Happy Sunday lovelies- now hold on to your cup of tea, this post is going to be a mushy one.
Today I’m sending love and appreciation to all the mum’s, mam’s, mummy’s, mama’s, step-mum’s, grandma’s, granny’s, nan’s and nana’s out there.
To the mother’s that we are still lucky to have here with us and those that are sadly not with us anymore, you are constantly in our thoughts.
The ladies that are celebrating their first mother’s day and the ladies who are about to join motherhood!
Not forgetting all the wonderful dads out there who are also mum.
While we should celebrate these beautiful people every day, this day in particular is dedicated to you.
My mumsy is a truly magnificent person. She’s one of those who will not stand to see anyone stuck and has a duty of care towards everyone she meets; honestly her willingness to go above and beyond for people knows no bounds!
I think it’s fair to say that she’s been there for me through times where I’ve been at my lowest, even miles apart she’s helped me get through countless panic attacks just by being on the phone (she even sent me the loveliest care package, paper bags with inspirational messages written on them!) Through teenage bullying, job losses, rejection, anxiety, going to university, moving out of my family home, feeling like a failure and a whole lot more rejection! She’s been my rock through it all and I honestly cannot thank her enough for putting up with me (aka this theatrical, dramatic emotional mess).
But through all of the hardships, we’ve also had some pretty amazing successes! One of my favourites would be seeing Fleetwood Mac together (I know, right?) This dream finally came true in 2013 and singing Don’t Stop hand in hand with my mama I will cherish for years (upon years) to come. Then last year I experienced not only my first cruise but we had our first mother/daughter holiday exploring Scandinavia, ticking a few things off my imaginary list of things I’ve been desperate to do! We got to be ladies who lunch for an entire week and I absolutely loved it (can we start planning the next one yet?)
I know I’m waffling right now, but I have so much to thank her for (and if she’s reading this, I’m going to assume she’s already started welling up by now… Sorry!)
Even now, in my thirties, my mum has never once doubted my ability to follow my dreams no matter how wild and ‘out there’ they seem. She has always allowed me the freedom to express myself and to be a creative free spirit, which is why I sing at the top of my lungs, dance my heart out and wear exactly what I want to. She’s always championed me for being unique and different.
I owe her so much.
M’dears If you can’t be with the ones you love right now, whether it’s due to forces out of your control or (like my mum) unfortunately don’t live around the corner, if you haven’t already send a card, text, call, facetime, skype, even carrier pigeon! But if you miss somewhere dearly and they’re not with us anymore, you can always tell me what you’re what’s on your mind today and what you miss most about them- I’ll be more than happy to listen.
But please, tell them how grateful you are that they’re/were in your lives and that you love them.
If you know me, you’ll know that I am what I call a cake enthusiast… Or y’know a person who just flippin’ loves cake but thinks she deserves a fancier title (is it just me that thinks Miranda Hart would strongly approve of that statement?)
Whenever it comes to a catch up with a friend what says “let’s have a chinwag” better than cake? Nothing that’s what! Everyone can enjoy cake whether it’s gluten free, dairy free, flourless! Yasssss is what I say!
Well last week I visited the most adorable café that I simply have to share my experience with you all, just in case you ever visit London town.
Boulangerie Jade is a traditional French artisan bakery and patisserie and I know what you’re thinking “well that ticks all the boxes doesn’t it?” You’re darn tootin’ hun. I instantly felt I was back in Paris the moment I walked through the door and it was wonderful to have the feeling in the heart of London. They have four locations, all SE London and but it’s definitely worth travelling out of Central London, not only the cafes but the delightful surroundings. My dear friend chose to visit here as it was her birthday and she was keen to try somewhere new (my kind of mentality!) She decided upon Boulangerie Jade as one of the locations was in East Dulwich (which is such a pretty part of town) and it’s the only one out of the locations that does hot food.
The place felt cosy and warm and the ladies who worked there made you feel extremely welcome. It’s not a particularly large place but nonetheless there were plenty of places to sit and it was clear by the number of people it’s a popular choice with the locals (and this is always a good sign). So before I go anywhere I always tend to scour the menu beforehand, this is because I could talk for England and reading the menu when I meet up with a friend isn’t very high up on my priority list! However…Trying to narrow down a patisserie menu filled to the brim of some of my favourite cakes and pastries, this proved to be incredibly difficult and could have easily ordered 5 things off of the menu…
I didn’t however if that’s what you’re thinking! Cheeky.
I opted for the Opera cake, which is one of the most beautiful combos ever put into cake form, if you’ve never tried it and are a chocolate/coffee obsessive then honestly what are you waiting for? Again, due to popularity (and no doubt because it’s been featured on the Great British Bake Off) there was only one of these available. But I wanted to my dear friend to have it, as it was her birthday and after all one of us had to have it!! Nevertheless my luck was in when my other favourite was in fact available, another popularised by British Bake Off fame- Millefeuille. The most beautiful flaky pastry sandwiched between layers of crème pâtissère. My idea of heaven basically! We paired it was a couple of their light and creamy coffees and we were two very happy Northern girls!
Having now tried a sampling of their cake and pastry, I would return in a heartbeat and wouldn’t hesitate to try their hot food offerings and leave enough room to try another of the cakes, tarts or pastries.
No matter where in the world you live I think we can all agree that one thing we could always have more of are lovely little cafes, where they provide comforting hot drinks and luxurious desserts that taste so good you can’t even be bothered to feel guilty about devouring.
Her clothes appealed to both ‘duchesses and typists’.
Her fashion was described as kooky, mad and way out.
Mary Quant – role model for the working woman.
If you’ve read my first ever blog on here, then you’ll know it was all about this lady! To those that haven’t (not to worry), in a nutshell I managed to visit a scaled down Mary Quant exhibition last year at the Fashion and Textiles museum; it featured not only Quant but Terence Conran (the man behind the store Habitat).
The recent exhibition at the V&A museum however was all about Quant and her legacy. What made this exhibition unlike any other I’d visited was that the majority of the collection was on loan to the museum from owners of original Mary Quant pieces. They were displayed beautifully alongside a placard detailing whom the item had come from, where/when they may have purchased it and how much for (honestly it was such a sweet idea!) They then proceeded to display how much the item in question would be worth now and heed my advice when I say this, if you have an original Mary Quant garment lingering about in your loft or your Grandmama’s wardrobe then for heaven’s sake hold on to it!
Or you know, sell it to me so I can at least wear it…
I guess you could say Mary Quant has always inspired my look, from the clothes I wore growing up to the hair on my head. Her whole ethos on why she designed clothes to look a certain way and how she wanted women to feel wearing her pieces, it definitely had an impact on my own wardrobe when forming my own personal style.
She’s quite simply put a revolutionary and a rebel! Apart from celebrating her 90th birthday the day before I visited this exhibition, I might add. Her belief in her own designs extended its way onto the red carpet when visiting Buckingham Palace to collect her OBE. She decided to rock up in front of the world press wearing her own brand from head to toe! This included makeup, tights and even underwear (apparently), all of which could be purchased directly from her store- the ultimate business lady and a badass! See, isn’t she amazing? Not to mention you have her to thank for the mini skirt and waterproof mascara, things you could say we take for granted.
Although her clothes were still expensive, above all she wanted them to be affordable. So she wasn’t quite Primark, but she wasn’t Chanel either!
Walking around the exhibition I see an array of clothes I would still wear to this day. They’re classic and even now they’re edgy! Every pinafore, collared dress and monochrome pattern I see my mind screamed “I simply must have this in my possession!” and if you thought this happened upon viewing the entire collection, then yes you’d be right…
I find the exhibitions at the V&A are always well thought-out and presented beautifully and this one was no exception. I spent a good 2 hours here and if it was a little less crowded I could have easily ogled for a bit longer. Instead after the exhibition (and raiding the store for any goodies I could get my hands on…) I decided to have a jaunt to Kings Road in Chelsea to have a peek at where Mary Quant’s store Bazaar would have stood back in 1955.
Mary Quant. Thank you for sitting in your bedsit designing and creating quirky dresses, tackling the class system and being unconventional!
As you put it best, “We knew we had to do it ourselves, or nothing would happen at all”
When looking to plan a perfect day out and about; for me it would be a morning moseying around local antique and second-hand stores, a stop off somewhere for some tea and cake (or a cheeky chai latte, if it’s on offer) preferably at a quaint café where the cake is homemade, then an afternoon wandering little side streets with another coffee to walk around with.
Now I’ll be honest with you all the antique stores in Shoreditch are quite simply not my cup of tea. I think they’re overpriced and Shoreditch itself I find to be rather stressful!
When antique hunting in London I find it best to scour the internet first instead of hopping straight to Shoreditch and some of the best places I’ve found so far are in the SE London. Crystal Palace antiques and Love Atomica which has a space Croydon are fantastic, if you’re looking for vintage furnishings! Maybe you’re looking for a tea set just like your Grandma used to have and you remember it from your childhood, or a funky 1960s Mad Men style bureau. Places like this are really worth taking a look round and they won’t have you forking out so much money that you end up thinking – “was it just worth buying something similar from Ikea?”
My favourite haunt as of lately is Mabel’s Five & Dime, in Sydenham. Now hold onto your seats kids it gets better, there’s also a cute little café next door… I know right?
However Mabel’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, but this should just further the urgency to go and visit!
It’s such a perfectly sized store and is curated beautifully. The owner handpicks everything that goes into Mabel’s (by the way if you’re curious Mabel is a cute little pup) and the way everything is displayed instantly made me personally want to spend a lot of time there, just to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. The store stocks everything from furniture, china, books, toys, clothes/accessories and plenty of vintage fabric. Even better, if you do see an item of clothing you do have your eye on there’s a changing room!
I knew as soon as I entered that I’d be walking away with something and that I did! Now would you honestly believe me if I told you that these finds came to £24 altogether? I know right! I didn’t think they would either to be perfectly honest. But it just showed me what vintage and antique stores can be like once you venture away from Central and East London, and I’m eager to find more to visit.
If you know of any fantastical vintage/antique stores on the outskirts of London that I simply must go and give some love, then please do send your recommendations my way. Or if you know of any around the country, I will make it my mission to go visit those too!
I’ll be honest lovelies; I
really don’t care for summer.
From June until mid-September
is a time of year I simply don’t look forward to. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I
love the thought of staying out until late and yet it’s still light out, those
days someone suggests having a BBQ for dinner (which is always a resounding “UM
YES”) and days spent lounging in the park or wondering around central with
gelato. But I have this love/hate relationship with the HEAT. Put it this way
my dear readers, when I go on holiday my destination of choice is anywhere
that’s 25 degrees or less… But when the UK does decide it’s going to get hot
(which actually happens believe it or not. I’m staring outside right now and I
see the sunshine, it’s there!) I’m always horrifically unprepared. Why am I always unprepared?
This is why. Now I’m going to
give you a little insight into my wardrobe situation, (y’know, this is blog
number 11 m’dears and we’re all getting to know each other now!) So the
scenario is this… my summer clothes are abysmal!
Winter clothes dominate a solid 90% of my wardrobe. Now that’s bad isn’t it?
My “summer clothes” basically
conclude of 2 skirts, 2 dresses and a mere few tops… I’ve been well aware for a
number of years now that this has to change!
However I’ve been extremely lucky! I managed to win a prize (which never happens) with my absolute favourite online clothing store Joanie Clothing. If you’re listening to me ramble on wondering who on earth Joanie are? I shall explain my loves. Their tag line states “pretty clothes for nostalgic souls” – It’s feminine, chic but also fits my quirky personality. It was a brand I felt suited me perfectly and their clothes are extremely high quality. So you can imagine my excitement to discover I’d practically won a shopping spree, without the arduous task of leaving the house.
It was here I set myself the
challenge of actually buying summer
clothes and I can honestly say I had a difficult time pick and choosing, as I naturally
gravitate towards the long sleeves and those warm autumnal tones. It’s almost
like telling me I’m not allowed to buy anything with polka dots ever again…
It’s just not going to happen!
When I have bought summer
clothes in the past they tend to be dresses that I can just simply throw on,
with no effort needed. However these tend to be unflattering to my body shape
and nowhere near reflect who I am or my personal style. What I like to call convenience clothing! These specific
items are worn in the house and unfortunately that’s as far as they go. I just don’t
feel my best self when wearing these items of clothing in public, no matter how
comfortable they are. Do you have any clothes like that my dears? I’ll be
honest, I have a fair bit.
But these pieces I’ve listed throughout this blog 100% show to the world exactly who I am and are also super comfortable, which is a huge bonus. What I basically wanted is a wardrobe that excites me to wear it just as my autumn/winter collection does. A wardrobe that looks as though I’ve put hours of effort when in reality all I’ve done is throw on a fabulous dress and my trusty mustard loafers (which I’m obsessed with!)
You can see why I’ve had such
trouble putting this all together now, can’t you?!
Tell me your wardrobe woes my lovelies! Do you look forward to getting your summer looks together, or are you like me and try to live in your autumn wardrobe until you just can’t get away with it anymore?
I know that it’s
only been 2 weeks since I last posted, but in the world of me I swear it feels
a lot longer. As you may be able to guess from the title of this post, I have
firmly set foot back onto land and back from my Scandinavian adventure and my
first ever mother/daughter holiyey!
I’ve been rather excited to have this chinwag with you all since returning and I have so much to discuss. So as Julie Andrews once sang “Let’s start at the very beginning” (don’t worry I’m not going to copy and paste the entirety of Do Re Mi on here, I’ll just let you all get the song stuck inside your head of your own accord…)
Now as someone who recently disclosed with you all that I had a fear of boats and doing something on this sheer scale was a rather big deal for me (understatement of the century). I can hand on heart tell you all that I’m completely and utterly converted to the cruise life and may have already started looking at others I could venture on in the future (may I add that I did this search whilst still on board the cruise itself!)
So for lack of a better word, I bloomin’ loved it.
I’ll be honest I don’t think my mum was the only one who was shocked upon hearing how much I enjoyed the entire experience, and no one was more surprised most than me!
The cruise liner we
sailed with was Princess Cruises, on the Sapphire Princess ship. Now this meant
absolutely nothing to me; as I didn’t know who was neither good nor bad! But
this decision was made due to the fact my parents had sailed with them a few
times before and has had many a wonderful experience with them, and thought
given their track record it wouldn’t be a bad place to start!
Lovelies if you’ve never been on a cruise before however it’s something that has crossed your mind from time to time, then I say absolutely do it!! But for those who really aren’t keen on the whole idea, I wouldn’t say that it’s a must do or tell you that “you’d be missing out if you didn’t”. However, there’s a lot I’ve gained from having this wonderful experience and also things I’ve learned about myself.
Cruises are not just for people who have retired – Unfortunately this is a very common misconception and I’ll be honest, when my parents booked their first cruise I was shocked as this is something I thought to be true as well. However, given the range on cruises you can now book and the vast choice of cruise liners you’ll most likely see every holidaymaker going!
You can absolutely go on a cruise as a solo traveller and look fabulous doing it! – I saw so many wonderful people on our specific trip that were solo travellers. There’s so much to do on and off the ship and everyone (especially the staff) is extraordinary you will always feel like you’re being looked after.
There’s a facebook group for that – If you’re going on your 1st
or 15th cruise with your partner/friend/wonderful self, join a
facebook group for your specific cruise line! Whether it’s a question about
what’s onboard, the excursions on offer or even how much of which currency to
take! Everyone will offer their own
experiences to help you on your way and for certain things my mum and I found
this very handy!
You don’t have to dress up to the nines – Again, a very common misconception! The formal nights are a great way to get dressed up and take the opportunity to snap some lovely photos. If you’re like me you’ll relish an opportunity like this, as apart from weddings or the occasional drag show in London I don’t get to do it very often! But you don’t have too if it makes you feel a little uncomfortable or it’s just simply not your thing! Don’t worry, there are still many people that don’t. But if it is your thing, however you don’t know what to wear and dread the thought of bling and sequins (very much like yours truly); A simple cocktail/maxi dress and some flats will do. (I’ll go into further detail about the formal nights soon!)
Activity time! – There’s so much to do on-board the Princess cruises and you get your daily patter delivered the day beforehand of all the things scheduled. I found this becomes particularly handy on the days at sea! However, just because it’s all there don’t feel obliged to take part! It’s one of the things that actually made me feel a little nervous. That notion of “do you have to join in?” You absolutely don’t. But watching a movie outside on the cinema screen, lounging with a coffee and cake (which my mum and I did many times over) or taking in a boogie in the ships nightclub are things I did do on-board!
So many places in the world, so little time! – Cruises are the greatest way to see parts of the world, by giving you a taster. What I mean by this is, say like me you wanted to visit Scandinavia… But you simply don’t know where to start?! Do you travel to the main cities or go further out to the countryside? This is where a cruise is a fantastic idea, as (depending on the cruise you opt for) it allows you to explore places you maybe never would have ventured to had it not been on the itinerary!
Those immortal lines “I don’t get motion sickness, as I’m great on roller coasters” – ships are not roller coasters kids. They can be extremely rocky and this can last for hours. It is true, I love roller coasters and have never really suffered with motion sickness. However this is a completely different sensation. Heed my advice and take sea sickness pills with you, no matter how strong you think your stomach is! However if you’re like me and for reasons can’t take sea sickness tablets, those adult travel bands (y’know the ones that sit on the pressure points on your wrist?) are amazing and certainly do the trick!
THE FOOD – It’s inclusive, enjoy it and feel no
I well and truly missed the boat here – Due to unfortunate circumstances (aka the darn weather, curse you Storm Hannah), we had to miss our stop to Brugge and stay at sea for an extra day; this would ensure our safety and help us arrive into Copenhagen on time. Now I’m going to put this down to my sheer lack of knowledge about going on a cruise… But I didn’t know that ‘missing a port’ was a thing. It’s a bummer!! So much so that the idea of spending another day at sea sent me into a panic attack… My first in a couple of months! However thanks to my amazing mum, she got me back on track and helped me deal with it pretty quickly. I digress! If this ever happens (the missed port scenario, that is) make sure beforehand you have holiday insurance with specific cruise cover, as you may be able to claim something back!
Lost at sea? – Obviously it goes without saying but you won’t have phone signal on board the ship (shock horror!) Whatever you do, do NOT go and pay the ridiculous Wi-Fi prices they have on-board. I forbid you all to do so, as it’s really not necessary. Most cruise liners (like Princess) will have a super easy to use app (free of charge might I add) that you can use on the ship to contact others you’re on holiday with. Huzzah! Then if you’d like to contact loved ones back in the UK, wait until you land at a port! Being at sea and having no signal or social media was extremely liberating. It put me at ease to not see everyone attached to their phones and instead taking the time to meet new people; and living in the moment.
RELAX – The first thing I told my partner once we’d landed back home was how, for the first time I went from 90 mph to 5 mph. His response? “Good, because you never ever relax” and he’s absolutely 100% correct. My usual idea of a relaxing holiday is crammed full of sightseeing, walking, wandering and going full-out. When you’re at sea… You’re entire mentality has to change. I didn’t realise how quick I’d fall into a state of relaxation. Honestly? It took me less than a day. As someone who’s past year or so has been a never-ending stream of overthinking, to the point of either not leaving the house or a series of panic attacks. This has been a triumph and a half!
So I have two weddings to attend this year, which
I’m not gonna lie- that’s a lot for me! But I’ve now reached that age where
this should be a normal occurrence, no? However what my inner monologue is
actually saying is- “Oh my goodness, we’re now at that age where all my friends
are getting married and I’m sat here contemplating a trip to New York for comic
con season”. Well, you can see where my priorities currently lie, can’t you?
ecstatic to be attending the weddings of my beautiful friends (and have already
got emotional about it on more than one occasion); and feel that this is a
fashion opportunity if ever there was one!
Now I love shopping for a wedding outfit and
waste no time in looking as soon as an invitation arrives in the post (no word
of a lie).
If you made the
assumption that I don’t like to be one of these wedding guests who tends to
hide in the background- then you’d be spot on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully of
the notion that you shouldn’t upstage the bride; I think that goes without
saying. However I don’t think there’s any harm in looking as fabulous as you
possibly can (hey, photos last forever y’know! Didn’t you see my last blog?)
If you’re struggling to come up with some ideas of what to wear for this year’s wedding season, or feeling adventurous and want to give other styles a try? I’ve put together a little mood board as an example of how I’d (personally) put an outfit together, also taking into consideration accessories and makeup (of course! You all know I’m a sucker for a statement red lip!)
As you can (easily) guess from my mood board, I’m not exactly traditional. Again, you’d be right there.
I definitely have my own “rules” (if you will) when it comes to wedding season shopping… Now, before I go into these “rules”; let me establish sweeties that these are purely what I go by and just my opinion.
Absolutely no (I mean no) fascinator’s. However I feel incomplete without a hat (preferably a pillbox!) This doesn’t mean that I don’t love a fascinator on others! I simply don’t suit them and because of hairstyle it looks as though an alien is emerging from my head… Very much like what you see in Alien, or The Thing. Not a good look.
You absolutely can wear black to a wedding. I feel as though there may have been a few gasps when reading that. But I have worn black to a wedding before! It’s all in how you wear it. By wearing stripes or polka dot, it breaks up that you’re wearing a big black block and can introduce some personality to your outfit.
You don’t have to wear floral’s! I know this may seem an unusual one to put. However whenever you visit certain stores on the high street at this time of year, it may seem as though that’s all there is available for us wedding guests and there’s a total lack of imagination for those of us that may want some different.
Get an outfit that can do both! If you’re lucky enough to be invited to the ceremony, getting an outfit that can transition seamlessly to the evening reception will cut down costs and a trip home (or the hotel) to change!
A note to takeaway lovelies, the wedding of your beautiful friends/family/friends that are practically family is an event you want to remember (for all the right reasons, of course)! Wear something you’re going to relish wearing for the day, regardless if you don’t wear it again until the next big occasion! Be comfortable, be fabulous and be YOU!