Movie review: Paddington 2

Movie reviews

Hi!

A delightful bundle of joy has landed in theatres. It’s Paddington 2!

IMDb summary: Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.

Movie over Winnie-the-Pooh, there is a new bear in town! Christopher Robin and his bear first entered the pop culture in the 1920s (Goodbye Christopher Robin tells that story), while Paddington first debuted in Michael Bond’s children’s books in the late 1950s. In 2014, Paddington’s stories have been brought to life on the big screen for the first time (they have previously been adapted into TV movies throughout the second half of the 20th century). Due to the critical and commercial success of the first film, the sequel has been made and the world is just a tiny bit better because of it.

Writing

Paddington 2 was written by the director of the film Paul King (who also helmed the first film) and Simon Farnaby (actor-turned-writer). The writing for the picture was just great. The viewers got to see Paddington entering the workforce and coming face to face with the harsh realities of life, while never losing his optimism. Despite all challenges he had to face, the lovable bear remained an example of endless hope, understanding, and kindness – somebody that we should all strive to be a little more like. The innocent humor, which arose from the situations that Paddington put himself in, was so nice and a pleasant change from the fart jokes of the other children’s movies. The meta-humor – the joke about the actors being evil as they lie for a living – was appreciated too. The good side of the British culture, that was neatly spotlighted in the first film, was on display here too. I also liked the fact that the movie wasn’t afraid to poke fun at the poshness of Britishness too. Also, I loved the fact that the incentive for a story was a pop-up book – I used to love my fairytale garden pop up book as a child and it is still on the shelve in my old room at my parents’ house.

Not only did Paddington got a chance to go on a fun adventure in a sequel, but his family also got some nice screentime. The teenager problems, the middle-life crisis storyline for the dad, and the desire for adventure for the mother were all nice touches that expanded the plot. I also loved how tight the narrative was. Every detail that was introduced in the set-up came back again during the third act of the film. The son’s steam trains hobby, the dad’s yoga, the sticky toffee apples that Paddington ate during the fair, the judge character, the daughter’s newspaper, the mother’s painting and swimming abilities, Paddington’s folded ladder were all important plot-points, not just random ideas that the screenwriters had.

Directing

The director of the first film Paul King absolutely nailed the sequel. He kept the pure, innocent, and joyful atmosphere of the first movie that is so on-brand for Paddington. The picture’s setting was very well-realized: both the broad one (the feature was sort of a love letter to London) and the narrow one (the fair/carnival/circus setting was just adorable). The CGI animation that brought Paddington to life was impeccable too. The cinematography was amazing as well: the filmmakers used a lot of long and mobile shots that were so impressive.

Acting

Ben Whishaw (A Hologram for the King, In The Heart of The Sea, Spectre, The Danish Girl, Suffragette, The Lobster) was, once again, perfect as the optimistic, innocent, but determined voice behind Paddington. Hugh Bonneville (Breathe), Sally Hawkins (Godzilla), and Julie Walters (I can’t wait for Mamma Mia 2!) were great as the ‘adoptive’ family of Paddington, while Brendan Gleeson (Assasin’s Creed) had a lot of fun with the role of the prison cook. Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins) was wonderful as the over-the-top theatrical villain, while a plethora of great British actors (Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Ben Miller) also played some lovely minor roles.

In short, Paddington 2 provides an amazing opportunity for escapism and is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It also will get you craving for marmalade!

Rate: 4.5/5

Trailer: Paddington 2 trailer

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5 ideas about a movie: Borg vs. McEnroe

Movie reviews

Hello!

Sometimes, I go to the cinema without any prior knowledge of a film. This was exactly the case this weekend, when, after watching the other UK wide release – Kingsman 2 – on Thursday, I chose to see Borg vs. McEnroe on Saturday, just because I saw it advertised at the box office.

IMDb summary: The story of the 1980s tennis rivalry between the placid Björn Borg and the volatile John McEnroe.

  1. Borg vs. McEnroe is a Scandinavian movie (more specifically a Swedish one), written by Ronnie Sandahl and directed by a Janus Metz Pedersen (who is Danish rather than Swedish). This is where my level of knowledge ends: I haven’t seen a lot of films from Scandinavia (have seen a couple so that’s something) nor any of the previous pictures by these filmmakers. Pedersen has directed some episodes of the second season of True Detective, though, but I’ve also yet to watch it.
  2. No matter how unfamiliar I was/am with these filmmakers, I have always/universally enjoyed the genre of sports dramas, especially its entries who make me appreciate a sport that I had no prior interest in or make me root for athletes whose names I didn’t know before. I rarely watch tennis on TV and I have maybe played it for fun once or twice in my life. Not surprisingly, I didn’t know anything about Bjorg or McEnroe (I barely know the tennis stars of today). And yet, this film made me care about and also educated me about both the sport and the people involved.
  3. The narrative had an effective structure: at the center of it was the 1980’s Wimbledon tournament, while the scenes from the athletes’ personal lives and flashbacks from their childhoods were interspersed throughout the runtime of the movie.  Thematically, Borg vs. McEnroe touched upon the pressure of the high-level professional sport (the pressure from family, friends, coaches, the public or the pressure that one puts on oneself), the fame that comes with it,  the emotions that runt through it, and, lastly, its pillars of sportsmanship and friendship. The film also mentioned a very interesting idea about tennis being a sport exclusive only for a certain cast/elite group. Later in the fall, Battle of the Sexes will explore how tennis is a gendered sport. My only critique of the script is the fact that I wish they would have situated tennis in a context of all sports, rather than put it on a pedestal as the ‘it/best’ sport.
  4. The directing of the picture was really good. The emotions as well as the intensity were palpable throughout the whole movie, but especially in the 3rd act recreation of the final match. The fact that the movie used a lot of dialogue in the Swedish language (rather than just English, like so many films do in order to reach a wider audience) added a level of authenticity too. The 80s setting was also well-realized and highly appreciated somebody who does wear a headband to gym and has a few color-blocked sweatshirts in her wardrobe.
  5. The two leads: Sverrir Gudnason and Shia Lebouf did a very good job both with the dramatic scenes as well as with the sports scenes (or they had amazing body doubles). Lebouf’s real-life eccentric personality fit his character perfectly. Stellan Skarsgård (one of the few Swedish actors that I know, mostly because he works in Hollywood more than in his native Sweden) was as good as he always is. Tuva Novotny also had a small role in the film, for the first half of it, I mistook her for Noomi RapaceRobert Emms also cameoed as Lithuanian-American tennis player Vitas Gerulaitis, who I’m only mentioning because of the shared heritage between him and me.

In short, Borg vs. McEnroe was an entertaining, informative, and emotional sports drama, with a neat message about rivalry and friendship in a sport: ‘Former Rivals, Best Enemies’.

Rate: 4/5

Trailer: Borg vs. McEnroe trailer

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In preparation for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them!!!

Movie previews

Hello!

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them is coming out in less than a month, so in order to get myself ready for its release, I decided to read the extra Harry Potter material that I missed or didn’t get a chance to read before now and I would like to share my thoughts on it.

I have always been a huge fan of the main HP series, I have re-read all the main books more times than I can count – they were literally my bible growing up and kinda still are now. Harry Potter fandom was also the first fandom that I’ve ever joined. The last movie of the main series – The Deathly Hallows Part 2 – marked the first time when I genuinely cried in the cinema because I didn’t want to leave that world behind. As a kid, I would also imagine myself in that world – I used to play pretend that I was a student at Hogwarts, even made a wand out of two pencils and some tape. My mom’s bathrobe worked well as the uniform robe too. Nowadays, I express my inner fan of HP more subtly – I have a Hogwarts Alumni t-shirt, a Fantastic Beasts t-shirt, a Ravenclaw pin on my bag and a Time-Turner necklace because a)I would love to turn back time (although, The Cursed Child kinda made me doubt that) and b)I’m basically a muggle reincarnation of Hermione Granger. Plus, I recently order a Golden Snitch bracelet. Last year, I have also visited a few outdoor filming locations – the bridge that was used as the Hogwarts Express viaduct (Glenfinnan Viaduct) and the lake that doubled as the Black Lake (Loch Shiel). I made a blog post about that trip, you can find it here. Next spring, I plan on going to the actual tour of the studios in London as well as the King’s Cross.

Okay, that’s enough of my personal story, let’s now discuss the textbook that the upcoming movie was inspired by as well as other extra books from the HP world.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, written by Newt Scamander a.k.a. J.K.Rowling is an amusing little book. It was first published as a novella for the UK charity Comic Relief in 2001, so the number of the printed books was quite limited. I managed to get one copy from a local library because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it – the books from the first few printings are super expensive on eBay and their prices have been increasing steadily because of the upcoming movie. The book will be rereleased next year as a hardback but who wants to wait that long?

Recently, Warner Bross and J.K. Rowling announced that Fantastic Beasts franchise will have 5 movies in it. The original book consists of less than 100 tiny pages but I can see a lot of potential in it. You can basically just pick one beast that is described in it and come up with an adventure story revolving around it. I also imagine that the filmmakers and J.K. Rowling, who will be writing or at least overseeing the scripts, will pull some extra stuff from the Harry Potter lore on Pottermore or from the other 2 short novellas (which I will discuss bellow). Moreover, since J.K.Rowling is so involved in the creation process I don’t have any problems with her coming up with new stuff – all the fans were super happy when the HP 8th book was published.

Fantastic Beasts not only has a lot of cinematic potential but it is an extremely easy and enjoyable read by itself. The novella is funny, witty and has quite a few easter eggs in the form of Harry’s or Ron’s handwritten notes.

Quidditch Through The Ages

Another Comic Relief book from 2001, Quidditch Through The Ages also has a lot of cinematic possibilities just like Fantastic Beasts. I can definitely see this novella being adapted into a magical sports drama. I think a lot of people would be interested in this type of property, as the Quidditch scenes from the HP films have always been well-accepted. In addition, I think a lot of fans (I included) were quite disappointed when the filmmakers cut the majority of the Quidditch World Championship from the 4th film.

On a side note, Quidditch Throughs The Ages also did a very good job in adding a global aspect to the magical world, as it spotlighted the traditions of Quidditch around the world. I even found out that my native country of Lithuania has a Quidditch team in J.K.Rowling’s mind, called Gorodog Gargoyles. I was so excited after I read that paragraph that I’ll almost let it slide that Rowling used words with Russian language roots (‘gorodo‘ means ‘city‘) to name a Lithuanian team (my country’s and Russia’s common relations are not great due to history).

The Tales of Beedle The Bard

The newest of the charity books, The Tales of Beedle The Bard has been published in association with Children’s High-Level Group in 2008. This short story collection is J.K.Rowling’s magical take on the old-school fairytale genre. Among other stories, the book includes The Tale of the Three Brothers – a myth that played an important role in the final HP book. The short novella also contains Dumbledore’s notes on various tales: these writings not only give us more context and background regarding the magical world but also provide an insight into Dumbledore’s personality. These notes might be useful in kickstarting a Dumbledore-centric film plotline, as it has been speculated that the young version of the character will show up in the future Fantastic Beasts movies.

Finally, one last note on the charity books – I think that they are an amazing idea and that more authors should use their talents for writing to help others. J.K.Rowling not only created more stories for the fans of Harry Potter but actually did something good that will benefit people around the world. Basically, I hope more writers will try to cleverly utilize their fandom for philanthropy.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

The last of the books that I’m gonna talk about today is, of course, the new HP book. Written in a play format for the West End and released in a script form, The Cursed Child tells a story of Harry, his family, and friends 19 years after the demise of Voldemort.

I was super excited when I heard that the script of the play will be published as I knew that I wasn’t going to make it to London to see the theatrical production. I absolutely loved coming back to this world and catching up with the character that I grew up with. It was also really nice to see them as proper adults: while their characters as children acted as my personal examples on how to be a child, The Cursed Child can basically act as my guide into adulthood.

I also found it interesting how we got to see a few alternative futures of our beloved characters. In addition, I liked the fact that Rowling picked the Time-Turner from the 3rd book to be the focus of the 8th story – she has taken a supposed plot hole of a previous book and made it into a plot-point. Now, nobody can complain that they should have used the Time-Turner to kill Voldemort in the first place, as the consequences of that could have been even worse. Basically, the main message is DON’T MESS WITH TIME. Also, I liked how she took other familiar bits and pieces from the previous books and presented them in a new way, like the Triwizard Tournament from the 4th book.

The format of the play took some getting used to, as the narrative would jump around in time very quickly. However, that added a quickness and a non-stop pace to the plot, which was quite nice and different. Nevertheless, I did miss the extensive descriptions that would take up a lot of space in the previous novels. The main topics and values like family, friendship, the fight between good and evil, the sacrifice, and the prophecy – the staples of HP – were present and welcomed in The Cursed Child as well.

A few last notes of the book: I really liked how J.K. Rowling managed to resurrect popular characters for the 8th book, by that, I, of course, mean Snape. Reading his lines and imagining Alan Rickman in my mind made his passing even sadder and more heartbreaking. To end this short review on a happier note – I liked how in this book, Draco and Ginny were kinda included into the main trio. This reminded me a lot of the 5th book, which was my favorite because it had more of the main characters. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved Harry, Hermione, and Ron together, but I also liked seeing them interact with other characters as well and The Cursed Child gave me more of that.


After reading a new HP story and 3 supplementary novellas, I feel quite prepared and in the mood for the new film. I loved the casting choices, especially Eddie Redmayne in the lead, I’m excited about the new U.S. setting and the trailers have also been promising. My review of the film will be coming out the same weekend as the movie hits theaters.

Bye, and Thank You for reading!

Kylie Minogue: Kiss Me Once Tour 2014 in Lithuania, Kaunas

Music

Hi!

How is your weekend? Did you celebrate Halloween? Who did you dress up as? In my country, Halloween isn’t a popular celebration, however, some people do celebrate it. The reason, why this celebration isn’t wide spread in my country is because on November 1st (next day after Halloween) we have a serious event – National Memorial day (in English it’s called All Saint’s day in the Christian part of the world and November 2nd is All Soul’s Day). It would be kinda strange to run around dressed up in a weird costume one night and the next morning go visit your relative’s graves, light a candle or visit a church. If my nation had more happy ways to remember the dead (like Mexicans do), we would probably celebrate Halloween too.

Anyway, this post is not about that. It’s about the fact that on October 31st, I attended Kylie Minogue’s concert! Kylie is an Australian singer whose career started over 20 years ago and she is still mega popular today. In 2011, she visited my country with her Aphrodite tour but I wasn’t able to see her concert then. But now, 3 years later, she is back in Lithuania with her new album Kiss Me Once.

After a brief opening from DJ duo Third Party from London (nobody listened to them), Kylie took the stage being just an hour late because of technical difficulties. She rose to the stage on a sofa shaped like lips and started singing Les Sex. Then came In My Arms – a timeless hit. She changed costumes 7 times and with the help of her band, 2 back-up singers and 8 dancers gave the audience an amazing showed filled with both new song form Kiss Me Once album and singles form the past like: All the Lovers, In you Eyes, Locomotion, Spinning Around, Can’t Get You Out of My Head, On A Night Like This, Time-bomb, I Believe In You. She actually invited one fan to dance to Locomotion with her and other pair of fans to take a selfie.

Lights, lasers and smoke effects were awesome and white sprinkles and sparkles falling form the ceiling when All the Lovers song was playing turned the event into a magical wonderland. She closed the concert with Into the Blue and left the audience wanting for more.

I enjoyed the concert very much, I was standing in the fan zone, in the first row, so I saw Kylie from 5 meters distance. She is so beautiful, you couldn’t even tell that she is 46 years old! As much as I had problems with over-sexualization in this years VMAs, Kylie’s sexual performance didn’t bother me that much because it wasn’t as vulgar as, for example, Miley’s.

After the event, I bought a poster as I always do (see my whole collection of posters). Bellow you will find photos and videos form the concert. On Monday, I am going to Vilnius, to the One Republic concert, so now I am super excited for that. See you next week!

More info about the tour: Kylie

Les Sex on my Youtube channel  Sexercise on my Youtube channel 

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Movie review: Magic in the Moonlight

Movie reviews

Hi!

Love and magic is in the air! Yes you guessed it – it’s Magic in The Moonlight review.

Magic in the Moonlight is another Woody Allen’s visit to Europe – this time to South of France. It stars Emma Stone and Collin Firth.

Summary:  A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue. – Written by Sony Pictures Classics

Setting & Location

The movie is set in 1928 – 1920s one of my favorite eras. I love that after the First World War women had more rights, the world was finally breathing more freely and everybody weren’t  nervous about the upcoming Second World War yet.  The backdrop of South of France is breathtaking as well. It reminded me of the scenery from The Hundred Foot Journey (2014) movie. As you may know from that review, I love little villages and towns of France.

Acting & Directing

I really enjoyed both Emma Stone and Collin Firth in their roles. They were complete opposites and that definitely showed on screen. While Emma’s character Sophie was optimistic, bright, exciting and full of life, Collin’s character Stanley was a depressed pessimist whose world had only dark colors.  It wouldn’t be a Woody Allen’s movie if there weren’t some romance in the air. So, in the end SPOILER they fell in love. It was actually a love at first sight, but Stanley – because of his grim way of thinking and low life expectations – didn’t even notice it.  In addition, my favorite character was probably Stanley’s aunt Vanessa played by Eileen Atkins – she was just so smart and always knew what to say.

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT

Music

I loved the musical score; I was tapping my foot on the floor every time a melody came on screen. I didn’t think that I would like 1920s jazz but I did.

Story

The plot wasn’t really complicated, pretty much all the action happened in one house. The dialogue was funny, witty and cute. Emma Stone is a great comedy actress – she has a natural talent for characters with a bubbly personality. In my opinion, the whole love story also had a Jane Austin novel vibe. The plot also raised a question for me:  are we really serving some higher purpose or just simply existing?

One of my favorite quotes from the movie was said by Stanley: “You’re born, you commit no crime, and then you’re sentenced to death.”

All in all, I really enjoyed the film, it was engaging, tempting and pleasant. It really sparked my interest in other Woody Allen’s films. I have previously seen Blue Jasmine which I also loved. Throughout the weekend after watching Magic in The moonlight, I watched other Allen’s vacations in Europe: Match Point (London), Vicky Christina Barcelona, To Rome with Love and the one I adored the most because I am a huge literature fanatic – Midnight in Paris. I am also planning to watch You will meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Scoop.

Update: I’ve already watched Scoop – loved it, because I wish to be a journalist. I hope to get a story like that one day.

Trailer: Magic in the Moonlight trailer

Rate: 4/5

I hope you are having a great morning/day/evening. Bye!

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Photos: Google Images

Back-to-school haul + school year in my country

Beauty&Fashion

Hello!

Since it’s almost autumn and most of you already started your new school year and I am starting mine in a week, I decided to do a Back-to-School type blog post. This will mostly be a haul of clothes and accessories for school, but in the end I will also include some other goods: like notebooks and etc., which I enjoy using. Moreover, I will give you some information about the school system in Lithuania.

There are 3 types of schools in Lithuania: elementary school (4 years), middle school (4 years) and high school (4 years). You don’t necessarily need to change schools tree times: elementary and middle schools most of the time are in the same building and are practically the same school that consists of 8 years. I have attended one school from 1st to 8th grades in my neighborhood (it was like 10 min walk away from my house) and I transferred to a private high school (gymnasium) in the 9th grade which is located in the city center. On September 1st, which is an official start day of the school year in Lithuania and is also considered to be a celebration of knowledge day, I will be starting my senior year (12th grade).

In my school, we have to wear black jackets – they are an official uniform. However, a lot of students don’t wear them and it really pisses me off because I used to wear one all the time.

During 12th grade, we don’t have any school dances, proms or homecomings like US schools have. But we do have our interpretations of these celebrations.

We have a 100 day celebration, in which we commemorate that we have only 100 days of school left. I guess it’s like our prom. Then, we have a Last Bell celebration, which is held on the last day of school before we star our exams. After the exams comes graduation. But in order to graduate, you have to pass exams. Lithuanian literature exam is mandatory for all students. You need to pass 2 exams to graduate and get a high school diploma and 3 exams to get into university. However, almost all of the students are taking from 4 to 6 exams.

We also have 3 holidays during school years. 1 week at the end of October, 2 weeks during Christmas and 1 week during Easter. We star our summer holidays at the beginning of June. Smaller kids, like elementary school students have more holidays, for example 3 weeks during Christmas instead of 2, bonus week of holidays in Spring after or before Easter (depends when the Easter celebration is that year) and so forth.

But enough of boring information, let’s go shopping! Disclaimer: I am not trying to show off, actually all of these clothes were bought on sale and I hope that this post will show that you can buy some great stuff even if you are on a tight budget.

Kaunas city shops:

iPhone cases form tiger for 2.90 euros: 1. One with colorful dots 2. One that looks like a tire

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(You need to protect your iPhone at all times, especially at school. You can easily knock it off the table or it can break inside your bag full of hard-cover books).

RESERVED: Grey sweatshirt with white mesh– 8.69 euros

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Cropptown:

Sleeveless t-shirt with LA -5.21 euros

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College t-shirt white/blue – 5.21 euros

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Charm bracelet with letters – 2.60 euros

Pink/golden/white bracelets (pack of 6) – 3.76 euros

Light blue/white/golden bracelets (pack of 5) -3.76 euros

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NewYorker: Necklace with infinity sign– 2.87 euros

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APRANGA: classical black trousers – 27 euros

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MOHITO: one button black jacket with golden details at the shoulders – 27 euros

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Vilnius city shops:

H&M: 

Blouse – 14.95 euros

haul

Golden slim Rings (pack of 17) – 4.99 euros

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Bijou Brigitte: Pack of 3 square rings – 2.60 euros

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Peek & Cloppenburg: Black sweater – 11.60 euros (They forgot to take the security thing off)

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Forever 18:

Rose-gold necklace – 2.90 euros

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White see-through sweater – 5.79 euros

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Other bits and pieces:

Self-explanatory huge eraser from tiger

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Fluffy pouch for pencils (2nd year using it) from local supermarket

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Notebook with NY and London from my local supermarket

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(Sorry, can’t remember any prices)

Links for shops:

http://www.tigerstores.co.uk/

http://www.reserved.com/pl/en/

http://www.cropp.com/

https://www.newyorker.de/lt/fashion-lifestyle/

http://www.apranga.lt/index.php?lang=2

http://www.mohito.com/pl/en/

http://www.hm.com/

http://www.bijou-brigitte.com/

http://www.peek-cloppenburg.com/en/homepage

http://www.forever18.de/collection_details.php?cat=none

So, as you can see, I am fully stocked on sweaters and sweatshirts at least for autumn.

I hope that this post helped you to find some sales in your local shops or maybe gave some style/clothing inspiration. Bye!

Nails: Shades of Pink

Beauty&Fashion

Good day!

For this week’s beauty post I decided to try my hand once again at nail art.This nail style requires zero experience and it is not super original what so ever. I just thought it looks nice and interesting but still simple.

First of all, you will need to pick a color. I went for a pink color not because I am too girly but because it is summer and pink is a very summery color. And lately I had been wearing a lot of print and these prints have a lot of pink-ish details to them.

After you have chosen a color, look through your nail polishes and pick 5 different shades of that color. Try to mix and match them: pick one darker, one lighter, couple of sparkly ones, couple of solid ones and you can even go for a matte nail polish.

I have chosen quite bold pink/orange/coral color for my thumb (Maybelline Colorama 91) – try to make your thumb the boldest of the nails, it will be like a delicate accent to the whole hand.

I painted my index finger with a sparkly light pink polish from Rimmel London 60 seconds line.

My middle finger has almost the same shade as my index finger does but the polish is solid not sparkly – Lotus Effect 55K.

My ring finger and little finger also have similar violet/grey/pinky shade on them. Ring finger is painted with a translucent polish with big sparkles (Uma cosmetics duo nail polish 01) while little finger has shiny grey polish with violet undertones from Avon (nail wear pro 021).

All the nails are painted with double coat of color nail polish and also a single coat of top coat. I also would like to mention that this kind of nail style lasted almost two weeks on my nails with minimal damage and chips.

I hope that you like this kind of idea for nails. You can use a different color and find shades that you like and truly make it your own.

Photos of polish bottles and the final product bellow. Bye!

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