A London Staycation

World

A year ago today I moved to London. And the best way to celebrate feeling like I truly belong here is by going back to the very beginning – being those all important, slow walking, picture-taking tourists on their holidays, enjoying this wonderful city.

This weekend Jack and I took it upon ourselves to do a variety of ‘touristy’ activities. It was probably the most productive weekend we’ve had to date and most definitely the earliest we’ve got up together on a Sunday morning.

We started Saturday by getting up at 9AM (unheard of) and going to our local cafe, Bread by Bike. It’s a super cute bakery around the corner from my flat that prides itself on its sourdough bread – it’s a real hidden treasure and I would definitely recommend going if you’re ever in North London. We got take out, took it home and sat in bed watching Friends.

 

 

Jack napped whilst I put my glam on and we headed to Notting Hill. When we first got together, Jack was desperate for me to watch the film Notting Hill; I had never seen it and never intended to because of my hostility towards rom-coms. Of course, I eventually gave in and I can now begrudgingly say I quite like it. We walked the length of Portobello Road Market, got milkshake and found pretty coloured houses to take pictures with.

 

Next, we got the tube to Westminster and walked along the bridge to the Southbank. Our next choice of tourist attraction was either the London Eye or the London Dungeons. Because I knew how happy it would make my mother – she’s wanted me to go for the past year – we went to the dungeons. I was slightly terrified of people jumping out and any talk about blood or gore is abhorrent to me, but nevertheless, I had a wonderful time. It was also super interesting to learn about London before artsy vegan restaurants, boozy mini golf and pretentious cafe’s.

Our next stop was Wagamamas before we decided we had spent far too much time out of  bed. I introduced Jack to the wonder of yasai kastu curry, then we went back to Camden in time to have a Saturday night in, complete with snacks and a film.

 

Sunday was a bright and early start as well. We woke up, got ready and went straight to Camden market. I usually do my best to avoid Camden on a weekend because of how busy it gets, but it was only right to do the tourist thing and have a browse. There is a ridiculous amount of food choice round there and I had to make the decision as to where we went for breakfast. We found a cute little Mexican cafe and settled there. Jack had breakfast tacos and I had a blueberry cinnamon loaf. After food, we were raring to go for day 2 of our tourist staycation. Jack wanted some posters so we searched the maze that is the market for some cute vintage movie posters.

 

Next, we went to Brick Lane market. We had a look at the vintage stalls, strolled the street and Jack played chess with the man who ‘plays chess for fun for free’ every Sunday. Next, we went to Old Spitalfields market. All the browsing was absolutely exhausting so we did the true British thing and stopped for tea. After we gained a bit of energy, we grabbed a doughnut – obviously a photogenic one for the pics – and I made Jack take a million photos of me. Honestly, that man is a saint. If he doesn’t complain when taking outfit pictures, he’s a keeper.

We stopped at our third and final market of the day – Petticoat Lane Market. To Jack this probably seemed like a horrifying, typical dirty London street selling fake Gucci and what claims to be vintage (really just dirty and used) clothing. But to me, it’s an absolute wonderland. If you look hard enough, there are some real bargains, including brand new things from Mango and Topshop. I spotted a dress for £10 that is still full price at £42 in Topshop. I would definitely recommend going there every now and again to see what they have. Whether you are a tourist or not, if you can get past the slightly scary Londoners and dingy streets, it’s a really great shopping destination when you are on a budget.

 

To bring the weekend to a close, we went back to my flat and began watching Harry Potter; our plan was to watch all 7 this week then go to the Warner Bros studio. Jack however, fell asleep whilst I edited the hundreds of pictures I got (I will be posting them for the foreseeable ever). He woke up with a new lease of life and we decided the weekend was not quite finished after all. We got ready and went to Pizza Union at King’s Cross. We then got the tube over to Tower Hill to take a Jack the Ripper tour around Whitechapel. It was so much fun and super interesting whilst being a slightly morbid way to spend your Sunday night. It made us feel like real life tourists, following a man around with an umbrella in the air with a bunch of people from around the world.

I have had the most incredible weekend. It’s so easy to get caught up in work and general daily life that you forget where you are. I’m lucky enough to live in one of the most amazing cities in the world. If you are too, I would highly recommend taking a day off from the ‘rat race’ lifestyle and really try to appreciate your surroundings.

I just want to say a big thank you to Jack for making me the best possible version of myself. You make me laugh, cry, smile and love like never before. This time one year ago, I could never have imagined myself being as happy as I am now.

 

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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AW18 Aesthetic

Style

I think it’s fair to say Summer is officially over. No matter how hard I try to pull off wearing a mini dress and sandals, it’s impossible to miss the preposterous looks I get from jumper clad, coffee drinking commuters meandering their way through Kings Cross at 8 in the morning. You know what us Brits are like – we expect the worst – as soon as there is a slight possibility of rain, we abort mission and hibernate inside or bring out all the layers we have, then complain when it turns 12 o clock and we’re a little too hot. Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that August signified the end of my 19th summer.

My school years have sort of ingrained in me that September is the real start of a new year – more so than January. It’s always been a time where I have to prepare myself for a fresh start and get organised for the months ahead. Because I am so set in my ways, this also means my wardrobe gets a refresh in September.

There is only one thing better than bringing out your old knits and jackets, some of which you forgot you even had, and that’s buying new knits and jackets. I like to think the start of a new season gives you the opportunity to completely redesign your wardrobe.

This A/W I am determined to make the cold weather my b*tch and not let it make me miserable for another year running. It’s inevitable that I will end up wearing the same piece all through winter like I do every other season. Last winter, it was my beloved grey jumper. I have no idea how or why it became my go-to but it became my comfort blanket and was thus seen as my ‘sad day’ jumper (at the time this meant my every day jumper…) Whenever I wore it, people would immediately ask if I was feeling okay and knew to leave me to my own devices; a good tool for when you are not so talkative may I add. This summer it has been my staple floral dress. It’s cute enough to make it look as if I have made an effort but I also don’t have to wear a bra and can stick converse on to claim it’s ‘tomboy chic’.

Moving on, I have created a little mood board as to what I want my AW18 aesthetic to be. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the trends in the shops and therefore lose perspective of what look you actually want to go for. So this is the kinda vibe I’m after…

 

 

As much as I am loving the animal print trend, I know full well that in 6 months time I will be outraged that I bought a pair of leopard print knee-length boots. Instead, I have decided I want to style the trend in a little more subtle way. I would wear a pair of statement jeans (my faves linked here and here) with a plain knit and layered gold necklaces.

Living in London comes with its difficulties. The main one being budgeting. Being a self-confessed shopaholic, I find it super hard to prioritize nutritional dinners over a cute dress. Because of my financial struggles and weekly reminders from my mother to stop buying clothes, I am trying to make use of what I have got. I have countless summer midi/maxi dresses that I just can’t bear to hide away until next year, so instead, I will style them over the colder months with oversized granddad cardigans (see here) and chunky trainers. Because long floral skirts, charity shop style cardigans and dad trainers are a look… I swear…

Another super popular A/W trend is silk skirts. There aren’t too many in the shops at the moment but I give it a month and you won’t be able to miss them. I would style a delicate silk skirt with a chunky knit for an unusual blend of textures and Gucci style loafers.

Lastly, a style that I don’t think is particularly ‘in’ right now, but I am going to work with anyway is floral dresses and cowgirl boots. It doesn’t sound overly appealing but it is a combination I have wanted to work with for a while; the summer to autumn transitioning period is the perfect time. To assure you I’m not crazy, this is the kind of thing I have in mind – dress and boots.

A couple more things I am loving and very actively looking for are leather pieces, pyjama style shirts, faux fur bags and chunky gold earrings. Here are some of my favourites so far:

 

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

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Happy Me Day

Lifestyle

This year, I have decided I am rebranding the dreaded V day, from now onward, it will be called me day. So Happy Me Day!

Yes, there’s bound to be plenty of posts today preaching self-love, that you don’t need another half to be complete and I would be lying if I said this wasn’t one of them.

You can totally justify disliking Valentines because it’s commercialised, all for making money and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But we wouldn’t want to ruin this momentous holiday for all the loved up couples out there that aren’t bitter about spending it alone.

I truly believe the 14th February is actually a really beautiful day. There’s something lovely about dedicating a day to one another to show how much you care. Undoubtedly, this should be every day but it is so easy to get wrapped up in life that you forget how important showing love is.

Not only is this true when you’re in a relationship, but it’s also significant when you’re alone. A lot of us get so caught up in busy day-to-day life that we forget that sometimes, we need to treat ourselves with a bit of TLC.

Granted, almost every day is a treat myself day with my insatiable shopping habit but still…

Today, I bought myself everything a typical Valentine would buy for you. This was ideal because everything I got for me was perfect – just what I wanted!

I bought a Kate Spade watch – possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever received from myself. It’s a well-known fact that you can’t go wrong with jewellery on Valentines, so I did pretty well with this one. I managed to find it in TK Maxx for £130, a dream price for a Kate Spade statement piece. Well done me.

I also got myself some Ardell faux mink eyelashes. I was pretty impressed with myself considering I haven’t been able to find these anywhere and have really wanted to try them out. I love Ardell lashes and wanted to try something a little different to my usual demi wispies.

Perfume is another must must. Usually I would opt for Narciso Rodriquez or my classic Jimmy Choo but I decided to be a little unconventional. I got this gorgeous Ellie Saab Girl of Now perfume. It comes in the prettiest bottle and literally smells like sweets, marshmallows, daisies and rainbows. New scent new me and all that.

Lastly, I had to get flowers and chocolate. I just wouldn’t have been a legitimate Valentine if I didn’t.

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

P.S. after writing this post, my lovely manager gave me a Hummingbird cupcake and a card. Boyfriends/Girlfriends, who needs them!?

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Statement Season

Style

January-February has just got to be the worst time of the year. If it’s not feeling bad about how much you ate in December, it’s feeling sad about the fact that you don’t have a beau to spend Valentines with.

Fortunately, I have come up with the perfect solution.

Yesterday, I happened to get up earlier than usual which meant I had a little more time to make an effort with myself. Instead of sticking on whatever clothes were closest me, I methodically chose an outfit and applied enough makeup to make me look vaguely alive. As soon as I stepped out the door, I felt like I could take on the day. Without hesitation, I walked to the train station rather than waiting for the bus and even had enough time to grab some fresh orange juice; I felt like I truly had my life together. 

The reason I am explaining this is because I realised, just by consciously putting an outfit together that didn’t consist of jeans and a jumper, I felt so much more confident.

So the key to feeling kick ass? Looking it.

I have now made it my mission to find the most outrageous statement pieces I can find to add to my wardrobe and help me feel fierce in these trying times.

 

 

  • As soon as I saw this Topshop leather jacket I fell in love. There’s no way you couldn’t stand out in this. You could be wearing a bin bag and still manage to look sassy as hell with this over the top. Unfortunately it’s £195. But next payday, it will be mine. I plan on pairing it with a simple jumper dress and studded boots for an edgy but minimal look.

 

  • I’ve been seeing so many of these multi-coloured striped jumpers around lately and I am totally here for them. The one pictured above is from Topshop for £49 but a cheaper alternative can be found on ASOS. I can’t quite put a pin on why I like it so much but I can just imagine it making me feel much better on a typical Monday morning. I think I would wear it with a black vinyl skirt so I wouldn’t actually look 5 years old. Failing that, I would definitely pair it with a pair of my cutest denim dungarees.

 

  • These Lamoda thigh high boots are by far my favourite thing I have bought all month. For a little while I have been looking for the perfect pair of oversized over the knee boots. The majority are all either too slouchy or just not enough. I know I am going to have to be really careful of what I put with these as it’s highly likely I will get mistaken for a hooker if I make the wrong move. But with simple muted colours, a turtle neck jumper and a structured coat it could also look effortlessly elegant. For only £49.99 they were an absolute bargain and far preferable to the £235 pair from & Other Stories.

 

  • Lastly, I have another thing that will probably have to wait until payday. I am determined to make this unbelievable £1,790 Gucci bag my next high-end purchase. There are a lot of expensive bags that I wonder why on earth people spend so much on when you can get something similar in Zara. But this Sylvie mini bag has my heart. It is in the classic Gucci style, with the colouring and the adorable bow detail. I can imagine wearing this with anything and feeling like an absolute queen. Cross-body bags are also my favourite throw on accessory to look chic without having to make an effort.

 

I’m going to think of these as a Valentines present from me to me – you’ve got to love yourself right?

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie  x

 

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Spring Dreaming

Style

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about tropical heat, palm trees and strawberry margarita’s.

In a desperate attempt to persuade some warmer weather to bless London, I put on my prettiest, most floral dress today.

I’m also very aware that it is still freezing in England and unless I want to catch hypothermia, I still need to dress appropriately. I thought this was a wonderful chance to show you my typical transitional winter → spring outfits.

I got this adorable floral dress from Topshop in the sale for £15. It has muted colours so it’s not too spring-like to be wearing in January but it still makes me feel a little less dreary. It’s has a Victorian vibe about it which I love. The sleeves are slightly puffed and the neckline is high with ruffles. I feel like a little doll wearing it – so cute.

To make sure people don’t actually think I’m a 5 year old. I put on these heeled Ego boots; I prefer a squared toe with this outfit because I think pointed would look too harsh for the dainty dress. I love wearing sock boots with tights/bare legs because they’re so flattering. I’m also teeny tiny so the added height helps.

I threw on my new favourite thing – this Topshop faux fur coat. This isn’t the first time I have posted about this and I regret to say it definitely won’t be the last. I love how versatile this is; I can wear it with leather and look like a bad a$$ b*tch or with flowers and look like a sweet lil Daddy’s girl. The possibilities are endless.

I added my trusty Kate Spade and because I just love making myself look like a rich snob, I had to put this headband on to complete the look. Blair Waldorf would be proud.

 

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Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

 

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Lace and Leather

Style

In true Abbie style, I woke up on Sunday morning with the worst hangover. I went home at the weekend to see my friend for a ‘drink’ which of course ended in us staying out until 3am – I expected nothing less.

Despite feeling slightly under the weather, I had planned to go for brunch with my nearest and dearest Emily, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to do my favourite thing with my favourite person.

I figured that there is nothing that can make you feel better than lace and leather – possibly the most fierce duo there is.

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Surprisingly, I managed to style my matted hair and eye bags into an actual look. 

I wore some (faux) leather culottes from Stradivarius because as I have mentioned before, they are my go to when I don’t feel so great. The fact that these are leather make them look a little more fashion and a little less lazy mess which is ideal for me. This is actually the first time I have worn these out as I was a little dubious as to how I could make them work without being accused of wearing a bin bag.

I paired these with a nude lace top from Topshop to add a girly twist to the look. I love lace and leather together because they contrast each other so well. The trousers are very  bold, I wanted to add a touch of sophistication to them so I didn’t look like a complete goth.

To add another texture, I wore this (faux) fur coat from Topshop; I got this in the sale for £50! A! Dream! It’s so warm and ridiculous and over the top I love it.

Because I am so small, I have to wear a heel with this coat or I just look ridiculous. I was still slightly unstable from the night before, so I thought it was best to opt for these kitten heeled boots from New Look premium. A year ago I wouldn’t have even contemplated a kitten heel but these are one of my current staples; they are so classic and elegant.

Lastly, I threw on this Zara bag to finish the outfit. The chain and stud detail adds to the ‘biker chic’ look perfectly without make it too extra.

Speaking of extra, I really ought to stop going out like this in Kenilworth. It’s all well and good looking like a snobby rich b*tch in London but people aren’t as open-minded at home and I get a few odd looks from the local old people!

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

 

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6th Day of Xmas: January Sale Prep

Style

Yes this may sound a little dramatic, Christmas hasn’t even been yet and already I am prepping for the January sales. I want to get maximum bargains because living in London is not cheap so I can’t afford the things I used to be able to; my inner shopaholic is slowly dying.

Not only that, but we’re all guilty of going into the sales all guns blazing thinking that the £80 sparkly dress you didn’t want when it was full price has gone to £20 so you HAVE to have it. A lot of the time we don’t buy things in the sale because we like them, they’re just cheap and well… it would be rude not to right?

It all comes down to this one question.

Would you have bought it when it was full price?

Granted I don’t always follow this rule but it is a good thing to remember when the shops are crazy, clothes are flying everywhere and you want every deal you can see.

Another way I’m hoping to save on wasting money this year is by making a list of things I want now, so when I’m shopping I can look for them straight away rather than pondering over the pink high knee boots I’ve never wanted.

I thought I would show you some of the things I have been lusting over so you can get some inspiration too!

I have wanted this for months but I just can’t justify £75 on a green coat, it’s just a little too risky even for me!

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These are unlikely to be in the sale but I am super prepared.

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I saw Sammi Maria post this in the ‘in my wardrobe’ section of her blog. Immediately I fell in LOVE and was very tempted to fork out £79 for it but decided to stay strong and wait until after Christmas!

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As I have mentioned, I like to be prepared. So when I saw this jumpsuit in the Oxford Street Topshop I knew I had to get it on the off-chance I will be invited to a fancy event in the New Year (here’s hoping!)

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It has been hard to miss the office chic look that has being going off for the past couple of months and although I have got on board with it whilst rocking a patterned two piece to my work’s Christmas party, I am still desperate to add this Topshop number to my collection. It’s sold out almost everywhere full price so it’s unlikely that I’ll find it when/if it goes to sale, but I have been known to travel around the country for a Topshop bargain!

 

One of my work colleagues wears a coat similar to this everyday and every time she walks in I comment on how chic she looks. Even if she’s wearing a super simple outfit it always glams it up. Me being the shopaholic I am just knows that eventually this will be in the sale so I’m going to wait it out and see if I can bag it in a month or two!

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I first discovered these beauties when I was at ITV working on TM fashion. I could not believe that of all places, they were from New Look – a shop that I can never seem to work with! Then I realised they were £50 and in the premium section which kind of explained why I was so in love. They did go into the black Friday sale but I missed them so I am determined to catch them in January.

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That’s it for now but the list will most definitely be getting longer!

Hugs and wishes,

Abbie x

 

If you’re interested in the other things I’m getting up to follow me on Instagram.

Or take a look at my previous Blogmas posts.