Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Clothes Show Live 2015

As I am a Fashion student at sixth form, I was lucky enough to have the chance to attend 'The Clothes Show' 2015 on Friday 4th December which is an annual Fashion event, lasting a few days during December and held at the NEC Birmingham. The Clothes Show is an incredible way to find out about upcoming fashion trends as well as being able to talk to leading fashion icons. We traveled by coach and left Norwich by 5:15am as it is around a three hour journey and we also needed to stop on the way. (This sounds easier than it was, our coach was filled with sleep deprived teenage girls but luckily, Costa helped with this). Unfortunately we had to invite the younger years of the school on the trip but us sixth form girls took complete control and put our dibs on the back of the bus where we spent the journey desperately trying to complete our make-up to the best of our abilities.

We arrived into Birmingham at around mid-morning and as this was my first time attending, I was a little confused as to why we had arrived so early when the show wasn't until 5:30pm however, I was soon in my element when I discovered the gigantic hall full of stores, split into different areas such as; the boutique, hair and beauty, the bazaar, fashion village and of course the designer outlet. There were so many stalls filled with branded products, both brands that I know and some that I hadn't ever heard of and all of these stalls had absolute bargains. Having said this, it is important to know that this room was absolutely packed with people which did cause me to panic slightly but I was luckily around lovely people who were absolutely fine about me having to constantly go outside for air. 

As soon as we stepped into the shopping area, we were overwhelmingly greeted with offers and goody bags for almost every stall that we walked by. We firstly stopped at the 'Cosmopolitan' stall where we were told that if we buy one issue, we get another two for free plus a goody bag of bits and bobs. Of course, us being teenage girls all said yes and was over the moon when we received our three magazines, an 'Organic Glam' full sized Mascara which retails at £21.95 alone, some eye-lash curlers and chocolate. If this hadn't pleased us enough, we next headed to the 'Models Own' Counter where all of their items were being sold as a deal for 'four for £10' plus a goody bag. I am a nail polish lover and considering that Models Own polishes usually cost £5 each, I was thrilled with this deal and quickly started hunting around the counter. I ended up picking up a five in one base coat, top coat and nail strengthener as well as a gorgeous hyper gel finish polish in the shade 'Deep Sea' which is a deep green. I didn't know before this that Models Own had brought out a make-up line and due to this offer, I thought it would only be fair to try out some of their products. I picked up two of their eye-shadow palettes in 'nude' and 'smokey' which usually retails for £6.99 each and includes six shades as well as a compact mirror. I did start using the nude palette quite a bit, mixed in with my other eye-shadows however, I did find that almost all of the colours were extremely shimmery and I ended up passing this palette on to a relative. The smokey palette was rather disappointing for me, I found that the colours didn't blend together well at all and that they weren't extremely pigmented which resulted in me again passing this product on. On the other hand, the nail polishes were just as amazing as all of their others that I am lucky enough to own. Moving on to the goody bag, we were absolutely spoiled rotten by this brand and I am super thankful. We received a matte eye-shadow duo, a small mirror, a ridiculous amount of sponges and eye-shadow applicators and of course, me being me and writing this post eight months after the event, I don't remember what else. But for only ten pounds, it was an absolute steal and it was not worth walking away from.

Next, we found somewhere to sit down and have lunch before watching a small catwalk show which was based in the center of the shopping hall. We all found this incredibly fascinating and it also gave us lots of inspiration for our own design work. I will pop in some of these photos below for you to have a nose at!

Following this, we attended a Question & Answer Session as part of 'The Designers Show' at 3pm with Caryn Franklin MBF which was both educational and interesting. Our fashion teacher got a little bit excited bless her and was rather disappointed in us all when we didn't know too much about her. After this had finished, she introduced us to a Mother & Daughter Brand 'The Design Studio' Hawarden (TDS) who design and hand-make bomber jackets made with faux fur fabrics. Sally (Mother) and Lettie (Daughter) spent some time telling us how each jacket is entirely unique and how more than 1000 jackets have been hand created since September 2014. Overall, I found both of these speeches very inspiring and if you have the opportunity to attend speeches like this whilst at the clothes show, then I would highly recommend going.

We spent the next hour or so trying to not let tiredness take over. We took a slow walk back around the stalls and messed around in some of the absolutely adorable camper-van photo-booths. We went and looked at the art work and cute quotes that filled the walls and waited for the time to come to make our way to the center stage for the actual clothes show. 
The show itself, was incredible. I enjoyed every second of it and looking at all of the forecast trends for next season. I loved how random some of the themes were and how well the garments actually resembled them. The models all looked stunning and I love how some of the themes had incorporated comedy into their show. Whilst the catwalk was taking place, there was a range of stores and items of clothing of products within the individual theme for the upcoming year, showing viewers where to find similar products. I cannot describe how much I enjoyed the show and I look forward to visiting in 2016. Everybody within the arena seemed to be having a fabulous time and believe it or not, there was even a dancing Stormtrooper which I must say, was absolutely hilarious.

Once the show had come to an end, we headed back to the coach and on our way managed to find a small stall which was selling overall Clothes Show Goody Bags. They cost £8 but I felt that they were such a lovely keep sake and included a programme/look-book of the overall show, a tote bag (perfect for sixth form) and a keepsake bracelet/hair tie. (I apologise for the state of my bag as I have had it for eight months and it is fairly worn)
Overall, The Clothes Show 2015 was an incredible event that I was able to attend and I cannot wait for the 2016 show! Despite the fact that the travelling was horrific, the show made up for that and (I know I said it before, but) if any of you have the opportunity to visit this event, then please do! It is so worth it.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Nathan Filer: The Shock of the Fall | Book Review

The Shock of the Fall is a novel written by Nathan Filer in first person about the narrator named Matthew’s experiences of battling through a traumatic event whilst a child and what his life had become, taking us right through to where he is now, nineteen years old, and ‘fucking mental’. This novel explores deeply into Mental Illness the daunting, sharp and shocking reality of living with one. It leaves the readers showing great empathy towards Matthew and leaving them feeling touched. It focuses on the separation and reunion of two brothers but a different type of reunion, the type that is typically “all in your head”.

Mathew talks much about “my illness and I” by firstly describing it as “a disease with the shape and sound of a snake.” Throughout the novel we become very fond of Matthew’s mental illness, giving us a better insight to what is really happening inside of his mind, showing us that the past really can hurt, leaving stories and scars that we would never be able to forget.

Nathan Filer has carefully drafted this novel, using a range of different resources including drawings, written text through the main characters computer and typewriter, typography and hand written letters, giving it a positive effect, bringing more meaning to the words being spoken showing that the writer clearly wrote this story to ensure that the audience can experiences a range of different emotions.

After reading the blurb of this book, I couldn’t wait to start reading. We are introduced to Matthew’s brother, Simon by just reading the blurb but to my shock within the next sentence we find out that “in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that” which gripped me in and made me eager to start reading the book in order to find out about his brother, how did his brother die? Why is it important that we know this information before even reading the book? Nathan Filer goes from telling the audience that “I think you’re going to like him. I really do” suggesting that Simon may be a hero within the novel and that Matthew really looks up to him and gives a positive impression however, he then suddenly turns the complete feeling of what may happen within the novel by writing the next sentence using blunt and bitter language. This allows the audience to feel intrigued into why the language within this one paragraph has already given a mixture of feelings towards the audience, maybe even leaving them puzzled.

Early on in the novel, we become aware of the place and time in Matthew’s life that Simon died, we also learn that Simon also has a disorder, but a much different disorder to Matthew. As the novel goes on, we read about the life of Matthew through the writer using both the present day, and flashbacks of the past, giving us hints into how Simon died and how Matthew who was only a child at the time, learnt to cope with it as he grew up, became familiar to his local Mental Health team and experienced a handful of hospital admissions under section of the Mental Health Act which was caused by the death of his sibling who he admired and had an indescribable love for. Whilst reading this book, not only did Nathan Filer describe flashbacks of when Simon was alive, but he also showed Simon as somebody who felt alive, as Matthew could hear his voice inside of his head at the present day, as if they were really talking and Simon was partly still there. Page by page, we get to know Matthew’s close relatives, small details about them, dropping hints of the pain that they are also in following their loss. It isn’t until nearly the end of the novel that we discover what really happened to Simon and how he died, how Matthew blames himself and how his schizophrenia currently controls his life by him hearing Simon’s voice talking to him and seeing Simon or signs of him within the most odd and unusual things, making him unable to live a normal life. At the end of this novel, we learn that Simon’s voice within Matthew’s head must have been a big part his life so far as though it is normality for him considering that he openly tells the readers that “I get used to having Simon around. It takes time to adjust, and time to adjust when he’s gone.” This also shows that with higher doses of medication to drown his hallucinations out, Matt is losing his brother all over again. The author uses complex sentences throughout the novel, managing to set and change the mood of the novel, bringing both humour and darkness into the same story.

Nathan Filer; the author of this eye-opening and beautifully written novel is a registered mental health nurse suggesting that this may be where he got his inspiration for his novel from. This was his first novel and won the “Costa Book of the Year” award. It is an incredible piece of work, making it hard to believe that this was his first published novel.

In conclusion, after finishing this novel I felt speechless at how much of a gripping and incredibly well written story, clearly expressing how Matt was feeling and his attitude and thoughts about different things that were to happen in his life, really pulling the readers in. I was intrigued to know more about what it is like for Matt to live with a mental illness and this book definitely gave a teeth gripping and dreadful impression of what it would be like allowing us to really empathise for Matt. We learn what his life consists of, what sort of thoughts consume his mind and how hopeless, alone and torturous his life must feel. It is one of the best books I have read, not only with how well it was written, but with the story itself and the element of suspense that was running the whole way through, making every paragraph more interesting than the last and I am sad to have come to the end of the novel.

If you are interested in this novel, then the best place to purchase would be at Amazon UK.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x
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