29 October 2015

Jumpsuit for Joy

I may stand proud at 5ft 3, but yet when it comes to clothes the hobbit life can fall shot. I can't count the number of times I have gazed longingly at the most beautiful of maxi dresses, or despaired at the knee hemline of a "mini" skirt - this seems to be the case for most European brands.

Possibly the item that has intrigued me most, however, is the jumpsuit. I thought it was impossible; that I would look like a five-year-old, a clown or a farmer. Then a miracle happened. I impulsively ordered a jumpsuit on ASOS last month  (comforted by the prospect of free returns). It was an instant love story.

Thanks to fashion's current celebration of decades gone by, the wonderful world of Petites and a sprinkle of YOLO, I am definitely jump-suiting for joy. Not only is it a socially acceptable way to wear a onesie in public (if toddlers can do it, why can't we?), but the possibilities are endless. In line with my Autumn Awakening post, be prepared for another time machine trip. The 70s and 90s are about to hit…


1. JumpsuitMango, £40    JumperTopshop, £25
2. Jumpsuit, Topshop, £40      SweaterHollister, £15     BroguesAgnes & Norman, £139
3. PinaforeMango, £34.99     JumperJack Wills, £59.50      BroguesOffice, £100
4. DungareesASOS, £39     Jumper, Zara, £29

What can I say? They both have jump in the name, which makes them the perfect anecdote to the  chilly Fall. I love pairing any jumpersuit combo with brogues. Invest in a good pair and they will be the comfiest/most dependable shoes you ever own. My beloved Hatties are still going strong, not to mention they look impossibly wonderful with every item in my wardrobe. Including jumpsuits.

Like my green friend Shrek, I love a good layer and jumpers top the list here, especially when they hail back to the fabulous decade of my birth. I have always been uncertain about roll necks polo necks turtle necks (which one is it?!). I had the same fear as my friend Yasmin, who recently wrote a brilliant post on Fall fashion. This style does risk channeling a five-year-old/librarian vibe, not to mention the 'short person taboo'. Along with horizontal stripes and - well - jumpsuits, polo necks are a usually no-go. So it seems I scored a hatrick with my outfit below...
Petite jumpsuitNew Look, £20      Roll neck sweaterHollister, £15       13" SatchelCambridge Satchel Company, £120

I like it, which is all that matters! My first jumpsuit was courtesy of New Look/ASOS, and I swear this is a onesie by another name! Thanks to Petites, the fear of having to walk around in stilts stilettos was alleviated. Once again, my Cambridge Satchel is the perfect colour match - it was clearly meant to be! When in doubt, buy  burgundy. This Hollister sweater was an absolute steal at £15 and so comfy. 

Hollister has really won me over in the past couple of years; not only am I convinced they've upped the lighting and toned down the smell (my senses can breathe again!) but their knitwear is on point. 


1JumpsuitWarehouse, £30      Victoriana blouseTopshop, £28     
2JumpsuitTopshop, £40    Knit shirt, Urban Outfitters, £36     LoafersOffice, £65
3Pinafore dressOlive Clothing, £49     Woodland blouseMiss Selfridge, £30     Penny loafersDune, £52
4JumpsuitMango, £39.99    BlouseWarehouse, £42

Who says you need to wrap up the florals and chiffon for A/W? Some of the jumpsuits are recycled from jumpersuit land - evidence that you can combine them with so many things. Simply swapping a jumper for a shirt can completely change the final outfit. I usually pair any shirt/jumpsuit outfit with loafers, making no apologies for the slightly preppy finish! My current favourites are the Dune loafers in 3. I basically live in my Hattie brogues, but don't want to wear them out, so I invested in these. 

I am the first to hunt for a fashion bargain - my default line on a shopping trip is "I could get this for £10 on eBay - but everyday shoes really are worth the investment. I'm not talking Jimmy Choo (which rumour has it are actually rather uncomfortable... ) but all my shoes from Office and Dune have worn so well, especially loafers/brogues. New Look still answers my heeling prayers.
JumpsuitBoohoo, £20     Blouse, Zara, £25     13" SatchelCambridge Satchel Company, £120

I have had so many people ask where this jumpsuit is from, and I think they expect me to say something like Zara or Warehouse! It could easily pass for a far more expensive item, yet I found it on Boohoo through their eBay store. Having only purchased my inaugural jumpsuit a fortnight previously, I was hesitant - then I saw the price and was swayed! 

I love the open back detail, which I've been trying to find in a playsuit for ages. This makes it perfect for blouses, but also bigger jumpers as there's most layering room. Once again, the satchel goes perfectly; I have a definite colour palette in my wardrobe now! My trusty Zara blouse is out again in fall force; several months on it, it has proven itself a style staple for all seasons. 


1Dungarees, Boohoo, £25     Falcon Wing topSister Jane, £29    ShoesNew Look, £20
2. JumpsuitTopshop, £40    Crop Shell topMiss Selfridge, £10    LoafersAldo, £40
3. JumpsuitTopshop, £40     Bow collar bibRiver Island, £12      LoafersAldo, £40 
4JumpsuitTopshop, £36      Metallic yarn topTopshop, £38       Lace heelsDune, £29

I should get shares in this Topshop jumpsuit, or go out and buy it myself! Here is another beauty of the jumpsuit - reverse layering. Who says the top/jumper/blouse has to go under the item? Pop a jumper over some dungarees and, voila, you've created a pair of trousers. This Topshop jumpsuit is virtually a new item, depending on how you style it. Same goes for turning a pinafore dress into a brand-new skirt. 

One of my favourite discoveries of this post was the bow collar bib - how cute is it? I love the all-monochrome look (hello Chanel) especially paired with a dark lipstick. I recently treated myself to the MAC 'double shot' - the coffee connotations in the name may have factored into my decision, but it is the perfect shade for A/W. Finally invest in some boot heels, or patent pumps with a pop of colour, and you're good to go! Not only can they instantly dress up an outfit, but they are much comfier than normal heels.
If you've never bought a jumpsuit before, I recommend ASOS as a first port of call. Not only does the promise of free returns offer peace of mind, but they have such a wide range you will be spoilt for choice! So if you also want to jumpsuit for joy, you an browse more styling inspiration below…

Do you own a jumpsuit?

Are you a fan of the 90s revival? 


10 October 2015

Small Things

For Mental Health Awareness Day, the charity Time To Change have launched their #SmallThings campaign. The premise is quite simple; think of those small things that can have a big impact. 

Perhaps it isn't 'typical' of a 21-year-old to always have flowers in her room - I have received a stare or six on Exeter high street before, as I march along with a bunch of M&S roses. Nonetheless, waking up to those flowers each morning helps me. Having my alarm music set to Thomas Newman's Westerly Weather (Saving Mr Banks) starts my day better than a sudden ring that makes me jump out of my skin. 

However, possibly the small things that mean the most are ones that come from outside. Simply put, I really struggle with self-care. It is not something that comes naturally and, more often than not, can make my anxiety worse rather than better. So I am indebted to the people around me for the small things they do, which never fail to put a smile on my face.


Okay, so admittedly I'm more of a sunflowers and lilies girl, although I do currently have roses in my bedroom! Often when I return home from University, even if it's just for a short weekend, I will find a bunch of flowers in my bedroom. I also have the most gorgeous vase - courtesy of Anthropologie - which was a little gift for my 2nd year exams. This little gesture always brightens my day.


In London,  I was so appreciative that my mum took the time of work to spend some quality time with just her and I; she then insisted that we do really "Sophie things", which included Portobello market and Matilda, and I managed to suppress my "underserving thoughts" to fully embrace it! Although she loved both, they were little bucket list wishes of mine and I was so grateful. We had such a magical weekend. 
The selfie from my recent Florence post makes a reappearance - for a reason! Obviously my trips to Florence and London over summer were far from a small things, but it was the little gestures by my family made that created some special moments. My dad is the last person to go #letmetakeaselfie, yet he indulged us all in the name of a complete family photo in the Uffizi. Usually one of us is the photographer, so it was a happy rarity. 

Nonetheless, possibly the best #technoparent moment came two weeks ago. Mum and Dad went on a (very-belated anniversary trip) to Boston for a week. They checked in with me regularly via text and, each time,  signed off with a little emoji next to their names. Apparently dad personally picked his own emoji, which made me literally laugh out loud. We definitely need a whole family set of emojis, including Millie!

*Alas, no moose was spotted but they still had an incredible trip - Boston is now on my bucket list! 


Few things make me happier than countryside walks with Millie, so over Summer mum tried to ensure we went out every weekend. This ranged from Prior Park Gardens to the Newton Campus lake on our doorstep (if you are looking for pretty campuses Bath Spa is up there!) Fresh air and a change of scene can do wonders for wellbeing, especially when accompanied by a four-legged friend. 


Until you own a dog, I don't think you can ever truly appreciate the incredible bond that forms, nor how intelligent they are. They have amazing intuition and seem to sense the emotions of those around them. From car journeys to evenings on the sofa, in times when I've felt down and she is there for a cuddle. Even writing this I am a bit teary as I miss her so much! One week more… 


When I was struggling quite a lot last term, I openly admit that my communication skills weren't good. Even after all this time, I am scared of judgement/exposure/hurting others, so I did - regretfully - shut myself off. Nonetheless, halfway through the term my two amazing flatmates surprised me with this… Olaf! I was really quite speechless (okay I confess I cried). It was just the most thoughtful thing and he still sits happily on my University bed. Come rain or shine, you can never have enough warm Olaf hugs.
Warm hugs also extend to humans, and few things cheer me up more than hugs from my family. My sister is my rock in so mangy circumstances, right down to little motivational quote texts. Aargh I'm getting teary again - homesickness has officially hit today! 


First my family took me for early-Birthday macarons at none other than Fortnum & Mason! Then mum surprised me with M&S macaroons a week later. Finally, mum attempted to make her own! We went with raspberry and lemon - for a first attempt, I was thoroughly impressed. As I still struggle a bit with eating home-bakes, she was really supportive and my love for Macarons meant I couldn't possibly say no. 

Okay now homesickness is coupled with a macaron craving. Does this calls for an M&S self-care trip?


Given a love for coffee pretty much defines 50% of my social media presence, I felt this was an obligatory inclusion! Never underestimate the power of a coffee shop. a recent mindfulness exercise  I was set involved finding a 'safe place'. I was initially alarmed that I found it as challenging as I did, yet eventually settled on a coffee shop. 

While I expected to visualise Artigiano in my head, the image that it actually emerged was of Coffee .  I think the quotes above give an indication why, not to mention the armchair and bookshelf! The overall feel of the place is comforting and a perfect escape. Moreover, the baristas there are lovely and have chatted away to me in the past - something I also find at Artigiano. That in itself is a small thing that can make a really positive difference to your day. The cappuccino milky heart is the sprinkle on top. 


Okay so I've potentially given away my Dissertation title here! I have always enjoyed burying my head in words, but sometimes Magazines are the perfect blanket for a rainy day. Especially ones called The Simple Things (my love for this publication is no secret!) and any cover with Emma Watson. My mum sometimes surprises me to my favourite magazines, while my dad recently posted a book to Exeter. I truly have one of the world's best families. 


For all my struggles with self-care - including a sense of unworthiness when I receive care from others - I love providing it to other people. Christmas is my favourite time of year for this reason, with present selection commencing months in advance! I like treating my mum to flowers, following a stressful week at work, or sending hand-written letters to friends who also struggle with mental health.

One of my current aims is to realise that I am not an exception to this. The letters I receive back are not "out of pity". The flowers in my room are not placed there under obligation. I hope that, in time, I will be able to accept care more readily and provide it to myself in equal measure.


I shared a short summary of my "Small Things" on the Time To Change website and encourage others to do the same. Reading other responses was heart-warming and gave me hope. We don't always need great victories to seize the day. All we may need is a small sign we are not fighting this battle alone. 

What are your small things? 


7 October 2015

Birthday with Boboli

I've kept my 21st birthday gift from my parents under wraps... until this post! It's safe to say it was one of the most shocked/excited/overjoyed reactions of my life.

 Yes… I have no idea how either! All I know is that, somehow, I am now the delighted owner of a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird - one of my all time favourite novels.

This began my birthday with a definite spring in my step, which was good considering our itinerary of the day! We first took a trip across the bridge… 
It's like being back in Bath, although Pulteney Bridge may have found competition in its predecessor the Ponte Vecchio. Once across, we went inside the Boboli gardens - the name alone intrigued me, as I sang "biboli Boboli boo" to myself. With side thoughts of Bilbo Baggins, I somehow married Disney and Tolkien in my head - don't ask. 
I won't lie, the first part of our walk around the "gardens" was a tad underwhelming. Simply put, I pictured flowers and got rubble. A lot of rubble. Yet travel a bit further on, you discover the attraction...
Now there's a view! Possibly the most beautiful of all in postcard Florence.
Dress: Hollister, £25     Sleeveless blazer: Miss Selfridge, £32
I felt a dress was fitting for my birthday, but knew a full-on frock may not be the most practical! This Hollister dress was the perfect compromise - it is just so versatile. I have worn it to Balls at Uni, yet could be perfectly toned down with some slip on sand shoes and a blazer.

Sleeveless blazers are a new obsession of mine, and another trusty item for all occasions. In the late summer I wore it with dresses and can take it into Autumn with jumpers or blouses. Economic purchases are almost as exciting as eBay buys. I do love a good bargain! 

Last stop of the day before dinner was proper gelato. I got "frozen forest fruits" and it was very good indeed, although I have a secret confession… I preferred my London Snog froyo! Still, when in Italia, visit la gelateria.
Oh, and Gili's. I did warn you my favourite cafe would make a regular appearance - there's always time for tea! Especially when it's your birthday and it comes in a silver teapot. How could I not?
I really do love Florence. If only for the existence of cars like these… 

Do you prefer gardens or buildings? 

Do you have any go-to casual dresses?

Have you ever visited Pulteney Bridge?  


2 October 2015

A Dome with a View

You don't have to be spiritual to feel quite entranced by the beauty of Florence's churches. They alone would be an incentive to return, while the 12,600 uses of #DuomoDiFirenze on Instagram seem to agree. It certainly had room for a lot of viewing… 


SEE THE DOME. Rome can keep its colosseum, Florence has its beauties aplenty. 
I will be honest - the exterior of the cathedral created great expectations. Coupled with the disney-long queue to get inside, we were expecting wonders. In short, we were ever so slightly underwhelmed. 
Not that this stopped me snapping away of course - I did it all for you guys. However, the Rotunda in front of the cathedral is another story… 


Santa Croce church was the true star for me. Inside and out, I was Disney's Joy from start to finish. 
Lighting wasn't going to win any Oscars, but the art department were certainly in strong contention! As for best film and actor, I think I found the set for Tom Hanks next Da Vinci code...
My dad then informed me that I need to read Brown's new Novel, Inferno. Sadly with two books a week for a Literature degree, Professor Langdon might have to wait. 
My sister could look stylish in a bin bag, complete with Ray Bans I coveted for three days straight!
Skirt: Asos, £22     Bag: Cambridge Satchel Company     Top: Zara, £17.99

Have you visited any beautiful churches?

How do Florence and Rome compare?

Have you read any Dan Brown novels? 

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