Tag: Lifestyle

9 Tips for the Ultimate Wardrobe Spring Clean

The start of a new season is the perfect opportunity to get organized and Spring Clean your wardrobe.  It gives you the chance to take stock of what you already own and understand what ‘gaps’ you have in your wardrobe that can be updated with pieces from the new season or what areas you can invest in more.  It can help you to realize if you have brought a lot of the same piece (do you really need ten pairs of skinny black jeans) and can help you evaluate the direction your Style is going in and if you want to make any key changes to your look.

But clearing out your wardrobe can also be something that causes a lot of stress for us ladies.  We are all guilty of hoarding pieces for a “just in case” and the task of emptying out an overstuffed wardrobe can be a daunting one to start.

But I promise, getting rid of old clothes and updating your wardrobe is really freeing and empowering.  So here are my top ten tips for the Ultimate Wardrobe Spring Clean…

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The Cool Girls Summer To-Do List…

The start of June means summer is officially here!  I already feel like my summer has kicked off with a bang after my amazing week spent with vising friends exploring Italy and embracing the sun – blog post to follow soon!

We spent the week reminiscing about our beautiful summers past and catching up on what we have planned for the next few months.  And it confirmed my idea that summer’s are meant to be spent with friends, having fun, embracing all opportunities and creating amazing memories.  Here is my cool girls summer to-do list with ideas to make sure you have the best summer ever…

The Cool Girls Guide to Summer

Take a European City Break with Best Friends.

Taking a trip to a European city with your best friends is such a fun way to kick off your summer season.  Discover cute shops and cafes by walking around the city streets, feel inspired at exhibitions and museums, drink red wine in sunny plaza’s and try delicious foods.  Plus its a great way to bond with your friends and create cool memories together.

Go to a Music Festival.

Get your girl group together and hit up a music festival this summer.  You can go to a day festival in your city, spend a weekend camping at a cool hippie festival like Glastonbury or Bestival, or combine it with a beach holiday and hit up some of the festivals in Croatia, Spain or Portugal.

Go Strawberry Picking.

Strawberry picking in summer is so much fun and there are strawberry farms all over the countryside.  Put on vintage dresses and spend the afternoon with friends picking strawberries and chilling in the sun.  The best part is feasting on strawberries afterwards or having a baking session and making strawberry tarts.

Throw a Garden Party.  

Embrace sunny Sunday’s and throw a girls party in your garden.  Serve prosecco, summer fruits, cupcakes, mini sandwiches, healthy salads and tasty teas and ask everyone to wear cute dresses.  You can have fun getting creative by covering your garden in bunting and decorating the table in a cute vintage theme too.

Read an Inspirational Book.

Long summer days are the perfect time to get reading and feel inspired.  Don’t know what to read… Check out my Reading Guide for ideas.

Have an After-Work Picnic.

Even if you have to spend you days in the office, embrace summer evenings by organizing to meet your friends for an after-work picnic.  Go to a cool park in your city, get everyone to bring some food, pop some prosecco and have dinner together al-fresco.

Hit the Beach.

You have to hit the beach at least once during summer even if you don’t live by the sea.  Plan a girls holiday to a beautiful beach town, go island hopping somewhere exotic or take a road trip and visit a cute seaside town, then spend the days swimming in the sea, eating ice-creams and topping up your tan.

Check Out Some Exhibitions.

If travel isn’t possible for you this summer check out what cool things are going on in your local area.  Visit some exhibitions, check out new museums and see what fun events are happening.  Its a great way to feel inspired and excited about your summer plans without breaking your budget.

Find a Cool Summer Cocktail Spot.

Long summer nights are the perfect opportunity to have a girls night out with friends.  Plan to go somewhere you haven’t been to before like an artsy pub, an underground speedeasy or a cool rooftop bar.

Travel to a Country You’ve Never Seen Before.

Get somewhere ticked off you travel bucket list by organizing a trip to a country you have never seen before.  Traveling is a great way to get inspiration, open your mind and have an adventure and the best way to add some magic to your summer is going somewhere exciting and new!

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How to Live Like a Milanese…

I have been living in Milan for nearly three years now, and although England is definitely still my home, I find it amazing to see how settled and homely Milan feels to me now.  I really noticed it on my recent trip home last month.  I was so excited to go home and had such strong feelings of being home when I arrived, but then when I got back to Milan a week later it felt like I was coming home too.  I found it so interested how both places can feel like home to me but in two very different ways, and it made me happy to think Milan has become my home away from home.

I started to think about all the little personalities traits and Milan-isms this city has for me that makes it different from home.  And though I am definitely still 100% English, I have noticed myself picking up on them and how they have become normal for me.  It reminds me how no two countries or even cities are the same which is why traveling is so exciting and eye opening for me.

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(Photo from Pinterest.com)

Here are some of the things that make up the personality of Milan for me…

Saying Ciao A Lot.   Especially when speaking on the telephone, which Italians love to do.  When you want to end the conversation you have to say Ciao Ciao Ciao and then they say Ciao Ciao Ciao and it goes on for a little while.

Taking Regular Espresso Breaks.  Italians go for espresso several times a day and there are so many coffee shops all over Milan.  You order and drink it standing at the bar and are in and out really fast.  It’s a great pick me up when you are on the run.  Normally there are lots of people bustling to get to the front but the coffee people always seem to know who’s drink is who’s!

Becoming a Regular at Your Favorite Cafe or Restaurant.  If you keep going back to the same place and they get to know you they will greet you like family, bring you things to try from the kitchen and make you feel so welcome every time you stop by.

Having Good Shoes and Handbags is Essential.  Milanese girls always have beautiful shoes and handbags made of high quality leather.  Its a great way to transform a basic outfit into something elegant and chic.

Skipping Happy Hour For Aperitivo Instead.  Nearly every bar in Milan does Aperitvo in the evenings and its so good.  Order a Spritz or Prosecco and get served yummy snacks of olives, cheeses, salads, pasta and savory pastries with your drinks.

The Rules are Made to be Broken.  Italians follow the rules up until a point but they are very comfortable bending them when they need to and are totally fine with you doing the same.  Need to park in the middle of the road while you run into a store to pick something up – no problem.  Don’t have time to buy a ticket before you jump on the train – no problem.  Just flash them a smile and its always fine.

Dressing Stylish is a Priority.  In Milan everyone loves fashion and being stylish and chic is a major priority.  I love it because everyone of all generations always looks beautiful and you can get so much style inspiration from the people you see on the streets.

Taking your Dog Everywhere.  Milanese people love dogs and they bring there little dogs out with them everywhere they go.  In restaurants, cafes, on the trams – once I even saw people bringing their dogs around Ikea!!

Sushi is Everyone’s Favorite International Food.  Italians are really proud of their heritage and their food and don’t often eat the food of other cultures.  However the exception to this in Milan is Sushi which everyone loves and there are sushi places all over the city.

Picking up on these things makes me feel like I am starting to live a little more like the Milanese and makes me so happy Milan has become my second home.

What are your favorite differences about living abroad? Let me know in the comments below…

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My Spring Reading List

Spring is upon us here is Milan! The weather has been amazing recently with sunshine and blue skies nearly everyday.  Its only April and the weather is as good as an English summer! This makes me so happy because it means summer is on its way.  And makes me long for lazy weekends spent chilling in the park and reading lots of books.

So with that in mind I thought I would share with you my Spring reading list.  What are you reading at the moment? I love book recommendations so please share your favorite books in the comments below…

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(photo from pinterest.com)

The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff – Set between Copenhagen, Paris & Dresden in the 1920’s ‘The Danish Girl’ explores ideas of love, gender, marriage and discovering true identities.  The story expresses a beautiful insight into the main characters feelings and emotions during his transgender journey and becoming one with himself.  I can’t wait to watch the film too.

Self by Yann Martel – Written by the author of Life of Pi, ‘Self’ explores the differences between women & man, violence & happiness and life & death through his half autobiographical-half fictional novel.  I am intrigued to see what this book will be like, but as I loved Life of Pi I am expecting it to be great!

The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie – This book tells the story of an abandoned kitten rescued from the New Delhi streets and taken to live with a Dalai Lama in Tibet.  The cat spends it days sitting next to the Dalai Lama and listens to his conversations & teachings with Hollywood Stars, Buddhist Masters, Professors, Philanthropists and all who come to visit the Dalai Lama.  Over time the cat gains an insight into finding peace in a busy and challenging world and shares interesting ideas on finding happiness from his own perspective.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg –  Ever since reading Sophia Amoruso’s book I am all about the Girl Boss! So Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In went straight on my reading list.  Her autobiography speaks about building a career, being a powerful women in business and getting to the top of your field.

Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

If you want some more book recommendations check out my post ‘My Winter Reading Guide’

 

Six Films to Watch if you Love Fashion…

When it comes to finding fashion inspiration, films are one of the first places I turn too.  As much as I love creating fashion photography for my work, for me there is something so special in watching the outfits comes to life on screen and seeing how they help depict the characters.  I love looking at fashion throughout history and watching films is a great way to do that.  Here is a list of six films I love for their fashion and style…

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The beautiful Audrey Hepburn plays the character of Holly Golightly, a New York escort and socialite.  The opening scene of the film starts with Audrey strolling past Tiffany’s wearing a chic LBD and pearl necklace and has been a major style influence ever since.

The Duchess

This film tells the story of aristocrat Georgiana Cavandish, Duchess of Devenshire, played by Keira Knightly.  Considered a style icon of her time Georgina was well know for her extravagant parties, beauty and fashion sense however her life was shadowed in sadness and heartbreak.  Her embellished dresses and luxurious jewellery & hats are an inspiration to anyone who loves period costume.

Marie Antoniette

Telling the story of France’s indulgent queen who lived a life of luxury in her palaces full of dresses, shoe and cake (“Let them eat cake”) while her people lived in poverty and starvation in Paris.  This movie is as much about history as it is about the beautiful fashions of the times and shows incredible costume dresses, hats, shoes and jewellery.

Clueless

If you love 90’s inspired fashion then this is the film for you.  There is denim, tartan, knee-high socks and mini backpacks galore.  The young Alicia Silverstone and Stacey Dash totally rock their roles as rich, air head teenagers loving life in their American high school.

This Is England

Shane Meadow’s independent film is set in 1980’s northern Britain and follows a group of young skinheads finding their place in the world in the aftermath of The Falklands war.  The film has a stylish-retro edge showing the subcultures defining style of shaved heads, Dr. Martins and Fred Perry polo shirts – I love it!

The Great Gatsby

In true Baz Luhrmann style this movie is spectacular, colorful and elaborate.  If you love the beautiful dresses of the roaring twenties then you will love this movie filled with flapper dresses, sequins, feathers and sparkle.  Costumes were designed specially by Miuccia Prada and are amazing.

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My Winter Reading Guide…

I don’t know about you guys but as winter comes in I love chilling on my sofa under a big blanket, drinking tea and reading books.  Right now we are having a four day weekend in Milan (yay!) and as I have been so busy with photo shoots, I am taking the whole weekend to relax and take it easy.  That means baking mince pies, decorating the house for Christmas and reading lots of books.  Here is my reading list in the run up to Christmas…

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(photo taken from pinterest.com)

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt.  I just finished this book and it is amazing.  Written in a strange biographical way, full of personal accounts, interviews and journal extracts, The Blazing World tells the story of female artist Harriet Burden who conducts an experiment by presenting her work behind male fronts to see if women are treated differently in the art world.  The story is really interesting.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  I love reading and I am slightly embarrassed to say I have never read any of the classics, the reason being I always imagine them to be long and wordy and slightly boring!  But I decided this winter I should at least give one a go and I decided to start with this one.  It’s actually amazing!  I started it on Friday and I am already half way through!

Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso.  I haven’t read this one yet but it is written by owner of amazing online store Nasty Gal.  It’s all about the growth of Sophia’s career through Fashion, how she set up Nasty Gal and is full of advise for other girls wanted to build a successful career too.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.  I read To Kill a Mocking Bird at school and I loved it.  The story is so sad and real and I found it really touching.  So I have been waiting to read to stories sequel, set two decades later, since it came out this summer.

I love being recommended new books, so let me know what you are reading in the comments below or check out my summer reading list for more book ideas…

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Beating September Blues

As I sit writing this post I am snuggled up on my sofa with a hot cup of tea because it is TORRENTIALLY raining outside.  Its looking really cold and really grey and really wet.  Living in Italy means I have not seen weather like this for a while and I am taking its presence as a sign autumn is definitely on its way.

I actually really like the start of Autumn because I think it brings with it a sense of renewing and restarting after a long summer break – I still get that ‘back to school’ feeling – and I love seeing the autumn colours in the trees. (See my Ciao Milano post for 20 reasons I am happy for autumn in milan.)  But I admit, as the evenings start to creep in earlier and the weather starts to turn bad I do sometimes get a pang for summer to return.

If you feel the same then here is my list of fun ways to beat September Blues…

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1) Have a hot bubble bath… 

Light candles, bring a good book and turn off your phone for some relax-time.  I love using bath bombs and bubbles bars from Lush.  They smell amazing and always make me feel really pampered.

2) Start shopping for new Winter clothes…

Nothing makes me more excited for a changing season than shopping for new clothes to wear.  Autumn time is great for fashion because it brings so many options; think soft layering, chunky scarves, cosy knits… Plus winter always calls for new shoes, coats, boots and sweaters.  Have fun and experiment with some new looks.

3) Go for a long walk and see the autumn leaves…

Wrap up warm, meet some girlfriends and go for a long walk to see the pretty colours of the autumn leaves.  I admit I am still a child at heart and I love walking through big piles of crunchy leaves – I’m sure you still do too…

4) Go back to school…

Use the dark evenings as a change to sign up for evening classes.  You could learn a language, do a beauty course, start crafting or try yoga… Learning new stuff is energizing and fun and its also a really great way to make new friends.

5) Get reading…

When it is cold and grey outside nothing is better than snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book.

6) Plan something exciting to look forward to…

Christmas feels like a really long time away so plan something fun to do in October or November so you have something to look forward to. I have a weekend staying in a county cottage booked with my girlfriends in October and I cannot wait! Other ideas could be a mini-city break, a spa weekend, a shopping trip or even a fun dinner party at home.

7) Have a girls sleepover…

Fill your living room with blankets and pillows, put on your favorite films and eat a ton of chocolate.  It doesn’t matter what the weather looks like outside when you are spending time with your best friends.

Have any suggestions of your own, please share them in the comment below…

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My Summer Holiday Reading List…

image(photo taken from pinterest.com)

I LOVE to read. I generally read about one book every ten days so when I am on holiday I get through books pretty quickly. This holiday I have packed four books because we are spending two weeks in the beach town of Arugam Bay, and then another week traveling around the countryside of Sri Lanka. As I am already making a start on book number three I think this was a good shout! See my holiday reading list below…

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. I love Lena’s amazing TV series Girls and I have been wanting to read her book since its publication last year. She is so smart, funny, strong and independent and a great role model for girls and young women.

Secrets of Stylists by Sasha Charnin Morrison. An insiders guide and how to handbook all about working in Styling – obviously the perfect book for me.

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi. About a half English, half Nigerian girl who feels trapped between two cultures. She travels to Nigeria to meet her family and discovers dark secrets about herself and her identity.

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. This year I have read two other books written by this author and they were beautiful. I am excited to read this one too.

What are you reading this summer? I love books so recommendations are always welcome.