Monday, 30 December 2013

2013: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

So 2013 has been a whirlwind of great and not so great things. My blog is still up and going strong (YAY!) I’m feeling more confident about additional content and will definitely keep it up for 2014; and I’m feeling more and more confident within myself in general.

That’s been the biggest thing about the blog for me, looking at myself in ways I never thought I would and gaining a love for myself I had previously really struggled with; it’s been a great few years in that respect and I’m so happy to be in a position where my blog not only helps me, but now also helps others. If I had to point to one post that sums this up, it would be ‘When a photoshoot is about more than just the photos’, with Khandie Khisses. This was a breakthrough for me in regards to how I was feeling at the time and how certain aspects of my life were bringing me down. The shoot came at the perfect time and I felt like it was the breath of fresh air I needed, and the response was so overwhelming and to date, has been my biggest reaction in comments, emails and encouragement. I’m super proud of myself for putting myself out there and being honest about how I was feeling at the time; people are so scared to admit they’re having a hard time. Everyone feels like they have to paint a perfect picture of themselves and their lives that the line between real and fake become blurred. I will continue to be honest and open on my blog because it’s my space and my baby.….
© Khandie Khisses (Please do not use without permission)

Brutal honesty on the blog oh so neatly leads me to another good - a good I wasn't going to talk about but I think is important. I recently found out that someone questioned my motives as a friend – behind my back. In a friend capacity, it is the absolute worse thing you could accuse me of. You must wonder why the heck I would say this was a good thing?! Well for me it was. Maintaining a relationship (friendship or otherwise) is hard enough as it is, so the last thing any of us should want to do is waste time on those who have such negative or hurtful opinions about us. So having my motives as a friend questioned although painful, was exactly what I needed to hear as it freed me from continuing to waste my time on a friendship that to them, was never really there. It’s immaterial that I actually like this person, because I now know exactly what they think of me. We all need these kind of things to happen in order to really know who we can trust, so how can that not be a good thing?!

After talking to a friend of mine about it, she sent me a link to a blog post she’d found – Becky Cavender: Letter to the Nice Girls. I admittedly see a lot of myself in this post and the following extract is something I’m slowly learning to accept:

“But … dear, kind, Nice Girl:

You have to, you must, learn that not all people are nice. 

You must learn there are others who genuinely admire your niceness. They may even care about you. Perhaps love you. But they also know that because of your unique ability to forgive, to understand them, to see the big picture, they can make choices that may bring you a level of discomfort and pain … then not work hard to rectify that or perhaps even acknowledge it. Maybe they’ll push the boundaries of hurt … because they can. Because they know you’re nice.

I definitely think I have a tendency to be too nice at times, and ironically, always seem to include those who don’t deserve it. In future, I’m going to reserve certain aspects of my “niceness” to those who actually care about and appreciate the kindness of others and to those with moral standing. I think ultimately, my message is this: Be you no matter how many people judge or try to make you feel bad for being who you are. Never allow anyone to make you feel like you have to apologise for being a thoughtful person, and hold your head up when people choose to criticise your every move. Also, know where your line is. You’re worth more than the people who seem to be intent on making you unhappy…..

Now onto more positive things. A huge part of 2013 was Plus London Three. I had the privilege of being one of five organisers for this event and it was such a joyous weekend. I met so many amazing women and felt truly lucky to be there and participate in something so positive and worthwhile. Everyone was incredibly kind and I honestly can’t look back on the weekend and not feel a huge sense of pride:

Finding a liquid foundation was another highlight for me. This may seem like an odd thing to add, but as someone with darker skin, finding affordable makeup to work can be extremely difficult, particularly when looking on the high street. Finding Sleek MakeUp was great and their makeup is my 2013 makeup highlight!
My haul after my wonderful foundation find. All bought in the space of a few days :/

Being on a panel for WoW (Women of the World) Festival 2013 was an out of body experience. I couldn’t believe it when I was asked and I thought long and hard about doing it, but I’m thankful that I decided to do it. I got so much from the experience and gained so much confidence about my ability to articulate in front of people. As a writer, I find writing things down so much easier and really struggle with crowds and speaking publicly, but this was too important to pass up and it was wonderful.

I went to Dublin for the first time to see my lovely (but oh so far away) friend, Sian. It was so fun and I got to geek-out and take a bunch of pictures of the gorgeous rural buildings and the gorgeous coast. I will be making a trip back in the New Year and I can’t wait! Another highlight was my Harry Potter Nerd-Out Day, with the lovely Hanna. Again, there were a ton of pictures taken around the massive studio:

I remember writing about 2012 and stating I’d try to blog more often, and I’m pleased to say I’ve done that and then some. Looking back on my outfits, there isn’t one that I regret; there is always a tendency to look back on old photos and think “what the heck?!”, but I’m happy with my style, look and the way I dress my body. Here are a few of my favourites:
I also want to give a shout-out to my friends. We always get people who come into our lives, cause disruption and then leave us to pick up the pieces. Thankfully the good of my friends outweigh the few bad eggs I’ve let into my life. I’m so fortunate to have a group of friends whom I can truly rely on and know will always be there to love and support me through the good and not so good times. They are literally the centre of my world and I couldn’t have wished to be more lucky in that respect.

Lastly, last year I posted my song of the year, so I thought I’d do something similar for 2013. Well, it’s not really my song of the year but it is pretty poignant. I think Hayley may have secretly written this for me:

I cheated a little with the title of this post, because there was no bad or ugly. All things happen for a reason and you may not be able to see it while it’s happening, but I believe (I have to believe) that it all comes good in the end as long as you stay true to yourself and be a good person to yourself and others.

So that was 2013 and what a good(ish) year it was. I’m soooo looking forward to 2014 and just want to thank you all for your continued support. Love you guys and I’ll see you on the other side!

All my love and hugs,

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Red & Gold makes the perfect Christmas

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all well. I’m still bursting from all the food I’ve eaten in the past two days and I’m now sitting here comfortably in my bed, ready to get my blog on.

I’m loving all the posts about what you guys have been wearing over the festive season and today, I thought I’d show my Christmas dress. I cheated a little with these pictures as I took them a few days before Christmas with my lovely friend Shel (who only lives a delightful 15 minutes away from me). She’s my unpaid photographer and always does an amazing job, and I love the pictures she’s taken below.

I absolutely love this dress! I’m not usually a lace girl, but I saw this dress on the Simply Be website and knew it had to be *the* dress. The dress is a deep red so it's not too overwhelming and the lace is subtle and compliments the cut of the dress really well. I wanted to keep accessorising to a minimum as I wanted the focus to be on the dress, but I did want some standout accents. Gold was the colour I went for in the shape of a thin belt, earrings, and a beautiful necklace (made by Shel – she’s a talented bunny!) I decided to turn into a bracelet; there’s also flecks of gold in my adorable shoes from Dorothy Perkins. I also had to throw a bow in my hair… was Christmas after all!
Dress: Simply Be
Belt & Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
Tights: Boots
Necklace (made into bracelet): Made by Shel :)
Earrings (just seen): River Island
Bow: Handmade by me
 Lace and Bracelet in detail <3
Forever adjusting....
I couldn’t have wished for a better dress for the day!

I’ll be posting my end of year review next Monday, so keeps your eyes peeled for that.

‘til next time!

Love and hugs,

Sunday, 22 December 2013

1940s Indulgence & 35mm Love

Hello you lovely lot.

So it’s Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve and although I’m not particularly feeling the Christmas spirit this year, I do feel extremely joyous – particularly when I get to blog about something as divine as this dress!

I ordered this dress from Collectif Clothing during one of their recent sales, and I had been admiring it from afar for ages. The thing is, I’m a 1950s vixen and love swing dresses to the point of worry (you really don’t want to see my wardrobe), so delving into the 40s was something I was wary of. The cut of 1940 dresses are quite unforgiving and I’m not one who likes VBO on me, but I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to nab this during the sale. 

I’m happy to say, I absolutely love this dress! I felt like a bit of a movie star in it. The button and pleated detail are gorgeous and I adore the deep Forrest Green colour; yes it clings, but not to the point where I felt uncomfortable and that’s always the most important thing. I wore this dress to visit my lovely friend Hanna. Her building is the whitest I’ve ever seen so thought it would be the perfect backdrop to show the colour of the dress and to show the detail better.
Dress and Belt: Collectif Clothing
Tights: Boots
The gorgeous button and pleat detail <3
We then headed to a beautifully foggy Hampstead Heath, where I got my nerd on and took a bunch of pictures. I brought along my baby Olympus TRIP (35mm all the way!), but as I’m yet to get those developed, the ones below are from my Lumix, and are unedited. You could say I was a tad overdressed for the day ;p
My weapons of choice.
Golders Hill Pergola, such a stunning place. I'm thinking Spring outfit pics...

This will be my last post before Christmas, so just want to wish you guys an amazing Christmas. Make sure you eat a ton and I can’t wait to see what you all wear for the day – I’ll be sharing mine!

‘til next time.

Love and hugs,

Monday, 16 December 2013

A Carousel, Big Wheel & Fab Dress

A few weeks ago, I had a fab day out shopping followed by a fab night out playing at the Funfair.

I wore this lovely dress by Cutie for Simply Be. I love the partnerships Simply Be make with smaller brands and this is the second Cutie dress I have purchased. They’re great for shorter folk like myself, and I love the cut of this dress, the Peter Pan collar and the gorgeous Mint colour. Although my boobs misshape the front of the dress, ironically, I prefer it to the original design! It was the perfect dress to run around in on a mild autumns day.
Dress: Cutie (via Simply Be)
Cardigan & Leggings: South (via Very)
Boots: eBay
Pretty swirl!

Funfair fun times:
I have adored carousels since I was a little girl and this one did not disappoint :D
Me and Jagi did it, we went on the big wheel!
Our view from Leicester Square :)

Er, we may have also accidentally stumbled into the Häagen-Dazs restaurant: 

I hope you're all well - can't believe Christmas is just round the corner!

'til next time :)

Love and hugs,