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The Persephone Complex


All photos are taken by me unless otherwise stated. Please don't use any photos or text from this blog without my permission. All rights reserved. Gifted items will be marked with an asterisk (*) All reviews are completely honest and all opinions are my own.


Ruby Elliot
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Patricia Alvarado
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Forsyth Harmon
Valerie Phillips


My First Jo Malone Fragrance
Treat Yo' Self (Another LUSH Haul)
Cutie Pantz
Zandra Rhodes X People Tree Launch // Girl Power: ...
Aria Montgomery #FOTD
LUSH Oxford Street Comes To Cardiff
A NARS Delivery!
The Blogs I'm Made Of
LUSH Oxford Street Haul!
My Fledgling iPhone Case Collection


TABOO Magazine
Style Vulture
Hello Margaret!

Layout by Swoon for the Moon. Copyright of Holly Cassell and The Persephone Complex 2015.

My First Jo Malone Fragrance

Jo Malone was always one of those aspirational brands that I had in the back of my mind as a bastion of luxury and proper grown-up womanhood. As well as my insanely juvenile, unicorn-riding, Haribo-for-dinner-eating self, I do have a part of my personality that is almost jaw-droppingly adult; I like lots of alone time and will talk about sex with anybody. I collect red lipstick and black court shoes, and am fantastic in a crisis. My perfume tends to be similarly split down the middle; I have scents for my "little" self, and scents for my "big" self. 

When the time finally came to choose my first ever Jo Malone fragrance (a kind present from my father) I decided to do something a bit different, and pick a scent for my "middle" self. Something more sophisticated than watermelon body spray, but less intimidating than the tobacco and lily scent my grown-ass woman self wears. Eventually, I picked this...

jo-malone-peony-and-blush-suede-reviewPeony and Blush Suede is quite a balanced fragrance. It has the feminine, floral notes on the top, with a lingering leather base - equal parts delicate and sensual. It's grown-up without being too intense, which is hard to come across in perfume land, in my opinion. I only need one spritz as the cologne is incredibly powerful and will last all day. I like to put some in my hair, and it lasts for days that way. I'm totally hooked on it and am already eyeing up Red Roses as my next splurge.


Treat Yo' Self (Another LUSH Haul)

lush haul

Okay, so, I buy far too much stuff in LUSH. I just can't fucking help myself, okay? I really can't. I've never regretted any amount of money I've spent in LUSH though, as to me, bath-time is practically sacred. I'd rather spend a fiver on a bath bomb than on a cinema ticket, because there's honestly a better chance of the bath bomb keeping me entertained.

Some of these products I got in my goodie bag from LUSH Cardiff's last event, and a few I bought for myself just because. Let's start with the shower gel. Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair isn't the kind of smell I would normally go for, but now that I've used it, I'm a big fan. It has guava and lavender in a blood red, sparkly goop that makes me feel like I'm in a horror movie shower (that's a good thing, by the way). The little hand treatment and the Strawberry Feels massage bar are still yet to be tested, but I do know they are making my house smell fantastic. I adored both Milky Bath and The Experimenter (so darn colourful) and will almost definitely be repurchasing the latter due its amazing smell. I can only describe it as like a sexy church kind of smell? Like incense and old books mixed with flowers and vanilla. And best for last, the Cup 'O Coffee exfoliating mask. If you have dry skin and/or pores that get easily clogged, this stuff is a legit godsend.

There will no doubt be another post like this real soon, as all the Halloween and Christmas products have just dropped, and I am all about that life.

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Cutie Pantz

There's never much to write about art - which is a funny thing for me to say, considering I used to make a living exclusively by writing about art. I suppose what I mean, is that there is nothing to say about my own. If art is the beginning of a conversation, then whatever I do must be the end of one. It is a physical manifestation of words I whisper only to the gods, to an empty house, or to a dead telephone line. I only ever make pages for dead things. It's a scrapbook of eulogies for what I never said out loud. A kind of counter-necromancy, just showering glitter over fresh graves.

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Zandra Rhodes X People Tree Launch // Girl Power: Roses, Lipsticks and Bows

There are times when I simply cannot believe my luck as a blogger. I've been fortunate enough that even though my blog is quite small and obscure in comparison to some, it has opened some wondrous doors for me, and taken me places that a teenage Holly would never have believed she could go.

Recently I was invited to attend the press launch for Dame Zandra Rhodes's S/S16 collection for People Tree, titled Girl Power: Roses, Lipsticks and Bows. It was held in Dame Zandra's own penthouse overlooking The Shard; exactly the kind of wonderland you would imagine, full of colour, fabric, Mexican artwork and palm trees. Basically my dream home, with a few extra awesome things I hadn't even thought of. I could have spent the whole night just photographing her stuff, but there was so much to see and do and so many creative people to meet that I only had time to get a few shots. 

The evening kicked off with a talk from Lucy Siegle, the author of To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out The World? and regular writer for the Observer and Guardian. She spoke of her love for People Tree, the importance of what they do as a brand, their uniqueness within the fashion industry, and the life-changing experiences she had in Bangladesh with Dame Zandra and Safia Minney (People Tree's inspirational founder and CEO). After that we heard from both Minney and Rhodes on the design, production, and aesthetics of the new collection, as well as Minney's new book Slow Fashion. The beautiful Rebecca Pearson, model and ambassador for People Tree, was also there to represent the brand.

After listening to everyone's incredible stories about the origins of the collection, we were free to mingle and go and feel the clothes for ourselves. I helped myself to some (a lot) of Dame Zandra's wine and bumped into Don Carlo, photographer for Glass Magazine (who teased me for having a Canon but reassured me I looked like a true professional) and went to give Safia a huge hug and thank her for such an amazing night/starting one of my favourite brands. She was even lovelier in person than I had hoped, and I came away from the whole evening feeling so unbelievably privileged to work in the industry that I do, and totally motivated to making ever more ethical, conscious fashion and lifestyle choices. That night felt like more than just a press event - the People Tree team is more like a little family than anything else - and I am so, so glad I got to be a part of it.

Aria Montgomery #FOTD


I've said it before, but autumn make-up is the bee's knees. In the summer I can barely be bothered to wear a bit of concealer and some blush, for fear that it will all slowly slide down my face in a very expensive avalanche. I get ridiculously excited for Halloween-time and being able to dress how I really want to - which usually means all-black and red lips. One thing I'm particularly excited to try out this time around though, is Aria's make-up from Pretty Little Liars. Aria is my fave PLL character, and I wasn't even watching the show last year so this is my first real opportunity to try out her style! She has a pretty glamorous look and always wears false lashes (I used the Lashlorette ones by Esqido and my Naked 3 palette) as well as beautiful highlighter, rosy lipsticks, and some darn fancy kohl work. 


All make-up* NARS at House Of Fraser; rose gold bracelets, H&M

Pretty much everything I'm wearing to recreate her look is from NARS at House of Fraser. First, to get her perfect skin I used Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia (my new #1 foundation, without a doubt) with Deep Throat Blush dusted over the top. On my lips I used the famous Anna lipstick from the NARS Audacious range. Anna is unsurprisingly a really beautiful shade, the kind of understated dusty-pink colour that I always compliment on other people but never think of getting for myself! I think shades like this are going to be huge for autumn - at least, they will be for me. I might just give up my Ruby Woo for something more Rosewood (Wink wink, see what I did there? I'm hilarious). Also, as a final thought, all the brands I used for this post are cruelty-free, so happy bunnies all round.


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LUSH Oxford Street Comes To Cardiff

There are only a few people I know who don't like LUSH, and to be honest, I don't like any of them very much. The company is quite close to my heart, and I'd say there's a sort of "love me, love my LUSH" unspoken rule in my head now. Until a couple of days ago I had never actually been to one of their blogger events, so I didn't know what to expect from the Cardiff launch of their #SummerIsHere Oxford Street range (although I was familiar with the products, as I wrote about some for this post), but I knew I wouldn't be leaving my wallet at home.

I went there straight from the gym, teaming up with Sophie to nosh down a sushi dinner at Mt. Fuji beforehand (my fave place to get vegan sushi in Cardiff! Their tamaki tofu rolls are delicious). 

The staff were absolutely lovely and super helpful. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Laura, who remained our guide throughout the event and treated us to demos of all the new products, hand massages, and mini LUSH treatments. We were each handed an adorable little flute of sparkling strawberry soda, and offered fruit and biscuits from a cute little snack table. After a while we noticed that Charlotte from Red Lips, Real Life had arrived and ran over to say hello. We all had a great giggle over everything from the realities of what it's like being good at massages (everyone takes advantage and then falls asleep - not cool, dudes) to unfamiliar-train-journey anxiety. 

LUSH is like Wonderland for a mermaid like me, who spends whole evenings soaking in the bath, dreaming of a home she can't remember. I want literally everything that sparkles and softens the water, but I limited myself to picking up a few absolutely necessary (cough) items, which I'll show you in yet another haul post before too long! You must be getting sick of them, but I'm afraid you're going to have to lump it - I was given a super generous goodie bag to take home as well, so my bathroom is overflowing with stuff right now, and a girl's gotta blog what a girl's gotta blog. 

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A NARS Delivery!

nars sheer glow siberia

nars sheer glow siberia
Ideally, I would always prefer to have a small collection of beautiful, quality products with spectacular packaging than a huge store of grubby tubes. I recently streamlined my make-up drawer with this in mind, and I feel so much better for it. How satisfying it was to throw out that nearly-all-gone eyeshadow I'd gotten WAY too attached to. I dream of being the kind of woman who's dressing table always looks like a Pinterest flat-lay, with a few carefully chosen staples by Chanel, Bobbi Brown, MAC, and NARS.

This is my first ever NARS delivery*, courtesy of House of Fraser. I'm going to create an autumn make-up look you'll have popping up in your feeds shortly, but for now I just wanted to share the excitement of my first NARS experience! The products I went for were Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia, a blush in Deep Throat, and their famous Anna lipstick. Can you guess what look I'm going to recreate? Leave your guesses below in the comments!

The Blogs I'm Made Of

All of us are just a jumble of other people's ideas. At least, that's the way I look at it sometimes. No one is a pure original, and we are only unique because we are all made up of a different combination of parts. As a blogger, I'm made of many different parts. There's the part that wants to write a 900-word journal entry about the thoughts I had while staring out a coach window at 5am. There's the part that wants to make a living doing what I love. There's the part that wants everything in my life to be a reference to a fairytale. And there's the part that just fucking loves a LUSH bath bomb. All of these parts have been fed and nourished by different people, some of whom are listed below, so that maybe they might feed you too.

Scarphelia - Every time I read her blog, Katie reminds me to write like the words are blood. There have been times when I was really conflicted about what I could/should put on my blog, and her unflinching honesty, emotion, and clarity of thought continue to inspire me to make it a place I am proud of, and be damned with anyone else's opinion.

Briar Rose - If there was one blogger who gives me completely unadulterated life-envy, it is Megan. Her fairytale style, cosplay, baking, and simply unbelievable hair make up an infinitely stalkable package. 

Girl Lost In The City - Emma's presence on Twitter alone is like a strong cup of coffee. She makes me want to get up and handle shit. Her blog is full of incredible insight into the media, city life and modern living, and feminism. She works at Glamour and is having her book published very soon. Goals, basically.

Sugarpea - Before she started Sugarpea, Heather was known for Effie's Make-Up Box. Already a successful blogger with a large fanbase, she decided to start all over again, with something she was more passionate about (namely Funko Pops, tsum tsums, and all things pastel and pretty). Her Instagram is true, glorious eye-candy.

Dorkface - Jemma is one of the sweetest people I know (including everyone I've met in the flesh!). Her blog is pure kawaii delight, with inspiring art, craft, and lifestyle posts that always give me wonderful ideas. She recently quit her job and became a full-time creator, and I couldn't be prouder of her.

Amy Valentine - Amy was one of the first "big bloggers" that I found truly inspiring. Her outfits are grungy and sexy, she goes to every festival I can think of, and takes epic photos and VSCO CAM Instas of her adventures. One of my favourite alternative bloggers.

Mascara And Maltesers - Annabel creates one of my favourite beauty blogs. She takes gorgeous, bright white photos from her iPhone, and is absolutely beautiful to boot, which always helps. She always seems to have an unending amount of beautiful flowers around, and her Instagram is unsurprisingly stunning. 

Mermaidens - Kailey is kind of a big deal, in case you didn't know. I've been following her blog for a long time and absolutely adore her candy-coloured, modern-Lolita aesthetic. Her images have been hugely inspiring to me over the years and I still scroll her Insta for ideas.

Fine And Dandy - Claire is a real ray of sunshine in the blogosphere. A true princess, mental health warrior, and friend to all in the community. Her photography, baking, and positivity make for feel-good reading, and I always love reading her words as if I was reading a letter from a friend.

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