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Do’s and Don’ts by Vice

23 Sep

400 New Jokes from the Funniest Magazine Column to Ever Exist in the History of the Universe

You know those jokes that you know you shouldn’t laugh at but you can’t help yourself? Well, those are the kind of jokes that Vice Magazine specialises in. In every issue they run a column called Do’s and Don’ts in which they take photographs of unsuspecting people and write funny captions underneath. Apparently, “the first thing most people do when they pick up a copy of Vice is turn to the Do’s and Don’ts” and “they’ve become one of our most popular reads”.

So a la mode?

In just a few short words, Vice manage to completely take a photograph out of context and give it a hilarious new meaning. It’s really easy to flick through and you don’t need any prior knowledge of the magazine to totally understand the beauty of the column in just a few small page turns. This column is difficult to explain; it’s one of those you have to see. An example: a girl with lots of makeup on in rollerblades captioned with “she spent so long getting ready, she rolled over the line that separates ‘made up’ from ‘in drag’”. Most of the captions have some kind of joke about a person’s clothes, something that the Vice team say has “enduring possibilities”.

Uh-oh a la mode?

A few of the jokes go that smidge too far where you actually feel so bad for the poor, unknowing victim who will be amazed to see themselves in the Vice column!

A la Mode Appraisal: 9/10

Do’s and Don’ts is published by Canongate and will definitely tickle your coffee table for a reasonable £9.99. It’s quite thick and there are lots of captions per double page spread.

If you liked this, you may also like The World According to Vice by Vice.


True Whit by Whitney Port

23 Sep

Deisnging a life of Style, Beauty and Fun with Sheryl Berk


Welcome to the world of Whitney Port. She was part of two of MTV’s most successful reality TV shows, The Hills and The City, and has since become a style icon through launching her very own fashion line Whitney Eve. In her first book, Whitney aims to use her life experience to enlighten young ladies who are starting to find their feet in the real world. “What I wanted to create was a guidebook, so to speak, to starting out in your twenties. It’s your time to shine, to dig deep and discover who you are.”


So a la mode?


Whitney goes down to every little detail when offering advice on how to get your life in order. Using specific family recipes and detailing things such as what her personal fitness regime consists of make it lots easier for us to dabble in her routine and see how it works. She also gives tips on how we can channel her eclectic style, from encouraging shopping in charity shops to identifying specific hair types and using that information to explain how each hair type can be styled to emulate her own locks. Every base is covered, from how to deal with a difficult co-worker to how to impress on a first date.


Uh-oh a la mode?


One thing that did disappoint me as an avid fan of The Hills and The City was that lots of her personal experiences draw from things we’ve already seen on the show. I was hoping that in purchasing the book I’d hear a different side of the story than what I’d already watched, but advice seemed based on things we already knew – e.g. relationship advice based on her relationship with Jay or work advice based on her time with Olivia. Maybe next time if Whitney could give us a little spoiler of all the things we had missed then the read would be a little juicier!


All in all a brilliant guide for a young girl – I’d especially recommend it to anyone who has just moved away from home, for example a University student or a new graduate.


A la Mode Appraisal: 8/10 – more secrets next time please, Whitney!


True Whit is published by Aurum Press and will help every young lady in her search for herself at a very reasonable £14.99.


If you liked this book, you may also like Style by Lauren Conrad.

Ethno Pop Textures Volume 1 by Vincenzo Sguera

20 Feb

You can practically hear the drums, smell the incense and see the red glow of the sunset. With an array of beautiful graphics to offer, Vincenzo Sguera’s Ethno Pop Textures Volume 1 is the perfect source for anyone looking to add a splash of bohemia to any given project.

A book of incredible patterns, Ethno Pop Textures gives examples of a huge variety of ethnically inspired prints and then comes complete with a disc of 100 designs that are free and ready to use. Pop Textures really is the best phrase to use for this book; bright colours bring the effervescence of classic pop culture but the wide range of pattern configurations provided communicate endless opportunity in terms of texture.

A particular theme I picked up on throughout the book was that it was quite tribal; all patterns had a very earthy feel to them, with lots including pictures of animals or plants in their make-up. Patterns were featured in the book quite accordingly by colour. Since each colour scheme had lots of different textures to accompany it, it was great to know that once you had narrowed down your selection of shades you still had lots of variety in patterns.

If you are about to create something that requires a little hippy-chic, perhaps a new fair-trade website or an ethically sourced clothing line, then the images in this Vincenzo Sguera book are for you. A pricey addition to your bookshelf, maybe, but a crisp and vibrant selection for your creative ventures.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Ethno Pop Textures Volume 1 by Vincenzo Sguera is published by Arkivia Books and will bring some ethnic magic to your work for £67.50.

Superfreakonomics – Illustrated Edition by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

19 Jan

Take the facts and figures from the desk of an esteemed mathematician and mix them with the zany ponderings of a philosopher and you will have created a concoction of Superfreakonomics.

Superfreakonomics, as debated by Levitt – winner of the John Bates Clark medal, a prize for the most influential economist under the age of forty – and Dubner – a former writer and editor at The New York Times Magazine – are fascinating true stories that are told to remind the reader that the world is a peculiar and extraordinary place. Their original Freakonomics sold over four million copies worldwide in 2005, and has now been revived with images and diagrams to give an extra dimension to the tales at hand. The original book features topics such as ‘assassinating mosquitoes’ and ‘a variety of ways to postpone death’ and is now presented with added pictures, photographs and panels of data because “sometimes numbers and words aren’t enough”.

My favourite chapter was one entitled ‘How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?’ Exploring, initially, some outrageous statistics that surround the profession of prostitution, the chapter goes on to explore the ever prevalent sexism that exists in the world – for example through the inclusion of a graph that clearly shows male earnings to exceed female earnings in a number of professions – and looks to history to try and explain these inconsistencies. It featured the 10 “rules to live by” of a 1920s Anti-Flirt Group, created by women who were disturbed by the “growing forthrightness of males” and included regulations such as:

Don’t wink: a flutter of one eye may cause a tear in the other.

Don’t accept rides from flirting motorists: they don’t invite you in to save you a walk.

All in all Superfreakonomics uses hard hitting statistics and data to solidify some of the most bizarre elements of human life, thus baffling the reader and reminding them of what a crazy place the world really is. This eccentrically written masterpiece will be sure to give you something unusual to talk about at your next dinner party and is filled with fascinating trivia.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Superfreakonomics is published by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, and will encourage you to ponder all of life’s little issues for £20.00.

The World According to Vice by Vice

11 Jan

Vice magazine, one of the most outlandish and outspoken magazines around, have decided that their cheeky approach to life is something that is worth capitalising on. They’ve compiled a remarkable scrapbook that has been critically acclaimed by the likes of Dame Vivienne Westwood and are set to enlighten people all over about the Vice way of life. In a collection that is as scandalous as it is irresistible, Vice explore some of their most remarkable features to date and does so in a way that transpires to create a kooky guide to all of life’s little hiccups.

To give you a little insight as to the kind of things they’re addressing, here are some of my favourite pieces:

The Vice Guide to University by Andy Capper, March 2010

 Anyone can enjoy something thoroughly without necessarily being in stitches, but this had me laughing out loud. As controversial as it is accurate, this is a guide to exactly what happens at University and will be appreciated by any past, present or future students. It pokes fun of the filthy states that students let their bedrooms get into, the pompous know-it-alls that stroll around campus with a broadsheet newspaper and patronise you for indulging in a little Paris Hilton perfume, the politics behind people stealing food in halls and the product placement that consumes Freshers Week.

New Frontiers of Sobriety by Hamilton Morris, August 2009

This detailed one man’s findings as he challenged Newton’s third law of motion that every action has an equal and opposite reaction in relation to drugs. A usual drug user, he found equal and opposite drugs that he called the anti-weed, anti-LSD and anti-heroin and took them to see how it felt to experience the exact opposite sensations. His account is comical but nevertheless harrowing, and is told with brutal honesty.

Interrogations: a Woman Who Made a Documentary About Vaginoplasty, October 2008

Vice’s Andy Capper interviewed Heather Leach, a filmmaker who created a documentary about women who have had a vaginoplasty (surgery on their privates). She gives readers an insight into wh girls as young as 16 are feeling pressured to undergo this procedure and how frighteningly popular it is becoming.

Not for the feint hearted or for those who view the world through rose coloured glasses, this book is the perfect thing to make you spit out your tea or choke on your French Fancy. For the truth about every possible scandal I would highly recommend tucking into this book. Told with flair and comedy even when approaching sensitive content, it is the perfect way to enlighten  yourself on everything naughty that you could possibly imagine. It will make you blush… and you’ll love it. Get this for a prudish socialite or a scraggy lad about town and either way you’ll receive rave reviews.

A la Mode Appraisal: 8/10

The World According to Vice is published by Canongate and is all yours for just £20.00.

P.S Did you know that Vice magazine are always looking for people to join their team? They seek to recruit interns, photographers, student ambassadors… the list goes on! Click here to have a look at their job page.

The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fabulousness by Bethanie Lunn

11 Jan

Bethanie Lunn is a power woman that every girl would love to be like. She’s a one woman enterprise and merrily juggles a number of fabulous fashionable responsibilities including the following: a widely read blog called The Modern Girl’s Guide, acting as fashion and beauty expert for Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, being a style expert and online presenter for Very online, and contributing columns to to name just a few. Now, the beauty has wracked her brains to compile an alternative A-Z for the modern girl, giving her the “fast track to the coolest places, services and products around” (quote taken from Bethanie’s blog).

The Guide begins with an introduction that outlines the aim of the book- to pin point the most fabulous things all over the country and enlighten women accordingly. Upon reading this, it has to be said that I felt sceptical. I have read lots of similar books in the past (no names mentioned) that claim to be excited to share highlights of the best regional attractions and then go on to gush incessantly about one city in particular; you’ve guessed it- London. Yes, a mesmerising city it may be, but when I’m in Liverpool and desperately need a manicure I’m hardly going to invest all of that time, money and effort and go all the way to the south for a decent set of nails. (Indeed, I would probably just pop to the nearest Barry M counter instead, but for the sake of this argument that is beside the point). What was refreshing and very engaging, therefore, was Bethanie’s very true representation of the entire country. Surrounded by angry, soaking wet passengers on the train, I couldn’t help but gasp for joy every time I read a reference to somewhere I had been to, knew of and already loved. Knowing that I completely agreed with Bethanie in the recommendations with which I was already acquainted lead me to believe that, if I were to visit another city, I could completely trust her judgement and take all other suggestions by storm and with confidence.

Favourite Birmingham hotspot:
Club Chocolate, home to amazing cocktails.
Club Chocolate on Facebook

Favourite Liverpool hotspot:
Raider’s Vintage, a small boutique that has been known to grace the pages of UK Vogue.
Raiders Vintage on Facebook

Nationwide must have:
Batiste dry shampoo (or for any fellow students that may be reading, a nice hearty dose of talcum powder!)

Number one website:
A personal favourite of mine, Elsiebelle jewellery- the most quirky and cute retailer of them all.

The magic of this girlie guide is that every type of woman needs to have it in her life; the housewife who loves nothing more than to present an exquisite meal for her friends and family and to lay an extravagent dining set, the tearaway who loves to push her limits and wants to fill her Saturday with a spot of risque burlesque, or even the PR executive who loves her fluffy canine friend to death but simply doesn’t have enough time to walk him. Bethanie manages to overcome all of life’s dilemmas and to do so in a way that girls all over can manage in our current economic crisis but still feel fabulous! A thoroughly enjoyable read, and a must have for any students who are planning a girlie getaway to visit one of their friends in another city.

To visit Bethanie on her book tour, why not pop along to her Liverpool signing on Wednesday 1st December at LK Bennett in Liverpool One? All you have to do to book your place is call the LK Bennett hotline on 02076376729. If this date is inconvenient then please click here to check her other confirmed appearances. I am very excited to tell you that I will be interviewing her on the day, so be sure to subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss any of her anecdotes!

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Publisher: Book Guild Limited
Price: £9.99

The Best Friends’ Guide to Life by Fearne and Holly

11 Jan

You can imagine my delight when two of my favourite career girls teamed up to create a tell-all book. Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby are both huge inspirations to me because their jobs are so varied.

A day in the life of Fearne:

  • Present her Radio 1 show
  • Indulge in her personal cosmetics range
  • Design clothes for Liverpool’s own
  • Host TV shows such as ‘Fearne and…’
  • Climb the tallest mountains in the world for charity!

A day in the life of Holly:

  • Have a laugh next to Philip Schofield whilst presenting This Morning
  • Join him again in another studio for Dancing on Ice
  • Design clothes for Very alongside Fearne
  • Take time out to compile this book
  • Still find time to be a wife and mom!

See what I mean? That’s what I love about their careers. They don’t have to oblige to one thing or another; instead, they manage to juggle everything that they enjoy and do so marvellously. I was so excited to hear their secrets and receive coveted words of advice as to how I may pursue the same lifestyle.

Divided into sections of things that will come up in any girl’s life, from friends ‘Partners in Crime’ to work ‘Nine to Five’, their book aims to enlighten young women in terms of how to have your cake and eat it too (incidentally, the girls use a clever cake analogy throughout the book to speak simply about balance and proportions of things in your life). Offering handy tips about common things such as what not to expose on your Facebook page to how many glasses of wine it is acceptable to consume on a first date, they use stories from their own pasts to illustrate their examples in a way that is hilarious and relatable. Lots of photographs from their younger years have been thrown in to tell the tales, and Fearne herself has provided some exquisite art work to brighten up the pages. Although you should never judge a book by its cover, it must be said that the presentation of the book is divine… think of a mix between your favourite vintage scarf and the graphics of an art students’ blog splashed eclectically onto every single page.

Spoken from two perspectives, the book is especially useful to anyone who may be confused about a particular issue or problem. Fearne and Holly both have very strong minds and sometimes very opposing opinions, so contrasting the two girls’ thoughts in relation to any given topic is useful in helping the reader to see both sides of a situation. This, I feel, is what distinguishes this book from others of its kind; the ability to feel as though you are part of a group dynamic as opposed to taking the words of one author as gospel.

I would definitely recommend that you buy yourself and your best friend a copy of this book – in fact, they’d make great hers and hers presents for Christmas. A really fun read with lots of handy hints, this book should be an essential to any young woman’s collection.

While you’re shopping along these lines, you might want to check out Fearne’s new make-up range, too!

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Fearne and Holly: The Best Friends’ Guide to Life is published by Vermillion and available for £16.99.