life

thinking about style

thinking-about-style-spring-summer-wardrobe-mycreative

With a new season comes that deep ‘want’ for spending all my pennies on some clothes that fit the season better. I’ve never been the wisest shopper, buying things that I love but don’t necessarily suit me or are ‘special occasion’ numbers or things that are a little boring but ‘practical’. I also wouldn’t say I am the most stylish person. I am not particularly adventurous. I lean towards a little safe. I don’t throw random things together and look good. But honestly, I kind of like the simple silhouettes, the idea of a daily uniform, the idea of wearing a tshirt with a knock out accessory. I just don’t alway pull it off.

On another note in the last six months with not having a regular job my ‘daily uniform’ has been either pjs (when it is cold and I don’t need to leave the house) or my jeggings and a tshirt/jumper. Honestly, I am a fan of the latter but think even that could do with a little bit of ‘shuzhing’ (is that how you spell it). Maybe some actual jeans!

At the same time I don’t have money to go and buy a while new wardrobe and I am wanting to work towards appreciating enough. So, I am sort of jumping on the whole “lean closet movement” that has been around for ages on the blogosphere in different projects but seems to be picking up more lately. Although I have pinned thousands of items onto my ‘wear’ board In reality I don’t want to own hundreds of items of clothing. What I do want is to feel stylish, sophisticated and (oh I am getting old) comfortable! So I am going through what I need and want and working on defining my style and considering the stylish people I can emulate. I think the Olsen twins are the current winners – jeans, tshirts, floaty blouses, blazers, a little bit boho, maybe drop the heals.

I’ve made a ‘general style’ pinterest board to help solidify things in my mind. It features a lot of denim/chambray, simple dresses and neutrals with some fun elements like a bright mustard or patterned shoes. And stripes. I love stripes. I think the bulk of items I own already lean this way (gratifying to know that after 30 years I am finally getting there), but probably also a few items which I might clear out.

With summer on its way though I think there is a bit more room for playing (see my summer style board). A few more fun patterns, perhaps a pair of denim shorts and I love a good maxi (although I think I am covered on that). Some bolder colours – I love a bright orange or pink – but still with lots of cool neutrals.

So far I’ve bought a new maxi (stripes), two pairs of sandals (as I someone brought none with me when we moved!) and two new t-shirts (tell me I am not the only one to kind of get a new batch every year). I hope these items all last a while. They are basics with some longevity in terms of a uniform. I will be on the look for some new trousers though too as my black jeggings recently gained a hole in an undesirable spot.

How about you? What are your thoughts on the lean closet? What are your key pieces or everyday uniform? Are you drawing up a shopping list or do you just go to the shops and buy armfuls of lovely? Who are your style icons? Where is your favourite shop for buying t-shirts? I still don’t think I have found them. And how do you combine a minimal closet with seasonal trends? Do you or is that an old way of thinking?

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This weekend was one of those calm relaxing kinds. Lots of our friends went away for the weekend but saving for the wedding / honeymoon meant we stuck to home this time around.

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Friday was the only day with decent weather forecasted and we went for a long walk to make the most of it. Up the hill in the middle of town. Noted how green things were looking. Spotted some places we want to try out. Discovered an awesome new bakery / coffee shop / bar / live jazz bar (is that not just the best combination ever). We ate focaccia for lunch. Then gelato from a place we hadn’t tried. Then we sat in the main square and enjoyed the sunshine and people watched.

Saturday was rain. Discovered a new amazing woodwork shop where I want everything. There is a wall decorated with rolling pins. A workshop which has a glass ‘wall’ so you can see what is going on. And you can buy wooden block houses by weight! We met a friend for an afternoon coffee (at the place discovered Friday). That turned into a drink and then waiting for two hours for them to slice up all the bread that hadn’t sold which was then served as complimentary bar nibbles. They served it with hummus and tapenade. A simple dinner but so good. I wonder if free dinner with drinks is the best part of this place? Then gelato. Or that?

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Sunday more rain. Out for a wonder despite the rain. It cleared up and we met friends for a drink in the main square. The clouds cleared for the most gorgeous sunset.

Monday more rain. Tim made breakfast. For lunch we were craving piadini and headed out despite the rain. Another new gelato place we wanted to try was closed. Got home and a friend messaged. I went out to join her for a hot chocolate (thick with hazelnut bits). Then a drink. Then home for leftovers because the shops hadn’t been open for two days (oops, we’re not in England anymore).

Looking forward to the next two weekends which are also long ones!

transformation-is-not-a-future-event

Perfection is boring. It is all progress.

I am using this as a sort of ‘it’s alright, you are doing okay’ motivation. I am definitely doing better in some areas than others but I feel like I am at least moving forward. That is a good thing.

I thought I’d ‘voice out loud’ what I am learning through my ‘habit building‘:

>>> In both March and April I have given myself five habits to work towards. So far, I only seem capable of doing 2 of these at a higher level. Some things seems to come up as more important. I don’t think this is a bad thing per se. I am still interested in working on all these areas but some are of greater concern to me at the moment. So, what is coming up top: working towards healthy.

>>> In March two of the habits I wanted to work on were getting up earlier and working out. I generally find that by getting up earlier I get more done but working out in the morning gives me that extra boost. However, just getting up earlier didn’t lead to me working out first thing (or at all). The day starts slipping by and then I say to myself “oh too late now”. In April I changed this around to working out before 7.30am for 3 points and before 9am for 1 point (I give myself an hour extra on the weekends). This way I am killing two birds with one stone and feel that I am more motivated to actually work out.

>>> Exercise doesn’t come naturally to me (does it to anyone?), but I feel like a happier person when I exercise regularly. Through April I have tried extra things to motivate myself to exercise. One week I decided I was going to work out everyday and share the youtube videos that I did with my twitter followers to hold myself accountable. Because of this I even worked out on my birthday! Something that never would have happened. In the end I only managed six days (after having walked 20km on my birthday I felt I needed a rest the next day) but six days is more than I had done for ages. From this week I have drawn up a four week exercise calendar mixing a few of my favourite instructors and some of their challenges.

>>> I am drinking more water! In March I got a point for every glass of water I drank but now only get a point for every half a litre. That pushes me to get another glass of water in. I would say that my average water intake has gone from 1 litre a day in March to 1.5 litres a day in April. Sparkling water has been amazing in achieving this. I used to hate the stuff but think I am becoming more Italian because I love it. Why do you need soda when you have sparkling water (not that I actually like soda).

>>> Although being healthy is coming up top I have been totally unsuccessful with ‘all healthy snack days’. I managed six in March and don’t even think I have got that far in April so far (being ‘on holiday’ in London being the hardest part). That said we have stopped buying biscuits and devouring the whole packet in one sitting. I am reducing carb intake (I haven’t had a pizza since returning to Trieste a week ago – that is impressive!). One idea is that the only ‘sweet’ we are allowed is gelato. Honestly, I just don’t think I can give it up. I could potentially eat it everyday but might try to push it down to a few days a week.

>>> On the advice of Cassey from Blogilates, I have (very recently) started keeping a food journal and noting how I feel when eating (physically and emotionally). I used to count calories with a food journal but am not noting calorie intake this time. Just being aware of what you are eating and how it makes you feel is an interesting exercise in itself and I think I might learn some interesting things.

>>> In April I also decided to give up TV as a way to be more productive. Although I haven’t been perfect I have stopped binge watching series and only watched a few episodes of my favourite shows. Cutting out TV in your life has a way of making time for more important and interesting things. I just need to stop filling it with mindless internet time now!

>>> I also added working on my dissertation this month. Sadly that and practising Italian have not made much progress. That said there are nine days left of this month and there is always room for improvement.

I know some other people are out there working on being kind to their bodies. I’ve found Anna’s thoughts on obsession vs dedication in working out very motivating, especially since I am definitely someone who leans towards lazy) and Rosie’s health and fitness update series.

Also I am sharing some simple recipes on Instagram, they are amongst the hashtag mycreativeeats.

I’m feeling motivated so would love to hear some of your tips and advice and recipes etc of how you keep healthy and happy and inspired to carry on ‘doing good’.

(quote from a Jillian Michaels work out)

happy friday

happy-friday-tulips

This week I am grateful for:

  • A fiancé who has a massage therapist for a mother and got some training when he was a kid. I pinched a muscle in my shoulder this week and he has been pummelling it back to normality.
  • Grapefruit for breakfast. I know it isn’t local to the area I live but think I might add these back to my summer breakfast circulation. There is a certain joy in spraying citrus juices all over the place. And the remaining smell.
  • Black out blinds which mean I have been able to sleep in a little this week after my running around London week.

Links for your weekend perusal:

Hope you all have a lovely long Easter weekend. Eat lots of chocolate eggs!

Painted in Waterlogue

In the vein of Rosie and Freya, I thought I would share my week in London through numbers. So here you go.

2 | Celebrities spotted. I was in London all of 20 minutes when I walked past Bill Nighy in Soho. Then on Sunday I headed to The Wolseley for brunch (seriously love The Wolseley) and Samuel L Jackson was having some eggs.

20+ | Hours spent on buses, trains and tube. I stayed at a friend just past Hackney after I got into London got back to using the bus a lot. Definitely the best way to get around London if you aren’t in too much of a hurry. Plus a train from my Mom into London, to Cambridge and back and to the airport, plus the occasional zip on the tube. I have to say it was a little exhausting all the moving around though – I only take the bus once a week to go to one of my little tutoring jobs. And occasionally to the beach.

3 | Nights slept in my styled hair. Four days and it still looked decent! Very impressed

12 | Charity shops visited. I was looking for some bits for the wedding and was fairly successful. This was split between one near my mum in Bracknell, Crouch End and Cambridge.

At least 10 | Number of jugs in said charity shops that I eyed up longingly. I have a thing for them.

18 | Friends caught up with. Not everyone but glad that I got to spend some quality time with a bunch of my special friends.

1 | Photo shoot. Had to some work (although always so fun).

2 | Pairs of shoes bought. A smart move with the Tom’s but got massive blisters from the cheapo high street purchase. Oops.

gazillion | Calories consumed. In case you are interested this included meals from the following: The Vintage Tea House with my mum (great cake!), a late dinner at Maeve’s Kitchen (a simple menu but lovely cosy feeling), Tibits (a great central vegetarian restaurant which is great for a bite with a friend for lunch), Rosa’s (to get some Thai food fix), Beam (still thinking about their salad), Franco Manca, a little caf’ in Cambridge where I had a full veggie English (yum), The Wolseley (always brilliant), an amazing Turkish falafel wrap from Dom’s Place (a hipster kebab joint basically. It has been there since the 1970s but recently refurbished. Super good wrap too). So many new places had popped up in favourite neighbourhoods and exploring new areas meant I was keen to try 10,000 more but afraid my stomach and wallet could not handle that. Time for a detox now!

learned-on-a-friday-mycreative

>>> A hairdo and makeup session from Blow Ltd is well worth the money. After seeing some people post about this new salon on twitter I thought I would try it out as an option for my wedding and I will definitely be heading back. Three strangers complimented me on my hair and the makeup lasted until after midnight (though admittedly I wasn’t dancing away, something I plan to be doing on my wedding night). I slept on my hair two nights in a row and it was still looking good on Sunday!

>>> Left to my own devises I generally spend more money than I should (sorry Tim).

>>> Chocolate chip biscuits from the in-store bakery at Marks and Spencers still taste amazing.

>>> The staff at Schuh in Covent Garden are really friendly and helpful. The level of service was made even better by the contrast of staff at another high street chain. Schuh also give you a year to return items. A year!

>>> Lunching with a good friend is the best. Made even better when the food is so good. I don’t think I have ever had a restaurant salad so good as the one from Beam. Walnut and tahini dressing is definitely something I will have to try and create at home.

>>> Some people obviously get gifted items from West Elm that they don’t realise are awesome. Picked up two little owl cups for £1 each in a charity shop. Not practical but so fun!

>>> Crouch End is an awesome corner of London (note lunch and charity shop finds above). Plus it has the prettiest florist. I think in another life I might have tried my hand at flower arranging.

>>> Cocktails served in teapots and drunk out of tea cups taste better.

>>> Franco Manca is worth the queue. (And I must have a serious love for Italian food to eat it when I am on holiday from Italy!)

>>> Blogging ladies are the best.

>>> A table of women in a pub have a gravitational pull on drunken men at tables next to them. Also I am glad I am not on the dating seen. Hard work if that is what is out there.

>>> The most popular photos on instagram (based on a small study of 2 instagram profiles) contain at least two of the following elements: trees, fog, the sea, a sunset, old men, birds, leftover food (strangely more popular then ‘fresh’ food). Some combinations are more popular than others. I am now thinking of a way to combine all these elements into one shot.

This post had no sponsors, just so you know.