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3 Essential Hats for Winter

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Hats used to be my thing. To use a phrase that I’ve never used before – they were my winter time jam. And then for a few years I just abandoned them, leaving my winter time accessory collection completely bare. I think it was the rise of the bowler hat and then the fedora that has rekindled my love with hats. Whilst I’m not one to roll out the bowler any more (even if I do have a cute cat-eared version) but I have a selection of three hats that are pretty much my bessies throughout the colder months.

The Fedora:

I decided to join in the fedora foray after seeing Carrie rock it time and again on her blog. My one cost about £7 pound from Primark and it one of the only hats not made of elasticated matrials that actually fits my head. I don’t think I have a strangly small head, but most hats of the more sturctured variety just slide around and won’t stay put on my head. I’ve made a vow to myself to wear this one more often – it defintely adds a different vibe to any outfit.

Fedora | ASOS

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The Bobble Hat:

This has been my favourite ever since I picked it up in a random H&M store in Paris last December. There’s something about the chunky-ness of the wool that suits me far better that most more tightly knitted hats do. And as for the bobble, well the bigger the better is always the right way to go.

Bobble Hat | ASOS

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Your Boyfriend’s Hat:

I don’t think I could have picked a more ill-fitting hat for myself. Much to my despair I’m just not one of those girls with their instgramable style, who can get away with wearing a cute little hat perched on the top of their head. My point here is more that you should take a peek in your boyfriend’s/ boy friend’s hat draw becuase there’s probably a winner in there that you won’t even have to spend your pennies on. I wore this red number for a day trip to Bath, unknowing of how much it did not suit me but still thinking I looked super cool. Next time I’ll look in a mirror before leaving the house…

Beanie | Topman

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What are some of your favourite winter accessories?

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What’s on my iPhone 6

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Back in about August of last year something happened that has never happened to me before. That’s a bit of a dramatic opening sentence to start with, it wasn’t life changing, or medical or anything.

I dropped my phone down the loo.

Actually that’s not even true – my phone fell out of my back pocket and with the motion of pulling my pants down it plopped into the toilet behind me. Luckily I had taken myself into work early that day so it was a freshly cleaned toilet that I then plunged my hand straight into. But my plan of getting lots of early morning work done was scuppered by then rushing into Tesco to buy a bag of value rice, cutting it open and burying my beloved gold phone in to. Suffice to say that fully emerging your phone into a toilet bowl full of water is a certain way of making sure it never works again and I’ve since spent that last eight months with a phone that dies a little bit more every time I try to use it. Don’t even mention Instagram because it has a little meltdown every time I try to fire it up. These things don’t last forever, just be warned.

When the time came for my upgrade I was set on buying the almighty iPhone 6s Plus – the biggest and gold-est phone out there, just to make up for the smashed screen and lack of 3G that I’ve had since the ‘terrible incident’. After much persausion from my evermore exasperated boyfriend I realised that if one small phone can fall out of my pocket then one giant on certainly will. So I settled on the slightly smaller iPhone 6 and (long story short!) I thought I’d show you what I keep on there.

Social Media – I’m going to group all the usual suspects under one umberella here but the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can all be found. I used to make sure I had Facebook downloaded on my phone at all times in uni but that was mainly so I could keep a check on any photos that were posted from the night out before. Now I use it mainly for messaging and general scrolling when I’m on puplic transport. Instagram is my all time favourite app. I’m obsessed! You can follow me here, but I’ll be doing a little post soon all about my ongoing love for it.

My Fitness Pal – I used to use this quite regularly when I felt the need to count all my calories. In terms of all the health and fitness apps out there I think it’s one of the best. It’s very realisitc when setting up your account, suggesting you aim to lose 1 pound a week and giving a very sensible calorie goal for each day. When it comes to adding your meals for the day it’s list is endless and you are sure to find exactly what you’ve eaten on there.

VSCO – This is my absolute favourite image editing app. Truth be told I currentlt don’t have any kind of editing software available to me so I use this for Instagram and for my photos on here. Due to my lack of memory and outdated ios system I don’t actually have the most up to date version, but I will be making use of those new filters as soon as I can.

Twist – This game is addictive. It’s free, it’s easy to understand and once you’ve got it you won’t be able to stop. DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT. Only do, becuase then I’ll have someone to share my addiction with.

Maps – I used to only use the iMaps that came with the phone but recently I’ve been fully converted to Google Maps. It’s great as a Sat Nav as it actually looks ahead and assess the current traffic situation for you, then offers up an alternative route if there is a quicker one available. Since sitting in traffic is one of my worst pet hates, this is a bit of a lifesaver for me and my mood.

I’m sure there are plenty of other apps out there that I should probably be making use of, but these are what I reach for the most. What kind of apps do you guys use the most? Lemme know…

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The One Colour Eyeshadow Look

 

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Having written about my makeup routine before, and then following with one that has a bit more too it, it seems I’m now professing my love of yet another product. But having followed a number of beauty bloggers for awhile now, if one thing is clear it’s that the beauty world moves quickly and as soon as one thing seems great, another thing will come along that’s even better. Take highlighting and now strobing for example – soon we’ll just be smooshing our face into a pot highlighter and calling it a job well done.

But anyway, my new favourite product is courtesy of H&M Beauty. As has already been mentioned by many before the whole range is beautiful and packaged to look far more highend than it is. My product of choice is an eyeshadow and it was actually inspired by Lily Pebbles, an amazing beauty blogger. Named Baci di Dama, it’s a lovely golden colour that actually looks far more copper-y on my eyes. Normally I just put a light wash right across my lids, pop on a bit of mascara and be done for the day with a slightly more put together look than what I would normally go for. Likewise it’s a colour that can easily be ‘dressed up’ and added to for an evening look. If it were me I would pair it with something a little darker in the crease of the eye, add a small cat flick and then loooads of mascara.

Although most days I stick to what I know, something I can slap on in a hurry and then run out the door, sometimes it’s nice to have a back up option of something that’s equally as easy but just a little bit different. I can’t wait to see what other options H&M Beauty has. I bet there’s a few treasures in there that will become staples in my makeup bag.

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January in Review

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January has, and will always be, a loooong month. And that’s mainly due to desperately waiting for the first payday in what feels like forever. It’s safe to say that after all the festive excitement it’s not surprising that more often than not we all get a little case of the January blues. It’s just inevitable that everything seems a little sadder, a little colder and a little duller and then with the shorter month of February and the approach of Spring things start to perk up again.

For the most part January has been great. For starters I moved into a new flat, meaning the first few weeks were pretty much taken up with unpacking, finding new homes for things and figuring out my new living arrangements. There’s still things to do, I am in desperate need of a desk and somewhere to put all my ‘important’ files. There are a lot of boxes everywhere, either packed or unpacked, that I’m not quite sure what to do with them all. I’m super excited to get things all sorted, gets some pictures on the walls and some plants around the place. There might even be a few interiors based post coming up.

January is also my birthday month, as nice little event to break up the cold, cold weeks. You can read all about it here, but it was a lovely low key affair, which I’m totally cool with as the more birthday’s that go by the more I realise that’s one of the best ways to celebrate. It was also great to spend sometime with one of my oldest friends – it really made me focus on all the amazing people that are in my life. It’s definitely something I’m going to think about on the days when I feel slightly too far away from everyone. The same can be said about the flying visit I made to my family home the other week. It’s one of my favourite things to do when I feel ever so slightly panicked about the distance. Ain’t nothing like a trip back to the ‘rents to bring you right back down to earth!

That’s about it for January, I hope you’ve enjoyed this months posts. As a side note the Weekly Thoughts feature is currently in transition stage to becoming… A Month in Review feature! Surprise, this is the first of twelve for 2016. It just didn’t seem right to only have one post in between a weekly thought – nobody needs to know every scrap of detail in my brain and this way I’m focussing more on some super cool, interesting posts that I hope you’ll love!

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How to spend a Solo day in London

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There’s something quite refreshing about spending some time on your own. Not on the days when you’re already feeling a bit lonely and then go and spend the rest of the day in your own company. But on days when your full of energy and sass and just wanna get out and get some air, what the hell’s gonna stop you from just going?

This week I found myself in London with a little bit of time on my hands – so I guess this should really be called ‘how to spend a few hours solo in London’. But here’s a list of a few things that are easily accessible and don’t take too long to travel between; a couple of places to stop and chill, a few places to shop and a few cultural highlights just to give a nice balance.

  1. Oxford Circus

I’ve included this because it’s basically where I started from, and really every time I’m in London I end up here a my starting point. From Oxford Circus you can head for a little bit of retail therapy down Oxford Street of Regent Street. The giant Topshop is always a good place to start if you need pointing in the right direction.

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2. & Other Stories

& Other Stories is found just behind Oxford Circus and is always worth a little look around, mainly for the shop decor. The clothes and beauty products are also well worth a look, really beautiful contemporary pieces perfect for anyone trying to create a capsule wardrobe. If that’s not really your kind of thing then you could always pick something small and beautiful.

3. Joe and the Juice

This place holds a little something in my heart, with it being the place my boyfriend and I used to meet for day dates in London back when we were doing the ol’ long distance thing. They’re situated just to the left of Oxford Circus and serve every kind of fresh juice you can think of as well as a cup of well, joe. They have a really fab upstairs seating area, perfect for a little chill if you took my first advice and indulged in some retail therapy.

4. National Gallery

The National Gallery is one of my favourite galleries in London. That’s mainly because it’s so big that I forget what’s actually in there and it’s a bit of a surprise to find out again. But it’s also bang next door to the National Portrait Gallery which always has a new and super interesting exhibition on, including an Audrey Hepburn exhibition that I was just dying to see.

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5. Covent Garden

You could fill your whole afternoon with a visit to Covent Garden. There’s street entertainers, shops, usually on weekends there’s a market and just the general vibe of the place is worth going to soak up for a while. You can get there pretty easily from Oxford Circus on the tube, or you could go the scenic route and take in Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus and tick those off the list too. There’s something about the crowds in Covent Garden that kind of absorb you, so don’t worry about being on your own.

Sadly my day (read: few hours) had to come to end here, but if you have more time then I fully recommend a quick trip across the river to the Southbank. Again there’s plenty to do – there’s the Tate Modern which is such a classic London attraction, but there’s also the aquarium and usually a great book and record market under one of the bridges. So don’t be afraid to spend a solo day in the country’s capital, it’s really not that lonely or scary.

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Chloe Drew, Chloe Who?

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Remember a few months back, when suddenly every single blogger was snapped with a shiny little Chloe Drew number? I sure do, and I can tell you I drooled over pretty much all the photos in their various different colours and glittering hardware. It’s something of a wanderlust product for me as I can never even imagine spending that amount of money on a little bag. My bank balance would never ever forgive me, despite how lovely the purchase may look hanging on my arm or in pride of place in my wardrobe.

A plus point of the little Drew baby is the sheer size of it. I’m a girl who carries pretty much everything you could possibly need for the day, plus extras and anything I might pick up while out and about. That’s a whole lotta stuff. Consequently I normally carry a much larger bag to accommodate this.

Instead of dropping a whole lotta dollar on the designer version I have found the perfect new little addition to my accessory collection. Not only did it come in at an incredible fraction of the Chloe price but has also taken a lot of strain off my shoulders too. The little beaut is from Accessorize and is such an all-rounder of a bag, in such a lovely deep red colour and gold hardware – it will just go with so many things. I can’t wait for spring to arrive so I can match it with a pair of skinny jeans, a blue and white strippy tee and leather jacket, some sneaks and probably a nice red lip to. Ah that’s basically the weekend outfit of my dreams.

Here’s to hoping the sun breaks through in the next few months and can make the OOTD dream a reality, until then I’ll just try not to revert back to my back-breaking handbag habits.

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Feeling Twenty-Three…

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I’ve titled this post purely because I’m mourning the fact I can no longer legitimately sing Taylor Swift. This day has come around quickly and it’s hard to believe it was just a year ago I was wandering along Weston-Super-Mare pier and getting ready for my first day at work, at my first proper post-uni job. This week marked my twenty-third birthday and I celebrated in just the right way. It started at the weekend, and with the arrival of one of my oldest and closest friends. She and her boyfriend came over for the weekend and we showed them the sights of Bristol. I always feel it’s a good way to remind you of what you draws you to a place, when you show someone new around and almost see it through their eyes.

We shopped around town, had lunch in one of my favourite places, Bagel Boy, which is also one of Bristol’s most loved local chains with a few locations popping up across the city. This was followed by a swift walk up Park Street and onto one of my favourite places in town, Brandon Hill. On a nostalgic note, this is where I often used to come for a bit of fresh air and to clear my mind back in my unemployed days. Ah memories…

As it was also my friends birthday on the Sunday our evening meal out was in joint celebration of us both turning one year older and wiser, and swiftly followed by some drinks and a card game or two. After spending many years at uni going out and partying with big groups of people, followed by waking up feeling more than a little worse for wear, it was so lovely to spend some quality time with loved ones and something a little more low key.

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After brunch prepared by my boyfriend and me (it was cracking, in case you were wondering) Sunday was spent at the Arnolfini, one of Bristol’s biggest art galleries and they are always bound to have something interesting on show. A quick coffee stop at another of my favourite’s, Spicer & Cole – the riverside location as it’s always a bit quieter and there’s less yummy mummy’s than the Clifton branch. Sadly that brought us to the end of the weekend and my friends had to make their way back to the Big Smoke.

That was not the end of the celebrations though! Oh no, you see, as my company is nice enough to give you the day off on your birthday I gratefully took it and spent the day with my boo. It was a gloriously sunny day and we spent it walking in the park, drinking coffee and eating cake and then… Well a surprise was pulled out of the bag as we headed across country to picturesque Bath and the Thermae Bath Spa. I have been before, but I have to admit that visiting the rooftop pool at sunset is my all time favourite visit.

It’ safe to say that I have been throughly spoiled over the last few days, not to mention the upcoming present of a macaron making class in a few months time! Normally around these times of year, birthday’s, new year, season’s change, I can get a little down and out. I reckon it’s something to do with the nostalgia as well as the unknown. It just makes me uneasy. And there might be a tiny bit of that lingering (read here), but actually for the most part I feel really great. There have been a few realisations recently that the people in my life are really really great. I want to see more and more of them and I just have this feeling that 23, I hope, will be the best yet.

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Weekly Thoughts

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What really is slow living?

It wasn’t that long ago that I heard about the concept of slow living, and to be perfectly honest I didn’t fully understand what it was all about. Living your life slowly? I mean, you can only live at the same pace as everyone else, right? The days are only so many hours long and we only get 24 each to do with as we please. Surely it couldn’t mean holding yourself back, slowing down your life and falling behind others?

And then I found out about slow blogging and the phrase ‘quality over quantity’ was used over and over again. The idea of not rushing out content at breakneck speed (because generally that’s the speed the internet moves at) and really taking your time in producing content. Content that has so much more to it than a quick review of a product and a few rushed words because we’ve all got things going on other than creating online content. The idea really did appeal to me and to be honest it would fit in a lot more with my life and my job, but then would I be falling behind? There are so many other great bloggers who manage their time so wisely that they produce amazing content, daily, as well as working full time. Perhaps not something that would really do me and my little blog that much good.

And then Sophie from Theprivatelifeofagirl introduce the idea of slow fashion. Now this. This is something I could really get into. The concept of holding out when buying new items, not finding a cheap ‘make do’ item from Primark and instead waiting until a slightly erm, better quality item is affordable to you. One that will actually last the season instead of either shrinking or becoming completely misshapen upon the first wash. This also applies to the idea of fast fashion that most shops live by these days, with constantly changing stock and trends to keep up with. Something I used to be very guilty of is buying without thinking of what other options I already have in my wardrobe. This year is going to be one where I carve out some kind of uniform/ personal style for myself, instead of mindlessly purchasing clothing and ending up with a mish-mash of colours, styles and trends to try and pair together.

So turns out that slow living isn’t so much to do with holding out, missing out or stagnation (something I’m personally trying to avoid this year). But more about careful thinking, personal style and durability. Plus, anything the uber-stylish Kinfolk are fans of is something I want to get involved in!

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A Detox(lite) To Try

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So we’re now over a week into the new year. Personally I’ve finally finished off the last box of Celebrations, there’s a few chocolate coins left hanging around and I’ve got a chocolate teddybear that I’m saving for a rainy day/PMS nightmare. Sadly I have no excuses left and it’s time to start the ol’ healthy lifestyle again.

For me it’s not too difficult to stay on the healthier side of things – I do actually enjoy fruit and veg and exercise and often if I’m in a bad mood it’s becuase I’m aware that it’s slipped and I’m anticipating getting it back on track. The festive period is a slippery slope and it’s not uncommon that we all fall off the wagon and face first into the roast potatoes. I’m no health guru but I do know a few bits and pieces that make living a slightly healthier lifestyle all that bit easier to manage. They’re a few pointers in the right direction and make a transition from full-on elasticated clothing period, to one where you feel a whole lot brighter and lighter at the start of the week.

Despite the title of this post I’m not actually advocating a detox here. As I’ve already said it’s taken me a week to get rid of the last remaining treats (and of course I’ve eaten them, rather than taken them to work like others would have…) and going from zero to ten on January 1st seems to me like a sure fire way of falling at the first hurdle. So I give you a detox-lite instead.

Get back in the flow:

For me once I’m off my game it’s so much harder to get back into things. For a week or two before Christmas I completely stopped exercising adn going to the gym. I just didn’t want to. It was raining and grey and the thought of getting all sweaty – no thank you. So I stopped going and I felt worse for it but this week I’ve made it back to my lunchtime gym session. It was onlt twice a week but it was way better than nothing. You’ve just got to ease yourself back in gently to remind yourself of why it feels better to go.

Porridge (and healthy food in general!)

I can hear the groans all around! Porridge is not all that bad, guys. It is actually one of my favourite breakfasts and one that I have most mornings. It’s super quick to make, keeps you full all morning and one way to get around the general blandness of it is to add as many and as adventurous toppings as you care for. I’m talking honey, bananas, fruit, dried fruit, nuts,seeds, nut butters…

Clear desk, clear mind:

This may seem like an odd point but I feel it definitely comes into play when talking about a healthy lifestyle. With clean and tidy surroundings I generally feel so much more motivated to get things done. I’m not constantly trying to sort through papers and looking for my trainers under piles of clothes. This is also a good point for a bit of a mental detox – if there are certain things that you keep putting off and are weighing you down, then get them ticked off your to do list and carry on with your day on a positive note.

All this being said, I have fully enjoyed the festive period and don’t regret even one of my pigs-in-blankets. Life is all about balance and it’s something that we’re all still learning. Let’s focus on creating positivity in our lives and detox out the negatives. It’d be a pretty good way to start the year, even if it is a lite version.

 

 

 

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Weekly Thoughts

Weekly Thoughts

When staying is sometimes the better option.

While I was in the process of writing my Year Ahead post and looking back on what has been a fairly successful year of blogging (for the girl who’s started and stopped about three or more in the past) I realised that the one thing I don’t have over here, is something that’s unique to me. A couple of my favourite bloggers all have regular features, whether that’s a monthly round up, weekly favourites, or one of my personal favourites, The Fitness Files from Anna of Viviannadoesmakeup. I’ve decided my own offering will be a weekly post on what’s mostly been occupying my mind that week. A couple of thoughts and feelings, a few favourites, maybe something a bit more personal to me and will give a little snippet of my life.

The first one of the year is a topic that’s been on my mind and making me live in limbo for the last few weeks. When the decision of whether to move or stay first came up I thought I’d mull it over for a bit and answer would come to me. Life doesn’t really work like that for me and consequently I ended up hauling boxes up stairs, frantically bleaching everywhere and handing over keys before rushing homehome on Christmas Eve.

If you had bumped into me a few months ago, I would have told you that I wasn’t going to be here after Christmas. In my current town. I was sick of it, sick of all the weird things and people here. Tired of my flat above a noisy pub and the smoking area you had to fight your way through to get to the front door. I was bored of my job that, at the start of the year had seemed such a great foot in the door, and tired of the admin. I wanted a fresh start and something new in a place that wasn’t so unfamiliar and isolated. And yet where am I now? I’m still right here.

I’ve read so many articles that say if you’re not happy where you are or doing what you do, that you should just change it. Simple as that, just change your circumstances and life will give you a pat on the back and a go with the happy card. But what if you’re neither happy nor unhappy? What if the thought of changing everything makes you wonder if it will be for the better or the worse and there’s no way of telling what the outcome will be? In my case the option was either stay in Bristol, in said job and weird surroundings or move back home to London, find a new job, commute everyday and pay extortionate rent.

In a case when both sides of the coin looked the same I did the opposite of what those articles suggested. I stayed. In the same job and place, but in a new flat with my boyfriend. And instead of feeling like I’m stuck, stale and stagnating, it suddenly feels fresher and more positive. I want to fill my new flat with plants, put photos on the walls and explore my new area. I want to talk to new people at work, find new opportunities and create something half resembling a network for myself.

Staying is often regarded as the easy way out, staying in your comfort zone and not taking risks. But staying and working with what you already have can be just as good for you. It’s improvement but without the added stress of literally starting from scratch.

Im very aware of my word count, and the fact that I intended this to be a positive post, so I’ll call it a day here. I guess the point of all these words is that sometimes you don’t need to change everything about your life in order to feel like you’re moving forward, you just need a new perspective.

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