Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks

Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks

Despite the fact that more and more people are trying to make better sustainable and ethical choices when it comes to shopping and the fashion industry, charity shopping is still so underrated. Some people think it’s pointless and that they won’t find anything they like, others just can’t get past the stigma that perhaps still surrounds it (that stigma being that charity shops are for old people). But I’ve been making the most of charity shops for the past couple of years and have found some incredible pieces there (including my favourite ever pair of jeans photographed here), so this post is an attempt to try and convert those of you who still aren’t buying from charity shops and to help those of you who already are really make the most of them.

All the pieces on this rail, and the ones on my body, in these photos are some of my favourite pieces I’ve bought from charity shops and many of them are some of my most worn and loved pieces, from this faux fur coat, to my favourite pair of jeans to the various pieces of knitwear. And the best bit? I didn’t pay over £10 for any of them. The majority of them cost under £5. The jeans I’m wearing that I’ve definitely worn over 100 times cost a mere £2 times- how’s that for cost per wear?

There’s definitely a knack to charity shopping, although some of it is just luck, in order to avoid going home empty-handed, so I hope these tips will help you crack it and encourage you to head down to your local charity shop next time you have a free afternoon…

1. Carve Out Time

As a general rule, you’re not going to be very successful if you only ever ‘pop in’ to a charity shop when you have 5 minutes. This is because, firstly, you’re not allowing yourself much time to root through all of the clothes in there and, secondly, you’re not going to be in the right mindset to do so.

I always plan my trips to the charity shops, sometimes days in advance. Doing this usually means that I get excited to go charity shopping, which means I’m very much in the mood for it when the time I have allocated myself comes around! I think this is essential and it’s the main reason why I always plan. It means you’re very willing to dig through piles and rails of clothes to find those gems and makes the ‘chase’ enjoyable rather than frustrating. Also, because you’ve carved out this time purely for looking round charity shops, you won’t feel guilty about it or like you need to rush yourself, making the experience even more enjoyable!

As well as carving out time, visit charity shops as regularly as possible! They’re constantly getting new stock and obviously the best stuff is going to go the quickest so the more often you can get there the better. I try and spend an afternoon there at least monthly but I would do so weekly if I had the time!

Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks
Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks

2.Ignore The Sizes and Always Try On

This one is an essential for all kind of second-hand shopping. If you’re checking the size of everything to see if it will fit, it’s going to be a time-consuming and frustrating shopping trip for you. If you see something that you like but you’re not sure it will fit, take it into the changing rooms and find out for sure.

The black trench that I’m wearing in these photo is a size 16 (I’m a size 8-10 for reference) but it fits just as I’d like a trench to fit. I actually almost didn’t take it into the changing rooms with me because of the size but I’m so very glad that I did!

Sizes change over the years and so does the way in which we like our clothes to fit. This means that you can’t browse a charity shop like a high street store because the clothes generally aren’t made for current sizes or current ‘trendy’ fits. Obviously this is a general rule as there is some more recent pieces of clothing in charity shops too but even with these, as I do whenever I’m shopping really, I tend to ignore the sizes as they’re literally just a number that many brands get wrong!

3.Dress Appropriately

As mentioned, trying things on is really important so you don’t want to be wearing an outfit that’s super difficult to get on and off. You also don’t want to be wearing shapes and colours that you don’t usually wear as you’re looking for things that will fit into your wardrobe, so wear an outfit that is fairly representative of the pieces in your wardrobe.

I tend to wear a really basic outfit, usually my favourite pair of jeans, a white t-shirt, my go-to coat and my Vans. It’s easy to get on and off and I can generally tell that, for example, if a shirt doesn’t look good with my jeans, I’m not going to get any wear out of it. Or if a pair of jeans don’t work well with my Vans, I’m also probably not going to wear them. Wearing an outfit you like that is made up of staple pieces means that you’ll be able to see how any pieces you’re trying on will fit into your wardrobe.

Oh, and always bring a belt! As I said, sizes don’t really matter. Some things you’ll try on might need a belt or a bit of tailoring so to make life easier for yourself just always have a belt with you so you can check if things would look better slightly altered.

Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks
A beautiful blouse that I picked up in a charity shop in Barcelona whilst on the hunt for polka dots.

4. Look Out For Colours and Prints

Usually clothing in charity shops isn’t presented very well. Racks are packed full with so many items of clothing that you can barely really see any of them individually. So it’s not really necessary, or possible, to look through every single item of clothing. Instead, just look out for colours and prints that you like. Maybe even figure out a colour palette that you’re trying to incorporate into your wardrobe or that you’re already wearing a lot a before you go and then look out for these colours. I certainly did this before my most recent charity shop trip where I picked up the camel top I’m wearing and the camel jumper on the rack and I’ve already got a lot of wear out of both the pieces!

Doing this means you don’t have to look through everything and can find things that are your taste simply. Obviously there might be other things that stand out to you that don’t fit into this colour palette and obviously don’t feel as though you can’t buy these, buy whatever you want! But by having a colour palette in your head it makes the experience a little less overwhelming and more productive.

5. Location, Location, Location

All charity shops are worth visiting in my eyes because you never know when you might get lucky, but they do vary in price and stock depending on the location you find them in. City centre charity shops tend to be a bit more expensive- I think this is because the people who work there might be more aware of how much the clothes they receive are worth and also just because they’re generally busier. I also feel that the good stock goes very quickly from city centre charity shops because of the aforementioned reasons.

The best charity shops, in my opinion, are the ones in small towns, preferably a residential area where lots of elderly people live, as not only does this mean that there will be A LOT of charity shops but it means that you’re more likely to be able to find vintage pieces and things that haven’t been worn as much because of the huge amount of clothing these branches receive. There are at least 8 charity shops in the small area where I live when I’m at home and these are always my favourite charity shops to visit as I’m always the most successful here. 

Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks
Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks

So, here’s my tips summarised:

  1. Carve out time to visit charity shops
  2. Visit regularly
  3. Ignore sizes
  4. Always try on clothing items
  5. Wear staple, basic items on your visits
  6. Wear clothes that are easy to get on and off
  7. Always take/wear a belt
  8. Choose a colour palette and focus on looking for that
  9. Favour charity shops in residential areas over city centres
  10. Forget the stigma around them because they’re an absolute goldmine! 

I hope this post has been helpful, whether it’s encouraged you to make a visit to your local charity shop or has given you some new ways to improve your already regular visits. By choosing to buy clothes from charities instead of from the high street every now and then you’re protecting the environment, your bank balance and giving money to worthy charities rather than the likes of Phillip Green when you’re shopping on the high street.

Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks
Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks
Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks
Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks

How To Get (Back) Into Reading

How To Get (Back) Into Reading

As an English Literature student whose current sole purpose is to read fiction, people often tell me that they want to get into reading, whether they’ve fallen out of the habit or never made one. Despite the fact that I’ve always loved reading since I was little and now have to do it as part of my degree, there are still times when I also get out of the habit. I never stop enjoying it I just sometimes forget how much I enjoy it.

This was particularly the case during high school when my priorities were very different to what they had been before this period and what they are now. It took actually reading a book that I liked in school (which didn’t really happen until I was around 16 as I think before then I’d read a total of one book as part of my studies and that was Holes by Louis Sachar that I honestly think we spent around a year reading as a class) to get me back into reading. My love of reading was re-ignited by studying English then, but most people who talk to me about wanting to start reading aren’t really ever going to study English Literature again, so they’re not going to have the same opportunity as I did to really get back into it.

So, I thought I’d make a post on how to get out of a reading slump (whether it’s a month, a year or 10 years long). They happen to me all the time even though I know how much I love reading so I always have ways prepared to get out of them

FYI: I’d just like to point out that reading isn’t for everyone and, if it isn’t for you, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Through spending a great deal of my time with other English students, I’ve come to realise that liking reading is often held up on a pedestal, signifying not only your academic intelligence but your emotional intelligence. But this just isn’t true- liking books really doesn’t automatically make you a better person! Some people just don’t like books and never will. If that’s you, don’t feel pressure to read this post or to read a book.

But… on the other hand, if you’ve never given reading a proper go then you may as well try, maybe you just didn’t start with the right genre for you? For me reading is a source of escapism, relaxation and positivity so don’t rule it out just cause you’ve never tried it. Although I feel like a bit of a hypocrite in saying that as I’ve never properly tried an olive and never will- the smell nauseates me 🙂

Anyway, here’s my tips…

How To Get (Back) Into Reading

1. Always Have A Book With You 

This is probably the tip that really got me back into reading or at least led me to start reading a lot more often than I originally was. People often say take a book with you if you’re going to be on public transport, which you definitely should do, but don’t just stop there, take a book literally everywhere. Whether you’re just popping out the house to go to the supermarket or you’re going on a weekend away in which you’re planning on being extremely busy (and even drunk) all weekend, you never know when you’re going to be delayed, in a queue, or forced to be waiting around for something.

After establishing the habit of taking a book everywhere with you, you then have  to make a habit of picking your book out of your bag rather than your phone when you have a spare minute or 10. I still struggle with this all the time but I always feel much happier and like I’m using my time better when I choose to pick up my book instead of my phone, so I try and keep that in mind.

So whether you know you’re going to have time to read a book, or you’re certain you definitely won’t, never leave the house without one, because life is unpredictable and you never know when you might thank yourself for doing so!

2. Set Yourself a ‘Reading Time’

Half of the struggle of not reading is just forgetting to; letting Netflix roll on to the next episode without the thought of turning it off even popping into your head, letting 5 minutes of Instagram scrolling turn into an hour. There’s so many distractions in our life, many of them digital, and books don’t have push notifications like so many of these other things do to remind you to use them. You have to consciously decide to start reading, even if the idea of staying on Instagram feels easier.

So, to combat this, work reading into your routine. Set a time every day when you’re going to read. For me, this is in the evening time just before I go to bed. Others do it in the morning, some people on their lunch break, whatever works for you! I personally like doing it before I go to bed because it really allows me to escape into another world and leave all the worries and stresses that are in mine behind, so I can have a restful night’s sleep. But I know some people can hardly read a paragraph before they go to bed without falling asleep mid-sentence, so just try different times out and see which ones work.

Remember not to feel guilty if you don’t feel like reading sometimes though! At times, you just won’t and turning it into a chore won’t help. Try and remember the positive reasons as to why you want to read and hopefully they’ll motivate you to stick to your ‘reading time’ but if they don’t, no problem, try again tomorrow.

How To Get (Back) Into Reading

3. Find a Good Book That You Actually Want To Read

Now this one sounds obvious. And it is. But I feel like to get back into reading you have to become infatuated with a book, in order to really feel like picking up another one. So it’s important that you start with a good one. Don’t set yourself the task of reading that classic Dickens novel that you’ve always wanted to read. That one can wait. Start with a page-turner that’s going to get you hooked and excited! 

Think about the types of films and TV you like to watch and find your favourite genres in books, whether it’s crime, romance or dystopia. If you’re really passionate about about something, from feminism, to sport, to music, find a book with themes that incorporate your interests! These are the things that you already enjoy so use them to find a book that you’ll like.

Like I said, I’d recommend getting back into reading with a page-turner to get you excited, so here are some of my favourite page-turners of all different genres:

4. Read With Others

For me, talking about a book is often just as enjoyable as reading it, which is a big part of the reason why I chose to study English Literature at university. But you don’t need to be studying English to talk about a book you’ve read and, often, it’s a lot more enjoyable and less pressurised and pretentious to talk about books more casually.

So why not join a book club? Whether it’s an IRL one or an online one, it will be a good way of not only holding you accountable to read but also to make reading a more sociable thing. I used to run a feminist book club for Girls Against and I loved running it as it meant that I always engaged with the book we read so much more than I usually would and, therefore, enjoyed it more. I had to stop doing it because I’m currently reading 3(ish) books a week for UNI so the pressure of having to read another one a month on top of that was a little bit too much. But obviously my reading load is unique so hopefully joining a book club won’t involve that type of pressure for you.

If you feel as though it does or just don’t think it will be your thing, then it’s worth just getting a friend or two involved and see if they want to read the same book as you for the next month or so. You can then text and talk about it as you go and when you’ve finished it without the formalities of an actual meeting to discuss it. A good thing to do, if you have a friends birthday coming up or, dare I mention the C word, for Christmas, is to buy two copies of a book you want to read and think a friend will enjoy, one for you and one as a gift for them. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for both of you!

5. Try Audiobooks

Finally, if you just cannot find the time (although, I think it’s always worth making time to read) or if your attention span isn’t allowing you to read, try to start out with an audiobook. You can listen to it while you’re driving, cleaning or getting ready in the morning but it still requires your attention. Some people prefer this to actually reading books but I also think it could be a good way of training your attention span up to the point of being able to read a written book.

I’ve personally never properly clicked with audiobooks. I did listen to Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love earlier in the year and enjoyed that more than I think I would have in written form, but I haven’t found any other audiobooks that have had the same effect on me. So if anyone knows of any I’d love your recommendations! Despite the fact that I’m not head over heels for them, audiobooks definitely do work for some people so they’re worth a go. I think Audible offer a free 30 day trial so that might be worth looking into!

How To Get (Back) Into Reading

I really feel like settling down with my book for the rest of the night after writing this post so I hope you feel the same way! Like I said, reading is such a positive thing for me and, as much as I love social media and our digital age, I think the way in which reading has fallen out of fashion because of it is a shame and a loss for a lot of people. So even if you’re only considering it a little bit, definitely give reading a go, whether it’s an old friend of yours or one you’ve never truly got on with, there’s a book (or a thousand) out there for most people.

How To Get (Back) Into Reading
How To Get (Back) Into Reading
How To Get (Back) Into Reading

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!

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.

 

June 2018 Favourites

June 2018 Favourites

I thought I’d share some things that I’ve been loving throughout June and maybe make this a monthly thing. Quite a few of these things I mention I actually started using in May but have grown to love throughout June. Also, just a quick disclaimer, this bag is not one of my favourites as I only bought it last week but I just thought it made a cool background. So, with that, here are my favourites from the month of June:

June 2018 Favourites

1. My Burberry Perfume

I recently rediscovered this perfume after getting home from UNI and having a big clear out. I knew I still had it’s box but I thought the perfume was long gone so I was really excited to discover that I had half the bottle left. I’ve been using it a lot recently and, although it reminds me of the winter a bit because it was a Christmas present, it’s definitely a classic scent that can be worn at any time of the year. And I really like the packaging too, which is always important.

June 2018 Favourites

2. Francessca Woodman

When my friend Maisie came to visit for a day out in Liverpool, we went to an exhibition on the phtoography of Francessca Wooodman at the Tate Liverpool and it was incredible. I’d never heard of Woodman beforehand but I’ve become obsessed with her work ever since this exhibition. Her photography is all black and white and shot on film so it’s provided me with a lot of inspiration and I’m definitely hoping to shoot on black and white film soon! There are a lot of elements of fashion photography in her work which I really like as well. You should definitely take a look at her work if you haven’t already and, if you’re in the Liverpool area, go to the exhibition at the Tate!

June 2018 Favourites

3. This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

I bought this on the plane on the way to Corfu and I’ve been loving it so much. Going to bed often makes me feel really anxious because nighttime is when many of my more panicky moments have come on. So a really relaxing bedtime routine is essential for me. I’ve been using essential oils all year to help me sleep and have wanted to invest in this sleep spray for a while now but the price tag put me off, so buying it duty-free felt like the best time to do so. It has really helped me sleep and the ritual in itself makes me feel relaxed so it was definitely worth spending the money on. I didn’t really like the smell at first but it’s definitely grown on me and I really like having a smell that I associate with sleep and relaxation.

June 2018 Favourites

4. Le Specs Sunglasses

These sunglasses have been another rediscovery of mine as I bought them over 3 years ago now and haven’t worn them for the past couple of summers. But they’re my only pair of black sunglasses and probably my biggest pair too so they’re really great for those days when I don’t want anyone to see my face. The lenses are also much more protective from the sun than some of my other pairs which means they’re perfect for sunbathing, so I’ve been wearing them 24/7 on holiday and during this heatwave.

June 2018 Favourites

5. Missha SPF

I bought this spf for my holiday as the SPF I use throughout the year is only SPF30 and it isn’t waterproof, so it wasn’t really going to work for a beach/pool holiday in a hot country. This one is SPF45 and totally waterproof, smells really nice and doesn’t do any damage to my oily, acne-prone skin. I am so impressed by it! When I was in Corfu, sunbathing and swimming in 30 degree heat all day, I only applied it twice a day and my face didn’t burn once, which is a bit of a miracle as I always seem to burn my face on holiday! This brand is actually a Korean one and has definitely got me thinking about buying more Korean skincare products as this one is seriously amazing.

June 2018 Favourites

6. Alex Monroe Necklace

This necklace has been a firm favourite throughout the month of June. I picked it up at a sample sale Alex Monroe held at Foundation Coffee in Manchester for an absolute steal of £25. I’m trying to invest in my necklaces more as I wear them every day which means necklaces that aren’t real gold fade so easily. This is the start of this investing and a good one if I do say so myself!

Let me know if you enjoy these types of posts and if you’d like to see more! This will be my last blog post until next Friday now as this Friday I’m heading to Barcelona for 5 days and really want to make the most of my time there. Plus, I’m currently working pretty much full-time so there isn’t as much time for me to write blog posts! But I’ll be posting even more than normal over on Instagram because I love a good holiday photo, so see you over there!