Friday, 30 October 2015

Halloween Outfits #2

Halloween is just around the corner and I for one have got my outfit sorted. It's a witchy ensemble with a long dress and a veil (actually a tablecloth from Poundland, I'm on a student budget here) and if it works out like I'm imagining it in my mind it's going to be great.

However if you haven't decided what you're wearing I've got a few more last-minute ideas that you could probably recreate easily from things in your wardrobe, this time with a less traditionally 'scary' Halloween feel (see my previous post for those) and more of a 'feminine' vibe. Enjoy!

1. Ghost
This first outfit is ridiculously simple but equally as effective. Basically just take any longish floaty white dress and accessorise - with a cross choker necklace, for instance, and pale creepy makeup. It's so simple I have literally nothing else to say.

2. Victorian Attic
Now obviously you're not dressing up as an attic but I feel like the various components of this outfit idea could easily have been found in a dusty old room full of crumbling antiques. In reality think slightly scruffy old-fashion clothing, with lace if possible, and then (the piece de resistance) drape fake cobweb stuff over yourself so you look like you've just crawled out of a pile of old drapes.

3. Space Princess
I like to keep Halloween dressing up more or less in the creepy realm and I think this hits the mark - think aliens and weird spaceyness and hazy shimmer. All right, so it's unlikely you'll have a holographic skirt hanging around but I imagine a similar effect could be achieved with a length of material and a needle and thread (it doesn't have to be perfect). Then just dig out your little sister's princess crown, add sparkly heels and you're sorted!

4. Prom
This skirt just screams prom but it's a nice halfway point between 'girly' and 'gothic' with a doll-like vibe. Hair and makeup could go either direction with this one: either something super glam and pretty or dark and scary-looking.

What are your plans for Halloween?


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Topshop Picks

Lately I've been scrolling through the Topshop website thinking about how I really don't need to go shopping but I also really want to because I love autumn/winter clothes... So I decided to do another picks post to share some of my favourite items.

Cord Button Front A-Line Skirt / €42 x
Yes I know it's just another A-line button-down skirt, but I'm obsessed with this colour. It's exactly the colour of autumn leaves and goes with so many other colours that tend to pop up around this season, like grey and dark green and of course black. This would probably clash horribly with my hair but it's just so beautiful I wouldn't care!

Velvet Lace Playsuit / €44 x
I'm not 100% convinced by this one, but I think it's probably an example of something that looks so much better on because it looked fine on the model. I'm quite partial to a playsuit and I also love velvet, so the combination is ideal really. I would totally wear this to a festive party or as my Christmas day outfit.

Embroidered Ruffle Neck Top / €76 x
I don't think I'd ever pay that much for a top but I really like this. It's plain but not too plain because it has some pretty embroidery in swirly patterns, and the neckline is quite different with the whole ruffle thing it has going on. Also it's burgundy, which is always a plus.

Cord Pinafore Dress / €52 x
I really love how pinafore dresses look, they're simple but chic and remind me of the kinds of things I wore when I was little. I would probably wear this one with a stripy top for a really effortless look, or something more busy underneath. They also had it in blue, but I think black is great for autumn because it's just so versatile and goes with everything. 

Big Floppy Hat / €34 x
I honestly want a hat like this so much! I tried one on the other day and it really suited me, but whenever I consider buying one I always come back to the dilemma of 'what would I do with it if I went out somewhere with it on and wanted to take it off?'. It looks super sophisticated while it's on your head, but practically I'm not sure I'd ever invest in one.

Tassel Saddle Bag / €42 x
This little bag just caught my eye - it's really simple so it would go with lots of outfits, and I really love the colours together plus the gold hardware!

High Neck Flippy Tunic / €26 x
Ah, more of this gorgeous rust colour... For me dresses are such an essential in winter and I love the simple cut of this one. It would go really nicely with an oversized patterned cardigan. 

Waffles Suedette Shorts by Motel / €44 x
Pretty much every shop I've gone into lately seems to have a few items of clothing in this suede-y material this season, and I absolutely love it (not gonna lie, I have a rule where I always have to stop for a second and stroke it if I pass a top or skirt in that material in a shop!). It's so so so soft and beautiful, plus I really like the cut of these shorts.

Scarf Print Tee / €50 x
I kind of love this patten, it's very busy but I like the colours even though purple and red are generally considered to clash. This would be a real focal point for an outfit and it would look great with anything from jeans to a black skirt.

Checked Kilt Shorts / €52 x
Who said shorts are only for summer? Put some tights on and they can see you well into the autumn. I personally would have called these a skort because they look almost like a skirt with the pleats, but I don't suppose it matters. They would work well with a top tucked in or under a jumper.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Halloween Outfits #1

Yesterday I walked into town (to buy a printer, look at me adulting) and had an overwhelming feeling of Octoberness - the leaves were a gorgeous array of yellows and reds and golds and the air was crisp and bright. All of which means Halloween will be here soon!

I don't usually get majorly into dressing up unless I have a fancy dress thing to go to, and even then I've always dressed as something 'scary' rather than just dressing up as whatever. I think it's quite an American thing to just dress up in general, but I've always done that kind of dressing up at Carnival and just 'scary' dressing up at Halloween. So I thought I'd turn to Polyvore and rustle up some simple, practical and easy to recreate outfits that could pass for Halloween without being over the top.

1. The Wednesday
My go-to Halloween outfit is the Wednesday Addams look. Just take any plain black dress with a contrasting white collar, add dolly shoes and stockings or tights, and there you have it! I usually plait my hair too because it makes the look more recognisable. The basic outfit would easily pass as an everyday outfit, but to be even more Halloweeny you could accessorise with a 'pet spider' or a headless doll (both very Wednesday!).

2. Skeleton
Sometimes it's all in the accessorising - with some bold statement jewellery, belts and studs you can turn a simple skirt-and-top ensemble into something far more costume-y. The top here is actually a onepiece swimsuit-style thing, which I imagine would be a good investment piece for Halloween outfits because you could style it in so many different ways. Also the shoes are fierce.

3. Gothic chick
Any all-black outfit is a good starting point for Halloween, and all the more so if you happen to have something like this poofy skirt lying around that you might not wear every day. I'm picturing this look with really intense black makeup for a seriously gothic look.

4. Vamp girl
For this last outfit I took inspiration from the whole vampire-cum-catholic-schoolgirl vibe (if that's even a thing, maybe it's just Tumblr). It's probably unlikely that anyone will have a sheer black dress like this one but any lacy number will do, even if it leans towards being a bit of a nightdress. This is another one where makeup can make all the difference!

Next time I'll be posting some more Halloween outfit ideas with a totally different vibe!


Monday, 12 October 2015

Uni Room Tour

Last week was one of the busiest of my life. I moved country, got settled into my accommodation and went to all sorts of events during Fresher's Week at my university. It's been tiring and a lot of fun and it's weird to think that this coming week will be the official start of lectures!

Today I thought I'd share some photos of my room because I'm really quite happy with the way it looks after I decorated it. It's compact but there's an awful lot of storage - to the point where I still have some empty shelves - but that's great because I'm sure I'll acquire more stuff. There are two sections - the main room part with my bed and desk, and the 'dressing area' with the sink and wardrobe which I'll show you at the end.

This is about the widest shot I could get, and I was squashed up against the wall to take it! If you're anything like me the first thing you'll notice are the horrible curtains, which to be honest really detract from the overall effect. Sadly I can't replace them, so I guess I'll have to learn to live with them.

This is my bed area. Please note my awesome pink feathery fairy lights and the snazzy map of the world (I am studying geography after all).

This table/unit has ended up with my clock and some photos on it, as well as my hair stuff (straighteners are actually on my desk). Ideally I'd keep them in the sink part but there aren't any plug sockets there so I can't plug them in, and apparently the smoke detectors are really sensitive so I'm trying to get as far away as possible from mine in order to use heat protectant spray.

On the shelves below I have health/medical stuff in the black box, random things in the basket and cables in the blue box. The bottom shelf is my shoes overflow, plus squash because it's essential.

Woo lighting. These are the shelves next to my bed - I've decided this is where stuff like my books and blanks is going to live, for convenience.

This shelf above the poster is rapidly turning into my food shelf - I've got a few provisions for if I ever miss dinner or feel really hungry during the day or night. 

I realised I had nowhere to put my jewellery, so I got the black hanger thing and hung it on a hook that I stuck on the wall and it seems to be working well so far.

This end of my desk is where all the important things are ending up - piles of papers and stationery (ft. horrible curtains).

The wall you can't seen in any of the photos is quite big so I've stuck these posters on it. I've got the Van Gough exploding TARDIS and one about Shakespearean tragedies that I ended up getting free from the National Theatre.

Here are my clothes - I was surprised that there's actually quite a lot of space for clothes (hard to photograph it all!), and of course I filled most of it instantly.

And finally perhaps the least pretty part of the room - the sink. I'm so glad I have one of these though because it's great for doing my makeup and brushing teeth and such without having to trudge to a communal bathroom every few minutes.

And that's it!


Monday, 5 October 2015

Books for Cosy Days

The days are getting colder and while it hasn't quite reached sub-Arctic temperature there's a definite chill in the air - a perfect time of year to curl up with a blanket, a hot drink and a book! Today I'll be sharing my favourite books for reading on cosy days, or at least books I think would be ideal for such an occasion. I've just realised that the one thing they all have in common is that they're set in crumbling ancestral homes/castles, so apparently that is my number one criteria for a 'cosy read'.

The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley
I read these over the summer and really enjoyed them, but I think a colder setting, perhaps with snowflakes falling outside the window, would enhance the enjoyment factor considerably. The protagonist is eleven-year-old Flavia De Luce, an amateur sleuth and chemistry whizz who lives on the outskirts of the village of Bishop's Lacey with her family. The series is set in 1950 in the English countryside, which in my opinion is an ideal setting for mystery novels -  you have the perfect combination of technology and olde-worldy-ness that makes solving crimes possible but not too easy, requiring a bit of legwork to piece the facts together. Flavia's skill with chemistry is also an interesting, if slightly unbelievable element that allows her to draw a lot of conclusions and so advance with her investigations.

Starting with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, every book is a self-contained murder mystery, but they are really best read in order to build up a picture of the village and its colourful inhabitants (each book also has a map at the beginning which is very helpful to situate the various events). The Flavia De Luce books are quite different from any other mystery books I've read - it's hard to explain, but they have a slightly dreamlike, whimsical quality that means the details of the plot don't always hang 100% together, but they're nevertheless completely charming.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I'm sure I've either reviewed or recommended this book before on my blog, but I'm going to talk about it again because it really is that good. It's wonderfully gothic (almost Jane Eyre-esque) and has such atmosphere and feeling, it really had me spellbound for most of the story. The narrator, Margaret Lea, is an amateur biographer whose father owns a an antiquarian bookshop. One day she finds an unexpected letter on her doorstep - it is from Vida Winter, one of Britain's most well-loved novelists who has kept her life a secret for over fifty years. Now gravely ill, she wants someone to write her story before it's too late and has chosen Margaret to come to her home and be her biographer. Margaret is somewhat reluctant to accept, as she has never even read any of Vida Winter's many novels, but she finds herself drawn to Winter's stories of her childhood, which is soon revealed to be dark and troubling.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Re-reading old favourite books is something that makes me feel all warm and mushy inside at the best of times, so returning to a series like Harry Potter (which I have read countless times) is simple a recipe for cosiness. Not to mention the fact that my absolute favourite scenes from the books and the films are set in autumn or winter, when Hogwarts always looks festive and welcoming, so I associate those seasons with the stories anyway. I'm sure I don't need to summarise the plot of these books, but if by any chance you haven't read them yet then I assure you this autumn is the time to get stuck in!

What are you planning on reading this autumn?

Friday, 2 October 2015

Uni Haul

In the last couple of months I've seen a plethora (good word don't you think?) of  'back to school'-related blog posts, vlogs, outfit ideas, stationery hauls etc and it definitely put me in the mood for shopping. I never used to associate the whole back to school season with anything other than buying new pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, paper and other miscellaneous stationery items, but this year I'll be off to university (literally leaving tomorrow arghhh!) which involves a whole different type of shopping list - so I thought I'd share a few things I've acquired over the recent weeks that are currently sitting on my bedroom floor waiting to be packed.

Thankfully my college is fully catered so I don't need to worry about buying kitchen supplies (and perhaps more importantly feeding myself), but there are a lot of other bits and pieces that are supposedly required for university life, which I have discovered by googling 'what to take to university' and promptly getting overwhelmed. There seem to be an awful lot of things that seem totally unnecessary (to me at least), and a few things I've bought weren't necessarily on the lists, but it's all quite the adventure and I guess I'll work out what I do and don't need fairly quickly!

I'm starting off with just a few essentials in the homeware department - so far I have only actually bought this little plate and mug, which I love because of the pastel colours. I originally wanted to get them in matching colours, but they didn't have both a plate and mug in any one colour and I actually think they look really nice together. I'll probably just pinch a set of cutlery from my kitchen to go with these.

I tried not to go too overboard with stationery, as I'm not entirely sure what I'll be needing and I tend to buy things like folders in the UK anyway, but I couldn't resist picking up a few odds and ends. These ELLE folders, for instance, which I am utterly obsessed with because they are just so stylish and amazing. I also got a few sticky note thingys really cheaply as they are just so useful, a diary for 2015-2016 and some odd pens to add to my pencil case from school.

And now we come to the miscellaneous items! First of all I picked up a mini sewing kit in a cheapish shop, which my friend who goes to boarding school assured me will come in extremely handy. Another fairly sensible thing is a first aid kit, to keep things like lemsip and painkiller in as well as actual bandages and such. Obviously if I'm actually wounded and bleeding I'd get proper medical help but it's just one of those things that's useful to have in life.

I also decided to get an alarm clock (not pictured since it's not all that pretty), because personally I hate relying on my phone - it's easier to just glance at a clock for the time and since it plugs into the mains there's no risk of it losing battery. Other electrical bits I got include an extension lead (exciting I know) and some amazing pink fluffy fairy lights, which I'm not entirely sure if I'll actually be allowed to use in my room but they weren't expensive anyway.

Next I got some storage boxes as I like to keep things neat and organised. I have no idea what I'll put in these yet, but I'm sure I'll find something. After a lot of searching I found a laundry bag type thing which might be a little excessive but hey why not? Plus it's purple.

I also got some new suitcases/holdalls since none of the other luggage we own can fold flat to fit under a bed, which I understand is a useful quirk in a small uni bedroom. Also because the print on the holdall is fabulous, I mean look at it:

I'll probably do another follow-up post in a few months with 'things I should have brought to uni' and/or 'things I didn't need to bring', so look out for that!