Style Crush: Lauren Conrad

30 September 2015

Lauren Conrad has remained one of my favourite celebrities from the beginning of Laguna Beach back in 2004. Despite only being 8 years old, I was still drawn to Lauren for her down-to-earth attitude and growing personal style. As she showed more interest in fashion, even studying this during her time on The Hills from 2006 onwards, Lauren's street and social style has developed into an inspirational wardrobe and created closet envy worldwide. She has studied at an elite fashion school (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) and working with some of the most iconic names in the modern fashion industry (Teen Vogue, Kelly Cutrone and Kohl's). I think Lauren's experiences and amazing sense of style inspire many, including herself, as she continues to build her empire. 
Lauren's style has always had a girly element to it, which is why we often find her in dresses and skirts when out in the public eye. I think her feminine touch was visible from early stages while on The Hills and has continued to influence the way she dresses. She usually pics a basic shoe, making her clothing items the staple pieces and centre of her look. One thing I've noticed is that Lauren never overly-accessorizes and is perfectly happy with a simple colour scheme. She never collides a wild variety of colour to create something extraordinary, but her sense of confidence and happiness also show through in each look she pulls off. I'm drawn to Lauren's wardrobe because of it's naturally girly quirk and ability to look chic no matter the occasion. Whether it's an outfit for a photoshoot or pop culture appearance, Lauren has continued to stay one of my number one style crushes.

My Blogging Process

28 September 2015

After reading over a few different posts from bloggers I admire, I thought it would be nice to share my own blogging steps on Anika May. Blogging is a hobby that's brought out the routine-loving, schedule fanatic in me which has affected my process in creating a blog post and promoting it. Although I don't always stick to the plan, and can become easily distracted, there is a set process that has developed, especially as I begin to fall further in love with blogging.
This isn't difficult for me to do. I read a shocking amount of magazines and could spend hours browsing Tumblr and Pinterest, a habit I'm trying to relax. For me, inspiration can be found in so many different ways. Sometimes it can be motivation after a rubbish day at work or an amazing photography job found through another blog. I carry an ideas notebook with me to jot down anything I may come up with.
After creating an idea in my mind, the best thing to do is create a draft post, even if I never touch it again. I type in everything, from phrases to use and the type of photos I will take. If I already have pictures, I can write around this but I prefer to actually create the text first.
When I work on a post, it's really important that I take the time to focus rather than string together whatever ideas remain in my mind. Because I'm so busy with work at the moment, I use my day planner and multiple calendars to basically timetable my free time between blogging and relaxing. This stops me from panicking about a lack of posts or the frequency of my presence online.
On occasion, I have photos just sitting in folders on my computer, waiting to have a post attached to them. However, most of the time, I will take photos to match ideas that I already have. This is one of the most important steps in my blogging process because I love nothing more than beginning a post on Anika May with a great photo. The type of photo varies, if I have a new outfit, I'll shoot it immediately; or if I come up with a new lifestyle post, I'll find the relevant objects to shoot.
This could be the hardest and easiest part of blogging. It's really important to me that my writing style develops and grows as my blog does; writing is the reason I began blogging in the first place. I always like the have an element of my voice or personality in whatever I write, whether it's through brackets for side comments (a habit I struggle to break) or my typical Northern dialect as a good ol' Yorkshire lass.
After taking photos and writing the post, I edit everything. I usually insert photos at the very last minute, partially because they're enormous and can be difficult to navigate around. This is also because I like to change photos to suit the tone of the post. I'm also a little bit of a perfectionist, meaning the editing process is incredibly vital and valuable.
Before pressing 'Publish', I check everything. Re-reading text, over-analysing photographs and taking an overall look at the preview. It's common for me to include spelling mitsakes mistakes or mix words up if I type too quickly. Checking this before I schedule the post to go live will avoid panicking if I spot this later.
Finally, once all my perfectionist tendencies are settled, I publish the post. Sometimes this will be published automatically which is more common for off-the-cuff or spontaneous posts. However, because I work full time, I'm not always at home to work, so I will prepare a post before and schedule this. Once a post is up on my blog (usually from around 6am) I promote this throughout the day. This could be through my social networks or by leaving a little link at the end of a comment when I visit other blogs.

Now that the colder weather is here, there's nothing I enjoy more that curling up in bed with my laptop and creating a product for Anika May. My process seems pretty complex when laid out but is actually quite simple and effective enough for me. Do you have a blogging process? Is it any similar to mine?

Kaftan Magic

26 September 2015

I think it's at the point now where I'm really struggling to let go of summer. For someone who infamously hates the warmer season, I strangely loved this summer and became obsessed with the variety of outfits I was able to wear. One piece I found difficult to part with is this bold print kaftan bought during the spring sales. I was immediately drawn to the pattern as my number one goal was to incorporate more colour into my wardrobe. This staple piece is the best tool to do so. The blend of summer tones make it really easy to pair with plenty of other colours without becoming too busy at first glance. It's incredibly easy to dress around this piece as I think it speaks for itself. The length means it can be easily worn during the day (it was ideal for my festival style) or for evening drinks in the summer heat. The kaftan is cool and light which means it's never a burden to wear. I love that it can be worn with black (my favourite colour to wear) and still look bright. It's magic!
Katfan - Matalan // Dress - Primark // Boots - Next // Watch - M&S // Jewellery - gifts & charity shops

Anika May Needs You!

23 September 2015

Hello everyone,

So something very exciting has happened. Anika May has been nominated for the Insider's Tip competition by, an amazingly trendy website showcasing outfits for women, by women. I'm so excited to be nominated and would definintely class this as something to tick off my blogging bucket list!

If you have a few spare minutes, it would mean a huge amount to me if you voted for me! Every vote counts. You can vote by clicking HERE or following the link from my recent tweet.

The winner will receive a super stylish backpack which will be perfect for my commute into the busy working world. Feel free to tweet me when you've voted, I love hearing from followers!

Thank you so much,

Sleek MakeUp Face Form Palette Review

21 September 2015

As a growing beauty fanatic, I love experimenting with new products and concepts. I may be a little late to this party, but I have been looking at some cheaper alternatives rather than splashing out on a product I'm not really going to use on a regular basis. Sleek is a brand that I never used to pay much attention to; they have always been a reliable label for lip gloss, but as the name inherits more prominence and they begin releasing more successful products, I've started shopping in their amazing line. Sleek's face powder is an everyday use for me, so it was only natural I would edge towards them for my first contour kit, the Face Form palette.
The first thing I noticed about this mini palette is the smooth texture of each shade, including the shimmery, lighter shades. It's quite common for facial powders and products to have quite a rough feel, meaning you have to almost dig into the palette to use it. I found with this product, just a few simple stroked of a contour brush was perfectly effective. This palette does come in different shades: Fair, Light, Medium and Dark. I think this is one of the reasons why the product has become so popular. In my case, it can be quite difficult to find contour kits that blend well with my skin tone, either they're too dark, too light or simply too expensive. The shades are built to blend with skin tones rather than clash.
The Face Form palette is very light on the skin, and isn't dusty at all. The easy-to-apply texture and subtle shimmer highlight cheekbones and show brilliant definition. The packaging of the product is very sleek (pun intended) and easy to carry. The palette is light and would easily slot into an average sized make-up bag without taking up too much room. The mirror inside is the length of the product to help you touch-up throughout the day. For £9.99 I think this Face Form palette is a great buy and will last quite a while; it's available at most drugstores or make-up counters. I would definitely recommend this palette to anyone who's a beginner in contouring or doesn't need a wide range of colours and shades.

8 Steps to the Perfect Personal Development Plan‏

14 September 2015

A PDP is defined as the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement.

Be clear on your goal
It's important to know what you're actually aiming for. To have a good personal development plan (PDP), there must be some sort of end goal in mind. This needs to be identified before any planning can begin so steps don't become confusing or get mixed up.
Be realistic
Being ambitious isn't a bad thing, but there's a fine line between [ambition] and complete delusion. Starting with a realistic goal will make the creation of a personal development plan much easier. It's good to be out of the box, but straying too far defeats the point of a plan.
Check your commitments
It's great to note down every idea you have, but check your commitments first. Ensure you don't have an set routine that will be in turmoil by events on your PDP. the best thing to do is lay out any commitments you have in the beginning and decide what can be moved around or adjusted.
Be specific
It's essential to know what you want, but it's also [helpful] to be as detailed as possible. This creates a much smoother PDP and helps to make the plan easier to follow when it comes to execution. There's no word limit, so be as specific as possible - don't skip a single thought!
Know why you want it
The whole point of a PDP is to get from A to B in the most efficient way. If there isn't any sort of end goal, the path will become a path to nowhere. Time will be wasted, along with energy and resources. The most successful PDP's are structured for the easiest execution possible.
Set time aside
As someone who works full-time, blogs, has hobbies and so on, it's really hard to find time to focus let alone create a personal development plan. By scheduling time, as little as an hour, just to pull away from reality and start creating ideas for the perfect plan.
Identify your support
A PDP can be put together with no help, but it's nice to know who's around to support you. As mentioned in my Decisions I Made I Don't Regret post, one of the best choices I have made is fading away from fake friends and finding real ones. It's incredibly helpful to focus when you're mind isn't busy worrying about the opinion of others.
Make it personal
A personal development plan has to be personal. Not only does this make it a lot easier to create, but also a lot easier to stick to. Emotions can effortlessly become the motivation behind an action so including the occasional intimate detail can push you to follow through.

Plaid Power

12 September 2015

Wrap - Matalan // Top - Next // Jeans - Topshop // Boots - Next // Jewellery - M&S // Bag - TK Maxx
Since working full time, time seems to magically disappear from me without my permission and I've learned how much time it takes for my inner-perfectionist to calm down and just get the job done. However, with a new wage, come a new shopping budget and I'm so excited to start sharing more outfits on Anika May. 
This looks is a total autumn buy and I couldn't resist. One of my biggest style icons is Serena van der Woodsen and I'll wear anything that I've seen her in. Plaid isn't one of my favourite patterns, I never thought it really suited me, but since watching a Gossip Girl episode which features the one and only It Girl in a stunning plaid look, I thought I'd give the seasoned look a try. Plus, the wrap is incredibly warm, it's like wearing a super stylish blanket outside. I think the colours are create the idea autumnal palette, and it's so easy to dress with! Denim looks great with the wool-cotton fabric, so I paired my favourite pair of blue jeans and nude booties to finish the look.
Top - Next // Wrap - Matalan // Jewellery - Next // Boots - Next // Bag - TK Maxx

Decisions I Made I Don't Regret

7 September 2015

Organising everything
Since actually growing up and working full-time, I have totally and completely become a neat freak. Everything has to be in a specific order for my brain to function and it helps me work much faster and more efficiently. I'm not quite at an OCD level, but if something is out of place, I have to correct it immediately. This perfectionist attitude is something I used to view as a curse, now I see it as a blessing. I can think straight and any feelings of anxiousness are excluded when my mind is on track.
Cutting fake friends
I no longer talk to anyone I considered a friend in school. I'm not suggesting you cut out all your best friends, but as I look back, I'm so happy I didn't stay stuck in a group of girls who I didn't really trust or feel happy around. It took a lot of courage to drift away from something that felt familiar and venture out on my own, but I'm so much more confident now. Today, I have a group of friends who accept me for exactly who I am and build me up, rather than make me feel small. 
I did kind of enjoy studying, I'm weird like that. But one thing I'll never forget is how hard I worked in school. Sadly, I didn't have that attitude in the beginning, but as I grew, I realised it was time to pull my socks up. At the moment, I'm in a job that could sprout into a career for the rest of my life. But if I decide I don't want to do that any more, I luckily have my positive grades to fall back on. To anyone going through exams or entering a new year in education: work hard, education is a luxury and is worth the struggle. 
For me, blogging meant really putting myself out there. I still never take selfies so taking pictures of myself with a professional camera can be a challenge. There are still people who don't know I have a blog, but it's not something I'm embarrassed about. I've learned a great deal since blogging and realised what I'm truly passionate about. Blogging has given me the time and motivation to understand what kind of person I'd like to grow into which I could never regret.
Changing my wardrobe
Since moving on into a new friendship group and new era of my life, I totally shook up my wardrobe. My attitude towards clothing hasn't changed, I still don't allow opinions to influence my dress choices, and I do wear things that make me feel good inside. There are some days where I feel like dressing as if I'm the new girl on the Upper East Side and others when I dress like a true Northern farm chic. But I have realised that abiding to social trends and choice isn't going to make me happy. 
Avoiding university
I was the only girl out of my friendship group at school to skip university. I still went through the UCAS process as teachers forced me to, and rather than complain non-stop, I did exactly what was asked for me. But before even getting to that stage, I knew I did not want to go. Still, I was pushed to apply and did so. I received four unconditional offers and one conditional offer, including offers from LCF and UAL. Everyone was ecstatic except me because it's not what I wanted. So I ignored interviews and skipped open days until the offers ran out in the summer. That decision is one I'll never regret because I'm very happy blogging from my bedroom and working everyday to learn more through experience rather than books. 

Typical Tartan

5 September 2015

Dress - custom made // Bag - TK Maxx (Fiorelli) // Boots - Next (similar) //Watch - M&S (old)
There's something I just adore about a typical tartan print. No matter what the colour, I'm naturally drawn to the pattern and I think it's idea for the upcoming season. I think the versatility is one this I really like. The criss-crossed arrangement can be found on a wide range of fabric, from silk for a scarf or cotton for a dress, despite tartan originating in woven wool. As it always comes in every colour possible, the print is really easy to dress up or down. My dress could be taken as an example, black is by far the easiest colour to dress around and happens to be the base colour for my ensemble. The subtle stripes of pink and grey bring the dress to life without going to far. I am trying to wear more colours this year so I added my bright blue handbag as a staple accessory. Finally, my suede boots match the colour of my dress and casually contract with the fabric of my dress without clashing. 
What do you think about the tartan fabric? Yae or nay? 
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