Black and Blue

28 April 2016

Eldwick, Bingley, West Yorkshire
My style is always changing, and although I don't like to look back at the abomination of a closet I previously owned, it is nice to dig out old pieces that I haven't worn since being back in school. I wouldn't go as far back as the high-waisted, denim-pleated, mini skirt I bought from Jane Norman in three different colours because I thought it was the greatest fashion item since neon leg warmers from Internacionale. The idea of carrying my BANK drawstring bag with any outfit is hilariously cringworthy too!
At the moment, the UK is experiencing the weirdest weather and I don't really know how to dress for it. It's sort of cold, but the sun's out, but it's not quite warm, but warm enough to leave the house without thirty layers on. You can easily experience all four seasons in one day. As the weather is so unpredictable, I like to stick to a really basic outfit, that is adaptable and comfy to wear. This jumper dress is one of my favourites during this turbulent time, and I only realised I had it a few days ago. The dress is one of those wardrobe items that is always there, and always forgotten. It's been in the bottom of my closet for as long as I can remember, and it was the ideal piece of clothing during the tortuous days of sixth form. One of my favourite things about the dress is that it can't really go out of style, because it's so basic. The simple design was created by my mum (who's a designer), because I wanted a really easy wardrobe for school. Turns out, this dress could be my must-have for the rest of my life!
My jumper dress is incredibly warm, meaning I don't have to feel stuffed with a load of layers on top. I bought this light mac from Primark during the summer, after spending months looking for an inexpensive jacket to wear during the odd weather weeks. Since the purchase, this coat has become one of the most-worn items on my clothing rail. The great thing about it, is that it's just so simple. The light jacket fits easily over and under clothing, and can be dressed up or down. I've even worn it to a wedding! On top of my mac, I used to carry this Topshop bag absolutely everywhere with me while at school. The size was perfect, and the faux leather is really light. Sadly, it's no longer in stores but I'm glad it's stayed in such amazing condition. Similarly, my lace-up pumps from Next have lasted a really long time. The suede fabric is often paired with dresses as the texture works really well against other fabrics and they stand out better. The pumps are completely flat and super soft, adding extra comfort. 
 Coat - Primark // Dress - homemade // Bag - Topshop (similar) // Shoes - Next (similar) // Sunglasses - Next

10 Ways to Make Your Commute More Interesting

25 April 2016

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
The average commute time in the UK is about an hour, which is an enormously large amount of time to be bored. While working in Leeds, my commute time was around 25 minutes and I used to dread having to sit on a cramped train with nothing to do and awkwardly avoiding eye contact. Commuting used to be a nightmare for me, mainly because I get bored easily and there’s not exactly much to look at on a train that’s travelling at 120mph. Over the last year, I’ve figured out a few ways to make that travel time seem a lot shorter and more enjoyable.

#1 Download an audiobook
Don’t worry, I’m not going to force everyone to join Audible or anything. But having an audiobook is especially helpful for those who don’t have a lot of room to move about. When squashed from window to wall, there’s nothing more irritating that trying to turn a page or skip a song. The slightest movements generate a few odd looks from fellow travellers, so an audiobook is a great way to enjoy a story you love on the go.

#2 Create the perfect playlist
Sadly, this isn’t a tip I’ve yet mastered, but I’m working on it! It’s hard to create a playlist that’s just right because moods are constantly shifting. Sometimes you can shuffle a playlist, but every song is somehow the wrong song. However, creating a great selection of uplifting tunes is an easy way to get lost in the music and forget the awful commute. Nothing beats jamming in a car too!

#3 Catch up with the world
When I find I have a long journey ahead, I used the time to catch up on emails and comments. I absolutely love reading comments on my blog, as well as notifications on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. For the businessmen and businesswomen of the world, the commute is the most time they spend stuck to their phone, getting the bulk out of the way.

#4 People watch
I think people watching has become a hobby for me. No matter where I am, I just can’t help it. One very important thing to remember, is to never ever ever get caught. It is bad enough being seen staring at someone once, but twice? Practise makes perfect, and a long commute is the ideal time to be a bit of a nosey parker.

#5 Plan your meals
As I’m on a brand new diet which isn’t too strict but only includes healthy food, it’s really important for me to decide what meals I’m going to eat or I tend to settle for the quickest one I can find – usually something unhealthy and covered in Nutella. While working full-time, I also found planning meals helping to make evenings less stressful.

#6 Exercise
If work isn’t too far away, why not walk, ride or park further away? I wish I was able to cycle to work but the hills of Yorkshire are a little too much for me, however this doesn’t stop me from getting off the bus a few stops earlier, meaning I have to walk for an extra 10 minutes. In some cases, this means getting up earlier (usually a no-no for me) but if I burn a good amount of calories, I’ll let it slide.

#7 Take a snooze
It’s not uncommon to spot people getting some kip while on a jam-packed train. Personally, I have no idea how people sleep stood up, it will always be a mystery to me as it’s just not natural. But once you have a comfy seat, it’s so easy to daydream and eventually slip off into sleep. However, the next step is remembering to wake up before you’ve passed your stop!

#8 Catch up on a TV show
Most trains and buses have free WiFi. Although it’s no super-expensive fibre optic broadband, it does work. Netflix gets plenty of use on my way to work as I like to catch up on TV shows as well as discover new ones. Time passes really quickly when TV is involved; and I like to use to time to catch up on my YouTube subscriptions too.

 #9 Download plenty of games
While working in Leeds, I would often catch at least eight or nine different people playing Candy Crush. Sometimes, there’s even extreme gamers with portable consoles and headsets. Games with a story, levels or progression are a favourite. Personally, I like a little bit of Sims City or an app to really get lost in, as it helps the time go by and is a great distraction.

#10 Learn something new

Whether it’s practising your knitting skills or learning a new language, practising a skill is a really easy way to make a commute more interesting. The longer the travel time, the more practice can take place. I wouldn’t go as far as learning a new instrument, but I always like to improve writing skills, plus I’m currently trying (but failing) to learn French!
Image taken from Tumblr.

Spring Ambition

21 April 2016

Ilkley, West Yorkshire, UK
Summer is always everyone’s favourite season. Honestly, it’s even my favourite season. There’s sunshine, people are way more chill and despite the level of bees, it’s nice to see more plants and animals. As much as I love laying around in the warm weather and basking in the sun, I think spring is still a great season to prep for the summer. I’m a total organisation freak so I basically plan everything down to the T, and using this time of year is a great way to set out some blogging goals and tasks to be done. I guess this post is sort of like an update on Anika May!
I need to get on top of my blog posts. Although I try to post three times a week, it can be a real struggle and I usually complete a post the night before. Not that different to school really. But fortunately, I don’t see blogging as a burden and not having any post ideas or scheduled drafts stresses me out to another level and it can be quite discouraging. One of my biggest blogging goals is to not only have at least on pre-written post a week, but also to write more personal posts. Not that the words I type aren’t genuine, but I tend to slip into my English essay tendencies. You know, the whole point, evidence, explanation routine like I’m an A Level robot. That kind of writing is ideal for formal posts and blogging jobs, but not as much for Anika May.
My new camera arrives soon, and I can’t wait. There will 100% be a blogpost on its features and a real review. It’s a Pentax camera, so it will be nice to get to know a new brand. I’ve always been a Canon girl so buying a brand new style that’s a little higher range should help improve the quality of my photographs. Improving my blog has been on my to-do list for as long as I can remember and is still something I strive to do. Whether it’s my journalistic skills, or even the topics I talk about. I think it’s good to keep a little ambition.
Before summer arrives, I certainly need to sort out my iPhone. Not that it’s falling apart or anything, in fact I’ve managed to keep it without smashing the screen… although I have gone through a few screen protectors! I have a small obsession with phone cases, and I think I’m going to try and get a new phone case every so often to inspire me as I like change. The phone case I’m using today is a spring-themed one, with a bright blossom image (my favourite)! The case is my custom made by me which makes it all the more better, and kindly provided to me by CaseApp*. To get 20% off your own custom phone case or laptop skin, use the code ‘ANIKA20CA’ and get started! My phone apps also need organising, they’re all over the place and I’m just too lazy to deal with it. But that’s what spring is for right? Cleaning up and sorting out.
Finally, I’m learning to drive! It’s a long time coming, and most people are shocked to learn that I’m almost twenty years old and have no idea how to move a car, but that's about to change. Sadly, I didn't receive a Range Rover Sport for my 17th birthday like a few of my schoolmates did. However, driving is something I have always wanted to do. It would allow so much more freedom, especially in blogging in different locations around Yorkshire.

So, with April almost over and summer hitting the UK soon, I have plenty to do and even more to blog about. Stay tuned!
This post is in collaboration with CaseApp.

Blue Marshmallow

17 April 2016

Eldwick, Bingley, West Yorkshire
I have a weird obsession with coats. Living in the North means I basically have to carry a coat everywhere I go, so why not build a collection of coats? There are so many different jackets and coats available to buy, sometimes I just can't resist a quick purchase. However, I never regret buying a coat; and it means I don't have to put too much effort into making every outfit different because each jacket can make every ensemble look unique. The coat I'm wearing today, one I've named 'The Blue Marshmallow' has become one of my favourites as spring rolls in. 
The pastel blue colour isn't something I would usually go for, I do like to wear blue, but darker colours. As it was only £5.00, I figured it was damaged or not the best winter coat - but I was sooooo wrong. It's so warm! And this is coming from someone who is always freezing cold and has absolutely no tolerance for a chilly breeze. It's one of those coats that you don't need as a layer, because it's like six layers alone. It's not heavy, and very soft, hence it being names the "Blue Marshmallow". 
To contract with the coat, I chose my favourite beanie hat which never fails to keep my head warm. I'm also crazy in love with scarves at the moment, almost as much as coats. Today's scarf has been in my closet for about four or five years, but is still going strong. The knitted piece has become a favourite each winter, mainly because it goes with absolutely everything and keeps me super warm without having to fasten my coat up (something I never do). I own quite a few pairs of jeans, but I only ever wear one pair, once they're a favourite, I wear them til they die! The same goes for my over-the-knee boots which I love to wear with denim. The suede contrasts well without taking away from any other pieces in the outfit. 
COAT - MATALAN (similar) // SCARF - NEXT (similar) // JUMPER - TOPSHOP // JEANS - URBAN OUTFITTERS // BOOTS - NEXT (similar) // BAG - NEXT (similar) // HAT - FOREVER 21 (similar) // JEWELLERY - VARIOUS CHARITY SHOPS & NEXT

My City Festival Essentials | Win Free Tickets

13 April 2016

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
On Saturday 30th April 2016, Live At Leeds Festival will arrive and I cannot wait. One of my bucket list items for 2016 was to attend a huge music festival and Live At Leeds is the perfect event. Live At Leeds is held annually across a variety of venues in Leeds and always has an incredibly amazing line-up. It’s a great way to see the acts you love as well as discover new performers to fall in love with. The festival celebrates local bands as well as established artists and I’m so excited to attend. Jess Glynne is one of my favourite UK artists and I can't wait to see her live; it's also going to be amazing watching The Boxer Revellion, Will Joseph Cook, Loz Campbell and Tiggs Da Author perform!
See the line up below:
Of course, with every event I attend, I have essentials. And there are plenty of essential needed for Live At Leeds.

A Good Camera
Taking your iPhone and an enormous DSLR camera is always a nice idea, but can end up in damaged equipment. One of the best thing about festivals is the atmosphere, and Live At Leeds always has an amazing and enthusiastic atmosphere – so lugging around a heavy camera isn’t the most sensible idea. However, it is important to get extraordinary photos so you can look back on such a fun event. When on the go at a city festival like Live At Leeds, a disposable camera or smaller digital reflex camera is definitely one of my essentials.

Appropriate shoes
There’s nothing worse than wearing shoes that will cause pure pain all night. It’s a pointless pursuit, especially when a music festival is in more than one venue and in such a busy and exciting city. As Live At Leeds is not just a stand-still festival, there’s plenty and walking and exploring to do and so much the city can offer. It’s really important to wear your favourite shoes, but shoes that will stay intact and won’t take away from the experience by clouding fun memories with bruises and blisters.

Mini everything
I usually like to freshen up half way through the night because I'm slightly vain, so bringing smaller beauty items and even a miniature perfume bottle is vital. Carrying around a huge rucksack full of all your April beauty favourites is not the way to go, the more compact the better. If you’re a bit of a hygiene freak like me, why not pack an extra bottle of anti-bacterial or one of those Dettol sprays that are in tiny bottles? Lipstick is also a huge essential for me, as you can never have too much lipstick.

Cash. Plenty of cash.
Whenever I go out, I avoid paying with my card. I just prefer being able to pay for something quickly at a bar or counter, without having to pull out my debit card and remember my pin (which I always forget). Honestly, I don’t like using my card for anything, and there’s absolutely no chance you’ll catch me using a contactless payment card machine – I don’t trust them! Having change in a little coin purse or wallet is really handy and less of a hassle.

Obviously, it’s hard to get into a city festival, or any festival without a ticket. I’m so excited to be able to offer all my readers and followers the opportunity to winfree tickets to Live At Leeds 2016! There’s not long left, so head over to The Blogger Programme’s Facebook Page (or click this link) and enter for the chance to win some free tickets. There are 6 ways to enter and you don’t need a Facebook account to be able to enter. Woohoo!

Style Crush: Vanessa Hudgens

11 April 2016

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Vanessa Hudgens style crush street style nyc outfits fashion
Vanessa Hudgens has always been one of my favourite celebrities. Since being 10 years old and watching the first High School Musical, I’ve been obsessed with her (and the rest of the cast). As much as I adore Vanessa’s acting and singing skills, her style has always been a crucial factor and is often watched by pop culture sites and blogs. Coachella is basically Vanessa’s ‘thing’, making her the queen of festival style and bohemian chic. Similarly, her everyday street style never fails to impress, even when she’s walking Darla!
Vanessa is one of the most stylish young celebrities I follow and easily one of my favourites. She makes normal, everyday outfits seem super stylish with a few accessories and plenty of confidence. Vanessa never goes OTT with colour or patterns, and when broken down, her ensembles are not complex but always give off a fashionable and put-together vibe - plus, she never adds pieces that will clash. I absolutely adore Vanessa's style and phenomenal fashion taste!

Let's Go to the Gym

6 April 2016

High Eldwick, Bingley, West Yorkshire
A year ago, I would never be seen at a gym. I always assumed gyms were for the super-fit, exercise enthusiasts. However, after one massive kick, and a spur-of-the-moment burst of motivation, I decided to try at least a whole hour one a few machines. Three hours later, I was loving every moment and decided the gym is my new favourite place. As much as I enjoy having a higher level of fitness and slowly losing weight, I also love shopping for gym gear and finding new outfits for each session. Activewear is just so much fun to shop for!
One of my favourite looks is this almost all-black outfit I wear when I have to walk to the gym. It's important for me to keep warm, as there's still a little snow on the ground; but I don't want to be wearing multiple layers because walking quickly will keep me heated. My leather jacket is a cold weather essential and an overall wardrobe must. The great thing about this faux leather piece is that it keeps you warm once you're warm - almost like a thermal. Because it's faux, the fabric is lightweight and easy to move in. The fur collar is a great accessory for this season too. I never carried a bag to the gym at first, but now that I've become more confident with going, I will shower and sometimes change into different clothes while there. This small but spacious Nike bag is absolutely perfect for me and holds just the right amount without becoming a burden. 
I have never owned a pair of Vans shoes until a few weeks ago. They were immensely popular while I was in school, but never something that I was into. However, while doing my weekly browse at TK Maxx, I came across this pair in the men's section and knew I would never seem them again. They're bright without being too 'in-your-face' and can be worn casually and for exercise. Vans shoes are way more comfortable than I imagined and I'm definitely going to look into getting another pair soon. 
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