The poppies at the Tower of London


This year marks the 100 year anniversary since the start of the First World War. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the installation created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper. Together he created 888,246 ceramic poppies which have filled the Tower’s famous moat, one for each of the British casualties in the First World War.


Seeing all those poppies was one of the most moving and beautiful tributes to war I’ve ever seen. It is an incredibly powerful homage to the fallen and I would highly recommend seeing them if you can. (They are being removed now to be sent off to their new homes, so be quick!)

There have been comments about romanticising war but I don’t think this does. Yes, the poppies are beautiful, exquisitely crafted and ornate but I believe the hours and toil in creating the installation is a fitting tribute to the soldiers who so valiantly gave their lives all those years ago. The staggering beauty of the thing has also drawn crowds in their millions upon millions. Making an installation as popular as this is some feat, but its success means that the horrors of war can be explained, taught and considered by everyone who sees it. And hopefully, will serve as a prominent reminder as we move forward in the future.


The Remembrance Day service can be watched on iPlayer here. Read more about the Royal British Legion here.

We will remember them


Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer

L-r: Apocaliptic, Aurora, Celestial

L-r: Apocaliptic, Aurora, Celestial

Anyone who frequents Boots or Superdrug on a regular basis will have seen these adorning the shelves of the Rimmel counter for months and months. They are the Apocalips Lip Lacquers and they are brilliant.

So why am I only talking about these now? I loved them when they first came out but in truth, I wasn’t very confident about wearing bright, loud lip colours. Storytime… I never used to wear lipstick/lipgloss in any colour. In fact, a little pot of Vaseline was all I wore. I had very little confidence in my looks and, because I quite liked my eyes, I always used to accentuate them with eyeliner, eyeshadow, and tons of mascara. I bought the Apocalips to try and break the cycle I’d got into. I worked up from Celestial, a muted pink – the ‘your-lips-but-better’ shade – which I loved. Now I wear all the lip colours that make up brands can throw at me!

So now I’m much more confident about my make up I feel I’m in a position where I can give a proper, informed review of the products. Put simply, they are tremendous, and are some of the best lip products out on the high street in my opinion.

They are highly pigmented and the staying power is brilliant! The formula goes on very glossy and dries slightly to give a satin finish. The consistency is creamy and very opaque for a lip gloss – I’d consider it somewhere in between a gloss and a lipstick in opacity – it swipes on your lips just as you’d hope and it isn’t sticky! At all! (Win for Rimmel’s formula making bods there).

The shades range from nude (Nude Eclipse) to the brightest pinks and reds (Apocaliptic and Big Bang) so their should be a shade to suit you in the range!

The price is £6.49 which is pretty reasonable for the high street and if you are smart with your shopping, you should easily be able to get them cheaper than that – keep an eye out for Superdrug and Boots offers!

All in all, a brilliant product, and one I reach for very often.

What do you think of Rimmel’s Apocalips? Leave links and comments below!


A year in photographs – September 2014

September was a difficult month. Really difficult. It started with a high, namely Bestival, and followed with an almighty low, my grandma passed away. It was a very confusing, emotional rollercoaster of a month. See my previous post for some thoughts on sadness and what it means to me.
Here is my month in pictures:

Here’s to a brighter October



My grandma, me and my grandad

My grandma, me and my grandad

I recently lost my Grandma to old age. Well that’s what the death certificate said. In truth, by the end, she simply gave up. She had been ill which had knocked her off her feet and whilst she’d recovered slightly, she simply decided she’d had enough. She wanted to, and was ready to, join my Grandad, her partner-in-crime, whom she’d lost ten years previously.

It wasn’t a shock when I got the phone call, her passing was somewhat expected, but it didn’t make it any less painful. My friends were incredibly supportive, but there was little to say, it was just very, very sad. And there is no getting away from that.

Losing someone who has been my life consistently for the whole of my twenty five years is gutting. It took the wind out of me. My brain didn’t function properly, I was numb to everything going on around me. It was like I had stopped yet the world continued in a flurry around me. I tried to do the normal, everyday things, to try and keep up but I couldn’t. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t fight the fact my body and mind were forcing me to stop and absorb and express the sadness I felt.

People say it gets better with time but it doesn’t. You just think about it less. It’s been four weeks now and I’m beginning to feel ‘normal’ again. However, this normality is rocked by the simplest of things – a photo, a smell, a phrase, a look – anything can set off an all-encompassing cloak of sadness and it’s difficult to deal with.

We’re not trained or taught how to deal with sadness. There’s a certain attitude of ‘bury-your-head-in-the-sand and hope nothing bad happens’ around Britain and as such, when our stiff upper lip begins to quiver, we just can’t handle it. I’m not sure how well I handled losing my Grandma really… Sadness is not a topic that’s ever discussed as no-one ever wants to be sad.

I’m a closed book when it comes to deep emotions, I find it very hard to express myself (great personal asset for a writer, no?). So I didn’t. Instead, I surrounded myself with my friends and family who I knew, if and when I wanted to talk, would listen and be supportive. Just having someone there made all the difference to me, and was, in the end how I coped. My friends were brilliant and I will always be grateful to them.

Coping with sadness is a very personal thing. Some people think in silence, others shout and scream, telling everyone who will listen about their problems, some people just cry. However you deal with sadness, the key thing is that you deal with it. Don’t bury your feelings within and ignore the sad feelings. Embrace them and accept them, only then will you really be able to move on.

If you’re struggling with sadness, grief, mourning I urge you to speak to someone and put yourself in a position where your friends and family can support you. And if it’s still getting too much to handle then talk to a professional.
Here’s an advice article about how to deal with sadness. The NHS offers services on all forms of stress, grief and mental illness. And if you just want someone to talk to ring the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.


Music Monthly – September 2014

Having had a wonderful summer of music, I’m excited to share with you my next monthly music favourites. I’ve just got back from Bestival which was utterly wonderful. It was my first visit to Rob da Bank’s musical furore on the beautiful Isle of Wight – it’s like a mini Glastonbury!

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Nile Rodgers was incredible – what a way to finish on Sunday night! Seeing as Nile has basically produced every catchy song ever written since the 1970s, the whole gig was a huge party – lots of singing, lots of dancing, it was amazing!

Another highlight for me was London Grammar. Their set was precise, emotional and euphoric. I adore their album ‘If You Wait’ and hearing it performed live was something truly special.

Disclosure. Whilst it makes me a little sick at how incredibly talented these two brothers are for their age, I can’t help but love them. I get completely mesmerised when watching DJs, I think they are so talented – but watching two DJs on different decks work seamlessly together to make this phenomenal music is utterly amazing.

I’m a massive fan of music from the 1980s and lately, it seems that’s all I’ve been listening to. INXS are brilliant, and I simply adore Michael Hutchence’s voice. His silky, charismatic tones just make me want to dance. Turn this up and get on your feet!

Finally, after seeing Back to the Future at Secret Cinema, this one has been on repeat:

What have you been listening to lately. I’d love to have a listen, leave links and comments below!


An awesome August

Well the last month has been pretty wonderful. I feel like I’ve had most of August off work and I’ve feel like I’ve barely been in London. It’s been brilliant!

First I went to the beach in Mablethorpe for a weekend with my friends. And as anyone who has visited the beach along the North East coast of England will know, it can be bracing, wet and down right cold but it is always the most fun.


Next, me and my housemates went to Croatia! We went to Split and Hvar and I cannot recommend it enough. The place is beautiful, the people are warm and welcoming and the company was brilliant. I basically spent the entire holiday with a smile on my face, it was glorious.

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The day after I got back from Croatia I went to a wedding! My gorgeous friend Lucy tied the knot in Gloucestershire. It was a beautiful day filled with love and laughter.

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Next on my adventures in August was Leeds Festival. I hadn’t been to Leeds in a few years but it was the first festival I ever went to – and boy was it good to go back! We had a massive camp, carnage ensued and a good time was had by all.

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All in all, August has been awesome. Next on the list is Secret Cinema and Bestival and I cannot wait!

What have you guys been up to this summer? Hope you’ve had a wonderful August too!


A year in photographs – July 2014

Nope, I definitely did not forget to post this at the start of August. That was not me. No siree! Rachel Speed does not do such things. Na-ah. No.

Ok, I may have thought I’d already published this…
Anywho, July was brilliant. Take a sneak peak at mine!

Hope you had a brilliant July!


Music Monthly – July 2014

As well as my months in photographs I thought I’d share with you some of the songs that have been a constant on my iPod over the last month.

Up first: Alt-J and ‘Hunger Of The Pine’

The first time I heard this I was hooked. There is something utterly captivating about Alt-J’s sound, which I have loved from the very beginning. I CANNOT wait to hear the rest of the album.

Next, the return of Jamie T with ‘Don’t You Find’

Jamie T is one of my favourite artists of all time. His music really spoke to me and I think he was on the cusp of becoming a voice of our generation after Kings and Queens in 2009. I was gutted he disappeared – I used to do a social media search for him every month or so, desperate for him to come back. And he finally has! This song is joyous – give it a listen.

Third comes Jungle – ‘Busy Earnin”

I’ve liked Jungle for a while now but seeing them at Glastonbury made me fall in LOVE with them! I bought their album (which I would highly recommend doing) and every song is brilliant. I could have put any one of their songs in Music Monthly but Busy Earnin’ has a truly excellent video. Let’s learn the dance!

Fourth comes Lana Del Rey. Well, the Cedric Gervais remix of ‘Summertime Sadness’

I’m not the biggest fan of Lana Del Rey. She mainly annoyed me during her Glastonbury performance with her constant posing. I do think her voice is good but I can’t listen to many of her songs in a row before I want to end it all. BUT, this remix of ‘Summertime Sadness’ is great! It really lifts the song and for me, this is summer in a song.

Golden oldie time now for my final song – Pink Floyd with ‘Wish You Were Here’

For a long time I avoided Pink Floyd but I have recently realised they’re brilliant. All those people were actually right about them… who knew? Anyway, this is a beautiful one.

What have you been listening to this month? What’s been your top song? Leave links and comments below as I’d love to have a read!