Icy Snap

Let's talk winter. 

The days are getting shorter; the nights colder and the morning light no longer looks like the start of a new day, but like something that should still be snuggled up and left undisturbed in the midnight hours.

Getting out of bed is hard, cold and confusing - let's make the transition from bedclothes to work clothes a little easier with some help from Joules.

I love outerwear. 

I gravitate towards coats, scarves and hats like a planet in orbit - a planet that regularly collides with items and inevitably purchases them. I'm petite - standing at 5'3 I can easily be swamped by clothes - and if something is too oversized or not structured enough, I become my favourite alter ego of an indistinguishable block of material.

Joules' scarf collection hosts an abundance of nature and woodland inspired pieces - with a choice of material ranging from thin foil-printed cotton straight through to oversized woollen blanket wraps - so no matter what you are looking for, the chances are that you will invariably find it nestled within their extensive stock.  

I found this grey, black and white scarf huddled together with its brightly coloured counterparts in store at Solihull. It has a soft frayed edge with a check design throughout, and is rectangular in shape, so it locks in warmth without adding bundles of bulk. 

It adds a bright shot of white to whatever I am wearing, and suspends me in the belief that I may actually still be in bed - which is something of a miracle.

What is your go-to piece this winter? I am on the hunt for a new bobble hat - do you have any suggestions?

The Fear of Wanderlust

'Wanderlust' is like the boardroom buzzword for Millennials and the dreamers of Generation Y. Three little syllables with the power to enchant and inspire, to evoke the need to travel; to see, to explore. I fit the demographic: I'm 23, out of education and trying to figure out how to write the rest of my life. 
 It seems like the perfect time to catch the itch for wanderlust, right?

..except for the tiny fact that I am totally scared of flying. 

The time I have spent being a passenger in a flying tube is less than the number of fingers I have on my left hand (it's been a monumental three times). For those 14 hours I have spent collecting air miles, I have been scared for a good 840 minutes. Or, more simply put: for the whole time.  

 Getting me to fly somewhere is like getting a child to let go of a lollipop. More often than not, it is not going to happen. Friend's invitations to holidays or suggestions for weekend retreats aren't met with excitement or a giggly whirl of thrill, but with an all-encompassing trepidation and sense of unease. 

Let me reiterate: I am 23, and I am able to travel. I shouldn't have these deep-set fears and worries about dipping over the coast and exploring, should I? How is it that I have already lost the child-like want to discover, to play and navigate without purpose? 

The majority of online content I see is filled to the brim with wanderlust: my Facebook feed is awash with friends who have started their lives again in Australia, New Zealand, or nuzzled deep into South America. And whilst I dozily scroll through their pictures, I'm not met with the same wanderlust-pang as others who comment "I wish I was there". 

 I think I've captured the ability to admire from a distance - I appreciate the gorgeous vistas, waterfalls and overseas cuisine without leaving the ground or consulting my passport. 

I don't know if I am alone with this feeling, or if my body is simply just more cautiously wired than others, but I would love to open a dialogue on this topic, as I feel all I have seen so far is conflicting to my honest opinion - being that I have not been bitten by the wanderlust bug, and I don't think I ever will.

What's your view? Do you long to travel and wander unknown lands, or are you happy to stick to where you are?

Christmas Lusts: Estella Bartlett

We've only just said goodbye to October and hello to November, and already the trees have shaken off their bright orange coats and, like us, are now shivering in the wintry weather..which means one thing - Christmas is fast approaching. Eek. 

The colder temperatures mean that we really don't want to leave our beds/PJs/loyal companion of the radiator, so in protest of leaving the house, I took to ASOS to have a nose about to see how I could get a little head-start with my Christmas shopping; sans queues (and the general need to get dressed).

I have had a few of Estella Bartlett's bracelets stashed away in my saved items for weeks on end, and I have dutifully watched them fall into the sale (shh, don't tell my friends), so I decided to snap them up before I lost them.

The first to drop into my basket was the Estella Bartlett Pheobe Seed Bead Bracelet. This has a delicate double-band design, with two adjacent rows of beads thread onto a pale turquoise drawstring, and finished with small silver detailing on the reverse. This has a mix of dusky lavender, silver and white seed beads with a shot of blood-orange running through it, and a tiny silver-plated star resting in the middle of the design, adding an angular edge to the otherwise smooth bracelet.

I gravitate towards simple and effortless pieces, and this delicately composed piece is perfect to add a little understated beauty to your wrist.

After a little searching, I then popped the Estella Bartlett Dream Big Bracelet into my basket. This design is a lot more durable than the Pheobe bracelet, with a silver-plated textured star affixed to a sturdy cord with a pull-through fastening on the reverse, with an acid green accent. The same dusty lavender shade runs through the whole piece, with metallic silver thread edging the centre of the threadwork on the bracelet.

This feels strong and hard wearing, and would be an ideal option for everyday wear without any worry of snagging or catching.

I, like most, try to give presents that have a little thought behind them, and are drenched in some kind of meaning. That can be sentimental or otherwise - one year I gave my best friend a Sass-girl Emoji T-shirt and she nearly fell over with happiness - whatever the purpose, silly or sentimental, I like it to have one.

I think these bracelets are so personal, and carry really gorgeous wishes. Whether you are a "Live As You Dream" kind of girl, or simply just a "Dream Big"; you'll find something to suit you with Estella Bartlett

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I have dipped my toes into the festive waters and conquered two gifts so far..what's your number? 

Stock image credit Ian Schneider @ Unsplash

Halloween: Past & Present

I love Halloween. 

Any excuse to attack my face with glitter, eyelashes and an excess of shadows is like heaven to me. (If I'm honest, I wish we could dress like this everyday because it is too fun to be constrained to just one day..*sigh*) This year, despite my abhorent fear of spiders, I made my face into a cobweb - or just struggled with a really fancy eyeliner flick that never ended - you can make the judgement. 

To start, I used the Collection Fast Stroke Liquid Liner in Brown (similar here) to create the basic shape and line, and then I dabbed on No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow in Midnight Blue (this is a discontinued shade, but similar options are here) using a slightly damp Real Techniques 202 Angled Liner Brush to smoke out the lines, and make them a little messier. I used the same shadow all over my lids and to line my lower lash line, and then I lightly dragged the eyeliner down my cheek to look like tears to finish the motif off. 

On my lips, I lined with the Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Obsession, and then slicked on a layer of Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick in #01 (which is fabulous and tastes like toffee) to add some shine and deepen the colour up. 

Finally, I threw (or painstakingly struggled for a few minutes) on the Eyelure Exaggerate 141 Lashes and finished with the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara to bind the falsies and spike out my lower lashes. 

Did you celebrate Halloween this year? (My night ended with many makeup wipes, a blanket, tea and Netflix in bed - in a word, bliss).


In The Interest Of Keeping Up Appearances

If I’m honest, I can’t count the amount of times I’ve auto-piloted my response to “Hey! How are you?”

I’ve got enough variations of “Yeah, fine”, “Nothing to report”, “Good! You?” on my dashboard that I can use any one in a succinct breath, deftly tapping the letters out without any thought or feeling; exhaling what feels like the start of a hurricane when I hear the little swoosh noise jump from my phone as I press send. 

Another attempt at truthful contact avoided. Brilliant.

All well and good when I am fine, when there is little else to report other than an assuring “I’m OK”. But, inevitably, there is going to be a slice of time when things aren’t so great, or moments when I don’t really want to admit that I'm not feeling fine - times where, if I'm honest, I could do with a little bit of help; some comfort, advice. 

Why then do I still stick to what I know best

Just like that, I pull another “I’m fine” out of the bag and actively choose to continue the same melancholy carousel ride. The ride where I see the same sights over and over, where I move no further forward; where I am just blindly continuing with the same sad lie.

I could argue that the “beauty” of technology is the absolute ability to be anyone, at any time. It doesn't matter if I'm crying, stuffed away and curled up in bed, because I can type my way into making others believe that I am feeling however I want.

Because, to me, deception seems easier than truth.

Remaining incognito and emotions-anonymous simply seems easier. If I ever drop the pretence, the smiles and the empty eyes, I find myself clawing at the ground to wrap myself back up in a web of lies desperate to go back to just being “Fine”. Or, in the silent void after actually saying how I really feel, I jump to stifling my emotions with
But you don't want to hear that”. 

Actually, no. I am totally, totally irrevocably wrong.

Everyone gets stressed. Everyone gets tired, emotional, frustrated – tens of thousands of emotions are felt in a second by different people, on different continents and time zones, changing their moods as often as we blink our eyes. 

No one wants to be seen as weak, vulnerable; less accomplished or evolved than others. When magazines are stuffed full of criteria on how to be prepared, more efficient; successful and beautiful, it is hard to run a white-wash over them and ignore. 

We're all starting to forget about the reality behind the edits.

The reality where people bond over closeness. Over being truthful, letting one another in on our secrets, fears; worries. Humans crave contact. We want eyes to look at us, to feel someone else's skin against our own; we want a thumping heart that is excited/nervous/head-in-the-sand-terrified about meeting someone. 

The faux-pressure of keeping up appearances is a myth – and we know it.  

We know it from when we put on a top and some lipstick to take a Snapchat to make it look less like we’ve been in our PJs all day long and more like we've stepped out of bed at a normal hour, we know it from when it’s the third consecutive day of wearing the same outfit; we know it from the song we just can't stop repeating because the lyrics make us feel like we have a friend who gets how we feel.

We shouldn’t be afraid of telling the truth, or admitting when things aren’t quite OK, because we know that life isn't always shiny/exciting/oh-my-god-amazing all the time. We need to remember that we are allowed to feel down, sometimes. 

We’re just too busy keeping up the pretence of being OK to realise it.

So, in the interest of 'keeping up appearances' - let's not. Instead, be brave, open, honest; and stop filtering our (sometimes-less-than-perfect) reality.


Photo credit: Greg Rakozy @ Unsplash
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