Friday feelings | growth, stillness and trust

Friday feelings | growth, stillness and trust.

A sentiment came to me recently and that is this, “try, fail, change and try again”

I’ve never been too good at admitting to failure but I’ve been even worse at thinking if this didn’t work it doesn’t mean something else will . 

Something else will work, perhaps only when it’s right. 

I’ve spent a lot of time flogging a dead horse but since this recent sentiment came along I’ve found myself more and more focused on trying and changing and with it it’s released an awful lot of guilt and blame.

Choosing to change, choosing to try is in actual fact far more fulfilling than routinely pulling up blame and “you’ve failed, you’ve failed, you’ve failed…”

It’s not failure, it’s just not right. Sometimes you have to try all the porridge’s before you find the right one for you.

The first thing I’m attempting this attitude to is our week in Marrakesh. I’m notorious for feeling strung out and overwhelmed by not filling my time properly. Somewhere along the line, being busy got misconstuded for being productive when most often it’s the least productive use of time.

Myself and Josh have also committed this week to complete and utter, floating rest. No guilt, no productivity, just switch off. 

The ultimate week(end) we never give ourselves.

In this week I also intend to employ the art of stillness. Switching off the do anything/everything attitude and instead taking time to revel in nothingness, in Elizabeth Gilbert sitting on her roman floor eating asparagus, watching the birds and listing to the wind and allowing myself to have inspiration and creativity bloom if it wishes or stay hidden if it rather. 

Instead of insanity we have committed to a week of complete and utter rest.

The ultimate in luxury.

*if you want to know more about the art of stillness I loved this blog post by coach and speaker, Blaire Palmer.

Friday Fashion Feelings | Your emotions v.s getting dressed

_DSC0556 _DSC0590
_DSC0553

When you write about anything long enough you start to see patterns and trends. Heavens even your topics can get a little staid.

In blogs the worst you find is, “I went to Nordstrom last week and fell in love with this little striped…” yeah, sure you did, simple sponsored post. For me I have begun seeing a different type of pattern, a pattern about staring into a wardrobe void and coming up blank.

The reality is on a day where I can barely get off the couch or string a sentence together is the same day I can’t get dressed either. When my head feels messy or my house is messy, when I feel claustrophobic from our tiny office and trains the less inventive I become, the less inspired, the more monotony of my day to day life the harder it can be to be, ‘creative’.

This outfit is the personification of a bad dressing day. See if you give me date night, I’ll give you my khaki suede pencil skirt and burgundy peep hole shirt with orange suede boots and I’m happy. That is easy and fun but for a casual Sunday? A walk for coffee and a trek through a field and I’m stuck. I’m not a casual dresser. I have friends who can just pull on jeans, a t-shirt and cardigan and just look polished, effortless and cool but I’m not one of those people, if I dress casual then I look casual, nothing polished about it.

So what I am finding on repeat is the struggle of getting dressed when I’m emotionally tired and when I feel a little cramped and for a big word, suffocated. Part of that person starts to struggle with the idea of getting dressed.

Another part of that is not seeing the wood from the trees when it comes to endless fabric and little definition. In contrast this lack of space has led myself and Josh to consider switching up my wardrobe and honestly has led me to consider how we can better manage our stuff and our space to give us the most mental space as possible.

I began to realize that often what we our capable of writing and putting on or body is often influenced by other external factors and how we live. In terms of a wardrobe it can be as simple as undertaking the 30 for 30 or a capsule wardrobe and for others it could be re organizing our space, giving ourselves more breathing room and in terms of the blog… maybe that means making time for sharing reality v.s. sponsored, v.s. posed.

Fashion | Its not quite Halloween but it is cosy….

_DSC0460 _DSC0463
_DSC0467

AW how I love thee! Unfortunately, this year I’m not celebrating Halloween, on the blog or in real life…. Shocking for a blogger I realise, but to be honest bar the origins of the festival (the day of the dead, the veils between worlds being thinnest…) I’m not a big fan of the modern Halloween.

I have very little interest in costumes (As a kid if we had to use a dressing up box you would have found me running in the opposite direction… I wanted to like it, but alas I didn’t.) This outfit here is way more up my street however. I far prefer a good textured outfit which is snuggly and perfect for the UK’s dropping temps.

I am a little concerned that perhaps the button up skirt is going out of style, after all its been around for at least two to three years and yet . . . it feels so deliciously fall and early winter that the thought of not wearing it seems ludicrous.

What are you wearing this AW that makes you feel all snuggly?

26 and The September Reset |Lessons Learnt

IMG_2341

I’m a tad unwilling to let go off the September fresh start. After all Autumn and my birthday mean that this is my favourite season. In response to that for my birthday I wanted to share some off the cuff lessons of being 25 and the horror which has been 2016 so far. (Also new year now? My wedding is safe in the new!)


– Sometimes you have to strike out on your own.

– Not everyone will understand your art or your vision.

– Josh is quickly learning all about pest removal. As proven by the manic five o clock wasp spraying.

He’s also great at removing stubborn house spiders. Thank heavens because I’m still petrified.

– Commuting is harder

– “Be careful what you want because you might just get it” What if you only got what you really wanted? Would that finally explain continually not getting what you don’t?”

– As Beyoncé says, only you can make yourself happy. Spend time loving and understanding yourself.

– Say what you mean, ask for what you need.

– Get to the point

– Unselfishly put yourself first

– You’re worth more than this.

– It doesn’t have to be so hard.

– You’ve been braver, learnt to be wiser, now be bold, be brave again.


I don’t think that 2016 has been necessarily easy in any respect. If anything, I feel as though I have been battered and bruised and in more ways than celebrity deaths and brexit. The most interesting part of it all has been the further from easy I’ve been the more I came back to a place of great learning, of unexpected wisdom and a backbone of truth.

It’s not been all highs and success but in finding a place of centred love and respect. It’s been a year of tough growth, of hard lessons all of which have reopened the doors to my own pschy and inner voice. I’ve beaten myself up a couple of times but I’ve also taught myself to consider, to listen beyond the bullshit and others opinions and when I least expected it saw myself as an adult for once. As a decision maker, as someone who is able to be calm and deal with it, get over it, not focus on the me me me. I’m in the right place for getting married as my authentic self, my child self, teenhood, young and adult self all converge into one.

I’m choosing to step backward, to be brave for once. Im tired of holding myself back when there is better, there are achievements which need and will be met.

Speaking recently with my good friend and motivational speaker Adam Tuffnell I mentioned how, “it seems impossible not to have some blinding brilliance come out of a slog of a year like this!” And I wholeheartedly believe that for all of us. I know we are split all over the world and not going through the same things but the community I’ve seen here for me ages 25 has been beyond encouraging and inspiring. I feel like i have met some truly incredible men and women this year who have shifted my mindset, proved me worthy, and supported me in so many, unexpected ways.

I have a lot to be grateful for as I turn 26 and a lot to look forward to. On the top of my list of course is to finally follow my grandmas saying to the full, the time for living is now.

And isn’t it just?

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.

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.

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 cheated. 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 | Why aren’t you discussing summer style?

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 19.13.03

Please follow here+ to find further links to these images via Pinterest (If you know who these belong to, or they belong to you feel free to comment below or email me for credit or removal. p.s. love these looks!)

I feel like I should be discussing summer clothes. I had previously believed that me and Josh would spend our summer on our bikes in the countryside. Reality is we have probably used our bikes about three times and those three times where all in late winter/early spring.

Its interesting to find your plans change. General life it seems, changes at the drop of the hat and whilst I thought this would be a carefree summer it instead seems to be plagued with chores and a whole lot of growing up and meetings! I’m hoping for next summer to be that biking and walks for coffee adventures but for this summer . . . I have sort of given up.

If you live in the UK you know, we have had so much rain, temperate weather, I have seen women on my walk to work, wear tights, jackets, scarves and jeans even in the middle of a supposed summer!

Back in January when it was cold I had dreams of outfits like above. A fancy, floral midi skirt, long maxi dresses and comfortable sandals and relaxed styling. Now I’m looking to a winter holiday in the sun, hoping that that instead might give me chance to wear something summery because for this summer I have been wearing my boots into the ground, skirts like they are going out of style, t shirts and jackets, everyday without fail.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 19.21.59

Thankfully, I picked up this jersey longline jacket from Anthropologie in the sale and its been a god send in this strange non-summer, summer. I originally imagined wearing it with jeans, trainers and my paris jumper with a grey jersey scarf but now I have paired it with almost everything I own. Keep an eye out next week for me wearing it with relaxed harem trousers and a Zara neck scarf tied around my wrist. Its relaxed and so comfortable, its 100% me.

Similarly I have also picked up a sleeveless jersey blazer as well which I’ve loved for the even hotter days (when I apparently still need layers . . .) its looked grey with the striped linen dress and made me feel dressed up even when I’m not.

Most hilariously, I bought two pairs of shorts for this year (prepared for summer!) only to have only worn the soft jersey pair from Sainsbury’s Tu in our back garden one afternoon.

Instead I keep catching myself mid-writing developing plans for Autumn, I’ve started collecting endless pins on AW2016 and devising looks and a work wear wardrobe to rock all year round. I’m trying on all the boots as they become available and stopping myself. You don’t want to know about Autumn yet, right? Are you sure? Let me know, because the unpublished posts are stacking up in response to a severe lack of summertime posts!

Personal | Tea for the Soul

_DSC0484

Tea for the Soul

I have always been funny about hot drinks. On the whole I rarely drink them however recently I have been drawn to tea.

As a child when I was ill my dad would often make me these uber milky (another thing I rarely drink), sugary tea and it would instantly make me feel better.

From this I have begun relating tea to being comfortable and protected at home. In order to not lose that connection and feeling I no longer either drink tea unless I am in a comfortable home environment or if I have time to drink it as a pleasurable experience. All of this so that I can pay attention to the action of drinking it.

See, I have begun apply the idea of pleasurable experiences into my day-to-day life. Now I give myself a morning before work where I buy a tea at Victoria (station) and take my time to either read a magazine on the train with the tea or listen to an inspirational podcast while I take the longer walk from Clapham Junction to my office.

Our industry is such that we often don’t have time for lunch breaks so to take back my very early mornings has been incredibly pleasurable.

Another change I have started making is how I make use of my four hours on trains a day. Where previously I would immerse myself in books I now take the time to listen to podcasts and to also write for myself. In the last week I have written blog posts, book ideas and even developed Linked In articles. My topics are increasingly varied from Fashion to business and branding but I am reveling in these opportunities to explore my own self expression rather than focusing solely on work or others ideas.

It’s funny now that I think of it. This revelation ultimately stemmed from having tea one day in our home office where I realised that something so small could feel transformative. Its been as if I have taken a bit more of my time back for pleasure and that feels like a real break for the soul.

Perhaps we can’t all be ladies of leisure but in the time it takes to travel to London and back and the time it takes from Clapham to the office I get a little bit of me back and in the end isn’t that what we all want and need?

A little Tea for the soul.

Lets talk . . . Reasons behind Blogging

Image

 

Recently i’ve been going completely against what blogs I normally read. I’ve got to be honest since finding the wonderful world of blogs I have to admit I have been pretty devout to american bloggers like cupcakes and cashmere, Kendi Everyday, Sincerely Jules, Its because I think too much, my edit . . . the list goes on but recently I’ve fallen in love with british blogs! and there are so many more ‘tall’ centric bloggers as well! I’ve been in tall girl heaven!

Anyway, I found this iwantyoutoknow.co.uk the other day and im kinda in love. I love the mix of style, arts, fashion and lifestyle mix that this blog has to offer and its based in London! Excellent. The lovely writer of this blog, Kristabel wrote this+ article and referenced this further article+. This got me thinking about therealjlow/TVCLifestyles and my reasons for what I post and what I have created.

Firstly I find the suggestion that personal style blogs must come to end as very saddening. I love a good, well presented personal style blog, why? Because I’m incredibly nosey and how better to get A, a look into other peoples lives but also get inspiration for my own outfits and from real people no less! The blogs I truly love rarely contain high end or designer clothes, because really? I can’t afford it, I feel too big for it and its really not realistic to me unfortunantly. So give me a blog with clothes from high street stores and im sold, or vintage finds or the great 30×30. Thats what really interests me, not sitting front row at fashion week. 

So the idea of these great blogs disapearing because there won’t be the chance to become famous? Thats incredibly disheartening. Reading the second article was incredibly interesting however and it did for a second make me stop and think what am I really putting out on the internet and what am I doing it for? and you know what? the answers not really changed since when I began TRJL and TVC with Gemma. To promote style for the non-designer wearing girl on the street whose not your average or commonly desired size or shape. On here, its also got a lot to do with putting it out there that Tall girls need more clothing options that black trousers and black and white tee shirts.

In fact, I think that we need more personal style blogs or maybe better ways to find PSB’s that arn’t advertising designer and unaffordable brands. Thats not to say that I don’t like inspirational clothing or designer clothes but I need more from my blogs than just pretty pictures, sometimes I want the ability to buy an entire outfit, if I wanted and be able to afford it. In fact, I miss good old fashioned affordable blogs, anyone else? 

What was great about reading this however was the writers ideas about the seperation of ‘bloggers’ and its made me think of my original plans to include more than just fashion and i’d like to get back to that to showcase a little bit more than my clothes, but my cooking, my home and what I’m up to . . .

What do you think?