Standing at the Crossroads.

At the tender age of 23, I have now reached the end of my school/university orientated life that was filled with essays, books, exams and the soul crushing all-nighters. It feels as if I am in my car, right by the STOP sign at a set of crossroads. Where do I go from here? Am I making the right choice? Where will I end up? Millions and millions of nagging questions going round and round in my head like a ferris wheel on crack cocaine.

My first mistake was choosing the wrong degree, but I can’t blame myself too harshly as I find it very hard to believe that every 19 year old knows bang on what they want to study, and then magically come out with a job relating partly to that degree choice. I was good at English; I used to write mini ‘novels’ when I was younger and always had my nose in a book and was even lulled to sleep due to the soothing sound of Stephen Fry narrating Harry Potter books. But unfortunately, as I grew older and began to understand that the world wasn’t the happy shiny place I had seen through my young eyes. Instead I began to learn about the politics of the world and the issues of terrorism. 9/11 in particular caught my interest; I could only think one question as I watched those planes crash into the crumbling world trade centers. Instead of jumping onto the ‘all Muslim’s are terrorists’ Western bandwagon, all I asked is: “but why would these people do such a terrible thing? What angered them so greatly to cause them to react in such a horrifically violent way?” There are always two sides to the story after all. From that day forward I was fascinated by Islam, Jihad and every aspect of the Middle East.

I chose my degree because I wanted to learn and understand about what drives such a minority of people to commit such disturbing and violent crimes – this did not necessarily mean I was good at the many History or Sociology style essays that my course demanded. I had dropped History at the age of 13 (in favor of Geography) and had no real clue on how to write a successful economics or sociology based essay. With no previous experience, my many weeks and nights of research, reading and working produced mediocre essay grades. It quickly became disheartening.

Now I stand on before the crossroads, full of ambition to head out into the REAL world (and not back to the bubble of boozing, late nights and half hearted work). I want to work, I want to finally start LIVING my life. I am grateful every day that I have had an experience that showed me there is a beautiful gold lined path leading to a career that I am passionate about and also extremely good at. I used to be passionate about my degree, but that does not automatically mean it is meant for me or that I will succeed in it.

A piece of paper (a degree), does not get you any more further in life than someone with self determination, passion and confidence in what they want to pursue, and I hope many others realize that University is not the only way to succeed in what you want in life. Time, experience and passion are truly the vital ingredients to lead you onto a life that you will love and never look back on and regret.

Don’t ever let parents/significant others/friends ever try to keep you from what you truly believe is the right thing for YOU. Once you can manage that, the crossroads won’t seem as scary as you think.

From London with love,

Caitlin

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ALWAYS follow your instinct

ALWAYS follow your instinct

My chunky love affair.

Today I looked at my lovely jewellery tree, which is normally only sporting dainty little Alex Monroe pieces from birthday’s past or old discoloured Urban Outfitters necklaces, but then I realised that all of those delicate or broken necklaces were engulfed by my recent obsession of ‘make a statement’ jewellery.

I stay true to my little four leaf clover Alex Monroe necklace, or my Dinny Hall Talitha pendant given to me by my brother on my 21st birthday, but I decided a while back to cheat on my dainty beloveds and go for something bigger in size (obviously no sexual connotations here…).

I didn’t think my love affair with chunky statement jewellery would last long, ‘just another passing fashion phase’ I thought to myself, but oh how wrong I was, and unfortunately, my bank balance didn’t seem too pleased with my chunky love affair either.

However, my bank balance didn’t see my money-saving ways at first, but once I had the statement jewels that I thought was enough to cover most outfits in my wardrobe, I felt no need to go looking for another printed top or blouse – just popping on one of my statement necklaces instantly made wearing a plain white top all the more fun and quirky – as seen below.

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Chunk-ify to have some fun with the plain basics.

When it comes to statement necklaces, I divide mine into two camps: the bling-jewel crew, and the edgy tribals. As you can see from the ‘bling-jewel’ style, I do have a passionate love for an Emerald green or Gold:

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Greens & Gold’s.
– Green cuff & both necklaces: Accessorize
– Chunky chain: Urban Outfitters
– Scallop style gold necklace: Topshop

With my selection of the ‘edgy & tribal-esque’ necklaces, I find these sharp structured lines work best with a simple silk or textured top, preferably with no pattern as the jewellery is doing the talking for the outfit itself:

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Lines, Curves & Points:
– All the above is from Topshop (not so adventurous, but at a price that keeps both me and my bank balance happy).

Does a long gold spike necklace work with a nice white formal dress? Well, I thought so, and here was the result:

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Plain white dress? Edge it up.

Obviously my opinion is heavily biased, but my verdict is that YES, the long spike chain necklace completely transformed a plain white bodycon dress (from Zara) into something INTERESTING, something that stood out from the sea of expensive little gold chain necklaces.

By adding that chunky edgy statement to your everyday or formal outfit, I promise you will have a lot more fun, and notice a lot more compliments on your quirky choice. Just remember to make sure none of the spikes of edges harm anyone in the process wearing your new chunky friend!

Time to love you & leave you now!

With love from London,

C

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Sunny Sunday.

I’ve decided to up the ante and start blogging more about fashion/my style favourites etc. I felt my blog had a bit of a sad theme going on, with a few of my posts about my parents divorce, feeling alone or sad etc. So I’ve now decided that I am going to blog about things that I love or am interested in so my mind isn’t so focused on the sadness around me. Its all about getting the balance in life right eh?

I think the best place to start is to show you, (the lovely reader of my blog), what I wore out and about during my Sunday FUNday antics.

As it was warm, but not warm enough to wear my favourite shorts, I stuck to my trusty denim jeans – always there when you need them when London hasn’t decided in the rainy morning that it wants to be hot in the afternoon.

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Feeling floaty floral in Notting Hill.

Right now I’m very much into loose floaty shirts, especially ones with a great pattern or design. Button up shirts are also great to show a little bit of lingerie lace if you want to make it a little more risque than just casual day wear.

My favourite part of the outfit is the clash of patterns between the floral print on my shirt and the blue and white stripes of my hairband – which I picked up from a children’s clothes shop! Stuff in those kind of shops ain’t just for toddlers or pre-teens!

From where?

  • Floral button up shirt: Primark
  • Jeans: New Look
  • Bow Hairband: No Added Sugar
  • Bag: Ozzy & Deena (Urban Outfitters)
  • Shoes: found in my mum’s shoe collection & have now worked their way into mine.

As Sunday is a day of rest, I will love you and leave you now. My ‘bible’ (the Style magazine supplement that comes with the Sunday Times papers) is calling me!

With love from London,

C

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Time to play in the summer sun!

Let’s rewind back to the ‘summer’ months of London 2012 and reminisce of the glorious weather it brought us Brits… For starters, it was recorded as the wettest summer since 1917, and then all hopes of sunbathing in Hyde Park or a trip to Brighton were dashed by the measly mean UK temperature of 13.9 °C – the coolest summer we’ve had since 1998! My 2012 ‘summer’ wardrobe consisted of jumpers, jeans, and if VERY LUCKY, maybe even a t-shirt without a cardigan!

Fast forward to the London summer months of 2013 and its a whole new story. The heatwave that gripped us from the start of July has held on into August, I like to think that’s the weather saying ‘sorry about the shit summer we gave you last year, we feel kinda bad about all that flooding and ruining the Queen’s Jubilee, so we’ve decided to let you all have a hot and sunny summer’. This was very nice of the weather, but a heatwave that causes problems with my wardrobe? Not so nice.

In this perpetual 28-32°C weather I have found my new best friend that keeps me cool and un-sweaty in this city heat – the playsuit.

I used to think playsuit’s looked silly and that it was odd that women wanted to wear a child’s outfit. It wasn’t until a few years back that I tried one on in Urban Outfitters and decided that for a shorty like me (I nearly reach the great height of 5ft), that these short, silky little things did wonders for my little legs and added instant sex appeal through the short hem, silk and pattern.

I’m not a huge fan of Aztec prints, but on this Urban Outfitters playsuit (below), works perfectly. With the cream base and pink patterns toning down the bold Aztec style pattern it stands out from the regular heavy black, yellow or red typical Aztec prints seen on the high street.

As the playsuit’s pattern does all the talking for the outfit, I think its better to tone down when it comes to accessories. Wearing a delicate necklace helps to balance the loud design of the playsuit, seen in the picture below, choosing to wear my favourite Dogeared gold star necklace.

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Silky printed playsuit = solution to keeping cool in the hot weather.

For all you lucky regular sized people out there, a pair of ballet pumps or flats or even a nice pair of sandals will do the trick to making your legs look lovely and long. As you can see in the photo above I opted for a pair of wedges which instantly flattered my little legs. However, as I soon sorely found out, wedges and cobbled stones DO NOT MIX.

Another playsuit I added to my ever growing collection is much more understated, being black in colour with a minimal print to it. In this case I added a statement necklace that complemented the colours of the pattern on the playsuit (dark pink and blue).

I also found that with nearly every playsuit you don’t have to stick with jewellery to add to the look, in fact I found that adding a belt complements both the outfit and emphasizes your waist at the same time – two birds, one stone!

This outfit (although not properly seen in the photo) has kept the sweat at bay in clubs or on holiday.

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Keeping cool on holiday in the Italian heat – picture taken in the beautiful Florence.

If you want to check out a beautiful model wearing the Aztec print playsuit, or if you would like to add it to your wardrobe collection, check out: http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/sparkle+fade-ombre-playsuit-in-aztec-print/invt/5741424315842/

Urban Outiftters may be a little on the pricey side, but the sale always comes up tops and is well worth checking out instore. My favourite alternative if I’m not up to splashing out on £38 or more for one item is to trawl Ebay, where I’ve already found two beautiful swallow printed playsuits in a lovely light blue colour or in cream.

Wondering about a reasonably priced necklace to go with your playsuit? Here is my favourite choice (I rarely take it off!): http://www.asos.com/Dogeared/Dogeared-Make-A-Wish-Rising-Star-Necklace/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=2573568&cid=4122&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=36&sort=-1&clr=Gold

Wanting something to emphasize that itty bitty waist, or maybe to simply make the playsuit more fitted? Try out a belt like this (I have one like this, but with a pink-y nude belt strap instead of black), the gold bar on the front of the belt will make it easy to accessorize with jewellery and also gives it a more sophisticated look:

http://www.missselfridge.com/en/msuk/product/accessories-299050/belts-299077/black-skinny-metal-bar-belt-2020270?bi=1&ps=40

The sun is shining, and now its time to get out and play in my playsuit without sweating till I’m soaked! And because its called a ‘PLAYsuit’, it means you HAVE to have some fun in it. Enjoy!

With summery love from London,

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McDonald’s, Piss & Romance.

One balmy London summer night I found my boyfriend and myself in a side street near Oxford Circus, sitting on the grubby curb with a greasy Big Mac and fries in hand. After watching a few drunken girls stumble past us, bouncers hauling a man down the road and looking at the trickle of a horrible smelling liquid ease its way down the pavement (which was most probably piss), I looked over at my boyfriend and realized that despite the yelling, honking, dirt and burger stuffed in his mouth that this was one of the most romantic times I had ever spent with him.

Romance is built up to represent candle lit dinners, flowers, cosy nights in, spontaneous gifts or pretty much anything that doesn’t involve a Big Mac or the smell of piss. The majority of us either founded our view of romance from novels or movies or perhaps even from our parents and friends, but my view of romance was built from the one person who showed me what real romance is, or at least what is real to me.

The closest to romance I had before P was being bought a Panini, but only because the Italian shop owner jokily said that my ‘gentleman’ should treat me to lunch and that a lady shouldn’t have to pay on a date (then ensued the awkward moment where my previous boyfriend had to pull out his wallet for the second time and begrudgingly handed the £3.50 over). Before P I had never known romance and naturally found it strange at first when he wanted to buy my cinema ticket or take me out for dinner.

As the days and months passed by, the romance within my relationship with P changed. As students, the number of restaurant dinners and movie trips began to dwindle (as did our bank balances). Yet I soon found myself happily curled up with him in bed watching a film or cooking dinner together and not caring that I wasn’t dressed up in a nice restaurant or that I was watching a film on my laptop and not the big screen.

Everyone has different views on what is romantic, but sitting on that London curbside with P, I realized that I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I didn’t want to be looking across a candle lit table at him with a fancy plate of food to devour, I wanted to be right there, side by side on the dirty pavement laughing and being ourselves whilst devouring the greasy and glorious burgers and fries. No waiters to pester us, no couples or tables around us, and despite the surrounding drunks or honking taxis, it all faded away and it felt like we were the only two people on that street, just being ourselves. To me, that’s what real romance is, when you can be yourself whenever or wherever you are and still find the romance – even if you can smell piss.