Sunday, 29 June 2014

Homeware & Interior Design

(photo credit)

I have a confession to make. As our house move at the end of July draws ever closer, and we are increasingly packing away boxes and bags of things in the flat, I'm finding myself drawn to strange urges. Instead of wanting to sew pretty dresses and buy summery shoes, I am drawing up plans for patchwork blankets and trying to stop myself from bulk buying fluffy sofa cushions and Ikea lamps. You're more likely to find me salivating over Apartment Therapy than browsing Facebook on my lunch breaks, and my pintrest has been overtaken with carefully crafted colour schemes and ridiculously expensive rugs for 'inspiration' purposes. I'll admit it - I am becoming a little bit obsessed with moving into and decorating my new house.

Where are all the clothes on the floor? And how do you get into that bed? It's a wonder of modern engineering. 

So why and how, you might ask, have I been duped into this frenzy of themed rooms and hand-carved tables that cost more than most cars? Well, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that this is our first proper, real house that isn't a student house or university-owned housing. My boyfriend and I have lived together for two years now, both with other people and on our own, but we've never really been able to settle down into somewhere and make it feel like home. This new house is different, we're not planning to move after less than a year and we have pretty much entire freedom to decorate and change things as much as we want. I want it to feel like a home, cosy and welcoming, and mostly for it to feel like ours.

It's all so stylish! And it all matches! And it all costs more than my monthly salary!

I think I've also gotten a little caught up in the idea of having to have a 'grown-up' house, now that we're no longer undergrads and are going to be in work or at least in a graduate degree. But the more I think about that, the more exhausting and boring it sounds. I mean, no offence to those who love nothing better than cream and beige with matching oak furniture, but it's just not me. I like hand-made cushions with wonky seams, charity shop furniture that I've repainted myself, blue curtains against brown walls, Lord of the Rings posters on the walls and framed cross-stitched pictures inspired by 'Firefly'. It's mismatched, a bit messy and mostly made up of things that make my mam tut and sigh at me whenever she comes to visit. But it's mine, and it makes me smile, and I love it.

It might sound cheesy but the sentiment is something I'm going to keep in mind while we navigate the next month and all it's associated stresses. The most important thing in any house is the love and happiness and care between the people who live inside it, and as long as that is there and thriving, everything else can fall into place around it. Our house is going to be warm and dry and full of love - I'm sure that'll more than make up for the lack of hand-tufted rugs and luxury steam showers. 

What was your first 'proper' house like, or are you still looking forward to the day when you'll be able to set up home in a place of your own? Is there anything you really can't do without that makes your house feel like home? Let me know below!

- Natalie XOX

Monday, 16 June 2014

Life Update + Summer Default Outfits

Hey guys! I'm so sorry i've been away lately. We've been house-hunting mostly, which has taken up a lot of time and effort, but things are starting to settle down a bit now so i'll be around much more hopefully. I've been working lately too, the above photo was one I took at Whitby Abbey earlier this week whilst on a trip with a school group, it was such a gorgeous day.

Other exciting things to happen in my life lately include my little sister finishing school and getting all dressed up for her Prom (sobs I'm so old), me booking my first ever tattoo to take place in a few weeks time (eek!), deciding to take the plunge and officially list myself as a freelance writer and content editor on my CV / Facebook (currently working from Fiverr if anybody is interested), watching a lot of Netflix (Orange is the New Black! Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-watch! Firefly!) and starting work on a homemade knitted patchwork blanket that i'm hoping to have finished by this winter. As you can see, life is just so terribly thrilling right now that I'm done with University.

2 squares down, only 58 to go! I'll be lucky to be done by Christmas at this rate...
So, as the first photo in this post probably tells you, the last few weeks here have brought with them some great weather. It's been sunny, but also pretty humid and sticky most days, and it's lead me to wonder - do you have a 'default' summer outfit? You know, when you wake up and it's bright and sunny and warm and you aren't going anywhere especially nice, so you throw together a standard set of things and head out, knowing that your tried-and-tested look will look awesome. I have a couple of outfits that I've found myself reaching for again and again, switching up t-shirts and shoes and bags to keep them fresh and new looking. They tend to be a variation on one of the following:

  • 3/4 length or floor length cotton skirt or dress + a long, thin cardigan + flat slip on shoes - This is the ultimate look for me when it's absolutely too hot to want to wear pants but you are going somewhere where short-shorts will probably be frowned upon. It gives amazing sun protection but keeps you cool and breezy, and paired with big sunglasses and a big handbag looks effortlessly put together and fashionable. I am so so into this look this summer! My current favourite is my red, white and blue striped 3/4 dress from Primark, worn with blue shoes and my big blue sunglasses. 

  • High waisted denim shorts + vest top + wedges or sandals - On the other end of the 'oh my god it's so warm but I need to go out and do things' scale, a lazy day at the beach or a BBQ or a casual trip out with friends suits this look perfectly. It's comfy, it's flattering, it's cute and it looks damn good. Just remember to slather on the sun cream - all that exposed skin needs good care taken of it! 

  • Playsuit or cotton dress + ballet pumps + cropped cardigan - A playsuit is just so easy, isn't it? Just throw on and go, already looking amazing with minimal effort. I have a number of light-weight playsuits and dresses that I know I can throw on at a moment's notice and look great in, in a wide range of colours and styles. My favourites tend to be just above the knee in length, with cap or spaghetti strap sleeves and a wide or square neckline. I realise cropped cardigans aren't for everybody, but I love how easily they go with lots of things.

  • Short skirt + long-sleeved top + lace up boots + dangly earrings - For those days when it's sunny outside but you're feeling the need to toughen up your look a bit, I can't get enough of this combo. I can rarely stand a leather jacket in mid-August, but my lace-up boots aren't going anywhere. They can withstand any sudden rain showers easily and are great for those odd days when I just want to feel a bit less floaty and floraly. 

Do you find yourself slipping into a favourite type of outfit as the weather warms up? Do you think it's a good thing to know what you like, or is it more of a rut that you need to get out of? Have you been up to anything nice lately? Let me know below! 

- Natalie XOX

Monday, 2 June 2014

What I Wore: End-of-Year Ball Style & Makeup

Hi guys! Last week I had my final exam of my final year of university, meaning that I am now officially finished with my Undergraduate degree until Graduation in July. I am very glad to be finished, not only because it was very difficult, but also because this means I get to start celebrating things! Friday just gone was the date of our campus end of year ball, held in a beautiful local hotel. We had an amazing three course meal, a live band, a DJ and dance-floor and a photo booth complete with silly props and professional lighting. I thought I would share some of the photos from the night with you, as well as talk a little about what I chose to wear. 

Above is my boyfriend and I taking one of the only sensible photos we managed to get in the photobooth! I wore my hair up, in a simple twisted style that I did myself, complete with faux pearl beads around the bun to decorate it and keep the pins in place. 

With my beautiful friend Faith in the fanciest bathroom I've ever seen!

I chose to wear a knee-length purple satin dress with a small peplum detail and silver and glass beading at the top. I bought it from Primark (!) about a year ago on sale for about £15, which was a great bargain. I really liked it, it was dressy enough to look really smart while also allowing me to dance and move about easily. I paired it with black suede shoes with a wedge heel and criss-crossing straps from New Look. 

Comparing mascaras with Faith - she likes Le Volume de Chanel, I love Soap and Glory Thick & Fast!
I kept my makeup fairly simple, focusing mostly on my eyes and skin. I matched my dress to my eyes with a sparkly silver look, created with lots of black mascara and some loose silver eye glitter that I purchased from, which stayed in place nicely all night. I also used highlighter and concealer, both from my recent e.l.f haul, to attempt to recreate a flawless but glowing complexion. I have to say, both the highlighter and concealer worked beautifully and I am very impressed with their quality. I had purple false nails from the drugstore, but unfortunately I didn't apply them with enough care and had to remove them halfway through the night. I think I'll go for professionally applied ones next time. 

With our funky glasses in the photobooth

Probably the silliest - and my favourite - shot of the whole night! 

Overall I had a great time and really enjoyed spending some time with the friends i've made over my three years here. Are you having proms or end of year balls soon? What will you be wearing? Let me know below! 

- Natalie XOX