Back to the Office

31 May 2016

Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
 A few months ago, I would be the last person to show even the slightest level of enthusiasm for the workplace. The idea of being in an office drives me nuts, but with my current job, working as a marketing executive for two amazing charities, Clothing Solutions and Beaneezy, I look forward to the office more and more. Now that I’m happy to see my desk multiple times a week, dressing for work has never been easier and it’s much more fun to experiment with different looks depending on different tasks throughout the day. With every work week, comes a favourite office OOTD – here’s mine!
I rarely wear skirts because I find it hard to pair them with the right tops. However, my mum’s a designer so she was able to put together this top and skirt combo to help provide the right silhouette and make sure I’m comfortable. I’m really fussy with the waistband of skirts, simply because they can instantly become unflattering if too high or too low (not cool). Since receiving my amazing necklace from Wattney Kay about a year ago in this post, I have loved using it to brighten up a look – still one of my favourite pieces of jewellery!

What is your favourite work week look?

Top – homemade // Skirt – homemade // Cardigan – New Look (similar) // Necklace – Wattney Kay // Boots – Next // Bag – Topshop (only available in red)
PS: hope you had an awesome bank holiday weekend!

20 Things to Do This Weekend

27 May 2016

Bingley, West Yorkshire, UK
I wouldn’t call myself much of a social butterfly, but when the weekend comes around, I always like to have plans or something to do. I like to go ‘out out’, but drinking in the same old bars and seeing the usual club-goers every weekend can get boring. I’m 20 years old and would rather watch a marathon of Zac Efron films that go out and party – I know.  But as a way to get motivated to do more, I’ve created a list of things to do this weekend! TGIF!

#1 Attend a cooking class
This is something I’ve never done, but I think would be such a fun idea with a best friend.

#2 Take a random train to somewhere
I try to keep it local, mainly because the price of train tickets is ridiculous – but it’s spontaneous!

#3 Bake bake bake!
Cooking isn’t one of my skills (sadly), but I do enjoy baking. Why not make a few yummy treats?

#4 Spend a day watching Disney movies
I recently watched this Disney Medley on YouTube and fell in love, bring on the movies!

#5 Have a water balloon fight
Depending on the weather, water balloon fights can turn into harmless fun in the sun.

#6 Watch Netflix… all day
Netflix is no longer a pastime for me, it’s a lifestyle. If you’re alone this week, find a friend in TV!

#7 Visit the nearest beach
I love a good beach! There’s nothing like a walk along the sand to cheer me up.

#8 Go on a mini road trip
The weekend is unfortunately only two days, so a mini road trip to the nearest town or city would be fun with friends and family.

#9 Have a camp/bonfire
They’re traditionally reserved for November 5 or just camping, but I love the idea of s'mores in the back yard.

#10 Takeaway takeover
Order from all your favourite takeaway stores and feast with your friends.

#11 Throw a house party
If I don’t want to head out in Leeds, a house party is an alternative option. You just have to deal with the mess afterwards.

#12 Visit a carnival
I love the carnival setting, it’s relaxed and exciting… and an excuse to indulge on candy floss.

#13 Attend a workout class
Not my first choice, but always an option. It’s a lot more fun with your mates too.

#14 Shopping spree!
Is there anything more fun? Time to start blowing those savings.
#15 Visit a farmer’s market
This is something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance. Farmer’s markets have so much to offer and help encourage a healthy diet.

#16 Go on a bike ride
Bike riding used to be part of my regular weekly routine and I loved it! It’s amazing exercise and a chance to find some new scenery.

#17 Head to the zoo
Two of my favourites are Chester Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park! I understand zoos are not for everyone, but are a great family weekend out.

#18 Watch beauty tutorials on YouTube
You don’t have to be eager to learn, but they’re a lot of fun to watch and admire.

#19 Backyard pool time
The sun is out a little more, so why not throw a pool party with a blow up pool and floaties?!

#20 A traditional sleepover
The Sleepover Club was one of my favourite TV shows growing up, I’m no longer a teen, but I still love a girly night in.

What are you up to this weekend?

Pentax K-S2 Review

24 May 2016

Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK
I’m no camera expert, but I certainly know when I like something and when something is of a high quality or worth buying. Since starting my blog, one of the most important things for me has been clear photos because blurry photos are definitely one of my biggest pet peeves. I like a photograph to ‘wow’ someone, and I think it’s important to be able to capture a scene accurately and easily. Sometimes blurry photos can’t be helped, but when I can, I like to use photos that are to my standard.
RATING: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
I have always been a Canon girl, not because I knew anything about the brand or the type of cameras they produce, but because it was the most popular brand during the time I began using DSLRs. I even have a Canon printer! But the camera I previously had and have been using is the Canon 1000D which isn’t too old, but doesn’t have a live-view screen or recording feature. I decided it was finally time to upgrade, as I wanted more than just a new lens. I marched straight into Bradford Camera Exchange as asked for the newest Canon on the market, and seconds before deciding to buy it, I asked the manager if there was anything better than a Canon as I wanted to try something new. He suggested the Pentax range of cameras, a brand I’d never even heard of. After a little trial run in the store, I fell in love with the camera (and both lenses) and now can’t wait to take more photos! 
Amazing image quality (especially in RAW format)
Anti-shake actually works
Brilliant viewfinder
Live-view is accurate and fluid
Basic design and easy to use
Works for keen photographers
In-camera WiFi
Compact not cramped

Non-touch screen
A little pricey
Struggles to focus with a lot of movement in video-mode
Handgrip is small
18 – 50mm lens can jam if not released properly
Shorter battery life than my previous Canon
Approx. 678g – heavier than the 1000D
It’s fairly obvious I’m slightly obsessed with this camera. Not only does it work for blogging photos, but I can also use it for my secular work for the two charities I work for, Clothing Solutions and Beaneezy. The camera is incredibly easy to carry around, and despite the small handgrip, it is quite deep so this isn’t an enormous disadvantage. One of my favourite features is the live-view mode, which helps me to get a much more truthful view on the photos I’m about to take, and the spirit level aspect helps to keep my photos straight. The live-view screen is incredibly responsive and fluid too! When using this camera, there is very little editing needed (apart from shadows) as it’s not heavily affected by the sun and bright artificial light. There’s no strobing that appears, and the camera has 20 different scene modes, including Museum, Surf & Snow, Pet and Blue Sky – just a few that weren’t available on my previous camera. This is tremendously helpful when shooting outdoors. Because the camera works so well with light, the flash doesn’t immediately pop-up when shooting in Auto-mode and the K-S2 still takes phenomenal photos without the use of flash. 
I’m glad this camera is weatherproof, so there’s no need to worry when there’s a slight drizzle out as it includes weather sealing. Although the Pentax K-S2 is a lot heavier than the Canon 1000D, it has so much more to offer. For example, the camera captures colour so beautifully, there’s never any need to enhance saturation or highlights. As its summer, the green of the trees are mesmerising to the human eye and the Pentax reflects this in its images. I have not been disappointed with a photograph so far, which is a great sign. Take a look below to see the difference between a scene taken with my Canon 1000D (18-55mm) and then the Pentax K-S2 (18-50mm)! Note: the photos below were taken within two minutes of each other, to ensure they are as accurate as possible. Both lenses were also set at 18mm for a fair chance. 
Canon 1000D
Pentax K-S2
As seen above, the Pentax is also able to capture a lot more with the same zoom. The two lenses I bought were the 18-50mm and the 50-200mm. I can’t say enough for the quality of the lenses, and how quick the camera is able to focus to with each one, which is a huge difference in comparison to the camera I was previously using. I though 18-50mm was great but the 50-200mm is out of this world! It is able to focus on the smallest items from quite a distance and still precisely take a photo using the anti-shake system built into the camera. This is exceptionally accommodating for flat lays and reviews on products that are small with tiny details on that need to be photograph. I tend to use the 50-200mm lens when capturing writing or an item that needs real attention to detail. 
Here are some of the key features according to John Riley from ePHOTOzine:
20.12 MP APS-C sensor with AA Filter Simulator
Pentax KAF2 bayonet mount
In-body shake reduction, up to 3.5stops
Glass pentaprism with 100% field of view
0.95x magnification viewfinder
3.0 inch LCD monitor with 921,000 dots
77 segment metering
SAFOX X AF module sensitive to -3EV
11 AF points, 9 cross type
ISO range 100 to 51,200
20 Digital filters
DNG/PEF RAW format
Flucard Compatible
Inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC
Smartphone and tablet control available with Apps
Full HD Movie Mode
MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Movie Format
So the Pentax K-S2 will by staying by my side for a very, very long time. It could even be used for the day I decided to start a YouTube channel or include videos on Anika May. I’m incredibly impressed with the brand and very happy with this investment. I even managed to purchase a small Inov8 camera bag (with plenty of pockets) that’s the ideal size for the K-S2 as the 18-50mm lens has a shutter release button to collapse the lens – the camera also warns the photographer if the lens has not been released properly.

Have you ever tried a Pentax camera? What camera do you use now?
This post is not sponsored by Pentax, I really like their cameras.

The photos of the Pentax K-S2 were taken with the Canon 1000D. 

She Could Fly | Wishlist

22 May 2016

Skipton, North Yorkshire
Today is being spent in the lovely town of Skipton, one of my favourite places in the whole of Yorkshire. I have so many memories here, from visiting Bolton Abbey to lunch at the castle. Last summer, I loved visiting Skipton for an all-out girls' shopping day, so today's wishlist is inspired by those kind of summer outings. 

I think playsuits are crucial for summer. They’re not an item I’m really invested in, but yet again, multiple Instagram accounts and fashion magazines have swayed me. I really like how simple they are and easy to wear. Despite the unable-to-go-to-the-toilet-without-getting-complete-naked aspect, they’re super cute and fun to play around with. I chose the simple black Monki playsuit (similar), and there’s no doubt the high street will soon be filled with them.

The Maurices denim jacket really caught my eye (sadly, it’s out of stock but I found a similar one here). The medium wash is really versatile for summer style and has a cute cropped style that compliments the waistline. I think a cropped jacket is a summer essential, and denim will never go out of style. The jacket can be used as a layer, making it the ultimate wardrobe staple. Similarly, a simple tote is necessary. I absolutely love the Cuyana tote because it’s just a classic. It comes in a large array of colours, but I chose caramel to brighten up the look and contrast against the dark playsuit. The great thing about high quality bags are that they are lightweight and made to last!
If you haven’t noticed, I’m totally obsessed with phone cases. I recently had a post featuring my latest custom case (plus the discount code “ANIKA20CA” to receive 20% off from CaseApp). Today, I’m adding the white marble look to my wishlist with a phone case from Casetify – it’s super chic, very slim and would fit my iPhone perfectly.

Ankle boots are my weakness. I have too many pairs and I shouldn’t be longing after any more but I just can’t help it. Acne Studios is also my weakness but that’s something that I’m willing to live with. I absolutely adore their Pistol Short Boots despite the high price. The large stitching is unique for leather boots but I really like the classic style. They’re effortlessly chic and can be worked in a casual look, biker ensemble or formal outfit. The heel is the perfect size the lengthen legs without looking strange and black pairs with absolutely everything. To finish the look and theme of simplicity, I chose the Top Coat polish by Nars and Quay Australia sunglasses with a cool mirrored effect!

To check out the rest of the items in this wishlist, click here

That Khaki Coat

19 May 2016

Gilstead, Bingley, West Yorkshire
As you may know, I love a good coat. In my ‘Blue Marshmallow’ OOTD, I mentioned how much I really, really like coats – and that’s still true. On occasion, I have to avoid the coats and jackets section of a retail store because I know I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to shopping; and that’s exactly how I found today’s item. It’s a style that I’ve never really worn because I always believed extremely long coats would make me look very Darth Vader-ish and that’s not what I’m going for with my wardrobe. However, after trying it on, and completing a few twirls, I fell in love with that khaki coat.
The colour isn’t one I’m normally drawn to because I believed it would be difficult to find colours that wouldn’t clash with the texture and shade. Nevertheless, I’ve discovered the complete opposite. There’s actually quite a few items in my wardrobe that pair really well with this coat, blue jeans being one of those items. Everyone has a pair of classic blue jeans, no matter what the style. I chose the basic skinny jeans from New Look, but I also see this coat going well with some lighter distressed boyfriend jeans and looking very chic. I like to wear skinny jeans with my suede ankle boots (a forever favourite) because they elongate my legs without being uncomfortable.
As I’m feeling quite down at the moment, and struggling to focus on blogging (or just life in general), having a little gem like this coat is slightly lifting my mood. The Limited Edition M&S coat was bought during their recent spring sale and it was the very last one in store – which seems to be the case for most items I buy. Sadly, I couldn’t find the coat online with the product code as it’s been discontinued, but found a similar one linked below! The khaki coat is acrylic, polyamide and elastane so is full of stretch and extremely soft, it’s also a double breasted number, so I could pair it with a full dress to create a super stylish evening look!
 Coat – M&S (similar) // Top – River Island // Jeans – New Look // Shoes – Next (similar) // Bag – Topshop (only available in red) // Sunglasses  - Next

Blogging at an Event | My Three Essentials

16 May 2016

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
I recently attended the Live at Leeds Festival thanks to The Blogger Programme and The Zeitgeist Agency and enjoyed the whole day. However, it mean I needed to be prepared as the festival is held in a number of venues in Leeds and I’d be on the go all day. This gave the idea to create a blog post on three essentials for blogging at an event or on the go!

I mentioned in a previous post that I struggle to concentrate and get stuff done unless I write down what needs to be completed. For a blogging event, I like to take note of opening and closing times, as well as the names and numbers of important people. When going to the Live at Leeds event, there were certain artists I really wanted to see at different places across the city centre, so I noted down where I needed to be and when. It’s common that events will have brands sponsoring or gifting items, so noting down the names of those brands and even the Twitter and Instagram handles to mention them online.

Bringing a camera is an obvious essential, but if I can squeeze in another lens, I always try to do so. Depending on the job, you could bring different types of cameras to produce different types of photos. Or, you could be like me and super protective over expensive equipment and chose to bring the less expensive camera! For Live at Leeds I brought my Pentax K-S2 camera, but the Canon 1000D is always a great option for taking clear photos and capturing the right shot. If there’s an event where I can’t bring such a big camera, my iPhone 6s camera works well too. It’s great to be able capture a photo and post it straight onto my social media accounts.

Attending an event usually means an OOTD photoshoot, and I always like to touch up just before to ensure I like remotely presentable for the blog post! Makeup is a crucial must-have for most places I go, and I hate forgetting the extra tube of eyeliner or another powder pack. For accessories, I like to bring anything that will make my outfit a little better or has a shimmer. I don’t think I’ve ever said no to diamonds ;) Live at Leeds resulting in spending some time in the sun, so I brought along my Bloc Eyewear sunglasses* and Dixi “Born a Bad Seed” ring* to add to my look.

What are your top three essentials?
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