Friday, 27 May 2016

Last #RTHCapsuleWardrobe Catchup (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

 Well, we are nearing the end of my first Capsule Wardrobe.  I chose to run my Spring capsule from 1st April to May 31st, so it was just 2 months which felt perfect for my first capsule venture and has been a wonderful experience.
I have learned so much and enjoyed the freedom of thought having the capsule has brought to me.
I hope you've enjoyed coming along for the capsule wardrobe ride, next week will be the grand unveiling of my Summer Capsule (ahem, which i'm yet to decide on) which will then see me through from June 1st to 1st Sept, so 3 whole months. I'm going to make a couple of changes in the next capsule, but shall chat about all things capsule next week.
As for now, here are the last couple of weeks of #OOTD from my Insta feed, which we all know i love to document and keeps me accountable and out of my pj's.

Highlights the past couple of weeks from my capsule has to be my new Etienne Marcel culottes and my yellow sweater.

I'm super pleased with how many different outfits I created with just 37 items of clothing (shoes not included), I don't think i've ever, ever worn a set of clothing as much as I have these past couple of months. But I have to say as much as I have loved this capsule,and i really have, I'm ready for some different pieces, and some sunshine.. C'mon summer!


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

How do YOU spend your money? The Invisible Money Experiement

Back in March I was asked if i would like to take part in a little experiment.
Guinea pig? Me? Sure i said, count me in. What's the catch?
No Catch Payplan said, we just want you to Take part in the Invisible Money Experiment ; spend one week making all your purchases with your card, and then one week solely with cash.
Interesting I thought. I love a good experiment.. Challenge accepted.

What i didn't expect was that i would actually learn a whole lot about my spending habits by doing this.

The idea behind Payplan's experiment:

"Is it true, do we really spend more money if we can’t see it?

With most people purchasing day to day items with so called ‘invisible money’, thanks to credit and debit cards, and the advent of contactless payments; this was something we aimed to find out here at PayPlan"

With a licence to shop, all in the name of 'Research' of course,
Let the spending commence

Week one: Card only
Easy Peasy I do all my spending on card, with lots of internet shopping. I'm like the queen me, i don't carry any cash.
For this week I had some gifts to purchase as it was Mothers Day that weekend, it had also just been our monthly payday so I gave myself a few pay-day treats in the form of some shoes bought online from Mango. I also paid some bills with my card and my sons dinner money via the School Dinners website. It was old mother hubbard also and as the cupboards were bear I did my usual  weekly Supermarket shop online and had it delivered to home. All very easy and nothing out of the ordinary as spending freely with my card is pretty standard.

Second week: Cash only
Not so easy :- See queen reference above. I very rarely carry cash, maybe the odd pound here and there. I never draw money out of the ATM (I sometimes just get cashback when i make card payments) or give myself a monetary budget to stick to, so it was very interesting to have to plan what i was doing and think about how much i was going to spend.
I found myself going to the ATM daily to draw out a certain amount after i had thought through what i would need. I paid for my sons dinner money with cash and all of my shopping was done (but a lot less of it this week) with actual money. There was less to spend this week as there were no gifts required, but i also wasn't buying myself anything as that would require drawing money out, which surprisingly i didn't want to do.

I filmed a vlog for the first and second week to diarise my spending and thoughts as both weeks went on, then i summarised how i found the whole experiment.

I would love for you to come and have a watch: grab a cuppa and a biscuit and come listen to me talk about how easy it is to spend money.
I promise you will find this interesting!

You can find the vlogs HERE

I finished with a final note on my thoughts and findings from the two weeks and how it's actually changed my outlook on spending.

I would highly recommend doing the Invisible Money experiment yourself, go ahead, I dare ya. It doesn't cost anything, its super easy and a real eye opener to spending habits. And if you're like me you will see how you can put some new better habits in place going forward.

Below is an Infographic put together by the clever people at Payplan to show how spending has changed and how people are now more reliant than ever on card and contactless payment..
Its really interesting

So how do you spend your money?

* I had the pleasure of working with Payplan on this collaboration, all thoughts, and shopping sprees are of course my own


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Shopping For my Summer Capsule

As the end of my Spring capsule draws closer and closer I am suddenly starting to think of what pieces i want and need for summer.
Out of all my ridiculous amounts of clothes, summer pieces are something i don't have a great deal of (knitwear i'm practically drowning in, in fact i have some much of the bloody stuff stored in my attic it acts as insulation I'm sure of it). I think it's because the British Summer is never really that sunny, or it's unpredictable to say the least. Its normally rainy with the odd short spell of sunshine. Not very conducive for a summer wardrobe, and definitely not lots of it.
If i thought my Spring capsule was difficult, then you can bet your arse the British Summer one will be even harder. Rain, Sun, Hot, Cold. You name it we have it. Our summer is a challenge at the best of times. but with a limited wardrobe I'm going to have to really think this through.

I will go in to more detail of my plans and thoughts on my Full Summer Capsule post(Which will be June 1st) but for now.. well it's time i did a little shopping (Squeal).

I am yet to get my summer clothing down from storage, but I kinda know the pieces I have (perks of diarising all your outfits on the internet, you have an archive at your fingertips) and what will be use-able.
I also know the loose colour scheme i am going with for Summer (I find it easier to work with a colour scheme as it makes the whole capsule a lot easier to control) so  I am going fourth to shop with a clear view of what i would like and what i would need.

First things first, before shopping I always look for sales and discount codes where ever possible. I am only shopping once a season now so i need to be savvy (why do i always think of Captain Jack Sparrow when i say that?) and frugal and generally shop smart.
So thats what i do. There are some great sales on at the moment, and even though things may be 'past season' they can most definitely work for my Summer capsule. A great place to start is Shop The Sales, which is a marvellous tool for seeking out some bargains... Take a look..

Dorothy Perkins Sale

 Some key pieces so far 

  • A Khaki Maxi Dress, lots of potential here. Dress up or down, with tan or black and even sneakers
  • A Pretty White Blouse: a little lacey number with a bit of interest.
  • Navy Chino's, yes please. Perfect summer trews.
  • A Denim Jacket. Summer essential, yes?

Next up some inspo from Boden
I love to shop the Boden Sales, I had some of my best summer pieces in their sales last year.

  • Swirly wear it anywhere dress
  • Navy Skirt, again dress up or down and remix with lots of top options
  • Blush Knit, because even though its summer, its still the UK
  • Navy Blazer, a quick and easy way to smarten things up.

So that's a little look in to my colour scheme for my summer capsule! 
And that's all I have for now, I still have some time to figure out some stuff (technical term for get-my-shit-together)

Khaki, Blush and navy are going to be my main contributing colours, with some neutral side notes thrown in for good measure.

I'm also going to be looking at some more pattern (just a little bit) as I had a lot of plain pieces in my Spring capsule, and a bit of a pattern injection would be nice for summer me thinks.

Eeeek, I'm excited to add some new things and wear some different combinations, Spring has been fun but Summer dressing I am ready for you (well ALMOST ready).


Monday, 23 May 2016

Perfect Culotte Wearing Weather

Oh yes it is. Culottes seem to be made for this inbetweeny weather we're having here in the Uk right now. Its not warm or cold, but inbetweeny, kinda like the leg length of these trousers, which are called culottes but i'm not sure if they're actually more of a wide leg cropped jean.... either way i really, really love them. 
It took me a while to come around to the culottes trend after Brownie Uniform memories came to mind from my youth, but as long as they aren't in brown and are a little longer then I think they are now acceptable.
On my culotte hunt i ordered this pair from Warehouse  which turned out to be absolutely dire on me. They just drowned my frame and made we look so wide I thought I suddenly became of oopma loompa stature. Those got sent straight back.
I turned to Shopbop, as although they're American I have to say every time I've ordered from them they've actually arrived quicker than most UK companies (UPS 2 day transit from the US.. It's impressive). And with a gift voucher in hand i got to looking for some culottey options.
My first thought was too these Madewell Wide leg Jeans but alas, not in my size.
So i searched and searched and these Etienne Marcel came up. And me likey.
When they arrived I tried them on straight away, they were wide but yet more streamlined than the Warehouse previous pair, making me less Oopma Loopma. 
They are high waisted which really helps with the leg lengthening too as culottes can be a little shortening, and at 5ft 6" its not a problem I'd ever encountered really, but yes midget status can easily be acquired in the wrong kinda culottes (so i had discovered).
Plus they are really-really comfy, a super soft denim which drapes nicely, but still has that fresh crease to the front which i love for smartening a pair of trousers and giving them some streamline. This only happens when i buy them as i can not iron for shit. My creases would be more like a concertina down the leg, thus missing the point.

Have you ever seen the film  Begin Again with Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo? Well she plays a British musician in NYC and blah blah blah (Its a good film, go watch it), but i absolutely love her style in it. It's so tomboy-esque, so relaxed tailoring. I love it, and pinned it a lot ( see here) for inspo.
Well these trousers kinda remind me of that style she has. I'm very much looking forward to remixing them through summer with a boxy little top too.

 *Culottes: Etienne Marcel
Blazer: Next(old) Try this gorgeous one
*Lotus Shoes (which are sublimely comfy)
*Madewell bag
Topshop Cami Top
Yosa Necklace and Bracelets

So ... Culottes. Thoughts?

Ps If you caught the rather pleasant message on the gate behind me in some of the photos, i do apologise on it's behalf. The gate obviously has greeting issues. Or is just really mean. 


Friday, 20 May 2016

Whistles Dress Remixed with Stans & A Backpack ( & #Passion4Fashion Link-up)

 Oh how I love this dress. I'm glad to report it was definitely not a mistake putting it in my Capsule Wardrobe as i have worn it a ton of times, and yet i still love it. That is a sure sign of a good dress, right?
When I bought this dress in the colder months I had the vision of pairing it with some Stan Smiths and a backpack for a cool Spring look. And it did not disappoint. We had some warm weather last week (gone now of course) and knew that this was what i would wear. This is why the capsule wardrobe has made me so happy. Its easy, all the planning has already been done, so you get up each day and dress, no stress!
And with my Spring capsule drawing to a close in 10 days (can you believe how quickly that's gone?!) I am already contemplating a Summer capsule.
A little shopping, a little careful planning and thought and hopefully another season of easy dressing.
That's the plan anyway.

Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
Whistles Lola Dress
New Look Backpack

GREAT Backpack Options:
Kate Spade, especially the Charley
Rebecca Minkoff , especially the Julian (my FAVE)

Rayban Classic Aviators

Happy Friday ladies.. Here's to a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.. Why I'm starting to look after me

I thought today would be a good day to talk about few things that I've been thinking about lately as its Mental Health Awareness Week, and as an advocate of talking about your mental health it's only right that i do the same, and well, you guys are the perfect understanding crowd ;)

I've been self employed for just over 6 months, going from a busy shop/office environment to working from home with a staffing of
After the initial exhilaration and yahoooo moment of not having to go in to an office each day, rocking up to my sofa in my scruffy joggers and slippers and sitting in-front of my laptop all day things started to go a bit down hill for me. It wasn't the work per-say, it was my mental state.

I would sit in front of my laptop and not move from 9.30-4pm each day, other than to walk to my kitchen to make a cuppa and lunch (and my house is teeny so that's about 5 steps each way).
I started to put weight back on and would find myself feeling unmotivated and a bit low.
Salvatore works away a lot, so it would often just be me and the kids after school, and then just me again once they were in bed.

About a month ago i realised i wasn't happy.

The dream of being self employed and not tied down wasn't what I thought it would be.
After some major self analysis i realised its not my work, its me.
I had let myself go. 
My outgoing ways had dwindled. I'm not a lazy person and yet the thought of doing any exercise even walking to the shop sounded as much fun as sticking pins in my eyes (not gunna lie, full on exercise has never been my forte)

It was time to make some major adjustments

I knew i was happy with my job here but what i wasn't doing was making it work for me. I would waste time and procrastinate instead of applying myself.
So I changed.

I thought today i would tell you a few of my steps to getting back on track, health wise and happiness wise.

1.First up i tackled my snowballing weight issue
My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years, but i knew that i was getting uncomfortable in my jeans and after a shock weigh in one Saturday morning i knew it was time to change. Being so sedentary had done me no favours (more on that in a moment) and for once slimming world just didnt seem to be having the desired effect like it had previously for me. With about 10 lbs to loose my sister suggested MyFitnessPal app. I've never calorie counted so this was a new and slightly daunting idea, but after two weeks i had gotten the hang of it and was starting to see progress! The accountability and the database is fantastic. I am totally addicted and on track to hit my goal weight in the next month. I love that its on my phone so its always at hand too.

 2. Invest in a Pedometer
I  knew i wanted to get more active, i'm not talking extreme gym bunny here, let's face it thats probably never gonna happen, but I invested in a good pedometer. I started with using the pedometer (Pacer) on my phone but found it wore my battery out really quickly, so after some research and looking for good deals i went with the Garmin VivoFit (it was half the price of a FitBit) as it did what i needed it to do. So far I'm really pleased with its ease of use and the app it comes with. It syncs to MyFitnesspal so my calories burned from exercise are taken in to consideration. There's nothing i love more than earning calories enabling a small treat.

3. Go Walking.
I started walking.
I love to walk with my dog, but even that had dwindled through winter and i'd become SO unfit that even a gentle walk left me feeling tired and annoyed.
With my new pedometer in place and seeing that even walking could gain me a few extra burned calories it got me to walk that little bit further and further. I'm trying to walk everyday/every other and my walks are hitting around 3-4miles. I want to get to 5 miles and then 10 and eventually start hiking. It really excites me. I haven't done any exercise in so long, but this i thoroughly enjoy. It showed me that you don't have to join a gym or do a server fitness dvd to do exercise. Walking is great for the joints and really does contribute to weight loss and a healthy fit body (and mind!)

4. Get outdoors
Going hand in hand with the walking, just being outdoors has helped me so much. Its like free therapy. I walk, i think and think until i can think no more and suddenly my mind is clear and i'm no longer stressing about this email, or that problem. I've thought about it all as much as my mind can possibly think about it, and then i move on. Its so wonderful being outdoors, the fresh air is invigorating and soon you start to notice the little things around you, such as some pretty flowers, or a gorgeous spot. 
After each walk i always come back with renewed vigour and a clear mind. And if I'm not walking and its dry, i try to go in to  my garden. I mowed my lawns last week for the first time ever. It was hard (the grass was knee height and thick growth) but i enjoyed the grafting and the rewarding feeling of looking at my freshly mowed lawn and thinking 'I did this' When hubby got back needless to say he was pleased that he didn't have to do it on his weekend off! I'm now planning some plants and a herb garden. Being outdoors has really proven the ticket to my mental happiness.

 5. Cut down on bad drinks
I am a lover of coffee and Coke Zero, but they are bad, bad, bad for me. I'm not prepared to quit as they are my only vice ;) BUT I am limiting myself. I suffer terribly with an easily bloated tummy and on recommendation have started drinking Teatox. It really works, i have a much less bloating, but not just that i feel like my skin is clearer (less red undertones and generally much happier) my nails and hair are growing super fast and i just feel like my insides are cleaner and thanking me for it. I suffer from IBS but with my new healthy eating and the Teatox i have not had one flare up. And for me that feels bloody fantastic!

6. Putting Goodness Back In
I've also started taking a mulitvitamin. Having suffered from lethargy i thought it would be good to put some goodness back in to my system. I choose the gummy options cos i'm a giant kid.

7. Listen to good music.
Obvious, right? But sometimes i forget. Sometimes i like to walk with just my thoughts, other times i like to walk to music, throwing in the odd skip and dance here and there.

8. Arrange to see friends.
As i know longer get my social interaction in the work place its vitally important i see friends regularly. Back through winter i became a recluse and would often decline invites to go out. Now i say yes and arrange meet-ups with friends at least twice a week. Its important for me to remember this is my job as well so i schedule in writing days and days when i can pop out and go for lunch or even meet up for a walk with friends who have dogs. It brings me back to life chatting and gossiping and laughing. I always come home afterwards feeling elated and often find I work more productively.

With these things in place i have been happier and gradually getting healthier.
I recognise the warning signs of when i start to go down hill and know how to turn it around.

What do you do to stay happy and healthy? I would love to hear if you have any tips!

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