The Waldorf Wardrobe

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The Waldorf Wardrobe

From the age of 5, I've been in a long-term relationship with the humble headband. In primary school, everyone else was rocking the 90s kid scrunch, but not me. So I bumbled on, quite alone, until Gossip Girl hit our screens and brought my fashion fairytale. Blair without a headband is like Mickey with no mouse ears. It just doesn't happen. She also has a love of ruffles and rejects ripped jeans. In other words, she puts the sense back in style.

Certain places are made for the Waldorf Wardrobe and, as luck would have it, I'm headed to one. Long story short, I got Yale ... short story long, I didn't become Rory Gilmore overnight. After a very persuasive sales pitch to my parents (Blair would have been proud), I got Yale on the itinerary for our upcoming holiday to New England!

This time next week, we begin our 8-day road trip around the East Coast, which will include New Haven and Yale. Between Gossip Girl repeats and serious Instagram stalking, it's safe to say I'm a little excited! While Blair is the queen of preppy style, New England started the trend - according to Wikipedia, that is, so it must be true. Headbands, I'm coming home... 

 

You've got a friend in tweed

Word of caution: Tweed can make you look like you've raided Grandma's wardrobe. Or the Queen's... it's a risk business. I remember owning a tweed skirt when I was about 10, but that's as far as our relationship goes.

However, with a little inspiration from Blair and Sister Jane, I may be tempted to go on a second date. To quote Blair: "Have a little faith... and if that doesn't work, have a lot of mimosas." So if tweed stands me up, I'll just order a few mimosas at the bar. At least I tried.

Along with tweed, Blair is also princess of the pastels. My love for this style isn't exactly a secret, but you can never have too much of a good thing. Pastels are a really good thing; just look at the Periwinkle Cambridge Satchels


Princess and the Pea coat

Yes, I do know it's July, but I've shopping out-of-season can be pretty rewarding for your bank account. At least that's my attempt to have a year-long love affair with outerwear; only last weekend, we went shopping for holiday clothes and I came back with two jumpers...  Fat Face made me do it. 

Nothing says princess quite like a pea coat, and Blair is the trend's Queen Pea. Along with style, it's also a super practical investment; aka it will actually keep you warm, which is a surprising novelty on the high street. Admittedly, half of these aren't actually pea coats; I came up with the title before I'd completed my 'market research'...

Another Waldorf staple is the cape coat. How have I never owned one of these before?! I loved seeing them on the Sewing Bee, although I think that could be a bit adventurous for my first project! Perhaps I'll put that on my crafting bucket list; for now, Helene Berman is my new favourite find...   


All the Bows and Whistles 


Oh the bow. You can never go wrong with a bow. Blair is a model for this trend. It's got that preppy feel, without going into full-on Rachel Berry territory - not that this is necessarily a bad thing... Paired with ruffles, frills and the headband - obviously - she's pretty much wearing my dream wardrobe. Ms Waldorf can take a bow. 


Band Central Station

It's the headband, no more explanation needed! They speak for themselves. I have set myself the task of making a headband next week, in time for New England. I picked up some gorgeous Bumblebee fabric, last month and want to test my sewing skills post-workshop (The Makery). I've been looking for a reasonably simple project to start with, so there may be another bumblebee on this blog soon! 

Somewhere over the Rainbow

There is one one corner of the Waldorf wardrobe that I avoid. Colour. When it comes to the colour palette, Blair goes where few dare. I'm talking oranges and lemons. They are the colours I see in a shop and think "how can you wear this and not look like a giant satsuma?" It turns out, Blair can.

Somehow, she just makes it work. So much so, that I'm tempted to risk looking like a lemon, or even a satsuma. I don't think orange will ever be my colour, but I do love sunflowers. Perhaps I can try yellow; wear and literally wear my heart on my sleeve. What are your thoughts on yellow? Too bananas? 
Whose wardrobe do you prefer, Blair or Serena?

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Papering by the book

Along with crafts, I have another great love in life...

"I'll be by the books"

Matilda called it. However, while she's flipping pancakes, I'm turning to another 'p'... Paper! I'm all for maximising happens, where I can, so my latest project has seen me combine my two loves in true bibliophile style. With some faith, trust and a little bit of Pinterest dust, my latest designs are all inspired by the humble book... 

This blog post also sees the arrival of another 'p'... meet Penny! My Olympus Pen and I love her so much! bet Before now, pretty much all my photos have been taken on an iPhone; I do get anxious using my proper camera, as I worry I'm not "good enough" to use it - gotta love the 'logic' of anxiety. But I am making a resolution that I will use my camera and gain confidence, starting today! Omg the magical places we'll go...

Etch and Sketch

When starting any paper project, your design is the most important part. As I said in my first craft post, don't go into it blind! Do your research, whether it be craft magazines or the world wonder web. For me, nothing says winning quite like pinning, so build those boards and get browsing. You can combine templates and use silhouettes/sketches or even photos. Take your time to sketch out different designs, until you find one that works for you.

Leave with a trace

Now is the fun part - choosing your book covers. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover; however, my debit card is in trouble if I spy a beautiful hardback in a bookshop. So, naturally, my card covers had to be pretty as a picture. Enter my latest craft bargain: a Falling Leaves paper pad from The Works.

This shop is a crafter's treasure trove! The pad was £3with 16 different designs;  far more economical than the fancy-shmancy wrapping paper I used to get! So select 4-5 colours that compliment each other - obviously - but aren't too similar. Nothing says drab quite like 50 shades of beige.
Once you have your cover patterns, now you need to cut them out; this is where tracing paper comes in. Place it over your original sketch and trace, making sure you shade in the areas that are going to be cut out. Once you've done this, you can finally start paper cutting... 
Select your first cover pattern and place it underneath the tracing paper. Using a craft knife, cut out the first book cover shape - you should end up with something like the cutout below... Now you just repeat this process for each cover, alternating round the colours so that you never have the same one touching. If you want, you can have different covers for all the books; I decided to stick with four patterns that I felt worked well together.

Once all the cover templates are cut out, use good ol' Mr Stick-It to place them on the original sketch. You can buy a stick-it tape in a range of places, but my latest one from Hobbycraft is so easy to use. This may also be a good time to rub out the original design, to ensure no pencil marks sneak through. I also use the craft knife to lightly indent the leftover white space, which will eventually act as the book pages. In the photo below, you can see occasional holes in the paper; this was where I pressed a little too deep into the paper, so don't do this! 

A final word

Calligraphy is the pixie dust of any craft project. Whether it be labels for crochet gifts, or calender quote bunting, words always find a way into my heart. For the two cards in this post, Harry Potter formed the base of my inspiration! You can always count on Dumbledore for some words of wisdom, which compliments my Deathly Hallows Deer design on the other side. 

The stag head is possibly my new favourite design, yet was surprisingly straight-forward to do! I found a base template for a stag, which I drew first, then cut out the DH symbol. The trick here is to keep all the pieces you cut out, as you'll have to stick them back on.
"A favourite book is like a best friend
it will never let you down"


Please share any ideas you have for my next project! 

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8 Life Lessons from Legally Blonde

Context: it's 8pm on a Saturday Evening, and my Macbook is refusing to download a film. Conceding defeat, my sister and I walk dejectedly towards our existing DVD collection. It's looking pretty bleak, until we spot a night in shining armani... I don't think we could have moved further away from We Need to Talk About Kevin if we'd tried! 

Yet, somehow, Legally Blonde won the vote and we were heading off to Harvard - because, you know, it's not like it's hardMaybe there's something about the name Elle, because I've been feeling rather enchanted by her ever since. So I've decided that we really need to talk about Ms Woods - sorry Kevin - as this girl's got more wisdom than an Ivy League alumni...


Know your Aristotle and your Audrey

Hepburn, that is. The greek guy may have taught us that "law is reason free from passion", but Audrey reminded us to believe in Pink! Elle definitely follows the Hepburn mantra, complete with Jackie-O dressing. What's not to love?  

Bend and Snap BACK

Elle knows how to play fair, but she also knows how to stand her ground! One of my favourite movie momenta of all times has to be Paulette saying "I'm taking the dog, dumbass!" I remember quoting this when I was around 8 years old - no joke. How was I even allowed to watch this film?! Clearly I was living on the edge...

For some first-class Elle sass, her final words to Warner are a winner: "I need a boyfriend whose not a complete bonehead". My personal favourite, however, is when she turns up to a party in that bunny costume....

Be nice to tall people

As far as libraries go, the top shelf may as well be a restricted section for short people - befriending a tall person could solve all your problems. I swear Exeter University either has a conspiracy against me, or 20th Century poetry, because those books were always on the top shelf! I've always wanted to visit one of those libraries where they have a moving ladder, but I'm yet to fulfil this bibliophile goal. Until then, tall people are books' best friend...

Buy a Laptop

This is one for all prospective freshers out there: please don't go without a laptop! I know people who tried to survive University without one, but learn from Elle... you don't want to be the girl in PC World at 2am, dressed as a bunny. My laptop was taken to pretty much every lecture, seminar and coffee shop in Exeter; my favourite essay-writing spot. I like to think the smell of Coffee was my equivalent to Elle's scented CVs. And on that note...

"It's pink, and scented"

Give your CV that little something extra! I'm not quite sure I would go down the Ms Woods route, although there's something to be said for Starbucks-scented CVs... However, it has got me thinking of more creatively! 

My dream job would be to work for a craft magazine like Mollie Makes, so what about homemade bunting that reads "please hire me!", or crocheted cupcakes? That being said, we all saw how Elle's homemade muffins went down with Warner's study group...

"She's a friend to the animals"

Even Harvard celebrate her love for the canine community! The entire 2nd film is dedicated to animal rights; nonetheless, her doggy devotion is clear from  day one. I love the moment when she first arrives to Harvard and whips out an inflatable dog bowl. 

Millie has a tendency to go on water strikes when we're out and about - we'll literally dunk her mouth into the portable bottle, but she refuses to take a sip! Maybe a pink bowl, a la Monsieur Bruiser, would do the trick? 

"Speak for those who can't speak for themselves"

Elle's golden moment in film 2 sees her take to Congress with "Bruiser's Bill." As someone who has started consciously buying "cruelty-free"makeup, I have even more respect for this film. I'm actually quite tempted to send a copy to all of the big beauty brands! Speaking up for the voiceless isn't limited to animals; even in 2016, the world continues to ignore the words of so many. This is why I am so passionate about mental health advocacy and will not be silenced by stigma. As Elle says: "one honest voice can carry a crowd." 

"Always have faith in yourself"

Elle's conclusion to her Valedictorian speech is the wisest of them all. She has faith in herself from the start - "I don't need backup - I'm going to Harvard!" - and it sees her defy all expectations. Elle shows that, when you set a goal, conviction can roll the dice your way. 

Self-belief is so powerful, but is admittedly something I struggle with a lot! In moments, nonetheless, it has helped me reach my goals. In my final year of school, I needed to have faith in my own ability to recover and restore weight; many people didn't believe I could sit my exams, let alone get to University, but I did.

For all aspects of mental health, I think self-belief plays a key role. When the mental illness makes things seem so impossibly dark, you have to keep trusting that things can get better. Easier said than done, I know; however, maybe if we all said "I'm going to recover!" more often, the path would seem clearer? It's worth a shot... snaps for conviction! 

If you're still in any doubt, don't take it from me... listen to Modern Family!











What are your top moments from Legally Blonde? 


Fortnightly Favourites #3

3rd post in a series? That may be a record for longevity! I always begin with good intentions, but fizzle out. Well, I am determined that this series will endure. Once again, my fortnight has been very click-happy with that lil' bloglovin' heart. I think I spent longer deciding on which posts to include, than I did writing up! That being said, lots of iced coffee was drunk and a list was made. I hope you love them as much as me... 

Living 

The Jungle Book Afternoon Tea - Dear anyone, please take me here? After watching The Jungle Book last month, I am hooked on anything Mowgli and Baloo - do you think they'd let me take Millie? After all, there wouldn't be a tea without some Bear-necessities...

A Day for DIY + Room makeover! - I could jump into the screen when I saw Aspyn's photos... wood + fairy lights + photos + cushions = interior paradise. I really want to make my own wooden photo hanger now; why buy when you can DIY? Especially when you can recruit your dog to find that perfect twig.

A Guide to Greenery from a serial plant killer - confession time: like Rose, I am also a terrible plant parent. I don't mean to be, as I adore flowers and nearly always have some in my room. Recently, I've been wanting to get an actual plant, so this guide couldn't have come at a better time. Bonsai tree come at me!

How to sass up the end of your bed - This storage solution is genius! I already have a wicker basket in my room, but never thought of stacking them. As ever, Hannah is a girl after my own heart - including her #grannygoals. With my crochet hook and signed Mary Berry book, the OAP life chooses me.
Hannah could write a post on bin collection and make it funny. If you haven't read her blog, where have you been?!

Animal Crossing Problems - I love blast-from-the-past posts, thank-you Lauren! Oh to re-live the days of Cashew and her unrequited love for Loko the fox... Yes, I named my person after a nut. I completely agree about hairdresser Harriet, they should have called the salon Tony and WHY?! I looked like a bloody poodle.
I'll be right back, just off to dig my Nintendo out of the "stuff I never use but can't let go of" drawer...

Wellbeing

Fight and Flight - "This isn’t a masquerade ball, it's the dance of my life and I want you to be able to see it from all angles." From words to images, Megan's posts will stop you in your tracks. This particular piece, which addresses the mask of social media, may be my favourite yet. "These fairytale photos are only a fraction of someone else's day" is a truth I need to remind myself of daily! Life isn't made for Instagram. 

Your Story Matters - I read this post when I was having "one of those days". One line in particular stayed with me: "there is no wrong way to tell my story." Kelsey's piece is an example of what i love most in blogging: honesty. We need to say  what we feel is right - "twist a lid off that tight bottle" and escape this bubble of likes and followers . I was hesitant to publish my satirical "blogging advice" piece last week; it was largely due to Kelsey's openness that I did. Wisdom of the week: Blog for you. 

Why are we so bad at taking compliments? -  "The one thing I rarely find myself saying is, simply, thank-you." Well I'm saying thank-YOU to Jaclyn for this post; as Little Miss low-self-esteem, it's a topic I can really empathise with. I'm going to follow her lead and make a concerted effort to accept the next compliment someone gives me. No downplaying, simply acceptance!

Not Being Defined by a Number - "NUMBERS. SUCK" could be the slogan of my life. So I am sending Lillie a gazillion and one virtual hugs right now; this post struck more chords than an Ed Sheehan song. Blood sugar readings, calories, grades, OCD compulsions... numbers follow me 24/7. Megan's post has encouraged me to focus on the non-number positives in my life; a lovely comment on my blog, or a successful craft project. In the end, Megan is right: "she had a bloody wonderful heart" trumps any follower count.

Styling

All of these posts are dedicated to my CSC summer love...

Meet Poppy - I have fallen in love... with a bag. Forget #HiddleSwift, #Poppyson has arrived. For my birthday, mum suggested a summer-friendly Cambridge Satchel. I was pretty set on the Cloud Bag, but I think I've had a change of heart. I never thought of getting a backpack; it's not my usual style at all! Olivia's post has made me question my entire bag being. Could this be the start of a happily ever after? 

Introducing the colour poppin' Poppy bag - Okay, Periwinkle blue has chosen me. After seeing Sophia Rosemary parading the pastel blue Poppy, I am decided! Poppy and periwinkle are a match made in heaven. What's more, both the denim dress and ruffle blouse in this post are on my ASOS wishlist. What more of a sign could we need?

Oh Baby Blue - Periwinkle blue again; this colour is the true princess of pastels. So we're sorted on colour, now here's the dilemma... my eyes have locked on the push-lock and can't look away! I thought I was decided, but my heart is torn. To Poppy or not to poppy? And Hamlet thought his question was hard... 

Speaking Out

For the record: I'm not pregnant. What I am is fed up - Jennifer Goddess Aniston has struck gold with this post. If you've been living under a rock and somehow missed her Huffington Post article, read read READ! "We get to determine our own 'happily ever after' for ourselves." You are your life; no one has the right to script it for you.

The dangerous side of wellness blogs - Another brilliant post from one of my favourite bloggers. I can really empathise with her rant against "freelee the goddamn banana girl!" AMEN. After reading this, I watched the "Clean Eating, Dirty Secrets" documentary and it was so good. Go go go! "Clean eating" is a sensitive topic for me, given my own tumultuous relationship with food. While I will never blame the media for my eating disorder, it does make recovery more difficult. It's  hard to say 'I donut care', when we're told to Krispy Scream in the face of sugar, so 2016 needs voices like Rihanna!

The Wellness Debt cycle - "we don't need those zebra-print yoga pants, or an App that tells us how to exercise. Just a little bit more self-love." I could quote every line of this post, it all rings so true!   As Sophie says, wellness existed before lycra and the Kale Chip. You can search the App Store and supermarket shelves for an answer, but you won't find it in a goji berry. True wellness comes from WITHIN.

Let's Talk about Animal Testing & Cruelty - As someone who is passionate about animal welfare, I've also started to buy cruelty-free makeup - I will do a review of my top products at some point. Post like Lucy's are a needle in the MAC haystack, so I am really grateful to her for sharing. You don't need 50 shades of Estee to be a successful blogger!

What have you enjoyed reading this week? 
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7 steps to Stars & Stats

Confession time: this title is click-bait.... whoops. Feel free to lock me away in a white-walled cell, with only an iPhone for company. Oh, and a bouquet of roses would be nice; can't forget those #instagoals. 

On a more serious note, I've been more aware of just how many blog advice posts there are: how to gain followers, how to build social media, how to be the next Zoella... So in the name of comedic relief, here are my 7 satirical ways to win blog followers. Please take them with a pinch of *sponsored* salt...

Write a post on how to win followers

Mission. Accomplished. 

Move into a white box

Never again will you have to hunt for that elusive blank space; you now live in 360 degrees of backdrop brilliance. Just avoid all pens, ribena, raspberries and lipstick. This last one, however, could be slightly problematic...

Buy out MAC

This would be the ultimate blogger fairytale... if you have a few million pounds to spare. We're talking ALL the lipsticks. You will have the makeup haul of makeup hauls. It will be the haul of follow fame. I've said haul too often and it sounds weird; I now know how Miranda feels trying to say moist... 

Learn how to Apparate

From Chelsea to Dubai, you could do your OOTDs with Dolphins or Jamie Lang... You could transport yourself instantly to the Twilight Meadow, complete with vampire sparkles.  Whatever floats you tote, it's yours. What's more, if apparition is real it means that Hogwarts is real. Life. Complete.

Find a photographer boyfriend

Forget personality, looks, or any other redeeming qualities. It's all about the lookbook lens. So find you inner Joey Tribbiani, waltz into a coffee shop and scream out "Photographer!" You're good to go. If worst comes to worst, and you can't find a photographer, become a hat or foot model...   

Become a florist

Flowers and flatlays go together like Rachel and Ross. So go all out and become a florist. Never again will you need to spend your life-savings in M&S. Just run into a field of rainbows and flowers and pick to your heart's content. 

Top tip: Lilies are lovely, but logical? Nope. Orange pollen and white surfaces go together more like Chandler and Janice, while your hands will score a 16 in the Ross Gellar Tanning Booth. Run for your #instalife: avoid pollen. 

Come up with a #HiddleSwift conspiracy

Is it a music video? Is it a Bond bid? Is it true love? In our wildest dreams, but anything is possible. So share your wildest conspiracy theory and you could be trending as swiftly than Tay Tay herself. Bloggers have to be up to date with the crucial issues of the day, so get your thoughts out of the woods and into the blogosphere. I'm all ears.

Run for Political Leader

Queen of the North, Mother of Children, Brienne of Tarth lookalike... one thing's for certain, partake in the political Game of Thrones and you'll see your name in lights. Angela and Andrea were invisible six months ago. Now? Just ask twitter. After all, trending is truth. 

Satire aside, I do have one pointer that really is important...

BE YOU!

Yes, you. Wonderful, funny, sassy, intelligent and individual YOU. You are your USP! It may not get you a million followers overnight, or gain a thousand instalikes, but passion is infectious. 

Don't buy MAC if the shade isn't you. Don't use that white backdrop if you prefer wood. Fun fact: I prefer wood! Don't let your content be dictated by trends or what others are writing. Yes, audience is important; after all, a blog's success is built on readers! Nonetheless, it has to come from you. What matters to you? What makes you come to life? If it isn't velvet teddy, that's okay.  

I am not universally opposed to "blog advice" posts; as a relatively novice blogger, they have given me a lot of useful tips, namely how to use SEO and simple editing strategies. However, lately my bloglovin' and twitter feeds have become dominated by this topic. I see more posts on the topic of blogging, than I do on being. Yes, BEING! My favourite posts are the personal ones, which bloggers like AmieJaclyn, Nicole and Rihanna do brilliantly.

In the past week, I have seen a few posts on the subject of twitter chats. They give advice on how to  promote your blog in the chats, with "gif sharing" and "being funny" among them. In all honesty, they made me feel quite uneasy. This is by no means a criticism of the writers of this post, but aren't we at risk of losing authenticity? If you're funny, you're funny! If you're not, you will have some other wonderful quality that makes you YOU.

My favourite twitter chat of all time - as recently as last monday - was about Harry Potter. It made me so happy! I was rambling and waffling as I do, sharing my love of Luna and dreams of a Wizolympics (Wizard Olympics). I was in the moment and happy. There were the funny Weasleys of the chat, the whimsical Lunas and the wise Hermiones. It was an eclectic mix of voices, but they were all real. This Monday evening twitter chat @TheGirlGangHQ is my go-to every week, because it focuses on living

So there is my one genuine nugget of wisdom: Be you! To be fair, buying out MAC would probably gain you a follower or twelve. Nonetheless, I'm simply not that blogger. Nor will I try to be... and that's okay!

All this being said, here are some "blog advice" posts that do break the click-bait mould...

Ideas include illustrations and taking a photo every hour of the day!

Not only does Nikki get the irony of blogging about blogging, but she highlights what matters most: the writing itself! Tell a story and, most importantly, believe in it.  

"thou shalt blog from the heart" "thou shalt not compare" - this post is a blogger's bible! 

I am guilty of searching for IG "perfection"; this post has motivated me to change my outlook.


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Papering over the crafts


2016 has unearthed my inner Elf, complete with crochet headbands and calligraphy gift tags. In hindsight, I should have seen it coming; as a 5ft 3" Christmas devotee, I have all the credentials. 

Crafting is one of the best therapies I know. In particularly anxious moments, I can lose myself in the creative bubble of a project and keep negative thoughts at bay. Wool was my saviour during inpatient treatment; learning a new skill helped rebuild my confidence and was a much-needed distraction  after meals.

To this day, crafts are a constant in my life; however, yarn has now taken a bit of a backseat, with a new hobby arriving to paper over particularly pesky thoughts... paper cutting! I will start by saying it's not the tidiest of crafts... if you don't enjoy the idea of battling with a blunt craft knife and getting your finger stuck to a crochet hook (true story), this may not be the adventure for you. 

Nevertheless, the fulfilment of seeing the end product never fades. This will likely be the first of many posts on the subject! So I thought I would begin with a general tour around the wonderful house of card...

Brainstorming

My go-to for designs is Pinterest. Samantha Sherring is my first post of call, particularly for her tea templates! Yet you don't have to search specifically for "paper cutting" ; in fact, I rarely do this! My most common search is 'silhouettes'.  From Dobby and Disney, to Diawolves and Dogs, the pattern world is your oyster. I love drawing from various designs to create my own; for example, I combined the image of a doe with the deathly hallows symbol:
My latest source of inspiration comes from adult colour books. At the risk of being a controversial "wellbeing advocate", I'm not an actual fan of colouring. I did give it a try, but lack of patience and working pencil sharpener ended my Picasso dream. Nevertheless, while tidying my room last week I had an idea - templates! I particularly like using "enchanted forest" and need to have a look through my Harry Potter book next.
The final resource? You. Wonderful, creative you! As I said earlier, I love adapting patterns to make them unique. Recently, I have been making cards for various people and taking inspiration from their life. For my Uncle's 50th Birthday, I designed it around his upcoming holiday to America, ft. NY, DC and Harry Potter World. Another card was made for a friend who loves Baking and peanut butter. Here is where my imagination took me... 

Preparing

Below are the following pieces of equipment to lead you down the paper path. Not all of these are essential! For basic paper cutting, the necessities are: craft knife, ruler, card pencil and paper board; the latter is unpictured, as I'll admit it's a bit of an eyesore, but really important! Unless you want to start table carving...

The other items are optional, but ones I am using more often. After hunting the house for various tea cups/pots with which to draw circles, I channelled my inner schoolgirl and popped to Smiths for a compass. I also like using decoupage paper to give different effects. HobbyCraft and Craft & More in Bristol are brilliant for this, but you can get a good variety in WH Smiths. 

Now we come onto the sticky subject of... sticking. If you want to try layering, with multiple pieces of card, then you'll need to decide on an adhesive. There are several options, but I would advise against glue. It gets messy very quickly and dries very slowly. Double-sided tape and glue dots are good, but trying to cut them down is infuriating! The best piece of equipment I've found is a "stick it" roll. The best £3 I spent last month; stick with the "stick it".

Making

In the world of paper crafts, patience is not only a virtue - it's vital for your survival, or you'll end up screaming louder than a Wimbledon tennis player (I'm talking both genders here!) There are a couple of corners that tempting to cut, but are really quite important... unless you want to risk literally cutting off corners you didn't mean to.

1. Sketch out your rough design: I've tried doing freehand cutting - as recently as yesterday - and it is like trying to thread a needle with your eyes closed. After two hours of attempting to carve a free-hand Winnie the Pooh, both calm and card deserted me. I accepted defeat and went to find a pencil. Twenty minutes later, Pooh was hanging from a balloon in a hundred acre wood.

When you draw the design, it's also a good idea to shade in the sections that will be cut out. Nothing is more frustrating than being 90% into a design, only to cut out the wrong section. Again, I learnt the hard way. I ended up with a headless Hedwig. Secondly, use the lightest pencil possible and make sure you have a rubber. This is especially true if you're using cream card, unless you like the grey smudge effect. The teapot below left, inspired by Samantha's Papercuts, took forever to draw out - proportions are hard! But it was worth it in the end.
3. Choose your card colour carefully: from the start, decide if you want to do a basic paper cut or a layering. These days, most of my paper projects use multiple layers and colours, which involves  deciding on a focal point for your design. If you want certain elements to pop, use contrast; I like using cream for a base and putting black against it.

Through trial and error, I've found that lighter colours are more likely to stand out than dark. Unless you live in a white box - in which case #bloggergoals - an all-black design is much harder to distinguish from a distance. If you do want to use black, you can help it stand out by popping a sheet of light card behind. Otherwise, start with a light colour and build on it.
If you want to try a new hobby, I would definitely encourage you to give paper crafting a go! Not only will you never have to buy a card again, but it's an excuse for a new Pinterest board. How can you argue with that?


Have you ever tried Paper Crafts?

Once upon a fashion dream

Nothing sends me style-swooning quite like florals and frills. What can I say? I was either a princess in a previous life, or Prince Harry is still waiting for his Belle... 

I love lesser known brands, as I the clothes are a little more quirky and unique. Only last week I was struck by fabric dejavu -  an identical pattern in no less than three high street shops. On your next town trip, I challenge you to work out which three, though let's just say Phillip Green is clearly distracted asking MPs to stop looking at him

In my latest online ramble, with a little help of Shopstyle and ASOS, four brands have made a particularly sparkling impression. Hello princess pastels, royal ruffles and bowing down to the magic of a bow! Disclaimer: Any similarities to my Elle of the Ball post are entirely incidental...

Sister Jane


I  am a long-time lover of Sister Jane, thanks to ASOS and their rather dreamy shop in Notting Hill. Their new collection, "A Unicorn Ride", brings you candy-floss peplum, marshmallow lace and butterscotch volanteUnicorns and marshmallows?! Before you even see the clothes, you want to hop head first into the screen. Yet when you finally do, this hop becomes an almighty dive. I hope you like swimming. 

I love the idea of an outfit having a story, so names like little wanderer ribbon sweater are music to my bibliophile ears. The middle dress below is definitely one for the wishlist, although I am quite taken by the flapper feel of the left dress! It's not my usual style at all, but like any good novel fashion has a way of surprising you... 

Reclaimed Vintage



Whenever I do one of my 'ASOS dream baskets' - aka add anything and everything I love - the reclaimed vintage label always features. Ranging from repurposed fabrics to new, vintage-inspired pieces, it captures so many different styles; whether you want to boho-ho or be Belle of the Ball, they've got it covered! 

Now excuse me while I go and gaze at this lavender ruffle dress again... pastels are definitely my summer love affair. 

Free People


The middle outfit below is called the Dobby dress... The Dobby dress. Seriously, why aren't  all clothes named after Harry Potter characters? Just imagine the "Luna" dress... I've already sold it to myself. Free People has such a - you guessed it - a distinctly free approach to fashion. It's feminine, without being overly fussy. It's got that vintage vibe, but fits into the modern day like Dobby and a sock. 

As with Sister Jane, they give names to their clothes - hello rapunzel dress and wildest dreams slip. Yet another reason for my love of Free People is their blog. I only discovered it earlier this year, but they have really great posts for life and wellbeing. I particularly enjoyed their latest you don't have to do it all, while their yoga posts have inspired me to try it again. 

Self-Portrait


This brand is currently top of my Wonderlist, until I marry an England Welsh footballer, or realise my dream of becoming the next Beyonce/JK. Well, if Millie's reaction to my singing is anything to go by, I may not have to be lusting for too long... These dresses are truly Princess-worthy; in other words, wardrobe gold dust for the likes of Lily James, Elle Fanning and Emma Watson. 

There's something about ruffles and lace that is instantly magical. I will never be one for ripped jeans - sorry Ed Sheeran - as I just love frills too much. Forget being born in the wrong era, I was born in the wrong universe! I think Arendelle is calling me... 
I've got three weeks until we head off to a very exciting location for our summer holiday. I think my suitcase may have room for one more dress... the question is, how do I possibly decide?


What are you favourite online brands? 

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