Monday, 29 December 2014

Dear December

You've been good to me. I mean you've been a little, actually a lot, cold, but I'll forgive you there. Seriously, they were right when they said the south feels like the tropics compared to the north. You've kept me busy ever since coming home, which has been lovely. Yet again, that's come with it's own woes, namely to my purse. Everyone is doing well, or at least they've said they're doing well, so no one to worry and stress about thus far.

Then Christmas. How could we forget about Christmas? Having Christmas Eve with friends was super special, that was a good idea. Christmas has always been a little lonely, hasn't it? Just the three of us, but having more there just upped spirits. Mummy knocked it out of the park with beautiful food as usual; she kept your friends absolutely stuffed. I should say thank you to mummy more, and goodness knows I should help her more. Yes, I ought to be a lot more selfless. Christmas itself was an absolute treat. Minus the rain on Boxing day, no one likes rain. There was a brief promise of snow then though. You ought to try and forget shouting 'it's snowing' at your dad in the street, only for it to stop with the few scattered flakes and then pour down. 

Decemeber, you've been a thoughtful time. Plenty of time for reflection. In particular, this ought to be another letter to that lady who started talking to me at the bus stop. Why did I want to shrug her off? What is this city mentality? After I smiled politely and looked away I stopped before I whipped my phone out. I couldn't help but think: come on, you love talking, you are you suddenly so quiet now? I'll admit the conversation was conceived a little oddly. She approached me and told me she was taking this bus to the opticians, because her glasses had broken. You don't need to venture into any speech about meeting people in unusual ways, I've watched enough crime shows to know I'm not befriending randomers at bus stops. But if someone just harmlessly begins conversation, calm down. I need to calm down. They're not going to bite, hopefully.

Let's remember what got you through December. A blessing to yourself and anyone who might venture to read this. There was 'Quiet' from the Matilda soundtrack. I still haven't gotten over this beauty. The lyrics and composition of this music still gives me goosebumps, not that I have reason to be able to rate the 'composition' of a musical. Pure amateur over here. Then there was 'Uptown Funk', and December really was a blessing in this department. It's unscheduled early release meant that nights out were more promising as my friends were able to see my 'choreographed in my bedroom' dance moves- that's not been embarrassing at all.  Then there's the blessing on youtube that has been Harry Hitchens. I could not adore him more. There was his 'Just stop, for a second.' video and his 'Thoughts on the future and friendship' which even managed to make their way onto my liked videos list. That's a special place to be, I'll tell you. Hitchens better keep being wonderful. 

Remember it all. This one's briefer than it probably should have been, because unfortunately reflecting on December is overshadowed by reflections on 2014 itself. But we'll get to that later. December, you still definitely deserved to be addressed  on your own, because you've been lovely. You deserve some you time. 

Thank you for being charming.

Kisses, Belle

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Spotlight: TK Maxx Christmas goodies

TK Maxx is my haven. There is no shop I adore more than TK Maxx. It's not because of their USP really, the whole big brands, small prices thing (though, that is quite nice too). No, it's because of the sheer breadth of selection the shop offers. A fan of charity shops, TK Maxx offers the same kind of deal. What's there is there, and when it's gone, it's really gone. A lot of people hate that concept, but it personally works for me. There's no time for indecisiveness, instead I treat every product I fall in love with like it's destiny- price permitting. My branch recently extended and now has a homeware department, and oh my, it's Christmas goodies galore! I've had to warn friends off shopping there, for fear they might buy something they're already getting for Christmas. I really did buy that much. TK Maxx really needs a loyalty card... just for me.

Despite having a 'brand image' with a font I despise (yes, I really am that pedantic) Caroline Gardner has some pretty cool products. There are a range of 2015 calendars available still on her specific website which have really charm and character. However, I love this one in particular because of the cheeky format of each page featuring a short letter, usually to and from an inanimate object. They're witty and sharp, without being cliche. I managed to find this specific calendar still available on ebay.

I usually nick Christmas cards from my mother's cupboard, but I just couldn't resist these. Aren't they absolutely gorgeous? Again, Caroline Gardner does charming well. The bizarre thing is I found nothing like these ones on her website. They're lovely, don't get me wrong, but they're just not as, well, charming, as these ones. For starters, the font on this Christmas card is absolutely beautiful; it's absolutely nothing like her standard fonts! It's good to see some deviation.

I really love Betsey Johnson's prints. They're a sort of punk princess. I'm all for pretty lace princess dresses, but I also love brand which redefine what's feminine. The vivid pink on the print of this rose design against the crossed background is an utter delight. Made out of flannel these PJ pants from her intimates range are also particularly warm, and they're available in a variety of other patterns. I personally love the satin detail on these PJ pants, they make them just that tiny bit more luxurious.

These mock book boxes are everywhere nowadays. I first found them clever, but have recently found them increasingly unimaginative if not extremely unconvincing. I fell in love with this one because of it's gorgeous Art Nouveau print. It's also a convincing size. Too frequently these mock book boxes are extraordinarily large. Unless it's some weirdly fat atlas, I don't know what it's pretending to be. Or maybe I just don't have these snazzily large books other people must own. I feel at loss.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Don't be so blue


'Hat', my friend shouted. 'Yes', I said. Then she nodded. Hats seem to have a strange mystical quality to encourage people to point out the obvious. Wearing a hat is like wearing a dress to a normal day of university, people seem weary of your motives. Funnily enough, I usually just fancy wearing a hat, because I like hats? Sorry to be boring. Another strange thing about hats is most people's sudden desire to put it on their own head when you take it off, especially when it's this eye-catching shade of blue. We clearly just love playing dress up. I nabbed this particular beauty for a tenner during a Miss Selfridge sale, much to the dismay of mummy. Apparently blue fedoras aren't in the slightest bit useful for tackling the winter cold. 

I just adore blue for the winter months. It looks stylish and season appropriate. Black and blue is my go to colour pairing, especially with a skin tone like mine. I was so happy when I picked up this jumper in TK Maxx. The branch near me seems to recently have had an influx of & Other Stories products recently, and they're all just so so beautiful. Beautiful colours and silhouettes, but all at a price I usually just can't quite afford unfortunately.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

An obsession for the western


My guilty pleasure is all things southern. I'm clearly a child of Gone with the Wind and westerns, because the south make me very happy. I regularly declare, 'I'm from South Carolina, baby'- I'm definitely not. I had to restrain myself from persuading my friend to buy me a stetson when she went to the states. I just want to be a cowgirl, ok. By default, I'm all about this farm girl-esque look. My denim pinafore is an absolute go to in my wardrobe, because you can layer shirts and jumpers underneath. So, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), you don't just have to pretend to be in the wild west if a denim pinafore floats your boat.

This shirt was recently 'gifted' to me by a friend. By gifted, I mean she doesn't fit in it anymore and I insisted that I was just as much a charitable cause as any Oxfam shop. In the spirit of this western vibe, and my terrible eyesight, I always think that the print has horses on it. In reality, it's a far more interesting print. My friend described it to me as it being like a genie bowing down to a woman. You can't really see it in the photos above, but the collar on the shirt is an ode to the era it comes from. It's 70s cut makes it a particular winner, and the cuffs turn up all so pretty as well. Whilst we're on the track of discussing the items of my outfit, I have to mention the shoes. I'm still breaking them in, but I have to say they were an absolute bargain. At £15, they are much cheaper than competitor's products. TK Maxx appears to have a whole collection of these 'geek-styled' shoes in stock right now, and I couldn't be happier.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

All draped in chiffon


When the weather started perking up this September, I knew it was time to take advantage of the good weather before I was swamped in knits to combat the upcoming winter cold. It's been a blessing to have this weather after that dreadful August, so when my friend organised drinks before she left for university, I warned her that I was undoubtedly going to be a walking vision of chiffon. She didn't even blink; she is well used to my over dressing by now. We had a wonderful evening at a bar from the Be at One chain, whose happy hour we well exploited, and who I just had to mention because of their extensive cocktail list and for being a generally fabulous place.

The top is both glorious and a hassle, because it requires a strapless bra. I'm a lover of all things mesh right now, especially sheer panels on the neck and shoulders of tops, but they come with their own grievances. TK Maxx usually sources similar products to their large array of stores, so I'm going to make the assumption that they must have this top in places stretching beyond my local store because my store had so many different version of this top. They had it in white, black and mint. They're definitely still in stock where I am, so I'd have a gander in yours, if this top is lucky enough to make it onto your lust list. I bought the skirt in the sample sale Dahlia had about a month back. The store was flooded with people looking for a bargain, and having bought this skirt for a mere £15 (in comparison to their usual retail prices) I totally understood why. I have to say, it felt like passive aggressive warfare in their though. Dahlia is a small shop by anyone's standards, and having redirected a family shopping day out, I lost my dad and found him in the nearby Jack Wills, much to my own embarrassment, who then told me I had actually spent an hour browsing, trying, rebrowsing and again trying things on in the shop. Sorry dad.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

September in film and theatre: Ballyturk, Teh internet + The Riot Club

Lyttelton, London
Tempted towards this production by its cast, I let my ignorance guide my assumptions as to what Ballyturk might be about. I got as far as assuming it had an Irish influence, and vaguely remembering Enda Walsh's name in reference to the musical Once. These superficial judgements got me nowhere. It turns out that Ballturk and Once only have a playwright in common, and it absolutely doesn't pay to be ignorant about Enda Walsh, because you're likely to be unprepared for what you have signed yourself up for. I felt as Michelangelo might feel upon viewing Tracey Emin's 'My bed'- minus the expertise obviously. Whilst I would usually embark on a long rant about what it's about, I haven't quite figured it out yet, so I think it's more apt to just vaguely describe what I saw. Two men without names pass their time in one closed room in a ritual like manner creating people and characters for the imagined town of Ballyturk. However, when three enters their rituals become broken, as he purports that one of them must enter into the outside world, and in turn their impending death.

It wasn't just one and a half  hours of confusion mind you. Many of its successes were spearheaded by electric performances from Cillian Murphy and Mikel Murfi, and a rather haunting Stephen Rea. Murphy's depiction was particularly interesting, because physically he's currently a lot more built than he has been, and yet the vulnerability of his character is unlike what I've seen him play before. In fact, the performances of Murphy and Murfi, accompanied by the sheer physicality of what they have to do, meant you could enjoy Ballyturk without really knowing what's going on. Oh hell, let me have a go at guessing the latter. Here goes nothing. There was one specific portion of Ballyturk which spoke very deeply towards depression. In fact, the chaotic nature of the play seemed to be the perfect way to represent an existential crisis- you can't make sense of either. If the room relates to keeping oneself occupied with entertaining trivialities, then the outside world, which they are so afraid of, is the reality of our existence. That's as much as I can offer in the way of explaining the metaphor succinctly. I remain conflicted simply because I'm torn between believing that Ballyturk is too abstract for its own good and thinking it's actually quite clever the more I think about and recount it.

In an attempt to understand Walsh more I've recently booked tickets for his adaptation of The Twits for the Royal Court. It's supposed to be for a 7+ age range, so I'm assuming it shouldn't confound me as much as Ballyturk. Then again, I might just be a sucker for punishment. Regardless, I say bring on round two.

Until 11 October.

Royal Court, London
Venturing to see this play on my own may have been a terrifying prospect, but Teh Internet is Serious Business was well worth it. If there's any confusion, there's only one thing to really say: welcome to the internet. It hits you with the sheer insanity and vulgarity of it all with full force, and without apology. After all: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."

The physicality of the production perfectly encompasses the craziness of a world which is equally imaginative, playful and scary at the same time. In fact, its playfulness loses its charm quickly. The ball pit which covers downstage may originally seem inviting and childish, but it soon garners far more frightening connotations. It encounters a kind of genial to terrifying clown effect. Actors share the stage with dancers, who are particularly memorable for their interpretation of code through dance. It made code seem so lyrical that it wasn't too absurd to see how code might be seen as an art form itself.

There is nothing conclusive about Tim Price's Teh Internet is Serious Business. The stage is so hectic and the identities of the hackers lack definition in ways extending beyond their real life selves. At the same time that they pedantically cause havoc and chaos, they also accomplish some pretty admirable feats. Price's production ultimately questions the connection between morality, legality, censorship and neutrality in the playground that is the internet.

Until 25 October.

Laura Wade's Posh was a hit when it premiered at the Royal Court in 2010, and was later revived in the West End in 2012. Having had the privilege to see it before its closing for my friend's birthday, I was interested to see how it would translate onto the screen to become The Riot Club. The classical renditions of pop songs they used as transitions on stage were obviously the first to go. In fact, the film itself seemed a little less self deprecating. Whereas the characters on stage seemed almost fittingly cartoonish in a way you first loved, the characters on the screen were a little more authentically vulgar. That isn't to say I didn't laugh. Oh, I did laugh.

Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Douglas Booth are a casting director's dream come true, in the same way that they are also a teenage girl's dream come true. Claflin is perfectly repulsive, Irons perfectly conflicted and Booth perfectly horny (if I'm going to be blunt). They're all pretty vulgar by the end of it, as their 'us and them' attitude resonates throughout. In fact, if you forget about the addition of Lauren, it never fails to amuse me that one of the scrupulous character is the 'prozzy' they hire. 

It's not a perfect piece by any means, but what I really quite fascinating surrounding the credits of both the play and film is that every time someone points out an inaccuracy it goes more to discredit the character of the person themselves. Their argument usually follows the suit of 'the elite wouldn't do that, wear that or say that specific word' and it only seems to go further in widening the tension between the classes. It might demonise the upper classes, but anyone with half a cent towards their intellect will be able to seperate this group from an entire class, just as the characters Laura Wade so interestingly creates should recognise that people beyond their own class don't just consist of underlings with socialist aspirations or a penchant to be on benefits.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Goodness, that dress


'You look like you're straight out of Mad Men,' my friend says, 'goodness, that dress'. My cheeks blush and I assure her that she is absolutely my favourite person right now, but secretly I feel so happy that the dress made the impression I wanted it to make. I feel like Christina Hendricks in Mad Men or J-Law in American Hustle, and boy is that feeling good. This was exactly what I envisioned as soon as I saw the dress on the hanger- not that clothes are a little bit about dress up for me or anything (I'm a child of the theatre, so just you shh).

To me, this dress is all about its killer silhouette, which is ironic because the picture of the model on the site doesn't give this dress the silhouette it deserves at all. When I forwarded the link to a couple of my friends they questioned my purchase instantly, and I don't blame them. It looks baggy with absolutely no fit whatsoever, and personally that Zara-esque styling doesn't work on this occasion. For once it seems to pay to not have a 'barely there' catwalk model figure, even if Zara might secretly (actually, quite openly) disagree with me. The square neckline also makes me super happy- it's extremely flattering and works perfectly with the striped print.

What you can't see is the slit on the back of the skirt, which my mother is keen to tell me I should keep very wary of, because she's certain I'm a couple of steps away from splitting it. I sincerely hope she's wrong.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The sun coming up easy


TK Maxx has this funny way of making me fall in love with items instantly. Perhaps it's the sheer scale of choice in the shop, but I feel I know when an item is right for me from the moment I see it in on the hanger. It might just be because I treat the shop almost like I'm thrifting. I simply do not have the time to consider whether I could find something better elsewhere, because in TK Maxx, when it's gone, it's really gone. It's recently also become a safe haven for finding new brands. This dress is from Band of Gypsies. The brand is typically sold as part of concessions at Asos, TOPSHOP, Nordstorm and Urban Outfitters. This particular dress is still available through Urban Outfitters here

It was the print which first I fell in love with. I just love traditional Paisley print, especially when it's in such organic colours (they seem to try and turn everything bright pink these days!) I soon fell in love with the detailing. The detail of the mustard on the bodice is absolutely precious. I'm also always a fan of a sweethearts neckline- the most flattering neckline if you ask me. I also find the flare detail of the skirt a lot more flattering than the plethora of skater skirts in stores these days. It's only slight, but it's the little things which count.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

A seven nation army couldn't hold me back


Believe it or not, this is my 'comfortable plane wear'. I'll be the first to admit that this is the first time I've been this creative; my trusty TOPSHOP MOTO Baxter jeans have served me well on many an occasion. However, years of observing stylish women boarding planes meant I just had to up my game. No slouchy jumpers or cosy leggings for me, I was going to be the best dressed passenger on my Ryanair flight (cue 'that's not terribly difficult' jokes here'). 

Being on the visually impaired scale myself I find staring at this print at a distance in the mirror feels like an optical illusion, I feel myself going a little cross eyed. I am still fervently in love with the print regardless. They are incredibly comfortable too; they're clearly elastine based because they stretch so well. I can sit cross legged in these, and that is a number one priority on a three hour flight.

The trousers are so slim legged that pairing it with an ordinary cotton tank top (or tops of that variety) meant I felt like I was in a full body suit. I felt like a jazzy cat woman. When I found this swing vest my problems were solved. It's not just a perfect partner for these trousers but a gorgeous piece in itself. It's a perfect alternative to many of the camis on the market if you have a more 'full' figure up top. The deep v shape will compliment your assets as opposed to allowing them to make you look like a qualified mama whale. The deeper v detail on the back is also a bonus, because there's always something wonderful about a low back.

I'll have to admit that after two hours on the flight my feet got a bit chilly and I did have to resort to wrapping my cardigan around my feet, but apart from that my flight attire had never looked so good. That was until I was queuing behind a family at passport control. Their daughter's Disney princess rucksack seemed just that bit more fabulous than my carry on. I had been outdone by a toddler, and she looked at me like she knew it too.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

July in theatre: My Night with Reg (Donmar Warehouse)

I understand that this might seem a little out of place, but I like to write reviews about theatre and since the end of my schooling life, I no longer have the pleasure of punishing my fellow sixth formers by submitting reviews to the paper. I promise they won't flood your dash, so if it doesn't interest you, don't worry. However, if you do, read away. Writing reviews helps me consildate my thoughts on productions, so if you're also interested in theatre, I'd be more than welcome to have a natter with you about it too, on the occasional post, away from dresses and shoes and things.

20 years since the debut of My Night with Reg at the Royal Court, and its following win the next at the Olivier Awards for Best Comedy in 1995, have led many debating how well its revival at the Donmar Warehouse this year would be received. Much of its initial success in 1994 is credited to Kevin Elyot's honesty regarding the promiscuity of many homosexual relationships, at a time when the Aids crisis of the 1980s was still very much in the public consciousness. What resonates in this production is that the success of this play actually relies on the fact that it is not just 'a play about Aids', and more importantly to its playwright, Elyot, it is not just a play about homosexuality. 

Elyot personally resented My Night with Reg being hailed as a landmark gay drama, insisting that there was nothing inherently 'homosexual' about the play, besides it only featuring gay men. This is fiercely contested because the nature in which many of the men behave with one another does seem to  to be unique to homosexual relationships, but this is not to its detriment. Elyot's honesty is in part what makes the play so successful and enjoyable.

The poignancy of this tragi-comedy is that its tragedy relates to entirely human issues which are not dependent on gender or sexuality. It's exploration of unrequited love, the passage of time and the impact of deceit means summarising it as 'a gay play' is extremely reductive. It performs with a perfect combination of humour, which may be aided by cheekily sly references to many of the character's homosexual promiscuity, but also with a poignancy which relates to homosexual and heterosexual relationships alike. Aids is never mentioned directly, but as an implicit force it has all the more destructive and poignant an effect as the characters' lives seem to be in the throttle of the unknown.

My Night with Reg begins at Guy's flat warming and journeys towards its end with two time lapses whilst showing how the relationships of the group which first gathers at Guy's flat develops. Reg is almost no more than a trope, rather a Godot character, insofar as he is only ever mentioned and never seen, yet his actions have effects which reverberate throughout the course of all events which follow throughout the play.

Matthew Broadbent plays the genial, reliable Guy effortlessly to the effect of both comedy and sympathy, where his greatest achievement and hinderance is his affable nature. His two university friends, John and Daniel, are played by Julian Ovenden and Geoffrey Streatfield respectively. John is charasmatic and charming, whilst Daniel is vivacious and outrageously funny. The dynamic between Guy, John and Daniel is one which frames many of the events. Interestingly, both Guy and John begin as would be stock gay characters. Guy is generally unlucky in love and in love with John. John is a charming lothario whose regular visits to Guy's mirror would make it seem he is only in love with himself. Elyot transforms these characters so they are so much more that their stock character counterparts to be found in modern day romantic comedies. Whereas one continues sympathy for Guy throughout, John becomes an unexpectedly tragic character, whose constant primping seems to mask insecurities of self. The same is to be said of Daniel, who begins fantastically flamboyant and develops into a much sadder character. 

The performances throughout the rest of the cast are also stellar. Richard Cant and Matt Bardock play the mismatched Bernie and Benny. Cant's physicality and delivery is perfect for the meek, and admittedly dull Bernie, complimented perfectly by Bardock's superb comedic timing and bluntness throughout. Lewis Reeves as Eric seems like the endearing voice of youth, whose words are a refreshing combination of naiveity as well as  unashamed frankness.

Elyot passed away only some weeks before the rehearsals of this production of My Night with Reg, and it gives the production an added sadness that he was unable to witness how well audiences received it, yet again. The magnificence of Elyot's writing is in the fact it is not limited to its social milleu; My Night with Reg becomes an unconventional, bittersweet ode about, among other things, the longing for love.

Until 27 September. Tickets still available through the Box Office and the Barclays Front Row scheme. 

Monday, 28 July 2014

I feel pretty and witty and bright


Please bare with the implied vanity of the post title; I promise you that there are reasons for it which reach beyond self worship. It may sound silly but this outfit just means a whole lot of good to me. I wore it on the night out after the last night of our show, which conveniently happened to be West Side Story (now you see the reason for the title). It was just the most charming night with the most wonderful people. It felt like home, and I'm obviously one to assume that the outfit had some bearing on that. After all, I'm a girl with an irrational fear of wasting a good outfit on a mediocre night, which I'm sure you will agree is completely reasonable.

All mushiness aside, I am rather in love with this outfit. I have a slight obsession with leather (or rather fake leather), which is certainly helped by what's available in stores right now. I do hope this pastel trend continues for some time past this summer. Not only for the sake of only recently having purchased this skirt, but because I think it's rather darling. I can barely get away with it myself due to being pale, but pastel blues and pinks are something I'm happy enough to see scattered across everyone else on the high street, because I like seeing 'edgy' pieces which seem to have a Disney undertone. Yes, I see the princess element in everything.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Somewhere over the rainbow


Who wouldn't want to dress up and pretend to be Dorothy? Prior to writing this post I actually ended up venturing around the internet browsing The Wizard of Oz quotes, and they caused such childish joy within me. Honestly, I actually found myself getting frustrated at my childhood self for not finding the script terribly witty. All that script dedicated to playing around with the idea of the use of a 'brain' and there was I just terrifically besotted, mouth wide open, with Glinda because she had a big, sparkly, pink dress. I remember curling up every Boxing Day on my family friend's sofa whilst the adults talked about grown up things elsewhere. I distinctly remember the VHS tape, with its pretty sticker of the famous still from the movie. I also distinctly remember how terrifying I found the wicked witch, and how terrified I still am of her, because apparently I don't fancy being mature and growing out of that any time soon. The very sight of her face still sends shivers of memory down my spine. I was not a fan of that cackle.

I do love this dress for reasons besides Dorothy. I picked it up in the concessions part of TOPSHOP during sales for a mere £15. It's from Jones and Jones, a brand I fell in love with two years ago when I bought their Audrey Red Dress. Their staple style is fit and flare cocktail dresses with tulle- what's not to love? The tulle detail definitely brings the childish side out of me and my fellow friends who own Jones and Jones dresses. Yes, we've reached the brink of adulthood and we would still rather play dressup and pretend to be princesses. However, prior warning: their dresses tend to be rather short. I love both of mine to bits, but on heels they're definitely not shy of showing off a bit of leg. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Dear high school students

Having finished my school experience I actually found myself lacking closure. There were people who I had only just started to get to know, and the thought that I would probably never speak to them again did make me a little sad. What I realised is that I, and these many other people, had spent so long playing the high school social game. But do I regret my experience? No, not a bit. My experience has been invaluable. I'm glad for every low, because I've at least learnt from them. I know those who still are going to go through high school for years to come will probably ignore the plethora advice coming their way, but this is just my way of summing up my high school experience, particularly the last two years of sixth form, for mainly myself. Here goes nothing.

Don't be embarrassed to work hard and be keen
I was one of the most 'extra-curricular' girls during sixth form. I was part of a fund-raising group, intergenerational volunteering, maths tutoring, girls' choir, sixth form choir, the sixth form newspaper and the school musical. Needless to say, whilst my friends spent most of their time socialising, I spent a lot of my lunch times singing or organising a bake sale. Ultimately, being a keen bee served me well. I'm continually told that my work ethic makes me incredibly employable, but I also enjoyed the fact that my extra-curricular pursuits meant I socialised with people beyond my enclosed group of friends, and I found that they were some of the people I actually had most in common with.

Have passions
Please, just. Passions make a person. There is nothing more interesting than a person who can talk fervently about a topic, even if you have no idea what they're talking about yourself. Having passions, however, is not the same thing as boasting about those passions. I've always found myself far more drawn to the secret pianist, than the guy who introduces himself as, 'Hello, I'm a rower'. There's a perfect balance to strive for.

Your friends don't have to be friends with each other
Sounds obvious, but I entered sixth form with a group of friends from my previous school, and we ended up trying to fit our group with another group. What did I learn? Something I should have already known. In different environments, different groups of friends form. Just because your friend might not be in the same 'group' as you anymore, it doesn't make them less of a friend. Having your friend's back when they might be struggling to be as sociable as you is obviously commendable, but expecting them to find the people you have befriended as invigorating as you do is just absurd. Let groups form naturally. Let people go.

You don't have to drink
You really don't. For most of sixth form I just never had a desire to drink, nevermind the fact that the thought of a fake ID and trying to flirt with a dodgy corner shop guy seemed a lot more effort than it was worth. So I quite simply didn't. People obviously asked why I wasn't drinking sometimes. The reasons I offered? Firstly, the cold 'I don't drink'; secondly, the 'I like to be in control'; and lastly, my favourite one, the one offered by a friend: 'She's too cheap'. What I learnt was no one really cared. If you have a group of friends who are seriously pressuring you into drinking or anything else, they're seriously exhibiting destructive character traits and you should be re-evaluating the kind of people you're calling friends. 

Quit being petty
Someone is going to annoy you. More often than not, it will probably be your friend. But more often than that, you're probably over reacting. Quit with the days of ignoring the friend who was unecessarily rude to you. You'll find yourself with the a worse reputation than the person who gave you reason to be frustrated. 

Don't live off of gossip
There's a difference between enjoying a bit of a gossip, and being a gossip. What may seem contradictory is the fact that gossips seem to continually have gossip. Surely people will have learnt their lesson the first time their secret was out? What is rarely considered, however, is that gosssips tend to know a person in terms of their most definable and scandalous actions, as opposed to the person themselves, and a person's character is honestly a lot more interesting than what they may or may not have got up to on Saturday night. Learn the line between informative and plain destructive.

Wear whatever you want
Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. I spent so much of sixth form trying to abide by unspoken dress codes. I found myself denying myself something of my character, because my wardrobe is part of my identity. Turns out, wearing a flapper dress out clubbing or a Audrey Hepburn inspired dress to a Christmas party caused more comments coming my way than sticking with the crowd. Who would have thought? Sometimes it's the obvious things you forget. 

Don't try to be something you're not
The previous point leads nicely into this one. The ultimate conclusion to any high school student's experience: be yourself. Honestly, what's the point in trying to be something you're not? Not only does it tend to cause a stir in the social corridors, with people calling those people 'fakes' and 'desperate', but it's genuinely just exhausting. You shouldn't spend your whole school life expecting everyone will like you, or accept you. People are fickle, even the most charming and lovely people have their haters. Be the person you want to be for your own satisfaction, as opposed to the person you think other people would like you to be. Just do it. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

All you need is yellow


Ever since I progressed past the years of my favourite colour being pink (the walls of my bedroom may contest that I ever moved on) my favourite colour has been yellow. Yellow, to me, is such a fervently happy and infectious colour. It's radiant. Old wives tales have even proclaimed that yellow objects and yellow flowers are supposed to help sell houses quicker. So, if a person's favourite colour is supposed to say a lot about them, then I'm happy to hear whatever psychoanalytic perspective you can offer me on my love affair with yellow. That being said, being the complexion that I am, yellow is a rather difficult colour to wear. I've always been on the hunt for a yellow clutch, to satisfy my need for at least one yellow accessory. When I found this beauty in the Zara sale it felt like fate. I particularly love the black outlining on the clutch- it seems to satisfy some inherent desire within me to always look like a graphic design. 

The jumpsuit I have to admit was inspired by a friend. After seeing her wear a black jumpsuit to a wedding, and blow most of the other guests out of the water wearing it, I knew I had to fetch myself one too. Yet again, it seems like Zara is quite keen on being my saviour these days. The neckline did need an adjustment, and I'll admit that I do fight to keep my bra out of sight, but I think it's absolutely darling regardless. The lace and mesh detail is an absolutely perfect compliment to the flattering silhouette. I also adore the fact that Zara's clothing is so versatile without being boring or standard. Each of my pieces from Zara seem to compliment each other perfectly. It's a vision most brands obviously aim for, but which I rarely find materializes in the pieces I pick for my wardrobe.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Pathways made of lavender


I recently took my friend on a walk through London, desperately trying to refresh sites she had seen when she was younger. What we found, however, actually was new to me. Walking through St James's Park, which I find terribly underrated amongst my fellow London colleagues, we stumbled across what was signposted as 'Duck Island Cottage'. Where the ducks were seemed a mystery, but this charming little cottage was surrounded by an absolute plethora of flowers. It was a delight.

Excuse the hair. I'd quite like to owe it to liking the natural look, but in reality it's because taking a comb to my hair can prove too tiresome for me in the morning. Despite this, it does work, sort of. As much as I love to be a 1920s siren, teeming with makeup and regretting nothing, I'll say if anything can work the au naturelle look best it's pastels. That being said, I don't do them often, mainly because my skin colour isn't naturally too fond of them.

I've been having a little love affair with TK Maxx recently, having declared it my favourite shop. It's just an ocean when it comes to selection, and my recent store has had some real beauties recently. I found this skirt a couple of months ago and instantly fell in love. I didn't even try it on. I wasn't prepared to fall out of love with this beauty. It's from a charming brand called Miss Patina. The label on the skirt was kind enough to inform me that it was formed by graduates of the London College of Fashion. The brand appeals to the idea of vintage-inspired goods. As much as the word 'vintage' has come to frustrate - it meaning practically anything these days - their items have a clear kickback to decades gone by. This particular skirt you can currently still find in their sale section, under the name Borderline Skirt (Lily), although I have to say I think I may have managed to nab it for even cheaper. I don't quite know how that happened.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Well, hello

This has been a long time coming, and it would be charming to say that that's because of something profound or deep or really meaningful, but in reality it's because coming up with a blog name you're prepared to stick with is hard work. It proved hard to be inventive or clever, without making people just like me roll their eyes. So I settled. You could easily call the name a touch dreamy or even plain frustrating. I'd call also call it selfish. Born in the city, and living the city stereotype. Give me it all. It's half greed, half ambition. It sends my inner cynic and dreamer into disarray- they find it difficult to co-exist. Oh, perfect world of contradiction.

I go by Belle, which is clearly just because I'm the Belle of ball, as opposed to it coming quicker off the tongue than the full monty. If there was ever a girl who wished incessantly about being a lady who could lunch without breaking the bank, look no further. For now, I'm a broke girl with an unhealthy love of high-heeled shoes and posh boys whose jaw lines don't move. Especially the latter, especially when they're actors. Beware though, that interest does extend past the pretty faces frequented by my tumblr dashboard. I also have a habit of talking too fondly about the theatre and other forms of 'art' considered lesser by self-proclaimed thespians.

Equal to my love of an articulate young gentleman is my love for my wardrobe. In fact, true to the implications of the name, I've got an inkling this could be just like a lonely hearts column, just with dresses and shoes and things.

Enjoy, I insist.