Sunday, 14 January 2018

90s Throwback

I've loved fashion ever since I was a little girl. As soon as I knew how to walk, I would be found exploring my mum's wardrobe trying on her heels, playing with her jewels or just marvelling at all of the colours and prints - you can't being a magpie if you were born in the 80s! My love of fashion didn't abate when I hit my teens. I swapped playing with my mum's wardrobe with experimenting with my own, taking inspiration from the copies of Vogue I bought with my pocket money. 

I didn't realise it at the time, but what I loved most about fashion was that it gave me the ability to express myself. Teenage years are tough, it's difficult to process and understand your feelings and emotions verbally. I definitely found it easier to express my feelings through my clothes; lying on my bed in a crop top and baggy jeans listening to No Doubt, in head-to-toe Adidas in the park or in a brand new citrus-inspired outfit from New Look.

The 90s were a riot of fashion highs...and lows. I'm grateful I grew up in a time where self-expression and rebellion were at the forefront of fashion choices. I saw fashion through fresh eyes, every trend was new and every page of Vogue served as inspiration. A couple of decades on and I know that fashion isn't always new; it's cyclical and if you observe the "20-year rule" you can anticipate what trends are going to reappear based on what was in vogue 20 years ago... *gestures vaguely at the resurgence of sportswear, streetwear and grunge*. 

As a kid, I used to kick it in the likes of Adidas, Kappa, Fila and Tommy Hilfiger. While Adidas is a perennial fashion favourite, the other brands were at their best in the 90s and slowly faded away after the millennium, making way for dubious trends like velour and double denim. Thankfully, they're back thanks to the 20-year rule, sufficient time has passed for fashion nostalgia to resurrect them. 

While I remember brands and trends the first time around, the beauty of the 20-year rule is the original trends are reinterpreted. So while I would wear a full Adidas tracksuit with matching kicks in the 90s, nowadays I prefer to offset sportiness with a touch of sassiness. Much like in this post where I talk about how I like to style hoodies, I have to make sportswear my own by adding a heel (of course) and a cheeky flash of skin to keep it looking cute. What do you think of my look? 

Top - ASOS
Tracksuit bottoms - Kappa
Heels - Dune (similar)

Photography by Adorngirl.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Turning 33

Get your party hat on because we are ce-le-bra-ting! Screw the January blues, let’s get our party shoes on. The reason? It’s my birthday! Well, it was my birthday last Saturday, but it’s a women’s prerogative to extend the festivities, right? I rarely celebrate my birthday but this year feels different; 2018 has infected me with a new energy. I’m so excited for the year ahead and I want every moment to be something to be proud of. Too often, we let happy moments just pass by without celebrating them. The small wins and big victories should all be celebrated, life is hard and sometimes just making it through and feeling good about your day is enough reason to celebrate. 

In my previous post, I shared some of the ups and downs I experienced during 2017. It was a challenging year but wanted to share what I experienced and show what lies behind the carefully curated feed and Instagram filters. Despite a rocky start, I ended the year looking forward to a fresh start; a little battered and bruised but looking to 2018 with positivity, strength and determination. I was so overwhelmed by the positive response to this post. I received so many lovely messages, DMs and comments from people offering support or saying my post really resonated with them due to their own journey through 2017. 

Life can be hard and we all have our own struggles. While I embrace the ups and the downs - because you can’t have one without the other - I realised how important it is to amplify and focus on those highs. The highs get us through the lows and often they aren’t celebrated nearly enough. From now on, I’m celebrating life as much as I can. I’m going to start this with my birthday, celebrating my 33 years on Earth because I have a bloody amazing life and I’m truly blessed. Why wouldn’t I celebrate that?! 

Society has a huge issue with age. Your 20s are treated as the golden era; the prime of your life. After 30, you’re supposed to dread your birthday, shave a couple of years off your age and complain about being ancient. This is absolutely ludicrous! At 30, you're merely a third of the way through your journey in life. When I was approaching my 30th birthday, I was actually looking forward to entering a new decade. I saw my 20s as a time of exploration and finding my feet. I was thrust into adult life after I finished university and didn't have a clue what to do! While my education had finished, I became a student at the school of life. I had a lot to learn; discovering who I was, what I wanted to achieve in life, what drives me, what I expect from love and all the little things that make me happy. 

When I was approaching the big 3-0, I knew I was entering the new decade with a level of peace and self-acceptance that is often evasive during your 20s, as you’re struggling to find yourself. And now, I’m super proud to be 33. Life is a journey to discover who you are and what makes you tick, I see each year as a milestone of learning to love yourself more as you discover who you really are. 

One of the most positive things to come out of last year is taking a huge step forward in discovering myself. And you know what? I decided from now on, I'm going to be me - unapologetically. I decided that I am not shrinking myself to fit someone else’s idea of who I am or who I should be. I shared this sentiment with my dear friend Nick, I told him "I'm done. I just want to be extra AF, no diluting or playing it safe". And with that sentiment, I present to you my birthday outfit. An almost plain white tee with...some sequin flares. Extra AF, but unapologetically me. 

Coat - Max Mara
Tshirt - KAWS x Uniqlo
Trousers - Missguided
Heels - River Island (similar)

Photography by Adorngirl


Sunday, 31 December 2017

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018

New Year's Eve is upon us once again and it could not come soon enough. I'm not one to wish away weeks or months but this year has been tough. Whether you're looking at 2017 from a global political perspective or at how your own life has panned out at a micro level, it's definitely been a very difficult year with more than it's fair share of challenges. That's not to say it's all been doom and gloom but you can't have highs without lows. 

My year has been a whirlwind of trials, tribulations, highs, lows, smiles, tears and most importantly; lessons learnt. While I'm fairly open about my life on the blog and social media, I'm very careful about what I do and don't share, for the most part keeping my life events private. But this is an honest post. My year did not get off to the most stellar start. January consisted of being made redundant, breaking up with my boyfriend and my mum being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

My life was turned upside down in the space of a month. I struggle with anxiety and all of these monumental events happening so close together sent my anxiety through the roof and triggered panic attacks, which I hadn't experienced for months. Some days were fine but on other days, I felt completely lost with no hope. 

I slowly started piecing myself back together. It was hard to stay motivated and positive through everything but I was proud of myself for trying. I spent the rest of the year working my ass off while focusing on myself and my mental health.

There are so many things that should have broken me this year but I'm still here, still standing and working towards my dreams. One of the biggest lessons I learnt was to let go. I let go of a relationship which didn't fulfil me, a job which I had outgrown and "friends" who didn't support me through the hard times. Letting go is difficult but it makes space for what you truly deserve in life. 

Shortly after being made redundant, I landed a job at a fashion start-up backed by Jose Neves and Natalie Massenet. It's been a huge learning experience and has pushed my career to the next level. My career has always been important to me, as I shared in this post, and I really accelerated my learning and sharpened my skills while I built and launched a brand. 

I also rekindled my love of blogging this year. Truth be told, I fell out of love with blogging a while ago. The landscape really shifted and I struggled to find my place and my voice. But this year I poured myself into my blog and repositioned it from a half-assed hobby to something I really care about. I realised how powerful my platform is and that I want to use my voice, particularly as a British Asian woman

I started the year destroyed and defeated but I end it happy and excited for the future. I have had big achievements and little victories but for me, this felt like a year of laying foundations. I feel like the things that I have achieved or put into place this year are just the beginning. I have big plans for 2018 and I'm so excited to keep working hard and making my dreams a reality. 

Trials, tribulations, highs, lows, smiles and tears. Reflect on your year but don’t dwell on the bad. We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present. That's why I'm raising a glass to 2017 tonight, toasting to the lessons I've learnt and the person I have become over the past 365 days. 

Wishing you lots of love, peace and happiness for 2018. 

Lots of love,

Jumper - Zara (similar)
Skirt - Stradivarius

Photography by Adorngirl

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

All of the Christmas presents have been bought, wrapped and delivered. You've eaten, drank and danced at a dozen Christmas parties and get-togethers. It's *finally* time to kick back and actually enjoy the big day. Right? Maybe...or maybe not. 

Whether it's the Hallmark images of an idyllic family gathering for Christmas or a classic, heartwarming festive film, this time of year is *supposed* to be picture perfect but it often isn't for everyone. The Holiday Season can be a very tough on your mental health. Not everyone looks forward to Christmas and at this time of year, I think about people heading back to families they don't get on with or people who don't have families to go home to. Families can be very beautiful but they can also be very isolating. It can be a very lonely time of year for some, especially when you're surrounded by images of how perfect Christmas should be and it's far from your reality. 

Although I love this time of year, I don't subscribe to this idea of a "perfect Christmas". It's a day of happiness and indulgence, which means you should celebrate it however you see fit - whether that's with your family, friends or on your own. It's really important to value and prioritise your mental health, at Christmas and every day. For this reason, I'm spending this Christmas in London for the first time. I'm looking forward to switching off for a couple of days and practising self-care. That's my new Christmas tradition. 

However you choose to celebrate Christmas, I wish you a blessed and beautiful day. 

Lots of love,

Trousers - ASOS
Shoes - ASOS

Photography by Adorngirl.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Problem With OTK Boots

Just so we're on the same page, I don't love these boots. I'm utterly obsessed. Though I have to admit, when I bought them back in September I thought they were just one of those silly frivolous fashion purchase. I'd wear them a couple of times and then they'd be banished to the back of my wardrobe. They're bright pink AND satin so neither lowkey nor practical in London's delightful weather...not to mention their racy over-the-knee length. But these bold boots have formed the basis of my AW17 wardrobe - provided there's not a single rain cloud in sight! 

Unlike the vinyl pants I blogged about a while ago, everyone on social media fell head over heels for my beloved boots too. The first time I wore them - to the Barbican and St Pancras Renaissance Hotel - they attracted admiring glances from pretty much everyone I passed. I was oblivious but my friend pointed out the stares to me. She said it was like being out with Beyonce! 

However, not every encounter in the boots has been so positive. I've been at the receiving end of what I will politely describe as persistent unwanted attention and lewd comments while wearing my beloved boots. Q: What do the guy on the tube, the corner shop man and the bloke at the bar have in common? A: They all think they're entitled to an opinion about how I'm dressed and that I give a shit about said opinion. It's infuriating and infuriatingly common, unfortunately. 

Don't blame the boots though. We live in a culture of blaming the victim for the actions of someone else, which is absolutely ludicrous. yet for some reason, the knee-jerk reaction is to criticise what you're wearing. Like most women, I've been at the receiving end of catcalling and other forms of street harassment, to give it its proper name, no matter what I look like or what I'm wearing. It's always a reflection of the man and not how much or how little you're wearing. 

For the men who beep their horns, make unsolicited comments or worse, it really has nothing to do with what you look like. It's a predatory action and whether they have the self-awareness to recognise it or not, their behaviour is aiming to intimidate women. Every time a car beeps at me while I'm just walking and minding my own business, I jump because I'm startled. I'm not flattered at the implied "compliment" from the anonymous man speeding away in their car. The same goes for comments, noises, being followed and otherwise harassed. 

A couple of weeks ago, I headed out of my office for some air and to grab a matcha latte. I was engrossed with my emails and typing away furiously on my phone on the way to the little coffee shop on the corner. I was vaguely aware that I passed a building site and some comments were hurled in my direction. On the way back, latte in hand, I heard the comments again. One of the builders, clearly the comedian of the group, was shouting "text me, baby, I'll show you a good time". Something snapped. I stopped walking and stopped typing away on my phone. I walked up to the builder and asked him what the hell he said. And you know what, he was dumbfounded. Despite being Billy Big Balls just seconds prior, he had suddenly lost the ability to string a sentence together.  

That little incident taught me two things. Firstly, that street harassment was definitely not meant to be a compliment and secondly, the men who do it really can't handle it if you shout back. That builder's actions were typically predatory and meant to intimidate. His words were meant to make me feel small. They were meant to convey that being in a public place meant that I was public property. But not on that day. I fought back and it felt good. I felt like I reclaimed my space by standing up for myself.

I wish I could say that I had the courage to speak out every time. The truth is I don't. Sometimes I'm caught off guard and sometimes it just doesn't feel safe to speak up. But every time it happens, whether I speak up or not, I remind myself that it's not a reflection of what I'm wearing. I have as much right to exist on the street and in public places as anyone else. You see, the problem isn't with the dress or the OTK boots at all. 

Dress - Zara
Boots - ASOS (similar)
Clutch - Shrimps (similar)

Photography by Adorngirl. 

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