Friday, 31 October 2014

Instagram: October 2014


cosy interiors • breakfast with the paper • elle and essie • chips ahoy dairy milk • not one but two little blue boxes • organising my space • round food for every mood • bathroom inspiration • croissant and #girlboss • autumn classics • new art prints • my pinterest is full of neutral interiors • love the patterning here • pink mojito for a friend's birthday • graduation • wagamama favourite

Phew, I say this every single month but where is this year going? I can't believe we're almost in November but that means we can start talking about Christmas! I've managed to book off all of Christmas and New Year this time around so can fully look forward to the most wonderful time of the year - and I'm already excited to see Christmas window displays and am planning on buying some new decorations this year (The White Company, I'm looking at you!)

October has been a truly lovely month. The weather is finally getting chillier, and the crisp autumn leaves are crunching underfoot which is a sure sign of my favourite beautiful season. I'm still on the lookout for conkers though... Can't seem to find any locally this year, weird! I guess the biggest thing to happen to me in October was that I graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in English and Creative Writing. I won't go into details on this post but I wrote all about it earlier this week (click here). All I will say is that it was the proudest day of my life, and I'm so grateful for everything that has happened the last three years. 

I also did a complete bedroom overhaul and am planning to redecorate at some point. This is pretty much thanks to all the pinning on Pinterest - what else is new? And a confession: I can't stop eating croissants at the moment! They are so delicious but I'm going to have to curb my habit next month. I'm going back to healthy eating and exercise, which is why I'm having a final cheeky Domino's this weekend! It's been a pretty indulgent month but I really want to lose some weight so I don't feel so guilty gorging over Christmas.

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas, by the way? I've had my list ready for the past month and will soon be buying a new stocking for this year, not to mention taking a trip to Homebase to look for decorations! We've already decided to go with the red and gold theme this year. I want to be so much more organised than I am though. That probably means I should set aside some of my wages over the next two pay days so I can actually afford gifts for everyone, haha! 

How was your October?
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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Graduation

After a tumultuous start to my university experience four years ago, it was a sunny October day when I finally took the 10 yard leap from student to graduate. Panics over half term traffic jams and major hat hair aside, it was one of the proudest days of my life and I will never forget it. 

The morning started fairly relaxed, although I didn't have time for breakfast (I was so nervous about tripping on stage, my robes and mortarboard not fitting etc.) I'm such a worrier that I imagined every possible scenario going wrong in my head. I really don't help myself, haha! My brother was late - the first hiccup of the day. The ceremony started at 12pm and we didn't leave the house until 10.30am, by which time all of my friends were already at the university campus robed and ready! I was freaking out all the way to campus, not helped by tractors on country roads, slow cars, train gates and half term traffic jams backed up all the way down the bypass. I made it to campus around 11.15am and basically ran around to get registered, robed and have my professional photograph taken. Oh god, so embarrassing! I think the photo is going to turn out awful as the photographer made me smile like a right idiot. It's going to be awesome having to see that framed on my parents' living room wall for the rest of my life!
I literally ran across the road to the Chichester Festival Theatre where my family were already waiting, along with all my friends' families too. We didn't have time to take any photographs beforehand; I just switched my shoes from flats to wedges, and tried my best to round up my girls to get us all inside on time. The ceremony itself started at 12pm and was only supposed to be an hour long. It turns out that we were one of the largest groups of graduates the university had ever seen, plus there was a fellowship being awarded to the BBC radio dramatist Nick Warburton (the speech honouring him was so long and we had yet to collect our diplomas by this point), we didn't get out of the theatre until 2pm! 

The entire ceremony was a bunch of déjà vu. I had heard the whole thing word-for-word before at my brother's ceremony a couple of years ago! So I knew all of the anecdotes, punchlines, and the serious stuff too. Still, it's a little different when it's your ceremony isn't it? I was too busy worrying about tripping over on stage to care! Luckily that didn't happen either, and I even managed to spot my family in the crowd as I went up on stage. I almost got a little choked up when they called my name and friends and family cheered - totally felt like thrusting my fist in the air like Judd Nelson at the end of The Breakfast Club!

It was so lovely to see everyone again, fellow students and lecturers alike. It's sad to think that I may not see half these people ever again but I've had such a great time studying with them that I'm going to try really hard to stay in touch with them. We all did it together and for that I think we share something pretty special.
It was pretty disappointing that the ceremony overran by an hour because it meant we hardly had time for photographs afterwards either. When my brother graduated it seemed like we were outside forever, waiting for them to finish taking photos! Still, we managed to get a couple in before most of us had to leave in order to get to lunch reservations. We decided to stay a bit longer to have some family photos done because we knew we had already missed ours. In the end we went to The Crown and Anchor pub, which overlooks the Chichester marina and was looking beautiful as the sun was setting. I opted for a delicious gourmet cheeseburger with a brioche bun, chips and homemade coleslaw, followed by a chocolate brownie sundae - so good! Diet starts tomorrow, as they say.
Okay so I don't know what to say about these pictures... I think I'm still in shock! As a graduation gift from my parents I was presented with two beautifully wrapped little blue boxes over dinner. Safe to say I let out a pretty excited squeal! In one box was the infamous Return to Tiffany & Co sterling silver heart tag earrings which fit my earlobes perfectly, and in the other was a matching sterling silver heart tag double chain bracelet which is so dainty and gorgeous. Honestly I feel so lucky to have received them in the first place, but now they will forever have connotations with my proudest day!

It really was one of the best days of my life. I couldn't have done it without the support of my amazing family and of course my girls. They have made my university experience what it is and for that I am forever grateful. Girls, you're friends for life, and I'm so glad I got to go on this amazing journey with you all!

So yes, I'm a graduate with a BA (Hons) degree in English and Creative Writing! Now I just have to figure out what to do with it...
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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Finishing Touches

This week I took on the menial task of giving my bedroom a good old clean. I'm not talking about the classic "oh I'll just shove that under the bed" type cleaning... I mean proper "hands-and-knees-scrubbing with chemicals" type cleaning. It's something that I should do more of, absolutely, but the truth is it bores me to tears. So, drafting in help from my Mum, we got stuck in and scrubbed the walls, steam-cleaned the floors and it was then I decided I wanted to switch all the furniture around. Always easier said than done but I'm really happy with how my space looks... for now!

I love changing my bedroom around. I don't do it often - once a year if I'm lucky - but I always feel like I'm sleeping in a brand new bedroom when it has been switched. Isn't it funny how furniture really shapes and defines a space? You know my love for interior design too, and while out looking at kitchens in Wickes yesterday I picked up four or five brochures purely on Dulux paint colours. I'm keeping the white walls (I have to be true to myself) and if I can't have the perfect white floorboards then I'm certainly painting a feature wall! We've been discussing changing parts of my bedroom for years now, so I'm planning on painting one wall light grey and getting some luxurious silver curtains instead of the broken pattern blinds that currently shield the windows. White and grey, do they go well together? I'm flicking through my paint samples and constantly holding them against the white walls to gauge whether it would look good. I'm currently loving the idea but you know what it's like - my mind changes a lot!

I've also had these lovely art prints in a manila envelope for months, and I've been dying to find the perfect simple black frames to house them so I can finally show them off. Luckily I found these super cheap ones from The Range for £2.79 each. The prints are really gorgeous - I'm sure you'll agree - and are by RKHercules on Etsy. You can check out her shop here. I would love to add to my little collection with other designs eventually. As you can probably tell, because my room hasn't been redecorated just yet I don't want to hang them up but I quite like the idea of just standing them up on the floor, or even have them leaning against my bookshelf. I think it adds a modern, albeit lazy, twist to a simple finishing touch!
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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Paris Street Style: A Guide to Effortless Chic

"They envy us for the je ne sais quoi that is so characteristic of French style, the effortless, unstudied chic of it: the tangled hair of Vanessa Paradis, the faded jeans of Charlotte Gainsbourg, the masculine shirts and ballet flats of Inés de la Fressange, the look of Clémence Poésy... French women are more sober in their clothes choices than the flamboyant Italians or the eccentric English. We live in a country where female elegance is anything but ostentatious."

There is something so sophisticated about Parisian women. I love how they can throw classic pieces together in an effortless manner; how they can wear gorgeous heels with any outfit and get away with it; how they can just stick their hair up with ease and call it a messy updo; how they possess so much confidence in their style that they can wear what they like, in any situation, and still go out of the house without a scrap of makeup on! Ahhh, to be a modern day Parisian woman with the right balance of work and home life, and a penchant for guilt-free lunch dates...

I guess this is what made me stumble across this gorgeous Breton-striped book on Amazon a while back. Paris Street Style by Isabelle Thomas and Frédérique Veysset is an intriguing mix of fashion tips, advice, pretty illustrations, interviews and beautiful full-page photographs of typical women of all ages galavanting around the French capital. Interestingly, the book has no mention of striped t-shirts at all which I found crazy - I mean, what is the first thing you think of when you think French fashion? Despite being initially drawn into this book because I thought it looked nice (judge a book by its cover just this once), I can safely say that it has fast become my go-to source for fashion advice!
The book goes through several small chapters that offer all kinds of witty advice and some really helpful tips on how to gain the effortless chic style of a Parisian, plus a handy index that suggests places to go in Paris - so style guide and travel book all in one! I have to say that my favourite tip they provide is the suggestion of wearing new heels with socks for 15 minutes each day to break them in - very clever! I also had no idea that a small percentage of synthetic material is actually good for your garments because it provides longevity!

From sorting out your current wardrobe to finding your staple handbag (yes, apparently you only need one), from busting fashion myths and clichés to thrift-shopping to make the old brand new again, the book offers readers a chance to experience many facets of style and incorporate it in their own wardrobe to make life easier. There's a whole section of how to style denim Monday through to Sunday which is one of my favourites since I practically live in Topshop Joni jeans. They even condone stealing clothes - no, not in the way you think - I'm talking about raiding your boyfriend's wardrobe for oversized shirts, and having a peek in your grandmother's stash for vintage opportunities. 

Even though the main purpose of the book is to advise and offer incite, you can obviously pick and choose what chapters apply to you. It's not about changing your fashion sense - in fact they stress the importance of finding your own style - it's more about knowing what works for you and how you can make smart style choices. 
I just love everything about Paris Street Style. I don't want to reveal too much of it, otherwise what would be left for you guys to discover? It's one of those things where if you're interested in it, and are inspired by the simplistic French touch, then you should really give it a look! All I can say is that it has definitely made me look at my own wardrobe and realise that I don't need half of the clobber I've got shoved in there. Which reminds me, I must have a good clean out soon and start on my own path towards Parisian chic!

It's definitely one to keep on your coffee table. 

Do you have a style bible? How would you best describe your style? 
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