Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Iceland in pictures

A few of the visual highlights from my recent excursion to Iceland. The view of Reykjavik from 8 stories up, the itchiest jumper known to man kind and the beautiful named, Golden Waterfall. Teeheehee.

 


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Day 5

Sadly today is the day we must depart. Nothing of note happened at breakfast time this morning. I guess it really is the end. The waitress looked pretty put out when we all asked for different types of eggs again so perhaps the other waiter just liked us. He gave us free coffee on the fist day and looks like a scooby doo character. 

After finishing all our packing we had an awkward amount of time left before our flight so decided to go for one last bracing walk in town. It was just starting to snow, which combined with the wind felt like daggers being blown into our eyes. It was lovely. 

We hopped onto our airport transfer and arrived with slightly too long to spend in the departure lounge. The airport itself was really nice and not crowded like the usual Gatwick/Heathrow zoo. I was in a really bad mood so I consoled myself with buying sweeties and M&Ms. The rest of the pre-boarding time was fairly uneventful. The real fun began once we got on the plane. 

I really hit the jackpot this time around with my seat allocation. One of the first things I noticed was the 'out of service' sign on the screen in front of me. This was annoying for 2 reasons; I didn't want to watch a film when I got on but now that I couldn't watch a film, I wanted to. Also, if I decided I was bored of my music or finished my book I'd be forced to, gasp, make conversation with my family. 

Now, I believe there are two types of people in this world. The first type are those who recline their seats on planes, coaches etc. And then there is the second type who do not. They are what you call normal. As you might be able to guess, I was lucky enough to be seated behind the type of person who reclines their seat. 

So I understand they have reclining seats for a reason. They are there to be utilised for the comfort of the passenger. What this fails to factor in is the comfort of the passenger behind them, who will likely be forced to recline theirs and so on. The problem with this is that you get one really unlucky person right at the back who's stuck unable to recline and who just has to suffer. I am thankfully not this poor soul at the back of the plane but that still doesn't mean I'm putting my seat back. 

Maybe I sound like I'm being a little bit harsh here, because I am. People may have the right to do what they want with a seat that has the option to recline but this isn't about doing something just because you can, if we all went around with that attitude this world would be in a sorry state. It's about having a bit of courtesy for the person who might be sitting behind you. Me, for example. A really tall person who is now EVEN MORE SQUASHED THAN THEY WERE TO START WITH. 

I might be biased but seriously, do short people have any idea how uncomfortable standard size seats are? It's like being one of those kittens who are forced to live in tiny glass jars so they grow all tiny and cute (deformed). There are very, very few occasions when it is less than desirable being tall. Most of the time I love it. Even when I'm getting eyed up by a man (whilst seated) on the train, who suddenly looks away when I stand up for my stop and it turns out he's a foot shorter than me. Even then. 

At the risk of making a massive generalisation here, I'd go so far as to put money on the fact the man in front of me who reclined his seat is a) short and b) an arsehole. Anyway, despite the fact he scraped my knees when his seat flew back I've forgiven him. Because he's put it back now. 

Luckily for you my lack of TV meant I had this spare time to write. And some time to reflect on my holiday. The highlight for me was probably the trip to the Blue Lagoon, I really enjoyed that and I've already decided that's where I'm going for my hen night. Even though I'm not engaged to be married, nor in a relationship. Doesn't hurt to be prepared though. I have also already decided I want to return to Iceland for another holiday even if it is just a weekend. There is definitely more to do in Reykjavik and I'm still yet to see the northern lights. It's the perfect place to go with friends so maybe I'll try and plan something when I win the lottery and can afford to go. In the mean time it's back to the rat race...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Day 4

As it's day almost our last day we can officially start moaning and complaining about how we don't want to go home, thus ruining the remaining time we do have left.  

Just when I thought breakfast couldn't get any better, today we were offered the option of having boiled or scrambled eggs. The options here know no bounds. I would never usually consider eating bread and cheese at breakfast but I'm a convert. You can never have enough cheese and bread I feel. 

The windy weather continued today as we spent some more time exploring the city of Reykjavik. This involved less walking and more being swept along as we took in the harbour and Old Reykjavik. We also had the pleasure of playing in the worlds most unsafe playground. At a glance it could have been mistaken for a mechanic/boatyard dumping ground. It was incredible. You had the choice of climbing up a wooden teepee construction onto the rusted, nail filled old boat or swinging on old tyres and buoyancy aids, tied with rope. There was even some coloured fishing nets lying on the ground. I don't really know what that was for though. Maybe some traditional Icelandic game. As we balanced on the unsafe planks of wood I could practically hear the lawsuits singing in the wind. It was the sort of place that wouldn't get shut down in the UK, but only because it would never be allowed in the first place. People these days. 

We continued on our way, taking in the seafront and battling insane winds. I got a few more beautiful shots of the mountains across the water and on the verge of frostbite and earache in one ear, we escaped to a cafe to defrost. The establishment we graced with our presence was the oddly named Babalu cafe. I don't really know what that was about but there was a plastic dinosaur, a quarter deck of cards and the first fifty shades of grey book on the side. So, you know. I guess you could call it quirky. They also served us a giant slice of cheesecake which I had no objection to sharing. That's pretty big, if you know me. 

Tonight we will dine in the Fish Market restaurant. We're taking some time back in the hotel to chill out before we go, preparing ourselves for the amount of money we are about to spend. I used to think living and eating in London was expensive. How naive I was. 

Other notable things to have happened today include seeing what I presume was a homeless man taking rubbish out of a bin. This only goes to reinforce my point that you must be a millionaire to live in or visit Iceland. 

Day 3

Breakfast is quickly turning into my favourite time of the day. Today it took me 15 minutes after I'd left the cafe to realise I'd left my (my brothers) iPod on my table. Everybody insisted I hurry back before someone steals it, I was quick to remind them we are no longer in England and declared the Icelanders seem like 'honest folk'. I was absolutely right and my iPod was right where I left it. Ha!

We all then questioned whether my mother had possibly had a stroke when she realised her make up was packed in her Wellington boot after all. She has spent 2 days with no eyebrows for nothing. 

The terrible news was delivered yesterday that our proposed jeep tour had been canceled due to bad weather. Honestly. These people with their excuses. Slippery glaciers and minus temperatures never killed anyone. 

Anyway, instead of a potentially suicidal jeep tour we have settled for the mysteriously named Golden Circle tour.  This included less life threatening scenarios but you can't have everything. The coach set off about half 12, and headed first for the Golden Waterfall. The time it took us to get there I can only presume the golden bit referred to its proximity to the sun. I wish. Maybe they thought 'golden' would distract you from the fact it was fucking freezing. It was so windy I didn't even have to walk down the '100 or more' steps, I was pushed. (More number based facts from the Icelandic tour folk.) It was all worth nearly losing my hands for because the waterfall was really amazing. It was like a scene from The Land Before Time. 

After the waterfall came the hot spring park named Geysir. (Lol @ the fact it sounds like gay). These hot springs are all over Iceland, they are pools of boiling hot water bubbling up from under the ground. They are so hot they emit steam which, because it can be so flat, are visible from far away and occasionally erupt with water that shoots metres in the air. We were reminded on many occasions not to be tempted to put our hands in to check the temperature of the water, because she can tell us now: "it is warm."

Following this we made another stop to admire some tectonic plates. This was also pretty cool. An episode of Game of Thrones was recently filmed at this same place so you have an idea of the landscape I'm talking about. The more I see of Iceland, the more I want to see of it. It's incredible how flat some areas are, yet it is so mountainous in others. 

Once we got off the tour coach I was desperate to get home and sleep. Quite frankly I could have slept for a week. Instead we searched for a place to eat dinner. We settled for The Laundromat Cafe, and it turned out to be very good. And they didn't name it The Laundromat Cafe for nothing, because there was an actual laundromat in the basement. This didn't take away from the fact the food was nice, the atmosphere really relaxed and the interior generally pretty damn cool. 

More bad whether is predicted for tomorrow. If it gets any colder I'm going to need a hand transplant. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Day 2

Day 2

I had a good feeling about day 2. During breakfast one of the team spent a few moments elegantly dressing, sprinkling and generally tarting up his boiled egg. At this point my mother kindly pointed out he may want to peel the egg first. Another handy hint, egg shells are white in Iceland.

Turns out my suspicions were not unfounded. Our second day and first full day in Iceland got off to a musical start when we took a walk up to God's House. That's not a joke, it really is called God's House. It was the start of the Sunday service so we had a taster of the choir as we took the elevator to the 8th floor. The 8th floor is only the beginning as you can take a flight of stairs up the the very top and feast your eyes on the incredible view. 

9 stories above Reykjavik looks pretty spectacular as it turns out. The snow peaked mountains look like a postcard or an advert for Icelandic water. If you told me there was a giant poster being held up by a team of Icelanders I would have believed you. It really was that amazing. We took a bus load of pictures trying to capture a view that cannot be captured by anything but your retinas. I imagine the bars placed across the windows were only added after a bout of desperate tourists threw themselves off the top because they failed to realistically capture the beauty. 

We continued on our way. Next stop was the 'world famous' hot dog stand. It was pretty good. I think it's world famous because it's the only place in Reykjavik where you can purchase a mere morsel of food that costs less than 1000 kronor. This sounds like a lot because it is. But it actually translates to about £5. Seriously though, don't go to Iceland unless you're a millionaire. 

After this my hands had frozen to twice their size with the cold so we retreated to a pretty spectacular looking building that turned out to be a concert hall. It is made of glass and steel and looks a bit like it has been made from giant sized versions of the weird key you use to open the sim tray on an iPhone. We used the toilet there, took pictures in the cool mirror then made the last minute decision to go to the Blue Lagoon. We hustled back to the hotel and our fabulous receptionist booked everything for us. I like to think she specifically requested our driver because she knew we'd love him. More about him in a moment. We had apparently 'hustled' for no reason because we still had 40 minutes to spare before pick up time. 

So our driver picked us up. He was only taking us about 1km down the road to be picked up by a larger coach but in that short space of time he still managed to spew forth a surprising amount of number based facts for one man. I felt very well informed about the population of Reykjavik that weekend.

After a few pick ups, a disco nap and an Ed Sheeran album we arrived. We queued for an unreasonable amount of time, spent another unreasonable amount of time figuring out how to lock the locker with a wristband loaded with a micro chip and I showered with my bikini on even though you are required by law to remove them. Hehe! 

In case you don't know what the Blue Lagoon is, it is a geothermal spa. Translated, this basically means you get in a massive pool of hot water that is spewed up from holes in the ground. Although the pool is man made, the water pumped in and renewed every 2 days is all natural. In some areas it is hot, in others it is unbearably hot and there's a bar so you can get pissed while floating in a huge hot bath with steam rising above you like a scene from The Mist. The water itself is said to help some skin ailments so it's healing too. Plus the water is actually blue which is pretty cool. You have the option to get a massage in the water, cover yourself in clay masks or sit in the steam room. It's really beautiful with the steam rising everywhere. When you're in the pool you can hardly see a few feet in front because of the steam, yet when you view from above everything looks super clear. I highly, highly recommend it and it's definitely one to tick off the bucket list. 

Swimming in hot water is rather tiring and I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to sleep. Other notable things to have happened include: 

Trying on the itchiest sweater of all time;
My mother taking a long drink out of a bottle of 'water' that turned out to be gin;
My mother realising she forgot her make up and having to spend the holiday with no eyebrows.





Sunday, 3 November 2013

Day 1

Today, like Bjork before me, I will travel to Iceland. I'm pretty sure she's Icelandic. This is the first holiday I have been on in eons (a year), and after putting the trip out of my head, knowing it was a couple a months until we leave, it has suddenly arrived.


I have spent the last week preparing and pre-packing, washing and generally organising my clothes - lest I have a packing induced nightmare. This is a fun side effect of airport based anxiety whereby you dream of arriving at the airport with no bag, the wrong bag etc etc. I once had a nightmare when my friend was flying to New Zealand. Not me, my friend. As hilarious as I find these dreams I try to avoid them by getting started early. 



The trip itself got off to a roaring start when the taxi driver was late picking us up. If that gift wasn't enough, he proceeded to spend the entire journey telling us why this was our fault (duh). My mistake, buddy, I thought it was your job to know where you're going. Forgive me. This monologue was interspersed with some mild racism. A winning combination, I think you'll agree. Here's a helpful hint, when ordering a taxi you must always provide a manifesto detailing the exact location of your home and the directions when approaching from all possible directions. Because apparently in this day and age, giving your postcode and full address isn't enough. You idiot. 



Thankfully, this slight set back didn't impact too much on the enjoyment of the airport departure lounge experience. If you thought packing based anxiety dreams were bad, you haven't met my mother. Clearly she foresaw the taxi driver episode and had booked the picked up time allowing us THREE hours once we got to the airport. We wouldn't have been late if we'd tried. 



We all arrived at the airport and were allowed through security (amazingly) and this is when the real fun began. We were treated to a long queue for the toilets and overpriced water in a climate similar to that of a jungle. Why are airports so damn hot anyway? We set off on our 5 minute walk to the departure gate and managed to overtake an obese woman being driven to her flight. You'd be mistaken for thinking she was disabled because after being dropped off, at the same gate as us naturally, it turned out she did have a pair of fully functioning legs and walked herself down to the plane unaided. 



In the midst of all the fun I've been having, I have made a startling and pleasant discovery. If you are from Iceland or on a flight to Iceland, this immediately equates to attractiveness. There are no exceptions to this rule. Bar the obese woman. 



So I am currently mid flight, eagerly anticipating the Icelandic fun and games ahead of me. We are lucky enough, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, to be arriving at the peak of a music festival. I'm not sure what Icelandic music will be like but my expectations are pretty damn high. 



As a parting gift I will end with the Icelandic word of the day. Loftslag. Teeheeheeheehee. Apparently it means 'climate'. I wouldn't advise saying that to anyone in the UK. You might get some funny looks, or a punch. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

After

Shhh. They're over there. In the corner.

My stomach lurched and my heart skipped a beat. There was nothing in the corner, I was suddenly, stupidly, afraid. I couldn't see or hear anything but she was so convinced I thought for a second maybe I was the one with the problem. There was such fear and insistence in her eyes, she was pleading with me to hear it too.

These are the fleeting moments of pure clarity in her voice and you feel the total conviction in her words. The frustration and desperation that seems to come directly out of her heart and penetrate into mine. It is frightening because she so firmly believes it. But we have no reason to lie to her. We're not hiding anything and we can only reassure so much. How do you explain to somebody that what they believe, know isn't real? I can see the sky is blue and I could not be convinced otherwise so how is her delusion any different?

There is a part of me that thinks she knows the end is nigh. I cannot begin to fathom the fear of knowing that the end is coming. I hope I achieve a state whereby I am no longer afraid of dying but I sense it is something you will never truly understand until you are faced with it.

Maybe for some the fear is too great for the heart to bear and the head takes over. I think sometimes she is confused at what is happening to her. I know she is angry. Maybe she is too far gone to be confused by it? I'm not sure. She has spent too many years now with no control over the body that is slowly failing her. All she had was her mind and now that is unravelling. Regrets and mistakes are presenting themselves in mysterious ways. Is she sorry for the way she treated someone? Is that why she hears their voice when it's not there? And yet, still, she has the ability to surprise us all with the most lucid of statements. I'm not happy. They are such heartfelt words and they hit you right in the heart. 

The mind is a very powerful tool and I hope that hers helps to make this transition a little easier. Perhaps it might make it harder for us but I just hope that she can be at peace when it is time to go. I don't want her to be haunted. I don't want the past to cloud the present. I don't want her to be afraid, confused or angry.

We are luckier than most in that we have had more time to prepare. This was inevitable. But it doesn't make it any less sad, it only makes it less surprising. It is the beginning of the end. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Puppy Sunday

Something terribly exciting happened at the weekend. I decided it needed a separate blog post entirely. I attended my very first puppy shower. Yes, you read that right. A puppy shower. Like a baby shower, except my friend will be 'giving birth' to a hairy puppy, and not, a human baby.

It might only be a puppy but she has decided this deserves a party just as much as any real baby. So along I went armed with a dog-friendly gift and some high, high hopes.

Turns out a puppy shower is pretty much just like any other party/day. Except instead of a normal/baby/whatever shaped cake, you have a dog shaped one. And, instead of gifts such as nappies, babygrows and bottles - you have dog coats and plastic bowls. I was primarily interested in the teddy shaped chicken nuggets which I ate A LOT of and instantly regretted. There were also magic stars and milky buttons - I'm 95% sure I ate the whole supply, which I also instantly regretted. Anyway, enough about food. Well you can never have enough food talk but I sense nobody else cares but me.

I happened to be about half an hour late to the shin dig - I mistakenly typed dog there, I do love an accidental pun. Anyway. I was late. This is down to the fact I couldn't for the life of me decide what to wear. Not for any particular reason, it was just one of those days where I didn't fancy wearing anything I owned. Which is annoying, mostly because it doesn't matter what I try on nothing is going to be good enough. It will take some kind of miracle. Opening your wardrobe door and walking through to some kind of Selfridges-Narnia, for example. This is not going to happen so it's really just a case of putting any-fucking-thing on, a tried and tested previously worn outfit, and being done with it.

This is essentially what I did. After taking the same outfit off and putting it back on again for half an hour - I eventually disregarded it and put on something completely different. This was interspersed with periods of just standing still in a pair of tights in my room, looking at my clothes. 

I really hate getting into moods like this because it makes the getting ready to go out situation so stressful, when it really needn't be. As I've said before, I make a conscious effort when I'm working to plan my outfits the night before to try and avoid this, because too often I've rushed to the station after being unprepared and uninspired.

So now I present to you the chosen outfit. Not particularly inspiring, but I (my mum) bought a denim shirt at the weekend and I was keen to wear it. It's one of those items I've been lusting after for a while so it was nice to find one in the Gap sale and I think it'll go with everything (small exaggeration). I ended up pairing this with a grey high neck, low arm hole dress with a slightly asymmetric hem that I've had for a couple of months. It only cost me £7.99 and I've worn it to death. I really should buy another one but I sense they're no longer in store however, H&M are generally quite good at keeping things in store a lot longer than say, Zara - who change their stock approximately every half hour. Seriously, what is that about? I swear it's a new season every week in Zara. Anyway, I went for this dress because it was clean, looks good with most things, is easy to wear and crucially, happened to be folded up right beside me at the time. Perfect.



Black leather jacket, River Island
Blue denim shirt, Gap
Grey jersey dress, H&M
Grey ribbed tights, no idea where they're from..
Mushroomy/taupe trainers, Vans

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Roll up, roll up. Another week, another round up of fashion show stoppers. Kind of.

I started last week with the best of intentions. After my pink week I had decided to try wearing something printed every day, and I managed find for the first few days. Unfortunately I was running a touch late on Thursday and didn't have the time to take a picture of my outfit. It was all downhill from there and on Friday I didn't quite get round to wearing a print. Hey ho..

On another fashion related note, this week saw the return of my Christopher Kane for Topshop alligator top. This collaboration was massive at the time and I remember how much I liked this top, but it was WAY too expensive for me. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon it in the sale. Ooh lucky me. I hadn't actually worn this dress in a long time, I felt like it was a bit past it for some reason. But, I bought it out in the summer when it was super hot and got tons of compliments on it so I've decided to wear it more often, thank you very much!



Sunday, 13 October 2013

let's talk about love, baby

Oh, love. How can something be so wonderful yet simultaneously so terrible? A broken heart. It's a pain so actual. It is shocking, it is physical. It's not a feeling you forget, just something you eventually stop thinking about all the time. Why do we keep going back for more when it can be so devastating? Well, people don't. I guess some never get over the fear of being hurt again while others do eventually come out the other side ready to try again.

As my gal pal Carrie Bradshaw asked before me, when you break up with someone - where does the love go? Where, indeed.

Having come out of a long term relationship, I am now happy and content by myself. I don't know how long this will last. But then I have never been one who struggles to be alone. In some cases, the emotional 'break up' already happened months or weeks before the actual deed - and therefore the split isn't quite a shocking when it happens. There is however, an added fun twist to the relationship aftermath. You know, your family knows, your friends know. Everyone knows it was right to end it. Except the ex. When they said love is blind, they weren't joking. That is, blind to the fact that said relationship ended for good reasons.

This is the knife in the back. As soon as your turned away, it hit you. This is the uneven pavement underfoot, and you didn't see it coming. Now you're surprised at the pain. There is something so painfully sad yet infuriating about a person who cannot come to terms with a break up. Especially one that ended for reasons so glaringly obvious to everyone except them. But no matter what the reasons for a break up are, if you love or loved someone - to an extent, there will always be feelings there. It would be very difficult for a long time, not to feel emotionally affected by their pain. Especially when it is you who has caused it.

Now I am not so naive or full of myself  that I think a person would be sitting at home, spending their entire life mourning over any failed relationship - but it is the moments of weakness that we all succumb to. The moment of vulnerability when you just had to text her. Or him. Most of us have been there and it is shattering. Such a heart breaking blow when someone you still love doesn't want to speak to you. But after the first few weeks, maybe months, you'd hope the abusive/begging texts (or the need to still text them) would stop. The amount of time it takes to get 'over' somebody is totally circumstantial but I would like to think that after many months of no or little reply to any communication, one might cut all ties until communicating in more amicable manner is possible. But what do you do when it doesn't stop?

It is something I wasn't unprepared for but I wasn't exactly prepared for either. I struggle to put into words the anxiety and sorrow I feel for somebody, who I once loved so much I felt like I might die if they left me, that cannot understand why I wouldn't want to be with them anymore. It isn't a case of explaining why anymore. It isn't about being reasonable, because love and hurt isn't reasonable. Whatever I have to say, it isn't what he wants to hear so he's not listening. And ultimately, it isn't up to me to make it better anymore.

Months have now passed. And I am uneasy. With all this spare time on my hands I find myself over thinking. (I can't help but link this to the fact I have not been running in a few weeks.) I still think of him and I am torn. I don't want to patronise but I am not cruel, I want to help lessen some of his hurt. I want to share some of my happiness. I remember it is not my responsibility. But, how can someone be so happy and another still be unhappy about exactly the same thing?

The initial giddiness at being single and feeling so free and so like myself again has faded slightly, I almost feel as though I am waiting for life to begin. Whilst I am happy - I am also anxious. I struggle to sleep. I have few distractions other than work, and I have become slightly lazy.

There is also the fact I am yet to start full time employment and I am on the cusp of this potentially happening, but the same worries about this still plague me. They say life is what happens when you're busy making plans - I am not so wrapped up in worry that I can't see that I should be enjoying my life rather than panicking about what might be. Things will happen.

There is the stirring feeling that perhaps I might be ready to start seeing somebody new. But I am still afraid. I'm not sure if I'm ready to be hurt again yet. I'm still sitting at the crotch of the fig tree. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Pink Week


It's Saturday, and that can only mean one thing. I made it through the week wearing something pink every day, obviously. I sort of cheated on Friday by wearing the same shoes again but at least they were still pink - and frankly, I was running out of options anyway. 

I actually quite like the idea of limiting or giving yourself boundaries when getting dressed. I don't mean not allowing yourself to be free with your outfit choices, because that's silly, but more like giving yourself a theme day to day or week to week. I might have to do it again - perhaps wearing only black all week or wearing the same jacket in 5 different ways? I think it actually helped me to get dressed a bit quicker in the morning - or when I was preparing in the evening. Giving yourself limitations means you're looking at a selection of your wardrobe rather than standing in front of EVERYTHING you own and feeling completely overwhelmed and uninspired. 

More than anything, I think it has also made me more experimental with what I wear because I had to chose things I don't normally think to just throw on. I ended up wearing a pink sheer dress I probably haven't worn in over a year - it's the only pink dress I have so I felt like I had to wear it - and because it's sheer I knew I had to wear a tee underneath. This gave me the idea to wear a vest under my black dress the day after - and it's an outfit I really like. Now my brain is fizzing with different themes for the coming weeks..hmm..


Take a look at what I came up with from Monday to Saturday. Click on my instagram or ask me for details on where anything is from, if you so wish.









Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Think Pink

Well a new week is upon us, and with it comes the task of thinking of exciting (and different) things to wear to work every day. I happened to wear a pink cardigan on Monday and another (different) one today so I feel I may as well make things a bit more interesting, and likely harder for myself, by attempting to wear something pink every day. This ties in nicely with the whole breast cancer awareness month. Look how that turned out. 

So in my quest to super organisation and less anxiety-based nightmares I like to try and plan my outfits the night before. Yes, I know. I was thinking on my way home I might be wild and go for a double-pink situation. YIKES. I had to hold the two shades up together because I'm not actually sure they go with each other so I might have to dial it down a notch and wear the pink sweater with a black skirt instead. But it's the thought that counts. At least this way I can wear my pink air max - which I'm pretty sure aren't included in the dress code but SCREW THE RULES. 



 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Fashion Friday

It's the end of another week (already) spent wondering what the hell to wear in this undecided British weather of ours. I had resigned myself to the fact that summer was over and it was time to put my coat on for the next 8 months, but then the sun comes and shines all over place and confuses me.

Now, I don't mind if it's sunny - I don't mind if it's cold. I would just like it to stick to one or the other, please. It makes it incredibly difficult when I'm trying to get dressed in the morning and I know I'll inevitably spend the day freezing or boiling. It's just not on Mother Nature. 

On to more pressing matters. Here's a little taster of what I've been wearing and buying this week. I went "window" shopping with a friend during the week, which lasted all of half an hour once I stumbled into the lingerie sale in Gap. Lingerie being one of my favourite things to buy, it was hard to resist. I came away with some really pretty lace bras AND the matching underwear which is always a bonus. I don't often have the energy to shop for bras because it's so very time confusing but I'm super duper happy I did because I have 3 new ones and they were ONLY £4.99 each. Not a bad afternoons work. 




Wednesday, 25 September 2013

leatherette

I reached a milestone in my fashion life at the weekend. I think I'm finally becoming a woman. I made a fashion purchase so monumental I just had to share it. I may be exaggerating slightly here but I'm still very excited. 

It was just a normal shopping trip, I wasn't planning on spending any money until I stepped into River Island and my eyes clapped on a leather jacket the moment I walked in. I was pretty chuffed when I saw it was only £100 - which for a leather jacket is reasonable. I was double chuffed when I remembered I had a 25% off discount card, free from the October issue of Elle. There was no way I wasn't going to get it even though I felt mildly guilty about spending £75...but come on, £75 for a leather jacket. I'd have to be a mental case NOT to buy it. Please just agree with me. 


At least I can rest assured this is something I'm going to continue to wear for a long time. I have never had a real leather jacket before - I could never afford one, and had to make do with pretend versions. Which to be fair, I wore to death. So I feel like this is a worthy investment. Again, please just agree with me..



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Book Porn






We all like to fantasize about our dream home. The place we'll live in once we finally grow up, get real jobs and can actually afford a mortgage. Maybe not the mortgage part. We like to fantasy decorate this house, it changes from time to time as flocked wallpaper flits in and out of fashion. Depending on the kind of gal you are, you might spend the majority of your ideal-home daydreaming time imagining the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom or wardrobe. I am not one of these ladies. For me, the creme de la creme of my proper grown up house will be the library. Oh yes. We're not just talking the living room with a few extra book shelves - an actual library; a room dedicated entirely to books and the reading of them. I'll know I've made it when I have a library that's for sure. 

Until that time comes, I have to make do with a variety of temporary solutions. For many months now, quite possibly years, my growing book collection has sat un-shelved and forlorn on my bedroom floor. Nothing pains me quite like the mistreatment of books but my 2-shelf book case doth not suffice in housing my entire collection.

Each time I purchase a new book, it is destined for life amongst it's fellow friends, pushed against a wall teetering dangerously high. This is necessary, because the solution to this problem - sharing the shelves with everyone else's books is also too painful to consider. The thought of my books being mixed up with somebody else's in God knows what order - no, thank you.

I thought I my Birthday and Christmas had both come at once when I managed to snag an unused bookshelf with 3 whole shelves - much larger than what I currently have. I moved all the books into their new home and was feeling pretty damn good. Until now. After scouring the living room shelves for any of my babies that had been separated from the pack - I came up with TWENTY TWO books that I have no room for. 

I can't bear to start a new bedroom floor pile, so I suspect I will have to move a few things back to their original 2-shelf home. Now this problem of mine, like Carrie Bradshaw before me, got me to thinking. It seems in our digital, techno-overload, modern existence - there is no place for books. Literally. There's plenty of space for a teeny-tiny piece of equipment that slips into your back pocket - and slips right out again into the bath, sea, a puddle. 

I fear we may be entering into a time where books no longer have a place and that deeply saddens me. I feel like I have been mourning the loss of books since the first e-Reader sold. I have no doubt the sales of physical copies has been effected - they were probably struggling to sell them before e-Books were invented (I've never seen so many 2 for 1, buy one get one 1/2 price offers), hence the need to come up with a more affordable way of selling books - but I'd imagine it has made it even harder to shift something for £7.99 when you can download it for £1.99.

This is great for all those people who can't afford to buy a mountain of paper backs and then struggle to find the space to store them - however, if you can afford to spend £200 on a Kindle I'm sure money wasn't really the issue in the first place. The selling point for the e-Reader is the convenience of it all. It's so tiny and flat - who needs a giant, unwieldy book that weighs down your bag and crinkles in the bath when you can download 2 trillion novels into ONE THING that weighs 10grams? Or something. People these days don't have the time to go to Waterstones and buy a book, then find the space to store it in their shoebox flat - because it's 2013, guys and if you're living alone and you're under 40 - you're probably living in a studio with a shared bathroom. Where the hell are you supposed to fit all your stuff anyway? 

I understand it's easier. I really do. I hate the fact I can't always fit a book in my bag and there's nothing more annoying than finishing a story half way into a train journey and not being able to start another one. Because there's no way I'm taking 2 books every where I go - that is ridiculous. It just makes me slightly sad that we may be losing something very special with the prominence of digitized books. The future of print is looking very, very bleak right now and it's a great shame. 

I can see there are positives in that people are probably reading more than ever before because it's so much more accessible.  I cannot deny how easy and convenient it is to be able to download something you want straight away rather than wait until an Amazon delivery. Everybody should read, it doesn't matter what you're reading, as long as you're reading something and if buying a Kindle helps you do that, then great.

But there is nothing better to me than the physicality of a book. The tangible, actual-ness of a paper book. The weight of it in your hand. The feel of it when you're in bed late at night and you can't put it down, I love the turning of the pages - the possibility of all the words ahead of you. You can see them and you desperately want to know what happens at the end but you really don't want to ruin it for yourself at the same time. Yes, they can be heavy and they make your hands hurt sometimes but that's all part of the charm. Laying on a sun lounger, in bed, on the sofa - you have to keep turning round because your hands and arms are going numb. Nothing can replace the beauty of a real paper page - the e-Reader knows it's fighting a losing battle with all the promised 'paper white' screens. It's just not quite the same. 

They all look so beautiful lined up on their shelves. What could be better than a shelf full of your books - the memories of reading them and how they affected you? You can't underline a quote or a special line on an e-Reader. There's nothing personal about a black screen. There's no sharing a favourite part with somebody who's reading the same thing, you can't just turn over the corner page and flip back to a funny line. This is why I treasure the books I have so much, I love to see them all in front of me. I like to chose which one I'm going to re-read depending on the mood I'm in. Instead of inventing different ways to read books - how about they develop a way of forgetting you've read a book so that you can rediscover and love it all over again?

I await the demise of the printed book with sadness, along with the possibility that many of my favourite magazines could also be headed down the same route. I guess the rarity of print can only make it more special, but I don't want to imagine a time when my children or grandchildren might not have a creased and torn copy of The Cat in the Hat on their bedside table. 




Monday, 16 September 2013

Fashion roundup


























So last week I went WILD (they were in the sale) and purchased a pair of Nike Air Max 1 trainers. I have been lusting over these for a while now, glaring enviously at those who already posses a pair - after pay day I felt like this was the month to finally invest. I spent a while looking at different websites at all the colours and prices, quickly coming to the conclusion that they were the same price everywhere and there are TOO MANY COLOURS TO CHOSE FROM. 

I made the decision at this point to buy the one pair that were on sale and in my size - I love pink and at least it's different to my usual boring black. They arrived last Tuesday and I have literally worn nothing since. They are so comfortable and I already want another pair in (boring) black. The only problem is the bouncy air pocket in the sole makes me about 2 inches taller, for most people this would be an added bonus but I am anything but vertically challenged. Well, it's a small price to pay for looking fabulous. Check out what I've been wearing this week..

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Denim Madness

There exists in a woman's wardrobe a selected few items of clothing that are set apart from the rest of the pack. They are special. You remember exactly when you bought them; where you were and how it felt. Whether you like it or not. 

These are the pieces that will have incurred more hassle whilst attempting to purchase than any others. They might include the perfect black trousers, a well fitting suit or the perfect LBD. No one had prepared you for the horror. Nobody told you that a size 28 waist, and 32 leg would be different in every single shop. You walked into town thinking it would be so easy. It's just a pair of trousers, how hard can it be? Turns out, very.

For me, there is no journey more arduous, so laden with problems - than the trip to Jean-ville. No shopping trip more sweaty or exhausting. How can there be so much of it around yet so little of it that actually fits? I believe the first woman to declare "I have NOTHING to wear", was standing in front of a wardrobe full of ill-fitting denim.
I can honestly say, in all my years on this planet (not actually that many), I have never owned a pair of jeans that fitted me perfectly. There has always been a catch; too short, too low in the waist, too big, too small, too big and too small at the same time - how is that even possible? Once again, the Gods are have blessed me with height - which I am eternally grateful for. It does however, make jean buying EXCRUCIATING. The days that I feel stable enough to attempt to shop for jeans - they are fleeting, and must be taken full advantage of - I grow steadily angrier as each pair is discarded for being almost perfect. Like Goldilocks and the 3000 bears. 

I usually approach the denim beast during the sale period. I think this is my first mistake. Why do I think my perfect, made-for-me jeans are going to be in the sale? These are things nobody wanted, Jo. Don't get me wrong, I do believe you can find some hidden gems. You just have to wade through the t-shirts with Lady Gaga's face on first. But if I do miraculously find something in my size which, by the way, is up for some debate because helpfully, I'm a wildly different waist size in every shop. Sometimes by up to 2 dress sizes. No, I don't know either. 

So I'm out shopping, I'm browsing through the sale and I've found a pair in (roughly) my size - plus the size up and down. If I'm feeling pumped enough to try them on, I make sure I take a good few extras with me. Unless it's a really good day, there's no way I'm coming back out for take 2. I get to the changing room and I'm feeling positive - I start with the bigger size, (yes, I want to feel good about myself) and I'm braced for the fit. I can pull them up over my calves, it's a good start. Oh wow, they even fit over my knees AND thighs. I'm getting excited at this point. They're finally up, but hang on - what is this? Why is the waist band so loose? Are these maternity jeans? What fresh hell? Do I have a size 14 knee and size 10 waist? NEXT. 

The following 27 pairs run along the same kind of lines; "are these for kids?", "why won't they go over my foot arches?" and "do you think it matters that these flares are a touch too short?".

Oh but this next pair looks promising, they're a - wait for it - leg 34!! The only time you see a leg 34 anything in the sale is when it's a waist 24. If there are people out there who wear a 24/34 then I don't want to know about it. So far, so good..they're over the thighs - plenty of stretch, I can even do them up and they're still a bit snug. (This is essential as we all know that jeans expand by two inches once you wear them for 5 minutes, take the label off and/or throw away the receipt.) Now, let's have a look in the mirror. Oh, Lord! Is that ME?! Look at my thighs! I knew they were high waisted but look at my arse! It's longer than my body! How is it possible to look so wide? Jesus Christ. What I was thinking picking up acid wash anyway. No wonder they're in the sale. 

At this point I will exit the changing facilities. I'm empty handed. I'll maybe take a quick glance at the sale rail on my way out the shop. Just to see if anything new is there, you know. I'm flipping through what's left; stuff's falling off the hanger onto the floor but I don't care - I'm pissed off, I'm sweating, my hair is inexplicable. People are in my way - one look at my face (and hair) and they move.They're scared, more so than usual. There is nothing left for me here, I resolutely conclude. 

Episodes like this take their toll on a gal, as you can well imagine. There's a Gap next door but there's no way I'm going in after the Topshop experience. I'm not even going to walk near Jack Wills or Abercrombie. They can't handle me when I'm in a good mood let alone at this level of rage. I should probably just go home, I've ruined everyone's day and my Mother is scared to ask where I want to go next. Her patience is starting to wear thin, she asks me if I'm OK; apparently "I'm FINE" means you're definitely not fine, whether a man is involved or not. I have a coffee and some cake and I'm somewhat placated. I remember that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is and make a vow never to shop for jeans EVER AGAIN. Until the next sale, anyway.

Despite the trauma - I have faith in denim-kind. I still believe that there is a pair of jeans out there that's just right for me. Like my soul mate or future husband - I know he's out there, I just have to find him.

Fashion 101

I suppose it's about time I wrote a fashion related post. Seeing as how as it's one of my main interests in life and everything. 

As the new season approaches - kicking off with New York Fashion Week, it's that time everyone starts thinking about what they're going to be wearing six months in advance - but also when we actually start buying what we're going to be wearing now.

I have the tendency, as I'm sure many other women do, to compile a mental wish list as I go through life. The list peaks around the start of a new season, as the pieces I've been waiting for finally drop. It also tends to spike during the periods that I'm flat out broke - but I fear that has more to do with me wanting what I can't have that anything else.

Anyway. Although I like to follow and keep up to date with fashion, the latest trends and all that jazz - it's part of what I do after all. I am also a firm believer in spending the majority of your money on pieces that you feel you will wear for more than one season. Unless you're a billionaire - which I doubt if you're reading this - if you spend £50 on a skirt, you'd hope to wear that for more than a couple of months. I certainly can't afford to buy a complete new wardrobe every six months and honestly, even if I could afford to do it - I probably wouldn't. When it comes to investing your money in clothes you should think wisely before you spend. It might be £20 or it might be £200 - the same thought should be going into it. 

I split my purchases into two categories - trend led and classics.

With trend led pieces I am reluctant to throw a lot of money at them. If there's a trend I'm crazy for but I sense doesn't have much longevity I might buy a couple of high street interpretations of it - but I won't spend much. This might be a t-shirt from Primark or something from H&M - if I look ridiculous in it a year down the line at least I can wear it to go running and I'm not upset I paid a fortune for it.

With classics, it's a different story. These are the pieces that I'm going to be wearing on a day to day basis. These are the things you will likely base your outfit around, for me it's jeans, black trousers, jackets, dresses. I'm a coat fanatic as it is so I'm always going to spend money buying them. Take the parka I bought about 5 years ago - it was the most expensive thing I'd ever bought at the time but I still wear it every year. I got it from an army supply shop, it cost me about £70 and it's still wearable. I can't, and don't want to, imagine a time when a parka won't be in fashion. I mean, they literally go with everything.

I don't want to mislead anyone and make you think you have to spend a fortune buying one piece of clothing you'll wear forever - when I say I spend the majority, that still isn't a lot - it's just more than I would spend on something faddy. I think it's mostly important to be mindful about what you're buying and spending less where you know it's a passing craze. Jewellery is also a great example of this - I would generally advise against spending £250 on a bejeweled, gem studded collar necklace. It might look pretty cool right now against your white tee but what about 2 years down the line when everyone has pretty, dainty chain necklaces on and you wish you'd saved the money? Exactly.

When it comes to shoes, I do believe you're going to get better value for money and quality if you shop outside of Primark, for example. Purely because I find buying shoes so difficult, I do it infrequently and tend to go for the same kind of thing. If I could get my foot into wonderful, spindly heels and S&M boots I'd probably be buying them all - unfortunately, I cannot. The gods have blessed me with height and awkwardly shaped feet so I must make my peace with that. But as with a parka - Vans, Converse and Nike Air Max 1's are probably always going to acceptable footwear choices, so it's not all doom and gloom.

So when pay day approaches and you're itching to buy - please try not to go mental and buy something you'll regret. Unless you are actually a millionaire. In which case buy what you want.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Day 2

Well, it's day 2 and I'm writing again. This is an achievement in itself. Yes, I'm proud.

Not that I have any idea what I'm actually going to say. Perhaps this is the point that I should heed my Uni tutors advice and decide on a context before I begin a new project. She has a point. 

It is incredibly hard to write if you don't know who or what it's for. You wouldn't write a letter if you didn't know who you were writing to. (I'd imagine.) I think this is probably applicable to most things in life. It's a concept many people struggled with at first - at the start of our 3rd year of University, we were informed we must decide on a context for our final major project before we even decide on a concept or idea. 

This may have seemed alien (and annoying) at first. Eventually it made sense to me. Whilst I was struggling to form an idea that I liked enough to research for half a year, yet wasn't too broad OR  wasn't broad enough so I'd run out of material - I was told to decide on where I thought my project belonged. Was I going to take pictures, make a film? Was it editorial, conceptual - was I going to create a feature film trailer or an advert for a fashion brand? It is important to make these decisions early on - lest you create a piece of work that has little or no use to anyone or anything. There's a reason advertising agencies will commission an artist or designer instead of shopping around for a project that 'fits' their idea for a brand.

There was no way I was going to do a project about the naked female body and try to pass it off as a submission to Good Housekeeping - it just doesn't make sense. Maybe it sets boundaries that might limit your creativity but I don't believe it really has any detrimental effect. If you were creating a submission to an art gallery or magazine you could probably be as free as you liked. But it helps to understand where your pictures, writing, music is going before you start creating it so that you understand your audience and what they want. It's not just about tailoring your art to fit into a certain mould - I think it's about clarity. The ideas will flow more freely if you have an inkling of the context for the end result.

Take this blog for example. I have no idea who, if anyone, is reading this and I haven't got a fucking clue what to say.