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Showing posts with label bloggers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bloggers. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 December 2014

November's Greatest Hits!

perfect banana bread every time

I've been a very naughty blogger recently, posting less than usual, and not taking part in the blogging community nearly as much as I'd like. We're coming up for the last week of living with my in-laws now though, and whilst it has been really nice to have the company for the last few months, I'm not going to miss the double-commute we've been doing for the last month - driving down to our flat in London to see how the building work is getting on, and then taking the train into work each day, before doing the same again in reverse on the way home! We've not been getting home until 9 each night! But enough of my whining, because despite the exhaustion and lack of internet presence, November was very exciting!

November's memorable moment

Renovation in progress

In addition to watching our new little home take shape thanks to the most dedicated builders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters I've ever met, I've really enjoyed some surreal and spectacular blogging events in November. Along with Angelica from One Little Vice, I attended the official store opening of Trésor Rare, a cosmetics company which impregnates all its face cream with gold and diamonds. While I couldn't be further from the target market for that kind of shizzle, it was definitely an interesting window into another world.

I also got the chance to attend the last Bloggers Love Hub of the month, where I met up with Angelica again, as well as Charlotte from Captain Ch-ARGH-ley and Ruby from The Fashion Antlers. I got chatting with the lovely folks from Umberto Gianinni, who gave me a bunch of their products to try out. If that wasn't enough swag from an evening out, I also got the most amazing present from Angelica - my very own hand-picked beauty box, curated especially for me by the woman herself. I'm going to dedicate a whole blog post to this very soon, so expect a bit more on all of this later!

November's Instagram moments

wallpaper turner painting sunny winter london
clock eater english rain

Winter is truly upon us now, and I love photographing the weather on Instagram! Those crisp, sunny winter days have been fighting against the perpetual drizzle and thick fog all month, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop any time soon. I've seen some beautiful rolling fog and even an epic double rainbow from the car window in November! Oh and maybe the reason I've not had enough time to blog properly this month is because I ate all the time...

Songs on repeat in November

As the winter comes, I always turn back to my tried and trusted 'Colder Months' playlist on Spotify. One of my favourite tracks from that playlist will always be Anyone's Ghost by The National (who I saw live this month!!!!!). All of my playlists are constantly growing and evolving, and the newest addition to the playlist is the irresistibly dark Take Me To Church by Hozier. There's nothing overtly 'wintery' about any of the songs on my 'Colder Months' playlist, it's more about how the song feels, if that makes any sense at all!

Blogs I've loved this month

In the midst of this hectic spell in my life, I've been all about imagining a completely different life for myself, so when the internet has permitted me to load any blog posts, I've been reading blogs by expats in other countries. One favourite is Crumbs in the bed by a seriously funky young woman doing her postgrad in Belgium. I'll also always have a soft spot for Eat Your Kimchi and My Korean Husband to name just a few. If I'm not already reading your ex-pat blog, or if you know of any other awesome ones, do let me know! I hope you all had a lovely November, and that your December is shaping up well too!

Monday, 27 October 2014

On being three dimensional

black and white glasses

Maybe it came from reading too many Enid Blyton school stories as a child, but I spent a large portion of my pre-teen and adolescent years worrying that I hadn't found 'my thing'. Each of the girls at Malory Towers had a special talent or trait for which they were known and which marked them out as distinctive and special. As far as I could see, I didn't have one of those at all. I longed to be 'the musical genius' or 'the beautiful one', and every year before the school year began, I'd make list after list of the traits I'd adopt and the way I would be this year. Time after time, I'd fail to become the two-dimensional character I longed to be, as my own human, multifaceted self could not be suppressed. Part of the problem of course, was that I had so many 'things'. I was musical, I was academic, I was energetic, I was sociable, I was a clown... And I could never decide which one I wanted to be the most. I had to pick one didn't I? Teen magazines were constantly encouraging us to pigeonhole ourselves with flow-charts and quizzes. What 'type' of girl are you?

Looking back, I am saddened to remember the anguish I put myself through as I tried to puzzle out what 'my thing' could be, and as I'd punish myself for failing to fit into whatever arbitrary category I'd chosen to strive for each time. What saddens me even more though, is that I am still prone to this way of thinking, even now as an adult. There are so many things I still want to be, even though the adult world appears to be the ever-narrowing of fields and the closing of doors. Even within the blogging world, we're told to choose a niche for ourselves if we want any chance of becoming successful. Are you a beauty blogger? Are you a fashion blogger? Are you a food blogger? Do you travel enough to really call yourself a travel blogger?

I've become really interested in how we form our identities, during the process of trying to accept myself as a three dimensional individual. Identity is so heavily attached to the idea of 'belonging', and we draw near to those who like what we like, and who do what we do, our identities like magnets. I like to hang out with people who have similar political ideologies as me, and I love the feeling when I meet someone who has read my favourite book or enjoyed my favourite song. It's important to bond with people who are similar to us, but of course there are dangers attached to marking others out as 'different'. Especially if there is a value judgement attached to that assumption.

"Be yourself" is a common thing that adults say to teenagers and young people. While I see what the phrase is trying to say, I have always found it to be vastly naive and incredibly damaging. How on earth can a teenage girl be expected to 'be herself' when she's expected to be so many things all at once, and she doesn't even really know who/what "herself" is? "Be yourself" sounds so absolute, so concrete... as though "yourself" is a fixed concept that can be distilled, put into a glass vial and held up to the light. I wholeheartedly reject that concept, although I am its victim as much as anyone else.

So before this post becomes any more of an essay of existential nonsense, here's a list. If you can figure out who I "am", then do let me know, because I'm almost a quarter of a century old, and I haven't figured it out yet! I'm all of these... I'm none of these... I'm so much more than any of these...

I am

A writer - a diarist - a musician - a feminist - creative - nostalgic - contemplative - anxious - energetic - lethargic - melancholy - vulgar - a redhead - short sighted - fair-skinned - a digital native - a blogger - a wife - a cat-lover - a woman - a Cambridge University graduate - an ex-teacher - shorter than average - green-eyed - half-Australian - an older sister - a tea-drinker - accident prone - self-doubting - magical - an individual with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome - comedic - sociable - a foodie - whimsical - sensible - sensitive - a daughter - a travel obsessive...

So those were just a few of my thoughts. Normal posting shall resume during the week - there's a twee-as-hell banana loaf recipe coming up, so don't worry, guys. I've not completely lost it. Yet.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Behind the scenes on Owl Girl - The Blog Hop

blog secret behind the scenes

What do bloggers actually do all day? Blogging can't be that hard can it? Don't you guys just go to tonnes of parties and get given loads of free stuff?

Well, I can't speak for all bloggers, which is kind of the point. We're all different and we get up to a lot of different stuff, we've all got unique perspectives and outlooks on everything. (Funny that, what with us all being different and individual human beings...) Anyway, I was nominated by Hayley-Eszti, who is an absolutely fantastic blogger (are blog-crushes a thing? Because I think I might have one on her...), to do this little 'blog hop' challenge, which is where I get to give you guys a little insight into my creative process with this here blog! I hope you find it interesting! Oh and most of the pictures in this post are outtakes from other posts, because ~behind the scenes~...

Writing blog notes

1. What am I working on/writing right now?

At the moment, I am planning quite a few foodie posts, starting with a review of another amazing independent cafe in Camberwell, and a few recipes too. Food is a big part of my life - Dan and I love cooking together, and visiting lots of the amazing restaurants that London has to offer. I want to do more outfit posts because putting outfits together is such fun for me! I try really hard not to repeat outfits because I like the challenge. Once we've moved into our new flat, you will be able to expect a lot of home decor posts and a house tour as we about decorating our first proper home together. I mean, we've been living together for years and years now, but always in places that we've not been able to decorate! I can't wait to share that process with you!

2. How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Like Hayley-Eszti, I don't really like to compare this blog to other people's! It makes me sad, and it doesn't do anyone justice. Some of the things I love about my blog is that it's packed with lots of pretty photos that I took myself (or that Dan took of me!) and it provides a great meeting point for some of my biggest interests: fashion, music, food, the city, craft, the countryside, travel... I feel like I can write with confidence about these things and do the topics justice. So that's what I love about my blog and my writing - I know I kind of cheated with my answer to that question, but it's my blog, so nyeugh...!

Cheeky Basil herbs

3. Why do I write what I do?

I blog because it is the apex of writing, photography and creativity. I am happiest when I'm making something, either physically, or on the internet. I can look at it and say, "I MADE that!" which is so satisfying. I've been making things and writing things for longer than I can remember (somewhere there's a cassette tape of me telling a long, long story about a princess who killed all of her prospective husbands by turning them into inanimate objects using magical powers. I don't remember making this story up but I LOVE that my parents thought to record me telling it!) and ultimately, I want my career to involve creativity. It would be a dream come true to be able to make things, create outfits, make music, write, and take beautiful photographs for a living. And hopefully with a lot of hard work from me, and a bit of help from all of you guys, that could become a reality some day!

4. How does my writing process work?

I start by making a big ol' list in my little notebook. There are so many lists of possible blog posts and fragments of ideas in there, and the lists are always growing. Sometimes something urgent will happen, like I go to an incredible cafe that I simply must blog about, or we go on a surprise holiday that means I HAVE to write a post about aeroplane fashion... But mostly I will blog about things that I think you guys would like to read. I block off some weekend time to take photos for a few posts, which usually involves a little trek to somewhere pretty, and then once I'm satisfied that there are enough photos to choose from (sometimes we take hundreds...) we come home. Dan makes me a cup of tea in my favourite mug, and I bury myself underneath a bunch of blankets to edit photos, write, and assemble my post. Once I'm satisfied, I check the previews and then publish it. Dan proof-reads it once it is live, which means I usually have to make a couple of tiny edits. When we're sure that it's okay, I promote it on social media and you guys come and read it! :)

Cat in shot! Ha!

I hope this was fun to read - I feel like I've been quite honest in this post, and I'd love to know what you guys think! Is there any kind of post that you'd like to see more of? After all, as much as blogging is for me, I want to create something that makes people happy!

I'd like to nominate Jessica, whose blog The Pyreflies is this incredible mix of gamer culture and twee fashion; Victoria from VVNightingale which is a blog packed with amazing fashion and lifestyle picks, and some honestly written posts; and Kerri, whose blog Crumbs in the Bed documents her adventures in academia and Belgium.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

This Autumn is going to be BIG

Autumn resolutions

I think that Autumn will always represent new beginnings to me, for as long as I live. While the leaves are falling off the trees and the weather is getting wetter, signalling the end of summer, I'm planning new projects and looking ahead to all of the exciting things there are to come. As a child, Autumn would be heralded by new shoes, a new pencil case, and plenty of academic milestones. Now that I'm out of education, I have to work harder to justify this innate sense of 'newness' that comes around every Autumn.

This year is going to be a bit different though as the next few months are going to be some of the busiest of my life. In fact, the Autumnal fun has already started with a surprise last-minute invitation to BloggersFestival, an exciting networking event organised by Scarlett who blogs over at Scarlett London. This was my first ever bloggers networking event, and I was really bloody nervous beforehand (and a bit during too), but I think it ended up going pretty well! I had some really interesting chats with some nice brand representatives from Urban Outfitters, Ecco, Bee Good, and loads of others too, as well as picking up some adorable little goodies such as a Lee Stafford hairbrush (which I've yet to try) and a lovely lip balm from Bee Good. The best bit for me though, was actually getting to meet an absolute boatload of really inspirational bloggers face to face, and make some great new friends. It was fantastic to have conversations with people who completely understand "Wait a sec, I just need to take a photo of my own hand" and who don't think it's weird to rearrange all of the lamps in the house to get the lighting just-so for an Instagram photo. I've really enjoyed catching up on their blogs this afternoon!

bloggers networking cards
Bloggers I met and loved: Cassy Fry, The Lifestyle Directory, Married to a Geek, Jessica in Your Ear, Miss Sue Flay, The Little Colt Posts, One Little Vice, and Captain ChARGHley!

So what else is going on in Candyland this Autumn then? Well, in a couple of weeks, Dan and I will be moving out of our little flat in central London, back to his parents' house near Cambridge for at least a month. The landlord of our current flat wants to sell the place, and the place we're trying to move to isn't ready yet, so we're going to bridge the gap in the countryside. For my everyday life this will mean LOTS of commuting and living out of boxes whilst project-managing a renovation back in London. Oh, and our cat will be staying in Brighton with my stepdad *weep weep weep*. For you guys reading my blog, this means some beautiful countryside scenery, some home decor inspiration, and maybe even a few recipes from the beautiful kitchen of Dan's parents. Hopefully, by the end of November, we'll be safely installed in our new home, and a whole new chapter of our lives can begin!

So let's talk about some of my goals through this weird old Autumn:

- Step up my blogging game - make more regular posts, and keep them exciting despite the oncoming stress-deluge.
- Cook some lovely meals for Dan's family.
- Make our new home completely beautiful.
- Start to introduce exercise back into my life. I've been holding off on the exercise front over the last few months because I've been adjusting to life with a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but I've been told by several doctors and researchers that Pilates and swimming will help me, so once we've moved, I am going to get the heck ON that exercise.

One of my other favourite things about Autumn is the fact that my sense of style is already inherently Autumnal. I have to deal with so much, "You must be really hot" and "Why are you wearing tights?" all Summer, and in Winter I just have to cover up my carefully planned outfits with a coat... but Autumnal fashion is when I come into my own. I love it! I especially love having an excuse to crack out the kilt collection.

Back to School kilt
autumnal fashion uk

So, Autumn... come at me bro! I'm ready for you. If you love Autumn like I do, and you're a nostalgic soul, why not look at what I wore last September, or my 2012 "Autumn Resurrection".