9 January 2018

...And How 2018 Will Be Better!

"Holy cow! How is it 2018 already?" It always seems so nonchalant and clockwork to say something of that sort around this time of year. Are we really all that surprised? I mean we repeat the same sentence more or less, every year. But in hindsight, I don't think I have ever been that surprised. I know that now because, this year, I really am.

I am genuinely baffled about how 2017 is over. I had so many plans, expectations and dreams riding on this year, that felt like an entire lifetime just waiting for them to finally roll around. Now it's all over and another year has begun, literally in the blink of an eye. And in lieu of sounding abhorrently melancholy, I want to clarify that I am absolutely not.

What a cracker of a year 2017 was. Whilst I am disappointed it's come to an end, *cliche alert* I am very much ready for some new beginnings, new dreams and new goals. 

Melissa wearing a white, Victoriana blouse with Rose Gold Olivia Burton Watch, photographed on the Streets of London.

In 2017, I quit my minimum wage job in retail to jump on a plane (well, several of them actually) to visit 5 countries I've been drooling over since I was a teen. 4 months later, I polished off my full-time daydream by living a life of paradise, in Thailand for 6 weeks. So needless to say, part one of 2017 was more incredible than my words will ever be able to describe.

Part two, however, was a tangled mess of anxiety, empty pockets and unsuccessful lottery tickets. But in the midst of those things that feel like they're built to tear you apart, there's always positive on the horizon if only you can find the strength to keep looking. Eventually, after months and months of searching, just in the nick of time for Christmas, I secured a job in Marketing. Phew!

This year has been a rollercoaster and I apologise for the lack of a better analogy, but that's honestly the best way to describe it. The most exhilarating, fast-paced rollercoaster with incredible highs but many points where it throws you upside down, followed by jolting emergency stops.

"The struggle is half the story. The hard times are what help us appreciate the good."

So 2018, how are you going to top that? How am I going to make sure you top that?

Melissa, looking over her shoulder at the camera with a gentle smile.

Embroidered velvet pumps with Bumble Bee's, from Primark.

Document More

This past year, so much happened and I wish I had documented more of it. I went travelling, camera in hand but spent the entire time just taking it all in. Which is great and 10x more gratifying than experiencing it through a lens. I don't regret that one bit. However, I am embarrassingly forgetful and I wish I had more to show physically for this whirlwind of a year I experienced. 

So in 2018, whether it's through photography, diary-like blog posts (let me know what you think of these because I can always keep them private if you're not so interested) or if I brave the vlogging phenomenon, I really want to document more of this year. Then when I'm 87, I'll have a plethora of memories that read like a story and maybe even show like a movie. 

Continue to Travel

I've spent considerable amounts of my time since I was 16, dreaming about taking time off to travel. And just because in 2017 I ticked that bucket item, it doesn't mean my dream needs to be over. I want to travel. I want to continue to travel. This year, I'm going to try my damn hardest to visit new places over the weekend. Not every weekend. That would be mad. Fun. But mad.

Whether that means 36 hours treading home soil in the British countryside or fleeting visits across the channel to Budapest, Prague or Tallin. Travelling doesn't have to mean months away, living out of a backpack in South East Asia, and that's something I want to capitalise on this year. 

Work hard, get a car and move the heck out

This is a big old goal if there ever was one. I've always been very dedicated to the things I desire, but I don't have the best patience. Now I know I can achieve big goals which require waiting because I finally went travelling, didn't I? That was 6 months of no shopping, no eating out, no seeing friends to be able to afford to go, on top of the 6ish years of dreaming too. So this should be easy, right? 

Bizarrely enough, this one seems wildly more unattainable. One day, I want to be able to blog full-time, earning a living from wherever in the world I am. And working hard in 2018 is what's going to get me there. Now not to say in 2017, I didn't work hard. I did. But my blog definitely saw itself as less of a priority and that needs to change this year.

But I have a full time, 9-5 job now and that is what's going to help me afford to get a car (road trips baby!) and simultaneously find myself a home. I've been renting a room at my boyfriends' parents house for 4 years and it's been many more years than that since I've felt what 'home' feels like. So for the sake of my sanity and wellbeing, this needs to change too. 

So here's to 2018 being as incredible as the year before. Here's to all the relentless hard work, smashing goals and continuing to live my best, happy life. What are you living for in 2018?

Love always,

22 October 2017

It’s hard to look at the bigger picture when it feels like life is not going exactly as you planned. Why do I not have my dream job yet? How am I ever going to be able to afford a mortgage? I know how it feels like your whole world is shattering in slow motion whilst everyone looks on like they’re at the movies. Popcorn and slushy included.

If you read my last post, then you’ll know that I was talking about finding confidence online. Particularly the ideologies of being encompassed by everyone else’s highlight reel and comparing it to your own behind the scenes.

I’m jobless. There’s no secret in that. I quit my job in March to travel the world. Now, I’m home with nothing but incredible memories, an empty purse and blistered fingers from flicking through newspaper ads and ferociously typing new Cover Letters for every new job application that I send. I sit in my bed with my laptop every day and scroll through the updates of my friends who seem to be living their best lives. Stable jobs with frequent dinners out and shopping trips to London.

I believe in myself, I believe in my ability to get into my dream career and absolutely smash it. Because I know I’m persistent, motivated and damn hard-working. But lately, I’ve been struggling with the effects of others not believing in what I have to offer. I'm almost 25 and still working in retail, with a degree in something somewhat unrelated to my chosen career field. I can see why employers might be put off. And in that way, job hunting is hard. I have sympathy for myself but also respect for anyone who has ever been jobless or in a job they don’t like, all the while feeling stuck, working hard, relentlessly for a second chance.

Giving up isn't an option. If I want to travel more one day or buy a house and have a family then a new job, salary in tow, is what I need to 'succeed'. And there are days, many, many days which are filled smokey and dark with the haze of failure.

"You're not qualified." "You are not talented enough." "You don't deserve success."

It's not wrong to doubt yourself and it most certainly does not make you a failure, even though every sign might be saying it. To quote a man that taught me more in 7 books than countless tutors did in 4 years at university…

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light!”
- Albus Dumbledore

It's coming, perseverance in the face of failure is where you'll find success.

Feeling sorry for yourself is fine. But feeling sorry for yourself too much can be even more devastating than the failure itself.

Ok, so it does royally suck that out of the hundreds of job applications I sent off, very few even got back to me. Even less wanted to meet me in person. In the three months that I have been searching for something new, only three companies/recruiters sent that "hey, you might have what it takes, let's arrange an interview!" email. That works out at about 6% of job applications were partially successful.

I've spent a lot of time asking myself what I'm doing wrong, what do the more successful candidates have to offer that I don't? Why is it fair that you're judged on 1000 words from your cover letter and CV? Why can't I cut a break? Why am I not better?

Giving myself that time to wallow in my self-pity was more damaging on my self-esteem than the rejection letters (or lack there of) entirely. It's great to ask yourself questions, find out what you could be doing better because you can learn from that, but you mustn't dwell on what couldn't be because there's something better waiting for you on the horizon.

Figuring out where I was going wrong was what helped me to grow. I've been applying for digital marketing roles. Something I think will satisfy both my needs to be creative but also strategic and purposeful about my creativity. I have a degree in Art and have been marketing this blog for over 3 years, so that makes send, right?

Wrong. I learned very early on that "experience is more valuable than education." Employers appreciated that you studied hard to learn your stuff but they wanted to see that you can apply what you know, successfully.

So apparently, this fun space on the internet that has grown from nothing, wasn't adequate experience. It wasn't with a company who could vouch for knowledge. Even though you can see it, in black and white in front of you. Weird.

But, I understand.

So I went out, enrolled in a Social Media Marketing course online and proceeded to send out emails asking various industries to take me on for work experience. Ok so I haven't done so well job hunting in the past, but I figured out where I was going wrong, then learned from my past failures and moved on.

Don't forget the past. It sounds ridiculous, right? But I've been through this all before. Maybe it would have been less painful this time around, had I remembered how I tackled it back then.

A couple years ago before I got promoted to my current position, I was fed up with my employer and how I was treated, even with veteran service to this company. I sent off hundreds and hundreds of applications, with unique and individual cover letters over a couple month span. I then got beaten down and demotivated when I heard nothing back. This time around, it's like de-ja-vu.

You can't forget the past and not expect to repeat it! Learn from your mistakes and never make them again...

And here I am now, on the 22nd October editing this post which I wrote weeks ago to try and motivate myself. To get me out of that post-interview failure funk and finding new opportunities again. After spending a month or so in my drafts, I've rediscovered this beauty and how much it helped me to finally find today. So what better time, than to share my news...

I GOT A JOB! I got a job in the industry that previous interviewers told me I wasn't qualified for. And for one of the biggest company's and brand's in the world.

So take this as your primary example that you should not live your life worrying about what has happened in the past or things that might not happen in the future. We must learn from what has happened and let it lead us to the positives waiting to be discovered in the next chapter.

Follow your dreams, live your life and most importantly, believe in yourself!

Love always,

28 September 2017

...and how you can find yours too!

In 2017, it has never been more difficult to feel good and confident about yourself. To love who you are, where you are and where you want to go.

I’m going to go all out there and say that you’re online now (obviously) but you also were online yesterday and you’ll probably come online again tomorrow. And as groundbreaking as the internet is, spending too much time on it can be damaging. Like chocolate to your smile.

Online, we scroll through the highlight reel of everyone else’s lives, comparing what we see to the behind-the-scenes of our own.

I’ve learnt a lot recently about the internet and its relationship with my self-esteem and my confidence. My self-worth and my value. And surprisingly, I think it’s done more good than it has bad.

I am not the most confident girl in the world. Far, far from it. I do feel it's important to point out though, that I have never lacked self-worth to the point of breakage. I have always valued myself and my strengths. However, I do know how it feels when everything comes tumbling down. All at once, like the entire solar system is against you. How it devastatingly stings, like salt in a wound, when you think everything that could have, did go wrong. And all whilst thousands of people speculate from the sidelines.

Valuing, understanding and growing from my weaknesses is something I have never been good at. It’s an acquired talent which I cease to believe would have been possible without the internet.

You are your own worst critic - remember that, because I’m going to keep bringing it back up!

Sharing is caring, or is it?

Online, people feel obliged to share. I like sharing, that’s why I’m here right now, tapping away to you. And why I keep coming back every week or so to talk to you about something new!

In most instances, it is a really great thing. But in a few, it has resulted in the awful demise of someone’s self-esteem. If there is one sad truth that I've learnt in life, it is that there will always be bully's and people less confident than you, whose goal is to break you down. I spent more of my time than I'd like to admit at school, wishing for it to be over so that the mean kids could be out of my life. But there's mean kids at school. And then there's mean peers at work. Then there's even more 'mean' on the internet.

I love the internet but what it does, is give an anonymity to those with a desire to destroy. Negative opinions and mean dialogue come from people who care. They care about the fact you have something they desire. However, those opinions of others that share mean things, do not impact your life. I mean, half the planet dislike Trump but he has one of the most prestigious jobs in the world. Negative opinions cannot direct your path. Nor can they decide who you are.

The moment I stopped caring about the snide remarks was the moment my shoulders pushed back, my chin tilted up and I felt more alive.

The internet: a Judge and Jury? And the Jury is out...

What the internet also does, is make some lose the ability to tell the difference between opinions and fact. And when it’s appropriate to speak or type out loud.

In 2015, there was a phenomenon where men (and a few women) of the internet grouped together in a protest insinuating that wearing makeup meant you were a liar. It was apparently untruthful for us to coerce them into thinking we are someone we are not. This is an example of opinion vs fact and the power of the internet making people completely bonkers.

Now I understand where they're coming from, however, wearing makeup does not make you untruthful. And it definitely does not make you any less worthy of confidence. I didn't know this at the time.

Remember that "you are your own worst critic" thing I mentioned. Well, if you are anything like me, then you wear makeup because it gives you that boost of confidence needed. When you didn't have a great night last night and want hide the evidence. That's nothing to be ashamed of. I bet the strangers on the street wouldn't notice regardless, however, you're not doing it for them. You're doing it for you!

"All of your flaws and all of my flaws laid out one by one. Look at the wonderful mess that we've made"
- Flaws, Bastille

The bump on my nose, my large freckles and hooded eyelids. I bet you’ve never even noticed the dent which resides smack bang in the middle of my forehead from when I had Chicken Pox at age 5. You have probably never noticed them, but I am very much aware. I wear makeup to distract from these niggles that drive me half mad. I wear makeup because it makes me feel more like myself. I wear makeup because it makes me feel more confident. And that is all there is to it. The internet taught me that. For every person there was protesting against makeup, there were a confident man and women standing their ground. Fighting for a right for confidence.

My Grandad used to call makeup ‘war-paint’. I love that if I'm feeling a little like poop, I can put on my face, a pretty dress and feel like I could take on the world. And there is nothing wrong with that.

People are silly. 

Over the past few years, my online presence has changed. Being and blogger has taught me many things, but particularly the importance of a photograph.

People are silly. We always do that "judge a book by its cover" thing. I do it. I bet you have too. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I'm definitely more likely to read someone’s blog if they have pretty photo’s to accompany bodies of text. So silly. So last year I took a huge leap to up the quality of my content and started taking photo’s, of myself. Because people can relate to human beings better than inanimate objects. Sorry, flat-lay lovers.

"Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?"
- Reflection, Mulan

We all have this image in our heads of what we think we look like. I truly believe that how realistic that image is, determines how confident you are in yourself. In school, I liked music that was so far from my physical personality. Think Taylor Swift meets Slipknot. I had a serious identity crisis. In my head, I pictured myself as this scene kid with dramatic bangs and seriously intense eyeliner. But in reality, I was the shy girl in the back with a metal mouth and passion for wearing leggings with smock dresses.

There is no greater disappointment than having your expectations crushed like having your photo taken and realising you look nothing like what you had pictured in your head. Or even how you looked in front of the mirror this morning.

I have always (and still do) considered myself a photographer, never the subject. But pushing my boundaries and being the subject of my blog content changed how I viewed myself. I'm not a model, far from that but my vision of myself is so much more lifelike than what it was before.

Whilst it's not perfect, my eyeliner is much more 'on-fleek' in my head than in real-life, the same goes for my eyebrows. The overall perception of myself is much fuller. And so is my confidence. My personality and photo's of myself are so much better aligned and as a result, I understand myself so much better now. And all because I took more selfies to post on the internet.

Undoubtedly, I still have moments where my self-esteem plummets. I value my being 110% but I will always be the first person to pick holes in what I do, think or say. But - to an extent - that is a good thing. I am my own worst critic. I know that the things people say about me will never be as mean as the things I think about myself. And when I think those things, I know how to overcome them and channel them into greater thoughts.

Thank you internet!

Love always,

31 August 2017

Sometime in the past 2 years, I subconsciously decided to change my life. I don't know what it was or when it was but something clicked and whilst I can't say I'm living my best life just yet, I am on track for that. I feel almost like a new person, just from alternating my mindset.

One HUGE Habit that changed my life

& how it can change yours too...

Looking back, I really feel that somehow, I wasted my youth. I feel as though I sat there not doing anything because I was too scared. I turned down invites to sleep over my friend's houses with lame excuses like "I’ve been grounded" or "my mother wants to have a girly evening". In reality, neither of those two things ever happened. I was just an anxious teenager too shy to put herself out there. I never took risks, I played by the rules and that was how my story panned. I look back thinking, I really wish I'd seen my friends more, made more memories and faced my fears more actively. Had that happened maybe I wouldn't be struggling so much now as a fully grown adult who turns a quarter of a decade in a few months? But then again, maybe I would. Life does seem to do what it wants sometimes...

None-the-less these past two years have been so pivotal where self-help and self-love are concerned. Somehow I made that positive change in my mind and my perspective. And I wanted to share that with you because if someone could have told me these things before I beat myself down figuring them out the hard way, maybe I'd have fewer bruises.

Trying to please everyone

I come first in every situation. Not in a selfish way where I disregard the happiness of others and only think for myself. Not like that at all. I have realised how important it is to prioritise. Knowing what is beneficial to you and others versus what is just beneficial to others.

I read something somewhere where this person was talking about how much it sucked that what makes us happy can often leave us judged by others. When I was younger I used to get so upset if I got told off, not because I didn’t do anything wrong but because someone was disappointed with me. As I got older this left me going out of my way to only ever make sure people were happy with me. So I wasn't judged and left with leaving people frustrated with my choices.

These last few years I’ve been living in a scenario where I’ve felt like the biggest inconvenience. No matter what I did to be a shining example, I felt like I wasn’t wanted nor appreciated. When one night I just thought, ya’know what this isn’t healthy. I will always try my hardest where I should, but if it’s not appreciated or gratified then why should I continue? Prioritising these things has changed the way I hold my head. It's taught me to care where care is necessary but not push myself through holes not shaped to fit me.

Your bloopers VS. their highlight reel

You’re shuddering about how cliche that is, right? You've heard it before though. I’ve heard it before too. It’s one of those things you hear but actually never action. People like to market their successes. I know I feel considerably more successful when I’ve shared my triumphs with someone and they’ve reinforced my pride. Human being’s love to receive a pat on the back. But, one thing people don’t do, is share their failures. We live our lives comparing what we have, where we are and what we’re not achieving, to people on social media you either haven’t seen since you left school or strangers you’ve never met. 

How does that even make sense?

Owning a home before 30, or a fancy car, a designer handbag, that Olympus PL-8 or holidaying in Bali does not make you who you are or how successful you are. 

I have been very guilty of this in the past. Measuring my success against everyone else's highlights and that is 110% where I went wrong and where you are too.

“That person has been blogging for half the time I have but has double the number of followers,” I thought. But in this age, that means nothing. Success is happiness. Happiness in how you believe you are doing. I might be jobless at the moment but I get out of bed and start my day every morning like I would if I had a job and that’s success in my eye’s. Success is not a destination, it’s the journey.

That fear of social engagements

This post is all about realising the things that are holding you back. And for my entire life, I've had a fear social engagements. Social speaking. Social anything.

I grew up shy. I don’t know what it is. But it happens to lots of kids. I watch my niece, one of the most intelligent little girls, struggle to articulate during the first 10 minutes when we hang out. She’s just shy. It doesn’t matter how much I see her, she’ll always be a little mouse hiding behind mummy’s legs until she’s comfortable again. It's a kid thing.

But for me, it didn't stay just a kid thing. It stuck with me as I blossomed into who I am now. I'd dread presentations in school, even those done with groups of my friends. I'd hate parties where anyone other than my close social group was in attendance. Heck, I was even terrified in those 10 minutes before I met Taylor Swift. I practically word vomited all over her I was so anxious. Could have been worse though I guess.

But all of those things I did regardless. I didn't run away. I could have said, "Ya'know what Mamma Swift, I don't need those backstage passes!" I stood up and put one foot in front of the other and left my fear in the shadows even though I felt like I was going to simultaneously vomit and pass out.

I’m not saying it’s all Daisy's and puppy kisses. I still walk up to the door of blogging events and job interviews dreading every step and wondering why I put myself through it. I still scroll through my Facebook feed and feel that gut dread as my path veers off in a different direction to my school peers. But the difference between this rainy day in August to that one rainy day 2 years ago, is that I 100% believe this doesn’t define me.

If today’s the day I learn to fly, then by damn I’m going to. It doesn’t matter that I’m scared of heights and not the biggest fan of aeroplanes. I'm still going to travel the world because my anxiety shouldn't be the author of my story. That one habit that changed my life was not letting my inner monologue win. And you shouldn't let yours win either.

So it's that *completely un-related* point in the post where I tell you about my outfit and you say "not Primark again Melissa, c'mon!"

Well, you're just going to have to endure it because I'm absolutely wearing Primark again. I'm just obsessed, jobless and desperately trying to save pennies for when Taylor releases concert tickets later this year. 'Cause you'll be damned if I only get to go to one show, I'm not making that fateful mistake again!

Anyway, my jeans, yep Primark but they're identical to the TopShop Joni jeans if you're really that much of a snob about my love for Primark. My shoes, again Primark but aren't they a killer pair of pumps which really transformed this outfit. Yes, yes they are.

This top, on the other hand, is an absolute steal from Everything £5. It satisfies all my childhood dreams of being a pirate. The billowing sleeves. The slits up the arms. How could you not be in love. 

I really, really from the bottom of my heart hope that if you suffer from any sort of anxiety, depression, anything that stops you from living your life, that you have the courage to make a change. It's never going to be easy, it's probably going to be something you live with always, but it doesn't define who you are, your aspirations or your dreams. You're not alone and you're most certainly don't have to go through it alone. Be Fearless.

Love Always,

17 August 2017

I've always been 'into' fashion but never invested in the trends. Turns out quitting your job and having no money is what changed that all for me. Talk about bloody typical. Hopefully, I won't be jobless for much longer though because I have big plans for my Fall wardrobe and all the fashion trends it will encompass! 

This year, one of my personal goals was to be more bold and brave with my fashion choices. Which on a regular year, would have been something really fun to work on. But I don't think I could have picked a more difficult time to try.

I've not been quiet about the fact I went traveling for 4 months earlier this year. And with the expense of traveling, comes the obligation to not shop. At all. For pretty much an entire year total. Say what!

I spent 8 months total saving up to travel over the end part of 2016 and I don't think I've been shopping since. Well, I lie. I've been a near-permanent resident in Primarks across London but apart from that, not a dime has been spent on clothes, jewellery or shoes.

In the time that I've been back, I've near constantly been trawling through Pinterest dreaming about all the different styles I wanted to try before 2017 ends.

Hopefully - and I say hopefully with all my mite - that I'll get a job fairly swiftly, and thus will start my bold, brave and fashion conscious goal for 2017.

This is how I plan to do it...

Mom Jeans, Embroidery and Relaxed Fashion

Let's start by talking about Mom Jeans. I know, I know I'm about 2 years late to the party. But this is the start of my fashion journey after all so I think I deserve just a slither of slack.

I love the relaxed vibe they have and I love how comfortable they look. I live in high waisted skinny jeans, literally, they're the only pre-20 degree bottoms I own and they've been the only style of jean I've worn since I was 15! I think it's fair to say that 9 and a half years is enough and it's time to branch out a little.

Plus, how uncomfortable are high waisted jeans when you've just eaten a meal. A meal of any size. Even that cheeky bite of chocolate you've been hiding in your bedside table. Talk about making you feel guilty! I've been pushing the 'top button undone' vibe for years but so far no-one else seems to be catching on.

V Necked Tops and Cute Little Bralettes

I'm a turtle neck sort of person. I have fairly small breasts so when it comes to dressing in a way that makes me look a little luckier in that department, I will. Low neck tops seem to emphasize the lack there of to my chest. Which is no way is a bad thing, but they can look rather disproportionate to my hips in the wrong items of clothing. But, it's something that I want to learn to not care so much about.

I have been in love with the polka dot blouses with plunging v-necks and wrap around design that seem to be in rotation at the moment. I also love the sweeping tops with dramatic sleeves and billowing cuffs that kind of make your childhood dreams of being a pirate feel like reality. It's all about living those dreams, guys!

Embrace the cold and not be scared to get my legs out

If there's one thing about me, it's that I run about 5 degree's colder than everyone else. Meaning that once Autumn hits, right around until Summer re-appears again the following year, I covet all the big knit jumpers. Whilst that is exciting for the first few months (don't get me wrong, I'm the first to crack out the cinnamon candles, wooly blankets and Christmas DVD's) after a while it does get a bit dull.

Whilst it's not too cold, I want late September and October to still see me in skirts and dresses. A tea dress with a cropped jumper and Chelsea boots is the epitome of Autumn is it not? I am determined to not peak too soon with the jumpers and jeans this year!

So there we have it, nothing crazy. I'm not trading in the striped tee's and skinny jeans for metallic culottes and fluffy mules but it's a start. It's definitely a bolder desire that my 2016 autumn wardrobe ever had. I won't be sending my last season staples to Oxfam in favour of designer handbags and belts with a price tag of a small mortgage but I'm very excited for my fashionista future.

Love always,

P.S. Ok, it might be the middle of Summer, so pulling off this "autumnal" look wasn't too courageous. Having my legs out in 20-degree sun on a Tuesday afternoon is quite the treat. But none-the-less, it's bolder than I'm used to.

I picked up this black slip dress from ASOS. I do consider myself of average height but I had to snip a couple inches off the bottom because it was much too long for my liking. Evidentally I went a little too gung-ho with the scissors and I can't bend for fear of flashing my knickers. You live and you learn. Regardless the dress is a staple and I can see myself - carefully - wearing it all throughout Autumn and winter. It's a great transitional piece year round I think!
The shoes and choker were from my favourite shop as a penniless person, Primark! And this western belt was also bargain, from SheInside. However, word of warning, if you do decide to invest be prepared because delivery takes months. I'm not even joking. Such a shame too because there are some real bargains to be had on that website if you're willing to search for them!

8 August 2017

How on earth do you find personal style? I know what I like but that differs to what I wear. What is personal style? I'm so eager this year to experiment with fashion, learn more about what works for me and what doesn't but ultimately, find my own personal style. And I've been doing this the only way that I know how, by keeping an eye on some of my favourite bloggers, their style and how they rock it...

There are fashion trends and then there is personal style. Personal style - I think - is those key pieces, shapes, colours and styles that you keep going back to. The ones that are authentically you. The ones that when you walk out of a changing room to show your friends, they all scream "YES!". Something that has your personality written all over it.

Now, don't get me wrong, don't judge a book by its cover but I'm a huge believer in the idea that fashion is a great expression of someone's personality, their likes and dislikes. Granted this doesn't work quite all the time, take it with a pinch of salt and all that. You can learn a lot from reading a book but you also learn a great deal from the blurb too.

Martha Jane Edwards

I love this girl. I love her blog, I love her Instagram, I love her YouTube videos. Martha is an incredible blogger with incredible skill and style. It still baffles me now that she's averaging around 1K followers on her social media platforms. She is definitely one of my biggest inspirations in this community but also in my trek to find my own personal style.

Martha covets the fashion we're all very aware of. Like loafers and the infamous Gucci belt. But she does it with a twist that just screams her. She follows the trends but turns it into something that is entirely her own at the same time.

Emilina Love

If there is one thing about the blogging community, it's that there is a very distinct style when it comes to fashion. Yep, I'm talking mules and cigarette trousers. Yep, I'm talking layered flute sleeves and denim skirts. Emilina is someone who doesn't take notice in Blogger stereotypes. She is the embodiment of the everyday girl who can covet out-there celebrity fashion and completely rock it.

Emilina wears the sorts of items you see in Zara that make you wonder how they made it any further than the runway? The average girl can't pull off these styles. But Emilina has this gothic vogue type style that I don't see anywhere else and that can absolutely rock these boxy dresses and chunky shoes.

Media Marmalade

Melissa's feed is a delicate mix of premium high-street brands which together make a beautiful, always put together style. You know the type, tailored jackets and culottes with not a pair of Topshop Jaime jeans in sight.

Copper Garden

I am envious of Jess in many ways aside from her fashion sense heartwarming personal style. Being able to constantly travel with a Boyfriend who takes seriously bomb photos for her blog. What more could you want?! Whilst I was travelling, finding the time - but more importantly money - to shop and hone my style was not an option. But Jess manages to constantly live the dream and look the bomb doing it.

What I love the most about Jess' style is it's super laid back and organic. With a fairly muted colour palette and a pop of stripes here and there Jess' style is relaxed. But with different cuts and styles, her fashion is much more interesting than your average shorts and t-shirt or dress and jacket.

Phases of Robyn

This girl is absolutely not afraid of colour and injects it into her wardrobe in a really wearable way. I think most of us are guilty of a black and white wardrobe and a fear of colour. I most certainly am. Aside from the occasional muted pink (and this beaut of a skirt), my wardrobe is awfully monotone.

Robyn, however, uses a monochromatic wardrobe and accessories with pops of colour here and there. It's very versatile, very fun and this style is very much accessible to everyone.

What all of these bosses do is not copy the trends, they exude them. They take them into consideration and turn them into something of their own. Something authentically theirs. This is what I think personal style is all about. Yes follow the trends, then break them down and find what you like. Make the trends personable, make them yours!

This is what I'm working on over the last few months of this year, so hopefully, when you see me in 2018 I'm going to have a wardrobe I'm proud of as a sense of personal style.

Do you know what your personal style is? Do you even have one?

Love always,

In this outfit:

Embroidered Skirt - SheIn
Flute Sleeved Top - H&M
Watch - Olivia Burton
Bracelet - Pandora
Bag - Warehouse
Sunnies - & Other Stories

3 August 2017

I'm not going to cherry coat this, at the moment I'm not a fan of Instagram. There's a lot of bad press regarding new algorithms, shadow banning and 'fake news'. But amongst the haze of negativity, I've spent the last few months learning how to unearth the good stuff. Another thing I've spent the last few months doing is travelling but I haven't kept that much of a secret (sorry, not sorry!) Which has resulted in my passion for travel bloggers and grammers. Particularly those with honest intentions and real experiences.

Melissa Lou, smiling, using Instagram.

Firstly though, can we just remember the good times... when Instagram was a fun way to connect with your friends? I remember when it was only available in the app store and it was the first app I downloaded when I got my first iPhone. It was the most intriguing thing for a creative hipster-wannabe 16-year-old like myself to share with my friends outside of MySpace.

Then once blogging took off, Instagram turned into a really great, fun way to connect with other bloggers. Granted, my favourite way to reach out to bloggers I admire is on Twitter but Instagram connects you in an innovative, visual way.

Now it just feels like Instagrams knifed you in the back. I told you I wasn't going to cherry coat this issue. Especially given Instagrams naivety to address said issue.

And because of this, I have lost a lot of love for the platform. Heck, I even considered giving it in for a while. If it wasn't for the friends and dreamy grids I follow, I probably would have done the deed a long time ago!

All black outfit with embroidered bag.

But realistically, I am a millennial. And a millennial that also dabbles in blogging. So, there's nothing I like better than scrolling endlessly through Instagram whilst snuggled up in bed. Particularly when it's cold and rainy outside. I follow so many different types of accounts from beauty to fashion, artists to musicians, from home decor to travel grams. I think the broadness of it all is what keeps me coming back, even when I'm so demotivated. I can go from seeing brand new beauty releases to some of the most remote beaches in the world. It keeps me on my toes and continuously thinking about what I want and how to get there.

But before I left, I was non-stop scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest at all of the amazing travellers, taking incredible photographs hoping I can do the same whilst I'm away. (Maybe you could check out my insta too, tell me how I did). Anyway, longest introduction ever!

Melissa-Lou, reaching for her sunglasses wearing. Fashion photo, all black.


Lauren is the sole reason I changed my mind and decided I needed to head back to Asia at some point on my trip this year. I've been many times and it's just as good as the first every time but I was convinced that I'd had enough. Then I discovered her feed and the itinerary changed to spending the majority of my time away back in South East Asia.

It is scrolling through Lauren's photographs that give the best sense of what it's like to travel in Asia. The beaches, palm tree's and sand, yes. But the locals, the long boats and the dogs that live on the beach too. All of which encapsulated Lauren's dreamy feed.

Melissa-Lou wearing a rose-gold Olivia Burton watch, reaching for her pink embroidered bag!

Le Backpacker

It's all in the landscape. When you think travelling, you typically think of the white sand beaches in the Maldives, the temples in Thailand and rope swings in Bali. But I can assure you, Lauren's feed is the only one in this post that exhibits the 'typical' traveller vibe you think of when you put Instagram and Travel in the same sentence.

Johan Lolos, the visionary behind 'Le Backpacker' introduces the secondary, less travelled landscapes. We're talking the emerald lakes of western Canada, rocky peaks in Germany and one hundred foot tree's in Belgium. It's a fresh look at travelling and a magical take on landscape photography. The type of travel I want to try more of in the future.


Murad Osmann

I'm sure if you're into travel, then you've heard of Murad Osman and his Instagram series 'Follow Me To'. And if you haven't heard of it, I'm absolutely positive you'll have seen his work. He practically invented this style of photography.

His series features his girlfriend leading him, first person perspective through their travels. His photos have a sense of realism that other #tbloggers miss out on. That ability to make you feel a part of the photo. But it's just a sense of realism, Murad has the most vibrant editing and some great parodies on his feed too. So it's not the most realistic grid you'll lay your eyes on.


I like to follow a variety of different travellers and Ming doesn't exclude from that. Not a traveller as you'd first have thought. Ming is a fashion photographer who travels for work but her feed is nothing short of a fashion lovers wanderlust dream!

Her subject matter not only exudes some of the most beautiful scenery but some of the most beautiful models from all around the world too. Her work is typical Vogue editorial, exhibited in a much less traditional format.

Hello Emilie

You know how 'Pinterest' is a style, well there isn't a travel blogger out there with a more Pinterest worthy feed than Emilie's! It's beautiful, feminine and soft. Makes you wonder how so many truly beautiful landscapes exist. But they do and Emilie has captured them in a way that excites a younger audience to Instagrammers I've featured so far! Emilie's feed is one to make any blogger's heart flutter.


George introduced Mo's feed to me whilst we were away, and not because of the landscapes or the photography but because of his gorgeous Australian Shepherd that he travels with. I can tell you with all of my heart that you have never seen a dog this beautiful. And what's more, this dog has probably seen more of the world than you too. Gutted? I am. And they have a camper van. If you read my latest post about what's next for me now I'm back from travelling, then you'll know how much I want a camper van now! (Hint, if you haven't I linked it up top, but because I care, here's another 😉).

Wanna know what I'm wearing? Oh, girl, do I wish I could get my shop on and show you some sick outfits but alas, all I have is this cami-top from the ASOS Basics range. Which actually has a super low back to add a bit of pizazz to an otherwise boring top. These jeans are from Primark which I chopped the ends off because I was bored. Guess that's what happens when you get desperate with fashion!

My shoes are a diamond find, also from Primark. Super comfy look great, kind of similar to those Chanel espadrilles that everyone went bonkers for a while ago!

My bag was another diamond find, from one of the Night Markets in Chiang Mai. How beautiful is it? And it was only about £3! The belt, also Primark, of course. My watch is Olivia Burton and my those sunnies are & Other Stories.

And finally, this beaut leather jacket is from All Saints which I stole from Rhaea because that's what sisters are for! 

I seriously love these feeds, and it makes Instagram much more worthwhile now that it only shows me the posts with the most engagement. And these feeds have that engagement for a real good reason! Do you follow travel Instagrammers at all? If so, who are your favourites? Are there any travel grams you think I need to know about, (because I do need more travel in my life. Always need more travel).

Love always,