Have you ever asked your friend or that special someone what they want for Christmas and they said "I don't mind"? Because same. Every year actually. And, sometimes, the annoying thing is that they either don't like it, don't make use of the present I got them or complain because it's not something they liked or wanted. It's the same every single Christmas, especially with my younger sister whom I find a little bit ungrateful at times.


So, I decided to come up with this gift idea: it's like one of those goody bags you get at the end of a [children's] birthday party - those small plastic bags or boxes with a mix selection of toys, mini games and sweets. It's pretty much like that, but more 'christmassy' and it'll be suited more to the receiver's preferences so they won't complain or return the item (it's sad because it happens to me almost every year :c ).

Here's an example of a friend. This friend of mine wants to have clear skin, enjoys eating and loves food and likes to smell nice so I've gathered a Peppermint mask (the powder kind in which you add water) which I purchased during a day trip to Lille, France, Galaxy white bubble chocolate, a green tea milk candy from Hong Kong and a bottle of perfume from Soap & Glory, all (kind of) wrapped together in red tissue paper in a small gift box which I finished off with a white string tied neatly at the ends. 

I've done a similar thing with my other friend, with the same Hong Kong candy and chocolate but with a Writer's Manual and a crystal encrusted drawstring bracelet because she loves accessories and reading and writing. 

The great thing about this 'goody gift' is that it offers your friend a selection, from food, to miscellaneous items and something useful to something they like whether it's small and cheap or large and expensive. It can be in a gift bag, a box or your items can just simply be wrapped in wrapping paper or (for economical purposes) wrapped in tissue paper or even tin foil! The ideas can be endless :D


I hope that, in a way, this has inspired you or helped you when your blocked for last minute gift ideas, especially if it's for the 'fussy' and 'indecisive' friend in your life (I have many, many of them in mine). 

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! 

x Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ
Since I haven't done any art or photography related posts in a while, I thought I'd share some of the photographic works I've been working on in the past several months for my photography project. For our course we've done a series of workshops, learning all the different techniques and ways to capture images using camera-less photography and photographing with film and digital cameras.

For this series, I've used a macro lens (it was the only available lens that day lol) and just experimented with it. I explored the techniques we learned like the use of exposure, shutter speed and white balance and I simply captured almost everything I found satisfyingly aesthetic :)










These were actually just photographs to test if the settings are right before taking the same picture with my film camera, since you can only take them once :( 
In my film camera, I've also done multiple exposure techniques where another photo is overlaid on top of another - once I've developed all my film, I may share it :D 

I've also done Edward Weston inspired photographs of close-ups of cabbages and other objects with interesting lines and patters to make it appear surreal and 'strange and familiar' (the theme of our project). 




These are what I've done so far in my project but of course I'll show more, including my photograms and film processes! 

Hope you like my pics and tell me what you think :D

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

As some of you probably already know, there was the ever-so recent Victoria's Secret fashion show where perfectly tall, skinny and absolutely stunning models strut the glittering catwalk wearing their ridiculously expensive lingerie with the addition of flashy and dazzling 'angel's wings' and accessories along with heels and the powerful and sexy confidence that I know I'll never have.



Victoria's Secret Fashion shows are amongst the biggest and most talked about events on the media because of iconic models such as Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, the Hadid sisters, etc. as well as the gorgeous lingerie that they wear and the artists who perform live music on the catwalk, artists such as Ariana Grande, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, etc.; this makes the industry (in the United States) be worth over $6.5 billion.

Honestly, I have nothing against VS apart from a couple of things. Yes, it does claim that their products 'empower women' and make them feel 'sexier and more confident' in which I'm perfect fine with, but I don't like how they objectified the models to sell their bras. Some of you are perhaps thinking that that would be inevitable since modelling lingerie requires you to be half-naked, but VS overtly sexualises these women. For example, take a look at the differences between these photos:

This image is from the H&M online shop for the Microfibre string briefs. It goes straight to the point and simply shows the product. There's nothing flashy or 'sexy' about this image because of the way the model poses and her facial expressions. 

This image if from VS online shop for the CrissCross Lace Cheekini. Unlike the previous photo, this image is very alluring and from how the model is posing and her facial expressions she looks seductive. The fact that she only has the panties shows us the photograph is very suggestive.

And take a look at this one from Ann Summers (which, like VS, sells sexy lingerie), advertising the Leona Plush Bra. Again, nothing sexy about this image (apart from the product ofc).

Now look at this one from VS which shows the Dream Angels Velvet Bustier. From the model's pose, which is the open legs, and her inviting facial expression it makes this very suggestive.

Do you see my point?

Also, the fact that the company claim that their products will 'empower women' by making them feel sexier and confident encourages self-objectification. Especially since VS is widely talked about on social media, this encouragement will spread amongst younger girls. VS's marketing may convince these girls to treat themselves as objects, to be consumed and seen. (See this interesting article for more about VS's marketing)

Now, I'm not here to perpetually bash the company and make them look bad, I'm just here to open your minds a bit wider towards women's bodies. With the VS Fashion show 2016, it's the perfect timing to talk about bras which is the main topic for this post.

Victoria's Secret is well known for its (expensive) bras, including their most expensive bra line, the 'Fantasy Bras'. Because of its widespread commerciality on media as well as in pop culture, the trendy and sexy bras are extremely popular, with around 70% (in the US) women shopping at VS.

Personally, I've never bought or even tried on a VS bra because they are just too expensive for my likes. I prefer functionality than fashion, because what's the point in wearing a black and magenta bra with extremely detailed lacing when it's going to be covered anyway? Well, in this current generation fashion surpasses function which, like one of my previous points, can encourage self-objectification and make girls obsessed with themselves and the way they look; and with the VS angels, society is pushing expectations of women further up which can turn this obsession into something ugly.

I mean, a bras main function is to support your breasts, it's not something that you could show off which is what VS is exhorting. And if society tells us that bras are 'mandatory', then why make it so expensive?

Lingerie is something intimate, so I think it shouldn't be thrown in the spotlight like it's the most important thing in this planet. Bras are bras, it is not mandatory and we should respect other women's choice of not wearing one. We shouldn't degrade them because it's 'suggestive' or 'sexualised' since the nipples are showing, when VS sells products in a way that is exactly like that.

Thank you for reading this long rant about bras which I've been meaning to let out for a long time! I really hope I somehow opened your mind a bit more to this long-standing issue about our bodies and hope that maybe you'll do something about it to change society's attitude towards women :D

I'd also like to know what some of your thoughts are on this issue, whether what VS markets is "women empowerment" or plain simple "sexism".

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

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