Saturday, 25 November 2017

6 Things Making Me Happy...

The winter is risky, it's too often a time of sadness and bad memories. I mean, it's easy to fall victim to seasonal depression when the suns gone, forcing you inside more and outside less. I know I've been feeling it. A lot has been going on in my life, forcing me to take stock and put up some new defences, introducing new little tactics to fight of the winter sadness.

So, simply put, here's whats been making me happy.

1. Baths

One blessing of my current student house is having a bath. I used to look forward to going home in the holidays and diving head first into a bubbly tub, but now that little luxury is afforded to me all the time. My favourite place to read and de-stress, I find myself here almost every day when I've got a new book to get through. Baths are just the most amazing 'me time', fill your bath with bubbles and lavender oil, light a candle, bring some tea and a book; heaven. I could sit here for hours, and often do (you just have to refill the tub a couple times to keep it toasty warm). 

2. Mood lighting

This often follows a bath, but I've been loving coming to my room on an evening and making it feel super cosy and zen. I turn off the harsh main light, and swap it for 3 sets of fairylights, a desk light, and a couple candles. This has definitely been helping me wind-down and get sleepy ready for bed, but is also super comforting. It's made my room feel extra cosy when I've been needing a couple more home comforts than usual. I like to sit in bed for a couple hours with a hot drink and some TV, it's the best part of my day.

3. Praising myself

When times are tough everyone says you need to celebrate yourself, but that's not always easy. In another attempt to try and implement this into my life, I've started this really simple notepad where I write down what I'm looking forward to and a mantra in the morning, then what made me happy and what I achieved on a night. This just helps me start and end my day on positives, and it's nice to look back on if things feel extra difficult one day. Super easy and no need to splash out on a purpose-made journal, just put a pad and pen by your bed. 

4. Plants & blooms

It's proven that having something to look after is a great form of self-care. I love having plants in my room, it makes the space feel so much lighter and brighter and more natural. My collection currently consists of 7 plants, and this beautiful bunch of carnations my boyfriend bought me. I like to try and take some time out each week to tidy my room and water my plants, it doesn't take long but gives me an easy sense of achievement. Also, the red of these flowers is just brightening my life at the moment.

5. Lady Gaga's Joanne

This one is pretty random, but after watching Gaga: Five Foot Two I'm completely in awe. She's so raw and honest, and this album is so eclectic. Listening to it just makes me feel happy and calm, it's super empowering and beautiful. So I've been listening to that a lot.

6. Bolder fashion choices

When I'm feeling down or stuck in a rut, I find that dressing more confidently and boldly helps me feel it. I've been loving wearing my glitter boots, vintage headscarf, and have a new-found love of hoop earrings. I think getting dressed and doing your makeup, and taking the time out to make yourself feel beautiful can have a huge impact on your mood, and it's something that instantly makes me feel better. I try to dress for how I want to feel, rather than how I actually feel if I'm feeling a bit deflated.

What makes you happy?

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Spring In The Winter...

Hat - Oxfam
Crop Top - H&M
Trousers - Topshop
Trainers - Clarks Trigenics
Coat - Vintage
Lipstick - Topshop Infrared
I bought these trousers in spring and that's what they scream to me. The pale blue gingham and frills reminds me of Dorothy suffering the black and white hurricane and emerging in the bright colour world of Oz. I wore them all through spring and summer with white t-shirts and small black sleeveless crop tops, sandals and bare arms. But I can't do that now, it's officially winter here in Sheffield.

I have never been very good at adapting. As a child I used to go on holiday and make my parent's lives hell by crying for the first two days, simply because that strange hotel room was not my home. When I moved to uni, I called my mum and begged her to pick me up only days later. And it's guaranteed I will always hate my haircut initially. As a creature of routine and small homely comforts, I get stuck in my ways and I' m lost when I come unstuck. And I've been feeling that way a bit lately.

Despite wearing this trousers to death in the spring, they've been sitting in my wardrobe for weeks. Because they are spring, they are bare skin and crop tops and that's not where I am now. Just as I'm not very good at adapting, neither is my fashion. My mum hates it, but my clothes get stuck in a particular context or weather pattern and I struggle to ever see them past that.

So in a small attempt to re-adapt, I wore spring in winter. I swapped bare arms for this beautifully shaped, thick black crop top, and swapped my sandals for all white trainers and added an orange lip to keep a little bit of brightness on a grey day. I added a belt around the waist to tie in the black, and then later added my baker boy hat to keep my noggin warm. Throwing my trusty fur coat on top, I liked what I saw in the mirror. I liked the re-adaptation because really it wasn't too different. Just a bit of a greyer surrounding.

I can't stop the reasons, and I can't keep buying new clothes. So everything but keep up, and change to do so.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Fashion & Film #11 ~ Pretty Woman...

The 1990 movie Pretty Woman is everlasting and iconic as both a beautifully unconventional love story, and a time capsule displaying the hand-over between 80s and 90s fashion.

Pretty Woman has remained one of my favourite films since I was young. Julia Robert's performance as Vivian is infatuating, her classic smile on a character that is so optimistic and charming despite her situation makes the character endlessly likeable. She has little to no flaws, and I want her to be my best friend.

Dealing with the topic of sex work, the movie tackles the idea of 'cheap', 'tacky' fashion. If anyone ever attempts to insult your outfit by likening you to a 'hooker', please point them in the direction of Pretty Woman and say thank you, because Vivian smashes all the stereotypes by dressing impeccably from start to finish.

We first see Vivian in a cut out dress, baker boy hat, thigh high boots and an oversized red silk suit jacket. Incredible. Iconic. Beautiful. 10/10 would wear. Her style of edgy and overtly tryna-be sexy dress is the dream cross-decade attire, displaying several trends and pieces that we're all lusting after at the moment. Then her change into tryna-be classy attire towards the end of the film shows us exactly how to wear masculine shapes as she wears jewel-toned co-ords and tailored shapes. Perfect from start to finish, Vivian turns 'hooker' into a well-crafted aesthetic (and a successful career that bags her a man.)

At the start of the year I decided my vibe was Pretty Woman; ironically sexy while also totally not sexy and practical. Like a hooker that wants to stay warm and also has uni at 10am. So I've been wearing fishnet tights with short skirts paired with baggy jumpers and berets. I've been dreaming of an all-red get up, pairing a red vinyl skirt with a red knit jumper. Anything PVC, vinyl or leather is ideal.

Think jewel tones, fishnets, pieces that look borrowed from a boy, tailoring, masc/fem and the kind of sexy you'd see in 80s music videos. Think wearing all that in a fancy hotel. That's what Vivian would want for us.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Three Outfits...

The weather in Sheffield is perfect at the moment; bright but cold enough to wear your winter coat. My style definitely comes into its own at this time of year. I love my jumpers and coats, and I've recently really got into hats and headwear after digging my old vintage scarf out of the bottom of my wardrobe.

Here are 3 outfits.

Hat - Oxfam
Jumper - New Look
Coat - Oxfam (ASOS men)
Leggings -Primark
Shoes - Clarks
1. A early morning

I wore this outfit to attend Creative Mornings, which is an monthly early morning lecture series by creatives in the city. This is such a Lucy outfit. I love the neck on this jumper, it's so comfortable but can be dressed up really formally. The boxy cut of it, paired with the tight leggings is one of my fave silhouettes. I paired this with my big denim worker jacket, and my baker boy hat for some more masculine details to off-set the girliness of the pink jumper. I would wear this forever if I could, it's so comfy but structured enough that I don't feel lazy.

Headscarf - Vintage
Dungarees - Topshop
Jumper - Primark
Coat - Vintage
Shoes - As above
2. A day out

I wore this on a day out to York with my boyfriend for our anniversary. I think there's a romanticism in this outfit; the classic fur coat paired with a bright headscarf as a nod to the seventies. I've had these short black dungarees for years now and never tire of them. They're so versatile, I love them with striped t-shirts in the summer, and love them even more with this black high neck jumper in the winter. It's such an effortless, timeless pairing perfect for a day out when you don't want to be bothered by your outfit. Oh and this fur coat remains the love of my life.

Beret - Topshop
Jumper - New Look
Skirt - Pull and Bear
Tights - Primark
Boots - Clarks
Coat - As above
3. A Sunday morning

I wore this for a Sunday morning wander and a coffee, which of course I dressed up for. This outfit is made up of a number of my all-time fave pieces; my beret, my chunky knit jumper, my a-line skirt, my fur coat, and my flat chunky chelsea boots. I paired it with these wide fishnet tights to break it up with a bit of skin, and I thought plain black tights might be a bit too blocky in an outfit with a lot of cream/nude tones. Cosy and simple, but I still felt extra, my fave combo.


Thursday, 2 November 2017

And I Am A Material Girl...

I've got a thing about powerful women. Women who pioneer, fight hard, push for their passions, create change for themselves and/or others. Women that do things. Women that are bold and brave. There's no greater power in the world.

Madonna is a powerful woman. She changed the face of the music industry with her lyrics and visuals. She's reinvented herself so many times but remained a name, she's never slipped from idol status. When Madonna wore a pink cone bra in 1990 she shocked so many people, taking the high fashion underwear as outerwear trend, and putting it on MTV. The take on classic lingerie was a nod to the past of femininity, and was a bold statement about the future of women's sexuality as she again pushed the boundaries for risque outfits at the time. It's a powerful piece, the bullet bra is a powerful shape made from soft silk, the perfect metaphor for powerful women.

And this Halloween I payed homage.

I got this custom made Madonna outfit from House of Erotique. Each piece is handmade by Ben and you can tell that love and passion goes into each stitch. His customer service was incredible, and I can't even begin to describe what a pleasure it was to wear this outfit. It feels incredible on, fits perfectly, and is such high quality. Catch me wearing it around my house 24/7 from now on.

To complete the Madonna look I did the classic smokey eye and drew on a beauty mark. I tried to keep my hair poofy, then later tied it up in a slick high ponytail like she wore it during her Blond Ambition tour. I also added a chunky choker for a bit of neck bling. Oh and I also listened to Into The Groove about 15 times.

Check out Ben's work on his Instagram, and Depop. Because everyone deserves a Madonna outfit and a leopard print beret.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

My Bullet Journal...

By now, bullet journals seem like an old concept that's been swimming round the internet for years. I know for me, they're something I'd seen again and again, always thought I'd like to make one, but never actually doing it. The thought of having to work it all out, draw it and keeping drawing it each month sounded draining when I could just buy a diary and be done with it.

But a month ago I made one, and now I'll swallow my previous criticism.

If you read my post a while back, I wrote that I wanted to get a Five Minute Journal, but I couldn't bring myself to spend £15 on something I might not fully commit too and might not be used in a week. So I thought I'd make my own, then I thought I might as well go all out and make a bullet journal. I started out by looking on Pinterest and getting an idea for the pages I wanted that would suit my life and what I wanted from the journal.

I always knew I wanted to make a gratitude journal rather than a daily tasks or academic one, so I decided to make pages that related to self-care, personal projects, and affirmations, and here's what I ended up with.

I start of each month with some thoughts on habits to make and break from the past month, then lay out a calendar with important dates, some goals I'd like to focus on, and an affirmation for the month.

I see loads of really artistic, beautiful month pages but I have neither the skill or time for that, so I keep mine pretty simple but using a stencil for the main title and some crayons to add colour.

For each month I also have spending, mood, and habit trackers. I've found it really good to have a place to visualise this stuff, so I can see where I'm slipping to motivate myself to get back on track. And obviously as a student, the spending tracker is super helpful for budgeting.

Within my weekly spread I have my gratitude journal where each day I write what I'm grateful for, and an affirmation. I've also made space for important dates, a to-do list, shopping list and meal plan to help me keep track of my life a bit more. Again, I'm a really visual person so being able to see my whole week and all my plans laid out is really really helpful for me, and since having the meal plan box and shopping list to write out ingredients I need, I've actually been sticking to my meal plans for once!

Other pages I have include; a yearly calendar, lunar calendar, self-care tips, project pages for this blog, kiloran and The Tab, a page to write down ideas, and a yearly goals page. But I think the best thing about a bullet journal is obviously that it's totally customisable. If you want it to be academic focused, you could have a page for deadlines or study plans, or make one solely for social plans and to-do lists. What ever pages you need you can make, which is something you can't get from a bought journal.

All you need is a basic journal (I got mine from WH Smiths), a ruler, fine liners and any colouring pencils or crayons to design it however you want. Be as creative as you want, or keep it totally simple. It's entirely your space dedicated totally to your thoughts and needs and plans. And the process of considering what you need and drawing out is amazingly calming, I highly recommend.

I've been sucked into the trend and I'm not even sorry.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

How To Make A Space...

I'm now back in my beloved university city, and moved in to my new house awaiting the start of my second year. As someone that's massively affected by the space around me, this is always the most anxious time of my uni year; trying to make a new place a home. If you're a freshers about to move to uni I know this will definitely be on your mind, so I thought I could share my process to make yours a little easier.

Uni rooms are weird, especially first year accommodation rooms. You have to pack your life into one room, it becomes like your own little planet with all your belongings. You have to work, relax, sleep, hang out with friends, maybe eat, probably shower etc etc all in one room. It's intense, there's a lot of pressure for that one room to feel good and feel like yours. It's definitely been a lot easier this year in a house, and in a bedroom that doesn't have a neon green wall... But here's some of the things I consider when making my space, and a little look at my room this year. But I definitely thinks it's a case of finding what you find comfortable and comforting.

Lamp - Wilko
Bunting- Homemade
Shelves - B&Q
Hanging vase - Tiger
Work stuff by the work space

First and foremost uni is about work, so I always want to make the best work space possible. I'm a desk-worker, and a morning worker so this year I've been blessed with a glorious desk by a big window. 

I like to keep my work space really clean but inspiring. So on my desk there's very little, just a make-up mirror, pen pot and a lamp. This means that my desk is never super cluttered, and always looks work ready. I also have a copy of KILORAN on my desk, a whiteboard with important reminders, and some bunting that says 'grow' so my desk feels really positive and inspiring and motivating. If you don't feel motivated to sit at your desk, try and change the space until you do.

But most importantly, I think it's really important to have your work stuff by your work space, so all my uni books, my printer, and my pens etc are by my desk and ready, so when I sit down to work I don't have to wander around grabbing things. It also keeps the space very work focused so the space doesn't become associated with anything else that will distract you. 

For a similar reason I've kept my other books separate. If I can I like to try and keep work stuff as separate as possible, so I've kept my personal books on a different shelf with my own book displayed. Hoping this will motivate me to keep reading for pleasure as well as work this year.

Curate what you can see

Obviously the things you see in your room are going to have the biggest affect, and will be the things you focus on. So in my room I'm trying to make it so I can only see things that make me happy, or make me better. For example, I know affirmations really work for me and make me feel a lot calmer and happier, so I've put lil positive affirmations around my room like this bunting, my vintage 'I Love Lucy' bag, notes from my friends and Mum, or even just plants etc. This means my eyes are constantly seeing happy things. 

But I've also left out things like skincare, my water-bottle, my running trainers in the hope that it will help me improve my habits and make better decisions. It's subtle but it's supposed to be really effective.  

Bedding - Asda
Bedding - Dunelm
Keep a calm sleeping place

This one definitely isn't for everything, but I'm trying to keep my bed for sleeping as much as possible. I'm determined to not work there and try to keep the space as a place for sleeping, or reading, or winding down at the end of the day. To help this I've tried to keep this part of my room as plain as possible. And oh boy it was hard fighting the temptation to put up photos or a tapestry, but instead I settled on just these two postcards I got from the National Portrait Gallery when I was in London. I think they really compliment each other and the space with their neutral tones. Lovely. I've also gone for two pretty plain, calm, cool-toned duvet sets. Pro-tip; having two bedding sets is going to help you out so much with laundry.

Consider nighttime

A cosy night room is just as important as a cosy day room, especially for me as I tend to feel most unsettled or anxious at night. So I've gone for the typical approach of fairy-lights for some nighttime hygge while I'm relaxing or watching films. It's such a simple thing, but little things like fairy lights or plants or blankets can really make a difference. Fairy lights are also good for keeping bills down as you can put battery ones on during the day rather than an electric lamp or light. 

Bunting - Homemade
Firefly lights - Primark
Put up reminders of love

I know some people avoid putting up photos at uni in case they make them feel homesick, but I'm definitely a photo person. Seeing the faces of people I love and days I enjoyed instantly makes me feel better, so I always make a pinboard with photos, tickets and printed affirmations and images I like. I change this up quite a lot with new photos and things, but I always look at it as a reminder that I'm loved and lucky to have people in my life that I love so much. This is definitely the part of my room that turns it into a home, putting up personal photos instantly makes the room mine and makes me feel settled. There's always deals online for photo printing so definitely have a look into that.

For me, I know my perfect space is calm, positive, clean and love-filled. I do tend to match my uni room to my bedroom at home, just because I feel best in a neutral coloured room with little pops of colour and photos. But it's so personal, find out what works best for you and what you can do with your space to make you feel the most relaxed and happy you can be. 

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Past Us ~ A Poetry Film...

The Past Us is a poem about the realisation that your love has changed. It’s a poem about looking back at a relationship and realising it’s become so misshapen over time, it hardly looks like love at all anymore, it doesn’t really even look like companionship.

This poem was written in late October and it feels just like late October, to me at least. It feels like hazey evenings when it becomes annoying how dark it gets so early. It feels like the intense bout of disassociation and confusion I felt during my first months at uni, and the questions about how my new location would alter my relationships and feelings. It’s always been a deeply personal piece to me with very specific settings and conversations in my head, but maybe that’s why it’s ended up being the piece I always go back to, and a piece that my peers regularly reference and compliment (thanks guys).

We all know the tug of a dying love hanging on like a limb that’s gone numb after you sat on it for too long. The period just before the conversation when both parties are aware of the small changes in movement; turning your back, pulling away hands, seizing at opportunities to leave their company even if just briefly to get a drink, when before you always wanted them there, holding your hand and hugging in the kitchen. This poem is a brainstorm for that conversation, a mind-map drawing lines between the people you were and are.

The ideas of making a film was brought to the table in Easter, at a time when I was having this conversation again. I’ve always wanted to make a film, I love films so so much but over time I’ve accepted that I know nothing about how the hell you make a film. So a table full of people who know exactly how to make a short film, and know fancy terms for lenses and shots, and appreciated my work enough to want to visualise it, it was dreamy.

And the end product is The Past Us, it’s exactly what the poem is and all it represents (including some very specific details from it’s context). It’s grey, it’s late October, it’s the lingering thought of a love you had to accept had left long ago, packed up and moved out of everywhere but your head. But mostly it’s just beautiful and far more eloquent that my words could ever hope to be.

I can’t say thank you enough to ever quite touch on how much of a privilege this is, and how cool it makes me feel that a group of people wanted to merge their art with mine. So thank you again to Penny Eastbury, Samara Sajid and S. J Zhu. Thank you thank you thank you.

I feel v cool to have my very own and very first poetry film, am I an artistic and edgy creative yet??? Can I be famous now???

This is The Past Us, part 1 of a Chrysalism film series. This is winter.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Closing The Notepad...

Just over a week ago I filled my notepad. It seems stupid to be emotional over a some paper, but that's 591 days of work.

In that notepad there are 30 published pieces, 1 published book, 1 book draft, 5 issue plans for Kiloran and numerous other plans. It's seen me through everything; 3 break-ups, exam stress, moving city and many many more ups and downs. These pages have seen some FEELS. It's strange to say goodbye.

When I started writing in this notepad I didn't take myself seriously at all. I used to just write like a diary with my thoughts normally forming into poems or prose. Journals and diaries never really stuck with me, but for some reason this did. And I never really thought about it, I never read much poetry before I seemed to accidentally start writing it. And that's one of the biggest misconceptions I've found in poetry, that it must be traditional and formal and structured. But like all art, your poetry can be anything you want. It's doesn't need to be stanzas and short lines and rhyme, if you think your scribblings are poetry, they're poetry.

I talk about my writing a lot on here and over of my instagram, but it's normally promo rather than my absolute and total love of it. I tell people about it all the time, and it's always my first suggestion when anyone is struggling, but writing is an incredible and proven form of therapy. Writing and creative expression is often used in mental health treatment as it's obviously just such a freeing, cathartic activity. It's an amazing way to process your own emotions and work out how you're feeling in a way that is private and non-confrontational. I can't recommend it enough. Get to know yourself, get to know your emotions, get to know your creative brain.

Closing this notepad feels good. Obviously I'm proud of the work in there, I can see myself growing as a writer and becoming more refined. But mostly I'm really proud of what it all stands for, seeing hard situations turned into something that I can use and is beneficial. Pain into product. That's what I'm proud of, and that's why I love writing and why this notepad means so much. Closing it feels like closing it on all that past pain, walking away with something good.

Find your expression, whether it be writing, or art, or journaling, or music, or anything. Having an outlet for your emotions that is personal and healthy is so important, and having something that is totally yours unless you choose to share will introduce you to a whole layer of feels that you might not have explored before. Trust me, you'll feel lighter.

I'm excited to see what comes from my new notepad, and I can't wait to share some of the work created in the old one.