Let’s talk about ethical fashion. We could start where people typically predict your interest in fashion and style usually ends … upon entering the ‘tunnel of doom’ otherwise known as veganism. We could chat a bit about how a lifelong love affair with clothes, design, fabric and just about everything else needn’t cease to exist the minute you embrace a vegan lifestyle – trust me, it is entirely possible to love the planet and its inhabitants, and also obsessively covet that perfectly weathered chambray shirt you’ve had your eye on for age. It doesn’t have to be one or the other – you just have to be a bit more savvy about what you buy and adjust your spending/retail habits to suit. Being vegan does not mean subjecting yourself to a lifetime of unflattering harem trousers and tie-dye tees … and I ain’t even talking about those ironic 90s homages currently available in New Look neither. Ya get me?
There are so many ways around this fast fashion problem though, I almost don’t know where to begin but I guess this ‘Braintree Breton’, as I’ve henceforth dubbed it, is a pretty good place to start. You could say it falls under the category of ‘ethical fashion’ given it’s organic cotton credentials (always a winner in my book), which is all well and good but as Stella McCartney once said (and I paraphrase here, ahem) ‘the designs have to speak for themselves’ – in a nutshell, it can tick all the boxes when it comes to sustainable fashion but if it looks pants, what’s the point? At least, I think that’s what she meant. Thankfully this tee ticks all said boxes and still manages to look chic – quick side note: size- wise it’s quite roomy so in my opinion you should opt for the next size down if poss.
In actual fact it has become something of a staple in my wardrobe since it arrived on my doorstep six weeks ago (I like to properly road-test these things) and my obsession shows no signs of waning just yet. Having paired it with dungarees, skinny jeans and even midi-skirts, I can safely say it’s a versatile little sucker (then again, I’ve never met a stripy top that wasn’t) although my current favourite combo has got to involve these new ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ Monki jeans (balloon legs are where it’s at yo!) and of course, this jaunty cap I bought whilst on holiday in Brittany. Yep, that’s correct, I shamelessly donned a Breton and lorded around the Brittany region like the Sailor Gal I am – or not, as the case may be, seeing I epically-failed to get my ‘sea legs’ whilst on board the ferry and spent the entire journey there and back lying horizontal in my cabin. Pass the sick bag please.
Ferry failures aside I had a pretty relaxing trip visiting my Husband’s folks and even though they were totally bemused as to why I was posing outside their kitchen window pretending to drink a cup of lukewarm tea, they also gave ‘The Breton’ two thumbs up. What more can I say? This one’s definitely a keeper.
Vulnerability. This (not so) little word has been cropping up a lot of late and for some reason the notion behind it has really resonated with me. Being a self-confessed control freak probably means I am the least ‘vulnerable’ person in the world in the sense that I won’t allow myself to be. But, y’see, over the past year it’s begun to dawn on me that perhaps my lack of vulnerability isn’t doing me any good. In fact, I’d probably go as far to say it’s doing me actual harm. I keep joking with my Husband that ‘I’ve lost the ability to relax’, which would be funny if weren’t so true. Of course, there are things in my life I can’t help but fret about (my Dad’s illness is never far from my mind) but that still doesn’t account for my anxiety levels being continually through the roof. Up until recently I’d never considered myself to be an ‘anxious’ person but perhaps I just don’t know myself as well as I previously thought. Being permanently glued to the internet certainly doesn’t help matters although I have taken measures to combat this, such as not browsing the web before bedtime (yup, my New Year’s resolution is still going strong!) and also having designated internet-free days … we both did it last Saturday and it was bliss.
Okay, so at least I’m recognising things are not quite what they should be, and again, I keep coming back to this ‘vulnerability’ thing. How can I make myself more vulnerable? What does it entail? I know a lot of what is holding me back is the fear or failure or rejection – I am both a people pleaser and a perfectionist so this is particularly hard for me. Much like the rest of the world I also compare myself to others from time to time but with a seemingly endless bevy of beautiful, talented and witty females floating about this is basically a highway to no-where. So why do we do it? I have my own abilities and unique way of doing things … it may not be the best way but it works for me – and thankfully, a few other people seem to like it too. I’m generally happy with my appearance and have accepted my face and form for what they are although that doesn’t mean I won’t still have a ‘I hate my thighs’ tantrum from time to time. It’s only natural. Like most women I only see the bad bits when I look at images of myself, which is why you’ve not seen many outfit posts on here of late – I just couldn’t face editing photos of myself in various ridiculous poses.
However, in the interests of fully instigating this vulnerability melarkey I thought it only too apt to begin by opening myself up a little more on here. No, the shots are not in some fun location (baby steps) but I felt more comfortable easing myself back in, in my own back yard and the outfit is hardly noteworthy either, but again, this is all about offering up the truth and not some styled-to-the-max version of my very quiet Cornish life. Without a doubt my style has changed significantly since moving here – and if I’m being honest with myself, it’s definitely for the better. It’s a more laid back look these days with still the odd pop of colour and print but generally speaking I take my inspiration from places like Toast (I want everything), OSKA (my fav place to browse in St.Ives), Egg (one day I will visit this store!) and Margaret Howell (her ad campaigns are the epitome of cool, casual) than I do looking at trendy fashion blogs or their magazine counterparts. I simply can’t relate to it any more.
Paired down with a smidge of personality is the way forward for me, and I’m not even a little bit sad about it. It’s actually a relief not worrying about these things although that doesn’t mean I still don’t get excited by clothes – I’m currently obsessed with a denim pinafore I bought recently online and cannot wait to wear it. My eye is drawn to cleaner lines and dramatic shapes, as well as natural fabrics such a organic cottons and linens… ugh, and don’t even get me started on denim. This mustard cardi was a highstreet bargain I picked up on a recent trip to London. I would never normally shop at Forever 21 but it was only place open on Bond Street at the time and I was surprised (understatement) at how nice the range was … not super trendy with loads of nice basics. Who knew? And even though there’s a big part of me that hates to feed the fast fashion machine I couldn’t resist making a purchase – not a great excuse but my meagre budget will only stretch so far and with a price-tag of £6.99 I hadn’t the strength to walk away. It’s immediately become a staple in my wardrobe and I wear it almost everyday – like seriously, every-day.
The jeans you’ve seen before and the blouse was a secondhand find from when I worked in Kentish Town. Oh, and the shoes are an ASOS special that have come in very handy indeed. I’m a total mid-heel girl and these give me enough height without crippling me – I love their patent retro vibe too. Comfort is key here and whilst I might switch up the items, my core ensemble of late is resolutely jeans, tops, cardi, go. I may throw a scarf on my head but that’s about as adventuress it gets these days. So, I’ve clearly mastered the casual attire bit, now to work on that over-active mind of mine. Vulnerability, here I ruddy-well come.
Can you believe we are less than three weeks away from Christmas? Seriously, where does the time go?! I’m here in Ireland helping out with my Dad (who is soldiering on magnificently, by the way) whilst trying to get myself in the festive spirit … and all without my Hubby by my side. He’s currently still in Cornwall but will join me here on the 20th. I. Can’t. Wait. My Sister flies in from the States on Christmas Eve (no doubt we’ll be the ones picking her up at the airport), which is when the festivities will truly commence. So, as you can see, it’s a bit of a weird one this year but I’m still as gung-ho as ever about maxing out all Christmas possibilities. And that means (first and foremost) family, (secondly but also crucial) food as well as films, fashion, beauty, gifts, wrap, cards and carols… and anything else that makes Christmas, Christmas. It’s a long list, so lets leave it there.
Anywho, here are some bits and bobs that are making my Winter a little brighter starting with the bling. Now, you’re probably thinking this necklace is a bit OTT and I would tend to agree. In fact, it’s so not me I’m amazed I actually bought it but hear me out before you click on another blog with decidedly better taste. I’ve been on the lookout for a statement necklace for a while. In truth I was hoping to nab one of those JCREW style pieces that make a simple outfit a standout one but (1) they are usually way out of my budget and (2) up until spying and trying this one I was unsure I could pull it off in the nonchalant way I desired. Fast forward to me wandering around Debenhams when this not-so-little beauty caught my eye in Phase Eight. I was wearing a denim shirt at the time (a JCREW one, in fact – ha!) and immediately threw it on. Let’s just say I was instantly smitten and my Mum loved it so much she actually bought it for me – thanks Mum! It’s going to get a lot of wear this Christmas – watch out for a plaid shirt, blingtastic statement necklace combo very soon.
Another day, another shopping trip and this time it was Wallis that came up trumps with their incredible range of leather-free boots and shoes… seriously vegans, check out their website pronto, they have an impressive array of footwear available and it’s all so reasonably priced! Again, I had been on the lookout for a pair of black ankle boots and was finding it impossible to find the right kind… y’know what I mean, cuban-style heel (not to high, not too low), nice textured pleather (always looks better than smooth) with a bit of an ‘edge’. Well, these ‘mid heel cowboy boots’ were (are) them. I almost shrieked when I checked the label only to discover they could be mine after-all … don’t you just love those ‘man-made’ fabric moments?
And then there’s this hat. A cute pompom adorned number that, yes, you guessed it, is also made from synthetic fibres. I’m on a roll here. It was love at first sight – although I did wrangle between the rust and mustard before settling on this one because, you know, mustard. It’s already a staple. If you’re after one yourself check the men’s section in New Look.
Confession time. I’m not a big wearer of nail varnish. Tootsies, yes. Fingernails, no. I think it was my violin playing past that put me off having anything of colour on my hands – I just found it way too distracting. However, I’m really trying to break the habit of a lifetime and this vegan friendly mustard gelly polish from cruelty-free beauty brand BarryM is just the ticket to ease me in. Whilst I’ve had it on my toes for a while now I think it’s time to give the aforementioned fingernails a go… and this gorgeous hue could not be more fitting. Check instagram for the upcoming nail varnish wearing evidence.
Dionne Necklace /Phase Eight @ Debenhams
Mid-Heel Cowboy Ankle Boots/Wallis
Navy & Mustard Bobble Beanie/New Look
Mustard ‘Gelly’ Varnish/BarryM
Patent Mary-Janes (similar here)/Topshop
Shoes, shoes, shoes. A girl can never have too many, am I right? I actually bought these patent Mary-Janes a few months back (and I can’t find the exact ones on their website now… sorry!)but knew they would come into their own around Christmas time. They really lift any outfit (equally perfect with pants, dresses and skirts) and are a must-have in my opinion. Again, it was squeal-time in Topshop when I realised they weren’t actually leather. Adorable and cruelty-free – what more can you ask for?
Okay, so I’ve started this post twice now – let’s hope third times a charm. Initially I was babbling on about how privileged we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world and how we never take it for granted and blah, blah, blah, you get the picture. Then, I began talking about what’s really on my mind (my Dad’s illness) but it felt kinda strange pairing the horrors of cancer with an outfit post. I guess that’s the existence I’m living right now though. On the one hand I’m trying to get on with things as best I can and retain some sort of normality whilst everything else seems to be spinning out of control. And on the other I’m fixated on trying to make sense of it all. Conclusion being… you can’t.
When all else fails, however, long walks in Cornwall definitely do help clear my mind – but(!!!) only if I’m wearing the right gear. Feeling cold and damp do not make for a pleasant afternoon’s ramble in the brambles (or rushes, as the case may be) so I’ve had to come up with a suitable hiking uniform that does the job of keeping me warm and dry without dispensing totally with the style factor. Of course, style being what it is (personal and subjective) means that I may be the only one loving the turtle neck/lumberjack combo but hey, if it keeps me happy and all that. The classic chelsea boot is universally loved, however, so I reckon I’m safe on that front. Truthfully though, I was just delighted to find a vegan winter boot that didn’t break my bank balance (I adore Wills Vegan Shoes but they’re beyond my budget right now) and fitted like an absolute glove – I’m seriously tempted to go back for the black pair. Husband, you didn’t read that, ahem.
what i’m wearing… black ‘Binx’ highwaisted jeans/topshop … cotton navy sweater and pleather bag/zara … pleather Chelsea boots/new look … beret(old)/h&m … lumberjack coat/vintage (possibly beyond retro) … sunnies/wild pony vintage …
I struck gold (or should that be navy?) when I spotted this Margaret Howell-esque (yes, I’m obsessed) turtleneck in the Zara summer sale (no guesses why it was 3.99) although my only regret is that I didn’t purchase it in cream and grey too, grrrr. It might just be the perfect fall/winter sweater, which obviously means I haven’t had it off my back in the last fortnight. Seriously though, why didn’t I buy it in cream and grey?!!!
Snug as a bug and happy as Larry walking across the wilds of Cornwall (kinda – does a well kept path still count?) has got to be the best way to spend any Sunday… in my humble opinion. Here’s to many more.
I am a self confessed, out ‘n’ out, ‘holding my hands up’ nautical obsessed nutcase who can’t seem to have enough stripes, straw or scarves in her wardrobe. And seeing as it’s an affliction I can’t seem to shake off I’ve taken the decision to fully embrace my current coastal location and put forth my very best off-season tourist look right through fall…. well, if you can’t beat ’em and all that.
In fact (and I’m sure you may have noticed) my outfit posts have been few and far between over the last number of months and part of my reluctance has been down to my uniformic casual attire – which I don pretty much every day. Perhaps I just thought it wasn’t terribly inspiring… jeans and Breton tops are hardly groundbreaking style decisions and even less so when you live in Cornwall. But! That is what you’ll usually find me in and now that I’ve completed my third closet clearout of the year I almost feel free of the fashion shackles that were still lingering about from our previously busy London life. Now though, I can start afresh and keep my look pared now whilst hopefully still maintaining some modicum of personal style… I can but try.
With Margaret Howell lookbook images swirling about my head, as well as old school ‘Mull of Kintyre era’ Linda McCartney pics (check out Pinterest to see what I mean), my desire to refine my laid-back style has never been more pronounced. This ‘woolly’ cardi (hard to believe it’s synthetic, I know – but it is!) is a mainstay in my wardrobe since we moved here last year. I honestly don’t know how I would’ve survived without it and even though it’s seen better days I downright refuse to part with it. Of course, the stripes are a given but I do find my eye wandering to colours other than blue or navy, and this real deal authentic sailor’s top perfectly fits the bill. I’m now on the hunt for a yellow and/or orange version… hit me up if you know where I can find one!
The flared jeans are another staple that I adore. As someone in possession of a rather shapely behind, buying jeans can be tantamount to torture so when I found these in Gap a number of years back I almost wept with joy at the fit. Even though I’ve since managed to source good jeans that flatter my shape, these will always have a special place in my heart.
Last but not least, the straw bag has been with me so long I barely remember even buying it… probably some highstreet store but there’s no label on it so I can’t be sure. This comes shopping with me and is great for grabbing in a hurry because you can fill it to the brim and it still won’t weigh a ton (something the humble tote cannot claim). I never used this bag in London due to its easy access nature but now that we’re here in Cornwall I feel safe enough to leave it open and not have to worry about wandering hands.
Again, the shoesies are ancient relics I can’t bear to bin. I found them in a charity shop and almost shrieked with delight when I realised they’re were pleather. Worn to death but still in good knick, I really dread the day when they officially bite the dust – such is the holy grail of decent, and dare I say ‘cool’, vegan shoes that don’t cost the earth. Harumph.
Oh, and big shout out to my lovely Sister who took all of these lovely images. Only wish I had her around more often for equally easy and fun shoots.
I’ve been wanting to shoot a little blog post in our teeny tiny patio since we moved in. Granted there’s not much to it but I simply adore the pretty arch and painted gate, and it’s just the right size for us – to be honest having any sort of outside space is a like a little piece of heaven after our garden-free London life. Not only do we have this patio but our spare bedroom also boasts a pretty sizeable balcony that probably should be used for sunbathing or something but truthfully it gets a bit too hot up there for my liking so I tend to stay downstairs.
These palazzo pants (a recent charity shop score) are a perfect manifestation of my current floral obsession – although this is the first time I’ve actually worn them. I’ve had a penchant for wide-leg trousers for years so I was thrilled to nab a pair that were able to fulfill both my need for comfort and flamboyance… even though I tried to counteract the crazy with some chambray.
The weather’s been a wee bit haywire over the last week so today was the first chance I’ve had to don these badboys – and may I say, they were the perfect option to wear to lunch… even after a hefty midday meal I had plenty of room to breath. I know I’m sporting yet another denim shirt but am I the only one who’s building a serious collection? It’s a problem that shows no sign of stopping – not that i’m complaining.
what i’m wearing… trousers, shirt and shoes/New Look … belt/vintage … jewellery/various
Afterwards, I realised that even though I’d bought the garments in separate places including ASOS they’re actually all the same brand (New Look) – unusual for me, but I guess I’m liking their collection at the moment. Not to worry though, our local vintage store has a pretty good selection right now that is bound to reset the equilibrium in my wardrobe.
I can’t quite decide whether I’m currently in a ‘style rut’ or developing what is most commonly referred to as ‘a signature look’. Whilst I seem to be acquiring jeans and shirts at the rate of knots these days (I promise these are different black jeans to the ones featured in my last ‘style post’) i’m still unequivocally drawn to quirky retro pieces too… it seems vintage is in my DNA – like a moth to the flame, as they say.
Take yesterday for example. There I was happily going about my daily errands in town when, whoops, all hell breaks loose in every charity shop in the vicinity – the ‘hell’ being my penchant for thrifting and the ‘loose’ being the seemingly slack reign I have on this terrible affliction/addiction. That’s not to say I don’t go through periods where the last thing I want to do is shop but there’s always that devil on my shoulder whispering sweet secondhand nothings in my ear – after all, today could be the day I chance upon that perfect pair of high waisted trews or sweet 60’s summer dress I’ve been searching for forever.
Anyway, needless to say, I didn’t chance upon that sixties dress nor indeed the perfect high waisted pants but the awesome vintage ‘Aquascutum’ midi skirt, summery pantaloons and double vinyl score (mint condition Doris Day and Judy Garland) more than made up for it – oh, and how could I forget the delightful Laura Ashley straw hat I nabbed that was practically made for those imminent summery strolls.
Truth be told, because of the samey nature of this outfit and my last offering I was a little loathed to even press publish. But! This blog is supposed to be a glimpse into my life and this somewhat uniformic ensemble is pretty much what you’ll find me in these days – simply swap the shirt for a Breton top and that’s essentially my daily attire. I have, however, been getting back into my headscarves in a major way (I have so many now it’s almost a crime not to wear ’em) and this one is a new favourite – the subtle dusky pink hues are the perfect casual daytime option especially when the sun’s not shining. I needn’t have bothered bringing the chunky knit though because whilst the sky was somewhat overcast, it was a wonderfully humid evening – indicative of these parts but not something I’m yet used to, and so the cardigan always comes in tow.
And so, here we are then with a ‘same but different’ outfit to mull over. Not exactly awe-inspiring but one that neatly sums up my current state of mind… content and decidedly uncomplicated. Part of that mood is letting the little things wash over me (I refuse to get irate at silly nothings) and relishing in the world we are building for ourselves down here (it’s official, I’m head-over-heels in love with Mousehole). Of course, the pressures of life are never too far away but so far we are becoming pretty expert at appreciating everything we do have as well as cultivating an environment that isn’t reliant on anything other than the love and respect we have for each other. Add friends, family and a beautiful home, and that’s all that really matters. Well, that and foraging for bargains in Barnardos.
Take a good look at this little loft location because it’s probably the last time you’re going to see it. Two weeks from now we will hopefully be settling into our uh-mazing new pad, which is practically on the seafront with masses of snorkelling potential… not to mention the double whammy outside space it boasts that will be perfect for sunbathing and bbq’s. Yeah baby! With so much going on in our lives at the moment, I’ve been resorting to simple uniformic outfits like this one – jeans, shirt, sandals, go. I actually wore this to bowling last night because it’s so damn comfortable – and it may have helped my usually awful game because I ended up getting not one, but TWO STRIKES! *insert victory dance here*
Badly applied lippy and unbrushed hair is also de rigueur these days in my world… I’m a habitual lip licker and my mop is badly in need of a trim but due to deadlines, it’s been the least of my priorities. Speaking of deadlines, I got a sneak peek of my completed book yesterday and I am so delighted with how it’s turned out – seriously cannot wait to show you guys!
To top it all off, Cornwall is currently basking in some serious sunshine right now, so it’s gonna be a great Easter break – it’s like the county is slowly waking up before the summer droves head down for their holidays. Oh, and on a slight side note, I celebrated my 33rd birthday this week. As a treat I got my toes summer ready by taking myself to the rather lovely Watergate Bay Hotel for a relaxing pedicure before my friend treated me to a gorgeous vegan lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (which just happens to be perched on the cliff overlooking the bay – er, dream location). Last but not least, the Hubby (spot him in ma sunnies!) and I are five years married today – not that either of us actually remembered, mind… ah well, here’s to the next five, eh?!
Guys, it’s no secret I have a thing for glasses… prescription and sun. It’s actually kind of a problem (one that my Husband tolerates thankfully) and often means I turn a bit magpie-like whenever I spy a new style – I honestly think I have a sixth sense when it comes to spectacles, it’s kind of impressive. Living in Cornwall seems to have exasperated this unfortunate affliction because people wear glasses here all year round – fine by me! When it comes to shape, I often switch it up and don’t affiliate myself with one particular era – in fact my own collection contains the big-ass 80’s sunnies I’m sporting in these pics, as well as the typical hipsterish roundies that take their lead from those 60’s Beatnik babes we all adore so much. As far as brands go though I do have a penchant for the wonderful Warby Parker (and I know I’m not the only one!), so when I spied their latest ‘Spectrum’ collection my magpie tendencies went into overload – they’re like a better version of the vintage ones I already have, especially with the gradient lenses…. er, love! From the painfully pretty ‘Hall’ Cherry Blossom style to (my personal fav) the ‘Minnie’ in Eucalyptus (obvs!) – ack, but I also love the super cute ‘Downing’ frames too, what’s a girl to do? No, seriously, I need help on this one, which pair would you opt for?
what i’m wearing… original breton top & handmade necklace/wild pony vintage… sunglasses/vintage… pineapple/the supermarket
Well I definitely got my Vitamin D quota today that’s for sure… and much needed too seeing as I’ve holed myself up this past week trying to complete the last of my recipes, which are due on Monday, eek! Deadlines aside, I was in a pretty relaxed mood – probably aided by the first throes of Spring that have sprung up around us much to everyone’s delight. Whilst I was tempted to don a skirt or even a pair of shorts (I have some newly acquired vintage culottes I am dying to wear) I thought I would ease myself into the warmer weather by simply switching up my jacket for something a little lighter and this pink 60’s one was just the job.
Practicality wins out every time for me (as you may have gathered by now) so the lace up trainers were a no-brainer… long walks equal sensible footwear for me and I steadfastly refuse to compromise comfort for fashion. The headscarf was also a necessary outfit addition (there’s still a breeze and my hair is in desperate need of a trim) and the stripes ‘n’ jeans combo are just an obvious uniform choice that I (and many, many others) rely on way too frequently. Fine by me because as far as I’m concerned you really can’t have too many Breton tops.
I’m sure we’re in for a bit more bad weather here (it is Britain after all) but for now we’re happy lapping up these gloriously clear skies – Cornwall truly is different beast when the sun’s out. Not long now before we’ll be spending our evenings languishing on the beach. Might be time to invest in some more Spring-appropriate attire but that means I finally must get around to selling my bulging bag of vintage cast offs on etsy… that to-do list just keeps getting bigger and bigger but I suppose once my looming deadline is dealt with Ima gonna have a lot more free time to fill so watch this space. How exactly did I get from deadlines to closet clear-outs? What can I say, spring will do that to a girl.