Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Saturday Salute 28.02.09

Image thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

And so our shortest month draws to a close, has it been a good one? How are your new year's resolutions shaping up? Spring is nipping at our heels now, and I for one can't wait! Watch out for some posts on your Spring/Summer wardrobe very soon. Here are my links for this week:

I've just discovered The Student Pocket Guide - why didn't anyone give me a heads up?!

Did you like the image of the boy and girl with the balloons in my web banners? Check out more artwork from the devastatingly talented Eveline Tarunadjaja.

We Heart This is a lovely little blog full of all kinds of cute.

Want to be convinced that everything is possible? Check out this video. It's a bit silly, but the message is clear; we as humans continue to break through our supposed boundaries and achieve miracles daily - something to think about in all areas of our lives. If you want to, you can.

The BBC's 'Born in the Storm' series covers a shop in Bristol (mere minutes from where I live, although I still haven't been - the shame!) It's called Recession and has an interesting ethos about the hard economic times we face. Heck, I just love the look of the second hand goodies.

And that's all folks! Have you got a great link to share? Written a fab post on your own blog in February? Found an amazing site that's the exact source of everything that was previously missing in your life?? Let us know about it!

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Friday, 27 February 2009

How to Build a Designer Wardrobe on a Budget

Image from we ♥ it

Oops, I did it again. Yes, I'm a guest-postaholic; I need to start saving some of this good stuff for you guys! But here it is: Painfully Hip have kindly allowed me to share a few pointers on wardrobe maintenance - and it's caused quite the debate. Go and get involved!

And a quick Hello! if you've wandered this way from the Painfully Hip site. Please make yourself at home, poke your nose around and explore.

Articles you might also like:

The Ultimate Geeks Guide to Fashion Budgeting - calculators at the ready!
Fashion First Aid - a thrifty way to shake up your style.
10 Commandments for the Student Consumer - Amen!

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Thursday, 26 February 2009

Web Banners

Here's a cute way to show off your soft-spot for all things Charade: snap up a web banner! These are my first efforts created via Polyvore. Hopefully you like them enough to allow one pride of place on your website/blog/myspace etc. Every little bit of support from you guys helps me immensely and I am truly indebted! Just copy and paste the html code and add it to your site.

If you would like to design a web banner for Charade and have a permanent credited link on the site then get in touch with your design via email:

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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

A Little Reminder...

Sets by Voila Megan on Polyvore

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Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Top 10 Essential Activities to Partake in Before Winter is Over

Image thanks normanack

Yesterday I got an article posted over at Yes and Yes all about those cute, wintery activities you've forgotten to get around to this season. But it's not too late! Go check out my ideas.

Also, I was interviewed by the lovely ladies of HiFashion a few days ago if you want to find out a little more about what makes me tick.


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Monday, 23 February 2009

Words to Live By #27

Image thanks to Lexinatrix

"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin."
Ivan Turgenev

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Saturday Salute 21.02.09

Image thanks to Wonderlane

I'm heading out for an Alice in Wonderland themed evening later as none other than the white rabbit himself! Hopefully I'll get some half decent snaps to share and possibly even put together a Costume Culture post... Here's the weeks treats: asks... So You Wanna Pay Off Your Student Loans?

College News has some concise tips for monthly budgeting.

Do College Students Deserve an "A" For Effort?
Join the conversation over at College Candy.

And for your fashion fix:

Dazed Digital takes a look at Fashions New Optimism "18 of the freshest young fashion talents of the year".

Painfully Hip wonders at Beauty Icons of the Century.

And Flying Saucer has New York Fashion Week in a nutshell.

Have a simply fabulous weekend!

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Thursday, 19 February 2009

Quit Wasting Time: How to Avoid Procrastination, Part Two

Images thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

Yesterday, as you’ll remember, I talked about the issue of procrastination – where the habit comes from and why it’s best avoided but, really, that’s no help to you without an action plan, is it? We all know we should be more productive, what we need to think about is how we can go about it. Well, you’re in luck! Here are some tips to keep in mind. (Perhaps you could print them out as a record to refer to if and when you find yourself struggling.)

Time is of the essence. If you allow yourself more time, you’re able to get more done; it’s that simple, but how do we buy more time? Train yourself to get up earlier, even if it’s just one hour, two mornings a week. That’s 8 hours extra time a month, 4 full days a year and 320 days in the average lifetime! That’s a pretty big chunk of spare time you’ve given yourself with minimal effort. Promise yourself that this week on _day and _day you will get up one hour earlier and each time fully utilise that hour to complete tasks you’ve been putting off. You’ll have a great day with it out of the way, I promise. Don’t make this a horribly regimented task, because this is a sure-fire way of not doing it; think of that hour as a gift to yourself; the present of productivity. Bounce out of bed with a smile thinking ‘Weyhey! Watch out world, I’m achieving things!’ If you can’t face doing mundane tasks first thing, then don’t. Do something amazing, enjoyable and empowering. Go for a run, read that book you’ve been trying to find the time to start or get to planning an incredible project with notes in a journal; just make it something you’ll love.

Be Good to Yourself. Don’t grab for time where you know you shouldn’t and try to justify it to yourself. For example, an evening spent cramming for an exam is not an excuse for an evening spent cramming your face with junk food instead of preparing a proper meal. Time spent on your health is time equally as well spent as time being productive.

Monitor Your Progress. It’s important to track your general progress daily rather than just having a few set goals for the month or year because, if you’re really set to achieve things (or even go above and beyond) daily tracking is the way to do it. Make a written record of the things you want to achieve each day, but be careful not to overwhelm yourself, between three or five viable tasks should be plenty. You can do something small everyday to work towards your bigger goals and a day is an achievement all its own.

A good tip I’ve heard is to plan your day the night before: just before going to sleep jot down the things you want to do the following day with a rough schedule for yourself. Before sleep is a prime time to get organised because once you have planted the aim to achieve these things in your subconscious, the idea is on its way to becoming a fixture in your minds mental to-do list. Your brain will have all night to mull over and confirm these things as necessary actions and they will subsequently feel very natural and correct to your brain when you attempt them the next day, rather than feeling like a total drag, clever eh? These final moments of your day are also a good time to review what you’ve already achieved and congratulate yourself. This support is vital, as is the acceptance of small failings along the way. Don’t digress or imagine you’re worthless if you stumble now and again; in the words of Madonna - its human nature - and the real genius lies in moving forward and succeeding regardless.

A Room of One’s Own. A designated space for acting productively means you are far more likely to actually get productive, it’s all about the psychology. Setting yourself on your bed with your laptop won’t always yield the results that perhaps sitting at a desk to work would. I’m not assuming you have the luxury of an office (I certainly don’t!) but if you do, that’s brilliant. Otherwise, a small desk that’s kept clear is a must, or head to the library; if you’ve got no distraction other than the murmur of other people behaving productively then you’re on to a winner! See my tips on Creating a Sanctuary for more.

Get into the NOW Habit. Learn to do things almost immediately or as soon as possible when they arise. This is very much about habit and the more you make the effort to do it the more it will become everyday practice. If you have an important letter to write, bank account to set up, dentist appointment to make or something equally as dull, just do it, right then. Do you have something like that? GO! Do it, right now. How refreshing is that? It’s not complex; it’s just a kick up the arse. Make yourself do the task in the instant that it becomes of importance because the more you put it off, the more it irritates you, bogs up your life with insignificant issues and edges towards the realm of things that will never get done. Like I said, this is a habit and the more effort you make to do it now the easier it will become, until it is eventually second nature.

Know Your Weaknesses. Are you an internet bunny like me? Going offline and writing out daily documents on paper instead of your laptop will avoid the all engulfing distraction of the World Wide Web. If you’re an evening surfer then set a time that works for you every evening to get off the computer. This also helps if you’re aiming to get earlier nights; we all know how the hours can slip away when we’re on the internet, and before you know it it’s 1am and you haven’t even thought about going to bed. Remember that it’s likely to take you another hour or so after going offline before you actually find yourself about to go to sleep, what with changing, teeth-brushing and preparing for the following day. If you want to be asleep by 11 you need to get offline by 10 at the latest. Equally, anything else you’re aware of that may hinder your productivity (like an annoyingly dramatic friend you constantly have on the phone, or your boss always pegging you as the one to call to pick up shifts) needs to be recognised and dealt with sooner rather than later.

Are you a recovering time-waster? What stops you from procrastinating? Stand up and share with us!

P.S. If you liked this two part article, you'll probably enjoy Who Else Wants a Better Work Ethic?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Quit Wasting Time: How to Avoid Procrastination, Part One

Image thanks to Michel Filion

The title for this article has been sat, scribbled on a notepad beside my bed for several weeks now. Ironic, I know. I’ve been ignoring it; I’ve been procrastinating, and it’s not big, or clever.

Do you leave tasks lying stagnant and unfinished? Do you dream of more time in the day to spend on the things you really love? Do you long for the opportunity to get more done? Do you constantly feel as though you’re trying to catch up with yourself and the multitude of projects you have going on?

Above all other areas of self-improvement, I’d place the aim to avoid procrastination at number one. It is the bane of any would-be success story and you’re probably more than familiar, but we can beat it.

The 'Should Do' Censor

The way I see it, most of the elements of our daily lives can be separated into three categories:

The things we really want to do;
The things we really don’t want to do,
and the things we do without even thinking whether we want to do them or not.

These three categories are not as detached as they may first appear, the lines blur. You may think the things you really want to do are the things that you get done, and that the things you don’t want to do: you don’t, but if you examine your habits a little closer you may well discover that this is not the case.

How often have you got up and headed out for work or university in the morning when it was, in fact, the exact opposite of what you wanted to do? And, conversely, how many times have you considered a dream project that you’d just love to set up but never bothered even looking into it because you just can’t find the time? Exactly. We contradict our desires and fulfil our aversions daily.

Well, what a God-awful way to go about things!

If we could train ourselves to have our most productive and success-generating tasks fall into category three then there would be no stopping us. However, this isn’t always as easy as we might like it to be because of our inner ‘should do’ censor, the active force that bleeps out our natural creative voice. The things we believe we should do, that we do without even thinking, have been literally brainwashed into us to form our daily habits. So much so that many of them seem genuinely impossible to revert, like procrastination. We adopt the customs of our families, peers and colleagues, often to the point that we are down-right living parallel lives because of what we think we should be doing. Take a look at your daily habits and tell me they are exactly the traits you want to see from yourself... Not exactly? Thought so.

Image thanks to Abhi

The 'Want To' Voice

To thrive beyond these suffocating limits, at some point we need to start ignoring this ‘should do’ censor and awaken our true ‘want to’ voice, because only when this voice is fully awakened will the daily things we do always be the things we truly want to do, the things that walk us hand-in-hand toward a better future. This concept shouldn’t be confused with succumbing merely to our basic human impulses (like sitting at home all day watching day time TV and stuffing our faces!) no, this ‘want to’ voice calls from a much deeper place. It asks for success, it asks for fulfilment, it asks for joy and it asks for glory, and this is the voice we must listen to above all else. Only then can we fully tap into the stream of ideas and desires we have for our lives and begin to encourage the inclination to achieve them. And that’s when the fun starts! That's when day to day life stops being a grind and we really start to get productive. And procrastination? Pah, you'll forget the meaning of the word.

In my experience, avoiding certain tasks generally stems from a fear of failing, dislike of the task or a lack of inspiration (just like me and this article). But rather than dwell on the negative and scare ourselves silly with the psychological roots of this habit, tomorrow we will look at some positive and precise ways that you can stop fearing failure, start getting inspired and actively get set to overcome procrastination, so stay tuned.

Click to Read Part Two Now!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Words to Live By #26

Image thanks to TuTuWoN

"How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone."
Coco Chanel

Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Saturday Salute 14.02.09

Image thanks to dutchti

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you've all spent your Saturday being adequately romantic - wink wink! Here are some fun little links from me to you...

My sister has been raving to me all week about DooYoo a site where you can get paid (and keep getting paid) for writing short reviews for almost anything, great for students with a bit of time on their hands.

Are you daring enough for these removeable wall stickers?

If you have a small blog or website then have a go making some buttons with Buttonator.

Learn How to Bust Out a Budget , Step by Step from Fabulously Broke.

And 7 Ways to Create a Wardrobe that is Uniquely Yours from College Fashion.


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Friday, 13 February 2009


Image thanks to DanMartin1

Last night I attended the Bristol Twestival, one of several events held around the UK by Twitter in aid of charity: water, for which, in Bristol alone, they raised £1,482.10. With entertainment including beat-boxing, Bristol based band Fortune Drive, a bag of promotional goodies and free OJ, I was a happy bunny! Here's what I made off with...

And yes, incase you were wondering, you can now find me on Twitter:

Perhaps I'll see you at the next event in 2010...

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

Book Review: The Cheap Date Guide to Style

Starting from, well, now, I’ll be reviewing some of my favourite style, cheap living and productivity books for your perusing pleasure. They’ll mostly be books I’ve enjoyed because, really, what’s the point in wasting everyone’s time telling you about the ones I didn’t like? Each one will be made available in the Charade store if it isn’t already and if you do decide to buy any then you will be actively supporting my efforts here on the site. Whoopee! There’ll also be opportunities down the line to win copies of some of the books so check back for that. If you’d like to suggest a book for review email me and I’ll get it on the list. If you’ve already read any of the books then please feel free to add your own points in the comments section. Hope you enjoy this new feature on Charade...

Title: The Cheap Date Guide to Style
Author: Kira Jolliffe and Bay Garnett
Amazon Price: £9.74 / RRP: £14.99

Overview: Forget makeover culture, forget being dictated to, forget your insecurities. This book is about YOU, looking cool, feeling fantastic, being whoever you want to be. Rife with style tips and interviews with a few regulation fashionistas like Mischa Barton, The Cheap Date Guide to Style promises to help you discover your own individual style, whilst offering up its own quirky wealth of advice and inspiration.

Evaluation: Truly a style guide with a difference, the book deals with the very basics of fashion, but also goes beyond that to ponder the real root of personal style and what exactly it is. While there is a lot of talk about the good old-fashioned classics, there are also many new ideas you might not have previously considered – a fresh way of looking at your own personal style.

At no point is the writing style lofty, prescriptive, or in anyway out of reach for the average fashionista. Even in the celebrity interviews a chatty, informal tone is maintained and you as the reader truly feel part of the conversation.

What I personally liked most about Kira and Bay’s approach was the informality of it. It was both diverse and sincere, with a real sense that the two are passionate about the subject; that they genuinely want to break down fashion barriers.

If it’s lacking anything, perhaps it is the specificity they are actively attempting to go against. As silly as it sounds, I did find myself craving to be told exactly what I must do, to be called to action if you will. But The Cheap Date Guide to Style is more of a buffet than a set meal; you pick the bits you like and make what you want of it, which was certainly refreshing. Perfectly illustrated is the fact that that fashion is everywhere, that there is no right or wrong, from Harris Tweed on the racecourse to high fashion on the runway.

The book isn’t exactly heavy reading material, which I quite liked about it. It was easy to dip in and out of with a cool layout, tonnes of (often surprising) images and a wealth of interesting insights from some of the biggest (and smallest!) fashion names out there. A magazine-like reference book you’ll want to keep coming back to, Cheap Date seems like a great starting point for those on the path to a truer personal aesthetic; it’s certainly challenged a few of my ideas.

Summary: If you’re looking for a definitive style bible, this isn’t it, but if you want a fun, young spirited yet informative guide through an arena as daunting as the fashion world can be then you’d be hard pushed to find a better starting point. As it is so aptly put on the back cover:

‘...rediscover the magic of a childhood dressing-up box’

Heart-o-meter: (4/5)

If you liked this review then buy the book now in the Charade store!

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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Shoestring Romance: Cheap Tips For Valentine's Day

Images with love fromBakerella and D Sharon Pruitt

So, it’s Valentine's day, you’ve got no chance of ignoring it. And, ok, nobody really wants to go wooing on a budget, but some of us have little choice, especially if we’ve left it too late / spent most of our spare cash at Topshop. But romance on a budget doesn’t have to be as naff as it sounds, in fact, it can actually be quite inspired. How? Here’s how…

Chalk it up to experience. Rather than lavishly bestowing gifts upon one another, why not go halves on an experience you can enjoy together? Fun and budget friendly options you might want to try are indoor climbing or go-karting. You’ll both have fun, maybe learn something, and the memories will be worth far more than that triple layer box of chocolates.

Make a promise. A few words cost nothing but can mean the world. Each make a vow to one another, one you intend to keep and that is well thought out. It can be as sweet and simple as ‘I promise to bring you breakfast in bed at least once a week from here on out’ or as extravagant as ‘I promise to name our first child McLovin’…’

Make a deposit. Look to the future by opening up a joint savings account and each depositing the money you would have spent on each other this Valentine's Day. Plan to top it up weekly or monthly, perhaps even with the extremely romantic gesture of a standing order! The money doesn’t have to have a purpose right now, you can just look at it as a contribution to your future together or, alternatively, you could aim towards a sexy mini-break or swanky meal out.

Put it in writing. Rather than swapping cards, what about swapping lists? No, we’re not talking groceries. Each list 10 things you really, really adore about the other and then share them aloud. It could be a little thing like ‘I love that you never notice when you have a milk moustache’ or a bit more serious like ‘I love that you are so generous.’ We can often overlook the individual aspects we love about our partners, so making a ritual of sharing them aloud can be a warm and fuzzy experience for all! (Note: If you are flying solo this Valentine's Day then write the list for yourself, no shame, self-appreciation is just as important as any other kind.)

Spread the love. Valentine's Day doesn’t just have to be about gooey eyes and butterflies with your beau; share that loving feeling across the spectrum by embarking on a day helping out your local charity, simply making a donation, or delivering a handmade card to lonely friend or relative.

Get crafty. If you’re hell bent on giving a gift this year then you’d better roll up your sleeves and get to work on it. Something handmade can mean about a million and one times more than a hallmark grab-and-go. Try these ultra cute origami boats for holding candy, use this easy kids recipe for Homemade Chocolate Heart Lollipops, or maybe try your hand at a little baking and decorate some cute cupcakes like the Towering Rose Cupcakes pictured above.

Any more ideas to add to the mix? What are your plans for the day?

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Monday, 9 February 2009

Words to Live By #25

Image thanks to Badger Bird

"Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit."
William James

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Sunday, 8 February 2009

Charade Now On Facebook

Charade is at last on facebook! Find the page here, leave a message, and become a fan. I'll hopefully be running some competitions on the page so if you're not there you may miss out on a sweet prize, and we don't want that!

Back tomorrow with a new week's Words to Live By.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Saturday Salute 07.02.09

Both Images thanks to D Sharon Pruitt

This is the perfect article for all you obsessive list-makers.

Very cute blog Coffee Lady is one I predict great things for (she's also a Charade follower so I've got to love that!)

Juice Fairy is "a budgeting blog about how you can stretch your money and live fabulously on less"... Sounds right up our street then!

Learn what to look out for Before You Buy Vintage Clothing.


1. Experience things fully, vividly, selflessly. Throw yourself into the experiencing of something: concentrate on it fully, let it totally absorb you.

2. Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth): Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.

3. Let the self emerge. Try to shut out the external clues as to what you should think, feel, say, and so on, and let your experience enable you to say what you truly feel.

4. When in doubt, be honest. If you look into yourself and are honest, you will also take responsibility. Taking responsibility is self-actualizing.

5. Listen to your own tastes. Be prepared to be unpopular.

6. Use your intelligence, work to do well the things you want to do, no matter how insignificant they seem to be.

7. Make peak experiencing more likely: get rid of illusions and false notions. Learn what you are good at and what your potentialities are not.

8. Find out who you are, what you are, what you like and don't like, what is good and what is bad for you, where you are going, what your mission is. Opening yourself up to yourself in this way means identifying defenses--and then finding the courage to give them up.

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