this, you have the opportunity to have your photo taken and to buy merchandise, which is then very nicely punctuated with a zombie disco party. All in all, an absolute fabulous night and something different to try out with friends. It's great for team building and fantastic exercise. 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mhoho 9ct Gold Initial Necklace Jewellery Review

Not too long ago, I stumbled across a shop on Etsy called Mhoho Jewellery. I was looking for a dainty gold initial necklace for a holiday to Mexico. Specifically, I wanted it to have the initial of my boyfriend's name, just as a way of showing him how much I appreciate him. After all, he did pay for the flights and the luscious ocean view hotel!

The necklace I found was perfect; it was dainty, short in length, 9ct gold, looked quite expensive yet extremely affordable at only £20. The closest thing I could find to what I was looking for was the American Apparel gold tone 'ABC' pendant, but this wasn't real gold, it looked cheap yet was £22 and as it currently stands, only available in 10 letters, 'B' not being one of them.

I was more than impressed with the packaging; it came wrapped in a square of candy pink tissue paper, sealed with a branded 'Thank You' sticker, placed neatly inside a cardboard box with lid and beautifully finished with a white and pink satin branded bow. Symmetrically sound and every person with OCD's dream.

As for the necklace itself, it pretty much exceeded my expectation. I rarely find jewellery that I consider an everyday staple, I can only think of one other necklace and that was also purchased from Etsy. As this necklace was 9ct gold, it stood the test of time pretty well - Mexico! I was very dubious at the start but at only £20, I assumed that if it fell apart, at least I had only spent £20 not £200. And so, I frolicked to and fro through sand, through sea water, submerged and knocked about and not a single tarnish over a month later. The only gripe I had with it being real gold was that since gold is so soft, I did find the chain to stretch in parts where I had knocked it about so I would advise to take real care of it. I don't know what I expected as I was looking for a delicate necklace!

The length was ideal, I didn't want something that hung too low as I wanted it to peak through any crew necklines. I opted for the 17" but I even think 16" would have been good for the same reason. 

One of my biggest goals for this year is to become a minimalist and I feel that I need to eradicate costume jewellery that holds little value and only keep the pieces that hold more personal value, things that essentially you think of, most and/or find yourself reaching for on a frequent basis. 

The store sells different variations of the 'initial' necklace, some with an added stone or if you prefer - a stamped disc in place of the brushed charm. Mhoho Jewellery are having a re-style this summer so be sure to look out for another review, new products and an exciting new image. Be sure to 'like' Mhoho Jewellery on Facebook for updates on the revamp, new pieces and to be in with a chance of winning one of their amazing giveaways.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Break The Silence

When I first moved into my new apartment with a stranger, only known to me as my friend's girlfriend - I was unknowingly subjected to the glorified dramatics of 'Hollyoaks'. Mock at first, I did but little did I know how much relevance there would be, underlying a lot of what I initially thought were "crazy" stories. One of the most prominent stories was the rape of male character, John Paul McQueen. This brought about a lot of awareness towards male rape which is often more under the radar than female rape.

In August, I began my research into male rape and discovered a local charity called Survivors Manchester. Survivors Manchester focus on the well-being of survivors of male rape and abuse who will often feel a loss of confidence that perhaps a woman would not experience. Primarily, the sense of curtailing masculinity. There is a lot of stigma around rape that can see incidences not being reported or even acknowledged for a number of years. 

Survivors Manchester offer a variety of support services to male survivors like telephone support, face-to-face support, support groups, online guides, and even information for friends and family of survivors who are looking to support where and when they can. Their survivors booklet which is available online, has a collection of first hand stories from survivors which are filled with empowering lessons told by some of the bravest people on the planet. The charity themselves had a direct input into the story of John Paul which saw the actor James Sutton visit Survivors Manchester himself to get a sound understanding of the role he was to play. 

When I visited the charity, Tom who is the clinical lead at Survivors Manchester gave me a brief overview of the charity and the office they work in. While the work and support they offer is incredibly widespread, they still remain quite a small charity who use a range of methods to publicise their services, including creative platforms like blogs and social media. I created a care package to be shared or donated to a survivor which included personal grooming products, organisational material and a DVD. Tom advises to include items that will directly improve the clients well-being and items the improve life management skills like notebooks and calenders. 

While male orientated, the website does also offer information for female survivors too. Help support Survivors Manchester by donating, shopping Amazon through the associates program, browsing the web through Everyclick or simply sharing this post to raise awareness. 

For more information, visit the website by clicking the banner and/or icons below. 

Survivors Manchester