Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Outfits for Autumn

I was originally going to start this post with 'autumn is well and truly here', but that's not entirely true since it was over 20 degrees today and I was boiling in jeans and a long sleeved top. Having said that, most days have been hovering around the 15 or 16 degree mark, which is enough to need a jacket especially if the wind is blowing, so I feel entirely justified in writing a blog post on autumn fashion.

1. Skirts are my favourite thing to wear in autumn, providing it's not too cold, and of course they can be worn with knee socks or tights. I had to include a button-down skirt in here somewhere and this brown one is perfect for the move away from more summery denim. I'm also really loving heeled Chelsea boots, although I would buy them in black as I literally own nothing that goes with brown!

2. Even in the colder months, dresses are such a go-to as they constitute an entire outfit and require minimum effort - simply throw one on and you look utterly put-together in an instant. I love wearing them with dolly shoes/Mary Janes/whatever you want to call them, as they give such a playful vibe. Also I'm obsessed with this tapestry bag, I wish I could get my hands on it!

3. Shorts are much the same as skirts when it comes to putting tights under them, without the potential risks that gusts of October wind might pose. This outfit is super duper coordinated if I may say so myself, perhaps too much so but all the autumnal colours are so easy to combine!

4. And finally, if it really is a bit too chilly out for skirts etc, I adore these checked trousers for an instant cosy effect. The top picks up the colour of the criss-crossing lines perfectly, and screams out for a long necklace to jazz it up a bit.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, 26 September 2015

UK Food Haul

Every time we go to the UK we inevitably come back with an assortment of sweets and biscuits and just food in general that gets packed away in a cardboard box and loaded into the car and hoarded away until we want to taste England again. As we had no car on this last trip things were slightly different (we couldn't fit any Tetleys or Quavers or extra packets of Cheerios into the limited space), but we nevertheless brought back a few sweet treats that I thought I'd share with you today.

I have an extremely sweet tooth and dolly mixtures are my current obsession, they've recently replaced milk bottles as my go-to British buy. The best ones are three for £1 in Tesco, so I ended up with 6 packets after this trip (one of which I've already eaten!). You can actually get dollymix in our local British store but to be honest it's not that local and the Tesco ones are just superior.

Rhubarb and custards are maybe my second-favourite sweets and one of my mum's favourites too. Between us we've become slightly addicted to them lately so we picked up a few of these during our last Tesco shop. The flavour is just the most British thing ever and it's the bees knees in my opinion!

I also got a few mini hot chocolate things, which aren't actually part of our traditional haul, but seeing as I don't drink tea (gasp) or coffee, I'm quite partial to a hot choc on cold winter days.

I spotted this amazing GLITTER JELLY in a supermarket somewhere and just had to try it because hello, how awesome is that?? It says on the packet that it's new, which is all very exciting. I can't wait to see how this actually turns out!

Angel Delight is something we always buy a couple of packets of, and it's always the butterscotch flavour. My mum used to have this for pudding when she was little and it's something we like to have occasionally, with plenty of sprinkles and squirty cream.

Last but not least, pink panther biscuits were a staple of my childhood and I think they'll always be in my top three biscuits, after Bourbon creams and jammy dodgers. I mean they're pink, what's not to love? 


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Internetspiration #2

As September draws to a close and the date I'll be heading off to uni looms, I'm entirely conscious that I've done nothing productive this summer (apart from a few driving lessons) and have in fact spent most of my time on the internet. Having said that, the product of my endless hours of tumblr scrolling is a second round of inspiring/aesthetically pleasing images for you to enjoy!


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Fashion & Accessories Haul

Recently I was in the UK and of course had to do some pre-uni shopping. I'm also going to do an actual uni-specific haul soon showing you a bunch of stuff I've purchased to take with me, but this is just my standard post-trip haul! Since the disaster with the car on the way back last time we went by train, which meant we had to actually think about what we were buying and not just chuck it all in the boot as per usual. Luckily we bought two largish wheeled holdalls while we were there, so by putting one inside the other and padding the rest of the space out with new purchases we managed to bring back everything we'd bought, ahaha.

Butterfly Top, New Look 915, £12.99

I really love this colour so you'll be seeing a lot of it in this post! I already have an awful lot of things in this colour but for me it's just the ultimate shade for autumn/winter, along with darkish green and grey. This top was from the 915 section in New Look, which I wish we had in the store I go to in Belgium because I always find a couple of nice things there and it has the advantage of being slightly cheaper.

Blue Checked Dress, Primark, £13

I was on the lookout for some dresses because I love wearing them in winter - honestly, all you need is some tights and a cardi and you've got a complete outfit that always makes you look put together, what's not to like? I really loved this one from Primark, it's actually quite a flattering shape when it's on and I like the pocket zipper details.

Cardigan, Primark, £14

Massive woolly cardigans are such an essential in the colder months and this one is in The Colour so I had to have it. Not sure why this pic is so terrible but I'm going with it.

Top, Primark, £10

There are an awful lot of this style of long-sleeved tops (I call them peasant tops but I don't know if that's a thing) around in Primark in the moment so I tried one on and quite liked it. This one is also an actually passable material and not horrible sheer nylon, so I decided to get it. Also this is basically the same colour as my bedroom walls, so I would probably blend into the paintwork.

Grey Checked Dress, Matalan, £14

I now have about four checked dresses but apparently that isn't enough so here's another one. I'm often surprised by what you can find in Matalan when you look hard enough because it isn't the most fashionable of shops! I really love this, especially the material because it feels extra cosy.

Makeup Bag, Primark, £3 & Grey Jeans, Matalan, £12

Another Matalan purchase, these jeans were from the kids section which I find is always worth a look because it can be that bit cheaper. I found a similar pair in the adults which were about £10 more but didn't fit as well as these, so it's a win-win. I also picked up this beautiful rose-gold makeup bag to replace my current one which has reached that stage of being covered in smudges and foundationy fingerprints, lovely.

Loafers, River Island, £15 (sale)

For some reason I rarely ever find anything I like in River Island, but these shoes really caught my eye. They were down from £28 so practically half-price, and they feel like reasonably good quality. Having said that they're quite painful with bare feet so I'll probably wear them with tights and dresses.

Wellies, Matalan, £15

Finally I got this pair of actually quite stylish wellies, which are intended to protect my feet against the rain and snow up north later this winter. The fabric bit is super fleecy inside so my ankles were melting slightly when I tried these on, but to be honest that's just what you want when there's snow on the ground.

I also got miscellaneous bits like pyjamas, leggings, socks, tights etc which weren't interesting enough to photograph, and a black 'formal' dress and a huge winter coat which were too difficult to photograph. Look out for a couple more haul posts coming soon!


Thursday, 17 September 2015

H&M Picks

I thought it was about time for another picks post, since I've noticed most shops have got their new seasonal collections in by now which is all very exciting. I've been out and about doing a spot of shopping lately since I'm in the UK, so you can expect a haul sometime soon! For this post I've been scouring the H&M website in search of my favourite pieces - in a recent haul I explained that I really love H&M and I think it's often underestimated as a high street store as there are always such a lot of really excellent staple pieces and 'on-trend' items.

Crop Top / £7.99 x
In case you can't quite read it, this top says 'feminism: the radical notion that women are people' which I think is brilliant because it really shows how ridiculous it is to not identify as a feminist! To be honest I think this would probably be quite see-through, as most white tops tend to be in my experience, but I just love the message and the style of the top.

Sleeveless Chiffon Blouse / £7.99 x
This is just so gaudy and patterned, at first I wasn't sure if I loved it or hated it, but I think it's such a statement that it could work really well with a lot of black pieces.

Sweatshirt / £5.99 x
Jumpers like this are so essential for autumn/winter. Lately I've been really attracted to this mustard colour which is basically everywhere at the moment - I would wear this over just plain blue jeans or perhaps with a skirt if I could style it in the right way. Also it's so cheap, I couldn't believe it!

Superstretch Trousers / £14.99 x
I'm definitely going to have to try and find these superstretch trouser things in an actual store because they have them in so many colours and materials, including these faux leather ones which I'm slightly obsessed with. They're just so much more interesting than plain black jeans and just look effortlessly stylish.

Jacquard-patterned Dress / £14.99 x
I've been really loving this type of slightly shapeless shift dress right now, although I think they look a lot better on as opposed to in this picture. They're a little 60s which I love, plus...pockets!

Short Camo Shirt / £12.99 x
Pair this with that pair of leather trousers and you're up and away! I'm quite partial to a bit of camo print myself (I have a crop top, jeans and a jacket in it) as I think it makes a subtle statement, odd as that may sound.

Platform Boots / £24.99 x
To be fair I already own a pair of Chelsea boots, and I already have heels of about this size and chunkiness, but you know what I don't have? Chunky-heeled Chelsea boots! A girl in my Dutch class had a pair similar to these last year and I would spend half the time admiring them and wondering how I could justify that particular purchase...

Short Skirt / £14.99 x
Yes I know it's a button-down skirt (see my post on how to style them here) but look, it's in blue suede which I thought was a bit different because you most often see them in denim! This would look so nice with just a simple striped top and any kind of shoes really. 

Cotton Shirt / £14.99 x
And lastly, I think a basic shirt like this is such a staple for any autumn/winter wardrobe - you can wear it over jeans or leggings, or tucked into a skirt.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, 14 September 2015

Books I'm Taking to Uni


When you own several hundred books, all of which are your babies and which you sometimes find yourself staring lovingly up at in awe, it's almost impossible to pick just a few. But sadly soon that's exactly what I'll have to do when I pack up my stuff to move to university in the UK.

I've been informed by many people that there's no time to read at uni, but I am one of those people who always find time for the things I enjoy and reading is definitely one of them. Even if it's just for fifteen minutes or half an hour in the evening before I go to sleep, I like to incorporate some reading time into my day to relax and wind down away from screens. And if I managed to do it during the height of final exams season at school I'm sure I'll be able to fit it in somewhere!

But this still leaves me with the impossible decision of which few to select, since I know I'll only have a limited amount of space to transport and store these books, and though this list is by no means final I think I've managed to narrow it down to just a few.

By a complete and happy coincidence these are all rather colour-coordinated (and a bit Christmassy too?), but I definitely didn't choose them based on colour! I wanted to take only stand-alone novels, so no odd instalments in long series, and mostly ones I haven't yet read.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I keep meaning to read this ever since I bought it earlier in the year, but I've never got round to it so I thought it might as well come with me to uni. I haven't seen the film yet either, but I really want to so I need to get on and read this sometime soon.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
I have actually read this, but only a couple of times and I was planning to reread it again in the near future anyway. It's one of the more densely written books that I would ever come back to, but having watched the 1997 film recently I felt the urge to read the original story again.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I've wanted to read this for an awfully long time and now I have this absolutely stunning copy I can't wait to get started! I honestly cannot get over how beautiful this book is though, it's all gold shiny bits and curly writing and dramatic colours - gorgeous.

The King's Sister by Anne O'Brien
Of course I was going to have to take some historical fiction with me! This one is about the Plantagenets and is centred around Elizabeth of Lancaster, which is a period I'm not all that familiar with yet.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
A modern classic, and one I've been meaning to read for some time as well.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I've had this for ages and ages and AGES, but I've never felt it calling when I come to pick a new book to start. Hopefully taking it with me will actually make me read it!

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This looks so interesting and it's another one where the book itself is quite beautiful. The cover has a kind of tactile rubbery surface which is nearly appealing as the blurb for me, haha.


Friday, 11 September 2015

Fashion Fancies: Sylvia Plath


Another month means it's time for a new instalment in my 'Fashion Fancies' series, where I take a fictional or historical character and create some outfits for them that I imagine they would wear. From now on I think I'm going to have to extend my definition of fictional or historical characters to include writers and other artists since it's actually quite tricky to come up with a distinctive style to suit a character's aesthetic!

Hence today I'm putting together some outfits for Sylvia Plath. Plath is one of the most well-known poets of the 20th century and was part of the American confessional poetry movement of the 1950s and 60s. She also wrote The Bell Jar, her only novel that was published just before her death and which remains one of my all time favourite novels. Her poetry is very raw, painful and violently emotional, as she suffered from clinical depression for most of her adult life and used poetry as an outlet. Personally I find her poems quite difficult to get to grips with, as it they often have a lot of hidden depths and meaning, but I really enjoy reading different interpretations and analysis of her work. Sylvia Plath is in fact probably most well-known for committing suicide in 1963 at the age of 30. 

1. Writing
I tried to keep these outfits relatively authentic to the 1950s, but I feel like this first outfit leans more to the beginning of the 60s. While skirts were obviously still the norm for women trousers were beginning to be a thing, so I feel like Sylvia might have preferred a more comfortable outfit for sitting at her typewriter and banging out drafts of her poetry. I also really like this pink jumper, I have no idea but I feel like it would be the kind of college-style thing girls in the 50s would have worn.

2. Poetry in the Park
This is my favourite outfit of the four, and I especially love the skirt with its tapestry effect. I think it could easily have been upcycled from a pair of old curtains, in the spirit of 1950s 'make do and mend'. If Sylvia went wandering around on a crisp autumn day looking for inspiration in nature I think she would have worn something like this.

3. Weekend in New York City
Most of her novel The Bell Jar is set in New York, as the protagonist gets a summer internship at a magazine based there. This is one of the major autobiographical details, as Plath herself had a scholarship at Mademoiselle magazine beginning in 1953. I feel like this outfit would have been appropriate for a day out and about, as it's fashionable yet practical.

4. Garden Party
To be honesty this last outfit is more inspired by the 1950s than Sylvia Plath's actual life. I really love the floral pattern of the midi skirt, and I think it would be perfect for an afternoon spent sitting in the sun and making polite conversation.


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Songs of the Summer


I haven't done a music-related post in a long while, so I thought I'd take a look back at my summer in terms of what music I've been loving. I'm not massively adventurous with my music taste, but every summer it seems there's always one stand-out artist who I discover and rapidly become obsessed with - last year it was Haim, the year before it was Marina and this summer is was definitely Halsey.

I downloaded her EP Room 93 right at the beginning of the summer and immediately fell in love, especially with Hurricane and Ghost. I hate comparing artists to others, but because I'm terrible as describing music I'm just going to say I think of her as a mix of Lorde and Lana Del Rey, but with more electropop. Her debut album Badlands came out on August 28th and the whole of tumblr went wild for it, including me! My favourite tracks off it are Castle, Roman Holiday and Young God, but to be honest all of them are fabulous. Also can we just appreciate that her real surname is Frangipane? I think that's awesome!

Melanie Martinez
Thanks to my good friend Aoife I came across Melanie a while ago and enjoyed her EP Dollhouse for a long time, but on August 14th she also released her debut album, Cry Baby, which I've been listening to on repeat ever since. I adore the whole concept - the album has a gorgeous aesthetic and each song is based around an 'adult' situation, experienced by the childish character of Cry Baby. The album has a lot of whimsical elements, resulting in a delightful mixture of fairytale and harsh reality. My absolute favourite track has to be Mad Hatter, but I also really like Mrs Potato Head, Pity Party and Dollhouse. You can see the post I did with outfits for each of the songs here!

I found out about Aurora through Polyvore and downloaded her EP Running with the Wolves almost straight away. Her genre is described as electropop by Wikipedia, but it's very understated and melodic, and also quite creepy in places. Aurora is Norwegian and even though I've never been to Norway I feel like I'm transported to some fjord or desolate mountainside whenever I listen to her music, it's magical.

The Veronicas
I can't even remember how I came across The Veronicas, but I wish I had earlier because I really enjoy their music! The first of their songs I listened to was their single Lolita (which I adore! such an upbeat, motivational song), but I've also downloaded their latest self-titled album which I've been loving too.

A few other odd songs I've been listening to a lot over the summer months:

Clay - HANA

Honeymoon - Lana Del Rey

How Strange - Emilie Autumn

Let me know in the comments which artists you've been loving this summer!


Saturday, 5 September 2015

3 Things Rookie Taught Me


I recently finished reading Rookie Yearbook Three and I realised there are so many educational, informative and just generally useful lessons to be gleaned from the Rookie Yearbooks' beautifully illustrated pages that it was worth documenting in a blog post. I'm probably not what you would call a die-hard Rookie fan in that I don't regularly go on the website, but I do love the Yearbooks with a passion - I mean they have stickers, what's not to love?

1. How to reclaim your teenagerdom
Even for those who don't suffer from anxiety-related issues, being a teenager is often cringe-worthy, awkward and embarrassing. It's a time of changes, both physically and metaphorically, and is filled with figuring out who you are, what your interests are and how you want to present yourself to others etc etc. But the thing is that the traditional image of teenagers that society gives us isn't all that appealing - we're supposed to be moody, angry, self-absorbed narcissistic adolescents, full of arrogance and raging hormones, not to mention the idea that we apparently know nothing about anything and our opinions are worthless. But obviously the vast majority of teenagers don't conform to that stereotype in the slightest, as even Rookie itself (a magazine for teenagers written by young people, the brainchild of then-teenager and editor extraordinaire Tavi Gevinson) demonstrates. The moral is this: don't let anyone make you feel inferior because you haven't lived as long as them or seen as much as they have. Embrace being a teenager!

2. Be proud of your art
If you put time and effort into creating something, whether it's a poem, story, painting, drawing, play, song, video game etc, it's worth something. If you have sacrificed your time, energy and creative spirit for the sake of something, it deserves to be recognised, even if you don't think it's any good. Because it isn't always going to be objectively good: maybe your painting has the wrong aspect or your photos are slightly out of focus or your poem is full of dramatic clich├ęs - but it's important to be proud of your creations, because they are a part of you and you will only learn through creating. This realisation encouraged me to dig out some of what I fondly call my Bad Poetry and rework some of it, despite major cringing.

3. It's okay not to know all of the culture
With the advent of the internet the amount of 'culture' (not sure if that's exactly the right word but anyway) has skyrocketed, and sometimes it can be scary to realise just how many songs and albums and books and stories and films and TV shows and artists there are out there. Because not only are we talking about contemporary pop culture (which is hugely diverse to begin with), there's the whole of human history to consider, from ancient civilisations to the 90s and everything in between. And when someone makes a reference to some 80s movie you've barely heard of or quotes some existentialist philosopher or sings along to a song you don't recognise, and, most importantly, makes you feel like an idiot for not being in the know, it's easy to feel small. I was never very into music until a few years ago and I always used to feel ignorant for not knowing even the most well known songs and artists of the moment. But not picking up on that reference doesn't make you any less intelligent or decrease your worth, and if it really bothers you why not write it down and look it up later. Personally though, it's the excitement of discovering new culture/content through my own research that motivates me to keep sifting through the internet to discover my own tastes and interests - which in the end is far more rewarding than just liking what everyone else likes.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Little H&M Haul


I firmly believe that H&M is one of the most underrated high street fashion stores out there. I'm lucky that the two places where I tend to go shopping have stores that are always well laid out and well stocked, which probably helps (I've never been able to say the same about any H&M store in the UK, funnily enough), but I always manage to find something to buy! But really, where else can you find such a variety of basics, on-trend clothes and smart pieces, and all for a very reasonable price? Having said that I wouldn't say it's my favourite shop, because no matter what season you go in (although summer is obviously the worst) there is always an awful lot of fluorescent crap to sort through to find a few really nice things.

 Dress, €14.99

To be honest this isn't the most flattering fit, but in my opinion the pattern more than makes up for it. I love my dresses so I'm always on the lookout for anything suitable for wearing in autumn/winter, and while I think the fabric of this is a bit too thin for the dead of winter I can tell it's going to be one of my favourite things to wear in the next couple of months.

T-shirt dress, €7.99

I originally tried this on in black and white, thinking it would be a nice long top to wear over leggings but on me it's actually long enough to be worn with tights as a proper dress. The white version was also wayyyy too see-through (why is it that everything white is always so see-through??) so I went for this black and grey striped number instead. This is perhaps the epitome of comfy casual but sometimes that's exactly what you want, especially as the weather gets colder.

Basic Top, €9.99

I absolutely adore this beautiful terracotta colour - it's perfect for autumn. This is just a basic long-sleeved top but it's long enough that it goes really nicely over leggings and I can see it becoming a staple piece in my wardrobe.

Plaid Skirt, €19.99

My life is essentially complete. I've wanted a plaid pleated skirt like this for absolutely ages, but I'd never found one that was quite right in the fit and the pattern and so on. But I was browsing the H&M website the other day when I spotted this I knew I was going to have to track it down next time I was in an H&M, and lo and behold what's the first thing I see when I come up the stairs to the Divided section? This skirt, of which there were only about three left and one of those in my size! I'm sure it was fate so naturally I had to get it. I'll probably wear this a lot with tights and dolly shoes.

Thanks for reading!