How Not To…

…Buy Clothes!

I have mentioned before that this year I have decided to buy no new clothes, for the entirety of its course, but someone recently enquired how on earth I refrain from purchasing said items, so I’ve put together the traditional five bullet point list on How Not To Buy Clothes:

Continue reading “How Not To…”

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Musings on…

…Friendship.

What makes a good friend? This weekend I found out! It was my Hen Do, and I don’t mind admitting I was a little bit nervous, I’m always nervous when it comes to parties because it’s like a horrid popularity test – who will come? Do I actually have any friends? Will I get really drunk and cry in front of them? That sort of thing. But I actually had the most amazing time, partly because of those who were in attendance teaching me the real meaning of friendship and because of my sister using her party organisation talents to their fullest effect. She even organised a hat making class, which actually made me burst into tears! I have now formed the opinion that it makes completely no sense that I don’t make a hat every single day of my life, period.

Hen Party Hat Making

So, in case you’re in the mood to test your friends out I’ve come to the conclusion that this is what makes one:

  1. Hilarity. My stomach was killing me by the end of the weekend.
  2. Enthusiasm! Sometimes things like Hen Dos can be scary; you turn up to a place where potentially you only know one other person, you’re probably going to have to share a room with a stranger and more than likely be sick in front of them at some point.  But good friends get stuck in and more often than not end up having a great time!
  3. Leading on from point two – they hold your hair back. You know why.
  4. Life contributions! They contribute something to your life; either with their intelligence, their views, their strength, their experiences – they have some sort of positive effect on you as a person.
  5. Reliance! You know you can rely on them to be there for you, and vice versa.
  6. Hats! They love hats – making hats, wearing hats…sharing hats.

I think that is what makes a good friend in my eyes. It may grow and evolve as I do, for example as well as hold my hair, I might need them to hold my baby instead (…as well as – let’s me honest here). But for the time being, thank you to all the ladies who attended my Hen Party – you are all complete legends and true friends!

Hen Party Friendships

What do you think makes for a good and long-lasting friendship?

#FashionFridays!

This week I’ve gone and gotten a little bit wartime on myself (that sounds like a dodgy euphemism).

As I have previously mentioned I am not buying any new clothes this year, I am allowed to buy second hand and vintage and I’m allowed to make my clothes, the problem with this being that I’m too poor to buy vintage clothes and whilst I’m a pretty good sewer I’m certainly not good enough to furnish an entire wardrobe. So I decided to set myself a challenge – I would make a shirt! A shirt without sleeves (there is such a thing as too much of a challenge)! However, this being the first shirt I’d ever made and my patience levels being naturally quite low, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on nice fabric when it could all potentially end up in an oddly attached mess and/or covered in my tears.

This is where the wartime bit comes in, I bought an old bed sheet from a charity shop for £2 in lew of expensive fabric and lo, I did make a shirt!

Recycle a bedsheet into a shirt

How to make a shirt from a bedsheet #FashionFriday

That’s me with Vera by the way, she’s my new bestie.

Recycled bedsheet into a shirt #FashionFridays

Also I have enough bed sheet left to make a dress! And I found a really lovely pattern that was only 75p in a bargain box because it didn’t have an envelope – not altogether sure what the finished product will look like but I’m sure as going to have fun finding out!

It also means that with all included, interfacing and buttons and things, I think I’ve probably managed to get myself a new shirt and matching dress for about £10. I’m really enjoying this whole No New thing!

Make your own shirt

Moral of the story: less money on clothes, more money on fizz. Ooooh yeeeeeh.

How To…

…Dress for Work.

I work from home, so technically I could wear whatever I want to work; my cape, my onesie, my pyjamas (not that I’ve ever done any of the above…ever) but there does come the occasion when I have to leave my home office and venture into the outside world to meet with other business people – for business purposes.

Previously I’ve always known what to wear because I’ve known what was expected of me by the business I was representing, but these days I’m just representing me which poses the question, how should I dress for work?

How to dress for work

Because it took me a while to get into the swing of what I really should be doing with my life I have had the benefit of working for a variety of different types of business, in one of my first jobs out of uni I worked in an office where my immediate boss came into work every day looking like a cross between a slightly musky teenager (despite being around 30 years of age) and a painter and decorator, it seemed all he could do to change out of the t-shirt he’d slept in before moping his way to work to sit with his hood up (I kid you not) in front of his computer screen. Now this didn’t sit well with me, work is important, and you have to get yourself in the zone mentally, if I was to go to a meeting wearing tracky-b’s I’d be in my ‘watching Geordie Shore zone’, which I don’t think would be entirely beneficial. I think it might also appear that I honestly couldn’t care less about the meeting and that would also be very bad.

However, I have worked in a couple of suited-and-booted, office attire, pencil skirts all-round, offices and I have to say that didn’t sit well with me either – quite literally, pencil skirts are not great for spending a day sitting in – they’re not so great for walking either, really not sure why they were invented other than to make bottoms look good, which was probably the crux of why I didn’t like wearing them. I felt a little bit too sexy, in all honesty I probably looked like an incredibly tired mum desperately trying to be smart and fit into her pre-pregnancy, slightly sicked-on work clothes. But I felt quite sexy, and I didn’t think that was the right mental zone to be in either. Heels make your bottom wiggle when you walk, and pencil skirts are tight on your bottom – I’m kind of fine with that on a night out but not really in a business meeting.

I have met many women throughout my life who have had the opposite response and encouraged me to embrace the sexy side of business (in a completely non-illegal way – I’d just like to point out). And I do understand that there are arguments for using ones feminine wiles to a beneficial business outcome (again, I’m talking non-illegal, like cleavage, nice legs and some gentle flirting wiles, not “well they do say I’m great with my hands” wiles) and it has been described to me before as using all the weapons in ones arsenal. I’m not sure how I feel about this and it certainly is a larger subject for another blog post but me myself, I prefer not to think of business as warfare.

Having thought about it, I very much believe I’ve found the uniform for me – Smart Casual! The middle road of every dinner and party invitation, the ultimate cinema attire and the I’m hungover but having lunch with my parent-in-laws today outfit. You may think that this is not necessarily the right mental zone to channel during a business meeting but I have come to the realisation that how I present myself to potential clients must be a complete representation of the true me. I’m a smart casual kinda woman, even when the invite just says casual, I’m tend to turn up in more smart attire, when the invite says formal, I’d still prefer to be in slacks and flats (although I do tend to go all out – one mustn’t offend). It’s like handing over a business card – it has to represent you and what you do perfectly, and it’s no different with your attire. If I were to turn up to meetings in suits it wouldn’t at all represent what I’m all about. I’m a writer, writing isn’t what I do, it’s what I am, so if I dress completely like myself I’m kind of hoping that will come across! And if the person I’m meeting with has a lower opinion of me not turning up in a suit then we probably wouldn’t have been a right fit to work together anyway.

How to dress for work

So my advice to anybody looking in the wardrobe tomorrow morning and thinking “what to wear, what to wear” is wear what best represents you, lets perhaps go with the best version of you, not the I-really-shouldn’t-have-had-that-extra-glass-of-wine-last-night version. If you’re a suit-up kind of person then go for it, it obviously suits you (ha!) and represents all that you’re about, if you’re tempted to wear tracky b’s then you may be either need more sleep or to review whether the job you’re in is really right for you (if you’re a gymnast, or you work in a gym, or you’re some kind of sports teacher then you’re completely sorted – worry not). Embrace what you’re about, inside and out (rhymed), I honestly believe the day, and the business will be better for it!

How to dress for work

Musings on…

…Teenagers.

This afternoon I went to visit my most beloved Oma, lovely visit and all that but on the walk home I realised that I had left the care home and the worst possible time – Home Time.

The time when teenagers leave their day prisons and wander/sway to their respective homes on mass, creating a big, lazy but loud, gossipy, lynx smelling snake of adolescence in the street. And it frightens me, I don’t mind admitting that I am terrified of teenagers. It only takes two to scare me so Home Time is like a bloody horror film.

To make matters worse I was walking against the tide. I found myself cautiously stepping alongside a metal railing, towards a group of female teenagers. With the eight foot tall railing stopping me from moving out of their way (because apparently that’s what they think should happen) I could do nothing but watch them walk straight at me and cling onto the metal bars as they slid their slightly sweaty, impulse scented bodies begrudgingly around mine. Why would you not just move out of the way!? Why would you not just accept that the pavement is for every pedestrian and that there’s a two-way system going on that requires you to stop talking about Dreamy Tom from year 10 for two seconds so that someone can pass you without having to touch you!?

Once I was safely back in my own abode, recovering from the trauma, I asked myself when I developed this fear of adolescents and realised – I’ve ALWAYS been scared of them. When I was a teenager, I was scared of teenagers. It’s the arrogance; the “I don’t need to move out of the way”, “that persons wearing a funny hat so I’m going to shout ‘FUNNY HAT!’ at them”, “I like Rihanna, therefore everybody must like Rihanna, so I’m going to play Rihanna really loudly on the bus so that everyone can enjoy my genuinely shit taste in music” thing they’ve got going on.

By now I feel as though the bitterness has started to become apparent and you may have guessed that I did very much not enjoy being a teenager myself. I was not arrogant, I was the person wearing the funny hat and I liked listening to Holst and the Avenue Q soundtrack…on headphones. So perhaps the reason why I’m still petrified of these half-adults is that I literally have no comprehension of them at all. What makes them so arrogant? What makes their taste in music so very bad?

Having spent some time mulling it over I am forced to believe that it’s all one big front. Either that, or their age has led them to believe that they are actually invincible and can therefore do whatever they like. Perhaps a little of both? When does one lose this? Am I going to be scared of my own children when they reach their teen years? I’m sure as hell not going to be able to offer them any advice beyond “don’t worry about the popular ones, they’ll have children soon and then they won’t be able to come to school and hassle you.”

Usually my blogs seem to have a nice I’ve-really-learned-something conclusion but this subject genuinely still baffles me! Someone please tell me about teenagers so they’re no longer an unknown and fearsome entity to me! Are you a teenager, do you have a teenager in your care? I need knowledge – lay it on me.

Musings on…

…Marriage.

Now I’m not yet married, although come this time in June I will be a full-on married lady and I recently went on a trip where I was surrounded by a lot of people asking me why on earth I was getting married at this age (I’m 25 by the way). Of course I gave the usual (and obvious) “because I love him” answer but I can’t deny that the questions got under my skin; in a world where 42% of marriages currently end in divorce (and in our current “weddings/Disney fairytale/I’m a princess” society, I think that’s only going to get worse), what makes me think that I won’t be part of that statistic one day? And given that marriage doesn’t mean the same things in society that it used to; the ability to live together, have children, etc, what point is there in marriage anyway?

Engagement Shoot

So I’ve been thinking it through and I reckon I can answer the question “why am I getting married at 25?”.

Engagement Shoot

Firstly, and possibly most importantly, I’ve found a man who is fine with me wearing my cloak in public – it’s important to find someone who accepts you for all that you are.

Secondly, I’m not sure age has much to do with it, if I was 18 then may be I’d understand that question more but whilst I don’t always feel all grown-up, technically I am, I mean my body is only going to age and fail from here on out (positive thinking), so I may as well get married while my breasts still look good without the assistance of a bra because I’m sure as hell not wearing one of those torturous things on my wedding day (comfort first, all the way). I also don’t see getting married as settling down. Chris and I aren’t in our 30s and getting married because we want to have babies in quick succession and forget what it feels like to go to cocktails bars and have sex on the stairs (although I am aware that this will eventually happen – but it’s not that comfy anyway). I see this as the start of our adventure together, we still want to travel and experience new things and get really pissed in gross bars sometimes; getting married doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to stop harbouring dreams and ambitions and all of a sudden get excited about kitchen appliances, and to be honest it’s proper weird that quite a few people seem to assume that! I’m really not seeing getting married as our end game, it’s the first pass in our match (…of rugby, obvs, I would’t be bringing football into this).

Engagement Shoot

Which brings me nicely onto thirdly, I know marriage isn’t going to be plain sailing, but then I don’t think any relationship worth having is; people are complicated, evil, funny, selfish, wonderous creatures and I think our world history proves that we do somewhat struggle to live in harmony. Plus if you look at all the best relationships in your life they will have been tested at some point and the fact that it has made it through that test only means it’s a stronger, better relationship. I obviously wouldn’t be marrying Chris if I thought every day was going to be a struggle, but I’m under no illusions that some will be, in that way I think I have a realistic vision of what I’m getting myself into (a life-time of watching a 6ft5 man bang his head on things).

Dot and Lucy Engagement Photoshoot

And fourthly (is that a thing?), I’m not a fortune teller (although I have tried – got a crystal ball and everything), of course I can’t say that Chris and I will 100% stand the test of time, no one can ever say that because life has a way of curve balling one through it’s already twisted path. My parents are divorced, and they’re both married to divorced people (funnily enough) so I’m pretty familiar with marital breakdown and to be completely honest I did think I would stay away from the married state for this very reason, but then I met someone who changed my mind. I can’t promise anyone that I’ll know and love them forever, they can’t either, what I can promise is that I will always give the relationship my very best shot; the best chance at forever that I can give.

I know that we don’t technically need to be married but it’s bloody nice! I want to be a team; a family; a little Kelly Clan. I think that in this way marriage means more than it ever has done, it’s no longer a necessity, it’s a choice, it’s more about love than it ever has been. And I take that choice quite seriously, not every woman is as fortunate as I to have it.

Engagement ShootAnd FINALLY: because I love him.

#Soppy

#FashionFridays!

I love old ladies. Not in a weird way, I just love their style. I spent all of last week trying to look like a cool skier person and it’s just not in me, I don’t have the ‘thing’. I call ‘ski pants’ salopettes, my sunglasses are prescription and I burn like a ginger person, the whole baggy ‘ski pants’, cool sunglasses that somehow look good when combined with a slightly grungy hat and a ski-bum goggle-tan just completely passes me by. I tried but it turns out that I’m just more of a woollen jumper, felt hat kind of gal (we all knew that already), so this week I’ve just embraced it.

old lady style fashion fridays

I like to think of this look as an older Audrey Hepburn dressing for a slightly wintery lunch in the garden of her Swiss safe haven, La Paisible. The skirt is from a Holyake charity shop, Holyake is the capital of old people, so I shop there all the time. On the downside it did take me about 3 weeks of airing this skirt in the garden to try and irradicate the smell of old ladies perfume and fag smoke from the 60s – it’s a little less musky now, I’m trying to embrace the scent as just part of the old lady look!

There is also something of espionage about the whole look…

Fashion Fridays Spy Style

As far as I’m concerned a day isn’t complete if you haven’t pretended to be following ‘a mark’ at some point during its unfolding. Plus this coat was also bought for £14 from a charity shop and I only bought it because there is a lady at my Oma’s residential home called Anise who has a mac just like it and I completely love her style, it’s like older Audrey meets older Katherine Hepburn – bliss. Yes I bought this coat to emulate a 72 year old with Alzheimers, but the woman looks good, there’s no two ways about it, I’ve never seen anyone rock Marks & Spencer’s loafers quite like it. Plus (and this is the best bit), I wore this exact outfit to the care home the other day and when I walked past Anise she said “you look good!” Score.

Fashion Fridays Old Lady Style

Happy Friday everyone!