Monday, 25 July 2016

Heatwave Outfits...

England has finally been hit with some good weather, like really really good weather. Normally this would be a great thing, but when you're a winter gal like me with very very few summer clothes, it can be a struggle! So here's what I've been wearing during this freak heatwave and probably the only days of summer we'll get.

Top- vintage
Jeans- H&M
Belt- Primark
Choker- handmade
Nails- super super old loreal polish

The weather has finally annoyed me to dig this top back out of my wardrobe that I love. It's so floaty and delicate but I think the over sized shape keeps it from being 'too' girly. Finally jumped on this new string choker trend that has been giving my heart-eyes for weeks now, so I bought myself some cord and made my own all for £1.20! Honestly, they're so easy to make, don't fall for the ones the shops are selling just buy some string. I picked up this belt for £2 as my old one broke and I've been after a western style belt for a while. I love those double buckle belts but they seem way way too faffy, so when I found this one it was perfect. I think it finished off the outfit perfectly, super super simple but nice and breeze.

Another trend I've finally jumped on is the neck scarf hype as i found this square of b-e-a-utiful vintage material. I paired that with black jeans, my new belt and this old sleeveless white vest and done. When you're struggling to throw together a summery outfit, simple pieces are definitely your friend!

T-shirt - primark mens
Pinafore- Fat Face
Sunglasses- Pretty Twisted
I've been wearing this pinafore to death since I got it as it's so comfortable and easy to style. I'm planning on doing a whole post on how I've been styling this, but I just wanted to give a little shout-out to this outfit; Baggy t-shirt, baggy pinafore and no makeup is the perfect combo for a hot day.

Playsuit- H&M
Desperation really hit when the weather got even hotter to the point where I was burning through my suncream. So I dug out this playsuit that I bought for a Lolita halloween costume (post here). I love that it's like a one-and-done type outfit and the light material kept me nice and cool as I lounged in the garden.

Jeans- as before
Top- Miss Selfridge
The weather is slowly cooling down so I can finally wear this gorgeous new top I got in the Miss Selfridge sale. The detailing on it is so intricate and pretty, it makes it look so angelic almost. I love floaty tops like this so they're a real go-to for me when the weather's nice. 

Dress- Zara
Shoes- New Look
Super unrelated and super blurry picture but I had to give a little attention to this unreal dress that I wore on a night out. The Zara sale is basically heaven and finding a dress like this for £10 makes all the rummaging totally worth it. I love that is kind of subtly shows some skin as it has deep V that fall just under the attached white bandeau. It makes me feel like Carrie Bradshaw and that's the goal I'm always aiming for. 

How've you been dealing with the heat?

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Summer Aims...

Today is exactly a month since my last exam, so technically I'm already a month into my summer. However what with recovering from surgery and friends being on holiday, it feels like my summer has really only just started. Also, if I'm honest I've been wasting my weeks so I thought I should write myself from aims and targets to work towards.

Exercise 3 times a week (but don't obsess)

I really need to get fit as (hopefully) in September I'll be car less in a city so I need to be fit enough to walk constantly. Also I think exercising regularly makes me feel so much more productive and better about myself. So I've started doing pilates several times a week following Blogilates videos which I love, I also want to try and start going for runs as I think people that run are the epitome of a functioning adult. So my aim for the end of the summer is to be able to confidently go for a run and feel healthier.

However, I struggle with exercise as I have a very obsessive personality. Often when I start doing regular exercise I begin to obsess about my body, what I'm eating, if I miss a day etc. But I'm determined to not do that and just enjoy the experience of exercise, so I'm only going to work out 3 times a week not everyday. But if anyone has any tips on how not to obsess over stuff, send them my way!

Keep my brain working

I think every student understand the feeling of going on summer break and watching your brain slowly die, you forget how to hold a pen, lose the ability to retain information and then when you return to education you have to learn to learn again. But not this summer! I've signed up to do some online literature courses to keep my brain in gear ready to dive right in to university in September. Also, i'm really worried about not being 'well-read' enough so doing courses on classic texts will hopefully but my mind at rest a little.

Sites like Futurelearn and Open University offer free courses on pretty much anything you could ever want to study and they're totally flexible around you but you get a certificate at the end! I've signed up to do a course on Shakespeare and I'm so excited about it (Shakespeare fan #1) but I also want to do one to learn the basics of coding.

Prepare practically and mentally for leaving

This summer is strange as I'm kind of in limbo waiting for results day. Leaving the place I've lived my whole life is going to be so so scary so I need to be prepared both practically with all the stuff and skills I'll need but also mentally to have the strength and confidence to enter a super intense, foreign situation. I'm so ready to move on from my college after a pretty awful two years and I'm so excited to enter the next stage but it doesn't make it any less terrifying and I'm sure a lot of you can relate this summer. But fingers crossed I've done enough to get in! 

I'm planning some posts based around choosing universities, personal statements etc to help out those going through what I did last year so stay tuned.

Be more proactive and productive

Last summer I was writing loads and finished so many pieces that I still love and am super proud of. However, the site I was working for shut down so I've been finding it hard this year to find motivation when I don't have an end goal or a deadline. But I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. Last week a piece I'm so proud of got published on my favourite website and I couldn't be happier. That's What She Said is such an incredible website providing a platform for young girls to share and have a voice, something which is lacking in the media industry. I'm super excited to work with them again in the future, and please go over and give them some support.

I've also sent off a couple of other poems to some other magazines so fingers crossed I'll have some more published pieces by the end of summer. Also, issue 3 of my magazine KILORAN is set for release mid-august so that's something to work for!

Read 2 books a month

Studying English I'm going to have to read so so much so I'm trying to train myself to read a lot faster. I'm off to a good start as since finishing my last exam I'm read all of Lolita and I'm super close to finishing On The Road. But I've got a big pile of books to read and not a lot of time. I'm also trying to put aside sometime each day to read as it's so good for your mind to have time to relax and float away.

Learn to get ready in 15 minutes

I take far too long to get ready. Rolling out of bed to leaving the house takes me about an hour and a half and that NEEDS TO CHANGE. So I'm challenging to learn to do my makeup and hair in 15 minutes to speed the process along when I'm in a rush. Any tips for speedy getting ready, hit me up!

Learn to cook (properly)

I'm a great baker and I can cook the basics like pasta, paninis, oven chips...toast? But come September I'm going to have to be able to cook well enough to get through the year with killing myself or becoming the size of a whale. I've got a vegetarian student cookbook which is so useful but I really want to go away with a couple of meals that I know I can cook perfectly off by heart and have an idea about portion control and budgeting. I like to try and eat quite healthily so this summer I'm going to try and learn how to do that quickly, easily and cheaply.

What are you aims for this summer?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Online Activism & The Blogger Community...

I consider myself a socially, politically aware person. I watch the news daily, I'm constantly reading articles on social issues, I involve myself with movements and put effort into knowing about injustices and events that the mainstream media brush over. If you follow me on any social media they'll know this. Personally, I'm unapologetic in my activism and find it very hard to stay silent on social media regarding important, if somewhat controversial, topics. One scroll through my insta and you're hit with political hashtags and loooong captions; it's something I'm so passionate and can talk about for hours, yet so often I head onto twitter to find the blogger community remaining silent.

Don't get me wrong, I love the blogging community, it's immensely positive and motivating. But I regularly find myself annoyed by the lack of discussion on important topics, instead only seeing typical beauty questions and photos of breakfast. I remember waking up on the day of the brexit results expecting to see twitter full of comments on the vote, but nope. I think I saw about 3. And the same recently with the Pulse shootings and more recently Black Lives Matter protests... nothing. I sometimes find myself so disheartened by the lack of social/political discussion from bloggers that have an amazing platform to share opinions and raise awareness.

Helen Anderson recently touched on this topic in one of her vlogs as she deleted her tweets and blog post on Brexit, a topic she was obviously passionate about, as she didn't want viewers that weren't familiar with her content to see her as aggressive or 'too political', and it made me so sad. Why is being political a bad thing? Yeah if you're sending death threats or being angry or violent in the presentation of your opinion then you're definitely going about it the wrong way. But what's so bad about retweeting a political image or getting involved with a intelligent, open-minded discussion that so many bloggers turn their back on online activism?

For me, my favourite bloggers to follow and my favourite blogs to read are the ones that are unafraid to share their opinions and engage in discussion on issues with more substance that high-street brands. I love bloggers that open up the discussion to issues of animal rights in the beauty and fashion industry, body image and insecurity, feminism etc etc. There are so many amazing bloggers that open up really important discussions, yet I often feel like the 'bigger' bloggers at the top of the pile steer clear of this for fear of being controversial. And honestly, I used to be a bit like this. My blog until a year or so ago was all frilly socks and topshop, until someone told me "we're all controversial so you might as well put it to use". 

Since opening up my blog and social media as a more social/political platform, I've found myself being so much more aware and levelled as a person. I've learnt so much simply from sharing and receiving comments on issues and I feel like discussing topics is one of the best ways to learn. I always want my platforms to prompt thought and discussion, and put simply, I wish the blogger community was more willing to share and shake off that fear of being labelled 'controversial' or 'too political' as these things need not be bad.

As such a big, powerful community, we could do so much good and raise so much awareness. Staying silent on issues does nothing. You shouldn't feel anxious to share your opinion and step outside of your 'brand'. It's not all sparkles in the real world, and I think as a community we should address and discuss that more. 

And so my platforms will always be ones of activism and opinions, I will always share and discuss, and I'm asking you to join me. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Two Cheese, Spinach & Leek Loaf Recipe...

This is my second loaf of this bread in a week as it's just so good! For my birthday my parent's got me a vegetarian student cookbook so the recipe is so simple but also super cheap and requires no measuring equipment, just a mug! Bread like this is my favourite thing, it's perfect for a summer lunch with some salad.

What You'll Need

1 Leek
1/4 a bag of Spinach (about 50g)
1 and a half mugs of self-raising flour
salt and pepper
3/4 mug of parmesan cheese
1 mug of grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon of basil
1 egg 

What To Do

1) Preheat your oven to 180C fan oven/200C/Gas 6 and line a loaf tin with some grease-proof paper.

2) Put a blob of butter into a frying pan and let it heat while you wash and chop up your leek. Fry the leeks until they're soft then add in your spinach and cook until it wilts. 

3) In a big bowl mix the flour, cheeses, basil and salt and pepper. Add the leeks and spinach and mix it all together.

4) In a mug crack the egg and add in enough milk to fill the cup to 3/4 full. Beat that together then slowly add into the bowl until it forms a dough. You might not have to use all the mixture so go slowly!

5) Put the dough into the tin as evenly as you can and bake for 35-40 minutes. It may take longer so check after 40 and maybe put it back in for 5 more minutes. 

6) Leave to cool for a little bit then chow down!

So so so easy even a fool like me can make it! RIP to my summer body, too in love with bread. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Tonsillectomy Survival Kit & Advice...

Two weeks ago I finallllyyyy had my tonsils out and after having tonsillitis pretty much constantly since December 2015 and enduring about 8 courses of antibiotics, I feel like I'm pretty qualified to give some tips and advice for recovery. One thing I've found this past couple weeks is that its very very hard to find advice on recovering from the surgery as it seems like the American and British health care systems give very different suggestions as American sites suggest not eating solid food for a week, whereas here in Britain we seem to take a salt-in-the-wound, battle-on-through approach. So you can take your pick which way you wanna go. I personally took a definite battle-on-through approach and I think it really worked as within a week I was feeling so much better already.

I won't kid you, having a tonsillectomy is super painful, and doctors will tell you it's "just like having bad tonsillitis"...its definitely not. But there's many many things you can do to make it bearable, so here's my survival kit and tips from first-hand experience.

Survival Kit
  • A good book- this may seem really silly, but I found the only thing that really allowed me to zone out from the pain was reading. Watching TV or films is good, but, for me, it was too passive so I was still focused on my throat. So having a new book or a book you really enjoy will help make recovery go a lot quicker. Also, you'll definitely want to take a book or a magazine to the hospital with you as there's a lot of waiting around as I had to stay for 5 hours after my operation to ensure I wasn't bleeding. So get yourself a book!
  • Tiger Balm White Ointment- One thing the doctors won't tell you is how much your face will ache after surgery. For me this was possibly the most painful part as I felt like I'd been punched in the jaw a million times. You might get an aching jaw so I'd recommend getting yourself some tiger balm to rub into your jaw and neck. This is so soothing and really eased the pain to help with eating. But make sure you get the white balm so it's gentle enough to use on your face. 
  • Herbal Teas- After surgery I'd suggest avoiding dairy or strong drinks for a couple days as your throat will be super sensitive and the last thing you want is to drink a milky coffee and clog up your sore throat. So I basically lived on fruit teas as I personally found hot drinks a lot more soothing than icy ones, but see which you find best. 
  • Probiotics- Chances are you've probably endured several rounds of antibiotics and you'll be on quite a lot of medication after the surgery, so my doctor suggested taking pro-biotics to help your body and boost your immune system. Anti-biotics kill all the bacteria in your body so it's important to boost the production of good bacteria that's essential to your strength and thus your recovery. I love these chocballs as they're packed with millions of live bacteria but taste so so good, like really good quality chocolate. You can find them HERE. But otherwise there's loads of food you can eat to help promote healthy bacteria!
  • Painkillers- One thing my doctors kept saying to me is to not torture yourself. For the first week, take painkillers whenever you can to avoid the pain getting on top of you. You'll find that if you miss a dose it will be really hard to get the pain under control so it's best to just take whatever you can. 
  • Throat Sweets- A really good tip is to suck a throat sweet to numb your throat before you eat. If you don't eat you'll only feel worse so doing something to relieve the pain and give you time to chow down is so worth it. I use Tyrozets as they really, totally numb your throat but also have mild anti-biotics in them to avoid infection, find them HERE.
  • Chewing Gum- The best way to stop your jaw from aching is to exercise it, so chewing some gum will stop your jaw from getting all tight and sore. It also stops your throat from getting dry which you want to avoid at all costs!

Another thing I'd recommend getting is a humidifier for your room at night. This honestly has been a lifesaver and it stops your throat from getting dry overnight so you're not hit with a whole load of pain when you wake up. I'm using a Vicks cool mist humidifier but there's some smaller, cheaper ones that you can get for like £10. They're not essential but I think mines been worth every penny!

Tips & Advice
  • Obviously it's pretty painful to eat so your appetite will take a hit. The best thing to do is to eat whatever you're craving, you want McDonald's? eat it. You want chips? eat them. I personally ate a lot of sushi and halloumi. Eating what you're craving will 100% make the pain worth while and you'll be too distracted enjoying the tasty food to care. Also you need to eat or you'll feel way way worse!
  • One of the best things you can do is just push through the pain. Force feeding yourself things like toast, chips, cereal etc will hurt, but it will be so so beneficial as it will stop huge scabs (ew) developing and prevent infection. So get yourself some nice bread and jam!
  • This might not be relevant to everyone, but if, like me, you have a phobia of being sick, get some anti-sickness tablets! taking these just helped calm me down as for the first couple days the medicine can make you feel a little gross. Also, make sure to let the people at the hospital know as they'll give you a higher dose of anti-sickness and just be more considerate of the situations they put you in.
That's all I can think of right now, but if you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll answer them!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Monday Muse ~ Francoise Hardy...

Francoise Hardy is the epitome of that classic French girl style we're all striving for. She's effortlessly cool but retains an aura of sophistication and chicness in all her outfits. So so many fashion kids cite Francoise as one of their fashion icons, hoping to recreate her perfect mix of 60s style and that timeless Parisian look. For me, Francoise is the ultimate 60s dream and her style is so beautifully minimalistic, I love love love it.

Key elements of her style are simple trousers, A-line skirts and dresses, co-ords, high necks and basic colours. I feel like Francoise is the perfect style inspo if you're wanting to create a capsule wardrobe as all her outfits were built from basic pieces, sticking to a few must-have pieces in true Parisian style. It's all about shapes for Francoise. Pairing long masculine trousers with a cropped, frill-neck jumper, or a tight mini skirt with a baggy jumper over top. I also love the photos of her in t-shirt dresses as it's so simple but paired with her model legs and some flat loafers looks 10/10. Basically I feel like Francoise always looks so comfy, and I love that!

Francoise is one of those people that I try to always keep in mind while shopping or dressing. She's a reminder that less is definitely more and classic pieces while never betray you. She's up there with the big leagues of fashion and I love her.

Also her song 'le temps de l'amour' ALWAYS puts a smile on my face and gives me Wes Anderson vibes which we all need in our lives.