Saturday, 30 December 2017

In 2018 I Will...

I've spoken a lot on social media about my 2017 and it's severe highs and lows. The conclusion drawn as the earth spins round to where it started is that 2017 was without a doubt the hardest year of my life with challenges I never thought I'd face. But more importantly 2017 was the most productive year of my life (so far) and proved to me that I am more driven, passionate, resilient and strong than I ever knew. The theme of 2017 was overcoming, and so the theme of 2018 will be growing and thriving like never before.
So this year I've decided to focus only on what's ahead, and write dos instead of don'ts. Here are my 2018 aims.

In 2018 I will...

1) Work to treat and talk to myself as I would to others.

2) Stay focused on uni and projects, tackle lack of motivation but also allow myself rest.

3) Practise balance in every aspect of my life.

4) Release another book.

5) Learn a new skill, totally separate from writing.

6) Do more, go out more, see friends more.

7) Be carefree and caring, refuse to care anymore about things that are gone and done.

8) Try to be more patient and logical towards my mental health.

9) Cook more and expand my meal repertoire.

10) Put more effort in with people I love and who love me, remember that small things are significant.

11) Work to become less frightened to verbally speak what I'm feeling to people.

12) Try to spend less than 2 hours a day on social media, and stop myself when ever I notice myself mindlessly scrolling.

13) Read more books and buy more magazines.

14) Be better with money. This one isn't optional.

15) Actively seek new friends, new chances and new hobbies.

16) Work to let go of worries and comparisons that don't motivate me and aren't healthy.

17) Only carry lessons from the past year, not negative feelings or labels.

18) Explore more. Someone please get me on holiday.

19) Celebrate my own achievements.

20) Make myself happy, and make others happy.

My mantra for the year will be-

'Don't call yourself names you would never taint another with. Don't treat yourself in ways you would never dream of treating another.'

Here's to the new year x

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Baileys Fudge Brownie Recipe...

Just in time for Christmas, here's a suitably indulgent, boozy and festive recipe to knock up quickly and easily to impress any and all guests. 3 words; Baileys, fudge, brownie.

You will need...
For the brownie:
168g of unsalted butter
207g of caster sugar
1tsp of vanilla extract
3 tbsp of Baileys, or any other kind of Irish cream
2 eggs
98g of plain flour
43g of cocoa
1/4 tsp of baking powder
A pinch of salt

For the fudge:
120g/120ml of sweetened condensed milk
312g of chocolate - either chocolate chips or baking chocolate will melt best
5 tbsp of Baileys
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

What to do...
1) Preheat the oven to 176 degrees, and prep a 9x9 baking pan (or a size as close to that as you have)

2) Melt the butter and combine the butter, sugar, vanilla and Baileys in a bowl. Add the eggs and mix.

3) In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Then add to the wet mixture and mix until combined.

4) Pour the batter into the pan, spread as even as possible and bake for 20 minutes.

5) When the brownie is done and cooled, get to work on the fudge by mixing the condensed milk, chocolate, baileys and vanilla in a glass or metal bowl.

6) Put the bowl over simmering water and mix until everything is melted and smooth.

7) Spread this over the brownie and pop it in the fridge or a cool place to set for 4 hours if you can bear being that patient.

Perfect to soothe your sweet tooth with some mulled wine and a Christmas movie.

Have an incredible Christmas however you celebrate, mwah

Saturday, 23 December 2017

My Sale Picks For NYE...

The festive season is upon us with Christmas and New Years leaning over our shoulders. Personally, I can't really think of anything worse than going shopping right now or at all for the next week, and luckily I don't have to and neither do you. Sales are no longer a thing for boxing day, you can get a head start online the second you get your Christmas money and have everything on your doorstep in time for the parties. Here are my top NYE picks from the sales so far.

Velvet top - HERE
Trousers - HERE
Sequin top - HERE

The 50% off Urban Outfitters sale is a dream land of velvet, glitter, metallic and all things luxe. For NYE I'm looking towards piece that can be dressed up or down to work for whatever I get up to on the night. I love these gold culottes, and paired with a sheer top or a body and heels or trainers depending on the venue, they'd be perfect to boogie into the new year in. Also this sequin bandeau is 10/10, gives me primary school party vibes and I adore it.

Sale is also looking good for casual attire with tons of the classic Urban Outfitters streetwear pieces up for grabs.

Boots - HERE
Pinafore - HERE
Feather crop top - HERE
Vinyl trousers - HERE
Honestly I don't know if I've ever wanted anything more than I want these sock boots? Who cares if they're not the ideal footwear for a club, they're incredible and I want them superglued to my legs immediately.

Now that is out of the day, Topshop is killing it with their star print at the moment and I've got my eye on this denim star print pinafore which would be so easy to dress up for the night and then integrate seamlessly into your casual wardrobe for the rest of the year. Same with any kind of leather or vinyl trousers, an item that I've recently been converted by. Surprisingly comfy and simply to style, and look just as good with your going out tops as they do with your chunky knits.

Red mesh top - HERE
Red jumpsuit - HERE
Black lace body - HERE
Nobody's Child is totally underrated but is a holy grail of amazing tops, jumpsuits and trousers of all colours and patterns. I'm a huge fan of their tie front tops and can't recommend them enough, such good value and ridiculously flattering. My sale picks include a lot of red, I look how vibrant this mesh top is, and the red jumpsuit and sock combo is beautiful. Items are only like £9, so an easy steal for a new-year-new-me worthy get up.

Tis the season to treat yo self.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Outfits For All Occasions...

In the run up to Christmas, I've had a lot going on from parties, to interviews, to coffee dates and Christmas dinners. At this busy time of year it can be hard to work out what to wear to all the different engagements, and I've been pulling out old favourites and new flames from my wardrobe.

Top - Nobody's Child
House party
My housemates and I threw a big festive house party to celebrate the end of term. It went down really well and got pretty rowdy, with 4 DJ sets, a random appearance by Liam from Bake-off and a lot a lot a lot of people.

For the occasion, I wore my favourite tie-front top paired with leather trousers and white trainers. But the main event was my make-up. I did my usual face make-up, then piled on the glitter. I used Topshop's Chameleon Glow on my eyes, and put a cream gold and silver glitter alllll over my cleavage and chest. Then as the night went on I ended up with some star stickers on my face, which I'm definitely not complaining about.

Beret - Topshop
Top - H&M
Coat - Vintage
Lipstick - Topshop 'Infrared'
Last day of uni coffee date

Before my last day of uni I headed out for coffee with friends. I've got super into hats lately so I've been loving wearing my classic black beret. On this day I paired it with a black crop top and blue and white stripped formal joggers for a comfy last day. I've also rekindled my love for this orange lipstick, adding a little colour to my winter looks.

Body - Vintage
Jumper - H&M
Lipstick - As above
Christmas dinner
For Christmas dinner with my housemates I wore a leopard print turtleneck body with a grey jumper over the top and a black denim skirt. This is the perfect kinda casual kinda not outfit, as the second I took off the jumper I looked way more dressed up. 

This is also the day that I found out that I'd got an internship at ASOS! I managed to bag myself a job at ASOS on their content and engagement team for the summer, and I've honestly never been so excited or proud of myself.

Dress - Topshop
Socks - Primark
Earrings - Primark
Heels - Primark
Uni ball
To round off the term, I attended the English Christmas ball with all my coursemates. This is one of the only chances I get to dress up really formal, so I went all out with this velvet and sparkle dress from Topshop, dramatic make-up and heels. For my make-up, I did a high coverage base, heavier contour, and on my eyes I used my bronzer as an eyeshadow to give a little depth and applied false eyelashes and eyeliner. I felt 10/10 and I was a great excuse to celebrate the term, and all my achievements including my ASOS position.

If only it could be the festive season all the time, I'm not ready to retire my glitter.

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.