and oh my god, I’m writing a book!
A REAL LIFE BOOK! One that you can get dog-eared, love unconditionally and make notes in GCSE style until your heart is content. After about two years of ideas, writing a proposal and swatting away endless bouts of self doubt, it’s now an actual ~thing~ that’s happening, and I can’t quite believe it. I feel clammy handed even typing this (will file this post under ‘things I never thought I’d type’).
Anyway! THE BOOK! Called The Insecure Girl’s Handbook- this little piece of kit aims to be an extension of The Insecure Girls’ Club, and a peppy pick me up when you need it most. I wrote it to be the book I so often needed when I didn’t have girlfriends at my beck and call- when I couldn’t have a girly chat on the phone and needed the kind of pick me up only 10 episodes of Friends can offer (but when you’re a little time starved for that)…
The book will guide you through your insecurities no matter what life stage you’re at, pointing out the pitfalls of people pleasing, negative backchat and crippling comparison along the way. It’s a carefully curated toolkit of tried and tested mechanisms and small pearls of wisdom to start combatting that feeling that holds us back from speaking up, from following our dreams or even feeling that our dreams aren’t good or big enough- from many wise women that have been there and come out the other side. I hope it will provide you with a comforting hug and pep talk, from one insecure girl to another, so you can stop imposter syndrome in its tracks and halt the waves of self-doubt that sometimes unexpectedly flood our work life, friendships, relationships and every other crevice in between.
I really want it to be the resource I had when I was a teenager. The kind of pick me up I felt after reading articles in Company magazine, and to be fully reflective of the conversations I had and continue to have now with some of the most brilliant women in my life. To show that insecurities aren’t our weaknesses, but our strengths- and by sharing them we can make the world a little bit smaller.
In the next couple of weeks I’ll be asking for you to get in touch- asking questions and hopefully getting some of you wonderful women involved, to share your stories and add soul to the body of this book. This isn’t a book about me, but a book about us. I want it to include as many stories, perspectives and contributions as possible- so watch this space!
Hopefully this explains why things have been a bit quiet around here over the last few months too! Juggling a book, wedding, blog, podcast and newsletter can sometimes be a lot for one pair of hands (and I wanted to avoid any ‘secret project’ ambiguity if I could). Throughout June I’ll be taking a little break to tie everything neatly up in a book-shaped-bow so that it’s everything I hope it can be and more when it comes to printing time later this year. I’ll be back not long after the wedding though, so hopefully the archives can keep you occupied until then!
EEEEK! So that’s, that?! Thank you for all your support always, I truly couldn’t do this without you lovely lot. I know it sounds gushy, but after nearly a decade of writing this blog, having so many dedicated voices continue to show up and support me means the world. Honestly, thank you. This is all incredibly surreal- I CANNOT BELIEVE IT. Thank you x100000.
To celebrate our anniversary a few weeks ago, Joe and I booked a little overnight stay to Deal- a seaside town we’d heard endless wonderful things about, for a little R&R. Having heard glowing reports from friends (endless thank you’s to Sarah for the brilliant recommendations) and family, and already fully-fledged fans of the glorious Kent coast, it seemed an obvious option. With it’s short train ride from London and delicious variety of everything brilliant about the British seaside, we were very excited to spend a night away from home to be by the sea.
With our anniversary falling on a Wednesday, we seemed to strike gold in terms of timing our trip. Despite having lots to see, a lot of things in Deal are shut on a Monday and Tuesday- meaning later on in the week and weekend seems to be the best time to visit (having learnt from my nan and granddad who visited on a very quiet Monday)!
Anyway- typically, we woke up on the Wednesday to grey skies and heavy rain. ‘Of course!’ We thought. Why would it not rain on a trip to the British seaside? Fortunately, and as if by magic, as we pulled into Deal (layers et al) the sun began to break through the clouds and we were able to de-robe and head off to explore the town.
Although we only booked for an evening, I’d definitely love to have stayed a little longer- so have popped down some additional suggestions if you happen to have a bit more time- we’ll definitely be back!
If I’m being honest- it was The Rose that drew us to Deal in the first place. Having spotted the brilliant Alice Levine sharing it’s Wes Anderson inspired interiors, I was solidly sold before I’d heard much more- but thankfully, this place isn’t style over substance. As well as the staff being truly lovely, the food at The Rose is absolutely reason to visit in itself. With a traditional British menu built up of fresh local produce and a contemporary take on the classics, we sampled everything from their delicious breakfast granola with rhubarb, to their hot smoked salmon at lunchtime.
But back to the room! With each uniquely designed with rich velvets, gorgeous textiles and wall colours that’ll make you want to redecorate the second you get home, we opted for a slightly bigger room (it was the bath that sold it to me), and could have easily whiled away an afternoon tucking into tea and biscuits in the enormous cloud bed. It was the perfect balance of ‘this feels like a treat’ and home-away-from-home, and I’m already desperate for a second stay.
Arriving in Deal, our first stop was a foodie pit-stop at Pop Up Café. From fresh sourdough, sandwiches, salads and homemade cakes- we tucked into toasted banana bread, melted salted butter and hot tea, and it couldn’t have made for a more perfect late lunch time stop off (I’ve also heard the brunches are pretty lovely, too).
Where else to have an anniversary meal than the local chippy? It might not sound overly glamorous, but Middle Street Fish Bar offers perfectly done seaside staples (and a little restaurant at the back where you can tuck in too)! Opting for a can of lemonade and the cod and chips (scampi for Joe)- we couldn’t have asked for a lovelier coastal supper (thanks Elly!)- I’m still dreaming about those vinegary chips now…
During our second day, we took the walk from Deal to Walmer, with our final destination being the highly praised Zetland Arms pub; a gorgeous spot that sits alongside the ocean, serving delicious pub food and drinks- with the most beautifully rewarding view of the ocean to boot. Although we only came for a little drink, I can imagine how stunning this spot is during sunset- or even to shelter during a rainy afternoon by the sea.
Before you hop on the train home, make sure to pop by The Lane Bakery for some essential travel snacks. Famous for their cupcakes, brownies and tray bake slices- all are freshly baked in house and come in THE most amazing flavours, from Kinder cookie dough, to Nutella- it’s a truly indulgent spot to ease any leaving-the-sea blues.
22 Queen St, Deal CT14 6ET
Also highly recommended:
The Ship Inn, The Bar, Deal Hoy, Le Pinardier, The Black Douglas Coffee House, Frog & Scot, The Bohemian, Taphouse Beer Café, The Lighthouse
If you’re a bit of an antiques lover, make sure to head by to this gorgeous spot. Although a lot of the vintage pieces are a little large for the train home, there are some true home-wear gems in here, and if you really can’t fit anything- there’s a little teashop at the back too.
Having followed Hoxton Store on Instagram for a while, I was very excited to head to their bricks and mortar shop in Deal- which had the most beautiful selection of prints, independent brands and textiles all under one roof. It took a lot of self-control to not leave with a lamp, five bars of soap and thirty candles, but we managed it- just.
If you’re a bit of a record fan like us, it’s absolutely worth making a pit stop for this place. Not only do they have an incredible selection of vinyl’s, but they also have a fridge stocked with local crafted beers, so you can sit down, crack open a can and spin your favourite record too.
One of the most interesting piers I’ve been on, Deal Pier is far from the kitsch seaside piers I’m so used to. Stretching out to sea and almost brutalist in design, it’s a prime fishing spot for locals and makes for a gorgeous stroll out to sea when the sun is shining. With a café and benches at the end, Joe and I said we felt like we were in Submarine, which can surely only be a good thing?
One thing that makes Deal so brilliant is its perfect balancing act of rich history and peppering’s of contemporary restaurants and shops too. Deal Castle is along the seafront, and although we didn’t manage to go inside, is meant to be a brilliant place to explore, filled with lots of fascinating Tudor history.
Following on from Deal Castle is the beautiful coastal walk from Deal along to Walmer Castle, and on to the beach. Stopping off at the Castle- we took in some history, before strolling around the gardens (which are absolutely beautiful) and resisting the call from the tea rooms (like the nana and grandpa we truly are). You can easily tackle both castles in a day, and the walk along the front is the perfect way of soaking up the seaside too.
One thing we walked past but sadly didn’t get around to doing was hiring bikes! Along Saxon Shore Way is the gorgeous beach-hut café Hut 55, which as well as serving homemade sandwiches and coffee, offers the opportunity to hire a bike to cycle the path too. On a sunny day this would be the perfect spot to pick up a picnic and cycle along the front, and I couldn’t recommend it more (especially as it’s quite a leg work out on the way back)!
Hut, 55 Marine Rd, Walmer, Deal CT14 7DN
Arcade Family Amusements- because what seaside trip is complete without some 2p machines?
I know I usually share my playlists monthly, but after sharing a few tracks from my ‘Blue Sky Days’ playlist on Instagram recently, I thought I’d share some of my others ready for your Monday ahead. It’s not as ‘hip ‘n’ happening’ as some of my others, but has a solid list of songs that always get me up and going when I’m feeling a little sluggish (especially when a 9am Monday gym session comes a-callin’). So here’s a little Sunday night blues pick me up- pop it on when you’re cooking dinner or even on the train to work tomorrow, I promise it’ll have you raring to go (or, y’know, doing a bit of a jive) in no time…
To celebrate our ten year (!) anniversary this week, Joe and I headed down to Deal- a little seaside town in Kent we hadn’t yet had the pleasure of visiting…
Having come recommended from friends (thank you Sarah!) and seen a few people visit over the last few months, it seemed to strike the balance of perfectly quaint and quiet, whilst having some lovely places to eat, sleep and shop- without loosing any of it’s traditional British seaside charm.
Typically, our anniversary seemed to fall across a couple of days where the weather looked questionable at best and completely soggy at worst. Packing a raincoat that I’m sure could withstand any weather (as well as this new favourite linen dress– you never know, people)! We headed down on the train, and fortunately the sun appeared just as we pulled in- if that ain’t luck! With no plans apart from guzzling fish and chips and exploring the pier- we made the most of the sunshine, swapping waterproofs for sundresses (me, not Joe) and exploring the front. Boasting some of the bluest sea I’ve seen, the coast is comfortably my favourite place (which you might have gathered following last weekends antics) and it was so lovely to spend our anniversary doing something low key, before a hectic two weeks ensue!
But- the dress! Having initially picked it up for my hen party as my ‘day-to-night’ option (although it’s perfect, it felt a little more nightdress than disco dress), I made sure to pack it for this trip and am SO glad I did. It feels like something from a Bronte sisters classic- with it’s square neckline, flouncy sleeves and MATCHING. HAIR. BOW. (which I absolutely promise didn’t sell it to me, promise). Sleeper have long been one of my favourite small brands (having picked some very special pyjamas from them a few months back)- and I’ve been head over heels with their lounge and sun dresses ever since. Although they’re a little on the pricier side, I know it’s the kind of thing I’ll pull out again and again- and will make the perfect holiday dress when I go away too.
Pairing it with my favourite bucket bag from Trademark (a brand I first discovered in L.A last year) and my go-to Superga’s (try and catch me in anything else)- it was the perfect outfit for a little stroll (obviously trench coat out of shot, it’s not ~that~ warm) and some vinegar soaked chippy shops chips afterwards. I have a full guide coming next week of everything we got up to, so if you’re planning any seaside trips this summer watch this space!
AHH! It’s less than one month to go until our big day, and although blog content has been a tiny bit slower than I’d like in the lead up, I wanted to do some kind of a catch up and q&a before I take a little break- eek! I asked on Instagram if people had any wedding related questions, and although it is safe to say I am absolutely no expert in anything marital (forever fumbling along as I go), wanted to try and shed some light on our own process and any tips and tricks I could pass on to anyone in a similar position! Although I plan on sharing a lot after the wedding- I wanted to answer some of the most asked questions in one place- in case anyone else is currently planning their big day and feeling a little lost or overwhelmed- because trust me, I know the feeling!
How did you shortlist venues when starting to look?
I think the most important thing about this is deciding what is a priority for you. Is it the location? Do you want a wedding abroad? A countryside wedding? Or something closer to home? Once you’ve worked this out I think it makes life so much easier! Listing down the priorities for your day is so important- as these all cross over in deciding which kind of venue is best for you. For example, some venues will have recommended suppliers that you’ll have to use, so if you want to do everything from scratch it might be worth looking at a dry hire (basically a blank canvas)- which although is lovely, can be quite an undertaking if you’re strapped for time and don’t have a planner! BUT! In short- decide on location, work out what’s priority (capacity, food, wedding style)- and gradually the venues start shortlisting themselves! We used sites like Hitched a lot for things like this, which was so handy!
How did you organise the schedule of your day, e/g time for photos, speeches?
A lot of this was aided by our caterers and the venue- they’ve been super helpful in structuring the day based on both ours and their needs, as they need to both coincide to make everything run smoothly.
Did you get a planner?
We didn’t! When we first got engaged we had a consultation with a brilliant planner and definitely thought about it- but have done pretty much everything ourselves. Over the last few weeks we’ve been working a little more with a wedding stylist and organiser though which has been SO helpful. We really wanted an extra pair of hands to help make sure everything comes together on the day how we’ve imagined.
What are you doing the month prior?
Oh god- just trying to keep on top of things! I have a couple of ~work projects~ I’m trying to get on top of, but am also trying to maintain the excitement for the big day by planning some nice little things to look forward to in the run up as I know how quickly it’ll all be over! I have my hen party this weekend (!), and then am also booking in a nice spa day and day out with my mum and a friend the week of too. Our anniversary also falls about 2 weeks before the wedding, so we’re also going to the seaside for a night, which should be lovely! Don’t worry about thinking that you need to do lots either. I think it can seem like the month before you should be cruising along, eating lots of fancy cakes and watching rom-coms when really, it’ll probably be filled with lots of last minute organising, tying up loose ends at work as well as juggling the day to day of everyday life.
How long have you been planning for? Have you felt rushed?
It feels like forever! We started planning near enough straight after we got engaged (which was July 2017), and initially wanted to get married the following September. But, having just moved into our home- soon realised we probably needed a little more time for saving and planning- hence moving it to this May! By the time we get married we would have been planning for just under 2 years. I always said I wanted a short engagement, because ‘what’s the point of dragging it out?!’ But really it’s been so lovely soaking up the excitement and planning things at our own pace, that I’m almost going to miss this little chapter!
How to deal with parental/family pressures in the planning when they have different views?
I think this is so tricky, but try to not let the opinions of others sway the things you know are most important to you. Although sometimes other opinions might be incredibly noisy, make sure it’s you and your partner making the decisions- or even talking about things together alone if you have to factor in family thoughts too.
What was the first thing you planned?
Stationery, Favours & The Rest:
Do you have any cost cutting tips for stationary?
Think about what you really need and want. It can be one of the most fussy decisions to make if you’re a perfectionist, especially when you start being asked questions about details you didn’t even realise you needed or liked! There are lots of things I think you can do, which in fact can be cut (in my opinion)! For example, save the dates. If you plan how you’d like your invites soon enough you can either send those out solo- or do an e-save the date (or a quick text/Facebook message to everyone invited)! We’ve also decided to not print a menu for everyone per place setting, and are also doing our table plan a little differently to avoid those costs!
When do you send out invitations? I am unsure about how soon to send them.
I think this totally depends on your wedding- but for us, ours only went out about 2 months before the actual date. We sent save the dates about 7 months before, but because our wedding is in London- it didn’t require people to book flights or even necessarily accommodation so we knew we could be a bit more relaxed about it. I think if you’re planning on getting married abroad- as much notice as possible is always so helpful as it gives people the opportunity to save up and book things, without it becoming too costly!
Wedding favours? Yes or no?
I think this is so subjective- and absolutely not necessary! They can really add up, and honestly- a lot of people won’t even notice if you don’t have them. Our caterers made a really good point in saying that sometimes if the favours are too large and people can’t fit them in a pocket/bag- they end up forgetting or leaving them anyway. It’s a really nice thought if you can and budget allows, but I do think the day can be just as lovely without them too.
How did you not get swayed by what other people do? There’s so many pretty and interesting weddings! Have you felt pressured to include things because they’re popular on Instagram etc?
Oh god this can be SO hard. It’s so easy to be swayed by trends or what other people are doing, but I think in your gut, you truly know what you like. I definitely tried to not spend too much time on Pinterest- and ironically, did find websites like Rock My Wedding really useful as they offer so many ‘real’ weddings which does make you realise there’s never a cookie-cutter one wedding suits all and the beauty of each day is literally because it’s yours. I also looked back on old Pinterest boards and wedding images I’d saved, as surprisingly, a lot of things hadn’t really changed in terms of what I really liked- and loved referring back to them as reference points for the things that I really wanted originally.
What will you be sharing online from your wedding?
Hopefully quite a lot! I think in a few months I’d love to do a ‘Wedding Month’ on the blog (like Carrie did, when she got married) to cover all the finer details!
Bridesmaids dresses! Help! I don’t want to spent a fortune!
This sounds super obvious, but the high street have some amazing options! (I saw this on Miss Selfridge yesterday and if I was doing this again would absolutely look at this as an option)! A nice way to do it, is sometimes pick a colour scheme, and let people browse the high-street/vintage shops themselves and then come back with options. This means everyone can be uniform, and it doesn’t cost the earth! I really struggled finding bridesmaids dresses I loved, and although am over the moon with what I’ve gone for- I definitely think checking back on places like & Other Stories, Mango, Zara and ASOS is so handy.
Bridesmaids- how to handle the friends who aren’t who think they might be?
I think just by being honest. It can be so hard, but if they’re a true pal they should hopefully understand that you can’t have everyone you like as a bridesmaid- otherwise all of your mates will end up being one! Try to let them know that it’s nothing personal, and perhaps drop hints beforehand suggesting that you’re keeping numbers down for whatever reason. You shouldn’t have to justify why they’re not a bridesmaid, but if you want to- making them feel included in other ways (e.g inviting them to the hen, keeping them up to date in the planning) is another nice way of keeping everyone included.
What things have you valued most that your bridesmaids have done in the lead up?
Just being there! I’ve had so much help with different elements of the wedding with them (which I’ll talk about more after the wedding), and by being able to get together and have six sounding boards has been SO helpful. I know how busy they each are in their own personal lives, but everybody has been so willing to help out when needed which means the world.
How many places did you go to try on dresses?
Five places (I think)! It was so much fun, but honestly I don’t know if I could have managed looking at too many more- as you end up confusing yourself with the amount of options!
How did you chose the dress?
I tried it on because it was unlike anything I’d given a go before. It was an ‘oh my god- can I quickly try that on too?!‘ moment and the rest is history…
What websites were your biggest inspiration?
I actually really loved using Instagram as a tool for collecting images and making boards! Some of my favourite accounts include London Bride (who although doesn’t post anymore has such a beautiful archive), Italian Eye, Worm London, Alexandra Grecco and Halfpenny London. I also LOVE nu_bride who are doing bloody brill things and I also love Rock My Wedding for endless inspiration, Together Journal (which although is NZ based, had so many great ideas- we even found our photographers through them)!, Brides online for covering more traditional elements and questions I felt overwhelmed by too.
I hope this helps a little with any last minute, or early stage worries! I’ll be sharing all the small details in a couple of months, and can’t wait to fill you in with everything- eeee!
It’s here! It’s here! March’s playlist is a bit of a big one, because in short- I forgot to start one for April and just kept going (when you got a good thing going and all). After getting carried away after a pizza and impromptu disco dance in Homeslice (where you’ll see that the playlist got populated with many a golden oldie), I then went on to get down with tHe KiDz and discovered Billie Eilish about thirty years after everyone else, but my GOD isn’t Bad Guy a tune! As I described it at the weekend, ‘a bit pumpy, but pretty good nonetheless!’ I’ve also played Quincy Jones until I drove Joe mad, rediscovered a very very old love in Jay Jay Pistolet (or Justin from The Vaccines to you and I) as well as some old school dreaminess from The Strokes and new Tame Impala too. Anyway- it’s a real melting pot of everything I like, and hopefully it can accompany a few sunny commutes during this short week (especially Carmensita)! HAPPY FOUR DAY WEEK UK PEOPLE!
P.S I’m hoping to start sharing some of my archived playlists for different ~moods~ and ~vibes~ so let me know if you’d like to do that too!
When we first moved into our house nearly two years ago (where has the time gone), one of my favourite posts I did was my reasons to be cheerful post. Celebrating the little and large in the every day, from receiving my favourite type of post, enjoying being in the kitchen and finally sharing our own space together. It felt momentous as a chapter, and I still really love reading that post back and remembering those little moments that did, and still do make me so happy. But- with a little time having since passed, I wanted to update that post and share a few things that have brought brightness into grey days lately! I’d also love to know the things that have been making your cheerful too!
Can I get three cheers for lighter evenings?! SPRING IS HERE! It truly felt like a good year of darkness at 3pm, so being able to go out at 4:30 o’clock for an evening dog walk and not have to worry about a head torch (half joking) is so exciting. When I have time, one of my favourite things at the end of each day is going for an evening walk with Joe, Maggie and a flask of tea- and as the evenings get warmer too I’m excited to pick up a takeaway pizza and have a park picnic- big dreams!
OMG the ‘I-do’s!’
When I last did one of these posts we were starting to talk about wedding planning, and now I’m absolutely at the stage where I’m trying to soak up the last couple of months of planning before the big day comes- where has time gone?! It felt like we hadn’t done anything for about a year, and now I’m wondering how it’s come about so fast. Each morning I always look forward to the post and the hope another little blue RSVP pops through the door- seeing everybody’s song choices is the perfect way to start each day, and me and Joe have been getting quite competitive about opening the envelopes.
Ssssh- secret project!
Is it horribly annoying to be that guy when it comes to secret projects? It might never happen again so bare with me and please allow me to indulge in a cloak of mystery just this once. Anyway- with a couple of things behind the scenes, it’s been scary/exciting/nerve-wracking to push my comfort zones a little (or a lot), and really try and set my sights at acing something new. It’s meant that blog content has been a little slower than normal, and I’ve had to trim things down a bit over here, but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait! Sometimes it’s nice to shake things up a little, and this has certainly given my routine a bit of a jiggle- watch this space!
Cooking: THE update
WELL! This one has made me cheerful- because this week Joe and I have been cooking an awful lot. Joe primarily does most of the cooking at home (something I never thought I’d say, and something, that I realise makes me a very fortunate woman indeed)- but in the last week we’ve had three fish dishes (!), arancini AND meatballs and I can’t quite believe it’s not Jamie Oliver out there in our kitchen. I also baked for the first time in absolutely months and made something not only edible but tasty too (can I say that?) It’s so satisfying being able to eat the fruits of your labour in the kitchen, and I think it’s safe to say my baking spark has certainly been reignited.
It’s half term!
Okay, so although I’m not at school, or working alongside terms dates (although ain’t that an idea)- my best friend Gemma is currently on her Easter break and it’s been lovely getting things in when perhaps we’d both be busy with work. Having popped out to meet her and her rescue pup today for lunch- we have a couple of other dates in the diary before she’s back at school- and it’s been nice being a little flexible with my hours to get to hang more- woop!
Getting a trim…
Isn’t it amazing what getting a trim can do for your confidence? After pretty much not having gone to the hairdressers in months, my barnet was looking a little bit flat and sad- and since going a couple of weekends ago I feel like I have my hair-swooshing-sass back! It always feels like such a treat going, sitting still for a few hours with my head in a magazine (and a Larry King jam tart)- and stepping out feeling like a new woman. Maybe I shouldn’t leave it so long next time (no pun intended)…
Race around the world (not me)…
BARE WITH ME! One TV show I’ve unexpectedly gotten really into is Race Around The World. I started watching it a few weeks ago, and for something that doesn’t involve dating, food or singing- it’s amazing I’m a fan. But, if you like a good reality style show, without the corniness and with a bit of competition and sightseeing thrown in for good measure- this will be right up your street! Next up- Fleabag…
Last week I headed down to Brighton on Tuesday with the wonderful people from This Works (and a group of some wonderful women from the online world) for an evening by the sea, and an introduction to their beautiful new morning Morning Expert collection. Having not visited Brighton in over a year (!) I was so excited to finally be back to one of my favourite UK destinations (and somewhere I’ve learnt I’ll be heading to on my hen party very soon too- eek)!
Although primarily a press trip, Carrie and I decided to extend our stay by the coast for a little longer (just call us wild and spontaneous), for a day to explore, take in some fresh sea air and revisit some favourite places. Arriving on the Tuesday to blustery downpours, we decided to hold out for Wednesday’s forecast before heading back on the train- and couldn’t have been more lucky to wake up to blue skies and a wind speed that promised my hair would probably stay in place too- unheard of!
After wandering down for breakfast after a wonderful nights sleep (I guess the clue would be in the brand press trip), we headed out to soak up as much Vitamin D as possible!
After heading down to the sea, stopping to take some photos and then heading into town- we both agreed how much it felt like ‘old school blogging’. The idea of having a day trip, camera’s in hand (a little like an A Level Photography visit) and just photographing for the pure joy of it and documenting it afterwards. No grand expectations, curated images and perfect outfits. Just what we had packed based on a weather forecast, and being somewhere for the love of a location, and not a place we’d saved especially.
So, with an open return that’s just what we did- explore. Naturally I dragged Carrie around some of my favourite shops, including Our Daily Edit (the best fashion curation ever), Workshop (the best home wares, styling and guys that work there) and Utility (for a good old fashioned plate or two). We also both made time for new discoveries, including Photomatic (the whole shop dedicated to getting the perfect photo booth picture) and popping our heads into old favourite vintage haunts, such as Waiste and Beyond Retro– where naturally, the Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack was playing, and suddenly all my sixteen year old beehive-wearing and knee-sock loving twee dreams felt like a reality again- oh, Brighton! Before we knew it we were collecting our cases, packing up a Tunnock’s for the road and heading back to London- cleansed by sqwaking seagulls and the fresh sea air.
I know it definitely won’t be so long until my next visit (just a few weeks and counting)- see you again soon, Brighton!
I haven’t done a hair post in a while, so I thought it was about time I update you with a handful of my favourites I constantly lean on for tackling fine hair.
Having grown up with hair that errs on the side of a flat and having less-than-thick hair (but assuring myself that, hey, Alexa Chung has fine hair too), I’ve grown up on the hunt for the best volumising, thickening and root boosting products- in order to cross my fingers and wake up looking more Mariah than Alan Partridge (which, actually, saying that– has a pretty good head of hair on him- so maybe that comparison wasn’t best placed).
Regardless- despite sampling my fair share of products and wandering gormlessly down the aisles at Boots- I still often wake up with hair that simply feels like I haven’t washed it properly- and following on from some ~deep~ hair chats over on Instagram last week- it seems like I’m not the only one tackling the fine-haired-greasy-feeling mop- so I thought I’d share some findings! Although the perfect hair routine is definitely a process, I thought I’d introduce you to some of the products that never let me down, and often have me guaranteed waking up for a ghd (that’s good hair day for anyone out there who doesn’t invest 100% of their time into learning pointless things)…
In short- for fine hair, I ultimately want something that leaves my hair feeling clean. Not soft or silky necessarily (any softer and we’d be dealing with brown candy floss, or ‘brown smoke’ (1:33) but something that feels washed, ready to style and free of any product that I used the day before to hold it against a moderate breeze. Right? Ready!
First duo first- and that goes to the Kristen Ess The One Signature Shampoo and Conditioner. Having first tried these at one of my best friends houses during a sleepover (shout out to Genevieve)! I had no idea about the hair mastermind Kristen actually was (she’s Lauren Conrad’s stylist extraordinaire, FYI)- so I’m absolutely late to the party. Sucked in by the peachy matte bottles and promise of a bloody good lather- this pairing make your hair feel CLEAN. Not only do they foam and lather up brilliantly, but they leave my hair feeling perfectly ready to style and not weighed down in any way- and often, I think that’s the secret to thicker hair. Not necessarily a promise of thickness, just a promise that it won’t feel heavy and textured- and that’s exactly what these do- perhaps I was right to be lured in by the pretty bottles after all?
When it comes to brilliant shampoos, Bumble & Bumble can really do no wrong. Having loved their Sunday Shampoo for ages (which is great at getting rid of product build up)- it was their Invisible Oil collection that first drew me in.
Often thinking I didn’t have the right hair for their infamous Surf Sprays, it was this collection that I first tried at the hairdressers that truly strikes a gorgeous balance of shine and moisture for fine hair, without making it feel unbearably soft. Good job B&B!
Ironically, although it’s what I’m after, often I’m not a huge fan of thickening shampoos. With most leaving residue in my hair (that, or whenever I use them I do a terrible job at washing) there’s only a couple that slip through the net with rave reviews. The first being evo’s Gluttony shampoo*– free of sulfates, parabens and nasties and ‘gimmick free’- it’s a total all-rounder for lifting yer barnet.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a fine hair guide without my pre-bed shake up, the humble dry shampoo. One thing I’ve learnt recently is that applying this before bed is a GAME CHANGER. I know this sounds like I was born a hundred years ago, but honestly- the difference it makes sleeping in dry shampoo is extraordinary. Anyway! If you’re after a couple to lift yer roots and leave you with great second day hair (a mean feat if your hair is a flat as mine can be) I absolutely love Aveda’s Shampure dry shampoo*, a powder consistency but honestly so bloody brilliant, as well as Sam Mcknight’s Lazy Girl spray too for something a little more on-the-go.
I hope you’ve managed to discover a few new shower pals in here- here’s to scalp solidarity, and sharing any gems below too!
There have been lots and lots of wonderful things that I’ve enjoyed about wedding planning. Despite the minor stresses (finally sending out invites last week had me both breathing deep sighs of relief and going clammy handed all at once), it’s been a series of lovely tasks to tick off and things to think about- which, ultimately, I hope- will end up with a really lovely party at the end of it.
But, with all of the planning, a few things keep popping up which have had me scratching my head again and again- with one thing being the wedding diet and weight loss culture surrounding the preparation for the big day.
I’ve seen articles on it, I’ve seen people talk about it- and more frequently than I care to enjoy, I’ve been asked about it too. Losing weight and changing how we look in the lead up to this one day is so common, that sometimes I think we stop to question why we actually do it, and why it’s so heavily engrained into part of a commitment and ceremony, which ultimately has nothing to do with the way we look. Until the wedding preparations began, I very rarely picked faults at my body shape. Yes I feel insecure and uncertain of it at times, but not in the under-a-microscope way I think society likes to think we need to when planning a wedding.
If anything, I want to make sustainable changes that shouldn’t have to be commanded on top of the pressure of organising a huge party- where food, dancing and brilliant company reign supreme over everything else. I want to be able to maintain whatever I start (for example, I started going to the gym last Autumn, which although felt ‘timely’ is something I wanted to do for fitness gain before, and after the wedding) and I don’t want to look back at my wedding and think ‘christ Liv, that’s as good as you’re going to get’ and keep referring back to that.
Yes I want to look happy and lovely and pretty (and all of those wonderful adjectives), of course I do- I’m only human. But I don’t want to feel unrecognisable. Or peckish. Or regretful that I didn’t lap up every moment of this incredible time. Of course I want to feel my best, but the expectation of applying an unattainable standard of something to myself at an already demanding time seems ridiculous, right? I mean- I’d like to think Joe is marrying me (and vice versa) because he already quite likes me? He’s seen me when I resemble Russell Brand in the morning! Give the man a medal! (Ahem)! Is there this pressure on men in the wedding lead up? Perhaps- but I’m sure when Joe’s sat down for dinner he hasn’t been asked about whether he’s ‘going to give a wedding diet a go?!’ Before I started wedding planning, in a knee jerk reaction I started thinking about when the ‘right time’ would be to start thinking about these things- and you know what? There isn’t a right time.
The right time isn’t before a wedding- but it’s when you decide you want to. If ever. Perhaps your big day might be the prompt you’d like, but trust me when I say if you don’t want to change anything before you get married- for gods sake, don’t. If you’ve never had a bikini wax before, don’t feel you have to do it now. If you’ve never plucked your eyebrows, set foot on a treadmill or even worn a set of fake eyelashes- don’t pressure yourself to. Those things truly do not matter. Obviously, with big events brings opportunity to try something new (hello a great fake tan!) BUT, cease those moments only when they feel right and not because you feel you ‘have’ to. You are brilliant as you are, and trust me when I say you don’t need this special time to set a benchmark for an unattainable version of yourself. Really.
So, if like me- you’re drowning in stamps, to do lists and cake trials- have your cake, eat it too and scrape the plate with a bloody fork afterwards. Hopefully you’ll only have to do this once, so soak up every last drop.