Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Dress I've Been Waiting For

What is it about celebrity and designer collaborations with high street stores that sends people into an absolute frenzy? Remember the crowds of people waiting outside the flagship store for Kate Moss at Topshop, and the chaotic rush at H&M after the release of their Balmain collection? I even felt inclined to buy some pieces from Beyonce's sportwear collection Ivy Park despite the fact that I am hilariously inactive. Perhaps it's because these collections make something accessible to us that we never thought we'd be able to wear or afford, converting priceless couture and celebrity style into everyday pieces. The limited edition nature of these collections also creates a sense of urgency, as we only have a short space of time to get our hands on it, and it sells out in a second. And really, who even WERE you in the Summer of 2007 if you weren't wearing the Kate Moss pansy dress? hulanicki topshop 7
Dress - Barbara Hulanicki for Topshop via charity shop
Shoes - Converse
Sunglasses - Unif via Depop

This particular dress was one of the central pieces of the Barbara Hulanicki for Topshop collection in 2009.  I missed my chance to get my hands on it, and the only sightings of it since have been on Ebay for double the original price. Imagine my joy when I found it in my local charity shop, a halo of light appearing around it, for just £9. I really couldn't believe my luck, it's probably the best thing I've ever discovered in a charity shop, it truly was a holy grail moment (and let's be honest, dresses really do take on a religious significance for me sometimes). On the phone the other day I tried to describe it to my friend as a mixture of dinosaur chic and moon crater realness, and I hope you can kinda, sorta understand what I mean. The dress itself is so incredibly flattering and fits like a glove (although safety shorts are most definitely needed). It all goes to show that good things come to those who wait, and even though I'm a bit late to the bandwagon on this one, I don't think this dress could have come at a better time for me.
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Photo credit once again goes to the wonderful Luke

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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Mesh Shirts and Mermaids

It feels like it's been a while since I shared an outfit post with you, and I'm pleased to say that this is a pretty quintessential Bel outfit - lots of Unif, pastels and oh, the coolest bag to ever grace my shoulder. I noticed this beautiful creation from Skinnydip a while ago, they create the most fun, imaginative bags in so many different patterns and shapes (have a gander at my Krusty the Clown one) so when the lovely folks at Octer App contacted me to ask me to try out their service, I jumped at the chance of finally making it mine! Basically it's a service where you can shop simultaneously at loads of high street and luxury brands selling everything from clothes and beauty to homeware, and there is so much choice that it is overwhelming! With a shell theme and a holographic sheen, this bag really does tick all the boxes for me. unif skinnydip 6 warm
It was a super hot day when I wore this, and it's one of the few times his year where I didn't have to wear tights, exciting stuff! The dress and the top are both Unif (bought on Ebay and Depop) I didn't think they'd work together but this outfit is actually one of my favourites! It always pays to take style risks kids. I adore this mesh shirt although it has got me into some tricky situations recently, such as literally getting stuck in a girl's novelty animal backpack at a Grimes concert and in my nose ring when I was taking it off (#hipsterproblems). I love the way that the tie dye dress looks at the back, it's slightly longer than the front and I think it creates a really pretty effect.
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Top - Unif via Depop
Dress - Unif via Depop
Bag - C/O of Octer
Shoes - Asos
Sunglasses - Primark
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My face is pretty much an advert for Sleek Makeup at the moment, I'm completely obsessed with their stuff! The lipstick is from their Matte Me collection, a wonderful true red that sits pride of place in my extensive collection of red lipstick. My favourite lipstick before this was Lady Danger by Mac but I'm trying to stop buying makeup tested on animals, so Sleek is a great (and much cheaper) alternative. My highlighter is from the Solstice palette that I see every other blogger raving about, and for very good reason! It makes me feel so shimmery yet crucially not oily, and I love the elven and ethereal effect of it, it honestly transforms your face.  unif skinnydip 11
Thanks to Luke for taking these photos of me! Check out his new blog where he'll be talking about the various challenges of being a teacher alongside some pretty smart gig and tv reviews!

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Monday, 4 July 2016

Thoughts On Hope

'Hope, in its deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not because it stands a chance to succeed.' - Rebecca Solnit 

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I'll start off with the bad news. Things are terrible. If you're from the UK, you'll know that we have voted to leave the EU, a catastrophic decision made on the back of a leave campaign based predominantly on lies. We will likely be torn apart from Scotland and possibly even Northern Ireland, and continue on our way to becoming a xenophobic, isolated island, with no room for the vast benefits and cultural variety that multiculturalism brings. Our main parties are not giving us much hope of any unity or cohesive political plans, and everything feels completely tangled, a total mess. It's dividing North and South, political parties, families, friendships.

I could continue to post about my outfits on this blog, outings in London, pretty pastel objects that I've found and loved, but I'm finding it harder at the moment. It's difficult to concentrate on anything other than our world crumbling around us, a world where we see hate thrive and trickle through our political systems, poisoning our society. Hope feels like an alien concept and fear is on the rise.

It's easy in these moments to feel deeply nihilistic, this is the only world we have and we see it being destroyed every day, by systems and laws that seem out of reach. Even in the EU referendum, a democratic vote, it feels as if political figures have taken our problems and manipulated them for their own political gain, such as spreading this idea that immigration is the source of our economic and welfare problems, rather than the austerity we have suffered over these years. Should we just give up? Is this just how it is?

We should feel angry, not just for ourselves, but for others. It's an uncomfortable feeling, one that leaves you restless, one that takes you round in circles and always returns to helplessness. What can I do? You wonder. But with anger comes passion for change, and I honestly believe that even the smallest gestures can make a difference. I've learnt that holding onto hope with all my might in difficult times has been the most important thing I could do, however futile it seemed, however much it hurt to keep going.

Believing that things will get better is the starting point, but then it takes a voice, and then action, more than that, it takes resilience. These moments make us analyse ourselves and wonder what more we could be doing. I've thought of some ways to make even the smallest difference, whether it is in politics, the environment, or another cause you care about:
  1. Be open about your beliefs. I have certainly felt more inclined to speak more openly about my opinions since Brexit, mostly due to outrage. Sharing your beliefs not only helps you articulate what are often difficult and perhaps even contradictory thoughts, but they could change somebody else's perspective.
  2. Register to vote, if you haven't already,
  3. Make you sure you know who your local mp is, and lobby them with issues that you care about. If you disagree with Brexit it would be a good idea to let them know. 
  4. Join a political party. Though our two main parties in the UK seem to be in strife at the moment, if a party aligns closely to your political beliefs then you can help by donating money and leafleting. 
  5. Listen to those in minority groups, but don't speak for them. Take in what they are saying, believe their grievances, and amplify their voice by sharing it with others. 
  6. Don't stand idle when you see injustice. If you can, call it out. For Londoners who see incidences of racial hatred in the wake of Brexit, you can call or text 61016 to report it to the police. 
  7. Go to protests. I've heard many people describe the recent anti-Brexit march in London as futile but I couldn't disagree more. Brexit will probably still happen, yes, but it's so important that this event goes down in history as something that a substantial amount of the population strongly disagree with. There is always a point and your presence is needed and appreciated. Protests represent a collective voice and strength that is so crucial. 
  8. If you can, donate to causes you care about. Give to organisations that try to make up for the significant cuts in arts funding, donate money to gun violence victims in America, donate to your local charity shop. 
  9. Sign petitions. It takes seconds and substantial numbers usually result in a a discussion in parliament and media coverage. 
  10. Read articles about what is going on in the world, whilst always being mindful of media spin. It's easy to read something on Twitter and immediately think its true, but fact checking can help prevent unhelpful or inaccurate ideas spreading.
Recent events have encouraged me to seriously consider what I care about. There isn't an excuse to give up and let events pan out in a way we think is wrong just because we feel that one person can't make a difference. Believing that you yourself cannot make a difference surely undermines your perspective of yourself and your ability to leave your mark on the world. Why the hell are we even here otherwise? Hope is a form of protest and one that we should be engaging with in these difficult times. Don't leave it to the few to try and change things when small forms or protest can exist in each and every one of us. 

Further reading:

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Monday, 13 June 2016

The Right Trousers

I absolutely hate jeans. Once I'd found myself a good pair of jeggings (I swear by the range in Uniqlo) I only ever associated denim with discomfort and feeling restricted. I am tall but not straight up and down, so finding the right pair of jeans is a real faff. But sometimes you have to make an exception for that right pair of trousers, and ohhh boy, are these some excellent trousers. I was inspired by the beautiful Andini Ria to buy them after she featured them on her Instagram. They have a gorgeous embroidery on them that you would associate with a piece of clothing far beyond its actual price tag. glamorous columbia 3
Coat - Charity shop
Top - Charity shop
Jeans - Glamorous 
Shoes - Converse
Glasses - Unif Moodys via Depop

I took these on their first outing to Columbia Road Flower Market (they are covered with flowers so it made sense) pairing them with my yellow mac and a basic stripy top. I really love the colours in this outfit, all the reds, yellows, blacks and whites, a primary colour palette that I think really sets off the trousers. Truthfully I was originally flummoxed about how to wear these, because not only am I not a fan of jeans but I don't really like anything that isn't skinny or straight leg. However I was so happy and relaxed in this outfit that it took some of that anxiety away! I'm certainly going to be pairing them with more of my crop tops and some trainers in the Summer.
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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Hot Air Bellonn

Really excited to start this post off by saying that I've ticked something off of the bucket list, and that's visiting Estonia. My great grandad was Estonian (not a close link I know, but one I've certainly held on to with all my might) and as a result I've become fascinated with the place, attempting to learn some of the language and listening to their music (the Estonian folk playlist on my itunes is one of my favourites, hipsters get on my level), basically taking in as much as I can without actually going there. So when my friend Leigh expressed an interest in visiting Estonia's capital Tallinn, I finally had an opportunity to visit this place I'd wanted to see since forever! These photos were taken in the Old Town, on a ridiculously sunny and warm day (for a Nordic country anyway). Shout out to Leigh for being a consistently awesome and patient photographer!tallinn topshop vintage 2
Tallinn certainly did not disappoint. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know about my obsession with colourful houses, and Tallinn is absolutely full to the brim with them, particularly the Old Town and the impressive Kadriorg palace. These guys really like their pink buildings, the Estonian parliament genuinely looks just like the Grand Budapest Hotel. The Old Town was totally delightful, full of cobbled streets, cafes and craft shops. You genuinely didn't know what you would discover as you turned every corner, whether it was one of the dolls that they hang outside the shops (sounds creepy, sorta is) or a hugely impressive Russian Orthodox church (a pretty bizarre experience involving hundreds of tourists congregating around an open casket funeral, an interesting mix of selfie sticks and Russian chanting). I had always imagined that Estonia would be a magical, fairy tale like place, due to its extensive forestland and ethereal music such as Kerli, and I think that was certainly the case.
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Jacket - Topshop
Top - The Whitepepper
Skirt - Charity shop
Shoes - Nike
Glasses - Michael Kors via Shadestation

I wore this outfit on the second day of exploring. The skirt is obviously the centrepiece (giving my banana jacket a day off from being the first thing to attract stares from passers by) serving parachute/hot air balloon realness. This became all too real as it was a very windy day and the skirt kept billowing, giving some unsuspecting Estonians quite an eyeful. I found the skirt in a charity shop round the corner from me, and although it was a size 6 and far too small, my mother was able to work her seamstress magic and adjusted it to fit me. I thought it might be quite tricky to style as it is very loud, but this outfit turned out to be one of my favourites in a while!
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I loved you Estonia and I will be back one day! If you're looking for a place to visit in Europe for a weekend away then I would really recommend it, Leigh and I has a fantastic time and were really struck by how charming it was and how friendly and helpful people were.

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