My 5 Favourite Blogs

I love finding new blogs to read so I thought it was high time I shared some of my favourites with you:

Man Repeller / http://www.manrepeller.com

Man Repeller

If you like your blogs a touch sardonic, definitely not mainstream and very funny, you’ll love Man Repeller. Leandra Medine and her collection of writers have a brilliant take on fashion, beauty and culture. My current fave reads: How to Get a Head Start on Next Season Before You Accidentally Buy Another Pair of Ripped JeansThe Trajectory of You as Told by Your Jeans (yes, bit of a jean theme) and Boob Tape: Great for Boobs but Not Just for Boobs


Media Marmaladehttp://mediamarmalade.com

Media Marmalade

Amazing images make Mel’s blog a must view for me. Her tips on blogging and career advice are brilliant and actually helpful! Plus, there is now a small and very cute dog that features….


Bangs and a Bun / http://www.bangsandabun.com

Bangs

If I’m having a mean reds kind of day, I go to Bangs and a Bun for a kick up the bum. Not literally, but reading her blog is a boost in the empowerment department. Her running book made me start running again plus, she fronts a podcast series: The No Bullshit Guide to Life – which pretty much does what it says on the tin.


Girl Lost in the City / http://girllostinthecity.com

Girl Lost in the City

Emma’s opinion pieces are just brill. It’s like having a chat with a friend who has the same problems as you and thinks the same way – mostly. I like to sit down with a cuppa and read her musings about our generation and the world we live in.


Frock Me I’m Famoushttp://www.frockmeimfamous.com

FMIF

If you like a flat lay, you’ll love this blog! Hayley takes amazing images making everyday items look luxe -honestly, it’s incredible.

So, these are my favourite blogs at the moment – what are yours?

Scent Assignment

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Scent is one of those funny things that can transport you straight back to a certain time and place, or make you feel a certain way. The smell of baking makes just about everyone feel hungry. Chanel No.19 reminds me of my mum and of being small. Cress and cucumber make me think of summer. One whiff of Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey and I am standing on a cherry blossom heavy, rain sparkled street in Japan. Spray Guerlain’s Insolence near me and whoosh, I’m back in a sweaty hot department store trying to sell makeup one boiling summer, whilst the woman on the counter opposite makes the air (and everyone passing) solid with violets. Just writing this, I can taste the damn stuff.

Perfume is a whole other wardrobe to the one your clothes hang in. One scent might make you want to go out and party, another makes you stand up a little straighter and feel more confident. Last month I read an article about assigning scent to a day or a mood. How the perfume you wear on your wedding day makes you remember the day forever, or a perfume you wore on holiday can make you relax. This got me thinking – if scent can make you want to go out or snuggle down on the sofa, can the waft of a particular smell make you work harder? Or even, just make you feel more inclined to get down to some graft? Can scent kick start a behaviour?

I don’t go for a perfume wardrobe as a lot of scents turn a little odd on my skin. I can’t stand anything too sweet and if it’s got patchouli in it, I will smell like I’ve sprayed myself with toilet cleaner. I stick to two perfumes and that is IT. At least I’m easy to buy for. Scented candles, now they are another matter. I love them. Love them! I have one in every room. The flickering flame and a pleasant, relaxing aroma after a hard day is my thing. I use candles to relax, so this thought was a little different, using them not to relax but to get those creative juices flowing.

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E+ARose3

After lots of ‘research’ (smelling candles in shops), I’ve chosen a rose scented candle by Essence and Alchemy to be my assigned scent. They’re a local company who make handmade candles with a wooden wick for extra crackle. Rose can be a bit of a granny smell but the wax contains rose geranium, palmarosa and rosewood and smells more Turkish Delight than actual old lady, Rose. It says a warm and calming atmosphere on the box, which sounds good.

So, I light it and write and when I’m done, snuff it out. Light and repeat – I’ll let you know how I get on…

What do you do?

I hate this question. I hate asking it and I hate answering it. This weekend, I stood in a pub with someone I didn’t know so well and the question slipped out of my mouth before I knew it. My brain then closely followed it up with the thought: ‘What did you do that for?’

Turns out, I’m not the only one with a dislike for it. The following morning, I listened to the excellent podcast ‘The No BS Guide to Life’ by @Bangsandabun and she was talking about THE EXACT SAME THING – spooky.

We all ask ‘What do you do?’, especially in social situations with people we don’t know well. We can then give them a nice little label to mentally hang round their necks – this is Susie and she is a dog walker/beautician/solicitor/whatever. Except this isn’t Susie the dog walker/beautician/solicitor/whatever. Susie might be a semi pro golfer who has traveled to every continent on the planet, and is a Satanist. You don’t know.

What I dislike so much about the question ‘What do you do?’ is that it tells you very little about a person. It doesn’t tell you who they are. I’d rather know who my friends, or potential friends, are than what they do between the hours of 9am and 5pm each day.

However, you can’t go around asking people ‘Who are you?’. At least I can’t – it makes me sound a bit weird, although actually I did used to bellow ‘Who are you and what are you doing?’ at random passing people as I toddled along the road when I was 2 or 3, much to the embarrassment of whichever adult was with me. What can I say? I’m curious about people.

With the next person I chatted with, I settled on ‘What are you reading at the moment?’. I think this reveals way more about someone, plus I get to swap book recommendations and add more titles to my to-read list.

How do you get round this dang awful question, or are you what you do?

#GIRLBOSS

I really didn’t want to like #GIRLBOSS. I wanted to find it full of clichés (which it is) and blah tales of bad girl done good due to luck and .com bubbles. Actually, I ended up liking Sophia Amoruso and her book – though the title’s naff, I am sticking with that one.

Sophia founded e-commerce success story Nasty Gal via a pool house and eBay. Nasty Gal is the quirkier, cooler American sister of ASOS. It’s slick, it’s off beat and it’s stylish. Sophia built this go to fashion e-business from scratch and pretty much blind, going with her instinct, talking to her customers and using her own particular brand of common sense mixed with social media. Pretty impressive.

If you are looking for a business how to book, #GIRLBOSS is not for you. There are no business plans, charts or sales force insights for you to copy. However if, like me, you are a little nosy and find it fascinating to learn about other people’s lives and why/how they end up where they do, buy it.

Yes, maybe Sophia was on eBay at the right time, and she was selling products that were a little niche and just coming into mainstream fashion but you have to give it to the girl, she worked her backside off. This is a story of finding your passion and sticking with it. She’s really doesn’t seem to be in it for the money – that’s just a happy by product of a love of vintage clothes and styling. Yes, it could have all gone horribly wrong and she’s still be living in that pool house, surrounded by moth eaten vintage gear and there would be no book. But it didn’t, and that’s why her story fascinates, because everyone loves a real life fairy tale.

Buy #GIRLBOSS and get inspired.

The Wardrobe Equation

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Some people collect stamps or perfume bottles, or memories – whatever that means. I collect Elle magazines. I have a pile going back nearly 10 years. It’s kinda big. This collection has been lugged to the new house but new houses bring changes and different storage and I’m afraid the magazines have got to go.

It’s been a fun task schlepping through each copy. Some of them are tatty and well loved, others are pristine and in nearly all of them I’ve starred things I like. Flicking through, I realised – I have a look. I do. I think I don’t, and I definitely don’t wear it now but I know what I like and most of it would suit me. So I started peeling pictures out, ripping pages, collating a new me.

Halfway through I came up with a sort of formula:

Like-ability+Suitability/Affordability = Buy it + Wear it

You can do it yourself. Pick up that magazine and look at the image you are first drawn to on the page. Do you like it? Would you wear it? Does it suit your body shape? If it’s a yes to all 3, rip it out.

I think it works. Now, to save those pennies and get shopping…. I might have found what I should be wearing but how to afford them damn stuff?

I trot out the ‘I can’t afford it’ excuse a lot to myself and to others. To be fair, saving for a house I probably couldn’t but now I’m in a situation where I want to save AND spend. Hmmmm.

The 50:30:20 budgeting rule has been around for ages but I’ve only just come across it. Basically, 50% of your incoming wage should be spent on essentials, the things you really need like rent/mortgage, food, household bills, insurance, credit card repayments, travel for work etc.

30% should be spent on wants – things like your phone bill, clothes, makeup, meals/nights out. I’ve set up a savings account for this section so I can save for the clothes I want with the remainder of my 30% – hello Amazon wishlist.

20% should be saved – tucked away in a savings account (as high interest as you can get) and forgotten about until it’s an actual emergency or you are going to purchase the thing you are saving for. Soz but holidays apparently don’t count under this heading (they’re a want).

You may need to tweak the figures for you a little bit. My mortgage payment is over 50% of my income so that doesn’t work for a start but I’ve kept the figures as close as I could. Fingers crossed, I’ll have a little pot to purchase from soon.

How do you decide what you are going to buy and how to afford it? Do you splash out, or buy little and often?

Life After Life

What if you don’t get just one shot at life? What if you repeat your life over and over until you get it right? What if dying just means you get to start again?

Kate Atkinson is one of my favourite writers and Life After Life has to be one of her best stories.

At first, you’re not quite sure what’s going on but as you follow the main character Ursula, and her family through both World Wars, the book begins to grip you. It’s does get a little bit exhausting – and must be for Ursula, being born over and over again but there you go – but you always want to read on, to find out what happens next.

Kate Atkinson combines supernatural, spiritual and sometimes, just plain weird concepts and humanises them. She makes them real and believable with warmth and the depths of human character. We all have choices to make and -Sliding Doors style- these affect our paths, our character and ultimately, where we end up.

It’s a brilliant book, which I couldn’t put down – and an interesting concept. Buy yours here: Life After Life

Beauty: Hydraluron Serum

Hydra ser

I blooming loved Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly (read my review here) and in my quest for better skin in winter, decided to give their Moisture Boosting Serum a go too. Anything that gets moisture in my face and encourages it to stay there is going to be alright with me.

The serum comes in a tube rather than the pushdown cylinder tub that the jelly comes in, and a little really does go along way. It smells of not much really but feels soothing and lovely when you smooth it on.

I even took just the serum on a weekend away and used in place of a moisturiser as I was packing light. I wouldn’t recommend doing this normally, but for a day or so, my skin survived! Generally, I do need a moisturiser on top too.

So, another goodie in my winter skin survival kit – what serums are you using?