Thursday, 19 July 2018

Life Update

Nine flights, seven beaches, four cities and one broken suitcase later and an epic two month period of crazy travel has finally drawn to a close. Even for a self-confessed travel junkie, that was a LOT of time in the sky and exploring different places. I've never missed London (or my bed) so much in my life! Now that the dust has settled, I wanted to write another quick life update, reflecting on my travels and the perils or practically living on planes!

After two long trips to San Francisco, I feel like I can call the city home. Not home-home like London but a second home. The second trip felt comfortable and familiar, like shrugging on a cosy old jumper. I knew the lay of the land, made a plan to hit up my favourite restaurants and really hit the ground running. As a traveller, I'm forever torn between wanting to explore new places and returning to old favourites. Sometimes it's nice to come back to a place which feels familiar.

In between my trips to the west coast, I also spent time on the east coast, returning to New York for the third time before heading off to a wedding in North Carolina and a week of blissful sunshine, pristine beaches and of course rum punch in Barbados.

Although that all sounds dreamy, it was actually very draining to constantly be on the go and living out of a suitcase for the most part. Sometimes I'd wake up not knowing where I was and my body clock was all over the place. I also ended up getting very sick on my return to London, I think my body had just given up by that point and knew it was "ok" to break down as I was finally back home.

I've been in London for 6 weeks now but only really feel like I'm starting to enjoy it now as I spent so long in bed. Bed rest and antibiotics really do work wonders! And now, thankfully, I'm back on my feet and looking forward to not leaving the country for about a month. I'm really looking forward to spending London in my city, soaking up the unbelievable sunshine we've been blessed with and getting my life back on track. Back to the gym, back to cooking and definitely back to weekly blog posts, which I've really been missing!

One of the best things about being away for so long is really appreciating the life I've built at home and being able to see it with fresh eyes. I've got a renewed focus and I've even set some goals for the rest of 2018. It's so good to be back!


Dress - ASOS | Heels - Aquazzura

Photography by Adorngirl

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Thoughts on ageing from a 30+ blogger

There's nothing like approaching a birthday to make you stop in your tracks and take stock of your life. I'm a little sad that I wasn't actively blogging when I was approaching my 30th birthday as it's a huge milestone that I would have liked to have documented, but I feel like I made up for it six months ago when I shared my thoughts about my non-milestone 33rd birthday and how I'm looking forward to celebrating the shit out of life. I'm fast approaching my next half-birthday and while I'm wondering where the hell the last 6 months have flown, I'm also contemplating getting older and society's obsession with age. 

I touched on the topic of ageing and how society's perception pivots once you hit 30 in my previous post and I think it deserves its own blog post. My twenties were a blur and I feel like I only started coming into my own after I reached 30 and to me, it still feels young - with all going well I'm only *a third* of my way through my life. Yet the media is full of lists of things you should 'tick off' before you hit 30, presumably after that you're confined to a zimmer frame and unable to go bungee jumping or even do an epic road trip!

The blogosphere isn't much different from mainstream media. If I see one more post on about turning 29 and fearing "the big 3-0", I'm going to...realistically not do anything aside from not click the link but it's nauseating and further perpetuates this irrational fear of one more rotation around the sun. Blogging started out as the antithesis to the narrow beauty ideals that traditional media perpetuates but here we are, with 25-year-olds partnering with antiaging brands lamenting turning 30. 

I was overjoyed when the amazing Hayley Hall set up Thirty Plus, an inclusive blogger collective aimed at championing bloggers of ALL ages and interests. This is what the world needs more of; to see that your time on earth doesn't zap your worth, it increases it. It disproportionately affects women too. Women are taught that their age is a taboo subject and to worry about an imaginary clock tick-tick-ticking away while men are able to continue getting older without worrying that their age might affect their attractiveness, sexuality, career or how the world perceives them. 

My final thoughts on ageing? I feel prettier and more confident than I ever did during my "prime", despite the media trying their hardest to make me feel the opposite. As I've stumbled, made mistakes, grown and learnt, I have become a better human being and a more valuable member of society. I have discovered topics which are important to be, such as diversity, and have pivoted my blog content to reflect this instead of just focusing on what I'm wearing or have been gifted. The most profound change for me, as I've aged, has been on the inside. Youth is a gift of nature but age is a work of art. 

Top - River Island | Jeans - Topshop | Belt - Off White | Trainers - Fila

Photography by Adorngirl.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Setting Blogger Goals

Ok, I need to admit something. I'm really shit at setting goals. Not to toot my own horn but I have accomplished a lot in my 33 years on Earth but it always seems to be a happy coincidence as a result of hard work and reacting well to situations rather than meticulously planning where I want to be and working towards it. But after a couple of years of floating a little aimlessly, I'm coming around to the idea of setting goals and giving myself homework. 

Don't get me wrong, winging it has served me well for years. I graduated with a 2:1 from a great business school, became a director of an agency at 27, worked with the most prestigious brands in the world and I'm currently in my dream job. 

Aside from work, I've travelled a hell of a lot. Thirty-five countries at the last count. And this little blog, which I set up on a whim one evening from my bedroom at my parent's house in the Hampshire countryside over patchy wifi has done so well over the last decade. It's introduced me to some incredible people who I now call friends and bought so many collaborations with brands my way. One of the things I'm proudest of is being part of the British Fashion Council's Blogger Panel, fashion and supporting emerging designers are close to my heart and to have a nod of approval from the BFC was a true 'pinch me' moment. 

As I've grown older, I've become more focused on what it is that I want and also how precious life is. This is why I want to focus on setting myself goals, to take my long-term vision and turn it into short-term motivation. Having a huge goal can be inspiring but daunting, I often don't know where to start. But having a clearly defined vision helps to break down the smaller steps required to achieve that big goal. And each step forward is measured progress. 

So, what are my actual goals for the rest of 2018? I'm going to share what I have set out for my blog rather than my whole life: 

- Consistency. Working full time and blogging in my spare time means that focus on my blog flexes with the time I have available. I've fallen out of love with blogging, not had time and beaten myself up for being a "bad blogger". But over since 2017, I've found my groove and rediscovered the joy of writing and creating content. I want to be more consistent and write one post a week and also be more consistent about sharing my writing on social media. 

- Create authentic, meaningful content. Over the last year, I've really learned the impact of using my voice. My most popular posts have been the ones where I talk about my experience as a British Indian woman or talk about the pressure bloggers face. I want to keep creating content which resonates with my audience, makes a difference and is authentic to my values. 

- Grow my socials. I don't have a set goal of reaching 10k followers on Instagram because IG changes the goalposts on a bi-weekly basis and we all see the effects of this - follower numbers yo-yo-ing up and down and wildly inconsistent engagement. While I do want to grow my following, I don't want to be a slave to exact numbers and get upset with each setback. If I lose 15 followers overnight, I'm not going to worry about it too much as long as my overall number is growing monthly. 

- Continue to support young designers. I have been attending London Fashion Week for 8 years and Paris for 2 years. While the big-ticket shows are fun, what I love the most is discovering new designers before they have hit the big time. There's something so exciting about seeing raw talent and using my platform to support them. Fashion is a tough industry and I think it's so important to nurture young design talent. 

- Continue talks with young people. One unexpected opportunity which has come my way is giving talks to young people who are in college. In the last seven months, I've given two talks and it's been so rewarding. Talking about everything from my career journey to stress, dating and social media, I feel so fortunate to be able to share my journey to inspire the younger generations. I really enjoy doing these talks and want to do two more before the end of the year. 

What are your goals for the rest of the year?  

Tshirt - H&M | Skirt - Topshop | Heels - Aquazzura

Photography by Adorngirl.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Life Lately

It's been a while since I shared a life update but I feel like it's a little overdue. I tend not to get too personal on the blog but I do enjoy sharing aspects of my life; I fell in love with blogging because it offers a unique perspective from a personal point of view so it's only fair that I share my own. The personal posts always tend to resonate more with my lovely readers too, I always say that a blogger's perspective is their best USP and it's always nice to get to know the person behind the images and words. 

Fashion Daydreams has been chugging along nicely over the last couple of months, giving out sartorial and life advice in equal portions, and my personal life has been steadily progressing too. Earlier this year, I decided to quit my day job. I hadn't really planned my next move but I knew my current situation wasn't fulfilling me or making me happy. I touched on this in my previous blogpost which discusses the art of letting go and why walking away from a situation which no longer serves you is one of the best forms of self-care.

Sometimes it's better to walk away from something to create space in your life for something better, and that is exactly what happened. I've worked in the fashion industry for 8 years and while I will always love fashion, appreciate how hard working the industry is and be thankful for the incredible opportunities I have had along the way, I realised I was suffering from 'fashion fatigue'. I have experienced so many different facets of the industry over the years, from high street to luxury and in-house to agency, and I realised I wanted to step away from the industry. 

I landed an incredible role at a tech company (!) leading influencer marketing, which is a huge opportunity to work on an exciting role for a company I genuinely love and am passionate about. How lucky am I? I have worked here for a couple of months and honestly could not be happier. I'm really looking forward to making a difference and effecting positive change in the world of influencers. 

Being in the tech world, part of my job will require travelling to sunny San Francisco. I will be doing this a lot over the next couple of months so I felt it only fair to give you advance warning! Rather than going completely MIA, I'm going to cut down blogging to once a fortnight but you can keep up to date with my shenanigans on Instagram


Shirt by &otherstories (similar) | Jeans by Miss Selfridge | Shoes by Miss Selfridge (similar)
Photography by Adorngirl.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

What to Wear to Paris Fashion Week?

Does this outfit look familiar? It should...I first back in March during Paris Fashion Week, which feels like a lifetime ago. I really wanted to shoot this while I was there, the bright and unapologetic yellow would contrast against the cool grey buildings of Paris beautifully. But alas, it wasn't meant to be. I was busy running from show to show, as captured in this image shot by Getty. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining in the slightest. I feel so incredibly fortunate and blessed that I'm able to travel to Paris for fashion week. I can't really say it's a dream come true as I didn't dare to dream that big! As a teen, I bought copies of Vogue with my pocket money and poured over each issue. Back then, I loved reading about the shows and designers but I never thought I'd ever go to any fashion week, let alone Paris. It's funny how life works out, sometimes you end up achieving more than you ever dreamed. 

While I'm not a huge fan of living in the past, I think it's important to look back to see how far you've come. I will never forget my first ever show at London Fashion Week. Truth be told, it wasn't even *my* ticket! The brilliant Laetitia of Mademoiselle Robot wasn't able to attend Ashish's AW09 show and asked me to attend and write it up for her. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. A London Fashion Week...are you kidding?! 

I had no idea what to wear and obsessed over it for weeks. I'm embarrassed to admit I even Googled "what do you wear to a fashion show". It was 2009, street style was just starting to take off and bloggers weren't really going to fashion week just yet. I had zero reference points. I eventually settled on a beautiful royal blue and black velvet dress from a vintage store. I was hideously overdressed but I didn't care. The show took place at Hippodrome and was a visual feast for the eyes, Ashish was on top form and his collection was a sequin extravaganza. 

Nearly a decade later, my attitude to dressing for the shows is somewhat more laissez-faire. I know a lot of bloggers call in pieces and pull together outfits to get shot in, which is great but it's not my MO. I started going to the shows to write about them and I see that as my job first and foremost. While I may care a little more about my outfit than an average day in the office, I dress for comfort and practicality in anticipation of a full day running around from venue to venue.

I'm slightly perplexed as to why street style photographers shot this outfit. If you disregard the colour for a second, I'm just wearing a jumper with tailored trousers and some heels that I've worn to death. But being fashion week, I went for tonal shades which are a huge trend, in yellow which is an emerging trend, and grounded the outfit with my beloved Max Mara coat. Acceptable for the shows but practical enough to be working with the odd patisserie visit between shows. 

What do you think of my PFW outfit? 

Jumper - Bershka
Trousers - ASOS (similar
Shoes - Miss Selfridge (similar

Shot by Adorngirl.


Thursday, 19 April 2018

Why You Don't Need To Wear Designer Pieces To Be A Fashion Blogger

It's no secret that I've always loved fashion. I've shared so many stories about how I discovered fashion as a kid and how thankful I am that my passion has blossomed into my career. A precocious child, I remember helping to plan my class' assembly once. As part of our segment, we were planning a little fashion show and of course, I piped up saying "we all need to wear lime green and orange, citrus shades are in". I must have been about 10 and I ended up raiding New Look, pulling together an affordable take on the trend with my pocket money. 

Over the years, as my disposable income has grown my tastes have also broadened and matured. As a university student, I remember counting down to Student Loan Day and spending a hefty proportion of my new riches on Oxford Street or Covent Garden in exchange for a new wardrobe for the semester. It always felt like a sound investment. A few years after I graduated I started my blog and this was during the golden era of vintage shopping. Blogs were littered with pre-loved treasures and customised pieces, I would spend hours rummaging around the best vintage stores in Paris to find the most incredible pieces for just €5. 

Fast forward to today; the vintage era is well and truly in the past (ba dum tish) and we are now in the designer era. A quick skim over your favourite blogs or Instagram feeds will showcase countless pieces which cost a pretty penny. A Gucci bag here, Balenciaga sneakers there and maybe a little flash of a Fendi print too. This is often discussed by the blogging community, many bloggers feel like they need to own designer pieces to be a blogger or be successful - I do not subscribe to this mindset at all and touched on it in my previous post about what it takes to be a blogger in 2018. Style is way more important than the brand you're wearing. Always. 

I absolutely adore the high street, my university dissertation explored how high street stores use branding as a form of competitive advantage! Nowadays, I wear high street pieces with a sprinkle of high-end brands. This is more out of an appreciation of certain brands or designers rather than slavishly following trends. I invest in pieces which I'll cherish forever rather than buying the season's must-have item. I've always been a savvy shopper and will pick up something I've adored for a while either on sale or at a sample sale. There's an unwritten rule: no one who works in fashion pays full price. 

While I see shoes and handbags as a worthy investment, I'd much rather shop on the high street for clothing. High street retailers like Zara are so, so quick to translate runway trends into more affordable pieces. This is part of the fashion ecosystem; trends are meant to trickle down to the likes of Topshop et al, it's just happening a lot quicker now than it used to partly due to social media and the instantaneous nature of reporting for the shows. 

For AW17, the likes of Burberry, Acne and Gucci sent aviator jackets down the runway so it was a surefire sign that it would be one of the jacket shapes of the season. While these brands had all but finalised their collections by the time they were showing them to press and buyers in February, high street brands were watching and waiting to see which trends would hit. Just six short months later, aviators were seen everywhere from &OtherStories to Monki and H&M. The Zara iteration became ubiquitous in its own right so instead, I opted for a moody grey version from Missguided, for the princely sum of £28! 

I usually itemise each piece I've worn at the end of every post but I also wanted to share the cost of this entire outfit to show that you don't necessarily need to purchase designer pieces to look great OR be a blogger. Full disclosure: I am wearing a Miu Miu bag with the outfit, which I bought on sale and with a discount on top for £200. The rest of my outfit is from the high street and comes to a total of £279 including the bag. 

Jacket - Missguided
Dress - Tobi
Boots - LOTD
Bag - Miu Miu

Shot by Adorngirl


Thursday, 12 April 2018

Trend: Polka Dots

Despite its reputation for reinventing itself every 6 months, fashion can be very cyclical and predictable. While some things might be harder to predict, like the meteoric rise of Vetements, others are much easier to predict, like certain trends. In the immortal words of Miranda Priestly; "florals for spring, groundbreaking". I like seeing florals filter through to the high street, much like lighter mornings they're a surefire sign that winter is behind us. But it does seem like a formulaic signal of the seasonal transition. But this season, they're firmly benched and we're wearing polka dots instead.

I haven't given polka dots much thought for years. They always seemed far too cutesy for me. I don't have a signature style, sometimes I don a killer heel and other times I'll channel my inner tomboy but I will never go for something cute or sweet - which is what polka dots are to me. I guess I always equated them to Minnie Mouse or dresses I wore to parties as a kid. But I started paying attention last season when the likes of Jacquemus and Balenciaga channelling the print. Just one season later, we saw sheer polka dot skirts and blouses at Dior, supersized dots abound at Junya Watanabe and bold hues at Valentino. The message was clear, ditch the florals for the dots.

I have to admit, the polka dot pieces I've seen recently are much cooler than I remember. I've been drawn to sharply tailored co-ords, sexy low cut blouses and of course, pretty dresses. I'm a huge fan of Jacquemus so I've been on the lookout for a fun, contemporary take on the ubiquitous polka dots. I think I found the perfect high street piece. This blouse is deceptively extra, from the blown up prints to the exaggerated sleeves and contrasting monochrome. I threw it on with a pair of pearl jeans from last season...or perhaps the season before. The pearl detailing echo the polka dots, which I totally love.

Will you be wearing polka dots this season?

Top - Lost Ink
Jeans - Zara 
Heels - Miss Selfridge (similar)
Bag - Miu Miu

Shot by Adorngirl


Friday, 6 April 2018

A Lesson In Personal Style

Last night as I scrolled through my Instagram, I realised something. I've been working in fashion for way too long. How long is too long? Eight years, everywhere from start-ups to established luxury brands and even an eventful stint at an agency. And the indicator that I've been in my industry for too long? A feed which featured swathes of black, despite my natural aversion to fashion's favourite hue. My family are Indian, I'm naturally drawn to bright, vibrant shades but it seems that over the years I've slowly snuck more black into my wardrobe. I realised last night that I shimmy into black outfits pretty much every morning without even realising it! 

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with black. A perennial fashion favourite, it's bold, confident, understated and chic all at the same time. Riccardo Tisci describes black as elegant and "the most complete colour in the world" while Ann Demeulemeester calls it poetic. My favourite quote is by Yohji Yamamoto; "Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy - but mysterious. But above all, black says this: I don't bother you - you don't bother me.". I think of black as a sartorial comfort blanket, it's always ambiguous and safe. 

While there's nothing wrong with black, I tend to veer towards colours and prints. I feel like they express who I am more than black does. It's also in my genes as I alluded to earlier, Indian culture is so rich and vibrant so it feels natural to gravitate towards different colours - if you've never been to an Indian wedding, they look like an explosion of Starburst! So when I realised my wardrobe choices had become a little monotone, I decided to make a change. 

They say you should do one thing every day that scares you. I don't think "they" were thinking about dresses when they said this but whatever. I was stuck in a little bit of a style rut and needed to challenge myself. So when I saw a dress that I loved and hated in equal measure...I was intrigued. Very 'Kim Kardashian at the Met Ball 2013' and an awkward length to boot, this dress just wasn't "me"...on paper but maybe it could pull me out of my 'all black everything' phase?

When it arrived, I was even more uncertain. The print was bolder than I remembered, the fabric not as nice as it looked in the picture and when I slipped it on, I was giving off some serious 'frumpy but trying too hard to be "cool"' vibes. I tried it with my Stan Smiths, channelling the nonchalant midi-with-sneakers look and it just wasn't me, I looked like I was trying too hard. However, when I slipped my beloved lime green snakeskin heels, the look started coming together. Once I slung on my (also beloved) Off White belt, I was set. I felt less like a pretender and more like myself. 

I learned two very important lessons from my little experiment which I wanted to share with you: 

I initially tried to style the dress in a way that looked great on others but just didn't feel right on me. My style is extra, not casual and breezy! Once I embraced that, the look just came together and most importantly, I felt comfortable in the outfit I styles.

While I challenged myself with a piece that confused the heck out of me, you don't have to. If you're not into this season's sartorial whims, skip it. 

The most important element of your style is you. Without your eye and creativity, it's just a bunch of clothes. Channel trends, stand out but above all else, do it your way. I'll end this post with a quote by Dave Grohl, "No one is you, and that is your power". 

Dress - ASOS
Belt - Off White (Orange, sold out in yellow)
Shoes - Brian Atwood

Photography by Adorngirl.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Evolving Beauty Ideals, Unrealistic Beauty Standards and Finding Self Acceptance

I feel fortunate that I was born in the 80s and raised in the 90s. While everyone thinks of their era as the "golden era", I genuinely think this was one of the best times to be growing up - in between the second wave of feminism and the digital revolution I experienced an empowering upbringing where the world was literally at my fingertips. Questionable fashion choices aside, it was a great time to be growing up as a girl! I could be anything I wanted and I had unparalleled access to the information to get me there. 

I don't think it's any surprise I ended up in digital and become a fashion blogger. Growing up with a pre-Windows PCs, dial-up Internet, forums and MSN Messenger, this generation was the first to experience communication without any boundaries and the beginning of media democratisation. I remember joining a couple of forums as a teen and discovering kindred spirits across the globe to discuss everything from niche makeup trends to Justin Timberlake. Books became less important as a source of research or inspiration as I had the whole world at my fingertips, instantly. 

I have a real soft spot for the 90s and it's funny looking back and seeing how far things have evolved in the past 20 years. The 90s is a huge reference point for the fashion world currently, I really enjoy seeing how everything from streetwear and slip dresses to crop tops and chokers are being reinterpreted by today's designers. This is the first real fashion era where I can instantly recognise trends from the first time around but despite this, it still feels fresh. It's an evolution of the looks I grew up with. 

While fashion may currently be recycling trends, today's beauty ideals couldn't be any more different to the 90s. Naturally, the meteoric rise of Kate Moss meant the waif-like look was one of the defining looks of the decade, but I actually feel like it was fairly diverse; Pamela Anderson is another icon of the 90s and she couldn't look any more different to Kate! With icons of the era ranging from Liv Tyler and Drew Barrymore to Aaliyah and Brandy, it was a fairly diverse decade. 

Across music, movie, TV and magazines, the one common thread I remember is seeing natural, accessible beauty. Sure, the super-waif Kate Moss aesthetic and the ultra-buxom Pamela Anderson look were unrealistic for most, they were two opposing ends of the spectrum. And yes, Pam had gone under the knife but it wasn't the norm for the majority of celebrities back then. Beauty was more understated and makeup tended to be pared back - Gwen Stefani and Aaliayh would rock a bold lip but on the whole, the 90s was an era of minimalism and the natural look. I didn't wear much more than a slick of mascara and lipgloss til I went to university. 

Fast-forward to today and beauty ideals couldn't be more maximalist. A quick scroll through Explore on Instagram shows me that more is more, from the 'Instagram brow' with accompanying 7 eyeshadow's blended to perfection to waist-trained, potentially enhanced butts. While I prefer to credit the likes of Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez for making a pert posterior covetable, it's obviously the Kardashians who have championed the dangerous, cartoon-like proportions which are influencing young women today. From suffocating with waist trainers and trying "detox teas" to going under the knife, I'm finding that I'm getting increasingly concerned with how far women are being pushed to fit into a a very narrow view of "perfection". Why aren't our bodies celebrated instead of being told we're not good enough? 

Looking back over the decades, women's beauty standards are constantly in flux. From the lean, athletic look of the 80s to the waifish 90s to the Victoria's Secret bombshell look of the 2000s, the "perfect female form" is a constantly yo-yo-ing concept which is a totally unrealistic long term. flexing between slim to curvey to slim as each decade passes means that inevitably we will never feel beautiful in our bodies. 

I'll use myself as an example, I have a naturally small build and high metabolism so I've always been slim without really needing exercise or watch what I eat. This was fine in the 90s but as the zeitgeist moved towards a curvier aesthetic I felt a little alienated and self-conscious about my lack of curves. I say "a little", I've probably wasted weeks of my life feeling down about it rather than celebrating the things that I love about myself. Isn't that crazy? 

I'm far from the only case though. Hands up if you've ever felt personally victimised by society's unrealistic beauty standards?! For women especially, the media and society are geared up to feed on our insecurities and make us feel like we're not good enough. You just have to walk past any newspaper stand and glance at the magazines either pitting one woman against another or pointing out "flaws" while someone is just trying to chill on a beach. 

These days, feeling confident in your own skin and at peace with your body is almost a radical thought, especially in a society which profits from our insecurities. We are bombarded with a plethora of things that can be wrong with our bodies from the shape and size to body hair, stretch marks and just about anything else which is actually natural. Women more than men are shamed for their bodies in one way or another while being provided with a list of products to buy to "solve" the problem. It's crazy. 

I've started accepting and loving my body rather than wishing it was something it's not. And you know what, it's so empowering. I'm channelling the women I grew up watching or listening to, the ones who were comfortable in their own skin and natural beauty. I'm more than channelling a little bit of Aaliyah with this look! I'm learning to love myself which is such a beautiful, rebellious thing. As Dr Gail Dines once said; "If tomorrow women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business"

Jacket - Tommy Hilfiger (similar)
Tshirt - Uniqlo x KAWS
Trousers - Missguided
Belt - Off White
Heels - Brian Atwood

Photography by Adorngirl. 


Friday, 16 March 2018

On Facing Hard Times, Resilience and Self-Care

Whoever said that "life is a bumpy road" was a very wise soul. Life certainly has its ups and downs. You might be tricked into thinking everyone's life is peachy, especially as you scroll through your Instagram feed, but I can assure you that this is absolutely not the case. Everyone is struggling with something. With Social Media, we tend to show our best face to the world and I often describe it as the "highlights reel" of your life - all of the best bits and none of the bad. By ‘best bits’, I mean a filtered, Facetuned, edited version. It’s not necessarily bad - we all do it! - it’s just that it’s easy to forget what goes into each happy, carefree picture that you see. 

I have two teenage nieces so I’m very conscious about what I put out on my blog and social media and the impact it has on young, impressionable girls. Of course, I shoot beautiful images and love sharing my outfits but I also want to be a real person and show that life isn’t always rosy. It doesn’t always fit on my feed or get the best engagement but it’s important for me to share some of the lows as well as the highs. 

Sandwiched between the highs of Paris Fashion Week and starting my new job, I had a horrible low. Long-term readers and followers will be aware of Bob, my gorgeous little lop eared bunny. I got Bob a decade ago when he was just three months old. He’s been my little companion for years, living with me in several different flats over the years and even having a shoot with Love magazine! Ten is ancient for a bunny and sadly he got very sick last week and had to be put to sleep. It was the most heartbreaking decision I have ever had to make so I took a few days off social as I grieved. Instead of returning like nothing had happened, I posted a picture and explained my absence. 

The day I discovered just how bad Bob was, I was just about to leave for a shoot. I had been warned to prepare for the worst and I was utterly devastated. I thought about cancelling the shoot but it was so last minute. I knew I couldn’t bear to deal with the tube so I jumped in an Uber to the location, sending some frantic texts on the way. I arrived teary-eyed and emotional but somehow managed to block everything out and focus on shooting all of the planned looks. And you know what, I am so, so proud of those images. We slayed…despite everything else that was going on in my life. 

I’m pretty well versed in encountering bumps in the road. A child of divorce, abusive relationship escapee and daughter of someone who has been battling cancer for 14 years, it’s safe to say my path has been anything but smooth. The normal challenges of life - jobs, friends, boys - are just the cherry on the cake. Rather than lamenting the cards I’ve been dealt and feeling sorry for myself, I’m grateful. Everything that I’ve experienced has moulded me into a strong, determined woman who is way more scrappy than she looks. I’ve survived everything life has thrown at me; I didn’t let it defeat it, I endured and it made me stronger. 

At a young age, I learnt that life doesn’t stop so you have to find a way through. Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is the My mum was diagnosed with cancer while I was in my first year of university and my way of coping wasn’t the healthiest - drinking and partying it away. It has taken a while to learn healthy ways of coping which work for me. I think one of the hardest things to learn was to listen to myself and prioritise what *I* need. Cancelling plans to stay home is okay. Spending an entire weekend in bed watching Netflix is okay. Self-care is okay! 

It’s important to figure out what works for you but I wanted to share some healthy ways to cope when life gives you lemons: 

  1. Prioritise yourself
    One of my coping mechanisms is to withdraw and to shed anything that isn’t necessary. It’s taken me years to learn that this is absolutely okay and I won’t be letting anyone down - I always felt guilty for cancelling plans or saying I was busy even if I was just being a hermit at home. When life is putting you through the wringer, do what feels right. If you want to go out, great! If you’d rather be snuggled in bed, that’s also great. Just feel empowered to put yourself first.
  2. Switching off from Social
    Often when I’m going through a hard time, I’ll switch off from social - like I did last week. Partly due to not wanting to be bombarded by everyone’s highlights when I’m at my lowest and partly because I don’t have the energy to post pictures and act happy, my focus is enduring and making it through.  Again, it’s totally fine to step away from social media, WhatsApp and phone calls if you need.

  3. Focusing on work
    Now, this won’t work for everyone but I always focus on work and use it to pull me through. Keeping a routine and finding something to focus on always helps me, it keeps my mind off whatever is bothering me. Much like when I got the news about Bob, I found focusing on the shoot helped to prop me up, I clung to my work and had a huge sense of achievement for having the perseverance to make it through.
  4. Meditation/yoga
    I swear by meditation and yoga for keeping me sane. Meditation helps to keep me grounded and look inwards, which is super helpful when life is throwing you curveball after curveball. Though I haven’t practised for a while, nothing makes me feel better than when I’m on my mat. I practice Ashtanga and find it incredibly meditative. It calms and stills my mind in a similar way while keeping my body active.

  5. Talk!
    This is the hardest one for me as my natural reaction is to withdraw but a problem shared really is a problem halved. Talking through what is going on is to therapeutic, whether it’s a friend or a trained professional. While ignoring my phone helps cut down the ‘noise’, I always try to speak to friends about what I’m going through. Even if they can’t help, just knowing someone is there for you is help in its own right. I have also spoken to a therapist in the past which was incredibly daunting but so, so rewarding.

Jacket - Tommy Hilfiger (similar)
Top - Dimepiece
Trousers - Missguided
Shoes - Brian Atwood
Bag - Shrimps

Photography by Adorngirl. 

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