Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Paul Smith iPhone case.


As a lo-fi kind've chick – still happily using a Walkman to listen to my tapes in the not too distant past – I love this Paul Smith iPhone case. My poor iPhone 3GS is bashed to death, so I need to decide whether to upgrade to a 4 or wait until the 5 comes out (in August, apparently). Oh, and I have zero budget, and could renew my 3GS for free. This little beauty of a case could help me make my mind up: it's designed to fit an iPhone 4. Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Beverley Folk Festival.

Beverley, the town in Yorkshire where I was born, holds a folk music festival every year. As well as the official festival events there are impromptu sessions in the ancient pubs, so I flatswapped with an old friend and headed down there for the weekend.

Beverley Folk Festival

We started with coffee at The Sun Inn, which has stood opposite the Beverley Minster since 1530. Even at lunchtime the place was stuffed with musicians, dogs, children and old, old folk. With beards and walking sticks.

Beverley Folk Festival

This dude with the awesome guitar case was my favourite. He reminded me of David Crosby.

Beverley Folk Festival

We popped out for a stroll through town to check out what was going on at Nellie's.

Beverley Folk Festival

And got a Burgess's ice cream. A Beverley institution.

Beverley Folk Festival

Then we headed back to The Sun Inn. It was late afternoon and the place was absolutely jumping. There was somone on spoons (which he alternated with a trombone), a double bass, flutes, bagpipes (officially the world's worst instrument but they actually sounded okay), fiddles, drums, a squeezebox, an accordion, a banjo, penny whistles, recorders, mandolins, bells and a baby playing maracas. We started on the specially brewed Festival Ale.

Beverley Folk Festival

In the evening we went out for dinner with my folks and then strolled back to the Sun Inn. Passing the Oddfellows Arms we saw the David Crosby dude with the guitar case in the window so shot in. There was a singing circle going on; everyone gets one song each as you go around. We plonked ourselves in the circle like the drunk tourists we were, and listened to everyone sing. (They kept asking us to sing but we were too tired and drunk! Next year, we're singing.)

Beverley Folk Festival

These dudes had blue Artist wristbands, and they were soooo good. There were three sisters, who all sang beautifully. Their father was the guy above, with the red bandana. He introduced one of his songs as 'a border ballad with a breton twist.' Moment.

Beverley Folk Festival

That's two of his daughters singing together above, the ones with the dark hair. We sat and listened to them sing until after the pub door was locked and many pints of Funfair ale drunk. The whole weekend was a folky fairytale dream and I can't wait until next year! I'll be going armed with bells and songs.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Catbird.


How lovely are these rings from Catbird in Brooklyn? My friend Anna* was wearing one of their rings recently and I nearly dislocated her arm to get a look. I love the trend for finer, more delicate jewellery at the moment. It's quite 1980s, and reminds me of my formative years as a magpie, gazing at all the big girls' jewellery. The multicoloured stones in Circle Ring, are particularly lovely, and the delicate little heart and initial rings are so sweet!

*Check out her awesome food blog Hungry Hollowaiians, where she and her friends try out new recipes from scratch. Such a good idea to get yourself cooking new things. I've got to make chili cornbread soon!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Paula Begoun's skincare truths.

I jumped at the chance to meet straight-talking skincare expert Paula Begoun earlier this week. Known as the The Cosmetics Cop in the States – where she is a household name due to her Oprah appearances – Paula's mission is to use independent research and years of experience to cut through the thorny field of skincare myths and false promises.

I am massively sceptical about skincare, after a long and expensive stint as a skincare junkie. Nothing worked as well as my student routine of cleanser from The Body Shop, Nivea lotion and olive oil masks. I was really interested to hear what a bona fide industry expert had to say and Paula really knew her stuff, easily answering tricky questions with statistics and evidence based on independent research. She was extremely persuasive and I was absolutely sold. 

Here are her basic tenets of skincare. Some were a surprise to me!

Expensive doesn’t mean better
Paula told us some very interesting stories about the ingredients in high-end products and how they match much cheaper products. For instance, expensive and super-hyped product SK-II is in fact very similar to Olay's Regenerist range. Paula’s site Beautypedia holds detailed reviews for every skincare range you can think of. If there’s a cream you’re interested in, look it up there first for expert research advice, rather than shooting in the dark.

Never buy products in a jar
Air and UV light deteriorate active ingredients. As soon as you open the jar, the product’s active ingredients will start to go off. The best packaging is a tube with a tiny opening.

Eye cream is not necessary
There is no research to support the theory that the eye area needs a different formulation of product. In fact, most eyecreams don’t contain SPF, so you’re essentially opening up the eye area to greater risk. As Paula herself says, ‘There is no reason in the world to waste money buying a separate product that's labeled as being special for skin around the eyes.’ Check out more of Paula's reasoning on this here.

There is no need for separate products for day and night.
The needs of the skin do not change according to the time of day. Paula fact: the only difference between a daytime and nighttime moisturiser is that the daytime version should contain a well-formulated sunscreen.

You must wear sunscreen
We all know this.

Exfoliation is key
This was interesting. Paula’s analogy was how feet feel following a pedicure: after sloughing off the dry skin and applying lotion, your feet feel soft and smooth. The same applies for the face, but rather than use harsh scrubs, Paula’s advice is to use exfoliatiors that are gel or lotion based with active ingredients.

I’m excited to try her range of products, Paula's Choice, to see if the combination of properly packaged and formulated active ingredients really will make a difference to my skin. The range is very reasonably priced and the product of Paula’s years of extensive research and experience. I’m excited to try it and compare the results to my trusty Nivea. I will report back.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Let's get down to business.

I'm a freelance community manager and digital consultant. I work with organisations and brands to help them get heard out there in that chatty social web.

I can help build and manage a community for your brand or business, providing a framework and content that supports your message. Words and pictures provided.

Drop me a line at hello@carolineno.com and let's see what we can do. Oh, and here's my LinkedIn.

Photo: The Brick House.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Review: Jerry Seinfeld at the O2, London.

Seinfeld
Me outside Tom's Diner, the New York diner shown in the opening credits of Seinfeld.

Jerry Seinfeld performed his first big London gig in years last night. For me, this was a big deal. I must have seen every episode of Seinfeld at least twice and probably relate my daily life to a Seinfeld gag once a day. (For instance, last night I went to wait for everyone in the seats because I didn’t want to miss any of the show and one of my friends quipped, ‘Like the episode where Elaine goes to save the seats at the cinema!’ Exactly.)

I prepared myself for it to be a letdown, thinking that the size of the O2 would probably swallow up the atmosphere, maybe he would only do a short show, what if he just wasn’t funny? It would be like falling out with an old friend, spoiling all of our happy memories and casting a shadow over the hours spent cosily together, giggling. #loser

Thankfully that was not to be the case. From the second he ran on, waving goofily, he absolutely ruled the arena and had us in his pocket; straight into nasally, whiny, misanthropic, low expectation of life hilarity, expounding upon how everyone’s life sucks really, including his. ‘Life sucks. One thing I’ve learnt is that there is a very fine line between ‘great’ and ‘sucks’.’

The telly Seinfeld was a playboy 30-something with commitment issues and he touched on those years. 'Yeah, I suppose I had issues. But I loved those issues. Every single one of those issues.’ He finally got married at 45 and now has 3 kids. A lot of his material focussed on how marriage and fatherhood has changed his life, painting a picture of how his wife lies awake trying to think of situations and questions to catch him out. ‘What if you faked your own death, and I found out and you knew that I knew…what THEN?’

And on weddings: ‘I know there are a lot of you out there at the moment, planning your wedding, don’t make yourself known, I don’t care… Well, I have something I want to tell you about your wedding that you don’t know. WE DON'T WANT TO GO TO YOUR WEDDING!'

He performed flawlessly for 90 minutes, not even slightly ruffled or breaking a sweat, like the Roger Federer of live comedy. Looking years younger than 57, he barely stopped to pause and his confidence and professionalism were awe-inspiring, with moments of pure crystallized Seinfeld observational brilliance. Thanks for not letting me down, Jer.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Whitstable.

When you live in London, escaping to the sea is occasionally essential. Whitstable is my current favourite sea fix of choice. It's about an hour away on the train, is just quaint enough, has good chazzas to rifle through and nice little pubs next to the beach, so you can tuck into raspberry wheat beer and local oysters whilst staring at the sea. There's even a vintage shop on the beach! Sanity saving. Here are some pictures I took on a trip a couple of weeks ago. I used the GC's camera, a Powershovel Harinezumi. (Or, 'the toy', as I like to call it. They're so silly and don't have a viewfinder or screen! Has anyone every used one of these before?
Fun to play around with, anyway.) Which other places do you Londoners visit when you
need to get away?