Review / The Vegan Kind Box TVK24

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

I love having a subscription box now, it's so nice getting to the start of the month and thinking oh yes, I've got something awesome coming in the post just for me!  I was on the whole pretty pleased with last month's box so I was excited to see what goodies were sent to my door this month.

There were five different items (four of them edible) and as usual the box came with a few information leaflets about the products, one of the companies and information about VegFest which I'm gutted I didn't end up going to.  The charity of the month - Austin's Hamster Haven - sounds wonderful and I'm really happy to see TVK supporting a charity for our smaller furry friends who often seem to end up forgotten and less valued by other people!  It also came with the usual recipe card, which this time is for an awesome sounding baba ganoush that I can't wait to try out.

I was really excited to see Calbee UK Yushoi Lightly Salted Snapea Rice Sticks (21g, 55p) when I opened the box, because not only do I recognise Calbee as a brand from my time in Japan but I love these kinds of puffed pea snacks and I've had similar ones many times before.  They didn't disappoint either, they're crunchy and puffy and perfectly salted and I loved these just as much as I loved the other brands I tried in Kyoto!  At only 55p per bag I'd definitely consider buying these again, and it looks like you can buy multipacks on their website!

The Lazy Day Foods Millionaires Crispie Squares (150g, £2.89) were the first thing I tucked into as a snack and later a dessert, and I really enjoyed them.  I love millionaires shortbread so I was obviously happy to try a rice crispie cake-style vegan version, and as well as being vegan these are also gluten and wheat free and free of hydrogenated fats.  The taste was great; the chocolate and caramel were delicious, but the texture of the crispy base was a bit of a let down.  I'm not sure if I got a duff pack or if it's just how they're supposed to be, but they felt a bit soft like they could be stale.  I still thought they were nice though, and I'm keen to check out what else Lazy Day Foods has to offer.

I can't get over how lovely the packaging for the Almighty Foods Mindful Mylk Chocolate Bar (24g, £2.00) is!  The chocolate was also amazing; even my non-vegan other half loved it.  These are made with cashew, coconut and vanilla mylk chocolate and cacao among other tasty, natural ingredients and the taste and texture were just a dream.  It was so smooth and creamy!  I'd love to buy this again, but unfortunately I draw a line at spending £2 on a tiny bar of chocolate.  I find it frustrating enough that Nakd bars are as expensive as they are and they're half that!  Still, if you have money to burn, you have to try these because they're amazing and then I can also live vicariously through you.

The Fitbites in the flavour Baobab Bounce (35g, £2.49) were the only product I was really sceptical of when I first opened the box.  There are two different flavours, one with beetroot and red berries, and this one with almond, coconut, pineapple and baobab and I'm not really the biggest fan of pineapple flavoured things.  I'll eat a little bit of fresh pineapple on a hot day, but you can keep the dried stuff to yourself.  That being said, I actually loved these.  They're sweet but not sickly, and the almonds and coconut compliment the pineapple and dates perfectly.  I've never had baobab before so I couldn't really pinpoint the flavour of that, but I thought these were great nonetheless.  Fitbites contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are high in anti-oxidants, and they recommend eating them before and after exercises to fortify and replenish energy levels.  I had one before and one after a work out - can't say I noticed a huge difference, but I certainly enjoyed the taste.  Again, the downside of this is the price because it works out at over £1 per ball.  I love how these taste and I'd love to keep eating them with my workouts, but I can't be paying nearly £2.50 for a couple of mouthfuls a few days per week.

The last product this month was this ORGANii Shower Gel in the scent Organic Aloe Vera & Bamboo (300ml, £5.95).  The packaging for this is something special too, the other half said if I hadn't told him it was a shower gel he probably would've tried to drink it and I felt the same way.  It's too pretty and funky to be a shower gel.  ORGANii products contain only pure, 100% natural ingredients, sourced from organic certified suppliers where possible (the 'where possible' in the description is slightly off putting, though).  I'm really pleased that I got the Aloe & Bamboo scent too, because it's one I would've picked for myself given a choice between this and the other flavours (Argan, Liquorice and Strawberry).  I haven't had a chance to use this properly yet as I'm still using up some old stuff, but the smell at least is wonderful - it's very subtle and gentle on the nose, but still really nice and obviously aloe scented.  I can't wait to try it out!

If you like the sound of all the products above, you can subscribe to The Vegan Kind for £10 plus £3.15 UK postage (£9 worldwide).

What are your thoughts on this month's box?  If you don't subscribe, then which product would you want to try if you had the chance?

Spooktober / Freshly Dead Zombie Tutorial

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Day 16 of the October Tag is a not-so-everyday Halloween outfit or makeup look, so today I'm sharing a zombie look!  This one is more on the freshly dead side, and the basics of this makeup look can be used to create a variety of other Halloween looks.  You can do this just with your usual makeup tools (just make sure you clean them before you go trying to do your normal routine again!) and a little bit of theatrical makeup and fake blood.  I recommend cream-based makeup for this as it's longer wearing, easier to blend and work with, and if you use this be sure to have some setting powder or some talcum powder you can use to set it into place.

Start with a cleansed and primed face.  I used the Ben Nye Monster Wheel for this, but you can use any makeup that has similar bruise purple, blood red, zombie green, pastel blue, grey and white shades.  We'll be using them all!  I started by using my finger to wipe lots of grey and white all over my face, and used my regular liquid foundation brush  to blend it in.  You can also use a sponge or beauty blender, but you want it to be a dense brush or sponge rather than a stippling brush.  Because I've opted for a freshly dead look here, I wanted it to be opaque-ish but to still look like human skin that's just a bit... off.  I kept adding grey in particular until I was happy, and used white to lighten my skin as well as blended in a bit of the pastel blue to give it a colder, deader vibe.

Don't worry if the foundation/base starts to collect in your pores, highlight spots or blackheads or clump around your dry skin as it has done on mine; we're not trying to look flawless or pretty, so the more imperfections there are to your skin the better for this look if you want it to be 'realistic'.

Next, the eyes!  Using my finger, I patted the purple shade onto the lid and all around the eye, and blended it out with the same foundation brush.  Keep going back over the lid with your finger and brush, adding and blending until you've achieved your desired look.  You want your eyes to basically look like you've not slept in years or you've been punched in the face.  The more hollowed out your eyes look, the better.  Don't be shy blending this all the way down towards your cheeks or up near your eyebrows.  I then blended the red colour into the purple one, concentrating the bulk of the colour closer to the eyes.  The purple can go further down to simulate extreme dark circles, but we want the red to make you look sick and the eyes irritated.  Keep going back and adding colour, blending, adding colour etc. until you're happy.

At this point, you could take this look in several different directions.  You can keep it as it is and be an infected survivor or add white contact lenses and be a newly turned zombie.  This also makes a great base for vampire makeup if you add a little bit more pastel blue and some more red to the eyes - you could just do your normal makeup on top of this, add some fangs and be a pretty decent, creepy vampire.

Today, I turned myself into a relatively freshly dead zombie.  I started by adding a bit of the green shade of my monster wheel to various patches of my face and neck.  You don't want to completely green out your skin if you're going for a 'fresh' zombie look; the green is just to hint at the decay that's taking hold of the flesh and make you look a bit, uh, on the turn.  (For a long dead look, we'd use way more green in combination with other bits and pieces like tissue and liquid latex to mimic flaking, peeling skin.)  After the green, I went back in with the red I used on my eyes and added this to a couple of patches of my skin.  I also added this into and around my nostrils to make my nose look irritated or like I'd had a nosebleed a while back, and I even stuck a bit of lip balm up my nose to give it a nice, sick glossy look.  Because snot is fun.

I decided that my zombie had been nice and made up before turning; I thought it'd be fun to do bits and pieces of my normal makeup and then just mess it the hell up as though it had been smeared everywhere and unwashed for days.  So, I started by doing my eyebrows just enough to make them look naturally more filled in, then tightlined my eyes and applied smudgy, black eyeliner to my top and bottom lid.  I then used my liquid liner to create big cat eyes, but before it had a chance to properly dry, I wiped my fingers over it and blended and blurred it wherever the hell I felt like.  I also deliberately rubbed my dirty fingers on other parts of my face to further mess up the look.  I used my usual black mascara straight onto my uncurled lashes - don't worry if you smudge it anywhere because the whole point is to look crap!

I used a black eyeshadow and just my fingers to contour my cheeks and to further hollow out my eyes (apply it to the inner bits where your nose and eyebrows meet to make your eyes look even deeper set).  I found my fingers worked a lot better than a brush with the cream base, because the brush just kind of deposited the powder eyeshadow and then couldn't blend out.  Once you've finished with your face makeup, apply a hell of a lot of translucent setting powder onto onto it with a big, fluffy brush.  I started out using this and then decided that talcum powder worked a lot better; you basically want to soak up the moisture in the cream makeup and this'll keep it in place for as long as possible.

If you don't want to put any lipstick on, make sure that you've blended your base over your lips, adding a bit more white and blue to make you look especially dead.  If you are using lipstick, then apply it but don't worry about being precise.  I used a dark colour and then immediately just smudged it out with tissue, so that it deposited some colour on the lips but also went all over my mouth and face as well.

Finally, I poured a little bit of fake blood out onto a tissue and then patted this on and around my mouth until I was happy with where all of the blood clots and smudges were sitting.  For more realistic fake blood, definitely opt for the proper, theatrical stuff.  It looks so much better than the cheap crap from party shops and £1 stores and it's not as expensive as you'd think!  The bonus of using a dark burgundy or berry lip earlier is that when you come to this step, it adds to the bloodied mouth effect underneath the wet fake blood.

If you're actually going out and not just fooling around at home like I am, I recommend also covering your hair in coconut oil for an authentic, greasy look!

And there you have it!  Unfortunately my camera and the awful, cloudy autumn lighting doesn't do justice to how genuinely dead this looks in real life, but hopefully you get the gist.  Happy scaring, don't eat too many brains.

All products used:
Neve Cosmetics Brightening BioPrimer
Ben Nye 6 Colour FX Wheel - Monster
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade in Medium Brown
GOSH Defining Brow Gel in Clear
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (Crave only)**
Lily Lolo Eyeshadow Blending Brush
Inika Organic Eyeliner in Black Caviar
theBalm Schwing Liquid Liner
PHB Ethical Beauty Natural Mascara in Black
Lily Lolo Finishing Powder in Translucent Silk
Superdrug Talcum Powder
Powder Brush (unbranded, possibly from Next?)
OCC RTW Lip Tar in Black Dahlia
Fake Blood (not sure what brand mine is but it's apparently arterial blood!)
*This brand is not cruelty free.
** This brand's parent company is not cruelty free.

Have you ever tried zombie makeup before?

October Tag Catch Up

Friday, 16 October 2015

Man, as excited as I was for October it hasn't really started off to be the great, fun month I was hoping for.  I had a bit of a rough couple of weeks to start with and inevitably fell behind on my daily tags, so I thought I'd do a quick catch up post of the ones I was missing!

9. Your go to coffee shop.
Hate to say it, but this is Starbucks for me!  I'd love to try more nice, local places but I'm always worried they won't stock soy milk, and I always feel like I know what I'm getting from big chains while independent shops (although probably way nicer) are more of a gamble.

10.  My go to autumn scarf and hat.
My favourite scarf is my over-sized tartan one partially pictured here, and my favourite hat my cheap-o grey beanie pictured here.

11. My go to everyday autumn makeup or outfit.
I picked makeup for this one, and you can check out my favourite seasonal look and how I do it here.

12. My favourite jumper to wear during autumn.
I haven't had a chance to wear either of these much yet, but my favourites right now are my spooky ghost jumper and my new and barely worn moth one.

13. Share my own recipe or DIY for autumn.
I already shared my own rather than one by someone else for my pumpkin spice recipe on day 7, you can check it out here!  (I know, I'm a dirty cheat...)

14. My plans for Halloween.
Nothing special, unfortunately!  As it's a weekend, I'm hoping to at least do my makeup all fancy, and then the Other Half and I were planning on a quiet night in with lots of snacks and my Box of the Dead DVD box set.

15. My favourite Halloween book/film/TV show.
My favourite movie to watch at this time of year is probably Shaun of the Dead, it's a Halloween classic for me.  For some of my other scary movie recommendations, check out this post.

16. Share a not so everyday Halloween MOTD or OOTD.
This will be appearing as a featured post on the blog tomorrow or on Sunday, so stay tuned!

Hope your October is going well!

Current Favourite Autumn Makeup

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Day 11 of the October tag was your go to autumn makeup or outfit, so here's a full post about my favourite makeup look so far this season!

I'm always so excited for the cooler weather to come around, because my skin absolutely loves cold weather compared with how it copes in summer.  It's like once the initial transition weather is over (and the skin problems that always occur when the seasons change are gone) my skin just springs to life again.  I get the chance to use lots of products I wouldn't normally get to use, and of course there's just the general makeup trends of autumn to look forward to as well.

Lately I've been favouring a slightly dewy, highlighted complexion with a matte smoky brown eye.  The photos don't quite match the intensity of it - it's a little bit darker than pictured, but probably not quite dark enough to be called grunge or anything like that.  I'm a winged liner girl so any looks that don't involve liquid or gel eye liner are always kind of a big deal to me.  I'm still trying to get used to how it looks and not always go running back to cat eyes, as I'm starting to find my over-sensitive eyes get irritated when I use certain eye liners and as someone with hooded eyes, less liner is supposedly a better look for me anyway.

 For my base, I start out with a liquid foundation, followed by two different concealers- one for my under eyes, one for my nose and other areas that need covering.  Then, I set the concealer with a bit of translucent powder, and do my brows using just brow pomade and a clear brow gel.

The eyes take the most time just because of the blending involved - after priming the eyes, using a soft fluffy brush I sweep a matte, neutral brown shadow over my entire eye, pulling the colour up above my crease and close to my brow (you don't have to do this if unlike me you actually have lots of visible lid space) and under the eye.  I take quite a while to blend this and add to it to make sure it's perfectly blended and my desired opacity - I go for a wash of colour with this look rather than anything super heavy or opaque.  Then I take a darker neutral brown shadow and use the same fluffy brush to add some definition to the outer corner (top and bottom lid) and up into the crease.  Finally, using another fluffy brush I take a matte cream shade and apply quite a bit of this around the inner corner and the inner third of my eyelid to open and brighten the eye.

After the shadow, I tightline with a brown pencil liner, then use it to line the outer two-thirds of my top lid and the outer one third of my bottom lid and smudge it out with any brush that works for it.  This adds a bit of extra somethin' and also makes my lashes appear fuller, because frankly they suck in both the length and volume departments.  I also apply a little bit of dark brown eye shadow over the top of this and smudge it more to help it last longer.  I also use a white pencil liner on my waterline which opens up and brightens my eyes even more - when you have my eye shape and they often look like you've not slept in months, you really find you need this.  Then, lashes get curled and mascara gets applied!

For blush with this look I usually go for something mauve or purple as I find it compliments the brown eye shadow nicely, but any subtle or natural pink shade that suits your complexion would do.  I highlight a little bit on my cheekbones and cupid's bow, and then apply a dewy translucent powder over the top of everything.

When it comes to lips, there have been two different looks that I've been loving with this eye makeup.  The first is picture above, and is a lipstick shade that took the beauty blogging world by storm for a season or two about three or four years ago and then everyone decided they hated it: GOSH's Darling.  It's a light nude shade that when applied opaque can look a little weird, but I find that a sheer wash of it is really flattering and makes my eyes really pop.  Some people loathe this lipstick nowadays because it harks back to the good ol' concealer lips we saw in school in the '00s but it's been my most used lippie this season.

The other option is the total opposite: dark lips!  A warm burgundy, wine or cherry colour are what I'd pick for this look personally, but berry or even black lips would probably work just as well if that's your jam.  I favour a matte lip and I think it works well with the matte eyes, but I did a shit job applying an RTW OCC Lip Tar for the first time above and used way too much product so it's still super glossy in the photo.  The colour is nice though...

All products used:
The Body Shop Moisture Foundation SPF15 in Shade 2 (I think this is the lightest shade?)*
Barry M Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer in Light
Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair**
Lily Lolo Finishing Powder in Translucent Silk
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade in Medium Brown
GOSH Defining Brow Gel in Clear
Beautiful Movements Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Mississippi Mud
Lily Lolo Mineral Eye Shadow in Black Sand
Urban Decay Naked 3 shade Strange*
Lily Lolo Natural Eye Pencil in Brown
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk*
PHB Ethical Beauty Natural Mascara in Black
theBalm inStain Blush in Pinstripe
Phee's Makeup Tips Glow Highlight Powder in The Original
GOSH Velvet Touch Lipstick in Darling
OCC Cosmetic Colour Pencil in Black Dahlia
OCC Ready To Wear Lip Tar in Black Dahlia

* This brand's parent company is not cruelty free.
** This brand is not cruelty free.

Anywho, I hope you enjoyed this peek into my make up habits of late!

What's your go to look for autumn?

Recipe / Autumn Spiced Caramel (Vegan)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Day 7 of the October Tag is to share a pumpkin spice or similar recipe - my post for this one is a little bit late, but today I'm sharing a spiced caramel I came up with last weekend!  I had originally intended to make a fudge topping to go on some shortbread, but after melting butter and golden syrup in a pan I discovered that I'd run out of some of the other ingredients and, not wanting them to go to waste, decided to turn it into a caramel sauce instead.

Be warned, I love cooking but I'm not much of a methodical cook.  I follow my gut and what I fancy doing more than I follow recipes, so my measurements may not be exact or may have seemingly random ingredients in them to fix mistakes or make up for a lack or overdoing of other ingredients!  If you plan on trying out this or future recipes, do what I do and use it as a guideline and mould it to your own tastes and if you make a mistake, just use it as a learning experience to make you a better cook or baker for next time.

The below recipe probably makes about a medium sized mason jar's worth of caramel; I poured most of it over the shortbread so it was difficult for me to judge, but after that I had still had a good amount left to use on other things.  This sauce is sticky, gooey and full of flavours of autumn.  You can spread it over cakes, cookies, puddings - even swirl it in your morning porridge or drizzle over muesli for a sweeter breakfast.  I bet it'd be amazing over ice cream too, but I haven't had a chance to try it!

You'll need...
100g Pure or other vegan butter (sub salted butter if non-vegan)
2 tbsp golden syrup (sub thick maple syrup for spiced maple caramel)
9 tbsp light brown sugar (sub for dark muscavado for a more treacle-y bonfire toffee flavour)
60ml Alpro single cream (sub regular cream if non-vegan, double also works)
Optional: half a sachet of arrowroot powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
A sprinkle of ground clove
A teaspoon of ground sea salt

First, melt the butter and golden syrup (or maple of preferred) in a pan on a medium head until fully melted.  Add the brown sugar to the pan and mix well, turning up the heat a bit and keeping a close eye on it while the sugar dissolves.

Add the spices.  You can vary these according to your own tastes; I personally prefer mine heavier on the cinnamon or nutmeg and lighter on the clove as I find clove can be a bit overpowering if you add too much of it, but you do you! Add some sea salt at this point too if you want it to be slighted salted; I find this really brings out the flavour.

Once combined, turn the heat up and allow the mixture to begin to bubble for a few minutes - it'll rise to the top of the pan so you'll want to watch it while you do this so that it doesn't boil over.

Drizzle in the cream and mix, allowing it to continue bubbling for a bit longer.  I don't add much cream to mine as I prefer the flavour that way, but you're welcome to add more.

If you're worried that the mixture won't quite be thick enough or prefer yours to be a bit thicker, you can add a half a sachet of arrowroot powder to help thicken it a little bit.  Most caramel doesn't really call for this but I was pretty much just winging this recipe at the time and worried that the golden syrup might thin it out a bit!

If you've added arrowroot, make sure it's mixed in and allow it to stay on the heat for a few more minutes, stirring every now and again.  If not, remove from the heat, transfer to a storage container or jar and allow it to cool.  As it cools, it will thicken so don't worry too much if it still seems a bit loose.  Once it's fully cooled and refrigerated, it should be nice and gooey and a similar, slightly thicker consistency to plain golden syrup.

Use as desired!  I used mine on pancakes, shortbread, and even a cinnamon raisin bagel to name a few things.

If you decide to try this out, let me know how it goes!

Wishlist / Autumn 2015

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Day 5 of the October Tag is an autumn wishlist, so here are some things I'v been lusting after the past month or so!

1. Nothing says autumn like a nice spiced candle, and this one from Yankee Candle sounds amazing!  I wish I could try it out but they don't seem to sell this one in stores here; in any case the sweet donut, apple and cinnamon and nutmeg combination must be heavenly and perfect for this time of the year.

2. I'm not as much of a Lush fiend as a lot of other bloggers (there isn't even one near where I live, ugh!) but I'm always a fan of a good bath bomb like this Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar.  The spiced citrus smell sounds amazing and who can say no to a cute sparkly pumpkin?

3. These are pyjamas but if I bought them I would totally wear the top out of the house...

4. I've wanted a new pair of Doc Martens for a couple of years now, specifically one of the black ankle boot ones, and now that I'm vegan I've got my eye on their Vegan 1460 boot.  I have a patterned pair that are a little taller already, but the classic DM look is so timeless and practical, I just have to have more.

5. Since Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics came out their their new Ready to Wear lip tars I've already bought a couple and Black Metal Dahlia is next on my list.  I'd wanted lip tars for a while anyway and the only thing holding me back was the pain in the butt bottle and brush (which must be great for professionals but not so much the average Joe who wants to carry one around in their handbag to re-apply) and so far I like them!  I didn't end up buying this one because I didn't think I'd get much wear out of it, but now I'm second guessing myself because how beautiful is a gold and dark red combo for autumn and winter?

6.  I'm not a skirt person - I never feel like myself in them - but this faux leather skirt seems like the kind of thing I'd actually enjoy wearing.  The texture and detailing on the sides are edgy enough that it'd hopefully make a feminine item of clothing feel a bit more like me!  Plus, black faux leather goes with everything so I'd get so much wear out of it.

7. Barry M have released a bunch of new A/W products and one of them is this cool sounding liquid highlighter.  I hadn't been able to find any cruelty free liquid highlighters that weren't hella expensive until now so I really want to try it.

8. Another OCC product!  I'm still on the hunt for a decent cruelty free, full coverage concealer so I figure this one might be a good one to try.

9. Um how cute are these pumpkin socks?!  Look at it's happy face!

10. I'm always looking to expand my collection of Lily Lolo products and their pressed eyeshadow in I Should Cocoa looks like one I'd use all the freaking time if I bought it, so onto the wishlist it goes...

11. So this isn't much of an autumnal bed set - I wish it had a bit more yellow and orange in it as well as the green - but how beautiful is it?  I love ferns and I think black bed sheets just look so classy.

12. If you're as much of a Star Wars fan as I am, you'll have heard about Force Friday a while back when the new merchandise was released and you may have heard that they made a miniature version of BB-8 that is an actual, working robot!  He reacts to his surroundings and you, patrols the house and just wow.  Wow.  He's pretty expensive though, and as much as I want this it's probably one of those things that I wouldn't actually get a lot of use out of, boo.

13. Another Star Wars related item; I love the idea of big action figures and little bits and pieces as home d├ęcor and Captain Phasma is shaping up to be pretty damn cool so why wouldn't I want a big figurine of her?

What's on your wishlist this season?

Spooktober / 5 Scary Movies for Halloween

Sunday, 4 October 2015

I'm one of those people who's kind of in two minds about horror movies.  On the one hand, I love a good scare.  I like creepy stuff and like many other fellow weirdos, I enjoy being a bit frightened every now and again (when I know I have no reason to genuinely be scared, that is).  At the same time though, they scare the shit out of me and send my anxiety through the roof, plus not every horror movie is really for me.  Anything that's just 'real' or that boils down to torture porn or depictions of sadistic abuse I'm not even remotely on board with and don't see the point or appeal, but ghosts and ghouls and monsters and aliens you can sign me right up for.

Of course, my anxiety won't even let me rest after watching those either, because you can bet that even after a dumb ghost movie or something, every shadow or creak in the night will fill me with an immediate sense of impending doom and leave me awake for the rest of the night contemplating my obvious supernatural demise.  But why would I let that stop me from watching cool movies?

In the spirit of the Halloween season, here are five movies of varying types and degrees of scary that I'd recommend for the next month!

1. Dog Soldiers is a British sort-of-comedy horror movie about, you guessed it, werewolves.  A bunch of soldiers are on a routine training mission up in the wilds of Scotland, and when they get to a rendezvous point to meet another unit, they find a massacre and one survivor.  They soon discover that werewolves are the culprit (obviously), and spend the rest of the night fighting for survival and trying to wait out the full moon until morning.  It has plenty of action and genuine horror, and the werewolves are actually pretty creepy for the most part, and there's plenty of wit and amusing scenes thrown in, such as innovative use of household super glue.  I first saw it years ago and it's still one of my all time favourite horror movies, and easily the best one about werewolves I've ever seen.  They're a much neglected movie monster, apparently!

2. Halloween would not be complete without Shaun of the Dead.  Last year I spent it in the pub with friends, and the pub literally just screened it on repeat the whole night - it's a seasonal staple.  For those who don't know (where have you been?!), it's a British romance zombie comedy aka romzomcom that heavily parodies classics like Romero's - Of the Dead series.  Lead character Shaun is a bit of a loser living with his equally loserish best friend in London, and when his girlfriend and love of his life finally has enough of his childishness and leaves him, he wakes up to an unfolding zombie apocalypse.  It's funny, scary, gore-y and very clever - it takes way more than one watch to get all of the little bits and references to other movies or scenes later on in the film.

3. 28 Days Later is another one of my zombie favourites (although whether or not to class the infected in this as zombies is a bone of contention among some), but this one genuinely scares the crap out of me.  Yes, I do have a plan for a zombie apocalypse, and no it doesn't involve zombies that can freaking sprint.  28 Days Later is a brilliantly done Danny Boyle film that follows a man named Jim when he wakes up alone (and delightfully naked) in an empty hospital in an equally as empty London after an accident, only to find that what is still left in the city wants to rip his face off.  He soon meets some other survivors and heads out in search of a safe haven.  Much like other films in the zombie-esque genre, 28 Days Later also highlights the horror other people can present in an apocalypse scenario as well as the horror of the actual monsters, which in my opinion at least is scarier than the zombies.

4. The OH and I watched The Conjuring last year or the year before, and he found it absolutely terrifying.  I think I definitely handle ghost movies better than he does, and vice versa with alien movies.  Scary as it was, I did enjoy it - it's been a while since I last saw it now but from what I remember, it's creepy and atmospheric as hell.  Basically, a family move into an old farm house in the 70s and soon start to experience some supernatural manifestations that are small at first, but quickly begin to escalate.  A couple of paranormal investigators/demonologists get involved and once they start to figure out all of the horrible things that happened at the house in the past, things get all the more frightening and intense.  Definitely not one you'd want to watch on your own with the lights out!

5. If ever there was a horror film that fucked me up, it's this one.  The Fourth Kind came out at around the same time as Paranormal Activity, and I remember most of the buzz was focused on the latter.  Friends and family said PA was super scary, and the OH and I weren't totally sure what to expect from its alien cousin, and expletives can't express how much that movie still screws with me.  Set in a small town in Alaska, it tells the so-called true story of a psychologist who uncovers some scary stuff from her patients that seem to share the exact same symptoms and it all boils down to...

No kidding, the people on Ancient Aliens would have a field day if The Fourth Kind was actually true - watch it and you'll see what I mean.  Anywho, this is one of those movies that some people will probably think is really dumb, but as a person who has a horrific irrational fear of aliens (in spite of really wanting to find life elsewhere in the universe, because that makes sense) it literally made me cry with terror.

Bonus film!  Signs, because that movie also still fucks me up.  The birthday party scene though.

Have you seen any of these?  What movies do you like to watch around Halloween?

October Tag & Welcome to Spooktober

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Behold!  October is upon us, and in the spirit of all things autumn and Halloween, myself, Danie Tee of Spiked Black Tee and Ari of Comics and Cookies teamed up to create a fun little October tag for blogging and social media.  If you decide to take part, let us know because we'd love to see and share posts too.  There's no one way to do the tag; if you can't manage every day then just do the ones you fancy, and you can do it across any platform you'd like.  I'm going to be doing as many as I can (I have very minimal free time during the week) and trying to do catch-up posts at the weekend, and I'll be doing it across my blog, Twitter and Instagram so if you want to catch all of them then be sure to give me a follow on all three.

I'll also use today to announce that some of these tag posts are going to be a part of my new spookily named Spooktober series, where I'll be posting Halloween-related bits and pieces throughout the rest of the month, sometimes in addition to my regular posts and sometimes instead of.  So, after a boring month of posting less than usual, this month I might be publishing bonus posts!

Anywho, on to the tag!  My simple goals for October are...

To cook, drink and eat as many pumpkin/squash things as I can possibly fit in my belly this month, especially pumpkin because October is just about the only time of the year that you can even buy them in the UK.

To get outside and out in nature again.  Autumn is my favourite season and the weather is usually perfect for me, on top of the autumn foliage being beautiful.  I'm hoping to go on a couple of walks and finally get myself over to a really lovely cemetery near here to take some photos.

To pass my driving test.  I have my second practical test booked for next Wednesday and I would be over the moon if I finally passed because I'm sick to death of commuting by train and the colder it gets, the worse it gets because I spend most of it stuck at a stupid outdoor station waiting for a connection.

To post as many blog posts as possible.  I would love to post more than I usually do, but I get run down very easily, I lack time in the evenings and the lighting here isn't always the best for photos.  I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, but I'm hoping to get my butt in gear and try to write some reasonably good quality content and put up some good posts in spite of all that.

To wear dark lipstick as often as possible, because if ever there is a time of the year to style yourself like an urban witch it's October.

What are your goals for this month?

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