Veronica: The Autobiography of Veronica Lake; Book Review.

When most people hear the name, “Veronica Lake” usually one of three things comes to mind – that incredible peek-a-boo hair, the Film Noir’s with Alan Ladd or possibly Kim Basigner playing a Miss Lake lookalike in L.A. Confidential (1997) – fun fact, she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for that role. Although, with Veronica’s heyday being well over half a century old, that’s sadly usually as far as it goes.

However, with the Classic Hollywood Era being hugely timeless and forever coming back into fashion, the genre is becoming less of a niché subject and more Stars are on the public radar. If you’re a long time Vintage Lover like myself, you’ll be aware that unfortunately, a lot of our favourites don’t have many books written about them, or if they do, they’ve been out of print for a number of years and can be hard to find, or very expensive. Therefore, when I came across the news that Dean Street Press were publishing a reprint of Veronica’s Autobiography, which was first released in 1969, I was absolutely ecstatic! As most who know me are probably aware of my love for Blonde Bombshells, it may not be as well known that Veronica is my other favourite, after Marilyn.

There have only been two books published on Veronica, which I must add, astounds me – and one of them is this one which was co-written by ghost writer Donald Bain, who sadly passed away in October of 2017. The other is by Jeff Lenburg and I am fortunate enough to have both. However, Lenburg’s book is fairly controversial as he takes a lot of his information from Veronica’s mother, who claims a lot of detrimental things about her daughter – yet was estranged from her for many, many years. I think it’s actually being reprinted this summer and I will read it again, but would definitely advise new fans to stick to Veronica’s own words.

The republished version of Veronica’s Autobiography features a new cover with a stunning publicity photo of her in Ramrod (1947) which was directed by her then Husband, André de Toth. The book is a shiny paperback, with a non crease format, so even when you’ve finished reading, it will be in great condition and can take pride of place on your bookshelf! At 215 pages and 27 chapters, it’s not a huge length, but definitely a substantial read and full of personal anecdotes from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Broadcaster and writer, Eddie Muller adds a new Introduction and his following words really stuck with me, their relevancy still to this day does not go unnoticed,

I’ll point out instead that while the public has granted Sterling Hayden, a legendary boozer and hash-head, a legacy as a heroic, larger-than-life iconoclast, it has branded Lake’s life after Hollywood a steady downward spiral of abasement, worthy of only pity. Blame a cultural double standard that applauds reckless rebellion in men but shames it in women.”

As the chapters do not have titles, I’ve decided to write down a snippet of information which sums up the pivotal points and various timelines in each section.

______________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 1:

– Starts in 1938 and traces Veronica’s move to Hollywood with her mother, step-father and cousin on the 4th of July. Veronica enrolls in the Bliss Hayden School of Acting and has her first role in a movie as an extra in RKO’s Sorority House (1939).

Chapter 2:

– Veronica’s signature peek-a-boo hairstyle is unintentionally created on the set of Forty Little Mothers (1940) by Director, Busby Berkeley who stated, “I still say let it fall. It distinguishes her from the rest”.

Chapter 3:

– Director, Freddie Wilcox sets up Veronica’s first Screen Test, whilst at home her step-father suffers a collapsed lung.

Chapter 4:

– Veronica joins the iconic William Morris Agency and recounts her knowledge of the infamous Hollywood Casting Couch and how she turned away from the many advances.

Chapter 5:

– Veronica meets her first husband, John Detlie and has her named changed by Producer, Arthur Hornblow Jr., who, after a second Screen Test, decides to cast her as Sally Vaughn in her breakout movie, I Wanted Wings (1941).

Chapter 6:

– Focuses on the location filming of I Wanted Wings (1941) from August 26th 1940 in San Antonio, Texas.

Chapter 7:

– Continues filming in Hollywood for I Wanted Wings (1941) and elopes to marry her first husband, John Detlie.

Chapter 8:

– Veronica discusses the first 8 years of her childhood and her move to Florida in her teen years and the two schools she attended in Montreal and Miami.

Chapter 9:

– Recounts various appearances in Miami Beauty Pageants as a teenager.

Chapter 10:

– Returns to 1941 with the release of I Wanted Wings (1941) and focuses on the worldwide phenomenon of the famous hair. Also finishes with Director Preston Sturges hiring Veronica for the role of The Girl in Sullivan’s Travels (1941).

Chapter 11:

Veronica shares the news of her first pregnancy with her mother and how her third trimester would coincide with the physical demands of filming Sullivan’s Travels (1941).

Chapter 12:

– Covers the filming of Sullivan’s Travels (1941) from May 12th 1941 and the revelation of Veronica’s pregnancy. It’s simply incredible when watching the film all these years later to come to the realization that she was between six to eight months pregnant!

Chapter 13:

– The filming of This Gun For Hire (1942) and The Glass Key (1942).

Chapter 14:

– The filming of I Married A Witch (1942), So Proudly We Hail! (1943) and The Hour Before The Dawn (1944). Veronica also discusses the deterioration of her marriage and the tragic loss of her second baby, Anthony, who died a week after being born two months prematurely.

Chapter 15:

– Veronica divorces John and retells various anecdotes of the Hollywood Lifestyle in it’s heyday in the 1940s.

Chapter 16:

– Veronica discusses the filming of Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) and also her dating history during this period. She shares some fascinating stories of various celebrity anecdotes which include such Stars as, Errol Flynn, Katharine Hepburn, Howard Hughes and Gary Cooper.

Chapter 17:

– The filming of Bring On The Girls (1945), Duffy’s Tavern (1946) and Hold That Blonde! (1945). Veronica recalls marrying her second husband, Andre de Toth and shares a moving story from her visit to The White House in January 1945.

Chapter 18:

– The filming of Miss Susie Slagles (1946), Out Of This World (1945), Ramrod (1946), The Blue Dahlia (1946), Saigon (1947) and The Sainted Sisters (1948). Veronica and Andre expand their family as she has her third baby, a boy named Michael. She also talks about her and Andre obtaining their Pilot Licenses and how the death of her step-dad deeply affected her.

Chapter 19:

– Features a highly entertaining story of Veronica flying her plane, whilst carrying her forth child, in her fifth month of pregnancy. With her on board is her secretary Marge, who up until then had never flown before.

Chapter 20:

– Veronica gives birth to her forth baby, a girl named Diana and talks about the turmoil of her relationship with her mother, who decided to sue her for, “lack of filial love and responsibility” and over $17,000.

Chapter 21:

– The filming of Slattery’s Hurricane (1949) and Stronghold (1951). Veronica discusses her frustration with Andre’s prolific spending, which results in them filing for bankruptcy and ultimately, the deterioration of their marriage.

Chapter 22:

– Veronica moves to New York in 1951 and continues her acting career through various television appearances and the stage. She enters her third marriage to husband, Joe McCarthy, which she admits was volatile from the start and they divorce after just four years, in September 1959.

Chapter 23:

– Covers the years 1959 through to 1961. Veronica discusses her time taking a job as a cocktail waitress – which contrary to popular belief, she actually quite enjoyed. She also talks about the traumatic accident which resulted in a severely broken ankle, which caused her inability to act for two years.

Chapter 24:

– Delves into her relationship with Andy Elickson, a Merchant Seaman, who she met during her time working in the Martha Washington Hotel and focuses on the period between 1961 and 1966. She also writes about a high note in her stage career; appearing in Best Foot Forward in 1963.

Chapter 25:

– Veronica discusses her move to Miami from New York in 1966.

Chapter 26:

– The filming of Footsteps In The Snow (1966) and Flesh Feast (1970) which was then known as Time Is Terror and was originally shot in 1967.

Chapter 27:

– Ends in October 1967 with Veronica discussing her reading performance of The World of Carl Sandburg, which she describes as one of the, “finest moments” of her life.

______________________________________________________________________________

Veronica’s words are full of honesty, she does not sugar-coat her flaws and her anecdotes convey a great sense of humbleness towards her career and lots of self criticism to her talent, the latter which saddens me. I’ve noticed many of the great Stars rarely seem to have any belief in themselves. If only they could see how loved and appreciated they truly are. However, her loyalty and generosity towards her close friends and even acquaintances does not go unnoticed. It’s refreshing to see her be able to share her own story, without various opinions and conspiracies that have grown over the years being included.

Overall, there’s only two downsides that springs to mind. Firstly, as the book was originally published in 1969 and finishes at the end of 1967, we’re missing the six final years of her fascinating life and tragically nothing can be done to change this. Of course no one is at fault, it’s just a shame that those last years will remain mostly a mystery to us. It would have been wonderful to read about her time in England. Lastly, in the original edition, a number of pages featured very rare photos of Veronica throughout her years, including her own comments. Sadly, only a small version of the cover photo reappears at the end of the newly republished book. I’m assuming this is down to cost and or copyright, but it would be nice to see these rare treasures reappear in the latest edition for fans that are not fortunate enough to also own an original copy.

Ultimately, Veronica always maintains her true self and comes across as not a Screen Icon, but just like one of us – albeit with some extraordinary Hollywood stories. She’s simply, and I mean this in the most complimentary way – a human being. It’s been almost a decade since I discovered Veronica, eight years in fact and I for one have not only became even more endeared to Miss Lake, but, I have also developed a warm space in my heart for my fellow 5’2″ little lady, Miss Connie/Ronni Keane.

Lastly, a huge thank you to Dean Street Press for believing in the popularity of Veronica and so wonderfully reprinting hers and Donald Bain’s special words for us all to enjoy.

For anyone who wants to see more of Veronica, I’ve amassed a fairly large archive of photos over the years which can be viewed on my blog devoted entirely to her; missveronicalakes.

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Bésame Cosmetics Sleeping Beauty Collection.

One of my absolute favourite Makeup Brands is the wonderful, Bésame Cosmetics which was founded by Gabriela Hernandez in 2004 and is primarily devoted to recreating authentic vintage makeup! As a true vintage girl myself, Bésame is basically a dream come true and is such a refreshing and unique concept in a 21st Century world. Also, all Bésame Cosmetics products are cruelty and gluten free as well as being PETA certified, which is very comforting to know.

Not only do Bésame focus on recreating a variety of retro products from the 1910s to the 1970s, they have also collaborated with Disney on a number of Classic Film Collections; starting with Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) (sadly no longer available!) Mickey Mouse (1919) and Peter Pan’s Mermaid Lagoon (1953). Fast forward to now and the latest collaboration is to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the eternal Sleeping Beauty (1959) which just so happens to be one of my favourites and features my most loved Disney Princess, (along with Cinderella!)

Each Disney Collection is intricately researched, with Bésame having rare access to the Disney Archives to recreate the famous colours from the film cells and tell the story as authentically as possible. With this particular collaboration, Gabriela incredibly recreated the famous Sleeping Beauty book, which features in the films famous opening sequence!

Although I dream of having all of the products, I sadly had to think with my head and not my heart and therefore purchased the following four items; 1959 Eyeshadow Palette, Locket Cream Rouge, Maleficent Lipstick and Briar Rose Blush Palette.

The 1959 Eyeshadow Palette may quite possibly be the most beautiful one I have ever owned, I didn’t think the Urban Decay Game of Thrones Palette could lose it’s number one spot but, this has definitely taken prized position! Inspired by the Fairy Tale Book in the opening scene of the film, the palette consists of twenty – yes twenty (!) matte eyeshadows. The shades are authentically reproduced from Aurora, Maleficent and the three Fairies’ colour palette that is used in the movie. The product actually includes four real pages inside, which recreate the looks for you to emulate and a mirror is also included!

At £57 this is the most expensive Eyeshadow Palette I’ve ever bought, but I can say with all honesty that if you’re a Disney, Sleeping Beauty, Bésame fan or super makeup lover, it is one hundred percent worth it. The quality is incredible and the time, effort and attention to detail that has gone into making this is truly laudable and does not go unappreciated. This product is without doubt a collectors item and if you were willing to pay an extra £8, you could purchase it with a special display case – however, that option is sadly sold out!

Here are the names of each shade within the palette;

Aurora – Color Call Outs;

Iris, Eyes – Grey Blue 104
Lips with peasant costume – Grey Pink 109
Eyelids – Rose 105
Skin – Coral 102
Legs – Adobe 102
Lips with pink & blue dress – Blush 105
Hair – 89343
Brows – Dust 107
Crown, necklace – 89339
Blouse, peasant costume – White 106
Skirt, peasant costume – White 107
Pink dress – Beet 105
Blue Dress – Royal 106

Maleficant – Color Call Outs;

Lips and nails – 89396
Eyes – 89348
Eye shadow – 89349
Ball on staff  – 89350
Pleat of cape and sleeves – Plum 107
Skin – 89352
Staff – 89353

Within the collection their are three lipsticks available; Sleeping Beauty Pink – based on Aurora’s lip shade, Make It Blue Make It Pink – a blue lipstick which applies pink – clearly a nod to Aurora’s colour changing dress and Maleficent – which I purchased.

As a red lipstick wearer I wanted to choose one that was closest to this colour and of course, that was Maleficent. Although most of us Disney fans associate red lipstick with the iconic evil fairy, the film cells actually show that her shade was more of a deep pink with a cool undertone, which I found really interesting! All three lipsticks retail for £20 and come in the stunning Sleeping Beauty pink packaging, as well as the 1940s vintage reproduction gold cases with the 1959 film logo. The finish is a semi matte satin, like all of Bésame’s products, which is faithful to the vintage era – although I would love a true matte, simply because I like my lipstick to not move all day. However, we can’t have it all and I do love the iconic shape of Bésame lipsticks, which helps create perfect precision and again is a nod to the vintage era.

At only £15, the Locket Cream Rouge is a wonderful bargain and a true collectible that once again recreates the stunning Sleeping Beauty Book on the front and features a portrait of Princess Aurora on the back. The product is rose gold plated and features a magnetic closure which when opened, reveals a pink cream rouge. This can be worn on both the cheeks and lips and if you want to use the locket for an actual photo, the rouge can easily be removed. Therefore, not only do you get a stunning necklace like no other, but it also features a unique Sleeping Beauty product – such a must have!

The final item I purchased from the collection was the Briar Rose Blush Palette, which comes with two rouge shades and two highlighters for a total of £29. All four colours are once again thoroughly inspired by the exact colours used in Sleeping Beauty. The two lighter blush and highlight are worn by Aurora in the film and the two darker blush and highlight are Maleficent’s. Therefore, you can create a lighter day look with Princess Aurora and then vamp it up for a dramatic style with Maleficent’s. Or, if you’re feeling creative, you could even mix them all together! The compact also comes with a mirror inside which features forest artwork from the film and adds such beautiful detail, as well as the front image recreating an actual film cell used from the movie.

Overall, it’s safe to say I am without a doubt blown away by this whole Collection and feel extremely fortunate to have been able to purchase four of the items. Furthermore, I also must note how with every special collaboration, Bésame creates their very own, “Bésame Bugle” which is inspired by a vintage newspaper. This particular one features all the behind the scenes information from the Sleeping Beauty film and the makeup products! It’s an absolutely stunning collectible itself and I will treasure it. Lastly, my only hope is as Cinderella’s 70th Anniversary is next year, I pray that a collection is released to celebrate this!

A big thank you to Bésame, Gabriela and Disney for creating such beautiful collectible products for us all!

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57 Years Without Marilyn.

Tonight marks 57 years since Marilyn left us – her body was found by her housekeeper in the early hours of August 5th and it was officially announced to the world that morning. Every year I try and write about Marilyn on both her Birthday and her Anniversary, each time I make sure to focus on one particular thing – to celebrate and appreciate her for the amazing person she truly was.

So many people and society tend to view Marilyn as a victim, passed around from man to man and used throughout her lifetime. This both angers and frustrates not just me, but many fans, who have spent years taking the time to research legitimate sources and find out who Marilyn herself was. Often her death is viewed as a conspiracy fueled gossip loving debate, so much so that she ends up no longer seeming like a young woman anymore, but an object of fascination.

It seems to me that it’s easier for people to believe in the distasteful lies and conspiracies that surround not just Marilyn, but many other celebrities and icons before and after her. People cannot comprehend someone as beautiful, talented and loved as her to have any demons or hardships. It almost seems like it’s frowned upon to listen to the doctors original death verdict – which was, “probable suicide” as depression can’t always be comprehended or accepted by others. It also doesn’t continue to sell hundreds of books and trashy articles like conspiracies and salacious stories do and sadly, that’s what so many seem to care more about. In the end Marilyn ends up being turned into a former shadow of her true self, which is just not acceptable to me and so many others – therefore, I will continue to try and dispel the lies and bring back her true character.

Furthermore, Marilyn’s death does not define her – intended or accidental it is still and will always be a tragedy, but, it does not take away from her 36 years of life and the achievements she made during and after her lifetime.  Marilyn was a voice for the underdog, incredibly ahead of her time she defied gender stereotypes and was never afraid to be honest and speak out about taboo topics such as sexuality, abuse and the pay gap. She was also the third Actress to set up her own Film Production Company – Mary Pickford and Mabel Normand did so in 1916.

Marilyn constantly tried to improve herself as a human and an artist, she suffered immensely for her creativity, always wanting to be the best actress she could become. She was very self conscious of her limited education and loved to read and learn about a variety of subjects – her library had over four hundred books on it’s shelves varying from Psychology to Russian Literature! She loved the simple things in life, such as walking around Brooklyn, caring for animals, listening to music and spending time with loved ones. Ultimately, this was the real Marilyn, the person that so often gets lost in the publicity of hearsay and money making headlines.

I truly hope that whenever a person comes across Marilyn, they take a few moments to discover the real her, the person behind the Blonde Bombshell persona. It’s so easy to see a headliner or false image and believe an inaccurate presentation of a famous person. I may be a little biased, but I can honestly say that feelings aside, Marilyn was truly an incredible woman, brave, generous, kind and strong, someone who just wanted to make the world a little brighter. Plus, even if all of these ridiculous, continuously disproven myths miraculously ended up being true, it would not change my the amount of respect or adoration I have for her.

So many associate sexual promiscuity, addiction and stupidity with Marilyn and honestly, it not only saddens me but I find it incredibly, infuriating. Firstly, even half a century later, the amount of sexism and double standards that still exist in our society is simply disgusting. Therefore, I’d like to touch on each one of these so called flaws and share the facts behind the assumptions.

Did Marilyn have an affair? Yes, she did – with Actor Yves Montand during the making of Let’s Make Love in 1960 – not with the often noted, John F. Kennedy. In reality, they only met a less than juicy four times from 1960 and three of them were at public events. Yet as always, the woman is shamed and condemned – even if the hearsay comes about years after her death by people simply wanting to make some money. I would say that a huge amount of Stars in Hollywood had affairs during their careers, no judgement here, I’m just stating the facts. However, why is it Marilyn that is constantly criticized, judged and linked to every man in and out of Hollywood? In reality she spoke out multiple times about the peril of the, “Hollywood Wolves” and actually lost out on a contract renewal with Columbia Head Harry Cohn for turning down a proposition. Lastly, if she had slept with every single person that she’s been associated with, she’d never have had time to have such a successful career and three marriages.

Was Marilyn an addict? Yes, she was addicted to prescription medications such as Chloral Hydrate and Nembutal, which she would take for her depression, crippling anxiety and insomnia.  Medical negligence was extremely high in the heyday of Hollywood and if you were famous and had problems, they could often be taken advantage of instead of resolved. Personally, I don’t know why being an addict gives others the right to condemn, judge, shame and insult someone suffering from this terrible sickness? If anything there should be compassion and understanding, we are all only human and the stigma needs to stop.

Was Marilyn just a, “Dumb Blonde”? No, but for some bizarre reason to me, people seem to not be able to understand that an Actor is performing a role, the character you’re seeing on the screen is just that – a character. However, because Marilyn was able to create such a convincing persona, people could not accept that in reality, she loved to be in her capri pants, with no makeup on, sitting at home reading a good book. Even during her lifetime, her acting was usually only appreciated when she took on dramatic roles, such as in Bus Stop (1956) and The Misfits (1961). Honestly, I don’t know why a persons intelligence has any influence in how they should be viewed and treated by others and I actually think if Marilyn had been less intelligent, she would have been a lot happier.

I think a lot of people forget that Marilyn was actually a real person, just like you and me, a human that graced us with her presence on this Earth. Someone as beautiful, wonderful and pure of heart like her really existed and with such a judgmental and prejudicial society like ours, it can sometimes be hard to accept this. Just because Marilyn’s no longer here in a physical presence, doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve the same respect that we’d give to others. She gave a hell of a lot to this world in just a small amount of time, her contributions to Hollywood and for women are legendary and should be appreciated and shared.

Wherever you are sweet Marilyn, I hope you feel the love and kind words so many of us only wish we could say to you. You’ve given so much happiness to millions of people, this girl especially and we truly love and appreciate you for being undoubtedly your true self.

“But when you’re famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who is she who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, you know, of any kind of nature and it won’t hurt your feelings.”

– Marilyn to Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine published on August 17th 1962.

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The Little Book of Marilyn: Inspiration From The Goddess of Glam by Michelle Morgan; Book Review.

If there’s one Author to be excited about, upon hearing an announcement of an up and coming Marilyn book, it’s none other than Michelle Morgan. Michelle has been a true super fan since discovering the beautiful blonde on a postcard, whilst Holidaying in Devon in 1985. Since then, she has gone on to write a staggering six books devoted to my favourite lady, with her first being Marilyn’s Addresses, written over twenty years ago in 1995. Therefore, all I can say is – thank you Devon!

In the almost nine years since I first Discovered Marilyn, I’ve been incredibly lucky to not only find and appreciate Michelle as a wonderful writer – recommending her work to many Marilyn fans, but I’ve also been able to call her my friend! Not only have her books taught me so much about Marilyn the human and artist, she has always supported me by listening and offering me advice with her kind words  – something which has always been greatly treasured.

I’ve been very fortunate to know about The Little Book of Marilyn for over a year and for one almost surreal reason why – Michelle kindly asked me if I wanted to be interviewed for inclusion in the book! Needless to say I didn’t hesitate for a moment to say yes and one month before publication, I’ve kindly received a complimentary copy of the book to share my thoughts with you all! 

If you’ve read any of Michelle’s books then you’ll know you’re never disappointed and she always manages to blow even the highest expectations out of the water. Therefore, it’s no surprise to say that The Little Book of Marilyn, is of course, no different! 

The book features a stunning glamour shot of Marilyn with a beautiful pink and orange Fleur-de-lis background, it’s flexibound format means it will always stay in beautiful condition and its travel size makes it easy to carry around with you and stay inspired by only the best! If the beautiful outer packaging wasn’t enough, the 224 pages are filled with many high quality pictures – quite a few rare ones too!

The contents include the following sections;
______________________________________________________________________________

Introduction

Chapter 1: Her Story

Chapter 2: Inspiration

Chapter 3: Style 

Chapter 4: Beauty

Chapter 5: Life Skills

Chapter 6: Personal Effects 

Chapter 7: Walk With Marilyn
______________________________________________________________________________

It’s no secret that there have been definitely hundreds, possibly thousands of books written on Marilyn since her passing, almost fifty seven years ago. A unique few, (Michelle’s most definitely are included) have been amazing, a fair amount have been pretty good and a large sum have been downright awful. However, none have had this fabulous concept and that is further reason for it to be a must have in any collection.

It’s full of details on Marilyn’s life and career, but includes many tutorials and lessons on how to be inspired by a Star that is so often misrepresented in society and the media. Michelle offers a true, genuine insight into the real Marilyn and stays clear of the ridiculous conspiracies and lies. She gives fans like myself, the chance to express just how truly inspiring Marilyn has been to so many even half a century after she left us. The guide like format means you can read it in any order you please or choose to focus on a particular section that is interesting to you.

Ironically enough, I feel the person that would benefit from reading this book the most is Marilyn herself, she was her biggest critic and often full of doubt and disbelief. Therefore, I feel if she could read and see the impact she has had on the millions of fans who love and appreciate her, she may have felt just a little less alone.

Lastly, on behalf of all Marilyn fans, I want to thank Michelle for writing such beautiful books about Hollywood’s Brightest Star and continuing to educate and preserve Marilyn’s very special memory. A big thank you to Running Press for publishing Michelle’s amazing work and for kindly gifting me this beautiful copy, I will truly treasure it!

The Little Book of Marilyn is available to Pre-Order from Amazon UK at £11.34 and will be released on July 25th and is out in the USA on July 9th!

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Happy 93rd Birthday Marilyn!

Today would be Marilyn’s 93rd Birthday, she has been in my life for almost a decade and I still find it so surreal to think that in theory, she should still be here. Sadly, we all know that is not the case and the reality is that Marilyn left the world over fifty five years ago. It’s sometimes hard to comprehend that Marilyn wasn’t just a Hollywood Star but a human being, just like you and me. However, today is not for dwelling, it is a very important day to millions of fans and myself, as the worlds Brightest Star is ultimately still shining half a century later!

To celebrate Marilyn’s big day, I usually spend it in the best way I know possible, having a Movie Marathon watching my favourite Actress. Unfortunately, so many people see Marilyn as just another silly Blonde Bombshell who didn’t have much talent and was basically playing herself on the screen. However, I can’t emphasize enough that the sweet, lovable, pretty face was so much more than what people perceive. As someone who has watched her films a countless number of times, I actually appreciate her comedic performances over her dramatic ones. This is because people tend to view dramas with more acclaim and respect and the Award Shows further prove this, when in fact comedies should not be overlooked.

In the wise words of Vivien Leigh – an Actress who yes, was more respected critically than Marilyn, but, ultimately was more appreciated more for her looks too,

“Comedy is much more difficult than tragedy – and a much better training, I think. It’s much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh.”

Marilyn was incredibly dedicated to her craft and spent numerous hours educating herself on the Performing Arts and trying to be the best she could possibly be. When you learn about Marilyn you realize how much she suffered mentally and the strength she must have found to deliver such beautiful performances. It hurts to think that she didn’t always feel like the bubbly Blonde Bombshell so many know and love her for, as no one more than Marilyn deserved to be appreciated and loved. She was such a perfectionist and would spend hours analyzing and being critical of her acting abilities and performance in each film.

“We not only want to be good, we have to be. You know, when they talk about nervousness, my teacher, Lee Strasberg, when I said to him, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m a little nervous,” he said, “When you’re not, give up, because nervousness indicates sensitivity.” Also, a struggle with shyness is in every actor more than anyone can imagine. There is a censor inside us that says to what degree do we let go, like a child playing. I guess people think we just go out there, and you know, that’s all we do. Just do it. But it’s a real struggle. I’m one of the world’s most self-conscious people. I really have to struggle.”

– Marilyn to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, published on August 17th 1962.

Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to choose five of Marilyn’s films in which she believed she gave the best performances or received great critical acclaim, to recommend for others to watch. If there is any day that Marilyn should be celebrated (personally, I believe it’s all day every day) than it is on her Birthday.

Whilst looking through reviews of Marilyn’s films that were published during their original releases, it’s shocking to me to read the downright prejudice, sexism and ignorance surrounding her as an Actress. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, in my belief Marilyn was the greatest Actress of all time as it seems that even then, 99% of people believed she was just playing herself. Therefore, in believing their own ignorance, critics could continue their lack of acclaim and respect for ultimately, an extremely talented woman.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Person to Person television appearance interview on April 8th 1955.

“Marilyn, what’s the best part you ever had in a movie?” – Edward R. Murrow

“Well one of the best parts I’ve ever had was, in The Asphalt Jungle, John Huston’s Picture and then, The Seven Year Itch, Billy Wilder’s Picture.”  – Marilyn

“You think that’s going to be a big one too, don’t you? The Seven Year Itch.” – Edward R. Murrow

“I think it will be a very good Picture and I would like to continue making this type of Picture.” – Marilyn

Dallas Morning News Review by Harold Hefferman published on June 18th 1950.

“Virtually unbilled and unidentified in a current movie, Asphalt Jungle, Marilyn’s breathtaking appearance immediately piques fandom’s curiosity and imagination. Not since the brief introduction of another tempestuous blond, Shelley Winters, three years ago in A Double Life, has a newcomer stirred up so much interest.” 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

LIFE Magazine Interview with Journalist Richard Meryman published on August 17th 1962.

“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” – Marilyn

The Los Angeles Times Review by Edwin Schallert on August 1st 1953.

“Miss Monroe sparkles much of the time just as the diamonds do. Her work is insidiously intriguing in this picture, and at the same time almost childlike in its utter lack of guile. Her portrayal demonstrates that much may be maneuvered in her instance in the future to humorous advantage. She discloses a surprising light comedy touch.”

Time Magazine Review on July 27th 1953.

“As Lorelei Lee, who believes that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Marilyn Monroe does the best job of her short career to date. [She] sings remarkably well, dances, or rather undulates all over, flutters the heaviest eyelids in show business and breathlessly delivers such lines of dialogue as, “Coupons – that’s almost like money,” as if she were in the throes of a grand passion.”

• Bus Stop (1956)

Speaking to reporters upon her arrival back in Hollywood to film Bus Stop, on February 25th 1956.

“Marilyn, are you happy to come back and do this Picture, are you pleased with the Bus- Picture Bus Stop?” – Reporter

“Oh yes, very much, I’m looking forward to working with Josh Logan, doing the Picture and it’s good to be back.” – Marilyn

“Was he in your selection as a Director?” – Reporter

“Twentieth Century Fox selected him and I have Director Approval and they asked if I would approve of him and definitely.” – Marilyn

“So you’re very happy, you think you’re going to make a very good Picture?” – Reporter

“I hope we do make a good picture, yes.” – Marilyn

The New York Times Review by Bosley Crowther published on September 1st 1956.

“HOLD onto your chairs, everybody, and get set for a rattling surprise. Marilyn Monroe has finally proved herself an actress in “Bus Stop.” She and the picture are swell!”

• Some Like It Hot (1959)

Variety Film Review published on February 24th 1959.

“To coin a phrase, Marilyn has never looked better. Her performance as “Sugar,” the fuzzy blonde who likes saxophone players “and men with glasses” has a deliciously naive quality. She’s a comedienne with that combination of sex appeal and timing that just can’t be beat.”

The New York Times Review by A. H. Weiler published on March 30th 1959.

“As the hand’s somewhat simple singer-ukulele player, Miss Monroe, whose figure simply cannot be overlooked, contributes more assets than the obvious ones to this madcap romp. As a pushover for gin and the tonic effect of saxophone players, she sings a couple of whispery old numbers (“Running Wild” and “I Wanna Be Loved by You”) and also proves to be the epitome of a dumb blonde and a talented comedienne.”

I hope however you choose to spend this day, you take a moment to think about Marilyn and in her own words, hold a good thought for her as if anyone deserved that, it was she.

“I Love Marilyn” by Sidney Skolsky published in Modern Screen Magazine in October 1953.

“Before the picture flashed on the screen, Marilyn whispered to me in that low, sexy voice that is natural with her: “Hold a good thought for me.” She always says that when embarking on an venture. She feels much better when you tell her you will.”

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Urban Decay x Game of Thrones Collection.

Game of Thrones has literally taken over the world and if you’re a devoted fan like myself, you’re probably more than happy about this. Therefore, when Urban Decay announced their latest collaboration would be a whole collection of Game of Thrones officially licensed makeup products, it was like Winter had finally arrived – get it? The Collection consists of a variety of items; an Eyeshadow Palette, Highlighter Palette, four Vice Lipsticks, four 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils, a Lip & Cheek Stain and the complete Vault Set which also contains two Eyeshadow Brushes in the shape of Arya’s Needle and Jon’s Longclaw.

As much as I dream of owning the entire collection, my bank account reminded me that I had to choose only my favourite products, therefore I picked the Eyeshadow Palette and the Daenerys Targaryen Vice Lipstick. I do have my eyes on the Mother of Dragons Highlighter Palette – it is simply a dream collectors item but, that will sadly have to wait.

The Game of Thrones Eyeshadow Palette is quite possibly the most intricately designed packaging I’ve ever seen, whoever came up with the concept deserves an award, it is absolutely stunning. No photo can emphasize how beautiful it really is, it literally comes to life, especially with the 3D pop up Iron Throne. The palette is split into four sections with the central theme being the three Houses vying for the Iron Throne and The North. Furthermore, the Westeros map is displayed throughout the product featuring two iconic quotes said by Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister – which just happen to be my two favourite characters!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the price of the Palette, at £45 it is in the higher range price of makeup products, however with it being a Game of Thrones collaboration, I was expecting it to be around £60. Altogether there are twenty shades; three mattes and seventeen shimmery metallics, with each theme containing five signature colours associated with them. It would be nice to have had a couple of more matte shades, however, with such a versatile collection of colours – I’m still incredibly happy!

The North; features cool toned icy blues, silvers and a midnight black.

Take The Black – jet black with silver sparkles.
White Walker – opalescent white.
Frozen North – midnight metallic blue.
Free Folk – cool ice silver.
Hard Home – blondish silvery gold.

House Stark; features earthy autumnal shades.

“Winter Is Coming.”

Nymeria – warm matte mid brown.
Winter Is Here – dark metallic brown.
Weirwood Leaves – deep metallic muted purple.
The Sight – vibrant forest green.
Winterfell – warm bold gold.

House Lannister; features warm rustic coppers and golds.

“Hear Me Roar!”

Red Keep – metallic orange copper.
Casterly Rock –  muted metallic gold.
House Lannister – matte cool peach.
Lannister Red – muted matte red brown.
Kings Landing – vibrant cool blonde.

House Targaryen; features cool pastels and bold metallics.

“Fire and Blood.”

Stormborn -metallic cool purple.
House Targaryen – metallic warm gold.
Dothraki – vibrant yellow gold.
Bend The Knee – metallic lilac.
Bay of Dragons – metallic pastel mid pink.

Out of the four Vice Lipsticks available, the one I knew I had to have was Daenerys Targaryen, which just so happened to be the red lipstick! This shade is described as a, “fiery metallic red” and is a clear nod to her fire breathing dragons and House Targaryen. All four Vice Lipsticks are created with the metallic formula, meaning they’re sadly not fully matte, but they do create a beautiful 3D effect. At £17.50, these are the same prices as Urban Decay’s other stick lipsticks, which once again is a pleasant surprise considering the exclusive packaging.

Each shade features the sigil and colour of the House it is made for and once again, is truly a work of art. The other two shades are as follows; Sansa Stark, a “warm peach nude” and Lannister Gold, a “metallic bronze“.  I came close to purchasing the final shade in the collection, the White Walker lipstick, which is described as a, “deep berry wine” but as silly as it seems to a non fan, felt like I was being a traitor to Daenerys! However, I did swatch the shade and it was very pigmented and super creamy – just as advertised.

Overall, I think Urban Decay have created a Collection which truly does justice to the incredible TV Show which Game of Thrones is. I honestly cannot stop staring at the Eyeshadow Palette especially, each shade is incredible and so magnetic. I also really love how the packaging is created to look like a book, which as most will know is the original  source for Game of Thrones – thank you Mr George R. R. Martin! 


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Anastasia Beverley Hills Riviera Eyeshadow Palette.

In my personal opinion, Anastasia Beverly Hills create the best Eyeshadow Palettes. Granted, I’ve only tried two; the Norvina and as this post states, the Riviera, but these are the ones I constantly come back to.  I was never really interested in purchasing the infamous Subculture palette, therefore I’ve been fortunate enough to experience only the star products. Plus, the Modern Renaissance and Soft Glam are definitely on my to buy list!

As soon as Anastasia announced this palette, I knew it was simply a must buy, the overall South of France aesthetic and the bold and vibrant shades instantly stood out to me. The bold gold font, striped nautical colours and denim like packaging exude the classic French Riviera theme. In addition to this, the black ribbon is an extra stylish touch. The more makeup I try and discover, the more adventurous and daring I become with my creativity. A few years ago there’s no way I’d ever have considered wearing a bold eye colour, especially a vivid blue – however, with time comes the ability to realize that there is in fact, no rules with makeup! Furthermore, after watching Samantha Robinson as, The Love Witch (2016) how could I not be inspired by such a retro aesthetic?

As mentioned before, the Riviera colours are inspired by the warm summer season and the extreme glamour of the vacationers enjoying the stunning Mediterranean. It is the must have makeup essential to take with you for your Holidays. Within the product are fourteen shades; eight matte, (three are pressed pigment), four metallic and two duo chrome. At £46, this is definitely not a cheap purchase, but, I am a firm believer in quality not quantity and this is well worth the price. Also, a duel ended brush is included, which is definitely an added bonus!

Here is a detailed description of eye eyeshadow as shared on the website;

Sails – a matte white.
Yacht – duo chrome mauvy taupe with a violet shift.
Seychelles – metallic aqua marine.
Palermo – metallic jewel pink.
Seaside – duo chrome silver with a subtle blue shift.
Inheritance – metallic true gold.
Mediterranean – metallic sky blue.
Estate – matte soft pastel peachy pink.
Cabana – matte muted birch mustard.
Coastline – matte pastel soft peach.
Bahamas – matte bright bold candy hot pink pressed pigment.
Monte Carlo – matte cool mid-tone pink.
Cannes – matte bright violet purple pressed pigment.
Palm – matte dark chocolate pressed pigment.

If I had to choose my favourite shade within the palette it would have to be, Mediterranean, I just adore the vibrancy and shock factor of the intense blue, the pigment is stunning and looks just as bold on your eyelid. I was fortunate enough to visit the South of France in the summer of 2017 and this colour especially is truly reminiscent of the incredible sky. For everyday use I’m really impressed by, Sails, it’s a perfect starter base or transition shade, I only worry I’ll hit pan on it as I have been using it every time I pick up an eyeshadow brush! I really enjoy using similar shades together, such as the blue or pinks and in doing so creating a two tone ombré look. I’ll also add a finishing touch by using a metallic colour on top.

I really hope Anastasia continue creating such beautiful palettes, they truly are pieces of art and a makeup lovers must have product. If that wasn’t enough, the Brand is also cruelty free and on their website they offer free shipping on orders over £25! Anastasia Beverly Hills is also available to buy on Beauty Bay, Selfridges and Feelunique.

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Ciaté London Jessica Rabbit Collection.

Firstly, hello! It’s been a long time, almost six months in fact! However, I’ve finally found the inspiration to start writing again. Sometimes it can be hard to feel inspired when you’ve been blogging fairly regularly for over three years, however, I never intended to stop forever, I simply wanted to look forward to writing posts again and well, today is that day!

As a huge lover of makeup, I look forward to seeing what products are going to be released that I can add to my ever growing inventory. Therefore, when I discovered Ciaté London created a collection dedicated to Jessica Rabbit, I think my heart may have skipped a beat! If you know me it’s hardly a surprise, but, Jessica Rabbit is one of my favourite Bombshells, inspired by Old Hollywood’s Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth and Lauren Bacall – she’s an absolute dream! Yes, she may not actually be real, (I know, I’m still coming to terms with it) but, there’s no doubt she’s an icon in film and as a pinup.

The Jessica Rabbit Collection features three products;

The Jessica Palette – a nine piece eyeshadow palette. (£35)
Glow To Highlighter: Roger, Darling! – a powder highlighter. (£26)
Glitter Storm Lipstick – a glitter metallic lipstick. (£19)

Each product can be bought individually, or altogether in a beautiful Jessica themed box set – naturally, I had to buy the full set! At £60, it’s definitely not on the cheap side, but you save a total of £20 compared to buying them separately, so if you’re a super fan, it’s worth it. Plus, the quality is incredible, arguably the most beautiful makeup packaging I own, each is worthy of being collector pieces. Currently, the collection is sold out, but the three items are still available on their own.

The amount of detail and research that has gone into every inch of the products is truly impressive, Ciaté have made sure to create the ultimate Jessica Rabbit products and they have not disappointed! Like the Superstar she is, Jessica features all over the items, even her stunning silhouette is etched onto the outer packaging. When she’s not gracing us with her presence, there’s the ever reminder of her through the signature purple shades of eyeshadow and the striking bold red lipstick. She’s one lady that definitely won’t be erased, (I’m sorry – it had to be done!)

With makeup constantly growing, you can often end up buying many products that look similar, however, I can categorically say that The Jessica Palette is a true individual and a must have addition. The palette features nine different shades in two different formulas; six shimmers and three mattes. Each colour is related to Jessica and the iconic film she stars in, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?;

Love Letter – a signature Jessica red.
Oh, Roger! – a midnight blue.
Sunset Blvd – a medium gold.
I’m Not Bad – a warm bronze.
Patty Cake – Jessica’s trademark purple.
Drawn That Way – a bright vivid gold.
Carrot Cake – a warm orange.
Toon Kisses – a muted lilac.
Honey Bunny – a light peach.

I feel this palette possess the shades to create both day to night time looks, going from day time dream to smokey screen siren! It’s a great size, not too bulky and therefore can easily be carried around from place to place.

The second product in the collection is the Glow To Highlighter: Roger, Darling! once again featuring an iconic pose by the leading lady on the outer compact and a beautifully embossed Jessica on the highlighter itself! I’ve seen various highlighters featuring lovely logos embossed, but this is truly on a whole other level! I can honestly say I wish I had the money to purchase another highlighter to keep in pristine condition, it really is almost too beautiful to use. For now I shall apply the highlighter by working my way from the outer corners! The colour is described as a, “soft focus peach/gold” and created using, “ultra fine pearls and a cream powder texture” it’s a little masterpiece, that’s the only way to sum it up. Also, I find the colour choice to be very universal and suitable for both day and night time.

The grand finale in the trio of products is the Glitter Storm Lipstick, a bold stunning true blue metallic red, definitely not for the faint hearted! This shade oozes Jessica appeal and helps you come one step closer to achieving your pinup bombshell dreams. The lipstick is described as a, “hybrid that combines star like pigments with a full colour base, for hyper shine and shimmer like never before” therefore, I’d say creating a semi matte metallic formula. It feels comfortable to wear and is a statement piece in the collection, there’s truly no mistaking that this is Jessica’s signature lipstick.

If you thought it couldn’t get any better then you’re wrong, as all Ciaté London’s products are Peta certified and cruelty free! Ever more fitting considering Jessica’s lovely husband is Mr Roger Rabbit!

I’ve bought Ciaté products and reviewed them before and I can honestly say that this Brand is extremely consistent in quality and has yet to let me down! I couldn’t recommend this Collection enough, I haven’t been this excited or passionate about one in quite some time!

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Ash Lash Luxury Lashes By Ashlyn Coco.

If you’re a fellow Vintage Girl or lover of Old Hollywood and 1950s Blonde Bombshells, then you’ll know all about the incredibly stunning, Ashlyn Coco. I’ve been following Ashlyn for a number of years now and she is without doubt, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen – if Marilyn and Jayne had a child together it would be her. Not only is she beyond gorgeous on the outside, but she has the purest heart and is such a kind soul, I feel very fortunate enough to know her. Therefore, I was simply over joyed when earlier this year she announced the release of her Brand, Ash Lash – a vintage aesthetic dream company, which sells all things retro style related, but most importantly as the title states – false eyelashes!

All the lashes are inspired by vintage decades and famous stars and they are 100% cruelty and vegan free, whilst being hand made individually to create a special, “3D” effect. Each pair of lashes costs $22, which is roughly £16 and if looked after, can be worn over 25 times – which is ultimately a huge bargain! Not only are you paying for possibly the most beautiful falsies made, you’re also purchasing the most intricately produced dream packaging. These aren’t a one time wear item, this is something you will treasure and they should take pride of place on your dressing room table.

With Ashlyn knowing how much I adore Marilyn, she kindly chose this pair for me to have – something I will always be forever grateful for! The Marilyn lashes are of course, inspired by the ultimate Star and exude quintessential Old Hollywood glamour, creating the perfect bedroom eyes she was so famously known for. This product is truly a work of art, featuring different variations in length which further create an added volume and luxurious look.

Not only are the lashes an incredible masterpiece, the box they are presented in is beyond beautiful, it reminds me of a vintage powder puff that would be key feature in a classic boudoir. The gold, pink and white colours blend together like an aesthetic dream and are so iconic and timeless – just like Ashlyn! Also, the actual shipping box simply has to be mentioned, it exudes ultra glamour and style and I will treasure it just as much as the products.

To apply the lashes, I used the  stunning premium gold applicator which retails for $6 and the lash adhesive glue
which is $12. Even these products which are only used behind the scenes are just gorgeous, it’s really so admirable how much time and effort has gone into making every single item and does not go unnoticed! With each order, you receive a complimentary postcard, featuring Ashlyn on the front and the lashes on the back – it will be taking pride of place on my dressing table!

Each lash style is specifically created to fit the era or star they’re named after, so there truly is a different look for everyone. However, if lashes aren’t your thing – and if not then they will be after wearing an Ash Lash! – there are plenty of other products available to purchase. Sunglasses, beauty accessories and various bundle deals are all on offer. The attention to detail is absolutely astounding and Ashlyn deserves all the success in the world, once you’ve worn an Ash Lash, it’s simply impossible to wear anything else! 

The lashes feel completely weightless and very comfortable to wear, even the adhesive glue smells lovely – a rare quality as falsie wearers will know! I can’t express how much I love both Ashlyn and her Brand, she is so authentically herself and her passion and love for Ash Lash truly shines throughout every detail. I am beyond excited to see the growth and expansion of this amazing company and will always be rooting for and supporting someone as special as Ashlyn.

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Primark x Alice In Wonderland Beauty Collection.

If you’ve been to Primark within the last year, then you’ll know that they are producing some incredible Brand themed products –  particularly with Disney! Every other week there seems to be a new genuine released item featuring their most cherished characters and films, which is basically every Disney lovers dream.

Within the last month, Primark have collaborated with Disney to create the most amazing collection of Alice In Wonderland beauty products and thankfully – I managed to get my hands on some of them! As well as a compact mirror brush and comb, perfume and false nails, also featured in the collection is a huge face and eye palette, false eyelashes and a trio of lipsticks – these two products I purchased for myself and will be the sole feature of this review!

The makeup bundle features the following; on the bottom shelf there are four square pan highlighters and two lip glosses and on the top there are twelve eyeshadow shades. If you’re familiar with Alice In Wonderland, you’ll know it’s known for its quirky, outlandish story and the items in the box most definitely follow that inspiration!

Within the eyeshadows, there are eight shimmer shadows and four mattes, which give a bold variety of creative colours. Personally, I would have preferred an equal number of matte colours, but both have strong staying power and are long lasting. If I remember correctly the palette was only £10, which although a bit pricey for Primark, is a great bargain in general for the amount of makeup purchased.

The four highlighter shades were very good quality and I was pleasantly surprised by how pigmented they were. In all honesty I simply purchased the products because they were so beautiful, so this was simply a huge bonus for me. I’ve yet to use the lip glosses as I’m more of a lipstick lover, but the packaging is also absolutely love and features illustrations from Alice In Wonderland too.

As for the lipsticks, you can purchase a set of three small versions together or one individually – I of course had to buy both, I have no limits when it comes to makeup! The packaging is absolutely stunning, once again featuring Alice and flowers, the full sized lipsticks are even heart shaped – which is very fitting to the theme! The three smaller lipsticks are available in a coral, nude and ruby shade which gives you the option to mix and match depending on your look for the day. The price for these products was only around, £3 – £4, so very affordable.

The Alice Eyelashes are natural but very voluminous and I think were £3 also, the only downside is they don’t come with their own glue – but this information is featured on the packet. I’ve now worn them twice and they’re still going strong, I’m very impressed and would definitely purchase more. Furthermore, not only do Primark offer Alice in Wonderland false lashes but, four Disney Princesses are also available too – each having a different style.

I’d recommend anyone who loves Disney or Alice In Wonderland to go to Primark as soon as possible and pick up these amazing products, they are without doubt any collectors dream and are simply beautiful to look at.

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