Blue Whale Game

Thought to originate in Russia, the ‘Blue Whale’ game is a ‘competition’ amongst teenagers to self harm over a period of 50 days. This becomes more serious until a person ‘wins’ the game by eventually killing themselves as per instructions given to them via the administrator of a social media account on VK, Twitter, or Instagram.

Competitors are encouraged to watch horror films, wake at 04:20 in the morning, and carve a whale and certain codes onto their limbs with a sharp implement, making sure to submit proof to the so-called ‘curators’. They are warned they cannot back out of this process once it has started, often with threats to harm their family or spread rumours about them.

It is thought that ‘Blue Whale’ has already claimed the life of 130 Russian teenagers between November 2015 and April 2016, the most recent being 16-year-old Veronika Volkova who jumped to her death on Sunday.

Philipp Budeikin, 21, from Russia has been charged with ‘promoting suicide’ by starting eight ‘Blue Whale’ social media accounts. The trial continues.

So far there is no hard evidence that this game has reached the UK, but schools and the police have warned parents to look out for signs that their children are partaking in this devastating competition and monitor their social media accounts accordingly. 

Translated from Russian, the ‘game’ instructions are as follows:

1. Carve with a razor “f57” on your hand, send a photo to the curator.

2. Wake up at 4.20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.

3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.

4. Draw a whale on a sheet of paper, send a photo to curator.

5. If you are ready to “become a whale”, carve “YES” on your leg. If not, cut yourself many times (punish yourself).

6. Task with a cipher.

7. Carve “f40” on your hand, send a photo to curator.

8. Type “#i_am_whale” in your VKontakte status.

9. You have to overcome your fear.

10. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)

11. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to curator.

12. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.

13. Listen to music that “they” (curators) send you.

14. Cut your lip.

15. Poke your hand with a needle many times

16. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick.

17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.

18. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge.

19. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it

20. The curator checks if you are trustworthy.

21. Have a talk “with a whale” (with another player like you or with a curator) in Skype.

22. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling.

23. Another task with a cipher.

24. Secret task.

25. Have a meeting with a “whale.”

26. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it.

27. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and go to rails (visit any railroad that you can find).

28. Don’t talk to anyone all day.

29. Make a vow that “you’re a whale.”

30-49. Everyday you wake up at 4:20am, watch horror videos, listen to music that “they” send you, make 1 cut on your body per day, talk “to a whale.”

50. Jump off a high building. Take your life.


An example of what to look out for, taken from the Twitter of a 15 year old American boy.

Online Guilty Pleas are scrapped

The Prison and Courts Bill has been scrapped after a public committee vote as Parliament comes to the end of its session and switches focus to pushing more urgent legislation through prior to the newly-called General Election.

This bill was a government plan allowing those accused of minor criminal offences to be able to plead guilty and pay fines, compensation, and associated legal costs online. This was to be optional, with the accused able to go to court still if they so decided. This would have only been used in simple prosecutions with a pre-determined fine, such as rail fair evasion or the non-payment of a parking ticket.

This pilot was to be extended to certain ‘clear cut’ driving offences if successful which, it was thought, would free up court time and resources to deal with more serious matters.

The bill was seen favourably by most, but had some opposition in that it ‘interfered with the rule of law’ and did not allow those accused a fair chance of being heard, despite the fact that a guilty plea even in person would allow very little chance to be heard anyway in such simple process-driven proceedings.

 

Surprising samples 

Have you ever heard a song and thought ‘I recognise that from somewhere’ or ‘what the hell is that?’. Welcome to sampling: taking part of an existing piece of music and fitting it into a new piece of music as a catchy hook.

 

Stevie Nicks- Edge of Seventeen = Destiny’s Child- Bootylicious.

Ponderosa Twins Plus One- Bound = Kanye West- Bound 2 


Toto- Africa = Ja Rule- Murder Reigns


Bruce Hornsby and The Range=  2Pac- Changes


John Lennon- Imagine = Oasis- Don’t Look Back in Anger


JFK- Moon speech = Public Service Broadcasting- Race For Space

The Clash- Straight To Hell = M.I.A- Paper Planes


The Andrew Oldham Orchestra- The Last Time= The Verve- Bitter Sweet Symphony


The Kinks- You Really Got Me- Salt-N-Pepa- Push It

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub review

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub claims to be a ‘triple-action facial polish’ and it contains exfoliant material and  glycolic and salicyclic acid to ‘refine, brighten, and renew’ your skin.

I bought this product from Amazon on a whim when it was half price. I am always very sceptical about the grand claims of skincare products, and as such would have been unwilling to pay £10 for a product I had not already tested, in case I had a reaction to it or it was awful and confined to the ‘cupboard of doom’ under the bathroom sink.

First Impressions:

The packaging is sleek and elegant in a duck egg blue colour. It is mid-range but looks a lot fancier than its price point would suggest. The tube has a capacity of 75ml and as such is a little on the small side when compared to other comparable mid-range items such as St Ives scrubs, which often retail around half the price for 150ml of product.

The smell of the scrub is subtle and citrussy. This is perfectly pleasant, but personally I would have preferred a totally neutral or floral smell. This is not a fault with the product, but rather myself- I hate citrus.

Usage

As with any facial exfoliant, a smallish amount is rubbed in a circular motion around your damp face and then washed off with water. This was easy to do and the scrub was not too ‘gritty’, making this process completely painless.

Results

I’ve used this scrub now for approximately two months. I use it once or twice a week. I used my St Ives scrub every day (probably not recommended but it really worked for my skin) but the Nip+ Fab scrub is much harsher in my opinion and so cannot be used too often.

Immediately after using the scrub my face is quite red, but this quickly goes. My face feels smooth and looks brighter. I have uneven skin tone and personally have not found that it helps with this.

I’m not a dermatologist and daren’t offer skin care guidance but you MUST use SPF face cream or sun cream after using this product. My face got very red and irritated in the sun after using it before I started using SPF after. I can only guess that the acids in it make my skin a little more sensitive for a while. I should add I do not have particularly sensitive, oily, or dry skin.

Overall, it is a perfectly pleasant product but I do not get the hype (is a Kardashian an ambassador?) It has not done wonders for my skin and nor can I use it daily. I am happy enough using up the rest of my tube but I do not think I would pay full price for this product, and I will not be repurchasing. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it- I’m going back to St Ives.

5/10


Eos lip balm review

In the spirit of Easter just gone, I thought I would review the very cutesy egg-shaped Eos lip balm endorsed by Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. Controversially, Eos were sued in a class action law suit fronted by plaintiff Rachel Cronin in 2016 amid claims that they had made users ‘break out in severe rashes and have cracked, bleeding lips’.

A lot can be said about the American culture for suing. The pictures in the court documents did not look so severe that some Carmex and an antihistamine could not cure them but hey, I’m not a doctor. In the UK we would probably just get a refund for the product and leave it there. Eos conceded that despite the ingredients being listed on the packaging, more attention should be drawn to potential allergens within the product and those affected got compensated.

I have been using Eos lip balm practically every day since mid 2014 and never had a reaction. I have a collection of approximately 12 of their flavours and bring them everywhere with me. All this while my lips have remained soft.

The packaging is very cute and unique, but potentially a choke risk so it is best for adult use. The only problem I have had with the packaging is when using one in the office, a colleague enquired ‘is that… A love egg?’

There are several flavours and often Christmas and summer releases with new flavours. My all-time favourite is ‘sweet mint’ which is a lovely tingly minty balm. I feel like it has some gentle lip plumping effect but this is not claimed by The Company so it might just be me.

The range of flavours, the pretty packaging, and the fact it makes my lips so soft makes it a winner for me. It is at a slightly high price point £4-£6 each in the UK. This is okay though as the whole egg is filled with the product and so it lasts a long time.

10/10

Chicken and Chorizo Paella

I can’t claim this dish is authentic and if you are Spanish I sincerely apologise, but it is very quick, easy, and tasty. Summery and light without having to totally give up stodge- hurrah!

Ingredients to generously serve 4:

  • Chicken thighs (or breast but the meat can get drier)
  • Chorizo (150g)
  • Paella rice (350g)
  • Chicken stock (as much as will absorb)
  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • A juicy garlic clove (crushed)
  • White onion or onion granules
  • A tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • Frozen peas (200g) *Peppers also work well*
  • A lemon
  • A handful of fresh parsley and a teeny bit of completely inauthentic thyme

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a high heat. I used a casserole dish so I could save on washing up and make it a one-pot recipe. Add the chicken and brown all over – do not cook completely. Once browned, remove. Reduce the heat, add the onions and cook slowly until  translucent and softened. If using onion granules, add these later as they would burn now.
  2. Add in the garlic, stir for about a minute then put in the chorizo and fry until it releases its oils. Stir in the spices and the tiny bit of inauthentic thyme and then tip in the rice. Stir to coat the rice in the oils and spices for about two minutes and then pour in the hot stock. Bring the whole dish to the boil and return the chicken to the pan before turning the head down to a simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, but be aware that the rice can catch and stick at the bottom rather easily.
  3. Add the peas ( and/or peppers) into the dish and simmer  until the rice and chicken are cooked. The rice should be soft.
  4. Serve with a fresh parsley garnish and a lemon wedge.

Dior ‘Star’ Foundation review.

I have used this foundation now for approximately two years having seen it in John Lewis instead of my then favourite Guerlain ‘Lingerie’ foundation (which I also really rate). In between my use of this product I’ve tried samples of Estée Lauder ‘Double Wear, Elizabeth Arden, YSL, and Dermacol.

This product has an SPF of 30 which is unusual for a foundation and means that I do not have to wear sunscreen under it, which can make my skin greasy and affect a flawless finish.  It comes in approximately 19 colours ranging from very light to very dark, these also span both warm and cool tones. I wear 032 ‘rosy beige’ which is a bit lighter than the name might suggest and has a warm tone.

According to Dior ‘The complexion is instantly more luminous and visibly evener. A new generation of hollow silica beads captures and diffuses light in a correcting halo with no shine. At the same time, colour filter pigments neutralise colour imbalances to recreate the perfect light. The complexion is clarified with a purer, more dazzling and long lasting light’. Although I am normally sceptical of such bold claims, the foundation does have a radiant dewy finish and photographs very well without any flashback which is normally a worry for foundations that contain SPF.

This foundation lasts long days with no touching up, and does not rub off or go greasy. I often wear it from approximately 6:00am until 22:00pm with no retouches. I use primer and moisturiser underneath it and set it with pressed powder and ‘bake’ with loose powder under my eyes and along my jaw.

I have fair skin with a lot of dark freckles and some redness and uneven skin tone on my cheeks which it covers well – in fact making even my freckles invisible. I am fortunate in that I do not have spotty or acne prone skin, nor is it greasy or dry. I have no doubt that it would cover spots or acne scarring. With the moisturiser, primer, and powder I also imagine it would cover and last well on oily or dry skin. I do not use any other Dior Skin products alongside this.

I admit this product does have a high price point (£35) but it lasts well- each bottle lasts me about six to eight months as a little goes a long way. I wear it every time I wear make-up, but it would work well as a special occasions only make-up. I know it is popular in bridal make-up because it photographs beautifully.

 

The packaging is simple and classy.

Without and with foundation.

Make-up ‘holy grail’ items

These are items I really really rate and use most days when I have make-up on.

Moisturiser: I have Estée Lauder moisturiser for when I feel fancy, but Garnier Day Cream is what I mainly use.

Primer: Guerlain L’or

Beauty Blender:  I have one, I don’t use it.

Concealer: NYX ‘dark circles’ concealer, YSL Touche Èclat, and the lightest shade from my De’lanci contour palette for highlighting.

Foundation: Dior Star

Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte for my face generally, and Technic’s white powder for baking.

Brow product: Anastasia Beverley Hills ‘Dip Brow Pomade’ and a Dior eyebrow pencil.

Eye primer: Make-Up Revolution.

Eyeshadow palette: De’lanci neutrals pallete or Urban Decay Naked 3 generally.

Mascara: Guerlain ‘Maxi Lash So Volume’ and Shiseido ‘Full Lash Volume’

Liner: A white pencil for my waterline, it’s so old I don’t know where it is from. Liquid: one from Amazon with no name.

Lashes: Eyelure.

Contour: De’lanci

Bronzer: Benefit ‘Hoola’

Blush: A very pink Dior one

Highlight: Makeup Revolution

Lipbalm: EOS sweet mint (tingly!)

Liner:  Many from Amazon (unbranded)

Lipstick: I love Limecrime for matte, and Chanel and Estée Lauder for normal lipstick. My go-to is Limecrime’s ‘bleached’.

Make up brush: My oval brushes for foundation and contour, and my Estée Lauder and Real Techniques ones for face powder.

Setting spray : Barry M dewy finish.