Why I Hate Summer

31 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
Photo credit.
Summer in the UK isn't the typical summer, I could happily live in the South of France and enjoy the sunshine each and every day, but there's something about summer in England that I just can't bear. I enjoyed my first real beach holiday in 2013 when I visited Salou on a huge family holiday. Despite getting a little heatstroke, I enjoyed fun-filled days and loved the summer. On the other hand, the English sun is just a little more 'uncomfortable'.

In general, I prefer winter because I like feeling cosy and warm rather than sweaty and ready to self-combust. I like blankets, white landscapes, layers of clothing, not shaving my legs, fires and hot chocolate. Summer is an out-going season, it's for those who love festivals, sandals and barely-there clothing. Laying in the sun for hours isn't beneficial for me anyway, I just get darker and warm. Hayfever ruins my summers most years, mainly because it's linked to asthma which is possibly the most frustrating condition on the planet. I associate summer in the UK with stickiness, unnecessary shirtless humans and awkward park picnics. For some absurd reason, many people feel the need to bathe in public fountains or water features which isn't a sight I'm desperate to see in July.

For me, summer is a month-long battle to keep cool, as I constantly complain I'm way too warm. The non-stop festivals are great for socialites but I like cosy nights in and non-stop Netflix which helped me fall in love with the winter season. There's more opportunity to experience with your style in winter, layering and different coats or jackets are a great way to accentuate any wardrobe. I adore the sunshine, especially when I'm in another country; but over here, summer thankfully only lasts a few weeks.

Not That Social

29 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
I have always been surrounded by social butterflies.When living in a large family, attending a large school and working in an enormous city, it's very season to sink or slip into the back of the crowd without anyone noticing. During secondary school, it was difficult to be shy due to the constant association with friends which did wonders for my confidence. On the other hand, in my mind I have always been the quiet one, despite what others may have gathered. Socialising and meeting new people is fun and a vital experience in life but I have come to terms with the fact that I'm just not that social. Saturday night house parties are great, I enjoy all the fraternising that goes with it. But sometimes I would rather enjoy my own company and spend a few hours reading or on Tumblr/Pinterest. 

The comfort with being alone comes from being so very shy. When I was a lot younger, I used to feel to nervous and uncomfortable to say hello to my own extended family members, it was just too daunting. Answering up in class and evening speaking up in general was always a challenge unless I felt like I was surrounded by close friends. Then social media came alone, which I have a love-hate relationship with. It all began with Bebo, choosing from thousands of skins and sending hearts to best friends. Not being included in a best friend's description box was devastating. Then Facebook came along, a website I haven't really used since 2010. This is probably down to the realisation that half of the 1,000 plus friends I had on there probably can't even pronounce my name.

As I have grown up, I occasionally revert back to my timid shell, but I actually like it. Every person has one comfort food, object or place. After visiting the library in the city centre almost every lunch break, I have realised that I feel at ease and most comfortable when surrounded by book, it gives my mind something to do. I can spend hours in Waterstones just reading blurbs and searching for my next read. I'm not forced into a social situation and conversations that do establish are natural and enjoyable. Maybe the social butterfly stage is yet to come.

Whatever Size Will Do

28 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
Learning to shop my size used to be incredibly difficult. It doesn't really matter what size you are, some people just aren't comfortable with a busy store and people looking over your shoulder. I have always been too tall for my age, which meant I had to buy clothes that were bigger for length, but I was never the slim type either. Confidence plays a huge factor in being able to choose up your own clothes size, and it comes down to simply not caring about the opinion of others, because they're probably not even looking.

In my mind, whenever I was shopping, I used to almost feel ashamed to pick up my size and was convinced other people were watching or judging me. But after a long period of reading "clothes numbers don't define us" posts and continually doing everything in my power to boost my confidence, I started to embrace my shape and actually open my eyes to realise the world doesn't revolve around me. People tend to mind their own business and it's down to you to realise not many people care whether you're picking up a size 6 or a size 16. 

My style has evolved a lot from being younger. I no longer shop at Jane Norman just for the snazzy carrier bags and I have no issue looking around F&F at Tesco for the occasional staple piece. When it comes down to how I like clothes to fit, I like a really loose fit and comfortable fabrics. I know textiles well, so I have learnt what fabrics will change or alter when washed or expand after use. Today, I have absolutely no problem picking up a size 18 in Topshop despite that being bigger than my real dress size. 

I tend to ignore the numbers on hangers and shop for the fit rather than the size; which is exactly why TK Maxx is one of my favourite stores. In-store shopping can be a challenge and takes real determination to dig through the hundred of clothing rails, but two jumpers could be marked medium and yet completely different sizes. Primark is my go-to store for affordable casual t-shirts. Although the quality isn't always phenomenal, there are plenty of different styles to go with. Shopping nowadays is plenty of fun rather than an anxiety-filled nightmare. Realising there are many more people sat in this boat makes every trip a lot more enjoyable.

5 Things That Make Me Smile

26 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
Photo Credit.
Being an adult is still pretty rough. After my first week of work, and finally getting round to Monday again, I feel like it's time for a pick-me-up; and it's only the first day of the week. Not only do I finally understand why people always complain about working, but I have discovered every fault in public transport and it's not as glorious as I imagined. Optimism needs to stay on top, so I thought I would remind myself of a few things that usually cheer me up when I'm just 'meh'.

1. Snow. And sometimes even rain. Although I prefer them when I'm inside, watching snow fall is almost therapeutic and the sound of rain is relaxing to fall asleep to. The snow clouds have been a little shy in January despite a few sleet spells, and a little sprinkle of snow is enough to make me smile. The greatest thing about living away from the city centre is being able to watch the snow fall as well as watch it settle.

2. Fried food. Anything I know isn't good for me is usually something I'm going to like. A Sunday fry-up sounds like the perfect thing on an early morning and the smell alone will make me smile. Despite my attempts to avoid fried or junk food, a few fries are a great way to feel a little warmer.

3. Movie nights. Paying almost £7 a month isn't the best thing to dwell on, but being able to watch some of my favourite films and television shows on repeat is the easiest way for me to feel better. As a self-professed couch potato, one of my best talents is being able to watch three seasons of a tv show in two days.

4. Winter sun. Waking up on a chilly morning is incredibly difficult, but with the slight shimmer of sun, it's that little bit easier. The natural light is almost like motivation for me to actually wake up, otherwise it's not really happening. Similarly, sitting indoors all day at a desk isn't as productive as one would imagine. Seeing the sun shine through the windows keeps me wide awake and feeling content.

5. Window shopping. Most people would say this makes them miserable, but I actually really enjoy browsing shops. Window shopping is a lot easier with an empty bank account, but trying on clothes and going to the sale rack is a great way to inspire your personal style and experiment with what's out on the high street. 

Working Girl: Day One

19 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
From being only a few feet tall, I have been desperate to grow up and live a mature world. Well, today I have changed my mine. Being an adult it's that great, it's actually pretty tiring. I had my first day of work today and felt pretty confident about it despite an entire night panicking about the impending first day.

The morning started out pretty smoothly, I managed to get a seat on the train despite having to endure an entire 20 minutes of a couple physically expressing their affection towards one another right in front of me. That would be the only downside to not getting a window seat; despite this, I still have headphones which instantly make any journey nauseating. After going through a tour of the building and getting to know a few team members, lunch approached quickly.
For some reason, my brain went into instant panic mode and I found myself already in tears as I exited the elevator. My first instinct is to ring my mum, a bitter-sweet option as it's the easiest way to feel less overwhelmed but also the easiest way to begin crying hysterically - luckily I didn't reach that point. The reason behind my lunchtime tears is still unknown, the work isn't too difficult and my colleagues are very nice.

By the end of the day, I was just excited to be on a train home; little did I know the day was about to get way worse. As I reached the train station, into my (brand new) Ivanka Trump tote to grab my (brand new) Karl Lagerfeld purse, I realised it was missing. Panic is an understatement. My immediate thought was Starbucks, where I went for lunch so I ran back as quick as one can in a pencil dress. Fortunately, my pink purse had been picked up by the waitress who served me and they happily handed it to me. Holding back tears was a struggle, words would barely form as I tried to thank the Starbucks staff.

Tomorrow is a new try and I'm going to try to put this below freezing, emotional rollercoaster day behind me. I imagined a full-time working life to be rewarding, but the day ends with me wrapped in fur blankets and Netflix till I drift off.

Blissful Beauty Sleep

14 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
A particular talent of mine is being able to sleep for extremely long periods of time. After a year of part-time jobs and work experience, there is nothing I'm going to miss more that sleeping till 1pm. As I enter full time work, that means less lazy mornings and twice as many train journeys and coffee runs. As much as I like being awake early, I don't like waking up early - it makes sense in my head. But being a real working girl is helping me to realise the real benefits of a good night's rest. During school, I could get away with lack of sleep because I barely paid attention, but now, I realise my concentration levels slowly decreasing the less sleep I get. 

Last year, I could fall asleep anywhere, at any time and in any position, but this month just seems to be against the odd nap. There are plenty of tips online for the best ways to fall asleep but non of them really seem to be working. However, I did find one method that working like a charm - being productive. Getting moments of motivation in the late hours is not unusual for me so when I decided to write a short story, draw something or read a very slow-paced book before bed, it became difficult to keep my eyes open. Sitting in front a bright screen never helped, but being bundled up in blankets with a warm drink and a pen and pad sends me to sleep before I can realise it. 

Now that I have learnt and experience the benefits of the extra hour or so in bed, I'm no longer falling asleep on my way to work!
Sleeping Masks // notonthehighstreet,com

Closet Clean-Out

12 January 2015

Hyde Park, London, UK

There are so many reasons why a closet clean-out is essential this season. We're not even a fortnight into the new year which means there's plenty of time to make the fresh start you promise every year. A brand new wardrobe isn't in my budget, but getting a few pieces here and there is a great way to develop your style and experiment more. I'm a working girl which means I'm always on the lookout for new looks to try that appear professional and stylish. 2015 is just getting started - the perfect excuse to splurging on January's best sales.

Get a head start on spring cleaning. Most people dread it, but there has to be a time when everything needs to be organised before it gets out of control. Claiming you have "nothing to wear" despite a wardrobe bursting at the seems is all too frustrating. Closet cleaning doesn't have to been seen as an upcoming chore, it should be a chance to finally take a look at the hidden gems that have been missing all year.

Spring is almost around the corner, and will arrive much quicker than expected so there's no better time to get your wardrobe in check. You may even be ahead of trends without realising, fashion always comes back around. More is not always the merrier and there's no reason why an 8-year-old jacket can't go to another lucky owner and be worn with pride. There are plenty of different platforms available for selling clothing, from apps like Depop to the ever-popular eBay. Anything that no longer fits, is damaged or simply doesn't suit you does not need to be crumpled and stuffed into the back of your wardrobe!

Any excuse for a fashion show should be taken. Try on just about everything you own just take make sure it still fits and is worth keeping. Organisation in a closet becomes key when you can no longer find something to wear in under 20 minutes. By trying your items on, you may discover mystery pieces that look way better than when you bought them. I recently found a floral bomber jacket I haven't worn since 2012 and it's in perfect condition. Closet cleaning always comes with surprises, so why not start digging?

It's Okay Not to Be Okay

9 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
Everyone has bad days, unfortunately it's natural. When I was 17, I really started to struggle. Leaning to be okay with not feeling too hot was difficult at first, and I did feel selfish comparing my own problems with those halfway around the world.

My school tutor came up with the term 'down day' which was almost like our codeword, translating to me "don't talk to me, this day can't get any worse" and we would use it in lessons so I could tell her how I was feeling without having to reveal everything. Down days are less common now that I'm out of school, I have a job and finally feel comfortable with the direction I seem to be heading in. But sometimes, there are days were I am just not okay. Unfortunately, that's not a good enough reason to take a day off work or sit wrapped in a duvet all day but it's something we all have to learn to accept. The purpose of this post isn't to whine on about my problems but to reassure others that might be feeling the same way. It's okay not to be okay - and it's normal too.

Low moods come and go for everyone, and moments of complete anguish and sorrow shouldn't been seen as the end of the world, despite what the brain wants to believe. I don't always force myself out of a bad mood, it could make it worse; pretending to be happy and false smiles are painful. On down days, it;s always about the gentle pace of realising all is not lost, there's another day ahead. Do something that makes you happy, even if it's as small as going to a café for breakfast or sneaking away for a walk during lunch. If someone asks if you're alright, there's no reason why you can't say no. "I'm just not feeling today" is a perfect reason in my mind, there doesn't always have to be a set in stone excuse with evidence and experience, there's no rulebook that I'm aware of. It's important to remember, at least one person somewhere has experience that feeling, and they could be sat right next to you.

this is how my week goes

8 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
this is how my week goes
My theory is that colour is for the brighter days and the better moods. This seems like more of an excuse, but I can't help to gravitate towards a monochrome look - it happens without me noticing. I'm a fan of contrasting colours because I think it's the easiest way to make a look appear put-together and effortless simultaneously. The R13 Nancy Striped Boy Tee is a perfect example. Stripes are such a simple pattern, but make this shirt seem more complex in contrast to a plain black or white tee. The Black High Waisted Jean Shorts compliment and bring out the black in the t-shirt, but to make this seem brighter, white shorts would work too. The distressed demin and studs expose the stylish design without going over the top.

A Wool Hat is essential for this season, even if shorts aren't. The 100% wool hat includes a subtle leather band for texture contrast. To finish the look, I included the Dioon Elastic Chelsea Boot available at Office Shoes. The chunky 90's inspired boot includes a platform for extra high and intensity.

The Paris Obsession

6 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
Photo Credit
In the words of  Audrey Hepburn, "Paris is always a good idea." There's something about this city that has me completely mesmerised, making it one of my favourite cities in the world. Paris brings out the inner wanderlust despite it's luxurious budget not always being on my side. Unlike New York City, I have been to Paris a few times and each time is better than the trip before. I have an aunt who just returned to Paris today and after spending 15 minutes at the airport, I really wanted to go with her. My last trip to the City of Lights was in March 2013 and each moment is still fresh in my memory. Sailing down the Seine at 10pm was magical as I took at least 40 photos of the Notre Dame Cathedral with the Eiffel shimmering every hour.

Paris tends to bring out my inner fashionista, and whenever I'm there I feel 10% more confident than I would right here in the UK. Not only do I love to travel, but being in a city that's full of inspiration at every corner is a dream come true. The city has a glamorous stigma to it that some say will fade away after a few months of overcrowded underground tubes and tourists, but I don't believe it. After spending just a few days there I already feel like I could live in a small apartment close to the city centre.

My aunt moved there when she was 25 after spending a while in London and eventually taking the plunge. After receiving a C in GCSE French, I still have a while to brush up on the language before I move over too. Posters and postcards aren't going to cut it, the fascination and total infatuation is way too strong. Moving to Paris isn't down to the classy craze, it's a genuine dream and hope.

10 Things I Secretly Hate That Everyone Loves

4 January 2015

Eldwick, Bingley, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16, UK
Inspired by this post, there are a few things that I simply cannot stand but everyone else seems to adore. Hate is quite an extreme word, so here is a list of things I very strongly dislike.

1. Breaking Bad
I have watched at least 5 episodes on Netflix but I do not see the appeal at all. The same goes for House of Cards, The Walking Dead and Orange is the New Black. I don't find them entertaining or enjoyable to watch. This isn't due to the genres of the shows, I'm close to obsessed with NCIS: Los Angeles and Prison Break, shows that create a tense and dramatic atmosphere. But Breaking Bad just didn't make the cut.
2. Coffee
The smell alone makes me nauseous. Starbucks and Costa have become so prominent today, it's all anyone seems to drink. The smell is so sickening I can't bare to be around it - it's a struggle. The prices of coffee today are absolutely ridiculous not to mention all the various forms it comes in, hot and cold. I have tried coffee, and Frappuccinos but unfortunately it wasn't to my liking.
3. Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Rita Ora etc
I'm not going to totally bash all of the modern day pop singers as there are some that I like, yet, there are also some that drive me insane. This is mainly because they're unoriginal, lack real understanding of music and create mind-numbing music. Regardless of how catchy a chorus can become, the poor lyrics and missing meanings are not my first choice.
4. Harry Potter
I know this could potentially often a lot of people as there are hard-core fans out there, but I'm not into it. I've read all the books and enjoyed them to an extent, but would never read them again. I admire JKR's writing style but I don't like the films at all. My family have every film on DVD so I'm not just hating from the outside, I really don't see the appeal.
5. Football
As a child I used to be really into football, supporting Manchester United and then Arsenal but I just find the sport very boring now. On the other hand, I absolutely love American Football and I'm totally up-to-date with the NFL. Ask me any question about FIFA or any of the football cups and there wouldn't be a certain answer. Alternatively, you can find me every Monday catching up on the Sunday Night Football in the US.
6. Facebook
Facebook become popular when I was about 13 and completely wiped out Bebo. At that time, no one cared about how many likes one photo could get or how many friends you had. In 2009, Facebook was used for group messages, games like Farmville and including your best friends in the description box underneath your profile picture. Now there's cover photos, and profile pictures with thousands of likes. There's no way 14-year-olds today was 4,000 friends. It seems to be a network that has abandoned the social part.
7. The Kardashians
In 2007, they weren't that bad. But as their empire (and egos) grew, it's almost impossible to escape. Websites like the Daily Mail seem to have a real obsession with this family but I have no idea why. As a group, they don't really offer much to society and get though life showing body parts that nobody wants to see.
8. Thick Winged Eyeliner
A smaller wing is fine and I think looks amazing. However, when there a huge jet black line almost reaching the high of eyebrows, I feel it may have gone too far. Eyeliner looks much more effective if it is a thinner line with a smaller wing, which also makes your eyes look bigger.
9. Batman
Being fair, he does get the best villans, but Marvel has so many better super heros, I just find Batman very dull. The films were difficult to get through and Bruce Wayne's ego doesn't sit well with me. I'm not too keen on Batman's voice or fighting style, despite his very convenient and effective gadgets.
10. Tomatoes
I hate tomatoes, yet I love every product derived from tomatoes. But the fruit itself is not a favourite of mine. The texture, smell and taste don't appeal to me, even disguised in a salad or wrap. Tomato ketchup is like a completely different substance and tomato soup is my go-to meal for the chillier winter days.

Staying Fresh

3 January 2015

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Photo Credit
New Year’s resolutions have never worked for me. I always set them, but had trouble sticking to them. The “new year, new me” mind-set always comes into play on New Year’s Eve, but usually by now I would have completely abandoned that philosophy and gone back to being non-productive. Dieting has always been a struggle, I have tried so many different methods but I never stick to them – bad food is just too good. However, this year seems to be different. 2015 seems like it’s already going to be an amazing year. On New Year’s Eve I found out I had been successful in a job interview and finally gotten a (temporary) full-time job. This may not sound like a dream come true for most, but it’s experience and it’s a pay check which are all I need to get started in the real world. The job is in Leeds, which means waking up early to get the train and having a little more responsibility that’s only necessary for someone my age. A new job means I’m going to have to ‘suck it up’ and be confident in my job role to prove I have what it takes and get a grate reference once I’m done.

A new job is the perfect motivation to actually staying on track this year. But my goal isn’t just a fresh start in 2015, it’s to stay fresh. For example, if I want to do something, I’m going to do it. I recently bought 5 books over the Christmas period to freshen up my love for reading and improve my writing skills. Waking up with a positive outlook rather than my first sarcastic thought of the day is a start and a professional job should really help me stay focus and become much better at organising myself.

And finally, blogging. My first real hobby that I threw myself into. I want to keep writing, and posting as much as possible. Even if that means being incredibly busy all the time. Blogging was always a way for me to improve myself and sticking to that is the best method to staying fresh.  

Cosmetic Lifesavers

1 January 2015

I don't wear foundation every day because most of the time I don't really need it. Without boasting, my skin doesn't getting many spots but have some areas of minor hyper-pigmentation so I will use foundation to cover this if necessary. My go-to base is No7's Stay Perfect liquid foundation. It's not too pricey but does the job brilliantly. Long-lasting is essential for me, so this foundation has become a favourite. I often find it difficult to find foundations that will not irritate my skin which will cause it to break out. This brand has a hypoallergenic formula which means, for majority of users, it won't cause allergic reactions or skin irritation. SPF isn't too important to me but the foundation is SPF 15 which can be useful in the summer.
Two other lifesavers include Glo-Minerals' Champange Rose eyeshadow trio and Nivea's Soothing Day Cream, I like to experiement a lot with different eyeshadow colours, and plan on extending my collection through the year, but when I'm in a hurry and need something simple that will still stand out, I go to this trio palette. The brown shade is almost identical to my skin tone, so I often blend this with the pink to highlight my eyes and still show a natural look. I use the lightest colour in the corner of my eyes and occasionally blend over the top of the other two for extra shimmer. All the colours work for every skintone and the long-lasting formula is perfect for a working day. 
I don't use a lot of face washes or masks because they don't really benefit my skin. The main way I like to keep my skin clear is lots of water and plenty of moisture. Every morning, I use this day cream by Nivea before applying my make-up and after washing my face. Over the last few weeks it has really helped to keep my skin clear and fresh throughout the day, a definite lifesaver!
Copyright © Anika May | UK Life and Style Blog.
Design by Fearne