Should We Bare Our Souls Online?

Should We Bare Our Souls Online?

Jumper- & Other Stories


Skirt- Topshop (currently sold out but they’re re-stocking it quite regularly at the moment- I will post a link to my Twitter when/if it is re-stocked again)


Necklace- ASOS

Today’s post was going to be an update on how I’ve been dealing with my anxiety, something I’ve been planning on writing for a few weeks. When I realised it was International Mental Health Day on Wednesday I thought this post would be even more apt. But it was ironically that day that made me change my mind. Although it’s a great way of helping raise awareness of mental health issues, it meant that a lot of people were sharing their own stories of their own mental health problems, which, again, is a good way of helping to add to the evergrowing conversation around mental health. However, for me, I found listening to other people’s stories overwhelming and triggering. It was one of the first times I’ve really had to make myself to put my phone down and stay off social media for the day/night because it became quite a negative space for me.

This got me thinking about how much of my life I wanted to be sharing on social media. On my blog in the past, I’ve been happy to talk a lot about my personal experiences and, by doing so, I’ve been able to connect with people going through similar things, which has definitely been really positive. But after feeling so overwhelmed by hearing others’ stories on Wednesday, I began to rethink whether sharing so much really is the best thing to do.

Should We Bare Our Souls Online?

The conversation around the ethics of sharing on social media has been growing so much over the past few months. From Katherine Ormerod’s new book ‘Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Life’, and the corresponding Instagram hashtag, to Pandora Syke’s recent article for Man Repeller, it’s definitely a topic that’s hot on people’s tongues. Much of the conversation around this subject argues that we should be presenting more honest perceptions of ourselves on social media, better reflections of our ‘real life’. I can definitely see how the facades of social media can be harmful for many people, seeing people live seemingly perfectly lives and feeling like yours just doesn’t live up is definitely a negative thing. But, for me, this just isn’t the case. I use social media as a form of escapism, just I use books, TV and other forms of media. I think this was why being faced with so many ‘real-life’ stories similar to mine felt so difficult for me. I like seeing a ‘glossy’ version of people’s lives on social media and I’m very, very aware that everyone’s Instagram feeds are a highlight reel of their life (although I do like seeing a bit of ‘real life’ over on Instagram stories). I like using social media as a way of pursuing my interests, from fashion to books to food and reading and seeing photos around these topics definitely helps me switch off and feel more positive. But as real people, should we be sharing our real lives on the internet all the time?

Most people at the moment, it seems to me, would probably answer yes. The word ‘responsibility’ comes up a lot when talking about how bloggers and ‘influencers’ should be using social media and obviously there is some sense of responsibility attached to the job title, like there is with any job. But should people really feel as though they have to share every single aspect of their lives with strangers online? Is it helpful if they do? I don’t have any answers. I don’t know how I feel about it. At the moment, I think maybe users of social media should take responsibility for their own usage, unfollowing people who make them feel negative and limiting their usage of social media if they know it’s not good for them. Because, for me, Instagram, most of the time, feels like quite a positive space for me (even if I waste far too much of my time scrolling) and I can only see it becoming more negative and triggering, personally, if people were to start sharing the more negative aspects of their life on there, especially if they were only doing so because they felt they had to.

Should We Bare Our Souls Online?

I’m not advocating for social media, specifically Instagram, to be a completely honest or dishonest portrayal of ‘real life’, I think I’d like it to be somewhere in the middle, which, with most people I follow, is where I think it’s at now. I think it all comes down to personal choices in terms of posting and following. Maybe for me it’s positive to talk about some of my own negative experiences online but generally not helpful to read about other people’s? Is this contradictory? Yes. But is this ok? I think probably yes. Because if other people, like me, don’t feel good about reading other people’s struggles or ‘real life’ issues, then they can unfollow me. Maybe I wouldn’t even follow myself? Now this is really getting morally confusing. You can tell I don’t know where my mind is at on this subject. But I thought I’d put my confused thoughts out on to the internet anyway because I think there is an interesting conversation to be had about this topic and I’d like to contribute to it, even if I’m doing so unhelpfully. 

I’d absolutely love to hear your views on the topic of sharing online. Do you feel a responsibility to make sure your Instagram page is a completely honest version of you? How do you go about avoiding the bits of social media that you find negative? Let me know in the comments or send me a message over on Instagram or Twitter.

Should We Bare Our Souls Online?
Should We Bare Our Souls Online?
Should We Bare Our Souls Online?
Should We Bare Our Souls Online?
Should We Bare Our Souls Online?
Should We Bare Our Souls Online?
Should We Bare Our Souls Online?

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style

Photography by Ami Ford.

The content of this week’s blog post is primarily style-based, which is a little bit unusual for me. However it seems very apt as I’ve been ridiculously excited about autumn/winter fashion recently and it’s all I can think about/spend my money on. Even now I’m excited at the thought of getting dressed today so I can wear my new Topshop midi skirt. Anyway, we’re one paragraph in and I’m off on a tangent. Lets get back to the point of this post, following trends without losing your personal style.

I wouldn’t really say that I’ve got my personal style down to a tee and if you asked me to summarise it, I wouldn’t know how. But I know when I’m wearing something that feels like ‘me’ and I know when I’m wearing something that doesn’t. I think that’s essentially what personal style is. But something that can get in the way of your personal style is trend pieces, especially the ones that everyone on Instagram is going crazy for. Sometimes, when seeing a piece on your favourite blogger, it’s difficult to tell whether it’s the piece they’re wearing that you like or if it’s how it looks on them that draws you to it. I’ve wasted a fair amount of money in the past on trend pieces that just weren’t for me and didn’t align with my style, mostly because of the reason above and also because sometimes seeing something so much can actually make you think you like it.

Anyway, I styled this outfit based on some of this season’s current trends while still maintaining a sense of my personal style. So, based on this outfit, I’m going to provide some tips on, in my opinion, the best ways to follow and style trends.

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style


1. Style Your Trend Pieces with Your Staple Pieces

I think one way that people’s personal style can become lost by trend pieces is when their entire outfit is made up from them. This is why I struggle to get on board with co-ords sometimes, such as leopard print co-ords or the matching flared pants and crop tops, because I feel like by wearing them I could lose my personal style. But if you pair your trend pieces with your staple pieces, there’s always going to be an element of ‘you’ within your outfit. Here I’ve paired 3 trend items, the cargo pants, leopard print shoes and hair clips, with 3 staple items, a simple black cami, a simple gold necklace and a classic croc print shoulder bag. Part of this tip is also ensuring you have those staple pieces in your wardrobe (mine would probably be a white t-shirt, a pair of straight leg jeans, my Vans and a leather jacket) because they are always going to make your style feel like ‘you’.

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style

2. Think About It and Experiment

This tip relates back to my earlier point about seeing a trend piece on someone who’s style you like and thinking you want it for yourself. Before following a direct link to buy the item, think about how it would fit into your wardrobe. Come up with at least 3 ways you would wear the item. If you can’t do this, you shouldn’t really be buying it in my opinion as it’s inevitably going to be one of the items that sits in the back of your wardrobe. I wasn’t sure how the hair clip trend was going to fit in with my personal style, as I tend to really enjoy wearing my hair loose and a little bit messy. But I thought about it for a couple of months and tried some different types of hair clips on in store before finally deciding to give it a go. I’m quite confident wearing hair clips now as I thought a lot about how I would wear them (and even dedicated a Pinterest board to them) before buying some. But I feel as though if I would have bought them as soon as seeing them on someone whose style I admire, this confidence wouldn’t have been there. 

FYI: I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with not liking a trend at first and eventually allowing it to grow on you, as long as this isn’t just because you’ve seen it on so many people. Your style might have slightly changed from when you first saw it or you might have discovered new ways to style it. Just make sure you’re consciously thinking about the reasons why your mind has changed to avoid wasting your money.

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style

3. Pair Trendy Patterns with Staple Shapes or Trendy Shapes with Staple Patterns/Colours

This is a rule I try and stick to although, of course it’s completely fine to try new shapes and patterns. However it is a good way of ensuring trend pieces you spend money on aren’t too out there that you’re going to be scared to wear them. What I mean by this tip is, for example, if you want to buy into the leopard print trend, choose a piece that is in a shape that you’re comfortable wearing (such as an A-Line skirt or a blazer). Or, alternatively, if you’re buying into a trend based on style or shape, such as the silk/satin midi skirt trend, choose one in a colour that you’re comfortable wearing.

I wasn’t 100% sure about the animal print trend (I’m still very skeptical of the snake print trend, I don’t think it’s for me) but I have eventually picked up some leopard print bits that I’ve definitely got wear out of, such as these Primark shoes. These shoes were only £6 so they weren’t much of an investment piece anyway but, even so, I don’t think that’s a reason to buy things without thinking about them because firstly, little things add up and, secondly, I want to own things that I love not that I just feel indifferent towards. And I knew I was going to get so much wear out of these shoes because I have them in yellow and wore them to death during summer. So I knew they were going to be a really good trend-based update to my wardrobe for autumn/winter.

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style

4. Know What The Trends Are

This might be the most important tip because if you don’t know what this season’s trends are you aren’t going to be able to follow the previous tips. Also, most of the time it’s important to think of trend items as such so you know not to invest your money in something that’s only going to be around for a season or two. By being consciously aware of the trends, you can consider when you see something you like, if you like it because it’s a popular item that lots of people have been wearing if you like it because it’s something you’d personally feel great in. My favourite way to keep myself up to date with the season’s trends is by reading articles and watching videos about them. Megan Ellaby does great videos every season on trend pieces, here is the link to her autumn edition. Karen also did a really great video on the same topic.

I hope this post has been helpful and will inform any shopping you’re planing on doing over the next couple of months. I’ve definitely bought into a few of this seasons’ trends such as satin midi skirts, cardigans and leopard print but I’m always conscious of which pieces are going to last me a long time and which pieces aren’t and I try and spend my money accordingly. Let me know in the comments or over on social media what your favourite trend of the season is!

How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style
How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style
How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style
How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style
How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style
How to Follow Trends Without Losing Your Personal Style

Top- Urban Outfitters (old, similar here)

Trousers- New Look via ASOS

Bag- ASOS (sold out, similar here)

Shoes- Primark 

Hairclips- Accesorize

Necklace- ASOS

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Photography by Ami Ford.

I’m finally back with a new blog post after a brief hiatus due to a busy couple of weeks and some personal struggles, which I will go into more later in the post. But I’ve been wanting to write on this topic and share these photos for what feels like forever now and I’m finally getting round to it today. These photos were taken by the incredible Ami Ford, whose work I had admired from afar for some time and so was delighted to be able to shoot with her, and I’m so happy with the outcome! You can find her on Instagram here, Twitter here or visit her website here.

Today’s post is inspired by these photos and specifically, the location that these photos were taken in. This was perhaps one of the busiest road in Manchester on the Sunday afternoon we were shooting on, meaning I really had to have confidence in what I was doing as posing in the middle of a very busy road in a bright yellow midi dress with every passerby staring at you with confused/baffled looks can/could have been an uncomfortable situation. In fact, posing for photos in any situation, even if there are only one or two confused onlookers, and sharing them on social media is quite a daunting concept generally and something I’m still trying to become totally comfortable in.

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Anything that you do that is a little bit different, especially if it involves self-promotion, is probably going to be scary and weird. Since becoming more confident in doing my own thing, my life has only improved however I’m still not 100% there yet at all. So much so that, after a little (read: huge) wobble after moving to UNI last week, I considered not writing this post as I didn’t think I was qualified to discuss this topic. But then I realised that if I wait till I feel totally comfortable in myself and my interests and habits, I’m probably never going to get round to writing it as I don’t even know if it’s possible to feel that way to such an extent. So I thought I would use this post to discuss the areas of my life in which I’m trying to become more comfortable in doing my own thing whilst also providing some tips to help others do the same.

INTERESTS AND IDEAS: STARTING MY BLOG

The first area in which I’ve really had to push myself out of my comfort zone is, as you might have guessed from the first part of this post and from previous posts, starting and running this blog. Having a blog, especially one that is fashion/style-based, means your constantly having to promote yourself and, at times, bare your soul to the internet, not knowing who’s going to see it or what reaction it’s going to get. These are the reasons why it took me so long to properly commit to having a blog but, as with most things, now I have it these two things, and everything else that comes along with it, are not so scary at all.

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

I do still feel a little bit uncomfortable with the self-promotion thing and it’s definitely not my favourite part about having a blog, especially in person, but it’s something that I’ve got used to and definitely don’t feel scared or embarrassed about anymore. The only advice I really have for starting something you want to do whether it’s a blog, a YouTube channel, a music career etc. is just start it. Everyone says this but it’s so true. You’re going to have to get over being embarrassed about it and, if it’s something you feel passionately about and enjoy, you’ll get over it so much quicker than you think. Plus, if you’re surrounded by good people then they’ll support you and if you aren’t, at least it will help you realise that there are some shitty people in your life who don’t need to be there.

SOCIAL AND PERSONAL LIFE: GOING OUT AND DRINKING ALCOHOL

The next part of my life where I’ve had to try and do my own thing, and probably the most difficult part for me, is learning how I like to spend my time and realising that this is not how most people my age, in my situation like to do so. Yep, this is the part where I reveal that I’m 19 going on 90, far more inclined to spend my Saturday night watching Strictly Come Dancing then getting drunk and staying up till 5am. I’ve not always been like this, I used to love a good night out and a drink, admittedly before it was legal/acceptable for me to do so, and I think that’s part of the reason why it’s mostly not for me anymore.

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Some people don’t ever grow out of getting drunk and partying but a lot of people do and I think because I started out so early I am just a little bit bored by it now and definitely not excited by it. The other reasons why I’ve retired from being a party type of girl are much more difficult to navigate as they’re purely health related. I’ve struggled with IBS and anxiety, as you’ll probably know if you’ve read my blog before, for over 2 years now and they are both extremely negatively affected by drinking alcohol and a lack of sleep. I’m not going to go into it too much, because you really don’t want to know about my digestive issues, trust me, but after drinking 3-4 ciders on Thursday night, I was not only fairly drunk (I’ve always been a lightweight but my lack of drinking has only accentuated that) but I spent the entirety of Friday with horrendous stomach pains, meaning I struggled to stand up by the end of the day, plus any feelings of anxiety are multiplied by 100.

This has been quite difficult for me because, as a student, the main activity that my friends engage in is drinking alcohol (FYI: I don’t judge them for this at all, everyone enjoys different things and they’re just as entitled to enjoy drinking as I am to not enjoy it). However, in my experience, the best thing you can do in these types of situations is be open with people. No one is going to get annoyed with you if you tell them how negatively you feel about doing something (even if your reasons for this aren’t health-related) but they might if you cancel on plans last minute with an obviously-fake excuse or constantly decline their plans with no explanations. My friends are always so kind to me about not drinking or not going out and try to make effort with me to organise different types of things to do, meaning I rarely have to force myself through awkward and anxious nights and even worse morning-afters, something that was a weekly affair for me during my first year of UNI when I refused to be honest with anyone about it.

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: DEALING WITH ANXIETY

The final thing I want to discuss is dealing with mental health issues and I know this sounds weird because ‘doing your own thing’ does not usually equate to having anxiety. But I think the most important thing in dealing with a mental health problem is accepting it and being confident that you know what the best things to do for you are and doing them, no matter what anyone else thinks. If you want to eat a pack of biscuits for tea because that’s the only thing you feel hungry for and you don’t have the energy to make anything else, do it (this is a case study from my life, specifically during the last week). If you feel like you need an extension on an essay or any sort of mitigating circumstances, talk to someone at your school/college/UNI about it.

You’re the only person who knows exactly how you feel and you can’t be embarrassed about your needs or the way you’re feeling and avoid them because no one else is going to be able to guess what you want to do and help you. Something I found difficult last year and over the past week since moving back to UNI is feeling like I need/want to come home because being at UNI makes me anxious. There is such a stigma around going home from UNI, in my experience, because people feel as though they need to ‘stick it out’ to prove their independence and that UNI is the best years of their life. I felt the same way last year and forced myself to stay for UNI for weeks even though I knew a weekend at home would do me the world of good and I was very much in a position to go home. Now, mostly because of the incredible support of my friends and family, I feel absolutely no shame in coming home for a weekend or even every weekend, because if that’s what I need to do to get through the days without a panic attack then that’s what I’ll do.

I realise this post has been a little bit of a ramble but it’s something that I’ve wanted to speak about for a while and, clearly, have a lot to say about. I hope it’s inspired you to do something this week that you want to do for you, whether that’s starting a blog, saying no to something you don’t want to do or booking an appointment with a counsellor. Be sure to leave me a comment or message me on social media if you want to discuss this topic further or talk about my experiences or your experiences. My DM’s on Twitter and Instagram are always open!

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing

 

Three Days in Paris | The Best Eating, Shopping & Sights

Three Days in Paris | The Best Eating, Shopping & Sights

So I’ve been back from Paris for a week now and I still can’t stop thinking about the dreamy three days I spent there with my friend Maisie. This was probably the least ‘touristy’ holiday I’ve ever had and I felt like I experienced local life as much as was possible in three days. We spent most of our time eating, shopping and going to different exhibitions and found so many gems, so I thought I’d share what we got up to here, ranking the things we did categorically! I’m not going to talk about where we stayed because, honestly, that was probably the worst part of the trip. We stayed in an apartment just outside of Montmartre, the location was fine but not as central to Montmartre as we would have liked, that had no real bed (we slept in a mattress on the floor) and a fridge that either made a loud buzzing noise or leaked. Our accommodation by no means ruined our experience though as we spent barely any time there. So anyway onto the recommendations! Oh and just a heads up, I’m vegan so all the places we ate at are either vegan or vegan friendly.

SHOPPING

     1.Shakespeare & Co

This shopping recommendation is the only one that isn’t fashion-based but it has to be my number one because I loved everything about this bookshop. It’s been a dream of mine to go here for some time as an avid book-lover and it did not disappoint. The location right next to the Seine is dreamy, with second-hand books for sale outside and the interiors are even better- they even have a resident cat! They stamp any books you buy with a ‘Shakespeare & Co’ stamp which was such a nice touch and they also had really beautiful copies of all the books you could conjure up. If you’re a reader, or even if you’re not, you have to go here.

2. Killiwatch 

I found Killiwatch on the premise that it was a vintage clothing store but it’s even better. Not only does it have an amazing, curated selection of vintage clothing but it also stocks clothing by independent Parisian designers. When I visited there was construction work going on inside the store which, I must admit, tarnished the experience a little bit. But not so much as it’s still sat at number 2 on my list purely because the amount and the quality of the clothing in there. I ended up picking a vintage scarf that I’m using as a hair scarf and a jacket by an independent brand, Tinsels, that is 100% linen & cotton- what a dream. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen them but if not I’ve posted a photo of them here.

3. The Frankie Shop

Number three on my list was a close competitor with Killiwatch but I’ve decided to rank it lower because of the price points of The Frankie Shop, which I couldn’t really afford. The Frankie Shop stocks designer clothes plus some of it’s own-brand clothing and 100% of the pieces in there are beautiful. The prices are reasonable (eg. around the €130 mark for a good quality jumper) but were out of my price range on this trip. However I did end up picking up a perfume which has such a unique smell to it for only €35 which was a bit of a bargain. If you have money to spend on good quality, beautifully designed clothes then definitely head to the Frankie Shop but, if not, it’s still worth visiting as it’s a beautiful store.

4. Merci

Merci really does have it all. I would probably design it as a concept store but it has everything from furniture, to clothing to a half cafe/half vintage bookstore. I didn’t buy anything here but it was a lot of fun to walk around and we did sit outside to have one of their homemade lemonades as well.

5. Sézane

Sezane is a French brand that sells clothes for the Parisian woman and everyone who aspires to be like her. The clothing is beautiful, classic and it’s all made sustainably. The Sézane Apartment in Paris is seriously beautifully designed and, with citrus infused water available as you walk in, it’s definitely an enjoyable and relaxed shopping experience. I didn’t buy anything, not because of lack of want but lack of money, but, as they’ve opened their first UK store in London, I definitely hope to in the future. The only think I didn’t enjoy about this shopping experience is the fact that I did think the staff there were a little bit contemptuous, but maybe this was just a bad experience on my behalf.

6. Mona Market

Finally for my shopping recommendations is Mona Market. This is in the same area as The Frankie Shop and Merci and we actually just stumbled across it. It’s a concept store stocking furniture and trinkets that are basically what my interior dreams are made of. It was wicker heaven and I’d honestly trust the visual merchandisers of this store to design my perfect home with no guidance.

SIGHTS

  1. L’Atelier des Lumières

Three Days In Paris | The Best Eating, Shopping & Sights

This is known as Paris’ first digital art museum and it is an incredible experience. Artwork from various different artists, modern and classical, is projected all over the ceilings, walls and floors of a warehouse-like room. It’s a completely immersive experience and something that I’d 100% recommend doing if you’re in Pairs.

2. ‘Les Magasins Des Petits Exploratuers’ Exhibition at the Quai Branly Museum

This exhibition is all about the post-colonial idea of ‘the other’ and after studying this in depth during my first year of university I found it so interesting. It looked at literature, film and other ways in which the Western world has presented the Eastern world as ‘other’, especially for children, and the effect this has had. Whether you’ve heard of this concept before or not it’s a really educational and interesting exhibition. Plus the exteriors of the Quai Branly are incredible as they have planted an immense amount of greenery all around the museum.

3. The Louvre

A visit to the Louvre was probably the most ‘tourist-y’ thing we did and the best thing about it for me was the architecture of the Louvre itself, as I’m not a big fan of classical art. I’m glad I went but the tickets were pricey so unless you’re particularly interested in classical art or you’d like to see what the pyramids look like from the inside, I wouldn’t insist that you go to the Louvre.

FOOD

  1. Brassiere 2eme Art (Janine Loves Sundays)

Three Days in Paris | A Mini Guide

Three Days in Paris | A Mini GuideI’d heard amazing things about this little vegan cafe and was highly anticipating eating there and it did not disappoint one bit. Everything from the aesthetic to the food was incredible! It had a typical French cafe feel and we sat outside in the sunshine to eat. I went for the Nutella waffles with a vanilla milkshake which completely satisfied my sweet tooth and Maisie had the pizza, which I also had a slice of and I can quite confidently say that it was the nicest vegan pizza/cheese I’ve tried. It’s also super close to lots of the shops I talk about (Killiwatch, Sezane and more) so it’s the perfect place to eat lunch in between shops.

2. Le Pain Quotidien

Three Days in Paris | The Best Eating, Shopping & Sights

I’m told that this is a chain that has branches in London too but this little bakery/cafe felt so very Parisian. Plus they have great vegan options! They have branches all over Paris but we stumbled across the one in Montmartre for some afternoon fuel in the form of cake. I had their vegan blueberry muffin which was delicious.

        3. Hank Burger

Three Days in Paris | The Best Eating, Shopping & Sights

This vegan burger place is really relaxed, kind of like a nicer version of a fast food place and fairly affordable. The vegan burger I had was really good and they even had vegan mayo on tap (I’m not a big mayonnaise fan but if you are this is probably a good place for you). They also have a bakery and I sampled one of their cookies which was also delicious.

        4. Cook n’ Saj

Three Days in Paris | The Best Eating, Shopping & Sights

This little cafe serves middle eastern food, has great interiors and very friendly staff. Maisie and I both had falafel wraps which were really nice and filling. It was really chilled out in the cafe itself and this is a great place to go if you’re looking for a guaranteed good meal in the middle or at the end of a busy day.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have found some useful recommendations. I created my own Google Map for our trip with all the places we visited and some others that we didn’t quite make it to, which also might come in handy for you if you’re visiting Paris too. You can take a look at it here. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to Paris before and if you have any other recommendations, as I’m looking for any excuse to go back, or let me know, if you do end up going to any of these places, what you think of them!

A Summer Type Of Girl

A Summer Type Of Girl

It really feels like the end of summer now. As much as I’ve tried to drag it out, it’s now usually necessary to wear a jacket when leaving the house and I have no more trips booked. But I can’t really complain, I’ve had so much fun and made so many memories this summer and I’m glad I’ve made the most of what is my penultimate ‘official summer holiday’ as a student. I’ve also been working quite a lot and making some money, most of which I’ve spent on decorating my second year university room. Anyway, I wanted to write this post to commemorate and look back on this summer and talk about why the summer months really are my favourite part of the year.

As a January baby, you might not expect me to be such a summer lover, but I am renowned for always wanting what I can’t have. I do love Christmas but apart from that, the winter months just don’t do it for me. So many people talk about how much they love winter fashion, and I must admit I am getting very excited about buying some new knitwear, but, generally, in the UK it’s too cold to wear anything remotely stylish and so I end up wearing the same outfit with the same ugly coat all the time. The thought of snuggling up by the fire in a blanket with a book also appeals to me but honestly this actually happens to me three times at a push and most of my experiences of winter involve waiting for the bus in the freezing cold/rain and dreading leaving my bed in the morning. But enough of my complaining about the winter, let me tell you about why I love summer so much, and why this summer was one of the best.

I guess I always associate summer with time off, time off from education that is. Summer is the time when I can do all the things that make me feel like myself and this always leaves me feeling so reinvigorated. It’s also associated with travelling, which is one of my favourite things to do, and, this one’s not always a given in the UK, sunny weather, which is inarguably better than cold weather and I refuse to dispute this with anyone. My happiest place is probably lying on a  beach in a bikini with a book and I don’t think there’s a time when I feel more relaxed than this. Summer for me isn’t an excuse to be lazy though. Despite taking time off education, I always make the most of summer to allow me to be creative, travel and really make the most of the free time I have to spend with friends and family. I think pretty much all my favourite memories have been made in summer and I was worried that this year because I have been working pretty much full-time that this wouldn’t be the case, and summer just wouldn’t be as good. But, as much as working has exhausted me, it has by no means ruined my summer and this one has still been one of the best ever. I think this proves that it’s not just the time off that makes summer so great for me, it’s the ease that comes along with it, whether that’s simple dressing, spontaneous plans or the fact that I find it so much easier to be happy when I’m woken up through the sun shining through the gaps in my blinds.

This summer I have travelled more than ever before. I feel so unbelievably lucky to have been to so many incredible places and if you’d like to hear more about them in detail then head to the travel section of my blog here to catch up on travel guides and my travels documented on 35mm film. I thought in this post what I would do is share some of my favourite memories from this summer, home and away, so I can always remember to be grateful for everything the past few months have had in store for me.

The start of summer for me feels like my holiday in Corfu with my sister and my mum- this was the ultimate girly, relaxing holiday from spending our days by the pool to our nights on the balcony in our pyjamas dancing to terrible ABBA tribute bands. I was still in the midst of my exams at this point but managed to really put them to one side and enjoy this holiday, which was so important for me in my process of remembering that academic excellence is not the be all and end all of life.

When my exams were over I headed to Parklife Festival, which, as a weekend, is one of my favourite memories from summer. I met up with new and old friends and danced the weekend away and I still have the remains of glitter dotted in and amongst my belongings to prove it. Parklife is also an amazing memory for me because I remember every single bit of it because I was more or less sober for the whole weekend! I’ve talked about this briefly before but as someone who deals with anxiety and chronic stomach issues, me+alcohol = bad news, so to be able to enjoy this festival without feeling judged sober was a big feat for me.

Then came a period of about a month that I spent at home and at work and enjoyed the UK’s glorious heatwave. My favourite memories from this period mostly took place in beer garden’s with friends and also in the garden soaking up the sun (and attempting and mostly failing to put up a paddling pool) with Sam. This is what I mean about summer weather making seeing friends so much easier and spontaneous! Everyone wants to go out in the sun when it’s there so everyone generally does.

A Summer Type Of Girl

The main event of July was my trip to Barcelona, a city I absolutely fell in love with and an AIRBNB that was my dream home for when I’m a 20-something. I fell in love with the city, the people and, more than anything, THE FOOD. Oh the food. I will never stop talking about those vegan Nutella donuts. I consider booking a flight over there almost daily just to grace my mouth one more time with those heavenly creations.

The first week of August for me was spent in Bath with Sam’s family, a beautiful city and a really relaxing trip, proving that you don’t need to go abroad to escape everyday life. Note to self: must go on more UK-based holidays. I came back to a week home alone as my family flew out to Fuerteventura a week earlier than Sam and I so I could get some shifts in at work but it seemed like no time until I joined them out there. This felt like a quintessential family holiday for me, with all the good bits and the bad…but mostly good. I got through three books (relaxing holidays like this are always an excuse for me to read as much as possible) and spent some quality time with my family and Sam and also ate a lot (that’s definitely a theme of this summer).

A Summer Type Of Girl

I got back from Fuerteventura and within less than a week I was in Paris, on my final trip of the summer with one of my closest friends, Maisie! I’ve been to Paris before 4 years ago but I fell in love with it even more this time. There is a mini guide to Paris coming your way very soon so I won’t go into it too much but let’s just say that Paris truly has my heart.

So yeah this summer has been pretty amazing to say the least. And not just because of the places I’ve been but because of the people I’ve spent it with (sorry for the cringe). During the academic year I am a hectic mess so I am so grateful to have these summer months not only because of the weather but because it reminds me how important spending time with the people in my life really is. But I’m still going to try and stay positive for the autumn/winter months, however hard that might be for me. Not to wish my life away but I feel like I’m already making plans and counting down the days for summer 2019, I just can’t help it!

A Summer Type Of Girl

A Summer Type of Girl

A Summer Type Of Girl

A Summer Type Of Girl

A Summer Type Of Girl

A Summer Type Of GirlA Summer Type of Girl

Dress- Mango

Necklace- ASOS

Shoes- Topshop

Bag- Zara

The Importance of Shopping Sustainably and Independently

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while now and have been really excited about it, hence me posting it in the middle of the week as a bit of a bonus post. The reason for this is the incredible top I am wearing in these photos. I picked it up at a store in the Gracia region of Barcelona, called the 8pm Store, conveniently situated just next to the apartment we were staying in, off my cousins recommendation. The 8pm Store is an independent concept, fashion store, stocking clothes all of which have been designed sustainably in Barcelona as well as an art exhibition. The clothing in the store was so cool and being in the store itself was an amazing experience. Plus, the owner was so friendly, explaining to me more about the idea and logistics behind the store, also gifting me a free postcard from their last exhibition, which was such a nice touch and really made me feel happy for the rest of the day.

This experience got me thinking about why it is so important to support independent fashion. I would never have had an experience like that in a high-street store and because fashion is a really creative thing for me, it’s so inspiring to have a shopping experience like I did in The 8pm Store. Another really great shopping experience I had was also on my travels this year back in March when I went to Edinburgh at Armstrongs Vintage. I was also recommended to this shop by a friend, this is definitely the best way to find places to go when travelling from my experience, and it was probably (definitely) the best vintage shop I’ve ever been to. It was huge and the choice was incredible, from costume dress to the most incredible vintage denim. This is where I picked up the jeans I’m wearing in this photo, they’re by YSL and cost me a mere £20. I have pretty much always been looking for the perfect pair of white jeans and these are them. I had to get them taken up, which wasn’t expensive, but altering is definitely always worth it as a piece that fits you properly will mean you want to wear it more often and longer.

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

I realise I’ve spent the first half of this post gushing over these two shops, they’re seriously worth the fangirling though, so I’m going to move on to what this post is actually about, why shopping sustainably and independently is important. We all know the horrors of fast-fashion, from horrendous factory conditions to the colossal environmental effect, so I’m not going to guilt-trip you with any statistics. Especially because I still very much buy clothes from fast fashion retailers, it’s the most convenient and affordable way to shop and as much I’ve tried to avoid it, I just can’t at the moment, partly because financial reasons and partly because of selfish ones. So, instead, I’m making a conscious effort to support sustainable and independent shops and brands more often as well.

The most expensive sustainable fashion tends to be the brands who have built themselves on this ethos because it’s expensive being ethical in every single way and that’s just the way it is. I’m talking about the likes of Reformation and Everlane. The 8pm Store falls into this category of store though and although it’s more expensive than your average high-street store, it’s still really affordable. The top I’m wearing in this photo, which is handmade and of incredible quality, cost me between €35-40 (I can’t remember the exact amount), which is definitely more than I would spend on a piece like this at a high-street store. But I was willing to pay not only for this top that I love, but for the experience of being in the shop and the sustainablity behind the piece. This is something that can be hard to take into account when you put a similar piece from an independent, sustainable designer next to a Topshop piece for a fraction of the piece but I personally think, if you’re able to, it’s 100% worth supporting the former for the reasons I’ve just mentioned.

However, most of the time I’m just not able to buy expensive pieces, which often means I resort to the high-street. But another option is something that I love and have found some of my favourite pieces I own from, charity shops. They’re so unbelievably cheap AND you’re supporting a good cause by buying from them. My favourite pair of jeans cost £2 from a charity shop and the cost per wear is definitely in the minus’ now. Although charity shopping can be time consuming, I’ll often set out an entire afternoon or morning to go and look around the charity shops, it’s so rewarding and can help you save so much money that it’s 100% worth it. I know people are sceptical of charity shops but you won’t believe the gems you’ll find in there and most of the things haven’t been worn or have barely been worn so there is no need to worry about that aspect of it. Obviously, as well, it’s by far the most sustainable way to shop.

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

Moving on to the second part of the title of this post, shopping independently. This is something that I am very good at whilst travelling but pretty poor at when at home. At home I’m all too temped to revert to the trusty high street but on holiday, shopping independently is an amazing way to get to know the place you’re in. The predominant way that I shop independently at home is through charity shops and vintage shops. Both of the places I am based, Liverpool and Manchester, have a great array of independent clothing stores that don’t fall into the categories just mentioned and are a little more expensive but I think it’s just getting into the habit and mindset of shopping there.

Nevertheless though, I still try and make an effort to shop independently because, as I mentioned, there’s nothing better than having an amazing shopping experience and independent shops definitely offer that more than chains do. Plus, they give a place character. Whenever I go away, whether it’s in the UK or abroad, I always try and steer away from what I’m going to call the ‘chain area’ of the city and venture out to the areas that actually feel like you’re in a different place. I’d hate anywhere I live to not have this feel at all and if we don’t support these independent businesses then they’ll no longer exist.

Here’s a list of some of my favourite independent stores, from fashion to all sorts of other things with links to their websites/social media:

  • The 8pm Store, Barcelona (Fashion/Art)
  • Armstrongs Vintage, Edinburgh (Fashion)
  • COW Vintage, Liverpool, Manchester and Various Other Places (Fashion)
  • Utility, Liverpool (Home/Gifts)
  • Chapter One, Manchester (Bookstore/Cafe)
  • Fred Aldous, Manchester (Art/Gifts)
  • Park St in Bristol has the best independent vintage shops, I can’t choose just one from the one time I’ve visited (Fashion)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that it’s given you some encouragement to head down to your local independent clothing store, or try and shop a little bit more sustainably! You won’t regret carving some time out to visit your local charity shops or vintage shops to grab a bargain. Even if you go high-street shopping afterwards, you’ve probably saved yourself some money by buying something second-hand and you’re helping to save the world a little bit at the same time, so it’s a win-win. I’d love to hear your favourite independent shops or the best ways, in your opinion, to shop sustainably in the comments or on social media! As mentioned, I’m by no means perfect with this and am not claiming to be so any tips and recommendations are very welcome!

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

 

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

The Importance of Sustainable and Independent Fashion/Shopping

Top- Dreamers Not Allowed

Jeans- Vintage YSL, Armstrongs Vintage

Shoes- Vans

Sunglasses- Mango

Hair Clips- Accesorize

Necklace- Alex Monroe

Girls on Film: Natalia

Girls on Film: Natalia

Today on my blog I’m introducing a new series called, as you can probably guess by the title, ‘Girls on Film’, where I interview girls/women in my life about themselves. I have so many amazing female friends in my life and I thought this series would be an amazing way to celebrate them. I personally love reading posts getting to know random people with a series of (slightly invasive?) questions and I hope you enjoy it too. I also wanted to do something more with my love of film photography so with these interviews will be photos of the girls in question taken on my film camera. The first interview is with one of my closest and longest friends, Natalia. We actually did this interview well over a month ago (maybe even 2 months ago) so apologies for the lateness. The photos I initially shot of her were lost in a roll of film that came back empty so there has been some delays. But without any further delays, here is the interview…

A: What are you currently up to in life?

N: I’m off to a Sports Ball tonight, which I’m looking forward to! I study Drama & English Literature (at university)…yeah.

A: I obviously already knew these things so I didn’t really need to ask them but… (laughs). Do you have any plans over summer?

N: Just chilling (laughs), I’m going on holiday in July for a week to Spain, near Gibraltar. We’re not going on holiday this year (with family) because we’re going to America next year.

A: Where?

N: Well, either that or we’re going to Bali because it’s my Dad’s 50th next year! So Bali or America but we’re not going on holiday this year because of that. We’re leaning more towards Bali but (if we went to America) we’d go to like the West Coast, because we really want to go to California and stuff.

A: Amazing! Where do you feel most yourself and/or what’s your favourite thing to do? 

N:I prefer being at home and I come home from UNI quite a lot. You can’t talk about things at UNI that you can talk about at home.

A: Yeah if I’m ever explaining anything to friends at UNI I have to provide back stories to everything. Ok, so if you were guaranteed survival and were given basic needs, what 5 things would you take to a desert island?

N: My dog, to keep me company. I’d want to take my phone but only to listen to music. I’m not sure what else…

A: Well think of it as if you’re going to be on your own for the rest of your life… if you were going to take one book?

N: The Girl on The Train, I love that book. The book’s so good, it blows your head off more than the film. You’re shocked and then shocked again and then have to retract the first experience of being shocked…. I’d also take a bottle of wine! And a speaker, can I have a speaker? That’s it, I’m done!

A: So what was that? Your phone, your dog…

N: Phone, dog, speaker, wine and the book.

Girls on Film: Natalia

A: Who or what inspires you the most?

N: Probably my dad. My mum does too actually! But my dad ever since he was was 14, when he’d work, he’d get up at like 4 in the morning to do jobs since he was 12, because they didn’t have enough money or anything so he’s built it up for himself. And he works really hard now, I barely ever see him because he works away so much. He’s always in Scotland or in Lincolnshire he’s never at home, he has to get up at 4 in the morning every single day and he just plods on with it. And I don’t think I could do that.

A: Me neither, especially for his whole life!

N: I know! But both of my parents are really inspirational to me.

A: Where do you hope to be and what do you hope to be doing in 10/15 years time? So, what I mean is when you’re ‘settled’?

N: So I’d be 35!! That’s not okay. My mum had had me and Ben by then.

A: But on HQ (trivia) last night it says the average age that people get married is 35, so people are doing it a lot later now.

N: People are waiting till their older now aren’t they. When my mum and dad got married my mum was 21!

A: That was the norm though!

N: She met my dad when he was 19 and they got engaged 6 months later (laughs).

A: But if someone met someone when they were 27 and they got married to them when they were 29, that wouldn’t be unusual! The norm has just changed!

N: 35… I would want to be married by then, I don’t know if I would have had kids by then. I feel like I’d be about to be settling…

A: Where do you think you’ll be?

N: Down south, London.

A: Like city centre?

N: Yeah, hopefully acting on the stage. But I’d probably do another job first to save money because acting isn’t a solid job.

A: What would be your dream show to be in?

N: Anything on the West End, I’d love to be in Wicked! And only because it’s amazing… West Side Story.

A: Yes that would be the best one! Especially if you were one of the Puerto Rican girls, that would be so much fun! What about kids, do you want them? 

N: I want 3. But I feel like I’ll have one and be like… NO MORE (laughs).

Girls on Film: Natalia

A: Okay I just have one more question, what are you reading or watching or listening to at the moment?

N: Hell’s Kitchen! Me and Joe are obsessed with watching Hell Kitchen, it’s hilarious. I’ve been watching baking shows, I have no interest in baking. Nailed It, Great British Bake Off, just started that yesterday, Hell’s Kitchen. Nailed It is hilarious because it’s people who can’t cook or bake for their lives and they make awful cakes and compare them to really extravagant, professional ones!

A: Oh that’s amazing, I’d love that! Are you listening to anything good or anyone knew at the moment?

N: Avelino.

A: Oooh… I’m just checking that it’s recording because I don’t think I’ll remember that name (laughs). Are you reading anything? I was only going to ask for one out of the three but I’m just gonna go ahead and ask them all…

N: Not leisurely, but I’m reading The Lonely Londoners (by Sam Selvon) for my course about race in the 1950s.

A: Oooh, is it good?

N: Yeah! It’s good!

A: Anyway Nat I’ll let you go because I know you need to!

Girls on Film: Natalia

The conversation then inevitably continued for 5 minutes before she left but it’s nothing that’s relevant to this post! But I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as there are more ‘Girls on Film’ posts to come! I actually interviewed my friend Ellie at the same time as interviewing Nat so expect to see that very soon. I’d love to hear your feedback on this series and be sure to let me know of any more questions you’d like me to ask in future! Do you want it to be more personal, more about a specific topic? Let me know in the comments or via social media! Thanks for reading and you can follow Nat @nattiewilliams on Instagram.