Review: Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

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I think I should preface this by saying that not only am I a huge history buff, but that Mary Queen of Scots is my favourite monarch in history. Is it weird to have a favourite royal? I don’t think so. Who knows, might just be a history nerd thing. I was first introduced to Mary’s story years ago through the CW teen drama, Reign, which I still binge-watch at least once every six months. However, it isn’t exactly… ahem… a historically accurate source haha. Not to say that it isn’t good! It’s very enjoyable and I highly recommend watching it, so long as you look elsewhere for your facts. Anyway, it set me off on a years-long search to gather as much info about the tragic Scottish Queen as I could.

For those not familiar with the history, lemme break it down real quick. Henry VIII had 3 children: Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. The way succession worked in 16th century England, if Henry VIII had not had any kids, the line of succession would’ve been passed onto his oldest sister, Margaret Tudor. The same, however, went if his children did not have children. Which they didn’t. Long story short, Elizabeth I not having a kid meant that the Scottish Queen, Mary, was the next in line (this was due to her paternal grandmother and father being dead by the time she was a baby). This caused a lot of anxiety for Queen Elizabeth I, who worried that Mary would come along and try to take the throne from her, as her own grandfather did to King Richard III in the 1400s. This was especially problematic as a lot of people were against Elizabeth as she was a Protestant, and Mary was a Catholic. See how this could be an issue?

Okay, let’s get into things.

You can imagine that when I heard there would be a film adaptation about her life, I was pretty bloody ecstatic. My mum (also a MQoS fan) and I meant to see the film in theatres last December, but with my exam schedule it just didn’t work out. Luckily, it’s out on dvd and I finally got to see it! And I thought, what better way to revisit my love of Mary than through a film review on my blog.

Disclaimer: these are just the opinions of a 20-year-old history fan who makes no claim to be a professional historian or film critic. I just love me a good period piece and love a good rant even more!

Caution - major spoilers ahead!!

First off, the cast. When I heard that Queen Elizabeth I was to be played by Margot Robbie, my reaction looked a lot like this:

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All I could picture was yet another Cate Blanchett depiction of a very polished version of the English Queen. However, my worries were completely unfounded as Margot Robbie pulled off a fantastic Queen Elizabeth I. They even showed off her facial scarring that she got from smallpox. I was pleasantly surprised. Saoirse Ronan wasn’t exactly who I’d have imagined playing Mary, but I think she pulled it off quite well. There were also some great actors in this film such as Brendan Coyle, Joe Alwyn, and David Tennant (more on him in a sec).

The film was heavily based on John Guy’s biography of Mary Queen of Scots, which you can tell because Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie’s faces are plastered on the book’s cover in every book store right now. If you’re interested in getting a more in-depth factual look at Mary’s life, I definitely recommend reading his biography which is the one in the picture at the top of the review. It’s highly acclaimed and a reliable source. Just make sure to not buy the movie tie-in version!

Let’s start off with the good things/things I liked.

This was the most historically accurate depiction of Mary’s story I’ve seen. Not to say that it’s entirely historically accurate, as there was a bit of artistic license used in order to move the plot ahead or make it more dramatic. But it was a far-cry from Reign lol. As for the two Queens, I’ve obviously pointed out how on-point Elizabeth’s appearance was (even her nose was spot-on!). Mary was given red hair, which was a plus, however it was a bit lighter/more orange than portraits made it out to be.

My FAVOURITE part of this movie was whenever Saoirse Ronan spoke French!! She spoke it often, too!! By George, I think they’ve finally got it. It’s the most overlooked part of her life in the film and TV universe. Mary would have spoken French. A woman who spent her formative years in France, who married the French king, would have spoken the country’s native language. It’s just facts. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Moving on lol. David Tennant (see, told you we’d get to him!) was phenomenal in this film. I didn’t even initially recognize him when he came on the screen. It took me, however, 0.05 seconds to realize he was John Knox, the Protestant leader of the Scottish Reformation and overall woman-hater. In one sentence, he attacked the Pope and the female rulers of two kingdoms, so I was like aha that’s him. He did a great job at playing the villainous Scot and also reminded me why I hate Knox so much.

Onto the bad - as every movie, especially the period pieces, has its downfalls.

The omission of Mary’s early life made me sad. Yes, her time in Scotland is more “interesting,” but her time in France was equally as important. Her years there were relegated to a short blurb in conversation, whereas it was a huge part of her life. She spent a whopping 13 years in France, where as she spent a combined total of 11 in Scotland (5 of which she was a baby/toddler). None of her early years in French Court or her reign as Queen consort of France were depicted. And my poor heart couldn’t take that the only mention of her late husband, King Francis II was her offhandedly mentioning he was bad at sex. She loved him most of all!! How could they!! Toby Regbo did not die (twice) for this.

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The highly inaccurate face-to-face meeting of Mary and Elizabeth gave me major eye-rolls as well. Okay, so I know they included it because it’s anticlimactic to show two Queens writing letters to one another. But still. Especially that it was them meeting in a room of hanging sheets. The melodrama!! It was just not for me.

And her execution. Sigh. I thought that Adelaide Kane’s Mary execution in Reign was the most dramatized and fabricated version, because of how they gave her a grand total of maybe 5 grey hairs, propped her boobs up in a corset and hoped to God we’d believe her to be an ailing, malnourished 44-year-old woman. However, Saoirse Ronan didn’t even get that treatment. They just pulled her hair back. And then stripped her of her outer-garments to reveal crimson red underclothes, which was an over-exaggerated nod to the real Mary’s crimson sleeves representing martyrdom. There seems to be a trend in these adaptations of amplifying the execution scenes to make them seem far more dramatic and intense than they really were. The real Mary just stepped up to the block, forgave the executioner, and made a joke about stripping down in front of strange men. Classic.

All in all, it was a good film. It was (mostly) historically accurate, and the cast did a really good job. However, for me, there is only one Mary.

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Have you seen Mary Queen of Scots? What did you think of it?

Felicia x

Review: Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hr Breathable Foundation

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Hello everyone! Snowy weather has officially slithered its way back in southern Ontario. Whyyyyyyyyyyyy. I was almost certain that spring was near, or at least on its way, but now I'm thinking that it's a long way off. Last night, our power went off and back on five times, and this morning, our town is COVERED in snow. Warm weather, where you at? Today, I thought I'd do a little review of the Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25hr Breathable Foundation. Prior to this foundation, I have tried two other foundations by Rimmel. First, the Wake Me Up Foundation, which is very illuminating and dewy, and then more recently the Match Perfection Foundation, which is invisible coverage and with more of a matte finish. I was in the market for a fair foundation with medium to full coverage, and I came across this one so I thought I'd give it a shot!

This foundation is available in 15 different shades. I picked up the shade 101 Classic Ivory, which is one of the lightest shades in the range. It costs just under $10 at Walmart, and the same or a couple dollars more at drugstores.

According to the Rimmel London website, the Rimmel London Lasting Finish 25hr Breathable Foundation is:

"an ultra air light texture that lets your skin breathe. The unique air-light serum formula defies the expectations of long-wear foundation, delivering medium natural coverage with a soft to touch weightless feel that allows skin to breathe. The cushion applicator helps to gently tap on the non-transfer, humidity and sweat resistant formula to give your complexion an even and flawless finish for up to 25 hours."

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PACKAGING & APPLICATION

The packaging of this foundation is quite nice. The bottle is quite cute and the twist-on cap seems pretty tight so I won't have to worry about it spilling or leaking while I travel.

The application is interesting. As opposed to a pump, the Lasting Finish has a doe foot applicator. At first, I was really put off by it. I thought it was kinda weird to apply foundation that way. Although I've gotten used to it now, it's still not my favourite way to apply foundation.

FORMULA

The formula itself on the skin is nice. It is medium coverage, as they claim, which is exactly what I was looking for. It doesn't look caked on at all and with a bit of concealer, I can easily disguise any blemishes that need hiding. It's very lightweight and although I haven't been able to test the "humidity and sweat-proof" claims yet, it so far seems to be pretty transfer-proof plus it is quite long-lasting. Maybe not for 25 hours, but still for quite awhile. Lately, I've been pairing the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge with this foundation. I find that it does a good job of blending and dispersing the product evenly over my face. I haven't tried this foundation with a brush yet and I wonder if I'd get different results that way.

However, I find that the formula is quite watery. When you remove the applicator from the bottle, you have to be quite careful to wipe all excess makeup off on the rim or else it will literally drip all over the place. I didn't love that about this foundation, especially after the tester bottle in the store dripped watery foundation all over my boots.

All things considered, I think that this is a good foundation for the price. I love the natural, medium-coverage finish and how long-lasting it is. I think that if there wasn't a wand applicator and if the foundation was not so watery, it would be a fantastic drugstore foundation. Hopefully they will fix that up in the future!

Have you guys tried the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hr foundation? What did you think?

Felicia x

Books I Read in 2017

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As the year has finished and I've wrapped up my 2017 reading challenge, I thought I'd share the books I read this past year, including my ratings of them. I always love seeing what other people have read, and how they liked the books they read, so I wanted to share my reading log with you guys, in case any of you are nosy like me!

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell ~ 4 stars

2. Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham ~ 4 stars

3. Klee Wyck by Emily Carr ~ 3 stars

4. Generals Die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison ~ 3 stars

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell ~ 4 stars

6. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes ~ 4 stars

7. Endgame by Samuel Beckett ~ 3 stars

8. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote ~ 4 stars

9. July's People by Nadine Gordimer ~ 2 stars

10. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides ~ 4 stars

11. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ~ 5 stars

12. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ~ 4 stars

13. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ~ 4 stars

14. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins ~ 4 stars

15. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin ~ 3 stars

16. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins ~ 4 stars

17. London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton ~ 3 stars

18. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ~ 3 stars

19. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell ~ 5 stars

So, there you have it! The good and the bad of 2017. I love looking back on things like this, seeing everything laid out like this in a list. Some of my favourite books this year were AttachmentsEleanor and ParkSomeday Someday Maybe, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Also, please enjoy my photo above of my bookshelf of favourite books, featuring my adorbs Lorelai Gilmore Funko Pop, haha.

What were your favourite books of 2017?

Felicia x

Why I Cancelled My Ipsy Subscription

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After months of disappointment and a constant nagging in the back of my mind, last month I finally made the decision to cancel my Ipsy subscription. In my six months of being a member, I came across a few issues that ultimately led me to make the decision to close my account and I wanted to go through them one-by-one.

PERSONALIZED PRODUCTS - OR NOT?

As anyone with a subscription would know when you first sign up for Ipsy, you fill out a questionnaire about your preferences and physical traits that help to personalise the products that you receive in each Glambag. After filling out the questionnaire, I feel like it didn't really make much of a difference to the products I received. I'd specified that I didn't want to receive hair products (knowing that sample-sized goodies weren't going to do anything for my thick hair) but I got at least one hair product per month anyway.

DIMINISHING QUALITY

As the months went on, the quality of the products I received got visibly worse and worse. I started to notice the quality was going down when I received a matte liquid lipstick that made my lips crack and dry out immediately after putting on the product. But the last straw was all the bristles falling out of a brand new face brush in my May bag. It was extremely disappointing, honestly.

MONEY

One of the biggest issues that lead me to end my Ipsy subscription was the cost. Although it costs $10/month for most since I'm Canadian there is an extra shipping fee attached and altogether I was paying $20/month in Canadian dollars. A few months back, I started to think about if the price I was paying was worth the products, and I realised it wasn't. Out of the products I was receiving per month, I only really loved a few and it would have been cheaper to buy them full-sized individually.

OVERALL

Overall, I just fell out of love with my monthly bag of Ipsy goodies, although I wish it wasn't so. As a university student, I have a lot of things to be concerned about, particularly money-wise (food, gas, school supplies) and even if I were to allow $20 for make-up every month, I could certainly get more for money if I were buying from the drugstore as opposed to from the Ipsy subscription.

None of this is to say that I had a necessarily bad experience with Ipsy. In all six months of my membership, I never had a problem with being billed or with shipping. For the most part, the products were pretty good and although they weren't suited for me, they could've been suited for someone else. I'm a firm believer in doing research before committing to a service or product (hence why I made this post), but I definitely think that a service can be experienced in many different ways, and it's up to you to figure out if it suits your own personal needs!