Goodbye Sunshine

An old one this, as you might have guessed - I've moved on from that basement flat and now need to get a tripod so I can take proper outfit shots in my new outdoor space! (I recommend following me on Instagram for more up-to-date outfit shots in the meantime) 
But it's coming up to long sleeve season so I'm sure I'll be wearing this outfit again soon. There's definitely a chill in the air in the mornings (making getting out of bed especially difficult), scarves no longer seem like a ridiculous concept (chiffon, though, not wool yet) and it's getting dark by 6.30pm. As autumn sets in, it's nice to look back at what has been a glorious summer of sunshine and short skirts. 


The Nice Guy

Sometimes, a really genuinely nice thing happens to you that gives you renewed faith in humanity. In the wake of some truly upsetting invasions of privacy and the disgusting responses by the internet's best bogtrolls, it seemed like an apt time to put a tiny drop of goodness back into the sea of sh*te, by telling you a little story about this outfit...
I was walking through Leicester Square one sunny Saturday afternoon, after a nice wander around town on my way to have my hair cut. A man came running up to me and stopped me, and simply told me that I looked really nice that day. He followed it up with 'that's all I wanted to say, have a nice day' and then headed back to presumably the group of friends he had just dashed over from. 
A totally agenda-less compliment from a total stranger. A person who feels so strongly about something that they forgo all the societal pressures and just say something honest, knowing it will make the other person happy. Because it did put a smile on my face. I'd not dressed up for anyone other than myself, obviously, and I wasn't looking to attract unwanted attention, but the fact that someone, a man for that matter, had come out of his way to tell me nothing other than the fact that he thought I looked nice was heartening. If it had been followed by a come-on or delivered as a passing comment by someone in a more lecherous way, then I'd not have been so pleased. But it was the simple honest act of saying a nice thing for no reason other than that it seemed like something that man had decided he should do that made it so good. And the fact that it was a man, complimenting me like a human being being nice to another human being, made it better still. 
I compliment women on their outfits, their hair, knowing that they may well not have dressed up for anyone other than themselves but knowing that agenda-free, honest compliments are a nice thing to receive, no matter who you are. 
Say nice things to people because you feel the need to say them. Be a nice good human. It will make someone's day. 


ThrowBack Thursday

Realised I wrote this MONTHS ago and forgot to hit 'publish' on it! Original post below. In hindsight, I do regret it getting colder so I can't wear little dresses any more, I slightly miss my big voluminous hair and I definitely need to get the skirt tailored...

Oh hello Carven SS14 you cute little thing. Monochrome, gingham AND floral you say? 
I should probably get this tailored as it's clearly cut for little straight up and down things, and sure I should probably wear A-line things more, and blah blah. But fashion isn't about listening to the wise words of stylists and parents and friends who are out to tell you what looks good. If you like something enough, you find a way to make it work. Because it's somehow about more than just you. It's about you finding the thing that perfectly expresses how you see your style. 
And it fits. AND it has pockets!

Jumpin' Jumpin'

Check out the moody lighting effects! I'm no pro photographer (the reason I've not posted in a month is that my trusty camera actually fell off the ledge it normally rests on while taking these, rendering it useless) so this is about the best it gets. But it's suitably moody as I'm in the mood for autumn! The mornings are colder (especially on a bicycle at 7.30am) and the days are shorter. It's been a wonderful summer but I'm ready for a new season and a change. 
A change as I'll be moving house in a few weeks, so these'll be the last few snaps with this snazzy fence as a backdrop! Three years in my place and I'll miss it a lot. But it's time to go. 
PS This jumpsuit...have never been particularly sure about jumpsuits for ladies with behinds that aren't Beyonce, but this one (and a blue-grey version I also got) is just the right mix of comfy, simple, sophisticated and perfect for inbetween seasons that are the perfect mix of bright days and cooler nights.


Pink Prints

It's always nice when a piece of clothing you really hope comes into existence actually does. I've got this Whistles skirt in pale blue but always hoped for them to release a pale pink version. Et voila! Of course, as soon as I left the house in it I got two small but (with my attention to detail) noticeable marks on it. Classic. 
Initially I went with a white t-shirt, but even after having short hair for so long I still can't get past the idea that I can't pull off straightforward overly girly, and a pink skirt and plain t-shirt leave very few places to hide. Humidity flatters hair, I can't wear quirky sunglasses inside. So thankfully there's a trend for garish prints right now to save the day. 


Bunch Of Flowers

So...yeah, florals. It's sale season and so this awesome Zara jacket could finally be mine! Works perfectly with a little bit of Primark...
Also, I'm a little bit obsessed with Kat Maconie (and a sample sale makes that obsession easier to indulge) - yes, these are the same as the previous pair I posted but in a different colour! I'm just enjoying that, so far, the summer has been nice enough to warrant brightly coloured shoes!


Neon Raver

I had to go all 'here's me casually pretending to DJ' in my mom (actually Topshop's 'Girlfriend') jeans, right? Having never been keen on the idea of 'pedal pushers' after an unfortunate experience falling for a pair in my teens (they were like a bad boyfriend - looked good, everyone wanted them, horrible and unflattering in reality), I recently realised that, at this magic length and with heels, they are hella flattering. Especially high waisted (though to be honest, Topshop, let's leave the button fly to the boys, ok?)
And when I say heels, I mean HEELS. I popped by the Kat Maconie pop up in Covent Garden a few days ago and fell head over heels for these beauties. Grey and neon yellow is still one of those great colour combinations, and I've never encountered softer leather on shoes in my ife. So naturally they came home with me. Thanks to Stella and Abigail for helping me out!


Get That Swing

I think I'd just noticed the neighbours watching me from their 'roof terrace' (aka my roof). Either that or I was trying to disguise the bizarre flicky thing my hair had decided to do. 
Because there's nothing more summery than a pair of easy, breezy flared floral print trousers, right? 


White and black

So far this skirt has survived being exposed to risk from: tomato sauce; cocktails; tomato sauce; Flat Iron steak juice; hoi sin sauce; grass stains at Gray's Inn Gardens, the perfect place to enjoy a summer lunchbreak. And it's doing just fine! I do love how summer trends have managed to make chic monochrome very wearable. I've got a black skirt like this that naturally gets worn with all white - more on that another time. 
PS Yes, these sunglasses are several shades of awesomesauce. Thanks for noticing. 


Print Clash (Part 2)

Featuring the perfect trousers (the trousers I was hoping existed before I realised they did) and one of several print shirts/tops I'll be wearing this summer. I'm feeling print right now. 


Print Clash (Part 1)

Bit of an old one, this, but am moving more into a 'print' phase so thought it was time to show it. My thing for summer, I feel, will be prints. Specifically clashing ones, like stripes with bright floral trousers. Yes these are THOSE M&S trousers (I wore the whole outfit as one the day before my last day) and they aren't quite as difficult to pull off as I thought. Think of them as pantaloons - perfect with sandals in summer. Or with this ridiculous '90s heels, which are actually pretty darn comfortable to walk in given the massive rubber wedge and the fact that the foot is pretty much flat in them. Just not ideal to pull a Naomi Campbell-style catwalk wobble on them...in the middle of Hyde Park. 
Ah well. I totally styled it out. 


Goodbye yesterday

Because I had to cement my reputation as my office's premiere fashionista, I knew I had to wear something special. So this was my 'last day' outfit. The blue lipstick was referenced in my leaving speech the day before and the tartan trousers were referred to in my leaving card, so I combined the two colours for a look that, while not a particularly striking silhouette, was suitably, subtly outrageous. And would you look at that beauty on my arm. 
So that's it from the old me - tomorrow is new job time and I may have to tone it down as they get used to me! But I'm sure the blue lipstick will return in future...


Change is afoot

I'm still here, don't worry! It's been a busy few months, so I thought I'd sum it up in the anatomy of an outfit. 
Well if I'm honest, it's all about the bag. It's a present to myself (with special thanks to a friend who works at my-wardrobe.com) as a reward for, finally, scoring a new job. 
So about the new job.
I realised recently, half way through several re-watches of the truly brilliant Mad Men in preparation for the final season's commencement, that I am more style than substance, and so is my career, or lack thereof. I've been coasting, ticking boxes, for far too long. I want to be a maverick again, a game changer, a person to watch. And so I do this the only way I know how - by being bright and bold, so people sit up and notice, and being myself, so people remember. 
You'll notice, also, a better picture of how my hair looks now. As I mentioned before it was a welcome return to a version of my image that might have been more of a challenge but was one I felt most like myself in. I have been unhappy in how I conduct my life for a long time. Just coasting, continuing, going with the current. That is not how people flourish, I don't think, especially people like me.
I've got high hopes for the next chapter and am pinning a lot of expectations on it, which might not be wise. But far from being a job, this has become my focus. Hours of preparation for interviews that led nowhere, snatched phonecalls in spare minutes, bitterly early starts and late finishes. Much of it leading nowhere. But finally, almost a year since the journey began to take back some pride and some control, it came to fruition. I won't say an end, because I feel like this really is just the beginning. And in three months it could have been a huge mistake and I could find that all of this has just been big talk and I still have no idea what I want, no skills that are any use, and nothing to show for another three months. So used to measuring my success in three month chunks. But for now, in the few short days left before the chapter ends and the new one starts, there is hope, optimism, anticipation, excitement. There is promise. The promise that a bright future is just waiting around the corner. 
I've been waiting for a long time to turn a corner. And now it's almost time. 


What I Wore Today

So much of how we interact as human beings is based on appearance, and yet so many of us are unhappy with our own. So many of us are faking it until we make it, hoping to convince people who are looking that we're ok with what they're seeing. Everyone has a guise that they're most comfortable in; an outfit, a scenario, a group, a location. We are 'in our element' in the place in which we feel most comfortable, in the form in which we feel most like our actual selves, or at least the version of the self we like. 
Like everyone, I've struggled with liking myself for all my life, beginning as soon as I became self-aware and intensifying during the 'Girls' years of my early twenties, coinciding with good and bad relationships, good and great jobs and good and excellent style choices. But recently I stopped feeling like myself. I have been quiet on here for a good while, I know. When other bloggers I follow do this I assume something's wrong, but if their experience is anything like mine it means that yes, something that connects them to blogging is wrong but another area of their life is right. I haven't felt like writing anything, like posting pictures in a while partly because London mornings at the moment are not particularly appealing photo environments and partly because I just don't want to do that right now. 
My earlier post this year (my only other post this year so far) encouraged anyone who read it to do more of what they love, so that's what I've been doing. And one thing that I learned to love again quite recently is how I look. Quite a rare thing to say and hear said, isn't it? The body we cart the better parts of ourself around in provides us with the most challenging of relationships (for men and women) and I just got tired of spending time hating mine. It's exhausting. There are better things to be doing. My preferred things to do include reading the same books over and over again, going for long walks (see first post), talking loudly with friends and scaring bar staff laughing too loudly at filthy jokes, eating pretty much anything I can whenever I feel like it, and going to the gym. Right now I love the gym. You cannot tear me away from it. I go on Sunday mornings when previously I'd have lain in bed until noon. Instead of pressing snooze I press 'increase resistance', 'five more minutes', 'increase level'. More more more. 
When the promo shots for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire came out, a shot of Jennifer Lawrence stuck in my mind. She is dressed simply in a dark-coloured jumpsuit, belted at the waist and sleeveless. Her much-poured over, much-debated body looks strong, solid, dependable, the kind of body that can carry you through life. She wears a solid, strong expression to match. In the role of Katniss, her body and her mind convey one message: a force to be reckoned with. 
That image has stuck in my mind whenever I train. I go to the gym to release tension, to pass time, to occupy me during bad times and to give me an additional adrenalin hit during good ones. I go with friends and to see the usual faces, and to break up long Sundays that stretch endless and empty. While I'm not writing much, I go to the gym and let my mind run, let it all out. Let the frustration, anger, irritation and fear melt away so for an hour or so I can forget my problems and just get on. Do something simple. Figure something out. I go to the gym to train, test and refine my body as the tool it is - a fantastic, reliable, dependable tool, shell, home. Solid, strong, sturdy. A pretty remarkable thing to have. A fully functioning, living machine built for survival, to be tested and to be respected. 
I recently also cut off my hair again - not the jagged punk cherry-red cut of two years ago but a softer, more feminine crop that feels much more who I am. Slowly, again, coming to terms with the person I am, rather than trying to push myself into the moulds that I've made for myself in the past. It's not easy to do this; moulds in certain scenarios exist for a reason. I'm not a perfect person, and while working on the exterior is easy I'm aware that working on the interior is going to take a lot more work. You probably won't see me for a while, but like all the others I'm here. I'm still wearing outrageous things (bought a fantastic bright pink shirt that I can't wait to wear with bright red lipstick on Monday) and painting my nails three times a week and making my housemates laugh with how much of the shoe rack and coatrack I take up. But underneath all that, I'm doing something different with my life right now. I'm on the right track. And I'm going to run with it. 


My favourite shoes

A new year. Resolutions. Like a jump start to a car or a kick onto the stage, the first day of January always brings the perfect opportunity for us to reassess. More symbolic, meaningful and weighty than trying to enforce the same change at any other less potent point in the year, New Year is the perfect time to make some resolutions.
So what are yours? Lose weight? Save money? Travel more, spend less, work out more, eat less. Change yourself. Do different things. Be someone new. It'll stick, because it's a new year.
Realistically, these types of resolutions will last a month for most of us, and a few more for those with serious will power. Respect to those people who make it through to December 31st, but I'm not one of those people. I don't commit to making resolutions because I know I'm likely to break them, and the ones I do keep get made on a different day. Like joining a gym again - something I did in November 2011 and still feel much better paying for it and getting the variety, versatility and social opportunities (going to a gym class is much more fun if your housemates go too) than saving the money and having to psych myself up to bore myself silly jogging for half an hour every other day.
But I digress. The key to keeping a good resolution is to do things that you naturally want to do, that will help give you the results you want as well as the enjoyment you're already getting from it.
This version of me that I use as the life force of this blog has only been in existence for around ten years or so. Before that, a version of me almost entirely contrary to this version existed. Instead of neatly shined shoes, perfectly applied makeup, styled hair, carefully chosen outfit, I'd put on whatever old clothes my mum had handed down to me, along with a pair of battered muddy boots, head out and walk for hours through woods, forests and fields, making up stories and thinking of ideas. Years and years later, I've stayed in my tiny cramped basement flat for so long because it's close to wild wooded green space while still being an easy commute to work and the shops. I've had many pairs of shoes, but there are few I've loved more than the ones I've had adventures in. Found new views, seen the way light hits trees in autumn and differently in the spring. Discovered new paths and thought of new ideas and found, ultimately, peace. The kind of peace that people look for in all kinds of places, be they churches or temples, libraries, quiet places. On runs, over coffee with friends, looking at art or listening to music.
So my resolution, and my suggestion for you, is this: find your favourite pair of adventuring shoes, lace them tight, put on your comfiest coat and your muddy jeans, and go exploring. Whether the outfit I've described is a literal description or you use it as a metaphor doesn't matter - do more of the thing that brings you peace, enriches you, makes your heart soar and brings you inspiration.