Saturday, 30 December 2017

Breaking Festive Traditions + "Adulting"


It was just before Easter of 2016 that we picked up the keys to our first home. Not a new rented gaff, but OUR first home.

If you were to believe the headlines, you're probably thinking that I've been doing some top-drawer “adulting” lately. After all, for a twenty-something in 2017, the end of the rainbow should be getting on the property ladder, apparently… if only we can all stop reaching for those avocados, eh ;-) (I’m not going to bother linking to any of that tripe, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about there, I’ll let you search for that BS story yourself.. but FYI, my diet has remained staunchly millennial throughout the whole process)

It is true that it’s bloody hard work, especially with increasing rent prices on top of everything else, but funnily enough, I really don’t think I’d be sat here tip-tapping away in my living room, if I’d been too serious or too “adult” about it all. Or should I say, too "adult-who-doesn't-eat-avocados" about it all. 

I'll stop bringing that up now. 

It's just, sometimes I think you need a jolly good pinch of childlike naivety to launch yourself into taking on such a huge, scary project - that blissful ignorance of the unknown.

It was a bit of a whirlwind from the get go: we only viewed one other house before we first saw the property that would become ours. We instantly had a good feel about the place, but as parents & family (that we’d taken along a few of the viewing to get their thoughts and property experience) had kindly warned us, we were taking on A LOT of work. The house is 300 years old, so there were a few structural tweaks that we needed to fix, as well as cosmetic ones. But of course, we did what all good stubborn, know-it-all millenials naive, dreamers would do: asked for advice, listened politely, then impulsively ignored all the warnings and pushed on with proceedings anyway, and here we are :-D

Since then, we’ve just been ploughing on, getting the work done, making all of the mistakes, like decorating every room at once rather than one at a time, but most importantly, we’re getting there, and slowly but surely, it’s feeling like home.



Last year, for our first Christmas in the new pad, we stuck with our usual tradition of splitting our time between parent’s houses (one in the morning for breakie & presents and the other in the eve for dinner), but this year, being slightly more settled we wanted to flip-reverse proceedings.

Realising that we were probably more than capable of cooking a roast (albeit one that had the extra pressure of producing grub that matched our parents and my brother’s high Christmas expectations), we decided to host at ours and let our parents but their feet up for a change. A small thank you for the years and years that they spent (and still do) giving us the best Christmas’ imaginable. 

And you know what, I really did love this Christmas. We spent Christmas eve delivering Christmas presents to Grandparents and prepping the food with Phil Spector’s ‘A Christmas Gift for you’ spinning on the Crosley.

When it came to the big day, J & I opened presents, before heading over to the village pub with the fam at midday for a quick festive tipple. We opened presents with the fam in the afternoon, cracked on with the dinner and then spent the eve (unintentionally) annoying a sleepy Connie the Dog by singing at the top of our lungs, and I couldn’t of been happier.

To me, the idea of successfully "adulting" feels less about touching those big milestones than it is about finally being able to give something back to my nearest and dearest... the everything else is just the icing on the Christmas cake.

Much love,
L xo

DINING ROOM UPDATE

Wall paint: MutedBlush by Graham & Brown | Grey Tablecloth by B&M | Beaded Coasters by B&M | Table Runner by Next | Glitter & Speckle Candles by B&M | Blue Velvet Reindeer by Paperchase | Christmas Crackers by Baylis & Harding | Seat Cushions by H&M Home.
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Sunday, 24 December 2017

1920s Gatsby Style Festive Dress



Judging by how amazingly glam and glittery everyone is looking on their insta lately, no one is lacking in inspiration for festive party dressing, but just in case you are, I thought I would share a little snapshot of what I wore to my work’s Christmas party on Friday.

We were thorough spoilt for the affair with an overnight stay at the completely dreamy, candlelit Coombe Abbey, complete with a Gatsby style dinner and drinks. In the build up to the day, there was much office discussion about what to wear, but I finally settled on this dropped waist black number, embellished with cute cosmo beading. As someone who rarely dresses up these days, I actually really enjoyed wearing it. It was a nice floaty, ¾ length, so I didn’t feel like it was too tight or “fussy” with the perfect about of glitz to make a girl feel proper fancy. What’s more, it’s down to £22 pounds (!!!) in the sale right now, with quite a few sizes available so without babbling on anymore… GO GET IT!

Wearing: Sheer Embellished Dress by ASOS | Gold strappy heeled sandles by ASOS (similar), Beaded Headband from Ebay.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! <3

Much love,

L xo
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Monday, 4 December 2017

Let It Happen...


“Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul: Sure.”    
Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


I haven’t written anything for a while now.

I’d been keeping myself busy, cramming as much as I could into every free second of the day, then the other week; I came home, and did… nothing.

I guess things just peaked. I felt a bit overwhelmed. I wanted to do everything and ultimately, ended up doing nothing.

I went to work. I came home, turning the music up louder and pouring endless podcasts into my ear holes to drown out the sound of silence and self-questionning.

Sometimes things feel a little fuzzy. Tackling small tasks felt monumental and navigating the day would suddenly feel like trying to crack the enigma code, or deciphering a crossword – one of those hard ones that only your Nan can do.

There can be confusion in the banality of the everyday, often minus the reason, and seemingly, without the resolve.

Writing it down can be cathartic. Spilling thoughts out on to the page. Lessening the load so to speak. However, it can also bring its own anxieties. All of a sudden all of those irrational fears feel very concrete. I didn’t want to have to write another post tinged with melancholy.

But there is something to be gained in taking a reflective pause.

Just like that expired 35mm film, you start to notice there’s something special about the blips in the process, there’s flickers of light in the shadows and a certain kind of comfort in the graininess, and the knowledge that things will become clearer and sharper, just as they did before.


Photos by: Yvonne McKeown.

Wearing: Dress, Bag (similar) & Boots by Zara, Trench coat by New Look.  
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Thursday, 9 November 2017

How I built an Autumn Winter Capsule Wardrobe


Y’all have to excuse the unfinished mess of room that I am shooting in at the moment (yup that house renovation thang is still ongoing… slow and steady wins the race, as they say). However, I did say that I wanted to stop using that as an excuse not to post, as I am enjoying writing on the reg, so without further ado, let’s embrace the mess and talk capsule wardrobes!

I avoided the idea when it was the buzzword a couple of years back. The idea of narrowing down a wardrobe to its bare minimums just didn’t seem like it’d suit an indecisive gal like myself. Surely, I need and wear pretty much everything in my entire wardrobe? Wrong.

My mindset did change after watching the minimalism documentary at the beginning of the year. Not only did it make me realise that I probably don’t need EVERYTHING that I’d piled up, crammed in and squashed down, but it was also quite stressful trying to find anything to wear in the morning amid the clutter, and so I found myself sticking to the same three or so outfits I had in rotation (wash - pile - wear) and forgetting about the rest.

Firstly I undertook a mammoth wardrobe clear out, filling four bin liners of clothes and shoes for charity and setting aside a few items for depop. It’s always hard to be brutal so with every piece, so if you struggle being ruthless ask yourself the following questions: “Am I going to wear this, at some point this year?” and then, “Am I REALLY though?” 

I figured, if I didn’t wear and item this year, I for sure won’t like it next year, and if my some strange miracle I do still like it, chances are my butt won’t fit in it next year, because I am planning to embrace age, gravity & nature’s pear-shaped course.

Within a week, my life was sartorially clutter-free.

I thought that’d it be it, new wardrobe, new me, but no, the mischievous ghosts of shopping past, were still lurking, following me around the internet with Topshop’s newest faux-fur numbers, Zara’s finest selection of printed shirts and before I knew it, my rails were bulging once more.



More than anything, I wanted to make sure I was actually wearing the majority of pieces I owned, so I succumbed and looked up, ‘How to make a capsule wardrobe?”

I came across the Project 333 challenge, which invites you to dress with 33 items or less for three months. Starting in Mid-October, three months would see me through to the back-end of winter, which seemed doable.

The next thing I did was  go through my wardrobe again and pick out anything that was distinctly ‘summer’ – denim shorts, playsuits, even my beloved lightweight dungas – and pack those in to storage bags in my main wardrobe. 

I decided that my new curated wardrobe would be put together on a spare clothes rail, separate to the main wardrobe, and in clear daily view. No out-of-sight out-of-mind happening here!

I then started throwing what was left into piles by category – coats & jackets, jumpers, trousers, shirts and tees. Within each category, I tried to make sure, that I had a mix of different styles that would allow me some versatility for whatever I had planned…

Coats & Jackets

Given the season, I allowed myself a few choices in this category. As mentioned in my last post, I had treated myself to a new faux-coat this season – a little 70s style big-collared dream, so I told myself that’d be my ‘fancy’ coat. The piece I’d wear if I was going out for the day, or needed a nice cover-up for the evening. I had a couple of trench coats, so I packed away the lightweight options for summer, and kept a more winter-appropriate navy trench and a heavy-weight cotton olive trench, that I could layer over jumpers & jeans for work. With the colder months looming, I did make sure to include a few other jacket styles – my classic leather biker, a long-line jersey gingham coat and a striped blazer suit jacket.

Jumpers

I am always cold, so I made sure to add a selection of knits to the rails. I love the colour-block styles at the moment, so I went for a shorter waist length version, a longer baggier jumper as well as a couple of roll-necks

Trousers & Skirts

I rarely wear dresses these days, I barely wore them in the summer, so I knew I had to refrain from adding these in. Favourite dresses that I wot ever get rid of, were safetly stored away in garment bags, and on the rail, I only added one dark burgundy tea dress and a super versatile button-up denim skirt from Joanie that I would be able to style with a heap of different things. Trousers & jeans are my go-to, so my selection includes three pairs of jeans (a black and dark indigo straight-leg and a baggier pair of vintage levis), and a couple of pairs of trousers (navy striped straight-leg, vintage military blue fatigues, blue cullotes and a bolder mustard-yellow cigarette pant for when I need some colour).


Shirts

I had a moment on Zara. I always have moments on Zara, but this time I was somewhat impulsive but also fairly sensible, stocking up on a bunch of printed shirts, that would give my day-to-day working wardrobe a lift, rather than just purchasing pretty one-time wear pieces. There’s… stripes, stars, oriental print body’s, silky bird prints and even a fun zebra print. I’m telling you this because if anyone hears me complain that I need new clothes or I can’t find anything to wear, call me a liar. These shirts are the business; smart enough for work, pretty enough for a dinner-date. I’m SORTED.

Tees

Let’s not forget the basics. Whilst we are entering non-tshirt territory, I will be layering up with a comfy tee base under most outfits, for the majority of the time so I included eight tees in my selection. When packing away my summer stuff, I did try and eliminate the tees that got a lot of wear over the summer months, to add a sense of newness to my A/W dressing, and to fool myself into thinking I have new clothes to try week-on-week. The Saintly Leo tee was an essential buy, and will remain an essential in my capsule collection.


Accessories, Shoes & Extras

I’ve decided one pair of sock-boots, vans, black flats, dr martens Chelsea boots and my trusty converse is all I need to get me through the next couple of months. I’ve also hung up a baker boy hat (for bad second-day hair) and one super special occasion dress (winter weddings, yas!)



All in all, I narrowed my wardrobe down to around 37 pieces. Slightly over the target set by Project 333, however, I reasoned that as long as I’d managed to curate a selection of seasonally appropriate garments that I am confident I will actually wear and enjoy styling for the foreseeable future, I’ve made a good start. Seeing all those pieces together on one rail, makes me happier in the knowledge that I’ll be able to easily to say no to new purchases, and as advised “do more with less”, mixing and matching each week to add a bit more variety to my everyday look

Now just to see how long it lasts! Whether I can stick to only these pieces for the next three months, will be a challenge, but I’m going to give it my best shot. 

Two weeks in and so far, so good - wish me luck!

Much love,

L xo
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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Brunch Club




Long weekends: a leisurely brunch with my love, mooching around the shops, and cuddling small dogs. What more do you need in life?

With an extra couple of days off after the weekend, we decided to take a drive over to check out the new Rushden Lakes shopping centre and grab something to eat at the Eden champagne bar and restaurant in House of Fraser - thanks for the recommendation, Amber! We tried a few of the tapas sharing plates (halloumi, tomato & red pepper skewers, paprika hummus and chili & almond tender-stem broccoli) and washed down with a fire-in-the-belly virgin bloody mary and mint tea. I’d really recommend going if you happen to be in the area, both the food and the service were superb, as was the floor to ceiling plant-wall and the collection of Autumn-Winter Biba that graced the rails. Oh, baby...



Whilst back in Northamptonshire, we swung by the Dr Martens factory shop and somehow managed to avoid coming out with three bulging bags like last time, despite the fact that I was fawning over a pair of red love-heart boots and a made in UK red tartan scarf that was only a god-damn fiver!!

My momentary lack-of-red-boot frustration was immediately subdued by the fact that it was cold enough to prance around and feel fancy in my new winter coat. After a couple of years of sticking with fairly sensible navy wool coats, I could not resist this super dreamy sage faux-fur number from Topshop. I mean, just look at the collar!! I paired it with the appropriate Margot Brunch club tee and my standard Margot Tenenbaum-esque sulky expression (an all-season thang). 


"Richie: You dropped some cigarettes. 
Margot: Those aren't mine. 
Richie: They just fell out of your pocket."
- The Royal Tenenbaums.

Much love,
L xo

Wearing: Margot Brunch Club tee c/o Joanie Clothing, Faux Fur Coat by Topshop, Blush Velvet bag by New Look.
Listening to: Time of the Season by The Zombies
Inspired by: Margot Tenenbaum
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