The Party Season: Dresses

With Christmas looming around the corner, many parties and work-dos have been announced. And with that, their have been many Asos orders (and returns). With the sudden influx of parties and events, the need for an appropriately festive outfit is in need. All throughout the year I find it easy to find a dress I like at a reasonable price, apart from when I actually need one. Alas, the time has come to find a dress for parties, meals, events… and I cannot find one. Endlessly searching every New Look and Asos sale, only to find nothing. As if the month of December is not stressful enough as it is…

One of the bitter sweet things about the festive period is the sudden increase in sales. This can be both a great thing, or quite the opposite. The opportunity to find a great bargain is there, but also the overwhelming feeling of dread as you reject anything as there is. Just. Too. Much. Choice. Refer here.

In order to make your life a little easier (and to give myself an excuse for a bit of online browsing, coincidentally one of my favourite pass times), I have compiled a list of some of my favourite dresses for the festive period that will look great at any event, with a range of prices.

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New Look Red Velvet Wrap Dress £27.99

New Look Bell Sleeve Dress £22.99

New Look Grey Velvet Choker Dress £11.49

Topshop Satin Frill Midi Dress £59

Zara Floral Embroidered Dress £69.99

Pull & Bear Jumpsuit £49.99

‘Dressing is a way of life’

-Yves Saint Laurent 

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Stocking Fillers Under £20

It seems like Christmas has popped out of no where this year. One minute, I was starting the new year by setting up my blog, and the next minute it was time to get the decorations out from the attic and start the exciting and yet arduous process of Christmas shopping.

With the shock of Christmas coming so early, the inevitable rush of shopping commences. Whether you’ve put off going shopping this year or you have absolutely no idea what to get the person in your life, I guarantee you there is some one in the same position. Often Christmas shopping can be difficult, especially if you are on a budget. In light of this struggle, I have put together a list of items and advice of gifts that are assured to be great presents for a range of different personalities. Stay calm and happy shopping!

Always remember…

  1. Steer clear of clothes unless you know the person extremely well (and they have directly hinted of what they would like as well as telling you their size), everybody has their own personal style and it is better to get them something else rather than getting them something that will only gather dust and take up space. That being said, pyjamas make a great present and are sized a lot more effectively (when in doubt, most people will take a medium as lounge-wear is meant to be over sized).
  2. DO NOT BUY SHOES. Slippers and socks, yes. But not shoes. If you do, make sure to include a gift receipt.
  3. Jewelry can be great, but make sure it is dainty and not too much of a statement. It is better to go for plainer and yet pretty bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Steer clear of rings as it is difficult to estimate size.
  4. Think about every thing you use and like, but you never buy for yourself. Socks, slippers, stationary, bath stuff. These are usually always successful presents, and shops such as Boots (look out for their great 3 for 2 offer that runs for the festive period) and Lush always have great sets with a range of prices that will accommodate any budgets.
  5. If in doubt, give a gift card. It may seem slightly impersonal, but remember that it would be better to get a gift that you can personalise to yourself than something that you would not enjoy.

WARNING: ROYAL MAIL ARE HAVING A STRIKE FROM NEXT WEEK TO CHRISTMAS EVE. BRITISH PEOPLE ORDER CAREFULLY!    

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Paperchase Notebook £12

NYX Lip and Eye Collection £15

Soap and Glory Clean Get Away Gift Set £10

Sanctuary Candle £10

Primark Slipper Socks £3

Inside Vogue £11.89

Little Women £7.49

Charlotte Tilbury Party Eyes Kit £20

Lush Golden Wonder Set £9.95

New Look Pyjamas £7.49

New Look Mug £5.99

Lindt Chocolate

‘Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping’

-Bo Derek

How to Layer: Winter 101

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Source: Pinterest

Layering remains one of the best fashion trends of the Autumn/Winter season. It can be both fashionable and incredibly warm and cosy. However, it still terrifies most people. In fear of looking ‘bigger than they actually are’ people either incorrectly layer, or avoid the trend all together. In my experience of layering clothes in order to shield myself from the biting British weather (…or rain), I have compiled a list of the best way to layer clothes in order to keep warm this winter.

  1. Start off with the base layer. Much like building something, you need to start out with a good foundation. I recommend a t-shirt. It’s best to keep something form-fitting, in order to add bulk with more layers. I tend to gravitate towards solid block colours in order to get the seasonal colours in, or more recently, a good stripped tee (which is necessary in everybody’s wardrobe!).
  2. Next, we build on top. This is where the real layering starts, so take advantage of it to it’s fullest. I tend to add either a cardigan or jumper, or anything knitted for that matter. I love chunky cable knit items in the winter. Wear something that goes well with your t-shirt. If you have a plain tee, this step is the place to add a bit of colour into your look.
  3. It is finally time for the coat! Either a coat of jacket will work on this step. I am personally a massive advocate of coats and I love them (stay tuned for a blog post coming soon!). Coats can either make or break an outfit, so I suggest staying with basic colour, such as navy, grey and camel. Bomber jackets will also work, as they are a great trend for this season. This is also a great opportunity to start experimenting with textures. Add different fabrics to add some detail to each layer in your outfit. In terms of silhouette shape, it is your preference. I normally either wear a boyfriend coat, or a duster of some sort.
  4. Finally, to keep yourself extra warm, feel free to add a scarf and gloves to protect yourself from the harsh wind!

Coats: New Look Topshop River Island

‘Knitwear can play a vital part in layering. The simplicity of a lightweight cardigan makes it one of the best ways to layer outfits. I love granddad cardis for winter, worn over a vintage lace shirt, waistcoat and full skirt with slouchy boots’

-Twiggy

Ode To My Last Year.

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I am writing this the evening before the 5th of September (Edit: it was posted later). The day I go back to school for year 13. Even typing that seems surreal. I can remember my first day of school, all nerves with bubbles of excitement running through my body, and now I am about to embark on my last year in the education system. And then, university and adult life…

It is easy to get frustrated at school, and look forward to when it is over. School is, after all, a very stressful time, full of emotions, pressures and change. I often think to myself (or moan out loud to my friends!), ‘this week is dragging’ or ‘I can’t wait for this lesson to be over’. But now on reflection, I realise that my time at school has literally flown by. I know the phrase ‘it will be over before you know it’ is overused and most of you reading are rolling your eyes right now, but the reality is, that is true.

I speak from a privileged position. I am currently very happy with most of my school, the happiest I’ve ever been in the education system. Although I’ve had tough and rocky moments, I am not being bullied and I have a fantastic group of friends. Therefore, this post may seem stupid to some of you, as I talk about how to make the most of your last year at school, while you are counting down the says until you can leave.

School is a strange thing. Tough moments and challenges all seem forgotten once you have broken up for summer and you are getting ready for a new year. Personally, I get excited the night before I go back. The prospect of a new year. Changes. Different classes. I get to see my new friends, and I have the nicest new stationary to begin the new term. Yes, after the first week, the novelty wears off. Excitement of a new class turns into dread as you realise you have 3 essays due in on the same day and you cannot stop watching YouTube or procrastinating by doing everything but doing your work. Your new stationary starts dwindling down, until all you are left with is your bog standard Biro pen. And the prospect of a new day turns into grunts of annoyance because it. is. just. too. damn. early.

But yes. Overall, I do enjoy school.

It may get on my nerves a bit, but you can’t have everything.

But looking back, I have learnt so much in my education. Not just pointless facts that I no longer need such as Pythagoras’ theorem, or the formation of an oxbow lake. But I think I have developed most socially and emotionally. Learning things is not always about academics, but rather how you cope with school. I have decided to share some of the things that I appreciate about school, and what I have learnt over the past 13 years of my life.

It does not matter. I think, perhaps, this is the most important lesson I have learnt while at school. That test that you are stressing over, the person who you are worried to see or the topic you just cannot understand. All of it does not matter. While at school, this piece of advice is the hardest to comprehend. It seems like the entire world depends on the decision you make, as the pressure of school is astronomical, and you are at a rather awkward time in your development and growth. But once you get that in your head, your school time will come easily. Time flies, and in truth, you probably won’t see anyone from school after you leave, and definitely if you do not want to. So, do not put pressure on yourself as it will probably be fine.

Do not surround yourself with negative people. Whether you are feeling negative and sad with your current friends, or struggling to find the courage to leave your group, do it. Speaking from personal experience, trying to grasp and cling on to a friendship that is no longer there is damaging and not worth it. People change, and so will you. My friendship groups have inevitably morphed and changed through my time at school, and if you are at all feeling sad or wrong with your friends, change it. It is within your power only. The all consuming feeling of being worried to be around them is bad for you. If you are worried about what they will say, refer back to my first point. But in order to find a better friendship group for you, I recommend becoming closer to other people who are nice to you and willing to be your friend, this is actually easier than you first imagine. And then, either talk to the group and explain your feelings, or, if it is easier for you, just leave them. It will blow over, and if they do not respect your choices, they are not good enough people for you to worry about.

Not everybody will get along. This is perhaps the one that I realized latest. But once I did figure this out, my life at school became a lot easier and less draining. In school, people of all different personalities and backgrounds are put together to learn. This can be a useful learning experience, but also inevitably leads to a few clashes. I, being a self confessed people-pleaser, found it really difficult to get a long with everybody. I often put myself out for people unnecessarily, which became draining. The truth is, you will not get along with everybody you see and that is OK.

Hard work and organization is annoying, but necessary.  This is only learnt through trial and error, but I will leave that one with you. A hard worker will go a long way.

Enjoy yourself. Out of all of my lessons, this is the most important. School can be a pain. You are forced to learn things that do not fuel your fire and that you find boring, but hard work will help you through. Enjoy the time with your friends and cherish the security and help your teachers and the school environment gives you. It will be over before you know it (Oh God, I’m back at it again…).

‘Dark times lie ahead of use and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right’

-J.K.Rowling

 

Autumn Trends

Let’s get physical 

Thanks to Balenciaga’s Autumn Winter 2016 collection, sportswear has risen in popularity for this AW. Available and shown in most high street stores, their is no escaping this trend. Be gym ready and dress down in comfortable, yet stylish clothes this season. Look for block stripes and blue and red colours to style this trend. Baseball caps and gym bags to accessorize.

Autumn trends 2016 sports

1 ) New Look Jacket £19.99

2 ) New Look Block Stripe Jumper £15.99

3 ) New Look Cap £9.99

4 ) Topshop Joggers £34

5 ) Topshop Net crop top £15.00

 Velvet

It’s safe to say that velvet completely dominated A/W 16 fashion shows. From Prada, to Preen. This 90’s trend can be translated into your modern clothes. For a subtle look, combine the accessory trend of chokers, with velvet, and add a hint of velvet into your look. Velvet works well to create texture into your outfit. In a variety of colours, experiment with crushed and ruched velvet.

Velvet!

1 ) New Look Navy Velvet Funnel Neck Dress £24.99

2 ) Pink Velvet Tiger Kimono £68.00

3 ) Boohoo Crushed Velvet Full Skirt £5.00

4 ) Boohoo Velvet Choker £3.00

Military 

As seen by Kylie Jenner modelling in the Mui Mui AW16 show, military is making a comeback this season. Look for anything khaki and style with browns and beige’s. Look for badges and chains to accessorize.

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1 ) Topshop Military Trench Coat £59.00

2 ) New Look Khaki Military Long Sleeve Shirt £17.99

3 ) New Look Khaki Military Badge Cap £9.99

4 ) River Island Camel Military Culottes £20

5 ) H & M Khaki Long Shirt £14.99

‘What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is instant language’

-Miuccia Prada

Back To School Essentials

When starting school, it is hard to know what you will need throughout the day. It is good to be prepared, but your shoulders are already being worn down by the large folders and bulky text books. And besides, by the end of the week, half of your stuff is missing and opened and you can’t even find a pen to write down important notes. We’ve all been there and pre-planning has never been one of my strong points. There is also the never ending struggle between finding effective products and the money you can spend. Students, notorious for being low on money, often have minimum wage jobs (if lucky enough to obtain one!), so must find the balance between finding good essentials, at an even better price. In order to prepare for the upcoming school year myself, I have compiled a list of the things that I most need for the school year, and share it with you in case you are wondering the same.

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1 ) H&M Shopper Bag £17.99 – I am the worst at finding suitable and fashionable bags for school. In fact, anyone who I am with when I mention I need to look for one while shopping, rolls their eyes and groan in frustration. I can be very picky when finding bags, as I want them to look fashionable, yet remain suitable. They have to be big enough and strong enough. When faced with the start of a new term, I often turn to H&M for a new bag, as they always have very good and bags. Both basic and stylish for school. I found this one almost immediately when I walked into my local store. It came in black and this burgundy colour, I have many black bags so I decided to go for burgundy, it also conforms to the 1970s trend, which I am a massive fan of. And it is an affordable price as well!

2 ) Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £4.19 – This is always my go to concealer, whatever the occasion, but especially for school. It really covers blemishes and dark circles (essential for school!), while still feeling really light on the skin. Again at an affordable price, this concealer is easy to slip into your bag and take out after PE or when you need a top up. I always take this with me and cannot recommend it enough!

3 ) Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder £3.99 – Throughout the school day, it is inevitable that your makeup is going to rub off of your face, and your skin turn shiny and oily. Especially after a PE lesson! Pressed powder is definitely best, as there is less of a chance of spillage and it is a lot more easy and convenient to use. Powder helps to keep your makeup fresh and looking nice. I love this Rimmel powder, as it is inexpensive and easy to take around. As for application, I have an old, small brush (probably very cheap as well) that I take around. Your brush does not need to be great when just being used in school.

4 ) Hand Gel £1.00 – I am a complete germaphobe. Obviously, when you’re in a building full of people, germs are inevitable. This is always handy to use before you eat, as you do not always have access to toilets, or have no desire to go in them (understandable). Even if you just want to sanitize hands, this is always just great to use. This is cheap and effective, and people will quickly want to be your friend as you are the only one who thinks of these things!

5 ) Nivea Lip Balm £1.65 – My lips always get dry, especially as we move into the colder months. This lip balm is convenient and handy to use, and quite inexpensive, as it lasts a long time. It helps dry and cracked lips, which can be painful. I also love shea butter! If your school does not allow lip colours, use a clear lip balm like this, but if you can get away with coloured lip, I recommend Baby Lips, which moisturize your lips while adding a subtle colour.

6 ) Lush Charity Pot £1.00 – Again, I always get dry hands in the colder months. After many tried and tested products, I found that charity pot works best for my skin. The trial size is only £1, and most of the proceeds go to charity. It is a perfect size and works wonders on my dry skin. The only issue is, obviously, it is in a pot, therefore it can be quite difficult and messy to get the lotion on your hands. Regardless, this product is one of my absolute essentials for school.

7 ) Impulse Body Spray £1.00 – Smelling nice is always a concern when at school. Whether after PE, or just in the middle of the day, it is nice to feel fresh. Be mindful of your schools rules on aerosols, but this impulse spray is cheap and easy to slip into your bag. Although not the most luxurious of scents, they are nice and easy to use. Definitely a must have.

‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams’ 

-Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

Claudia’s Declassified School Survival Guide

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Source: Pinterest

High school. The reality of it has been morphed greatly due to many teen American high school films, and embarrassing yet spirited tales of bitching, late nights and heartbreak that circulate around the Internet. To someone who hasn’t experienced the high school environment, it seems like a terrifying cesspool of difficult class work and raging hormones. Before I started high school, I saw high school as a competitive environment full of catty fights and acne-ridden, hormone-raging adolescents who were all against me. I never pictured I would actually have fun. So, before we proceed with this blog post, let me clear up some rumors and myths made by over dramatic teenagers looking to scare the school’s newbies. High school is not like that. Not. At. All. It’s not anything like ‘Mean Girls’. The school is just full of normal people, just like you. It’s inevitable that there’s going to be some bitching and cattiness, I means there’s hundreds, maybe even thousands of students of the same age stuck together in close proximity for around 6 hours a day. Everyone has different tastes, opinions and likes, there are going to be some clashes. But no where near the amount people expect. No, high school isn’t bad. Perhaps I over exaggerated earlier, but high school is definitely a daunting prospect. So in order to put some peoples minds at ease, I have compiled a list of survival tips to ensure that you not only get through high school, but that you also enjoy yourself. So, having finished high school, here’s my list of tips on how to make the most of your experience.


1) Organisation is the key-

I cannot stress enough about how important this step really is. Make sure you have enough time to complete your studies, do your homework, socialise (a vital part of development!), peruse any hobbies, eat, wash and just generally take care of yourself. This seems like a demanding list, but honestly it isn’t that hard if you just organize your time wisely. When your teacher sets homework, MAKE SURE YOU WRITE IT DOWN! I recommend getting a planner if your school doesn’t give you one. That way you are always sure you have recorded the homework and know when to do it. Do your homework the night you get it. I understand that this is easier said than done, but you’ll feel a lot better and less stressed once it’s out of the way. Also, when you get home after school, don’t turn on the TV, get your laptop or go on your phone. Do your homework straight away. By all means, get a nutritious snack and change into something more comfortable but make sure you do your homework as soon as possible. Being distracted by gadgets or anything other than homework can be harmful as you loose all motivation and it makes it that much harder to do your homework when you finally get down to it. When you get back from school, you are still in a working mindset and you will complete your work efficiently. Getting distracted is easy, and next thing you know, it’s 8 ‘o clock in the evening, meaning you have to haven a late night just to complete a task that would normally take a couple of hours! Doing your work sooner means it takes less time. If you loose concentration you will feel more tired, and your work will take much longer to do.


Pack your bag the night before and get your lunch sorted out before you go to bed. This way you just have to pick up your bag, with all of your books already in it (!), and leave the house. 


2) Try your best-

This advice applies to everything in life. At school, you will be surrounded by people who get straight A*’s and seem so smart it feels impossible. You will be surrounded by people who are better than you in certain subjects and areas. I’m afraid that’s just the reality of life. Accept it. I never enjoyed science in high school, it really wasn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be very curious and fascinated with the subject, I even wanted to work in science. But, I was forced to do the subject in a way I didn’t want, learning things in the wrong way for me and I quickly learned to dislike the subject (that’s a whole other point). I was put in the top set and I was surrounded by people who were simply fantastic at the subject. I was not. I had the ability, but having no interest in the subject, I found it hard. Science is the only subject I had this problem, but considering I was in a class of a few people who loved and excelled at science, I couldn’t help but compare myself. I wish I had this advice earlier: DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! The reality of high school is that you will find people better than you in a lot of things, but that’s OK. You will find things that you love and that you are good at. Do not compare yourself to others or you will just bring yourself down. Everyone has a talent, as long as you work as hard as you can, you will find yours. It’s easy to compare yourself, I mean, you’re in close proximity with over 1000 students all with different talents, sat in classes of at least 20. But just remember you have your own talents, which may not be the same as everyone else’s.


That being said, you can’t just accept that you are bad at a subject and do nothing about it. You have to work. Try your hardest at everything and achieve what you can. No one can ask anything else of you. This will help you in life as well. If you try hard and go out achieving your goals, opportunities will open up for you and you will get what you want. It doesn’t matter if someone is the smartest person ever, if they don’t try hard in everything they do, they won’t succeed. Trying hard also means that you won’t have to go over topics as much because you tried hard, they are cemented in your brain, meaning you will have a more successful exam season!


3) Don’t stress! 

Not every test that you take at school means something. In fact, very few tests mean anything at all. You should still try hard at everything you do, but don’t worry if you get one bad test result. I can guarantee that you will forget about it next week and it won’t matter. All those tedious end of topic tests mean nothing in the long run. Nothing. Those tests are just there so you can experience an exam atmosphere before you have to sit down for the important ones. In fact, those test can be quite useful to use for revision as you can see exam style questions and you can afford to make mistakes before your final exams. I heavily revised from my end of topic tests and it really does help. Make sure you keep them as your teachers will often go through them and correct them with you. This way you can see what should have been put and you can pin down an exam technique effectively before it’s time for your final exams. Teacher won’t tell you this, but it’s quite useful to make mistakes in these tests rather than the big exams. The point is, don’t stress if you fail! These little tests mean nothing and everyone will fail a few at a few during their school career. Don’t get me wrong, don’t try to fail these tests or refuse revision. No, these tests prove very useful revision as they help secure the knowledge of the topic and get it cemented in your brain, meaning it’s easier to revise as there has been repetition. But honestly, if you fail an unimportant test, it’s not the end of the world. If a test is important (GCSE’s, A Levels, Finals), you will know. If a test doesn’t go to plan, learn from it, make sure you understand where you went wrong, and move on! By the next day, no one will care and it will be irrelevant.


On the same note, all those friendship issues, boy/girl issues, class issues and just general school problems, mean nothing. Every person in that school is there for the same reason: to learn. There will be some clashing and disagreements but that is expected. Although when you’re in the situation it seems like the most important thing in the world, it’s not. Everyone will have moved on by tomorrow and will have forgotten petty fights. However, if it’s bullying, make sure you contact someone you trust.

 

4) Surround yourself with positive people

If someone is having a negative impact on your life, stop being friends with them. I know this is easier said than done, but trust me, your life will be a whole lot happier. I’m speaking from personal experience. If you feel left out, sad, annoyed, weighed, done and just generally negative when you’re around someone, get them out of your life. Your school days are too short to worry about people like that who you won’t see ever again after your school years. Don’t let your days be ruined just by being with those bad people. 

 

No one has the right to make you feel bad or negative.

While reviewing this post, I cannot help but cringe. My last year of school is fast approaching, and looking back at my years at school was weird and difficult. It took me many days to contemplate how to formulate this post. I am not one to sound cheesy, and I hate the saying ‘everything will be OK’, because in truth, everybody’s school experience is different. My current state of happiness (most of the time), at school was created through trial and error. School is weird. You will meet great and terrible people, but the most important thing is to get through and try to enjoy yourself. I always try to end my post with some witty comment, or some profound, thought-provoking comment, but I’ve found myself at a loss. So I part with some important advice I wish I had taken on earlier ‘It will be over before you know it, seize the opportunity.’

‘Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.’

-Malala Yousafzai

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Source: Pinterest