Saturday, 1 December 2012

Beauty and Fashion tips from my superb friend Delphine

My friend Delphine has turned 36 in November and she looks so youthful, groomed and stylish.

She has the most beautiful skin, with no pore larger than the other; she tans extremely well, and her long blonde mane is not really far from Blake Lively's at the top of my 'Hair Favourites' list.

This is her at an Asian wedding, something she knows well as she is married to a British man with Indian-Kenyan origins:

 And this is her again with my friend Julie (another French expat) and myself!

 I have decided to ask her what her beauty secrets were in order to share them with my followers and the rest of the world.

"Some people might think taking care of your appearance is superficial or a waste of time or, even worse, a lack of intelligence...but I am a feminist AND I love taking care of myself ;) The Japanese believe that you should treat your face and your hair like precious silk it is!"

"My favourite haircare is Kerastase, I use the Chroma range and Elixir for a night treat or on the length of my hair for styling, I never use hair dryers or straighteners as they break and damage hair so badly.
I am a total sunworshipper so protect my hair with the KMS suncare range which is fab (spray, mask and conditioner)."

"I loooove a good scalp massage! Argan oil is brilliant as it is extra nourishing and smells divine..."

"My skincare routine is also mental, I remove all traces of make up in the evening (except when I am soooo drunk and can't find the way to my own bathroom but the next day my skin looks gross and grey so defo not recommended), I love Bioderma to cleanse, a good toner and finish it off with a night serum and cream (Midnight Serum by Kiehl's is AMAZING) then sleep does the rest: my beauty sleep is a good 8 hours to ensure proper cell renewal."

"In the morning, I wake up my skin with a few spritzes of organic rose water. In the shower, I cleanse with Kiehl's super facial cleanser and once a week, Bioderma face scrub and mask for a home facial."

"The best way to wake up your skin is to gently massage a serum in a circular upward motion. I love Decleor Neroli and Oriental Rose oils (great anti aging), then apply a good moisturiser to lock in all the serum benefits. At the moment I use Neals Yard organic rose face cream for its anti aging properties, an eye cream (Yves Rocher Ovale lift or Lancome Genifique Eye Pearl are fab for dark circles and lines) and a lip balm (I'm a big Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream fan)."

About make-up, Delphine is also very passionate and does not find it hard to list what she prefers:

Favourite nail polishes: OPI and Essie
Favourite lipsticks: Chanel
Favourite mascaras: Lancome and YSL
Favourite eyeshadows: Chanel Illusion d'Ombre ("I love a good old smokey eye with metallic greens, or browns, or sometimes even black").
Favourite face base: Tinted moisturisers from Stila and Caudalie
Favourite blush: MAC Style blusher

And I'm quite proud  that I introduced Delphine to her signature scent, Original Musk by Kiehl's. Her favourite perfume was Ambre by L'Occitane but it was discontinued a couple of years ago and she was devastated. It indeed smelt lovely on her. Now, she's been more faithful to Original Musk than myself. She likes explaining that it was labelled "Love Potion" in the fifties and that it still works in 2012!

Finally, concerning fashion, Delphine and I have pretty similar taste in clothes and accessories. We shop together a lot, but we have different figures. I sometimes see dresses, jeans or blazers to die for which I will point to her, because I know that they won't fit me because of my boobylicious top half and my meaty derrière/legs.
Delphine has the perfect shape for nowadays' fashion, a bit like Kate Moss and Sienna Miller, so loads of very beautiful and stylish garments suit her. If I had her body, I would probably dress in the same style.

Delphine does not mind sharing some of her fashion tips with you:

"If I could steal a celebrity wardrobe at the mo, it would be Olivia Palermo: I love all her chic blazer and jeans combo."

"I am a total shoe addict and live in heels, I would never be caught dead in a pair of Uggs....or Crocs...People past the age of 8 wearing them should be SHOT ;)"

Delphine was recently offered a pair of Louboutins by her husband.
It had been one of her dreams for years.

"At the moment, my favourite shops are Zara, Mango and Topshop, and for shoes I should definitely have shares in Office and Kurt Geiger..." (note from Amélie: Delphine has probably more seventy pairs of shoes. When you open the doors of her shoe closet, it feels like you've stepped into Carrie Bradshaw's walk-in wardrobe in Sex and the City, the film!)

"But the best way to look good is to be happy, make love, laugh a lot, dance a lot, drink a lot of champagne, good red wine and Hoegarden with lemon, be stupid and live your life as if no one is looking ;)"

Without any makeup during the summer in France

For a makeover photoshoot. Very 40s femme fatale

With our friend Julie

Looking sultry with her Parisian friends

With her perfected summer tan, clashing with my eternal snowy complexion ;)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Short update about the presentation of the blog

Hi all,

I am working on the layout of my blog at the moment so don't be surprised if some posts are in a certain font and others aren't. I'm updating all the past posts so that they are in the new font I've opted for.

My friend Katrina (Muffin Top Vintage) has helped me change the colours of the blog and add two buttons: a Twitter and a Pinterest one. So now you know what you need to do! Add me, I'll try to my best to entertain you on both platforms!

And to conclude - and improve the interest of this post - here are pictures of Tanya Burr, Fleur de Force and myself when I met them this summer on Soho Square. They are lovely, approachable and I truly admire their work.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Review of Veil - Hourglass Cosmetics primer

Hi Everyone,
Today I am going to review a product who is apparently a best-seller in America: Veil, the mineral primer from Hourglass Cosmetics. 

Recently, Space NKs and Liberty have introduced Hourglass Cosmetics and I had heard about their concealer whilst watching a Pixiwoo video tutorial. One of the sisters seemed to rave about that product and on video, it seemed to glide easily on skin and cover well. Plus, the brand is called 'Hourglass': being one myself, this drew my attention! 
Having enough concealers in my beauty cabinet - probably four or five, ermmm - I decided not to browse that type of products next time I would visit their stand, but just have a look at the range that looks sophisticated and on a par with Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown in terms of quality and type of eyeshadows. 
I bought a crease brush (n°4) which is made of top-quality hair, not of animal origin and approved by PETA, which is definitely a positive point. I was then given a sample of their primer. Today I decided to test it and take pictures of when I had just applied it and a few hours later. 

 The texture and apperance of the product is a mix between a thin cream and a gel. It is not transparent like the Smashbox or the Sephora I used before, but not as thick as the MAC one. It also has a little bit of opalescent, bluish tint to it. 

 I had previously applied my AR457 day moisturiser and Boots number 7 eye cream and my skin was well prepped and hydrated but I didn't find it very easy to spread the primer and I had to use quite a big amount compared to what I normally use with the other primers. I could tell the substance was with silicone as it had the characteristic touch and feel of products which contain that ingredient. Then I applied one of my favourite foundations, which is YSL Teint Radiance foundation in 5 (I think that in winter, I should maybe go down to number 4). What I like about this foundation is that, as its name states it, it radiates light. The skin is not matte but not too oily and glowing like a disco ball. With the primer underneath, I found it hard to spread the foundation. This forced me to use even more foundation that I normally use. It also mattified my foundation and left my skin drier and tauter than it usually feels without the primer. However I thought that the matt effect would at least help my foundation to stay for longer. 

These are the pictures I took when I just applied the products (at around 9am): 

These are the photos I took after six hours:

It does not show that much here on the pic but my nose was gleaming

This photo is absolutely horrendous but it is to show the enlarged pores!!! 

It is not that apparent on the photos because of the lighting but my nose was shining, the pores were very obvious and it seemed that they had absorbed the foundation, maybe because my skin was parched. So I don't think the virtues the brand mentions on the website which are: 

 - "restores moisture to dehydrated skin"> well, on the contrary, my skin was quite dehydrated after a few hours - minimizes the appearance of large pores and fine lines"> My pores were so large after a few hours and full of foundation that it was definitely not a great look. I had deliberately not powered my T zone to see the results. 

So unfortunately, Hourglass primer, I don't like you very much. I wanted to, but I don't think you're much better than the other primers I have tried before. I think I will stick to MAC and will try Laura Mercier's one day. 

At least, Hourglass primer is oil-, fragrance-, paraben-, gluten-, sulfate-, phthalate-free and vegan. There had to be a few positive points to this overpriced product ($52 in America and £52 in the UK)!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A short girly one today

Hi girls! (and I wrote 'girls' intentionally because I think this post will not be of any interest to guys unless they're hairdressers, or gay, or both).

A quick one today as I'm quite busy and nothing has really happened this week that is worth writing home about (not even a quick call!).

Plus, when you're broke, it makes it harder to have thrilling activities/buy nice clothes I could showcase.

I just wanted to talk about something most girls would understand: hair dilemna!

Recently, as I am on a budget, I tried to look for a cheap hairdresser. I wandered around Caledonian Road, remembering that I had seen loads of beauty and hair salons which did not seem costly. I entered this rather empty shop and asked how much I would have to pay for a haircut and a blowdry. They offered to do it for 25 pounds. In my head, the word 'BARGAIN' flashed. Well, I should have been more careful!
I ended up with a Rachel Green haircut!

The hairdresser layered my hair so much: I am sure that some that should have been the same length are not even layers. My friend Kathryn laughed and called it 'flickatastic'! I would describe it more as 'catastrophic'. The first layers start at cheek's length and go all around the head... I can't even get an even bob because it would look as if a flying saucer has landed at the top of my head.... This haircut is so dated: it's a blast from the past, back in the 90s.
You're all going to say: "but it will grow back".
Unfortunately, despite my regime of nourishing masks, argan or avocado oil treatment the whole night before I wash my hair, perfectil and heat protection styling products, my hair always tends to be extremely dried and frazzled because of the highlights.

My natural colour is too mousey and ashy to be luminous.

I've tried being a brunette too but I had to put on some much makeup and colour my eyebrows with a chocolate pencil not to look like a living dead.

I think I have 2 choices: either I wait for months and months for it to regrow without going to the hairdresser's (but knowing my hair, it will desperately need a trim within two months) or when the shortest layers have reached under my jaw, I will go for Scarlett Johansson's bob.

However, I might cry my eyes out for having such short hair...

If you guys could recommend me a stylist who's specialised in nice, natural and not too structured haircuts which can be easily styled and who is also not overpriced, I would be extremely grateful!

I love Jason Cocking at Lisa Shepherd, not far from Oxford Street, but I cannot afford his services regularly, especially in this austere period.

I also discovered a Scottish colourist at Dappa Hair Boutique in Chalk Farm who's created fantastic highlights for me, but when I went, it was with a Wahanda deal. I think I will struggle to pay for them afterwards. Hopefully, she's inserted three different shades in my locks and a couple are closer to my natural colour so I won't have to retouch the roots that often!

Before I wrap up this post, I wanted to ask you what you think of Ombre hair. Here, in London, it's been the ultimate craze for months (as well as rainbow hair). The thing is, I reckon your hair needs to have a particular texture (wavy, not frizzy, not too straight) for it to look pretty and I also don't like when the line between the natural hair and the lighter tips is too straight and too marked. It's all about subtlety and blending for me.
Here are the ladies who I think have the most beautiful ombre manes:

Jenna Ushkowitz from Glee
Lea Michele (from Glee too)
Shenae Grimes
Sarah Jessica Parker

Have you seen that L'Oreal has issued dyes specially for Ombre Hair?

                                Photo found on Real Ree's blog:
Please leave any of your remarks and recommendations in the comments.

Have a fantastic rest of the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Guest post from Joe Gantdelaine of DEAD ROOSTER

Today, my friend Joe Gantdelaine from the Blog 'Dead Rooster' ( has agreed to write a guest post for my blog. He has decided to review an English band, the Vaccines.
He has written his text in French and I've tried to keep his humorous style intact in the translation. So, first, for my French readers, you can enjoy Joe's original article. And then English-speaking followers, please scroll down to the translation:

Avant d'écouter The Vaccines, j'avais un gros a priori négatif : j'entendais parler de "nouveaux Strokes", de "Ramones du 21ème siècle". La seule réaction que cela provoquait sur moi était cette question : "Ok, mais pour quoi faire ?" Donc, histoire de ne pas en rester là, je profite de la sortie de leur deuxième album "Come Of Age" pour voir si je peux trouver une réponse un tant soit peu positive.

Bon, mais déjà, ça commence mal ! Avec "No Hope", on est directement confronté à du sous Libertines. Comme si Carl Barât & ses (ex-)potes avaient bu du coke plutôt que de la sniffer.

Cela ne s'améliore pas avec I Always Knew. Pendant 5 secondes, on se prend à rêver à un hommage post-rock à Crocodile Rock. Mais finalement, le tempo tatapoumesque fait plutôt penser à un crocodile qui se débat dans une mare de boue, englué par le chant sans conviction de Justin Young.

Ce groupe n'est même pas fun, trop sérieux déjà. Des vieux-jeunes gens qui hésitent entre du rock de stade crétin : Teenage Icon (et sa fin ratée) ou Bad Mood, de la musique pour film d'horreur-carton pâte Burtonesque (Ghost Town) ou de la pop song façon Blur fatigué (Aftershave Ocean). Sauf que l'ensemble n'a ni la fraîcheur, ni la crédibilité de ses références. Tout cela a déjà été fait, en mieux. Tout semble calculé, calibré. Où est la spontanéité, la fougue de la jeunesse ?
Quelques morceaux sont sympathiques (Weirdo), mais trop sont anecdotiques (All In Vain, I Wish I Was A Girl). Avec, pour couronner le tout, sans doute une des pires fins d'album possible : "Lonely World" ou 5 minutes de remplissage insignifiant, sans doute endisqué, parce que sinon, l'album était trop court.

Le principal problème de cet album inoffensif est qu'on n'a pas envie de le réécouter. Il donne plutôt l'envie de filer direct dans notre discographie pour écouter les originaux dont il s'inspire. 10 ans avant, on aurait crié au génie. Là, on baille aux corneilles !

Bien calé dans mon canapé, bien planqué derrière mon ordi, cette critique est facile, j'en conviens. Comme je suis bon joueur, et afin de permettre à mes amis d'outre-Manche de faire pareille critique sur des groupes à nous, je leur propose 2 groupes français que j'apprécie en ce moment : d'abord The Bewitched Hands et leur single Thank You, Goodbye, It's Over,
pas révolutionnaire ok, mais qui s'inspire de leurs aînés (ça me fait penser à Supergrass) avec beaucoup plus de fougue et d'énergie que The Vaccines.

Ensuite, Gaspard Royant 
dont les EP sonnent très rétro, mais là encore, la conviction du monsieur contrebalance le manque de créativité:

PS : et dans un souci de ne pas faire uniquement de cet article un duel UK/France, que pensez-vous de ces autrichiennes: ? Moi, j'aime énormément !

#*#*#* Now it's time for the English translation:
Before listening to the Vaccines, I had a great prejudice against them: I would hear that they were ‘the new Strokes’ or ‘the 21th century Ramones’. The only reaction it would trigger in me was this question: ‘Ok, but what’s the point?’ Just so that I don’t stay on a negative opinion, I am taking advantage of the release of their second album ‘Come of Age’ to see if I could find any positive answer to my question.

Well it’s starting badly though! With ‘No hope’, we are presented with second rate Libertines. As if Carl Barât and his (ex) friends had drunk coke instead of sniffing it. And it’s not getting better with ‘I always knew’. During five seconds, we have the slight hope that it’s going to be a post-rock homage to ‘Crocodile Rock’. But in the end their trotting tempo reminds us more of a crocodile struggling in a mud pond, stuck because of Justin Young’s unconvinced singing.

The band members are not even fun, they’re already serious for their age. Some old young people who waver between idiotic stadium anthems: ‘Teenage Icon’ (and its botched ending) or Bad Mood, music for cardboard Burtonesque horror movies (‘Ghost Town’) and pop songs in a worn-out Blur kind of way (‘Aftershave Ocean’). Except that the whole thing does not have the freshness or the credibility of his references. This has already been done but in a better way. All the album seems calculated and calibrated. Where is youth’s spontaneity and ardour?

A few songs are pleasant (‘Weirdo’) but too many of them are anecdotic (‘All in vain’, ‘I wish I was a girl’). With, to top it all, undoubtedly one of the worst album endings possible, ‘Lonely world’, or in other words 5 minutes of insignificant gap filling, probably recorded so that the album would not be too short.

The main problem with this harmless album is that you don’t feel like listening to it a second time. It actually makes us want to rush back to our disc racks to listen to the original songs which inspired it. 10 years ago, this album would have been hailed as a brilliant record. Now it’s more of a snooze fest.

All snuggled on my couch and hidden behind my computer, I concede that criticizing is easy. Since I’m a good sport, and in order to give my friends in Blighty an equal opportunity to review our very  own bands, I am suggesting two French bands who I like at the moment: firstly ‘The Bewitched Hands’ and their single ‘Thank you, Goodbye it’s Over’ ( Not a revolutionary song I admit, but which find their inspiration in their elders (it reminds me of Supergrass) but with much more ardour and energy than the Vaccines. Secondly, Gaspard Royant (, whose EPs have a retro sound, but in that case again, the lack of creativity is made up for by the guy’s conviction.
PS : as a concern not to make this article a mere duel between French and UK bands, what do you think of these Austrian girls: ? I like them a lot!


Monday, 5 November 2012

The Black Widow

So last week, it was Halloween! People started to celebrate the weekend before, and the party I was invited to was the following Saturday. I normally try to avoid fancydress dos because I don't like spending a lot of money on costumes, especially one-offs. At the moment, I barely get any income, so I could not afford to buy or even rent something fancy. Sometimes it's a choice between that and eating for the week...
I racked my brain for some cheap creative ideas, and I ended up investing 16 pounds in a beautiful fascinator from Accessorize which I will wear again, unlike the black net attached to a little top hat that cost 27 pounds. Ok, that hat looked really cool in a Dita-Von-Teese kinda of way, but I don't think I would have any other opportunity to wear it whereas I will be able to wear the fascinator to a wedding or a funeral.

Accessorize fascinator

I also bought a Barry M Blink Precision Eyeliner for the modest sum of £4.59. I LOVE Barry M!!! They have gorgeous eye pencils which are quite cheap and dozens of pretty nail polishes for only 3 pounds.

Barry M Blink Precision Eyeliner
I had previously seen a video on youtube uploaded by Fablesinfashion and I decided to recreate that look. I chose to dress as a black widow - not the spider, but someone whose husband has died and who's still mourning but with a dangerous twist. I thought it would be an intriguing look, very "femme fatale".

I didn't really follow her instructions regarding the eye makeup. I did it my way. Same for the complexion and contouring. I was already made up so I used that as a base.
I doodled flower/leaves shapes, stars and other lines and dots to create the lace. I also drew the netting. I tried to use different types of brushes and gel liner as she suggested (with my Bobbi Brown gel liner and a MAC 210 eyeliner brush) but the brush was not hard enough and bent too much so I couldn't get a really thin line, so I stuck to the Barry M pen.

This is the result:


 This is me with Roberta, one of the girls who threw the party.

People at the party were impressed and the fake mask was a brilliant icebreaker! Loads of people who I didn't know came up to me to talk about my makeup.
What about you, readers? Do you like my cheap costume?


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

This week's recommendation

Dear readers,

today, just a short note... (Wow, that will make a change after the über-lengthy article I wrote about Frakenweenie!)

Recently, I went to I am Harlequin's gig at the Strongroom bar. I had never set foot into that place in Shoreditch but it was like home straight away.
My type of venue.
Not too hip, not full of chavs or bling bling people.
I felt at ease with the people there. I think I'm going to hang out there more often. It might become my new HQ.

'I am Harlequin', a.k.a Anne Freier, is from Germany and has written her first English song at the age of 7. Her music has featured on the UK hit series Skins. In my eyes, she has a very original voice, which reminds me of Kate Bush's or Florence Welsh's. Personally, I am much more drawn to that kind of tone than voices calibrated for musicals; you know, the crystal-like voices that are so pure and reach so high... Blah. 
She also conveys tons of emotions when she sings, a skill that even myself as a singer find hard to possess. 
Anne was accompanied by talented musicians and sang a few of the finest songs in her repertoire.
Tonight I want to recommend to you WILD ONE, my favourite track by her.
Her live version performed in Bethnal Green is utterly superb:

A song that will certainly be the soundtrack of my long winter months...

She also has a really cool track with a 80s vibe called 'Something else' which is very dancy live. I even got caught on camera 'shaking that ass', as Groove Armada once put it. So my little boogie was immortalized on film and I got to talk with the singer who's really sweet. She's an artist who communicates with her audience. I really value that. 

Please check her website, guys!  And if she's got a gig in your area, make sure to attend. By the end of the night, you'll be enchanted!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Frankenweenie is franktastic!

On Wednesday, I decided to give another chance to two things that had disappointed me previously: 3D cinema and a film by Tim Burton. Mister B is one of my favourite directors but I didn’t really rate highly the movies he had released in the past seven years. It was actually one of his productions, Alice in Wonderland, which I saw in 3D and made my stomach churn. I kept readjusting my glasses but to no avail. I felt almost seasick and it gave me a headache. I was longing for a clear and smooth image and since that experience, I have stayed away from 3D films. But last week, I thought I would give a try to Frankenweenie because even though I didn’t read the synopsis, the animation looked cute and the black and white atmosphere was an appeal. Initially I wanted to see in 2D but my friend Katia wanted to watch it at the Rich Mix, a cinema in East London and at night, the showings were only in 3D. So I accepted and I don’t regret it.

First of all, the Rich Mix has a lot of charm. It’s that kind of art house cinema combined with a gig venue and gallery which I hadn’t come across in England yet. I guess it’s normal to find such a place on the land of hipsters (Shoreditch).
Secondly, this time, the 3D didn’t put me off at all. I think it helped that it was a stop-motion film, because the image was not supposed to be as high definition and sharp as a normal film. No headache, no queasiness. Result!

And as for the movie in itself, I am not going to write a whole review about it, but I wanted to share with you the elements that made it superior to its predecessors in my eyes.
Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Charlie, Alice did not pull at any of my heartstrings, but as a lover of animals and especially dogs, I was particularly touched by Frankenweenie story and thought it was poetic and heart-warming. Weirdly enough, it reminded me of the feelings I felt when I watched E.T or Wall-E.
The grotesque of some of the characters and their idiosyncratic behaviours were at times hilarious. I particularly loved the scary blond girl with her equally scary fluffy cat. They looked alike with their tiny eye pupils. Their mere appearance cracked me up.

The direction was remarkable, probably smoother than Nightmare before Christmas.
I guess what really won me over is that there were so many cultural references and cross-references to Burton’s own films. It was like playing a game ‘Spot the reference’. The film buff in me jumped with excitement.
This part is going to contain a few spoilers so don’t read if you haven’t seen the film yet, but if you want to step into the screen with an eagle eye, read on, and please let me know if you’ve noticed more references. I am sure my friend Emilie, who has written her Master’s thesis on Burton’s works, will have noticed a few more allusions.
Tim’s obsession with the beautifully arranged and trimmed suburban streets, which featured in Edward Scissorhands, finds its way into the animation film. And of course, there is an outsider, a little kid with jet black hair and a pasty complexion, who does not have any friends. This is as Tim Burton was as a child himself, and a figure he has used in many of his films. Edward is the embodiment of the Outsider, and weirdly enough, Victor finds refuge and builds his laboratory in the attic, just like Edward’s shelter. There is also a reference to Edward’s cutting skills with the mayor trimming his bush in front of his house with big shears.

Burton reuses his common aesthetics of black and white (cf. the makeup and clothes in Beetlejuice, Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood…) and portraits once again characters with pale, unhealthy and lunar complexions. Victor Frankenstein – named after the inventor in the illustrious Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – looks like Johnny Depp’s previous characters, especially Edward. His neighbour, a little sullen girl, is definitely a copy of Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice, Lydia, with the same kind of sad eyes and clothes. And guess what? She’s the voice of the character! She’s got that perfect jaded-full-of-angst teenage tone. In one way or another, Tim has managed to insert his cult actors in the film: Johnny, Winona, Vincent Price (whose face inspired that of the science teacher), Martin Landau (who dubbed the aforementioned teacher). Christopher Lee, who he adores, as the most famous Dracula impersonator, and who features in many of his films such as Sleepy Hollow gets a cameo on the TV screen playing in the living room of the Frankensteins.

Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice

Vincent Price who inspired the science teacher

As I explained before, Victor Frankenstein is the main character of the extremely famous 19th century gothic novel, and people often confuse Frankenstein, the creator, with his creature. The plot of Frankenweenie is inspired by that story but there are also a few original additions to it which doesn’t make it a simple remake done for the umpteenth time.

There is an allusion to the novelist on a tomb in the graveyard, Shelley, which we later find out is the name of the dead turtle of the Japanese kid. One of the classmates of Victor is actually the spitting image of Boris Karlof in his role of the creature in the 1931 film. Of course, there is the resuscitation of the dog with the machine and the lightening and the famous little screw referring to the cliché we’ve got of the creature, but there’s also a part in the film in which Boris Karloff beseeches his dead animal to “rise”, which echoes the ‘rise’ of the Emperor Palpatine when he begs Darth Vader to stand after his transformation into the armor-clad dark lord. I am certain it’s in another film, where a mad scientist creates a monster, but I cannot remember which one. If anyone could help me in the comments, I would be eternally grateful ;)
There was a sequel of Frankenstein entitled Bride of Frankenstein. The creature finally gets a partner whose electrified uprising hairdo is famous for its white streak. Victor’s dog gets closer to the neighbour’s well groomed poodle, and when their noses finally sniff each other under the fence, the electricity from Sparky runs through the poodle’s body, leaving her with the same recognisable hairstyle as the Bride of Frankenstein.

I also noticed the recurrent theme of Dutch influence that was also present in Sleepy Hollow. The village where the characters live is called New Holland. In Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane sets foot into a Dutch colony. Both places have a windmill which will play an important part in the story. In both films, characters fight on the windmill, especially holding onto the sails. The windmill catches fire and Sparky is prisoner of the flames. This is a direct reference to the ending of 1931 Frankenstein, in which the creature finds himself in the same tricky situation.  Burton finally names Winona’s character “Elsa Van Helsing”, a mix between Elsa Frankenstein, the daughter of Doctor Frankenstein who appeared for the first time in the horror film The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), and Van Helsing, Dutch name and surname of Dracula’s nemesis and slayer.

The different windmills:

The children’s creatures are also references to famous monsters: Shelley the turtle, after being resuscitated by the Japanese kid, becomes gigantic and has a face of dragon. It starts causing havoc and chaos through the city, stomping around, destroying things on its way and scaring the living lights of the villagers. This is clearly a reference to Godzilla, the Japanese monster which first appeared in Ishirō Honda's 1954 film. The sea monkeys created by the fat kid are extremely similar to the Gremlins. They also and gorge on sugary treats and explode when they have a certain food… A massive rat roams the streets of the town, the kind of monster that feature in many horror films. A mummy hamster is supposed to be terryfing but it's actually ridiculous.

The bat that Victor uses with kites to attract lightening is an obvious nod to Burton’s Batman films. In an accidental experience, the fluffy cat ends up merging with the bat he was holding in his mouth and becomes like a gargoyle or one of those monsters you would see in children’s books for Halloween.

The last reference I can remember is more of a cultural one. One of the tombs has the epitaph “Goodbye Kitty” which reminded me of the famous David and Goliath t-shirts featuring an unfortunate cat which always ends up being killed, either by falling into a blender, being stuck in a microwave etc. I giggled when I saw the inscription in the graveyard!

Before I wrap up this article, I just wanted to mention Danny Elfman’s score. In itself, it makes references to the music of Burton’s other films. Obviously, since Danny Elfman created all his soundtracks! The angel-like voices and little bells evoke Edward Scissorhands’ main titles and Ice Dance, the music during the scary moments echoes the strident strings in Batman. Even ‘A premonition’, one of the tracks has a sound which is similar to the alien-like notes in the Mars Attack soundtrack. The thing is with Danny Elfman is that he is an immensely talented composer but it seems that his scores are all the same. His style is instantly recognisable and very pleasant indeed, a bit like Rachel Portman (and they have both made several of my favourite scores) but I guess Hanz Zimmer is more gifted as he produced eclectic tracks depending on the films and I find it hard to put his name on a score whereas I quickly find out with D.E, R.P, or even Thomas Newman.
Tim Burton pays homage to the cult horror films of his childhood, to illustrious monsters and to his own films. If you have spotted any other reference, please leave a comment! I would love to share that game with you and to be enlightened by other film buffs! Moreover, the story and the animations have melt my heart. The whole time I was watching the movie, Sparky reminded me of Gino, my friend Litzie’s dog, and it made me dog-broody again. This is an adorable collaboration between the Master of Gothic films and Disney Studios, the monarchs in the children’s movies kingdom and you should head to see this film in the cinema in this bitter wintery cold. You’ll come out all warm, inside and out.
Update after a few days: I've just remembered another cinematographic reference! When the characters find shelter in the telephone box and the monsters throw themselves in flocks at the box. This is a reference to The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock :)