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January in Review

This month has been good to me. I started a new job at my old Students Union, moved into a beautiful new house (after lots of stressful phone calls) with James and became vegan! I’m planning to write about becoming vegan in a bit more depth, but for now I can say that I’ve really enjoyed it and have been pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of food I’ve been eating. Being in York, I’ve spent my weekends with my gorgeous friends, and enjoyed having visitors to stay. I even managed to write a couple of blog posts too!

I began the month (and the year!) with some resolutions. I haven’t achieved any of my goals yet but I’m getting there.

I wrote three outfit posts this month. January has not been a month of adventurous outfits – I have been reaching for simple and comfy recently, I think it’s something to do with winter. My favourite outfit is my blue velvet dress but I also wrote about my stripey trousers and my Zara jumper.

blue velvet 5I shared a couple of craft projects this month too! Hands down, my favourite was the Mario Mushroom Crochet Blanket that I finished and gave to my brother. I worked on it for so long, and it couldn’t have turned out better! I was also pretty chuffed with the lavender bunnies I made with my mum as Christmas presents, and I’m pleased to have embroidered my last two patterns (here and here) for the autumn stitching club.

mario mushroom 1My favourite post this month was my discussion of cruelty free beauty. I got some lovely responses, you guys are the best!

cruelty free beauty 7I finished off the month by interviewing one of my favourite ever bloggers, Helena! I loved finding out more about her, and I’m planning to share an interview with another of my blogger fave’s next month 🙂

Have you had a good January?

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Blogger Favourites: Bell’s Fashion

This is the first post in my blogger favourites series featuring just one blogger. I thought it would be fun to get to know the best of the blogging world by conducting interviews! This month I’m chatting to Helena from Bell’s Fashion. I’ve featured her on my blog before, and I still can’t get enough of her style! It’s colourful, retro and she has the most incredible faux fur collection.

J: I really love your style. You put clothes together in such a fun, playful and original way. Who are your biggest style inspirations? Who or what has had the biggest influence on your aesthetic?

H: Aww thank you so much! My biggest style inspirations in terms of bloggers are Jess & Stef from How Two Live and Sara from Waiste. Otherwise, I take a lot of inspiration from crazy stylists such as Soki Mak, Lola Chatterton and Julia Sarr-Jamois. I gain aesthetic inspiration from a variety of things such as people on the street, art, tumblr, blogs, and film.

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J: You’re one of my favourite bloggers because the way you dress is never boring. I know from personal experience that the general public is not always accepting of people who dress a little differently. If you ever experience negativity, how do you deal with it?

H: I have experienced negativity a few times from the way I have dressed but it has only ever been on the internet and when a brand has posted me on one of their social media sites (usually facebook) – never on my own blog. When it first happened I was slightly offended but to be honest I completely understand that not everyone will ‘get’ my style and that’s fine if they don’t like it but I don’t see the need for people to get so worked up over someone else’s outfit over the internet! People take fashion wayyyy too seriously.

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J: I’m always intrigued by the non-bloggy parts of bloggers lives. What does a typical day in the life of Helena look like?

H: At the moment, my life isn’t particularly exciting I’m afraid. I’m in my last year of uni so I will usually just get up earlyish, get dressed then spend the whole day in my room doing uni work, with my cats by my side. Then have dinner with my mum, and see my boyfriend. Wow, I really know how to have fun don’t I haha!

J: I know from your blog that you’re currently studying a fashion degree and that you’ve got some exciting business plans coming up as part of your final project! What plans do you have for when you graduate?

H: Oooh I’m so excited to graduate! I’m starting an online clothing website for my final major project and that is what I am going to be carrying on with for the rest of my future hopefully 😀 It’s going to be AMAZING! I wish I could tell you more but I’m keeping the name and everything a secret for now.. but all will be revealed in the not too distant future ❤

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J: What are your favourite parts of blogging, and are there any aspect of it that you find challenging?

H: My favourite part of blogging is meeting new people who I have a lot in common with. Where I live, there isn’t really anyone who has the same interests and mindset as me so it’s nice to meet similar people, even if it is virtual! Saying that, I’ve made some amazing friends through blogging who I love very much. The thing I find the most challenging is the whole taking photos part. It’s always difficult to find someone who has the time to take the photo of me and I also nearly always hate the photos as I feel I am so unphotogenic and awkward in front of a camera ha!

Thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed Helena! Don’t forget to check out her blog.

(All photo credit belongs to Helena)

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What I Wore: Stripey Trousers

Even though I’ve had these trousers for while, it’s taken me a while to photograph them because they go from “comfy trousers” to “why have you gone shopping in your pyjamas?” very quickly. I think this coat and trouser combination makes the outfit sufficiently smart though. Problem solved! The trousers are from my favourite Parisian vintage shop, Hippy Market. Next time I’m in Paris I’m going to buy all their high waisted trousers because I wear them all the time. I was beyond devastated when my other pair of Hippy Market trousers shrunk in the wash 😦

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I wore this outfit for a lovely lazy day last Sunday. I bought these shoes in the New Look sale. I like that New Look do a lot of non-leather shoes and they were cheaper than the knock-off Chelsea boots I’ve been watching on ebay for a while. I wore them for an afternoon walk around York and they were super comfy! You might have noticed that it’s a cold day and I’m not wearing five jumpers. I have discovered the secret to going outside in winter without wearing a duvet; I wear a thermal top under all my clothes every day. You’re welcome.

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Outfit details: Trousers, Vintage (Hippy Market, Paris) / Shirt, Vintage / Mac, Vintage / Shoes, New Look / Necklace, H&M

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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Autumn Stitching Club #13

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while you’ll know that I’ve been working on my embroidery for the autumn stitching club for a long time. As you can tell, since autumn and christmas have been and gone! I can gladly say that this is my last embroidered pattern for the autumn stitching club. The next time you hear me talking about it I should have sew all my patterns together as a pillow! I think it’s fitting that the last pattern is a pumpkin. Pumpkin’s are the most quintessentially autumnal for me. As soon as October rolls around I’ll be stocking up on pumpkins, making them into soup and carving little faces into them 🙂 My stitched pumpkin’s a little jaunty but I think he’s cute. He’s characterful.

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I hope you’re having a beautiful Thursday. I’m looking forward to four consecutive weekends of visitors in our little house, starting this Saturday. It’s going to be busy but I’m so excited to see everyone!

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Mario Mushroom Crochet

I am so excited to have finished this project! Sometime in summer I read this post by love elycia about her Mario Mushroom blanket. My little brother is seriously obsessed with everything Nintendo so I knew I wanted to make one for him. It started out as a birthday gift but it had to become a Christmas gift because it was taking me such a long time. Three months later and it’s ready! When planning out this blanket I only left myself a couple of days to sew the squares together. It turns out the granny squares take just as long to be sewn together than they take to be crocheted.

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Before I made this blanket I had never crocheted before. I’m very much a dive-in-at-the-deep end kind of girl when it comes to crafts. I learnt how to crochet a granny square using this lovely Youtube channel and I learnt how to crochet the squares together using this blog post. My first granny square took me between four and five hours but once I got the hang of it they took around twenty minutes. There’s close to two hundred granny squares in this blanket though, so it still took me a long time! Crocheting is a craft I’ve really enjoyed. It’s nice to come home after work, watch some tv and get crocheting. It’s like being lazy and productive at the same time! I’ve also been taking my granny squares on train journeys with me, which has been lovely when I don’t feel like reading.

mario mushroom 5mario mushroom 4(This is what the back of the blanket looks like.)

I’m so pleased with how this blanket turned out and I think my brother is too (if you’re reading, it’s on its way!) And I learnt a new skill. Crochet socks and a granny stripe blanket are next on my crochet list! Have you ever crocheted anything?

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What I Wore: Blue Velvet

I can’t believe I’m only blogging about this dress now. This is the exact outfit that I wore for New Years Eve but the photos were too fuzzy to post (note to self, always take outfit photos before drinking champagne.) I love this vintage dress so much. It’s short enough to be not-too-formal but long enough to be classy – being tall, most mini dresses are super short on me! You can’t go wrong with blue velvet and I’m in love with the sweetheart neckline. These ASOS shoes are magical. They have a seventies vibe which I adore, and because they’re mid-sized platforms they’re so comfy. I actually walked into town and back (30 minutes each way) on New Years in these shoes and didn’t have any problems. I told you they were magical!

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I did my gold nails using Models Own polish, and my necklaces are from Waiste. I seem to be starting a collection! I wore this outfit to go out with my friends in York which was so much fun. Bloggers don’t often post going-out outfits. Maybe it’s because it’s so hard to take pictures at night-time. Oh well, I think this attempt went better than my last one!

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Outfit details: Dress, Vintage (Dollymix, Leicester) / Shoes, ASOS / Necklaces, Waiste / Lipstick, Lush Confidence / Nail Polish / Models Own 25 Carat Gold

I haven’t been able to catch up on other blogs recently. Don’t worry, I still love you all, I’m just still getting used to my new work / life balance. I hope you’re having a fantastic Thursday!

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Autumn Stitching Club #12

I know what you’re thinking, Autumn was a long time ago! Yes it was but I haven’t finished my autumn embroidery project yet so let’s forget that it’s now January. This is the penultimate pattern for the Autumn Stitching Club. I’ve enjoyed it, but I will be glad to see it finished. I feel like I’ve been embroidering forever! This week’s pattern is a cute little smiley acorn.

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I hope your week’s been off to a good start. This is my second week of my new job and new house! I’m enjoying it, but I miss sleeping in. Oh well, there’s always the weekends! Happy Tuesday 🙂

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Cruelty Free Beauty

As you may or may not know I’ve been a vegetarian for almost three years now. It’s something I’m very committed to, and I try to only buy products which aren’t harmful to animals (or people!) It’s not until recently, though, that I’ve given much thought to my choice of cosmetics. I read blog posts by Chelsea and Libby which pointed out that some cosmetics are still tested on animals. Testing beauty products on animals creates unnecessary suffering – we don’t need to test them on animals, plenty of companies use alternative methods! I’ve therefore stopped buying products from companies that test on animals. It’s been a difficult transition, though, since it’s often unclear whether companies test or not. Often, the “finished product” isn’t animal tested, but the ingredients are, or the company says they “don’t test on animals” but they’re paying someone else to do it for them. To make things more difficult, the Chinese law requires that all beauty products must be animal tested, which means that if a beauty company stocks in China it is not cruelty free. Confused yet? Here are the cruelty free (as far as I know) products that work for me!

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Urban Decay This is hands down the most expensive make up I own, but it is both vegan and cruelty free! Their Naked Skin foundation is the only foundation I’ve found that actually matches my skin tone, and it’s lovely and light so it doesn’t look cakey or make me break out. I’m not really sure what the point of primer is, but I’ve been dutifully wearing it, and my foundation lasts all day so maybe it is working! The mascara is also a favourite of mine – it’s gives me long lashes without the clumps. Plus, the Urban Decay lady in Debenhams is really nice. I’ve been coveting an Urban Decay lipstick for a while now!

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The Body Shop – Originally The Body Shop was the holy grail in cruelty free beauty, founded by the activist Anita Roddick, but it’s now owned by L’Oreal who do test on animals.I’m not really sure how I feel about this. I’m new to skin care, but I’m giving it a go. I’ve been cleansing toning and moisturising twice a day for a couple of weeks. I haven’t noticed an improvement, but I haven’t had any problems either which is unusual for my super sensitive skin. I’m going to be patient and see if there’s an accumulative effect!

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Zoya / Wet ‘n Wild / Barry M / Models Own – There are a surprisingly large amount of cruelty free nail varnish brands. Zoya is my favourite – it’s opaque in one coat and doesn’t chip easily. Models Own do the best glitter polishes, and Barry M is inexpensive and has a huge selection – I love their gelly polishes!

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Eco Tools – Apart from a snapped-in-half blusher brush that I’ve had for at least five years, this is the first make up brush that I’ve bought! It really is super soft and applies my foundation evenly. If I buy another make up brush, I will get it from them! Not only are they cruelty free, they’re also eco friendly and donate a lot of their proceeds to charity.

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Soap and Glory – I love Soap and Glory moisturisers! Hand Food, Butter Yourself, The Righteous Butter, they’re all good. Before Christmas the Yule Monty box was the Boots offer of the Week and I bought it (with my staff discount) for £23. Everything smells delicious, although I probably wouldn’t pay full price for the shower gel and the lip plump felt like it was burning rather than “tingling.”

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The Natural Collection – As you can see by the battered containers, I’ve had this blusher and eyeshadow for a while. I use the brown eyeshadow for my brows, and this is my everyday blusher. Since The Natural Collection is budget friendly I buy the kind of makeup here that doesn’t improve when you spend more money on it (pencil eyeliner, blusher etc.) and I love their gold eyeshadow!

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LUSH – I’ve saved the best for last. Lush is cruelty free, vegan, they have an emphasis on being eco-friendly and they campaign for a lot of good causes. I have a bit of a lush addiction at the moment. Every time I visit town I go in and smell all the bath bombs, which smell delicious and make my skin lovely and soft. They’re often glittery and contain “surprises”… and I love surprises! I recently tried out some of their “Emotional Brilliance” range. I have the blue “Control” liquid makeup (which I wear as lipstick) and the dark red “Confidence” liquid lipstick which took a while to get used to but is a lovely colour.

I hope that was helpful. Have you tried out any cruelty free products? If you want read read more about bunny friendly beauty, here are some resources that I’ve been finding super helpful… mo’adore Blog / Leaping Bunny / My Beauty Bunny / PETA Cruelty Free / Go Cruelty Free

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Lavender Bunnies

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Last Christmas (all the way back in 2012!) James bought me this book on vintage inspired handmade gifts. It’s so beautiful, it sits on my windowsill next to my Rookie yearbook, and my Tea Party book. Books with big pictures are my favourite. Anyway, I spent last christmas writing essays and I promised my mum that when I graduated we would make the lavender bunnies in my book as gifts. And we did! I know some of my friends and family read my blog, so I didn’t want to write about these before Christmas – I wanted the bunnies to be a surprise. I’m so pleased with how they turned out. They’re not symmetrical but I think they’re cute. The fabric I chose frayed like crazy but once we figured out how to work with it they were super fun to make 🙂

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You will need: Fabric (I used 3/4s of a meter of vintage plaid fabric from ebay), greaseproof paper, pencil, fabric scissors, lavender (you can buy dried lavender online), polyester stuffing, needle and thread, embroidery floss, embroidery needle, ribbon, small pom poms, sewing machine (optional)

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We traced the bunny shape onto greaseproof paper (remembering to leave an inch for the seam) cut it out, pinned it onto the fabric, and cut out 24 bunny shapes I pinned two sides of the bunny together and sewed around the edges, leaving one side of the head unstitched We snipped into the corners of the bunny and pushed the fabric through the hole so that the bunny was the right way around I stuffed the bunnies, alternating between polyester stuffing and lavender

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I hand sewed the stuffing hole closed We hand sewed on the pom poms as tails, tied the ribbon around their necks and embroidered eyes noses and mouths using the embroidery floss.

I rarely craft with others, so it was really fun to make bunnies with my mum – especially since they were completed twice as fast! They’re one of my favourite things I’ve ever made, I hope they enjoy their new homes.

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What I Wore: Zara Jumper

Okay, so this is not the most inventive outfit in the world, but it is comfy and cosy which is what I’ve been going for lately. Before New Years I spent a weekend with my Grandparents in Surrey and this is what I wore for Sunday dinner and sales shopping. I got lots of lovely things for christmas, but one of my favourites was this Zara jumper that my mum bought me. I wear a lot of high-waisted things, and I think they look good with a cropped jumper like this! It also has a roll neck and it’s super soft.

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My necklace was also a Christmas present. It’s from Waiste. I just love their jewellery and they sell the nicest vintage clothes – not surprising since the business is run by vintage boho blogger babe Sarah. I’m wearing Christmas nail polish too! The red is from Zoya and the glitter on top is Models Own. I’ve decided to only buy cosmetics that aren’t tested on animals (a blog post on that coming soon!) and nail polish is one of the easier things to find – I love Zoya and Models Own and they’re both bunny friendly!

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Outfit Details: Jumper, Zara / Trousers, ASOS (similar here) / Coat, Vintage (Priestleys VIntage, York) / Shoes, Vintage (Ebay, Old) / Necklace, Waiste

What did you get for Christmas?