Nailing Festival-Ready Fashion for the Low Key Fashionista

19 July 2017




Festival fashion is a bit like marmite; you either love it or you hate it (or you’ve never really tried it so you’re kind of on the fence). You’re either decked from head to toe in sequins, feathers and a fluorescent bejewelled unitard, or you’re wearing your boyfriend’s jumper, and old pair of jeans and some beaten up Stans. The great thing about festivals is that it’s a rule free zone when it comes to fashion; you’re free to wear as much or as little as you want, whether that be extravagant as an expression of your sassy alter ego, or subdued for the sake of comfort and for easy peeing in the inevitably awful portaloos.

Historically, I’ve fallen into the latter camp. I’m a lazy dresser and comfort is definitely key, so more often than not, the planning that goes into my festival outfit consists of 15 minutes spent deciding between one denim item and another, assessing which will be the most forgiving when I dive into my deep-lunge dancing after one too many bevvies. Pop on a pair of old white trainers, lovingly ruined by many festivals gone by, and I’m pretty much good to go. I don’t even take a bag with me, instead opting to pop my ID, bank card and cash into Keiran’s pockets so I can keep my hands free for an impromptu Macarena session or the inevitably embarrassing jumping fist pumps.

Jacket - ASOS*
Denim Dress - ASOS*
Sandals - ASOS*
Sunglasses - ASOS*




That being said, I do often regret not indulging a little more in the cult of festival fashion. It’s not often you can pop some nipple tassels on and wade through a field filled with thousands of people without being promptly escorted to the back of a police car, and I sometimes feel like I miss that golden window of opportunity to go a little wild. That’s why, this year, I endeavoured to up my game a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been bathing in glue and then leaping head first into a pool of sequins, but I’ve definitely diverted a little from literally wearing my boyfriend’s jumper and some knackered old jeans like it’s a standard hungover Sunday. Festival fashion for the low-key fashionista can sometimes be difficult because fluorescents and glitter aren’t our natural arena, plus our natural instinct is to ~ always ~ put comfort first (and I’ll be honest, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find me in a fishnet dress because being warm is my main priority in life), but hey, news flash, you can do both comfort and style without compromising massively on either.

Luckily for us, the ASOS Festival Collection has us covered. Whether, like me, you like to keep your look low-key but with a touch of experimentation to honour the festival dressing tradition, or you fall on the other end of the spectrum and find you run out of skin before you run out of glitter, then you’ll easily find something to suit your budget and style. I stayed true to my love for denim with this ASOS Denim Dungaree Dress and to my need for comfort with these easy wearing ASOS Leather Flat Sandals, but pushed myself outside of my comfort zone with this bougie ASOS Mongolian Faux Fur Jacket and ASOS 90s Oval Sunglasses.

Keep your peepers reading to see my fave picks from the ASOS Festival Collection, and let me know which side of the scale you fall on - minimal with a pinch of something special or loud, or proud and queen of the festival ground. Happy festival-ing!





Shop My Look




Jackets




Tops




Shoes




Bottoms




Sunglasses




This post was sponsored by ASOS but all imagery, wording and content is my own.

3 Faux Pas That Prove I'm Terrible At Dating

13 July 2017




If we use the term ‘dating’ loosely, my history stretches way back to being 14. Admittedly, these ‘dates’ consisted of going for a walk around the local park, sitting on the very front row of the cinema (no-one sits there - much easier to hunker down and snog) or strolling idly up and down the local high street, but when your repertoire is as limited as mine, you have to count as many as you can.

If we’re talking ~ proper ~ dates, then I’ve had three, maybe four at a push. I’m not a good dater, but I am a serial boyfriend collector. From 18 to 23, I've had about 8 months of being single, and within that time I managed to rack up what a lot of us would agree are the major dating faux pas. Here’s the catch though - I’ve never really taken dating seriously. I arranged four or five dates through Tinder and cancelled them all because I couldn’t be bothered to go, when I did go on dates, the ultimate goal was to get drunk and have some good stories to tell and if a boy didn’t want to go out with me again (even if we’d slept together the night before so I had ultimately been pumped and dumped), it was no biggie.

Some people feel 100 times more confident when they are a part of a loving relationship. They feel uplifted by their partner, given more confidence by having a permanent cheerleader on hand. Oddly, I am the other way (through no fault of my boyfriend's, I must add). I’ve written before about self sabotage in relationships and how, over time, I come to doubt both myself and my partner’s feelings, but this is the flip side. When I’m single, I’m at my most confident. So he doesn’t want to see me again? Aight. So I asked an awkward question that socially should have been saved for the third of fourth date? Who cares. So I invited my friend along because I was getting slightly bored of the date (more on that later). Better to have a good time, right?

Even though my dating history is succinct, it is mildly entertaining. Think of it as a very Ipswich version of Girls - a little bit sexy and a little bit Suffolk. There are no rooftop bars or art gallery openings to be found here my friends, oh no. It’s all Vodka Revs and a dodgy old pubs - v. Carrie Bradshaw.

Tee - ASOS
Skirt - River Island*
Boots - Topshop (River Island similar)
Lipstick - MAC Ruby Woo





“So are you a feminist then?”

So few other words can get a guy quite as hard, quite as fast as these. Two first dates I had, two first dates I asked. Luckily for me one of these first dates turned into my now boyfriend, made even more slightly surprising by the fact that we continued to date even though he didn’t give the instant - and correct - answer of yes, and so was subject to a 45 minute drunken grilling about why he of coure should be a feminist and why my vagina is my own property to offer out at will.

If I was to - God forbid - ever become single again, I would still ask this on each and every first date. It’s a time saver; if my date was to reply with ‘I don’t believe in feminism because it focuses on women’, ’what about all of the issues facing men?’ or flagged up the meninist Twitter account, I would instantly know that this first date was also, coincidentally, our last date. If, like Keiran, my date seemed relatively unsure, I would then relish the opportunity to delve deep into my repertoire of ‘does that seem fair to you?’ facts and see if the subject could be swayed. It’s an entertaining challenge, if anything.

Bringing a plus one to a date - unannounced

Here’s the story: I met up with this guy at a local pub for a couple of drinks and a relatively chill date (spoiler alert: we had already slept together after a night out and had been texting, so I thought, you know, not a high pressure situation). Fast forward a few drinks in and I can feel something building inside of me. It simmered slowly at first, but then that simmer grew into a bubble and that bubble grew into a BOOM - yes ladies and gentleman, I was mega pissed and ready for a night out.

And who can go on a night out without one of their best friends? So, naturally, I snuck into the toilets and text my friend, who then showed up unannounced and to the complete surprise of my date. Bizarrely, not only did he carry on drinking with us, he went home to get changed especially for the occasion. That’s right - he went home and then came back. By the end of the night I was so pissed I don’t really remember heading back to a Premier Inn to sleep with him (high point of my young life), but of course I did, and the story, luckily for you, only gets more cringe. As I tried to sneak out, I got to the hallway of the hotel and realised I couldn’t get downstairs without the key card and that, surprise surprise, my phone was also out of battery so I couldn't ring reception. I then had to knock.on.the.door and get him to escort me down to my extremely awkward 6am taxi.

Needless to say we didn’t see each other again. In fact, he still avoids all eye contact if I see him now. Amazing.

“How many people have you slept with then? Name them.”

If you can’t request receipts for every sexual partner your companion has ever been with on your first date, then when can you?! Oh, later on in the dating schedule? Maybe when you’re actually a couple? Right…

Needless to say I obviously did not get this memo circa 2015 and so I now ask you to picture the scene. A lovely young gentleman (okay, it was Keiran again and it was the same first date) are sitting at a bus stop, eating cheesey chips with mayonnaise and ketchup after a few drinks turned into a legitimate night out, and I, cooly and calmly, pop the question. No, not the question, although knowing me I probably did enquire as to whether he’d ever want to get married and what did he think of the name Claude?? No, instead I asked: “so how many people have you slept with, and who are they?”

Granted, this may seem like stereotypical psycho girlfriend behaviour to some (and this was in the very very very pre-girlfriend stage), but just give me a moment to state my case. Number one: I was totally shit-faced (excuse enough for most things, me thinks). Number two: our friend groups overlapped somewhat and he’d already slept with a few people I knew of so I thought, hey, why set myself up for the random awkward surprises - let’s just ask now! It’s a miracle that he didn’t ‘pop to the corner shop for cigarettes’ and never come back, but somehow he navigated the question with charm and here he is, still dealing with my deeply personal sex questions a year and a half later.

SHOP THE LOOK 






Musing on accepting my body and not always being positive

9 July 2017




I had a casual 1000+ words written out for this post, which was intended to be a light-hearted take on the positives of moving out - I’ve now scrapped that (although I’m sure the same content will pop up at some point this week), opened a new document on Pages and started again.

And the reason I’ve started again, is that there’s something larger that I want to say about this set of photos. I’ve spoken before about feeling uneasy about summer dressing before, and I started the year with a piece which loudly and proudly declared that 2017 was my year of being fat and happy. No holds barred, no treats forbidden, and certainly no late night self-loathing.

Thanks to a combination of contraception, a boyfriend and the fact that I am simply eating more and caring less, I have put on weight. If you’ve kept up with my blog for a while, you’ll probably be able to see the difference, but up until around the last two months, I hadn’t really noticed anything too dramatic. Even now, to be fair, I’m still a size 10, but I can see in photos that my face is rounder, my arms are chubbier, I’m not quite as slim from the side as I was before.

Tee - Brandy Melville (Whistles alternative)
Shorts - Missguided*
Shoes - Zara

Photography: Hannah Gale 




It’s hard to look at photos of yourself sometimes, especially when you can see yourself changing before your eyes. Over the past two months, when reviewing photos, I’ve had various moments of “oh fuck, is that what I really look like?”, followed by whipping my top off and taking a quick once-over in the mirror to see how close to reality it is. Whereas previously I would have spiralled into a pit of self-hatred before, I now try really hard to take a step back, take a deep breath and move on from the thought.

Side note: negative thoughts about your body image or yourself as a person are like tampons. The more they get, the more they soak up and the bigger they become. Let’s just say I’m trying to keep the flow light this year.

Nevertheless, I do have moments where I’m struggling. I look at these photos and I see that my face is chubbier and I see that the sleeves of my t-shirt fall at the widest part of my arm, amplifying what is already a real problem area for me. I see that my legs could only ever dream of a thigh-gap, I see that my knees are, weirdly, fatter than ever and I see that in terms of my body shape, I don’t look like a lot of other bloggers.

And what you guys see in the blog post is the finished result - 10-15 images that have been edited and uploaded as the best of the bunch. I, on the other hand, see 150-200+ of these, and it’s like 200+ reminders of the things that make me feel self-conscious about yourself. Any nugget in my head about the ugliness of my weight is poked and poked 200 times over, backed up by the worry that people look at me and think “she thinks she’s skinnier than she is”.

I guess this post is a mini PSA to say that even those who champion positive body perceptions still have bad body days. Moving past your learned idea of the ‘ideal’ body is a journey (v. soppy, v. cliche but v. true), and sometimes, along the way, you fall down. More than waving a little arm in the air and shouting “hey, I get upset too!”, I wanted to show that even though my Instagram page may be all nice clothes and sassy attitudes, I do still feel bad about my body from time to time. Just because I wrote a post in February that said I wasn’t going to care about my weight anymore, doesn’t mean that change happened in an instant. I’m working towards it, but it’s definitely a process.

I think, though, what I really wanted to reflect on is that we give so much credence to the negative perceptions of our body that one bad element - whether that’s a bad photo, a bad comment, a bad angle - completely overpowers anything good. When I went through these photos this morning, I came close to binning them all and then spent the rest of the day contemplating the gym and which trainers are you supposed to wear there?? and God I really need to stop eating bread! Gone were good feelings I had on Friday thanks to fresh new hair and some relatively clear skin - nope, that was all wiped, thanks to my chubby little arms and tiny sausage fingers.

We all too often roll the red carpet out for the first criticism that pops into our head and let it live rent free, burning away, whilst anything remotely positive gets an instant substitution. Even though I have more good days than bad, still when I see a super slim blogger lounging on the beaches of Bali, I find the question of “am I wasting my best body years?” creeping in and becoming king of the roost.

But I understand that me accepting my weight gain and actually saying “no, I’m not trying to change this” goes against the grain of everything I’ve ever been taught, so the process, unsurprisingly isn’t going to be easy. I just wanted to share with you that I have really shitty days too, to share a little bit of my less-aspirational, haven’t-showered-yet-today human side. This post may well have been a totally jumbled, slightly incomprehensible mixed bag of thoughts, but hopefully you managed to keep up with me and hopefully, even a little bit of it resonated with you.

Until next time lovelies x

SHOP THE LOOK







Tired of the same old jewellery brands? Here’s how to find something different

6 July 2017





Search: “Sterling silver gold hoops”. Add to basket. Next day delivery. Open. Wear. Lose. Repeat. When it comes to jewellery, this is my routine. I have a bowl next to my bed full of once-worn costume earrings, lonely hoops and studs that haven’t had a back since the day they were bought. I tend to wear the same pieces on repeat, re-ordering them when I lose them down the plug or “put them somewhere safe” only to find I can’t for the life of me remember where this is.

And I never have any strong reactions, either way. I don’t spend a lot on my jewellery because I've always found there’s such a huge gap in the market between the big names on the high street and those stocked behind glass cases in Selfridges. I’ve been perpetually searching for a middle ground, and, ladies and gents, I think I may just have found it.


JEWELSTREET DISCOUNT CODE FOR 10% ORDERS: LITTLEPLUM10

Swallow Earrings - Roz Buerhlen via JewelStreet*
Top - Missguided*
Jeans - Topshop (out of stock, similar Topshop Raw Hem jeans here)
Heels - Acne

Photography: Kirsty McLachlan






Enter JewelStreet, the world’s number one designer jewellery website. Think of it as the Net-a-Porter of the jewellery world, just with a slightly more affordable starting price bracket and a shed load more of choice. Featuring designers from all over the world, you can navigate by jewellery type, price, material, gemstone, colour - the list goes on. I found this particularly handy as, although I love stumbling across new designers and styles, I do have a go-to style when it comes to earrings and necklaces, and that is pretty much always gold.

Rewind about a year, and you would never have seen me in anything other than sterling silver. I swore against gold in every capacity, whether it was featured as hardware on bags or as buttons on jeans. One day, I decided to test the waters with a little bit of bougie costume jewellery and I haven’t looked back since.

Ever since then, my collection of gold pieces has expanded. I’ve dabbled with a variety of different styles, shapes and sizes, stacking up rings and necklaces or paring it all down with a minimal chain; whatever I’ve dabbled in, I’ve always returned to the same thing - simple pieces with a special edge. If the earring is oversized, I’ll keep it monochrome. If the pendant necklace is simple, I’ll enjoy an engraved element or a bit of texture. I’ve found my feet with my own personal jewellery style, but, in some cases, this isn’t always a good thing.

Men, jeans, jewellery - it’s the same, age old problem, right? I know what I want, I just can’t find it anywhere. Whilst I seem to have sourced a boyfriend from the man-pool pretty well, I’m always at a loss for beautiful jewellery that feels special. And yes, I have a few pieces that were gifted to me by friends and family, and the sentimental value of those is priceless, but what about when I want to buy a little gift for myself?



SHOP THE LOOK





Once I’ve gone past the go-to names of Monica Vinader and Missoma, I’m at a loose end. I want something different - something special - but the trouble is, I just don’t know where to look. Other than trawling through fashionista’s Instagram accounts desperately looking for a link here or a tag there, I resign myself to the same old pair of ASOS hoops that will inevitably get lost in the shower yet again.

Until now.

JewelStreet is home to over 600 independent jewellery designers. Yep, I’ll let that sink in - 600. That’s why I’m excited to be working with them and showing off the pieces that I picked out from the sea of options, because I not only think the site is useful, but that is also presents jewellery designers with an amazing opportunity to get their items in front of fresh new eyes.

For example, I had never heard of UK based Roz Buehrlen before, but when her iconic swallow studs arrived, she’d included a little information pack introducing herself and the brand and the processes behind her jewellery making. The same goes for Emily Mortimer, who, being a Suffolk girl like myself, was probably a stones-throw away without me knowing it. That’s the beauty of JewelStreet - discovering new designers and new pieces that are more than just high-street throwaways. They are special items to be worn, to be shown off, to be enjoyed.

All I can say is apologies in advance to your bank balance, and happy shopping.














 This post was sponsored by JewelStreet, but all imagery, wording and opinions are my own.
© The Little Plum • Theme by Maira G.