30 October 2017

With Love | Adding To My Jewellery Box

I've always believed that the right pieces of jewellery can, literally, make an outfit. No matter what you're wearing, the right pieces always have the ability to give your look a huge lift. But as I've got older, I've started to appreciate that it's so much better to wear items which have a bit of sentimentality behind them, or some sense of meaning, instead of buying any old old thing and hoping it 'works' with your outfit.

I've never really been one to wear too many bold prints or 'out there' pieces, always preferring something plain and simple which I can jazz up with some pretty accessories. HENCE accessories have always been an obsession...however...when I was younger, my jewellery box was absolutely overflowing with...well, cheap rings, earrings and necklaces that I'd snap up mindlessly whilst shopping in town over a weekend. 

When I sorted through it earlier this year, I couldn't believe how much rubbish I'd accumulated over the years. I have to say it was mainly earrings, and I had an endless stash of crazy studs and hoops etc. Surely it can't be good to put so much cheap metal in your ears? But the main thing that struck me was that there was no thought, sentimentality or meaning behind my Alladins' cave of crap. I'd obviously just picked up these pieces for the sake of it and certainly in recent years, that's now the  total opposite of what I do with jewellery. 

I very rarely ever add to my jewellery collection now because I have a selection of pretty pieces that hold a lot more sentimentality than other items bought in the past! I have a sapphire ring which I wear on my right hand, a gold 'Holly' necklace, a Bridesmaid chain from my friend Elaine, and a set of gold studs that have been passed down through the family. These are the main pals.

And then like everyone, I acquire items along the way and invest in certain items because either they are amazing, or a gift, or the inspire something special. I've bought a few pairs of those tassle earrings (because they are awesome) and OFC love a good watch and sparkly bangle. And then  when I opened this beautiful 'With Love' necklace from Bijou Boutiques I felt like it really would be a lovely addition to the jewellery box. I LOVE the detail and particularly like anything unusual, which this necklace certainly is. They also stock a 'Tequila' necklace which I've got my beady eye on!


25 October 2017

The Faux Fur Coat Of Dreams

Yes people, this is THE faux fur coat of dreams. Well, at least it is in my humble opinion. I'm really not even going to bother writing too much in this post as I think the coat speaks for itself!! But it's perhaps the warmest, snuggest, softest and most BEAUTIFUL item I've laid my paws on for ages.

The coat is a a Vero Moda via ASOS number in a dark, velvety green and it's amazing. I haven't taken it off yet. I will wear it all Winter. I've wanted something faux fur for ages and this coat honestly leapt out at me, I can say no more!

It's one of those coats that you can put on and completely transform yourself in, it could jazz up the dullest of outfits and even if you're having a bad day it can still give you that effortless splash of glamour. I'm so glad faux fur is a 'thing'.

Check out the outfit details below and for now, I will leave you with this beautiful beast of a coat.


19 October 2017

The Usefulness Of An Unstructured Grey Coat

I love a good wool coat (don't we all?) - in fact, I love ALL coats, but if you come here often, you know that already. Last year I purchased the best coat in the world from Mango, see here, a grey, oversized, unstructured wool number which I happily wore all winter. Grey, oversized, wool. Doesn't sound desperately sexy or glamorous does it? BUT here's why I've spent the last few months searching for a suitable replacement and WHY I actually think a plain unstructured coat can be the most useful addition to your wardrobe!

 Every year, I get myself into a state over coats. No seriously, I do. So many coats, so little money. And every year, I feel like I always get it wrong - or rather, I love the coat I buy, but I see others in different styles that I want too. Or WORSE, I love the coat I buy but it is genuinely not practical at all for my life...so it sits in the wardrobe for special occasions. And coats are expensive, so that's just pointless!

I've spent years dithering between the coat I want and the coat I need. And with belted coats, hooded coats, faux fur coats, there's way too much to choose from. But really, everyone needs that one everyday coat to chuck on and that works for all circumstances. Not the leopard print faux fur number that you only end up wearing to a Christmas party. Every day (well, three days a week) I trudge in to work like every other miserable person in the UK. I don't work in a particularly glam office, and the other two days of the week I spend freelancing from home with no real need to actually get out of my pjs. 

So really I don't NEED a fancy, crazy coat for the daily commute. I need something useful!!
Enter the unstructured coat. Honestly the best thing I've ever discovered coat-wise, because it's so easy. You can pull it on over whatever you're wearing and be done with it. No fancy belts, no fiddly buttons, and no garish colours that will attract the derision and/or raised eyebrows from fellow office dwellers. I mean these pink faux fur coats and crazy print patterns look GREAT on instagram or perhaps you can get away with them in certain circumstances...but day to day in average-ville, those coats are just too much effort.

This one is from H&M and I think I've worn it every day since I bought it. (NB, just need to chuck this in, I'm not saying I won't buy other coats for other occasions...but just saying how USEFUL it is to have a practical coat for day to day boring life).

So there you have it, the functional, warm, yet elegant and highly USEFUL style of coat that I could recommend enough. Have a snoop at these below - BTW it doesn't have to be grey, I just buy grey because I always wear black and it breaks up the colour groups a bit...

Grey Coats


12 October 2017

Shop My Knitwear Picks | Under £50

If it's not coats I'm obsessing over, it's knitwear! Jumpers and cardigans are my favourite thing EVER to wear (mainly because I hate tight clothing), so Winter and knitwear = excuse to wear pretty, loose jumpers alllll the time! Happy happy. This New Look jumper (linked here in purple) is one of my favourite new purchases (might also have bought it in pink...) and obviously there are so many others I want (but can't have) so I've popped by top picks below, all under £50! Let me know what you think!

Shop Here

10 October 2017

Are You Too Nice? 4 Signs You Might Be

Is there anything wrong with being a nice person? Absolutely not. But is there such a thing as being too nice? YES - there absolutely is!

What is 'too nice' anyway? Well I'm starting to see the glaring difference between being nice and being a perceived soft touch. In essence, I suppose it's a form of people pleasing, which sadly so often backfires (usually on you). So, do you tend to put others before yourself? Do you back down on your wants and needs so as to not inconvenience someone else? Is your free time spent giving, giving, giving and not getting much in return? Have people come to expect certain treatment from you and, dare I say it, actually take you for granted a bit? Being 'selfless' is a serious art, I think, but by completely ignoring the balance of meeting your own needs too...well you'll end up drained, resentful and being seen across the board as 'too nice'. If any of this sounds familiar, read on with my 4 signs!

1. Saying sorry all the time (OR, don't worry it's fine)

Apologising for absolutely everything is, in my book, a sign that you're definitely being too nice. Someone walks into you. You say sorry. You ALWAYS end up being the one saying sorry, if someone bails out on meeting you, someone's late to meet you, someone runs over your foot in Tesco's with their trolley...somehow you end up apologising, or saying 'don't worry its fine', even though you've been waiting for them for over an hour, and really you're very concerned about bleeding to death via the trolley wound on your foot.

Recently I realised that saying 'sorry' had become as natural to me as 'hello' or 'goodbye', which made me sit down and analyse why on earth some of us spend our lives apologising for things that aren't our fault. In a way, it's a way of placing the blame on yourself (rather than have any kind of confrontation with someone else) - hate confrontation? Welcome to the sorry club! And when other people see you taking a submissive role too often, well, that's bad...because it opens the door wide open to being taken advantage of, or people just not taking you seriously.

2. Getting yourself into stupid situations because you can't 'say no'

Is your calendar packed full of obligations, events and 'things' that you really just don't want to do? Do you endlessly get roped into stuff you really CBA with, or find yourself in some gold-star level muddles? *Raises hand* For me, all the latter tend to stem from agreeing to things that I either don't want to do, or that I feel obliged to do, and all because I don't want to upset or offend anyone in the process.

I've lost count of the times I've ended up agreeing to some awful work networking event because I couldn't say no, or staying late at the office to clear up someone else's mess or getting involved in problems that aren't my own. So why is this? Is this the biggest form of people pleasing there is? Does it come from not wanting to disappoint people or upset people? But then, you spend hours coming up with some crap excuse as to why you can't do it and probably end up upsetting them any way or causing more havoc. If you'd just said no initially, you'd have saved hours of stress and anguish. 

So, learning to gently say no, without offering up a thousand excuses, is an art to be worked on and if you're finding it impossible to ever say no, well it might be that you're just being too nice.
3. Agreeing with people or never saying what you think

This one resonated with me recently, as I realised I was nodding along sagely to someone who was chatting absolute rubbish. As they merrily jabbered about something I couldn't disagree with more, I wondered why on earth I was agreeing with them?? Or rather, why I wasn't challenging them with a different opinion. And then I realised that there have been so many times when I've sat with a group of people, or a person, who I have a different opinion to, and just gone along with it, keeping my own opinions to myself.

Now, I'm not saying you should wade right in there with a view or opinion that's going to ruin the dinner party. There's a time and place for everything, and subtlety (I always believe) is key. But it's more about the reasons why you don't feel able to say what you think. Perhaps these aren't your real 'tribe' of people, as it were, perhaps you don't actually like them or feel comfortable enough to be yourself around them? Or if it's a moral or ethical subject someone is discussing with you - should you dumb down your opinions or beliefs just to make someone else feel ok? Or do you lack confidence and self belief or just don't think anyone is interested in what you have to say?

Perhaps I've always found it easier just to nod along with people instead of a.) joining in properly (effort), b.) challenging them. But that's no way to live. You're an interesting creature with opinions and stories and things to say...why on earth wouldn't you join in? There’s a well-known saying,“You can say what you think, or you can have people like you.” But I think this just makes for misery in the end. You can and should be able to say what you really think and people won't hate you for it. And really, anyone who dismisses you for being honest, or expressing an opinion, well then they aren't worth a minute of your time.

4. People don't return the favour  

I think this one sits right at the heart of being 'too nice' because, sad as it is, there are always going to be people who trample right over anyone who appears to be a soft touch. Now, I am eternally grateful to a number of people I have in my life who I would go to the ends of the earth to help, because I know they would do the same for me. It goes both ways with these people and that's hugely important, and sometimes you have to just step up for people who are having a difficult time, and trust your bond.

But the problem comes in when you realise that there are also others who, actually, don't do one single thing to ever help you in return. These are the people who only pop up when they want something (and of course you do it for them), the people who expect help or favours, but don't ever return the them, or the people who call to ask you to chat or meet when they have have a problem (which of course you listen to) or they have nothing else better to do on the weekend. But when you need something? They aren't interested. They can't be found anywhere. In essence, when you don't serve some kind of purpose to them...well, you realise that in their eyes, you resemble a doormat.

And a doormat is not a place you ever deserve to be. Anyone who puts you there isn't worth a minute of your time. But it's also your responsibility not to let them treat you like one! So I think it's about really taking stock of who your time goes to, and does it go fairly? The minute you start taking a good hard look at this, you'll realise the difference between the two types of people, and stop exhausting yourself on people who never give back.


The good news is that you can change it. I've started to change it all around over the last few months. You don't have to turn into a Level 10 Grinch, but you can start to remember that there's someone else in this equation who is very important. You. Your needs and wants are important, and it's about remembering to honour them, as well as keeping up your 'nice' commitments. So what have I been doing?

1. I'm really thinking hard about the use of 'sorry'. If it's my fault (AKA if I annihilate someone with my shopping trolley) then of course I'll say sorry. But as situations have popped up over the last month or so, I've stopped to actually think about them and consider my responses better. If it's not my fault, I'm working on biting my tongue and not apologising. I'm learning to let people take responsibility for their actions instead of diving in trying to make them feel better by saying it's all fine when it's not.

2. I'm starting to say no more. And saying no is really hard if you're not used to saying it, and sticking to it is even harder because people can be persuasive! But if someone is pressuring you into something you don't want to do, it's important to stand up for yourself (they certainly aren't going to in the midst of trying to bully you into it to suit them!) Obv, we all have to do things we don't want to do, this isn't an excuse to stay in bed for the rest of your life, but it's about choosing carefully what you do with your time, and who you spend it with, because YOU want to. 

3. If someone is spouting some idiocy at me that I don't necessarily agree with, I'm starting to stop indulging it and I'm definitely stopping the whole nodding-along thing. If I can't be bothered to argue, I'll shut the conversation down and take it in a new direction. And I'm starting to offer my opinions and thoughts a bit more (no ones hated me for it, yet!) I think speaking up isn't something you can change overnight, but you can't certainly start small and with people you feel comfortable with.

4. I'm focusing way more on the people who do give me something back in my life. I'm not asking for them to move mountains, but a bit of reciprocal thought and friendship is all you can ever really ask for. I'd rather nurture three or four really important friendships than fourteen crap acquaintances where all the other side ever does is the 'me, me, me' act.

I think it's so, so important to strike a balance between being nice and being a doormat. And since I've started changing the way I behave, I feel way more in control of my time and my energy, and I'm finally trying to make it a reality that I'm a nice person, but that I'm NOT 'too nice'.

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3 October 2017

A Spa Stay At The Sir Christopher Wren Hotel

Everyone needs a break now and again and I have to say, plotting weekends and trips away is one of my favourite amusements. It's been a super rubbish year and Nick et moi had an anniversary to celebrate so (any excuse obv), I decided that escaping for a weekend seemed like an ace idea. I got it into my head that I wanted a spa break but they are soo expensive?! Or at least, they are when you leave booking it until the last minute...so when I stumbled upon the Sir Christopher Wren Hotel in Windsor, my prayers were answered because all guests at the hotel get access to the spa facilities. Winning. Hotel et spa, voila!
Part of the Sarova Hotels group, Christopher Wren is what I would describe as a classic oldie-worldie hotel with a modern twist. It's tucked away in one of the Windsor streets that sits right on the river, so a perfect location for pottering into Windsor, wandering along the river and OF COURSE visiting Windsor Castle!

All the rooms in the hotel are dotted around winding corridors and steep stairs - ours was a bit of a mission to climb up to, but, it helped me work off all the food I consumed over the weekend! I love a cosy hotel room and this was just that, they even supply you with the classic white hotel robe *insert shot of me in said robe, which ofc I forgot to take* - idiot.
The hotel's lounges were absolutely stunning too, a place to relax with coffee in the day or take some drinks into in the evening. Some seriously amazing artwork and decor too - #whencanimovein?

After a potter around Windsor, we headed to lunch. See? Orangina (not wine) because come on now I'm going to a spa and taking it seriously

And I'm so glad I did because the spa was ahhh-mazing! It was incredibly quiet too which was added bonus (nothing worse than awkwardly sitting in a small sauna or jacuzzi with strangers.....) and we had hours of nothing but relaxation, yippee! 
After spa-ing it up, later in the evening we ate in the Christopher Wren Brasserie which was GREAT not just because of the food, because it was so nice to just roll up the stairs afterwards to the room, instead of trekking across Windsor in the cold or having to get a cab. I think I really am the laziest person in the world? 

But anyway, the food was lovely and the ambience too, like the lady I am I tucked into a giant burger whilst Nick had an elegant, modest plate of fish. Totally the wrong way round but, meh! The Brasserie has a wonderful river view too, and it was a lovely relaxed place to feast.

After an ace nights sleep in a very comfy bed, it was breakfast (with a view again) and the off to Windsor castle. I couldn't fault the hotel service at all and it was just a lovely bubble of a weekend which I'd love to do all over again.

Obviously ALL relaxation was undone on the way home when the car broke down, omg why???, BUT we made it home alive and I got a McDonalds out of it, so apart from that, it was a lovely weekend and I'd absolutely recommend Sarova Hotels if you're after a bit of an escapist break.

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