Thursday, 27 February 2014

home is wherever i'm with you

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sometimes, there's nothing quite like bundling up in an oversized jumper; this is especially true if the jumper has batwing sleeves that allows me to run around outside pretending that i'm flapping my 'wings'. on a more different note, my wardrobe is forever on the receiving end of my addictive personality. at the moment, i'm obsessed with anything and everything emblazoned with nautical/breton stripes. i've purchased 3 new knits with the print just this month alone - woops. so long Peter Pan collars. in my defence, it's a timeless print that'll work no matter the season. i already have grand plans to swap the black shorts and tights with some pastel coloured shorts and gladiator sandals as soon as summer rolls around. smart purchase, amiright?

another thing that i'm infatuated with? this felt fedora hat from ASOS. putting it on makes me feel like an explorer ready to tackle the ancient curses in an enchanted Egyptian pyramid. at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, i also pretend that i'm Audrey Hepburn merrily gliding down the streets of New York with a danish pastry in hand on my way to Tiffany's. i wouldn't advise mixing both scenarios together either - it doesn't quite work.

have you been lusting after a certain print or style of clothing recently?

striped jumper - depop + crochet layer shorts - eBay + alibi ankle boots - topshop + lilac felt fedora hat - asos + heart necklace - rings and tings*]

Monday, 24 February 2014

Tea and Cake

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there's something about afternoon tea that naturally makes me reach for a Peter Pan collar dress and step into a pair of cream coloured tights. Jordan and I recently visited Steyning, a quaint little town filled with deliciously British tearooms, pubs and independent boutiques bursting with antiques and vintage little gems.

to shield myself from the strong winds outside, I opted for the thickest coat that I owned. it's shearling lined, has an oversized fur hood and envelops me in the cosiest hug. once we stepped inside, I peeled it off and ordered some tea to sip at in my tartan printed dress. I felt a little like a character from a Victorian storybook and I felt the urge to describe everything as being 'lovely, splendid and marvellous'. we shared a slice of their famous Victoria sponge cake and halved a large fruit scone that was still warm from the oven. we spread a generous amount of clotted cream and jam before washing it down with some lapsang souchong tea.

I love taking a break from the city and to let our modern day lives take a back seat for an hour or two. we didn't check our phones (no service), we didn't talk about work and instead, just drank in the floral dotted room with its assortment of hand painted ornaments and listened to the hum of conversation. 

I can't wait for the next time we go for tea and cake : )

If you'd like to see a review of this tearoom along with more pictures of the interior, head on over to my food blog!

[tartan dress, river island - cream tights, primark - oversized parka, zara - boots, river island - necklace - rings and tings*, bag, primark]

Friday, 21 February 2014

goosebumps came knocking to say that it wasn't yet the right time

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Winter has been good to us this year.

Aside from a few occasions that it's arrived in floods of tears, it's so far held back and hasn't given us the ultimate cold shoulder with its snowy tantrums yet. Saying that, I've most probably provoked an oncoming shower of icicles and slippery surfaces.

Dare I say that I've been dreaming for summer to arrive?

The sun seems to agree. I've been waking up to bright bursts of warmth filling every corner of my room each morning and I'm in serious talks with my winter scarves and coats about an early hibernation. I stepped out in cobalt blue jeans and a midriff-baring top the other day but goosebumps came knocking to say that it wasn't yet the right time.

I'm counting down the days until my wooly socks are replaced with leather sandals; I'm yearning for my parka to be swapped with cotton dresses dotted with daisies and sun-kissed faces. Gelato. Lazy mornings. Ice cold drinks with a slice of watermelon. Sunglasses. Sandy feet.

I have my fingers firmly crossed for an earlier arrival this year, summer. 

Please don't let me down.

[crop top - primark, cobalt polka dot jeans - zara, blazer - h&m, boots - topshop]

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

xoxo Gossip Girl

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I love Gossip Girl.

It started off my obsession with New York, it's contributed to the majority of my wardrobe choices and I always apply the question 'what would Blair Waldolf wear/do/say' to most situations. That's a little sad, isn't it? For Christmas this year, I'd like a (wild) life but for now, I'll live vicariously through these folks living on the Upper East Side. 

 I've always adored the Constance Billard uniform and this would be my grown-up attempt of trying to replicate the precise tailoring, structure and components of the outfit. Given that it's all black, I'd happily wear it to work, dinner and smart casual events. The dark attire purposely doesn't include a white crisp shirt (with an accompanying tie) to take it away from its obvious school girl inspiration. Whilst I'm all for tartan skirts and Peter Pan collars, this leather alternative is reserved for an 'independent lady' kind of day.

Are you ever inspired to dress like a character from a TV show?

Please say that I'm not the only one.

[Leather top - Zara, school blazer - H&M, watch - Michael Kors, rings - H&M, skinny jeans - Topshop, boots - New Look]

Friday, 14 February 2014

How I Style: Black and White (Casual Outfits)

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Happy Friday and Happy Valentine's Day!

I thought I'd write a quick post on a new lookbook that I uploaded last night! It's the second part to my 'How I Style: Black and White' series and focuses on the casual outfits for day trips/school/lunch. From pinafore dresses, leather trousers to fluffy jumpers - I hope it helps! The video is embedded below : )

Do you have anything special planned for tonight?

Jordan and I aren't usually the type to get super romantic (probably the only girl to request for no flowers, cuddly toys or chocolate!) but have decided to celebrate it instead with the key to our hearts: good food. The winter blues comes with its fair dose of nostalgia for the summer holidays. I've been wistful and yearning for the sunshine radiating from the photographs in Madrid and Barcelona so Jordan surprised me with a booking at a family owned Spanish tapas restaurant in Brighton. Yay! Tapas is one of my favourite meals of all time (the other being dim sum) so I'm very excited for some gambas pil pil, Spanish omelette and patatas bravas (to name but a few) tonight.

I'll be hopping on a train from London after work today and I'm counting down until it's time to chow down (oh, and declare our undying love for each other ofc (bleughhh)). It's good to be back in Brighton after a hectic week in the city! My little sister turned 19 yesterday (sheesh, where has the time gone?!) so this weekend will be filled with belated celebrations and more food ;)

Whether you're spending today with your other half, friends, family or enjoying your own company - I hope that you have the best time : )

Thursday, 13 February 2014

delicate stars in the brightest golden ink

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Black and gold make quite the happy couple, don't they?

They don't attempt to outshine each other, the tones are complementary and it's always a fail-safe option no matter the occasion. 

Textures are hastily thrown in and prints are combined but the marriage of colour still creates fluidity on the canvas. There's a wash of a dark night before a thin brush arrives to paint on the most delicate stars in the brightest golden ink. A litter of clouds scatter themselves across the backdrop and brings with it a styling of the modern day.

I wonder if this Valentine's, this pairing will care to join me for dinner under the night sky with a glass of sangria?

[polka dot shirt - river island, faux leather skirt - topshop, wedges - new look, socks - topshop] 

Monday, 10 February 2014

A Wander in the East End

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Soho is normally my favoured area of London to explore with its winding streets of quirkily-dressed window displays and enticing new restaurants to tick off my food bucket list.

Last weekend, Jordan and I began our adventures elsewhere. We skipped and hopped (well, took the DLR) down to East London and started our day with the company of Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Liverpool Street. Although I work in the area, it's easy enough to overlook the streets as a potential weekend haunt so I beckoned Jordan over, took him to my favourite spots and filled our tummies with some good eats.

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For a day gallivanting around the city, comfort is key.

Who do I look to for such a piece?

My mother's wardrobe, of course! She bought this monochrome checkered dress from China
a few years ago for a mere £2 and it's been sadly forgotten about ever since... until now. I pulled on my well-loved Dr Marten Serenas (they're shearling lined for extra warm tootsie toes), wrapped myself in my fitted Zara jacket and sprung out of my front door with my camera in tow.

 However, sporting bare legs in winter wasn't the smartest decision to start the day with (even if it looks misleadingly sunny from your bedroom window), d'oh. Thankfully, Boots quickly swooped in to the rescue with some thick black tights (and a bill of £7, double d'oh) and our momentary hiccup was resolved and the day resumed.

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[checkered dress - mother's wardrobe, coat - zara, Dr Marten Serena boots, cross body bag - primark, necklace - ring n tings*, belt - primark]

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London's way of combining its history with its ever-evolving growth is one of the reasons why I love this city. The picturesque architecture married with the towering skyscrapers? Beautiful.

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Quick stop at Brick Lane Coffee for no-nonsense service, a good brew and worn sofas to perch on to people watch. Opt for their dirty soy chai latte if you ever pass by - caffeine is good for the soul 'n' all.

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Et voila!

Our quick jaunt through the East End of London has come to an end.

What are your favourite places to explore? :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Life After University: My First Job, Work Experience and CV/Cover Letter Tips

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A lot can happen in a year.

Last February, I was juggling my last semester at university with job applications, various work experiences, the start of an internship and my relationship. I devoted what little free time I had on producing new content for my YouTube channel and blog which resulted in months of sleepless nights, stress-induced health problems and the constant worries of 'what am I going to do with my life?' swimming around in my mind.

Fast forward to 365 days later, I now have my first job in the 'real world' in an industry that I've always loved, I work for an amazing company and I have over 9000+ of you on YouTube that have supported me along the way! I thank my lucky stars every day and my worries have ironed themselves out (with only semi-permanent frown lines to give it away). 

What's the point of that story?

I'd handle things differently if I had the chance to redo that period of time again. First and foremost, it's important to work your butt off for the last hurdles of your degree and future job prospects but it's equally as important to prioritise your health and happiness. It's perfectly fine if things don't go 100% to plan. It's OK if you feel like taking a few days off from everything. Just give yourself a few moments to calm down and move on. We have the rest of our lives to worry so don't let anxiety ruin this chapter of your life for you!

A few of you wanted to know about my life after university and asked if I had any tips to share so I really hope that this helps!

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- If you haven't done so already, start applying for jobs now along with extra work experience/internships to fit in (if you have the time!) before you graduate. People often wait until the final weeks of their course to job search so beat the crowd and get in there first!

- Stand out with an impressive CV. Don't put the generic 'I love to walk my dog, watch TV and take long strolls on the beach' lines under your personal interests. You may as well scribble 'I. Am. Boring. And. Forgettable.' across the page. Personalise each section to fit in with the job requirements, keep it constantly relevant to the role and show your potential employer why they NEED to have you on the team. Want to work in PR? Prove your social and networking skills or show off your blog! Want to work in Social Media? Demonstrate your online social presence along with previous experiences with social media strategies! Were you in charge of a company's Twitter/Facebook accounts? Shout about it (not literally)!

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- Research into the company that you're applying for and become familiar with their work ethics, their goals and their past achievements. It's important for your potential employer to know that you're not treating them as another generic job application but you're passionate, serious and truly deserve to work there.

- Recognise your best skills and emphasise it. Sell yourself! I'm a very chatty person so I loved the interview process and used it to show that I'm (hopefully) approachable, sociable and easy to talk to! This was especially important for my role but also shows that I wouldn't be a horrible pain in the bum to work with ;) Are you a creative writer? Charm them in your cover letter (leave out the cheesy Harry Potter chat up lines though).

- Show that you're versatile and that you're willing to adapt yourself. I can't stress this point enough. I know so many people who aim for a particular position in a set industry with a specific salary in mind and refuse to budge. You'll be against a lot of competition so you'll have to compromise in order to give yourself the best possible chance. Don't be afraid to start from the bottom and to work yourself up! You'll gain a lot more experience that way and it will give off a positive attitude too : )

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- If you're through to the interview process, congratulations! It's not as scary as you may think. Practise potential questions that may crop up with a friend or family member. Remember to take a deep breath before you answer, slow down and most importantly, be yourself. The reason your employer wants to meet you is because they're interested in what they've read in your CV/cover letter and want to know more about you as an individual - don't change that person because of your nerves. Remain professional but don't be a robot - we're all human here and they'll perfectly understand if you have a dose of interview jitters!

- Reward yourself and take well-deserved breaks! It's easy to get caught up in the manic process of applying for jobs but it doesn't mean that you should make yourself ill over it. Set yourself a target and once you're reached it, stop for the day. Go for a walk, wander around the shops or meet up with some friends to offload some stress! It'll do your mind a world of wonders and you'll be more refreshed and willing to start again the following day!

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Those were the first things that popped into my mind but I talk about it a lot more in the video below. If you're interested in finding out more about my job and the process of getting it, have a little watch!

Whether you're in your final year of university, you've graduated or even about to approach your first year of higher education - I really hope that this has been helpful! Please don't ever be discouraged or be disappointed if things don't go swimmingly straight away. If you've put in the hard work, you WILL be rewarded and things can only ever get better! : )

I hope you're all having a great day so far!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Off-Duty Classics

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(stiped top - zara, jeans - topshop, trench coat - zara, brogues - simmi shoes*, necklace - rings n tings*)

Having a dose of the post-weekend blues doesn't exactly fill me with the motivation to fling open my wardrobe doors and declare that I'll start off my week with my brightest floral blazer. For days like these, I'll turn to my favourite off-duty classics and attempt to dress up my lazy staples to an outfit a bit more presentable for my working week.

Ah, stripes: the ultimate go-to print. It's one that universally defies all language barriers and communicates to all that it's perfect for any time and any occasion. It's fool proof and having the bold even blocks of monochrome adds some life to your outfit and makes it seem like you've made some sort of effort (when in reality, you just shoved it on with your eyes half open)

Ditch the boyfriend jeans and aim for your favourite pair of skinnies. There's no need to wrestle with your top button either. These are the Topshop Leighs, fitting, flattering and above all - they're the softest pair of jeans I own and nobody is none the wiser.

Brogues are smart, comfortable and make the all-powerful 'clack clack clack' sound when walking through the office. This translates to 'I mean business' but it'll also earn you a few stares (and a few glares if anyone still has a poorly head) but it's ok, look smart and sound it. 

I always swish around in my trench coat feeling like Audrey Hepburn (the dream) - beige helps to tie the whole outfit together and finishes it off with a lovely bow. It's oversized yet nips you in at all the right places. It's an off-duty piece yet it's still very versatile for most events. A classic at its finest.

You can be sure that I'm slouching around in this from 9-6 today. 

What are your off-duty classics?

Happy Monday! 

I hope you're all having a lovely day so far : )
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