Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014.

2014 has been a rather bizarre and hectic year for me. Probably one of the best to date, but me oh my, it's been exhausting. Lots of things have changed and I couldn't be more grateful.

When I think back to how miserable I was in my job this time last year, it seems a lifetime ago. After one final rejection, I finally got the push I needed to jump ship and I started looking for internships in January. I began at Easter and had a fantastic 3 months learning how to do Marketing in a charitable organisation.

A few weeks after that I found myself applying for a part-time Marketing Assistant role at an arts organisation in Oxford. Whilst I had originally wanted something full-time I realised that I might need to compromise, and so I began in September whilst working alongside at M&S.

Fast forward a few months and I've just had my first proper festive break since graduating, (a whole two weeks!) and come January I will be working full-time; 2 days a week as a Marketing Assistant and 3 days in a retail role purchasing stock for the organisation's independent shop. The strange thing is, I originally applied for both of these roles, and in an odd twist of fate I've now ended up with them both. I'm a little terrified about my new role but it is a good, excited kind of terrified.

So, to sum it all up, everything seems to have worked itself out. Sure, my life isn't perfect, and there are still things to do, but my work life is completely changed. I'm so grateful to work somewhere with such positive and hardworking colleagues, doing a job I love in an organisation whose aims I admire.

I have a few New Year's Resolutions since I completely failed (on updating or achieving) my 23 before 24 list, but they're fairly run of the mill; get myself back into a healthy weight range, finally pass my driving test, save money, be more creative, blah blah... But, for once, I feel like the main resolution has already been achieved.

(Oh, and hopefully more blogging too, obvs- some things never change.)

To anyone else in a similar situation to mine (and don't worry, I'm more than aware that in the current economic climate there are plenty of graduates not doing their dream jobs) what I would say- don't let it get you down. And more importantly, know the point when you have to take that leap into the unknown- I'm incredibly lucky that I could spend 3 months working for free, but I'm certain I wouldn't be where I am now without it. Interning isn't the only way, and if its not financially viable, just try and keep your eyes open for opportunities, whether that be voluntary work, blogging or just trying to cram as much information into your head as you possibly can.

All that being said, a huge amount of this stuff is down to sheer luck, and whilst feeling pleased that my hard work is now being recognised, I'm also very grateful that things worked out as they did.

And finally, here's a little message from my queen Kate Nash (whose album Girl Talk has been a constant source of kick-ass girl inspiration this year). I think everyone needs to listen to this probably every day, but especially at the start of a New Year.



Here's to 2015.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

New Necklaces.






beetle ceramic necklace by François Echappé, triangle necklace by Wolf and Moon from Arts at the Old Fire Station Shop, feather necklace from Aspire Style, bird skull necklace from Moon Raven Designs on Etsy


I'm sure you all know by now that I am something of a magpie. Despite the fact I wear the same jewellery most days (see my holy triumvirate of rings) I can't help myself when I see something pretty, especially if that something is made by an independent designer. Here are a few pieces I have recently acquired (two I bought myself, two were gifts) that I have been particularly pleased with.

The ceramic beetle necklace is one I bought recently on holiday from a small arts cooperative. When I first got it it didn't have the worn-away grey bit on the side; that was due to me carrying it around in my handbag... I quite like it though, I think it adds a bit of a 'lived-in' feel to it. As in my last post, bug jewellery is some of my favourite; I like that this one looks pretty classy and simple but still has that creepy crawly factor!

The acrylic and wood necklace was a rather lovely present I received upon finishing my internship. Even though gold is not usually my chosen colour, I love the mixture of textures that you get from the combination of materials used. Its sufficiently neutral to go with a lot and I know that it will get a lot of wear in the autumn/winter months.

I'm sure I've mentioned Aspire Style on this blog at least once or twice; its basically one of those shops I can't go into without buying something. I originally bought this necklace for a friend for her birthday, and had to go back for one for myself when I kept lusting after it on social media! Its really nice to wear with pieces that are a bit more open around the neckline because of the way it sits on your collarbones. Its simple enough to go with lots of things but can also add that finishing touch to an outfit.

And finally, the slightly controversial one... Now, I know this necklace may not be everyone's cup of tea. But as I'm sure you can tell from my bug jewellery obsession, I do like my shinies a little on the morbid side. I asked for this sterling silver necklace for my birthday because I wanted something to wear everyday that was a little more unusual than a standard chain. I had been looking at Moon Raven Designs on Etsy for a long time; the shop stocks an amazing array of beautifully detailed pieces in many different finishes. It took me a while to decide which one I wanted but I settled on this small bird's skull. It's the perfect size for everyday wear and feels so well-made.

I'm having a rather relaxing weekend, catching up on some housework and doing a bit of baking, before settling down for Downton tonight- very excited!


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Les Insectes.






Limited Collection at Marks and Spencer top (old), M&S Collection at Marks and Spencer maxi skirt, Office sandals c/o House of Fraser, necklace from Arts at the Old Fire Station Shop, vintage bangle


Apologies firstly for the not fantastic quality of these photos. I had left it a little late in the day when I took these and for some reason in the standing shots I am pulling all kinds of weird faces. Hopefully a little editing has sorted out the lighting but it can't magic away my grumpy expression!

These photos were taken about a month ago whilst I was on holiday with my family in France. The weather there for the first week was lovely- it was warm but not so much that I felt like a big sweaty jelly. This top is not the most flattering to wear due to its rather short boxy shape but its lovely and thin for the summer months and paired with my trusty black maxi skirt (I've barely taken the thing off all summer) it was a comfy option for a sunny day.

Another item I wore consistently whilst I was there were these gorgeous sandals which were kindly sent to me by House of Fraser. The rose gold colour meant they went with practically everything and the strapped design managed to make my feet look (almost!) elegant.

I bought this vintage bangle about 6 months ago from a favourite vintage stall at Lou Lou's Vintage Fair, and have been meaning to photograph it ever since. I absolutely love it, but it doesn't seem to be everyone's cup of tea due to the real-life bugs suspended in the plastic!

And finally, my parents bought me some new specs for my birthday. What do you think? I am mega chuffed with them, and after wearing contact lenses full-time for around 7 years, I am finally letting my eyes have a break. I'm actually considering cancelling my contact lenses direct debit and just having a few pairs of dailies on standby. I wanted something a bit more masculine than my cat-eyes but it was a little tricky finding something that suited my square face. The slightly winged out shape of these work to balance everything out.

Whilst these pictures make me slightly nostalgic for a cool summer breeze I must admit I am desperate for it to become properly autumnal so I can wear my Dr Martens boots and big huge scarves again! Is anyone else impatient for Autumn?

Sunday, 31 August 2014

I like cardigans.











Fat Face dress, Clarks sandals, ASOS belt and earrings, Hydra necklace from Inside Out, Alice Shields brooch from Arts at the Old Fire Station Shop


You can probably tell from my summery attire that these photos were taken around a month ago. It was a simple summer outfit for a rather hot day, with a fairly plain polkadot dress teamed with some new accessories to jazz it up. 

The belt was a sale purchase from ASOS, and I bought a very similar style in black so I had both options covered. The thing I really love about this belt is that it's tan but with silver hardware rather than the usual gold. It's also real leather so great quality, and the metal components feel nice and solid. I also love the Cowboy-ness of it!

I found the brooch whilst browsing the Arts at the Old Fire Station shop in Oxford (which has some amazing stuff by small designers and artists) and couldn't leave it behind. A moth picture and a slogan professing my love of cardigans?! I'm looking forward to wearing this in the autumn with a cosy cardi and my Dr. Martens boots. 

Worn with some simple hoop earrings (which have somehow become my go-to daily earrings after not wearing them at all up until now) and a retro packaging inspired necklace I felt put together but not too hot and bothered! 

I must admit I am glad that we are now heading towards Autumn- summer's heat does not agree with me! I have found the heat this year quite unbearable at times and I had a horrible bout of hayfever which led to a very painful ear infection and a rather red puffy face. Thank goodness for the approach of Autumn!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Caitlin Moran was right.






Oh, the irony of wishing for some good light to take photos and then you have one of those beautiful sunny days which bleaches all the colour out. I have tried editing these to get the colour more true to life and not so wishy washy, but unfortunately every time I tried to adjust something it just looked weird, so I've had to leave them as they are. Also, apologies for the weirdness of my feet. They're such ugly things, but I wanted to show you my rather fabulous new sandals from Clarks. Granted, they look a little granny-esque from the side, with their moderate cork heel, but they are so. damn. comfy. I wore them for 4 days straight. Brand new from the box, no blisters, red raw patches or anything. I love them for their slightly ugly 70s vibe and the mustard colour- Caitlin Moran was so right, yellow shoes do go with everything.

I hope this dress looked more flattering in real life than it does in these photos! I hate it when something looks OK in front of the mirror, but as soon as you stand still for a photo it has the ability to make you look like a sack of potatoes. But anyway, its comfortable, paisley print and comprises several of my favourite colours.

These photos were taken on Saturday when we went for a day trip to Kelmscott Manor, William Morris' holiday home in the Cotswolds. Irritatingly I had taken my camera but had left my memory card in my laptop... *facepalm* Despite my little hiccup, I still enjoyed being a massive Rossetti geek (oh dissertation how I miss you) and my boyfriend even enjoyed himself a little, which is frankly a miracle. He is not one for looking around old houses generally, so I was pleased that he didn't just feel like my personal taxi!

Does anyone have any nice plans for the Bank Holiday weekend? I've got a birthday party to go to on Saturday, and then a family meal on Sunday evening. The rest of the time shall be spent preparing my flat ready for my Mum to visit for a quick stay over half-term.

Now I must off to bed, because I need to get up a little earlier in the morning to go to the polling station. I urge you as an ex-Politics student to please go and use your vote tomorrow! Nothing gets me more angry than a young generation who complain about politics not engaging with them when they refuse to use one of their most basic rights. You don't have to agree with everything a party or candidate says to vote for them. Going for the one that best represents your views (even if not in every aspect) is much better than not voting at all.

Lecture done now. Goodnight.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Piercings and Paisley.



Topshop army jacket, Peacocks dress via charity shop, Dr. Martens boots, bag by Disaster Designs, earrings from Claire's Accessories


On Saturday Kathy popped up from London for a well needed catch-up. She was also there to act as moral support for my nose piercing. I have wanted my nose pierced since I was 17 but was put off by various things- the possibility of infection, looking 'butch', how exactly you blow your nose... But after getting my tattoo 18 months ago I decided that life was too short. Whilst right now wasn't exactly the best time to get it (I am suffering somewhat with the damn pollen) I am so happy to finally have it done. Sure, it's kind of disgusting right now, and it still hurts several days later, but it looks just how I wanted. It even makes me feel a little happier about wearing my glasses (no doubt inspired by this lady, or this one.)

Anyhow, this dress has become an absolute favourite of mine since I bought it from a charity shop way back in November. I love the paisley print and the shift style- it is so easy to wear. I teamed it with my Dr Martens boots (which are getting comfier by the day) and faithful Topshop jacket for something of an outfit no-brainer.

One other thing- I had my hair cut on Friday and my hairdresser showed me this ingenious way of drying your hair curly, which is responsible for the waves displayed above. I've done it myself today and oh my goodness, it's the best way I've ever found of curling my hair. My hair is naturally pretty straight with a tendency to flick out at awkward angles, and never holds a curl for more than a few hours. This however stayed put all day and into the next with a minimum of product and very little effort! I'm happy to do some kind of tutorial if people would be interested, because I feel this needs to be shared with the world. Seriously, I am so happy to have finally found something that is so easy and long-lasting!

Now I am off to bed because I've been up watching Order of the Phoenix for the umpteenth time. Damn you ITV for showing Harry Potter so often...

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Car Boots and Career Breaks.












secondhand Red or Dead handbag, bought at the Classic Car Boot Sale




Evil Twin dress via ASOS, Vans trainers, Accessorize earrings, usual rings and bangles, vintage druzy bracelet from the Oxford Vintage Fair


I appear to be turning into one of those bloggers who posts a million billion pictures. Apologies, but I like to share when I do something vaguely exciting with my time rather than the usual of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for hours on end whilst spooning Nutella out of a jar. So, over the last month or so I have been to two lovely vintage fairs, one in London in gorgeous sunshine with Kathy and another with my friend Alexa in Oxford before going to a three hour dance workshop to learn the Shim-Sham (which I must admit, I'm not completely perfect at, but it's getting there!)

The Classic Car Boot Sale in London was on the Southbank, out in the sunshine with the red bus blasting out 60s music for us to dance along to as we browsed the makeshift racks. I must admit, I don't tend to buy a huge amount of vintage clothing, mostly because I am rather a warm person and the sweaty plastic fabrics don't tend to agree with me. I'm also very sensitive to smells and if I don't think fabric conditioner can get rid of the weird musty smell I tend to pass on the item. Instead I tend to buy accessories or jewellery. I ended up buying this rather fabulous Red or Dead bag which is surprisingly versatile, although sadly I have overfilled it already and I've made a hole next to the bag strap. It might need to be reserved for slightly lighter carrying days! Kathy and I then went and had a general wander along the Southbank, looking at this secondhand book stall before heading to Waterstones at Trafalgar Square for further book browsing.

I have been to Lou Lou's Vintage Fair in Oxford a fair few times now, but just haven't gotten around to blogging about it. Once again, most of my purchases tend to be jewellery, and there is a particular stall that has rewarded me with some gorgeous pieces which I shall endeavour to include in future outfit posts. I pounced upon this beautiful bracelet as soon as I saw it, what with the fact it matches my everyday rings.

I also knew it would look amazing with this sale purchase dress. This is actually the outfit I wore to the Classic Car Boot, but I forgot to ask Kathy to photograph it until the light was fading somewhat and they weren't the best pictures, so I put the outfit back on again last weekend to photograph. I absolutely adore this dress, it's not the most flattering thing I've ever worn but it is so damn comfy. I wasn't sure whether to keep it when I first got it through the post but I loved the print so much I couldn't send it back! I wanted to wear it with my new Docs but it was too warm to be wearing chunky leather boots so I put on my favourite Vans instead.

In other news, I did my last day at M&S yesterday. I am taking a career break for 3 months to go and do an internship- I won't say who with at the moment, just because I haven't checked with them. I suppose I can say though that it is a placement where I will get to try lots of things that I am interested in, so I will get to do some marketing, some fundraising, and some museum curator work. I am very excited to finally be doing something that will be using more of my skills, even if it means I will be somewhat poor for the foreseeable future! However, I will be able to do some more outfit posts again! It is rather sad how excited I am to be able to wear my own clothes after 3 years of a uniform 5 days a week. Whilst there won't any new purchases to show off (apart from the odd charity shop find I'd imagine!) I will get to rediscover all my pieces that have been rather unloved for the last 3 years. I've also got my sewing machine back recently so shall be providing myself with clothes! I'm not going to commit myself to my old university posting regularity of a few times a week, but hopefully I will be able to show you my outfits more often now.

I am also off home for the Easter week so have planned some good outfits to photograph next week. I am so looking forward to my first week off since October! It will be nice to just have a bit of a rest, watching telly with my cats on my lap, doing some cooking, and a few days out.

So, all in all, I am a pretty damn chuffed Hattie right now.