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.