Saturday, 20 April 2019

Do you know yourself?

Be yourself.

Those two words seem to be the single piece of advice that can be applied to just about any dilemma:

Relationship troubles? Be yourself.

Trying to get on your manager's good side? Always offer to make tea, but most importantly, be yourself.

Struggling what to go as for Halloween this year? (One would hope the answer here would be with a hint of sarcasm.)

Anyway, you get the gist. So what is it that's so appealing about this little phrase, and why do we so often see it as one-stop-fix-all solution for making problems disappear?

To quote Chandler Bing, "I'm not so great at the advice, can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?"

Ultimately, telling someone to be themselves in the way they respond to a situation puts the decision back into their hands. Whilst it's usually said with the very best of intentions, and whole lot of trust in what that response will be, 'be yourself' is basically another way of saying 'you know what to do.'

With this in mind, it's almost ironic to think that a phrase so closely linked with one's own authenticity is actually even more closely linked with choice. The choice of how we respond to everything and anything, every single day. 

Is this a problem? Before I fall even deeper into an existential crisis, I think one thing is worth pointing out; we're far from two-dimensional. Whilst it's easy to be under the impression that your feelings need to fit into a nice little box with sharp corners and straight edges, so rarely is that the case.

The same goes for ourselves. We are ultimately collections of all the thoughts, feelings and experiences we've ever known, and with each issue we face, this collection continues to grow. All of the poorly worded texts, the misconstrued sentiments and the mixed messages are there to equip us, so next time, we'll know what to do. 

And that's what being yourself is. It's less about second guessing and doubting every decision you make, and more about having faith in what your past has told you. It's got you this far. 

photos by the wonderful dorcikimages

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Starting again

January? More like Janu-scary. I'm currently sat, bewildered, in front of my laptop, wondering how on earth we have completed yet another 12 months only to circle all the way back around to the season of #healthkicks and #newstarts. 

It's funny just how symbolic the 1st of January has become in acting as a 'reset' button. In the past I have certainly been guilty of feeling skeptical of this 'clean slate' mentality, particularly as it technically just another 24 hour slot, if only with a different digit on its timestamp.

Now, however, I am starting to see the appeal; a source of motivation, a reason to try new things and an excuse to put plans into action.

The only issue is where the 'new year new me' mentality is concerned, it's very easy to get to February, feel disappointed, and write off the remaining ten months.  Despite all the overlooked boxes you've already ticked and exciting excursions you had in mind, you wish the end of the year away to return to ""page 1 of 365"". And you've got a while to wait.

So in the mean time, it might be worth trying to look at things in a slightly different way. (I know this is starting to sound the landing page for a free motivational e-book you accidentally clicked on, but please bear with.) Rather than eagerly waiting for the 1st of Jan for the chance to start afresh, why not just see 00:01 as an opportunity to completely reset ? 

Even if you have had a really bad day, is it worth getting bogged down in the mentality that 'it just isn't your year'? Whether you spilled an overpriced cup of coffee on the train or cc'ed that email that should have been bcc'ed (the worst), six hours with your head on the pillow can be all that's necessary to forget about it and remember that when you've finished scrolling through Instagram, you've got another 24 hours to make up for it.

What I'm trying to say is that you really don't need an excuse to go out and do what you want to do. You don't have to compartmentalise your life or your achievements or wait until your X years old to do Y and Z. You can literally do it at the start of every morning when your alarm clock go off. Give or take a few minute for snooze time, of course. 

Have you got anything planned for 2019?



Saturday, 8 December 2018

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I think I actually prefer the build up to Christmas than the big day itself. 

Whether it's being stuck in a crowded coffee shop waiting for the rain to pass, or last-minute festive jumper buying for the charity day at work, the days leading up to the 25th always seem a little more special; that may be the extra prosecco talking, but it's hard to tell.

For me, these photos capture that festive whirlwind which December seems to wrap everything up in. The lights, the laughter and the mince pies. Horribly cliché, but I certainly think it's worth taking that occasional moment to just step back and take it all in, as after all, sometimes it can be tricky to see beyond the excessive buying, and actually remember what this season is really all about. 

Are you looking forward to Christmas?


photos by the fab Bartek Basista


Monday, 5 November 2018

Why should you go charity shopping?

blazer - Oxfam Bold Street
top - Primark
jeans - H&M
boots & bag - ebay
necklaces - Neck on the Line

 My first charity shopping experience was during a rainy lunch hour in Sixth Form. I'd become firm friends with a girl who was several ranks above me in the style stakes and who always blew me away with her outfit choices. You know that person in your friendship group that just has a knack of putting the best outfits together? That was her.

Naturally I had to know where all of these amazing pieces were coming from; from the vintage silk shirt to the oh-so-gorgeous western boots, I longed to discover how I too could create a wardrobe which would match the likes of hers. 

The simple answer? Charity shopping. Since then I am yet to look back.

As well as enabling me to find completely original pieces for a fraction of the price, opting for vintage items promotes sustainability and, in the long term, is of course much better for the planet.
Did I mention you can find genuine designer items for literally under £10? Harvey Nicks eat your heart out. 

Have you tried charity shopping?



Thursday, 25 October 2018

Season of change

For me, Autumn has always felt slightly strange.

It's something I have never quite been able to put my finger on, but the months between August and December feel almost dreamlike to me, with the cooler days somewhat shrouded in a blanket of mystery and magic. I'm not simply talking about Halloween - though my binge watching of Hocus Pocus has definitely had a part to play in my fondness for the season - it's a quality that's embedded into the season itself.

'Overcast skies still brimming with the promise of sunlight mean that the warmth lingers until the early evening, when that crisp coldness reminds you that Summer is well and truly over.'

Granted, I may be envisioning a highly romanticised version of this time of year, but it's hard to deny that there's something about the fleeting sunlight, leaf carpeted pavements and bonfire night parties that yields a feeling of comfort. It's perhaps no surprise to learn that whilst strange, Autumn continues to be my favourite time of year. 

Whilst the season also tends to remind us that tinsel and fairylights are not too far away, for me it also signposts that a much greater change is on the way; moving to London.*

As someone who is very comfortable 'up-North', the decision to move to the capital was far from easy, mainly because I am literally petrified of change. That being said, the job opportunity presented to me was far too significant to pass up.

This led me to decide that even though it had been offered uniquely in London, it's something that I need to do. Regardless of aforementioned fear of change. 

This is something you may be thinking would probably be worth a post all on it's own - and you'd probably have a point. It's just that, as the move is something I'm really still trying to come to terms with myself, carefully footnoting it to a post makes the whole thing seem much less scary and significant to me than it really is. In a nutshell, it's a coping mechanism - perhaps not one therapist approved, but a makeshift one nonetheless. 

Anyway, if you have any advice/guidance on life down South do let me know. I'd also love to hear if you can relate to my feelings on Autumn - do you have a favourite season?


*I can't tell you how hard it was to avoid leaf metaphors here. The temptation was real.


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

How much are you being influenced?

As an avid internet user and someone who's buying habits have become slightly more indulgent post student living, I am - perhaps somewhat ashamedly - very easily influenced.

Whether it's that Acne jumper of dreams I've spotted on Instagram or the must-have-hyped-to-the-ends-of-the-earth-bag that's splashed across the pages of Grazia, odds are that I will take the purchasing plunge, or at least be very tempted. After all, it's hard not to be.

As I've explored in a previous post, the power of social media is a double edged sword; whilst it's great for browsing new brands and exposing up-and-coming designers, the pressure it places on every single one of us to showcase our 5-star existence can be almost unbearable. Namely because even with all the Afterlight editing in the world, noone's life is in fact picture perfect. (I'd say that mine is a three star at best, and that's with about three filters and a heavy dose of brightening.)

What's funny is that this is far from being a secret - even though we all know that the lives we portray on Instagram aren't totally real, that pressure to try and live up to a certain standard or fit a particular box is still very much there.

It's important to mention that where being influenced is concerned, there is still a significant part of me that is complicit -probably the same part that is showing my boyfriend the witty slogan shirt I've spotted on my explore feed in the small hours of the morning ('Mind The Pay Gap' in case you were wondering.) 

But naturally that means there is another part that is uncomfortable about being shown things that I, or at least the demographic that I've been assigned to, are supposedly interested in. For example, whilst I thought and had hoped that so-called ""Skinny Teas"" were finally on their way out, I still see them occasionally crop up as sponsored posts, making me wonder who else might be seeing them. And more worryingly, who might be buying them. 

On the subject of buying more, the power of being influenced has certainly had a part to play, especially where my own wardrobe is concerned. 

Of course, it's important to remember that influencing is the fundamental reason we buy anything and everything, it is after all why we part with our hard earned cash in the first place. But, it can also contribute to excessive buying - in my case purchasing things I really don't need or maybe won't even wear, all because of FOMO. To be honest, I don't even know if 'fear of missing out' applies to clothes, but you get the idea.

Talking about fast fashion specifically, I for one certainly know just how persuasive those sidebar ads which pop up right before you 'proceed to payment method' can be. 

Of course, whilst that extra 'going out-out' dress might only add an extra £5 to the total bill - with the influencer discount code you've been given - the cost to the environment might be slightly more significant than you'd first think, and definitely one worth considering.

As Stacey Dooley recently highlighted as part of her 'investigates' series, the impact of fast fashion has been detrimental, given that the industry is the world's second biggest polluter after oil. Even though I should probably have taken my own initiative and not left it to a BBC documentary to educate myself on the extent of this global damage, I feel as though my own lack of awareness is reflected in the mainstream media. Whilst efforts have been made to shun the 'disposable' attitude where garments are concerned, it's clear that more needs to be done by brands themselves to shift attitudes in clothing consumption. 

With the war on plastic having recently been established by those in power, it's surely not long until the ethics of big fashion houses and online stores become subject to legislative scrutiny. Given that they are after-all profit driven businesses, it will be interesting to see how brands adapt and in turn, how influencing will change too. 

Whilst right now for many companies the focus is very much on maximising quantity of sales, time is likely to see this focus switch to means of supply and rather than simply cost, the ethics of how each garment is produced. 

So, could this mean a movement towards utilising reclaimed and recycled materials? Environmental ambassadors gracing our newsfeeds? 3-D printing skinny jeans from the comfort of our own living rooms? Who knows. Though at least keeping my printer ink levels high would be less embarrassing than trying to explain my multiple ASOS orders to the postman.

Are you easily influenced?



Saturday, 6 October 2018

A week of #ootds

bodysuit - Shein
skirt - Missguided
bag - ebay
boots and hat - Primark

coat - H&M
jumper - Shein
trousers - Boohoo
boots - Next

jacket - New Look
bodysuit - Shein
jeans - H&M
boots - Primark

vest - Shein
jeans - Zara
shoes - ebay

blazer - vintage
top - Shein
jeans - H&M

As well as sharing outfit posts personally, seeing what other people wear day-to-day is my favourite type of inspiration. Whilst scrolling through wishlists, seeing what's trending and spending way too long on Instagram's infamous 'explore' page is great, the really great thing about #ootd posts is seeing how different people put different pieces together in ways that you would never have even considered. 

The above looks are a snapshot of some of my most recent wardrobe combinations - which is your favourite?


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