Saturday, 22 March 2014

The (R)evolution of Miley Cyrus

"Miley Cyrus rolls a joint" - E! Online
"Miley Cyrus gets back to Twerk" - Last FM
"Miley Cyrus bares her boobs again" - Mirror
"Miley Cyrus strips for Terry Richardson" - Idolator 
"Miley Cyrus X-Rated Bangerz stage antics" - Gigwise
"Miley Cyrus photographed naked in bed" - Perez Hilton 
"Miley Cyrus: Her 30 most naked photos" - Huffington Post
"Miley Cyrus: Most controversial moments ever" - Buzzfeed
"Miley Cyrus grabs crotch, curses, shows off butt bruises" - Hollywood Gossip

Sound familiar? Well it's no surprise, as it's all we've heard since 2012. But who is Miley Cyrus? And why was she the most talked about celebrity of 2013? (and quite possibly 2014) If you're a bit baffled by the Cyrus Virus, I'm going to break it down for you - but not how you might be thinking. I'm not going to be talking about what possesses such a young woman to put herself out there in front of millions, strip her clothes to the ground, twerk and waggle her infamous tongue, or how a lot of people have beef with her. I'm going to be going into the revolution of Miley Cyrus and why she has become the face of celebrity rebellion. Because, let's face it, we just can't seem to get enough. Love her or hate her, Miley Cyrus has become the number one hot topic of 2013-14.

We all know that kids will be kids. They'll develop their own little likes and dislikes. One day they want to go to space, the next day they'll want to be a dancer. One day they like spaghetti hoops, the next day they'll refuse to eat anything that isn't fish fingers. It's a tricky one, but as you parents out there will know, they tend to grow out of most of their cute and not-so-cute little phases. But what happens when the child feels pressured into displaying only one side of their personality because they're aware that every decision they make as their grow is being carefully scrutinised? What happens when the child is paid to behave in a certain way? What happens when they can't play in the park with their friends, or can't walk their dog, or can't go for ice-cream because there are people outside wanting to take photographs of them? I think this was the beginning of what would ultimately be Miley's rebellion against what was expected of her.

Teen-hood is always a difficult one to figure out. Am I the only one who remembers worrying about where I'd sit at lunch time? Or how cute the guy in school (who was way older than me) was? Or whether or not I'd locked my diary the night before? So flash-forward to when Miley Cyrus turned 18 in 2011, "Hannah Montana" (her Disney Channel Pop-Singer alter-ego of 5 years) is finally put to rest, and for a while, and after a questionable stint on stage involving spinning around a pole to "Party in the U.S.A.", Miley Cyrus quickly falls into the quiet lifestyle of a young woman trying to find her feet. And boy, did she find them.

2012 and Miley breaks the news that she's engaged to her new beau, Liam Hemsworth. Wait? What? Where did that come from? The pair starred in the movie rendition of Nicolas Sparks' "The Last Song" together, a freshly engaged Cyrus just couldn't stop flashing her gorgeous ring. I guess this meant she's officially a legitimate grown-up now right? So when this whirlwind relationship came to an unfortunate end, Miley Cyrus did what any strong-willed woman would do... Get up, dust her knees off, and get back out there as the independent adult she needed to be in the face of those who doubted the relationship from the beginning. Not sure we expected her next move though.

Less than a year later and Miley ditches her classic dresses and long flowing dark hair with a short, platinum pixie cut. This was probably the most talked about celebrity haircut ever. I couldn't believe the fuss being made about her hair. Thus, the beginning of how we never did stop talking about Miley's image.

But, obviously, this was just the beginning.

As we welcomed in 2013, it wasn't only Miley's hair and wardrobe that made a rather drastic change. She began collaborating with stars such as Snoop Dogg and Will.I.Am - a world away from her Hannah Montana Days. Then out came her first No.1 hit, "We Can't Stop". The music video alone broke the VEVO record of "Most Viewed in 24 hours" with a whopping 10.7 million of us tuning in to her comeback song on YouTube. But we, apparently, weren't very impressed. The lack of clothes, the grills, the grinding, the questionable imagery, the twerking, the tongue... We seemed to have a real problem, with a lot of mothers rolling up their sleeves readying themselves to write angry letters and fume perilously to anybody who would listen, young girls repeating "I miss the old Miley!" and young boys well... They didn't seem to mind too much.

We loved to hate Miley and what she was fast becoming, and the comments never ceased; "Seems like someone has just discovered sex", "Doesn't she realise she's losing old fans acting this way?!", "Miley Cyrus is fake. End of. Trying to twerk with her bony *** to keep her name in the media." But despite the comments, her official social media accounts were blowing up. Thousands upon thousands of us started to follow her, waiting for the next big thing we could sink our teeth into.

Miley followed up "We Can't Stop" with her new single, "Wrecking Ball", and like a pack of dogs being thrown a scrap of meat, the world pounced on it waiting to be "shocked and appalled" by her behaviour. A silence fell when we realised the "We Can't Stop" had nothing on "Wrecking Ball." This silence lasted all of about two minutes while we got over a fully naked Miley Cyrus (aptly) swinging on a wrecking ball and (perhaps not-so-aptly) licking tools. Euphemism? As Miley explained that the idea behind the video was that she was "In love with what was destroying her", we weren't falling for that! There's obviously no room for nudity in any form in this day and age.

While some, again, voiced their concerns - the stream of hate-filled comments, response videos and news articles ran as fluid as ever. We just couldn't get over Miley Cyrus. Who did she think she was? She was clearly manipulating the system and infiltrating our children's minds with her sexually explicit behaviour. Understandably, I might add, this did become a very legitimate concern for parents of youngsters who grew up in Miley's shadow throughout her Hannah Montana days and watched on as she became a beautiful and elegant movie star and singer in her own right. So what do you do when your child expresses a desire to see Miley's new music video that everybody is talking about?

Is Miley Cyrus responsible for your child's welfare? In short? No. Being a celebrity comes with a couple of unofficial guidlines that you should always be aware of, and number one is to understand who is going to be watching you. What you do with that information is ultimately your own choice. However, although Miley signed a contract when she starred in Hannah Montana, once that contract came to an end, she never signed up to being a role model for children around the world, it's up to parents to monitor what their children are allowed to see and partake in.

Now, have you heard that song, "Blurred Lines"? No, it's not a Cyrus song. You can look to (or blame) Robin Thicke for this one. The music video for blurred lines wasn't exactly a world away from Miley's new videos, with naked ladies and pretty explicit undertones. Which is why at the MTV VMAs, we weren't really surprised when Cyrus and Thicke teamed up for a joint rendition of "Blurred Lines". But once again we were somehow surprised when Miley (wearing nothing but a teddy-bear swim suit) bent over in front of Thicke and proceeded to use a Foam Finger in a way a Foam Finger has never been used before. Just to clarify, when I say "surprised":

Needless to say, Miley received an offical complaint from Steve Chmelar - the creator of the Foam Finger. Apparently she "misrepresented and degraded an icon". He was pretty outraged. As well he should be, right?

And as if none of it ever happened, out comes Miley Cyrus' new album "Bangerz". Since albums don't tend to come with their own music videos, we listened intently, closed our eyes and imagined nothing but the innocence of kittens and puppies and all things pure after our emotional rollercoaster that was Miley Cyrus at the MTV Music Awards.

But what ho? A new music video is on the cards? As we all braced ourselves for another frighteningly explicit video (at this point, even though we seem to have nothing but bad things to say about Miss Cyrus, we sure are investing a lot of time in her). The "Adore You" music video hit our screens in December, and although we seemed to be pleasantly surprised by the slow and emotional ballad song, again, we just weren't happy with the video. Miley Cyrus rolling around naked in bed? Apparently, not what we had in mind. But after a string of erratic behaviour from Cyrus, could I ask what actually expected?

It's 2014 and Miley Cyrus has posed for raunchy photographs taken by reknown photographer of the stars Terry Richardson (who has photographed the likes of President Obama, Beyonce, Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey, Mila Kunis, Miranda Kerr and Cara Delevingne,) and has posed nude for W Magazine and Vogue Germany. After three years, we may even be coming to terms with this is just what Miley Cyrus does.


You might be asking yourself, where are her parents? Why has she been raised to behave this way? Your answer is probably a little more complex than just "She was manipulated for the big bucks." Living a restricted childhood and then being given the freedom of an adult with millions of dollars would have an affect (for better or for worse) on anybody. She's finding herself and an environment she feels comfortable in - and like it or lump it, this is it.

When asked about her behaviour and wardrobe choices Miley's mother (and Manager), Tish, admits that they've only ever had one singular disagreement about an outfit choice, and like Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, she believes that Miley is finding herself, just like any young adult - but she's doing it in front of thousands of people. Billy Ray Cyrus was quoted on The Talk saying "Miley said 'My philosophy is if the world says go left, go right.'" So are we seeing the real Miley Cyrus, or are we seeing a young woman putting on fa├žade and fighting to rebel against an environment she'll never be able to please? Or is it a little bit of both?

We've chatted about a lot today. But I haven't even touched on what Miley has to say about it all. After all, the world can speculate all it wants to, but when asked over and over again why she acts the way she does and if she's ready for even more attention, she responds cross-legged with a smile;

"I don't think about any of that stuff. I just want people to listen to my music. I'm happy with the star power that I have now. I feel like I've worked so much. I had to be something else (that I wasn't) for five years, so now I think life is too short for people not to be happy, and if you're an artist you're allowed to be who you are. If you're working in an office you can't wear what you want, you can't say what you want, you have a boss... And I don't, so I want to take advantage of that. Because I'm lucky, and I want to enjoy the life that I have rather than try to always be so perfect. Being perfect is so boring. So boring. And when you talk to someone who pretends like they're perfect, you just want them to f*ck up so bad because it's so annoying what they're doing because you know it's not true. You know you go to their room and they're like a psychopath. You know who's real because people that are too nice or, you know, too proper, you know that they're secretly a psycho."
(Check out interview here)

My opinion?

There's no denying that even though so many people are reeled in (and shocked) by Miley's climb to being the world's most talked about celebrity, her fan-base is certainly stronger than ever, and Miley has earned her spot in the music industry. I think Miley works hard on her music, and I think that although she can be misinterpreted a "young woman fumbling around trying to find a sense self-worth", I think she's a smart girl. I think she knows exactly what she's doing. She knows how controversial she's being - and she knows that for as long as she is Miley Cyrus, people will be curious about what she's doing next - and all-the-while, promoting her music. She's playing the game perfectly, and I commend her for that. 

Miley has pathed the way for rebellious youngsters all over the world, but at what cost? What more can Miley do to shock us into paying attention to her music/antics, and for how long will we be fascinated by her? Will we become desensitised to controversial celebrity behaviour? Miley has certainly given us something to think about. I'm now left with only one question, what do you think about the Miley Cyrus Virus?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Steal Her Style • Marzia Bisognin

Hello everyone! I'm hoping you've all been enjoying your day in the first little bit of glorious sunshine we've had this year (I think we've hit 18 degrees today - total madness for Britain in March). I had a lovely walk back from work through the fields with my boyfriend and his dog, and I'm about to head out to the forest with them again once I'm finished writing this!

Now if you've known me for any length of time, you'll know Winter is my kind of season - the snow, the cuddling with blankets and lots of hot drinks - it's bliss! But once the sun came up this morning, and I noticed the cloudless sky, I couldn't help but feel all excited for Spring (which means my birthday is just around the corner too! It's all very exciting). So, without further ado, today's Spring-themed post is courtesy of the gorgeous Marzia Bisognin and her adorable wardrobe.

1. Bowknot Back Dolly Dress, Chicwish £47 (buy here) 2. Felt Floppy Hat, ASOS, £20 (buy here) 3. Molly T-Bar Flat Shoes, ASOS, £22 (buy here) 4. Fun Spring Garden Light-Up Pens, Geddes, £7.87 (buy here) 5. Oversize Round Glasses, THE ROW, Boutique 1, £272 (buy here) 6. Darling Daisy Pendant Necklace, Forever 21, £3.47 (buy here) 7. Ciate, Fairground Spinning Teacup, Henri Bendel New York, £8.97 (buy here) 8. Puppy Dog Eyes Notebook, Modcloth, On Sale, £4.17 (buy here)

Not sure who Marzia is? Let me explain. Marzia is YouTube's "cutiepie" who specialises in fashion, beauty, decor, cooking and DIY videos... Even the occasional spooky story! Which I love. I must say I first heard about Marzia a while ago having found out about her through my little sister's obsession with Marzia's video game-playing boyfriend, Pewdiepie, I thought I'd subscribed months ago, but it's only recently come to my attention that I hadn't! For shame! If you'd like to check her out for yourself, click here! There's bound to be something on her channel that you'll love.

Marzia's style is so unique, she brings together elements of vintage class with shabby chic pastel colours and some of the most unusual (in the best way!) and adorable and accessories I've ever seen. I'd definitely say her wardrobe is very Spring-oriented. However, if her style is a little too girly for you or just not your cup of tea, then check out her DIY videos (for example, Nutella Cake, Memory Jar, and Bow Seater) or her vlogs.

So if you're super excited for Spring (and the garden parties, country walks, barbecues... and Spring cleaning...) that comes along with it, then be sure to update your wardrobe with some pastel colours and cute patterns, or if you're not looking for that kind of colour commitment, then do what Marzia does - DIY yourself!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Our Trip to Rome

I've been a little slow on the blogging front over the past couple of weeks, and trust me that's not because I didn't want to blog. I've been super busy lately and my most recent post took an overwhelmingly long time to put together (if you haven't seen it, check it out here) so now that's out the way, I'm back from my latest little adventure, and I'm at the helm of my trusty laptop, my schedule can carry on as normal!

Today (as my last full day off before back to the world of work) seemed like a great day to fill you in on where I've been and what I've been up to, and as you probably guessed by the title, I've been to Rome, Italy!

It all happened pretty quickly, it was planned by my family only a couple of months ago to celebrate my mum and sister's birthdays. I didn't really know it was definitely happening until my boyfriend and I were packing a bag to leave for the family home (we live in London and my family live all the way over in Shropshire, by Wales). I hadn't been abroad since I visited Florida and New York in 2010, and I'd for sure been having a bit of a rough time over the past 6 months, so I to say I was excited to be getting on a plane and escaping the country for a little bit was an understatement. Sure, it was only a long weekend, but I was totally ready to savour every single second of it.

The plane journey took a total of 2 hours and 20 minutes. I'd forgotten how much I love flying! There was very little turbulence, and it was absolutely amazing flying over Switzerland and the Alps. It was so sunny and such a clear day, so we could see all of the little towns and the sunshine reflecting off the snowy mountains.

We arrived at the Aeroporti di Fiumincino (the Leonardo Da Vinci Airport) at around 10:20am, so we had most of the day to fit in lots of exploring, since we knew we'd only be there for a few days and didn't want to miss out any of the major points of interest.

The Vatican Museum was our first stop of the day, and being an Art graduate, I was really in my element here. It started off as a museum primarily focusing on the relationship between the Ancient Egyptians and the Roman Empire - Although I'd obviously heard of Anthony and Cleopatra, I (embarrassingly) put my hands up and say I really didn't know much more than the basics. This was such an eye opener! As you walked up the marble staircases, the museum progressed, the focus was certainly more on the rise of the Renaissance, with elaborate paintings decorating the ceilings, grand statues in every room, and vibrant tapestries hanging from the walls. It was beautiful to say the very least. Of course, I had my eyes open for one particular painting - The Creation of Adam. My mum had visited the Vatican Museum before, and told me to keep an eye out for it, as it's not as big as you might thing (apparently you could easily walk past it and not realise!)

After sampling my first Calzone (wasn't as yummy as "folded pizza" sounds) we reached the Sistine Chapel. Although busy, I could really see what all the fuss was about. There wasn't an inch of the room that wasn't decorated in the most beautiful paintings or carvings. The Creation of Adam was painted directly in the centre of the ceiling! (I couldn't take a photo as no photography or recordings were allowed to be taken inside the Sistine Chapel, sorry!) but it really was incredible. The fourth photo up there is a little souvenir I managed to pick up from a stall that had been set up down one of the corridors in by the Sistine Chapel, it's probably one of the most beautiful little pocket mirror I've ever seen (and, as you know, being really into make-up and the like, how could I not? Even though it did take me a healthy 10 minutes to decide which design to get...)

The Square outside St. Peter's Basilica was just stunning, with such a gorgeous view out into The Vatican City by the doors where Sunday Mass is held. The sun was beginning to set at this point, so after taking up some photo opportunities (and my boyfriend betting I couldn't count all the chairs in the square) we decided to head into St. Peter's Basilica.

I think it goes without saying that the architecture in Rome is some of the best in world, and St. Peter's Basilica is just another fine example of this. I'd never seen statues and thorough attention to detail on such a grand scale like this. It blew my mind to think that every square inch of the building had been created this way by hand. Having an explore around the Basilica, I noticed a nearly elderly couple lost in prayer in a smaller area, tucked away in their own little corner. The man with his arm around his wife, he whispered to her, giving her a hug as she prayed. I wondered what they could be praying for/about. It really grounded me when it hit home that Basilica was still in such great use by the public - this is their life, and there I was, a young woman having travelled all the way from England - with no religious ties - focusing more on the artistic design of the Basilica than anything else. After seeing the couple, I began to notice that they weren't the only ones with their heads resting on their hands as they prayed. I put my camera away and took it in for what it was, a home for those who believed in Christ to worship, pray and be blessed. It was lovely.

I'm not sure I can put into words how excited I was to see the Colosseum! I'm a bit of a history buff, so although everything about Rome was exciting to me, the Colosseum has such a (grisly) history to it, I was raring to get in there and learn more about it - because apparently the movie "Gladiator" doesn't teach you everything you need to know. 

Unfortunately today was also the day the heavens decided to open, and since the Colosseum sadly no longer has a roof on it (another nifty fact I learnt while I was there - the Colosseum once had a thatched roof!) it was all hoods and brollies for us. We went on a guided tour, and we were left pretty blown away by the end of it. It's obvious that so many people lost their lives during battles held at the Colosseum, but did you know that:

1) In cases where Gladiators fought animals (lions, tigers, bears, panthers) the power naturally lay in Caesar's hands. If he wanted the animal to win, he'd demand they were left days without food so that when the time to fight arrived, they were so ravenous they'd tear the warrior to shreds. However, if Caesar wanted the Gladiator to win, he'd have the animal drugged so they could not fight to their best ability - usually resulting in victory for the Gladiator.

2) Caesar once requested Crocodiles be used in the battles, however this didn't really work out since, well, they just weren't very good. They just kind of sat there in a pool of water - no one stabbed them, nothing happened. So they just moved on.

3) The Colosseum was rife with archers - should a wild animals attempt to jump into the crowd and maul the spectators. (This was a particular worry as Caesar had the best seat in the house, low down and almost on level with the arena).

4) If a young man was called to war, should he refuse, he would be subject to fight at the Colosseum, and since Caesar called all the shots, this meant almost certain death.

5) If you were the one man left after a battle, Caesar would (again) decide your fate. A thumbs up meant "mercy" and you would receive your cash prize and buy your freedom, however, should you receive a sideways thumb, that's a signal to "run him through" with a sword. So even though you won, if Caesar didn't like you, that didn't really matter.

After our super duper tour around the Colosseum, we were all picked up by another tour guide, who lead us to The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It's a good job we had a tour guide too! As most of the Roman Forum is now rubble and ruins, it would have been really difficult to get an idea of the history behind it all on our own. You really got a feel for how the Romans really were at the top of their game - they practically ran the world. They were the richest collective on the planet during their time, and many lived a life of luxury. Although it's sadly mainly hunks of stone and rubble now, The Roman Forum was were the Senate was held, the walls  and ground covered in gleaming white marble, flame torches fixed high on the walls, even door columns were made of the rarest pink stone available (imported all the way from Egypt!) which today is so rare and valuable, it can only be found in three places on earth - the Roman Forum being one of them.

Once our trip around the Roman Forum had come to a close, the last on our list for the day was a visit to the iconic Trevi Fountain. As one of the most popular locations, it was really busy, but as most people were there for photographs, it was pretty easy to get close up and have a look. It's definitely one of the more romantic locations, with couples sat on the edge of the fountain holding hands, people wishing on coins together and throwing them over their left shoulders into the water, and Italian men selling roses to anyone and everyone. So how many photos can one take of a fountain? I tell you what, I took more than probably necessary.

And as quick as that, our final day in Rome was already upon us! Today was the day we'd be heading home. Well, after more sight-seeing of course. First port of call was The Pantheon, and since it was still raining, the hole in the ceiling wasn't at all helping! It really was beautiful though, and just like in St. Peter's Basilica, there were lots of people praying - I seemed to be instantly more aware of that it time. 

As we reached our final location, the sun decided to say hello and clouds began to clear. The Spanish Steps were such a picture, and the view of Rome from the top was truly a sight to behold. With the sun smiling down and a little man playing his flute, the atmosphere was amazing - I only wish we could have stayed longer!

Now although we visited some of the most awe-inspiring locations, another aspect of this trip really caught my eye. The streets. I know, at first it doesn't sound too exciting. But as I mentioned earlier, the architecture is unlike anything I've ever seen before. My boyfriend and I couldn't comprehend how anyone was walking around so used to these beautiful buildings and gorgeous little restaurants and stalls down cobbled, narrow streets. You really got a vibe for the Italian lifestyle, and I was so grateful we got to walk everywhere, because it's one thing to only visit the tourist attractions, but once you take a wonder down streets in the heart of somewhere as beautiful and historical as Rome, you begin to realise why it's paired with Paris as a City of Love.

Hope to see you soon, Roma!