Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Drum Roll Please... The BIG 1001

Image thanks to wwworks

*Ting of random article of cutlery on glass*

*Clears throat awkwardly*

I have something to say, and those long-timers among you will know it’s not the first time, and the rest should be assured that it’s certainly not the last.

Thank you.

What’s brought on this gush of gratitude? Yesterday, my RSS subscriber count finally hopped over the ‘1000’ fence. 1001 RSS subscribers. You know, the itty bitty pink numbers in the sidebar?

IMPORTANT NOTE: I know it will more than likely jump back down again, if it hasn’t already by the time you read this, because that’s just how it seems to roll, but it is still indescribably momentous for me. And I have proof:

I’ve kept this blog for two years. Two whole years of my life, I can’t believe it! And I’m still surprised, and in awe, and just utterly bowled over most of the time, when I receive every new follower, in whatever format – Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin’, Facebook, email or RSS.

Some days, when I click the link to the blog of a follower, I literally think ‘wow, really?! She is following me?’ I genuinely think you are the most bad ass, hip-hopping, happenin’, swing-swayin’, sexiest bunch of gals around. And I don’t say that to just anybody.

So, the purpose of this post is just to say a hearty ‘Cheers!’ for being on board, for lurking in the webby-shadows, for leaving your input, for buying my stuff, and for emailing me delightful little messages and requests which always give me the distinct sensation of discovering a new friend I didn’t know I had (which ROCKS. You should try it). I know that the best way I can really thank you is to write consistent, interesting, lively, worthwhile articles that make you chant ‘gee!’ in a worldwide chorus, and you should know that that is always, always my aim (although I slip up a lot, like the slippery little sucker that I am).

With that in mind, I’m still working on my next L2L podcast, which is all about Personal Style (you'll love it!) and I plan to make it my best yet, so keep your ear to the street and your finger on the beat.

And, in case my point has not yet been made clear: YOU’RE ALL AMAZING!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Words to Live By #109

You can help Save the Arts.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Saturday Salute 25.09.10

Photo by me! Isn't it cute?

Hola Chicas!

Things are just as crazy as ever here, and I can't believe it's almost been a month, out of only ten. I can tell this whole experience is going to be over in the blink of an eye, so I should just sit back and enjoy it!

Some links:

- Tasty treats at Smitten Kitchen. I particularly fancy the peach shortbread.

- Talking of food, I say HELL YES to the 3 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake.

- My big sister is doing her first giveaway! Enter, enter, I urge thee!

- This will make you think (and I feel that linking to it somehow makes up for my general contribution to the 'distractions'??). I haven't read Brave New World but I certainly will now.

- Tonight I am going to see Macaco at Tarragona's enormous old bullring, excited? Yes I am.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

You Tell Me... Is Fast Fashion Still Fun?

Image thanks to yvette

Hello. This where I introduce a new feature and challenge an old one. I recently realised that I hadn’t completed one of Monthly Must-Haves in ages, and I questioned why. Rather than simply never mentioning the series again, however, I thought I’d start a conversation on just what was behind my subconscious renouncement of the posts.

Wrapped up with that, I introduce to you: ‘You Tell Me...’ a semi-regular series where I will grope for your opinions on topics that I think will interest everyone, especially moi.

Here’s the story:

Several weeks ago, I made an oath with myself, an oath not to buy any ‘new’ clothes; go completely second-hand with my fashion buying habits. I didn’t announce it on the blog because I wasn’t sure how well I could stick to it, but it’s actually worked out brilliantly so far: I’ve completely refrained from any brand-new style purchases (and, yes, I have put myself in the path of temptation many times). The concept arose from my growing eco-consciousness and dreamy ideal that, if we all simply stopped producing and consuming stuff, there would still be so many beautiful things in the world we could pass around, share, recycle, and enjoy.

So, when I thought about whipping up a neat little set of desirable ‘must-haves’, well, it felt kind of hollow. It felt like I didn’t want to encourage you to rush out and buy new things on hype, or tell you that you ‘must’ buy something, however jovially. I’d rather you made clearer, more conscious decisions when it comes to what you wear and consume in general. I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be the change, even if only in a very small way.

All of that aside...

I know many of you really enjoy my Polyvore sets, and in the past I’ve enjoyed putting them together. I still have a love for dressing up, that hasn’t changed – so can I really have a fashion blog without mentioning bargains from Forever 21 and the other cheap-chic giants?

I certainly don’t want to seem as though I’m putting myself on a pedestal, then be labelled a hypocrite if I buy a new bikini from H&M. I want to be honest with you about the choices I’m making, even if they aren’t slip-up free.

And, of course, I still think clothes are beautiful; I still think they have value in society; they represent art and creation and splendour – so perhaps my Polyvore sets can still serve as inspiration? Perhaps I could use them to promote customisation and re-working of your existing wardrobe? Or have I, perhaps, gone totally overboard: is there a place for fast, throwaway fashion?

You tell me!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Words to Live By #108

Image thanks to marina

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face... You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Sunday Salute 19.09.10

Image thanks to visual panic

I tell you, trying to keep your life organised here is like trying to swim against a damn strong current. Saturday's appear to be the hardest, as I've now missed two Salutes in a row (boo me!) But I will succeed in establishing routine! I will!

Here are the links for this week, they're goodies:

Leo Babauta considers Life's Missing White Space.

I absoulutely lurrve Collage Vintage (and predict big things for the girls!)

What happens when dreams become expectations?

I totally agree with this concept: Woody Allen and the art of letting go.

Here's your permission slip from the universe.

Hope you've had an absolutely darling weekend. Until tomorrow,

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Good Points and Bad Points

Image thanks to lenaah

With any venture, we usually experience dual reactions; ups and downs, highs and lows. One point can be the greatest high you’ve ever felt, and another can feel like you’re sinking helplessly into the deep blue. I chose to do a year studying abroad for many reasons, but one of the most important reasons for me was the fact that it would be difficult. Yes: hard, challenging, demanding – I didn’t jump in to it with a naive gulp of breath and pinch of the nose – I knew I would struggle at times. So why did I do it? Because I think struggle matters, I think struggle is life, and, most importantly, I think struggle is a teacher.

Struggle has taught me lessons that simply towing the line never did: confidence, a sense of my own ability, my great characteristics and the ones that are kind of shitty. In our day to day, our routines, our ‘normal’ lives; we tend to maintain a sort of shell around ourselves, a shell made up of all the abstractions we, as humans, try to bound up our lives with: equilibrium, definitiveness, assuredness, exactness, a sense of total knowing and of comfort in that knowledge. That’s why we form tribes, we stick at the same jobs, we (sometimes) stay in the same relationships – because we know them, inside out – and knowing is always better than not knowing... isn’t it?

When you break out of your norm you simultaneously break out of that shell, you lift the veil; you step out of your boundaries and turn back in to look at yourself. I know that, if I didn’t push myself to act out these experiments in struggle and self-analysis, I would be half of the person that I feel I am today. Next year, I want to be double the person I am now: I want to possess double the strength, double the confidence, double the ability to actually live out life as I dream I can. If that takes a bit of heartache, a few tears, moments of feeling powerless, moments of feeling scared, then, heck, I can take it!

Good points are great, but maybe bad points are just sort of... necessary. What we must do is ascertain what defines the experience: the highs or the lows? Because that’s the whole point; that’s where the real value is. What will you remember? What will stick? What are you ultimately taking away from it: good skills, or bad habits? Positive actions or negative reactions?

Hopefully, what you will find is that your conscious will remember the good times, and your subconscious will learn from the bad. You’ll walk away qualified in the negative, which will make you all the more qualified in the positive. Good point, bad point – if we think of life as a map through which we must plot a course, then any point is one that moves us forward. And, if our ship can weather one storm, it will be all the better equipped to weather the next (or avoid it altogether).

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Eclectic Aesthetic: First Day of School 14.09.10

This is what I wore to my first day of classes here in Spain:

Vintage Laura Ashley Summer Dress ♥ eBay
Vintage Satchel ♥ Oxfam
White Daps ♥ H&M

Isn't it the perfect school dress? And perfect for the heat here too! Although it will soon be cooling off as Autumn sets in - break out the cardigans!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Words to Live By #107

Image thanks to vpvasquez

"If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth."
Mitsugi Saotome

I'm back! And, woah, what a week. I'm in a flat, I've started classes, I've made a small group of friends, I've gone to/hosted a party/get-together every night bar one, I've been camping on the beach and I. Am. Exhausted! It's really been amazing though, better than I could ever have imagined.

However, such big change is always a coin with two sides for me: spectacularly invigorating whilst being equally disorientating and overwhelming. I am, at my core, a homely creature who thrives on routine and 'the law of straightness' (an in-joke with my sister) - so when life starts whipping around me like a 100 mile an hour wind and throwing things at me from all angles, my head spins and I crave quiet and calm. I can't escape all the evening fun I'm having here, and wouldn't want to, but I do need my 'me-time'. So, seeing as I start classes at 11.00 every morning, I have decided that the hours before this will become my reading/writing/studying/tea-sipping oasis of order :) I don't want the blog to suffer for my being so busy here, and I'm always up for a challenge, so expect regularity from here on!

I didn't get to do my Saturday Salute due to the aforementioned plan not yet having been devised, which meant I didn't share a very special link which you all must click on. My wonderful, smiling, gracious, talented friend Ellen has had an article published (the first of many I hope) over on Green Prophet. It is a review of the book 10 Ways to Change the World in Your 20's by Libuse Binder and Ellen certainly sells it to me! Please read it and let her know what you think of it in the comments.

Thanks for all the comments and curiousity left on the previous post - it warms my heart to know I have a little network of people from all over the world keen to know where I am and what I'm up to. You're like stars in my internet sky!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

I've Flown the Nest...

Yes, my era of Erasmus has officially begun. I'm in Tarragona, Spain. You'll have to excuse my current absence from the site, there is a lot to do here! Finding a flat, setting up internet (which is proving difficult so far...), getting a Spanish phone, opening a bank account, and all of this before we even mention all the impending university classes and things I have to sort out there.

Don't doubt my love and devotion to you, just allow me to go of the grid for perhaps another week!

Take care of yourselves and check back for updates!