I’ve road tested thigh high boots so you don’t have to!

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See my review right here+ 

Hey all! The day is here! The day of the new beautiful blog!! The only downside is… How am I going to bring you all along for the ride when there isn’t a send to email option?

Don’t panic yet! I’m still working on it! But guys…. there is a new subscribe option over on www.therealjlow.com so you can receive my monthly roundup!! Of course I’m going to keep up dating my social media and even pop back here while we still in limbo!

But I am so excited to share all the new things happening on the blog there is lots of fashion posts like above ^ – lots and lots of reviews, we even have health and beauty, wellness, music and shopping posts! Also, if you want to read more of my life and work based posts I’m also over on Medium!

I’m not just back a little bit guys, I’m back full force and I couldn’t be happier! Speak soon!

Jess x

 

 

5 years later and I still have an unsuccessful blog?

Headshot | therealjlow

Before you worry, this isn’t a pity piece, in fact its a piece on resilience and rebellion in a world who thinks we should always succeed, even if we are actually just doing it for the love of it instead!

I’m trying a lot of things at the moment, including getting the new site prettified and functioning. For all of you to keep an eye out for, Josh as he helped me put this together has also I realised, started writing the word cheese all over the place. To him, humorous but for me? I just know I’m going to miss a few and one day, one of you will spot one and think… huh? But at least we are now all in on the joke. My husband is a cheese addict and he likes to leave that mark all over the place.

So in the meantime I’ve been a little loathed to fill this particular blog with content before we make our move to the new shiny site! With that in mind I’ve started posting a few things on Medium to keep my game up, my eye in and give us some place to go when we need a little realjlow! So this week I’ve written about having an unsuccessful blog. Its been five years now and I know, I am certainly no Zoella!

However, it hasn’t stopped me and somehow I am still here so if you want to read more about my journey you can! Right here: I’ve blogged for five years and I’m still failing. Before you worry, this isn’t a pity piece, in fact its a piece on resilience and rebellion in a world who thinks we should always succeed, even if we are actually just doing it for the love of it instead!

I promise guys the blog will be normal again soon! Until then have a fantastic week and remember you can always leave comments or come chat to me, here or on social media!

Health & Fitness week| Joining the Gym.

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We are joining the Gym*.

You heard the correctly, me on a treadmill. Now, I realize that this might open the floor to some comments like, don’t be silly, you’re fine! You’re a stick with eyes!

Well let me tell you guys I don’t need it. I promise, I love you all but I’m cool with honesty, I’ve let myself go and I’m about to make it up to myself.

Furthermore, if you do ever encounter a six-foot tall stick with eyes – Run! This is not a drill people; this is the beginning of the apocalypse!

Why now?

So how come we have decided on the gym life? We’ve never gone in the gym direction as a couple before instead prior to a string of injuries and moving house we were prolific cyclers and runners. I personally, love working out when I do finally go, I just tend to like it more, outdoors.

Before I broke my ankle in 2011 I used to run for about two hours every other day all around Deptford, Greenwich, Blackheath and Lewisham but post ankle break it took me a while to get back. In fact from about 2013/14/15 I had three near stress fractures on my metatarsals and I still suffer from a lot of metatarsal pain every now and then. Especially when I’m pounding the pavement, it made running outdoors, impossible.

Josh however, unlike me isn’t so attached to the outdoor exercising life, in fact when I met Josh he was a full blown gym addict. He of course was super excited about going back, its where he feels comfortable getting a full workout.

My unexpected reaction

I won’t fob you off, when Josh suggested it, I cried in the middle of our kitchen. A strong reaction right? But I realized that feeling ‘big’ can be a big restriction in feeling comfortable enough to attend. Would I be judged? I’d met enough mean girls from attending an all girls school to encounter some more shouldn’t have been a problem… Luckily for me I have my best friend boo who has been a committed gym goer for ages to put my mind at ease. She let me know that most are so wrapped up in what they are doing they won’t be noticing me.

Now, I can’t lie I have done an awful lot of googling this past week or so to get the lay of the land. Especially since part of the problem is just that I have no idea what I am doing, but we all have to start somewhere, and this is going to be mine, deep breath, lets do it….

*We joined! Its was strange and all kinds of odd….

Fashion | How to make an outfit more flattering…

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How to make an outfit more flattering? Its simple, its in those pesky details!

I have recently decided that I do know how to dress, I’m just not entirely sure that I know how to dress my body sometimes. An outfit can work great in principal or even on hangers but sometimes on our own bodies? Not so much.

What I’ve been desperately trying to learn is how to A, not buy unflattering things (It should be easy, why is it sometimes its just not?) and B, make something unflattering, flattering. You might be surprised to learn that actually it can be done and sometimes, easily!

Whats unflattering on me, is the current trend for oversized knitted sweaters, If I’m being real, really I should stick with a v neck, fitted sweater or thinner cardigans that nip my waist in, they are far more flattering on me and simple and yet… there is something so appealing about being wrapped in a thick, sweater. I bought this particular one in the H&M sale a couple of years ago and its perfect for cold, winter days! So how do I make it more attractive? Its as simple as the following three steps…

1. Alter the proportions

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The shametuck is my first dressing, Bae. I feel like for my body I need to not have too many solid lines so by half tucking my sweater or t shirt it adds a little bit of flow and also does something similar to the next step…..

2. Distraction …

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You know forever ago when we focused on distraction? Or better said, bringing attention to the parts we love and distracting everyone from the parts we don’t. Now I don’t hate my chunkier parts but fashion is a killer on anyone over a size 10. Pulling up my sleeves seems ridiculously simple but it draws away attention from my bust and also highlights where my waist pulls in.

The final step for this outfit?

3.  Make the shape that best suits your figure

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Not only do I adore this faux fur stole from Zara last season but its the perfect finale to making my jumper go from frumpy to flattering. I find that having the v neck created by the scarf breaks up the wider parts of me and continues with the line from the shame tuck pulling all the elements together.

I am also finding that adding textures and different weights of fabrics also help in making an outfit more flattering when it might not be normally. It breaks up solid lines and diverts attention. Technically I should wear the heavier fabrics on my bottom half (your smaller parts can take more fabric) and wear the thinner, less complex ones – maybe with a detracting print on the top, but sometimes you need to wear something unflattering because you want to be warm, covered up and comfy, dressing rules be damned.

Fashion | Are you wearing your neck tie? A how to and later . . . a how not?

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Scarf? Vintage, Blazer: H&M (old), Knit Dress: Next, Heels: Clarks (old)

The small silk scarf is back! If you read Man Repeller you’ll already know that small silk scarves have been worn throughout last year but if like me, you perhaps weren’t brave enough to suffer flashbacks to 2009 by taking the silk scarf back you perhaps haven’t worn it yet.

The end of 2016 however? I felt brave enough to take the risk. Before Berlin I pulled out a vintage silk scarf that I bought from Brick Lane in London and went to Berlin town to try it out.

These photos however, were taken beside our old flat, at our old haunt of Maidstone because as much as the scarf is a moving forward to new trends its also a throw back to the way you may have tied a tasselled scarf in 2009-2012. Vintage meet, vintage.

(Stay tuned for Friday? I’m reusing the scarf in a whole new way!)

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Shopping | Fall for this – The Leopard Print Sweater of Dreams

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Leopard Print sweater : Zara, Black ripped jeans: New Look

Leopard print is my real bae.

If I have to choose one pattern for the rest of my life it would be leopard print, in fact right now I am writing this in this jumper next to a faux fur blanket which is the exact same pattern. My fleece blanket was a present from my parents which I was about 11 so if theres anyone to place the obsession on, I’m sorry mum but what did you start?

Regardless I had a year off last year (from leopard print that is – not grown up life, although if I could..?) But this year? Well its full steam ahead! For the sake of this Fridays article I would like to direct you to this sweater from Zara at £29.99 its affordable and over sized and when I wore it the other day outside i couldn’t even feel the breeze, its that thick and snuggly!

Its the dream for both Autumn (it can double as a coat) and winter when its snowy, icy and you need a familiar hug when yours stuck at West Malling station because of Ice on the tracks.

To add to my newly growing collection of leopard? I also bought a faux fur headband from Oliver Bonas, its going to be a wild fashion year I tell you, wild!

 

Fashion | The Last of the Summer Shorts

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Sleeveless jacket: New Look, White and grey linen dress: H&M, Patterned Shorts: Sainsburys TU, Shoes: Clarks

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Honestly I am shocked by how long I have managed to wear shorts into what should be autumn. In fact in the UK autumn starts in September however this week we have had highs of 30 and I’ve worn shorts and T shirts, its that hot.

I’m actually beginning to wonder whether autumn will ever happen, maybe we will have that summer wedding after all . . . regardless I’m still hoping that these might be the last of the summer shorts, I’ve worn them religiously for the last few months so to be honest they are probably looking forward to a rest!

Beauty | Loving Right Now. Detox Mask

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Nightwear +

Not so long ago I spoke about the new, high street charcoal mask range from L’Oreal. A great, affordable product I have continued to use and enjoy this mask but I have however had problems. The problems that Charcoal with its ability to draw out impurities means that acne is a given when it comes to using it irregularly, or even regularly.

Something I’ve found to combat that a little? Or at least amplify the healing process has been Estee Lauders 3 minute, NightWear plus detox mask. I don’t know what it is about this brand but my face loves its skincare. I’m more than sure that there will come a time when I can’t use these products so well but at the moment? I am in love.

A simple white chalk-esque mask, this goes on thinly, lasts a long time and feels as though it has drying qualities without over drying. Upon removal it leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, which is what we all want right? Better still I have found that this works perfectly for acne prone skin and as a calming, after mask for the L’Oreal Charcoal mask. I realise that it is better not to overload skin but this has proven itself to be the perfect remedy to post-charcoal acne.

A skin saver if you will. It also works great for acne prone skin generally! Let me know below if you too have a favourite mask for these types of issues as I’d love to try some others to compare!

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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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

Fashion | WHY YOU ‘COULD’ HAVE SEPARATE WORK AND HOME WARDROBES

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Bomber Jacket: Next, Khaki Shirt: Next, Z Collection Necklace, Accessorize (Potentially still in Sale), Blue stitch Skirt: Next, Lace up Flats: New Look (no longer available online 😦

We have established previously how clothing affects our mood and splitting my wardrobe with home and work has made good progress in showing that this idea is true.

You could have a separate wardrobe.

Why only could? What works for one might not work for all and similarly you perhaps don’t have the cash to splash on multiple clothing personalities.

If you do however, or feel like you would like to try out two separate wardrobes then here is why you should . . .

  • A work wardrobe (only used at work) immediately puts you in the right mindset the moment you wear it.
  • Its gives you more of a divide between ‘home’ you and ‘work’ you.
  • Allows you to enjoy all your clothes by giving them a purpose
  • Lastly it allows you to set a precedent for yourself at work, as a professional in which field you are in.

Purpose became a huge factor to me recently. After only two weeks of wearing these exclusively for work, when I put this outfit on the other Sunday for these posts I instantly felt wrong wearing them out in Maidstone. It appears that I was already busy associating my clothes with my days and honestly, I already feel better for it.

Another side of this is relating back to A Season Of Style I wondered how I would be able to have different style sets without feeling out of whack, or pairing them together and finding odd combinations. This feels like the answer, my work wear can have one vibe and my home wear can have another.

I’m not entirely sure how that looks quite yet but I’m thoroughly enjoying wearing certain clothes for certain occasions. It puts purpose to my purchases and it already makes me feel better especially when I found this scuba fabric skirt with stitch detailing and this great staple shirt in a stretchy khaki my work wardrobe started falling into place. Almost this entire outfit is from Next and I actually love this store for work staples. Its easy to get bogged down with of the moment trends but Next have always led me right with smart and affordable corporate pieces.

I have a sneaking feeling in fact that this might not be the last of Next Work wear in my future . . .
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Baking | Wednesday, weekend baking

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“No more excuses for uneaten food in the bin. I’ve made muffins from nothing more than porridge oats, bananas and greek yoghurt! Granola held together with bananas alongside every seed in the house and cupcakes with only egg yolks . . . “

I can no longer leave food uneaten in our house. I dread the idea of chucking perfectly good, healthy food uneaten. So much so that I have begun a baking revolution of finding ways to use things up and banana loaf is my all time favourite example of this.

I always end up with bananas that are going more than a little brown around the edges and for me thats a no go in terms of regular eating however as a binding agent? As banana loaf I am all in.

This last weekend I decided to make a different type of banana loaf which used Maple Syrup and Cinnamon in the mix. It sounds a little odd perhaps but a little odd is always a lot better than a little common, don’t you think?

I grabbed the recipe from here+ and only changed it by using slightly less maple and more cinnamon and of course, chocolate drops. Who could say no?

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p.s if you received this post in error (potentially three times) You have my apologies as WordPress got in a funk and decided that the 9th was in fact last week . . . to receive day to day updates and future post apologies please find me on Twitter+