WISHLIST // "Starry Eyed"

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

(Clockwise to from left hand corner to centre)

Gemini Birthday Necklace // £35 // Tatty Devine
Taking the 'star' theme for this edition of Wishlist quite literally with a bit of Astrology! I'm a sucker for anything personalised, and have this weird habit where I simply cannot be satisfied until I find the one with my initial/name/birthstone/starsign on it (even though I'd rarely buy anything like that!). This Gemini necklace from Tatty devine is a cute and subtle interpretation of my starsign.

Farah Knitted Top // £30 // Monki
It's true that I love my turtlenecks more than any other fashion staple. Any time of the year when it's too hot to wear one, I'll feel like I'm having a serious wardrobe malfunction! Thankfully it's Autumn/Winter season and the weather has been getting chillier lately. This ribbed lurex version would be a gorgeous glittering update on an old favourite of mine.

Sparkle Star Slippers // £29 // Topshop
I've just started a retail job in a very lovely store, which has got me feeling really Christmassy lately. The dress code is very free, but also requires me to be in keeping with the style of the brand. I've been looking for a new pair of flats for those longer shifts on the shop floor. These whimsical velvet pumps I spotted in Topshop are full of festive sparkle and just the ticket!

Star Embellished Clutch Bag // £38 // ASOS
Honestly, I need an embellished clutch bag like I need a hole in the head, but this starry one from ASOS looks is giving me all kinds of "Glam Rock Christmas party with Kate Moss and David Bowie" vibes. The glorious sequins and beading are making me hope a few parties are coming up this season, thus justifying this sparkling bag with just the right kind of occasion.

Star Velvet Bralet // £48 // Topshop
This is the only thing on the list I've tried on, and loved it so much that I might actually have buy it when I get paid. At this time of year, I feel like I can get a bit dizzy on all the rich sequins, embellishments in stores and usually also develop a brief, seasonal love-affair with all things velvet. I'm convinced this top is that one party season garment I'll be able to get a fair amount of wear from.

Are you excited for Christmas? What's on your festive fashion wishlist? Leave a comment below.

EAT // Halloween at Crumbs & Doilies, Soho

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween! I've been thinking a lot recently about how funny it is that our culture has a whole day dedicated to caricaturing the unnatural, unexplained and undead, which are all things that might otherwise scare us. But if you can't laugh at your fears, what can you do? As a graduate in my early twenties I'm a little over dressing up and having a really big night out, like we did at university. This Halloween for me (and many others who are "not doing very well with this whole being a proper adult thing") will probably consist of inhaling the fun-sized Mars bars intended for trick or treaters that I knew would never even show up in the first place, whilst watching the movie Hocus Pocus with my cat.

I still really like Halloween though. But what can you do when you're too old for it and don't have any younger siblings you can use as an excuse to act like a big kid for a day? Well, yesterday I popped into Crumbs & Doilies at Kingly Court (just off Carnaby Street in Soho, London) for my afternoon coffee break to find these adorable little halloween themed cupcakes. I'd definitely consider myself advocate of the miniature pudding - particularly in restaurants where I'm too full for dessert but craving something sweet, or at coffee shop where I'm eyeing up the patisseries, knowing I couldn't manage a whole piece of cake by myself.

I had my latte with these two little mini cupcakes: Pumpkin Spice and Lemon Meringue Pie Die. I really loved the Pumpkin Spice one (with the little bat) the most. The Lemon Meringue was nice, but perhaps a little to sickly for me, and I feel like I was mostly tempted by how adorable the little meringue ghost topping looked. If you find yourself in Soho, I would definitely recommend popping into this lovely little cupcake shop for the cutest coffee break ever!

What are your plans for Halloween this year? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.

STYLE // Milan Fashion Week S/S 16

Monday, 26 October 2015

I've been super naughty lately, by not keeping up with my blog posts, which has left me very behind with my fashion week series. Not to worry, because it's still a very long time to go until Spring/Summer season, right? The truth is I've been a very busy girl, trying to find my feet with other things. I'm glad to be getting back to writing now though, since it means I'm starting to settle into a new routine. But enough about me for now - Let's talk about what went down at Milan Fashion Week just gone!

Gucci took a cartoonish "more is more" approach to the ever dominant 1970s trend: Clashing prints, floaty oversized pussybow necklines, knitted berets and big glasses took kitsch feminine geek chic to another level. Jeremy Scott took us to the Moschino carwash, with high-vis skirt suits and caution tape couture, while Prada presented us with a vision of vertical stripes in leathers, suedes and organzas. Here were three of my favourite shows from the week...

Arthur Arbesser (pictured above) showed an array of particularly youthful looks with a cool and casual sportswear edge. Fun prints included refreshingly kitsch 1970s-esque bright wallpaper florals and painterly white cats. Forest green, red, navy and off white made for a bold colour palette. There's something a bit Margot Tenenbaum about a couple of the outfits, such as the blue polo shirt and mini combo and the knitted striped shift dress (both pictured). Each look was worn with either pointed courts or trainers paired with white pop socks, which certainly emphasised the young, playful femininity of the collection. My favourite look is between the cat printed worker jacket/tailored trouser co-ord, and the knitted flower top and tie-side skirt combo - Though I'd just love to wear so many of the outfits from this collection!

Emporio Armani's latest ready-to-wear offering for Spring/Summer 16 actually inspired me to purchase a gorgeous little orange scarf from Topshop (click here for the link). I've always been fond as neckerchiefs as an offbeat, underrated accessory and I'm glad to see them on the catwalk. I just absolutely love this collection because it's beautifully feminine without being too over-the-top girly. The casual silhouettes and loose tailoring look great in soft greys and sunset hues. Orange and pink are definitely two key colours going hand-in-hand for Spring/Summer '16, which I'm very happy about because I had a definite strong feeling about it back in April this year (or perhaps I consulted my crystal ball, who knows). I'd wear a lot of these looks, especially with pointed flats as suggested. This definitely is my kind of power dressing.

Dolce & Gabbana presented us with a love letter to Italy, featuring garments adorned with the words "Italia is love" and other postcard-esque motifs. (They also showed us another way of wearing our silk scarves for S/S 16!). While the focus was definitely on "Bella Italia", we also got the sense that this next season's D&G girl had been away on her travels too: Bright kimono style dresses, and a sleeveless shift dripping in pom-poms and round mirrors were bringing in influences from other cultures too. Of course with all of those bold colours, busy prints and opulent gold details, this was everything we're always going to be expecting from a Dolce & Gabbana show. However, I personally felt that - despite most of the collection being much of the same as always - the most key look was the poppy and daisy print pyjama-like trouser and shirt combo.

STYLE // London Fashion Week S/S 16

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

As a Brit who spends a lot of time in the capital, London Fashion Week is always the highlight of the month for me. I don't think there's anything that makes me feel more patriotic than British fashion does. There is so much history and heritage here, yet at the same time we're known for being a little eccentric in ways. So many important style icons of the past and present are British, as well as designers such as Vivienne Westwood who was a crucial driving force for punk fashion (a style that is truly an iconic part of London). We're also home to so many fantastic universities and facilities for anyone who wishes to pursue a higher education in Fashion Design and other related subjects. The British fashion industry is truly a credit to us and, as a graduate currently hunting for my first job, I couldn't be more excited about someday being a part of that.

This season saw London Fashion Week move from Somerset House to it's new home at Brewer St Car Park. Gareth Pugh showed a Spring/Summer 2016 collection based on the gentrification of Soho - A subject that's really topical right now, since places of cultural significance (like legendary drag club Madame Jojos and 'street of the music' Tin Pan Alley) are being torn down to make room for luxury flats and even more bloody branches of Pret A Manger. While I didn't get tickets for any of the shows, there were still great free events on around Soho. I went to Soho during the week to an inspiring talk with print-based fashion designer Zandra Rhodes. They were also streaming shows at Golden Square, but it was unfortunately a little too rainy for it that day. Thankfully I was able to catch up with all of the catwalks online instead. Here are some of my London favourites:

Ashish (above image) presented a Spring/Summer 16 collection filled with skater girls and a scattering of sequins - Quite literally, there were models both whizzing around on skateboards and throwing handfuls of sequins on the catwalk! Of course you'd never expect an Ashish show to be short of sparkle, since he's one designer who essentially worships the sequin through his glitzy designs. This season saw him take a slightly more sparse approach which appeared to look a lot like someone had spilled a whole load of sequins on the clothes. Raw edge denim, bucket hats and slip dresses were featured heavily. Two looks showed a glittering denim jumpsuit that was essentially a jeans/sari hybrid. London DJ Larry B walked out in a nude slip dress, illustrated with a vagina and a pair of boobs (complete with sequinned nipples, of course) in a bold celebration of transgender people. I was particularly fond of the adorable yet inspired beauty look for this show, which consisted of fully sequinned eyelids and a multicoloured scattering of sequins on top of the head too. It fitted in so nicely with the spilled sequins concept. My favourite look from the show would have to be the raw-edge denim co-ord with embroidered red heart cut-outs, and I can definitely see this embellishment idea coming through the high street next season (so keep your eyes peeled to see if I'm correct!)

Simone Rocha does pretty so well, and her most recent collection shown at London just totally reiterates that. She is a young designer who just seems to be going from strength to strength each season - She is absolutely killing it right now! This time around she showed us some ultra-feminine full skirted dresses, pretty in pink and white with intricately knotted macramé straps. Bead embellishments were featured on nude tights, necklines and oversized bows. Rope like grid patterns on transparent fabrics created a juxtaposition between bondage and softer girly influences. This pretty textile gave added sex appeal to a slinky black dress. But my absolute favourite look from this collection would definitely have to be the sugary sweet pastel pink sundress, with delicate crocheted ropes crossing the bodice. I am also very much in love with those rosy tinted snakeskin pumps worn with the outfit.

Topshop Unique's latest offering was a love letter to eccentric British style. The muse was definitely feminine yet somewhat androgynous in her dress sense. Pinstripes, cigarette pants and collared shirts seemed like a nod to British style icon and 'It' girl, Alexa Chung (who was actually sat on the front row). Whilst the knitted Cricket vests, leopard print coats and floaty yet disheveled tea dresses emphasised that whimsical and quintessentially British feel. Knotted thin leather belts and big statement earrings were shown as the accessory of choice for next season's Topshop girl, whilst Bright red lipstick reinforced its status as an iconic beauty essential. My favourite look is the black silky smoking jacket, contrasted with white trousers in the same ditsy strawberry print, fluffy shoes and a striking red clutch bag - I would just love to wear this whole outfit exactly as it is!

Christopher Kane served up some art school cool. Painted prints, abstract cut outs and garments compiled entirely of layered shapes gave it a very disorderly feel. Multicoloured cable ties were a stand out accessory, worn unconventionally as chokers and hairbands. The combination of messy embroidery and heavy fringing added to the chaos, yet it was still just as polished as any other Christopher Kane collection. There were very commercial and wearable pieces you could imagine some of the High Street shops taking note from. I was a big fan of the black leather biker jacket and skirt co-ord printed with glossy splodges of paint. Though my favourite look is 100% the one with the dishevelled looking beige jumper, because yellow snakeskin trousers were something I never knew I needed until now - Thank you Mr Kane for further fueling my python obsession.

EAT // PizzaLuxe, Leeds

Monday, 28 September 2015

I'm currently a little behind on my fashion month posts, since I just got back from a long weekend up in Leeds visiting some of my best friends from uni. I really, really love Leeds as a city. So much so that (even though it's my current ambition to live and work in London) I actually think I could very happily move to Yorkshire's biggest city. Lovely architecture, pretty decent shopping, brilliant nightlife, and an actual music scene. It's true what they say about everything being cheaper up North too. While that's certainly no surprise to most people, I still couldn't quite get over how cheap the gin and tonics were in comparison to the prices back in London.

On Saturday, we went to Leeds' Trinity Centre for some shopping and a bit of lunch. Because we were going on a big night out later that evening, we were looking for something substantial and cheap to eat, that we could all agree on. This was proving to be a bit of a difficult task since we were all really hungry, so my friend suggested we go to the Trinity Kitchen where we could all choose what we wanted from the various food vendors there. It's quite similar to the dining in London's Westfield centres in that sense. I was tempted by Phō, but wasn't sure that light and fresh Vietnamese food was going to sufficiently line my stomach for a night of drinking. Instead I decided to opt for a bit of stodge from this place called PizzaLuxe.

Of course I had a margherita because I tend to consider myself something of a pizza traditionalist. What really beats a thin and crispy Italian pizza topped simply with tomato, mozzarella and basil? I was also trying to be really cheap that day too, so it worked out nicely. My bill came to £8.95 which I'd think is quite reasonable for a big lunch. As for the pizza, the base was quite thin, but a little more doughy than crispy. I felt like the sauce to cheese ratio was off too, and I'm slightly regretting not upgrading to buffalo mozzarella instead. Also, I see no basil here.

Overall it was an alright meal which definitely set me up for a night of drinking, but I think sometimes you get what you pay for with some cheap eats. However, I did really like the whole set up of the Trinity Kitchen and would certainly choose to eat there again if I was shopping in Leeds. While I was kind of underwhelmed with PizzaLuxe, we paid a visit to the excellent Belgrave Music Hall during our night out on the town. This place is a fabulously versatile arts venue which is open at nights and also has it's very own "Slice Bar" where you can order a slice of pizza to go with your beer/G&T/whatever it is you're drinking. I ordered a slice from a pizza called "Don't Mess with Yorkshire" which was essentially a four cheese made with different local cheeses. I swear it's not the alcohol talking here, but it was at least three times more delicious than what PizzaLuxe had to offer.

STYLE // New York Fashion Week S/S 16

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Fashion month is once again finally upon us, with hundreds of designers showcasing their visions for Spring/Summer 2016 in the four major cities. First stop was New York, of course, where Alexander Wang celebrated his 10th anniversary collection and DKNY saw the dawn of a new era with its first season without Donna Karan at the helm. Kanye West's much talked about Yeezy Season 2 didn't seem to convince, reaffirming his status as a egotistical jack-of-all-trades (particularly after he's apparently also decided to run for President now). Every season, I get very excited about some collections in particular and being a blogger gives me my own little plot of the internet to wax lyrical about them. So I'm going to be sharing my thoughts on those collections with you, including my top looks from each. Here are my picks from the big apple:

Marc Jacobs (pictured above) gave us a dazzling spectacle this season, held in New York's Ziegfeld theatre. The #MarcJacobsPremiere saw models pose for photographs before walking the red carpet into the venue, as if the fashion show were an actual movie premiere. The collection itself was very much inspired by the silver screen too, with some garments printed with the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. There was certainly no shortage of stars or sequins either, with Emily Ratajkowski in a glitzy sailor suit and The Gossip's Beth Ditto walking the show in an embellished off-the-shoulder gown with a giant feather stole. The bold red, white and blue colour palette exaggerated the Americana influences of the clothes, which included a few varsity jackets and a lot of denim, with many pieces covered in kitschy patches and pins. My favourite look of the whole show was a heavily fringed knit worn over a candy-striped bralet and frayed blue denim maxi skirt, covered in embroidered patches.

3.1 Phillip Lim was another designer celebrating a 10th anniversary show this New York Fashion Week. The catwalk was surrounded by piles of dirt, which I heard somewhere that his team had made by composting all of their own food waste at home. The collection, compiled of mostly delicate silky fabrics, seemed to create a juxtaposition between masculinity and femininity. Sporty silhouettes in olive green, sky blue, tan and beige, using appliqué floral motifs and prints. High waisted paperbag waists were a big deal here, as were leather biker jackets and bandeau crops. There were also a couple of deconstructed takes on pinstripes as well as the classic white shirt. One very interesting little detail was the ruffled ribbing bomber collars featured in a couple of the tops and jackets - A girly reimagining of a classic sportswear detail. Despite all of my excitement over the silhouettes and details of this collection, my favourite look was actually a very simple tan leather dress with side cut outs (since it's a piece I would love to wear).

Opening Ceremony cast professional dancers from New York City Ballet alongside their models to perform choreographed falls before pirouetting down the rest of the catwalk. According to designer Humberto Leon, the intention of this was "breaking the monotony of the runway". The collection's colour palette was based around neutrals (black, white, sand) with sensitively applied pops of sunny yellow, orange, red and blue. Giant metal buttons were a feature on many of the jackets, and there were also a few pom-pom embellished skirts and jumpers. One of the prints seemed almost inspired by giant abstract batik patterns. I actually wished this collection included a bit more denim, since that looks that did were quite cool: A pair of turn-up patchwork jeans paired with an orange coat, and a jacket and skirt co-ord. The orange jumper/trouser co-ord with white ankle boots and sunglasses was a particularly strong look. Not only that, but it was also my favourite from the show.

STYLE // Topshop Unique A/W 15

Friday, 11 September 2015

Gorgeous pieces from the Topshop Unique Autumn/Winter 2015 collection have just landed in stores and online. February's London Fashion Week saw Topshop present this undoubtedly British vision for Fall, with models strutting down the catwalk swathed in big shearling coats, whimsical dandelion prints and patent vinyl garments in dark forest green and beige. We saw classic wardrobe staples, such as turtlenecks and leather trousers, alongside beaded velvet pieces which offered up a hint of Autumnal opulence. Knee-high leather boots were the footwear of choice for this season's Topshop girl, painting a narrative in which London meets the British countryside. One which, for me as a Buckinghamshire girl, feels very much like home.

The stand out 'it-piece' of this entire collection has got to be that pale green-ish grey shearling coat, which I'm sure it at the top of a lot of people's Autumn/Winter fashion wishlists. With the 70s trend still going strong, big fur coats and suede numbers seem to be dominating outerwear this Fall season. While I can't afford the Topshop Unique one (made from real sheepskin), I'd love to find a similar-ish alternative faux fur coat somewhere else.

Here's just a few of the pieces that have just dropped in store, which I love and think would work really well with my wardrobe:

(Clockwise to from left hand corner to centre)
1. Brunswick Velvet Mini Skirt // £495 // Topshop Unique
2. Leather High Leg Boots // £225 // Topshop Unique
3. Maida Mini Skirt // £95 // Topshop Unique
4. Inverness Checked Wool skirt // £155 // Topshop Unique
5. Windermere Fitted Dress // £225 // Topshop Unique

EAT // The Church, Jewellery Quarter

Thursday, 10 September 2015

I've just graduated from University with a first class honours in Fashion Design. It was such a weird day: All of that preparation and getting robed up (with a funny hat) for 5 seconds on stage, to shake hands with two important men from my university (with funnier hats than mine) who I'd never met in my entire life. Of course I'm proud of my achievements, but showing my womenswear collection on the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week in June felt like more of a graduation for me than this did. Still, I knew I'd ultimately regret it if I didn't go to my own Graduation, and I'm actually really glad I did. I even had my portrait taken, smiling, with 'my degree' in hand. My mum cried. Had to be done though, right?

As for my Graduation meal out, I basically got my pick of whichever restaurant I wanted to go in Birmingham. The Symphony Hall where our ceremony was held, is right next to Brindley Place - a popular canalside spot filled with popular chain bars and restaurants. It was absolutely packed full of Graduates and I fancied somewhere a little quieter and cooler, so we hopped in a taxi to go to The Church in Jewellery Quarter, a fab little soul food pub restaurant.

We started off with some glasses of prosecco (to celebrate, of course) and a couple of little starter dishes to share chosen by my Dad: Nachos with dips (guacamole, salsa, sour cream, jalapeno cheese sauce) and a basket of Southern fried chicken strips with homemade barbecue sauce - Living the healthy life, right? If it were just me, I probably wouldn't have gone for starters, but Graduation seemed like the perfect opportunity to go all out be a little gluttonous. I also think the food here is wonderful and had the feeling that I might not get to come back again, since I don't live in Birmingham anymore *sobs*

The cocktails at The Church are fab. Last time I came here I sipping on the most gorgeous Breakfast Martinis, but this time I thought I'd try something different. I ordered a Dark 'n' Stormy made with homemade ginger syrup, which was really delicious, fiery and quite strong too!

This is the Shia NoBeouf burger which, as you might have guessed from the name pun, is a vegetarian option. It's a spicy bean patty topped with pulled jackfruit and guacamole. Served with cajun spiced fries and pickled red cabbage slaw. Also worth noting that the ciabatta roll it's served on is made by the nearby Peel & Stone bakery. All of the bread used by The Church comes from there, which is totally awesome. These places are both part of The Soul Food Project, which is about bringing local and homemade soul food, cocktails and jazz music to the Midlands.

This was a ridiculously filling main. I think the portion sizes here are really generous. I'd have it again because it was tasty, but I think I'd normally prefer to go for something much lighter. I could've had just the burger and the slaw without fries.

Based on that I shouldn't have really had a pudding and I definitely forced myself a little bit. But it was my Graduation day after all and I sadly can't see myself getting to go to The Church again for a very long time. I had the Key Lime Pie with rum & raisin ice cream (pictured at the very top of this post) which is my favourite pudding. They've changed the menu since last time I went, when I had a peanut butter and oreo cheesecake. I really struggle to resist the puddings at The Church. Needless to say, I had a little nap on the journey home!

BEAUTY // What's in my everyday make-up bag?

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I wear make-up most days, and definitely every time I go out of the house. I don't think of myself as being insecure for that, because (like most people I know) I just really enjoy it. I didn't really care about make-up until I went to university and lived in an all-girls house. It's taken me a couple of years of experimenting to find which brands and products I think are great (or at least what seems to work for me) Here's what's inside my Bambi make-up bag...

I'm quite a pale girl so I've always had to protect my skin from the sun. It's important to me. I wear Clinique city block SPF 25 on my face every day - It's also good to use on days where I don't feel like wearing foundation, since it's slightly tinted. I've got the Urban Decay brightening & tightening complexion primer potion which helps to keep everything in place. Being so pale has also made it difficult to find a foundation that matches my skin nicely. Cheaper drug store brands rarely have a great range of colours available, which is why I've switched to Illamasqua skin base foundation which actually matches my face as well as giving great coverage. I don't really use blusher and prefer to just contour my face, for that I use the Maybelline Master Sculpt in Light/Medium. I absolutely love to have a bit of a glow on my cheekbones too. I'm currently trying out the Jelly Pong Pong Glow Getter which came with the July Birchbox. This great little product is a gel highlighter with a nice pearly colour. The finishing touch (when I've finished all of my make-up) is Urban Decay all nighter make-up setting spray which keeps everything where it should be longer.

My lips can get dry sometimes, especially in the winter, so I use Lush popcorn lip scrub to keep them looking smooth and healthy. I then use the Lush key lime pie lip balm which tastes absolutely amazing (big fan of key lime pie over here!). Whenever I'm wearing lipstick, I always like to use a lip liner first. Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses lip liner in Tiramisu is a great versatile shade, and perfect for my current favourite lipstick: Rimmel London Kate Moss lasting finish lipstick in 008, which is a nice pinky brown colour.

As someone who is dedicated to the cat eye, I go through quite a lot of liners and will always try to find a better product. I was recommended the Topshop magic liner in engraved, released as part of Topshop beauty's 5th Birthday this year. I really love the thin nib of this felt-tip pen liner, but unfortunately it's starting to run out a little. Thankfully I've still got my old trusty Soap & Glory Supercat, one of the most reliable pen-liners I've ever had. I have insanely long eyelashes (people always ask me if they're fake; they're not) so it doesn't really make a huge difference what mascara I use. I've got Urban Decay perversion mascara on the go at the minute, and I really like this one. Since eyes are the windows to the soul, brows should be the strong archway... Urban Decay Brow Box is the best, most compact brow kit I've ever had. It has two shades of powder, wax, two brushes, two little mirrors and even a dinky little pair of tweezers!

When it comes to nails, I stick to what suits me. My fingernails are almost exclusively painted with a red or orange shade (or anything that falls between those two). I really like Revlon parfumerie nail polish in China Flower because it's a good solid red with a lovely smell to it. As for my toes, they will always have a nice coat of metallic polish. My favourite ever is Topshop Nails in Crystal Clouds - A great, neutral metallic. Sadly, I don't know if they even make this colour anymore, but they do have a couple of similar shades.

EAT // Story, Shoreditch

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Last weekend, I went out for a late lunch with a couple of lovely girls I know who recently styled a beautiful shoot with my graduate collection. (The photos for that haven't been published yet, but I'll be sure to blog about it when they are!) We decided to check out Story Deli, a little pizzeria tucked away on a side street along the Bethnal Green Road. My friend had been raving about this little family run place, claiming it was the best pizza in Shoreditch. Based on this, I was totally expecting it to be the real-life version of the Italian restaurant from Lady & The Tramp, but the place we actually walked into couldn't have been more different...

The silence of the restaurant hit me immediately, there was no music and no customers in at that time either. I thought it would be all red gingham tablecloths and wine bottles filled with dripping candles, but instead the decor was minimal, white and rustic looking. It was bright and airy, and definitely a calming place to dine too. We could actually hear each other talk which was lovely (Not sure why that feels like such a luxury these days, really).

We ordered two pizzas between us: The Simone (garlic roasted courgettes, tomato passata, smashed tomatoes, mascarpone, olives, oregano, basil pesto & fresh buffalo mozzarella) and the ham, spinach and gorgonzola. Both were absolutely delicious, and I think they may have just lived up to that "Best pizza in Shoreditch" accolade too. Very fresh and light, which I guess is in keeping with the decor of the place. At £18 a pop, you might be better off splitting them like we did (therefore splitting the bill!). This isn't exactly a cheap eat in terms of portion size and value for money, but it's definitely a treat.

REFLECTIONS // August 2015

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Here are a few favourites snapshots of my life over the last month:

1) Wearing a big floppy straw sunhat. This is the hat of dreams and I've been wearing it at any opportunity I can. Sadly the weather is getting a lot worse recently, but hopefully we'll have a few more sunny days for me to give the hat a few more outings before Autumn season really starts. Worn here with the dress I bought on my 'Quick trip to Oxford Circus' back in July.

2) Charity shop vinyl finds. I got this 7" single of Wham's 'Freedom' on vinyl from a charity shop in South Wales. Sure - I mentioned in my recent blog post, 'A Little Advice To My Teenage Self', that there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure. I do actually really love Wham! and regularly listen to their greatest hits in the car. No shame. And just look at the great cover art on this one.

3) The search for hotdog perfection continues, Kings Road. I laughed when I compiled this post because I noticed that last month's Reflections gave Popdogs ("possibly the best hotdog ever") a mention. Ever since then, I've fallen in love with beef hotdogs and had this great one at BRGR.CO in Chelsea. You can read the post I wrote all about it by clicking here.

4) Neons at Lights of Soho exhibition. I'm in love with the crass, trashiness of Soho's neon signs. I've always really wanted to see Chris Bracey's iconic neon signs at God's Own Junkyard, but never really had the chance to. So I was really excited to go to this super cool pop-up exhibition including some of his works.

5) My collection in Hope St Magazine. One of my highlights of this month has been seeing this editorial published on Hope St's website. My red transparent plastic skirt and yellow boilersuit were both featured in the shoot. I was so excited to have the pieces I'd made interpreted in a completely new way by a team of really talented individuals. Check out my post about it here.

6) Cheese loving little rascal. I absolutely love cheese, but it breaks my heart because I can't really eat it. My body struggles to digest any rich dairy, so a good cheeseboard is more than my stomach can even handle. Someone else who is totally obsessed cheese (but shouldn't really be eating it either) is my cat. He and I both had a tiny little bit of cheese as a treat the other week. This is definitely the cutest picture I've taken in the last month.

7) Flowers in a retro milk bottle at The Yurt, Peterley. When my mum was younger, all of the milk bottles had adverts on them like this. She even thought they were cool at the time and tried to collect them. We went out for lunch last week at our local farm shop's cafe (inside a yurt) and were both pleasantly surprised to see these vintage milk bottles awesomely repurposed as vases for flowers. Some lovely kitsch homeware inspiration.

8) Minimal rustic interiors at Story, Shoreditch. I came to this little gem of a pizzeria the other day on a friend's recommendation and fell in love with the way they'd decorated the place. Everything is white and clean looking, with a kind of shabby feel. It was a really calming place to sit and have our lunch. The food was absolutely incredible too - Blog post to come!

9) Weekend with one of my best friends. We had a really great time hanging out in London's Shoreditch area last weekend. Went out for some drinks at the Ace hotel and sat on Queen of Hoxton's roof terrace (maybe the last chance to go before summer ends!). We also went to Poppies in Spitalfields whilst tipsy, which was definitely a good idea. Here is a selfie of us before we left the flat.

STYLE // Everyday wardrobe heroes

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

My taste in clothing has definitely changed a lot through growing up and going to university. Nowadays, I'd like to think of my personal style as being a lot more classic, since I've come to realise the importance of having good solid wardrobe staples. These are the pieces that have become the backbone of my wardrobe, because I wear them each season and depend on them the most. They are my style heroes! Anyone who knows me well enough will have seen me wearing every single item on this list on a very regular basis. Here are my top five most important wardrobe essentials and why I love them so much.

Black turtleneck
If I'm ever unsure of what to wear, a black turtleneck jumper with black skinny cigarette trousers, an A-line miniskirt or jeans is always my go to outfit. It's both instantly wearable and effortlessly chic. The black turtleneck is a style staple of super-cool 1950s and 60s beatnik fashion - One of the subcultures I am most inspired by when it comes to my wardrobe! This garment was also something of a uniform for the artist Andy Warhol. If you want a masterclass in how to wear the black turtleneck, you should check out Audrey Hepburn's iconic look in the film Funny Face, because that's pretty much all of the inspiration you're ever going to need. It's such a simple yet timeless everyday look which never fails to make me feel amazing.

Breton top
The Breton top is a classic piece, which I believe everyone should have at least one of in their wardrobe. Anyone and everyone can look great in a breton: men, women, children, the elderly... etc. It's a wardrobe must favoured by some exceptionally stylish people (past and present) including Brigitte Bardot, Coco Chanel and Alexa Chung. You can wear it with boyfriend fit jeans, capri pants, denim overalls, a little leather mini skirt... Anything at all, really! The endlessly versatile breton top is the perfect item to bring for any holiday or weekend break too, especially if you have to travel light.

Pointed loafers
I have a pair of white pointed flat loafers that I wear to death. They're quite worn as you can probably tell from the picture. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do when I eventually have to throw them out. They look good with absolutely everything, but I love them most worn with my go-to turtleneck outfit - because why not wear all black everything with white shoes to throw people off a little? I also have a pair of black pointed leather slippers which were a Christmas gift from last year. They're much smarter looking, and look cool worn with an oversized white shirt.

Tortoise shell sunglasses
Over the years, I've been through many different pairs of sunglasses, because I'm also not really at the point in my life where I think it's practical to spend good money on something that could be so easily lost or broken. This means I get to buy a cheap 'n' cheerful new pair every year or so, which is alright with me since I can be so indecisive. One thing has remained the same: my love of tortoiseshell plastic. At the minute I have a nice cat-eye style pair from Topshop, which only cost me £16. Not only is this one of the most iconic shapes for sunglasses, it's also my favourite too.

Denim jacket
I have two denim jackets that I wear: Firstly, there's a clean looking, classic fit number from Acne which I only just purchased a couple of months ago. While that may have been expensive for a denim jacket, it's actually the other one that's totally priceless to me in comparison, since it was my Dad's when he was a teenager - It's so old that I think it might have even been vintage back when he bought it! It became my Mum's jacket when they started dating, and then finally became mine when I was an angsty 15 year old. I thought I was the shit with this super vintage jacket on, and wore it all the time. Between the three of us, it's definitely been to a lot of gigs (It's probably seen The Smiths!). This jacket has been a crucial part of my wardrobe/personal style for 8 years now and - while I have added a shiny new designer brand one to my wardrobe - it's still just as important to me today as it was then.

What are some of your favourite wardrobe staples? I'd love to hear them - Comment below.

EDITORIAL // Hope St. 'Swim Good'

Friday, 21 August 2015

I just wanted to share these absolutely amazing images photographed by Nuala Swan for Hope St. Magazine's 'Swim Good' editorial which was just published online this week. The transparent plastic yellow boilersuit and red skirt are pieces that were designed and made by me, styled here by Pamela McCallum with gorgeous swimwear pieces from Stay Sick. I've only recently started to loan outfits from my graduate collection out to stylists, since the Graduate Fashion Week catwalk show in June. This is the first shoot using my work (out of university), so I was totally thrilled to finally get to see the editorial published online. I absolutely adore what they've done with my pieces - It's always so great to have a strong team of other creatives interpreting your work in a way you hadn't previously considered yourself.

Click here to check out the full editorial.

LIFE // A little advice for my teenage self...

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Hey, kid - It's future you here! You've probably got a lot of concerns right now. You're awkward and angsty as hell, which you're probably going to hate me for saying. The truth is, nobody knows these things about you better than I do, since I've been through it. Spoiler: You survive your teenage years and you're going to be just fine. Here's some advice I'd like you give you on...

Being "cool"
You will soon learn that the opinions of the NME (the music magazine you read religiously) are absolute rubbish. You'll realise it when you see the pattern in how they big bands up just to put them down again, and eventually you'll stop reading it altogether. Just like what you like: There should be no such thing as a guilty pleasure, and it's way cooler to just embrace things regardless of how embarrassing or uncool you or other people think they are. People who think otherwise are just tryhards. You don't need anyone to tell you what's cool; There's no need to be so anti-mainstream. Some day you'll discover awesome things to fall in love with just by exploring and opening your eyes a bit more. Be true to yourself and you'll be much more authentic.

It's ok that you're not really interested in boys right now. Mum is going to be confused by your lack of interest in the opposite sex and ask you if you're a lesbian. You know you like boys, but you're just not bothered about them as anything more than friends until you're about 16. Even then you won't really be too sure - You're not desperate to get into a relationship. You're picky and you like who you like. Nothing will change and you'll still be the same way at 23. Your first relationship will be short-lived, but you'll realise it totally wasn't meant to be since you weren't 100% certain you wanted a boyfriend when he asked you out. You'll be on great terms and stay friends though. As for your second boyfriend, he's going to be very intense with his love for you. You'll stop doing a lot of the things you love because of him, forget your own passions, miss many opportunities, and lose sight of the things that are important. He will leave you heartbroken and depressed, without a clue how to live your life independently. You will learn to love again. There'll be a guy who was basically everything you would've wanted in a boy aged 16, but you'll quickly realise he's a guitar playing poser, total jerk and massive music snob. You'll have anxieties about moving on, and lose all faith in the idea of being tied down. At the very start of your twenties, you'll start seeing someone who makes you laugh, feel happy and safe. You'll still have major commitment issues and take things slowly, but you'll appreciate them for exactly what they are.

You definitely make a few interesting/questionable sartorial choices in an attempt to be different. This starts in year 10, when you try to accessorize your school uniform with plastic jewellery, pin badges and wear glitter eyeliner (This was the time that the 'New Rave' subculture did/didn't happen and you thought these things were super cool at the time). In 6th form, you have a lot of fun with non-uniform, and try to bend the 'smart' dress code as much as you can. Your dedication to statement tights, crochet gloves, berets and a pair of red glitter Kurt Geiger pumps will end up earning you the title of "best dressed female" on the last day of school. Your Art Foundation year will be symbolised by a pair of black Dr Marten boots you bought in The Lanes whilst on holiday in Brighton (your boyfriend at the time will absolutely hate these boots on you, but you'll still wear them, almost in act of defiance!) You will go on to pursue fashion at university level, and end up learning a lot about personal style during this time. You'll start buying nicer, more tasteful clothes, and stop caring so much about trends. You'll have timeless wardrobe staples and fall in love with bretons, turtlenecks, wool coats... You will also fork out for an expensive Acne jacket, but it'll be totally worth it because you know that quality wearable classic items are for life. And the bleached blonde hair you always dreamed of having? You'll have it, and you'll totally rock it too. But wait until you're older because it costs more time/money than you can afford right now just to maintain.

If you're thinking you know what drama is, you've really not seen anything yet! It's going to get simultaneously worse and better, since people will going through the same annoying situations only it's way more pathetic when they're young adults. While childish teasing and bullying fizzle out, you'll find there's more cruel manipulation and mind games as you grow up. This will also help you to indicate who your real friends are and who definitely isn't worth your time at all. You'll also end up losing contact with a few people, but it won't be because you fell out: Your lives just went separate ways. The good news is that you'll definitely have some great friends who really care a whole lot about you. When you're older, it's less about being popular or the sheer volume of fake-ass friends you have. You will learn to value the quality of your friendships over the quantity.

Body image
You've got terrible self-esteem issues and don't I know it better than anyone else! You were never blessed with a desirably slim figure as a teenager, and ended up going through that awkward "puppy-fat" stage. You'll feel self-conscious of your eyebrows and over-pluck them. The good news is that big brows have their beauty moment from 2013 onwards and you'll soon learn to love yours. Even though you hate your body, things will get better - You'll get curves! You'll put on a load of relationship weight and end up being a miserable size 12. After this break-up, you'll lose a stone and a half and drop to a size 8. Even at your lightest, you will still feel body-conscious at times. You'll realise that the number on the scales has absolutely nothing to do with your happiness. This is something you'll continue to struggle with, but you will slowly start to become more confident in yourself. If you're in need of a little encouragement right now, I'll give you a little spoiler for the future: There will come a day when everyone you meet will constantly comment on how beautiful, long and dark your eyelashes are. You'll also receive many compliments about your legs too!

What piece of advice would you want to give to your teenage self? Comment below.

WISHLIST // "Fall forever"

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

(Clockwise to from left hand corner to centre)

Tassel embroidery leather messenger bag // £69.99 // Zara
I can't find a fault with this bag: It's a practical style, actually made from leather, yet it looks quite statement. Because it's black, it's very wearable and would fit in with my wardrobe so well too. The thing that I'm really drawn to about this piece is the gorgeous embroidery, which actually looks quite subtle against the leather. I also love tassels and fringe. In this case it definitely adds a bit of fun to this otherwise muted messenger.

Suede shirt dress // £85 // Asos
Like a dream in burgundy suede, this little Asos number really ticks all the boxes for me. I enjoy the masculine detailing of shirt dresses, but I think this one has a very feminine silhouette. The shape reminds me of a dress I already own which looks very flattering on my figure, so I'm sure this would be great for me too. Not to mention it's seriously 70s, which I absolutely adore (Of course I do - you should know this about me by now)

Jive croc-effect mid-heel shoes // £46 // Topshop
Last Winter, I bought a pair of this exact same style in gold. Those shoes have been so good to me, so I was a very happy bunny when I saw that Topshop have released them in three new luscious Autumnal colours - Burgundy, nude and black. They're also croc-effect, which is something I love about them very much. I'm just so undecided on which colour to get: The burgundy ones (pictured) are amazing, but do I go for a much more wearable black pair? Let me know what you think, readers.

Leather jacket with cow print // £150 // Asos
You can't even begin to fathom how much I need this piece in my life. I saw it in the Asos magazine a little while back and have been lusting over it ever since. This cow print wonder-jacket has actually not even been released on the website yet, but I've been keeping an eye out and checking to see every so often. Since I'm a poor graduate, I don't know if I can really justify it. I may have to set up an Emily's Dream Autumn Jacket cause. Feel free to donate generously. All proceeds go towards me looking stylish.

Tortoiseshell shard earrings // £10 // Topshop
I have a real affinity for plastic tortoiseshell accessories. The colours and patterns of it just remind me so much of the late Summer and Autumn, which is my favourite time of year for fashion (No more awkward Summer dressing - Bring on all those layers and textures!) I simply love these earrings from Topshop: They're quite different and modern, but at the same time definitely look like they could belong to another era. If anyone asks, I can just say they're a quirky vintage find, right?

What key pieces are you hoping to buy to update your wardrobe for Fall season? Comment below.

TAG // Liebster Award

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

I was nominated by Becky Shannon for the Liebster Award. This tag was created for smaller bloggers with 200 followers or less, for everyone to get to know them and their blog a little better. I'll admit that blogging can sometimes be a really slow and arduous process when you're just starting out, unsure if anyone is even reading the content you're putting out there. I've only been doing this for two months now, but it's gone by so quickly! I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone who reads Trendpill and for all of your lovely comments. I enjoy writing this blog and receiving feedback always gives me a huge amount of encouragement to stick with it. I'm really grateful for all of the recognition I get, so thank you very much to Becky for tagging me.

Now it's time to answer the 10 questions she's given me...

Top 3 TV shows?
I am absolutely addicted to RuPaul's Drag Race, and even though I've seen all 7 series of the show, I regularly rewatch all of my favourite episodes over and over again - It's the best thing on tv! I'm also a big fan of Game of Thrones (who isn't?) and I've also only just started watching Sex and The City this year. It wasn't really my kind of thing years ago, but now I can't get enough of it.

What's on your beauty wishlist?
I've heard amazing things about Urban Decay's Brightening & Tightening Complexion Primer Potion. Not only that, but I could also do with a really nice new primer too! I'd also really like to try Illamasqua's Sculpting Powder contoruing kit and Benefit's Rollerlash (Even though my eyelashes are so ridiculously long that it doesn't seem to make much difference whatever mascara I use!)

Do you prefer hair care or skin care products?
I'm a bleach blonde, so I'd have to say hair care products. My colour takes time, effort and money to maintain. I couldn't live without purple toners (to keep take the yellow tones from my hair and keep it looking lovely and silvery) or lovely thick conditioning treatments (to keep my hair nice and healthy). My Denman Tangle Tamer hairbrush is also a definite must.

Favourite book?
I've been reading Sylvia Plath's only novel 'The Bell Jar' every single summer since I turned 17. It's my absolute favourite book, due to how incredibly beautifully written it is. I haven't yet come across a book I enjoy as much as this one. I know it's terrible of me to think this, but everything else I pick up just seems somewhat poorly written in comparison.

Which celebrity's make-up are you inspired by?
Alexa Chung's make-up always looks lovely and I really agree with a lot of what she has to say on the subject in her book 'It'. You can never, ever go wrong with cat flick eyeliner and bit of red lipstick. I also really love the make-up of Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss and Debbie Harry, but they are all just amazingly beautiful women anyway (which I'm sure helps!)

Favourite youtubers?
I don't watch or subscribe to any YouTubers in particular, besides a good friend of mine from University. His name is Ant Lightfoot, but he goes by the pseudonym Mr Heavyhand on his youtube and twitter accounts (so punny). I love his videos because they're honest, funny, informative and thought provoking, yet so full of wonderful Ant-isms. He's really a great guy - definitely check him out!

Which brand of make-up is your favourite?
I really like both Urban Decay and Benefit products. My make up bag is filled mostly with bits and pieces from these two brands. I've been using Benefit make-up for years now, and my favourite product they do is the Watts Up soft focus highlighter - People always seem to ask me what it is whenever I'm wearing it!

How would you describe your fashion style?
I generally love to wear quite classic minimal clothes. Autumn/Winter clothes are my favourite because I like layering and wearing lots of black - Summer dressing is something I find awkward and tricky because of this! Things I wear a lot would include Bretons, turtlenecks, jumpsuits, and biker jackets. I'm currently really into 70s style fashion, co-ords and Bardot style tops.

Go-to accessories?
I'll always carry a pair of tortoise shell cat eye sunglasses in my handbag wherever I go. I'm also a fan of hats, particularly my black wide-brimmed fedora, and have recently added a big floppy straw sunhat to my wardrobe. As far as bags go, I seem to lug my stuff around in canvas totes quite a lot. For more fancy occasions, I'll wear my Stella McCartney falabella crossbody bag.

What are your favourite phone apps?
Social media can be a bit of a drag at times, so I could definitely live without any of those. The apps I really couldn't be without are Spotify and Citymapper, both of which were extremely useful back when I was working as a stylist's assistant in London. I've also recently downloaded a game called TsumTsum, which is both super adorable and seriously addictive.

Now it's my turn to tag 10 small bloggers for the Liebster Award: I'd like to nominate The Sunday Mode, Fairly Interested, Seek Out Chic, Lips and Trips, Miel and Mint, Ember Storm, Victoria Newberry, Daisy Queen, India Jasmine, and last but definitely not least, The A Team (three lovely ladies I went to uni with!) Even if that last blog has 700+ followers on Bloglovin' I still think it would be fun to see all three of them do this. Here are 10 questions I've set for you lot to answer...

1) What are your top three wardrobe essentials?
2) If you could have just one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would they be?
3) What trend will you be wearing this Autumn/Winter season? (or Spring/Summer if you're Australian)
4) Share your favourite motivational quote
5) Where would be your dream holiday destination?
6) What past era inspires you the most in terms of fashion and beauty?
7) What's your favourite go-to shade of nail polish?
8) Would you rather spend a week without your make-up bag OR your phone?
9) Tell me about a recent purchase you made
10) What's your favourite magazine?

...after that, you'll get to nominate 10 bloggers for the Liebster Award to ask 10 questions of your choice. Have fun!

EAT // Baresca, Nottingham

Monday, 17 August 2015

I've just had a really nice weekend visiting a friend from university who, since graduating, has relocated to Nottingham. The sad thing about finishing uni is that all the friends you've made along the way end up moving to different places all over the country. The silver lining? It gives you a great excuse to visit places you might not have considered going to otherwise. Since I live so close to the capital, I've never really had much of a reason to check out other cities further afield - Sad but true! Visiting one of my best friends in Leeds last year made me realise there's certainly more to life than London. I'd heard so many good things about the city of Nottingham, so of course I had to accept this invitation for a weekend break away there.

We went to a few different bars over the weekend, including the (not so) secret speakeasy Boilermaker. Tucked away in the back of a seemingly inconspicuous boiler shop, this quirky cocktail bar is guarded by a grumpy doorman sat behind the counter. He'll let you pass into a tiny back room where you have to find the hidden door. Since we came here on a Friday night, it was pretty busy which kind of ruined the mystery a little bit. However, it had a great buzzing atmosphere inside and really friendly staff too. You can order from the mad concoctions on the drinks menu, or tell a waiter what kind of thing you'd like and they'll surprise you with something to your taste. I also feel like the Pitcher & Piano in Nottingham is worth mentioning, since it's inside an amazing old church. There's definitely something about drinking in a former place of worship which feels a bit naughty (blasphemous even).

On Saturday we decided to go out for dinner somewhere, and managed to find Baresca tucked away on a little street. We were told that this tapas restaurant had only just opened it's doors a couple of months back. It's got a very cool rustic feel to it, with bare brick walls and wooden floors. There's even a bar downstairs in the basement with live music and vinyl DJs at weekends. It's apparent that we're both pretty big on the whole concept of tapas, opting for lots of little sharer dishes the last time we met up for dinner too. Between us we ordered the onion, pepper & thyme shallot purée flatbread, honey & sherry vinegar glazed baby chorizo, Moroccan lamb stew, seared salmon fillet in lime & coriander with harissa mayo, and a creamy mushroom risoni. The last dish on that list was actually recommended to us by our super helpful waitress, and definitely a good shout since we ate every last bit of it. In fact, we ended up clearing all of the dishes since everything we ordered was so delicious! I can't even say what my favourite thing was since it was all equally good. Four tapas dishes and a flatbread was definitely the ideal amount for two people to share. Another thing which is definitely worth pointing out is that it's a relatively friendly place for those with coeliac, with a number of tasty options on the menu ready for all you gluten free folks to choose from (including everything we had besides the flatbread and the risoni)

LIFE // What to do when you really can't sleep

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Having anxiety can sometimes get in the way of life, particularly your sleep. Often you'll be awake with negative thoughts of the day plaguing your mind. Here are some things I've found that help me.

Read a book
Reading can be a calming way to distract yourself from anything that's on your mind. It's just so easy to escape into the pages of a great book. Whether it's a gripping page-turner, funny autobiography or an old favourite book, eventually your eyes will get nicely tired and you'll feel ready to sleep.

Stop browsing social media
I think a lot of people these days can't switch off, often checking their feeds on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram first thing when they wake up in the morning and right before they go to bed. When you're in a terrible frame of mind and other people on your feed appear to be having the time of their lives, it's bound to make you feel even worse. People using social networking websites are only showing you the parts of their life they want you to see: edited, filtered and at the most flattering angles. If you're constantly tweeting, photographing and posting to prove how much of a good time you're having, how much of a good time can you really be having? Switch off - I doubt you're missing much.

Meditation really works
I know how new-age-hippie this sounds, but believe me when I say that meditation is a really great way to relax before bed. When I first tried it, I was a complete sceptic who didn't believe it would really help me at all. I've tried a couple of different guided meditation apps, but my favourite is iSleep Easy - Meditations for Restful Sleep. What I really like about this one is that you can mix up different meditation and breathing exercises to create your perfect bedtime meditation playlist. The voice of the woman who reads these meditation tapes is very relaxing and somewhat hypnotic. You can even choose to put the sounds of rain or the sea in the background of your playlist.

Colouring in: Not just for kids
Adult life if busy and stressful of times. You may have a lot of priorities like a full time job or perhaps higher education. Colouring in is probably not one of those priorities, but have you ever noticed how calm and focused children can be with crayons and a colouring book in front of them? Art therapy is a real, proven way of helping many people to express themselves and overcome their mental health issues. There are lots of lovely colouring books you can buy now, which can be the most fantastic relaxation tools. I recently picked up a copy of Colour Yourself Calm: A Mindfulness Colouring Book, which has so far helped me to de-stress at times when I get worked up with anxiety. Each page has a beautiful mandala to colour, with a corresponding meaning or quote.

Upset? Write it down
Sometimes, you might have those terrible nights where you can't sleep because the negative thoughts are slowly creeping one by one into your mind, until your face feels hot and you want to scream, but just start sobbing instead. Its good to have a journal to vent in at times like this. Knock Knock sell some really great ones like 'I Can't Sleep: A journal for passing the time when insomnia strikes and my brain is circling in on itself, cannibalising the trivialities of the day and exaggerating the ticking of the clock, reminding me that every minute spent awake is another minute closer to when I'll have to wake up, though many of the great artists and sages were insomniacs and that's part of how they got so much done, so if I can't sleep I might as well write and channel my misery into something productive' - If this sounds like you, maybe it would be worth investing in this book.

Remember: Everything seems worse late at night
My mum would always tell me this, and whenever I'm crying because I can't sleep, I'll suddenly remember. It's true - Your problems feel so much bigger alongside the weight of other thoughts and all of the things you have to face when tomorrow comes. Sleep is a healing process, and everything will feel much better when you wake up in the morning.

STYLE // Marble Jewels

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

I wanted to do a post to show you all some of my favourite jewellery that I often wear. If you're a follower of this blog, you'll probably have seen this post about the Finchittida Mini Palace earrings (which are basically my new favourite earrings ever in the whole world!) Since you've already seen those, I had to find some other items to talk about. So I dipped into my little trinket boxes to find some other gems I love. That's when I realised I'd picked out three very similar items, and figured I'd write about those instead. Earlier this year I bought all of this great marbled look jewellery from Topshop, which I've been wearing a lot ever since. They look great worn with clean colours and minimal silhouettes. I've worn those rectangle marbled earrings with the chain fringe (pictured above) to death this year, as they are are a particular favourite statement pair of mine.

I'm still majorly lusting over marble-effect jewellery. Since my pieces are a couple of months old and no longer available to buy from Topshop, I decided to scour the internet and hunt down some similar bits and bobs for you to get the look.

How cool are these engraved marble effect 2-piece drop earrings from I Still Love You NYC? They're absolutely perfect and have been right at the top of my wishlist for a while now. They cost $38 which I think about £25 (for any fellow Brits who may be reading this). I'd just love to pair these with a plain black slip dress and barely there heels - A very clean and minimal look to go with such a big, loud pair of statement earrings.

Here are some more amazing marbled-effect pieces of jewellery I've found online that are currently available to purchase:

(Clockwise to from left hand corner to centre)
1. Marble button necklace // $65 (£42) // I Still Love You NYC
2. Thick marble ring // $65 (£42) // I Still Love You NYC
3. Hanny necklace // £6 // Monki
4. Mims ring // £6 // Monki
5. Angled stone ring // £10 // Topshop
6. Semi precious cut-out cuff // £14 // Topshop
7. Semi precious stone ring // £10 // Topshop

LISTEN // Ezra Furman

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Ezra Furman is an American singer songwriter and musician from Chicago. I actually didn't know about his music until earlier this year, and last month saw the release of his third solo album 'Perpetual Motion People'.

I discovered his single 'Restless Year' a few months ago whilst listening to (my favourite radio station) BBC 6 Music. The song was immediately added to a playlist I like to call "Earworms & Gems", reserved exclusively for all of the best songs I either discover or rediscover whilst listening to the radio. If you do one thing today, I urge you to go and listen to this track because it's an absolute banger!

His sound is really interesting, and I can't quite put my finger on it. There are certain elements of songs on the record that sound really retrospective, yet totally reimagined into something new. It's got a kind of Velvet Underground feel to it, with the odd bit of doo-wop. Listening to the record for the first time on vinyl, I had to keep reminding myself that this album was released in 2015 since it sounds so different to the kind of music that's saturating the charts at the minute.

'Perpetual Motion people' is available to purchase for download on iTunes or on both CD and vinyl on Amazon - You can also have a listen right here on this blog using the Spotify widget below.

EAT // BRGR.CO, Kings Road

Monday, 10 August 2015

I've had a great weekend! On Saturday, I went to the Star Wars Secret Cinema event at a secret location somewhere in London. This is an essential visit for any fan of the Star Wars franchise. For those not in the know, Secret Cinema hold these events in which the attendees become immersed in the world of the film being shown. Last summer, they rebulit the entire town from Back To The Future somewhere near to the Stratford Olympic Park, complete with actors portraying characters from the film. This year's Summer event was a little more ambitious since they had to transport us out of London and into a galaxy far, far away. I can't give too many details since it would ruin the surprise, but I can say that we all joined the rebel alliance and met a few characters along the way. You know it's been an interesting weekend when you were, at one point, trying to bargain with Han Solo and Chewbacca to take you on the Millennium Falcon to Alderaan!

Fighting the Galactic Empire is pretty exhausting work! The next day we woke to go out for brunch, which ended up becoming a lunch instead. We decided to head to BRGR.CO on the Kings Road, Chelsea. This is an American-inspired Lebanese chain, with another branch on Wardour Street in Soho. Looking at the menu, I knew I just had to have 'the BRGR dog' since it was yet another beef hot dog with chilli (I am officially converted). We ordered some sides to share, including the absolutely amazing parmesan truffle fries. There's a few options for vegetarians too, including the falafel burger which one of our party ordered - Apparently the best one she'd ever had! All of our food was great, and I think this place offers pretty good value for money too. I've heard they do an interesting take on afternoon tea: Bellinis, mini sliders instead of cucumber sandwiches, dinky little puddings, a tiny milkshake and iced tea (in place of actual tea). I'll definitely have to come back here another time to try that.

LIFE // "So you want to study fashion..."

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Above image of my work from the lookbook. Photographed by Joe Miles, modelled by Carmen Clarke (Boss model management)

I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences of studying fashion design with anyone who is about to start or might still be considering pursuing a degree in this field - If that's you, I hope this is helpful! You're welcome to contact me if there's anything I haven't covered that you might still be feeling anxious about. This is something I really don't want to sugarcoat, so I'll be giving you my completely honest opinions (brace yourselves, readers).

Fashion will become your life
This isn't a so-called 'drinker's degree', so don't expect to just cruise through it with minimal effort. It's not really acceptable to just go out the night before and not bother coming in for pattern cutting classes because you're too hungover. Your tutors probably couldn't care less if you skip classes, but they will tell you that it's your choice and remind you not to come crying to them when you don't get the result you wanted. Make sure you arrive earlier before and stay later after every timetabled class. And you can wave goodbye to your buzzing social life in third year, because you'll be coming into uni for 7am and not leaving until late at night when the security guards come to kick you out (those guys will know you pretty well by the end of your degree!). Weekends will also be spent at uni (if it's open) or holed up in your room completing portfolio work.

It's going to be an expensive three years
Be careful with money - You're going to need a lot of it to spend on fabrics, sketchbooks and other materials. Budgeting is super important and you will probably pick up a few neat tips on how to source things wisely. Being savvy is one thing, but there's no point skimping on something if it's going to affect the overall outcome of your work. Know when to save and when to splurge, and don't ever commit to a project that you can't afford to complete. Always do your research when sourcing fabrics, since a lot of shops (particularly those in central London) will ramp up the prices massively to make a profit.

Believe in yourself and your own ideas wholeheartedly
You're always better off running with ideas that are authentic and true to you, than doing something just to impress a tutor. I really love to draw my inspiration from things that are kitsch, which other people can perceive to be tacky or bad taste. I used to worry that people would laugh at my concepts or not take them seriously, but then I realised it was good to have different ideas or methods of working to others. So what if they laugh because you've thought outside the box and done something that seems a bit silly? That's still more impressive than the large number of students who do their fashion illustration in the exact same way, or those who write their concepts on something dark, depressing and not relevant to themselves at all - Solely for the purpose of trying to seem mature, intelligent or skilled. Be passionate and you can create a strong identity from absolute chaos. Don't be half-hearted, and remember: there's no right or wrong way of doing things.

Graduate Fashion Week isn't everything
If you're about to start a fashion degree at a university that participates in GFW, you'll probably have your heart set on getting your work on the catwalk. As someone who was selected to represent my university at Graduate Fashion Week, I have mixed feelings on the matter. Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible opportunity for exposure and you'll probably get requests from stylists asking to borrow your pieces for photoshoots as a result of it. It isn't the be all end all, and while having your work on the catwalk is lovely, it definitely doesn't guarantee you a job. I know many people who weren't selected for the show who left university feeling much more prepared for industry (some of which walked straight into jobs!). Your portfolio is going to pay a bigger part in getting you employed than a fashion show will. Not to mention it is very, very expensive to make a graduate collection (a couple of thousand pounds at least!)

Toughen up and learn to take criticism properly
In your first year of studying fashion, it's easy to believe that the tutors are out to get you. The truth is they're either perfectionists, keen to rub their good habits and attitude off onto you, or big creative personalities that will push you to find your own identity and work harder. If they rip your work to shreds and make you cry in front of your class, that's not bullying. Toughen up and listen to them carefully when they say these things, as there may well be a few compliments hidden in there somewhere. When I first started, there was this tutor I thought was really scary and mean. He once made some comment on my first year work during a group presentation, and it was something like: "You've put a lot of work into that. The sleeves are hideous - I actually wouldn't mind it without them" - Rather than thinking my work was bad, I took a step back and realised he might be right there. I took all of his criticism on board and realised it was all a part of learning to become a better designer. Do this and they will take you a lot more seriously. "Scary tutor" actually ended up becoming my favourite tutor, when I realised he was actually pretty cool and just very passionate about pushing his students to always do better.

Summer holidays are for learning and interning
When you graduate you're going to want a paid job, so it's better to get some of that much needed industry experience for your CV while you're still in education. There are loads of people looking for an extra pair of hands to come and work for them, particularly in preparation for fashion week. Summer may seem like a nice opportunity to take a break from uni, but it's also a time that can be utilised to brush up on skills and learn something new. You'll be amazed how many things you can pick up just by working in industry, even for a short period of time. Another good thing to do over the summer is take up a couple of short courses (usually 1-2 weeks long) at universities like London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. This is great for learning different ways of doing things and brushing up on some existing skills. You could also learn something more specialist that you don't get to do at your own uni. I've done courses in structured bra making, coolhunting, fashion buying and illustration - All of which I would recommend.

You won't be the best at everything (but you can still try)
If your course was anything like mine, you'll have a lot of coursemates who are skilled in completely different areas. I used to put myself down for struggling a little with pattern cutting, until I realised I was able to make up for it in other areas, by focussing on the things I did well. I also noticed that some of the people who were top of the class pattern cutters struggled with things like concept, research and illustration (The things I enjoy the most and achieved the top grades in). You don't need to be the best ever at pattern cutting to be a good designer, much like how you don't need to have a really out there concept to make a great collection. While these things help, you're better off excelling at what you're good and accepting that, while you may not be the best at something else, you're still going to work at it to improve your skills - It's never too late to learn something!

WISHLIST // "give me a break"

Sunday, 2 August 2015

(Clockwise to from left hand corner to centre)

Scallop triangle bikini set // £32 // Topshop
The last time I bought myself new swimwear and went on a holiday abroad was 5 years ago! For this reason I feel I am due both a break (ideally one where I can leave this country) as well as a gorgeous new bikini especially for the occasion. This one is super pretty with its scallop detail and petite stripe pattern.

Lace Bardot top // £28 // Topshop
I'm a big fan of ultra-feminine Bardot style necklines, so luckily for me they're bang on trend at the minute. I really love the shade of blue and also the lace fabric used in this top. I'm sure it's very flattering on too. I can imagine myself wearing this in the sunshine with denim shorts, a pair of sandals and a big floppy hat.

Le Pliage backpack in poppy // £61 // Longchamp
Longchamp bags have served me well over the past few years. So much so that I once had it pointed out to me during a date that I, yet again, had my trusty Longchamp tote in tow (Major props to this boy for knowing the brand of my handbag). I'd really like to get my hands on one of the cute backpack style Longchamps some day, and I'm particularly drawn to the vibrant colour of this one. A practical bag, ideal for carrying the everyday holiday essentials.

Braided sky high sandal in antique gold // £165 // Swedish Hasbeens
Swedish Hasbeens are a shoe I find myself forever lusting over. I once bought a pair but unfortunately had to return them since I couldn't afford to spend that amount of money on a pair of shoes - Especially not when I was in the middle of sourcing fabrics for my graduate collection! I opted for the Topshop equivalent instead, but since I've worn those so much, I think I could justify forking out for the real deal some day. I simply love this braided style in gorgeous gold, and they'd make a perfect day-to-night shoe.

CITIx60 Amsterdam city guide // £8.99 // Viction:ary
Why Amsterdam? Because it's somewhere I've always wanted to visit, yet I keep missing out on the chance. I'd actually been hoping to go there this Summer, but sometimes life has it's cruel ways of ruining plans and breaking hearts. Thankfully I have genuinely supportive friends that understand how much my mind would benefit from some time away, and are up for doing this with me some other time instead. When I finally make it to Amsterdam, I'll have to bring this awesome little city guide, compiled by 60 local creatives.

What are your 5 essential items to take on a holiday or city break? Comment below.

REFLECTIONS // July 2015

Saturday, 1 August 2015

I can't believe it's already time for another reflections of the month post - I have absolutely no idea where the whole of July went!

Some of my favourites from the past month:

1) *Shameless selfie* Finding out I was going to be graduating with a first class honours degree was probably the biggest highlight of the month. It was definitely the kind of news that called for an entire weekend of celebrations in and around London and Bucks which, sadly, I don't really have any photos of. I did, however, take this selfie in the bathroom mirror (after a few Bellinis) because I was really quite happy with my outfit. This was a particularly fun weekend. Needless to say, I was feeling more than a little sorry for myself whilst out for a (much needed) breakfast with friends the following day.

2) Possibly the best hotdog ever from Popdogs. I still can't be 100% certain this was the best hotdog I've ever eaten, due to the sheer volume of Gin & Tonics consumed that day at Lovebox. But ohmygod this 'dirty dog' I had was absolutely on another level. I've actually never had a beef hotdog before, and I've heard they were more popular in the States. I definitely need to try this hotdog again (when a little more sober)

3) Relaxing with my cat at home. After moving home from university, it's been good to spend some of my downtime with my favourite furry little guy. He was very missed at times when I felt exhausted and homesick. Animals definitely have a unique kind of warming presence that no human can match. I'm so thankful we've had some time to hang out since my return.

4) Lovebox festival with the girls, Victoria Park. This was a wonderful trip out with two of the best ladies I know. We danced in the (slightly cloudy) sunshine all day long and had a go at the roller disco (which I was absolutely terrible at, of course). So many smiles, a sprinkling of glitter, and a whole lot of fun was had here.

5) Mark Ronson DJ set. This was a major Lovebox highlight for me because I just really love and respect what Mark Ronson does. He's actually pretty genius. I don't really enjoy watching DJs as much as I prefer to see bands perform live, but this was a genuinely fun and enjoyable set, perfect for how I was feeling that day. I'd be really interested to go watch him again one day, only this time performing his own songs.

6) Pancake stack at Bluegrass, High Wycombe. I felt this photo was noteworthy because of how extreme this meal was. Despite this and the aforementioned hotdog, I'm not usually really a big meat eater (Never at home, anyway). So it's crazy that I would eat something like this, but I did. You can't properly see what's inside, but it's three pancakes layered with pulled pork, sausages and bacon, maple syrup on the side. With this one meal I think I've eaten enough pork for a lifetime, and actually feel kind of feel sick thinking about it right now.

7) Welcome home, record player. I've finally moved everything out of my university flat, including my record player and records. It's been a tough month without a record player, and not being able to listen to some of the new vinyl I got for my Birthday. Over the past week or so I've been playing a lot of music. Here's a nice picture of my beloved and almost full record box.

8) Breakfast at The Pantry, Hazlemere. This is more like it: I couldn't think anything in the world I'd like more than poached eggs on toast and a pot of pure green tea for breakfast. This was particularly good. I really like The Pantry Café & Deli and it's the only place local to me where I'd really rate going to for breakfast.

9) Fresh diary for a fresh start. I just love the feeling of starting a brand new diary. Some things in my life haven't been going terribly well for me at all recently, but I think I'm finally ready to make a few changes in my life. Thankfully this diary started August 2015, and I hope that starting afresh in a little way might help me to focus on some of the positives.

LIFE // How to organise yourself (by someone who wasn't very organised)

Friday, 31 July 2015

I'm not naturally the most organised person in the world, and I know so many people who are gifted with the power of being able to have their shit together with minimal effort. As for people like me and you (assuming you are, since you're reading this) we have to put in that little bit of extra effort to organise our lives. That's okay. It's something you can pick up easily with practice and, with these simple tips and tools, you'll soon be on your way to blissful organisation in no time at all.

Write one, detailed list
Sometimes it really doesn't help at all to have 20 lists on the go at once. It's better to have one huge list with everything on it. And be sure to write every single little thing you need to do on it, no matter how embarrassing or shameful (yes - Even if it's the washing up from last night's dinner, you dirty thing!)

Colour code your lists
If you are a very visual person like I am, it may benefit you to colour code some of the items on your lists based on importance. Invest in some cute highlighters, like these cute cat ones from Paperchase. Then pick a colour for each category: Do immediately, do later and do this week.

Use notebooks to your advantage
Nothing makes you feel organised than buying pretty new stationery. That's great, but there's not point in having lots of gorgeous notebooks and pens if you never use them, so make sure you do. Keeping a notebook is a brilliant way of having everything in one place, and being able to refer back to it when you need to. I used to do a few fashion related short courses in my spare time and I have a book which I will only ever use to keep my notes from these classes. So if I ever need to remember something I learnt from that buying course I studied back in 2014, I'll know exactly which notebook it's in. I also kept to-do-lists in notebooks back when I worked for a stylist - I filled up a lot of notebooks during that job. Start a new page for every new day and always write the date, just in case you ever need to recall the phone number of that person you called on May 19th.

Make your diary your new best friend
I bought the best ever pocket diary from Muji towards the end of last year. There's a page for every week with a little squared page opposite, in case you need to write any notes or additional info for your week's activities. It's so small you can carry it around with you anywhere, and there's even a little section at the back you could slip a couple of business cards into, or something. I've also just invested in the new Ban.dō Agenda (pictured above). This cute 17 month diary starts from August 2015, and includes great graphic design, motivational quotes and some really fun fictitious holidays such as "National Ice Cream Sandwich Day" (This Sunday, guys!) it's bound to cheer you on during your journey of personal organisation.

Utilise apps to help you get organised
The notes section of your iPhone or iPad is a great place to write detailed lists, but you can always try list making app Todoist. This is a really useful app which can be used across many platforms. I have it on my iPad, Macbook and iPhone, which is fantastic since the app is seamlessly linked and allows me to access my lists anywhere.

Keep on ticking off items on your list
Towards the end of my degree, I had a list with about 67 items on it. This felt hugely overwhelming, but also brought my back down to earth and helped me to realise the extent of my workload. I developed a personal mantra: "As long as I am always doing something on this list, I am never being unproductive". Keep on working through that list no matter how long it is and feel the satisfaction of seeing it slowly grow smaller.

Never give up on trying to be organised
Even if people laugh at your lists and schedules, just ignore them. You're doing it for your own benefit, so why pay attention to what anyone else thinks of you? It's like revising for exams: Everyone has their own personal methods of learning, and my way was always to use colour coded posters and flash cards. It's about whatever helps you. If one method isn't working, maybe try another.