Fashion | Like Johnny Cash

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Longline Jersey Blazer: Anthropologie, Black Peplum T: New Look, Black Harem Trousers: Next, Red lace up flats: New Look

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Lets chat about trends and the joys of wearing all one colour. Both are the best things you can do and also the most predictable.

Firstly lets talk about the Johnny Cash style of wearing all black. In the right situations an entirely black outfit can be incredibly slimming and make an attractive outfit. During in the winter of 2014/15 I wore an all black outfit similar to this which was broken up with a red belt and my purple hat. Theres nothing more fun than taking a blank canvas and building on it.

In terms of this outfit I created interest with the black peplum and broke up the colour with my grey marl blazer. To make a splash? red flats and a scarf tied around my wrist? we have ourselves an outfit.

Initially when I saw the scarf trend I was apprehensive. Was this look for me? Or was it too trend led to even consider? I took an extraordinarily long time deciding but eventually I felt drawn to the classic silk scarf and loved the idea of playing with proportions and being interesting again. Far less norm and way more abnormal.

This scarf has become increasingly interesting to style. From wrapped around my wrist to tied around my hair, tied into my belt its made getting dressed that little bit more interesting again and thats been thoroughly enjoyable.
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Beauty and Health | 7 things I’ve learnt about my skin

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I think that there is a lot to learn about our skin as we grow into ourselves. From small things like what irritates, what foundations won’t sit on ‘that’ moisturiser to learning that skin is one of our most important body parts and to give it bad products and food choices can make life long affects.

It made me think, maybe I should share 10 things I’ve learnt about my skin.

  1. Adult acne, its real and its not going anywhere because its hormonal. 

Learning that my adult acne was not an infection but instead, a hormonal issues was almost the best moment ever. For the majority of 2012 I was on antibiotics. Antibiotics which I’m pretty sure caused IBS for several years.

The lesson here is if you hit 21 and your periods are all over the shop and you potentially have these symptoms its worth telling this to your Doctor. Polycystic is not the end of the world (and it often doesn’t cause infertility so you know) so make sure you have covered all basis, overloading your body with antibiotics is never good.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe drugs for this but there are other ways, I find Alisa Vitti to be on the right track so check her out . . .

        2.  & 3. Sensitivity

Cheap skincare products hurt my skin. I wish that they worked for me because hello savings but oh my gosh my skin hurts and erupts when they are no good.

I have to wear gloves to use cleaning products and nail polish isn’t worth wearing. Nail polish remover is now my enemy and leaves a feeling that I can only describe as being  like having bamboo placed under my fingernails. If it hurts, don’t do it.

       4. eczema 

My legs are uber dry, I must remember to moisturise, I rarely do but every four weeks guys, my legs, uber itchy.

5. Sometimes your facial moisturiser likes you other times, its gonna not be so happy

I have come to the conclusion that sometimes you have to have to separate regimes ones for summer and one for winter. Also sometimes our skin changes or its needs change and you just have to switch it all up!

6. Allergies

Who knew you could be allergic to hairspray? Apparently all my hairdressers is who. They look at me pretty oddly. Somehow its something that happens, I’m onto my forth attempt but I have been keeping it as far from my roots as possible and so far its working!

7. It might work for someone else, it might not work for you

My dad washes his face with soap from Sainsburys. Its basic but his skin never breaks out, always looks healthy and I’ve never seen it oily or greasy. If I did that to my own there would be a drastically different reaction. The reason for this is not for any other reason other than that we are different and our skin reacts to things in a different way.

At almost 26 the key to my skin has been playing with different products and combinations to see what sticks. Right now my skin is working very successfully with Estee Lauder skin products and it doesn’t work so well with the L’Oreal products which I used consistently from 22. Skin changes and thats been another discovery to find the right products at the right time!

What are your skin lessons? Leave them in the comments below!

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Food | Three friends create a meal for one

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It sounds strange right? Three people making one meal for one? Well lets start from the beginning, Josh was out, I was home alone and I asked some of our friends, what is their guilty pleasure food?

We came up with a lot of ideas but what I did have was a sweet potato. The first thing we came together with was sweet potato fries. Cut it up, (I only used half) mix it up with oil and a tiny bit of salt (if not making the kale to go with) shake them up and put them in the oven!

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Now, if you don’t have a lot of time I have a cheat. Cut your potatoes into pieces and microwave the potato. Sweet potato doesn’t take as long as white potatoes so for it to be gently soft took only about 1 minute 30 on full blast. I did this before seasoning with salt, pepper and oil. Then I added grated parmesan and Cajun spice. Spice was our friend Pauls suggestion, there is nothing better than a good dose of spice for an extra flavour and kick to the palette! Once you’ve done this its a simple as throwing it in the oven (I don’t even think I can remember the temperature but I would assume I put it in at about 180).

Now for the next thing what to put with our sweet potato fries? My other friend who you have met on the blog before (Becky made those incredible florentines!) and she came up with some great ideas, baked Kale and soured cream! The way I mixed that up was adding crushed garlic to the kale (again seasoned with oil & salt) and chives in the soured cream.

So how do you bake Kale? It was the big question I had.

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Its as crazy simple as baking your chips it can take up to fifteen minutes but I found it was done in barely five, you load up a baking tray with your kale and you shake it up with your seasoning of choice. In this case that was rapeseed oil, salt, pepper and crushed garlic (a lot of) you mix this up and tower that kale high! with the water content being so high in kale it gets a lot smaller when baked, so pile high! pop it in your oven (below your fries) and wait for the Kale to crisp up and the fries to colour up and become crispy.

To finish pile your fries on top of your crispy kale, add a dollop of soured cream and voila a meal for one in barely any time! Bonus it’s vegetarian and filling! The trifecta!

Fashion | Those mom-jeans though . . .

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Sleeveless jacket: New Look sale Spring 2016, White eyelit shirt: Next summer 2015, The ‘Mom’ Jean or relaxed Skinny Jeans from Marks and Spencer* & Orange tied up sandals: ASOS

Styling mom jeans is one of those things which feels as if it should be a big, fashion-no and yet it is too addictive to over look the trend in favor of better tailoring.

If we are honest, ‘Mom jeans’ are never attractive. Mom jeans being the nineties boyfriend or more fittingly, girlfriend fit of the time.

The odd thing about them is we somehow all love them. I put off joining the trend for the longest time. I had never favoured them particularly, having always viewed these jeans as being an unflattering cut. Jeans from a time where we weren’t sure how to make jeans super flattering. Thats what mom jeans have always been for me. Most interestingly it seems that the rise of there popularity on the high street has been born more from our love of vintage then the catwalk. I remember as a late teen when shorts made from vintage Levi jeans became popular and now it seems that the introduction of the full on 80’s/90’s jean has taken a hold of our wardrobes, vintage or not.

So why did I buy some? Its a question I ask myself every time I wear them. On one side because I wanted comfortable, thick, good quality denim jeans which were a loose skinny fit and could be worn, hemmed up to bridge the gap between tailored and relaxed. I may even wear a bandanna with them also, just to complete the look and also because somewhere along the line I too wanted to try an alternative look I missed the first time around.

I believe that it is this which is the key to mom jeans success. We are not wearing them to be flattered, or to get compliments but instead to feel comfortable and be whimsical. They allow us to dress in a different and more expressive way and we get to call it fashion. A reason to wear whatever we want without any sneers or comments to dissuade us. Its my favourite type of dressing and if I had to say anything, that is why I bought a pair of mom jeans.

If wearing them makes you feel nervous I find that the key to making them wearable is to make everything else super flattering. I originally wanted to wear these with wedges which would also look great (height and rolled jeans seem to go hand in hand in making an outfit uber flattering) but in a relaxed summer setting flat sandals can work just as well.

I’m not sure on the longevity of this trend, I can see a lot of them now adorned with colourful, playful badges to keep the trend rolling however I can’t help but wonder what the next could be? How can we take our jeans to another level above relaxed or skinny fit, beyond boot cut and flares, how else can our jeans transform our wardrobes? For now I intend to pull these out on the weekend styles casually with flats and pretty summer tops, on casual fridays with wedges and tailoring and look forward to cooler, winter months filled with leather jackets, white T-shirts, colourful scarves and ankle boots.

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*You can go so much more extreme than this pair. If anything this is gateway denim. The great thing about Marks and Spencer (sorry to international readers who don’t have access to this store) is that their jeans are made of great quality. There is no cutting costs, less reliance on lycra, they just make good jeans. Their jeggings for instance are so different from cheaper stores. They feel still like jeans just with the comfort of an elasticated waist band and lets be honest, thats the dream right?

Mark

Friday Feelings: “You do you” The politics of Fashion

Fashion politics therealjlow

I was sad a few weeks ago now to see articles (often written by women) making suggestions as to how Theresa May needs to change how she dresses following her becoming prime minister. They make the obvious links to Kate, to Samantha but why do we even need to? The woman wore leopard print flats to become prime minister! That (sadly) took guts and my heavens do I admire that.

You do you. All the way.

Susanna & Trinny in the late nineties and early two thousands promoted this movement that we need to dress a certain way for happiness and I loved them. Dressing for your shape, hair colour, skin tone . . . They mark an era but now I can’t help but feel this way of thinking is insanely outdated.

Whilst planning out a birthday post I was thinking about my own life lessons and what I would want to teach my own kids in the future and how they might still be affected by this petty behaviour. We all hear the stories, shame placed on our clothes, our make up, our size, it leaves me seeing red.

Not to indirectly quote mean girls, but “I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.”

Most interestingly it’s easy to feel such a quick injustice for others . . . But it’s often harder for us to break those chains over ourself. It’s natural to want to fit in, to find acceptance.

Instead to be the nail sticking out is a hard battle, but one I’d far rather endure than suffer the unhappiness of ‘make believe’ in and out of my clothes.

The primary idea I want to leave with you today is to not to be afraid of your clothes, of wearing something that you feel. Whether that’s a smock dress or the pain of a break up. Wear it for a while, try out just being open to honesty, to trust that the right people will love you regardless.

After all  maybe one day, our kids will get to dress without shame, without it making you more or less than the label on your clothes. to see women stop passing judgements on other women, especially over the media! There should never be any one rule for everyone, it’s so much more fun and interesting when we are diverse.

Normcore is almost over girls. Let’s stop making standards for how we dress and embrace your inner you, dares you.

Fashion | AW2016 Outfit Remixes

AW2016 Outfit Sudoku

You know how last week I shared clothes that I loved? I may have gotten ahead of myself and made endless outfits, created a basket and repeatedly showed clothes to Josh in the hope that I could spend all our savings on a seasons worth of clothes.

We didn’t go for it thankfully (living and all that) but the endless outfits remain so get ready! Here are the remixes for a season of clothes . . .

WORK CLOTHES

AW Outfit Mix up suede time
AW Outfit mix ups

AW2016 pink and grey workwear

AW2016 Outfit Mixups grey trousers and ribbed swing top AW2016 Outfit mix up red and brown AW16 Outfit mix up smart comfort

CASUAL OUTFITS

AW2016 blue dress and suede AW2016 Outfit Remixs casual weekend
AW2016 Outfit mix up weekend lace up boots and suede AW2016 outfit remix patterned skirt

Now whose up for remortgaging for a new wardrobe of clothes? I think Josh is gonna go for it. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t  . . . 

Fashion | I love this dress, but in pictures it hates my body . . .

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Almost everything in this post is from Gap, bar the shoes which were New Look last spring and the bag which is Primark – 2012? A long time ago . . . 

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Last summer I shared a photo shoot with the most disastrous outfit ever. Or so I thought!

We took these photos at Chartwell in Kent earlier in the year and although we had the best time running around the park, and going on the swings the outfit photos turned out to be the disaster of the year.

The lesson here for anyone is if you are an apple shape you can’t just wear anything, you need something to pull you in at the waist and then hopefully flare out. The reason for this is to balance out the shoulders and bust and pull you in to create (we all hope a waist.)

The curse with this Gap dress is it fits small anyway but it has such a large pull in the middle (its elasticated at the back) that it creates this band over your waist, it should work, but if like me you hold your weight in this area, its not so hot.

I know I am an advocate for wearing what you want, what makes you feel good but to be honest these photos did not make me feel good, so lesson of today not everything you wear should be photographed.

 

 

 

Affordable Fashion | Not shopping so I can plan to shop?

AW 2016 Next Clarks

Striped Sweater, Red Shirt, Blue & White Check dress, brown suede boots, chambray T shirt, blue and red skirt

AW2016 dusky pink and grey

Cropped Pink Shirt, Grey striped cardigan, grey check trousers, dusky pink mules, pink wrap skirt, lace up boots

AW2016 initial thoughts

Trainers, Grey swing top, grey fitted dress, white top with flared sleeves, green suede skirt, green and yellow patterned skirt

No Shopping?

It can be the hardest part of a capsule and certainly the hardest thing for those who emotionally shop and thats the idea of giving it up. Why should you give up the fun of fashion? To plan it of course!

As we know I love the stores who release their next seasons early and they are perfect to start gauging the season ahead. What trends are the high street going to be taking part in? Most importantly of course, what do you (or in this case, I) want to see in my own wardrobe moving forward. If you follow my Pinterest board+ you’ll see glimpses of this but I wanted to share the pieces and styles which are already high on my list.

up close textures and colours

Olivia Burton Watch

Soft & Irresistible textures

Of course my first go to was comfort, style and great fabrics. A ribbed knit dress? Yes a thousand times? Velvet in Autumn and Winter all the way! Least but not last plaid is always my favourite in thing to wear in Autumn and Winter. On top of that I’m still weighing up which Olivia Burton watch I want. Honestly, I originally wanted the Marc Jacobs one in black but considering the price, Olivia Burton is a way better choice for an uber beautiful watch.

suede and patterns

All that suede

I got this suede obsession from my mum, so lets just say it, “This means I’m allowed all the suede items right? You can’t get mad at me?” She probably can, //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js“>but can she say no to this face from the other day? Unlikely.

I’m living in suede during the AW16 season it’s already been decided. One thing I’ve not decided on, a long suede coat (not floor touching, don’t freak out) or a short biker style jacket. One thing I’m sure on is it will either be this green above or the rich brown. Also that skirt is so going on my to buy immediately list.

chambray shirt and skirt

Denim & New Shapes

Do we remember how much I wanted to introduce new shapes into my wardrobe? Last AW I choose to be more edgy, reality is this, the only edgy things I really wore were my black and white coatigan from Long Tall Sally (It was so comfortable, who doesn’t like being wrapped in a huge blanket?) and of course my tunics which meant leggings and jeggings were so much more wearable!

In regards to my picks above I love the twist on this chambray T-shirt, the pleated pattern skirt which can go from work to the party and that pretty red top at the beginning of this post with a tie? Both cute, fun and 100% unexpected for me getting dressed in the morning.

AW16 Accessories

Pink suede bag, Black super soft scarf, Black and silver belt, light brown hat

Finishing touches

Accessories are the key to any look, I have poorly ignored them this year so far (I can’t actually believe how little effort I have put into my outfits) but this year I am going to be changing that all up and it started with a pendant necklace from Accessorize. A small thing but it reminded me of all that I have always loved. Unique bags, fun hats, unusual belts and warm, scratchless scarves (usually in leopard print, I won’t pretend) have always been the backbone of my looks and I’m bringing it back this year!

As you can see I have spent quite a lot of time pulling this together but I am so excited to start curating again and coming back to the styles that I really want and love. Sometimes its fun to go out of the box but most of the time? The classics are perfect with me.

I’m now off to put everything in my basket, bulk at the price and then start cutting down the options but I think you can guess, suede is going to be all over this season.

Blogging | Don’t lament the end of blogging, but good content

don't lament therealjlow

It wasn’t over. It’s still not over.

I recently read an article from an established blogger who suggested that blogging was dying. Firstly, over dramatic much? Secondly it made me start thinking as to why I don’t personally believe that the act of blogging has to die.

One point that she made was that Instagram and Snapchat are more accessible and that audiences don’t have the attention spans for blogs. I had to disagree, I don’t believe that we have less of an attention span but instead with more wealth of information out there we are now more choosey over what we give our attention to.

Let’s be honest, if I loved something, if I was invested you can have my whole life, if not, too bad. The same is said for blogs; blogging isn’t over its just got an awful lot of lazy, bad content.

Classic content v.s shopping blogs

I see it a lot with vloggers. These relatively popular vloggers often have content, which is predictable, over used and pretty damn boring.

On the other side however, you have vloggers like Estee Lalonde who are continually bringing new ideas and content to the table and who because of this is continually interesting and engaging! If you only share a haul, monthly favourites and the boyfriend tag, then snooze! Your content is outdated and I’m not going to lend my attention to that.

The same is applicable to bloggers. Its now easy to start a blog with ‘basic’ content, add affiliate links and make a shopping blog! You can easily make decent money from the get go, there are even tricks to that success however, does it make a good blog? No, it makes a good online shop.

The same for mommy bloggers, if you shill enough baby products then you’re good to go, but it won’t make your story interesting, I won’t fall in love with your kids, I’ll go to GOMI though and say how over your shoes I am however.

Leandra Medine is an interesting case for instance. Her once daily style blog is now an incredible online magazine, which for lack of a better word creates, one of a kind, diverse content that most often you want to read. It’s what Vogue online should be but isn’t and is a great example of successful blog content.

She once said in an interview how she struggled with Instagram at first because in her eyes it seemed foolish to share her content (her, at the time daily outfit photos) on that platform when she actually wanted her readers on her blog*. Therefore, she ended up making completely different content for her Instagram which was fun and a precursor to the real stuff on the blog – the perfect way to keep your blog and Instagram alive at the same time.

What’s happening now is bloggers you once used to love reading (because of their content) are now more focused on the shilling product aspect, even my favourite bloggers who I fawned over at the start are now so busy wearing the latest piece of sponsored gear that I too have lost interest.

The worst part is we should feel treated. Perspective drew us in and individual voices, affordability, true personal style and now they’ve effectively sold out. Instead we just don’t bother to read, we stick to Instagram instead for their outfits and hold out for Snapchat to remember whom we fell in love with all those years ago. The only problem being that the blog aspect dies.

Blogs won’t die for those who wish to use them but maybe the audiences will, just like consumers wants change so will blogs themselves. The audiences we once would have commanded will alter and new blogs will surface. On the up and up I think this new wave will be better, more insightful and more original. If competition has one upside it’s that it weeds out the rubbish and maybe with blogs its time for that change.

What do you think about traditional blog content and the future of blogging? Is it something ready for change or has it already changed? Also leave your links to your best piece of original content and the blogs you read! I’m sure we would all like to read some good blogs!!

 

*Did you catch readers v.s. viewers? A good distinction between a blogger and an instagrammer, they should be different things.

Fashion | Denim shorts and the tall girl

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I have a theory about being tall and wearing shorts and short skirts and thats this, we look more indecent.

It sounds insane and frankly a little ludicrous but if we wore the same length skirt as a shorter girl (and I mean relative so it would end the same distance from the knee on both) gathered the general public and asked for their opinion I am pretty sure that they would say that the tall girls skirt was shorter.

Its all relativity in all honesty that because my legs are longer my shorts look shorter, but it certainly doesn’t help a girls self esteem! On the upside when its as hot as it was when we took these photos (at half nine in the morning) then a girl is likely to wear what ever to insure she doesn’t end up a puddle by the end of the day!

Also whilst taking these photos we had a group of guys who sleep by the river in tents throw stones and sentiments like, “hey poser!” Oh, how little did they know about blogging that I would not be deterred! Jeers and all.

Fashion for the Weekend |Seaside Style

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Getting dressed for a day at the beach can be surprisingly difficult. Its particularly difficult when you live in the UK and really are not good used to nice weather and live in land. For me I like to be covered up. I think I always like the idea of the beach more than I do in reality (sand, wet feet, the list goes on) but pulling on chucks and harem trousers and I’m far happier.

This day photographed wasn’t too hot so a good cover up was possible and actually this whole day was so comfortable and perfect in general. Even though Josh did fool me into eating an oyster and then after the fact informing me that they were still alive . . . yeah, that happened.

So if you are looking for a calm Sunday activity this weekend? May I suggest a seaside town to wonder through and eat fish by the sea.
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Fashion | The Blue & White Dress

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Patterned Jacket & Blue Dress : Zara, Brown Bag : Monsoon, Brown Suede Boots : New Look

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Firstly, in photos this dress does not look the same. The main problem is in typical high street fashion, when it was washed it shrunk upwards.(This is also a tall person problem, in fact I think clothes see tall people coming and shrink upwards on impact.)

Now onto the real exiting stuff, this dress. I originally fell in love with this online, I stalked it around the store but thought . . . no, its another dress. Thankfully that didn’t stop me trying it on the following week. I realise now I should have showed it in a better light but on top its a basic, white and blue striped tank top and then in a circle it cuts down further at the back and it has a fluted, high low hem.

Paired up with cowgirl boots and a jacket, I love this dress to the moon and back. Why? Because it feels different to me.