Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

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Last week my family and I headed to Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, for a few day of exploring a new city.

I’d heard great things already – Megan Ellaby’s vlog and blog post had me seriously excited before we’d even touched down, and I was not disappointed. The following is a little overview of where went, what we did, what we ate, and some outfits I wore, it’s hefty one so buckle up, and if you make it to the end I’ll be forever impressed.

Food & Drink

I’ve heard it said before, but it really is true, it’s harder to have a bad meal than good one in Copenhagen. Seriously. From sea food to pizza, coffee to Aperol Spritz, the quality was staggering. You would hope so, given the high cost of living – similar to that of a central London/ Kensington high street type level – is so high. I’m talking £11 (90kkd) for a cocktail. Yikes. But at least the quality of food and service really did match up to the high prices.

Mother

 

Mother is situated in the meat packing district, in the hip, young, Dalston-come-Peckham equivalent of Copenhagen – Vesterbro, where we were staying. A relatively new hub of business and creativity, in recent years, restaurants, galleries and bars have popped up creating a new centre for Copenhagen’s beautiful young people to gather. The pizzeria has an open air oven, benches – complete with blankets to keep warm in the evening, a minimal, tiled, cool as hell interior, and hella tasty pizza. Also offering antipasti, a shed load of beers, wine, and luckily for me, a delicious april spritz, the place is, in my opinion, a must for a meal out. However if you have a particularly sweet tooth this place not satisfy your sugary cravings, as it provides only one dessert. I quite like this though, they know what they’re good at, and they stick to it.

Mad & Kaffe

If you don’t mind a wait outside, then head to this place for brekkie. We had to wait in the rain, but the gang at Mad & Kaffe have got it all covered with benches and parasols to shelter in, and a mass of huge umbrellas to huddle under whilst you wait. Always bustling – bench the queueing, but worth the wait (f.y.i. not too long considering how busy it was). Whilst you wait you’re given a menu, customers have the option of choosing  either three, five or seven items to make your perfect breakfast, and you can pick the same thing twice if one of something isn’t going to cut it. With everything ranging from avocado, bacon, scrambled eggs, croissants, yoghurt and muesli, strawberries and cream and a homemade cinnamon bun, they’ve got all your breakfast needs covered. Drinks are not included in the 3/5/7 items either. I went for the hazelnut iced latte, butter croissant, cinnamon bun and homemade blueberry yoghurt with muesli. Hands down one of the best breakfasts and coffee’s I’ve ever had and the service was quick and friendly, the atmosphere buzzing.

 

 

Spritz O’clock

Not an april spritz themed bar. I just have a lot of photos of aperols consumed. Beware, they are expensive, 90kkd on Paper Island (£11.25), and around 70kkd at Mother (£8.75), so if you’re wanting to drink but aren’t fancying the price tag that accompanies cocktails, wine is a little less expensive, and beer is pretty reasonably priced, with craft beer available basically everywhere – Copenhagen being the liberal bastion that it is!

Paper Island – Street food heaven

Paper Island, once a big load of warehouses used for nothing more exciting than storing massive quantities of paper, is now an indoor borough market type, with a staggering amount of food stalls to choose from and multiple bars for a tipple if you so choose. Next door is a gallery space currently showing a Yoko Ono exhibition outside, with a new exhibition opening the day we visited.

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Whilst as expensive, if not a bit more so, than the rest of Copenhagen, it’s a great place to stop and refuel. I chose a pretty gin cocktail and a BEAST of a hot dog complete with potatoes, two organic sausages, and sauces of various description.

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Must See Places: Nyhavan

The iconic backdrop of Copenhagen is the Nyhavan Harbour. It does not disappoint at all. Gorgeous colours, old boats lining the canal banks, tourists everywhere, even an outdoor  Ei Wei Wei refugee exhibition to boot.

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Note to all, it is not easy to take photos here – in the summer the streets (and boats) are packed to the brim with tourists – and idiots on cyclists who wolf whistle as they cycle past mid photo-taking.

The weather was wish washy to say the least, around 20 degrees, but with brief bursts of rain and blazing sunshine. Needless to say this patent jacket from Monki was on and off, on and off, all day long. Underneath I wore one of my favourite shirts. Complete with ruffle collar and bib, a purple, green and blue check, this shirt always makes me feel put together with minimal effort.

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On the bottom I wore my relatively new And Other Stories light wash straight leg jeans. This wash goes great with the colours of the shirt and my boxy patent jacket, though if I were to go back in time I’d try and get a shorter leg length, which I feel would be more flattering.

 

If you’re looking for a colourful backdrop for your photos then this is the place to head. Every single building is painted in a gorgeous colour, and it’s not hard to see why this tiny part of the capital is such a draw with locals and tourists alike. Not to mention the endless restaurants, bars and gelato shops that line the canal on either side.

 

Architecture – buildings, cobbles, cobbles galore. 

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It isn’t just Nyhavan that can claim the award for most coloured buildings. Everyone side streets, cobbled square and main road has gorgeous architecture all around. These colour buildings line a hidden away square just off of the main shopping strip Strøget.

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My Vans Old Skool were my saviour on this trip, whether paired with my new alternative to denim – a pair of wide leg high waisted black trousers with some serious side slit action going on – or with fishnets and light wash jeans, I could spend all day wandering and exploring without any rubbing, and my feet are notorious for being rubbed to shreds in just about every pair of shoes I have ever owned. For a casual look I added a fun pink and red ringer tee from Asos complete with strawbs on my boobs. Could you get more fun in a t-shirt? I doubt it. I paired all my outfits with this funky banana print tote bag also from Asos, lightweight and big enough to fit my camera, phone, makeup and jacket in it was perfect both in terms of utility and style.

 

 

Exteriors

Everywhere you look in this city, there is something interesting to see. whether its yet another piece of interesting architectures, the roller coaster landscape of Tivoli or the gothic looking Christiansborg palace and Central Station.

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Interiors 

Design is everywhere you look in Copenhagen. The national bank took seven years to complete and the architect died before it was completed because he designed every single piece of furniture inside, as well as the building itself. Every single building I walked into, was amazingly decorated, fitted out and filled with most scandi cool furniture ever.

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Final Thoughts 

  • Everyone is beautiful – no really. So damn beautiful.
  • Watch out for the cyclists – the roads really are run by the cyclists.
  • It’s expensive. Divide all prices you see by 8 to get the sterling price and you’ll see.
  • There exists a culture of trust alien to the UK – particularly Londoners. Thousands upon thousands of bikes – none have locks. Everyone just props their bikes up against walls of buildings.
  • It’s safe. I could count the number of sirens I heard in five days on one hand. People are out having fun, but it doesn’t appear to turn rowdy, stealing is far more rare than in the UK.
  • Everyone speaks english. And yes, it will make you ashamed that you speak no other languages.
  • The Danes are like the British – reserved. But still more friendly than Londoners on tubes.
  • You can walk everywhere – we didn’t use the metro or the buses once, but you will be tired at the end of the day.

If you’re looking to explore a new city I would THOROUGHLY recommend Copenhagen. It’s one of the only cities other than London I’d love to move to, it has everything, and feels more spacious with more room to breathe – with only 500,000 living in the capital. Expensive, yes. Worth it? Hell yes.

 

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Making The Most of a Small Space

Hi from “wonderful wonderful Copenhagen”!

On Saturday my family and I touched down in Copenhagen for a mini city break and I have to say I am utterly besotted, queue google searches along the lines of “how to move to Copenhagen” and “jobs for graduates in Copenhagen” … Oh I wish.

A Copenhagen blog post will be coming soon but now for a more spur of the moment post. We’re staying a cute, scandi decorated apartment on the top floor of an old courtyard building, and the room I’m staying in is small to say the least.

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Sitting on the bed earlier, I was thinking about how best to use this space vis a vis blogging. At first glance it doesn’t offer much in the way of backdrops, but as someone who blogs non-professionally, I don’t have the means at my disposal to hire photographers and scout out the perfect backdrop for every post I want to create. And so I thought, let’s make the most of a small space.

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Thankfully the attic room I’m in makes up for in natural light what it lacks in space.

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The room is BOILING, so I’m just wearing the coolest thing I brought with me – my Topshop wrap dress, and I think it works well with the aesthetic of the room.

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This is a super quick post, and I hope it shows that you don’t always need grand and glamorous backdrops to create the imagery you want – you can work with what you have!

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See you all in my next post which will be something along the lines of a Copenhagen travel diary/guide!

 

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Back to Blogging…Finally

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Well hasn’t it been a while! Writing this post, I’ve suddenly realised just how long it’s been since I posted anything to the blog! Life got in the way for a while there, but I’m back and raring to go.

So much has happened in the time I’ve been away – I finished university! Dissertation – DONE. Coursework – DONE. Exams – DONE. Miraculously I’ll be graduating with a first (pinch me…hard), and the hard (x 1000) work that has gone into the last few months – and years – seems to have finally paid off.

My plan after finishing everything off at uni was to get straight back in to blogging, no time to lose, create create create…yeah..well…as they say…the best laid plans.

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In the limbo between student life and the real world, I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut. Applying for job after job, unpaid internship after unpaid internship (never mind the rejection after refection part – it’s a dog eat dog world out there) began to take its toll and really sapped and drained me of energy and creativity.

So I did what I often do when life gets me down – I turn to my loved ones. Escaping the big smoke for a while I’ve come back to Leicester to recharge, refresh, and regain some much needed perspective.

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It’s amazing what some time with loved ones, R&R and a change of scenery can do (not to mention a sassy slogan tee). London can be a lonely place, and if there’s no one there to talk to, to bounce ideas and thoughts off, you can get far too caught up in your own thoughts.

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Having been home now for about 48 hours, I already felt the blogging bug making a return. Frustratingly my usual photography wiz kid (and best friend) Alice, was 200 miles away beavering away at an internship, so my lovely mum decided to step in and save the day. What’s so great about creating this stuff with a friend or family member is that there is literally 0 awkwardness, and countless countless laughs.

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Leicester isn’t known for its mediterranean weather..and this shoot provided no such climates..in fact it was bloody miserable! Whilst most of my wardrobe is still in London, and I try to carry as little as possible when travelling back and forth, my sartorial choices become somewhat limited. A capsule wardrobe girl I most definitely am not. Not wanting to wear yet another pair of jeans, I dug out this old pleated polka dot midid skirt, donned my sassiest – and comfiest slogan tee, and threw on my trusty Vans Old Skool. Whilst this may not be my most put together, or even favourite outfit, it made a nice change to my denim failsafes and added a bit of fun to a truly dreary day.

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Having never felt overly comfortable in midi skirts – at 5ft5 I worry they make me look like a sack of potatoes, this type of skirt was, oddly enough, quite an out there choice for me. I always love how midi length skirts and dresses look on bloggers and models, but am never quite sure I can pull them off. But sometimes you just need to bite that fashion bullet and try something different!

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I do hope this ramble of a blog post wasn’t too dull – more than anything it’s my “guess who’s back” post, and more regular and purposeful posts will be appearing from now on!

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Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a slippery little fellow. Highly dependent on the environment it exists in. Sometimes it exposes its host to pain, grief and hurt. Other times, it strengthens our sense of self, the resolve of our character and the decisions we make and the experiences we have can be most beneficial when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

Often, when vulnerability is most needed, it is the hardest mindset to conjure up. To wear our hearts on ours sleeves when they’re most likely to be broken, to be open and honest about our feelings when they’re most likely to be rejected. It’s no easy feat. Many people struggle to allow themselves to be vulnerable. After being hurt in the past, it can get harder and harder to put yourself out there.

For most of my teenage years, I had the opposite problem, and still do to an extent. I find vulnerability to be quite a natural state of being, being honest with my feelings, whether they be good or bad, uplifting or depressing, rational or ridiculous. Acknowledging the way you feel about a situation or a person, whether you’re happy about feeling that way or not, has for the most part, provided me with a contentedness and inner peace with who I am, that maybe I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

The flip side of being honest with yourself and others about how you feel 100% of the time is that it leaves you, to some extent, at the mercy of others, and your feelings can take on more power and sway than they should.

People can sometimes mistake vulnerability for weakness or passivity. And so you can be taken for granted, lead on, and used. For another thing, it becomes exhausting! The heightened self awareness that comes with an open and honest relationship between you and your feelings can lead to an almost daily assessment and evaluation. “What am I feeling right now?” “Why am I feeling like this?” What does the fact that I’m feeling this way mean about me as a person?” “Am I the only one who feels this way?” “Why am I asking myself so. many. questions.?”.

Often it can be hard to see the point of feeling so much, and exposing oneself so often to the potential for pain, grief, and confusion. When another relationship ends because the other party wasn’t honest with themselves, or with you, it’s easy to wonder why you bother. Especially when it can leave you feeling cheated, having laid everything out on the table yourself. This is when guards go up and walls are built. Not just in romantic relationships but friendships, relationships with family members, colleagues etc.

I must confess that 2017 has indeed been a year of guardedness, and caution so far. And whilst my ability to trust easily may be slightly depleted at the moment, I know that in time the batteries will recharge. And in fact, I have had to, and am still teaching myself to be guarded. To be cautious. To let people show you they deserve your trust before giving it to them blindly, on the assumption that because you wouldn’t abuse it, no one else will.

Being guarded, and careful, thinking with your head instead of your heart is a necessary part of life. And one I find tricky. How can I make rational decisions about experiences that are so full of feeling and emotion, this still doesn’t make much sense to me. Pro and Con lists are all well and good, but how do you reconcile that with a gut instinct, with intuition, with lust, with love. I have come to accept that I am someone who trusts easily. Who listens to her heart or that feeling in the pit of her stomach, far more readily than she’ll listen to reason, logic, and even, sometimes, proof. But as long as I’m aware of the inevitable pitfalls of this personality, as long as I, from time to time, put my brain firmly in the driver’s seat, then this is okay.

Trusting easily means a potential (lets face it a pretty high potential) for hurt.
But trusting easily means I trust my own feelings too. I listen to them.
It also means that I’ll miss out on less experiences and relationships because I won’t have my guard up, I won’t push people or opportunities away.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve means it’s going to get a bit battered and bruised. Maybe more often than others.
But it also means the people I love will never be in doubt of the extent of my love for them. They will never have to question whether or not I really care. It will be plain to see. And the right people won’t take advantage of that. They’ll treasure it.

Being open and honest with how I feel means, from time to time, I might scare people off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running around declaring my love for every human I mildly get on well with. But I have little ability to play games. So boys, if you like the whole ‘hard to get vibe’ then walk on by because I couldn’t be cool and aloof if I tried. And believe me I have..it does not work. So if that means that some silly people with outdated ideas of how women should come across deem that ‘desperate’ or ‘too nice’ then so be it.

Whilst I’m constantly striving to better myself, to be more informed about the person I am and how I deal with what life throws my way, I have no desire of any kind to apologise or shy away from the traits that make me who I am.

There is no right way to be or right way to feel. I often envy you lot who- like my little brother- seem to be able to handle anything that comes their way with a cool assuredness that never fails to amaze me. I should at times take a note out of the books of all of you who take your time, who wait to give our trust until you know it’ll be kept safe. There are times that I wish I was more this or more that. But hey…

I am Eleanor.

I feel ALOT.

I trust easily.

When I feel. I FEEEEL. There’s no half arsing. Including the bad feelings.

I’m constantly self evaluating and self assessing. It’s like 20 questions on a loop in my head.

But when I’m knocked for six. I come back around all the better for it.

So that’s all okay by me.

 

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Things My Mother Taught Me

Mothers’ day has just come and gone and whilst I was a hundred or so miles away from my own, the lessons she has taught me over the years are still with me today. (N.B. My dad taught me these lessons too, and many more…but you know…Mother’s day and all – sorry dad!).

*This post features a vintage jacket that my mum passed down to me – so for once these photos are actually related!

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  • Hormones are a bitch. Don’t let them ruin your life As a woman hormones are an often overwhelming part of life, you can spend days feeling sad, despondent and depressed about the world and your life, and then suddenly, you get your period and “ohhh. That’s why I was so sad…hormones!”. Whilst any feelings we have are, I firmly believe, valid, purely because if you’re feeling them, they’re real, I’ve found it’s important to check yourself, ask yourself why you’re feeling this way, is it because of a genuine problem you have, or because your body is playing chemical and hormonal tricks on you? If it’s the latter, my mum taught me to acknowledge the feeling, acknowledge that the cause is hormones and put it to one side. This helps me so much when I’m feeling completely overwhelmed by things I’d normally be able to cope with: I think “okay I’m feeling like this because I’m hormonal, so let yourself feel it, but remember that in a few days, you’ll likely feel better about things”. And low and behold – nine times out of ten – I do!

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  • There are some things you will never be able to control, so stop worrying about them.  I was recently on the phone to my mum after having had a mini break down over the phone to my dad a few days previously. The thought of graduating, of leaving a place I love so much and having no real plan or structure to my life anymore was constantly on my mind, I couldn’t stop worrying about all the possibilities that were coming my way, and how I was going to manage them. Talking it through with my mum, she reminded me that graduation and the next phase of my life was coming whether I liked it or not, and so I could continue to worry and get anxious about it even before it’s happened, or I could just cross that bridge when I come to it – which isn’t for another few months. Why feel something twice when you don’t have to!

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  • Horrible, difficult things happen to us all the time, how we deal with them is what is important.  When crappy things happen to us, it’s so so easy to feel like the world is against you, that it’s so unfair and unjust that this thing has happened and you now have to deal with it. I often feel like that – I think often as humans it’s our default setting. But mum always reminded me that A) there is ALWAYS someone who has it worse than you, and that B) when something horrible happens, it tests us, and we all need testing sometimes, if only to reaffirm to ourselves that we can survive, manage, carry on and pull through, but also sometimes to help us realise that we were stronger than we thought and that if we can deal with this, then most other things life throws at us we’ll be able to tackle.

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  • A broken heart is always a lesson learnt about yourself.  Being broken hearted is THE worst thing. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions from one day to the next, sometimes from one hour to the next. Defiant strength and positivity followed by bouts of sobbing and despair, we go through the ringer. But what I’ve found, and what my mum has been key in helping me understand is that, usually, once you can see the wood for the trees and you’re out the other side, you can see that the heartbreak teaches you a lot. It teaches you what you will and won’t put up with in relationships, the things you value most in another person, that people may seem worthy of your trust but that you deserve to have that proven to you, and above all it teaches you that no matter how much you like, loved or fancied someone, you had a life without them that was rich and full and your life after them will be equally as rich and full of love and laughter, and whats more, it will be enriched by the deepened understanding you have of yourself. So, to those that have broken my heart I say, weirdly, thank you, and thanks mum!

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  • Having standards and expectations about how other people should treat you is not ‘picky’ -it’s proof that you know yourself and what you want and need from others. This applies to all types of relationships. This could easily sound snooty and selfish, but it works both ways – if you know what you expect from other people, you know better how to treat others – both the people who you care about and strangers you come into contact with every day. It’s one of the reasons I really dislike rudeness. If I want people to be polite and kind to me, it follows that I’ll always, to the best of my ability be polite and kind to others.

 

  • Kindness is a severely underrated quality. It costs nothing to be kind. This follows on from my last point. At school I was bullied quite a lot, and a point she always made is that kindness is often overlooked in people, it’s not cool, or edgy or funny and at times it can be interpreted by others as weakness. But it takes so much more effort to be nasty to people than it does to simply be kind to them. It can be quite easy to fall into habits of laughing at people, mocking them and even being mean to them – sometimes it’s easier to do that than to stand up against a bully or someone who’s out of line. But mum always assured me that one day, my kindness would be repaid, with respect and with the kinds of people who will be there for you throughout your life. And she was right! Whilst it might not be cool at school, with age kindness becomes increasingly respected and searched for. You find yourself surrounded by kind, good hearted people and you have the ability to spot an unkind person from a mile off and stay well clear. In the words of my mum – and I’m sure many other mums – If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. It’s a good mantra to live by – not always easy and definitely not one suggesting you shouldn’t have strong opinions or beliefs, but something to work on and strive for.

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  • Trust your gut instinct. It’s usually right.  “Gut instinct” “female intuition” whatever you want to call it, it’s often laughed off as an old wive’s tale, but I firmly believe it’s a thing. Often I’ll somehow be sure that someone is about to cancel on me – and then they do. Or I get the feeling the person I’m seeing isn’t feeling it and sure enough a discussion arises soon after. Whether its about things happening or gut feelings about certain people, my advice, taken from my mum’s to me, is to listen to what your body and mind are telling you, more often than not that feeling will come to be proven true. Sometimes you wish it wouldn’t, but at least you know yourself!

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  • Fake it till you make it – the appearance of confidence = confidence. Throughout my teenage years mum would always tell me to straighten back and hold my head high, it was partly about having good posture so I didn’t get a bad back (not even a great mum can stop genetics in their tracks), but also standing tall with your head held high gives the appearance of confidence even if you don’t have it. And lets face it, there aren’t many of us that can boast of being full to the brim with confidence at the age of 15 – I certainly wasn’t. But often, if you fake confidence when you walk into a room full of strangers, people will assume you are confident and that affects how people interact with you. Eventually you’ll realise that you’re not actually faking it, you just are confident and comfortable. It’s an ongoing process that means having to go back to basics and fake it when walking into a room full of new people, starting a new job or anything unfamiliar and scary. But with each new uncharted territory, more confidence is faked, and more confidence is felt.

These are just some of the things my mum has taught me in my 21 years, in reality there are probably so many things i’m not even conscious of that both my mum and my dad have taught me that have gone into making me who I am today. And it doesn’t stop once you get to be a kind-of-sort-of-pretending-adult, my mum will continue to teach me lesson after lesson long after I feel I should be still learning lessons.

  • Jeans – Topshop –  Similar here,
  • Shoes – Zalando – Similar here
  • Blouse (tucked in dress) – Here
  • turtle neck – Topshop – Similar here
  • Jacket – vintage

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March Trend Chat

It’s already been a month since I did my February Inspo post and boy oh boy did that go fast. With that in mind It’s time for my March update, now, not that much can really change too drastically in four weeks, the trends featured last month are still V. much something I bear in mind when window/online/imaginary shopping, and when I get dressed in the morning. However there are a certain few things I’ve noticed have crept up on me that I’m really looking to try and incorporate into my looks in the coming weeks: that is if the nightmare that is dissertation work doesn’t completely bury me!

  1. (It’s got to be) Gingham

Gingham is EVERYWHERE right now. Seriously you cannot miss it. I myself have gone gingham obsessed. The high street is full to bursting with the print. The choice really is yours, you can get involved as much as  you like, from headscarves to blouses, oversized shirts, ruffle-tastic skirts and dresses, even picnic blanket trousers, you can get on board with gingham as subtly or as outrageously as you like.

 

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2. Stripes.

Stripes are a classic. A wardrobe essential. For some reason i’ve neglected them of late and it’s time to give them some much needed TLC. They instantly add something chic and classy to a simple outfit and pair them with a clashing colour and you’ve got a sartorial extrovert’s dream. What’s not to love?

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3. Shirts (Oversized and Deconstructed).

I’ve always loved shirts but struggled to incorporate them into my look without feeling like I’m back at school or at my first day in the office. Oversized shirts are a really good way of avoiding this, messily tuck them into a pair of vintage jeans and voila! You have an effortless, chic “I woke up like this” look. Pair them with a turtleneck underneath or a neckerchief strategically tied and you have a day to night oh so on trend look that never fails.

Deconstructed Shirts are big right now and I must say I’m LOVING it. They can seem seriously unwearable at first, and perhaps only for those gracing the catwalks or the front row at Fashion Week. But I think if done right (and worn the confidence they deserve), they can be wearable and a statement twist on a timeless classic.

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4. A mix match of other stuff I’m loving:

 

Hope you enjoyed my March trend chat!

E x

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Always A Woman.

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N.B.: Photos were taken in my tiny non instagram/pinterest friendly student flat because I don’t have a photographer on speed dial and the weather is making me want to cry.

Wednesday was International Women’s Day – and whilst there are some people who will proclaim “What about a Men’s day?” or “it’s just an excuse for middle class white women to feel good about themselves”, on the most part it was a day that, probably for the first time, filled me with a real sense of pride, love, solidarity and most importantly of all – hope.

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With all that’s going on in the world right now, it can be hard to not to switch on the news and think: “fuck”.

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With the current President of the United States a serial sexual harasser of women, AND having signed an executive order in his first week essentially blocking funding for abortion   organisations and charities abroad, AND with women disproportionately facing the brunt of austerity measures around the world, AND taking sole responsibility for birth control, AND having to make the choice between a successful, long lasting career and a family…AS WELL AS having to put up with subtle, normalised sexism and misogyny on a daily basis…It’s hard not to feel like we’re going backwards not forwards.

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But then I woke up to a stream of messages from my girlfriends telling each other how much we loved each other, and were inspired by each other. My instagram and Facebook feeds were FULL of friends – both men and women- paying tribute to their mothers, grandmothers, aunties, friends. Not just that, but people were paying tribute to women. not women they knew, or women they owed their life to, or women they were in a relationship with, but just women. Woman Kind.

Because why do you need to know a woman to respect all of them? Granted, if you don’t know one single woman, frankly, where have you been living all your life – we are 51% of the population, but nevertheless, respecting women-wanting gender equality and simply coming out of your mum’s vagina are not mutually exclusive.

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The strength and solidarity amongst people emanated from every laptop, tv screen and woman I encountered. For once, women felt entitled to feel proud of being a woman, not to feel ashamed for simply having a vagina and breasts, for covering up too much or not enough, for not being pretty enough or being so pretty you’re asking for it. Those pressures and double standards were still there of course, they will be until that pesky patriarchy is dismantled, but women seemed to bond in defiance of being pitted against each other and the idea of ‘sisterhood’ became almost tangible to me.

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Lots of people like to criticise things because it might make them seem cool, aloof, cynical and above it all. International Women’s day is no exception I’m sure, and there may be some legitimate criticisms to raise in order to help the women’s movement progress, but really, what is so wrong with celebrating women all over the world. We are all different yes, we all face different challenges depending on the colour of our skin, the class we were born into, the countries we live in. But we are all women. We all share a history of oppression and degradation, but we also share a history of victory and humanity, and strength and a belief that this cannot be the best it gets.

 

A simple way of stopping the progression of gender equality is to pit different demographics of women against each other. These women over here only care about themselves, don’t listen to them etc. But feminism IS intersectional – and is getting more so everyday, difference and unity are not mutually exclusive by any means and being white and middle class, or white and working class, or black and working class (Etc) does not mean you have no part to play or voice to be heard.

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Women are the lifeblood of this earth in more ways than one. When women prosper, the world prospers. I have truly amazing women in my life that give me strength, direction and guidance in a world that can often seem like its out to get you. I have amazing men in my life too. Who would never tell me I couldn’t do something because I was a woman, or blame me if I was raped.

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International Women’s day showed me all of the things I have to be grateful for as a woman living today. I have family who see me as no less than my younger brother. I have friends who are constant source of support and inspiration and solidarity, and I have wonderful women and men from around the world filling up my news feed with messages of support and feminism and love, and that is nothing if not reassuring and heart warming.

E x

 

 

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