26 September 2015

From Uffizi to Gilli

But first, let me take a family selfie - Dad was surprisingly cooperative. Now that back-to-uni chaos is finally settling down, I am back on blog! I apologise for my absence, but this coming week is all about Finding Florence - vi prometto molta belleza. Well, as much beauty as an iPhone camera can captures... 


I developed two obsessions this holiday. Ceilings and panoramas of ceilings. There was a bit of a Pano competition going on between the Harrison family; I like to think I improved as time went on! I simply love galleries that are like art in themselves, and the Uffizi fits this brief perfectly. Dare I say I appreciated the building more than the actual art?

We played "guess the story" here - I just wanted someone to address the escaped rhino! (top right) 
The painting everyone wants to see is Botticelli's The Birth of Venus - it's the Mona Lisa of the Uffizi. Nonetheless, like dear old Mona expectation exceeds the end result. I do like both Da Vinci and Botticelli, but compared to other paintings beside them both lack depth - for me anyway! My personal favourite was…
 Only joking. Although, by this point, my feet were so tired that "red bed"came close to the top… As for the statues, I just wanted Prof. McGonagall/ Quasimodo to come along and bring them to life. Nonetheless, my actual favourite came at the close:
By 17th Century Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst, I adored how the lighting fell onto the faces. The simplicity of the scene and depth of facial expressions - especially on the old man - were stunning.

 For an artist nicknamed "Gerard of the night" - based on his skill with artificially lit scenes - it seemed quite ironic that the painting wasn't given a greater spotlight; it was buried away in a dimly lit room at the end. 

Gallery aside, the terrace was also pretty picture-perfect… 
Skirt: Asos, £22     Bag: Cambridge Satchel Company     Top: Zara, £17.99
The photo in the left was taken from our hotel: a perspective of how central we were! 
The outside terrace/cafe of the Uffizi is right next to the Palazzo Vecchio; it is worth a stop even if you don't want any refreshments! This is unlikely though - even their diet coke cans were suitably artsy.  
 Forget rooms - this is a gallery with  with a view. The Ponte Vecchio bridge no less!


Prior warning - this isn't the last you will hear of Gilli! Nearly every Harrison holiday features a go-to place and this trip it was Gilli. Not going to lie, part of the appeal was that it shared the name of a Game of Thrones character, but I also happened to see the teapots when walking past...
Need I say more? They clearly knew I was coming, complete with a sorbet and a blogger flatlay.
Seeing Mary, Burt, Michael and Jane on the carousel would have completed the scene, but I wasn't complaining. From the Uffizi to tea at Gilli, our Saturday was was practically perfect in every way. Now onto the important questions… 

Have you ever been to Florence?

Do you prefer paintings or sculptures?

Are 'great' works of art overrated? 


15 September 2015

Things to Pack

As I head into my final (aaah!) year of University, I'm definitely more up-to-speed with what I actually need to bring. With hindsight, you realise that the 99th jumper probably isn't needed, but bulk stores of cereal might be a practical idea!

So in the first of my pack, sack and don't bring back series, let's begin with optimism…  


  • WRAPPING PAPER: Random? Yes. Practical? Absolutely yes. One of the staples of any University room is the noticeboard, yet little bugs me more than said-noticboard being a horrific colour - did they not think ahead about my colour scheme? Yet I don't like to cover the entire thing with photos, as it can look a bit busy. Enter pretty floral wrapping paper. 
  • PRACTICAL HOME COMFORTS: note the first word here! Enough cushions to kit out a show room are nice, but they have to go somewhere. Same goes for oozets and whatsists - focus more on the gadgets and gismos; contraptions that serve a purpose! My lovely book boxes, for example, are used to store jewellery and all that important-but-scary-independent-living-stuff. Same goes for tins - pack if they can fit a snack or 10. If they can't fit so much as a ring, bin! 

  •  PRACTICAL HOME STORAGE: Cereal boxes take up room and kitchens are tragically small. However, one thing nearly all University rooms will have is under-bed storage. Here is what you do: buy canisters, fill them with cereal, then store the remaining boxes under your bed. It stops your cupboard from becoming cluttered, plus they look rather pretty.

If your cereal box has Frozen on it, obviously that is an exception. 
  • BULK BUYING: Things are cheaper in bulk, and this is the further beauty of underbed storage - buy at the start! That 72-pack of Wheetabix is no longer looking so impractical, and having these extra supplies can also reduce the risk of a pre-lecture co-op dash, especially when it's 8am. Thanks Exeter. One thing I buy a lot of is nuts, which aren't the cheapest of foods. Luckily, Holland and Barrett currently have a buy one get one half price on all products (seriously!)  
  • THE BOXSET: Choose your favourite - just one is good. Remember, you don't want to be a hermit. I personally like having a Friends series with me, because I'm old school, although Game of Thrones has made it in there once or twice. The good thing about Friends is that 99.9% of the population has watched it, so it can be an ice-breaker!
  • THE FEEL-GOOD BOOK: I feel no shame in admitting that, every term, I pack a 'comfort book' for those rainy days where I want to throw the Critical Theory brick against a wall. In the past, this book has been Harry Potter (forgive the cliche), Perks of being a Wallflower and I always pack my copies of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost poetry. This term I'm continuing my Matilda love with a copy of Dahl's classic. I have also packed some Dahl's Chickens, the BFG will be pleased to know. My bookshelf has Great Expectations.
  • MOTIVATION STATION:  On this, you can't really go overboard. I'm talking, postcards with motivational quotes on them, because I'm soppy and sentimental like that. The brand East of India sells the cutest porcelain quote decorations; following my 21st birthday, I now own 4. This is not excessive at all. It's an essential. 
  • SUMMER PYJAMAS: You will have heard the stories about University being the-land-of-always-winter, but when you're in student accommodation it can be boiling. I'm someone who feels the cold, and I sleep on top of the duvet in my flat! It does make for a very comfy mattress. So pack summer pyjamas - little shorts and vest tops.

What are your University packing essentials?

Are you a Fresher or a Finalist?


11 September 2015

InstaLove Story

Just like Starbucks Lovers, this is what Taylor really meant. I haven't done a blog loving post in a while, which is a mystery to me! When I find a new blog, it's the same excitement as a vintage bookshop bargain. When it comes to Instagram, you may as well have taken me to the Louvre, Met and Uffizi put together.

*I had to throw in this last gallery as an homage to my Italian trip (posts coming soon!), although a good flat-lay might give even Florence a run for her money. 

There's just something about a bouquet of pink peonies or a brunch flatlay that makes me smile. Like Billy Elliot, I can't really explain it, but it it's quite wonderful all the same. So on that note…

* * * 

ROSIE LONDONER: I had to put this girl first; she is the reason I discovered the world of the 'lifestyle blog', and it started off with her instagram. Not only am I convinced that Mr Custard is a long-lost relative of my own Miss Millie Bobbles, but I love how she her feed is so versatile.

One day you can be sipping coffee by the sea, the next Capital cruising with Custard. Throw in a quote here and a Queen snap there, you've got it all. Rosie still remains my favourite instagram account. 


Capturing everyday simplicity in all its beauty.  

CIDER WITH ROSIE: There must be something about the name Rosie, although I am sure by any other name their photos would still be as sweet. Like her main blog, Rosie's instagram is a haven of little life loves. This is an account to make you smile, trust me! 

MIMMI RONNING: Coffee, The Simple Things magazine, flowers and dogs… what's not to love? Her landscape shots give me photographer's envy! 

"Today I drank a coffee, ate a prawn, bought myself a pretty record, had a glass of wine, ate hob nobs, choked on tea, wore a scarf home. Pretty good day"

BEING LITTLE: Switch record for book and hob nob for macaroons, you have yourself life goals. This girl's captions make this a follow essential, but the photography is also pretty on point too! So many people overlook the captions, but I love them. A new discovery for me, this is the blog equivalent of a cosy blanket in Autumn! 

DAYDREAMS OF SUMMERTIME: If there is a blogger who knows how to take a good photo, it's this girl. I adore her blog in its entirety, yet before I even read a word I had clicked 'follow' on bloglovin' - the visual element won me over. A picture may say a thousand words, but stunning is the first that springs to mind. Summertime aside, Sarah's feed will have you dreaming in all four seasons! 

LITTLE MISS KATY UK: A* lesson in the flatlay and 'from where I stand', this girl is a ray of sunshine. Her account has such a strong personality and she always takes the time to reply to people. Follow her Instagram, Twitter, Blog - anything! You won't regret it.


All things bright and bookable. Turn the page to find out more…
     MEL IN WONDERLAND: This girl has the prettiest feed, filled with gorgeous flatlays ft. books, coffee and the cutest dog. This is a wonderland I could happily fall into!  

HALCYON DAYS OF SUMMER: I just want to step inside this instagram feed! I love seeing books period; seeing them in Florence is the Dome on top of the Cathedral! Understated but stunning. A new find but a new favourite. 


 Custard has his own account. Need I say more? Millie and I currently share on a 50-50 arrangement.

* * *

The success of Instagram for blog traffic may be questionable, but I adore it as a platform on its own; there's a reason I chose to put my Instagram feed right at the top of this blog! Many people have IG accounts as a stand-alone blog and it is so diverse. 

Writers use it, photographers own it and little lost lambs like me worship the filters. Arden all the way. It has definitely improved my photo-taking skills though; I can now fit whole buildings into a frame… 

As per usual I began this post as a contestant for the 100 metres, only to end up running the marathon. Yet somehow I don't think my Mo-odds will be higher than Ussain, so I will wrap things up now.

What are your favourite Instagram accounts?

Do you use Instagram as a stand-alone blog? 

Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest? 


3 September 2015

Autumn Awakening

Last weekend, I had a bit of a problematic realisation. In a couple of days time summer would be over. Thanks to some impulsive eBay selling over the holidays, the lifespan of my wardrobe would reach an end too. 

I am terrible for spending my money, spending the government's money and having money spent on me. Unless I'm on eBay, then I can get very trigger happy with the bid button. Nonetheless, my mum put her foot down and said she was not sending me back to University in the same two jumpers. 

So off we went to Cabot Circus, returning with a very  anxious Sophie but a far more contented wardrobe. It also gave me a little preview of the AW offerings on the High Street, and I liked what I saw!

So here is my little Autumn edit, ft. some clothes I did buy, but a few others that caught me eye and might be revisited…
1Lace stripe tunicTopshop, £28    2. '70s longline blazer, Topshop, £65    3. Zig zag shift dressMiss Selfridge, £39
4. Short sleeve dressZara, £39.99   5. Drape playsuitTopshop, £50    6. Hybrid long sleeve shirt, Topshop, £42
7. Grey sleeveless jacketMiss Selfridge, £39   8. Lace dress, Zara, £25.99   9. Sleeveless tailored jacket, Topshop, £45 

I have been loving the '70s trend. The looser fits, the patterns, the suede. Oh the suede. I've just realised with horror that my selection features none of this, but I have covered it quite extensively before - we're all good! 

I have had a few people ask where the dress from my Matilda Musical post was from, so that has been dutifully included! It also goes perfectly with my new camel blazer, but then everything goes amazingly with my new camel blazer. It's literally the animal that changes colour to suit any environment. The world's first chameleon coat

I am really into earth colours right now. I always have been, but now my wardrobe is essentially like stepping into narnia a wood. Think turning leaves - camel, rust and wine - and forest greens.

When it comes to specific style, I would say I'm 99.9% 25% /Blair Waldorf (hello satchels and bows), 25% vintage/boho (cue floral headbands, two-tone brogues and a whole lotta '70s). I'd like to think there's a bit of Parisian chic in there - bonjour to muted colours, smart tailoring and shirts - but I won't get too carried away with myself.

My main focus in my selection was on smart dressing for young adults; you don't have to look like you're wearing your mum's work wardrobe! When I started university, I told myself I needed jeans, jumpers, body con dresses… and more jeans, often with holes in - apparently knees get hot in autumn. 

Sadly for student media, I hate jeans. Skirts? I will flip and skater away. Dresses and playsuits? I would happily love in them. I do admit that, when I was in my mid-teens, I dressed old before my time, but now I've come full circle. My style may be a bit preppy and quirky, but it suits me. I'm also caring less what people think, starting with floppy hats. I've wanted one for years; now I own two and sing "floppy hat, floppy hat" to myself and pretend I'm Pheobe Buffay/Taylor Swift. 

Speaking of the ever-stylish Ms Swift, she was the inspiration for my sister's 21st birthday gift to me... a Cambridge Satchel! Which just so happens to coordinate with Mr floppy and the Chameleon Coat quite wonderfully… 
1. 13" Satchel, Cambridge Satchel Company, £120     2. Felt floppy hat, ASOS, £20

I'm not sure the hat model life is for me, as determined as I am to use it for every season and weather possible. Note to self and anyone reading - it is not an umbrella substitute. Unless you leave your umbrella in a shop you can't remember.

I think I should probably leave it to the ASOS models, so on that note…

Vila shirt dress, £35    Pinafore maxi dress, £40    A-line suede dress, £80     Suncoo Celia dress, £75    Suede A-line skirt, £55    

I got my suede in there eventually! I haven't included a photo of the gorgeous scallop-hem skirt I got from ASOS, although it is in my Florence case so will no doubt be up here soon enough!

Credit is also due to Megan and Isabella for my ASOS Wonderlist, definitely recommend following these two girls for all the best style updates!

As I said at the beginning, I am terrible for buying things without feeling horrendous guilt afterwards, but I am viewing these as investments. That is the beauty of a wardrobe built on staple pieces! Camel coats, to quote my satchel twin, will never go out of style. 

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